A/N: Thank you for all your lovely reviews! They make me smile :D As you have noticed, I'm posting quite a few. I'm excited to get to my original stopping point, so your being bombarded with awesomeness. Haha. Somehow I don't think your complaining :P
Draco awoke in his large bed draped in emerald green to his tempus alarm going off. Groggily he sat up and forced his body out of the warm cocoon his comforter had made while he slept. Just like every morning he dragged himself through the shower and reveled in the steaming water laced with vanilla oils while going over his daily schedule. He had Potions today, a double period that took up his entire morning. The only good part in that was that Harry had the same Potions schedule. Honestly, Dumbledore was barmy when he decided to put Slytherins and Gryffindors together in the same class, let alone one that tends to be volatile on the best of days, but now it only worked in his favor so he really couldn't complain anymore.
Once he was dried and dressed in his uniform Draco cast a quick Tempus, only to frown when it read it was only seven. He had taken the shortest shower in over a year and yet it had felt extremely long. Maybe because he subconsciously knew he would be seeing Harry soon? Damn his subconscious was whipped already. Blaise would surely have a field day with this if he knew.
Out of habit Draco grabbed his worn copy of The Life and Works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and sat in his plush chair beside his small bookcase. A smile tugged at his lips when the worn old book fell open to one of his favorite poems, How Do I love Thee? As odd as it was Draco could recite half this book by heart including this particular poem. As usual his mind slipped to Harry, as it often did these days. Did Harry know of Elizabeth Browning? Had he ever had the chance to enjoy classic literature? Would he even like it? Somehow the thought of Harry reading Elizabeth Browning as he did just wasn't very clear, his mate disliked reading from what he could tell over the years. However, Draco conceded, if he had an annoying mudblood pushing books down his throat he doubted he'd like it either.
An idea struck Draco that made him simultaneously grin and want to bang his head into the nearest wall. Maybe it wasn't just his subconscious that was under Harry's spell.
Quietly Draco made his was out of the Slytherin dungeons and into the regular ones. The way to the Owlery was about a twenty minute walk both ways so it would eat up his time until breakfast started. On his way he kept shaking his head at how mushy he had turned in such a short time.
The owlery was abandoned this early and only a few owls remained whilst the others were faithfully out retrieving mail to bring to their owners at breakfast. Draco knew Harry never received much mail, and if he did it was usually from a teacher. So it made his lips twitch in anticipation of the happiness and surprise that would cover Harry's face. He set his bag down and grabbed a sheet of parchment and a quill.
My Dearest Harry,
I do not know if you have ever read any classic literature, let alone any poetry, but I have a fondness for a half-blood witch's work by the name of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. She is widely popular in the muggle world as well as ours so maybe you have heard of her. I was doing a bit of reading this morning when these lines made me think of you.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
Enjoy your day, my love.
Draco left his letter unsigned; knowing Harry would know who the letter was from anyway. He carefully let the ink dry before folding and turning to Harry's owl. He knew her by sight, almost everyone did, but he had never learned her name. What would Harry name his owl?
"Hello there girl," she was a smart owl; she eyed him warily as if knowing who he was. "I am your Harry's mate so you will be seeing a lot of me soon. Will you take this to him at breakfast with all the other owls?" Her hoot made him smirk and he almost laughed as she puffed up her chest as if saying 'of course.' He attached the letter to her left leg and scratched her under her beak affectionately, "Well I'll see you soon girl."
Draco ended up meeting Blaise, Flora, and Hestia in the Great Hall and sat beside Hestia who for once looked confused at his anxiousness.
"Draco, are you up for a game of chess this afternoon? We have an hour block between lunch and Herbology or two hours between Herbology and Defense." Draco was about to decline, thinking of maybe kidnapping Harry and visiting another abandoned classroom but he realized that he had spent almost no time with those who he considered close to him.
"Of course Blaise, before Herbology sounds great." Draco raised an eyebrow in question at Blaise's relieved look but the other boy shook his head. If he was trying to hide something from the twins he should know that it wouldn't work. However, Draco dropped the subject as his Gryffindor came down, following the mudblood who was preaching about something…again. Draco had no idea how Harry could stand her, he found her worthy of a whole new level of curses he wasn't sure existed yet.
Draco sipped his coffee, watching his Gryffindor as he listened to Daphne and Hestia's debate over dresses and dates for the annual Malfoy Yule Ball. Daphne was determined on finding Hestia a date but Hestia just smiled serenely and shook her head when the conversation strayed in that direction. While Flora was deciding on the trim for Blaise's robes that would match her dress while he just smiled affectionately and nodded along.
Finally the familiar fluttering of owls was heard and they began swooping down to their owners. Hades swooped down in front of him but Draco was watching Harry's eyes widen in surprise as Hedwig brought him Draco's letter. He almost laughed at the shocked and curious faces of the two beside his mate and at the haste in which Harry ripped open the letter. With each line Harry's face got a little more flushed until he was completely pink. He was guarding the letter from prying eyes, but with how flushed he was that just made the two seem to want to know that much more. The mudblood and blood traitor scowled as Harry slipped it in his pocket, still smiling, and glanced Draco's way. Draco's lips twitched into a smug smirk at the embarrassment and happiness prevalent on Harry's face. Yes, he would remember to do this again.
