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Survival is a Talent is a Harry Potter fanfic by ShanaStoryteller.

In the middle of their second year, Draco and Harry discover they're soulmates and do their best to keep it a secret from everyone.

Their best isn't perfect.

A Soulmate AU Fic that begins during the dueling club scene in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, "Survival is a Talent" runs parallel to canon while expanding or outright changing elements of the world of Harry Potter, putting more focus on several background characters, and dragging Draco Malfoy kicking and screaming through Character Development.

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This fanfic provides examples of:

  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: During the battle in the Chamber of Secrets, Draco taunts Tom Riddle by calling him a "filthy half-breed mudblood."
  • Adaptation Expansion: The story expands or outright changes some aspects of the canon that were left unexplored.
    • Parseltongue is older and more prominent in India than in Britain, but gained a stigma thanks to dark wizards like Salazar Slytherin and Voldemort. In this story Harry inherited his Parselmouth status from his father's side of the family rather than his connection to Voldemort.
    • House elves serve wizard families because they need a constant source of magic to survive.
    • There is a concrete reason why Harry can't pull out of the Triwizard Tournament: the Goblet of Fire is a powerful and ancient artifact that magically binds its chosen competitors. Since it's also illegal to destroy it, the only way for Harry to be free at all is to compete.
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  • Adaptational Heroism: Justified with Draco Malfoy; by the end of second year and especially third year he's considerably more selfless and likable than he is in canon, but it took a soulmate bond with Harry and quite a bit of character development for him to get there, and it's made clear that it would not have been possible if he hadn't chosen to make an effort to be better.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Draco experiences this a lot, thanks to his friendship with Harry.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Parseltongue is only regarded as a dark trait because of its association with Salazar Slytherin and Lord Voldemort. According to the Patil twins it used to be regarded as a sign of divine favor, and thus a point of pride among Indian wizards, but now those who are born with it keep it hidden to avoid the inevitable backlash.
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  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": At one point Neville describes a marigold as spitting poison and having thorns and a gooey center, much to Harry's confusion.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Draco does this to his parents, his father especially, after Death Eaters attack the Quidditch World Cup.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Harry, natch. Draco is starting to show signs as well, especially when he takes in Winky after Crouch abandons her, in spite of the resulting strain on his magic.
  • Costume Porn: The characters go all out for the Yule Ball. Even Ron gets this, thanks to Pansy fixing his dress robes. The Patil twins convince Harry to wear traditional Indian wizard robes, which causes a bit of a chain reaction when word spreads. Half-Japanese Luna goes in a kimono, and both Cedric and Cho wear Korean hanbok.
  • Cunning Linguist: Being multilingual is something of a wizard trait, especially among high-society purebloods.
  • Description Porn: See Costume Porn, in particular for Harry's jodhpuri suit & cloak and Luna's coordinated kimono.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The second trial smacks of this. Turns out it's not a good idea to convince a group of young wizards hand-picked for how powerful they are that the person they love most will die if they don't rescue them. Fleur does not take her loss well.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Harry and Draco, come fourth year.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Though Harry and Draco technically become friends after first finding out about their connection, it's not until after the battle in the Chamber that they're able to resolve a lot of their previous issues and grow closer as a result.
  • He Knows Too Much: Due to bad luck, poor timing, and a lack of communication, Draco stumbles upon Ginny while she's possessed by the diary; as a result, he gets dragged down to the Chamber with her.
  • Heel Realization: Draco has one during second year, when he realizes that Millicent Bulstrode and all the half-blood and muggleborn students in Slytherin are in just as much danger of being attacked as those in other houses.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Deliberately invoked by Harry during the Triwizard Tournament. He isn't competing by choice and has no interest in winning, because he hates being praised for things he didn't do on purpose, especially since his unwilling entry is taking attention and acclaim away from the actual champions. He even helps with Draco's "Potter Stinks" campaign, and convinces his entire house to wear the buttons in support of Cedric.
    Harry: I’m not their golden boy, I’m a kid who’s sick of people trying to kill me.
