AN: I originally had a much better beta-read copy of this on my other computer, but unfortunetly, it crashed and the hard drive is having to be replaced. So, what I once had was lost, and I am only thankful I updated this to my webpage. In the mean time, enjoy the very overdue chapter two to: That Which Cannot be Seen
That Which Cannot Be Seen
The figure in ebony sat quietly down in a particularly large and overstuffed chair near the dancing inferno of the fire. Despite the warmth that the flames gave off, the room was cooled from the open windows just above the four poster bed. The figure moved his hand, covered in a dark green glove trimmed with fine lace, to reach for a goblet of dark red wine with flashes of gold like lightening. Taking it to his lips, pale and slightly parted, the mixture stained them temporarily before he wiped it away with an angry scowl.
Another figure sat quietly on the large four poster bed, not moving, not reaching for a glass of wine, sitting and gazing intently at his companion in the room.
The first of the two figures moved his lips, and spoke in a harsh and hushed voice, "This is just what we have been waiting for, Draco."
"Yes, father." The figure on the bed replied, his voice emotionless.
"This is our long missed opportunity, don't you see?" the deep, harsh voice continued.
Draco, the form seated on the bed, said nothing, but instead let his father continue.
"It was unexpected that such a tragedy should happen to Mr. Potter, and now, and rightly so, Dumbledoor feels that Voldemort will make an attack. The great attack." The last words were spoken in a hushed whisper as though even uttering them would fire the first unforgivable spells. Mr.Lucius Malfoy's eyes were large and dilated, as though the wine was a drug, bringing him slowly to edge.
"What must I do?" Draco whispered, not meeting his fathers glare. Instead his eyes fell to the fire, dancing and swimming about one face, one face that now lay quietly in the hospital ward.
"What you were supposed to do years ago!" Mr.Malfoy snapped, suddenly pulled out of his train of thought, "Befriend the boy, and bring him slowly over to the rightful side. With his power…" he left the sentence unfinished, yet his eyes blazed with the dark hope.
"I…" Draco began tentatively, his eyes studying his hands which now lay serenely in his lap, "Do you believe this is possible, father?"
Mr.Malfoy stood up quite suddenly, his dark velvet cape swishing cleanly to the ground, his emerald broach glinting in the firelight, "Anything is possible, Draco. Now you will make friends with Mr. Potter, do you understand?"
Gazing up at the man who seemed so foreign to him, he nodded and replied in a firm voice, "Yes, father."
Glancing around the corner, Hermione whispered, "Is it all clear, Ron?"
Flattening himself against the wall, Ron whispered, "Nearly. Peeves is going down the hall. Be quiet, or he'll see us."
Hermione nodded and smiled warmly. It was just like the old days, those first few years at Hogwarts. Those times when adventure was around the corner and some new threat invading their potentially peaceful life. Yet, Harry always had to get his nose into things; and god forbid, she enjoyed it as well. However, these last two years has been strangely…deflated? As though a switch had suddenly been turned off, and announced, "That's it for adventures. Why not go read a good book?"
And until now, Hermione had complied. Yet, this evening, tonight, had a whiff of the mysterious about it, as though she was revisiting those distant days.
"Alright, let's go." Ron whispered, tugging gently on her cloak.
Nodding in return, Hermione could not help but notice that Ron flashed a cheeky grin—perhaps both were going to get drunk on the nights events.
Stepping down the hall lit with golden firelight, Ron talked quietly to Hermione, in his gentle and relaxed way. Although they always were talking to their fellow classmates, the three-some held a bond that had begun back in the first year. They could speak in earnest, reveal their true emotions and bring up their suspicions: which was precisely what Ron was doing at the moment.
"I can't believe it…" Ron whispered dully, "How the hell did this happen? I swear, I could not concentrate through my studies at all today. I just kept seeing him fall through the air…repeatedly. It was terrible."
