Title: Little Secret
Prompt: # 145
Summary: Harry is assigned to Draco by the Carrows, and he thinks Draco is an entitled, selfish git until they spend some time together on their own. Harry realises not all is what it seems, and that power and wealth doesn't always mean happiness.
Warning(s): AU, Voldemort Rules world, background slavery, blood discrimination
Word Count: 4344
Author's Notes: Just a couple of background notes: Instead of going after Harry, Voldemort went after Neville and killed him, thus winning the war and taking over the wizarding world. Harry, as a half-blood, is still allowed to attend Hogwarts but has a black band magically tied to his wrist so everyone knows his blood status. I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank my beta, yeaka.
There is nothing more boring than listening to Snape prattle on about the myriad of potions that are necessary for a half-blood to carry around, Harry thinks. It wouldn't be so bad if this was the first time Harry had ever heard this information, but of course, it wasn't. Every couple of months or so, Snape thought it fitting to remind them what they should be lugging around the school with them, and even went so far as to check they were doing so sometimes.
It was tedious and unnecessary. After the very first time Snape checked, everyone made sure they had them. It wasn't as if pure-bloods got themselves into trouble or accidents so often that the potions were used up so quickly. In fact, it had been two months and not a single potion of Harry's, or anyone else's he knew, had been used.
The only good thing about this lecture was that it was nearly the end of the lesson, and any second now they'd be let out and he could go and get some lunch. He was absolutely famished, having missed breakfast because Draco hadn't done his Transfiguration homework. Again. It was a regular occurrence, so Harry had got relatively used to skipping breakfast, but today, his stomach just didn't agree with the missed meal. It was hungry and it was letting everyone know it. Each time his stomach rumbled it seemed to get louder, bringing out laughter in pupils that were usually well behaved. It appeared that Snape was so boring that Harry's rumbling stomach was much more interesting, which Harry could only smirk at.
If nothing else, he held that one over his Potions Professor and Headmaster.
"Find something amusing, Potter?"
Oh dear. "No, Professor."
"Are you quite sure?"
Snape scowled and turned away, realising he wasn't going to be able to bait Harry today. It often seemed to Harry that Snape's favourite pastime was taunting him, but he'd recently realised that as long as he kept his cool, he infuriated Snape much more than answering back to him. It was hard, especially when Snape was around the pure-bloods and they joined in too (or, far more likely, the pure-bloods had set him up and Snape took their word).
The second Snape dismissed them, Harry packed up his stuff and headed to the door in lightning speed, but even that wasn't enough. He was just at the exit when he heard that familiar and ever so irritating:
"Not quite yet, Mr Potter."
Harry had no other option but to stop in his tracks and retreat to Snape's desk, no matter how much his stomach was willing him to go in the other direction. He couldn't very well ignore the Headmaster, and even if he did, his defiance would go on his records.
"Is there something wrong, Professor?"
"I want you to pay better attention in my lessons, Potter. No more daydreaming, doodling or smirking about Merlin knows what. Understood?" Reluctantly, Harry nodded his head, though he clenched his fists behind his back. "I see you've been growing close to Mr Malfoy recently."
"Professor Carrow assigned me to him."
"I see." Snape didn't appear to approve of this, and Harry couldn't help but hope Snape used his authority to assign him to someone else. Malfoy was an entitled, selfish git. "Perhaps he'll be able to teach you some manners. Dismissed."
It took all of Harry's energy to turn around and walk away without blowing up, which was exactly what he wanted to do. Malfoy, teach him some manners? Should be the other way round, more like! Still, he did manage to leave without argument, mainly because his stomach was growling so loudly. He headed straight to the Great Hall and ate lunch as quickly as possible, knowing full well that if he took too long Malfoy would have a right cob on, and he didn't need two people on his case. After finishing, he hurried through the hallways, being careful not to bump into anyone not wearing a band. He could easily handle other half-bloods and Muggle-borns, but he didn't want to start a fight about disrespect with a pure-blood. Experience had taught him that never ended well.
"Sorry I'm late," Harry muttered the second he saw Draco. He was on his own, leaning against the wall with his arms folded. It would be the first time Harry had ever spent time with Draco alone, because up until now, he'd always had his lackies following him around. As soon as he saw Harry, his outwardly cross demeanour changed, and Harry momentarily feared it would reappear as something more sinister.
