Author Note: Hi guys, thank you to everyone who took some time out and reached here. This story is my version of the direction I wanted the last two books of Harry Potter to turn to, in terms of the character development and the relationships they all share. Everyone's fate was interconnected and it was a little unfair that some core characters were sidelined towards the end. I would highly suggest you read my bio to understand the reasoning behind the couples. I won't only be focusing on the ones I listed, and there will be sections that delve deeper into the thoughts of some important characters to the plot.
Summary: Harry Potter has experienced things that should have been enough for the world to declare him insane. Losing his Godfather only served to snap the last straw of stability he was grasping ends of. But in his sixth year, some unexpected feelings and an impossible truce might just be the little control he needed over his fate.
Relationship: Harry/Hermione, and others will form according to the flow of the storyline.
September could not have arrived sooner for the young wizard who was imprisoned in his relatives' house for the majority of his life. Until the age of eleven, he was not even sure if he would live long enough to celebrate his sixteenth birthday with people he could call friends. And now that he sat alone in a train compartment, watching parents tearily hug their pre-teens, he could reflect on the drastic change that one stormy night brought in his life.
Number Four Privet Drive was his house for fifteen years of his life, but Hogwarts was his home. The Dursley's were his relatives but the wizarding world was his family. Magic has given him two things he craved for the most, and it has also taken away parts of it from him. But had it all been worth it?
His mind flashed back to the people who died for him, because of him, and a wave of guilt crashed into him. His parents were killed to get to him, his godfather died because he chose to trust his recklessness over logic and Cedric…he died because he was not Harry Potter, 'The-Boy-Who-Lived'?
Suddenly feeling suffocated, Harry threw open the magical windows by his side and allowed the chatter of the outside world to fill the silent emptiness he had encompassed himself in. Little kids were running about, eyes shining in excitement of starting a new phase in their lives, while their parents watched sadly, unwilling to let their children out of sight.
In more ways than one, the eleven year olds reminded Harry of himself, so full of life at the prospect of leaving the more-ordinary-than-not lives they lived. He had never thought that he could escape the Dursley's, at least not until he was of legal age to move out of that tiny cupboard he grew up to call his room. But Hagrid was that angel that freed him from his self-induced prison and allowed him to take flight in any direction he could possibly imagine.
"I expect your owl every week, sweetie," a sugary voice broke his chain of thoughts.
He faced the window, his eyes struggling to place the face that belonged to the voice. The sea of faces drowned out the particular noise he was searching for, until his wandering gaze landed on a family of three; a red-haired woman with gentle eyes and a soft smile, a dark-haired man with glasses supported by the nose and a child who, he assumed was the son of the couple, bore an uncanny resemblance to his father.
Stunned, Harry almost forgot how to breathe evenly. The man and the woman looked much like his own dead parents, the parents he hadn't seen until his first year. For a fleeting moment, he dared to picture himself and his parents in their place. Little Harry beaming with happiness, his mother kissing his forehead, his father watching them with a fond smile.
"Could this have been me if we all survived that night?" he wondered as a treacherous tear rolled down his cheek.
Was this what it meant to have a family? He knew he had found one in the Weasley's, but even they could not begin to fill the void left behind by his deceased parents, who quite honestly died because of him. Everyone he decided to love had been killed and it made him question if he was a curse.
He knew of times when the world was envious of him for different reasons, including his own friends, but he wished he could tell him how lucky they truly were. Without a moment of hesitation, he would give up money, fame and even himself, if it meant that James and Lily Potter would be physically present throughout his life.
For a fleeting moment, he could hear his mother's voice in his head, assuring him that his father and her loved him with their entire beings. That they would always be there for him, to guide him through the rough patches of his miserable existence. His jaw clenched, muffling the agonizing scream that wanted to escape from the barrier.
All he wanted was a normal life with his family, was that too much to ask for? Apparently yes, because even his godfather could not stay with the sorry excuse of ass he was.
Before he could wallow further in self-pity, the door to his compartment flew open and a feminine body was thrown in his arms. The fresh scent of inked quill and faint english rose enveloped him and the identity of the witch in his embrace registered in his mind; his best friend, Hermione Granger.
Slightly pushing her to break their hug, Harry opened his eyes and met the caring gaze of both Hermione and his other best friend, Ron Weasley, who stood by the doorway. He managed a weak smile, trying yet failing at assuring his friends that he was fine.
"Oh Harry, I missed you so much!" Hermione exclaimed as she grabbed the seat beside him, forcing Ron to seat himself on the opposite berth.
His lips trembled at her admission, bile forming at the back of his throat. For him, Hermione always felt like home, like he belonged. They could be lying in a muddy ditch, or standing in a pile of dead animals, and he would still be happy, just so long as she was there with him.
