Title: Choices
Author: DandalfTheWhite
Raiting: T
Spoilers: Books 1-5
Genre: Drama, Romance, Friendship, Fluff
Era: The Harry Potter at Hogwarts Years
Main Characters: Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter
Ships: Draco/Harry
Summary: AU Fifth Year. Draco stops Harry in the hallway after a detention with Umbridge. Draco/Harry slash.
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and that all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator or current owner.
Author's Notes: This is a Draco/Harry romance that takes place in fifth year. It is a pretty lighthearted story, and I tried to avoid any evil twists and needless angst-it is mostly a happy, fluffy story. I have finished writing the story, and it is in the process of being edited now. Mostly everything that happens in OotP still happens, but here we see it from Draco's point of view. And as you will see, Draco is changed a bit from canon, due to events that are explained. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. Special thanks to my beta DancingHorses!

Chapter One

The summer before Draco Malfoy's fifth year had been interesting.

Towards the end of his fourth year of school, he had learned from his father that the Dark Lord had returned. Draco had been raised all his life to know this was possible, and that the Dark Lord would take over and there would be no Mudbloods or muggleborns to worry about any longer.

The summer started wonderfully. There was talk of the great and benevolent Dark Lord's return. Draco's father had been excited and invigorated. And Draco felt the same.

His father had told him of the ageless and charismatic man that the Dark Lord had been, but now... He was more snake then man.

The Dark Lord was—frankly—hideous. And rather scary, Draco thought.

It was a hot July day when Draco's father said that his journey to the dark was about to begin. That was the moment when he met the man his father worshiped.

The Dark Lord seemed insane, torturing his dedicated followers whenever they made the slightest mistake. His mansion was filled with vile and disgusting things that made Draco's stomach turn.

His father had had Crucio cast on him for arriving to the meeting a few minutes early. And when the Dark Lord had finished, he had cast it on Draco for good measure.

That was probably the moment that changes his opinion of the Dark Lord the most. Why torture your followers at all? Let alone for being early to a meeting. Wasn't that a good thing?

Returning to school a few months later, he didn't know what he was going to do.

Death Eaters and spies were everywhere and all Draco wanted to do was stay out of the war that was to come.

But at this point he didn't know what to do. He did know however, that he was changed.

He tried not to let it show, but the other Slytherins could tell. It was like they could smell blood on him and were circling, preparing to go for the kill.

Even on the train and at the opening feast, they could tell. Draco felt they were circling him like pack of wolves, waiting for just the right moment to strike him and destroy him.

He wouldn't let that happen easily, but he was unsure what he could do to stop it.

Gossip moved around Hogwarts faster than house–elves. The portraits talked to the ghosts who talked to the students who were overheard by the teachers who were eavesdropped on by Peeves.

One piece of gossip that was common knowledge by the end of the first day of classes was that Dolores Umbridge hated Harry Potter, and that the feeling was mutual. Everyone had their theory why.

Some said it was because Professor Umbridge was defending the truth and that Potter was lying about the fact that You-Know-Who was back. Others said it was because Harry Potter was standing up to the tyranny that was the Ministry of Magic. Some said that it was a conspiracy against the ministry or one against Potter. (A far smaller group said it was unresolved sexual tension between the two.)

If Umbridge ever heard that last theory, Harry Potter would still be serving detention come his NEWTs.

Regardless, the only student so far to get any detention with the new professor was Harry Potter, and he had it in spades.

Draco Malfoy heard all the rumors and knew all the gossip. He knew which were true and which were too disgusting to even comprehend. But he had to admit, sometime it sucked to be Potter.

Draco also knew that the Dark Lord was back. Not that he'd admit that to anyone who asked. And Potter was getting detention for such a Gryffindor reason, namely telling the truth. It was an irony that didn't escape most of the Slytherins.

Only a Gryffindor could get detention for telling the truth. Well, maybe a Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw could as well, but certainly not a Slytherin.

Supposedly, Potter had gotten a weeks worth of detention in his first class with Umbridge. Today was his second class with her, and Draco wondered if there would be any more fireworks.

The narrow stone corridor was barely lit. It was late on a Wednesday night, and the autumn chill had already begun.

As a prefect, it was Draco Malfoy's responsibility to patrol the halls after curfew. Usually it was a dull job. Not many students would risk points lost or detention to be out after hours.

There were always a few exceptions though, Draco thought as he watched a shadowy figure approach.

"Well, well, we are out late, aren't we Potter?" Draco Malfoy said, causing the culprit to jump.

"Malfoy, leave me alone. I just got out of detention." Potter said.

In the years that Draco had known Harry Potter, he had learned to tell his moods. Right now he was defensive and angry. In other words—dangerous. It was one thing for Draco to provoke Harry Potter to anger, but he needed to tread carefully when Potter was already feeling that way.

"Do you have a note from a professor saying that, Potter?"

"It's not that late, I'm going back to Gryffindor now." Potter said walking away.

"Hey! I was talking to you! I'm a prefect now, you have to listen to me!" As Draco said that, he reach out and grabbed Potter's right hand to stop him. Potter hissed in pain and pulled his hand free.

"Just leave me alone!" Potter said, bolting away.

Draco stood there wondering what had just happened. He hadn't gripped the boy's hand that hard. He looked at the hand he had used to grab Potter's and saw there was blood on it.

