Boys on the Radio
By Jordan "BluntJoey" Adorno
Spoilers: PS/SS, CoS, PoA, GoF, QTTA, FB. Written between Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows.
Genre: Angst, Romance, Horror, Adventure
Story Synopsis: Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter are trapped and alone in painful destinies when they connect unknowingly through a radio show in the summer before Fifth Year. Bonding over the deadly weight on top both their shoulders, the boys unite on a desperate romantic but angst-filled road that sends them looking for comic relief and a reason to live. Soon enough the two realize some love isn't gay or straight...some love just is. But will it be enough once the unlikely pair learn that in order to survive, they may just have to save the whole world from Lord Voldemort!
Author's Notes: This story is canon right to GoF, and does not incorporate information from there on. Also, it's important to note that in THIS fic, Blaise Zabini is a GIRL, and her name is spelled 'Blaze'. Also, take crucial note that ALL the featured lyrics at the opening of each chapter are from "Boys on the Radio", "Malibu", "Northern Star", "Reasons to be Beautiful", and other Hole songs; a couple extras are from solo songs by Hole's lead singer, Courtney Love, but regardless, ALL LYRICS FEATURED are by Courtney Love, both those from Hole and solo songs. (By the way, this story did NOT take all these years to complete, haha - I added an Epilogue many years afterward, and then saw I'd used the wrong word in it just today - thank you, Auto-Correct :P - so I fixed it.)
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Chapter One Summary: In which Harry Potter has a lot to be upset about, Draco Malfoy does drugs, The Malfoys are such crackheads, The Weasleys are oblivious, and wizarding radio brings two unlikely people together.
Oh the boys, on the radio,
They crash and burn,
They fold and fade so slow.
Harry sat alone in Ron's bedroom at the Burrow, resting. Being able to relax at this very moment was imperative to him. His fourth year at Hogwarts had certainly been anything but relaxing - and Harry was still completely suffering from the terrible trauma. He could still see Cedric's dead body every night in his worst dreams ...
He had spent a month at the Dursleys' dealing with it. Ron and Hermione had corresponded of course, but he terribly wished for, needed in fact, his best friends in the world at his side supporting him. Although this could have been easily arranged (and undoubtedly would've been too, as a matter of fact), Dumbledore was insistent that his aunt and uncle got their annual duration to torture Harry: the "concerned" Headmaster had forced Harry through yet another month of agony at the Dursleys', and why? 'He's got his reasons,' Mrs. Weasley had gently told him. But Harry was sick of being pushed around without explanation or concern for his own feelings, and felt anger toward Dumbledore. Harry, overly-prideful, considered his anger, unbelievable as it was, righteous, even now, saved and totally safe at the Burrow, and why? A man Harry had always respected as wisest and most powerful now seemed, in his mind anyway, most memorable as a control freak.
But now he was at The Burrow and should be happy, right? After all, Hermione was coming the next day, which meant he would be with his best friends for the rest of the summer. But now that he got what he had wanted before, he much rather wished he was alone. He was scared. He knew Voldemort would seek him out again. He had been very angry that Harry had escaped ...
The Weasleys had gone to Diagon Alley and left a depressed Harry on the couch listening to wizarding radio. It was a bit soothing as he drank tea and cuddled in his blanket. Some type of radio show was starting. It was an advice show. People called in talking about love problems, rotten families, rotten jobs ... Not a soul knowing that they had a real, much grander problem: Voldemort was back, and thanks to the Ministry's conspiracy, the truth was publicly irretrievable.
"My family expects something out of me I don't want to do," said a new voice, a male's. It sounded frightened yet strong; fearful yet brave. "Not doing it could destroy my life."
Harry knew how the boy felt. Harry was expected to save the world all in a day's work and be used as some sort of pawn. He was 'The Boy Who Lived' and all that.
"I've got no choice," the boy finally said. Harry could relate perfectly, obviously, as he was destined to face Voldemort. The boy's tone grew chilling as he timidly added, "I'll be killed ..."
"Merlin's beard! How old are you?" asked the radio announcer incredulously. Now that Harry thought of it, the voice was very young...
"Uh, fifteen since June," the boy responded uncomfortably.
That sounds about right, Harry thought to himself.
"Hogwarts, then?" the announcer asked casually.
Yet the boy was suspicious. "Um, maybe," the boy said in a mysterious tone. The boy was hiding a lot; he was probably in much danger. "I've been put in a life and death situation. I might run away."
