|A Hand to Hold
Author: wynnebat PM
Harry decides that Draco needs a friend, Draco's trying not to care, and Teddy's just adorable. Harry/Draco.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Draco M. & Harry P. - Words: 2,791 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 26 - Published: 07-01-12 - id: 8276113
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A Hand to Hold: CHAPTER ONE
He would not look, Draco vowed silently. He refused to look. He was an unbendable force of nature that would not look.
Okay, he looked. But only for a moment. Just a quick glance.
Harry Potter, seventh year student and Boy Who Saved Us All Again, sat two tables away, grinning widely and bickering loudly with Seamus Finnegan. Something about the blasted Chudley Cannons. Barring his two best friends, who sat nearby and only had eyes for one another, the entire Gryffindor table was staring at their Great Git of a Savior in awe.
It was already October of the school year following the end of the Second Wizarding War, but everyone still stared at Harry like he had defeated the Dark Lord yesterday. The Gryffindor table especially sought stories of their great Defeater of Evil. Draco wished he could shut all of them up. He would rather glare at Harry than whimper at his awesomeness.
He would love to just throw something at the stupid Gryffindors. Or start complaining loudly to his table to get Harry riled up, maybe mime something about his messy hair. Or loudly stomp out of the great hall with Crabbe and Goyle at his heels.
It felt unnatural to sit at the Slytherin table and fume silently instead of glaring at the Oh So Superior Super Harry Potter. Two years ago, he would have been in the middle of a glaring match with the Gryffindor golden boy. They would have been shouting curses and shooting the first spells that came to mind. Draco would have poisoned Harry's apple juice with farting powder. Something would have been happening. Anything but this tense silence on his end and utter obliviousness on Harry's.
Draco found it hard to accept that he and Harry would never again argue noisily and fight stupid duels. They weren't rivals anymore, not after Harry testified on Draco and Narcissa's behalves during their trial. He couldn't hate him after Harry went on and on about how Draco wouldn't identify him when he was captured, and that Draco's bad decisions as a minor shouldn't ruin his future.
He actually sounded like he believed everything he said, and the Wizengamot gobbled it right up. They gave Draco a light sentence of one year of house arrest and two years of spells monitoring his wand. Narcissa was given five years and no spell monitoring, mainly because she had never partaken in dark magic and wasn't a Death Eater. And because without her lie to Voldemort, the war could have ended much differently.
The Wizengamot reluctantly waived his house arrest and allowed him to attend his final year at Hogwarts, but only as long as he caused no trouble and never left school grounds. Draco had to be on his absolute best behavior. Just one step out of line and he'd fill out the rest of his house arrest in Azkaban.
Being forbidden to leave school grounds, of course, wasn't a problem. He felt no pull to traverse the Forbidden Forest or take a trip to Hogsmeade or run away and live like a druid. It was just too lonely to go somewhere without friends. He was spoiled after six years of Crabbe and Goyle's constant presence. They had been true friends: loyal, strong, brave. As a child, he'd never appreciated them, but now he felt their loss keenly. Crabbe was dead and Goyle had left the country with his father, and couldn't write lest the Aurors catch up to Goyle senior.
Draco was too old to make new friends, and had no opportunity to, either. Parkinson and Zabini were shagging on every solid surface and throwing him the finger on the rare occasion that they noticed him, and he would be damned if he lowered himself to talking to the other Slytherins in his year. As for the other years, the entire Slytherin house ignored him in public and ridiculed him in the dungeons. He was an outcast in his home away from home.
Draco left his half eaten breakfast for the house elves and slinked out of the great hall. His tablemates didn't notice him leave. Why would they? No one associated with a former Death Eater. Even Slytherins needed to keep their somewhat-good names.
Harry didn't notice him leave either. But who needed Saint Potter's attention anyway? Harry and he didn't give a damn about each other this year. Draco couldn't help allowing his petulant inner child to complain. He was above Harry's attention.
He trudged down the hallway, his hands in the pockets of his robes.
On the bright side, he wasn't in Azkaban. No matter how much the Prophet had complained. No matter how many people barged through the Ministry, screaming that the whole Malfoy family should rot in prison. At the very least.
He entered the dungeons, grabbed his books, and headed towards the Potions classroom. Snape's Potions classroom. No matter how many teachers would teach after Snape, it would always be Snape's room.
Snape, who would never be coming back to teach Potions. Snape, who wouldn't be able to humiliate future generations of Gryffindors. Snape, who killed Dumbledore when Draco couldn't. Snape, who talked him out of suicide every time Draco was tortured and was forced to torture. Snape, who was stronger than Draco's own father. Snape, who died for Dumbledore. Snape, who died without taking Draco as well.
