Disclaimer: I own nothing of Harry Potter. It all belongs to J.K. Rowling.
Warning: This is SLASH…Also, this is a dark Harry Potter fic. There will be secondary character deaths and violence.
Spoilers: Probably for books 1-4, and a teeny bit for book 5.
Author's Note: Sorry for such a long time between chapters. It's a longer chapter than the preceding ones, and I wanted it to be good. I hope it was worth the wait. And thanks to Sarah for the wonderful beta. And to Caitlyn for being my inspiration in all writing and for being generally awesome.Give us a tantrumAnd a know-it-all grinJust when we need one When the evening's thin
- Sarah McLachlan, Building a MysteryChapter 5: A New Day
The sun was just rising when Harry finally returned to the Gryffindor common room. He stepped soundlessly through the portrait hole, leaving a trail of water droplets in his wake. His wet clothing clung to him like a second skin, and his hair was plastered to his face, releasing rivulets of water that ran down his face and neck to disappear into the collar of his shirt.
Relieved, Harry took in the vacant room and made his way up the boy's dorm.
"You're back. Finally."
Harry sighed. It appeared that sleep and a change of clothes would have to wait. He turned to face his friends. He shook his head slightly, spraying Ron and Hermione with water. They grimaced in disgust.
"I'm sorry. Were you worried?"
Ron snorted disbelievingly. "Yeah, I'd say we were a bit worried, mate! You vanish all summer, let everyone assume you're dead, and when you come back you're…" Ron trailed off, gesturing toward Harry's appearance.
"Yes? What am I?"
"You're different, Harry." Hermione stepped closer, placing a hand on Harry's arm. "What happened to you?"
Harry shook her off. Hermione looked hurt as Harry glared at her. He forced himself to soften his expression a bit so as not to further upset her. "I had an epiphany. Everything makes more sense now."
Ron looked puzzled. "What kind of epiphany?" He moved forward and placed a hesitant hand on his friend's shoulder. "Harry, please."
"No!" Harry shoved Ron off of him, forgetting his newly enhanced strength. Ron flew backwards several feet to slam against the corner of the table. "I'm not your Harry any more."
As Hermione rushed over to help Ron to his feet, they both watched stricken as Harry hurried up the stairs to the boy's dorm. They were beginning to understand that he was right; he wasn't their Harry any more.
Harry strode into the boys room, letting the door slam shut behind him. He cast a quick locking spell before going over to the window beside his bed. Harry climbed up onto the sill and curled up against the pane of thick, ancient glass. Ever since his arrival at Hogwarts, he had always liked this spot. He enjoyed curling into himself and staring out the window, thinking. As usual, the situation managed to calm him down, taking the edge off of his rage.
Ron and Hermione. They were becoming a problem. Harry had not fully reckoned just how problematic their presence would become. Though he had assumed that there would be some questions, he had not predicted this constant onslaught which they now subjected him to. Eventually he would have to deal with them, but not now. Not today.
Today he had other matter to consider, such as one Draco Malfoy. No matter how hard he tried, he could not erase the image of those slate gray eyes fixed on his rain-soaked figure. He had been surprised to feel the blonde's presence the night before. However, Harry was more shocked to discover that it had been a pleasant surprise to find out that his nemesis had been watching him. He didn't know quite what to make of these new feelings. Before, he had loathed Malfoy, but now…now was different. He was different. He found himself lacking the intense hatred that had been his constant companion with regards to Malfoy, instead finding it redirected toward those he had previously considered friends.
Harry rose quickly, full of sudden determination. He would abandon his prior plans. He smiled to himself. It was a brilliant idea; instead of just killing Malfoy, as he had originally intended, he would first seduce his nemesis, and then drive him slowly insane…break his heart and make him plead for death.
Yes, Harry decided. That would do just fine for one such as Malfoy. It was only fitting after all the trouble the Slytherin had put his human self through.
