This is a new Drarry, one full of lots of angst and lots of fluff, because Drarry is just so perfect with the best of both worlds. :)
I hope you like! This is chapter 1, and I will keep on writing at request. Please review!
"Taking the shrug as an invitation to take the knife, Harry reached out to take it, not foreseeing that Malfoy would reach out for it at the same time. Malfoy's hand closed over Harry's, and it stayed there for a split second, before being pulled hastily back.
"I'm sorry, Sir, I think I might have misheard you," spluttered Harry apologetically. "You want me to do what exactly?"
When Harry had received the roll of parchment that evening, tied with a ribbon and signed "A. Dumbledore," this was the last thing he had expected. He, Ron and Hermione had spent the evening running up to the proposed meeting trying to guess what Dumbledore wanted, but he bet none of them would have guessed this.
Dumbledore sighed, and pushed his half-moon glasses back up his crooked nose. "I guess, Harry, that you did in fact hear me perfectly correctly."
"You want me to make friends with him?" asked Harry incredulously. "Are you mad?"
"No, I am not mad at all," remarked Dumbledore. "But I am in need of your help, and I had hoped that the idea would receive a better reception than this."
"Forgive me, Professor," said Harry. "But never, in a million years, could this work. We hate each other! Me and Malfoy haven't spoken a single friendly word to each other, ever."
"Do I need to impress upon you more the seriousness of this?" asked Dumbledore, the closest to severe Harry had ever seen him. "A great deal rides on the consequences of your actions."
"I just don't understand why, Professor," said Harry, seriously alarmed now. "How could this possibly help fight Voldemort?"
It just didn't make sense to him; why would befriending that arrogant, smug Slytherin help the cause? Harry seriously hoped this was all just one big hoax, although it didn't seem very likely.
"It is my belief," said Dumbledore, boring his blue eyes seriously into Harry's green ones, "that Mr. Malfoy may be helping the dark side. And, by doing so, Mr Malfoy is very dangerous. I am not going to confront him, because I suspect him being pressurised into doing this by someone, most probably his father – and I believe a more subtle line of action is needed. I just need you to discover whether Mr Malfoy is indeed working for Voldemort, I daresay he will only tell a very close friend."
Harry was staring at his Headmaster in shock. Draco Malfoy, a Death Eater? He should have suspected it. No one could be that arrogant and cruel, no one could be so Slytherin without eventually becoming a Death Eater. Look at his Father for example, Draco Malfoy was like a clone of him, no wonder he had turned out just as bad as him.
And now Dumbledore wanted him to befriend Draco Malfoy, a Death Eater? He wanted him to sit and converse with a teenager who was on speaking terms with Lord Voldemort? It was preposterous, it was ridiculous –
"Professor," said Harry, trying to bring this conversation down into the real world. "What makes you think that Malfoy wants to befriend me? He detests the sight of me; I hardly think that he's going invite me round to his house straight away."
"I'm sure you'll find a way, Harry," said Dumbledore blithely. "Just remember, the fate of the Wizarding World -"
"- rests in my hands," finished Harry, sighing dramatically. He could sense that the meeting was over, and he angrily made his way over to the office door, and slammed it shut behind him. Dumbledore winced ever so slightly as the wood crashed into the doorframe, but otherwise he seemed unaffected by the meeting.
"Impertinence!" sneered the painting of Phineas Nigellus, which was situated behind him. "Sheer impertinence!"
Albus Dumbledore, stroking his beard as he often did when he was thinking deeply, simply shook his head.
Ron and Hermione stared at Harry for a few moments before reacting to his news. He had told them quickly, because the words left a nasty taste in his mouth, and hearing himself say them made it all so much more real.
They reacted just how Harry would have expected them to react, Ron immediately descending into fits of laughter, while Hermione started to give quick ideas of how he could possibly succeed in this task, and what she thought of the whole scheme.
"Dumbledore – wants you to make friends with Malfoy?" choked Ron, tears rolling down his cheeks in laughter. "That's it, he's finally gone insane."
"This isn't going to be easy, Harry," said Hermione, biting her lip in anxiety. "Malfoy doesn't trust you at all..."
