Title: Sort of Antipathy
Pairing: Harry/Draco, (some Hermione/Ron)
Characters: Harry, Draco, Snape, Hermione, Ron, DA
Summary: Sequel to Strange Empathy. The end of the war draws closer and Hogwarts still hasn't learned to work together. Harry and Draco get closer, but the path ahead won't be easy for them or the people trying to help them.
A/N: This is the sequel to Strange Empathy, which is a friendship fic, but this is slash. There's still a lot of other story however, and none of the romances are explicit, so if you read the first story, give this one a try even if you're not normally a Harry/Draco shipper. The story is finished and in beta, so a new chapter should be posted every day or so. The entire story will be up before HBP is out, I promise! Think that's it, so read and enjoy...
"Sympathy constitutes friendship; but in love there is a sort of antipathy, or opposing passion. Each strives to be the other, and both together make up one whole."
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Draco ordered the house-elf out of his room with a haughty wave. When the door closed he locked it with the strongest charms and hexes he could muster. Only then did he allow the habitual sneer to fall off his face. It was replaced by an expression of bone-deep weariness which was somehow far more troubling. He looked much younger than his seventeen years. Draco crawled into bed and closed his eyes, but it was at least an hour before his breathing began to slow and even.
He was lost in the woods. Trees battered his face and strange noises were all around him. He pushed at the branches but no matter how far he went he couldn't get out of the darkness. Suddenly, without any obvious transitory phase, he was in a small room. Faint wand-light illuminated it, but could do little to dispel the gloom. Draco looked around to find amused green eyes watching him.
'Finally! I've been waiting for you to fall asleep for ages.'
Draco said nothing. Harry couldn't hear him. Strange auditory hallucinations on the train home notwithstanding, they weren't telepathic. Harry couldn't see him either, so how his eyes were following Draco so accurately was a mystery.
'I was just going to come in,' Harry continued, 'but I thought your house would be warded. I wasn't sure if trying to break into the heir's head would set off the alarms. So I called you here instead.'
How? Draco tried to speak.
Harry seemed to know what he would say anyway. 'I'm not really sure how it works. I did get into Professor Snape's head when I was asleep once though. So I thought I'd call you and see if it worked. I did promise we'd talk before September. So...'
Harry settled himself on the bed, pulling the ratty duvet round his feet, and picked up the piece of parchment beside him. He began to read:
I already explained why I'm writing this way rather than owling. I'd like to be wrong though. Are things bad there? I'm not asking you to tell me whether Lucius is hiding out in your house, but whether he is or not, the ministry revoking their pardons can't have helped things back home. I don't have much of an idea though, owl post isn't safe this way either, and all the Prophet's said is that Fudge resigned and the interim government tried to re-arrest everybody he released after the fight at the ministry. So I'm basically sitting here wondering whether you've died and no one's told me.'
Harry took a deep breath, the combination of memories of the ministry fight and his continued helplessness overwhelming his composure. In a few seconds it was back, and he continued.
'If Voldemort had killed you he'd probably be here already though. I'm sure it should be comforting to know that if you're still alive someone, somewhere, is still fighting. Still, I worry about you. There wasn't much time to talk last year after you got it. So if you want to write back, go ahead. I have nothing else to do but practice some of the quieter spells. How I'm going to learn apparition I have no idea! Talk soon.
Harry smiled, waved, and released Draco back into his own dreams. Yet even the one where he fought off a horde of acromantulas was somehow less memorable than Harry's tired smile as he signed off. That kind of casual affection, so prevalent among the trio (for lack of any other way to describe the three Gryffindors bonded since first year), was mostly missing in the Slytherin common room. He doubted it was quite so open for anyone else even within the Gryffindors. Ron Weasley, after all, had been designated what Harry would miss the most. Not all of those mocking that had been Slytherins. He had scoffed at of course, but even back then he had, momentarily, regretted that there was too much suspicion amongst the Slytherins for that kind of devotion. Now, seeing how Voldemort treated his followers, Draco valued that loyalty even more.
A week or so later Harry was pulled from his own disturbing dreams.
Draco greeted him abruptly, 'I don't think the wards go off if I call you. But if I say go you need to leave.'
Harry looked around Draco's room curiously. It was expensive, even without knowing what the pieces ornamenting the shelves were, you could still tell. It was a little intimidating. Turning, something caught his eye and he grinned. A black and white fluffy bird. Ron wasn't the only person whose dedication to their team showed in the decoration. He relaxed.
Draco didn't. 'They know you're not in your house, you know. The room you were in the first time – you're not there anymore, and they know that. This, I imagine, means that you're in the Order's headquarters. You should realise that it isn't safe. If they could find out where in London it was, you'd all be dead. But somehow I doubt I'm going to make you move somewhere safer. So I'll just read my letter, shall I?'
