A few things about this story….
I have no idea the length yet. Due to the "obligatory potions accident every H/D shipper will eventually write," Harry is going to go through a lot. He'll start off at five, and progress to ten, then fifteen, and finally slip into his sixteen year old self. Why? Because I have many scenes in my head and don't want to write several Potions accident stories. So bite me.
I hate Ron. Sorry, but he annoys the piss out of me. Had to keep him invested in the last story, because it was an AU story set to canon. If that makes any sense. So, in this story I am going to torture him quite a bit before I allow him to befriend Harry again.
Starts at beginning of sixth year, but does NOT follow the book. Draco is not cut out to be a Death Eater, he's far too pretty. I can see him being a dictator, but only if someone hands him the position. I can see him delegating torture and insanity, not following along like a lemming.
Just started my next block of classes, so until I develop a rhythm with my homework my posting will not be quite as often as my last story. I am shooting for one chapter a week, but will always try for more.
I already have the conclusion mapped out in my head, but my Beta has jumped ship. Sadly, Jess is desperately in love with her new puppy and has given up on fanfics for now. (tear) So, I apologize now for all future errors. Anything big, send me a review yelling at me and I will correct it ASAP.
"I have an idea."
One head lifted and turned in his direction. The other four students did not acknowledge this contribution in any way, continuing their discussion as it rapidly turned into a full fledged argument. The group of friends had gathered at the Zabini household after learning they were to receive the Dark Mark as their primary Christmas gift this year. After expressing the proper amount of enthusiasm, they gathered to "celebrate"… and suss out if anyone was actually happy about the situation. Two bottles of Fire Whiskey later, they decided befriending Harry Potter was the only way to ensure absolution from their holiday festivities. The problem was, how to you get a boy that has been programmed to curse your existence to suddenly decide to offer help? "I have an idea," he repeated louder.
Draco Malfoy sighed, pausing in his belittlement of his friends' intelligence to send an inquiring look over his shoulder. "Yes, Vincent?"
Vincent Crabbe stood up straight, happy to be the recipient of Draco's attention. "I have an idea."
"Yes," Draco drawled, "we have established that. What we have failed to discuss, however, is WHAT your idea is."
Vince nodded. "Well, we want to get Potter to offer us his protection during the war, right?" The others nodded, Blaise Zabini looking fairly impressed that Crabbe had managed to grasp that much of the conversation. "Why don't we trick him into it?"
Greg Goyle perked up, his expression hopeful. "You mean beat him up until he agrees to help us?"
Blaise groaned, dropping his head in his hands to rub at his temples. "Greg," he began tightly, "we cannot just beat him up. Did you forget for a minute that he ran some sort of vigilante group last year? He could have one of his many hero worshippers curse us without doing more than blinking in our direction."
Pansy Parkinson scowled, glaring at her cup of Fire Whiskey as though it was personally to blame for the owl she had received from her father. "If we had operated a vigilante group under the Headmaster's nose, we would have been expelled for it." She pouted, sipping at her drink absent mindedly. "Potter gets away with everything."
"Yes, Darling," Draco purred, giving Pansy a suggestive smirk. "But that could be in part to the type of spells we would teach a group of impressionable kids. Somehow I cannot see The Golden Boy teaching Unforgivable curses, or offering instruction on precisely which muscles to clench to reduce the amount of pain." Pansy giggled tipsily in agreement, absently flipping through the book of spells at her feet.
"No, not beat him up," Vince spoke up quickly. He didn't often capture the attention of the others, and knew he needed to talk fast before he lost it again. "What is the one class we are guaranteed to have with the Gryffindor's every year?"
When it became clear he was actually waiting for a response to his seemingly rhetorical question, Draco sighed again. "Hmm… I don't know… Potions, maybe?"
Completely missing the sarcasm, Vince nodded, thumping Draco soundly on the back in his enthusiasm. "Exactly! So why don't we slip him a potion or jinx him or something and drag him to the Slytherin common room and force him to listen to us?" He looked at his friends expectantly, proud of his plan.
A shocked silence followed this. "Did you think of this all by yourself?" Blaise sounded more curious than censorious, causing Vince to smile brightly and Draco to nod approvingly. Blaise scratched his head, frowning into the distance. "How would we keep him there, though…"
Greg looked confused. "But we hate Potter. Don't we? Why do we want him to help us?"