"Any friends?" tried the host.
"None that aren't involved as well."
Harry decided he wanted to call in as well. He didn't have much else to do, and it could be potentially interesting. The Weasleys had recently adapted a wizarding phone in their home, so why not make use of it?
"We have another caller. You want to respond to this young man?"
"...Well, I have the same problem, mates. I'm being forced into a life I don't deserve. It could end up being the death of me." As Harry let out his frustration, he noticed he was coming off angrier than intended, but it was too late to care.
"That's how I feel! A written destiny which I shouldn't have to fulfill," said the boy exasperatedly. His words were the sound of someone depressed, unfortunately. For a moment, Harry swore he could recognize the voice...
"Sometimes we have to do what is right and not what is popular," said the interested announcer. "Hogwarts, too, caller #2?"
"Um ... perhaps," Harry answered distrustfully. He had forgotten until just now that the other boy had said he too might go to Hogwarts...Harry felt more intrigued with every moment passing.
"I wonder if you all know each other," the announcer wondered bitterly, a bit frustrated by all the non-revealing answers.
"I don't think I know him," Harry said truthfully. "It does seem like we'd get along, though."
Harry strongly wondered who this mystery boy was. He listened to the voice as carefully as he could, but Harry realized it was probably a disguise voice anyway.
"I just feel so ..." the boy began.
An uncomfortable silence passed for a second but felt like eternity for the both of them.
"...Alone," the two boys said at the same time. Their voices were equally wistful.
Over the next few weeks, Harry barely talked to anyone. Being himself, he thought he would be okay, but he wasn't. He was sick of everything. When the Weasleys and Hermione went out, Harry continued to call into that show, and so did the other boy. Harry kept listening to the voice.
"...So now it has been three weeks, everyday, with our two famous teenagers now has it not?" the announcer said one day, after some time.
"So it has," the other boy had responded dryly.
"Yeah," Harry managed to say, feeling uncertain. He was wondering where the announcer was taking this - was he bored and done with them?
"Nothing better to do at midday during a great summer, you two reckon?" The announcer did not sound mad, half-cheery if anything. His ratings were up because of these intriguing boys.
Both the boys again responded simultaneously. "Nothing."
The announcer had basically been allowing them to talk. Listeners seemed to be finding them more interesting by the day. Why, Harry didn't know. Why would anyone care about two teenagers full of angst? Either way, Harry did begin to really enjoy talking to the boy. He seemed quite interesting and mature. He wondered who it was and since they were the same age, he was in their year. There were only a handful of people it could be. But he really didn't know who to put it to.
It was finally only a couple days before term would start again.
"Will we see each other at school?" Harry dared to ask of the boy finally, rather boldly too. He had been scared to ask the question.
"I don't know," the boy admitted rather bluntly.
And that had been the end of that. So, for the last days of term he continued calling in, talking to the boy, becoming more and more interested. But he did not bring up meeting. If fate would allow it, they would. If not, then no ...
"...Harry! Are you listening to me?" It was the impatient voice of Hermione nagging his attention.
"Oh, sorry..." Harry had not been paying any attention.
"Hurry, we're going to be late for the train!" Hermione insisted. And Harry speedily got his things together. It was already September 1st, and they had to leave for school. He could not believe how much time he hadn't spent with his friends. He honestly wondered how time had flown, what everyone had been doing...
Draco Malfoy had not had a great summer. In fact, it had been terrible. It had been hell. Ever since Voldemort had returned, his life had turned into a terrible fate. His father wanted him to become a Death Eater by Christmas. And Voldemort wanted it too. And what choice did he have? Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide …
Draco had spent the summer in his room, only leaving when his parents made him to for meals or pointless talks. They didn't know it, but often late at night, Draco went to the Muggle village and smoked pot. Funnily, it was the only thing that kept him sane. The nightly high.
With no one to talk to, Draco had called into a radio program for advice. He had spent a lot of time, corresponding with some boy who went to Hogwarts in his year through the show. It had been another thing to get him through the summer, talking to him. He understood where Draco came from. He bled like him.
Draco supposed the nightmare, the true nightmare that was getting worse and worse, had really started when he'd been beaten by his father the moment he came home. And not in any normal way. His father had used the Cruciatus Curse of all on his own son for coming, once again, in second place in exams to the Mudblood, Hermione Granger. 'How dare you disgrace the Malfoy name!' And his father then enjoyably watched his son in pain. 'Good training for when you join us, son!' And that was when he first learned of his fate.