Content with his decision, Harry felt peaceful enough to sit on his bed and review his potions text for the next day. After all, it would never do for him to attract more of Snape's attention than was absolutely necessary. If the potions master looked to closely, he might notice that something was amiss with Harry. He had always been the most observant of his professors. Even Dumbledore, who seemed at times to know everything, never saw through Harry the way Snape did.
Harry winced as he leaned forward over his book, overcome by a wave of dizziness. He placed a hand against his forehead, pressing against his scar, and took several deep, unnecessary breaths in an attempt to steady himself. Too preoccupied to pay much attention to it, Harry resumed his studying as soon as the bout of dizziness passed.
Two hours later, Harry had barely read three pages. Frustrated, he slammed the book closed and shoved it under his bed. Deciding to go for a walk to clear his head, Harry headed for the door. Half way to the door he paused. Damn it, Harry cursed to himself, realizing that it was day. He could still take a walk through Hogwarts, but at this time of morning he was likely to run into half the school, who would now be on their way to breakfast in the Great Hall. Sighing, Harry resigned himself to a shower instead, hoping that it would at least somewhat rid his mind of the unpleasant thoughts.
Draco hurried to Potion's Class, desperate to not be late to the first lesson of the new term. Though he knew that Snape would never deduct points from any Slytherin, especially him, it still would not look good for him to be tardy. Draco slipped in along with Neville Longbottom and Seamus Finnigan just as Snape was closing the door.
He slipped into his seat in the back corner of the room beside Goyle, hurrying to take his quill and parchment out of his bag before Snape started lecturing. Draco immediately began jotting down notes as the professor began describing the procedure for the day's assignment.
"Today's potion will be extremely difficult. I don't expect many of you to succeed at all, though I suspect that some will fail to a higher degree than others." Snape glared pointedly at Neville, who slid down in his seat and cast his eyes downward in an effort to avoid the professor's gaze. "The potion is – Mr. Potter, so nice of you to join us."
Everyone looked toward the door where Harry was currently standing, looking totally unruffled. Draco saw the Gryffindors start murmuring to each other while casting concerned looks toward their Golden Boy. The Slytherins, on the other hand, grinned to each other in anticipation of the impending point deduction.
"Why are you late, Potter? Too busy signing autographs to arrive at class on time?"
Harry didn't answer Snape's question. He shrugged, and looked at the room with an uninterested air.
Snape scowled. He had clearly been expecting Harry to respond in his usual manner of losing his temper and saying something stupid. "Ten points from Gryffindor for tardiness. Now take your seat. You're holding up my class."
Harry sat down in the vacant seat closest to the door. The seat also happened to be on the Slytherin side of the room, but this didn't seem to bother him in the slightest. He shot an arrogant grin at the student seated next to him, then took out his materials and began to take notes, never once glancing over at his 'friends' on the other side of the room.
Snape looked somewhat confused at his pupil's choice of seat, but decided not to comment. He quickly gathered himself and continued with the lesson.
Draco quickly became absorbed in the lecture. Potions had always been his favorite subject and, despite Snape's abhorrent personality, he was an excellent teacher. Most of the students loathed this class because they feared his constant chastisement. But since Draco had never been in danger of the potion master's wrath, he had always been more free to reap the full benefits of the class.
Draco was sufficiently fascinated by the subject matter that he had almost managed to forget his encounter with Harry the night before.
"Alright," Snape snapped. "Everyone pick a partner. One person from each group come up here and I'll give you your ingredients. Try not to mess this up. If you ruin this potion then you will both immediately fail the assignment and be unable to try again since I shall not be giving you more ingredients. Well, what are you all standing about for? Begin!"
Draco scanned his notes, observing which materials he would need. He stood, about to go over and get the ingredients, but was surprised to see the ingredients already on the table beside him. He looked up and groaned as he saw who it was that had brought over the materials.
