Chapter 2: Cooking Camaraderie

Draco sneezed as he accidentally dropped the jar of pepper onto the table, causing a large puff of powder to spread and invade his senses. Cursing, the Slytherin sneezed again, his eyes watering now as he hurriedly stepped back from the counter. He stared disdainfully at his would-be meal and sank down into the nearest chair in defeat.

It had been nearly a week since he and Harry had been abandoned at Hogwarts and Draco had gotten tired of eating sandwiches. Everyday, he would see Harry leaving the kitchen with a well-prepared meal and so the Slytherin, despite his inability to do so, had tried to cook.

Everything had gone fine at first but that was until Draco had failed to turn off the stove in time. From then on, everything had seen it fit to explode in his face.

/I give up!/ Draco had just started for the exit when the portrait swung open and Harry Potter appeared through the entrance.

For bit, the younger boy only glared at Draco before he was able to fully take in his companion’s currant appearance. Lips quirked up in a smirk, emerald eyes glittered with mirth as he spoke. “That’s a nice look on you Malfoy. What did you do? Have a fight with the entire kitchen?”

Scowling, Draco crossed his arms as his silvery eyes flashed with annoyance. “Get a damn life Potter.”

“Nice come back Malfoy.” The Gryffindor chuckled slightly. “What were you trying to do anyway?”

“What does it look like I was trying to do you dim wit?” Draco growled out as he brushed some sugar off his robes.

Harry grinned. “It looks like you last a full scale war in here.” He shook his head, causing a few strands of hair to fall into his eyes. “You should probably get all that flour off of you. You’re already pale enough as it is. While you’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt to get rid of the pepper and whatever else you have all over you. I’m sure you’ve memorized some cleaning charm by now.”

For his part, Draco had not heard a word Harry had said as he was too preoccupied trying to figure out why he had a sudden urge to brush his fingers through the other’s hair. Berating himself, the silver-eyes wizard forced himself out of his trance just in time to hear Harry’s last words and catch sight of the Gryffindor’s wand. “Why? So that you can curse me after I’m clean?”

“No you stupid git! *I’m* going to clean up the kitchen so that I can actually make some dinner for us.”

Draco raised an eyebrow in question. “For us?”

Sighing, Harry turned to use his wand to gather some of the flour and dump it into the trash. “Yes, for us. I may not like you Malfoy but I can’t very well leave you to starve.”

The Slytherin watched his companion for a long time before he relaxed. “Thank you Potter.”

Harry’s eyes widened in astonishment but he continued without turning around. “No problem Malfoy.”

Draco bit his lip as he considered the now semi-clean kitchen before withdrawing his own wand from his pocket and cleared off one of the many counters. He allowed a small smile to show when Harry shot him a grateful look and for the rest of the evening, the duo quietly prepared a dinner and ate it together.

* * * * *

Over the next few days, Harry and Draco held an unspoken agreement. They would remain out of each others way until meal time came around. During those times, the blonde would wait quietly in the kitchen while Harry cooked and then they would wash the dishes together.

Their arrangement worked quite well until late Monday evening.

Harry had just been entering through the portrait to his common room when he heard a familiar voice shout his name. Spinning around, the wizard was about to ask Draco what was wrong when he caught sight of the hideous beast that was chasing the other boy. The Gryffindor could only gasp in shock when Draco grabbed his arm and pulled him into Gryffindor Tower and hurriedly slammed the door shut behind them.

“That. . .was. .. close.” The silver-eyed wizard wheezed out between pants as he moved quickly away from the entrance; he could still hear the monster outside.

Gaping incredulously at the calm demeanor of his companion, Harry glanced nervously back to the portrait. “What the hell was that thing?”

“A manticore.” Draco answered and flopped down wearily onto a couch. “It chased me all the way here from the dungeons.”

“And I thought the castle was supposed to be empty. How did it get in here in the first place?” Harry asked, sitting opposite of the blonde.

Draco shrugged. “Normally it wouldn’t be able to enter Hogwarts unless someone led it in and I highly doubt either of us did that. So, that of course leads me to believe the wards around this castle or fading. . .either that or there’s someone else here.”

“Wards?”

Rolling his eyes, the Slytherin shook his head. “Yes, wars Potter. Honestly, don’t you read?”

The emerald-eyed boy snickered as he realized how much Draco sounded like Hermione right then.

“What?” Draco snapped.

“Nothing.”

“Right Potter. Has anyone ever told you you’re insane?”

Harry grinned boyishly. “You just noticed Malfoy?”

