Chapter 1: Pain Bought in Loneliness
"When a good man is hurt, all who would be called good must suffer with him"
It was the first day of the term in a new year at the school of witchcraft and wizardry- Hogwarts. The Headmaster of the school, Albus Dumbledore, was sitting alone in his office unwrapping yet another lemon drop. He was thinking over last nights sorting, he noticed that there seemed to be many more Slytherins this year. Although that was no bother since there were still plenty of new students in all the other houses as well as well as the old students.
Severus Snape eyed his potions class in disgust. Of course the first lesson of the year- which just had to be on a Monday- was double potions with the fifth year Slytherins and Gryffindors. Oh what joy. It was no secret that he didn't like the Gryffindors, especially the know-it-all Granger, the stupid Weasley boy and of course the ever so arrogant Potter. He couldn't even be bothered to deal with the antics of his own Slytherins.
"Today, we shall be brewing the simple Animagi Potion" Snape sneered. "Now, any dunderheads that somehow manage to screw this up will be spending the next week in detention"
All the Gryffindors gulped and the Slytherins smirked thinking that they were all safe.
Harry Potter sighed. He knew that getting detention was inevitable. He was fairly good at potions, if he was left alone. Harry found it was much like cooking, which he always had to do at the Dursleys. At the Dursleys whenever Aunt Petunia decided to 'supervise' him, he got extremely nervous and always managed to screw up causing him to get a punishment from Uncle Vernon. It was exactly the same in Potions. Whenever Snape decided to breathe down his neck, Harry gets nervous and screws up the potion- also expecting punishment except at school it wasn't such a corporal punishment like at the Dursleys. Not to mention that the Slytherins liked to throw ingredients into his cauldron- much like Dudley whom liked to do the same thing when he was cooking, or push Harry into the gas or hot grease. Harry sighed, this summer was worse than ever before at the Dursleys and it was affecting him more than usual. Any unexpected touch resulted in a flinch and any spare time resulted in horrific memories making their way back into Harry's brain, no matter how hard he tried to forget them. Any shadow either turned into the looming form of Uncle Vernon with a manic grin on his face, or the blank, pale face of Cedric with the whispering words Kill the spare.
So to keep himself busy, Harry decided to focus on his studies and was trying extra hard in all of his classes-especially Potions.
Snape's booming voice broke Harry out of his thoughts. "As I am in a rather foul mood today I shall be picking your partners for this assignment."
Most of the class groaned at this however Snape was confused to see that Potter was being unusually silent and not whining about the unfairness of the current situation like his peers.
Harry on the other hand was glad he didn't give Snape any reason to criticise him, given his current mood. The snarky professor was shouting out names and Harry immediately noticed the pattern. Snape was pairing up Slytherins with the Gryffindors. It was almost as if he wanted everybody in detention and he must have been in a worser mood than Harry thought if he was also torturing the Slytherins.
"Malfoy. Potter" Snape spat, ending the list of partners.
"Now, this potion will take an hour for the first part to be prepared and brewed. It will then need to sit for half-an-hour, do not waste this time. The last part of the potion can be brewed in fifteen minutes. That gives you fifteen minutes to test the potion. Further instructions are on the board. Go." Snape ordered.
Everybody jumped up not wanting to anger the Potions Master further. Harry collected his things and made his way over to where Draco was sitting, figuring that the blonde aristocrat would not be moving his way any time soon. Harry sighed inwardly as he set his bag on the floor and his books on the table. He could not give in to Malfoy's taunts, he needed a fresh start this he was just too tired.
"Potter" Draco greeted.
"Malfoy." Harry returned. "I'll go get the ingredients."
"Oh, are you sure? Wouldn't want you to run into the Dark Lord on the way" Draco snickered along with some surrounding Slytherins, hoping to get a rise out of the other boy but Harry simply sighed and stood up to go and collect the ingredients.
Another thing that Harry hated about this year. Half of the school hated him and thought he was crazy for announcing the return of Voldemort and the other half thought he was just trying to get more attention. He silently gathered up the ingredients they needed and made his way back over to his working station.
Draco on the other hand was curious as to why the boy didn't retaliate. In fact, he hadn't seen Potter interact with anybody yet except for the occasional greeting he offered to some people. He wasn't worried for the Gryffindor. No. He just wanted his enemy back who he could insult and then be insulted back- was that too much to ask?
He put these thoughts to one side and set up the cauldron and the fire. It was just at the perfect temperature as Potter came back with the ingredients.
They worked in silence for the first hour- shocking just about everybody- Harry preparing the ingredients and Draco throwing the correct amount in. Occasionally Draco gestured for Harry to stir, but all in all both boys thought that the first part of the potion went pretty well.
Draco was surprised to hear Potter ask a question softly "How will we know when thirty minutes has passed? Do you have a watch?"
"No Potter" Draco sneered "I will cast a charm which will tell us when the time is up"
To prove his point, Draco swished his wand and softly muttered an incantation, and a countdown appeared in front of them.
Harry nodded and replied "Ok, when it has been twenty minutes, I'll collect the rest of the ingredients and start preparing them so we can add them in straight away"
And with that Harry was silent once again and pulled out a couple of books from his bag along with some parchment and a quill.
Harry was reading through his books and making notes, oblivious to the stares he was getting. It wasn't until five minutes later when Snape strolled over and plucked the book away from Harry, that he actually directed his attention on to the Professor.
"Mr. Potter" Snape snapped "Why is it that you are reading a first years potions textbook?"
A few sniggers were heard around the room and Snape proudly thought that he had once again humiliated the boy.
But Harry answered "I was trying to use this time productively, Sir. It's obvious that I'm not good at Potions, so I thought I'd go over some old material to try and catch up."
"Hm, well I suppose that is rather…intelligent for you, Potter. Finally realised the importance of Potions for your future auror career" Snape sneered. Just like his Father.
"..Erm, actually Sir, I've been thinking about going down the medical route and becoming a Healer" Harry responded quietly, effectively shocking Snape.
Snape shook out of it, reminding himself that this was still the Potter brat, and told him "Well, on you get, Potter."
Harry nodded and accepted his book back but Ron was having none of it.
"WHAT?!" he shouted.
Only Draco and surprisingly Snape noticed the small flinch that Harry gave, both coming to the same conclusion that Harry was acting rather oddly.
"Mate, we're meant to be auror's together, it's our dream." Ron reminded him.
"It was your dream that I followed, Ron. I've had a lot of time to think and I know what I want to do with my life now." Harry replied firmly.
"Oh and when did you decide all of this?" Ron fumed.
"As I said, I've had a lot of time to think. Especially over the summer." Harry shrugged but Draco knew that something was bothering him. The whole trio actually, did theyactually fall apart over the summer?
"But why a Healer?" Ron yelled.
Everyone thought that Harry had ignored Ron's last comment but only Draco managed to hear Harry's whispered response "Because for once I want to save lives instead of killing them."
Harry went back to his work but Draco was finally realising how hard the past year was on the Gryffindor. First he gets into a deadly tournament and everybody turns on him thinking that he cheated. Then he has to go through all sorts of challenges including dragons and mermaids. And then he witnesses Cedric being murdered and the Dark Lord being reborn. Then having to duel with the snake faced git, only to then manage to escape with the dead body to be slandered and called an attention seeker, a liar and a faker. Of course, Draco only knew most of these happenings because of what his Father told him. Not to mention all the previous years with all the rumours of his past adventures. He was honesty surprised the boy had only just begun to crack.
Draco silently watched as the mudblood, Granger, came over- Harry's attention once again being taken away from his textbook.
"Harry, please talk to me." She sighed.
"I'm sorry but I'm busy right now-" Harry tried to get rid of her.
"Harry." She warned. "Please, I'm worried about you."
"Not one single letter." Harry muttered and Draco wondered what he meant but it was obvious that Hermione knew due to the sad look on her face.
"I'm so sorry Harry-just please…"
"Can we talk later? I need to focus on this potion." Harry told her.
Without waiting for her response he got up and went over to where the ingredients were. Hermione didn't notice Draco, she just sent a sad look over to Harry and then returned to her own potion.
