Warnings: First and foremost, this is a Drarry story-or Draco/Harry, HPDM, whatever you like to call it. If you don't like it, I can't imagine why you'd read it...so don't. Also, this is a slow-burner. I don't like it when stories have Malfoy and Harry together for no reason at all, so you'll be getting some -gasp- plot development. Again...I understand if that's not your type of story, no hard feelings, just click that back button.
Author's Note: You couldn't even begin to imagine the week I had. It was so shockingly terrible. That's why I'm so late in uploading the first part of my new story. Anyway, because of some circumstances, there's no way I'm going to be able to do my 'one chapter per day' thing I did with my last story. But you're not going to wait months for an update, either, so...
It was ugly. So very, very ugly and he couldn't stand to look at it and he wanted it gone. Now.
Draco Malfoy drew up his sleeve where the Dark Mark had been magically burned into his skin. Even though Voldemort had fallen, it still ached with a weak power that Malfoy wanted no part of whatsoever. Spells couldn't help. Of course not. But he tried them anyway. Now, though, it was time to move on to potions, and even though it was a longshot, there was still that tiny glimmer of hope that he could get rid of that revolting thing for good…
He'd been brewing something all week long, stealing countless ingredients from Slughorn's office, keeping it warm in the Slytherin fireplace. He was excellent at potions, and thought he might be able to conjure a removal serum. No one dared ask questions about what he was doing—they knew better. But now, at midnight on the seventh day, it was time to test it out.
He dipped a little of the liquid out and siphoned it into a phial. The liquid shimmered a greenish-black through the glass. In order for the potion to have effect, his skin would have to be exposed directly to moonlight at the exact moment of application—and, as it was such, he was creeping to the astronomy tower, traveling in the shadows.
Sometimes there were a few stragglers at the tower, checking their star charts, or whatever—but tonight, luckily, Malfoy was all alone. He smirked. He held his arm up into the moonlight, the Dark Mark erupting into a patch of goosebumps. He uncorked the bottle with his teeth and spat it onto the ground, hesitating for a brief moment before pouring the potion onto his Mark.
At first his skin felt icy cold, but the chill soon turned to fiery searing pain. Malfoy grimaced, but held his ground. Something was happening…
He thought it was going to work—he really did. Hope rose in his chest. The Dark Mark was transforming, slowly lifting out of his skin…wait, no…the top layer of his skin was getting so hot that it was actually boiling…
Utter shock made him feel nothing for a few moments—but then, it hit him all at once like a white-hot wave. He fell to his knees and screamed at the top of his lungs.
"Mr. Malfoy, m'boy! You're late!" Professor Slughorn said. "And you Slytherins are always so punctual…"
"I've just gotten out of the hospital wing, Professor," Malfoy spat, scowling.
"Ah! Well, that's all right, then, I suppose…go on, have a seat, Mr. Malfoy, we've not done anything in class yet, you haven't missed anything…" Slughorn tittered.
It was a gigantic class—Quadruple Potions with all four Houses crammed into a magically enlarged classroom. There were time constraints on the teachers' parts because they were now teaching an extra year, the 'eighth years,' and everyone had to make do with class overloads. The class was absolutely sprawling. Malfoy walked to the back of the class, clutching at his heavily bandaged arm, looking for Pansy, Blaise, Theo…anyone.
He finally found Blaise, almost completely toward the back of the class. Malfoy got up close to him and discovered that he was shaking with silent laughter.
"What's so funny?" Malfoy said. "Laughing at my arm? Well, Zabini, I'll have you know—"
"No, mate," Zabini said, flashing his brilliant white teeth. "I'm laughing because there's no empty seats left except for that one there." He jammed his thumb toward the very back row of the classroom.
Malfoy's eyes followed his gesture. The only free seat was at a desk of four, three of whom were Ron, Hermione, and, the person he'd be sitting directly beside…Harry Potter.
"You have to sit next to the Gryffindorks!" Pansy squealed.
Malfoy looked indignant. "No," he said. "I won't sit there. I'll have a word with the professor." He turned on his heels and marched back up to the front.
Slughorn was preparing ingredients at the front table. "Professor—"
"Oh! Yes, Mr. Malfoy?"
