All recognized characters belong to J.K. Rowling
Everything else is mine.
R – for violence, language and adult content
Contains male/male pairings- That's SLASH... you know, GAY

Harry Potter and the Parliament of Dreams

Chapter 8 – Rumors, Bargains and Lies

By Myr


Madam Pomfrey spent the next several minutes examining the four boys who had been fighting.  Fred was sitting with Ron while George was sitting with Percy.  All of them had grim expressions on their faces.

Poppy frowned heavily when she was examining Harry’s face.  Harry’s nose and jaw were both broken.  The jaw would take all night to heal properly, she thought critically.  She straightened out Harry’s nose with a quick tug, thankful that the boy was still unconscious.  She conjured a bandage and carefully placed it on his nose.  She then cast a complicated spell on Harry’s jaw, which caused it to realign properly.  The potion that he had to drink would have to wait a few minutes.

Poppy went to Draco Malfoy next.  Although his injuries appeared to be less serious than Harry's, it was readily apparent that he too had broken bones.  His left eye was swollen completely shut and the bones around his eye were out of place.  She cast the bone straightening spell on Draco and tallied another vic... err patient for her special potion.

Madam Pomfrey examined Justin Finch-Fletchley next.  The boy was nearly conscious and was beginning to writhe around on his bed.  He was the only one of the three unconscious boys to wake up before his treatment had been completed.  His eyes fluttered open and he stared at the nurse who was now looming over him.  His face was a mask of confusion.

“What happened?” he managed to rasp out.

“You attacked Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy.  Ron Weasley used a liberal amount of force to... subdue... you,” she said with only a hint of accusation in her tone and a minor emphasis on her euphemism for "pounding the daylights out of".

Justin’s one good eye filled with tears, “I didn’t… did I?”

Poppy looked down in compassion at the completely stricken look on his face.

“Harry saved my life!  Ron and his family took me in!  I wouldn’t have,” Justin stuttered out.

“Here Justin, drink this,” Poppy said as she handed him a dreamless sleep potion.

Justin drank it down in one quick gulp.  He fell into a deep sleep so fast that he just fell backwards and his limp hand dropped the potion vial.  Only Madam Pomfrey's lightning quick reflexes saved it from being smashed to a thousand pieces on the floor.

As soon as he was asleep, Poppy healed his injuries.  He too had a broken nose and two black eyes.  She sighed heavily before walking over to her one remaining patient.

"Which twin are you?" she asked Fred, who was still sitting next to Ron.


"Please join your twin, I have a few questions to ask Ron."

Ron examined his tender, now healed, nose while Poppy was talking with Fred.

“What happened exactly?” she asked after a few moments in silence.

Ron took a few moments to formulate his thoughts.  "I should start at the beginning.  As you know, Justin and his little brother Mickey have been living with us since their parents were killed in the attack.  Justin has been bottling up his anger and not releasing it.  Hermione has been harping about how dangerous that is.  I don't pretend to understand bottling up anger as I've never been accused of doing such a thing."

Madam Pomfrey snorted.  "I'd imagine not.  So he has been bottling up his anger and resentment because of the attack.  Is there any indication why he attacked Mr. Malfoy and Mr. Potter?"

"I was getting to that.  Ginny told me that the night we arrived at Hogwarts that they had all been in a carriage together and that Justin had gone out of control accusing Malfoy and his father of being involved.  Not far wrong from what I understand," Ron added cynically.

"Mr. Weasley, I'm looking for the facts of the incident, not speculation as to who is and who is not a Death Eater."

"Right.  Ginny seemed to think that Malfoy is the symbol of what happened to Justin's parents.  Hermione and Ginny spent a lot of time discussing it.  Harry reacted loudly to defend Malfoy, who apparently was hiding behind him.  The slimy git."

"Mr. Weasley!" Poppy said sharply.

"Well he is," Ron grouched.

"That's enough for now.  You are free to return to your dorm."

