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Auror Training

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Jun. 3rd, 2016 | 10:33 pm
location: Guanajuato, Mexico
mood: busy
music: Witcher 3 ending theme
posted by: magicallioness in hp_lowrating

Titel: Auror Training
Rating: PG13, for some rough language
Warning(s): OOC-ness
Beta: naadi
Word count: 8.324
Disclaimer: Anything belonging to the HP universe belongs to J.K. Rowling and others who have bought the rights to meddle with her toys. Anything that’s not is mine, unless stated otherwise. I’m just playing around here, not making money, so please don’t sue.
Author's note: Written as a birthday present for filleaspirant.
Summary: Harry and Draco are both in Auror Training. Both of them going to school together again can't be good, can it?
Auror Training
A birthday and Christmas present for Ivi by Magical Lioness



Part one: Studying


"Never utter these words: 'I do not know this, therefore it is false.' One must study to know; know to understand; understand to judge." ~ Apothegm of Narada


He has his own spot in the library. It’s near a window in the section of the library that has a slightly raised floor and a good view of the door. It’s ridiculous really, he’s only a first year, but he has his own chair in the library.

He comes into the room, marches up the few steps to the little podium and chases off whoever is sitting in his chair. He doesn’t care what year they’re in, what sex they are, not even who their parents are. He strides up to them and tells them they’re in his chair. He actually gets them to get up and give him his chair too, which, I guess, is admirable in some way.

His chair is near the window. Not near enough to let the sunlight bother him if it shines through, or to be able to see what he’s reading from the outside. But near enough so that he can check his reflection in it, every once and a while. Ponce.

The window also gives him a good view of the grounds, since the library is located in the west wing of the mansion. The raised floor of the library gives him a slight birds-eye view of everyone in the lower studying parts. He sits there, dividing his attention between his book and the grounds outside his window, sneaking a glance at us whenever he hears the library door creak open, checking who comes in or goes out.

It’s really ridiculous, but then again, it’s not. It’s strategically the best place in the library and nothing but the best is good enough for him.


He has to show off, even in the library. That messy mop of hair sticking out over a book, his face always hidden. He twirls his wand through the fingers of his right hand, sending golden sparks out of it occasionally. His left hand is holding the book, both elbows propped up at the table. Disgusting really, he’s passed eighteen now and he still shows off.

He studies Defence Against the Dark Arts book after Defence Against the Dark Arts book, doing his homework and then some. One tome even larger than the other, but always held up with his left hand. He turns the pages with his wand, the only time it stops spinning around his fingers. He never drops it, which is admirable in some way, I guess.

He twirls his wand around his fingers in a maddening pace, the golden sparks drawing my eyes to this wooden extension of his right hand and keeping them there, even when he turns another page. His wand is turning slightly lighter at some places around the hilt, showing exactly where he places his fingers. He doesn’t look up when people sit down next to him or leave his side. He doesn’t even acknowledge them. Arrogant little twerp.

He always hides his face behind the books, features invisible to us, so we can’t see he’s watching us, analysing us. Gauging us up on size, power and dependence on his help. We only see the mop of hair and the twirling wand, but mostly the golden sparks as he always sits in the shadow of the towering bookcases that line all the walls of the library, but only make aisles in my part. Most people already recognise him by those sparks.

It’s really disgusting, but then again, it’s not. The wand and sparks are a good diversional tactic and he needs to find out who he can trust and who he can’t without people knowing.



Part two: Classes


"Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself." ~ Chinese saying


One sits on the left side of the classroom, the other on the right, both always in the front rows so they don’t miss any part of my lessons. Picture perfect students, but still…they could be so much more.

One a cunning strategist, knowing how to make the best of every situation. The other with enough resourcefulness and bravery to save himself out of a tight spot again and again. Both determined to reach their goal.

One charming his way into things with good looks and a tongue of silk. The other with a drive to help and roguish charms. Both always getting people to do what they want.

One a planner, going over every minute detail, making certain there are no flaws. The other a doer, wasting no time if it’s of the essence, dealing with the situation as it comes. Both amazingly creative.

One with in-depth knowledge of almost every possible subject. The other an expert by experience. Both intelligent beyond their years.

One with a perfect pronunciation, never missing a spell. The other with flawless wand technique, his spells never missing magical power. Both striving for top grades in my Spell Casting Class.

They could be the perfect Aurorpair. Never, since the introduction of working in pairs, have I seen such a perfect match. Admittedly, there haven’t been many Aurorpairs, it was only a year ago the dangers of being an Auror became so great Aurors need someone to watch their back at all times, but I feel there won’t be a pair like them for a long time.

Unfortunately they have chosen to see how different they are, instead of how perfectly they complement each other. They have chosen to hate instead of respect each other.

