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The Most Powerful Magic Always

Chapter Text

"You are protected, in short, by your ability to love!"

— Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

 

 

Draco tugged aimlessly at the invisible bonds around his wrist, rotating his arms this way and that just to distract himself. Distract himself from his parents similarly bound on either side of him. Distract himself from the aurors still prowling around the Great Hall for no other reason than to appear in control. Distract himself from the dead and wounded spotted around like acorns freshly fallen. Distract himself from the guilt, the self-hatred, the loathing that was coiling hard in his stomach like the snake he was, would always be.

“Draco” was hissed from his father’s lips, interrupting his spiraling thoughts “control yourself and stop embarrassing us.”

He looked up to see his father staring contemptuously at his hands which after looking down he noticed were inflamed and starting to bleed around the invisible magical bonds. In what his father probably thought was a fit of madness he twisted his face into a similar sneer copying his father perfectly and began tugging even more forcefully causing blood to begin dripping on the floor in front of him.

Why were they still here in this corner of the hall? Why hadn’t they been escorted to Azkaban yet? Was it a punishment in itself? To stand here and watch the people they had fought against weep for those which were lost? To see Harry Potter himself, fresh from victory, the girl Weasley tucked securely at his side. Even though looking closer Potter didn’t look like he had just won a war he had been fighting since he was a year old. Actually looking at him kiss her lightly on the forehead, he looked so tired and lost. Not victorious and self-assured as surely Draco would have looked. So why? Why did his heart twist painfully in his chest? Why did he not feel satisfied at this defeated looking Potter? Why did he just feel cold?

He looked over at his mother and was shocked to see silent tears running down her face as she stared at him. Meeting her eyes and raising one perfectly trimmed eyebrow in question, she just smiled briefly before looking down at the blood still dripping from his wrist to the floor. “I’m sorry Draco.” It was said so softly he almost thought he had imagined it before her eyes rose up to meet his again, tears still flowing freely. He frowned and opened his mouth to respond but he would never know what he would have said to the only person that mattered to him; a person that still had let him down in numerous ways, a person that had taught him to keep his head down and be a coward; because at that moment a fist crashed into his cheek right where Ronald Weasley had punched him earlier. He spat the blood pooling in his mouth onto the floor to join the blood from his wrist before looking up into eyes filled with rage and to his concern a certain mad glee that he was used to seeing in the eyes of his Aunt Bellatrix.

“How dare you!” his father shouted in rage. “Auror Kingsley!” He called imperiously as if anyone would come to their aid.

Draco scoffed at the same time as young Dennis Creevey of whom the fist belonged to.

“Don’t worry Lord Malfoy no one can hear you. Being in this castle this past year has helped me perfect certain spells I otherwise wouldn’t have bothered with such as muffliato and Notice-Me-Not.”

He absentmindedly swished his wand into the correct movements turning towards them with a mad smile, “Colin and I spent countless hours practicing in the Gryffindor common room until we could both perform them wordlessly as well as other certain useful spells.” He saw Dennis Creevey’s face twisting as he talked, into an anger he knew would be placed at his feet and rightfully so, he could feel the snake in his stomach twisting yet again.

“You,” he spat looking directly at Draco, “you tortured us, your lackeys tortured us, Colin died fighting you!”

He screamed; emotions turning his young face red and sweaty. Draco swallowed heavily not know what to say as Dennis panted in front of him.

“Yet here you stand! Alive and barely wounded.”

Draco turned away in the face of his anger and swallowed heavily before letting his head fall forward in defeat. It was all true after all, and he was tired. Tired of running, tired of fighting,…..tired of living. He would take whatever punishment Dennis saw fitting and so he said as much to the shock of his parents whose quick intakes of breath he could hear on either side of him.

He supposed he should have expected the short bark of mad laughter that admission drew from the boy in front of him.

“No Malfoy, even I can recognize an enemy that is already defeated,” Dennis muttered, gaze moving from his eyes down to his bleeding wrist, to the still growing puddle of blood dripping in front of him as Draco still tugged sporadically at the bonds. Then Dennis moved his gaze to his mother beside him and grinned happily.

“No, I know just how to make you suffer.” He raised his wand with a laugh, “I think you’ll find this is fitting.”

In that heart stopping moment, as a new mad man raised his wand on the only person he cared about. Draco did something he had never done before, he didn’t think of himself, he didn’t shrink away, he didn’t run. He moved in front of his mother as she instinctively leaned back and distantly heard the yelled “Sectumsempra!”

For the second time in his life he felt the cutting curse rip him open but instead of from the front it had caught him on his right side and he knew as his fathers and mothers screams echoed around him followed distantly by Dennis Creeveys’ insane laughter that he would not survive this time. As his heart beat slowed and the warmth of his blood surrounded him he couldn’t help but wish that he had done things differently. That he had not been so naïve and seen his parents and the wizarding world as it really was. He couldn’t help but think in his last moments that he would never be worth the second chance he so desperately wanted.

Chapter Text

"You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!"

-Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire

 

Draco’s eyes snapped open at the familiar popping sound of house elf apparition, the smell of a full English breakfast teasing his nose. So many thoughts and questions filled his mind. First why was he alive? Followed by why was he in his childhood bedroom? For he surely remembers moving into a manor room when he was fourteen that was bigger and had less beautiful dragon murals on the wall. Lastly he wondered why he was getting breakfast in his room when he only got to indulge in something so plebeian on his birthday. 

He got out of bed and noticed his small hands and shorter height. Moving to the full length mirror he saw a reflection that he had not seen in 7 years. He glanced over to the breakfast tray left on the table and sure enough there was a proud banner flying in looping circles around the meal displaying Happy 11th Birthday! If he had died, maybe this was his afterlife?

He felt a surge of satisfaction; he must have not been a complete failure, a total black hearted bastard. If his afterlife was going to be the second chance he always wanted. He wandered over to the wall assaulted by the memories of his eight year old self painstakingly painting the forest and the Welsh Green dragons that occupied it and his childish delight as his mother spelled the leaves to rustle in an invisible wind and the dragons to move as if alive. One dragon came and put its nose where his hand rested while he planned what he wanted to do differently this time around.

He felt what could only be jubilation as he realized that he didn’t have to worry about disappointing his father, he could do anything without consequences; this was his fantasy life after all. He could even do something as mad and as thrilling as befriend Harry Potter, and for the first time in years Draco Malfoy smiled.

~HPHPHPHP~

He wished he could say he wasn’t surprised the first time he saw Harry Potter again but frankly he had been caught unawares. Largely in parts of the lack of sleep and bags under his eyes. The first thing he had done on his birthday was ask his parents to take him to Ollivanders' to get his new wand. In the manor the Ministry had no way to tell what was his magic or his parents, especially with something as simple as a silencing spell. Which was needed the most as the nightmares plagued his sleeping mind and his screams chilled his fevered skin upon waking. The darkness of the night mostly saw him awake and sketching to pass the time rather than sleeping as an eleven year old ought to be doing.

He had no way of explaining to his parents that really he was just damaged from the fact that they had already given their loyalty to the wrong person and they would be tortured and terrified in their home in a few years. So he suffered in silence like he always had, burying the hurt and anger down deep just like his parents had always taught him. It was a fitting penance his afterlife had given him he supposed, and he wouldn’t be able to change anything if he forgot.

It was disconcerting looking in the mirror and seeing an eleven year old with an eighteen year olds eyes. Haunted eyes that had seen and done more than someone his age ever should. In these past few months he had come to understand why Potter had looked so defeated after his victory. The way things had happened and what Potter had to see and do……well no one had really won had they?

So to say he was surprised when he was getting fitted for robes in Madame Malkins and Harry Potter walked in would be putting it mildly. In all actual reality he stumbled and fell down in an ungracious and sudden pile on the floor next to the stool he had been standing on. He blushed a vibrant red instantly and wanted to disapparate on the spot. Of course Potter being Potter immediately ran forward with a soft “Oh,” and held out his hand with an inquiring, “Are you ok?”

He looked up into Potter’s green eyes and remembered why he wanted to be close to him in this life. He couldn’t imagine any life where Potter didn’t passionately shine with whatever emotion he currently had or give his entire focus to a person or task. As it always did Draco’s heart began to pound and his stomach jumped excitingly. Oh how he loved Potter’s attention, he would never tire of it or the feelings it caused.

For the first time in any of their interactions Draco did what he had always wanted to do. He released a wide happy smile and took the offered hand in front of him letting Potter tug him to his feet. He laughed happily at himself, and did something Malfoy’s never did, apologize.

“Sorry you just surprised me.”

And since he was still holding Potter’s hand he began to shake it excitingly, “My name is Draco Malfoy, it’s nice to meet you, are you going to Hogwarts too?”

Potter smiled back but before he could answer Madame Malkin herself came back in and dismayed at the current state of his robes ushered him back on the stool and began the fitting and pinning process all over again. Potter sat down to wait his turn and stared around with a wide eyed fascination that Draco had missed the first time this interaction had taken place and he remembered a rumor that Potter had been raised by muggle relatives. He felt an uncomfortable emotion as he took in Potter’s skinny appearance emphasized by ill-fitting clothes and misshapen glasses. As Madame Malkin removed the robes he thanked her for her assistance and realized the emotion he was feeling wasn’t pity but sympathy. Merlin this afterlife was making him soft.

“Wow.” He heard Potter whisper. “Where did you get your clothes?”

Green eyes roamed over his white shirt with blue designs and silver clasps down to his soft billowed pants with a scarf tied around his hips that had charmed nifflers running around the design. He smirked as he remembered the nights he couldn’t sleep being occupied by reading and sketching.

“I designed them and made them myself.”

His smirk grew when Potters eyes went wide and he let out an impressed sound. An idea popped into his head making his smirk disappear and he fiddled nervously with his shirt chanting his new motto to himself giving him courage. No Regrets.

With that firmly in mind he found himself saying, “I could make you some too? I could get your measurements from Madame Malkin when you are done and give them to you at Hogwarts?”

“Oh I couldn’t possibly ask you to do that...”

Draco smiled easily at the happy/panicked look on Potter’s face, “You don’t have to ask, I’m offering, plus think of it as a late birthday gift to a new friend.”

“How did you know it was my birthday?”

Laughing Draco pointed out the window to Hagrid holding up a snowy owl mouthing Happy Birthday to Harry. Potter’s eyes went supernova with happiness and his smile was blinding in its intensity almost like he had never received a birthday present in his life. In an instant all the positive emotions he had been feeling were gone as he came to the cold realization that it was true, he could see it in front of his eyes. Potter had never received a birthday present in his life and Hagrid was the first person to give him one. In his ignorance and bigotry he had called Harry Potters first friend an oaf and a buffoon. Well he thought to himself straightening his shoulders a determined tilt to his jaw. This was his afterlife, his second chance, no regrets.

While Potter stepped on the stool for his fitting Draco put on his light blue cloak left loose and open in the front and stepped outside walking purposely up to Hagrid. They considered each other for a moment before Draco swept down into a wizard’s bow he had perfected for the Minister of Magic when he was six years old. He straightened to see a gob smacked expression on Hagrid’s face and offering no explanation proceeded to inquire about his health and the state of the grounds of Hogwarts in a polite and controlled conversation that would have made his mother proud; excluding the recipient of said conversation of course.

When Potter finally joined them outside and proceeded to shyly hand Draco a paper with his measurements on it with a hopeful expression on his face he felt his insides flutter in a way that he hoped wasn’t indigestion.

He gave Potter a half bow, “I have to be going my mother is expecting me, I look forward to seeing you on the train….”

“Er Harry um Harry Potter.”

Slightly amused and unsettled at the fluttering feeling when Potter embarrassingly said his name. Draco strolled away with a wink “Charmed Harry,” and a nod to Hagrid “Sir.”

He allowed himself a large smile as he heard distantly behind him an excited shout. “Bye Draco!”

~HPHPHPHP~

Draco excitingly walked through the Hogwarts Express going from compartment to compartment looking for Harry smiling wide as he opened a door to find him, Ronald Weasley, a rat, and what appeared to be the entire tea trolley. He quickly put his shrunken seven layer trunk up on the rack and his pet carrier next to it before sitting down next to Potter as Weasley stared in confusion.

“Sorry if I startled you but I was running away from some well meaning friends and I didn’t want to get stuck in a compartment with their flatulence.”

He smirked as Potter laughed and Weasley even let out a repressed snort of amusement.

He stuck out a hand, “Sorry I don’t believe we have met, I’m Draco Malfoy.” Weasley hesitated before shaking his hand, “Ronald Weasley.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Ronald please call me Draco.” He said to Weasley’s obvious surprise before turning to Potter.

“Harry, I have your birthday present as promised but I’ll give them too you after you have moved into your house dormitory.” Harry perked up in excitement before his brow furrowed in slight confusion.

“Wait, I thought Hogwarts was a castle, what houses?”

“Oh right you were raised by muggles correct? Well Hogwarts has..”

“Excuse me has anyone seen a toad?”

He looked over to see none other than Hermione Granger standing in the compartments doorway.

At Potter and Weasley’s stunned and confused expressions he decided to take the lead, “Excuse me Miss?”

“Granger, Hermione Granger.”

“Right, may I call you Hermione?”

She seemed pleasantly surprised and nodded her acquiescence and Draco silently thanked his mother for all of the long days spent learning etiquette.

“I am afraid that no missing toads have graced our presence but we will surely let you know if it does.”

“Thank you, I was looking for a kid named Neville, I feel bad because he seems pretty distraught looking for it, say what were you explaining when I walked in?”

She sat down and looked at him excitingly and he had a brief moment where nostalgia enveloped him completely as he remembered the way she used to look at teachers with such trusting expectation before things changed after their fourth year and everyone was instead regarded with suspicion in all of their eyes but especially hers. Granger had always been a little too trusting to authority figures.

“I was explaining the house system for Hogwarts unlike you whom I can tell has probably read Hogwarts: A History from front to back, these lads have not.”

He explained with a teasing nod to Potter and Weasley while Granger smiled, “Yes but I would like to hear the perspective from someone raised in a wizard household.” She said with a wave of her hand to indicate his clothes, since he was currently wearing another set of ones he had made him self.

“Very well, Hogwarts was founded by two witches and two wizards. Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, Godric Gryffindor, and Salazar Slytherin. The four houses of Hogwarts are based on each of them and what they deemed to be the best qualities to be a wizard. To Slytherin went the cunning and devious.”

“Yeah not a wizard that went dark hasn’t come from Slytherin house.”

Gaze cutting over to Weasley he saw him staring belligerently at him as if daring him to deny it. Draco had known moments like this had been coming and he was glad he was prepared because his previous eleven year old self would have responded less than favorably.

“Weasley,” sigh “Ronald, I am not my father, I am not biased or prejudice.”

Here he paused, swallowed and met Weasley’s gaze and continued softly.

“But neither are you, not all Slytherins are bad just as not all wizards from other houses are good.”

He looked down and tightened his fist into the folds of his cloak.

“I have seen a Gryffindor take the mark just as I have seen a Slytherin do everything to help people destroy a great evil.”

He looked up into Weasley’s shocked eyes and Potter and Grangers confused ones.

“I happen to have heard stories of your twin brothers and know they would have made better Slytherins than Gryffindors but even though you think you are better or more forward thinking pure-bloods you still let prejudice influence your beliefs and decisions.”

Weasley looked away with a guilty expression and Potter gazed at him with an unidentifiable look in his eyes before Granger politely asked him to continue.

“Sorry, so Slytherins are cunning and devious. The snake is their symbol.”

He looked at Weasley remembering all of the pranks and chess matchs between him and Potter.

“Gryffindors are brave and courageous. They are portrayed by a lion”

He looked at Potter because there had never been a truer Gryffindor.

“Ravenclaws are intelligent and clever. Represented as an eagle strangely enough.”

Here he stared at Granger who had always been the smartest witch he had possibly ever known.

“Lastly Hufflepuff is the house of the badger whom are loyal and steadfast.”

He looked down because out of all the traits those are the two he didn’t think he could ever be. Maybe that’s why he always made fun of Hufflepuffs, they would always be something he wasn’t.

“The point of it all is to connect you to those you share traits with to build lasting friendships but you must not forget that these traits together are what makes Hogwarts, unity.” He finished in a reverent whisper.

“Well I think that settles what house I will be in, thank you Draco.” Granger said before flouncing out of their compartment.

Weasley looked at him considering before staring out of the window with a slight frown on his face while Potter just smiled at him and handed him a chocolate frog. Smiling Draco took the treat as the train moved along, carrying hopes, dreams, and second chances to a new home in Hogwarts.

No Regrets

Chapter Text

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”

— Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire

 

The boat ride and greeting from McGonagall had been familiar and bittersweet and he could only hope his simpering melancholy would not last too long, he was starting a different path but he was still a Malfoy. Potter had tried to subtly ask about his father and how he knew Weasley but he brushed off the questions and just decided to explain to Potter the great game of quidditch which proved to be a more than suitable distraction with Weasley giving his input all of the way until the Sorting Hat began its song.

He finally allowed nerves to assault him, he knew he didn’t want to be in Slytherin. He didn’t want to live the same life twice. His afterlife was supposed to be different, better. He looked next to him at Potter whose eyes were shining in excitement, back straight and ready. To his surprise and mortification his hand raised and carded through that black messy hair which was soft to the touch.

“You’re not even nervous are you? Gryffindor through and through.”

Not wanting to see Potter’s reaction to his atrocious and unwilling breach of etiquette he turned to the front to watch the sorting. The strange fluttering feeling exploded into his chest and stomach when Potter unexpectedly grabbed his hand and squeezed it tightly. He looked over shyly and met Potter’s smile with one of his own. He was brought out of his stupor when he heard Granger surprisingly being sorted into Ravenclaw, but he supposed it should have been expected. That house had always suited her more than Gryffindor. He gave her thumbs up when she beamed at him and Potter on the way to her new house.

When his name was called Potter gave his hand a quick squeeze before letting go. After what felt like an eternity the hat settled on his head and he noticed to his confusion didn’t immediately declare Slytherin.

Oh interesting, so very clever, and so very devious. Also determined, no fear in you, at least not anymore.

You can talk?

Of course I can Mr. Malfoy but you are proving to be more difficult than I anticipated. So where to place you?

You are asking me?

Questions, questions, of course your choice matters and makes a difference.

Then place me where I am least suited so I can learn that which I do not already know. No Regrets.

Spoken wise beyond your young years, very well Mr. Malfoy it will be

“Hufflepuff!!”

For the second time Draco displayed his new afterlife clumsiness and fell off of the stool onto the ground but this time instead of embarrassed he was uncontrollably laughing to the concerned looks of the rest of Hogwarts.

“Mr. Malfoy,” barked McGonagall “what is it you find so funny hmm?”

He slowly stood up wiping the tears from his eyes still chuckling under his breath.

“Sorry professor, I was just imagining the look on my father’s face.”

Which caused the normal serious demeanor of her face to crack as she let out an undignified cackle of laughter before donning her Professor mask once more.

“Be that as it may, please join your new housemates so we may resume the sorting.”

He swooped down into his deep wizards bow before striding over to the Hufflepuff table giving Potter a happy smile to prove too Potter and he supposed himself as well that this was exactly what he had wanted. The shocks of the sorting where not yet through for the night to Draco’s immense surprise. While Potter was unsurprisingly placed in Gryffindor, when Ronald Weasley stepped up to be placed minutes passed. Even more confusing was the calm look on Weasly’s face as he seemed to be having a conversation with the hat before he smiled, smiled! When the hat declared Slytherin! To the shock of everyone.

Draco decided then and there that he was going to love this afterlife as he stood up on the bench and erupted into applause. There would never be a better Slytherin, well except for maybe Snape. He was followed immediately by Potter beaming at him and following his example, then Granger and reluctantly everyone else before McGonagall made them resume their seats. As the feast began he met the eyes of Potter, Granger, and Weasley. They all gave a nod of encouragement to each other, the four of them in one train compartment into four different houses. Unity, he thought looking up to the head table and a jolt of astonishment went through him when he met Dumbledore’s twinkling yet calculating gaze. He wrangled his resolve and threadbare courage and met the headmasters stare head on. He didn’t need to be saved this time. 

~HPHPHPHP~

As he followed the Prefect on the way towards the kitchens where the Hufflepuff common room was apparently closely located he noticed none other than Neville Longbottom walking beside him who had apparently been sorted into Hufflepuff when he wasn’t paying attention. He quickly introduced himself to Neville’s apparent befuddlement and quickly steered him into a conversation over differences in wand cores and their meanings of which Neville was surprisingly knowledgeable.

From fifth year on Neville had been a rising storm of talent and this time around Draco wanted to be beside it in its furious overtaking rather than in its path. A friendship that would be beneficial to him was very necessary in this new life. He may have been sorted a Hufflepuff but in his heart he knew he would always be a treacherous snake.

They paused to pay attention to the rhythm of barrel tapping that would admit them to their common room. Draco immediately positioned himself to follow fourth year Cedric Diggory through the tunnel leading to his new common room, no need to waste the view of such a spectacular arse on anyone who wouldn’t properly appreciate it, he thought to himself as he admired said arse. To say he was pleasantly surprised by his new common room would be an understatement. It actually pulled his attention away from a spectacular backside which past Pansy would know was an accomplishment. It was shaped like a hollowed out egg, or a badger hovel he supposed.

Black and yellow was everywhere as expected but what was unexpected was the honey colored wooden furnishings and shelves; shelves that went all the way up to the ceiling, each one holding a different plant. Vines crawled along the walls and fell from the ceiling in a beautiful chaos. Some of the vines were so long they brushed along their shoulders and hair as they walked under them.

The dorm he was shown to was similar to the common room and all of the beds had patchwork quilts and sheets. He selected the bed next to a window that was strangely situated high on the ceiling. Neville took the one next to his on the other side of the window. Justin Finch-fletchley, Zacharias Smith, and Ernie Macmillan took the remaining three beds.

He opened the second layer of his trunk pulling out another trunk that was full of cloths he had made for Harry and summoned his personal house elf.

 “Leaf!”

Pop

“Yes Master Draco?”

“Please take this to Harry Potter in the Gryffindor dormitories.”

“Yes Master Draco.”

Pop

Ignoring the inquiring looks from his fellow dorm mates he noticed his pet carrier had its door open and he looked around for his pet.

“Prags? Where are you?”

A hiss came from under his bed and soon enough the Common European Viper slithered from under his bed. He still wasn’t sure what had prompted him to enter the menagerie after leaving Potter and Hagrid that day at Diagon Alley but he had been drawn to the young snake in the back of the store, isolated and alone. The proprietor told him the snake had just come in with a shipment of owls one day probably trying to eat the young owlets but he had let him live because he noticed magical properties in the snake such as his ability to camouflage to the environment around him like a chameleon.

Draco had purchased him thinking Harry would enjoy him but had since become attached himself even though he couldn’t talk to him like Potter would be able to. Prags was surprisingly well behaved and when he wasn’t hiding tended to turn the same platinum blonde color as Draco’s hair which amused him to no end.

“Blimey how did you get a snake in here? You know snakes aren’t allowed as pets’ right?”

Draco looked over and matched Smith sneer for sneer and let a little of old Draco shine.

“Some of us have proper connections Smith and when I said I wanted to bring my new pet with me to Hogwarts, I was allowed to bring my new pet with me. A shallow wastrel like you would never know the proper channels I’m afraid.”

With a sniff of disdain he climbed into bed and shut his curtains deciding to change in bed. None of his memories of Smith pointed to a decent human being, and he smiled slightly as he realized he didn’t have to be nice and perfect all the time. Prags curled up beside his pillow as Draco summoned his sketch book from his trunk and began with the shape of a lightning bolt scar.

Chapter Text

“Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”

-Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire

 

The first month of school seemed to go by quickly and even without his influence Potter ends up on the Gryffindor quidditch team. Honestly Draco had thought that he would have to seek out each member of the golden trio in turn to build a friendship with them but to his surprise the four of them seemed to gravitate towards each other.

Since Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw shared classes more often than not he found himself paired with Granger quite frequently and they shared a common love of learning. Even though he had already taken all of these classes before, he found he now had the opportunity to delve deeper into magical theory and strengthening his spells.

In a twist of fate Weasley had struck up a friendship with Crabbe and Goyle, which watching them in the great hall during meals was probably from a mutual appreciation of food. Draco often found himself in their company because no matter what everyone had thought, dunderheads or not, Crabbe and Goyle had been his only true friends for the last few years of his previous miserable life. If not for their own families expectations he was quite sure they would have been Hufflepuffs as well.

Yet Potter, occasionally found wandering around with Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas, would almost always seek out Draco for company. They would do homework in the library with Hermione and Ron, then go out to the courtyard and sit under a tree. Draco would sketch and design while Harry would play with the practice snitch that Oliver Wood had given him charmed to not fly more than three meters away. As the days went by he became less Potter and more Harry, on one particular day as he shaded in the cowlick of Harry’s on his sketch pad he realized the fluttering in his chest was becoming more pronounced. Maybe he should go see Madame Pomfrey.

~HPHPHPHP~

Draco felt a punch to the gut at the Halloween feast when Professor Quirrell rushes in yelling about a troll in the dungeons. He had been so wrapped up in his new friendship with Harry that he had forgotten all about The Dark Lord, which dealing with his nightmares at night tells a little too much about his Harry obsession; as the students start heading to their separate dormitories he waves over Harry before heading over to grab Ron.

Ron takes one look at his face and says, “What do you need me to do Draco?” Oh bless his little snake heart.

“It’s Hermione.”

Harry strides up as Draco turns and starts walking towards the girls’ bathroom at a brisk pace with both of them at his heels.

“Smith was being a right tit today, rare form for him really, I heard from Susan Bones that she’s been in the bathroom crying all day.”

“Bloody hell why didn’t you say anything sooner?”

“It’s the girls bathroom Ron, I was waiting until she came out to talk to her, had a great inspirational talk all planned. Lots of fantastic quotes, you would have been awed and inspired.”

He paused and smirked sideways at Ron, “or I could have just transfigured you a pair of tits and sent you in to fetch her, you would pull off girl rather splendidly I’d say.”

He delighted in Harry’s laughter as Ron sputtered beside him before mumbling, “prat.” The smirk was quickly wiped from his face when they heard Hermione’s terrified scream around the corner and they all broke into a dead sprint crashing into the girls’ bathroom to see her pinned underneath the sinks, water already spewing everywhere from busted taps and toilets, the troll already rearing back with his club for another swing.

Draco wanted to scream and cheer in equal frustration when brave foolish Harry immediately leaps into action; leaps being the perfect word as suddenly Harry is on the troll’s shoulders sticking his wand up the troll’s nose. Draco would deny it to anyone but seeing Harry in danger made him slightly lose his mind. He drew his wand immediately casting Levicorpus non-verbally on Harry to get him away from the troll, which was quickly followed by a powerful Stupefy causing the troll to fall unconscious on the floor. Reversing the spell on Harry he ran over and started running his hands everywhere looking for injuries.

“You stupid, foolish Gryffindor, have you completely forgotten that you are a wizard?! Wands are for magic not nose plugs!”

Glancing up he sees Harry’s dazed and pleased smile and he feels fire all over his face as a blush takes over.

“Um guys? Maybe we should...”

“What is going on here?” Professor Mcgonagall demands as she storms into the bathroom.

To Draco’s shock Hermione lies claiming it’s all her fault resulting in a loss of house points for her before they all part ways to head back to their separate house dormitories. Once he lies down in bed Draco starts to catalog what he remembered about Quirrell, the third floor corridor, and the philosopher’s stone.

~HPHPHPHP~

The next day after lunch all first years had a free period which saw the four of them headed towards the probably crowded library.

“You know I wish there was a common room where all houses could be so we could all be there together instead of going to the library where we have to be quiet or outside where we can be over heard.”

Ron whined as they made their way down the corridor.

“Yes, you would think in the spirit of school unity they would require a comfortable place for all houses.”

As soon as Hermione said the word require he went to a dead stop, how had he forgotten? He was becoming way too complacent and maybe to Hufflepuff to forget about something as useful as The Room of Requirement. Harry looked at him questioningly and he made a note to himself later to consider how well they were beginning to read each other before saying, “follow me,” and walking towards the stairs. Once reaching the seventh floor corridor he reached out and linked arms with Harry and Hermione and instructed Ron to do the same on Harry’s other side.

“Now think of what we need quietly to yourselves as we walk back and forth,” just like always after the third pass a door shimmered into place to the delight of the golden trio.

Draco smiled smugly and opened the door to reveal a room decorated in all four Hogwarts colors and themes. A roaring fireplace was in front of a set of black leather couches accented with plush pillows displaying the Hogwarts crest. Tapestries from all four houses adorned the room, a dueling corner was off to the side and one wall was completely covered in shelves of books. Another door they discovered led to a bathroom and small dining table for four with chairs had an assortment of snacks and drinks. Yet what drew his attention was the old cabinet tucked in the corner between the bookshelves and dueling area. A pensive was displayed surrounded by tiny shelves with empty glass bottles just waiting for memories to hold them.

“Ok, we need to name this room.”

“Why should we? And further more how did you know about this? What are you not telling us Draco?”

“If you absolutely must know Hermione my father told me of it, and we must name it because anything we leave in here will remain in here until we retrieve it but this room has many faces or transformations if you will. If we ask for it by name the room will not be confused.”

Before Hermione could ask any more questions a book appeared on the table titled, The Room of Requirement by Helga Hufflepuff, and he sent a silent thank you to his new favorite house founder and the room itself. Before he could beeline for the pensive so he could start really delving into his memories Harry started the most ridicules conversation that almost made him lose hope for the wizarding world.

“So what are we going to do about Snape?”

“What do you mean Harry?”

“Oh I forgot to tell you Draco, when Hermione and I were out late the other night we ended up in the third floor corridor.”

“The one you’re not supposed to be in?!”

“Er, yeah and we ran into this three headed dog guarding this trap door, which has something important that someone already tried to steal from Gringotts under it, and the other night when the troll got in Snape had a bite on his leg which I bet was from the dog.”

For some reason Harry’s earnest and excited face stopped him from entirely breaking apart his points bit by bit. He looked at Harry’s childish enthusiasm and came to face many truths. Harry Potter was an eleven year old boy, he was a child and from the stories he had shared with Draco about his muggle relatives he had never got the chance to truly be a child. Already later this year he would face death and every year after until The Dark Lord was defeated and each time he would lose more of his innocence until he was as defeated as his enemies. All so others wouldn’t have to go through the same thing.

All of Dumbledore’s manipulations made sense; he had wanted the best of both worlds, a warrior to defeat the darkness; and a child with a good life, friends, and family. A bitter feeling twisted his heart as the sleeping serpent in his stomach awoke once more. The Dark Lord had been defeated last time but at what cost? The snake coiled around as he looked into Harry’s shining green eyes, he would be the one this time, he would not play games. He would tell Harry the truth, he would destroy the spark in Harry’s heart, and he would take away his hope. Harry needed to know, needed to be as prepared as he could. No codling, no unexpected discoveries, this time Harry would know what he was facing and possibly this time Draco would be the only casualty. This was his afterlife, his fantasy second chance. This time he would take as much darkness from The Boy Who Lived as he could, and if that cost him everything he had, well that was his choice. No Regrets.

As the trio began contemplating what the dog could be hiding he turned and began depositing pertinent memories into the pensive. He had a Dark Lord to out Slytherin after all, it wouldn’t do to get lost in sappy Hufflepuff retrospection's.

Chapter Text

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

— Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

 

Yet again they were in their room on the seventh floor which they had named domum unitatis, which was latin for house unity, Hermione’s idea of course. Harry and Ron were arguing about Snape while Hermione furiously flipped threw a book on jinxes. Draco just laid on the couch with his head in Harry’s lap as he ran his fingers through his hair never pausing in his heated conversation. Draco was trying to talk himself from marching into Dumbledore’s office, spilling all his secrets and demanding Quirrells immediate death.

Watching Harry jerking around on his broom with no control had made him so furious he had barely noticed Hermione disappearing to set Severus’ robes on fire. His previous resolve to wait until after Christmas to talk to Harry and begin the war on The Dark Lord was teetering on the brink. Just how many times was Harry’s life in danger? He felt a surge of protectiveness flow through him, ignoring how it verged on possessiveness.

Harry paused in his debate with Ron to answer a question Prags had hissed at him from his position curled on Draco’s chest. To Draco’s surprise Hermione and Ron had taken Harry’s talent as a parselmouth in stride, which was probably due to the whole lack of the Heir of Slytherin hysteria. Harry wouldn’t tell him what they discussed most of the time, but he did say Prags was dedicated to Draco and liked his choice of friends. Though sometimes when Harry and Prags talked Harry would blush red like what was happening right now and Prags would seem to laugh at him before settling back down on Dracos’ chest.

“Bloody Hell is that the time?”

Draco followed Ron’s line of sight to the clock displayed above the entrance door and winced. It was 30 minutes after curfew, Merlin’s balls. They all left the room and as soon as the door faded out behind them Snape swept around the corner coming to a halt at the sign of them.

“How very interesting, what are you four doing out of bed? And still in your uniforms as well.”

“Well erm.”

“You see Professor..”

“We were just..”

“I can explain..”

“Enough, I don’t need your excuses and I don’t feel like wading through your lies; detention for all four of you Saturday at 7 o’ clock and also 20 points from each of your houses. Now I trust you can find your way to your dormitories?”

They all exchanged exasperated looks before heading their separate ways. The whole time Draco was yet again thrown into inner turmoil. History was repeating itself in interesting but determined ways. Harry would encounter The Dark Lord for the first time in the forest during that detention. Should he prevent it from happening? Steer Harry away from the unicorn? What about the stone? Should he take care of the threat himself? Or did he need to let Harry face The Dark Lord? How much did these initial interactions play into The Dark Lords defeat?

There was nothing for it he thought as he turned around and headed back to domum unitatis, Prags camouflaged slithering along behind him. He wasn’t going to get any sleep anyway, might as well spend the time inside the pensive trying to choose the best path to take.

~HPHPHPHP~

Spells sizzled in the air around them chasing the fog away into the trees. Harry panted on the ground behind him hand still clutching his scar. It was frustrating that no matter what, he had still encountered Quirrell in the forest but this time he wasn’t a coward. This was his second chance and he wasn’t running, No Regrets, as soon as Harry had hissed in pain and fallen to his knees Draco had stepped firmly in front of him and let loose a volley of spells no first year should know.

Forced to defend himself Quirrell retaliated in kind and when one of Draco’s spells went sizzling by his head the hood fell off revealing his ugly bald mug to a gasp of surprise from Harry who was struggling to stand. During his distracted glance down at Harry Quirrell flew backwards disappearing into the fog and trees of the forbidden forest. Shaking slightly Draco sent red sparks into the air to summon Hagrid before helping Harry onto his feet and obsessively dusting the dirt and leaves from his robes.

