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The Second Meeting

Chapter Text

"There. That should do it." Harry Potter stared into his bathroom mirror where he looked at soft red hair and eyes that were an average, if somewhat bright, hazel. Brushing his bangs aside, he gave a small smile at the scarless forehead. "Should hold for a few hours." Disguise charms had never been his strong point, but this should do for a walk around Diagon Alley.

The silence was all that answered, as it had been for a month now. Better than overprotective friends or attempted sympathy. Really, emotional range the size of a teaspoon, the both of them. Maybe he'd even be able to sneak into Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes and pay full price on a few things. Then again, George would probably know it was him in a heartbeat.

Sighing and giving himself one last look, Harry went over to the fireplace. "I'll be back in a few hours, Kreacher."

"Yes, Master Harry." Still creepy. He at least wasn't trying to kill him in their sleep, though, so that was something. Shaking it off, Harry grabbed a bit of Floo powder and threw it in.

"Leaky Cauldron!" Harry stepped through the fire, knowing that, just like for the past month, he'd be fine, and there'd be no Death Eaters there to greet him. It still took a moment for him to catch his breath, scanning the Leaky Cauldron for any odd things and- Oh. Oh, now that wasn't odd, but it was interesting. There was Draco Malfoy, looking like he'd just gotten there, sat down for a pint and giving Tom his money.

Walking over and knowing he was too curious for his own good, Harry leaned against the bar counter, giving a grin. "Didn't know you were staying here, Malfoy." Draco's eyes seemed to widen as he froze up before not looking up at him. Hah. Pretending he wasn't there wouldn't make him go away. Harry let him have a moment of pretending to look anywhere but at him, trying not to laugh. "You know, there's a point where avoiding looking at me gets a bit obvious." Cute. He kept ignoring him, looking oh so very interested in his drink. Not that it would work. "Malfoy."

"I have a first name, you know," he finally snapped back at Harry, glaring at his glass. He always was cute when he was throwing a fit. Harry knew he was grinning like an idiot, but he didn't bother to hide it.

"Alright, then. There's a point where ignoring me gets a bit obvious, Draco." Saying the man's name... It felt right.

"Apologies. I would think the 'Savior of the Wizarding World' wouldn't want to be caught around a former Death Eater," Draco grumbled quietly, tracing the rim of his glass with his fingertip as Harry's eyes followed it.

"You know, I really couldn't care less what people think about me," Harry said, looking up as Tom came over with a glass. "Thanks," he murmured to the man before looking back at Draco. "Also, I'm not exactly 'Savior of the Wizarding World' right now."

"You saved it from the Darkest Wizard. That makes you a Savior, Potter."

"Unbelievable," Harry laughed, and, honestly. Draco hadn't even bothered to look at him and his disguise charms yet. "Maybe try looking over at me, Draco." Draco sighed, finally looking over at him. "Like I said. I'm not the Savior, right now."

"What the bloody hell did you do," Draco hissed, kicking him under the table, and, ow, jeez. Unable to help himself, he swatted at Draco's arm with a huff.

"I just used some glamour spells and disguise charms. I don't exactly want to be mobbed for going out and getting a drink."

"You look bloody awful, you smarmy git!"

"Gee, thanks for the compliment," Harry snorted. In a roundabout way, maybe Draco was telling him that he liked Harry's natural looks better? "Really, I can tell it comes from the heart. Deep felt sentiment, and-" Draco kicked him again in the shin. And maybe one more time for good measure.

"Shut up, Potter." Really, was he not supposed to laugh- Ah, speaking of 'Malfoy' and 'Potter'.

"You know, I do have a first name, Draco."

"Yes, and I've heard nothing but your name for years," Draco pointed out, glancing to the front cover of the Daily Prophet someone had open at a nearby table.

"So you should know it, then. What are you doing here, anyways? Shouldn't you be home?"

"Shouldn't you be with those Weasleys of yours?"

"As much as they're my family, I can only take so much of the Weasleys, Draco." Especially when Molly, Ginny, and Hermione all teamed up to worry about him. That was when it was at it's worst. "Besides, I didn't want to interfere with business too much."

"...I meant to apologize." Wait, what?

"Apologize? About what?" Draco gave him a look and, ah, right. "Well, I figured you already knew I forgave you for all of that. It's in the past, right?" Draco stared at him for a moment before shaking his head with a sigh.

"You will never make sense to me." Well. That made two of them, at least. Draco... He was a mystery, still. The only one Harry had never solved.

"Yeah, I've heard that a lot," Harry gave a weak smile, sipping at his drink for a moment to try and think of something else to talk about. "How've you been, then?"

"Aurors follow me to make sure I don't kill anyone and the Ministry has my wand." Choking on his drink, Harry looked up with wide eyes and they what?!

"They what- You were found innocent with probation! They can't just- Just take your wand!"

"I'm on probation, Potter, and I'm formerly a Death Eater. They can do whatever they damn well please."

"That's so stupid." How could- How could they just take the wand of someone deemed innocent? The world may have been saved from Voldemort, but not from Ministry incompetency. "I know they're worried about safety, but that's just over the line."

"It's still better than Azkaban," Draco muttered, leaning back in his seat. It was a moment before Harry spoke, voice going soft.

"Do you ever wish you could have done it differently? The Battle, the War, Hogwarts? Just... Go back and change it." Because they may have won, but at what cost? Everything was so- So different.

"All the time." Go back and change things... That'd be amazing. Merlin knew he could have changed enough if he had just done a few small things differently. If he had caught on to who Pettigrew was sooner, if he hadn't gone to the Ministry that night in fifth year, if he had realized about how he was a horcrux sooner. Watching Draco's gaze go outside and land on Madam Malkin's, Harry felt a tired grin appear on his face. How much would have changed if he had just been nicer to Draco Malfoy?

If only he- Wait. He was supposed to meet with Ron and George today, wasn't he? Tugging out his pocket watch and looking at the time, Harry felt like smacking himself. He was late. "Shit, knew I was forgetting about something. Sorry, Draco, looks like I have to go. Although I'll enjoy bothering you later."

"I'm sure." Draco didn't look at him again, only continued to stare out the window. He was so different from how he used to be... Finishing his drink quickly, Harry left a few coins on the table before heading out back towards the entrance of Diagon Alley. As usual, his conversation with Draco left him overthinking everything. Maybe this was what Ron felt like with Hermione. Talking with Draco felt like trying to find the answers of the universe.

It was an interesting thought, though. If he could go back and change things, maybe less people would have died during the war. Maybe he could have saved more- God. So many had died. Some of them were just kids and even those who had died 'of age' were still just- They were kids. All of them were. They were kids that had to grow up too quick. Fuck, he was running late. Harry opened the Wheeze's door, bringing down his disguise charms as he looked around.

There were a few people in and looking at things and a group of students over by the snack boxes. Harry was rather relieved that some things never changed. He got three more steps in before there was an arm around his shoulders and George was beaming at him. "Harry! Glad to see you could make it. We thought you might've stood us up, to be honest." George paused, seeming like he was waiting for a response, which Harry quickly gave.

"No, just, ah, ran into an old friend at the Leaky. Where's Ron?" Harry was thankful that George didn't seem to be aware of his pause, only rolling his eyes and pointing to where Ron was chatting up a group of Hogwarts students.

"Making the rounds. I swear, he's better at this than I would have thought. Might have to actually start paying him."

Harry grinned up at him. "Pay him? He's family. He gets the family discount rate." Instead of laughing and joking, George gave Harry a small, honest smile.

"Thanks, mate." Ah, he had noticed the pause, then. "C'mon, then, let's get you upstairs and hide you before Mom gets here."

"Wait, she's coming? I thought it was just us three!"

"She might be coming. We threw her off the trail by saying you were at Grimmauld, but she'll probably track you down to here by the end of the day." George pushed him along towards the back area. "Oi, Ron! Harry's here!"

"Harry! Get in here, just made a little something!" Ooh, that could be very bad depending on what it was Ron made.

"One second, George, your little brother is about to kill me."

"Mate, you've got to take a look at this." Ron held... He just had an ink pot. "So, think about it. You're in class, bored out of your mind, you have your Sugar Quill, but it's not up to snuff." Ron held out a quill and dipped the feather into the pot, immediately putting it into his mouth.

"Right. So instead you give yourself brain damage by drinking ink." Pausing, Harry gave the pot a light little sniff, and, huh. It smelled sweet. "Candy ink?"

"Chocolate ink! Teachers won't know because have you heard mom complain about how hard it is to get chocolate out of anything?" Grabbing the quill and tasting a bit himself, Harry gave a quiet hum. It was good, at least.

"I think you're giving the teachers too little credit, mate. Chocolate isn't as easy to write with as ink."

Ron frowned, taking the quill and ink back. "You write with chocolate a lot?" Oh, boy.

"It's a good prototype. Try to make it more ink like and it'll be great." Harry patted at Ron's shoulder. "Now get me out of here in case your Mum shows up."

"Right, right. Hey, George! Tell him the plan!"

"Plan? What plan?" Harry looked between the two. "I don't like when you two have a plan."

"How we're going to get everything up and going again with Hogwarts orders."

::

In between helping Ron and George with the shop, Harry had taken to wandering around Diagon Alley in his disguise and observing all the people going about their daily business. He wasn't really sure why he did it, but it was... It was nice to watch people go about their lives without the fear of death over their heads. Maybe- Oh, now this was perfect. "Skulking around again, Draco?"

Draco, from where he was walking by, immediately bristled, glaring. "Potter. Following me again? Thought you'd been there, done that." Oh, it was so easy to rile him up, and there was nothing so great as a riled up Draco Malfoy.

"Easy there, Draco," Harry laughed. It was still amazing Draco could tell who he was without even looking. "I was just curious. I don't see you around much, anymore."

"I don't much like being attacked or followed. My apologies, I wasn't aware you needed to know of my every movement." As usual, Draco was hissing and snapping like a cornered snake. It was almost cute.

"You're as bitter as my tea. I wasn't following you, and I don't much care about your every movement. I just... You seemed a little down." Which was true. Draco had seemed- Jeez, Harry didn't know how to describe the sorrow in that gaze when he saw Draco looking around. It was like he'd never see this place again.

"And what do you know? Resting on your laurels not enough for you? Trying to lock up or kill another Dark wizard?" Draco held his arms out. "Here I am."

"You know, I almost forgot how dramatic you were." It was a fight not to laugh. "You're not a Dark wizard, Draco. And I think after all the shit of the last seven years, 'resting on my laurels' is well deserved. Same for you."

Draco scoffed at that. "Me? What laurels? I don't have a wand, Potter. That's not exactly a luxury I can afford. And seeing as I have more of an affinity for Dark than I do Light, I'd say that classifies me as a Dark Wizard. But then what do you know. Being raised by muggles."

Mm, that was a fair point. Maybe age had mellowed him out since Harry was getting nowhere near as angry as he used to when talking to Draco. "Not much, really. Ron and Hermione usually fill in the blanks, though."

"Why aren't you fighting back?! Why aren't you screaming at me like everyone else?! Why are you treating me like-" Oh, Draco.

"Like a decent human being?" Harry raised an eyebrow, flicking Draco in the forehead rather halfheartedly. Honestly, the git. "Contrary to what you and everyone says, you deserve a second chance, too. This war... It's caused enough pain. I don't want to add to it by writing you off as someone I hated in school."

"Why not? You never used to care. You were just trying to win. What changed?" Draco was panting, trying to catch his breath from where he'd been near screaming. Plenty of people were throwing him dirty looks, but no one said anything. That could've been because Harry was glaring at them all. At least his glare carried across well.

"I realized we were all screwed over." Harry turned to lean against the brick wall of the shop they were in front of, trying to stay calm so maybe Draco could be calm as well. "You were dragged into all of this as much as I was. I know we're never going to be friends, not really, but... Potter and Malfoy don't have to be bitter rivals to the end." Draco glared at him for a moment, glancing at the shop and oh... Oh. Of all the shops.

"I wasn't the one that made that decision." No... No, he wasn't. Harry had been the one to turn Draco away. Draco's intentions may not have been the best, but his offer of friendship had been genuine then.

"No, you weren't... That's probably one of the things I wish I could change most," Harry sighed, looking up at the sign that advertised Madame Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. "You would have been a good friend." Draco crossed his arms and leaning on the wall on the other side of the door. Harry could tell he was a little bit touched, even if he didn't want to admit it.

"I would have been, yes." Maybe more things would have changed just by that simple change of them being friends. Potter and Malfoy really didn't have to be rivals until the bitter end.

"We're never gonna be friends, are we?" Harry was looking up at the sign, thoughtful because that was just it. If Draco didn't want to be, then that was that. They would never be friends.

"Seeing as I'm leaving, I highly doubt it," Draco said quietly, his head turned away. Harry stared because what? Draco was- He was leaving? That... Maybe that was for the best. Draco would be better if he lived somewhere other than here.

"Can't say I'm surprised. You never seemed the type to stay in one place for long," Harry chuckled. It wasn't a very happy sound, but Draco would be happy. Maybe? "Will you be happy? Where you're going?" Draco stared at him, looking him over with a wrinkled nose. Harry took the time to look back, gaze caught on Draco's eyes. As grey as storm clouds with the exact same promise.

"I don't know." A silence fell over them, although for once it wasn't tense. It was... Quiet. Peaceful. As if they could both pretend to be someone else for a moment.

"You deserve happiness, you know." Harry's tone was soft, near lost in the bustle of Diagon Alley. "You may be a 'Dark wizard,' and a right prat at times, but... You're not a bad person."

"Yeah? You're a bloody git. Are we just saying things that are true, now?" Draco looked to be hiding a smile, Harry not bothering to hide his own.

"It's always helpful to state the facts," Harry laughed, pushing himself off the wall and looking over to Draco with a smile that he knew looked as heartbreaking as it felt. "I'm never going to see you again, am I?"

"No. You're not." Which, really. Harry should be thankful for that. They had been a pain in each other's sides for years, but... Ah, that Potter luck. Harry had realized what Draco meant to him much too late.

"I should be pretty happy, huh?" Harry laughed, running a hand through his hair and making it stick up in the back even more. "You've been a pain in my ass since day one, yet... I think I might end up missing you a little. No one else made Hogwarts so fun, after all." He was going to miss him so much.

"Really? I would have thought you'd had enough fun nearly dying every year." Draco's hand twitched a little, the other looking almost amused.

"You would think," Harry laughed, smile softening as he looked at Draco before sticking his hand out. "If I'm never going to see you again, then I want you to know that even though we didn't have the best of beginnings... I'm glad I met you." Please. Just one last attempt.

Draco took his hand. "Now I'll have to wash off the stench of muggle. Thanks for that." Draco and Harry...

It would have had a good sound to it.

::

Right. Draco leaving. Draco being gone for days. Draco leaving could mean he was leaving Britain or the wizarding world. If it was the latter, then Harry didn't have too much to worry about, but if it was the former... Well. Maybe he could at least keep in touch? Find a new address so Harry could mail him letters just to annoy him? Mm. Maybe his mum would know where he went. Draco and his mum always did seem pretty close, the way he seemed to always go on about her in school, and how they were inseparable during that last part of the battle. And plus, Harry wouldn't have to worry about seeing Lucius.

Narcissa didn't seem to hate him, either, at least not judging by their last interaction. Harry could just pop by, check in, and hopefully not get hexed when he admitted he was looking for Draco. So, really, knocking on the giant front doors of Malfoy Manor wasn't that intimidating, when he thought about it like that. Right. Just. Keep calm and keep it light.

"Hello- Oh." Narcissa looked at him with surprise. At least there wasn't hatred. "Mr. Potter. I didn't expect to see you here. May I help you with anything?"

"Um, hello, Mrs. Malfoy. Ma'am? I just- I know that most of the time I probably wouldn't- Well, no, I would, but- I just, it's been kinda- I've been wondering maybe-"

"Would you like to come inside for some tea?" Oh, uh, what? "Yes? Good. I'll have the elves prepare some at once." Narcissa walked away, leaving the door open.

"Oh, um, uh... Yeah. Thanks," Harry said hesitantly, slowly following after her. The Manor looked to be in much better condition than the last time he had been there. The elves had probably gotten it back into shape once everything settled down.

"Mipsy. We'll take tea in the east sitting room, please. Bring along some biscuits, as well."

"Yes, Mistress Malfoy." Mistress? Was that her official title? That sounded kind of official. That sounded very official.

"This way, Harry." Narcissa led him along and Harry had the feeling he should probably follow.

"Oh, yeah, uh, yes ma'am." Harry followed her into a sitting room that was colored with light shades of blue and looked out onto a beautiful, sunny garden. The light fell in just so that the chairs and table in the center of the room were perfectly lit. Harry wondered how many spells had been used to make it look so perfect.

"So, you came to find out where Draco went, then?" Narcissa took a seat on the small couch, sitting down and looking up at Harry with a sharp gaze.

"Oh, um. Yes, ma'am." Harry sat down as well. "I ran into him in Diagon Alley, and he mentioned he was leaving..."

"He told me that he wasn't leaving Britain, but beyond that he didn't mention where exactly he was going."

Oh. That... That was it? "That's all he told you?" Draco seemed like such a mama's boy. He really was another Dudley, at times. Harry rose to his feet and began to pace. "What was he doing that was so important- So dangerous that he wouldn't tell you?"

"I'm not certain, but if he was doing anything dangerous than I'm absolutely certain he wouldn't have told me." Well, that could be true. Draco probably wouldn't want to worry Narcissa if he didn't have to. "Wherever he is, he looked happy to be going there, in the end. I won't say I don't miss him, but I know he will be alright."

"But- But something could still happen to him. None of us even know where he is!"

"If you'll pardon my asking, why do you care? I rather thought you two didn't get along." That... That was probably putting it lightly. "Why do you care about my son?"

"I-" Oh, boy. That was a question. "Well, I- You see, it's not that I hated him, I don't think I ever really hated him I think I just thought I did-"

"You love him." Narcissa Malfoy was the most terrifying woman in existence right behind Molly Weasley. "And you didn't realize until he left, did you?"

"I... Well, no, I had realized before," he finally admitted. "I just never did anything about it."

"And you want to do something now," Narcissa sighed. Harry almost could have sworn she smiled. "You'll have to find him on your own, dear."

Harry sighed. "Alright. Thank you, anyway." Still in Britain. He was still in Britain. Somehow. Where would Draco go if he was still in Britain? The muggle world?

"You will be staying for tea, won't you?" Harry had a feeling that saying no wasn't really an option.

"Oh, yes ma'am. Of course." One cup of tea wouldn't hurt, he supposed.

Harry fidgeted until the tea was delivered, Narcissa looking quite content to allow Harry to worry himself into paranoia as she was silent for what felt like hours- "How have you been?"

"Huh? Oh, uh, fine?" How had he been? "I mean, not fine fine, but I mean, I guess fine after being the Savior of the Wizarding World and ending this big war? But I mean, I'm fine."

"It's quiet, isn't it." Wha- What? "I've never been an idiot, Mr. Potter. I know you live in Grimmauld Place. It's quiet when it's so empty, isn't it."

"Oh, no, no, I never thought you were- Well, I mean, Draco had to get all his smarts from someone? And you know, he was only ever behind Hermione in a few subjects, I'm pretty sure he beat her in a couple, a year or two, she never stopped complaining anytime he did it. And, I mean, Si- Sirius told me about how you were his favorite cousin and how you and Andromeda were always holed away in the library, so it makes sense that Draco's probably the same."

Narcissa stared at him for a few moments before she- She laughed? "It seems you're more like my cousin than I would have thought." Sirius? Why would she say that? "You really are quite enamoured with him, aren't you. I shouldn't be surprised. All he ever did was talk about you."

