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: I am so, SO sorry it's been so long since I updated this! It's been nearly two months. :C But I swear, I opened up this story on my computer nearly every day, and just...nothing would come out. I haven't had writer's block that bad in a loooong time. And I know this chapter is a little choppy, but it was so hard to get out of my head that I'm just glad it's something. :P Hopefully I'll get back into the swing of things soon.
By the way, I was playing the Harry Potter version of Clue the other day and it was just perfect. Ginny was the one who was killed, and it was Draco in the Potions classroom with a Vanishing Cabinet. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.
...Just thought you'd want to know. ._.;
George held one of the gummy candies between his thumb and forefinger, giving it a little squish. They were an opaque sky blue and perfectly round. Without Fred's help it had taken him two months to get the mixture quite right, but he finally figured it out.
Fred. That was another thing he'd been dwelling on here lately. Actually, lately didn't quite cut it. More like, every day since George saw his twin's casket surrounded with dirt.
The Memory Marvels, as George was calling them, worked in a peculiar yet convenient way—the manufacturer controlled the memory that was to be forgotten, so not just anyone could take advantage of them. He'd mixed in a hair from Harry's head and a hair from Draco's, among other things, so once the Slytherins ate one of the little blue jellies, their recollections of Harry and Draco's relationship would be gone for good, and they'd be none the wiser.
Every candy he made was like that, except for the one that he held in his hand.
If you had an identical twin, you not only shared his looks, but his very DNA. George could take a hair from his own head and mix it in with his recipe, and all his visions of Fred would be gone forever.
So, too, would be the memories of himself.
Sometimes he would rather forget it all than live another day without his twin, but today wasn't the day. He had things to do, after all, and he'd feel like he let Fred down if he gave up on his scheme already. He put the special Memory Marvel into a spare sock, and stuffed the sock deep into his trunk. He wouldn't be going that route—not today, in any case, but it'd always be an option if things got too bad.
Now all he would need was Harry's Invisibility Cloak, and his plan would be set into action.
Harry looked optimistic about George's plan, but Draco had his doubts—he didn't think there was any way George could manage to sneak the Memory Marvels to all the Slytherins, Invisibility Cloak or no.
"I'm tellin you, mate," George said, "I've got this, easy. They dissolve in liquid, so all I 'ave to do is plop it into their cup at breakfast, and they'll be none the wiser about you and Lover Boy." George gave Harry a grin, and Harry tried his best to return the gesture. But he was so, so tired.
Draco wasn't looking much better than Harry, with dark rings around his eyes and limp hair hanging from his head. The only time they could get to see each other was late in the night, high in the Astronomy tower, and they were both managing four hours of sleep a night, tops. Draco tried to get Harry to just meet him in the Room of Requirement, where it would at least be more comfortable, but Harry didn't want to risk Draco's last remaining hiding place being discovered. It was incredibly unlikely that that was going to happen, but better safe than sorry, he supposed.
"Hope this works," Harry said, and the tiredness was evident in his voice. Draco murmured something in agreement.
George flapped a hand at them both. "Worrywarts, you are," he said. "I've done a lot worse in my day. This is cake, trust me."
Draco nodded and handed over the Invisibility Cloak, which he'd been using ever since this whole escapade began. He looked longingly at losing his last bit of protection, but George assured them he'd have it back before the night was over.
"And by that time you won't even need it," George said with a grin, thinking how lucky he was that he could mask his inner pain better than Draco and Harry combined.
"Well," he said, getting to his feet. "I'll leave you two alone now." He crouched to avoid hitting the low ceiling as he walked. He picked a different hiding spot every time when they needed to meet up, and now they were in some sort of alcove on the fourth floor, the entrance hidden by a tapestry. He pulled back the tapestry and left as quietly as he had entered.
"So," Draco said, "do you think…do you really think George knows his stuff?" There was worry in his eyes, behind all those gray bags, anyway.
"Well," Harry said. "Yeah. I do. He's never let me down before…but I know this all seems like it's too good to be true."
Draco picked a spider off of his shoulder and sent it scuttling off in the opposite direction. There was dust all over his hands and knees from where he'd been crawling around on the floor, and there was no telling how much he'd sucked down in his lungs. "It does," Draco said. "It's been so long, I can't even imagine what it'd be like not having to hide all the time."
"I know what you mean," Harry said, sighing. Then silence followed. But they'd been spending so much time with each other now that it was a comfortable silence.
They sat there for a little while longer, doing nothing but enjoying each other's company, until it was finally time to head down to breakfast.
By now Ron had come to terms with the fact that his best mate was dating a Malfoy, but that didn't mean he liked it. Every chance he got he made some snide remark or other about the blonde, which only got him a jab in the ribs from George and his toes stamped on by Hermione. Harry just laughed it off. He'd done a little bit of growing up in these couple rough months. He knew in time that Ron would get used to it, and if he didn't, oh well.
They all had a free hour before dinner, and Harry, George, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, and Neville were all seated at a table in the Gryffindor common room, batting around some light conversation and scribbling out a bit of homework.
"Harry," Ron said. "Can I ask you something?"
Harry sat his quill down and looked up from his Herbology essay. He could tell by the tone in his voice that he probably wasn't going to much like the question Ron had in mind.
But he pushed all of that to the back of his mind. "Sure," Harry said with a shrug. "Ask away."
