Warning! This story does contain slash. If you are unaware of what slash is or if it's just not something you have a care for, you probably clicked on the wrong link. Sorry. Life sucks, get a helmet. Anyway! Feedback and reviews are always appreciated and flames are mocked and the source of my endless amusement. All standard disclaimers apply. (What's mine is mine and what isn't, well, isn't.) This story contains spoilers for all four books. You have been warned.

The Losing Side

A Harry Potter Fan Fiction

Chapter Eight - The End of Silence

By Antenora


"You've picked the losing side, Potter! I warned you! I told you you ought to choose your company more carefully, remember? When we met on the train, first day of Hogwarts? I told you not to hang around with riffraff like this." He jerked his head at Ron and Hermione. "Too late now, Potter! They'll be the first to go, now the Dark Lord's back! Mudbloods and Muggle-lovers first! Well- second- Diggory was the f--" Draco Malfoy (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire



The following weeks passed quickly and, altogether, rather uneventfully. Hogwarts was almost unnervingly quiet and even the most unobservant of students noticed the complete lack of interaction between the legendary rivals, Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy. They both seemed intent upon ignoring the other's existence in the universe. They passed in the halls without so much as a passing glance. They made a point of sitting or standing as far away from each other as possible in the few classes they had together. When a Slytherin so much as made a reference to Harry Potter, Draco shut them down with quick, almost violent efficiency. When a Gryffindor made any reference to Draco Malfoy they were silenced by Harry's refusal to comment or a nasty glare from Ron or Hermione. All in all, things were both strange and disturbing during the weeks leading up to the first Quidditch match of the season which was, for the first time in years, to be between Slytherin and Gryffindor.


To Harry, Quidditch was a welcome distraction and if he ignored the fact that the Slytherin seeker was once more Draco Malfoy, he could almost enjoy the thought of the upcoming game. Between practice for Quidditch and catching up in all the classes he'd missed during his first week of school, Harry found that with some effort he was able to forget about Draco Malfoy and their strange, unspoken truce.

Of course, his housemates' tendency towards provoking the Slytherins made forgetting just that much more difficult. It was as if they were all trying to pick up the confrontational slack left when Malfoy and Potter had magically stopped slinging insults at each other. Still, it usually didn't get too bad before Ron or Hermione shut them down. He was silently grateful to both his friends, who seemed to understand his feelings without him ever having to say a word. All he wanted was quiet just now, especially now.

The time was coming when he would have to face Draco once more and he still wasn't sure he was ready for it. It was one thing to ignore Draco when he only had to see him at a distance, but it was another thing altogether when he was going to have no choice but to compete against the boy. All he knew for certain was that he didn't want to lose to him again. He... he couldn't afford to lose to Draco Malfoy ever again.


To Draco, Quidditch did little to ease his troubled mind. The messages from his father demanding action were getting more frequent. His father was getting impatient with him and his responses, which Draco rather knew would happen. It was rather inevitable considering that he'd written the same short response to each and every one of his father's letters: Do you own bloody work.

It gave him a sick sort of pleasure to write those words, knowing he was walking a razor's edge between amusing disobedience and unimaginable pain. Christmas break was still two months away and he had every intention of staying at Hogwarts, despite the fact that it meant he would have to see Harry Potter every day. Better then the alternative which was a lovely, all-expense paid vacation all the way to his bedroom at Malfoy Manor where he would be locked in his pleasant, newly-furnished bedroom and probably sporting a lovely new set of scars to boot. That sure as hell wasn't a happening thing. Better to stay and live out the daily torture of sneaking glances at Harry Potter from afar. His plan had worked almost too well and featured as it's result Harry avoiding him like the plague. Well, avoiding probably wasn't the best word for it. Ignoring, disregarding, overlooking, but certainly not avoiding. To avoid someone you first have to admit they existed which was something Harry had no intention of doing as far as he could tell.

Of course, that was precisely what he had intended to happen.

Still, it rather annoyed him that he was so easy to forget. Harry was not so simple to forget, but Draco still managed to pull it off in spectacular fashion. He looked through Harry when he saw him, he perfected nasty glares to use on all those who mentioned Harry Potter's hated name in his presence, and he managed to do all this without ever so much as mentioning the boy's name aloud. He went about his classes and Quidditch practice as if everything were perfectly normal. He excelled as the Slytherin team captain, pushing his teammates as he pushed himself. Making plans and coordinating attacks came naturally to him and he used them to his advantage as he prepared his team to face the Gryffindors. He couldn't lose. He wouldn't lose.


