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The Boy at the Robe Shop

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Disclaimer: The characters and the situation belong to J. K. Rowling, and this story has not been created for profit. Just for fun.

Author's notes: I have been reading h/d fiction for a long time and because I couldn't find any more completed fics to read, I decided that I should write one for myself. Hope you enjoy reading ;-)

 

 

Chapter One: At the Platform

 

 

The first wizard—real wizard, and that didn’t count Hagrid, who was sure friendly and all but, really, he waved an umbrella—that Harry had a conversation with was a pale boy with gleaming blond hair gelled back into a helmet of sorts, with grey eyes that didn’t actually look, really look, at you but somehow seemed to be looking at an idea of you, if that makes any sense.

Well, a first conversation, if it could be considered a conversation at all. If staring and thinking hard and not understanding anything the other person was saying while saying “no” a few times qualified as having conversation.

To tell the truth, Harry’s dislike for the boy had grown by the second, proportional to how he felt more stupid with every word that came out of the blond boy’s mouth. Harry was very relieved to leave the robe shop after having heard the boy call Hagrid names.

But dislike couldn’t be further from what Harry was feeling as he spotted three blond heads approaching him, pushing a trolley with two owl cages on top. One blond head was suspiciously shaped like a shiny helmet.

He released his death grip on his own trolley. He could feel tingles in his hand as warm blood rushed toward his fingers, paper-white slowly flooding pink. Harry wiped his nose with his sleeve. He had to look presentable when he was facing strangers, Aunt Petunia had beaten this fact into him, though not literally—instead she hit the table with a rolled-up magazine, hard enough to unbalance the pretty vase with the affected antique-like age lines crisscrossing the glossy surface. Harry had bodily prevented the vase from shattering on the floor by clutching onto it for dear life and using his stomach as a cushion against the tiled kitchen floor. The last time Aunt Petunia screamed at Harry was when Dudley had lied about Harry sneaking into the cabinet to eat the expensive French chocolates that had been bought for a guest; Harry had been upset, and suddenly, the dishes on the table had started hurling themselves onto the wall, the pieces shattering everywhere. Aunt Petunia had then gone completely still and completely white, and Harry had not eaten for the rest of the day and had to do garden work with an empty stomach.

Harry snapped back into reality when he heard a loud whine somewhere from behind. With a jump, he swiveled his head left, right, and then left again, and realized with a sinking feeling that the blond family was gone, he had actually lost them because he was thinking of Aunt Petunia, he really had let help slide through his fingers, he would never be able to come in contact with any other wizard for the rest of his life, and what the heck was platform nine and three-quarters anyway, he would have to go back to the Dursleys who would undoubtedly be jumping up and down with glee that their deliberate tardiness had succeeded in causing Harry misery. There was a burning feeling behind his eyes as tears welled fast, his nose runny again. Harry viciously wiped his nose with his sleeve. It stung.

Then there was the whine again.

Sniveling, still confused and hurt, Harry turned his head toward the whine. Standing not ten feet away next to a wide stone pillar was the boy with his blond helmet, the pointy, obnoxious, bratty git that reminded Harry so much of Dudley, and Harry felt like the gleam of light reflected by the boy’s shiny hair was an incandescent ray of holy light from the heavens.

“You can’t take Leo from me!” The blond boy stomped his feet and looked petulantly up at a blond man and woman. The man and woman both wore their hair long and loose. Harry blinked and chewed on his lower lip, wondering if it would be wise to interrupt the boy’s tantrum. Dudley’s tantrums tended to gain momentum if Dudley thought he was being interrupted by something other than a frantic “Yes, yes, of course we’ll buy you your fourth ice cream cone, Dinky Duddydums, Mummy’s sorry.”

The woman let out a deep sigh and put her hand on the boy’s shoulder. The boy pouted harder.

“Draco darling, you don’t even know what Leo eats every day,” she said in a gentle, coaxing tone.

“Listen to your mother, Draco. Without Dobby, Leo would die,” said the man, his voice detached but his eyes soft.

“I could bring Dobby to Hogwarts, then! Leo has to come with me.” Draco brightened suddenly. He poked the air with his forefinger and cried, “I know, Father could pressure the governors to accept Dobby to be my personal house-elf!”

“Draco.”

The boy, Draco, turned towards his mother and pleaded.

“Mother, make Father say yes! You know what Leo means to me!”

“Darling, you will make plenty of friends at Hogwarts. Real friends. I know you are nervous about meeting children your age, but everyone will like you.”

Draco was silent for a moment. Then he swallowed.

“No they won’t,” he said softly. “When I go to Hogwarts, no one will want to be my friend. I will be friendless and I’ll practically become a pariah without anyone to stand up for me.”

Draco’s voice was getting louder and shakier by the second.

“And when the upper kids beat me up ‘cause I have nicer hair, NOBODY will be on my side and I’ll be bullied. And I’ll NEVER be able to get good grades ‘cause NO ONE will want to be my study partner, and, and…”

Harry took a step back in surprise. The boy was voicing the exact thoughts that had troubled Harry’s sleep since he had talked with him at the robe shop. Well, except the fact that upper kids wouldn’t beat up Harry because of his hair. Er… On second thought, maybe Harry’s mop of a hair would offend them so much that they would have to beat him up because of his hair, too. So there.

