Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to J. K. Rowling and co! ^_^ I'm just borrowing the characters to mess with their minds a little bit. And I'm only doing it because I love them! *V* This is a distraction from my other stories, I know... *sweatdrop* and it doesn't have a plot or anything... just an introspection, almost. Kinda a catharsis for Harry that he doesn't have in the books.
Sort of angsty, kinda depressed. Introspective.



Fate's Jailbird
Shamera



It had truly been a horrible day for Draco Malfoy. From the moment he woke up, he could feel it. Like the feeling in your bones when you realize that you were seriously going to hate having woken up in the first place.

Of course, he was right. The weather had been more than dreary, clouds hanging low and stifling, without the refreshing breeze it would have carried had it been storm clouds. But no, these were just the clouds to dampen someone's spirits. Not only that, he found out that Crabbe had been messing with his things again (that boy really needed to learn to stay out of other people's items) and he couldn't find his prefect badge.

He had spent too much time searching for it and didn't have the time to style his hair up in its usual manner before running to breakfast. At breakfast, he got a letter from his father about being a failure at Quidditch for not beating Harry Potter, and the shame he was causing the family due to the fact that Hermione Granger still held the number one position grade-wise. He had scowled and thrown it away, irritated by the fact that his father would not give up on the illusion of his perfect little boy. All Lucius Malfoy did was criticize, not stepping away long enough to realize that Draco was one of the smartest people in school, and also one of the best Quidditch players.

He wasn't interested in being the very best. He only kept up his sharp tongue and taunts (especially to the Gryffindor Trio) to keep his father happen. There had been a time when he truly enjoyed making Harry Potter and his friends miserable, but that time was long in passing. Now it just didn't seem worth his attention, especially when he felt sympathetic to the Potter boy himself.

Not that he would ever admit that to anybody. He still kept up his insults and sneers, of course, one for the fact that it wouldn't do for him to suddenly stop, and another for that it was a familiar routine to him, one he was surprised to realize he had taken for granted. In fact, lately his barbs and taunts had been sharper than ever.

His day had gotten worse with the pop quiz in Transfiguration, a class in which he was barely retaining a decent grade. He could almost feel the impact it would make on his overall grade. Not to mention that Professor McGonagall had been glaring at him the entire time. That woman really needed to find another hobby than to annoy Slytherins. It must be bad for her health, considering that she had to deal with them everyday anyway.

History of Magic was even worse when Professor Binns had actually stopped his lecture to scold Draco for making too much noise when he had been searching his bag for the quill he dropped inside. And considering that Binns usually didn't stop his monotone lecture for anything, the Hufflepuffs had snickered about it for the entire period, making Draco so mad that he turned to hex one of the students sitting in the back. Wasn't his fault, of course. They certainly deserved it.

It didn't help that afterwards, he had bumped into the Gryffindor Golden Boy himself in the corridors, which made him testier than he had been the entire day. It was a good thing that Potter hadn't responded to any of his jests, only giving him a sparing glance before hurrying away. It had certainly infuriated him at the time, though, to know that the other boy was ignoring him.

At lunch Pansy had slobbered all over him for his 'sexy new hairstyle' (he had forgotten that his hair wasn't gelled perfectly) and tried to force her tongue down his throat. He had shoved her off and also refused to talk to Blaise for the rest of the day because the other boy had laughed so hard he fell off the bench. He might have liked Pansy more if she hadn't tried to force herself on him all these years. It was disgusting to have a girl cling to you when you were seven... and well; old habits were hard to change. He didn't believe that all girls had cooties anymore, but he made the exception for Pansy.

The day continued when he spilled his ink all over his books bag, ruining the homework he spent hours on the day before for Arithmancy. Who wanted to learn Arithmancy, anyway? The subject was more than boring and completely tedious. Not to mention, it gave out a large amount of homework each class. And it was only another class that was dominated by Granger, and another class that she excelled at.