"Forget it," Draco said tiredly. "Just follow me."
Harry didn't say anything, just blindly obeyed. It appeared that whatever Draco'd been mulling over that had made him so cross disappeared as soon as Harry arrived, which was rather strange in and of itself. It's all he could think about as he followed Malfoy through the multitude of corridors and down several flights of stairs, until they eventually reached the Slytherin common room. Harry's heart began beating faster; walking straight into the snakes' den like this wasn't a great idea, even if he was with Draco.
"Well?" Draco turned around just before the portrait, having realised Harry had stopped following him. Harry hadn't even realised it himself until Draco pointed it out. "What are you waiting for?"
Harry hesitated before speaking, wary of incurring Draco's wrath. "Is this a good idea?"
"Why wouldn't it be?" Draco looked genuinely confused, as if he didn't understand what the problem could be.
"You all... you all hate me." What he really wanted to say was that the Slytherins targeted him enough, and walking straight into their territory was basically giving them licence to do whatever they pleased with him. He didn't, as Draco would probably see that as bad-mouthing him.
"Oh." The knut seemed to have dropped. "You're with me. Nothing will happen."
Harry had no option but to take Draco's word for it, and followed Draco through the portrait. The second they entered everyone turned to stare at them. He was like a magnet. He scanned their faces, noting smirks, evil grins and many of disgust. They were all predatory.
"Oi, Malfoy!" a boy Harry recognised as Blaise Zabini called. He instinctively drew closer to Draco. "What's he doing here?"
Draco's eyes darkened as he spoke. "Carrow gave me him. He's here under my command."
"Yeah? Better not make a habit of it." Blaise's tone was threatening, and Harry sensed bad blood between he and Draco. Harry really didn't want to get in the middle of whatever was going on between them. He was relieved when Draco ignored Blaise and went straight up to his dormitory. Harry was a little curious about what had gone on though, and couldn't quite quell his urge to ask about it.
"What was that all about?"
"Huh?" Draco turned around, looking distracted. "Nothing. Never mind. Look, I want you to organise my trunk. It's a right mess and I can't find anything."
Harry wasn't sure what the Carrows had had in mind when they'd assigned him to Draco, but he had a feeling it wasn't organising his stuff. Perhaps Draco didn't know what to do with him. If that was the case, Harry would have rather Draco left him alone than think of something random and mundane. He didn't know whether that was the case or not, though, so he put his bag down and set to work organising Draco's trunk. Upon opening it, dust clouded him from every direction, sending him into a coughing fit.
"How on earth...?!"
"He left the trunk open for months on end. Isn't that right, Malfoy?" The words were simple, but the voice was mocking and hard. Harry turned to see Blaise Zabini, Theodore Nott, Crabbe and Goyle.
Crabbe and Goyle? Aren't they Draco's lackies?
"What do you want, Zabini?"
Zabini shrugged. "Just checking there's nothing untoward going on here, aren't we, lads?" The boys behind Blaise guffawed, as if that was the most hilarious thing they'd ever heard. Harry, feeling awkward and caught in the middle, began to make his way through the trunk. Everything he moved had an inch of dust on it, so he kept coughing every now and then, but the boys all ignored him. They were much more interested in Draco. "I think we'd better stay here. You know, just in case."
"Seriously?" Draco lay down on his bed and Harry saw him raise his eyebrows. "Well, if you're willing to while away your hours watching me, I can only be flattered."
Draco's choice of words seemed to instantly anger Blaise. "Flattered? Fancy me, do you, Malfoy?"
"As if." Draco snorted. Harry couldn't help but wonder where on earth that accusation came from. It was as though they were insinuating Draco was gay, but Harry had seen him with loads of girls, and wasn't he betrothed to Pansy Parkinson? "You wish you were so lucky."
"Oi!" Blaise snapped, stepping towards Draco's bed. "You watch it."
Harry saw Draco smirk and raise an eyebrow out of the corner of his eye, but Harry didn't make any obvious moves as he appeared to be pretty invisible at the moment. That's the way he liked it where Slytherins were concerned. He quietly dusted off the books as Draco and Blaise stared each other down, before Blaise turned on his heel and demanded his mates follow him. Draco laughed hollowly as they left, and Harry could just about make out Blaise's words as he exited the dormitory: "You're a dead man, Malfoy."