Ron looked towards his older brother and then back to Madam Pomfrey before replying, “I’d like to stay with Percy, if you don’t mind?”

Madam Pomfrey changed her response when she saw his face, “You may, but please be quiet.”

Ron nodded and joined his brother at Percy’s side.  He grabbed Percy’s hand in an uncharacteristic show of family emotion.

Madam Pomfrey woke both Draco and Harry in turn and gave them her special potion.

They were too tired to gag.


Professor Dumbledore read over the letter in his hand a second time before looking at the broken man sitting across from him.

The man squirmed in his seat under the intense gaze of one of the world’s finest wizards.

"Are you sure about this Cornelius?"

"Yes I am, Headmaster Dumbledore.  I've made a very foolish mistake that has cost innocent people their lives.  You Know Who has indeed returned and I was a fool not to believe you and Mr. Potter when it occurred.  I'd like to make it official and retire on Halloween.  Included in that letter is my strong recommendation for my replacement."

"So I've read," Albus replied somewhat dryly.

"Until that time, I'd like for you to coordinate with Mundungus Fletcher of the Royal Aurors Society.  The Aurors shall be at your disposal for any reasonable tasks you need accomplished.  I'd like to apologize again for my foolishness."

"We all make mistakes Minister Fudge," Albus replied tiredly, rubbing the bridge of his nose in a vain attempt to make the ache stop.

"I'm hoping that my delay doesn't cost us too much."

"We all do Minister.  If there is nothing further then I have a lot of work that needs to be completed soon."

"Of course Headmaster," Fudge replied as he stood.  He walked to the door and turned around, "Do you think I made the right choice?"

"Stepping down or with your replacement?"


Dumbledore stared at the Minister of Magic for a few moments before replying, "I think you made the right decision on stepping down and a most excellent decision on your replacement."

"Thank you.  I almost forgot!  I've reassigned Percy Weasley to your staff to assist you in whatever needs to be done.  As you are no doubt aware, Mr. Weasley is an excellent worker."

“Thank you Minister.  Percival Archibald Weasley was one of our best students,” Dumbledore said with a genuine smile gracing his face.

“Good day, Headmaster," Fudge said.

“And to you Minister.”

Fudge left and shortly afterwards, Dumbledore got up from his desk and went to the stairwell.  Instead of going down and out, he walked up to the next level.  He held his wand up to the door at the top of the stairs and it opened.

“Albus, how did it go with Fudge?” Mad-Eye Moody asked.

“About what I expected,” Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled back at everyone.

“Right then, now that you are here.  I move that we call this meeting of the Order of the Phoenix to order, anybody second that?” Remus Lupin inquired.

“I’ll second that,” Arabella said shortly.

The meeting ended a little over seven hours later.  The professors that needed to teach class came and went when required.  They all ate dinner together and were able to hammer out a few things that they could all agree on.


Harry woke up very early the next morning, feeling better with some of his energy restored.  Harry's link to Draco, which he had only been vaguely aware of before, was now a pleasantly warm feeling that was wrapped around his mind.  He found that with some practice he could block it out or allow it to totally engulf his entire awareness.  He spent the next two hours doing just that.

Draco had awoken to Harry’s gentle mind prodding at about a half an hour later and he joined Harry in exploring their connection.  They found that if they concentrated hard enough, they could send images to each other.  They couldn’t speak per say, but they could send a mental image to each other that got the point across fairly easily.  At around eight or so in the morning, they both broke the silence of the infirmary when they went into a fit of laughter. 

“What is going on in here?!” Madam Pomfrey demanded when she stormed into the room.

“Nothing… hic… I mean…” Draco started.

“Sorry Madam Pomfrey.  Draco told me a good joke,” Harry covered for him.

“Since you are feeling up to laughing, I’d like for the two of you to go back to your dorms for the day so you can catch up on all the work you have been missing,” she stated firmly.

“I think I can handle that,” Harry replied.

