Author's Note: Inspiration struck me in the middle of the night, and I thought, 'hey, maybe it's time I start a new chapter fic.' So here I am... Great story. Anyways, I've never written anything like this, so bear with me. This is sixth year 'Harry never went to Hogwarts' AU. So... very AU. And slash! There, all the warnings so far.
Disclaimer: I wish these characters were mine… but unfortunately, they are not. Cry with me.
People have often said that Draco Malfoy was a boy larger than life.
Perhaps that was true.
At least Draco knew what he was. He was loud and unashamed at times—a sixth year Slytherin prefect and Quidditch extraordinaire and he loved to show it off. He was accomplished and wealthy; good at everything he tried, clever and able to succeed in any situation. He could smooth talk his way into anything with anybody... and if he were to be honest, he could probably match his father in snark. Positively angelic with a flash of his snowy smile, incorrigibly demonic when he had not gotten what he wanted, Draco knew that some people thought that he was a bully, and a supercilious one at that. But at least they thought of him, he liked to say. Draco was never one to be ignored.
"Goyle!" he bellowed, his commanding voice stretching down the Hogwarts corridor in a harsh echo. He was standing at the very end of the hall, glaring down it with his hands on his hips. Goyle looked up at him, terrified. Why was it so hard to get good help these days? Draco pursed his lips. "Get over here now!"
It was a Monday morning, and that was just the beginning of it. Draco had a big exam in his first class of the day and he'd been up all night studying. He'd run out of his favourite hair gel and his next order wasn't coming until nightfall. His mother had owled him three times this morning just to "check up" on him (aka gossip about the House Elves at the Manor) because obviously, the woman had nothing better to do with her time now that Lucius had 'gone back to work'. Draco rubbed his forehead tiredly. He was already in a foul mood and the sun wasn't even up yet. Damn Mondays.
Goyle scuttled towards him now, ashamed that he'd been caught on his own. "Sorry. Is there something I can do for you, Draco?" he asked meekly.
Although the other boy was much larger, Draco towered over him like a giant—metaphorically speaking. It should have been strange how that worked, but Draco was just naturally commandeering. It added to his appeal, he liked to believe. "Where is Zabini?" he grilled. "He's got my painting."
"Well, I think that he's headed to breakfast, but I can't be—"
"Let's go," Draco interjected, striding off towards the Great Hall. Goyle trailed behind him automatically.
It wasn't just that Draco was formidable—although yes, he had an aura of authority and distinction about him—but he was also scarily intelligent about how he used it. He knew everything, had everything he needed to be—and even though people were often afraid of him, no one dared to openly dislike him. He was king of the castle and he wasn't reluctant to remind anyone of his status. By the time that he'd arrived in the Great Hall and settled down into his seat at the Slytherin table, Blaise Zabini was indeed already there. The boy waved hello.
"Draco," Blaise greeted.
"Blaise," Draco nodded. "Where's my painting?"
Blaise gestured at his satchel sitting next to him. "Right here. But I was wondering if I could keep it for a few more hours? I haven't got around to duplicating it yet and I wanted to have a copy for my collection."
"Of course," Draco said, waving it off as if he hadn't just stormed through half the castle to find it. "Just put it back at today's meeting, we're sketching today. By the way, make sure that it gets excellent display... My mum says I've got a real chance at getting my work into several galleries. So, you could have potentially famous work in your collection at that rate."
Blaise raised his brows. "You don't say?"
"It's true. She's checked."
"Well, can't say I'm surprised," Blaise remarked. "Your stuff is fantastic."
Draco smirked. He was good at everything, but more than anything, he was an artist. He had the nimble fingers for it, the graceful movements, the able mind. Unfortunately, there hadn't been an art class or a club at Hogwarts, but he had managed to acquire permission to start a club in which he'd be in charge of, of course, and instructor for. He had done it to allow the students to escape their limited views of the world, he once claimed, but he had stopped saying that lately. If he were to be honest, he just liked to show off. After reminding Blaise of his own artistic ability one more time, Draco settled back to his breakfast, gathering one spoonful of potatoes, two sausage links, a piece of toast with strawberry jam on the side, and a glass of orange juice, as was his daily routine. Just as he was about to take a bite into his toast, Nott budged at his side.
Draco glared at him. "What was that for?" he snapped.
