Title: After Rain
Email: bananacosmicgirl at hotmail . com
Site: www . cosmicuniverse . net
LJ: bananacosmic . livejournal . com
Category: Romance, slash, hurt/comfort
Parts: 10 + epilogue
Warnings: Slash, some bad language
Spoilers: Up to book five
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Summary: The Dark Lord has fallen, but there are still a few Death Eaters around, and one of them wants revenge. Professor Snape falls mysteriously ill, and Harry Potter is attacked. Harry/Draco, and Harry/Snape friendship.
Author's notes: I started this back in 2002. It was the first Harry Potter fanfic I ever wrote, and I abandoned it when I was almost finished with it. Since then, it's been sitting on my hard drive, and it's been joined by a bunch of other fics that I started on but never finished. About a month ago, I started going through all my old fics, and this one caught my interest. I have since revisited it quite a bit, though the story stayed about the same. Since I started this in 2002, it doesn't follow canon after the Goblet of Fire, but I have edited in some canon that fit well with the story.
Oh, and there's a short dream sequence in one of the chapters that I found quite funny, in terms of predicting what canon would bring. I swear, I haven't changed anything in that.
It rained outside.
It seemed as though the heavens were crying, for some odd reason. Yet those billions of tears, falling down on the soft earth, made the grass green and gave the flowers their beautiful colours.
Harry sighed. He felt like crying – but seventeen-year-old boys did not cry.
In his hand, he held an invitation. He watched the rain for a moment longer, before turning his attention to the piece of parchment.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry welcomes all parents to come and see their children in action. For three days, the school will be open for all parents to visit the students' classes, and meet with their teachers.
More text followed, concerning when the parents would be picked up, how they were going to live, and other stuff that Harry did not care about. He put the letter away.
He sighed once more.
The letters had been sent out a month before. Dumbledore had given a short speech about the wonderful idea of parents visiting Hogwarts.
"Now that we can finally rejoice in our freedom, perhaps it is time to allow our families to visit, to see you more often than the holidays," Dumbledore had said. "For three days, you will be able to show your parents around – those of you with Muggle parents, I'm sure you have a lot to tell, and they will get to see your everyday lives. I hope you'll enjoy the time you can spend with them."
Ron Weasley had bitten back a groan. "I love my mum, but I don't want her in school."
"I'm sure my parents will be thrilled," Ron's girlfriend and Harry's best friend, Hermione Granger, had answered. "I've told them so much about Hogwarts, and it will be wonderful to show them around."
Harry had stayed silent, trying to make himself as small as possible. He did not need his friends' pity simply because he did not have any parents who could come visit. It was a fact, one he had to accept.
Once, he had had a godfather who could have come, but the man had died, and Harry had been left alone to mourn. More than two years had passed since, though it still hurt Harry to think about.
The Dursleys would never even dream of coming to Hogwarts, and Harry felt quite certain that he did not want his wizard-hating Muggle relatives running around Hogwarts unattended.
"Harry!" He turned around at the sound of his friend's voice. Ron stood in the doorway, watching him. "Are you coming?"
Oh, right. Harry had promised to come with Ron to the try-outs for a new Keeper for the Gryffindor Quidditch team. He suddenly realised that he should probably have been down on the pitch already, seeing as he was on the team and should be part of deciding who the new members would be. He hoped Ron would make it; he deserved it. He had become very good, especially after training with Harry. The rain would make try-outs a very wet affair, however, and Harry quickly gathered his Quidditch robes and placed a rain repellent charm on them. He took his broomstick and followed Ron down the stairs, through the Gryffindor common room and down through the portrait hole. He was glad to have something other than the parent-week to think about.
"I made it!"
Hermione looked up from her book when Harry and Ron burst into the common room, Ron boasting immediately about how well the Quidditch try-outs had gone. Hermione, as always, had her nose in a book – today's title being, 'Cooking food with magic – Elves tell their secrets'.
"Never knew you were interested in cooking, Hermione," Harry said, dropping down next to her.
"Oh, one can never know too much," Hermione said.
Ron groaned, but kissed her cheek.
"Couldn't you have come out to watch the try-outs instead?" he asked, sitting down on Hermione's other side. "I was fantastic – bloody fantastic."
"If he might say so himself," Harry chuckled.
"You know what I think about Harry being on the team," Hermione said. "It's not a sport I like; Harry's been injured way too many times. Having you both on there? What if something happens?"
