Title: Life, As Experienced Through Your Fingers
Chapter One: Settling In
Pairing: DM/HP, various other
Warning: There are some scenes in this fic which contain explicit content. These scenes are appropriately marked. If you are underage, and reading this fic despite the rating, but are still squeamish, avoid these scenes (you can't miss them). No flames, please!
Summary: Draco Malfoy loves boarding school almost as much as he hates them. But this new school for the arts provides him with more challenges and happiness than he ever expected to experience.
He walked up the stone steps and dropped his suitcase down beside him as he surveyed his surroundings. This was the place that would be his new home for the rest of the year.
Draco Malfoy had grown to love boarding schools.
He loved them, almost as much as he hated them.
He loved his home and his parents very much, but most of the time he couldn't help but feel suffocated with both of them worrying and coddling him all of the time; fussing over simple matters, and imposing seemingly impossible expectations.
Boarding school had always offered Draco freedom, and yet it drove him crazy because he never seemed to fit-in to any one particular group. Certainly he was the most popular boy in school, but most of his classmates were intimidated by him, and despite his stunning looks, and the way the girls, and some of the guys would swoon over him, Draco was pretty much a loner. People were afraid to go near him.
That he was a Malfoy really didn't help. Everyone knew they were one of the richest families in all of England. That he was defensive and a little standoffish didn't make him any more approachable either, but the way he saw it, the people who were worth getting to know would make more of an effort for him.
He hadn't met anyone like that yet.
This was the fourth boarding school in the last six years. The only other one that proved to be even a remotely enjoyable experience had only been enjoyable because it had introduced him to his best friend, Hermione Granger, bookworm extraordinaire and all-round wit. He had ended-up leaving anyway though, because he had never settled in at the place and had cultivated a rather large and intense group of people who really didn't like him.
This new school was different; he was actually excited about it.
Well, as excited as he could ever get over new schools, which, after as many as he had attended, really wasn't much. He was excited because the one thing Draco was really passionate about was music, and this was a school for the arts. It covered the normal course-work, of course, but it emphasized whichever area one really enjoyed: art, drama, or, in Draco's case, music.
"You must be Draco Malfoy." The voice split the silence and echoed off the walls.
Draco looked up and was confronted by a rather tall, aged woman with spectacles and a general impish grandmother quality to her that almost made him smirk. She clutched her hands together and looked irritated as she scanned the halls. "He's supposed to be here by now. I do apologize."
Not sure what she was apologizing for, Draco was easily appeased. "That's alright. I really just got here."
She smiled at him slightly and took a step forward. "I'm professor McGonagall, dean of students. You may leave your bag in my office and then we will go find your renegade guide."
Draco frowned. "My guide?" In his last school he had been taken on a tour by one of the people from student services, a very annoying little man who had chuckled all the time and for no apparent reason.
McGonagall motioned him to follow her and he did so. She spoke as they walked. "Students offer to act as guides for the new and transfer students. Prefects often do it, but we do get a few interested students who wish to offer their services. We find that it often creates fast friends and at the very least makes the new student more comfortable. But it hardly works when the guide fails to turn up!" she huffed and unlocked a door.
Draco was trying not to laugh; the woman was very entertaining. "Just put your bag in the corner, and it will be brought to your room." He nodded and deposited his bag in the corner, feeling awkward now that he had nothing to lug around. She shuffled through some papers on her desk and produced a small envelope, which she clutched in her long fingers.
"Alright. Follow me, Mr. Malfoy." She shut the door behind them and walked hurriedly through the halls and he sped-up, looking around him as they walked. It really was a lovely place, very old and elegant. His new school was really a large castle and he found himself feeling quite at home.
"I am not sure what you are used to from your other schools, but here we have a separate building for residences: two boys dorms and two girls dorms. They are all separate. Within your building you have a bedroom, which you share with another boy." Draco was relieved. Most of the other dorms he had stayed in had been shared between four or five boys. "There are five rooms that all share an adjoining common room. I'm sure you will go through all of this later. May I ask what course of study you have chosen?"
"Music," he stated, staring at a gargoyle that was watching him suspiciously.
"Ahh, yes. It is probable, then, that you will be my pupil. I do theoretical studies for music. Which instrument do you play?"
He sighed. In truth he played several, but he really loved piano, and that was what he had chosen to pursue. "Piano."
She nodded. "The music department is really a lovely department and..." she paused and then a smile spread across her face as if something pleased her very much. "Just as I thought. He's in the concert hall." Draco watched as she hurried towards a set of very large oak doors and then he heard the music that was seeping out from under the doors.
It was wild and made him bite his lip in excitement.
He had never heard anyone play like that before.
McGonagall opened the doors and, eyes sparkling raised a finger to her lips as if she were a schoolgirl about to play a prank and asking that he not spoil her fun.
Draco stepped to the door and looked down, past the rows of seats to the stage, where his attention was drawn not to the drummer or the keyboard player or the two other instruments on stage, but to the boy who stood at the centre playing a bright blue violin wildly, swaying slightly. "I've never heard Bach's Toccata and Fugue played quite like that, (1)" he murmured, and McGonagall nodded to him.
"He's a special case. Whenever he gets out his electric violin, trouble ensues."
