You're a man now, boy
You're a man now, boy
You're a man now, boy
You're a man now, boy
You're a man now, boy
You're a man now, boy
The last week of the summer trials was upon the Wizengamot, and it was the one Harry Potter was anxious to testify to. The Malfoy Family’s trial had been held off until this point, and it was the trial that was getting the most press. They were being called traitors and disgraces from both sides, which no one could disagree with, as they had indeed switched sides right before Voldemort’s eventual demise.
Harry sat with his two best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, on the benches in the Wizengamot courtroom. It was from these benches that he had spent most of the past two months watching Death Eater sentencings. The worst sentences to watch were the ones where the people on trial had been imperiused. As that was a hard thing to prove, those trials took a lot longer. Dolores Umbridge claimed she had been put under the Imperius curse, but Harry, Ron and Hermione were more than happy to testify that she had not been; she was just evil to the bone. She was sentenced to life in Azkaban.
Kingsley Shacklebolt, the newly appointed Minister for Magic, stood at his podium as three blonde figures were escorted into the courtroom by no less than six Aurors. Lucius Malfoy, Narcissa Malfoy and Draco Malfoy sat in three chairs facing the full Wizengamot. The hissing and shouting within the courtroom, which had grown louder as they had entered, was put to an abrupt halt as Kingsley held up his hand.
"Today's court proceedings are for the sentencing of Lucius Abraxas Malfoy, Narcissa Malfoy nee Black, and their son, Draco Lucius Malfoy." Kingsley's voice echoed over the newly erupted hissing. Harry found it hard to watch as Draco shook in his seat, his pale face sullen and his eyes bloodshot. "You have been found guilty of being in league with Lord Voldemort."
Harry gripped on to the bench and dug in his nails as he tried to tune out everything. He had been practising how to occlude with the help of Hermione and Professor Dumbledores portrait and had gotten quite good at it now he didn't have to worry about Voldemort or Snape trying to read his mind. The need to still learn how to occlude successfully took time for Harry to grasp, he thought there was no point now he was no longer a Horcrux but was told it would be helpful when becoming an Auror.
"Harry," Hermione whispered, nudging him in the ribs. "You need to get up."
"What?" He replied, dazed and confused.
"You need to testify for the Malfoys," she hissed, nudging him again.
"Mr Potter," Kingsley called. "You have requested to give a statement, yes?"
"Um, yeah," Harry replied, standing up fully. "Thanks."
An Auror opened the gate from the spectator's benches, and Harry walked through to stand in front of Kingsley with his back to the Malfoys. Harry caught a glimpse of Draco squeezing his mother's hand in the restraints.
"What would you like to say, Mr Potter?" Kingsley asked, after Harry had stood there in silence, trying to keep it together.
"The battle of Hogwarts was a tragedy; we lost many friends, family members, colleagues, and students," Harry began shakily, not sure where he was going with this, but he knew he had to speak the truth. "I cannot excuse what the Malfoys have done during the war, because there is no excuse. I can, however, ask that you consider a different punishment."
Questionable murmuring filled the courtroom now and objective shouting.
"Silence!" Kingsley shouted, and the voices eventually died out. "Go on, Harry."
Harry turned away from Kingsley now, to face everyone in the courtroom, imagining he was on the law and order programmes his aunt and uncle would watch. His eyes flitted to look at Mrs Malfoy, and then back to his two best friends, who were listening intently.
"Only a few people know what actually happened the night of the battle, when I walked, alone, into the forbidden forest and came out in Hagrid's arms, presumed dead." Harry paused and looked gratefully at Mrs Malfoy. "I should have died; I was hit, for the second time in my life, with the killing curse at the hands of Voldemort, and I still live to tell the tale. And the fact of the matter is, I might not have made it out alive if it wasn't for Narcissa Malfoy."
Harry looked back to Mrs Malfoy, whose eyes were brimming with tears, and whose knuckles had turned white from squeezing her son's hand. He tried to ignore the outrage and the questioning voices that had once again filled the room.
"If it wasn't for Narcissa Malfoy," Harry repeated, turning back to Kingsley, "I might not have been able to kill Voldemort. You see, when I got hit with Voldemorts Killing Curse; we were both rendered unconscious. When we both came round, he sent Narcissa over to check that I was actually dead. Narcissa came and felt for a pulse. She then lied to Voldemort, her sister, and the Death Eaters that were there, and told them I was dead."
One of the witches from the Wizengamot raised her hand. "Is that true?"
Harry nodded. "I will take Veritaserum to prove it if I have to."
"That won't be necessary, Harry," Kingsley said over the murmurs. "If I have to ask the courtroom to be quiet one more time, you will all be made to leave."
"A mother’s love saved me more than once," Harry continued. "There are many witches and wizards who aren't aware of this, but love is an old and powerful magic. That being said, I request that Narcissa Malfoy be placed under the supervision of her remaining sister, Andromeda Tonks."
Kingsley raised an eyebrow at Harry. "And how do you suggest that will work?"
"I have spoken to Andromeda personally. Her husband and only daughter were killed in the battle, and she is left to raise her grandchild, Teddy Lupin. Andromeda has volunteered to take in Narcissa on any conditions of probation, and she will accept her help with raising Teddy." Harry turned his head to the Malfoys. "A mother would do anything for her child, and I believe that everything Narcissa did, was done to protect her child."
"Very well, Mr Potter," Kingsley said. "All those against Narcissa Malfoy being supervised by her sister, Andromeda, raise your hands."
Harry tried to count the hands that had been raised; it seemed to be less than half.
"All those for?" Kingsley asked. A lot more hands were raised this time, including Kingsley’s. "Narcissa Malfoy, you are hereby free to leave under the conditions that have been discussed today. You will be escorted to your sister’s home by an Auror, where you will be given further advice."
An Auror walked to the Malfoys, and Narcissa began sobbing harder. "My son. I need to stay with my boy," she wailed.
Kinglsey held a hand to the Auror. "I will allow it."
After the commotion had died down, Harry began to testify on behalf of his school nemesis, Draco Malfoy. Of the three Malfoys, Draco was by far the hardest for Harry to look at. While Lucius Malfoy was just as gaunt and pale as his son, he had been in this situation twice before. But Draco, as his mother had said, was just a boy; a boy who had grown up surrounded by blood prejudice, and had not had the chance to be his own man. He didn't deserve the fate of the other Death Eaters; he may have had the Mark on his skin, and spent a year trying to kill Dumbledore, but unlike the other Death Eaters, he hadn’t felt like he had a choice.
Where there was a lot less evidence against Narcissa, the attempts on Dumbledore's life and the plotting to assist the Death Eaters into the castle worked against Draco's favour. However, the adrenaline of the trial was still flowing through Harry, and he knew he had to keep telling the truth and convince the Wizengamot that Draco Malfoy didn't deserve to be a prisoner in Azkaban.
He proceeded to tell the Wizengamot about how Draco had not handed his true identity over to his Aunt Bellatrix and how he was lowering his wand on the Astronomy tower the night Dumbledore died.
"I would like to request that Draco Malfoy returns to Hogwarts for his final year on strict probation, under the supervision of Headmistress McGonagall. She has promised to keep a personal eye on his grades, and she proposes he spend the remainder of the summer helping to rebuild the school in time for September," Harry continued, giving a pleading stare to the Wizengamot. "Draco Malfoy isn't evil; he is just a boy who didn't have the right influences, and was failed by everyone around him."
A man raised his hand. "Draco Malfoy is eighteen, which means he has been of age for a year. He is a legal adult and is to be tried as one."
"With all due respect," Harry replied through gritted teeth, trying to remember what Dumbledore and Hermione had told him to say, "If he is allowed to return to Hogwarts under the protection of the school, he is considered a student under Ministry Law, meaning that he shouldn't be tried as an adult. As he has never voluntarily left the school, he hasn't been able to finish his education, and he has every right to return."
There was an agreed murmur this time, as well as many nodding heads, which surprised Harry.
"All those against Draco Malfoy returning to Hogwarts under the conditions discussed here today, raise your hands," Kingsley said loudly again, and, to Harry surprise, only six hands were raised. "All those for?" The rest of the Wizengamot raised their hands. "Very well. Draco Malfoy, though your actions in the past have been more than questionable, and if it weren't for the fact that you have the Headmistress and Harry Potter here vouching for your freedom you would most likely be seeing a very different outcome, so I suggest you keep your head down and work hard in school."
Harry heard loud, choked sobs and whimpers behind him. An Auror released Draco's restraints, and instead of Narcissa putting up a fight to stay, she kept hold of her son's hand and left shakily with two of the Aurors.
Harry sat back down with his two best friends, who held him tightly and whispered how proud they were of him.
Lucius Malfoy was sentenced to a maximum of ten years in Azkaban and a minimum of five, which meant he could be back with his family in six. Harry hoped that would be enough time for him to realise he fucked up and didn't deserve such a devoted wife and son.
After the trial ended and Harry, Hermione and Ron had returned to their temporary accommodation in Grimmauld Place, Harry received a visit from Minerva McGonagall.
"Good evening, Mr Potter," She greeted him kindly as he led her downstairs into the kitchen, where Ron and Hermione were playing chess. "Good evening Miss Granger, Mr Weasley."
They both smiled at the Headmistress, while Ron’s bishop took Hermione's knight.
"I think we should put this away now," Hermione said with a frown on her face.
"Only because you are losing," Ron smirked, but he Vanished the board away when he saw her scowl.
"What can we do for you, Professor?" Hermione asked, after Harry had poured her a glass of Ogden's Firewhisky.
"Well, I know, Miss Granger, that you and Mr Weasley are returning to Hogwarts for your final year, so I was hoping that Mr Potter will consider returning also," McGonagall answered in her usual no-nonsense manner, but Harry could tell her eyes were pleading. "I know you have said no already, Harry, but I need you there to..."
"To make everything seem like it’s back to normal?" Harry said, cutting her off. "You want to use me, right?"
McGonagall winced slightly. "Not to use you, but to... okay, yes. I guess you are right."
"I’m sorry I can't help you," Harry said, crossing his arms. "The Ministry has already used me enough, and Dumbledore... well, let's just say he didn't exactly have a perfect track record when it came to my best interests, did he?"
