Disclaimer: I do not own anything from Harry Potter, nor do I make any money from this story.

A/N: Hey! I'm so sorry! I got caught up in work and family life. And then I got ill, and am now in bed recuperating. So, there's time to do some writing! Please let me know what you think! I love your reviews!

Ch. 6.

"Hey Harry!" Draco jumped out of his car and ran to meet the other at the school gate. "You know it's the Halloween party on Friday?"

"Yeah..." the raven haired boy stared quizically at the blond.

"Well, I was wondering if you wanted to come to mine first to get ready? Blaise, Theo and Pansy are," Draco grinned. "You don't have to worry about Father, he and Mother are away for the weekend. Besides, he's promised to lay off you now he knows you're not my friend because you want my money."

"That's reassuring," Harry quirked a quick grin. "It's a nice offer, but I've been invited to tea at the Weasley's before the party."

"How about you stay over at mine afterwards, then?" Draco nudged the smaller boy. "I could probably do with the company. It's creepy in that big old house all by myself."

"You're hardly alone!" Harry laughed. "You have all those servants!"

"True as that may be, they are all uptight and boring," Draco leaned down and pressed his chin to Harry's shoulder, peering up at him with pleading eyes. "Come on! I need to have my Harry fix! I'm offering to share you nicely with the Weasleys, so say you'll come!"

"It's very nice of you, and I'd love to come," Harry turned sombre eyes onto the now pouting Slytherin. "But I need to leave the party early anyway, there's something I need to do."

"Leave early?" Draco repeated, incredulous. "Whatever for? I mean, the party finishes early as it is!"

"It's the anniversary of my parents' deaths and I usually light a candle and spend a little time thinking about them," the emerald eyed boy moved his gaze to his feet. "I know it probably sounds really stupid to you, but it's what I've done for years..."

"No, it doesn't sound stupid at all!" Draco protested, leaning back. "What time do you usually do it?"

"Eleven fifty-one," the raven haired boy replied. "That's the exact time they crashed. I let the candle burn until midnight."

"Well, the party finishes at eleven thirty," Draco thought it all through. "It'll only take about fifteen mintues to get from the hall to my house, and if we leave a few minutes early, there'll be plenty of time to get you set up."

"Are you..." Harry stared at the blond with wide eyes. "Are you saying that I can do it at yours?"

"Yes," Draco replied. "If that's your tradition, I really don't see why you shouldn't be able to do it as well as sleep at mine."

"That's...not a lot of people would appreciate me doing that at their house, though," Harry was taken aback. "Are you sure it's ok?"

"Yes!" Draco grinned, rolling his eyes. "So are you going to stay or not?"

"I-yes. Yes, thanks!" Harry returned the smile, and followed the blond through the gates and into the entrance hall.

----

The rest of the week passed quickly enough, and Harry found himself looking forward to Friday for the first time in his life. Although, underneath the excitement was the usual dread and depression that accompanied the anniversary of his parent's exit from the world.

It was Thursday night that the topic of the party was breached at dinner, Dudley moaning that he wasn't allowed to go because he had been given too many detentions to be invited.

"It's so not fair!" the blond pig whined at dinner. "I didn't deserve half of those detentions! I wasn't bullying those kids! It's the teachers who are bullying me!"

At the other side of the table, Harry barely refrained from rolling his eyes.

"Of course you didn't, Diddydums!" Petunia patted his hand. "I cannot believe that the teachers are treating you like this. I'm going to go to the school and have a talk with that headmaster of yours."

"I personally think the system is stupid," Vernon ground out. "It's unfair to leave out the students who have had more than ten detentions. Especially if those detentions weren't deserved. Those kids need to have fun too!"

Once again, Harry tried not to roll his eyes. The idea of not giving invites to the kids who had received more than ten detentions was to weed out the ones likely to misbehave and spoil the night for the ones who actually did behave in school. Plus, not going to the party was an extra punishment.

"But I really want to go!" Dudley carried on whining. "It's Halloween! I want to have some fun!"

"Well, why don't we all have a nice family night?" Petunia suggested. "We could rent some scary films and eat lots of sweets and chocolate. It'll be fun."

"Lots of sweets and chocolate?" Dudley asked hopefully. If there was thing that would get Dudley to forget the 'injustice' of not being allowed to go to the school party, it was sugar.

"As many as you want, Popkins!" Petunia smiled as her precious son perked up.

"Ok then, I suppose that would be alright," the blond, muttered.

"And the Freak can cook a special meal," Vernon declared. "Whatever you like, son."

"Actually, I won't be here tomorrow," Harry spoke up, meeting his uncles' beady eyes.

"What do you mean, boy?" the walrus-like man asked.

"I'm going to eat at Ron's house before the party," Harry explained. "Then I'm sleeping at Draco's afterwards. I'm sure I told you."

"You most certainly did not!" Vernon's face was rapidly becoming purple.

"Huh," Harry frowned. "Must have forgotten."

"Well, you will not be going!" his uncle slammed a fist on the table, making the cutlery rattle. "I forbid it!"

"Oh, well, I guess I'll just go and phone Detective Ryder then," Harry made to stand.

"And tell her what?" Vernon snarled. "I doubt that grounding you is against the law."