"Wait, he- He did? Really?" He talked about him? He talked about him to his mum? That- That was great. That was amazing.

"All the time. Granted the words were rather vitriol when he was younger, but the tone became much more fond over the years. I can only assume it was the same for you."

"I… don't know what that means, but thank you?" Oh, no. Narcissa looked to be trying not to laugh. It probably wasn't a good thing, then. Dammit.

"You're quite sweet, aren't you? That's good. That's very good." This was a very strange day.

"Thank you?" Right, right, Draco. "I just- I know he's probably doing that whole dramatic punishing himself thing because of everything and he really doesn't deserve that, he didn't want to be a part of all of this, he didn't know what he was getting into and by the time he knew, it was too late and people were counting on him, and-"

"Harry, Harry, it's alright, just breathe." Was he not breathing? He was pretty sure he was breathing. "I know that both of you suffered terribly in this war, and you're right. He might be punishing himself, but I have no right to stop him if he's trying to atone for his past deeds. Neither, I believe, do you."

"But- But he doesn't have anything that needs to be forgiven!" That was the whole point of all of this! Draco- Draco had just done what he needed to.

"He believes he does, though."

"But he doesn't, that's the whole point! If he's trying something dangerous so that he can 'atone' or whatever for something he doesn't even need to be forgiven for-"

"Then I have no doubt you'll find him and stop him." Narcissa set her cup down, fixing Harry with a gentle, yet stern look. "He won't tell me where he went, but from what I've heard you are very good at stopping his 'schemes.' So, if he didn't tell me, who would he tell?"

"I don't..." But he did know. Not C... Not Goyle, they were just bodyguards. Allies. Zabini and Parkinson. "Thanks, Mrs. Malfoy."

"If you find him, make sure you give him a smack for me, yes, darling?" Harry finally grinned, laughing.

"I'll definitely be sure to, ma'am."

"Good. Now, please do finish these biscuits."

"Oh, right, yeah."

Chapter Text

Three months. It had been three months since that day at the Manor with Narcissa and no one had seen Draco since Harry had seen him. The papers had a field day about 'the escaped Death Eater' the first week and then there hadn't been one mention of him since - and Harry had combed the paper back to front. He'd even stopped and checked in a couple times with the Aurors to ask about him, and they all had the same information. Nothing. How could someone so well known, so watched just disappear like that? And the crazy part was none of his friends seemed to really care!

Hermione was saying that maybe it was a good thing Draco was gone, Ron was glad as could be, and Zabini and Parkinson refused to return any of his letters or get in touch with him! It had been three months since Harry had spoken with Narcissa, and he couldn't go back to her if he hadn't even found Draco to begin with. He needed to think like Draco.

If he wanted to atone for his part in the war, how would he do that? He would want to fix his mistakes, but how did one fix a mistake like death? There had- There had to be something. Some clue that Harry was missing. Draco had said he was leaving, but he also said he wasn't leaving Britain. That day, though, Draco seemed certain he would never see Harry again... Or. Or Harry would never see him again. He hadn't seemed to have any clue what he was going to do, that day in the Leaky Cauldron. Something Harry said, something he said in the Cauldron had given him some sort of crazy, hare-brained idea.

So think. What had he said. What had he done to change the mind of Draco Malfoy and make him disappear from the world entirely-

"Do you ever wish you could have done it differently? The Battle, the War, Hogwarts? Just... Go back and change it."

Oh... Oh, no.

That was how Harry came into the Burrow through the Floo, looking at them all with wide eyes. "Draco went back in time!" To the credit of the Weasleys, none of them laughed. Although George and Ginny did exchange looks while Hermione hide her face and Ron stared at him with a look that said he was being an idiot. "No- No, look, I know what you're all thinking, but it makes sense. It explains everything!"

"It explains everything," Ron said with a raised eyebrow. "Like the fact we're all still alive and nothing's been changed." No- Alright, okay, that one was a bit weird-

"Look, time is weird, okay, but I'm absolutely sure of it- See, we were talking, and I mentioned about going back and changing things, and he said he was leaving, but he's not leaving Britain, and I mean, it's been three months, no one can find him. So what other option can there be besides time travel- It makes sense. Hermione, back me up."

"Harry. Firstly, that is not at all how time travel works, if he had gone back, he would have eventually had to have come forward again and we would have seen him. Secondly, how is he supposed to have travelled back in time with every time turner destroyed?"

"I don't know! Maybe he found one that wasn't, or someone made a new one, or he found some other way to time travel besides the time turners- I mean, there's gotta be more ways to travel than just those things, right? And what if- What if he went back in time, but not our time. Isn't that a thing? Parallel dimensions?"

"And how do you suppose he did that? We never went back into parallel dimensions." That was a good point, actually. It made sense. Draco Malfoy would do something as stupid as going back in time, but that didn't explain why everything was unchanged.

"Yeah, but we only went back a few hours at most, right?" What happened if someone went back further? "What if he went back years, though?"

"You think I didn't research everything and anything time travel? It is impossible for wizards to go that far back, right now. There's only one man that was able to make the time turners to begin with, and he's retired." ...Retired people had a lot of time on their hands- Hah. Time.

"Wait- Wait, the person who made time turners is still alive and retired, then?" If he made another, or improved upon the original, then Draco could have used that. It was crazy, but it was possible.

Hermione rolled her eyes at him. "I know what you're thinking. He's retired. Absolutely and completely."

"Yeah- Yeah. Okay. Say, hey, do you have a name for this bloke? Just- Just you know. Curiosity, and all that." If Draco had gone to see him, then he would know where Draco was- No. He would know when Draco was.

"Fine. Just because I know you won't quit until you're proved wrong. His name is Howard Dunsworth." Howard Dunsworth. He had a name, now he just needed an address. He would just... Right. He would just find someone who would know where he lived. Ministry, maybe? Ministry would be too questioning. Who was a person that seemed to know everything about the Wizarding World who wouldn't report him to the Weasleys, or to the Ministry. Once upon a time, he would have thought Dumbledore, but... Oh. Maybe not Dumbledore, but the Headmaster-

Or, well. He supposed he should say the Headmistress.

::

It was amazing that even though a part of him felt like he should be afraid at being inside Hogwarts when it was still so broken and worn down, near every other part was relaxed at being home. The portraits all greeted him, though seemed to be a bit upset he wasn't there for the 'eighth year.' Hermione was mostly doing some independent study, so they at least got to see her most of the time. Harry got a bit distracted talking to a few of them, but finally got to the gargoyles, wincing at seeing one still on his side.

"Hell of a year, huh, mate? Do I need a password, or can I just go up?" Not a word from the gargoyles, just the stairs appearing for him. Right. They probably weren't very fond of him. "Sorry." Stepping past them, and pausing long enough to at least levitate the fallen one back on its 'feet', Harry headed up the stairs and gave the door a light knock.

"Come in," he heard, suddenly feeling eleven years old again. Taking a breath, Harry pushed the door open, closing it gently behind him as he took a few steps forward.

"Afternoon, Professor- Or, er, Headmistress."

"Mr. Potter." Oh. She was actually smiling at him. "And to what do I owe this unexpected visit?"

"Oh, um, well, that- That is a great question, Headmistress." There was a very familiar scoff of derision from one of the portraits, Harry doing his absolute best to not look in that direction. "I, uh... Well- It's sort of- I, um- You know people."

McGonagall rose an eyebrow. "I would prefer to believe as much, at least, I suppose." Flushing and clearing his throat, Harry tried to get his thoughts together.

"I actually came here to see if you know someone in particular. His- His name is Howard Dunsworth?"

"Howard Dunsworth. And for what sort of reason do you need to know about a retired Ministry worker?" Oh. She wasn't smiling anymore. That was good, though. That meant Draco had been here.

"Was he a Ministry worker?" Harry feigned surprise. "Really, Professor, there's no need to be suspicious. Hermione actually told me about him." Mm, might need to tone it back. He sounded too much like Sirius.

"Did she? And what all did she tell you?" Oh. Okay. That was a very good question.

"That he could help with a problem I'm having." Not a lie! Technically! "I was hoping I could speak to him sooner rather than later." McGonagall seemed to stare at him before sighing.

"I can't say I didn't expect this. I take it this is about the disappearance of Mr. Malfoy."

"You know something?" Oh, of course. Who else would Draco go to? McGonagall may have been stern, but she would give everyone a chance - even Death Eaters and Slytherins. Instead of answering, McGonagall opened up a bottom drawer of her desk and pulled out a piece of parchment, handing it off to Harry.

"I've done all I can." Raising an eyebrow, Harry looked down to the slip of paper. It was Howard's name, the address he was after, and two simple words. Time Twister, next to McGonagall's signature.

"I'll be sure to tell everyone that you told me no and to get out of your office as soon as you saw me."

"Really, Mr. Potter, I would think after seven years you would be better at lying to your professors."

"I'll be sure to get better at it, ma'am." It looked like he would have the time to do so, after all. "Professor? Um... Thank you. For everything."

"Just... Try not to cause too much trouble, Harry."

Not even half an hour later and Harry found himself outside the cottage of Howard Dunsworth with nothing but his wand and the piece of parchment McGonagall had given him. Really, he supposed that was all he needed. Sucking in a breath, Harry gave a solid knock to the door. The door opened and- Oh, wow. He was a lot like Slughorn, wasn't he? "Hello, how may I- Good lord." Yeah, yep, there it was.

"Hi. Yep, yeah. Harry Potter. Did a ferrety blond come around about three months, four days ago?" The man looked at him for what felt like an eternity before giving a slow nod.

"A young Draco Malfoy did visit, yes. He wanted to know more about the work I did at the Ministry."

"Yes! That! That is what I'm here for. We were... working together."

"Were you?" Okay, not so much like Slughorn. "He didn't mention working with Harry Potter, and that doesn't seem like something that slips the mind so easily."

"Yeah, no, it doesn't. He just likes to not talk about it. He mentioned how you were maybe able to give us some answers?"

"And what exactly, Mr. Potter, were you two working together on?"

"Time travel."

"So it seems." Dunsworth stared him down for a moment before sighing and opening the door. "At least that last one brought me some nice tea. Well, come in, before the warm gets out. Ruddy ridiculous the cold is this fall."

Harry hurried inside. "Right, sorry, I didn't know-"

"I expect not, Minerva always was a clever old bird. So, you want to know where young Mr. Malfoy went, then?"

"N- No. I want to know when he went."

"Ah, asking the right questions already, I see." Dunsworth moved them into a little sitting room, flicking his wand at an empty tea set that started gathering itself together. "I'm rather confused, you see, though. Mr. Malfoy told me that no one would be looking for him- Or at least, he implied as much."

"Like I said, we were... We weren't ever really on the right foot, but- I have to go after him." If it was one thing he was absolutely sure of, it was that he had to go after Draco.

"Yes, well. I'm afraid that might be a little difficult. Time travel, you see, is a very precise thing. It's an exact science- Oh, yes, wizards know of science, too. What I'm saying, Harry Potter, is that you might not be able to go back." Lying. He was lying. A test?

"You said might. That means I can still go after him." Because he- He couldn't leave Draco alone.

"You're quite serious, aren't you." Dunsworth sighed, picking up the teacup that was floating around him. "It is possible that even if you go back, you won't find the Draco Malfoy of this time."

"But it's possible I will." As with every other teacher and adult before, Dunsworth looked a bit pale as he stared at Harry and realized he was dead serious.

"Good lord. McGonagall sent me a note ahead warning me, but I though she was exaggerating."

Harry couldn't help but grin. "I'm the Boy Who Lived Twice. I bet my life on impossible odds every year."

"This isn't like a time turner, you know. You could get stuck as a five-year-old, or you could only go back to last week! Even if you go back in time, you might end up in a timeline where You-Know-Who won and is King, or some such rot!"

"Well, then I guess I'd have to kill him again." Alright, it was a bit amusing to see Dunsworth sputter and choke on his tea. Hopefully that wouldn't make him say no.

"You'll never see your friends or family again- At least, not this version of them." That...

"...Then I guess I have to tell them." Because it had been three months and no one had heard from Draco. He couldn't do that to his friends.

"Do you really understand what you're doing?" Dunsworth gave him a look that reminded him equally of both Dumbledore and Tom Riddle.

Harry paused before nodding. "I'm saving a ferret from himself. If I can't do that much, I can't be called a savior."

"Oh, bloody hell," Dunsworth muttered. "Alright- Alright. Come back in three days. Eleven sharp. Maybe you'll change your mind before then and I won't be blamed for offing the savior of the Wizarding World."

"Three days. Eleven sharp. Got it. I, uh, I'll try to bring tea?"

"Chamomile, if you would, dear boy." Yeah. Yep. Slughorn of a sort. Must've been a Slytherin thing. "Go on, then."

::

"Harry. You're back." Nodding, Harry accepted Hermione's hug, and, right. Just had to tell them he'd never see them again.

"Yeah. Didn't take as long as I thought."

Hermione was smiling when she pulled away from him. "Are you finally going to put all of this to rest?" Oh, boy.

"I, uh- Well, first off, I want to start off by saying I was right, you know. Dunsworth, the guy who made the time turners? Draco was there. So I was right about the time travel."

Hermione' eyes widened, but it was Ron that spoke, "You were right? And Hermione was wrong?"

"Well- I wouldn't say she was wrong, but she wasn't completely totally right, either, but, uh, yeah. Time travel. Draco went back to the past, but also kind of a different past? I think the whole other dimension thing was true, too, but I kind of forgot to ask more about that."

"You forgot. Hang on, he really did travel back in time? And... And we haven't seen him in three months? Has his mother? Did you ask Astoria Greengrass?"

"I talked to Narcissa and she hasn't seen him and he didn't tell her where he was going- Well, he kind of did, but not really, but it makes sense, and yes, he did, but maybe it wasn't this time- Hang on. Why would I ask Astoria Greengrass?" Who was Astoria Greengrass?

"Because last I had heard, three months ago, he was well on his way to courting her."

"Yeah, mate, you didn't hear? Kinda made a big thing, cause everyone thought no one would ever give the ferrety little git a chance."

"He- What? He was courting someone?" Draco Malfoy. Draco Malfoy had been courting- Ugh. That was horrible. "Yeah, well, I doubt he'd tell her anything about all of this."

"Why not? I heard they were close," Hermione frowned.

"Yeah, but- But it's Draco. He'd never tell someone he barely knew about this- And how close could they be? We never even really heard of her when we were in school and he never mentioned her once."

That had both of them frowning. "Astoria Greengrass? She's Daphne's little sister." Daphne. Daphne Greengrass. Nn. Maybe he heard the name once or twice?

"Still don't know her. Still don't care."

"Harry!" Oh no. He'd been hoping to avoid that one. He still had two more days. Right. Okay. He just had to work up the courage to tell Molly Weasley, the woman who had pretty much adopted him, that he would never see her again.

"Hi, Mrs. Weasley. I think I just remembered that I'm due to be somewhere very important. Right now this second."

"Harry James Potter! You sit yourself down in this kitchen this instant and have a fresh, home-cooked meal! Honestly, dear, you waste away by the day!"

"I'm- I'm really okay, Mrs. Weasley-" Harry didn't even get a step back before he bumped into George who was dragging him into the kitchen and no- No! "George, mate, please, have mercy."

"Come on, Harry. Mum cooked this great meal. Not even gonna try a little?"

"You're just sacrificing me so you can get away," Harry grumbled, giving up completely. There really was no escaping the Weasleys when they were worried about him.

"Yeah, just a little." George clapped him on the shoulder before sitting him down firmly at the table. Harry made sure to stick his tongue out as soon as Molly's back was turned.

"Traitor." At least he only had to eat two helpings in order to get away. He used to have to eat three, at least.

"Now. I know there's something you want to tell me. I can see it. So, what is it?"

"Oh. Oh, uh- That- Um." Shit. Shit, shit, shit. Why was she such a mom? "I... I am, uh, you see, I'm- I'm moving! Yes, aha, moving. Somewhere." Not- Not a lie?

"Moving? Well good for you, dear! Where are you moving to? Have you already found a place?" Oh, boy. Okay, time to lie without lying. He could do that.

"Oh, um, I'm- It should be pretty close by, kind of. I haven't- Not really- I mean I haven't really found a place, yet. I'm still deciding- Looking." Close enough?

"Well, once you do, you let Arthur and I know, alright?" Giving as noncommittal a hum as he could, Harry suddenly felt a lot less hungry. If he pulled this off then he would see everyone again like it was nothing, but... They wouldn't remember some of the things he did, and this family was one he'd never see again. Molly hugged Harry tightly. "So. Ronald tells me you were off looking for Death Eaters."

"Did he." Harry shot as strong of a glare as he could over to Ron. "I wouldn't- I wouldn't really put it like that, Mrs. Weasley, but, um, yeah, I was trying to find out where Draco Malfoy went."

"Oh, no, dear. I'd put it like that. What business do you have caring where such a- A-"

"A man trying to repent and atone for his past deeds?" Harry suggested weakly. "I, uh, it's- It's a very long story, Mrs. Weasley."

Molly seemed to stare at him before sitting across from him. "I have time."

"Oh. Oh, um. Right. Story. Uh..." Harry stared at Molly, fidgeting in his seat and oh, Merlin, please someone save him. "It might take a while. We can always put it off?"

"Come on, Harry," she said, taking one of his hands in hers. "Tell me all about it."

"Oh, jeez." Well. He could at least tell her why he had been looking for Draco, right? "Well, um. I guess it sort of started around the end of third year? Beginning of fourth? It, um. Just listen before saying anything, okay?"

Molly smiled at him. "Alright, dear. I won't say a word."

That was how Harry found himself telling Molly Weasley of all people just how exactly he had fallen in love with Draco Malfoy. He may have gotten off track a few times here and there, but at the end of it she was still sitting there and he was pretty sure all the food that had been on the stove was now cold. "Oh, Harry dear... You're going to go after him, aren't you?"

"I... Mrs. Weasley, what choice do I have- Or, no, I know I have a choice, but- I've already chosen him. I think I kind of always have chosen him." Molly seemed to bite her lip before she was standing and coming around the table, pulling Harry into a great hug.

"At least stay here until you leave, then." That... His last few days staying with the Weasleys didn't sound so bad, he guessed.

"I can do that." He practically lived in Ron's room, anyways, with how much of his stuff was in there.

"Good. Good." Molly patted him before sitting him back down and getting a plate together for him, as well as setting it down with a warming charm. "Then you'll be the one to tell everyone."

"Yeah. Yeah, that's fair." He just had to tell everybody that he'd never seen them again. Honestly, Molly was the one he had worried about most. "I mean- Will it make you feel better to know you'll still sort of be looking after me there, too?" Molly smiled at him and hugged him around the shoulders again.

"It will." Good- That was good. Now he just needed to figure out how he was going to tell everybody else that in three days time, he would never be here again.

::

Okay. Okay, okay, okay. Luna and Neville, first. They would be the easiest to tell and also they were the only ones Harry could track down. He was pretty sure Dean and Seamus left the country to get some peace and quiet for a while. They deserved it, and each other. Luna and Neville, though... They would be okay. They were always better off on their own. He had a feeling Luna already knew what he was doing, though, since he was invited over for tea the next day.

"Hello, Harry." Luna hadn't even waited for him to knock before opening the door. "Neville should be here soon."

"Oh, good. That's good- How have you been, Luna?"

"Rather well, all things considered." Luna took Harry's hand and led him inside and back out to the garden where tea was already set up. "It's been quiet since Draco left, but of course things became loud the moment you made your choice."

"Loud?" He never really could understand Luna. "You noticed when he left?" Luna nodded, sitting down and pouring three cups of tea, and, really. He had a feeling he would /never/ understand Luna.