One feels constant pressure to prove himself. To show himself and the world that he is good at something. He knows he can do it, but it is never good enough.

His father abandoned him out of shame and anger of his choices. His mother ignores him for the same reason. He pays his education from his own bank account and he never goes home for the holidays.

He is desperate to show his choices were the right ones. That he’s not as worthless as his father thinks he is or as useless as the world has made him out to be. He seems to think top grades in Auror training are a good place to start.

If only he could see that the other could help him. Could teach him that it doesn’t matter what others think, as long as you know in your heart that you have made the right choices. And that your worth is not measured by what others think of you, but by what you do.

The other feels a constant need to be prepared for everything. To arm himself and know he can handle anything that comes his way. He knows he handled more than anyone, but it isn’t enough.

He has lived his school years fighting He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. He has seen death, has heard the screams of torture and knows the feelings of betrayal and loss. He has no family left. He pays for his own education and never goes home for the holidays.

He is desperate to prevent any more from dying. To fight the fight that is his. The fight that he is not allowed to participate in, because he isn’t properly trained yet. He is desperate to kill Voldemort. He seems to think top grades in Auror training are a good place to start.

If only he could see the other could help him. Could show him that you can’t blame yourself for the death of people who choose to risk it. That he would do better to fight his fight when he’s ready, when he has a chance of winning.

They could be so much more than picture perfect students, if they would only truly see each other.

Their practical tests are coming up this period. To be taken in pairs. I hope they dare to look.



Part three: Practicing


"Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice." ~ Anton Chekov


I can’t believe professor Lopes paired me up with hím! Hím of all people. She knows we hate each other. How am I ever going to pass this practical, let alone get top marks? Malfoy’ll probably be too busy fixing his hair and chatting up girls to practice at all.

But he corners me right after Spell Casting Class, just outside the door.
“Potter,” he drawls and I can clearly hear the tinge of disgust in his voice, “be in classroom B28 at eight o’clock sharp tonight. We need to practice.”

Surprised that he wants to practice at all, I just look at him for a minute. And as I carefully keep my expression unreadable I realize I should’ve known. I should’ve known Malfoy would want to practice, after all, nothing but the best is good enough for him, right? Then I realize something else.

“I can’t, I have Quidditch practice,” I tell him. Something flickers in his eyes. I tried out for Seeker on the school team as soon as I could. I got it. Malfoy never got a chance to play on the team.

“I swear Potter, if I do not get top marks because of you, I’m going to kill you before Voldemort gets the chance,” he says softly but dangerously. At the mention of that name a cold, furious hatred erupts inside me and I feel all my muscles tightening in response. It is so intense it slows the realization that Malfoy now speaks the name without fear.

“Tomorrow night after dinner, room B14,” I tell him before I turn on my heel and walk away.

Well, that went just great. He even got two whole sentences in before I was fighting the urge to hex him.


My hand is as steady as ever as I turn the doorknob of room B14, but the racing blood in my veins and the uncomfortable knot in my stomach tells me clearly what I don’t want to know: I’m nervous. It has nothing to do with being alone in a room with Potter. It has everything to do with me wanting to best him and I’m not so sure that I can. Of course he is already there.

“Hello Malfoy,” he says stiffly and I know he wants to be here even less then I do. I nod at him curtly and walk to the spot opposite him, pulling out my wand.

“Let’s start with Ceruchus Flagrare. Just block me,” he tells me and before I can get a word in he aims the spell at me. I flick my wand just in time to perform the shield spell and watch the bright red whip deflect of it in shock.

“Idiot!” I hiss at him, “are you trying to get me killed!” He just smirks and resumes his position. This time he waits for me to do the same, however, and I have no trouble shielding myself from his second try. The magical rope coming out of his wand is strong and burns hot, but it moves through the air like a piece of paper fluttering to the ground, coming short of his target.

His face grows frustrated when his third try produces even less rope than his second, his brows drawing together over his nose, lips pursed in irritation and I smile knowingly to myself. I get tired of shielding after his fifth try and make him swap roles.

I am pleased to see my rope moves cuttingly through the air and hits exactly were I intended but after three tries I can clearly see Potter has no trouble whatsoever with blocking it. I raise my voice the fourth and fifth time, but it does me no good. And he laughs. He laughs openly and scathingly at my failure to produce a strong enough magical whip.

“At least I can hit my target,” I tell him menacingly as we swap roles again.
“Yes, which will do you a world of good with the strength it’s carrying. You know, it is dangerous, you may actually tickle your enemy to death,” he answers. I narrow my eyes at him but have no comeback. There are lights twinkling in his eyes as he smirks at me again.


