Disclaimer: HP is JKR's brainchild. I'm just babysitting for the moment.
Rating: PG-13 for profanity, Slash ahead, HPDM. Not very fast paced. Creature! fic as well.
Summary: Is it possible to capture a dragon when suddenly you find one within your reach?
By miss sheree
Oderint dum metuant.
Let them hate, so long as they fear.
"Why?" he asked, his voice soft yet firm filled with resounding determination. The question had haunted him for more years than he could count and now at their last official day of being Hogwarts students, he felt he was owed an explanation. So he had hunted the prat down and found him, surprisingly, atop the Astronomy Tower, looking strangely serene as he surveyed the Quidditch Pitch that they had battled on for the past seven years. It was what made him hesitate to disturb the blonde. He had truthfully never seen the Slytherin look so peaceful before, curiously devoid of his usual sneer and haughtiness. It surprised him that the sight was enough to stop him in his tracks and question his actions. It was rare to see his nemesis in such an unguarded moment and he felt like he was intruding. Suddenly, he remembered that this was Malfoy he was talking about and that he shouldn't give a damn about the boy's sensibilities when he clearly never gave a fuck about his. And that's why he had seized his objective with vengeance and stepped forward to make his presence known but when he called out his voice had still softened under its own volition, indicating that the vision of the quiet Malfoy had gotten to him after all.
"Why what, Potter?" Draco Malfoy drawled as he turned to face the Four Eyed Boy Wonder, his silver grey orbs hardening into ice. Clearly Harry's intrusion had irked him for if looks could kill Draco might have done Voldemort's job for him, killing the savior of the Wizarding World on the spot with his venomous gaze. "There are so many things you don't know, it could fill up the whole Hogwarts Library so you would excuse me if I wouldn't know what the bloody hell you're prattling on about." He added derisively as he tossed back his glistening silver locks in arrogance.
Irritation bubbled inside Harry as he tried to keep his infamous temper in check. This always happened. He would say something to the Slytherin git and most of the time it couldn't even be remotely considered as an insult and yet every time Malfoy would throw back a nasty retort which would infuriate him into doing something stupid like punching the git or hexing him and always always when there happened to be a professor nearby. He didn't know why everyone kept saying he was lucky, well besides his uncanny ability to escape certain death in the hands of Voldemort a whopping seven times but he sure as hell felt that cursed was the more likely way to define it. Choking backing his annoyance and searching for reserves of self-control he prayed he had, he managed to painfully bite out the question that had been stuck like an annoying splinter in his side. "Why do you hate me?"
It was an uncomfortable pressure that squeezed Harry's insides every time he would find himself the focus of heated silver-grey eyes. The unparalleled hostility within those orbs had always shocked and baffled him. Sure, he hated Malfoy but not like that. Even he, as dense as he usually was, knew that half of his fights with Malfoy were an unconscious attempt for him to escape his own troubles but it was quite obvious that the same could not be said about Malfoy. The git had hated him for real.
Widening grey eyes met his query the only indication that Malfoy had allowed to show that he had heard Harry's bewildering inquiry. Of all the questions that Potter could have asked him when he had caught Draco in his exposed position he had never expected the one that Potter had uttered. A suspicious Why the fuck are you here in the AstronomyTower without your cronies? would have been more to what he was used to. Or even a crushingly sarcastic Why don't you just do us all a favor, Malfoy, and just throw yourself over the ledge? would have equally sufficed. Anything but this dangerous new line of questioning which coupled with Potter's unwavering open gaze was slowly undoing Draco's feeble attempts of reasserting the usual mask he wore in public, the one which he had dropped the moment he had stepped into his hiding place. He sneered in retaliation. He was a Malfoy and he would not give St. Potter any more glimpses of the chinks in his armor than that which he had already witnessed. Merlin knows what Dumbledore's favorite son was already thinking about seeing his moment of weakness.
Indeed that was what it was. Draco had never shown intimate emotion to anyone in his life. He had shown anger, yes, irritation, arrogance and his favorite weapon: hate and usually it was directed to the boy standing in front of him. But he had never allowed his face to relax in peace, contentment, happiness or any of the other goody-goody emotions that the members of the other houses clearly indulge themselves with. This was nothing new really. He had been taught earlier on that feelings were a weakness. He was to use them and manipulate them in anyone else but on himself he was to make sure he was devoid of it. So he hid in the mask he had made since he was young and harbored all of his secrets there. Always sneering, always arrogant and anything he had that wasn't Malfoyish he had carefully hidden under this mask.