“Good.  Before you do though, Justin Finch-Fletchley would like to talk to you,” Madam Pomfrey stated.

Harry’s face hardened and the rest of his body tensed as Justin walked up to a comfortable speaking distance. 

“Harry, I’m really sorry about yesterday.  I haven’t really been myself lately.  Draco, I’m sorry for hitting you too.  I should have realized that you aren’t your father.  I should have given you the benefit of the doubt at least,” Justin said, looking so absolutely pitiful that Harry couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.

Draco for his part looked to Harry for a response.  When he saw Harry relax and a look of sympathy cross his face, he decided to follow an un-Malfoy approach.

“Well Finch-Fletchley, for what it is worth, I had nothing to do with the death of your parents.  I’ll accept your apology this time.  I wouldn’t suggest trying that again though,” Draco narrowed his eyes dangerously as he drawled out the last line.

“Thank you,” Justin said as he turned to head back to his bed.

Harry stopped him, “Justin, you are going to talk to somebody about this, aren’t you?”

“Yeah Harry.  I’m staying here in the infirmary for a few days,” Justin said sadly.

“I’d like to talk to you this weekend sometime, if not sooner, okay?” Harry asked.

Justin’s mood brightened noticeably at those words, “Yes, I look forward to it.”

Draco smirked a little and sent an image of Justin naked to Harry.  Harry promptly choked and had to hide it with a coughing fit.  Harry got his revenge though.  He sent the same image to Draco that started the laughing fit to begin with.  Professor Snape with bright pink hair in curlers.  Draco choked as the mind image winked suggestively at him.  Harry shot an evil grin at Draco before he put up a small mental block, preventing further retaliation from Draco.

Draco and Harry walked together to the door and separated at the Great Hall.  Harry went towards the Gryffindor tower while Draco headed for the dungeons and the Slytherin dorms.


Justin sighed deeply after he finished picking at his lunch.  Justin had seriously injured one of his friends.  He had hurt the boy that had protected him during the very attack that made him feel so unbalanced.  His attack had facilitated Ron attacking him.  Justin felt absolutely horrid about attacking Harry and Ron.  He even felt bad about attacking Malfoy, because it was so unlike him to do so.

Justin apologized to Harry and to Malfoy and both boys had accepted the apology.  He also apologized to Ron when he had been in first thing after breakfast to check on Percy.  Ron had accepted his apology quickly, which Justin knew to be unusual for him.  The Weasley Twins, who had been with Ron, had both looked him over thoroughly and clapped him on the back.  When they left, only Justin and Percy remained in the infirmary.  Madam Pomfrey brought Justin his lunch and had left him alone again.  Justin had talked with Percy a little over the summer, but not all that much.

“Justin?”  Percy croaked wearily.

“I’m here Percy.  Do you need something?”

“Keep me company please,” Percy said quietly.

“Are you sure Percy?  I haven’t been myself lately.  I… did something really stupid,” Justin stuttered out quietly.

Percy smiled slightly, “I heard about that Justin.  I’m sure everything will work out.”

“Thanks,” Justin said, feeling a little better.

“Sit, please.  I’d like to talk for awhile,” Percy said, while leaning back into his pillows with a small groan.

Justin sat next to him and they began to chat idly about different school things.


Harry had gone straight to Gryffindor tower as he had been told.  Since everyone was in class, he was not disturbed as we walked across the common and room and up the stairs to his dorm.  He dropped straight into his own bed and drifted quickly off to sleep.  Dobby woke him up at lunch time when he brought a tray in laden with food and a short letter from Madam Pomfrey reminding him to do his homework and to attend dinner as normal.

Harry was feeling much better after he ate lunch and suspected a little pepperup potion in his food.  If that was the case, he was glad of it.  It really made him feel like himself again.  He took out his wand as soon as he was done eating and he started practicing some hexes and charms.

