Friend or Foe
"Your worst Enemy could be your best Friend, and your best Friend could be your worst Enemy." -Marley
Summary: Draco being bullied by his father really pisses Harry off. Too bad no one ever warned him exactly how complicated it could be, to get involved in pureblood business.
Characters: Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy.
AN: Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Theories and Limericks are always welcomed, in whatever order of importance you choose to give.
ANx2: Next chapter is up. And the one following this one is nearly ready. I don't suppose anyone is still interested in this little story?
Ever Yours, Pseu
"I close my eyes and I can see a world that's waiting up for me - that I call my own
Through the dark, through the door, through where no ones been before
But it feels like home
...Every night I lie in bed the brightest colours fill my head, a million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be..."
-A Million Dreams
Harry stepped through the curtains partitioning off the changing area.
He hadn't realized that neither Draco nor Cedric would be attending the Defensive Magicks workshop with him and was now exceedingly nervous to be fending for himself. So to speak. His fingers felt for the amulet hung about his neck ruefully. Not that he would know if there was anyone else in the workshop he might know.
Upon entering through the gate -after signing in properly as Draco demanded- he was given a length of cord with a small flat stone hanging off the end which he barely had time to look at before he was spun around it was tied about his neck. He was spun again the other was and a gray-green nondescript robe was thrust at him. Then Harry was shoved unceremoniously into the nearest changing area.
With a huff, he'd donned the robes, annoyed when they proved too long. Deciding he didn't care at all for their methods or their opinions Harry tores the sleeves off of the robe to match the jacket he already wore courtesy of Bill Weasley. It was then he noticed a small note affixed to the mirror hanging on the side of the wall. It was short and vague but he gathered that the amulet's purpose was to sort of distort the features of the witch or wizard wearing it. Your hair and your skin appeared within three shades lighter or darker than actually was, your height and your weight equally unknowable. The sound of your voice would as well fluctuate within tones higher and ower of its natural sound as you spoke.
The point to make it difficult for anyone to correctly identify you within the training period of the workshop unless of course, you told them so.
While that was interesting Harry found it very disconcerting when he heard his voice for the first time after donning the amulet and he'd had to press a hand to throat a few times to ensure it was him speaking, as he sounded nothing like himself.
Harry stood in a small cleared area in the makeshift courtyard with several others standing around as well. No one was talking to anyone else. Just waiting. He did see them turn to glance him over briefly. Two looked at his torn robes with disapproval, another with hair that might have been auburn merely raised a brow. He seemed almost amused.
Finally three wizards in their twenties -if Harry could dare to make a guess with all of their identities being hidden- entered from one of the other sectioned off areas. They wore the same gray-green robes, a light blue lining the only real difference that Harry could see. The one in the middle took a half step forward.
"This is the Defensive Magick workshop. If you make it to the end you will earn a reserved place in the singles and doubles Junior Competitive tourney. It takes place as part of the closing the last day of camp. There are no desks, there are no chairs. You won't be reading from a book. But there will be a pop quiz. Right now, in fact."
At those somewhat ominous words, the illusionary courtyard within the tent expanded. The three wizards Harry now assumed were in charge removed their outer robes and spread out.
"Line up!" Instructed the one to the left. " We're going to see what you can do."
It was daunting to be put on the spot, but Harry still had adrenaline in his veins from nearly dying by SlimQuid earlier and he found himself smiling readily. Learning through doing was always better than learning through a book anyway, in Harry's opinion.
If they thought they'd be called out one at a time and simply perform the magic they knew they were severely dispelled of that illusion. The instructors began firing spells at them with little warning. Harry felt himself jumping backward without really thinking about it. Growing up never knowing when you were going to get jumped really did wonders as far as reflexes and instinct went, he reasoned. Two of the others hadn't moved at all and were knocked over on the ground.
"Dead." Said the instructor on the right, his hair long enough to stand out from the other two. He sounded bored. His wand flicked toward another who was too slow in moving away. "Dead."
Harry glanced around quickly before seeking cover behind a crate. He didn't have any actual sort of plan but it was certainly better than just standing there. His only previous encounter with dueling was the ill-fated dueling club from his second year. The only thing he'd learned from that was to be quick and avoid fancy movements like the plague. Harry scowled. Okay, he must remember something from it. What spells did everyone use?
Expelliarmus of course. What else?
