Chapter One: Summer Holiday





This was not how he'd planned to spend his summer holiday.

Draco Malfoy's pale gaze burned into the faux wood door at number four Privet Drive. Albus Dumbledore stood beside him, firmly gripping the back of his neck so he couldn't run or turn the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry into a newt -- either was a strong possibility at the moment.

Draco silently cursed his father for putting him in this predicament. The infallible Lucius Malfoy wasn't quite so infallible as he'd boasted. The Ministry of Magic had arrested him that morning for the murder of a family of Muggles. Rumor had it that the Ministry had an eye-witness, and the case against Lucius was air-tight. Draco wasn't surprised. His father had been growing careless since the Dark Lord's return, and while Draco had no compassion for Muggles, Lucius' actions were just stupid. Voldemort was more likely to kill Lucius than praise him.

Draco's mother, Narcissa, was on holiday in France, and Draco doubted she would return until Lucius was either released or locked in Azkaban. Draco would have gone to her if Dumbledore hadn't appeared at the Malfoy estate within moments of Lucius' arrest. "For his protection," Dumbledore had decided Draco should reside with the Dursleys for the summer, at number four Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey -- the home of one Harry Potter.

Draco clenched his jaw as Dumbledore rang the bell. The silver-haired Slytherin had received no explanation as to why he had to stay with Potter of all people. Any number of his friends and their families would've taken him in, or he could have stayed at the Manor alone. He had on numerous occasions in the past and, at fifteen, he was more than capable of taking care of himself.

But here he was, glaring petulantly at the door with Dumbledore's death-grip pinning him to the stoop. Draco decided to go along with the placement for now. Although he didn't dare use magic outside of the protective wards of the Manor (he didn't want to be expelled from Hogwarts), he could leave at a later date and take the Knight Bus to one of his friends' homes.

The door opened, and the cold sneer Draco had adopted faded. The boy who'd answered the door was not the same boy Draco last saw on the Hogwarts Express coming home for the summer holiday. Draco himself had grown taller and his voice had slid smoothly down an octave in the scant month that had passed, but he was still boyishly smooth-skinned and whipcord thin.

Compared to Draco, Harry Potter was huge.

The barefoot Gryffindor wore torn trousers that only came down to mid-calf. The fit muscles of his legs were partially hidden by the slightly loose tan cotton. The trousers were clinched at the waist by a length of cord. It was obvious that the trousers were borrowed from someone much fatter and shorter than Potter. The loose t-shirt he wore was also obviously borrowed, however, the sleeves had been torn off. Most likely to accommodate Harry's muscular arms.

Dark, dark circles underlined Potter's eyes, but otherwise his face was the same, as was his messy black hair. He had a summer tan, which contrasted greatly with Draco's always winter pale skin. The lightning bolt scar on Harry's forehead wasn't as vivid with the tan.

"Sir," Harry greeted in a voice that cracked. Draco smiled inwardly. At least puberty had some negative effect on Potter.

"Harry," Dumbledore returned genially. "It is always a pleasure."

Harry cast a dispassionate glance at Draco before addressing the Headmaster again. "May I ask the reason you've come calling?"

"Who is it, boy?" a booming baritone called from behind Harry.

Harry half-turned to answer. "It's Professor Dumbledore, Uncle Vernon, from Hog-- my school."

An ox with a big, bushy mustache lumbered into view, crowding Harry out of the way. "Ah, so it is you. Come to take Harry back, I presume?" Uncle Vernon said with a hopeful gleam in his eyes.

"No," Dumbledore replied. "I've come to solicit your aid by taking in young Mr. Malfoy for the remainder of the summer."

Draco heard a snort coming from behind Vernon Dursley, presumably from Potter. Draco's fingers itched to grab his wand.

"We can ill afford to house Harry, and you expect us to take on another?" Vernon said derisively.

Dumbledore removed a very thick billfold from his robes. "You shall be justly compensated for your assistance, Mr. Dursley."

Vernon licked his lips greedily and reached for the billfold. "I suppose we could keep him until the school term begins. Harry, show Mr. Malfoy to your room. He'll be staying there for the duration."

"Yes, Uncle Vernon."

"Thank you, sir," Dumbledore said to Dursley. Vernon nodded absently, flipping through the billfold as he returned into the house.

Harry came back out, gave Draco a long look, and then flicked a glance at the trunk on the walk. "Is that yours?"

