Yes, another chapter story read the bottom to find out why. Anyways, this is a little plot bunny that would not stop with its incessant scampering through my head and begged to be written. So here for you is more of my specialty, angst ridden Harry! Yay!
Disclaimer: I don't own any recognizable character or setting.
A Field of Possibilities
Harry sat in a field; he needed to get away from his relatives. He knew it was dangerous but he couldn't stand to be in the same house as them any longer. This summer was extra hard. His aunt pushed him around more, forced him to do more chores. Dudley had gotten more friends that also liked to 'Harry Hunt' and Vernon had taken to slapping him when he did the slightest thing wrong as opposed to the past where he had to do something truly spectacular to get hit.
In fact Vernon had roughed him up so much in the last few days Harry had to use Muggle skin concealer to cover up the bruises on his face when he went out since he couldn't use a glamour. It was miserable and Harry couldn't take much more.
He had found this field on one of his evening walks. It had a hill that overlooked the neighborhood and had a general peace about it that calmed all the rage Harry held. He wished he could just sit there and day dream about a normal life all day. He sighed deeply, he knew that would never happen. He had to be home by 10:00, before Dudley; otherwise his uncle would do more than just slap him.
He hated this, his life. Sometimes when he was really down he would visualize what would happen if he just ended it all. Who would be truly upset over his lose? Who would just be upset because the 'chosen one' was dead and they would have to find a new hero? He always shook his head. Thoughts like that were best kept as just that… thoughts. He knew he couldn't give this job to another. This life he had been living was best kept to one person. Spreading this amount of heartache would be a terrible idea, Harry knew that.
He lay back in the grass. It was getting dark, he would only get an hour to truly enjoy the stars before he would have to go 'home' and face a scolding for whatever stupid thing they could make-up that night. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath… he wanted to nap… but that could be dangerous, if he went home late he would sorely regret it in the morning… literally. He forced his eyes open and folded his arms behind his head. He tried to think of a happy thought… which only depressed him more when he couldn't think of one.
"I wish I had a friend around this place. Maybe it would be bearable then."
"Wishful thinking." It was suddenly a lot darker; he tilted his head so he could see behind him. He saw a pair of expensive looking shoes and then slacks. He sat up and turned leaning on a hand. He followed the rest of the way up… a tight well made t-shirt… pale neck… finally Harry's eyes landed on the face.
He jumped up in confusion and fear drawing his wand. "Malfoy… what are you doing here? Did they finally recruit you… you here to take me away? I can assure you I will not go down without a fight!" Draco raised an eyebrow as if to say: "Potter, you look ridiculous put it away before I slap you for being an idiot!" Harry obeyed the silent command, he wasn't completely sure why… something about how casual Malfoy looked and acted.
"What are you doing up here Potter? This is private property." Harry's eyes went wide.
"I'm… sorry, I had no idea." He sighed, another small joy taken from him… oh well he was sure there were other hills and other views. "Do me a favor and don't tell your father you saw me here. I don't need trouble during my summer too. I get enough of it during the school years. Do me this one little favor." Without even waiting for a reply he turned to leave.
A hand lightly tugged on his shirt sleeve. "Why were you even here Potter? Don't you have a family that is wondering where their precious gift of a relative is?" Harry couldn't contain the humorless bark of a laugh.
Draco raised an eyebrow again in question. "What is that laugh for?"
Harry sobered… no reason to give the man more ammo against him when the school year came around."Nothing Malfoy… nothing." He turned around to leave again but Malfoy's hand was still holding his sleeve. "What do you want? I'm tired and I unfortunately will have things to do when I get home." He hadn't meant to say the word home with a sneer but it came out that way on instinct.
"Why were you up here? What were you doing?" Harry was surprised Malfoy seemed genuinely curious. He felt like he actually didn't want to lie and before he could stop himself he was telling Malfoy at least a part truth.
"I needed to get away from my relatives. It's peaceful up here and it has a great view, I can actually think when I'm up here." Draco's features softened for a moment but they were accusing again a moment later.
"What, the hero worships got to be too much, your relatives won't leave you alone for autographs?" Harry smiled… more to himself... that would be something, his relatives actually respecting him even a little bit was such a foreign concept it gave him a little bit of a headache thinking about it.
He was so overcome with the thought again he found he was telling Malfoy the truth. "I wish… they hate me… maybe even loath me. When I get home it will be too soon and yet not soon enough. I don't know how they get through the school year without me around to do all the chores! Oh my gods the looks on their faces if they had heard you say that would have been priceless! They would have thought you were nutters!" Harry began laughing… but it was a sad unhappy laugh. It held no true joy it was bitter and when he was done he had a scowl on his face.