It made him hate Granger more. It really wasn't her fault. But the fact that she always had to come in first; always had to be perfect. It was because of her that he had been abused by his heartless father. In ways, he looked forward to going back to school. But in other ways, he did not. He had no one. And it just had to be on this thought that he boarded the Hogwarts Express as his mother bid him farewell, too.
Draco Malfoy was dying inside.
Harry had left to another compartment, losing Ron and Hermione once again. He knew now it would be obvious. He prayed the boy would call into the show today again. He would be. There were a few wizarding phones on the train. He had gotten so used it.
"I'm here," Harry said into the phone, his heart racing. The other boy was already on the line. Harry tried to be especially quiet as he noticed Draco Malfoy was nearby using another phone - probably calling his filthy Death Eater of a father.
"I'm glad to hear from you again," the other boy said breathlessly. Lately, the time was a conversation between the two, and the announcer barely spoke.
"You're on the train, aren't you?" Harry cut to the chase anxiously. He wanted to meet the one person who understood him, once and for all.
"I am. I want to see you," the other boy said plainly. He sounded candid as ever.
"Finally," Harry said, sighing. "Where are you?"
"I'm in the front compartment. Only Harry Potter is here."
Harry froze and dropped the phone immediately.
"Malfoy! It's been you!" Harry screamed, and he saw Malfoy, too, drop the phone and freeze in horror and shock.
"Potter ... Potter. Famous Harry Potter alone for once," Malfoy hissed at him. "Why aren't Weasley and Granger here to save you?"
"Because I was the one to always save them," Harry whispered, realizing the truth for the first time. "I can't believe it's been you."
"Yes, well, now I know the mistake I've made. Go back to your Blood Traitor and Mudblood, why don't you?" But Malfoy didn't put as much force into what he had said as he probably meant to.
Harry was about to defend Ron and Hermione but didn't. "Because they can't understand - you can! You know what it's like to be alone," Harry said very quietly, not looking Malfoy in the eye.
"Maybe I don't want to understand you." Draco didn't sound mean at all this time, at least not exactly. What his entire demeanor resounded with right now was Malfoy's inner desire to have his thick skin of pride and control, elite Malfoy style and all, returned to him. But no, that was certainly not the case here, because the fifteen-year-old disturbed person in front of him (prat or otherwise) was a dying spirit; but somehow, despite that accurate cold, sobering observation of Draco Malfoy right as Harry saw him right now, when he looked closer he saw a lonely special fifteen-year-old boy that Harry now recognized, and not with straight disgust either, was like-minded in many intellectual ways. Intriguingly, although Malfoy did great as either Harry's greatest enemy or greatest friend alike, the "stranger"' he unknowingly befriended all summer was definitely the version Harry preferred seeing.
Likewise, it was terribly alarming to Harry when he found himself instantaneously worried for Malfoy. Maybe that was why he felt himself super-attuned with Draco's persona right now, because despite the fact that the stranger he'd grown fond of turned out to not be a stranger, Harry was still intrigued and curious as ever, stranger or not. Harry wondered if the boy knew that his ambivalent body language was speaking louder and clearer than words could've right then (or at least for Harry it was). And even more curiously, Harry wondered whether Malfoy, too, could tell that there was more than one scared, hopeless, distrustful boy here right now...
"Maybe. But I'm not sure if that's true," Harry said calmly, trying to be a nonthreatening observer. "You've always been alone, Malfoy. Haven't you?"
For a split-second Malfoy looked speechlessly mortified, then every bone in his body became a defensive one and he lashed out at Harry. "What? You don't know what the ruddy hell you're talking about, Potter. Lost your marbles, have you?" Draco hissed at him. However, while his voice was terse with insult and offense, the shingles of Malfoy's emotional delivery hung in the air quite uncomfortably, almost less - willful?
"Malfoy you've been so out of the league of Crabbe and Goyle it's nearly funny," Harry patiently tried, making sure to say this in a manner that Malfoy could in no way construe to have been meant as an insult. "You're better than them."
Harry wouldn't have normally ever said that. Definitely not. Regardless, now more than ever he knew it was true (more so than did everyone else notably, given their secret summer communication). Draco Malfoy: Top student in year other than Hermione, handsome, rich... But mean, always cruel to people - yet still, girls ran after him.
"Crabbe and Goyle can't help me," Malfoy muttered accidentally. But the voice saying those six words was so low and soulless and tortured-sounding, Harry wasn't sure it was Malfoy who'd spoken at all for a second.
