Winter (Draco Malfoy x Harry Potter)

It is Harry and Draco's sixth year at Hogwarts, and everything is beginning to change. Dumbledore is growing distant. Hermione and Ron are more than friends. Harry is alone.

Draco Malfoy has a plan, a plan that will bring honour to the Malfoy name once more.

He will not fail... he will not fail, otherwise he will die.

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1. Chapter 1

Chapter 1

 

Winter was fast approaching the Hogwarts grounds. The Whomping Willow's branches were barren, frozen stiff from the rapidly declining temperatures. More and more Quidditch matches were being cancelled due to foul weather. This was the time of year that Harry despised.

It was not merely the fact that he could no longer take out his worries on the Quidditch pitch that stressed him (though this was a large contributing factor). Harry did not like the frosty attitude that his classmates seemed to adapt as the castle grew colder, did not like the slow, antagonising wait between Halloween and Christmas that seemed to stretch on for infinity. It was the awkward in-between stage where students had nothing to do but study, and bitterly complain about the weather.

Harry did not know of one student that enjoyed this time of year - which was why it came as no surprise to him when he saw Hermione and Ron snuggled up on one of the red couches by the common room fireplace, asleep in each other's arms. They had been trying to hide their relationship from him for about a month now, and they were not doing a very good job. Harry had cottoned on almost immediately - but he would let them keep up their pretences as long as they needed. They would tell him when they felt comfortable enough to do so - and for this reason, Harry decided that waking them at that moment would be far too cruel, and that he would go and visit Hagrid by himself.

The school seemed eerily quiet for eleven o'clock on a Saturday morning. Usually, teams of students from each house would be bustling about, heading down to the Quidditch pitch for practice, or girls would milling about in groups gossiping and giggling to each other. As Harry stepped out from behind the Fat Lady's portrait, he was greeted with a near empty corridor. Even the portraits that hung on the walls were either asleep or reading a book. Harry was almost shocked out of  his skin when he felt two fourth-year girls brush past him.

"...Malfoy? Are you sure?"

"Yeah! My sister Pansy told me. She's really upset. He's being kept in the hospital wing..."

The girls both exchanged guilty looks and fell silent when they realised Harry had been eavesdropping. So, Malfoy was in the hospital wing. Served him right, really... but Harry could not help but feel curious as to the reason why.

He supposed a quick detour couldn't hurt too much - after all, nobody was around anyway, and Harry seldom got time to himself. He could peak into the hospital wing, unnoticed by Madame Pomfrey, grab some scones from the great hall and then be on his way to Hagrid's Hut in no time. It was only right to feel curious when your nemesis was injured.

Come to think of it... was Draco really Harry's nemesis? He hadn't interacted with him at all so far this year. Their old feud seemed rather petty and childish in Harry's eyes, especially now that he had bigger issues to be facing, issues of far more importance than the hatred of a pompous, stuck-up pureblood Slytherin. Harry decided he felt nothing but indifference towards Draco.

As Harry neared the hospital wing, he felt his stomach begin to clench. Did he really want to know what was wrong with Malfoy? What if it was some kind of repeat of what had happened with the basilisk in the second year... or worse, what if Draco was dead? Would they close the school?

Harry heard no noises of pain or discomfort from behind the large, wooden door of the Hospital Wing. Could the girls have been lying? Perhaps this was all a trap... but there was only one way to find out.

"Potter? What are you doing crouched on the floor?" The familiar bored voice of Draco Malfoy snapped. Harry turned to him with a startled look.

"Oh," Harry said, standing up with a start. So clearly Draco wasn't in hospital. "None of your business, Malfoy."

Draco rolled his eyes disdainfully, feigning complete boredom. Their plan had worked, then. Draco made a mental note to thank Parkinson's little sister.

The dark-haired boy looked up at Draco thoughtfully. Upon first glance, nothing appeared to be wrong with him - same haughty, cold manor; same cat-like silver eyes. He appeared paler than usual, however, and looked as though he had not eaten properly in some time.

With a questioning glare, Draco continued to stroll down the deserted corridor.

So, the boy did care for Draco somewhat. Father would be pleased... it would make things all too easier when their plan was put into action. Potter was cursed with that same, unwavering optimism that would bring Professor Dumbledore his downfall - he always managed to see the best in people. He would try to see the best in Draco  - put all of his flaws down to coming from a toxic family, tell himself that the Malfoy boy had no other choice. The latter was true - Malfoy had to do this. He had to save the Malfoy name, had to earn them their place again with the Dark Lord. There was absolutely no choice in the matter.

This is how Draco knew that his plan was an ingenious one. The Dark Lord wanted Dumbledore dead, but if Malfoy were to bring him Harry Potter as well - why,  he would be killing two birds with one stone, quite literally. The Malfoy family would have gained its prestige back once again, and Draco would have rightfully earned his place as a Death Eater. Perhaps, his father would even be proud of him.

His plan was entirely dependent on him creating a stronger friendship with Potter. If he failed to do so, all of his efforts would have been pointless. Draco took the fact that Potter had passed his first test as a good sign. If he had cared enough that Draco was allegedly sick whilst they were supposed enemies, how much concern would he have when they were actually "friends"?

Oh yes, Draco's plan was an ingenious one, and he couldn't wait to put it to action.

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