Lately, however, he had found himself becoming more and more stifled under his facade. It was increasingly becoming more difficult during these trying times not to show that he, in fact, actually felt. That he had failed in becoming the glorified human icicle that his father clearly was and that underneath it all he still cared that a war was going on and that some of the people he knew would likely suffer in it as well. He was also very much afraid. He knew that it was only a matter of time before he would be called on to accept what his father had deemed as his birthright, the sinister Dark Mark which would brand him evil for all to see and as one of the Dark Lord's faithful followers. But he wasn't. Deep inside, something had made Draco realize this statement as truth. He would never willingly join Voldemort. Even though he was more than scared out of his wits about the thought of defying his father and the crazy maniac but this was not due to some altruistic motive, mind. After all, he was no Gryffindor. His motives were purely selfish and very Slytherin in nature. He knew the Dark Lord didn't share power and if he wanted power as much as he did, he would never be able to get it while groveling at that bastard's feet like his father did. And besides how powerful can the git really be if all it took was a one year old version of the skinny boy before him to take him down?
And that was why he took to his nightly sojourn atop the Astronomy Tower. His visit tonight was especially vital since this was going to be the last moment of peace he would be able to steal before he was thrown into the throes of the war. He needed to sort out his thoughts and come up with a plan that would get his sorry arse out of this whole mess. Damn his father anyway for blindly serving such a lunatic! Clearly the head of the Malfoy clan was not as astute as he professed to be. And now Potter had to go and ruin his solitude by invading his privacy and asking stupid questions. What was with Boy Wonder anyway? Why was he asking such an odd question and wearing that hint of desperation in his emerald eyes that made him look like he was embroiled in a haphazard attempt to psychoanalyze their naturally volatile enmity? Couldn't he just well enough leave Draco alone? Even for just one night? Especially this one night. So he tried to get Potter to leave the best and easiest way he could. He ignored the beseeching nature of Potter's weird inquiry and sneered, "What's not to hate? You are the annoyingly lucky bastard that always gets in the way of things. Everyone loves you and gives you special privileges and even that bloody snitch seems to be quite attached to you with the way it always follows you around on the Pitch. And, of course, we can't forget the obvious: You are Harry Potter and I am Draco Malfoy. Good versus Evil. Light versus Dark and all that."
"That's bullocks, Malfoy!" Harry said brusquely, annoyed that he was being lied to by the only person who had ever had the balls to always lay the brutal truth on Harry whether he liked it or not. "I. Saw. You." Harry said evenly as he continued to level his gaze on the blonde, unwilling to let the Slytherin brush off the telling moment he had just witnessed. The moment that had revealed for the first time that Draco Malfoy could be something as imperfect as human. That there was something more to him than what he let the rest of the world believe, than what he let Harry himself believe and this realization poured ice and fire in Harry's veins so shaken was he to witness the destruction of all of his preconceived notions of his enemy. Suddenly the only constant truth in his life wasn't constant anymore. Hell, it was painstakingly clear; it wasn't even truth to begin with. They stood there for a while, eyes challenging each other to be the first to break away. Emerald fire met silver ice and nothing changed. The fire never waned and the ice never melted. But then again, neither of them expected anything less.
"You. Saw. Nothing." Draco said with equal fervent, determined to deny any weakness or humanity the messy-haired wizard might have conceived in that cockamamie head of his.
Harry snorted and shook his head in disgust. "I never thought you would be coward enough to turn away from the truth, but I shouldn't be surprised. You have always had something to hide, Malfoy. I just never imagined that you would include your own sense of self in that list."
Draco barely managed reign in the stupid impulse of just decking Gryffindor's Golden Boy on his arse right then and there. He had abandoned the uncouth violent attacks that he had employed when he was younger, thinking of them as something beneath him and he sure as hell won't give in to those feelings now, especially not over Potter. But how dare he? How dare Potter assume he knew anything about him through the glimpse of that moment he so unashamedly stole? "As I said, Potter, you saw nothing. And as much as I am enjoying your usual display of blatant stupidity I must ask you to sod off and mind your own business. You are not welcomed here."
Harry smirked, "When have I ever been? But that is not the point. I asked you a question Malfoy and I want an honest answer, mind, that you're being a Malfoy might probably make that occurrence impossible. But I'll take that risk and still ask you, why do you hate me?"
Irritation lined Draco's angularly handsome face as he sniped, "Why the bloody hell do you care! You never have before! Just leave it! And more importantly leave me. I hate you. You hate me. End of story. With our histories, there shouldn't have to be an explanation."
"But I don't." Harry said quietly and in his calmness he had jolted Draco out of his infuriated ranting.
"What?" Draco said distractedly, unsure of what the hell the impudent boy was blathering on about.
"I don't hate you." Harry said calmly, his open gaze never wavering from shocked silver ones.
