Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognize from anywhere from anything except my other fics. Because those are mine!

Yeah, I'm starting another fic. Sorry. The others will all be updated in time, though, so just bear with me please. I betcha half of you want to kill me for not updating SMwT, Twin Angels, and possibly NOT HUMAN?. Sorry.

Anyway, this is a response to the challenge set by Tsurai no Shi (details at the bottom). This was my first challenge, so be nice! (But make sure to review!)


Trickery and Confusion

They ran through the Forbidden Forest for what seemed to be hours. They knew that they wouldn't be able to reach the other side; the magical part of the forest may only last a few miles, but there were no less than a hundred miles before the forest began to taper off. Even then, the whole forest was under wards. Their first chance at escape came when they saw a man in a Death Eater uniform hold something out to a group of people, lips open to speak.

Walking briskly up to the man, Severus quickly flashed the flesh on his right forearm to show the man that they were on the same side, and motioned for his companion to touch the Portkey as he did likewise. When the swirling sensation and jerk of the transportation magic as it tugged on their cores met them, they were well into their instantaneous journey.

-0-0-0-0-0-

Voldemort was extremely unsatisfied with two specific followers.

He had been informed immediately by Fenrir Greyback and his squad (Tom wasn't that stupid as to allow his 'Eaters to fight under the single command of one) that the Malfoy boy had failed in his task.

The prior summer, Voldemort had not given Draco the Mark. Instead, he sliced the boy's arm open with a enchanted dagger (spelled so that the cut wouldn't heal with the help of magic and would instead heal twice as slow as the muggle or natural method) and inserted some very painful, long-lasting poison into the wound, to serve as a reminder that bad things can happen if they disobeyed their lord. To prove his worth, the Dark Lord had requested that Draco kill the old coot. He really hadn't expected the boy to achieve it, and was surprised when Snape had saved the boy's skin.

This enraged him. His minions weren't supposed to care about anyone bar him. Still, he couldn't allow his fighters to learn that he had stolen their freedom greedily. This meant he would only give a 'light' punishment to his servant who had a heart. The scum deserved so much more. He could have thrown a tantrum at the thought of a follower placing someone else above himself. (He was secretly vainer than all of the Malfoys put together.)

The boy, however, would be heavily punished for not succeeding and failing, with the added bonus of killing the boy's mother. From what he knew, the boy and his father only had a formal relationship, and felt nothing for each other except maybe a passing acquaintanceship. His mother, however, was rather close to her son, and they were like an anchor for each other. How sweet, he thought, as he sneered.

Deep down, in the cold, slimy, dark recesses of the Lord's mind, he knew that the Malfoy heir was not at fault, though he waved it off violently, already preparing accommodations, potions, and torture devices for their guests.

When he felt several of his followers approach the meeting chambers (because the Marks all had tracking charms imbued into them using Parsel Magic, meaning that no one but himself – and Potter, he thought bitterly, before realizing that the boy would never use his gift as it was meant – could remove any of it), he smiled widely, almost happily at his frightened army. He was grinning maniacally by now, as the two Death Eaters in question were in the group.

You might ask about the sudden change in the mood of Mr. Evil Universe, but the authoress would just wink at the reader and hand them a heavy tome about psychopathological disorders, bipolarity in particular, and then a book about the effects of the use of the Dark Arts since a young age. Simply put, the thought of the pain of others that he'd caused made him feel happy and warm.

Severus knew that smile well, and swallowed slightly, realizing that he and Draco would be on the receiving end of some of the most feared, revolting, and disfiguring curses know to man as yet. Severus had no doubt that the Unforgivable Curses would be added onto exponentially and that the Dark Arts, in general, would have a whole new category by the end of the war.

-0-0-0-0-0-

Severus groaned in agony as he carried Draco over his shoulder to the bed at his dilapidated old house in Spinners' End, used only in meetings with those concerning the Dark Lord.

He slouched down into a great green armchair next to the bed and winced as the bruises and cuts on his back were aggravated further. The child – no matter how many times Draco insisted that he was a man, Severus continued to call him a child – that lay on the bed had it worse than he though.

