Disclaimer: I don't own Harry, Draco, or any other of J.K.R.'s wonderful creations. They're all hers and I make no money. (Hence the status of a poor college student).

Summary: It's eight years after Harry and company's final year at Hogwarts. Voldemort was defeated in their seventh year and things in the wizarding world have slowly started getting back to normal. Except for one thing - no one has seen the Boy-Who-Lived since the final battle.

Sweet and Sour

How long had it been? The blonde now held Hogwarts' coveted Defense against the Dark Arts teaching position. He knew he wasn't Headmaster McGonagall's first choice, but it didn't matter. He had the job and was right now browsing through Knockturn Alley for things he could use to demonstrate in his class. The last time he had been here was when he was selling all his father's possessions. Lucius probably turned over in his grave at that, but it didn't matter, Lucius was dead. Draco strode through Knockturn Alley with an air on confidence vaguely reminiscent of his father, not even noticing the beggar he nearly tripped over.

"Can you spare a sickle? A sickle for food?" pleaded the faint voice.

"Bloody hell," Draco muttered a he stumbled over the man, if you could call him that from his frail body as he straightened his robes, almost missing the faint reply.


Draco froze. It was a name he hadn't heard since his school days. He turned and studied the figure that was now trying to slink away towards an alley.

"Potter?" he asked incredulously as he followed the figure and pulled him up by the arm, dragging him quickly into an alley once he saw the people starting to gather around the commotion. Once hidden from view, he pushed the figure up against the wall relaxing when the other winced visibly from the pain of the impact. Draco stepped back and examined the figure in front of him. The hair was dark and messy, his face was sunken, and his bloodshot eyes a dull green. Could it? Draco stepped forward and lifted the hair from the person's face to reveal a mass of recent scratches and faintly visible beneath them, a scar in the shape of a lightening bolt.


Draco waited for a response as Harry stared blankly at the wall behind him.

"For Merlin's sake, Harry! You could have told someone! Eight fucking years! Did it ever occur to you that we might care what happened to the Boy- Who-Lived? It's as if you were trying to outdo Him. Minerva will go ballistic - she'll have your head for worrying her so much, Hermione and them too, but they'll probably throw you a whole big feast-" "No," Harry whispered in response.

"What?! You can't be serious, Potter? You can't just expect people not to throw a fuss that you're back, even Ginny was beginning to give up hope."

"Let them, Draco," Harry replied in a soft emotionless voice. "It's better that way. Let them forget."

Harry headed down the alley as Draco grabbed him by the arm, the blonde flinching as the brunette winced and gasped in pain. "Let me buy you lunch, we'll talk."

"I'm fine, I don't need your charity."

"You're starving, you were begging for money, you are obviously not fine. Now I'm buying you lunch or I'll announce that I've found Harry Potter."

"They won't find me."

"But they'll search harder. You can't run forever, Potter."

"Who said I was running?"

"Come on, let's go eat."

"Only lunch, no more."


The two walked in silence to the tavern, Harry keeping to the shadows as much as possible until they got there.

"Tom, is the upstairs room free?"

"Sure is Prof. Malfoy. Shall I send up the usual?"

"Make it two portions, a friend's joining me. And can you send up some ale as well?"

"Of course."

Reluctantly Harry followed Draco upstairs, trying not to reminisce about his Hogwarts days. Once Draco had closed the door, Harry glanced around the room nervously before asking, "Professor?"

Draco smiled. "Defense against the Dark Arts. Headed into my second year. Remus retired just after you disappeared. I don't think he could take it with both you and Sirius gone. You were the first choice obviously. They sent Hedwig out numerous times."

"What else?"

"Minerva took over for Albus, Hermione's teaching transfig, Ginny's teaching charms, Ron's playing for the Chudley Canons finally, and Severus is still holding out at potions, as menacing as ever. Harry-"

They were interrupted by knock at the door as Tom brought in the food and Harry quickly turned to face the wall.

"Tom, could I have a room tonight?"

"Of course," Tom said as he headed out the door. "Your usual one's free. I'll leave you and your friend if there's nothing else you'll be needing."

"Thank you, Tom," Draco replied as the tavern owner left the room, leaving the two former classmates alone.


"Don't, please. Can't we just eat in peace?"

Draco nodded as he observed Harry. He wanted to owl Minerva, but he knew if he left that Harry would be gone long before he came back. He wondered what had happened in those past five years that had turned Gryffindor's Golden Boy into a recluse and a beggar. Didn't Harry have a fortune stored in Gringotts? The Daily Prophet would pay a fortune to tell the story of Harry's return, but he couldn't let them know. There must have been a reason why Harry never let anyone know, if only he could find out what it was.

A loud crash jolted him out of his thoughts and he looked up to find Harry's body on the floor convulsing and faint incoherent mumblings uttering from his lips. Draco rushed over to Harry's side - what the hell was going on, was this a flashback of some sort?

"Harry! Come on, Harry, talk to me," he said, his voice laced with worry as he gently shook the brunette. When Harry's eyes finally met his after a few minutes, Draco froze. He had long thought that the scariest thing he had ever seen was Voldemort's face, but that paled in comparison to the green eyes he was staring into. Eyes that had seen their loved ones murdered, eyes that had stared down Voldemort and killed him, eyes that looked through you, that penetrated your soul and that were simultaneously full of pain and devoid of everything. Draco shivered before he finally spoke.


Harry looked at Draco, as he studied him almost as though he were trying to remember where he was when suddenly he scrambled to his feet and ran out the door, pulling his tattered cloak tight around himself. Draco rushed after him, but by the time he reached the street, the Boy Who Lived was nowhere to be found.


A/N: There will be more to come, but reviews are always appreciated. *hint hint*