Hogwarts was buzzing with excitement the day before the long-awaited match, but the tension between the two teams who were to play the following was thick enough to cut with a knife. Unfortunately for all involved, Double Potions happened to fall on that very same day. Snape, who seemed to get some sort of perverse pleasure out of torturing his obviously high-strung students, chose that particular day to mix the houses into pairs in preparation for the potion they would be making during class the following week. He then made the mistake of retreating to his storeroom in search of a replacement for one of the main ingredients, which Millicent had accidentally caused to fall from his desk and shatter across the stone floor.

It began with a kick, continued with a punch, a few yelled slurs and a heap of general nastiness. The class erupted with chaos, though seven people in particular remained untouched by the violence, utterly refusing to participate in such a blatant display of stupidity.

Hermione and Ron, who were sitting next to each other despite their Slytherin partners, merely shrugged.

Neville was crouched beneath his desk, holding his toad in a particularly tight grip as he sighed and offered a weak smile towards his partner, Crabbe, who was apparently not feeling up to trampling on people's heads due to a nasty cold he'd contracted earlier in the week. Not that he'd been doing much head trampling of any sort since Draco had cut his strings and stopped giving orders of any kind other then 'shut up' or 'leave him alone'.

Pansy, Hermione's partner, was also hiding under a table though it was mainly because of the nasty glare both Ron and Hermione had bestowed upon her when she'd attempted to pick a fight with them.

Harry, who had yet to be paired with a partner, was concentrating on shoving his teammates back into their seats and breaking up the fights which had erupted nearest him.

Then, of course, there was Draco, who had also yet to be paired with a partner. He sat peacefully at his table, rubbing his forehead and feeling the beginnings of a bloody awful headache coming on. As Harry was still about the business of breaking up the fights, Draco was busy quietly plotting the number of frog squats he was going to force upon his teammates in retaliation for his aching head.

By the time Snape had returned, the fights had been quite affective broken up and after giving his suspiciously quiet class a nasty glare, he finished pairing off those who had yet to be paired off and went about reciting instructions to his students. It wasn't until half an hour later that he noticed his students were too business glaring daggers at each to take notes and after subtracting points from Gryffindor, he separated the two houses to opposite sides of the room once more.


"Draco...?" Pansy inquired hesitantly, leaning across from her table to speak into the blond Slytherin's ear. "Are you... I mean to say... some of the others...."

"If you're going to say it, hurry up about it." Draco grumbled, wondering vaguely if she would stop pestering him if he shoved his cauldron down her throat.

"Some of the others have been saying you're afraid of Potter. It's not true is it, Draco?" Pansy asked finally, her voice that of a person perfectly aware that they were about to get a nasty nail shoved in their foot, but unable to prevent it from happening.

"Some of the others need to learn to mind their own damn busi... what did you say?!" Draco asked, whirling about in his chair to face Pansy as the girl's words finally clicked into place inside his head.

Under other circumstances, Draco might have found the stunned, half-afraid look on Pansy's face amusing, but just now he found it extraordinarily annoying. She gapped at him, obviously surprised that she had provoked such an immediate reaction. "I...um...well... are you afraid of him?" She repeated hesitantly, looking remarkably like someone who was expecting to be hit.

"I am not now, nor have I ever been, afraid of Harry Potter," Draco ground out, the name feeling strange on his tongue after so many weeks of purposely avoiding saying it. "Whyever would you ask something like that, Pansy dear?" His tone made the simple endearment sound like the most cursed of words.

"I.. it's just... you used to pick fights with him or, if not him, at least his friends all the time and now..."

"And now I don't and you can't quite accept the fact that I simply decided he wasn't worth my time?" Draco inquired, his eyes narrowing.

"Well, um, actually..."

A bell sounded the end of class and Draco threw a last nasty glare in Pansy's direction before collecting his books, "Well then, I suppose something will have to be done about this. Wouldn't want people getting the wrong idea about something that doesn't concern them in the slightest now, would we?"


Harry sighed heavily as class ended and he was finally permitted to escape the cold dungeons. He waved a silent goodbye to Hermione and Ron when they reached the corridor as the two disappeared to a Prefects' meeting. Smiling slightly at the thought of getting in a nap before dinner, Harry turned about only to be confronted with the broad expanse of Goyle's massive chest.

