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Draco might not be a Weasley by blood, but he's family

Chapter Text

“Get up, you arse.” Someone kicks at his bed, and Draco groans and covers his face in the pillow. It’s taken away a moment later. He groans again and throws an arm across his eyes to avoid the light. He hears a groan. “Merlin, but you’re lazy.”

Draco flips his sister off easily. She snorts, and a second later, Draco’s hit by ice cold water.

He yelps, and Ginny’s laugh echoes even as she runs out of the room. He grabs his wand from under his pillow and chases after her. They run down the stairs, past their parents’ room, then past the dining room – the table’s full, but Draco doesn’t bother to stop – and finally Draco corners her in the kitchen, pointing his wand at her menacingly.

“Hi, honey.” Molly kisses his cheek as she steps into the kitchen, stepping forward to kiss Ginny’s cheek too, completely unfazed by the scene in front of her. “No cursing each other before breakfast, you know that.”

“She woke me up!” Draco complains. Molly simply hums and shoots a drying spell at him.

“I was told to wake you up.” Ginny grins. She sticks her tongue out at him, and he scowls. “Don’t make that face, you’ll get wrinkles.”

“As if I could ever.” Draco rolls his eyes.

“When you two are done you can join us for breakfast.” Their mom calls out as she leaves the kitchen.

“Harpy,” He says.

“Hippogriff,” Ginny shoots back sweetly.

Draco huffs and rolls his eyes. They step out to the dining room, and Draco’s momentarily frozen by the sight of Harry fucking Potter – Ron’s best friend, savior of the wizarding world as a one year old, and Draco’s crush for longer than he’ll ever admit to anyone – sitting at the table.

“Oh, right.” Ginny says with a wicked smirk. “I was supposed to tell you Harry was here.”

“Hullo,” Potter smiles at him, and Draco feels the color rising to his cheeks quickly. Fred and George snicker, and Draco sends them a venomous glare.

“I, uh.” He hears Ginny snickering beside him, and he elbows her in the ribs, making her yelp. “What are we eating?”

He wants to sit as far from Potter as he possibly can – he always ends up making a fool out of himself in front of the stupid git – but there’re only two seats left, one in front of him and one next to him.

Ginny quickly takes the one in front of him.

Draco flips her off, and she smiles back.

“Hi Draco,” Thankfully, Granger’s sitting in front of him – she’s spent the summer here – and unlike Potter or Ron, she seems to have a fair idea of Draco’s crush on Potter. As mortifying as that is, she’s never mentioned it, and she always pretends Draco’s not just made a fool of himself, so he likes her. “How was your summer?”

“Fine,” He says, desperately trying to ignore the way Potter’s arm – his shoulders broadened this summer, and he’s grown a foot and a half, and he looks so good Draco wants to hex something – brushes against him every time he moves. “Yours?”

“Good,” She brushes a bit of her hair back. Her dark skin’s glowing with the light that streams in through the kitchen window, and she’s wearing a dark yellow sundress that suits her nicely. “Are you excited for your sixth year?”

Ron, Potter, and Granger are going into seventh year, but since he’s a year younger, he’s going into Sixth year, along with Ginny.

“No one’s excited for school, ‘Mione.” Potter groans beside him, and Draco wishes to all gods his face wouldn’t get so red every single time Potter opens his mouth. By now, he wouldn’t be surprised if Potter thought pink was his actual skin tone.

“This nerd is,” Ron snickers, and Draco shoots him an angry glare.

“I’m not a nerd.” He hisses, reaching across Potter to pinch Ron’s arm. He yelps, flinching, and Draco gives him a self-satisfied smile. It’s Ron who glares this time.

“You are,” Fred and George confirm. “You were almost sorted into Ravenclaw!”

The hat also considered Slytherin, but Draco’s never told anyone that. Its final decision – Hufflepuff – is the only thing that matters, after all.

“It was not that close,” It was. “And not all Ravenclaws are nerds!”

“And there’s nothing wrong with liking school!” Hermione says. She glares at Ron and Potter. “Right?”

“Yes!” Potter says.

“Of course not, ‘Mione.” Ron soothes, and Ginny and Draco smirk at each other. His crush on Hermione is painfully obvious, and for all the brains Hermione has, Draco doesn’t think she knows. “He’s my baby brother though, I’m allowed to tease him.”

“I’m not a baby,” Draco says, fighting the urge to pout.

“You’re the youngest one of us.” Ginny says. She always enjoys reminding him of that, because that means she’s older than at least one person in the family. “And you’re a Hufflepuff. You need protection.”

Draco scoffs and rolls his eyes, but he can’t think of anything to say.

For all that they tease him for being a Hufflepuff and say that he’s a softie and that he needs them – big, strong, Gryffindors to protect him – they all know that he shoots the meanest stinging hex any of them have experienced.

“We’re going to Diagon today.” Their mother informs them. “Are Sirius and Remus joining us, Harry dear?”

“No,” Potter says. “It’s their eighteenth anniversary soon, so they left for Tahiti today.”

“Oh, congratulate them for us!” Arthur says.

“Sure thing, Mr. Weasley.” Potter smiles kindly.

Draco bites into his toast.

“Will you be spending the rest of the summer with us?” Molly asks.

Draco chokes on his toast.

Potter pounds on his back quickly, and everyone looks at him worriedly.

“Are you okay?” Potter asks, a small frown between his brows. Draco wants to soothe it away with his thumb.

“Fine.” He says, voice higher-pitched than he’d like. He sees Ginny, Fred, and George snickering from their seats, and Hermione’s looking at him pitifully. He swallows. “I’m fine.”

After another worried look at him, Potter clears his throat.

“Yes, Mrs. Weasley, if that’s okay with you.” He says.

“Of course it’s okay with us, honey!” Molly says. “You know you’re always welcome!”

That means that, like every other summer Potter’s spent here, he’ll be sleeping in Ron and Draco’s room, in Draco’s bed, which means Draco’s sharing with someone. Usually, he’d just sleep in Ginny’s room, but Hermione’s sleeping in her room, which means there’s no space for him there.

Which means Draco will end up either sharing a bed with Fred or George, because Ron’s completely impossible to sleep with. Charlie’s, Bill’s, and Percy’s rooms are not being used at the moment, but Draco’s not dumb enough to go into any of them. Charlie’s left enough Dragon related things there when he’s come back home, and some of them are very fragile, and Bill’s a fucking curse-breaker, and he’s not very neat. Draco doesn’t want to end up cursed.

“We can share, if you want.” Potter says to Draco, because he knows he sleeps in his bed. “I don’t mind.”

Draco does. He very, very much does mind sharing a bed with Potter because the last thing he needs right now is Potter finding out he has a crush on him because of Draco’s stupid sleep-talking.

“You’d mind, Harry.” Fred says brightly. “The brat sleep-talks. And sleep-walks. And moves around. He can share with Georgie.”

“Or with Fred,” George grins, and Draco shoots them a grateful look, because they tease him a lot about Harry, but they’d never make him stay in a situation where he’s uncomfortable.

They’ve their own place since they opened Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, but they always come back home for the summer. It makes Draco happier than he’d care to admit; he likes his brothers, even if they make his life impossible for sport.

“I’ll figure that out later,” he clears his throat. “I’m going to take a shower.”

And he leaves the dining room.

Since he was the last one awake, everyone else is already ready, so he has to shower and dress quickly. He pulls on muggle denims and a worn green jumper that used to be one of his brother’s, though he doesn’t know which. It fits him four sizes too big, so he suspects it must be Bill’s, but, to be honest, everyone in his family is rather tall but him, so it could be anyone’s.

They go to Diagon Alley, and they’ve barely been there for a minute when Draco catches a flash of flawless dark skin.

“Draco!” Blaise Zabini’s a Slytherin his year, and though they’re not in the same house, him and Pansy Parkinson are Draco’s best friends.

They became friends because the three of them spend a lot of time in detention. When McGonagall had come back from leaving them cleaning trophies and had seen matching looks of mischief on their faces, she’d nearly fainted. The three of them had just grinned.

“Blaise!” Draco grins. “How are you?”

They get out of people’s way – Diagon’s completely full with parents buying their children’s things – and stand outside of Flourish and Blott’s, where Draco’s family goes into.

“Good. How was your summer?”

Draco hums, non-comital.

“Was that Potter I saw?” Blaise looks at him knowingly, and Draco’s face heats.

“I don’t, uh, I don’t like him… anymore… I-” Blaise gives him a deadpan look, and the color in Draco’s face deepens. “I have no idea what I’m going to do. He’s going to be staying at the burrow for the rest of the summer, Blaise! What am I going to do?”

“Wank a lot?” Blaise snickers, and Draco goes tomato red, shoving at his best friend’s shoulder.

Shut it.” He hisses.

“Calm down, blondie.” Blaise says. “I won’t offend your delicate Hufflepuff sensibilities.”

“What’re we talking about?” Pansy asks, popping her gum as she appears out of nowhere. She’s wearing fishnets, heavily ripped muggle denim – she’s gotten into wearing and watching muggle things just to piss her parents off – and a crop top from a muggle band that Draco doesn’t recognize.

Her hair’s tied high in a messy knot, strands of it loose at her temples and the nape of her neck.

“About how Draco wanks while thinking of Potter,” Blaise says solemnly.

Pansy kisses both of them on the cheek as Draco yelps at Blaise’s statement.

“Happens to all of us, darling.” She says empathetically.

“I don’t – hey!” Draco says angrily.

She laughs. “Calm down. You look like an angry kitten.”

Draco looks away, embarrassed, and rolls his eyes. “You’re not even into boys.”

“I know.” Pansy says. “Have you seen the Patil twins? Or Lovegood? Or Merlin, your sister, Draco? Honestly, how could one be into boys with so many pretty girls walking around? Granger’s also plain dreamy.”

“Don’t, you wrench.” Draco warns. “My brother likes her.”

“I know. Granger’s only got eyes for him, anyway.” Pansy sighs sadly.

“Hey, Draco,” Potter peeks his head out of the bookstore. “Are you coming in?”

“Uh, yeah. Almost. I’m – we’re – yeah. In a bit.” Draco does his best to smile.

Potter smiles back, frowning lightly, and as soon as he goes back in, Draco hits his head against the wall repeatedly.

Pansy sends a questioning look at Blaise.

“Potter is going to be staying at Draco’s house.” He explains. “He doesn’t know what he’s going to do because he’s been hopelessly in love with the scar-headed prat for the better of six years.”

“Oh,” Pansy says. “I say snog him.”

Draco snorts from where he’s still banging his head against the wall. “As if.”

Pansy grabs his shoulders and pulls him away from the wall.

“I’m serious!” she says. “It’s the perfect opportunity! He’s your brother’s best friend, he’s staying at your house! Just wear something slutty around the house.”

“Pansy!” Draco hisses.

“That’d definitely work.” Blaise nods approvingly. “I mean, Potter’s bi, right? He’s got eyes, and your arse is spectacular. Flaunt it. Maybe bend over.”

Pansy nods knowingly.

“I’m not going to do that!” Draco says indignantly.

“We’ll call it plan B.” Pansy says agreeably. Blaise nods.

“No!” Draco says.

“Definitely.” Blaise says. “Oh, and flirt with him. A lot.”

“Hey, brat!” Fred calls. Draco looks at him. He hadn’t noticed, but apparently his parents are done shopping and they’re heading to the next place. “We’re leaving! Come on!”

“Coming!” Draco calls back.

“We’ll see you at Hogwarts.” Blaise says. “Hopefully you’ll have gotten into Potter’s pants by then.”

Draco flips him off.

Chapter Text

“Have you gotten into Potter’s pants yet?” Is the first thing Blaise asks when he comes into the train compartment.

Draco glares thunderously at him.

“I’ll take that as a ‘no’ then.” He says mildly.

“Merlin, Blaise, it’s ridiculous!” Draco complains. “It’s like he doesn’t even see me! Or worse, he sees me as some sort of… I don’t know!”

“Little brother?” Pansy supplies helpfully.

Draco turns his glare on her.

“Merlin, sorry, just trying to help.” She rolls her eyes.

“You’re not.” Draco says drily.

“Did you flirt with him?” Blaise asks.

Draco’s cheeks heat. “I did?”

“Are you asking?” Pansy asks.

“I’m… not sure.” He admits. “I thought I was, but he might’ve thought I was just being friendly? I don’t know.”

“What did you do?” Blaise asks curiously.

“I baked like seven treacle tarts over the summer.” Draco says. “I think he thinks I like baking now. It was embarrassing.”

“Were they good?” Pansy asks.