Not once did Harry say a word; just stared at him in suspicion, anger, and hurt. Draco flinched back from the fire of emotion burning in Harry’s eyes and for the first time didn’t feel the usual kaleidoscope of pleasing emotions Harry’s attention gave him; for the first time he just felt sick and dreadful, the serpent in his stomach shrinking in fear.

“Harry, I promise you I will tell you everything I know and suspect as soon as we are alone again.” Still not speaking Harry simply nodded before turning towards the sound of Hagrid, Ron and Hermione entering the clearing.

~HPHPHPHP~

Ironically Christmas hols was the next opportunity they had to meet between quidditch and their different schedules. Draco had chosen to stay; he wanted to put off seeing his father as long as possible. He hadn’t received a single letter from his parents yet but at the same time he hadn’t written to them either. They had never been a close or doting family no matter what the rest of the wizarding world believed.

He had sent a notice for Harry to meet him at domum unitatis after curfew on Christmas Day. When the door opened to reveal no one Draco frowned in confusion before Harry appeared removing an invisibility cloak. Well that explains a hell of a lot he thought to himself blinking rapidly in surprise. He had thought in 6th year that the cloak had been a recent acquisition of Potters; a gift from The Order of Phoenix perhaps. He should have known that Potter had the cloak almost his entire school career.

“So where did you get..”

He stopped abruptly at Harry’s burning glare.

“No Draco, you explain first and then I might answer your questions, and no lies.”

Draco flinched at the harshness of Harry’s tone but nodded and waved for Harry to join him sitting on the couch. They were both wearing the cloths Draco had designed and sewn which had a pleasing warmth rush through his body. Even though Harry still had a stand offish continence Draco curled up beside him with his head on Harry’s shoulder and draped a quilt around them both, Prags slithering up to lay along the couch back behind their heads. He slowly felt Harry relax before letting out a deep sigh and curling an arm around Draco’s shoulders drawing him closer still. Draco absentmindedly scratched at his left forearm as he began to tell Harry what he had decided was best for him to know, wincing internally with the realization that he was just as bad as Dumbledore.

“I suppose I should start with the First Wizarding War, what do you already know?”

Harry pulled Draco’s hand away from scratching his arm before answering, “I know a Dark wizard named Voldemort led a group of pureblood supremacist known as death eaters in a stupid crusade against muggles and muggle-borns. H-He was stopped the night he k-killed my parents and tried to kill me but the curse rebounded onto him instead giving me my scar. Most of his followers scattered or were thrown into Azkaban.”

Draco gripped Harry’s hand that wasn’t around his shoulders tightly as he stuttered through the explanation.

“Yes but what you don’t realize is that The Dark Lord didn’t die that night Harry, he doesn’t have the previous power he controlled but he has found a way to master death. He is more parasite than man at the moment but that can change. We can’t let it.”

“So Professor Quirrell is Voldemort?”

“No, think of Quirrell as a host, he made the choice to let The Dark Lord possess him or use him if you will.”

“Why do you call him that? The Dark Lord, and how do you know about this?”

Draco began scratching his forearm again leaving red welts behind and yet again Harry pulled his hand away to hold in his as Draco explained. “Do you know who my family is Harry?”

“Er I’ve heard a few rumors yeah.”

Draco chuckled humorlessly murmuring “rumors” under his breath.

“They are dark wizards Harry, die hard Death Eaters and staunch believers in all that it stands for. My father is eagerly waiting for the time when The Dark Lord will return and for me to take a place at his side, Dark Mark and all. The Death Eaters all refer to him as The Dark Lord, it’s how I was raised, old habits and all of that.”

“But why aren’t you like that Draco? Shouldn’t you share those same beliefs if that’s how you were raised?”

“I may be a child Harry but I have seen things. Death, torture, and just about the worst anyone has inside of themselves. This means myself as well, I’m not a good person Harry. I have tortured people, I have been tortured, I have bullied to a degree no one should have to endure.”

He looked up and stared into Harry’s eyes.

“I hated you, you whom I knew nothing about, I hated you just because of everything you stood for, everything you meant to people who had nothing left but hope.”

Swallowing hard Draco hunched over and stared at his lap before continuing in a voice barley higher than a whisper.

“Then I met you and you were so bright, you have lived through darkness and hatred and still see the good in people, even me. So I decided to stand with you instead of against you, I know that a world without you is too dark for me to want to see.”

The following silence was only broken by the faint crackling of the fire in front of them. After a few minutes Draco finally gathered together his threadbare courage and looked up into Harry’s face and saw a fury that had him leaping to his feet but before he could turn and run away Harry jumped after him and grabbed his shoulders; shaking in anger Harry dug his fingers into his arms.

“Who did it Draco!? Who tortured you!? Why!? Tell me!” Deflating in relief that Harry wasn’t angry with him Draco simply shook his head.

“It doesn’t matter anymore Harry, they are in Azkaban now and no one can change the past, not even you.”

Mouth thinning into a hard line Harry sat back down pulling Draco on top of him as he did. He situated them so Draco was curled up with his feet tucked underneath and his head tucked under Harry’s chin. They sat in silence for an unknown amount of time with Harry carding one hand through Draco’s hair and the other tracing unknown patterns on his back. Draco just reveled in Harry’s touch, tucking the quilt back around them and curling it in his hands.

“Is that how you know to duel like that? All of those advanced spells? You had to learn how to defend yourself?”

“That is correct Harry and I think you should start learning how to duel as well. The Dark Lord will not wait for you to grow up, he didn’t care when you were a baby and he doesn’t care now. You need to learn as soon and as quickly as you can.”

“But why Draco? Why am I so important? This seems too fixated, too determined for simply unfinished business.”

Draco made a noise of dissatisfaction when Harry stopped massaging his scalp and waiting until the petting resumed to answer the question.

“There was a prophecy, don’t ask me to quote it because I don’t know it. I only know bits and pieces of conversations that were had behind closed doors, whispers made in dark corridors, and rumors spoken in terror. It was said that a child born at the end of July would be the one to vanquish The Dark Lord, again I know there was more but I don’t know it. The most important part that I could never forget was this; neither can live while the other survives.”

He looked up to see Harry’s expression and met his eyes that were alive with understanding.

“So I have to kill him or he has to kill me.”

“Yes.”

“Hmmmm, what about Quirell?”

“Let’s wait until Hermione returns and we can discuss things with her and Ron together. Domum unitatis.”

“Ok Draco.” He felt a kiss on his hair and a whispered, “domum unitatis.”

Draco closed his eyes and decided to take a little nap. Talking to Harry Potter about The Dark Lord had turned out to be rather more exhausting than expected, but since when did anything go as expected when Harry Potter was concerned.

Chapter Text

"I mean, it's sort of exciting, isn't it, breaking the rules?"

— Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

 

The days leading up to Hermiones' return saw the three boys spending most of their time in domum unitatis practicing the spells Draco was teaching as well as meditation. He recalled the fiasco that was the ministry in fifth year and The Dark Lord’s bragging about manipulating Potter’s mind so he resolved to teach Harry Occlumency. He had wondered why no one had taught Potter last time but had discovered that even if someone had tried if they did not have infinite patience and a will for him to be happy, they would have probably given up on him. So here he was on the floor; legs crossed, eyes closed, and constantly reminding himself that yes he did like being friends with Harry and no he should not let The Dark Lord kill him.

“Harry stop fidgeting, deep breaths, and clear your mind. You are thinking so loud it’s interrupting my meditation.”

Ron gave a slight huff of laughter from the table where he was attempting to finish his holiday homework. He could feel Harry roll his eyes before giving a dramatic sigh.

“I just don’t understand how sitting still and thinking about nothing is going to help me defeat Voldemort. Can’t we practice spells more? I’ve almost got Protego.”

“Harry all of The Dark Lord’s death eaters are practiced and accomplished Occlumens. If that is not a blaring fact that it is a necessary skill, then I don’t know what else to say to convince you.”

There was blessed silence for a few minutes before the door opened admitting Hermione and Draco huffed in resigned acceptance that nothing would be accomplished today in regards to meditation as Harry excitingly jumped up and started inquiring about her holidays. Ron looked over at him in humor before joining into their conversation and Draco made his way over to the couches knowing soon the others would join him. Once everyone was settled Draco let Harry decide how much of what he had shared he wanted to tell Ron and Hermione, which naturally was everything. Afterwards they sat in silence until Hermione was the first to speak up.

“I think it’s obvious what we should do.”

“Oh it is, is it?”

“Of course Ron, we should tell Dumbledore.”

“No!!”

All eyes turned to Draco and he was practically shaking with emotion. Harry reached over and grabbed his hand stroking his thumb over his knuckles in a comforting back and forth rhythm before asking him why.

“We can’t trust Dumbledore. I don’t mean as in he is an enemy, I mean that I don’t think he has our best interest at heart. He let Harry be abused by his relatives for years, he lived in a cupboard! The Dark Lord has been possessing Quirell right under his nose all year so far, what makes you think he will listen when we try to tell him otherwise?”

Draco left so many things unsaid; like the whole Chamber nonsense, keeping secrets from Harry his entire life, and never sticking up for anyone unless it benefitted him or the greater good. Hermione looked at him nervously while Harry and Ron were shaking their heads in agreement.

“Then what do you think we should do Draco?”

He met Harry’s eyes and nervously chewed on his bottom lip.

“I think we should go get it, whatever the dog is hiding, if we have it then neither The Dark Lord or Quirell can take it.”

“Simple I like it, but how are we getting past that dog mate?”

“We ask Hagrid of course.”

“That’s settled then, tomorrow during lunch I’ll talk to Hagrid then we’ll meet up here 1hr before curfew, and Harry?”

“Yeah?”

“Bring your cloak.”

~HPHPHPHP~

Draco fell and landed on what he knew was Devil’s snare and began to relax. He knew every step they needed to take because it’s all the school had been able to talk about the last few days of the year in 1st year. The only thing he hadn’t known was how to get past Fluffy, and who names an aggressive three headed dog fluffy?? There was absolutely nothing fluffy about that thing, he wondered in bafflement. He listened as Hermione, Ron and Harry followed him down. The soft sounds of Harry’s flute he had charmed to play fading out.

“Ok mates, just stay calm and relax; this is Devil’s snare, if you don’t fight it we can fall through to the floor below. I know this is hard for you Harry but I have faith.”

“Oh shut it you prat.”

Draco smiled big before the plant gave out below him, but expecting it he landed crouched on his feet while Ron fell into an ungracious pile beside him with an oof of sound. After Hermione and Harry joined them they proceeded to a room full of flying keys and two brooms. All of their eyes go to Harry who rolls his and proceeds to catch the key they need.

Draco sniffs and doesn’t even bother to hide his disdain as he once again takes on a live troll they just apparently decided to let live down here. What in the blazes was Dumbledore thinking? As they played the chess game he had a moment to regret that Ron wouldn’t get any recognition this time around because it really was a brilliant display of wit. Even better this time because without being in a rush he managed to checkmate the king without sacrificing any of the pieces the four of them represented.

The riddle was almost too easy in the potions room but he had to admit Hermione was completely right when she spoke of wizards and logic. Since there was only enough for two of them to go forward, Hermione and Ron took enough to go back and wait for them in the key room with the brooms while Draco pocketed the rest for him and Harry to go back through later. With a cheers they each took a gulp of their own potion before moving forward into the final room.

Draco had been expecting a sort of pedestal with the stone sitting on it just waiting for them to pick it up; instead he got an old dusty mirror. He watched as Harry made his way down and looked in the mirror with a gasp.

“Do you see them? Draco do you see what I see?”

Looking and only seeing Harry’s own reflection he shook his head.

“It’s my parents, they are right there behind me.” Harry spoke in reverent whispers, like if he was too loud everything would disappear or be shattered. Reading the inscription on the arch above the mirror Draco realized what the mirror was and his heart suddenly ached for Harry. Such a good soul, even Draco who had never really had a family either wasn’t so pure that his deepest desire was to be loved by his parents. No Draco didn’t want to know, didn’t want to face the harsh truth of how selfish he was. He took a step back resigned to having failed this particular mission for reasons he needed to investigate until Harry grabbed his arm and pushed him in front of the mirror.

“Here maybe you have to be standing in front of it to see them, see them right there?”

Morgana’s tits all he had wanted was the bloody stone so that Harry wouldn’t almost die again, fighting The Dark Lord, again. Instead here he was facing a mirror that was about to crumble his resolve, probably Dumbledore’s doing the absolute tosser. Heart beating quickly he almost jerked in surprise when instead of all the horrible scenarios running through his mind his reflection simply held up the stone before placing it in his pocket. As a heavy weight settled in his pocket Draco allowed himself to smile, that old goat he thought chuckling.

“Well?”

“Yeah Harry I see them.” He lied turning to look at him. “You look just like your dad, except your eyes, you have your mum’s eyes.” It was totally worth the lie to see Harry’s face light up.

“Come on lets go, Ron and Hermione are waiting.”

“But what was Quirell after?”

He pulls the stone from his pocket showing Harry before putting it back. “Probably this stone, I grabbed it while you were looking in that mirror. Now come on we need to go to bed and tomorrow we figure out what it is.”

~HPHPHPHP~

The next day saw them in domum unitatis where the room had conjured a pedestal next to the pensive cabinet that had a purple velvet lined box that fit the stone perfectly. It didn’t take Hermione long to figure out that it was in fact the Philosopher’s Stone created by alchemist Nicholas Flamel.

“Is it safe here?”

“Yes Harry, only the four of us can enter this particular room, and the stone is only in this one. It won’t appear in any others.”

“I’m glad you read that book Hermione, also Prags has been strengthening the wards in here as well. All his abilities are defensive and ward strengthening is one of them, like a kneazle. All of this is just another feather in the cap of why I don’t trust Dumbledore. If the four of us can protect the stone and find a sure way no one else can get to it why couldn’t he? What’s with the maze and the cloak and dagger?”

“That’s a good point Draco but like you have been saying, I no longer trust him enough to ask.” Hermione looked at him worriedly before continuing. “Even though we no longer have any urgency because what Quirell wants is safe in here we still have problems that need to be solved. Voldemort needs to be expelled from him, and we need to find a way to contact Nicholas Flamel without him jumping to the wrong conclusions. Perhaps more importantly it’s the second half of the school year and we need to start studying for exams!”

Rolling their eyes the three boys looked at each other before breaking into grins at her antics.

“All of that is true, except for maybe the last part. As far as The Dark Lord I’m waiting on a book from my mother on the dark arts that she said she would send me from the manor’s library.”

“This isn’t very Slytherin of me but I suggest we just write Nicholas Flamel directly and tell him the truth. Maybe he will be willing to believe it but we keep the fact that we have the stone out of it until we see what he says.”

“Good idea Ron, have Draco help you write it, his cursive is beautiful.” Harry said with a wistful look on his face.

Blushing Draco just nodded his agreement before making arrangements for when they would all meet together again which was probably sooner than Hermione would have liked but he was having them all start meditation. They could not be hurt in any way, not this time; Draco just wasn’t going to allow it. It was all he was really good for, the knowledge of things past and what he could do to prepare these three better. He wasn’t going to blunder it all up by being a failure again, not in this life.

Chapter Text

“To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”

― Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

 

Draco didn’t bother to look up from his book when an owl swooped down in front of Ron. He was having breakfast at the Slytherin tables which he should probably stop doing so frequently but sitting here flanked by Greg and Vince made him feel safe. Like curling up into a well-worn blanket you hadn’t seen in a while.

His mother had sent him five books from the manor, no letter, just the books. He wasn’t sure if he was pleased with the lack of questions or not. His mother had always cared for him in her own way, much more than his father ever had. Yet, she was still a pure-blooded witch from a prominent family of death eaters and his sorting was undoubtedly causing a rift in their household.

“Any luck there mate?”

He looked up at Ron shaking his head. He hadn’t finished reading through them all yet but so far had turned up nothing to help them with what they were calling the Quirell conundrum. (Actually just Ron was calling it that, thought it was funny, Draco didn’t have the heart nor energy to make him stop.)

The interesting thing was he had found a few references to horcruxes, at first he had thought the familiar word was just from a future lesson he had forgotten; until it had come out of Potter’s mouth when he was viewing his memory from the final battle at Hogwarts.

“It’s just you and me….no more horcruxes; no more hallows.”

He couldn’t find anything concrete to reference exactly what they were but he knew that it was important. Potter wouldn’t have mentioned it, wouldn’t have taunted The Dark Lord with it, if it wasn’t important to his defeat. What were horcruxes? What were hallows? Were they the keys to his immortality? If so figuring out the answer could help them in defeating Quirell as well.

“Well this was a bust too.”

Ron waived a letter around, frustration evident on his face.

“Flamel disregarded everything I said and is going straight to Dumbledore. Good thing Hermione removed my magical signature from the ink and parchment; also had me sign it Michael Jackson for some reason.”

At Draco’s expression Ron just shrugged.

“I didn’t get it either but she seemed to think it was hilarious. I didn’t argue with her, she can be scary our Hermione. Don’t get me wrong she is bloody brilliant, but scary.”

In the face of such logic Draco could do nothing but nod his head in agreement, Ron was more cunning and observant than anyone gave him credit for. The more time he spent with him the more he realized why he had been one of Potter’s closest friends. Here they were having basically a one sided conversation but Ron could read everything he wanted to say on his expressionless Malfoy façade.

“Alright then I guess I’ll meet you and Harry at domum unitatis after dinner. You tell Harry and I’ll tell Hermione yeah?”

Again without a single comment from Draco Ron just nodded and left the table with Greg and Vince lumbering behind. Not even a goodbye wave let alone a proper dismissal. If only he had the time to culture the Weasley a little he could be a force in the Ministry in the future but between research, mediation, and dueling training he just didn’t have the time. Perhaps Pansy could be persuaded…..

~HPHPHPHP~

What was he doing? He was supposed to be in domum unitatis but no, he was a sucker apparently for scar headed gits. After dinner instead of going to meet with Ron and Hermione, Harry had told him that they needed to go visit Hagrid first. Apparently there was something Draco just HAD to see, which is how he found his self in the unique position of staring at a newborn baby dragon, inside a wooden hut…..did he mention that dragons could breathe fire?!

“Hairy Bollocks Hagrid! What are you thinking? Dragons are illegal to own! Do you want to lose your job? Not to mention it breathes fire! You live in a wooden house Hagrid! Wood and Straw!”

He wanted to face palm himself but Malfoys were above such behavior.

“Ah come now Draco, es just a baby Norbert is. Just need to get em all trained up is all.”

“You named him Norb…” Throat closing in shock Draco thought fuck it and face palmed. His ancestors would understand that simply no decorum trained you for this.

A wheezing laugh drew his eyes peeking between his fingers to Harry. Harry whom he could tell was having a hard time deciding to be amused or to be terrified which just resulted in him looking like he was having an aneurysm. It was unsettling how adorable Draco found it and the fluttering feeling was back, balls.

Then at that moment Draco came to the horrifying conclusion he should have had months ago. He liked Harry fucking Potter; speckled git, scar-head, and savior extraordinaire. It was a good thing he came to this life changing realization in this particular scenario as his hands fell from his face because the gob smacked expression that he couldn’t keep off was easily explained in the existence of a live fucking dragon on the table in front of him. Needing to look at anything but Harry he stood up and moved over to the window heart beating madly inside his chest.

He glanced out just in time to see a hooded figure being swallowed by the trees of the forest. Face hardening he could sense when Harry moved to stand beside him.

“What is it Draco?”

“Just Qui.. um our conundrum.”

He corrected with a quick glance to Hagrid then back to the forest. “It appears he’s on the hunt again.”

A hiss of displeasure had him looking over to see Harry’s furious yet determined face. A sudden sense of forbidding gripped him and the serpent in his stomach awoke with a hard twist.

“We can’t let him kill anymore Draco, come on we have to stop him.”

“No Harry! You will get hurt or worse killed, then where would the wizarding world be?” In an inaudible whisper he followed with, “Where would I be?”

“What are you two talkin bout o’er there? Who’s killin?”

“It’s nothing to worry about Hagrid, Draco and I are going back to the castle. Good luck with Norbert.”

Before he could stop him Harry had walked out the door and immediately put on his cloak after it shut behind the two of them. Swearing under his breath he Disillusioned himself asking Prags to reinforce the spell who had decided to join them at Hagrid’s’ after Draco didn’t show up to domum unitatis. Knowing he wouldn’t be able to track the brave foolish Gryffindor while he was under his cloak Draco went running off to the area he had seen Quirrell go.

After what felt like hours of wandering through the forest in a sick sense of déjà vu he came into a clearing to see Quirrell hunched over the body of yet another dead unicorn. Prags hissed in anger from somewhere around his feet making Quirrell’s head jerk up and look around. Knowing it was only a matter of time before Harry found them because that’s how his luck just seemed to work, Draco dispelled his disillusionment charm drawing the heated gaze of the professor.

There were no monologues or needless words; just a hush of inevitability lying thick in the air between them. Both knowing how this had to end, only one would leave the forest tonight and Draco would be damned if it wasn’t going to be him. He wasn’t sure who fired the first spell but soon Quirrell’s cloak was flung to the ground and his turban flapped and waved as he twisted and twirled dodging spell after spell that Draco sent in his direction.

Prags kept a constant circle around his feet reinforcing each Protego he cast and Draco could feel the sweat running down his face, his breath coming in harsh pants. He was losing, falling back bit by bit, even living his second life and having gone through a war, he was still only eighteen. No match for a defense professor that had The Dark Lord whispering in his ear. Quirrell knew it to from the mad grin on his face as his spells began to increase in power shaking his shield charms and making Prags hiss in alarm.

Then like it happened in slow motion Harry came into view, tossing his cloak off from behind Quirrell and jumping onto his back taking them both to the ground. He halted in his attack not wanting to hit Harry who was rolling around and around on the ground with Quirrell. Just as he was about to cast a Levicorpus on Quirrell he heard a familiar voice hiss.

“Kill him.”

A shudder went through him and it felt like there was ice in his veins. Days of locking himself in his rooms, bodies in the dining room, Nagini slithering through the halls, and his Aunt’s mad laughter ran through his mind. He was brought back to the present by Quirrell’s screams as he noticed his burning hands around Harry’s throat. In a moment of embracing his old self Draco let out a deprecating scoff. Did these two just suddenly forget they were wizards? Harry he could understand, he made that mistake often but Quirrell too? Honestly!

He watched in helpless fascination as Harry suddenly grabbed Quirrell’s face with his hands causing his whole body to erupt in flames eventually turning to ash. He ran over to Harry but before he could reach him a misty cloud emerged from Quirrell’s robes screaming before going through Harry causing him to collapse before disappearing deep into the forest. He didn’t even hear his own panicked screams as he ran to Harry’s side.

“Harry?! Harry?! Wake up you stupid, foolish, idiotic, brave, beautiful, urg just come on!”

“He is fine my boy, a few nights in the hospital wing should have him back to normal. He is just unconscious I’m afraid.”

Looking up from his position cradling Harry on the forest floor he met the eyes of Headmaster Dumbledore. He was unaware of the absolute fury in his gaze; all he knew was in that moment he wanted to hit the old bastard with a thousand Crucio’s. Had he been standing there watching the whole time? What games was he playing? Whatever showed on his face had Dumbledore actually taking a step back and a hard calculating stare replaced the usual twinkling of his eyes. Casting a wordless and wandless lightweight charm, Draco lifted Harry into his arms motioning for Prags to follow.

“I will take him myself Headmaster; I trust you will ensure Harry’s cloak finds its way back into his trunk.”

Without a backwards glance Draco left the forest, Harry in a bridal carry in his arms, face tucked into his neck so he could feel his breath reassuring against his skin.

~HPHPHPHP~

Draco gazed out of the train window, fingers carding through Harry’s black locks as he napped with his head in Draco’s lap. He didn’t know what Harry and Dumbledore had discussed when Harry was in the hospital wing but it had concluded with them returning the philosopher’s stone which was then destroyed. Of course this is only what Dumbledore had told them which had Draco entirely doubting its validity. After telling them the events of the forest Ron and Hermione had lost all respect and trust for the headmaster as well. Harry had less animosity but of course that’s a lot of what made him Harry, foolishly trusting.

Regardless Draco could not help but feel that he had failed Harry this year. He had been prone to long silences the rest of the year and a far off look in his eyes. Regardless of who he had killed the fact remained that he had killed someone, he was only eleven years old. That left a mark on a person, a mark that Draco had been determined Harry not have to live with this time. He tuned out Ron and Hermione’s continued argument about house elves that had erupted when discussing Harry’s impending return to his relatives house; his relatives that starved and abused him.

How Draco wished he could take Harry away but he knew his own home would be much worse for The-Boy-Who-Lived-Again. Hermione’s offered no protection since she lived in the muggle world and Ron’s parents had enough mouths to feed as it was. Knowing he needed to have a long discussion with Dobby this summer anyway he had informed Harry that he would instruct him to bring him meals at regular intervals and if need be Dobby could apparate him away at a moment’s notice. He would order Dobby to answer any summons from Harry Potter. He assured Harry that Dobby would hide his presence from his relatives and they would never know. The news of house elves had been a shock to Hermione and she was still seething over it hours later as they were finally pulling into King’s Cross station.

Draco nudged Harry awake feeling a little guilty over the other boys’ exhaustion. Fresh in the aftermath of his failed duel against Quirell had seen Draco throw all of them into harsh and extensive training. Especially Harry’s because who’s to know when they would next be in a life or death situation? Knowing Harry Potter it wouldn’t be long enough, so Draco had mercilessly worked on improving their dueling spells as well as wandless and wordless magic.

He let his hand rub circles into Harry’s back as Harry rubbed his eyes awake. Hermione gave them both a worried glance as she began gathering her things. She had given Ron a lecture about being touch starved and how it affected people after he had complained for the umpteenth time when Harry and Draco had been cuddling on the couch after an intense training session. To his horror Draco had honestly not noticed how affectionate he was with Harry and had flushed a brilliant red hiding his face in Harry’s shoulder as Hermione proceeded to lecture a chastised Ron. She hadn’t pried into their home lives to Draco’s extreme gratitude but she knew enough.

He gave her what he hoped was a reassuring smile. He wished them all a happy summer promising to write each of them in turn before wrapping Harry in a tight hug. He buried his face into his hair taking a deep breath before withdrawing both physically and emotionally. Ignoring the sad frown on Harry’s face Draco walked away exiting the train to find his parents, his nose upturned and contemptuous sneer in place. His father didn’t need anything more to use against him, whispered rumors notwithstanding.

~HPHPHPHP~

He had summoned Dobby immediately after entering his room. Instructing the elf that yes he did want him to help The Harry Potter, yes he knew about the diary, yes he would do something about it, no don’t steal Harry’s mail, please don’t let Harry’s relatives see you, yes he knew of his father’s plans, no he didn’t want them to come to fruition either and for the love of magic stop banging your head against the wall!

Bone weary all he wanted was a nap but life found him in his father’s study instead in a scenario he should have seen coming. He lowered himself to his knees at his father’s instruction removing his shirt and setting it aside placing his hands against the wall in front of him.

“You disappoint me Draco.” His father’s voice came from behind him echoing with a buried anger.

“Not only did you disgrace our family by being sorted into Hufflepuff but then you proceed to surround yourself with a mudblood and a blood traitor. To make things even worse I have heard that out of anyone you are closest to Harry Potter; the same boy who ruined our lives. What do you have to say for yourself?”

Draco stayed silent, nothing he would say would matter, his father had all of the information and it would be pointless to lie. The silence dragged on for a bit until his father continued.

“Very well Draco, just know that I take no pleasure from this. You are not the only one to be punished either; Vincent and Gregory are getting their own reminder of who you are and are not supposed to associate with.”

The first stinking hex to hit his back made him jerk but after that Draco lost himself to the pain, gritting his teeth and refusing to make a noise. He couldn’t see him but he knew his father was a still figure behind him, face expressionless as he wielded his wand like a whip, a red line of crackling magic waving from the tip repeatedly brought to bear on Draco’s back.

Steadily his back became a mass of red welts, in the defiance of his silence his father reinforced his efforts until the welts began to break open and bleed trails of blood down his back and onto the floor. Still Draco made no sound, he had been through worse many times before; eventually he would faint either from pain, muscle spasms, or blood loss. Until then he would bear it, it was good training in a way, it taught him to harness the pain, and clear his mind even while his body was screaming.

He deserved it anyway, he had failed yet again. It was all he could seem to do was fail again and again. The coming year was going to be tough and he needed to be ready. Head bowed his body jerked against his will as two rapid fire hexes hit the same spot twice in a row.

No Regrets, he chanted in his mind. He could do better this time; he had to, for Harry. Blazing green eyes and a soft smile was the last thought he had before darkness finally claimed his mind.

Chapter Text

“The Patronus is a kind of positive force, a projection of the very things that the Dementor feeds upon – hope, happiness, the desire to survive…”

-Remus Lupin, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

 

Midnight at Hogwarts saw Draco awake in the empty common room. Paints in hand as well as scattered about Draco was painting a mural over the entire room; an illusion of tunnels and roots all occupied by a badger community. Each badger having a unique personality and coat pattern; he was actually quite impressed by his work as he spelled his newest creation alive on the wall.

The summer had been frustrating; hearing second hand about Harry’s rescue from his relatives by the Weasley crew. Dobby had come to him in a fit babbling about locks on Harry’s doors and bars on his windows. Helpless and frustrated Draco had appealed to Ron who had apparently come through unlike Draco who was useless.

At least during their meeting at Diagon Alley he had been able to fish the black diary out of the girl Weasley’s cauldron after noticing his father sneak it in there. He had refused to neither treat his friends badly nor feign indifference which had led to another session in his father’s study. Draco cared little for such things happening to him, it was a price to be paid as far as he was concerned. Nothing in life was ever free and he was sure this afterlife had a high price indeed.

He was having a hard time clearing his thoughts tonight, the first week had gone by in a blur of new classes and new students. One of which to his discomfort was none other than Colin Creevey. Knowing the events that led to his death weren’t the boys fault didn’t help Draco maintain an indifference towards him, and avoiding him was nigh on impossible since he seemed determined to follow Harry around like a star struck puppy.

That led to yet another issue, oh how he had missed Harry, his crush was getting out of control. He was constantly grabbing Harry’s hand, touching his hair and generally probably making a nuisance of his self. Yet, Harry never complained and always tolerated his behavior with a smile and acceptance that Draco just didn’t quite know how to handle. All of this paled in comparison to his biggest problem which was a black book currently locked in one of the layers of his trunk.

The first night back had seen him in domum unitatis reviewing all of his memories from second year. Even after leaving the pensive behind he still didn’t know much. All he knew was that the black book was somehow related to opening The Chamber of Secrets. His father had never told him the details which meant that his father didn’t know either. Unlike the events of their first year what had happened in The Chamber of Secrets had been kept very quiet. A very select few knew of the actual events that had transpired and he had not been one of them.

Thus here he found himself wondering similar thoughts to what had driven him around and around last year. Just how important was The Chamber of Secrets? Did The Dark Lord’s defeat rely on it being opened? Was it imperative that Harry go there? Should he prevent anything from happening? And where was the bloody Chamber even located anyway? Against his will Draco knew in his heart that he had to find a way to undo what he had already done and ensure the girl Weasley came in possession of the book. No matter what happened with The Dark Lord something very important had happened to Harry this year and as much as Draco wanted to he couldn’t take it away. It was a ray of light in a pitch black room of despair for Potter; the beginning of the Harry and Ginny story. This was when he had first noticed her and subsequently saved her life. No Regrets. As selfish as he wanted to be Draco refused to take the love of his life from Harry.

Mind made up and his badgers and their environment finished he put his things away and returned to his room and Justin’s snores. He would let the year progress as it had last time with one exception, when Harry and Ron went down into The Chamber to save Ginny, Draco would be going with them.

~HPHPHPHP~

“What language is that Draco?”

The golden trio sat on the couches of domum unitatis while Draco sat at the table, quill scribbling on parchment. Ron and Harry stopped in their conversation about the events of last night. Last night had been the Halloween feast which meant the petrification of Ms. Norris and the message about the chamber being opened. Draco had been staying out of it after answering as many questions as he could but the bottom line was he actually knew next to nothing about The Chamber of Secrets and he had tried not to let Harry’s disappointment sting.

He didn’t pause in his writing answering Hermione, “Gobbledegook,” as he painstakingly wrote out a letter to Gringotts.

“I didn’t know you knew the language, how exciting, do you think you could teach me?”

Before Draco could answer Harry spoke up, “How did you not know that? Draco has been writing letters in that language since halfway through first year. He gets letters from Gringotts at least once a month too.”

Harry proceeded to flush when the three of them turned to look at him in surprise. Draco couldn’t help but feel flattered that Harry had noticed and taking pity at his embarrassment he drew the attention back to him.

“I would love to Hermione, but I will warn you it is a pretty hard language to grasp.”

“Awesome, thank you, and if you don’t mind me asking why all of the correspondence?”

“Self-preservation, it’s only a matter of time before my father disowns me. I’m very self-aware that I like the finer things in life so I made a deal with the goblins. They take a little every month from the many Malfoy vaults and in return any goblin made items they come across they can keep claiming that I took them.”

“Isn’t that illegal?”

“Not yet, as the heir I have complete access. He hasn’t disowned me yet, I’m just preparing for when he does.”

“Then why bribe the goblins?”

“As an underage wizard I technically shouldn’t be allowed to have a vault of my own only accessible by me. I persuaded them to ignore this little fact.”

“Wicked mate.”

“Thanks Ron I rather thought so.”

Going back to his letter he half-heartedly listened to their conversation when something Hermione said struck a chord. “I just wish we had a way to warn each other, all of us have such different schedules, surely there must be some sort of instant messaging system.”

“That’s it!” His shout caused all three of them to jump turning towards Draco who was alive with his idea. It could work, he wasn’t sure if it would for him but those three for sure would be able to.

“Do any of you know what a Patronus charm is?”

Of course it was Hermione who answered him, “Of course Draco that’s brilliant,” but her expression quickly fell to one of resignation. “That’s really advanced magic though. I’m not sure it’s in the realm of what we are currently capable of, even for you and Harry.”

“Think about it Hermione, what is the core of the Patronus charm, what does it require?”

“A happy memory?”

“Exactly, but it’s more than that. It requires a lack of dark magic which is why no death eater can cast it. I know of someone who learned to cast the charm at thirteen years old. I have been considering the theory of the charm and wondering if perhaps it is so difficult to cast because we wait until we are older to try? Younger children have an abundance of happy memories and a light hearted innocence still. Why wait and let darkness seep into our lives to learn a charm that requires a lack of it?”

Hermione had an excited and determined look on her face while Harry and Ron jumped to their feet.

“Alright mate, let’s get started, can’t wait to see Percy’s face after I master this. He’s been saying passive aggressive insults about Slytherin all summer.”

~HPHPHPHP~

Expecto Patronum!”

It was a complete thrill watching as Harry’s stag erupted from his wand. They had been practicing for a month now and the golden trio had been improving steadily, white wisps becoming more and more until today. Harry would have produced his much quicker he was sure except he had struggled to find a happy memory.