Three nights we practiced last week. Three nights, and I have made absolutely no progress. My whip is stronger than before we started, but it still doesn’t reach its target. It’s like I’m stuck in a car with no steering wheel. I’ve researched the spell for hours on end, but nothing I read gave me a clue to what I was, am, doing wrong. The worst thing is, I can’t ask anybody but Malfoy: we’re not supposed to enlist anyone but our team mates to help us. Me, team mates with Malfoy. Ron would explode at the mere thought of it. But who am I kidding, Ron’s dead.

I sigh as I open the door to classroom B14. New week, new chances, right? Malfoy’s not here yet, so I sit down on the edge of a desk and watch the other students milling around outside. I wish I was like them. Worrying most about upcoming tests and whether or not they are wearing the right clothes. But I’m me, I’m Harry Potter, and I’m destined to save the world. Whoop-di-fucking-do.

I shouldn’t think about these things, especially not moments before Malfoy’s going to throw hexes at me, but once I am on this train of thought I’m powerless to stop it and I still sit staring out of the window listlessly when Malfoy enters.

I know he’s entered the room because I can feel his eyes burning holes in my back, but he doesn’t move or close the door and I sense an uneasiness coming from him.

“You training to be a statue, Potter?” he asks when I still haven’t moved after several minutes. I get up slowly, realizing that what is bothering him is the fact that I don’t acknowledge him: he’s used to being treated with respect, even around here, and I’m displaying a definite lack of it. Way to go, Harry, now he’s really going to help you.

I face him and take my duelling stance, waiting for him to start, but he doesn’t move. He just stands there, rigid, his fist clenched around his wand, his eyes boring into mine.

“What? You training to be a statue, Malfoy?” I mirror his statement. The corner of his mouth twitches in irritation, but he doesn’t speak. I stare at him a couple of minutes before pulling up one eyebrow in wonder. What the hell is he playing at? Then, suddenly, he speaks.

“What am I doing wrong?” he asks, the eyes boring into mine hardening, the knuckles on his wand hand turning white. I’m stunned for a moment.

“Wha-?” I ask, but keep him from repeating his question, this is too good of an opportunity: “Oh. You don’t snap your wrist, you roll it. This spell is not supposed to be graceful; move your wrist as if snapping a whip.”

He opens his mouth to speak, but snaps it shut again almost immediately. His body is no less rigid when he moves, but he has eased up on the death grip he had on his wand. Instead he takes a deep breath and clearly speaks, “Ceruchus Flagrare.”

I’m flung hard against the wall, knocking over some tables on my way there, and hiss at the searing pain that erupts across my chest. Gasping for breath, I struggle to get up, silently berating myself for not shielding.

I forget to breathe entirely when I feel arms steadying me and a soft voice pronouncing a basic healing spell. I’m still standing in the middle of the classroom, staring at the door, long after Malfoy closed it behind himself.

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I’m still tingling with my victory over Potter two weeks after it happened. He called on me to return the favour and I explained to the dolt that he wasn’t pronouncing the spell correctly, so he got it right after me, but I still beat him. It’s a glorious feeling and I’m not willing to give it up, but I know that tonight, I have to.

Both the Gelu Corporalis and the Ligare spells did not pose any problems for either of us. Potter seems to have mastered the Draining Net perfectly, but, although my Net captures him every time, it never drains his energy enough to keep him bound by the magical ropes. I have only three weeks left to master it and I see no other option than to ask Potter for help, again.

I grit my teeth together as I open the door of that classroom we practiced in all these weeks and I look up in surprise. Potter’s not here. He’s always the first to get here, but the room is completely empty now. I wonder briefly why today would be different, then sit down behind the teachers desk and devise the best strategy to ask Potter for help.

I’m ready to put it into action fifteen minutes later. It’s perfect, flawless, but there’s a problem: Potter’s still conspicuously absent. I feel my upper lip curl slightly in anger. Where the fuck is the arsehole? I have to practice! I want perfect marks in three weeks, and I won’t get them without performing this spell flawlessly when required. I hold out for five more minutes, then start pacing. Arrogant twerp, where the hell is he?

I wipe the shocked expression off my face before it’s fully there, when Potter comes crashing into the classroom, bloody and battered. I wrinkle my nose at his appearance. His hair is messed up, blood coming out of it in a small trail that trickles across the right side of his face. There’s a massive bruise on his left arm, his clothes are torn (which is a real shame, because he was wearing very fashionable jeans) and he’s covered in dirt.

“I see you decided to adapt your outward appearance to your character?” I comment, pinching my nose and wafting his smell away with the other hand.
“Not me, Nott,” he answers through gritted teeth, then casts several different healing spells on himself. I stop counting at five. What the hell did Nott do to him and how can he be standing?