"It was quite clear. You'll be gone after tomorrow." It wasn't very question-like.

"Oh. Yeah, uh... Yeah." Harry sat down. "It's a really long story." He hadn't realized just how long it was until he had been telling Molly yesterday.

"Long stories can be the best stories, if you ask me." Luna set his cup down, made precisely how he liked it, before standing up. "I'll go get Neville, shall I?"

"Is he here already?"

"He will be." Luna disappeared back inside, and, right. Luna. Harry sighed, shaking his head as he sipped the tea- Oh, that was nice.

It was only a minute or so before Luna was leading Neville into the garden and handing him his tea, Neville looking completely used to it all as he sat down beside Harry. "Hey, mate."

"Hey, Neville." Harry smiled at him and nodded. "You doing alright?"

"Well as can be expected. I'm getting a lot more attention when I go out, mind you." Ah, right. There had been quite the number of articles on Neville and his role in the war. He had near taken over the school with Ginny's help. "You?"

"I... Not great," he admitted with a sigh. "But I think I'll be better, soon." That had Neville looking at him curious and Luna giving a serene smile.

"He feels the same, you know."

That had Harry grinning. "I... I didn't, but thanks. That helps."

"Oh, yes. It's quite obvious, really," Luna nodded. "Before you leave, may I give you some advice?" Huh. She didn't usually ask when it came to giving advice.

"Yeah, Luna. Of course." Her advice was usually dead on, so a little more couldn't go amiss.

"I find that there are times where a snake's silence is much more effective than a lion's roar."

"A snake's silence... Thanks. I'll definitely try to keep that in mind." A snake's silence. Slytherin? Did she mean that they could fix things if they trusted Slytherin? That- It would actually make sense, a little.

"It's alright. You'll remember when you need to. Stay with us for a while longer?"

"Yeah. Of course. You know I will. Oh yeah, Nev, I'm gonna go back in time. I'm leaving for good." Harry could really see that Neville had grown in the fact that he calmly sipped his tea before giving him a very Hermione-ish look.

"I shouldn't be surprised considering what else you've done the last few years."

Harry gave him a weak grin. "Yeah. You know I've always been a bit insane for him."

"Right. Why don't you explain it while we finish our tea. I might need the time to wrap my head around it all." Neville paused, looking at Harry for a long few moments. "At least it's just going back in time and that means you'll have Ron and Hermione."

"I, uh... Not really, no. I'm going alone."

"Well, yeah, I get that part, but if you're going /back/ then they'll still be there, just a bit younger."

"Oh. Well, yeah. You too. You will be. Just... Yeah."

"Maybe younger me will learn not to follow after you lot when there's danger," Neville sighed nostalgically, bumping his shoulder against Harry's after a moment. "We'll miss you, you know."

Harry smiled and nodded. "I know. But none of you need a savior, anymore." Neville and Luna both smiled at him and right. Right. Even with such a big decision looming over his head, he couldn't help but smile back. He always did do better when he had a plan. Now was the last step.

Chapter Text

"Ron? Hermione?" Right. Before he told anyone else, these two deserved to know what was going to happen. "I need to talk to you guys."

"Harry? What is it?" Hermione immediately had all eyes on him, that worried frown there as always. Harry would see them same as always, if a little different, but these two... They would never see him again.

"It's about what I learned the other day when I went to find Howard Dunsworth. The time travel thing."

"What about it?"

"It didn't kill him... Did it?" Surprisingly - or maybe not - the question came from Ron.

"Oh, uh, no. I mean, not as far as I can tell- And it's Draco, you know? He's too stubborn to die from something like that- No, uh, it's actually about finding him."

"Finding him? You think you can find him in another time?" As usual, Hermione caught on first, looking at Harry with wide eyes before they narrowed and oh, dear.

"You're going after him. You're going after him, and you won't be able to come back."

Ron jumped at him, eyes wide as he stared at Harry. "No. No, she's joking. Harry, why aren't you laughing?"

"It's... It's not a joke." He knew Hermione could see reason, but Ron... Merlin, Ron was his brother. He was going to be the one that would be hardest to sway - especially when it came to Draco. "Ron, I can't leave him on his own."

"You what- Of course you can, Harry! What has that two faced snake ever done for us?! I say leave him where he is!" Oh, this was going to be a long talk.

"You know he's not that bad, Ron. At least, not anymore. I mean- God, Ron, he risked angering Voldemort and lied about who I was when we were at the mansion. And he kept trying to stop Crabbe and Goyle from killing us in the Room of Requirement."

"And then he switched right around again to try to save his own arse, you saw it! 'No, stop, I'm a Death Eater!'" Okay, yeah, that one- That one was fair.

"You're gonna hate me for this, but he was probably just trying to stay alive at the time." At the glare, Harry raised his hands peacefully. "Just throwing that out there."

"Mate, I know you've got that weird thing about him, and sorry to break it to you, but he doesn't care about you like that." Yeah, he might have actually believed that at one point, too, but thinking on it... Well.

"I'm actually starting to think that isn't the case."

"Harry," Hermione said quietly. "Ron is right. He was courting Astoria Greengrass."

"And that was a mistake." He was probably trying to hide or pretend to be normal or keep up the Malfoy appearance. Whatever it was, he had left. It couldn't have been that serious.

"Dating my little sister was a mistake too, then?" Okay, Ron was very, very lucky that Harry had more self control than most. He still punched him, but it was in the arm rather than the face.

"You know she wasn't." It hadn't lasted, but Harry had loved Ginny- Had been in love with her, at one point.

"Nah, mom told me two years ago. I was the only real planned one." Ginny. Well. At least Harry wasn't the only one to jump at the sudden eavesdropper.

"Your brothers ruined you," Harry accused.

"What, you're going to chase after a pretty blond and you don't even say goodbye?"

"Hey, that's what I'm trying to do right now!" Okay, saying it like that kind of earned Hermione and Ron's glares. "Just- Give me time to explain all of it?"

Ginny rose an eyebrow. "What is there to explain? You fell for the blond git, so now you're chasing after him." That... Dammit.

"That's the short of it, yeah," Harry sighed, collapsing into the chair that Ginny was leaning against. "Is it that obvious? Like, I know it was obvious, but was it that obvious?"

"I dunno, it seemed pretty obvious."

"Well it wasn't obvious to me!"

"There is a reason we get along so well- Wait." Harry paused, looking between the three of them. "Okay, I get you all being upset it's Draco, but you don't even seem upset that I like- That I like a guy."

Hermione sighed. "Harry, we saw you with Cedric."

"And a bit of Krum."

"The veela didn't get you so bad as Ron."

"Wha- That-!" Harry groaned, burying his face in his hands. "God, you're right."

"Yeah, generally am." Ginny leaned over and pulled Harry into a hug. "You're sure about this, though?" Relaxing at the hug, Harry sighed before dropping his head.

"Yeah... Yeah, Ginny, I'm sure about this."

"You know, I'm never gonna get to see you, again. I mean, yeah, you'll see me, and everything, but..."

"I know." Harry tugged at Ginny until he could hug her back tightly. "I know, but I feel like if I don't do this, then I'll be missing something big, if that makes sense." He heard her sniff, but when she pulled away, she was smiling.

"Yeah. Yeah, I do." Giving a small smile, Harry shook his head, and, really.

"I don't know what I did to deserve you Weasleys."

"Fuck. Fuck, you're really going to do it, aren't you?" Ron was rubbing at his eyes. Hiding a smile, Harry stood up and let Ginny go, moving to pull Ron into a one-armed hug.

"Come on, mate. You don't really need me around. 'Sides, I'm always causing trouble, yeah? Now you can get some peace."

"Yeah, but... But you're my brother. That's like saying I don't need Fred and- Oh, fuck." Yeah. Yeah, that... That was the selfish part of why he wanted to go back. To try and change this fucked up present into something that should have been better.

"You're always going to be my brother, Ron, but I need to do this."

"Fuck, alright, fine... Just- Just as long as you swear we'll be friends again, and you won't turn into some Slytherin prick." Giving a weak laugh, Harry pulled Ron into a proper hug.

"Promise, mate. I'll make sure we're friends even if I have to hold you at wandpoint to make sure of it."

Hermione stared at him before hugging the two of them close. "I don't care if it takes you twenty years, just... Please. Find a way to tell us you're okay, and you're happy."

"I promise on our friendship that I'll find some way to send a message back to you guys." Harry felt as if a weight had been lifted off his shoulders before he paused and waved an arm towards Ginny. "Get over here. Family hug. You too, George, I see you over there lurking." And like that, he felt two more people hugging him, all holding him close.

"Nothing will be the same without you." Yeah. Yeah, it wouldn't, but that was okay. They would all be okay. Harry made sure to give each of them as tight a hug as he could.

"You guys will be fine. You were the ones who kept me alive all this time, after all."

"Yeah, well... Well you kept all of us alive, too."

"That's why I have to go, though. Can you imagine Draco doing well on his own? I mean, he needs someone to look out for him."

"Ferret did just fine on his own." Ron grumbled and huffed, Harry laughing quietly to himself. Those two would never change. He was thankful for that, really.

Lowering his voice, he spoke softly enough that only Ron would really be able to hear him. "I won't be happy here. Not like this. You know that."

"Yeah. You always are good at chasing crazy wizards." Well, that was true enough. Harry glanced back to George, not having heard him say anything yet.

"Oh, don't start doubting now," George laughed, pushing Harry's head down. "Someone in this family deserves to get what they want for once."

"You got rich off a joke shop, Charlie gets to chase dragons, Bill married Fleur, and Percy's overhauling the entire Ministry. Pretty sure I'm not the first."

"No, but you're my favorite sibling." George beamed, completely ignoring Ron and Ginny. "Go get that little ferret of yours and then hit him upside the head for me, okay?" Harry laughed, hugging them all tightly.

"I will. I promise." Right. Now he just had to write a few letters and everything would be taken care of. Hopefully Molly wouldn't be too angry that Harry was going to transfer all of his account holdings to the Weasley vault.

::

Actually, there were a few letters and someone to visit. While Harry had written out his letters to Gringotts, guided Kreacher to Hogwarts, and even wrote a letter to Dudley with Hermione's contact information - just in case the Evans magical blood carried on - there was someone he needed to see in person again. Standing in front of Malfoy Manor, Harry gave a gentle knock to the door. A moment passed and the door opened slowly, a little house elf staring up at him with wide eyes. Poor thing seemed to be shaking. "C- Can Mimsy be helping you, sir?"

"Hello there," Harry smiled, speaking quietly. "I was wondering if you could tell Mrs. Malfoy that I'm here to visit her? I have something to tell her about Draco."

"Yes, sir." The little elf popped off for just a second and in just a minute she was back. "Mistress Malfoy is taking you in the east sitting room, Master Potter."

"Thank you, Mimsy." Harry walked inside, glancing around, and, right. This way for that sitting room. Hopefully.

It looked like he was right, when he walked in to see Narcissa sitting on the couch and smiling. "Harry. Nice to see you again."

"Hello, Mrs. Malfoy. I hope it's okay that I came to visit." He had a feeling that if it wasn't, it would be when he told her that he had found Draco. Sort of.

"Of course it is, Harry. Have you been well?" There was already a teacup out for him when he sat down, Harry trying not to grin too much. Malfoys, honestly.

"Well enough. I thought you might like to know I found out where Draco went- Or, er, when, I suppose." That had Narcissa giving a frown- Oh. That was where his pout came from.

"When? I'm afraid I don't follow." Yeah, that was fair.

"He was telling the truth when he said he wasn't leaving Britain, but it looks like he found something like a time turner."

"Oh... Oh, I understand now." Wow, she caught on fast. Draco must have gotten a lot from his mother.

"I... I don't think he'll ever be able to come back."

"No, I would expect not. And you'll be going after him, won't you?"

"I can't leave him on his own. If he's trying to make up for whatever he's done, then he'll end up hurting himself in the process- I mean, going back in time? That's- That's a lot. He deserves someone there to help him out." Narcissa laughed, but it didn't sound like it was at him.

"Oh, Draco told me all about you. I just thought he was exaggerating." Oh, uh, that- That didn't sound very good? Draco had probably said a lot about him.

"I, um, thank you?"

"You will take care of him though, won't you? Make sure you hug him tightly for me. So long as he's happy." Oh. Oh, yeah, Narcissa was definitely the 'good' parent of the two.

"I promise I will as soon as I can, ma'am." Knowing Draco, he had probably gone back to just before the war, so near sixth year, probably? That shouldn't be too bad. Narcissa stood and walked over to him, hugging him tightly.

"He was right about you." Startled at the hug, Harry awkwardly hugged back after a moment.

"Hopefully that means something good?" It seemed like it would be something good, and Luna said he felt the same, so that- That was very good.

"Yes, it does. Thank you for trying to take such good care of him. Hold him tighter when he tries to run." That startled a laugh out of him, Harry nodding.

"I'll be sure to do so." Draco running from a hug seemed pretty likely, actually. "I'll be leaving soon, but I promised my friends I'd find a way to contact them, somehow. If I manage it, I'll let you know how Draco's doing."

"Thank you, darling. That's more than enough." For as much as he knew that would never be enough for Narcissa, he also knew that she would be alright. She was a strong woman.

"I promise I'll do my best by him."

::

"Well. I must say, I didn't expect to see you again."

"Yeah, I get that a lot." Harry waved a box of chamomile tea. "I brought the tea, this time."

"Good man," Dunsworth nodded, opening the door wider for him. "I'll put on a kettle and we can start all this business." Nodding, Harry walked inside, handing the tea over.

"Uh, just- One quick question? I didn't really ask, but does this time twister mean there'll be two Harry Potters running around whenever I end up?"

"Good question, lad! No, no, should it work as intended, you will retain your memories, but you will become your younger self," the man told him with a bit of a crazed grin.

"Oh, uh. Good?" Harry was suddenly a lot less sure about this whole time travel businesses. "Is there anything else I should know?"

"You're sure about this, boy? Everyone you know and love won't be the same, if you go back. Chances are you'll never be able to come back."

"I know." He knew - really, he did. A part of him felt like it was dying knowing he'd never see his family, again, but... Well. He always did have a saving people thing. "But the same goes for him, yeah? He doesn't deserve to be on his own like this."

"I see there's no talking you out of this, then. Alright, Mr. Potter." Dunsworth took something out of a cabinet and set it down carefully. "Alright, if you could sit on the couch while I prepare the ritual."

"So, uh, you didn't technically answer when I asked if there was anything else I should know?" Harry moved to sit on the couch, a bit nervous now. He really should have asked more. "Like, um, are there any side-effects?"

"Well, take, for instance, Quidditch. You're good at it. You can hop onto a broom and let muscle memory take over, yes?" As the man spoke, he was using chalk to draw a large circle out on the floor.

"Oh, uh, yes?" Harry didn't even have to think when riding a broom these days. What did that have to do with anything, though?

"Let's say you go back to being five years old. You certainly won't have that muscle memory. Your mind may retain everything, but you will have the body of a five year old, including all the fun little hormones. You won't be five, but you won't be eighteen."

"Okay... Okay, so basically I'd be more likely to act like the age I end up being, right?" Oh, god. If Draco went back too far, they'd both have to go through puberty again. "But I'll remember everything, right? Everything from this time?"

"You'd ought to, yes." 'Ought.' That- That, uh, that didn't sound- Okay. Just find Draco, help him out, win the war. Easy. Good list of goals.

"So this will take me to wherever Draco went, then?"

"It ought to. Typically, I have whoever I am transporting focus on the day they choose to go back, and they wake up upon that day. This creates a parallel timeline for them, where a few things might be slightly altered. For you, I suggest you focus on following Mr. Malfoy. This ought to be interesting! Do try to tell my other self how it went."

"Ri... Right." Slughorn with a dash of Dumbledore seemed a more accurate description for this man. "So I just focus on Draco." He could do that. He was good at that.

"Focus on following him. Focus on going the same when he went." Focus on- Oh. Right. When. Okay. Focus on following Draco. Right.

"So do I have to- Is this like a time turner? I just keep turning?"

"No, actually, nothing like a time turner. Alright, come on over, stand in the center!" Sighing and standing up, Harry was starting to get the feeling that he was going to regret this.

"Um, sir... Why did you decide to make the time turners?" He might as well as try to distarct himself because this looked like very complicated magic.

"I was an Unspeakable at the Ministry at the time, and my department was tasked with coming up with a way to create only minor time travel. Nothing that could change anything earth-breaking, of course."

"Of course. But you went and made this. The time twister, right?" That was a lot more than 'minor' time travle. "Why?"

"I've always wanted to! And after all, they did give me the pieces of the broken time turners."

"Yeah, um, sorry about that, by the way." He hadn't really thought about it that night, but it was later he realized that they had knocked over the time turners and destroyed them.

"Nothing to be sorry about! It did allow me to create this, after all." Wanting to ask what this was, Harry's frowned in confusion when it looked like Dunsworth was reaching for a jewelry box. Then he saw it was stupid to think it was just a box.

"That's... That's the time twister?" It was a box of dark chestnut wood and it almost looked like a kind of jewelry box. In the middle, though, right in the lid, was a sphere of glass. Inside was what at first glance appeared to be a pale yellow hourglass. Upon closer inspection, however, the hourglass appeared to be made up of sand, the sand itself breaking off and floating in the space around the hourglass before rejoining the shape. The hourglass, and the small flecks of sand, gave off a small yellow glow. It was as though it were the center of the galaxy, with stars floating around it.

"Yes. You hold that." It was absolutely beautiful and it was hard to believe that it had been built based off the small little time turners that were now destroyed.

"Right. Got it." Harry felt a little nervous as he took it into his hands, looking down at it cautiously. It was like- It was like he could feel the magic pouring off it. For just a minute, he could smell...campfire. Why was he smelling a campfire? That was definitely not normal. And this thing was glowing and it looked like an hourglass, which was kinda what the time turner looked like when he thought about it. "So I focus on finding Draco, right? My Draco?"

"Oh. I didn't realize the two of you were so close." Close? What did he- Oh. Oh. Feeling himself flush, Harry cleared his throat and looked away.

"Not- I didn't mean- I just meant that there are other Dracos in other times and all that, is all."

"Mm. Interesting." Interesting? What was interesting? Why was that interesting? "Alright, then. Just focus on following him. Maybe it'll help if you know what day he went back."

"I don't. I mean, I knew he always wanted to change things, but I didn't think he would want to use time travel to do it. I mean, how far back would he even go? It's- It would have to be before he became a Death Eater. That way people would believe him." Okay, so that would be shortly before sixth year. "Maybe fifth year?" He wouldn't want to help Umbridge, he would want people to believe him. That left fourth year. "Maybe he'd go far enough back to before he came back."

Draco had wanted to change so much, but what would he want to change more than anything? What was the one regret that he would risk everything to change- "Oh, bloody hell."

"What is it? Don't tell me you left the tap running." Giving the man an odd look, Harry shook his head.

"No- No, I have an idea on where he might have gone, but thinking on it he probably wouldn't. It was- That was seven years ago." Madame Malkins. Wishing to change it all. Wishing that htey could have been friends. Not even Draco would do that.

"Seven years... Now that you mention it, he did actually mention something about first year." What? No- Not even Draco would risk going through all seven years- He would be alone. He would be utterly alone with that knowledge.

"Do you remember what he said? Do you remember exactly what he said?"

"I can't say that I do. He mentioned going back to the beginning when I asked him what all his plan was. Always have to make sure they have a plan, you know."

"Right." Back to the beginning. That could mean a lot, but if anyone was crazy enough to go back seven years then of course it would be Draco bloody Malfoy.

"Right then, are you ready?" Right. Focus on finding Draco. Focus on going back as far as necessary to find Draco so he wouldn't be on his own in this mess. The drawings on the ground were starting to glow blue, bright blue. Was this normal?