Draco listened with rapt attention, heart rate already picking-up. The violinist was incredible and it was obvious he was completely involved in what he was playing and enjoying every moment. "Well, follow me," she said, snapping herself out of her reverie. Draco felt, for the first time, awed by music.
He followed her down the aisle between the seats and stopped by the stage. She was about to interrupt when she glanced at him, her smile growing. "We'll wait until it's finished, shall we?" He nodded emphatically and watched the boy.
He was slimly built, about the same size as Draco himself. He wore black pants and a black dress-shirt, sleeves rolled up to the elbow. His hair was just as black as the clothes he was wearing and was fairly mussed. As he played, slender fingers moving nimbly across the fingerboard, he leaned into the music, swaying slightly along with the movement of his bow.
The song came to a close and the boy held the last bar, trilling the final note. He lifted the bow from the violin, eyes still closed, and Draco saw a small smile on his lips before...
"Mr. Potter!" The boy started and lowered the violin to his side, spinning around looking genuinely startled.
"Professor," he said a bit guiltily and yet, as Draco watched them, there seemed to be a strange camaraderie and respect between the professor and the boy. McGonagall clearly couldn't quite contain her amusement and pleasure at hearing him play, and Draco couldn't deny that the boy was good.
"Did you not have an appointment at one o'clock, Mr. Potter?"
The boy bit his lip and then his eyes went suddenly wide. "Oh no! I'm sorry, professor! I just ... I mean..." Draco was smirking now as the flustered boy quickly packed-up his electric violin.
Draco noticed the other people on the stage, two girls and three boys, each chuckling over their instruments. One boy, with flaming orange hair was laughing out right and rolled his eyes at the dark haired boy as he snapped the case closed "Good one, Harry," the orange-haired boy muttered, and Harry stood-up quickly, violin case in hand.
McGonagall cleared her throat to regain the dark-haired boy's attention. "There is no need to apologize to me, Mr. Potter. But Mr. Malfoy was left in the front hall for five minutes."
Harry muttered an apology again and was on his way down the stage. "I'll go get him," he mumbled, not looking up from the floor, and Draco, still smirking, extended a hand.
"There's no need," he said confidently.
The black-haired boy started, then looked at him in shock. "Er ... I mean. Sorry."
Draco shrugged. "That's okay. Professor McGonagall found me, and I made it here in one piece so it's not a problem." He wasn't sure why he was being civil. Perhaps he was still thrown-off by the song. Whenever Draco heard people play, it was always reserved and so much like everything else in his life, mainly empty. This boy had snapped hairs off his bow, and had been smiling and swaying with the music. It was something he hadn't encountered before. And the other instruments, and the way the fugue had been played, he was certain his father would have cringed and called it a perversion of Bach's work, but Draco found it was rather invigorating.
He was startled when the boy shifted the case to his other hand and grabbed hold of Draco's in a firm shake. "I'm Harry. Harry Potter." Draco paused to think of where he had heard the name before and realization dawned. The Potters were a very wealthy family and had owned a record company that was the place to go when you wanted to be heard. All the best musicians from all possible strands of music had made their debut through the company.
"Draco Malfoy," he said and shook the hand. They nodded to each other and Harry sighed.
"Well, guess I should give you the low-down on this place." A choking sound from behind reminded him that McGonagall was still there.
"You guess, Mr. Potter? Really. Now Mr. Malfoy," she said, handing over the envelope she had taken off her desk earlier. "This is the key to your dormitory. And here is your timetable. Classes start on Monday, if you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to come to me. And Mr. Potter," she said in a suddenly very stern and angry voice. Draco was surprised by the change until he caught the twinkle in her eyes. "That was a lovely rendition of the toccata and fugue." She turned and left.
"She's an odd bird, that one," came a voice from the stage and Draco looked up to the orange-haired boy.
Harry chuckled, then stopped and blushed a little. Draco was struck by it. "Sorry. Draco Malfoy, this is Ronald Weasley."
The orange-haired boy grimaced. "And if you call me 'Ronald' I should have to hurt you." He hopped off the stage and extended a hand. Draco shook it, feeling a little disconcerted. He was certain that, in a few days, they would have both grown to hate him, and Draco wondered why he really hoped that didn't happen.
"Pleasure," he stated, before Harry picked-up his case again and motioned his head to the doors.
"Best get a move-on. It's rather a large campus." Draco nodded.
"See you at dinner then, Harry?" Harry waved at Ron and they headed out.
"So, what are you in for?" Harry asked.
"Music. I play piano." Harry nodded, turning right and heading past very nice hallway with windows on one side and artwork on the other.
"I'm here for music as well. Violin mainly, but I play other instruments."
Draco didn't expect that, he had always figured if you could play one instrument really well, why play another? That was why he favored piano, though his father had made him play the flute and the viola as well. "What others?"
Harry shrugged. "Mostly strings. I'm no good with holding my breath and all that." He seemed to think of something and bit his lip, then jolted himself away from the thought and opened a door. "If you're here for piano you'll probably get to know Professor Snape painfully well. He's the piano teacher. This will be your main base of operations." He stepped into a large room that had a large, white grand piano in one corner, and other, smaller pianos as well. One wall was composed entirely of mirrors, and there was a rather gaudy mural on the ceiling.
"If you're really good, you get private lessons instead of group lessons. But you've got to endure group lessons for a bit before they make a decision," Harry said as they walked further into the room. Draco admired the pianos and tentatively played a few notes.