“Nott?” I repeat dumbly, then curse my stupidity before correcting: “You had a run-in with a fucking Death-Eater here? Oh, you will have to make up a better excuse than that Potter.”

He’s nose-to-nose with me in a split-second and I scrunch up my nose again at the smell of dirt and dried blood.

“It’s not a fucking excuse, Malfoy. I had a date in town and Nott and some buddies were waiting for me when I got back. They fucking attacked me in the middle of a Muggle town!” he hisses at me and I take a step back involuntarily. He’s furious. I’m not scared of Potter at all, but when he’s this pissed, he does stupid things, it doesn’t matter that he’s furious at Nott and his buddies, not me.

“In a Muggle town? What the hell are they playing at?” I wonder out loud. Potter looks up from cleaning his clothes.

“Oh, so now you believe me, do you? Why the hell does everybody have to act like a jerk to you, before you listen to a thing they say? Are you really that full of yourself? Well, I’ll tell you something, Malfoy. You’re worth shit! You can’t even perform a Draining Net, because you’re too much of a fucking ponce to keep your arm still while pronouncing the words! All you think about is whether you look graceful or not, you don’t give a shit that people die because you can’t conjure a strong enough Net, just as long as it doesn’t make you look bad! It’s disgusting!” he all but screams in my face and then he storms off, slamming the door shut so hard it makes my ears ring.

Against my will, a slow smile spreads over my face. Keep my arm still, right? I start to giggle. He told me and he doesn’t even know it, I didn’t have to ask for it, he just told me. My giggles swell to full blown laughter and then die into silence as I remember what else he told me. That I’m worth shit and disgusting. I stare out of the window blindly and wonder why it hurts.

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I shouldn’t have blown up like that. Not even he deserves that kind of treatment, besides it really wasn’t his fault. None of this mess really is. Admittedly, he didn’t help much by getting Dumbledore killed, but I can’t even blame him entirely for that. I saw the fear in his eyes that evening and I heard Dumbledores promise. One McGonagall decided to honour, when asked.

But no matter how much I know I crossed the line, I’m not going to apologize. Not to him. I’m not! But I really should, especially since he healed me and helped me up weeks ago. I know I act like it, but I haven’t forgotten. I can’t forget it. It’s the first kind gesture he ever made to me and even though I try to hide it, even from myself, part of me wants to know why he did it.

It’s been two weeks since I blew up in his face and the longer I wait, the more difficult apologizing is going to be. Besides, our exams are next week and although we’ve mastered every spell by now, we haven’t trained anymore and we are supposed to function as a team.

I stop pacing as soon as I’ve made my decision and I can feel resolve growing inside me at every following step I take. I’m going to apologize to Draco Malfoy and I’m going to do it right now.

I get directions to his room from the administrations office and march up his hallway, intend on getting this over with, but when I get at the door of his room, I hesitate. I sigh and pull a hand through my hair, trying to muster enough courage to knock. I don’t have to.

“Don’t mess up your hair any worse, Potter. It pains me enough to have to look at it as it is,” a bored voice sounds from behind me. I wonder fleetingly how long he’s been standing there, before turning around. All I see is books.
“What are you talking about? You can’t even see me over all those books,” I ask, slightly irritated already.

“No, I can see you through these books. Merlin, I should’ve known you’d be too stupid to come up with a practical use for a See-through Spell,” Malfoy answers impatiently. I feel anger flare inside my stomach and try to push it down. Why is it that he gets under my skin every time? I came here to apologize dammit, not to fight.

I bite my lip to keep the nasty comment that was on it from coming out. Instead, I hold open the door for Malfoy after he releases the locking charm.
“Can I talk to you for a minute?” I ask, trying hopelessly to keep the angry sound out of my voice. He walks past me into his room and places the books carefully onto his desk. I notice his eyebrows are still raised in surprise as he turns around to face me. “Why?”

It’s such a simple question and always so damned difficult to answer. I look around his room to buy some time. It’s sober, but kind of nice. There’s light wood on the floor and the walls are painted white. Beside the door is a modern desk in the same colour as the floor. There’s a large closet for his clothes, a bedside table and his bed, all in light wood or white. There’s a book lying on his bedside table, I can’t see the title, and a decorative light on his windowsill. I’m trying desperately to hush my anger, but looking at Malfoys face, with impatience and irritation written all over it, doesn’t really help.

“Because I have something to say to you.” My voice is strained, even I can hear it. Apparently so can Malfoy. Something flickers in his eyes as he folds his arms across his chest.

“So, say it,” the man in front of me answers. His eyes have turned icy cold, glazing over some other emotion. His expression is as unreadable as ever, but nothing can hide the dark circles under his eyes. Probably the exams, but then again, he’s never had those because of exams before. Then why now?

