The scars from the Battle of Hogwarts still stung Harry as he packed his belongings for his final year of school. To his benefit, the 7th years that were unable to take their N.E.W.T.S. and finish out the year, or, in Harry’s case, attend the school year at all, could come back to the newly restored wizarding school as 8th years.
For the first time in a long time Harry was alone in Grimmauld Place. With Hermione reunited with her parents, whose memories were thankfully fully restored, and Ron with his family at the Burrow, Harry was left to sort his possessions in the home Sirius left to him. Having gone to Diagon Alley to acquire everything he needed, all Harry had to do was fina a way to fit it all in his suitcases. How Harry missed Hermione’s handbag with its undetectable extension charm. With charms not being Harry’s strong suit, he stuck to his method of sitting on top of his bags until they begrudgingly clicked shut. He could have asked Kreacher to pack for him, but did not want any unfavorable questions to ensue regarding what exactly Harry was taking to Hogwarts.
Ever since the tournament in 4th year, Harry had been harboring a rather harmless secret. Because Dudley’s crew dealt in practically every facet of illegal activity, Harry was able to score weed pretty easily. Unbeknownst to everyone at Hogwarts, Ron and Hermione included, The Boy Who Lived regularly smoked marijuana. And could you blame him, Harry thought, with all the horrors he’d faced since birth until now? Merlin forbid Harry actually does something to relieve the torrent of stress that weighs him down with every waking moment. Packing enough pot to hopefully last until the holidays, courtesy of the neighborhood kids, Harry buries his supply, his bowl, and his bong in the mountain of Weasley sweaters struggling to fit in his already full suitcase.
Draco Malfoy does not want to go back to Hogwarts. For the benefit of his family’s image and his future as the sole Malfoy heir, Draco is once again forced to do something against his own wishes. While Pans and Blaise also planned to return for their 8th year, no other Slytherins from their year were returning to Hogwarts. The only people he was 100% certain of returning were the fucking golden trio.
Draco no longer hated Potter, well not as much as he loathed Granger and the Weasel. For fuck’s sake Potter had even saved his bloody life in the Room of Requirement, but there was something about him that could always piss Draco off. It wasn’t the blood-letting curse that could have killed him or the rejection in first year. No, it’s his stupid untamable mane of black hair and his emerald eyes; it’s the ever-present reminder that no matter how much Draco changes for the better he will never have Potter for his own.
“Fuck,” Draco said to himself, “I’m in love with a bloody Gryffindor.”
The train ride to Hogwarts lacked its usual air of excitement. Most were somber, remembering all those that were lost the past year. The reinstatement of classes was a surprise to all considering the damage the castle had taken. Alas, Hogwarts was in the reliable hands of Headmaster Minerva McGonnagall and the castle was back to its glorified state. When thinking about Hogwarts, Harry could not be happier to return. While Grimmauld Place may be Harry’s home in name and legal ownership, Hogwarts is the home in Harry’s heart.
Harry walked down the length of the train and found an empty compartment to smoke in piece. Having been prepared for this in advance, Harry took out his spliff and a muggle lighter out of his jeans pocket and opened the compartment’s sole window.
Sparks fly, Harry inhales and is once again filled with smoke and a sense of calm he can only capture in flight. Weed allows Harry not to think about what going back to school means, what his future holds and what others expect of him now that Voldemort is dead. He doesn’t even know what he wants out of the future; all he knows his that what the wizarding world expects of him will not happen.
Things with Ginny did not happen as planned. After years of concealed affection and half-arsed flirting, he was ecstatic to finally be with the one he thought he loved…how wrong he was. After months together, naïve Harry realized that Ginny is more of a sister than a lover and the sex only helped drive that realization home. Shuddering at the memory of near incestuous sex with Ginny, Harry finishes his spliff and flicks the burnt-out remains out the window. Maybe I’ll just travel the world, Harry thought, and end up as some magical hermit in the mountains of Nepal. Maybe Harry should pay a visit to Professor Trelawney to figure out what the fuck he is supposed to do.
