I am currently going through and editing this story for cohesiveness and other flaws in hopes of posting a sequel in the near future. Any suggestions are welcome!
Harry fell back into his chair after leaving the pensieve. He was vaguely aware of Dumbledore's words echoing around the room. Talking on about how Tom Riddle had been breaking the rules and torturing others from a young age. Dumbledore making it sound as though Tom was destined to go dark, had been dark, from a young age.
But he barely heard any of it. All of the sudden he understood Riddle's words from all those years ago. Standing with him in the Chamber of Secrets. They were similar. Scarily similar, but they had turned out to be complete opposites, or so Dumbledore was claiming. Harry could not help the way his mind drifted back over the past year. His thoughts, his actions, his dreams and nightmares.
Everything Ron and Hermione had twittered about had annoyed him. His temper was increasingly short when dealing with anyone who was biased against something, anything. Ginny's annoying attempts at flirting were just that. He could not count the number of times she just happened to appear on his path to his next class, making out with her current boyfriend (or boy toy, depending on who you asked). It wasn't even subtle about it.
Neville was thankfully being decent and was actually fun to hang out with, but he rarely could. Ron and Hermione would appear and whine about…something, before dragging Harry away with them. The only thing he really enjoyed at the moment was that he was passing potions with flying colors, much to everyone's dismay. Well that and the fact he wasn't at the Dursley's. Plus the time he-
Harry's eyes and thoughts whipped up to look at the headmaster as the man cleared his throat.
"Sorry, sir. I guess I was lost in thought." Harry looked down at his knees feigning embarrassment and avoiding eye contact. Two birds. One stone.
He caught the headmaster's understanding smile, "Of course, my boy. I was merely wondering about your reaction to this memory. Any thoughts? Questions?"
"Sir…" Harry hesitated, this go really well or really badly, "I guess I was just wondering if you really find his reaction to be that unreasonable. You did after all choose to set all of his possessions on fire."
Dumbledore's eyes widened before he gave Harry a stern look, "It was a fake fire, Harry. Nothing was ruined or even threatened. Even if they had been, those items were stolen goods, they did not belong in his possession."
"They were stolen from his tormentors, sir."
"Used to commemorate acts of violence. And stolen none the less. Besides- those items were small and of little value. I doubt he would have had much difficulty replacing them at any muggle store."
Harry sat there for a moment, doing his best to prevent from gaping and to swallow his anger.
Not noticing this, Dumbledore continued on, "Now I assume you will need some time to process all that you have seen tonight. I will send a note your way to inform you of our next meeting."
Unable to believe the headmaster, Harry finally grounded himself enough to protest the ending of the meeting. But Dumbledore was having none of it.
A burnt hand was raised and there was no room for argument in the man's tone, "Good night. Harry."
Tucking his chin slightly, Harry swallowed, "Good night, sir."
And Harry managed to leave the office without giving in to the desire to slam the door behind him.
Harry awoke the next morning form a short a fitful sleep filled with nightmares of his little cupboard going up in flames. Although it was far earlier than he would usually wake, the sun not even brushing the window sill, Harry slipped on some clean clothes and padded barefoot down to the common room.
He slid down to the floor with a sigh and settled on the soft rug, leaning back against the couch in front of the fire. Without a moment's rest, his thoughts were once again on the memory he had seen last night. Some things struck him as odd about the memory and he wished Hermione was here to help in sort them out. He knew she would be up soon enough, he just had to get his thoughts as sorted as possible before then.
First on the list were the questions that the memory had raised. Riddle had been a muggle-raised wizard much as Harry had been. But unlike Harry, he was introduced to magic and Hogwarts through a wizard. Who happened to be a professor at said school and a head of house at the time. Harry, the supposed destroyer of the Dark Lord, was greeted by thousands of letters before eventually meeting a half-giant who had been expelled and at the time was a grounds keeper. Not that Harry didn't love Hagrid, but still…
Then there were the problems Harry had found with the memory and Dumbledore's methods.
Dumbledore had proven his magic to Tom by setting the orphan boy's possessions on fire. What happened to casting a Patronus or even transfiguring the bed? Hell, he could have conjured a blanket or two and Tom would probably have willingly believed him. And been grateful to boot, Harry certainly would have been. Then, Dumbledore had allowed the boy to go shopping by himself, in London, as an eleven year old. Plus he was expected to just show up at King's Cross on the first.