A sharp mocking laugh split the air and disturbed the stillness around them. "Now that is bullocks! You don't honestly expect me to believe you?"
Harry watched as Malfoy continued to laugh in his face and he felt renewed irritation coursing through him. If Malfoy didn't want to believe him then fine! Whatever! He didn't seek out the prat for that. All he cared about really was the answer to his question. "I don't care if you believe me, Malfoy. I just honestly want to know. Why do you really hate me?"
That was enough to stun Draco into stopping his chortling. Why the fuck was Potter being so damn insistent with this? Why did he want to know? Draco thought irritably and it wasn't the first time in the last twenty minutes that he wished Potter would just sod off and leave him alone. "Why do you want to know?" He said cautiously, his dratted natural curiosity making itself known.
Harry smiled wanly as he saw that he had grabbed Malfoy's interest. Now he was getting somewhere. "I'll tell you after you've answered my question truthfully and believe me, I will know if you're lying."
Draco smirked. He doubted that highly. He was a very skilled actor and quite adept at hiding his lies, a practice he had mastered since he was young so he was skeptical that the virtuous, not to mention, embarrassingly transparent Golden Boy would see through him. After all, he had never succeeded before so there was no reason why he would start now except… Damn! Potter really shouldn't have seen that! Draco thought as he remembered how the boy had caught him unaware. Draco shifted his attention back to the expectant face that was still waiting for a reply and this instantly made him more curious. Why was his answer so important to Potter? What was this all about? In their seven years of rivalry, Potter had never shown an inclination to wondering about the cause of it so why was he starting now. Finally deciding that there would be no harm in answering the prat truthfully, especially since he deemed he wasn't revealing anything of import, he answered, "You really want to know? And you will tell me why you want to know after I'm done?"
"Yes. Yes. I'll tell you after you answer me." Harry said impatiently, hating the dramatics Malfoy always employed. I mean really can't he just get to the point for once? He thought with a snort.
Satisfied, Draco began, "I hate you for a lot of things, Potter, all of which are as equally important as the next. Before you, I was always the best. I excelled in anything I endeavored: quidditch, school, and popularity. Whenever I walked into a room, it was sure that I was the center of attention. I was important. I was special. Before you, I always shined. Before you, Potter, I was the sun." Draco paused as he gathered his thoughts.
"And then you came along and changed everything. Suddenly when I walked in the room, I was no longer the center of attention. People weren't whispering about me. It was always you and that stupid scar. Moreover, your luck always held, be it with Quidditch, your stupid exploits, or even school. Everyone except Snape always looked the other way when the Golden Boy was involved. You, Potter, became the sun. It was you who always shined now. I, on the other hand, became the moon. Only able to shine when enveloped in darkness. And you know as well as I do that the sun and moon can never shine together. One always overshadows the other. And you, Potter, being the sun, will always shine because even in the darkest night one can still make out the silhouette of the sun. Even in darkness they can see you. But, me, even when I'm swathed in the brightest day, I'm invisible to their eyes. All because of you. And you know what's even more infuriating? I've began to realize that you did all this without even trying, hell; you did it without even knowing. How fucking pathetic is that? "
Harry let out the breath he didn't know he was holding. He had never imagined Malfoy felt that way. He knew Malfoy was jealous of him, of course, but he never knew this envy came from something so profound. "I-I don't know what to say. I never knew."
Draco shrugged, feeling uncomfortable under Potter's searching gaze. He knew he had inadvertently showed his archenemy a deeper glimpse of himself, something he had never allowed anyone before but it was too late for regrets now. Besides he couldn't bring himself to care either way. At any rate, today was the last day he would see Potter. Not counting, of course, the probability of facing him on the field of war. However when that time would come and which side he would be on when it did was still something he didn't want to dwell on just now, so he diverted himself by demanding Potter's end of the bargain. "Save it, Potter. I don't want your pity. I told you what you wanted to know. Now it's your turn. Why did you ask?" Draco asked suspiciously, his eyes narrowing.
"But there's more to it than that, isn't there? You said you had more reasons." Harry said curiously. Like a moth to a flame, he was drawn to this new side of Malfoy. Now that he had seen a glimpse underneath the mask, it became increasingly obvious to him that there was nothing he wanted more than to just rip if off Malfoy and fling it somewhere unreachable.
Again Draco shrugged nonchalantly, "I said there was more but I never said I would spill my fucking guts to you, Potter. Besides it would likely take all night to list every loathsome thing about you. So just tell me why you're being such an annoying leech already!"
Ah there's the Malfoy we all know and love. Harry thought with a smirk. Copying the irritated boy, he shrugged as well and said, "Tonight may very well be the last time I will see you. We're leaving tomorrow and the reality we have known for the past seven years will change to only Merlin knows what. I just wanted to know before that happens the real reason behind your hatred for me."