Standing up wearily, Severus headed to his hidden stash of potions in this god forsaken house and quickly collected all of the potions he had that could help them. He hoped it would be enough.

It wasn't.

It was only enough to heal Severus completely, while he still had minor injuries left, and some of the more trivial inflictions on Draco.

They both knew that Draco was on his deathbed. They could only prolong it a few weeks.

-0-0-0-0-0-

Indeed it was, a few weeks after school let out, that Draco began coughing up blood and getting deathly pale. His magic was no longer attempting to heal him. His magic was abandoning him.

Severus was sat worriedly by his side like a concerned parent as he watched the boy he loved like a son die.

"Sev… promise me… take me somewhere peaceful, safe, when I die. I'm dying Sev."

The Potions Master choked back a sob. It was known; it was in the air; but hearing it said out loud made him want to break down.

"Severus… take me to Harry." Draco was rambling nonsensically, he knew that. He knew that he was dying. But he also knew that he had to let his best friend know, he had to find his best friend.

"Harry?" Severus asked, confused. He knew no of no one who went by the name of Harry.

"Yes. Harry…" he croaked, and choked out a laugh, "Scarhead."

Oh dear, Severus thought as he ran through possible repercussions of this.

Thinking back on the situation that had brought them together, he smiled a bit. They had been friends since fourth year.

-Flashback-

Draco had been sitting in the owlery, reflecting on his father's last letter. Lucius had told him to expect a guest when he returned to the manor. For a Slytherin, the man seemed awful sure of himself. Draco had snorted and sneered at the letter. It was a wonder that his biological father had made it that far in the war without being brought down for his own stupidity. The man would get himself killed someday, and Draco couldn't find himself to care. His mother, though, he had a special bond with. They were all each other had.

He knew what his father hinted at, though, and was revolted by the idea. When he was younger, he had persevered so hard to get his father's approval, and had dedicated his life to becoming the best Death Eater ever to please the man. Sometime during second year, he realized it was rather hopeless. He still craved his father's affection and love, but knew he would never get it. He had begun seeing all the flaws in the Death Eater philosophy that nearly a thousand had bypassed when they signed over their life.

The sound of rustling parchment from across him was heard, along with the soft fluttering of an owl's wings.

Suddenly alert at the noise, Draco sat up straight and looked at the intruder, hoping it to be some harmless first year. It wasn't.

There, in the space just six feet in front of him, was a bleary-eyed Harry Potter. Draco couldn't hold back a gasp, though. The face was the same, but the eyes, unguarded by the glasses that had slipped off of his nose, were more intense, more pained, more desperate.

Normally, Draco would taunt the boy or send a vicious hex at him, but he knew his eyes looked the same.

A tense silence hung in the air, which neither wanted to break for fear of fighting to the death.

Finally, Draco stood up and brushed his britches off and went to walk out the entrance to the rest of the school, but was interrupted when a hand wrapped slightly around his ankle.

Harry had taken hold of his ankle in hopes of getting him to stay. It wasn't like anyone would sit in his presence and be silent. That was all he craved for; companionship based on understanding instead of reputations. "Please stay."

Puzzled, Draco looked at him quizzically before asking slowly, "Why, Potter?" Harry just shook his head a little. He really didn't want to tell his 'enemy' about his need, and from there, all his other hopes and dreams would flow. It had been so long since he had spoken honestly with a peer without seeming much more mature than the other.

"Just stay," he repeated quietly, looking back at the letter he'd received. It told him that Sirius had come back down to the area around Hogwarts and that he had done so for him. Harry wanted to either throw up or cry at the thought of someone caring enough to sacrifice their own freedom.

Draco was no less confused than he had been a moment ago, and continued to look at Potter funny. Neither student commented on the fact that he hadn't left eons ago. He headed back to the spot he'd originally inhabited and plopped down again, absently clearing the filth from the area.

"What did you want, Potter?" he asked quietly.

Once again, Harry didn't answer, but leant his head back so it was resting on the grimy wall.

