Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters in this story. I am merely borrowing them from the lovely JK Rowling for a bit. No copyright infringement intended.
Rated M for sexual content, language & possible violence.
Author's note: I have a sequel already written up for this, I'm really excited. This is a Drarry fic, you have been warned. I tried to stay as accurate as possible but some things have been changed for the sake of the story. I plan on this being decently long. I will update it at least once a week. And now I am proud to present to you, Forgiven.
"Oh honestly Harry just go give it to him," Hermione said. "You've been talking about it all summer and now you're just staring."
Harry glanced back over to where he saw the familiar figure leaning against the wall, also waiting to board the Hogwarts Express. Malfoy looked the same, with his platinum blonde hair slicked back and his features pointed and defined. His fashion sense was spot on as he continued to dress head to toe in black, which caused his skin to look even paler than it would have normally. But his face looked odd, the sneer that Harry had come to expect was replaced with something much less threatening but equally sour. Harry also took notice that his parents were not there to see him off. But he didn't find it strange, he knew that the only reason Malfoy was even allowed out of his manor was to finish school. After this he assumed his fate would be similar to that of his mother and father.
"Right," he said and reached into his pocket to grasp the wand he had for some reason grown accustomed to carrying in addition to his own. He looked to Hermione and Ron and with a grim nod he walked over to the place where the Slytherin stood. He swallowed before forcing himself to speak, "Malfoy."
The blonde turned and Harry could see his entire body tense up at the sight of him. He quickly recovered and a slight smirk appeared on the boys lips. His eyes which normally lit up at the sight of being able to torment someone were glazed over in a way that made Harry extremely uneasy.
"I wanted to give this to you," Harry continued and held the wand out to him. Draco stared down at it before reluctantly taking it and shoving it into his own pocket.
"I've already got a new one," he snarled as he looked directly into Harry's eyes causing him to linger there for a moment longer than he should have. Harry realized how awkward the situation had become and nodded his head curtly and turned to walk away. For some reason he had almost thought that since the war was over Malfoy would have changed, or at least become somewhat less arrogant…
"Potter," Malfoy called out. Harry turned his head, watching him pause and though it looked somewhat painful he heard him mutter, "Thanks."
Harry offered a weak smile and went to join Hermione and Ron who were getting ready to board the train for it had just arrived. The truce lay in that simple exchange and though Harry knew he could never be friends with Malfoy, he could tell that things would not be the way they were before.
He returned to Hermione and Ron and they found an empty compartment and got settled in.
"This is so surreal," Hermione was saying. "I had never thought we would be doing this again."
Harry and Ron both nodded their heads, pushing their trunks in the overhead compartment. It felt strange without Hedwig there to accompany him on the trip but he pushed the thought to the back of his head, he was determined to have a single day of happiness. Harry had been used to living a life of loss, but the past year he had experienced it in a way he didn't know possible. Some days it was hard for him to even find a reason to get out of bed. But he wasn't the only one suffering, he had stayed at the Burrow over the summer and Mrs. Weasley and George were both in far worse shape than he was. And although everyone had constantly reassured him that none of this was his fault, he couldn't help but feel somewhat responsible.
"So what happened?" Hermione finally asked, interrupting his gloomy thoughts.
"I just gave it back and he thanked me."
"He thanked you?" Ron said, "Malfoy thanked you?"
Harry let out a small laugh and nodded, "Don't worry though, it looked as if the whole ordeal was extremely painful for him."
"I thought he might be different," Hermione said. "I'm not saying he won't bother us anymore but he hasn't got his father there to fix everything for him now."
"Dad said his parents got the trace put on them," Ron said as he bit into a sandwich Mrs. Weasley had made him for the ride. "They aren't allowed to leave the house. He was surprised they let Malfoy back in school."
"Ron, don't chew with your mouth full!" Hermione snapped and before long she and Ron had begun to bicker. Normally it would have annoyed Harry but he felt so content in that moment that it didn't bother him. A year ago he never thought he would go back to Hogwarts again. Now Voldemort was dead and he was able to return with his two best friends. He had one last year to sort out what he was going to do now that it was all over.
When they arrived at the castle they had all been surprised to see how good it looked. It was as if the battle had never happened. The only real difference Harry saw was the monument that had been put up in the Entrance Hall in remembrance of those who had lost their lives the past year. He saw the smiling faces of Lupin and Tonks, hand in hand. Beside them was Fred, Harry glanced at Ron nervously and saw Hermione grab his hand out of the corner of his eye. Harry was pleased to see that although they hadn't died in the castle, Moody and Dobby had both been added into it. Snape stood alongside Dumbledore, which caused the corners of his eyes to sting as they watered. The statue was large, there were so many people who had given their life for the cause. He felt a pain in his chest that he had become very familiar with over the past few months and it took everything inside of him not to let the tears in his eyes fall.
