Authors' Note: Please forgive the lateness of this update. Life and exams have been trying to strangle us the past few weeks, you see. Hopefully things should calm down soon and our proposed schedule will actually play out. As always, endless love to our sweet, sweet betas, briel1e, bribitribbit, and bisforbecky. Extra props to Brie for saving our butts with her lightning-fast editing skills. We hope you enjoy, and as always, feedback makes us ridiculously happy.
Ginny woke up rather suddenly in the middle of the night. She couldn’t remember if she had been dreaming before then, but for some reason she thought she remembered the sound of a door opening and closing. Ginny wriggled around a bit, then kicked off the uncomfortably sweaty duvet tangled around her legs and got out of bed. A cup of tea usually did wonders to put her back to sleep.
It was only when Ginny entered the kitchen to the sight of Harry and Professor Lupin standing by the stove, talking to her mother, that she remembered just what nightgown she was wearing. Unfortunately, it happened to be one she had probably outgrown two summers ago. Ginny felt her cheeks go completely scarlet as she stumbled over her own feet in shock. It was horribly reminiscent of the summer before her first year. And her second year, for that matter. And probably third as well.
Harry and Professor Lupin both looked at her as she let out a gasp. Harry appeared to be blushing bright red as well, so at least she wasn’t alone.
“Er, hullo Ginny.”
Ginny didn’t think it was possible to have more blood in her face, but was proved very wrong. “Harry….”
“Ginny! What are you doing up?” her mother asked sternly. Ginny ignored her.
“What are you doing here? And you, er, Professor?”
There was a quick rearranging of feet, and Ginny could have sworn she saw Professor Lupin swipe at the air behind him. “Miss Weasley, how nice to see you,” he said. “I hope we didn’t wake you up?”
“No,” Ginny replied slowly, her mind busily trying to put together a sense of just what was going on. Seeing Harry standing there, looking at her and her nightgown was not helping in the slightest.
“We, er, well I just came from the Dursleys….” Harry stumbled over his words and his cheeks flushed brighter. “Couldn’t… couldn’t tell anyone we were coming. Security and stuff….”
“That’s perfectly right, you can never be too careful these days. Especially you, dear.” Mrs. Weasley nervously tried to pat down Harry’s hair. “Are you hungry, Harry? Remus?”
Harry finally met Ginny’s eyes and grinned at this question and, and despite her confusion, Ginny grinned back. Same as ever. She could never seem to help herself around Harry.
“Molly, do you think I could put my baggage somewhere?” Remus asked.
Mrs. Weasley, who had been bustling around the kitchen, gathering various bits of food and plates, stopped and turned towards Remus. “Oh, well of course. Up the stairs, to the left, down the corridor, then the first door on the right.”
Ginny mentally followed her mother’s directions, which led up to a spare room that hadn’t been used in years, not since Bill and Charlie had left. Now it was mostly empty except for a few cobwebby old baby things her mother was too sentimental to throw out and several boxes of leftover party decorations from a Christmas party given many winters ago.
“Excellent. Thank you Molly.”
“Oh, do you want the key, Remus?”
Ginny watched her mum pass Lupin a large, chunky gold key. She rubbed at her eyes, as though that would clear up the situation. What was Harry doing here? And with Professor Lupin? And what was he putting in the extra room? Whatever it was, Ginny knew it had to be important. Things that happened at midnight on an otherwise completely innocuous night were either mysterious or important. Since Harry was involved, this particular happening was most likely both.
As Professor Lupin left the room, leaving Harry with Ginny, Mrs. Weasley went back to digging around the kitchen. For some reason it seemed to Ginny as though her mum was being louder than usual in pulling out the kettle and tea. Ginny cringed slightly at the noise, certain it would wake everyone in the house. As… well, awkward wasn’t the right word, but as strange as it was sitting at the kitchen table with Harry in the middle of the night, Ginny didn’t particularly want anyone interrupting this moment. For that matter, she began mentally willing her mother to finish the tea and leave them alone.