Harry watched him closely, a measuring look on his face before he sighed and looked around him. "The thing with Snape is you've got to look really good while you're playing. He's really temperamental. If you don't sit well at the piano, or if your hand position is off, or if he takes a special disliking to you he'll harp on you horribly. And you don't want to get punished by him," he added.
Draco looked up, watching the boy closely. "What does he do?"
Harry shrugged. "If you want to know more, speak to Neville Longbottom. He and Snape really don't get along. Snape gets the most pleasure from slamming the lid of the piano down on your hands if you make a mistake or your position is off. (2) Neville's broken a finger or two because of it." Draco winced and looked nervous and Harry chuckled. "Sorry. Just trying to prepare you. All right. Let's hear something then," he said, hopping up on a piano bench and looking at Draco expectantly.
"What?" He wondered why he was nervous to play for the boy. He was an excellent pianist, he had nothing to worry about, but something about the intensity that Harry radiated, it was making Draco feel nervous and suddenly his hormones were reacting in a rather distracting way. He cursed himself and managed a flippant shrug. "I don't have music."
Harry snorted. "No true musician needs music," he said in a way that didn't sound snobbish or patronizing, but as if he were simply reminding Draco of what he was.
Draco looked at him as if he were crazy. "How do you know what to play?"
Harry shrugged. "Don't you ever just close your eyes and feel your way around the instrument?" Draco bit his lip. He did, but whenever his father heard him he would get yelled at. But, feeling overwhelmed by the room, and the boy, and the presence of such a marvelous piano, he took a seat, took a deep breath, and started playing, aware of those deep green eyes on him all the way through.
When he finished Harry nodded, a small smile on his lips. "That was good." Draco felt himself blushing for some reason and stood hurriedly, carefully closing the lid on the piano. "You shouldn't worry about Snape, you two will get along famously." There seemed to be something behind that statement, something that sounded a bit bitter, and Draco made a note of it. "Come on. I'll show you the other classrooms."
The tour was relatively uneventful, though oddly enjoyable. Draco found that he didn't really listen to what the boy was saying, except for the advice about the different teachers. It seemed Harry had had an experience with each one and was able to offer some good advice. Instead, he found himself watching Harry and wondering about him.
"So, which residence are you in?" Harry asked when they had returned to the main hall. Draco frowned then hastily opened the envelope professor McGonagall had given him.
"Looks like Hart House."
Harry nodded. "That's my res. Which room?"
He lifted the paper out more and read it. "210."
Harry rolled his eyes. "Oh McGonagall, what will we ever do with you?" he said as he shook his head and smiled. "Alright, come on, then." He headed outside and walked across a small courtyard towards a rather Victorian looking mansion.
Draco stuffed the paper into his bag and hurried to catch up. "What's wrong with it?" Harry frowned at him, not following his question. "The room. What's wrong with it?" Draco clarified.
"Nothing. It's just, we've been having trouble in our section ... One of the boys was relocated because he was ... uhm ... causing difficulties." Draco noticed the tense flush and made note of it to ask later. "It's just when she came to me, asking if I would do the tour she was making all sorts of subtle comments that I didn't get, but now I do. You're in my section." Draco nodded and thought about how he felt about being in the boy's section, sharing a lounge with him, seeing him, undoubtedly everyday. He found he was rather pleased with the idea.
"Why did the other boy have to leave?" Harry was biting his lip. They were almost at the door to the residence and Harry was just about to open his mouth when...
"Child Prodigy Potter, what a pleasant surprise."
He frowned and turned to see four boys glaring at Harry. "Peter. Absolutely smashing to see you," Harry said sarcastically through gritted teeth.
The boy who stood in the middle smiled a little. "Who's your new friend?" Harry was glaring daggers and Draco was surprised to see the dark haired boy was moving his violin case, which he had been carrying throughout the tour, behind him, as if he were protecting it.
"Draco Malfoy, meet Peter McLain." Draco wondered if he should extend a hand or not, but seeing as Peter had not actually said anything offensive to him, he did. He saw a strange look flicker through the green eyes before a shout from across the courtyard startled everyone.
"Get the hell away from him, McLain!" Draco let go of the hand quickly, wondering if the comment was to get away from him. He was surprised to see that Ron, who was the one that had shouted, moved to stand between Harry and the boy.
McLain was smirking with delight. "Protective, aren't you, Weasley." The freckled boy snarled but Peter just yawned. "Communing with you prats is boring me. See you later, Potter," he said, blowing a flippant kiss to the dark haired boy, who continued to glower.
"You okay, Harry?" Ron asked, and Draco was watching them curiously. "I swear, if he..."
Harry put a hand on Ron's arm and tried to smile. "Really, Ron. It's fine. Besides, I'm just finishing up Draco's tour." Draco caught the emphasis, as if he was saying to talk about it later.
"Can I come?" Ron asked, and Harry shrugged.
"Draco, can you put up with this prat?"
Draco chuckled and pretended to think it over. "If I really must," he said, and Harry smirked at him. Ron rolled his eyes but walked with them anyway. Feeling that inquiring about Peter would not be appropriate, Draco asked the next question that was bothering him. "So. Child Prodigy Potter?" Harry blushed and led them up a twirling staircase, fumbling with a set of keys.
