Jacob went straight from his father’s rooms to dinner and saw that Draco was already there. His customary seat next to him was open again. He couldn’t help it, but a smile crossed his face. He was a bit worn from the lesson with his father, and he still had a defense meeting later. He walked over and sat down next to Draco, who turned to him and smiled. The blond asked how his day with his father was, to which Jacob replied that it went well. Pansy then asked what they were going to do for their first date. Draco promptly replied that it was none of anyone else’s business. Jacob was grateful for that, as he wasn’t sure how he would have handled it if Draco had started talking about that right in front of him when he didn’t even know what was going on. That’s not the way he wanted to find out, either.
After dinner, they went back to the Common Room and studied for a bit before heading towards the Room of Requirement. They were alone with Hermione. He told her that he told Draco everything and that yes he was sure. He also reminded her that they would speak again on Saturday. She seemed semi-satisfied with that answer and nodded before quickly pulling him off to the side. She held her hand up to Draco, signaling for him to give them a minute. “Hagrid’s back,” she told him. A brief surge of happiness went through him before he squashed that down. “Oh, come on, Hagrid’s your friend.”
“He’s his friend, not mine,” he reminded her. Hagrid had never met Jacob Snape, and he had not been on the list of people to tell. That list needed to remain small. Leaving Ron in was a risk, but Jacob had to hope that his old best friend would come around one day. Maybe that was a bit ridiculous at this point, but he was just glad that he was being allowed to handle this on his own, and not being pressured to do something about Ron. Despite everything that had happened, Jacob didn’t think that Ron would ever put his life at risk or anyone else’s. He knew what was at risk.
“Harry,” Hermione said, dropping her voice a bit, though it was probably out of habit, though no one but Draco was here yet since they had arrived early, “you have to deal with this. I know you don’t want to push Hagrid out. You’ve gotten to be friends with Fred and George despite everything. I know you want to be friends with him like we are now. You’re going to have to start sometime. Come with me next weekend to see him. I even told him about you. Ron’s been to see him, too.”
Jacob hesitated, but he knew that she was right. Hagrid had been a huge part of his life, and he didn’t want to cut ties with him completely. He had no idea how the half-Giant would react to Jacob Snape, though. He nodded, and Hermione seemed to be satisfied with that before he realized that she had called him Harry. That’s right, I haven’t told her, he thought to himself. “By the way, don’t call me that,” he said. Seeing her look of surprise, he continued. “I’m not him any more, and it’s time I stopped pretending that I ever will be.”
Hermione’s look of surprise turned into a smile, and she hugged him. “I’m glad,” she said. “It’s about time, but I didn’t want to push you.”
Jacob hesitated before hugging her back. “Thanks,” he said, as he pulled away from her and headed over to Draco.
“What was that about?” Draco asked, keeping his voice even.
“Just talking,” he said, grabbing his hand. “I’ll fill you in later.”
Right then, everyone else started arriving and they got ready for the lesson to begin. Hermione instructed everyone in the Reductor Curse and set everyone to practicing. It seemed as if most were not going to master it. Hermione was about to end the lesson when Parvati Patil did such a good one that she had reduced half the table carrying the Sneakoscopes to dust. Lavender and Padma came over to congratulate her as Hermione ended the lesson, scheduling the new one for the same time next week. After that, Jacob and Draco made their way out of the Room of Requirement and back down to the Slytherin Common Room.
After they made it back to the Common Room, Jacob and Draco went straight to the dormitory. Jacob crawled into bed, and the blond was not far behind. He brought his books with him so they could do some studying. As they were studying, he briefly told Draco about his conversation with Hermione - with the silencing charms put up beforehand of course. It wasn’t as if the others would think that was weird. While he knew it was a risk telling him, he felt much better now that he told him. “Still jealous?” he asked with a smirk, remembering the very even tone he’d used earlier.
Draco smirked back. “Yes, I am a very jealous person,” he said, “but don’t worry. I can handle it.” He set the books near the bottom of the bed before settling back at the head of the bed next to Jacob. “Besides, I spent quite a bit of time thinking that there just had to be something going on between you and Granger.” He shrugged his shoulders. “I know now that was stupid, but I can’t get rid of the feelings overnight.”
