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Love on the Astronomy Tower

Chapter Text

With or Without You


“Ron! Ronald, where is your trunk? We are going to be late!”

Ron Weasley trips down the twisted staircase of the Burrow, lugging his barely shut trunk behind him. “Sorry, mum. I couldn’t get it to close.”

“Oh, for goodness sake,” mutters Molly Weasley as she pulls out her wand and enchants ropes to wrap around the suitcase. “Now, go. Ginny, Harry and Hermione are outside with Kingsley and they’ve been waiting for you. I’ll be out there in a second to see you off.”

Ron smiles in gratitude then began struggling to pull the trunk for a few steps, eventually he gives up and levitates it out.

Outside Harry and Ginny are talking to Kingsley by the car that would drive them to London as Hermione leans against it trying to tie her hair up. “Oh, there you are! We were about to go looking for you.” Hermione smiles, letting her hair fall. “What took so long?”

“This bloody thing won’t close. You’d think I’d be good at packing lightly by now,” Ron laughs. “But I think I’m overcompensating.” Hermione’s smile fades slightly but she chuckles anyway.

Molly comes outside then holding four tupperware boxes full of sandwiches, apple slices and sweets. “Okay, I didn’t have a chance to label them so you’ll have to figure out which box is yours.” Harry and Ginny join Ron and Hermione to collect their lunches each saying thank you.

“Okay, into the car now,” Molly directs. “Thank you so much Kingsley for taking them, it would have been chaos at King’s Cross.”

“It’s my pleasure, Molly.” Kingsley nods to her. “But we must go.”


 

“Draco! Draco, take Teddy for a second won’t you? We can’t be late.”

Draco takes the baby into his arms holding him close to his chest. “I’ve put my trunk into the car already Aunt. We’ll be fine.”

“Okay, okay. It’s just we have to avoid the crowds.”

“Yes, Aunty.”

“And you know we can’t drive too fast through the country, we’d never get Teddy to sleep!”

“Yes, Aunty.”

“And I still haven’t made you any lunch yet.”

“Aunty … Aunty! We’ll be fine. We can just pick something up in muggle London.”

Upon hearing this Andromeda’s shoulders drop. “You’re right. It’ll be much quicker,” she admits. “But, it’s muggle London? Are you sure?”

“Positive. We can go to a … b-burger ... place?”

“Oh, Draco. Each day you improve.” Andromeda smiles. “Okay, let’s get into the car. Put Teddy in the car seat, we can listen to that U2 song you like on repeat.”


 

When Kingsley, Ginny, Hermione, Ron and Harry arrive at King’s Cross there are no reporters in the muggle carpark.

“A representative from Platform 9 ¾ will come to escort us onto the platform. They’ve set up an alternate entrance.” Kingsley informs them. “I think that is her now.”

A middle aged woman with brown skin approached the car as they step out. “Good morning, my name is Mrs. Lily Schneider. If you’d follow me to the platform, thank you.”

It was strange to be back at Platform 9 ¾, which looked as it always had. It looked as though nothing had happened. Like they would get on the train and bump into Neville looking for something; Lavender and Parvati reading muggle tarot cards and comparing them to magic ones; Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle being horrible just because they were bullies and nothing else …

“So, Mrs Schneider has moved your trunks onto the train,” Kingsley says. “This is where I must leave you. Have a good term.” He shook hands with them all and left.

“Well,” sighs Ginny. “This is it. Come on, let’s find a compartment at the back of the eighth year carriage.” She reaches for Harry’s hand to pull him behind her.


 

“What do you think it’ll be like?” Pansy asked. “For us?”

Draco shifts to make himself more comfortable without shoving Pansy’s head off his shoulder. “I don’t think it’s going to be good. But Aunt Andromeda told me the prefects and staff have been instructed to watch out for us.”

Pansy scoffs and rubs her nose on his collar. “I can see the teachers helping, maybe, but the prefects? Never. I reckon even the Slytherin prefects would rather die than look partial to us. I don’t blame them.”

Draco nods. “I suppose all we can do is try to look out for eac-”

Their compartment door slides open with a bang and in the doorway stands Ginny Weasley, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Harry Potter.

Pansy lifts her head of Draco’s shoulder and places her hand over her pocket but Draco stands, placing himself between the Gryffindors and Pansy. For a few moments no one says anything.

“What are you doing here, Malfoy?” Ron glowers.

“I’m not sure if you bothered to read the papers about the trial, Mr Weasley, but I’m on probation.” Draco mutters. Harry looks up, surprised at the formal address but no one else seems to notice. “Which means it is required for me to attend this year at Hogwarts and then to do community service at the Ministry of Magic for two years.”

Ginny nods, “Fair enough. But what about her?

Pansy’s looks at Ginny right in the eyes. “I’m here for Draco.” After another intense staring match Ginny shrugs, “Fair enough.”