Well, isn't that interesting? Draco thought.

Draco didn't hear anything about Potter's second class with Professor Umbridge in the hours after it ended. Maybe Potter used some common sense for a change and kept his head down. Draco wondered how long that would last.

He was patrolling the areas around the defense wing again. Not exactly hoping to see Potter, of course. He was just there because there could be students out of bed.

Just then, some heavy footsteps and breathing interrupted his musings. They were getting closer and soon enough he saw Potter coming at him.

"Out late again, Potter? I might have to report you this time," Draco said.

"Fine, whatever. See you later, then," Potter said as he walked past Draco clutching his right hand with his left.

Draco didn't even bother going after him.

The next night, Draco was out patrolling again. He was taking his prefect responsibilities seriously. It was always so much fun to take points away from Gryffindors.

He had worked a route out the first few nights and so far it was working well. It happened that he found himself again where he had seen Potter the last few nights.

Thoughts of Potter brought up all sorts of conflicting feelings. At one time he had wanted to be friends with the black–haired boy, until the eleven–year–old shot those hopes down. At other times they had been bitter rivals and there had been hatred on both sides of the relationship. So far this year, they hadn't had much of a chance to clash. And Potter seemed different this year. Moodier, darker. He didn't hang on to Weasley and Granger as closely as he had in the past.

Draco liked to think he knew Potter better than most of the student body at Hogwarts. Right now it seemed like he was down. Draco wondered how his summer had been.

His thoughts were interrupted when Potter said, "Are you stalking me, Malfoy?"

"Stalking you? I'm just patrolling the corridors," Draco responded as Potter clutched his hand.

"Whatever," Potter said as he started to walk away.

"Are you alright, Potter? Your hand..."

"What do you care?" Potter said, stopping without turning around.

"I can heal it for you if you need," Draco responded.

"Why would you do that?" Potter still wasn't facing him.

"Well, you're hurt. I know a spell that could help. Seems like the decent thing to do," Draco said.

"Since when have you ever cared about being decent to me?" Potter challenged.

"Well, if that's how you want to be," Draco said, starting to walk away.

"Wait," Potter said, turning around. "Do you swear you won't hex me?"

"I swear," Draco said. He closed the gap between them. "Let me see your hand."

He took Potter's hand in his and looked at it…and couldn't stop a gasp from escaping his lips. "Is Umbridge making you write lines with a blood quill?"

"A what?" Potter said, looking down.

"A quill that doesn't use ink, but your blood."

"Oh. Yeah," Potter said, looking embarrassed.

Draco felt himself being overcome by anger. It didn't matter that it was only Potter. A teacher was abusing a student and he was angry.

"She could go to Azkaban for this, you know. Blood quills are only supposed to be used for signing official documents. I've never heard of anyone using them for this kind of thing before. It's sick."

Potter looked up, startled that Draco Malfoy might be righteously indignant on his behalf.

"Stop looking at me like that. I'm going to cast a spell to take away the blood from the back of your hand and clean the wounds, OK?"

Potter nodded and Draco said, "Tergeo."

Potter inhaled sharply. It must have stung a little.

"Ok," Draco said. "Now I'm going to cast Episkey and see if that does the trick. If not, I'll use a stronger spell, OK?"

Again Harry nodded and Draco said, "Episkey."

Draco watched as the flesh on the back of Potter's hand kind of morphed itself to look unblemished again.

"About Umbridge. You might—" Draco started to say, but was interrupted.

"I can't tell anyone about her," Potter said.

"Obviously. You'd just get in more trouble," Draco said. "I was going to say that you might want to think of an excuse for the marks being gone. Untreated, they would have scarred badly."

"My friends were putting Essence of Murtlap on the marks to help," Potter said.

"That's surprisingly smart. The Mudblood's idea?" Draco said unthinkingly.

"Don't call her that!" Potter exclaimed angrily.

Draco was interrupted from responding by a sound he really didn't want to hear at the moment. "Hem, hem."

Draco had to think quickly. "Professor! Just who I wanted to see. I just caught Potter here out after curfew and he said he was just in detention with you. Is that true or should I punish him?"

"That's quite true Mr. Malfoy. Mr. Potter has been a naughty little boy and I have been attempting to correct his behavior."

"Good luck with that Professor, you'll need it." Draco smirked. "Should I make sure he goes straight back to Gryffindor Tower, professor?"

"Yes, you should, Mr. Malfoy. You never know where this liar of a boy may end up. Have a pleasant evening."

With that, Umbridge walked off in the opposite direction.

Draco noticed that Potter was doing his best to look downcast and was clutching his hand. As soon as Umbridge was out of sight, he stood back up and glared at Draco.

"What was that about? Trying to get me more detentions?" Potter asked angrily.

"Look Potter, I know it might be hard for you to understand, but I just saved you from more detentions," Draco said.

"What? You just said you found me walking around here and that you wanted her to check my story," Potter said.

"Yes, but by doing that I had her cornered. If I had just said I found you walking around, she could have given you another detention for it. But because I was going to confirm with her that you had detention, she couldn't give you another one, because you did just have detention with her," Draco explained.

"Oh," Potter said. "Well, I should go."

With that Potter walked away back towards Gryffindor dorms.

Before he was too far away, Draco almost shouted, "You're welcome!" and turned to walk away.