"I understand that better than anyone, Harry," She replied with a tear in her eye as she went to grab his hand, but thought better of it. "I just think if you come back, you could help the eighth years settle back into school life with my new plan."
"And what is your new plan?"
"Hogwarts has been segregated for far too long, with the rivalling Houses..."
"You want to stop sorting Houses?" Ron interrupted, with a hint of anger in his voice.
"No, just the Eighth Years. I want the Eighth Years to be separated from the other houses, and show the younger students that we stand better united."
"But isn't that just going to make things worse? Separating us from the other students, I mean?" Harry asked.
"No," Hermione answered. "If the younger students see we can put aside our differences and live together, then they will try doing the same."
"Slytherin House has been scrutinised by the school board. They want that House gone, but if I can prove that it can co-exist with the other three Houses, the school board won't have to take action," McGonagall said, taking a sip of Firewhiskey.
Harry looked to Ron and Hermione with a frown which said “it would never work”.
"I promise you, Harry. If I didn't think it would work, I wouldn't have suggested it. But I believe it will, and I need you to help me make it succeed. As your Head of House, I have watched you return year after year with that same sense of returning home written on your face. Hogwarts is your home. Wouldn't you like to return to it, one last time?"
Harry's lips curled up at the mention of it being his home. It was true, of course, and the thought of returning to Hogwarts, free of any threat of Voldemort, was more appealing than he would have thought possible. Maybe he would finally get to have his first quiet year.
"Okay, I will come home."
Chapter 2: Chocolate Frogs
Go ahead and cry, little boy
You know that your daddy did too
You know what your mama went through
You gotta let it out soon, just let it out
-Daddy Issues, The Neighborhood
It took Harry a while to get excited to be returning to school. He had come to terms with his education ending just after Dumbledore had died, so he hadn't thought it would even be a possibility that he would eventually be going back. When he got his letter on the morning of his eighteenth birthday, however, it seemed to make it all real. Along with the usual school list, Harry, Ron and Hermione received two other pieces of parchment that were explicitly for the returning eighth years.
That evening saw the three of them sitting in The Burrow kitchen with Ginny, while Mrs Weasley prepared a special dinner. The Daily Prophet had hoped Harry would have an extravaganza with half of the Britain wizarding population to celebrate he, the Chosen One and the Saviour of the Wizarding World, being born on this day eighteen years ago. He, therefore, had purposely decided not to do that.
"You read it, Mione," Ron said as she opened her letters.
She narrowed her eyes at him, but proceeded to read out loud to everyone in the kitchen.
I want to thank those who are returning to finish their N.E.W.T.S, and I have been working with the rest of the faculty to ensure your return will be as non-disruptive as possible. With that said, I have arranged an extra carriage to be added to the far end to the Hogwarts Express, just for the eighth years. All Prefect duties have been given solely to the fifth, sixth and seven years. However, if you wish to volunteer for night time monitoring, please speak to me after the feast.
You will find sleeping arrangements to be different from what you are used to, as the house dorms will be occupied by the First to Seventh years. We have made room on the fourth floor of the main castle for your own common room, separate from the four houses. This was not an easy decision to make, but I believe it is for the best that, as you are all adults now, you have a space for yourselves. You are also permitted to enjoy a later curfew.
I do not expect things to go back to how the way they were. I do, however, require the assistance of the Eighth Years in guiding the younger students, who have little understanding of the pain and suffering the school and its students have been through.
I have also included a list of the new rooming arrangements. I do not expect everyone to be best friends, but I do expect you to be civil and show a united front. Just like with your previous houses, you are a family now. I expect you to treat each other as you would your own family.
Headmistress Minerva McGonagall
"That's putting it lightly," Ron said, frowning after she had finished reading. "Not the wording she gave us, is it?"
"She is probably cautious; she doesn't want to scare people into not returning," Hermione replied, neatly refolding the parchment and putting it back into the envelope.
They opened the piece of paper with their new room assignments, and each let out a groan.
Boys Dorm room 1: Draco Malfoy, Blaise Zabini, Ron Weasley, Harry Potter.
Girls Dorm room 3: Hermione Granger, Pansy Parkinson, Millicent Bulstrode.
“At least I'm with you,” Ron said to Harry, trying to find a bright side. “Could be worse. Neville is on his own with Goyle, Michael Corner and that weird Hufflepuff, Wayne. It’s just a shame we have to share with Malfoy and Zabini. What was McGonagall thinking?”
“She probably thinks that if she puts you altogether, you will learn to get on,” Hermione said, narrowing her eyes at the parchment with her booklist. “Arithmancy looks like it’s going to be extra hard this year.”
“What if they try and hex us in our sleep?” Ron panicked, ignoring Hermione’s Arithmancy comment. "I don't know about you, Harry, but I would like a decent amount of sleep at night."
“If you’re that worried, put wards up around your bed. But I doubt they’ll try anything. Not when Malfoy has just avoided Azkaban, thanks to Harry.”
Harry couldn’t help but agree with Ron. Just because he had testified for Malfoy, didn’t mean that, when Malfoy got back to his beating ground, he wasn’t going to be back to his usual arrogant self. Though he hoped he would prove that he had changed.
"What does your letter say, Gin?" Harry asked, noticing her face was paler than usual. They hadn't really spoken much since the end of the war, it got a bit awkward between them when neither of them knew if they were together or not.
"I’m Head Girl," she whispered, opening the palm of her hand and revealing the red and gold Head Girl badge.
The sound of Hermione and Mrs Weasley squealing broke the shocked silence, and then Ginny was attacked with hugs and kisses from her mother. "Oh Ginny, I knew it, I had a feeling, I am so proud! Head Girl! That's nearly the whole family now. Oh, Ginny, I just knew it."
"Let her breathe, Mum," Ron muttered. He was the only one at the table that didn't seem pleased with his sister's news; Harry thought it could be because he missed his chance to become Head Boy.
Mrs Weasley let go but kept repeating how proud she was, and went through the list of all the Weasleys who had made Head Girl and Boy. "And then, of course, there’s Percy, and--" She looked at Ron, must have realised the mistake she was about to make, and stammered. "Ginny, so happy, we need to celebrate."
"Don't mind me, Mum. I only helped Harry defeat You-Know-Who," Ron said, scraping back his chair and angrily getting up. Hermione frowned at the empty chair and ran upstairs after him.
Harry suddenly found the teapot on the table to be very interesting, and did everything he could to keep staring at instead of whatever was going on with the Weasleys. He wasn't about to get between Ron and his mother.
Harry exited the fireplace at Andromeda’s home to see Andromeda and Narcissa in the kitchen, playing peekaboo with Teddy while he sat in his high chair. It was odd to see Andromeda and Narcissa together, as Andromeda looked so much like her batshit crazy sister Bellatrix and Harry had only ever seen Narcissa and Bellatrix together before, and not in the happiest of circumstances.
They turned around to see Harry standing there, awkwardly. “Look, Teddy, it’s your Godfather, Has he come to take you to Aunt Molly's? Has he?” Andromeda said in her best baby talk voice, which made Teddy smile and dribble.
“Is Mal...Draco here?” Harry asked. “I have something for him.”
“Yes, dear, he is in his room,” Narcissa said warmly. “He might not want to speak, though.”
“That’s ok; it won't take long.”
Harry left the kitchen and padded up the stairs. He came to a halt outside a violent purple door that was open a crack. It had 'Nymphadora Tonks' written on the front, with the first name forcibly scratched out with a knife, so only 'Tonks' was legible. He was going to try another room when he heard loud sobbing from the other side. He pushed the door open carefully to see Draco Malfoy curled on the bed in the foetal position, shaking and crying with empty boxes of chocolate frogs all over the bed.
“Malfoy?” Harry said softly. “Are you okay?”
Draco slowly stopped shaking, and his sobbing came to an end as he rolled over and looked up. “Potter?”
Harry stepped carefully over the threshold, and near his feet were about ten chocolate frog cards that looked like they had been thrown across the room, all with Albus Dumbledore’s face on them.
Harry bent down and picked the nearest one up. “Did you know when he was stripped of his Chief Warlock position and kicked off the Wizengamot, the only thing he was worried about was being taken off the chocolate frog cards?”
When Malfoy didn’t reply, Harry took it upon himself to take a good look at his bedroom. It was very messy; the brightly coloured pink walls were covered in Weird Sister's posters, while the desk next to the door was littered with school books, parchment and quills. Clothes were strewn about the floor, and crumpled up bits of parchment surrounded an empty bin.
“At least now I know what to expect to in our dorm room this year,” Harry said, frowning at the untidiness.
“What are you talking about, Potter?” Draco grumbled, turning back to look at his bedside table.
“When we share a dorm, will it be as messy as this room?”
“It’s how my cousin left it, and what do you mean ‘when we share a dorm’?”
“Did you not open your letter? Eighth years have their own common room, and we have new dorm assignments. I’m with you, Ron and Zabini.”
“Great,” Draco replied in a distant voice. “Have you just come to bother me about chocolate frogs and bedroom organisation, or is there something you actually wanted?”
“Oh,” Harry brightened, remembering why he was there. “I’m returning your wand.” He took out Dracos Hawthorn and Unicorn Tail Hair wand and held it out to him.
“I have a new wand now,” Draco said, uninterested.
"Right, yeah, of course, you would. Um, I’ll just leave it here, then.” Harry walked over to the nightstand and carefully placed Draco's wand on top. “I guess I’ll see you later.”
Draco didn’t reply. When Harry got back to the door, he paused and took a calming breath. "Look, you weren't sent to Azkaban; I think you need stop punishing yourself."
As Harry was closing the door, he saw Draco grab hold of his wand and hold it against his chest, like he was welcoming back an old friend. It was a reaction Harry understood. When he had fixed his wand, being able to feel the connection in his fingertips again was one of the best feelings he’d ever had.
When he got back downstairs, Teddy was being cuddled by Narcissa. She looked young and beautiful when she was smiling. It was a stark difference from the past few times he had seen her, both when she was on trial, and before that, when she was comforting Malfoy in the great hall after the war had finished.
