After the war, Hogwarts had been partially destroyed. Luckily, the wizarding world had come together to help restore it, now it was standing strong again, brand new, different, but still resembling what once was. Harry's map had also changed and now was showing each new corner of the school, which surprised him, even more considering that Hogwarts was bigger than before.
Unfortunately, he didn't have much time to admire the new features of the map when he saw Malfoy's name roaming the halls during the night. Sometimes his name simply did not appear on the map, as if he were no longer at school grounds. Harry tried to follow him several times, but Malfoy was always able to get out of his sight. When they were in Hogsmeade, Draco would just walk into a store, Harry would follow him, and when he finally thought he would catch the other doing something suspicious, Draco was no longer there and the situation continued to repeat itself over and over again, even if Malfoy entered a dead-end he managed to get away somehow, it was like he simply disappeared, which made Harry even more nervous and irritated by this fact. After all, Draco was no longer a prefect, there was no plausible excuse for this behavior and the way he would escape from lots of situations was driving him crazy.
“Really? You guys don't realize how weird he is acting?” Harry lets out again that day, unable to help himself, in a mixture of indignation and curiosity while he and his friends were having breakfast.
“And here we go again …” Hermione sighs, with a smile on her face, putting her coffee mug on the table with a calm expression “Harry, listen: just because Malfoy has been a little quieter lately it does not mean he has to be necessarily up to something”
“I hate to agree, but Hermione is right'' Ron accompanied her this time. “I'm not surprised that he stuck his tongue after what happened to his father. Like, seriously? The man just didn't end up in Azkaban because of you!” Exclaimed a little louder giving a pat on Harry’s back. “Wow, I would pay any price to see his stupid face during the trial!”
“Ron!” Hermione scolded, giving him a light slap on the bust.
“But let me guess” continued Hermione, taking Harry out of his thoughts. “You will not listen to us and will continue to look for something wrong and will only stop when you find it?”
“Hermione, don't you see? Malfoy walks through the halls at night and keeps disappearing. I not only think, but I'm sure, that he's hiding something!” he said with conviction.
“Harry, listen” Hermione took a deep breath looking for a way to explain this without sounding too rude “This is his life.” It was straightforward “I was surprised when he came back to finish his studies, but frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if he just tried to disappear from one moment to moment just so he wouldn't have to face those looks.” She looked more resentful when she finished the sentence.
“I know that …” It was hard to admit, but he knew what she was talking about.
It was true, not that anyone wasn’t already expecting it. not only the looks of disgust, fear, and many other bad feelings, Malfoy also seemed to feel this shame, after all, he insisted on wearing clothes that covered his arms, he never spoke during classes and managed to avoid the teacher’s questions. But that would never convince Harry, the way he disappeared was doubtful and questionable. Malfoy was hiding something and nothing would convince him otherwise. Sure, Draco had helped him, slightly, during the war, but he couldn't just let his guard down. He wouldn't. He couldn’t .
“I’ll see you guys later during McGonagall class” Harry suddenly got tired of that conversation, feeling like it was wasting time, saying goodbye would be a better option, but Hermione tugged on the sleeve of his uniform before he even got up.
“Promise me that you will not get obsessed with this” Hermione pleaded, cautious and concerned. “The war is over, Harry .... You can rest now,” she said in a mixture of affection and concern.
“I know, ‘mione.” Harry returned his friend's concern with a gentle smile. “Thanks for the concern, but I have to go see Hagrid now.” He still felt uncomfortable when anything was mentioned about the war, he would avoid talking about it as much as possible. If he didn't think about it, that feeling could finally go away. It was something that had left eternal marks on everyone involved and Hermione seemed to know that. But, at times, it was as if it could finally disappear ... but only when he was silent. “I have to deliver a scroll from the last classes we had with him, did you finish yours yet?”
“Merlin, I still have to finish my scrolls!” Said Ron, exalted. “I was happy when I heard that Hagrid was going to be our teacher, but he's been giving us a lot of homework lately. Heavens, for me I would go a week without looking at his face after that!” he said with a weary look, seeming tired.