“So, if we are quite done here.” Draco turns to sit down before he is pulled back. He stumbles slightly but flips around to see Ron glaring at him, his chest heaving.

“Ron, stop it.” Hermione warned.

“You think you can just come back here ... after all you’ve done … and act so entitled!” Ron spits. Harry looks down at his feet.

“Ronald.”

“No, Miss Granger. Mr Weasley is right,” Draco looks right at Ron. “Old habits die hard. I apologise."

Ron steps back and Hermione looks shocked, Ginny smirks. Harry doesn’t look up. “Let’s just go,” he mutters.

“Sorry, Harry what was that?” Hermione asks.

“Let’s go.” He says more firmly. Harry walks out, quickly followed by Ginny. Hermione grabs Ron’s arm and pulls him out of the compartment.

Draco slumps into his seat beside Pansy. “What are we going to do if they won’t even help us?”

“Draco, I have no idea.”

“You shouldn’t have come to Hogwarts, it's not safe.”

“Never suggest that again. I fucked up before but I’m not leaving you now.”


 

“Harry … are you ok?”

Harry had been staring out of the window onto the platform, watching it fill with families, for thirty minutes. “Yeah, Ginny. I’m fine.”

“Okay, damn. Harry, we’re going to have a talk.” Ginny demands stepping out of the compartment. Harry knows it would be easiest to just follow her. Get it over with.

Ginny leads him into an empty compartment a few doors down from where they left Hermione and Ron. She sits down by the window and gestures for Harry to sit beside her.

“Harry. If you don’t want to be with me you have to just say it.” Her voice doesn’t shake. “I’m not going to cry. You have barely spoken to me since May. Hell, you haven’t even spoken to anybody! You’re not ‘fine’.”

Harry stares at her left hand then grabs it with his right. “I do want to be with you Gin. I lo-”

“Oh, Harry, don’t pretend. It’s not going to be the end of the world. We’ve technically not been together for almost two years now. I’ll be fine.” Ginny exhales. “The question is, are you fine? Because it doesn’t seem like you are.”

Harry pulls his hand out of Ginny’s and finally lets his shoulders drop. His face relaxes into an expression of permanent exhaustion. “Of course I’m not fine Ginny. But I’m so confused about everything. People have all these expectations, that I’m going to be the golden hero. I don’t even know what that means.” Harry sighs, “I just wanted to be Harry.”

“Ignore them, Harry!” Ginny stands in front of him. “Everybody will expect something from you no matter what life you live. No matter if you were the Chosen One or not. So, what do you say to them? Fuck ‘em. That’s what. Because you’ve gone through too much for anything else to get in the way of your happiness. Just do what makes you happy. And gosh there’s already been so much hate and sadness, gods know we all deserve to be happy.”

Chapter Text

Knockin' On Heaven's Door


The walls of the Hogwarts were scarred. Jagged lines sliced through the stones displaying damage that magic couldn’t fix. The golden stone was painted in red scorch marks from curses that never hit their target.

Even though the candles hovered above the heads of the second to eighth year students the way they did when times were peaceful, the Great Hall was silent. All the students seem to either be mourning those that were lost or glaring with alarming ferocity at the Slytherin table.

But all these heads turn to watch as Headmistress McGonagall approaches the podium. “Good evening, students. We will begin by bringing in the first year students then I will give a brief word, following that we will proceed with the sorting. Hagrid, bring them in.”

The first years walk into the hall and Draco for a moment appreciates the innocence surrounding them as they look around the Great Hall for the first time, awestruck. This ends when their eyes land on the Sorting Hat and they remember that the next seven years of their life are determined by that hat.

Headmistress McGonagall steps forward and a hush travels through the hall again. Harry notices Professor Sprout Standing in the corner rather than seated with the other teachers.

McGonagall clears her throat, “Good evening all. Welcome back to Hogwarts and welcome to those who are here for the first time.”

I will begin by explaining some changes that are going to happen with life at Hogwarts. I do not know how many have noticed that the banners above the tables are no longer house banners but now the school crest. This is because house seating at meal times is, from now, abolished.”

A murmur passes through the crowd, muffled by McGonagall’s silencing charm. “Silence,” she begins again. “This is coupled with the house common rooms being free to all houses to visit, at the appropriate hours. A general password will be applicable to all common rooms and a dorm password will strictly only be available to those of the relevant houses. The common room password will only be available to the house staff members. Eight year students have a separate dorm in the east wing of the school. This dorm is inaccessible to younger students.

"In Quidditch, house versus house games will remain. However, eighth year students are not permitted to play for house teams. They are permitted to play friendly matches with teams organised within themselves as a year group.