It was simply ridiculous! Sure, Tom may have said he could handle it, but he was eleven.
This brought Harry's thoughts around to after leaving the memory. And Dumbledore's non-chalant reaction to what he had done. The man had no idea what it was like to own just enough possessions, that you could call your own, to barely cover the bottom of a shoebox. To have someone threaten that… to threaten everything that made you, you. It was threatening your life, your happiness, everything you had worked to achieve.
He remembered the few treasures that still sat in the drawer of the small dresser in his room. The broken and forgotten toys that he had stolen from Dudley and hidden in his little cupboard. Harry snorted lightly as a thought occurred to him, in some ways Tom had a better childhood then Harry.
The only difference the Gryffindor could see was that Harry had eventually gained friends and family who cared for him. The Weasley's, Hermione, and even Gryffindor. Eventually he added Sirius and Remus to his crazy collection of family, if only for a short while. Then Riddle had to go and take them away too.
Of course, Riddle wasn't the one Harry really blamed for that. Bellatrix got all of the credit for that horrible time in Harry's life and most of the moments since. And she would feel just horrible if she had to share that notoriety. And Harry just hated to make anyone upset. Harry snickered into his knees at the amount of sarcasm he could project into his own thoughts.
Those were the only real differences though, well their parents might be one as well, but Harry couldn't really be sure about that one. Not yet anyway.
He spent a little longer rolling over those thoughts in his head. He was interrupted some time later by a gentle hand on his shoulder. Looking up he saw it was Hermione giving him a small smile as a greeting, obviously unsure as to why someone else was in the common room at this ungodly hour. He shifted slightly and patted the ground next to him. Hermione accepted the invitation as wordlessly as it was given and settled next to him.
The sound of the crackling fire kept them company for a few moments while Harry tried to refocus his thoughts. The few seconds lead into a long moment of silence that seem to stretch on until Harry finally opened his mouth to share some of the thoughts racing through his head.
"How did you find out about Hogwarts?"
She looked confused by the topic choice, but answered him with only a little hesitation, "I got a letter announcing I was accepted at a boarding school designed to assist people with further developing their unique talents and abilities. It said that a representative would be around at this time and date to talk to us about the opportunity. A few days later Professor Sprout showed up with my letter and explained everything to me and my parents." She shrugged, "Why?"
Harry frowned, "I didn't. I got over a hundred copies of the same letter. When I didn't get them, or didn't read them, or reply to them anyway, Hagrid came with a copy. I was so lost in the Wizarding World. Apparently I was famous and they sent a half-giant without a wand to introduce me and protect me. I would have never gotten into Diagon Alley if Hagrid hadn't been sent. And the first thing he did was drag me into a pub and tell me I was famous and Voldemort was evil.
"Could you imagine if I had been forced to go alone? How would I have gotten my supplies? I didn't even have a key to my Gringott's vault. Hagrid didn't even wait around long enough to tell me how to get onto the platform."
Hermione thought about what he said for a moment before speaking, "They could have thought your Aunt and Uncle would tell you about magic and Hogwarts. You said they knew, and we know your aunt knew. Maybe there were directions in the other letters telling you how to get to Diagon and even the platform. If not- well, I love Hagrid, but you know how forgetful he can be at the best of times. I think you're probably just over thinking it."
Harry nodded, not entirely convinced, but willing to concede that it was possible.
"What brought this on anyway?"
He wasn't sure how she would react but he had to tell someone, "The lessons Dumbledore is giving me. He showed me a memory of the first time he met Tom Riddle. I guess it just got me thinking about our similar childhoods. And the ways that we're different."
"Harry. We've been over this. You and Voldemort are very different people. You rose above your past and you could care less about the pureblood versus halfblood versus blood traitor versus muggle born. You are not a power hungry maniac. You are a two very different people."
"Hermione? Don't take this as a dumb question, but… I really am curious-How do we know that Tom is a 'power hungry maniac'?"
She frowned at him, "Isn't it obvious? After everything he's done and everything we've heard about him and his so called mission. The facts all point to the fact that he is a maniac out to take over the world and shape it in his own image of the 'perfect society,' how is that not power hungry?"