Draco's arctic gaze never wavered. "Well now you know and as much as I am enjoying this little powwow, I would really like to be left alone." He said sarcastically, hoping that his usually cold demeanor would get the boy to finally leave. He was becoming increasingly wary of Potter and his suspicious sudden need to have a heart to heart with his archenemy.
"You don't have to go to him, you know." Harry said suddenly, his heart hammering in his chest as he blurted out the other volatile thing he wanted to talk to Malfoy about. It was the deeper reason for his seeking out the other boy. He had an inkling of it when he had come looking for Malfoy and after everything that had gone on tonight, he knew he was right. Malfoy wasn't that bad.
His maliciousness and ambition was not enough to brand him as irreversibly evil. He was cunning, smart and looked out for his own hide but he didn't have that certain cruelty in him that would render him capable of watching someone get tortured for hours on end. He was no Voldemort and he was certainly no Lucius Malfoy. He saw that now. For after all, both men would probably never be caught dead brooding over the burdens on their souls, the way Malfoy looked like he was doing before he intruded.
Draco snorted. So Potter was playing this game, was he? The lets-recruit-the-most-likely-to-succeed-as-a-death-eater-before-he-kills-us-all scheme now, was it? Well two can play at that game and he would win by not playing at all. "I have no idea what you're bleating on about, Potter."
And to his eternal consternation, Potter had the utter gall to smirk at him, smirk at him! and to use his own intimidating device and say the words he had once spoken that fateful day on the train, "You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort, Malfoy. I can help you there." Then slowly and meaningfully Potter raised his hand and held it out to shake Draco's.
Draco didn't know how long he had stared at Potter and his outstretched hand. A myriad of emotions and thoughts were tangling themselves inside his mind that he could hardly decipher them all. Part of him was indignantly angry, how dare Potter think that he was in any way good and that he would betray his father to join him and his side? Another part was feeling dazed with the sense of dejavu and was recklessly thinking of how it would feel to wrap his pale hand around Harry's-er-Potter's and accept his offered friendship. And of course he was also feeling deliciously wicked and had thoughts of how sinfully good it would feel to do to Potter what he had done to him- snub his offer and pretend that his friendship was something beneath his notice and crush those hopeful green eyes. But was that really what he wanted? Or should he emerge from his hurt ego and finally grasp the only thing he had wanted since he had stepped inside Hogwarts?
What was he thinking? What was he thinking! Had he really entertained, for even a second, the thought of how good it would feel to be beside Harry-er-Potter! as his friend not his hated rival? He was clearly loosing his mind. Besides it was futile anyway. He could never betray the Malfoy name. He could never be a traitor. He was too proud for that. At any rate, he didn't believe in either side so did it really matter which side he died on? Abruptly, he turned away from Potter and his gesture, unable to look inside those haunting emeralds any longer. "You should go." He said evenly.
Harry was startled and began to protest, "But-"
"Just leave it be, Potter. You are in for a great disappointment if you think I can be redeemed. It was foolish of you to even attempt to capture, much less tame a dragon. I have no desire to be friends with filth like you." Draco lied through his teeth.
"Fine!" Harry spat out as he dropped his hand and began to storm out of the bloody tower. He didn't know why he bothered anyway! Honestly, Malfoy was right, what was he thinking believing that there was some sort of good buried inside the git or that he was capable of acting like a decent human being for once! He must really be off his rocker if he thought for one minute that-
"You can't save me anyway." Whispered a voice that was filled with so much pain, hurt and defeat that it took a while for Harry to register that the person who had spoken was actually the prat he was raging on about and when he finally did, the blasted door was already being magically shut in his face and securely locked.
Draco sank down on the cold stone floor as he finally let himself succumb to the shattering of his mask. It was a wonder he was able to keep it on for so long considering who he was with and what they had just talked about. He shuddered involuntarily just thinking about it, still disbelieving the fact that Harry Potter had finally offered him the friendship he had craved for and that he, Draco Malfoy, had refused. And to make matters worse, tomorrow he would be leaving. Draco rested his head against the hard wall as he tried to swallow the lump in his throat. Then suddenly, like an opening of floodgates, it became all too much for the seventeen year old. He had seen too much, known too much and felt too little. He swiped at something annoying that was tickling his cheek and stared dumbly at it.
He was crying, openly weeping like the broken child he was secretly hiding inside himself.
But Malfoys never cried! And now he knew why.
For once they started; they wouldn't know how to stop.
Thanks to my betas, Katelyn LouElla Bucy and Elizabeth Ice. Please review!
Damnant quod non intelligent.
They condemn what they don't understand.