Draco wistfully remembered last night which had found the two of them sneaking out to the quidditch pitch. As much as Harry loved flying Draco had figured a late night fly under the full moon would take care of his worries about his patronus, The Chamber of Secrets, and The Heir of Slytherin respectively. Draco knew he would always carry that night in his heart; the cool breeze against his body, the smell of the forest teasing his nose, and the moonlight dim against the luminescence of Harry’s smile. He understood now why Harry was always sneaking around Hogwarts after hours in the previous life. Even though they lived in a world of magic it came alive in your soul after dark in the castle. Almost like the castle was speaking to you, calming your heart and soothing your core.

He reached out a tentative hand as the stag approached him placing its nose into his open palm before dissolving into the air. He only had a moment of wistful regret before throwing his arms around Harry and congratulating him. It would only be a matter of time before Ron and Hermione mastered the spell as well, and he felt proud because his theory was right. It was more of a first year spell that just got harder with age.

He would never be able to cast it he knew. At first he had tried alongside the other three but he never even got the faintest wisp out of his wand. He knew that finding a happy memory wasn’t the core issue. The manor practically oozed dark magic and he had lived there his whole life. It was like being raised around parents that smoked inside and never opened the windows. His chances of lung cancer would be extremely high, but instead of lung cancer he received a dark magical core.

They had learned the charms just in time as well with dueling club starting and the exposure of Harry as a parselmouth, curtesy of Theodore Nott. Not to mention the resulting petrification of Justin Finch-fletchley. Except this time the entire school didn’t suspect and turn against Harry because Draco was there at his side, shooting down every absurd theory and hearsay with scathing remarks and cutting logic; Ron and Hermione by his side.

After parting ways with Harry, Ron and Hermione; he found himself in the Hufflepuff common room working on a Transfiguration essay with Neville and trying not to smile at the third year girls that were teasingly having a few badgers chase lights from their wands around the room. To their delight they found the badgers could even run on the floors, Draco having spelled them only to not leave the room. He was glad no one had vanished the mural; Professor Sprout had actually seemed to delight in it demanding to know who had spent hours painting it. Draco had refused to take credit even under the knowing gaze of Neville. He hadn’t painted it for any sort of recognition or acknowledgment. His painting was cathartic and the peace of it would almost be taken away by fame and he just knew he would start getting request from people. Against his efforts he was still a selfish bastard and he painted for no one but himself; better for others to not know about that part of him really.

He finished his essay before stretching and heading to bed. Laying behind his curtains with Prags curled by his head his thoughts turned as they always did to Harry. He had hoped that coming back this year he would discover that he had blown his own feelings out of proportion over the summer. That he really didn’t like Harry as much as he thought, and yet his heart squeezed painfully in his chest every time Harry smiled at him. Flutters erupted in his stomach at every laugh, sweat breaking out in his palms at every touch and a burning jealousy at every glance to and from Ginny Weasley. He had never liked anyone before, not like this; sure he had always known he was bent. Kind of hard to miss that about yourself really, but these things that Harry made him feel? They were in an unknown class of themselves, and he was ashamed to admit, even to himself, that he was scared.

When the time came and Harry started to date Ginny and would kiss her, it would be right in front of him. This time he would have a front row seat and as much as he kept trying to bury his emotions he couldn’t. Harry wouldn’t let him; he was just more amazing and selfless every single day making Draco feel more and more while simultaneously wanting to wallow in self-disgust. A single tear rolled down his face as he acknowledged the blinding truth. No matter what life he lived Harry Potter was The-Boy-Who-Lived and he was a death eater’s son. There was only a small space for him in Harry’s life and no space for him in his heart.

Chapter Text

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

– Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

 

This right here was why he should have never joined the golden trio in their relentless crusade against dark magic, he thought glaring into the cauldron of polyjuice potion. It was midday while he and Hermione had a free period and he was actually, voluntarily helping her break school rules and brew an advanced potion that she probably had brewed as a twelve year old the first time around.

It had been too much to hope that domum unitatis wouldn’t provide the necessary accommodations. No sooner had the trio mentioned brewing the potion than a door had appeared beside the bathroom door, opening it revealed a potions lab, absolutely bloody perfect to brew polyjuice potion. He had tried so hard to tell them there was no way that Theodore Nott was The Heir of Slytherin without telling them why but his objections without sound reasoning fell on deaf ears.

Due to Ron’s blood traitor status they all felt the need to disguise themselves to talk to the slippery Slytherin. Draco had refused to take part in the espionage but with sadly very little convincing on Harry’s part fate had found him helping Hermione brew the potion in his spare time and without the ability to cast a patronus Draco had been seeking out Harry’s company constantly. He knew if anything was to happen regarding the chamber Harry would be in the middle of it, so throughout the year wherever Harry was, Draco was sure to be as well.

Stirring the potion under Hermione’s instruction he absentmindedly recognized that although he was greatly enjoying his time with Harry (way too much). It was becoming harder and harder to bury his attraction, much to his displeasure (or pleasure depending on the day) the more time he spent with Harry, the more his attraction seemed to grow. Just when he was barely coming to terms with his current feelings he had to go and get more feelings; stupid pretty Gryiffindor gits and their stupid pretty eyes and their stupidly cute messy hair.

“Draco is there something wrong with the potion?”

He jerked away from his thoughts to see Hermione looking worriedly at him. With heat flushing over his checks he realized he had been scowling into the cauldron.

“Sorry Hermione, just thinking about something slightly more distasteful than this potion.” At her raised eyebrow he gave a reluctant smile, he really was enjoying being friends with her. Besides being an insufferable know-it-all she was a particularly insightful witch; quick to lend an ear and very discreet when it came to secrets with friends.

“I know, difficult to believe since this potion is extremely revolting, but mushy Hufflepuff thoughts are worse trust me I know.” He fingered his yellow and black tie with a smirk, “I’m a Hufflepuff after all.”

Hermione let out a girlish giggle that seemed so wrong on her it was almost right. Widening his smirk Draco turned back to the potion, just because it was a stupid plan didn’t mean he would intentionally sabotage it….at least not this time.

~HPHPHPHP~

Valentine’s Day came and not just any Valentine’s Day, Gildory Lockhart’s Valentine’s Day with all the color and cupids he had been dreading. He had already lived through this once Draco thought; he could defiantly do it again. Except when Ginny’s little love poem to Harry happened he honestly thought he was going to explode with jealous anger, which would have been bad, he had no reason to be jealous of their budding love story, nope no jealousy here.

He was equal parts horrified and relieved when Harry’s bag spilled open revealing the black book; he had needed the distraction as his magic had begun to pulse wildly. In all fairness Harry had been trying to speak to him alone about something he deemed important. After the polyjuice failure which Draco had totally seen coming he had just assumed it was another plan he wanted to involve him in and with Valentine’s approaching the last thing Draco had wanted was to spend alone time with Harry.

Now staring at him pushing the book back inside his bag hurryingly he bleatingly came to the conclusion that Harry had probably been meaning to share this new discovery. Before he could properly begin to immerse his thoughts into planning how to Slytherin the book away from Harry he noticed Ginny Weasley’s horrified expression, not trained on Harry, but on the book. Satisfied Draco knew she would take it back into her possession yet again, but maybe not before he could read what embarrassing things she wrote in it he contemplated with glee.

Yet, Valentine’s Day didn’t end up being a complete frustration; to Draco’s pleasure and surprise at dinner a school owl swooped down setting a package in front of him. A single note written in what was obviously a quick notes quill said Happy Valentines. Frowning at the lack of signature Draco set it aside only to grin in delighted surprise. It was a long tube shaped knitted sweater in Hufflepuff black and yellow with a badger stitched on the back. Another note inside stuck to the sweater with a charm said that it was spelled to tighten when worn so that it wouldn’t fall off, a warming charm was woven into the wool, and that the sender hoped Prags would like it because they even spelled it to disillusion for when he went invisible.

The last time they had been out in the snow despite the warming charms he had cast Prags had still been discomforted by the cold sliding through the snow. It was such a thoughtful gift by someone who actually paid attention to him instead of some random poem about his looks, or chocolates that he could easily buy himself. He took out his wand and spelled it onto Prags who was curled at his feet. Prags wound his way up Draco to drape around his shoulders dropping his camouflage and hissing in pleasure, tongue tickling his ear.

Feeling flushed with happiness he closed his eyes letting a rare soft smile grace his features never noticing neither the intense observation from a certain green eyed Gryffindor nor the besotted expression that was unknowingly aimed in his direction.

~HPHPHPHP~

When Hermione was petrified Draco was not expecting the all-consuming guilt to swamp him. He had known she wouldn’t die but he could have prevented this. Some part of him felt this was important though, just like Harry’s brief possession of the book had turned out to be. They had discovered Hagrid’s involvement and the information that the last time the chamber had been opened a student had been killed; except the magical properties of the book left a sick feeling in his gut.

Though not as sick as he had felt standing under the invisibility cloak with Ron and Harry when his father had come striding into Hagrid’s hut snidely victorious in Hagrid’s arrest and Dumbledore’s termination. To his shame he had begun uncontrollably trembling until a warm hand belonging to Harry had settled on his back moving in soothing strokes.

Don’t even get him started on the spiders either, every time he found himself beginning to like Hagrid thinking that he really couldn’t be too bad, things like dragon’s or people eating giant spiders happened. Honestly what the bloody hell? If not for their advanced training they never would have made it out of the forest alive. As it was he was convinced Ron would have nightmares for the rest of his life. Let alone the fact that when Ron tripped and fell while running, he had fallen on his wand snapping it almost in half.

Despite it all Draco was making progress with the dark arts book his mother had sent last year. He had discovered that a horocrux was a dark ritual that ripped out a piece of your soul. If that was the case it explained part of how The Dark Lord was still alive, but where was the extra piece of The Dark Lord’s soul? Did he have one horocrux or more? He had also yet to learn anything about hallows but at least he had some answers. He was sitting on his bed with Prags reading through the chapter he had found on horocuxes yet again when a silver stag burst in stopping in front of him.

Harry’s voice came forth with, “Meet us at Lockhart’s office now!” Draco sprang to his feet, running out at full speed with Prags coiled around his neck, tension high in both of them. Draco could feel it was time, the chamber of secrets awaited.

~HPHPHPHP~

Draco couldn’t believe the sequence of events that had happened. The cowardice of Lockhart, the reveal of the chamber entrance being in Myrtle’s bathroom (which he had figured out he thought smugly), the tunnel collapsing after Lockhart’s backfired obliviation, all of which had lead him here.

Here standing beside Harry who was kneeling next to Ginny Weasley’s unconscious body while they both stared in shock at the young Tom Riddle who had just revealed that he was The Dark Lord. Before he could properly recover Tom turned Harry’s wand towards him and Ginny with a cruel smirk, knowing what was coming for the second time in his life Draco jumped in front of a curse, no regrets, whispering in the back of his mind.

He heard the shouted, “Crucio!” Then all he felt was pain as he let loose a scream, no matter how many times he felt the curse the pain was still unimaginable. Seemingly tearing and twisting his body apart and around setting every nerve on fire. He lay on the ground panting and trying to regain his wits and stop the uncontrollable shaking of his body; listening to Tom’s evil laughter accompanied by Harry’s frantic shouts of Draco’s name over and over again.

He was broken out of his semi-conscious state by the sound of what could only be the basilisk entering the chamber. Urgently under Prags invisible nudging he stood up only to see a phoenix (probably Dumbledore’s) blinding the basilisk followed by it tracking Harry’s retreat from the chamber. Draco pulled his wand facing Tom who was eyeing him with a considering look on his face.

“You are a curious one aren’t you? That was a quick recovery time for a crucio curse. Have you received one before?”

Refusing to answer Draco sent a Stupefy silently at Tom’s stupidly and surprisingly handsome face. Tom blocked the spell eyes widening in surprise, then narrowing in calculation.

“That’s some pretty advanced wand work for a twelve year old, especially towards your family’s master.”

Staring at him in disgusted shock Draco refused to show any hesitation as he let loose a volley of spells motioning for Prags to start strengthening his defenses.

Engaging him Tom’s face twisted in an ugly way, “Yes Ginny Weasley told me all about your friendship with Harry, and she was concerned you see because you come from a line of loyal Death Eaters, whom I learned are wizards loyal to me. Set aside your wand Draco, stop this foolish fighting, serve me, take my mark, bring your family glory, I don’t want to have to kill you.”

Draco vaguely noticed the appearance of Harry and the basilisk back into the chamber but most of his focus was on the duel he was having, yet again, with The Dark Lord.

“You see the thing is snake-face that I don’t give a griffin’s flying fart about my family let alone their glory. I’m a Hufflepuff you berk and that means that I am stupidly and hopelessly loyal. I have already chosen to give my loyalty to Harry Potter so that leaves no room for you so kindly fuck off.”

Twisting his face into his most disdainful sneer, he rejoiced internally at the fury on Tom’s face as he began throwing spells with more power rattling his shields. This time to Draco’s astonishment they were more evenly matched. It would have to wind down to who tired more quickly. He fervently wanted to know what was happening with Harry as he heard yet again the cry of a phoenix but he couldn’t look away from his duel with Tom for a second.

Then to his amazement what felt like moments later, Riddle suddenly burst into flames screaming before disappearing completely. Turning he took in Harry kneeling on the floor, basilisk fang penetrating the book, and a phoenix crying on his arm. Before he could run over and examine every inch of Harry, Ginny beat him there throwing herself all over the basilisk slayer. Letting them have their moment Draco wandered over to the giant snake noting the presence of a bloody sword of Gryiffindor next to Harry and a bleeding hole in the basilisk head.

“Draco.”

Turning at the sound of his name he suddenly found Harry pulling him close into an embrace, arms caging around him. Ginny Weasley stood behind holding the punctured diary and bloody sword shuffling her feet nervously. A hand cupped his cheek moving his eyes to meet concerned green ones. Harry’s thumb moved rhythmically back and forth over his cheek bone.

“How are you feeling? Are you ok? Did he hurt you badly?”

Harry’s eyes scanned frantically over his face, what he was looking for Draco wasn’t sure.

“I’m ok; I’ll be fine Harry, besides you’re the one who almost died again you prat. Stop doing that, if you died who would appreciate all of my witty remarks?”

With a huff of amusement Harry drew his head forward until their foreheads were touching. He wasn’t sure how long they stood like that, arms wrapped around each other, eyes closed, just breathing in each other’s air each grateful the other was alive. Prags pulled them out of it by slithering up Harry’s body, tickling his ear with his tongue before stretching to wrap around Draco’s shoulders then slither down to rest at Draco’s feet. He looked down with an indulgent smile before handing Harry his wand that he had retrieved for him.

“Come on scarhead, let’s go collect our Slytherin friend and get the hell out of here.”

Harry grabbed his hand leading the way Ginny following meekly behind. For some reason even though he had just dueled The Dark Lord, been put under the cruciatus curse and almost lost the person that was becoming alarmingly vital to him; he couldn’t recall ever feeling happier in either one of his lives. He squeezed Harry's hand tightly following him like he would continue doing from now until forever.

~HPHPHPHP~

He was on the train home for yet another year come and gone. He had refused to meet the headmaster letting Harry handle all of the explanations. Dumbledore had summoned him numerous times already over the last two years and unlike the curious and noble Harry Potter, Draco had refused to meet with the meddling and foolishly optimistic old man.

Instead he had learned of Dobby’s new found freedom and his father’s appearance second hand which he was both grateful and uncertain about. As thrilled as he had been with the returns of Hermione and Hagrid an underlining worry clouded much of his excitement. That book he was almost certain had been a horocrux, everything he had learned about them so far pointed in that direction, but Harry had destroyed it in the last life as well; which led Draco to the horrifying conclusion that there was more than one out there.

He needed to investigate more this summer, and then next year he would inform Harry, Ron and Hermione about the existence of horocruxes. It was time they all started to hunt them together.

As the train stopped at the station Draco made a mental image categorizing everything he could about Harry’s smiling face as he laughed at something Ron had said. It would have to be enough to get him through another summer at home, but Draco acknowledged, as his stomach fluttered madly, that it would always be more than enough to simply have him here and alive.

Chapter Text

"Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love."

— Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

 

Draco sat in the Great Hall for the welcoming feast with his hands clenched tightly and face schooled to show no emotion as he gazed at anything except the wondrous face of Dennis Creevey. This year was off to a rocking start after boarding the train; hearing about Harry’s stay in Diagon Alley, what had led to said stay, and the fact that Sirius Black was out to kill Harry.Then the dementors had boarded the train which Hermione and Ron had repelled with their otter and jack Russell terrier respectively. While Harry had collapsed scaring the life out of Draco, he had a moment of disgust for his previous self for mocking and ridiculing Harry about it.

His wandering gaze settled on the form of Remus Lupin who looked to at least have temporarily gotten over his shock that some of his third year students could already produce a corporeal patronus charm. His excited questioning had given Draco no small amount of satisfaction but he let Hermione explain his theories behind it with the excuse of looking after a recovering Harry, who had been sitting half on his lap eating chocolate, but the truth was he didn’t trust Lupin. Call it an authority problem if you will but every single adult in Harry’s life was going to have an uphill battle to climb with Draco as far as trust was concerned and they were all starting well below sea level.

After Dennis was thankfully still sorted into Gryffindor Draco let himself relax a tiny bit and think of the conundrum that was Sirius Black. What he did know was yet again very little. After the events of third year Sirius and Harry had become close culminating in Black’s devastating death in the Ministry of Magic in their fifth year. He knew everything about that night because it had been one of Bellatrix’s favorite stories to tell.

What happened this year though? Right now Harry was completely in the dark like usual and had no clue why the criminal hunted him. There was much to be discussed with his favorite trio and as soon as he could he would have Prags find Harry who could arrange a meeting for the four of them in domum unitatis.

~HPHPHPHP~

A nudge from Neville had Draco jerking to attention in History of Magic just in time to notice the approach of a silver otter.

“Tonight after dinner,” was all it said before the silver mist dispersed. Neville gazed at it forlornly and Draco made a mental note to try and spend more time teaching him how to cast a patronus. Though he would bet Harry would be more suited to the job, one of the things he had hated about him most was Harry’s natural ability to lead. When Harry spoke others listened and when he told you to do something you did, unlike Draco who had to rely on bribes and manipulation to get his way. Just another example of how they were so different. To Draco Harry was like water; ever flowing, ever changing, vast yet small, calm then roaring, always there, and completely necessary for his survival.

~HPHPHPHP~

“So the dementors made you re-live your mother’s death, Harry that’s horrible!” Hermione cried.

They were sitting on the couches in front of the fireplace in domum unitatis and against his better judgement Draco had Harry curled up on his lap running his fingers soothingly through his hair as he had recounted what had happened on the train. It had been horrible, but Draco was confident that next time Harry wouldn’t be taken by surprise and would be able to produce his patronus to ward them off. It was just another tick in the box towards the defeated Harry that Draco was supposed to prevent from existing. Now he couldn’t undo the fact that every time a dementor came near, Harry heard his mother’s dying screams but maybe if he wasn’t so worthless and could produce a patronus Harry would never have had to hear them on the train in the first place.

Yet that was neither here or now, he chastised himself, as he wandlessly used accio to the dark book he had what seemed to be a million tabs sticking from. Tossing it to Hermione he instructed her to read the marked sections so they could discuss them the next time they met. The horocrux hunt could wait until he had Hermione to throw ideas off of. As Hermione began to read and Harry seemed to drift off in his lap Draco had Ron tell him as much as he could in more detail what had happened over the summer and what he knew about Sirius Black.

Harry mumbled a few interjections and observations while Ron recalled all that he had overheard his parents discussing. It became abundantly clear that yet again the adults in Harry’s life knew more than they were letting anyone else know. He would have to review the pensive to be sure but Draco had the suspicion that there was one adult he might be able to get answers from but he would wait to confront them until he was sure.

After the recount of the summer was finished Ron proceeded onto a rant about his Divination class which Draco couldn’t help but find slightly amusing, that is until he got to the part about the Grimm in Harry’s cup. Oh the bitch would pay for using Harry, Draco thought furiously. How dare she use his penchant for dangerous situations for added class melodramatics!

Ignoring Draco’s expected rage Ron continued on before asking, “So what electives are you taking Draco?”

Startled away from his fifth scenario of Professor Trelwaney’s satisfying demise he replied, “Ancient Runes and Muggle Studies.”

“Muggle Studies? That’s wonderful mate, wish more pure-bloods were like you honest. How did your dad take it?”

Draco winced and unconsciously rubbed at his back with the hand that wasn’t running through Harry’s hair.

“Not well to be honest Ron but let’s not talk about my father.”

Suddenly Harry sat up on Draco’s lap, knees bracketing his thighs and began to undo his tie which was thrown onto the floor before his shirt buttons were undone one by one. Draco sat there in shock, mind furiously trying to process what was happening while Ron’s strangled voice goes, “Um Harry? Maybe this isn’t the best time yeah? Hermione and I are still right here.”

Harry ignored him, instead starting to tug Draco’s arms out of his sleeves. Suddenly catching on to what Harry suspected Draco began to struggle trying to pull his shirt out of Harry’s grasp. With a familiar determined look in his eye Harry stood up while pushing Draco onto the couch face down and removing his shirt. Eyes squeezed shut in sudden humiliation Draco could hear Hermione’s horrified gasp and Ron’s, “What in the actual fuck?”

Harry was suspiciously silent as he looked at what Draco knew was a multitude of scars marring his back, after discovering that one of his classes was muggle studies Lucius had added burns on top of the whipping stinging hexes refusing to let the house elves or his mother heal him. It had been agony with no pain reliever allowed either; he had showered relentlessly to ensure his back didn’t become infected.

Rising back to a sitting position he picked his shirt off of the floor, shrugging it back on and refusing to meet anyone’s eyes. He could feel Harry’s burning into him as he defiantly tied his yellow and black tie perfectly around his throat.

“Draco……mate…” taking pity on Ron he snapped. “I said I didn’t want to discuss my father. Let me know when you are finished with the tagged pages Hermione.”

Back straight Draco made to leave out the door, and as soon as his hand touched the knob Harry spoke softly and menacingly sending shivers down his spine.

“Draco we will discuss this, I will wait until you’re ready, but if you do not approach the subject before this year is over, I will be forced to act.”

Without turning around Draco nodded and walked out of the door unwilling to see Harry’s fury directed at him, fury that was his own fault because he was weak. He was a failure and now Harry knew about it, had seen the inescapable proof of his weakness and shame.

~HPHPHPHP~

Draco had thought things between him and Harry would be strained for a little while but he was actually having the opposite problem. Harry was smothering him, around him constantly and always holding his hand or sitting half on top of him. The trip to Hogsmeade was different since Harry didn’t have permission to come; Draco was silent and depressed tagging along behind Hermione and Ron. He should have known better though as he was suddenly laughing in delight when Harry’s invisible hand found his own. Glancing back knowingly Hermione dragged Ron off leaving Draco and Harry to themselves.

He had come to Hogsmeade in the first place for a distraction. Earlier in the week had been the confrontation of the boggart, he had heard that Harry’s boggart had been a dementor and to the delight of the class he had used his patronus to scare it off. To hear Dean Thomas tell it, the stag had chased the dementor around the class room in circles while the boggart shrieked in fear. Draco had cowardly hidden behind his fellow Hufflepuffs and refused to confront the boggart. He had ignored Professor Lupin’s questioning gaze.

Just like in first year when confronted with the mirror Draco had some things about his self he would rather not know and his worst fear was one of them and this time Harry wasn’t there to push him. He knew the fates didn’t hate him completely though, as he led Harry through the wizarding village. Why else would he get an opportunity like this?

~HPHPHPHP~

The fates hated him, Draco thought bitterly to his self as he sat in his muggle studies classroom late into the night well past curfew. Prags slithered around in his sweater exploring the room of interesting things he had never seen or tasted before. After overhearing the conversation in The Three Broomsticks earlier Harry had stormed off back to the castle. Draco was confused, he knew for past Harry to have gotten as close as he had to Black in the past life that there was no way Black was responsible for killing his parents. Harry was an amazing person but even he would never forgive that.

He was missing something and he felt like it was right in front of him but he couldn’t see through the fog in his brain, the fog that were these twisting feelings inside of him. When Harry had stormed off his heart had ached inside his chest, actually ached causing him to wince. He was unaware that emotions could actually cause physical pain and he was becoming increasingly frustrated as far as how to handle it. He liked Harry but it couldn’t be more than that, it just couldn’t.

He was a disease, a walking plague of failure and bad luck. For Harry to get to close to him would be inviting darkness into his life and he refused to taint him, he couldn’t. No Regrets.

Like a dream he heard the door to the classroom open and he turned as it shut to see Harry emerge from under his cloak, his wand and a sheet of parchment in his hand. In either a daze or a sudden case of madness Draco waved his hand to the corner where what Professor Burbage called a boom box sat. They had been listening to muggle music in class and the Professor liked to let it play as background noise to her lessons and lectures. One song in particular had been haunting him which was why he had come to the classroom in the first place but had been distracted by his wayward thoughts. He walked towards Harry in silence as the song began to play.

~The world was on fire and no one could save me but you~

Not saying a word he reached out his hand to Harry.

~It's strange what desire will make foolish people do~

A question in his eyes but silent Harry took his outstretched hand into his.

~I'd never dreamed that I'd meet somebody like you~

Pulling Harry close Draco placed his left hand on Harry’s hip and guided Harry’s right hand to his shoulder.

~And I'd never dreamed that I'd lose somebody like you~

Interlocking their other hands Draco gazed slightly down to meet Harry’s eyes.

~No, I don't want to fall in love

No, I don't want to fall in love

With you

With you~

He slowly began to lead Harry in a waltz in the center of the classroom.

~What a wicked game you played to make me feel this way~

Steps in sync Draco briefly wondered where Harry had learned to dance.

~What a wicked thing to do to let me dream of you~

Deciding it didn’t really matter he spun Harry out in a slow spin.

~What a wicked thing to say you never felt this way~

Pulling him back in, Draco pulled their bodies closer than before.

~What a wicked thing to do to make me dream of you~

He began to spin them slowly together this time.

~And I don't want to fall in love

No, I don't want to fall in love

With you~

Closing his eyes he placed his face next to Harry’s, cheek touching cheek.

~The world was on fire and no one could save me but you~

His left hand now in the center of Harry’s back he moved them back into a waltz.

~It's strange what desire will make foolish people do~

Heart pounding in his chest he closed his eyes.

~I'd never dreamed that I'd love somebody like you~

Nose burying itself into soft black hair Draco breathed him in.

~And I'd never dreamed that I'd lose somebody like you~

Stopping he leaned back, letting go of Harry’s hand he cupped his cheek instead.

~No, I don't want to fall in love

No, I don't want to fall in love

With you

With you~

Just as Harry’s eyes began to flutter open he leaned down and kissed him softly making him close them again with a sigh. In this one perfect moment he wanted to taste him at least once.

~Nobody loves no one~

And not wanting to face repercussions Draco moved fast, leaving the room before Harry had even opened his eyes.

~HPHPHPHP~

Draco’s not sure how far he ran before stopping in an unknown hall. He panted before setting his back to the wall and slowly sliding down until he was sitting propped against it. Head buried in his knees he finally let the tears come. He was so screwed, was all he could think. His heart beat painfully in his chest, either from exertion, his emotions, or both.

He had just kissed Harry! Idiot! How could he be so bloody stupid?! Hearing footsteps approach he didn’t look up until they stopped in front of him, but instead of Harry, his eyes met those of Professor Lupin who was on one knee on the ground in front of him eyes filled with concern. Draco knew he must have been a sight.

“Mr. Malfoy? Are you ok? What are you doing out of bed?”

Draco felt his mouth curling into a familiar sneer before he suddenly stopped. With Harry's kiss still lingering in his mind maybe he could channel some of that same reckless and idiotic courage.

“Professor, do you still have that boggart?”

“Yes, it’s in the classroom still, why?”

“Would you take me to it please?” Eyes still concerned and slightly confused Lupin just nodded and began to walk away.

Standing quickly Draco followed him to the classroom where the dresser stood.

“Open it please.”

Draco pulled out his wand as Lupin used his to waive the dresser open. A polished shoe stepped out followed by a perfectly tailored black suit. His past self-stood in front of him; contemptuous sneer and a turned up nose. With relish in its eyes the Draco boggart rolled up his left sleeve revealing the dark mark, standing starkly against his white skin. Heart in his throat Draco backed away, he tried to be brave in this afterlife but here he was, twice in one night, unable to do anything but run away.

“Please.” He begged Lupin. “Please get rid of it.”

In silence Lupin stepped forward and the boggart transformed into the full moon.

“Riddikulus!”

Draco didn’t even watch as the moon became a balloon, losing air as it traveled. He was just so tired. After locking the boggart back in once more Lupin turned towards him. Head bowed and wand held loosely at his side, Draco refused to meet his eyes.

“I won’t pry but I think I understand. It must be hard being who you are but being so close to Harry. At least now I am sure you aren’t using him.”

Draco laughed bitterly, “Using him? You have no idea; of course I’m using him. Just not in the way you think.”

Looking up he saw Lupin’s face, confused and concerned. Draco closed his eyes and remembered.

-Harry smiling and picking him off the floor at Madame Malkins’.

-The joy on Harry’s face as he ran up to tell him he was going to be on the quidditch team.

-Excited delight in green eyes the first time he hissed with Prags.

-Pulling him to stand in front of the mirror to meet his parents.

-Laughing in delight, moonlight shining as they flew in the night.

-Fingers carding through black hair resting in his lap.

-Foreheads touching, a dead basilisk behind them.

-Dancing in an empty classroom, lips soft pressing against his own.

“Expecto Patronum!”

Draco opened his eyes to see a silver stag slowly make a path around the room before stopping in front of him. Dissolving after touching its nose to his outstretched hand just as Harry’s had done a year ago.

“Oh,” Lupin breathed out, understanding and pity replacing concern and confusion. Emotions in complete chaos, Draco disillusioned himself and left, Prags silently slithering behind him.

Chapter Text

"Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have.”

― Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

 

Draco knew he had to be a sight; uniform wrinkled still the same one as yesterday, paint splotches littering his cloths and skin, deep bruising circles underneath his eyes, hands twitching unable to remain still. It was no wonder Severus Snape took one look at him standing outside the door of his personal rooms at ass o’clock in the morning before grabbing his arm and dragging him inside.

A firm “Sit” had him sinking into a surprisingly comfortable arm chair. Severus sat down in the one across from him before summoning a house elf and requesting tea and biscuits. A tray appeared on the sitting table in front of them and they both set to work silently making their cups how they liked them. Draco grabbed a chocolate biscuit and began lightly nibbling on it while Severus sat back and began to sip on his cup. It was interesting to see Severus in his pajamas; bed-head, a black dressing gown wrapped tightly, and to his amusement black fuzzy slippers. Hiding his smile behind his tea cup Draco could feel some of his tension finally fading, painting had helped but tea and good company was always the best medicine.

“So Draco, what brings you to my door looking so terrible?”

“Such good manners Uncle Severus, it’s a wonder my mother doesn’t invite you around more often.”

At the unimpressed raise of an eyebrow, paired with the beginning twitch of annoyance at his right eye, he took pity on his godfather.

“Don’t worry I didn’t come here to bore you with my teenage angst problems.”

Severus’s entire body seemed to suddenly droop with relief so it was with no small amount of relish that Draco continued.

“I actually came to discuss Sirius Black.”

Like a switch Severus’s tension was back and a nervous finger began to tap against his porcelain cup.

“I’m afraid that I don’t know anything about what he is doing or why Draco, I certainly don’t know why you came to ask me. You would have better luck asking Remus Lupin.”

“I didn’t come to ask you for his location uncle. I want to know about him personally, who he is, what he’s like. I know you went to school with him and in all frankness Remus Lupin isn’t my godfather, you are.”

Knowing he had won Draco sat back and sipped his tea patiently waiting for his godfather to get over his self. With a harsh glare Snape conceded.

“Fine brat, what would you like to know?”

“To be honest I’m not quite sure; anything, everything, whatever you are free to tell me.”

“Very well, Black was an arrogant bully; probably why he was James Potter’s best friend. They were always together and rarely apart. He imagined himself to be a sort of bad boy, with his flying motorcycle and leather jacket. Not a decent brain cell between the two of them; scrapped by in class doing the bare minimum.”

“Did him and James ever argue, was there any bad blood between the two of them?”

“Not that I know of but we weren’t exactly what you would call close.” Severus spat, distaste coloring every word out of his mouth.

“If he had bad blood with anyone it was either with me or his brother.”

“His brother? Why?”

“It was a giant scandal at the time when Black was sorted into Gryiffindor, an entire Slytherin family and the heir breaks the mold. Regulus was everything Sirius was not; loyal son, Slytherin,” Severus’s eyes shifted nervously around before he softly finished, “death eater.”

Draco sat up straighter in his chair.

“So Sirius wasn’t a death eater.”

“No and in my personal opinion he would probably rather die than becoming one. He hated his family even more than he hated me. On the opposite side of the coin he loved James, Lily, and Harry like his chosen family.”

“It’s all lies then, he didn’t betray them.”

Placing his cup down Severus leaned forward in his chair bracing his elbows on his knees and resting his chin onto his folded hands. A few moments passed while he studied Draco, and whatever he was looking for he must have found because he continued in his Professor voice.

“There are many things that happened leading up to the deaths of the Potters’ and many things that happened that night that you may never know. Not because I don’t trust you but because those involved, me included, would rather those truths die and no one discover them.”

Turning away from Draco Severus pursed his lips before pressing on, voice dull and eyes cautiously blank like he was reliving a painful memory.

“I was the first to arrive at their house that night after The Dark Lord was destroyed, Sirius not long after me. I remember him running to Harry and cradling him in his arms. He said, ‘I’m sorry my boy but don’t worry. He will pay for this, I was wrong to trust him, we all were. I’m going to kill him if it’s the last thing I do.’ He handed the boy to Hagrid letting him take his motorcycle to get Harry to Dumbledore.”

Seeming to drag his focus back from where it had gone Severus looked over meeting his eyes once more.

“To answer, no, I do not believe Black betrayed the Potters and based off of the events that followed I think it is slightly obvious who did.”

And Draco understood as he recalled the reasons why Black was in Azkaban; who he had supposedly murdered along with twelve muggles. His eyes widened in shock as he thought of the creepy Gryffindor that would skulk about the manor.

“Peter Pettigrew.”

His eyes shining in what Draco was hesitant to call pride Severus nodded.

“While Potter and Black were close, Lupin and Pettigrew were close to them as well, the four of them wandering around the school as if they owned it.”

Head swimming Draco put his tea down and stood thanking his godfather as he went to leave.

“Draco,” he stopped on his way out hesitantly, “it’s a good thing it is Sunday and there are no lessons because you truly do look terrible. Consider going and taking a shower followed by some sleep hmm?”

