Title: A Christmas Truce
Fandom: Harry Potter
Status: new, complete
Archive: it's a gift, so not unless you have Kelli Lynn's permission
E-mail address for feedback:: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other websites: ff.net
Disclaimers: Draco and Harry belong to me? I could only wish. Nope, not mine.
Notes: This was a Christmas present for Kelli Lynn in the Armchair Secret Santa Exchange. My observations on Draco and Goyle's gentler talents is a product of too much fanfic writing. I guess I've read it in so many different places that it's honestly how I view the pair. ^_^
Summary: Harry, Goyle and Draco are the only 6th years staying for the Christmas break.
Title: The Christmas
"Thanks Greg! Have fun over the hols, and don't forget to owl!" Gregory Goyle smiled at his friends as they rushed to get a seat on the already overflowed train. Very few of the students of Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry were actually staying for the Christmas holidays. In fact, he was pretty sure that he and his friend Draco Malfoy were the only two fifth year and up.
He was tucking the stack of parchments under his arm and preparing to head back towards the castle when three figures caught his attention and he stopped to watch.
"Are you sure you'll be all right, Harry?"
Harry Potter smiled up at his taller friends. Greg could feel his fingers practically itching to get a hold of some scratch parchment. In the last few years, that particular Gryffindor Golden Boy smiling had become a sight very rarely seen, and the artist in him was just dying to capture it.
"Of course, Ron. You and Hermione had best hurry or you'll miss the train." He hugged the red head before turning to the brunette girl beside him. "Don't forget to have some fun in between study sessions, Herm."
"I won't, Harry. You'll be fine."
"Honestly, you two. It's only three weeks. I'm sure I'll survive." The exasperation was clear and Greg smirked at the idea that the Boy Who Lived couldn't take care of himself over a single holiday. Even Draco, who was insanely jealous of Potter and thrived on making his life as difficult as possible, had been forced to concede to the smaller wizard's superior power on more than one occasion.
"I dunno, mate. I heard Malfoy's staying. I wouldn't put it past the slimy git to poison you while we're all gone."
The trio laughed, even though only Ron seemed to be serious. Harry just shook his head and pushed tousled black hair off his forehead to reveal a lightening shaped scar. "He's not as bad as all that, Ron. Besides, Remus will be bringing Snuffles for a few days around Christmas and Dumbledore wouldn't let him do anything anyways." The train whistle sounded loudly and he shoved them towards the train. "Now go!"
Any response was missed by Greg as a small second year went rushing past, knocking his parchments out of his hands.
"Sorry!" the prat called as he jumped on the train that had already begun to move. The sixth year was tempted to follow and smack him one, but decided that catching his work before the wind took it all away was more important.
He had only managed to scoop up about half when he noticed that another set of hands had begun to help. Thin, calloused hands that belonged to none other than Harry Potter. The smaller boy's seeker reflexes had helped him save the more elusive pieces and he was straightening the pile he'd captured. The Slytherin approached cautiously, waiting for the jeering and teasing that he had expected should anyone besides his friends get a hold of his artwork. He knew he was considered a thick headed bully by most of his fellow students, and few would resist the temptation of payback that he'd just accidentally placed into Potter's grasp. Of course, he'd forgotten that the raven-haired Gryffindor seldom did what one expected.
One of the pieces had caught his eye, and Potter was running a finger over it. He looked up with a faint smile. "You drew these?"
There was no mockery in his voice, merely open admiration at the talent he'd been allowed- however inadvertently- to see. Relaxing minutely, Greg nodded and reached to take the stack from Potter who seemed oddly reluctant as he passed the pictures back to their owner.
Looking at the top one, Greg saw just what had caught his companion's attention and smiled faintly.
"I didn't know he could smile like that."
"He doesn't often. I was lucky to catch him in a good mood long enough for me to draw that." The drawing in question was of Draco, happy and content, leaning against a tree. It was, in Greg's opinion, one of his best pieces.
Potter certainly seemed to agree as his gaze lingered on it, even after the pair had begun walking back towards the castle.
He wondered how odd they must appear to passersby, the Gryffindor Golden Boy walking companionably with one of the Slytherin Ice Prince's bodyguards. They drew more than a few odd stares, but then, Greg figured Potter was probably used to being stared at and he himself didn't particularly care one way or the other.
"You're very talented."
"Thank you." He watched out of the corner of his eye as his shorter companion chewed absently on his lip, obviously trying to decide something. He didn't rush Potter; if following Draco around had taught him nothing else, it had taught him the value of patience.
"Do you… Do you do commission work?"