“Can I come in first?” I try. I really don’t want to apologize to Malfoy in the hallway, where everybody can hear. It’s bad enough I have to do it in the first place. “Why?” he asks again.

Dammit! I slam my teeth together in an effort to keep my anger in check. This is going all wrong. I’d better go, because if I don’t, I’ll blow up in his face again, instead of apologizing for it.

“Never mind,” I bite out and turn to walk away. I’m frozen in my steps a moment later, by Malfoy calling out.

“Wait! Okay, come in,” he finishes softly, like he’s ashamed of saying it. I sigh and turn around. He looks kind of lost, standing in the doorway. Like he’s not used to standing there. I walk up to him with long, angry strides.

“Dammit, Malfoy, all I’m trying to do is apologize. Why do you have to make it so damn difficult!” I hiss in his face before walking into his room and dropping down into the only chair available, the one at his desk.

“Apologize?” His voice is wild with disbelief as he closes the door behind him. His eyes are sceptical, his left eyebrow raised in doubt about my intentions. It stings, but I can’t say I blame him. I’ve never apologized to him before and God knows I’ve done some worse things than blowing up in his face.

“Yes, for the way I blew up in your face two weeks ago. I shouldn’t have, it wasn’t your fault.” I speak softly. I simply can’t get myself to say the words any louder, even though they don’t feel strange in my mouth, like I expected.

Malfoy sits down on his bed and looks up at me from under long eyelashes.
“Am I supposed to apologize now, too?” he asks, voice all guarded. His eyes have turned from sceptical into cold hard steel. Even though they are always guarded, his eyes still tell a lot about his state of mind. But I really don’t understand this. What’s with him now?

“No,” I tell him simply. I don’t feel like giving elaborate explanations. I don’t feel I can anyway, not without exploding at some point. Malfoy leans back on his elbows so he can look me straight in the eye.

“Good, ‘cause I won’t,” he says harshly. I open my mouth to say something, then snap it shut again. I shake my head and close my eyes, all in an effort not to react to this. Finally I manage to ask him if he accepts my apologies.

“Apologies are only useful if you hurt someone first, Potter. Besides, don’t you think it’s a bit late to apologize now?” He looks at me with a positively evil smile on his face and something inside me snaps.

“Fine, have it your way!” I bellow, then storm out of his room.

Part four: Tests

“As gold is tested in four ways by rubbing, cutting, heating and beating -- so a man should be tested by these four things: his renunciation, his conduct, his qualities and his actions.” ~ Chanakya quotes.

“Welcome to your first-year practical tests. During this test we will try to gain some knowledge on the level of your power, the way you handle certain situations, where your strengths and weaknesses lie and how you work as a team.”

We stand in lines of four, two pairs next to each other, listening to the man that runs this school. We stand on the great lawn at the back of the school, a large wooden door on our left and right, each guarded by two wizards in blue robes. As usual, we listen to a voice that’s coming from nowhere and everywhere at the same time. The sissy that runs this madhouse has never showed himself to us. It is said that not even the teachers get to see him.

“This test will be taken by two pairs at a time, each on opposite sides of the grounds. The test will adapt to your level automatically, so what you encounter differs from pair to pair and will tell us something about your strength.”

Nice. Given as I’m paired up with the fucking Boy-Who-Lived, we’ll be lucky to get out of there alive, let alone with perfect marks. I send Potter a menacing look, but he doesn’t pay attention. He’s looking straight ahead of him, a weird fire smouldering in his eyes, his expression taunt, mouth pulled into a thin, angry line. Great, just great, just my luck Potter decided to finally lose it moments before my practical exam.

Your practical exam? a tiny voice in the back of my head asks. I sigh. Okay, our practical exam. And he didn’t lose it either, he’s just extremely pissed with me because of last week. He hasn’t spoken to me since, and although I don’t want to admit it, it’s been bothering me. Even more than him calling me worthless.

“Your mission is to extract a package. You will have to find out where it is for yourself. Bring it back here unscathed. The amount of damage on the package and the severity of your own injuries will be taken in account when grading this test.”

Good. At least that way I know Potter is going to try and keep me alive. For all I know he’s planning on killing me in the next couple of hours. He hasn’t spoken to me at all since he visited my room… Potter was in my room. I shiver at the thought, but I can’t honestly say if it’s disgust or something else.

“During your tests, Aurors and teachers will be monitoring you. You will not be able to see or hear them, but if something goes wrong they will intervene immediately. We have never seen any deadly accidents at this school and that isn’t going to change today. You will receive your marks about an hour after finishing the tests. Please walk up to the door when I call your name. Good luck to you all. Bones and Merriweather, left door. Potter and Malfoy, right door.”