After a few moments of silence, Draco spoke again, this time in a much less threatening tone of voice, and said, "Why were you asleep up here?"

Harry snorted, and wanted to answer that he didn't trust his housemates enough at the moment. He would likely be cursed in his asleep. Instead he stated: "I could ask you why you were here at three in the morning, but I won't."

"Alright, point taken. It's rude – not that it's ever stopped me before – to pry in other people's business.

Snorting slightly at the memories that flashed in front of his eyes, Harry crumpled up the paper that had been stuck to his hand from the combination of drool/sweat and cheap ink, before whispering 'incendio.'

Draco blinked in shock. "Why did you burn that?" he asked curiously.

"Well aren't we full of questions today. Not that it's any of your business, Malfoy, but I'm burning any evidence that I have a personal life," he said bitterly. "If I ever left any mail out I'd have fans swarming around me bidding for it, and you know how the rumor mill is here."

"Really, Potter? I always thought you liked all the attention," he replied snidely.

Remaining silent seemed like the best option for Harry right now, and the pair lapsed into a semi-comfortable silence.

A battered school bag lay by harry, unnoticed by Draco until Potter began rummaging in it. It made sense that the boy drew out a sheaf of parchment and a quill; it was the owlery after all! The letter or note seemed relatively short as Potter folded it up and muttered an incantation to seal the letter and ensure that no unwanted eyes received it.

Draco took a moment to really look at the boy in front of him. Potter looked undeniably tired and had slightly dark bags under his eyes from long nights. The clothes he wore underneath the cloak dwarfed him, and the neck of his sweater hung off of one shoulder. The cloak the boy had donned was thick and warm. He found himself wishing that he had thought of bringing his own. As it was, he was huddled up in his sweater and pajamas.

His enemy wore a painful expression and looked to be close to tears.

He was broken out of his observations by the Gryffindor coughing violently. Draco was slightly frightened when he felt an unidentifiable emotion twinge in the back of his mind, and, after closer consideration, named it as concern.

That scared him even more.

"You okay, Potter?" he queried. If his feeling before was scared, then he was terrified now.

Harry looked at him oddly. Our gorgeous Gryff thought it was rather uncharacteristic for his enemy to act like this. He had never shown anything other than malice (1) and ill intent, Harry thought pensively. This change in personality was rather sudden, and it puzzled harry greatly. He realized that Malfoy was staring at him, and assured him that he was fine shortly.

Draco snorted, as he was 100 sure that he was blatantly lying out of his ass. He chose not to comment further.

That warm cloak was looking even better right now, and he noticed that he'd been shivering. He was absolutely torn between the cloak and his pride.

Harry noticed his state of discomfort. "Are you cold?"

Draco gave up the battle and sighed as he nodded and threw his pride down the toilet.

Silently, Harry opened the cloak for Draco to share with him. With reckless abandon, Draco strode to the other's side of the owlery, plopped down, and wrapped the offered part of the cloak around his side.

Neither ever told the other what their respective letters said, but they talked about almost everything else.

-End Flashback!-

Severus was confused. Draco knew this, but he also knew that his godfather wouldn't deny his charge his dying wish. With a mental nod, he turned back to the professor and gave him the best puppy dog eyes he could muster in his half-dead state. "Please, Sev?"

Said person glared at him as he tried to, once again, wrap his mind around the idea of his son possibly being on good speaking terms with the Boy Who Lived. Damn. He didn't even know where the dunce lived! I'm caving already, he thought savagely.

-0-0-0-0-0-

On the other side of the country, Harry Potter was not having a good day. Actually, it hadn't been a good week. If he thought about it harder, it hadn't been a particularly splendid life, either.

When he had gotten off of the train from Hogwarts and returned to the Dursley's care, he had been forever changed. Seeing the death of one of the people who had the greatest influence on your life was not pleasant, even if Draco had constantly tried to tell him that Dumbledore was just a conniving bastard with sick fantasies of lemon drops and socks.

For Harry, it had made him more hardened, resigned to some of the horrors of the world.

