Disclaimer: I don't have any claim on the Harry Potter world. Only my imagination.
"Professor Snape!" Harry exclaimed, running to the man viciously bleeding to death from the rather large snake bite. It was a nasty looking wound, and neither were too hopeful of the outcome.
"Get away from me, boy, you'll get my blood dirty with your Gryffindor filth." The man struggled to sit up but instead just looked like he was wriggling around a bit. It was all very unmanly, but he managed to pull it off okay.
"You're bleeding to death!"
"I've got eyes, boy. And a deteriorating nervous system that I can feel very clearly, thank you. Listen, boy. I sort of expected this to happen—I'm not stupid. Just take this vial," He weakly got out a vial from his robe pocket, "And look at the memories inside it. Stupid boy. Don't know why you're the fate of the wizarding world. Draco is a much more intelligent boy than you. Not his fault his parents are alive to hinder him so. You know, fear for their safety and whatnot."
"What the hell is this? That is not how it happened at all!" A loud voice protested, throwing aside the papers in a fit.
"Yes, yes it is. I know—I was there." A blond man, tall and seventeen years of age shoved the brunette sitting beside him roughly. The boy unfortunately did not fall off the boulder the two were sitting on. He then whipped his wand out in a stylish fashion and summoned the crumpled pages, smoothing it out with his wand. And a nice spell.
"You were not!" The brunette insisted, striking green eyes glaring at the unwelcome boy beside him, "I should know! I was the one who experienced it all!!"
"And you think I didn't experience anything, either?" The blond asked snidely, effectively shutting up the other and his Gryffindor heart.
"Malfoy.. I didn't mean..."
Draco hid a smirk and instead adopted a wounded puppy look.
Draco so good at manipulating him, now that he wasn't as childish as before. As in he decided to ignore everything that happened up until their final Hogwarts year.
Everyone was repeating a grade, thanks to the war. And no one was looking down on them at all. Even the actual first years having classes with the second-year first years weren't saying anything. Like they had the balls to, after they heard rumors that the previous year had Defense Against the Dark Arts replaced with just plain, old Dark Arts.
There weren't many students at Hogwarts, anyway. All had either transferred during the war or were dead.
A lot of them were dead.
There were even fewer Slytherin than Draco would have thought. Only a handful from each grade. Only him, Blaise, Gregory, and Pansy from his year. Greg hadn't spoken much. Or eaten much, either. None of them have, really. They were more cautious than ever before, now that their side lost. Blaise's family was neutral, but that didn't matter. He was still Slytherin. Therefore, he still watched his back and traveled in packs. The four were as inseparable as the damned Golden Trio.
And speaking of the Golden Trio, Draco had plans for them. Not dastardly evil plans, but plans of self preservation. A plan to turn that Golden Trio into a Golden Sept-o. That was french and creative liberties mixed together to equal A Golden (group of seven).
No one would even think to try and cross them if they were hanging with the savior of the bloody-fucking-wizarding-world. The Boy-Who-Was-Now-a-Man-After-Killing-the-Man-Who-Ruined-His-Boyhood. That was a mouthful of a title, but it's length only served to represent the length of his popularity.
Draco still mostly hated him, but after last year had a grudging respect for him. The heroics weren't all for show, if he could save Draco's life and not mock him for it. Not even mention it to anyone, how he had to save the pathetic Draco Malfoy even when he and his friends were trying to capture him. How he was so much of an afterthought in terms of a threat to his safety that he could afford saving him from an endless fire and then just run off with his back to him.
Okay, so Draco might have hated him even more than the previous years. But he was a damned good actor.
Self-loathing and Potter-bashing begone from his mind!
And now back to the gaining of Potter's friendship and protection!
"Listen, Malfoy—lots of things happened. Lots of bad things, to everyone, and I'm not undermining the bad things that happened to you or anything—fuck, I'm sounding like an arse—I mean, some of the things you went through were just as shitty as the things I've been forced through, if not shittier. Or, well, I don't know if it was shittier, since our circumstances were a bit different. Polar opposites that can't be compared in levels of shittiness."
"I almost miss when your defining vocabulary words were 'eurgh' and 'um', Potter." Draco morphed his default sneer into a playfully teasing smirk, one that Pansy said was quite drool worthy, "Atleast it was possible to discern some sense from the few actual words you managed to utter. Now, I don't think even you know what you're saying." The kicked-puppy face was abandoned for a raised eyebrow and an incredulous look.
"So I've gone up on the literacy levels but rapidly fell in terms of my articulateness."