“I’ve been helping mom around the kitchen for almost ten years.” Draco frowns. “Of course they were good!”

“Then I don’t get it,” She says. “If someone baked me my favorite dessert I’d cherish them forever.”

“Right?” Draco agrees.

“Really?” Blaise asks, disbelieving. “You thought you’d bake him something and he’d magically understand you like him?!”

“Well, yeah!” Draco says defensively. “Cooking for someone means you love them!”

“I – that’s – you-” Blaise shakes his head. “You’re both hopeless.”

Pansy shrugs. “You can call me hopeless all you like, but if you cook for me I’ll literally cry of joy.”

Draco nods agreeably.

Blaise shakes his head.

“Well, we won’t speak of Potter anymore, then.” Pansy says. She pulls her feet up on Blaise’s lap, and he pulls his feet onto Draco’s lap on the seat in front, and Draco rests his feet on the seat. “Are you guys hungry? I’m famished.”

They spend the whole train ride talking of various things – Blaise’s last piano recital, Pansy’s second time running away, how Draco’s doing in the muggle Ballet academy he goes to – and don’t even notice how much time goes by before they arrive at Hogwarts.

They head their different ways at the Welcome feast, and Draco’s eating and chatting comfortably with Susan Bones when an owl arrives.

Everyone stares at it, because owls aren’t supposed to arrive at the Welcome feast. They only arrive at lunch, and even then, not one of them usually arrives to the Headmistress’s table, especially not a Ministry Owl.

McGonagall opens the letter, and as she reads, her lips tighten visibly. She stands up.

“Prefects, take the students back to your dormitories. The Welcome feast will be continued there.”

She gives no explanation, but the prefects do as she tells them. They respect her enough to do what she says without further question. She’s earned it.

Back in the dormitories, Draco sits on his bed and munches on Dragon Nougat.

“What do you guys think it is?” Noah Williams asks.

Draco shares a dorm with him, Thomas Franco, Adam Caron, and Jae Lee. They’ve become close friends over the years, and Draco’s thankful that he gets along with his roommates.

“It was a ministry Owl, wasn’t it?” Thomas says. “Do you think one of the professors has done something?”

“Why would they send an Owl though, and not arrest them?” Jae asks. “No, it must be some kind of warning.”

“Do you think they’ll send Aurors here?” Adam asks excitedly.

“If they do, it won’t be because of a good thing.” Noah says.

Draco hums. “McGonagall will probably tell us tomorrow. She can’t just dismiss the Welcome feast and then not say anything about anything.”

“Mate, she’s Minerva McGonagall.” Noah says. “She could kill someone and I’d trust her judgement.”

Draco would, too.

“We could find out.” He suggests. His friends look at him with the wicked look they all get when they’re about to do something they shouldn’t.

“Yes,” Says Noah.

“Yes,” Thomas now.

“No.” Adam says.

“Yes,” Jae smirks, and Adam groans.

They always take a vote, and if the majority says yes, the person who said no accompanies them anyway. It’s teamwork.

“Let’s go.”

They sneak out of the dorm – not an easy thing to do with Hannah Abbott and Ernie MacMillan right in the common room reading books to the first years to calm them down – but they manage anyway.

Draco’s in yellow badger pajama pants and a grey jumper that used to be Fred’s, so he’s rather easy to spot, as are the rest of his roommates (all with some sort of yellow clothing and various other bright colors), but that’s not really a problem when they know all the passageways through the castle.

“We have to tell the students.” Draco hears McGonagall’s voice faintly – really, they always have their meetings in the abandoned Potions classroom, they should change it up once in a while – and they slow down as they get closer.

“It’ll cause panic.” Snape is saying. Draco can’t see him, but he doesn’t really need to see much as long as he can hear them.

“If the aurors have reason to believe that they would try to come to Hogwarts the children have a right to know.” Professor Lupin says. Draco respects him a lot, and he’s the best defense against the dark arts teacher he’s had, so he’s glad he stayed even after Snape told everyone he was a werewolf.

“The only possible reason they’d want to come here is because of your brat, Lupin.” Snape drawls. “Wouldn’t it be safer for everyone else if he were to leave?”

“Harry has just as much of a right to be here as anyone else.” Lupin says. Draco admires his ability to remain calm. He wants to hex Snape on the regular. “And are you sure that’s the only reason? Because I rather recall someone else that might be of interest? Like, I don’t know, your godson?”

Snape has a godson? Draco shudders. Unlucky them.

“He doesn’t know anything about his parents.” Snape says, voice dangerous.

“Maybe it’s time he does.” Lupin says smoothly.

“If you-” Snape begins.

“Gentlemen.” McGonagall interrupts sharply. “On subject, please.”

They continue to talk in quieter voices, and Thomas nudges him forward so they can get closer and hear better, so Draco takes a step. The stone under his feet is rough and uneven, and Draco gasps as he stumbles. He nearly crashes through the portrait they’re listening through, but a hand grabs at the back of shirt, managing to stop him when his nose is half an inch from the portrait.

He breathes out relieved.

He turns around to thank Thomas, and finds Ron glaring down at him. Well, shit.

Potter and Granger are with him, and they usher him and his friends out of the cramped portrait hole.

“What the bloody hell are you doing out of bed?” Ron asks.

“Err.” Draco begins. He puts on his best Molly Weasley disapproving look. “What are you doing out of bed?”

Potter snorts quietly, Granger’s lips quirk, and Ron looks momentarily disoriented at his perfect imitation of their mother. Draco’s friends snicker quietly.

“Don’t try to change the subject.” He growls. Well, that didn’t last long.

“I was curious.” He defends himself.

“They dismissed the feast so we could be safe and you thought it smart to sneak out because you were curious?” Potter asks.

Draco’s cheeks heat.

“Like you weren’t doing the same.” He mutters sullenly.

Ron, Potter, and Granger stand close together, and Draco sees Potter’s holding a piece of parchment in one hand and some sort of silver cloak on the other. Before he can ask about either, someone speaks.

“Mr. Weasley!” There’s a sharp voice, and Draco knows that’s the exact moment they’re all fucked.

“Uh.” He says. He puts on his best ‘good boy’ smile. “Hi Professor Sprout.”

“Mr. Williams! Mr. Franco! Mr. Caron! Mr. Lee!” She stops then, so Draco looks back to where the three Gryffindors were standing, only to find the space empty. He looks around.

Draco’s friends are also looking around, seeming equally confused, and Draco vaguely registers Professor Sprout asking a question.

“What?” he asks.

“You better have a good excuse for being out of bed.” Sprout says menacingly. She’s a sweetheart, but she’s scary when she’s angry.

“Err.” Noah says.

Sprout groans. “Seriously, you five! Couldn’t we have one year, only one year where you’re not causing any trouble?!”

“It wouldn’t be as fun that way, professor.” Thomas grins cheekily.

A reluctantly fond smile appears on Sprout’s face briefly, before she’s frowning at them again.

“Detention.” She says. They all groan. “All of you. You’re going to be planting trees for so long you’ll turn into one! Now back to bed, young men! All of you! And if I hear that any of you-” she glowers at Draco. “Any of you are out of bed again, I’ll chain you to your bed at night!”

She’d never. She’s been threatening Draco with that since he was a first year and he used to love sneaking out to the forbidden forest to feed the creatures – honestly, it’s a miracle he didn’t somehow end up dead – but she’d never actually do it. Draco’s pretty sure.

Still, that could’ve gone better.

“Yes professor,” They all mutter.

“Now go.” She says sternly.

They walk back to the Hufflepuff dorms quietly.

“Okay,” Noah says as they all sit on their beds. From behind his closet, he pulls out a muggle pin up board. They use it whenever something happens, and this situation grants it. “So,” he takes one of the pins between his teeth and opens the drawer they have, full of information on a lot of things. He puts up Thomas’s drawing of Snape and pins it there. “Snape has a mystery godson.”

“Yup.” This is always Adam’s favorite part, and he takes Noah’s place, pinning a white sheet with a question mark. “Someone wants something to do with him, but we don’t know who. Or why.”

“And Potter also has to do with the whole thing.” Jae says.

“And if Potter’s involved, Granger and Weasley must be, too.” Thomas says. “And Lupin.”

“And let’s not forget the Aurors know about this.” Draco says. “So it must be important, right?”

Adam hums. His eyes widen dramatically.

“Do you think – could it have to do with you-know-who?” He asks in a hushed voice.

“What?” Draco asks, frowning. He shivers involuntarily at the mention of you-know-who. “Why would you think that?”

“Well, they said the only reason they’d want anything here is because of Potter, right? So who cares about Potter?”

“Practically the whole wizarding world?” Noah points out.

Adam rolls his eyes. “Well, yeah. But I mean, who cares about Potter that could cause the feast to be dismissed and the aurors to be worried?”

They all stay quiet for a beat, and then Thomas snorts.

“What you’re saying is impossible.” He says. “It’s been like fifteen years.”

“Seventeen.” Jae corrects.

“Seventeen years. Voldemort is dead.”

“But his followers aren’t.” Noah says carefully.

Thomas rolls his eyes and shakes his head. “We’re not talking about this, okay? This isn’t even a possibility. Nice ghost story, and all, but we should just go to sleep. The teachers will probably explain it to us in the morning, okay? It’s fine. We’re all fine.”

The others nod hastily, and they all go to bed.

Draco doesn’t sleep very well that night.

Chapter Text

“Students,” McGonagall announces the next morning at breakfast. “There’s something you need to know.”

Draco looks up expectantly, as does everyone else.

“Several Death Eaters escaped Azkaban a few days ago.” Everything’s deadly quiet.

Thomas scowls sullenly and tosses Adam five sickles. Adam puts them in his pocket, giving Thomas a smug smile.

“Aurors have been following their trail, and they expect to find them soon. However, they’ve reason to believe that they might be headed here.” A murmur runs through the great hall, and, instinctively, Draco looks over to the Gryffindor table.

Ginny’s looking for him, too, and she catches his eye. She gives him what he supposes was supposed to be a relaxed smile, but it comes out more troubled and worried than she meant it to. He smiles back weakly.

“If you see anything,” McGonagall continues. “And I mean anything out of the ordinary, you should tell a teacher. The curfew will now be at eight instead of ten. All students,” it seems like she’s looking at Potter especially. “Without exception, must be at their common rooms at that time. Understood?”

Everyone murmurs in agreement, and McGonagall nods sternly. “The auror department has insisted,” more like forced, by the tone she says it in. “That they send Dementors to guard the castle. They’ve no reason to harm you, but do try to stay away from them.”

Everyone nods, and she purses her lips.

“To your classes, now.”

Draco’s first class is Defense against the Dark Arts with the Slytherins, so he sits with Pansy and Blaise.

“Hello,” Lupin says calmly. “How are you today?”

Everyone grunts or murmurs some kind of reply. Lupin smiles a bit sadly.

“Yes, I expected so.” He says. “Okay. I need you to give me all your attention for five minutes, alright?”

Everyone nods. Lupin waves his wand, and several images project from it.

“Bellatrix Lestrange. Fernir Greyback, Antonin Dolohov, Rodolphus Lestrange, Evan Rosier, Walden McNair.” He seems to hesitate. “Lucius Malfoy. These are all the escaped Death Eaters. I want you to look at them, and I want you to remember them. If you see any of them, I don’t care if they’re buying ice cream, you tell someone. Okay?”

“Okay.” They all chorus.

Lupin seems more relaxed. “Okay. Now come on. Since we’re going to have so many dementors flying around, you’ll need to learn the Patronus charm a bit earlier than I had planned. We’ll need more space.”

He takes them outside, near the black lake, and tells them to spread around. Several seventh years are there, too, and Draco doesn’t understand why.

“I want you to concentrate on the happiest memory you have.” He calls out, so they can all hear him. “And you have to concentrate on it completely! No getting distracted here, alright? And then you have to say Expecto Patronum. Harry, do you want to demonstrate?”

Potter – who Draco was trying very hard not to notice – steps forward.

Expecto Patronum!”

He raises his wand, and a silvery stag trots out from it. Draco stares in awe. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s utterly majestic, and it runs around freely.

“Close your mouth,” Blaise reminds him, and Draco does, quickly.

The stag comes over and noses at Draco’s hand – Draco’s completely certain he’s redder than he’s ever been in his life – and then leaves, going back to Potter.

“The seventh years are here to help you if you’re struggling!” Lupin announces. “Most of it is the memory though, so you have to find the right one. Start practicing.”

“What do you think yours’ll be?” Pansy asks. She bats her eyelashes at him. “A doe, to match Potter’s?”