The group looked at him incredulously. "Gregory," Pansy began in a saccharine sweet tone of voice. "We're going into our sixth year of school, right?" Greg nodded obediently, still looking rather perplexed. "You remember that man our parents work for?" Her tone was still disturbingly sweet and pleasant. "The dark man that wants to kill people and make us wear horribly unflattering robes and masks guaranteed to cause blemishes?" Greg nodded confidently; he remembered this man. "Well, in case you forgot, we don't want to serve this man."
Greg frowned. "But my father says I do want to serve him."
Pansy nodded, patting him on the back of his hand. "Yes, honey, I know. But we say you don't."
Greg thought about it. He looked around at the people who had protected and befriended him since childhood. It would be awfully boring without them around. He nodded agreeably. Blaise grinned and poured him another drink. Now that they had a tentative plan, it was time to plot in earnest.
Harry Potter hated Ron Weasley.
Well, maybe not hated him per se, but right this minute he was wishing it was the next day and they were already back at Hogwarts where Harry could hex him without fear of appearing before the full Wizengammit again. Although, maybe a Silencing Spell would work - or a carefully placed Obliviation spell - he really wasn't picky. He looked over, glaring at the figure lying on the bed across the room. Ron had decided this would be the summer he would tell Hermione he loved her. The fact that the girl had laughed, thinking it was a joke, before nicely telling Ron she thought of him more as a brother than a romantic figure had not gone over well. Ron had stood there, before abruptly turning to Harry and demanding to know whether he was involved with Hermione. Harry, having anticipated and feared the confrontation between his two best friends, had calmly told his friend he was gay and continued eating breakfast.
Hermione and the twins had shrieked "I knew it!" before plopping into seats at the table next to him, fully ignoring the fact that Ron stood there gaping like a fish. Ron still had not commented on this new piece of information, and had spent the last week bemoaning the fact that Hermione didn't like him as much as he liked her. Harry felt for Ron, he honestly did; he knew all about having an unrequited love interest. However, tomorrow was the first day of his sixth year of schooling, and after the ending of his fifth year he needed to brace himself to everyone's reactions. He needed to prepare himself for the people who thought he was still an attention seeking prat, a scarred psychopath, whatever. He needed to sleep, damn it!
"GEORGE!" He bellowed; interrupting Ron's running commentary on how if only Hermione had spent part of her summers with him alone versus his entire family she would think of him in a less than brotherly fashion. Harry sincerely doubted this, and was tired of biting his tongue.
Two cracks rent the air, signifying the arrival of the twins. Harry didn't wait for them to ask questions. "You're both seventeen. If you don't find a way to shut your brother up, I'm gonna kill him." Having said his piece, Harry promptly pulled his pillow over his head and ignored the resulting shrieks of protest. Or pain. Whatever. He wondered vaguely whether it was a good thing or bad thing that he found the sound of slightly maniacal laughter soothing.
Now, two days later, sitting at breakfast waiting for McGonagall to pass out their schedules, Ron was still sulking and Harry was still out of sorts. Malfoy and his cronies had not done their traditional meet and greet on the train this year. Course, it could be because after the events in the Department of Mysteries Harry had ensured all their parents were locked up in Azkaban, but still. It was tradition to start off the year ensuring the other made it safely back to school… err… tradition to reaffirm the hatred of each other, that is. And now Malfoy kept smiling at him from across the hall. Not that Harry was looking at him or anything. Much. In fact, after the seventh or eighth time catching his eye, Harry had determined to ignore Malfoy until class.
He was still sitting at the table, staring at his plate, listlessly playing with his food and wondering what Malfoy was doing – purely because he was sure it was something evil or twisted, naturally - when Ron finally asked a question that did not relate to Hermione. "Wonder what our classes will be like. What do you think our first class will be?"
Happy to seize this excuse to glance at the Slytherin table – yep, still smiling – Harry tossed down his fork and straightened. "Potions" he answered confidently.
Hermione nodded in agreement, absently sipping water as she paged through the required books for the year. Ron scowled at her quick agreement and turned a slightly challenging gaze to Harry. "What makes you say that?"
Must not start the year with negative points, must not hex best mate. Harry chanted silently to himself for a moment. "Because Ron, it's Monday." Ron looked blank. Harry sighed. "Haven't you noticed that we start every year, every Monday, with Double Potions with the Slytherin's? It's tradition." Sure enough, the schedules, once in hand, reaffirmed Harry's statement. Ron's scowl deepened. Not wanting to deal with his mood any longer, Harry exchanged commiserating looks with Hermione and nodded towards the door. She caught the hint and stood at once. "Well," Harry began, "we're going to head to Potions early." Ron waved them off, returning to his meal. One last glance at the Slytherin table and they were off.
