Rating: R/NC-17
OOC, OC, AU, mpreg, hinted noncon
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all the characters belong to J.K. Rowling, but the plot as well as the original characters Piper (my Mary Sue parody), Tom, Jonathan, James, Joz, Timothy, Blaise, Jonas, Sarah, and the Sakanoues are mine.
Disclaimer II: The nickname "Dracums" was made up by an old friend of mine, Golden, so therefore it belongs to her. I have her permission to use it.
A/N: This is my first long HP fan-fic, which I started writing way back in 2004 when I was 19, and it is still unfinished. (Back then, the sixth and seventh books had not been released yet, so therefore lots of things are different from the canon. This story branches off from the moment the DA club was exposed and disbanded and takes an alternate route from there.) Originally, Memory Loss was supposed to be a five-part story, but my readers were livid at the intended ending and demanded that I re-write it or think of a way to "make it right." So I wrote Memory Loss Revisited, intending that to be an alternate ending to the story. But some time after that, I got an idea for a continuation, and it wound up getting longer and longer ... So far, the story has 5 cycles: Memory Loss, As Dark as It Gets, And so the Tables Were Turned ..., Parallel Universe, and Rape.

Thank you so much for reading my story, and a huge thank you for all the reviews, faves, and follows! They make me really happy. XD
Have a lovely day, and enjoy! ;)

Memory Loss, part one: Teach Me

Before Harry Potter got his letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and learnt that he was a wizard, there were three people he hated passionately: his uncle Vernon, his aunt Petunia, and his cousin Dudley. They were the only family he had ever known, but they all treated him worse than excrement. For ten intolerable years he had suffered in their care, playing the part of the house busboy. They saw him as their private servant, not their nephew. He had never thought that he could hate anyone as much as he hated them.

Until he met Draco.

From the very first moment, their very first day at Hogwarts, Harry knew that Draco Malfoy was the worst kind of person. They hated each other's guts, and they were always trying to beat each other at everything and nothing. Their mutual hatred exceeded everything else. When Prefect Malfoy lost him his position as a Seeker on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, Harry was beyond mere hatred. They were separated by the thin line of good and dark. Arch enemies.

But somewhere along that line, everything changed ...

Harry Potter rose from his chair at the same time as his classmates, daring a fleeting glance at the Ravenclaws. How many of them knew? All throughout class, they had taken turns at staring at him as if he was some sort of freak show. Well, that might be because of all the lies that were still being spread about him through the Prophet, or because of the Minister for Magic's determination to constantly punish him and trying to get him expelled, or because of the open war between him and Professor Umbridge, or simply because it was easy to blame all the new rules and regulations on him.

All those suggestions were far better than the possibility—and likeliness—that they had all heard about his embarrassing date with Cho in Hogsmeade. They were her house mates, right? They ought to know.

Lunch break was seldom a relief of stress these days. Harry had been forced to get used to the whole school staring at him and whispering about him. They did not even bother to stop when he passed them in the corridor or walked between the long tables in the Great Hall, but instead raised their voices defiantly.

And then there was Malfoy, of course, always trying to take a few points from Gryffindor House while simultaneously seeking out every opportunity to mock and provoke Harry. He thrived on the implications that Harry Potter was a disturbed and possibly dangerous boy, and it certainly gave him many creative ideas …

Harry hated him. If it had not been for the immense efforts that Umbridge put in to keep tabs on him, he happily would have punched the lights out of the sneering Malfoy heir. But he could not afford another warning, because the very same second he got expelled from Hogwarts, Lord Voldemort would appear to finish what he had started fourteen years ago.

He could not risk that, not when he seemed to be the only one able to keep a tab on Voldemort's activities. And speaking of which, he had another Occlumency lesson with Snape that evening. Wincing, Harry forked around his sausage and mash on the half-empty plate. He had never imagined that his time at Hogwarts would turn into this dreary everyday situation. What he had regarded as his home for over four and a half years had suddenly turned into a prison.

"So, DA meeting tomorrow, eh?"

Harry looked up. Justin Finch-Fletcheley was leaning in over his shoulder, a very bold gesture bearing Umbridge's busy hawk eyes in mind, a sly grin playing on his lips.

