This is just something that popped into my head one night. Set during HBP. Harry is following Draco around and something strange happens during a fight. This was originally going to be a slash fic but I decided against it. Could still be slash if you squint.

I do not own any of these fabulous characters, no matter how much I wish I did.
They belong to J.K. Rowling!

Harry Potter was wandering around Hogwarts castle early in the morning, cursing himself for not wearing warmer robes that day. It was almost six A.M. and the cold temperature of the night had yet to subside. Still, he continued on his way through the halls, muttering a curse under his breath for losing his target.

Draco Malfoy.

He was up to something, there was no doubt about it in Harry's mind, so when he woke after another nightmare that ultimately ended with Voldemort viciously murdering all his friends and saw the young Slytherin on the Marauder's map, he grabbed his Invisibility Cloak and hurriedly made to follow him. Malfoy had been alone, his two bodyguard lackeys nowhere in sight. Harry managed to follow him for a good twenty minutes before the blonde turned a corner and disappeared.

Why didn't I take the map with me? He thought gloomily. Oh, right. Because I'm a bloody idiot!

He wasn't far from Gryffindor Tower now, but going in there to get the map was not something he was going to do. The other Gryffindors would have started waking up by now and probably panicking at his absence. They would notice him enter the room even with his Cloak and Harry shuddered at all the questions and concerned faces that would greet him.

He was glad they cared, he really was, but at the same time he knew that none of them truly understood. They connected his gloominess, mood swings, and nightmares to Sirius' death but that wasn't it. He felt that no matter how hard he tried he wouldn't be able to reach out to them as he had in their younger years. They were no longer connected. Even Ron and Hermione, who had been Harry's best friends since year one couldn't know what he was feeling. Besides, Harry knew that it wouldn't be fair to pile his concerns on them. The duo had their own things to deal with, like stubbornly denying their feelings for one another.

They talked about him, he knew. They'd stopped asking questions weeks ago but the worrying glances they'd throw his way when they thought Harry wasn't looking were starting to annoy him. Every time he went to sleep early or skipped a meal, they'd talk in hushed whispers behind his back.

I wonder what they'd say if I told them I wasn't deaf, Harry thought bitterly.

He was snapped out of his thoughts however, when he bumped into a tall, warm object. Harry forgot about his Cloak and instantly muttered, "Sorry," when he realized it wasn't an object but a person standing before him.

"Sorry you were following me or sorry you got caught?" asked a cold, bitter tone. Harry's head shot up just as Malfoy reached out and threw the Cloak off him.

"Malfoy," he instantly snarled.

"Potter," was the equally vicious reply. "Stalking me now, are you?"

"Just wanted to ask how your deal old dad was doing. Dementors are treating him well, I hope."

Malfoy snarled, and before Harry knew what was happening, his fist connected with the Gryffindor's face and sent him sprawling on the floor. Harry got over his shock quickly and side kicked his rival's feet, causing him to fall to the floor as well. Throwing his glasses off his face, Harry lunged at the fallen blonde and punched his face, his chest, his stomach, fists flying in a fury that he'd been bottling up for months.

Malfoy took the first few punches silently and then used all his strength to push the dark-haired boy off him. They were both back on their feet in seconds and the brawl continued, causing vicious cries and howls of pain to come from both of the boys.

"You're a disgusting piece of trash just like your pathetic father!" Harry yelled between punches.

"I am not my father!"

Suddenly, a peculiar kick from Malfoy had Harry lying on his back with his opponent above him, hands palms-down on the floor on either side of his face. They stopped moving and breathed heavily, searching each other's eyes for something.

Harry contemplated what the Slytherin had said just then. I am not my father, the words repeated in his head. No, he wasn't his father. Malfoy had always been a prick and an evil bastard towards Harry and his friends, but he'd never actually done anything truly horrible. His game was full of taunts and name calling, sometimes the occasional fist fight and fake dueling promise. He'd expressed his dislike for Muggle-borns on several occasions, but the words didn't have any really meaning behind them. They were just what his father had taught him to say, what he taught Malfoy to believe.

Before Harry thought about what he was doing, he told the boy on top of him the one thing that's been clawing at his mind since he saw Voldemort get resurrected with the help of his blood.

"I can't defeat him," he said so quietly it was a shock Malfoy heard him at all. "I'm supposed to defeat him and I don't think I can."