On one hand, Harry could always rely on Quidditch for a career choice. The feeling of being on a broom is only comparable to what Harry thought good sex feels like, not actually having experienced that. Harry rubbed his face in frustration. Quidditch, while exhilarating and fulfilling, brings about more fame, a lot of publicity, and more Prophet articles about what socks Harry wore last Tuesday. He knew he couldn’t hide from the press forever, but Harry wished they would at least ask his permission before harassing him with articles wondering which Weasley he is actually shagging.
Harry bangs his head on the wall of the train. “Great,” says Harry to himself, “you ruined your high again, dummy.” He paused before uttering quietly, “I need to stop thinking.”
“Why Potter, I didn’t know you were capable of thought.”
God Dammit, Malfoy.
Draco wanted to avoid people at all cost. The sanctuary he once found in Slytherin House crumbled before the Battle even started. While Draco still had Parkinson and Zabini, he was not up to spending the entire trip to Hogwarts with his mask on and his walls up. Pans would be in a wretched mood because of his ‘abandonment,’ but Draco could handle that in due time. After all, he’s had a literal lifetime to deal with her temper tantrums.
Time passed and there were no empty compartments to be found. Anxiety building with every compartment and spare glare cast his way, Draco started to tremble. Finally, toward the back of the seemingly endless train, Draco finds what he thinks is an empty compartment.
“I need to stop thinking.”
Of course by some fate, Draco ends up within four feet of Harry fucking Potter. Finding strength from Merlin knows where, Draco steels himself and makes his presence known, “Why Potter, I didn’t know you were capable of thinking?”
Potter turns abruptly to face him; jaw slackened and those eyes only focused on him. Merlin help me, Draco thought as he closed the door to the compartment leaving them completely alone.
“I’m too high for this shit,” was the first thing that went through Harry’s muddled mind as the door slid shut and Malfoy gracefully, always gracefully, sat across from him.
Before Harry could utter even a syllable in protest to his intrusion, Malfoy held up a hand and said, “Listen Potter, there are no empty compartments and I do not plan on spending this trip being harassed by Parkinson and Zabini. So can we please just enjoy the silence together?”
The only thing Harry could do was nod as he watched Malfoy’s body shift with a sigh of what he thought was relief. He looked better, healthier than he had a few months prior. The trials for his father had not been exactly enjoyable, but Harry had done everything in his power to allow Draco to go off unscathed. His father, however, was not so fortunate.
While Lucius Malfoy’s sentence was minimal, the public did not refrain from smearing the family every chance they got. The Daily Prophet, and even smaller publications like Witch Weekly, sought blood during the trials of known Death Eaters and Voldemort-supporters alike. Having to attend several trials as a witness, Harry could not escape the press as he once did.
Harry looked carefully at Malfoy. His hair looked different with the sides cut short and the top kept long, allowing him to tie a ribbon around it to make a makeshift knot on the top of his head. He looked…hot. The light from the window defined his angular face and made his cheekbones look lethal. He was breathtaking, almost so much that Harry couldn’t bring himself to look away. But Harry managed and spent the rest of the ride trying not to think too much about the butterflies in his stomach.
A month passed and time at Hogwarts had gotten surprisingly better. Less people glared or tried to send jinxes Draco’s way. The only problem Draco had was regarding his future and bloody Potter.
The only time Draco could forget about what was troubling him was when his head was buried in a book, but in this case his studies reminded him of why he was at Hogwarts and the enormous pressure that continued to weigh him down. At least Pans was in the same sinking ship with her family also on the verge of societal collapse. Draco tried to continue his studying in lieu of his upcoming Charms exam, but found that he could not give two shits about Charms.