Hermione gasped and dropped her fork. "Justin, use your coin! What do you think that Umbridge will do if she finds out? We will all get expelled!" she hissed accusatorily.

Justin raised his hands in a defensive gesture. "No need to get all worked up, Granger! I only asked you for a date!" he said loudly enough for his words to carry to the teachers' table. At first, Hermione went pink and looked as if she would start yelling something else at him, but then she realised that this was Justin's way of saving their illegal club from being exposed.

"Same place, same time, bring your antidotes," Harry mumbled as Justin made to walk off.

Everyone was watching them drop-jawed. It appeared that none of them could believe that anyone would want to ask Hermione Granger out on a date, which made Harry extremely angry. Sure, she could be a real pain in the arse, but she was also very smart and relaxing to be with. She was a great friend and an even better person.

The DA meetings were great for everybody, but especially for Harry. For three hours a week, he actually felt like people believed in him, and that minimal semi-trust was more than enough to temporarily lift his spirits and make him forget about Umbridge's madness for a while.

Being a teacher actually made him feel important; being able to help people with practical difficulties and later even watch them overcome their mental obstacles and manage the spells they had so recently been unable to cast was immensely gratifying—and satisfying. He made a difference, and by teaching them everything that he knew about Defence Against the Dark Arts, he was giving them a means to protect themselves against Voldemort and his Death Eaters.

That particular evening, though, the mould was brutally broken. As he opened his mouth to welcome them to yet another DA meeting, the door opened behind him. Startled, 27 pairs of eyes instantly turned in the direction of the door. A few of them gasped. Harry assumed that everyone expected Professor Umbridge to walk through the door, so when a tiny, scrawny creature with huge ears wearing thirty grey woollen hats and socks that did not match entered the Room of Requirement, Harry turned his eyes to heaven and moaned with relief. "Dobby, what are you doing here? We were just—"

"Harry Potter, sir! You must all go immediately! Dobby heard them talking while cleaning and came to warn Harry Potter that she is coming!"

Harry frowned. "Who's coming?"

"Harry Potter has no time to ask questions—she is coming here now, sir!"

No need to ask who was coming anymore. "Umbridge."

The name made all his mates jittery and panicked; they all looked at each other with frightened puppy eyes, muttering anxiously to themselves, wondering what to do. "Well, don't just stand there!" Harry yelled. "Run! Run as fast as you can, but not all in the same direction—we need to protect our interests or we'll all be fried!"

And with those words, he turned to the door, trying his best to help all of his mates out of the room before sprinting off himself. Sadly enough, he only got about thirty feet before somebody tripped him up. He had no time to catch himself: with a loud thump! he fell hard on the floor, bruising his left elbow bad. When he looked up, he found that a pair of exceptionally cold silver eyes was staring down at him. He clenched his hands. "You!"

Malfoy sneered down at him. Then, unexpectedly, he turned in the other direction and yelled, "Here, Professor Umbridge, I got one!"

The burly woman immediately came running out of the shadows. "Which one is it? Which one is it?" she was panting, desperate to get there before the little bugger had time to escape. When she caught sight of Harry still sitting on the floor, half dazed, she gave a shriek. "Oh, it's him! It's him! I got him!"

The laughter that followed would haunt Harry in his sleep for weeks to come, he was sure. Not because she was scary in any way, but because she was so aggravating that he would be sure to be annoyed by the mere memory of her long after he—or she—had left Hogwarts, whichever left first.

Next thing he knew, he had been dragged by an annoyingly self-satisfied Umbridge to Professor Dumbledore's office, and what happened in there both stunned and embarrassed him.

Dumbledore had taken the blame for him.

Now there was no turning back. He had an obligation towards his fellow DA members—he had made many promises regarding their secret club—but he also had an obligation towards Dumbledore now. He could not allow himself to make any more mistakes and get himself expelled from Hogwarts, because that would mean that Dumbledore's sacrifice had been in vain.

Heavy at heart with all the troubles that had come his way, Harry walked back through the corridors towards Gryffindor Tower. It was time to go to bed and try to sleep this misery away. Sure, the pain and the frustration would all be there in the morning, awaiting him like two evil spirits, but at least he would be able to forget them for a few hours. If he could sleep at all. Maybe he would just have another of those Voldemort-related dreams …

"Is it true?"