Moments later it seemed as though Mrs. Weasley had heard Ginny’s silent request, though the glint in her eye and an overtly friendly smile seemed to indicate the woman had her own motives. Whatever it was, as soon as the kettle began to whistle, she claimed exhaustion and left Harry and Ginny alone with two cups of steaming tea.
Harry looked awkward. Ginny tried to think of some way to let him know that it was okay to let his guard down once again. She might not be entirely happy with it, but for now she would cling fiercely to the easy companionship they had shared a year before. Ginny smiled calmly and cupped her hands around the hot mug.
“I won’t ask what’s going on, you know.”
Harry looked up from the scattered tea leaves swirling in his cup. He seemed surprised at Ginny’s statement.
“I know you’re up to something, Harry,” she laughed softly, “you’re always up to something. I’m not going to ask though – you wouldn’t tell me anyway – so you don’t need to worry.”
Harry looked a bit like he’d been caught behind the greenhouses by a professor, and Ginny cracked a smile at the sight.
“What? What’s so funny?”
“Nothing Harry. Drink your tea.” But Ginny kept smiling, and soon the startled look was gone and Harry grinned back at her.
“Thank you Ginny.”
“What else is a friend for?” Ginny placed a little extra emphasis on the word friend, just to be sure. Harry kept smiling, so she thought it was safe to tread a bit further. “Just remember, Harry….” Ginny looked nervously down at the dregs sticking to the bottom of her cup. Why was she nervous? She was being ridiculous. Ginny looked back up, with a forceful look in her eyes this time. “Just remember that I’m always here for you.”
She saw a flush creep back into Harry’s features, but he didn’t run screaming from the table, so at least she had that going for her.
He said it so quietly Ginny had to convince herself she had actually heard correctly. Looking into Harry’s eyes, however, there was no doubt those were his words. They stared at each other for a moment, Ginny meeting and holding Harry’s gaze full on. Then she smiled again. “Want me to read your tea leaves, Harry?”
“I’ll tell your fooortune….” Ginny stretched out the last word, warbling her voice a bit and wriggling her fingers at Harry. “I’ll unfog the future, unveil your destiny, see what awaits you in the mists of the yet to be. Ooooh….”
Now Harry was laughing outright. “Sure, Gin. I’d love my future read. But do you think you could keep it a little cheerier than Trelawney?”
“I’m not sure, Harry. After all, I am not making this up! I am simply a conduit for powers that mere mortals cannot understand! Now let me see your mug.”
Harry passed the empty cup over to Ginny, still laughing.
“Oooh, I see much death, despair, gore, etc., etc. in your future. I’m sorry, but this really isn’t pretty.”
Harry bit his lip to keep from laughing. Ginny winked seductively at him, then continued her dead-on Trelawney impersonation. “Ah yes, terrible, terrible things. I’m afraid your life looks pretty horrible, Mr. Potter, my deepest condolences… wait a moment! I fear I was reading it upside down. Silly me.”
Harry snorted with laughter as Ginny made a show of spinning the cup around until she was looking at it from the opposite direction. “Ah, well good news, Harry. Looks like you’re not royally screwed after all.”
“That is good news,” Harry chuckled.
“Yes, this thing here,” Ginny pointed to a large and unrecognizable lump, “is clearly the rune fortunes, which means you will soon be rolling in gold. Possibly from a leprechaun, only this gold will be real and won’t disappear.”
Harry let out a loud burst of laughter at this proclamation. Ginny smirked back at him.
“I can see you’re looking skeptical. You don’t believe me? It will be a magical… an extra magical leprechaun. Possibly half house elf, and no, I’m not explaining how that works.”
Harry shuddered at this, and Ginny looked away primly, trying not to laugh herself.
