Draco crossed his arms over his chest and raised one eyebrow as he perched on the edge of Harry’s bed. “What’s this about, exactly?”
Harry sighed, and began pacing back and forth in front of the bed. The motion was starting to make Draco anxious, though of course he would never admit to that. Instead, he just continued to stare at Harry until the other boy was ready to speak. “Alright, so Minerva called me to her office to talk, and she basically never does that because no one wants the other students thinking that she’s playing favorites or anything, and she told me that Sirius Black- the deranged serial killer who escaped from Azkaban, is actually my godfather and the reason my parents were killed and also maybe possibly planning on sneaking into Hogwarts to kill me too.” His words all came out in one quick rush, but Draco was pretty much an expert on understanding Harry by now, so he heard all of it easily enough.
Draco reached out to pat the space on the bed next to him, not wanting to watch Harry continue to just pace around like that. Once they were both settled on the bed, and facing each other as they sat criss-cross, Draco reached out to give one of Harry’s hands a comforting squeeze. “Alright, so let’s just get this out of the way immediately: I’m not going to let anyone hurt you.” Harry smiled appreciatively, but Draco could tell that he didn’t really believe it. “I won’t,” Draco insisted. “And Sirius Black is my cousin somewhere along the line, so I know what I’m talking about.”
Harry narrowed his eyes. “If he’s been in jail basically my entire life, then that would be ditto for you, which means you don’t even know him.”
Draco frowned, and then suddenly reached up to flick Harry in the forehead. “Don’t be a moron. I already said that I’d keep you safe from him, so why don’t we move on to whatever else McGonagall had to say to you?”
A few seconds passed by tensely, but then Harry’s whole body seemed to slump forward, like a puppet whose strings had just been cut, and he leaned forward to rest his forehead against Draco’s shoulder. “That’s about it,” he said, voice slightly muffled by the fabric of Draco’s robes. “Why do I feel like I just have the absolute worst luck?”
Draco moved his hands in comforting circles on Harry’s back. “Probably because you do,” he said mildly. Harry swatted at his arm in annoyance, and Draco just laughed and leaned back, accidentally dragging Harry with him so the dark haired boy was lying draped over him. Harry tried to wiggle free, but Draco wrapped his arms tightly around him. “You’re my prisoner now, which means that you can’t get free unless you do whatever I say.”
“Let go of me you prat!” But Harry didn’t actually sound upset, so Draco didn’t let go. They laid there like that together for a few minutes, until Harry finally wiggled free and rolled off of the bed, shifting to land on his feet. “Draco? Ah, I’m glad that I have you as a friend.” Then he hurried off, leaving Draco lying there. Draco was actually kind of relieved that Harry had left the room quickly, so that he could roll over onto his stomach and bury his face in his pillow, embarrassed by how obvious his affection for Harry had become during that final bought of wiggling.
Draco looked at the bushy haired girl with one eyebrow raised. “I beg your pardon?”
She continued to look at him with all the confidence of someone who deserved to be speaking with a Malfoy as if they were friends or something. “You’re Draco Malfoy, right? Someone pointed you out to me, though I had to ask several people for that. I’m Hermione Granger. I’m not sure if you look at the class rankings within the whole school and not just your house, but we’re currently tied for first place.”
Draco tended to only check the intra house rankings on rare occasion, since he generally didn’t find it important. People only really cared about one’s rank within their class in their own house because it was understood that different houses had different learning styles and should be held to different standards. “Is that so.” In this case, he did actually know her name. It had been just below his in both of their first years. He hadn’t realized she’d moved up to tie with him. “Why exactly did you want to speak with me, Granger?”
She frowned, and crossed her arms over her chest. “I thought that we might be able to help each other out.” She hesitated for a moment, and then spoke in a lower voice. “I feel a bit bad, to be honest, about how I’ve moved in to tie with you. Since you weren’t given the same opportunity, it feels almost like cheating, and I wouldn’t feel right taking first place from you when it’s unfairly weighted in my advantage this year.”
Draco tilted his head to the side, and gave the girl a long look. “I’m listening.”