Harry couldn't bring himself to be angry. Angry reminded him too much of his Uncle. No, Harry could only feel disappointment. He was left at the Dursley's all summer and he was just as pleased as his relatives were about that. And if that wasn't bad enough, he didn't have any contact with any of his friends for the whole summer either. He sent them many letters, he even reached a point of begging for them just to reply, but none were replied to. It reminded Harry of the summer after his first year. However there was no rescue this time round, not when he really needed it.
Shaking his head of the thoughts, Harry turned to the chalkboard, but Snape's italic writing was very hard to read, for him anyway. He couldn't tell if the last ingredient was a moon lace root or a moon lace leaf. He grabbed the first one he saw which happened to be the moon lace root. Both ingredients were obviously from the same plant so how much difference could it make?
He made his way back over to Draco who on sight huffed at Harry as he put down the ingredients.
"About time." he snapped.
"Sorry, I couldn't see if Snape wrote moon lace…" but Harry never got time to finish his apology.
"Never mind Potter. We have five minutes to get this all prepared before it has to go in the cauldron." Draco rushed grabbing some ingredients from him.
Once again they both worked in silence, the only noise from Draco asking for ingredients that needed to be put in.
"Has the moon lace been crushed with the newts eyes?" Draco asked impatiently.
Harry nodded, looking a little green, and passed the mixture to Draco. The one thing Harry hated more than anything in potions, even Professor Snape, was having to crush eyes. He hated the squelchy feeling and how it seemed to be looking at him and accusing him. Bleh.
"Perfect." Draco mumbled as he tipped the mixture in. "Now, we just need to stir anti-clockwise five times and it will be complete for you to try."
Harry just nodded, not really listening to Draco, until he realised what he just said. "Wait, what do you mean by 'for you to try'- you're trying it too, right Malfoy?"
Draco chuckled. "No Potter, this project only requires one out of the pair to try it. I do not wish to spend the next few hours as an animal, therefore you're taking it."
"But-" Harry tried to argue but he just couldn't be bothered.
This admittedly annoyed Draco more than he thought it should have. Draco raised an eyebrow, desperate to get some sort of reaction out of his enemy. "Aren't you meant to argue back? Demand that I take the potion?"
Harry shrugged. "What's the point?"
"Because it is what you are meant to do Potter!" Draco told him, raising his voice slightly.
"Yeah, I'm meant to do a lot of things." Harry sighed.
Before Draco could question this and Harry's strange behaviour, Snape had demanded the attention of the class.
"Now, everyone should be finished. If not, well, you shall be serving a detention. One out of the pair shall be drinking the potion- I will be picking." he told everybody, making a lot of the students gulp in fear. "You will be in your animagus form for an hour- providing that you have brewed it correctly."
Harry looked behind him, sure that he had heard a was right- his fellow Gryffindor, possibly the only person that believed him about the Dark Lord, Neville Longbottom was sitting behind him and was understandably nervous about his potion. Neville wasn't the best at potions, his many failed attempts and blown up cauldrons proved that.
"You ok, Nev?" Harry whispered, concerned for his clumsy friend. Neville smiled, what he thought to be encouragingly, but another whimper escaped him when Snape bellowed "Goyle, you first!"
Dean in front looked relieved that he wasn't chosen. Goyle bravely gulped down a vial of the potion and to his surprise he quickly shrunk down into a frog.
"Congratulations." Snape drawled, not sounding celebratory at all. "You've managed not to screw up."
Snape crossed the room over to Ron's table and snapped "Weasley."
Ron took a deep breath and slightly glared at the vial, as if it was the potions fault, and swallowed it. He sprouted one fiery, red wing and a beak but didn't transform fully.
"Weasley, Crabbe, detention tomorrow night." Snape barked and stepped down to Hermione's table. "Parkinson, your turn."
She swallowed the potion and Hermione was glad that it worked, although there was not much chance of her brewing it incorrectly, even if Pansy wasn't too happy about being turned into a pug dog.
Snape nodded and went to Seamus' table. "Finnigan."
Seamus sprouted some kind of horse ears and zebra stripes tattooed all over his skin. "Oh damn."
"Detention you two, Wednesday night, another one for you Finnigan on Thursday for your uncontrollable, potty mouth."
Snape looked around the rest of the class, choosing his next helpless victim.
"Potter." Snape decided.
Harry sighed and took the potion. Of course it would be him that Snape chose, but with Malfoy as a partner, everything should turn out fine. He suddenly felt ears grow on top of his head and a sensation in his tailbone, which happened to be his tail growing.
"What? I brewed this perfectly!" Malfoy scowled.
"I'm a cat- out of all the animals- and I am a harmless feline." Harry muttered to himself but Draco ignored him.
"How did this happen?" Draco turned to Harry. He couldn't believe it, he never messed up a potion. Potter must have ruined it on purpose.
"I don't know!" Harry answered quickly, but then he felt a spasm in his stomach. "I don't feel too good."
"Don't change the subject, Potter!" Draco shouted.
"No seriously, I think something in the potion didn't react well with me." Harry told him, doubling over to help ease the pain in his stomach.
"Wait." Draco said suddenly remembering. "What part of the moon lace did you end up putting in?"
"WHAT?" Snape yelled. "Draco, how did you not spot the difference? I thought you would have noticed that the leaf is silver and the root is brown."
"It was already crushed with the newts eyes when I saw it!" Draco defended himself.
Harry wanted to argue and say that he tried to say to Malfoy that he was confused between the two, but another round of pain stopped him.
"Mr. Potter, are you aware of how much danger you have put yourself in, you insolent boy." Snape spat, getting less polite and angrier at the end of his sentence.
Snape was, of course, expecting some sort of comeback from Potter. Some sort of poor defence but the only return he got was a pained expression on Harry's face.
He sighed and told Draco. "Take him to the hospital wing, now."
However, before either of the boys could make a move to step forward a bright light surrounded Harry. Then in the next second it was gone, leaving no evidence that it had actually been there except for a small boy with cat appendages who was curiously gazing around the room.
Chapter 2: The Freak
Here is the next chapter mi amigos!
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"The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you will see."
To Snape, the boy looked as though he was two years old. His big green eyes- Lily's eyes- were taking in every aspect of the room, his body rigid as if preparing himself for an attack. The boy looked too skinny, as though he had been underfed, he looked terribly pale- sickly even. Surely this wasn't the Boy-Who-Lived. The pampered prince whose relatives bowed to his every whim.
He knelt down in front of the boy and softly spoke, remembering his reaction to Weasley's volume and tone of voice earlier in the lesson, "Hello."
The class looked shocked, especially the Gryffindors, that Snape- the greasy dungeon bat- could be nice and was willing to be.
"Hi." Harry whispered back shyly which made some of the girls coo in his direction.
"Do you know where we are?" Snape asked, the boy simply shook his head.
"Ok, I'm going to ask you some questions now to make sure you haven't lost your memory- can you answer them for me?" Snape asked, mentally cursing himself for rambling but the boy seemed to be able to understand general things and respond. Obviously Snape knew that the boy wasn't a two year old but then why did he look like one? Harry sat seemingly contemplating Snape's question before he quickly nodded.
"What is your name?"
Harry looked down ashamed and quietly answered "I don't know." Snape feared that he could have amnesia but the reason as to why he was nameless was far worse than he ever could have guessed. "Auntie and Uncle calls me Freak or Boy…am I FreakBoy?" Harry continued.
Everybody was shocked into complete silence, this was the life that their saviour had to endure? A life where he didn't even know his own name?
Snape quickly corrected the crestfallen boy. "No, you have a different name. Your parents named you Harry."
Little Harry looked up at Snape with unshed tears in his eyes and Snape wondered what he had said wrong. He wasn't sure how much longer he could keep up his patient facade, he was not normally a patient man and the things that he was hearing about Potters relatives were destroying that patience.
"Hey, hey, what's wrong?" He asked Harry.
