Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.
Summary: DM/HP Ever since the end of the war, Harry has been putting various friends up with house as they made their way to getting their lives on track. He watches them all pass him by until one guest shows him the way to his own future.
The dark halls of Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place were unnaturally chilly for the warm August weather. Harry Potter found himself pulling his summer day robe tighter to his body as he made his way to the homey kitchen in the back of the house. Ever since graduating from Hogwarts, he had taken up residence in his late Godfather's home. With the help of the Weasley's, Hermione, and many other friends from their year, Harry was able to turn the dim home into one that actually looked like it housed people full of life. The chill in the corridors never seemed go away, however, and Harry just learned to bundle up before traveling through his home.
There was a candle lit in the kitchen, Harry could see the glow through the crack created by the open door. It wasn't out of the ordinary for people to be in his home without his knowledge. Even though the war was over, it was still used as a meeting spot, though now that they where living happier times the meetings were mostly along the lines of birthdays and other events. Also, ever since the war Harry seldom liked to be alone. If he was alone all he had for company were his thoughts, thoughts that plagued his nights and kept him from sleep. That was why he was awake in the middle of the night on the way down to the kitchens to find a bite to eat.
Harry pushed open the door and his eyes were instantly assaulted by light. When his eyes adjusted and the room came back in to focus the first thing his eyes fell on were the figure standing by the stove, gracefully preparing pancakes, flipping them into the air with ease.
"There's firewhisky on the table if you want it." Draco Malfoy offered casually, looking over his shoulder to see who had walked in, turning back to the stove to flip another pancake.
"You couldn't sleep either?" Harry asked as he took a seat to watch the newest guest in his home act as if he had lived there all his life.
"No, too much on my mind." The silence in the room was thick, threatening to overwhelm them. Harry didn't know if he should question further, he didn't know if he wanted to. Sure the war was over and Malfoy was certainly not his enemy, Harry had let him into his own home after all, but they weren't exactly friendly either. It just seemed in his nature to help people and when Draco had been at his door step earlier that morning, Harry hadn't thought twice about letting him into his home. Just before Harry was able to breach the uncomfortable silence, Draco had a plate of pancakes levitating to him. "Butter or jam?"
"You know I should really be serving you, this is my house." Harry laughed feeling the tension fall from him as he was back into familiar territory, small talk.
"Consider it payment for letting me stay." Draco shrugged and took a seat at the table as the jam and butter flew to the table.
"If you don't mind me asking, why are you here? I mean, what made you need a room." Harry went for the jam and added a generous amount to his pancakes, taking in the delicious smell wafting up.
"Some ministry officials decided that searching the manor wasn't enough, they came by my flat this morning and kicked me out of my own home because according to them someone who wished to be kept anonymous reported me for smuggling dark objects. I'm not sure how I could have done that however because I was out of the country visiting a colleague. I've been gone for three months and I just got back two nights ago." Draco said bitterly, preparing his midnight snake with a thin layer of butter, doing his best to keep the anger out of his tone.
"I can put in a good word for you, I still have my connections." Harry offered as he buttered up the steaming pancakes, eyes averting the blond's.
"Of course you do, you're the chosen one." At Draco's snippy comment, Harry's head snapped up and their eyes met, watching the other for a reaction, after a minute passed Draco adverted his eyes. "Sorry, habit." He muttered before returning to his midnight snack.
"It's fine." Harry quickly responded, just wishing for the awkward air to dissipate. "We all have old habits."
"Yeah." The conversation died again as they both turned to their food, pretending to not acknowledge the tension in the room.
"These are really good, how did you learn to cook?" Harry said suddenly, both choosing to ignore the very sudden subject change.
"Well the first time the Manor was raided we were forced to find lodging quickly. It was still so soon after the war no one would let us in so we stayed at a muggle inn. Mum and Father refused to eat muggle food and all of our wands had been stripped of us so I was forced to cook until we could go back. It's sort of like potions, actually, so I took it up rather quickly. I find cooking the muggle way soothing now."