"Ready as I'll ever be."

Chapter Text

As Author Kas warned in the last chapter, you'll be seeing more similarities than you might first expect. Not to worry, though. This isn't a story you yet know. - Author Kit


Oh, god. Harry had to fight against the urge to retch as he rolled over onto his stomach and he felt- God, he felt awful. It was like the feeling of Apparating a dozen times back-to-back. Not to mention it felt like he had slept on the ground the entire night, which really wasn't helping him in focusing at the moment. Sitting up, Harry felt a heavy blanket fall off of him and he frowned, looking down. It looked like a coat- Oh. It looked like he had slept on the ground the entire night. Why had he slept on the ground the entire night? Was he back during the time he had run around looking for horcruxes?

Picking the coat up, Harry tugged on it and this... This seemed like a very familiar coat- It was a very huge coat, too. Hearing a loud snoring sound that wasn't possibly from Ron or Hermione, Harry jumped, looking for the source- Oh. That explained the coat, then. Wait. Then was he...

Quickly scrambling to his feet, Harry looked down at himself and oh- Oh, yeah. He... He was... Draco really had gone back seven years, then, because Harry was eleven years old and had just woken up on the day Hagrid had come to get him. Harry quickly became aware of a tapping sound, looking up to see an owl tapping impatiently at the window. Harry glanced to where Hagrid was asleep on the couch and right- Right. What had he done last time- Owl. Let the owl in first. Climbing to his feet, Harry moved to open the window, letting the owl in. Hagrid seemed to huff and roll over, but didn't do much beyond that. The owl flew in and dropped the Prophet onto Hagrid before flying over to his coat and trying to find the coins.

"Oh for- Calm down," Harry muttered, walking over to the coat and picking through it for the right amount of knuts. It should be only five- Wait. Eleven. He was eleven and had only just learned of magic- Fuck. Fuck. "Hey- Hey, Hagrid! There, uh-" Shit, shit, shit. "There's an owl attacking your coat!"

"Pay him," Hagrid huffed as he shifted, the paper rolling off of him. "Coins in the pockets." Well, yeah, Harry had already found the coins. Looking back to the owl, who looked impatient, Harry sighed.

"I don't know which ones." This was painful.

"Five of the knuts. Little bronze ones." Finally. This year was going to be painful. Draco didn't have to pretend to not know what knuts were. Harry took a deep, steadying breath, putting the coins in the pouch on the owl's leg and sitting back down on the floor and okay. Okay. He was eleven. He had kind of expected this, but a part of him had also hoped Draco wasn't that stupid- Draco. Today was the day he first met Draco. Draco was trying to redo their first meeting. That sweet idiot.

Picking up the newspaper from where it had hit the floor after Hagrid rolled over, Harry carefully unfolded it and glanced it over, not sure what he was expecting. The date was right and it seemed like a normal newspaper. Except that it was moving- Oh. The article was about him. People cared so much about him going to Hogwarts? Who would even- Ugh. Rita Skeeter. He shouldn't even be surprised. He only looked up when he saw Hagrid yawn loudly before getting up and stretching.

"Best be off, Harry, lots ter do today, gotta get up ter London and buy all yer stuff fer school." Harry nodded, unable to help his smile.

"Right. Alright. Sounds great. Are we going now?" Harry gathered up the coat and held it out towards Hagrid, the man putting it on with a grin before patting at his back, and, yeah, he forgot how much bigger Hagrid was. Which was saying something.

"Might as well before that great whale of an uncle of yers is up."

It was all a bit of a blur. Harry tried to act like a stupid, clueless eleven year old, but it was hard when he knew how it all ended. He had to watch near his every move to make sure it was something that an eleven-year-old muggleborn would do, and then meeting Quirrell again... Merlin. Harry was lucky he didn't have his wand, yet, because he had been very close to hexing the man with as many nasty jinxes and hexes he knew- And Ginny had taught him a fair few.

"I, um... I suppose I need a uniform." Uniform came before his wand, right? Maybe? He hoped so. Hagrid seemed to agree, guiding him along to Madame Malkin's before going to get a 'pick-me-up' at the Leaky Cauldron. Harry was a little suspicious because Hagrid had a shifty, almost excited look about him when he left. Hm. He felt like he should know about that, and why Hagrid seemed so eager, but as it was...

Draco wanted another chance to meet him. He wanted a chance to do it all right. Who was Harry to deny him that? Steeling himself as best he could, Harry walked into the store, relaxing at the bell's soft sound. "Hogwarts, dear?" And oh, nostalgia didn't even begin to describe how he felt.

"Yes, ma'am."

"Got the whole lot in here." The woman nudged and led him to the back room and there he was. Just like last time.

Draco rose an eyebrow at him, looking him over before smirking. "Hogwarts?" Cheeky. Harry loved it.

"Yeah, actually." Harry nodded, hoping up onto the stand Madame Malkins led him to, and, right. He... Should he tell Draco who he was?

"I think it's the best wizarding school in Europe," Draco continued, apparently trying to get more conversation out of him. "My father wanted to send me to a different school because it offered different courses, but I refused outright." Harry shuffled in place, trying not to overly stare at Draco and Merlin, had the other always been that small, at this age? He was almost adorable- Hell, he wasn't smirking like always, so he was kind of adorable. What was he saying, again? Oh, right. Dumb Harry. Pft. 'Different courses.' He meant Dark Arts.

"I thought Hogwarts was the only magic school." Fourth year had been a very interesting year for him, as he recalled.

"The only one for the British Isles," Draco agreed, his smirk becoming more of a smile. "He wanted to send me to Durmstrang. It's in either Norway, or Sweden. Mother and I weren't having any of it."

"Mm." How was Harry supposed to act right now? Harry had no idea how he was supposed to act. Aloof? Uncaring? God, why was this so hard.

"And you? If you weren't going to Hogwarts, where would you be going?" Draco looked him over again, nose crinkling. Probably trying to figure him out. He always did that when he had a puzzle in front of him. Wait. Where would he have- Ah, right.

"Stonewall High." Ugh, just thinking about that place gave Harry the shivers. He could even now remember the smell of Aunt Petunia dying his 'uniform'. "It's not far from where I live. Local high school."

Draco seemed to frown, his nose wrinkling again. "A… high school?" Oh, right. Purebloods didn't know anything about muggles, did they?

"'S basically the same as every other school." Which really wasn't wrong, but Harry didn't want to get into a discussion on the differences between magical and muggle schools. "You learn to read, write, do math, and get your head shoved down the toilet."

"That happens, at schools?" Oh, Draco really didn't know anything about the muggle world, did he? Harry would have to try and fix that.

"Only to the ones who are 'freaks'," Harry snorted, shaking off the memories. For some reason, he could still remember all his classmates' names... "I guess you grew up in this world, then."

"Draco." Waiting a moment, Harry was surprised when Draco didn't say his last name, which... Harry was pretty sure he hadn't last time, either.

"Harry."

"You obviously weren't going to ask." Draco shrugged, shifting a bit. Huh. It looked like he got stuck with a needle there for a second, but he hardly even reacted.

"Probably not." Harry already knew his name, after all, better than he knew his- Ow. Madame Malkins and her pins were deadly, jeez.

"That's incredibly rude, you know. I could be a famous celebrity, and you wouldn't know." Draco sniffed and tilted his head up, looking as pompous and prattish as possible. "I could be royalty."

"Please convey my apologies to whoever you rule." Ah, it was too easy and too fun to snap back at Draco. One thing that Harry knew wouldn't change in any time.

"You're forgiven," the blond huffed, tossing his head, and huffing a breath to get his hair out of his face. It was an action that had Harry realizing that Draco's hair wasn't so tightly slicked back like it had been.

"Mm." It looked good on him. Draco's hair loose around him looked good. It'd probably look better when he wasn't an eleven-year-old.

"A shame you don't seem to know much about Diagon Alley. I know all the best places to shop," Draco hummed conversationally, glancing at Harry out of the corner of his eye.

"I'm learning." This was- Was Draco trying to show him around Diagon Alley? That was- He really was trying to change everything, wasn't he? About to say something else, Harry paused and looked to where Hagrid was waiting outside with two ice-creams and giving a great, big beaming smile.

"You know him, then?" Draco gestured out the window by nodding his head, raising an eyebrow at Harry.

"He's the groundskeeper at Hogwarts," Harry explained, giving Draco a measuring look. "He's the one who came to get me this morning with my letter."

"You got your letter hand-delivered- Wait. This morning?" Draco frowned at that, looking over at him. "I got mine a week ago." Well, he wasn't insulting Hagrid this time. Good.

"My Uncle kept burning and tearing up my letters." Harry glanced away, gritting his teeth and why were the memories so vivid. It was like it really did happen just a few days ago. "I didn't get to read what it was until this morning."

"...I don't have any uncles," the blond said casually. "My mother's got two sisters, though we don't really talk about one of them. No uncles, though."

"Be thankful." Startling as Madame Malkin suddenly spelled his robes off, Harry looked to see them set down in a pile next to others that had been completed.

"Alright, dear, that's you all done. Will there be anything else?"

"I'm sorry," Draco said quite suddenly, hopping down himself, and holding his hand out to Harry. "I never properly introduced myself." He gave a short bow. "Draco Malfoy."

"Oh, ah..." Okay, that- That was a bit surprising. That was kind of very surprising, act... He was holding out his hand. Trying to hold back what would be a stupid grin, Harry carefully took Draco's hand gave it a light, gentle shake. "Harry Potter." Draco smirked, looking pleased.

"I know. I'll see you at Hogwarts, Harry." With that, he hopped back up onto the stand, and held his arms out expectantly. Cheeky fucker.

Paying for the robes quickly, Harry carried the bag out to where Hagrid was waiting, trying not to laugh as he was given an ice-cream and really, Hagrid was amazing. Looking to the window as they walked, Harry gave a smile and waved at Draco once he caught his gaze. Draco seemed to be speaking with Madam Malkin. That had actually gone... really well. Draco really was trying to fix everything. Starting from the beginning.

Right. That was- That was amazing and Harry would need to think more on it later, but right now he needed to Hermione Granger this. He needed to get his thoughts and plans down as soon as possible, because like this... God, like this they had a chance to save so many people. It wasn't just about saving a few more people in the war, but they might save Dumbledore, they could definitely save Sirius... Harry might even be able to save Cedric. Draco really did want to save as many as he could, didn't he? That was actually... really sweet. No one in this timeline knew what he'd done in the war, and no one from their time knew his plan. He was doing it for its own sake.

Okay, Harry would have to tell Draco eventually, but he'd wait a bit longer, at least until they were in school. That would give him time to work everything out and let Draco see that Harry wasn't here to hurt him and they both wanted the same thing. For now... For now Harry had an entire month at the Dursleys. Oh, god, he had an entire month at the Dursleys. "Come on, Harry, let's go get you yer wand." Oh- Oh. Well that distracted him.

Ollivander had almost seemed to see something in him when they began to look at wands, but seemed to pass it off. Right, right. Needed to be careful. Some people were sensitive to magic, or... Or something. It smelled like moth balls and old books. He forgot how strange this shop was, but it was nice in here. Peaceful, almost- Well, as peaceful as it could get with him trying out wands. His magic felt different, but he could still tell what he couldn't back then. None of these wands were working well for him. He needed his wand.

And he got his wand. It for perfectly in his hand, and his magic felt like his again. "Well, well, well... How curious. How very curious." Wha- Oh. Right.

"Er, ah, what's curious, sir?" Ollivander fixed him with that same serious stare that Harry remembered even now. Some things, he supposed, didn't change.

"I remember every wand I've ever sold, Mr. Potter. Every single wand. It so happens that the phoenix whose tail feather is in your wand, gave another feather - just one other. It is very curious indeed that you should be destined for this wand when its brother - why, its brother gave you that scar."

Harry wasn't sure what to say, so he settled on a quiet "Yes, sir." He could see Hagrid looking worried and fretting out of the corner of his eye, but Ollivander only gave him a steady look.

"I think we can expect great things from you, Mr. Potter. After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things - terrible, but great." There was a twinkle in the man's eyes that reminded him of Dumbledore, almost. "But then, I feel as if you already knew that."

Harry's eyes widened at this as he took a step back. "I- I, uh- I-" What- What was that about? Did Ollivander know who he really was? The man had always been a little odd, yes, but nothing like this.

"Let's not scare the boy, now." Hagrid was looking worriedly at him and Harry was all too glad to hide behind him on this one because that... That was unsettling. Harry began to step out, deciding no, it was probably better to wait outside. Or something. "So, er, how much fer the wand?"

Harry could feel Ollivander's eyes on him until he was outside and that was- Harry didn't have words for what that was. Odd was one thing, but that was- The look reminded him of Dumbledore, but also a bit of Luna, almost. Was he a legilimencer? Maybe that was how he knew what wand went to each wizard. it was too freaky, though. He would just stay out here, for now.

Leaning against the wall, Harry glanced around Diagon Alley and smiled as he saw just how different the shops were. They were so much happier and they were bustling with business. Glancing to the owl cage they had carefully left outside in the shade, Harry bent down and smiled at the sleeping snowy owl. "Still sleeping, girl?" Hedwig seemed to shuffle, and he heard her hoot quietly before looking up at him. Harry tried not to cry as he hooked a finger on one of the cage bars. "It's good to see you again, Hedwig." She only stared at him before hooting again and nibbling at his finger.

"Don't worry, this time things are going to be different." If he could help it, this war would spare as many as possible. "What do you say we get something to eat, yeah?"

"I'd say that sounds like a plan." Startling at Hagrid's voice, Harry almost fell over with how fast he stood up and jeez. He was not expecting Hagrid to be right there. He was very quiet for a half giant.

"If it's not too much trouble, lunch sounds great."

"Alright, then. Why don't we grab a bite?" Nodding, Harry took one last look around the alleyway before picking Hedwig's cage up carefully. He felt like he should be remembering something important about this time- Ah.

"Hagrid... What do you think Mr. Ollivander meant about the other wand that gave me my scar? And the 'great but terrible things?'" Might as well keep up the act for now, right?

"Well... Well, you know, You-Know-Who did a lot of things, Harry..." Oh, Hagrid. He had always tried to protect him, hadn't he?

"A lot of bad things, I'm guessing?"

"Yeh, but don't worry, you won't have to know any of that. You'll learn everything you'll need to at Hogwarts." Right. He'd learn more than any of them expected, that was for sure.

"Okay." Pausing, Harry looked up to Hagrid, giving a smile. "Thanks, Hagrid. For everything."

Hagrid could only grin back. "A' course, Harry! You know, you look just like James, but it's sounding to me like you're just like Lily." Remembering all the people said similar, Harry knew his smile was wobbly.

"That sounds nice." Some things were fuzzy, but he'd never forget that moment in the forest where Remus, Sirius, James, and Lily had all walked with him.

"I knew them when they were at school, but... Ah, this isn't the place or time." Nodding, Harry quickly followed after Hagrid, the man's strides far outpacing his own.

"Yeah, I figured." Still. "I'd love to hear more later, though, if there's time."

"I'll tell you all about them at Hogwarts. Right now, we should be gettin' you back."

"Right." Back to the Dursleys. He needed to make a note of all the time travel after-effects, because he felt like he should be scared, but, come on. They were the Dursleys. Harry had stopped being scared of them a long time ago. Right?

Right. No problem.

::

As before, the Dursleys seemed to be doing their absolute best to ignore him once he had returned to Privet Drive. Harry, as well, was doing his absolute best to ignore them in kind. It was hard enough being back in this house, but being eleven and crammed away in the smallest bedroom again? It was nostalgia that he didn't want. Fucking Draco Malfoy got to live it up in the lap of luxury, and Harry was back in this house.

It wasn't fair. It wasn't fair that he had gone through so much and suffered and had come back to risk it all to help Draco, and yet he had to suffer. It felt like if he was caught outside his room then he would be punished, and when he had gotten dressed the day after his birthday he noticed there were a lot more bruises than he remembered. Was Dudley really that awful before Hogwarts? Harry... He couldn't really remember much of his childhood. He remembered the names of a few people, but... But that was mostly it.

The weirdest thing out of all of this was that Harry felt like he should be more afraid of Vernon than he ever should Dudley, but... Why? Vernon had never been that bad... Had he? No. No, he hadn't. It had even been a little funny, watching him blow up at the Weasleys! He had no reason to really be afraid of him. He was sure the flinching was just leftover from the fact he was now eleven. It would go away.

Okay- Okay, he needed to focus. He needed to write down what he remembered and how he could change it- Or not change it. He... Oh, man, what would he do when Dumbledore saw him? Right, he needed to remember what little he'd actually bothered to learn from the Occlumency lessons. Dumbledore was a Legilimencer. So just make a shield and he should be fine. In theory.

"I feel like it's going to be a long few years for us, girl." At least he had Hedwig for company. Although... "You know, Hedwig. I think we should see if we can't help Dudley along and change him for the better a bit, don't you think?" Hedwig hooted softly, looking like she was ready for a nap, herself. "I'm going to take that as agreement. Now, summer afternoon on a weekday." Harry looked to the floor. "Downstairs with the telly."

Harry went downstairs and just as he'd guessed, Dudley was sat in front of the telly, Aunt Petunia knitting in her easy chair. Cautiously approaching Dudley, Harry leaned against the back of the couch. "Hey, Dudley. Good show?" Dudley stood quickly and turned to stare at Harry with wide eyes. Oh, right... The whole pig tail thing. Harry had near forgotten about that. "I'll take that as a maybe, then. Anything new?"

"M- M- Mum." Oh, please, Harry wasn't even doing anything and now Petunia was giving him a look as if he was about to sprout fangs and kill them.

"What are you doing out of your room? I thought we told you to stay in there!" No, they really hadn't.

"No. You never spoke a word to me. You haven't even asked me to make breakfast."

"Then you should be grateful and stay out of the way." Petunia was doing her best to avoid even looking at him, Dudley nervous as could be as he inched away and jeez. He forgot how much he disliked them. Harry watched them before shrugging.

"Alright, fine. I'll go make something for lunch." Neither of the two responded, Harry frowning as he headed towards the kitchen. Usually he would at least get a yell about eating before it was actually time for lunch. Hagrid must have really scared them.

Still, Harry wanted to try. There had to be some kind of good in the both of them. So he made up his lunch and, as a gesture, set aside two plates for Dudley and Petunia as well, calling to them, "Lunch is on the table."

Neither of the two responded, but Harry took it as a good sign that Dudley was poking his head into the kitchen as he took his own plate up to his room. Petunia didn't even yell at him for it, either. At least it was a bit of progress. Better than nothing.

The next few days were much the same, but the two seemed to be slowly accepting his presence, at least. Once they were less skittish, Harry started focusing more on writing things down in the order they had happened. The stone would be easy enough to deal with - hopefully - and the diary could be dealt with soon, but Pettigrew... God, Pettigrew would be right there as soon as Harry stepped on the train. He could probably find a way to reveal him this year, but...

But then how would Voldemort come back in fourth year? Would anyone else bring him back? Did they need the war to happen? If the war never happened then Voldemort would always be out there and ready to come back- If Harry changed that, then he wouldn't know when he would come back or what would happen. The only reason he could change things now was because he knew what was going to happen. Change too much and...

Change too much and they risked destroying it all. Had Draco known this when he came back? He had to have, he was smart. He thought these kind of things through. Harry didn't, so much. He could free Sirius and get him a fair trial, but that would mean risking the lives of hundreds of people. Not only would Harry hate himself for that, but Sirius would probably hit him over the head for risking it all for his sake. But he could save Sirius. He wouldn't let him fight Bellatrix. He could save him, and Tonks. He could save so many people, but he had to be smart about it. He had to be Slytherin about-

A snake's silence was better than a lion's roar.