“Yours’ll probably be a dung beetle, because it’s what you are.” Draco shoots back, cheeks burning hotly.

Pansy bursts out laughing.

“Better than a lovesick puppy.” She taunts.

Draco glares and flips two fingers her way. She just laughs even more.

“I hate you,” Draco says.

“You can hate her while you practice.” Draco nearly falls on his face because of Potter’s voice behind him. His tone is kind, but Draco still feels utterly embarrassed when he continues. “It’s a very important Charm, Draco. It could save your life.”

“Yeah.” He says. “I’ll do that. Definitely. Practice.”

Potter continues going around to look and occasionally help certain students, and he turns to his right when he sees a familiar figure snickering.

I’ll do that.” Ginny mocks. “Definitely. Practice.

Draco scowls at her weakly.

“Couldn’t you just say yes?” She laughs.

“Shut it.” He tells her.

She laughs harder.

Turns out all sixth years are being taught the charm at the same time, so he sticks close to his sister, Luna, Pansy, and Blaise.

“Miss Lovegood, that’s amazing!” he hears Lupin say, and when he turns he sees a hare hopping around happily.

Luna smiles airily.

That’s all they do the whole day, all other classes are cancelled. Ginny achieves hers – a stallion – and so do several other people, like the Patil twins, all of Draco’s roommates, and Pansy and Blaise.

Pansy’s is a Black Mamba, and though it was unexpected, it makes sense, in a way. It’s pretty but vicious, just like Pansy is.

Blaise’s is a sleek black panther that prowls around proudly, knocking Draco on his arse more than once.

It’s almost time for dinner, and all that Draco’s managed is something like a silver mist, but even that’s not fully formed.

“It’s fine,” Ginny soothes after he fails, yet again. “It’s very complicated. There are plenty of people who haven’t been able to do it.”

It’s true, but all of Draco’s friends have, so he feels frustrated.

“What are you thinking of?” Another voice asks.

It’s Potter, and were Draco not beyond done with today, he’d be embarrassed.

“Does it matter?” He asks tiredly. “I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

“Tough luck.” Ron says, and Draco glares at his brother. “Again.”

“Ron-” Granger begins hastily.

“You can try again.” Ron says. “Come on. Three more times. That’s it. After that, I’ll leave you alone.”

Draco has half a mind to tell Ron where to shove it, but he merely clenches his jaw and grips his wand tighter.

“Fine.” He mutters.

He concentrates harder on the memory he’s chosen – the time Blaise, Pansy, and him were fifteen and managed to charm all of the portraits to chant ‘Blow me’ ominously for days before Flitwick fixed it – and raises his wand.

Expecto Patronum!” He says.

Though the spark of silver is stronger now, it’s still not a full Patronus. Draco wonders if he’s doing it on purpose, if he doesn’t want to do it right then because he is a bit worried it might be a lovesick puppy that’ll somehow announce to everyone his crush on Potter.

“There.” He snaps at Ron. “Was that enough?”

“Two more.” Ron orders calmly.

But Draco’s exhausted and more than a little bit frustrated, so he clenches his fists at his sides.

“I can’t.” He snaps. “In case that wasn’t clear already.”

“Two more.” Ron says again, harder, and Draco half-arses the two attempts, leaving as soon as the second attempt fails, not bothering to listen to whatever it was someone was trying to tell him. Thankfully, no one follows.

They continue practicing the Patronus charm for the next couple weeks, but even as everyone else accomplishes it, Draco can barely manage a bit of silver mist.

“Mr. Weasley,” Lupin calls him after class one day. “I gather you’re having trouble with your Patronus?”

Draco nods, embarrassed.

“It’s a complicated charm.” Lupin notes. “You’ve nothing to be embarrassed about.”

“Everyone else has already accomplished it.” Draco says quietly.

“It takes some longer than others,” Lupin shakes his head. “It doesn’t mean you’re less powerful.” Draco thinks it does, but he decides not to argue. “We won’t keep seeing it in class anymore, but I’d like for you to continue practicing.”

“I will.” Draco says. It’s the only thing he’s been doing since they started.

“And I’d like for you to practice with Harry.” Lupin continues.

“What?” Draco asks, momentarily thrown off.

“Harry,” Remus repeats. “I think he’d be able to help you.”

“I-” Draco’s about to say he doesn’t need help, but Lupin would see right through it. He sighs defeatedly. “When?”

“You should talk to him. I’ve already told him about it, you’d just have to establish a time. Practice it as often as possible, if you will. It’s very important, especially this year.”

Draco nods. He hates Dementors, mainly because of how they make him feel, and one of the reasons he wants so badly to succeed at casting the Patronus charm is so that he never has to be with one again.

“Thank you, professor.” He says sincerely.

Lupin smiles, pleased. “You’re welcome, Mr. Weasley.”

When Draco walks out of the classroom, his friends are there, waiting.

“Draco, you’ve to choose a side.” Noah says, as soon as he joins them.

“A side of what?” Draco asks.

“Thomas thinks Snape’s secret godson is Neville Longbottom. We say it’s absolute hippogriff shit.”

“Why the fuck would it be Longbottom?” Draco asks.

“Think about it!” Thomas says. He swirls his cloak dramatically and imitates Snape’s voice. “He doesn’t know anything about his parents.’ Who else is an orphan?”

“Potter.” Jae says.

“But it can’t be Potter, because he does know things about his parents.” Thomas points out.

“But we don’t know that Longbottom doesn’t.” Adam says.

Thomas huffs. “Then who do you suggest, pretty boy?”

Adam’s cheeks flush and he flips two fingers Thomas’s way.

“You’re a bastard.” He says. “And I don’t have to share my thoughts with you.”

That means he doesn’t know yet. Draco snorts and rolls his eyes at his friends’ bickering.

They get to the Green House – where they’ve been meeting Sprout for detention every day – and she gives Jae, Noah, and Adam a huge back of tree seeds and sends them on their way.

“Why do we have to do this?” Noah groans not ten minutes after they begin. They’re planting trees everywhere along the edge of the grounds. It’s partly for protection and partly because Sprout loves trees, and this is the useful thing she could come up with.

“If you don’t like it learn to be a ‘pure soul’.” Adam says with Sprout’s dreamy tone. Draco knows mainly he’s just surprised Sprout decided Thomas was one and he wasn’t.

“Fuck you,” Draco says without heat. He’s petting one of the trees, talking and singing to it. It’s part of detention, and Sprout says it makes the trees happier, healthier, quicker to grow.

“How is he a pure soul?” Jae complains, pointing at Thomas. He’s singing to the tree in a low voice, not even paying attention to the rest of them. “He’s the dirtiest of us all!”

Draco shakes his head fondly.

“You know how I haven’t really been able to do the Patronus charm?” he asks.

His friends hum in agreement.

“Lupin wants Potter to tutor me.” He mentions, going for casual and missing it by a mile.

Thomas’s head snaps up from his Pine tree.

“As in Harry Potter?” He asks. “As in your crush forever and ever?”

“It’s not forever and ever.” Draco rolls his eyes, cheeks tainting faintly.

“Oh sure.” Noah says. “Because we haven’t listened to you rant about him for years.”

Jae, have you seen him today?” Jae mocks in a high-pitched voice. “Jae, he’s so dreamy. Jae, I think I love him. Jae, I’d love to blow him every morning-

“I never said that!” Draco says hotly, face burning.

All his friends laugh, except for Adam, who’s shaking his head and smiling lightly.

“You might as well have.” Thomas snickers. “Are you going to shag him?”

“He’s my brother’s best friend!” Draco says. It’d be complicated enough if Potter didn’t spend every summer at his house, but he does, and so it’s even more.

“It probably makes it hotter.” Noah says.

“Yeah, imagine. He spends every summer at your house anyway, you wouldn’t even have to go anywhere to shag-” Jae breaks off when he catches sight of something above them. “Is that an owl?”

They all look up, and, surely enough, there’s an owl approaching, but instead of flying into Hogwarts, it lands next to them.

They all frown at each other.

The owl pecks at Draco’s finger, so Draco takes the letter tied to its paw. It’s not his family’s owl, so he can’t imagine who it may be from.

“Who’s it from?” Adam asks, coming closer as Draco reads the envelope.

There’s no name on the envelope, but Adam squints at the wax seal and runs a finger over it softly.

“I think – I think that that’s the Malfoy family crest.”

Chapter Text

The letter lands Draco in the Headmistress’s office with a hurricane of teachers arguing over him and his parents being called to the school, along with a few aurors.

“Mr. Weasley, I’m going to ask you again, and I want you to be truthful.” The auror that’s questioning him has a scruffy beard and clearly thinks Draco’s lying. “Have you been in previous contact with Lucius Malfoy?”

“Merlin, let me think.” Draco says. McGonagall shoots him a warning look, which he willfully ignores. “How can I say this in a way you’ll understand, since the previous sixteen clearly haven’t worked? I didn’t know whatever his name is existed until two weeks ago, when he escaped your department’s care. I have never spoken to him, I’ve never seen him, and if I had been in contact with him before today I wouldn’t have brought the letter to Headmistress McGonagall!”

“Mr. Weasley-” The auror begins angrily, but McGonagall cuts in swiftly.

“I think, Auror Whitewood, that you’ve questioned my student enough. I merely informed you so you could take the letter as evidence, not so you could question a teenager under my care. You’re free to leave now.”

The auror’s nostrils flare, but he stomps out of the office after his evident dismissal.

“Mr. Weasley,” McGonagall takes her seat again. “I need you to be honest. I won’t tell the aurors, but I need to know. Have you been in contact with Lucius Malfoy before?”

Draco throws his hands up, but he answers with much more respect than he did to the Auror. “Why does everyone keep asking me that? I’ve already said, no. I don’t even know him, why would I want to talk to him?”

The professors look at each other, and he gets the distinct feeling they know something he doesn’t.

“Did you open the letter?” McGonagall asks.

“No.” Draco says.

He’s not stupid enough to. It could easily be a cursed letter, and he’d rather not end up dead. He did, however, duplicate it. He gave them the copy and kept the original for himself.

The door opens, and Draco immediately feels much less frustrated.

“Bill!” He says brightly.

“Hey brat,” His brother smiles fondly, squeezing at his shoulder before sitting down on the chair next to Draco’s. “Mom and dad were called into the ministry by the Aurors. What happened?”

Fleur is with him, and she smiles at Draco, taking the seat on his other side.

“Hi, Dragon,” She murmurs.

Draco smiles at her. His siblings don’t like her much, but to be honest, he’s always been rather fond of her. She’s cultured and a rather very powerful witch. She spent the whole of the first summer they met each other teaching him various spells.

McGonagall’s lips tighten. “Your brother received a letter. Sent by Lucius Malfoy.”

If Draco knew Bill any less, he’d say the news caused no reaction, but catches the slight shift of his shoulders, the way his jaw tightens.

“What does it say?” He asks.

“We haven’t opened it.” McGonagall says. “Mr. Lupin and a few other professionals are checking it for curses or any sort of remaining magic trace.”

“The owl?”

“Gone.”

“Any way to track him?”

McGonagall shakes her head, and Bill breathes out.

Fleur frowns worriedly.

Draco’s squeezing at his finger under the table – it’s wrapped hastily in a napkin because the blasted owl bit him, and it’s still bleeding – and straightens instinctively when every adult in the room turns to him.

“What?” he asks.

“Has Mr. Malfoy tried to contact you before?” Snape drawls again, and Draco frowns.

“I’ve already told you-”

“That you might not know about.” McGonagall explains. “Any letters without names. Floo calls to the common room. Messages of any sort that were even remotely suspicious.”

“No.” Draco says.

“No curses. Nor any trace of magic, really.” Lupin says as he comes in.

Draco looks up eagerly.

“Can I read it now?” he asks.

“No.” Everyone, including Bill, says immediately.

Draco frowns. “It’s my letter.”

“From a death eater!” Bill says.

“Still!” Draco says. Bill knows him better than anyone – he practically raised him, all of them, since Molly was busy often – and if Draco hadn’t told him that he wants to read it, he’d know something was up.

“You’re dismissed, Mr. Weasley,” McGonagall says curtly. Both Bill and Draco look at her, and she gestures to Draco. “The youngest. If you receive anything else, you come straight to me. Alright?”

“But-” Draco begins.

“Now, Mr. Weasley.” McGonagall cocks an eyebrow in that way of hers that makes students back down as soon as she says so, but Draco frowns.

“But I-” He starts.

“Draco,” Bill says warningly.

Draco sighs in defeat.

“Fine.” He grumbles.

He stands up and when he passes Lupin, the professor smiles lightly at him.

