Note: LAST CHAPTER! YAY! Please review and thanks so everybody who enjoyed this story. Hope you like the ending, even if it's a little cheesy. I always have problems with the ending. Hope it's not too bad. Suggestions for an epilogue are welcome, but I need a concrete idea.
Thanks to my beta: Rokkis! You rock Rokkis!
Harry sat in the empty common room in front of the fire, brooding. He had been doing that a lot lately. He sat staring into the fire, his chin supported by his right hand, his eyebrows furrowed. He didn't even notice as Ron and Hermione came quietly through the portrait hole, looking disappointed. As they seated themselves across from him he finally looked up.
"Where've you been?" he asked. Ron and Hermione glanced at each other, before Hermione sighed and looked Harry in the eye.
"We've been talking to Malfoy," she said simply. Harry's eyes narrowed instantly.
"What? How could you? Ron! You hate Malfoy! What in Merlin's name is happening!" He glared at Ron and the redhead avoided his eyes.
"We've told you, Harry, he's-"
"I don't want to hear it! You saw him today! He was the usual prat he always is!"
"Please, Harry," Hermione begged. "Just… calm down and listen for a sec." Harry looked like he wanted to shout again, but slumped back down in the couch and huffed. Hermione glanced at Ron again before continuing. "We've told you everything that happened. Why can't you believe Draco has really changed?"
"Because… he's Malfoy," Harry grumbled, crossing his arms over his chest.
"That's what I kept saying at first," Ron commented. Hermione nodded.
"Don't you remember?" she asked. Harry stared into the fire again, a pensive look on his face.
"I remember things. It's really weird though. I know it happened just this past week, but the memories feel so old. Like they happened when I was little. I remember feeling safe with him… and loved."
"Then why can't you give him a chance now?"
"Because it's impossible!" Harry shouted, rising from his chair in anger and glaring down at his shocked friends. "Malfoy is supposed to be an arrogant git! The perfect Slytherin Ice Prince! He hates me with a passion! He doesn't do anything without some selfish motive behind it! And he would never return my feelings!" Harry's eyes suddenly grew wide and he slapped his hand over his mouth in horror. Ron and Hermione gaped at him. Harry looked around frantically for an escape route.
"Oh, Harry," Hermione said softly once the shock passed. Harry sighed defeated and fell back into the couch, staring at his hands. "I don't know what his feelings are for you exactly," Hermione continued tentatively. "But I know he cares for you."
"As a five-year-old," Harry whispered.
"Perhaps, but I think if you give him a chance he would certainly want to try and be friends with your sixteen-year-old self." Harry shook his head.
"He hates me. He's a junior Death Eater in training." Hermione opened her mouth to speak, but Ron laid a hand on her knee. He slowly took out a parchment from his pocket and Hermione nodded.
"Here, Harry, read this," he said and handed Harry the note. Harry read it over once and frowned.
"What is this?" he asked, eyes still scanning the parchment.
"That note was written entirely by Draco. He forged my handwriting pretty good, huh?"
"I don't understand. Malfoy wrote this? Why?" Harry looked up at them for an explanation. Ron and Hermione smiled and their hands intertwined between them.
"He let me find it. So that we would get a clue and get together," Hermione said softly, a hint of pride in her voice.
"He's the reason you two are together?" Harry asked in disbelief. The pair nodded.
"And he didn't have any ulterior motive. He was just being a good… friend, believe it or not," Ron said, sounding a little surprised at his own words.
"And he also told us afterwards…" Hermione trailed off, glancing at Ron who nodded for her to continue. "That he wasn't going to become a Death Eater, and we believe him."
"Hermione, you realise who you're talking about?" Harry asked.
"Yes, Harry, but he's not the same. You changed him Harry. As a five-year-old you got through to him. Made him question what his father stood for." A silence descended on them and Harry re-read the note several times. Suddenly he snorted.
"He's still a vain spoilt brat," he said. Ron and Hermione chuckled.
"I'm afraid even you can't change him completely, Harry," Hermione stated.
"I wouldn't want to," Harry whispered. Ron and Hermione exchanged glances, something silent passing between them.
"I think I'm going to bed early," Hermione said, rising and bidding the others good night.
"Yeah, me too," Ron said. Harry barely noticed their whispered good nights. He sat in silence reading the note over and over again.
