Chapter Fourteen: The Patronus Spell

Ensconced in opposite corners of the plush sofa in the Slytherin common room, the fire in the fireplace casting flickering shadows on them, Draco heard the whole sordid story about what happened to Harry at the Tri-Wizard Tournament, from Diggory's death, to Voldemort's rise, to Harry surviving all three Unforgivable Curses. Draco had known that the Dark Lord had returned from his father, but not about any of the events of that night. Draco now knew why Harry behaved as he did. He knew what the blank mask hid.

"Draco, what am I going to do?" Harry asked, a frown of worry and fear wrinkling his brow. "I was paralyzed by the Dementor. There's no way I would've been able to cast the patronus spell, and I can guarantee Dementors will be with Voldemort the next time we meet."

"Then it's a good thing that I'll be with you, to watch your back," Draco said, as if it was a given fact.

"Really?" Harry's haunted green eyes widened in surprise behind his glasses. "You would protect me?"


The answer came automatically to Draco's lips, without thought or hesitation. Draco blinked twice rapidly at hearing his own reply, and sank back further into the corner of the sofa as the truth of the matter fully hit him. He really would protect Harry-Bloody-Potter from danger. The thought of Harry being cursed or injured twisted Draco's stomach in knots. It was a disturbing realization, and he said quickly, "I still hate you, though."

"Yes, of course," said Harry in a completely disbelieving tone of voice. The blinding smile also didn't help.

Draco sneered half-heartedly, folding his arms defensively. "Stop smiling like a ruddy git and teach me this anti-Dementor spell, before I change my mind and leave you to your fate."

Harry's smile only widened. "Whatever you say, Malfoy. You'll need your wand."

Draco decided to ignore Harry's idiotic grinning and he pulled his wand from the pocket of his robes. "I haven't used this in awhile, it seems," he commented, smoothing a hand over his wand (ten-inches, black pine, Gryphon's tooth. The irony did not escape him). Knowing that the secret to magic was wanting the results without question or hesitation had aided Draco in all of his courses, and he only needed his wand in Defense Against the Dark Arts, when the Professor didn't fully explain what the results of a particular spell were supposed to be. Draco's natural talent was in potions, not spellcasting, but extreme self-confidence when it came to performing wizardry also helped him cast without a wand.

"You'll need to use your wand until we learn the form of your patronus," Harry explained. "Your patronus will be something that you know will always protect you, no matter what. As you already know, mine is my father in his animagus form, Prongs."

Draco refused to wince at the memory of the third year failed trick on Harry and being scared half to death by the sudden appearance of the huge ghostly stag.

"The spell words are 'expecto patronum'," Harry said, rising from the couch. He yawned. "I'm going to go take a nap. I'll check on your progress later. Don't worry if you don't succeed today. It's hard and takes a lot out of you when casting it, at first."

Potter had been correct. The patronus spell was very difficult, especially with Draco getting angry with himself for not being able to cast it right away. After three days, he was only able to produce a measly pale mist that dissipated within moments. It was maddening as heck, and Draco took out his frustrations on Harry during their lessons, which had continued daily in spite of it being winter break. Harry demonstrated many self-healing spells over the days.

Christmas came and passed without sentimental fanfare. The Malfoys didn't celebrate that particular holiday, and Draco received only one gift: a small spider medallion that was also a portkey to the Hogwarts train station if held a certain way. It was from Harry, "In case of an emergency." It was nice, unexpected, and practical; a very Gryffindor-type of gift. Draco felt obligated to give a gift in return, and he transfigured a chocolate frog into a chocolate spider that evaded capture for over an hour. Draco had a good laugh watching Harry chase the chocolate around the Great Hall. Apparently, Harry's seeker-eflexes did not extend to catching charmed sweets.

Draco worked on a new potion, putting aside his wand for a few days after Christmas. He successfully created a molyjuice potion, a derivative of the polyjuice potion, which only changed a person's voice and took less time to brew. Professor Snape helped him once more to write up a report to submit to the Ministry. Draco was feeling quite pleased with himself after the owl was sent off, and he retrieved his wand and attempted to cast expecto patronum again.

The spell worked almost perfectly. He now knew the form of his patronus.

Draco spent the remainder of the day in bed with his head under the pillow.

His patronus was a fifteen-year-old Harry Potter.

Chapter 15