Author's Notes: This is my current baby, and I have plans for it to be my first epic. I've never been much of an epic writer, but I think I can handle it. I have at LEAST seven chapters planned out, with more plot after that, so I'm thinking this may end up somewhere around 10-12 chapters. Pairings are mentioned, but will not necessarily come into play until later in the story. In certain cases, MUCH later. The main pairing focus at the moment is Draco/Harry.
-Ministry of Magic-
"You have to stop thinking of him."
Harry looked up at Ron with a blank look on his face.
"I know it's difficult for you to face, but he's on the other side. You knew that if there was ever a war like this that you two would be on opposite sides." Ron paused, narrowing his eyes. "You have to realize that he is our enemy. We might have to kill him."
Harry closed his eyes. "I can't, Ron. Snape even tried a memory charm on me. I fought it off, even though I didn't WANT to." He sighed, leaning against the wall dejectedly. "I want to forget, but something deeper tells me I can't."
Ron stared at Harry for a moment. "Harry, were you... are you...?"
"In love with him?" Harry laughed bitterly. "Not on purpose."
"You never fall in love on purpose," Ron said, his face reddening and his fists clenching. "Harry, you told me there were no feelings like that between you two! It was hard enough to face the fact that you were physically attracted to him, but... you're in love with him?" Ron was nearly shouting.
"Ron, shut up."
The fiery boy did what he was told - not because he was just ordered to do so, but because he was shocked that he was told to do so by Harry, of all people.
"I love him, Ron." Harry glared up at Ron from his spot on the floor. "One, there weren't any feelings like that when you... found out. I didn't lie to you. Two, there are no feelings ‘between' us. I doubt he feels anything at all. That... that HURTS, Ron. And three-" Harry cut himself off, taking a deep breath. "Three... there is more to him than a physical beauty and a big ego." Harry blinked suddenly, realizing his eyes were filling with tears. He groaned and buried his head in his arms. "So much more."
Ron was staring at Harry partly in disgust, partly in sympathy. "Harry..." He paused and crouched down next to his friend. "What happened?"
-7 Months Earlier, Hogwarts-
He was home. He felt complete. Draco's mouth was all over him. He didn't want him to stop.
... but he did. He stopped.
"Draco?" Harry looked at Draco, who was looking back at him with an angry look in his eyes.
"What the matter with you, Potter?" Draco demanded, his upper lip curling back. Harry's heart twisted. Draco only called him ‘Potter' under certain circumstances, and that was usually in public.
"What do you mean, Draco?" Harry whispered, loosening his hold around Draco's neck.
"You haven't said a word about our little voyeur, Weasley." Draco practically spat Ron's last name out, as if he wanted to get it out of his mouth as soon as possible.
Harry bit his lip, unsure whether to protect his best friend or agree with his lover. "Accidentally walking in on us does not make him a voyeur," Harry finally said. "No more than it makes us exhibitionists."
"He stood there and watched us. He didn't say a word." Draco separated himself from Harry and stalked across the room. "He let us put on a show for him."
Harry sighed, not liking the way this was heading. "I think he was more shocked rather than being voyeuristic."
"Fine. That isn't the point, anyway," Draco said, crossing his arms and turning back towards Harry. "You haven't said a word about it."
Harry winced at the harshness in Draco's voice. It was true that he had purposefully avoided the subject. Ron had ‘discovered' them one night, and he didn't say a word until they were finished... doing what they had been doing. Harry blushed at the thought of the very situation.
Draco had spotted Ron first, and the entire night had taken a turn for the worst, to say the least. Harry had quickly abandoned Draco, leaving him with a quick apology. He went off in search of Ron after his friend had sprinted from the room. Most of the night was spent talking about what had happened. Harry could understand Ron, for the most part. No one could ever picture Harry and Draco together.
When the two met the next night, not a word was spoken concerning Ron's appearance at one of their nightly ‘meetings.'
"Why are you bringing this up now?" Harry said, sitting up.
"You obviously weren't going to," Draco said snidely. "What did Weasley say now that the angel-like image of you he had has been decimated?"
"Shut up, Draco." Harry narrowed his eyes.
"‘Shut up, Draco?' Not ‘Malfoy?'"