Snorting, Draco remained quiet thought and a silence descended upon them then and it was surprisingly a comfortable hush as both thought of their current predicament.

“So what are we going to do now? I can’t very well leave with that thing at the door.” Draco said softly as his gaze shifted over to the other boy.

Turning away from the fire, Harry’s emerald eyes met Draco’s. “Then you may as well stay here. I can loan you some pajamas if you want.”

Sighing and standing, Draco looked tiredly down at the black-haired wizard. “I suppose. We may as well get all the rest we can because we will have to figure out a way to deal with the Manticore tomorrow. After all, we do have to eat and if we don’t get out of here, that will not happen.”

Harry inclined his head in agreement and led the Slytherin up to the dorms; content in knowing that for now Draco would not be a problem if they were going to be working together.

* * * * *

A muffled scream woke Draco later that night and he shot up in his bed in alarm and looked wildly about. The platinum-haired boy calmed as his gaze landed on the tossing form of Harry Potter and shivering, Draco stumbled out of his bed and over to the other’s bed.

“C’mon Potter. Wake up.” Draco murmured but Harry showed no signs of entering the waking world. Muttering irritably, the Slytherin reached over to shake Harry awake but before he could, the other wizard settled as his hand touched his shoulder.

Thoroughly confused, Draco snatched his hand back but as soon as his roommate lost contact with him, Harry began to whimper again.

Eyeing Harry, the blonde hesitantly reached out a hand again and he frowned when his companion sighed and turned into the contact. Draco was further shocked when Harry moved his hand to cover his and then proceeded to snuggle up to where they were joined.

Trying to tug himself away, the blonde finally gave up when Harry wouldn’t relent. Seating himself gently on the edge of the mattress, Draco carefully shifted the other over and pulled the covers over himself. Casting one last glance at Harry, silver eyes slowly slipped shut and the older boy found his dreams again.

* * * * *

Harry yawned kittenishly as he gradually woke up. He sighed as he snuggled up to the comforting warmth before his mind finally caught up to his surroundings and his eyes snapped open. Struggling against the tangle of blankets, Harry finally managed to free himself and he gaped as he realized that it had been Draco that he was curled against. “Wha—what are you doing in my bed?”

Draco’s expression remained neutral as he pushed himself up to lean against the headboard. “Seriously Potter, it’s not like I’m trying to take advantage of you. You were having a nightmare and you wouldn’t shut up until I stayed here with you.”

Flushing at the other’s statement, Harry couldn’t bring himself to meet the blonde’s eyes. “Err. . .sorry about that then.”

“As you rightfully should be Potter. I may be forced to work with you on this but that doesn’t mean that I want to start any type of sappy whatever the hell type friendship with you.” He sneered as he shoved the covers away and sauntered gracefully into the bathroom.

Harry flushed out of anger and embarrassment as he muttered darkly to himself before moving to gather some fresh clothes and his toiletries. Marching out of the room, the Gryffindor also made for the bathroom and found a shower stall farthest away from Draco’s as possible.

* * * * *

“So what are we going to do?” Draco asked as they stood at the portrait hole. Both were dressed in Harry’s clothes after much argument. (“Just wear the bloody clothes Malfoy!” “No way in hell Potter!) But in the end, the Gryffindor had won out on the base that Draco would have to wear soiled clothes.

“I don’t know Malfoy and I really don’t fancy trying to find out if that thing camped out outside the door during the night.” The emerald-eyed boy gnawed on his bottom lip in thought as he gazed blankly up at the ceiling.

Draco scowled. “Well, I don’t want to stand around here all day Potter and I would like to get some breakfast sometime soon.”

Harry glared at his companion. “Then you bloody go out there if you’re so eager to get out.”

The blonde wizard was about to retort when a low growl emitted from the other side of the portrait. They both traded a startled glance before Draco sighed. “Well, that answers the question of whether that damn thing is out there or not.”

“We need to find a way out and get the Manticore out of the castle. It will not be pleasant with that thing as company if we do manage to sneak into some other part of Hogwarts. Besides, who knows when that thing may find us again?” Harry said as he walked back into the common room.

Draco followed him and smirked as he stood in front of the fire. “For once, Potter, you actually said something intelligent. Now I have a plan. . .”

“Full of surprises today aren’t we?”

“Shut up Potter and listen. You may actually learn something.”

“Take your own advice before you give it Malfoy.” Harry grinned. “Now do continue with your explanation.”