“Harry’s waiting outside. So you can practice.” He tells him.

Draco makes a face before he can stop himself, and he sees Lupin smirk discreetly. He probably knew Draco’d find a way to listen in unless someone were with him.

He leaves the office, closing the door behind him, and Potter’s there, leaning against the wall and fiddling with his wand.

“Hey,” He says.

He looks like he hasn’t slept very well, and Draco mentally slaps himself for not thinking that death eaters escaping might be taking a toll on Potter.

“Hi.” He says. He tries not to sound like a complete idiot as he continues. “Are you – is it – how are you?”

Potter looks surprised.

“Fine.” He says. “Err, good. Have you made any progress with your Patronus?”

Right to the point then.

“Some,” He says. “Is there any chance you’d want to eavesdrop with me?”

Potter snorts. “Remus thought you might try to convince me to do that.”

“It wouldn’t even be much work!” Draco pleads. Plus, Potter sneaks around the castle all the time, it’s not like it’d be new for him. “And you don’t have to get in trouble. Just pretend you lost me.”

Potter shakes his head and grins. “Unlikely. Ginny’d kill me. Plus, you really do need to know how to cast a Patronus.”

“Fine.” Draco mutters, following Potter to the seventh floor.

They use the room of requirement – Draco didn’t know anyone but the Hufflepuffs knew about it – and though after a while of being around Potter he finally relaxes, he still doesn’t seem to be able to cast the charm.

“I can’t.” Draco groans.

“You can,” Potter says, pushing off the box he’s been leaning against. “What memory are you using?”

Draco’s cheeks heat. “Do you remember the portrait thing? Last year?”

Potter’s lips quirk. “Yeah. I thought it was pretty good.”

“You did?” Draco asks, surprised. His parents had been furious, along with practically every teacher, except Flitwick. He’d mostly been impressed at Draco’s, Pansy’s, and Blaise’s charm work. He’d given them House points for it, in secret.

“Yeah.” He nods, smile widening. “Honestly, it was hard to be in a bad mood when every step Snape took made the portraits chant ‘Blow me’ again and again.”

Draco can’t help the smile that spreads across his face at the memory.

“I think that was the first time I really realized how much I liked you.” Potter says abruptly, and Draco’s heart stutters.

“Oh?” He says, because he doesn’t think he can say something else.

“Yeah.” Potter smiles absent-mindedly, sitting on the box again. “Well, no, actually. I think it was when you were in second year and you and your friends spelled every single pair of trousers to walk out. No one had any trousers to wear, they had to cancel classes for a few days.”

Draco’s mouth drops.

“You – you knew that was me?” he asks, disbelieving.

Potter chuckles. “Well, yeah. It wasn’t the twins, and it was a lot of magic. It’d take someone very smart and very powerful.” He smiles fondly. “And well, you’re a hellion.”

Potter thinks he’s smart. Potter thinks he’s powerful. Potter also thinks Draco’s a Hellion, but Draco’s going to ignore that part.

“I’m getting off-topic, sorry.” Potter chuckles again. No, Draco wants to say, please keep telling me why you like me. “If the memory doesn’t work, maybe you should change it. Isn’t there another one where you’re very happy?”

There’re plenty. Draco loves his family and his friends, and they love him, too, so they have plenty of happy memories together. He just doesn’t know which to use.

“Yeah.” He says. “I just – I don’t know. I don’t know which one to use.”

“It can be anything.” Potter shrugs. “A birthday, maybe? Christmas, some sort of Holiday?”

“What’s yours?” Draco asks, suddenly curious.

“It changes often. The first time I conjured a Patronus, it was the first Christmas I spent at the Burrow. Remus and Sirius had to visit some cousin out of town, and I thought I’d be alone. And Ron invited me-”

“Home.” Draco says, chest suddenly aching. “Yeah, I remember.”

He’s suddenly hit by just how long he’s liked Potter, and just how unlikely it is to happen. Potter’s known him since he was ten, probably still thinks of him as a child, as family. He’d never be interested in Draco.

“Are you okay?” Potter asks after a beat, and Draco looks up, surprised.

“What? Yeah. Yes, yeah, I’m fine. Sorry.”

Potter shakes his head and pushes his glasses up his nose. “It’s fine. Try again.”

Draco sighs and raises his wand.

Expecto Patronum.” He says.

A strong, white light emerges from the tip of his wand, and it almost, almost takes shape.

“That was really close!” Potter says excitedly. “What were you thinking of, just now?”

Draco was thinking of the same Christmas Potter just mentioned. Him and Ginny were the only ones not at Hogwarts yet, and Charlie and Bill came home for it, so that Christmas was the first time they saw their whole family together in a long time.

“A Christmas, too.” Draco shakes his head, smiling lightly. “I don’t know.”

“Still, that was amazing!” Potter says. “You’ll be able to do it in no time.”

Draco smiles, and Potter casts a Tempus charm.

“Shit,” he says. “We’re late for dinner.”

He opens the door and lets Draco through first, and they walk to dinner together, Draco’s heart still beating in his throat. He wants to say something, has half a heart to tell Potter he’s in love with him, can’t hold it inside himself any longer, but abruptly he remembers the letter in his pocket.

He stops, and Potter stops a few steps in front, when he realizes Draco did.

“I, err, just remembered I forgot something.” He says.

Potter frowns worriedly.

“Are you okay? Should I go with you?”

“No,” Draco says hastily. “I mean, it’s fine. I’ll be quick. You go to dinner.”

And he walks away before Potter can argue.

He locks himself in the seventh floor bathrooms – the most discreet place he could think of – and takes Lucius Malfoy’s letter out of his pocket.

He cuts the envelope open, and takes the letter out carefully. It’s multiple pages long, and Draco frowns as he begins reading.

He has to read it five whole times before he deciphers it completely – the handwriting is absolutely abysmal, the spelling even more – and even then, he has to read it again. When he finishes, he’s confused, worried, and more than a little bit scared.

Fuck, but he really shouldn’t have gotten involved.

Chapter Text

“It’s got to be a lie, right?” Draco says, chewing on his thumbnail. When his friends don’t respond, he gives them a sharp look. “Right?”

Pansy eyes him warily and then looks back at the letter. She finishes reading it and passes it to Blaise, who reads it quickly.

The three of them are squeezed into Blaise’s bed. His dormmates had been in the room, so Draco’d grabbed him and Pansy and shoved them in, closing the drapes tightly with several sticking charms and at least four Silencios.

“I…” he begins. “Don’t know.”

“You don’t know?” Draco shrieks. “You don’t know if it’s possible to bring back you-know-who?”

“How would I know that?!” Blaise asks, equally hysteric.

“I don’t know, aren’t you supposed to know everything?!”

“I’m a sixth year for Merlin’s sake-”

“You’ve read practically everything-”

“I’m a Slytherin, not a Death eater-”

“It has to be impossible-”

Shut up!” Pansy yells over the both of them. “You will both calm down right now because otherwise I’m going to kick your balls so hard you’ll vomit them.”

Both boys pale.

“Good,” She says, a little venomously. “Now,” she continues, very, very calmly. “You are going to tell us why you have this when you supposedly turned it in to McGonagall.”

Draco’s cheeks darken, and he looks away. “I duplicated it before I turned it in.”

Blaise fist-bumps him discreetly.

“Okay,” Pansy says, still in that very calm tone of voice that is honestly giving Draco the creeps. “But she’s read it then?”

“I don’t know.” Draco says. “She made me leave before she did, but she must’ve. Unless the Aurors took it.”

“Either way, someone’s read it?” Pansy asks. Draco nods. “Good. Then we’ve-”

“Why do they think it’s from Lucius Malfoy?” Blaise asks abruptly. He shoots an apologetic look at Pansy, and though she glares lightly, she doesn’t continue when she was saying.

“It’s the Malfoy family crest.” Draco points out.

Blaise rolls his eyes. “Yeah but with a little wax and a wand I can do Rita Skeeter’s family crest and it doesn’t mean I am her.”

“Thank Merlin,” Pansy mutters with an eye-roll. She hates Skeeter. Then she seems to think about it. “Maybe they used it to get you to open it.”

Draco’s mouth twists. “Why would a known death eater’s family crest get me to open a letter?”

“Well, you did, didn’t you?” Blaise points out.

Draco flips him off.

“Is he the only living Malfoy?” Pansy asks, ignoring their bickering.

Draco shrugs. “Everyone seemed to think so.”

“He can’t be.” Blaise says. “He must’ve had parents, maybe a wife, some kids?”

Draco shakes his head. “He’s been in Azkaban for sixteen years, Blaise, if the family avoided Azkaban they must’ve fled the country.”

“Or they’re dead.” Pansy points out.

There’s a beat of silence.

“Well, even if he’s the last Malfoy, it makes no sense that this is from him.” Blaise says. “He’s one of those prissy purebloods, he’s got to have neater handwriting.”

“That’s another thing.” Pansy agrees. “This is absolutely abysmal.”

“But if it’s not from Malfoy, who could it be from, and why does it have his crest?” Draco asks.

“A prisoner, maybe?” Blaise suggests. “Or a spy? Maybe it was the only envelope lying around, and they needed to get it out.”

“But why was it sent to me?” Draco asks. “It’d be smarter to send it to the aurors.”

“Okay, so not a very smart prisoner,” Pansy says. “Or maybe they thought you could do something.”

“Maybe they think you’re somebody else.”

Draco hums thoughtfully. “Maybe.”

“What do we do now?” Blaise asks. “We can’t tell anyone.”

“We pretend we don’t know.” Pansy says. She upturns her nose defensively the way she does when she’s about to say something she’s ashamed of. “My parents… they used to have ties to you-know-who. I’ll ask about the Malfoys.”

Draco squeezes her knee. “You know, if your parents-”

“I wouldn’t.” Pansy says sharply. “I’ll run away. I’ll die before I become one of them.”

Draco smiles lightly. “I know. I was going to say that if your parents are up to something and you need a place to go, you’re always welcome at the burrow, even if you have to sleep on the floor.”

Pansy’s eyes are teary, but Draco doesn’t mention it because he doesn’t fancy getting kicked in the balls.

“Both of you,” He says, looking at Blaise, who smiles softly.

Though Mrs. Zabini has always kept herself carefully neutral in most political situations, Draco thinks it might be different during a war, even to a woman like her, who’s always liked to keep everything very private.

“We know, mate.” He says.

They stay there, quiet, until long after curfew.

The next weeks pass relatively uneventfully. People are avoiding Draco and looking at him oddly since the word spread that he got a letter from an escaped death eater, but thankfully his dormmates merely rolled their eyes and kept trying to figure out who Snape’s godson was.

Lessons with Potter also continue, and though Draco can regularly produce a patronus now, it’s not a corporeal one, so they see each other every day, at least until McGonagall announces that there’s been another death eater breakout out of Azkaban, Peter Pettigrew between them.

Potter cancels lessons that day.

When Draco sees him again, he looks like shit – and that’s saying something, because Draco’d think he looks good covered in mud and with birds nesting on his head – and Draco tries to sound casual when he speaks.

“Are you okay?” He doesn’t stutter around him as often anymore.

“Fine,” Potter says, rubbing at his eyes, leaving his glasses crooked.

“Rubbish,” Draco says. “I know we’re not friends friends-”

Potter looks at him surprised. “We are friends friends.”

“Oh.” Draco’s heart flutters. “Well, what I mean is that it’s okay if you’re not. Fine. It’d be… understandable.”

Potter’s mouth tightens for a split second, and Draco thinks he’s going to tell him where to shove it.

“It’s been… complicated.” He admits uneasily.

Draco nods, unsure of what to say.

“I heard you got a letter from Malfoy.” Potter says, and Draco grimaces. “What’d it say?”

“I turned it in to McGonagall.” Draco says. “She didn’t let me read it.”

Potter looks at him skeptically and runs a hand through his hair, making it even messier. Draco’d like to swoon now, but he doesn’t.

“I did!” he says defensively.

Potter snorts. “I believe you. I just don’t believe that you didn’t find a way to read it anyway.”

The corner of Draco’s mouth pulls upwards, and he shakes his head, exhaling slowly.

“I duplicated it.”

Potter smirks triumphantly.

“What’d it say?” he asks.

“You can read it if you want,” Draco offers.

“You’ve it here?”

Draco hands him the letter. He’s been carrying it around in his pocket for weeks now, too scared that someone will go through his things and find it.

Potter’s eyes widen as he reads, and when he’s done, he looks at Draco calculatingly.

“Why haven’t you told anyone?”

Draco snorts. “It wouldn’t do any good. The Aurors already have a copy, and McGonagall would have my arse for keeping it. My parents before her.”

