Chapter Six:

"Occlumency?! Harry, I do believe you've finely lost it. I mean, we're talking about the man who made your life in Hogwarts miserable for the past six years!! And you're telling me that you asked him for extra torture sessions?!" Ron sputtered as they entered the Great Hall.

"Ron, trust me, I'm going to need these lessons sooner or later, and what better time to learn it now?" Harry said exasperatedly, settling down in a space between Dean Thomas and a second year.

"But, but—"

"Now? Now isn't that great a time Harry, you'll be sitting for your NEWTS next year and you ought to be preparing for it now." Hermione cut in, emphasising her point by taking out a very large and ancient looking book.

"And what if Voldermort decides to attack Hogwarts this year through my mind? There wouldn't be a next year for many of us."

That cut Hermione short. Ron eyed his friends warily, the awkward silence ensued. Harry flushed and closed his eyes; he didn't mean to lash out like that.

"Look, Hermione, I didn't –"

"I know Harry, I really appreciate it, but we want you to know that you still have your future ahead of you. Don't screw it up over a madman."

"Yeah mate, give him a couple of decades and he might just die of age."

Harry grinned; trust Ron to inject humour into every situation.

"But seriously, Snape?"

"Ron, I –"

Ron waved his hand to cut Harry short. Giving him a reassuring grin and a wink, Ron turned his attention to the teachers' table.

"Hey, have you noticed Dumbledore's missing?"

--

His footstep echoed throughout the cave, as Dumbledore stepped into a cave carved out of black glittery marble. There was the sound of running water and the stagnant air stirred from the uncovering of the cave. Dumbledore breathed in deeply, the waves of residual magic was overwhelming, he quivered with excitement, yes, this had to be it, there was no reason why this cave couldn't be the final resting place of Merlin, the sheer energy from the residual magic was positively electrifying.

Dumbledore stopped in mid-tracks and turned at the sound of Bill entering the cave behind him. Waiting patiently for Bill to prepare for the tour of the cave, Dumbledore silently cast a Cloaking Charm over the area, if anything; this was the last thing that he wanted Voldermort to discover.

"Lumos. Right Professor, shall we proceed?" Bill gestured to the further depths of the deep cave.

"By all means, Mr Weasley, I'm right behind you."

--

It was eight o'clock on a Thursday night and that Potter boy was late.

If it was anything that irked Severus Snape, it was lateness. That Potter will pay. Striding across the room, Snape blew out several candles and, with a wave of the hand; he closed the heavy drapes and caused the candle lights to flicker green instead of yellow. Strategically placing his jars of preserved animals in the dimmed light, Snape managed to create a sinister image worthy of a Deatheater. "Let's give Potter something to be jumpy about." Snape thought with a smirk.

"ARGH! Where is that confounded Potter?"

The door slammed open, "Sorry I'm late Professor! Traffic was a killer!" Potter stumbled in, rushing his apology. Snape curled his lip in disgust, that boy was lying through his teeth, at eight o'clock, most of Hogwarts would have been at the Great Hall eating their dinner, did Potter think that he, Severus Snape, the wizarding world's greatest Potions Master was born yesterday? Clearly the boy needed punishment.

"Prepare yourself Potter; I trust you have been clearing your mind of all thoughts before you go to bed each night." Snape said, moving to the middle of the cleared space. Potter nodded determinedly, rolling up his sleeves in preparation for the mental assault.

"Legilimens."

Harry wasn't even aware that Snape had cast the spell until his mind was abruptly flooded with memory after memory; it was like watching a tidal wave rise up over him, only to crash down violently and drown him in the stormy abyss of images.

Sitting on the grass, unable to move his broken leg, and thinking how it was over, and he was going to die at the hand of a troll, only to be saved by Malfoy ... His latest stay with the Dursleys, receiving his results of the OWLs, ripping open the envelope dead at night ... Waiting for his sixteenth birthday present from Sirius, only to remember that he was gone ... It was last year, they were at the Ministry of Magic, the Order had came to rescue them and Sirius was there, fighting, mocking Bellatrix, and then falling through the veil, falling in that graceful, surrealistic manner ...

He opened his eyes and saw the high ceiling of the Potions classroom, he was sprawled on his back, sweating profusely, and his clothes were sticking onto him. Painfully, Harry sat up, massaging the back of his head, squinting at Snape as he wore his glasses.