"And I don't trust Malfoy!" said Harry, thumping Ron on the shoulder. "He's a bloody Death Eater!"
"I don't know why you're so surprised," said Ron, rubbing the place where Harry had whacked him. "Little Malfoy grew up to be the same as Big Malfoy, not completely shocking."
"I had thought," admitted Hermione hesitantly. "That Malfoy would be...different from his Father."
"Yeah, whatever," snorted Ron. "We should have guessed by just looking at that ferret-face of his. What a bastard."
"I agree with Ron," said Harry, pushing back his hair from covering his glasses. "He's a git, and I've got to make friends with him. Shall we change the subject? Even talking about it is making me feel sick."
"Yeah, OK," said Ron, who turned to face Harry. "That reminds me, I've got a bone to pick with you!"
Hermione picked up her book, and promptly buried her face in it, so all the boys could see of her was her bushy brown hair. She didn't seem to notice that the book was upside-down, however. Harry gulped; Ron never had any bone to pick with him.
"What is it?" asked Harry, bracing himself.
"What the hell are you doing with Ginny?" asked Ron, turning slightly red. "Mate, I'm not being funny or anything, but you're messing her around."
"I am not messing her around!" insisted Harry, eyes opened wide. "She keeps forcing herself on me, I'm doing nothing!"
It was true. Recently, Ginny had been spending every possible moment she could, trying to catch Harry's attention. A second didn't pass without her sending scorning looks and words at her "opposition" – which didn't exist – constantly admiring either Harry's quidditch ability or hair, or trying to stare deeply into his eyes. He couldn't move without her "accidentally" bumping into him. It was starting to get rather frustrating.
"That's not what she told me," said Ron, eyes narrowing. "She told me that you told her, you really like her."
Harry sat up so quickly, the potions homework he was supposed to be doing slid off his lap. "Ron, mate, believe me – I have never said anything like that. I don't fancy your sister, and I have never encouraged me. She just seems to always be there!"
Ron visibly relaxed, and smiled weakly. "I suspected that much; I just wanted to make sure. She is besotted with you though, mate."
"Don't I know it," said Harry rolling his eyes and smiling. "I've done nothing to encourage her, either."
"She'll get over you, Harry," added Hermione from the depths of her upside-down book. "She was telling me how much she liked Seamus the other day, she might move onto him next."
"Don't you like her, at all?" asked Ron quietly.
"I did," admitted Harry, flushing slightly. "But it passed when this obsession started."
"I don't blame you," said Ron, rubbing his tired eyes. "If a girl started to obsess over me, I'd freak out a bit. Not that that's likely to happen though, because what girl would look at me when I'm with my best mate Harry Potter, the Chosen One!" He laughed, although Harry could have sworn there was a hint of misery in the smile, so he looked away at Hermione – who, he was surprised to notice, had turned a bright red.
"You all right there, Hermione?" he asked, completely bewildered.
"What? Oh yes, I'm fine," said a flustered Hermione. "I'd better be going to bed now, anyway. Bye!"
And with that, she practically ran up the stairs to the girl's dormitory, leaving all her homework on the table. The two bemused boys stared after her, both completely unable to understand why she had gone so suddenly.
"Girls," said Ron as he finished his potions essay with a scribbled last sentence. "Are a strange and complicated gender."
Harry nodded fervently, before giving up his own essay as a bad job and stuffing it away in his schoolbag.
When he woke up the next morning, settled comfortably in the thick red and gold duvet which reached up to his chin, Harry was extremely disappointed to realise that his conversation with Dumbledore hadn't been a dream after all.
"Wake up!" shouted Ron, lugging a pillow at Harry. Harry threw it back, hitting Ron on the back of his head, the force making him lose balance and tip over the edge of the bed.
"I'm coming, I'm coming," laughed Harry, as Ron's red face peered over the edge of his bed.
He got dressed speedily, and the two met with Hermione in the common room before they headed for breakfast. She seemed to have recovered from her escapade the previous night, and greeted them both with a smile.
"Feeling better, Hermione?" asked Ron, who was struggling to do his tie. Hermione didn't answer.
