"He's not awake yet!" Draco continued into the hall a sigh left his lips as Hermione turned back to the Gryffindor table. He watched as she spoke to her friends their faces dropping at the news. Draco sat down opposite Pansy and Blaise, the seat beside him empty. It was strange for years it had been unoccupied, yet within a week, Draco missed the presence of another seated within it. Draco smiled at his pale friend, Pansy held her head moaning about there being too much noise in the hall.
"Honestly Pansy, you know you can't handle your drink so why do you insist on drinking?" Blaise bit into his sandwich ignoring Pansy's groan about his voice being too loud.
Draco grinned back at his friend; they'd suffered with Pansy's hangover for the entire morning. The Slytherin common room had become a safe haven for the older students, many also coping with the side effects of alcohol. Many had still yet to rise from their beds, Harry was one of them. Draco had allowed himself the pleasure of waiting and watching for the teen to awake, but soon his stomach had won out and he'd headed down for breakfast. Deciding others would become suspicious if he went back to watch Harry, Draco seated himself in the common room and waited. It had now past midday and Harry had still yet to leave the dormitory.
Draco glanced over at the Gryffindor table, surprised to see Granger, Weasley and Longbottom staring over at him, his smile faded slightly as he turned away. Another reason for staying in the common room was to get away from them. He'd first bumped into Weasley this morning on his way to the Great Hall. He'd told him Harry was still asleep and was sure he'd go find them when he was awake. Draco and the others had been consistently nagged by the Gryffindors whenever they left the common room, Weasley had even had the nerve to ask if he could go in and wake Harry.
Draco focused his attention back on his friends, their conversation unable to distract him from the images that crept into his mind of Harry spread out over his bed, his mouth part as he slept. The memory of Harry leaning close to him as Draco helped him stagger up the stairs. Placing him on the bed only to be dragged on top of Harry, Draco had flushed as their noses brushed. Their lips inches away from one another. Draco smiled as he remembered how Harry had struggled with removing his clothes, determined that they were Voldemort's last horcrux's designed to torture him.
"Seriously why don't you two have hangovers? You drank more than me!" Pansy whispered, wincing at the sound of her own voice. Blaise and Draco shared a look before simply shrugging in reply.
Harry groaned as he woke. His body ached, his head felt like he'd been hit repeatedly with bludgers, slowly he opened his eyes only to squeeze them shut from the light that surrounded him. The pounding in his head growing every second, he was sure his head would split into two. Never had he felt this bad, not even when Voldemort did possess his mind. Harry pulled the covers over his head, the darkness comforting him slightly, the events of the night surfacing to his mind. He groaned again. Who hadn't he kissed last night? Harry could feel his cheeks burn as the memories of the kisses moulded together, he couldn't even distinguish their faces after a time. He could just imagine Rita Skeeter jumping in delight if she ever got her hands on this story, 'Harry Potter the whore of Slytherin'. Harry frowned pulling the covers back slowly; he wore nothing but his boxers. What the hell had happened last night?
Harry glanced around the room, surprised to find it empty. How long had he been asleep? Harry reached over to his bedside table, finding his glasses he began to search for his watch. He found it sat on Draco's bedside table, laid on top of the leather book Draco was always reading. Rolling his eyes Harry grabbed his top from the pile beside him, ignoring the fact how his clothes had been folded neatly. Pulling his head through the hole Harry reached out and grabbed his watch, a loud crash caused him to groan and drop his head into his hands. Peeking through his fingers Harry stared down at the book which now lay open on the floor. How he missed the carpeted floor of Gryffindor. Harry's stomach twisted as he remembered his promise to meet his friends; quickly he looked down at his watch. 1 o'clock. Harry bit his lip as Hermione's voice started up in his head. Gingerly Harry slipped off his bed and onto the floor; his hand froze in mid air as he reached out for the book, his eyes stopping at the parchment that was hanging out the back.
