Authors notes: I want to thank my BETAs Koorime and ChibiBecca. I would also like to appologise if people start craving cookies oo; Oh, and this Fic is set in Bath, Wiltshire, my hometown, so sorry if it sounds like a travel brochure at times ^^
Harry rolled over in the bed Draco had occupied merely hours before, staring at the moving lights and shadows on the ceiling, wondering what the other boy was up to.
After the blonde had left, Harry had sat on the chair in frustration, the torn jumper clenched tightly in his hands, annoyed with himself for no discernable reason. Annoyed at Draco for just leaving.
He hadn’t enjoyed the meal that evening, even less than he had previous evenings, as his uncle had kept looking at him with some strange emotion not yet recognisable smouldering in his eyes. He had no idea what this new emotion was, but he had a feeling Vernon knew Draco had stayed the night. He had an uneasy feeling that that was what Vernon and the receptionist had been talking about when he’d seen them earlier.
He rolled over and glared at the wall across from him, watching a patch of moonlight slowly make its way up the wall and on to the ceiling.
‘It must be getting early’ he mused, staring at the patch of light. He closed his eyes, trying to get to sleep. But it wasn’t working, he kept thinking that anything that had been growing between Draco and himself, was now thoroughly over. The next time he would see the blonde would probably be September first, and things would have returned to normal.
* * * *
Draco woke and stared at the ceiling for a moment, trying to figure out why his body ached. Then memory returned to him and he sat up determinedly.
He crossed the room, refusing to think and rummaged through his belongings, searching for something that he had packed just in case, something he always packed, just in case. He smiled grimly when he found it. A small tub of salve, bought in Hogsmead a couple of years back.
He sat down, removed his shirt and began rubbing it over his shoulder and chest, smoothing it into his skin, he then spread a small dab over and around his black eye, wincing slightly.. He checked his other wounds and spread the remaining salve over those. Then he sat back and admired his work. Every last one of his wounds was gone, healed magically, with no sign that they were ever there in the first place.
“Much better,” he muttered, throwing the empty tub in the bin next to his dresser. He caught his own eye in his reflection in the mirror on the ornate dresser. The black eye was entirely gone.
At the sight of it he wondered if Potter had any healing salves. He guessed he didn’t, the boy lived with muggles for goodness sake and seemed to treat his own life as if it were nothing, so why on earth would he have anything like this?
He shrugged and dressed, still refusing to think about anything, pottering around his large, ornately decorated and vaguely decadent hotel room. Eventually, when he was dressed, he flopped onto the overstuffed sofa placed before the hearth.
That was the thing about being a Malfoy, he reflected, he could afford a hotel that looked vaguely like home.
As he sat, his mind finally turned to the one subject it had been trying to avoid all morning. Potter.
His mind flew back to the last time he’d seen the raven haired boy, when he had closed the hotel room’s door. Potter had looked almost miserable, though he’d said goodbye cheerfully enough, and Draco couldn’t help but think it a little strange.
He sighed and leaned his head back on the sofa, staring up at the ceiling as if it contained all the answers. That was when the image of Potter’s badly torn jumper slung over the back of the chair came to him.
Bloody hell, he’d really done that. He’d lifted Potter off the floor. And in doing so, torn his jumper right down the front. He blinked at the memory and realisation dawned. Potter was still angry at himself over upsetting him. That was why he’d been so glum the day before, when he left.
He realised he wasn’t angry with Potter anymore. That argument had been silly, and stupid and nowhere near as bad as some they’d had over the years at school. The only thing that had really riled him was the insinuation of his aspiring to join the Death Eater’s and the mention of his being like his father, and he was vaguely aware that Harry was already repentant over that slip.
He didn’t notice the way his thoughts turned from calling the other boy Potter to Harry in the space of only a few minutes, and barely even registered the decision that made him stand and search for his money pouch.
While searching he tried to remember when it was Harry’s admiring fan-girls had said his birthday was. When he had the pouch and was putting it in his light backpack, he remembered. It was tomorrow. For goodness sake, it was tomorrow. He made a sarcastic face at himself when he caught his eyes in the mirror again and almost slammed the door behind him as he left.
He grinned at the receptionist as he passed, heading straight for Harry’s door without so much as a ‘could you show me the way.’ A second later, he was knocking loudly on the door, “Hey, Potter, get your arse up and open this door.”
He listened hard and heard movement, possibly some grumbling and then the door opened and a very bedraggled looking Harry, still wearing his pyjamas, (light, red, wrinkled and slightly young looking), stood glaring at him. He had his glasses on slightly skewdly and was blinking furiously as if the light was irritating him. He’d clearly just scrambled out of bed.
