Title: Some Kind of Miracle (6/?)
Author: Annie (_pinkchocolate)
Warnings: Everything up to ch 14 disregards DH
Disclaimer: I just take JK Rowling's world and make it slashy.
Summary: Draco was determined to live the last nine months of his life with no regrets. But when a series of unfortunate events exposes a list of his innermost wishes, ambitions, and desires to Harry Potter’s eyes, he might find that facing his imminent death is not so easy after all.
Word Count: 4400
Notes: Beta'd by the lovely Emily, Christine, and Sharon.
5 4 3 2 1 P
If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.
- Amy Tan
Harry Potter didn’t believe in fate. He saw it as nothing more than an imaginary force invented by the weak for the sole purpose of explaining away questionable happenings. It was true that he had once believed in fate, but he had changed his mind after he realised that his choices were what really determined the road ahead of him. He had chosen Gryffindor over Slytherin in spite of the Sorting Hat’s words of advice. He had chosen to free Sirius even though Sirius had been meant to die at the Ministry’s hands. And no matter how many prophecies stated that he had been destined to kill Voldemort all along, Harry knew he had killed Voldemort because he had wanted to – not because fate had decided it would be so.
In other words, Harry Potter wasn’t one to willingly surrender control, especially to something as intangible and impossible to prove as fate.
By the end of the first day of classes, however, Harry was absolutely, positively, without a doubt sure that some higher power up above had, while he’d been eating breakfast or sleeping or perhaps even before he had arrived at Hogwarts, decided it would be amusing to interfere with his life.
Right off the bat, the fact that Malfoy had kissed him should have warned him of the traumatic events to come. But Harry, oblivious as he was, hadn’t heeded the warning. Instead, following Malfoy’s departure, he had simply shaken his head in disgust, performed a thorough scouring spell on his mouth (while making a mental note to brush his teeth more vigorously than usual later that night), and returned to the castle, brushing the incident off as a freak and purely accidental meeting of his and Malfoy’s lips.
But then they began happening: encounters – several of them – between him and Malfoy.
The first of these encounters occurred in Potions, when Slughorn decided it would be entertaining to ease the class into the school year by re-enacting Harry’s final battle scene with Voldemort as it had been described by the papers – with Malfoy playing the part of the defeated and dying Voldemort.
“There isn’t a student in the school more fit for the role!” he had cried jovially amidst snickers and sneers from the students.
Of course, Malfoy had proclaimed furiously that he would never subject to something so degrading and humiliating before elbowing Harry aside and storming out of the room. Harry had fought the urge to follow Malfoy, reminding himself that he could resume his spying on Malfoy once the other boy calmed down. Besides, it wasn’t as if Malfoy would attempt something stupid enough to get him caught in his first few weeks of freedom.
As Harry left the dungeon with Hermione, however, he had once again run into Malfoy – literally. The collision had resulted in many exclaimed swear words, some accidental (and perhaps one or two intentional) hexes thrown around, and one very angry Slughorn waddling out of the Potions classroom and ordering “that troublemaking Malfoy boy” to the headmistress’s office. Unfortunately, the more impartial Flitwick had been passing by at the time of the incident, so Harry had ended up being sent to see McGonagall as well.
Thus, the two of them had trudged up several flights of stairs to McGonagall’s office, Harry hating Malfoy with every fibre of his being and sure that his feelings were reciprocated in every way. McGonagall had, to Harry’s surprise, left him alone for the first hour or so, choosing instead to round on Malfoy and list off a total of forty-two reasons why she was “severely disappointed, outraged, and appalled” by his behaviour.
When Harry’s turn arrived, she had merely told him that his well-known status in the wizarding world would not excuse him from causing trouble and that she had expected better behaviour from him, even if it was Malfoy who had started it. (Here, Harry had purposely refrained from pointing out that they had both played equal parts in starting the brawl.) McGonagall had given them both detentions and slammed the door in their faces without a further word.
The rest of the day hadn’t been any better. Harry had discovered, to his great dismay, that because each N.E.W.T.-level subject had only one class that combined students of all houses, he shared every one of his classes with Malfoy. Whether this was an unfortunate coincidence or McGonagall’s own way of helping Harry along in his quest to stake out Malfoy Harry didn’t know, but either way, it had not done very much to ease the tension between him and Malfoy. Hermione – and later Ron – had looked on with evident worry and suspicion as Harry was paired up with Malfoy to review basic techniques in Charms, Transfiguration, and Defence Against the Dark Arts. Harry was especially indignant about the latter; he had thought Lupin would at least be sympathetic to the difficulties of working with Malfoy.