“Yes uncle.”

He replied before continuing out of Severus’s rooms. Perhaps he would take that advice.

~HPHPHPHP~

Draco sat down at the Hufflepuff table for breakfast feeling better after taking his godfather’s advice and sleeping for almost twenty four hours. He piled things on his plate famished and began eating when the whispers finally reached him.

“Did you see? Next to the defense classroom...”

“…looks like a forest to…”

“…about thirty meters long! Beautiful coloring….”

“It must have taken someone hours….all the way up to the roof…when could…”

Concentrating on his food Draco startled a bit when Neville suddenly sat down beside him. Ignoring the gaze on his face he continued to eat knowing it wouldn’t be long.

“So Draco….”

“Nope.”

“I couldn’t help but notice……”

“No Neville.”

“The whole school has seen…”

“I have no idea what…”

“It’s for Harry isn’t it.”

Mouth set in a firm tight line Draco finally set down his fork and turned his head to look at Neville.

“As if that isn’t painfully obvious to those who see it.”

Neville was smiling softly and he reached up putting his arm around Draco’s shoulders.

“Yeah but what isn’t obvious is who it is from.”

Mouth twisting into a bitter frown Draco couldn’t help but huff.

“Trust me he’ll know.”

“It’s beautiful Draco.”

Letting his lips turn at the corners he leaned into Neville’s one armed hug.

“Thanks Neville.”

“Draco!”

His entire body stiffening he turned to look at Harry who stood right behind them glaring at Neville’s arm around his shoulders. Harry reached forward forcefully removing Neville’s arm before grabbing the back of Draco’s robes and pulling him up off of the bench. After Draco got his balance Harry grabbed his sleeve and began tugging him along ignoring his sputtering as he tried to get a question out.

“Harry…”

Before he could say another word Harry looked back, glare so furious that Draco choked on the words about to leave his throat. Meekly following along he wasn’t paying attention to where Harry was going until they stopped. Looking up Draco couldn’t say he was surprised to find them standing outside the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. Along with about twenty other students milling about his eyes were drawn to the mural he had painted on the wall across from the classroom. It had taken him all night and into the morning, after leaving Lupin the night he cast his patronus he had gone to his room to fetch his paints and returned.

The Forbidden Forest stretched out in front of him, fog rolling between darkened trees. Centaurs and other woodland creatures roamed in and out of view with the occasional Acromantula peeking out from leaves and branches. A small lake stood to the side partially covered by the forest; rabbits, foxes and other critters stopping occasionally to have a drink. Yet, what really stood out, the whole reason he had painted it in the first place, was the silver stag, beautifully luminescent against the darkness of the forest and other creatures. Shining it bounded through the forest, darting in and out of trees leaving a silver trail of mist in its wake.

“Draco…”

A hand cupped his cheek forcing his face and eyes to turn towards Harry who was looking at him with wonder and no small amount of confusion.

“I know you didn’t paint this for me, you have told me before that you only paint for yourself. So what were you thinking when you painted this?”

Breaking away from Harry’s grasp he walked up to mural pausing at the lake where the stag had stopped and looked up as if observing him.

“I painted it as a reminder. That you are a light shining in the dark, hope in the wake of despair, beauty in the face of horror….incorruptible”

“You think too much of me Draco, I have flaws too just like you. I am weak, brash, and quick to anger. I am not perfect but you already know that. What you don’t know about me is that I really liked dancing with you the other night but not as much as I liked kissing you.”

Startled Draco whirled around to look at Harry who was close behind him. Harry’s eyes roamed his face for a quick moment before he said, “I know that you think you don’t deserve to be happy and I won’t presume to know why, but please let me be close to you. We can take things slow.”

Draco stood there, the eyes of other students on them, and wondered if he could be brave. If he could take what Harry was offering and grasp a small part of happiness before things would begin to fall apart, but looking into Harry’s eyes he knew. He didn’t really have a choice; he had decided already at some point in first year when he began falling, he would always choose Harry from now on. No Regrets. Drawing Harry into his arms he bent his head meeting Harry’s lips with his own in a brief kiss.

Laughing Harry says, “I’ll take that as a yes,” and Draco just smiled.

~HPHPHPHP~

“So you finally figured it out with Harry.”

“Be quiet Hermione, I don’t need you bragging about how you saw this coming.”

They were in their shared Ancient Runes class working on a skills sheet to be completed with a partner by the end of class. Naturally he had paired with Hermione but he should have expected that she wouldn’t leave recent events alone.

“Oh come on Draco, it’s not like the whole school is talking about it…..oh wait.”

He looked up from writing on his scroll with a frown to see Hermione sitting smugly not even pretending to work.

“Don’t you have better things to focus on? Like our class work or possibly dark arts research?”

At the reminder Hermione’s face transformed from smug to unease. “Yes about that, I have finished the marked points and we have much to discuss but I would like to include Harry and Ron.”

“Of course, domum unitatis?”

Domum unitatis, Saturday after breakfast.”

~HPHPHPHP~

Professor Lupin answered the knock on his door surprise showing on his face when he saw who was coming to visit. Motioning Harry and Draco inside he quickly summoned a house elf to make them a tea tray same as Snape had done, they were in his office so they settled on the chairs in front of his desk. Harry was distracted looking at all of the interesting things scattered around but Draco focused on making their cups while Lupin just sat back in his chair and waited.

Earlier that day Draco and Harry had been sitting in the courtyard underneath their favorite tree and Draco had told Harry about his visit to see Severus and all that it had revealed. He had also told Harry about Lupin’s status as a werewolf, he didn’t want to keep any secrets from Harry, afterlife non withstanding. A conversation which had led them here to Lupin’s office because Harry was the same Harry Potter that Draco had always known. Rushing forward recklessly in search of answers and justice. He looked over fondly as he handed Harry his tea made just how he liked it, he wouldn’t have him any other way though. Harry took his tea with a grateful and fond smile before turning towards Lupin.

“So you were friends with my father and Sirius Black, do you believe he betrayed my parents and is trying to kill me?”

Choking on his tea Draco needed a moment to settle his self, why he loved this blunt Gryffindor he had no idea at moments like this. With no tell other than a raised brow Lupin responded.

“Yes I was friends with James and Sirius, and no I don’t believe he betrayed your parents. You are rather more informed than I was led to believe.”

“Not everyone in my life wants to manipulate me and feed me half-truths. What I need to ask you is do you think it’s possible for Pettigrew to still be alive?”

“Peter? What does he have to do with anything?”

To Draco’s surprise Harry’s voice suddenly went cold his face shutting down into hard lines.

“I am the one asking questions here Professor, after all it is my parents who were murdered and if you really were such great friends how come I’ve never received so much as a birthday card from you? Now I’ll ask again, is it possible for Pettigrew to still be alive?”

“Harry I …”

Draco could feel the sudden pulse of irritated magic beside him and intervened quickly before Harry did something he might later regret.

“Professor we are not here for apologies, excuses or belated explanations. Just for once in our lives prove that an adult is not afraid to tell the truth.”

Lupin sat back in his chair finding a way to somehow look even more tired and defeated than he normally did. Rubbing a weary hand across his face he let out a huff of breath before stapling his hands together on the desk in front of him. His eyes shifted around nervously for a minute before settling somewhere between them both.

“Well I suppose first I should start with some truths about myself.”

“If you are referring to your status as a werewolf we already know and we don’t care. Neither of us have any intentions of treating you differently or telling anyone else.”

Lupin looked at Draco in astonishment before nodding his head, surprise lingering in his eyes.

“You are both either very well informed in which case I would like to know your source or you are both extremely intelligent beyond your years. Yes, I am a werewolf; I was a werewolf when I attended Hogwarts. I was turned when I was very young so I have lived with this affliction most of my life. James, Sirius and Peter were my best friends and in order to remain by my side throughout my transformations they illegally became animagus.”

At Harry’s expression Draco explained with no prompting, “That means they could transform into an animal, there is an age limit and it is illegal to be unregistered.” Nodding his head Harry gestured for Lupin to continue.

“James was a stag, Sirius a large black dog and Peter could transform into a rat. To answer your question yes I think he could be alive, they never found his body, only a finger, but he would more than likely be living as a rat.”

Draco looked down a frown marring his face, he could feel something right there teasing the edges of his brain, and he had known Pettigrew was alive but he hadn’t known he was an animagus.

“Harry what was it they said Sirius had been chanting in his cell?”

“He’s at Hogwarts.”

In an instant he knew, and what a revelation indeed. Right under his nose, they had him.

“Draco what is it, did you figure it out?”

“Just think about it Harry; who do we know that has a rat which is missing one toe, was on the front page of The Prophet this summer, and has been sick since Sirius Black’s escape in Azkaban?”

Harry’s eyes widened in realization before a blinding smile took over his face, “Scabbers,” he breathed.

“He set himself with a nice wizarding family to keep track of what is going on, he was the secret keeper, not Black.”

“Draco your brilliant!” Harry jumped up and Draco stood up to meet him in an embrace that quickly turned into a long lingering kiss which ended when Harry pulled back before dragging Draco from the room to the sounds of a sputtering Professor.

“Expecto Patronum!”

Harry’s stag burst forth running off in the direction of the dungeons. “I told it to find Ron and Hermione and meet us in domum unitatis, I also told Ron to bring Scabbers.” Draco followed behind Harry as they made their way to the seventh floor. He wasn’t exactly sure what was about to happen but no matter what he was going to be there. Nothing Peter Pettigrew threw at them was stronger than his resolve to protect Harry Potter.

Chapter Text

“I solemnly swear I am up to no good.”

-Harry Potter, Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkzban

 

They arrived at domum unitatis at the same time as Hermione. It was just before dinner so at least this one time they weren’t breaking the rules…yet. Settling into three of the chairs around the table she was the first to break the silence with her never ending curiosity.

“What’s going on? I thought we were all going to meet on Saturday.”

She leveled Draco with a significant glance making him wince as Harry turned accusing eyes towards him.

“We were meeting on Saturday? What’s this about Draco?”

“Something important Harry but the explanation will be lengthy and I didn’t want to have it half discussed. I want you, Ron and Hermione to have all of the facts for your consideration.”

After a satisfied nod from Harry he turned to Hermione.

“Something else has come up that is unrelated to what we need to talk about Saturday, so that meeting still needs to happen. We will explain everything as soon as Ron gets here.”

Like he had sensed their impatience Ron’s silver Jack Russell Terrier came bounding into the room, stopping in front of Harry.

“Harry I have been told to tell you from Pansy.” Here Ron’s voice went up in pitch obviously mimicking Pansy. “Hold onto your Gay for Draco arse you speckled git; as soon as Ron, Vince, and Greg are finished correctly telling me the proper way to address The Minister of Magic I will allow him to join you in your secret lair he refuses to tell me about.” Then back in Ron’s regular voice he continues, “Sorry mate, I’ll try to hurry.”

It was dead silent for a few minutes with Draco and Hermione staring each other down, daring the other not to laugh before they both cracked, letting out peels of giggling. He was glad that Pansy had decided to acquiesce to his request to teach Ron proper pure-blood etiquette. Biased though it may be, it was also necessary and Draco couldn’t help but be sure that Ron would be a rising star in the Ministry in the future. To further his surprise and delight, Vince and Greg had remained their close friendship with Ron. He knew they had suffered punishments similar to his own after first year but unlike him they hadn’t kept it to themselves, the entire Slytherin house had been informed.

Unknown to most in his first life Vince and Greg were the babies of Slytherin house, protected and sheltered by all. That had seemed to carry over into this life and furious most of Slytherin house had cut off all correspondence to their families; at least any correspondence worth noting. It was rumored that Millicent Bulstrode had tucked the two of them under her arms after hearing of their punishments crying about her poor ‘muffins’ and threatening anyone who was near with bodily harm if they ruined their ‘glutton friendship’ with Ronald Weasley.

Looking at the table in front of him, Draco noted that it was occupied with the usual drinks and snacks the room usually provided for them. While Hermione and Harry discussed Pansy; Draco vaguely hearing something along the lines of “It’s not just his arse you know, have you looked at him?!” Draco closed his eyes and sent a silent request to the room focusing on pertinent memories leading up to the situation they were about to find themselves in. Harry and Hermione’s voices suddenly cut off and Draco opened his eyes to see the table was completely clear except for a small black sitting pillow with the Hogwarts crest in the middle. A lot like the ones on the couches except this one was smaller, the perfect size for a rat he concluded with a smile and a silent thank you to the room.

He wasn’t sure how long they waited before Ron arrived because he had insisted, even in the face of Harry’s pleading eyes, that they meditate until he showed. When the door opened they all stood from their cross-legged positions on the floor and Draco noticed with satisfaction the presence of Scabbers in his arms. Gesturing towards the table, Draco indicated the pillow, and Ron placed Scabbers in the middle of it. As soon as Ron had moved back to sit down a rectangle of sparking purplish blue magic surrounded the pillow and Scabbers; pulsing and crackling it shocked Ron when he yelped and tried to get to Scabbers.

“What in the bloody hell?! What’s going on? Scabbers!”

“Ron, calm down and let us explain, come everyone let’s sit.”

Following Harry they all sat around the table with the now trapped Peter Pettigrew as Harry informed Ron and Hermione of all they had discovered. After he was done they all looked at the rat, who was twitching nervously, debating on where to go from here.

“Well we can’t go to Dumbledore or any of the Professors, I think what we should do is go to The Ministry.”

“But Ron, The Ministry is part of the reason an apparently innocent man spent twelve years in Azkaban in the first place.”

“I know Hermione but if we bring them Pettigrew and have him interrogated under Veritaserum, the truth will be brought to light.”

“That is a good point but how do we know who to trust? Who will believe us and give us a chance?”

“I have an idea, I have a cousin, she goes by Tonks, she is a new Auror but we can trust her. Believe me, I know all the bad ones in politicians pockets, she’s not one of them.”

“Ok Draco, now that we have a plan, how are we going to get to The Ministry?”

“Well the best way would be for us to sneak out to Hogsmeade and floo there but I’m not sure how the four of us and a rat will be able to accomplish that.”

“Well er,” Harry rubbed the back of his neck with a sheepish expression before pulling a folded piece of parchment out of his robes. He pointed his wand at the paper and said, “I solemnly swear I am up to no good.”

To Draco’s amazement the parchment came alive into a blueprint of the castle. There were details of secret passageways and it even showed where people were. With a gasp he saw at the same time as the other three their four names plus that of Peter Pettigrew inside The Room of Requirement.

“That settles that, come on let’s take the passage to the Honeyduke’s cellar.”

“Hold on Harry,” he folded his arms before meeting guilty green eyes, “where did you get that?”

“Er Fred and George might have given it to me the day I showed up in Hogsmeade, they said they were sick of my, um sad pining and wanted me to take you on a dat….er wanted me to be able to hang out with you.”

Harry was looking all around the room refusing to meet anyone’s eyes, blush high on his cheeks. Draco walked forward and kissed one of those cute red cheeks before turning away red taking over his own face. Before Ron and Hermione could start with their peanut gallery comments Draco took the initiative; waving his wand at the magic barrier containing Peter Pettigrew. It hovered up into the air as if connected to his wand, Draco tested it moving his wand back and forth, and the box followed moving through the air, guided by his movements.

“Alright, let’s go.”

~HPHPHPHP~

They stepped into The Ministry Atrium, Prags now coiled around Draco’s neck after catching up to them halfway down the secret passage to Honeydukes’ hissing furiously at almost being left behind. Luckily it being so late at night, there weren’t too many people to witness the strange sight he was sure they presented. Ron approached the greeting witch with the three of them trailing behind, Peter still trapped on the pillow in the magic field hovering in front of Draco’s wand. Ron bowed impressively to the cooing delight of the witch.

“We are here to visit with Auror Tonks at your service ma’am.”

“Oh,” the witch simpered, “regretfully she has already gone home for the day, perhaps Auror Moody?”

“We politely decline to meet with Auror Moody but perhaps Auror Shacklebolt is available?”

At the witches raised eyebrow Draco quickly deferred, “I apologize, I cannot currently properly greet you,” he nodded his head to the floating rat.

Smiling the witch nodded her understanding.

“Auror Kingsley is currently working a night shift in Diagon Alley but I’m sure he would be amiable to being called back to meet with you.”

She summoned a flying memo that fluttered in front of them importantly.

“This will lead you to his office, you may wait there.”

With another deep bow Ron thanked her in behalf of all of them and they moved away following the memo to the lifts hearing her delight behind them to “such amazing manners.”

~HPHPHPHP~

Kingsley Shacklebolt sat in stunned silence clearly trying to decide if he should believe them or not. They had told him everything they had discovered and Draco was certain that he would side with them. He remembered Kingsley as being fair and always giving the benefit of the doubt no matter who you happened to be or who you were associated with. Seeming to come to a decision Kingsley stood up and turned to Draco.

“Mr. Malfoy would you be so kind as to remove the charm around Mr. Pettigrew?”

Draco lowered the pillow to the floor, not really knowing how to remove the charm since domum unitatis had cast it; he simply waived his wand in an arch and wished it away which amazingly worked as the magical barrier disappeared. Kingsley was already standing with his wand out and as soon as the box disappeared he cast.

“Revelio!”

The rat before them slowly morphed into a simpering, fat and balding man. Kingsley waived his wand again and familiar magical bonds appeared around his hands and feet forcing him to sit on the floor forcefully. Prags slithered down Draco’s body to the floor and began circling Pettigrew while hissing angrily; when Pettigrew went to open his mouth Harry suddenly raised his wand yelling, “Silencio!”

Mouth opening and closing like a fish but no sound coming forth, Pettigrew began to panic; looking at each of the frantically in turn, eyes pleading.

“I apologize Auror Shacklebolt but I am not in the mood to listen to any of his lies or sorry attempts at manipulation.”

“Quite understandable Harry, unfortunately none of you can accompany me to interrogation but I swear on my magic that I will see justice done. I will arrange to have an Auror escort the four of you back to Hogwarts.”

“That will not be necessary sir; we will return the same way we came, but thank you for your assistance today.”

At Ron’s deep bow Kingsley raised an eyebrow in surprise but bowed in return.

“It was my pleasure Mr. Weasley.”

Prags made his way back to being coiled around Draco’s neck as he took Harry’s arm and pulled him out of Kingsley’s office. None of them speaking they made their way back to the atrium and Draco could only hope that this would turn out as he hoped.

~HPHPHPHP~

Sirius Black Acquitted!

In a shocking turn of events it was released this morning that last night the DMLE (Department of Magical Law Enforcement) captured none other than Peter Pettigrew who was presumed dead twelve years ago; while under an interrogation by Veritaserum Mr. Pettigrew admitting to being the one to cause the explosion resulting in the death of twelve muggles. In another shocking twist he also said that he was The Secret Keeper for the late James and Lily Potter. (See page 6 for more details) Currently still in holding at The Ministry a trial will be held on November 6th to determine the fate of Mr. Pettigrew. Currently the DMLE request that Sirius Black come by The Ministry to release all of his charges, if he turns himself into The Ministry there will be no punishment for breaking out of Azkaban; though in the opinion of this reporter The Ministry owes Mr. Black much more than an apology and clearing of charges. (Continued on page 2)

Draco set down that mornings Daily Prophet with no small amount of glee. He began to eat his breakfast as he acknowledged the chatter around him. The entire school was gossiping about this turn of events and all of them kept sneaking glances at Harry before quickly looking away. That is one thing Draco regretted about all of this, it brought back the deaths of Harry’s parents to the lime light. Before he could leave his table and go sit by Harry to comfort him in the face of all the gossip, non-other than Professor Sprout stopped in front of him.

“Mr. Malfoy, come with me.”

Looking around he nervously noted Professor McGonagall similarly fetching Harry, while Professor Snape stood in front of Ron and Professor Flitwick collected Hermione. Throat swallowing heavily Draco moved next to Harry grabbing his hand as they moved through the hallways to a familiar gargoyle.

“Ice Mice,” McGonagall said and the gargoyle moved aside, the professors’ ascended the staircase, four nervous students following behind.

They gathered in The Headmaster’s office, Dumbledore seated behind his desk, the four of them lined up in front of him flanked by the professors. To the apparent surprise of the adults the four of them dipped simultaneously into a bow towards the headmaster before walking forward to settle in the four chairs placed in front of his desk.

“Good morning, I trust you know why we are all gathered here.”

“Actually no Headmaster, would you kindly inform us?”

Eyebrows raised Dumbledore looked at Hermione before looking at each one of them in return as if beseeching them to give up their secrets. When none of them were forthcoming he looked back to Hermione before answering.

“I have been contacted by The Minister of Magic, it seems The Ministry would like to award four of my students Orders of Merlin third class for the capture of a criminal. Is there anything any of you would like to share?”

“No Headmaster, there is not, that is between us and The Ministry. Anything else they can either contact us or our guardians. Was that all we were called here for?”

Draco was so proud of Harry in that moment if not for their audience he would have kissed him. Dumbledore seemed to not know how to respond, he just sat there blinking before sadness seemed to come over him.

“I’m sorry you feel that way, unfortunately it appears that you all broke school rules by not only being out of bed after curfew but you all left school grounds as well. Since the four of you are in separate houses a deduction of house points would be moot. Therefore you will each serve detention with your Heads of House every Saturday at 7 o’clock for one hour until the end of year feast.”

Not saying a word the four of them nodded before standing, lining up they gave a bow of farewell before leaving the adults behind. Once the gargoyle closed behind them they all let out a breath of relief.

“Well that went quite well.”

“I actually think we got off rather easy Hermione.”

“That is true Harry, if we would have been expelled I might have finished what Voldemort had started and killed you. Now we all better get to class, don’t forget we are meeting in domum unitatis Saturday after breakfast.”

After they all agreed with Hermione, totally in fear of her, they each went their separate ways. Draco reflected as he walked, on all that had happened already this year before Christmas Hols had even arrived. It was with a growing sense of accomplishment that he felt he was finally making progress undoing all the bad that had been done in his previous life; now to start focusing on these horcruxes.

Chapter Text

"It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well."

— Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

 

Draco was currently curled into Harry on the couch inside domum unitatis, with Ron and Hermione on the other couch next to them. Draco had explained what a horcrux was and his theory that The Dark Lord might have multiples and that it was part of why he couldn’t seem to be killed. He had also mentioned that he believed The Diary from second year had been a horcrux created when Myrtle had been murdered. Hermione had confirmed his theories citing the book he had lent her. She had gone on about how it all made so much sense and that in order to slay Voldemort these horcruxes needed to be destroyed first.

Now they all sat in thought, and Draco was trying to think of how they could pull this off. How were they supposed to find out how many there were? For that matter how were they supposed to find out what they were? The Dark Lord had murdered so many people that tracking them down that way would be next to impossible.

“There’s nothing for it, over Christmas Hols I need to return to the manor. The library is full of books I’m sure will help, I’ll research as much as I can and steal those that I think will be useful.”

Harry’s arms that were wrapped around him suddenly tightened a painful amount.

“Absolutely not!”

“Harry…”

“I don’t care how much sense it makes Hermione, he’s not going? Did you see what they did to him?!!”

“Of course we did, but…”

“No!”

Draco pushed his way out of Harry’s arms and stood looking down at Harry with his fists clenched tightly at his sides.

“It’s not your decision to make Harry, it is mine and you are not my keeper, nor can you tell me what to do. This is bigger than just you and me, we are trying to destroy an evil that has already turned our world on its head once before ruining countless lives and if all it takes is a little pain to have the answers to prevent it from happening again, you better believe I am going to pay that price.”

“A little pain?! Draco what my relatives do to me is a little pain, what your father has done and your mother has allowed to have done to you is torture! There is no other word for it. I will not allow it!”

“Well it’s a good thing I’m not asking you then isn’t it!”

Unable to face Harry another minute Draco ran out of the room, Prags’ concerned hissing following him all the way through the school down to his room. In a fit of dramatics he flung himself onto his bed, tears flowing freely and silently. It’s not like he wanted to go home, he didn’t like to be whipped and burned until he blacked out any more than Harry liked that it had happened to him. Yet, he had to go back, if they wanted answers he was the only one in a position to find them. Why did Harry have to be so difficult? Why couldn’t he understand that if they didn’t take care of this the price would be so much bigger than a few more scars?

~HPHPHPHP~

Draco woke slowly feeling uncharacteristically groggy. He opened his eyes to see the familiar and unwelcome sight of the hospital wing ceiling. Looking down he realized the heavy weight covering him was one Harry Potter in full quidditch gear curled beside and half on top of him. His other side was occupied by a visible Prags, outfitted in his Hufflepuff sweater.

Thinking back to yesterday Draco recalled attending the Slytherin vs Gryffindor game. It had been close but when seekers Harry and Theodore had seen the snitch Harry had been faster and right as he had reached forward to snatch it, in a truly Slytherin move Nott had grabbed Harry’s broom by its tail bristles. Apparently his forward momentum carried him because to everyone’s horror Harry had continued forward without his broom catching the snitch before beginning to fall.

Seeing it as if in slow motion Draco had drawn his wand casting a spell that had slowed Harry’s descent so that he fell slower and slower until he stepped down onto the ground as if walking off of an escalator; raising the snitch still clutched in his hand in triumph. Amidst everyone’s cheers around him Draco had begun to feel dizzy his vision blurring and spinning around. As he fell unconscious he could hear Hermione’s worried, “Draco? Draco?! Draco!!!!!”

He groaned, closing his eyes again, he realized that he tended to forget that even though he had the mind of a twenty year old he actually had the magical core of a thirteen year old which was not enough to boost a spell as powerful as the one he had cast. He would never regret saving Harry though, he was prepared to pay any and every cost needed for that. Except none of that explained Harry’s presence sleeping at his side; glasses placed on the side table next to a glass of water.

The past week had been strained, not only was Pettigrew’s trial yesterday evening he realized, if it was the morning after the match, but Harry had been ignoring him. In all fairness he had been ignoring Harry as well, avoiding him at every opportunity really. He would not be swayed, he would return to the manor in December with or without Harry’s approval. Answers had to be found and he was sure the manor library held them. He draped his arm around Harry’s shoulders and began absently running his fingers through soft black hair like he had been prone to do often. His other hand rested on Prags head thumb rubbing circles in-between his eyes like he liked.

He looked up when the door opened reveling Hermione and Ron the latter of which was curiously carrying a large bag. They sat down in the chairs next to his bed and when Ron put down the bag it made a loud clunking noise. Raising an eyebrow towards the bag then towards Ron, he just shook his head at Draco in response.

“After Harry wakes up mate.”

Shrugging in response he focused his attention onto Hermione who was glaring at him with an expression to rival McGonagall. He let his head fall back against his pillow and just waited, it didn’t take long.

“Would you care to explain why you thought it was a good idea to completely drain your magical core? You scared us all very badly, especially Harry, you should have seen his face when he noticed that it was you being rushed to the hospital wing!”

He scoffed which was apparently the wrong response because Hermione exploded.

“This is serious! Do you have any idea what casting a powerful spell like that could do to you?! You could have died!”

“So?”

Draco looked up at Hermione’s gob smacked expression in exasperation, how could they not understand?

“How do you not understand? I don’t matter; I never have, not really. None of you need me to defeat The Dark Lord or save Sirius Black or any of those other things. I am not living in denial of the world like you are, there are people trying to kill Harry, and there will possibly always be people trying to kill Harry. That cannot be changed nor can it be helped. I knew from the first moment that I took his hand that our friendship will possibly, no it will probably cost me my life. For him I am willing to pay that price, and only for him, I honestly couldn’t give a damn about anyone else. At some point people are going to start dying and the people doing the killing are not going to wait for us to grow up so you need to decide soon how far you are willing to go. I already made my choice, make yours.”

Throughout his tirade the blood slowly drained from their faces until Hermione stood and ran out tears flowing down her face. A shift in the bed had him looking down into green eyes filled with a sad sort of resolution.

“That was a bit harsh there mate.”

He sat up in the bed drawing Harry up with him, tucked against his side, and Prags curling between their legs.

“Good, it needed to be, it seems to be the only way to get through to you all. This is not a game, this is life and death and so much more. Why do you think the adults keep everything from us? Why do you think they don’t tell us the truth? We are children and they want to let us have a childhood but the simple truth is that’s not in the cards for Harry therefore it’s not in the cards for me. If you and Hermione are going to be involved and truly help, I’m afraid it’s not in the cards for you either. You have to understand this, you have to understand that I am not being dramatic; we have already been in more life or death situations than any of us should have. One of these times someone is going to die, and you need to make your peace with that in case it is you.”

The silence that followed was uncomfortably solemn but it had to be said. After giving them both a little time to absorb that statement Draco changed the subject.

“Now that Harry is awake, what is in the mysterious bag?”

“Oh,” Ron’s face remained solemn, “I’m sorry Harry but when you began to fall Nott let go of your broom and in the resulting chaos it flew off on its own right into The Whomping Willow.”

Ron stood picking up the bag before dumping the contents on the foot of the bed.

“We collected what we could, sorry mate. I’ll see you two later; I’m going to go find Hermione.”

After Ron left Harry just sat beside him quietly both of them looking at the pile of splinters and wood chunks at the foot of the bed.

“I’m sorry about your broom Harry.”

“Who cares about a broom Draco, I’m just glad you’re ok……I’m sorry I’ve been such a prat lately.”

“Harry….”

“No Draco, listen,” Harry twisted in his arms until Draco was sat back against the headboard behind him and Harry was straddling his lap settling his bum on his upper thighs. Looking right at him Harry’s eyes traced his face as if memorizing the details of it while his hands fiddled with the buttons on Draco’s pajama top.

“I was being selfish; I keep trying to tell you that I’m not as perfect as you think that I am. All I was thinking about was how I felt, how I would feel if you got hurt trying to help me. How helpless I was to do anything about it, and how I wished I could make you do what I wanted. You make me think crazy things Draco, I find myself wanting all of your attention all of the time, I want to possess you. It’s wrong, I know that, you are your own person, I understand that now. I will work to try and be better, to be someone worthy of you and your devotion.”

Looking into Harry’s eyes, earnest expression focused entirely on him. Draco knew he was screwed; he was so far gone on this amazing person that somehow wanted him. This person that got angry just because he couldn’t protect him, this savior.

“Harry.” He breathed before fisting his hands in Harry’s quidditch robes and pulling him forward into a desperate kiss. His right hand still fisted in Harry’s robes he moved his left hand to the back of Harry’s head, tilting it and bending Harry’s back he leaned forward away from the headboard and gave his entire focus to devouring Harry’s mouth.

He wasn’t sure how long they breathed each other, lips parting only to come back together, licks and nibbles intergrading with sweet chaste pecks and desperate open mouthed plunges. Until the clearing of a throat interrupted followed by, “Forget to mention something important Mooney? What the bloody hell is this?”

Pulling back Draco opened his eyes looking only at Harry; slowly black lashes fluttered open revealing dazed green eyes, leaning forward he placed one last kiss on swollen lips before reaching over and collecting Harry’s glasses placing them on his nose and tucking them gently behind his ears. Neither knowing nor caring who had interrupted them Draco lifted Harry slightly, shuffling him around until he was facing the foot of the bed, sat in-between Draco’s now open legs, Harry’s back to his chest. Keeping Harry close he closed his arms around him before tucking his face into his hair breathing him in. Prags slithered up to curl in Harry’s lap hissing pleasantly when Harry began rubbing his thumb between his eyes. Looking up Draco wasn’t really surprised to see the faces of Remus Lupin and Sirius Black.

“Er Professor, um Mr. Black, can we help you?”

“I don’t know Harry I was just beginning to enjoy the show.”

At Harry’s sputtering Draco placed a calming kiss in his hair before turning to Sirius Black with a warning glare.

“Why are you here cousin?”

“Cousin?! How are we…”

“Seriously Padfoot, look at him.”

“Oh you’re the Malfoy brat, er Narcissa’s son.”

“I’m glad we cleared that up, I’ll ask again, why are you here?”

“Oh well I came to see Harry and when Albus said he was in the hospital wing…”

“You rushed off before he could explain like a concerned parent.”

“Shut it Mooney, anyway that’s kind of why I’m here, do you think we could talk privately Harry?”

Sheepishly Sirius rubbed at the back of his head, begging puppy eyes trained on Harry.

“Anything you need to say to me you can say in front of Draco.”

“I….see…well, the thing is Harry, when you were born James and Lily named me as your godfather so Iwaswonderingifyouwantedtolivewithme.”

“I’m sorry, could you repeat that slower, in English.”

Glancing hardly at Draco before looking back at Harry, Sirius repeated.

“Since the ministry cleared me I am now in the position to take guardianship over you, would you like to come and live with me Harry? I know that you don’t know me well but I promise it’s what your parents would have wanted and…”

“Yes!” Harry sheepishly cleared his throat, “I mean yes, I would be delighted, and I would love that.”

Looking down Harry self-consciously fiddled with Prags sweater, adjusting it this way and that.

“Brilliant!”

Tightening his hold on Harry, Draco could hear the smile in his voice when he gave a breathless, “Yeah.”

As Remus and Sirius settled into the chairs Ron and Hermione had vacated earlier, Draco settled back closing his eyes. Hearing the three of them talk around him Draco couldn’t help but feel a little hopeful that this time, this life, Harry would get the love and family he had seen in the mirror in first year, his heart’s desire.

~HPHPHPHP~

It was March and the year was winding down. Christmas Hols had been rather uneventful with his parents ignoring him for the large part. After the trial Peter Pettigrew had been given the dementor’s kiss and none of them had to see his face again. Harry had stayed at the castle because Sirius had needed to get his house cleaned up apparently and the guardianship over Harry properly transferred. For some reason Dumbledore had called Harry into his office and tried to convince him to stay with his muggle relatives which to no one’s surprise was met with a resounding and definite no. In return for missing most of Harry’s life and not being able to take him over Christmas, Sirius had apparently found it appropriate to buy Harry a brand new Firebolt broomstick to the envy of the rest of the school; which was fine with Draco seeing as how Harry let him fly on it whenever he wanted.

Hermione and Draco had been steadily making their way through the books that he had taken from the manor library over Christmas but had yet to find anything that would assist them in tracking down The Dark Lord’s horcruxes. They were currently in domum unitatis situated on the couches, each of them with stacks of books surrounding them while Harry and Ron practiced their dueling with Prags who was throwing up barriers for them to try and break through.

Absently he wished for the muggle boom box so he could listen to music, he did enjoy the sounds as back ground noise in his muggle studies class. Since the room apparently had a secret love for Draco a shelf appeared on the wall with a muggle stereo proudly on it. With an excited yelp he got off the couch and rushed over examining the stack of cassette tapes next to it. Picking up one he recognized, he placed the one titled The Beatles into the little door it was supposed to go in before pressing what their Professor called the Play button. To his delight music began to come out of the speaker boxes.

~Well, shake it up, baby, now

Twist and shout~

With an excited squeal Hermione goes, “I love this song!”