Saturday dawned, irritatingly bright. The curtains on Draco's bed were spelled to open at a specific time and the Slytherin groaned as the first light hit him (another thing he had gotten from the Gryffindors perhaps?). He dragged himself out of bed and walked to the bathroom, staring at his reflection in the mirror. To any of his dorm mates he didn't look any different, but to Draco he looked like a stranger. He did, however, look uncharacteristically tired, thanks to lack of sleep. He kept imagining his housemates finding out he didn't want to follow the Dark Lord. Sometimes they just shunned him, leaving him even more alone than he already was. Other times his thoughts turned into nightmares as they kidnapped him and brought him to the Death Eaters to be tortured. Who said Slytherins couldn't have overactive imaginations?
Taking a quick shower and putting on some casual dress robes for the Hogsmade weekend he walked through the dorm, noting that everybody else was already up, even Crabbe and Goyle. He found his two bodyguards in the common room waiting for him.
"I'm going to Hogsmade alone today. I don't care what you two do," he said, walking out of the common room without a backwards glance; thereby missing the many exchanged glances of the other students. He walked tiredly out of the dungeons and out of the castle, standing off to the side of the steadily growing group of students. He surveyed the crowd, noting which Slytherins were going together as if he actually still cared about the house politics. Without him realising it he was suddenly noting the Gryffindors as well. Ginny and Dean were going together. Ron must be ecstatic about that. Neville seemed to be standing very close to Luna. Draco raised one eyebrow, suddenly catching the boy's eye. Draco could have sworn Neville gave him a wink before turning away. His gaze was drawn to the doorway when the Trio appeared, but he quickly looked away when he saw Harry scanning the crowd in his direction. He thought he felt Harry's eyes on him, but when he chanced to sneak a glance the Trio had already mingled with the crowd.
Finally McGonagall appeared and they were allowed to leave for Hogsmade. Draco made sure to trail behind so fewer students would notice he was going alone. Once in the small town Draco quickly made his way to the Shrieking Shack, a place away from Hogwarts, but that was still most likely empty of students. Perfect. (AN: I always think the Shack is the perfect place for Draco's musings) Unfortunately the place proved less of a distraction than Draco had hoped. His mind kept wandering back to third year when he had run into Ron and Hermione. He couldn't help but smirk when he thought how pathetically oblivious to each other they had been even then. He remembered Harry's floating head and was glad he finally had the proper answer to that mystery.
Gazing at the Shack he wondered what the hell he was going to do if his mother suddenly came to him and told him it was time to follow in his father's footsteps. Would he do it? He honestly wasn't sure. How could he possibly refuse? A feeling of hopelessness and fear swept over him and he shivered even though it wasn't that cold, and he had a warm cloak on him. Suddenly he felt a shift in the air around him. It was almost imperceptible, but Draco knew something was close. He kept himself calm and made sure not to tense his muscles, his eyes kept locked to the Shack. Years of looking over one's shoulder had given Draco a sixth sense. A crunch of leaves reached his ears and he knew someone was right there behind him. Ever so slowly his fingers curled around his wand. Picturing Harry's cloak firmly in his mind he abruptly spun around and pointed his wand straight ahead.
"Accio cloak!" he yelled and there came whooshing sound. As the invisibility cloak flew into his hand he saw Harry fall to the ground, no doubt from trying to hold onto the cloak. Draco caught the cloak easily in his left hand; his right still had his wand trained on Harry. The Gryffindor glared at him from the slightly wet ground.
"Give it back, Malfoy!" Harry demanded as he pushed himself up, his glare never leaving Draco.
"I thought Gryffindors were too noble to hex someone behind their back, let alone after sneaking up on people while invisible!" Draco spat.
"I wasn't going to hex you, you prat!" Harry retorted.
"Really? Just spying on me then? Whatever for?" Draco asked, raising one eyebrow. He delighted when he saw Harry blush and turn away, but at the same time his heart gave a jolt.
"Ron and Hermione… they told me to come and talk to you," Harry mumbled.
"Well, tell them they should mind their own business. I have nothing to say," Draco said before he could stop himself. When Harry moved slightly away from him Draco was all of a sudden overcome with a fear that Harry would leave him. He desperately wanted to reach out to Harry, but he just couldn't.
"Fine… I just thought that…" Harry said, his eyes on the ground, his jaw set. He lifted his gaze slowly and locked eyes with Draco. "I should thank you," he said calmly. Draco frowned in confusion.
"For getting them together. They've been the… Clueless Duo too long." Harry was watching Draco intently for the Slytherin's reaction. Draco's eyes went wide and his wand had faltered. "They told me… everything." Draco's hands turned to fists and his face darkened.
"They had no right to tell you!" he bellowed, his voice echoing slightly in the small clearing. Harry took a step forward and Draco immediately took a step back towards the Shack.
"Draco," Harry said softly. The Slytherin shook his head and turned away.
"It doesn't mean anything. It was an act. I didn't promise them anything! I… I can't. It's unthinkable."