"I feel it is fairly obvious why these new rules are in place. These past few years have been harrowing and exhausting. Hogwarts and the Wizarding World have been shaken by dark forces that have tried to crush our strength, but we fought back valiantly, and with full hearts.

"What brought us to where we were was hate and what pulled us out was love. So I urge you all to proceed with love in your hearts, as hard as it may be. But we have lost too much to lose again. Thank you.”

Professor Sprout stepped forward with the Sorting Hat and a stool. McGonagall pulls out the scroll of names and begins, “Crystal Ackerman.”

Crystal shuffles forwards to perch on the edge of the stoll, her leg bouncing as she stared at the foor. The Sorting Hat took a few moments to decide:

“SLYTHERIN!”

Crystals leg stops bouncing and she freezes. McGonagall leans towards her and whispers, “Miss Ackerman, you need to go to your house, now, please.” But Crystal shakes her head, “I can’t be …”

McGonagall nods to Professor Sprout who escorts a shaking Crystal Ackerman to the Slytherin table. The Great Hall was tense with glares directed at an eleven year old.

This was the reaction of most of the first years and the cold response of majority of the students. The sadness of a child being sorted into Slytherin was always punctuated by the celebration of the other being sorted into Gryffindor or Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw.

But the worst reaction was, “Link Saffron.”

Link walked up to the stool with his head held high, he sat on the stool with a small smile on his face. His chubby cheeks were slightly flushed from nerves and embarrassment; the pink contrasted with the freckles on his face and his curly blond hair.

The sorting hat deliberated for five minutes before calling out, “SLYTHERIN.”

Immediately, Link cried out, “no!” He pulled the Sorting Hat off his head and shook it. “You take that back, you’re wrong! You take that back!” He shoved off McGonagall and Sprout’s attempts to console him and broke down into sobs. His older siblings, Max and Angelica, gaped from the Hufflepuff table as Hagrid escorted Link out.

Harry watches from the Gryffindor table as Draco, Pansy, and the Slytherin prefects try to console the first years who have burst into fresh tears at the sight of Link Saffron’s breakdown.


 

“Dude, you’re new, I guess. But that’s usually Harry’s bed.”

Derek Maroon was an American student. His family had moved to the USA when Voldemort had first risen to power, they’d decided to come back now that Voldemort was officially gone.

“Oh, sorry. Didn’t realise it was the Holy One’s bed.” Maroon rolled his eyes but lifted his suitcase anyway. “Where is this Holy One anyway?”

“It’s the Chosen One, actually.” Ron says sarcastically. “And he’s right behind you.” Maroon turns around to see Harry and Ron standing in the doorway.

Harry and Ron greet all their friends, “Neville, good to see you, mate. Where were you at the feast?” Ron smiles.

“Gran wanted me home as long as possible.” Neville hugs Ron then Harry. “I flooed in. Blaise Zabini was there as well, it was so awkward.” Ron cringes just imagining the encounter.

Maroon stands on his bed with his shoes on. “That feast was crazy good!” Maroon butts in. “But the sorting? That was pure entertainment. The way those little kids cried because they were in the snake house? Awesome. Especially that mad one. Uh… Saffron? Yeah, the way he broke down. ‘Take that back! Take that back!’”

The rest of the Gryffindor boys share disgusted looks as Maroon begins to jump on the bed, revelling in the sadness of the first years.

“Maroon, that’s your name, right?” Harry asks.

“Yup. And you’re Chosen Boy Potter. Nice to be acquainted.” He mocks the English accent.

“Whatever. Do us all a favour, yeah, and shut the fuck up.”

“Woah, chill dude.” Maroon stops bouncing.

“I will not chill. You are making fun of children for god's sake. And stop calling me Chosen One. You don’t know shit about anything.”

Maroon says nothing.

“I’m going.” Harry grabs a book, the marauder's map and his invisibility cloak from his trunk and stalks out of the dorm. Harry hears a ‘nice one, twat’ but he’s not sure who says it.

 


 

Draco sees Harry seated on the balcony of the Astronomy Tower, the moonlight glinting off his bronze skin and highlighting his brown eyes which glowed like a zircon gemstone. He was reading. Draco squinted to read the title, Anne of Green Gables.

Draco turns and leaves.

Chapter Text

Heroes


The corridors near the Defence Against the Dark Arts classrooms are crowded as the rumor had spread: the coach of the Holyhead Harpies was in a meeting with Harry Potter. Makes sense, Draco thought, Potter wasn't at breakfast today. However, Draco, Pansy, and Blaise can’t possibly imagine what the students waiting hope to gain from standing aroun d outside, they’re not going to hear anything.

“This is what they spend their free time on,” Blaise muttered to his friends, rolling his eyes. “It’s so mindless.” Draco can think of some mindless things that the three of them had partaken in that was much more damaging, but he made no comment.