"Just be quiet."
"No. This concerns me, as well. I want to know what Weasley said. He's obviously still speaking to you. I saw you two giggling at breakfast this morning."
"‘Giggling?' We were not giggling."
"Don't change the subject. Tell me what Weasley said, Potter."
Harry looked away from Draco, closing his eyes. "Why are you concerned? I thought you didn't care what he thought."
"I don't care. That doesn't mean that I don't want to know."
Harry slid his eyes towards Draco, but kept his head turned away. "If you must know, he said you were a disgusting creep and that he didn't know what I saw in you."
Draco smirked. "How flattering."
"He also said even though he didn't understand, I was still his friend, and he could accept it."
Draco didn't say anything. Keeping his arms cross, he leaned against the wall and stared at the floor.
"I don't know what else you want to hear, Draco," Harry said quietly.
Draco still didn't make a sound as he cross the room once more. He wrapped his arms around Harry's waist and buried his face in his bare shoulder.
"Draco?" Harry placed his hands on the blond's back.
"I wasn't worried about what he thought of me," Draco murmured. "I was worried about what you would think after he talked to you."
"You were worried?" Harry nearly stopped breathing. "You were worried about what I thought?"
"I was afraid you would leave." Draco's voice was barely audible.
Harry smiled to himself. Draco cared about him. He care what he thought.
That night, the Boy Who Lived opened his heart to a Death Eater's son.
-Present Time, Malfoy Manor-
Draco Malfoy was hiding.
Not literally - he could be found if someone decided to look for him. Draco was just staying out of everyone's way, so he wouldn't be accidentally found if one of his father's friends was wandering around the mansion.
Draco didn't like his father's friends.
It was true that they were responsible for the dark period of Voldemort's previous reign, and all his life Draco had been taught that when he was older he would follow in their footsteps. Draco hadn't liked or disliked the fact. He simple accepted it and knew that was what would be.
This put him in a bit of an awkward situation. The name ‘Harry Potter' had practically become a curse among the Death Eaters, and not one of them knew of his relationship with ‘that damned Potter boy.' Draco was by no means upset by that fact. He knew he would probably be used in some way to get at Potter, most likely at his own expense.
He buried his face in his hands. He felt like he was in a bad muggle novel. ~"Two hearts on opposite sides of the battlefield,"~ Draco thought with a snort. ~It's a shame I don't feel that deeply for Harry.
That very thought had run through Draco's head countless times since the entire "war" began. He had torn it apart, analyzed it, and always forced the same conclusion into his brain: he didn't feel anything for Harry Potter.
Draco was beginning to doubt himself. He didn't feel anything for Harry Potter. He couldn't. If he did, they would find out. They would use it against him, against his father, against the Malfoy name, against... against... Harry.
Oh, he was tired. So tired. Draco had barely gotten any sleep the past few days, and he wasn't expecting to get any for the NEXT few days. If he could just take a nap, he could think clearly again.
He let his back sag against the wall behind him. Sleep was such a nice thought.
-Ministry of Magic-
"We need to decide on a course of action immediately. Muggles are dying by the hundreds. The Wizarding world has already been revealed because of that very fact!" Mr. Weasley was beginning to get red in the face as he stood up and slammed his fists onto the wooden table in front of them.
Four men and one woman were looking at him as he made his case. Many prominent figures in the Wizarding worlds had been killed already. Cornelius Fudge was one of them, and he had been killed by muggles. The head council was now made of up mostly staff (or former staff, as it were) from Hogwarts, seeing as how Hogwarts had been protected when the war began.
Albus Dumbledore was staring at a spot in the middle of the table, his hands folded neatly in front of him. "I can see your point, Mr. Weasley, but we don't even have a clue as where to start looking for Voldemort."
"All possible scrying spells have already been tried," Remus Lupin said with a tired voice.
"The most we can do is wait for You-Know-Who and his followers to make a move," Minerva McGonagall added. "It may be a hard fact to face, but we must face it. We are backed into a corner as far as battling goes."
"I am siding with Mr. Weasley on this matter. We do have a lead, and it is right in this very room." All eyes turned to Sirius Black, and each one urged him to continue. Sirius let no emotion show as he spoke. "We have a Death Eater sitting at this table."