Harry smiled. He couldn't work out why Draco was still so uncomfortable with normal things like letter writing. He seemed much more at ease when they were grabbing conversations or practice duels from under the collective noses of the school. Risking their lives, in other words. In this, much safer, ordinary way of communicating (if you discounted the mind-speak) he was out of his depth.
Draco sat stiffly in his chair, parchment in hand.
I hope you're well. In a way, I'm having the same problem you wrote about - I think I would probably hear if you were dead, but I wonder nevertheless.
I'm fine, as you can see I hope. I don't want to get into what's happening. That might set the wards off, even if this doesn't. But nothing terribly bad is happening. Well, it is, but not to me. And not to anyone we know, I think. I'm not as well informed as you might imagine. The new ones, you know what I mean, get less access. I'm probably getting as much of my information from the Prophet as you are. And if you're with Weasley and Granger you're definitely getting more news than I am.
I know you probably can't go out much, but at least if you're with them you can practice properly. You mentioned that you can't perform much magic when you're with your relatives. I have, mostly, mastered apparition. I'll be taking the test next week. I'm sure the three of you will be doing it soon as well. Maybe we can take our practices slightly further afield?
Anyway, I should probably go. Before my silencing spell falls down and they start wondering why I'm talking to myself.'
Draco paused, as if unsure whether he should read the next part.
'It will be good to see you again in a few weeks...I've missed you.
Draco cut off the connection so abruptly that Harry woke up with a start. He looked over at Ron, blissfully asleep, and debated whether he should wake him. Ron had been strange about Draco this summer though, almost as if the last term hadn't happened. It probably wasn't helped by the fact that Hermione, every so often, would express sudden concern that Draco was okay. Harry decided not to wake anyone up, but the memory of the awkward worry in Draco's eyes prevented him from sleeping himself.
He wandered downstairs quietly. Tiptoeing through the hall, he made it to the kitchen without incident. Putting the kettle on for tea without turning the light on, Harry nearly jumped out of his skin at the polite cough from the table.
'Can't sleep?' Remus asked kindly.
'Can't stop thinking,' Harry amended.
'Neither can I.' Remus responded.
Harry turned the light on and frowned at the circles under his adopted godfather's eyes. Staying in this house wasn't good for either of them. Last year had almost been better; both of them numb with grief at Sirius's loss. This year they had too much time to think, to be suddenly surprised by a memory. Harry felt a wave of guilt that his current upset wasn't for his dead godfather, but for a vague disquiet about a perfectly well friend. It was worsened by the fact that Remus obviously assumed that his unhappiness was because of Sirius, and the knowledge that on most of the previous occasions it had been did nothing to assuage this.
'Professor...Remus. Are you okay?'
'Aren't I supposed to be the one asking you that?'
'I'm okay, honest. It wasn't...wasn't about him. Not this time anyway.'
Lupin met Harry's eyes squarely. 'It's okay that it wasn't. Sirius wouldn't want that for you. To be mourning him forever. It's okay to forget sometimes. That's how we cope.'
Harry met Remus's smile with barely concealed disbelief. Neither of them coped. They just got on day to day because they had to. Lupin might think of this as coping, but Harry knew was simply survival. After this was over, then everybody would have a chance to mourn, but right now, callously, there just wasn't time.
Remus clearly didn't notice his scepticism, and continued, 'Although I'd rather you forgot for a happier reason than worrying about someone else. Is it Draco?'
'I can't help thinking something bad's going to happen to him too.' Harry tried to bite back the "too", but it was too late. Draco wasn't supposed to be on a par with his godfather, and his best friends. And he certainly wasn't supposed to be on the list of people that Harry was terrified of getting hurt.
Remus didn't seem to mind. 'Harry, we'll get him clear long before anything goes wrong. Him and Severus both. You shouldn't take all this on yourself. That's what we're here for.'
And that's what got Sirius killed, Harry thought angrily. But he smiled agreement for Remus's sake. Pouring them both tea, they talked about happier things until Remus steered him back to Ron's bedroom.
'Goodnight, Harry. Try and sleep well.'
'I will. You too.'
Remus ruffled Harry's hair affectionately, and walked up to his room.
When Harry crept back into his bed, it was a long time before he fell asleep, and when he did it was to images of Draco turning into Sirius, and Sirius to Remus, and then back again. All dead or dying, accusing him until their voices were cut off, only to glare at him with dead eyes. He forced himself awake, and stayed that way until dawn, staring blankly at the ceiling, counting cracks to stave off further nightmares.