Everyone had heard about the fuss caused when Sirius Black himself had broken into Hogwarts, and managed to infiltrate the Gryffindor tower. According to the boy who’d been attacked, he had been acting completely insane, and was shouting about vengeance and killing, and had been waving around a big knife before he’d been scared away.
Draco grabbed Harry’s hand to pull him somewhere more private so that they could talk. No one else in the school had any reason to think that there was any connection between Harry and Black, but he was still worried about how his friend might react to the news. “Are you okay?” he asked as soon as they were alone.
Harry shrugged, and leaned back against the stone wall of the classroom that they were in. “Do you think he just assumed that I’m a Gryffindor because I come from a long line of them, or was he after someone else?”
“You can’t honestly think Black would deign to wanting to murder a Weasley. If we gave in to the urge to murder a Weasley whenever we got them, there would be none left by now.”
Harry hesitated, and then shook his head. “No, you’re probably right. Just ignore me, I don’t know what I’m talking about.”
Draco cheered from the stadium as Harry zipped around the field, showing his superiority over the Gryffindor seeker. It was an exciting match, despite the rain coming down all around them. Then he watched with wide eyes as Harry spiraled up higher and higher, until he was almost out of sight completely among the stormy skies.
He was just as shocked as everyone else in the crowd when suddenly black shadows were rushing up into the sky in the same direction Harry had gone. Draco recognized them as dementors, because they had been on the train on the way to Hogwarts, searching for the escaped Black. What the hell would they want with Harry, though?
It felt like Draco’s heart was in his throat when a minute later, Harry was hurtling down to the ground at rapid speed, his broom nowhere to be seen. Draco ignored everyone else around him as he leapt down out of the stadium and ran out into the middle of the field. He cast a cushioning charm with as much energy as he could possibly force into it, and then watched as Harry’s fall was slowed. He glanced over to see that it was McGonagall who had cast that spell, and she lowered him gently onto Draco’s cushioning.
As soon as Harry was on the ground, Draco darted forward to pat his best friend all over to make sure that he was okay, and then pulled him into a tight hug. Harry quickly returned it, even though he was trembling and his skin felt cold and clammy. He grabbed one of Harry’s arms while McGonagall grabbed the other, and together they held him up all the way to the hospital wing.
Madame Pomfrey gave Harry a disapproving look as she started waving her wand and casting various diagnosis spells. In the end, she gave him some chocolate, and assured his two guests that he would be just fine. McGonagall nodded absent-mindedly. “Thank you, Poppy,” she murmured as she reached out to brush Harry’s bangs back from his face. Once the nurse had returned to her office, McGonagall looked up at Draco. “That was quick thinking with your spell. Thank you.”
Draco shrugged. “I wasn’t going to let him get hurt if there was anything that I could do about it.”
“I know,” she said, an unreadable look in her eyes. Draco shivered at the feeling of her eyes on him even as he turned his own attention to Harry.
Draco glanced over when Harry pointed out a redhead Gryffindor- definitely a Weasley- going around putting up posters on every wall. They walked over to the most recent one to read it, heads tilted together so that they could both get a good look at it. “Huh. Guess his pet rat is missing. He’s offering a reward. Should we keep an eye out?”
Draco snorted. “As if a Weasley could possibly pay enough to actually compensate us for our time. And I’ve seen that rat before. It looks like a gross, disease-ridden thing that you should definitely avoid touching at all costs. I might not want to be friends with you anymore if you get fleas.”
Harry frowned, and then gave Draco a wide-eyed look that Draco found nearly impossible to refuse whenever it was accompanied by a request. “All it takes to get rid of our friendship is a few little bugs?”
Draco sighed. “Oh, fine, very well. Fleas and the flu at the same time is where I draw the line. You know rats are what carried the plague during the Black Death, right?”
Harry mock-gagged. “Ugh, gross.” Then he laughed. “Come on, we still need to get to the library to study.” He hurried off, and Draco felt as though he had no choice but to follow behind him.
There was an exasperated look on Draco’s face as he watched Harry gather up his invisible cloak and his wand. “And why exactly do we need to do this right in the middle of the night?”