The trio walked into the Great Hall, and Harry was halfway through his second piece of toast before his arch enemy walked in. He tried to suppress the bubble of hatred he always got whenever he saw Draco Malfoy, and for once quietly observed him, while nibbling at his slice of burnt toast.
Draco Malfoy walked in alone, not flanked by his two cronies Crabbe and Goyle. Actually, thinking about it, Harry hadn't seen them with him for some time. They were already at the Slytherin table, talking and laughing with some other unpleasantly familiar faces; Theodore Nott, Pansy Parkinson and all that lot. Malfoy looked, on first glance, the same as he always did. Outrageously pale skin, white blonde hair and eyes arranged in a steely expression. However, there were changes which only someone has used to seeing and attacking Malfoy as much as Harry could see. He wasn't smirking, which Harry was surprised to see; instead he had a blank expression – as if he was past caring. He looked thinner and paler, Harry realised, and there was less of a swagger about him. Even from where Harry was sitting, he could see the dark shadows decorating his eyes. Slowly, Harry felt the bubble of anger within him subside and die down; Malfoy just looked so defeated.
"Hello Harry!" said an annoyingly familiar voice; belonging to a girl Harry really didn't want to see at the moment.
"Hi, Ginny," muttered Harry, heart sinking. He threw Hermione a glance which quite clearly said "Help me!" Luckily, Hermione picked up the hint straight away and forced Ginny in a conversation quickly. Harry sent a look of thanks to his best friend, and then went back to observing the white-blonde Slytherin.
Malfoy sat alone at the table, and he didn't touch anything. Instead, he just looked at the table, apparently thinking to himself. Harry knew he should look away, but he just couldn't, his eyes seemed almost magnetised to Malfoy. He was only brought to reality when Ron nudged him.
"Well, there you are Harry – your future best friend," he smirked, unaware of how intently Harry had been staring at Draco Malfoy. "Maybe you should go and sit next to him, he looks rather lonely."
"Ron!" hissed Hermione, breaking momentarily from her distraction of Ginny. "You really aren't helping the situation."
Ron shrugged and carried on shovelling cereal into his mouth, earning a disgusted look from Hermione.
Harry saw two Slytherins join Malfoy at the breakfast table; he recognised them as Blaise Zabini and Daphne Greengrass. He was surprised to see Malfoy smile slightly when they arrived, he couldn't remember the last time he had seen Malfoy smile, albeit weakly. Smirks and sneers, he had seen plenty of them, but never a smile. The three Slytherins conversed for a while, Daphne Greengrass laughed constantly.
"Looks like you've got some competition," smirked Ron, earning another glare from Hermione, and a bemused look from his sister.
Harry barely heard him; too busy was he at observing the trio of Slytherins. Greengrass had put some toast on a plate, and was offering it to Malfoy, but Malfoy was resolutely shaking his head, and then –
Harry ducked behind Ron, cheeks burning. God, what an idiot he was! Did he really think that staring unashamedly at someone wouldn't make them notice? Malfoy had looked up, obviously aware that someone was looking at him, and he had been surprised to see it was Harry. The two boys had looked at each other confusedly for a second, before Malfoy had narrowed his eyes and Harry had broken the stare; blushing to the roots of his hair.
"Are you alright, Harry?" asked Hermione, frowning, her spoonful of cereal halfway to her mouth.
"Yes, yes, I'm fine," said Harry, flustered, pulling out his timetable, determined never to look at Draco Malfoy again. He scanned the columns and rows, trying to concentrate on the lessons. It was October now, they had been back to school for over a month, and yet he still hadn't learnt his timetable. He felt his heart sink when he realised he had double Potions next, with the Slytherins. He had more Malfoy to cope with, brilliant.
Draco Malfoy frowned, trying to work out what he had just witnessed. He had looked up, for a moment, and there had been Potter, staring at him shamelessly! Why on Earth would Harry bloody Potter, the Boy-Who-Just-Wouldn't-Die stare at him?
