Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoat Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Rating: M for language and sexual content in later chapters. Male/male pairings.
Summary: The war survivors are back for their eighth year at Hogwarts with a new emphasis on peace between the houses and, once, opposing sides of the war. Will this window of opportunity allow Harry to act on his hidden feelings for a certain blonde beauty?
A/N: This is my first fanfic that I've written. I've done around half of the chapters already, but please read and review to let me know if you think I should upload them! I'll probably upload two a day or so until I run out and have to start writing them again, in which case I'll upload them as they come. Enjoy!
Harry hated him.
He'd been part of his life for seven, soon to be eight, years now, and he still couldn't get over the maddening rate Harry's heart pulsed at every time he was anywhere near him. And Harry hated him for making him feel like that; for making him lose all his composure; for filling his mind again and again until he wasn't even sure if he'd ever left it. But what's worse is that he hated Harry, too. He'll never know that Harry loves him, he'll never know how he makes him feel; so what was he supposed to do? Harry had to force all the shouting and fighting and hexing, not even being able to hold one civil conversation with him.
And it hurt. It really, honest to God, hurt. But there was nothing Harry could do about it because every time he tried to talk to him, he ended up in the hospital wing with some sort of bodily fluid spewing out of him.
And then there's Ginny. Dear Lord, there's Ginny. Everywhere Harry went there's Ginny. He doesn't even know how to start thinking about trying to rid himself of her. Harry thought that after school he might be able to prise himself away from her side, slowly move away and just fade into the background, use some excuse as to why he didn't want to be with her. But no. The eighth years were back as the war-survivors and Harry was, yet again, forced to be close to her.
In all honesty, Harry loved Hogwarts, and he loved Ginny; as a sister, he just doesn't like the two together. She's special to him, yes, and two years ago he mistook those sibling-like feelings as "love". Harry just didn't like seeing her get together with numerous amounts of men; rather like how Ron felt. He thought that the only way to get around that was to take her away from them, but in retrospect Harry realised that he wasn't angry with them. No, he was angry with her, for throwing her body around as if it was some slab of meat. Not that there was anything he could do about it now. Hindsight is such a useless thing sometimes.
And now she's obsessed with him. He has to reply to her letters within the day he receives them, otherwise she starts having a mental break down and Harry ends up getting an earful from Ron about how he could "at least write a ruddy sentence back, just to shut her up." The only thing is, despite whether he replied within a day or not, his new owl, Mindy, is just not as fast as Hedwig was. Nor is she as directionally gifted. Mindy is a jet-black owl; has lots of courage, but not much foresight, jumping into things before she realises that she can't actually manage the task. Hermione laughed when he told her this; she said it was just like him. Apart from Harry didn't pick his name to have "dragon" as its meaning. Which brings him back to Draco Malfoy; the only dragon he really wished he could have.
Which he couldn't.
Harry sighed; he'd been doing that a lot recently. It'd been worrying Ron and Hermione, Harry's seen them exchange their couples-talk eye glances, knowing exactly what the other wants to say to the other, and understanding completely. It made him feel lonely; made him want someone he could do that with. Harry sighed again.
"Harry?" Harry looked up to see Hermione's worried face as she peered up at him from the seat opposite in the compartment they were sitting in on the Hogwarts Express. "You okay?" she asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine." He smiled at her. She glanced over to Ron who was sitting beside him and Harry could tell she didn't buy it. He could practically hear the words forming over the invisible bond they had. "Oh, get a room will you?" He moaned as he watched them exchange small jerks of their heads and twitches of their eyebrows. They looked up at him, Hermione still searching Harry's face, trying to find out what was wrong, Ron grinning sheepishly as the tips of his ears turned pink.
"Sorry, mate." He mumbled as he looked back at Hermione. Harry groaned and dropped his head into one hand and pushed him gently in the back with his other.
"Go sit next to her, I don't care." Ron didn't even give him a second look before leaping up and sitting proudly next to Hermione, draping his arm around her shoulders. Harry appreciated the fact that they tried as hard as they could to act as "just friends" around him, but he wished they knew that he really didn't mind; the only thing that upset him was how seeing their blatant love made him feel more miserable about his unrequited one and that was hardly their fault, was it?
"Are you sure you're alright, Harry?" Hermione asked again, eyes darting from one bespectacled eye to the other and then back again.
"Yes 'Mione, I'm fine, I'm just – tired, is all. I haven't been sleeping well." At this bit of information, Hermione's eyes widened and she leant in to ask in a whisper,
"Are you having nightmares again?" Harry fought not to roll his eyes as he knew that would out his story for what it really was - a lie. Instead he forced a short nod of his head and muttered that he didn't want to talk about it. Hermione smiled understandingly and put a gentle hand on his leg before leaning back into Ron's embrace and slowly drawing patterns on his knee with a finger.