Harry's eyes glanced to the dormitory door then back at the parchment. He should really just pick the book up pop the parchment back inside, put them both on the table, get ready and go apologise to his friends. But why would Draco keep it hidden inside a book? A book that he always read...Harry picked up the book and glanced through it. Quickly shutting it with a snap Harry dropped it back on the table, disgust on his face. Really who would read a potion book willingly? Harry turned his attention back to the parchment that remained, chewing his bottom lip Harry picked it up. Sitting so his back was against his bed Harry again glanced to the dormitory door. Was it wrong of him to read something Draco clearly didn't want to share? Unease spread through Harry as his fingers fiddled with the ends of the folded parchment. Just a small peak wouldn't hurt would it? He'd do it to Ron or any of the others in the Gryffindor dorm, it really couldn't have been something that bad because really who hides stuff inside of a book? His curiosity winning Harry opened the parchment and read.
Harry's headache grew with each word he read, Lucius's handwriting glared up mockingly at him. He could almost hear the man's laughter in his head. Had he really thought Draco had wanted to be friends with him? Of course it was to benefit him! Him and his stupid family.
Harry folded the letter back up; he continued to stare down at the parchment for a while, the words written still clearly in his mind. Slowly he placed the parchment back into the book, uncaring if it was a same place or not. Turning to the empty room Harry felt his chest tighten, had the entire house only befriended him because of their parent's wishes? The shock seemed to clear his mind, taking away the queasiness of the hangover. Reaching down to the remaining clothes Harry began to dress.
Really what did he care that Draco befriended him to make his father happy? It wasn't like they were true friends, just an arrangement to suit them to get through the month. Buttoning up his jeans Harry hesitated, it did hurt though. He'd actually thought they could have been friends, thought for once Draco was genuine. Slipping on his shoes Harry looked again around the room, there was so much green. Harry wrapped his arms around his body, how had he never noticed how cold it was in here? How had he never realised how far away from the door his bed was! Rummaging in his trunk Harry pulled out the fine material of his father's cloak. Draping it over him Harry relaxed; he needed to get out of Slytherin territory. Unnoticed to think.
Racing down the dormitory steps Harry took one glance around the common room, he didn't really recognise any of the students here. Crossing the room swiftly Harry paused as he drew near the exit. Surely it would cause suspicion for the door to open and no one to enter or leave. Sighing in frustration Harry backed closer to the wall to wait. The room was quiet as the Slytherin's whispered to each other, sat reading books, drawing and doing homework. Annoyance grinded at Harry, the lack of distractions allowed his mind to think back over how kind Draco had been to him, the fact it had been nothing but a lie! How he missed Gryffindor! The noise, the distractions, the truth! The common room door swung open and Harry rushed out. Running down the corridor Harry didn't care that his footsteps echoed around him, sure to startle and student that past. He needed a distraction, needed something familiar. Reaching the grand entrance Harry slowed, where could he go? He knew he'd not be welcome in the Gryffindor common room, and he couldn't handle one of Hermione's lectures. Deciding on fresh air Harry headed out the castle and out onto the grounds.
Draco walked out into the entrance wondering how hard it would be to convince Harry to stay in the common room with him, Blaise walked beside him happily annoying Pansy who appeared to have now overcome the worst of her hangover as she punched Blaise in the arm.
Draco rolled his eyes, turning he saw Granger, Weasley, Longbottom and Finnigan rush towards him. He heard Pansy give a frustrated sigh as they approached. Biting down his own irritation Draco smiled politely.
"We want to talk about Harry." Hermione spoke first; the others nodded their heads in agreement.
"Shocker," Pansy muttered causing Blaise to grin in her direction, the Gryffindor's frowned and Pansy looked back innocently. Wanting to end this conversation quickly Draco decided to take the civil approach.
"What about him?"
"We think that we all need to make an effort to get on and hang out more for him. It isn't fair that he has to divide his time evenly between us all..."
"Not that he even wants to spend time with you lot..." Ron mumbled so his friends could hear, they again nodded.
"What?" Draco turned to Ron, his eyebrow raised.