~Come on, come on, come, come on, baby, now

Come on and work it on out~

Standing she runs over to Draco and grabs his hands.

~Well, work it on out, honey

You know you look so good~

Smiling wide they both begin to jump and twirl around.

~You know you got me goin' now

Just like I know you would~

Looking over Draco laughs at Ron and Harry’s silly expressions.

~Well, shake it up, baby, now

Twist and shout~

Letting go of Hermione’s hands, he waives them over while continuing to twirl about.

~Come on, come on, come, come on, baby, now

Come on and work it on out~

They begin to walk over, Harry beaming at Draco who is beginning to really move his feet.

~You know you twist, little girl

You know you twist so fine~

Hermione starts to shift her feet back and forth her hair falling over her face as she bangs her head.

~Come on and twist a little closer now

And let me know that you're mine, woo~

Laughing harder now, Draco grabs Harry’s hands and starts jumping with him with no rhythm as Ron laughs.

~Ah, ah, ah, ah, wow Baby,

now Twist and shout~

Hermione grabs Ron and pulls him into her shuffling movements grinning madly.

~Come on, come on, come, come on, baby, now

Come on and work it on out~

Winking at her Draco, reaches and joins hands with Hermione as Harry does the same with Ron.

~You know you twist, little girl

You know you twist so fine~

All linked in a circle they start spinning around as fast as they can, heads bobbing to the music.

~Come on and twist a little closer now

And let me know that you're mine~

Tripping, Ron stops their spin, falling on the ground, laughing at him Harry bends double; while Draco and Hermione continue dancing.

~Well, shake it, shake it, shake it, baby, now

Well, shake it, shake it, shake it, baby, now

Well, shake it, shake it, shake it, baby, now~

Throwing their hands up, fist clenched and arms waiving back and forth the two of them smile, hips and feet twisting side to side.

~Ah, ah, ah, ah~

Breath coming in and out sharply Draco looks up carefully removing longer pieces of hair from inside his mouth very unattractively. Harry is looking at him with such a fond expression that it makes his insides squirm and he can't help but wonder what he did to deserve such perfect moments like this; as the stereo continues on to the next song he matches the smiles of his friends around him.

~Here comes the sun (doo doo doo)~

Chapter Text

“Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself.”

— Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

 

Draco hurriedly rushed past burning tents amidst screams of fear, chasing after a glimpse of bushy hair. As soon as his parents had donned their death eater masks and robes, Draco had been frantically searching for his friends. It had been a boring summer so far until he had learned that Ron and his family accompanied by Hermione as well as Harry and Sirius would be attending the quidditch world cup. Honestly from what Harry wrote in his letters, Sirius had entirely too much gold to burn. So far Harry’s summer had consisted of tearing apart the Black’s London home and re-building it from scratch room by room. Needless to say the two of them were having the times of their lives, destroying things while getting to know each other.

He had been hoping for the opportunity to spend some time with his friends but had yet to have a moment free of his parents the entire time he had been here. Until now, he thought bitterly to himself as he finally caught sight of Harry, Ron and Hermione; they seemed to be frozen and staring at something in horror. Following their gazes he saw with a feeling of disgust a group of death eaters walking with the muggle family that had been assisting suspended above them. Slowly moving forward they cursed people and set tents on fire, laughing at the chaos they caused. Draco skidded to a halt in front of them.

“What are you three doing here, alone? Where is Sirius? The twins? Mr. Weasley?”

“They all went…”

A warning hiss from Prags had him throwing up a shield spell just in time for a spell to hit it hard making him stagger slightly. Turning around he saw a single death eater, his father he was sure, making his way towards them, wand raised.

“Shit, shit, shit!”

Draco had to think fast, the death eaters hated and would surly harm all three of the people currently behind him. Thinking quickly he called, “Leaf!”

Pop

“Yes Master Draco?”

Knowing his father would harshly punish the elf later Draco removed the Niffler scarf around his waist handing it to her.

“I’m sorry but I must free you my friend, hurry and take the three behind me to number twelve Grimmauld Place, one of them will be happy to take you into service, goodbye.”

Tears in her bulbous eyes, his longest friend gripped the scarf tightly.

“Goodbye Master Draco.”

“No! Draco you can’t…”

Pop

Turning he enforced his shields as the death eater continued to approach, firing spell after spell against him. Tilting up his chin he twisted his face into a familiar sneer daring them to do their worst, right as they reached him the screams seemed to double and the death eaters froze staring at something in the forest behind Draco as they began to apparate away quickly. Turning around Draco saw The Dark Mark rising high in the sky before a hand grabbed his arm apparating him as well.

~HPHPHPHP~

It had been two days since the quidditch world cup and Draco had yet to be alone with his father; whom had been running around attending Ministry meeting after Ministry meeting. Which was good, it gave him time. Harry hadn’t wanted him to return over the summer hols but they hadn’t found anything to help them locate horcruxes yet. He had figured that searching the bookshelves in his father’s study would be more fruitful. So far he hadn’t found anything useful but knowing he was running out of time, the past two days had seen him upping his transfers with Gringott’s and taking as many books that he thought were needed from his father’s study as possible.

Leaf had been taken in by Sirius and Harry so she had been smuggling all of his stuff to the attic at number twelve. He was currently back inside his father’s study leafing through more books, Prags camouflaged around him somewhere; when the door opened admitting his father into the room. Pretending nothing was wrong Draco continued his search, but his entire body was now tense and alert.

“Crucio!”

Draco was on the floor quickly, screaming in pain as the familiar curse tore through his body. His father lifted it and Draco panted on the floor trying to recover.

“I cannot believe I have such an ungrateful, disgrace for a son. How dare you humiliate me like you did! Crucio!”

Trying to steel his self as much as possible did no good as agony set his nerves on fire and white noise filled his ears. Lucius stopped again so he didn’t have to talk over Draco’s screams.

“I hope this is at least a lesson you will remember, Crucio!”

For the third time the curse ripped through his body and he thrashed around on the floor with no outlet. He wasn’t sure how much time passed but when his father finally lifted the curse again and just walked out of the room, Draco was covered in his own urine. He couldn’t stop shaking, nerves not understanding that the pain wasn’t happening anymore.

Prags approached, curling around his arm that was stretched out in front of him on the floor, blood dripping from where his fingernails had dug sharply into his palms. His thoughts were fuzzy and he could feel himself beginning to lose consciousness. A sharp pain in his arm had him coherent enough to get a weak, “Leaf”, from his raspy throat before blackness claimed him.

~HPHPHPHP~

Waking up slowly Draco soon became aware that he was in a hospital bed. Looking around he identified that it was a private room in St. Mungos. Noticing a glass of water with a straw next to his bed he reached for it, his parched throat suddenly screaming at him. Yet, for some reason his hands wouldn’t stop shaking and he lost his grip on the glass halfway to the bed, it fell to the floor breaking into pieces. The noise drew a mediwitch who ran into the room, seeing him sitting there with his hands held up awkwardly, her face shifted from alarm to concern.

“Oh, poor dear, here let me go get you some more water.”

Waiving her wand she repaired the glass, leaving only to return almost immediately with it full of water. Holding it for him, he took greedy sips before sitting back and letting her fluff pillows behind his head. Reclining back he was about to close his eyes when the confused look of the witch stopped him. Raising an eyebrow he looked at her and waited, his face portraying, well what?

She nervously wrung her hands before asking, “Don’t you want to know how you got here and where your visitors are?”

Raising his other eyebrow, he waived his hand in a ‘go on’ gesture.

“You were brought in by a distraught Harry Potter, he has been here to visit you every day, he said to tell you if you woke and he wasn’t here that he had Prags.”

Relieved Draco went to close his eyes again before absorbing what she said.

“What do you mean every day, how long have I been here?”

“It is currently the middle of the night on your fifth day Mr. Malfoy.”

“Five days? I’ve been unconscious for five days?!”

“Well, due to the excessive nerve damage, the healer on staff was afraid it would be permanent without immediate attention so you were placed under a medical coma. You will have constant nerve flares and shaking for weeks, but it should slowly die down.”

Here she paused biting her bottom lip, still wringing her hands, and her eyes shifted around refusing to meet his.

“Based on the condition that you were brought in as well as the excessive scarring on your back you have been removed from your parents’ custody. To my knowledge a change of guardianship hasn’t been finalized yet but someone has stepped forward to take care of you.”

“Who is it?”

“I’m afraid it’s not my place to say, please try and get some sleep Mr. Malfoy, tomorrow is sure to be exhausting for you and your visitors usually arrive early and wait by the door until they can enter at 8 o’clock.”

Laying back down Draco wondered until sleep claimed him how much his life was about to change.

~HPHPHPHP~

He was brought to awareness by the soft stroking of fingertips brushing up and down his arm. The familiar weight of Prags lying against his side let him know who the fingertips belonged to. He smiled softly eyes still closed breathing out, “Harry.”

He opened his eyes slowly adjusting to the harsh light of the hospital before focusing on Harry who was standing beside his bed, leaning down Harry’s lips met his own in a chaste kiss.

“Ug you guys are so cute you’re disgusting.”

Smiling against Harry’s lips Draco reluctantly pushed him back a little so that he could sit up in the bed. Harry readjusted his pillows behind him before taking his hand and sitting in the chair right next to the bed; while Prags moved to coil on Draco’s lap. Turning to where Ron’s voice had come from Draco felt a blush cover his face as he took in the size of their audience.

Crowded into his hospital room were; Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Fred and George, Ron and Ginny, Mr. and Mrs. Granger (based on the resemblance to Hermione), Hermione, Neville and Augusta Longbottom, and Sirius Black. Swallowing hard, he decided to reply to Ron.

“As much as I would love to put you in your place Ron, there are simply more of you than there are me,” he gestured to the alarming number of redheads in the room, “therefore in the sense of self-preservation I will simply say thank you.”

Smiling Hermione made her way forward the smile slowly slipping and her face becoming more serious.

“You really scared us Draco, really bad.”

Alarmingly tears started to fill her eyes before spilling over, moving beside her Ron put his arms around her and she buried her head in the crook of his neck hiding her face as her sniffles filled the room.

“It’s been a struggle to keep anyone of these people from sneaking off and murdering Lucius Malfoy in his sleep but I’ve kept them out of Azkaban so far.”

“Thank you Mr. Weasley, I am not worth all of that trouble really. I am thrilled that you came to see me.”

“Lad we have all been coming here every day with the exception of Neville and Augusta, we ran into them this morning, they didn’t even know you were here. To hear Ron tell it we owe you a great deal, apparently you stood up to the death eaters putting yourself at great risk to get him, Hermione and Harry to safety.”

At this he looked at Mr. Weasley incredulously, “Of course I did, they are my friends. Their blood doesn’t determine the kind of people they are, and I would do it again over and over no matter the consequences.”

Harry’s hand tightened around his, thumb stroking absently across his hand as Sirius’s face lite up and he crowed, “I told you! I knew Harry wouldn’t be so obsessed with a pure-blood fanatic that had the same beliefs as a death eater. I knew it! That makes this so much better.”

“Makes what better?”

“Draco my boy, it got finalized yesterday evening, you are no longer Draco Malfoy, and from this day forward you are Draco Black. Harry told me you wouldn’t mind the name change even though he decided to keep Potter. After you get released you are coming home with Harry and I, how does that sound?”

He turned to look at Harry in disbelief, “Is that true?”

Smiling Harry lifted his free hand to tuck some loose hair back behind his ear, fingers lingering in his hair Harry answered, “Yeah.”

Pressing Harry’s hand against his cheek Draco promptly began to cry messy and snotty tears.

“Alright let’s all just...”

“go outside and give them…”

“some space and some..”

“time to discuss things.”

“Right you are Fred and George, come along, nothing to see here.”

As Mrs. Weasley shooed everyone from the room, including a still sniffling Hermione. Harry stood up and pushed Draco and Prags over a bit to sit beside him on the tiny hospital bed. Not minding one bit he tucked his head under Harry’s chin and just tried to grasp everything he had been told. He was going to live with Harry, Sirius was his new guardian, and he was no longer a Malfoy. Hands still shaking with nerve damage Draco couldn’t help but think that life had never been better.

~HPHPHPHP~

Draco slowly turned around the space he had been making his own for the past two weeks. After arriving at Grimmauld Place he had been given a bedroom next to Harry’s and to the protest of his two mother hens, he had begun renovations right away. Even though his hands weren’t to steady and his muscles convulsed randomly he could still do magic. With satisfaction he took in his new King bed with Egyptian cotton light blue sheets, and the matching blue curtains in the window. Bookshelves lined two of the walls full of the books that he and Leaf had managed to get from the manor.

His seven layer trunk and Prags pet carrier sat in a corner and the floorboards were simply sanded and polished smooth against his bare feet. A wardrobe against the wall had an extension charm inside so his entire clothing collection easily fit. To his delight a muggle stereo sat on his vanity, Sirius had presented it to his joy as a late birthday present. He left it on the radio constantly delighting in the music, though his hands ached for his paint brushes. There were so many walls for him to paint but Harry just smiled and told him they would still be there for him to paint next summer since he currently couldn't manage a straight line.

“And now let’s hear the hit single from Sarah McLachlan, here’s Possession.”

Draco closed his eyes as the music began to play, he loved this song.

~Listen as the wind blows

From across the great divide~

Tension leaving his body he let the haunting voice capture his attention.

~Voices trapped in yearning

Memories trapped in time~

Feeling arms wrap around him from behind, his lips lifted in a soft smile.

~The night is my companion

And solitude my guide~

He opened his eyes, turning in Harry’s arms, not breaking his hold.

~Would I spend forever here

And not be satisfied~

Meeting Harry’s eyes his smile faded in the face of Harry’s searching gaze.

~And I would be the one

To hold you down~

Raising his arms he linked his hands behind Harry’s head while his remained on his hips.

~Kiss you so hard

I'll take your breath away~

Leaning down he closed his eyes meeting Harry’s lips in a kiss.

~And after I'd, wipe away the tears

Just close your eyes dear~

Releasing his lips he rested his forehead against Harry’s their breaths mingling.

~Through this world I've stumbled

So many times betrayed,

Trying to find an honest word,

To find the truth enslaved~

In silence he began to sway back and forth, Harry following behind.

~Oh you speak to me in riddles and

You speak to me in rhymes

My body aches to breathe your breath,

Your words keep me alive~

Harry had been hovering since his release from the hospital and as they swayed he couldn’t help but wonder what Harry was thinking......or what he was feeling.

~And I would be the one

To hold you down~

He hoped he didn’t resent him for taking some of Sirius’s attention, but looking into his eyes he didn’t think that was the case.

~Kiss you so hard

I'll take your breath away~

Listening to the song he couldn’t help but think back to the week last year they had avoided each other.

~And after I'd, wipe away the tears

Just close your eyes dear~

The week that Harry had later informed him he had been trying to fight his possessive and protective tendencies.

~Into this night I wander,

It's morning that I dread,

Another day of knowing of

The path I fear to tread~

Shuffling them further into the room, Draco sat down on his bed.

~Oh, into the sea of waking dreams

I follow without pride,

Nothing stands between us here

And I won't be denied~

Scooting backwards he pulls Harry after him, until he is sprawled on his back with Harry above him.

~And I would be the one

To hold you down~

Harry brackets his arms on either side of his head while Draco removes his glasses tossing them on the floor.

~Kiss you so hard

I'll take your breath away~

Reaching up he tangles his hands in black hair and suddenly Harry surges down, lips attacking his own.

~And after I'd, wipe away the tears

Just close your eyes dear~

Giving back as good as he is getting Draco loses himself in Harry’s assault, everything they can’t say being said through their lips.

~I'll hold you down

Kiss you so hard~

Harry shifts his right arm moving his hand down Draco's body to settle on his hip, thumb stroking the protruding bone; while he rests his weight on his left arm that's braced next to a blonde head.

~I'll take your breath away

And after I'd wipe away the tears~

He feels like he can’t breathe but at the same time he never wants this moment to end. He never wants Harry to stop, he belongs to him, they belong to each other and nothing can change that. Certainly not people, not circumstances, and not even death.

~Just close your eyes~

Chapter Text

"Honestly, am I the only person who's ever bothered to read Hogwarts: A History?”

— Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

 

“I still think you should press charges kiddo, I can have them drawn up so fast Malfoy won’t know what hit him.”

“No Sirius, we already discussed this, not only does that man have almost every influential Ministry employee in his pocket but no one actually saw him hurt me. Every time it happened it was only me and him in the room, even Leaf came after he left. It would be my word against his and he already rolled over and let you have custody, let’s not push the issue.”

“Don’t worry Sirius, if I get him to change his mind I’ll write you immediately.”

“That’s my boy!”

Draco looked away trying to preserve his dignity as Sirius tackled Harry, pulling him into what looked like an almost bone crushing hug. They were at King’s Cross Station, platform nine and three quarters. There were an abundance of students and their parents around saying goodbyes but they attracted plenty of stares being who they were, especially since his new name had made the front page. He shouldn’t have been surprised since Harry Potter was involved after all.

Amazingly the circumstances behind it remained private, Lucius’s doing no doubt. The entire article had been full of speculation and suspicion. Hopefully the Tri-wizard tournament would take some of the attention away from him, his mother had told him about it at the beginning of summer and he had already informed Harry and Sirius about the exciting year they had ahead of them.

Harry was just looking forward to not being the center of attention for once in his school career and Draco didn’t have the heart or evidence to tell him he was pretty sure that wasn’t going to happen. His attention was brought back to his new family when Sirius finally released Harry from the head-lock he had him in. Draco rolled his eyes in exasperation while inside he was laughing with them, he adored his new family but it wouldn’t do to let them know how much yet, he couldn’t help but keep a little guard on his feelings. Sirius rubbed his hands together looking at him and Draco was already feeling some apprehension.

“Now Draco, Harry and I have discussed it so really you have no choice. I have decided to name you heir Black, when I die you will become Lord Black. Don’t give me that face, Harry said he already has enough wealth and titles with his Potter inheritance and since you were recently disowned I will be leaving you everything. Not only are you a Black in name but you will be the Head of House and responsible for the family line. You can spend what you smuggled from the Malfoy vaults until you inherit and even though it’s only in paper, I’ll get started on the legal stuff while you’re gone and next summer we’ll do a real blood adoption, how does that sound?”

He was in utter and complete shock, Black couldn’t be serious? If he was Heir Black he could go back to school and continue to hold his head high, he was still a pure-blood of a great family with pull and money. He still had his identity, but even better, since he could truly be proud of it. He stood there frozen, mouth opening and closing but no words coming forth.

“Congratulations Sirius, I think you broke him.”

Harry stared at him with a worried frown, walking up and taking his hands between his own.

“I know we didn’t ask but I thought I knew you well enough, I thought you would be pleased.”

Still unable to articulate anything Draco just grabbed Harry in a hug motioning for Sirius to join in, which he did with unbridled enthusiasm. This was going to be the start of a great year.

~HPHPHPHP~

This was going to be a horrible year Draco thought as he sat in the Defense classroom, Moody clunking up towards the front of the room. He had managed to manipulate Mad-Eye into letting him drink from his flask by actually telling the truth; making a big spectacle in front of many students by proclaiming that he could be drinking polyjuice and they wouldn’t even suspect. Moody had just laughed saying how he liked the way he thought before gleefully handing over the flask he had just drank from.

With utter disgust and disdain he had raised the flask to his lips and taken a drink. It was like drinking fire, burning its way down his throat and it was only his good breeding and etiquette that kept him from spitting it out. Since he knew he couldn’t speak without coughing Draco had simply handed the flask back with a nod and walked to his common room to chug a gallon of water and brush his teeth for an hour.

He had scoured the Marauders’ Map; which he and Harry had discovered was made by none other than James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew, strange coincidence that; and hadn’t found Barty Crouch Jr. impersonating anyone. Had he somehow already prevented Harry from having to unknowingly participate in the Triwizard Tournament this year? He wanted to bang his head on his desk in frustration but was brought up short as a jar of spiders on Moody’s desk caught his attention, fuck.

Fucking fuck, this was happening, with the real Moody this time giving his speech about ‘Constant Vigilance!’ and about how he and Dumble fucking dore thought it was appropriate to show a bunch of underage wizards the unforgivable curses. He could do this he thought white knuckled hand gripping his desk with the other having a death grip on Neville’s hand. They both knew what would come next as Moody danced the Imperioused spider about.

He still wasn’t ready for it because as soon as Moody said ‘Crucio!’ he flinched back hard expecting to feel the pain and Neville turned white as a sheet. The passage of time faltered and Draco didn’t even notice his breathing becoming sharp and quick or his vision blurring until a cool hand touched his cheek.

“Draco, hey, it’s ok, it’s over, you can come back to me now.”

Slowly the blurry shapes in front of him began to take shape and he was brought steadily back to awareness by a hand stroking his cheek and another gripping his knee. Neville still had his right hand in a death grip and as he focused he was aware that it was Harry kneeling in front of his chair which had been turned to face him; concerned eyes mapping his own until he gave an embarrassed eye roll and jerked his head away from Harry’s hands.

“I’m fine Harry stop smothering me, now get out of here before you get in trouble, this is a Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff class.”

Face burning he ignored the stares of every one and just glared down at his desk with gritted teeth. He was so weak and pathetic. A panic attack at watching a silly little spider tortured, maybe Lucius was right to disown him, he wasn’t strong enough.

“Nonsense Mr. Malfoy, Mr. Potter can stay for the last curse, he is the only one to ever survive it, the only one. Twenty points to Ravenclaw for that perfect patronus cast Ms. Granger.”

“Actually professor he is now Mr. Black and I will not be staying for your um ‘demonstration’, I am taking Neville and Draco to Madame Pomfry.”

Fake eye spinning in its socket back and forth Professor Moody just nodded and to Draco’s further embarrassment Neville and Harry had to help him stand because his legs were shaking uncontrollably. Most of his muscle spasms had gone away and his hands were steady again but occasionally they acted up which was perfectly normal after what he had been through according to his healer. As the group of three made their way towards the hospital wing it was silent, each lost in their own thoughts of the past.

Shaking his head, he pulled himself back to the present; at least Prags hadn’t been there, he would have probably bitten the professor. He absently rubbed his right forearm where the two puncture holes in his arm had scared. If Prags hadn’t bitten him in his father’s study he wasn’t sure he would have been able to summon Leaf, at least Prags had held back his venom but his deep puncturing fangs had been more than enough he thought with a wince.

“Harry if you want to go back to Transfiguration I’m sure Neville and I can manage from here.”

Pulled back from his inner thoughts Harry turned his head slightly to look at him with a frown before shaking his head.

“Draco you can stop trying to be tough, it’s just Neville and I here now; and for future reference never tell me to leave you. It will only make me stay longer.”

Never moving his hand from the small of Draco’s back, Harry lead them on and Draco could only hope that Harry knew that he was really a selfish bastard inside and sadly never wanted Harry to leave him, ever, he thought as his heart squeezed inside his chest, images of a dead Harry being carried in Hagrid’s arms dancing behind his eyelids.

~HPHPHPHP~

It was all Draco could do not to throw the largest temper tantrum in the world as Harry disappeared into the door the rest of the champions were behind. He had been trying so hard to find any trace of Barty Crouch Jr. and he had failed. Again he had failed, and as the whispers around the hall began he grit his teeth in an all-consuming fury.

“Had to steal the attention…”

“It was supposed to be Cedric’s year…”

“….arrogant boy…”

“Dumbledore coddles him…”

“….thought things would change…”

Not able to listen anymore he decided he wasn’t going to stand for it this year, if there was going to be a social outcast or pariah this year it would defiantly be him, not Harry. Letting his anger guide him, he stood up and to the shock of the Great Hall climbed on top of the Hufflepuff dinner table.

“Enough!”

Waiting, it didn’t take long for complete silence to envelop the hall, all eyes including those from Beauxbatons Academy and Durmstrang Institute were turned towards Draco and in different circumstances he would have preened, as it was he was just furious. Head tilted imperiously he made a point by only lifting his hand to his throat leaving his wand holstered and said, “Sonorus!”

“Now listen to me you rude bullies, if I have to drag each of you to a pensive to review Potter’s face when Dumbledore called his name I will. You know what you’ll see? Complete shock that’s what you’ll see. All he wanted was one year where someone or something wasn’t trying to kill him, knowing the adults of this institution they will probably make him participate against his will because if any of you actually know Harry Potter he wants nothing to do with this tournament.”

Looking down his nose he noticed the Gryffindors were nodding along in agreement while the Hufflepuffs were beginning to look belligerent.

“I am not saying don’t root for Cedric, as much as I care about Harry, Cedric is our true Champion, but someone yet again wants Harry harmed so don’t turn against him and treat him poorly for something that wasn’t his fault. As most of you know my best friends are a Gryffindor, a Ravenclaw and a Slytherin. We are from the four houses and there is a saying we say to each other, domum unitatis. It is Latin for house unity; we at Hogwarts now have a fifty percent chance to win the Triwizard Tournament!”

Looking around at the shocked faces that were starting to avert their eyes in sudden shame Draco pushed on.

“A man once said that we are as strong as we are united and as weak as we are divided. I for one refuse to be weak any longer. Domum Unitatis!”

It was dead silent until Hermione stood from her seat yelling ‘Domum Unitatis!’ Ron following shortly behind, then Neville and one by one students rose until all of Hogwarts was standing and chanting it like a battle cry to the discomfort of the other schools present. When seconds later the champions emerged from the room, they were met with a screaming Hogwarts student body and occasionally the shout of ‘Domum Unitatis’ still was being heard over the yells.

Harry’s wide eyes scanned the hall before landing on Draco who was still standing on top of the table leading the cheers with a fist raised high. As a happy grin replaced the fearful look on Harry’s face the hall seemed to get louder and Draco couldn’t help but feel that even if he hadn’t prevented Harry participating, he could still change some things.

~HPHPHPHP~

“Still can’t believe you did that mate, bloody brilliant it was.”

“Yes well, everyone was already starting to act stupid so I just had to nip that in the bud.”

“It was amazing, oh Harry I wish you would have been there to see it, but of course then Draco wouldn’t have done it I suppose.”

“It’s alright Hermione; we could hear most of the shouting from the other room, though we couldn’t hear what Draco said.”

“That’s enough talking about that for now, you need to focus guys, how is Harry going to fight a dragon?”

It was the day after the Halloween feast and they were gathered in domum unitatis. He had told them everything about the tournament under the guise of his father bragging about it most of the summer. Leaving nothing out he had explained to the three of them about the four dragons of the first task and how Harry would have to steal a golden egg from the nest. The clue the egg would have for the second task in mermish. Having an hour to search the lake and he stressed to Harry that no one that was taken would actually be harmed; all culminating in the maze being grown on the Quidditch pitch which would have the Triwizard Cup in the center.

It was also with no small amount of glee that he shared the information about The Yule Ball. He instructed the three of them to bring him their dress robes the next time they came to domum unitatis because he was already mentally sketching alterations and color schemes in his head. If his memory was correct he would have a lot of work to do on Ron’s robes but he actually quite looked forward to the challenge. They traded ideas back and forth for a while until Draco felt safe to mention the solution that had actually worked out really well the first time for Harry.

“Why don’t you just summon your Firebolt and snatch it that way? You are an amazing flyer Harry and that way all you have to really practice and perfect is one spell instead of multiple spells.”

Hermione looked at him like he was brilliant, Ron was thoughtful and Harry was looking at him so fondly that he squirmed uncomfortably a bit. They all agreed it was a great idea and promised to help Harry practice as much as they could before Hermione got serious.

“I found a spell to locate the horcruxes. It’s old magic but I’m sure it will work; I found it in one of the books Draco got from Lucius’s study. The only problem is we need one to use the spell so Harry is there any way you can get The Diary from Dumbledore without arousing suspicion?”

"But wait, if we destroyed the piece of Voldemort's soul in the diary, how can it help us find the others?"

"Residual magic Harry, think of it like this, if Hogwarts was destroyed and not a single stone was left, if you came to stand in this exact spot, you could still feel the magic."

A considering look came over Harry’s face before he turned pleading eyes to Ron who just laughed in good humor.

“Yeah I’ll help you figure out what to say mate.”

At Harry’s relieved look Hermione giggled before standing up, “I’m going to bed, I’ll meet you all here again on Saturday at 10 o’clock.”

~HPHPHPHP~

On Saturday they all stood around the table, chairs moved out of the way. The room had provided what they needed as it always did after Hermione had explained out loud what they needed to do. A map of the United Kingdom was spread out; ten black thumb pins lay in a pile right over the legend in the bottom corner. It was an old map the room had conjured and according to Hermione the pins should animate themselves and move to the horcruxes locations on the map. In a bowl Hermione had; a rat’s tail, eye of newt, crushed moonstone, lamb’s blood and a single page ripped from Tom Riddle’s mangled diary. She removed one of the pins from the pile and placed it into the bowl ‘To tie them together’. Concentrating she held her wand above the bowl before saying, “Incendio!”

As the fire burned in the bowl the four of them watched in fascination as six of the nine pins stood on end and began to move across the map. Two moved next to each other to halt over London, two moved next to each other to stop over some obscure location in Scotland and two moved to stop next to each other at a village called Little Hangleton.

“Seven,” Harry breathed, “he split his soul seven times.”

“This does us no good though; we still don’t know where they are really.”

“Just wait Ron; we can do the spell again.”

They all watch as Hermione cancels the spell and taps the map with her wand changing it to a detailed map of Hogwarts.

“Of course, the two in Scotland,” Draco murmurs.

The six pins fall flat like puppets with cut strings as Hermione gathers the ingredients into the bowl again taking one of the remaining three pins they didn’t need before setting it inside of the bowl and once more setting the contents on fire. Four of the pins move to the edge of the map quivering as if to jump off while two others steadily move until they settle next to each right over, “The Room of Requirement?!”

He furrows his brow in confusion before it comes to him in a painful wave; standing in The Room of Hidden Things with Vince and Greg at his side, Potter clutching a beautiful tiara. Then fire all around him, suffocating him, chasing him, then a hand reaching out in the smoke and flames towards him…..

Gasping he jerks out of the memory to the concerned gazes of his three friends, Harry’s grip steady on his arm. Waving off their worry he just looks at Hermione and says, “The Room of Hidden Things.”

“Of course!”

At Harry and Ron’s confused faces, she huffs. “Honestly you both need to read that book about this room. There is apparently this humongous room that is referred to as The Room of Hidden Things. Very different from our domum unitatis, it’s going to take a long time to search it, especially since we don’t really know what we are looking for. Since Harry is exempt from exams though I’m sure he will have plenty of free time.”

They laugh at Harry’s groan of discomfort, and while Hermione goes on about searching methods Draco can’t help but wonder what the second one could be. He’s pretty sure Harry was carrying Ravenclaws’ lost diadem and it was really going to suck to destroy something so valuable but what other horcrux could be hiding in that room?

Chapter Text

“You sort of start thinking anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”

-Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince

 

For the second time in his memory Draco watched Harry Potter face off against a dragon and he fearfully wondered if he had made the correct decision befriending Harry, because this had been so much easier when he had hated him.

“He got it Draco; you can take your hands off your eyes now.”

With a sniff he refused to glance at Pansy who had made the remark sitting to his right nor did he acknowledge Neville who was sitting on his left and was impressively both laughing at Draco and cheering for Harry at the same time. Just like last time Harry had apparently been assigned the Hungarian Horntail and just like last time had very impressively flown his way to completing the first task. The rest of the audience began to clear out the stands and make their way back to the school while Draco found Ron and Hermione.

The three of them snuck towards the champions’ tent and impatiently waited for Harry to appear. When he finally walked out; he was holding his broom in one hand, a miniature Horntail in the other, and a grin was stretching large across his face. Draco immediately surged forward and began patting him down looking for injuries.

“Did you see that guys? It was brilliant! I can’t believe it worked!”

Looking up with a glare he had a scathing reply on the tip of his tongue before Ron beat him to it.

“Of course we saw it mate. Bloody hell you were wicked flying but don’t ask Draco, when I looked over at him he was bent over double with his hands over his eyes.”

To Draco’s displeasure and he was hesitant to admit a little bit of hurt, Harry laughed at him followed by Ron and Hermione. Face contorting into outrage and hurt Draco stormed off yelling over his shoulder.

“You're right, I should never have worried for your life you arsehole!”

Tears prickling the corners of his eyes Draco sprinted away ignoring frantic calls of his name. How dare they mock him?! Was no one worried? Did they think Harry was invincible? I mean Harry was way above those his age with dueling skills and the Occlumency Draco had finally succeeded teaching him last year after countless meditations but he wasn’t infallible. As always when he was upset he headed for the Hufflepuff common room, he needed his paints.

~HPHPHPHP~

There were students tittering around him in and out for hours while he painted on the wall across from the Charms classroom. He didn’t bother hiding and painting at night because not only did he need the distraction right away but after his and Harry’s public display last time everyone knew the murals were his work anyway. The Professors all loved his work and The Forbidden Forest with the silver stag was still outside of the Defense classroom, Flitwick had even cast a powerful preservation spell on it and at Professor Sprout’s insistence had done the same to the Hufflepuff Common Room.

Once he was finished he sat back with satisfaction. In front of him a dragon stomped angrily; it was the first task of the tournament charmed to play through each champion’s performance one at a time on a loop. It had been exhausting; he had painted them all separately like a muggle slideshow before Flitwick had assisted him in casting a spell to make them all converge together. At the Professors insistence he had signed the bottom corner before packing his things into a messy and paint soaked tiny truck he used to contain his art supplies and tiredly walking away.

Too exhausted to even cast a levitation charm he wasn’t paying too much attention and stumbled right into someone. His trunk dropping to the ground and he began stammering an apology before looking up and seeing he ran into none other than Cedric Diggory.

“Wow, they said you were painting something again but I can’t help but be amazed every time. You are amazing Draco, why are you even going to Hogwarts? You could make a fortune just painting murals.”

At Cedric’s handsome smile and complements Draco couldn’t help but blush leaning down to pick up his art trunk while answering.

“Well before this summer Lucius always expected me to be something a lot less frivolous than a painter.”

“His loss then, here let me get that for you.”

“Oh thank you.”

“No problem, I’ll walk with you back to your room.”

After Cedric cast a levitation charm on his trunk, they walked together talking about mundane things before Draco said his goodbyes at the door to his room with Neville, Justin, Ernie, and Zacharias. That was just what he needed he thought as he gathered his things to take a much needed shower. Cedric was so nice and comfortable to talk too; he would have to make sure he lived through the tournament this time, pity to waste such a pretty face.

~HPHPHPHP~

The next day Draco ignored all of Harry’s attempts to get him alone and talk to him. Harry needed to sweat a little bit, it would do him some good, and he was getting a little spoiled. Not that Draco could really judge too much but well it was the principal of the thing. So Draco was in the Hufflepuff Common Room when multiple gasps brought his attention to a silver stag approaching him.

“Draco, we are searching the room, please join us.”