As terrible as the forced partnerships were, the frequent encounters in the hallways and stairwells had been even worse. Sometimes they had simply passed each other by, but more often than not, Harry had found himself bumping into Malfoy. Once, he’d nearly tripped over Malfoy’s lanky, outstretched legs in the courtyard, though he had realised almost instantly that this particular near-accident had probably been intentional. Flitwick, however, had once again been in the vicinity, and so Harry had walked away without a word, seething as he pictured the smug look on Malfoy’s pointy face.
All things considered, it was no wonder that by the time the hour of Harry’s detention with Malfoy arrived, he was feeling even wearier than usual.
“See you guys later,” he mumbled to Ron and Hermione as he reluctantly stood up from the squashy armchair he had been comfortably curled up on.
“Harry, are you sure you’ll be all right?” Hermione asked anxiously, looking up from the thick textbook she was perusing. The shadows cast by the fire in the hearth danced nimbly across her face as she took in Harry’s drawn features. “Honestly, I can’t believe you’ve got a detention already… It’s only the second night back…”
“Yeah, well, you’d be better off taking it to McGonagall,” Harry said, feeling slightly dazed by the flickering shadows.
“Hermione, leave him be.” Ron was lounging carelessly on the unoccupied couch across the table from Hermione. “Don’t you think it’s bad enough already that he’s got to spend the next two weeks reorganising the library with Malfoy?”
Hermione sent a withering glare in Ron’s direction. “I personally think McGonagall went easy on them! Reorganising the books isn’t that awful of a punishment, you know; at least not for nearly cursing an entire hallway-full of students. And Harry, you must admit you’re somewhat to blame… Really, you ought to have just ignored Malfoy in the first place…”
“You think I’m purposely running into him?” Harry demanded. “I haven’t changed that much…”
His voice trailed off, however, when it hit him that he really had no basis for his objection. His recent behaviour when it came to Malfoy certainly did imply that a part of him had morphed into something – someone – that the pre-war Harry would never have recognised, much less accepted. Hermione was merely acknowledging the reality of it, voicing the facts that continued to lurk just below Harry’s consciousness even after he had tried to bury them away.
Harry snapped out of his thoughts upon being addressed by Ron. “Yeah?”
“Want us to walk you to the library?”
“Don’t worry about it. I – er, I need to be alone for a little while. To figure out what I’m going to do about all these weird meetings with Malfoy.”
“Yeah.” Harry smiled weakly at Ron, remembering that he had yet to find a suitable way to tell his friend about his role in Malfoy’s trial. “You two don’t need to bother yourselves with me.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Hermione said sharply, her hand pausing midway to her quill. “You’re not bothering anyone. We just haven’t spent much time together ever since…” she faltered, then finished in a softer voice, “...ever since the war began.”
Ron cleared his throat loudly and glared at Hermione, a sort of secret message shared between the two of them that somehow drove Hermione to adopt a guilty expression.
“Sorry,” she said, though it was more to Ron than to Harry. “Go ahead, Harry. We’ll wait here for you.”
“You don’t need to.” Harry felt rather like a young boy watching his parents exchange silent, meaningful looks at the supper table. With a jolt, he realised that for the first time in his life, he was the one excluded from their three-way friendship.
“We want to,” Ron insisted. “And when you come back you can tell us about all the things Malfoy did to you so we can threaten him for you later. We’ve already got loads of dirt against him; might as well put it to use.”
Hermione rolled her eyes. “Ron, Harry’s not a child. He can handle Malfoy on his own. Isn’t that right, Harry?”
“Yeah,” Harry said dully. He turned to leave. “Bye, then…”
He left the common room, almost glad to finally be away from Ron and Hermione. They had been fussing over him ever since the end of classes. Harry suspected they were trying to make up for their inability to help him during the war, but as much as he appreciated their efforts, it was beginning to get annoying.
When Harry arrived at the library, Madam Pince was waiting for him by the doors, her shrivelled face twisted into a suspicious glower. Harry followed her into the library. Malfoy sat on one of the couches by the entrance, his feet propped up on the low table in front of him.
“Feet off the table!” Madam Pince squawked, shuffling over to Malfoy with a wild look in her eyes.
An expression of extreme alarm crossed Malfoy’s face, and he quickly dropped his feet to the carpeted floor before the librarian could reach him. Harry bit back a smirk. Of all the people at Hogwarts, Madam Pince was the last one he would’ve expected Malfoy to obey.
Harry’s amusement, however, did not last very long, for he soon discovered that he and Malfoy were to spend the next two hours immersed in the tedious job of rebinding old textbooks that had fallen into disrepair.