"It has to get better soon," Hermione sighed, shifting the stack of books in her arms. "I mean honestly, he's not even acting like himself."
Harry thought back to Ron's attitude during the Tri-Wizard Tournament. "Hmm."
"Let me help you with those books Granger." The smooth voice caught them both by surprise, causing Harry and Hermione to jump. A tan hand shot out and caught the jostled books, neatly transferring them to the others arms, even as a smirk danced across full lips. He held out his hand to Hermione. "Blaise Zabini."
She gave him a wary look but accepted his handshake. "Hermione Granger."
"Hermione." Blaise looked thoughtful. "Such an intriguing name." Hermione blushed as Blaise smiled at her again. "May I call you Hermione?"
Hermione eyed the Slytherin crest on his robes. "You realize I am a Muggle born, correct?" Blaise nodded, still smiling persuasively at her. She sniffed and grabbed Harry's arm. "Fine then. Come along Harry, best not be late for class."
Harry thought about reminding her they were already early, but she seemed terribly flustered for some reason so he let it go. Harry jumped as an arm slid through his, turning to gape in shock at Pansy Parkinson. Where had she come from? "Potions is such a dreary class, don't you think?" Harry felt something damp brush against his arm, but didn't think to worry about it as the girl continued talking. "After all, how is knowing how to make a Cheering Potion going to help us in life?" Harry privately agreed, but knew better than to say anything with Hermione within lecturing distance. He settled for smiling at Pansy uncertainly and disengaging his arm from her clutches.
Snape looked up from his desk; his eyes narrowed at the unconventional quartet, but didn't say anything. Harry and Hermione headed straight to their traditional seats, Blaise and Pansy to the Slytherin side of the room, and waited silently for class to begin.
Draco winked at Harry as he glided into class with Crabbe and Goyle seconds before the bell rang. His smirk widened at the predictable way Harry flushed and immediately turned to talk with Granger. Sliding elegantly into the vacant seat next to Pansy, he leaned close under the guise of removing his Potions book from his bag. "Did you do it?"
Pansy nodded, not pausing once or seeming to detract her attention as she copied down Professor's Snape's directions for the potion the class was making today. Draco smirked again, glancing over at Harry only once before standing to collect the ingredients for the days potion. Pansy waited until the noise level in the classroom rose slightly before angling her head in Draco's direction. "I rubbed the potion on his arm," she whispered. "He should be feeling the effects right about…" A loud groan from across the room cut her off.
Harry was bent double. His face was flushed, his body trembling, and he appeared to be having trouble focusing on his surroundings. Right on cue Hermione raised her hand. "Professor Snape? Harry's not feeling well. May I take him to the Hospital Wing?" Snape rolled his eyes, a malicious sneer playing around his mouth as he stalked over to Harry.
What happened next was a random fluke – a comedy of errors not counted upon during the thought process of the Slytherin's manipulation scheme.
Harry lurched backwards as his stomach gave a violent twinge… right into Neville and Ron's work bench. Neville dropped the Rose Hips he was preparing to slice, which fell exactly underneath his bubbling cauldron. The Rose Hips went up in flames, causing a blast of fire which sent their cauldron tipping over. Harry leapt backwards as gracelessly as possible after the hot liquid splashed over him. He yelped, flailing backwards… and straight into the cabinet holding various bottles of completed potions and liquefied ingredients.
The class froze.
His world was white hot and vibrant.
The light was blinding, even behind his closed eyelids. Harry could hear the echo of shattering around him, could feel little trickles of moisture rolling down his neck and drenching his body. His muscles ached, the parts of his body where the liquid seeped in through scratches from broken glass burning. He wanted to scream, could feel the hysterical edge of it bubbling up in his throat. Long experience had him clenching his jaw, focusing his thoughts to block the urge. It was never a good idea to draw unnecessary attention to himself.
He shifted slightly, and his bright white world became tinted with red.
He preferred the change, to be perfectly honest. He knew from experience that sitting still would only increase the pain, whereas moving about would help the pain shift into a more bearable ache. Even now it was receding. Harry took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. He could hear people around him, unfamiliar voices pressing closer to where he lay curled up amongst the shattered remnants of bottles.