The crowds part when they approach, but not out of respect. Their upturned noses and sneers make it clear that the students were trying their best not to touch the Slytherins and sully themselves.

It started just after Blaise said, “At this rate we’ll be late for our first lesson with that new teacher.”

A young Slytherin second year had been trying to squeeze past the admirers milling about, she was carrying several textbooks and an astronomy kit. She was so small that Draco barely saw her behind all she was carrying. Draco was about to step forward to tell her to try levitating it when she trips on the feet of a fourth year Ravenclaw, George Corey.

Corey immediately shoves her, “Watch it, Slytherin scum.” The small girl falls and this is met by encouraging whoops and pats on Corey’s back from the Ravenclaws surrounding him. A few people nearby turn to watch.

Encouraged by his friends Corey kicks over the books the girl had begun to pile up again, the books knock into her astronomy kit and her telescope falls. A crack is stricken across the lens. This is when the girl begins to cry.

The Ravenclaw boys and some others jeer. “Oh, stop it with those crocodile tears.” Corey mocked. “Or shall I say snake tears.” More laughs.

“Snakes can’t cry, stupid boy.” the girl snaps, wiping her tears, embarrassed that she’d begun crying. “That was my mother’s telescope, you monster.”

“Me? Monster? Can you all hear this? The Slytherin thinks I’m the monster.” The incident has the full attention of the crowd. “Just get mummy to get you a new one.”

The girl stares at him. “My mother is dead. H-he killed her.”

Everyone is quiet for a moment. Corey looked down at his feet. “Well…” he mutters. “Well, your dirty mother shouldn’t have gotten involved with h-him then.”

Draco gives Blaise his books.

The girl stands up. “What?”

Corey lifts his chin to appear unaffected and unafraid. A bad idea.

The girl punches his nose. Draco pushes through the crowds towards them, ignoring the feeling that had told him that getting involved would make it worse. Pansy gives Blaise her books - “Let the Professor Kinyua know we’re sorting this out, okay?” - and proceeds to push through the crowds as well. Blaise moves to the Defence classrooms

Corey shoved the second year back onto the ground. She landed awkwardly on her books and groaned. One of the Ravenclaw boys behind Corey hits her with a hex that makes her skin go red and blotchy and she begins to itch it madly. No one is laughing.

Draco gets to her just after she is hit, he crouches beside her. “Hello? Hello? Hi. Okay, can you tell me your name?”

The girl nods. “Ed. E-Edna.”

Draco nods, “Okay, Ed. I’m just going to pick you up and carry you to the infirmary. Is that okay?” Ed nods. Draco notices Pansy standing above them with her wand out, daring anybody to try to interrupt. The students who had been watching now looked nervous, no one wanted to cross Draco and Pansy.

Draco lifts Ed up and jogs towards the infirmary. Behind him Pansy steps up to Corey and his friends, “You’re despicable. She’s just a child.” After glaring at him into submission she runs ahead to catch up with Draco and they head to the Infirmary together.

___________

Pansy shoves open the door to the infirmary and yells, “Madame Pomfrey!”

Madame Pomfrey comes running out of her office and levitates Ed out of Draco’s arms. “What has happened?” She levitates her onto a cot and Draco collapses into a chair beside her. “She was hit by a hex. I didn't recognise it. I think it causes skin irritation but she's reacting badly. I'm sorry, I don't remember the incantation.”

“I remember.” Pansy cuts in. “It was dolorem cute.”

Pomfrey nods. “I haven't had that one in a few years. She'll be alright in a few days.” She pours a pink and a gold potion down Ed’s throat. “I've given her a numbing potion and a sleeping draught.”

Draco nods, satisfied that she will be okay. “The boys that hurt her physically were George Corey and another Ravenclaw,” Pansy reports. “Corey didn't hex her but I don't know the name of the other Ravenclaw. I can identify him by face, though, I'm sure.”

Madame Pomfrey sighs, “I'll inform the Headmistress, but for now I recommend you return to your dorms to rest or, if you feel up to it, return to lessons.” She disappears into one of the back rooms.

“Draco ...it's only period 1. I think we should head back, Blaise’ll be waiting.”

Draco nods, “Yeah, and not missing lessons as much as possible will give people no excuse for punishing us."

Chapter Text

Instrumental


“What?” Pansy demanded. “You're not even going to ask where we were? Didn't Blaise explain? You're just going to deduct twenty points each?”

Professor Tincknell narrowed his eyes at the Slytherins. “Well then, if you are so set on disrupting my lesson, explain yourselves.”

Draco cleared his throat and stepped forward. “We apologise Professor Tincknell for disrupting your lesson. A student, Edna Johansson, was attacked by some Ravenclaw boys not far from this classroom. Pansy and I escorted her to the infirmary. Madame Pomfrey can corroborate our story.” Draco tried to ignore the disbelieving stares and the few glares coming from his classmates.