Draco Malfoy studied his enemy's face intently. Here he was, newly fledged Death Eater charged with the task of killing the most powerful Headmaster the school had ever seen, with The Boy Who Lived at his full mercy and all he could do was stare. The Dark Lord had not turned out to be what Draco imagined. He was powerful, yes, but vile and disgusting and ultimately evil. He was threatening to kill his parents if his mission was not fulfilled. Draco found himself hoping that the Gryffindor that now lay beneath him would defeat his new master soon, but now that Harry Potter was confessing his doubts, it made it that much easier to pick what side he was on.

"So let me help you," he said as quietly as the other boy had.

Harry's eyes widened with shock. This could easily be an attempt to trick and lure him to his death, but there was no malice when the blonde boy had spoken, no tricks up his sleeve.

"Do you want my help?" the Slytherin spoke again, just as quietly as last time. He remembered the last time he offered his help to the boy, back in first year. The rejection he received stung as much now as it had then.

Harry nodded slowly, uncertainly, and then a brilliant smile broke his serious face. "Definitely," he said enthusiastically.

Draco blinked. Harry Potter was smiling at him. Smiling. It wasn't an evil or smug grin, just a warm twist of his lips that could be directed at a friend. A friend. Were they friends now? He voiced this question out loud.

Harry hesitated a moment. "I suppose we are… Draco," he finally said, testing out the foreign name on his tongue.

Draco gave him a small smile but quickly turned serious again. "He… he has my family. And I know you hate my father, I hate him too, but he is family. I don't want him to die, but if I don't do what he wants, then both father and mother are doomed," Draco rushed, stopping only to collect his breath. "I don't want to do what he asked of me."

For the second time that morning, Harry's eyes widened. They both knew whom Draco was talking about, and he understood what the blonde boy was feeling. If his parents were still alive, Harry would do anything to protect them; even serve the madman that everyone feared. He slowly nodded, shocked that Draco was even telling him this. "I'll help you and your family. Or at least I'll try. I don't think I… I don't think I'll be able to kill him, in the end."

"I don't think it matters. What's important right now is that you do what you can at this moment and stop him from doing any more damage. You don't know how this will end. For all we know, Voldemort could get small pox tonight and die in less than a day. You can cross the 'killing him' bridge when you get to it."

"I guess," Harry muttered, obviously still depressed. He craned his neck over Draco's arm and groaned loudly when he saw the figure that approached them. Draco looked behind him and saw a furious Hermione Granger walking towards them with her wand pointed at him. For a second, he wondered why Harry had groaned at the sight of his best friend but realized he hadn't seen the Golden Trio together in quite some time.

"Let him go right now, Malfoy!" Hermione was almost growling at him when she'd reached the boys.

Draco stood up with a groan, his body sore from the fight he'd just had. Harry did the same.

"How dare you attack him, you slimy, disgu-" Hermione began, but Draco just held up a hand to silence her.

"Granger, if you knew what was good for you, you'd just walk away right now."

Surprisingly, the female Gryffindor lowered her wand stiffly and snarled at the Slytherin. "Let's go, Harry." She grabbed her friend's wrist and he yelped in pain at the contact, making her let go almost immediately.

"You okay?" Draco asked before Hermione could say anything. She stared at him in shock.

"Oh, like you care if he's okay!"

He was just about to retort when another moan of pain came from their Gryffindor friend. Draco scowled. "Harry, what's wrong?"

"You punched me in the stomach at least five times, remember?" He asked, causing Draco to chuckle a bit.

"Yeah, sorry about that."

"I think I twisted my ankle, too." To prove his point, Harry took a step forward and almost instantly began falling. Draco, with the speed of a Seeker, wrapped an arm around the Gryffindor's waist. Hermione's eyes looked like they were going to fall out of their sockets at any time.

"What are you doing? You're… you're enemies! Harry, what's going on?" she demanded.

"Hermione, can you please just go?" Harry responded. "I can't deal with you right now. I'll see you at lunch, okay?" He looked up at Draco. "We should go see Madam Pomfrey, your face is starting to bruise."

"Malfoy's do not bruise," Draco said proudly, causing Harry to smile again.

"They do if a Potter hits them."

"Oh be quiet." He tightened his grip on Harry's waist and steered them towards the Hospital Wing, Hermione frozen in her place behind them. "You'll see tomorrow, I'll have no bruises at all and you'll be covered with them." He paused. "I can't believe I'm having friendly banter with a Gryffindor."

"Scared, Malfoy?"

"You wish."

Yay for reversal of the duel banter from CoS! Sorry if they seem OOC, it's just the way I imagined it.

I also apologise for not elaborating on Hermione's reaction. I like to think that she'd accept their friendship in the end since Harry is obviously happy and he hasn't been that way for a long time.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed the story and remember: Reviews make me happy!