Harry stopped dead in his tracks and turned towards the familiar, hated voice. Any other day he simply would have ignored his nemesis and walked on, but on this particular night he was in a dangerously self-destructive mood and was practically looking for physical trouble to make up for and mask his mental troubles. And there was something else that compelled him to turn around … something in the voice that had spoken those three words … Something different. It was no longer cold, cruel, and calculating; it was curious, courteous, conversational.

"Excuse me?"

"Is it true?" Draco repeated. He was leaning against the wall, studying Harry with a thoughtful expression on his flawless pale face. His superior posture was the same, all right, but there was something about him that was utterly different … Harry could not quite put his finger on it, but he had a feeling that the usual hostility between them had faded away the minute Malfoy had uttered that question.

A frown found its way onto Harry's face. "Is what true?"

He wondered why the Hell Malfoy was straining to have a normal conversation with him. What could his hidden agenda be this time?

Malfoy eyed him from head to toe, as if sizing him up. "The secret Dark Arts club—is it true?" he elaborated, his eyes slightly narrowing. "There are rumours saying that you were leading some sort of army without Umbridge's knowledge."

Harry flinched involuntarily. It had already got out? This soon? But he had just left Dumbledore's office! Who could possibly have had the means to spread it that fast? On the other hand, this was Hogwarts; everything top secret was widely known amongst the students.

Malfoy interpreted Harry's reaction correctly and a semi-sly, semi-delighted smile cracked his mouth open, stretching seemingly from ear to ear. "So it is true, then?" he stated. "That's what I thought. Well, can't say that I expected something like that from you, Potter, but I guess it's just the kind of stunt that you would pull to counteract Umbridge and the Ministry. 'Dumbledore's Army,' eh? Quite the controversial name. Would have reconsidered it, myself. But I'm quite disappointed at myself for not getting that idea first."

Harry felt the rage building up inside of him again. "Yeah, I can just imagine what you would do with such an army, Malfoy," he said coldly, and made to walk away.

Malfoy straightened up, and not leaning against the wall anymore he was able to face Harry with his full height. "Wait. I came here to ask you something."

"Didn't you just?" Harry spat out sarcastically.

He thought he saw the corner of Draco's mouth twitch. "Maybe I did, but that's not what I wanted to ask."

Harry hesitated. Then he sighed in resignation. "Okay, what is it?"

The Slytherin studied him with knitted eyebrows anew. A cold shiver travelled down Harry's spine. He did not like the way Draco was looking at him because it reminded him of the snake in his dream right before it struck out at Mr. Weasley. "I want to ask you a favour," he said at last.

Nothing else could have surprised Harry more. A favour? A Slytherin asking him a favour? And not just any Slytherin, at that! Lucius Malfoy's sole heir, school Prefect, future Death Eater … Did he really expect Harry to just say "Yes, certainly!" and give him a friendly thump on the back? Was he out of his mind?!

"You must be kidding me, Malfoy. I would never in my life do you a favour, no matter what it concerned. You will just have to ask someone else."

He started to walk past the blonde.

"But there is no one else to ask. No one that could help me with this."


The unexpected conversation with the Slytherin continued to haunt him later that night when he was trying to sleep. Ron had tried to talk to him twice, but he had pretended to be asleep. He needed time to contemplate the blonde's words. There had to be something more to it. It could not just be that the blonde had decided to be friendly with Harry all of a sudden; he had some kind of dark plan for this.

Maybe he should have stayed just a few seconds longer and learnt what kind of favour it was that Malfoy wished to ask him?

At least that piece of information could have given him some peace to rest. But combined with Umbridge's discovery of the DA and Dumbledore's sudden flight from the Ministry, the Malfoy matter kept Harry awake all night. He fell asleep temporarily when dawn began to spread its first trembling rays of misty light and was awakened again only forty-five minutes later when his roommates rose to prepare for school. Drowsy and exhausted, he forced himself out of bed and started to rummage around in his trunk, not sure exactly what he was looking for.

"Hey!" Seamus exclaimed. "Watch where you're throwing those socks!"