"I never thought of cooking like potion making before. I probably would have done better in Hogwarts, otherwise." Harry laughed at the thought, shaking his head more to himself than to his companion, but Draco chuckled as well.
"You're not the only one, Severus was always horrible at cooking." Draco said, rolling his eyes at old, fond memories.
"You've eaten Snape's cooking before? When in the blazes was that?" Harry asked, laugh lines prominent on his face and Draco couldn't help, but smile back.
"Well he was my Godfather, so I used to spend time over the summer with him, especially when I was younger and he was home from Hogwarts. Most of the time he would order out food because he didn't have a house elf, but sometimes he would forget and be forced to cook. It was awful, I was always convinced he used actual potions ingredients and not food."
"I never knew he was your Godfather. I suppose that explains why he protected you so much when we were school."
"Think what you want to, but he actually didn't pick favorites. Sure he seemed to, but once anyone from another house went away, Severus made sure to give them a piece of his mind. I think I was the only one to escape that, most of the time."
"Why would he do that though? Wouldn't you want to make an example of that student so others would learn not to follow in their lead?"
"It isn't about making an example. Our house was built on the idea that you had to have to faces, a public face and a private face. It was important for us to keep a form of composure to the public eye, but once we were away from it's glare, we could deal with our own matters. Our house worked very much like pureblood high society works."
"I don't think I will ever understand all of that pureblood decorum. It seems like a lot of rules to follow with little gain." Harry shook his head, sitting back in his chair feeling much more comfortable with this form of intellectual banter.
"It might seem that way to you. Gryffindors are about rash action and standing up for what you think is right. While these can be good qualities, and don't look so surprised that I am wiling to admit that, we are adults now, aren't we?" Draco rolled his eyes at Harry's playful shocked expression, "Well as I was saying, good qualities at times, for instance in the heat of war you can just run with the moment, but we Slytherins feel really out of place, we are much more used to planning our actions and committing them in a way that we get what we need. But in a time of peace it is better to be calm and be able to keep yourself and your actions in line. Also in the case of politicians, it would be much better to have the ability to stop and carefully plan out a course of action first."
"Yes, but if you are politician you should care more for your people then your own personal gain, you would have to have some Gryffindor in you for that."
"More like you would just have to have a hero complex." Draco threw Harry a sly grin that Harry laughed off easily.
"Or that I suppose. Though if I were a politician I think I would run out of patients too quickly and be out of a job."
"Well, yes, you can't be hot-headed and try to run a government, though you would make a good figure head, Potter."
"I suppose I should take that as a compliment, but yes I was actually offered the job as a figure head of sorts for the Ministry right after the war. I turned it down though, I wasn't ready to be back in the public eye, I still don't think I am even now."
"So is that what you meant by you still have connections? It figures they would have wanted you, anyone would have followed what you said."
"Yes and no, I have connections in other ways, old friends that I've fought beside that still think they owe me life debts despite what I might tell them. But yes, I don't think I ever want to be in the public eye again because the power that my name alone seems to hold over this country. It is very dangerous. It won't take long before the public creates a monster out of me again, before they think that I am turning evil again, and before I am cast out. Again."
"Would you really turn dark with all the power? I would think you are a strong enough wizard not to."
"Again I suppose that is a compliment, but in the end would it matter even if I didn't? People would suggest it could happen and things would spiral out of control."
"That is very true." The two sat in silence again, though this time it was very comforting. When they cleared their plates, Draco sent them to the sink and spelled them to wash themselves leaving him to focus on Harry again. "Well it's late, or early I suppose, I think I will be able to fall asleep now."
"Me too." Harry stood to yawn and stretch, failing to notice that Draco's eyes seemed to to linger for mere seconds on the sliver of exposed skin between his bed shirt and lounge pants.
"Good night, Potter." Draco nodded his head toward the green-eyed man, before heading up the stairs to his room.
"Good night, Malfoy." Harry called back, spelling the kitchen clean before also heading up the stairs to his own room.