Draco gulped back the rock that had formed in his throat. He wasn't going to get emotional fifteen minutes before the lesson. He was going to walk in inconspicuously, take a seat in the back corner, and keep his head down. Because that was the only way a former Death Eater was going to survive Hogwarts.
He took his seat, opened his book, and started rereading last night's homework just because he needed something to do. Most people didn't bother him when he looked busy.
He kept reading and rereading each paragraph as people filled in the rest of the tables and conversation lulled around him. No one sat down next to him. That was fine. He was good. Who needed friends, anyway?
He didn't have to look up to know when Harry entered the room. School started a month ago, but conversation still stopped when the Savior of the Wizarding World graced a room with his presence, the people too awed at Harry's Super Awesomeness to do anything but gape.
"Hello, Harry m'boy! Sleep well? Good, good!" Slughorn announced, not waiting for Harry's answer but still broadcasting his favoritism to the rest of the class. He sat down behind Snape's desk and waved his wand for the day's lesson to appear behind him. "Mr. Malfoy, and everyone else, put away your readings! We're having a lab practical today. Your success depends on how well you studied last night!"
His fellow Slytherins glared at Draco as though he was deliberately trying to cheat. The Gryffindors snickered. They probably loved how Slughorn treated him now. Like he wasn't worth the dirt under his shoes.
"Now class, today we will be brewing the Aging Potion! It's not very complicated compared to our later material, but it uses tricky brewing methods that you should've read about. You'll just have to get accustomed to them, since this is NEWT level Potions. I've written the procedure on the board. Get to it!"
Draco maneuvered around the tables and walked to the supply cabinet only after everyone else had finished gathering supplies. He didn't want to be reminded of how people tried not to brush against him by accident. At those times, he almost wanted to announce that the Dark Mark wasn't contagious.
He grabbed everything but the crocodile scales and came back to his desk. Meekly, he raised his hand and waited for Slughorn to deign to speak to him. With Snape, he would have boldly called out that he need the scales and inserted some comment about his great father. The father whose body was slowly rotting away in Azkaban. How low the mighty have fallen.
"Umm, Professor Slughorn? Draco has his hand up," exclaimed a voice. Again, conversation hushed as the Savior spoke.
"Oh, yes. What is it, Mr. Malfoy?" Slughorn looked as though he would have been perfectly happy ignoring the Death Eater scum.
"You're out of crocodile scales, sir. I wasn't able to find any in the cupboard," Draco replied.
Slughorn made a noise of disbelief, then glared as though it was Draco's fault that the ingredients depleted. Draco wondered if Slughorn's treatment of him was a way to make up for the pudgy man's inaction during the war, or if he was just showing his true feelings. He hadn't cared for Draco his sixth year, either. Lucius said Slughorn and Abraxas Malfoy, Draco's grandfather, became frosty towards one another after a row and Slughorn's grudge extended to his children. It hardly mattered either way.
Draco started cutting up the other ingredients before filling his cauldron half-way with water. He lit a fire under it and resumed cutting the roots. Snip, snip, snip. Was he paranoid to wonder about how many people wished for him to accidentally cut his fingers off?
A pile of crocodile scales was dumped unceremoniously onto his table.
"Thank-you, sir," Draco murmured without looking up.
"You don't really need to call me sir," an amused voice replied.
Draco grit his teeth as a body leaned over his cauldron, invading his personal space. "Thank you, Potter," he muttered with a great deal of patience and a profusion of humiliation. He would be the bigger man this year. Even though Harry had the nerve to grow taller than him during his escapades in the woods last year.
He resumed stirring the potion and dropped the scales in, all while studiously ignoring Harry, who had apparently decided it would be fun to watch Draco complete the assignment.
"Is there something you need, Potter?" Draco asked after a few minutes, just managing to keep his tone polite. Harry had walked around Draco's desk and sat in the empty chair to Draco's right, stretching his legs on the desk, far enough from Draco's cauldron that they wouldn't be burned. He was doing no work. Just staring at Draco. It was unnerving.
Draco dropped some violet-colored roots into the solution and stirred until it reached the look and feel of water but the smell of Acromantula venom. Harry still hadn't left. Was he stuck or something? Draco dared a quick glance in Harry's direction.
Another few minutes passed. Harry was still sitting next to him, staring at him. It was getting rather irksome. Maybe Harry just woke up this morning and thought, Hey, I haven't annoyed Malfoy lately!
"Time's up," Slughorn's voice boomed. Snape's wouldn't have been as loud, but still more forceful. But truly, Snape and Slughorn could never compare. "Let's see your potions, boys and girls!"