“Anyway, this leprechaun-elf will make you filthy rich, so that you never have to work a day in your life, and can instead roll in piles and piles of Galleons all day long. Lucky you. And here, this…” Ginny pointed towards another unrecognizable lump of tea, “…is a clump of grapes, and everyone knows you make wine out of grapes, so you’ll be having some fabulous parties as well. Try not to get too hammered, though don’t worry too much, there’s another sign in here that says your future will be free of morning afters.”
Both of them were having tremendous difficulty holding back laughter now.
“And look, another one! This one is the eye of Venus, obviously, and that means you will have many, many pretty girls in your future. Perhaps even several at once.”
Harry looked slightly shocked at this, and Ginny winked rather suggestively. “I never knew you had it in you, Harry? I just hope you live up to the hype.”
Ginny set the cup back down on the table in front of Harry. “Well, certainly a good deal better than death and despair.”
“Yes, you’re loads better than Trelawney.” They both grinned at each other again. “Thank you. Again, I suppose,” Harry said.
Ginny tried not to blush at Harry’s words, then noticed a figure standing in the doorway behind Harry’s back. “Professor Lupin!” Ginny exclaimed, leaping out of her seat and nearly upsetting the table. “You’re back!”
At Ginny’s words Harry quickly got to his feet as well, blushing furiously. “Er, hi Professor. How long have you been standing there?”
Lupin looked at the pair, his eyes dancing. “Don’t worry, Harry. I haven’t been here long. Just got back from… putting a few things away.”
Ginny tactfully went about cleaning and putting away the tea stuff as Lupin whispered a few things into Harry’s ear.
After both cups were put away, Lupin left Harry’s side and went to shake Ginny’s hand. “Well, Miss Weasley, it was nice seeing you again. I must be leaving now, and I’d suggest you two went to bed. It’s nearly morning.”
They both said their goodbyes to Professor Lupin, who then walked out of the door and Disapparated into the dark night. Then Harry turned to Ginny. “Er, well….”
“Good night, Harry.” Ginny walked up to him and gave him a quick squeeze around the shoulder.
She left the kitchen and walked upstairs, still smiling to herself.
Draco Malfoy was coming to his house. Ron grimaced at the thought and tried to remember why the hell he had agreed to this. Granted they were going to stash Malfoy in the spare room which, if Ron remembered correctly, had a lock on it, but it still seemed like an unforgivable act. Draco Malfoy would be in his house, and Ron wasn’t supposed to kill him. Well, he wasn’t making any promises about that.
Ron allowed his mind to wander to thoughts of Malfoy stuck in the room for days without food or water. He smiled and walked out of his room; Harry and the git should be arriving any moment now.
Somewhere downstairs a door slammed, and Ron heard muffled voices coming up through the floorboards. That would be the ferret now. Disgusting. Ron waited at the top of the stairs until a dark figure appeared at the bottom.
“Hello Mr. Weasley,” Professor Lupin said genially.
“Hi Professor Lupin. Glad to see you made it. Is he here too?” There was a muffled snort from somewhere to the left of Lupin. “I’ll take that as a yes.” Ron bit back a comment about the bloody git. “It’s just up here, Professor. To the left. I’m not sure if it’s locked or not.”
Lupin put his hand behind the invisible Malfoy and gently shoved him towards the stairs. When they reached the top Lupin pulled a key from his pocket. “Your mother gave me this, so I think we’re all set.”
“Excellent. Down this way, then. And be quiet, Malfoy…” Ron snarled at the air where he thought Malfoy must be standing. “…Hermione’s asleep and won’t be happy if you wake her up.”
When they reached the door Lupin had to jiggle the key in the lock for a while, during which Ron could practically hear Malfoy rolling his eyes. Ron growled in annoyance, then suddenly the door popped open and an old, musty smell reached his nose. All three walked into the room, and Lupin closed the door, then there was a flourish of motion as Malfoy took off Harry’s invisibility cloak. Ron scowled at the blond head and pointed features in front of him.