"Look there," Nott said, not even bothering to apologise for the sharp jab. He nodded towards the Gryffindor table on the other side of the room. "The Gryffindors are going mental."
"Blimey, they're even nuttier than usual," Blaise agreed, glancing over as well.
Despite his annoyance, Draco looked. Both Blaise and Nott were right; the occupants of the table were buzzing and crowded together, and they were all speaking at the same frenzied, annoying pace. Really, it was the Gryffindors—they were always excited about something or another. Why should it concern him? Draco shook his head. "Someone must've put something in their pumpkin juice," he remarked. "I'd like to shake the hand of whomever pulled that off." He really couldn't care less what the Gryffindors were hyped up about. Obviously, he had all of his own Monday problems to deal with.
"Did someone mention Gryffindors?"
Pansy Parkinson scooted in towards him to join the conversation and Draco wrinkled his nose at her. She smirked. "I heard they're ruffled because they've got a new student today," she said, waving around buttered toast in her hand. Draco watched the crumbs fall onto the table with distaste.
"Now?" Nott raised his eyebrows. "But we've been in school for ages. Isn't it a little late?"
"Blah, blah," Draco commented, to show his boredom.
Pansy rolled her smoky lined eyes. "We've only been back a month, Theodore. Anyways, Dumbledore seems to think it's a good idea." She leaned in some more as if she were telling a juicy secret. "I hear it's Harry Potter," she whispered.
Now Draco raised his eyebrows.
"Harry Potter?" Blaise asked incredulously. "You mean the Boy Who Lived?"
"The one and only," Pansy answered, pleased with the reaction she was getting from the boys. "I've calculated that he'd be in our year!"
"I thought he didn't exist," Draco argued sourly. "Urban legend."
"Oh please," Pansy scoffed. "We all know that he's got to be real. Especially now that You-Know-Who is rumoured to be...well, you know…"
The rest of them fell silent, as the sentence did not need to be continued. Well, right. Draco took a bite of his toast and chewed it thoughtfully. Harry Potter. Of course he'd heard the story of Harry Potter, the boy who had defeated the Dark Lord as a baby with only a mere scar as punishment. He was famous throughout the wizarding world, sought after as a hero and a legend. Curiously, nobody had seen him ever since the supposed incident; some believed that he had been taken away by his protectors, others believed that the boy had actually died that night along with his parents and somebody had spread a false tale. But who could really say? You-Know-Who had disappeared without an explanation except for that boy, it was only logical. Draco frowned. Could it be true? Was it possible that Harry Potter would return?
"Why Gryffindor, though?" he inquired suddenly, drawing attention back to the conversation.
Pansy shrugged. "Perhaps they've already Sorted him in private," she suggested. "Nobody knows. We don't even know if it's true yet. I hope it is. Harry bloody Potter, honestly!"
Draco took another bite of his toast and smirked. "Yeah, well. I've got a way we can find out," he announced.
People have often said that Harry Potter was a boy who didn't deserve a life.
Perhaps that was true.
Harry sat by himself in the small classroom he'd discovered, wringing his hands in his lap. He hadn't had the courage to go to breakfast or his first few classes, although, in his defence, he had braved leaving his private room for the first time since arriving here the night before... Here, at Hogwarts. Harry looked around, scanning the rows of empty desks. He'd never imagined that he'd make it here at this point in his life; he had only just turned sixteen years old two months ago. It was common knowledge that students were supposed to be admitted when they turned eleven... Harry had thought that he'd well missed the opportunity. He shook his head. It was as if his life had been on pause for the last five years, and when it had begun to play again he had found himself an entirely different place. His whole life seemed to be that way, actually.
His childhood had been a blur; he had spent most of his days locked up in rooms of old creaky houses that never seemed to stick. He had never once been to the market, or a shop, or a park, and he had never had any friends or family visit him when he had a birthday. In fact, Harry knew only one person—and that was Remus Lupin, his guardian and teacher. It tended to get lonely sometimes. Remus was Harry's friend, of course, but he was also decades older and a part-time werewolf at the same time, so Harry couldn't really say that they had a lot in common. The only things that Harry knew about people his own age were what he had learned through old Muggle films Remus sometimes brought back from his trips to the city, and somehow, he knew that it wasn't enough.