"Zzrrimat," Harry managed between two yawns.

Seamus frowned. "What?"

"Sorry mate," Harry repeated, and retrieved his stray socks. He continued to rummage around in his trunk with a frown on his face. This is stupid, he thought to himself. What am I looking for, anyway? His hand brushed against the Marauder's Map.

He flinched. Was that it? A strange, anxious feeling sprang from the pit of his stomach. Making sure that his classmates had already left the dorm to go to breakfast, Harry withdrew the map and said, "I solemnly swear that I'm up to no good." The map over the Hogwarts grounds unfolded itself before his eyes. Bewildered, he stared down at it. And now what? he thought. Why did I open the map? What is it that I'm searching for?

To his surprise, he found that it was a someone he was searching for, and it did not take long before he found him. A tiny dot with the text Draco Malfoy was currently moving through the dungeons where the Slytherins had their common room and dormitories, heading for the stairs that led directly to the Entrance Hall.

Harry quickly muttered "Mischief managed!" and folded the map anew. Next thing he knew, he was sprinting down the staircases towards the Entrance Hall, but he could not for his life understand why it was suddenly so important for him to talk to Malfoy. He tried to explain it to himself by thinking, I only want to know what kind of favour it was he wanted to ask me, and nothing else, but that did not quite describe the bewildering feeling that Harry had in the pit of his stomach.

Am I going nuts? he thought as he finally reached the Entrance Hall at a run, panting. Why the Hell would I want to talk to Malfoy of all people? I must have hit my head before falling asleep this morning …

He must have run very fast, because Draco was just emerging through the door from the dungeons, looking disgustingly rested and fresh. His silver-blond hair was perfect and his robes did not have a single crease. Harry looked as if he had slept in his for a thousand years and then gone out to play in the mud. His hair did not need mentioning, and for some reason he envied Draco for always being so perfect and calm and collected. It was disgusting.

Draco raised his eyes and spotted Harry at the bottom of the stairs. Harry expected him to put out his chin and say something stupidly acidic and mocking as usual, but to his surprise Draco actually nodded courteously at him and said, "Morning, Harry." Then he passed him and went straight into the Great Hall to have breakfast.

Harry stared after him, dumbstruck by shock. 'Morning Harry?'

'Morning Harry?' Must have been the first time the blonde had said his first name since that day on the Hogwarts Express, on their very first day at Hogwarts. At least according to Harry's memory.

"Whatcha doing out here, mate? Breakfast's in there!" Ron tugged at the sleeve of his robes and, Harry's paralysis notwithstanding, managed to pull his friend into the Great Hall with him. They sat down in their regular places at the long Gryffindor table, facing the rest of the student body. Harry shot a glance over at the Slytherins. Malfoy was eating his porridge with impressing grace and elegance, and Harry was shocked to find that he actually was a bit disappointed that the blonde was not looking his way.

He forced himself to concentrate on his own bowl of porridge, but this morning it did not taste that good. It was like eating plaster or something. Cement, maybe. The noises that his classmates made died away.


He blinked sheepishly at Ron. "Excuse me?"

"Where's Hermione?" Ron repeated while surveying the big hall.

Up until then, Harry had not even noticed that Hermione had not come down to breakfast yet, but it would not be the first time. She often got lost in her school books or skipped breakfast altogether and went straight to the library to look up something 'important' before class. "Dunno," Harry replied, stuffing his mouth with (to him) stale bread. He did not want to talk just then, and Ron could be a real blabbermouth at breakfast. Fortunately, Ron did not feel like chatting either. Maybe because he was too occupied with the mystery of Hermione's whereabouts. It was so obvious that he loved her, and Harry thought it was extremely childish of him not to admit to it, even to himself.

"You should tell her, you know," he heard himself saying before he could prevent it. Immediately, he put his right hand over his mouth. Blimey!

Ron frowned. "Tell who what?"

"Er … nothing, mate. Just forget it, 'kay?"

"Forget wha'? C'mon, 'Arry, tell me. Who should I tell what? C'mon, we're mates! You can't keep me in the dark here if it concerns me!"