"Shush Ronald. Its clear Harry enjoys spending time with you just as much as he does us. We thought it'd be easier for us all especially him if we could all hang out. He seemed to enjoy us eating together last night." Hermione intervened speaking quickly.
"Right...well we'll think about it..." Draco continued to glare at Ron who glared back with as much hatred. The Slytherin's turned to leave but Hermione's voice stopped them again.
"Is Harry okay?"
Draco looked over his shoulder at her, "Of course he's okay, why wouldn't he be?"
"Well, it isn't like Harry to break a promise..."
"He's still asleep I hardly feel..."
"It isn't like Harry to still be in bed at this time either..."
"Is Harry okay? He isn't ill or..."
"Or what?" Pansy stepped forward her arms folded, "What exactly do you think we've done to him?"
"Nothing," Hermione faltered, "We've known Harry for years and never has he stayed in bed this long..."
"Well today he has. People can change you know!" Pansy snapped, grabbing both of Draco's and Blaise's arms she pulled them away from the group.
Harry sat beside the lake, the cloak still draped over him. It felt nice to just sit there and not worry about people watching him. Students passed by ignoring him, their conversations distracting him from the thought that kept creeping back whenever he was alone again. He'd been a fool, trusting Draco so easily. Actually believing that he was being kind to break that barrier between them both. Harry stared out over the lake remembering the game they played yesterday, remembering how Draco protected him, his strong arms around him. Harry blushed, half from embarrassment and half in anger as the confused feelings he'd felt that day returned. How had he actually thought he'd feel something more than friendship for Draco? A gust of wind passed over the ground, Harry gripped the cloak tighter, cursing his self for not grabbing a jacket. His thin top easily enabled the wind to whip under and ebb into his skin. Standing Harry looked up at the castle; he should really go back before he caught a cold. Maybe go find Ron and Hermione? No it was too late for that.
Harry started towards the castle wondering where he could go instead of returning to the Slytherin common room, he was almost at the castle steps when a shadow over cast him. Looking up Harry grinned as Hagrid strolled past him and towards his hut.
"Where is he?" Draco stood at the bottom of the stairs that lead to the dorms. Many of the students turned to him in confusion. "Where's Harry?"
They had returned to the common room and decided to give Harry another hour before Draco had gone to wake him. In his head he'd imagined Harry being curled up in his covers as he had when he'd left him earlier that day. However when he'd opened the dormitory doors he found Harry's bed empty. He'd double checked the bathroom but Harry wasn't there. Surely they'd have seen him come down?
"What do you mean? Wasn't he in bed?" Pansy rose from her seat.
Draco shook his head eyes darting round the common room. They stopped on Nott who was sat in the corner with a younger student playing chess, in a heartbeat he was stood over them.
"Did you see Harry leave?" Draco waited while Nott made his move checking the younger boy. Draco was impressed; Nott didn't seem the type to be very good at such intelligent games. However it was short lived as the younger boy easily countered the move. With a breathy laugh Nott turned to look up at Draco.
"Did you see Harry leave?" Draco asked again. Nott glanced around the room and shook his head.
"Not seen him all day. Why?"
Waving his hand Draco turned and headed back over to his friends. Surely someone must have seen him leave he couldn't have just disappeared. Dropping onto the couch Draco stared hard around the room again. It wasn't normal for no one not to keep count on who entered and left the common room.
"He's a big boy Draco, I'm sure he woke up saw the time, panicked because he's late to see his friends and left in a hurry." Blaise yawned.
"Why are you so bothered about where he is?" Pansy leaned close to Draco her eyes sparkling. Panic flickered over Draco's face for a second, just because he'd admitted his feelings to himself and to Blaise didn't mean he was ready for Pansy to know. When he was ready for the entire school to know, then he'd tell Pansy.
"I'm not," Draco smiled, "Anyway enough about him what do you guys want to do?"
Pansy appeared unconvinced but she chose to remain quiet, much to Draco's relief. Blaise pulled out a pack of cards wiggling his eyebrows cheekily. Draco nodded eagerly, is mind still on Harry.