Chapter Text

The time seemed to drag on, and writing down everything didn't seem to speed it up much, until finally. Finally September First came. Harry was near vibrating out of his skin as they drove towards King's Cross, Vernon looking pleased to just get rid of him for a year. If Harry could, he'd try to leave the house sooner - he knew that Voldemort wouldn't be a concern for a while yet. Maybe the Weasleys would be willing to take him for the whole summer. He should have written Molly- Molly. Who... Who didn't even know who he was.

Right, he couldn't stay with the Weasleys because the Weasleys had no idea who he was, yet. Although... Today was the day he met them, right? The car jerked to a halt and shook him from his thoughts, Vernon glaring back at him, "I better not hear a word from you until next summer. You got that, boy?"

"Sure. No problem. Why would I want to send you anything?" Huh, that was new. Vernon's glare almost made him actually afraid. Then he remembered that he had just left a war.

"Get out of my car." Ugh, he hated that man.

"Alright. Bye." Harry closed the door and began to look around. Alright. He should see them any second now. How can he miss a giant family of redheads? Seconds and then minutes passed by and Harry was starting to get a little worried because it was getting very close to eleven and should- Should he just go on ahead to the platform without meeting them? That didn't feel right. Maybe-

"-packed with muggles, of course. Come on, Platform Nine and Three Quarters this way!" Harry's eyes widened and he immediately turned and there they were. The Weasleys, red hair, freckles, and all. Harry hadn't noticed the first time, but now he could see Molly glanced at him. Him, his owl, and his trunk and oh. Oh, bloody hell. She had been trying to get his attention to help him find the platform. Harry walked over, still a bit dazed as he stared up at her and oh. She was taller than him. "Alright, Percy, you go first- Oh, hello, dear. First time at Hogwarts?"

"Y- Yes, ma'am," he said quietly. He- He knew them, but they didn't know him yet and- Fred. Fred was right there and alive and god he was alive.

"Oh, that's alright dear, that's alright, it's Ron's first time, too," Molly nodded to where Ron was and Merlin. They were all so tiny.

"Hi there," Harry said to him.

"Hullo." Ron gave him a halfhearted little wave before looking up to Molly. "We're gonna be late."

Harry stared before looking to Molly as well and right. Right. Dumb Harry. "How do you- Do you-" But bloody hell, Fred and George were joking with each other again.

"How to get onto the platform, dear? It is a bit hard the first time- Here, the twins will show you how it's done. Come on, Fred, you first." They were so young...

"He's not Fred! I am!"

"Honestly, woman. You call yourself our mother."

"Oh, I'm sorry, George." Trying not to laugh as Fred steered his cart towards the wall, Harry watched as he tossed Molly a wink.

"Only joking, I am Fred." With that, he was quickly running towards the wall, George following after him quick as could be. Just like it should be. He was going to save them. The both of them. He was sure of that one.

"You see, dear?" Molly said. "You just go straight through the barrier and you'll appear on the platform. It's best to do it at a bit of a run, if you're nervous."

Harry gave a nod. "Yes, ma'am." And just as he got ready to run, he heard-

"Why can't I go too?!"

"You're not old enough, Ginny." Trying to hold back a laugh, Harry looked to where Ginny was pouting up at her mother. Strange to think that seven years and that pout would still be the same.

"But I want to! What am I going to do while everyone is gone?!" While Molly sighed, Harry watched Ron slide over and speak queitly to her.

"Look at it this way, Gin. You get the good broom all to yourself."

"...Fine," she finally huffed. That resolved, Harry ran through the barrier. He caught himself before he could lose control of his cart, looking around and yeah... Yeah, just as amazing as the first time. He saw Fred, George, and Percy keeping an eye on the barrier - no doubt for Ron and Molly to come through - and- Ah. Malfoys. Harry began to take a step towards Draco before he paused. He... As much as he wanted to fix everything between them, he couldn't abandon Ron. So he would just... Get on the train alone. Like last time. Besides, if Harry told Draco who he was now, then Draco might think Harry did all this just to hurt him, the paranoid little bugger. He would give it a while before telling Draco. For now, though, he had to figure out how to get his trunk up without dropping it on his head.

"Want a hand?" Beside him was George, looking too amused. Sighing in relief, Harry quickly nodded as Fred came up beside to help as well.

"Yes, please. I forgot how heavy this thing was."

"You forgot?"

"Been lifting a lot of trunks, have you?"

"You're so tiny."

"Gee, thanks, Fred," Harry snorted, making sure he had everything. If he forgot something, then he supposed he could always owl order something. The twins were both silent behind him and that was never good. Silent twins were plotting twins. Glancing back to them, Harry looked between them, a bit nervous. "Er, sorry?"

"Is that-"

"It is."

"Bloody hell. You think-"

"I do. But how-"

"It's impossible."

A bit confused, Harry looked between them and- Oh. Oh, right. He probably wasn't supposed to know their names, yet. "Um, your mom said your names back there on the platform and I overhead them." Vaguely.

"How'd you know he was Fred?"

"No one can ever tell us apart."

"Ever."

"What'd'you mean you forgot?"

"Oh, um, right." Harry glanced between them. "I mean, you're twins but you're seperate people, yeah? Fred's eyes are a little darker and George, you have a clump of freckles under your ear that he doesn't have. And, uh, I forgot because I only had to lift it once when I left my house, otherwise other people have been lifting it for me." That last part was a bit of a stretch. He had just forgotten how heavy it was when he was this young.

"How'd you know about that?!"

"Mum has to do the freckle test, she mixes us up half the time!"

Oh, right, Harry wasn't supposed to know that until fourth or fifth year. Rubbing at the back of his neck, Harry cleared his throat, "I, uh, I notice things. I kind of sort of draw, so I end up remembering little details about a person, really. Sorry." And oh, right, he had drawn at this age, hadn't he? He had almost forgotten about that.

Fred and George looked at each other and began to beam brightly before looking back down at Harry. "We're keeping you." Oh. Well. That had been easy.

"Alright." He didn't think being able to tell them apart was that big a deal. "Thanks for helping me with my trunk, by the way."

"Yeah, a' course!"

"Some of Percy's goodie-two-shoes little things had to rub off on us."

"That doesn't have to be a bad thing," Harry grinned, looking between the two of them. It was just- They were both alive, and happy, and healthy, and it was great. "I'm Harry, by the way."

"We know," they both responded, still grinning. Well, at least they never changed, Harry supposed, smoothing his bangs down over his scar, and, right. He'd have to get used to people looking shocked by him. That had faded off after fourth year, or so.

"Right. Er, nice meeting you."

"Come on, I hear Lee's got a-"

"I know! You think he's-"

"Definitely."

Waving them off, Harry tried not to laugh as he fell into his seat and oh, man. The twins. They- Harry was going to spend so much more time with them this time around. He knew little things like Fred liked chocolate more and George liked sour candy more and Fred was the potion maker while George was the spellcaster, but he wanted to know more about all of them. He got to learn about his family all over again and it was going to be great. The train hadn't taken off yet before Ron was popping his head in. "Mind if I sit here? Everywhere else is full."

"No, go on ahead," Harry grinned, trying to reign himself in. "Thanks, by the way, for helping me get onto the platform. I only found out about all this magical stuff recently."

"What? No way. But you're- At least, Fred and George said you are, but- You are him, aren't you?"

"Him who?" It took effort to not laugh and, really... Some things he didn't mind happening the same way twice.

"Harry Potter."

"Oh, yeah, I am." Harry pushed his bangs up to show off the scar, trying not to laugh at Ron's look.

"Bloody hell," Ron breathed out quietly.

"Yeah." This was great- This was great. "So those were all your siblings back there?"

"Not all of them," Ron shrugged. "Bill and Charlie aren't in school, anymore."

"So you have six siblings? Wow." That would never not astound Harry, though, that Molly had seven children.

"It's not as great as you think. Besides Ginny, who's, you know, a girl, I'm the youngest out of everyone."

"Well, hey, being the youngest doesn't seem like it's all bad. I mean, you get to have a lot of help, probably, when you have a problem, right?" Plus he learned from all of their mistakes.

"More like I get more problems. Fred and George are always pulling their pranks on me, Ginny's always trying to tag along, and Percy's like another mum!"

"I've never had siblings, just a cousin I don't like," Harry shrugged, trying not to laugh. "Maybe your sister just really looks up to you and your brother Percy worries about you?"

"Ginny? What has she got to look up to. And Percy tried to nag Bill and Charlie when he was little. He's just a prat." Alright, that one would take a while. Harry had time, at least.

"Maybe," Harry shrugged, and, right. He didn't know about Hogwarts. Well, not much, at least. "So I read my books a little, but what's all the houses about?"

Draco rapped sharply on the glass before throwing open the door. "Well. This is a right party."

"Malfoy." Oh, right. The whole Weasley-Malfoy rivalry thing. "Come to lecture me about my blood-traitor family? Again." Oh, Ron.

"Actually, Weasley, I was just calling around." Draco glared right back at him. Probably was still as fond of this Ron as he was of their time's Ron.

"Ron," Harry spoke quietly, trying to make sure his voice was stern enough so Ron would drop it. "Draco's a friend." Ah, peace and quiet.

"Find your way around alright?" Draco asked, back to all smiles. "I was worried I'd have to take time out of my day to show you around."

"I found it just fine," Harry was back to giving a small smile, throwing a glance to Ron. "Had some help finding the train station." Ron relaxed at that, Harry giving a bit wider of a smile.

"I'd noticed. Bit hard to miss," Draco said with a nod and an amused smile. Just as Ron started to puff himself up to argue back, Draco rolled his eyes. "There was six or seven of you and all with bright red hair. You're not as inconspicuous as you like to believe." Draco huffed, trying to blow his hair out of his face.

"Certainly helpful for me, though," Harry hummed, idly staring out the window again. "Probably wouldn't have found the train, otherwise." Harry couldn't help but look back to Draco again, noticing that he seemed so much happier than the last time they saw each other.

"Well, good. I don't want to have to be worrying after you to hell and gone once we get off the train." Wait... Why would he have to worry after him? He'd be fine. Draco knew as much. He shouldn't care. Not this much, at least.

"No worries," Harry smirked. "I'm good at getting myself out of trouble when need be." At least, he had better be, after what he had been put through the last few years. Draco's smile was falling slowly, and it looked like he was starting to frown as he stared at Harry. Why was he frowning? Did he already know?

"How do we make him go away," Ron muttered quietly, Harry raising an eyebrow and giving the other a look. "What? I'm serious!" Honestly, those two would probably always be at each other's throats.

"No worries, Weasel. I have others to attend to." With a hesitant, cautious nod to Harry, Draco left the compartment. Harry gave the door an odd look, shaking his head.

"You know him, then?" Actually, he hadn't really known how Ron and Draco had first met, now that he thought about it.

"Yeah. We met at Madam Malkin's," Harry said with a nod.

"And you actually got along with the git?"

"Well, I mean... Yeah. He's pretty great. How come you don't get along?"

"The first time we met at some stupid work party of my dad's, he started insulting me and my family and never even thought to apologize for it! He's a right pureblood git who only cares about how pure someone's blood is."

Harry frowned a bit. That wasn't out of character for a ten-year-old Draco, which, this was an eighteen-year-old Draco. "Well, people change."

"Some people, mate, not all." Ron shook his head, giving Harry a grin. "Enough about him. You asked about the houses, yeah? I can tell you right now that Gryffindor is the best one!" Oh, this was going to be a long train ride, wasn't it?

::

It all went the same just as it had before and Harry couldn't be happier - well, he made a few changes. He greeted Neville softly, making sure not to scare him when he was still so shy, he answered Hermione's questions with questions of his own, and he had to work at not killing Pettigrew as soon as he saw 'Scabbers.' Other than that, they came to be in Hogwarts much the same as last time, McGonagall explaining the rules and leaving them to themselves before students burst into talk. Harry was finally back home and he couldn't feel better about it.

He was content to linger in the back, chatting to Ron here and there as he watched everyone else. They were all so young- Ah, Draco was walking over, now. Right. Dumb Harry Potter and Ron gave horrible explanations. "Considering you're the only one who doesn't make me feel like an idiot, feel like explaining what the 'houses' are all about? Professor McGonagall only said the names."

Draco startled before looking over at Harry and seeming to eye him. "I'll let the hat tell you," he said simply.

"A hat. That's gonna decide my future." Shit- Shit. Draco laughed good-naturedly as Harry felt panic fill him to the brim. The hat. The Sorting Hat that could see into his head- How had he forgotten?! Oh, Merlin, the hat would see everything.

"Don't worry. It's not as bad as it sounds. It'll be fine." Harry saw out of the corner of his eye that Draco was tilting his head, and if he weren't so panicked, he would think it was adorable. Right. Right. Don't worry. It would be fine. It would be- It was not going to be fine, Harry couldn't do this. Why had he thought this was a great idea? Maybe he got it wrong- But Draco was acting like his Draco so it had to be right, but what if he messed it all up and- The doors opened and Draco nudged Harry inside with a bright, beaming grin. "Welcome to Hogwarts."

Even in his panic, and the wonder of the Great Hall, Harry couldn't help to think to himself. He could have been a Slytherin. Hermione could have been a Ravenclaw. Ron probably could have been a Hufflepuff. Were they all really so different they needed to be split up immediately upon arrival? "Is being sorted that big of a deal?" They were Gryffindor because why? Why had they been Gryffindor when they embodied the traits of the other houses. "I mean... They're all about the same, aren't they?" Luna had been a kind and caring Ravenclaw, Draco had always been so clever as a Slytherin, and Cedric had been braver than them all.

That had Draco frowning and looking over at Harry. "None of them are alike," He nearly snapped at him. He just didn't change, did he?

"They seem it," Harry shrugged, looking back to the hat. He could remember his own sorting clearly even now. "The only thing I really know is that Slytherin is supposed to be 'evil'." What a lie. Draco seemed to watch him. Did he even realize his nose wrinkled half the time?

He finally huffed, "The Gryffindors are brave, normally to the point of self-sacrifice. Slytherins are cunning and ambitious, and know when to cut their losses. Ravenclaws are always chasing after more and more knowledge. Hufflepuff..." Draco looked to the table decked out in yellow. "They're the rest."

That got a snort out of Harry which he quickly covered up with a smile when people looked over. "So basically Ravenclaws are the smart ones, Hufflepuff are the ordinary ones, Gryffindors are the idiots, and Slytherin just has a bad reputation because they actually care about themselves instead of everyone else."

"Hufflepuffs are normally the ones that are kind and loyal, but yes." Draco looked down to the ground. "The Dark Lord and all his followers were Slytherin." Ah, right.

"'The Dark Lord'?" Harry looked back over at him, arms crossed, and, really. That was the stupidest name out of all of them - although You-Know-Who came pretty close. Wizards, honestly.

"Well I'm not going to say his name," Draco defended, looking away and rubbing at his arm. Harry noticed easily exactly which arm it was.

"Is 'the Dark Lord' another name for Vol- Sorry. For You-Know-Who? I thought it was just that and 'He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named'?" Draco flinched, rubbing at his left arm and oh, Draco.

"Yes, well-" His words were cut off by McGonagall's sharp tone, the woman holding out a piece of parchment in front of her with all of their names.

"Abbott, Hannah." Startled, Harry looked up to the sorting and oh, man. They were just- It was like reliving his life through a pensive, almost, with how familiar it all was. God, he needed to figure out how to get past the hat- Maybe the hat would take pity? It had to be bored after centuries looking through eleven-year-old minds. He just... He just needed to wait.

He didn't need to wait long, apparently, as McGonagall's voice was calling out again. "Malfoy, Draco."

"What," he muttered quietly.

"Good luck," Harry murmured softly, giving him a small smile. "You'll be great no matter which house you get."

"I'm a Slytherin," Draco said with determination. He near stomped up to the stool and sat up straight. Harry laughed when the hat fell over his eyes, though. All the prissy eighteen-year-oldness wrapped up in an eleven year old body was hilarious. Harry watched, waiting for the hat to call out Slytherin in a second flat as it had done before, only... It didn't.

Harry shifted nervously and no, no, it was probably because Draco was from the future, too. That hat had a lot to talk with him about, then- Woo, Harry was glad he was after Draco, or the hat would have told Draco who he really was. Still, it shouldn't be taking this long, should it? Harry was pretty sure Draco was about to become a hatstall the way it was going. After what felt like far too long, Harry watched the hat stir before it's loud booming voice called out for all the hall to hear, "Gryffindor!"

The hall went silent, Harry barely aware of it as the hat was removed and he stared into wide grey eyes that were clear with nothing but pure and utter shock. McGonagall nudged Draco towards the Gryffindor table and their eyes met and Harry knew that nothing was going to be the same.

Chapter Text

The Sorting seemed to bleed together as name after name was called, Harry knowing them all, but unable to tear his gaze away from where Draco was sitting at the Gryffindor table and no. No, no, no, that wasn't right at all. Draco was- He was Slytherin. Ambitious, cunning, resourceful- He shouldn't be at the Gryffindor table. Hearing his own name, Harry stumbled up to the hat, not even caring about any of the whispers going around the hall. He just tried to catch a glimpse of Draco before the hat was on him-

'Oh? And here I thought I had seen all the surprises tonight would bring. Back again, Harry Potter?'

'I, uh, no. Maybe- Is Draco okay? He can't be a Gryffindor. Maybe he can change houses.'

'I suppose he was wrong in that, then.' Wait, what? 'These next few years are going to be very interesting for you two. Perhaps I should put you in Slytherin, hm? Round it all out nicely.'

'What? No- No, I can't leave him alone now. He needs me. He can't do this by himself.'

'Oh, your years among the lions did a number on you. You seem to be underestimating just what he's capable of. He's as much a Gryffindor as you are a Slytherin, I think.'

'Are you kidding? You think putting him in the same room as Ron without me in there is a good idea- He's probably over there right now, self destructing and shutting down!'

'What did you come back here for, Harry Potter. It wasn't just to chase after someone who could have survived on his own. What was the real reason you came back?'

'To save people. They didn't deserve to die, and Draco doesn't deserve this.'

'So Gryffindor.' The hat almost sounded disappointed. 'You'll have a harder time of it, you know. There's plans in here that would work best if you went to Slytherin, but ah... You could never leave someone behind, could you.'

'Not when I'm trying to save them.'

'You two are going to make these next few years very interesting for the world.' The hat seemed to laugh, the sound strange, but... Not bad, Harry supposed. 'Salazar would have adored you two. In your case, though, better be Gryffindor!"

Harry couldn't help but to breathe a sigh of relief at his sorting, immediately handing the hat to McGonagall and joining the Gryffindors. He didn't pay any of the others any mind, eyes only for Draco as he sat beside him. Draco looked over Harry, just as cool and jaded as a Malfoy. "What are you doing."

"I don't know anyone else here," Harry said quietly, a little shaken up by his talk with the hat. "And you're the only one who hasn't treated me like soddin' Harry Potter."

"You know Weasley. Go join their clan," Draco huffed, apparently looking forward to his pity party.

"Get over yourself," Harry shook his head, feeling much better after hitting Draco in the side. "I'm sitting with you, aren't I? I'm staying here. Besides, I don't trust those twins. They look to be plotting the downfall of the entire school." Which, remembering fifth yeah, well- Oh, yeah. The twins had the map right now, didn't they?

"Funny. That's exactly what they're all thinking about me." Draco scoffed and brushed himself off, turning his head away from Harry. Which, really... He wasn't wrong. A Malfoy in Gryffindor was enough to shake the entire school up.

