Author's Note: Hi guys, this is my second try at Drarry. I really appreciate the tips I received from my last story, I'm definitely going to keep them in mind for this one!
Disclaimer: All credit for characters goes to J.K. Rowling.
*edit: This story is AU. Some people are alive, some people are not, and I realize that some of my information is not canon. I just wanted to have fun with it. I hope we are all on the same page with that, sorry for the confusion.
"What? What the hell is this?"
Many students turned around to glare at Ron as he stood in the corridor, shouting and gaping at the parchment in his hand. Harry winced a bit at the noise. All students had received their class schedules for the year at the beginning of the day; it was a wonder that Ron hadn't glanced over it earlier. Then again, the boy wasn't known for his perception. Hermione sighed and gave Ron a look.
"What are you squawking about now, Ronald?" she asked.
"It's just—do you see this? I didn't sign up for this class," Ron remarked, pointing at his parchment before peering at Harry's and Hermione's to compare. "We've all got it! Look, right there: Marriage, Sex, and Family. I've never heard of it before... But there is no way I'm going to sit in a classroom and learn about... that." He scowled and began to get red in the face at the thought.
Harry shrugged. The whole idea of new Muggle classes being mixed in with their standard magical ones wasn't really a concern for him; he hadn't minded the extra extensions. Besides, it got him out of some of his more ridiculous options. And if it promoted muggle tolerance and House Unity, then how bad could it be? Dumbledore seemed to think it was a good idea. That must mean something.
Hermione pursed her lips. "Honestly, Ron. Sometimes you can be so dense," she said. "It's really quite good for us and our futures. We'll get to learn about the different aspects of marriage, sex, and family. My mum took a class just like it while she was in school, and she said that it was a wonderful experience. Besides, you can't get out of it, Dumbledore has made it mandatory for all upperclassmen."
"Oh joy." Ron rolled his eyes. "A wonderful, mandatory experience. How bloody fantastic."
"Are you making fun of my mum?" Hermione demanded.
Ron widened his eyes. "No, of course not, Hermione!"
Not again. Harry sighed and ran his hand through his messy raven-coloured hair. After halfheartedly attempting to mediate between Ron and Hermione for a few minutes, he realised that the two were already hopelessly lost in argument, as usual. He gave up and glanced around instead. It was strange being back here with most of his peers as if the past few years had never happened, the war being almost like a dark, shadowy veil upon their consciences. It was uncomfortable and eye-opening at the same time; Harry had found that each student had come back with a different story over their heads—he could look one way and see a classmate he'd saved from a nasty hex, and then look somewhere else and find the person who had thrown it in the first place. It was surreal. But Harry didn't like to think that way now. Anyways, looking at their faces reminded him too much of the sacrifices that had come along with everything they'd fought for. It was almost painful.
Despite the memories, Harry had come back as an Eighth Year mainly because the school needed a familiar source of morale—or whatever McGonagall had called it when she'd brought up the subject to him over the summer—and he had agreed. Maybe it was a sense of home, or nostalgia, or just something to do, but many students who had battled in and survived the war had done the same. However, the train ride in had been somewhat gloomy rather than comforting. Harry wasn't actually surprised that the students involved in the war had been required to take a 'Marriage Sex and Family' class; it was vital to ensure that their futures would see peace rather than chaos. It seemed reasonable.
The war had been difficult, lives were lost, loved ones were sacrificed. Harry knew all about that; he'd always had. But many of the others—he tried not to think of their glum faces—were new to the feeling. It was difficult to look at sometimes... that was something he'd never get used to. In fact, the war had turned many of these students into hardened warriors and Harry knew that this class would probably be a great benefit for them. Voldemort had affected them all in some way or another, really screwed up a lot of minds. Harry would know, of course, firsthand. He could still feel the fear he had felt during that final battle with Voldemort at the end of last school year, and sometimes he even woke up from a particularly bad flashback with his wand grasped tightly in his hand in defence against some invisible terror. So the relief he felt now, to be back at school with no Voldemort and no war, was tremendous, and he knew that the others felt the same. Even the Slytherins—the ones who had not been convicted Death Eaters—were visibly eased by the place.
"But if you could just admit that there was something wonky about that Krum fellow—"
Harry shook his head. Ron and Hermione were still bickering.
"For Merlin's sake, Ron, I am not discussing this with you any longer!" Hermione exclaimed.
Ron scowled. "I'm sure you would discuss it with Harry, wouldn't you?"
"Yes, because Harry doesn't act like a child about it!"
Harry cleared his throat. "Um. Can we go to class now?" he asked.
