Disclaimer: I am only writing for fun. Absolutely no profit involved, cross my heart.
Summary: All it took him to learn how to dream was a glimpse of blonde hair and an enigmatic smile.
Author's notes: Please do enjoy and don't forget, review and save a fairy.
Sense of sight
Truthfully, I've never been big on believing in fate. Or heck any sort of divination, because really, I've not had the easiest of lives. And you don't seriously expect me to believe that God, or whoever is up there has some sort of personal vendetta against me, of all 7.6 billion people in the world?
So, no, I don't really believe in divinity, enough said.
All my life I have been doing what has been expected of me. Initially, it was, "Boy, clean the table" from Uncle Vernon, or "Don't burn the toast boy" from Aunt Petunia or even, "Hey, be my punching bag for the afternoon, Potter." from Dudley. At some point, though, I had hoped that maybe I would be able to make my own decisions, do what I want to do, live the way I want to.
Once discovered as the "Boy- Who-Lived", what little hope I had to live my own life, I lost. Because, after that, I was just a puppet. Only now, people said, "Please, Harry." And "We only want you to be happy, Harry." It was as much emotional blackmail as anything else really.
But maybe, for once in my life, I felt needed. And believe me, it felt good to be needed. So I smiled and nodded and went on with my life, my life that other people were living for me.
So do you really blame me for resenting him on sight?
He walked as if the earth was keening and craving to be graced with the touch of his feet, his steps slow, graceful and his feet going higher than they actually needed to go. Strutting of sorts. Even back then, when there was no imminent threat of death on the horizon and no one cared about pureblood ranks, he walked as if he knew his worth, knew that no matter what they did, there were people in the world who would never be his equal.
First thing that he did after introducing himself to me was insult the first ever friend I had made. So obviously, I was going to turn him down, no questions asked. In the years since then, though I wouldn't really admit it on the pain of death I have often wondered how my life would have turned out if I had accepted his hand.
"Harry? You in here?"
His contemplative smile dimmed a bit, it was not really the best time for her to be there. But he rolled with the circumstances as usual. "Yeah, up here, Gin." He called, dropping his quill and standing, stretching. He heard her soft foot falls on the stairs and made his way down the second flight of stairs. She smiled as she saw him, the affection in his eyes mirrored double-fold in hers. She reached up and placed a tender kiss on his lips. "Hi."
He ginned against her lips, pulling her tighter against him and deepening it. "Hi yourself, beautiful." It did not take much effort, really, to keep those he valued happy.
"How was training?" He asked her as he led the way downstairs. "Not too bad." She shrugged. "We have a definite chance of making it into the finals, what with Krum out of the way." She nodded. "Bulgaria's not going to be much of a challenge this time around." He set the kettle for tea and frowned. "Yeah, tough."
He turned to look at her as she sat herself down at his table. "But I did hear that they have got a wild card." He raised an eyebrow at her. "One that they haven't pulled yet, a new seeker?" Ginny nodded. "Yeah, but Oliver is not too worried."
Harry fought the pull of a grin on his lips.
He gave Ginny her cup and they moved to the couch in the sitting room- or parlor as Hermione had teasingly dubbed it after Harry had refurbished the dark, dank house leaving it light and airy- feeling more like a proper home, a home where people whose heads were turned the right way around could dwell.
The lamp had been flicked on, bathing the room in a soft golden light, giving the watcher a feeling of floating in a dream. Ginny took a sip of the tea, her eyes straying to Harry's over the rim. She moved closer, when he smiled invitingly and draped herself over him, one hand wounding around his torso. Rather reflexively, he threw an arm around her waist.
"Mum wants to know when we can have the wedding." She murmured, loath to break the serenity of the moment. Harry stiffened at once in her arms. She ignored it. Harry was happy with her, it was a fact. They were meant to be, everyone with half a brain knew that.
So why had they been engaged for three years and not married yet? She did not let her mind go there. She raised her head when he did not reply. "Harry?" He turned and smiled down at her, "Whenever you want, Ginny." He promised. Smiling, she leant over and kissed him, fiercely.