"I-I hads a mummy and daddy? But Auntie said I no allowed mummy and daddy 'cause I is bad." Harry whispered, a lone tear ran down his face. Even though it was said in a hushed tone, everybody still managed to hear it along with their hearts breaking a little.
"No Harry." Snape replied firmly. "She was wrong. You have a mummy and daddy- they were Lily and….James Potter." Snape continued trying not to sneer at the name James Potter. "And they loved you very much."
"T-they did?" Harry stuttered, more tears racing down his cheeks.
Snape nodded. Being a spy he never allowed to let himself get emotional. He was a hard, stoic sort of man but even he nearly broke down at the boys next heart wrenching question. "But why did they leave me? Was it 'cause I is bad?"
"No, child. You are not bad. They didn't go by choice, they were taken away by a very…nasty man." Snape told him avoiding the use of the word 'bad' fearing that Harry would associate it with himself.
Harry nodded, absentmindedly stroking his newfound tail., believing him for now. But Snape had no doubt that the boy still thought degradingly of himself.
"Harry, child, could you tell me what you were doing before you got here?" Snape asked curiously.
He wondered if the potion had actually taken Harry back to when he was at the age he is now. If that was the case then Snape feared for his memory and if he would be able to regain it, and even if he did he feared how much of an emotional wreck the boy was going to be.
"I was in my cupboard, it was the first week of school this week! - But I was no allowed to go 'cause I did nots finish my chores." Harry explained sighing.
'CUPBOARD!?' Snape mentally screamed. 'What on earth were they thinking keeping a growing boy locked in a cupboard?'
"What do you mean by cupboard Harry?"
"Thats is where I sleeps. I no allowed bed, only good boys get beds, bad boys with beds get eaten by monsters!" Harry told him his eyes widening.
"Oh Harry," Snape sighed. "And they didn't let you out to go to school?"
Harry shook his head. "I nots allowed out when I is being punished."
Snape was struggling to keep his voice calm, oh how he had failed his precious Lily and her son. How did he not notice the signs? He had taught the boy for what….five years now? Normally he could spot an abused child in ten minutes, how had he gone so wrong with this one? 'Because you refused to see it.'
Putting his mental turmoil aside, hoping that the digression wouldn't have been too noticeable, he carried on with his questioning. "How old are you Harry?"
"I is four!" Harry beamed proudly.
Severus Snape usually prided himself on being not easily shocked or scared - coming from a past like his and having to deal with the Marauders throughout school taught him that - but the last few minutes had easily lost him his status as he didn't bother trying to hide his shock behind a mask.
"S-sir, can I asks you someting?" Harry asked cautiously.
Snape ignored the boys' bad use of English and replied, "Of course you can child, you can ask me anything you want."
That seemed to be the right thing to say because Harry looked up at Snape in awe. His Auntie and Uncle never let him ask questions, and they liked to remind him of that every time he dared.
"Why do I have a tail - likes a kitty?"
Snape allowed himself a small smile as though to calm the child, "There was a bit of an accident child, but there is nothing to fear, if you touch the top of your head, you'll find a pair of ears to match."
Harry lifted his little hand and plonked it on top of his head, letting out a small gasp when he tugged on his ears.
His happiness was short lived though when a frown made its' way on to his face.
"What's wrong?" Snape asked carefully, not knowing for the life of him what could have brought down the boys' mood.
"Auntie's not gon' be happy - she no likes animals or me - and know I is both!" Harry fretted chewing his lip anxiously.
Snape gently tugged Harry's lip away from his torturing teeth and muttered, "Hey, none of that now it's ok. It's a good thing that your Aunt is not here then isn't it? And you're not going back as long as I can help it." Snape promised.
Harry's emerald eyes brightened. "Really?"
"Really." Snape confirmed.
It was then when Harry seemed to notice everybody else in the room, who were staring intently at the pair on the floor. He crawled towards Snape who easily picked him up and put him in his lap, this was the right thing to do because as Snape guessed he would, Harry hid in his robes for comfort.
"This is my class." Snape told him. "There is no reason to hide child, they are all very nice. I'm sure that they'd like to be your friends." Snape's voice was laced with a warning to everybody in the room - be friendly or deal with an angry Snape. Unfortunately the brave and noble Gryffindors had seemed to have lost their voices as they all still seemed to be in shock and of course the Slytherins didn't want to go near the Boy-Who-Lived.
Snape turned his head towards his godson and gave him an icy glare, that glare promised bad things if Draco didn't do as he wanted.
Knowing that it was futile to ignore his godfather, Draco sighed and knelt down next to the man and the cat boy in his lap.
"Hello Po- I mean Harry. I'd very much like to be your friend." Draco spoke softly trying to copy his godfathers' tone of voice.
The child lifted his head and looked at Draco with curiosity.
Draco was horribly reminded of first year, how he was embarrassed - no publicly humiliated - and rejected by the Golden Boy. He figured that this was bound to go down the same route and cursed the Fates for making history repeat itself.
"My name is Draco." He added as if it would help.
"Y-you wants to be my friend?" Harry asked.
Draco nodded, feeling more inferior by the minute as Harry's bright green eyes bored into his. 'Pull yourself together, you're a Malfoy for crying out loud!' He mentally shouted at himself.
"I has never hads a friend before." Harry admitted to him shyly.
"Well, I would be honoured to be your first friend Harry." Draco smiled.
"Really?" Harry beamed.
Once again, Draco nodded and then suddenly he was attacked by a hug from the small cat boy.
"My first ever friend." Harry whispered proudly and tightened his hug, just in case Draco decided that he was too much of a freak and didn't deserve friends.
Draco returned the hug, honestly shocked by the turn of events even if his well placed mask didn't let that show, and stood up - still holding Harry in his arms. This somehow managed to pull the Gryffindors out of their shocked states and they all started complaining loudly at once.
Harry whimpered and tried to snuggle further into Draco, but only succeeding to hide his face into his friends robes.
"Are you okay little one?" Draco whispered.
"Too many peoples, I never beens in the same room as this many peoples. Too loud." Harry explained.
"But Harry is our friend! Why isn't he here with us?" Ron shouted, easily being the loudest of all the lions.
Harry whimpered again, Draco was attempting to soothe him but it obviously wasn't working, knowing that it probably wouldn't anyway. He had never handled a child before, he had no idea of what to do or what to say. Not to mention that this child was his former enemy now turned friend.
"Shouts bad. Shouts mean bad freak. Bad freak." Harry scolded himself for no reason, tugging at his hair.
Draco pulled Harry's hand away from his hair, looking desperately over to his godfather for help on what to do.
"No, no Harry. You are not a freak. You are not bad." Draco told him firmly and ended up chanting it to try and soothe the child and get him to calm down.
Snape on the other hand had a different idea on how to approach the situation. "Silence you complete bunch of baboons!" Snape demanded.
On cue the class stood still. Although being the most feared professor wasn't the best social status, Snape had to admit it did have its benefits.
"Now, Mr. Malfoy and Mr. Potter shall accompany me to the Headmasters office. I want everybody else to start on their homework - and I don't want there to be a sound. I will know if there is and for every sound fifty house points shall be deducted - no house is excluded…" Snape warned.
Feeling good about the fear he installed into his students, Snape billowed out of the room his robes impressively following behind. Not wanting to keep his godfather waiting, Draco shifted Harry in his arms to make it more comfortable to hold him and followed Snape out of the room. He had no idea how to calm Harry down. On the outside he looked calm but Draco could tell that the cat boy was anxious because his tail was wrapped tightly around his wrist and is ears were instinctively lying flat on his head. During the journey Harry seemed to warm up to Draco more and with every small gasp the Gryffindor gave when he saw a moving and talking portrait or when he caught a glimpse of the outside through a window, Draco couldn't help but smile down at him.
The Good, Golden Gryffindor seemed so innocent and loveable. Draco didn't know how Harry's relatives had the nerve to hurt him and keep him locked away.
"Dway?" Harry whispered.
Draco looked at Harry with a raised eyebrow. Dway? What in the name of Merlin was a Dway?