Whatever Greg had been expecting, it hadn't been that and he had to think a moment before he could respond. "Well, not that many people know and Draco, Pansy and Vince all know they can have whatever pieces they want so they've never asked for anything specific."
"Oh." Potter seemed genuinely disappointed.
"That doesn't mean I won't," he added quickly. He wasn't sure why, but he was oddly reluctant to call a halt to the easy truce that seemed to have settled between them. "What exactly did you want?"
"Well…" The Gryffindor pushed his hair back again as he thought it over. "I have some friends, well, really they were my parents friends, and they don't have any pictures from back then. And, well, I've only one or two and I don't really want to part with them, you know?" Greg nodded. He could understand that. "I was wondering if you could draw them, using the pictures that I do have as a model."
He thought about it. Draco probably wasn't going to be happy about it, would undoubtedly consider it consorting with the enemy. Still…
Looking down at Potter, his mind flashed to an image of the dark head leaning close to Draco's fair one.
That would be a picture for the record books, and a beautiful one at that. His gaze became considering as he thought about. He knew Draco was gay, though it was a secret kept as quiet as Greg's sketching. Draco had admitted to him, in a moment of drunken honesty, that he was very and unfortunately attracted to the Gryffindor Seeker.
He didn't lean that way himself, but he could certainly imagine, from a completely aesthetic point of view, how absolutely perfect they'd look together.
Potter was glancing back down at the sketch of Draco, a wistful sort of look on his face, and Greg wondered at it. It couldn't be… Could it?
Was it possible that Potter held the same level- and type- of interest in Draco? Could it be that the attraction wasn't as one-sided as his blonde friend had always imagined?
It was well known that despite rumors that had flown around in fourth year about him and Granger, that Harry Potter had never dated anyone- male or female. Some said he was in love with the Ravenclaw Seeker, Cho Chang, but still felt guilty over Diggory's death. Others speculated that he was simply too busy trying to stay alive to worry about such frivolous things as love.
Greg didn't know, but he wanted to find out. Draco needed someone strong enough to meet him on a level playing field and challenge him. Someone who would give him a reason to stand up to his father's attempts at controlling his life.
Someone who could make that rare smile something that happened more often.
Harry Potter had proved frequently in the last few years that he was up to any challenge Draco Malfoy could throw at him. Even though he didn't always win their battles- because, really, Draco was too sly to allow himself to be beaten often even if it meant making a strategic withdrawal- Harry never backed down. A true Gryffindor, through and through, the boy had more guts than common sense.
"Hmm?" His thoughts were pushed back at the slight tugging on his sleeve and he realized that Potter was still waiting for an answer. "Oh, well, I'd have to see the pictures first, but yeah, I probably could."
There it was again, that bright grin from the train station- the one that seemed to chase away all the inner demons that haunted the other boy. He didn't think Draco was going to be very pleased when he realized that Greg had basically buried the hatchet with Potter- at least, not at first- but he was unwilling to do anything that might cause that smile to dim again.
And really. It was for Draco's own good.
With that in mind, Greg smiled to himself and continued to chat with Harry Potter all the way back to Hogwart's.
Promising to meet back in the Great Hall at dinner time to exchange the pictures and a few ideas, the pair went their separate ways at the main entrance. Greg groaned out loud when he noticed Draco bearing down on him like some sort of vengeful spirit.
Obviously, his arrival with Potter hadn't gone unnoticed. It annoyed him a bit, he'd hoped to have a little time to cobble together some sort of plan or explanation that would smooth things over for all of them during this holiday. As it was, he barely had time to say hello before Draco was grilling him.
"All right, Gregory Goyle. What are you doing with Potter? Why on Earth were the two of you acting like you were suddenly best friends? Why is he staying here anyways, I thought you and I were the only students above fifth year staying. Well, explain yourself."
"If you'd shut up a moment, I would." The blonde Slytherin's scowl deepened, but he finally paused long enough for Greg to get a word in edge-wise. "Potter always stays for the holidays, you knew that already." So what if even he'd forgotten that little tidbit until this afternoon. No sense in letting Draco know that. "He helped me pick up my sketches after some prat second year knocked them out of my hands and then we decided to walk back together since we were the only two students left."
"But, this is Potter."
"Who just happens to be the only student anywhere near our age that's staying. So, I thought we should all have a holiday truce and try to get along."
"You can always hang around those little second years that were trying to eat you up this morning. I, on the other hand, would rather deal with Potter."
Draco's face took on a miserable look as he recalled the brats that had ambushed him that morning, effectively preventing him from seeing the train off and Greg knew he'd won. Still, just to make sure… "Unless, of course, you'd rather have Creevey following you around taking pictures."