The past few years deepened their bond to a point he felt confident confessing that they could understand each other's emotions, without a word forming on their lips. And he hoped that nothing would sever the unique relationship they shared, for he was unsure of the gravity of devastation it would cause on both ends. And surprisingly, he was just beginning to realize the intensity of his feelings.
Drawing in a shaky breath, Harry smiled genuinely, after what seemed to be ages, and replied, "I missed you too, Hermione. I truly did."
He nodded in Ron's direction, as a sign of acknowledgement and passed him a small smile. The wry smile he received in return conveyed the concern he held for the 'Boy-Who-Lived'. And Harry realized that he preferred it when Ron was his aloof self with the intelligence of a peanut. At least he wouldn't have to deal with the pitiful expressions on his friend's face.
"You feeling better, mate?" Ron couldn't help but pose the question. After the terrifying events that took place the previous year, he had spent the entire summer worrying about his best friend, who lost yet another person he considered his family.
The mere thought of Sirius almost reduced Harry to tears. A godfather he had gained not long ago had left him too, all because of his stupid mistake. He should have realized that it was a trap Voldemort had set for him, should have listened when Hermione told him to use the mirror to contact the animagus, should have done anything that would not have resulted in the former Azkaban prisoner falling through the Veil of Death. Just anything.
Not wanting to worry his friends any further, Harry simply shook his head and said, "Not yet, but I should soon," before turning to face the window, where the small family had just begun to leave the platform.
However, if he had been paying attention, he would have noticed the tears pooling Hermione's eyes and Ron glaring a hole in the floor of the train, both experiencing the pain he was suffering yet feeling utterly useless.
Following some uncomfortable moments of silence, the sound of the opening of the compartment door fell in his ears, demanding his undivided focus. He glanced to his right and noticed his closest friends standing there, a footstep away from stepping into the narrow corridor. He raised an eyebrow in question, wondering where the duo was going just minutes after entering the quarters.
It was Hermione who answered, "We have to meet the Heads to receive our Prefect duties. I think we will be in the Prefect carriage for most of the journey, Harry, but we will drop by occasionally."
The apology in her voice was clear as the day but he couldn't bring himself to care. It was not as if these two had not abandoned him multiple times over the course of their friendship, though it never got easy. He was far past the point of hurting. Shrugging nonchalantly, Harry resumed his earlier position, blatantly ignoring the presence of others sharing the same space as him.
A light sniffle was all he heard before he was left alone with his thoughts and regrets. Their resounding footsteps echoed through his compartment. The train gave a slight jerk as the platform flashed by, the long journey to Hogwarts inviting restless sleep for the young hero.
Harry had barely closed his eyes when the door opened for the third time. As he looked up to inspect the newcomers, he was a little surprised to see Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood occupying the empty space across from him.
His quiet haven was once again lit up in chatter, the noise he was so desperately trying to avoid. All he wanted was to be left alone with his sorrows, but alas that also proved too complex of a wish to be granted. The ride to Hogsmeade was quick, something he despised as he was not ready to resume the role of everyone's hero. Heroes were meant to protect the world from beings of greater power. And him?
"I can't even protect myself from my muggle relatives," he laughed sardonically at the thought.
Before long, the Hogwarts Express stopped in front of Hogsmeade, students trickling out of the train in amazement and joy. The trip was interesting for the young wizard. He had to sit through the strange creatures Luna claimed to have seen in his hair, and suffered through the awkward lunch date Slughorn had to offer.
However, despite the strange events that occurred in the short while, Harry was highly invested in checking out the Malfoy cabin, confident that the young heir was down to follow his father's footsteps and had managed to score a place in the army of Death Eaters.
Donning his invisibility cloak over his lean body, Harry quietly snuck into the compartment that was reserved for the group of popular slytherins, unofficially of course. All he had to do now was wait for someone to begin conversing about the topic he was risking his life for.
It seems that the heavens had decided to pity him because things were going swimmingly in his favor. Draco Malfoy, his sworn enemy since the minute they shared two sentences, had accidentally pulled up the sleeve on his left arm for a split second, revealing the intricate design of a serpent; his once flawless arm now supporting the Dark Mark.
Harry's breath was caught in his throat as he stared at the magical version of a tattoo. His suspicions that Draco had finally been recruited by the murderer of his parents were confirmed and he was unsure of whether to feel elated or disappointed. Despite their previous altercations, he had hoped the prince of Slytherin would have some light remaining in his heart. But those hopes were dashed as the conversation kicked off into his future plans at Hogwarts.
"Hogwarts, what a pathetic excuse for a school," Draco scoffed to his friends, ridiculing the standard of education the said place provided to its students. "I think I'd pitch myself off the Astronomy Tower if I had to continue for another two years."