Harry's eyes widened, thinking that he had done something wrong and started apologising profusely. It was then when Draco realised that 'Dway' was supposed to be him. He hated nicknames with every fibre of his being but he had to calm down the part cat in his arms.
"No, no Harry - it's ok!" Draco tried to soothe him, once again failing miserably. "Nobody has ever given me a…nickname before…" Except Pansy. Gah, that woman is unbelievable. Just wait until she hears about this. "I was shocked. B-but I rather like it. Yes, it is very special and to…honour that only you are allowed to call me it. Ok Harry?" Draco told him.
Harry looked at Draco curiously, trying to detect any hint of a lie. Meanwhile Draco mentally slapped himself - why on earth was he, Draco Malfoy, trying to soothe a de-aged Potter? 'It's just because I want my enemy back.' Yes, that was the reason. The cat bot seemed to accept what he said which made Draco inwardly sigh in relief.
Finally they reached Dumbledore's office and Snape spat 'Lemon Drops' at the gargoyle, obviously disgusted with the Headmasters choice of password.
"Stupid, bumbling fool." Snape murmured. However Draco felt as though this was more to do with how Harry had been treated by his supposed relatives rather than the password.
An awed 'Wow!' came from Harry, who - unlike Snape - was amazed by the moving staircase. But then again, Draco guessed that most young children would be.
"Did you like that Harry?" Draco chuckled as he followed after the irritable potions master.
Harry nodded enthusiastically, "It was like magic!" He exclaimed.
Draco didn't dare think why, but he was oddly happy seeing the glee in the cat boys' eyes but then suddenly Harry clamped his tiny hand over his mouth, his eyes widening in fear, and made small whimpering noises.
"Harry? What's wrong now?" Draco asked exasperated.
Draco was seriously starting to think that Potter must be bi-polar. One minute he was perfectly fine and happy and the next he was crying and incessantly apologising.
"I saids the M word! I is sorry, I really is Dwaco. Please don'ts lets them use the belt! Please Dwaco!"
"Hey, hey, it's ok. Calm down, that's it." Draco told him slightly bouncing him up and down. He felt sick at the new revelation and he knew that if he didn't ask the questions burning is mind then it would haunt him. "I will never hurt you Harry. I promise you that…"
"…Pinky promise?" Harry asked innocently.
Harry lightly gripped the hand that was supporting his back and linked their two pinky fingers.
"Pinky promise." Harry repeated.
"Right." Draco coughed feeling silly. "Yes."
"Pinky promise!" Harry insisted, his wide eyes somehow getting bigger.
"Ok, ok, I pinky promise." Draco gave in.
Harry smiled slightly to himself and shook the linked fingers a couple of extra times.
"Erm, Harry. Can - can I ask you a question?"
Harry's head snapped up so his eyes met Draco's. 'Dwaco wasn't going to take back the pinky promise was he?' Harry fretted. 'Who would want to make a promise with a freak like you anyway.'
Draco noticed Harry's eyes dulling but he knew that he would never build up the nerve to ask the question again. The cat boy nodded solemnly not wanting to hear about how much of a freak he was.
"This is really serious, ok Harry? I need to you to answer this honestly. What did you mean by the belt, Harry? T-they didn't hit you with it…did they?" Draco gulped, already knowing the answer to his question.
He carefully started walking up the steps, knowing that Professor Snape would be angry with them if they didn't hurry up. Draco could tell from the glare in Snape's eye that he wanted to know what happened but Draco decided to inform his godfather later.
"Come on Harry, please answer me."
Harry couldn't help it, he didn't want his Dwaco to know how much of a freak he was and how he had to be punished. But then again, he reasoned, if his Dwaco knew then maybe he could make him better and not so much of a freak. "Only when I is being a bad freak and mention the word..m-magic because m-magic isn't real."
Before Snape or Draco could comment Dumbledore's cheery voice laughed from inside his office, "Enter please, it does no good to dawdle outside of doors."
Snape pushed the door open harshly and entered with Draco and Harry in tow. Before any words could be exchanged with the Headmaster Draco told Harry sternly, "Magic is real Harry. If anybody tries to tell you otherwise then tell me and I'll set them straight. Also nobody is ever going to hurt you again, ok? I promise. I protect my friends - and I will protect you."
"Severus, my boy, who is this young fellow?" Dumbledore asked the damned twinkle never leaving his eye. He knew who this was, yes, it was his student Harry James Potter. This most certainly was an interesting development to Dumbledore. He noticed straight away how fiercely overprotective the young Malfoy had become of Harry. And judging by the cat boy's teary eyes and small hopeful eyes, Dumbledore guessed that he had become quite attached as well. The Headmaster knew that this was likely to ruin all of his hard work and careful planning over the years, but he knew how to keep control. Yes, the cogs in his old mind were turning as if they were brand new and recently oiled. Plans were forming and pawns were unknowingly being added to the mix.
"As if you don't already know." Snape hissed somehow already guessing what could be going through the old mans' head. "This is Harry Potter, Headmaster, as you can probably already guess - there was a bit of a potions accident."
"Ah yes, I can see that. You were brewing the…animagi potion this week, correct Severus?" Dumbledore replied.
"Correct." Snape drawled. "Before you ask - yes I can fix it, I just need to test some samples of their potion. I just supposed that you would like to know."
"Yes, thank you for informing me Severus." Dumbledore smiled unnervingly, a million ideas floating around in his brain.
"I also have a matter to discuss with you, Headmaster, privately of course." Snape sneered.
Dumbledore was confused as to what Snape could possibly want or be angry at him for, he hated not knowing but he had to stay in his grandfatherly role. " Yes, well, I shall send a Patronus to Miss Granger and Mr Weasley to come and collect young Harry - then we may have that discussion Severus."
"Who they?" Harry spoke up for the first time. He watched the encounter quietly - knowing how his Aunt and Uncle felt when they were interrupted, but he couldn't hold back his question. Especially when his Draco promised to protect him from now on.
"Why, Harry, they are your best friends." Dumbledore smiled.
Harry shook his head, what was this man talking about? "I only haves one friend sir. Dwaco sir! Can'ts I stay with Dwaco?"
Dumbledore sighed, "I'm afraid not Harry, I feel that it would be more beneficial for you to stay with your old friends. They will certainly be able to help you regain your memories."
"B-but Dway is my friend!" Harry protested. Harry was ashamed at his bad manners, his Aunt and Uncle had ingrained in him to never question anything - especially one of their decisions. But Draco was his first friend and he didn't want to lose him, not so soon after finding him.
"I loathe to admit it Headmaster - but the child has become quite attached to Mr. Malfoy. Perhaps it would be better to place the child with him - unless you are suggesting that Slytherins cannot take care of the boy." Snape implied.
"No, no nothing of the sort Severus. It just won't do. He needs to be around things that are familiar to him. Gryffindor house for example, his friends…"
"Who he hasn't met with, or seen yet! Headmaster, this boy is vulnerable and he has one friend which so happens to be Mr Malfoy, and you're about to separate him from that?!" Snape snapped.
"Severus, that is my final decision on the issue. He will be staying with the Gryffindors and if young Harry does find it too distressing then we shall reevaluate the situation. Although I doubt that will happen." Dumbledore shouted, which was a shock to the blonde and the cat boy in the room. Dumbledore took a deep breath to calm down and then spotted the two young Gryffindors entering his office. "Ah yes, Miss Granger, Mr Weasley - glad that you could join us…"
Chapter 3: The NightMare Before Hogwarts Part 1
Hello mi amigos! Here is the next chapter, sorry for the long wait!!
Thank you to everybody who commented and left kudos! You're all so amazing!
Please remember to leave a comment on this chapter too :D
Also there are two parts to this chapter! I'm working on part 2 now!:3
Disclaimer: I do not own anything!!
'Unfortunately, a super abundance of dreams is paid for by a growing potential for nightmares"
-Sir Peter Ustinov
Harry watched as the unknown man and woman came into the office. The woman seemed nice but Harry didn't let that fool him. Aunt Petunia could seem nice as well when she had to keep up appearances, especially for the neighbours. After all it wouldn't do to have them gossip about Harry's latest 'lesson' from Uncle Vernon.
