Title: A Series of Misunderstandings
Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this for fun and not profit. And also, she is not to be held responsible for the insanity herein.
Pairings: Past Harry/Ginny, Harry/Draco, mostly canonical other pairings, and the rest are a surprise, damn it! If you don't like surprises, run away with flailing arms, and watch out for the fruit carts!
Rating: Tentatively R (at least, that's what I have in mind eventually). So please don't read if you're not old enough to read things about sex! I don't want your parents mad at me. My home is not angry-parent-proof!
Warnings: Very light angst, sexual themes (maybe even actual sex?), pushing the fourth wall, and a slight tendency to be crack-ish at times.
Summary: When Harry is running away from overzealous reporters in Diagon Alley, he crashes into Draco Malfoy, and they both fall to the ground. This leads to a series of misunderstandings from which he might never recover. Well, at least Harry's life was never fated to be boring.
Author's Notes: I have finally categorised this as romance and humour. Although there will be parts where I get all serious, for the most part, this story is utterly ridiculous yet without actually being fully crack. I have tried to maintain at least a modicum of logic, you know? This will be limited third-person, though, so please do not take any of these characters' words at face value. No one is omniscient here, and sometimes they will be completely wrong. In a fun way.
Alright, alright, I'll shut up now. Enjoy!
A Series of Misunderstandings
Chapter One-The Composition of a Discomposed Harry Potter
Harry Potter was running for his life.
Well, okay, not his life, but definitely his sanity.
Behind him, excited reporters were shouting questions at his back, their Quick-Quotes Quills flurrying and fluttering beside them.
"Mr. Potter! Was it true that you had an argument with Miss Weasley in Fortescue's yesterday?"
"Mr. Potter! When do you expect to finish your Auror training?"
"Mr. Potter! What are you carrying in those bags?"
He huffed and weaved through the crowd of Diagon Alley shoppers, dodging people and displays and—
Was that a fruit cart? Why was there always a fruit cart?
He swerved, avoiding it just in time, which was more than could be said for one unfortunate reporter, if the crash behind him was to be believed. Harry chuckled darkly. Served those tossers right for thinking they could catch an Auror trainee. He did feel bad for the fruit merchant, though. It seemed that the Boy Who Lived always inadvertently brought trouble with him everywhere he went.
If Harry was thinking straight, he would have realised that he could have Disapparated and saved himself the trouble, but honestly, Apparition only worked well when one wasn't stressed out of his wits. He still had a lot to learn when it came to calming himself down, and the instructors at the Auror Academy were trying their best to beat some tranquillity into him. Until then, however, Harry, practically fresh out of Hogwarts, had yet to learn composure.
Of course, in Harry's path, the very definition of composure was making his way out of an apothecary right at that moment, brushing dust off his robes and meditating on the state of the world around him.
Unfortunately, Harry did not see him until it was too late.
Down they went! Harry's purchases flew out of his hands, spilling all over the streets. Eager photographers caught up to him before the reporters did, and a couple of them were photographing the spilled items. More material for the celebrity gossip magazines. Extra, extra, read all about it! The Chosen One likes peacock quills! Get one for yourself now, 50% off at Stella's Stationary!
Most of the photographers, however, were closing in on Harry and the man he crashed into.
Harry Potter, Saviour of the Wizarding World, was lying on top of a Very Shocked Draco Malfoy.
Green eyes stared into grey, and a loud roaring seemed to fill Harry's ears.
Then the bright flash of a camera went off in his face, and Harry remembered why he was in this position in the first place.
He pushed himself up and ran away, shoving the crowd aside, leaving behind a bemused and bruised man to have to brush even more dust off his robes again.
Harry sighed as he pulled open the door of the flat he shared with Ginny. Although his shopping trip had been ruined, he was glad to have escaped the reporters. He had learned his lesson. Hogwarts had given him a false sense of security. Now that he was in the "real world," he would have to be more cautious in the future. He made a vow to himself to borrow some books on glamours and disguises from Hermione the next time he saw her.
As he shut the door behind him, he heard an odd shuffling noise. Curiosity piqued, he made his way further into the flat, trailing his fingers along the walls of the hallway. He froze when he reached the doorway of his bedroom.