Severus Snape stood up, slamming his palms on the table. "Former Death Eater, if you will remember, Mr. Black," he hissed.
Sirius glowered back. "You still have the mark. You are still a Death Eater."
"I am not an escaped convict. If you had been in muggle prison, you would still have your jail number branded on you."
Sirius now stood up as well, mirroring Snape's posture. "Well, I wasn't in muggle prison-"
"Enough!" McGonagall placed her head in one hand, the other hand massaging her temple. "We will never come to a solution if we act like this."
"Thank you, Professor," Dumbledore said, giving a short nod. "Please be seated, gentlemen." He looked back towards Mr. Weasley as Snape and Sirius took their seats, but continued to glower at each other. "Please continue."
"Thank you." Mr. Weasley took a breath. "What I was trying to say is not to take immediate action, but decide on a course of action. We should have a plan ready when You- Know-Who makes his move."
"You are in charge of muggle affairs, Mr. Weasley," Dumbledore stated. "I dare say this is considered muggle affairs, with all the muggle deaths we've had, but you are risking a lot by coming directly to this council. You've put yourself in a high position, one that is more likely to be attacked by one of Voldemort's followers."
"I know that, sir," Mr. Weasley said in a quiet voice. "But I have family, and I want to protect them. This is the only way I know how."
Dumbledore nodded. "I understand." He looked around the table expectantly. "Any suggestions?"
"A tracking spell might work," Lupin said, glancing around the table. "If we could figure out a way to cast it without him knowing."
"It's a start," Sirius agreed.
"The problem is knowing where he will strike next. We can't cast the spell if we don't know where he will be," McGonagall added. "There seems to be some sort of charm cast that prevents apparating in or out of the area his followers are attacking."
"We need to predict where he will attack, then," Sirius stated in a decisive voice. "We can at least narrow it down to a few places, correct?"
Dumbledore seemed to consider this for a moment. "Professor Snape, you spent a small amount of time around Voldemort. You know his methods. Could you give us a few guesses as to where he may strike next?"
Snape glanced towards Dumbledore, and then turned his eyes towards Sirius once more. "I can give you one answer, but you may not like to hear it."
"Oh, just spit it out, ‘Professor,'" Sirius snapped.
"Very well." Professor Snape tilted his head towards the ceiling. "The attacks have all been muggle attacks thus far. However, some time has passed since a muggle attack. The next attack is most likely going to be directly on the wizarding world."
"But where in the wizarding world, Snape?"
Snape let his eyes drift towards Lupin. "It will most likely be on one specific wizard. The one he's been after off and on the past few years."
McGonagall bit her lip, which for her was a sign of extreme nervousness. "Dumbledore?"
"No." Snape shook his head. "A child. Harry Potter."
"Malfoy cares about you?" Ron sputtered. "That's absurd!"
Harry shot Ron a look that actually made his friend falter on what he had just said. "Don't call it ‘absurd,' Ron. You weren't there."
"No, I wasn't there! You were, and you have to tell yourself the truth! Don't tell yourself lies to make you feel better!" Ron pressed his palm to his forehead, closing his eyes. "And no matter what he told you, you can't believe it. Malfoy is a chronic liar!"
"You weren't there," Harry repeated in a heavier voice. "I saw a side of Draco that you've never seen. I don't think anyone had seen that side of him. He's human, Ron. He has feelings. He's not a complete fiend."
"Have you forgotten which side he's on now, Harry?" Ron hissed. "If he had really cared, wouldn't he have stayed with you?"
"Ron, you know what his father is like. He's twice as manipulative as Draco and four times as vicious," Harry said. "And it's not as if Draco was spotted at any of the attack sites. He hasn't done anything yet."
"Yet, and that's only what we know of!" Ron turned his back. "You have to forget about him."
"I don't want to, and I couldn't even if I wanted to." Harry looked towards the ground again.
"Then don't forget. Just put it behind you."
"Why?" Ron spun on his heel and caught Harry's eyes. "You keep saying that. You can't forget about him, and you can't put the memories behind you. Why can't you?"