He shook his head, no longer making eye contact and instead tracing the flames in front of them, "If that's true, then it's all hearsay. What if Tom is just trying to change things for the better. It's like any way. People all fight based on what they believe is right. Who are we to say who is right and wrong? I mean, if Tom wins this war he's going to go down in history as the person who evaded death to fight for what was 'good' and 'right'."
"You're talking nonsense! Voldemort is killing innocent people!"
Harry nodded and let the subject drop. Although he could not help but think of all the innocent people who were probably Kissed, killed, or rotting in Azkaban. The two friends sat in silence as their house mates woke and made their way to breakfast, waiting until Ron came down the stairs.
His face worked into a frown as he saw his two friends leaning on each other. Harry stood at the sight and helped Hermione to her feet before he summoned his shoes and his book bag so they could head down to eat. He listened to Ron complain about everything from quills breaking to quidditch to waking early to homework to Snape. And somehow Snape was responsible for all of the above.
"Ron! He's still a teacher show at least a little respect. You're a prefect for goodness sakes, at least set a good example." Hermione scolded him.
Ron made a show of rolling his eyes as he led the way to their usual seats at the Gryffindor table. Harry laughed at his friends' antics freely for a moment before Hermione's glare forced him to try and choke it back. Hermione said something else but Harry found himself distracted by the sight of a Slytherin student shoving his way through pack of Ravenclaws. Soon enough the teen was lost in his thoughts.
That seemed to be happening rather often lately. The Gryffindor would be distracted by an anecdote, or a flash of color, or a random word and suddenly he would be pondering questions he had never thought to ask before. He tried to shut the thoughts down, ignore where they were leading. But after those memories he saw- After Dumbledore's reactions- Harry was interested in what he would come up with.
Today he let his mind wander. He briefly touched all of the thoughts he had tried to ignore before.
'What if I had let the Hat sort me into Slytherin?'
'What if Draco and I were friends?'
So far Harry's mind had only come up with the idea that he would have friends that supported Voldemort over Dumbledore. Maybe Snape wouldn't have been as cruel to him and maybe Dumbledore wouldn't have been as open with him. But no matter what he still would have been the Chosen One. And he still would have been the son of James Potter. He really doubt very much would have changed in his life.
Maybe he could have known both sides of the war if he had been sitting with the snakes. He let his eyes wander and found himself watching as they playfully shoved each other when they thought no one was looking at them. If nothing else he would understand the children's loyalties. He would understand whether they chose to take the Dark Mark or if it was their only choice.
Not for the first time Harry found himself regretting the moment he pushed the hat to sort him into Gryffindor.
"I wonder what it's like being a Slytherin…"
His non sequitur caused half of the table to abandon their conversation in favor of listening in to the Golden Trio. And Harry winced at that realization- He never meant to say that out loud.
Ron's fork paused halfway to his mouth, "Why do you care?"
His mouth was still partially fully of food. Seeing Ron's partially chewed breakfast cause Harry's already small appetite to disappear completely.
"I guess, I sort of empathize with them. After all it's them against the rest of the school, most of the professors will even turn against them given the chance. The only one who's usually fair to them is McGonagall and really only Snape ever favors them."
"Your point? Look, mate, their evil, worthless Death Eater spawn. There's a reason the school is against them. They obviously have dark intentions. That's why they're Slytherins. We were put in Gryffindor as proof that we're the ones who need to stand against them."
Harry coughed to hide the sudden bought of laughter that filled him. That was quite possibly one of the most ironic statements Ron would never know he made.
"Although Ron's wording was less than tasteful- he has a point. They were placed in Slytherin because the hat saw something dark and dangerous in them." Hermione put in her own opinion and Harry lost all concept of amusement in an instant.
"That's funny, I don't remember the Sorting Hat mentioning that the key Slytherin trait is 'evil git, who is loyal to the Dark Lord Voldemort and plotting how to rule the world,' I have no idea how I missed that…" He rolled his eyes to add emphasis to his sarcasm before picking up an orange and tediously attempting to remove the peel in a single piece.
Hermione glared at him, obviously not appreciating his sarcasm, "Be that as it may, the Slytherin's have closed themselves off from the rest of the houses. They are no more willing to accept us then we are to accept them." Clearly thinking she had sufficiently closed the subject, she turned back to her breakfast.