"What do you think?" Draco said sarcastically.

Harry's features hardened briefly before he snapped his fingers and mouthed something. Draco heard a small pop. He turned to look and found his trunk had vanished. "Hey!"

"Harry, a word," Dumbledore begged politely, finally releasing Draco.

Draco rubbed the back of his neck as Harry and Dumbledore walked partway down the front walk. Draco doubted Dumbledore's favorite young wizard would get into trouble for that show of magic, which pissed him off. The rules were always bent to accommodate The Great Harry Potter.

"How are you doing?" Dumbledore asked with concern. The two hadn't moved far enough away for Draco not to overhear.

"Fine, all things considering," Harry replied. "I know that Snuffles has been reporting to you on the contents of my letters, so you know about the dreams."

"I do."

Harry dragged his fingers through his ebony hair, messing it further. "I take it Draco's being here isn't by random. Do you want me to teach him?"

Draco frowned. Teach him? There was nothing that Potter knew that Draco hadn't already learned, with Lucius Malfoy as his father.

"I shall leave that to your discretion," Dumbledore answered. "Although, Mr. Malfoy could be a formidable ally..."

"Sir, your hints are about as subtle as an anvil dropping on my head," Harry said dryly.

Dumbledore chuckled and clapped his hand on Harry's shoulder. "Be well, young Harry. I shall see you on the first of September."

"I'll bring Malfoy's corpse with me," Harry returned.

Laughing, Dumbledore stepped back, nodded to Draco, and apparated. Harry stared at the empty space where the Professor had been, wearing a thoughtful expression. After a minute, Draco cleared his throat in annoyance at being ignored. Harry's vibrant green gaze shot to Draco and he briefly looked surprised, as if he'd forgotten Draco's presence.

"Oh. You," Harry said, adding to Draco's irritation. "Follow me."

Draco thought of a number of hexes he wanted to cast on Harry as he fell into step behind the other boy. They entered the house, and Draco lifted his nose in disdain. The entire home was the size of the Malfoy front entryway. It was also obvious the Dursleys had no house elves. Draco was reluctant to touch anything. Who knew what he might catch?

The second room at the top of the stairs was full of toys, books, and other broken electronics, along with a single bed, two trunks -- Harry's and Draco's -- a writing desk and chair, and a single window half-covered in iron bars. Hedwig, Harry's owl, perched in her cage, and Harry's Firebolt leaned against the wall near the open window.

"You can have the bed," Harry told Draco.

"You'd thought otherwise?" Draco gave him a haughty look.

Harry leaned against the windowsill and folded his arms, unimpressed and non-threatened. "I assume you're not here by choice, so let's dispense with the formalities, eh? You only get the bed because I rarely sleep. I don't know if Uncle Vernon will treat you like a guest or a houseboy like me, so be prepared to work."

Draco began to protest, but Harry continued speaking over him. "You may use magic within the boundaries of the Dursley property, but not against the Dursleys or any other Muggle who pays a visit," Harry said. He narrowed his eyes. "Use magic against me, and I'll turn you inside out and take my chances with Dumbledore's punishment."

"I'd like to see you try," Draco sneered.

"No, you wouldn't," Harry stated calmly.

Draco felt his hackles rise, and he reached for the wand tucked in the back pocket of his pressed trousers. Harry simply looked at him through those ridiculous NHS glasses. Infuriated by Harry's lack of concern, Draco pointed his wand at Potter. Harry still didn't move. "Aren't you going to protect yourself, Potter?" Draco snarled.

"Accio wand," Harry said calmly.

Draco's wand snapped out of his hand and flew into Harry's outstretched palm. "I'm not impressed, Malfoy, nor threatened," Harry told him. "A lot has happened in the thirty days since the term ended, and while you might be admittedly better than me in most subjects, I far exceed you in charms and hexes."

Harry pushed off the windowsill, crossed to Draco, and offered back the wand. "I've spend the last thirty days training for a fight against Voldemort and will continue to train until I am certain his defeat will be final. Regardless of your animosity towards me, you are either my ally or my enemy in the fight. It is your choice."

Draco arched a pale brow. "And if I choose to side with the Dark Lord?"

"Then I hope you enjoy your stay at Azkaban along with the other Death Eaters." Harry headed for the door, adding over his shoulder, "Unless, of course, you're dead."



Chapter 2