By the time he stepped into Double Potions, Draco was ready to scream. The day had steadily decayed his frayed nerves and gnawed at his self-control. He just couldn't stand anything else happening or he might snap and do something that could get him expelled. Although he hadn't seen how strangling a random student was enough to get him expelled. It didn't require magic, right? So maybe he would just get detention and a satisfying sense of knowing that he had gotten to hurt someone.

And so he had been more depressed to learn that Professor Snape wanted all the students to partner with someone from a different house. Seeing that Slytherins always managed to get Potions with the Gryffindors, Draco had somehow once again ended up with Harry Potter.

He would have been twitching at the point had it not been for the raven-haired boy taking over most of the work, even though it was Draco who was better at Potions. Apparently, Potter had been to busy in his own thoughts to really register that his Potions partner was Draco Malfoy, and so hadn't protested against anything.

After an hour of silence between the two boys with the exception of questions based on the potion they were working on (which was a potion that made breathing optional for a person for a certain amount of time), Draco started getting worried about the other boy. After all, all their arguments hadn't just included the Slytherin- the bespectacled boy had been as much an active participant as he. It wasn't like Potter to be so silent, especially when working with Draco.

So decidedly, Draco had also kept his silence, his mental grumbling about bad days turning into curiosity for what the other boy was thinking about.

Potions had somehow gone off without a hitch, although Potter's two friends had come up afterwards and glared at him as if he had something to do with the other boy's silence. Being that he had a terrible day behind him and enough reasons to commit murder and get away with temporary insanity, Draco had started insulting Weasley and Granger with fervor, ignoring the third small boy in his insults. Although he hadn't wanted to admit it, Draco didn't want to upset the boy any more.

The Weasel had gotten mad extremely easily, as always, and nearly threw a punch in before both Granger and Potter came to their senses and dragged him down, seeing as Crabbe and Goyle had both come to back their fellow Slytherin up. Potter only managed to give the blonde Slytherin a rueful and weak glare before starting away, but the look made Draco feel immensely better for some reason.

A good thing might have been the fact that things had started to get better around dinnertime, where Draco stared at the Gryffindor table to try and figure out why Potter had been so distracted in Potions. Blaise had managed to discourage Pansy from bugging him more that day, and Draco felt grateful- although he wouldn't tell that to Blaise. The other Slytherin boy was enough of smug bastard without complimenting him.

But it was after dinner when everyone went back to their dormitories... after midnight when Draco had given up on getting a restful sleep, he had sneaked out of the Slytherin rooms for a walk. It wasn't as if he would get in trouble if he got caught, as he was a prefect and had excuses.

It was only chance that made Draco walk pass the owlery as part of his midnight excursion. It was only chance that he leaned in and saw Harry Potter sitting calmly on one of the benches in the owlery with a large snowy owl perched on his shoulder and nipping his ear.

And so he had stayed. Hidden in the shadows near the door of the owlery, peering in at the boy who had behaved so strangely that day. Shouldn't the Gryffindor boy be already tucked into his bed with dreams of splendor and glory? Did his friends even know he was there?

Draco quashed the concerned thoughts, and listened intently as the dark-haired boy spoke in a low, soothing tone to the owl, whom had unfolded great white wings to engulf Potter's head in. The scene was strangely melancholy, as if a painter had frozen the moment on canvas. The picture of a small, lost boy and a concerned animal that was taking care of the boy.

A few minutes of treats and soothing words to the owl later, Harry just sat still and allowed the owl to nip gently at his fingers, green eyes distracted and unfocused. He looked as if it pained him to keep his eyes open, as if he didn't want to see what lay ahead. Draco was startled by the hopelessness and pain that Harry's posture gave off. He was compelled to just walk forward and sit with the boy, but his pride decided against that.

"Isn't it strange how things always turn out the way it's supposed to?"

Draco stayed silent as Harry started talking to his owl, staying close to the shadows and peering with gray eyes at the smaller boy.