Harry wasn't clueless; he knew that he wasn't a normal boy—he had known it when he'd first learned that a Dark Wizard had killed his parents and that he was a wizard himself, had known it while he was being carted around from one secret location to another, never able to communicate with anyone but Remus... but most important of all, he had known it when he had turned six years old and he had still been unable to say his own mother's name...
The truth was, Harry Potter couldn't speak then, and he hadn't since. Nothing. Ever.
Remus had explained to Harry that the disability was most likely connected with the spell that had rebounded off of him when Voldemort had tried to kill him on that fateful night. Perhaps the mental trauma had been too much for Harry, Remus had guessed, perhaps Harry had somehow blocked off the physical ability to talk. There was a psychological term for it, but Harry didn't care to remember it now. The point was, the spell had left not only a physical scar upon him, but an internal one as well. Harry reached up and touched the lightening-shaped scar that was slightly covered by the fringe upon his forehead. Then he opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out. Scars.
That's how he had known for sure that he wasn't normal. Harry wasn't a normal wizard because he couldn't do magic, but he also wasn't a normal teen because he had the blood of a wizard. What was he then? Harry didn't know, he had never bothered to know. He used to cry, silent tears of confusion and anger towards an unknown source, hating the fact that he was hopelessly restricted inside his own mind with no one else to talk to, hating everything. Why was he like this? Why couldn't he just be like everybody else? Was it a punishment for something he had done? But Harry had long outgrown the crying now... It didn't do him any good.
After a few more minutes of sitting, Harry stood up cautiously, brushing off his new school robes and placing his satchel on the floor beside him. For a moment he just stood there, taking it all in, before he stepped forward and let his hand run gently across the solid edge of a nearby desk. Coming here to Hogwarts hadn't been his idea at all. Remus had only told him that the move had been necessary for his safety before running off again without another word of explanation. All Harry really knew was that Remus was leaving him to do some "Order work" and that Harry was going to be all alone for some time. The thought made him shiver and he rubbed his arms and bit his lip with worry. It was a scary notion, being alone. Harry had seen the students from afar, and he had met with the Headmaster once upon arrival for Sorting, but obviously his social skills weren't the best in the world. He had only had Remus, after all. Was he going to fit in?
Before he could gather his thoughts properly, Harry heard the door click from the outside. Worried, he scurried to the corner of the room where his satchel lay, huddling there with wide, uncertain eyes. The heavy door swung open and a tall, young blond-haired boy strode in.
"Now, where did I put my—Merlin's beard!" The boy crashed back into a desk upon looking up and seeing Harry in the corner. Harry's eyes only widened further, as he had not meant to scare the blond... even if he could, he didn't know what he would say. Sorry? Hello, maybe? The blond looked pretty angry now. Harry cringed involuntarily.
"Who are you? What are you doing in here? Are you lost?" the tall boy asked, gathering himself from his clumsy fall and placing his hands on his hips in accusation. Strands of blond hair wisped over his eyes, which flashed dangerously. The look caused Harry's stomach to churn and he gulped and backed up further. Who was this bloke? Why was he asking so many questions?
By the lack of response, the boy's eyes narrowed as if he'd just heard a confession. "Are you the new Ravenclaw Beater? You fucking cheat! How did you find this room?" he bellowed. Harry whimpered silently at the volume. "I'm going to beat you and your teammates into a pulp when I find out who instigated this. Where are your robes? Let me see them immediately!"
Harry gaped noiselessly, not quite sure how to respond to his raging classmate. What he raving on about? Who was a Ravenclaw? What was a Beater? He looked down at himself in confusion; he thought he was already wearing his Gryffindor robes, but apparently he hadn't put them on yet.
"Your outer robes, you nitwit!" the boy screamed. "For fuck's sake, can't you speak? Forget about the beating, I'm going to report you. If you thought you'd pull one over on the Slytherins, you thought wrong."
Harry didn't know what to do. For some strange reason, he was frozen in place... he couldn't even deny the false accusations being thrown at him. This was such a horrible new feeling! He stared at the blond boy in confusion, a feeling of terror and helplessness washing over him. He had never been spoken to like that in his life; Remus had always been gentle and understanding. But this boy was condescending, absolutely frightening—was this how every real teenager acted? For Merlin's sake. Teenagers were scarier in real life than they had been on film.