As the stag disappeared Draco rolled his eyes before going back to the essay he was attempting to write. Harry acted like he couldn’t last a single day without him. The presence of another person had Draco glancing up into the eyes of Cedric Diggory, raising one eyebrow he simply waited for him to speak. Looking embarrassed Cedric shuffled back and forth before taking a deep breath and letting loose a smile so charming he had to practice it in a mirror.

“I couldn’t help but notice that you and Harry are on the outs at the moment and you are super gorgeous and talented so would you like to go to The Yule Ball with me?”

Draco knew he probably had the most unattractive flabbergasted look on his face but he couldn’t help it. Cedric Diggory had just asked him to The Yule Ball, him Draco Mal…., Draco Black, he had asked Draco Black to The Yule Ball! Oh his Slytherin self would have jumped at the opportunity, goodness knows Hufflepuff Draco still wanted to but…..Harry. No Regrets his heart whispered.

“I’m sorry Cedric; you are ridiculously handsome and fit but….Harry.”

He wasn’t exactly sure what his face looked like but Cedric was very understanding; which honestly made it so much worse when he somberly replied.

“Yeah, worth a shot though right?”

Walking off, Draco shamelessly at least watched his beautiful figure until it left the common room before letting his head fall with a groan. Why couldn’t he seem to catch a break this year?

~HPHPHPHP~

It was finally the weekend and for some reason really unknown to even him, he was still avoiding Harry. He was currently in an abandoned classroom with four mannequins; three of which displayed dress robes while the fourth had Hermione’s dress. After getting Ron’s dress robes unbeknownst to anyone else he had set them on fire before they could do further harm to his eyes and owled Madame Malkins a rush order in Ron’s measurements. He had received them only this morning so now he was sewing and embroidering away.

He had left the three dress robes black; on Harry’s he had spelled a red tint to flare when it hit the light, golden-yellow with his own and dark green on Ron’s. He had changed Hermione’s dress to black and given hers a blue tint. Going back to Harry’s robes he changed all of the buttons to gold and embroidered a lion onto the hem running around the bottom of the robes in a circle. Ron’s he changed all of the buttons to silver and embroidered a snake that looked exactly like Prags without his Hufflepuff sweater to slither around his hem. His own robes had brass buttons and a badger that would dig a hole; seeming to scatter mud along his hem before popping up on a different section of the hem brushing dirt from its fur. Hermione’s dress didn’t have any buttons but all of the ribbons were in Ravenclaw blue. The bottom of her dress had six eagles embroidered that would fly in a flock all around the bottom half of her dress.

On the back of the three boys dress robes he stitched the Hogwarts Crest and underneath in calligraphy put ‘Domum Unitatis,’ in shining golden thread. Since Hermione’s dress was tied with ribbons crossing in the back he had put the crest very small next to her collarbone on the upper right front part of her dress. Domum Unitatis was spelled to follow along behind the eagles in their circuit as it rippled like a golden flag. He had also designed some hair clips that were eagles with blue ribbons falling gently that he was sure one of the other girls could help put in her hair. When he was finished he stepped back to admire his work, never noticing the other presence in the room until Harry spoke.

“Wow Draco, I came here to apologize and ask why you have been avoiding me but I feel the sudden need to go and buy you a ton of forgive me gifts because words aren’t going to be enough after this. They are amazing!”

Hanging his head in relief that it was Harry and embarrassment at his praise, Draco bit his lip and kept his eyes on the floor, fidgeting with his wand in nervousness. A hand slowly tilted his head to meet green eyes that were just as nervous as his own.

“Draco I am so sorry for laughing at your fear for my safety, if our situations were switched I….well I would do something foolish and stupid rather than be unable to watch but that’s me your stupid foolish Gryffindor, right?”

Nodding his head Draco finally released his bottom lip from his teeth to give Harry a smile. Smiling back Harry lifted a hand to cup Draco’s check before pulling him into a short and sweet kiss; breaking apart Harry let his head fall forward onto Draco’s chest and sighed.

“Please don’t avoid me like that again, I’ve missed you.”

“I’m sorry, I’ve missed you too.”

Separating from Harry, he summoned Dobby who was more than happy to take each of the mannequins to their individual rooms.

“We are going to be the envy of the rest of the ball.”

“Of course, it is my work after all, which is never short of stunning.”

Laughing Harry just grabbed his hand before leading him from the room.

“Come on Mr. Modest; you’ve been skimping on searching the room with the rest of us.”

~HPHPHPHP~

“Why is it some great secret, why won’t you tell us, why won’t you tell me?”

“Just because Ron, leave it alone!”

Draco was so glad that Ron and Hermione were having a row when he walked into The Room of Hidden Things. It distracted him from the smell of smoke and ash he could swear permeated the room. Yet, when he glanced around following behind Harry towards the sound of the raised voices, everything looked the same as it had when he spent so much time in this room in sixth year fixing the cabinet. How he had wished for an out back then, a way to change things. He subconsciously rubbed his chest as he realized that in death he had gone back and even if it was in his own mind, he was rewriting history. Though how some of these things he had never known about had made it into his new life he was unsure of, but such were the ways of magic.

“Oy Harry, tell her to spill the goods would ya?”

“What are you two arguing about?”

“Oh Draco, it’s good to see you, we are very sorry about the way we acted after the first task, aren’t we Ron?”

With a wince at the elbow he received to his ribs, Ron gave a shaky smile while bending slightly in pain.

“Yeah mate really sorry.”

“It’s ok, I might have over-reacted a bit myself, now what were you two arguing about?”

“Hermione won’t go with me to the ball because she says she is already going with someone else and she won’t say who.”

Ignoring Hermione’s withering glance towards Ron, Draco looks over at Harry who has been surprisingly quiet this whole time; just to notice him aggravatingly rubbing on his scar.

“Harry is everything ok?”

“Yeah, I’m fine, just tingles.”

Frowning Draco looked around, he had made fun of Harry for his scar hurting when he was near The Dark Lord in his past life, which meant a horcrux must be close. Sure enough, he noticed the Diadem on top of this hideous bust a few meters down from where they were currently standing. It was almost too easy he thought as he pointed his wand, then with a swish and flick, “wingardium leviosa!

As he hovered it closer to them the jewels hit the light provided in the room and sparkled like they should. The closer it came the more viciously Harry rubbed his scar until he gave a hiss when it was suspended right in front of Draco. Ron reached out to touch it and thankfully Hermione batted his hand away; in unspoken agreement they all left the room and Hermione summoned domum unitatis as Harry, Ron, and Draco waited around the diadem, blocking it from view in case anyone happened to stroll by.

When they walked into the room Draco noticed a stand against the wall containing a much prettier bust than the one in The Room of Hidden Things, this one was a dark blue and looked untouched and unused. He levitated the diadem to settle on the head like it should before cancelling the spell. Right after a bubble of purplish blue sparking magic surrounded it just like what had happened with Peter Pettigrew. Harry breathed a sigh of relief, relaxing into one of the chairs in front of the table.

“Of course after being in the room for a minute Draco finds one of the horcruxes.”

“Oh shut it Harry, does it hurt to be in here with it?”

“Not anymore, whatever that magical barrier is, it stopped my scar from hurting.”

“Fascinating, I wish I knew more about the room’s magical properties but Helga Hufflepuff made it out to be almost sentient like the Sorting Hat but far more advanced.”

“That’s great and all but since I don’t want Voldemort to succeed in killing me, the crown thingy can't stay behind that barrier forever, how do we destroy it?”

“Can’t we just smash it or burn it?”

“No Ron, according to the book I read horcruxes can only be destroyed by something that is indestructible itself.”

“But the diary?”

“Was basically injected with Basilisk venom which has no cure except…”

“Phoenix Tears.”

“Yes Harry, that is correct and Basilisk venom is extremely rare, it’s not exactly lying around.”

At that statement Ron, Harry, and Draco share equal grimaces because Hermione just unknowingly told them what their next step would be. Then on the table, over the map still laying there, a large syringe appeared along with multiple glass flasks with rubber stoppers. Hermione froze looking at them and they could see the exact moment she understood, comprehension lighting her face.

“Oh,” she whispered, “The Chamber of Secrets.”

Chapter Text

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

― Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

 

Pop

“Thanks Dobby.”

“Anything for Harry Potter sir!”

Pop

They glanced wearily at each other inside domum unitatis, all four of them with soaking wet socks and feeling just a little bit miserable. Draco worryingly noticed the absence of the bust displaying The Diadem but before he could properly begin freaking out he observed the appearance of a door in the same position one had arisen to house a potions lab in their second year. It had disappeared after they no longer needed it. Walking towards it he was glad when the door opened on its own since all of their hands were full.

Inside was the bust with the magical shield still sparking around it, next to it was a stand holding a glass bowl. Moving forward he poured the contents of his two flasks into the bowl; which were full of Basilisk venom that Harry had gamely syringed from the decaying corpse. Hermione had used her wand to collect some of the snakes scales and transfigured each of them a pair of gloves to prevent any venom from getting on their skin and luckily Ron had known a smell shield spell or Draco would have lost his stomach contents multiple times.

As the other three followed his example and added their venom to the bowl he looked around the room. A supply cabinet contained the ingredients needed for the tracing spell, each stored separately. A bookshelf to the right of the cabinet held only the books that he and Hermione had tagged with notes and relevant information on horcruxes. The center of the room was dominated by a large and tall circular table that held side by side the two maps they had already used. The room must have provided a new one of The United Kingdom because Draco remembered Hermione morphing only a single map but the other table in the main room hadn’t been big enough for two maps.

On the map of Hogwarts two active pins still stood over The Room of Requirement. The four pins that had previously hovered on the edge were now on the other map, two once again over London and two over the village of Little Hangleton. Against the opposite wall was a long rectangular wooden stand; on top of which rested a giant glass trophy display case. In the left corner rested the ruined Diary, below the section of the case where the diary rested, at the top of the stand was a tiny gold plaque, moving closer he read.

Diary of Tom M. Riddle

Horcrux destroyed by Harry Potter

(Basilisk Venom)

1993

Standing next to him also examining the case Ron articulated exactly what Draco wanted to say.

“Wicked cool, I love this bloody room.”

Nodding his head he moved back towards Harry and Hermione who were standing in front of the Diadem. Looking at each other they knew it was time to destroy another horcrux.

“Well Hermione since its Ravenclaw’s Diadem I believe you should do the honors, right Harry?”

“Yeah, we’re right here so when you’re ready.”

She took a deep breath then squared her shoulders. She waived her wand at the magical shield and it disappeared, Harry gritted his teeth but didn’t rub at his scar. “Wingardium Leviosa,” she guided the Diadem over the bowl of Basilisk venom and suddenly cancelled the spell letting it drop in. A scream pierced the room and Harry fell to his knees clutching his scar with a groan. Draco dropped down next to Harry but looked up again when a loud cracking filled the air followed by silence.

After making sure Harry was ok he helped him stand before they went over towards Ron and Hermione who were standing in front of the display case. To the right of The Diary now sat The Diadem but it was partially melted and mangled, a sad looking thing compared to its former glory. A new plaque was displayed below it.

Diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw

Horcrux destroyed by Hermione Granger

(Basilisk Venom)

1994

A tiny cluttering noise had them turning towards the table to see a single black thumb pin roll around the floor before coming to a stop on its side. Moving to the table he saw that one of the pins above The Room of Requirement was gone; now only five active pins hovered over the two maps.

“Two down, five to go.”

“Yeah, I think we should take a little break alright?”

Nodding in agreement they left the horcrux room, heading back into domum unitatis.

~HPHPHPHP~

The four of them were back in The Room of Requirement but instead of domum unitatis a ballroom was the room of choice. A single piano sat alone in a corner that Draco had charmed to play the song that he had convinced the Headmaster to be the opening waltz. On top of the piano Prags observed the proceedings from his comfy position curled on his yellow and black kneazle bed that Harry had gotten for him. Harry had bombarded him with present after present before Draco had to put a stop to it after an owl brought him a brand new Firebolt at breakfast one day to the envy of everyone at school. Even though Harry had said it was because he wanted him to be able to keep up when they snuck out and went night flying Draco knew he still felt guilty for the way he had acted after the first task of the tournament.

As he charmed the piano he glanced over at Ron and Hermione who were in the middle of the floor arguing yet again. Even though he was responsible he still couldn’t believe the turn of events that had led them here; increasingly worried about his lack of partner for the ball Ron had asked Pansy who had declined because she was already going with Neville. In a fit of desperation Ron had told Draco that he was going to ask Fleur the Beauxbatons champion who according to school gossip had yet to accept anyone’s invitation.

Taking one glance at him Draco knew that the way Ron currently looked and dressed, there was no way Fleur would say yes. Grabbing Ron’s arm he had wrangled Pansy and taken the two of them to his Hufflepuff bedroom. Together Draco and Pansy had pulled off what was becoming known as The Miracle Makeover of 1994. Cutting Ron's hair a little shorter they had used hair product to make it spike messily. Then Draco had colored the tips black and done some barely there silver highlights that went through the orange and black of his hair.

Digging through his trunk Draco had found a dragon tooth that he had since he was a child, Pansy had went and collected one of her dangling silver earrings. Together they had transfigured them to create a hanging dragon tooth earring that they placed in his left ear after piercing it. Since Harry had recently gotten Draco a new pair of dragon hide boots in his gift spree Draco resized his old ones giving them to Ron for him to keep. Pansy took one of Draco’s old black dragon hide belts and shrunk it down, Draco making the silver buckle to be shaped like a snake and taking a tiny emerald from one of Pansy’s necklaces he put it where the eye of the snake would be. Buckling it around Ron’s neck like a choker they stepped back in consideration.

Frowning Pansy had walked forward taking off Ron’s outer uniform robe and setting it aside, biting her lip slightly she undid his tie leaving it loose around his neck and undid the top few buttons on his shirt. Stepping back Draco and Pansy had looked at Ron before glancing at each other in triumph, he was ready.

It came as no surprise to him when the next day the school had been able to talk about nothing except Ronald Weasley’s new look and how he had asked Fleur Delacour to the Yule Ball and she had said yes. Which led them to the ballroom as Draco made his way over to his three friends, they turned towards him and he clasped his hands together.

“Alright since we are all going to be dancing the opening waltz I figured we could practice so no one gets embarrassed.”

“What do you mean all of us Hermione still hasn’t told us who she is going with?”

“Seriously Ron? I thought you were a Slytherin, are you?”

“Er yeah?”

“Then think; who did Hermione complain about being in the library all the time before she suddenly stopped, who would she feel guilty about going with because she is good friends with Champion Harry Potter, who would she specifically not want to tell you afraid that you wouldn’t believe her?”

Looking down Hermione blushed bright red the moment Ron finally got it.

“Blimey you’re going with Victor Krum?!”

Harry smiled patting her back in understanding while Ron sputtered until he straightened.

“Hermione I’m upset with you, you know I’ve been wanting his autograph and you could have gotten it for me weeks ago! I thought we were all friends, we don’t have secrets I mean, we are hunting Voldemort’s bloody horcruxes together for Merlin’s sake.”

“I know Ron, and I’m sorry, it’s just I was afraid that I would have to choose between him and you three since he is Harry’s competition and I didn’t want to.”

“Hermione if we had made you do that then we aren’t your real friends, now if you get him to sign my chocolate frog card I’ll forgive you…maybe.”

At Ron’s teasing grin Hermione suddenly burst into tears before throwing her arms around him to his shock, as he hesitantly patted her back pleadingly looking at Harry and Draco who just shrugged, I mean who knew what girls were thinking.

“Alright, alright, now that we have settled that, Harry already knows how to dance so you two watch us the first time.”

“Er I don’t know how to dance.”

Looking at Harry the confusion must have shown on his face because…..the classroom third year, Wicked Game.

“Well I mean no one has ever taught me to dance but I have always been good at following you Draco.”

With that statement Harry looked away from the three of them embarrassed and he could do nothing but chuckle. Oh he was so gone for this boy it was ridiculous, heart clenching painfully he reached out drawing Harry into his arms.

“Well he’s really good at it regardless of any previous knowledge so pay attention you two.”

Piano music drifting around them he drew Harry close counting the steps out loud for Ron and Hermione’s benefit. He couldn’t wait to show Harry off to the rest of the school at the ball.

~HPHPHPHP~

The gasps that followed their procession into the Great Hall along with Ron, Fleur, Victor, Hermione, Cedric, and Cho was to be expected. They looked amazing with their house themed robes and Fleur was practically beaming on Ron’s arm, she had absolutely loved the embroidery and charm work asking Draco question after question until McGonagall had to cut her off so they could make their entrance.

After dinner they approached the newly cleared dance floor; taking their positions Draco waived his hand towards the piano on stage and the song he had chosen began to play its haunting melody. Leading Harry along the two of them danced and twirled their robes swishing with flare. If he had been paying attention he would have laughed at Cedric and Cho floundering in the wake of the rest of them but his focus was all on Harry.

Harry who followed where he led blindly, just trusting him; trusting his choices, trusting his direction, trusting his emotions, he trusted Draco. Yet, as he spun Harry out in a circle to the clapping of the audience he felt a tiny bit of shame because he couldn’t find it in himself to trust Harry. His past and the Potter that he remembered would have never trusted Draco, not in a million lifetimes. There were so many things he wanted to trust Harry with; his past, his worries over the future…..his heart.

The dance came to a halt as he dipped Harry down and everyone erupted as he led Harry off the dance floor dipping his head in acknowledgement to the praise being shouted at them. The rest of the night was a blur of dancing, spiked punch and Weird Sisters. At some point Prags snuck into the ball, laughing Harry let him coil around his neck making Draco’s heart do more of that painful squeezing he was becoming familiar with.

At the end of the night he escorted Harry to the portrait of The Fat Lady, kissing him multiple times before smiling and wishing him a good night. Afterwards he headed towards domum unitatis, he had some more memories to add to his collection around his pensive.

~HPHPHPHP~

He really shouldn’t have been surprised when the morning of the second task he was called to the Headmaster’s office. Noting the presence of Hermione, Ron and Cho he sighed before leaning down and instructing Prags to spend the rest of the day with Harry. He wasn’t worried because when they had all been discussing the second task he had brought up using Gillyweed like Harry had done last time.

Hermione had been confused and after researching it had agreed that it was a good idea but inquired as to how Draco had known about it. She had relented her pestering after he had reminded her that he spent every class with Neville Longbottom whose favorite thing to do was discuss plants and their magical properties. Harry had been hesitant over the idea of growing gills and webbing but he had no choice because there had been no time for him to perfect the Bubble-Head charm.

~HPHPHPHP~

He supposed there were just some things you couldn’t change. Shivering he let Harry pull the blanket tighter around him after casting a drying charm over him. They had been the last to emerge from the lake because Harry couldn’t leave anyone behind yet again even after Draco had told him multiple times before the task, stressed it even. As soon as he was on dry land he had ignored Harry’s sheepish expression and let a frantically hissing Prags curl around his neck whom had been left in the care of Neville; never having been out of the company of both Draco and Harry before he was understandably worried.

After the judges rewarded Harry’s stupidity they made their way back to the castle Harry apologizing for putting his life in danger again; Draco hadn't been able to not yell at him because what if he would have drowned when the Gillyweed ceased working? Oh why was he so lost on this stupid foolish Gryffindor?

~HPHPHPHP~

A few weeks later they took a break from helping Harry train for the third task. Gathering around the table in the horcrux room Hermione cancelled the tracking spell letting the five pins fall flat. A detailed map of London including magical locations appeared next to the one of The United Kingdom, all three now lying side by side. Picking up the pin that had been the Diadem Hermione added it to the bowl of ingredients that included yet another page torn from the Diary; once more she set the contents ablaze.

One of the pins remained steadily over The Room of Requirement on the Hogwart’s map and the two over Little Hangleton on the UK map didn’t waiver either. The two that had been over London began to travel over to the new detailed London map, to his dismay one settled over a building in Diagon Alley marked Gringott’s and the other stopped in what looked like a neighborhood.

“What the fuck!?”

At Harry’s exclamation he leaned forward before stumbling back in shock, because there on the map the pin had stopped poised over a house marked Number Twelve Grimmauld Place. Home, there was a horcrux in his new home, it bloody figured.

Chapter Text

“But you know; happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

― Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

 

It had been hard to talk Harry down from contacting Sirius immediately but what would they have told him. Sorry but a part of Voldemort’s soul is in the house so be careful? Draco was sure that would have gone over so well. They would both have plenty of time to locate it over the summer anyway so he convinced Harry to reluctantly turn his focus back towards training for the maze.

While Ron and Hermione helped Harry, Draco had been focusing on a little pet project he had. He fervently hoped all of this time consuming and impressive spell work would go unneeded and unnoticed but he feared that it would be necessary. He still didn’t know how Harry had been entered into the tournament this time and the likelihood of The Dark Lord being behind it all was unfortunately high. Except this time Draco was anticipating it, he would try his best to prevent The Dark Lord’s resurrection but if he failed like he was prone to do, he was going to make sure the truth of it couldn’t be denied.

~HPHPHPHP~

The night before the final task saw Draco using the secret passage Harry had showed them to sneak into Hogsmeade. In his hand was a bag with an Undetectable Extension Charm that he had obtained during his pilfering of the Malfoy vaults. It was time to put his backup plan into action and with a glamour in place while wearing a stolen Beauxbatons uniform he could only hope it could never be traced back to him.

Arriving at The Three Broomsticks shortly before closing he introduced himself to Madam Rosmerta as a student representative for the Triwizard Tournament, while internally thanking his mother for teaching him French as his fake accent was pretty dang good. He told her that the final task was going to be recorded live and pulled a muggle projector and screen from his bag. Setting them up against one of the walls he explained the sound and film spells he had used; he informed her it would all automatically turn on when the task began the following night. To her delight he encouraged her to advertise for it and she eagerly allowed him access to her floo.

Next he went to The Ministry and enlarged four screens to enormous proportions in a cube shape floating above the fountain in the middle of the atrium telling the greeting witch the same story. Afterwards he traveled to St. Mungos and the mediwitches on staff allowed him to enlarge a screen against the wall in their waiting room. From there he went to The Leaky Cauldron for access to Diagon Alley, by that point almost all of the shops were closed but Gringott’s was always open. After negotiating with the goblins he was allowed to levitate a massive screen over the entrance to the bank.

Returning to Hogsmeade instead of taking the secret passage back to Hogwarts he pulled his Firebolt from the bag and flew back to the castle. At the Quidditch Pitch he placed enlarged screens on every single set of stands so the audience could watch the screen across from them. He finally dropped his glamour and cast a Disillusionment Charm before making his way to the Hufflepuff Common Room. Changing out of the stolen uniform he called Leaf to hide it in its original owner’s belongings.

Knowing he wouldn’t be able to sleep he collected his art supply trunk and Prags and made his way to the Charms corridor. A few meters down from the mural of the first task he painted an underwater view of The Great Lake. Grindylow’s peeked in and out of fronds on the lake bottom and The Giant Squid swam around in the far background. The middle was dominated by the city of the merpeople, which Draco had viewed from Harry’s memories in the pensive. Draco, Ron, Hermione and Cho were each suspended on their separate poles. On a loop Harry transformed by the Gillyweed would appear, free Draco and then argue with the merpeople while Victor and Cedric subsequently appeared, freed their hostages, and then swam out of view. While Harry remained until he forcibly freed Ron and swam away with both of them in tow. After adding fish to swim around he signed the bottom with a flourish knowing that Flitwick would preserve it as soon as he saw it.

Sitting back against the opposite wall he lost track of time watching his creation until Prags nudged against his hands letting him know it was almost time for breakfast. Sighing he stood and went to go take a much needed shower.

~HPHPHPHP~

Underneath Harry’s invisibility cloak he followed him in the maze levitating a heavily disillusioned muggle camcorder in front of him. He activated it when Harry and Cedric ran into each other then went their separate ways, he could hear the shocked gasps and excited titters from the audience as soon as he began filming live. He would admit that his Muggle Studies class had been one of the best decisions he had made in this afterlife so far. He secretly followed Harry, witnessing Krum’s strange behavior and the strange lack of obstacles for Harry that had panic steadily rising in his mind.

He gamely kept his self from laughing as Harry fumbled his way through the Sphinx’s riddle, Prags shaking around his shoulders trying not to hiss as well. It all felt very anti-climactic when they reached the clearing with the cup at the same time as Cedric Diggory. Rolling his eyes at the Hufflepuff/Gryffindor duo as they counted down to grab the cup together, Draco grabbed his camcorder before shoving Cedric out of the way at the last minute and using his free hand to grab the Triwizard Cup with Harry; praying to Merlin as the Portkey activated that they would only be transported back to the front of the maze.

~HPHPHPHP~

Landing hard Draco made sure to keep the cloak wrapped around him as he rolled before coming to a stop. Looking up at the scene of an unfamiliar graveyard he swore in his head before levitating the camcorder high above him and leaving it suspended with a great view of the graveyard. Good thing he had charmed it to zoom in and out on its own to capture the best view, as well as a charm to catch voices from 100 meters. Standing; he picked up his wand which had ended up a little ways from where he had finally stopped rolling; he also noted the location of the cup as he weaved past headstones towards where he heard voices.

A scene finally came into view that chilled his blood; Harry was tied to a gravestone and an unfamiliar man was cutting into his arm. The man seemed to be chanting some spell under his breath. Wasting no time Draco snuck behind Harry and used a severing charm to free him from the ropes. As the man cut off his hand into an enormous cauldron Draco covered Harry with the cloak so they were both underneath it before he started to tug him away.

“Wait Draco, he took my wand,” Harry whispered.

Gritting his teeth in frustration he slipped out from under the cloak casting a non-verbal disillusionment charm on himself. Making his way over towards the seemingly vaguely familiar man as the cauldron began to smoke he cast a non-verbal, Expelliarmus. As Harry’s wand flew towards his outstretched hand the man turned sharply pulling his own wand from inside of his robes while clutching his stump to his chest. As soon as Draco caught Harry’s wand flying towards him he was hit with a nasty, “Crucio!

He hit the ground screaming; the pain was so great he barely noticed Harry throwing off the cloak with an enraged yell. Snatching his wand from where Draco had dropped it Harry engaged the other man in a duel of flying spells. The curse now being lifted; he became aware that yet again he had no control over his muscles as they seized like he was still under the curse. Looking up he saw Harry relentlessly firing spells with Prags coiled tightly around his left leg boosting his defensive spells. Trying and failing to stand Draco saw Nagini weaving between gravestones headed towards Harry.

Deciding to leave his dignity behind he clutched Harry’s cloak, grabbed his own wand, and barrel rolled over to Harry who didn’t even glance down when he grabbed onto his right leg. Even though Harry was winning, probably due to blood loss from his opponent, as soon as Draco noticed a figure beginning to rise from the hissing cauldron he knew he was out of time.

Accio Triwizard Cup!

He quickly stuck his wand into Harry’s back pocket before catching the cup flying towards him and felt the portkey activate as someone screamed, “No!”

~HPHPHPHP~

When they landed hard at the maze entrance his body was jarred tearing another scream from his throat before he could choke down the pain. Harry knelled at his side and he could distantly hear the reactions of the crowd as they witnessed the resurrection of The Dark Lord and the summoning of his followers. Draping the cloak over them to prevent unwanted interruptions Harry helped Draco stand and steadily they made their way to the castle stopping every once and awhile as Draco’s muscles seized randomly.

Finally entering the hospital wing Harry helped lower Draco onto a bed, tossing his cloak and the Triwizard cup onto the neighboring bed. Harry cast his patronus to find Madame Pomfry while Prags slithered onto the bed and curled onto Draco’s chest. Sitting him up and sliding Prags down to his lap, Harry settles behind him, legs spread and bracketing his own. Curling around him Harry wraps his arms around his chest as tremors wreak havoc with Draco’s body. Limbs jerking and flailing Harry could barely keep him on the bed, he opened his mouth to apologize but Harry stops him with a gentle hand on his jaw. Bending his head Harry rested his chin on Draco’s shoulder squeezing him tightly and whispered quietly.

“If you speak you might bite your tongue so just listen you beautiful prat. When we get out of here and you are all better you will have a lot of explaining to do. Not only about why you followed me into that maze but also how it seems that you almost knew that was going to happen. Don’t worry, I’m sure you have sound reasoning, I still trust you with my life and so much more. So please my little badger, please be ok.”

Feeling something wet on his neck Draco turned his head slightly to see the sight of tears trailing down Harry’s face as his hold tightened even more almost crushing Draco against him. The Hospital doors burst open distracting him as Madame Pomfry, Dumbledore, Minister Fudge, Ludo Bagman, Snape, Moody, and Barty Crouch Sr. came rushing in. As soon as he sees the familiarity in Crouch’s face he starts jerking worse and stuttering.

“Cccc….ccrro….ccccrouch….cc”

“Shush Draco, I got it.”

Brushing a gentle hand over his jaw once more Harry lifts it as soon as the adults draw near and wandlessly cast the spell Kingsley used on Pettigrew making invisible bonds wrap around Crouch’s hands and feet forcing him to sit on the ground.

“Harry my boy what are you doing?”

Ignoring Dumbledore Harry meets the eyes of Crouch and says, “Legilimens.”

As Harry’s eyes glaze over while he delves into Crouch’s mind Pomfry approaches Draco.

“Poor dear, saw the whole nasty business, I don’t know how many more crucios’ your nerves can take, St. Mungos sent me your records from this past summer in case of any flare ups, nasty business. Here drink this first; it’s a muscle relaxing potion.”

Pomfry helped him open his mouth and held his tongue to keep him from swallowing it and poured the potion steadily down his throat. His muscles almost immediately began to stop trembling and his body seemed to melt down onto the bed and Harry. Ignoring the speculating glances of the adults around him he reached up and grasped Harry’s hand as he gave a jerk behind him pulling back from Crouch’s mind. Draco had a brief moment of self-disgust for not suspecting anything when Percy Weasley hadn’t replaced him on the judging panel before Harry began to speak.

“I don’t even know where to begin; none of you noticed this man has been under the Imperious curse since the night of The Quidditch World Cup? I’ll start from the beginning for you since I’m not sure I trust any of you to find the truth if it slapped you in the face anymore. It seems that his son Barty Crouch Jr. was a fanatic Death Eater and devout follower of Voldemort; when he was dying in Azkaban, Crouch’s wife was also dying so at her insistence when they went to visit he swapped them. The dementor’s who can’t see only sensed a healthy and dying person enter and a healthy and dying person leave. I’m not even going to address how stupid it is to still have them guarding Azkaban because I know you won’t listen or care, after all what does a child know? When she died a week later she was buried as Barty Crouch Jr. while the real Barty Crouch Jr. was now under the Imperious curse practically living underneath an invisibility cloak. At the Quidditch World Cup he attended under the supervision of the house elf Winky, when the death eaters attacked, enraged at them Crouch Jr. broke his father Imperious curse and after stealing a wand he turned the tables. Digging through his father’s mind he came across a memory of the trial of one Peter Pettigrew who before he was kissed claimed to know the current location of Voldemort, the ministry laughed at his claims but Crouch Jr. believed it. So he used the Imperious curse on his father and sent him back to planning The Triwizard Tournament while he went in search of his master.”

Breathing hard Harry glared at the people gathered around him, all of whom avoided his eyes except for Dumbledore who was looking at him with such pride it made Draco almost puke.

“Crouch Jr. had his father put my name in the cup, assist in making sure I made it through the maze first and turned the cup into a portkey to that graveyard to resurrect Voldemort. Which all of you witnessed thanks to Draco I’m sure. He is the only one who has been really looking out for me and if he was able he would be tearing each of you apart.”

Flexing his arms across Draco’s chest Harry breathed in deep.

“Just leave all of you; I don’t want to even look at you right now.”

Ludo Bagman moved nervously forward with a bag clinking in his hand. Setting it down next to the cup on the adjacent bed he turned to walk away before Harry stopped him.

“If that is the thousand gallon prize just take it, I don’t want or need it.”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that Harry, rules are rules and you are the champion that touched the cup first, it’s a binding contract.”

“Fine just leave already.”

As the adults began to file out Pomfry got Draco’s attention leaning forward with another potion. “Here dear, it’s a sleeping potion, get some rest while I contact your healer from St. Mungos.”

Opening his mouth he drank the potion before settling down curling against Harry as Prags draped over the both of them. As his mind began to drift he couldn’t help but think on how he had failed yet again, The Dark Lord had returned.

~HPHPHPHP~

When he came to; the scene that greeted him made him want to laugh and cry in equal measure. He was still in the hospital wing but his bed had been enlarged at some point so Harry could cuddle around him comfortably. The beds around them had been transfigured into couches that housed Sirius, Remus, Neville, Ron, Hermione, Cedric, Fred, George, Molly, Arthur, Fleur, Victor, Ginny, Pansy, Vince, Greg, and to his amusement his healer Mindy DeHart from the summer who seemingly had been forced to be a part of the apparent festivities.

Scattered around were an incalculable amount of flowers and gifts that the rest of them had apparently decided to open for him since empty chocolate frog and Bertie Bott's cartons littered the floor. Harry was sitting up and was running his fingers through Draco’s hair where his head rested on Harry’s lap. Prags was draped across the laps of Sirius, Remus and Mindy who were all sharing a couch and all were stroking his scales. What a complete slag he thought to himself fondly, though he couldn’t judge to much as Harry’s fingers continued their course.

Looking over Healer DeHart noticed his open eyes, moving Prags more firmly onto Remus’s lap she stood and made her way over to his bed. Noticing her movement the rest of the room quieted as she reached the bed. Raising her wand she began casting diagnostic spells which had Harry halting his fingers process through his hair.

“Well everything looks about as good as it can be for the moment, it’s lucky the curse was only used on you for a few seconds this time or it could have been much worse. I was afraid for a while that you would have permanent tremors in your hands but it seems I’m better than I thought.”

Humming to herself she continued to cast a few more scan spells before holstering her wand and waited while Harry helped him sit up in front of him. Harry familiarly curled his self around Draco from behind and he smiled up at Mindy who was looking down at them fondly.

“Alright, I would say no more fighting bad guys but from what these lads and lassies have been telling me that’s like wishing for rain in a desert. What I will ask you is that if anything seems off, the slightest misfire of a nerve or involuntary twitch, you have your boyfriend send me his pretty patrounus, you understand me?”

Blushing at her scolding as well as calling Harry his boyfriend he responded, “Yes ma’am.”

“Good now I have to get back to the hospital, hopefully I don’t see either of you again anytime soon.”

She walked away robes flaring out behind her as the rest of the room began to crowd around the bed. Huffing a laugh Harry ducked his face into the curve of Draco’s neck as he was bombarded with questions and Prags coiled into his lap eagerly hissing away. With a muttered, “coward,” to Harry he answered pleasantry with pleasantry until everyone seemed to wind back down. Settling back against Harry he watched the people that were becoming his family talk and laugh with each other as Harry began to give teasing nibbles and licks on his neck. Sirius remained next to his bed smiling down at the two of them, reaching down he ruffled Harry’s head making him look up from tracing a path on Draco’s skin with his mouth.