Malfoy put on his 'polite' voice. "Sir, I was wondering if I could please sit at the front of the—"
Slughorn glanced around. "Well, aren't there any seats left at the back? I conjured them all myself this morning, there should be one back there for you, I assure—"
"Yes, sir, there is, but—"
"I see, well, go ahead and have a seat today at whichever one is, er, left…not much we can do about the situation now, eh? Go along, now, this is a large class and we've lots to accomplish today…" He chuckled, smiling warmly. Malfoy didn't return the gesture.
"Pansy," Malfoy growled. "Switch me seats."
"No," she growled back, smiling wickedly.
Malfoy was livid. How could this be happening? He strode to the back of the class, nose in the air, and sat down next to Harry—but scooted his chair as far away from the other boy as possible. He shot daggers with his eyes at his friends' backs.
"Lucky you, Harry, you get to sit next to Malfoy," Ron whispered, grinning.
Harry had opened his mouth to reply when Hermione shushed them. "Slughorn's talking!" she hissed. It was hard to hear him to begin with, but at the very back of the class, it was nearly impossible. Hermione craned her neck to listen, while Harry and Ron indifferently played hangman on a scrap of parchment.
"As I'm sure you've noticed, class, there are…well, there are a lot of you in here, now that we've got to squeeze in another year of students…and I thought I'd try something a little different with our Potions class for you eighth years.
You see, such an overload of students makes the ingredients in this Potions class go by very quickly, I'm sure you would assume…so, in order to conserve as much as we can, seeing as most of it is quite valuable, I'm having the eighth years work in pairs of two for the remainder of the year."
Harry and Ron looked at each other excitedly. Neville turned his head and looked hopefully at Hermione. Hermione reluctantly nodded.
"But," Slughorn went on. "Since this class is so large, and it would be utter chaos to have you running about trying to find someone to work with, I'm going to make it simple for all of you: whoever you happen to be sitting next to is your partner. And it's as simple as that."
Mixed whispers circulated the classroom, some excited, some agitated. Some seemed to like the arrangement, while others blatantly did not. Ron looked over at Hermione.
"If I'm partnered up with you, that means Harry's working with—"
Malfoy's face turned paler than usual.
"What?" Malfoy spat, gripping his long, bony hands on the edge of the table. "There's no way I'm working with Potter."
"There's no way I'm working with you, either," Harry shot back.
"Professor!" they yelled in unison.
"I refuse to work with this—this—" Malfoy stammered, clearly flustered, cheeks showing a pink tinge.
"Professor, you can't possibly expect me to partner up with—" Harry started.
"Look, boys, I knew this idea would be an inconvenience to some people," Slughorn said. "But there is simply no other way to do it. I'm sorry, but you'll just have to work together in my class." And with that, he turned his back to scrawl something onto the blackboard.
"You had better start learning your asphodel from your fluxweed, Potter," Malfoy hissed while Slughorn droned on. "I'm not getting a bad mark in Potions class because of you."
"Then you had better be prepared to do all the work," Harry retorted.
"Shh!" Hermione said.
"Now, as you can tell from what I've written here, your first assignment with your new Potions partner is to successfully brew a combination potion. I'm aware we've not attempted one of these before, but that's all the better, because you and your partner can discover how to manage it yourselves…"
Harry and Malfoy glared at each other.
"Your assignment is to brew both a love potion and a hate potion, and successfully fuse the two together. I think you'll find that something quite interesting happens when you do so…but to find out what something is, you and your partner will have to work diligently to brew everything correctly. I say, this will be quite interesting to watch everything play out…
Anyhow, enough of my rambling! You have two weeks to get it finished, and I would certainly imagine you'll be using every second of that to prepare this complicated potion. You'll get time in class, of course, but in order to finish it, you'll have to work outside of class as well. I wish you all good luck! I believe that's enough for today, class dismissed!"
The students began to rise, the scraping of chairs and meaningless chatter filling the room. Malfoy and Harry faced each other. "You will be helping me with this, Potter," Malfoy said.
"Do you even know what he's talking about?" Harry asked. He was being genuine, not picking at the other boy. This slightly took Malfoy aback.
"Well—I have a good idea, yes," Malfoy said.
"Good, because I don't," Harry smiled, knocking past Malfoy to catch up with Ron and Hermione. Malfoy scowled. This was going to be hell.
End Notes: This chapter was strictly an introduction, more or less. I'll be the first to admit it was a little dry, but all intros are. But...they're a necessary evil. Next chapter is where the real stuff will start. Thanks for reading!