Professor Tincknell’s lips pinched tight, “Okay. A seating chart has been set by Vice Headmaster Flitwick. Draco you are beside Hermione Granger. Pansy you are beside Neville Longbottom.”

Pansy and Draco share a nervous glance before moving to their seats. Hermione and Draco’s desk is in front of Harry Potter and Hannah Abbott’s desk; the third row. Draco slips into his seat beside Hermione and nods at her. She nods back. Perhaps sitting beside Granger won't be so horrible, Draco thinks. But he still avoids any eye or physical contact with her to save her he trouble.

Harry was acutely aware of the blonde boy - no, young man - sitting in front of him. Harry noticed the way his hair curled at the the nape of his neck. His hair was longer than he kept it until the war, it curled slightly as it brushed against his cheek. He must get the curls from his mother, it's not quite bone straight like Lucius', Harry thinks.

“Ms Granger and Mr Longbottom, if you feel compelled to, you can inform your new desk mates what we covered in the last thirty minutes.” Professor Tincknell says with a wave of his hand, turning to write on the blackboard again.


Draco is leaving lunch when he is attacked. One second he is approaching the stairs and the next the first step is rapidly approaching his face. He hears an Aresto Momentum before he can smash his face on the corner of the step.

After scrambling back up he looks around for his attacker and, more importantly, who saved him. But the hall in front of him is full of students leaving the Great Hall staring at him and snickering.

Harry pulls aside the errant Gryffindor second year. “What exactly do you think you were doing?” Harry snaps at him.

Jackie Yeun looks down at Harry’s feet, overwhelmed in the presence of the Boy Who Lived, his idol since he read about the First Wizarding War when he was seven. “He deserves it,” Jackie muttered, looking down.

“Jackie, he could have died. He would have hit his head really badly. And you know that the Ministry has only just started considering age in Azkaban sentences. Being twelve is not going to save you from it, you will, at least, be expelled and have your wand revoked.”

“No.” Jackie scowls. “The ministry will back me up! Everyone hates him just as m-”

“If anyone hurts Draco Malfoy you can be sure they'll hear from me.”

Jackie’s shoulders drop. “Jackie, before judging on rumours and Malfoy’s dark mark, consider actually speaking to him. Ask him about the war.” Jackie nods quickly and turns to escape Harry’s attention, but Harry pulls him back first. “With respect, of course.”


Draco enters the Slytherin common room letting the familiar chill wash over him. The common room tended to be empty, most of the younger students spent their time in the Hufflepuff quarters; partly to avoid the association with their house.

However, there was one student sitting by the fire. Draco paused in front of the doorway - it was the boy that cried during the Sorting, Link Saffron. His cheeks glisten from the flickering orange glow. Slowly, as though approaching a hippogriff, he walks to sit beside Link on the sofa.

“You know,” Draco begins. “I was so happy to be sorted into Slytherin. Not because of, as one would assume, its reputation for bigotry and the Dark Arts, but because of my family. My father in particular. Everyone was a Slytherin, those that weren't were disowned - or in the case of my Aunt Andromeda, disowned for association with other houses and muggleborns.”

Link still hadn't looked up at Draco. “What I mean is,” Draco continued. “I'm not quite what everyone thinks I am. What you think I am. But more importantly anything evil I might be is not due to being in Slytherin. Despite popular belief there are dark wizards from the other houses. Yes, even Hufflepuff.” Link is staring at Draco now, his eyebrows furrowed. “But no one talks about them.” Draco sighs. “I don't think being loyal, self-sufficient, and willing to do what is necessary makes a person evil. We all have a little Slytherin in us. Even the Saviour Potter.”

Link sniffles and wipes his face. “My siblings told me they didn't care,” Link admits. “but they don't look at me the same way. It's like they think I'm going to snap at any moment and throw dark curses at everyone I know. My dad hasn't replied to my letters. He's from a long line of Hufflepuffs and here I am, ruining the Saffron name.”

Fresh tears stream down Link’s face and Draco pats his shoulder. “We all have a little Slytherin. A little Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff all mixed up inside us. Sometimes one is more prevalent, and so we are sorted. To be honest, I think we've put too much importance on houses. They don't matter in the grand scheme of things. You were a good person until the Sorting, nothing about you changed when an old hat put you in Slytherin. All that changed was what people assumed you to be. So keep being a good person and ignore them.”

Link nods then, to Draco's great surprise, throws his arms around Draco. Draco freezes for a moment before awkwardly wrapping his arms around Link.

“Draco?” Pansy calls from the stairs, pausing when she notices the peculiar sight of Draco Malfoy holding a first year to his chest.

 


IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE ANYTHING THAT CAN MESS WITH YOUR IMAGE OF WHAT DRACO LOOKS LIKE STOP LOOKING NOW.