Sighing, he grabbed his books and walked out of the library towards the Dungeons. Trying to avoid the rush to the Great Hall for dinner, and also avoiding Potter at all cost, Draco takes a secret path to his dormitory he learned in third year surprisingly from the Weasel twins. The only useful ones of the lot, Draco thought.
Draco descended the small staircase to the dungeons only for his path to be blocked by none other than Potter. First, Draco thought, how did he know about this staircase and two, what the bloody hell was he sitting about here for? His steps must have let off more sound than Draco thought because before he knew it, Draco was no longer confronted with Potter’s unruly mess of hair, but with his Slytherin green eyes.
The anxiety and post-traumatic stress was worse than Harry expected when returning to Hogwarts. Sure, he wasn’t the only person to suffer from panic attacks and uncontrollable anxiety, but he was also the only one to actually die and come back to life; the only one to feel his soul leave his body. The pressure of saving the entire fucking world may have been gone from Harry’s life, but the aftershocks still shook Harry to his core. Now with the worldly pressure of continued greatness, Harry tries to get back into the hectic flow of life at Hogwarts to no avail.
Why did everyone think they knew what was best for Harry, when no one really knew him? Besides his few close friends, Harry did not give too much merit to others’ opinions of his future. While his friends never urged him toward a specific path, there was always the lingering question present: what will you do? Ron wholeheartedly expected him to join the Aurors with him, but Harry could not see himself or force himself to fight dark wizards for the rest of his life.
The fact of the matter was that Harry had been defined by his past and preoccupied with Voldemort for so long that he didn’t really know who he was. Besides his perceived talents in Quidditch and Defense Against the Dark Arts, Harry had never explored any other facet of the Wizarding world that he would want to pursue in a career. And anyway, who decided that 7th years needed to know what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives? Whose insane idea was that? Harry needed to calm down. He needed to smoke. He needed to get out of here.
“Harry, are you alright,” Ginny asked, concern evident in her voice and posture.
Harry shook himself out of his thoughts, “Yeah, you guys head on without me. I’ll meet up with you later.” After his friends left, he climbed the stairs to his dormitory and retrieved his weed and bong, which he named Nimbus because nothing could make him fly as high as his first broomstick. Donning his invisibility cloak, Harry went to find a part of the castle no one would find him.
Merlin, he was a gorgeous idiot and of all the places to run into each other…a bloody secret stairwell. They did, respectively, like their secrets, but what Draco couldn’t figure out was why Potter was in this staircase alone and staring at him instead of stuffing his face with treacle tart. And how the bloody fuck did Draco even know those were his favorite?
“Malfoy, you alright?”
“Why Potter, are you going to try and save me like you do everyone else? While I find this sudden concern for my well-being both intriguing and disconcerting, I really must be going,” Draco replies, trying his best to edge around Potter and make his escape when he catches a glimpse of something odd. “Potter, what the bloody hell is that?”
Potter looked at the object and then back to Draco, appearing more than slightly alarmed. “I’ll tell you,” he started, “but you have to stay here after I’m done. Merlin, Draco I have so much to say and you can leave after I say it and go on bloody-well hating me-”
“You called me Draco,” Draco interrupts, the only thing he grasps from Potter’s rambling is the use of his first name.
“What,” Potter asks, looking genuinely confused.
“Maybe I should be asking if you’re okay,” Draco started, scrubbing a hand down his face, “You called me Draco, you nutter.”
Potter just looked at him, peering at him curiously as if Draco had something on his face. “Well, that is your name, right? Are you going to sit down or what?”
Draco turned red with blush and with no other arguments left in him, he lowered himself on the step, shoulders and thighs pressed against Potter’s as he examined the object in his hand. “So now that you have me here, are you going to explain what you’re doing in this bloody stairwell,” he asks. Draco rubs his hands together trying to remain calm, but his heart is racing and Potter smells fucking amazing and his body is warming him in the dungeon stairwell and Merlin, when can Draco escape?
