Curling his fingers around the hot, steaming mug, Harry settled deeper into the small sofa that took up half of the private living room. He'd found this room while he'd been wandering the house. He gazed out the window at the storm whipping through the trees, battering against old Grimwauld place.
It was not the best of nights.
He'd arrived at his godfather's house just today- the weight of Sirius's death still a fresh and physical weight in his chest. He didn't want to be here, yet Dumbledore had forced him. Coercing him into thinking it was the best way. Harry quite disagreed.
So he'd come, and ignored his two best friends awkward comfort, and ignored their pleading eyes that begged him to act like himself. But he wasn't himself. Harry was irrefutably changed from that terribly young, rash, self-conscious and decisive boy he'd been only a few short months ago.
He'd had to grow up in order to bear the weight of Sirius's death and not fall apart. He'd had to grow up to shoulder the knowledge that he would have to kill Voldermort or die, and likely let the world perish with him. He'd had to grow up, under the weight of his own crushing despair and loneliness.
Every night he dreamed of Sirius, envisioning different ways in which he could have saved the man. And each night his Godfather died all over again when Harry awoke, gasping and winded. This was, of course, when he was not dreaming of Voldermort, dreams mixed in with the Dark Lord's own tainted and depraved subconscious.
Bending slightly, Harry pushed the mug of hot chocolate onto the table. It wasn't quite soothing whatever was keeping him from sleep. He tucked his pajama clad legs tighter to his chest, looping one arm loosely around his knees, while the other curled onto the arm rest. He let his cheek lay heavily against the folded arm. Letting a quiet sigh escape him, he let his eyelids flutter closed and tried his best to slip into sleep.
Draco cursed as he clumsily stumbled over the carpet, nearly sprawling onto his face. He hated this bloody house. It was so fucking dark and dank and disgusting. And so many other 'd' words that Draco wasn't even in the mood to name them. Grimwauld place was nothing like his lovely manor, nothing like his life of luxury.
But comfort was a small price to pay for being alive.
Wandering further into the twisting hallways, he let his mind wander over the last few days. Hard days, filled with mind bending alliances and heart twisting goodbyes.
His dear, beautiful mother. She had broken completely after Lucius was sent to Azkaban, and had finally snapped to the Dark Lord's will. Draco had barely escaped with his life when she's attacked him, screaming of 'Her Lord's will.' His life had quickly collapsed into madness as he'd run to Hogsmead, and then to Hogwarts where he'd sought out Dumbledore. From there, it had been a whirlwind of questions and mistrust from this 'Order of the Phoenix', and numerous threats from the Weasleys. And that bushy haired little know it all.
But Draco tried his best to ignore all this, and just focus on himself. That was his top priority and all of these silly do-gooders would not distract him from that.
Draco paused to consider his surroundings. The hallways had gotten steadily darker, and he'd gone up three flights of stairs. Glancing around, he saw a low light illuminating from beneath a door. As quietly as possible, he slipped over and eased the door open. A small sofa was angled away from him, with a window and a fireplace dominating the far wall.
It was seemingly empty, and thinking this was as good a place as ever to stop, he slipped inside and circled around the couch.
Draco felt his lip curl slightly as he gazed down at the boy curled up on the sofa. It was the Boy-Who-Wouldn't-Bloody-Die himself! He couldn't help but notice how frail and young the curve of Potter's neck looked as it bent over the armrest. Remembering Potter's face from earlier today, that look of absolutely misery he'd had when he first arrived, Draco could not find any will to rustle up his animosity.
"What do you want, Malfoy?" Draco started at Potter's voice, and nearly took a step back. He shifted through responses, tones, emotions, before finally settling on a low, tired voice. It was the way he felt, anyway.
"I was just walking, saw the fire, and thought it'd be a nice place to sit. Can see it's occupied though, so I'll just be leaving." He turned sharply on his heel, and was almost to the door when an equally low voice stopped him.