"How is he?" She asked Harry in an unnaturally soft voice.
"Um, he was crying and shaking. Does he do that a lot?" Harry asked, even though he had a feeling he already knew the answer.
"Yes, he blames himself for a lot of things, and the whole trial gave him a reality check, I think," Narcissa said sadly, then gave Teddy little kisses on his cheeks. "I am hoping he will come around when he goes back to school and is with his friends again."
Harry nodded in understanding. "Have you spoken to your husband since?"
"Since getting sent to Azkaban? No." Narcissa’s tone was harsh. "I am hoping this time away from him will help Draco come into his own; the rebuilding of the school seems to be helping."
"Right, yeah. Well, I best be off, or Mrs Weasley's food will be going cold." Harry nodded and walked to the fireplace.
Narcissa cleared her throat. "I think you are forgetting someone."
"Of course," Harry said, wanting to kick himself. He pulled Teddy out of Narcissa's unwilling arms and covered him with his travelling cloak.
"Harry," Narcissa called as he grabbed the floo powder. "Thank you for what you did for my son."
Harry's cheeks went red, and he nodded his acceptance as he threw the powder down. "The Burrow."
The birthday meal turned into a double celebration, which Harry didn't mind as it took the attention off him for a bit. Ron had managed to calm down, thanks to Hermione. He had apologised to Mrs Weasley and Ginny for being a jealous prat, which Harry figured Hermione must have told him to say.
Fred and George had an announcement to make after all three courses and seconds had been devoured. They stood up in their best dragon skin suits and looked around the table to make sure all eyes were on them.
"Mr Weasley," Fred said.
"And Mr Wealsey," George said.
"Are happy to announce,"
"Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes is opening a shop,"
"In Hogsmeade," they said together.
Everyone around the table clapped and gave their congratulations. The only person who seemed less impressed, was, of course, Mrs Weasley, but even she seemed to be proud of the success of her sons.
"What does Zonko's think about that?" Mr Weasley asked, drinking his pumpkin juice.
"He’s going into early retirement," Fred said with a mischievous smile.
"We bought his shop, and he’s off to live in Italy," George said.
"You took nearly all his business anyway," Ron said. "It was only really the Slytherins that refused to buy your products."
"All that has changed now, little brother," George chuckled.
"Since the end of the war, our products have been going to every witch and wizard in Britain," Fred said. "We’ll soon be going international."
"And what does Professor McGonagall think about this?" Hermione asked, looking smug. "She’s going to be much stricter than Professor Dumbledore was."
Harry had to admit she had a point; Dumbledore let a lot of things slip. He was severe and strict when he needed to be, but he would also allow the students to have their fun if he wanted to feign ignorance. He couldn't see McGonagall being the same way, especially during her first year as Headmistress, while the school governors would be keeping a close watch on her.
"You see Hermione, the pros of just being the seller means we don't have to worry about how they sneak them in, or where they use them, just as long as they are buying them," Fred said just a smug.
When she tried to argue, Ron muttered, "just drop it, Mione."
A little while later, Hermione and Ginny brought out Harry's birthday cake; it was round with red and gold icing and eighteen candles. He blew them out, making a wish for a peaceful year and not to get murdered by his new roommates.
An eagle owl tapped on his bedroom window when he arrived home later that night. It looked strangely familiar, but he had never had it deliver post to him before, and all his birthday presents and cards had come in the morning. He opened the window and let the owl inside.
Harry took the folded-up note attached to the owl’s leg and read.
Thank you for returning my wand. I also apologise for the way I spoke to you this afternoon.
Harry smirked at the note; he wondered if his mother had forced him to write a letter or if he actually was sorry. The thought also occurred that he might think Harry would ask the Wizengamot to send him to Azkaban. He opened his desk drawer for a piece of parchment and scribbled a reply.
You’re welcome, and it's okay. I assumed it was because you ran out chocolate frogs to eat.
He chuckled at his own reply; he wanted to try and assure Malfoy he wasn't just going to take back his freedom because of a conversation about chocolate frog cards. He gave the note to the Eagle Owl and sent him out the window. He climbed onto his bed and sighed as he looked up at the ceiling, arms behind his head. He tried to remember the day, before attempting to clear his mind, but just as he was drifting into a deep sleep, he was awoken by a weight landing on his chest.
His eyes shot open, and he looked down to see a chocolate frog and a note just above his stomach. He raised an eyebrow and sat up. He picked up the chocolate frog and eyed it suspiciously. His lips curled into a smile as he opened and read the note, written in a neat script he was starting to recognise.
I still have plenty of chocolate frogs, but since you insist on continuing to talk about them, you might as well have one.
A loud HA escaped him, and he clapped a hand to his mouth, not wanting to wake Teddy, Ron or Hermione.
Thanks, but I wouldn't want to slow the progress of your teeth rotting by taking all this sugar from you.
After sending the owl away again, Harry opened the chocolate frog box, being careful it didn't jump out the window. The collector's card was another Dumbledore, which made Harry wonder if the real reason why Draco was so upset that afternoon was because all his chocolate frog cards were Dumbledore. If that was the case, Harry felt a bit guilty for mentioning him.
It was an hour and a half later when Harry heard another tapping on his window by Malfoy's eagle owl, who was carrying another note. Harry took it and opened it with unusual anticipation.
My teeth are perfect thank you very much. Now goodnight, and send my Owl back in the morning.
When Harry woke up the next day, he sent Malfoy's owl back with no note, though he felt like sending him a snarky reply.
His conversation with Malfoy hadn't gone unnoticed. When he was feeding Teddy his morning bottle, Hermione began asking questions.
"Who kept sending you owls last night?" She asked, sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee.
Harry thought about playing dumb, or maybe denying it, even though he didn't know why. It wasn't as though he wasn't allowed to talk to Malfoy. But, he thought she might find a bit odd that he had just had a late-night conversation about chocolate frogs with his school enemy.
"Andromeda was checking up on Teddy. She said he was having trouble sleeping recently and wanted to know if he was ok," Harry lied. And quite convincingly as well, if he did say so himself.
Hermione seemed to accept his words as truth, and didn't say anything else about it.
Chapter 3: Exploding Snap
The sound of the wind is whispering in your head
Can you feel it coming back?
Through the warmth, through the cold
Keep running till we're there
We're coming home now
We're coming home now
The Wednesday of the last week in August, Harry went with Hermione, Ron, Ginny and Mrs Weasley to Diagon Alley for their school supplies for the final time for all four of them. Whereas Hermione and Mrs Weasley wanted to savour every moment the others did not. Ginny and Ron had been bickering for the past few days, it turns out Ron hadn't completely gotten over the fact that he missed out on becoming Head Boy and Ginny would tease him at every opportunity, whether on purpose or accidentally was neither here nor there in Ron's mind. It also made it very uncomfortable for Harry as he had to put up with hearing the arguments and repeat that he is not going to get involved and pick who is right.
"If we get the books first, that will be the majority of this list sorted," Mrs Weasley said, as they bustled through crowds of students and their parents to Flourish and Blotts.
"It looks busier in there than usual, should we maybe split up?" Ron asked, hoping to be split up from his Mum and sister.
"Good idea Ron, Ginny and I will get the books; you three go to the Apothecary and get your potion ingredients, Ginny doesn't need any, anyway," Mrs Weasley said much to Ginny's annoyance. "We will meet up in twenty minutes at..."
"Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes," Ron said quickly.
"Fine, but we are not spending all day buying rubbish, there is enough of it all over the house."
Before Mrs Weasley had finished her sentence, the three of them had taken off and were heading to the Apothecary.
"Have you still got your undetectable extension charm on your bag, Hermione?" Harry asked as they walked passed the Owl Emporium window.
"Of course I do," Hermione replied with a coy smile. "Why?"
"Well, Ron and I had an idea last week, just don't say no straight away," Harry added quickly.
Hermione frowned, not liking where this was going. "Go on."
"Since it's our last year at school, and the eighth years are going to be sharing a common room I thought we could get some supplies, for a party."
"A party?" She raised an eyebrow. "And what sort of supplies would we need for this party?"
"Ogden's Firewhisky," Ron said with a mischievous grin. "And Weasleys' Wildfire Wiz-Bangs."
"They are against the school rules," Hermione said scornfully. "And besides the charm won't conceal the contents if filch goes snooping."
"Oh, come on, Hermione," Harry begged. "It's our last year, and when was the last time we had a year without worrying about our imminent death?"
"Yeah, we deserve it," Ron added. "Doesn't it show our maturity, that we asked you first?"
Hermione frowned and folded her arms. "More like you already tried to think of a way to sneak them in without me knowing, and then you realised you needed my help.
Ron spluttered. "Wha...What, of course not, how could you even suggest such a thing?"
"Harry?" Hermione turned her head to him, and he nodded in surrender.
"Yeah, we are pretty much useless without you," He said glumly.
Hermione's face cracked into a smile. "Good now that is out the way, what I was going to suggest is we need to put a disillusionment charm on the boxes, and we can always put the Firewhiskey into different containers."
Harry and Ron listened in awe as they followed behind Hermione as she told them her detailed plan. They made sure Mrs Weasley wasn't about as they went back through to the Leaky Cauldron. It wasn't as busy as they thought it was going to be, but everyone else seemed to be rushing in and out of every shop. Hermione, who was the oldest, took the lead and approached Tom the Barman.
"Mr Potter, It's good to see you again," Tom said his mouth wide showing yellow, rotting teeth. "What can I get for you?"
"Erm, three bottles of Ogden's Firewhisky please," Hermione said shakily, though they were all of age it still felt like they weren't allowed to buy alcohol.
"You're the fourth lot of Eighth years that have asked for Firewhisky today," Tom said conspiratorially.
The three of them looked nervously at each other, but Tom sidled off and brought back three bottles. Hermione gave him three Galleons and quickly shoved them into her beaded bag, careful not to break them on anything.
They left the pub with guilty red faces and hurried to the Apothecary.
"Do you think we should get some hangover potion ingredients?" Ron asked, looking at his ingredients list. "And maybe a couple of Bezoars."