Breathing a pent up sigh, Hermione touched his arm gingerly and whispered, "I know what you mean…how could this have happened? To Harry? I mean, we always knew he was in danger…but…"
"We didn't actually expect it to happen. Especially at Hogwarts." Ron finished for her, rubbing the back of his head in apprehension. "It's just not right…"
Hermione, her eyes misty with anger and remorse, scowled slightly to herself, "But Ron, was it just me, or did Harry look like he was shocked somehow, and then… he just fell?"
Ron, stopping in the middle of the hallway, his brown eyes wide, contemplated the incident, "What are you saying Hermione? It was some sort of dark magic?"
The flames flickered in the hallway, casting shadows against Hermione's pretty face. "It has to be the Dark Arts. What else could it have been?"
Ron, stepping forward, extending his hands, whispered, "And so, what do you think? You think it was Malfoy?"
Shaking her head, and running her fingers about a strand of hair that had managed to escape, she conceded, "No." Closing her eyes, as though she was playing the scene over in her mind, she whispered, "Malfoy or his father isn't foolish enough to risk that. In society they are still have power—despite their underlying alliance to You-know-who…no…it must have been someone else."
Ron, rubbing his temples generously, frowned and looked down at his shoes. "There isn't a bloody thing we can do right now." Ron sighed bitterly, "We'll just go have to visit Harry and cheer him up. He probably is going through a fuckin' hellish night…"
Shivering by a cool breeze from an open window, Hermione stepped forward, followed by Ron. Their shadows stretched out against the dark cobblestones of the hallways; their light steps echoing only slightly.
"Yes, it must be hard on him. Quidditch and Magic is what defines Harry as a person. Without his sight, he must be going through quite an emotional battle."
Lurking in the shadows behind a tarnished suit of armor, Draco did not move until he could no longer hear Ron and Hermione's footsteps. As he waited there, cloaked in darkness, he idly ran his hands through his loose hair. Even with his eyes open, he could see Harry's eyes meeting his own for that eternal moment; afraid and scared and pleading…and then, they had lost all their glimmer, and he became an object falling from the sky—and Draco could do nothing. As the unconscious boy had fallen, his arms had stretched out, as though he was reaching for him. He had been too late.
But, what was he supposed to care?
Of course, his house had been so cheerful by the news. This was what most of them had been waiting for six or so years; and now, they had finally had the chance to see Harry Potter truly suffer…Draco realized that he should have been more excited about the whole thing as well; he could tease Harry for the rest of the school year about this single incident, cause numerous fights between the two houses, and perhaps, if he was lucky—a midnight duel.
Grasping the stone wall for support, he doubled over and took a deep breath. A thought had stuck him quite suddenly, like a bolt of lightening—it tingled and burned throughout his body.
Why was it that he always wanted Potter's attention? Why did it bring him such joy to know that Potter was angry at him? A cold sweat had broken out on his forehead, and sliding to the floor, he buried his head in his arms, and closed his eyes.
Throughout all his years here at Hogwarts, what were the memories he could recall the best? There had been so many adventures with his fellow classmates—yet every experience, nearly all that came clearly to his mind; they always had Potter in it, in some way, shape or form. There had been the first time they had met; when he did not take his hand. Their midnight duel…or rather, lack there of one. There had been that bloody romp in the forbidden forest and god knows what was in there…
"What the hell am I thinking?" he whispered heavily closing his eyes, "He is the enemy."
And so he was. Standing up, rather slowly, and dusting himself off, he stalked down the hall in the same direction as those who had earlier passed.
Lying in the bed the figure drenched in moonlight stirred ever so slightly as he pulled himself from a dark and murky state of unconsciousness. His hand twitched as through realizing he could move; he opened and closed his fingers in an experimental fashion. A small groan escapes his parted lips, and putting his hand to his head, he felt the familiar gauze about his eyes. A deep scowl formed on his once placid face, but quickly it diminished and all that was left was the hollow shell of what used to be so full of life.