Somewhere around the beginning of fifth year, Potter had managed to perform a minor miracle. No one was quite sure how he'd done it, but somehow, he'd convinced Colin Creevey to keep his camera as far away from him as humanly possible. Nowadays, when Creevey saw Potter coming, he tended to 'Eep' loudly, then beat a hasty retreat. A sound thrashing from both Greg and Vince hadn't managed that feat.
Scrunching up his nose in a distasteful manner, Draco seemed to consider for a moment before sighing and giving in to the inevitable. The bigger Slytherin figured it probably helped his case that his companion actually wanted to be able to spend a little non-hostile time with his archrival.
"Oh, fine then. Potter it is. If he can refrain from random hexing's and fist cuffs, then so can I."
Greg knew better than to point out that while the Gryffindor frequently finished their fights, Draco was the one who always started them.
Dinner that evening wasn't as strained as Greg had feared.
Potter, obviously grateful to be able to enjoy his holiday rather than spend it fighting, was perfectly friendly. He never quite smiled, but there was a hint of wry amusement lurking about his face. He seemed completely bemused at the idea that he was eating at the Slytherin table with the very two Slytherin's he'd spent the last six years fighting with.
Draco, true to his word, was the very epitome of all that was polite and charming. Though he'd started the meal out with a bit of frost in his manner, by dessert, the trio were happily arguing about Quidditch.
Oh, the bonding miracles that a common interest in a sport can do for boys.
For the most part, Greg stayed silent and watched his companions. Occasionally, when it looked like they might stumble off into subjects best left untouched, he steered the conversation into safer waters. But, on the whole, he just enjoyed the show and was regretful when the meal ended and it was time to send the Gryffindor on his way and remove themselves to their own common room.
As they stood to leave, a sharp clapping noise stopped them and they turned to face the head table.
"Because there are so few teachers and students remaining behind this year, I've decided that it won't hurt to allow those third year and up a trip to Hogsmeade."
There was a smattering of applause, proving that the low numbers hadn't been restricted to the higher years.
"Professor Snape has kindly agreed," Potter's snicker made him look towards the teacher in questions face. If that man had voluntarily agreed to anything, Greg would eat his robe. Snape's glower clearly said that he was doing this under extreme protest. "to take you himself in four days time."
With that, they were dismissed and the students trickled out into the hallways. Draco and Potter were still chuckling faintly as they made up all the various things Dumbledore had blackmailed the Potions Professor with in order to force him to take the students into town.
With a fond smile, Greg followed behind them listening as the suggestions got wilder and wilder. It was nice to see that Quidditch wasn't the only thing the pair had in common- both had the absolute wickedest sense of humor.
"Hey Malfoy!" The trio turned to stare into a camera lens. Greg raised his hand, but it proved unnecessary. "EEP!" The fifth year Gryffindor menace turned and fled once he realized that Potter was with them.
Both Slytherin's watched him disappear down the hall before turning admiring glances at their companion.
"How on Earth, did you ever manage to accomplish that?" Greg wondered if Draco had any idea how in awe his voice sounded at the moment.
Potter just shrugged self-consciously. "It wasn't anything I did on purpose, even if he won't believe it." Greg and Draco just continued to stare expectantly and with an exasperated sigh, the shorter boy, elaborated. "I sort of blew up his last camera."
Greg raised a brow. That couldn't be all, he and Vince had properly smashed at least two or three cameras and had only been gotten stuck with replacing the damned things.
Running a hand through messy black hair, Potter glowered for a moment and then smirked faintly. "I did it with wandless magic."
He wondered if he looked as silly as Draco, who's mouth was gaping open with astonishment. Wandless magic? Not even You-Know-Who could actually do wandless magic! Although, now that he thought about it, Greg was sure he'd seen Dumbledore do it a few times.
Well, that certainly explained why certain dark wizards feared a school boy.
The Gryffindor chuckled lightly and raised a finger to each of their chins. Pushing their mouths closed he grinned. "You'll catch flies like that."
"You can do wandless magic?" Draco seemed torn between being jealous and being impressed.
Shrugging again, Potter's smile took on a self-mocking look. "Like I said, not on purpose. It only happens when I'm really pissed or frightened and he just happened to catch me at a bad time."
Draco looked up at Greg and they shared a moment of silent communication, each acknowledging that perhaps they'd been in more danger with their tormenting of this boy than they'd ever imagined.
"Err.. I don't suppose you'd mind covering your ears?"