Noticing that Harry wasn't about to answer he turned to Ron with an eyebrow raised in question. Ron shrugged. "Harry's a master when it comes to anything artistic. He's taking a broad program, you know, doing drama and art and music. Absolutely crazy in my books, but he's really smashing."
"They let you do that?" Draco asked, and Harry, still flushing slightly, shrugged, holding the door to the common room he'd just unlocked for them and they walked in, the door closing behind them.
"Harry's a special case," Ron said, and Draco remembered McGonagall saying that very same thing.
"Why?" he asked and Ron was just opening his mouth to reply when Harry, who had returned from dropping his violin off, presumably in his room, fixed Ron with a serious look before turning to Draco.
"Do you want the tour?" Draco startled a bit, and then nodded. A silent exchange went on between Ron and Harry, and Ron ended-up looking away, biting his lip. Harry nodded and the anger left his eyes. He gestured to the common area, which was really quite large.
"You're lucky because we don't have a full section. This is the common area, it's where we watch Tele and talk and generally annoy each other. You won't get work done here. That's best kept to your room, unless you're aiming to be unproductive." he motioned Draco to follow him. They stood looking down three separate halls. "That's Ron and Seamus, down there. The bathroom is right across from them. Three sinks and a shower. There's another bathroom just around the corner with a bath and shower, and another sink." He pointed to the middle hallway. "I'm on the left. Neville and Dean are on the right."
"You have your own room?" Harry nodded. "Why?"
He flushed again and shrugged. "It's not a full section. Anyway, you're down there," he pointed to the hallway on the right. "You're in 210? You're sharing with Blaise. And across from you is Crabbe and Goyle and I should warn you that..." He stopped and bit his lip. Draco found this rather distracting. "...Well it's for you to make your own opinions..." Draco wondered why that hurt. Harry had been really open before, and suddenly he was acting strange.
Harry led him down the hall and knocked on the door before opening it. "Blaise never locks it," he said in explanation, and then stepped back to let Draco through. "Anyway. Here you are. Any questions and any one of us would be happy to help. Dinner is at five. Nobody's back yet; they've gone on a trip into town. You'll meet them later today."
He left before Draco could thank him and he sighed and looked at the room. It wasn't bad. He had a desk and bed and a good deal of shelf and drawer space and a small dresser with a little mirror on it. It looked cozy.
Draco unpacked his bag, which, true to McGonagall's word, was sitting there and waiting for him. Then, not wanting to hide in his bedroom, he went out to the sitting room.
And that was when he heard the angry voices.
"You had no right..." That was Harry, and Draco felt a surge of guilt, though he was not sure why.
"I was being friendly. In case you hadn't noticed, he's going to be our section-mate and we're going to get to know each other. Hell, Harry! He was being friendly!" This was Ron, and Draco felt satisfied that Ron was defending him. He settled onto the couch and grabbed a magazine in case they came out.
"He shook McLain's hand!"
"Christ, Harry. I know. But what do you want him to do? He doesn't know! He's new!"
"He didn't hear enough to form a solid opinion for himself. Don't start this, Harry. Please. Just let everything settle-down and we'll see how things turn out." The voices lowered and Draco tried straining his ears before Ron snapped.
"I know! And Crabbe's an arsehole! But we can't do anything about that!" Draco felt like laughing. He was startled out of his eavesdropping when the door opened and three boys entered, and stopped, eyeing him warily before a smile spilled over each of their faces.
"I'm Dean. This is Seamus and that's Neville. You must be our new section-mate."
Draco stood and shook each of their hands in turn. "I'm Draco Malfoy."
They smiled at each other before Seamus stepped forward. "Aw, for Christ's sake! Are they at it again?" He pushed passed Draco and headed towards Harry's room where the voices had been coming from.
"You've got to ignore Ron and Harry. They've been friends for far too long," said Dean. Draco shrugged. He was worried, but not because of them yelling, but because of how Harry's opinion of him had switched so quickly. And now he knew why. He silently promised himself to find-out what was going on with the boy, "So, Draco. What are you in for?"
Dean nodded. "I'm for art. Neville here is for piano as well. Seamus is for acting. Ronny-boy, back there is for drums and Harry is just ... well, he's just Harry."
Draco nodded; "he told me."
Dean's mouth dropped open. "He told you?"
Draco frowned. "Yeah, that he's taking the lot."
Dean's mouth closed and he nodded sagely. "Our little prodigy," he said with pride, but Draco couldn't help but wonder. "What else do you play? Music program requires you to study two instruments."
Draco shrugged. "Viola."
Dean laughed. "For those indecisive few who could not make the choice between the cello and the violin." Draco chuckled. "You'll have fun in that class. Your prof will be Madame Pereskew and she's a riot. Plus, Harry's lead violin if you make it to the advanced class. Man, he's something else on the violin."
"Yeah, he's really good." Draco said, recalling the earlier performance.
Neville squeaked. "You heard him?" It was the first thing, besides 'hello', that the boy had said and Draco thought he sounded rather funny.
"Yeah, he was playing in the concert hall. I heard Ron too."
Dean laughed. "Man, you should feel gifted! You must have heard him on the electric! Ah, Little Mischief! How they sound together."
"Little Mischief?" Draco asked.