"Don't!" Draco snapped at Harry before Harry even had a chance to speak. He had wanted to ask about the unusual encounter, but it didn't appear as if Draco was in any mood to be civil right now. "Just finish that and leave. Quickly. In fact, forget it. Do it another time."
"Er, okay..." Harry said tentatively. He began putting everything back in the trunk carefully, but Draco jumped off the bed, shoved it all in and kicked it under the bed. It undid all Harry's hard work so far, but with the mood Draco was in, he didn't question it.
"Go." Draco said quietly but firmly. It was clear he wanted no messing about. Harry left immediately, leaving Draco standing in the middle of his dorm with his hands running through his hair. The apparent feud between Draco and Blaise must really be getting to him, even though he'd tried to laugh it off when Blaise was there. Harry decided he'd ask around later to see if anyone knew what was going on.
As he made his way down the stairs and back into the Slytherin Common Room, he attempted to tiptoe towards the exit without being noticed. It was to no avail, however, for Blaise spotted him and crossed the room faster than Harry would have thought possible.
"You don't come in here again, you hear me?" Blaise threatened. He had a menacing look upon his face, and though his lackies weren't around to back him up, Harry really didn't want to mess with him.
"I was only doing what Mr Malfoy—" Harry was cut off as Blaise grabbed the collar of his shirt and banged him against the wall. He was on his tiptoes now, looking up into Blaise's cold and angry eyes.
"I said," Blaise repeated, his voice so loud that the majority of the common room had turned to see what was going on, "You don't come in here again. I don't care if Malfoy gets on his bloody knees and begs you, you don't do it. Understood?"
Not really knowing what else to do, Harry nodded and inwardly sighed in relief when Blaise let go of him. He'd wanted to tell Blaise to shove it, but he really didn't want to be there anymore than Blaise wanted him there. He didn't think Draco would be very happy though. Not wanting anymore trouble, Harry exited the portrait as fast as humanly possible and headed back to Gryffindor Tower.
Honestly, when the Carrows had assigned Harry to Draco, Harry had thought the worst of his problems would be taunting and humiliation from Draco and his lackies, yet it now appeared that Draco was the perfectly reasonable one and his so-called lackies had switched sides faster than you could choke down a Firewhiskey.
Late last night and early that morning, Harry had asked around a few friends, who had also been assigned to pure-bloods, if they knew what was going on with Draco and his friends. Most didn't, but a couple assigned to Slytherin pure-bloods did. Apparently, Draco had make a drunken pass towards Blaise, and now Blaise was turning the entire house against him. The Slytherins didn't want the secret getting out of their house though, so Harry had to keep the information to himself or anyone else unfortunate enough to be assigned to a Slytherin.
The information had surprised Harry greatly, and as he ate his breakfast, he couldn't help but focus on the Slytherin table and watch what was going on. He noticed the interactions between the different groups, and when Draco finally emerged for breakfast, he sat at the very end of the table, the furthest he could possibly get from his former friends. That didn't stop them jeering him as he walked past, though. Draco, the master of the mask, ignored them completely. As far as he was concerned, it seemed they didn't even exist.
Harry didn't blame Draco for ignoring them. If his friends were going to be such tossers about a stupid, drunken kiss, they weren't really his friends in the first place, though Harry suspected that Draco had known that all along. Harry had once heard it said that Slytherins didn't have friends, merely acquaintances, and it seemed that was very accurate.
For all Blaise knew, Draco might not even be gay. Making a pass at a male friend while drunk didn't cement you as gay. Draco could easily just be curious, or it really may have just been a mistake and he liked girls after all. He was still a teenager, still figuring out what he wanted, though with his life planned so carefully by his father, he didn't really get much choice. In that regard, Harry felt sorry for him. Whether Draco was gay or not, he was marrying Pansy Parkinson when he left school. Pure-blood tradition stated he was allowed lovers as long as he was discreet, but somehow, Harry didn't think they'd approve of male lovers.
During the time Harry had been in the wizarding world, he'd realised just how backwards they were in terms of homosexuality. It was in his early teens that he'd realised he was gay himself, and it was something he really struggled with because it just didn't exist in the magical world. Or, if it did exist, it was behind very tightly locked closed doors and was so hushed up that there weren't even rumours.