“You’ve been really amazing about all this, you know,” Jacob told him. “I honestly wasn’t sure how you would take everything. I wasn’t really thinking at all, actually.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not thrilled at being lied to for the past two months,” Draco responded, “but I understand it. And it explains little things I noticed, and before you say anything, yes, there were some things that I noticed that I pushed aside. Besides, the story that you told is something only you and I know, so there’s no way it could be a trick.”
Jacob smiled at him. “I know, I just appreciate it, that’s all,” he said, leaning forward and kissing him. The blond eagerly kissed him back, and though they were supposed to be studying that was all forgotten now. Draco’s lips were intoxicating, just like his hands, one of which was currently resting on his chest and the other on his thigh. Jacob currently had one hand around Draco’s waist, and the other he had resting on Draco’s chest. It was over too quickly, though, and before long, Draco pulled back. Their breathing was laboured, but all Jacob wanted to do was continue kissing him.
“Mmm as much as I like this, I need to be getting back to my own bed,” Draco said, though neither of them moved. Jacob knew that he was right, though. Reluctantly he let the blond slide off the bed. “See you in the morning.” With that, he slipped off the four-poster.
Giving a sigh, Jacob took the silencing charms off, got ready for bed, and did his Occlumency training before slipping off to sleep.
The next day went by without a hitch for the most part. Jacob was back sitting next to Draco. Not that there was anything wrong with Theodore, but it was nice having Draco beside him. He wasn’t sure that Theodore was quite as thrilled sitting next to Crabbe and Goyle again. Tuesday came, and before they knew it, it was Hagrid’s first class back. As he and Draco were leaving the Great Hall after lunch hand-in-hand, fixing to head down to the grounds for their class, Hermione caught up to them. “I tried talking to him,” she said. “Hagrid. I tried telling him to teach more boring OWL stuff, but he won’t listen. I saw him going into the Forbidden Forest.”
Jacob kept his reactions minimal, as he wasn’t supposed to know about any of that. “That can’t be good,” he said.
“Trust me, it’s not,” Draco said quickly. “His classes are -”
“Shut it,” Hermione snapped. “You may not like him, but I do. Let Jacob make up his own mind, why don’t you?” That shut Draco up, and also reminded him that he didn’t know Hagrid. This would be his first class with him as far as anyone else was concerned. Jacob also almost made a comment telling them not to fight over him - jokingly, of course. He decided against it, feeling it would more than likely get him smacked from both his boyfriend - if he was allowed to call him that - and his best friend.
As they and the rest of the students approached, Jacob was glad that Umbridge was nowhere to be found. If Hermione was right, it was best that the High Inquisitor was not around for this lesson. Hagrid’s return yesterday morning at breakfast had been mixed. There were some students - like Fred, George, and Lee who had been very enthusiastic - while others had not been. “We’re going to be working over here!” Hagrid yelled as they approached. He jerked his head to the dark trees behind him. There were horrible scars on his face. Hermione hadn’t mentioned that, but then again, they hadn’t talked much. The half of a dead cow over Hagrid’s shoulder only made him look worse. “A bit more sheltered. They prefer the dark.”
Draco jerked next to him. “What prefers the dark? Did he say?” He almost detected a note of panic in the blond’s voice. Jacob squeezed his hand and felt him un-tense just a bit. He remembered the last time Draco had entered the forest, and he had been scared then, too.
“Ready?” Hagrid looked happily around at the class, though none of them seemed to share his enthusiasm. “I’ve bin savin’ a trip inter the forest fer yer fifth year. Thought we’d go an’ see the creatures in their natural habitat. This is pretty rare, see, what we’re studyin’ here today. I reckon I’m the on’y one in Britain whose trained ter them.”
“And you're sure they’re trained, are you?” Draco asked. Jacob let out a groan and squeezed the blond’s hand tighter. He wanted him to calm down. “I mean, you haven’t been all that great at in the past.” It hadn’t worked. He was truly panicked. He could hear it in his voice. Jacob nudged him, trying to get him to calm down and lay off Hagrid. It was too late, though. Most of their fellow Slytherins were murmuring in agreement, and some of the Gryffindors looked like they agreed with him, too.
“‘Course they’re trained,” Hagrid said, hoisting the dead cow over his shoulder. “Now, if we’re done, let’s go. Follow me!” He turned and walked off into the forest, though the class didn’t seem like they wanted to follow him. Jacob squeezed Draco’s hand, and gently pulled him along. He gave a look at Hermione, and she nodded, walking along with him. The rest of the class followed.