It was true, Hagrid liked to take practical classes, but right after the first few weeks, he started to focus more on the theoretical part of the lessons, which left the vast majority of students bored. Perhaps it was because this would be his last year and the tests would require more theoretical content. But once again, Harry's thoughts were going back to Malfoy. Perhaps it would be better to put that sort of thing out of his head, although after the events of the past few years, no little care would be too little .
When he finally felt that he was beginning to relax, he saw Draco entering the great hall with a large book under his arm that he could not identify the title, it seemed heavy to say the least. He watched him go to the Slytherin table, pick an apple, and leave again without even looking around. He appeared to be incredibly tired, his eyes didn't focus on anything, little dark circles formed under his eyes, his body was rigid. Harry couldn't help but look and feel pity.
‘No! You will stop thinking about it, your friends are worried and you don’t need to give any more reasons for them to keep worrying! ‘ Harry scolded himself. ‘You will hand the scrolls over to Hagrid and then go straight to Principal Minerva's class.’
McGonagall had returned to be the Transfiguration teacher, at least, until they find a new teacher so she could handle only the responsibilities of being the principal. Even after all this time, taking classes with her was incredibly nostalgic. Harry said goodbye to his friends and went on his way towards "Professor Hagrid's" house, no longer a hut,
an actual house
, still way too close to the forbidden forest, it was bigger and had a big stable in the back so that Hagrid could take care of large creatures that he wished to take to his classes or any other creature he found in the forest that needed care. The place was beautiful and had a higher ceiling so that Hagrid could move around more comfortably, even though it still had a slightly grotesque feel to it, the stone walls and wooden columns, which made the place look even more so “Hagrid”.
The sky was getting dark, it was probably going to rain very soon, he would have to hurry up. When he got to the cabin he saw the lights on, which indicated that Hagrid was at home, probably correcting the scrolls from the other students, although Harry was sure he was hearing voices, as if two people were having a conversation. He knocked a few times and felt the floor tremble a little, it was Rubeus walking to open the door. It opened and Hagrid just poked his head out, looking sideways and, finally, down, smiling when he saw his visit.
“Harry!” The half-giant gave him a big smile, closed the door behind him, and embraced Harry in a big bear hug lifting his thin body with ease. “It's so good to see you.” he put him down and looked at him with his tiny and shiny eyes. “I'm sorry that we haven't had much time to talk in the last few weeks, but when I heard that Principal Minerva would choose me to be a teacher again I got excited enough to spend my retirement time planning my classes for the whole semester.” He scratched the back of his neck, looking ashamed of his enthusiasm. Hagrid did seem to be trying to get students to learn all he knew, but unfortunately, it became uninteresting to most of them “I feel like my classes are getting a little boring, aren’t they?”
“Of course not!” Harry replied quickly, lying while he thought of a way not to sadden the half-giant “It's only been a long time since we've dealt with magical creatures in practice, you know? Staying only in the theoretical part becomes tiring after a certain time … sorry, i’m just a little tired”
“I understand. I’m very tired as well, Hogwarts didn’t just build itself up you know...” he smiles even though it had a slightly sad tone “At least I had a little help lately with my work.” He got excited again “Some creatures are appearing sick and injured in the Forbidden Forest, it has been difficult to elaborate a practical class while taking care of them full time.”
“Do you have any idea what could be causing this?” Harry asked, concerned. There were creatures in the forest that were important to him, the centaurs for example. Thinking that something bad could happen to them broke his heart.
“Not yet, but I will soon find out. Nobody hurts these magnificent beings and gets away with it!” said Hagrid with conviction and his chest puffed up. “Not to mention that I have a great helper, we are getting closer and closer to finding out.”
Harry couldn't help but smile, Hagrid really was a Gryffindor. He wanted to continue the conversation, but he heard a noise coming from the inside of Hagrid's home, it looked like something had fallen, and he heard someone say something.
“I'm sorry, I didn't know you had visitors”. Harry hurried to take the scrolls out of his bag. “I came to deliver them, it’s from your last lesson.”