"I'm not in the mood for this today. Get out of my way, Goyle." Harry grumbled, glaring up at the giant of a boy. The boy shook his head silently, inclining his head towards the smaller blond boy who chose that moment to step around from behind the human wall.

"Malfoy," Harry murmured, vaguely surprised that Draco would choose today of all days to try and talk to him. They hadn't even so much as looked at each other in weeks.

"Potter." Draco replied, smirk firmly in place. He folded his arms confidently across his slim chest. His smirk spoke of confidence and confrontation, but something about him that gave Harry the impression that Malfoy REALLY didn't want to be talking to him. Of course, he felt the same way.

Gazes clashed and held for the first time in months, neither willing to be the first to look away. The large group of students which had seemed to magically appear from no where to surround them when it became clear that there was finally going to be another Malfoy/Potter confrontation, fell almost immediately silent as they watched the event with morbid curiousity.

"You're going to lose tomorrow, you know." Draco hissed, his glare menacing.

"That's my line," Harry replied easily, shrugging off Draco's glare, but still refusing to take his green eyes from Draco's.

"I won't lose to you. I'll never lose to you again." Draco was practically shaking with fury as he stepped forward until he was only inches from Harry, his breath brushing enticingly against Harry's pursed lips. "I told you that your stories will never end happily, Potter."

"Forgive me if I don't put much stock in your predictions of the future, Malfoy. The only way you've ever won against me is by playing dirty, remember?" Harry spat, bringing up a hand quick as lightening to brush his fingers across Draco's stunned lips before taking a step back, smiling bitterly. "I won't make the same mistake again."

Draco's breath caught at the light touch, something shattering deep within his gray gaze. "I... I can't lose. I won't."

"You already have." Harry responded coldly, turning his back on the Slytherin and shoving his way through the oddly still crowd of assorted Gryffindors, Ravenclaws, and Hufflepuffs that had gathered on his side of the confrontation.

"Sod off, Potter." Draco spat at Harry's retreating back, spinning about and shoving through the strangely silent group of Slytherin students that had gathered on his side to watch what they thought was to be an excellent fight.

Neither Harry nor Draco noticed that not one of the assembled crowd moved or spoke until long after the two boys had disappeared from the corridor. Nor were they around to notice that when the crowd did finally come to, that none of them could seem to remember why it was they were standing about in the middle of the corridor in the first place.


The morning of the first Quidditch match of the season dawned with storm clouds looming threateningly on the horizon. Harry was the first to awaken that morning, which wasn't surprising considering the fact that he hadn't slept much the night before. It had more difficult then usual to keep thoughts of Draco from invading his exhausted mind and he awoke with a feeling of dread coiled in his stomach like the snake which represented Slytherin house.

Scrubbing his hands over his tired face, Harry pushed himself out of bed just in time to see an owl he didn't recognize drop a small scroll on top of his trunk before swooping back out the window. Harry's eyes narrowed as he retrieved the small scroll and broke the seal, unrolling the parchment to reveal the familiar scrawl he'd last seen on the morning of his last battle with Draco.

Broomsticks will lead to your doom.

It sounded like one of Trelawney's quacking predictions, but as Harry starred down at the red writing he felt the serpent of dread within his gut tremble and shake. It was a warning, like the first letter had been, and he could only think of one instance where broomsticks could possibly be of any danger to him whatsoever. Something was going to happen during the Quidditch match.

But, of course, that was impossible. There was no chance of a deatheater getting past the tight security of Hogwarts. Dumbledore himself had stated as much to the Ron, Hermione, and all the other prefects earlier in the week when someone had expressed concern regarding the incident on the Hogwarts Express.


"Harry? What are you doing up already?" Ron yawned, pushing himself into a sitting position and rubbing at his eyes with one hand. He glanced towards the clock and started badly, practically throwing himself out of bed. "Oh bloody hell! We forgot to set the damn alarm! Seamus! Dean! Neville! Get up! Up! Up! Up! We're gonna be late!" Ron shouted, dashing about the room, throwing random objects at the sleeping trio as he threw on his clothes.

Harry smiled unsteadily at Ron's panic before crumbling the note and setting about preparing for the day himself. He couldn't let that note throw him off. Hogwarts was safe and he had a game to win.


"Twenty minutes in and the snitch has yet to make an appearance! Seekers Malfoy and Potter circle the field from above waiting for that glimmer of gold and we all hope it will be soon because we're all getting bloody well good and drenched!"

