Warning! This story does contain slash. If you are unaware of what slash is or if it's just not something you have a care for, you probably clicked on the wrong link. Sorry. Life sucks, get a helmet. Anyway! Feedback and reviews are always appreciated and flames are mocked and the source of my endless amusement. All standard disclaimers apply. (What's mine is mine and what isn't, well, isn't.) This story contains spoilers for all four books. You have been warned.
The Losing Side
A Harry Potter Fan Fiction
Chapter Six - Broken Toys (Confrontation Stage Two)
"You've picked the losing side, Potter! I warned you! I told you you ought to choose your company more carefully, remember? When we met on the train, first day of Hogwarts? I told you not to hang around with riffraff like this." He jerked his head at Ron and Hermione. "Too late now, Potter! They'll be the first to go, now the Dark Lord's back! Mudbloods and Muggle-lovers first! Well- second- Diggory was the f--" Draco Malfoy (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Draco awoke slowly with perhaps the worst headache he'd had in his entire sixteen years of life. It pounded, it heaved, it was slightly nauseating and, to make matters just that much worse, Crabbe was snoring again. He hated when Crabbe snored and Crabbe was snoring worse then usual this morning. It sounded like the whir of lawnmower blades to his overly sensitive ears and the only thing that kept him from shouting the roof down over it was the fact that shouting would probably cause his head to explode.
"I hate you, you stupid lunkhead." Draco murmured, burying his face into his pillow determinedly. Ah, yes. The pillow was nice and warm and soft and...
Pillows did not breathe. At least they shouldn't breath. Why was his pillow breathing? He had specifically bought a normal, absolutely ordinary, non-breathing pillow. His pillow was also speaking to him in low, barely audible tones. Pillows should not speak either.
"Shut up, Pillow. I hate you too." Draco mumbled, trying his damnedest to ignore the nasty 'drip, drip' of the facet of reality which was trying to leak through his pain-soaked brain. He didn't want to think about why his pillow was breathing, he just wanted to get some more sleep.
But now the pillow was whispering something and poking him in the side of the head with a stick. That wasn't nice at all.
He would have to destroy the pillow.
As soon as his head stopped spinning that is.
Then, as if by magic, it did stop spinning and the pain slowly faded, leaving him with a blissfully clear head which was now more than willing to deal with the reality of his situation.
With a great sigh, Draco opened his eyes and turned his head to meet the weary green gaze of Harry Potter, the boy who's chest he'd mistaken for a very comfortable pillow.
"Hallo." Harry remarked softly, regarding Malfoy with no small amount of amusement.
"Hallo, Potter." Draco replied, turning his face back into Harry's chest. "What is that awful noise?" He asked, his voice muffled against the fabric of Harry's pajama top.
"Seamus. He snores like you wouldn't... well, I guess you would believe it now that you've heard it for yourself." Harry replied, not quite sure if Draco's quiet acceptance of his situation was a good or a bad sign.
"Hm. Figures. What am I doing in your room, Potter?" Draco asked softly, refusing to turn his face from Harry's chest.
"I didn't know where else to take you. I didn't want to wake you." Harry explained awkwardly, feeling more and more like he had a ticking bomb lodged against his chest.
"I see. So you brought me to Gryffindor tower and settled me in your bed because that was the best idea you could come up with. Is that about right?"
"Urm... yeah, I guess that about sums it up."
"You couldn't have just woken me up?" Draco muttered darkly, sitting up and glaring down at Harry. It wasn't appropriate and it wasn't really funny, but Harry almost started laughing then. Draco's hair, usually impeccably groomed, seemed to have a mind of it's own in the morning. Fine blond strands all curved upwards in a strange wave-like formation which looked extraordinarily silly in Harry's eyes. Draco, apparently noticing his amusement, narrowed his eyes remarkably. "If you laugh I will not hesitate to grind your bones to make my bread. Now, answer my question: why did you not simply wake me up?"
"I... I don't know." Harry winced, half expecting the Slytherin to start screaming bloody murder at any moment.