Hermione straightened out her robes and flicked her hair in Ron's general direction with a sniff. "Of course. Let's go."
After much checking and re-checking (and more arguing), the trio finally made their way to the Room of Requirement where the Marriage Sex and Family class was to be held. Harry hadn't known what to expect, so when he saw the contents of the room, he raised his eyebrows in surprise. It was impressive, to say the least. The room was plenty spacious to fit all the students and looked almost comfortable, and the benches and tables were lined up neatly behind a large blackboard. There was an area in the back with an inviting fireplace and a couple of couches surrounding it. For a makeshift class, it was rather inviting. It wasn't a standard classroom, he decided, but then again, this wasn't a standard class.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione were all immediately met with cheerful bellowing and shouting upon arrival. Both Ron and Hermione managed to bat off most with small smiles, but many students were more aggressive towards Harry and would stop at nothing to give him enthusiastic thanks. It was the sort of thing that he knew he had to get used to, especially now that school had started and he had to go about in public places again, but it was still awkward for him. During the summer, Harry had opted to hide in the Burrow with the Weasleys to avoid the inevitable adoration of the community (although, Mrs. Weasley was not much better with containing it), and it was slightly difficult being back. Harry had always been uncomfortable with attention, and although he had years of constant scrutiny at Hogwarts to prepare him for the response, he was never really ready to receive it. Harry cringed as one girl flung her arms around his neck for a moment before running off again.
A loud, joyful voice met Harry's ears and he was quickly enveloped into another bone-crushing hug from behind. This time, it was a familiar squeeze and voice and Harry was glad to receive it.
"Seamus," Harry greeted back.
Seamus let go of him. "How are you there, mate?"
Harry grinned and turned around to face his Irish friend. "Great. How are you?" he asked.
"Absolutely fantastic now that we're back. We've missed you," Seamus said, earnestly. Neville popped up from behind him.
"Yeah, it's been a long summer," Neville confirmed.
Harry smiled at him. "Hey Nev."
Harry hadn't seen or spoken to Neville since the end of the last year, and he hoped that the other boy knew just how much he appreciated everything that had been done on the night of the final battle. It had been a rough fight for everyone, but Neville especially. Harry never really had the chance to express his gratitude towards his friend; Neville had been a true hero, and his parents would have been so proud of him. Harry only wished that he could find the words to say it properly.
Before he could do anything, though, Harry was ambushed by a rushing Hermione.
"Harry," she said fiercely. "Class is starting soon. Ron's already got us seats."
Harry obeyed her silently, walking over and sliding down next to Ron on one of the cool benches. He scooted over a bit for Hermione to join them, and she began to take out her supplies eagerly in wait. Did anyone actually know which Professor was teaching the class? Harry glanced about the classroom again, absently letting his eyes roam. The first thing he caught sight of was a shocking head of white-blond hair and its owner stalking into the room and sitting down on one of the opposite benches in the back with the other Slytherins.
"Malfoy," muttered Ron, following Harry's gaze. "Didn't see him on the train, I thought he hadn't come back this year. Pity." The redhead shot a glare in the Slytherin's general direction and shifted away.
Harry only glanced over at Malfoy, not saying anything, and carefully observed the boy talking in quiet whispers with his friends. Blaise Zabini and Pansy Parkinson, wasn't it? Malfoy was constantly flanked by those two. Harry narrowed his eyes and looked Malfoy up and down. The Slytherin appeared particularly... normal today. Almost harmless. In all honesty, Harry didn't really see Malfoy as a real threat anymore. When Ron had spent many hours ranting about how the Slytherins had squirmed out of their rightful sentences in Azkaban—especially Malfoy and his 'goddamned cronies'—Harry had never said anything, but he secretly disagreed.
In his opinion, the Slytherins that had come back for school this year had learned their lessons. They were the ones that had grown up in households that had taught them to be the way they were; Harry had only just realised that maybe that was the main source of the problem. War had forced everybody to become his or her own person, though, and that included the Slytherins. Even Draco Malfoy. And though Malfoy was a great prat, Harry had learned a couple of things about him during the war, and now Harry didn't believe that Malfoy had ever really been Death Eater material like his father. Lucius had deserved Azkaban, but his son was a different story. Harry was determined to give the git some credit, at least. They were all adults now, weren't they? Besides, Harry had always been able to handle Malfoy. If the blond had ever done anything to hurt Harry, it was by his own vengeance, not Voldemort's or even his father's. It was little comfort, but still.