Harry turned to give him a pleading look. “Because if Peter Pettigrew is actually alive and running around Hogwarts, he could be our best chance at helping to make sure that Sirius Black gets caught.”
“And remind me again why you think a couple of teenage boys should be the ones responsible for upholding the law?”
That damn pleading look on Harry’s face should be illegal. “He’s responsible for my parents being murdered, Draco.” Then after a moment, he dropped the look, and he gave a casual one shoulder shrug. “You don’t have to come with me. I can handle myself, you know.”
Draco scowled. “I understand that you’re using your stupid reverse psychology on me, but it’s not going to work. I was planning on going with you either way if I couldn’t convince you to stay here. Can I? Convince you to stay here, that is?” Harry just shook his head stubbornly, and Draco sighed. “Alright, fine, let’s do this.”
Finding himself in a hidden shack no one had known about, in the company of a dead man, a werewolf, and a wanted killer, was not exactly how Draco had been expecting the night to go. He should have known better, though. Nothing was ever simple or easy when it came to anything involving Harry.
The discovery that Sirius was innocent and Pettigrew had faked his death to frame Sirius for his own crime of betraying the Potters seemed insane, and yet Draco found it easy enough to believe just by looking at the sniveling, rotten little man. Professor Lupin and Sirius were acting like best buds, and they both attacked the rat to subdue him.
There was a hard look on Harry’s face as he looked down at the fallen man. “So you’re the coward who got my parents killed.”
The man clasped his hands together. “Please, I had no choice, I had to do it. You look so much like them, you know. You have her ey-”
Sirius slammed his foot down on Pettigrew’s head. “Don’t look at him,” he snarled. “You have no right!”
Everything seemed like it was going to be fine, so of course that was when Severus showed up, waving his wand around, and looking completely ready to use it. Draco jumped out to grab Severus’ arm. “Don’t! Black is innocent! He’s the criminal!” He pointed out the rat.
Severus turned to look, just in time for them to all see the man shrinking down, and he was clearly shifting into his rat form. Multiple people began shooting spells at him, but as a rat, he was a fast bugger, and darted away. Then Severus turned back to the other two men. “I’m sorry, but I must uphold the law.”
Draco made his voice sound as pleading as possible, trying to summon as much of Harry as he could. “Please don’t. Just let him walk away from here. Please.” He didn’t actually care about Sirius himself, even if they were cousins, but he knew that Harry desperately wanted to save the man now that he knew he had another family member. And Draco sometimes hated himself for it, but he knew that he’d do just about anything to make Harry happy.
It looked like maybe Severus was starting to be swayed, but then his expression steeled, and he shook his head. “I can’t do that. With Pettigrew on the loose, I don’t think he’s capable of just walking away.”
Sirius hesitated for a moment, and then cast a stupefy at Severus while he was looking at Draco. The man collapsed to the ground, and Draco squeezed his eyes shut. He opened them after a moment to glare at Sirius. “Do you even realize how much worse you just made everything?”
“We have to find that rat,” Sirius growled instead of giving any kind of real answer. He started to storm out of the shack, and Lupin hesitated for a moment and then motioned for Draco and Harry to leave before him so that he trailed out behind them.
As they stepped outside, sandwiched between two adults, neither of which seemed particularly stable, Draco glanced up, and nearly froze when he saw the sky. He grabbed Harry’s arm to tug him closer so that he could whisper in his ear without being overheard. “It’s a full moon.”
Harry’s eyes widened as he too realized what that meant for them, though he resisted the urge to glance back at Lupin. “What do we do?”
There was a loud noise of anguish behind them, and Sirius, Draco, and Harry all whirled around to see Lupin panting, and looking uncomfortable. “You need to run!” he barked out.
Sirius looked ready to make an argument about not leaving behind a friend, but Draco wasn’t willing to take any risks with Harry’s life, so he grabbed the boy by the wrist and forcefully tugged him away, towards the woods. When they reached the treeline he glanced back once, and saw that Sirius had shifted back into his dog form, which meant he’d be safe. The bastard was leaving him and Harry to escape a werewolf on their own?
Maybe Harry was able to read Draco’s mind, because he seemed to know exactly what he was thinking. “He’s fighting for us! Look!”