Harry was just setting his wand down several hours later when Ron and the rest of the fifth years came tumbling in.  They were all sweaty from their Self-Defense class.  All of them went to the showers whilst Harry put on his school robe so he could go to dinner.

Ron was the first one out, “Harry, good to see you up and about mate.”

“Thanks Ron.  I’m glad to be feeling better, believe me!” Harry replied as he watched Ron get dressed. 

Harry and Ron had joked about Harry’s lad-watching the night that Harry had told Ron about himself.  Ron now went out of his way to tease Harry with his own body.  Harry was dutifully impressed with Ron’s developing form.  He was also quite confident that Ron was definitely a true red-head, as the hair he did have on his body was most certainly all bright red.

Seamus, who had walked in shortly after Ron had started dressing wolf-whistled at him.  “Now that is what I call a prime example of a lad all his glory.  And trust me Ronnie, there is lots of glory there!”

“Absolutely,” Harry agreed, causing Ron to blush even further.  The blush reached everywhere.

“Something you want to tell us Harry?” Seamus grinned slyly.

Harry’s eyes twinkled and he demurred, “Not right now."  He then barked at Ron as he started to gawk at Harry,  "Let’s go Red! I want my dinner now and I don't want to wait here all night while you stand around looking sexy!"

Seamus’ eyes bulged at Harry’s comment and Ron choked as he scrambled to get his clothes.

Seamus stared at Harry as Harry watched Ron get dressed with a devilish grin on his face.  Seamus turned his attention to Dean as soon as Dean got out of the showers.

When Ron was finally ready, Harry and Ron went to the Great Hall.  They rode their way through a staircase move about halfway there.  They both leaned back to enjoy it.

As soon as the staircase settled down they were on their way again.  Harry was a little jumpy, given what happened the last time he came through these doors, so he had wand in his hand, hidden under his robe.  It was a good thing he did.

Harry wasn’t actually expecting the trouble, but he did want to be prepared for any.  He realized that he appeared weak in the last fight, since he had been unable to defend himself.  In a fistfight, there was no doubt that his small size left him at a distinct disadvantage.  The fact that he had no training in self-defense was a further disadvantage. 

Harry was good at magic, however.  He saw Anthony McNair approaching him as soon as he cleared the door.  McNair was well known to be a bully amongst the lower years in Slytherin and amongst some of the other vulnerable kids.  He tramped right up to Harry bold as brass, knocking Ron aside and pushing Harry straight to the floor.

Harry had his wand out by the time he landed on the floor and had cast a rather powerful blasting spell, which was one of the ones he had studied that afternoon.  The results were nothing short of spectacular in all aspects.  Anthony flew back into the wall, sagging like a rag doll.

There were dozens of witnesses to the event, including Headmaster Dumbledore.  Fighting was prohibited in school, of course.  Magic use, especially combat spells, were also frowned upon.  The fight, such that it was, was over after the push and the magical blast. 

Harry Potter proved in front of most of the school that he was well on his way to becoming a powerful wizard. 

The whispers passed frantically amongst the crowd reminded the seventh years, and informed everyone else, that the spell that Harry cast was difficult, even for seventh years.

The crowd settled into an uneasy silence as McNair was floated off on a stretcher and Dumbledore and Harry left the hall together presumably to discuss punishment.

Hermione escorted Ron, and a lot of other Gryffindors who had hopped up to help, back to the Gryffindor table.  Everyone else in the hall glared at the Slytherin House people. 

Draco had the advantage and disadvantage to having a link to Harry.  He felt the emotions that Harry had felt and he understood what happened.  He also noted that Harry used only his own energy.  He was thankful for that.  The Slytherins around Draco were starting to squirm in their seats, under the intense glares from the rest of the school.  While they admittedly thought they were better then everyone else, they didn’t have any delusions about taking on the rest of the school by themselves.

Draco snorted aloud at his housemates and was one of the only students in the hall to be calmly eating his dinner like nothing happened.