Harry quickly looked away, drawing in a deep breath. "It would be like he had died if I forgot." He swallowed harshly, squeezing his eyes shut. "I can't do that. He's not beyond hope."
Ron looked at Harry, chewing on his bottom lip in quiet thought. "You're always like that," he finally mumbled.
"Like... like what?"
"You always think that a person can be helped. You always look for the good in people."
"Not always." Harry smirked. "I'm not about to look for the good in Voldemort."
Ron winced slightly at the mention of the name, and then mirrored Harry's smirk. "I really hope not. I don't think this war will be won by negotiating." He offered Harry his hand. "Let's go find Hermione. I think we should spend time together while we still can."
Harry took Ron's hand and got to his feet. "‘While we still can?' What's that supposed to mean?"
"I mean... just quality time. This war will eventually come to us, and you never know when we'll get to spend time around each other."
Harry smiled. "Quality time."
"Draco, come with me. We're having a meeting."
Draco looked up at his father, not letting any emotion show through. "May I ask what it's about?"
Draco stood up and followed Lucius out of the room. They were heading to the dining hall, where most of the meetings had taken place. Lucius had forced Draco to attend all the meetings, but the boy had never said a word at any of them.
As the entered the dining hall, Draco looked around at all the Death Eaters. There were nearly 50 of them, and these were only the high-standing supporters of Voldemort. Draco never understood why he was at these meetings. He wasn't a Death Eater, and he was considered too young to do any significant damage against, well, anything.
He also had a feeling that the Death Eaters knew that fact, and that they too, were wondering why he was there. Draco felt his skin crawl as several Death Eaters glared at him.
"Why do you always bring the boy, Lucius?" one of them asked. Draco didn't remember his name.
"For experience. He is my son, and he will be a Death Eater eventually." Lucius hiked an eyebrow and looked at his son. Draco looked back, keeping the emotionless expression on his face.
Inside, however, Draco was bubbling with quiet rage. ~You're wrong, father. I will never be a Death Eater,~ he thought. ~ I may follow Voldemort, but I will never be you.~
"Besides, tonight, my son will have to make an input on our decision." Draco blinked at his father's words. Before he could ask, though, the Death Eaters were shuffling to seats around the large table. Draco took his own seat and looked around the table expectantly.
Lucius Malfoy looked to one side, and then the other. He sat back, and looked straight at his son, who was directly across from him. "Harry Potter." Draco's eyes widened slightly.
"Lord Voldemort wants him," a Death Eater sitting to the right of Draco spoke up.
Underneath the table, Draco kept clenching and unclenching his fists. Did his father know? Was that why he was here?
"Yes?" Draco stiffened and looked towards his father.
"You know the Potter boy through school." Draco nodded an affirmation, even though his father didn't need it. "What could we do that would make him come to us?"
Draco paused, genuinely puzzled. Voldemort didn't want Harry dead? "Why do we want him?"
His father narrowed his eyes, and Draco looked away and towards the other Death Eaters. He'd rather face them than his father. Most of the Death Eaters wouldn't dare touch him, but his father wouldn't be happy with Draco's questioning.
"The Boy Who Lived is a symbol of resistance against the Lord Voldemort." It was the same Death Eater as before who spoke. "If he comes to our side, we will have destroyed a sign of hope for them."
~Harry isn't a symbol,~ Draco thought to himself. ~He's a person. And there's no way in hell that he would join the Death Eaters. I mean... I don't want to, and I was raised that way. Harry wouldn't.~
"Potter wouldn't just waltz over to our side," Draco said carefully after thinking about it. "And it would defeat the purpose if we held one of his friends ransom."
"If he was doing what we told him just because we held a friend against him, he wouldn't be on our side. We'd just be blackmailing him." Draco looked back towards his father, aching to see something other than contempt in his eyes.
Lucius was actually looking at his son approvingly. "What do you suggest, then, Draco?"
Draco resisted the urge to wince as he answered. "The only way to make him come to our side would be to capture him, and then work on him here."
Lucius didn't answer for a moment, but he finally smiled. "Torture, perhaps?"
Draco took a sharp intake of breath. He couldn't force himself to say it, so he merely nodded.
His father let his eyes roam the table. "We're open to ideas, gentlemen. How do we go about capturing Harry Potter?"