"Well, you're going to have to deal with it – I made it!" Ron said happily, ignoring Hermione's glare.
"Hermione, it's not that dangerous," Harry said. "It's not like I've ever gotten badly injured during one of the normal games."
"Oh? So what happened that time when you were hit by that Bludger? If the twins hadn't been so quick, you'd be flat as a pancake now."
"Nothing happened!" Harry exclaimed. "They helped me back onto the broom, and we won the game!"
Hermione glared at him. Harry glared back, but Hermione had always been more stubborn than him and he decided to leave the rather sore subject alone. Harry sat back on the couch, and looked about the common room. A few students littered the room, but most had retired to their dorms already. It was getting late.
Ron yawned, and said, "I'm gonna turn in. You coming, Harry?"
Harry nodded to the redhead. "Yeah. Good night, Hermione."
"Night, Harry," she said. Ron gave her a brief kiss goodnight, and Harry caught the soft smile the two lovebirds shared.
Hermione was now Head Girl. Harry had actually been offered the title of Head Boy, but he had not accepted. Being 'The Famous Harry Potter', he felt he had had more than his fair share of responsibilities, and there he had felt no need to add any more. Instead, Malfoy had been chosen.
I wonder if he knows that they wanted me first, Harry wondered to himself as he made his way up the stairs. Doubt it. He rubs it in my face too often to know.
Draco Malfoy had for the last six years and three months taken every possible chance to make Harry's life as miserable as he could. Their verbal fights were getting worse and worse this term though, Harry had noticed. Draco seemed to be doing everything he could to have a chance to crack down on Harry, or his friends.
Though he seems to focus more on me nowadays, Harry thought.
Ron – ever the hothead – would always defend Harry when Malfoy started, though Harry tried to hold him back these days. He did not think it was worth losing so many points just because Malfoy was being his evil self. If they had given in each time Malfoy baited him, Gryffindor would already be in negative points. Snape loved taking points whenever he had the chance, and giving them to the Slytherins.
Malfoy and Snape – two peas in a nasty pod.
It was a long time before Harry fell asleep that night.
Draco Malfoy did not want his father to come to Hogwarts. He knew that the other students already thought of him as the Death Eater's son, and he really did not need more ammunition for that theory.
It was really a wonder that Lucius had survived Voldemort's downfall at all. When Voldemort had been defeated the year before, thanks to the Order of the Phoenix with Dumbledore and Potter in the lead, almost all the Death Eaters still alive had been sentenced to Azkaban. Lucius Malfoy, however, had managed to not only stay alive, but with the help of the Wizarding World's best lawyers, he had been able to stay out of the dreaded prison as well.
Draco could not help but wonder if his life would be easier – better – if his father was dead. Then he would be free – and he and his mother could leave the Malfoy name behind. He would no longer have his father's heritage to live up to, or anyone to impress or bow down to. He would be free to be with and love whoever he wanted to.
He made his way down to breakfast a few minutes later, dread filling his stomach. Crabbe and Goyle lumbered next to him, barely speaking because it was far too early in the morning. Dumbledore sat in his seat at the front, with the teachers on both sides. A few minutes passed, before Dumbledore called for everyone's attention.
"As you all know, your parents will be arriving shortly," the Headmaster said. "To make this as calm and ordered as possible, I want all of you back in your dorms after breakfast. All of your classes before lunch have been cancelled so that you can be with your parents. Head Boy, Head Girl, Prefects and of course the Heads of the Houses will be meeting with the parents, seeing to it that they get to the right dorms and that everyone will have somewhere to sleep. Until then, please enjoy your breakfasts."
All the plates filled with food, and the students began eating hungrily. Draco watched as Crabbe and Goyle threw pancakes, toast, jelly and – surprisingly – some fruit on their plates, all in one big gross mess. Draco, who had watched the disgusting ritual for six years, took a piece of toast with some butter on it, barely managing to get it down at all. The knots in his stomach would not allow food.
Perhaps his father had something better to do? He still had ties in the Ministry – Draco wished fervently for something of great importance to come up, to give his father a reason not to come to Hogwarts. Draco's mother could come alone – Draco loved her and she would not embarrass Draco, as he was sure his father would do.
"Give me the butter, Draco," Goyle demanded, and with a look of revulsion, Draco did. Goyle, of course, failed to notice the look.
When the meal was over, Draco felt a short bout of gratitude that he had been elected Head Boy – it meant he would have a few more precious minutes before he would have to face his father alone. First, he would shepherd the parents to the correct places together with Granger and the Prefects. Hopefully, some of them would get lost and Draco would have to go search for them.