Harry felt his temper flare. Hogwarts came to him as his sanctuary when he felt no motivation to live his life on his own terms, when he had resigned himself to the fate Dursley's had written for him. And hearing someone, his nemesis of all people, insult his only home lead to an unpleasant itching in his palm. Oh how he wished he could hex the man in question.
Harry exhaled heavily, trying to maintain his composure when he heard the platinum blonde head staring directly at him. For a moment, he panicked, wondering if the man noticed him spying on the group but quickly shook his head at the silly worry. He was wearing the cloak, and not even Merlin could see him under it.
"Besides, I won't even be returning to the school after this year if the mission I was assigned by the Dark Lord is a success," Harry heard the smirk in Draco's voice and made a mental note of the mission.
Knowing Voldemort, the mission either included destroying the school or murdering someone. He prayed that it was the former because despite all the evil the other guy seemed to possess, he was no murderer.
The compartment began clearing as the Slytherins stepped on the station. Draco picked up his suitcase and glided towards the door, his cronies following closely behind him.
Harry nearly sighed in relief as his task was accomplished. Having gathered the information he was seeking and not being caught at the same time, by the boy who has always managed to suss him out since first year, was high up in his list of achievements.
Or maybe he spoke too soon.
The next thing Harry knew, a bright spell hit his body just as Draco finished chanting, "Petrificus Totalus," and he fell to the ground in a loud, painful thud.
He was paralyzed completely, his motions ceased to give him the image of a statue, but he was vaguely aware of his surroundings. He felt his body becoming visible to the human eye as the cloak was removed and Malfoy's face filled the empty gap between his eyes and the ceiling. The victorious sneer on the heir's lips almost disgusted him.
"Eavesdropping. Are we, Potter?" came Draco's snotty comment. "Saves me the trouble of sniffing you out of our lowly group of friends."
Harry willed his muscles to move, but they refused to obey his commands. He would have given anything in that moment to just take a wild swing at the arrogant boy who casually continued insulting his friends. Suddenly, he felt his wand being removed from his person and a sharp alarm went off in his head. Things were not looking good from his perspective.
Draco continued, "Now we wouldn't want any violence, would we? That would be a terrible start to this year." That sentence got Harry raising his eyebrows, mentally of course. "I just want to talk, Potter, and you are going to listen to me. Until we finish, your wand will be in my possession."
The slight suspicions of something being amiss were now waving red flags in his head. Malfoy never offered civil conversations. He was more of a…'I see you, I hex you' kind of guy. However, he couldn't deny the small curiosity that ignited in him at the somewhat polite tone in his rival's voice. It seems that it wouldn't hurt to listen to the boy.
"Finite," Draco muttered, releasing Harry from the hold of the full-body bind curse.
Before anyone could blink, Harry was on his feet and glaring dangerously at his enemy, a defensive stance in order to protect himself from any attacks. He was not about to let his guard down around a certified Death Eater.
"What do you want, Malfoy?" Harry hissed, venom dripping from his voice.
Draco raised his hands in surrender, a mocking smile painted on his face. He quickly explained, "I just want to talk, Potter."
"Talk about what?"
"I know you heard my conversation with my friends. I also know that you found out about me being a Death Eater," the surprise on Harry's face was amusing to Draco but he continued with his speech nonetheless, "I have a proposition for you."
Harry could not mask the shock that overwhelmed him, his jaw practically resting on the floor. The silence enveloped the compartment as it took him a couple of seconds to regain his composure.
"What is your proposition?" were all the words his mouth managed to form before his throat clogged up.
Hesitation crossed his features as Draco slowly cleared his throat. Evidently, it was not an easy matter for him either. Hastily mustering all his courage, that would have put the Gryffindor to shame, Draco threw out, "I am willing to be your inside source amongst the Death Eaters."
Of all the things that could have happened, Harry was not expecting this outburst. His feet stumbled, his brain slowly registering the words. The boy who swore to wreak havoc in his life was suddenly forwarding a friendly hand? Momentarily, he wondered if this was a trap set so carefully that even he was falling conveniently in it.
But one glance at Draco's green face erased those apprehensive thoughts. He was sure he felt just as good as Draco looked; absolutely horrified.
His voice was barely audible, a whisper so low that even he felt he had imagined it. "What do you want in return?"
The confidence with which Draco enunciated his demand bemused Harry. Did he really expect to be protected when his father was sentenced to Azkaban for the same crime; bearing the mark of a dark wizard?
And so he questioned firmly, "What?"
"I want assurance of protection for my mother," was the only elucidation he received.
Yet another shock for the poor lad who was tired of half-assed responses from everyone but his pet owl. "Your mum, why?"
Draco finally stared him in the eye, an unwavering determination in the deep pools of silvery iris. "My mother would have died if I did not agree to take the Dark Mark."
Author Note: Thanks for reading guys. Please leave a review or a constructive criticism and I will be sure to read them all. The story is just beginning.