What Harry had said was not completely untrue. He hadn't been sleeping well, and he had been having nightmares, but there was no connection between the two. Instead he had been taking far too long to fall asleep because his head was filled with Draco Malfoy, and then when he did fall asleep the nightmares plagued his sleep; forcing him to relive his death and the deaths of all his other loved ones. His parents, Cedric, Sirius, Dumbledore, Fred, Lupin, Tonks, Moody, even Snape! Image after image would swirl around behind his closed eyelids, morphing and re-morphing into different scenes, each as distressing as the next.
The rattle of the compartment door being opened shook Harry out of his thoughts and shook Hermione out of Ron's grasps. Harry tried not to smirk; it was so obvious that they were going out; he didn't understand why they refused to let anyone other than him know. Harry looked up to see who was standing in the doorway, the smile still playing on his lips instantly fading when he saw who it was. Draco Malfoy.
"Something bothering you, Malfoy?" Ron asked bitterly from the window seat. Malfoy, who had been staring at Harry, looked over to Ron and sneered.
"Something other than having to voluntarily be in the presence of a Weasley, a muggle-born and the Boy-Who-Lived? No, nothing's bothering me, Weasel." Malfoy spat. Harry seemed to be the only one who noticed how he had called Hermione a "muggle-born" rather than the preferred term "mudblood" he would have used, without hesitation, a year ago. Before Ron could retort Harry interjected with a slightly tired sounding,
"What do you want, Malfoy?" Wearily looking up at him as he felt his heart rate quicken in the same old fashion it always did whenever he was near the blonde-haired beauty, Harry wondered how long this feud had to go on between the two before they could reach a compromise.
Malfoy's gaze turned back to Harry and looked at him expectantly.
"What, no bite from the lion?" He drawled, obviously waiting for Harry to snap and hex him.
"Sorry to disappoint you," Harry rolled his eyes. "But I don't instantly curse someone when they come to see me."
Malfoy huffed indignantly at this, but made no response.
"Well?" Ron asked. Malfoy looked at him.
"Well what?" He snapped.
"Well what did you come here for?" Ron guffawed, "I hardly expect you forced yourself to come into our presence just so you could stare at Harry's face for a while." He continued, his voice dripping with sarcasm. At this both Harry's and Malfoy's faces visibly reddened, though probably for different reasons.
"My wand." Malfoy blurted out ungracefully, turning his attentions back to Harry once again and holding his hand out. "You still have my wand, Potter."
Realisation clicked in Harry's head. He'd never given it back after the war! He didn't get a chance after Malfoy's trial where Harry had given the memory that set him free of all charges, so he'd meant to find Malfoy during the summer, but the Dursley's had put him under house arrest and made it so that Mindy barely managed to stretch her wings every now and then, let alone deliver parcels. Not that Harry would have trusted the directionally challenged bird with something so important anyway. The Dursley's lock up had made it harder to get letters to Ginny as well. Harry cringed as he thought of seeing her again.
A quiet cough brought him out of his stupor and Harry looked up to see Ron, Hermione and Malfoy all looking at him. Harry jumped into action, muttering excuses of not sleeping well and zoning out as he rummaged through the pockets of his robes; he had made sure to keep the wand close by, just in case such a situation that was happening now occurred.
He felt his hand grasp around something long and thin and pulled it out by the tip so he could hold the handle out to Malfoy. Malfoy grabbed the handle hungrily and ran his hands over it when Harry let go, obviously having missed it.
A pang of guilt ran through Harry as he thought about how hard it must have been for Malfoy to go the summer without his wand. Harry had grown up in the muggle world, so he could cope very well for a few months without magic, but Malfoy was part of a long line of purebloods. He didn't know of a world without magic.
"I really am sorry." Harry found himself mumbling almost immediately, "I was going to return it during the summer, truly I was, but - something came up."
"I'm sure." Malfoy sneered, not believing Harry's story. Then he stopped himself from going on, shook his head, stared at the floor as if he was introducing himself to a Hippogriff and said in a low voice that was almost inaudible, "Thanks, Potter." And with that, he whirled around and stalked away in a very Snape-like manner.
"Did what I think just happened, happen?" Ron asked incredulously, breaking the silence. "Draco Malfoy, Slytherin's prince, just thanked Harry Potter, saviour of the Wizarding World?"
"Stop it, Ronald." Hermione cut in before Harry could, and Ron shot an apologetic look towards Harry as Harry cringed from the title his best friend had just bestowed upon him.
"Sorry, mate." Ron mumbled, "But it's bloody unbelievable, you got to agree."
"Yeah...unbelievable." Harry breathed as he replayed Malfoy's blushing face as he thanked Harry, again and again in his mind. Maybe the compromise Harry had been hoping for wasn't all that far away after all.
Perhaps there was hope.
A/N: So, there goes the first chapter! Please review and tell me if you want more, because I have it!