Draco looked again, and indeed, the black dog was flinging itself at the transforming man, though he was easily swatted aside. “Doesn’t change the fact that we still need to get out of here. Now come on!”
They ran for what seemed like hours, and Draco cringed as he could practically feel the hot slobbery breath on the back of his neck. At one point, Harry tripped and ended up sprawled out on the ground, glasses flung aside somewhere. As Draco yanked him back up, he heard the sound of pounding footsteps, and yanked Harry in front of a tree, pressing up against the other boy so that they were as flat against that side of the tree as they could get.
Both of them seemed to holding their breath, and Harry’s eyes were squeezed shut. Despite the dangerous situation they were in, Draco couldn’t help taking a long look at Harry. From this close up, it was easy to see the way that his long lashes fluttered lightly against his eyes, and there was a faint sprinkling of freckles over the bridge of his nose that usually blended in with his darker skin tone. He was also intensely aware of how hot Harry’s body felt against his, and gulped once. If they were in any other situation right now, Draco would need to be pretty concerned about what Harry might be feeling.
Luckily, the threat of being mauled by a werewolf was enough to keep his thoughts less sexy. Which was good, because nobody wanted to die with a boner.
Suddenly, Draco came to a decision. If they were going to die tonight, then he was at least going to get the chance to have kissed Harry once. He leaned his head down slightly so that his lips could brush against Harry’s. Before it could turn into anything more than that, there was the sound of howling in the distance, and then Lupin froze, and his footsteps were suddenly off, slamming against the ground in the opposite direction from them.
Draco sprang apart from Harry, who was very slow to open his eyes, and looked somewhat dazed. “What was-?” He cut himself off, and pointed in the distance. “Shit, Sirius! Can you go after Pettigrew?”
The idea of splitting apart now made something uncomfortable twist in Draco’s stomach. But what could he do? He knew that Harry needed to see that rat caught, and between the two of them Draco was the better fighter. So he nodded, and then reached out to squeeze Harry’s hand. “We’ll talk later,” he promised. Then he ran off, feeling too cowardly to look back and see if Harry was watching him.
Draco cast a few different tracking spells, but even as he looped around back to the whomping willow, he found no sign of the rat. He did find a very pissed off looking Severus, though, who was just emerging from the shack and looking somewhat murderous. “Draco, return to your dorm at once!” he barked out.
Draco stubbornly shook his head. “I can’t do that. I need to help Harry. This is too important for him. And for me, to make sure that there isn’t someone out there who wants to hurt him.” Before Severus could argue with him, they both turned, alerted by the sight of a large blast of light coming from somewhere within the woods.
Without saying a single word, they both took off running in the direction the light had come from. They came to the edge of the lake, and saw Harry on the ground, looking pale in the moonlight, Sirius’ head resting on his lap. He looked up, and it was obvious that there were tear stains on his cheeks. “Help him! The dementors tried to kill him!”
Instead of correcting Harry about what dementors did, Severus nodded and then levitated the unconscious convict into the air. “Are you able to walk, Potter?”
Harry sniffled, then nodded and slowly got to his feet. He swayed forward once, looking tired. Draco rushed forward to catch the boy as his eyes rolled back and he collapsed. He carried Harry while Severus brought Sirius, and they got back to the castle after what felt like a thousand years of walking. Draco could have used a spell to carry Harry, the way Severus was, but he felt like he was responsible for actually carrying Harry’s weight, and it helped him feel that Harry was still breathing and alive and okay.
Once they were inside, Severus instructed Draco to bring Harry to the infirmary, while he took care of Sirius. Draco wanted to beg for his godfather to just listen to him, and let Sirius go, but he knew that Severus wasn’t going to listen to him, especially not to do something for Harry’s benefit.
In the infirmary, Draco pulled a chair up to sit down next to the bed Madame Pomfrey instructed him to lay Harry in. She assured him that Harry was just experiencing magical exhaustion along with shock, and that he would be just fine. Draco ended up resting his head on his arms, bent over awkwardly with his upper half on Harry’s bed.