"Thank you." It was spoken quietly, grudgingly. It lacked the usual force of conviction and absolute confidence that Draco's words almost always carried. But beneath the words there was an honest note of pure gratitude, which belayed the death glare Draco was still leveling at him.
"Um... you're welcome," Harry responded equally quiet as he sat up. "Are you okay?"
"I seem to have heard that somewhere before," Draco murmured, a wry smile curving his lips.
"I know. Is the answer the same?" Harry asked. Draco didn't have a chance to respond as, beyond the curtain, the sounds of Harry's roommates stirring became suddenly apparent. Seamus' never-ending snores were cut off with a snort and the sound of a pillow hitting Seamus' face full-force.
"I didn't miss that over summer vacation, you know." Dean remarked, hitting Seamus with the pillow a few more times for good measure.
"Ya dinna like my snoring? I always thought it was sexy." Seamus laughed, earning himself another smack with the pillow.
"Are they always like this?" Draco whispered, leaning close to Harry's ear as not to alert the people outside the bed of his presence.
"Every morning for the past five years." Harry responded, offering Draco a tired smile. Draco nodded, and scooted back across the bed before lying down again. It was obvious that he had no intention of answering Harry's question now. Harry sat for a long moment, watching the pale Slytherin as he closed his eyes and a moment later his soft breathing indicated that he'd fallen back to sleep. Still rather tired himself, Harry lay back down and soon fell back to sleep himself.
When Harry awoke it was to the singularly horrifying image of Ron's angry face bearing down on him. "Where. Is. He?" Ron grumbled, glaring down at Harry with no small measure of annoyance.
It took Harry a long moment to realize what and who Ron was talking about and when it finally hit him he jerked into a sitting position, his gaze darting to the side of the bed which Draco had still occupied when he'd fallen back to sleep. There was no trace of the Slytherin with the exception of a hastily scrawled note lying on a pillow, which still contained a dent from Draco's head. Harry picked the note up and read it silently before handing it to Ron.
"This changes nothing? Well, isn't that just bloody fantastic. You pull his fat out of the bonfire and it doesn't change anything." Ron muttered, crumbling the note in his fist and throwing it across the room towards a wastebasket. "I knew this was too good to be true. I have utterly failed in my duties as a prefect my allowing a Slytherin into Gryffindor tower and now there's not even going to be a cease-fire to make it worth while. This sucks." He grumbled irritably, flopping down on the bed beside Harry. "Stupid ferret."
"You didn't even want to be a prefect in the first place, Ron. Besides, that note's not from Malfoy." Harry muttered, his expression thoughtful and slightly disturbed. There was something familiar about that handwriting. Like he'd seen it somewhere before, but he couldn't place quite where. It certainly didn't really look like Malfoy's handwriting. He'd seen enough of Malfoy's scrolls over the years to recognize Malfoy's delicate, spidery style. So where...?
"Ron to Harry. Pay attention, Harry. Hermione's gonna have a fit when she hears about this. Now, get up. We have to get going or we'll miss breakfast." Ron grumbled, yanking his best friend both from his thoughts and his bed, practically tossing him in the direction of the shower. "Go. Hurry up. I'll see you at breakfast."
"Right." Harry commented, wandering off in the direction of the bathroom his thoughts still thoroughly involved with the note and Draco's disappearance.
Malfoy was there, of course.
Harry frowned at the sight of the blond-haired Slytherin sitting with his housemates when he entered the hall. From the looks of it, Malfoy seemed to be spinning some wonderfully elaborate lie to cover-up his whereabouts the previous night. Pansy, Crabbe and Goyle were practically hanging off his every word, as were most of the other Slytherins. The worst thing about nasty fellows like Draco Malfoy is that they are terribly charismatic. Once they got going, everyone stopped to listen.
With a shake of his head, Harry continued into the room coming to sit down next to Hermione and across from Ron at the Gryffindor table.
"Good morning, Harry." Hermione remarked, glancing up quickly from the muffin she'd been quite diligently tearing to pieces. "I see you got him out all right." Obviously, Ron had decided to allow Harry the privilege of informing Hermione of the Malfoy mishap. He shot a glare in Ron's direction, noticing that Ron suddenly extremely interested in his breakfast.