"I just can't believe someone killed Cassius Mulciber and then just left his body to rot in the street! I mean it's tradition to honor the dead and give them proper burials!" Blaise had been on a rampage since he had seen the latest headlines. Apparently, his father hadn't taken too kindly to Mulciber threatening his only heir and disrespected the man even in death by abandoning his body in a public market way.
"I can, he was always putting his nose where it doesn't belong and he finally got what he deserved." His housemate's necks snapped in his direction as they walked down the corridors making their way to the dungeons for Potions with Slughorn.
Hestia spoke up, backing Draco's claims. "Yes I believe Lady and heir of Mulciber will be relieved. No doubt they grieve the loss of such a high standing pureblood but he was a bit of an arse. He held no respect for anyone yet he demanded it from everyone." There were murmurs of agreement before Theodore Nott stepped in.
"Father said he was a terrible drunk as well, couldn't handle his liquor. Tsk, tsk, tsk, not a very upstanding guy when all was said and done." Blaise still looked as if he couldn't believe his ears and Draco couldn't help but wonder why he wasn't falling into submission. If he slandered someone generally those with common sense would articulate that they had done some wrong that was usually confidential and would back him up. It was just how things worked in Slytherin nowadays. Yet Blaise looked thoroughly scandalized.
"You all go on ahead; I need to speak to Blaise." The rest of the group picked up the pace while the two young men slowed their steps.
"Draco!" Blaise whispered harshly, "Mulciber was an Elite! How can you be so blasé about this?" This both answered his questions and brought forth new ones but he didn't have the chance to respond before he heard one of the most annoying voices in the world.
"Oi! Watch out Malfoy, stop taking up the whole hallway." Draco rolled his eyes before turning and straightening his posture. The mudblood, blood traitor, and Harry stood waiting for them to let them by, the latter looking thrilled to see him.
"Ah, the Weasel and his mudblood. The company you keep Potter…haven't I warned you before how their filth will taint you?" Draco smirked at the light that entered Harry's eyes.
"However you got yourself an owl this morning that made you blush pretty hard, maybe you've finally found yourself a proper suitor? Or is it just the Weaslette trying her latest attempt to garner the affections of the Boy-Who-Lived?" His sneer at the ridiculous name looked just as venomous as usual, and Weasley's eyes flashed in anger. Harry on the other hand tried hard to suppress his amusement but it shone through his eyes like a Lumos spell went off in them.
"Who I have chosen as my company, Malfoy, would never taint me. It's not Ginny but maybe I do have a love interest somewhere, are you jealous? Latest rumor on the rumor mill is that you've gone celibate." He wanted to snort, oh how badly he wanted to snort in amusement. He would show Harry celibate alright. Celibate all the way until Harry was a writhing puddle of goo in his hands.
Draco waived a hand flippantly, "I have moved on to bigger and better prospects, giggling school girls aren't really my cup of tea anymore." He was quite aware of Blaise's almost palpable curiosity beneath his indifferent mask, while Harry's sidekicks looked absolutely stunned. He didn't pay them any mind; they didn't deserve the labor it took to breathe in order to harass them.
"Be sure to warn the poor Weaslette that she lost her chance of gaining your favor, I'd love to see your new significant other deal with her." A cruel, predatory grin curled his lips and Weasley went red, he looked about to shout but Blaise cut in.
"If we don't get in the classroom now we'll all be late. Come on Draco." Draco nodded, taking in Harry's amused eyes before turning and listening to the trio bicker behind him as they made their way to the classroom.
Between ignoring Blaise's imploring looks, shielding Harry's potion from Slytherins who didn't know better when he wasn't looking, and trying to keep Crabbe from exploding their cauldron; Potions was a busy and stressful class. It was with great relief that he sat down in the Slytherin common room as Blaise set up the chess board. The inquisition was coming, he knew Blaise well enough to know that he was about to burst with unanswered questions. But at least he could focus on one thing instead of several at one time.
"He smells of you." An innocent enough statement; vague enough to not give out anything to anyone trying to eavesdrop.
"Yes." He knew Blaise would smell it, so would a lot of seventh year Ravenclaw and Slytherin students if they were ever close enough.
"And you have no care for an important man's death." Blaise's face was impassive but his tone was…disappointed? Offended? Why? Why would Blaise care anyway?
"Indeed I do not. His death was more of a blessing." His friend's demeanor changed, becoming guarded and stiff as if in hostile company. Draco couldn't help but feel completely confused.
"Have you defected?" His friend's angry whisper was barely audible; he wouldn't have heard it before his inheritance. Draco felt utterly stupid at not being able to put two and two together. Blaise thought that Draco had joined the light. The mere idea was laughable, were the atmosphere not so tense.
"Of course not, you know me better than that." And just like that the tense and strained aura was gone, replaced by a relieved Blaise and a confused Draco.
"And he knows?"