Potter smiles reluctantly. “Yeah, probably.”

After a moment,

“I’ve been having dreams.”

“Oh?” Draco asks carefully.

“Dreams.” Potter repeats. “More like nightmares, really. About Voldemort. Kind of – kind of like I am him, you know? Like I’m seeing everything he is. I see the death eaters. Pettigrew, too, and I’ve never seen him.”

“So how do you know it is him?” Draco asks.

“I just do.” Potter shrugs. He rubs a hand over his face tiredly. “I don’t know. They feel real.”

“Have you told anyone?”

A crooked grin. “I just told you.”

Draco shakes his head lightly. “Someone who can do something, I mean. McGonagall, maybe. Professor Lupin.”

Potter sighs. “I want to. I definitely should, and I know that. It’s just… if no one knows, it’s just a nightmare, yeah? But if I tell them and they’re something real, it means Voldemort’s back and I don’t-” he exhales harshly. “It was supposed to be over.”

A beat of silence, and Draco gets the feeling Potter doesn’t want to talk about this any longer, so he changes the subject.

“Will you be going to Fleur’s and Bill’s wedding?” He asks.

He got the notice of it a few weeks ago, and he’s happy for Bill. He’s been making sacrifices for the rest of them for all his life, he deserves someone that makes him as happy as Fleur does.

“Yeah.” Potter nods. “You? Stupid question, of course you are, he’s your brother it’d be ridiculous-”

“Potter,” Draco interrupts lightly. “Do you need to sleep?”

Potter exhales and nods slowly. “Yeah. I think so.”

The room’s lights immediately dim, and a bed appears a few feet to their right. It’s big and comfortable-looking, with big pillows and a warm-looking red blanket.

“I’ll, uh, leave you to it.” Draco says, reaching for the doorknob.

“Wait!” Potter’s hand is on his shoulder. “Can you stay? Just for a bit.”

He shouldn’t.

“Okay,” he says.

Potter gets under the covers, and then, to Draco’s mortification, pats the space beside him. He complies, lying stiffly on top of the blanket, trying not to look at Potter too often.

“Why do you still call me Potter?” His voice has already taken to a more sleepy and far-away tone. He’s placed his glasses beside his head on the pillow, and Draco moves them so they won’t get crushed if he moves around.

“I don’t know.”

He does know. When he was younger and he realized his feelings for Potter, he’d taken to calling him by his last name because it seemed less personal to a ten year old Draco, as if that would somehow help him get over his crush. It didn't.

“Well, don’t. I want you to call me Harry.”

“Okay, Harry.” He says tremulously.

“Will you be here when I wake up?” Potter – no, Harry asks.

Draco’s in over his head now, and there’s no way this won’t end with his heart broken. He should find someone he’s attracted to that isn’t the damned Savior of the Wizarding World, that isn’t as far and untouchable as Harry is. Someone he doesn’t love as deeply and completely as he does him. Someone he could walk away from, if he needed to.

As it is, against his better logic, he runs his hand softly through Harry’s hair, smiling lightly at the approving moan he gets in return. Of course he’ll be here when Harry wakes up. He’d never deny him anything.

“Yes,” He whispers.

Harry’s breathing’s evened out, and when Draco looks at him, he realizes he’s already fallen asleep.

Chapter Text

“Hey,” Harry nudges gently at Draco’s shoulder, slightly out of breath because he ran through the courtyard just to catch the blond on his way to class. He’s going to have to come up with a good excuse to tell Ron as to why he’s spending so much time with his little brother. As it is, Hermione’s already giving him constant knowing looks anytime he mentions or looks at Draco. “What’re you doing for Christmas?”

It’s a dumb question, but he doesn’t know what else to ask.

“Going home.” Draco gives him an amused look. They keep walking, though a lot slower than Draco was originally going. “It’s Bill and Fleur’s wedding, remember?” his face falls. “Are you not coming anymore?”

 “No!” Harry says quickly. Draco’s face lights up again, and it takes everything in him not to grab him and cuddle him against his chest and never let him go. He’s looking at Harry with his eyes all huge and Harry groans inwardly because no one should be allowed to be that gorgeous. “No, of course I’m going! I just, err, forgot.”

“Oh,” Draco tucks a strand of wavy hair behind his ear. Ginny just cut it, so it’s short in the back and on the sides, but it’s longer at the top, white blond, and shiny, and so fucking soft-looking. “I don’t think I could ever forget. Mom has been writing about it in every single one of her letters. Even Fleur doesn’t talk as often about it.”

“You write to Fleur?” Harry asks, surprised and more than a little bit jealous. She’s his brother’s fiancée, he tells himself. There’s nothing to be jealous about.

“Yeah,” Draco says. He hesitates, and then, “Do you remember last year?”

Last year, someone had told everyone Draco’d blown Theodore Nott in the showers after Quidditch, effectively outing both Draco and Theodore. Everyone’d called Draco a slag for weeks afterwards, though they stopped saying it to his face after he’d hexed a Ravenclaw boy into spending a week in the infirmary.

“Yeah.” Harry grimaces.

“Well, Fleur’s a Veela. And she’s a girl.” He shrugs. “It’s happened to her a few times, and she really helped me. We started talking, and now we send weekly letters.”

“I’m sorry,” He says, even if it feels empty.

“It happened.” Draco shrugs, picking at the hem of his sleeve. “It’s not your fault. And anyway, it’s over now.” It’s not, not completely, and they both know it. Still, Harry knows Draco doesn’t like talking about it, so he doesn’t say so. “Did you go to McGonagall about the nightmares?”

He did, but he hasn’t told anyone. McGonagall, Remus, Snape, and Merlin knows who else spent a long time trying to figure it out before a man named Slughorn finally told them about the Horocruxes. It didn’t take them long to figure out Harry was one, too.

“Yeah,” He says, looking away. “She thinks they’re just nightmares.”

Draco hums thoughtfully. “Maybe. Have they been getting better?”

Only when you’re there, Harry thinks.

“Sometimes.” He says instead. “Have you gotten another letter from the Malfoy’s?”

Draco shrugs. “A few. I’m getting better at reading the abysmal handwriting. I’ve tried to trace magical signature, but whoever’s writing them isn’t using magic. At least I don’t think they are, but it’s hard doing it when I only learned how to three weeks ago.”

“Exactly how did you learn how to do it, again?” Harry asks, because he’s almost certain it was more than a little illegal.

Draco’s cheeks redden, and that’s as much confirmation as Harry needs.

He mumbles something unintelligible, and then shrugs it off.

“Will we be practicing tonight?” He asks instead, to change the subject. “I’m getting better at my Patronus.”

He really is. He can regularly produce a non-corporeal Patronus now, but Harry doesn’t know why he’s having so much trouble with producing a corporeal.

“I know you are,” he says, pride swelling in his chest. Then, he teases, “Must’ve had a great teacher.”

“The best,” Draco says, smiling up at him through long, pale lashes, and it’s not fair the way it makes Harry’s heart try to escape his ribs.

He’s about to say something – probably something he shouldn’t – but someone swings an arm around his shoulders.

“Hey Har’!” And really, Harry loves Ron, but something inside him definitely doesn’t appreciate the interruption. “Hey Draco!”

“Hi Ron.” Harry says a little tightly, and Hermione shoots him another one of her looks.

“Hullo Draco,” She says lightly. “How was your date?”

“What date?” Ron and Harry ask at the same time.

“Anthony asked me on a date last Saturday,” Draco waves it away.

“Anthony Goldstein?!” Ron asks. “You can’t go out with him!”

“I can go out with whoever I please.” Draco says, clipped. “It’s not your decision. And I’m not going out with him again, anyway. He seems to be under the impression that I’m stupid.”

Harry doesn’t think Draco’s stupid. Harry’d never think that Draco’s stupid. He’s bright, and clever, and witty, and absolutely maddening, and so, so gorgeous

“And do you’ve anything to do this Saturday?” Hermione asks.

“Yeah. I’m going out with Gin.” He says. They do it every few weeks to catch up, even if they talk every day. “Why, did you have something in mind?”

Hermione seems to hesitate. “No, it’s fine. There’re a few things I wanted to talk to you about. Can we talk Friday afternoon?”

“Sure,” Draco nods. “Black lake?”

“Library,” Hermione says.

“Okay.” He agrees. “Well, I’ve to go to class.”

He says goodbye and leaves.

“What’d you want to talk to him about?” Harry asks curiously.

“Nothing.” Hermione waves it away. “It’s fine. Potions?”

“I’d rather not,” Ron says unhappily, even as they begin walking. “Snape is a berk.”

“Snape is going to hear you if you’re not careful.” Harry says.

“Doesn’t mean it’s not true.” Ron grumbles.

Harry hums in agreement. He gets through potions without earning himself detention – though just barely, he almost throws his cauldron at Snape’s head – and then they go to lunch.

Draco’s sitting with his friends in the Hufflepuff table, and he looks distracted. Harry tears his eyes away and finds Hermione looking at him thoughtfully.

“What?” he asks, uncomfortable.

“Do you like him?” She asks without preambles, and Harry nearly drops his fork.

“Merlin, Hermione.” He hisses, looking around. Ron is engrossed in a conversation with Dean Thomas, and he doesn’t seem to be listening, but it’s still to risky.

“He likes you, too, you know?” She says conversationally, though she does lower her voice. “Ron would understand.”

Harry’s cheeks heat.

“No, he doesn’t. We’re just friends.” He says. “And no, Ron wouldn’t.”

“He’s your best friend, Harry.” Hermione says, frowning lightly. “He’d stick with you through anything. We both would.”

Harry swallows. He needs to tell them about the Horocruxes. He needs to tell them he is a Horocrux, but anytime he tries to, he sees them, and they’re happy, and he doesn’t want to ruin that.

“I know.” He says softly. “I’m fine. It’s all fine. There are more important things to do right now.”

Hermione chews on her lower lip.

“I know.” She says. “The teachers don’t want us to worry, but it’s everywhere. You-know-who-” she grimaces. “Voldemort seems to be planning something.”

“We don’t know that he’s back.” Harry says, even if it’s a lie. He does know, he just hasn’t told them yet.

“He is,” Hermione says. At Harry’s raised eyebrow, she continues. “Do you know what the Order of the Phoenix is?”

Harry shakes his head.

“It was like a sort of… resistance. To Voldemort. Your parents were in it. Remus and Sirius, too.” She says. “So are Ron’s parents, McGonagall. Most all of the teachers. I heard them talking about it a few weeks ago, and it’s active again. It can only mean one thing.”

“You really are clever.” Harry says, impressed. “When’d you hear them talking?”

“After curfew,” Hermione says, and Harry raises his eyebrows. “What? You just said it, I’m clever, and I like knowing things. When people,” she throws him an accusing look. “Don’t tell you things, you’ve to find out for yourself.”

Harry feels a flash of guilt go through him, and he gives her a weak smile. Her expression softens.

“We’re here for you, Harry.” She says. “Don’t be stupid. You can talk to us.”

Harry smiles at her again, and squeezes her hand across the table. “I know. I will, I just…”

“Need time?” Ron guesses, and Harry jumps. He didn’t know he was listening. “Honestly, mate, we’ve known something’s been going on with you for weeks. We’re here whenever you’re ready.”

And Harry wants to tell them, but what the hell is he supposed to say?

Hey guys, I’ve got a piece of Voldemort’s soul inside me, and until we’ve found and destroyed all of the pieces he’s immortal. Also, Ron, I want to shag your baby brother, is that okay?

He can’t.

“Can we talk?” he says. “Midnight, the common room?”

That, at least, gives him a deadline and the time to figure out how he’s going to break the news.

As the time gets closer, however, Harry begins to regret it, but he refuses to back down now. They’ve a right to know, and he knows it’ll help him calm down, too.

At midnight, Ron and him go down to the common room, where Hermione’s already waiting for them, curled next to the fireplace. They sit quietly until Harry gets the nerve to speak.

“Voldemort made Horocruxes.” He says. “They’re – you put pieces of your soul into things, and they keep it there. It’s made him immortal, at least until they’re all destroyed.”

Both of their faces have hardened, but they don’t interrupt him, so he continues.

“McGonagall and Remus… they think I’m a Horocrux, too.” He says. “When he tried to kill me and it rebounded, he left a piece of his soul in me.”

They’re taking this better than he thought they would.

“And how do we get it out?” Ron asks calmly.

“What?” Harry asks, surprised.

“Well, I assume you don’t want it there,” he says with raised eyebrows. “So how do we get it out? Do we have to, like, send you to St. Mungo’s or something, because I’ve got to tell you mate, their food is absolutely ridiculous.”