"That sentence was plenty articulate, even though I'm a bit surprised that articulateness is an actual word. And as long as you stick to the somewhat witty repartee, I'm sure you'll eventually get to a state where you sound remotely intelligent." Draco grinned charmingly at the boy beside him.
"And as much as I enjoy this repartee, I must inquire why you are here in the first place."
The two were being surprisingly civilized to one another. Draco was quite pleased. Potter was confused as fuck.
"I don't think you'd like the details of why I'm here. It's all very fluid. And not in the metaphorical sense. And pretty disgusting. I mean, from my dastardly good looks I must admit that they are in most ways thanks to my parents, but I don't want to imagine them doing anything of the sort that required my existence."
"Merlin, I didn't mean that." Potter said disgustedly.
"It's called joking, Potter. I know full well what you meant." Draco said dryly.
"Well, when someone who was your mortal enemy for the past seven or odd years drops by, sits next to you, shoves a completely preposterous manuscript in your face," The title that was completely preposterous, but not so much as the actual storyline, was Harry Potter and the Adventure That Was Slightly Less Thrilling Than Draco Malfoy's: A Story of the Boy Who Lived in Mediocrity, "And expects you to make a book out of it... Why are you here, Malfoy? Minus the disturbing jokes."
"Just thought I'd be friendly with you." Draco shrugged, "Why? Is that a bad thing?"
"I don't know anymore." Potter sighed in exhaustion, "You confuse me so much."
"And why is that?" He asked, preparing to cut him off at any moment's notice if things got too Hufflepuff.
That was a wizarding term for overly emotional and sissy-like.
Or a Slytherin term for overly emotional and sissy-like.
"Well, you seemed perfectly content with ignoring my existence this year right up until about five minutes ago. How do you even know I was there when Snape died?"
"Oh... You were?" Draco asked, "I just figured it would be dramatic. You think he's some dastardly evil death eater man who killed your beloved headmaster, and then he dies and you get some memories showing you differently and then you feel like a complete arse. So I figured—Dammit, I'm rambling. Shut me up, Potter. Now."
"Nevermind." Potter sighed again.
"So is there any particular reason why you're trying to be friendly with me?" And failing a bit miserably.
"Why ever do I need a reason to chat up the Great Wondrous Hero of the Modern Wizarding World?" That was the name of the latest Daily Prophet article about him, which was more like a gossip rag than anything. Potter enjoyed eating ginger snaps, apparently.
Potter just stared at him, a bit bewildered.
"I usually go here to be alone, Malfoy. Not many people interrupt me."
"Because not many people have the balls to." Draco said in a matter-of-fact tone that was an oddly accurate impression of Hermione.
"And not many people go here, anyway. Why are you here? How do you even know this place?"
"Well, you can either believe that I followed you here," Potter was about to start a rant about privacy that would have given Draco an annoying migraine, "Oh, don't think that I did any worse than anything your snivelling fans have." That made Potter about to start another rant demanding what his fans have done that he wasn't privy to, "Or you can believe that I come here regularly and I came upon you in my thinking spot, and chose to take advantage of such an opportunity." It was more like a mix of the two, really.
"When did you find this place?" Potter asked suspiciously.
"It's a fucking boulder on the outskirts of the forest conveniently hidden from view by most of the castle by the bloody huge boulder in front of it. It's pretty hard to avoid detection."
"Listen, I pretty much trust my instincts. And they say I should be wary of you."
"That's your common sense, Potter. Instincts have absolutely nothing to do with it, and if that's the extent to which your instincts reach than I'm surprised you actually killed the Da—Vol—You-Know—That big bastard." Draco sighed in annoyance. This wasn't working out well. Might as well tug at the Gryffindor's heart strings. The truth sounded pathetic enough to get his sympathy, "Listen, Potter. Me and mine have been ostracized and threatened the moment we stepped back on the grounds. To say that I'm befriending you for an ulterior motive would be an entirely accurate assumption. One of your first, actually! Congratulations. Especially since me and mine are going to merge with your unapproachable golden trio as soon as you get to dinner."
"Wait, what!? Don't I have a say in it?"
"Not really, no. Can't see why I haven't thought of it before. Even your dearest friends—your little posse that helped you save the day a few times—give the three of you a wide berth. Your Weaslette hangs on you like a groupie, sneering at all the other jealous girls, and none of them dare touch her in fear of your great wizardly wrath. You're celebrities. It's perfect."
"Ah, I've rendered you illiterate again. Must be my wit."