He'd realized that he would have to kill. War was war, and you couldn't be held accountable for killing those on the opposing side as you.

He'd realized that maybe he could take more advantage of what he had, and that there might be things that were neither dark nor light. This said, Harry had taken to buying books by the dozens from shops in Knockturn Alley by mail order before the ministry 'disposed' of them cruelly. (Hedwig had to be disguised so that she wasn't spotted.) So far, in the first few days, he had reviewed all of his course books from the last six years and had read a good number of books about more powerful magic and even what was classified as dark magic.

There was no way he could have learned all of this in just that summer, and he was glad that he'd scavenged the library so hard after becoming on good terms with Draco.

Most of the books he'd ordered were merely duplicates of ones in the school library, or covered the same material, but he wanted to build his own library. One that showed off the wealth of the Potter, Black, and Haden vaults. (2) Together, he was one of the single richest men in the world.

His mother had been from one of the most influential and powerful families. The Haden clan had been the joint line of Slytherin and Ravenclaw. As was rumored, Salazar Slytherin was, in fact, a Dark Lord. He had, however, fought with political power rather than violence, though there were a few small fights. About a decade after he had total control of the wizarding world, though, a mob of conformists had stormed the castle. They had gotten hold of his beloved wife, Rowena Ravenclaw and killed her to get to him. In a frenzy to protect his family, he had sent his children and grandchildren away to a large mountain range up north, where he had warded family property. For generations, his descendants lived on in those mountains until the seventeenth century, when they got extremely antsy and emigrated to the 'New World.' However, just months after the move, all but one member of the family was burnt at the stake on accusations of being devil worshippers. The sole survivor, Isabella Haden, ran as far away as she could. The last report of her (and the family) had been in New Orleans.

Harry had found, in a book found in the Chamber of Secrets on the ancestry of Slytherins, a family tree since before Salazar Slytherin. Imagine his surprise that at the bottom was one Harry James Caden Haden Potter. He figured that Dumbledore had not known, however. WRONG! Towards the end of sixth year, he had found another book in the Slytherin library that automatically recorded all travesties done against his family and learned that Dumbledore had taken away his heritage and rights, along with those of his mother.

He was mightily pissed off.

So it's understandable that he wouldn't put up with any more of the shit he'd had to endure under the care of his relatives for the last sixteen years.

As he walked by his uncle directly after departing from the bus and arriving upon their 'home' and whispered, "I'd be careful if I were you, Vernon. I'm allowed to do magic a month. (3) You wouldn't want your last memories in life to be of your seventeen year old nephew killing you, would you?"

He knew it was risky, and could possibly mean the opposite of what he wanted, but it was the best chance. Blackmail and threats were the only things that seemed to even relatively work.

He could see the muscles below his uncle's mustache twitching irritably and wondered if he should bring in the cavalry for any possible injuries he might sustain. But no blow came, and, though relieved, his face remained impassive and hard.

Ever since then, he had been left alone in peace to come and go as he pleased (he had taken this advantage and had finally bought a new, more tasteful, wardrobe), but had an uneasy feeling in his gut constantly.

That feeling was particularly strong the day of his birthday.

All day he had a pounding headache, so much so that he couldn't concentrate on his work, and his vision had gone blurry.

His position was not helped at all when the doorbell rang at about eleven o'clock at night. He couldn't hear anything from the other rooms, and sneered when realizing that the Dursleys could sleep through virtually anything.

Sheathing his wand up his sleeve, he walked cautiously down the stairs and to the front door. As the door creaked climactically, he was not disappointed to find two haggard looking figured at the door. Squinting because of his temporary loss of vision, he looked hard at the two outlines and gasped when he saw a head of white-blonde hair.

"Draco?" he asked nervously.

He got only a pained moan in response as he stumbled towards the noise. Suddenly, his vision got much clearer, enough to see exactly where Draco was. He paid no attention to the person who was holding Draco when he attempted to pick him up and carry him up to his room.

"What do you think you're doing, Mr. Potter?" Snape snapped. Curse you, Draco!