Dean shrugged. "The blue electric violin. Every instrument needs a name, that's what we gave Harry's electric. That's what he was playing, right? He always brings her out on weekends, though most people aren't allowed near him, besides Ron and sometimes the band when he plays."
Draco shrugged. "McGonagall brought me over because he was late for my meeting with him."
Neville shrugged. "We all have our quirks, I guess, but never come between that boy and his art. In any way shape or form."
Dean nodded. "Damn straight. I still remember when Peter..."
There was a loud shout from the hallway and suddenly a pillow smacked Draco in the side of the head.
"What the?" Before he could react he caught sight of Ron, red and raving, pillow in hand, racing after Harry and Seamus who were laughing maniacally. They both dove to the side when Ron lobbed the other pillow at them.
"Boys!" cried a new voice, and there was a tall, rather muscular looking boy standing in the door. "Behave! You knocked the new kid in the head!"
Harry, from where he was lying on the floor laughing, remembered his duty and, in between breaths managed, "Hey, Blaise ... this is ... Draco ... Draco, Blaise..." And then a pillow smacked him in the head and he cried-out in shock, his laughter doubled.
Blaise rolled his eyes and shook Draco's hand. "So. You my new roomie? You better be neat!" Draco nodded. He was anally neat, but a snort from the other boys in the room made him quirk an eyebrow.
"Blaise, you hypocritical git!" shouted Seamus.
"Don't listen to him, Draco. He's an absolute slob!" This was Dean and they were both fixed with an indignant look from Blaise, and the boy sniffed reproachfully, until Harry lobbed a pillow at his head. Then the tall boy lunged at Harry and started tickling him.
"Can't..." came a huff. "Breathe..."
Draco couldn't contain his laughter. Ron had pounced on Blaise and was trying to pry him off of Harry. Seamus was doing a running commentary and Dean and Neville were pretending to place bets. It all stopped, however, when the door opened again. Two of the biggest boys, both in height and girth that Draco had ever seen had stepped into the room and were staring at the sight disdainfully. It didn't take long for Draco to assume these boys were Crabbe and Goyle.
"You're pathetic," came a sneer and they marched off into their rooms.
Harry, who had wiggled his head free, tilted it up and blinked. His glasses were askew, he was still on his back and Blaise was still on top of him. There was a slightly dazed expression on his face that, Draco thought, made him look delectably shaggable.
"Did they run out of cupcakes at the bakery again, boys?" cried Harry, and everyone in the common room sniggered. Harry, still with an air of calm looked at Draco demurely. "Draco, that was Crabbe and Goyle." Draco nodded. "They were pleased to make your acquaintance," Harry added and then laughed maniacally when Blaise resumed his torture.
There was a knock on the door and Neville stood, opening up and speaking to someone before he stepped aside and let a slender redheaded girl in. She looked around and her hands went to her hips.
"Gentlemen," she said, and Harry and Blaise and Ron all stilled.
"Hello, Ginny," they croaked in unison, and her eyes turned to fix themselves on Draco.
Ron stood and dusted himself off. "Hey, Gin. This is Draco Malfoy. Draco, this is my baby sister, Ginny."
She smiled and shook his hand, and then winked. "You're cute," she said and Ron's mouth fell open.
She shrugged. "He is! And Blaise, will you please stop torturing Harry? I need him in one piece for my recital on Monday." Blaise mumbled something but stood up. Harry was still chuckling and gasping for breath as he staggered over to the sofa and plopped down unceremoniously, glancing side-ways at Draco as if measuring him.
There was a tentative smile in Harry's eyes and Draco found himself forgetting about the argument he had overheard, and not caring about anything except those green eyes and that boy. "Ginny's in vocal. She's part of the choir." Draco nodded. Ron and Ginny were arguing about something. Blaise was egging them on and Seamus and Dean were inserting inappropriate comments into the conversation.
"What about the others? I mean, Blaise and Crabbe and Goyle?" He wondered what creativity Crabbe and Goyle possessed.
"Blaise is in acting, and he plays the guitar."
"Another person with a split program?" he asked, and Harry nodded.
"Crabbe and Goyle are in band, bassoon and trombone. We figure the only reason why they're still here is that they're full of hot air," he whispered, and Draco found himself sniggering.
"What's Ginny's recital?" Harry glanced at him then spoke quietly, still watching Ron and Ginny argue.
"In music, you have to play two instruments. Ginny's is voice. But she also plays the violin. On Monday, the professor is testing her in class. The unit they're working on is duets and cooperating with another musician. So, she asked me to drop by and be her partner."
Draco looked at him curiously, "Drop by? I thought you were in that class?"
"I take private lessons. Like I was talking to you about with Snape. I play lead violin in one of the group classes. But Ginny isn't in the advanced class. She asked me if I would mind dropping in."
Draco nodded. "So she's in beginner?"
Harry shook his head. "It's not beginner. But ... well I guess you could look at that way. But it's more like moderate and then there is advanced. And then, for the people who don't even fit in with advanced, there are private classes. You'll be started out in core everything. Except with the basic curriculum, maths and sciences and English and the lot, because that's based on marks in your past schools. In music, though, they try to get a feel for your style and what you need to work on, and then put you with a group that will do well for you." Draco nodded.
"So! Draco!" They jolted out of their conversation and Draco blinked at Blaise. "What brings you to our humble little school midway through first term?"