-One Week Later, Ministry of Magic-
"If I ask you a question, you have to answer me honestly."
"Not necessarily, and it depends on what the question is. Shoot."
A pause. "Do you like Hermione?"
A longer pause. "Do you like Malfoy?"
Laughter, although it was forced. "That could go either way."
One more pause. "Yes, I like Hermione."
Sirius stood outside the door, puzzled. What kind of question was that for Ron to ask Harry? Malfoy? What did Harry have to do with any of the Malfoy family? He opened the door and barged in, intending to ask him just that.
"Hi, Sirius," Ron said as Harry's godfather walked into the room.
"Harry..." Sirius paused. "I just overheard you talking." Sirius could see Harry visibly stiffen. "What's this about a Malfoy?"
"Nothing!" Harry said quickly. "We just... make fun of him all the time. He's a moron."
"That's not what it sounded like to me," Sirius said. "Harry-" He cut himself off as there was a loud explosion. It sounded like a bomb had gone off. "What the hell?!" Sirius looked at the two boys. "Both of you, stay here." Sirius sprinted out of the room.
Harry and Ron stared at each other.
A tremor went through the building.
"What's happening?" Harry gaped at Ron. Nothing was standing still, and he didn't mean something like an earthquake. Everything seemed to be alive. The walls and floors were actually breathing.
When something as big as the walls of the Ministry of Magic were breathing, everything moved.
"We need to get out of the building," Harry gasped, grabbing Ron's wrist and beginning to sprint towards the door.
"We need to get the others out, too!" Ron shouted as the noise grew louder.
"We're not leaving them here, I know!" Harry yelled back. He released Ron and began struggling with the door.
Ron looked from harry to the door and back to Harry again. "What's wrong?"
"Whaddya mean ‘it's stuck?'"
"The knob won't turn!"
"So... use a spell on it!" "Um... Alomohora!" Nothing. "Try something else!"
"I don't know any other ‘un-sticky doorknob' spells!"
The door in front of them disappeared, the walls and floor stopped moving, and everything was silent.
"It is over?" Ron whispered.
"I don't think so." Harry looked around the room, which had begun to gather a faint green glow. "This is bad, Ron."
"Only for you, boy," a voice from behind the both of them said. They spun around to face a man who had appeared behind them. They could tell just by looking at him that he was one of Voldemort's followers. "You're coming with me, Potter."
"We can't find anything! We know the Death Eater's were here, but what did they do?!" Professor McGonagall was starting to become frantic.
Hermione looked around the room. Everyone who was staying in the Ministry of Magic was inside this room, except for two faces... "Where's Ron and Harry?"
"The Potter boy is missing?" Snape said. "Damn! We should have been watching him! I told you Voldemort would go after him!"
"We can't tell for sure that he's missing. He's just not HERE," Lupin said. "That doesn't mean he's not in the building."
"Start looking!" Sirius demanded. "Split yourselves up, but don't go anywhere alone!" Sirius turned to Hermione. "Come with me, Hermione."
Sirius smirked despite the graveness of the situation. "None of that ‘sir' crap." He turned and began walking towards one of the hallways that branched out from the main hall. "You're one of my godson's best friends. You're allowed to call me Sirius." Hermione smiled.
The walked in grim silence for a few minutes before Sirius stopped in front of a door. "This is where I left them." He grabbed the doorknob, and just as fast let it go.
"Sirius?" Hermione asked, putting her hand on his arm.
"OUCH!!" Sirius backed up against the opposite wall, nursing his hand. "It's hot!"
Hermione's eyes widened. "And you said that's where you left Ron and Harry?"
Sirius nodded. "We've got trouble." He stood up straight again. "Stand back." Sirius took a deep breath and kicked the door in.
The room was empty except for one body lying in the middle of the floor. "Ron!" Hermione shouted. She ran into the room and knelt beside him, propping his head up.
Ron opened his eyes, barely. "Herm... Herm?"
"Are you okay?"
"I have a headache."
"What happened, Ron?" Sirius asked, entering the room.
Ron drew in a deep breath. "Sirius, I'm sorry." He looked away.
"Sorry? For what?"
The redhead made a choking sound. "They have him. They have Harry."
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