And that was that, I suppose. They said, "Harry, let's have the wedding in spring." And I nodded, despite how cliché it was. What did Harry want? Well, he wanted to elope, to the Caribbean, on a broomstick, on a rainy day, in a pair of old jeans and threadbare sweatshirt. But nobody asked me, and so I told nobody. I told myself it was what I had always wanted. That after Voldemort, normal was good. So what if it was a little boring?
The kind of life I would have after my marriage to Ginny was the kind of thing that dreams were made of. I ignored the fact that I had never really known how to dream at all.
But all it took for me to learn was a glimpse of blonde hair and an enigmatic smile…
"Hurry up, mate." Ronald Weasley called from the bottom of the stairs. Harry came racing down, the bright, happy grin an almost permanent fixture on his face. Ron grinned back, excited. "All set, Harry?" "What are we waiting for, you git?" Harry called, racing out the doors and smiling beautifully when Ron hollered indignantly and followed.
The stands were packed as they never had been that season and Harry shifted between Hermione and Ron, almost psychotically excited about the match. "Pretty packed, yeah?" Hermione threw the question to her left where both her friends sat, not specifically targeting one of them. Harry hummed under his breath and Ron grumbled, "Wonder why people are going mental over this game. Krum is not even playing this time."
A roar went up from the spectators as the Magpies were announced and as they flew into the arena. Ginny grinned when she spotted Harry and blew a kiss to him. He waved, smiling. She raised a two-finger salute to her brother and his wife and they smiled, encouragingly. A sudden hush fell over the crowd when the commentator announced the Bulgarians.
The crowd took in a breath as one as they swooped into the field, one by one. "The Bulgarians, beautiful people and their newest seeker…" A very blonde someone followed the line-up order of his team into the Quidditch field, a very blonde familiar someone.
Ron's incredulous; "Malfoy?" brought all the thunderous applause back into focus for Harry whose entire world had gone dark and silent for a moment.
I've learned that though people say that having an obsession is unhealthy, it could actually keep you sane; depending upon what that obsession is, of course. The entirety of sixth year at Hogwarts, my life revolved around one thing, person rather and that was Draco Malfoy. You could say that in those years, when you could lose everything that meant something to you in the blink of an eye, having something as mundane a compulsion to watch a fellow year-mate was grounding.
Though the compulsion did not take root from a mundane reason, whatsoever.
I hated him, then. It was nothing but hate, period, plain and simple. I wanted to find something incriminating on him and I stalked him desperately to find it. When I actually did, it was too late for Professor Dumbledore. And it was too late for Malfoy, too late for him to pretend that he wasn't human, too little evidence to prove the same, hence, too late.
I had already seen him lower his wand; I had seen some faith where it had mattered, even if he was not aware of that little fact.
After that particular incident, I next saw him during the final battle. Ashen and gray, so, so thin, scared, yet, his eyes- they glinted almost protectively as he stood over his mother's prone body, guarding her from both sides, perhaps even from himself, loving her-
It was like watching a once mighty tower crumble to the ground, at his mother's funeral; which incidentally took place on the day of his hearing. It was the same compulsion that bid me to trail him in the sixth year and bid me to make sure he did not end up in Azkaban. Through the feeling of pity, sympathy to put it more kindly for a fellow human being, someone I grew up with; there was only indifference to the boy I knew as Draco Malfoy.
But it was not hate anymore, and somehow that made all the difference….
"And Draco Malfoy catches the snitch…."
Ron grinned brightly. "Blimey mate, the sodding git is actually a bloody good flyer." Harry glanced to his left, unable to stop the matching grin blooming over his lips. Hermione chuckled. "Well, he did play fairly well in Hogwarts." She threw an arm around Harry. "Of course, he was no match for our Harry, though."
Ron laughed. "Who was?" Harry blushed, smiling fondly.
They watched as Malfoy descended to the ground in a sharp nose-dive. The crowd gasped collectively as it looked like he would crash straight into the earth, but maneuvering the broom-perfect control- he pulled up a scant millimeter from the ground and jumped of his broom in a graceful movement neither Harry nor Ron would be able to emulate on the pain of demise. A cheer arose from the stands as Malfoy's team-mates hauled him up into their arms and raised him high up into the air.
Malfoy raised his right hand, the snitch clasped delicately between his slender glove-clad fingers, smirking in triumph, as the crowd went wild. Harry stood as well, beaming and raised his hands to clap. Malfoy's head lifted to the stands like he had been called for and his gun-metal grey eyes, stewing in pleasure and pride, a pride well-deserved; zeroed in on Harry. A moment later, he bowed his head, very slightly in recognition. Harry chuckled and clapped harder.