Draco shrugged. "Change of scene?" he asked, and Blaise and Seamus guffawed. "Oh fine. I got in a fight with another kid."
"You got expelled?"
Draco sneered. "Of course not. I'm a Malfoy. But the other kids were pissing me off so I asked my father and he suggested this place."
Blaise shrugged. "Fair enough." He stretched then yawned. "Dinner it is, then."
Draco looked at the clock and saw that it was indeed nearing four. He got-up and followed the others out. They talked lightheartedly about a wide range of topics, generally just trying to get a feel for each other. When they entered the meal hall, Draco eyed the long tables warily, and looked-up to the head table where professors were already seated and talking.
"Who's that?" he asked Neville, pointing to a very old looking, tall man who was sitting at the head table. He had long white hair and a long white beard but he was smiling and even from this distance it seemed as if his eyes were twinkling.
"That's the headmaster," Neville muttered back, and Draco sat-down when everyone else sat-down, noting that it was all in unison. The places were already set, and there was food already out, and Draco was startled to find that he was ravenously hungry.
When they were finished they were on their way out when a girl made her way over and stopped Blaise, Harry and Seamus. "Meeting tonight?" She asked, and they nodded. She was gone before they could say anything else. Seamus stopped and looked at Draco curiously.
"I guess you haven't really given any thought to clubs you'd be interested in joining?" Draco shrugged. "There's a meeting for improv. tonight."
"Improv?" he asked as they continued walking. Ron guffawed.
"It's actually hysterically funny, most of the time. And it can get deliciously rude. It's acting. You get given situations and you just say whatever comes into your head ... you know, without a script."
If there was one thing Draco would never do, it was willingly make an ass of himself.
"No. Thanks." The boys shrugged and Harry, Blaise and Seamus disappeared down a different hall.
"Well. Who's up for some chess?" Ron asked, Neville groaned, but Draco was amenable to the idea and said so. "Great! Nobody wants to play me anymore. It's not my fault that I can't help but whoop their asses!"
"I wouldn't be too confident, Weasley." Draco said with a taunting lift to his eyebrow.
The next morning Draco and Blaise made their way down to breakfast. Blaise was recounting a particularly rude skit that he had performed with Seamus last night.
Breakfast was quiet and anti-climactic. The others had drifted down at different times, since their schedules were different. Draco had not seen Harry again since he had been in bed before Harry had returned from his club.
He had been thinking about the boy and had accepted the fact that he already had a crush at his new school, and Harry was it. Crushes weren't new to him, they had happened before and they never led to anything. That he and Harry were sharing a section and that they were on friendly terms meant nothing. The odds of Harry being gay, or at least bisexual were less than slim. Draco didn't mind. He would settle for being Harry's friend.
Blaise nudged him out of his contemplation. "You want me to show you to your first class?" Draco nodded and they talked on their way through the halls.
The morning was dull. Math and science had always fascinated him. One of the reasons why he loved music was because of the way it used complex equations throughout the music. It was incredible, the logic behind the notes. Unfortunately, his math teacher seemed to lack energy and his science teacher was a small portly woman, who was bordering on creepy with her incessant good-cheer.
Draco endured lunch without anyone from his section. Not to say he ate alone. There were several acquaintances from his first two classes, but he had reverted to his true self, quiet and introverted. Together his section mates had put him at ease and made him feel welcome, but all in all, Draco had never been good with people.
When he reached his third class of the day, strings, right after lunch, he was excited to find that Ginny was there. The redheaded girl waved at him, and tapped the seat beside her. "Hey! I'm really nervous!"
He told her she'd be okay, even though he wasn't sure. He had never heard her play. They talked quietly before the professor entered along with a familiar dark-headed boy. Harry smiled at him and Draco nodded.
"We have a new student in our class!" the professor stated, and the students looked around, spotting Draco quickly. He was once again invited to the front of the class to introduce himself, and when he made his way back, Ginny was called forward.
"Now, Ginny Weasley is going to perform her Duet Test Piece today since she was unwell last week. Mr. Potter?" Draco noticed that Harry was completely serious, and when he made his way to the front, a beautiful violin in his left hand and a bow in the other, he looked very much the calm, reserved musician that his father would approve of, but when he stepped beside Ginny he smiled and winked.
Ginny set-up the music for them on a shared stand and took a deep breath, whispering something to Harry to which Harry replied with a nod. She then looked up and smiled shyly at the class. "For my test piece I am ... I mean; Harry and I are going to be playing Vivaldi's concerto for two violins." She glanced at Harry and they raised their violins, maintaining eye contact, they did a quiet count-in before commencing.
Draco listened with his eyes closed. He knew the piece and it felt odd listening to it with just the two violins and no back-up from an orchestra, but somehow the two violins were talking to each other, and it was such a loaded conversation that Draco found he enjoyed it very much. When it was over, he joined the rest of the class in applause and, after Ginny grinned at Harry and shook his hand emphatically, obviously controlling the urge to glomp onto her friend only just, she made her way back to him and he shook her hand and congratulated her.
"Do you think I sounded okay? I was really nervous when I asked Harry, I mean, you'd think I'd want a partner who would make me look good but..."
"Why would you choose a bad violinist to accompany you? You wouldn't learn anything from them. The whole point is to learn from every duet you play," he said and she glowed at him.