Draco grinned when Harry started staring. “Wha…?”
“Are you going to let me in or what?” And he stepped in, around Harry who closed the door behind him with an incredulous look on his face.
As he made himself comfortable on the stiff chair near the window, Harry began studiously making the bed, as if embarrassed at being seen with it in such a mess. Draco grinned to himself as he glanced out of the window, putting the other boy out of his misery for a moment.
When he judged Harry to be done, he turned back and folded his arms. The other boy was sitting on his now made bed staring at him with undisguised surprise in his green eyes. “So, did I wake you up?”
Harry blinked and nodded.
“Sorry,” he grinned again, “But I’m taking you shopping, so you’d better hurry and get dressed.” He raised his eyebrows when Harry hesitated, “Oh go on already, call it an early birthday present. And I won’t look.”
With that he returned to looking out of the window, staring down at the impeccably clean street below him.
When Harry was dressed and had his bag slung over his head and shoulders he got up and smiled rather disarmingly. “Off we go then.”
They passed Harry’s Uncle on their way out. The man turned out to look a lot like a walrus, just with more whiskers. He knew who it was as Harry breathed, ‘Uncle Vernon’ when they caught sight of him standing in the foyer talking to the receptionist. He noticed Harry went slightly pale, but just gave Vernon a resolute glare and continued walking; acting as if he wasn’t there.
“Shit, I think he’s getting…”
Draco looked at Harry as he muttered. “Pardon?”
“Vernon. That’s twice I’ve seen him talking to the receptionists now. By the looks he was giving me last night, I think he’s going to kill me or something.” Draco saw the worry in his eyes. “And now he’s actually seen you, I think he’s going to get worse.”
Draco raised both eyebrows. “What’s wrong with him seeing me?”
He looked at Harry when he paused, and he noted the dejected look that passed over his still mildly pale face. “I’m not supposed to be enjoying myself, and I’m not supposed to meet anyone from school – anyone with ‘peculiarities’ like mine.”
Draco started to get the idea, “You mean he doesn’t want you meeting up with witches or wizards?”
They passed the roundabout, skirting a couple of parked cars as they did so before Harry responded. “My Uncle hates my very existence, and he considers my being a wizard something of a threat to his livelihood. He and my Aunt Petunia are obsessed with being seen as normal by everyone around them, and I don’t fit into their plans. My meeting someone ‘like me’,” Harry said the words sarcastically, “makes them jumpy and think that people’s views of them will change. It scares the shit out of them that I’ve been doing as I wish these past few days.”
Draco frowned; once again realising Harry’s life was nothing like he’d believed it to be for so many years, “Your relatives sound like a bore.”
Harry only nodded, looking distracted. Draco lead the way for a few minutes until they reached the shopping street and pulled Harry into a muggle clothes store, a sly grin crossing his lips, pale eyes twinkling a little mischievously.
He looked at Harry carefully as they stood in the middle of the store, surrounded by muggle fashions. He watched as the Gryffindor blinked and looked around, the distracted look disappearing from his face.
“Uh – Draco? Why are you doing this?”
Draco was slightly shaken by Harry’s use of his first name in actual conversation, but didn’t show it. “I said – early birthday gift. Oh, and I wanted to replace that jumper I wrecked.” He grinned happily, looking around at the wide selection of clothing.
“Early -?” Harry suddenly looked very surprised. “Oh my god. It’s my birthday tomorrow, isn’t it?”
Draco, who was looking at a selection of shirts that looked like they’d suit the slightly taller boy, raised an eyebrow, “Don’t tell me you forgot your own bloody birthday?” He picked out one of the shirts and held it up to Harry, the coat hangers hook nearly colliding with his glasses. “Oops.”
It didn’t look right, the colour was wrong. He glanced at Harry, the boy was clutching at the bag strap that crossed his chest, looking a little crestfallen. “I forgot my birthday. I can’t believe I forgot my birthday. I mean – I never really look forward to it, but forgetting it?”
Draco raised his eyebrow again as he fished out a different coloured shirt, a deep red, and held it up to him. Much better. He dumped the shirt in Harry’s arms and moved down the row a bit. “You don’t look forward to your birthdays?”
He looked at Harry and saw him shake his head. “If you’d gotten nothing for your birthday every year until you were twelve, not even had it acknowledged, while watching your cousin get anything he wanted, and more, for his every year, you’d not particularly look forward to your birthday either.”
He pulled out another top, an emerald green long sleeved t-shirt with white Japanese symbols down the right hand side of the chest, and held it up to Harry’s still form. The colour matched his eyes perfectly at the moment. “True, I probably wouldn’t. But you must have been getting things from people over the past five years?” He dumped that top into Harry’s arms as well.