"Draco, I really wish you'd eat something," said Daphne, sighing, flicking her long auburn hair back. Draco really liked Daphne, but not in any other way than friendly. She was quick, intelligent, devious and hilarious; she made Draco laugh when he was in the worst of moods, and he was gratified to find that she wasn't intimidated by his name or reputation. It was hard finding someone who didn't sweat nervously whenever he spoke, as if he'd Crucio them into hell at any moment.
As for eating, however, Draco refused to. He had been through so much in the past couple of months, from secret Death Eater meetings to briefings by the Dark Lord himself, he had found little time for eating. Add this to a need for perfection which his Father had frequently reminded him to keep, and a constant never-ending feeling of anxiety and nerves, and it had led to Draco finding that eating was something he hated to do.
"I agree with Daphne, Draco," said Blaise in his deep voice. "Just a bite, please."
Blaise was undoubtedly Draco's best friend, someone who had always seemed to understand him. It was hard, being the son of a Death Eater; the only people you seemed to attract were power-hungry fools or thugs desperate for a leader. Blaise was neither, he was someone of equal intelligence with Draco, someone who he could talk to, moan to, complain to, and most importantly – have a laugh with. Draco never took any moment which made him laugh for granted.
"Fine, fine," he grumbled, taking a small bite out of the piece of toast. He hated it, he despised it – but they were his friends, and he was an annoyingly loyal person. It was the Hufflepuff in him, and he only showed that side of him to his closest friends.
Blaise and Daphne still looked worried, so Draco changed the subject.
"Any idea why Potter was staring at me?" he sneered, sending an uncertain glare in Potter's direction.
"What, Potter?" said Blaise. "Harry Potter?"
"Who else?" snapped Draco. "I look up for one second, and there he is – gawping at me as if I was some sort of freak show."
"Filthy half-blood," muttered Blaise, and Draco nodded approvingly.
"He thinks he's so much better than me," he sneered. Unknown to him, Blaise and Daphne exchanged glances. They knew what was going to follow, the "Harry Potter Rant" they liked to call it. Every day or so, Draco would descend into ranting about the Gryffindor hero, about how he wasn't really all that special, about how much Draco hated him. By experience, they knew the rant could last ten minutes, so Daphne quickly steered the conversation into a new direction.
"Maybe he fancies you!" she smirked, laughing. Blaise and Draco snorted simultaneously.
"Who doesn't?" Draco asked, raising an eyebrow jokingly.
Blaise, sniggering, made as if to raise his hand slightly, but Draco threw a piece of toast at him before he could raise it fully, and the buttered side hit him squarely in the face. Blaise swore at Draco, but it wasn't long before the three teenage Slytherins were laughing hysterically. Wiping his eyes, Draco looked at his two friends approvingly. He was glad he had them, although it would have taken a rampaging hippogriff to make him admit it.
Harry entered the potions classroom like he always did, like a man walking to his death sentence. Snape hadn't wasted anytime this year in making Harry's life a living hell, and Harry was sure he had set the record for the most detentions in such a short space of time. Harry knew, deep inside, that he shouldn't react so much to Snape's taunts and insults, but the James Potter genes inside him made him unable to resist.
Was it just him, or was Snape looking more menacing than normal? Harry wondered, as he sat down between Ron and Hermione. The man who still reminded Harry of a large bat was smiling ever so slightly, something which was completely unheard of – and he was rubbing his hands together in a threatening manner.
Ron apparently, had noticed as well. "What's Snape looking so pleased about?" he muttered under his breath.
Harry shook his head, because at that moment, Snape had slammed the door shut behind the latecomers, and was starting to speak.
"Miss Patil, and Miss Brown, I do not tolerate latecomers. 10 Points from Gryffindor," started Snape, as a way of a warm welcome. Lavender and Parvati ducked behind their cauldrons in shame, and Harry gave such a glare of concentrated hatred to Snape, he was surprised he didn't disintegrate on the spot.
"Today, we will -" started Snape, before he was interrupted by the Potions door slamming open again.
Malfoy, Zabini and Greengrass sauntered in, throwing fleeting apologies at Snape for being late. Snape waited until they had sat down, before starting again. Harry scowled again, blistering with the unfair favouritism Snape showered on the Slytherin students.