Ginny was packing her clothes into a trunk.
"Gin, what are you—" He could not help but splutter, the colour rising in his face. Inexplicably, he thought of the embarrassing scene earlier with Malfoy underneath him. Had news reached Ginny already? Was that why she was doing this?
She looked up, her brown eyes widening. "Harry—"
"I see how it is! You tell me everything is okay, only to leave behind my back! I cannot believe that you are so petty as to believe the press over me!" His hands trembled as his heart pounded in his chest.
Ginny opened her mouth as if to start shouting back at him, but then she closed it and shook her head, scowling. Jaw clenched, she waved her wand, and the rest of her belongings flew into her trunk.
She pushed past him and walked out of his life.
Ginny sighed as she threw herself onto her old bed at the Burrow.
Surprisingly, Molly had not burst into tears when she found her daughter on her doorstep, trunk floating behind her. Instead, she simply nodded sadly and levitated it to her childhood bedroom, patting her shoulder as she did so.
Ginny allowed herself to smile a bit. Ever since the war, her mother had learned the meaning of strength. She had to be strong. Ever since they lost Fred…
The small smile faded. Loss. It seemed abundant in her life lately.
She had not meant to break up with Harry. She had been simply packing away her things for a short trip. Things had been rocky between the two of them in the aftermath of the war, and the tension had bubbled underneath the surface of their supposed fairy tale romance. The argument in Fortescue's had simply been the cauldron overflowing. All Ginny had wanted was a short change of scenery to think about their relationship and figure out what she wanted in her potential life with Harry.
But it seemed that Harry had made the decision for her, as always.
She snorted. Well, how was she supposed to know that he would arrive home right at that moment? She thought his shopping trip would take much longer. The plan had been to pack her things, leave behind a note that explained her absence, and then speak rationally with him about her thoughts and emotions once she calmed down.
Life just did not work that way, though. And when he had been shouting at the utter berk, she had been unable to find it in herself to say a single word back to him. Anything she said would have been angry, bitter, and full of pent-up resentment, and she was tired of being fiery and angry all the time. Being with him had taken up so much energy, energy she could not afford anymore, not after the war and the grieving and the press—
Hm. What had Harry been blathering on about with the press, anyway? Did they do something to him again? Should she expect a new ridiculous article in the Prophet the next day? Would she have to comfort him as he moaned about how he never got any more privacy—
No. He was not her responsibility anymore. Although dating him had been such a good idea back then, when she was young and had worshiped his admirable qualities, it was a heavy burden now. She was so exhausted from always having to comfort him while he used her as a sounding board, never giving her any real comfort in return. Harry was pants at comforting people. In fact, Ginny reflected, the only person back in Hogwarts who was ever any good at comforting people was Luna.
She sat up and opened a nearby drawer, fetching some parchment, a quill, and an inkbottle. She would write a letter to Luna. Sure, Luna was a busy person nowadays, what with her budding career as a wizarding naturalist and her tentative courtship with Rolf Scamander, but one could always count on her to respond to a missive eventually. She was also, as a bonus, the least judgmental person Ginny knew. It would help to be able to vent out her problems to her.
Then, after finishing this letter, she could write another one to Ron and Hermione, explaining the situation. They deserved to know, after all, and she knew that Harry would probably not tell them a very favourable version of events. She did not expect much comfort from them, of course, since Ron had the emotional range of a teaspoon and Hermione was too analytical and they were both really loyal to Harry, but it was less trouble to let them know now than to have to deal with them banging on her bedroom door later.
After the letters, she would draw herself up a nice bubble bath and then go flying on her broom in order to clear her mind. Maybe she could shout into the sky, too. That always helped.
This had not been the way she imagined things would end, but she would have to accept it. Ginny Weasley was a strong woman, damn it. She would recover.
The morning after the Potter Incident, Draco arrived at the Manor to check up on his parents. The wards let him in with ease, since he was of the blood, and he entered.