On the other hand the red haired man looked angry - just like Uncle Vernon. He could see the vein in the man's neck popping out and his hands were clenched into fists by his sides. Harry had a bad feeling about this man - it was the same feeling he had for the mean with the long beard. They both looked mean and like they wanted to hurt Harry. The long bearded man had finally finished shouting and noticed the pair that had just entered the room.
"Ah, yes, Miss Granger, Mr Weasley - so glad that you could join us…"
"Hi Professor..is everything ok?" Hermione asked sending concerned glances over to Harry who just snuggled further into Draco, he didn't like these people so far.
"To put it simply, Miss Granger, I have arranged for Mr Potter to stay in your care during this unfortunate mishap. We shall hopefully be able to cure him soon but we'll make sure to keep you updated." Dumbledore explained.
Draco had determinedly decided to stay quiet, already knowing that his opinion would not matter. Instead he focused on playing with the cat boys tail making Harry giggle and distracting him from the situation as well. He ignored Dumbledore's further explanations to the Gryffindor duo as he knew that this could possibly be one of his last times seeing Harry. He wasn't a sentimental person, he was a Malfoy after all, but a part of him was sad about having to let go of Harry. Draco knew that once the lions sunk their claws in him then they would never let Draco help out with Harry. He would even bet his inheritance that they would make Harry hate him, that they'd tell the little cat boy all of the horrible stories about him.
He didn't know why he was getting so upset, maybe it was the fact that the almighty Harry Potter was depending on him, Draco Malfoy, he was letting Draco protect him. It was a cruel trick of fate to let Harry get so attached to Draco and make him lower his mask over his emotions.
Hermione was watching the pair curiously whilst simultaneously trying to listen to the Headmaster, she couldn't help but wonder why she and Ron were called up to look after Harry when the cat boy and Draco were already such good friends.
"If you would like to get reacquainted with each other and then you may all be on your way, it seems like Professor Snape has something important that he needs to talk to me about." Dumbledore announced to the room bringing all attention once again back to himself.
Snape decided to stay quiet during the affair much preferring to stay in his corner and scowl, not trusting himself not to lose his patience in front of the students.
Hermione slowly walked over to where Harry and Draco were sitting, trying to stay as calm as possible. She knelt down in front of Draco's chair and smiled at Harry who promptly burrowed his head into Draco's robes once again.
"Hello Harry, I'm Hermione." she started to say thinking that would be the best way to start.
Harry's head turned a little and a bright, green eye peeked out at her.
"Hermyon…Himy…." Harry was visibly struggling over her name and was getting more frustrated every time he tried, just like the old Harry would.
Hermione smiled at his attempts making it obvious that she was not angry at him for not getting it right.
"I know - it is a handful to say, isn't it? You can call me 'Mione if you prefer?"
Harry nodded a little and whispered "Hi 'Mione"
"Hello Harry," Hermione replied. "You know I'd love to be your friend, if you'll have me?"
Harry's eyes widened and he nodded his little head enthusiastically, his ears standing at full attention.
"I's loves to haves another friend! Will you be friends with Dway too? 'Cause he is my bestest friend!" Harry asked her.
Draco looked awkward and was about to try and distract Harry from the subject but Hermione jumped in before he could wanting to surprise him. "Of course I will Harry."
"Does…does this means I can still sees Dway?" Harry whispered to her shyly, still unsure about the other people in the room, namely the man with the long beard and the red haired man.
hermione discreetly nodded to appease Harry - not wanting to start any arguments with anybody, already knowing that Ron would not be happy.
"You ready to come with us Harry?" Hermione asked gently.
Harry's eyes widened and he tearfully turned to Draco, he didn't want to leave his best friend just yet! "Can'ts you comes?"
Draco sighed, "I'm sorry, I'm not allowed…but we will meet up soon, okay?"
"B-but no!" Harry cried, his tiny fists curling tighter around the front of Draco's robes, which to Draco's dismay, were definitely going to be wrinkled and creased for the rest of the day.
"Come on Harry, it won't be for long, I promise! You will have so much fun that time will fly by and it won't feel so long when you next see me." Draco explained, swallowing the lump in his throat. He couldn't help but feel like this was the last goodbye and he hated having to lie to the small, vulnerable child.
Draco, knowing what to do this time, lifted his little finger and linked it with Harry's. "I pinky promise." he smiled.
Harry smiled back but the tears in his eyes were still evident. Draco gently lifted Harry up, careful not to jog him too much, but just enough for Hermione to get a firm hold on him but once Harry realised what they were doing he held onto Draco's hand for dear life.
"No, no Dway! Nots now, nots now!" Harry cried.
"How about I make you a deal, Harry?" Draco compromised. "If you go with…Hermione..now and be good then I will get all of my homework and studying done now and then we when we meet up later I can play with you."
"Rweally?" Harry asked excitedly.
"Yes, that will be better won't it? Because then it can just be us and no homework."
"No homework's!" Harry happily agreed.
"Yes! Good boy!" Draco praised. "So, we have a deal?"
Harry thought about it for a moment trying to add everything up. If he didn't let Draco go now then they wouldn't have much time together because of the boring stuff but if Draco done all of that now then they'd have more playing time later.
"Yes." Harry agreed, slowly releasing Draco's hand and although he had agreed to the deal and understood it, it didn't stop the tears from once again gathering in Harry's eyes.
Hermione held Harry properly, "Goodbye Headmaster, Professor. Thanks….Draco"
Draco nodded his head in acknowledgement and waved goodbye to Harry who done a small wave back. He then watched Hermione leave with the moody weasel and the very sad cat-boy.
"Mr. Malfoy, if you could also please leave, I need to have a word with the Headmaster" Snape scowled.
Draco nodded and quickly left, not wanting to be part of that conversation. He supposed that he had better keep his end of the deal and start his homework - although he deeply believed that he would not have the privilege of looking after Harry again, but the homework was a good distraction.
Snape slowly walked behind Draco and shut the door when the absentminded boy had left. He sharply turned towards the Headmaster and marched up to his desk.
"What in Merlin's name, were you thinking, Albus?" Snape growled, throwing his hands onto the Headmaster's desk.
"What do you mean, my boy?"
"Oh don't give me that. Don't you dare patronise me. What have you done Albus, and if you know what is good for you, you will not evade the question."
"Tell me then, Severus, how can I answer your question if I do not understand what you are talking about?" Dumbledore asked with that twinkle in his eye.
"I'm talking about Potter." Snape spat.
"What about the boy Severus? He is currently not himself, what could he have possibly done to annoy you?" Dumbledore asked.
"Do not turn this on to me. You know very well what I am talking about - you promised me he was safe!" Snape's voice went down to a dangerous whisper, after all he wasn't one to shout and he felt that he was more intimidating this way.
"Severus, it was only a botched up potion, Harry will be perfectly fine if that is what you are worried about."
"No! For Merlin's sake Albus! Stop this and face the fact that you left an innocent boy - Harry Potter at that - in an abusive household. You knew didn't you? Do not try telling me that you did not, you know everything, especially if it is to do with your supposedly precious Golden Boy." Snape snarled.
"Abuse?! Why, my dear boy, are you trying to slander my name? Mr. Potter is not abused…"
"Are you blind?" Severus interrupted him. "I'm not trying to slander your name - you have already already done a pretty good job of that in my books. You never learn do you? Not with Voldemort, not with me and now you are pushing the same fate onto a boy who looks up to you. How can you live with yourself knowing what he has been through - knowing what he is going through?"
Dumbledore sighed, "I admit that I knew the Dursley family were not the most loving and accepting people of Harry, but it is a bit far to call a small amount of neglect abuse, Severus."
"You seriously think that neglect is not a big deal either?! You are rocking a very risky boat here Headmaster. The fact that you do not know the difference between neglect and abuse and the fact that you have willingly been ignoring it all these years shows that you are not fit to be around children! Let alone be running a school of them! Merlin Albus, how could you let it get this far?"