Hagrid looked a little distressed as if thinking deeply about something, it was kinda comical seeing him with such a face, he had even a little pout. Harry was worried, had he done something wrong? whatever might be going on in Rubeu's head at that moment seemed to be bad, But Hagrid gave him a rather mischievous smile.
“Why don't you come in? I made some tea and there are some cookies in the oven.” Offered with kindness.
“Won't I disturb you?” Harry asked nervously. Not that the idea was bad, but interrupting a Hagrid moment with a friend didn't seem very elegant. Not to mention that he never really liked tea made from herbs that he didn't know the origins of. “You must be busy-”
“Why, of course not!” Harry didn't have time to answer and soon felt Hagrid's big arm at his back, pushing him inside.
And for the first time, Harry was entering Hagrid's house for the first time in the year. There were bookshelves full of books about magical creatures and others crammed with plants and extravagant items that Harry didn't recognize, a large fireplace with small stone and wood sculptures decorating it, a small kitchen, armchairs, and sofas padded with a coffee table with a teapot and two china cups, and in the corner of the room, a beautiful, large desk full of papers and books, probably where Hagrid organized his classes and corrected the scrolls. Harry felt that his mouth was open as he watched the place, it was magnificent. But his attention soon focused on the figure sitting on the sofa, cross-legged and barefoot, the white skin that shone in the firelight, his blond hair a little messy, his silver eyes entirely devoted to the books that floated around him as he took a sip from his teacup and stroked the head of the large, elderly dog, fang, that resided on his lap. none other than Draco Malfoy.
He seemed extremely focused on his reading, to the point of not realizing that Harry had entered the room, while the gryffindor felt his entire body freeze. What was Malfoy doing at Hagrid's cabin? How would Hagrid allow something like this? How could he let the person responsible for Buckbeak's "near-death" simply sit in his living room as if they had known each other for years?
“I brought someone else to our meeting today, I hope you don't mind,” Hagrid said smiling, finally after an awful moment of silence, drawing Malfoy's attention.
The moment the Slytherin's eyes darted away from the pages, Harry saw them widen and all the books that were levitating around him fell scattered across the room, while he seemed to have choked on the tea as he started coughing and caused fang, who until now was resting on his lap, to wake up with a jump and left the boy's lap, going to his small bed that was in the corner of the room, irritated by having lost his source of affection during his sleep.
“I suppose you already know each other very well, so introductions are unnecessary.” Rubeus said in a gentle and forcibly innocent tone. Harry saw Draco stop coughing and look at Hagrid with fulminating eyes, clearly not liking the current situation. “don't look at me like that, you know I love guests.” Draco just rolled his eyes.
"Of course you do ..." He put his hand over his face, covering his eyes, uncomfortable.
Hagrid moved away from the two and headed for the kitchen, leaving the two boys alone for a moment. Harry was still very uncomfortable with the situation, but he did help pick up some books that were on the floor. ‘Fantastic beasts and where to find them’, ‘Creatures of the tundra’, ‘Mysteries of natural adaptation’, ‘Secrets of the seashells’. Harry recognized some of the titles, all of which were specifically about magical creatures, which made him wonder at the situation. Why did Draco read them with such interest and fixation? He always hated these creatures, looked at them as if they were cockroaches to be stepped on… at least most of them.
“Would you mind?” Malfoy asked in a dry voice with his outstretched hand. Harry just held out his arms and Draco quickly took the books from his hands, returning to sit on the couch.
It took a while, but he could see how red the blonde's face was, clearly plump from being seen in his ‘vulnerable’ state. They were both unable to look at each other, it was a truly embarrassing situation until Hagrid returned to the living room with a tray full of dark-colored cookies, still smoky from coming out of the oven. The half-giant put the tray on the coffee table and went to his desk, crossing his arms and looking at Draco with a mischievous smile.
Harry just watched the scene ‘from afar’ it was like he wasn't even there present in that little interaction between student and teacher, it was almost like a little eye to eye war, could they possibly be reading each other’s thoughts? He was understanding absolutely nothing.