"Professor, you didn't have to remove the Legilimens charm just because of Sirius." Harry said quietly.

Snape gave Harry a sidelong look.

"I didn't Potter. You threw off the Legilimens charm on your own, and it seems to me that you have been practicing. You are capable of controlling the charm by throwing it off without repelling it back to the person who cast it. Unlike last year when you blundered your way through and managed to cast it on me out of sheer dumb luck."

Harry stared at Snape incredulously; he actually managed to throw off the spell. He didn't even realise that he did it, all those nights of practice had really paid off, it was a wonder why he couldn't do it last year.

"Stop gloating in that corner Potter and get ready, we're going to practice until you can throw off the charm entirely, from the moment I say 'Legilimens', just now you let me delve too deep, as it is, a single memory is good enough for your enemy to finish you off." Snape snapped at the boy, motioning for him to move into the middle of the room.

Harry nodded, his face set with concentration, it was going to be a long night but for what it's worth, one long night was nothing to the many nights of dreamless sleep to come.

--

Harry awoke early in the morning; he couldn't sleep properly and had given up all hope in getting actual rest. No, his sleep was no longer plagued by nightmares and visions sent by Voldermort, it had been one week since he started Occlumency and his daily practice had paid off; Harry's sleep had been plagued by, for the first in a very long time, nerves. The morning greeted Harry with the chill that came with the change of seasons, the first signs of autumn. Looking out of the window, a light fog had covered Hogwarts grounds, yes; this morning was just like every other morning, except today, there was Quidditch. Against the Slytherins. Slipping on his Quidditch robes and grabbing his Firebolt, Harry made his way to the Great Hall for breakfast, making no attempt to tame his hair.

Upon entering the Great Hall, Harry found, to his great surprise, that the Hall was empty, save for one person other then himself. Draco Malfoy was sitting at the Slytherin table, dressed in his green Quidditch robes, with his Nimbus displayed on the table, helping himself to a large amount of pancakes.

As Harry crossed the room, he felt Malfoy's eyes follow him. Deliberately, Harry sat down on the Gryffindor table, two tables away from the Slytherin's, directly facing Malfoy, defiantly placing his Firebolt on the table, followed by piling his plate with pancakes.

"I suppose living with muggles has taught you dining manners very much like that of a dog right Potter." Draco said disdainfully from the Slytherin table, staring pointedly at Harry.

Harry stared at Malfoy with a raised eyebrow, his food halfway to his mouth.

"Do you have a problem with my appetite Malfoy?"

"Oh not at all Potter, do gorge yourself until your flashy Firebolt is unable to support your weight."

"You're one to talk, when the number of pancakes on your plate is double that on mine."

"Ah, but a boy of my age has a growing appetite, one needs to eat."

"That's strange; we're of the same age but surprisingly the more I look at your face, the more my appetite starts to shrink." Harry retorted sweetly, narrowing his eyes.

"I could say the same thing about your love life and how you always seen with that nonexistent girlfriend of yours."

"At least I have Moaning Mrytle; you would have to settle for eternal celibacy for the rest of your life."

"Everyone knows that you are the Gryffinwhore," Draco snorted, "There's no need for advertising."

"Slytherin slut."

"Mudblood."

"Look," Harry said, putting down his fork, "We obviously started off on the wrong foot, and since you owe me one for saving your life from that old piece of metal, why not agree on a truce?"

"Are you out of your mind Potter? A truce? Before a Quidditch match? I'm sure the Gryffindorks wouldn't appreciate that." Malfoy said; his cheeks bulging from the amount of pancakes stuffed in his mouth.

"We don't have to bring the truce onto the Quidditch field, just off the field," Harry said, waving his fork in the air, as his food rolled in his mouth, "And you don't have to be friendly, just civil would do." He added hastily.

Draco stared at him suspiciously, his grey eyes boring into Harry's head, "Fine."

"Right, so let me introduce myself, I'm Harry Potter."

Draco snorted into his orange juice; Potter was ridiculous in trying to engage him in such pointless banter, "Draco Malfoy."

The two fell silent, Harry messed with the food on his plate, here was his chance to ask Malfoy questions like what had he been doing in the corridor duelling and how did he become a Healer, or rather why, but how was he going to get the answer?