Knowing that they were never going to listen to him, Harry continued peeling his orange. He felt eyes looking at him and turned his own gaze towards the head table. Sure enough three sets of eyes were staring in his direction. Dumbledore looked as though his favorite had just been torn from his hands, although he quickly covered it up with a smile that did not quite reach his eyes and a wink. A quick glance toward Professor McGonagall showed her sitting tall and looking proudly over at the Gryffindor table. But what really drew his eye was the almost smile that was covering Snape's lips.
Even as the man listened intently to whatever the Headmaster was telling him, his eyes never left Harry's. There was a long moment where they merely looked at each other before the man gave Harry the tiniest of nods and turned his full attention to the man beside him. By the time the professors had all turned back to their own meals, Harry could not help but wonder if and how they had known what he was talking to his friends about.
Hermione sent him several suspicious glances as they finished their food so Harry decided to avoid any conversations tied to Slytherin for the rest of the day. When the trio had finished their meals they stood from the table and headed off to their first class.
After that, classes went by as usual. Well. Except for Defense.
Harry was sitting at his usual seat not paying attention to Snape, he already knew this spell, anyway, when said man called him out. Expecting to lose points, Harry was reluctant to listen to his professor, but was surprised when the man merely asked for him to demonstrate the spell albeit in a snarky, sarcastic way.
Performing the spell, Harry waited for the reprimand to follow. A hit on his fame, unwanted as it was, the word lucky thrown it and a correction of his practically flawless technique. Followed by the expected loss of points. Imagine everyone's surprise when-
"It appears, Mr. Potter, that you have finally found something that you are nearly decent at."
-Was Snape's only remark before he turned with a flourish and moved back towards the front ot the classroom. Of course, that shocked silence was nothing compared to the one that followed the airy remark-
"Oh. And five points to Gryffindor."
-That was thrown over his shoulder. The room went from quieter than usual to dead silence in a heartbeat. The silence was broken first by a book that fell from Hermione's hands and Neville nearly falling out of his seat before diligently turning back to practicing the wand movement. The Slytherins, on the other hand looked betrayed. Harry sat petrified with shock as the man turned to stand in front of his desk facing the classroom.
Compared to that the rest of the day was exceedingly normal and boring. Well as much as it could be for a school that taught magic, anyway. By the time dinner had rolled around all anyone could talk about was the points that Snape had awarded and taken during the day. Snape had apparently decided to make a statement and whatever the statement was, it was very effective.
That day the snarky, greasy, defense professor had given Gryffindor 20 points, Hufflepuff had earned ten themselves, Ravenclaw had been awarded 25, and Slytherin had barely achieved the lead with 30 points. The Snakes had even lost points at the hand of the Potions Master. Not enough to even dent their emeralds, but still.
Harry wasn't sure what had brought this around but felt that it helped him show that not all Slytherins were evil gits. Just some of them. Harry was debating bringing it up, just to prove a point, but decided it probably wouldn't be worth it. Which was when Hermione helpfully brought it up for him.
"For goodness sakes, Harry! One good day does not make up for the last six years!"
"No. It doesn't." Hermione looked at him in shock, clearly she hadn't been expecting that, "But it does prove that he is not quite the same person we always thought."
Hermione sighed, "He's a Slytherin, Harry. He'll do good things if it helps him in the long run."
Harry cocked his head to the side, "How does giving points today help Snape in any shape or form? And if it does, why today and not every day or any day since the start of term?"
"Well it… Of course, it… I… Fine. I don't know. But I'm sure that it does. It probably only makes sense to Slytherins anyway." Was her very non-Hermione retort.
"Mate." Ron cut in after taking a drink of his pumpkin juice, "If you really think that they are willing to change. Why don't you just go over there and offer an apology to Malfoy?"
The words were definitely meant to be a challenge. Ron was trying to get Harry to admit that he was wrong or at least just joking. But the idea stirred something in Harry.
"Maybe I should. Offer him that friendship I turned down all those years ago. At least it will give him a good laugh. But who knows, maybe he'll accept."
Ron started laughing, "I was kidding, mate. But, hey, if you want to go ahead." He choked down another bite of food, "Hey! IIf he says 'yes' I'll dye my hair green!"
Harry grinned, that was too good of an offer to turn down, "Deal."
Ron laughed again, "Wait, if he says 'no' you dye yours."
"Fine by me."