The blond rolled his eyes, obviously exasperated with the ordeal. "Bloody hell, you're a fucking freak," he spat. With a last sneer, he whirled around and picked up a sack lying by the door, stomping away without waiting for a potential response. Harry could hear him muttering obscenities under his breath.
After he left, Harry sat back down and hung his head sadly. Guess he wasn't going to fit in after all.
Draco slowed down to let Blaise catch up to him in the hallway. The other boy was by his side in a few seconds. "Where were you at lunch, mate?" Blaise asked breathlessly. "I saved you a blueberry muffin, but you never showed up." He reached into his bag and pulled out the napkin-covered muffin, and Draco took it gratefully.
"Thanks. I was going to get a few Quidditch supplies from the stash for practise later," Draco explained, and Blaise nodded along knowingly; the abandoned classroom on the third floor was an unspoken Slytherin secret. They had always stored their top-of-the-line Quidditch supplies (and alcohol) in there, and those supplies had been their secret weapons for difficult matches. In fact, they had a match coming up against Ravenclaw, the second best House team, in one week, and Draco had also gone to make sure everything was in place.
"Doesn't usually take that long though," Blaise commented as an afterthought.
"I know." Draco rolled his eyes, irritated by the memory. "I caught some bloke snooping around in there, obviously not a Slytherin. He wasn't very bright. Didn't say a word, just sat there staring at me with this dumb expression. Bastard. Snooping around our things and not even having the good grace to own up to it."
Blaise's eyes widened. "Nobody outside of Slytherin knows about the stash!" he exclaimed.
Draco pursed his lips. "Exactly. We've got to find out who the traitor is. I reckon it's a Ravenclaw." Blaise nodded solemnly in agreement, and Draco sighed. Sometimes it was tiring being the best. "For now, we've got a club meeting to attend," he remarked. "Ready?"
"Yeah." Blaise tapped his bag. "I've got your painting ready to put back, and all of my good stencils. What are we sketching today?"
"You'll see. Let's hurry, we can't be late."
They walked together, bantering a bit, until they reached the classroom in which Draco's art club was held. As they walked in, Draco noticed that most people were already inside setting up their easels and chatting along with their friends in the process. The classroom was filled, as always, with students of many Houses and Years. Draco's prestige was not a secret, of course, and most people opted to swallow their fear of him in favour of learning a thing or two about art. It was only reasonable. Draco walked to the centre of the room with purpose.
"Can I have your attention please?" he announced, taking a moment to let the volume of the room simmer down from the sound of his voice. "Today, we will be sketching a still life."
Goyle raised his hand to ask a question, but Draco didn't acknowledge him. "A still life is an object that will not move," he explained, with some impatience. Goyle's hand went down. "Any other questions? Good." Draco took out his wand, conjuring a stool and a small basket of assorted fruits. "Here is your muse. You may begin."
He rubbed his hands together and began to walk around the classroom, absently surveying students and pointing out the flaws in their artwork. Honestly, he didn't know why the professors complained so much. Teaching was easy, he thought. All he had to do was tell the students how wrong they were. After cringing over Goyle's artistic attempt and patting him on the shoulder, Draco spotted his main target of the day: Hermione Granger. She was sitting at her easel, frowning at it for a few moments, before leaning over to Ron Weasley's and peering at it to compare. The redheaded boy swatted her away and muttered something about 'copycats'.
Draco rolled his eyes. Gryffindors.
He made his way over there under the impression of peering at the other students' work and paused at Neville Longbottom, who was right next to Granger. "For Merlin's sake, Longbottom," Draco sneered. "What are you sketching?"
The boy looked up at him with frightened eyes. "Um, it's the fruit basket…"
"It looks like a lumpy tree," Draco stated flatly.
Longbottom began to pout and Granger reached over to pat his shoulder consolingly. "It's okay, Neville," she said gently. "I think it looks like fruit."
"Well, well, Granger," Draco drawled, coming up behind her. "And what do we have here?"
"It's the fruit basket, like you asked," she answered, obvious displeasure etched on her face.
Draco personally thought it looked even lumpier than Longbottom's had, but he didn't say anything, as he wanted to be on her good side today. She was his target of the day, but not for ridicule. Seeing as Granger was a Gryffindor, and a nosy one at that, he figured that she would know a thing or two about the new student. If he were to be completely honest, Draco hadn't stopped thinking about the possibility of Harry Potter since that morning. In fact, the notion was starting to excite him a bit. Harry Potter, of all people! What an asset he would be to Draco!