"Draco, let's play a game, I'll ask you a question and you give me a truthful answer, and in return you can ask me a question and I'll give you an answer." Harry suggested looking up from his plate.

Draco wiped his mouth slowly, contemplating Potter's suggestion, "For one, since when were we on first name basis? I don't recall giving you the right to call me Draco. Second, we are obviously on different sides of the war so why should I answer questions that might make me give away invaluable information, and third, what makes you think I even want to ask you anything?"

Harry smiled; he had gotten Malfoy's attention. "Well, firstly, you introduce yourself as Draco Malfoy, and correct me if I'm wrong but Draco is your name right? Second, I'm not too sure about the sides, but if the question requires one of us to betray our side then we have the right not to disclose such information, and third I know that you have some burning questions to ask me, especially about what is my relationship with Sirius Black."

Draco paused, Potter did have a point, "Okay, shoot Pot-Harry, what do you want to ask me?"

Harry grinned, "What's your reason for duelling late at night with a suit of armour?"

"I have to practice, only then would my duelling skills be flawless and useful for battles." Draco said nonchalantly, helping himself to the fruit basket.

"Battles? What makes you think you're going to be part of a battle anytime soon?" Harry blurted.

"Watch it Pot-Harry, you are only allowed one question at the time." Draco grinned maliciously, having beaten Harry at his own game. Harry closed his mouth audibly, waiting patiently for Draco's question.

"Tell me Harry," Draco said as he inspected the apples, "What is your relationship with Sirius Black?"

"He's my godfather."

"That's it?" Draco asked, incredulously, forgetting his search for his apple.

"Yep." Harry replied, those sausages looked quite appealing.

"So are you living with him now? Wait, you are living with an ex-convict? How can you have an ex-convict for a godfather? You're a Gryffindork!" Draco rattled off, taking a bite into his apple.

"Don't push it Draco, remember, one question only." Harry said with a hint of a smile, reverting his attention to the plate of sausages.

"So ..." Harry started, chewing on his food thoughtfully, "Care to share why Pansy has to act like a simpering girlfriend around you when she's obviously neither?"

"What?" Draco shouted from the Slytherin table, accidentally enchanting some muffins to grow legs and run off, "How did you come to know of this Potter?"

"Oh please, Hermione had pointed it out long ago. Really, although Pansy acts like a hysterical, spineless girl who seems smitten by your charm, at dinners, her "love" for you can't hold a candle to her love for the food and besides, it's obvious she and Blaise are together, so spit, why are you both acting as though you're a couple?"

"I'll have you know that image is of great importance to the noble Malfoy family, therefore it's only natural that my parents would engage me to Pansy, who is the finest female specimen of the pureblood wizarding society."

Harry choked on his food in laughter, he was glad that he was sitting on the other end of the Great Hall, it would take Malfoy forever just to reach the Gryffindor table just to strangle him. 'Or he could hex me from where he's sitting.' Harry thought.

"Shut your face Potter, do you think I want to do this? My parents would gladly let me choose who I want to be with, but it's not what the wizarding world would expect of a Malfoy. Unlike you, I do not have the luxury of being selfish and forfeiting the Malfoy reputation just for my own personal reason." Draco snapped, irked by Potter's lack of seriousness for the situation.

Harry swallowed his food painstakingly, "It's Harry."

"What is?" Draco asked, a confused expression etched on his face.

"My name is Harry, not Potter."

Draco rolled his eyes as he took a gulp of orange juice, "So Harry," He said, wiping his mouth, "Pray tell, what happened last year at the Ministry of Magic? All we hear is that the Dark Lord has returned, now tell me how's that possible?"

Harry lowered his fork, "Tell me, what question do you want me to answer? Voldermort had returned two years ago. How he did it, I can tell you. What happened at the Ministry of Magic is a separate issue altogether."

Draco looked thoughtful for a while. "Tell me, how did he return?"

Resuming to his meal, Harry related the incidents that occurred after he and Cedric touched the portkey. How Wormtail had killed Cedric with the Killing Curse, how he was bound to Tom Riddle's tombstone, and his blood used to revive Voldermort, and how he was forced to duel for his life. Harry paused; did he want to tell Draco how he escaped? But before he could speak, Draco interrupted.

"Wait, are you telling me that the Dark Lord used your blood to resume his original form and he forced you to duel with him?" Draco whistled, "Not many of adults can even survive the torture and you duelled with him and you're still sitting here in one piece? Don't you have any scars?"