Harry opened his eyes on an unfamiliar world. He frowned, absently reaching up to rub his scar. Harry clearly remembered Uncle Vernon yelling at him for something… what…. Dudley had done it. Dudley had thrown a temper tantrum because Aunt Petunia did not have any more cake. It was Dudley's fault he was here! When Uncle Vernon grabbed his arm and dragged him from the kitchen, Harry was sure he was going to be locked into his cupboard for the night. He remembered the door opening… and then glass falling all around him… did Uncle Vernon finally decide to send him away for being such a freak?
Someone had dressed him in clothes that were far too big on him. Bigger, even, than Dudley's old clothes that Aunt Petunia made him wear. Waste not want not, after all. Harry eyed the assembled people, slipping his hands inside the big black block of cloth to slide off the too big shoes and baggy jeans. He needed his legs free to ensure he could escape. "Hello," he offered nervously, hoping the people would be distracted by conversation and not notice his hands fumbling with the clasp of the tent sized robe around his shoulders.
A man was walking forward towards him. Harry eyed him soberly, noting the lanky black hair and angry eyes. Although the man didn't seem mean. He seemed shocked and worried. How Harry knew that, when the man was clearly glaring at him, he had no idea. Somehow, though, he didn't think this man would hurt him. Much. And even angry, Harry noted, the bigger mans face wasn't turning purple like Uncle Vernon's did. Still…
"Mr. Potter." The man's voice was low and cold, making Harry doubt his initial feelings toward the guy. "What have you done to yourself now?" WHAT?? He didn't do anything! This was all Dudley's fault! Harry opened his mouth to protest, only to stop when a large boy with a lot of red hair dropped down beside him and grabbed his arm. Harry winced as his aching muscles protested the move.
"Harry! Are you ok mate?"
Harry did not know who this boy was and right now he didn't care. He was surrounded by people he didn't know and they were just like his family! Only there were more of them. That clinched it. It was bad enough being thrown into a cupboard, no way was he going to stick around to see what kind of punishment these people would think up! He stood up, relieved when the robe slipped off his shoulders to pool on the floor. For a second he thought his legs would buckle, but clenching his teeth and focusing helped again. He pulled his arm out of the redhead's grasp and took a cautious step away. Glancing around, Harry noticed a bunch of teenagers standing completely still and looking at him in confused horror, and the man with the black hair once again moving forward.
In two seconds flat he bolted to the door, out of the classroom, and down the hall. He needed to find a place to hide until he figured out what was going on.
The minute Harry dashed out the door all Hell broke loose in the classroom.
Snape turned to Hermione and ordered her to collect Potter's map. Vince wasn't sure what good a map would be for finding Harry, but Snape was the teacher. Ron and Neville bellowed Harry's name and ran after him before Snape could stop them. Seamus Finnegan was ordered to get the headmaster, Dean Thomas to collect Professor McGonagall, and Lavender Brown to notify Madame Pomphrey to prepare a private room. Everyone else was told to get the Hell out and go back to their common room where they were to write a fifteen inch essay on proper versus improper uses of Rose Hips, and why foolish Gryffindor's should not be allowed near sharp instruments or fire.
Vince turned to where Draco stood with his mouth hanging open and an expression of utter shock on his face. "So, is the ability to turn into a five year old kind of like being an Animagus?"
Greg looked interested by that. "It would be fun to be a kid whenever you wanted." Vince nodded in agreement.
Draco whirled around and glared at Pansy. "What the HELL did you give him?" he hissed dangerously, mindful to keep his voice low to avoid unnecessary attention. "How the fuck is Potter supposed to help us if he is FIVE YEARS OLD?!?!"
Pansy's eyes were huge in her too pale face. "I didn't give him anything other than what we planned! He was only supposed to get sick with the Slytherin common room as the centralized focal point, so he would only feel better when he was there." She began wringing her hands anxiously as she looked at the pile of shattered glass on the floor. "The potion must have interacted with the other ingredients he crashed into."
Draco nodded, taking deep breaths to calm down. Harry as a kid looked creepily vulnerable. All big green eyes and messy hair. Draco had wanted to cuddle him; a completely unacceptable turn of events. He looked over at the dawdling students before turning back to Vince, Greg, Pansy, and Blaise. "We have to get a hold of him before anyone else does. That's all there is to it."
Nodding in agreement, they huddled together for a moment before gathering their belongings together. Just as they were about to leave McGonagall flew threw the door, having run so fast her tartan hat had flown right off her head.
"What in the world just happened!?"