Chapter Four: Into the Cupboard

The days passed more quickly than Draco had expected. He couldn't recall what had prompted him to remain with the Dursleys after Dumbledore had left, but he wasn't disappointed that he had stayed. He still hated Harry, but Draco had a grudging admiration for him now, for his skills and quiet strength of character.

Harry knocked the wand from Draco's hand and seized both of his wrists in an iron grip. They were in the yard having a lesson, the morning sun beating down on them. Both wore cutoff shorts -- Harry in Dudley's castoffs and Draco in Harry's old trousers -- and sleeveless shirts, which were comfortable in the muggy August weather. The grass was soft beneath their bare feet.

"Tom will be expecting us to use the portkey at precisely 11:28 a.m. tomorrow," Harry said, explaining the plan for the last day before the school term started. "That will give us half-an-hour to settle in our room and visit Gringotts before meeting Ron and Hermione."

"You mean, before you meet them," Draco corrected, focusing on a rubber ball in the grass. "I have no desire to make myself ill a day prior to the start of term. Mobilarbus."

"Ill?" The rubber ball thwacked Harry in the head. "What do you mean ill? Titillandus."

"Finite incantatum," Draco said quickly, before the tickling truly affected him. He smirked at Harry and replied to the question. "Granger's face is enough to turn a person's stomach."

"I wouldn't say that to her if I were you." Harry dropped and used his momentum -- and his foot in Draco's stomach -- to throw Malfoy over his head and onto the grass. "She's bigger than you. Shrimp."

Draco tilted his head back and looked at Harry. "Petrificus totalus. I am not a shrimp," he declared, which was the truth. He'd grown half-a-head taller (though he was still shorter than Harry) and put on a solid layer of muscle, thanks to the requisite of torture Harry called "exercise". Like Harry, Draco was going to have to visit Madam Malkin's for an entire new wardrobe for school. "Besides, you haven't seen the dozy mare all summer. How do you know what she looks like?"

"Finite incantatum," Harry managed to say without moving. The petrificus charm broke, and he sat up and faced Draco. "Don't call her a 'dozy mare.' Hermione's a very pretty girl."

Draco smirked and sing-songed, "Potter fancies Granger. Potter fancies Granger."

"No, I don't," Harry stated. He plucked a blade of grass. "I think Ron does, though."

"Granger and Weasley." Draco chuckled, picking up the rubber ball by his arm. "They deserve each other."

"Hmm," Harry hummed non-committaly.

Draco tossed the ball up and caught it on its descent. "So, who does the Famous Harry Potter fancy then? Any special chit that makes you want to dip your wick?"

"No one." Harry tied the blade of grass into small knots. "I don't think of girls much."

"You're a pouf?" Draco said, surprised.

"Love involves trust, Draco, and I don't trust anybody anymore," Harry said in reply.

Draco noticed that the sweaty Gryffindor hadn't answered the question, but before he could ask again they were interrupted.

"Boy!" Vernon Dursley bellowed from the open window of the house.

"Yes, Uncle Vernon?" Harry called back.

"Come in the house, and bring the other one with you."

"Yes, sir." Harry dropped the knotted blade of grass onto Draco's upturned face. "Come on... Shrimp."

Draco sneered, rose, and looked around from his wand. "Accio wand," he cast when he saw it. The wand flew smartly into his palm and he tucked it into the back pocket of his cutoffs.

It was becoming easier to perform wandless magic. Draco could brag that he wasn't too poor at it, though he was still nowhere near Harry's level. Surprisingly, Draco didn't hold that against Potter. Some wizards simply excelled more in certain areas. Draco knew he could rival Snape in potions and Draco was just entering his fifth school term. Draco could thank his father for that. Lucius Malfoy might have been an overbearing, zealous Dark Lord supporter, but he encouraged Draco to be the best and supplied the tools to become so.

The boys met Vernon in the front hall. The Muggle scowled at the two of them. "Marge is coming for a visit today, so it's into the cupboard with you both."