"Why would we need Bezoars?" Hermione asked, grabbing a jar of Lacewing flies.
"Oh I don't know, maybe it's because my new roommate poisoned me in our sixth year."
"Technically he wasn't trying to poison you," Hermione replied but gave them an apologetic look. "Alright if you're that worried get one, but only because they can come in useful should anyone get poisoned accidentally or purposely."
As they were going to pay Harry gasped and sighed.
"Harry? What is it, it's not your scar is it?" Ron asked worriedly.
"No, sorry, it's just I have realised I won't have the Half-blood Prince's book, it will have got destroyed in the Fiendfyre," Harry said solemnly and let out a cry of pain as Hermione struck him on the arm. "What was that for?"
"Don't scare us like that, we thought your scar was hurting again."
"Sorry," Harry mumbled. "I was top of the class with that book."
"Well, now you can do it without Snape's annotations," Hermione said with a hint of pleasure.
The trio got to Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes early so they could pay and hide the fireworks as quickly as possible, Harry brought some more Peruvian instant darkness powder. Fred and George had called them through to the back to show them their new invention which they had been working on over the summer.
Fred opened the safe and pulled out a little Phial with a clear liquid inside.
"What is it?" Harry and Ron asked together.
"Our soon to be best seller," Fred and George said together.
"It looks like Veritaserum," Hermione said, inspecting the bottle. "It's not is it?"
"Not exactly," Fred said with a mischievous smile.
"It's a similar concept," George said. "Except we have modified it."
"You can't just sell truth potion," Hermione gasped. "It could do a lot of damage in the wrong hands."
"That's why we have modified it," Fred said. "It won't do any damage it's not intended for."
"What's it intended for?" Harry asked, trying to ignore Hermione's outrage.
"Glad you asked Harry," George smirked and took out an empty bottle of Firewhisky from the bin next to the desk. "Medicinal purposes," He said, pointing to his ear. He placed the bottle on their desk and spun it around until it stopped and was pointing at Fred. "Truth or Dare, Fred?"
"Truth," Fred said, and opened the bottle and let one drop hit his tongue.
"Is it true you made out with all the girls on the Gryffindor Quidditch team?"
"Why, yes it is George," Fred smirked proudly.
"Now if I ask him another question, he can lie to me," George told them. "Fred, did you sleep with all the girls on the Gryffindor Quidditch team?"
"No, I did not," Fred smiled even wider.
"You didn't!" Hermione gasped.
"I did indeed," Fred said. "Angelina, Alicia, and Katie."
"I don't want to know," Hermione said, covering her ears.
Harry and Ron stared open-mouthed at Fred and George. Harry had always heard rumours, but he thought it was just that, especially about Katie Bell.
"Why did you never tell me," Ron asked, sounding hurt.
"Sorry little brother, next time I sleep with someone you will be the first to know," Fred said, rolling his eyes. "Anyway, the example we just showed you is how the potion works one drop per question."
"And what if they ask you something you don't want to answer?" Harry asked, worried he might let something slip he might not have wanted to share.
"You just say, 'ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies', It's a safety precaution we thought was pretty clever," George said, taking the bottle from Harry and putting it back in the safe. "It should be ready by the first Hogsmeade visit."
"I hope there is an age restriction at least," Hermione said.
"Of course, it's like she doesn't trust us, George," Fred said, shaking his head. "It will only be sold to N.E.W.T level students."
"Fred, George," The voice of Mrs Weasley called inside the shop. "Is Ron with you?"
The five of them exited the back of the shop to see a panicked Mrs Weasley and an irritated Ginny.
"We were just talking to Fred and George in the back," Ron told her, trying to avoid her scolding stare.
"We have been looking everywhere for you, what if something had happened, what would I have told your father?" Mrs Weasley trailed off on a rant. Harry and Hermione ducked out before she could start on them next.
The night before Harry's return to Hogwarts he went to Andromeda's to say goodbye to Teddy as the next time he will get spend time with him will be in the Christmas holiday's. When he arrived in the kitchen fireplace he saw Malfoy, Zabini and Nott sat around the kitchen table deep in conversation, only noticing Harry when he stumbled out losing balance and falling to the concrete floor.
Malfoy scraped his chair back and walked over to him, Harry thought he was going to make fun of him or kick him down as he tried to get back up, but instead, he put one hand out and helped him stand, shaking his head with a smirk on his face.
"Nice way to let your presence known, Potter," Zabini said with a tight smile.
"Yeah well I have had loads of practice," Harry replied, realising he was still holding onto Malfoy, then quickly let go. He brushed the dust off himself and looked around the room. "Is Teddy still up?"
"He is out for a stroll around with my Mother and Aunt," Malfoy said, sitting back down in his seat, avoiding Nott's amused stare. "Should be back soon, you can sit if you like."
Harry looked at the only empty chair at the table next to Malfoy and shook his head slowly. "It's okay; I will stand."
"Just sit down Potter, we aren't going to bite," Zabini said, but his smile deceived him. "We are just about to play exploding snap if you want in?"
He sidled to the awaiting chair and only just noticed the pack of cards in Zabini's hands. "Alright, then."
Zabini shuffled the cards in multiple ways and then divided them between the four of them. "We will start classical, and then we will switch it up a bit."
They each had won five points, but Harry almost got his sixth point when he saw two matching Bowtruckles, when he was about to hit it with his wand, the cards shuffled quicker. "I definitely hit it," Harry objected.
"No chance," Nott said. "You said that the last time."
"And the time before that," Zabini laughed. "Just face it, you're a sore loser, Potter."
Harry opened his mouth with a slight smirk. "Am not, I just don't like not winning."
"Which is the exact definition of a sore loser," Malfoy shook his head. "Shuffle again, Blaise."
"I gotta say, I didn't expect the Chosen One to be this competitive," Nott frowned when Harry scored his tenth point.
"You have obviously never played quidditch with him," Malfoy said with forced nonchalance.
The kitchen door opened, and Narcissa, Andromeda and Teddy in his stroller came in to see an extra person since they were last in there.
"Hello, Harry," Andromeda greeted happily.
"Nice to see you still alive, Harry," Narcissa said, looking at her son and his two friends.
"I think you should be saying that to us," Zabini said with mock offence.
"Why's that?" Andromeda asked, taking Teddy out for the stroller.
"Cause he can't handle losing."
"Only because the game is fixed," Harry said indignantly, getting out of his chair to hold Teddy.
"Yeah, yeah," Zabini laughed, dealing out the cards again. "You in Potter?"
"No, thanks I'm just going to hang with people who don't cheat," Harry said, lifting Teddy up in the air and down again. "Isn't that right Teddy, you don't cheat, do you?"
"You don't mind giving him his bottle, do you, Harry? I'm simply exhausted from all that walking," Andromeda said, opening one of the kitchen cupboards and pulling out a bottle of elf-made wine. "Would you like a glass Cissy?"
"Is a snitch gold?" Narcissa smiled and grabbed two glasses following Andromeda into the sitting room, leaving Harry with Teddy and the Slytherins again.
Harry sat back down in the chair, watching the game and feeding Teddy, who was now slowly closing and opening his eyes. "What do you think of the new sleeping arrangments?" He asked them just as Malfoy hit a pair with his original wand.
"Don't get Theo started again," Blaise groaned. "We had to suffer through his half-hour rant before you got here."
"Who are you with?" Harry asked Nott.
"Smith, Boot and Finch-Fletchly," He scowled.
Harry tried to stifle a laugh.
"It's not funny; they are literally the worlds most boring people ever."
"At least your not with Wayne Hopkins," Malfoy smirked.
"Poor Goyle," Zabini said with no sympathy in his laugh.
"Fuck Goyle," Malfoy said with aggression in his voice.
"I thought you were mates?" Harry asked with piqued interest.
"Sore subject," Zabini whispered to Harry. "We don't talk about it."
Harry frowned curiously but nodded his understanding. He couldn't quite believe he had managed to spend over an hour alone with three Slytherins. He stood up with Teddy now fully asleep.
"I am going to put him to bed," He told them and then carried him to up the stairs to his bedroom. It was decorated with pale blue walls and white clouds to make it look like the sky; they had been enchanted to move around the room slowly. He watched him for a moment as he slept feeling the love he had for his Godson grow stronger, and feel emotional over the fact they both never had a chance to have a proper family. "Sweet dreams, Teddy."
Back in the kitchen, the guys' were whispering and quickly stopped when they saw Harry reach the bottom step. "I think I'm going to head off now; I guess I will see you on the Hogwarts Express tomorrow." He stepped into the Fireplace.
"Hey, Potter," Zabini called. "Good game, we will have a re-match at school, ok?"
Harry smiled. "Alright, yeah."
Draco stood on the platform in front of the Scarlet train, getting attacked with kisses from his Mother; she had come to see him off with his Aunt Andromeda and Teddy. Draco was really going to miss Teddy; he had been on early morning bottle feeds most of the summer on the day's Teddy wasn't with Potter. Teddy was actually a really good alarm clock for him when he needed to get up and go to Hogwarts to serve his probation of help fixing the school. There were a lot of volunteers that had been helping to and some that had been forced to by the Wizengamot.
"I am going to be back in a few months for Christmas, Mother," He said, pulling out of her grasp. "Just keep sending me sweets, since I am not allowed to visit Hogsmeade."
"Of course I will my Darling, just make sure you keep out of trouble and make sure you are nice to Potter," his Mother said, giving him another squeeze. "I don't want any letter's from any of the teachers."
"Yes, Mother," Draco sighed. "I will be a good little boy," he rolled his eyes.
"You better, now give your Aunt a hug."
Draco hugged his Aunt, and she kissed him lightly on the cheek. "Your Mother spoils you too much, so listen to her, or you will have me to deal with."
He smirked and nodded. "See you soon little man," He said, bending over and kissing Teddy on the cheek. "Right well I better go find Blaise and Theo before they let anyone into our compartment."
A slight breeze went passed the back of his head as he was turning around and saw three figures getting closer. Potter, Weasley and Granger. Potter grinned widely at the pram as he leant over. "Hey, Teddy," He cooed.