"He got himself out all right is more like it." Harry grumbled, casting another quick glance in Draco's direction. If the blond noticed his glance he gave no sign.
"I'm sorry.... what?" Hermione asked, "Did you say got himself out all right? Is this the first time you've seen him this morning?"
"No," Harry replied, sighing irritably. "I saw him earlier when Seamus and the others were just waking up."
Hermione took a deep breath, clearing restraining herself. "All right. How did he seem when you saw him?"
"Fine. Scary fine, actually. Except he had a nasty headache and he was mumbling into my chest about hating crab-shaped pillows or something. I used that spell you taught me last year to patch that up for him." Harry replied, shrugging. "We talked for a bit and then I fell back to sleep. Next thing I knew Ron was making faces at me."
"I wasn't making faces at you. That's how I always look."
"If you say so. There was a note on my pillow when I woke up, but Malfoy had already gone by then."
"He left you a note?"
"No. It wasn't from him, it was..." Red letters scrawled across torn parchment. "The letter."
"It was the letter?" Ron asked, brow furrowed with confusion. "What are you talking about?"
"I got a letter this summer. I don't know who it was from, but it looked just like that note did except it was one of those cryptic 'you too shall die' letters." Harry frowned, "I guess I forgot about it with all this Malfoy stuff."
"That's strange. What exactly did the letter say, Harry?" Hermione inquired, opening a bit of parchment as if she were preparing to take notes which, knowing Hermione, was probably exactly what she intended to do.
"Do not return to Hogwarts. Only... only pain awaits you there. I don't know how I managed to forget that."
"Hm. What did the note this morning say?"
"This changes nothing."
"All right." Hermione snapped the parchment closed and gave Harry a measured look. "You're sure Malfoy didn't write it?"
"I'm not positive, but..."
"Ah ha!" Ron exclaimed, waving his fork in Harry's direction. "You don't know he didn't write it."
"You'll have to ask him, Harry." Hermione stated, standing up from her seat and gathering her books and parchment. "You should probably make sure no one saw him when he was leaving the tower as well and hurry up about it or you'll be late for class."
Harry nodded, gulping down the remainder of his breakfast and clamoring out of his seat in time to catch sight of a flash of blond hair rising from the Slytherin table. He glanced over, his gaze meeting Draco's through the crowd of students hurrying out of the hall. They starred at each other for a moment before Harry mouthed a quick 'I need to talk to you'.
'About what?' Draco mouthed back, his brows furrowing slightly.
'Please.' Harry mouthed quickly, noticing that a few of the other students were starting to give him curious looks. He saw Draco nod, his lips forming the word 'outside' before he turned away and began gathering his books. Harry nodded, more to himself then Draco, and exited the hall quickly.
Outside, huh? Outside where? Harry sighed and leaned against the wall near the door, watching students stream out in the directions of their respective classes. When Draco appeared, the blond made it a point to catch his gaze before turning and walking off down the hall. Harry had little choice but to follow.
Soon enough they reached a deserted corridor and Draco led him inside an equally deserted classroom, double-checking to make sure they were alone and locking the door. He made a show of setting his books and things down before turning to face Harry, "All right. What do you want, Potter?"
"Did you leave a note for me this morning?" Harry asked, deciding that directness was probably the best tactic when dealing with Malfoy.
Draco laughed a bit wildly at that, his eyes tinted with some strange emotion Harry couldn't quite place. "No, why would I?"
"I didn't think so."
"Is that all you called me in here for?" If Harry didn't know better he'd swear Draco sounded almost disappointed.
Harry made a face, studying his enemy for a long moment. "Why'd you think I wanted to talk to you?"
"I don't know." Draco responded quickly, reaching for his books. "Well, if that's all then I think I'll..."
"What is it now?"
"Are you okay?"
"You keep asking me that. It's annoying." Draco spat, crossing his arms over his chest and narrowing his eyes. "Are you going to offer to hold me again if I'm not? You are aren't you? That's so sweet." He finished, sarcasm coating his words with venom.
"I was just asking, don't be an ass, Malfoy." Harry grumbled, slamming his books down on the table beside Draco's.