"Creevey! Language!"

"Sorry, Professor." Colin commented, wincing slightly. He'd taken over commentating duties in the place of Lee Jordan and quite liked his new job. It gave him a chance to be a part of the game without forcing him to go through all those long, rigorous hours of practice. Plus, it gave him a great seat for watching Harry play. "Weasley has the Quaffle, but his attempt is foiled by Keeper Zabini! Wait! Potter is diving! Has the Snitch been sighted?! Malfoy is hot on his heels! He's gaining! Hurry, Harry!"



Harry's eyes were fixed on the glimmer of gold before him and he could practically feel Malfoy's presence at his back. Just a little closer, he almost had it now.

"Hey, Potter!" Malfoy's voice called out, dangerously close. Harry glanced up, taking his eyes from the snitch for the barest of instants to slant a glare at the blond-haired seeker who was practically beside him now. When his eyes returned to where the little glimmer of gold had been, it was gone.

"Blast it, Malfoy!" Harry spat, pulling his broom up and shooting skyward once more with Malfoy still on his heels.

Draco snickered nastily, "Should you really be listening to the enemy?"

"What's the matter, Malfoy? Can't take that I'm faster then you?" Harry returned swiping his wet hair from his eyes and matching Draco's nasty smirk with one of his own.

"All's fair in war and Quidditch. Not my fault you're so easily distracted." Draco replied, his smirk widening as they looped back to circling around the field. "Must be a real bitch to see straight through those foggy glasses."

"Sod off, Malfoy."

"Don't cry when you lose, Potter."


"Looks like it was a false alarm! Malfoy and Potter are back in the air again. Chaser Ginny Weasley has scored another goal for the Gryffindors! Slytherin is still in the lead three goals to two, but an excellent block by Keeper Ron Weasley keeps them from widening their lead! Look out, Ginny!" Colin called as a Bludger whizzed past the red-haired girl's head. "Beater Finnigan slams the Bludger just in time and it's hurtling towards Beater Bulstrode. Beater Bulstrode hits it hard and sends it.... Harry, watch out!" He cried as the deflected Bludger hurtled towards the circling seekers. Both managed to dodge out of the way just in time, the Bludger efficiently separating them.


"Bloody hell! What are you idiots doing down there?!" Draco spat, steering his broom out of the way as the bludger came hurtling towards him once more.


"Looks like the Bludger has set it's sights on Slytherin Captain Malfoy as it comes hurtling towards him for the third time! Who says a Bludger doesn't have good taste?!"


"Sorry, Professor! Looks like Beater Bulstrode has finally gotten the hint and is flying up to assist Malfoy. No! Wait! A second Bludger is coming into play, hit by Beater Goyle! Malfoy can't see the second Bludger! It's gonna...."


Harry slammed into Malfoy hard from the side, knocking them both out of the way as the second Bludger hurtled past, nicking Harry's head and sending his glasses flying. "Bloody hell!" Harry spat, rendered effectively blind as his glasses fell to the ground below.

Millicent reached the two Seekers, blasting one beater in the direction of Seamus who was rocketing towards them. Seamus caught the Bludger in the shoulder, hurtling out of control. He barely managed to right himself before slamming into the stands, wincing as he turned his broom back towards the pitch. He glanced back up towards the Seekers in time to see the second Bludger hurtling towards Millicent, who was grinning wickedly, her gaze set upon the quite defenseless boy that lived.

"Hit that Bludger anywhere but towards the bloody ground and I will bench you for the rest of the year. I'm tried of dodging your bloody foul-ups, Bulstrode!" Draco called, noticing Millicent's intentions. Millicent started in surprise, but did as her Captain instructed, slamming the Bludger back towards the field and following it down.

"You just gonna fly around blind?!" Draco spat, turning his gaze towards Harry once the danger of the Bludgers had passed.

"Blind or not I can still best you," Harry growled, his gaze catching on a blur of gold about a fifteen yards below him. He may not be able to make out the details, but a blur of gold was just as good with or without his glasses. Especially in this weather. He aimed his broom towards the bit of gold, racing towards it without hesitation.