Harry gave a sad smile, stroking the owl's wings. "I guess it really took them long enough. We all knew they fancied each other, right? I remember joking with Seamus last year about how they were oblivious to everything. Especially when 'Mione is usually so smart and all."

He hesitated for a moment before speaking again. "So why do I feel…" he struggled for words, "so… left out, I guess. I always knew they were going to end up with each other- I was even waiting for it to happen. And… it's not as if I feel jealous because they chose each other." He stopped for a moment.

The owl hooted softly and rubbed her head against Harry's for a moment.

"And with Voldemort on the rise…" Harry sighed, his eyes gazing over. "Things are just taking a turn for the worse. Would you believe that I never really believed that Voldemort would come back, Hedwig?" He continued stroking her wings, looking thoughtful. "Even with everything that happened during the school years. The Philosopher's Stone… The Chamber of Secrets… I mean, he's always tried to come back and never succeeded. I guess I underestimated him."

Harry scoffed. "Or maybe I was just too naïve to believe that he would stay dead for long. And everyone believes me to have the ability to kill him again. Because I defeated him before. Because I'm the Boy-Who-Lived." He shook his head, "Why can't they understand that I'm just a normal boy? I never defeated Voldemort… my mother did. Everything else was luck and other people's interference."

Draco scowled in the darkness. That couldn't be true. Potter put himself down too much. There was a reason that the wizarding world praised him, and it wasn't just because his mother died for him. There had always been other parents who were willing to die for their children. It never mattered to Voldemort… and considering that Harry had survived all the way up to his fifth year at Hogwarts which a threat against him each other, there had to be something special about him. It couldn't be just luck.

And as reluctant as Draco was to admit it, Harry was very special.

"It's horrible when you wake up from a nightmare and realize that it's true." Harry was saying. "Especially when you dream of death and pain, and realize that another family has died." He lifted a hand to feel at the scar beneath his bangs. "I hate being connected with Voldemort. I hate having to see all the horrible things he does. I hate seeing people scream all the time, seeing such pain and suffering." He buried his face in Hedwig's feathers as the owl hooted softly.

Draco gnawed on his lip in frustration. On one hand, he didn't want to hear anymore. Yet on the other hand, he knew that Harry needed someone to listen, even though he was talking to his owl. He needed someone to know what he was going through, and his owl just couldn't be there for him if he broke down during a class, or somewhere else.

But it was Harry's friends who should be listening to this, not his arch-rival. Draco wouldn't be able to comfort the other boy anyway, seeing as they were public enemies and all.

But…

He couldn't just leave him there.

"I can't do anything about the things I dream either," Harry was saying to Hedwig. "I have no control over anything, and it's horrible. I wish that I could do something… but what can I do? I know the wizarding world expects me do defeat him… well, those who know he's back, anyway. But how am I supposed to do that? I'm not a great wizard… heck, I barely pass most of my classes! I'm not the type with the power to defeat Voldemort…

"I think everyone put their trust in the wrong person." He confessed. "But Professor Dumbledore says that he wants me to get extra classes… tutoring and such, if you will. He believes that I'll be able to defeat Voldemort as well, I just know it. But what if I let him down?" There were the faintest hints of hysterical tears in Harry's eyes. "He believes in me so much… and if he wants me to fight, I'll fight. But what if I loose? What if I'm not strong enough to stand up to Voldemort? What if he wins?"

Even Hedwig was silent now, like she understood the grave matter.

"And… as much as I know I shouldn't be entertaining this idea… what if I win? I'd most likely die in the battle. If I survived, I don't think I would be able to stand it. Either the fame, or the thought that the purpose of life that was set for me be others, would be over. I think it'd be like… I outlived my usefulness." He looked skeptical of his own idea, but then weary.