“So ... Hagrid ... what's going on here?” the brunette asked, giving up trying to understand the situation by himself.
“Now Harry, maybe it's time to change your glasses?” Rubeus asked, amused. “I'm just giving a little reinforcement to my best student.”
“Your best student ?” Harry asked, incredulous. His voice was louder than he expected, as he heard a long ‘Shhhh!’ coming from Malfoy, who had his index finger in front of his mouth, looking at him with irritation. “Since when?”
“A few months before classes started,” he replied, turning his attention to the scrolls he had received from the students. “Director Minerva became responsible for keeping Draco safe during that year, at least until the Ministry of Magic decided to release his father. So he was "living" here a long time before the inauguration. Let's say there weren't many people he could talk to-”
“And he went looking for you just to talk?” Harry cut him off, still discrediting the situation.
“It’s not like he had an option since he lives on my …”
The two heard a small thud and saw that Draco had just closed one of his books, very hard, apparently having finished reading and moving on to the next. Even though it seemed like a simple gesture of irritation, that was the best non-verbal way to announce that I was still present on the spot and listened perfectly to everything they said. Harry felt the cue and thought it might be better to go. He waved to Hagrid, saying goodbye, but when he opened the door, he found an extremely heavy rain outside. Startled, he closed the door when he saw a white flash cut across the sky followed by a thunderous sound that echoed across the place.
‘ Maybe i should stay a little longer’ he thought, feeling defeated.
Sitting down and doing nothing was not an option until the rain passed, so he decided to look at the cabin. It was more spacious and organized - smelling like flowers and leaves now - the big bookshelves full of beautiful collections of books about creatures from the magical world, and some pots with strange things that resemble hands, eyes, and sometimes it was some kind of plant or rock. Harry was sure that the eyes in one of the pots were following him as he moved around. At this point, Fang was following him from side to side, with his tail wagging, hoping to receive some kind of affection, but Harry was not paying attention. He just kept wandering around until one of the glasses on the shelf caught his eye, a glass decorated and filled with golden dust, on which was a note attached to the cork that covered it written: “Essence of fairy dust". What?
Distracted as he was, Harry did not notice Fang silently move away and then run, as fast as his old body allowed him, only to leap on him, pushing him to the floor along with the pot of fairy dust, which opened in the process of falling and covered both of them with shiny dust that felt more like very silky sand. Hagrid and Draco, inattentive about what the boy was doing, just turned to look when they heard the noise of the fall and found him and the dog covered in "glitter".
There was a little snort. the snort turned into a laugh. it was like something magical happened at that moment, the only thing that Harry managed to do was to notice the smiling face of the Slytherin, who until now has always kept a melancholy face and finally shown something different as laughing out loud. Harry smiled genuinely. He didn't know why, but seeing both Draco and Hagrid laughing made him want to laugh along with them. For a moment he had forgotten everything that frustrated him, the war, the school, all the dead, nothing could spoil that little moment. Fang was thrilled to see everyone in the room cheerful and started to lick the Gryffindor's face, which made Hagrid suddenly get up and go after the dog.
“Fang, don't lick that!” Rubeus Brandished. The dog, hearing the owner's angry voice, returned to his bed and cringed. “I'm really sorry about that, Harry”
“No problem, the room was way too quiet for my taste, anyway.” he got up and started rubbing his hair, hoping that the rest of the shiny powder would come out, an effort made in vain since it would not come off until he washed them… probably. Suddenly a white flash illuminated the room again, followed by a crash and strange sounds that seemed to be coming from the forest. Hagrid seemed apprehensive.
“Why don't you and Draco chat a little? You both are the same age and ... you two probably have something in common to talk about.” The half-giant took his lamp and headed towards the exit. “Stay here a little longer or at least until the rain eases, I'll see what's going on in the forest.”