"Well, I'm bloody fabulous, Potter. So you can stop pretending that you care any time you feel like it."
"If I didn't care I wouldn't ask, now would I?"
"What do you want from me, Malfoy? Do you want to try dueling again? Will that make you feel better? Or we could just stand here all day taking each other apart piece by piece. That could be fun. What do you think, Malfoy? Perhaps you'd prefer to duel in a more traditional sense. There are some swords around here somewhere, I'm sure, then we could just hack each other to bits, wouldn't that be lovely?" Harry raged, advancing on Malfoy until they were practically nose to nose. "But you've always preferred words as your weapon of choice, so we might as well stick with what you know. The choice of weapons is yours, Malfoy. Why don't you take your best shot?"
"I hate you," Draco hissed, just before he snatched hold of Harry and dragged the startled Gryffindor against him, pressing his lips against Harry's. The kiss lasted only an instant, during which Harry was too stunned to do more than stand like a deer caught in the headlights of oncoming traffic. His brain couldn't seem to cope with this new wrinkle, choosing instead to shut down completely.
The kiss was quick and violent. There was nothing sweet or kind in that simple press of lips. Just violence and anger and hate. Somehow it was more expressive then any of the words spoken between them. It spoke of reasons why in a language Harry could never hope to understand. It spoke of hate and love, of anger and desire, and of so many other things that Harry couldn't begin to fathom. The kiss spoke of everything that was wrong between them, but the press of Draco's body against his own spoke of everything that was right. It was painful and delicious at once and Harry didn't know if he wanted it to continue or end.
In the end, of course, the decision was not his to make. Draco pulled away quickly, releasing his hold on Harry his face expressionless. To look at him, you'd think that nothing had happened at all. As Harry continued to stare at him in stunned silence, Draco turned away and strode across the room with slow, purposeful steps. He came to a stop at the room's only window, folding his arms tight around his slender body. The set of his shoulders simply screamed 'victim of terrible mistreatment'.
As if he were the one who had just been violated.
Something deep within Harry's troubled soul snapped at that moment and before he realized what he was doing he was storming across the room towards where Draco stood. "What the hell was that, Malfoy?" He demanded harshly, coming to a stop a few feet behind the Slytherin simply because he didn't trust himself not to strangle the boy if he got too close.
"Sod off, Potter." Draco answered softly, refusing to turn away from the window. His voice was as utterly emotionless as his expression had been. "Just leave it alone."
"Malfoy, you just... you..." Harry stuttered, unable to force the word 'kiss' past his lips. It seemed such a wrong word for what Malfoy had just done. Too simple and too sweet. Kisses were something made for pretty girls whose lives were nothing but sugarcoated gumdrops and fluffy kittens. The word kiss was never meant to describe what Malfoy had just done. "Why?" Harry finally asked, finding that he was suddenly more tired then angry.
"It's really none of your concern," Draco asked simply, his voice taking on a distinctly icy air.
"What? It's none of my concern? Don't act like what you just did had nothing to do with me." Harry spat, his anger getting a second wind at Malfoy's disregard.
"I'm quite aware of what I did and how it affected you, Potter. You're making your feelings on the matter quite clear. Now, stop whimpering like a virgin in a brothel." Draco grumbled, throwing an annoyed glance over his shoulder. "I'm not in the mood."
"You're not in the mood?! I could care less whether or not you're in the mood. You started this."
"I didn't start it, I finished it." Draco snarled in response, turning about to glare at Harry, who looked startled by Draco's words. "It's bloody well finished, Potter. I chose my weapon and I've delivered the first strike. Care to try and retaliate?"
"Weapon?" That was a better word for it then kiss. It made more sense then kiss. A weapon was a tool for inflicting pain. Which was just what, much to Harry's surprise, Malfoy had done.
Draco lifted a hand to trace his fingers across the curve of Harry's cheek, "And so ended the terrible battle between Malfoy and Potter. And you were struck down with a single blow." Harry closed his eyes against the sudden flare of pain in his chest brought on by Malfoy's gentle touch. "How pathetic..."