“Ugh, this place. Do you people not understand cleaning? Granted you can’t afford a house elf, but surely someone could have tidied up a bit before I got here.”
Lupin placed a hand on Ron’s shoulders and rather forcibly held him back, then turned to Malfoy. “Mr. Malfoy, while you stay at the Weasley house you are a guest, and I’m sure that someone of your upbringing fully understands the courtesy that entails.”
Malfoy’s mouth curled into a pained smirk, but he nodded at Lupin. “Yes, Professor.”
“Thank you, Mr. Weasley, for showing us up here. I’ll help Draco get settled, then come back downstairs, though I suppose you might want to go to sleep?”
“No problem, Professor. Just make sure the gi… Malfoy stays quiet in here. Ginny’s here, and Fred and George pop in without notice a lot. And I think Dad’s still asleep.”
“I’m sure Mr. Malfoy will be the perfect guest.”
Ron snorted and muttered “yeah, right” under his breath and Malfoy lifted his chin and turned haughtily away from Ron. Ignoring them both, Lupin pulled a small package out of a pocket and waved his wand at it. Suddenly a small trunk was sitting in the middle of the room. “Here are some things the Weasleys have kindly put together for you. We believe your school trunk is still at Hogwarts, but we can’t get to it without suspicion for a while, so this will have to do.”
Malfoy suddenly looked paler than usual; something Ron didn’t think was possible. He had a look of absolute horror on his face, and that was something that gave Ron the utmost enjoyment.
“Malfoy’s going to be wearing our hand-me-downs?” Ron asked, completely unable to hide the amusement in his voice.
“Just for the time being, Ron,” Lupin responded in a neutral voice, though Ron thought he saw a bit of a twinkle in the man’s eyes. “I’m sure you will be thankful for a change of clothes, Draco.”
Malfoy’s mouth opened and closed for a few seconds, giving Ron the strong impression of a fish gasping for water. “I… they… you… you expect me to wear Weasel’s clothes? His poor people clothes? But I’m a Malfoy!”
Both Ron and Lupin turn towards him. “Yeah, Malfoy. I suppose you’re going to have to.” Ron glared at the other boy. “We’re probably going to have to burn them after, dark magic residue can be dangerous I hear, but I’ll survive the loss….”
Both boys glared at each other as Lupin stepped in the middle. “You’ve both had hard days, I am sure. I think it would be best to go to bed now.”
Ron was the first to respond. “Yeah, sure, Professor.”
Ron glared at Malfoy one last time, who returned the favor, then Malfoy walked over to the old bed dusty with disuse on the other side of the room, and Ron walked out of the door, closely followed by Lupin.
“I’m locking you in, Draco, but I’m charming the lock to let you out. Be careful not to be seen if you leave, though.”
There was a grunt of acknowledgement from the other side of the door, then Lupin brought his wand up to the lock and tapped three times.
“There, that’s all set.”
“Professor, can’t you just lock him in there for real? It would be for his own good, you see….”
Lupin chuckled and patted Ron on the shoulder. “Don’t you think it’s enough that he’s wearing hand-me-downs? Your hand-me-downs?”
Ron grinned. “Never enough, Professor.” Lupin smiled at Ron, then headed downstairs. Ron returned to his room with a slight bounce in his step.
Hermione had just finished making her bed and was enjoying a few peaceful moments before going down for breakfast. The silence was interrupted by the door flying open, and Ron coming in.
Her annoyance with him for not knocking first was brief, and cut off by his proclamation of, “Morning, Hermione, just thought you’d like to know that Harry arrived here last night, and he brought Draco Malfoy with him.” He paused, then added, “But don’t tell Ginny.”
Hermione’s first reaction was to gape, and then to stammer out, “But – Draco Malfoy? Why?” Before Ron had a chance to answer, she said, “Is Harry awake yet?”
Ron shrugged. “He wasn’t when I got up, but he might be by now.” He started back towards the door. “He will be soon, in any case. Just wait a few minutes - I’ll bring him here to tell you the full story.”