Draco had no idea how to handle this, he didn't know what he had expected but that defiantly wasn't it! Where was the brave sassy Potter from school? Where was the boy willing to fight him at the drop of a hat? It was as if he felt so defeated by his life that he couldn't find the energy to do it now. He let go of Harry's sleeve, his hand falling limply to his side. "That was actually a good one Potter, had me going there for a moment." Draco was taking a chance… he actually hoped this was a joke.
"Not everything is a game Malfoy. Not everyone is constantly trying to out-due someone else just for a laugh. Life gets real sometimes and leaves no room for joking." He starred into Draco's eyes as if willing him to understand. "Don't worry I won't trespass again." He looked around taking in the view one more time.
"Potter, honestly you don't have to do that. You can keep coming here if you want." Harry was surprised to say the least. He looked at Draco for what felt like hours before responding.
"I'm not sure what you're playing at." His tone was genuinely questioning. He didn't understand why Draco was being pleasant.
"I'm not playing at anything… not everything is a game you know Potter." Draco had just made a joke and it wasn't cruel… it was actually funny! Harry didn't know what to think but nodded… it was all he could manage. He slowly, never taking his eyes off Draco, sat down again.
He was startled when Draco sat down about five feet away from him and just stared up at the dimming sky. He actually shrugged. He really couldn't bring himself to mind that Draco Malfoy was a few feet away from him. It was his hill anyways. Harry was technically a guest. He looked at Draco out of the corner of his eye and saw that Draco was no longer looking at the sky, but boldly starring directly at him.
When Draco saw Harry noticed he didn't look away, instead he began speaking. "Why do they hate you?"
Harry laughed bitterly again. "They don't understand me. What I can do. And honestly I think it's because my aunt is jealous that my mom could do magic and she couldn't. How funny it seems to me now. Magic just got her killed and my aunt is sitting in her cozy little home with her fat son and whale husband sipping tea and baking cakes." He laughed again. "I guess she's just used to all the hate she can't let it go now." His lips were pressed into a thin line and he found he was blinking back tears as he stared up at the awakening stars.
He could not cry in front of Malfoy… he couldn't cry at all. That would be a weakness that he couldn't afford. He had a job to do and feeling sorry about it wasn't going to change the facts.
"Do they know who you are to the wizarding world?" Malfoy was actually curious it seemed and Harry wanted desperately to actually tell someone everything. To explain his life out loud where someone else could look in and maybe he wanted someone to feel sorry for him. Most of what he usually felt was undeserved hero worship, or hatred for something he hadn't meant to do most likely.
"No, no one in the family is even allowed to say the word magic let alone have me explain something involving it. I think my aunt at least knows the general idea… but no. They have no idea how 'special' I am." The word special was spit out like venom from a cobra. Draco was legitimately frightened for a moment, the look of hatred buried in Harry's green eyes was terrifying and it didn't leave his face… it only mixed with sadness. "And really if I told them, even that I might die… I honestly think my uncle would be happy. It would mean he could pretend he didn't have a freak for a nephew anymore."
"Have you ever tried to tell them?"
"I got beat until I couldn't see or walk and then locked into my old room. They threw food in at least." Harry didn't even seem here anymore. He looked like he was off somewhere far away telling the story in his head, re-playing it for himself.
"Your old room?"
"Well it was a room to me at first. In reality it is the cupboard under the stairs with a blanket and a candle." He smiled slightly, almost as if it was a fond memory. "When I was little and they would lock me in there for accidently doing magic I would pretend it was a huge room with a big four poster bed with sheer white curtains around it. The walls were pale blue and the ceiling had painted clouds on it with those glow-in-the-dark star stickers hidden in the clouds so when it was night time they would glow and it would look like the night sky. I had shelves of books and a trunk full of toys. I would spend hours playing with the toys in my head wishing it was real." Harry was so lost in the memory he didn't even realize that he was in fact crying. A few tears slid silently down his pale cheeks.
His voice dropped to a whispery level. "Sometimes if I was really sad or feeling especially lonely I would pretend my parents were there with me, reading to me or playing games with me. I didn't know what they looked like till I got to Hogwarts so every time they looked different. Always happy to see me though… never did they frown or call me a freak." Harry drew his legs up to his body and wrapped his arms around his legs tightly.
"Once when I was six, I accidently made one of my cousins toy soldiers melt after he made fun of my glasses. He was so angry with me I thought his head would explode. I was surprised he hadn't called for his mum to come scold me. The next day I found out why. I think it's the only time Dudley has ever had a smart idea in his life."
"What did he do?" Harry stiffened. He had forgotten Draco was there really, more like he had been talking to himself. But as he remembered the question he felt himself answer and slip back into the memory.