"It looks lovely," he encouraged, only earning a suspicious frown from the girl. "Say, I've heard you Gryffindors have a new student among you. That's… interesting. Care to share thoughts?"
Granger's frown was growing. "Are you trying to make small talk with me?" she asked, distrust in her voice.
Draco wrinkled his nose. Ugh, Granger. Why was she so analytical about these things? Perhaps he should have gone for Weasley instead. "Call it as you wish," he muttered. "Can you answer the question?"
She gave him a strange look, but she seemed to buy it for now. "Well, yes, we do," she admitted. "How did you hear it?"
"Oh, well, I noticed that the Gryffindor table was rowdier than usual, if that's even possible, and I did some snooping around. Pretty standard, really. Do you have any idea who it is?"
Granger narrowed her eyes at that question, which of course, only fueled Draco's curiousity. "Why do you even want to know, Malfoy?" she inquired.
"Because I live to be absolutely informed on the scandals of Gryffindor—honestly, what do you think? I just want to know if I've got a new classmate, is that a crime?" Draco snapped. After a belated moment, he realised that he had overstepped his boundaries of sarcasm, because Granger pursed her lips and turned back to her drawing without another word.
"Buzz off, Malfoy," Weasley muttered, his eyes still trained on his canvas. "Can't you see that we're working?"
Draco glared at the redhead. "What are you even doing here, Weasel? Did Granger put the leash on you again, or did you come out of your own free will this time?" he leered.
Weasley turned and glowered at Draco now, his bright blue eyes flickering with anger and the infamous Weasley temper flaring up once more. Typical. "She doesn't have me on a leash, damn it," he snarled. "I'm my own man! A man who likes to draw!"
Draco snorted. "Sure thing, Weaselbee," he remarked. Then he looked back to Granger. "Any chance that the new student is Harry Potter?" He was now opting for straightforward, since obviously, the casual nice guy act wasn't working.
Granger immediately stared at him, shocked. "How did you know that?" she murmured, her voice dropping into a whisper.
Draco shrugged. "Like I said, I went snooping around."
"Well, don't. It's an extremely fragile situation."
Draco rolled his eyes. "Obviously," he said. "It's Harry Potter."
"Shh!" she whispered fiercely, before glancing around. "Only the Gryffindor House knows for now. Dumbledore introduced us to him about an hour ago to make sure we're acquainted properly. Apparently, he was supposed to be in classes today but he never showed." She looked sympathetic. "Dumbledore found him wandering around the halls after lunch. The poor bloke, he's got this—" she paused and shook her head. "I've said too much. I don't even know why I'm telling you anything."
"Tell me more!" Draco demanded, but the girl shook her head again in silent determination. "Come on, Granger. I just want to know about him... and meet him, perhaps? Could you introduce me?"
Granger gave him a sceptical look. "Why would you want to meet him?"
"Because he's Har—"
"Well, because you know. He's—" he dropped his voice, "famous."
Granger snorted and turned away. "Right."
Draco glared at the side of her frizzy head. He crossed his arms and pouted a little for show, but Granger didn't even look up. Stubborn bint. He sighed. Well, at least he got some information out of her. Harry Potter was at the school! He existed, and he was going to be Draco's classmate! Draco imagined befriending the lad, taking him under his wing: he'd be Draco's own little Gryffindor spy, his informant of all that was bold and brash. It'd be positively marvelous! Now, if only Draco could get Granger to introduce him…
"Hey, I've got an idea," he burst out suddenly, causing Granger to regard him.
"How about I give you a few private art lessons in exchange for a meeting with him?"
Granger balked. "No!"
"Oh, come on!"
"Why would I take private lessons from you? You call me the M-word all the time!" she argued.
Draco cocked an eyebrow. "Why would you come to my club meetings?" he countered. "I call you a Mudblood all the time."
She wrinkled her nose at his comparison. "I want to draw," she grumbled.
Draco pursed his lips and leaned closer, inspecting her canvas. Perhaps he had to take a different approach yet again. "This is horrid," he remarked. "What are you even sketching? It appears to be a lumpy rock of some sort." It seemed to work. Granger gasped, scandalised, and Draco gestured over towards her companion's easel to add fuel to the fire. "Look, even Weasley's fruit basket is better than yours. That is just sad."