When Draco snorted, the rest of the Slytherins turned to look at him.  He continued to eat his dinner unfazed.  After almost a minute of staring, the Slytherins eventually gave up and started eating, ignoring the rest of the school.  Eventually, the rest of the houses start to eat as well.  First Ravenclaw, then Hufflepuff and finally, Gryffindor started to eat.

After about twenty minutes, Harry returned alone through the main doors.  The relatively subdued noise of dinner went dead quiet when the raven-haired boy appeared.  Harry seemed unfazed as he headed confidently to his spot at the Gryffindor table.  It was a spot he could sit at and watch the Slytherin table, specifically Draco’s actions.  He sat as soon as he arrived.

“Hey Harry, good use of the blasting spell,” George spoke up.

“Thanks George,” Harry smiled.

“How do you know that he’s George?” Fred asked.

“He’s cuter,” Harry deadpanned. Everybody stared at Harry like he had two heads. “What’s everybody looking at?” he asked innocently.

“Nothing,” everyone said at once as they went back to eating.


“Yeah Ron?”

“What happened with the headmaster?”

“Nothing too much.  He witnessed it and said I did it in self-defense.  He was more interested in my being able to cast the spell, then whether or not I should,” Harry replied quietly.

“What about McNair?” Hermione joined in.

“He will receive a weeks worth of detention from Filch.”

“Barmy git!” Ron bellowed.

“Aye,” Seamus supplied from the side.

“I’d like to eat my dinner now, if you all don’t mind.  I’ve had to suffer through meals in the infirmary for the last few days,” Harry interjected as Ron was about to say something else.

“Good idea Harry,” Hermione said as she gave a look to Ron.

“May I have your attention please?”  Dumbledore stated, having arrived when the Gryffindors were talking.

The whole room went silent rather quickly.

“As all of us here have just witnessed an unfortunate act of violence, I’d like to remind everyone of the school policy.  There is to be no fighting.  And there is to be no use of combative magic within the school except for in properly supervised instructional sessions.  The students involved have been dealt with.  I would recommend that the bullies in this room find something better to do,” Dumbledore said the last line whilst looking pointedly at several students from Slytherin and one from Ravenclaw.

“That is all.  You may resume your meal.”

Harry sat and casually watched what was going on with Draco, as he started eating his dessert.  Hermione and Ron were whispering at each other and Seamus and Mickey were too.  Harry smiled as Pansy Parkinson sat down next to Draco and starting pawing him.

Draco was in obvious distress having Pansy all over him and he finally managed to get her just to sit next to him, holding most of his left arm.  As he was drinking some pumpkin juice, Harry sent him an image of a bulldog with a little collar that said ‘Pansy’ on it.  Draco snorted and blew pumpkin juice out of his nose and mouth at the same time.

Harry had to try really hard not to start laughing out loud.  He started shaking with the effort of holding in his laughter.  After a few moments he managed to calm himself.  He made the mistake of taking a drink of his own pumpkin juice.  It was at that moment that Draco got his revenge.  Draco sent an image of Hagrid in a tu tu.  Pumpkin juice sprayed out of Harry’s mouth and hit both Ron and Hermione as he sputtered in surprise.

This time it was Draco that had to hide his smirk.

Harry managed to finish his dessert without tormenting Draco any further.  And vice-versa.  Not too long after he finished he got up to leave.  Ron and Hermione were still eating and talking with one another and he turned to find Collin Creevey and his brother Dennis standing there.

“Harry, we are walking back now.  Would you like to walk with us?” Dennis asked.

Harry simply nodded.  This action set off both boys chattering about how exciting the magic that he had used earlier was.  Harry nodded and grunted once in awhile so that he at least looked like he was paying attention.  The Creevey boys seemed thrilled that he simply agreed to walk with them.

After getting back into the fifth year dorm, Harry went back to catching up on his homework.  Ron returned not too much later with the rest of the boys from their dorm.  They all chatted and joked for a few hours while working on their homework.  At around ten they all crawled into their own beds and settled in for the night.