Draco was quiet and barely ate throughout the feast, Harry not really able to blame him - he'd be the same if he got Slytherin, after all. Ooh, imagine everyone seeing 'Harry Potter' get Slytherin. Now that would have shaken the school up. With Harry lost in his thoughts, it seemed like no time at all before they were moving up to the common room, Harry sticking close to Draco as the rest of the first years avoiding Draco as much as possible. Honestly.

The second they reached the dorm, Draco found a bed tucked away into the corner and fell into it, closing the curtains behind him. Harry couldn't even begin to imagine how Draco felt. He hoped Draco's friends wouldn't hold this against him. "Alright," Dean said. "Good night then." Well... Well, Harry would help him in the morning. Draco didn't need to be a put together Malfoy every second of the day. Going for his old bed, Harry yawned. He could use some sleep himself after- Jesus.

Harry almost had a heart attack as he saw Draco leap out of bed and almost knock him over before he stomped towards his trunk, tearing through it like he was possessed. Dean was beside him, raising an eyebrow. "Uh, mate? You alright?" From the look of things, no, Draco wasn't.

"Fine- Shut up. I don't want to lose my train of thought." Draco grabbed parchment and ink and quills before moving to sit back on his bed, scribbling things out and what... What was he doing?

"He's a Malfoy," Ron 'whispered', explaining to Dean and Harry and oh, no, this Ron did not know how to whisper. "He's probably throwing a fit he got this house and is writing home to complain to his father. Right piece of work, he is. Follower of You-Know-Who." Well, fuck.

Draco snapped over, looking like he was already close to tearing Ron's head off. "You don't know a thing about my father!"

"I know enough to know he's as rotten to the core as you are," Ron snapped, getting as red as his hair and oh, no, this would not end well. "I don't even know why the hat put you here. A Malfoy doesn't belong in Gryffindor. You should be off in the dungeons with the rest of those snakes!" Draco near knocked over the inkwell as he stood, glaring fiercely at Ron.

"You shut up! You don't talk about my father like that! Shut up!" The others were looking nervous, and Ron looked ready to physically hit Draco. Alright, Harry had to put a stop to this before it got too far. He quickly kicked Ron's feet out from under him, frowning at how uncoordinated the kick was. He'd have to get back into a good training regime. Especially with how fourth year was going to be.

"How about we not get screamed at by your brother for causing so much noise," Harry shook his head, trying to make his voice stern. It didn't work so well considering he was eleven. "Ron, you're way out of line. You're insulting him and his family for rumors, and things that none of us really understand. Just… drop it for tonight."

Draco wheeled on Harry, his hands balling into fists as he was near shaking. "I don't need you to fight my battles for me! I'm perfectly capable of defending myself!" Startled, Harry frowned before glaring and right. Right.

"Right. No more interfering in your life. Got it." With that, Harry was helping Ron up and then heading for his trunk to rifle around for pajamas and ugh. Draco bloody Malfoy. Draco growled in frustration before muttering a spell to put his things back to his trunk as he flopped back down, closing his curtains again. Fucking drama queen. Draco bloody Malfoy, had to always make sure he was the center of attention. Couldn't even let Harry try to help him, just- Ugh!

Fine, Draco wanted to feel bad for himself and sulk in bed all night? Fine. Harry could do this all on his own if he needed. Honestly. He was just... Harry groaned, collapsing in his own bed and why did things always have to be so difficult with them. Oh right. They were Potter and Malfoy.

When Harry woke up the next morning, it looked like Draco was already gone. Probably trying to send his letter off to his parents as soon as he could. No doubt he would be begging to be put in Slytherin after this mess. Harry almost hoped it worked because Draco in Gryffindor… God, that would be changing a lot of things.

Rolling out of bed, Harry grabbed his outfit for the day and went to get dressed and, right. Maybe he should just check on Draco, anyways? He was probably calmed down by now. Maybe grab him something quick to eat for breakfast, since he was probably avoiding the Great Hall until this whole mess blew over. A piece of toast or two wouldn't hurt. Really, who didn't like toast, after all.

Just as he'd predicted, Draco was in the owlery, just sending his owl off with a letter in its talons. "Ah, I was wondering where you went." Well, not quite wondering. Ha, he hadn't even needed the map. "Here."

"What." Draco turned and glanced down to see Harry was holding out toast for him. "I don't like bread." He turned again and stormed off. Harry tried not to huff as he shook his head, looking up to where Hedwig was.

"Don't suppose you'd like a bit of toast?" Hedwig seemed to coo, flying down to him and gratefully nibbling at her breakfast. Harry smiled and ran a hand through her feathers. "What do you think, girl? Think we can get Draco to lighten up a bit this year?" Hedwig 'hoo'ed and nuzzled against his cheek. He forgot how sweet she always was. "Yeah, I think we can, too. Now c'mon, I need to get to Potions before Snape tears my head off."

When Harry got down to the dungeons, it looked like he was the last one, and the only seat left in the class was right up front, next to… Oh, boy. There had to be another seat somewhere. Anywhere? "Mr. Potter there is a perfectly good seat by Mr. Malfoy. Now either sit down or leave this classroom." Draco spared Harry a glance before continuing his reading. Oh. This was going to be awful.

Sitting down, Harry tried not to do anything to set Draco off as he pulled out parchment to take notes, because Snape was always cruel when it came to this class, and… Oh, that was just weird. Snape wasn't going after him, or attacking him, and hadn't he taken points from him the first day? He wasn't doing that. What had Harry done to change that? Or maybe… Harry eyed Draco cautiously. Maybe it wasn't what he'd done to change it.

The lesson was given and the instructions written on the board, Harry watching as Draco glanced to him. "I'll be chopping and slicing everything." He stood and walked over to the cauldron, head slightly tilted. Harry followed after him, eyeing him warily.

"Alright. Do I have to worry about you stabbing me with the knife?"

"If you were to be injured, I'd most likely receive a failing grade." Draco rolled his eyes, nudging Harry to the cauldron and lining up to grab their ingredients from the cabinet. Honestly.

"Logic doesn't stop anyone from taking a swing," Harry snorted, reading the instructions and starting on boiling the water. "You seem pretty upset. Not sure why, but I'd rather not get snapped at for not doing anything."

"Perhaps not you." Draco shot a glare to Ron, only gathering the ingredients and bringing them over to the counter, quickly chopping the ingredients.

"You're very good at that, you know," Harry muttered, looking at the knife cautiously. He wouldn't put it past Draco to take a stab. "Bit too much, really." Jeez, he was eleven right now, he needed to act like it. "Also, don't skip meals. I don't want to have to be worrying after you."

"I'm older than you. You're not the one telling me what to do, here." Draco only pushed them towards Harry, looking expectant. Was he even trying?

"If this potion ends up completely destroyed, you can blame me," Harry said, staring at the board and carefully adding the things in as instructed. It was a first year potion, yeah, but it was potions. "And you can't be that much older. Everyone here is eleven." Idiot.

"I'm a couple months older." ...Damn. Draco had him, there. Okay, right, time to see just how bad off Draco was.

"So, asked around a bit. Heard your whole family was in Slytherin." Harry gave him what he hoped was a curious look. "That why everyone - including you - is going so crazy about you being in Gryffindor?" Draco didn't deign to respond. He only continued with the potion as though Harry hadn't asked anything at all. "Right. Avoid subjects about family and houses."

The two worked in silence for a bit, Harry not really speaking beyond a quiet question on what they were doing. Other than that he was just staring at Draco with considering eyes. "What." Draco looked over at him, their eyes meeting.

"I can't figure you out." He was so different, but he was still so Draco. "You're a right git, but there's a part of you that's not all that bad. I just can't figure out which part of you is stronger right now." Harry was hoping the good part of him would win out. Maybe it was good he was in Gryffindor. He could learn a few things from it.

"Well perhaps I don't want to be figured out. Hurry up." Draco leaned against the counter, crossing his arms. That was- That was actually kind of hilarious. And cute.

"I think it's less that, and more that you don't want to be hurt." Harry turned the fire off and stirred the cauldron the correct number of times. "You don't want anyone to see you upset by all this." Draco glared across the room, keeping his gaze firmly away from him - probably because Harry was right.

"What do you know." Well, if he were really an eleven year old Harry, nothing.

"About you? Nothing. About things like this? More than you'd think. If you want I'll drop it and not bring it up anymore. I can tell you don't want much to do with me."

"Like I said. I can defend myself just fine. I don't need your help." Sure, he could defend himself just fine, but he probably could really use some help in all of this.

"I never said you couldn't defend yourself, you just... No one should have to fight stuff like this on their own. No one should have to face these things alone, and lost, and-" Harry cut himself off, gaze on the potion. "No one deserves that." Draco glanced at him before relaxing a bit. He sighed and shook his head.

"Some do." Clean-up was called, Harry carefully bottling their potion to hand in. It turned out rather good, Harry noted. It was a simple one, though. After the grades he'd got in sixth year, not even he could mess this potion up.

"You don't." With that, Harry was taking the potion up to the front to hand in. When Harry turned around again, Draco was already leaving, clutching his bag tightly against himself. Ron came up to Harry, raising his eyebrows.

"Are you really trying to make friends with the snake?" Oh, Ron. Sighing, Harry gave him a small smile.

"I think everyone deserves to have at least one person they get along with. Besides, he doesn't seem too bad, even if he is a bit of a git."

"A bit of one? He's a grade A git! You haven't even met his dad! Spitting image, I'm telling you. Mental cases, the whole family." Trying not to laugh, Harry just nodded along as they left the classroom.

"Well, I haven't met his family, so I'm willing to give him a bit of a chance to prove he's not a total git." Draco was more than his father, after all.

"I'm telling you," Ron repeated. "He's just a snake waiting for a chance to bite our backsides."

"And I'm telling you that people can change. Let's just wait and see where he goes from here, yeah?"

"You know who I'm scared of most in this house? That girl we got last night, Hermione. Did you hear her going on about Hogwarts, A History? Who reads that!"

"People who didn't grow up knowing about Hogwarts?" Oh, right. Ron and Hermione had gotten along like cats and dogs in the beginning. "I think we could get along with her."

"Bloody hell. Sounds like you should have been in Hufflepuff." Oh- Oh, man, that- Harry started laughing before he could stop himself, throwing an arm around Ron's shoulders as he dragged him along.

"You know what, mate? We're gonna get along great, you and me."

::

"I don't know how you can understand those things." Honestly, they were supposed to be blending in, yet Draco kept reading all these seventh year books and looking bored out of his mind during classes. If people started catching on, it wouldn't be Harry's fault, this time. "I can barely understand the lessons we're doing right now." Draco gave a vague shrug, shifting in his seat. "Right, ignoring- Right. I wanted to know if you wanted to go down and visit Hagrid with me and Ron. Get out of the castle for a bit. Fresh air, as strange a thought as that is to you."

"Mm." Right. Guess there wouldn't be much changing Potter and Malfoy. Harry really wanted to fix this, but with Draco acting like this...

"Or you could just… not. That's fine, too." Harry ran a hand through his hair, sighing and… He didn't know what to do to fix this. "You should get out a little, though. Not even Hermione sits around studying all the time."

"That's her mistake." Draco shifted again in his seat. Why was he even trying? Draco obviously didn't want this. He... He didn't come back for the same reasons Harry did.

"I really don't know why I keep trying." Sighing again, Harry set down the cup of tea he had been holding beside Draco. Hopefully he still liked it the way Harry had made it. "Here, I noticed you usually like to drink tea when reading." With that, he headed towards the portrait hole.

"Gone around the bend, he has."

Harry grinned at Ron, who was waiting for him. "You know, I think I'm really getting through to him." Ron looked disbelieving as they left, Harry giving one last glance back. "He's really not so bad, you know."

"I don't get it, mate. I don't know why you even bother."

"No one deserves to be all on their own," Harry shrugged, glancing out the windows they passed. "Even if he looks like he's fine, he deserves someone to talk to that doesn't hate him."

"What do you mean if he 'looks like' he's fine? His mum sends him sweets every morning and he doesn't throw hissy fits like that first night. He's plenty fine," Ron brushed off, shaking his head and adjusting his bag.

"Just because you don't see someone breaking down around people doesn't mean they don't break down when they're curled up alone and have no one," Harry muttered, remembering just how many times he had said he was 'fine'. "Just… Trust me on this. Try to at least be pleasant? This can't be easy on him- I know, you hate him. I know. But still. Just… try."

"Malfoy? Breakdown? I don't think he's got enough emotion besides smug and evil for that to happen. Harry, mate, he's a slimy git. You should have seen him at this stupid Christmas party at Dad's work. He acted better than everyone. Like we should have been kissing the ground he walked on. He called me and my family blood-traitors." Oh, jeez, leave it to Draco to do something like that, he supposed.

"So maybe he was raised to act a certain way. Maybe now he's learning he doesn't get to be spoiled and have everything his way. This is probably like being dumped into cold water, which is a pretty rude awakening. Just… Everyone deserves a second chance, right? Let's see what he does with his." And really, nothing he said was a lie. Just when he'd given up on Draco, the blond caught up to them, an eyebrow raised.

"Are we going, then, or is this a Sunday stroll?" Draco kept his head held high as he walked alongside them calmly, glancing out the windows they passed. Ron looked disgruntled at Draco showing up, Harry raising an eyebrow and trying not to beam.

"Weren't you busy trying to out-study Hermione?" If Luna had been right, then maybe… It didn't hurt to hope, right?

"I decided you were right." Draco seemed to be studying Harry again, his nose wrinkling. Harry tried not to laugh.

"I'm sorry, what? Did you, Draco Malfoy, just admit someone other than yourself was right." Harry feigned shock, a hand going to feel his forehead. "This must be a dream. Or I'm hallucinating."

"Mm. No. I had the thought, so it means I'm also right." Draco allowed himself to smirk over at Harry.

"Oh, of course. I can only be right as long as you're right too," Harry nodded, as if that was a perfectly sensible thing. "I'll make note of that."

"Ridiculous, the pair," Ron muttered under his breath, shaking his head as if he couldn't believe either of them.

"You wouldn't understand, Weasley. You're used to always being wrong," Draco hummed, inspecting his fingernails. Harry kind of hoped he never changed, honestly.

"So," Harry spoke quickly, cutting Ron off before another fight could break out. "Have you heard much about Hagrid? I know all of your family went to Hogwarts, and I think he's been working here for… A long time."

"Heard of." Draco didn't say anything else, and, right. Probably his way of trying not to insult Hagrid. At least he was trying. And not spewing off information only a seventh year from the future would know.

"Think we could shove him into the forest," Ron asked 'quietly'. Honestly. No Weasley actually knew how to be quiet about anything. "The monsters would take care of the rest."

"Locomotor Mortis," Draco said simply, flicking his wand at Ron with very little effort.

"Why you little- Using magic in the halls is against the rules!" That got a laugh out of Harry as he shook his head.

"Careful, Ron, you're starting to sound like Percy." He looked back to Draco with a grin. "Neat trick. Think you could teach it to me?"

"Perhaps. And for your information, that rule holds no real weight. Many teachers do not enforce it, as we'd be practicing the spells taught to us by them, therefore further enhancing our skill."

"Clever comeback, won't work on Percy, though. Now, undo the spell and let's go. We don't want to be late to meet Hagrid."

::

Visiting Hagrid was pretty interesting when Draco tagged along. New, definitely, but that didn't have to be a bad thing - and the tea was great as always. It wasn't until a while later that Harry noticed a cutting of the Daily Prophet on the table and oh… Oh, god. He had forgotten- Well… Here they go again. "Hagrid." The others all looked over to him, Harry looking up from the cutting. "That Gringotts break-in… It happened on my birthday. You don't think it happened while we were there, do you?"

"'Course not," Hagrid said, looking away from them all. "'Sides, they didn't take anything. Can hardly call it a break-in when nothing's been stolen." Draco narrowed his eyes at Hagrid, looking him over before glancing to Harry. Ah, no one could out-Slytherin him, could they?

"It says they didn't catch who did it, though. And isn't Gringotts supposed to be impossible to break into?" Draco snorted at that, muttering something into his cup. He was probably thinking about when Harry, Ron, and Hermione had broken into it.

"Just coincidence," Hagrid waved off, looking nervous. "Now, let's get you lot fed, huh? Dinner won't be for a while, up at the castle." Draco remained silent, only sitting back in his chair. He was looking between Hagrid and Harry, eyes narrowed. Oh boy. Maybe Harry was letting on too much. He needed to be more careful about that. Waiting until Hagrid was busy talking to Ron, Harry tucked the clipping away into his pocket, Draco raising an eyebrow at him.

"Later," Harry muttered softly, dropping four sugars into a teacup and pushing it towards Draco. Draco took the cup and sipped from it, giving him a small nod.

The three were walking through the halls, everyone starting to settle down from the busy week of classes when Draco approached Harry, looking away from him."Harry," Draco said quietly. "I wanted to thank you. I heard you defending me to Weasley, and… I appreciate it."

"I'm curious, did that hurt you to say?" Seeing Draco bristle, Harry grinned. "Kidding, Draco. Like I said, everyone deserves a second chance. Even you." Draco rolled his eyes at that, looking away before speaking louder.

"So. Why'd you take that clipping, then?" Ah, well, better others saw it and started figuring it out instead of Harry just coming out and saying it all.

"Because I want to look into it more. That day we were at Gringotts, when something was stolen, Hagrid emptied a vault as well." Harry took the clipping out, unfolding it and holding it up. "Said it was for Dumbledore, 'very important', but… it was small. The size of a rock."

Ron's eyes widened at that. "Harry- You took it! And what do you mean? You think whatever Hagrid took was what people tried to steal?" Draco glanced to them, eyes narrowed. He looked ready to solve a puzzle, honestly.

"Hagrid said that the only place safer than Gringotts was Hogwarts. If they knew whatever it was, the package, was about to be stolen, they'd move it here, wouldn't they?" Harry tucked the clipping away again, smiling apologetically at Ron. "And I didn't take it, I just… borrowed it. I'll put the clipping back next time we visit." Draco only watched him for a moment before continuing to walk to the Gryffindor Common Room. The moment they stepped in, Draco took up his usual corner and was back to studying.

"Barmy, isn't he," he heard Ron 'whisper.' "Studies more than Hermione, I think. And that's saying something!" Honestly. Bloody Weasleys. None of them knew the meaning of privacy. Harry had never more appreciated Dudley in that moment.

"When he gets top of our year, and we get bottom, I'm going to remind you of this moment," Harry muttered back, and, yes. Things were going to work out.

Chapter Text

"Great, this is just what I need," Harry muttered, first year Gryffindors streaming out onto the front lawns with the Slytherins close behind. "Making a fool out of myself on a broom in front of half of our year." In reality, Harry was trying his hardest not to grin or bounce because finally they were getting their flying lessons! He had to be careful not to be too good, but other than that, well…

Draco rolled his eyes at his earlier words. "I highly doubt that. You'll be fine." Was Draco complimenting him? And calling him a good flyer?

"Line up, class, line up! Stand by your brooms!" Madame Hooch was directing them where to go, Harry noticing that the Slytherins didn't seem to be completely shutting Draco out. That was good- That was very good. Ah, right, brooms. "Right, now I want you to raise your dominant hand over your brooms and say 'up!' And make sure you do it with conviction!" Harry and Draco both laughed when Ron attempted and ended up getting hit in the face. Their brooms, however, came immediately to their hands. He glanced over and was surprised to see Draco smiling over at Harry. Not wicked, or scheming, or with an ulterior motive. Just a real, joyful smile.

"I guess I won't embarrass myself too badly." Harry didn't embarrass himself, but Neville on the other hand… Well, it was much like last time. Too worried about failing and going up too soon and falling down to break his wrist. They would really need to work on Neville's shyness while Harry was here.