Startled, Greg looked around and realized that they had somehow wondered into Gryffindor territory and Potter was shifting uneasily in front of a painting of a Fat Lady who was glaring at him severely.
"You can't leave yet," the shorter boy interrupted as Draco turned to leave. "I have to get something for Goyle."
Greg could have slapped himself. The pictures. Of course. He'd forgotten them somehow over the course of the evening. Obediently, he covered his ears and motioned for Draco to do the same.
A bit dubious, Draco complied and Potter looked relieved.
Whispering something to Fat Lady, the Gryffindor then held open the painting and waited patiently, waving them in. Unclasping his ears, Greg entered with Draco following hesitantly.
"Aren't you going to get in trouble for this?"
Potter shrugged. "I didn't tell you the password, and it's not like I'll just leave you alone to mess with anything." The calculating look seemed a bit out of place on the generally easy-going face. It made the boy seem more Slytherin than Gryffindor. "Besides, both of you are above such crass and common behavior as rifling through others belongings, right?"
"Of course." Greg laughed to himself at how neatly Potter had painted Draco into a corner. Now the little blonde klepto dared not touch anything for fear of being labeled common. Only being called a Mudblood would be worse in his aristocratic friend's mind. Harry Potter, darling of the wizarding world, was not only more observant than he was usually credited for, he was obviously not above taking ruthless advantage of a person's weak spots.
His respect for his new friend just went up another notch.
"Come on, then. I pulled them out before I went down to dinner."
Leading them up quickly, Potter gave them no chance to do more than glance at the bright gold and red common room before they were up the stone stairs and entering a room marked '6th Year Boys'.
It wasn't hard to tell which bed belonged to the seeker. Not only was there a Firebolt laid out on it next to a broom-servicing kit, there was also a large stuffed snitch sitting on the pillow.
Potter noticed their glance and blushed. "It was a Christmas present last year."
Perched on the small nightstand beside the bed was an album that the other boy picked up almost reverently. There was a slight hesitation before Potter nodded to himself and motioned for them to follow him back downstairs.
In the common room, he perched uneasily on one gold gilded red couch and laid out the album on the table. Quietly, he opened the front page to reveal a man and a woman who waved cheerily up at them. In their arms, sat a small baby, gurgling happily, seeming to have not a care in the world.
With a far off look, Harry traced the image. "This is the one of my parents. I have another, but this is probably the best one to use."
Draco lifted a brow in question, but Potter was too busy gazing at his parents and Greg chose to ignore him.
"That'll work. Do you want to take it out, or do you just want me to hold onto the entire album until I'm done?"
The Gryffindor worried his lower lip, obviously unsure at the wisdom of leaving such a treasured item in the hands of a Slytherin. He glanced back up at Greg, searching his face for a long moment. Whatever he found there must have reassured him for he nodded resolutely. "Hold on to it. Also," He flipped through a few more pages, giving the other boys a tantalizing glimpse of his life before stopping on another photo of a couple. A much younger Professor Lupin waved at them with a soft smile while a dark haired boy leaned against his back and blew a kiss up at Harry. "These are their friends. If you could include them, or do a separate one with just them, that'd be great."
Greg didn't recognize the second figure in the picture, but it was obvious that Draco did.
He'd gasped and grabbed the edge of the page, earning a glare from their host that he ignored. "Isn't that Sirius Black?!"
Potter's scowl had grown dark. "Yes, what of it?"
"He's a bloody murderer! He betrayed your parents to You-Know-Who! Hell, he tried to kill you!"
There was genuine worry in Draco's voice, and Greg figured that was probably the only thing that kept Potter from exploding.
"Don't make accusations when you don't know the whole story, Malfoy."
"But everybody knows-"
"Everybody is wrong." There was no hesitation, no doubt in the smaller boy's tone. "Sirius was innocent."
"Sirius was innocent."
Unwilling to let the evening spiral into a complete disaster when it had been going so well, Greg deflected Potter's anger away from Draco while still getting the questions answered in the only way he knew how. He asked them himself and prayed Potter wouldn't be pissed enough to blow him up with any of that wandless magic. "If Black was innocent then why did he go to Azkaban?"