Weasley frowned, then smiled, and then frowned again, as if not sure whether to feel insulted or flattered. Draco grinned.
"Why do all of your insults have the word 'lumpy' in it?" Granger muttered.
"It's the ugliest adjective I can think of," Draco said matter-of-factly. "But you know, I can fix that problem for you with a few private lessons. You've just got to do this one tiny little thing for me in return."
Granger was starting to look rather pale and sick from being referred to as worse than her incompetent redhead. It was obvious that she couldn't handle not being the best at something. Draco wanted to scoff. Honestly, the girl had to get over herself. Granger glared at Draco for a moment, but then sighed. "Fine. Whatever," she murmured.
Draco cheered inwardly. "So I can meet him?" he asked.
"Maybe. See, I don't think he trusts me and it might be difficult—"
"Right. I'll see you after dinner then. Third floor corridor, don't be late."
Draco whirled around on his heels, leaving before she could protest any more. He was going to get the scoop on this Harry Potter, and he was going to be the first to do it. Because really, he wasn't Draco Malfoy for nothing.
Harry sat on a couch in the Gryffindor common room, fidgeting with his robes a little as two of his Housemates sat across from him: one a tall, freckly redheaded boy, and the other a small, bushy-haired brunette. It was... uncomfortable. The girl was gazing at him intently; a gentle smile on her face, and the boy was giving him a sort of awkward grin. Upon entering the portrait, both had just sat down in front of him as if it were a normal occurrence. Was it? Harry didn't know how to react. He just stared back at them.
"Hullo Harry," the girl chirped finally. "My name is Hermione Granger, and this is Ron Weasley. Glad to make your acquaintance."
"Hi," Ron added, still grinning.
Harry smiled a little in acknowledgement of their names and introductions and Hermione's eyes lit up. She seemed a bit overeager, but at least she wasn't acting like the angry blond from before. "How's Hogwarts for you so far?" Hermione asked. "I do hope you'll like it here. It's been a second home to me and Ron for years and we can show you around, if you want. I don't think that Ron is doing anything later. He can give you a tour of the boys' dorm, perhaps."
Ron made a face at her. "Ron can speak for himself, you know," he said dryly.
Hermione frowned. "Please, Ron. Don't be difficult in front of Harry. It's not polite."
Ron snorted and looked at Harry, his eyebrows raised. "Right, I'm the difficult one. Says the girl who coordinates the order of her textbooks by alphabetical consonants of the editors' last names."
"It makes them easier to find!" Hermione argued hotly, her voice rising. She turned to Harry as well. "Obviously, Harry, you can see who the mature one here is."
Ron rolled his eyes. "Obviously, mate."
"Ronald Weasley, are you mocking me?"
Harry watched the two of them bicker for a few more moments, not knowing exactly what he was supposed to do. Was it a normal thing for teenagers to fight like this? He had never seen anybody argue like Ron and Hermione were at the moment, and had Hermione not insinuated that the two of them were close friends, Harry would have assumed that they couldn't stand each other. How odd! After another round of shouting, Harry tilted his head and tapped on his lips to remind his new Housemates that he was still there and that he wanted to say something. At this, Ron and Hermione immediately stopped arguing and gave him apologetic looks. Hermione 'ooh'ed' and blushed prettily.
"I'm sorry, we get a little carried away sometimes," she admitted.
Harry gave them concerned looks, but Ron shrugged. "Nothing to worry about, mate," he assured. "Completely normal."
Harry grinned and tapped his lips again, gesturing around for something to write on. Hermione made a noise of realisation. "Would you like a scroll?" she asked. Harry nodded.
Without another word, Hermione took out her wand and quickly conjured up a piece of parchment and a quill. Harry watched her, utterly impressed at the simplicity of her work. He'd never seen a person their age use magic before, and he noticed that she did it without having to say a spell. He didn't even know that was possible. But if so... Hermione handed him the parchment and quill and Harry picked them both up eagerly, scribbling his words down with ease. He was used to having to write a lot; he often had to communicate with Remus about the littlest things, and he had gotten very quick at it.
Can you teach me how to do that?
Hermione scanned the paper and looked up in confusion. "To do what? Conjure supplies?"