He didn’t remember drifting off to sleep, but Draco woke up to the feeling of gentle fingers carding through his hair. He blinked a few times, and then looked up at Harry, who was giving him a bright eyed stare. “Where’s Sirius?”
Draco felt a bit bitter about not being Harry’s first thought, but he also understood why he was so concerned. “I don’t know. He didn’t seem that badly off last night.”
The door to the infirmary opened, and both boys looked over immediately, and saw McGonagall walking quickly over to them. “Why is it that you find it so impossible to stay out of trouble? Is there some kind of special deal for the student who winds up in the hospital wing most often throughout their school years?”
Harry frowned, and quickly moved to sit up so that he could get a better look at his guardian. “Do you know where Sirius is, or how he’s doing? There were a lot of dementors around him last night. I know you didn’t know, but he’s actually innocent, Minerva. It was Peter Pettigrew who was responsible for betraying my parents. He was the secret keeper, not Sirius.”
McGonagall sighed, and sat down on the edge of the bed. “How sure are you of that?”
“One-hundred percent,” Harry told her confidently. “Pettigrew is still alive, and he was disguised as a rat for the past twelve years or so. Sirius explained that he had tried to confront Pettigrew for betraying my parents, and that’s when Pettigrew had faked his death, and he’s missing a finger now. And Professor Lupin seemed to put a lot of trust and belief in Sirius. Is that enough to get him free?” he asked hopefully.
There was a defeated look on McGonagall’s face that Draco didn’t like. She gulped once, and then spoke very quietly. “I’m so sorry, Harry. It sounds as though the ministry has killed an innocent man. They ordered his execution to happen immediately, and it took place just after sunrise this morning.”
Harry’s eyes widened, and he let out a choked gasp. Draco scrambled to kneel on the bed next to Harry and pull his friend into a hug. He gave McGonagall a long look, but he wasn’t about to berate her for being honest with her charge. He just wished that there had been some way for her to know that Sirius was innocent, because surely if she had known, she would have done everything in her power to make sure that Sirius had lived.
McGonagall looked like she wanted to pull Harry into a hug too, but clearly wasn’t sure about whether she’d actually be welcome to do that or not. Sometimes Draco felt bad for her, because Harry didn’t seem to realize just how much she cared about him. But other times, like right now, he just wanted her to go away so that he could comfort Harry, and whisper to him about something he had in mind.
She seemed to sense how unwelcome she was in that moment, and bowed her head down. “Just send for me if you need anything, Harry.” Then she got up and walked away. Maybe it was fitting, actually, that she was Harry’s guardian, because they both seemed equally bad at emotions.
Once she was gone, and Draco double checked that they were alone in the long room, he spoke in a very soft voice in Harry’s ear. “I think I might actually know how to fix all of this.”
For the first time since McGonagall’s announcement, Harry turned to look at Draco with something like hope in his eyes, though it was obviously very fragile. “What?”
“Well, it might require a bit of Slytherin cunning to get our hands on it…”
As it turned out, keeping Granger distracted was remarkably easy. Soon enough, Harry and Draco met back up in the infirmary, Draco holding out their prize. “Ready to change the past?”
Harry nodded, a look of determination on his face. The two of them had to stand very closely together for the loop of the necklace to go around both of them, and they both ducked their heads to look at the tiny device that was capable of causing so much change, for the better and the worse. Draco refused to let his hands shake as he turned the little dial, and hoped that he actually understood how it worked well enough to use it now.
The only thing that changed was the time, not the place, so they were still in the infirmary. Draco waited patiently, and a moment later they could hear the bells from the big clock tower. “Alright, so we have a little bit of time to work with here. We need to get going, though.”
“Do you think we’ll catch Pettigrew?” Harry panted out as they ran out of the castle and towards the woods.
Draco nodded. “Of course. Now less talking and more running!”
The moon was bright and full, and soon they could hear the faint noise of Lupin yelling at them to run. “This is so weird,” Harry muttered.
Obviously Draco agreed, but he figured that there would be time to think about the weirdness of it all once they were done. He waited to hear the sound of a howl that had drawn the werewolf away from them, but nothing was happening. Then his eyes widened, and he smacked his forehead. There weren’t any other werewolves around. Draco sighed, and then cupped his hands around his mouth so that he could let out a loud howl.