"No, it's not," Harry smiled, showing too many teeth. "But I could always tell her about all the things you used to do to me. Tell her that you're doing them again."

Faced with that eerily shark-like grin, Vernon swallowed, paling drastically.

"You wouldn't..." he muttered.

"Wouldn't I?" the teen replied calmly. "I think we both know I would."

"Fine, go," Vernon snarled. "But if you do, don't think I'll let you back into this house anytime soon!"

"Fine by me," Harry cleared the dishes and ran up to his room, shutting the door on Dudley's renewed wails on how unfair it was he couldn't go to the party yet Harry could.

'Shit. I didn't expect him to kick me out,' he thought, leaning against the door. It wasn't the first time it had happened, though. His uncle got like that sometimes. He'd kick his nephew out for a couple of nights until Petunia got tired of the cooking and begged her husband to let Harry come back.

Sitting on his bed, Harry picked up his battered mobile and sat comtemplating. It was a pay-as-you-go given to him by the police back in January. He didn't like using it for texting or phoning his friends, since it was supposed to be for emergencies only, but as long as he kept it topped up it didn't matter.

'Ron or Draco? Ron or Draco?' he wondered.

Decision made, he opened the contact list, selected the number, and dialled.

----

Draco stood leaning against the side of his car at the end of school waiting for the others. Although he appeared calm on the outside, on the inside he was buzzing with excitement. He always did enjoy a party.

Blaise was the first to arrive, telling him the others were just stopping at Pansy's locker before coming out to the car, before slipping into the cool leather interior of the Mercedes.

Draco stayed where he was, waiting. Theo and Pansy had just exited the doors when Harry slipped out of the gate and came towards the blond, a duffle bag in hand.

"Sorry I'm late," he plonked the bag into the boot as Draco opened it. "I had to empty my books into my locker to fit everything into my bag."

"That's alright," the blond smiled. "I'll see you later."

"Bye!" Harry called, dashing off to meet up with Ron and Hermione just as Pansy and Theo arrived.

Draco slid into the car next to Pansy and Blaise, Theo having taken the front passenger seat to have room for his unusually long legs.

The Merc pulled away from the curb as Pansy turned to look at her blond friend.

"So what was that all about?" she asked.

"Harry was just giving me his things for later, that's all," Draco shrugged.

"Later?" Blaise questioned.

"He's staying over," replied the grey eyed boy.

"Really?" Pansy smirked. "And why weren't we invited to do the same?"

"I invited him to come and get ready with us," Draco sighed. Why did they have to be so nosy? "But he's getting ready at the Weasley's, so I offered to let him stay over instead."

"Are you sure that you didn't just want him all to yourself?" the girl teased.

"Maybe a little, but it is the truth!" Draco shifted uncomfortably.

"Be careful, Draco," Theo cautioned from the front seat. "You've only known the boy for two months-less even. Don't let yourself get in too deep until you're sure you won't get hurt."

Knowing the tall boy was just trying to protect him, Draco smiled.

"Thank you," he said.

---

The Burrow, as Ron's house was named, was chaotic as usual. As soon as they'd arrived, Ron had been called into the kitchen by his mother, and Hermione had disappeared upstairs, needing the bathroom. Thus, Harry was left alone to wander into the living room. But not for long.

Ginny was sitting on the couch with a dreamy faced girl with long blond hair.

"Harry!" she cried, jumping up. "Here, sit down."

She grabbed his arm and pulled him down between her and the other girl.

"Harry, this is my friend L-"

"Ginny!" Mrs. Weasley called from the kitchen. "I need you!"

With a sigh of frustration, the red haired girl leapt off the couch and stomped into the kitchen. leaving Harry alone with the girl, who he vaguely recognised as a Ravenclaw who sometimes hung around Ginny, and sometimes with Neville.

Blinking sky blue eyes, the girl turned to him and held out a delicate hand.

"Hello Harry Potter," she smiled. "I'm Luna Loovegood."

"Er, hi," the green eyed boy shook her hand, a little taken aback by the strange blonde.

"My father is the editor of the Quibbler," Luna let her hand fall back into her lap, as Harry nodded in recognition of the art magazine. "He bought Rose in a Storm for me when it was auctioned after the competition."

Harry shifted uncomfortably at the mention of his art. He'd painted that on the porch at Cedric's, having sketched it through the window during a thunderstorm. It showed the garden in varying shades of grey, the shrubs and grass shadowed under the roiling purple and green sky. A flash of white lightning tore through the sky. The only other colour in the whole picture was a detailed red rose in the foreground.

"It's very striking, and dark," Luna continued, seemingly oblivious to the discomfort of the boy next to her. "I absolutely love it, though. I have it hanging over my desk so I can look at it every day.

"I heard what happened to you, and I must say that it was simply awful. It is such a shame, too, that you have decided to withdraw your talents from the art world. You have such a gift. It seems such a waste."

She stared at him, clearly awaiting a response.

"Dinner's ready!" Ron called, sticking his head around the kitchen door.

Harry leapt to his feet without so much as a glance at Luna, and grabbed a seat at the table as far from her as possible, glad to be away from the strange girl and the disconcerting knowledge that she had about him.

A/N: Well, that's it for now. I was going to make this chapter a bit longer, but I'm quite tired now, so I think it's best to leave it there. Please let me know what you think!

Love,

Len