With a shrug he went on. "He came up with a game. Simple really, he gets a bunch of his friends and tells me to run. They count to ten and then Dudley yells as loud as he can 'Harry hunting' and they chase me until I'm caught and beat me just enough that I can feel extreme pain if I move but can still walk home by myself." Draco was surprised how angry he was for Harry. The boy seemed so withdrawn about the whole thing. Like it wasn't a big deal… it was normal.
"The first time was the worst; Dudley had a reason that time. But that was the end really, after that he discovered how much fun it was to beat the crap out of a weak little scrawny kid who couldn't fight back and he started doing it just because he could."
"No one tried to stop him? Neighbors, the other kid's parents?"
"Stop him? Why would they do that?"
"Because they beat another child until he could barely walk?" Draco was startled he was actually explaining his question. As if Harry felt it was justified?
"I'm the freak of the neighborhood. No one is going to rescue a little freaky orphan child who walks around by himself because none of the other kids want to play with him. Not even the parents were stupid enough to try to be kind to me. They could be publicly humiliated in front of the neighbors." Harry sounded as if Draco's question was scandalous to have even been a thought.
"Are you honestly justifying the fact that no one did anything?"
Harry raised an eyebrow and laughed again. "In your neighborhood if there was a child that was considered freaky and odd, with no friends and word was spread not to talk to him and act like he didn't exist even though he got beaten up… would you have told your father to help them? Would your father or mother have gone out and scrapped them off the side walk and healed them?"
Draco wanted to scream yes! But in his heart and mind he knew the real answer was no, defiantly not. His father would have laughed at Draco for even suggesting it. He would have gotten a pat on the shoulder and a grin as his father assumed it was a joke! He shook his head in response to Harry he couldn't bring himself to speak.
They were silent for a long time. Finally Draco had to ask. "Why did you never tell Dumbledore?"
"I did. I asked to live at the castle year round after first year. He told me it wasn't possible."
"Did you explain about 'Harry Hunting' or the cabinet?"
"He knew about the cabinet. My Hogwarts letter was addressed to 'The Cupboard Under the Stairs'."
"Excuse me?" He raised an eyebrow… it had to be a joke.
Harry shook his head in understanding. "Yes, well he must have a good reason."
"A good reason!" Draco stood in outrage. The hero of the wizarding world was living in a home with the three most abusive people he had ever heard of ever… and he was the son of a Slytherin! And the Headmaster knew about it! Dumbledore had done nothing! He had let Harry go back again and again as if it was nothing.
He knelt in front of Harry and looked into his eyes. Even in the dark they shined as if they had their own personal light source, like two of his glow-in-the-dark star stickers. He reached out slowly and took Harry's freezing hands in his.
"Go home. When your family falls asleep pack your things and meet me here." Harry's eyes flickered between Draco's
"You can't stay there Harry… I can't let you. Promise me you'll meet me here tonight."
"I can't I already promised Dumbledore I would stay with the Dursley's I actually said I wouldn't even leave the house without one of them with me at all times."
Draco bristled. He calmed himself so he could speak rationally to Harry. "You go to the Weasley's every summer don't you?" Harry nodded slowly.
"It's the same thing you'll just be leaving earlier and coming with me instead."
"Your parents would just give me to Voldemort." Draco noticed that Harry hadn't included him in that. He had distinctly singled out his parents.
"We won't tell them. Our house here is almost as big as our yearly home. No one would notice if one of the spare rooms was being used. You'll just have to keep relatively quiet and wait for me to bring you food. Please promise me you'll meet me here tonight Harry."
The use of his first name did not go unnoticed by either boy. Harry found himself nodding. "Okay… Draco. I'll meet you here tonight. They are usually asleep by midnight. I'll try to be here by 12:30, 1:00 at the latest." Draco nodded his understanding and helped Harry up. The boy glanced down at the little streets below and with one last glance at Draco as if confirming he wasn't lying and that this was real… he turned and left.
Draco watched as Harry looked like he was gliding down the hill. His hands were in his pockets and his hair swept around him in the cooling summer night air. Draco glanced down at his watch. He was surprised it was almost 10:45. He had been out here longer then he thought. He ran down the hill towards the 'summer cottage'.
Okay I know you must all be thinking I have completely lost all my marbles by posting this! But in one of the other stories I mentioned this and realized I posted a brand NEW story when I should have just put this up. Now the reason I'm foolish enough to throw you all into FOUR different chapter stories is because I know that if I don't post them, then I won't make the commitment to myself to actually work on them. But in all honesty, if you knew how many stories I am actually working on right now, all at the same time, you would slap me for being so crazy!
This is the longest chapter so far. The others are relatively short compared to this.