Ever since he had passed his NEWTs and dealt with all the war trials, he had moved into his own flat to start his own life. Although his potions marks had suffered during Slughorn's reign, Draco had been determined to improve his knowledge on his own after the war, rigorously studying every potions book he could find. It wasn't as if he had had a vibrant social life, anyway. Most of the Slytherins either didn't return to school or kept to themselves, wary of human contact. And Crabbe…
He shook his head. He did not want to think about Crabbe.
His parents, on the other hand, had decided to huddle together in their dilapidated manor and spend the rest of their lives in eternal solitude, brooding on their bad decisions and wallowing in the past. In an elegant way, of course, but still. Draco had wanted no part of that. He was still young. He had a life to live. He was willing to visit them from time to time, because he still felt some familial loyalty to the people who raised and loved him, but he would not join them.
He placed his cloak on a hook near the door, since they no longer had house elves to take care of such things. Then he made his way to the parlour, where he knew his parents would be breakfasting. Even though it was not technically the appropriate place to have breakfast, his mother desperately craved the sun after living through so much darkness, and their previous breakfasting place had been tainted with the Dark Lord's presence.
As he entered the room, however, his breath caught in his throat.
His father was sitting with his back straight against the ornate chair, his eyes shining bright for the first time since the war. Next to the chair was his mother, her arm draped delicately across the top of the chair like an alabaster ornament. She, too, was rigid, looking like a pristine icicle.
"Son. What is the meaning of this?" His father levitated a newspaper in front of him, and at first, Draco was too shocked at the sight of his father displaying such magic after so long a hiatus that he missed the headline entirely.
But then his eyes focused on the large print, and it took every ounce of his etiquette training not to gape like an uneducated Weasley.
"BOY WHO LIVED AND FORMER DEATH EATER CAUGHT IN LOVERS' EMBRACE!"
There were more words somewhere underneath the headline, but Draco ignored them as he stared at the accompanying picture. There he was, lying helpless under Potter, eyes wide and petrified as his potions ingredients rolled away from him into the streets.
Clearing his throat, he met his father's eyes and rushed to explain. "Father, I—"
Lucius snatched the paper back into his hands and said, in a grave tone, "No explanation is necessary, Draco. I know what you were doing."
"You do?" Draco knew better than to argue indignantly. He wanted to know what his father's conclusions were before making a fool of himself.
"Yes. It is painfully obvious that you have decided to court Potter in private as a way to bringing respect back to our fallen family. You must have been conducting this business for a long time, judging from that photograph."
Narcissa cut off Draco's unpardonable stuttering. "Do not fret, my son. We are not angry about your course of action, although it would have been more prudent to inform us of this beforehand so that we could have been more prepared. Had you shared your plans with us, Draco, we could have taught you more caution so that this affair would not have been splashed across the papers in this unseemly fashion." Her voice trembled at this last part, and she paused.
Lucius nodded in grave agreement and finished for her. "Be that as it may, however, it is understandable that you would harbour some resentment with us due to our…faux pas…during the Lord's reign. We will not hold this against you, because our family unity is more important than any petty emotion. We trust in your growing ability to make your own decisions as an adult, and we give you our blessing to court him."
Draco swallowed in silence for a moment, racking his mind for the proper response. "Yet…what of the heirs you have always wanted from me?"
Narcissa gave a faint smile, and Draco basked in the feeble warmth of it. "There are other ways to have heirs. That is the least of our worries. When a Malfoy has a will, a Malfoy finds a way."
"Go forth, son!" burst Lucius in a most uncharacteristic fashion. "Go do your family duty like the heir you are!"
On that high note, Lucius waved regally, literally sweeping Draco out of the parlour.
Draco gasped and leaned against the newly closed door. Had his parents finally lost their faculties? Should he be contacting their solicitors and claiming power of attorney in their place, since they were no longer mentally fit to maintain the estate?
Yet he could not deny the pleasure of seeing his parents looking genuinely confident for the first time in years. Nothing he had done in the past could bring back the spark in their eyes, but letting Potter fall all over him apparently did the trick. The Chosen One sure worked miracles, in his own bumbling, plebeian way.
His mind worked furiously, wondering how to turn all these unexpected events to his advantage.
Perhaps it was time to send dear old Potty a letter.