"It doesn't matter if you're not ready to go openly against the beliefs of your father, your house, but what matters is that you said it. You said you didn't want to become a Death Eater, and… I believe you." Harry's hand touched Draco's shoulder and the Slytherin stiffened a moment before allowing Harry to turn him around. Their eyes locked and Harry took a deep breath. "You don't have to declare it to the whole school Draco. But if you promise me that you'll come to me if the time comes for you to be… marked, then I promise you the Light side will protect you. I'll protect you. You're free of them." Draco's mind conjured up the image of himself telling Harry those same words about the Dursleys and Draco knew he had meant them then, and he knew Harry meant it now. He thought about little Harry standing up for him against Ron, his best friend, and he didn't doubt Harry would protect him against everybody else as a sixteen-year-old. They stared into each other's eyes for what seemed like an eternity. Draco opened his mouth to speak, but he suddenly felt and saw Harry leaning ever so slowly towards him. They were about the same height now, since they were standing on a slope. Draco froze in shock, unable to move away or lean forward as well. When had the moment turned into a moment? Draco's eyes fluttered close on their own account as Harry's lips touched his own tentatively, giving Draco every chance to move away. His heart pounded in his chest and he let Harry apply slightly more pressure. He realised he didn't really care that the kiss had come as a surprise, because he loved every second of it. Finally he gathered his senses enough to apply his own pressure, but just then Harry broke the kiss. Their eyes locked again, Harry's full of trepidation.
"I… I'm sorry if… if I read that wrong," Harry said weakly. They were still standing close, both very still.
"You did read that wrong," Draco said, unable to muster his usual drawl. "But I can't say I want to complain. Typical Gryffindor to just… jump into things." His voice was breathless now; the pounding of his heart hadn't lessened.
"So… you don't mind?" Harry asked, his eyes flickering down to Draco's lips occasionally. Draco managed to shake his head.
"Not as such, no… but," Draco closed his eyes to gather his thoughts, unable to make a single coherent one with Harry so close. "I, we can't tell… my house would-"
"I know," Harry cut him off. "I can wait… but not for long." Draco managed to nod again. He opened his eyes and his breath hitched as he saw Harry lean in again. This time he was prepared and took charge of the kiss by putting his hand on the back of Harry head, deepening the kiss immediately. His other hand came up also, his wand falling to the ground un-noticed. Harry's arms found their way around Draco's waist and they both moaned as Draco delved deeper into Harry's mouth. They snogged thoroughly for what seemed like a full ten minutes at least. Draco didn't even notice they were being watched.
"Looks like you've managed to work through some of your issues," a voice spoke up, causing Draco and Harry to jump away from each other. Ron and Hermione laughed at their shocked faces.
"Didn't know you two were such voyeurs," Draco drawled, composing himself faster than Harry, who was still blushing. "How long have you been standing there?"
"We just came to see if you two hadn't killed each other yet," Ron shrugged.
"I must say that was rather hot," Hermione piped up.
"'Mione!" Harry exclaimed, gaping at her and blushing.
"Well, of course it was hot. We are the two hottest guys in Hogwarts you know," Draco drawled, smirking. Ron shook his head.
"You're a vain git," he said.
"Correct, but that doesn't mean it isn't true." Ron rolled his eyes and snorted. Harry was looking back and forth between them with raised eyebrows.
"This could take some getting used to," he said. Hermione chuckled.
"Come on. Let's go back and go to the Room of Requirement," she suggested. Ron agreed and Harry shrugged. He turned and picked up the cloak and Draco's wand lying discarded on the ground, handing them to Draco, who took the wand first and then the cloak hesitantly with a slight frown.
"You can borrow it if you don't want to be seen with us Gryffindors just yet," he said.
"You'd let me borrow your cloak?" Draco asked sceptically. Harry shrugged.
"Course. Come on, let's go." They turned to the others and started walking back to the school. Ron was grinning knowingly at Draco who rolled his eyes at him before disappearing under the cloak. In the middle of a street in Hogsmade Harry suddenly gave a loud yelp. Ron and Hermione looked at him curiously, along with half of the students nearby.
"I'm going to get you for that," he whispered to the air beside him. He shook his head at the others' unasked questions and jerked his head towards the school. They walked silently back. Harry could practically feel Draco smirking at him from under the cloak while he thought on how to get the Slytherin back for pinching his arse in public. Little did he know Draco wasn't smirking, but grinning from ear to ear as he walked right behind Harry. With the Gryffindor Golden Boy protecting him, was there really anything to be afraid of? He smirked as he wondered who would be protecting the Boy Who Lived from him as his mind conjured up all sorts of rather devious Slytherin activities.