Just then, Malfoy caught sight of Harry looking at him, and for a moment looked as if he would just let it go. He apparently decided otherwise, though, and he threw a halfhearted sneer at Harry instead. Harry rolled his eyes and jerked his head away. Of course. Malfoy may have not been evil, but he was still a bastard. A bastard that Harry shouldn't really be thinking about in the first place. What was Malfoy to him, anyways? At least this year he wouldn't have to worry about the Slytherin harassing him so much.
There was a chilling silence as the familiar voice rang out from the front of the room. Harry glanced up and found Snape glaring at the students with such murderous intent that he might've been actually afraid for his life if he hadn't known the man for so long. Harry shook his head. Wait, Snape was their Marriage Sex and Family professor? No fucking way. The former Potions professor's black robes swirled around him ominously as he surveyed the classroom, still sneering.
"Bloody hell, would you look at his face?" Ron whispered. "And I thought it was bad in Potions. Has Dumbledore gone barmy?"
"Ten points from Gryffindor, Weasley. Have you not learned to shut your trap after all of these years?" Snape barked, without even having to look at him. Ron shriveled obediently, muttering under his breath. Snape's glare hardened as he continued to look about the room. "You all know that I am Professor Snape, and this is Marriage Sex and Family," he said. "No, I am not in the wrong class, and neither are you. I expect only the best, regardless of the criteria. So if you had believed that this class would simply serve as an extra course to slack off in—" he glowered in Harry's general direction, " —you've been sorely mistaken."
Harry groaned inwardly, knowing that Snape's sour attitude for being assigned as the professor for this class would be reflected upon the rest of them. For Merlin's sake. Couldn't he have gone at least one year without this man lashing out?
Snape continued. "This class is meant to prepare you for your future as adults and further your knowledge on how to survive it," he went on. "You will learn the concepts of marriage and life with children and a family. Accordingly, you may also receive a proper sexual education." He grimaced slightly, clearly revolted by this. Seamus snickered, and the man shot him an icy warning stare in response. Seamus quieted.
Snape whirled around and spoke to the other side of the classroom. "I will assign you all into pairs. Your partner will become your "husband" or "wife" for the rest of the year, and you will experience all of the joys and perils of marriage and family life with them throughout this class. I will read off names momentarily. There will be no argument."
Ron leaned over and nudged Harry's shoulder. "Hope you get someone fit, mate," he whispered.
Harry shrugged. He didn't really care about looks, as long as they didn't go mental on him. Still, it couldn't hurt. He nodded back at his friend. "You too."
At this point, Snape had brought out a small parchment and cleared his throat for emphasis. "Your names appear on this parchment as I read them," he announced. "It will shuffle the names at random and produce the pairs. Listen for your partner and sit with them after you have located them."
Harry bit his lip, glancing around his group of friends and hoping to Merlin that he was paired with one of them. It was one thing to have to take this sort of class, and completely another to have to be tied to somebody all year because of it. It was annoying, to say the least, and a bit nerve wracking. Harry already had troubles keeping steady relationships with his new owls, let alone other people. Honestly, if he had to be tied to anyone... Harry scanned the rows, looking at all the faces.
Hermione, of course, would have to be his first choice seeing as she was his best friend—plus, there was a high chance that she would do most of the work. Lavender Brown was fit and seemed clever enough, although there was still that whole psycho debacle with Ron... and either one of the Patil twins Harry could live with. Even Ginny would be all right, as she was still a close friend, despite the fact that she was the infamous ex-girlfriend. Harry's eyes traveled further down the rows towards the Slytherins. Oh, Millicent Bulstrode, Merlin no. And Pansy Parkinson… he shuddered. There was no way he wanted to get paired with one of them. The thought in itself was frightening enough.
Snape tapped on the sheet with his wand and began calling out names. "Miss Granger and Mr. Zabini. Miss Lovegood and Mr. Longbottom. Miss Parkinson and Mr. Weasley. Mr. Nott and Miss Weasley. Mr. Finnigan and Mr. Thomas."
The greasy professor paused, shock flickering over his features briefly before returning to its proper scowl. Harry almost rolled his eyes as Snape's hardened gaze fell upon him. Gods, what was it now? Had he been paired up with the long-lost monster of the lake? Or perhaps Voldemort back from the dead? It wouldn't have surprised him. Harry's school years surely hadn't always been referred to as the smoothest of times at Hogwarts. Nevertheless, Harry took a deep breath, preparing himself for anything that Snape threw at him. Whatever it was, he was sure that he could handle it.
When Snape finally spoke again, his tone was as sharp as daggers. "Mr. Potter and... Mr. Malfoy," he drawled. There were gasps throughout the room.
Harry felt all of the colour drain from his face. Fuck, he wasn't about to handle that.