As he lay there in the dark, the shadows that surrounded and grabbed at him un-mercilessly, he thought back to those seconds before he lost consciousness out on the Quidditch field. Trivialities suddenly became quite clear and important in this hindsight, and his memory of that time was very acute and vivid. Things he had not even noticed did not escape his grasp. The radiant color of the blue sky with the stark outlines of the flyaway clouds—the contrast between the green field and that of the bleacher stands; the roar of the crowd, the dull hum of the breeze touching his ears.
Yet, Harry thought darkly to himself, the one thing that he wished to overlook most of all and forget seemed to slap him ironically in the face. Of all the visions that he had of those few seconds before he plunged into the perpetual darkness which he had grown so accustomed to, it was the expression of horror and the fear in the eyes of his enemy that haunted him the most. It disturbed him, this thought; that Draco Malfoy would even allow such an emotion to surface. Horror and fear was not something Draco conceded to doing often, although there had been a few occasions.
Feeling about the table, more particularly on the top, his fingers wrapped about a glass of cool water. Bringing the cup to his lips, he downed it sufficiently before placing it back on his bedside table.
Blinking several times to confirm whether or not his eyes had been open or shut, he closed them and slowly leaned back against the down pillow.
Outside, the wind whispered through the trees slowly allowing him to sink gratefully into a semi-conscious state. He did not want to be awake, alone, surrounded in a darkness that would not stop. He did not want to be alone, an outcast from the world he had leaned to love so well.
Knocking gently on the door to the hospital ward, Madame Pompfrey appeared, in her usual array of clean white linen above a simple grey dress. Today, however, she had added a broach about her neck, in the shape of a golden phoenix with glinting green eyes rising from the red and black flames.
"Oh, it's you two." She smiled warmly, admitting them into the warm recesses of the small chamber that led to the greater room, "I was expecting you sooner or later. You three are so predictable." She laughed nervously, adjusting her grey hair ever so slightly.
"Well, what do you expect? We would just leave him here alone?" Ron asked testily, shuffling anxiously around.
Hermione, stepping forward, added sweetly, "He is just very concerned. You will have to forgive his rudeness."
Madame Pompfrey nodded sadly and admitted, "It has got the entire community up in a stir. Everyone is afraid You-know-who is going to attack any day now, what, with Mr. Potter in the condition that he is."
Hermione, taking her cue, nodded solemnly, but Ron on the other hand just glanced about the room.
Madame Pomprey eyed Ron in amusement and irritation, before suggesting, "I know I am not supposed to do so, but neither Mr.Potter nor I have had a bite to eat since one. So, if you don't mind, I shall go pick us up something and leave you three alone."
Hermione, flashing a charming smile, thanked her profusely, while Ron just eyed the beds in anxiety and frustration.
After the door had closed behind her, Ron, stepping quickly into the main room, sighed, "I thought she would never leave. For Christ's sake, we're NOT supposed visit Harry? Is that what she is suggesting??"
"Well, it is after hours," Hermione tried valiantly to set things straight, although she did find the amount of concern Ron had for Harry rather adorable, "She is upset, as is the whole community. She is probably in fear that every minute this school will be in some way, shape or form, destroyed."
Ron, snorting, said nothing and pulled up a chair next to Harry's bed. Nudging him ever so slightly, he whispered, "Oi, Harry. You awake?"
The still figure stirred and mumbled something incoherent.
"Apparently he is now." Hermione sighed, a slight smile hinting on her lips.
The two starred as Harry slowly awoke from his slumber. Sitting up vaguely, Harry whispered quietly, "Who's there?"
Ron, leaning close, answered, "It's us, Harry; Ron and Hermione."
Breathing a sigh of relief, Harry grinned slightly, "I was expecting the worst."
Hermione, taking his hand in hers, insisted, "Oh, don't think such thoughts Harry. You are perfectly safe here at Hogwarts. There is nothing to fear."
Harry, smiled ever so faintly, but soon it faded and his face was once again melancholy. Ron, noticing this, began to ramble in hopes that Harry would momentarily forget the great burden and fear that had been placed on his heart.
"Everyone was so worried, Harry." Ron began, settling himself down more comfortably in the chair, "Dumbledoor even talked about it during breakfast and dinner today."