"Or my indignation!" Potter exclaimed, "Malfoy, I'm not going to be some title you can use as a stepping stone!"
Draco's easy-going smile dropped, "I would rather have died than use your fame to my advantage. Even cunning plans such as this are usually held back by pride. But your little do-gooder followers aren't as good as you think when they're pissed off at us Slytherin scum. You're not a bloody stepping stone. You're our means of protection. Not that we can't take care of our own, well and good. But times are tough now and we can't afford chance like that."
Potter's eyes were still narrowed and suspicious.
"Why should I believe a word you say?"
"Because my reasons are so completely realistic they are true? The one time we let our guard down, Pansy was jumped. By men. And they did things that, if not covered up, would have ruined her for a good marriage. Not that the war hadn't already done that." Draco implied, his eyes narrowing into thin little slits, beating Potter in their ferocity.
That was a bloody nightmare. They had thought they were doing good, Pansy waiting by the girl's locker room for the boys to show up and walk her to the next class. But someone had taken Blaise's Chaser mitts, and when he attempted to Accio them, all they heard was rattling. So it took all three of them to Accio the gloves, find out that someone had flushed the gloves down the toilet, uproot the sewage pipes from the ground and decide that Blaise would be buying new Chaser gloves.
And when they got to the girl's locker room to escort their star Keeper, they found her crumpled behind the broom shed instead, bruised and battered and shamed and swearing vengeance.
Three boys found WWW products in their food the next morning.
A week later they were found unconscious, beaten in the head instead of Confunded. Much more effective in terms of how difficult it was to regain their memory.
The next day Goyle indulged himself in three cookies and a slice of blueberry pie.
Potter didn't know what to say.
He was used to violence. Abuse of practically all kinds. Starvation. Dark, enclosed spaces. Death.
But that was one topic he strayed far from in all forms; something that frustrated Ginny to no ends, he was sure. He couldn't even fathom what that must have been like. How it must have been for anyone around her, much less what she herself had gone through.
He looked at Draco with determination.
Draco hid a satisfied smirk.
"Fine, then. But any jokes about the Weasley family and I'm personally kicking your arse."
"I mean it all in jest." Potter just looked up at him, "Well, if I do tease him from now on I'll only mean it in jest."
"I'm serious. He's touchy about that stuff." Potter warned.
"All the more reason to desensitize him to it. That's my job as your arch-nemesis. To make you tougher." Draco said, making up so much bullshit on the spot he was wondering if his career as a politician really was hopeless, "It worked, right? You won the war and everything. I made you tough."
"You made yourself into a total prat."
"And made you tough." Draco insisted.
"Right. It's almost dinner time. Are you going to implement your dastardly plan now with the rest of the Slytherins?"
"We call ourselves the Silver Quadruplet." Draco joked, "The Slytherins are too vague."
"Right." Potter nodded slowly.
"That was a joke, by the way. Don't call us that. Really. We have standards."
Potter stayed silent.
"You're different. From before, I mean." Potter said, being completely and totally vague and idiotic.
"To you, maybe." Draco was slow in his speech, careful of how he worded things, "I'm just a little less childish."
"A hell of a lot less than a complete git, at least. Now only a little more than half of a git."
"And the other part is my sheer brilliance that you never before were graced with. But now I have moved on past my silly grudge," Or have chosen to ignore it for the sake of self-preservation, "and have decided to embrace you. Not literally, of course. But in the figurative sense. I am now following the religion of Potterism. Delightful little pamphlet. Do we really get free lightning-bolt shaped cookies with every purchase in your gift shop?"
"What the devil are you going on about, Malfoy?"
"I'm being funny and spontaneous, you unimaginative clout." He sniffed in an insulted tone.
"Is this your way of trying to win over my affection and let you and your friends under my supposed protection or whatever in Merlin you were talking about? Because it's working out very poorly."
"What, do you expect me to completely do away with my personality for your convenience? Aren't you comforted at my strength of willpower? How I choose to embrace my individuality? How I refuse to lie," that much, "and suck up to you? Because I always considered myself an honest person when it came to you, Potter."
"I miss having justification to punch you in the face." Potter sighed, "Now I just feel like it'd be like hitting a madman."
"A desperate man. I'd have to be to seek your company willingly, Potter. And never hit a desperate man."
Oh how Potter wished his conscience would let him.
Author's Note: Please don't hate me for any details referring to the seventh book I might have off. I've only read it once, and that was a long while ago, so some things are a little fuzzy.