"The Snitch has been sighted! Potter dives, but Malfoy's right behind him. Now they're neck and ne... What was THAT!?!" Colin exclaimed as a scream of terror rang out over the roar of the crowd and he whirled to see a third-year Hufflepuff standing up in her seat, screaming and pointing at something on the far side of field. Colin barely had time to turn his glance back towards the field when more screams erupted from the crowd and he noticed what was causing the screams. A blaze of light flared across the field rocketing towards the diving seekers.


"I hate you, Harry Potter." Draco muttered irritably, refusing to question his motives as he veered to the right, slamming into Harry and sending them both spiraling towards the ground.


Through the impossibly bright explosion which followed, it was impossible to see what was happening on the field. All that was really clear was that Malfoy and Potter had tumbled to the ground and their teammates were already landing and running to where their fallen Captains lay.

Professor McGonagall had turned her gaze from the seekers the moment she'd seen the spell rocketing towards them, trusting the two boys to avoid serious injury. They both seemed to have the devil's own luck as far as she was concerned and there was nothing she could do for them from where she was. So instead she turned her attention to the panicking crowd, her voice rose over the din. "PREFECTS! Take control of your houses immediately! SIXTH AND SEVENTH YEARS! Act your bloody age and take care of the younger children! ALL AVAILABLE STAFF TO THE QUIDDITCH PITCH IMMEDIATELY! We have a security breach from the Forbidden Forest! ALL STUDENTS! Hurry inside the castle immediately! But DO NOT run! If I hear of even one of you running I will have you in detention for the rest of the year! NOW HURRY UP ABOUT IT!"

Chaos erupted on the field and in the bleachers as the Professor finished issuing her orders and teachers, prefects, and older students immediately snapped into action shouting instructions and hurrying those around them towards the castle. Students began shuffling back towards the castle at the closest possible walk to a run that they could manage without actually running.

Colin felt Professor McGonagall give him a shove in the direction of the castle before she hurried off towards the field, her keen eyes intent upon the forest's edge which had spawned the light. Colin himself couldn't move, couldn't tear his eyes from the horrible sight of Harry sprawled across the Quidditch field like a broken china doll. Only when he saw Harry twitch and then push himself tentatively into a sitting position did he realize that he was running towards the field. Colin noticed vaguely that Malfoy was also pushing himself up, looking a little worn around the edges, but altogether as right as the rain which was still pouring down upon them all.


"Don't touch me! I'm fine!" Draco shouted, batting away the hands of well-meaning teammates who reached for him. His chest and back were burning like mad, but he wasn't about to tell any of them that. That would mean they'd want to help him, carry him to the medical room and he wasn't having it. He didn't want them touching him.

He chanced a glance towards Harry, who was wincing and allowing Ron to help him to his feet. He was about to look away when Harry's gaze turned towards him, locking on his without the animosity that had stained their last few contacts. Draco's breath caught and he found he couldn't look away from Harry's pained green eyes. They starred at each other for a long moment as Draco pushed himself slowly to his feet. Finally, Harry nodded silently, apparently satisfied with whatever he saw in Draco's gaze, turning away and leaning heavily against Ron, allowing the taller boy to help him towards the castle.

Draco shot a nasty glare at Pansy and Millicent who were both reaching out eager hands to help him in the same way. "Those hands touch me and I swear I'll cut them off and mount them on my wall." He growled, turning away from them and forcing himself to begin the trek towards the castle without revealing the screaming pain that coursed through him.

This was just bloody fabulous. A bloody fabulous end to a bloody fabulous day, Draco reflected irritably as teachers and students hurried past him towards the castle. He'd managed to somehow fumble his way into the line of fire for the second time, but this time he had no intention of ending up in the infirmary with Harry bloody Potter. No, no, no. He couldn't take spending quality time with that particular prat just now. Not when Harry Potter had been looking at him with those eyes again. Those cursed, nasty, beautiful, wretched, concerned eyes. No, thank you very much. That was not happening. He was in a hell of a lot of pain and there was no way he could handle another fight with Potter just now. He was going to go to his own bloody PRIVATE room, take a couple of those healing potions he'd been hoarding and go the hell to bed.

"Draco Malfoy! Are you quite all right?"

Draco turned, wincing slightly at the sight of Severus Snape hurrying toward him, his long, wet strands of black hair slapping against his shoulders. Draco could tell from the severe expression on his favorite Professor's face that all his plans for a peaceful, uneventful return to his room were about to be blown sky high.

Bloody hell.

"Sir," He murmured dejectedly, managing what he hoped was a particularly chilling smile, but that he doubted came across as anything more then the pathetic attempt at such.