“…Okay,” said Hermione, but Ron had already disappeared down the hallway. She didn’t have much time to ponder anything, because only a few minutes later she could make out the pounding of feet headed towards her room. The door flew open again, and a second later Hermione was standing up and hugging Harry.
He grinned back at her. “Term just ended, Hermione, it hasn’t been that long since we saw each other.”
“I know, but it’s still good to see you, and know that you’re all right, and everything.”
“Don’t I get a hug?” asked Ron, grinning too.
“I just saw you two minutes ago, you fool.” But she hugged him anyway, and then sat back down on the bed.
“So,” Harry said, glancing towards the door, presumably to check that it was closed, “I’m guessing Ron told you about Malfoy already?”
“Only that he was here,” Hermione answered. “What exactly is going on, Harry?”
She watched anxiously as he walked over and dropped into a chair. “It’s kind of complicated. But the short answer is, because two nights ago he flew into my bedroom window, and now I’m stuck with him.”
The other two frowned at this, and Hermione asked, “He just…refenestrated himself, just like that?”
“I asked for an explanation, of course.”
“And he said he came because Snape told him to. Something about keeping Malfoy safe, and wherever I am being the safest place for him.”
“I know, I know. He also gave me a long spiel about neither of them being evil or about to kill me, but…”
“And do you believe him?” Hermione asked, trying to keep her tone more generally curious than accusatory.
“I don’t know,” Harry admitted, rubbing his head. “I really don’t know.”
“How about Lupin?” asked Hermione, “You wrote to him?”
“Yeah, and so he came to the Dursleys’ and said that he wasn’t sure if he trusted Malfoy either, but – but he said that he trusted me to make that choice myself.”
All three of them were silent for a moment.
Then Ron shrugged. “Well, that’s that, I suppose; nothing we can do about it now, is there?”
Harry nodded. “I’m really sorry for making your family put up with him, but like you said, there’s nothing to do about it.”
“Eh, I bet Mum’s secretly pleased; the little ferret’s thin enough that she’ll make it her mission to feed him all hours of the day. Not that she doesn’t have enough to do, with the wedding so soon and all, but you know Mum.”
“When is the wedding, anyway?” Harry asked.
“In about two weeks,” answered Ron.
“So there’s probably enough time to visit Godric’s Hollow, Harry, if that’s still what you want to do.” Hermione pointed out, looking at Harry.
“That’s right, I almost forgot about that. But yeah, I definitely still want to visit. And…you two don’t mind coming along?”
“Don’t be stupid, of course we don’t mind,” said Ron, and Hermione nodded quickly in agreement. Harry gave them both what looked like a grateful smile, and Hermione felt that now would be a good time to bring up another point.
“And Harry, are you still decided on not wanting to go back to Hogwarts?”
“Yes, I am,” he said resolutely, “Even if it does reopen, I just feel like I can’t. There are other things – more important things – that I need to get done.”
Ron glanced sideways at Hermione and said, “We’ll be there to help you then, of course.”
Harry looked at them both. “I…I really appreciate it. But I don’t think you should have to. I’m not going to make you stay behind just because I think you’ll be in danger because of me - although that is what I think,” he added quickly, “because I know you both don’t care.” He paused, as if needing assurance on this point, and they both gave it to him willingly before he continued. “So it’s not that, it’s just…this is our final year, and I know you really want to take your NEWTS, Hermione, and – ”
“Harry,” Hermione said firmly, “listen to me.” She didn’t know exactly how to explain it to him, but somehow she had to. “Remember what you said in our first year, before we went after the Philosopher’s Stone? You said it didn’t matter if we got expelled for what we were going to do, because if Voldemort came back there’d be no Hogwarts to be expelled from, and that it wasn’t like he’d leave us or our families alone if Gryffindor won the house cup. Well, he came back, but you see what I’m saying, don’t you? There are more important things than NEWTS or seventh years, and helping you is one of them, so don’t try to stop us.” When she had finished she could feel that her face was flushed, and that Ron was looking at her admiringly.