With a grimace that spoke of haunting pain, Potter sank back into the couch and stared off into the fire. It was a long moment before he spoke again, his voice weary and resigned. "The Marauder's were best friends. There were four of them Moony, Padfoot, Wormtail, and Prongs. All were Gryffindors, all were bigger mischief-makers than the Weasely twins ever dreamed of being. Somewhere along the way, Moony confessed to the others that he was a werewolf and that once a month Dumbledore sent him out to the Shrieking Shack so that he could transform and not have to worry about harming any of the other students. The others wanted to do something to help their friend and show their support. So, they decided to become animagus. I don't know how long it took, but eventually they succeeded though they never told anyone other than Prongs' girlfriend. Padfoot was a large dog, Prongs a stag, and Wormtail a rat. For the most part, they never truly harmed anyone, though Filch will still gripe about them for hours if you get him started." There was a sort of rueful honesty that made Greg wonder which detention the poor boy had been spent listening to that particular spiel. "There was one incident that forever earned them the hatred of Snape, but other than that, most people- Dumbledore especially- just seemed to find them amusing."
"Is there a-"
Harry growled at him. "Yes, there's a point and I'm getting there." He paused a moment longer, making sure Draco wasn't going to interrupt again, then continued. "The friendship continued after they graduated. Prongs married his girlfriend with the other three Marauder's serving jointly as his best men. Not long after, they had a child. Times were obviously a bit messy and they had reason to worry that they might not survive, so they named Padfoot as the child's godfather. He wasn't the most responsible choice, but Wormtail wasn't as close to the mother as Padfoot and Moony, and Moony wouldn't be accepted by the Ministry as a fit guardian since he was a werewolf. The world got even worse thanks to Valdemorte," Harry didn't seem to notice that both his companion's flinched at the name, " and evidence came up that there was a betrayer among those fighting against the Death Eaters. No one was sure who the spy was, but a lot of speculation pointed to Moony- werewolves aren't to be trusted with secrets after all, being as they're only mindless beasts." Harry glared at Draco then, still sore apparently, about the blonde's treatment of Lupin in third year.
"What? I never said he was mindless!"
Potter just snorted and continued. "It also came up that Prongs and his wife could be in more direct danger of an attack from Valdemorte than they'd previously thought," this time he rolled his eyes as he caught the flinch. "It was decided that they should have a secret keeper just to make sure. The obvious choice, of course, was Padfoot. He'd been Prongs' first friend, was his child's godfather, and was rather stubborn. Everyone was sure that even if he was tortured, he'd never give up his friends. Padfoot, however, felt that he was too obvious. He was also worried that if the spy was someone he trusted, he might accidentally say something and betray them without realizing it. So, he talked Prongs into going along with someone else. Wormtail was kind of average and boring and Padfoot figured that no one would ever suspect him as the secret keeper. Unfortunately he was right."
Greg winced. He could see where this was going.
"Wormtail was the true spy but he was so boring and average that no one had ever even dreamed of it. So, Wormtail led Valdemorte to Prongs home, where the bastard then killed the parents but was then struck down by the backlash when his killing curse didn't work on the child. Wormtail, in a panic, knew he'd be fried as soon as Sirius caught up with him and fled. He'd counted on having protection when he betrayed his friends, after all, and he wasn't stupid enough to think the remaining Marauder's were going to let the Ministry deal with him. So, when Padfoot managed to corner him, he cut off his finger, made it look like he'd been blown up and escaped down the sewer in his animagus form. Sirius, pretty much out of his mind by that point, both with grief and guilt, didn't put up a fight when the aurors came and took him away. I suppose he thought for sure that the truth would come out in his trial. It probably would have. Unfortunately for him, Crouch was at the height of his own insanity and didn't even bother with a trial. There were witnesses on the scene after all, and really. Who else would the Potter's have chosen as their secret keeper?"
The trio sat in silence for several minutes; Greg and Draco digesting this challenge to a story they'd heard all their lives, Harry just staring moodily into the flames.
It was Draco that broke the silence. "Damn."
Bitter amusement crossed Potter's features. "Quite."
Greg stood up and scooped up the photo album, closing it. "It's getting late, Potter, and we should go."
Potter snickered softly to himself as he nodded. "Sure, you wouldn't want Snape to catch you out in the mood he's in."
The Slytherin's chuckled in agreement and Potter led them out. At the painting, he waved them off, his face a bit wistful as he watched them start down the hallway.
"We'll see you at breakfast, right?"
With a grin, the Gryffindor shrugged. "Probably. Depends on if I can drag myself out of bed that early or not."
"Perhaps we'll sit at the Gryffindor table if you do."
"Now that is a sight worth getting up for! Can I ask Colin to take pictures?" Both Greg and Potter laughed at Draco's look of horror.
"G'night, Goyle, Malfoy."
"G'night, Potter!" A well-placed elbow produced a similar salutation from the smaller Slytherin and Greg smiled to himself. All in all, it had been a good day.