"Why haven't they conjured a stretcher for you? Oh, nevermind about that." Snape muttered irritably, using his wand to conjure a stretcher and shoving the injured Slytherin on it before he had a chance to protest. "That was perhaps the most intensely idiotic display of misguided courage I have ever had the misfortune of bearing witness to, Draco. If you don't watch your step, I'll be putting you in a coffin next time rather then a stretcher." Snape grumbled, enchanting the stretcher to float beside him as he hurried towards the castle. "And for someone who isn't worth the mud on your boots. Really, Draco, what were you thinking?"

"I wasn't," Draco replied, feeling strangely relieved to have someone to talk to. Someone who was completely on his side. Severus Snape was one of the few people he trusted. It was actually rather funny in light of the other two people who ranked so highly in his esteem: the Bloody Baron and, disturbing as it was to admit, Harry Potter. Then, of course, there was his mother, but there was simply no end of things he had no desire to discuss with her. "I wasn't thinking that first time either, Professor. It just... happened."


Severus sighed, rubbing a hand across his forehead with no small amount of irritation. Draco's welfare was a continued concern for him. Draco was a rare and brilliant boy and an excellent student besides. His father, however, was not a force to be trifled with, something which Severus and Draco had both learned at various points in their respective lives. Though, if Severus were feeling particularly honest, he would admit that Lucius Malfoy had also been a rare and brilliant boy in his own time. Not really all that different from James Potter or Harry Potter for that matter, which was something he was only recently learning to swallow his pride enough to admit to himself. Though he would rather snog Remus Lupin in the middle of a crowded hallway then admit such a thing aloud. But, though he would probably never like James Potter or his famous son, Severus had no desire to see either Draco or Harry go the way of their fathers. One lost to death and the other to darkness.

"Well," he stated finally, shaking himself from his thoughts as they neared the crowded entranceway. "I suppose that much is true at least. You couldn't have been thinking, to do something so stupid twice in such a short period of time. At least you made this one look like coincidence. Perhaps this time you'll manage to avoid arousing suspicion. I don't want to see another repeat of that summer."

Draco nodded silently, needing no further encouragement. He remembered that summer well enough and he certainly wasn't particularly looking forward to a sequel himself. "I'll be careful."

"You had best. This is a dangerous game you play, young Malfoy. A very dangerous game." Snape murmured darkly as they passed through the crowd of students and into the castle itself.


Harry managed to finally escape the watchful eye of Madam Pomfrey late the following evening. He'd suffered a few broken ribs from his fall and a set of nasty bruises as well as a strange set of gashes, which most closely resembled claw marks. Madam Pomfrey had been especially concerned over those gashes, her brow furrowing as she poked and prodded them before applying the proper treatment. All the time she'd been muttering to herself about 'deatheaters' and 'archaic curses'. He didn't much like the sound of any of it and when he asked if Malfoy was okay, he'd gotten himself a particularly vicious jab from the old witch's wand.

"Stupid that one. Practically had to strap him to the bed just so I could take a look at him. I'm not hurt, he says. Bladderdash. Nasty little git was hurt just as badly as you are, but he's already up and about as if nothing has happened. Probably end up hurting himself even worse and by the time he finally manages to swallow that swollen pride of his enough to come back down here for it it'll be infected. More work for me. I don't know what Severus was thinking of to allow that stupid child to run out of here like nothing's happened, but Dumbledore supports his decision and so who am I to say anything against that? Just the one who's going to end up with all the work in the end, that's who." She grumbled, giving the bandages on Harry's back a pat before retreating to her office, still mumbling to herself as she went.

"Malfoy..." Harry murmured, shaking off his memories as he continued down the silent corridor towards Griffindor tower. He was really supposed to be going to supper with all the rest, but he wasn't really feeling up to facing their questions just yet. All he really wanted to do was take himself upstairs and collapse in his own nice, warm bed. It was bad enough as it was that he couldn't seem to stop his wayward thoughts from wondering back towards the confusing, hateful, idiotic Slytherin seeker who he had a nasty feeling had saved his life for the second time.

"Why?' He whispered as he climbed the last staircase leading to Gryffindor tower. That was the most important question in his mind at the moment. Just barely edging out the more disturbing 'Is he all right?' and the downright bizarre, though more to the point, 'does he care about me?'. After months of silent hatred and pain, why had Malfoy saved him again? Malfoy hated him, had always hated him, would always hate him, right? It was one of the few certainties of his life. Nevermind, Malfoy's hatred and his own had come into question for those few brief moments in time. It hadn't changed anything, had it? Had it?