Until now, with Draco that was, but Harry had a funny feeling that the Slytherins didn't really think Draco was gay. They probably thought it was just a rumour Blaise was spreading because they'd fought over something. In fact, Harry wouldn't put it past them all to truly believe homosexuality was a myth, unless they had personal experience (which, of course, they'd never admit to).
Harry kept his eye on the Slytherin table, and when Pansy walked in, he saw Draco motion her over. Unfortunately for Draco, it seemed Pansy didn't want to compromise her own social standing just to make her betrothed feel better. Outwardly, Draco shrugged, but Harry was sure that must have hurt, especially in such a public place. Draco finished what he was eating and stood to leave the Great Hall, and Harry, not really knowing why, did the same. He followed Draco out of the hall and into the entranceway, trying to catch his attention.
"Hey," Harry called. "Mr Malfoy." He was having to almost run to catch up with Draco, who was heading towards the dungeons. "Mr Malfoy?"
Draco came to a complete stop, and Harry had to be careful not to run into the back of him. "What is it that you want, Potter?"
"I... I—" Harry wasn't exactly sure. It had been a strange compulsion to get up and follow Draco, and now he'd actually got his attention he wasn't sure what he was going to say. "I'm sorry if I caused you any grief yesterday."
"Oh. Right. Forget it. It's not you." Draco carried on back to the dungeons, but Harry stopped him again. "What now?"
"Well, I just... did you want me for anything?" Harry was kicking himself inside; it was such a ridiculous thing to say. He was now wishing he'd just stayed in the Great Hall, at least then he wouldn't have made an absolute prat of himself.
"No. I'll come and find you when I next need you."
Even if Harry had wanted to stop Draco again, Draco was walking far too fast. It was very clear he didn't want Harry bothering him, and Harry half wondered if he was worried about them being seen together. He shrugged that thought out of his mind and went back to the Tower to get his schoolbag for the day.
Two weeks had gone by and Draco hadn't come and found Harry at all. Apparently, he just didn't need or want him for anything. Harry knew he really should be glad about this, but there was something in the pit of his stomach that said otherwise. Strangely enough, the weekly reports Draco submitted on Harry had apparently been really good, according to the Carrows. They said they were impressed with him and his changing attitude, and that it was all down to Draco. Harry was confused, but he didn't argue with them or tell them the truth. If he did he'd probably end up getting both Draco and himself in trouble.
If Draco was happy to carry on as if everything was all right, then so was Harry. Or at least, he tried to be. It didn't quite work that way, though. Every time Harry saw Draco wandering around the corridors, going into lessons or having a meal, he wanted to go over and talk to him. He didn't even know what about, and he was thankfully saved from looking like a prat again by Draco's insistence that he'd come and find Harry when he next needed him.
Just when Harry didn't think Draco was ever going to need him again, he was surprised on his way out of the Great Hall that evening by a flash of blond hair. He turned to his side to see Draco watching him intently, and only made a move when Draco curled out his index finger and gestured Harry towards him.
"Is there something I can help you with, Mr Malfoy?"
Draco nodded. "Follow me."
Unfortunately for Harry, Draco was walking straight in the direction of the Slytherin dungeons. This could only mean trouble from Blaise and his lackies, but Harry found he was unable to say anything.
"Don't worry," Draco said a moment later, as though he'd been reading Harry's mind, "Zabini and his cronies are off playing Quidditch."
"I heard what happened when you left last time. Thought it was best I leave you alone for a bit. The rumours have died down now, but Zabini's still being an arse."
What's new? Harry thought, though he didn't dare say it. Blaise was still a pure-blood and if Harry was overheard insulting him he'd be punished for a very long time. The rest of the walk to the dungeons was in complete silence. Draco was walking fast and staring at the floor, while Harry was again struggling to keep up with him. He was yearning to ask about the rumours, but he knew it wasn't his place to do so, and even if it was, it would be rather rude. He was relieved when they reached the Slytherin common room and even more so when they went up to Draco's dorms without harassment.
"The trunk," Draco said quietly. "I need it sorted. I want to start packing for half-term."
"You go home during the Autumn half-term?" Harry asked, a puzzled look upon his face. It was only ever for a week so most pupils stayed at Hogwarts, thinking it really wasn't worth the bother.