"That's what I thought. It's more inspirational," she said. From the corner of his eye he saw Harry exchange a few words with the professor and then disappear, violin in its case, after sparing him a smile, and flashing Ginny a wink.
"Well, that was a lovely start to the class. Now, let's get started."
It felt wonderful to be playing in class. Viola had never been his favorite instrument, but music made him happier than anything so he found himself enjoying the class. At the end, he was called over and informed that he should join the advanced students tomorrow and he felt even better. Class with Ginny was fun, class with Harry ... that would be something else entirely. He thanked professor Pereskew and headed down the hall, trying to find his piano class.
When he made it back to res he flopped onto the couch just as the door opened and Blaise came in. "You survived!" To a raised eyebrow Blaise snorted. "Piano. You survived."
Draco shrugged. "It wasn't so bad. I'm taking private lessons."
Blaise looked startled. "Geez. You should feel really proud. Snape never takes on students for private lessons after only seeing them in one class."
Draco shrugged. He found that he agreed with Harry. Snape was sullen and temperamental. He was exacting in his expectation of body-posture and technical aspects, but Draco was disappointed. Snape shared the same problem as he himself had. He did not feel confident enough to put any emotion into his playing. He was technically perfect, but when it came to expression, he was terrified.
"You look disappointed," Blaise stated, and Draco shrugged.
"I don't know how much he can teach me."
Blaise laughed for a good five minutes, slapping his leg and guffawing. "So modest, Mr. Malfoy!" he cried, and Draco smirked. Blaise watched him for a moment and then shrugged. "You can always get someone to tutor you. I mean, another pianist, or you can even get someone who would work with sort of duets or something."
Draco thought about it. The idea had crossed his mind before. "Who would you recommend?"
Blaise leaned back. "Depends what you wanted. Same instrument or a different one." Draco shrugged to show his lack of preference. "I'd say Harry in a heartbeat. I mean, the boy can spark passion in anyone," he sighed and then shrugged. "But..." he trailed off and Draco frowned.
Blaise rolled his eyes. "He needs a break every now and then." Blaise sat opposite Draco on the couch.
"What happened?" Blaise lifted an eyebrow. "I mean. There's obviously something. I met Peter. Was he the one that got thrown-out of the room?"
Blaise shook his head. "Naw. Peter's a bastard but he wouldn't ... I mean ... No. The guy got expelled."
"Why? Why did he get expelled?" Blaise looked at him with a very intense probing look, as if he was looking right into Draco's core, trying to find something out about him.
"Just leave it, okay? I mean, it's a difficult subject and it opens up a whole ton of stuff that's just ... I mean. It's too much to share with someone who we don't know really well. It should really be Harry's choice. No offense, really. It's just..."
"I understand completely. It's surprisingly comforting to hear." Blaise flashed him a weird look and Draco elaborated. "I've been to a lot of schools but never really had any friends. I like the idea that you're all protecting each other."
Blaise nodded in approval. "Hey. You're a piano-man, right?" Draco nodded. "Why don't you join my little club? It's just a whole bunch of people who play different instruments and we mess around and play at the Christmas and end-of-year concerts."
"Sounds good." Draco said, and Blaise clapped in on the shoulder.
Draco finished writing a letter to Hermione. He had been really horrible in maintaining his correspondence with her. It had been a month since he had come to his new school, and he had only mailed her once. He sighed and quickly sealed the envelope.
He heard shouts and thumping from the common room and rolled his eyes. Placing the letter in a drawer, he made his way out to find Blaise depositing several cases of alcohol on the coffee table. Seamus and Dean were clapping in excitement.
"Isn't that illegal?" Draco asked, and Blaise shrugged.
"Crabbe and Goyle are away for the weekend. Everyone else here is completely trustworthy."
Draco liked that he was included. He caught a beer and grimaced. "Beer?" he asked, and Blaise laughed.
"Geez. Fine, share with the Child Prodigy and Mr. Happy Drum," he pointed to several bottles of Vodka and Rum. This was more like it.
At this point Harry and Ron stumbled in. "It's flipping freezing outside!" Harry muttered, rubbing his hands together before pulling off his hat. Blaise responded to this comment by mixing a drink and, as he pried his other glove off, Harry accepted it and flopped onto the couch. Ron snatched a drink of his own, and pretty soon they were well on their way to inebriation.
Ron, who was perpetually competitive, tossed a deck of cards on the table. "Who's up for cards!"
Seamus yawned. "Oh please. Boring old cards."
Blaise leered and then smirked. "Who said anything about boring old cards? I'm upping the ante."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "To?"
Blaise grinned and Draco wondered if he was going to like what would come next. "Strip poker."
Seamus sighed in appreciation. "I like your logic. It truly is a classic." They laughed and settled around the table. Dean flipped on the music and they dealt the cards out.
Neville had valiantly attempted to play, but soon realized that not only was he plain not good at cards, but the small amount of alcohol he had ingested was enough to make him too giggly to focus. They opted to make him a mascot and the boy had happily passed out on the sofa.
Ron's keen logic that was only too clear in a chess match was definitely impacted by the alcohol, but of all of them, he had the most clothes. Seamus had promptly lost several games and it wasn't until he was pulling off his shirt that Harry had thrown a cushion at him and ordered him to stop losing on purpose.