"Today we will be brewing an Agility Potion," started Snape. "This is a painfully simple potion, designed to make the recipient more capable of using their limbs in a more agile way. As I said, it is painfully simple to create, although I have no doubts that most of this class, agonizingly dim-witted as most of you are, will make a complete mess of it. Nevertheless, you all have a double lesson to complete it. The instructions are on the blackboard, and you may begin."
Angrily, Harry started to light the fire under his cauldron, but he had only just lit one flame, before Snape started speaking again.
"Oh yes, and for today, I will choose your partners."
Harry and Ron looked at each other in alarm. They always worked together in potions, it was an unspoken rule – generally because they were both so terrible at it, they found solace in each other when their potions started to become tar-like. Hermione looked shocked as well; she always worked with Neville, because who else would give him support? Harry twisted around in his seat to survey the Slytherin's reactions and was gratified to look that they looked equally, if not more, shocked.
Snape smiled nastily.
"Let's split the Golden Trio," he sneered. "Mr Weasley, next to Zabini."
A very pale Ron stood up and dumped his equipment gracelessly on Zabini's desk, without saying a word. Harry was sure that he and Zabini had never spoken a word to each other before, but the mere fact that one was Gryffindor and one was Slytherin said it all. Zabini turned around to face Malfoy, mouthing something which Harry was sure was "At least he's pure-blood." Harry clenched his fists in anger.
"Miss Granger, next to Miss Greengrass."
Nose in the air, Hermione walked over to Daphne Greengrass' desk and deposited her large pile of books on the desk. Daphne Greengrass pushed her chair as far away from her as she could, and sent looks of horror over to where Malfoy was sitting.
"Longbottom – next to Crabbe, Finnegan – next to Goyle, and Mr Thomas sit next to Mr Nott."
The three Gryffindors sulkily sat next to their assigned partners, no student looking particularly happy.
"Miss Patil, Miss Brown – sit next to Miss Flint and Miss Parkinson."
Lavender and Parvati looked alarmed at the thought of working without the other, and separated reluctantly.
"Oh," said Snape, with a look of feigned surprise. "It looks like Mr Potter will have to be partnered by Mr Malfoy." And when Harry showed no sign of moving, he barked "Move now!"
Harry wasn't sure who looked more horrified by the proposal, him or Draco Malfoy. He approached his desk reluctantly, dragging his bag on the floor, and swung it on top of the desk. Being so close to Malfoy, he could see just how pale and tired he was, it was almost alarming; it was as if all the energy had been sucked out of him. He was excruciatingly thin as well, and Harry wondered fleetingly how little he was actually eating.
Dumbledore's words echoed into Harry's mind, and he realised with a jolt, what a perfect opportunity to try and make Draco trust him. It was just him and Draco, and they were perfectly alone, unless you counted Zabini and Greengrass' pitying looks company.
"Malfoy," Harry said, acknowledging the other boy's presence. Malfoy looked surprised at the direct address, and didn't answer – instead he concentrated on chopping the exact measurement of roots for his potion. Harry was at a loss now, how could he start a half-decent conversation?
"Erm, could I borrow your knife Malfoy?" he asked, pushing his own silver knife into his open schoolbag. Draco Malfoy looked at him sneeringly through silver eyes, before shrugging and returning to his own potion. God, he was making this difficult.
Taking the shrug as an invitation to take the knife, Harry reached out to take it, not foreseeing that Malfoy would reach out for it at the same time. Malfoy's hand closed over Harry's, and it stayed there for a split second, before being pulled hastily back.
"What the hell are you doing, Potter?" he hissed.
"I was just getting the knife, Malfoy" hissed back Harry, equally embarrassed and earnest.
"Whatever," said Malfoy, turning his back on Harry once again.
"Are you alright, Malfoy?" asked Harry, deciding to jump into the deep end, and see how the other boy responded. Dumbledore had said "make friends", and by just hissing at each other, they were getting no where. It was time to go in for the kill.
"What?" scoffed Malfoy, turning around once more in exasperation. "Why are you talking to me?"