There was a period of very obvious silence, and then, “I can’t believe you remember all that,” Harry said, impressed, “but you’re right. So…so just thanks. Both of you.”
For a moment they all just smiled at each other, and despite all that was happening, Hermione couldn’t remember many times when she had been happier.
Then Ron looked up at the clock on the wall and said simply, “Come on, let’s go down to breakfast.”
Living at the Weasleys’ (what had Potter called it? The Burra? Borrow?) was very similar to Draco’s idea of hell. There were Weasleys and Potter and Granger and his eyes were already sore from the harsh winds he rode through to get to Potter’s crazy little hideout, and really, the bad hair might be catching. It was dangerous, damn it. Not to mention the sheer number of people in the place. They kept popping out of corners with wild eyes and brightly colored trinkets that made unsettling noises, muttering dark things about Death Eaters and wedding cake.
Draco thought longingly of the peaceful silence of Snape’s house as the sounds of flailing, exuberant Weasleys and their various adoptees filtered in through the thin walls of Draco’s temporary living space.
The room was filled with what looked like old, worn baby bodysuits and, most bizarrely, an unholy pile of crepe paper that engulfed half the room and was slowly inching its way towards the lumpy bed Draco was using.
Not exactly thrilled at the prospect of drowning in cheap decorations, Draco decided he’d try to figure out what Potter and his minions were planning to do with him. Potter might have taken his wand, but that didn’t mean Draco was powerless. He was a Slytherin and a Malfoy, damn it, and he was resourceful.
Now he just had to figure out how the hell he was supposed to sneak around in a household where his very hair was like a beacon of distrust.
Granger had found Potter, then. Draco pressed his ear to the wall and heard a door snap shut and muffled voices. Draco could eavesdrop, then, and figure out what sinister plans Potter had for him. He slipped off his shoes and silently made his way down the hall in stocking feet, carefully not thinking about what his exquisite cashmere socks with satin-lined soles might be touching.
He pressed his ear to the keyhole and silenced his breaths. He tried not to beat his head against the door when the bloody triumvirate spent ten minutes congratulating each other on being little masters of the universe and their super-fucking-swell friendship.
But then Potter said something about Godric’s Hollow and Draco stopped rolling his eyes in exasperation. He’d heard of that place before from his father; it was where the Dark Lord had fallen.
But any more interesting information fled the scene as Potter clumsily manipulated Granger and Weasley into joining his Dark Lord Hunt rather than returning to school. Potter was going to get those two killed one day.
Not that Draco cared.
“…Let’s go down to breakfast.”
Of course, it was entirely possible that he would end up killing Draco first.
Pelting into the room across, Draco pressed himself against the wall, desperately hoping the shadows would conceal him. He had just managed to position himself properly when he heard the stupid trio walk into the hallway.
That was when he saw the gnome.
It was crawling around the sill of an open window, looking around for a victim with its beady little eyes.
Draco had had a bad gnome experience when he was five. On a trip to the national gardens, he had encountered a particularly angry one that took a fancy to his shiny hair and decided to make a nest of the silky strands. It had taken six wizards to remove the gnome, and by the time they had succeeded, the monster had already managed to bite off a large clump of Draco’s hair.
And now this one was lumbering around the sill, looking for a way down.
It found a towel (apparently Draco had run into the bathroom – he was still getting used to the layout of the hovel) and jumped onto it, shimmying down to the floor like a leafy stripper.
As it began to lumber towards him, Draco let out a very manly shriek and flew out of the door, straight into Potter.
“I don’t have time for you, Potter. The gnome is trying to kill me.” Draco waved his hand anxiously at the door to the bathroom. Weasley and Granger exchanged a confused glance. Potter merely stared at Draco as if he were unbalanced.