Harry, flushing a deep red, grumbled, "And what did he say? How is poor old Harry doing?"
"Harry." Hermione insisted bitterly, "It was not your fault at all. It was some other person, a dark wizard or witch, who did this to you, I'm certain."
Harry was quiet for a moment, but then, quite suddenly and quite unexpectedly, he laughed. It was not an amused chuckle or a hysterical guffaw, no, it was dark and haunting and sinister. "Of course it was Hermione. Who else could it have been?"
Ron, undisturbed by Harry's gruesome behavior, mumbled, "Well, I have my bet placed on Malfoy."
Harry, turning towards Ron, raised his eyebrows in amusement from under the gauze, "Draco Malfoy? Draco Malfoy would hardly be so stupid as to pull something off like this with such a risk factor. His father would not do something so careless under some of the most important figures in the magical community! No, Malfoy is definitely out of the picture!"
Harry continued laughing for a few second more, but then, as soon as it had begun, he grew quiet and subdue.
"Harry," Hermione breathed, edging forward, "What has gotten into you?"
Ron continued on with the concern, "Harry, there going to fix you, you know that right? All they haft to do is wait for the potion to be brewed."
Harry, backing away from their presences, pressed himself into the pillow and dug his fingers into the soft feather down mattress, "And how long will that take, hm? A week? A month? Two months?"
"Well—," Ron began quietly, "We really don't know and—,"
Harry began to laugh again, "You don't know? I don't know! What the hell is wrong with everyone? While I wait to be fixed like some broken down machine, I will have to bear with the aftermath of anything that should happen while I am here drinking orange juice! If anything happens, who will be blamed? I will, of course! And why? Because I wasn't there when everyone needed me! Great fame comes with responsibility, it isn't all just having people stare and send you gifts and all that rubbish. They expect something for it, they expect me to do something."
Harry was breathing heavily now, his forehead glistening with the beginnings of moisture, his body heaving ever so slightly.
"Harry…" Hermione whispered, her voice unstable. Harry could tell she was crying, but at the moment he didn't particularly care. He wanted to be left alone; he wanted his life back—even with the responsibilities he bore then, they had never seemed as colossal as they did now. There was never so much pressure when he wasn't the lame duck…
"I'm sorry," he breathed bitterly, "I'm sorry…."
"It's alright, Harry." Ron whispered quietly, "We know you will pull through all this."
Harry said nothing, but instead buried his head in his hands and steadied his breathing.
A few moments later, Madame Pompfrey returned, her tray full of soup and bread and orange juice.
In a flutter of white linen she insisted, "Alright you two, Mr. Potter needs some food. So, out with you!"
She was cheery and had meant it in good humor, but suddenly the situation had turned dark and stormy. She had yet to detect the drop in barometric pressure as wheeled a tray over to Harry's bedside and arranged his food on the tray.
"Would you like butter on your bread?" she asked kindly.
"Yes…thank you." Harry gasped terribly, his head now hung low as though he had claimed defeat to the steaming bowl of chicken-rice soup.
Madame Pompfrey fussed a bit longer, adding a straw to his cup, buttering his role, putting the spoon in the bowl. After she did so, she turned around and heaved an exasperated sigh, "Now, Mr.Weasley and Ms. Granger, need I call in Professor Snape to return you to your houses?"
Ron, mumbling an apology grabbed a reluctant Hermione's arm and quietly and swiftly walked out of the room.
"Can't you see," he whispered when they were once again in the hallways, "This is a lot for him to handle. He needs some time to think it over."
"Yes, but…" Hermione hesitated, glancing over her shoulder.
"Come on, we better go." Ron continued, once again taking her arm and leading her down the corridors.
Every evening at nine o'clock Madame Pompfrey would wish goodnight to each of her patients before dismissing herself to bed in her room some two doors down. Although she could hear if a patient was screaming in pain or the like, it was nearly impossible to tell whether or not someone inside the room was awake. She would never lock the great oak doors, for many times during the course of her experience at Hogwarts, there had been sudden midnight emergencies resulting in one less bed for the next few weeks.