"Yes." The reply was simple and invited no further remarks or questions, so Harry got straight to work where he'd left off. Draco sat on his bed and began reading a Quidditch magazine, and Harry couldn't help but wonder if Draco was usually out playing Quidditch with Blaise and the other Slytherins. He probably was, but Harry didn't dare seek confirmation. So he worked on the trunk as quickly and as quietly as possible, so it was almost as if he wasn't there. He wanted to finish it before Blaise and his lackies got back, and it turned out that was a very good incentive, because it really didn't take him as long as he thought it would.
"Right," Harry said, standing up and dusting himself off. "I think I've finished."
Draco put down his magazine and came to inspect Harry's work. He had to stand very close to Harry in order to see the trunk properly, as there wasn't much space on that side of Draco's bed. He didn't offer any words of praise or even say thank you, he just nodded slowly.
"You can go now if you want," Draco said simply.
Harry did want to leave, fearing being caught here again by Blaise. He was also a bit miffed that Draco hadn't even bothered to commend him on a job well done, so he bent down to grab his schoolbag to leave. When he stood straight, he was feeling a little awkward as Draco had moved closer, and just as he was about to turn and leave, he got the shock of his life as Draco kissed him. He was too shocked to do or say anything, so he just stayed as still as a doll and let Draco do all the work. He liked it, though. Draco's lips were soft and supple, and they had a fruity sort of taste to them.
Then Draco pulled away sharply, seemingly realising what he was doing and angrily apologising.
"Wait," Harry said as Draco turned away from him. He dared grab his arm and was relieved when Draco didn't push him away for it. "I... I liked that."
Draco narrowed his eyes. The expression written across his face one was of great disbelief. "You don't tell anyone about this, understood?"
"Yeah, course, but —"
"You should leave. Now."
Harry was desperate for Draco to see that he'd liked it, so without really thinking it through, he kissed Draco. He wasn't very good at kissing, though, so it felt more like a clash of teeth than anything else. Draco pushed him away gently, and as Harry realised what he'd done, and to a pure-blood no less, he thought he was done-for.
"You're a terrible kisser," Draco said quietly after a few moments of awkward silence.
"I know." Harry blushed and looked at his feet. "You were my first."
"What, just then?" Draco smirked and raised an eyebrow. "You're having me on. No way can you get to seventeen and not have been kissed at least once."
"Hey," Harry said defensively, showing Draco his black band as though he didn't know it existed.
"Don't be using that as an excuse," replied Draco, though the tone of his voice and the twinkle in his eye made it quite clear he was only being playful. Then they both stopped smiling and the mood seemed to change to something sombre. "I think it's best if we just stay away from each other, like we have been doing the last couple of weeks."
"But you kissed me..."
"That further supports my suggestion. We can't go around kissing each other whenever we like. What if Zabini and that lot had come back?"
Harry paled and frowned.
"Do you know why half-bloods are being assigned to pure-bloods?" Draco asked.
Harry shook his head. He didn't have a clue. He thought it was some sort of punishment or humiliation ritual or something.
"They're making what they think are good matches and having us keep reports to see who will leave the school as Master and slave."
"What?" Was Harry hearing what he thought he was hearing? By the sly smirk on Draco's face, that was a definite yes.
"For the rest of the year, if you're obedient — and not just to me — and my reports on you are good, you can leave with me and become my slave."
Harry crossed his arms defiantly. "I don't want to be anyone's slave."
"No," said Draco knowingly. "But you have to be someone's, and if you're mine... Well, let's just say Malfoy Manor is a huge place with lots of nooks and crannies to hide in."
So there was a light at the end of the tunnel, then. It was a little twisted and skewed, but it was there.
"Now," Draco said firmly, squaring his shoulders and moving away. "Be off with you before Zabini gets back. And remember: be good."
Harry smiled slightly as he nodded and left, but he made sure it faded as he walked through the dungeons. He was lucky and didn't come across Zabini or the others at all as he made his way back to Gryffindor Tower. The common room was buzzing, and Harry really didn't feel like going to bed just yet, so he sat down and enjoyed a game of an exploding snap. Everyone kept asking him why he couldn't stop grinning, but he just shrugged them all off.
They couldn't know. No one could. It was their own little secret.