After receiving a scowl from Weasley, he took it as his cue to remove himself from the situation before he ruined his chance of going back to School. He found the last carriage that had been reserved for his year and hopped on to look for his friends. One of the compartments he went passed had Goyle sat by himself staring out the window; Draco turned up his nose and carried on.
The last compartment of the Carriage had his friends talking and laughing as he slid the door open. Pansy Parkinson, Millicent Bulstrode Blaise and Theo looked at him like they hadn't seen him years and Pansy jumped off Millicent's lap and wrapped her arms around his neck.
"I have missed you so much, Draco," She cried. "I'm sorry I didn't write to you over the summer, I was in Paris with Mum, and she didn't want me talking to anyone."
"It's okay," Draco struggled, rasping. "Just let me go, I can't breathe."
Pansy finally let him go and blushed pink. "Sorry, I just really missed our hugs."
"Be careful you might start making your girlfriend jealous," Theo said from behind his Arithmancy book.
Pansy giggled and sat back on Millicent's lap. "Millie doesn't get jealous."
Millie shrugged and kissed Pansy on the lips.
"That's hot," Blaise stared at the two girls making out. Draco punched his arm as he sat down in between Theo and Blaise. "Just because you don't get turned on by girls doesn't mean you have to spoil it for the rest of us."
"Shut up, Blaise," Draco warned.
"Don't fight guy's," Pansy said, sliding off Millie's lap and sitting crossed legged on her own part of the bench.
When they were halfway to Hogwarts, the food trolley finally arrived, and Draco's stomach was grumbling. "Anything to eat?" The Trolley woman asked.
"I will have three chocolate frogs," Draco stood feeling for his money.
"Sorry dear, I just sold the last of the Chocolate frogs to Mr Potter," She said sympathetically.
Draco inhaled angrily. "Potter?"
"Yes dear, he cleaned me out, he always buys a lot of food, I don't see where he puts it all," She went on, but Draco was seeing red.
"I will have the cauldrons then or has Potter bought all those too?"
"No, he doesn't much like those," the witch shrugged.
"Lucky for me," Draco drawled sarcastically.
After the Trolley witch left Draco slid opened the compartment door again, ignoring his friends telling him to sit back down. He walked up the carriage looking for Potter.
With Ron fast asleep, Hermione with her head stuck behind her Arithmancy book and Neville talking about the famous wizarding garden he went to visit in Spain with his Gran; Harry found himself completely and utterly bored. That was until the compartment door slid open and Draco Malfoy stood there with his eyes throwing daggers at him.
"Potter, you inconsiderate prat," Malfoy spat.
Ron jolted awake and blinked at Malfoy. "Watch it, Malfoy."
"Go back to sleep Weasel this doesn't concern you."
"Harry's my friend, so it does."
"What have I supposedly done now?" Harry asked.
"Oh, I don't know," Malfoy said dramatically. "Maybe it was the fact you brought all the chocolate frogs, and not left any for the rest of the carriage."
Harry tried as hard as he could to stop himself from smiling. "Have they sent you to be their spokesperson?"
"Come on mate," Zabini said coming up behind Malfoy. "It's just a chocolate frog."
Harry picked one of the boxes from next to him and handed it to Malfoy. "Sorry, okay I will be considerate of the rest of the carriage next time."
"Thanks," Malfoy mumbled and proceeded to be dragged away by Zabini.
"What was that about?" Ron asked after shutting the door and locking it.
Harry had a feeling he knew why but didn't think it was something everyone else needed to know. "He must just really like chocolate frogs," Harry shrugged and stared at the space where Malfoy had stood.
Chapter 4: The Fifth Table
Made to feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen
Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher, tell me what's my lesson
Look right through me, look right through me
-Mad World, Gary Jules
As it got darker outside and Harry had woken up from his nap to get changed into his school robes, Ginny Weasley came to the compartment door. Harry unlocked it so she could slump down in the space next to Neville. Her red hair looked even more vibrant now she had become Head girl, but the sight of seeing her didn't give Harry the same butterflies as they once did. He wondered if now was a good time.
"Gin?" Harry mumbled, breaking the silence in the compartment. "Can we go somewhere to talk?"
"About time," She said and stood up, though she didn't sound annoyed with him.
They walked down the carriage, Ginny taking the lead looking in each window for an empty compartment. When they got to the last one, it was Malfoy's and his friends, who were either asleep or reading a book.
"So have you decided?" Ginny said, folding her arms looking scarily like her Mother.
"Huh?" Harry said.
"Have you been giving it a lot of thought and think 'we are better off as friends and you don't want to ruin our friendship down the line'?" Ginny said, with a dramatic sarcasm in her voice. "Or 'we both want different things, I don't want to get in the way of your future career,' because you have already used the 'I have to go save the world from Voldemort, and I don't want you to be killed' line."
Harry couldn't tell whether this was going well or not. "Sorry?"
Ginny sighed with tears starting to glisten in her eyes. "I have waited so patiently for you to talk to me all summer, Harry, and you never did, and now you are ready to talk you expect it to be different?"
"Please don't cry," Harry said softly.
"I am crying cause I am mad at you," Ginny snapped. "You have waited until we are back at school to decide to break up with me."
"I'm sorry, I wasn't sure what you wanted," Harry said nervously and hating himself for being an inconsiderate prat as Malfoy had so kindly told him.
"Maybe you should have talked to me then," Ginny said, calming down. "I will make this easier for you; I like someone else."
Harry's eyes widened. "You do?"
"Yes, and I want to pursue a relationship with him."
"Who is it?"
"I don't want to say just yet," She replied, wiping her eyes and then hugging Harry.
Stepping into Hogwarts again and seeing it almost completely restored filled Harry with a sense of pride, though he had been to Hogwarts during the summer it was somehow different returning the start of a new school year. The sensations of sitting around the fire in the common room the warmth and love of his friends. The walk into the Great Hall was another experience altogether the rest of the school minus the first years had been seated, and all four tables of the houses and the teachers applauded, a booming glass shattering applause and cheering. It wasn't just for Harry; It was for all the Eighth years that had returned and who had fought bravely to protect their school.
As soon as the applause had died out, there was shuffle and whispering amongst the Eighth years. They had noticed there was no longer just four tables; there was five. The four house tables had been moved to make room for one more table; it was shorter than the rest of the tables as they didn't have as many students to seat, it also had a silver and gold table runner down the middle.
Though they now shared a table, they had remained segregated to their houses. The Slytherins sat at the top of the table closest to the door whereas Gryffindor sat the opposite end closest to the stage, between them, was Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw.
"Ron, what's your brother doing here?" Hermione whispered across the table while they were waiting for the chatter to die down before the sorting ceremony.
The three of them looked where the teachers sat and, Hermione was right, Bill Weasley was sat next to Professor Slughorn. Bill, the oldest Weasley wasn't wearing his usual work robes, he was dressed in smart black robes with his long red hair tied neatly back, which showed the scar that he had received off Fenrir Greyback two years ago.
"Why do I never get told anything in my family?" Ron sulked, slumping down slightly.
"What do you think he is teaching?" Harry asked, continuing to stare at the teachers' table.
"Defence Against the Dark Art's obviously," Hermione said. "That must mean Penelope Clearwater is teaching Transfigurations."
Harry on Ron both looked along the teachers' table again and saw Percy's ex-girlfriend, Penelope Clearwater.
"But McGonagall is Transfigurations," Ron said outraged.
"Professor McGonagall is Headmistress now, she won't have time to teach anymore," Hermione told them both, which didn't make them any less annoyed.
The Great Hall went completely silent as the doors opened, and Professor Flitwick walked in, followed by the new first years. Usually, it was Professor McGonagall that would be doing the sorting ceremony, but Harry presumed that must mean Professor Flitwick was the new Deputy Head Teacher, which made sense he supposed.
"The first years look a lot bigger compared to Flitwick," Ron whispered, with a snigger.
Harry nodded but didn't reply; he always enjoyed the sorting ceremony, the ones he managed to attend that is.
The Sorting Hat's poem was a lot shorter than the one from his sixth year, and not as much doom and gloom, he spoke of the danger being gone, so it was time for some fun; it also reminded them to come together and not drift apart.
Professor Flitwick picked up the hat and looked at his list.
A small boy with dark brown hair and glasses stepped on the stage; Harry couldn't help but compare him to himself when he first sat down. Though this boy might have looked like Harry, he didn't look scared like Harry had done at the prospect of having to fight a dragon, no this boy had a smug look about him a look that reminded him of Draco Malfoy.
At that thought, Harry looked up the table to where the Eighth Year Slytherins sat watching the sorting, and he saw Malfoy looking back directly at him. They stared at each other for a moment, had they both had the exact same feeling?
"HUFFLEPUFF," The Hat called, and that seemed to have broken their eye contact. They both glanced away and back at the stage.
After the Sorting Ceremony had finished, Professor McGonagall had stood up and called for the feast to begin, and right on cue the empty tables became filled with food and drinks, which everyone quickly dived into. Harry filled his plate with Chicken drumsticks, potatoes, stuffing and only a few vegetables, saving himself for the dessert afterwards.
Ernie Macmillian leaned across the table next to Dean Thomas calling him. "Harry, is it true you and Malfoy got in a fist fight on the train?" he asked with excitement in his eyes.
"I heard he shouted he was going to send him back to Azkaban," Parvati Patil said.
"And then punched him in the face." Padma Patil finished.
"Who told you that?" Harry asked, hating the school rumour mill. He looked back at Malfoy who had his back to the table and was deep in conversation with Blaise Zabini.
"I heard it from Hannah," Ernie shrugged.
"I heard it from Zacharias and Terry," Hannah joined in.
"Well, nothing like that happened. I would appreciate it if we can all stop spreading rumours about each other," Hermione said, aiming at everyone on the table which caught the attention from the other tables.
"Well said, Miss Granger," Nearly Headless Nick said hovering over to their table.
"Thanks, Sir Nicolas," Hermione blushed.
Once the table had cleared after all the courses had been demolished, Professor McGonagall stood and took her place at the Podium where Dumbledore had stood every year since Harry had attended. She stood in her usual green dress robes and smiled out to everyone waiting for their attention to be on her.