"What do you think of Potter?"
Greg rolled over in his bed to face the direction his friend's voice was coming from. Shrugging, even though he knew the gesture couldn't be seen in the dark, he sighed. "He seems friendly enough as long as you don't insult anyone he cares for."
Burrowing deeper into his covers, Greg didn't even bother to answer.
"Do you think he thought we were friendly?"
This time the large Slytherin rolled his eyes as he wondered if Draco could be any more obvious. "I'm sure he did."
"Either that or he though we were plotting something."
Greg made a non-committal sound and starting counting sheep.
"Are we planning something?"
Draco sounded a bit confused and he had to chuckle. The other boy was used to being the one who made the plans while everyone else followed along. He didn't seem to know how to deal with the role reversal.
"Just planning on having an enjoyable Christmas. Now go to sleep."
"Oh.. Okay. G'night, Greg."
"Good night, Draco."
The quiet lasted for a few more minutes, but he could hear his friend tossing and turning on the other bed.
He wondered idly if he'd have to knock Draco out to get any sleep.
"Do you think Potter would consider being my friend now?"
"I don't know Draco, I can't read his mind. Ask him tomorrow. Until then, shut up and let me go to sleep!"
He didn't think Draco actually went to sleep any time soon after that, but at least he did shut up and Greg was able to.
Draco didn't ask Potter anything in the days that followed, but Greg did notice that he went out of his way to be pleasant.
Most of their daytime was filled snowball fights and mock Quidditch games with the younger years. It was amusing to them that even with only their three to the others nine, they still managed to win by a fairly hefty margin.
When Potter confessed to having never built a snowman, Greg and Draco took it upon themselves to drag him out and show him how it was done. Both nearly fell over themselves laughing when the muggle-born boy proved to be absolutely clueless about how one would go about using magic for the task. Privately, Greg thought it was sad, somehow, that for all the charms and spells and such that Potter had been forced to learn over the years, absolutely none of it was for fun.
Potter had learned what he needed to know to fight and survive and little else.
Even Draco, often too snobbish to lower himself to such menial enjoyments, seemed to realize that and redoubled his own efforts to show Potter a good time.
Greg frequently sat apart and worked on the drawing of James and Lily Potter. It was coming along nicely and he had a few ideas about how to add Lupin and Black to it. It hadn't taken much intelligence to realize who the 'friends' were that he wanted the drawing for and if Lupin was coming by before Christmas, then he wanted the project done by then.
Working on it also gave him an excuse to abandon the pair to each other for long stretches of time. He stayed close enough to avert any fights should they begin to brew, but far enough away that the pair had some semblance of privacy. If Potter really was interested in Draco, then Greg thought that spending friendly time together was the best way for the pair to figure it out on their own.
It wouldn't do for either of them to think that Greg was trying to play matchmaker, they'd probably going back to hating each other just to annoy him.
In keeping with the theory that time flies when one is having fun, four days passed in a blur and the trio found themselves setting off for Hogsmeade bright and early one morning with the other half dozen or so students old enough to go. The dark scowl on their chaperone's face did nothing to darken the mood.
Though he released them with a strident admonishment not to get into trouble and to show up at the designated meeting spot on time, Draco and Greg followed Snape. The Potions Professor needed some things for his class and Draco just liked the shops that sold various potion ingredients.
Potter seemed to hesitate, seeming unsure whether or not he was welcome with their group or if he should go off on his own.
It was Draco that turned in almost fond exasperation. "Aren't you coming, Potter?"
And there it was, bright as the sun coming out from behind the clouds, that rarely seen but always treasured grin. Greg had little time to wonder if he was beginning to be obsessive before Potter hurried to catch up with them and the three students followed their professor, chatting amiably under his astonished eyes.
"And when did this happen?"
"Whatever on Earth do you mean, Professor Snape?" Potter's face was a study of innocence, as if he couldn't understand just what his teacher was on about. He seemed to radiate a clueless ness that the Slytherin's had long since discovered was mostly show. Snape just rolled his eyes as Draco and Greg grinned at the performance. "It's a Christmas Truce, sir. We didn't see any need to spend three weeks fighting when we could spend three weeks frightening everyone into believing I'm being seduced to the dark side."
Snape seemed to choke on that while Draco and Greg howled in laughter. Wiping tears of mirth from his eyes, the blonde Slytherin slung one arm around Harry's shoulders. He ignored the smaller boy's squawk of protest and proceeded to rub his knuckles into the messy black hair, making it stick up even worse than usual. "'I didn't even realize you'd heard those nasty little rumors."