"Why?" He asked, but he already knew the answer. Because Malfoy hated him, had always hated him, would always hate him. Nothing had changed. Nothing would ever change between them. "Why does it... why does it have to be this way?"
"Sssshhh..." Draco whispered, stepping forward and pressing his lips against Harry's for the second time that day. He spoke with the wisdom of the truly mad, his voice soft. "It's the way it has always been. Call it fate if that makes you feel better. We can't change what we are. You can't save me. Just like you couldn't save Cedric. Just like you can't save yourself. None of your stories will ever have a happily ever after. This is the end. The duel is over and I..."
"Hate you," Harry whispered, his lips moving gently against Draco's. There was nothing else to say and so he fell back on the old words. The easiest words between them. The only easy words between them.
The whisper of hitching breath and the gentle caress of Draco's hand against his cheek proceeded the kiss. It was terribly slow and incredibly sad the way Draco's lips moved over his own, barely touching yet seeming to reach deep within his soul. It was wonderful in its gentleness and terrible in its finality. Tension seemed to swim in the air around them, pulling them slowly but inevitably apart. An eternity passed in a single moment and then Harry was opening his eyes and Draco was stepping away, his gray eyes unfathomable.
Stillborn emotion sat heavy in Harry's chest. It seemed as if he were starring at Draco from across a great distance. An ocean of pain seemed to divide them, the ramifications of their actions over the past five years weighing down on them both. Dragging them both beneath the surface. Harry wondered if Draco wasn't right about there being no way to change who they were. If they hadn't truly gone so far down their separate roads that it was now impossible for them to ever meet anywhere besides on the battlefield of hate.
"I win," Draco whispered finally, his voice too loud in the silent room. Draco's tears in the darkened tower and the soft kiss of moments ago hadn't changed a thing. Soft laughter and reluctant smiles meant nothing when they could so quickly turn to snarls of vicious rage. Words were of no use since they always came out wrong. There was nothing left, Harry reflected, pain tightening his throat.
They both turned their backs to each other at the same instant, though neither truly noticed. Harry strode towards the door blindly, his books forgotten in his hurry to leave the room and Draco Malfoy behind. It took him a few tries to get the lock unfastened, but once he had he stormed outside and slammed the door behind him as hard as he could.
He didn't realize he was crying until his vision began to blur around the edges and once he began he couldn't seem to stop. His tears flowed freely across his cheeks as he slumped against the wall outside the classroom, slipping to the floor in absolute silence. It didn't matter that Draco might come out at any second and see him. That anyone might come strolling down the corridor and happen upon him. He couldn't will himself to care. So instead he just laid his head against his knees and cried.
Little did he realize that in the room behind him, Draco Malfoy sat in very much the same position, tears running their course across his cheeks for the second time in as many days.
~to be continued~
Yet another chapter. This is actually kind of freaky. I couldn't do anything with this story for months and all of a sudden it's just raining chapters from the bright blue (or in my case black) sky. It's weird, but weird is apparently extremely productive so I'm not complaining. The next chapter is also well on it's way to being complete, JFYI. ^_^
EVIL SD SEYMOUR GUADO: It's all my doing. Heehehehe...
That's right, it's all your doing. I'm so glad I bought you. ^_^
Huge thanks to Laura, Zipporah
(There's more Hermione is this story then you can shake a stick
at, if you hadn't already noticed that from the above chapter.),
ShinigamiStar, Youko Gingitsune, Crys Clouse, Dala (I agree
completely ^_^ Leather pants... lalala...), Qggg, Mirekisa
Tekisale (Thank you so much. ^_^), Pisces, Angelic Dragon, Sandra
Solaria Dees, Rubicon, Celeste, Ari, Lady Ash, Raquel Lily,
Jessica, Domino Nermandi, and Abaddon. I hope this chapter didn't
Yes, there is a good reason that Hermione and Ron are kind of taking this whole Malfoy thing a little too much in stride, in case you're wondering. I'll be getting to that eventually. Also, the letter, which has been mysteriously absent from mention within the last... oh.... five chapters or so will make a come back in the next chapter as the nice bit which justifies this story being called a mystery comes be-boping back into play.
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