"Of course I do," Harry scoffed, pulling up the right sleeve of his robe, "If you come over, you can see the scar Pettigrew gave me in exchange for my blood."

"I'm not moving from my seat just to see some scar Pott- Harry." Draco said obstinately.

Harry shrugged, turning his attention back to his food. Wait, doesn't that mean that Draco knew nothing of Voldermort's return? But surely his father must have—Harry looked up at the boy who was helping himself to a brownie. Should he ask? But Draco wouldn't tell, unless...

Staring at the boy, Harry muttered under his breath, "Legilimens."

Nothing. No memories came flooding at him. Strange, even if Draco had no recollection of the return of Voldermort, he must have some sort of memory, even childhood ones. Maybe the charm didn't work. Yes, that must be it. Harry just wasn't good at Occlumency yet.

"Harry, tell me, what made you decide to become a Healer?"

"Brains, Draco. Clearly it isn't the characteristic of a Malfoy to have one." Harry said lightly, resuming his attack on the sausages, "Well, it's obvious why, because of who I am. With Voldermort back, people are bound to get hurt because of me, and I'm sick of having to see people around me dying in attempt to save me. It's just my way of preventing it from happening again. Three times of such incidents are enough to plague me for the rest of my life. I'm not going to let anything like that happen, ever again."

"And what about sons of Deatheaters? Would you save them too?"

"It seems Draco that I already have. On two separate occasions I believe." Harry said, smiling, the sun filtering into the Great Hall and catching his raven hair in the light.

Draco stared at the raven-haired seeker. Here was someone who had experienced the absolute worst in life, it was incredible that anyone, what more a seventeen year-old, was subjected to such cruel ordeals, yet had the strength to wake up everyday to live. For the first time in his life, Draco saw Harry with respect. He knew the torture Harry had gone through; Father had given a brief description of it. But he never expected it to be so terrible, to be so much worse than what he had been through. And to have the willpower to carry on living.

Draco opened his mouth to speak, when the doors of the Great Hall opened, and the rest of the school started pouring in, not caring about the oddness of the scene. Draco shut his mouth as the Slytherins started filling up the once empty table.

"Draco, what are you doing up so early? I woke up and you were gone. How could you leave me?" Pansy said shrilly, a hint of a smile playing on her lips.

Drawing himself up, Draco held Pansy firmly, before placing a firm, long kiss on her lips. Slowly pulling away, Pansy narrowed her eyes. She was going to give Draco a piece of her mind of doing such things without telling her in advance.

Smirking, Draco looked over to the Gryffindor table; Harry was sitting with the Weasel and the Mudblood, still happily eating his breakfast. That pig.

And then, while his two sidekicks were in heated discussion, Harry turned to look in his direction, shaking his head with a bemused smile, he rolled his eyes before joining in the discussion. And the moment passed.

'What was that?' Draco thought. For a moment, it seemed as though time had froze, and for that split second, he swore he actually felt Harry's uncontrolled raw magic, radiating off him, and it shook something in him. There was something about Harry's magic that he couldn't place a finger on, but it was what made Harry's magic so indescribably Harry.

"Hey Malfoy!"

Turning around, Draco realised that it was Harry, who was standing at the Gryffindor table; all eyes reverted on the two of them.

"What do you want Scarface? I have little reason to talk to imbeciles like you."

Harry shrugged, "Just noticed you were leaving. I know you're nervous about the match later, but I doubt any last minute practice would help. After all, you'd think by now you were used to losing to me."

Why that insufferable prick.

"I'll see you at the Quidditch field Potter, unless you're too afraid to turn up." Draco said forbiddingly.

"Oh yes, going against the Slytherin seeker has always been my worst nightmare." Harry said his face scornful but his eyes were twinkling in humour.

Draco narrowed his eyes, before giving a curt nod and leaving the Great Hall.

Author's notes: Haha okay, I know this chapter is rather late. Ok very late. But still at /em it's out. Does anyone know how to get italics to show up on fanfic when using Microsoft word? Cos the italics on my documents don't turn up on fanfic. Hmmm. Yep that's bout it... don't worry, I won't abandon this fic. I hope. That's about it. For now, I'm comatose bum and this has been a great chapter. Good night everybody, Comatose Bum, out!