On this night, Madame Pompfrey was ten minutes later than what was her normal schedule. She had unexpectedly received a visitor from the headmaster who had come to inquire after Harry's condition. Although he had visited in the morning, there had been no new information from the night before since Mr. Potter was still unconscious.
Dumbledoor and Madame Pompfrey had then gone on to discuss the state of affairs in the wizarding community and any possible threat from You-know-who. Dumbledoor had stated that he was indeed baffled by the course of events—You-know-who knew by now that one of his main obstacles was currently unable to inflict damage upon him, so, why had he not attacked?
By the time the conversation had finished, Madame Pompfrey made it to her bedroom by 9:15 and was forced to put aside reading and instead she went straight to bed. After all, the fuss made about Mr. Potter made her job very hectic and draining, and so, without even a cup of herbal tea, she tucked herself under the covers and was fast asleep in two minutes.
Meanwhile, in the dark and haunting recesses of the hall just outside the great polished doors, a figure moved and pulsated in the shadows of the night.
The outline of Draco Malfoy crept along the stone passageway and paused momentarily at the chamber of the Madame and put his ear flush to the grainy doorway. Satisfied, he moved away and walked noiselessly to the entrance to the hospital ward.
Halting for a moment, Draco's silver eyes flashed suddenly in the moonlight. An expression of distrust and annoyance swept across his features, followed by a deep scowl.
Why am I here? He thought desperately, his eyes roaming the deserted hallway. The darkness itself seemed to answer his question for him. It whispered it in his ears, slowly, steadily, like a drumbeat. It was duty. It is duty.
Or was it?
It's not as though I care one way or another. Mr. Perfect Harry Potter will recover, he always does. That weighted hand of fate favors the brave…and what else is there to him besides that?
Draco, lacing his fingers about the old worn brass doorknob, stifled a sigh and slowly opened the entry. Thankful that the hinges had been well oiled, he slipped inaudibly, like a falling feather, into the room.
And there he sleeps…Draco thought condescendingly as he watched the moonlight fall against the boys features. Stepping nearer to his reclined figure, unsure whether or not he was awake; he studied his enemy for a few fleeting seconds.
Although he saw Potter nearly every day, Draco realized how much he didn't actually see him. He looked and scowled and threw insults and tried to make his life impossible—but did he actually know his enemy?
Keep your friends close….and your enemies closer.
Leaning forward to inspect Harry's figure, he felt his warm hand brush against the cool metal of the bed frame. He paused and looked down to where the bed and his hand had made contact. As he stared at it, quite fixated to the spot, he heard Potter's breathing. It was quiet and steady—unlike Crabbe's undignified snorts and deep breathes, and Goyle's snoring—no, quite the opposite from those two brutes.
As his gaze traveled up the length of his body, Draco could not help but smile as he noticed the disheveled state of hair. Yes, it was not unnatural in the least—but the careless look that Potter gave to his appearance…it was strange. Draco knew that he took pride in his appearance. He made sure he was well dressed and immaculate for the day; and yet, if placed side by side with Potter onlookers would find their manifestation equal. Like opposite sides of the coin, both were worthy… Yet, Draco was sure that Potter cared about the way he looked, but the way he dressed, acted and even slept…it seeped a relaxed and lighthearted attitude that Draco could only wish for.
All his life, there had been one path, one direction, and one way of doing things. Yes, creativity was highly valued, resourcefulness was even better—but such qualities could only go so far. If they stepped to close to the edge of the family's reason, well then, all that was left to do was to smash it out. They then had to, as Draco thought, show him the light. Didn't everything look better this way? Why, yes, of course it did. This was what he said.
The wind outside howled at the window, as if the whole world was watching as Draco settled himself down at the rim of the bed and continued to study the figure dyed by the silver light. The world knew, as Draco himself knew, that this was not right. He and Potter had no business in the same bed, Potter was the daylight, the savior of the world—the sleeping world, and unaware of everything that went on. They turned the other eye, they looked away—they didn't care, and why should they? After all, weren't they much better off not knowing? If they knew…then feelings would be hurt, even more lives lost…there would be jealousy.
