Written for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry (Challenges & Assignments)
Muggle Music, task #3 – Write about someone whose past is having an impact on their actions in the present
Song Lyrics Challenge round #6, line #14 – "All at once everything looks different"
Showtime, Genetic Emancipation – (character) Draco Malfoy
Title from Bones by Ben Howard
It almost felt as though the ache in his left arm intensified just from picking up the journal. Draco shook his head slightly, pushing that thought aside. He was just being paranoid. The Dark Lord knew much, but even he wasn't aware of everything, nor would he care about something like a childhood journal.
Sitting down on the edge of his bed with the journal in his lap, Draco ran his fingertips over the soft, dark green cover, tracing the silvery dragon embossed on it. It had been so long since he'd even thought about the childish ramblings inside, but he needed a reminder that things hadn't always been this horrible. He hadn't always been so scared.
Curling up against his pillows and drawing the curtains around his bed, he opened the journal and started to read.
'I can't wait to meet Harry Potter. We're going to be best friends, I know it. We can play Quidditch together, and I'll show him around the Manor. Pansy and Blaise will probably want to meet him too, but he'll like me best. We'll tell each other everything and go on adventures together at school. He'll be with me in Slytherin, of course, and our beds will be right next to each other. Everyone will be so jealous of us, but we'll always like each other more than anyone else. We could never replace each other. I'll always protect him, no matter what, even if it's scary.'
Swallowing roughly, Draco set the journal down again, trying to ignore how his hands were shaking. He'd tried for years now to convince everyone else, along with himself, that he hated Harry, but despite the resentment he felt over being rejected on the train that day, it wasn't true. Even at sixteen, he still harbored the same sort of fondness he had at eight, nine, ten...God, how many years had he spent dreaming about a boy he'd never even met?
The telltale creak of the door opening jolted him from his reverie. Draco stayed quiet behind his curtains, hoping that whoever it was wouldn't notice that he was there, but of course, he wasn't so lucky. The dark green velvet was unceremoniously pushed aside, and Pansy flung herself down onto the bed next to him.
"What are you doing moping in here, Draco? Don't you know there's a party going on?" she asked, blood red lips curling into a pout. Pansy reached over, picking up the journal from his lap and taking the liberty of resting a hand on his thigh while she was at it. With a pointed glare, Draco picked up her hand and moved it away.
"We're alone, you don't have to do that."
Pansy just rolled her eyes, opening the journal and starting to flick through the pages. These days, there was no way Draco would leave something private unprotected like that, but as a child, he hadn't yet known the right charms.
"So grumpy today," his fake girlfriend and best friend simpered, in the fake, sugary sweet voice she knew he hated.
"What do you want, Pans?"
"I'm worried about you," she replied, tone far more serious now as she inched closer, finger marking the page Draco had been lingering on just a few minutes before. "This...it isn't good for you."
"Of course it's not good for me," Draco hissed, face flushed with embarrassment and frustration. "Since when is being sent on a suicide mission good for anyone? There's nothing I can do about it, I've told you that."
Pansy sighed, fingers of her free hand twitching slightly against Draco's bedspread. It was obvious she was resisting the urge to touch him again, and he was half tempted to just give up and let her.
"And yet you haven't told me what this impossible task is. Draco...maybe you should ask for help."
"From who? Nobody's supposed to know. Snape does, but...I don't trust him. I don't know what his motives are."
Getting out her wand, Pansy cast a silencing charm around the bed before starting to speak again.
Draco automatically recoiled as though he'd been slapped, fear obvious in his eyes for a fraction of a second. Even thinking about betraying the Dark Lord...it wasn't a secret to be shared unless you wanted to be killed.
Pansy frowned and set the journal down, moving closer to stroke her fingers through his hair. It felt nice, and Draco's gaze darted briefly to her pale, unmarked forearm, unable to suppress a pang of jealousy. The Parkinsons supported the Dark Lord verbally, but they weren't a family of Death Eaters. Not like his.
"It's okay, darling," she murmured, eyes soft with sympathy. "I know. I support you far more than the Dark Lord. If you think Potter's side is the one to be on, then I'll join you." Draco noted with a vague sense of amusement that even now, Pansy couldn't stop the way her nose crinkled in distaste when she said Potter's name.
"I can't," Draco whispered, fighting to keep his voice from cracking. He hadn't cried in front of anyone since he was five years old, and he wasn't planning on starting now. "I can't change sides, he'll kill me. He'll kill my mother."