"Good evening," She began and became stern once more. "Welcome back those who have returned this year and welcome first years who have just joined us. Those of you who have returned will have noticed a few changes, one of those is that there is an additional table, for the students who never finish their seventh year, or begin their seventh year due to being in hiding from He who must not be named."
Every head on the four tables turned their attention to the fifth table and looked at them with interest and curiosity.
"You will also notice," She continued calling for attention once more. "There are changes in staffing this year. The Defence Against the Dark Arts position has been taken on by Bill Weasley, who fought valiantly in the Battle of Hogwarts and has plenty of experience in curse breaking."
Harry, Ron and Hermione and the Gryffindor table clapped the loudest and Ginny stood up and cheered for her eldest brother, who she had always admired hearing about his time at Hogwarts.
"Let's just hope the Curse Breaker can break the three-term curse," Seamus whispered to them.
"Shut up Seamus," Ron hissed, but turned to Harry and Hermione, with a worried face. It was always joked that the position was cursed, only the three of them knew that it was Voldemort was the one who cursed it when Dumbledore wouldn't hire him.
"Don't worry about it," Hermione whispered and grabbed his hand. "It should have broke when he died."
The applause for the new Muggle Studies Professor died out, and Professor McGonagall introduced Penelope Clearwater as her replacement for Transfiguration.
"Now, as you should all be aware, The Forbidden Forest is strictly off limits to all students. Mr Filch has asked me to remind you that Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes products are not allowed and if I catch anyone using products from the skiving snack boxes you will be receiving a week's worth of detentions. Which brings me onto my next point, the first Hogsmeade visit will be October 17th, those in the third year and above make sure you have your permission form signed and handed to your head of house before then. Finally, Quidditch trials will begin at the end of next week, so if you are in the second year and above and would like to try out, please speak to your Head of House. Now it's time for bed if the prefects will escort their houses to their respective common rooms and Eighth Years remain seated. Goodnight."
All four tables rose, and chatter broke out again as everyone filed out of the Great Hall, leaving the Eighth Years alone with all the teachers watching them.
"Professor Flitwick will escort you to your new common room shortly, I just wanted to go over a few things beforehand," She said with all the severity she could harness. "Those of you who take Transfiguration, I will be continuing to do so."
A few people sighed at this new information, and he could've sworn he heard Hermione mutter "Thank Merlin."
"I understand how important this year is for many of you, and I will be more than happy to speak to you individually to help get you through the year, should you wish. Was there anyone wanting to volunteer for late night monitoring, preferably two from each house?”
Daphne Greengrass and Tracy Davis from Slytherin, Susan Bones and Wayne Hopkins from Hufflepuff, Padma Patil and Terry Boot from Ravenclaw, Parvati Patil and Neville Longbottom from Gryffindor raised their hands. McGonagall gave a small and small nod writing down the names.
“Now as I said in the letter I wrote to you in July you will be sharing a common room, as you will no longer be earning or losing house points, for your houses, the teachers will take privileges away from you should you misbehave, yes Mr Malfoy?”
Harry’s head turned to see Malfoy had raised his hand.
“What about those who have already had their privileges taken from them?” He asked though he wasn’t asking to be arrogant, it seemed to be a real worry for him.
“The teachers are aware of the ones who aren’t allowed to visit Hogsmeade, Mr Malfoy, and I suspect they are the ones who should be ensuring they don’t get into any more trouble. Does anyone else have questions?”
No one was surprised when Hermione raises her hand.
“Yes, Miss Granger?”
“Who will be our Head of House now?”
“You can either report to me or if you prefer to speak to your own Head of House, I am sure they will be happy to continue to do so.”
Hermione’s hand raised again. McGonagall nodded her head. “Will you still be Gryffindor’s Head of House?”
Professor McGonagall pursed her lips. “I will be mentoring Bill Weasley to take over Head of House should he make it passed the year.” She gave Ron an apologetic smile after he winced. “However, Professor Dumbledores Portrait has assured me the curse should be broken now. Any other questions?”
When she had answered one of the Ravenclaw girls questions, she called Flitwick over to escort everyone to the new common room.
“Mr Potter, Mr Malfoy and Mr Smith a word if I may?” McGonagall said when everyone stood up.
The three of them looked at each other confused, had it something to do with the rumour on the train he wondered. He told Hermione and Ron he would see them soon as they followed the others out of the Great Hall.
“Don’t look so worried,” She told them. “As two of you are Quidditch Captains, and Mr Malfoy you are the most senior on your team and Professor Snape has asked I allow you to be Quidditch Captain.”
Harry saw Malfoy’s face brighten with surprise at the news.
“So we are still allowed to play for our teams?” Zacharias asked.
“I will allow it, as long as it is not interfering with your performance levels, as soon as I get word you have been late for class, not handed in your homework, I will ensure you are pulled off the team and your second will take over.”
“Yes, Professor,” They said together.
“Very well off to bed.”
Chapter 5: Nightmares
So now I see you in my nightmares
Or not at all
All by myself drowning in my tears
It's just the cost
Of keeping you alive inside my brain
I know it's strange
I'm dealing with the pain
I'm having nightmares
And you're to blame
Draco was elated to find out not only would he be playing Quidditch this year but he was also going to be Quidditch Captain. As long as he kept his nose clean and out of trouble, this would be a good last year; he thought as he walked through the school next to Potter and Smith. Zacharias Smith from Hufflepuff walked several steps ahead probably eager to go make out with his boyfriend, Ernie Macmillian. Draco actually had no idea if they did make out, but there were always rumours about them throughout the years, no one has ever confirmed if it was true. Though Draco realised he was into guys a couple of years ago, he has never kissed one, Blaise has offered his services, but they have been friends since they were kids it would have just been too weird, and besides Blaise wasn't his type.
"I think it's this one," Smith called, stopping in front of a door guarded by two suits of armour, their spears were crossed in the middle. Zacharias walked closer, and the spears separated, allowing him access. "Well, that was anti-climatic." He said then pushed the door open, disappearing inside.
The suits of armour returned to their previous position just before Draco and Potter got there.
Draco grabbed Potter's arm before he got any further.
"I, uh, just wanted to apologise for what happened on the train, I overreacted," Draco said, looking down at the ground.
"It's alright," Potter replied. "I had forgotten how you react to having no chocolate frogs."
Draco looked up and sneered. "Funny, Potter."
"I like to think so," He replied with a cheesy grin, and stepped closer to the door and was allowed access inside.
Draco stood outside for a moment longer, trying to compose himself, there was a split second he had felt a tingle surge through him when Potter had smiled at him. It wasn't the first time that has happened either; it happened the day before during exploding snap. He was just being stupid, surely.
When he finally entered the common room, he noticed how different it was from the Slytherins it was decorated with Silver and Gold Drapes, and it was a lot lighter as it wasn't in the dungeons under water. The sofas around the fireplace looked a lot comfier also; Potter and his Gryffindors were currently occupying them. The Ravenclaws were sat around the large table in the corner already studying, by the looks of it and there was only a couple of the Hufflepuff girls sat on the floor next to the bookcase drinking Firewhisky.
"Daphne, where's Blaise and Theo?" Draco asked Daphne Greengrass, who was reading Witch Weekly with Tracy Davis.
Daphne looked at him irritatedly, "He said he was going to find the best bed to sleep on."
"Thanks," Draco replied and headed for the stairs to the boys' dorms.
He opened the first of the boys' dorms with the gold number one on it and found Blaise already sat bouncing up and down on a bed with Theo sat on the floor reading the same Arithmancy book as on the train.
"Bloody Hufflepuffs are drinking Firewhisky in there," Draco said incredulously, pointing to the door.
"And?" Blaise said raising an eyebrow, then crawling across the bed to his trunk and pulled out two bottles of Ogden's Firewhisky. "Tonight, we drink."
Draco cracked a smile and took a bottle from Blaise. "Did I ever tell you, you're my best friend?"
Blaise dramatically covered his face. "Stop, you're making me blush."
"What about me?" Theo said from behind his book.
Draco sat down on the bed next Blaise's and opened the bottle. "You're a close second, bring me chocolate, and you will overtake Blaise."
"So easy to please," Blaise laughed after taking a large drink from his bottle. "Go on then tell us what McGonagall wanted you for, did she find out that you got in a fist fight with Potter on the train."
He paused with the bottle close to his lips then raised an eyebrow at Blaise. "I didn't get into a fist fight with Potter."
"Everyone was talking about it when you had to stay behind," Blaise smirked. "So go on, spill, are you in a months detention?"
Draco shrugged then smiled widely. "I am Slytherin Quidditch Captain."
Theo looked up from his book. Blaise stood up and cheered loudly, walking over and patting Draco hard on the back.
"Fantastic, that's what I am talking about, we are going to win the cup this year," Blaise said, pumping his fist in the air.
Draco's eyes snapped open; it was still dark outside; it must have been just before dawn.
Draco shot up, Weasley was screaming in his bed, crying and wriggling.
"HERMIONE, LET HER GO!"
"It's okay, shush," Blaise was out of bed and already next to Weasley. Draco's eyes flicked to Potter who was now on alert coming to his friend's aid.
"HERMIONE!" Weasley screamed again. "SHE'S TORTURING HER, HERMIONE!"
"Someone get Granger," Blaise ordered. "It's okay; Hermione is okay."
Draco had frozen, he watched blankly as Potter and Blaise tried to help.
"Ron, you are safe," Potter whispered, holding him still.
"Draco, get Granger," Blaise said.
"Hermione," Ron murmured, shifting a little less violently.
Draco snapped out of his reverie and got out of bed taking his wand. "Lumos." He left the dorm, and there were already people outside the door.
"What's going on, who is shouting?" Goldstein yawned.
"Out of my way I need Granger," Draco growled pushing passed Boot and Macmillian. He hurried across to the girl's dorm and banged on each door. "Granger!"
Pansy opened her door, yawning. "What's going on?"
"I need Granger."
"I didn't think she was your type."
"I don't have time for this Weasley is having... I don't know a nightmare or something."
Granger came out behind Pansy and rushed passed Draco.
When he got back to his room, Weasley had calmed down and was sat up with sweat patches all over his Chudley Cannons pjs.