That was a turn-about of sorts. Only then, I didn't realize it. After four years of being MIA, Malfoy's role in my life? Zilch, Nada…He just wasn't important anymore. Only, I didn't really believe that, I mean really and truly.
He would always be a part of my life, whether it was hurling insults at each other in corridors or me standing in some gallery cheering as the boy whom I've played against countless number of times caught the snitch.
I was pretty much resigned to the verity that there was no escaping the blonde prat. But it did surprise me how easily I had accepted that.
There was a loud crash, followed by lots of swearing. "How could we have possible lost to him?" She shrieked flailing her hands about, like she was swatting away some invisible enemy. "Ginny, it's just one game, calm down." Harry's pleasant baritone soothed. He put his arms around the incensed girl and spoke, "You can show him and his team next game."
"Oliver is not too worried." Hermione trilled, laughing, unknowingly mocking Ginny's very words. Ron tried to suppress a snort and failed. Ginny buried her head in her arms leaning into Harry. He wrapped her in his arms and looked up at Ron and Hermione, his voice sharp. "That's enough guys." He chided, the amused glint in his jade green eyes telling a different story.
Ron snorted again.
"What is it with you, you insensitive prat?" Ginny wailed, dramatically, clutching at Harry's shirt. "Go home if you cannot be a supportive big brother." There was a moment's pause and then Ron burst out laughing. Not a moment later, he was joined by Hermione. The couple clutched at the table and Ron managed to get out between words, "You should have wheeze seen your wheeze face when he caught the snitch…"
Hermione giggled uncontrollably. "It was really quite priceless, you know." Ginny huffed indignantly and turned to look at Harry, whose eyes were crinkled in the corners. He was desperately trying to keep his lips from blooming into a grin. Reluctantly, she let herself smile. At his cue, Harry began chuckling hard as well. Ginny grinned. "It must have been something, huh?" Ron nodded, still laughing. Harry hit Ginny gently on her shoulder. Ginny laughed, winking at Hermione. "We were pretty shocked, after all of Olli's reassurances that we had nothing to be afraid of. And then the prat shows up and suddenly he's as good as Harry." She admitted.
"But it's alright I suppose." She conceded, and Ron smiled fondly at her. "We'll get them next time." Ron grinned. "Whatever helps you sleep at night, I suppose, little sister." He teased. "You git." Grinning back, Ginny hurled the couch cushion at him, pouting when he caught it effortlessly. "You're a sport, Gin." Harry smiled, squeezing her shoulder, gently and then stood up, stretching.
"Dinner anyone?" Ron brightened up. "Yes, mate, please." He bounded into the kitchen after Harry, Hermione and Ginny following behind him, rolling their eyes.
In times like those, times when it was just the four of us, I thought maybe, I could be happy as well. Happy in, of course, extremely oblique terms…It didn't matter though, if I couldn't be happy, I could still be content. Ginny complemented me in all ways that mattered. I did not have any grand plans in place. Why worry about crossing a bridge you couldn't even see as yet? All I really wanted at that point in time was to have someone to come home to, to have someone waiting at the other side of the door when I stood before it after a long day at work.
I figured, if it made everyone happy, it didn't really matter to me if that someone was Ginny…
"Where are you, Harry?" Hermione asked him, taking his hand gently. He glanced up, forced a smile on for her benefit and squeezed her hand. "I'm right here, 'Mione." He retorted, faking confusion. She glanced at him knowingly. "You can fool everyone around you, Harry." He opened his mouth to protest. "But you'll never fool me… or Ron for that matter." He glanced down at the table.
"You're not really invested in this wedding, are you?" Blindly, he shook his head. "I figured as much." He kept shaking his head. She watched him quietly. "Then why are you going through with this, Harry?" He looked up at her, then, his eyes pained. "I have to 'Mione." He said, quietly. "The Weasleys want me to marry Ginny." Hermione leaned forward, speaking fiercely. "What about what you want, Harry?"
He looked away, mutinously. "I don't have anyone else in mind, Hermione. You know that."