Harry walked up to his room deep in thought. That was the first time he could remember having a civil conversation that didn't leave him walking away wanting to hurt the blond. If they could continue this civil act then maybe having Malfoy stay until his affairs were sorted wouldn't be as difficult as Ron had insisted it would be. And maybe it wasn't an act. Harry found himself thinking over their brief interaction finding that as far as his own actions were concerned he hadn't been acting at all and Malfoy seemed to be lacking his trademark masks that Harry hated so much. The whole situation puzzled him and actually gave him a bit of a headache, so Harry decided to only take the incident at face value, opting to mull it over further in the morning after he'd had some sleep.
The curtains were drawn in Harry's room and he slowly made his way to bed, throwing his robe over a chair, knowing that Dobby or one of the other house elves would get to it for him before he awoke. With a slight chuckle at Hermione's possible reaction to Harry having his house elves do a task he could have very well done himself, Harry lay down, remembering that Hermione would be by early in the morning.
"Bloody fantastic, so much for getting a decent amount of sleep." Harry grumbled to the empty room as he turned over, burying his head deeper into his pillow. Unlike many of his sleepless nights before however, Harry surprisingly found sleep easily, drifting off into a dreamless night.
"Mister Harry Potter sir! You must wake up!" The squeaky voice of a house elf was the first thing to assault Harry's ears as he woke up grumpily from his peaceful sleep. "You must wake up! Miss Hermione is here!"
"Tell her to go away." Harry mumbled, rolling over trying to escape the sunlight and the noise.
"I will not be told to go away Harry Potter!" The shrill voice from his doorway only made Harry want to bury himself further into his sheets.
"Oh, morning 'Mione." The boy said sheepishly, looking up at the infuriated woman
"Good morning? It's just past noon!" Hermione cried exasperated, spelling clothes out of the dresser and onto his bed. "Get up and get dressed. We have a busy day ahead of us!"
"May I remind you that you are the one who wants to redo my home, not me? Why do you need me to help?" Harry whined, but got up anyways. He also wanted to tell her that he could pick out his own clothes, but he refrained. There where only so many fights he could pick the woman before he gave in and he was quickly coming to that limit.
"Because." Hermione rolled her eyes like that explained everything.
"Fine. Let me change at least." Harry grumbled, rolling out of bed and putting on whatever clothing Hermione had thrown at him.
Harry quickly got ready, knowing that if he took too long Hermione would have more choice words with him. When he hurriedly opened the door expecting to see his persistent friend, however, Hermione was no where to be seen. Since Harry was staying in Sirius' old room and he knew that the only other room on the floor, Regulus' old room, was currently boarded up until he was ready to go through the room and fix it up however he saw fit, Harry knew that Hermione couldn't be on the top floor anymore. Before Harry had too long to ponder her whereabouts, however, his attention was drawn to the wafting smell of coffee and pancakes that was making its way up from the ground floor. Hermione forgotten, Harry made his way to the kitchen, wondering who could have possibly cooked, knowing that the house elves wouldn't have made food with Hermione coming over. The last time they had tried to cook for the brunette she tried to free them. That fiasco did not end well and when she proceeded to refuse to eat their cooking all of the elves became even more offended. All of the elves minus Dobby were scarce around the house when Hermione, the evil one as they called her, was around.
"I'm not eating that! Are you crazy! It could be poisoned!" The harsh cry of Ron Weasley was one that Harry was all too familiar with, and realizing that the red-head must have been referring to Malfoy's cooking, Harry took off a a run to stop the impending fight.
"Honestly Ronald, he wouldn't poison you. Haven't you learned anything from the war? Holding grudges and being prejudice will only cause more problems." Hermione shouted back. Harry had yet to reach the room, but he could only imagine that her hands were set firmly on her hips.
"I would listen to her Weasley. I have no intent to harm you or anyone here." Draco spoke with a hint of his old drawl, but otherwise seemed calm and uncaring as Harry burst through the door. "You can ask Potter, he ate my cooking last night and lived."
"What?" Ron turned on Harry, his face starting to become more and more red by the second and Harry couldn't stop himself from rolling his eyes.
"Calm down Ron. It's much too early in the morning for this."
"Afternoon." Hermione huffed from Ron's side. "It's well past noon." Harry nearly laughed when he saw that her hands where in fact on her hips. Sometimes she was just too predictable.