“I’m proud of you kiddos, I know it’s going to get scary soon but for right now I want you both to know that I am so thankful to call you mine.”

He had to go and say shit like that when Draco had been sure that this one time he wasn’t going to cry. Oh well he thought as Sirius wrapped the two of them in a hug, Harry was crying to so that made it ok. He clutched them both tightly letting yet another perfect moment wrap around his heart, maybe he wasn’t failing to terribly.

Chapter Text

“It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

― Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

 

~Get your motor runnin'

Head out on the highway~

Already laughing Draco made his way down to the kitchen of Number Twelve, following the sounds of one of Sirius’s favorite songs.

~Lookin' for adventure

And whatever comes our way~

Sure enough, when he walked into the room, Harry and Sirius were cooking breakfast moving around like they had lived together their whole lives.

~Yeah Darlin' go make it happen

Take the world in a love embrace

Fire all of your guns at once

And explode into space~

Singing terribly at the top of his lungs Sirius raced over to save a flapjack before it burned, while Harry gamely tried to sing while laughing.

~I like smoke and lightning

Heavy metal thunder

Racin' with the wind

And the feelin' that I'm under~

Moving into the room he nudged Harry aside with a hip before the butter that was supposed to go on the toast ended up everywhere else.

~Yeah Darlin' go make it happen

Take the world in a love embrace

Fire all of your guns at once

And explode into space~

Harry kissed the back of his neck before rushing over to Sirius to engage him in some weird singing dance off.

~Like a true nature's child

We were born, born to be wild

We can climb so high I never wanna die~

Feeling their eyes staring him down they both pointed at him as the chorus approached rolling his eyes but smiling fondly he opened his mouth belting the lyrics along with them.

~Born to be wild

Born to be wild~

Shaking his head he went back to his task of buttering the toast and placing more in the toaster while his two goofballs started banging their heads in imitation of rock band stars.

~Get your motor runnin'

Head out on the highway

Lookin' for adventure

And whatever comes our way~

Placing the last flapjack on a plate, Sirius climbed onto the kitchen table and not to be out done Harry quickly followed both still singing loudly.

~Yeah Darlin' go make it happen

Take the world in a love embrace

Fire all of your guns at once

And explode into space~

Sending tickling jinks towards the both of them they reluctantly climbed off the table while still dancing terribly.

~Like a true nature's child

We were born, born to be wild

We can climb so high I never wanna die~

Ignoring their stares this time he levitated their breakfast and cutlery onto the table while Harry bounced over to sing right in front of him posing ridiculously.

~Born to be wild

Born to be wild~

They both fell to their knees on the floor while strumming imaginary guitars to the songs conclusion, before looking at each other and bursting out laughing. As Draco sat down and waited for them to join him he couldn’t help but think that he had never started a day so wonderfully.

~HPHPHPHP~

Ron, Hermione, Harry and Draco were combing through the attic at Number Twelve, so far without much luck locating the elusive horcrux. As the base of operations for The Order of the Phoenix to the apparent frustration of Sirius, they at least didn’t have to make reasons for Ron and Hermione to visit. With the return of The Dark Lord the Ministry was on high alert trying flush him from wherever he was hiding with no luck so far. As the Ministry was stretched thin Dumbledore had decided to reinstate The Order that had existed during the first war.

With the excuse that Draco was searching for a sketchbook that must have been misplaced when Leaf had hurriedly moved his things from Malfoy Manor; they had begun searching the proverbial forest of crap in the attic with no luck so far. He had debated with Harry whether to bring Sirius in on their horcrux search but the both of them agreed that they were reluctant to trust him completely yet. Sirius was fun but their track record with authority figures wasn’t very good; to state it mildly.

Sighing he sat back for a moment listening to the radio he had brought up play. There had to be an easier way to go about this, looking around he made a quick decision. He had already undergone the blood adoption this summer so he was officially the heir of the Black family and all that entailed.

“Kreacher!”

Pop

“How can Kreacher help young master Black today?”

“I just wanted to ask if anyone has ever brought home anything gifted to them by The Dark Lord, they may have bragged about it? Placed it in a position to display?”

Harry, Ron and Hermione ceased their searching and moved towards them listening.

“Kreacher doesn’t remember any gifts young master.”

Frowning Draco watched the older elf as he wrung his hands together repeatedly and refused to meet his eyes. Recalling his own disillusionment with The Dark Lord at the end of the second war he narrowed his eyes.

“What about something they tried to destroy, or ordered you to destroy?”

A great wail left the old elf’s mouth as he threw his body to the floor banging his head repeatedly.

“Kreacher failed! Kreacher tried to do as master Regulus ordered but it can’t be destroyed! Oh master Regulus! Kreacher is sorry!”

“Enough! Kreacher, I order you to bring me what cannot be destroyed!”

Pop

As he waited the four of them looked at each other in excitement, they were about to have another horcrux.

Pop

Kreacher appeared holding out a golden locket dangling from its chain, a hiss from Harry confirming that it was the horcrux they had been searching for; glancing around Draco spotted a sheet over some random piece of furniture. Cutting off a piece with his wand he wrapped it around the locket not letting it touch his skin, then followed by the other three he walked down to his room and put it in the fourth layer of his trunk.

“Good, we can destroy it when we get back to Hogwarts.”

“Obviously Harry, now come on, let’s go and try to eaves drop on the meeting with Fred and George.”

Rubbing his hands together in glee Ron left the room; Draco chuckled as Hermione rolled her eyes but followed him anyway. Looking at Harry they both shrugged before trailing after their Slytherin friend, they now had nothing better to do anyway, except training of course but that was boring. Nothing liked the twins’ new inventions.

~HPHPHPHP~

Despite The Dark Lord being up and about again Draco had such an amazing summer that he had been reluctant to return to Hogwarts but return he must. They had an important job to do after all and Hogwarts was their base of operations so to speak. For some reason unknown to him he had been made a Prefect along with Harry, Ron and Hermione; which just concluded his theory that Dumbledore had completely lost his mind. They did nothing except break the rules! It was almost like the old dodger was encouraging them to break more.

The welcoming feast had been full of revelations, well for him at least. He had been dreading the year under toad face and her multiple decrees, but alas it was not to be in this life. He supposed without the Ministry trying to cover everything up she was unneeded, instead as a favor to Dumbledore for this year only until he could find a permanent Professor, the curse breaker Bill Weasley was to be their defense professor. When he had been introduced Draco had been hard pressed not to scream his jubilation.

He didn’t know the second oldest Weasley at all but being a Weasley and Phoenix member he was bound to be super cool and down to earth. He hoped Bill could teach him some new dueling spells, he was running out of things to teach Harry, Ron and Hermione. Not that that was a bad thing but the more they knew and could cast the more relaxed Draco could feel…in theory at least.

~HPHPHPHP~

It had been a few weeks before they had all been able to break away at the same time and meet in domum unitatis. They had decided since the locket had Slytherin’s symbol, Ron would be the one to destroy it. Draco watched as Ron levitated the locket over the bowl of Basilisk venom before letting it fall in. Like the time before a shrieking filled the air and Harry fell to his knees gritting his teeth against the pain. A cracking noise followed and after Harry was back on his feet they went over to the display case. To the right of the mangled Diadem now rested a fractured golden locket and a new plaque appeared below.

Salazar Slytherin’s Locket

Horcrux destroyed by Ronald Weasley

(Basilisk Venom)

1995

Breathing a sigh of relief he made his way over to the map where only four pins remained active, but one of them had moved. There was still one poised steadily over The Room of Requirement on the Hogwart’s map and the one on the detailed London map was over Gringott’s, the surprise was on the map of the UK. Instead of two only one pin was over the village of Little Hangleton, the one that had been next to it had moved and was now over a seemingly random spot in Wiltshire.

“Are you guys seeing what I am seeing?”

Nodding his head at Ron, Draco’s mind was in overdrive, it was over location of the manor, now there was a horcrux in his old home, but why had it moved? He had a theory but he needed to be sure. He looked up meeting Harry’s eyes who had been watching him, Harry raised an eyebrow at him in question and Draco relented.

“I have a theory but I need to go to Little Hangleton to be sure and since there is a horcrux still there, it’s a trip we need to make anyway.”

Looking over at Ron for a plan he waited as Ron’s brow furrowed in concentration, after a few minutes he looked over at Draco.

“I have an idea but you might not like it.”

“Ok…..why?”

“We are probably going to need to be there for a little while, these horcruxes aren’t very easy to find, so we can’t just do our usual sneaking out of school which means that we need to go over Christmas Hols so no seeing Sirius.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah, we should all tell the school we are going home and tell our families we are staying, the old run around. Take the passage into Hogsmeade when the rest of the students leave to board the train and summon the knight bus to take us to Little Hangleton.”

Frowning he looked over at Harry who was looking down at the table in concentration, finally he rose to meet Draco’s eyes and he saw he had reached the same bitter conclusion. He would miss Sirius but it was a solid plan and horcruxes were more important. No Regrets.

“Alright it’s a plan, we will go to Little Hangleton over Christmas, has anyone made any progress with a plan for the one in Gringott’s?”

“I have been in contact with some of the goblins who helped me smuggle a large chunk of The Malfoy fortune and they are willing to help me but we need to narrow it down to a vault number and they can send me an inventory list.”

“How are we supposed to get a blue print of Gringotts? I don’t even think one really exist.”

Then, like the amazing room it was, the detailed map of London faded to be replaced with a map of Gringotts. The four remaining pins fell flat as the spell was subsequently cancelled. Picking up the pin that had been the locket Hermione began to gather ingredients for the spell once more and as soon as the flames were conjured Draco tracked the pin moving over vault positions until it settled over one that was layers deep in the bank. He choked in disbelief as the words ‘Lestrange Vault’ appeared where the pin now hovered.

“Do you know who it belongs to Draco?”

“You could say that, my aunt and uncle, fanatic death eaters, currently locked away in Azkaban.”

“Wait…..Azkaban?”

A thunderous look came over Harry’s face and Draco’s momentary confusion was replaced with exasperation as a conversation they had years ago came to mind.

“Who did it Draco!? Who tortured you!? Why!? Tell me!”

“It doesn’t matter anymore Harry, they are in Azkaban now and no one can change the past, not even you.”

It wouldn’t do to dwell on the past, before Harry could say anything Draco spoke up.

“No matter, it doesn’t change the plan, I’ll write the goblins tonight but it will probably take a while for them to get me an inventory, that vault is brimming full of stuff.”

“Alright then, come on mates, it’s almost time for dinner and I’m starving.”

“You’re always starving Ron.”

“True but it’s good for you since I always know when we need to stop and eat.”

As Harry and Draco followed the playfully arguing duo out of the room, he couldn’t help but feel some excitement, they were getting close.

~HPHPHPHP~

It had taken a month for the goblins to get a full inventory together, Draco was happy for the distraction when he finally received it because the most exciting thing happening in school was the twins ever increasing joke products. He figured he would rush read through the list first to see if anything popped out before going through in more detail since it was several parchments worth of stuff. Yet on the second parchment something immediately drew his eye.

-Ancestral Cup of Helga Hufflepuff

That was it! It was too big a coincidence for it to not be the horcrux. Everything except the Diary had been Hogwarts themed so far. He didn’t even bother to consult the others before composing a letter to the goblins warning them of what it could be before asking them to remove it from the vault and send it to him right away.

Running up to the owlery he was relieved when Hedwig flew down to say hello to him and Prags. Giving her an affectionate stroke he asked if she would take his letter, hooting in agreement she held out her foot and he thanked her as she flew off into the sky. Excited he ran off to find Harry, he was going to love the good news.

~HPHPHPHP~

Three days later the four of them were gathered in the horcrux room inside of domum unitatis; the open package on an open space on the table, Hufflepuff’s cup gleaming at them. Harry was furiously rubbing his scar which was a good enough indicator for him, raising his wand he levitated the cup over the venom bracing himself for the shrieking and following crack. Helping Harry up from his knees he walked over to the case seeing the mangled cup now beside the locket, plaque shining underneath.

Helga Hufflepuff Ancestral Cup

Horcrux destroyed by Draco Black

(Basilisk Venom)

1995

The sound of another pin rolling off the table seemed to echo behind them as they looked at each other; three to go.

Chapter Text

"I hope you're pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed — or worse, expelled. Now if you don't mind, I'm going to bed.”

― Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

 

Snow covered the ground as Ron, Harry, and Hermione followed him down the road towards the graveyard in Little Hangleton. They had arrived in the village midday yesterday and instead of immediately beginning their search they got settled in a pub that had a few rooms to let out in the floor above. Both rooms had two beds so Harry and Draco claimed one while Ron and Hermione shared the other. The four of them shared a living space, kitchen, and bathroom; it was like a little flat.

Hermione had set up a Christmas tree in the living space after making Draco request Leaf find one for them. They had spent the day getting settled and decorating the tree as well as the rest of the flat and even though he knew they were all going to miss their families (or just Sirius for him and Harry) he was glad to be spending this time with his friends. He had a map of the village spread out on the table that he had gotten from the pub owner and had circled certain locations of interest, the main one being Riddle Manor. It had to be related to The Dark Lord somehow and coincidentally there was a graveyard close to it.

So, after breakfast they had headed out along the road towards the graveyard first. The horcrux was probably in the manor but he had to check on his theory first. Yet, as they were prone to do things took a surprising turn, when the distant view of the manor was visible Harry suddenly grabbed his cloak pulling him to a stop.

“What is it Harry?”

Looking around with a frown Harry’s eyes seemed to halt on a crumbling decimated shack to the side of the road. He reached up and tapped his scar, “tingles,” was all he said but the manor and graveyard were both too far away for him to feel the horcrux.

Harry stepped off the road and walked towards the shack, Draco shared a questioning look with Ron and Hermione before the three of them followed. Harry wrenched open the decaying door and stepped into the crumbling structure, the rest of them following behind. Draco managed to bite back a yelp but Hermione couldn’t stop from letting out a little scream. On a chair in what was supposed to be the living space was a skeleton. Who know who they had been or how long they had been there but he could hazard a guess as to who had killed them when Harry rubbed his scar with a hiss looking around frantically.

“It’s in here guys, the horcrux is in here somewhere.”

“Of bloody course it is,” Ron muttered looking at the skeleton in disgust.

Draco looked around thinking what everyone else probably was, this wasn’t going to be easy, there didn’t seem to be anything of value standing out which meant it was well hidden or buried somewhere in the dirt floor.

“I think we should bury them.”

“Hermione we don’t even know who they are!”

“I know but we can’t just leave them here, and we can’t exactly report it because we aren’t even supposed to be here.”

“Alright tonight we’ll search through the books we have and see if we can find a digging spell or anything that might help. At least we now know where the horcrux is, so for the moment let’s continue on to the graveyard.”

Harry continued looking around as if he could summon the horcrux with his glare alone so Draco took his hand and tugged him back outside to the road. Harry’s grip on his hand tightened when they reached the graveyard and surprise was on Ron and Hermione’s faces. They had watched the events of The Dark Lord’s resurrection on the screen along with everyone else and shared the details with Harry and Draco later. All of them recognized the graveyard and it was cemented when they came across the large cauldron next to the gravestone for Tom Riddle Sr.

Raising his wand he yelled, “Accio Camcorder!

Sure enough it came flying in to his hand, disillusionment spell long gone, and ruined by the weather. It was enough evidence for him as he looked up to where Riddle Manor was visible towering over the surroundings. Ignoring the curious stares of the others he tugged Harry along and began trudging through the snow back to the pub and their rented flat.

~HPHPHPHP~

Back at the flat they all sat on the couches around the coffee table. Ron had made tea and they each made a cup getting settled before they all turned to him and waited. He was appreciative of their patience as he scooted into Harry’s side glancing over at a sweater clad Prags coiled in his bed which was situated in front of a radiator heater. Harry lifted his arm and Draco sighed in contentment as he curled into the warmth Harry provided. Taking a sip of his tea he debated on where to begin, sifting through what he knew from his first life and what had happened in this one.

“Please don’t be too angry with me but I didn’t tell you previously because I needed to research my theory. I’ll start with the location of the new pin in Wiltshire it’s at my previous home, Malfoy manor.”

He let the three of them absorb that for a moment until Harry rubbed on his arm encouragingly.

“As you all know The Dark Lord is a parselmouth and you all saw his new companion; a giant snake he told the Death Eaters is named Nagini. I believe that she is a horcrux, in his weakness The Dark Lord probably possessed her and when he was extracted by Crouch left some of himself behind? I’m not sure how exactly but it makes sense right? He probably stayed at Riddle Manor all last year and now he’s living with my parents, his pet at his side.”

Looking around he saw furrowed brows and concentration on the faces of his three closest companions besides Prags. Deciding to give them time he distracted his self by pouring and preparing another cup of tea.

“You don’t think that maybe that pin on the map is just marking Voldemort himself?”

“No Harry, the spell is set to track horcruxes, not the main soul.”

“Great, just great, how are we supposed to kill a live snake? We can’t just dump it in the venom like the rest and as the proverbial cherry; it’s always with the evil bastard.”

“I don’t know Ron, but when we started we knew this wasn’t going to be easy. I know we can figure something out….we have too.”

Glancing over he met Harry’s gaze, there was so much at stake, and so much they carried on their shoulders with no one the wiser so far. He laid his head on Harry’s shoulder as he trailed his fingers up and down Draco’s arm while they all shot ideas back and forth; the snake in his stomach reappearing and coiling after a long absence. At some point soon he would have to go back to the manor and face his past….all of it.

~HPHPHPHP~

The next few days, to the dismay of Harry and Ron, were all research. Harry had wanted to go back and begin searching the shack immediately but Draco had shut that down with the argument that they would need the digging spell for that as well because the likelihood of the horcrux being buried was high. Deciding that the two of them needed something more interactive he set them off into the village to find out all they could on Riddle Manor and the shack. For some reason people just talked to Harry, gave him all their secrets like he was the most trustworthy person in the world…which he might actually be now that Draco thought about it.

Sure enough everyday they came back with more gossip; the strange Gaunt family that had lived in the shack before they all disappeared, the daughter’s obsession with the young Riddle heir, how the two of them had vanished one day, her never to return and for him to come back seemingly angry with the world, the strange death of the manor’s caretaker two summers ago, and flashing lights seen by multiple people in the graveyard last spring.

All of which led to the strangest revelation because Draco knew the names of every pure-blood going back centuries and while Gaunt was one, even though they were disgraced and penniless, Riddle was not. The Dark Lord was a half-blood, he preached blood purity but he was a fake. It was a revelation that shouldn’t have been as much of a surprise as it ended up being. He wondered for a brief moment if he told his mother and father…if they knew then maybe……..no, it was too late now, they would never believe him. Though it was a small piece of mind he supposed, to have even more confirmation that last time he had defiantly been on the wrong side. This time was his chance, No Regrets.

~HPHPHPHP~

It was snowing again as they walked to the shack and the low visibility had them all casting lumos when they walked inside, door still barely hanging on as they had left it. The middle of the shack seemed to have a clear enough space so the four of them stood in a circle and together said the incantation, “Metalla Fodiuntur!”

Moving their wands upwards in sync a great mound of dirt moved out of the ground and over to the side where they guided it. Doing the spell three more times they determined the hole big enough and levitated whom they now suspected to be Morfin Gaunt into his final resting place.

He noticed the tightening of Harry’s face right before a ring tumbled out of the mound of dirt they were moving to cover the hole. Harry levitated it, inspecting while the three of them finished the burial; after they were done Draco moved forward taking the fur hat off his head and scooping the ring inside. They could take a closer look once they were back at Hogwarts.

~HPHPHPHP~

They snuck into Hogwarts at the same time as the rest of the returning students, they had decided to stay in their rented flat for the remainder of the holidays, knowing that joining their families or returning to Hogwarts halfway through would raise suspicions none of them wanted to answer. It had been great fun to relax and just be teenagers for a little bit though, sadly it was his best memory of the holiday to date.

Not willing to wait the three of them met in domum unitatis directly following the welcome back feast. Placing the ring on the table they all admired the golden ring with its giant black inlaid stone, though the symbol carved into the stone had Draco wracking his brain, it seemed so familiar. Deciding he could research it later they concurred it was Harry’s turn to do the honors, so he levitated the ring dropping it into the venom.

Heading over to the display case he watched as the golden band appeared melted and mangled next to Hufflepuff’s Cup. Yet, the black stone appeared separate from the ring, still in perfect condition. Frowning he looked down as a new plaque shimmered into existence.

Peverell Ancestral Ring

Horcrux destroyed by Harry Potter

(Basilisk Venom)

1996

Slow Death Curse

(Active)

Resurrection Stone

(Active)

“Blimey! Good thing no one put it on, a bloody death curse, a bit not good that but I bet Bill can break it”

“Good idea Ron, but I’m more interested in the part about the resurrection stone, what does that mean?”

His mind was spinning in circles, ignoring Harry’s concerned looks he walked back into the main room to sit on the couch clutching a pillow to his chest.

“…no more horcruxes…no more hallows....”

Peverell, the three brothers, it couldn’t be true. It was a story, a fairy-tale told to young withes and wizards…yet…the symbol on the ring, the family name, Potter’s taunt towards The Dark Lord, the year leading up to the battle with The Dark Lord searching for something desperately, Ollivander’s capture and interrogations. The truth was inescapable, they were real, The Deathly Hallows were real.

~HPHPHPHP~

The following Saturday while Ron took the stone to Bill, Draco sat down Harry and Hermione and told them the tale of three brothers. After he was finished they sat in silence before Hermione exclaimed her disbelief, certain of his theories Draco tested another one asking Harry to produce his invisibility cloak. He took it into the horcrux room; folding it he placed it into the display case and waited, sure enough a plaque came to be in short order.

Peverell Invisibility Cloak

Mastered by Harry Potter

(Active)

“Balls!”

“Yeah that about sums it up.”

“So you think…..”

“That The Dark Lord will go after the wand? Without a doubt, its right up his alley.”

“Shit…what do we do?”

“Simple, we get it first.”

“How?”

“We already know who has it, the wand has a long and bloody history, I’ve been researching to be sure but I’m positive of its current master.”

“Dare I ask who?”

“It’s both believable and unbelievable.”

“Oh just say it already.”

“Alright…Albus Dumbledore.”

“….shit.”

“Ron’s not going to believe this.”

“Hell Hermione I don’t believe this!”

“You will when you take it from him, you are a Peverell descendant Harry, technically they owe their allegiance to you.”

“….shit.”

At which point Ron walked into the room, looking around taking in their faces his mouth turns down.

“Alright, what the bloody hell did I miss?”

~HPHPHPHP~

Draco followed Harry’s stag deeper into The Forbidden Forest; it had come to fetch him shortly after he had finished painting the third task in the Triwizard tournament finally finishing the set. He had even painted the events of the graveyard to play out on the screens that were placed onto the quidditch stands. He had wanted to take a shower but the stag had appeared right after he made his way back to his room, so here he was, covered in paint, walking deep into a scary forest.

All for a pair of green eyes and increasingly fit body, he sighed, he was even more gone than normal because this was madness. Suddenly the stag stopped, turning around towards him it reached out its neck, in a familiar gesture he reached out, the stag dissipating as soon as he touched it. Alarmed he looked around before noticing Harry standing below a nearby tree looking at him with fondness and a strange sort of longing.

Approaching he just raised a single eyebrow in question, smiling Harry took him by the hand and led him even further into the forest. Placing a finger over his lips Harry led him into a clearing and it was hard to keep in a gasp. Illuminated by the moonlight a herd of silver unicorns was grazing and frolicking.

Harry pulled him over to a spot under a tree with a perfect view, a quilt was laid out and as he settled on it he was enveloped in a strong warming charm. It was evident a cushioning charm had been placed as well because no quilt was this comfortable on the ground. Reaching over Harry pulled over a basket from which he produced chilled pumpkin juice and some of Draco’s favorite snacks and treats.

Harry leaned back into the tree pulling Draco over to sit in front of him and lean back into his chest. Harry would raise little treats to his mouth and he would take a bite before tilting his head to the side for a kiss. He wasn’t sure how long they sat there in silence watching the unicorns and trading kisses with sugar coated lips, but when a golden foal wandered over and he touched its fuzzy muzzle in awe, he knew, he was going to love Harry Potter for the rest of this life and any life that may follow.

Chapter Text

"You don't know what I'm capable of! You don't know what I've done!"

-Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince

 

Azkaban Asunder

It has been confirmed that yesterday evening ten high-security prisoners escaped from Azkaban. (Full list of prisoners and their records on page 6) All ten were convicted death eaters; three of which (Rolodphus, Rabastan, and Bellatrix Lestrange) were sentenced to Azkaban with Barty Crouch Jr. whom was witnessed resurrecting He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named last spring. (See page 5 for the latest Ministry investigation on his whereabouts.) Since the defection of the dementors in the first war is common knowledge, one must wonder why The Ministry has kept them on to guard our deadliest criminals. After this further incompetence from our government, it begs the question, whose side are they on? (List of defense spells and stronger home wards; page 9)

 

He tossed down the paper, familiar serpent rolling and tumbling his stomach in knots. He should have known when Neville turned ashen before dropping the paper and practically running from the hall that it would be bad. He had foolishly hoped The Ministry would be more capable this time around, he should have known better. They still listened to his father parading around and giving advice after all. No longer hungry he left to go find and comfort his friend.

~HPHPHPHP~

Was it the middle of the night or early morning? The passage of time had been hard to track the last four nights following the breakout, since sleep was eluding him almost entirely. The first night he had frustratingly tossed off his quilt, grabbed his paint trunk, and set off with Prags to find his next canvas.

He found it on the fourth floor; an abandoned classroom with no furniture and one window that he boarded over. In complete darkness he had conjured several balls of blue flames to produce light and warmth. Pulling Prags bed from his pocket he reversed the shrinking spell on it; tossing it into a corner he sent one of the balls of flame to dance around it to the delight of the snake.

He had waived his wand casting a dusting charm before summoning his ladder and starting on the ceiling. It was his fourth night endlessly painting in the room and he was almost finished.

Stars covered the entire ceiling and they would rotate according to the season; the moon shined, charmed to produce light according to where it was on the lunar cycle which would cycle on it's own. All the way around on the walls was a distant forest while he seemed to stand in a clearing. He had even painted grass on the floor that would flatten where he walked.

A herd of unicorns surrounded him and he was currently putting the finishing touches on a few of the trees when the door opened. Glancing over he saw Luna Lovegood walk in carrying a blanket. Not saying a word she laid her blanket on the floor, sat down, rested back on her hands, and tilted her head up gazing at the stars. Ignoring her he went back to painting and minutes passed in silence. Finally finishing he began packing away his supplies and cleaning his brushes.

"Whatever it is it can't be bad enough to say goodbye."

Looking over to see she was still looking up at the stars Draco hesitated before replying.

"...I don't understand."

"You painted it, this goodbye. This happy memory you froze in time like it can never be found again if you didn't."

Frowning he turned his gaze to the wall beside him where a unicorn seemed to prance for his benefit. 

"It won't last, it can't."

"Oh," understanding tinged her voice, "you don't think you deserve to be happy."

He looked out of the corner of his eye. She was still sitting in the same position, eyes trained towards the stars. Not waiting for his response she spoke towards the ceiling.

"Is it because of what happened before? Where you came from?"

Whipping his head towards her in shock he stared but she never lowered hers to meet his questioning and suspicious gaze.

"How?"

".....how?"

"How do you know? What do you know?"

"Hmmmm I don't know anything really, it's just.....your eyes, they are so old."

"No one else noticed."

"I think some might suspect like I did but Draco; many people only see what they want to see, not that which is really there."

"This isn't real though, this is just in my mind or a strange afterlife."

"Why do you believe that?"

"It's not possible for it to be real because of the things I have done. Plus magic just doesn't twist time that way, not to that degree."

"Why not? Magic is unpredictable and everything is unprecedented until it happens for the first time."

His mind racing he thinks of blond hair so much like his own; dirty and unkempt in the darkness of a dungeon cell. Her words would be different if she knew the entire truth. Levitating his trunk he went to leave the room when her voice stopped him.

"Why won't you let Harry truly love you?"

Clenching his fist, he swallows hard before answering.

"He doesn't know me."

"What about for when he does?"

"When he does he won't want to love me."

"Would you not still love him if you discovered he had done whatever you are running from?"

"I love him because there doesn't exist a life where he would have done the things I did."

"What about the person you are now? You changed and strive to be more; does that not make you worthy of love and admiration? Are you so empty of feelings you would throw others away?"

His gaze flew around the room, mind playing the memories of the night that inspired it. Heart pounding he thought of sweet kisses, strong arms wrapped around him, and words traded in secret smiles and glances.

"No I'm not empty."

He could almost feel it; the trembling of his body, the weeping of his mind, the freezing of his heart never to beat again. All of it that would occur once he told Harry the truth and those green eyes turned cold with hatred once more.

"I wish I was empty, quite frankly I wish I couldn't feel a damn thing."

Striding out the door, jaw clenched and nails biting into his palms, he knew he was running out of time. Once The Dark Lord was dead he would tell Harry, and they were getting close.

~HPHPHPHP~

All alone Draco pulled on his cloak. Sirius had wanted to take them camping for Harry's birthday and folding his arms Draco had looked at him like he was mad. Chuckling Harry had informed Sirius that nature wasn't really Draco's cup of tea per say. Sirius had deflated in disappointment, sighing Draco had pulled him aside and told him to take Harry anyway. Cutting off the expected protest he had expressed he was more than capable of taking care of his self plus they could do with some one on one time.

Sirius had conceded and told him to paint anywhere he wanted before they had left on their one week trip four days ago. Draco had a hard time believing his luck, this opportunity had practically jumped into his lap. Shrinking his Firebolt he stuck it into his pocket before reaching up to stroke Prags who he hadn't been able to persuade to stay behind once yet. Taking a deep breath he centered himself before summoning Leaf.

Pop

Orientating his self he looked around determining which secret corridor of the manor Leaf had taken him to this time. Concluding he was close to the kitchens he began his search. Moving through the dark corridors that were built so servants and helpers could move around without being seen he tried to escape memories of sneaking through these same corridors during The Dark Lord's occupation last time.

He hadn't been the only one to use these passageways, one other had loved to crawl along these dark and narrow halls. This was his third night in a row hoping to come across Nagini away from her master. The Dark Lord would never sneak around and hide his presence, trusting the safety of his pet in a manor full of his most loyal.

Hours passed and with sweat rolling down his face and nerves on end he was about to label another night wasted when Prags hissed a sudden warning quietly in his ear. Cancelling his Lumos he crouched down and waited. Seconds after he saw reflective eyes flicker around the corner ahead he cast his strongest non-verbal stunner. Lighting his wand once more he saw Nagini frozen a few meters away, slit eyes hungrily following his every move.

Heart pounding and adrenaline rushing he levitated her, quickly making his way to the kitchen. Peeking out from the hidden entrance and seeing no one he emerged from the secret corridor. He set Nagini on top of the stove, coiling her large form over the burners. Reaching into his pocket he pulled out his broom, reversing the shrinking spell he climbed on casting a heavy disillusionment charm as he did.

Hovering he pointed his wand towards the stove, trying to control his shaking he dug deep inside to find the tiny scraps of himself that he could call courage. There was only one spell he was aware of that could destroy a horcrux. Shoving his fear as far down as he could he quickly cast the spell before he couldn't and urged his broom away as fiendfyre erupted behind him. Racing into the dining hall he raised his wand destroying a window before soaring through it out into the night.

He paused high above the manor to watch as the flames spread quickly smoke spiraling up into the sky. His stomach squirmed with conflicting emotions as he watched Malfoy Manor burn. He doubted many would die but there was no doubt that Nagini was taken care of. Nerves in disarray he turned his broom towards London, the long flight home would be a balm for his conflicting thoughts.

~HPHPHPHP~

Fire in Wiltshire

Malfoy Manor (pictured above) erupted into flames late last night. Aurors report that the dark curse fiendfyre was the cause of the blaze. Lord Lucius Malfoy and his wife Lady Narcissa Malfoy made it out of the manor in excellent health but were powerless to stop the flames that consumed their home. None of the wards around the grounds were triggered so an already stretched thin Ministry implores the public to help with the hunt for the person responsible. (Reference page 10 for instructions on contacting The Ministry tip line)

 

The sound of the floo activating had Draco worryingly setting down the paper he had in one hand as well as the bacon he had in the other. Harry suddenly burst through the kitchen door worried eyes roaming his face before narrowing in suspicion. He wondered what his face had revealed but Harry could always seem to read him easily nowadays.

"What did you do?"

"Nothing?"

Glaring Harry stalked forward, he distantly heard Sirius arrive as Harry gestured aggressively towards the paper.

"Ron owled that to me this morning."

"I don't know why you think I'm involved."

Growling Harry leaned over him.

"Don't. Lie. Too. Me."

Meeting Harry's belligerent stare he clenched his jaw in frustration before pushing Harry away so he could stand. Striding out of the kitchen he made his way to the Black Family Tapestry. Sirius trailed behind Harry as Draco levitated the tapestry out of the way. On the wall behind it a mural was revealed.

The manor was split down the middle like a doll house. The Dark Lord was holding court at the end of a long dining table in one of the rooms. Greyback was venturing room to room breaking anything he thought looked expensive and Bellatrix was in the dungeon torturing muggles. Harry was focused on the figure of Draco who was traversing the secret corridors before stunning Nagini and going into the kitchen. He watched as his painted self set her on fire and raced away on his broom as the manor burned before the loop started over again. After the third loop he placed the tapestry back over it; he liked the symbolism of his new family (life) hiding his old one.

"I don't understand...."

"He burned the manor down Sirius."

"No, that I get, but what's with the snake?"

"A stupid vendetta, Draco come with me."

Following along he let Harry drag him into his room before shutting the door and casting a silencing charm on the door.

"How could you do that, go after it by yourself?! Not even telling anyone, what if something would have happened to you! How would we have known?!"

"I couldn't tell any of you because if I did you would have tried coming along or tried to stop me from going!"

"Of course we would have! That was so stupid and crazy you brainless prat!"

"See, this is what I meant! It worked though didn't it!"

Panting Harry maneuvered him on to the bed before planting himself over him caging him down. Straddling him Harry bent down and began attacking his mouth with his own. Devouring his mouth like he was desperate to possess his very breath Draco surrendered to Harry's onslaught. Pulling back green eyes blazed down at him.

"Don't. Do. That. Again."

Eager to get back to the kissing he agreed reaching for Harry's neck to pull him back down. He had to think though, if this is how Harry reacted when he did something dangerous, maybe he should channel a little Gryffindor more often.

 

Chapter Text

“Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.”

― Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

 

After the welcoming feast for their sixth year; Draco, Harry, Ron, and Hermione had rushed to domum unitatis and into the horcrux room. To his relief he saw exactly what he had hoped; one lone pin hovering over the map of Hogwarts, poised over The Room of Requirement. Leaving the horcrux room the four of them settled onto the couches in front of the fire.