Harry realised that he had already said too much. Two choices remained. He could either tell Ron exactly what he thought about his and Hermione's strange relationship or he could keep his big mouth shut and risk Ron getting angry with him. He was just about to answer when he saw Malfoy rise from his chair at the other end of the Great Hall and forgot all about Ron. Hastily, he stood up and almost knocked his chair over. "I … I have to go … er, bathroom … Yeah, need to pee before class, yeah …" He started towards the big doors.

Ron looked after him in apparent bafflement. "Oh … okay. Tell me later, then, eh?"

Harry did not know exactly what he was doing, but he knew that he had to get ahead of Malfoy; he had to set a trap. A trap? he thought. What do I mean by that? They had Potions with the Slytherins that morning, so Harry knew that Draco was heading for the dungeons and took a shortcut that he had found on the Marauder's Map a few weeks ago. That way, he wound up ahead of Draco and could cut off his path.

And the plan worked out fine. As soon as the blonde spotted him a good twenty yards ahead, he called out to him. "Oy, Potter!"

So, they were back to surnames again. In a way, Harry found that sad. Yet, he stopped and turned towards the Slytherin. He had to strain to keep his face stern and hostile. "What do you want, Malfoy?" he asked, and was mighty impressed with the irritation in his voice. Maybe he would be able to pull this off, anyway.

Malfoy walked up to him before answering. He still had that thoughtful glint in his silvery eyes. "Bad night, Potter? You look quite worn down."

Harry snorted. "What would you care? You're probably just seeking out a new opportunity to curse me as always."

Draco slowly, but effectively, shook his head. "No … I don't wish to curse you. Not anymore. You won my respect yesterday, Potter."

Harry raised his eyebrows in amazement, a reaction that he could not prevent or even mildly suppress. Respect? What was he talking about?

Draco laughed at his sheepish expression, but there was no scorn in his voice. "Don't lose your marbles over this, Potter, it is quite simple. When I heard about your Dark Arts club I was impressed. I always knew you had a sick compulsion to break the school rules. But I never imagined that you would go against Umbridge in quite the way you did, by teaching all those kids to defend themselves against dark wizards … I am deeply impressed. How did you pull it off? Because I've heard that you've been having these meetings for several months. Is that correct?"

Harry did not know what to say. He was even more baffled at Malfoy's monologue. He was actually having a normal, friendly conversation with a Malfoy! Was that even possible? "I … I … yes, that's correct. Several months, yeah. Mmm-hm." Oh, he could have slapped himself for being such a dimwit! He spoke as if he had nothing but cotton in his head!

Draco laughed anew. "You don't need to be on guard with me anymore, Potter. I won't do anything to hurt you. I never hurt the people I respect—and let me tell you, that is quite a small group. Actually, it only consists of three people. Now, about that favour I wanted to ask you …" He made a pause, obviously for dramatic effect. "I want you to teach me."

Harry knitted his brows.

The blonde was looking at him with delightful anticipation. His usually cold, grey eyes suddenly seemed to beam with warmth and joy, almost like a little child's eyes on Christmas morning.

"T … teach you?"

"Yes. Teach me like you taught all those other kids. I hated it when Umbridge came with all her rules and forbade us to do spells in Defence Against the Dark Arts class. I mean, how are we supposed to learn how to defend ourselves if we can't try the counter-curses?"

That was exactly what Hermione had said to Umbridge's face when the new teacher had informed them about her new rules for Dark Arts class.

"Well?" Draco pressed. "Will you teach me? I understand if you're hesitant about it since you've already been caught once—oh, and I am sorry about that, by the way, I wouldn't have tripped you up if I knew what you were actually doing in there—but I want to be taught by the best, and right now that is you, Potter."

Again, Harry did not know what to say. He had a bad feeling about the whole thing, but the friendly tone in Draco's voice was so honest and genuine that he could not have faked it.

But did he really want to teach an assumed would-be Death Eater to defend himself against jinxes and curses? One day, they might just stand before each other on different sides in the upcoming war against Voldemort, and if Draco knew exactly how to defend himself, Harry might be the one to fall.

"I …" Suddenly he noticed something utterly different about Draco's robes. "Where's your badge?" he asked, stunned.