“McGonagall said we were going to be organising the books!” Malfoy said angrily when the sudden change of plans was revealed.
“Shut it, Malfoy,” Harry snapped before Madam Pince could launch into a tirade about ungrateful students. The dim lighting in the library was making him sleepy, and all he wanted was to finish the task as soon as possible. “Where should we start?” he asked Madam Pince, trying his best to keep the irritation out of his tone.
“Transfiguration Section,” she replied stiffly, shooting Malfoy a spiteful glare. “If I find you’ve been tampering with my books… if there’s so much as a tear in any of the pages…”
“I know,” Harry said. “We won’t do anything.”
He left Madam Pince, dragging Malfoy along behind him. The other boy gave an indignant sound of protest but allowed himself to be pulled over to the safety of the bookshelves.
“Miserable bitch,” Malfoy spat out once they arrived at the Transfiguration Section. He shook Harry’s hand off and stalked over to the end of the low row of books.
“Talking to me again, Malfoy?”
“No, Potter, I’m talking to myself,” Malfoy said. He extracted a random, leather-bound book and flipped through it, making a face when small puffs of dust flew up to greet him. “While we’re speaking, though, thanks for landing me in detention.”
Harry shoved the book he was in the process of pulling out back into its spot. “Don’t you dare blame this one on me! You were just as much at fault as I was.”
“Oh, please,” Malfoy scoffed, slamming the book he held shut. He tossed it on the floor before sauntering up to Harry. “Don’t think I didn’t see you stalking me around school today. Your obsession with me is getting out of hand.”
“The size of your ego is astounding,” Harry said, disgusted. “All those meetings were just coincidences. I didn’t ask Slughorn to appoint you the fallen Voldemort, so don’t take your wounded pride out on me. I don’t want anything to do with you, Malfoy. You’re nothing more than scum on the soles of my shoes.”
To prove it, he shoved Malfoy away from him roughly.
Angry red spots appeared on Malfoy’s pale cheeks. “Don’t touch me!”
“That’s rich. Snogged any Gryffindors lately? Besides me, of course.”
“That’s none of your business!”
“None of my business?” Harry repeated. “You bloody kissed me! Like hell that isn’t my business…”
The red in Malfoy’s cheeks spread rapidly. That he was capable of mustering up enough emotion to blush was almost amusing.
“Get to work,” Harry said after a minute or so of resentful silence. “I’m not going to do all this by myself.”
Harry turned away from Malfoy and began taking out books and stacking them on the floor. The ones in decent condition he placed back on the shelves. Then, one by one, he carried the old, loosely-bound volumes over to the nearby study tables and placed them under the light where he’d be able to see them better.
Sighing, Harry picked up the first volume in the very tall stack he’d gathered. Tapping it with his wand, he said, “Reparo!” The tattered yellow cover immediately rearranged itself and merged back into one piece.
The time passed slowly. There were over three hundred books stored in the Transfiguration Section, and over two-thirds of them needed rebinding. Two hours inched by before Harry, with a great deal of relief, finally found himself returning the last of the books he had repaired (Theories of Transubstantial Transfiguration) to its former spot.
“You finished yet, Malfoy?” he called out as he brushed the dust off his hands.
There was a rustling sound, and then Malfoy looked around his end of the bookshelf. “I’ve been done for ages.”
“Well, good, we can move onto the Potions Section then.” Harry winced at the prospect of rebinding more books. “I want to get as much finished tonight as possible.”
The Potions Section went by considerably faster. As Harry transferred shabby volumes from the shelves to tables in the study area, he couldn’t help noting how peculiar it was that he had slipped back into the Hogwarts lifestyle so quickly. Less than two weeks ago he’d been duelling and incarcerating Death Eaters, and now he was carrying out detention in the library with one.
After a while, Harry noticed something odd: The only noises he heard came from him, meaning Malfoy had stopped moving around. Assuming the other boy was slacking off, Harry stowed his wand in his pocket and stalked back to the Potions section.
“Malfoy, get back to –” He broke off when he turned the corner and saw Malfoy. His eyebrows skyrocketed up to his hairline. “What the hell are you doing?”
Malfoy sat against one of the bookshelves, pointing his lit wand down at the thick book lying open on his lap. He was so engrossed in the text that he didn’t even notice when Harry approached him.
Harry was very vexed now. Leaning down right next to Malfoy’s ear, he said loudly, “Get back to work!”
Malfoy jumped at the sudden noise, causing his head and Harry’s nose to collide. With a yelp, Harry fell back and landed painfully on his rear.
“Good Lord, Potter, don’t scare me like that,” Malfoy said, scrambling backwards. His pale face was even whiter than usual, and he seemed rather flustered by the sudden interruption.