Harry froze on the spot at the sound of his former professor's voice. Almost immediately he wanted to snap back that he was going to try to heal his best friend, but thought better of it. Instead, he said, "Why, Professor, I'm just bringing Draco up to my room. Of course, you're welcome to come along," putting special emphasis on the title.

Severus still didn't trust the boy, but had to respect him for his newfound self control.

As he followed the incompetent boy to his room, he noticed the way he carried Draco extra carefully, in fear of aggravating any wounds. When they reached the door, it swung open of its own accord, though Harry didn't seem to notice as he deposited Draco gently on the barren bed.

"Could you please put up a silencing charm, professor?" he requested. He knew that his relatives could sleep through a hurricane, but still, it never hurt anyone to be paranoid. Alright, who was he kidding, paranoia has injured thousands.

Frustrated with the boy's patient manners, he ground out, "I'm not your professor anymore!" but acquiesced anyway and cast the charm.

"My apologies sir."

"Harry, quit annoying my godfather!" Draco laughed, gaining everyone's attention.

In the dim light of the room, Harry could see the paleness of his friend's skin tone – not that that wasn't unnatural – and how his chest rose up and down unevenly. Gasping in horror, he rushed to the bed and climbed up beside the boy, pulling the blanket across their shoulders like he had with his cloak; the scene that started it all.

Watching in discomfort at the boys' obvious trust in one another, Severus coughed. In response, Harry just waved his hand at a chair as a signal for the man to take a seat.

They sat there in silence for a good half hour at least, at which time two were startled by a blood curdling scream coming from Harry's mouth as white-hot searing pain ripped through his veins and his bones seemingly twisted and turned, breaking and mending all in the space of a few seconds.

Draco was all over the boy, holding him as close as one can who is on his deathbed himself.

The last thing Harry remembered was a pair of arms holding him as he struggled not to writhe in pain and to hold the scream that was attempting to rip out of his throat in.


No, I swear, I wasn't listening to the Nameless again! Well. Maybe. I might have been. Possibly. Well, I don't remember. (If you've never heard of the song – by Slipknot – then… well… sorry. I'm obsessed with it!)

Yes, I'm sticking with the idea of the Hadens. If you've read Slytherins Messing with Time, you know what I'm talking about, but if not… I'm still not sure if I'll make Harry part vampire. Maybe. That'd be fucking awesome! Lol. If I do, should I make Isabella still alive?

I'm still not sure when their school lets out, but I'm estimating the end of June-ish. Plus, if I change it, the story won't fit!

Okay, this was done for Tsurai no Shi's challenge Through Masks and Mist. Here are the guidelines if anyone's interested or want to know what I'm working with.

Through Masks and Mist Challenge:

1) It must be SLASH! Either HP/SS or HP/DM or a variation. (I'm still not sure which one it'll be. Most likely HD just because I can see it easier. Not that I don't love both!)
2) The story is set after the HBP. (I'm omitting several scenes, just so you know, so it's slightly AU.) Voldemort is displeased with the way Dumbledore was killed, and punishes Severus or Draco severely, and the other less severely. You can make up your own reasons for this and who is which.
3) The more damaged (aka MD) person asks the other (aka LD) to take him someplace safe.
4) MD tells LD to take him to Harry Potter's house.
5) Harry has been great friends with MD a year or more and has been hiding it. LD is clueless about this.
6) Harry knows more than he lets on, and has a power no one knows about.
8) Harry can be dark, but NOT evil.

Yeah, so if there's anything that doesn't fit, make sense, or anything else, tell me in a review. Either way, still review!

Poll:

Should I make Harry part vampire like I did in SMwT?

Yes, no, whatever?
Vote now, because I need this by next chapter!

If so, should Isabella still be alive? (As in Slytherins Messing with Time, Isabella was the first of the Hadens to become a vampire.)
This one has a few chapters left until it's closed! Go crazy!

Anyway, long chapter/introductions. Just goes to show you that I have waaaay too much time on my hands!

REVIEW, BITCHES!

Love you guys!

-Cher