“So just one horcrux left.”

“Yes, and one hallow as well.”

“Alright…..anyone got a plan?”

Draco fidgeted nervously from his position curled against Harry. This year worried him greatly, things were still happening like they had the first time. Dumbledore had come over the summer to take Harry on a ‘trip’; which turned out to be the recruitment of Horace Slughorn to resume his post as Potions professor leaving Snape to become the Defense Professor just like last time. He wondered if someone else would find a way to let the Death Eaters into the school same as he had; if the year would end in blood and death. No matter whom they were the thought of another student or even a professor having to go through what he had made him feel sick. No one should have to make the choices he had, if you could even call them choices. The options had been either bad or worse, with little to no room for error.

No one had any free time for stalking either being as Ron and Harry had both been selected as Quidditch captains for their house teams. Hermione had urged them to refuse the positions saying they had more important things to focus on. Draco had opposed her, and urged them to accept; knowing what he did this might be their last year to enjoy the little things, to be teenagers. Also he had pointed out to Hermione’s pleasure the likelihood of her and himself to be head boy and girl in seventh year was rather high based on their O.W.L scores which were ridiculously high. Sirius had boasted about them almost all summer to the rest of The Order to Draco’s embarrassment and surprised pleasure.

Relenting to his arguments the two of them had accepted the captain positions and already the entire train ride had been full of trash talk and new player ideas. While him and Hermione had shook their heads, fond smiles tugging their lips, as they each dove into one of their new textbooks for the year. Looking over now he saw Ron deep in thought, fondly he reckoned Harry would only win versus Slytherin if he caught the snitch early in the game. Finally Ron spoke up and they all gave him their attention.

“I think Draco and Hermione should focus their spare time researching this room and maybe other spells for a way to locate the last horcrux. Harry and I will use our valuable spare time,” Hermione scoffed to the side, “to plan a way to get the elder wand from Dumbledore.”

Looking at each other they all nodded in agreement before standing up to make their way to their separate common rooms. They were getting so close.

~HPHPHPHP~

Another dummy exploded in front of him as Draco tirelessly fired spell after spell in the dueling corner of domum unitatis. It had been months and neither he nor Hermione had found anything to help in the location of the last horcrux. The rest of them could distract themselves with the goings on of Hogwarts but he couldn’t forget what was happening while The Dark Lord was active. He had lived it before and his nightmares made sure that sleep was few and far between for him.

A fight was inevitable because once he solved the last puzzle; which he knew he would, he had to; Harry would still have to face The Dark Lord. They still had to kill the embodiment of evil his self and he was terrified. Terrified for Harry; had he prepared him enough? Was he going to be able to kill someone this time around? What if he failed again? What if Harry was the one to die? Stomach knotted and heart in shambles he ceased his attack on the room and sat down at the table, drinking a glass of water while the shaking in his limbs subsided. Heart beating somewhat steadier he rose to his feet and began to make his way back to bed, Ron had called a meeting for tomorrow and he needed to try and get even a slight amount of sleep.

~HPHPHPHP~

They were all seated on the couches yet again as they waited for Ron to begin. He had his head tucked into Harry’s shoulder as fingers carded through his blond locks. Sighing in contentment he relaxed almost dozing off surrounded by Harry’s comforting presence. It wasn’t meant to be though as his eyes opened once Ron began to speak.

“I think that I may have been over thinking this. You know how Draco just went straight into Malfoy Manor to destroy Nagini and neither the death eaters nor Voldemort saw it coming? Well Hogwarts is like Malfoy Manor for Dumbledore, I think Harry should go up to Dumbledore’s office under his invisibility cloak and disarm him.”

“Won’t Dumbledore come after him though? Even under the cloak he would have to know it was Harry.”

“Right, unless he did it during Qudditch practice while I was polyjuiced as Harry, a ton of witnesses and Dumbledore would follow pointless leads while the wand would be secure in here inside the display case.”

“You know Ron, you might be a slippery snake after all, that’s brilliant; ready to brew again Hermione?”

Smiling she nodded as a third door appeared on the wall next to their bathroom and the horcrux room.

~HPHPHPHP~

A month later Draco followed Harry to the Headmaster’s office; he was supposed to be in the quidditch stands with Hermione watching Ron fly around as Harry but had made an excuse about helping Neville with an essay. He was just unable to leave anything to chance where Harry was concerned, so here he was, heavily disillusioned with a notice-me-not charm on top of it, following the sound of footsteps and trailing after a whispered, “Cockroach Cluster”, up into the Headmaster’s office.

Entering the office he immediately made his way over to a corner stroking Prags scales to settle him as well as his self. Dumbledore stood looking around questioningly when his wand seemed to suddenly leap from his hand to freeze in the air by the door only to float back down the stair case. Knowing Harry had cast a non-verbal Expelliarmus he waited while Dumbledore seemed to do nothing except frown in consideration. Finally Dumbledore seemed to make a decision and he watched as the old goat wandered over to his desk removing what was probably his wand before he had taken possession of the elder wand.

Swishing it a phoenix patronus emerged flying down the staircase and disappeared. Ignoring the outraged comments of the portraits Dumbledore folded his hands in front of him and waited until Severus came sweeping into the office.

“You summoned me.”

“Yes Severus, I’m afraid Harry is well ahead of where I thought in regards to Voldemort.”

“What do you mean Albus?”

“When I started to discuss horcruxes with him earlier in the year he smiled and shook his head like he already knew and I was behind the game. He has ignored the rest of my summons and just now he stole my wand.”

“He what?!”

“Calm yourself Severus, we both know Voldemort has been seeking it and I presume Harry knows as well. I’m sure he will keep it well hidden.”

“Why wouldn’t the boy ask you then Albus? Why would he do this on his own?”

“For reasons unknown he doesn’t trust me though I suspect it has a lot to do with his circle of friends but that’s not why I brought you here Severus. We both know Voldemort has tasked you with smuggling his death eaters into Hogwarts and killing me before taking my wand to him by the end of this year.”

“…..yes.”

“If it comes down to it I want you to kill me Severus, we cannot risk him questioning your loyalty. Once the horcruxes are destroyed there is something you must tell Harry.”

“The boy won’t listen to me.”

“He has to, this is very important. There is a reason Harry can talk to snakes, a reason his scar hurts when Voldemort is near. A part of Voldemort lives inside of him.”

No, his mind screamed, Dumbledore couldn’t possibly be saying what he suspected he was saying, it just wasn’t possible, it wasn’t!

“You are saying he is a…..”

“Yes.”

Draco couldn’t breathe, his heart was squeezing so tightly his lungs were paralyzed but the conversation continued around him oblivious to Draco’s world shattering in the corner.

“So when the time comes the boy must die.”

“Correct and Voldemort needs to be the one to do it.”

“You have known this entire time and you have what? Been raising him as a pig for slaughter?!”

“Don’t tell me after all this time you have come to care for the boy?”

Draco watched as in seemingly slow motion Severus twirled his wand, “Expecto Patronum.”

A silver doe raced around the office in a loop before leaping out of the window. A confused Dumbledore turned to Severus in shock.

“Lily?! After all this time….”

Draco could relate with the naked pain on Severus’s face as he answered.

“Always.”

Suddenly furious at the machinations of the Headmaster Draco threw off the charms around him raising his wand to the shock of the two present right at Dumbledore.

“Lies! Your lying I know you are!”

Seemingly unconcerned, Dumbledore didn’t even raise his wand in response. Old eyes shining he met Draco’s enraged stare with a questioning stare of his own.

“What is a lie Draco?”

“All of it, it has to be! I have fixed everything you screwed up the first time. Sirius is free, Peter was kissed, Hogwarts is united together, Cedric is alive, the horcruxes have been destroyed save one and Harry is happy. He’s happy no thanks to you or anyone else, I gave him everything I am and you are saying I have to watch as the person I hate most in the world kills him!”

Tears falling down his face, his hands shake as he feels his every emotion, everything he thought he knew collapse around him. Every time they were in the horcrux room Harry had been there, they made all the decisions together, none of them had a need to look at the maps without the rest of them. It made sense now that Harry seemed to have a sixth sense as far as the horcruxes were concerned, why their destruction brought him to his knees.

“Draco my boy, I don’t understand.”

Glaring over at Dumbledore he swished his wand yelling, “Expecto Patronum!

He watched as his stag made the same circuit as the doe had minutes ago before jumping out the window as well. Ignoring the stares of the two adults he ran from the room all the way to domum unitatis; uncoiling Prags from around his neck he took a deep breath before opening the door to the horcrux room. Falling down to his knees he let himself fall apart because there on the map of Hogwarts the single pin hovered over the area marked ‘Quidditch Pitch.’ This entire time the answer had been right in front of him.

“Draco; many people only see what they want to see, not that which is really there.”

Luna’s words ran through his head and after what felt like hours he finally stood. Making his way over to the pensive in the main room he extracted his memory of the past hour placing it into a warded vial alongside the many others. Gaze roaming over the many vials of memories he extracted the one of the battle of Hogwarts, he needed to view it once more.

~HPHPHPHP~

Hours later he stood in the horcrux room aimlessly watching as the pin moved around Hogwarts, following Harry’s progress around the school. Harry must have come back to the room after leaving Dumbledore’s office because Draco had noticed at some point the elder wand inside the display case; new plaque underneath.

Peverell Elder Wand

Mastered by Harry Potter

(Active)

After reviewing his memories from the battle he was even more in denial. Harry had simply faked being dead; he could tell he had been breathing the entire time he was in Hagrid’s arms; which meant in his first life The Dark Lord had still been alive, just made a parasite once more to emerge again years down the road. Absently he saw the pin move from the Great Hall up towards the seventh floor. His mind was elsewhere when Harry wandered into the room.

“Hey, where were you at dinner?”

When he failed to respond, gaze still fixed on the pin now back over The Room of Requirement, Harry moved forward grabbing his arm and tugging him back into the main room.

“Draco what’s wrong?”

Finally looking up he met concerned green eyes and felt his heart rip so painfully in his chest it was a wonder he didn’t fall to his knees it hurt so much.

"I wish I was empty, quite frankly I wish I couldn't feel a damn thing."

He finally understood, he had wondered at his luck, at why he deserved such happiness after his previous failings but now it made sense. This was the worst pain imaginable and when Harry died it would be so much worse. Draco had died before and it hadn’t even come close to hurting this bad. This was his penance, his punishment; to give him something so wonderful and then take it away.

A firm resolve took over his mind, he wasn’t a good person. He would do whatever it may take to keep the truth from Harry. Screw the wizarding world; they could deal with The Dark Lord themselves. He was rich and so was Harry, they could leave Britain and go far away. Even knowing in his heart that Harry would never agree to it Draco deluded his self if only for just this one night. Raising his hand to Harry’s cheek he let another tear escape, all he wanted was Harry, why couldn’t he have him?

~When the night has come

And the land is dark~

Hearing the beginning of the beautiful song, he looked around to notice the couches had been transfigured into a large bed.

~And the moon is the only light we'll see

No I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid

Just as long as you stand, stand by me~

Sending a silent thank you to the room he reached up slipping the robes from Harry’s shoulders while swaying to the song.

~So darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh stand by me

Oh stand by me, stand by me~

Meeting his gaze, Harry’s eyes burned as they began to remove each other’s clothes piece by piece.

~If the sky that we look upon

Should tumble and fall~

In nothing but their trousers and socks Draco leaned down sucking marks along Harry’s neck to encouraging moans as he swayed them closer to the bed.

~Or the mountains should crumble to the sea

I won't cry, I won't cry, no I won't shed a tear

Just as long as you stand, stand by me~

Laying Harry down he removed the rest baring him to his gaze before straightening and following suit.

~And darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh stand by me

Oh stand now, stand by me, stand by me~

Joining Harry on the bed he covered his body with his own running his hands over every inch of golden skin.

~And darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh stand by me

Oh, stand now by me, stand by me, stand by me~

Tonight he would worship Harry, show him how much he meant to him without words. Reality could wait for the morning, for now he belonged to Draco and he planned to possess and pleasure him in equal measure.

~Whenever you're in trouble won't you stand by me

Oh stand by me, won't you stand by~

Chapter Text

"The ones that love us never really leave us. You can always find them, in here."

— Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

 

The past few weeks had gone by quickly; to the concern of Harry, Ron and Hermione he had thrown himself into research. While they thought he was trying to find the last horcrux, he was really trying to find a way to remove it from Harry without killing him….so far he hadn’t found the desired results. He barely got any sleep and when he wasn’t buried under books he was inside domum unitatis going through pensive memory after memory searching for anything that might help. Dark shadows made homes under his eyes and he was starting to lose weight, he just kept forgetting to eat. Physically it was like sixth year had been the last time; emotionally, though he hadn’t thought it possible, it was way worse.

Currently he was at the Hufflepuff breakfast table nibbling distractedly on a piece of toast while reading a book so heavy he couldn’t lift it without a lightweight charm. The tittering of his classmates suddenly increased in volume before he felt the light brush of fingertips fluttering across the back of his neck before sliding through his hair. He closed his eyes with a sigh giving his self to the touch for a moment.

“Draco, close the book and finish your breakfast, we need to talk with you. Domum Unitatis.”

The rest of the table around him whose attention was firmly fixed on Harry cheerily chorused, “Domum Unitatis,” back to him.

After fourth year it had become something of a greeting around the school. When you saw someone in the hallway instead of hello you said domum unitatis. They didn’t understand that Harry had just told him they were meeting in the room; they saw it as just another greeting. While old Draco would have been immensely pleased at the power he seemed to wield in the school, new Draco couldn’t even muster the energy to smile at the moment.

Closing his book he grabbed his unfinished toast and followed Harry from the Great Hall to domum unitatis where Ron and Hermione were already waiting on the couches. After Harry sat down on what they considered to be their couch he laid down across it resting his head on Harry’s lap. Just as he wanted fingers began to card through his hair and he let himself relax for a bit.

“Alright guys, we are here because Hermione received a letter from the owner of the pub we stayed at in Little Hangleton. Harry and I gave him her muggle mailing address to keep in touch if anything strange happened and her parents just forwarded it her.”

“I went ahead and read it and it’s just what we had assumed; people wearing strange clothes suddenly frequenting the village, flashing lights from the direction of Riddle Manor, and a few townspeople have disappeared.”

“So Voldemort and his followers went to Riddle Manor to set up camp so to speak.”

“I think it would be an accurate conclusion yes.”

“Should we inform The Ministry? Anonymously of course.”

“Not yet, we still need to destroy the last horcrux.

“Any luck on that mates?”

Eyes closed and head still pillowed on Harry’s lap he refused to comment, they would know as soon as he found a solution. The question had been silly and Ron knew it; letting Hermione’s speech on her research discoveries become static noise he slowly drifted to sleep.

~HPHPHPHP~

He woke up on the couch alone, sitting up he looked around the room and saw no one; looking at the clock he noticed it was almost lunch time. Glad it was a Saturday he noticed Prags curled on his bed on the floor next to the pensive where Draco spent most of his time in the room lately. Motioning towards the door, he indicated he was leaving. Prags glanced at him then glanced towards the bathroom door before shaking his head and lying back down. Shrugging at the snake he left to go try and eat something before spending the rest of his day in the library.

~HPHPHPHP~

Some hours later he was still in the library before frantic hissing drew his gaze to Prags who was slithering up to him quickly. Turning around as soon as he reached him Prags glanced behind at him almost apologetically before slithering away. Closing his book he followed as the snake led him to domum unitatis but he wasn’t prepared when he opened the door. The first thing to catch his attention was Ron and Hermione sitting at the table. Ron had red rimmed eyes, tear streaks barley dried, holding a sobbing Hermione against his shoulders. His eyes took in the empty table, empty except for a note titled ‘Draco’ with what looked suspiciously like Harry’s wand lying on top of it.

He glanced down at Prags who was guiltily hanging his head before he whipped his head over to the pensive. Striding over he felt a kaleidoscope of emotions swamp him as he saw the open shelves of empty bottles standing beside a brimming pensive swirling silver, his own memories flashing across the surface. Prags must have removed the wards he had to keep others from touching his memories. Fury consumed him as he twirled around, his face must have been hard and unyielding, he felt capable of all three unforgivables' and Ron flinched when he met his gaze.

“Where is he?”

His own voice was foreign in his ears, so cold and emotionless it seemed; harsh anger and fury leashed by a thin thread. Ron looked away refusing to answer while Hermione’s sobs increased in volume and intensity. It was no matter; he walked into the horcrux room to see the pin moving over the maps steadily before settling over Little Hangleton. Narrowing his eyes he thought quickly, mind racing he felt strangely calm as he summoned Leaf.

Pop

“Yes Master Draco?”

“Take me to Riddle Manor, and I order you to make sure Ron and Hermione can’t leave this room for the rest of today.”

“Right away Master Draco.”

He felt Prags coil around his leg right before the house elf gripped his elbow.

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He was in a dark foyer; Prags slithered to the floor and camouflaged blending in to the floor below before following him as he sprinted through the manor following the sound of distant voices. Of course as soon as brave foolish Harry had discovered he was a horcrux he had gone straight to The Dark Lord to end it. This was precisely why Draco hadn’t told him, he didn’t think his own life was worth more than anyone else’s, but Harry's life was everything, there was nothing left without it. He followed the sounds until he barged into what appeared to be an old ballroom; candle chandeliers lite above, no furniture, just a circle of six death eaters surrounding The Dark Lord and Harry. In what felt like slow motion he watched as The Dark Lord pointed his wand at Harry before shouting, “Avada Kedavra!”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

He didn’t even recognize the scream as his own, it was so anguished, as he watched the green light hit Harry. As Harry’s body crumpled to the floor everyone turned towards him and Draco waived his wand in an arch casting a non-verbal Expelliarmus. Seven wands flew towards him clattering around his feet where Prags dodged to avoid them.

“Leaf,” he whispered, voice hoarse and anguished.

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Looking around nervously the house elf wrung her hands.

“Yes Master Draco?”

“Take Harry’s bo……take Harry back to Ron and Hermione.”

Leaning down he looked at Prags, “you should leave as well my friend.”

When the snake narrowed its eyes and snapped at his leg he shook his head in exasperation, foolish brave reptile.

“Just take Harry Leaf, and I order you to never return to this house again. Goodbye my friend.”

Pop

He didn’t look up to acknowledge those around him, like so many years ago after a battle he hadn’t wanted to be involved in, he was tired. Tired of running, tired of fighting,…..tired of living. Raising his wand he pointed it at The Dark Lord and before the mad man could say a word Draco whispered, “Avada Kedavra.

The green light left his wand hitting The Dark Lord right in the chest, as he watched him fall to the ground Draco expected to feel many things; relief, triumph, and victory at the top of the list. Instead he just felt numb, like his heart and mind were frozen and his body was just a shell. Ignoring the frantic screams of Bellatrix and the tittering of his parents that he hadn’t even noticed were in the room, he raised his wand to the ceiling casting, “Protego Maxima!

A dome of beautiful magic circled the room, the death eaters wearily following its progress.

“Prags, strengthen it and make sure no one can leave and also make sure no one can enter.”

Hissing Prags began to slither along the border lending his magic to the shield as he made circles. Draco made his way to the center of the room standing directly where Harry had fallen, ignoring the corpse of The Dark Lord just meters away. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the death eaters collecting their wands from the floor where he had left them. Ignoring their presence he cast his patronus instructing it to inform Auror Shaklebolt of The Dark Lord’s demise and his current location. He watched the stag until it disappeared before turning his attention to the six wands trained towards him. Twirling his own wand in his hand he waited until his father finally spoke up.

“Why Draco, why have you done this to our family?”

He didn’t even answer, his mother did for him.

“A stag Lucius, his patronus is a stag….the same as Harry Potter’s.”

“What are you saying Cissy? That wittle Draco was in looovveee with the boy. I suppose it doesn’t matter The Dark Lord will return anyway.”

As his mad aunt gave an evil cackle he let loose one of his own.

“Are you referring to his horcruxes Bella? I regret to inform you that they have all been destroyed; your lover will not be returning I’m afraid.”

“Lies! I would have known if you had gotten into my va….well I assure you that you haven’t destroyed them all.”

“The one in your vault? The Ancestral Cup of Helga Hufflepuff? That was the fourth one we found actually, there were seven in total if you were wondering.”

At her frantic screeching he had finally had it.

“Enough! I am done talking, now come, you have your wands. Let’s settle this like wizards shall we?”

Like he had known she would his aunt immediately cast an Avada Kedavra straight towards him, twirling away he easily dodged it. Suddenly the room was alive as spells began flying and he faced six death eaters alone. His left hand was empty and he cast wandless shields repeatedly and with his wand hand he fired back hexes and curses; letting his mind go he drifted remembering what Harry must have viewed earlier that day.

“Play Quidditch at all?”

“No,” Harry said.

“I do — Father says it’s a crime if I’m not picked to play for my House, and I must say, I agree. Know what House you’ll be in yet?”

“No,” said Harry.

“Well, no one really knows until they get there, do they, but I know I’ll be in Slytherin, all our family have been — imagine being in Hufflepuff, I think I’d leave, wouldn’t you?”

Smiling to his self he let his hand drift over his black and yellow tie before casting another Protego.

"You'll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there.”

He held out his hand to shake Harry’s, but Harry didn’t take it.

“I think I can tell who the wrong sort are for myself, thanks,” he said coolly.

Twirling he almost seemed to dance around the room as unforgivable curses skimmed past him.

Famous Harry Potter," said Malfoy. "Can't even go to a bookshop without making the front page.”

He wondered what Harry had thought watching the memories of his first life.

“Enemies of the Heir, beware! You'll be next, Mudbloods!”

If he had been disgusted with his beliefs and his prejudice.

“Scared?" Malfoy muttered, so that Lockhart couldn't hear him.

"You wish." said Harry out of the corner of his mouth.

What had he thought about their rivalry, the way that they had always been at each other’s throats. Obsessively knowing every move the other made.

Ron puking up slugs after Draco had called Hermione a mudblood.

Had he wanted to curse him, even knowing what he did now?

Draco talking smack to the Hippogriff before being attacked. Hermione punching him in the nose after it’s execution. “You vile loathsome little cockroach!”

Had his Harry laughed at the memory of him being punched thinking that Draco had deserved it?

Being turned into a ferret bounced around by the Moody impersonator. Staying up late into the night making ‘Potter Stinks’ badges before circulating them around the school the next day.

He aimed a Sectumsempra at the legs of a death eater bringing him down and out of the fight.

Watching the final task of the Tri-wizard tournament as Potter returned clutching Cedric’s dead body to the anguished cries of Amos Diggory.

Side stepping the blood now on the floor he continued to dodge and cast, colors cascading around him.

“You see, I, unlike you, have been made a prefect, which means that I, unlike you, have the power to hand out punishments.”

“Yeah,” said Harry, “but you, unlike me, are a git.”

Chuckling to his self at the memory he sent another dark curse flying immobilizing another death eater. Just four left now.

His father and Bellatrix relaying what had happened at The Ministry; Bellatrix excitingly explaining every detail of how she killed her cousin and Harry’s gut wrenching cries.

He hoped Harry had felt little to no pain watching that memory with the knowledge that this time Sirius was alive and well.

“You'd better hurry up, they'll be waiting for 'the Chosen Captain' — 'The Boy Who Scored'— whatever they call you these days.”

He felt nostalgia briefly as he felt a pang of fondness for old Draco and his witty insults.

Trying desperately to fix the vanishing cabinet before breaking down in a bathroom where he was confronted by Harry Potter. 

"Sectumsempra!”

Blood and water surrounding him as a ghost shrieked in the background.

Looking back he was almost sick, if Harry had the same expression on his face now that he had back then of distrust and suspicion, Draco was sure the results would have been drastically different.

The top of the astronomy tower, revealing his dark mark before watching Severus kill Albus Dumbledore.

Wand slashing around in arches and circles he disabled another death eater leaving only Bella and his parents.

Torturing students, terrified of home; then seeing Harry at Easter before lying to his aunt and letting Harry steal his wand.

What had Harry thought of his own previous self? On the run and obviously hunting horcruxes but later in life and far less resourceful than they had been this time.

The battle of Hogwarts, all of the dead laid to rest in The Great Hall. Draco’s hands bound and bleeding, Potter walking around victorious yet defeated; Dennis Creevey raising his wand followed by blood and darkness.

After watching his first life he wondered if Harry thought he got what he deserved in his death just like he knew he had.

Waking up on his eleventh birthday; meeting Harry at Madame Malkin’s to different results this time.

He felt a sudden and strong attack on his main shield surrounding them.

Sitting under the tree in the courtyard sketching with Harry next to him.

Hissing urgently Prags started moving faster around, circling the shield quickly to help maintain it.

Fighting Quirrell refusing to acknowledge the feelings already growing inside.

His mother dropped her wand to her side, refusing to engage him any longer leaving him fighting Bella and Lucius.

Watching Harry cast his patronus, stag cantering around the day after they had flown at night the first time.

Dancing away from curses left and right, sweat poured down his face as he panted, weariness began to slowly creep into his limbs.

Kissing in an empty classroom, and then casting his patronus for the first time after confronting his boggart.

Harry had seen that at least before he died, the proof of Draco’s unconditional love that he had been too weak and scared to show him his self.

The punishments of his father; whips, burns, and cruicos blending together into a constant pain.

His shield was beginning to waver, Prags slowing under the strain.

Sirius adopting him, going to live at Grimmauld Place; summers of laughter and love, unfamiliar and wonderful.

As if she could sense him weakening Bella began casting spells with more vigor, staggering his steps and rattling his teeth.

Hunting the horcruxes with his three best friends, discovering one after another while managing to grow closer to each of them.

Prags collapsed and he felt his main shield crumble from the attacks from outside the ballroom.

The day he discovered the horrifying truth from Dumbledore. Laying Harry down and showing him every pleasure and devotion he could.

It hadn’t been enough to make Harry stay, after learning the truth he had known there was no way he would forgive him. Now Harry was gone forever, but he was ready for it to be at an end as well, dropping his wand to his side he let all his shields drop. No Regrets. Raising her wand Bellatrix cried, “Avada Kedavra!

Closing his eyes he imagined he heard Harry’s voice screaming as the curse hit him. His last thought was of blazing green eyes and his heart unfroze briefly to give a painful last squeeze before the world went dark once more.

Chapter Text

"The old argument," he said softly. "But nothing I have seen in the world has supported your pronouncements that love is more powerful than my kind of magic, Dumbledore."

"Perhaps you have been looking in the wrong places," suggested Dumbledore.

— Tom Riddle Jr., Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

 

He hurt all over and something heavy covered him. He had died again and he could only wonder what afterlife he had been whisked to. After the last one this time he was going to just disappear and live a hermit life somewhere well away from people until the memories began to dull with time. Yet, based on the pain in his chest where his heart was supposed to be until Harry had taken it and ripped it apart when he sacrificed his self, it would be awhile. Deciding he at least needed to start figuring things out he slowly blinked his eyes open.

It was bright and looking around from his position on a bed, he recognized it as a private room in St. Mungos. The heavy weight turned out to be Prags curled on his chest sleeping and he felt a quick pang of sadness that the snake had died as well. Shifting slightly a status spell hovering above him started to flash in alarm, the door swooshed open a few seconds later waking up Prags. Healer DeHart was striding towards him and Prags camouflaged quickly laying along his side. She glared at him before he could start asking questions, so he snapped his mouth closed and waited while she started to fling diagnostic spells around him like a professional dueler.

“For now I’m going to pretend I didn’t see that snake, some people were worried about you waking up alone after I kicked the blasted lot of them out of here.”

Frowning he looked at her face which was reading the results of her spells in the air, brow creased in concentration.

“Wait…..so I’m not dead?”

Scoffing she finished her diagnostics before swishing her wand, cancelling the spells before meeting his eyes.

“No you’re not dead, though not for a lack of trying. I thought I specifically told you boys not to go after anymore dark wizards!”

Huffing she crossed her arms over her chest leveling him with an accusing stare.

“I’m sorry?......Do you know how I’m alive? I got hit with an Avada Kedavra, and my name isn’t Harry Potter therefore I should be dead.”

“Yes I am very aware of the dark curse that tore through your body thank you. You can save those philosophical questions for your barmy Headmaster and his mumblings about Harry’s sacrifice and the protections of love or what not. All I was focused on was trying to stabilize your vitals; you are so lucky that I am amazing at my job.”

“Right, thank you.”

Gaze softening she told him to try and get some more rest before leaving the room muttering something about an impending circus but all he could think at that moment was that he would have rather she let him die. Harry was gone and if Harry wasn’t around then it was no longer a life he wanted any part of. Rubbing his thumb between Prags eyes he talked to his faithful pet.

“How am I going to sneak out of here without running into anyone? I need to disappear Prags; I don’t want to be in this blasted country anymore.”

“Tough luck cause you’re not going anywhere you prat.”

Jerking his head up he watched in startled disbelief as Harry emerged from underneath his invisibility cloak to the side of the room where he must have gone when Mindy came into the room. Words stuck in his throat as Harry moved forward before crawling onto his bed and moving to where he was braced above him.

“You are the most beautiful and frustrating person I have ever known,” Harry whispered before dipping his head and claiming Draco’s mouth with his own.

Pulling him down he let Harry rest his weight on him while eagerly engaging in a battle of tongues and teeth. After an eternity Harry pulled back, gasping for breath Draco let his eyes race across his face absently noticing the missing glasses that probably rested in the room somewhere.

“How are you here? How are you alive?”

While he waited for Harry to answer he let his hands run over as much of him as he could reach, needing the confirmation that he was here and alive.

“I used the resurrection stone before I left Hogwarts. Apparently I was then the master of all of the hallows, therefore the master of death. I was given a choice and I chose to return, I didn’t want to be without you.”

Looking into Harry’s eyes so full of emotion he couldn’t believe it; he had seen the truth, Draco’s sordid past, why would he still want to be with him?

“Why? I saw the pensive, I know you know the entire truth now, and I know you saw my past. How can you kiss me? How can you look at me like that?”

A crease appeared between Harry’s brows and a frown pulled at his lips. A frustrated huff left his mouth and Prags hissed in agreement from the bed beside them.

“It’s easy really. You are not the person you used to be, you are better. I am happy knowing about your past because I now know the pain you went through and how you came to be the amazing person that I fell in love with.”

A Draco’s shocked intake of breath Harry smiled.

“Oh yes Draco, I still love you, I have since first year and I will continue to love you always. Nothing you can say or do will change that so I would appreciate if you would cease trying to die and disappear on me.”

“But I don’t deserve you.”

Smiling wide Harry leaned his head down once again and right before their lips met he muttered.

“No my blind little badger, it is I that don’t deserve you.”

Desperately their mouths met once more, since neither could believe the other was alive, needing the physical reassurance touch provided. Vaguely he heard the door open once more and he heard Mindy DeHart’s voice.

“Why is your heartbeat so elevat…..Oh Merlin’s saggy bollocks! Harry this is the seventh time! Get off my patient!”

~HPHPHPHP~

After being released from the hospital to Mindy’s scathing warnings and incessant nagging, he and Harry had decided to spend a few weeks at Grimmauld Place before returning to Hogwarts. The news of The Dark Lord’s demise and their part in it had been released to the public. Except for the horcruxes, really all the public knew was that The Dark Lord was dead and Harry and Draco were responsible. Draco had been upset insisting that Ron and Hermione be recognized, but they had refused saying they would prefer the true extent of Voldemort's immortality to remain in the dark.

Harry was used to it but the new found fame had Draco spinning. He had always wanted what Potter had and now that it was a reality he just wanted to give it all back. Honestly if he got even one more pair of knickers in the post he was burning down another manor. Yet, the hardest thing so far though had been his confrontation with Leaf. She had kept to her order preventing Ron and Hermione from leaving the room but when Harry had come back to life she had been distraught because Draco had ordered her not to return to Riddle Manor.

Harry had summoned Dobby who had been more than happy to take Harry back to assist the aurors in breaking Draco’s shield. While Ron and Hermione had been left behind with an inconsolable Leaf who had punished herself severely believing she had taken her master to his death. When he had seen her still covered in bandages, to the shock of Sirius beside him, he had fallen to his knees and begged for her forgiveness. Crying the elf had fallen next to Draco just happy that he was alive.

“Oh Master Draco, Trickle is so sorry, she thought you would like that she punished herself.”

“No, no I don’t, and I order you to never punish yourself again.”

Sirius spoke up from above them.

“I tried to tell her that but even though she is bound to the house of Black she only listens to you kid.”

“Trickle only listens to Master Draco because he is the only one who calls for her.”

“I call you all the time, you never answer!....wait….who’s trickle?”

Not meeting Sirius’s eyes Draco looks away cheeks flaming, at that moment he was so glad that Harry was out getting their lunch.

“I is Trickle.” The house elf helpfully provided.

Looking at Draco, Sirius just raised one eyebrow in question so much like Draco himself. Still blushing he decided to answer the unspoken question.

“Trickle is her real name, when I was young and learning to talk, to my parents confusion I always called her Leaf so my father ordered her to answer me when I called Leaf. Later they realized I was trying to say Little Elf but Leaf just stuck, it’s weird to call her Trickle.”

“That explains why she never answers any other summons.”

Nodding Draco brought his attention back to Leaf when she handed him a letter with familiar messy handwriting scrawling ‘Draco’ on the front.

“Master left this behind in the room, Trickle brought it for him.”

“Thank you Leaf.”

“I is glad you is back Master Draco.”

Pop

Looking at the envelope in his hand he ignored Sirius’s questioning gaze when he let Harry’s goodbye letter fall to the floor. Casting a non-verbal and wandless incendio he watched it burn, he had no desire to read something that wouldn’t come to pass. No Regrets.

~HPHPHPHP~

His first Saturday back at Hogwarts he was woken by his boyfriend who poked and prodded him before he reluctantly rolled out of bed. Harry followed him to breakfast and he didn’t even bother questioning how he had gotten into The Hufflepuff Dorms. After breakfast Harry tugged him along until they were stopped in front of the forest mural he had painted years ago, silver stag still brilliant against the dark landscape. Raising his eyebrows in question, he was confused when Harry suddenly pulled his invisibility cloak off of Draco’s paint trunk that was hovering beside them. Harry just pointed to the stag on the wall.

“You painted mine, now add yours.”

Smiling indulgently he did; it only took about thirty minutes and when he was done Harry raised his wand and animated the new stag his self. They stood back and watched as the second stag ran up to the first one and they touched noses before prancing around each other excitingly. He wasn’t sure how long they stood there watching them run through the forest; painted immortality the stags would be bound together; always.

When they turned to walk away hand in hand with Prags slithering along behind them he realized that for the first time in his life his future stretched out openly in front of him. He didn’t have to worry about disappointing his father, he could do anything without consequences; this was his new life after all. He could even do something as mad and as thrilling as marry Harry Potter and gripping Harry’s hand tightly Draco Black smiled.