Harry tossed and turned for a few hours before finally getting up.  He grabbed the map, his cloak and his wand before heading out of the dorm.  After putting on the cloak, he stepped out into common room and exited out through the sleeping portrait.

He headed straight for the Astronomy tower, thinking that the night air would do him good.  It took only a few minutes for him to quickly move through the dark, deserted hallways of the sleeping castle.

The tower roof was empty, as was to be expected at this time of night.  He went right up to the edge and looked out again.  He was standing there for a long time before he noticed someone standing next to him.  It was Draco.

“Harry, please take off your cloak.  I know you are there,” Draco whispered quietly.

Harry did so, appearing out of the seemingly thin air.

“Thanks.  What’s bothering you?” Draco asked, still whispering.

“How did you know something was bothering me?” Harry asked.

“You’ve been radiating your distress.  I could feel it through that connection of ours.”

“I’m sorry I woke you up,” Harry said gently.

“I don’t think you did.  I might have woke you up, actually.  I was feeling my own distress, so it might have been feeding yours.”

“I guess we do need to sit down and spend a good deal of time with each other to figure this out,” Harry replied.

“I guess we do.  Harry, I’m not sure what has changed between us, but I feel something I’ve never felt before.”

“I do too, Draco.  I honestly never thought I’d feel this way about you, but I do,” Harry said very quietly.

Draco pulled Harry into a hug.  Draco had never been hugged much as a child.  Neither had Harry.  They both found that they enjoyed holding each other.  The very act seemed to cause the link between them to radiate a feeling of safety and warmth.

Draco pulled back a little from the hug and looked directly into Harry’s emerald eyes.  His own grayish eyes held Harry’s for a long moment before he started leaning towards Harry’s face.

Harry likewise starting to lean towards Draco when they were suddenly interrupted by strong gust of wind.  Draco ended up sprawled out in Harry’s arms.  Not that either boy minded that very much.

Harry held Draco close to him for a few minutes before gently pushing him upright.

A quick crack of lightning and a crash of thunder interrupted them.

“I think we should get back to bed before the storm breaks.  Tomorrow is going to be a long day,” Harry whispered.

Draco simply nodded. 

They walked together with their arms around each other’s shoulders.  As soon as they were onto the stairway they stopped and turned to look at each other.

They’re eyes locked again.  This time, they managed to complete their task.  They approached each other slowly, closing their eyes at the last moment.

The kiss was surprisingly tender for both boys.  It was Harry’s first real kiss.  Surprisingly, it was Draco’s as well.  When both boys broke apart they both looked into each other’s eyes again.  Harry smiled first.  Draco returned the smile.

“That was really nice Draco,” Harry said blushing red in the pale light of the stairwell.

“Thanks Harry.  That was very nice,” Draco said with uncharacteristic shyness in his voice.

They smiled at each until another crash of thunder startled them into moving.

"I've got a question for you?"


"Why was Parkinson hanging off you at dinner?"

"She is fishing for information.  That girl has never heard of the word subtle.  I think she is acting under orders from her father or perhaps from Lucius.  Either way, it doesn't bode well for me in the long run I think," Draco replied, looking somewhat disturbed.

“We'll work something out Draco."

"I hope so," Draco replied thoughtfully.

"Good night Draco.  I’ll see you in Potions tomorrow,” Harry said with a large smile on his face.

“Sleep well Harry Potter,” Draco replied, returning his the smile.


“What do you make of that?” Fred asked George.

George looked up from his special piece of parchment.  “I think that Harry is stepping into a world of trouble.  But, I plan on being there is he needs me irregardless of what I think of Malfoy.”

“Me too,” Fred grunted.


Justin woke up to a yelp of pain and fear.  He got out of bed quickly and went to the source of the yell.  It was Percy.  Justin placed his hand gently on Percy’s and squeezed.  Percy stopped flailing in his sleep and returned to a deep slumber.