When Hagrid went through the door and closed it, silence permeated the room again, not the comfortable one before, but an awkward silence, in which the two teenagers did not know where to look. Draco had his books, but all that sparkle in the Gryffindor's hair was constantly getting his attention, it was infuriating; Harry had nowhere to look except the Slytherin while he hoped to have some idea what they could talk about. Neither could think of even talking to each other without remembering the past few years, everything that had happened between them, and what they had done to each other. Harry extended his hand to get one of the cookies but Malfoy cut him off by saying:
"I wouldn't do that if I were you" he didn't stop looking at his book even when referring to him "Hagrid is very sweet but his cooking abilities are, at least, questionable"
Harry had to agree, to think that Hagrid would mind baking something, that was very kind of him, even if none of them were edible. The uncomfortable silence was back again, the situation was too distressing, Harry finally found what could be a solution.
“Since when do you like magical creatures?” Asked the brunette, feeling relieved, but also genuinely curious and nervous.
Harry was sure he saw that Draco's eyes lost focus for an instant, perhaps because he had fumbled in his reading or maybe the Slytherin had considered answering his question and giving him that little attention. The brunette thought the blonde was just going to keep reading, but, on the contrary, saw the other put his book down a bit and use a finger to mark the page he was on.
“It's been a long time actually... I can’t when it started exactly, but I'm pretty sure it was sometime before i moved into hagrid’s garret”
“His… garret?” Harry looked at him truly confused, what would one thing have to do with another? In what universe would Malfoy willingly live with Hagrid? not even in one of his rooms, his garret .
“You are a little nosy today. In fact, not only today, it has been a few weeks, right?” Said closing his book and putting it aside, taking another in a row and reading its index. “Do you really think I don't notice you following me?”
Harry froze again, he might not have been the most discreet person, but was it that obvious? The Slytherin looked at him sharply, as if he were a snake cornering its prey. What was going through his head? It was almost as if I wanted to swallow him alive.
“I-I was just worried!” Quickly replied as soon as he thought of anything that didn't make him look like a creepy stalker.
“Worried? about what?” Draco's features hardened, looking at the Gryffindor seriously as anger slowly consumed him. “You thought I was up to something, I bet.” there was a cruel smile on his face, it was almost like a dare, he knew he was right.
“Of course not! I just …” Malfoy's gray eyes questioned him as one of his blond eyebrows rose in disbelief. “Okay, I… I thought you were up to something again, you looked miserable when you… got the mark, and then you decide to come back to Hogwarts and look even worse, and i just-.” He said sincerely and stopped to breathe, it was hard to talk about that topic. “I thought your father was still giving you orders or something, i don’t know” For a moment he saw Draco's expression soften and then take on his characteristic neutral face. "I don't know what I was thinking, he's in the custody of the Ministry ... I'm really stupid, I'm sorry.”
Harry was already one step away from getting up and leaving, the rain didn't matter anymore, he only didn't because Malfoy decided to continue the conversation, but not before sighing loudly
"No, Harry, you are not an idiot." He cut eye contact, focusing only on his book now. "After what happened in the past few years, I wouldn't judge you for following me around, but of all the young death eaters who came back this year, I must say that I'm not the most likely to plan something. Not to mention it's bad to be hearing rumors about yourself even more so when the majority is not true"
"I fear i might understand a bit about this." It's not like the media leaves any details of his private life off the front page, even small things in his relationship with Ginny. And he remembered very well the chaos that was the last Daily Prophet when it was published that the redhead had won a scholarship to join a professional Quidditch team on the other side of the country, just some months after they broke up, ‘The boy-who-lived is free once again’ they would say. A hell of a time. "I know I already apologized, but I want to start things right this year."
"This is good. But it's not like you already do the right thing all the time." the blond rolled his eyes, with what seemed to be a little smile forming on the edge of his mouth. "So you don't have to worry, do you? I very much doubt that someone will be trying to kill you this year ... or maybe there is, can't exactly tell." the Slytherin laughed with his own speech, turning his attention to his book.
And there it was, that sour Malfoy humor, which was a good sign, Draco was relaxed in his presence. For a moment Harry forgot how bad he looked. Maybe he could move on with the conversation more easily now. but there was a voice echoing in the back of his head.