Harry’s eyes are wet, and he blinks quickly. Hermione frowns and pulls him close in a hug.

“Merlin, Harry, you were really scared, weren’t you?” she asks.

Harry nods and closes his eyes tightly before pulling away.

“We’ll do anything, mate.” Ron says. “Whatever it is. You’re you. And there’s nothing that could ever make us stop loving you.”

Harry nods and swallows.

“McGonagall practically told me to stay out of it.” He says. “That they’d take care of it.”

Hermione scoffs. “Yes, and when have we ever listened to people when they tell us to stay out of something?”

Ron cracks a grin.

“Time for a little research, don’t you think?” He says.

Hermione smiles softly.

“Yeah,” she says. “Yeah, I reckon it is.”

And Harry looks at them and he realizes that no matter what happens – if he’s a Horocrux, if he’s not, whatever it is that happens next – these are his best friends, and they won’t leave him alone.

They’re there for him.

Always.

Chapter Text

“Thanks for meeting me.” Granger says, appearing out of nowhere.

“Merlin,” Draco says, nearly jumping out of his skin. “Where did you even come from?”

Her cheeks redden slightly, and he looks at the cloak in her hands.

“What is that?” he asks in wonder.

“Invisibility cloak.” She says. “It’s not mine. I… borrowed it.”

Draco’s lips quirk. “Okay. What are we doing in the restricted section in the middle of a Friday night?”

“I think it’s technically Saturday already.” Granger says. “We are doing research.”

“On?”

“Horocruxes.” She says, beginning to look through the books.

Draco frowns.

“What is that?” He asks.

“I’m not exactly sure.” She flashes a smile. “That’s why we’re doing research.”

Draco wants to ask more questions, but he knows better. Granger’s helped him no questions asked several times, and it’s only fair that he does the same.

As the night progresses, he’s getting more and more anxious because the only places he’s finding anything about Horocruxes are in books about extremely Dark Magic and Necromancy, and he’s not sure this is something he wants to mess with.

“Why are we doing this, again?” he asks. It’s almost three in the morning, and he’s sprawled on his front with several books open in front of him.

“Well.” Granger begins, and Draco senses she’s going to answer his question, so he rests himself on his elbows and looks at her. “Voldemort made Horocruxes.”

He really wishes he hadn’t asked.

“So he’s immortal.” He says.

“Something like, I think.” Granger says. “The books seem to think so.”

Well, shit. He really wishes he hadn’t asked that either.

“Have you found how to destroy them?” She asks, frowning down at the book she’s reading.

“It says here that the container it’s in has to be destroyed beyond Magical repair.” Draco says, rubbing at his eyes tiredly. “I don’t even know how to do that. There’re very few things beyond magical repair.”

Granger hums thoughtfully.

“Hey Draco,” She says hastily. Draco hums. “Can you not tell Harry or Ron about this?”

Draco’d figured as much, if he’s honest. She’d asked him instead of them, so it hadn’t taken a lot of thinking to figure out that was the reason.

“It’s just – Harry doesn’t want anyone to know about this, and Ron doesn’t want to involve you, so.” She waves a hand, blushing.

Draco smiles lightly. “Don’t worry. There’re plenty of things I don’t want them to know, either.”

She smiles relieved.

There’s a loud bang, and they both shoot to their feet.

“This is ridiculous!” Snape doesn’t raise his voice, but it’s evident he’s seething. “The Dark Lord cannot come to Hogwarts.”

Draco and Hermione look at each other alarmed, and Draco begins to put the books back in their place with magic. Hermione does, too, and when they’re done, they both slip under the invisibility cloak.

“Then you’ll have to find a way to bring the boy to the Manor, Severus.” Says another voice. Draco doesn’t recognize it. “Both Potter and my son.”

Draco’s mind starts racing.

“He doesn’t know he’s your son, Lucius.” Snape answer. Draco’s eyes widen. Lucius Malfoy? “And I cannot simply kidnap two students in the middle of the school year.”

“The Dark Lord is getting impatient.” Lucius Malfoy answers. The voices are getting closer, and soon Snape comes into view. He’s holding a small mirror, looking into it, and Draco can only guess Lucius Malfoy is in the other side. “He needs to kill Potter before he gets stronger.” Hermione makes a small noise, and Draco slaps a hand over her mouth. Snape’s head snaps towards them, and Draco holds his breath. “You’ve said he’s powerful, have you not?”

“Potter?” Snape asks after a beat, looking back at the mirror. “Yes. Very.”

“More than the Dark Lord?”

Snape is quiet. “I have not seen him since he came back. He might be.”

It’s Draco who makes a small noise now, a sort of sigh of relief, and Hermione covers his mouth the way he is covering hers.

Malfoy is silent.

“And my son?” he asks at last.

“What about him?” Snape speaks reluctantly, and Draco frowns. This must be the same person that is Snape’s godson, because who else is Snape friends with? Though, to be honest Draco didn’t think Snape had any friends, so maybe he’s wrong. Also, Snape and Malfoy might not be friends, they could just be death eater buddies. Is that a thing? Draco isn’t sure.

“Does he still look just like his mother?” Malfoy asks. “How is he? Is he powerful?”

“More than he realizes.” Snape says solemnly. He doesn’t answer the other questions.

“Do you think he’ll see the reason in our cause?”

Snape is quiet for a long, long time.

“He might need time to do so.” He says. “He was raised by blood traitors.”

Draco sees Hermione’s eyes widen, and he gives her a questioning look. She shakes her head very quickly.

“He won’t have time,” Lucius says harshly. “He’ll do what’s expected of him.”

“He’s a child.” Snape says.

“He’s old enough.” Lucius snaps.

Snape doesn’t respond.

“When does the Dark Lord plan to kill Potter?” he asks finally.

“We need to plan further, but soon. Before the school year is over.”

Snape nods. There’s a loud meow that Draco recognizes as Mrs. Norris’s, and Snape looks back and purses his lips.

“I can’t keep talking. We’ll speak tomorrow.” And, with a swirl of his cloak, leaves.

They stay still and silent while Mrs. Norris walks past, followed by Filch, muttering angrily.

After they leave, Hermione carefully uncovers his mouth, so he does the same. They get out of the library quickly, and when they arrive at the Gryffindor common room, Hermione throws the cloak off.

“Oh my god,” She whispers. “Oh my god!”

“I know!” Draco whispers loudly. “Merlin! Snape is a death eater?! I mean, I knew he was a bastard, but not that kind of bastard!”

“He was speaking to Lucius Malfoy! About Voldemort, coming to Hogwarts, oh my god!”

They continue quietly freaking out until they both run out of breath.

“What do we do now?” Hermione asks.

“I need to go back to my dorm.” He says reluctantly. “Sprout will murder me if she realizes I’m not there.”

“It’s almost sunrise.” Hermione says. “Don’t you want to stay? I don’t want you to go back alone.”

Draco’d rather Sprout not find out, but odds are she already did, and, if he’s quite honest, he doesn’t want to walk back alone either. The talk Snape was having with Malfoy freaked him out more than he cares to admit.

“Okay,” he says. “Yeah, okay.”

She points him to Ron’s room, and he slips inside soundlessly. It’s very dark and he can’t see much, but he sees what he guesses is his brother’s bed, since it has several Weasley jumpers half in, half out of the trunk.

He slips inside the shut drapes, and it’s even darker then, but he manages to move Ron’s limbs to make space from himself. Ron makes a little grunt and Draco snuggles into the mattress, taking the blankets and wrapping them around himself, and, finally feeling safe, he falls asleep.

He wakes sometime later and blinks blearily. There’s a small sound of surprise beside him as he begins to stretch.

“Sorry.” He says. “I had a nightmare and I-” He turns back to look at Ron, only it isn’t Ron and he’s staring straight into the gorgeously green eyes of one Harry fucking Potter.

In a very controlled reaction, he screams and falls off the bed.

Potter scrambles for his glasses, and several noises come from the other beds, apparently awoken by Draco’s screaming.

Potter?” he asks. He’s fallen right on his arse and it hurts, but he can’t fucking think past the fact that he just woke up in Harry Potter’s bed.

“What’s happening?” Ron grumbles as he opens his drapes. He raises his eyebrows at Draco lying on the floor. He looks up at the bed, where Potter’s still staring at Draco with wide eyes, and then back at Draco. His eyes narrow. “Were you just sleeping in Harry’s bed?” he glares at Potter. “Did you just have my baby brother in your bed?!”

Draco scrambles to his feet as the rest of the boys begin to wake up. His face is absolutely burning, and he needs to get out now.

“I – you – he-” Draco doesn’t even know what to say. “I thought he was you!”

“What?” Ron asks.

“I – yesterday-” how can he even explain that? He wasn’t supposed to be here in the first place, and he couldn’t tell them about Hermione. “I had a nightmare, I was looking for you!”

It’s been quite a while since he’s woken up screaming, but it used to happen very often when they were younger, though he usually sneaked into Bill’s bed.

Ron frowns and makes him sit on his bed.

“Was it bad?” he asks.

Shit.

“No, I – I mean, yes, of course, I just – I need to go.”

And he practically flies out of the room as quickly as he can.

He flees to the safety of his bed, and only gets up when he has to shower to meet Ginny in Hogsmeade. He dresses in a warm jumper and muggle denims and meets her in front of Honeydukes.

“Hullo.” She smiles.

“Hi.” He says. “Fancy some Fortescue’s?”

Ginny nods, and they walk to the ice cream parlor.

“Have you heard?” The witch behind them in the line asks the wizard she’s with. “They say You-Know-Who might be back.”

“There’s no way.” The wizard says. They’re both kind of old, and they’re wearing dark dress robes. “He’s dead. That Potter kid killed him.”

“The death eaters escaped.” The witch says. “They were always loyal. And that Potter kid was a baby, we don’t know what happened.”

"Good morning and Welcome to Florean Fortescue's," Says Florean Fortescue with a smile. Draco appreciates that he's always cheery. "What can I get you?"

“I want Unicorn Marshmallow, please.” Ginny says.

“And I want Gold Cloud Cinnamon spice.” Draco says.

He serves them both, and they pay and leave.

There aren’t a lot of people in the street – no one wants to be outside with everything that’s been happening; there’ve been several death eater attacks since they escaped back in September, and people haven’t been feeling safe – and the ones that are outside are talking about the death eaters or Voldemort.

“Merlin, the mood here has sure gone downhill.” Ginny mutters. She forces herself to smile brightly. “How’ve you been? What’s been going on with Harry?”

Draco blushes brightly and grins. “He’s amazing, Gin. And because of the Patronus thing, we’ve been spending so much time together and he actually told me we’re friends, but I might’ve completely ruined it today—”

They’re walking past a narrow alley when a house elf runs between them, pressing a small coin to Draco’s hand. Everything spins around him, and the next thing he knows he’s rolling down the steps of an alley, landing flat on his arse.

Everything hurts and Draco can feel blood run down his temple and from his chin. He groans and pushes himself up, stumbling out of the way as several people rush by. This isn’t like Hogsmeade, this is full of people rushing by, and as he looks around, he realizes he doesn’t recognize where he is.

He looks around to try to find the alley where he came from, and he steels, heart beating in his ears, as he sees someone staring at him from across the street. The woman is tall, and she’s looking at Draco like it hurts her to do so.

She comes closer, and Draco can’t bring himself to move. She’s wearing black robes and a black hooded cloak, and when she pulls back the hood she’s blonde and looking at him with tear-filled, icy blue eyes.

“Hello, Draco.” She says softly. “My name’s Narcissa.”

Chapter Text

Draco doesn’t really know what to say. He’d introduce himself, but the woman seems to already know his name, so he doesn’t.

He looks around him, trying to determine where he is, but his mind comes up blank; he’s never seen this place before.

The woman’s pale blonde hair is pulled back in a low pony tail, hair long and wavy like Draco’s is, and her face is covered in freckles. Draco’s freckles only come out when he’s been in the sun for a long time, and since he lives in Britain that doesn’t happen often.

“Join me for a walk?” She asks, offering him her arm.

It doesn’t really seem like he has a choice – he doesn’t know where he is, he doesn’t know how to get back, and he’s listening to everyone around him and doesn’t understand the language – so he merely begins walking when she does, though he refuses to take her arm.

“You’ve grown a lot since I last saw you.” She says conversationally, dropping her arm to her side.

He doesn’t respond. He doesn’t know when that is; he doesn’t think he’s ever seen her before in his life, though she does seem awfully familiar.

“You must have a few questions.”