"Yes, Harry, but what if you fall in love after you marry Ginny?" He glanced back at her. "What then?" He shook his head, stubbornly. "I'll ignore it and it will go away." Hermione shook her head, irritated. "It's not that simple, Harry." She tried to reason with him, uncharacteristically ignoring Harry's mulish nature. Once he dug his foot in, it would take eons of extremely hard work to get him to budge. "Even Ron can see that you are being a shade of enthusiastic too less about your wedding."
"It would break Ginny if I backed out of this, now." He asserted, standing up, like it was the one argument that would solve all the problems in the world. "Let me make a move, alright? I've got to head to Madam Malkins for robe fitting before I get back to work." She sighed and caught his arm as he made to rush out, "Think about it for Merlin's sake, Harry." she pleaded. He bent down and kissed her cheek, reassuringly. "I will, 'Mione, I promise."
She watched him go, sadly. "Regardless, you will do exactly what's right for everyone and sacrifice all that you want from life, won't you, Harry, love?" she murmured to herself.
And so everything was moving the way it was supposed to. If sometimes, late at night, I found myself wandering through the hallways unable to sleep, then it was only because of stress at work and had nothing absolutely to do with the fact that I was practically signing my life away. If I found myself mooning over my parent's photo album, it was only because, some part of me missed them; though being without them came to me as easily as breathing; and not because I felt as if I had missed out on something big….
Weasley family reunions became increasingly more frequent. I had never quite seen Mrs. Weasley as excited as she bustled around arranging for this and that. Ginny had taken to smiling shyly and leaving the room whenever I entered and the twins had taken to calling me 'Ickle Harrikins'as they claimed that now, I was quite permanently and irrevocably part of the family and as honorary brothers, it was their duty to make my life as miserable as possible.
I had to leave the room, to evade the sick and disturbed feeling that pulled at my gut, quite fiercely and suddenly. But I reiterate; rolling with the circumstances is something that I've been doing since birth. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Harry walked quickly, his hands clutching a couple of hundreds of wedding planners that had come through the post, ordered by his fiancée he supposed. He made his way, winding around the million or so people at Diagon Alley into Madam Malkins to pick up his robes. She glanced up from her work-station when he walked in. "Ah, Mr. Potter, you're right on time. Step lightly." She gestured to the back of the boutique, reaching over to a rail and picking off his robes from the rack.
Smiling uneasily, he took his robes from her hand and made his way into the dressing rooms.
"Harry, we're here." Ron called, pushing open the door and letting Hermione go in before him. Harry nodded, gratefully, and gestured to the robes in his arms. "Right." Ron nodded. "Yell if you need us, mate." Grinning, Harry flashed him a thumbs-up.
The robes were exquisite, bordering almost on flamboyant and Harry groaned, resting his head against the full-length mirror and resisting the urge to bang his head repeatedly on it. It was a shiny emerald green that made his eyes glow almost ethereally and was cinched up tight over his broad shoulders, pinching him and making him feel squeamish. The material was of a thick, heavy silk and Harry was sure if he did not die of the embarrassment, the stifling heat that he felt cloaked in would kill him. Which berk was responsible for choosing the color and texture of his robes anyway?
"That would be Ginny, mate." Ron said, sympathetically, even as his lips pulled into a grin.
"Well, whatever." He handed the robes back to Madam Malkin and enquired after the price. He had pretty much accepted everything else, what big difference did the robes make? Hermione took the robes from the seamstress's hand as she held it out and made her way outside with Ron to wait for Harry.
He walked out of the dingy shop into the bright sunlight and blinked as the sun reflected harshly off something bright on his left. Curiously, he glanced over and caught a glimpse of silver-blonde hair. Without pausing to think, he took off after the man. Ron glanced up in time to see Harry fleeing after someone and shouted for him.
He did not receive any kind of reply.
Malfoy paused at the apparition point and just before he apparated; he caught sight of Harry as he came skidding to a stop, pushed along and out of the crowd. His lips stretched into a slight smile, no malice or derision whatsoever and he disappeared with a crack, leaving Harry feeling stumped and rather down, as if he had been given something fleeting and precious and hadn't been able to understand what it had been in time.
But, of course, how ridiculous was that?