"I think of you as a friend , my boy, but I do still require a certain level of respect from you." Dumbledore scolded.
"The Ministry of Magic will have your head for this Albus!" Snape told him, trying to get him to see sense. "You and anyone else involved in this little scheme of yours. You know how they have been trying to get some dirt on you!"
"Well nobody is going to get them involved because there is nothing to tell them, is there Severus?"
"Who am I to let an innocent child be beaten and starved by those vile creatures? Is it not my duty to look out for the children of this school? My duty as a professor to help them when they are in need?" Severus questioned.
"Your duty is to the Greater Good!" Albus hissed, standing up so that they were face to face.
"Why should I have to face Azkaban for the Greater Good? First and foremost I am a Professor to these children…"
"Since when have you actually cared about any of these children?" Albus asked but was ignored.
"…and many people have put a lot of trust into me to keep their children safe. If I cannot do this for Harry Potter, the one who is meant to save us all, the one is adored by wizarding kind, then I shall have betrayed the trust of millions. If you do not take action and face up to your responsibilities, Albus, then I shall be forced to get the Ministry of Magic involved." Snape decided.
"Was that a threat? Are you threatening me?"
"No Albus, that was a promise."
The walk back up to Gryffindor Tower wasn't exactly going as great as Hermione as hoped, then again she didn't even know what she expected to happen in the first place. Harry was obviously upset about having to leave his best friend Draco behind and Ro had been in a mood ever since the incident. Therefore it was acceptable to believe that both were not up for conversation. However she was racking her brain on ideas of trying to get Harry to open up, she knew that she had to make Harry feel comfortable with them otherwise the little cat-boy wouldn't feel safe. She also reminded herself that she had to keep Crookshanks away just in case he scared Harry.
"We're not that bad are we Harry?" Hermione asked him causing Harry to take his head off her shoulder and look up at her confusedly. "I mean, I know I'm no Draco, but we can still have fun right?"
Harry's ears drooped as he instantly realised that he had made his new friend feel bad and that made him bad.
"I is sorry, 'Mione!" Harry said ad then he started tugging his hair and chanting, "Bad freak! No deserves friends! Bad!"
Hermione immediately stopped walking, noticing that the ever so oblivious Ron had carried on without a care in the world, and pried Harry's fingers away from his head.
"No, no Harry! Please don't do that! I didn't say that to make you feel bad, I just wanted to let you know that even though Draco isn't here right now - you can trust us and we will protect you. I promise you that."
Harry was silent for a while and then he shyly asked "…Pinky promise?"
Hermione giggled, "Yes, I pinky promise." And when Harry held up his little finger she made sure to link fingers with him straight away to reassure him.
When they started up walking again Hermione noticed that Harry clung to her more tightly then he did before, meaning that he was feeling more comfortable with her.
They both finally caught up with Ron who was sulking outside of the portrait of the Fat Lady, Hermione figured that he must have forgotten the password, not thinking that he would wait for them to catch up in the mood he was currently in. After the awkward silence Hermione said the password and Ron strolled inside with no hint of a 'thank you.'
"Mione…" Harry whispered as they entered the surprisingly empty common room. Hermione supposed that everyone must still be in class.
"Yes Harry." She replied softly, knowing that this would encourage him more to ask his question.
"Cans we sees Dway later?" he asked.
Hermione badly wanted to deny the boy of his request, even though she had discreetly said yes in Dumbledore's office, she was hoping that Harry would eventually forget about the Slytherin and just grow to love being around the Gryffindors, even though deep down she knew that this wouldn't happen. After looking into the the shining, hopeful, emerald eyes of her best friend she knew she couldn't separate him from his first friend. She didn't want to admit it but she was almost jealous of the relationship between Draco and Harry. In all of their years of being friends, Harry had always come to her when something went bad or he needed advice. Harry never let out much, but from the snippets of his home life that she got from her friend she always tried to help. Once she had demanded that he go to Dumbledore or McGonagall (after Harry let out that the Dursleys were starving him again) but he panicked and made her swear not to tell anyone anything.
She knew that Harry deserved a better childhood and this could be his chance of getting one. She could help him realise that he wasn't bad, he wasn't a freak.
"Of course we can." She confirmed and in return she was rewarded with one of Harry's beautiful smiles.
Yes, she thought, I'll do everything to keep that smile on his face.
Unfortunately their moment was short-lived because of a hot headed Ron.
"NO!" he shouted. "Absolutely bloody not!"
"Ronald!" Hermione scolded, hating the instant fear that showed in Harry's eyes.
"No. He will not be seeing that slimy ferret! He will stay here with his friends." Ron argued.
"Well Draco is now one of Harry's friends, which is more than what you are to him right now." Hermione told him trying to keep her voice calm. "If you cared about him at all then you would accept this."
"Don't you dare say that I don't care about my best friend!" Ron yelled, his face quickly turning as red as his hair.
Harry whimpered quietly, this man was much like Uncle Vernon and it was scaring him.
"You're not exactly acting like you do at the moment Ron! You haven't said a word to Harry yet or tried to start a friendship.." Hermione was cut off by Ron's angry shout.
"I shouldn't have to! We're best friends!"
"But he doesn't remember that Ronald! At the moment he is four years old. He didn't meet you until he was eleven!" Hermione hissed.
"But is has already happened - just because he has been de-aged and has freaky cat ears and a tail doesn't mean that he should have lost his bloody memory!" Ron shouted.
Warm tears cascaded down Harry's face and onto Hermione's robes, he badly wanted his Dway to make the mean man go away.
"Aw Harry, baby, it's okay. Ron was just being a meanie." Hermione soothed. She took a step towards Ron and scowled, "I hope you're proud of yourself Ronald."
In all of the commotion, the pair didn't realise some of the fifth years come into the common room.
"Everything alright in here?" Seamus asked tentatively.
"Yes." Hermione told him turning her back to Ron. "However Ronald has made Harry upset so I'm currently not talking to him."
"Ah, don't take any notice of him Harry." Seamus chuckled causing Harry to look up at him curiously.
"Who you?" Harry asked his voice a little thick from crying.
"I'm Seamus, nice to meet you Harry, I reckon we'd make great friends…what do you say?" Seamus asked.
Harry's eyes brightened at the prospect of making another friend. Three already! He looked happily at his new friend and nodded enthusiastically.
"Great, thanks Harry!" Seamus winked at the small boy making him giggle.
"Thanks you! I haves three friends now" Harry beamed all thoughts of Ron upsetting him had gone, as well as Ron himself who had stormed upstairs as soon as Seamus started talking to Harry.
Seamus smiled back at Harry and then informed Hermione, "Classes have been cancelled for the rest of the day."
"Thanks," Hermione replied and turned to Harry when a good idea popped in her head. " Shall we go explore the castle Harry, we might even make some more friends!"
"And sees Dway?"
"And see Draco, yes" Hermione told him.
"Yeah!" Harry agreed.
Hermione and Harry took their leave, the cat boy happily giggling at the prospect of being able to see his best friend again.
As the two left, Dean found that it was the perfect time to interrogate his Irish friend.
"I thought you were hating Harry this year because of all that rubbish in the Daily Prophet?" Dean started carefully. Obviously it was a good thing that Seamus didn't want to go through with his plan but he was a bit suspicious as to why. He had known Seamus for quite a long time and he knew that the boy was stubborn and rarely changed his mind on something once it was set.
"I was a git.." Seamus admitted sheepishly. "It's not Harry's fault that You-Know-Who decided to come back and try to kill him. Plus how could I stay mad at that little boy? He looked so sad and vulnerable…that is our Harry Dean!"
"Whilst I am glad about your sudden change in perspective, I have a feeling there is something more to this. Sit. Talk." Dean ordered pushing Seamus back so that he would land on the red couch and sat down next to him.
Seamus was quiet for a few minutes, gazing into the roaring fire as if he was trying to collect his thoughts.
"I-I saw something that I shouldn't have." Seamus said quietly.
"What was it?"