Harry blinked and continued watching, fascinated in spite of himself. This wasn’t necessarily eavesdropping. He had to listen and wait for a break in the tantrum so that he could find a polite moment to interrupt and ask the blond family how they planned to get to Hogwarts.

The woman kneeled in front of Draco, and touched her fingers delicately to his chin, seeing him eye to eye. Harry noted with surprise that Draco’s eyes were watery, and that his lips were trembling. He started to say something, then closed his mouth to swallow.

When he talked, his voice was soft again.

“Mother, the boy I told you about, the boy with the terrible black hair and glasses I met at the robe shop…”

With a start, Harry realized that Draco was talking about him.

“…I lied, Mother. He… he didn’t like me. We didn’t talk about trying out for the Slytherin Quidditch team, or, or sharing a dorm room. I’m… I’m sorry, Mother.”

“Shhh… Draco, Draco. It’s all right. Darling, what’s wrong? Tell me.”

Harry leaned in to listen to Draco’s voice, small against the bustle of King’s Cross.

“He hated me. He hated me from the start. I could tell.”

Well, he was wrong. Harry didn’t hate him at sight, not exactly. Harry had been nervous, sure, but nevertheless he had been eager to meet a wizard his age. It was when the brat had started spouting offensive nonsense that Harry had decided that he didn’t like him.

Draco sniveled loudly and continued.

“I tried to make him talk with me. I talked about Quidditch, he didn’t play, so I started talking about the giant man who was right outside the robe shop.”

Hagrid.

“I talked about what you and Father told me, but then he was angry at me. He preferred the giant’s to my company.”

What did you expect? Harry wanted to argue. Hagrid was kind to Harry. He was the one who had personally delivered the news that Harry was not some useless piece of meat like the Dursleys so wanted him to believe.

“Then I tried to ask him about his parents, but he said they were dead, and I didn’t know what to tell him, but I tried. I tried to tell him that it’s okay ‘cause his parents were not Muggles, he had nothing to worry about because our kind stick together.”

Harry’s mouth formed a small O.

Draco’s voice was becoming shakier and thicker.

“I even asked his surname, just like you said, Mother, if I wanted to make someone see that I had made note of him as an important person…”

Draco trailed off and looked at his mother with wide, teary eyes, looking lost. Less than ten feet away, Harry was feeling embarrassed. And there also was an odd feeling somewhere close to his chest. So Draco hadn’t said those things to spite Harry. So… Draco wasn’t the cold hearted bastard that didn’t care if someone’s parents were dead or not. Draco actually had wanted to comfort Harry, as disastrous as it had been.

It kind of made Harry feel warm. A sort of fuzzy feeling.

And then cold again because he had made the person who tried to ingratiate himself to Harry think Harry hated him.

“If I take Leo, I’ll at least have someone who’ll tolerate me,” mumbled Draco, gazing down.

His mother’s thumb was drawing soothing circles on Draco’s cheek, wiping away invisible tears. Draco’s father had his hand on Draco’s shoulder. His large hand looked as if it would crush Draco’s rather small shoulder.

“Listen, Draco.”

At his father’s firm voice, Draco peered up at him through his pale eyelashes. There were tears clinging to them and Harry felt such a strong wave of guilt and regret that he had to refrain from stumbling forward and mouthing an incoherent apology and plea for forgiveness. He could have had a friend, a real friend, and he had offended him. Harry had made him cry.

“Listen. Malfoys are never shunned. Do you hear me, Draco? You are a Malfoy, and Malfoys are respected, admired, and sought after. You will never thirst for companionship.”

His voice was flat and factual, and very firm.

“Your father is quite right, Draco. Soon you’ll be surrounded by loyal friends and then where would Leo be? Starving to death alone under the bed, probably wilting all this quills as well, the poor porcupine.”

Draco gave his mother a shaky smile. His mother soothed her thumb over his cheek one last time and straightened up with a gentle expression. Draco’s father’s voice sounded again.

“Now, you have caused us a great inconvenience with your tantrum, Draco. You might have noticed that we missed your train.”

Draco cringed, and then flashed his father an uncertain smile. Looking down his nose at his son, the man raised a perfect blond eyebrow and continued.

“Since this is your first day, I will allow this one act of lenience. Let’s have the Floo ready for you.”

He squeezed Draco’s shoulder once.

When Draco’s family made to move, Harry frantically pulled at his trolley to reach them before they somehow disappeared from his sight. Unfortunately, in his hurry, his elbow crashed with Hedwig’s cage. It was not hard enough to upset but sufficient to cause an indignant hoot.

A very loud indignant hoot.

Three blond heads snapped around simultaneously. Harry suddenly found himself staring into Draco’s eyes, impossibly wide. His mouth was agape.

“Er…” Harry started.

“That’s him!” Draco shrieked and tugged his mother’s robe. “Mother! That’s the boy, the one I was talking about!”

 

 

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