"This is something I've been wondering for a long time, and I've got to ask it because it's driving me mad. So, please just answer it for me, alright?"
Harry smiled a little. He'd bet anything that Ron's question had something to do with Draco. "Go on," he said.
"Of all the blokes you could've chosen," he started, and paused for a half-second when every head at the table pivoted to stare at him. "Why Malfoy? Why? I swear, I've thought about it over and over, and I can't think of a bloody thing that would make you fancy him. Please, just tell me."
Now every pair of eyes drifted away from Ron and onto Harry. With the exception of Hermione, it looked like everyone else wanted to know the answer to that question just as much as Ron did.
"Well, it's just—" Harry started, but he didn't even know where to begin.
They all looked at him expectantly.
"I don't really know how to explain it," he said, a hint of defeat in his voice. "It's like…I didn't really know him, until Slughorn made us do that Potions project together, and now I know…how he really is. I guess you could say." He scratched at his arm, which was very much reminiscent of Draco's fidgeting habit. He dropped his hands down into his lap, forcing them still.
"And how is he really?" Ron prodded.
"He's…" Harry said, but then he didn't know what to add to that. How could you sum up Draco Malfoy in one sentence, when there were all those different layers to peel through?
"…Different," Harry said.
"As in, not a slimy git anymore?" Ron said, and Hermione gave him a seething look.
But Harry just smiled. He could easily turn all this into a fight, like he might've done in fourth year, but why bother? It wasn't worth it to get all defensive, it really wasn't.
"I suppose he can still be a slimy git when he wants to be," Harry said with a laugh. "But now I guess I understand why he's a slimy git."
Ron didn't know what else to say, after that, but everyone else wanted to throw their two cents in on the matter, so their table wasn't silent for long.
"I think some of it's kind of psychological," Hermione said. "No offense, Harry, but you've got a bit of a hero complex. Not that that's bad, or anything," she said quickly, holding her hands up in front of her. "Because it obviously isn't. But maybe somewhere in your mind, the idea of a sort of good versus evil relationship really appeals to you."
"But I didn't think Malfoy was really evil, he just affiliated with You-Know-Who because his father made him," Neville piped in.
"Well, that's sort of true," Hermione said. "But you've got to consider the…"
And so the conversation about Draco went on, and Harry was just sitting back, listening to it all. Every one of them seemed to have a differing opinion on Harry's love life and why he chose who he did, and it was amusing, really.
It was George who finally said what he'd been thinking the whole time. "Yeah, but what if none of that matters, and Harry's dating Draco just because he fancies him? Does there really have to be a reason?" Harry smiled to himself.
"Well, there has to be a reason," Hermione said matter-of-factly.
"Alright, if there's got to be a reason, how come you're dating Ron, then?"
"Because—" Hermione started. Ron looked at her expectantly. "Well, he's nice, and…" She was silent after that, brow furrowed in apparent thought.
"See, there's no real reason, except that you fancy him," George said.
"You don't like me because I'm good-looking?" Ron said.
Then they started bickering back and forth, young couple stuff, no big deal, and the conversation spun of its own accord, leaving Harry out again. He was perfectly fine with that. He shook his head and smiled to himself.
Slowly but surely, Harry's relationship was becoming a norm. It had been a long time since he thought something might actually turn out good, for a change.
Draco worried at his lip in the Great Hall come suppertime. Once again he was sitting far, far away from everyone else (with the exception of Pansy), and even though he knew their true colors now, it would be nice to feel like he was part of a group again—until school was out, at least. He supposed he was shallow that way.
He was in the process of buttering toast when he felt a tap at his shoulder. He whipped around, but no one was there.
He smiled. This was George's pre-determined signal that he'd arrived to do some mischief.
Pansy caught the look on Draco's face. "He's here, isn't he?" she whispered, and Draco nodded.
He risked a glance every now and then to see if he could make out the faintest glimpse of movement, but he couldn't. Ten, fifteen minutes passed, and nothing happened—or nothing he could notice, anyway. He thought maybe George couldn't get close enough, or he didn't want to risk blowing his cover, or—
"Hey!" Blaise called down the table, and Draco's heart skipped a beat. "What are you two doing sitting down there all by yourselves, eh?"
"Just, er—had to discuss something in private for a bit," Pansy said, standing up. She hauled Draco up by the arm, as well. "We're all done now." She gave Draco a meaningful look, but he wasn't sure what it meant, exactly.
Pansy sat down next to Blaise, and, not knowing what else to do with himself, Draco sat down next to Pansy, feeling incredibly uncomfortable with himself. Surely it couldn't have been that easy. Surely there was something else to it. They couldn't have just—
"Pass the potatoes, would you?" Theo said, and it took a dig in the ribs from Pansy to realize Theo was talking to him. Dumbfounded, he handed over the potatoes in question, still not believing such civil words were coming out of the other boy's mouth and meant for him.
"Something the matter, Draco?" Theo said. "You look sick."
"Er—'m fine," Draco muttered, still in disbelief.
Just like that, all their memories of Draco and Harry's goings-on were gone, dissolved like so much salt. Draco was still leery, but it looked like George's Memory Marvels had worked.
Even though Draco didn't catch it, Harry looked over at his new spot at the Slytherin table and smiled with relief.