"I hope Neville is okay," Hermione fretted.

"He'll be fine," Harry waved off. "I mean, it's Neville. He's sturdy and always bounces back from everything." Usually. Draco looked around the crowd, before sighing loudly.

"A shame. I thought someone might actually be able to give me a bit of competition." Others gave him various looks that ranged from annoyance to confusion.

"You can't be that good," Harry pointed out, lips twitching into a smile as he studied Draco. "I could probably beat you." Which, he knew, he really, really could.

"'S that so? Care to put your broom where your mouth is?" Draco was already astride his broom, taking off into the air.

"What are you doing!" Hermione shouted up at him, looking horribly displeased. "Madame Hooch said not to get on our brooms- You're going to get us all in trouble!"

"It's not as though I need lessons, Granger," he drawled. "Now. Who wants to race?"

"I'll pass," Pansy laughed, shaking her head. "If you were smart, Potter, you'd do the same. No one ever beats Draco in a broom race."

"Is that supposed to scare me," Harry raised an eyebrow before he was in the air a second later, perfectly at ease and comfortable and oh, don't tell him that Draco was trying to recreate the circumstances that would get Harry on the team. That was… That was surprisingly sweet.

"Alright, Potter. You create the terms." He nodded at Harry, grinning near wickedly.

"Fine. First one to the top of that tower and back wins," Harry grinned, shouting down at the others. "Any other rules, you guys think?"

"You fall off, you lose," Pansy called. "No whining about it, either!"

"You crash, you lose," Draco added, smirking. "Alright, then. Pans! Anytime, now!"

"On your marks," Pansy yelled, looking to be thoroughly enjoying herself. "Get set! Go!" That was all it took to have them off in a flash, Gryffindors and Slytherins alike cheering. Draco and Harry seemed to be equally matched. Harry, from being a natural, and Draco from having put in work to get to the level he was at. Harry remembered those first couple of years when he left Draco in the dust, but then it had gotten harder and harder.

Besides, Harry had natural talent, but he had needed to work on it as he got older. And damn if he hadn't done everything in his power to be the best seeker in the school. And this, right now? This was fun. Draco got to the statue of the wizard with the double swords and laughed at Harry. "See you at the bottom!"

"You wish!" Harry called back, touching the statue a half second later and darting after Draco. As they got closer to the finish line, Ron was calling out to them.

"New rule! You can't win unless you catch this!" With that, he was throwing a round rock as far into the air as he could. It dropped like- Well. Like a rock. Snitch. Draco darted for it immediately, arm reached out towards it, Harry at his side as they shoved and pushed at each other to try to win.

Harry was the one to snatch it, Draco's fingers just brushing the rock before it was Harry's hand he'd almost snatched into his own. Hah! Even as an eleven-year-old with no experience, Harry could still beat Draco! "Mr. Potter, Mr. Malfoy!" Oh dear.

"Yes, Professor? Something we can help you with?" McGonagall looked absolutely livid.

"Never in all my years- Such recklessness- Could've broken your necks." Taking a breath, McGonagall gestured for them to follow. "Come along, you two- Yes, Mr. Malfoy, you as well."

"In my defense, Professor, it was entirely his idea. I tried to tell him it was against the rules, but he kept goading me-" Cutting Draco's rambling off with a hit to his side, Harry looked back to McGonagall.

"We're equally to blame, Professor, but if you really want to nitpick, Draco here was the one who started everything-"

"That's a lie- Honestly, it was Weasley's idea, he dared us to race-"

"Yes, it was completely Ron's idea- I mean, a rock? It was like a mock Quidditch game!"

Both were silenced with a rather sharp look, McGonagall leading them through the halls up to the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom where a fifth-year class was going on. "Professor Quirrell, may I borrow Wood for a moment, please." Draco shot Harry a look with wide eyes- Oh. That- That would definitely change a few things. But- No. No, McGonagall couldn't make them both Seekers.

Oliver Wood came out of the classroom, shooting the two of them confused looks as they all followed McGonagall into an empty classroom. "Wood, I have found you some marvelous seekers."

"Really?" Wood lit up at once, looking excited. "Are you sure? They are first years-"

"Potter caught a rock from a fifty-foot dive, and Malfoy only missed it by a hair's breadth. Charlie Weasley himself couldn't have made that save. Almost shoved each other off their brooms trying to win."

"Wha- Seekers plural?" That- That wasn't supposed to happen. That wasn't right. That was not at all right. "But he caught it. He won. Why am I here?" Yeah, uh, yeah, Harry would like to know why Draco was here, too, actually. This was- This was different.

"You're here, Malfoy, because you proved just as skilled. I dare say having you both on the team will push us to victory for once." Wood, beside her, was now walking around them and inspecting them carefully.

"They're the perfect build for seekers, too. Light, speedy… Never hurts to have a reserve, especially with how dangerous the seeker position is- Can you bend the first-year rule, Professor?"

"Well, seeing as he'll be reserves, no one need know he's on the team until necessary. As for Potter, I'm certain an exception can be made." What was happening? Harry was very lost and confused and would very much like to know what was happening.

"I'm sorry, but what just happened?" Harry asked, and, oh, good, Draco looked as lost as he did. "Did- No. Really. I'm… I'm lost, here. First years aren't allowed to play Quidditch."

"On normal occasions, yes, but seeing as our team is in desperate need of a Seeker, I think we'll be able to bend the rules." McGonagall was looking at them both and seemed near giddy. "I want to hear you both are training hard, or I may re-think about punishing you. Now, you two go back down to the lawn. Wood, you need to get back to class, as well." As the two walked back down to the lawn, Harry was quiet and Draco. Draco would be flying for Gryffindor.

"I'm still confused on what just- Is that even possible." Harry shook his head, trying to act like he should, still. "It's against the rules and here they are breaking them."

"I… don't know." Draco looked like… He looked like he did in sixth year – lost and confused, and a little scared.

"This is ridiculous," Harry sighed, running a hand through his hair and trying to gather his thoughts together and focus, and, right. Dumb Potter. "I don't even know that much about Quidditch- Nice game, by the way. I honestly thought I was gonna lose at the last second."

"You should have," Draco muttered, shaking his head. Right. Okay. Bantering. That would maybe make things normal, a little bit.

"You weren't kidding about being good," Harry laughed. "You definitely deserve to be a seeker- You're still trying to get into Slytherin, right? Maybe that team will accept you when you transfer." Could Draco even really transfer? Harry had never known of anyone doing so.

"If I transfer."

"It's stupid that everyone puts so much of what happens depending on what house you get. And then a hat chooses," Harry scoffed, shaking his head and honestly. The hat deciding everything was just… It was stupid. "'S stupid." Draco gave a shrug, only walking alongside him and staring at the ground.

Once the two got back to the lawn, Draco was looking thoroughly rebuked. He remained away from them, looking incredibly interested in the grass beneath his feet. Harry didn't get to say anything before Ron was coming up to him.

"Was it that bad," Ron asked, sounding worried and fretting over Harry. "I mean, she looked mad but she didn't like- She didn't expel you, did she?"

"No, no," Harry shook his head. "I, ah, I'll tell you later. We're not in trouble, though. I think she was actually impressed with how good we were."

"Then what's up with him?" Yeah, Ron and Draco were very bad at getting along, it seemed.

"Dunno, none of our business, though. Come on, Madame Hooch is coming back with Neville."

Once she did, Draco made up some half-assed excuse about being sick and left the lawn quickly, going back up to the castle. Harry stared after him, biting at his lip before focusing on the lesson. He could understand Draco needing some time to himself, he supposed. This was… While everything was the same for Harry, Draco had just been put into Gryffindor and then placed on the Quidditch team in year one. Harry looked over to Draco's friends, and they all seemed just as confused and worried and oh boy, they probably thought he was expelled…

Right. Never a dull moment, he supposed. Waiting until class was over to reassure Draco's friends, Harry assured them that Draco was fine and not expelled before he was hurrying up to the dorm. Hopefully Draco was a little better, by now, "Draco? Just wanted to let you know the lesson finished. Everyone's down at dinner. I can bring something up, if you're still feeling sick?" Draco didn't respond to him, only staying curled up in bed with the curtains drawn. Harry really did feel bad… Maybe it would be easier if he just told him.

God, Harry didn't deserve to be a Gryffindor. He was nowhere near brave. "I know I'm not exactly your best friend, but if you want someone to talk to about anything, you can talk to me. If you want. So, yeah… I'll just… go." Closing the door softly behind him at the silence, Harry sighed, staring at the ground. No doubt Draco would keep to himself, avoid everyone and probably even meals, and try not to do anything that would get him noticed and no. No. That wasn't-

"You know what? No, I change my mind." Near slamming the door open, Harry stomped to Draco's bed and pulled the curtains back and no. He wasn't going to let Draco waste away because of his Slytherin dramatics! "I don't care what you're sulking about, but skipping meals is stupid and you should be grateful you can eat. Now get out of bed and get down to the Great Hall."

Draco squinted at the light and stared up at Harry. "No?" Harry glared, waited one second, and then started pulling Draco out of his bed and onto his feet.

"Yes. Now come on, no more pity party. No more curling up in dark corners and licking your wounds because you think there's no other choice." He had made there be another choice. Draco had been the one to see that they could change. "You're going to go down to the Great Hall, be calm and collected, and make people realize you are better than them. Got it?"

Draco only stared at Harry in confusion. He glanced around the room before looking back at Harry again. "Why do you care?"

"Because I know what it's like to have everyone against you and feel like you can't even get out of bed." The world hadn't always seen him as it's 'Chosen One' and his life before Hogwarts had been worse than anything the Wizarding World had done. "Because I know what it's like to feel so lost and feel like you have no choice. You want to run away, right? You want to leave it all behind and just pretend none of this ever happened. Well guess what. You can't. You can't do that, you have to stay and prove every one of them wrong."

Draco was no longer putting up much of a fight as Harry tugged him along to the Great Hall. "You don't even know what happened. Why are you trying to help me?"

"I like to think we're friends, at this point, and I don't want to see anyone go through what I had to." Because Draco didn't deserve to be tucked alone in his bed trying to hide away from the pain that had been done to him. "Just… Keep trying. I promise it does get better."

"You're eleven. How do you even know that- About any of this?" Draco shook his head, standing just a bit taller with each step.

"Because last month I was locked in a cupboard under the stairs for being a freak and I was constantly punished for accidental magic." Harry kept tugging Draco along by his sleeve, determinedly not looking back at him. There was a reason he had never told anyone about the Dursleys, but Draco, he knew, wouldn't pity him. "I know what it looks like when you're angry at the world and can't stand it anymore."

Draco tugged his sleeve free, stopping in the middle of the hall to stare at Harry, "You were locked in a cupboard?" Ah. Yeah, that part.

Sighing, Harry trailed to a stop as well, knowing Draco wouldn't move until his questions were answered. "I was left with my mom's sister and her family and they don't… They don't like magic. They don't like 'freaks'. They tried to 'beat the magic out of me', or whatever it was they said. That's why Hagrid had to come get me. Uncle Vernon kept burning and destroying all the letters in hopes I'd never find out what I was." Draco frowned down at the ground in what almost looked like horror. Had they really never known? Thinking on it, he hadn't really told anyone how bad it had all been. Ron and Hermione knew a bit, but they probably hadn't thought it was ever that bad.

"Like I said," Harry muttered bitterly. "I know what you're going through when it comes to being overwhelmed, and how stupid it can be to skip meals. So, that's why I'm forcibly dragging you down to dinner. You can hate me as you eat everything egg-related in sight."

"This conversation isn't over," Draco hissed before turning and near stomping towards the Great Hall. That was fine. Harry would let him have some time to himself to think. He probably deserved that, all the times Harry followed him and interrupted his time to himself to think. He should probably avoid him for the rest of the day-

"Wha- Draco? What are you- Wasn't I supposed to be dragging you along?" Harry was completely baffled because Draco had spun around and was now dragging him towards the Great Hall, still looking pissed. "Nice to see you're back on your feet, at least."

"Shut up before I curse someone." Yeah, probably a good idea.

"Fine, fine. Can we eat before you kill someone, though?" It seemed like Draco had to think about it for a moment, Harry trying not to laugh. His 'anger' was so cute when his features were this young.

Draco near growled. "Fine."

By the time they got down to dinner, most everyone in the school was there and eating. Ron waved them over, having saved them two spots. As soon as they sat down, Fred and George were sitting down on either side of them, "Nice job getting on the team."

They made sure to speak quietly, just like last time, so no one overheard. "Wood told us, we're on the team, too. Beaters. With you two we might just have luck at winning this year."

"Don't you mean with him," Draco said coldly. Always biting at everyone.

"Testy," George clucked. "Come on, you're not so bad once you get past the whole Malfoy-ness."

"Plus it's fun to watch people run in terror of you. Being us, we can appreciate that," Fred grinned. "Now, if you'll excuse us, we have to meet up with Lee." Harry and Draco watched them leave, Draco rolling his eyes and serving himself dinner.

"I don't like them." Shaking his head at that, Harry prepared their tea and set Draco's down in front of him.

"I think it's more they have to grow on you a bit, first."

"Like a growth. That you have removed." Draco sipped from his cup happily, Harry hiding a smile. He was glad that Draco still took his tea the same way, then.

"For once, I can agree with him," Ron shook his head. "Now you know we're doomed. You know, it's still hard to believe you both made the team."

"It's just as hard to believe for me," Draco murmured. Yeah, Harry definitely got that.

"I still don't think I should be on the team," Harry sighed, cup of tea already half drained and right. Keeping up the act. "I mean, I don't know anything about Quidditch. Just the basics of what you've told me."

Ron nodded. "Alright. Don't worry. I can fix this. Oi! Fred! George! Seamus! Need your help!" Ron was waving his hand and calling the boys over, Draco tensing beside him, Harry already filled with regret.

"Save yourself," Harry muttered, nudging Draco. "Just grab something to snack on as you run. Otherwise you won't escape."

"No. I'm fine. I don't need to." Oh, honestly. He always had to be such a Malfoy.

"Suit yourself." The three were already converging, Ron gesturing to Harry with a rather dramatic motion.

"Harry doesn't know anything about Quidditch. We need to educate him. Immediately." This was going to take a while, wasn't it?

::

"Hey." Oh, god, it was too early for this and who was trying to wake him up? "Get up." Oh. It was Draco. Harry tried rolling over to get away from him. "Come on. Get up," Draco repeated, shaking him more fervently.

"Draco, I want you to ask yourself a question. Is the sun up? No? Then buzz off." With that, Harry was pulling a pillow over his head and trying to hide from him. He heard Draco huff-

"Do you want to go flying, or not?" Harry was already sitting up and curious - although he was still slightly glaring.

"Why... Why would we go flying in the middle of the night?" Draco seemed to smile at him, grabbing Harry's glasses and handing them over, tugging Harry out of bed.

"Because we can't during the day, if you're going to be the secret weapon. Come on. I need to teach you how to really fly." Yawning, Harry put his glasses on and headed over to his trunk, a touch unbalanced.

"Alright, alright. If we fall off from where it's so dark, though, McGonagall is going to kill us. Then she's going to bring us back, expel us, and kill us again." Yawning again, he tugged pants and a sweater on. Draco gave a quiet laugh, watching Harry.

"Hurry up. We don't want to wake them-" There was a groan from Ron's bed, both of them freezing and watching as the curtains pulled back.

"What're you two doin'. It's... Late. It's late." Oh, great. Now they had to do something about Ron.

"Nothing. This is a dream. Go back to bed," Draco hissed, trying to nudge Harry to the door. This was not what they needed.

"Where're you two going," Ron frowned, stumbling out of bed and falling to the floor where his blankets were tangled around his legs. Harry had to fight to not laugh. "Are you sneaking out?" Draco swatted at him.

"Shut up!" Looking around, the other three didn't seem to even twitch. "Yes. Now go back to sleep. Or I'll... curse you."

"No you won't," Ron scoffed, getting up and tugging a sweater and his boots on. "First years can't curse people. So, where are we going?" Oh, Ron. Harry hoped he never changed, although Draco might kill him the way he was taking a deep breath.

"Apparently we're going to go fly," Harry yawned, grabbing his own boots and hopping to put them on, near falling as he reached the door. "Alright, come on. Before someone finds us up."

"We are?" Ron seemed rather surprised, following after them anyways. "Why are we going flying?"

"Because I said so, Weasley, keep up," Draco huffed, turning and dragging Harry out of the room and down the stairs to the common room.

"Alright, alright, I'm coming," Ron grumbled, following them out of the portrait hole. "Good. Fat Lady is gone, so she can't rat us out."

"Great," Harry muttered, rubbing at his eyes and okay, yes, he wanted to fly, but he was tired. "So exactly how long will we be flying? Kinda don't wanna be caught."

"As long as need be. I've learned a few tricks over the years, and I wanted to teach them to you." Draco just kept smiling at him as he gave Harry another small tug.

"Alright. I won't exactly argue against help," Harry laughed, just remembering to keep his voice hushed, and, right, no cloak or map yet. "You know, Fred and George were telling me about these things called Seeker games. Feel like explaining more about them?"

"Why explain when I can show you?" Draco beamed and hopped further away, quickening his speed. Harry laughed again and quickened after him, Ron trying to catch up to them.

"Well then let's go. I'm getting excited, now!" This time, Harry at least managed to keep his excitement to a whisper.

As the two made their way to the pitch, Harry had to keep himself from laughing too loudly. This was... nice. This was nice. He liked this. Being able to laugh with Draco. Being able to run with him- He was about to fly with him. Not against him. He felt... He felt eleven. Like he was excited for everything about Hogwarts, again.

As soon as they got to the broom shed, Ron was jimmying the lock and getting it open after a few quick seconds, school brooms now accessible, "Having five brothers who love to fly pays off."

"I could've done that," Draco muttered, crossing his arms as he leaned against the shed. Honestly, the prat always had to sulk over something. "What's the best they've got in there?" Ah, right, the school didn't always have the best brooms. They had some Comets, but, ugh... Those Shooting Stars.

"Let's see," Ron muttered, rooting around for a moment. "There's a few Comets, a lot of Shooting Stars, and a half dozen Cleansweeps. Looks like Cleansweep Seven."

"Those are close to the Nimbus Two-Thousands. We can use those, for now." Draco shoved Ron out of the shed and grabbed a couple, tossing one over to Harry. "Can't do Seeker games in the dark."

"We'll save that for next time," Harry laughed, near bouncing as he followed Draco. Flying lessons were all well and fine, but this was flying. Right. Keep up the act. "What do we do first? Is there anything I need to know? Wood told me the basic rules, but there's still a lot I don't know and-"

"Alright, alright," Draco laughed, kicking off the ground. "Weasley, help me explain everything to him. I know you lot did earlier, but..." Earlier had been a blur that Harry had near ignored when the lot kept talking over each other - Draco seemed to have felt the same.

"Right, one-on-one training for the new seekers," Ron nodded, following Draco into the air, Harry right behind them. "So, where do you want me to start? I mean, lot of ground to cover."

"Technically, it's air. And I don't need training," Draco said vaguely, looking up at the stars and near lounging on his broom. Harry had to fight the urge to push him off just to see if he could catch himself in time. Old habits died hard, he supposed. Ron started to go into some big old thing and Harry tuned most of it out, just waiting for the minute he could really fly, but he at least tried to pay attention. When he caught Draco's eye, he... He'd never seen Draco smile like that before.

It was a good hour of them, finally, flying before they admitted to how cold they were and headed back to the ground, cold hands putting away brooms before they were all stumbling off towards the castle. Harry was still beaming, even as he shivered. "That? That was the most fun I've ever had, I think." Draco grinned widely, leaning against Harry which only made Harry grin more. Flying at night with Draco and Ron was incredible, but Draco grinning that wide and leaning against him? That was perfect.