"Is it true that your mother turned on you?" Draco glanced over his shoulder, letting his hand hover over the doorknob. He found a pair of bright green eyes contemplating him over the sofa's back.
"Yes." His voice was clipped and detached, and Draco congratulated himself on keeping his emotions in check. He saw an odd emotion pass over Potter's face, before the shaggy black head turned away.
"You can stay, if you want. It wouldn't bother me." Draco listened to these words, carefully dissecting them to check for any malice. Not finding any, he finally decided that Potter sounded as tired as he- Draco- felt.
"If you're pitying me Potter-"
"I'm not pitying you. You really think I, of all people, would?"
Not knowing quite how he felt about this, he crossed back to the sofa and sat himself down. Potter shifted away to allow him more room, but Draco could still feel the heat radiating off him. Or maybe it was just the fire.
"Think we can occupy the same space and not insult each other, eh Boy-Who-Won't-Fucking-Die?"
"I think you've used that one before." Potter paused to think, then nodded to himself. "Yes, it was sometime at the beginning of last school year. You called me that, though I will admit your tone was much smarmier. Then you jumped on me when I called you daddy's little boy and tried to make me eat mud."
Draco nodded earnestly, finding he wasn't hurt by the mention of his father. "I suppose you're right, Boy-Who-Eats-Mud-So-Prettily."
Potter arched an eyebrow at his inane nickname, before glancing away sharply. "You can be almost pleasant when you're not being an ass, did you know?"
"I did not! And I am not. I'm just tired; don't listen to anything I say."
A quiet chuckled slipped from Potter. "Like I ever do."
They each lapsed into their own thoughts, and Draco found himself lulled into comfort. They sat in silence, occupied with their own thoughts for several minutes. Draco rustled around in his pocket, before finally coming across his prize, two pieces from the bag of chocolate he'd received for his birthday. Glancing at Potter, he wordlessly offered the other boy one.
The Golden Boy looked faintly surprised, but accepted it. More silence as they each chewed both on the chocolate and on their thoughts. Potter began to speak, in a low, even voice.
"I never thought you'd really join, you know. The death eater's, I mean. Maybe that's why I accepted the thought of you living here, joining our side, without any real thought. You were always such a fucking git, but I knew you weren't evil. I know evil, Malfoy, and you aren't it.
"I know evil." He repeated softly, looking down at his hands.
Draco had listened to this little speech in silence, his body completely still. Wanting so badly to lash out at Potter's confidence, he stilled himself. Here Dumbledore's little pet was, practically calling a truce. Was this what Draco wanted?
To really be part of the Light?
So in response to Potter's candidness, he offered honesty. "I feel oddly flattered. And grateful. No one else here trusts me."
Potter looked him in the eyes, and Draco felt like he was being evaluated under their green weight. "I'll trust you more if…." He paused to consider then extended his hand. "You shake my hand and let us start over."
Draco eyed the proffered hand, weighing his options. His first thought had been scorn, but his second and largely dominating thought had been a huge crushing weight of loneliness.
Could they really start over?
Potter knew instantly what he was talking about, and didn't let his hand waiver. "Because I have too many enemies." Draco inclined his head, excepting this, before grasping Potter's hand tightly.
"Alright, my Little Golden Boy. We'll be friends."
Potter looked surprised. "Well…I didn't quite say be friends…but I can't really see any reason not to be friends. After all, we're on the same side now. Meaning you'll call me 'Harry', help me when I ask, and vice versa of course. And- "
"If you're next words are 'braid each other's hair, I'm out of here."
"And you'll stop being cruel. At least a little bit. All of it's not so bad." Harry finished, a smile still curling his lips. "And we'll trade make-up tips, yea?"
Draco half rose from his seat, a mock glare on his face. He was acting quite silly, and Draco didn't know if he was just cracking under the stress of the week, if he was just tired or if maybe he was just tired of being alone. Whatever it was, he liked the companionable way that Potter- Harry- tugged him by the arm to make him sit back down. And he liked the way the other boy was smiling.
And he liked the fact that he didn't feel so alone anymore.