"I'll always protect him, no matter what, even if it's scary," Pansy read from the journal, wrapping an arm around Draco as he curled into her, inhaling the familiar, spicy scent of her perfume. "You've been on the other side all along. Don't you think it would be safer to have someone protecting you?"
"I'll think about it."
They stayed like that for awhile, curled around each other in silence, with Pansy petting his hair.
"You love him," she said eventually, completely out of the blue.
Despite what he'd said, the decision to go to Harry for help had already been made. What else could he do? The only thing to think about was how to convince the Boy Who Lived to defend two Slytherins (three, if he was able to convince his mother) who he likely thought were evil.
The day he finally acted dawned cold and drizzly, and on his way to breakfast in the morning, Draco paused to watch the rain pour down the windows in rivulets. It was there that Pansy wound up joining him, looking perfectly made up despite the early hour. For a few moments, they just stood there, Draco staring out the window moodily and Pansy sneering at girls from other houses as they walked past.
The Golden Trio rounded the corner just as he was getting particularly involved in watching two raindrops race down the glass, and Draco reluctantly tore his gaze away to focus on Harry instead, summoning up all the courage he had.
"Potter, I need to talk to you. Without Granger and Weasley." It had been tempting to say Weaselbee and the mudblood, like he might have years before, but really, Draco supposed he should be civil if they were on the same side, now. The word mudblood had always left an ugly aftertaste in his mouth anyway.
All three of them hesitated, and Draco could feel Pansy gripping his hand tight, tight, tight, nails digging into his flesh, but then Harry nodded.
"I suppose Parkinson is coming?"
"Of course. This involves me too, Potter," Pansy retorted, tilting her chin up a bit, as though they weren't about to humiliate themselves by groveling and hoping for a Gryffindor's mercy.
As expected, explaining to Harry what they needed and trying to convince him that it wasn't a trick was humiliating. Pansy chimed in now and then to help, but as she still wasn't fond of the Gryffindor in the least, Draco tried to do most of the talking, out of fear that she might insult him.
Slowly, not wanting Potter to assume he was pulling his wand and spook, Draco removed the journal from the inside pocket of his robes.
"Here, just...look," he requested, handing it over. Draco was resigned to his fate. By doing this much, he'd already guaranteed that he would be killed if the news ever got back to the Dark Lord. His only choice at this point was to do absolutely anything to secure help and protection from the other side. If this wasn't enough, perhaps he could be questioned under Veritaserum. He could provide whatever information he could. Draco felt horribly weak, but then again, self-preservation was strength in its own way.
Harry flipped through the pages, skimming over what was written there, and Draco could see it the instant he got to the really sappy stuff. All sorts of childish imaginings of what their friendship would be like, as well as even more embarrassing things. Things like, 'Mother always says my eyes are very pretty. I hope Harry thinks so too, even if his are better.' All at once, everything looked different. Harry's face looked even more open and honest, if that was even possible, and he gazed at Draco as if his entire view had changed too.
"Never realized you felt that way, Malfoy." he said, thumb rubbing idly over the paper.
"I did. I do."
"He's always talked about you," Pansy said. "Mostly bad things after you rejected him like that, but to anyone who knows Draco like I do...it was obvious he still cared."
Harry seemed to consider that for awhile, handing the journal back after reading a bit more.
"We need all the allies we can get," he said eventually. "I still don't trust you entirely, but I can't just leave you in danger, knowing this."
"Thank you, Potter," he said, a little surprised to find that it didn't feel hard to say it at all. "I...appreciate you giving us a chance."
Pansy elbowed him sharply in the ribs.
"Hug him or something. Now's your chance," she said in a rather loud stage-whisper, clearly intended for Harry to hear.
Draco felt his face go hot, pale skin flushing pink.
"Do you, er, want me to hug you?" Harry asked, looking far more amused than he had any right to be.
Draco shrugged, offering a halfhearted sneer in a last attempt to retain a little bit of dignity, and Harry took that as a yes, stepping closer and wrapping his arms around him securely.
It was a rather awkward embrace, and both of them pulled back after only a few seconds, but it was warm, and felt almost...right.
"Right, well, meet me back here tonight at 9:00, and I'll let you know what I find out," Harry said, not letting the silence drag on for too long. He was blushing too, though, Draco noticed. The fact that he was willing to hug someone who had treated him so harshly at all was a testament to Harry's near-sickening goodness, he thought.
Harry paused halfway out the door, glancing back at him.
"Your eyes are very pretty, Malfoy."