The Pursuit of Happiness (and Harry, somehow)
Rice-Ball247: Hey there, this is my newest series, The Pursuit of Happiness (and Harry, somehow). It's currently unbetaed, so any mistakes are entirely my own. I'd just like to point out something:
You're here because you clicked on the link for this story. That means you acknowledge that this story is SLASH, ie, a relationship between two males. If it doesn't float your boat, either the content or the pairing, feel free to search for another story on this website that will suit your tastes better.
The pairing for this story will be Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter, however, for the sake of the plot (and for my sake, sometimes), there will be side pairings included.
Sirius is dead, but HBP never happened, meaning Dumbledore is alive. Thank you, and if you have any other questions regarding the story, where it fits in the timeline etc etc, please leave a question in your review and I'll get back to you in the next update or in a message.
Disclaimer: I do not claim ownership over any of the characters that are recognizable in this story, that is, Harry Potter and any affiliated characters, which are copyrighted to J.K.Rowling. There is only the plot for me. And my imagination.
Prologue: Changes, Crushes and Conflicts
The sounds of parents and the like cooing over their children made a seventeen-year-old Harry Potter wish his parents were never dead. What, he wondered, would it be like to have James and Lily Potter wish him off before boarding Platform 9 and ¾ to Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?
Billowing white steam could be seen wafting from the very front of the Hogwarts Express, covering the air above them with thick, magical smog. Harry watched an ecstatic couple kiss their twins, a first year boy and girl, goodbye. To his right side, a single mother embraced her third year son, saying how proud she was to have him and for him to do well. To his left, a grandfather wiped tears from his eyes as he watched his seventh year granddaughter board the Hogwarts Express for the final time, wishing her luck for her final year of schooling.
Somewhere behind him, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were saying goodbye to the last two of their litter, so to speak. Ron and Ginny Weasley waved to their parents; the older of the two red-heads scowled as his mother made a repeat performance of his first year by wiping a patch of dirt on his nose. Harry suspected it was chocolate, not dirt.
The two friends greeted each other with a pat on the back and a promising grin – Harry was sure that Ron would spill all that needed to be said about his trip to Europe. Ginny gave Harry a brief hug and kissed him on the cheek. All three were happy to see each other again.
At the mention of Hermione, Ron turned a rather interesting shade of red; perhaps it was interesting because it rivaled his hair colour. It was almost equal in colour. Harry suspected that Ron must have fancied her, or something, but Ron insisted that 'when YOU see her, you'll know what I mean'. Apparently the Weasley's and the Granger's were fortunate enough to cross paths in their trip to Europe and had spent 'quality time together'.
The coldness of the tone caused Harry's head to rise and turn to see if Lucius Malfoy was bulling his son again. The taller of the two men nodded down towards his son. Briefly, his eyes flickered over to meet Harry's, before turning back to Draco.
"Do me proud."
"Yes, Father," Malfoy inclined his head towards his father before turning and boarding the train. Lucius' eyes met Harry's once again. A small, albeit sinister smirk graced sinful lips before the man turned and vanished into the crowd.
"Shit, she's here," Ron gasped, almost breathlessly. Ginny let out a low whistle and giggled as a loud "Harry, Ron, Ginny!" brought all three's attention (well, technically, Ron and Ginny were already paying attention) to the stunning brunette who ran with a certain grace towards them.
Luckily for Hermione, Ron and Harry were already standing close to each other, so she merely flung her arms out and caught the both of them in an almost rib-crushing embrace. Harry returned the hug, glancing over at Ron over the top of Hermione's head with a raised brow. The taller boy's face was rather red, yet again, and reddened further when Hermione pulled away to kiss them on the cheeks and then ask Ron why on earth he was such a shade of colour.
Harry believed that the choice of words where 'have you got a fever or something? Your face is awfully red! Oh Ronald, you didn't listen to me when I told you about those mischievous, Rumplesnark Imps, did you?!'
Harry took the opportunity to check Hermione out while she babbled on to Ron about how fun a time she had with him. Indeed, the girl had changed. Over the years, she had gone from a bushy-haired, obnoxious know-it-all, to a young woman with an impressive knowledge and outlook of the world. It came as a bonus that she had filled out quite nicely too.
Her hair was still bushy, as always. It was what made Hermione who she was, it was a part of her, and Harry didn't want that to change. However, Harry did notice that it was slightly tamer than usual, held back with a red ribbon. Something as simple as jeans and a light jacket over a t-shirt made her look stunning. Her eyes, a light brown, were still shining with the youthfulness and knowledge she'd possessed since young, but the years lined them with a depth of wisdom.
Yes, Hermione was more beautiful than ever. And Harry would have turned into a mushy puddle of goo – had he been interested in girls in the first place.
"…much fun! Harry? Harry!"
The voice brought Harry out of his trance and into the world of the living. Hermione had a smaller bag on one hand, and the other entwined with Ginny's as they were stepping onto the Hogwarts Express. Ron was following after.
"You coming, or do you plan to stay there for the rest of the year?" Ron joked with a happy grin. Harry shrugged and followed them onto the train.