That said, Harry stood and Ron turned back to his dinner, still chuckling softly to himself. Walking over to the Slytherin table seemed to be gossip worthy, judging by the whispers in the hall anyway. Harry was more than willing to confront the blonde, but at the same time, he was more than a little apprehensive.
If the blonde turned him down then he basically lost all hope of ever convincing his friends that the Slytherins deserved a chance. In the meantime, he also had a favor to ask of the blonde, so hopefully this would give him an opportunity to ask about that. By the time Harry had made it over to the Slytherin table, stopping behind Malfoy, the entire Hall had gone silent. Everyone knew about their rivalry and were very interested to see the inevitable fight.
"Potter." The blonde greeted him with a dry tone, never taking his eyes from his plate.
"Malfoy." Harry made sure his own greeting sounded cordial and that seemed to catch Malfoy's attention as he turned to look up at Harry.
"What tempted you to come grace the snakes with your… esteemed presence?" The tone was sarcastic, but Harry could see the curiosity brimming the grey eyes.
"A bet that I just couldn't refuse if you can believe that."
"And this be has to do with me how?"
"Before we get to that, I want to say that I am genuinely sorry for all of the crap I've done and said to you over the years. I have to admit that was not very Gryffindor of me. Second, I want to as you if your offer from before our Sorting still stands? Or if you're at least willing to accept a truce of sorts?"
"Why the sudden change of heart?" Draco sounded wary and Harry couldn't blame him.
"Let's just say I was inspired by a former Hogwarts student and an ex-potions professor. Besides," Harry leaned in closer to Malfoy and continued in a whisper, "If you agree, Ron is stuck with green hair until he can find a counter charm."
Malfoy grinned, all trace of hesitation gone, "Why didn't you start with that in the first place?" So saying, Malfoy stood and accepted Harry's hand.
"Thank you, Malfoy. I'll try and make sure you don't regret this."
Malfoy turned slightly and frowned, "I won't so long as Weasley receives the humiliation that I was promised and he is currently attempting to escape."
Harry smirked, "Can't have that now can we." With a muttered charm Ron's hair turned Slytherin green.
"Come now, Potter, surely you can do better than that?" Harry grinned and cast off another charm that dyed parts of his hair a bright neon green.
Malfoy sighed, shaking his head, "It looks like I will have to teach you."
Malfoy raised his wand and flicked his hand at the ex-ginger, whose hair suddenly was layered with every different shade of green imaginable. It was hideous. The two new friends found themselves laughing along with the entirety of the Great Hall as Ron's face turned bright crimson, clashing horribly with his green hair. Ron's face was priceless as a giggling Hermione transfigured a mirror for him. The boy glared at his laughing housemates as he ran from the Hall.
A sulking Ron and a lecture from Hermione forced Harry to escape from the common room and find a place away from the rest of the school who seemed to once again be against him. Despite the fact they had all found it hilarious when it had happened.
He sighed and kicked a wall in a useless attempt to get rid of his anger. Walking, searching for someplace, he found the Room of Requirement was occupied. He guessed it probably Draco Malfoy, but he couldn't confirm that because the stupid room wouldn't show him, much less let him in. Sneaking off to a classroom just down the hall, Harry decided to make the best of what he had.
Harry put up a silencing charm and began taking his frustration out on the furniture and supplies found in the classroom. Two hours later curfew cut his anger management session short. Cursing himself for forgetting to grab his cloak, he set about fixing his mess.
When the room was mostly presentable Harry removed the silencing charm and stepped out into the hallway. Casting a quick tempus Harry noticed that there was no way he was going to get back to the Tower on time. Harry dropped his forehead against the wall letting out a groan.
"Having fun, Potter?"
Harry felt his shoulders slouch eve more and looked up from under his messy fringe. A few feet away from him, leaning against the wall, was one tall, blonde, Slytherin boy. Harry hoped that Malfoy would remember their so called truce from dinner.
"Not really. You?"
Malfoy shrugged, "Not as much as I would like to be."
The Slytherin apparently decided not to attack and stood to walk away. Harry pushed himself upright and brushed his hair back from his forehead. It worked for about a second before it all flopped in his face again.
Malfoy's voice startled the Gryffindor. Blushing, Harry shrugged and moved away from the wall after the blonde.
"So. What is the great Harry Potter doing out so late?"
"What is the junior Malfoy doing in the Room of Requirement?"