“Well, yeah, and I love the cards and presents I get, but I’m still not entirely happy about my birthdays. I probably never will be.” Draco heard him pause as he looked at the next rail of tops. “But forgetting it altogether? I can’t believe I did that – even you bloody knew it.”
Draco paused in the process of picking out a light blue short sleeved top and looked back at the other boy who stood looking thoroughly flummoxed. He locked eyes with Harry a moment, then shrugged and pulled the top out, holding it up to him for inspection, “I remember hearing a group of fan-girls mentioning it a year or so back.” He put the top in Harry’s arms along with the others and moved on.
Harry followed him, trudging slowly along with the tops held awkwardly in his arms. Draco thought it looked rather endearing, but shook the thought off, continuing to look at the clothes. He picked out a light material jumper in a light grey colour, similar to the one he had torn the other day and held it up to him. Harry frowned at it, as if suddenly remembering their argument. “I thought you were still pissed off with me, anyway?”
Draco dumped the jumper into Harry’s arms, on top of the others and replied shortly, “I’m not anymore.” He picked out two more tops and dumped them in Harry’s arms and moved over to the trousers section, grinning to himself at the look of mild terror on Harry’s face.
He held up a pair of smart looking black trousers against Harry, they looked the right size and black suited pretty much everyone, so he dumped them on top of the tops and headed for a pair of what looked like comfortable summer trousers. They were grey green, and made of a light material. He held those up and then dumped them in Harry’s arms.
As he moved to another row of clothes Harry asked him, with a slightly muffled tone, “Just how much are you planning on getting?”
He picked out a pair of jeans and dumped them in Harry’s arms on top of everything else with a grin, “Oh, I dunno. How much do you want?”
He watched as realisation dawned in Harry’s eyes. “You mean, these are all for me?”
“Yupp. Like I said, birthday present.” He picked out another top made of soft material with very long sleeves. It was a deep red, almost the same colour as the shirt he’d first picked out, and put it on top of the pile, watching as Harry raised his eyebrows.
“Come on. Changing rooms are this way.”
Harry’s mouth dropped open for a second, then he appeared to rally himself and followed him to the rooms at the back of the shop. “You’re not even getting yourself anything?”
Draco heard the incredulity in the other boy’s voice and shrugged, taking the numbered hanger off the shop assistant. He shoved Harry into one of the curtained cubicles before replying, “Not at the moment.”
“I feel like an idiot, Draco.”
The blonde looked up at Harry as he stepped out of the fourth cubicle that day. He was wearing what he called ‘combat style’ trousers and a smart long sleeved t-shirt. Draco knew nothing about muggle fashion, only enough to get by when in the muggle world, but thought he looked rather fetching.
“You certainly don’t look like one. I don’t think the trousers are you though.”
He was standing in front of the floor length mirror, inspecting his reflection. At Harry’s insistence he had selected a few things for himself and was now wearing a sleeveless black t-shirt and suit style trousers in steel grey. He felt he was getting a liking for muggle clothes, they certainly did more for the figure than robes, the trousers were clinging nicely and the top showed off his torso and arms quite well.
He saw Harry staring at him in the mirror, when Harry noticed him returning the look, he blushed and ducked back into the cubicle. Draco blinked. Harry had been wearing a strange expression, almost like, he mused for a moment, longing, but not exactly.
He stepped back into his own cubicle and changed, with a thoughtful expression on his face, back into his own clothes. When he stepped out again, Harry was already there, loaded down with bags, and the new clothes folded neatly over his arm, his hair even more ruffled than usual due to all the changing they’d done that day. He grinned at the slightly taller boy and hefted his own bags and folded clothing.
“Got what you like?” he asked cheerily.
Harry stepped into his room and gratefully dumped his many shopping bags on the bed.
Today had certainly been surprising. Not only had he completely forgotten it was his birthday tomorrow, but he had also just been dragged all over town and round clothes stores by Draco Malfoy.
It had to be one of the most surreal things that had ever happened to him. Not that he hadn’t enjoyed it, he’d actually had fun once he’d gotten used to the idea.
He flopped down on an empty bit of the bed and sat looking at the bags. Nothing in any of them had been paid for by him. Everything had been bought by Draco. Everything. Definitely surreal. He shook his head and leaned against the wall, wondering how the hell he was supposed to fit all this new stuff into his meagre suitcase, or get it all past the Dursley’s for that matter.
After a few moments reflection he began sorting through and tidying away all the new clothes. It took a good half hour or so, but he was satisfied when he was finished. He reckoned that if he folded very small and neat, he could fit everything into the small suitcase – provided he threw out a couple of the older and more threadbare of Dudley’s hand me downs.