All right, here goes nothing. I take a deep breath and follow Potter to the door. We are guided into our area by two young Aurors, probably a pair. It’s a huge plain, magnified by magic no doubt. High grass as far as I can see.

Both Aurors wish us luck and then disappear. I glance Potters way again and I’m surprised to see him nod in my direction curtly. It’s not exactly encouraging, but not exactly acknowledging either. Then he starts forward and I have no choice but to follow him.

We walk like this for several minutes, leaving a trail of flattened grass behind, building a wall of tension in front. Finally, I can’t bear it anymore.

“Would you at least talk to me?” I burst out and immediately after bite my lip. Merlin, I’m being stupid! Him not talking to me never bothered me before, I preferred him that way. And what the hell am I thinking, saying these things to him? It’s not only stupid but also very, very dangerous.

“I can’t,” he answers tonelessly, still staring straight ahead. I can’t help but realize he sounds a little hurt and I’m shocked to find that that tinge of satisfaction that used to glow inside me at Potter hurting, is gone.

“Can’t or won’t?” I ask, trying to steer this conversation back into our usual bickering. The bickering I can handle, it’s what I know. I do not want to be having a normal conversation with Potter, I really don’t.

“I can’t. Every time I get into a conversation with you, you get me too pissed off to finish it before I even started to say what I wanted to say,” he says quietly, like it hurts him to say it. It should, it hurts me to hear it.

“Ah well, that’s to be expected with all the hate going around, isn’t it?” I answer, trying for all I’m worth to sound satisfied, like I should be by his remarks.

But I’m not. What the hell is going on with me? First I start to understand him, then I heal him, now I’m taking everything he says seriously. I’m even letting it get to me, and when the hell did I start talking to him anyway? When did some semblance of conversation sneak into our bickering?

I’m so lost in thought that I don’t notice Potter has stopped moving until I’m several paces away. I turn to him halfway, wand in hand and on guard. Maybe he spotted something?

“I don’t hate you.” The words carry over the grass like a thunderstorm and they hit me square in the stomach. I almost double over from the impact.
“Wha- what?” I stammer. What’s he talking about, not hating me? Of course he hates me. Harry Potter hates Draco Malfoy and vice versa, it’s a law of nature!

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I take a couple of steps toward that still form in front of me. Malfoy’s totally frozen, wand still held in duelling position, blue eyes shining bright with surprise. He’s so shocked he has even forgotten to guard his emotions.

“I don’t hate you,” I repeat, as I stop a couple of paces away from him. He looks like a deer caught in headlights and I’m afraid he’ll run off if I come any closer. God, he must believe the entire world hates him. I never realized, never thought about why he behaves the way he does, only let it irritate and annoy me. He turns around suddenly and starts walking again.

“Yes, you do. Just like I hate you,” he calls over his shoulder. I feel my own shoulders slump, but what did I expect? Of course he hates me, we fought for so long. And I did hate him at first, but it was the petty hate of a child. A child that doesn’t understand and judges everything he doesn’t understand as wrong. I came to understand some of what he’s doing lately and with it, the hate disappeared.

“No, I really don’t. I don’t understand you, but I don’t hate you. I have no hate for anybody but Voldemort,” I say as I catch up to him.

He freezes again and I see the knuckles of the hand that’s holding his wand whiten slowly. His other hand is balled into a fist. I take a step back involuntarily as I meet his eyes when he turns around slowly. They look like ice, but are spitting fire at me. I’m uncomfortably reminded of the expression: when hell freezes over.

“You hate me and I hate you and that’s the way it’s staying. You’re not messing up my life any further, understand?” He speaks slowly, deliberately and with so much steel in his voice that I’m afraid he’ll cut right through me if he goes on. But he doesn’t, he turns abruptly and starts walking again. I’m still registering his statement when I notice yellowish eyes in the grass in front of Malfoy. I realize in horror that he doesn’t see them.

“Malfoy!” I cry as I start running towards him, but he doesn’t answer and walks on, directly towards those eyes. There are four of them and they never blink. I’m closing in on him, but I fear I won’t make it on time.

“Malfoy!” I yell again. The panic in my voice must’ve gotten his attention - it even surprises me - because it causes him to hesitate for just a moment. It’s what keeps him alive.

I dive and tackle Malfoy to the ground, just as two large, cat-like creatures jump at him. As a result they jump over us, but one of them rakes my shoulder with its claw and I can’t help but scream in pain. It burns like hell and I roll around on my back madly, trying to stop the burn, still screaming.

I hear someone calling my name vaguely through the haze of pain, but I don’t react. I don’t want to react, all I want is for this pain to go away. I start clawing at my back in an effort to get the burning to stop, but my arms are suddenly pinned over my head and I feel a heavy weight on my lower back that keeps me from rolling over again. I struggle against it, ignoring the voice that keeps calling my name. And then, suddenly the pain is gone.

