Chapter Two: Harry at the Mansion
After lunch Harry had Quidditch practice. Draco got to the practice field early and sat in a patch of sunlight, twirling Harrys Firebolt in his handit was pretty to look at, he had to admit that. His dad had refused to buy him one until he beat Harry at Quidditch which, Draco had pointed out, he wasnt likely to do until he got a Firebolt to match Harrys.
A flicker of movement at the corner of his eye alerted him to the presence of someone else on the field, someone who was walking towards him. It was a very pretty girl in blue robes; her long black hair was braided down her back. Draco recognized her vaguely as the Ravenclaw Seeker, someone hed played against before.
"Hello, Harry!" she called in a singsong voice.
Draco waved. He was still examining the Firebolt. He was, in fact, rather nervous about this practice session. Harry had a very distinctive flying style, and, well Draco didnt like to admit this, but Harry was, in fact, a better flier than he was. His teammates might --
The girl flopped down on the grass next to him, breaking his train of thought. Draco was annoyed. Hed been really looking forward to having a few more moments alone with the Firebolt, getting the feel of it. "Harry, Harry, Harry," the girl said, looking at him as if he were an adorable, but rather dim, toddler.
"Yes?" said Draco. "Did you want something?"
"You havent asked me out for at least two days," said the girl. "Usually you would have chased me down in the corridors or sent me an owl by now."
"Ive been busy," said Draco.
"Busy?" said the girl in a tone that suggested no boy had ever told her he was busy before.
"Its not a quiet life, being Harry Potter," Draco went on, warming to his subject. "Ive got classes, plus Quidditch, plus interviews with the Daily Prophet, loads of good to do and evil to vanquish, plus Im being hunted down by the remorseless killer who murdered my parents. I havent got time to go barging around after girls."
The girl was staring at him with her mouth open. She looked much less pretty that way. "If you think youre going to get me to go out with you by talking to me like that," she said, her voice tight with rage, "youre wrong, Harry Potter!"
"Fine," said Draco. "Dont go out with me. Im really famous, I could go out with anyone."
With a scream of rage, the girl bounded to her feet and stalked away across the field. Draco watched her go, mildly grateful that she had taken his mind off the impending horror of Quidditch practice.
If Harry had known that Draco Malfoy was at that moment ruining any chance he might ever have had with Cho Chang, he might have been upset. But as he was quite asleep in the back of Lucius Malfoys invisible carriage (Madam Pomfrey wouldnt let Lucius Disapparate with his son while the boy was unconscious), being carried rapidly across the barren moors towards Malfoy Mansion, he wasnt.
On the Quidditch field, Draco discovered that hed had nothing to worry about: he had not only inherited Harry's lousy eyesight, he had acquired his spectacular Quidditch skills as well. Draco swooped and dove on his broom, amazed how easy it was. When they had a practice game, he caught the Snitch easily, and did loop-the-loops in the air with it while Harrys Gryffindor teammates clapped and whistled. Hermione, who had come to watch him practice, cheered as well. "You're amazing, Harry!" she shouted up to him.
Draco waved at her, and then it happened: Not seeing Hermione on the field, George hit a Bludger hard at the ground. It streaked directly towards Hermione, who was too shocked to move.
Without stopping to think, Draco bent Harry's Firebolt into a spectacular dive, shooting towards the ground like a bullet. He sped towards the Bludger -- he was going so fast, he could hardly believe it -- he was level with it now, but nearly at the ground ---he was in front of the Bludger -- he jerked his broom around violently, putting himself between it and Hermione -- and it struck him hard in the stomach, knocking him off his broom and onto the ground, now only three feet away. The Firebolt clattered down on top of him.
Draco lay flat for a moment, sucking in great wheezing gasps of air. He heard the thuck-thuck of feet hitting the ground and the Gryffindor team landed and raced over to see if he was all right.