Harry accepted the large mug of tea from Hagrid, placing it down in front of him he added in the sugar. He heard the large chair creak as Hagrid sat, he could feel the large man's gaze upon him as he stirred his tea. He dared not look up, he'd come to visit Hagrid to get away from his problems, not have them dragged out into the open. Harry inwardly winced, he'd only come to see Hagrid to distract his mind, he was so selfish. He'd not thought to visit since he'd returned. Bet Ron and Hermione had visited.
"How's Slytherin life for yer?"
Harry continued to stare down at his tea, the guilt beginning to eat away at him.
"Yeah it's...it's okay..."
"Not givin' you hazzle are they?"
Harry shook his head in response, not trusting himself to speak. Hagrid fell silent for a couple of seconds, a loud slurp was heard. Harry suddenly began to regret coming down to the large hut.
"Ron and Hermione popped down yesterday..." Hagrid's voice trailed off, Harry was aware he was trying to get him to speak. Most likely question him why it had taken him so long to visit. And why he was now visiting at this time.
"How are lessons?" Harry glanced sideways as he spoke; Hagrid was looking towards his fire now.
"Good. Students are keen as ever."
Harry smiled, remembering his first lesson with Hagrid. Bringing the mug closer to his lips Harry blew onto the hot liquid. Slowly he began to drink as Hagrid talked excitedly about his plans for the year's lessons. The tension in the air vanished, Harry happily listened as Hagrid moved the conversation on he added input when necessary. They both ignored the fact that the sky had darkened and they were only able to see each other by the flames in the fire. It wasn't until the chimes from the courtyard reached them that Hagrid stopped.
"Merlin's beard! It's past curfew 'Arry!"
Harry looked down at his watch; he could feel his stomach tighten again. He really didn't want to go back to the dorm. Hagrid had jumped to his feet collecting the mugs muttering to himself.
"Hagrid?"Harry waited until the half giant had stopped moving and turned to him before continuing,
"Do you think...I mean if you wouldn't mind...could I sleep here tonight?"
Hagrid stared down at him his eyes hard; Harry wondered what thoughts were running through his friends mind at that moment. Minutes past the only noise came from the crackling of the fire, his hope wavering Harry was about to retract his request before Hagrid spoke.
"Of course ya can 'Arry...is there a problem with the Slytherin's?"
Harry began to shake his head again before stopping and dropping his gaze.
"Do you think anyone will ever like me for me Hagrid?"
"What ya saying 'Arry?"
"I found a letter from Lucius Malfoy to Draco, telling him to make friends with me to help with their social standing. I thought he was being kind to me because he wanted...I bet that's why the rest of them are being nice to me. To help themselves...or Draco has bullied them to help him."
Suddenly Harry was pulled into a hug, Hagrid's arms wrapped around him squeezing him tightly.
"Don't you give a second thought to Malfoy, or those other Slytherin's. You know who your true friends are, and they don't care about your fame."
Harry smiled and gripped Hagrid as tightly as he could, his words helping to heal the hurt. Why did he care so much about whether he was being used by them? They weren't his true friends. Hagrid pulled back, his hairy face came back into view of Harry.
"Come on, I'll make us some hot coco."
Harry nodded and seated himself back at the table, glad to be rid of the hurt. He watched as Hagrid filled the kettle with water and placed it over the fire. This is who he should care about, those who stuck by him.
"So...since when has it been Draco?"
Draco glared into the fire, his arms folded over his chest as he slouched down the couch. Where was he? It was an hour passed curfew and Harry had yet to surface. Draco dragged his tongue over his teeth as his eyes flickered to the common room door. He'd convinced his mind that Harry was about to walk through it any second, but he never did.
The common room had begun to empty, students decided to get an early night ready for the start of the school week.
"You coming up?" Pansy stood and faltered, Blaise turned as he reached the stairs waiting. Draco replied with a simple shake of his head. He really wasn't in a talking mood. His friends had noted the decline of his mood as the night had gone one. Deciding to leave him alone Pansy and Blaise headed up to their dormitory. Within minutes Draco was alone.