"It's been a while for me, as well. Do you think the Fat Lady will be there, once we get back?" Thinking about it, Harry finally gave a shrug as he leaned back against Draco, feeling himself start to relax a bit.

"Probably. She never leaves her portrait for very long, at least- Ron, do you know where we're going? We shouldn't pass the trophy room, should we?" Right, no duel with Draco, so Harry might have led them the wrong way on purpose to find Fluffy. They did need to move this all along, and Harry couldn't outright say anything - maybe to Draco, but Ron needed to figure this out, too.

"Nah, we can go this way. Just head through here, down that hall, and then to the left, I think-" A meow cut him off, all three looking back to see a cat. Looking back to see Mrs. Norris. Right. Harry had forgotten just why they had been running when they found Fluffy, and, honestly? He'd take the three-headed dog over Filch any day.

Draco was the first to speak, looking as if his heart had stopped altogether. "Run?"

"I'm up for running," Harry muttered quietly, all of them keeping eye contact as he nudged Ron. "How about you, Ron."

"Way ahead of you." The second Mrs. Norris started screeching, the three were off like a shot, trying to get away as fast as possible.

"Where are we running to," Draco asked as they ran, looking around the castle.

"Doesn't matter right now," Ron called back, turning a sharp corner and forcing the two to follow him.

"I think we're on the third floor," Harry panted out, near crashing into a door that Ron was trying to open. A locked door. "Can you lock pick it? Quickly?"

"What about that spell? That opens locked doors? Would it work," Draco said, looking around and trying to catch his breath. There might have been some light at the end of the hall.

"Oh, oh, right!" Ron nodded, fumbling for his wand and near throwing it instead of tapping the lock. "Alohomora!" A click and they were pushing their way through the door at once, closing it behind them and panting for breath. "Nice thinking, Malfoy."

"Yes, I know, Weasley," Draco sighed, leaning against the door. "Bloody hell. How did they handle that for seven years?"

"How did who handle what for seven years," Harry asked, pressing his ear against the door to try and listen and to hide his rolled eyes. Honestly, Draco was worse than he was. "I don't think they know we're here..."

Draco quickly waved off his question. "Nevermind." Looking around the room, he squinted. "Where are we?"

"Dunno, empty classroom, maybe," Harry squinted around himself, letting Ron keep lookout. "Do you know any spells to give us some light, or something? Or find a light switch, at least." This should be the right room, at least.

"A light switch?" Draco blinked and... right. That was a thing in muggle buildings. Not wizard. Purebloods, honestly.

"Dad's told me about those," Ron said with a nod. "Hang on, I think I know one. Percy uses it all the time to study. Lumos."

"I... I think I know why this room was locked," Harry muttered quietly, not having to work at the fear in his voice as he stared with wide eyes into the room as they all started hearing growling. He had forgotten just how big Hagrid's 'pet' was. "Third floor corridor, right?"

"I think it's time to run, again," Draco commented weakly beside him. At least they were getting their exercise.

Chapter Text

"A three-headed dog. A three-headed dog," Ron sounded as panicked as Draco looked. "Are you kidding me?! What are they doing, keeping a thing like that locked up in a school!"

Draco shook his head where he'd collapsed into a chair in the common room. "I haven't done that much running in ages." He ran that much ever? Harry couldn't believe it - he was out of breath himself, though. He really did need to get some kind of routine going soon.

"That was a way to end the night, then," Harry panted, falling onto a couch and groaning. Eleven-year-old bodies were not meant for this. "That was far too much running- What was that thing doing there? I mean, why?"

"Trapdoor. He was standing on a trapdoor- I'm assuming it's a he. He growled like an arse." Draco shook his head again, getting a hysterical laugh out of both of them and oh, man, good on him. Most wouldn't have noticed the trapdoor and Harry was worried because Hermione hadn't been with them-

"What are you three doing," a voice hissed from the stairs. A girl's voice. Looking over showed Hermione to be squinting, having been roused from her slumber by them, no doubt. Speak of the devil, then?

"Not now, Granger." Draco would be Draco. Even if Harry agreed now was not the right time for Hermione to be coming around.

"If you lot weren't going to cost us points, I would turn you in myself!" With that, she was storming up the steps and slamming the door to the girl's room closed.

"Dramatic, isn't she," Ron muttered, shaking his head. "Needs to sort out her priorities, that one."

"I don't think I can move," Draco groaned, shifting until his head was on the arm of his armchair, and his legs were thrown over the side of it. He lifted his arm just enough to throw it over his eyes. "I'm doomed to never leave this chair."

"Yeah, yeah, whatever you say," Harry grumbled, not moving from his own place. Fucking drama queen. Ron was trudging up the stairs while Harry watched Draco. Maybe they needed another hint. "Hey, do you think that dog is guarding whatever Hagrid picked up at Gringotts? That day we met?"

"Wha- You think?" Draco seemed to think it over. "Would make sense, I guess. You're not thinking about trying to get past that dog, are you?"

"Oh, god, no. Why would I do that?" That needed to wait until the end of the year. He was pretty sure, at least. "No, I just... I guess I'm curious, you know? I know no one will probably tell me, but it's just interesting to think about, I guess. Maybe."

"Gonna try to solve it, Potter? The mystery of first year?"

"Don't call me Potter," Harry yawned back, half heartedly tossing a blanket over Draco's legs. The last thing he needed was for them to slip back into calling each other Potter and Malfoy.

"Then... what do you want me to call you," Draco asked quietly, trying to look over towards Harry while it looked like his eyelids were drooping. This was nice. Almost better than flying.

"Just... Just call me Harry." His voice was soft and quiet where he was already close to falling asleep . "I don't want this. Being Harry Potter, I just... I've always wanted to be Harry."

"...Alright. As long as you don't call me Malfoy."

"Alright." It was impossible to not grin at the request considering what it truly meant. "No Malfoy and Potter, then. From now on, it's just Draco and Harry."

"Just Draco and Harry," the other agreed. He liked the sound of that.

It... It was perfect.

::

"I just wanna know why they chose a three-headed dog to guard whatever is in there," Harry grumbled over breakfast, snagging the plate of scrambled eggs as it was passed and handing it to Draco. He still couldn't fathom why Dumbledore let Fluffy into the school. "Here. Breakfast." Draco only took the plate itself, setting it in front of himself and digging into it. Harry was doing his best to not snort. Right, he didn't do well with late nights.

"Hogwarts has never exactly made sense," Ron laughed, piling his plate with near everything he could. "Oi, what's that up there." Harry glanced to Draco first, seeing Merlin land in front of him with two letters - it must've been from his parents, no doubt. He then followed Ron's gaze up to the owls and oh- Oh, bloody hell, he had completely forgotten.

"Thank you, Merlin," he faintly heard Draco say to his owl, Harry's gaze riveted on the broom that was being carried by a group of owls and landing right in front of him. How on earth had he forgotten this? It was- It was his Nimbus. Draco finally looked up at seeing Harry's no doubt stunned expression out of the corner of his eye. "Hm? Oh. Right. Congratulations." He waved it off, looking back at the letter he held in his hands.

Harry didn't much mind as he was beaming down at the broom and oh, man. He hadn't seen this broom since third year when that fucking tree had torn it to shreds. Ugh, he'd have to avoid Dobby next year, but for now he had his broom back. Draco gave him a small nudge. "How about we take it out for a spin after class?" He poured Harry another cup of tea, and, oh, he had already finished his first one, hadn't he?

"That sounds wonderful," Harry smiled in thanks at the tea, sipping at it happily while glancing to Draco's letters. "Read anything interesting from your mum?"

"...Certainly interesting," the blond muttered, looking over the letters, again.

"Well that was very descriptive," Harry laughed, picking the broom up. "I'm gonna go put this in the dorm, need anything while I'm up there before class starts?"

"I, uh..." Draco didn't give him an actual answer, just staring at him. Actually, just staring off into space.

"Draco?" Harry raised an eyebrow, snapping him out of his thoughts. "Trailing silence isn't exactly something I can carry."

"Oh. Uh. No. I'm fine." Draco passing up the chance to have Harry at his beck and call? There was definitely something wrong. He'd have to look into that later.

"Alright, I'll meet you guys in class." With that, Harry was finishing off his tea and then getting his things in leaving, saying much the same to Ron.

He barely got a few meters away before Draco was suddenly walking beside him. "Hang on," he said quickly. "Now that I think about it, I think I forgot one of my books." And, alright, he wasn't exactly sure when things had changed, but... It wasn't so bad.

::

"Right, let me see if I got this," Harry said, looking as serious as Wood. "Keepers keep the quaffle from getting in and scoring goals. Three Chasers use the quaffle to try and make goals and get past the Keeper. Two Beaters make sure the bludgers go after the other team instead of their own, and then the Seeker is in charge of catching the snitch, which ends the game. A quaffle score is ten points, and a snitch is worth one-hundred-and-fifty points. Do I have all that right?"

Draco beamed in pride, looking back up at Wood and oh, he almost felt bad for fooling them all. Almost. "Taught him everything he knows." That had Wood laughing, and Harry shoving at Draco lightly. Prat.

"Spot on, Potter. I dare say you'll make one of our best Seekers yet." Oh, he would. "Now, I know Malfoy has some experience on a broom, so let's get you two in the air and see how well you do catching simple stuff." Simple stuff looked to be a mix of golf balls and tennis balls, which, really, that brought back some memories.

"Ready for a real challenge-" Waiting, Harry raised an eyebrow as Draco seemed to cut himself off before he gave a small shake of his head, smiling at Harry.

"I mean, sure, but I don't see one around," Harry smirked, kicking off into the air and grinning down at him. This, after all, was familiar."I guess you'll do."

"Oh, it's on." Draco took to the skies, laughing the entire session. They each managed to catch a fair few, although Harry noticed he fumbled a few saves - mostly due to the fact he was used to a much longer reach and while his mind knew what to do, his body wasn't quite there yet. It would get better, he knew.

As they landed, Draco nudged him. "You're amazing." And, oh, Harry could get used to that. Harry could very much get used to Draco complimenting him.

"I still have a long way to go, though," Harry grinned, tousling his hair. "Besides, everyone else playing is gonna be a lot older, so I'll have to work hard to be at their level." Or at least, get back at that level.

"But that doesn't mean it's going to be impossible. It just means you've got something to prove," Draco pointed out, smiling at Harry. "Come on. We have studying to do."

The two said goodbye to Wood, putting their brooms in the shed and heading back to the castle. Harry was still bouncing along and happy as could be. How could he not be? Everything seemed to be going right. He was playing Quidditch again, he was closer to Draco, and he was back at Hogwarts. "Hey, Ron was talking about Halloween. It's supposed to be really big in the Wizarding World, right?"

"For the more traditional families like mine. Our magic is supposed to be more powerful. That's when the Veil is thinnest," Draco explained. "Some claim that the ghosts of loved ones appear. I don't believe in it one bit, of course, but..."

"Muggles believe stuff like that," Harry smiled, slowing down a little and walking right beside Draco. "Ghosts and spirits are supposed to be able to be seen on Halloween, and people can see those they've lost. No one ever believes in it, and Halloween was the equivalent to betrayal where I grew up. I never really was able to celebrate it."

Harry could see the questions on the tip of Draco's tongue before he stopped himself. There was a long moment before he nodded with a smile. "At Hogwarts, there's normally a feast, and we celebrate it."

"That... That sounds really nice," Harry grinned. "You know, Halloween was when I was dropped off on my Aunt and Uncle's doorstep. I mean, we never celebrated it because it was 'magic', but that was usually screamed at me. Me arriving there on that day. I know Aunt Petunia near dropped a milk bottle on me when she found me the next morning." Harry was laughing, a little amused at the image that description gave, but Draco... Draco only gave a weak smile. What was that about? It really was kind of funny when he thought about it - at least, the image of it was. Hm, maybe a distraction. "Think we can go flying again tonight? Or maybe just before curfew?" Harry felt excited at just the thought. He loved night flying, and flying with Draco felt familiar in a way it had no right to, but was perfect all the same.

"Yeah. I think so," Draco chuckled. "But only if you finish your homework." That had Harry giving as childish a groan as he couch, Draco looking to be fighting against laughter.

"You sound like Mione, but, fine. Anything to get in the air again." The two bumped against each other a couple times on the way to the Common Room. It was nice. Being able to joke and play around with Draco like this. Better than their snarking and jabbing.

The common room was rather full when they arrived, everyone lazing around and either playing games or doing their homework. It was just as rambunctious and loud as Harry remembered and it was perfect. "I'll go get our bags from upstairs," Harry called, already halfway up to the dorm. "Find us a spot!"

Taking a moment to actually find their bags, Harry was quick to gather them both up before heading back downstairs, snorting at seeing a glimpse of a fifth year hovering by his ankle before he was hitting the ground, Draco looking smut as could be as he went to sit in 'his' chair. "Did you do something Slytherin to get that chair," Harry raised an eyebrow, handing Draco his bag and then sitting in the floor against the chair. "'Cause when you said you were never going to leave this chair, I didn't think you were being serious."

"I'm possessive over what's mine," Draco answered simply and oh, boy, didn't Harry know that. "I'm guessing you need help with the Potions essay, seeing as you're right awful at the subject." Draco had a small smile to show that he was teasing, which, yeah, that was nice.

"I wouldn't argue against the help," Harry grinned, pulling out his book and parchment. "Where'd you learn that spell, anyways? Looked a bit advanced for a first year." Which he should be careful about.

Draco shrugged vaguely. "I picked it up." Which wasn't a lie, Harry supposed.

"Right, so what exactly is the porcupine quill supposed to be doing in this one? I mean, doesn't that explode under extreme heat?"

::

"I cannot believe you two are sneaking out again," hissed Hermione from the stairs leading to the girls' dorm. It was actually pretty hilarious. Her hair was done back in braids, and she was in a fuzzy pink robe. Not a very menacing image.

"It's only sneaking out if you get caught," Harry grinned, half jumping as he tried to get his boots secured. "Otherwise it's taking a late night stroll."

"No," she insisted. "It's breaking the rules."

Draco looked her over. "Do you know how to fly a broom, Granger?" Wait, what? Was Draco thinking what Harry thought he was thinking?

"Wha- What kind of a question is that!" Hermione bristled even more, looking at them both suspiciously. "I know the basics, but if you think you're going to convince me to sneak off with you and get in trouble-!"

"We're not going to get in trouble. We didn't last time, did we? But fine. Have it your way." He turned to Harry, keeping his voice the same volume. "It's a mystery she got Gryffindor, honestly."

"You're just gonna make her angry," Harry muttered back, the two watching as Hermione seemed to puff herself up before storming back into her dorm. It was hardly a moment later she came out with her boots and a jacket on. "Now look what you've done."

"Let's get one thing straight, I'm only coming with you so I can keep you two out of trouble." Hermione stomped down the stairs, making way too much noise to be considered 'sneaking'. "And if a teacher catches us, you're going to say you kidnapped me."

"And that you were trying to find a teacher to tell them immediately what was going on?" Draco smirked and held his hand out to her. "Mademoiselle." Harry blinked, looking over at him and that- Was that an accent? That was definitely an accent. French? It reminded him of Fleur, at least.

"Oh, go be charming elsewhere," Hermione huffed, bypassing his hand and heading for the portrait hole, and, really. Rude. Although she had a grudging smile on her face.

"You speak French?" Harry was looking at Draco curiously, eyebrow raised. "I didn't know you spoke French." Or if he had, then he had forgotten.

"There's French on both sides of my family. Toujours pur," he said by way of explanation. "It's the Black family motto. Mother is from the Black family." Draco looked Hermione over before tsking. "We should start her off on a Comet, I think."

"Good idea," Harry nodded, trying to shake off the fact Draco knew French. Why would he even- Ugh, not important. Flying. Flying was important. Comets were for very basic beginners. They didn't go very fast, and they didn't go very high. "Also, what does 'Tou...' Uh... That thing you said mean." Sirius had said it once, maybe.

"It's nothing," Draco quickly waved off. Hm. Something pureblooded, then. "Come on. Before Filch catches us again." He peeked his head around the corner before nodding and leading them through the corridor.

"I thought you said he didn't catch you," Hermione hissed to them accusingly.

"He didn't. It's only catching if we get caught, and we, Hermione, don't get caught," Harry grinned, nostalgia so wonderfully thick in the air. "Now, let me run you through the basics of not falling off a broom and killing yourself."

Harry had to laugh a little at seeing Hermione was grudgingly impressed with how good they were at sneaking through the castle. Granted Harry had been roaming this castle for seven years, and knew the teacher's patrol routes by heart even without the map. Finally they were at the broomshed, Harry already bouncing in excitement. "Alright, I'm sure it's charmed against magic... Does anyone know how to lockpick like a muggle," Draco said, turning to them expectantly, raising an eyebrow at Hermione, mostly. Why would he expect her to know how to lockpick? She couldn't break a rule to save her life, at this age.

"Wha- What makes you think I know how," Hermione huffed, crossing her arms. Harry took the chance to get through the lock himself. "I never go around at night breaking into things and-"

"Got it," Harry called to them, taking his own broom out and then rooting around to find one for Hermione. "The school needs a better lock."

"Wha- How'd you do that," Draco asked, startled and staring at Harry with wide eyes. As if it was hard?

"I broke out of my cupboard all the time to eat at night," Harry shrugged, finding a good broom and handing it to Hermione, who took it a bit warily. Laughing, Harry grabbed Draco's usual broom. "Now c'mon. We have some flying to do."

Draco seemed to take a few deep breaths before nodding and looking at Hermione. "Alright, Granger. How much do you know about riding a broom?"

"Oh, um, just what Madame Hooch has covered in class," Hermione spoke hesitantly, as if expecting the broom to come alive and attack her. Deciding that she was in good hands when it came to flying, Harry shot off into the air, quickly settling into his usual laps and warm-ups around the pitch. He made sure Hermione was okay before starting to have a little more fun with his practices, testing how high he could go before letting himself fall back towards the ground - something he had found was very fun.

It was a relief to finally let his thoughts wander and to be able to process everything he had been learning lately. While the days seemed to be flying by where everything was so familiar, there were some things that were throwing him for a loop and forcing him to slow down so he could think about it. Example - Draco being French. Who gave him the right to be French? Has he always been French? Harry supposed, comparing him to Fleur, that it made sense. He had the perfect blond hair, and the ethereal quality... Actually, maybe he was part Veela. That explained everything in one word really.

Honestly, he wouldn't be surprised if the Malfoys were descended from Veelas, the way they were sometimes. It was weird to think that he was still learning new things about Draco, though, after seven years of knowing him. Amazing what being friends could do- That was the thing, though. They were friends. That was the part that had Harry back to doing loops and flips and falls around the field. If he and Draco, after all this time, were able to be friends, then maybe they could even be more.

Chapter Text

Hey, guys. Kas here. So, I was going through and proofing the next chapter for this when I realized... Man, does this story suck. Realistically, it wouldn't be copy/pasted of Time Twister. Time Twister and this fic are two totally different things. The Harry in Time Twister is just the Harry of the timeline Draco jumped into. Harry didn't follow him in that fic. So why would Harry and Potter be saying all the same things, doing all the same stuff? Honestly? We were just doing the Copy/Paste thing to fuck with you guys and troll you. In this WIP, Potter ended up revealing himself around Christmas, but... This story needs to get redone. And I know we're going to get some shit for redoing it but too fucking bad. Our fic, our rules. And this fic isn't actually that good. We could be doing way better. We owe that much to ourselves. As for now, we're gonna focus on Time Twister, and a couple of our other fics. ~Kas