Draco seemed to be taken aback by the unexpected question. Then he understood what Harry meant and looked down at his Hogwarts robes. "Oh, that. Well, I resigned from the Inquisitorial Squad. Didn't want to run Umbridge's shady errands anymore. I'm my own man, you know. And I want to do right what I have done wrong. Harry, please teach me. I will owe you for the rest of our lives."

Something was taking form inside Harry's head. "The rest of our lives, you say?" He thought it over for a few seconds. "Okay," he then said. "I'll teach you. But you better find a safe place to practice and a good excuse to be there—for both our sakes—in case someone was to ask you about it. And you had better learn a few security spells, too."

The delighted smile was back on Draco's lips. "Will do, Professor Potter. Meet me outside the library tonight, midnight. I'll have everything worked out by then. Now, what do you say we start acting like jerks again?"

Harry actually allowed himself to laugh. "Sounds good to me. Can't let them get suspicious, can we?"

So they walked their separate ways, but in both of their minds, the secret of their budding friendship warmed their hearts and got them both through an otherwise dreary day full of bad news and nasty surprises. Harry even greeted Professor Snape with a "Good morning, sir, nice weather, isn't it?" that earned him a solid T on his antidote sample, but that did not bother him at all.

At midnight, he grabbed his Invisibility Cloak and exited through the portrait hole. He wondered how Draco would be able to sneak out with so many guards stalking the corridors at night nowadays. The Umbridge days were no happy days. But when he came to the library, he found that Draco was already there, and surprisingly he was all alone. Harry had almost expected him to have brought along the whole Inquisitorial Squad—including Umbridge herself—and that his plea for Harry to teach him Defence Against the Dark Arts had all been a trick to get an excuse to expel him from Hogwarts once and for all.

It would not have baffled him if that had been Malfoy's intentions. But to find that he had been honest in his wishes stunned Harry like nothing else had in his fifteen years of life. Not even a hug from Uncle Vernon would have made him this dumbstruck and insecure.

When he had made sure that Draco was really alone, he pulled off his Cloak and revealed himself. The blonde jumped when Harry suddenly appeared before him out of thin air. "Bloody Hell, you scared me!" he hissed in a low voice. "Where'd you come from?"

Harry bit his lip. Bugger. He had totally forgotten that no-one but Dumbledore, Ron, Hermione, and himself knew about the Invisibility Cloak. If Malfoy was to tell on him … he would lose the only physical link that he had to his father.

"Er … I …" A deep sigh escaped him. "Oh, what the Hell. I used this." He showed him the Cloak.

Draco's eyes grew to the size of saucers when he saw it. "No way!" he expelled. "An Invisibility Cloak?! These are rare, Harry! Where did you get it?" The genuine amazement in Draco's whole appearance confirmed to Harry that he could trust the Slytherin despite their doubtful history. It had not been a mistake to let him in on the secret of the Cloak.

"It was my father's," he now told Draco, and almost felt as if he was confiding in a new best friend. "Dumbledore kept it safe for me until I came to Hogwarts. I've been using it secretly for the past five years."

"I can totally see why!" Draco exclaimed with beaming eyes. "Wow, I wish I had one of these …"

Harry shifted his feet. "So, did you figure it out?" he asked, because he was getting impatient. He still had not gotten much sleep, and he was exhausted.

Draco nodded. "This way."

The blonde led him down to the dungeons and used the Alohomora Spell to open a door hidden in the stone wall. "I found this room two years ago by coincidence," Draco told him as he sealed the door again. "I was furious about your Firebolt and the fact that my father refused to get me one, so I just cast various spells around me to get the frustration out of my system. Then all of a sudden I hit the exact right place and accidentally opened this secret door. As you can see, no-one has used this room for centuries. It's simply one of those hidden spaces that everyone has forgotten about, and it will be completely safe for us to use. I have already put a repelling spell on the door, so no-one will go near it. We are the only ones accepted. I also found a few useful spells in one of the books that my father gave me for my fourteenth birthday that will make any sound we make inside this room stay in this room; no-one on the outside will be able to hear it."

Harry was impressed. "Wow. You really have thought this through, Malfoy."

There it was again. That smile. "Please, call me Draco. No need for us to be so formal anymore. Or would you rather call me Mr. Malfoy and for me to call you Professor Potter?"