“Next time, don’t sit around reading while you’re in detention,” Harry growled in return as he reached up to adjust his glasses and rub his nose. “I’m the one who got injured!”
“That’s your own fault,” Malfoy snapped. He leaned over, grabbed his book, pulled it to his chest protectively. “Sod off, I’m busy.”
Harry stared at Malfoy, not sure if he had heard right. “Didn’t you learn anything from all that time in Azkaban?”
“No, Potter, I was too busy guarding my soul from the Dementors to worry about learning my lesson.” Malfoy picked up his wand and started flipping through the book again, his own way of making it clear that the conversation was over.
But Harry wasn’t finished yet. “You didn’t seem to be bothered by them during the trial.”
“Just because things seem doesn’t mean they are,” Malfoy replied. He carefully smoothed down a wrinkled page. “Now for the last time, clear off.”
Harry folded his arms. “I’m not leaving until you start holding up your end of the punishment.”
“What are you reading? Is that Hogwarts: A History?”
Malfoy looked up sharply. “Why would I be reading that?” he asked, but the flicker of panic in his eyes betrayed him.
Harry bit his lip. Malfoy was definitely hiding something. Then he remembered that they were in the Potions Section… and suddenly two pieces of the puzzle clicked into place.
“This has to do with your trip to the Apothecary, doesn’t it?”
“No, it doesn’t,” Malfoy said, looking positively alarmed now. “Stop nosing into my business, Potter!”
“You’re a shoddy liar,” Harry said, walking up to Malfoy again. Ignoring the other boy’s angry protests, he leaned down, jerked the book away. As he did so, a sheet of spare parchment fluttered out from between the brittle, yellowing pages. “Well, well. What’s this?”
“Don’t –” Malfoy started to say, but Harry was too quick for him. With one nimble swipe of his hand, he snatched up the piece of paper.
The word echoed in Draco’s head over and over again, pounding a dull rhythm against his skull. He watched helplessly as Potter picked up the list – his list – and turned it over.
Shit. Shit. Shit. Shi–
“One: Be invisible.”
Draco almost groaned out loud. Potter was reading the bloody list. Potter was reading the bloody list out loud. But despite his mortification, Draco couldn’t help shooting Potter a sidelong glance.
Potter’s eyes had widened; for one bewildered second, Draco thought he saw a spark of recognition in their green depths.
“Two: Climb a tree all the way to the top.”
Confusion replaced recognition.
“Three: Ride a Thestral.”
Two black eyebrows rose dubiously.
“Four: Get drunk.”
Another few millimetres.
“Five: Hold a civil conversation with a member of every house.”
Twitch of a cheek muscle.
“Six: Kiss my worst enemy. Done.”
As cool, calm, and collected as Draco liked to think he was, this was the last straw. There was nothing – nothing – in the world he wanted more at that moment than for the ground beneath him to open up and swallow him whole.
“So this is what you were doing earlier today.”
“That’s all you have to say?” Perhaps he doesn’t realise what he’s holding, Draco thought hopefully.
“Well, what else am I supposed to say?” Potter looked annoyed now. “As heartwarming as your wish to befriend Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors is, I frankly find it a little weird that you’ve written down a list of things to do. And that you planned to kiss me in advance.”
He gave an affected shudder. Draco hated him more than he had ever hated anyone in his life.
“If you find it weird, give it back,” he snarled, his voice trembling with humiliation as he extended a hand.
Potter grinned, eyes lighting up in the dimness. “Sorry, Malfoy, but I really can’t turn down the chance to have a look at the rest of your plans.” He glanced down at the list. “Looks like there are a lot of them, too.”
Draco gnashed his teeth in frustration. Potter was holding his list and his book. “Those aren’t exactly… plans…” he said in a strangled voice.
“Oh, really?” Potter’s eyes snapped up to look at Draco over the top of the piece of parchment. With a sinking feeling, Draco realised that Potter had probably been waiting for him to speak up in regards to the true purpose of the list. “What are they, then?”
“Nothing.” Draco ran a hand through his hair, trying to contain his aggravation. “Just hand it –”
But at that moment, he was interrupted by the arrival of Madam Pince. She remarked nastily on their slow progress before informing them that their detention for the evening was over and that they were to return the subsequent nights to finish up the rest of the library.
“And mind your grip on that book,” she said waspishly to Potter before stalking away like a predator on the prowl.
“Yeah, sure,” Potter mumbled. He handed the book back to Draco, and Draco accepted it with a sigh of relief. Potter hadn’t had the chance to see the page he had been reading.