"Is your father going to make you a Death Eater?" Harry asked him pleadingly, trying to sound gentle. Malfoy said nothing. "That's what it is, isn't it?"
"Leave me alone, Potter! This never happened!" Malfoy refuted indignantly, then stormed out manically.
Disgruntled, Harry quickly went to find Hermione and Ron and failed. But given that they were officially the new Gryffindor prefects, Harry guessed they were at their first meeting since they were nowhere to be found. Instead, he was relieved to find Ginny alone in a compartment and sat with her.
"Hi Ginny," said Harry wearily. Sitting down, he immediately felt the awkwardness of it being just him and Ginny for once.
"Wow, you're actually speaking! Should I call Madam Pomfrey and let her known an imposter's possessed the real Harry Potter?" Ginny joked sarcastically, turning a little pink and literally surprised nonetheless. "...And to me of all people. What an honor."
He shrugged, hiccoughing when he tried laughing her off. "...It's just been hard," Harry expressed sadly, in a very conceding, short few words.
"I know, I understand. After what I went through, I was like that. Ron always complaining that you're not yourself, Hermione so worried, but I understand. It was traumatic," Ginny said darkly. Harry was so surprised in how much Ginny had grown up.
"You're right. Right now, I dunno, I just - I'm not going to be the hero anymore. I'm tired," Harry confessed impulsively.
Ginny remained quiet and listened without judgment, her eyes optimally focused on Harry.
Harry thought about Malfoy. He looked sad and tired, yet as usual, as handsome as ever. His silvery-blonde hair shined just right, and his facial features shined above any other - Malfoy had truly grown into himself just perfectly. Harry had never properly noticed Malfoy's looks before, but they were so obvious now, it was amazing. But why, why did he actually find Malfoy attractive all the sudden?
Draco had no idea why he felt a little guilty for brutally yelling at Potter, but he did. After all, it did seem like Potter was trying to help him in some way. He had blown him off and found Crabbe, Goyle, Pansy Parkinson and Blaze Zabini hanging together in a compartment.
"Draco, we've been looking for you," Pansy said. "Sit here." She motioned next to her.
"Sorry, a bit caught up," Draco answered casually. He sat down but did not speak again.
"Did you see Granger? Looking like the little white rabbit running around the train!" They all laughed, including Draco. Pansy then imitated her. "First years, please be careful ... Oh none of those ... Those are banned ... Ugh, shut up you filthy Mudblood!"
"Even Potter stayed away," Blaze said airily as she fixed her silky brunette curls, "saw him stalking off on his own."
Draco began listening more carefully now.
"Bloody Potter, so perfect, such a hero," mocked Crabbe.
"Yes, well we all must bow down and worship The Boy Who Lived ..." mocked Goyle.
"Bloody Potter isn't happy unless he's got the front page of the Daily Prophet!" Zabini said outrageously.
Everyone laughed but not for long, surprisingly -
"Leave it already!" Draco had no idea what had made him say it but he did. He did not like to hear Potter mocked all the sudden. Why, why? Draco did not know. But something about the way they spoke of Potter upset him and he did not like it.
"Draco, what's wrong?" Pansy asked soothingly, alarmed.
"Nothing. Everything is just fine." But the tone of Draco's abrasive voice said otherwise. He did not speak afterward. He instead lost himself in thought over the misery that was to ensue. He thought of his father. He thought of Voldemort. He thought of Potter. He wondered what Potter would do in his case. Potter always does what is right, Draco thought.
Potter had seemed happy before but now Draco wasn't so sure. The conversations he had had with him had proved otherwise. Potter seemed upset. It looked as though Potter didn't want to be 'golden boy' anymore. He didn't want to save the world anymore. Potter wanted a real life, not one that faced death every day. But Potter had no choice ... Just like me, Draco realized uncomfortably.
As Draco and his group got off the train, Draco looked at Potter. He had grown up a lot from the eleven-year-old boy he had met in Diagon Alley. He was not conventionally handsome exactly, but he had grown into his body well. His green eyes glowed. He had gotten much taller these days. He looked more like a young man than a little boy. And Draco didn't know why, but somehow, someway ... the only way Draco could think to describe Harry now was...
Well no, he didn't think he could bear it as he boarded the carriages that would take him to Hogwarts.
Author's Endnote: Stay tuned for more! The excitement comes quick!