"But I know I'm going to come out alive." Now there was a small cynical smile tugging on the lips. "I doubt the world would care, though. They make it seem like I was born to defeat Voldemort… and if I should die during the battle, then it would be but a tragic hero's death. I'm not stupid to not understand that I'm just a tool in their eyes, someone who would take away the horror of the world. Make the world a better place for them to live in, and then fade away into the background again." There was a bitter twist in those lips. "I might want to go as a seer. I can see it already… Harry Potter dies fighting Voldemort and is rewarded an Order of Merlin in his death. Good for him."

Draco was stuck by the emptiness in those words. He looked down guiltily when he realized that was what he had expected as well.

"Maybe I just wanted to be a normal kid." His voice sounded so tired. "But I know I can't change the past. Well, maybe with a time-turner… but then I wouldn't know how things turned out!" There was a short bark of laughter. "So that's out of the question. But maybe I don't want to die an early death. Maybe all I wanted to do was graduate Hogwarts and play Quidditch professionally. Spend Christmas with Sirius and Remus… maybe teach DADA for a year." There was a humorous smile this time. "Who knows? I might be able to beat the curse of the DADA position.

"But all in all… it's the same dreams as every other kid, right? Only I'm not going to get it." He was stroking Hedwig's feathers again. "But I'll try and make sure that other people will." His smile was weak.

"Maybe that's what I was so upset about earlier." He mused. "When I thought I was lonely because Ron and 'Mione got together. They're going to have each other during the oncoming war. They'll have each other to hold on to." Now his smile was brighter. "I'll make sure of it. They won't be separated during the war. They'll both survive and live on, get married, buy a small house and have tons of children."

He grinned. "They'll be so angry and they realize I've got their entire future planned out. This whole thing with Voldemort is stupid. I'll have to make sure that the both of them come out alive and well." He nodded to himself, then turned to the owl next to him and smiled beautifully. "Thanks for listening to me blabber again, Hedwig. That'll be my goal from now on- the make sure those two stay together."

Draco watched as the other boy cheerfully gave his pet some more food, having completely forgotten his angst and depression that had afflicted him just mere moments ago. He was amazed at the sudden attitude change, and astounded that thinking for his friends could do something like that.

But he didn't figure to survive.

He watched as Harry dislodged Hedwig, and dusted his robes off, adjusting his glasses and making sure to clean off the small indication of moisture there. Then the boy put on a bemused expression and walked out of the owlery, not noticing the silver-hair boy that had been hiding in the shadows.

Draco scrambled out of the way as Harry slid past the entrance, so close that he could feel the slight breeze as the Gryffindor walked past. Harry hadn't noticed anything out of the ordinary, and Draco couldn't help but wonder if this was a normal occurrence, for the raven hair boy to wander to the owlery most nights and talk with his pet owl.

There was also the gloom that still held the owlery trapped, even though the boy who had caused it was in much better spirits.

Draco glanced briefly at the owlery before hurrying away to his own dormitories, his mind full.

Harry didn't think that he would survive the fight with Voldemort, but he was willing to fight anyway. Willing to make sure that his friends would survive and live the happy ending that he couldn't grant himself. That thought of self-sacrifice baffled Draco, the thought that someone could care so much for another human being to willing die looking out for them.

Was it because it was Harry? Because the boy was just who he was… someone too kind hearted and gentle spirited not to think like that. Someone set on a high pedestal and expected to fight and die.

But, Draco wondered as he entered the Slytherin dorms, if I were his friend… would he do something like that for me as well? Would he die to ensure my safety and happiness?

Would I die to make sure that he's safe and happy?



Finis



Authoress's Notes: Cheapy name, I know. But I didn't have a title the entire time I wrote this, and I still didn't have a title after I was done. I know it didn't seem like much, but I'm not going for much. Just a small piece that (hopefully) seems sorta thoughtful. I think if it as a way for Draco to start thinking of Harry in a different light, rather than how they'll bicker and fight over small, strange things. Maybe through something like this, they'll be able be friends soon.