He was stuffing the empty plastic bags and tags into the bin when there was a knock on the door. Looking at his watch he realised it was getting late and wondered who it could be.
He climbed to his sore feet and crossed to the door. As he reached it there was another burst of knocking, and he recognised the sounds, it was uncle Vernon. He paused for a moment, his hand mere inches from the handle, apprehensive, a little scared even.
“Harry, open this door - now.”
His uncle wasn’t shouting, but the words were clearly spoken and just loud enough to be heard through the door. He knew he was in here. On any normal day, Harry would simply have swung the door open and glared daggers at the man, but for some reason, right now, he didn’t want to talk to him.
He pulled himself together and grabbed the handle, turned it and opened the door just enough to peer through, “Yes, Uncle?”
Uncle Vernon glared down at him, his moustache bristling, “Let me in.”
Harry was a little unnerved by the calmness exuding from the man, but opened the door and stepped back, letting him in. This is ridiculous, he reprimanded himself, this is just uncle Vernon, the behemoth you’ve lived with for the better part of sixteen years, what the hell’s wrong with you?
Uncle Vernon motioned for him to close the door and he did, though reluctantly. He looked at the older man standing in the middle of his room, looking around. The presence of his uncle actually made the room look smaller, he dwarfed the furniture and blocked the failing light of the sun coming through the window.
He suddenly wished he hadn’t already placed his wand in the bedside table drawer.
“Well,” his uncle turned to look at him, “So, this looks nice.”
Harry nodded mutely.
“Who’s the boy?”
Harry frowned slightly, quizzically, then shrugged, “A friend.”
Uncle Vernon’s face went slightly red, “A friend. A friend from where exactly?” Harry noticed he was keeping his voice calm, but there was a throbbing vein at his temple.
Harry blanched slightly, but uncle Vernon continued, “The two of you seem awfully chummy. So I think he’s a friend from – from – that freak show place you go every year.”
Despite himself, Harry nodded, slightly.
“He stayed over the other night, did he not?” Uncle Vernon turned to look at him and their eyes locked. “Don’t lie to me, boy.” There was now a distinct growl to the mans voice.
“You know how your Aunt and I feel about you and your – peculiarities, and over the past few days you have been trying our, my, patience.” His voice was rising with every word, “You have been flaunting yourself all over the place these past few days, and I am getting sick of it.”
Harry tried to speak in his defence, but Vernon interrupted him, going even redder in the face. “You may be seventeen, and you may have one more year under my care, but until the day you leave, you will obey my rules!” Harry tried to step back as uncle Vernon grabbed his left upper arm, “You will not bring that boy back here again and you will not go gallivanting around making fools of your aunt and me!”
Harry tried to release his arm as his uncle’s grip tightened, his voice still getting louder with every word, though it was not yet loud enough to raise suspicion in other parts of the hotel. “I will not stand for it!”
Harry struggled again, trying to break the tightening grip, but it was useless. His Uncle’s face was mere inches from his own now, and he couldn’t bite back his own words of fury, “I’ll be glad the day I leave! You’re all bastards, racist bastards! And I can’t wait till the day I get to move out and live in the wizarding world where I belong!”
“Fine! But until then, you do as I say!” There was a second’s pause as Harry struggled harder, “Stop that this instant!”
And before he knew what was happening his Uncle’s grip tightened horribly and he felt himself flung away. He hit the wall next to his window and collapsed onto the bedside table then the floor.
There was a moment’s silence, broken only by his Uncle’s deep breathing. He choked slightly, from where he lay, unable to hold it in.
He heard his door open and then slam shut, but stayed where he lay, hands clenching, fighting back the tears. If only he’d had his wand. If only he’d been old enough to use it. He squeezed his eyes tightly shut and listened to his own ragged breathing, feeling as if his heart were about to explode through his chest.
After a while, when he felt he could move, he climbed onto his hands and knees, panting slightly, one hand clutching his left side where he’d hit the bed side table after colliding with the wall. He could still barely believe it, barely believe that his uncle had done this to him, but behind the disbelief there was a part of him that wasn’t surprised, a part of him that had been expecting this for some time.
He sat up carefully and slowly climbed onto his bed. He stretched out, wincing slightly, and closed his eyes, again fighting back the tears.
It wasn’t fair. Only a few minutes before, he had been happy. He had had a good day, he had enjoyed himself with Draco – against all the odds – had felt something between them that made him almost giddy. But now.
He felt like the day had been just a pleasant dream, something fleeting that was now slipping through his fingers.
He found himself wondering what Ron and Hermione were up to. They were probably having a great evening, enjoying themselves at The Burrow perhaps with the rest of the Weasley’s.
He curled up into a ball and wished he was there.
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