"Third year. You know the whole Sirius Black scare? Well I, arm, saw Harry changing in our room. I didn't know he was in there, I swear Dean, and he usually always changes in the bathroom, he always has! Anyway he didn't realise that I was in the dorm and I saw his back and - oh Merlin Dean, his back! It was covered in scars…" Seamus took a second to calm himself down before continuing. "I never got the courage to ask him about it…and of course they were from those no good relatives from his…but when…when I saw him as a child clinging to Hermione I just, I felt the need to protect him, you know? He is the Gryffindors little lion cub. All I could think about…all I can think about is him cowering in fear and the guilt was eating away at me-" Seamus sobbed which was very unusual for him.
"Seamus, calm down" Dean told him pulling him into a side hug. "If you've never asked - how do you know they are from his relatives?"
"You've seen them at the train station Dean! They're fat pigs and Harry is skin and bones! Of course there is something off about them..and the way that Harry always looks sickly at the start of the year and hates going home at summer." Seamus rambled, shaking his head as suddenly everything came together. Why didn't he notice before? How had he missed this?
"But how do you know?" Dean pressed.
"There were belt buckle marks Dean!" Seamus cried out. "Do you really think that You-Know-Who would kidnap Harry and attack him with a belt?! No! And of course he wouldn't get that here, think Dean!"
"I'm sorry Seamus, but I needed to know all of the facts, we can't just go and accuse people with no actual evidence!"
"W-what can we do Dean? How do we get him away from those monsters?"
"I don't think we can"
"He is practically our brother and you're saying that we can't help?" Seamus shouted. Dean noticed that they were starting to gain some strange looks from others in the common room, but he had no clue on how to calm the Irishman down, he never had.
"All I'm saying is that we're going to need some help, preferably from an adult that will actually believe us."
Hermione walked out of the common room, still furious about Ron's behaviour but she was determined not to let Harry see it. Knowing Harry, he would probably believe that the anger was directed at him and she was not about to lose his trust over something as simple as that. Harry had once told her, after she had ordered him to of course, that all anger at the Dursleys was directed at him. Whether it be that his Aunt Petunia couldn't cook the new dish she wanted to try or if Dudley got bad grades. He had assured her that the Dursleys didn't hurt him, but she always had been a bit doubtful about that, even more so now.
"'Mione?" Harry whispered softly in her ear, taking her away from her thoughts.
"Why doesn't he likes me?" Harry asked.
Hermione stopped walking wanting to solely concentrate on Harry. His ears were flat on his head and his tail was limp.
"Aw Harry, he does like you, he is just confused by the situation-"
"But he no likes me!" Harry repeated his eyes shining.
Hermione hated having to justify Ron's actions but this was for the sake of Harry. "No it's not you Harry - Ron just has a problem with one of your friends. He doesn't like Draco, you see."
"But Dway is amazing. He's my bestest friend!" Harry told her.
"I know Harry, keep hold of Draco okay? No matter what Ron says. Never turn your back on him." Hermione told him sternly.
"I pinky promise, 'Mione!" Harry smiled.
"Good boy" Hermione praised satisfied with their talk. "Now let's start exploring."
Chapter 4: The Nightmare Before Hogwarts Part 2
I'm so sorry that it has been so long! I honestly didn't mean to leave it so long, but recently I've been really doubting my writing and that has affected my work :/ But I am determined to finish this story (unless you tell me that it is completely awful haha..please don't..) hehe but a massive THANK YOU to everybody who left comments and kudos and bookmarks! You've all helped me with this chapter with your kind words!
So I hope you like it! <3
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Draco decided to skip lunch and dinner, instead he figured he might as well stay in the library, after all that assignment Professor Vector gave him was unfortunately not going to write itself. Of course this had nothing to do with the fact that he did not want to see how quickly Harry had probably forgotten him, at least he had gotten a taste of what it would be like to be the Golden Boy’s friend, even if it was only for a little while.
Har- Potter was back where he belonged now, back in the lions den with all of the mudbloods and blood traitors, Draco should have been glad that he wouldn’t have to deal with a crying child who quite obviously had many issues, he is a pureblood afterall. He couldn’t help but think of what his father would have to say if he even caught a sense of what Draco was truly hoping for, wanting to look after Harry and investigate what was going on with the Gryffindor who was turning out to be much more of a Slytherin.
To put it simply his father would be livid, he would tell Draco that he would be putting himself in danger just by speaking to the boy especially with Harry having been under Dumbledore’s manipulations for so long. It would be hard for him to see any differently, he reasoned to himself; after all he was practically beaten into submission for most of his life. Maybe with Harry being a child again he could be influenced against Dumbledore.
The possibilities that this thought opened and the hope raced around in Draco’s mind. The inevitable war could be won before it begins, Harry could finally be given the truth and be kept safe from Dumbledore.
The heavy tap of the librarians’ hand on his shoulder brought reality crashing down, the library was closing and so was his window of opportunity. The mudblood and the Weasel had control over Harry now and knowing Dumbledore he would not allow them to screw up twice. If only he could convince one of the two to still let him see Harry, and maybe then (even though it pained him to even think of this) he could convince the two of Dumbledore’s evil ways. Of course the likelihood of that happening would be the same as trying to make a cat bark.
Gathering his belongings, he sent a cold glare towards the librarian who looked ready to hit him with a feather duster, and started walking back to his common room before curfew.
His scheming was more than enjoyable but Draco knew that putting his plan into action would be harder than it looked not to mention the ninety-nine percent chance of failure.
It was obviously wishful thinking that Draco would manage to get back to his common room undisturbed. All he wanted to do was go to sleep…and he had been so close…
But he just had to run into Pansy and Blaise. Of course, they were his best friends and he loved them dearly but he was not in the mood for their constant teasing and bickering.
“Draco!” Pansy greeted with an overenthusiastic hug, which was not returned. “Where have you been for most of the day?”
“Better yet, where is your furball?” Blaise chuckled.
“Straight to the interrogation I see, can’t a man at least enter his own common room before you start to leach out information?” Draco drawled, trying to sidestep the two but was blocked.
“Now, don’t avoid the topic Draco! I want to know every juicy detail.” Pansy demanded, latching onto his arm as if he would try to run.
“Well then, I’m afraid that there is nothing to tell. Potter went with Granger and Weasley and I was studying…something which the two of you should be focusing on.” He told them, hoping that would suffice but he was doubtful.
“I swear Draco Malfoy, sometimes talking to you is like trying to draw blood out of a stone!”
“Now, now Pansy.” Blaise chided. “You should be more sympathetic with him, can’t you see that our dear Draco is putting on a mask to hide the hurt that he is feeling?”
“Oh shut up Blaise!” Draco sneered, losing all of his Slytherin indifference. “I am not masking my feelings. I do not care about Potter, alright?!”
Pansy burst into uncontrollable laughter, Blaise following soon after.
“Oh Drakey, don’t even try to fool yourself! It’s a little bit too late for that, everybody has already seen how obsessed you are with him.”
“Don’t call me that! And I am not obsessed with him, I was helping my Godfather. Besides, you saw him. He’s so tiny and as defenceless as an actual kitten…”
“Oh Merlin, you have it bad!” Blaise laughed.
“No, I don’t! Gah, stop it the both of you! This is hardly the proper way to act whilst we are in public. Now, let me in.” Draco fumed.
How could they both talk about this so nonchalantly? He knew that he would let them in on his plan anyway, but it worried him that his affection for the catboy had spread around the entire school.
It looked as though Pansy and Blaise had to decided to drop their interrogation, for now anyway, if their grins were anything to go by.
Before Draco could take a step towards his safe haven, he heard a shout of “Dway!” from a familiar voice.
“Harry?” he whispered disbelievingly to himself.
He turned around and was certain that the image before him was a hallucination. Was Granger willingly carrying Harry down to the snake den?! The little catboy struggled in her arms until she put him down and a squealing Harry ran up to Draco, who automatically picked him up and held him to his chest.
“What are you doing down here?” Draco asked Harry who had the widest and brightest smile on his face.
“We cames to sees you Dway!”
“Really? That’s awfully nice of you.”