Harry laughed. "No, that would feel awkward."

Draco waved his wand and said, "Silencia." He explained that it was the Advanced Silencing Spell, which created a soundproof bubble around the area—or the people—that the wizard casting the spell thought of while pronouncing the word.

Harry started to move the dusty old furniture away to make space for them to practice spells. When he was satisfied with the room, he said, "Okay, how much do you know?"

"Well, only the basic—Expelliarmus, and so on."

"I see … Maybe we should start with the Stunning Charm. Ever heard of that?"

"I've read about it, but I've never attempted it. Didn't seem important enough before."

"Let me tell you, this charm might be the thing that saves your life in a battle against a dark wizard, even if it's a quite easy charm," Harry said in an authoritative voice. He felt good about being the teacher again. "Okay, we'll need a few pillows. Let's see … Here we go. And remember, you don't get to try it on me until you get it right. I brought some bugs for you to try on. When you have learnt to manage the Stunning Charm we can deal with the counter-curse."

They spent the following three hours trying different spells and charms, and Harry was surprised to find that he had fun in Draco's company. He was not at all unpleasant or spiteful when you got to know him. He was really a nice guy, and he had a refreshing sense of humour.

When it was time to say goodnight and sneak back to their respective dormitories, Draco asked, "Do you think it would be best if we kept acting like we hated each other's guts in front of others? It might be a shock for most people to learn that Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy have kissed and made up, so to speak."

Harry laughed. "Maybe. But let them be shocked, then. I don't think it wise to keep the act up. What if we make one little mistake and the shock is even greater than it would have been if we had showed our new friendship openly from the beginning?"

The blonde nodded. "You're right. Well, see you tomorrow then, friend."

The pleasant smile on Draco's lips made Harry's heart jump for a fraction of a second. It felt good to have made a new friend. It would be very interesting to see the other students' reactions in the morning.

When he got back to his dorm, he tried his best to steal past the furniture and sneak into his bed without a sound, but of course he stumbled over something and made a lot of noise. He cursed himself under his breath.

Ron stirred in his bed. "Harry, is that you? Where've you been?"

Harry squirmed out of his trousers. "Teaching Malfoy," he said before he could stop himself.

It was silent a while. "What?! Teaching Malfoy?!"

"Yeah, he asked me to teach him Defence Against the Dark Arts this morning," Harry went on, deciding that it was best to tell the truth from the beginning. Lying would only make it worse in the end. "We've been practicing for three hours. Man, I'm beat."

"What?! You've been teaching Malfoy Defence Against the Dark Arts?" Ron exclaimed. "Are you out of your flippin' mind?!"

Harry winced. "Please, Ron, can we take this in the morning? I'm really exhausted."

One minute later, he fell into a sleep so deep that he did not even dream about Voldemort.

Ron was waiting angrily beside his bed when he woke up in the morning, obviously anxious to continue their conversation before breakfast. "Is it true, what you said last night, or was it just your exhausted and confused brain speaking?" he demanded.

Harry yawned and started to dress. "No, it's true. Draco asked me a favour and I decided to do it. Simple as that."

"What? Have you gone mad? Or have you forgotten about who he is all of a sudden?"

"I haven't forgotten who he is, no," Harry assured him, "but he's not the person we thought he was. He's actually really nice once you get to know him. We had fun last night, and I haven't laughed that much for a whole year. I've been kind of dead ever since Cedric was killed, you know. Ron, you should have seen him when he tried to stun the bugs, it was hilarious! I never thought that Draco Malfoy knew so little about Defence Magic …"

He caught a glimpse of the rage that was colouring Ron's face an angry red and fell quiet. He had expected this, of course. It would take his friends a long time to accept his newfound friendship with Draco, but eventually they would accept him. At least, he hoped they would.

Ron lowered his gaze and slowly shook his head. "I'm disappointed in you, Harry. I thought you were different from Malfoy, even though a lot of things during the past five years have pointed towards you being a Slytherin in your soul, but obviously I was wrong. You're just like him."

And with those words, Ron stalked out of the room.

Harry stared after him, stunned. Whatever he had imagined Ron to say, this had been far from it.