Harry finally moved back to his original spot next to Weasel and whispered something to the ginger, who playfully shoved Harry aside.
"Hmm . . . Passable, atrocious, good, good, great job, no, passable, come in after dinner tomorrow, what is this supposed to be?, good," Slughorn commented. He reached Draco. They both knew it was the closest anyone had come to the exact potion. ". . .Passable."
Draco noticed that the only "great job" went to Harry, who at the last second had joined Weasley and Granger in their little group and hadn't actually done any work. They weren't even allowed to work in groups of three, not that Slughorn would ever enforce that rule for Harry.
He could bet his Gringotts account that Harry would even finish the year with an Outstanding NEWT in Potions without any effort at all.
"Okay, good work everyone! Read pages 98 through 106 for Thursday. Zabini, I'll see you after dinner when you come to re-brew your potion. Finnegan, I'll see you tomorrow evening," the professor called, rushing out the door. Students shuffled out after him.
Draco slowly put his things away and waited for the herd to move. Less of a chance for him to be tripped this way. Was this how Longbottom had felt before he became the Hero Who Killed Nagini?
"Hey, Draco," someone said.
Draco looked up. Not again. "Yes, Potter?" He prided himself on his even, unemotional tone.
Harry kept walking closer. And closer. What in Merlin's name was wrong with the guy? Draco took a step back, grabbed his bag, and headed towards the door.
He felt a hand grab onto his shoulder and angrily whipped around to push Harry away. Harry didn't cringe under his glare, but he did look less confident than before. Good, even if Harry did look less attractive when nervous. Not that Draco regularly noticed Harry's attractiveness.
"What do you want?" Damn, he hadn't meant to snap.
Harry, instead of running to the Ministry of Magic and complaining to his best friend, the Minister, grinned. "I knew you were still the same snarky git. Here." Harry took what looked like a photo album out of his bag and handed it to him. "I know you probably don't want this, but, well, you really should have it. It's not too late for you to connect to them. Andromeda and Teddy would be happy to get to know you. It's only me and Andromeda now, looking after him. If you want, you could come with me on the next Hogsmeade trip. I alerted the Ministry just in case."
Draco gingerly opened the album to a photo of a child who must be his cousin and tried to say something. Anything. Thank-you, what the hell, I don't want this, is he a werewolf, take it back, he's a cute kid, I'm sorry for my friend almost killing you, I hate that you saved me, he has my eyes. "Anything else?"
"Yeah, this." And suddenly Harry was in his personal space again, because it wasn't like Saint Potter had to worry about things such as personal boundaries.
It didn't escape Draco's notice that he now had to look up at Harry to see his eyes. What did Harry eat while running from the Dark Lord? Daily growth-enhancing potions? At least Harry wasn't trying to get revenge on him for what happened at the Malfoy manor, right? If he were, he would have done something by now. But he thought this might be worse, being so confused about him.
This close, he could see Harry's scar. It looked smoother than it had in previous years, like it was finally healing. He could also see Harry's stupidly kind green eyes, and could follow them as they stared at him, into him.
Draco's mind finally caught up with his thoughts after Harry's. "Do you have personal space issues, Potter?" he said quietly as Harry shook himself out of his trance. "It's not like I want to stand here breathing your air." Harry had a true gift for making him lose control of his mouth and say stupid things.
Harry smiled a small, too-attractive for Draco's own good sort of smile. "I wanted to say that I'd like to be friends."
"Not interested, Potter," Draco replied, pushing him away and grabbing his belongings. "I'm not some sort of friendship charity case."
He had wanted to be friends with Harry in first year, then tried to convince himself for years that he didn't. It was too late for them to be friends now. And who was Harry to convince himself that Draco was desperate for friendship?
"It's Harry. Friends call each other by their first names."
Draco gave him one last glare and walked past him. "We're not friends. We're . . ." He paused trying to think of a word for their relationship. They weren't enemies anymore. "We're acquaintances."
"How do we go from being acquaintances to friends, Draco?" By now, Harry had stood up, but still stayed a few feet away. Good.
"Did Voldemort's killing curse kill your remaining brain cells, Potter? We aren't going to become friends."
"No, he only killed some of my inhibitions and the little courage you had."
Draco snorted. "Okay. Since I'm not courageous and you're now an even more reckless Gryffindor, you should quit this charade of becoming friends with me. I don't have time for this." He glared one last time at Harry and headed toward the door.
"Then who will be your friend? I've seen you in the hallways, and in other classes. You don't—"
"Fuck off, Potter. My personal life is none of your business. For your information, Slytherins don't need friends."
Draco left Harry in the Potions classroom, uncomfortably aware that Harry was staring after him.