‘Of course, I always make the best choices. Escape from my uncles' house in the middle of the night with just a suitcase or simply in a flying car, fight a troll in the first year, go after a Chamber of Secrets inside the school that kept an immense basilisk, go back in time to help one a hippogriff not to be killed by the Ministry, go around looking for Voldemort's horcruxes with my two best friends. Without a doubt, the best choices of my life. ‘ He thought wryly to himself, apparently, Malfoy's acid humor was contagious.
“But still, I feel that there is one of many decisions that I can say for sure I regret until today.”
“ Oh yeah? only one?” he said, interested, but without taking his eyes off his precious book. “And what was it?”
“Not trying to befriend you during the first year.” Malfoy's eyes widened when he heard those words coming straight out of the Gryffindor's mouth. Had he heard right? Or would his ears be so dusty as to be hearing things?
“You didn't just say that!” To Harry's surprise, Draco had started to laugh. The cheerful countenance seemed to spread certain energy in the room, making the environment cleaner and lighter. “you wouldn't want to be my friend at that time, like, NO way at all! Merlin, I was a pest!” His voice came out broken, as he spoke while trying to hold his laughter by putting a hand to his mouth, failing miserably and dropping the book in his lap.
“at least you acknowledge that,” said the brunette, relieved. “Because you and your father were unbearable!”
“Of course we were unbearable, we were the perfect copy of each other, I was like a smaller version of him!”
“i think there was a word for that, what was it…. a minion?”
They both started laughing, making the environment lighter for both of them. Draco had to wipe away a small tear that insisted on falling because of his excited laughter. They both calmed down and the silence between them was now comfortable.
“I practically lived imitating my father” He scolded himself, “I just ... when he was detained to stay in the Ministry for a while i felt relief, at first i didn't know for sure, but then it felt like my body was free from a bunch of heavy chains.” The blonde smiled tenderly. “It's hard to explain. He is my father, I love him and i know he cares a lot about me, but knowing that he will be away from me for a long time made me feel happy. He was doing a lot of harm to me, mom, and even himself, maybe this will help him put his head back in the right place”
“it was really that bad?” Harry was honestly worried.
Draco looked at him, there was a frown.
“you know the first thing he said sometime after Voldemort was gone?” Harry shook his head. “ Just as I thought we would at least finally get rid of all those filthy muggles, ” the gryffindors eyes went wide. “i know, i had the same reaction.”
“god… this is…awful”
“i was gonna say cruel, inhuman, maybe impious, but i suppose awful is also a good option”
this made harry giggle nervously, the way Draco said this was so sincere and serious that sounded unnatural “yeah, it's horrible… I thought for a moment he would finally change the way he views things, but...I guess in the end people just don't suddenly change.”
there was a sad tone in his voice, it was rare to see Draco speak so openly like that and even more expressing his emotions to him, the person he was supposed to hate.
“But… you did change,” Harry said bluntly.
“you changed, i mean, look at us, not in a century i would expect to have a normal conversation with you… even more to speak badly of your father.”
upon hearing that the slytherin had a little smile on his face and his eyes looked away, he muttered what sounded like ‘i suppose ’ and Harry heard it clearly, smiling as well. it was good. The way Malfoy was slowly loosening it up and acting more like himself and not some puppet his family would make him act like it, it had some strange beauty to it, like how it was supposed to be.
“... you know ... you look much more like your mother.”
“what?” Draco looked at him confused.
“Yeah, you know, you can have the color of Lucius' eyes, but it is the same kindness as Narcissa's, I remember. Your father has always been very serious and sometimes arrogant, and by ‘sometimes’ i mean all the time” Draco snorted at that “but look at you! i can see the changes you had in a short period, you are very sweet. I never thought I would see you and Hagrid talking as friends and seeing you so interested in magical creatures almost made my jaw drop to the floor.” He said getting excited and seeing Malfoy blush a little. “You are trying new things, you wanted to change and you changed, this is something that few people have enough courage to do. But ... I don't understand why you are so lonely. It seems that you are not eating properly and there are times that you just disappear. I ... I was worried.” said the last part more to himself than to Draco. Yes, he was afraid that Malfoy was being manipulated again by his father, but he also couldn't deny that part of him might just want to know if the other was okay and could help him in some way.