They walked for about ten minutes until they came to a place in the forest where the trees stood so close together it almost looked like it was night outside instead of day. There wasn’t even any snow on the ground. Hagrid deposited his half a cow on the ground, and stepped back, turning to face the class. Most of the class was stepping towards him as they peered around at the trees. It was as if they were expecting something to jump out at them from the trees.
“Okay, gather ‘round, class,” Hagrid said. “Now, they’ll be attracted by the smell o’ meat, but I’ll give ‘em a call, anyway, ‘cause they like to know it’s me.” He turned his head and shook his shaggy head to get the hair out of his face. Then, he gave an odd, shrieking cry that echoed through the dark trees. Nobody laughed. In fact, everyone looked downright terrified. Hagrid gave the cry again. A minute passed, and the class peered around nervously at the trees. Hagrid shook his hair back and expanded his enormous chest, and right then, Jacob saw something from in between the blank space between two yew trees.
A pair of blank, white shining eyes were coming out from the trees. A moment later, a dragonish face and neck followed along with the skeletal body of a great, black, winged horse as the creature fully emerged from the gloom of the trees. It surveyed the class and swished its long black tail before bowing its head and eating off the cow. It was a terrifying-looking creature. He took a glance around and saw confused expressions coming from nearly everyone else. Everyone was still looking around as if they couldn’t see the creature. The only other people who could were Neville and Theodore. Theodore was standing just behind Goyle, while Neville was watching the creature’s tail.
“Oh, an’ here comes another one!” Hagrid said proudly as a second creature came out of the trees. The creature folded it’s leathery wings close to its body and then dipped its head to eat alongside the other. “Now… put yer hands up, who can see ‘em?” Jacob didn’t want to, but he raised his hand. The other was squeezing Draco’s hand more tightly than he probably should, and he didn’t plan on letting it go. Hagrid nodded. “Snape, right?” Jacob nodded back. “And Neville. And Nott. Is that it?”
“What are we -” Draco said as he turned to Jacob. The blond must have seen something on his face. “What? What is it?”
The rest of the class was looking just as confused as Draco. To answer, Hagrid pointed to the cow carcass on the ground. There were gasps, screams and squeals as the rest of the class saw bits of flesh be torn off and disappear. It had to look odd to those who couldn’t see it.
“What’s doing that?” Parvati said. She sounded truly terrified and retreated behind a nearby tree. “What is it?”
“Thestrals!” Hagrid sounded very proud. Hermione gave a soft “oh!” “Hogwarts has a whole herd of ‘em in here. Now, who knows -”
“But they’re really unlucky, and are supposed to bring misfortune!’ Parvati cried. “Professor Trelawney said -”
“No, no, no, no,” Hagrid said, shaking his head. “Tha’s jus’ superstition. They’re dead clever and very useful. O’ course, this lot don’t get much work, just pulling the school carriages.” Oh, Jacob thought to himself. So, the school carriages weren’t pulled by themselves, as they’d always thought. He would have been able to see the thestrals had he taken the train with everyone else this year instead of arriving early. “Here’s another couple, look!”
Two more came out of the trees. One passed right by Parvati who gave a shriek before Hagrid told her that it wouldn’t hurt her. “Now, who can tell why some o’ you can see ‘em, and some o’ you can’t?” Hermione, of course, raised her hand. “Go on then.” Hagrid beamed at her.
“Thestrals can only be seen by people who have seen death,” she said. That explains why I can see them, Jacob thought to himself.
“Tha’s exactly right.” Hagrid looked solemn now. “Ten points ter Gryffindor. Now, thestrals -”
“ Hem, hem .” Professor Umbridge had arrived.
Hagrid had never heard her fake cough before and almost looked as if he thought one of the thestrals had made it before Umbridge coughed again. “Oh, hello!” Hagrid said, smiling at her. Umbridge treated Hagrid as stupid. Anything he said as he tried to teach the class, she wrote down using it against him - that Hagrid needed to use sign language when she seemed to purposefully act like she didn’t hear him, that he had poor short term memory when she interrupted him. It infuriated Jacob. Umbridge pointed out that they were dangerous, and when Hagrid said that they might take a bit out of you if you annoyed them, Umbridge wrote down that he enjoyed violence.