  • Jerkass Façade: Because of the expectations of their families and peers, Draco, Pansy, and Blaise hide their friendship with the Gryffindors and feign contempt for Muggles and non-purebloods. Draco is especially careful about his pureblood reputation, which is threatened by his Character Development and desire to prevent innocent people from dying.
  • Love Epiphany: Harry has one after a conversation with Cedric about what it means to really love someone.
  • Magic Eater: It turns out that house elves are a benign version of this. They used to subsist on ambient magic in the environment, but now that there are fewer magical forests in existence, they survive by binding themselves to magically powerful families. So in a way they are being paid, though the system is far from ideal for either half of the arrangement; house elves are vulnerable to abuse by their masters, and wizards cannot use their own magic to protect themselves should a house elf turn on them.
  • Never Gets Drunk: Ron. He out-drinks everyone but Viktor Krum. And then he out-drinks Krum when they have a rematch.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Veelas have no effect on people with soulmates; when they come out on the field during the Quidditch World Cup, Harry, Bill, and the twins are the only ones in their group who don't react.
  • The Not-Love Interest: In spite of Harry's connection to Draco, Ron is still considered Harry's most precious person in the second trial of the Triwizard Tournament. Harry explains that it's because Ron was his first friend after a lonely childhood, and everything and everyone he has now is because Ron first approached him on the Hogwarts Express their first year.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Cho Chang's real first name is Eun-hae.
  • Pet the Dog: Draco is a lot kinder here than in canon, but his friendship with Luna is especially noticeable because it's the one genuine friendship he has outside of his own house that he makes no effort to hide. A stand-out moment is when he goes to make sure she's all right when dementors are on the train.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Draco starts out as this. He steadily improves over time, though his class and background still show through from time to time.
  • Poor Communication Kills: This time it's not just Harry that takes the threat of losing his most precious person at face value in the second trial. The judges still think of it as a simple contest, but the champions don't take it well, especially Fleur.
  • Power Trio: Two of them (Harry with Ron and Hermione, and Draco with Pansy and Blaise) but they unite into one group in their third year.
  • Race Lift: Harry is of Indian descent, Hermione is black, and Luna is half Japanese.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The second trial ends with Fleur attacking the judges because she thinks her failure cost Gabrielle her life.
  • Secret Keeper: Only Ron, Hermione, Blaise, and Pansy know about Draco and Harry being soulmates. Very few people outside of their group even know that they're friends.
  • Secret Relationship: George Weasley is in one with Cassius (a Slytherin). Harry and Draco keep their soulmate connection a secret, and in fourth year they officially start dating.
  • Skewed Priorities: Played for Laughs when Rita Skeeter publishes an article accusing Hermione of sleeping around with the Triwizard Champions. Hermione and Fleur are more resentful of the fact that the article left Fleur out of Hermione's list of supposed paramours than of the article itself. And then they set out to remedy it.
  • Sky Surfing: Fleur is the captain of Beauxbatons' gliding team, and rides a broom like a surfboard.
  • The Smart Guy: Draco and Hermione are the most obvious examples, but everyone in their True Companions embody it to an extent. Ron is unbeatable at chess, Blaise likes herbology and can apparently hold his own against Ron at chess, Pansy excels at transfiguration, and Harry is the best in their year at Defense Against the Dark Arts.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Cedric survives the tournament.
  • Spotting the Thread: Neville starts to find out about the Chimeras when he sees Harry use the gillyweed that Blaise stole from Professor Sprout. Rather than try to maintain the lie, Harry brings him to their next hangout because he realizes that Neville is smart enough to work it out on his own eventually.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: When faced with the basilisk in the Chamber, Draco uses Serpensortia to summon a wyvern to help Harry fight it.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Draco, and to a lesser extent Pansy and Blaise.
  • True Companions: The "Chimeras" (Harry, Draco, Ron, Hermione, Pansy, and Blaise) by the end of third year.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Draco and Hermione end up getting along rather well after finding common ground in their studies, though they spend a lot of time yelling at each other over charms casting and arithmancy formulas. Harry, Ron, Pansy, and Blaise are just happy that they're ranting at each other instead of the rest of them.
  • Wild Teen Party: Draco and Blaise organize one in the Shrieking Shack after the first trial of the Triwizard Tournament.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Draco is increasingly frustrated as more and more people figure out that he's a kind and selfless person behind the front he puts up. Ginny Weasley is fond of reminding him.
    • Harry doesn't approve of Neville calling himself a coward.
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