Slowly, he raised himself on his elbows -- his stomach hurt, but nothing seemed to be broken. He looked up and saw Hermione staring at him, white with shock. "Harry," she said. "You could have been killed."
He looked away from her, feeling very uncomfortable, and saw the rest of Harrys team crowded around him. George was falling all over himself to apologize, Fred was hitting George, and Angelina, Katie and Alicia were taking turns comforting Hermione and patting Draco on the head. Eventually, Draco managed to extricate himself enough to stand up.
"Right, then," said Fred, who was the teams captain, "go on back to the castle, Harry, youve had enough excitement."
"Ill walk him," said Hermione, jumping to her feet.
Hermione, seeming oddly nervous, talked the whole way back to the castle. "Everyone's talking about how you scared off Goyle during Care of Magical Creatures, Harry, it was just amazing, what did you say to him?"
Draco grinned. "Nothing, I just threatened him with a little wizard dueling.... You know he's no good at that kind of thing."
"Well, you were brilliant, the look on his face! And the way he ran!"
Hermione dissolved into giggles. Draco looked over at her, and, without even pausing to ask himself what on earth he was doing, dropped his Firebolt and his Quidditch robes, grabbed Hermione, and kissed her.
For a moment, she melted into the kiss. Then her arms went as rigid as broomsticks and she shoved him away. "Harry, no!" Her eyes, huge and shocked, stared at him.
For the first time in his life, Draco found he had nothing to say.
"You shouldn't make fun of me this way," said Hermione, tears springing into her eyes. "It isn't fair."
"I'm not making fun of you!" gurgled Draco, finding his voice.
"It isn't fair," she repeated, "Harry, you're my best friend, and I know how you feel about Cho--"
"Cho?" Draco's mind was blank. "The Ravenclaw Seeker?"
"That explains why she was acting like that!" Draco exclaimed, then glanced back up at Hermione and said brightly, "Look, I'm well over her, Hermione. She's not even-"
"Harry!" she said warningly.
They looked at each other. Then Draco did something else he had never done before.
"I'm sorry, Hermione," he said. Her expression softened, so he added hopefully: "Ive been feeling off since, uh, since Draco banged my head into the ground in Potions"
This had been the wrong thing to say. Hermione turned her face away. "It's all right," she said in a very small voice, starting to walk again. "I know you didn't mean it."
But I did mean it, he thought, following her back towards to the castle. I did.
They were halfway there when he saw Ron running toward them along the darkening path. "Harry!" he yelled. "I can't believe I missed Care of Magical Creatures! I heard you totally destroyed Goyle!"
"Destroyed is a little strong," Draco protested, but he was laughing as Ron steered him up the path.
"I've got to go to the library," said Hermione as they stepped inside the castle. "Sorry!" and she ran off without a backward glance.
Ron looked after her curiously. "Is she all right?"
"Just panicked about our Charms exam tomorrow, you know how she is," lied Draco, and felt an annoying little twinge of guilt as he did so.
When they got to the Gryffindor common room, Dean Thomas and Neville Longbottom gestured them over with yells of welcome. Draco wasn't in the mood, though. He pushed past them and headed upstairs, where he sat for a long time staring at the photo album full of wizard photographs of Harry's parents, who waved at him, beamed, and smiled in a way he could never remember his own parents doing.
Hermione had, in fact, gone to the library, but not to study. She needed a moment to think and be alone.
Harry had kissed her. Oughtnt she to be ecstatic, or at least pleased? She had been thrilled when he had put his arms around her, but seconds later had been swamped by a feeling of terrible wrongness the like of which she had never experienced before. That was why she had pushed him away. She knew Harry so well, she thought, knew how he looked when he woke up, how he sounded when he was tired, happy, afraid, worried; how he smelled, usually like soap and grass from the Quidditch practice field. But this time, when shed put her arms around him, hed smelled different .like pepper?
She groaned and put her head down on the desk. Hermione, she thought, you are so stupid. Youve been in love with Harry for years, so what if he changed his cologne?