Justin had spent the rest of the day with Percy talking to him about school and life.  The meeting he was supposed to have with Madam Pomfrey never occurred, but she had checked in on him a few times when he was talking to Percy.

“Justin?” Percy asked groggily.

“Yes Perce?” Justin squeezed his hand again.

“Did I wake you up?”

“Yes, but don’t worry about it.  I wasn’t sleeping that well anyway,” Justin said quietly.

“You should sleep, Just.  It’s not good for you to be up all the time,” Percy said, concern in his voice.

“Is it okay with you if I sleep here in the chair?” Justin asked in reply.

“Yeah.  I think I’d like that,” Percy smiled.

Justin didn’t say anything else because he had fallen back asleep.  Percy smiled and went back asleep too.  Justin’s hand was still holding Percy’s.


Harry made it back to his room with out incident.  The Fat Lady was not fully awake when she swung inward to let him back into Gryffindor tower.  He quickly returned to his bed and settled into it.  He slept a nice deep sleep for the rest of the night.


Draco had a little more trouble getting back to his dorm.  He narrowly avoided the Mrs. Norris as he finally crossed into the Slytherin dorm.  Goyle’s tremendous snoring covered the little noise he made.


Harry woke up to Ron shaking him the next morning.  He had slept the rest of the night through after his kiss with Draco.  Instead of his normal morning grouchiness, he was rather pleasant to Ron.  Harry even smiled as he started pulling on his robe so he could head to the showers.

After a quick shower, he joined the rest of his dorm mates in the common room.  Hermione and Ginny arrived just after Harry and they all left for the Great Hall together.   It only took the group a few moments to get there.  They were all chatting pleasantly and they blended in with the rest of the crowd as they headed to their own tables.

Harry sat in his favorite seat, which allowed him to watch Draco on the other side of the room.  Draco was sitting in his seat with a scowl on his face.  Not too surprising since Pansy had, once again, attached herself to him.

Harry saw a new image in his head and his outward smile widened.  Draco had sent an image of himself smiling.  Harry busied himself with eating his breakfast and talking with his friends.

In no time at all they were all on their way to Potions.  The Gryffindors universally dreaded the class.  The Slytherins were practically glowing with pleasure. 

Harry was barely into the room when he heard the voice he dreaded the most.

“Our famous celebrity has returned,” Professor Snape said very dryly.

Harry stared at him blankly.

“I have decided to implement assigned seating for the rest of the year.  Professor Dumbledore thought it would be advantageous for the students in mixed-house classes to work together.  I have therefore set up a seating chart that reflects the mixed nature of this class,” Snape said pompously.

The class looked at each other aghast.

“Granger and Goyle, up front please.  Malfoy and Potter, next to them please.  Weasley and Zabini second row behind Granger.  Parkinson and Longbottom behind Potter,” Snape continued to bark out seating arrangements until every Gryffindor was paired with a Slytherin.

Harry sat next to Draco quietly.  They both glanced at each other, but did not say anything.  They both heard angry mutterings from behind them.  They exchanged glances again, but did not look back.

“Last class we were discussing creating magical dye.  We will forego further efforts in that area,” Snape said with a glare at Zabini.  “Instead, we will move on to discussing potions that help block certain spell effects.”

The lecture droned on for the remaining of the two hours.  As soon as it was complete, everybody practically fled from the room they stampeded out so quickly.


Justin woke up to a gentle squeeze of his hand.  He lifted his head and opened his eyes.  His eyes locked onto Percy’s gentle brown eyes.

“Hey Perce.  How are you feeling?” Justin asked.

“A lot better, thanks.  How did you end up over here?”

“You were having a nightmare and I came over to calm you down.  Don’t you remember?” Justin said while looking at his hand, still joined with Percy’s own hand.

Percy’s smile widened, “I remember now.  Thanks Justin.  I appreciate it.”