Once they were alone again, Draco stood up. “Give it back to me, Potter.”
“I am, too.”
“It’s mine!” Draco hissed. He didn’t want to cause a commotion that might bring Madam Pince running back, but even so, his fingers involuntarily curled tightly around the handle of his wand.
Potter smirked in a self-satisfied manner. “Don’t lose your temper now, Malfoy. You don’t want to land yourself in another detention. This one’s already going to take us through to the end of the month, you know.”
Panic rose within Draco. What if Potter meant it? What if he kept the list and… and… and showed it to his friends?
“Oh God,” Draco moaned quietly. He had written down all sorts of humiliating things on that single sheet of parchment, and if the Weasel ever so much as caught a glimpse of them, Draco wouldn’t hesitate to throw himself into the waiting tentacles of the Giant Squid.
“What’s that?” Potter asked.
Draco was furious to find that Potter was looking livelier than he had for the past few days.
“I’m glad you’re enjoying this,” Draco muttered under his breath. He took a deep breath. Time to try another tactic. “Can we take this outside?”
Potter looked surprised by the proposal, but he agreed nonetheless. They walked out side-by-side, neither willing to walk in front of the other. That required trust, and trust was certainly not one of the sentiments they shared.
Once clear of the library, Draco sprang to action. Grabbing the front of Potter’s robes in one hand, he threw the other boy against the stone wall. “Give me the list, Potter. Now.”
Potter’s eyes darkened. When he spoke, the earlier playfulness in his voice was gone, leaving it chillingly serious. “Get your filthy hands off me, Malfoy. I’ve had enough of being physically assaulted by you for one day.”
Draco immediately released Potter, cheeks burning. “I need that list,” he said almost pleadingly, loathing himself for giving in to desperation and Potter’s games so easily. “I can’t – no one can – it’s for my eyes only.”
“I don’t get it. Everyone has aspirations; just because yours aren’t very Slytherin-like…” Potter shook his head in confusion. The cutting edge in his tone had disappeared to be replaced by something softer. “I won’t tell anyone, if that’s what you’re afraid of.”
Of course not. Of course Potter wouldn’t tell anyone, the noble, reliable, honest prat. Draco’s lower lip curled in disgust. “I hate you,” he breathed.
“Yeah, I know.” Potter placed both palms against Draco’s chest and pushed him away. “I’ll give it to you, okay? Just let me read it first.”
Draco supposed he could have cursed Potter at that moment with one of the spells he’d learned from his father’s mates, but that would have been troublesome and potentially messy. Thus, he dropped his hands to his sides and nodded in resignation. Just get this over with quickly, he prayed silently.
A stifling silence fell as Draco waited for Potter to finish reading the rest of the items on his list. He became aware of his heart beating wildly against his ribcage, and hoped fervently Potter couldn’t hear it.
After a few minutes that felt more like hours, Potter held out the now-creased sheet of parchment. Draco took it without a word. He tried to say something malicious, something aggressive, something along the lines of “Don’t ever fuck with me again, Potter, or you’ll regret it,” but the words got lost somewhere halfway up his windpipe. He resorted to staring at the ground instead.
“Why’s this so important to you, Malfoy?”
Potter’s voice was soft and coaxing, like the tone adults used to persuade frightened children out from under the bed covers after a violent lightning storm. Draco shook his head. He would never tell Potter.
“Save someone’s life. Conquer your worst fear. Brew Felix Felicis.” Potter’s sharp intake of breath made a whistling sound as it passed through his teeth. “Those aren’t goals you can accomplish in one day.”
“How observant of you,” Draco muttered, unable to locate his usual biting tone.
“You left a part of this list behind the night I saw you in the library, which means you probably spent a lot of time writing and editing it. Why are you putting so much effort into this? Do you actually plan to go through with all of these things?”
“Why wouldn’t I?” Draco said defensively. He shook his head. “No. Never mind. I’m not going to discuss this with you.”
He wheeled around, determined to return to the Slytherin common room before Potter said another word, but Potter stepped around him to block his path.
“Get out of my way!” Draco reached out to thrust Potter aside, but Potter easily caught his wrist. Draco stiffened at the contact.
“Malfoy,” Potter said, “so far today you’ve shoved me up against a tree and snogged me, tried to curse me in the hallway, landed me in detention, and left me to rebind all the books in the Potions Section of the library without lifting a finger. If you didn’t owe me for saving your arse from the Dementors before, you sure as hell owe me now.”
Something inside of Draco snapped.
“Fine,” he spat, tearing his wrist out of Potter’s grasp. “It’s a list of things I want to do before I die, all right?”