Harry nodded excitedly, and her mouth went into a round little 'o' for a moment. She began squealing. "Of course I will, Harry!" she exclaimed, causing both Harry and Ron to wince and cover their ears. "I've got my notes from previous years, at least two texts specifically on conjuring every day items, and then a few with a broader spectrum…I could teach you wandless House spells too, if you'd like! It's a whole other concept, but I've got those notes colour coordinated by function and it shouldn't take too long. Oh, Harry, I'm so glad you've asked! We're going to be such great friends!"
"Oh, bloody hell," Ron said, rolling his eyes. "You're never going to get rid of her now, mate."
Harry grinned at him, but of course he didn't mind. After witnessing the boy in the classroom earlier, he hadn't had high hopes of making any friends at school—even when the Headmaster had introduced him to the rest of House, he hadn't expected much. But after learning of his condition and who he was, most of his Housemates only had smiles and words of greeting for him and Harry's hope were starting to climb again. Ron and Hermione seemed like nice, level-headed people. Well, despite the yelling and the spontaneous arguing, of course. But he could get used to that.
Harry had to admit; the best part about the whole thing was that nobody in Gryffindor was trying to treat him as if he were special or different. Students were mulling around the area right now, not staring at him, not coddling him, not asking if he needed anything. It wasn't as if Harry wasn't grateful for Remus's constant worry at home, but he liked the freedom. He glanced back at the two smiling faces in front of him. And he was starting to think that maybe it wasn't impossible for him to fit in here—at least, if these people were willing to stick with him for a bit, which they seemed to be. Of course, Harry hadn't met the rest of the school population yet, and he reckoned that it would be much more difficult, but it was nice to know that he had people on the inside.
"Look, Harry," Hermione began again, her grin losing a bit of its enthusiasm at the change of subject. "I wanted to ask you a favour. You don't have to do it, but I just wanted to ask."
Harry frowned, but nodded to urge her on.
She shrugged. "I have this friend… well, actually not—he's a classmate, if you will—who wants to, uh, meet you. He's not in Gryffindor, so I don't particularly know how he knew that you were here, but… he seems to be genuinely curious. I told him that I would try."
Ron rolled his eyes. "I don't see why though," he remarked offhandedly.
Harry raised his eyebrows. He wasn't completely ignorant of the fact that there'd be rumours of his arrival, but he hadn't known that news would spread this fast. He didn't see the harm in it, however, seeing as he would have to attend classes with the rest of the student population the next day. Might as well get a head start on the introductions. Harry shrugged and nodded at her for confirmation. Hermione beamed.
"Thank you, Harry," she said.
Ron shook his head and stood up. "Well, it's almost dinner time," he announced, clearly excited for the occasion. "Want to grab a bite?"
Harry shook his head and smiled in apology. It wasn't as if he didn't want to eat with his new friends, it was just that he was still unaccustomed to large crowds of people. He'd almost had a panic attack upon seeing the Gryffindor House in front of him; he couldn't imagine how he might react to the entire school. He knew that it would take a couple of days to adjust to his new environment, but if it all went well, it shouldn't come as a problem.
"We'll be back right after dinner, all right?" Hermione assured, getting up as well. "Then we'll go and meet our classmate together."
Harry nodded, and both Hermione and Ron waved at him and walked out towards the portrait hole. A few other students waved at him on their way out as well and he returned the gesture genuinely. But after they were all gone, he sat back into the couch and stared at the diminishing ashes in the fireplace. It was oddly exhausting being noticed after so many years of loneliness.
"Now you have to behave yourself, Malfoy."
"I will, I will," Draco said impatiently, brushing off Granger's warning and continuing to flounce up the stairs towards the third floor. Weasley had gone to fetch the Potter boy from the confines of the Gryffindor Tower; apparently the Boy Who Lived didn't like to eat dinner with the rest of them. That was odd, but Draco could look past it. Potter obviously liked his privacy, there was nothing wrong with that.
"I'm serious," Granger went on. "He's special, okay? You can't go around intimidating him like you do everybody else."
"You insult me, Granger," Draco replied. "I'm perfectly civil around new people, I'll have you know."
"Right." Granger snorted unpleasantly. "Like you are every year with the First Years."
Draco smirked. "Those are Firsties, that's different."
"Whatever. Just tone it down."