Harry reached the top of the stairs, a little out of breath and with no answers to his silent questions, to discover a sight that made his eyes widen.

"I just want to leave the bloody git a note! It's not like I've never been in here before for the love of..." Draco raged, looking as if he'd love nothing better then to rip the Fat Lady's portrait off the wall and do an Irish jig on her plump, painted face.

"No password. No entry." The Fat Lady responded, looking thoroughly unimpressed by Draco's display.

"I know where Hagrid hides the turpentine you know!" Draco threatened, waving an angry finger at the Fat Lady. "Do you like having your own private painting to live in? I swear I'll..."

"Malfoy?" Harry asked softly, taking a hesitant step towards the thoroughly annoyed Slytherin. Draco stilled at the sound of Harry's voice, doing a remarkable impression of a statue as the Fat Lady tittered over whatever horror-stuck expression marred his handsome face. "Malfoy?" Harry asked again, taking another hesitant step in Draco's direction as the Slytherin turned almost reluctantly to face him.

"Potter," Draco murmured, purposely not meeting Harry's inquisitive green gaze. "I just... I... are you all right? That old bag wouldn't tell me." He grumbled, he obviously held the same disdain for Madam Pomfrey as she did for him.

"I'm all right. I was more worried about you," Harry admitted, his cheeks feeling suspiciously warm. It was strange talking to Draco in an almost friendly manner after so long, especially considering the fact that the last time they'd spoken so civilly, Draco had had his head buried against Harry's chest.


Draco was remembering something along the same lines as he shifted uncomfortably under Harry's gaze. He didn't want to be here. He didn't even know why'd he come here in the first place, except he'd thought Harry had been in the infirmary and... that didn't even make sense in his own mind. He could have just sent an owl if he'd wanted to send Potter a note and, truthfully, he really had no business even wanting to send Potter a note in the first damn place. What did he care if Potter was all right? Except that he'd risked his own neck to make sure he was... again. He still couldn't quite puzzle out why'd he'd done that.

Or, more truthfully, he didn't want to try and puzzle it out. It was just easier to chalk it up to momentary insanity and go on merrily hating Harry Potter in silence and from as much distance as he was allowed. "Right then." He commented finally, when the silence between them had grown too long. "I'll just be..."


"Do you want to come in?" Harry burst out, his cheeks flushing a darker red as Draco's gaze flew up to meet his own. Draco looked off-guard, as unprepared and vulnerable as Harry had ever seen him in those moments as they starred at each other in silence following Harry's outburst. Then sadness seemed to darken Draco's gray gaze for the barest moments before his carefully crafted walls slammed up once more and his gaze became as unreadable as Hogwarts' secretive stones.

"I can't," Draco murmured, turning his gaze away. When he spoke again, his voice was more steady and held a sharp edge that hadn't been there before. "I have no desire to spend any more time in your company then I absolutely must."

"Okay," Harry responded quietly, nodding and walking toward the Fat Lady's portrait.

"En garde," he announced loudly, slanting a gaze back towards Draco's back as the portrait swung open before him. He saw Malfoy stiffen slightly and then nod, a silent confirmation that he understood that Harry's invitation was an open one, before the silver-haired boy practically dashed down the stairs. Harry sighed softly, shaking his head as he stepped past the portal and slipped into the room beyond.


Try as he might as he lay in bed that night, Harry still couldn't figure out why he'd given in to the stupid inclination to just hand over the password to his common room to a boy who was still undeniably his enemy. But when he remembered the brief fleeting sadness in Draco's gaze, he couldn't be sorry that he had.


~to be continued~


Author's Notes:
This chapter was considerably brighter and longer then the last, though there will be much more darkness and angst in the next chapter to make up for it, I'm sure. *lol* Quidditch makes for a lighter chapter for some reason. Not so much of the inner monologue, I suppose. Anyway, here it is and there you go. ^_^ In case, you're wondering as to the fate of Harry's glasses... they were returned to him by Ginny when he was in the infirmary, remarkably intact despite their fall.
From the notes I've gotten back on this one, it seems I might have been a tad vague on the point of what it was that Lucius knew that put Draco in such a lovely unbalanced state. To that I will say that it is not so much what Lucius actually knows, so much as what Draco thinks he knows. The written word is a funny thing in that it is very much up for private interpretation if the facts are not stated clearly. ^_-
You'll notice that I made Colin Creevey the commentator. It seemed the perfect job for him, chatty little git that he is. (I don't have an overwhelming amount of love for dear little Colin.)