"You don't look alright Malfoy, I noticed before-"
Damn, I shouldn't have said that. He realised now, just how much of a stalker he sounded.
"What, when you were staring at me during breakfast?" challenged Draco Malfoy, eyes narrowing even further, until just little slits were left.
"I – I didn't mean to -" stuttered Harry, cursing himself into oblivion.
"Stay out of my life, Potter, like you told me you intended to, five years ago when we were eleven," hissed Malfoy.
"For God's sake, Malfoy, I'm just -"
"When have you ever taken a slightest interest in me?" asked Malfoy in a furious whisper. "Why start now?"
It was a fair point.
"People change, Malfoy!" said Harry, clutching at straws. He knew he wasn't making any sense, but he didn't care, Malfoy infuriated him so much...
"No, Potter. They don't. People don't change, they never do. You think people can change for the better? You're lying to yourself," said Malfoy, and there was a real sadness in his eyes, before he blinked and it was replaced with hatred again.
The two didn't talk for the rest of the potions lesson, Harry torn between a grudging concern and annoyance, Draco torn between confusion and anger. Neither spoke, because they were thinking so much, brains whirring in a frenzy, so that by the end of the lesson, neither of their potions were very good – they just couldn't concentrate.
Draco Malfoy left the lesson before anyone else did, and Harry was startled to see a glimpse of tears in his eyes, although he was sure he must have imagined it, as he ran out of the classroom. Zabini and Greengrass followed, expressions arranged into worried ones.
A very disgruntled Ron approached him; his potion had been given an F by a sneering Snape and he was not best pleased. Hermione appeared by his left shoulder, flushing with success after brewing the best potion in the class. "How did it go with Malfoy?" she asked as they walked out of the dungeons and into the more cheerful Entrance Hall.
"Well, he didn't like me talking to him, he doesn't trust me at all, and I think I made him cry," rattled off Harry, frowning.
Ron snorted. "You made Draco Malfoy cry?" he laughed. "Mate, you have made my year. Thank you."
Harry smiled weakly, and Hermione caught this. "What's wrong, Harry?"
Harry sighed. "He's not what I expected. I expected him to be arrogant, sneering, you know – the Malfoy we all know and hate. But he's, well he's broken, for a better word. I'm actually sort of worried about him. He's not eating, and he looks like he's going to break down any minute."
Ron looked at him in shock. "When have you ever cared about him?" he gasped.
Hermione understood. "Harry, I think the best thing you can do for him is to follow Dumbledore's instructions. Try and befriend him, and you can help. If that's what you want to do."
Harry clutched his head in his hands. "What the hell am I doing? This is Malfoy. I'm supposed to hate him, not worry about him!" he moaned.
Hermione clutched his hands with her own, and smiled.
"It's good that you don't hate him, if you want to be friends with him. Don't think of him as Malfoy then, just think of him as a broken human being," she sighed. "You do have a bit of a saving-people thing, don't you?"
Harry smiled ruefully.
"Never thought I'd want to save the person who's tried his best to make my life hell," he admitted, pushing his glasses up his nose. "I do have a problem."
Ron nodded vigorously, but grinned when Harry aimed a thump at him, but missed.
"Draco!" shouted Daphne Greengrass, banging on his dormitory door. "Draco Malfoy, come out this instant!"
"Draco, mate – it's just us!" added Blaise, who was lolling against the doorframe.
Draco Malfoy wouldn't have let them in for the entire world, because he was crying alone in his room – and the last thing he wanted was his best friends to see him like this. He was Draco Malfoy for God's sake. He didn't cry.
But, he had meant what he said to Potter. People never did change; look at him! Marked as a Death Eater the moment he stepped into this school, marked as someone evil, someone who couldn't be trusted. And look what he had turned into; someone who followed the Dark Lord. He hadn't changed for the better, and he didn't think he ever would. He would always be the arrogant villain from the first years of his school that everyone hated and distrusted.
There was never any hope for someone like him.
And so he ignored the knocks on the door, and the incessant shouting, until they all fazed out. And the only thing he noticed were the single tear drops working their way down his paler than ever cheeks.
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