"…You do realize that it is rude to answer a question with a question, right?"
"I'm sure you've realized by now, that I don't care. Besides, you did it as well."
"I thought we were friends, Potty?" Malfoy stuck his lip out in a fake pout.
Harry laughed, "I haven't hexed you yet, have I?"
The blonde thought it over for a moment before conceding, "Point."
By this time, they had reached the grand staircase and Malfoy nodded at Harry before turning to head down to the dungeons..
Draco sighed, "Yes, Potter?"
"You know how there is a Hogsmeade weekend coming up?"
Grey eyes turned cautious as he turned to look back at the Gryffindor, "Yes."
"I was wondering if we could meet up for lunch? There's a couple of things that I want to ask you about."
"Why can't we talk about them now?"
"Because the paintings can hear every word that we are saying."
Draco nodded once, "Alright, fine. Where and when?"
"Hog's head? 1 o'clock?"
"Don't be late."
With that Draco walked off to the dungeons and Harry continued on his way to the Tower. For once Harry made it back without any problems and slipped up the stairs and into his bed. Hopefully he would have all of the answers he needed after talking with the young Malfoy. With a sigh, Harry rolled over and snuggled into his pillows. He closed his eyes and drifted off thinking about all of the homework he still had to do.
Harry was just as surprised as everyone else when he ran in late to Defense a few days later and merely got a sneer from their professor. Harry hoped that whatever was putting Snape in such a good mood decided to never leave. Of course, since he was late there was only one seat open and Harry was very glad that he and Malfoy had called a truce.
As he slid into the empty space beside the blonde, he was relieved to see the other boy's small nod and tight smile in his direction. Some of the things that had happened between them would probably stand between them for a long time to come, but Harry was not going to complain.
Over all the class went fairly well. Several of the other students (Gryffindors and Slytherins alike) kept throwing glances at the two boys, but they were able to focus on the lecture. And that all came to an end when Snape told them to practice their shield charms with their partners.
Harry hated working with partners. They all either treated him like glass or threw too much power behind their spells in an attempt to defeat the Boy-Who-Lived, resulting in uncontrollable magic flying around the room. On their rare occasion he worked with a decent partner (Read: Neville, Hermione, or Ron), they expected to get beaten and kind of gave up within the first few minutes.
As he stood up with Malfoy he was expecting the uncontrolled magic type of partner. When Harry cast his shield he was surprised to be faced with a nearly perfect diffindo. Harry's shield shuddered, but refused to break. He pushed a little more energy behind the spell, a grin breaking across his face. Rather than treating Harry as the Boy-Who-Lived, Malfoy was treating him as a classmate in an exercise. He could get used to this.
Four spells from the blonde later and Harry's shield cracked, Draco didn't hesitate. He cast one last spell and shattered Harry's defense. With a grin, Harry nodded to the Slytherin and took a stance waiting for the blonde's shield to go up. The instant the spell was cast, Harry threw three consecutive spells in Malfoy's direction. The first one shook his shield, pressing the blonde back a few steps. The second coated the shield in orange before it cracked, the final spell found Malfoy trapped in a leg-locker curse.
The blonde nodded at Harry, acknowledging his broken shield. Apparently the leg locker curse, went unnoticed by Malfoy. When he went to cast again the Slytherin found himself face first on the ground. He glared up at Harry, who was currently doubled over in laughter, before ending the spell, taking stance and waiting for Harry to cast his shield.
After about twenty minutes of practice, Snape called the class back to attention. And as Harry slid back into his seat next to the slightly disheveled blonde, he thought that he finally had the chance to learn with someone who treated him as an equal.
As the week passed, Harry found himself getting more and more excited about the lunch with Malfoy. He already had a list of questions in his pocket, just in case he needed it to get Malfoy talking. He had a plan on how to ditch his friends and meet up with the Slytherin.
Finally the day came and Harry spent nearly an hour trying to find something to wear that would look slightly appropriate for the meeting and would put Ron and Hermione on the right(wrong) track.
Harry eventually ended up in a green button up shirt, black jeans, and a simple black jacket thrown over top. He figured it was plain enough to be his everyday close, but nice enough to say he put some thought into it. For once he was glad that Hermione had insisted on taking him shopping, even though it still felt strange to be wearing clothes that fit.
