A/N: A heads up before you start reading:

This is a WIP and will not have regular updates. (I do have a general idea of how the plot will go though.)

It will most likely stray to a T rating eventually, but I am still deciding whether it will be slash.

And on a side note, this is my first attempt at the Harry Potter fandom.


Harry Potter was walking down the street late one night (or possibly early one morning), returning home from a party. Everyone had been there. Most of the younger Weasleys, Ron and Hermione of course, Neville who he hadn't seen in awhile, Luna who he affectionately thought was still as strange as ever, and Ginny. She had looked particularly pretty in a pale green dress that Luna had claimed complimented his eyes very well, ignoring their exasperated claims that they were no longer a couple.

His mind still on the night's revelries, he almost missed the faint shuffling sound from the alleyway. But one didn't learn to be unobservant when he'd been on the run in the woods with both the Ministry of Magic and Voldemort's forces hunting for him. So he resignedly decided that as trouble still stuck to him like a magnet, he might as well deal with whatever it was now rather than being woken up to do so later. Pulling out his wand, he took a careful step into the alley.

There didn't seem to be anything there. He hoped so anyway. He wasn't really in the mood to deal with a murderous Death Eater out to…well murder him. He'd had quite enough of that to last one lifetime, thank you very much. For now, he'd like to relax and try to piece together a life for himself. Preferably one that was dark wizard free.

Unfortunately, that was harder to do than expected, though thinking back now, he probably shouldn't have been surprised. After all, Harry had managed to defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (who most still refused to call by his real name). Obviously he had a duty to destroy his followers too, as well as any and all other terrorist organizations that threatened the safety and security of the world. Right.

Whatever the case, he was hounded by the Auror office, the Prophet, as well as his fans, the number of which seemed to be increasing exponentially every day. Of course, his continued (mostly accidental) involvement in the roundup of deadly Death Eaters and the like didn't help. It wasn't like he went out looking for a fight. It wasn't his fault that random members of Voldemort's forces liked ambushing him so that he was forced to defend himself, win the resulting fight, and hand the stunned and bound Death Eater over to the Ministry. It was all getting a bit ridiculous. For one thing, he hadn't realized Voldemort had acquired such a large number of followers in so short a time.

Well at least he could take a break from all that now. Harry firmly resolved to return to Grimmauld Place and remain hiding—resting—there for the rest of the summer. After all, Hermione had said he should get more sleep. And, there wouldn't be much to do in the outside world.

Hermione and Ron had gotten married that spring, and were departing on their honeymoon. Ginny was going on one of Luna's trips to catch a nargle. They'd invited him, but he'd bowed out, saying that he had had enough of camping and forests. The rest of the Weasleys were going to France to join Bill and Fleur in visiting Fleur's parents. This he was also invited to, but he'd declined this offer too. So finally, after much "Come with us! It'll be fun!" and "You should come too, Harry dear," and multiple other entreaties, Harry had finally managed to secure himself the rest of the summer alone for himself.

A whole summer to grieve in private. A whole three months to come to terms with the past, and map out his future. And though he would miss his friends, he needed that for himself. And anyway, it wouldn't be like before when he was stuck at the Dursleys'.

He should've known in wouldn't work out that way. He knew that noises in dark alleys at the dead of night usually indicated trouble.

He also knew that right now he was too tired to care. "Lumos," he whispered (though if they could see the light, they would know he was there regardless of how loudly he talked). A rusted dumpster that had seen better days slumped against the brick wall of the alley. He squinted. Strange shadows were stretched grotesquely out of proportion so that it was difficult to tell what they belonged to anymore.

"Um. Hello?" Harry called out. He heard a shuffling noise from behind the dumpster at the sound of his voice and he sighed, hoping that it was just a rat.

Gripping his wand more firmly, he moved carefully toward it. He stopped right in front of it and took a deep breath. Wand at the ready, he stepped around it—where his startled gaze fell upon none other than the last person Harry wanted to see in the world at the moment (other than "old snake-face" himself, as Ron would've put it).

Draco Malfoy.

Harry hesitated, unsure of what to do.

On one hand, he was Draco Malfoy. On the other hand, he looked terrible. On the other other hand, once the other man had gotten over his shock, he was sneering at Harry in a way so that Harry, even though he was standing over Malfoy who was sitting on the ground, felt like he was a bug that Malfoy had found squashed under his (very expensive) shoe. This wasn't exactly endearing him to Harry in any way. Especially as the familiar sneer was now accompanied by a cold stare.

He lowered the wand unconsciously to look more closely at Malfoy's face. There seemed to be a cut over his left eye, and there was dried blood at the corner of his mouth.

"Argh Potter," Malfoy snarled. "Get that light away from my face!"

Harry jerked his wand away and glared at him in annoyance. "I'm just trying to help."

"And I didn't ask for it. Now kindly remove yourself from here and leave me alone," Malfoy snapped.

The harsh statement was alleviated somewhat by a lithe gray tabby cat that had snuck up on them unheard and leapt into his lap, eliciting a very un-Malfoy-like yelp. Harry quashed an urge to laugh. He didn't seem to do a very good job of hiding it though because Malfoy flushed and his gaze, if anything, managed to get colder yet. The cat, despite attempts to dislodge it, remained sitting on him, and glared up at Harry too. He couldn't help but notice that their eyes were the exactly the same shade of gray.

Harry threw up his hands. "Look, Malfoy, I don't really like you—"

"—You're not my favorite person either," Malfoy interrupted snarkily.

"I don't really like you," Harry repeated over the interruption, "but there's obviously something wrong and—"

"—Oh, figured out that much have you?" Malfoy snapped.

"Would you quit interrupting me?" Harry exploded. The other man clenched his jaw and nodded, though he somehow managed to look smug even while sitting next to a dumpster in a dark alley in the middle of the night. "Look, if you need help, you can ask me, alright?"

Malfoy stared up at him, and for a moment there was not a trace of a sneer on his face. Harry almost allowed himself to hope that he would accept the help.

Then his face returned to its standard expression, and he said, almost wearily, "I said I don't need it. Now go away and stop bothering me." The cat hissed at Harry in agreement.

"Fine!" Harry said, exasperated. Turning on his heel, he stalked off, fuming silently to himself. He didn't even know why he had bothered in the first place. Obviously, Malfoy didn't want any help from him. In some ways he had been worse than Voldemort during their days at Hogwarts, constantly taunting and harassing him, whereas Voldemort had only appeared a few times during his dreams.

And caused the occasional hallucination. And murdered Harry's parents. And caused the deaths behind his godfather, Remus, Fred, Mad-Eye, Tonks, Dobby, Hedwig, and countless others. And attacked a school that was defended by mere students, with an entire army.

Unbidden, a memory of the Malfoy family huddled together in the Great Hall after the Battle of Hogwarts, looking around at the celebrating wizards and witches around them and wondering whether they had the right to be there appeared in his mind.

Where were Malfoy's parents now?

Harry sighed. He looked longingly at his front door and imagined the cheerful fire Kreacher would have put on for him, his soft bed upstairs in his room. Then he thought of Malfoy sitting outside in that alley with a cut on his face and only a cat with the same color eyes as him keeping him company. He glanced once more at the door and turned once, closing his eyes and picturing the alleyway in his head…