She got up and headed downstairs to dinner.
That night, at the Gryffindor table, Draco sat between Ron and Hermione (who seemed determined to act as if nothing had happened), feeling oddly not hungry. He pushed his food around his plate with his fork and listened to them laugh and chatter. His mind buzzed with questions. Why had nobody noticed he wasn't Harry? Surely he couldn't be acting like Potter, he hated Potter, he couldn't act like him if he tried. He just looked like Harry, so everyone assumed he was Harry, and so they liked him. Not just Gryffindors, but Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws, students whose names Draco had never bothered to learn, came up and chatted with him easily. It was disorienting.
What was more disorienting was that he liked it, it was as if in taking on Harry's appearance he had taken some part of Harry into himself, and he couldn't kill it or destroy it. It just sat there in his chest, making him do things like rescue Neville's toad, save Hermione from the Bludger and....and kiss Hermione. He couldn't believe he had done that, either. Why? It must be that Harry had some kind of feelings for her, and now Draco had them. But if she knew....knew who he really was.....
Something that had been nagging at the back of his mind suddenly crystallized into a sharp and painful thought. What if Harry died? What if he never woke up? Would he, Draco Malfoy, be doomed to be Harry Potter forever?
"Harry," came Hermione's voice, "What's wrong? You look a million miles away."
Draco pushed his chair back from the table and stood up suddenly. "Got to go," he muttered, and, pushing his way past a startled Ron and Hermione, he ran out of the dining hall, through the front hall, and up the stairs to the hospital wing. He banged on the closed door until it was opened by a harassed-looking Madam Pomfrey, whose eyes widened when she saw him.
"What's wrong, Potter, are you ill?" she demanded.
"I'm here because... I need to see....Malfoy," he gasped, out of breath. "Is he still knocked out?"
Madam Pomfrey gave him a look of deep suspicion. "I suppose you might as well know," she said. "Draco Malfoy is no longer with us."
The shock nearly knocked Draco off his feet. His vision dissolved into a swirling blur of colors, and he gurgled, in a sticky sort of voice, "Is he...is he...he's not dead?"
Madam Pomfrey looked shocked. "No, Potter, of course he isn't dead!" she snapped. "Really! He's been sent home temporarily. His father came and picked him up this afternoon."
And she shut the door in Dracos face.
There was light, faint at first, sharpening to a sudden, stabbing beam. Harry groaned and rolled over, opening his eyes.
He wanted to sit up, but amazement kept him pinned to the bed. He was lying in a bedroom, but a bedroom the like of which he had never seen before. The walls were carved out of unpolished stone, and the ceiling rose so high it disappeared into shadow, despite the bright sunlight that was pouring through the arch-shaped leaded glass windows that lined the room. The huge four-poster he was lying on, canopied in black velvet printed with silver snakes, was the only piece of furniture in the room apart from an enormous wardrobe propped against the far wall, the front of which was covered with an ornate design of gilded letter "M"s.
It was the Ms that did it. Harry sat up and swore out loud, staring down at his hands --- they were not his hands --- long, pale, and unfamiliar. He touched his forehead and felt no scar. Finally, in desperation, he yanked out a handful of his hair and stared down as the silvery-white strands sifted down to the black bedclothes.
He was still Draco. And what was worse, he was somehow in Draco Malfoys house. He must have been passed out cold for a long time, someone must have brought him here.
Right on cue, the door burst open, and Lucius Malfoy stood framed in the doorway. He was wearing black, as he had been wearing black every time Harry had ever seen him. Harry felt himself going cold with apprehension.
"So, boy," said Lucius, striding over towards the bed. "Do you know who you are, now?
Harry stared at him. Surely Lucius couldnt know who he really was. If he knew he had Harry Potter in his house
"Draco Malfoy," he said. "Your son."
Lucius face split into a cold smile. "I told that Pomfrey woman she didnt know what she was talking about," he said, satisfied. "Theres nothing wrong with you, boy. No Malfoy has ever forgotten who they are."