Draco closed the book, returning to his rigid stance, unable to look the Gryffindor in the eye.
“I'm fine, but I can't stop thinking about the things I did.” He took a deep breath and continued. “I couldn't stay more than a few minutes in the great hall without those looks and murmurs bothering me. I didn't want my friends to get into more trouble because they were close to me, so I just stayed away, but it's not like they don't want to be with me either, so much so that they didn't even come looking for me or even wrote me before Hogwarts started the new year” he said melancholy, looking at some random spot on the floor. “Friendship is not an easy thing, you made me want to try again when Voldemort died, but ... I already ruined my chances of wanting to make people realize that I really changed ... if only I could start over with someone who didn’t know me maybe it could work but …”
Harry saw Draco curl up on the couch, clinging to his book, his face red, the way his arms held him as if they could protect him, his crystal eyes as if he were about to cry, it shattered the heart of a Gryffindor in way that even him could not describe such pain. he cared, it was his nature, what else could be done?
“I said too much, I'm sorry.” he stood up abruptly.
Harry didn't even have time to say anything, as the blonde just headed straight into one of Hagrid's rooms. Harry was quick and managed to grab his arm before the other could put his hand in the door handle, making him turn to look at him, surprised.
"Draco, listen, I know the situation may seem strange to you, and believe me when I say that it is also strange for me," he said looking the other in the eyes frankly. "But I don't want things to be this way, the war is over, everyone had a chance to start over and it's not fair that you don't have that chance as well." The Slytherin got embarrassed at those words, he was not used to people caring about what he was feeling, it was… new. "And I ... I wanted to have the chance to meet you again. I undoubtedly want to meet this new Malfoy, the Malfoy who cares, who likes magical creatures and is kind to people, the real Malfoy and not the one his family forced him to be. "
Draco seemed to be touched by what he heard, as his eyes were shining as they filled with water, but the tears refused to come. He just rubbed one of the sleeves of his eyes and started laughing.
"Good heavens, Potter! The sorting hat surely put you in the wrong house, you should be in Hufflepuff!" Tears were now streaming down his face like little waterfalls and Harry felt a small tightness in his chest thinking he had said something wrong. Draco was smiling, but he could see he was at least a little bit hurt. "How can you simply say things like that to me? it's not fair" he sobbed "We can't even be seen together, what would others think of you?"
"I've been living the past few years living without caring about what people would say about me, they will always talk about my life whether I like it or not. but If you don't want others to know, that's fine." He comforted him by placing his hands on the blonde's shoulders and bringing him closer. "We can meet at Hagrid's house like today, I'm sure he won't mind having an extra visit and i’m genuinely curious to know about how his new garret looks now"
"What about your friends?" The blonde questioned, cleaning his face with his sleeve, the tears slowly stopping.
"They're too busy being a tooth rooting sweet couple to realize that I'm gone," he replied tiredly.
"oh, so you turned into what the muggles call… a third wheel?" How did Malfoy know that word? he didn't know, but there was no other word that would perfectly fit this situation.
"You have no idea." he sighed in defeat but smiling. It was true that his two friends had been putting him off a little since they started dating. When he dated Ginny it was easy to arrange programs for double dates, but now it was difficult for them to go out together, besides, he didn't want to disturb their romance. "But there is no problem with that, they deserve this moment together in peace, not to mention that Hermione is the only one who can influence Ron to study, so maybe it's for the better."
They both giggle at the last statement. That was a good thing. A simple moment of peace, knowing that their little rivalry was undone and that the hate relations were definitely over was great for both of them. Not that they were going to stop competing, but now it was part of their new friendship and not something that would hurt them.
“so… I suppose i have to call you Harry from now on, right scarhead?” Malfoy's sweet voice made the other man startle, none had ever heard him speak in such a calm and soft way while insulting him, there was fondness in the way he was saying his ‘nickname’ .