NOTE TO THOSE READING MORE THEN ONE OF MY CURRENT STORIES: The new chapters of "From" and "Castle" have been delayed until tomorrow so that I could give this chapter the proper attention it desperately needed. Danke.

Much thanks as always to my lovely, wonderful, beautiful reviewers (I tell ya, I don't get all that many reviews, but what I lack in quantity, you guys make up for in quality. You guys are truly the best!): Tealish, DracosOneAndOnly (Thank you so much, I really was rather proud of how Chapter 7 turned out), MidnightDragon, SoulSister, Jivanna, oracle, Mai Mai Suu, kitty, chrisseee667, Unicorn*angel, ShinigamiStar, She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, megan, Avada Kedavra, until strawberry sherbert, Youko Gingitsune, Antigone, laura, DaZeD, no one, laura, Zipporah, Crys Clouse, Dala, qggg, Mirekisa Tekisale, Pisces, Angelic Dragon, Sandra Solaria Dees, Rubicon, Celeste, Ari, Lady Ash, Raquel Lily, Jessica, Domino Nermandi, and Abaddon.

Special thanks to Mizzy: Thanks so much for your kind words and it's nice to know my little story can provoke a reaction. ^_^ Oh! And all you have to do to add a story to your favorites list is log in and go to your login page, click on the favorite stories link and then input the story ID# in the appropriate field. The storyID# is that six digit code at the end of the stories URL. For this story the ID is 379446. Anyway, thanks again for your kind words. ^_^

Special thanks to ShinigamiStar (As Always) and friend ^_^: Thank you for the detailed review. I'm glad you and your friend are both enjoying my little story (Yes! another has been converted to the cause! *evil laughter*) and it's really nice to know I've written some truly memorable moments and that I'm not the only one who busts up over some of this stuff. (It doesn't seem to matter that I was the one who wrote it. I still read it and laugh my ass off every time I read it. I'm just wacky that way.) Anyway, here's another chapter for you both to enjoy I hope it's up to snuff. ^_^

Special thanks to Klee: I liked your analogy very much, I thought it was quite brilliant. *lol* Thanks for the detailed review. ^_^

Special thanks to Han: You betcha! For me it's not so much a Draco in leather pants thing as it is an anyone in leather pants thing. I have leather pants and they're lovely and comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them someday and what a better place the world would be if everyone wore leather pants. *sigh* (I actually have a neon flashing sign tattooed on my forehead which says 'Leather Fetish' ^^;;;) *cough* Anyway, on to my decision to make Ron a Prefect: It's actually not that much of a stretch when you really think about it. Ron feels in a way as if he's living in the shadow of his brother's achievements, he always has. Plus, there actually is a bit of a story behind Ron being made a prefect. (I wasn't joking when I say I have pages and pages of character and plot thread analysis lying about. I put a frightful amount of thought into even the minor character's development in this story.) I'm glad you liked the tour spiel. I still can't look at the bloody thing without laughing about it, I'm glad I wasn't the only one who enjoyed it. ^_^

Special thanks to Demeter as usual: Thank you so much for the detailed review! Obviously, this chapter has a bit of a brighter note to it though that isn't to say that the angst is over... it's only just begun. *evil laughter* Anyway, Lucius? Important? Yes. Narcissa? You betcha! The entire Addams... uh... Malfoy family are very important in this little story and will be making their presence felt in upcoming chapters. Snape? As you can see from the above chapter and in coming chapters as well, he too will play an important role in this little story. I have great love for Snape's character, which has only grown because Alan Rickman is playing him in the films. (I absolutely adore Alan Rickman. I think he's all sorts of sexy. ^-^)

I was listening to the radio as I was writing this and the last chapter and for some reason they seem to play the same five or six songs over and over again. (Tantric's new one, Puddle of Mud's Blurry and a new song called Crawling in the Dark were my big theme tunes for this and the last chapter.) P.s. I hate, hate, hate radio edits. Especially of songs by Everclear and Staind. I mean why do they even bother playing them if they're gonna scratch half the words? *sighs in frustration and waves free speech banner* Damn... but I suppose that's a rant for another day....

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