Harry looked into Dracos fathers cold gray eyes and said nothing. His throat seemed to have closed up.
"Well, since youre here," said Mr. Malfoy, "We might as well have some fun."
He drew his cloak aside and Harry saw a long silver sword strapped to his side. His stomach plummeted. He doesnt believe Im Draco, he thought desperately, Hes going to hack me into bits.
"How about a spot of fencing practice?" Lucius Malfoy went on. "Test your mettle, boy."
Great, thought Harry, who had never even seen a fencing match. He does believe Im Draco, and hes still going to hack me into bits.
"All, right, Father," said Harry, striving for Dracos drawling tones. Mr. Malfoy was looking impatient, so Harry swung his legs over the side of the bed and nearly yelled when his feet touched the ground it was like ice. Mr. Malfoy didnt appear to be worried about his son freezing his toes off, however he hurried out of the room, and Harry, still barefoot, followed.
He found himself nearly running to keep up with Lucius Malfoy as he stalked down a long corridor lined with Malfoy family portraits. There were a few hags, some very pretty women who were definitely veela which was probably where Malfoy got his fair hair some rather pale men who were probably vampires, and a rather unpleasant-looking wizard who was pictured riding an enormous spider whose bridle was fastened around its poison-dripping pincers. Yech, thought Harry, what a horrible lot.
Lucius Malfoy opened a huge stone-bound door with a wave of his wand and went inside, followed by Harry. He found himself in another huge room, this one had a smooth stone floor and was decorated with tapestries which depicted various scenes of wizard battle. Angry-looking wizards ran at each other, using their wands to decapitate, disembowel, and set fire to their victims. As Harry watched, mouth open in horror, a goblin with a long, flaming sword chased a screaming wizard right across one tapestry and into another.
Lucius, following Harrys gaze, nodded, looking pleased, "Yes, I just got the tapestries cleaned, the blood was starting to look quite dull and not at all shiny. Shall we begin?" And he tossed Harry a long, pointed rapier, which Harry looked at dully. "En garde!"
Harry raised his sword, resolving to bleed copiously as he died and hopefully ruin the Malfoys nice stone flooring. Fortunately, at that moment a knock sounded on the stone door, and it swung open. A tall wizard in dark green robes strode into the room.
"Hello, McNair," said Lucius Malfoy, lowering his sword and turning away from Harry. "Did Narcissa let you up?"
"She told me you were in here, yes," said the tall man, who Harry recognized as a wizard who worked for the Department for the Disposal of Dangerous Magical Creatures. He was also, Harry recalled grimly, a Death Eater. "I came with some news" He broke off as he saw Harry, "Hallo, Draco, I didnt know you were back home."
"His mother wanted to see him," said Lucius smoothly. "You know how women are. She misses him while hes away at school."
Madwoman, thought Harry.
"Well, the news I have actually has to do with Hogwarts," said McNair. "Lucius"
He looked from Lucius Malfoy to Harry.
"You can say anything in front of Draco," said Lucius Malfoy. "Hes been part of the Plan for a long time now."
"Thats right," said McNair."I had forgotten." He turned to Harry. "How goes your work at the school?" he asked. "Are you spreading the word of the Dark Lord?"
"What?" said Harry, flabbergasted. Hed known Draco was nasty, but .
"You know," said McNair, "Keeping the Dark Lords message alive among your generation. Making sure the right sort of people get the right kind of message. Holding Death Eater meetings." He winked. "Keeping the Mudbloods down."
"Oh, yeah," said Harry, who was shaking with rage and hardly knew what he was saying, "me and the Slytherins, we all got together and had a bake sale, raised loads of money for evil, no worries there."
McNair did not seem to have heard this. "I remember when I was in Slytherin," he said. "Those were great days!" He turned to Lucius Malfoy. "So, Lucius," he said. "I wanted to talk to you about the Plan. And about Harry Potter."
Chapter 3 >>>