“It was nothing.  Are you hungry?  Do you want something?” Justin asked feeling suddenly eager to please.


“I’ll be right back in a jiffy,” Justin replied with a smile.

Percy smiled at Justin’s retreating back.


The rest of the day passed fairly quickly for Harry.  The new Self-Defense class, which he had taken for the first time today, was quite a workout for him.  He liked it though.  He felt that after a year of that, he’d be able to defend himself very easily in any sort of physical fight.

Dinner passed as a fairly normal affair.  Nothing too interesting happened.  He exchanged looks with Draco, but very short ones, so they wouldn't draw attention to each other.  They did manage to send images to each other and conveyed a desire to meet at midnight in the Astronomy tower.

Harry had gone to bed around nine, claiming he was tired.  He really did sleep too.  By pure luck he woke up around 11:45 pm and he snuck out of his bed.  After throwing the invisibility cloak on and pausing in the common room to check the Marauder’s Map, he scrambled out the portrait hole.

He arrived at the base of the tower before Draco did.  Harry sat on the stairs watching the map and waiting for Draco.  Draco arrived right on time.  The link seemed to let him know Harry was there, because Draco dropped into sitting position right next to Harry.

“You love that bloody thing, don’t you?” Draco asked.

“It was my fathers,” Harry said quietly.

“Oh.  I’m sorry Harry.  I didn’t mean to umph…” Draco was cut off when Harry pressed his finger against Draco’s lips.

“It’s okay.  I know what you meant.  Can we go into the secret room over there and talk?”  Harry asked, while showing the map to Draco.

“Amazing little map.  Is that the command word to open the room?” Draco asked with his eyebrows raised.

“Sure is.  Let’s go,” Harry replied.

They both walked across the hall from the tower entrance to an impression in the wall.  They looked around a bit before Harry said the command phrase to open the door.

“Honor, Duty, Courage,” Harry said, causing the door to pop open.

They both crossed into the room and closed the door behind them.

The room was pleasantly warm and was decorated in the scarlet and gold of Gryffindor House.  It looked like a flat.  There were several doors out of the main room, but neither boy felt like exploring.

“Want to sit and talk?” Harry asked Draco, indicating the couch.

Draco nodded and went over and sat on the davenport that was near the fireplace.  There was no fire in it though.  Harry followed him and sat next to him, but not actually touching.

“Draco, I’ve been thinking about last night,” Harry squirmed a little.

“The kiss?” Draco asked quietly.

“Yeah,” Harry replied barely above a whisper.

“I’ve been thinking about it too,” Draco whispered in response.

“It’s… I’m… I’m just so tired of being alone,” Harry said as his eyes filled with tears.

Draco felt the depth of the emotional pain that Harry was feeling via the link.  Draco felt as if he was standing on top of a high cliff leaning over the edge.  The raw, uncontrolled emotional pain that Harry was broadcasting was staggering.  Draco had been comforted once in his life, and that was by Harry with a simple hand on his shoulder.  Harry obviously needed something much more than that, but Draco did not know what to do.  After only a moment’s hesitation, he figured out what he needed to do.  Draco reached forward and pulled Harry into him.  Harry didn’t resist at all.  In fact, as soon as Draco started guiding Harry to him, Harry plunged his head into Draco’s chest and began sobbing aloud in earnest.

Draco focused on sending calming feelings to Harry via the link and after about a half hour, Harry finally stopped crying.  In fact, he relaxed so much; Harry fell asleep in Draco’s arms.

Draco continued to lightly stroke Harry’s raven-black hair.  Draco found it an amazingly relaxing activity.  He’d never once in his life thought that he’d be holding the Boy Who Lived in his lap.  But more than that, he knew to the very depth of his own soul that he loved Harry James Potter, the Boy Who Lived.

That was Draco’s last thought as he slipped off to sleep with a smile on his face.

End of Chapter 8

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