"Just drink this," Granger said softly handing him a potion bottle. She turned to Malfoy, "Thanks for getting me."
Draco slowly nodded his head and sank onto his bed; Blaise and Potter were still kneeling beside Weasley's.
"It's my fault," Granger said apologetically when Weasley had closed his eyes and was snoring. "I should have made sure he took his potion before bed."
"What's the potion?" Draco asked curiously.
"It's dreamless sleep potion, Ron occasionally gets nightmares about... that night," She stopped and looked tearily at Weasley holding his hand. "He should be ok now."
Draco's stomach clenched tightly; he wanted to put his head into his pillow and scream. He had known the night she referred to; he had to witness his Aunt torture Granger; if it weren't for the Occulmency he would be having the same nightmares-- sometimes they did slip in.
Granger stood up as Blaise and Potter got back into their beds.
"How did you manage to get into the girls dorms?" She asked him at the door.
"I dunno Granger, I just walked through, not hard," He shrugged, wondering why she was bothered about how he got through if he hadn't she probably wouldn't have known to come.
"It should be, Justin tried to get through before, and it turned into a slide."
Draco rolled over. "Goodnight, Granger."
"Night guy's, thanks for helping Ron."
When Granger had left the room, Draco had rolled back over and sat up.
Potter, was in the bed opposite his own; if it weren't for the closed curtain at the end, he would be able to see him lying in bed; the thought sent another tingle through his body. Weasley let out a loud snore, Draco groaned and sank back down into his pillow.
This is going to be a long year.
Harry woke a few hours after being woken from Ron's nightmares, Zabini was stood by his trunk, shirtless and just in his boxers; Harry stared longer than he thought he ought to have and shifted his gaze to Malfoy's bed. It was already made, and no sign of being slept in; Malfoy must already be at breakfast he thought and looked to his best friends bed, who was snoring, the potion must still be in his system.
He decided to get out of bed, which caught the attention of Zabini, who just nodded his head at him.
"Morning," Harry said, stretching his arms. "I don't suppose you know where the bathrooms are?"
"Last door on the right," Zabini said. "You might want to give it a minute, Goyle is in there, and he ate a lot at the feast."
Harry smirked then frowned realising what he meant. "Great, thanks." He opened his trunk and rummaged for his toiletries.
"I wanted to thank you for what you did for Draco and his Mother in July; it was really unexpected; no-one even tried to help him," Blaise said buttoning up his school shirt. "He probably won't tell you himself, but I know he is grateful."
Harry nodded and gave a small smile.
When Harry and Ron had joined Hermione and Neville in the Great Hall for breakfast, they noticed Hermione did not look happy at all. Her natural untamed hair was looking even more untamed, and she had darker circles under her eyes.
"Couldn't get back to sleep?" Harry asked her, sitting down on the bench and pulling the tray of toast towards him.
Hermione narrowed her eyes at him. "If I have to put up with that for the whole year, I think I will go mad," She growled.
Harry looked at her confused she wouldn't say that about Ron surely, and then he noticed her looking up the table at Pansy Parkinson and Millicent Bulstrode kissing and giggling.
"They were at it for hours," She hissed. "They didn't even attempt to cast a silencing charm."
Harry and Ron sniggered together.
"How are you feeling this morning, Ron?"
"Fine, yeah," Ron replied, his ears red with embarrassment, almost overfilling his cereal with milk. "Bet it will be all over the school now. 'Ron Weasley cries like a baby in his sleep.' Bet Malfoy and Zabini, got a good laugh out of it."
Hermione shook her head. "They were actually really worried about you."
"Yeah, Zabini hurried straight to your side, trying to calm you down, and Malfoy he went and got Hermione," Harry said, he looked up the table again, Malfoy wasn't at breakfast either, he frowned slightly and turned back to his friends.
"You alright, Ron?" Bill Weasley was striding up their table with the new timetables. "You look a little pale."
"Bad night," Hermione told him. "He is ok now, though."
"Good, here is your timetable then," He handed Ron the paper with his classes.
"Potions with Slughorn, great," He murmured.
"Professor Slughorn, Ron," Bill scolded, passing Harry and Hermione their timetables. "And you better start getting used to calling me, Professor Weasley."
"Fat chance," Ron replied. "You didn't even tell me you were teaching here."
"I wasn't allowed to, Mum and Dad knew, of course, and Fleur, but I wasn't allowed to tell you three, Professor McGonagall's orders."
Ron sulked. "When I have life-changing news, none of you will find out till after happens."
"Good to know little bro," Bill smirked. "Now go to class before I put you in a weeks detention."
"He used to be my favourite brother, can you believe that?" Ron muttered to Harry as soon as Bill walked away.
"He is right though mate, you kind of need to treat him with respect, otherwise no one will take him seriously," Harry said, nudging him to stand up.
They made their way to the dungeons trying to avoid as much staring and giggling as possible. Zabini, Nott and Malfoy were standing outside the classroom with their backs to Anthony Goldstein and Ernie Macmillian. Malfoy glanced up when he saw them approach; he frowned then quickly looked away.
"Come in, come in," Professor Slughorn called holding the classroom door. "Potter, the King of potions himself, good to see you, my boy."
Harry's face reddened and felt sad that his reign of being the best at potions was entirely over.
"Ah hello, Roody, looking well," Slughorn smiled at Ron. "Don't sit down just yet, if you can all stand at the back of the class."
Ron sighed and shook his head as Harry laughed.
They lined up at the back wall Harry, Ron and Hermione stood next to Terry Boot who was staring at the bubbling cauldron, of what Harry knew to be Polyjuice.
"I think that's everyone," Slughorn said, closing the door and clapping his two chubby hands together. "We have touched on the subject of Polyjuice Potion before, and I have come up with an exciting project for you to do, to start the year off on a fun note."
A few of the class stood a bit taller as their interests were piqued.
"I have divided you into pairs, and you will be working together to brew the Polyjuice Potion correctly, as it takes a good month to complete, I expect it to be perfect and ready in that time."
Hermione raised her hand.
"Yes, Miss Granger?"
"What are we to do with the polyjuice potion once it's brewed?"
"Ah, I am glad you asked, you will be using it, on each other to live a day in one's shoes. I used to do this with all my NEWT students they loved it, and they always learnt something new from their partner."
When the class all groaned, Slughorn clapped his hands together again.
"Right, so Weasley, Zabini pair up," He called, banging one of the desks. "Next we have, Boot and Nott, Granger and Greengrass, Potter and Malfoy."
Harry and Malfoy looked at each other, Harry inhaled and sidled to the desk next to Hermione and Daphne.
"Then that should just leave Goldstein and Macmillian and Turpin and Brocklehurst."
The two Hufflepuff girls smiled happily at each other and sat down at the last remaining desk.
"Open your books and get started," Slughorn said and sat himself down at his own desk looking pleased with himself.
"Do you want to start stewing the lacewing flies?" Harry asked Malfoy as they set up their cauldrons. Malfoy didn't reply. "I guess I could do it."
"It's fine. I will do it; you will only mess it up," Malfoy sneered.
Harry pulled a face behind his back as Malfoy went to the shelves of ingredients.
"Do you want to swap?" He whispered to Ron.
"I would rather fly my broom into the Whomping Willow," Ron whispered back. "Sorry mate, I am sure it won't be too bad."
"Thanks for nothing, Roody," He turned back to his desk and started adding fluxweed into the cauldron when Malfoy returned.
"How many measures was that?" Malfoy asked, looking at his book.
"Four," Harry replied, looking down at his, "Shit, it's supposed to be three."
Malfoy growled and waved his hand over the cauldron emptying it. "You better not screw this up for me Potter if I end up in St Mungo's cause you can't read properly."
"Okay, ok, I am sorry," Harry said, repeatedly starting to get a bit flustered. "Sorry."
Malfoy sighed and softened slightly. "It's fine, just please read carefully."
They spent the next half an hour in complete silence apart from the odd, no, yes and don't even think about it. Harry had only managed to mess up the potion once and finally began feeling more comfortable working with Draco; he was actually quite patient with him after the first mistake.
"When are you going to hold your Quidditch Tryouts?" Malfoy asked as he gave the cauldron a bored stir.
"Why so you can steal it?" Harry asked, not falling for it.
"No, I was going to make sure we didn't have the same date in mind."
"I was going to do next Saturday afternoon," Harry said, and probably realised he shouldn't have.
"I will take the morning slot if Smith hasn't thought of it already."
Harry frowned at him; he wondered why Malfoy was talking to him about Quidditch; maybe he was going to take his captaincy seriously. "Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw don't usually do their Tryouts till the week after, they have an extra two weeks till their first match," Harry whispered.
"Idiots," Malfoy muttered back.
Boy, so what's been on your mind?
For me, it's just you all the time
We don't need to go nowhere tonight
It's you and I, we'll be alright
Cause here we get to take our time
You, you're fallin' in so why?
-Adore, Cashmere Cat, Ariana Grande
After lunch, Harry had his first Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson with Bill Weasley -Professor Weasley. It was going to take Harry a while to get used to calling him, Professor. He took a seat at the front of the class with Ron and Hermione, at least with Bill as a teacher they knew what they were going to be getting. Thankfully not a Death Eater or Ministry Spy, though he did come close to being a werewolf.
Ron had told Harry in the past about the stories of Bill's time at Hogwarts, but Harry had always known Ron to embellish in the past and didn't know how true they were. He couldn't imagine Bill running about the school with his friends breaking curses and looking for secret vaults; he hadn't even heard about such things in any of the books in the library.
Professor Weasley entered the classroom in his dark robes, wand in hand and pointing to the board. 'Nonverbal Magic' was written which made Harry groan internally; he still hadn't quite grasped it, he managed to do Levicorpous and weak shield charm, but he wasn't as advanced as Hermione was, she had been trying to teach him and Ron, but he could never get the focus right.
"Good Afternoon," Professor Weasley said, standing in front of the class, he didn't look nervous, he seemed to have a coolness about him, now Harry had come to think of if it, Bill was always so relaxed, unlike Ron who was the complete opposite. "As I am well aware, the position of a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher is not one to take lightly; When I was at school all ours had their own special way of going out, my last one was an evil witch who almost got my friends, and I killed."