She wanted a binding ceremony after the actual wedding. I had chocked for a moment, a binding? A binding implied binding of my magic and hers for life. Sometimes, if done correctly, it could even carry into death. I had been responsible for the entire wizarding world even before my voice had broken. I didn't want to be responsible for anyone anymore. But she said, "Please, Harry, after this, it will be just you and me forever." And of course, tired and just plain miserable, I had nodded. "Ginny, just let me think about this, okay?"
'Mione had been frothing mad…..
"Tell him, Ron." She yelled, pointing at Harry. Ron put a bracing hand on Harry's shoulder. "All you need to do is tell her no, mate." Ron chided, hurting for his friend. Harry looked up at Ron. "Hang on, you are serious about this." He whispered harshly, surprised. Ron nodded.
"Yes, I am. Ginny is my sister, but you are my best mate. I want you to be happy, you git." He stood and paced, "Why are you doing this if you don't want to, Harry?" Harry shook his head. "It's what they want." Ron's eyes softened. "How can either one of you be happy in a marriage like this?"
"Harry, I understand your compulsion. But believe me, mate, no one is going to alienate you if you don't go through with this." Harry raised his eyes to Ron's, surprised by his insight. Hermione smiled fondly at her husband. For a moment, Harry smiled, bitterly, at the ease of affection between them. "You are part of the family, Harry, whether you want to be or not." Ron grinned, easily. "Whether or not you marry Ginny is not going to change your position of honorary brother." He winked, "Not for the twins, at least." Harry flashed him a weak smile.
Ron knelt and looked piercingly at Harry. "Look, Harry, when you guys announced that you were getting married, there was not one person happier than me." Harry opened his mouth to protest. Ron held up his hand. "Because- hear me out, mate- because there is not one person I trust in the world more than you. And because of that, there is no one I would rather entrust Ginny to."
He placed a hand on Harry's shoulder. "But, you just don't throw your life away like that, you wanker. What are you, mental?" He scoffed.
Harry glared. Hermione giggled, "That's not very nice, Ronald." She scolded, laughingly.
And just like that, it felt like maybe, just maybe, I had gotten a little control over my life. Knowing that there was someone to back me when all things went wrong, people who would stick by me and not run to the other side when I made a mistake, was a wonderful feeling to have. Yes, I have been aware of it from the start, but rather fleetingly.
So when Ron and Hermione stood by my side, solid support and everything that I could ask- even though Ginny and I were technically on the same side anyway-it felt like suddenly, I had been empowered, like I had been shown the light after years of wandering around in the dark. One could almost say that I had found the gold at the end of the rainbow. Later I realized, if I was so over the moon by the support of my best friends, which most people would expect anyway, no questions asked, I must have a pretty pathetic excuse for a wish list. And that rather made me angry and all sorts of depressed.
I refused the binding the very next day...
"But, Harry, why would you refuse now?" She pleaded, eyes wet and lips set in a wounded pout. "I thought we had agreed on this." None of the other Weasleys spoke, though all were present and accounted for, even the ones who were Weasleys by marriage. "No, Ginny, I told you I would think about it." Harry said, fighting a headache, his fingers massaging his forehead. "You were the one who just went all out and assumed."
"Does this mean you don't want to spend the rest of your life with me?" she retorted, her voice low, anger simmering low in her gut. She had always been quick to temper and it had never really worked well for her, either. "I'm marrying you, aren't I?" Harry snapped, tired of all the drama. All he had wanted to do after work was grab a cup of whiskey and spent the evening gazing pensively into the fire, cursing the woeful insidiousness of his miserable existence.
"Are you sure you want to?" she asked, her hands clenching around her wand, glaring. Harry frowned. "Look, I'm not going to talk about this like this. When you've calmed down enough to discuss this with me like an adult, floo me." He punctured his statement with a sharp jab towards the fireplace in the room. "Then, we'll talk."
He grabbed his coat off the rack and nodded farewell to the Weasleys.
He looked to Ginny, his eyes piercing in their intensity. "I'm not willing to go through with a binding, just so you are completely aware." The Weasleys watched Harry's leonine strides in awe. This was the wizard who Voldemort had feared. This was the wizard who had won against the darkest wizard of their times, the one whom even Dumbledore had only been able to subdue temporarily. This was the Harry Potter who fought the dark side of magic every single day. "I'm not done with you, Harry Potter." Ginny yelled. He turned back and sneered- almost a perfect replication of Malfoy's, though he was not aware of it- and snarled, his voice almost snake-like in tones and sibilant, "Well, tough." And he swept out of the door.