Finding an empty compartment was always a bother. Every year, the number of first years increased. And of course Harry had noticed that since his first year, the Hogwarts Express had almost doubled in length. Still, empty compartments were scarce. The thought of reserving a compartment flittered over his mind before he opened a door and found exactly what he had been looking for.
"Oh goodie," he sighed as Ginny uttered an exasperated 'finally!' and followed the trio in. Ron, being the perfect gentleman that he was, offered to stack up the luggage into the holders above them. After successfully dropping one on his foot, Hermione decided to intervene, for the sake of all their safety, and levitated the luggage onto the racks.
Just as they were conversing about any topics they may have to cover this year, the door to their compartment slid open and revealed the very bane of Harry's existence (aside from he-who-was-a-royal-pain-in-the-arse and Professor Slimy-Git).
No one moved to acknowledge Draco Malfoy's appearance in the doorway. Years of practice reminded them that incensing the boy to fight wasn't going to help – ignoring him made him bored and thus, he left them alone.
However, the almost predatory look in Malfoy's silver-gray eyes as they swept over Hermione's figure left a cold, unpleasant feeling in Harry's gut. And being the Gryffindor that he was, Harry went with his gut instinct.
"What do you want, Malfoy?" Harry asked politely, but his tone was cold. At least, without snarling or scowling, he was being civil with no room for argument. Malfoy, as arrogant as ever, decided he would make room for it.
"Potter," he sneered unpleasantly. He was about to continue, when a sharp voice brought the flaxen-blond's attention to the source.
"Malfoy, don't you have somewhere else to be?" Hermione's tone was as icy as Harry's. Ron didn't trust himself to speak without adding fuel to an already fiery argument.
"For once, you're right, Granger," Malfoy smirked. Harry didn't like the smug expression on his face, nor did he enjoy the glint in his eyes. No one said anything for a full ten seconds before Ron snarled and heatedly told Malfoy exactly where he should be. "Gryffindor will lose the House Cup this year, I can promise you that."
Malfoy turned and walked out, seeming rather satisfied. Harry narrowed his eyes at the retreating figure, ignoring Ron's indignant spluttering and the shock-horror expression on Ginny's face. Hermione seemed to be the calmest out of the others, but her eyes clearly betrayed her worry.
"Didn't you see?" she whispered to them, her eyes meeting Harry's and he nodded, "He's wearing the Head Boy's badge!"
"What?" cries from the others caused Harry to wince at the sheer volume alone. Ginny looked absolutely horror stricken and Ron looked revolted. "Why is he wearing the Head Boy's badge? Is he doing it because he's dating the head boy?"
That last part came out as a sort of jibe towards Malfoy's sexuality. Hermione rolled her eyes at her best friend's stupidity and whacked him upside the head. "No you fool! Malfoy IS the head boy."
The door slid open again and Neville Longbottom appeared in the doorway. "Erm, Harry? You're wanted at the front of the train. Professor McGonagall wants to speak with you. She said it was urgent."
Harry shot the others in his compartment a look, to which he was returned with blank stares. He sighed and he rose and left he compartment, Neville taking his place.
Despite the train almost doubling in size, it took no more than two minutes or so to get to the front of the Hogwarts Express. Professor McGonagall was, indeed, waiting for him at the front of the express with a scowling Draco Malfoy at her side.
"Mr. Potter," she greeted him with a small smile. "It seems that every year you've attended Hogwarts, you seem to surprise us every time. Congratulations."
Harry blinked as something cool, with a smooth round surface and slightly sharp edges, was pressed into his hand. He stared at the gleaming badge and raised a brow.
"What's so surprising about being Head Boy?" Harry asked indignantly, and after seeing Professor McGonagall's expression, quickly added, "Considering that Malfoy is also Head Boy."
His professor sighed and shook her head. "Exactly that, Mr. Potter. The selection for the roles of prefects and Heads are done similarly to the selection for the TriWizard Tournament, only the names that come out are of the fifth, sixth and seventh years, respectfully. When it came to drawing the Head Boy and Girl, we ended up with two Head Boys, for some reason. I'm sure this will go down in Hogwarts: A History," the last part was mumbled more to herself.
Harry stared blankly from Professor McGonagall to his newly acquired badge, and then back to his professor yet again. His mouth opened and closed like a dumbfounded fish. And as eloquently as he could muster, a loud, "What?"
A snort brought Harry's attention to the eye-rolling male that occupied the compartment as well.
"What she means is, Potter, that both you and I are the Head Boys of Hogwarts. Understand?" Malfoy drawled, his face expressing an obvious displeasure. Harry resisted the urge to stick his tongue out at the blond, opting instead to thank his professor.
"Do you think I'm up for it?" Harry asked her curiously as he turned to leave the compartment. Professor McGonagall's eyes met his but her reply was not accompanied by any encouraging smiles.
"You were chosen, so the Goblet must think you're capable. Good day, Mr. Potter."
Harry quelled the uneasy feeling that came about as a result of Professor McGonagall deliberately ignoring his original question.
Questions, comments, suggestions etc can be left in a much appreciated review. School starts tomorrow so comments will make the horrible day even more bearable. Err... and the HTML coding at the top has stuffed up for some reason...