Hagrid tried to explain, comparing the thestrals in that regard to a dog, but Jacob could tell it wouldn’t matter. She treated Hagrid as slow and stupid as if he didn’t understand basic English as she said she was going to walk around and talk to the class. Hermione had tears in her eyes, and she looked angry .”That horrible old hag!” She said as Umbridge went over to Pansy. Hagrid tried to regain control of the lesson, but it was hard with Pansy laughing so hard she was crying.
“You can see them, can you?” Umbridge asked Neville. “Who did you see die?” she asked, as if she was asking him for his homework. Jacob thought that was a highly inappropriate question to ask someone. You couldn’t just ask someone who they had seen die. That might be private. Neville answered his grandfather. “What do you think of them?”
“Er… they’re okay,” Neville said with a nervous glance at Hagrid. Umbridge wrote down that the student was too intimidated to admit that they were scared. Neville tried to say that it wasn’t true but Umbridge wouldn’t listen. She said she had gotten what she needed, and then went back up to the castle.
A half an hour later as they walked back up to the castle, Hermione was seething. She was ranting about how it would have been a good lesson - though she admitted it was more NEWT-level. She was saying that it would have been an interesting lesson and then remarked that she wished that she could see them.
Jacob rounded on her. “Oh, you do? Really? Knowing what it takes to see them?” He couldn't believe she could make such an insensitive comment. Knowing that seeing death is what it takes, and knowing why he could see them. How could she stand there and say that to his face?
Hermione paled. “Oh! I’m so sorry, Jacob. I didn’t mean it like that… That was so stupid.”
“Forget it,” he said.
“Three in a class, though, that’s kind of surprising that it was that many,” she said, trying to change the subject. He wasn’t in the mood. He didn’t need another reminder that he was different. At least this time, there were a couple of people in the class who saw it with him, so he wasn’t completely alone. “I have to go to Herbology.” They said their goodbyes as he and Draco trudged up to the castle.
“Are you alright?” Draco asked as they made their way through the Great Hall and up the stairs. The blond squeezed his hand, and Jacob could tell that he was trying to be reassuring.
“Yeah, I’m fine, don’t worry,” he said. “Just a bit… in shock is all.”
“Okay, if you’re sure,” the blonde said, smiling at him. Jacob couldn’t help it, but he had to smile back.
The rest of the week went by relatively quickly, and before he knew it was he making his way down to the Chamber of Secrets for his weekly lesson with Severus. As always, Hermione was already waiting for him. “There you are!” she cried as he sat down next to her. “So, let’s start from the top, shall we? You told Draco everything. What happened?”
Jacob told her how the night started after the game last week - the drinking game, Draco dragging him upstairs, yelling at him…. “I just couldn’t do it anymore,” he continued. “I was miserable. So I told him.”
“I know you were,” she said, “and I’m glad you’re happy. It is a risk, though, but I suppose no riskier than you being who you are.” She shrugged her shoulders. “So, what did your father say?”
Jacob shrugged. “He didn’t seem surprised at all.”
Hermione nodded. “Yeah, he doesn’t get surprised very easily,” she said. “And after the lesson, you’re coming with me to Hagrid’s.”
“Oh, come on,” she said. “You need to at least try. I think it would be good for you.”
“It’s not that,” he said. “I, er, I have a date. Me and Draco.”
Hermione smirked at him. “Oh? And what does your boyfriend have planned?”
Jacob could feel the blush heating his cheeks. “I don’t know. He wouldn’t tell me. He wants it to be a surprise.” He had asked him a couple of days ago as they were in his bed, snogging, but the blond was tight-lipped. All he would do was smirk at him and say that he would find out on Saturday, and to meet in the Entrance Hall after he got done with his lessons with his father.
“That’s so romantic,” she said. “Are you excited?”
“Nervous as fucking hell,” Jacob said, and Hermione laughed. “What do you do on a date? I don’t know.”
Hermione put a comforting hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry about it. Just enjoy yourself.” Jacob took a deep breath. He knew Hermione was right, but that didn’t stop him from being nervous about it. He trusted Draco, though, and that meant that he would go and enjoy himself. “Maybe some other time,” she said, referring to Hagrid. After all, next week was the next Quidditch of the season. Hermione changed the subject back to the DA, and it wasn’t that long after that his father came in to start their lesson.