Harry was down to his shirt and boxers, and having Harry stripped down like that meant that Draco wasn't faring much better. Blaise was in boxers and socks and singing at the top of his lungs. Harry had attempted at first to get him to quiet down, but in the end Blaise had passed him another drink mixed with perhaps more rum than coke, and Harry had instead opted to join in.
They played until Seamus lost again and happily rose to strip-off his boxers, at which point everyone had cringed and yelled at him to stop. Ron and Dean had wandered off to bed, Ron still muttering about some kind of prize and Dean saying that at least he kept his clothes on.
Draco and Blaise, who were both naughty drunks, were making rude comments and, in response to an especially naughty suggestion, Harry had put his head down on the table and refused to lift it. Blaise had gone pensive and looked at him. "Alright, come on," Blaise coaxed, getting up and hoisting the black-haired boy up off the floor. Draco watched as Blaise steered Harry down the hall into his bedroom and disappeared for a moment.
He tried to pretend that it was not jealousy that was rearing its head within him. When Blaise returned and flopped onto the sofa, Draco looked at him measuringly. "You love him," he stated, and Blaise raised an eyebrow, shifting so that they looked at each other.
"Me? Naw. He's like my brother." They stared at each other a moment more. "But you do," Blaise said simply. Draco opened his mouth to protest but Blaise only smirked at him with an expression that said 'prove me wrong' and went to bed.
Draco stared at Neville for a while, not really seeing Neville but finding that having something to focus on made things easier. When he wandered off to bed, he had an answer to Blaise's statement. And it startled him, and yet settled him in a rather odd fashion.
Draco and Blaise entered the common room, laughing from a joke Draco had made about their English teacher when Blaise suddenly went serious. Draco heard the music as well and frowned. "Nobody's ever here at this time of day," he said and Blaise cursed in a whisper.
"Draco, grab your stuff, I'll meet you by the gates."
"What's going on?"
Blaise shrugged. "It's the Lacrimosa." As if that answered the question.
Draco snorted. "I know the song, prat. But what is it? A sign of impending death?" Blaise shook his head trying a laugh and, to Draco's ears, only partially succeeding.
"Naw. But just to be safe. I'll only be a second." Draco nodded, and headed to his room.
After over a month of almost constantly being together, Draco had become fast friends with his section-mates, but especially Blaise. After the night at the beginning of the month when Blaise had turned-up with alcohol, there was a certain understanding between them. Somehow Blaise always seemed to be waiting for something from him, and he was never really sure what it was, and yet they understood each other really well.
Ron and Draco would often get in little mock-fights to relieve tension, and Neville, he suspected, was afraid of him because he got-on so well with Professor Snape, and Seamus and Dean were not often there. Crabbe and Goyle, Draco had discovered within his fist week, were bastards, but amazingly amusing to taunt, an art that he had refined, and with Harry's help, they could get some pretty marvelous results.
And then there was Harry.
They were friends, but Draco soon realized that Harry was, despite all outward signs that pointed to the opposite, surprisingly slow to make friends with new people. He spoke and laughed a great deal, and Draco would say they were close, but when he saw how Harry was with Ron or Blaise, he knew he had a ways to go yet. It didn't matter. He was determined.
He grabbed his stuff and had waited by the gate for ten minutes when Blaise ran-up, smiling and they headed on their walk into town. "So what was the Lacrimosa?"
Blaise laughed. "It was an anti-depressant."
Draco nodded. "For who?
"Harry. You learn a lot about your section-mates and that was one of the first things I learned about Harry. The music he listens to reflects his mood." Draco winced and Blaise laughed and nodded. "I know. That's why I was worried. But it's fine. He was just pissed because he had another run-in with Snape."
"What's wrong with that?"
Blaise snorted. "What isn't wrong with that?" Then, noticing Draco's confused look, shrugged. "Harry used to take piano, when he first started here. Snape hated him because, well who knows. My theory is that he was jealous. I mean, not many people can play like Harry."
Draco rolled his eyes. It was a fact he knew very well.
"But you know Harry. Snape started singling him out and seriously breathing down his neck and Harry's usual defensive instincts kicked in and he just wouldn't take that bullshit anymore. It was a full-out war between them that first year. And then Harry switched his second instrument to cello and everyone was happy." Draco chuckled. Then he remembered what he had been meaning to ask Blaise on their walk into town.
"My friend is coming down for the long weekend. I was wondering if you would help me with something." Blaise's interest was peaked, that was obvious, and Draco smirked at the expression. "I want to try to set her up with Ron."
"Is this another attempt to get back at him for something?"
"No! She's my best friend and I think they would make a really funny couple."
Blaise quirked an eyebrow at him and nodded. "Okay. I'm in, what do we do?"
I would really like to thank everyone who has reviewed. Let me say that you made my day! It was wonderful, and so soon after I had posted as well! I was floating on Cloud 9 for a long while!
Thanks to my beta-readers Goddess Moondragon and JJ and Allohamorah!
Draco finds out a little more about Harry
Hermione comes for a visit
Standard disclaimers apply
1. I was inspired by Vanessa Mae, so if you're wondering. That piece is exactly what Draco's hearing. And yes, I DO mean electric violin!
2. Don't scoff, I had a piano teacher who would literally do this. Of course, the lid wasn't heavy, but it was still painful. I don't understand why, shouldn't the teacher be concerned about their student's fingers? It's especially important for pianists ... sighs oh well.