Snarling, Draco clenched his fists tightly and spoke through gritted teeth. “Will your broom hold the two of us?”

Forehead creasing in confusion, Harry shrugged. “It won’t hurt to find out. Why?”

“Trust me. For what I’m planning it will hurt if it doesn’t hold us. As for why, you’ll find out in a moment Potter. Just go get your broom.”

Harry eyed the other warily but nevertheless ascended the stairs to the dorms, reappearing a moment later with his broom in hand. As soon as he reached Draco again, the Slytherin motioned for him to hand over the broom, which Harry did so hesitantly.

“Now climb on behind me Potter and make sure you hang on tight. This could be a rough ride.” Draco mounted and waited patiently for Harry to secure himself behind him before kicking off the ground. He eased them over to the entrance and maneuvered them so that there was just enough room between them and the top of the archway if they bent over. The blonde blew his bangs out of his eyes before leaning over the handle of the broom. “Do as I do Potter unless you want your head knocked off.”

Wide-eyed, Harry slowly leant down so that he was practically laying on top of the other and he gulped as Draco reached out. With one abrupt shove, the portrait swung open and the two wizards zipped out into the corridor, barely dodging one of the Manticore’s clawed hands.

Cursing under his breath, Draco urged the broom forward. He winced as Harry’s arms tightened impossibly around him but the silver-eyed boy found no time to complained as the Manticore came chasing after them. Glancing behind him, Draco panicked slightly and turned a sharp corner. He only prayed the he would be able to reach the entrance hall in time.

“Malfoy! I am going to bloody murder you!” Harry found the strength to shout as the monster behind them roared.

“Save it for later Potter! We don’t have time to fight at the moment!” Swerving around another corner, Draco had to roll them over in midair just so that he could keep control of the broom as they missed the opposite wall by a few scant inches.

Harry gasped, clenching his eyes shut. “Shit Malfoy! That was close!”

“You’re telling me!” Draco shouted back. He almost breathed a sigh of relief as he realized that they were almost to the entrance of Hogwarts.

They had just come out of a particularly grueling turn that brought them to the main doorway to Hogwarts when all of the sudden Harry’s arms lost their hold on Draco’s waist. The younger wizard gave a startled cry as he lurched from the broom and sailed over the Manticore’s heads before rolling across the stone floor and falling unconscious as he slammed into the wall.

Feeling the broom grow lighter and the warmth behind him disappearing, Draco cursed and pulled himself higher towards the ceiling before spinning around. Withdrawing his wand from his robes, the silver-eyed wizard felt a wave of fear and nauseous wash over him when he saw the Manticore looming over Harry’s prone figure. Not recognizing his own feelings of protectiveness, Draco rushed forward, shouting out a protection spell before he could even realize that he had said it.

The Manticore snarled as his jaws bit into an invisible barrier instead of his intended victim. Growling, the beast turned menacingly around and fixed Draco with a deadly stare.

Draco eyes were hard and cold as he watched the creature intently. For every step the Manticore took forward, the blonde took one backwards in return. It continued this way until they were well outside of Hogwarts and once Draco was sure Harry was safe, he sprung into action.

Within a few seconds, the Slytherin had the Manticore dead at his feet and with another spell the monster disintegrated. /Guess there is one thing to thank my father for./ Grinning smugly, Draco strode back into the castle. He stopped in his footsteps however when he caught sight of Harry and wincing, the blonde hurried over to the Gryffindor.

“Potter?” He called softly as he gently shook his rival’s shoulder. “C’mon Potter, wake up.”

However, there was no sign of movement from his companion and after a while Draco began to panic. Taking a few calming breaths, the blonde carefully lifted the emerald-eyed boy into his arms and as quickly as he could, he made his way to the infirmary.

Once there, Draco softly laid Harry down on one of the beds before going to lock the doors just in case anything else had wandered into the castle. He did not need to face some other odd creature at the moment.

Going back to Harry, silver eyes swept over the black-haired boy as Draco attempted to remember any information from his Wizardry Medicine class in fifth year. After a bit, the Slytherin sighed and just settled for laying a cold compress on Harry’s forehead and pulling the blankets up around the boy. Hopefully, when the Gryffindor had collided with the wall it hadn’t done too much damage.

Satisfied with his work, Draco slipped out of the infirmary ward, making sure to cast strong locking and dispelling charms before he stealthily crept towards the kitchens. At the moment, sandwiches, crackers, and some tea sounded good, even if it wasn’t much, and besides, Harry would need to eat something if he woke up.


T.B.C.