“It’s only a short stop, we were exploring the castle and Harry wanted to see you before curfew.” Granger explained, having caught up to Harry finally.
Draco was sure that this must be some sort of trick. Did Harry really have this must power over the lions den? So much so that they don’t mind him mixing with a Slytherin? Well the answer was obvious since they were here.
“Yeps! Mione pinky promised and she kepts it!” Harry cheered.
“Thank you, Granger.” Draco said sincerely and she nodded back at him.
They would never be friends, but there was an unspoken agreement between them to keep things civil – for Harry’s sake.
“Who they?” Harry whispered, indicating the shockingly silent Pansy and Blaise.
“These are my friends.” I smiled. “This is Pansy, and that is Blaise.”
“Hi.” Harry shyly greeted, his tail unconsciously wrapping around Draco’s arm.
The two managed to get out of their trance and greet Harry back.
“I’m afraid that it is getting very close to bedtime Harry.” Draco frowned.
“I can’ts stay withs you?” Harry asked timidly, his ears on his head flattening.
“Unfortunately not, that would get your…Mione…in trouble and we don’t want that do we?” Draco replied softly.
“Good boy.” Draco praised. “However, I’m sure if you ask very nicely, she’ll bring you back to visit tomorrow.”
Harry suddenly spun around excitedly to face Granger, “Really? Cans we Mione, please?”
Granger laughed and agreed, “Of course we can Harry, we best be going now though.”
“Ok, bye Dway.” Harry gave Draco a quick hug before he was passed back to Granger.
As he watched his unexpected friend being carried away, he heard Blaise snigger, “Yeah, we were totally being overdramatic.”
As Hermione was walking back to Gryffindor Tower, she felt overjoyed about how happy Harry was. He hadn’t stop chattering about seeing Draco and Hermione found that she didn’t mind. Hell, if it would keep Harry this happy then she would transfer into the house of Slytherin!
She felt bad about having to take Harry away from Draco after their brief time together, fearing that he would retreat back into himself again, but judging by how tired Harry was getting, Hermione hoped that he would sleep through the night and then get to see his best friend in the morning.
She muttered the password to the Fat Lady at the entrance and walked inside, making sure to give Harry her undivided attention.
When his chatter started to die down, not too long after, she knew that she should take Harry to bed.
“Time for bed, Harry.” Hermione said softly, smiling at the little catboy who was trying to keep his eyes open.
“But I’m nots tired Mione.” Harry yawned.
Hermione laughed, “Of course you aren’t – but if you go to bed now I can read you a bedtime story.”
Harry gasped and gave her a big smile. “You reads to me? No ones ever reads to me!”
“Yes, and I will read to you whenever you wish.” Hermione promised.
Harry couldn’t even begin to describe how happy he was. He was always jealous of the stories he heard Aunt Petunia tell Dudley. They were full of princesses who were saved by brave princes and knights. He had given up on hoping a long lost relative would come and save him but he never gave up hope that a great prince would come and take him away from his cupboard. But now he had his own mother figure reading him a story.
He had seen some of the cupboards around the room, and although he knew he would be able to fit, he was not sure if Mione would fit too. Maybe they were going to read a story down here before he was put in the cupboard.
As the pair got closer to the stairs, Harry started to panic, where were they going?
“Mione? Please don’ts throws me out. I promise to be good! I only needs a cupboard – please.” Harry whimpered.
“Harry, Harry honey calm down. Here you don’t have to sleep in a cupboard. You’re allowed your own bed because you’re a good boy.” She soothed.
“My own bed? But whats about the monsters?” Harry whispered.
“That is what we’re here for Harry.” Seamus spoke up gesturing to him and Dean. “We are in your room too, to keep all the bad monsters away.”
“Yeah, no monsters will be bothering our favourite little catboy.” Dean told Harry, ruffling his hair.
“You protects me? Thanks you!”
“You’re most welcome Harry. Now lets go to bed, yeah?” Seamus smiled.
He then turned to the rest of the common room, trying to single out his roommates.
“Dean, Neville, Ron! Time for bed!” he shouted across the room after failing to see them.
“Why’d you shout for me? I’m standing right next to you!” Dean reminded him.
“Shut up and march!” Seamus told him, pointing to the stairs, his Irish accent sounding thicker than ever.
Neville quickly scurried past all of them and up the stairs, followed by Dean after a playful glare from Seamus. Noticing that Ron had not gone up yet, Seamus spotted him on the couch playing a game of Wizards Chess with another Gryffindor from their year.
“Ron!” Seamus shouted, but not too loud so that he wouldn’t scare Harry.
“What?” Ron replied sulkily. “I’m in the middle of a game Seamus, we never go to bed this early.”
“Well, we do now.” Seamus retorted.
Ron snorted and casually moved a chess piece. “I don’t have to listen to you. If I want to stay up later then I will!”
“Alright can you stop being an arse-“
“Seamus Finnigan!” Hermione scolded, covering Harry’s ears.
“Sorry,” Seamus blushed. “Let me rephrase that. Ron, mate, stop being an obnoxious prat and come up to bed before I drag you up myself.”
“I never knew you were so eloquent, Seamus.” Hermione said sarcastically.
“It’s all part of the Irish charm, my dear.” Seamus winked playfully and went up.
Hermione shook her head at the boy’s tactics and turned her attention to Harry, purposefully ignoring Ron who had moodily packed up his chess set and barged past them on his way up to the bedroom.
She slowly walked up the stairs, wanting to give the boys some time to get decent enough so that she could go in. Suddenly she remembered that she needed to find a book to read to Harry and made a quick detour to her room.
Spreading her books out on her bed, she noticed that she didn’t have any child friendly. Why would she? She never expected to have to look after a child in her fifth year, especially a child version of her best friend.
Noticing that Harry was mostly asleep on her shoulder she decided that she would read a story that she had memorized after her dad used to read to her, one that was full of fantasy that Harry would enjoy.
Severus Snape was having a bad day. Finding out that the boy that he hated was an abused child cracked his stone heart. Through the blind hatred for the boy’s father he had missed the signs. The signs that were screaming out at him and he refused to believe.
How could he have ever though that Potter was a spoilt brat when he knew that he lived with Lily’s jealous, magic hating sister?
Why did no one ever check on the boy? Why didn’t he?
All of these questions were swirling around in his brain, giving him quite the impressive headache. He knew what he had to do now. Help get the boy back to normal and then help him get through the mental trauma. It was time to put the memories of James Potter away and help Harry. Just Harry.
He turned the corner, ready to face the mess that he was certain would be left in his potions classroom.
“Hem hem, Professor Snape, if I could have a moment of your time please.” A sickeningly, fake sweet voice said.
Snape slowly turned, trying to keep his patience, “Yes, Madam Umbridge, what can I help you with?”
“Well as you know, Professor Snape, I am here on Ministry business, and when I heard there was a potions accident I thought I should come and investigate right away.” She explained.
“Indeed, there was a slight mishap – but it shall all be fixed once I have examined the potion and create the antidote.”
Umbridge continued as though she didn’t hear him, “Not only do I find that you are not there, Professor, but also that you left a class of children unsupervised with a questionable potion spilt all over the floor. Now, I am willing to give you a warning, seeing as the children were not harmed and I cleared the mess quite easily.”
“What?” Snape hissed.
He turned away from her and raced into his classroom, with her following, only to find where the potion once was completely spotless.
“Professor Snape, I understand that you are one of the youngest potion masters and I know that you are capable of what you are doing – but I will not tolerate laziness! There are safety guidelines that you must follow – especially when teaching such a dangerous subject-“
Snape interrupted her, “Do you understand what you have done? What do you believe that you have accomplished here?”
“Hem, hem – I believe this to be entirely unnecessary. A simple ‘thank you’ would be appreciated, Professor.”
“You have no idea of the effects this could have on a particular student,” Snape seethed. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to visit the headmaster.”
Storming away from the mad woman, Snape honestly had no idea what to do next. He would be able to reverse the deaging problem easily, however reversing Harry’s animal counterparts will prove to be difficult.
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