The crate exploded behind him and Harry was on his feet moving. Okay, he couldn't think of much and definitely didn't think he knew any shielding spells so his best bet, he reckoned, was to keep moving and avoid getting hit. To that end, he dived through a group of three other wizards just as a flash of red came into his peripheral vision. One of the wizards was hit. Harry leapt to his feet and yelled a quick apology over his shoulder. Honestly, he couldn't bring himself to feel too badly when they were just standing there anyway. They were bound to get hit sooner or later.
Harry skidded to a stop. The longer haired instructor stood ten feet before him. The instructor spotted him before he could dive for cover. The wizard flicked his wand into the air in a circle then swished it at Harry. Tiny birds bird flickered into the air for a moment then began to aim toward him one after the other. It was only the faint remembering of a class in second year and a bit of desperation that got prevented him from getting pecked.
"Immobulis!" The birds froze in the air inches from him. Harry let out a choked sigh, surprised that even worked. "Waddiwasi!" He called out, flicking his wand toward the instructor, whose eyes widened when the birds reversed their course and headed back the way they came.
Harry didn't bother sticking around to see what happened next. Darting to the other side of the courtyard Harry put a corner to his back and looked around. He could see the instructor he'd left behind focused on another group of wizards. The one who'd done the most talking was off to his left. Where was the other?
Harry, not knowing if the spell was intended for him or no and having nowhere to take cover took a chance and aimed his wand at the ground. "Ascendio!" He shot up into the air. Glancing to the side he could make out the third instructor heading his way. Feeling his ascent slowing down Harry pulled his wand up and pointed it at one of the tent's poles. "Carpe Retractum!"
A red beam shot out of his wand, wrapping its self around the pole and tugging Harry along to meet it. He was pulled quicker than he'd anticipated however and had to hurriedly bring his feet up to brace against the ceiling before he smacked into it. Harry hung an arm around the pole and turned to see what was going on below. He cursed almost immediately. Two instructors stood not five feet away from where he'd been on the ground. This would really be much easier if the other trainees weren't getting disarmed or tied up so easily, he thought sourly. Out of other options Harry resorted to trickery. He secured his boots against the pole and allowed his arm to stretch out until he was nearly perpendicular to the ground.
Pointing his wand at he instructors Harry fired off a blinding Lumos Maxima.
Immediately he let go and fell to the ground, barely remembering to tumble at the end. Shaking his head Harry climb back to his feet and headed the opposite direction hoping for somewhere to hide so he could regain his breath and figure out where everyone was at. Halfway toward a promising looking shelf, Harry collided with another wizard. It was the auburn-haired wizard from earlier. They grabbed onto one another and stumbled but managed not to fall. Giving up all semblance of any sort of plan, they soon found themselves back to back, the only trainees standing.
They couldn't move and jump around anymore and instead -without any verbal agreement- sort of fell into roles. They blocked and ducked against the spells shot at them, keeping hold of one another spinning around to let the other face whatever was coming if they were better at it. For instance, Harry knew the other wizard could shield and so anything Harry couldn't dodge to avoid or freeze and send back the other way he allowed the other wizard to block. Harry would then fire off spells intended to disarm, trip or blind their opponents.
They lasted all of five minutes before they too found themselves on the ground and disarmed. For Harry, it was the second time he'd found himself staring up from the ground that ay. Auburn hair came into view. The other wizard holding out a hand to help Harry to his feet. Obliging, Harry stood with a groan. Getting flung around hurt no matter how used to it one was.
Spells were undone, wizards revived, wands returned, and they were soon collected in the centre of the courtyard once more. One of their instructors had a clipboard with him now. Harry was a bit miffed to notice none of the instructors were out of breath. When the instructor with the clipboard finished whatever he was writing the instructor with the long hair walked by each of them and -seemingly- randomly pulled them aside into groups.
"We've seen enough. You will be put into groups with a tutor. Each day you are to report to your tutor after you check in and then proceed here to the main courtyard. Here you will receive demonstrations and information on the type of magic being practiced that day. Defensive, Offensive, and Neutral. You will have other trainees in your group which you will occasionally spar with, do your best to get along. Do not waste our time, your time, or that of your tutors. Dismissed."
Harry blinked. He stood where he'd been all along, the only wizards remaining with him was one about his age with short dark hair, and a taller one with light brown hair. The brown haired wizard turned on his heel with a vague motion to follow, so Harry assumed he was their tutor.