"Mr. Potter – will you be all right?"
Minerva McGonagall came up to him as he stayed back when Ron and Hermione rushed off to greet their parents. Despite Ron's initial unhappiness, he seemed rather glad now.
"What are you talking about?" Harry asked. "Of course I'm all right."
"Well, I thought perhaps it'd be hard for you—" Professor McGonagall started.
"With all due respect, Professor," Harry said, "I'm hardly the only one without a full set of parents. Neville doesn't have his parents here either, and there are lots of others. I'll be fine."
He saw something rather like pity in her eyes and he felt a flare of resentment. He did not want her pity.
"If you say so, Mr. Potter."
She turned and left. Harry glanced at the doors to the Great Hall. He could hear the parents on the other side, as well as the voices of the other students.
Neville Longbottom did not have his parents either. But, Harry thought, pitying himself for a moment, he did have his grandmother. She had come, he knew – Neville had been happy to share this with his roommates when he had received her letter.
Harry took a deep breath and walked into the crowd of parents and children, plastering a smile upon his face. He had gotten quite good at faking smiles in the last few years.
Narcissa Malfoy turned towards Draco, and a gentle smile graced her features. Draco had inherited her pointed chin, but not the soft curve of her lips. She would always be the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.
"Draco, my son," she said, hugging him.
It took but a second, then Draco felt the hard metal in the shape of a snake's head against his shoulders, pulling him away.
"Is that a Malfoy way?" sneered his father. "Public displays of affection are for Mudbloods and other lowlife."
"I was simply greeting her," Draco said, keeping his eyes trained on the ground.
"A Malfoy doesn't hug," Lucius said.
Draco bowed his head. He could not make himself snap back at his father – he knew the repercussions if he did. It was never worth it.
"Better," Lucius said. "Now, tell me – the Headmaster's golden children – what are the ways to punish them for their impertinence?"
Draco held back a snort – impertinence. Killing the Dark Lord was impertinent. He could come up with so many other words for it – brave, heroic, wonderful. He could come up with a whole book of words to describe the Boy Who Lived too, but if he uttered so much as a single word about that, his father would kill him. They were not words he would agree with.
He kept his head down, his eyes on his father's shoes, and told him about the lives the Gryffindors led.
The school filled with people, even more so than usual. No corridor, no classroom – not even the Quidditch field – was without people. The dungeons, where the seventh-year Slytherins and Gryffindors had Potions at the moment, were no exception. Grown-ups lined up against the walls, or sat next to their children while Professor Severus Snape tried his best to keep the class in check.
However, with parents who did not think the rules of Hogwarts applied to them any longer and therefore walked around the room, looking and talking amongst themselves, and students who would rather speak to the aforementioned parents, this was not an easy task. Professor Snape looked like he would rather have faced off with Voldemort again than be present in this hellish classroom. His face was, as always, set in a scowl. Harry – who, along with Hermione, was one of the only two students listening to the lecture – thought he looked nastier than normal. Still, the professor had yet to do or say anything directed to Harry alone.
I wonder if… Harry's thoughts began, but he stopped himself. No, Snape will never feel bad for me, even if I'm the only student without a parent here. It's probably just because he doesn't want to be an evil git in front of the parents. Wouldn't sit well with the board, I guess.
Oh, what did I miss this time? He had been doing so well throughout the class, busying himself with actually listening to Snape for a change, rather than daydreaming through the class – anything to avoid looking at the happy families surrounding him.
"Five points from Gryffindor for Potter's inattention," Snape snapped, shooting Harry an evil glare.
Nope, no pitying there, Harry thought. Oddly, the thought made him almost pleased.
"What did he do?" asked Mrs. Brown suddenly. "Are you really as unfair as Lavender's been telling me?"
Snape levelled a dark, menacing glare on the woman, but she did not cower as the students usually did.
"He did not pay attention," Snape said.
"Well, neither does that boy, even now," Mrs Brown said, motioning towards Crabbe, who sat doodling stick figures on his parchment, with his father right next to him, looking equally uninterested. "Aren't you going to take points?"
"No," Snape said. "I decide who loses points and who does not. Now, let's continue with this—"
He stopped, mid-sentence, when the door opened. A slender woman, clad in dark, expensive robes, walked into the room. Harry had seen her before – Narcissa Malfoy, Draco's mother. Her blonde hair was the exact same colour as Draco's, but long and flowing down her back.