Ron nudged Harry's elbow with an excited look on his face.
"So I understand that the inconsistencies in teaching will have left you somewhat behind, that's not to say you haven't learned anything, but it is vital that should you wish to do well on your final exams, you polish up on your spell casting."
Professor Weasley lifted his wand and cast a strong non-verbal shield.
"Mr Malfoy care to join me up front?" He said, dropping his shield.
Harry didn't turn his head, but heard a chair scrape back and felt a brush of wind go past as Malfoy walked to the front of the class.
"I have heard you are quite proficient in nonverbal spells. Care to a duel?"
Malfoy's eyes widened with pleasure; he bit his bottom lip and nodded, taking out his Hawthorn wand. Harry wondered if the replacement wand was in its box back in Tonk's old bedroom collecting dust.
Bill flicked his wand and the chalkboard and then desk moved out the way to make room for what was to be an exciting duel. They stood opposite ends of the classroom, facing each other after they had taken a bow. Malfoy stepped forward first waving his wand as red sparks from Stupefy were cast towards Bill, who had easily blocked it and sent a silent, Full Body-Bind back which took no effort on Malfoy's end to prevent.
"Excellent," Bill said, with an impressed smiled as Malfoy had just sent a curse that Bill almost couldn't dodge. Malfoy sent three different curses now making it even harder for Bill; he wasn't angry, though his eyes were excited and sent three of his own back. It went on like that for another five minutes, Bill's ponytail had come undone and was now resting on his shoulders, Malfoy's Blonde hair was ruffled and sweaty. "I think that will do for now. This is the level of non-verbal spell casting they expect you to be at when you take your practical exams."
They bowed to each other and Malfoy retook his seat with a gigantic smirk on his face.
Bill got the class to pair up and to practice nonverbally disarming each other. Ron called got to Hermione before Harry, so he ended up with Neville, which wasn't too bad, it could've been worse, he supposed, he could've ended up partnered with Goyle, who was told to partner with a less than pleased Malfoy. It took him back to the exploding snap game when Malfoy had said 'fuck Goyle', and Zabini had told him he was a sore subject, he wondered what Goyle had done to get in the Slytherins bad books.
While Harry had been distracted by watching Malfoy, Neville had managed to disarm him.
"Yes, I did it," He cheered.
"Nice one Neville," Harry said with an embarrassed smile and picked up his wand. "Let's go again."
In the evening, Draco sat in the library with Theo, who was starting his homework already, Draco just wanted to get away from everyone. He had a group of fifth year Gryffindor's swearing at him and other students hissing at him. It's not like he can't handle himself, but he had to be careful and not end up getting kicked out of school.
Blaise was off with his mystery girlfriend, he had been writing to her over the summer, but she had a boyfriend that she hadn't talked to yet. Draco was happy for him as long as it wasn't a Hufflepuff or Loony Lovegood then he would have to disown him as a best friend.
"You can go get something to eat if you want," Theo tells him after Draco had been sat biting his nails and not even able to focus on reading.
"No, it's ok, I wouldn't want you to be stuck here by yourself," He lied.
"How very considerate of you," Theo replied sarcastically. "But you are distracting me, so sod off."
Draco scoffed at his friend and stood up. "Fine, no Firewhisky for you."
Theo shook his head and smirked as Draco strode away, avoiding eye contact with anyone else in the library.
The Great Hall was half empty when he eventually made it. He planted himself down on the bench in front of Tracy Davis, who was doing her homework and eating a giant sandwich. Goyle shifted further down the table when he caught Draco out the corner of his eye. Draco narrowed his eyes at him and quickly stilled when he saw Potter walking down the aisle heading towards him.
"Malfoy," Potter said in a soft, hesitant voice. "Can we, do you mind..."
"Spit it out Potter," Malfoy said, rolling his eyes, though he found the anxiety endearing.
Potter inhaled and exhaled, another thing Malfoy seemed to enjoy watching. "Can we go somewhere to talk?" He looked down the table towards his friends, did he not want them to be seen talking.
"What for Potter? I am swamped with homework and haven't eaten yet," Malfoy said with a half-truth.
He pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. "I want to ask you something."
Draco bit back a smile; he was thoroughly enjoying this, maybe a little too much. "Alright Potter, you have five minutes." He picked up a fresh green apple from the bowl, throwing it into the air to catch and stood up following an annoyed Potter out of the Great Hall.
They walked up the staircase and down an unused corridor. Draco leaned against a wall one-foot balancing while he bit into his apple, waiting for Potter to ask his question.
"You are really good at nonverbal spells." He finally said, and it looked like it pained him to say it.
"You flatter me, Potter," Draco replied monotonously. "But that's not a question."
Harry sighed. "Look, it's hard for me to ask, but I think you will be able to help me."
Draco raised an intrigued eyebrow, taking another bite of his apple feeling impatient. "Yes?"
"Can you teach me to cast nonverbal spells?" He mumbled almost inaudibly.
"Can you teach me to cast nonverbal spells," He repeated slower and clearer, his cheeks flushed pink.
Draco almost let out a laugh. "You want me to teach..?" He paused, searching his face for a sign of the punchline of the joke. Potter was looking down at his feet; his hands closed into tight fists. "Why?"
"I watched you in class today, you were..." He bit his bottom lip. "Awe-inspiring."
This caught Draco off guard; he blinked quickly not quite believing what he heard, Potter was complimenting him, and wanting him to teach him as well. Surely there was a catch, would he threaten to send him to Azkaban if he didn't? And what about Granger, the cleverest witch in the school, top of the class in everything. "What about Granger?" He asked, speaking his thoughts. "Can't she help you?"
"She has been trying to help me," He said earnestly. "Both me and Ron, but I don't know; we spent so much time together during the last year, practically living on top of each other, she hasn't had much alone time with Ron. I thought maybe if you taught me, I might pick it up better."
He hadn't said anything yet because he was still waiting for him to laugh and say it's just a joke, but a small part of him was considering it, why? Two reasons, one because he was an idiot and two because he wanted to spend time with the prat that he had been thinking about for the past three years. But as it was Potter, there was a natural order of things; a sneer here, a snarky comment there, shove on the shoulder through the corridor, and then the longing stares when he wasn't looking.
"Never mind," Potter said, shaking his head. "Forget, I asked."
"No," Draco said a bit too quickly not wanting him to leave yet. "What if I say I will?"
Potter's lips curled into a hopeful smile, and Draco's arm hair stood to attention. "It wouldn't have to be regular; I wouldn't want you to have to spend too much time with me."
That wasn't the problem he wanted to say and kicked himself for letting all these thoughts come to the surface; he had done so well to keep them away. "How considerate," he sneered instead and rolled his eyes as an added extra. "Will you let me think about it?"
Potter nodded. "Yeah, sure."
Ron and Hermione were sat in front of the fire when Harry returned to the common room; he wasn't going to let them know just yet that he asked Malfoy to teach him to cast nonverbal spells, he never seemed to tell them much when it came to his encounters with Malfoy. After his apparent obsession with him in his sixth year, they seemed to either switch off when he mentioned him or get annoyed with him.
"Where have you been?" Hermione asked as he sat down, cross-legged on the carpet.
"Just for a walk," He lied. "Needed a break from everyone, I had five marriage proposals today, and first and second years asking for autographs."
Ron sniggered. "Must suck to be Harry Potter, Saviour of the Wizarding World."
"It really does," Harry frowned, he looked at the book in Hermione's hand, it was the Hogwarts school rule book. "Do I want to know?"
"She is trying to find a rule against Slughorns assignment," Ron told him, shaking his head and rolling his eyes. "I keep telling her he has been doing it for years."
"And I keep telling Ronald," Hermione scowled. "That just because he has done it for years doesn't mean it's allowed."
"It's not like you have swapped with anyone bad, Daphne is alright," Harry said, trying to make her feel better.
"Yeah, could be worse, could be Malfoy," Ron laughed his eyes following Malfoy as he walked through the door. Harry uncrossed his legs and kicked Ron's shin. "Ouch. Sorry, didn't mean to offend your boyfriend."
Harry felt the blood rise to his cheeks, Malfoy glanced at them stony-faced and padded upstairs. "Shut up, Roody."
"Stop calling me fucking Roody," Ron said, his brows furrowed together. "I'm going to bed."
"It was just a joke."
Ron gave her Hermione a kiss and stood up off the sofa. "Yeah, I know I am tired."
Harry stood up, too, and stretched. "I will come as well then, the first day back is always tiring." Ron looked as though he was going to tell him to stay, but chose not to, and they walked upstairs to their dorm room.
Malfoy's curtains around his bed were closed when they got inside. Zabini's bed was empty, Ron moved around the room getting his stuff together, he looked like he had not got over Harry calling him Roody.
Harry picked up his pyjamas and started getting undressed, while Ron had stormed out the room to shower. Malfoy peeled back the side of his curtains, seemingly annoyed at the banging and storming around. Harry stood frozen in his boxers halfway putting his shirt on.
"Shit, sorry," Malfoy said, closing the curtains again. "Make sure Weasley, takes his potion tonight and put silencing charms on his bed."
Red-faced again from being caught almost naked, he nodded, though he couldn't see it. "Yeah, yeah... I, uh will." He quickly dressed and slipped under his covers. He wanted to apologise to Malfoy for what Ron had said and hoped it wouldn't affect his chances of being taught by him. "Malfoy?
"What Potter?" Came an exasperated voice from behind the closed curtains.
"I don't know if you heard what Ron said downstairs, but he was just being an idiot, I told him to shut up."
"I don't need you to stick up for me Potter," He sneered, but it wasn't his usual hate-filled tone.
"I know, I just didn't want you to think what I thought he said was funny."
Ron, a little less tense, walked back in about ten minutes later dressed in his Chudley Canon pyjamas; he got into bed and rolled over to face Harry. "Sorry mate."
He was well aware of Ron's mood swings and would typically just let it slide, but he was just not ready to let it go yet. "Take your potion, and put on silencing charms," Harry said flatly and rolled over, so his back was to Ron.