Every person has a limit. Stretched or exploited over that, the thread would snap. It was not some complex rune that only Hermione would be able to solve. It was common sense, rather. I had a pretty big threshold for patience and in my credit, I had held on this whole time.
She had pulled at the thread, without relenting since the time I had first seen her. It would make sense, wouldn't it, that her end of the thread would be the first to snap? She could drag me through this mess of a ceremony and keep me chained to her all of this life, but binding my magic to her? That's where any sane person would draw the line.
"Take the week off, Potter." Harry looked up from the case-file, surprised. Kingsley stood in the doorway of his tiny cubicle, hands folded across his broad chest. "Excuse me, what?" Kingsley sighed and moved into the little room. "I haven't seen you this ragged and ready to drop since the week before the final battle, Potter." He gestured to the mountainous pile of paperwork. "You are known to be a slacker where paper-work is concerned, but I don't think I have seen you this behind before."
Harry frowned, tiredly.
"Doesn't that mean I should stay extra time or something?" Kingsley shook his head. "No, go on, Finnegan will handle the paperwork." He turned to go. Then he paused and turned back. "You are highly overdue for a vacation, anyways. So, take the next two weeks off, come back rested." He stared at Harry piercingly. "You will be worked twice as hard when you get back, of course." Harry shook his head, scowling. "I don't want a vacation."
"It's an order, Potter. I want you out of the office by noon today." And that said, Kingsley swept out of the cubicle. Seamus glanced over at Harry from his end of the little room and flashed Harry a smile and thumbs-up. Harry dropped his head, soundly, on the table and mumbled, "Ouch."
He was out of the office an hour before noon, his wand in his back-pocket and coat clutched in his arm, looking like he had battled a Hungarian Horntail in a storm. The sun's rays caressed the back of his neck and the length of his back as he bent over to tie his undone shoe-laces. A flash of gold caught his eyes again and he looked up, eagerly.
Malfoy sat at the table in the café opposite to the headquarters of the Auror Division, just beside the two way glass window. There was a newspaper clutched in one hand and a cup in the other. His eyes scanned the paper ardently and occasionally, he raised the cup and took a sip of whatever was in it.
Harry stared, still bent over, one hand on his shoe-laces. Feeling uncomfortable and realizing that he was still hunched over; he raised himself upright and leaned casually against one of the supporting pillars outside the building.
Malfoy still looked the same, yet there was something so very different. Harry's eyes narrowed as he tried to gauge the changes in his once school-yard nemesis. The lines and angles of his face were a lot softer, he mused. It had to be the sneer.
Before, Malfoy had always looked like there was something unpleasant taped to the underside of his nose. Now, he looked….nicer, perhaps? No, Harry thought, Malfoy looked more approachable, more down-to-earth, and more humble? No, that was not the word he was looking for. Then what? He continued watching Malfoy carefully, uncaring that if noticed, he might look like some kind of stalker.
But a scant moment later, Malfoy lowered his paper and looked across the road. His eyes immediately spotted Harry. His eyebrow rose slowly and he frowned. Then, as if reconsidering, his lips slipped into a slight smirk as he watched Harry as Harry had been watching him, his eyes carefully assessing, but not unappreciative.
Harry fought to control the hue of red that wanted to smear his cheeks. Reflexively, he nodded in greeting to the man. Unexpectedly, Malfoy nodded back, smirk widening. Okay, Harry admitted to himself, begrudgingly, the git did look a lot more pleasant that he had the last time Harry had seen him, more than fleetingly or from a distance.
Turning on his heels, he made his way to the apparition point, to head back home. Maybe today, he would actually be able to catch the rain-check on the whiskey.
A few sightings of blonde hair was all it took to get me learn how to dream. When I first began to think of blonde hair and the sly, not entirely unattractive smirk, at times when there was no need to think about them at all, fear was what gripped me first. I wondered if my dreams were treading into dangerous territory. Then I took a step back and realized that perhaps before, I had never really been a dreamer at all.
Maybe, this was the kind of stuff that dreams were made of…..