Into the cupboard? Draco was confused. Harry looked resigned. "Why can't we stay in our bedroom?" Harry asked.

"Because I don't trust you not to cause a scene," Vernon stated. "I've put up with your... 'tricks' all summer without complaint. I think you can spend the day in the cupboard as repayment."

Harry's shoulders slumped. "Yes, Uncle Vernon."

"Good. Good." Vernon rubbed his hands together. "In you go."

Draco was in a cupboard under the stairs.

Flabbergasted by the turn of events, he simply stared at Harry. They were both seated on the dusty hardwood floor, knees bent, backs propped against opposite walls. There was barely enough room for one person, let alone two boys their size. The dingy area was lit by a single bulb light, which did nothing to appease Draco. They were in a cupboard, for bloody sake!

An iridescent spider with the body the size of a grape dropped on a web in front of his face. It waved its pincers hungrily at him. "Potter!" he squeaked. His breath caused the spider to swing on its web, moving away briefly before coming right at him!

"Avada kedavra." Harry snatched the spider before it hit Draco in the face.

Draco's grey eyes became huge. "Harry, you just cast...," he trailed off in shock.

"I did." Harry held out his hand, the dead spider resting on his palm. "Does that bother you?"

"Does it..." Draco stared incredulously at Harry. "You're as barmy as a blue banana."

Harry nodded sagely. "Possibly." He focused on the spider and uttered another spell. "Revivicus."

The spider came back to life and started crawling up Harry's wrist.

To Draco, the world went wonky for a moment. Then, Harry began to explain.

"No matter what they tell you, every spell has a counter-spell, it just might not be created yet." Harry was still focused on the spider. "Tattooum arachnid. Tattooum animatus." The iridescent black spider appeared to melt into Harry's skin, becoming two-dimensional, and continued to crawl up his arm. Harry wrapped his other hand around his forearm and, when the spider reached it, it turned around and headed back towards his wrist.

"The revivicus spell is the counter to avada kedavra ," Harry continued in a bored, factual tone. "I found it in a diary of my mother's, which had been given to me by Hagrid. He's been hoarding items that he 'appropriated' from my parents' house and giving them to me as going away gifts at the end of each school term. I suspect that my mother created the spell and used it when Voldemort attacked. When he zapped me, I had two lives in me: mine and my mother's. And that's why I lived."

"You're going to be even more famous now, Potter," Draco surmised. "The Boy Who Revives The Dead. Though, it's not as catchy as your old title, is it?"

"The spell doesn't work like that." Harry leaned forward and lightly grasped Draco's wrist. The spider, which had crawled down one of Harry's fingers, crossed to Draco's skin. "It's a life for life spell that has to be used almost immediately upon death. I gave the spider some of my life to revive it. Since it's a small creature and only lives a very short time anyway, the spell didn't take much from me. Only a year or two, perhaps. But when we're talking about another human being..."

Draco understood: the caster would give his or her life to the dead so the dead may live, which prompted the question, "Who would you cast it for?"

"Anyone," Harry answered instantly, "as long as it's feasible to do so." He folded his arms across his knees and rested his chin on his wrist. "Casting it on someone while Voldemort or one of the Death Eaters is present isn't very smart. You'd die and the person you'd revived would most likely die again before they even stood up."

"I could see how that would cause a problem." Draco watched the iridescent black spider tattoo creep around his bare arm. He couldn't feel the spider moving and it looked rather neat. "Still, it's a smashing spell."

"And now you know it. Tattooum animatus duo." Draco glanced at Harry in question, and Harry said, "The tattoo can now only be passed between the two of us."

"What makes you think I won't end the spell entirely?"

Harry shrugged and closed his eyes. "Do what you wish."

Draco scowled. He hated Harry Potter. "How long do we have to be in this cupboard?"

"Until Aunt Marge leaves," Harry said without opening his eyes. "It's safer in here, anyway, with her around. She's a right bloody cow."

Draco sighed, leaned his head against the wall, and closed his eyes. What an exciting way to spend the second to last day of summer.

Chapter 5