“it would be nice, for once” He smiled, more to himself than to the other. “i guess i don’t have a reason to keep calling you ‘malfoy’ anymore, do i?” Harry felt that he was truly happy to learn that he did well. But something in his mind was poking him, was he forgetting something? “... i’m gonna be late for Professor McGonagall's class!”
Harry tried to fix his clothing and grabbed his bags, he simply planned to run off towards the school under the rain, but before that he felt Draco grabbing his sleeve, there was some pink on his cheek and he seemed embarrassed, his eyes refusing to meet the other and yet smiling hopefully.
“harry… can we meet again tomorrow? maybe at a better time?”
“er…” harry would try to talk but no words would come out, there was a strange feeling in his chest that was slightly familiar, was he anxious? why? the idea of meeting with the slytherin again the other day was… good, it sounded nice, he wanted that, he literally couldn't wait for it now. “sure!”
All that mattered was getting to the classroom as quickly as possible. When he finally got to the door, he didn't even bother to knock, he opened it and ended up making a lot of noise, which made the students look at him while receiving an angry look from McGonagall.
“Mr Potter, I hope you have a good excuse for being so late in my class. Why are you all wet? And, for Merlin sake, what is that in your hair?” she crossed her arms as she stamped her foot on the floor and glared at him.
Harry had a very good reason: ‘I was stuck in Hagrid's cabin with my new friend Malfoy because of the rain and the conversation was so good and deep that I just forgot that the rest of the world existed’ , but I couldn't just say that, could he?
“I was at Hagrid's house when it started raining and I ended up getting stuck there, his dog dropped fairy dust on me and I couldn't get it off of my hair. the rain would stop so i went running in the rain.” He said quickly and desperately, finally stopping to breathe. He was all wet, his shoes covered with mud, his hair still full of small grains of fairy dust and now it was also wet, it was no wonder that the whole room was still looking at him. “I'm sorry, Director Minerva.”
"I will let it pass this time, Mr. Potter, and I hope it doesn't happen again." He said stiffly. “Even so I will still remove five points from Gryffindor because of that.”
Harry could hear some boos, but it didn't matter, thanks to Merlin McGonagall at least allowed him to attend the class. He crossed the room and sat down next to Hermione, who questioned what had happened to him, but he just gave her a vague answer and started taking notes. Unfortunately, he was unable to pay so much attention in class, in his head he kept repeating what had happened in that living room, what he had said, seen, and heard, he couldn't believe it. Maybe things could be different from now on, but this time it would be better, Harry was sure. While he was lost in thought, at some point the happiness on Malfoy's face had returned to fill his thoughts and made him come back to reality in fright, he felt Hermione hold his arm tightly, bringing him closer to her so that she could whisper in his ear.
“What happened? You don't look well.” She asked worriedly.
“I'm fine.” A smile returned to the brunette's face as a familiar warmth filled his chest and warmed his cold body. “I'm great, actually!”
The storm was shallow outside, but Malfoy was still in the cabin, still reading, with Canine lying beside him, and several other books floating around him, comfortable with the warmth emanating from the fireplace. The previous moments were repeating in his mind and the joy was written on his face. The atmosphere was calm and quiet until he heard the door open abruptly and Hagrid came in, all wet and his feet covered in mud, with a great scowl.
“What was that storm? By Merlin's pants, for a moment I thought the wind was going to take me!” He said irritably.
“Did you find anything?” Draco asked.
“No, just a few trees that were knocked down by the wind, but no creatures were hurt, thankfully.” Both sighed with relief.
Hagrid started to take off his boots but stopped when he noticed the discreet smile on his student's face, that smile wasn’t there before he went into the forest, he knew what caused it, he couldn’t miss that chance.
"oh look, is that a smile I see?" Draco went rapidly red when he realized he was still smiling, he was not in the habit of letting his emotions show so much. “Did anything good happen while I was away?”
Embarrassed to answer, he began to run his finger along the edges of the pages of the book, playing with the piece of paper while trying, unsuccessfully, to contain his smile and the blush that formed on his face.
“Yes, something good happened.” Hagrid looked at him curiously, wanting to know more. “i wouldn't mind if it keeps happening.”