Harry slid into the seat next to Draco. He smiled slightly, but said nothing as he laid out the ingredients and began to chop up them into small equal pieces. Draco numbly watched the Gryffindor carefully prepare the billywig stings. Finally he shook himself out of his reverie.
"What do you think you're doing, Potter?" Draco snapped.
Harry stopped working and looked up at Draco with a slightly bemused expression. "What does it look like?"
"Yes, I can see what you're doing. The question is, why are you doing it here?"
"Well, I assumed that you wouldn't want to move, and here seemed as good a place as any."
Draco sputtered at Harry's coolly-spoken response. He searched for some sort of comeback, but his mind was a blank, and in the end he settled for just watching mystified as his new partner pushed aside the prepared stings and began neatly slicing a caterpillar.
"Are you going to help or not?"
After several minutes of silence, the question came as a bit of surprise. Draco took a moment to digest the question before finally groaning and taking his seat. Harry calmly passed him the dragon's horn and he began crushing it into a fine powder.
No words were spoken for the rest of the time except for the occasional request for an ingredient or comment on the consistency of the potion. The silence was rather companionable, and Draco found it almost pleasant to work with Harry. He had never been one for making conversation during class, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that Harry seemed to feel the same way.
Harry looked up and saw Snape hovering over him holding a piece of parchment. "Yes, professor?"
"You're wanted in Dumbledore's office. Mr. Malfoy can complete the potion on his own."
Everyone watched as Harry calmly rose from his seat, handing the spoon he had been using to stir the potion over to Draco. Just as Harry was about to step away he turned to Draco and smiled cryptically. "Be careful. You might fall."
Draco opened his mouth to ask Harry what he meant, but it was too late as he had already left. Draco looked around, but no one else seemed to have heard Harry's quietly uttered words.
Dumbledore set down his tea and watched, eyes smiling, as Arthur Weasley flooed into his office.
Arthur nodded curtly to the older man. "Albus."
"So, what brings you by?" Dumbledore asked in a manner that suggested he already knew the answer.
"You called for me. You said it was urgent."
Dumbledore smiled. "Ah, so I did. How have you been, Arthur?"
Arthur flopped down into a chair opposite Dumbledore's desk. Wiping his brow, he gratefully accepted a cup of tea. "I've been looking for Harry. I know a lot of people say it's hopeless, but I can't give up. The boy is like family. I got a lead in Romania; someone claimed to have spotted a young man fitting Harry's description, but it was a dead end."
Dumbledore looked as if he were about to say something, but just then the door opened to reveal none other than the young man in question.
"You asked to see me?" Harry inquired in a somewhat bored tone. It was then that he noticed the other occupant of the room. Harry sighed. Oh great. Time for another touching reunion.
"Yes Harry, please, sit down." Dumbledore gestured to the other chair.
Arthur was stunned. He knew that the voice had sounded familiar, but then again, he had thought that he had heard Harry many times over the past few months. He had automatically accepted it as being a figment of his imagination, but then Albus…no, it couldn't be true.
Arthur turned around slowly to look at the person that had entered the room. What he saw made him gape in astonishment. He blinked several times and rubbed his eyes, checking to make sure that it wasn't just an illusion.
"Harry? Oh my…it is you." Arthur jumped up from his seat, closing the distance between the two of them in a heartbeat to embrace the boy he had long thought of as family.
Harry hung his arms limply by his sides, allowing the older man to hug him. He wrinkled his nose in disgust as he felt something damp hit his cheek, running down to rest in the small indentation at the corner of his mouth. Finally, Arthur released him and stepped back to brush the tears from his eyes and smile joyfully at the sight before him. Harry raised a hand to roughly wipe the stray tear from his mouth. He gave Arthur a thinly-veiled look of distaste before moving to take his seat opposite Dumbledore. Arthur glanced at Harry, puzzled, and sat down in his own chair.