Potter was the savior of ignorance.
If the Muggles knew about the wizards—if they knew, then the jealousy would drive them insane. After all, who could not long for such a life as theirs?
And then…there was him, Draco Malfoy, the last of his kind—the carrier of tradition that the wizarding world had turned their back on. And that was that. It was black and white to the populace—Harry was good, he was bad. It was simple, like two plus two: it would always equal four and there was no changing it.
As his eyes traveled down from Harry's hair, they fell on his uncovered eyes. In his hand was gently clasped a piece of bandage that at one point must have been wrapped about his head. Obviously, Potter had not liked the feeling of being blind and reminded continually as the gauze irritated his skin. His lips formed a smile, and gently removing the fabric from Potters hands, he slipped it inside his cloak.
Draco had yet to finish his inspection of Mr. Harry Potter, but he noticed that Potter had opened his eyes and was staring, however blindly to where he sat. In taking his breath sharply, he remained still and waited.
"Who," Potter began in a raspy voice, "Who's there?"
Making not a sound, Draco was rather stunned as he gaped at the awakened figure in front of him. Harry Potter asleep without his glasses was one thing, but actually not having them on, and being awake…it was very odd and curious at the same time. With his glasses on, it made Potter appear to be younger, sloppy, like a child with finger paints. Although, sometimes, particularly in the library, it made him look studious and scholarly, most of the time it gave him a look of innocence; of child-like innocence.
Yet, now…now, for the first time, Draco realized that Potter was a man. Most of the time all he saw was that eleven year old boy who has whispered in his determined way, "I can decide for myself, thanks." Yet, Harry had grown, and emerged, and now, even with his unseeing eyes; the emerald's glinted, shone, and hypnotized him. There was intensity in his gaze, however unseeing…
"Who the fuck is here?" Harry whispered crossly, reaching out in front of him, grasping desperately to Draco's school cloak. Harry, as though frantic to unmask the stranger struggled forward, trying to discern, trying to discover…trying to reveal…
Anger seemed to have clouded his eyes, and he seized Draco roughly about the collar and pulled him forward, whispering in a dangerously low voice that Draco had heard on a few occasions when he had really pissed him off, "Tell me who you are. Now."
Draco, in a mixture of fear that he might be discovered and amusement that Harry seemed so upset, remained motionless and allowed him to try to the best of his abilities to discover through way of touch. Slightly relieved that his hair was not slicked back, Draco enjoyed the sensation of Harry's fingers running through the strands. Nobody had done that in, oh, years…he had forgotten when, he had forgotten what it felt like…
Yes, certainly, people had run his hands through his hair—but never with such innocence, and such a light touch. Most of the time it was sleek hands feeling whatever they could, desperate for more…
Closing his eyes, he smirked and whispered in a quiet and hushed voice, "It's no one, Harry."
Slipping from his grasp in a series of seconds, Draco smirked backed away quickly. Harry had already arisen out of his bed, yet he was tangled up in the bed sheets and nearly fell onto the hard floor. He could hear his now heavy breath, swearing bitterly. Casting one last glance over his shoulders, he sped into the shadows and slipped quietly through the doorway. The sinister halls of Hogwarts seemed to twist and turn into a labyrinth of mysteries. Quickening his steps as he heard Peeves mumble something from a nearby passage way, he sank thankfully into the Slytherin common room. Draco leaned against the common room fireplace breathing heavily, the hairs on the back of his neck still standing on end. That had been too close. Too close.
Closing his eyes, he enjoyed the vanishing sensation that his scalp offered as his body began to forget the feeling of Harry Potter running his hands through his hair.
Banging his fist against the black marble highlighted in green and white, he swore profusely. This did not bode well.
In the hospital ward, drenched in sweat and anger and fear, Harry swore silently to himself.