“Okay well I use this to calm me down when things get too much for me to handle. I know I’m supposed to be the golden wonder-boy and be brave in the face of danger, but I’m actually a bloody mess,” Potter starts, nervously scratching his neck and casting sideways glances Draco’s way. “This is a sort-of muggle pipe, but it’s called a bong.”
To say Draco was confused would be an understatement. “Too good for cigarettes then, Potter,” Draco smirked, finally feeling in his element in the presence of his childhood rival.
Potter laughed and smiled and it was all Draco could do to remember how to breathe, let alone think. Draco made him smile. He made Harry Potter smile. HIM. “No you smoke marijuana with it. It gets you high.”
“Potter I am no Longbottom, but I know for a fact that I am better at Herbology than you and I have no bloody clue what you are on about. Did you get hit with a bludger? Are you ill,” Draco asks, now slightly scared for Potter’s sanity, “I know you hang around Lovegood, but I didn’t know you converted to full on lunacy.”
Potter laughed again, harder this time. Merlin, Draco could listen to that laugh and never tire of it. “First, Luna is not crazy, she’s eccentric,” Potter starts, “second, compared to Neville we are both horribly average at Herbology. Third, it’s a muggle plant that you smoke. It’s kind of like pipe tobacco, but it makes you feel good. Kind of like getting pissed, but you have more control and with no hangover.”
Draco watched as Potter took a bag out of his pocket full of what looked like tea leaves. What he was not expecting was the pungent smell that filled the small space between them as Potter opened the tiny bag. With deft finger, Potter fills the small tube-looking thing at the base of the bong, brings the larger opening to his lips and ignites the muggle plant with a small flame created by a small muggle device. The object bubbles and all Draco can do is stare at Potter’s lips wrapped around the bong’s mouthpiece. He imagines those lips around him, his cock moving in and out of Potter’s talented mouth.
When Potter offers him the object, he does not refuse.
Could have been hours, days even, and Harry would not have left that staircase for anything. In reality only 50 minutes had passed, but it was the best 50 minutes Harry had had in a long time. Harry cannot remember the last time he had smoked with someone else; the last person being his godfather, Sirius Black. He forgot how nice it was to just laugh and carry on without expectations. And Draco, Merlin Draco was gorgeous; blonde and pointy and thin and fit as hell. When he laughed it lit up his entire face brighter than any lumos could.
“Hey Potter,” Draco starts, his eyes slightly red and glazed over, “what did you want to say to me…earlier.” Draco waves his hand in circles trying to illustrate how time has passed, but fails in his pot-induced stupor. “Or were you just trying to get me to smoke with you, not that I’m complaining.”
Trying his hardest not to stammer, Harry says, “I wanted to apologize…for sixth year and also thank you for not telling them it was me. Y’know I never knew why you helped me that day.”
“Why did you save me from the fiendfyre,” Malfoy asks, the tension building in the minimal space between them.
“I felt like I owed you that, especially after the manor and with sixth years…I didn’t know what the curse was, only that it was meant for enemies. After that and the battle and your family’s trials…I dunno, I mean I testified in your favor and I knew you were doing everything to save yourself and your family. And with the fire, it was instinct, y’know, I couldn’t imagine living in a world without you.”
Fuck, did he just say that? Fuck fuck fuck. The one time weed lets Harry down and it’s in the face of Draco fucking Malfoy. Fucking gorgeous Draco who is looking at him like he’s Fluffy. He can fix this. He can fix this.
“I-I mean as like, y’know, in general and-” Before Harry can utter another syllable, Draco’s lips are on his. The kiss only lasted about 5 seconds, but it felt as if time had stopped.
“You talk too much, Potter,” Draco says, leaning back from Harry, but staying close enough for Harry to feel his warm breath on his face.
“Then how about we shut up for a while,” Harry replies, cupping the back of Draco’s head and reuniting their lips once again.
If anyone notices their stolen glances in the Great Hall, no one says a word.