 

 

 

 

 

^Tumblr post

 

 

Our Draco is the lovely Arin (space-marauder on tumblr). They do the best Draco rp I've ever seen ever, so check them out (and maybe kapitan5o as well). Their hair is my image of Draco’s hair in this chapter; I'm debating whether or not Draco should grow his hair longer so let me know what you like in the comments!

Chapter Text

All My Friends

Hermione and Ron were worried. Ever since the battle Harry had pulled away from them. They understood, at the start, the war had just ended and Harry’d lost so much of himself to fighting Voldemort; it was normal for him to sink into himself. But as most people began the path to recovery, Harry stayed at the burrow in Ron’s room. But that will change now , if Hermione had anything to say about it.

Harry was sitting in the Gryffindor common room on the softest, fluffiest rug in the room. All the Gryffindors sort of knew not to bother Harry when he’s reading books on that rug by the fire; you wouldn’t get a response. Harry wasn’t oblivious to the whispered conversations amongst the younger students: “He has these weird white things in his ear, I think it’s why he can’t hear us.” “Don’t be ignorant, they’re tele-ears. Muggles listen to music on them.”

But Hermione knows all about tele-ears and she knows that to get the person using them to hear you you need to rip them right out -

“Hey!” Harry exclaimed reaching out to snatch his earphones back from Hermione. “It took a lot of work to get these to work here, please try not to break them.”

Hermione ignores him, “Harry, Dean and Seamus have organised a get-together in the Room of Requirement tonight and you are coming with Ron and I.”

Harry’s face paled. “The Room of Requirement works?

“Yes, Harry. It’s where Ron and I have been going every Friday and Saturday night since the second week of term. Have you not even noticed? Jesus , Harry.”

Harry looked back at his book, Sense and Sensibility , to avoid looking at Hermione and Ron. He knew they were only worried about him but all Harry could think was that he should’ve gone to the Astronomy Tower instead of staying in house.

“Harry, mate,” Ron sits beside him. “I get it. I didn’t want to do much after - you know. But luckily for me I have the most proactive girlfriend and she didn’t let me sit in my room and stare at my Chudley Cannons posters. And I’m going to do the same for my best friend. You will never feel better by wallowing in your sadness.”

Harry sighs and he feels Hermione smile behind him because she knows he’s given in. “Fine, I’ll come Ron. But only because you used such big words.”

Harry stands in front of the massive door forming and embedding itself into the stone walls. He feels, but doesn’t react to, Hermione taking his hand in her own. He watches as ghosts of him, his most loved ones, and two Slytherins fly out of a space in this very wall; small, young and terrified.

“It’s easier if you just go in, rip off the plaster.” He hears Ron say from somewhere behind him. So he opens the door and is thrown off balance by the vibrations thrumming from within.The music is so loud that he’s surprised that it hasn’t woken up the whole castle. From the door Harry can see that there are too many students within to be just the eighth year students. What looks like most of the seventh year students are dancing in the centre of the room, some of the others are making out in the shadows. Behind the group of dancers are the eighth years who seems to be well on their way to being completely trolleyed.

There is a massive uproar as Harry steps into the Room.

“Welcome back, Harry!”

“Thanks, Padma.”

“There he is, The Boy Who Lived, looking mighty fine!”

“Thank you, Seamus. Much appreciated.”

“Are you feeling better Harry?”

“Yes, thanks Dean. The room looks amazing.” Dean nods his thanks and leads Harry Ron and Hermione over to the circle where everyone was sitting and drinking. Harry squeezes between Luna and Neville, waving to Ginny who was on Neville’s other side.

“Okay,” begins Seamus. “To fill in those who do not know, last week we discovered some very enlightening information about the Gryffindor girls dorms due to Padma’s little slip during a drunken truth or dare. But I’ve sworn not to repeat it so you won’t be hearing it from me …”

Most people in the circle, excluding Harry and Padma - who is blushing like her life depends on it - were laughing. “So, we all agreed to play Never Have I Ever to know what exactly we’ve all been up to in the shadows. Any objections?” No one raises their voice so Dean sets up plastic cups in front of everyone in the circle and fills them up with firewhiskey. He places the empty firewhiskey bottle in the middle of the circle.

“Okay, let’s begin.” Dean says. “I’ll start by spinning the bottle and whoever it lands on has to give a Never Have I Ever and then they spin. Understood?” After nods and hollers from the excited and slightly intoxicated students, Dean spins.

Seamus, Hannah, Padma, Bem, Ginny, Neville, Harry, Luna, Hermi- , Luna.

Luna smiles as she sees the mouth of the bottle pointed at her. “Hmm … Never have I ever used Bunron Bof mucus.”