"Yes." Draco hissed in anger, Blaise knew better than to push this far. His mocha colored friend immediately snapped his mouth shut, sensing he had just crossed into lethal territory. But his eyes were wide as he connected the dots.
"And you care why Blaise?" His voice was still layered in anger, "You have no part in this."
"I will." It was Draco's turn to snap his teeth together with an audible snap. Blaise was going to take the mark? Zabini's had always been neutral; his friend had never even shown an interest before.
"Why?" While part of his brain was picturing his friend's face when he learned just how ingrained in the Dark he was while the larger, far more logical part was trying to come up with reasons why Blaize would take such an interest now. It's not as if he was even on the Dark Lord's radar.
The chess game was all but forgotten; neither had made any move nor showed any interest in actually playing. Draco was relieved, he didn't think he could keep up this conversation and play the blasted game that took all his concentration to beat his friend. The suspense was killing Draco, and his friend looked to be debating with himself.
"We've been through tough shit together Draco, shit we potty trained together. You're not doing this alone." He probably looked as he had when Harry laughed at his drawing in Transfiguration or when his mother had cried, utterly dumbfounded. His world just kept turning in and on itself and he felt as though he was barely staying afloat with his sanity in check.
""Let me get this straight," Draco hissed venomously, "you're doing this because of your inner Hufflepuff?" Blaise's face would have been comical had Draco not been feeling dazed. They were Slytherins; they didn't just risk their necks like this because of some friend.
"Please Draco your ego is getting to your head. You know I have always been and always will be on this side, I am simply now offering my services as 'my brother from another mother' has." The laughter that came out wasn't to be stopped, the muggle quote just brought back many funny memories paired alongside with the fact that he was still in slight shock that Blaise was going to take the mark.
Years ago, when Draco and Blaize were twelve they decided they wanted to rebel against their parents. So they snuck out together and ventured into the muggle world. They ended up in what a muggle calls a movie theatre, where they played giant memories on a screen for all to see. The one they had watched had been called 'Brother From Another Mother' and was about two boys who were different racially and found out they were brothers. They were competing all the time for inheritance and the two pre-teens had decided to adopt the name.
Their parents had tracked them down soon after, frantic and furious. They had been grounded all summer, complete with the grounding spell and all, but even their parents got a laugh out of their newfound title. The boys never ventured out into the muggle world again and after their parents showed them the horrors that hid there the summer before fourth year neither boy wanted to. But the name stuck and throughout their years it still made them laugh.
Defense Against the Dark Arts was what Potions was to the rest of the school. He now loathed this class, having to sit and watch his mate be bashed pushed his limits. Maybe it would have been easier to deal with if Draco didn't have the constant nagging feeling of his godfather being the traitor.
Aside from that Draco was getting fucking tired of his mate losing that damned sparkle in his eye because Snape had some sort of twisted grudge against Harry because of a man that he had never even known. He worked damn hard to make Harry happy and Snape ruining it only served to fan the flames of Draco's hatred. Maybe when Dumbledore finally kicked the cauldron the Dark Lord would send Snape elsewhere, somewhere far far away. To a place where Harry didn't have to see him every day.
Draco's attention was pulled back to the class by his godfather. This year was all about repertoire and silent casting; they were paired up and sent on their way to practice. One partner would practice silent shielding while the other would attack silently. Even with already knowing how to silent cast and shield his concentration was continuously being shattered by Snape's constant belittling of Harry. Not thirty minutes into the double lesson Draco had reached his limit and was seeing red. While Snape was shouting at the Weasel, Draco stealthily made his way over to Hestia and Flora who were practicing together.
"Hestia, Flora, my lovely ladies. You both are silent casting extremely well." It was unnecessary to try and flatter the twins, they would do as he asked if he had pulled rank but he didn't want to have to do that. Hestia was someone he was very close to.
"Yes Draco we know," Flora rolled her eyes while Hestia finished, "We have been doing it a while. Why the needless flattery, Draco? What do you need and what will we get out of it?"
Draco glanced pointedly at his mate and back to the twins. "Flora I'll provide you with two tickets to that French Orchestra you love so much. Hestia-"
Hestia held her hand up, "I need nothing, my gift will come over Yule and that's more than enough. You would like one of us to partner with Harry Potter and help him?" Draco nodded sharply, hearing Snape cutting Harry down again.
Before Draco was even back to Daphne, his casting partner, Hestia screeched loudly and held her nose which was bleeding profusely. Snape was immediately at her side and the class seemed to halt.
"Professor I'm so sorry, I thought she could block it!" Flora's acting was phenomenal. Her face was plastered in fake horror and Snape didn't bother taking a second glance at her.
"No worries, Miss Carrow go find another partner. Weasley! Take Miss Carrow to the Hospital Wing."
Flora bounced her way over to Harry while Draco lazily threw up a shield at Daphne's silent stunner.
The rest of class was spent lazily throwing shields and stunners while watching with a mixture of contentment and jealousy as Flora happily instructed Harry. He wanted to be the one to show his mate, but grudgingly conceded Flora was an excellent teacher as Harry had silent casting down by the end of class.