He happened upon Draco in the Entrance Hall. At first, he did not know if he should greet him or if he ought to keep his mouth shut, but Draco made the decision for him. "Hey, Harry. Did you get any sleep? You sure looked like you needed it yesterday …"

"Morning, Draco," Harry said with a faint smile. "I told Ron about our lesson, and he freaked out on me. Which was expected, of course."

"Sorry to hear that, mate. But he'll probably come around sooner or later. Care to walk me to breakfast?" he joked, and nodded towards the big doors to the Great Hall.

A small group of Hufflepuffs studied them with obvious suspicion.

Harry just smiled. "Certainly," he said.

The Great Hall pretty much fell silent when they entered together, and everyone was looking at them as if they could not believe their eyes.

"Whoa, could you imagine?" Draco commented.

"Not really, no. But I guess this is what we'll have to take for a few weeks. Maybe even hatred."

"Are you willing to risk that? To risk your friendship with Weasley and Granger?"

"Yes, because I believe you're a good person, Draco."

Draco smiled with gratitude. "Thanks, Harry. No-one's ever thought that of me before. I'm actually glad I caught you outside the Room of Requirement now. If I hadn't, I probably never would have learnt about your teaching."

He went to take a seat at the Slytherin table. Almost immediately, his classmates moved away from him. By befriending Harry Potter, Draco had made himself an outcast in his own house, but it did not seem to bother him much. He simply waved at Harry and grinned with amusement. Harry shrugged and took a seat at his own table.

Ron ignored him, but Hermione looked at him with caution. Harry guessed that Ron had told her about his nightly meeting with Malfoy and that she wanted to ask him a hundred questions about it, but she did not seem to have the courage to do so. "Morning," he said, and started to wolf down his scrambled eggs.

"Mo-morning," Hermione replied in the same shivery tone of voice that she had used when she'd tried to say Voldemort's name for the first time.

Harry shrugged again and continued to eat his breakfast. He was starving!

For the next couple of weeks, he and Draco met every night to heighten Draco's defence against curses, and for each lesson, Harry liked him more. It suddenly became obvious that Draco's harsh exterior had only been an act to protect himself from his housemates and his parents. Sure, for a long time he had thought that the dark way was the right way, but ever since the Triwizard Tournament and Cedric's unfortunate death, he had started to question the destiny that his father had decided for him. Was it really right to use magic simply for shady purposes and personal gain, just to gain power?

That did not matter to Draco anymore, and Harry was glad to find that his teaching not only turned Draco into a great wizard but also into a great person.

On the night of their seventeenth meeting, they did not get much done; they just sat on the huge cushions on the floor, talking and laughing. It was amazing how quickly they had become such close friends, but it gave Harry a very warm and pleasant feeling in the pit of his stomach. He was actually getting happy again, and his dreams had subsided because he was more relaxed nowadays. Snape's Occlumency lessons had got easier to get through now that he had Draco for a mate, and he could actually manage the technique quite well now. He intended to keep up his good work and teach Draco how to master Occlumency later on.

When the clock had passed four in the morning and they were both getting tired and sore in the eyes and it was time to say goodnight, neither of them wanted to leave. "I'm having a great time," Draco told him with a mild smile on his face.

"So am I," Harry agreed.

"I don't want to leave …"

For a second or two, there was a strange, yet familiar glint in Draco's grey eyes, and Harry got the feeling that something crucial was about to happen. He did not register that Draco was slowly and discreetly moving closer to him; suddenly he was just aware of Draco's face being utterly close to his own. But that did not bother him. It did not bother him at all. He was quite okay with him being so close.

Then, out of the blue, Draco kissed him.

A/N: The progress on upcoming chapters can always be found on my profile under "WIPs." Twitter: HaadogeiPipe.

Also, if you read through this story and end up wanting more, don't miss the Bonus Features to this story! X3 Check out The Manners of the Cold Manor (in which we get to follow Draco as he goes back to the Malfoy Manor to tell his father about his new love, Harry Potter) and Snappin' at Snape (in which we learn the truth about how Piper managed to become friends with Snape, and also get to see the "actual" first time Draco met Harry. ;) -hehe-)

Revised and updated 12-20-2015