As he walked down the stairs into the common room he was met by a gleeful Hermione and a bug-eyed Ron.
"Harry, you look great!" Hermione squealed, "I told you shopping would be worth it."
"Yes you did. And yes, you were right."
"Mate, what did you do to Harry Potter? Have you seen him? He's a specky eyed git who wears clothes that are fall off of him and-Ow." Ron cut off as Hermione smacked the back of his head and Harry started laughing.
"Very funny, Ron. You guys ready to go?"
The trio left the common room and headed down to the entrance hall to meet with the other Hogsmeade bound students. When everyone had signed out with McGonagall the small group headed down the path and into the village. After raiding Zonko's and Honeyduke's they stopped to pick up owl treats and something for Crookshanks.
Eventually they ended up sitting at their usual table in the Three Broomsticks with three butter beers talking about absolutely nothing. Harry glanced down at his watch, he took a deep breath in preparation. Time to go.
"Hey guys, I'm going to go. I'm meeting someone in about ten minutes over at Puddifoot's. I'll see you guys back in the common room tonight?"
Hermione jumped on it, "I knew you dressed up for a reason! You have to give us all of the details when you get back!"
"I won't." Harry smirked a little, "But I'll meet you guys back at the castle before dinner, alright?"
"If you're sure, we could always come bail you out if you wanted…" Ron trailed off under Hermione's glare.
Harry smiled and shook his head, "Nah, I'm looking forward to this actually."
Ron's disbelieving look was clear as he watched Harry check his watch again.
"Seriously guys, I'll be fine. I have a back-up plan if I need to get away. Either way I'll be up at the castle for dinner."
Without waiting for another argument Harry turned from the table and walked down the street. Turning several corners to make sure that his friends were not following him, he soon found himself in front of Hog's Head two minutes until he agreed to meet Malfoy. Walking into the Hog's Head was as disconcerting as always.
He grabbed a table and waited for the blonde to come in. He got several dirty looks from the man behind the bar but did not have to wait long before he saw Malfoy walking in. Malfoy's eyes searched the room, coming to a rest on the empty seat across from Harry. They began with small talk, hoping to shake off any unwanted listeners. Harry got them something to drink and half an hour later, they escaped from the pub and headed towards the Shrieking Shack. That was when Malfoy finally decided that they were far enough away and he had enough small talk. He turned to face Harry.
"Alright, Potter. We've done the whole friendly conversation thing, now what did you want to ask me?"
"Malfoy." Harry admonished him, "As if I would not find a conversation such as this worthy of spending time with you."
Malfoy merely raised an eyebrow.
"You wound me." Harry gave him what he considered a very affective pout.
Rolling his eyes, the blond smirked at Harry's efforts, "Drop it, Potter."
"Fine." Harry folded his arms and huffed until Malfoy gave a small laugh, "I seriously don't think that you will want to talk about it, but these are things that I think I really need to here."
"I can't answer if you don't ask, Potter."
"What can you tell me about the goals and purpose behind Voldemort's regime?"
The blonde shook his head and looked at Harry, blinking as if trying to process what he had just heard, "What?"
I need to understand what Voldemort wants to get out of this war. It doesn't seem fair to me that I have to fight in this war, much less that I have to fight for the light side, when I don't understand the other side. I want to know why I'm fighting, or if I should even be fighting."
The Slytherin spent a moment in silence, just looking at the Gryffindor Golden Boy. The question were swirling through his mind as he looked at the supposed Savior. As the two boys watched each other the blonde found himself looking into honest green eyes. Suddenly, he was talking. Some of the words Harry had heard before, but as the pureblood continued he found himself more and more interested in what the Death Eater had to say.
By the time the older boy had run out of words, the sun was sitting low in the sky. Harry had no words to describe what he was going through. There were more questions and new ideas filling his mind and he had no way to process them. He shook his head, temporarily trying to clear his mind.
"Thank you, Malfoy."
"Draco. I've told you enough that you could probably get me convicted or sent to Azkaban if you tried."
"Harry, then. I'll… I think I need to sleep on all of this. It's a lot to take in."
Draco shrugged, "I figured you would. Do you want to walk back together, or should I just leave?"
"I'm ready to head back, if you are."
The former enemies, now tentative friends, followed the well-worn path back to the school in companionable silence. Both lost in their own thoughts and what this truce could mean for the future of their world.