“You two go ahead to breakfast, I’ll take care of him,” he said, still looking at Draco like he’d sprouted flobberworms for antennae.
Draco stopped muttering about the gnome long enough to shoot Potter an angry look. “’Take care of me’? What are you going to do, beat me up behind the bins? There’s no time! Knock out the gnome or get out of my way, you idiot!”
Potter looked at Draco as if torn between bewilderment and anger. “Go, you two,” he said, and Weasley and Granger took their leave, making their way down the stairs and shooting furtive glances over their shoulders as they went.
Potter rounded on Draco, grabbed a handful of his shirt, and dragged him into the room where Draco was being kept prisoner.
“What the hell were you doing in that bathroom? You know you can’t just wander around, you idiot. You’ll be seen.” Potter leaned against the closed door and glared at Draco.
“I had to go to the bathroom. Is that a foreign concept to you? Too busy saving the world from various evils to take care of basic human needs? Of course, that would explain the smell, but –“
“Shut up, just for a second, okay?”
Draco crossed his arms in front of him, glancing at the window for any other loose gnomes before staring down at Potter. “Why should I shut up? The rest of you are incredibly boring, you know. I’ll bet you think playing chess past eleven is pushing the envelope.”
Potter removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose.
Draco had missed this, getting under Potter’s skin. Last year had been rather boring, if you didn't count the whole, ‘must save parents from most evil wizard to live’ thing. But this, this familiar play between he and Potter, this was what Draco did best. It was nice to have a chance to do it again, even if it was because he had been dumped in Potter’s lap like so many abandoned cats.
“You have a bathroom you can use over here, Malfoy. What are you doing over there, where Ron, Hermione, and I were talking?” Potter asked, peering at Draco beadily.
“Paranoia doesn’t suit you, Potter. I understand that growing up without parents can give you all sorts of insecurity complexes, but this is ridiculous.”
“SHUT UP,” Potter yelled. “You were listening to us, weren’t you?”
Draco crossed his arms. “Of course I was. You can’t expect me to just mill about in this room, making nice conversation with the crepe paper, totally shut out from what’s going on. I’m not just going to let you all do what you please with my life, seeing how it’s my life and all. Besides,” Draco said, raising an eyebrow, “it’s not like I heard anything worth relaying back to the Dark Lord.”
And that was when Draco received a fist to the face.
He pressed his hand to his face, revealing bright red blood when he removed it. “Big mistake, Potter.” Draco threw himself at Potter, and deprived him of his wand and glasses.
“Hey! That’s not fair!” Potter said from the floor, his eyes unfocused and glaring at a spot some ten inches to the left of Draco.
“Slytherin, Potter” Draco said before he kneed him in the stomach.
They scuffled on the floor (at one point rolling into the slowly growing pile of crepe paper in the corner, gaining various paper cuts in the struggle) until Potter grabbed the lumpy pillow from Draco’s makeshift bed and smacked him over the head with it.
“A pillow, Potter?” Draco muttered from underneath Potter, who had him pinned to the ground with his knees.
Potter blinked unseeingly. “Pillow?”
“Yes, that would be the thing you are attacking me with.”
He looked at the thing he held in his arms. “Oh…. Give me back my glasses.”
“I will not!” Draco said indignantly, grabbing a handful of Potter’s hair and slamming him against the bed.
“Harry?” The two boys looked up as Granger’s yell carried up the stairs. “Are you coming down to breakfast or not?”
Potter coughed. “Er, down in a minute, Hermione!” he hollered back. He peered down at Draco’s nose, swaying a bit. “We need to talk,” he said suddenly.
“Sounds like a plan. Get off of me.” Draco pushed Potter off his leg and watched as he got to his feet unsteadily.
“Where are my glasses?” he said, looking around wildly.
“Honestly, Potter, you are pathetic. All the Dark Lord has to do is steal your spectacles and we’re all doomed to a life of Death Eater orgies.”