Half an hour later Harry was trying to remember how fun it had been at the start. He ducked and he leapt and he rolled to the side one after the other. His instructor stood on the other side of their training room firing off spells closer and closer together. He didn't have time to move that much and so was forced to spin, bend and twist in a relatively small area while trying to keep his eyes on the incoming spells. Harry could feel the sweat sliding down his skin as he umped once more to avoid a flash of blue, his leg muscles protesting all the while.
Finally, he was hit.
Harry lay on the ground, for the millionth time that day, and made no attempt to get to his feet. He didn't think he ever wanted to move from this spot as long as he lived.
"Better than when you started." That was his tutor. Annoyed, Harry managed to push himself halfway up on his arms. His glare didn't do much to the wizard standing there. Brendon was his name. Or at least the alias he used.
"Take a shower. I'll see you tomorrow." Brendon turned and left him there, a puddle of aches and self-pity. Prat.
After another minute of feeling sorry for himself, Harry got to his feet and made his way to the shower. He placed his robe into the bin that waited for it, stripped off the clothing Bill and Percy had gotten him, and proceeded to scrub until he could see actual skin under all the dirt and grime that had built up. Skin pink and fresh he donned his clothes and strode from the shower. His shoulders relaxed and felt at ease somehow just being back amidst the crowds. Odd really, considering how uncomfortable he felt when he was in one for too long. Perhaps it was just the visual confirmation that he was done getting his arse handed to him for the day that did it.
The exhausted Gryffindor turned his head to Draco leaning against the fence separating the showers from the main walkway. Waiting for him apparently. He trudged that way in spite of the discomfort any motion brought with it at the moment. When he remembered he still had horseback riding, a broom race and a game of SlimQuid that day he nearly turned back around and drowned himself in the shower. How did everyone else keep up their stamina?
Silvery eyes flicked over him. "In one piece?"
Harry didn't have the energy to glare properly. He chose to lean against the fence for support. "I've got all my limbs if that's what you mean. Can't speak for how intact my insides are."
Draco clapped his hands. "Excellent. Abraxans then lunch or lunch then Abraxans?"
Harry didn't have a clue what on earth an Abraxan was or what it did, but he knew lunch meant food. Food sounded wonderful. "Lunch." He followed Draco around the fence, wincing as the sound of the crowd, which had been dulled on the other side, converged on them full force. It was the reminder that Cedric would be paying for them that kept him following his pale headed guide through the thick of the crowd. Hot treats called to his stomach from either side as they weaved their way through and Harry found himself cursing at every single food cart and stall owner they passes and even at Draco for not giving in to his pitiful looks and allowing him to fill up on junk food. He was a growing wizard!
It took forever in his mind to get where they were going and Harry sunk into a chair at the first table he saw unoccupied. Draco left him there, placing his coat on the chair beside him and murmured something about finding Cedric. Harry waved him off, far more interested int he glasses of water that popped into existence on the table. He'd never been so thirsty in his life. On his third glass of water, a shadow loomed over the table. Harry sat up and turned to see a boy, about fifteen maybe, standing there watching him with amusement. He had high cheekbones, thin lips, and a very wide smile. Something about him was familiar. Harry cocked his head to the side in question.
The wizard brushed some of his pin straight, shoulder length hair behind an ear and motioned to the chair on Harry's other side. "May I?"
Taking that as a warm invitation the wizard sat in it and turned in his seat to face Harry. "How did you like the class? Have you been in the Junior Circuit? You were much quicker than everyone else. You may want to learn to shield though."
Harry blinked, feeling stupid. It was the same auburn haired wizard from the workshop he'd just left. He didn't look exactly the same of course but now that Harry had placed him he could recognize the way he held himself and red brown of his hair.
"Shields are the first thing I'm looking up tonight," Harry assured him. "That and how to just numb my whole body so I don't feel pain."
The other wizard laughed. "Sean Kelly."
Harry took his hand and shook it. "I'm Harry-"
"There he is!"
They both looked to the side. At the other end of the table, most of the Slim Quid team from earlier were busy making themselves comfortable. Cassius was straight across from Harry with the wizard he knew only as Thompson sat to his left. Two more wizards sat on his other side though Harry couldn't remember their names. That was when Harry realized he'd unwittingly taken one of the largest tables.
"Cassius." Harry greeted. "Thompson." He gestured to his right. "This is Sean Kelly, we're both in the Defensive Magic workshop."