Hermione finally tore them both away and the three of them headed to their usual seats toward the end of the table with the other remaining seventh years in anticipation of the sorting ceremony. Professor McGonagall had taken over as Headmistress after Snape's passing and Harry couldn't have been happier with the choice. She was strict but he knew she had exactly what it took to run the school, especially after the war. He had a feeling she was the one behind the memorial.
"I think I could have gone my entire life not knowing what Thestrals looked like," Ron was saying as they sat down, his voice even though his face wore a rather gloomy expression.
"I think they are sort of nice," Hermione replied. "Really grim but sort of beautiful in a dark way. Plus they are really kind."
"You're starting to sound like Hagrid with all your love of Magical Creatures talk," Ron said teasingly.
Harry laughed in agreement and scanned the staff table, glad to have a distraction from the ache in his chest. He saw a few new faces. He then looked around at the rest of the house tables. He felt a slight pang of guilt as he saw how many students were missing. Compared to his first year, the school looked small. His eyes finally landed at the Slytherin table. Many of the students were younger and as his eyes moved up the table he realized less than half of the students in his year were there. As his gaze moved past Malfoy he felt heat creep up his neck and into his cheeks as their eyes caught for a slight moment and he felt a sudden burst of anger.
"I said hello Harry!"
Harry quickly tore his eyes away and looked to see who had sat beside him. He grinned and moved down a bit to make more room for Ginny Weasley. "Sorry, was just trying to figure out who the new Professors are."
"I heard they got Lorin Savage for Defense," she said. "He worked with Tonks and Kingsley, he's really good. A bit nutty though, he stayed with us for a bit at Aunt Muriel's." Harry stared ahead to see a fairly attractive man with dark hair and a noticeable scar stretching across his left cheek. He was in conversation with Hagrid and looked fairly amused at whatever story the half giant was telling.
"And they got the only other known Animagus alive besides McGonagall and Skeeter for Transfiguration. I think dad said her name was Wolfheart. She's a cat as well, bet her and McGonagall get on, eh?" Ron added. She was a middle aged woman and as opposed to McGonagall's tight bun on her head she wore her blue streaked hair long and flowing. Her eyes were large and catlike as she peered out over the table at her new students.
"Who do they have for Muggle studies?" Hermione asked eagerly.
"They thought about giving it to dad," Ginny laughed. "But I think by the looks of it they ended up with Perkins. The older one with the fluffy white hair, he was at Bill and Fleur's wedding last summer."
She pointed toward the table and Harry nodded and tried to pick out which person was which but he was interrupted by the start of the feast. He ate until he felt sick and was glad McGonagall had kept her speech short. He and Ron said goodnight to Ginny and Hermione and quickly went up to their dormitory. His four-poster had never looked so inviting. He climbed into it, drew the curtains and was fast asleep before Neville, Dean and Seamus had even come in.
The next few weeks flew by. Harry had been busy scheduling Quidditch tryouts and between that and classes he had very little time to himself. He had NEWTS this year and just as it was his fifth year, his professors were piling on the homework. He had only seen Hagrid a handful of times and even his time with Ron and Hermione was limited. He was almost thankful for the sudden change of pace. Summer had been quiet and slow, it had given him far too much time to think.
"Hi Harry!" His thoughts were quickly interrupted by the appearance of Luna Lovegood and Ginny Weasley in the library. He offered a smile to his friends and moved his books so they could sit down. He looked to Madam Pince and though she had clearly noticed his friend's entrance he was surprised that she didn't tell them off about the noise. He was beginning to get tired of the special treatment he was receiving, at this point her scolding would have comforted him.
"Have we got practice tonight?" Ginny asked, sitting beside him on the couch.
"As long as the weather holds up," Harry said. "I've still got to try out a few more people but I'm pretty sure I'll just be keeping the team we had my sixth year with Dean taking Katie's place."
"Good," She smiled and pushed a strand of her red hair back behind her ear, glancing to the window at the sky which looked as if it would threaten rain but also had a hopeful glow to it.
"Oh don't worry," Luna's soft voice came. "The Blibbering Humdinger's would appear if it were about to storm."