Harry grabbed his arm. “What are you doing?”
“Saving us,” he whispered. Then he howled again, which would hopefully be enough to get Lupin’s attention. “Now let’s get the hell out of here before we’re up against the wolfman again.”
“Too late,” Harry hissed, and Draco turned to see the werewolf stepping out into the small clearing they’d found. “I have to go save Sirius,” Harry reminded him, sounding slightly panicked.
Draco slowly pulled out his wand. “Go. I can handle this.” At Harry’s dubious look, Draco rolled his eyes. “And I promise that I won’t kill him or get myself bitten. Now get out of here already.” Harry hesitated for another second, then turned and darted off. Draco could only hope that the other boy knew where he was going.
Lupin seemed ready to lunge after Harry, interpreting him as a prey running away so that the predator could give chase, but Draco was ready. He began casting all kinds of shield charms and various jinxes and barriers. He let out a wild laugh, and could feel the adrenaline pumping through his body.
When the werewolf growled at him, Draco just continued to laugh. “I’ve faced off against a basilisk before. Do you really think that I’m going to be afraid of something like you after that?”
Eventually Lupin seemed to realize that he wasn’t going to get to Draco unharmed, and he let out an angry howl before turning and running off in the other direction. Draco nodded in satisfaction, and then looked around to try and figure out where he needed to go next. Harry would probably be fine, since he’d been fine the first time around anyways, and finding that damn rat was his new priority.
He tried every tracking charm he could think of, but none of them worked, much to his growing frustration. Finally, Draco admitted defeat, and went down to the lake to find Harry. He paused when he saw himself and Snape carrying Harry and Sirius out of there. Then he went around to the other side of the lake to find Harry standing there, a euphoric grin stretched across his face. He turned to look at Draco. “I thought that it was my father that saved us, but it turns out that it was me all along!”
To save anyone from dementors, he would have had to cast a patronus charm. That was a notably difficult one even for grown adults. “How did you know you could do that?”
“Because I already did it,” he said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “And it wasn’t tricky at all to find a happy memory to focus on, because I’ve made so many with you.”
Draco was glad that it was dark out so that the way his cheeks heated up wouldn’t be visible. “Right, well, we still have your godfather to save.” They followed carefully after Snape, and watched as he locked the unconscious Sirius in an old classroom. As soon as Snape walked away, Draco and Harry broke the lock and hurried over to Sirius.
Draco cast a spell to revive him, and the man’s eyes slowly fluttered open before looking around in alarm. “What happened? Are you alright, Harry?”
Harry nodded. “I’m fine. We’re staging a rescue.”
Sirius grinned. “You’re certainly James’ son. So how am I going to get out of here, exactly?”
Draco reached up to pull the time turner off, and changed the dial before holding it out to Sirius. “This will bring you back half an hour. So while Snape is busy capturing you, you can just walk away, and no one will ever know where you went. Just, uh, maybe mail the turner back once you’re in a more stable place, because I know someone who might get in quite a bit of trouble when it turns out that they misplaced it.”
Sirius laughed, and put the necklace on, then leaned forward to pull both of them into a hug. “Ah, I never thought I’d meet a Malfoy who’s actually tolerable. I was a bit worried at first to learn that you were placed in Slytherin, but now I can see why it works.” He pulled away, and carefully got to his feet, and ruffled Harry’s hair. “I’ll keep in touch, I promise. Look for letters from Padfoot.” Then he clicked the button on the turner, and seemed to disappear right in front of their eyes.
As soon as he was gone, Draco grabbed Harry’s hand, and they ran back to the infirmary as quickly as they could. When they got there, it was empty, which meant that they’d already left for the past, and both of them settled back into the positions they’d been sitting in before. Draco sighed, and closed his eyes. “I’m sorry that I couldn’t catch Pettigrew.”
He was surprised to suddenly feel arms wrapped around him in a tight hug. “I don’t care. You saved Sirius!” Draco opened his eyes just in time for Harry to press a light kiss to his lips. “So is now a good time to have that talk?”