He does, but again, he doesn’t respond. She gives him a curious look, like she can’t quite figure him out, and he looks away quickly.

“I’m not going to hurt you.” She says.

“Where are we?” he asks carefully.

“Granada.” She says. “Spain.”

Spain? Spain? Draco’s head spins. He was just in Hogsmeade, how the hell did he end up in Spain?

“Spain.” He repeats.

“Yes,” the woman – Narcissa, she said – smiles faintly. “I needed to get you alone.”

Draco doesn’t know how to apparate, but he’s two more creepy sentences away from trying.

“Is there a particular reason for that?” He asks.

“Yes. I needed to speak to you.” She says. “It’s hard to do that when you’re hardly ever alone. I’m glad you have so many friends.”

“How do you know that?” Draco asks, frowning.

“I’ve been watching you.” She says. She looks at the café they’re walking past and clicks her tongue. “This café is good. I haven’t had lunch, have you?”

“You’ve been watching me?” Draco asks.

They walk into the café and a waitress gives them a table for two. Narcissa orders whatever the hell a Capuccino is, and Draco stays quiet. Still, the waitress brings him a few bandage-like-sticky-things. She speaks in Spanish, so Draco doesn’t understand, but she places one across his chin and another one on his temple. She must be a muggle, because she doesn’t heal him, just sticks them to his skin.

Then, Narcissa orders food, and the waitress leaves again.

“Why did you bring me here?” he asks.

“The food here is just amazing.” Narcissa says. “You must try it, darling.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

Narcissa stays quiet for a moment, and then she sighs, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.

“There are a few things you need to know.” She says. “About who you are, and where you come from. More importantly, about why I left you.”

Draco doesn’t respond, mainly because he has no idea what she’s talking about.

“My name’s Narcissa Black.” She says. “I was married to Lucius Malfoy. You’re our son.”

“You’re lying,” he says immediately.

She has to be. His family – his mum, Ron, Ginny – they wouldn’t lie to him like this. Maybe about being adopted, sure, but not about being a Malfoy. At least not with everything that’s been happening.

“Before the first wizarding War, Lucius and I were happy. My sister Bellatrix married Rodolphus Lestrange, and he began to get mixed up with the Death Eaters. I thought… I thought it’d be fine, it’d be temporary, but it wasn’t.” Her lips purse unhappily. “Voldemort gained power, and your father only got more and more caught up in it. The first war broke out, and he became Voldemort’s right hand man.”

The waitress arrives with their food – Narcissa ordered him something, apparently, because the waitress places a plate full of food in front of him – and Narcissa smiles and thanks her.

“He’s a weak man, your father. I loved him with all my heart, but even then, I knew. He doesn’t lack magical power, no, but he does lack willpower, he lacks a spine.” She huffs angrily. “And then it was over, and he was sent to Azkaban. Even then, I loved him. After a few marital visits,” her cheeks darken slightly. “I got pregnant with you. And I still loved him, but darling, I love you more. I knew how you’d end up if I let him raise you. I knew the position he’d put you in. I couldn’t let that happen.”

Her face is hard, and Draco somehow knows, this is not a woman that can be messed with. She reminds him of Ginny, and Pansy, and Hermione; fierce, decisive, deadly when they have to be.

“Then, you were born and you were tiny, and an hour old and already what I loved most in the world.” Her eyes are watery, and she blinks quickly. “I didn’t want to give you up. The plan was to leave you at St. Mungo’s, just leave. That was it. I wasn’t even supposed to look at you, but…” She wipes at her eyes quickly. “I couldn’t. I had to hold you. And I did, and you were perfect, you are, Draco darling, you are.”

She reaches through the table and cups his cheek, and Draco pulls away. Her face pinches, pained, but she drops her hand.

“And I was already planning to leave the country, I thought I’d just take you with me, and on the way out – on the way out, I ran into Molly Weasley, she was there with her youngest for a checkup and I knew – I knew that she was perfect. She’d love you, no matter who you were, no matter where you came from and I knew that was my chance. I had to do it, otherwise I’d never let you go, and I couldn’t take you away from the Wizarding World, not when I loved it so much. I couldn’t make you live a life that wasn’t yours. So – so I asked her to hold you while I went to the bathroom and I left.” She swallows thickly. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I’ve been living in different parts of the world and I always kept up with you, darling, even if it would’ve been safer not to. I needed to know what was going on with you.”

A somewhat airy smile reaches her face.

Draco thinks it’s total hippogriff shit. In his experience, being one foot in and one foot out in any kind of situation never ends well. It’s either in or out, especially with people. Anything in the middle lands him in a mess and leaves him with a bad taste of mouth.

“I saw you once, actually.” She says. “We met in France. Molly took you to meet me, with your siblings.” And he thinks that may sound familiar. His mum had introduced him to her once, he thinks, said she was his aunt, where he got his blond hair from. “We stayed for a few days in a hotel, and you told me you loved Puffskeins.”

Realization dawns.

“It was you!” he says. “I’ve been getting Puffskeins for my birthday every year since I was a child!”

She smiles lightly. “I know. It was repetitive, but it was the only think I knew about you. It was the only thing I knew you’d like.”

Draco needs her to slow down a bit, to stop shoving information down his throat. He needs a bit of time to process, to think about this and figure out what he thinks about it.

He’s hurt that his parents never told him, and he wonders if it matters to them. If they wanted him at all in the first place. Did they want to keep him? Did someone in the ministry force them to take him in because he’s the child of a former death eaters?

And what about his siblings? Do they know? Bill and Charlie must know, they were old enough to remember that their mum was never pregnant after Ginny, but everyone else? Do they love him less for it, think him different?

“And I’ve wondered so many times if I made the right choice, and I know I did.” She says. “It hurts me so much, but I know I did. The Weasleys, they are your family, and they love you as such. They gave you a life I couldn’t.”

And Draco realizes she’s right. It doesn’t matter why they kept him. It doesn’t matter if they’re his blood, he knows them; he loves them, and he’d do anything for them, and they would for him, too.

“They’re my family.” He says. His throat hurts, and his eyes prickle, but he won’t cry, not for this. The Weasleys; Ron, Ginny, Fred and George – they’re his family. It doesn’t matter that they’re not blood, they’re all Draco knows, they’re all he wants to know. He doesn’t know what could’ve been with his birth parents; it couldn’t have possibly been any better than what he has right now; His family loves him, and Draco loves them back, and he knows with unwavering certainty that he’ll die for them before he does a god damned thing for Lucius Malfoy.

“I know,” her smile is sad. “I know they are. And don’t let anyone tell you they’re not; your father, the death eaters, Voldemort – they’ll try to turn it around, convince you they don’t love you, that you’re better off with them, and darling, you need to remember you’re not. The Weasleys love you with every bone in their body, and no matter what they say, no matter what it sounds like, the death eaters are not looking out for you. Don’t go down the path your father did, it’s not worth it.”

“I don’t think they’ll be interested in me.” He says. And he’d never.

Narcissa gives him a look that he can’t quite decipher.

“Your father thinks I’m dead.” She continues. “The Dark Lord – he has Horocruxes. I found three – a diary, a ring, and a locket. Regulus helped me, and he left a list of the rest of them. They’re in what was going to be your nursery.”

How the hell is he supposed to find that?

She looks around carefully, and Draco can see two wizards whispering quickly. She purses her lips and stands up, so Draco does, too. She throws several bills on the table and walks quickly out of the café. The two wizards follow them.

“We don’t have a lot of time, love.” She says. “Do you remember, there’s a nursery song you used to love? About the Magpies.”

Draco has no idea what she’s talking about, but before he can say so, she quickens their step, nearly making him stumble.

“You need to remember.” She tells him. “One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy.”

The wizards – Draco suspects they’re Spanish Aurors – yell something after them, but Narcissa merely quickens her pace.

“Five for silver, six for gold,” she continues. “Seven for a secret never be told.”

The thick crowds let them lose the aurors every few seconds, but they never stay away for long.

“Eight for a wish, nine for a kiss, ten a surprise you should not miss,” she’s sounding more and more panicked by the moment, and her grip on his arm is tightening, but he doesn’t know what’s going on, how to help. “Eleven for health, twelve for wealth, thirteen beware it’s the devil himself.”

And now they’re running, and Draco twists around to see that the Aurors are running after them, trying to get through the crowd. It slows them down, but it also slows Draco and Narcissa down, so it doesn’t help much.

“You can find the ones in the manor. You need to.” She says over the nose. “You’re the only one who can figure it out, Draco.”

“How am I supposed to-” he begins, but she interrupts him by pulling him into a narrow alley. She kisses his forehead quickly.

“They’ll figure it out.” she says. “They’ll know I stole them, and they’ll know you’re the only possible key. They’ll want you to join their side, and if you don’t, they’ll want to force you.”

She gives him a hard look.

“Whatever it is – whatever they do, you must not let them win. I’ll teach you how to – I’ll teach you everything you need, but you must promise me, Draco.”

Draco’s so confused he merely nods. Narcissa seems to need verbal confirmation, because she gives him a pressing glare until he answers.

“I promise.” He says.

She nods tightly. “Remember, everything begins after the sun.”

“What are you even talking about?” he asks.

She doesn’t seem to care about answering his question. She pushes him further down the alley, and wraps him in a tight hug, kisses his temple.

“I love you, Draco.” She says. “I love you, you must remember that.”

“I-” he starts.

She shakes her head quickly and takes a step back.

“You’ll have your memories when you need them, baby.” She whispers. “But I can’t let you know this. Not yet.”

And before he can do anything, her wand’s against his temple, and everything goes black.

Chapter Text

“You know something we don’t, don’t you?” Ginny’s the first to say it, but they’re all thinking it.

Ron looks up tiredly from where he’s sitting. Him, Ginny, Fred, and George are all sitting in the cramped hospital room they’ve put Draco in, while their parents are pacing around.

Bill and Fleur have just stepped out to eat something, Charlie’s on his way back from Romania, and Percy stopped by earlier, but left quickly, presumably caught up with something from the ministry.

“I don’t know what you mean,” Their mother says softly, but Ginny’s having none of it. She’s been furious ever since she lost Draco on their visit to Hogsmeade, and Ron knows she’ll relax – they all will – the moment Draco’s alright, but as of right then, they’ve been in St. Mungo’s for over four hours, and he still hasn’t woken up.

“You do know.” She says. “It’s the reason for all of this, the letter from Malfoy, why he disappeared, we’ve been wondering why, and you’ve known all along!”

“Ginny-” their father begins, but then he cuts himself off with a sigh. “Molly, we were going to have to tell them sooner or later. We knew that all along.”

“It wasn’t supposed to come to this,” Their mum hisses angrily. “It wasn’t supposed to-”

“What’s going on?” Fred asks, and their mother sighs and pinches her nose.

“Your brother…” Molly sighs. “Draco’s adopted.”

No one says anything for a moment.

“And?” George demands.

And?” Molly asks.

“Well, we knew that.” Fred says.

“You knew?” Ron asks. Ginny remains quiet.

“You didn’t?” Fred asks. “We figured it out ages ago!”

“How?” Ron asks.

“When we were seven, mom took us to France to see some ‘aunt’.” George says. “You were five, Gin was four and Draco was three.”

“She payed for us to stay in a huge hotel room.” Fred says. “We spent most of the trip there, she mostly wanted to see Draco.”

“She didn’t tell him either, but she talked to mum about it. We listened in.” George says.

“You’ve known since you were seven?” Molly asks. “You never said anything!”

“Well, what were we going to say?” Fred asks. “He’s our brother anyhow. It doesn’t change anything.”

“I knew, too.” Ginny confesses.

“What?” Ron asks. “When? How?”

“At the beginning of this year. The death eaters escaped and Professor Lupin showed us a picture of them. Slick back his hair, give him a nastier sneer, and roughen him up a bit and Draco looks exactly like Lucius Malfoy did in his mugshot.”

“Lucius Malfoy?” Fred asks. “What does Lucius Malfoy have anything to…”

He trails off.

It clicks for him at the same time it does for the Ron and George.

“No,” He says, uncertainly.

“He’s a Malfoy?” Ron asks.

“He’s a Weasley.” Molly says fiercely. “He’s ours, and he’ll always be, no matter what he was born as.”

“Mom,” Bill cuts her off gently. They all turn towards the door, where Fleur and him are standing. Ron hadn’t noticed they’d come back. “You and dad go eat something, okay? Draco probably won’t wake for another few hours. Fleur and I will stay here.”

Molly sighs defeatedly, but nods, and they make their way out quietly.

“This doesn’t change anything.” Ginny tells them fiercely.