While everyone greeted everyone else Draco returned with Cedric in tow. The Hufflepuff shot Hary a smile, glancing at the faces around the table. Harry hoped no one minded he'd let so many people sit down. He personally didn't really care who sat with them as long as he got to eat. Greetings and introductions made another round in light of the new additions, several of them having met before made it easier and quicker than it might have been. Harry tried to remember everyone's names when they were mentioned. If he didn't Harry supposed he could always fake it by avoiding saying their name altogether until someone else did.
A waiter appeared between Draco and Cedric ten minutes later, pulling a notebook from his apron. "How many?"
Cedric turned his head to count. "Eight-"
"I found you!" Charlie Weasley dragged a chair from another table to take a place, turning it around backward and resting his arms along the top. There were grass stains all over him. Harry guessed the redhead had been out in one of the fields most of the day. "How is it going Harry?"
Harry waved. "It's going well."
"Nine." Cedric corrected. Which of course was the precise moment Percy and Bill decide to show up as well. After they were seated beside their brother Cedric paused and glanced around as if waiting to see if anyone else was going to show up. "Ten." He said to the waiter.
Menus popped up on the tables in front of everyone. Harry took and began looking through it interestedly. Across the table, he could hear Cassius asking for some kind of cider. Harry wasn't thirsty anymore though. What he wanted was food. When everyone had ordered Harry settled into his chair and listened while friends told one another excitedly about various events. He'd have to leave for the riding class Draco signed him up for soon, but for now he let his body relax. A plate full of steaming spaghetti found its way in front of him, to his delight. After the morning he'd had Harry thought he could eat sixteen of them if he really tried.
"Is it good then?"
Harry paused and looked up. Sean watched him from the right, amusement plain on his face. Harry glanced down and saw half his plate was gone already. His face reddened. He tried to give the other wizard a sheepish expression while he chewed furiously. He swallowed the last bit of that bite and said, 'It's delicious." Deciding their was no point in acting repentant when he clearly wasn't.
Sean shrugged. He turned to his own plate and picked up a large toasted sandwich, biting into it not at all mindful of the crumbs that cascaded down. "We're growing wizards." Said Sean between bites, wiping his greasy crumby hand on the side of slacks for good measure. Harry grinned and tucked back into his own plate. He decided he very much liked the auburn headed wizard.
The lot of them were about finished when Viktor came by. He stopped long enough to give Harry and Draco a hello, and the other polite nods, an explain he'd meet up with them after their next event for their race. Charlie turned in his chair, blue eyes set on Viktor full of mischief. "I'll be joining as well. It should be a good warm up. I'm in the flying showcase as well."
Viktor boomed out a laugh. "I look forward to it!"
Then Harry was saying goodbye to Cassius and Thompson with a promise to see them later for a game of SlimQuid, and waving goodbye to Sean who had to leave for his own event. Cedric walked with Harry and Draco toward the riding lesson Draco roped him into and he was, once again, smiling for no apparent reason. Camp hadn't been at all what Harry had expected. Lots of young purebloods sticking their noses up at one another maybe. He chastised himself. That's what he got for assuming and judging, wasn't it? In fact, most of he people he'd met had been friendly and not at all snobbish. Everyone knew everyone else, for the most part, or had seen them at some other social event or another. It was quite nice. Bruises and arse kickings included.
For the first time Harry's thought weren't caught up imagining returning to school, counting down the days until he'd get on the Hogwarts Express or even with thoughts of Ron and Hermione. In fact, he had no desire for time to speed up at all. Even with the drama with Draco and his father, even though he'd been cursed and hexed, both times in a tent ironically. Even though he was tired and his body ached and he nearly killed himself on a skyboard. Harry was...enjoying himself. He was having fun. And he didn't think once about escaping life or how dreadful his relatives were.
Watching as Draco attempted to explain how to get a saddle on a flying horse, Harry felt himself living in the moment. It didn't matter how many days were left until school began. Harry had other things to think about.
"Don't you want to get away from the same old part you gotta play? ...come with me and take the ride. It'll take you to the other side." -The Other Side
Notes: Comments, Questions, Theories, Suggestions, Guesses and Limericks always welcomed.
AN: We'll be finishing off Harry's first day of camp and returning to the Weasleys.
AN2: Coming up; Letters, Gingers, Photographs and Insults.