“Potter?” Malfoy asks quietly. He’s obviously distressed.

I drop my head into the long grass and breathe out through my nose noisily. “Fuck, that hurt,” I mumble.

The weight is lifted from my back and I’m free to move my arms again. I realize it was Malfoy calling my name and that Malfoy helped me. I sit up slowly, reaching over my shoulder to touch the spot on my shoulder blade gingerly.

“It’s alright now. It wasn’t very deep,” Malfoy states softly. I can hardly see him because of the shimmering light behind him. But he seems to be sitting on his knees in front of me.

“Thanks,” I say and only then remember the creatures. I’m on my feet so fast I can’t even remember drawing my wand while standing up. I look sideways when Malfoy steps up next to me. I can see what caused the light to shimmer, right next to him. He conjured a wall of ice to keep the firecats out.

“It won’t hold them off for long, but it’s the best I could come up with on such short notice,” Malfoy explains defensively, like I’m going to scold him for not coming up with something better. I’m not.

“If we use a Draining Net and then freeze them, they should get knocked out,” I reason, getting my wand ready. I feel something warm pressing along the length of my back and hair tickling on my neck. Malfoy moved to stand back-to-back with me.

“Let’s hope so,” he offers, then lowers his wall of ice. The first cat comes running at our sides and we spin around quickly without ever losing contact, like we’ve been doing this for years. I deduce Malfoy hit his mark from the angry screams of the cat. The other one comes right at me in retaliation, murder shining brightly in its eyes. I nail it and watch.

It fights the net vigorously at first but with time its movements slow, like it’s getting tired. I feel Malfoys back relax slightly against mine.

“I think it’s working,” he states clearly. I can’t help but wonder if he’s in some kind of combat mode. His voice is clear, certain, commanding respect. His stature is straight, pulling him up into his full height, designed to impress. And I suddenly know with thrilling certainty that although he may sculpt and train all his other attitudes, this one at least is real, natural.

“I think so, yes. Now, if we freeze them they should at least be knocked out,” I tell him and hear him muttering a Freezing Spell right after. I cast my own spell and watch as the firecat first slumps and then slowly freezes over. I sigh and drop my wand, slowly turning around. Only to look into two steel blue eyes, guarded as always but hardening still while looking at me.

“Thanks for saving me, even if it was only to save your grade,” he says softly, then turns around to walk away. I trot after him, thinking of what to answer to this one. How the hell do I get him to open up to me? How do I get him to trust me and why on earth do I want him to anyway? My mind is whirling with these thoughts for some minutes until I decide that I’m not going to get any answers. I do what I always do in these occasions: I rely on instinct. I decide on telling Malfoy the truth.

“I didn’t save you just to save my grade, Malfoy,” I start, but Malfoy stops me right there. He grips me by the shoulders so hard I wince in pain and his eyes bore into mine until I feel he can look right into my soul.

“Stop it! Stop it right now!” he yells. He sounds panicked, like something is seriously freaking him out. I search his eyes, trying to find out what’s going on. I could ask him, but he won’t tell me anyway. I push the anger that is flaring inside me again away resolutely. No anger, understanding. I want to find out why. Why does he act this way?

“I hate you, I hate you, I hate you,” Malfoy tells me. Or maybe he’s telling himself. He’s repeating the phrase like a mantra, all the while looking me straight in the eye. Just as I’m about to ask him what he’s doing, he drops his eyes in defeat.

“I can’t do this,” he whispers as his arms drop from my shoulders and he walks away again.

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I hear the surprise, the total lack of understanding in his voice as he repeats what I just said. I should’ve kept my mouth shut. This is going all wrong. I’m supposed to hate him, dammit! I’m on his side now, yes, but I don’t like him. The world hates me, so I hate the world and he’s included in that. I can’t make exceptions, it’ll be my downfall.

“Malfoy! You can’t do what?” he asks as he catches up to me for the umpteenth time today, but I don’t listen. I can’t, I can’t have a conversation with him. I put a hand out sideways to stop him as he moves next to me. The grassland we’re walking on is blurring, or no, it’s shaking. A huge tree comes shooting out of the ground a few inches from me, forming branches on its way up.

“Shit!” Potter calls and I spin around to make sure he’s not hurt again. I tell myself it’s because any more injuries on his part will surely cost me points, but I know that’s not quite true. He’s fine, looking bewildered, but fine.

I’m not though, as he reaches out and pulls me flush against his chest. What the hell is he thinking? Realization dawns on me as I see he’s looking at something behind me and I hear the rustling sound of leaves. Dammit, that’s twice he’s saved me.