Potter rolled emerald eyes before shooting his tormentor an exasperated look. "Malfoy, there's like, maybe twenty-five students and eight professors total staying for hols. And each and every one of them has cornered me at least once to ask if I feel okay."
Greg chortled merrily.
He'd known Potter was perfect for Draco before, but now he was completely convinced.
With a snort of his own, Snape just shook his head and continued.
Inside the first shop, Potter seemed completely lost. Potions weren't something he was all that interested in and Goyle couldn't help but empathize. He didn't care for it either, but that had never stopped Draco from dragging them in here every time they came to Hogsmeade.
His friend loved Potions, wanted, in fact, to be a Potions master himself. It was one of the sore points between the younger and elder Malfoy males. Lucius had decreed long ago that his son stop such foolishness and do something more befitting his station in life. He'd also made it perfectly clear that no son of his was going to waste a knut of the Malfoy money on any potion need that wasn't necessary for school. None of the shops in Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley would sell to the younger Malfoy.
Which was one of many reasons why Greg hated coming in with Draco. It made him sad to watch his friend gaze longingly at all the various potions kits, books, and ingredients.
He noticed that Potter was watching too, a slightly puzzled look on his face. When the other boy looked like he was about to question why Draco wasn't buying what he so obviously wanted, Greg made a shushing motion. He was pleased to see that the Gryffindor subsided despite the multitude of questions he could see burning behind the glasses.
Potter seemed to have taken over his place as observer and spent most of the day watching Greg and Draco. He spoke when spoken to and made a few wry-humored jokes here and there, but for the most part, he just watched.
It actually unnerved Greg a bit. It made him feel like a bug in a jar even though their dark haired companion didn't seem to be trying to make them uncomfortable. He was sure that Potter was filing away every piece of information that he seemed to be gathering, but there was nothing malicious or calculating in his manner. More like he was simply curious and was trying to figure out what made his new friends tick.
"Greg? Have you seen Harry?"
Greg looked over at where his friend was standing in the center of the joke shop they'd stopped at. Draco had his hands propped on his hips and was glaring at everyone as his eyes searched the store for the missing member of their group.
Snape, leaning near the doorway looking bored answered. "He went to pick up some things he forgot."
Draco's face darkened considerably at that news and Greg wondered if he was going to throw a temper tantrum.
"But he left without a word!"
"Mr. Malfoy, I was unaware that you were Mr. Potter's keeper."
"He'll catch up, Draco. Don't worry."
The other boy didn't look worried, at all. He looked pissed and Greg grumbled a few choice curses in Potter's direction as he realized that a great deal of the progress made between the pair over the last few days had been lost.
A little less than an hour later, it was a much more subdued Slytherin group that met up with the other students in front of the Three Broomsticks. Snape counted the students and then groaned when he realized that Potter was still missing. He turned towards them, presumably to order them to go find Potter when the boy in question came hurrying up out of breath.
"Sorry Professor Snape, it took longer than I thought."
"Oh, no need to worry, Potter. We all live to wait for you." The aggrieved tone caused Potter's face to tighten faintly, but other than that there was no dampening of the pleased happiness the short boy exuded until his gaze landed on the still pissed Draco. "Now that Mr. Potter has decided to grace us with his presence, it's time to go."
"Whatever." With a cold sneer, Draco pushed past Harry and moved to follow the other students. The Gryffindor stood there looking completely baffled and more than a little hurt at his actions. Greg had to catch his sleeve and pull him along with everyone else.
"What did I do?"
It took a better man than Greg was to stand up to the anguished pleading in that too thin face. Potter looked like someone who'd been given a coveted present for Christmas only to have it wrenched away as soon as he'd gotten over the shock of getting it.
"You left us in the joke shop without saying a word, Potter. It wasn't very polite of you."
Features scrunched up in thought, Potter considered this for a moment before his eyes widened in surprise and his gaze jerked ahead to land on the back of Draco's head. "He's mad because I didn't tell you guys where I was going?"
There was more to it than that, but Greg didn't think it was his place to enlighten his companion. "Something like that."
"But it's a surprise! I couldn't very well say anything without spoiling it."
Ahead of them, he could see Draco's shoulders tighten briefly before relaxing a bit and he sighed in relief himself. A surprise at Christmas could only be a present.
And though Draco didn't deign to drop back to walk with them, Greg knew his friend wouldn't be able to resist the siren's lure of an unexpected gift for long. Perhaps all hadn't been lost after all.