"Yes, you have already informed me of this, 'Mione." Harry rubbed his temple feeling the headache starting.
"You don't have to eat my cooking if you don't want." Draco suggested as he sat down at the table, spelling up a serving for Harry, drowning in jam just as the man had eaten them just hours ago.
"I think I should keep you around, you have my breakfast prepared just the way I like it. The house elves could learn a thing or two from you." Harry joked as he took his seat, had he not been watching Ron to see when the hot-headed man would start on his next list of profanities and questions, Harry would have noticed the small smile that graced Malfoy's lips.
"Oh so now you're friends? I guess you don't need me here then!" Ron continued to yell and Hermione even sat and joined Harry and Draco at the table, realizing that trying to stop Ron would be pointless. "Oh good, and you too. My own fiance won't even side with me!"
"Ron if you only came by my home to yell at me I would suggest you leave." Harry sighed as he did his best to will his headache away.
"Honestly Ron, you are being a bloody arse right now." Hermione agreed, rolling her eyes at Draco's mock look of horror at her cursing. "Oh get over it, so I curse sometimes."
"I would have never guessed." Draco's old drawl had returned, but the slight upturn of his lips was genuine and Hermione ignored it.
"Just lovely, continue to have your nice little breakfast and continue to ignore me, fine I will be waiting in the sitting room when you come to your senses." Ron stormed out of the room and down the hall, stomping all the way until they heard the door to the sitting room open and slam.
"Sorry, we had a row this morning and he's still sore." Hermione said simply, though her tone conveyed that Ron wasn't the only one still upset.
"Do me a favor, next time don't bring him over when he's in one of his moods. There are reasons I didn't push for him to stay when the two of you decided to move in together." Harry rolled his eyes. He loved Ron, the boy had been his best mate for far too long, but he knew that there where times where it was best to just let him be.
"I can understand why. Is he always so animated?" Draco asked, looking to Harry, thinking that Hermione would take offense to the comment.
"Only when they've just had a row, or the opposite." Harry's grin almost became a leer and Hermione's bright pink cheeks were enough to tell Draco just what Harry meant by the opposite.
"Well I've just lost my appetite." Draco cringed and took care of his dishes. "Before Weasley began his yelling I heard him mention remodeling. Are you working on the house today?"
"Actually we are. If you would like to help you can, but don't feel obligated." Harry threw a look at Hermione. "Don't make the poor bloke work, I think having him cook is payment enough to stay for a while. Not that I even require payment."
"I wasn't going to make him!" Hermione looked indignant. "I'm only making you and Ron because this is your house and we both know that if he's left to his own devises, Ronald tends to get himself into trouble." She then left the room in search for Ron so they could start the work for the day.
"Well anyways, would you like to join in?" Harry instantly felt the air in the room relax when Hermione left.
"No I think I'm actually going to visit the library. I saw a book in there yesterday that I found intriguing." Draco's nonchalant mask seemed to fall away and Harry knew that spending time with Hermione and Ron made Malfoy feel uncomfortable.
"Alright then. Just call on one of the house elves if you need anything. Mipsy will be your personal elf during your stay."
"Alright, thank you." Draco smiled sincerely.
It struck Harry as odd that this was the first time he could ever remember seeing the blond smile a genuine smile. He admitted to himself that he rather liked it and felt special that Draco seemed to really only feel comfortable enough to be himself around Harry. He would never say it out loud, but deep down Harry knew that he would have no issues with sharing his home with Draco, on the contrary he could see himself rather enjoying it. With a smile of his own in place, Harry left the kitchen in search of his two, most likely arguing, friends to start the tedious task of listening to Hermione bark orders at them. The day didn't seem as bad has he had thought it would be and Harry was actually rather looking forward to it. Letting Malfoy into his home was obviously the start of something different, something interesting, and the forever curious side of Harry was just dying to find out what else was in store.
2.1.12 I just finished editing this chapter, and I will be going through the rest of the story because I know it desperately needs it. Not much was changed in this chapter from the original, though I did take out a few line and add in a few.