Dumbledore clapped his hands together. "Right, now that that's settled, let's get started, shall we?" He turned to look at Harry. "My boy, this may be hard for you, but we need to discuss this. We still don't know who it was that, well, killed your family. However, we do believe it was most likely Death Eaters working at Voldemort's orders. If this is indeed the case – or even if it isn't – it is of the gravest importance that you be careful."
"I'm always careful," Harry interrupted in a cocky tone. Arthur looked at Harry in surprise, but said nothing.
"Of course you are, but I mean no more nighttime strolls, and please don't go looking for Voldemort. We don't know how it was that you were not killed as well, since were almost certainly the primary target – and I'll allow you to divulge the details when you feel ready to discuss it – but we don't need you to go off and get your self killed now."
"Oh no, sir, we wouldn't want that," Harry responded absently. He was only half-listening to Dumbledore's speech as his morning's dizziness seemed to have returned.
"Very good." Dumbledore smiled at Harry's compliant statement, and was about to say more but was interrupted as Harry rose to his feet.
"Is that all?" Without waiting for an answer, Harry turned and hurried from the room. He did not even glance at Arthur on his way out.
As the door slammed shut, Dumbledore reached forward to place a hand over Arthur's. "Don't worry. His summer must have been fairly traumatic. I'm sure that in due course he'll resume much of his former good humor; just give him some time."
Arthur Weasley nodded in response, but he couldn't shake the icy feeling of dread that seemed to have wrapped itself around his heart. Something was wrong, he knew that much. He just didn't know what it was. But he would find out, if it was the last thing he did.
Draco groaned, laying his head down on his folded arms, trying to block out the incessant chatter of his housemates.
"But did you see him?"
"I know. It's totally bizarre. It's like he's a different person."
"You know what I think? I think he is a different person."
"You mean like an imposter?"
"Maybe. I mean, sure he has the scar, but besides that he's totally different. How do we know it's really him?"
Slowly, it dawned on Draco that they were discussing Potter. The Gryffindor had been the subject of a great deal of discussion ever since his mysterious reappearance at the Sorting Ceremony. Pansy, Millicent, Blaise, and he had gone done to the library to review that day's potions lesson but, as usual, it had turned into nothing more than a long, drawn-out gossip session. Draco had tuned them out sometime during the discussion of Mandy Brockelhurst's new 'last season' robes, but now he perked up, listening to see if any of them knew what had happened to Potter.
However, after several more minutes of listening he gave up, deducing that they knew no more than he did. If anything, they knew less – his encounter with the Gryffindor Golden Boy had certainly been interesting, and now he had their bizarre potions partnership to add to the mystery.
"Draco…Draco! Aren't you listening?" Draco was roused from his thoughts by Pansy's hand waving furiously in front of his face. Apparently they had, for the time being, returned to the subject of potions, and someone had asked him a question.
Too tired and distracted to pretend to have been actually paying attention, Draco shrugged and mumbled, "No, I wasn't listening." He then turned his gaze downward and, once again tuning out the others, returned to his thoughts of Harry.
Harry was thoroughly irritated by the morning's meeting with the headmaster. After leaving Dumbledore's office, he had chosen to skip the rest of the day's classes in favor of spending some time alone with his thoughts. Now seated in a shadowed corner of the Astronomy Tower, he allowed his thoughts to return to that morning's rather disturbing events.
Arthur Weasley's blatant display of fatherly affection had unnerved him considerably. Who does he think he is? He's not my father. I don't need his affections. I never asked for them.
But he had asked for them, Harry realized. At least, his human self had. By spending so much time with the Weasleys, he had expressed a subconscious desire that they would become a sort of surrogate family for him. The thought of this now disgusted him, yet some part of him still craved that connection. When Mr. Weasley had hugged him in relief to see him alive, Harry had almost given in and allowed himself to be loved. But it would not happen again, he determined. He was no weak human, thoroughly reliant on the approval of others. I am strong. I am independent. I can – I will – conquer this.
