spoilers for OotP.
Pairings: None-- slightly hints at R/Hr and G/N
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters.
Authors Note: This is an AU based around a line Draco said in OotP. The line is: "You've picked the losing side, Potter! I warned you! I told you, you ought to choose your company more carefully, remember? When we first met on the train, first day at Hogwarts? I told you not to hang out with riffraff like this!" I just had to use the line in a story and this is what came out.
Harry sat down and looked around the train compartment. Hermione and Ron were sitting close together, almost touching. Ron was absent-mindedly petting Crookshanks who had settled on his lap as Hermione read. Ron kept casting furtive looks at Hermione, but never said anything.
Neville and Ginny were discussing everything from Quidditch to Herbology. Harry hoped that Neville and Ginny would get together, they'd compliment each other. He knew that Neville fancied Ginny, but didn't know if Ginny returned his affections.
The last person in the compartment was Luna Lovegood, a fourth year Ravenclaw, and friend to Ginny. She was reading The Quibbler, the tabloid of the Wizarding world owned by her father, upside down. She had her wand tucked behind her ear and seemed oblivious to everything around her. Luna exuded innocence and that made Harry smile. It was though she was untouched by the war around her.
Harry was pulled out of his observations when the door to the compartment was slammed open by Draco Malfoy, who was as usual flanked by his thick-headed goons, Crabbe and Goyle.
"What do you want?" demanded Ginny looking up from conversation with Neville. It was obviously that she was annoyed by Draco's mere presence.
"Shut-up Weasle-ette," snarled Malfoy.
"Piss off Malfoy!" growled Ginny. She made to close the door but Goyle grabbed it preventing her from doing so.
"You've picked the losing side, Potter! I told you, you ought to choose your company more carefully, remember? When we first met on the train the first day at Hogwarts? I told you not to hang out with riffraff like this!" said Malfoy nearly yelling.
Harry stood up calmly and looked at Draco. His face was expressionless as he said, "You're right Malfoy." Draco looked utterly gobsmacked. Everyone in the compartment, save Luna, wore a similar expression. "You're wrong about picking the losing side, but right about everything else."
"When it comes to sides I never had a choice. I was thrust into this at the age of one. By my mother's sacrifice I prevailed over Voldemort. I didn't try to, I didn't do it consciously it just happened.
At age one I was a hero, a hero who made Voldemort disappear. The rub is, he didn't disappear he hid, biding his time and slowly became something again. A mere parasite. He could only exist by possessing another living creature. Animals, snakes in particular, until fate stepped in and Professor Quirrell stumbled across him.
I faced him at age eleven and again at age twelve, by entirely different means. A plot set in motion by your father. Means that used Ginny. Then I saw his rebirth, a sight I will never forget. It's not something anyone besides Wormtail and myself can fathom.
But I survived again. Then I met with him once more at the Ministry and escaped with my life again. Now I'm the chosen one, the one destined to defeat Voldemort and save the world. I have no choice." Draco opened his mouth to speak at this but Harry didn't let him, "I'm not finished." That simple phrase shut Draco up entirely.
"You did tell me to choose my company more carefully. And you know what? I did. I could have taken your hand and walked around believing I was superior. Side by side with you flanked by dumb and dumber here. I could have been the Prince of Slytherin. Why? Because I'm Harry bloody Potter. But I didn't.
I didn't because I wasn't anything special, a fact that still has not changed today. I choose friends based on personality, not influence. Now I have the best friends I could have ever hoped for.
Friends who stood by me against Umbridge. Believed them when I told that about her detentions." Harry held up his hand showing Draco the scars on his hand that read, 'I will not tell lies.'
"Believed me that Voldemort had returned even at the blatant denial by the Ministry. They went with me to the Department of Mysteries to save Sirius, who wasn't even in danger. Stood beside me against Voldemort's Death Eaters, including your father and Aunt Bellatrix. She killed Sirius, her own flesh and blood with a song in her heart, just as she tortured Neville's parents into insanity.
"And you know what? This riffraff as you call them are still here, still fighting the good fight against Voldemort. Because they believe in the cause, believe they can make a difference no matter how small.
So you were right Malfoy. I needed to choose my company more carefully and I succeeded. Thank you." With that said Harry closed the compartment door, and cast a powerful locking spell on it and flopped down into his seat completely spent.
Everyone in the compartment looked at Harry in awe, even Luna was looking at him awestruck.
"Oh, harry," said Hermione and threw her arms around him, effectively hugging the life out of him.
"What?" asked Harry and Hermione let him go.
"Did you plan that?" asked Ron.
"That speech?" asked Harry. Ron nodded yes. "No. It just came out."
"It was bloody brilliant. You left him speechless," grinned Ron.
"Did you mean what you said?" asked Neville.
"Every syllable. By the way I'm sorry I outed your parents to Malfoy and the train besides," said Harry, truly apologetic.
"It's alright. I'm proud of my parents. They did it for me and... for you. Besides I think that after Voldemort is defeated they'll be restored," said Neville, with a confidence rarely seen.
"I hope you're right," said Harry as he looked out the window and saw King's Cross coming into view. "I hope you're right."