"Please, excuse my lateness," she said.
Snape stared at her. "Of course, Mrs. Malfoy."
Mrs. Malfoy glanced around the room and found her husband, and quickly made her way to his side. Harry looked at Snape, who seemed completely lost as he stared at Mrs. Malfoy. Harry nearly smiled – Snape almost looked… smitten. Though Harry was unsure, because he did not think Snape could be smitten.
Harry saw Lucius Malfoy's eyes, going from his wife to Snape. He had eyes so cold they seemed to freeze everything they looked upon. The mere image of the tall man, dressed all in black, was enough to send chills down Harry's spine. Other than Voldemort, Harry could not remember ever meeting a more unpleasant man. He had a hand on his son's shoulder and for a second, he met Harry's eyes.
Such coldness… Like father, like son, Harry thought.
His gaze lingered for a moment on the younger Malfoy, and at once, he had to rethink his statement – Draco did not look like his father. Though the features were much the same, Draco's eyes were not cold, nor his pose threatening. He did not seem to appreciate his father's presence. Although he sat perfectly upright, he kept his eyes cast downwards, and Harry thought he looked almost sad.
He turned back. Snape finally regained his bearings – perhaps thirty seconds had passed. His scowl returned.
"Seeing as no one here is truly listening," Snape sneered, "You may leave now."
The class would have cheered, had they not known Snape all too well. Leaving early once meant Snape would double the workload during the next week, when the parents were nowhere in sight. Harry sighed, grabbed his things and followed Hermione, Ron and their respective parents out the door. The three friends huddled closer in front as the parents began speaking among themselves.
"Snape's really on edge with all the parents here," Hermione said.
"But did you see the look he gave Mrs. Malfoy?" Ron asked. "He was almost drooling. D'ya think there's any history there?"
"Ron!" Hermione exclaimed. "That's really none of our business."
Ron grinned. "He looked like he'd been struck by lightning. Snape! Can you imagine anyone wanting him?"
Harry was rather surprised Ron had noticed at all – Ron had always been a great best friend, but feelings had never been his forte. Neither was sensitivity, as he displayed rather frequently.
Hermione glared at him. "He's a hero. He risked everything during the war. His morals must be good – he fought for the right side, after all."
"Doesn't mean he's any better looking," Ron said. "Besides, he's still evil – even with the parents here, he just had to take five points from Harry."
Harry shrugged; he was used to it. "I think he does it more out of habit now rather than me doing something wrong."
"Like you ever do anything wrong," Hermione said, then she realised what she had just said. "Well, okay, anything that's worth as many points as he's taken."
Ron shook his head. "Since that was our last class for the day, we should go prepare for dinner. I'm betting Dumbledore has made the house elves outdo themselves again!"
Hermione nodded. "I'm gonna go make myself ready. I'll see you in the common room in an hour?"
Ron and Harry nodded in agreement, and Hermione walked off after telling her parents. Both her parents and Ron's agreed they should go get ready as well. They walked away, and Harry could hear Arthur Weasley going off asking Hermione's parents how cameras worked – the photos produced did not move and that was obviously terribly strange.
Ron, who heard as well, shrugged at his father, and the boys headed for the Gryffindor common room.
A gust of wind swept into the kitchens, where house elves scurried back and forth, back and forth, trying to get everything ready for the big feast. Each and every one of them had a task to complete. When that one was done, another one followed, and another, and another… The elves did not mind though. They never had, and here at the castle, they were treated well.
Something watched them, though they did not notice. That something made its way through the small creatures, wary not to bump into anything. It would be all too odd for a plate, or a goblet or a bowl, to move all on its own suddenly.
It could see the goblet it was looking for a few feet away, and it held the vial in its hands tighter.
It was lucky; the elves never changed routine, which meant the goblet stood exactly where it should. When the elves moved away for a moment, it took the opportunity and quickly emptied the vial's contents into the goblet. It faded within a second, and no one would be able to tell that there was anything but the original drink in the goblet.
Happy that everything had run so smoothly, it was possible it became too sure, for suddenly, the cloak it was wearing slipped down and uncovered its face. Quickly, it pulled it up again, and almost ran out of the kitchen.
It did not hear the gasp of the one elf who had seen the intruder.
To be continued...
Author's notes: Well, I haven't written anything HP in a while… I hope you'll like it. I will update every week, though the day might not always be a Thursday (depends on what real life demands). Reviews make my day.