Harry shot Ginny a look as Luna looked around the room as if her mention of the made up creature would make them come out. Ginny was biting back laughter as her eye caught Harry's.
"But anyway I've got to be going, I have Care of Magical Creatures. I'll meet up with you in Potions Ginny. And Harry, I'll come watch practice later," she smiled and disappeared, humming as she could be heard skipping through the corridor.
"Did you drop Care of Magical Creatures?" Harry asked after she left, but he already had guessed the answer. He knew her true passion was Quidditch and Luna Lovegood was one of the only people he knew crazy enough to carry on in that course.
"Yes, I didn't have room for it this year" She replied, her eyes moving to his as she spoke. "I haven't really talked to you much lately," she said changing the subject.
"I've just been busy," he said lamely. He adjusted his glasses on his face and focused his attention back to the book in his lap.
"No pressure Harry," she said genuinely sounding as if she meant it. "We have both been through a lot, there's no need to rush anything. I just don't want it to be like this… you know, awkward."
Harry smiled at how well she knew him, relief flooding him. He had been avoiding her for the very reason. "Thanks Gin," he said and regained his Gryffindor courage, meeting her eyes once more.
"We'll always be friends, above all."
He nodded in agreement, closing the book and opening his bag to put that and his quill inside.
"I've got to get going but I'll see you tonight at practice," she smiled. "But Harry?" she paused. "Don't go off and fall in love with somebody else alright?" and although the grin remained on her face, he could feel the seriousness in her voice.
He couldn't find any words and just nodded his head, returning the smile. She turned and left the library a few moments later, leaving Harry back to his thoughts.
The air was cool but the sun was still up and it gave off some warmth later that night. Harry and Ron arrived a few minutes early to set up. Hermione and Luna sat in the stands talking to each other as they waited for practice to start. More people came to the stands and eventually Harry's team arrived.
He tried out a few more people and announced his final decision, which he figured wouldn't really surprise anyone. He had been happy with his team and he planned to win with them this time around. With Katie Bell replaced by Dean Thomas his team was set for success. His jealousy toward Dean had diminished and even if it hadn't he knew that Dean was his best option.
He was just about to start running plays when he noticed everyone's head was looking in the direction of the entrance to the pitch. He turned his head and groaned as he saw green and silver robes approaching.
"Potter! We've reserved the pitch for tonight," came Malfoys drawl as soon as he was in earshot. And just like that, their truce had vanished.
"I asked Madam Hooch for it two weeks ago Malfoy, sod off."
"Well that's strange, seeing as she gave it to us last night," Malfoy replied, his eyes locked on Harry's.
"We're not leaving," Harry said. In one fluid movement he watched Malfoy's hand dip into the pocket of his robe and his wand was pointed at Harry before he could even blink. But Ginny was too fast for him, the end of her wand shot out sparks but she missed and the hex hit Vaisey, their teams Chaser, square in the face. Within moments bats came swarming out of his nose. He heard Malfoy demand a girl he recognized as Astoria Greengrass to take him to the hospital wing.
"Surprised you can even play Quidditch Malfoy, didn't know they let death eaters in," Ron said with his wand raised. "Let alone be the bloody Captain."
Harry was ready for an all-out war at this point but he was surprised to see Malfoy lower his wand. His face was distorted in a look of pure disgust as he spat, "This isn't over." Without another word he turned to leave the pitch and his team followed, looking just as confused as Harry felt.
"Alright uh, well then…" Harry said trying to lighten the mood. "Uh right so we've got a good chance of winning this year," he said to everyone around him. "Let's run a few plays and then plan on meeting here every other day until our first match against Slytherin. Ginny, Dean and Demelza try scoring on Ron. Peakes and Coote, I'll let the bludgers out. Now make sure you work around them, we don't need anyone hurt before our first match."
Everyone laughed as they broke apart and mounted their broomsticks. Harry did the same, kicking off the ground just as he saw the snitch disappear. A chill was sent through his body but it wasn't from temperature, it was from being on a broomstick again. He hadn't had the sensation of flying in nearly a year. The feeling was one he would never get over, it was one of the things that he loved most about the wizarding world. He looked around at everyone, pleased to see that although Ron also hadn't had much practice, his stage fright seemed to have disappeared. He felt great soaring through the air, the wind forcing his hair back, his robes whipping behind him.
When practice was finally over, Harry was fairly confident in his team. His conversation with Ginny was still fresh his mind and he felt as if he couldn't be happier. He held hope that the sadness that normally crippled him at night when he was lying alone would possibly spare him that night.