It was then that Harry felt it – a slight tingling at the edge of his consciousness. He's here.
Harry knew where to go. He immediately took off walking briskly toward the edge of the forbidden forest. It was dusk, and he could see the last of the sun setting behind the hills in the distance. By the time he reached his destination, there was only the faintest hint of sunlight and the lights from Hogwarts to illuminate the setting.
Harry saw the figure leaning casually against a tree and smiled. He stopped a few feet from the other man and nodded in greeting. Wordlessly, the figure crossed the remaining ground between them and grabbed Harry by the front of his robes, pulling him in for a bruising kiss.
As they kissed, Harry felt the other man change. Suddenly, his mouth was flooded with a familiar coppery liquid. Unable to withstand the sensory onslaught after days without feeding, Harry also changed. He pulled the man's body closer and began running his tongue along every surface, devouring every trace of blood.
Caught up in the taste of his sire's blood, Harry didn't notice any change in his companion's demeanor until he was forcefully detached from his lips.
Harry looked up breathlessly into his sire's concerned face.
"My boy, heavens, when was the last time you fed?" Virgil asked, brushing his fingers over his now-bruised lips.
Harry snarled, brushing a stray drop of blood from his mouth. "It's been days. I can't get away. And it's not like I can just pounce on my dorm mates. Someone might suspect something."
All of a sudden, they were both blinded by a sudden flash of light. Virgil automatically stepped forward to protect his childe, while Harry quickly drew his wand.
"Hey Harry, who's your friend?"
As his vision cleared, Harry was able to make out the outline of the speaker. It was a rather short, slightly round boy…and he was holding a camera.
Harry and Virgil looked at Colin Creevy in bewilderment. Then the same idea seemed to occur to them both at the same time.
The two vampires exchanged a silent look of understanding before Harry leapt forward and sunk his teeth into the jugular of the boy in front of them.
Harry stepped into the warmth of Hogwart's entrance hall. He stopped, reveling in the silence that came only after all the other students had gone to bed. Harry absently wiped a trace of blood from the corner of his mouth, then licked it from the tip of his forefinger, savoring the taste of innocence.
Suddenly, Harry cocked his head, listening intently. The faint voices of students leaving the library could be heard in the distance. One succinct, low voice in particular caught his interest. Draco.
Smiling wickedly, Harry moved silently in the direction of the voices.
"Do you hear that?" Draco turned around, staring into the darkness, trying to discern the source of the noise.
"Hear what?" Pansy inquired, giving Draco a strange look. She waited a beat, but then delved back into the story she was currently relating to Blaise and Millicent.
Draco stopped moving, letting them walk ahead of him. Am I going mad? No, that's definitely…singing?
He walked in the direction of the voice. "Harry?" Draco whispered. Abruptly, the singing stopped. The Slytherin waited, listening, but the song did not resume. He was so wrapped up in trying to hear more of the song, that he did not sense the figure step up behind him until they leaned forward to whisper in his ear.
"Do you trust me?" Harry murmured, his cool breath causing the hairs to stand up on the back of Draco's neck.
"What?" Bewildered, and a bit frightened, Draco attempted to turn around and face his assailant.
The vampire moved closer, pressing himself up against Draco's back. One hand lightly brushed Draco's arm while the other gripped his chin, tilting his head to the left. Draco felt Harry's lips brush his ear as he asked the question again.
"Do you trust me?"
Draco unconsciously leaned backward, resting his head against Harry's, surrendering himself to the vampire behind him. "Yes," he whispered.
He felt Harry's lips form a slight smirk.
Draco had barely registered Harry's words when the body behind him vanished. He whipped around, eyes searching the darkness, but he was alone.
Unnerved, Draco hurried to catch up with the others. He didn't notice the figure that watched him from the shadows, but as he was leaving he thought he heard a soft, low voice humming a vaguely familiar refrain.
We said goodnight, and not goodbye.