Hermione giggled but everyone else simply stared. “Okay … I guess we’re off to a weird start” Hannah says but Luna just shrugs and shuffles forward to spin.

Hermione, Ron, Justin, Susan, Anthony, Dean, Seamus.

“Ooh, yes.” Seamus laughs. “Never have I ever … had sexual relations in the Quidditch locker rooms.” Dean and Seamus share a look and Seamus smirks causing Dean to blush just before they both take a sip from their cups. Harry watches as Ginny also takes a sip trying to hide her knowing snicker.

The bottle spins again: Hannah, Padma, Bem, Ginny, Neville, Harry, Luna, Hermione, Ron, Justin, Susan, Anthony, Dean.

Dean smirks, “Never have I ever engaged in same-sexual relations with someone from my own house.”

Padma squeeks, “You two are such shits!” but she takes a sip. Harry sees Ron gape at Hermione as she takes a sip and Harry uses his distraction to take a sip himself. Unfortunately other around the circle noticed.

“Wait, Harry, who’d you get with in the Gryffindor dorms?” Seamus asks loudly, to Harry’s chagrin.

This catches Ron’s attention. “Wait, what? Harry got with someone?” Ron turns to Harry. “You didn’t tell me this! Who was it?”

Harry shakes his head and looks down at his cup, he hopes everyone will just drop it but all eyes in their circle are on him.

Ron, who  hadn’t gotten the message from Harry’s silence, kept asking questions. “Was it someone in our year? Oh, the year above then?” Harry’s cheeks flush, Several years above , he thinks.

“Ron, I don’t think Harry wants to talk about it right now.” Hermione tries to nudge him subtly.

Ron seems to realise that everyone is watching and chuckles. “Sorry, mate. But you will tell me later won’t you?”

“It was Charlie.”

Harry can tell he is holding his breath but he can’t seem to get his lungs to work. He vaguely feels Luna put her hand on his back, sensing the tension in his muscles. Harry’s ready to flee the Room and never return if Ron is angry at him.

But Ron laughs. “Charlie? Why didn’t you say? This is going to be excellent at Christmas dinners.” But the sickle drops. “But when would this have happened, last time we saw Charlie before you and Ginny got together we were way too young.”

“It was in July.”

The circle of eight years are all aware now that this could go very badly and are trying to shrink into their cups of firewhiskey as Ron doesn’t respond but gradually becomes more and more red.

“But you and Ginny were together in July.”

“Not really.”

“Yes, you were. What the hell, mate?”

“Ginny and I haven’t been together since sixth year, not properly.”

“No, Harry, no. You said you wouldn’t mess with her!

Ron is standing now and Ginny got up at some point to stand between him and Harry. “Ron, look I know , he told me. Harry isn’t messing with me, I really don’t care about him and Charlie.”

Harry stands and walks towards the door, the vibrating floor makes him feel unbalanced. “No, Harry, we aren’t done talking about this!” Ron calls out, but Harry keeps walking. Hermione runs up to him and grabs his arm, trying to get him to stop, to wait; but Harry keeps walking letting her hand slacken and fall.

Harry should have never come.


 

Harry realises when he’s walking up the stairs to the Astronomy Tower that he’s left his book. Maybe he never intended to read it anyway.

The tower has the same calming effect it has had every night Harry had come up. But Harry can feel something different, a ripple in the air. He walks further into the landing and feels the edges of a privacy charm wash over him.

Out sitting on the floor of the balcony, is a small boy with silver hair glinting in the moonlight. The boy’s shoulders shake with suppressed sobs as his legs hang over the edge. Harry walks away from the boy.

Harry walks away from Draco Malfoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Bunron Bof mucus is a jelly-like substance that is usually used as a lubricant and, when applied to human skin, gives a nice tingly sensation. This substance is completely made up by me.

 

Chapter Text

All By Myself

Draco is sitting at the very end of the Slytherin table when Harry Potter walks in. Half of the Gryffindor table tense, all hunching their shoulders as a collective. Draco watches as Harry strolls over to his usual seat across from Weasley and Granger and nods to them in greeting. Weasley and Granger are sitting with their backs to the Slytherin table, so for several moments it seems as though none of them speak.

Until Harry suddenly slams his fist on the table and snarls something cutting at Weasley whose head jerks back in shock. Harry stands up from the table and Weasley quickly follows suit, Granger's eyebrows crease as she tries to diffuse the situation. Harry shakes his head and stalks out of the Great Hall and Weasley slumps back onto the bench. Draco almost smiles when Granger uses her book to smack Weasley's back before she follows Harry out.

"Harry. Harry!" Hermione calls out for her best friend. Harry stops walking and turns to look at her at the bottom of the main stairs. Hermione approaches him slowly as she speaks, "Look, Harry, I'm not going to play messenger for another one of your silly tiffs again."

"Don't worry. No one's asked you to." Harry mutters.