Draco rolled his eyes, but he didn't fight any longer. He was finally going to meet the Great Harry Potter, Boy Who Lived. He was going to make grand plans with Potter; they were going to be the dream team of Hogwarts, threatening everything and everyone in their paths with their power… Of course, his father would never approve, but his father didn't have to know. Draco reveled in the act of rebellion and he was sure that Potter would too.
As they reached the third floor, Draco saw two figures huddled over by a nearby alcove, half hidden by the shadow. The lanky one, presumably Weasley, was talking animatedly to a smaller, scrawnier fellow, who only appeared to be nodding back. Draco frowned a little but didn't comment out loud. Of course, he hadn't expected Harry Potter to be huge and grand, but the lad standing next to Weasley was at least a head shorter than Draco and thinner than a twig. It wasn't really that intimidating. Draco truly hoped that Potter's personality would speak volumes more than his physical appearance did.
"Ron! Harry!" Granger called out, causing the two boys to turn around and step towards them.
Draco immediately rushed closer as Weasley and Potter came out of the shadows. But as they came face to face, however, Draco noticed something strangely familiar about Harry Potter. He quickly took in the messy black hair and owl-rimmed glasses and gasped, remembering. Wait a minute. He'd seen that face before!
"This can't be Harry Potter!" he shouted.
All three of his companions looked at him in shock. The boy who claimed to be Harry Potter stared at him with those scared, wide green eyes and hovered around Weasley for supposed protection. "What the fuck are you on, Malfoy?" Weasley demanded, throwing an arm around the imposter. "How would you know if he isn't Harry? You've never met him before!"
"Because!" Draco pointed at the boy accusingly. "This is the barmy Ravenclaw who broke into my personals this morning. I caught him there redhanded!"
"What?" Granger exclaimed. "He's not a Ravenclaw, you dolt! Look at his robes!"
Draco looked at Potter's robes, and indeed, the Gryffindor emblem was on them. Oh. "He wasn't wearing his outer robes this morning," he argued weakly. "How was I supposed to know?"
"Oh, shut up Malfoy!" Granger screeched. "I knew this was a bad idea. Look what you've done to him!"
Draco glanced at the boy, who appeared as though he was going to shit himself, or perhaps already had. Oh gods. Potter's face was beginning to redden and his eyes were large and teary with horror. Draco wanted to slap him out of it. Oh, he's got to be kidding! This was the great Harry Potter? "Well, it's not entirely my fault," Draco muttered. "He could have just told me that he wasn't snooping around for the enemy instead of standing there like a fucking mute."
Weasley seemed to squeeze Potter closer. "For Merlin's sake, Malfoy, you're such a bastard," he spat.
Draco frowned. "Excuse me?"
Granger put her arm around Potter as well. "Harry is mute. Gods, you're so dense! If you had stopped and noticed anything but yourself for once, you would have clearly seen that he couldn't have said anything even if he wanted to."
Draco's mouth fell open. What the hell? Harry Potter was a mute? This was impossible. How had he not known that? Draco stared at Potter, so different in real life than he had been in Draco's imagination, so much weaker, so small. This shivering, anxious bloke had defeated the darkest wizard of all time as a baby? Really? Draco suddenly remembered calling Potter a 'freak' and walking out without a second glance. He hadn't even thought of the possibility that there was actually something wrong with the boy, or that it could have been the ever-famous Harry Potter that he was shouting at. Draco stared at Potter's big, green eyes, open-mouthed, and an unexpected rush of guilt passed through him as Granger and Weasley began to pull Potter away.
"Potter, wait," Draco called after them. He didn't know what he was going to say.
"Oh and by the way, Harry," Granger said, just loud enough so that Draco could hear her too. "That is Draco Malfoy. He's not your friend."
Author's Note: So there's the first chapter! Please tell me what you think, any suggestions of what you want to see, questions, or anything like that. I know the POVs switch pretty rapidly, but it's difficult to write too much in Harry's POV seeing as he doesn't speak at all. Also, I've learned about this type of thing in school, and Harry's condition would technically be classified as a type of Somatoform disorder, which is when a person experiences something so traumatizing that they lose the ability to see (or walk, or smell, or anything of that sort), even though there is nothing physically wrong with them. A mental disorder, so to speak.
Another thing: I'm not quite so sure about the title. After reading and rereading this over and over, I haven't found anything that's stuck yet. If any of you have suggestions, that would be great (even though, knowing me, I might just stick with the original out of laziness). Hope you enjoyed and will stick around x