Heyguys! Sorry for such a long wait! Not much happens in this chapter, but I promise we're getting closer! Soon we'll be meeting Snape, and learning defense, and all sorts of fun things. But for now...we've got to get the domestic stuff out of the way.

Also, sorry it's so short!

DISCLAIMER: They're not mine.

Hope you enjoy!


Draco stared at the boy in front of him as Potter left the house. This was one of the people who had made Potter's life miserable at home. In the past, Draco might've nodded approvingly at him, or shaken his hand—something to show that they were united in their hatred of the 'Boy-Who-Lived.' Now Draco just felt shame, and some disgust in allowing himself to be grouped with this Muggle boy.

The boy—Dudley? What sort of name was that?—was holding a grey something and pointing at bits of colour on it as he explained that pushing the bits caused a character on the screen-thing in front of him to react. Draco took the something—Potter's cousin was calling it a controller?—and began experimenting. Once he had the 'controller' figured out, Dudley started a game.

An hour later, Draco pitched the controller at the screen and sat up from his undignified (and very un-Malfoy-like) sprawl on the floor to turn a glare onto the boy.

"We are no longer playing this game," he declared haughtily.

"You're just sore because you're losing!" Dudley exclaimed hotly. "I want to keep playing, so come on, pick the controller back up, and don't throw it again, by the way."

"I don't think you understood me, Muggle. I said we are no longer playing this game. Find something else." Draco looked down his nose at Potter's cousin disdainfully. Who was he to question a Malfoy?

"Yeah?" Dudley asked smugly, "And what're you gonna do about it? I want to play another round. Get your controller."

Draco rolled his eyes and ignored the fat boy's taunts. He merely leaned back against the wall and raised an eyebrow at the Dursley in a manner he knew to be infuriating.

Eventually the boys came to a compromise, one more game, then they would find something different to occupy their time. When they finished their game, with Dudley emerging yet again as the uncontested winner, the boys decided they needed a change of scene entirely.

"Let's go watch the telly downstairs," Dudley decided for them. "We can tell my mum that you're a new friend from school. We won't mention that you're actually Harry's friend."

Draco agreed, not bothering to correct the assumption that he and Potter were friends, and the two boys headed downstairs. Petunia wasn't around, so they settled themselves in front of the screen, no explanations necessary.

"What's Harry really like?" Dudley asked suddenly, surprising Draco, who contemplated the question seriously for a moment, before responding.

"I think you're asking the wrong person," he said. "Since coming here I'm learning that I've always put him in a role, made him fit into my perception of him, and he's not actually anything like what I thought."

"What did you think he was like?" Dudley asked curiously, and Draco just held in a sigh. Of course it would be the one Muggle he'd ever actually met who made him go all introspective and self-analysing.

"I've always thought he was stuck-up; the perfect, spoiled little hero-boy. I thought that he always got his way, that life was easy for him," Draco started, " I believed that I was the only one who could see the snob that he was. I thought Dumbledore favoured him, that he always got his own way."

"I thought Harry said you two were friends," Dudley said. "Does that mean that you changed your mind? You don't think he's like that anymore?"

Draco was silent again for a moment before responding, "Potter and I have never been friends. There was a time when I would have given anything to be friends with him, though," Draco paused, then added, "I think he puts up with a lot more than he acts like he has."

"Why'd he let you come here, then, if you're not friends? Why's he letting you live with us?" Dudley asked, confused.

"I came to him for help," Draco admitted. "There's terrible things going on in our world, and I...found myself right in the middle of it. I wrote to him for help, not actually expecting anything. If he'd been in my place I can't say that I would have helped him." Draco took a breath, "He's a better person than I am; than I thought he was."

...&...

Harry apparated back into the alley down the street from his home and cancelled the disillusionment charm while he was out of the sight line of any of the neighbours. Harry casually strolled back to number four and let himself in. Distracted by his thoughts on his lesson with Moody, he didn't notice Vernon's car parked in the driveway.

Harry headed for the stairs, but stopped when he heard voices coming from the living room. Petunia was in the kitchen, so he was careful to sneak past her to investigate, stopping short when he saw two familiar heads sitting together.

Just as Harry went to enter the room he heard a bellow that made him freeze in place.

"BOY!" Vernon's voice echoed around the house, and Harry turned stiffly to face him, determinedly ignoring the look of shock on Malfoy's face as the blonde head popped up, trying to hide the burning red that suffused his face. "Are you spying on Dudley and his friend, boy?"

"No, of course not," Harry told his uncle, casting his thoughts around to find a suitable excuse. "I was just going to ask if they wanted me to bring them anything to drink!"

The reply seemed to appease Vernon a bit, but it didn't stop the acid comments Vernon loved to make.

"Get upstairs, boy, Dudley doesn't need a freak like you scaring his friends away." Vernon said. "For all we know, freak could be contagious. Get up to your room before I drag you up there myself."

"Yes, Uncle Vernon, of course" Harry said bitterly, and turned to walk upstairs, using every ounce of his self-control to avoid Malfoy's gaze as he left the room.

As Harry left the room, he heard his uncle apologize to Malfoy for his 'deranged nephew,' and introduce himself properly before he managed to tune Vernon's voice out completely.

Great. Harry thought, now Malfoy knows all about how I live here. More fodder for Potter-bashing. Wonderful.

Harry flung himself across his bed and buried his face into his pillow. He was, unsurprisingly, rather sore from his training session that morning, and he just wanted to lie there for the rest of the afternoon and pretend that Malfoy and the Dursleys didn't exist at all.

...&...

Draco stared at the large man in front of him.

"Deranged?" he asked, eventually.

"Oh yes," Vernon Dursley replied, "I'm afraid he's quite mad. Bad genes on his father's side, we believe. It can't be helped. We do what we can for him, though. He attends St. Brutus' School for Hopeless Cases, you know. We're hoping that it'll knock some sense into him."

Draco felt himself growing more angry at every word Potter's uncle said. Weeks previously, he may have laughed at every insult that was casually flung in Potter's direction, but not today. Draco had watched as Potter had tried to hide his embarrassment, as he had accepted the insults and meekly obeyed the orders, and it had made Draco feel sick and incredibly curious at the same time.

"I see," Draco replied to Vernon, and gave a plastic smile. Vernon smiled back, satisfied, and returned to the kitchen to talk to his wife.

"Potter just puts up with that?" Draco asked, incredulously. The Harry Potter he knew from school would never have allowed someone to call him names and order him around. Potter was stubborn and proud.

"He fights back a lot," Dudley replied quietly, "but sometimes he just takes it quietly, like you saw. His reactions, I think, are based on my dad. Harry's learned to read him pretty well."

"What do you mean?" Draco asked, then changed his mind. "No, you know what, I'll ask Potter. I'm going to go upstairs and talk to him."

With that, Draco headed for the stairs.


Thanks for reading, guys! I hope you enjoyed it! Please review!

Edited: 10/23/12