After the lesson, Jacob went down to the Entrance Hall. As promised, Draco was there. He smiled at him as Jacob walked up at him. “Are you ready?” Draco asked as he reached out and took his hand.
He smiled at him, entwining their fingers. “Yeah, I am. Can’t wait.”
“Okay then,” Draco said, and then started to lead him back the way that he had come, up the stairs.
“Where we going?” Jacob asked, somewhat confused. His heart was pounding so hard in his chest it almost hurt, and he was certain that Draco could hear it. However, the blond didn’t comment on it. He was also dying to find out what he had planned, as the blond had kept this a complete secret. In a way, it made him more excited for this day. In another way, it made him more fucking nervous than he had ever been in his life. What if he messed this up somehow?
“You’ll see,” was all Draco said in response. It was aggravating.
“Are you going to tell me anything?”
“No.” With that, Draco kept silent until they reached the seventh floor, and then he realized where the blond was taking him - the Room of Requirement. Why were they going there? The blond paced in front of the spot where the DA meetings were held, and soon enough a door appeared. All he did was smirk at him, take his hand again and lead him inside.
The room looked completely different. While still large, there was now furniture in the form of a couch. There was some large, fluffy blankets on the floor along with some large pillows similar to the ones that were in the room for the DA meetings. The rest of the room was relatively sparse. Jacob noticed that the lighting was a bit muted, and he supposed that it could be considered romantic. He didn’t know really, but what he did know was that he liked it.
Draco just smiled at him. He went over and pulled a couple of blankets together before swinging his bag off his shoulder. Jacob hadn’t even noticed that he had it with him. He set it down on the ground, before looking up at Jacob. “Well? Sit down already.”
Jacob sat down as Draco took out a box. Opening it, he started pulling out food. There was fruit, cheese, water biscuits, sandwiches as well as a large jug of pumpkin juice and a Treacle Tart. “How did you do all this?”
“Your friends Fred and George are quite informative,” Draco said. “I knew if I wanted to do this for you, I’d need the kitchen or we’d have to go to the Great Hall first to get food and then come up here. That would have spoiled the surprise. I wanted our first date to be… special.” The blond shrugged his shoulders. “I didn’t like that idea as much, so I asked them if they knew where the entrance to the Kitchens was. They were hesitant, but when I told them I was doing something special for you they released the information.” He grabbed a couple of glasses and poured them each a glass of pumpkin juice. “What do you think?”
Jacob smiled at him. “It’s nice,” he said, taking a sip of the juice before grabbing a sandwich. It didn’t seem like a lot of trouble that Draco had gone through, but he had made an effort. He wanted this date to go well, too. After all, their relationship had to be about more than just late-night snogging. Jacob wanted to think that it was. Maybe it was that they had been friends first, perhaps that was a good thing. It gave them something to work from, he supposed.
“I told my parents about us,” Draco said as they ate.
Jacob looked up at him. “You did?” Part of him thought, Already? Then the other part reminded him that he’d already told his father. Of course, Severus was a teacher here and would have found out anyway. Draco didn’t have to tell his parents so soon. “And?” The fact that he did mean a lot, and it only added to everything else that Draco had done.
Draco shrugged his shoulders. “They’re fine with it, of course, or at least they said they were,” he told him. “If you weren’t Snape’s son, things might be different. You're not the ideal Malfoy companion, but I wouldn’t worry about that. Don’t be surprised if you get some questions from them next time you see them.” The blond must have seen the nervous look that crossed his face because he leaned forward and gave him a lingering kiss on the lips. “I’m sorry, that probably could have waited. I just wanted to tell you as soon as possible, that’s all. They already like you, so you have nothing to worry about.”
Jacob let out a breath that he hadn’t realized he had been holding. “No, it's fine, I’m glad you told them,” he said truthfully. Draco was trying, making an effort. Jacob really enjoyed spending time with him, and he knew that the blond felt the same way. He would worry about his boyfriend’s parents another night. “I guess you’d have to tell your parents at some point that you were seeing someone, and sooner is always better than later.”
Draco smiled at him. “I couldn’t agree more,” he said. Jacob was thinking more and more that, although it was too soon to tell, the blond was going to be more than worth the risk he’d taken by divulging his secret. He never would have thought in a million years that he’d end up here, but now? He couldn't say that he’d change things if he tried.