The pair of Slytherins didn't see hide nor hair of Potter in the three days between the trip to Hogsmeade and Christmas morning. If he was eating, he wasn't doing it in the Great Hall. In fact, Draco had wondered out loud if he'd left his common room at all since no one but Creevey had admitted to seeing him.
Draco moped, torn between his remaining indignation and his contriteness for having jumped to conclusions. Greg hadn't bothered to ask what conclusion the other had formed, after all, it didn't matter. What mattered that Draco's unwarranted anger had apparently threatened their Christmas truce and driven their new found friend into hiding.
Christmas morning found the pair sitting in the Great Hall talking quietly about the gifts they'd received and speculating on whether or not Potter thought he could hide in the Gryffindor tower for the rest of the holiday.
Draco was all for having Greg go up and drag his fellow seeker down kicking and screaming if need be. Greg himself was a little more pragmatic- not to mention sensible. Potter would come down when Potter was ready.
And that morning, it appeared that Potter was ready. The Boy Who Lived swept through the doors looking for all the world as if he owned the place. At his heels, a large black dog trotted and directly behind them, a fond grin in place, was Professor Lupin.
With a sheepish look, Greg leaned over and whispered what he remembered of the conversation he'd overheard at the train station. Of course Potter hadn't been hiding from them, hiding wasn't something that he did. Instead, he'd just been busy.
Before Draco could work himself into another bout of righteous indignation, Potter had made his way over to their table, arms outstretched to hold out two gaudily wrapped gifts.
"Here you are! Happy Christmas!"
Greg took his and unwrapped it quickly to reveal a deluxe art set the likes of which he'd never seen before. With a big grin, he turned back to the waiting boy. "Thanks, Potter."
"Honestly, we've made it a week without killing each other. I think you can call me Harry, don't you?"
Laughing, Greg held out his own present to Harry. "Thanks, Harry. Here's yours." The surprise that swept the other's face told him plainly that a reciprocated gift hadn't been expected at all.
A faint gasp turned all their attentions to where Draco had finally finished the more careful unwrapping of his own gift. The somewhat bulky package turned out to be one of the more complete potions kits along with a thick book entitled 'Everything a Future Potions Master Needs To Know'.
Harry met Draco's astonished look with a hopeful smile. "I hope it's the right one. The shop owner seemed to recall that you'd particularly wanted it. But, he may have just been trying to get me to spend more money."
Mouth working, Draco seemed unable to respond coherently and Greg had to hand it to Potter. Even knowing how much his friend wanted such things but wasn't allowed to purchase them, it had never occurred to Greg or their other friends to buy them for him themselves. It was the perfect gift though.
A tangle of limbs later and those present were laughing softly at the bemused look on Harry's face as he found himself holding an armful of over-exuberant Slytherin.
"Thank You, Harry! It's absolutely perfect!" Draco's voice was muffled as he buried his face in the raven locks of his former enemy.
Harry chuckled a bit and after an awkward moment, wrapped his own arms around the blonde. "You're welcome, Draco."
Pulling back just far enough so that he could look at Harry, Draco's happy face dimmed slightly. "But I didn't get you anything."
The Gryffindor just smiled. "S'all right. I didn't get you a present so that you'd have to get me one. Besides, you taught me how to build a snowman with magic. That's gift enough for me."
Unsaid, but clear in the cheerful face, was that they'd kept him from brooding during the holiday. They'd made him happy. For Harry Potter, that was surely an amazing gift to receive.
"Gift enough or not, open the one I gave you!"
The whine was just enough to break what could have become an overly mushy moment and Greg mentally patted himself on the back. While he wanted the pair to have such sentimental moments, he thought it best that those moments were left in private.
With a chuckle, Harry opened the flat package Greg had given him. In it, were a handful of sketches.
Transfixed, Harry looked through them all. There were a dozen or so, most of them containing his mother and father, a few with Lupin and Black, several with a baby Harry included. The last two were almost identical and with a chuckle, Greg took one of them and handed it to Draco.
"Sorry bout that."
It was the picture he'd imagined on that first day. Two heads leaning together, one light, one dark- both beautiful. Draco's expression was similar to the one in the picture that Harry had so admired that day, soft and happy. Harry's face bore the bright grin that Greg had obsessed over drawing.
He'd had no difficulty in drawing it, the pair had both worn similar expressions all week.
As he'd suspected, Harry had met the challenge that was Draco Malfoy and had proven himself to be exactly what the blonde Slytherin had needed. Likewise, Draco had managed to lift that ever present layer of sadness that tended to stifle Harry Potter.
Maybe they weren't quite together, but Greg was sure it was only a matter of time.
His Christmas Truce had been a rousing success.