Potter looked rather ill. “The Death Eaters have orgies?”
“Not lately. They’ve been a bit busy, you know.”
“I’m joking, Potter. Don’t you worry your poor little head over the sex lives of your enemies.”
Potter looked rather disturbed nonetheless and sat down on the bed, putting his head between his knees.
Draco stared. “What in Merlin’s name are you doing?”
“I heard this was good for… for this kind of thing,” Potter said, his voice muffled by his legs, hands flailing around in an attempt to explain himself.
“Sullying my bed with your sweat is good for ‘this kind of thing’? You are not going to make my stay worse by making this sty smell even more disgusting just because you are having some sort of unidentifiable crisis, scarhead! Get off!”
Potter did not even make an attempt to move, the bastard. “Give me back my glasses,” he said, head still between his knees.
“Why? So you can hit me with greater ease?”
“I’ll move if you give them to me.”
Draco scoffed. “And how do I know you won’t just jump me as soon as you get them back?”
Potter shrugged, looking very bizarre in his position. “Dunno.”
“You should be a lawyer, Potter.”
“I guess your bed is just going to be sweaty, then.”
Draco looked over at Potter’s glasses, which were lying on the ground next to Harry’s wand. Aha. He crossed the room and picked both up. God, how he had missed holding a wand. It was so solid in his hand, so reassuring. Finally, Draco had control of the situation, after so long. He looked down at it, noticing the fingerprints decorating the entire length of it, the shine dull from such endless use. He wondered why Potter even carried it with him. It wasn’t as if he could use it; the Ministry would have swooped down on him in an instant if he had. Probably something to do with a paranoia developed after a few scuffles with the Dark Lord.
“Here, Potter.” Draco threw the glasses at him, holding the wand out in duel position.
He shoved the spectacles on his face hastily, as if he had been suffocating and the glasses were a breath of oxygen.
The entire wizarding world rested on the shoulders of a blind teenager. How reassuring.
Finally able to see properly again, Potter looked around the room, eyes resting on Draco and the wand pointed at him. His eyes narrowed. “Give that back,” he said slowly.
“Don’t think I will,” Draco said, turning the wand over in his hands, examining it.
“Malfoy, give it back. It’s not like you can even use it, you’re not legal yet—“
Draco frowned. Potter didn’t know his birthday? Somehow it seemed like he should, even though they had never discussed it, or had reason to. It just… Potter should know. “Actually, I am.” Potter blinked. “But you aren’t, Potter. Want to explain why you carry this thing around anyway?”
“Harry?” Granger called again.
“Coming, Hermione!” Potter sighed. “I’ve had some bad experiences, okay?” He stood up. “Look, just give it back,” he said, walking towards Draco.
Draco hesitated before slowly holding the wand out for Potter, who looked shocked to have gotten his way so quickly. “Go eat your breakfast, Potter.”
He nodded slowly, putting the wand back into the pocket of his Muggle trousers. “I’ll bring you up something.”
“Don’t bother, the food here is horrible and utterly plebian. I think I will just sit up here and waste away. Seems very appropriate.”
“More like melodramatic.”
Draco scoffed. “Melodramatic would be me writing in my diary about the woes of my life and singing that angsty crap by the Weird Sisters.” He examined a fingernail. “You still here, Potter? I’ve got pining to do.”
Potter hastily concealed his laughter with a cough. “Bye, Malfoy,” he said, making his way through the sea of crepe towards the door.
When the door clicked shut and Potter’s footsteps died away, Draco threw himself onto the bed where he was met with the overwhelming stench of Potter, which was far less unpleasant than it should have been.
When his stomach clenched strangely, Draco thought he perhaps should have taken Potter up on his offer, even if the food was terrible. He drifted off to sleep (really, the time these people woke up, it was dreadful).
When he woke up there was a plate of toast and marmalade next to the bed.
Draco pointedly ignored the clenching in his chest.