Paw Prints in the Sand

Don't own, don't make money off of, and please don't sue. Ok, I decided to try and write my own fan-fiction Challenge 'Wolves Run at Night'. If you want to see the challenge check out my home page.

Thank you very much to MrsBates93 for being my Beta. This couldn't have been done without her. Italics=past. Normal font is present.

Harry sat by the fire in the library at 12 Grimmauld Place and thought about all the events that had happened to him that summer. After the events of the Tri-Wizard tournament, he knew his life was going to change. Of course, he thought that the entire wizarding world was going to prepare for the horror that was Voldemort and the war that was sure to come. Harry shook his head at that thought. The wizarding world didn't prepare, and in fact made him out to be a delusional child who was looking for attention.

Harry at least had done his best to prepare for the war with all of his abilities that summer. He read over all his school books and practiced spells the best he could without his wand. Harry had put effort in learning his magic and seeing if he could harness any of it without the use of his wand. He had especially practiced defense charms and shields. And all of my hard work, Harry thought, was for nothing. No one else saw him to be capable of handling the war that was coming. Just because Harry had fought and lived through various attacks didn't seem to matter to any of the adults.

He had thought that Dumbledore would have been preparing him or at least making sure that he couldn't get into trouble. How wrong he was. The people he had learned were members of the Order of the Phoenix had not kept him safe from the Dementors that came nor did they do anything to protect him from the farce of a trial of him defending himself.

Harry was beginning to think that Draco Malfoy was right for once in his life, that Dumbledore and the adults surrounding him couldn't protect him or anyone else for that matter. That conversation with Malfoy still made him shake his head, but, it was also was the reason for Harry being in the library for the past three nights. The conversation happened right before everyone was boarding the train to go home for the summer.

Harry looked around the courtyard once more. I can't believe that Cedric is dead. How could I let this happen? If I wasn't so bloody noble I could have just taken the cup and he would have lived.' Harry thought to himself. He was procrastinating before meeting with Ron and Hermione and he knew he was going to have to go soon but he just needed to be alone for a little longer.

Harry's thoughts were abruptly interrupted when a voice interjected "Well, just my luck, I see Potty is all by himself." Harry whipped around to see a smirking Malfoy leaning against the wall right next to the exit that was the fastest way to the train. Not bothering to reply Harry started to walk toward the exit. When Malfoy moved to block his path, Harry subtly fingered his wand.

"What do you want Malfoy?"Harry asked.

Malfoy looked at Harry for a moment before replying "The Dark Lord is back." Harry waited a moment waiting for Malfoy to say something else but all Malfoy did was watch Harry.

"Are you here just to state facts?" Harry finally asked. Malfoy seemed to decide something and took a step forward toward Harry so that they were almost touching.

"I do not want to be a Death Eater." Draco said in a calm, low voice.

Harry blinked and stupidly said "What?"

"Are you hard of hearing, Potter, I just said that my entire world has come crashing down and all you can process in that puny brain of yours is 'what'?" Malfoy replied furiously. Harry just stared at Malfoy as he started to pace back and forth muttering to himself.

Slowly, Harry spoke. "Well, what do you want me to do about it?"

Malfoy stopped pacing and spat "What do you think I want you to do? I want protection! Do you know what the Dark Lord or even my father would do to me if they knew?"

"Yes, I think I do have a pretty clear picture of what they do to people who go against them. But why tell me? Surely, Dumbledore would protect you if you told him."

Malfoy looked at Harry like he had told him that the sun was purple. "Dumbledore, jeez, you really are as dumb as you look. He would probably have me running as a spy or some other shite that would get me killed faster than a cheetah on steroids," Malfoy snidely stated.

"So, you are asking for help from me, your worst enemy, whom you have done nothing but insult the entire time you have known me instead of your friends and family." Harry said, watching Malfoy, looking for any signs that this might be a trick to get him to let his guard down.

Malfoy waved that statement off "You are not my worst enemy at the moment. You have that weird noble streak in you so I know that at least you might try to protect me. Unlike my friends who might protect me as long as they aren't placed in any danger. And if the worse comes to the worse and you get me killed it would probably be with a fast Killing Curse, I would rather have that than the slow deaths I have heard of."

"How do I know you are telling the truth?" Harry asked hesitantly.

Malfoy straightened up, looked Harry straight in the eye and said "You don't."

"I need to think about it, Malfoy."

Malfoy looked for a moment as if he would draw his wand and curse Harry. "I am asking for help that might save my life, god damn it and the response I get is 'you need to think about it.'" Malfoy almost screamed at him.

"Yes, I understand that but frankly I don't trust you to not turn around and put a knife in my back at the first opportunity you get." Harry stated calmly while watching Malfoy's wand like a hawk.

Malfoy glared at Harry and Harry glared right back until the whistle of the train rang through the courtyard. "Fine," Malfoy grounded out, "I will take any vow you have in mind to prove to you that I am completely serious and not trying to trick you. Think about what vow you will have me take that will assuage your fear." Malfoy reached into his robe and pulled out a small notebook. "This is a one shot note," Malfoy spoke slowly like he was explaining it to a small child, "it will send one short note, one time, only to the intended recipient. Activate it with a prod of your wand, and say 'to Draco'. Let me know what you decide before school starts next year." With that said Draco turned around and swiftly left Harry standing there.

After that conversation, Harry had thought long and hard about whether he would try to help Malfoy or not. Harry really thought that he would tell Malfoy no and just tell Dumbledore about Malfoy needing help. But since the events of the summer Harry had started to change his mind. Dumbledore seemed to be avoiding him and the other adults that Harry was supposed to look towards for information seemed to insist that he was a child and didn't need to know any information.

Molly Weasley's voice saying 'not to worry' or 'you're only a child' made his blood boil. Who had been facing Voldemort since he was eleven years old? Certainly not Molly bloody Weasley, Harry thought. He was even mad at Hermione and Ron for a while for not contacting him over the summer but when he heard that it was what the Order demanded of them he felt a lot better. If the adults had such trouble protecting him to the point that he had been fighting since he was introduced to the wizarding world and he was their "Boy Who Lived", what chance did a Malfoy have?