We keep like this, pushed into each other, eyes darting around for sprouting trees. We push and pull each other to all sides, trying to stay clear of the young trees that grow so fast they’re like spears. Finally, after several minutes of this nerve-racking situation, everything seems to fall silent.
Potter steps away from me and brushes the leaves out of his hair.

“I demand assignments that involve less physical contact next time,” he quips. I smile slightly, removing the last leaves from my clothes.
“I definitely agree,” I answer lightly. I snap my mouth shut when I realize what I said. Merlin, Draco, stop being so stupid! He did it again! He almost tricked me into a conversation.

“I’m not doing this, Potter,” I tell him icily, moving through the trees quickly. There’s something shimmering a ways to the right. I can hear Potter following close behind and by some instinct I know he’s covering my back.

“Do what?” he asks innocently, but I’m not fooled. I may have thought so while we were at Hogwarts, but I’ve learned in the last few months I spend here. Harry Potter is definitely not stupid.

I pick up the shimmering box carefully after making sure it’s not hexed and show it to Potter. He smiles broadly and gives me a thumbs up. Disgusting, but I have to duck past him quickly to hide a smile of my own.

“Look, Malfoy, I understand if you hate me more than Voldemort, but I don’t hate you. Maybe I hate Voldemort too much,” Potter says behind me and I feel every bit of self restraint leave me at that point.

“Hate you more than Voldemort?” I burst out, “I hate the bastard more than anything. I had a home before he showed his ugly face, a family. Maybe not a perfect one, but at least a family that accepted me, that thought I was worth something. I had friends, in short, I had a life and he took it all away. The entire world hates me now. There’s no measure for how much I hate that monster.”

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“So we agree on that point then,” I tell him. Malfoy looks up at me in mid-rant, that wall of ice guarding his eyes immediately. I look at him for a moment or two, trying to find the emotion behind that shield, before answering his question.

“We both hate Voldemort more than anything,” I clarify. Malfoy turns and walks on, towards our next challenge. “Yes, we do,” he says. And I realize that, in some way, he has come to understand things about me too.

We don’t really talk anymore during the rest of the test. The creatures, puzzles and challenges we have to face are too demanding for us to talk about anything but strategy and warnings and in between, both of us are too busy with our own thoughts. I think about him, about our childhoods, about the way we’ve been treating each other. I don’t really come to any conclusions, just review the way we lived our lives. And I figure that some people may see us as two sides of a coin, complete opposites, but I know that’s not quite true. We have many similar qualities and traits. We just handle them differently.

We escape our terrain relatively unscathed with the box. We didn’t get seriously injured, apart from the scratch on my back and we performed our spells perfectly. I’m confident we’ll get good marks but the waiting is still hell.

Malfoy plants himself under a tree, seemingly stoic and self confident, but I know better. He looks my way every now and again as I pace in front of him and he clearly shows the anxiousness in his eyes. I wonder if he’s too tired to shield them or if I finally did win some of his trust.

Finally, after what seems like hours, a voice rolls over the grounds.
“Welcome back everybody. I will read out your names and scores for you now, as I think you don’t want to be kept in suspense any longer.”
Malfoy, who has gotten up and is now standing beside me, rolls his eyes at this and I can’t help but smile at his expression.

“However, I must explain to you one last condition for this test. Any pair of you that scores below fifty percent is to leave this school today. I’m sorry, but those of you who didn’t make that mark are just not talented enough to become Aurors. This is a heavy and dangerous training and an even more dangerous job. I don’t want to expose any of my students to irresponsible risks.”

I snort at that. Firecats, holy woods, snakes, vertigo spells while crossing a ravine, a mountain troll and a path that erupts into fire when you step onto the wrong stones are not irresponsible risks?

“Any pair of you that scores perfect marks, that is one hundred percent, is destined to be paired together and will become an Aurorpair from this day on. Now then, your marks.”

I meet shocked blue eyes when I look at Malfoy. So he didn’t know either. I calculate our chances for getting a perfect score and relax slightly as I remember my injury. Probably not, I conclude, slightly relieved. Okay, so I don’t hate him anymore, that doesn’t mean I want to be paired up with him.

“Bones and Merriweather, seventy five percent. Potter and Malfoy, one hundred percent.”

The world seems to shift slightly under me. I’m paired up with Malfoy for the rest of my school career and if I live through that, my working life. I turn around and look at the tall, blond man that has suddenly moved in front of me in dumbfounded shock.

He shrugs his shoulders.
“Well, we were a good team. And at least I don’t hate you,” he says, before raising a hand in salute and walking away.

I smile at his back. Yes, we’re still a long way from being partners, let alone friends, but at least he doesn’t hate me and we have some common ground. I can work with that. I can definitely work with that.

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