Hermione jerks backwards. "Harry James Potter, you are not angry at me," she scowls. "So you will not be rude to me."

Harry sighs and sits down on the bottom step. "I just can't believe him. I thought he'd be upset I didn't tell him Ginny and I broke up, not ... this."

"He didn't mean what he said."

"Oh, yes he did," Harry scoffs. "He never trusted me. Always thought in the end that I'd hurt her and now I've confirmed that in his mind. No - Hermione you heard him. And I don't know what we all expected to happen anyway. What? Ginny and I would get married straight out of Hogwarts and have ten kids. I'll be an Auror and Ginny'll play Quidditch but somehow we'd have time to be a perfect family. That kind of love - that kind of life - is rare. And, yeah, my mum and dad might've had it. And you and Ron might have it. Maybe that's why he can't understand."

Hermione sighs. "Just, uh ... I don't know"

"You don't know" Harry smirks. "I never thought I'd hear you say that."

Hermione bumps his shoulder, "Shove off."

Harry sighs, "I'm going to go ... take a walk. Clear my head a bit."

"Okay. I'll see you."

Harry roams the castle for a few minutes before he decides he can't be inside and walks out of the main doors into the frigid winds of October. He looks out over the courtyard and beyond towards the grand Hogwarts grounds. He considers going to Hagrid's but he doesn't want to have to listen to more people giving opinions about his relationships, or to have to talk about Ron. So, Harry walks down to the lake.

As Harry trudges down the path to the lake he sees that he is not the only student who thought to sit by the lake. Draco Malfoy is sitting under a copper beech tree, orange and yellow leaves on the ground surrounding him like chilli flakes.

He is reading a book with such concentration that he does not notice Harry until Harry is standing right beside him. "Hello, Malfoy."

Draco stands up with the speed of a Seeker. "What do you want, Mr Potter?"

"Why do you do that? Call everyone so formally, like it's the 1800s." Harry plops down and pats the ground beside him.

Draco eyes him wearily before sitting down again. "It's polite and respectful."

Harry chuckles, "You mean it makes people feel like you're inferior to them, for once." Draco glares at him. "Well, you needn't worry about me, I find it weird. Please, call me Harry. Or, at least, Potter."

Draco rolls his eyes, "Okay. Potter." Now it was Harry's turn to roll his eyes.

Draco turns back to reading his book, Harry has to stretch to catch the title, La Belle au Bois Dormant. Harry watches as Draco reads, his face calm. Draco tucks his wavy fringe behind his ear and Harry feels as though he's been punched in the gut. Hidden was a cut surrounded by a bruise on Draco's temple. Harry couldn't stop his hands from reaching out to touch -

Draco hissed and wrenched away. "Do not touch me Potter."

"Who did this to you?" Harry demands.

"None of your business."

"Tell me who!"

"No, it's not like that's going to change anything."

"What?"

Draco slumps against the beech's trunk, "I know what you want to do. You want to tell McGonagall or something and they'll punish the person. They'll get a detention, or a suspension. If there's any justice in the world. But there isn't. So everyone will know that the Death Eater got their favourite Gryffindor or Ravenclaw in the bad books. And whatever torment I've been facing will multiply tenfold. So, Potter, if you actually care you'll leave us alone. You're already so good at that."

"Leave the Slytherins alone? Leave you alone?" Harry scoffs, "You must know nothing about me. I've not been able to leave you guys alone since I first stepped onto the Hogwarts Express. And I am trying to help."

Draco shuts his book and stands. "How?! How have you done anything to help?" he yells. "All you've done is sit and watch as your fucking housemates jinx Slytherin first-years. They didn't do anything. Some of them, their parents weren't even involved in the war. Or they fought on your bloody side. But Lucy Monde is in the infirmary with burns she got from who the fuck knows. If she does, she'll never tell. Because she remembers how Percy Shukla reported Steve Oates and half the Ravenclaw fourth-years cornered him. He's at Durmstrang now. So, tell me, HOW THE FUCK HAVE YOU HELPED!"

"I've been protecting you."

Draco's limbs that were tense with fury slacken and he drops to his knees, "What?"

"I've been following you. Checking up on you. Deflecting curses, jinxes. Stopping any crowds. If I can I help the other students. But you were my priority."

Draco shook his head. "I guess you got that cut because Hermione and Ron dragged me away from my book," Harry says softly. "Last night. They made me go to this stupid party, so I wasn't watching you."

"Are you fucking kidding me?"

"No."

"I don't need or deserve your pity, Potter."

"Look, Draco. -"

"No, you listen Potter. Put you efforts into something a little more fucking noble than protecting a Death Eater, okay? Maybe, I don't know, protecting the firsties."

Harry never got a chance to reply because Draco was grabbing his book and storming away towards the castle.