Fred and George give her a look and a scoff.

“As if anything could.” They say.

“And we don’t tell him.” Ron says.

He knows his brother – and he is his brother, blood or not – and he knows he’d feel lied to. And he doesn’t want him to think, even for a moment, that this could change their opinion of him, or that they don't love him.

“Obviously.” The others agree.

“You know he’s going to find out at some point, right?” Bill asks. “I agree right now is not the best moment, but… maybe it’d be better if it came from us.”

They’re quiet for a few minutes before there’s a groan from the bed, and they all look down at Draco, blinking at them blearily.

“Draco!” Ginny exclaims, jumping on him to hug him.

He groans again, and Ron pulls her off quickly. Fleur goes to call for a Healer.

“Are you okay?” he asks. “Where have you been? Does anything hurt?”

“Hey, little bro.” Fred grins. “Gave us right a scare when you disappeared.”

Healer Clearwater comes into the room along with a Mediwitch before Draco answers, and she ushers them away while she waves her wand with various muttered spells and takes Draco’s vitals.

“Hello, Mr. Weasley.” She says gently. “You’re in St. Mungo’s. Can you tell me who’s the minister right now?”

“I don’t-” Draco begins, sounding pained. He shudders, and something like a sob escapes his mouth. “My head hurts so much. I can’t – make it go away, please.”

The healer frowns, and she mutters four spells, two of which Ron recognizes as healing spells.

“What’s happening?” Ginny asks, frowning worriedly. “What’s wrong?”

“You’re going to have to get out. All but one guardian.” The healer says, and the Mediwitch ushers them all out except Bill, and then slams the door closed in their faces despite their protests.

They all take seats in the waiting room, except for Fleur, who keeps pacing around worriedly, and normally Ron’d be annoyed that she’s making him even more nervous – because since when does she care about any of them anyway? – but he can’t think past the knot of anxiety and fear settled at the pit of his stomach.

Their parents come back with chocolate bars after a few minutes, and their mom switches places with Bill, who begins pacing around with Fleur.

It’s almost an hour and a half before the healer and the Mediwitch come out and tell them they can come in.

“Merlin, you scared us!” Ron says when he sees his brother.

Draco grimaces and whimpers, then burrows deeper into the pillow.

“His head still hurts.” Their mom whispers. “Low voices, please.”

They all sit around him – except for Ginny, who gets into the hospital bed with him and grips his hand tightly – but stay quiet.

The healer pokes her head through the door and gestures their mom outside, but they all follow except for Ginny, who stays with Draco. 

“There’s sign of great psychological strain.” She says. “How long did you say he’s been gone?”

“Three days.” Fred answers immediately.

The healer’s lips tighten. “Well, they’re signs we generally see in people who are being trained in Occlumency or Legilimency too quickly. It’s a process that should take its time. Do you know if he was learning that, or who could’ve been teaching it to him?”

They all shake their heads. From what Ron knows, to be able to do it they must run in the family, and they’re abilities that the Weasleys don’t have. The Malfoy’s, on the other hand…

“Also, from the questions he managed to answer and a few diagnostic spells I ran, there’s a strong memory charm in place.” The healer continues.

“So, what, he doesn’t remember us?” Bill asks, and Ron stops breathing, feeling everyone tense around him.

He can’t. He has to remember them, they’re his family! Ron could never forget them, any of them, and he knows Draco couldn’t either.

The healer stays quiet for a bit, and then takes a deep breath. “I can’t quite figure out the extent of it until he’s up for answering more questions, but from what I gather he doesn’t remember anything of the time he was gone.”

“And what could’ve caused that?” Their mom asks anxiously.

“Is there any way to get the memories back?” George asks.

“Nothing except for another wizard or witch.” The healer says, answering their mom’s question first. “A very experienced one, at that. They seem to have deleted most of his memories from the past three days except for a few ones they’ve selected. It’s complicated enough to delete determined amounts of time from people’s memories, it’s even more to delete determined memories.” She pauses. “And, frankly, I don’t know if there’s a way to get them back. With usual memory charms, sure, when they’re removed.”

“By the caster.” Bill says.

Healer Clearwater nods.

“And the good news?” Fleur asks anxiously.

She gives them a light smile. “I do think he remembers you. He could answer all your names, and your parents’ names. There might be a few things missing, but he knows who you are.”

Better than nothing, Ron guesses.

McGonagall comes half an hour later to floo him and Ginny back to Hogwarts, and though he doesn’t want to, he goes with her as soon as she arrives. He needs to get away from the tense atmosphere, Fleur and Bill still pacing like crazy, Draco still in pain, no one sure what to say or what to do.

The be back in Hogwarts, is, in a certain sense, a relief. When he enters the common room, Hermione and Harry look up.

“How’d it go?” Hermione asks anxiously.

“Is he okay?” Harry asks. Then, “Are you okay?”

Ron drops down on the couch and gives half a shrug. He thinks he should feel better than he does; he just got his brother back, and he’s not wondering if he’s dead in a ditch somewhere anymore, it’s just… somehow, he’s still worried that something’s going to happened, that something already did and he didn’t do anything to stop it.

“He woke up a few hours ago.” He says. “But his head hurt. The healers didn’t manage to take all of the pain away, but enough for him to fall asleep.”

He’d talked in his sleep all the time, half delirious; muttering about magpies and various words in what Ron thinks ought to be Spanish, even mentioned Harry’s name once or twice.

“Merlin,” Hermione mutters anxiously. She’s more worried than he thought she’d be – Harry, too, he’s been worried and anxious since it happened – and though he knows it’s completely ridiculous, he feels a little bit jealous.

He’s getting more and more worried that his feelings for her aren’t going away; instead, they’re increasing, and he doesn’t know how he didn’t realize it before. She’s a know-it-all and pestering at times, but she cares about everything she gets involved in, she’s passionate about her beliefs, she’s everything he’s ever going to want.

And it fucking terrifies him.

And now, with everything that’s been happening – since Draco disappeared from Hogsmeade and the rumor spread that it had been Death Eaters, people won’t come out of their house. Muggle attacks and wizard disappearances increased dramatically, and the Ministry’s not doing anything about it but denying it, and Harry’s nightmares, or visions, or whatever it is they are, have only been getting worse – he can’t seem to find the right moment to say anything like ‘Hey, I think I might be in love with you’.

“Ron!”

“What?” he asks.

Harry frowns worriedly. “I said you should get some sleep, you look exhausted.”

He is, if he’s honest, but he doesn’t think he can go to sleep yet, not with everything that’s on his mind.

“Yeah,” he says, distracted. “Maybe in a bit.”

Hermione frowns and rests her elbows on her knees.

“Whatever is bothering you, you can tell us.” She says gently.

Ron takes a deep breath.

“Draco’s adopted.” He blurts out.

A beat of silence.

“What?” Harry asks.

“Mum told us while we were in the hospital.” He says. “Apparently – his birth father is Lucius Malfoy.”

What?!” Harry asks.

“I know.” He rubs a hand over his face tiredly. After a beat of silence, he looks at Hermione. “You’re oddly quiet.”

She looks at him before she looks away quickly.

“I, uh.” She seems to steady herself for a moment. “I knew.”

“You knew?” Both Harry and Ron ask.

“How?” he demands.

Hermione closes her book nervously, and she bounces her foot.

“Well…” She hesitates, but finally takes a deep breath and begins talking. “Muggles have done studies on genetics. It’s science, and – well, it helps when you’re going to have a baby. You can calculate odds of them having a certain eye color, or hair color, or other traits. I saw it in school, before Hogwarts, and then we met, and, uh… it’d be impossible for him to be blond if he was born from two red-headed parents who also had two red-headed parents.”

“You knew since you met him?” Ron asks. “We were eleven!”

“I didn’t know about the Malfoy part before!” she defends. “I figured it out just before he disappeared-”

“You knew that?” Ron demands. “Why wouldn’t you tell me?”

“Ron, I figured it wasn’t my place.” She says, looking away and brushing her hair away from her face. “I didn’t-”

“He was missing, and you knew of someone that had reasons to take him and you didn’t think it was important to tell me?!” He asks. He’s furious, the anger coiling inside his chest like a snake, hot, and tight, and hurting.

“It wouldn’t have changed anything!” She defends. “Your parents probably told the Aurors and if I’d told you I’d have just upset you-”

“Unlike now?” he asks.

“Ron,” Harry begins hastily, but he stands up.

“No, I just-” He needs to sleep. And eat something that isn’t horrible hospital food. And to see his brother out of the hospital, and for this whole damn thing to be over. “Bloody hell, I just need to be alone for a bit, yeah? I’ll – I’m sorry.”

And he disappears up the stairs towards their dorm.

Chapter Text

Draco wakes with a groan when someone hits him in the face with a pillow.

“Wake up, you bastard,” Blaise’s wicked grin is the first thing he sees. “Nice dream, I take it?”

Draco’s cheeks burn as he sits up, color deepening further at the parts of the dream he remembers.

“Shut up.” He says, pulling the covers up to his waist.

“You were moaning Potter’s name real pretty.” Pansy teases. “Breathy and whiny, sort of like Harry, Harry, Harry-

“I do not sound like that-” Draco interrupts, blush intensifying and spreading down his neck and shoulders.

“Morning, Potter.” Blaise says smoothly.

Pansy and Draco turn to the door, horrified, to see Harry, Hermione, and Ron standing by the doorway. Hermione looks amused, Ron looks horrified, and Potter’s scratching at the back of his neck awkwardly, cheeks red.

“Uh, hey.” Harry says awkwardly.

Draco wishes the hospital bed would swallow him.

Or he wishes McGonagall hadn’t considered that, since it was Saturday, his friends deserved a chance to stop by the hospital.

“Potter,” Pansy greets coolly, despite the rising color on her cheeks. “How’s your weekend been?”

“Err, fine.” Harry says uncertainly. Then he addresses Draco. “I wanted to see how you were doing. We. We wanted to see how you were doing.”

“I’m fine.” Draco’s voice comes out higher-pitched than he’d like. He clears his throat. “Fine. I feel fine.”

He does not feel fine. He’s mortified beyond belief, and he wishes he were anywhere else in the world.

Medically though, the headaches – blinding, with how much they hurt, rendering him incapable of doing anything, even speaking – are mostly gone; they’re only back whenever he tries to think about the past three days, of which he remembers nothing of.

The Aurors think he’s lying, he knows, even with the Healer’s diagnostic spells of a memory charm. He wishes he were. Then, at least, he’d remember where he was.

“I’m glad,” Harry says sincerely. “Do you know when you’re coming back to Hogwarts?”

“Tomorrow, if the Healers stick to their word,” he says.

He’s itching for it, if he’s honest. Hogwarts, even with people looking and treating him oddly – and they will – is still better than being stuck in the tiny hospital room with only his mum and Charlie for company.

And don’t get him wrong, he loves his mum, he loves Charlie, but when they’re worried about him they’re absolutely suffocating.

“They better.” Pansy says. “It’s been odd, Defense without you.”

“Yeah, she hasn’t got anyone to pester now.” Blaise says empathetically.

Pansy flips him off.

“We have to go now.” Hermione says. “We’re doing some research. We’ll wait outside, Harry.”

And then she shoves Harry forward and drags a protesting Ron out of the room.

“Err,” Harry says. His cheeks darken under his tanned skin. “If you’re up for it, we could continue working on your Patronus when you come back.”

“Yeah. Yes, I’d like that.” Draco says, smiling.

Harry smiles. “Good. I’ll, uh, see you.”

And he leaves.

When Draco stops looking at the door, closing behind him, he notices that Blaise and Pansy are wearing identical unbelieving looks.

“What?” he asks.

“He’s so into you!” Pansy says.

“What?” Draco asks. “No!”

“Yes!” Blaise says. “Really, what was that even about?”

“He’s not into me! he’s teaching me how to do a Patronus.” Draco defends.

Pansy’s still smiling, and she shakes her head. “He so is! How can you even be this blind?”

“I’m not! And he’s not into me! And even if he were, I think everyone’s a bit preoccupied with bloody death eaters to focus on having a relationship with me!”

“All we’re saying is you like him, and he likes you, so you could go for it!” Pansy says. Before Draco can argue, she continues. “Anyway that’s not the most pressing matter right now. I was waiting for them to leave to tell you guys this. I asked my parents about the Malfoys.”

“And?” Blaise asks. “Did they know anything?”

“Yes.” Pansy says. “Nothing they wanted to tell me, though, so I did my own research.” She takes out various books from the bag she’s carrying. They’re all about Pureblood Lineages and the Sacred Twenty-Eight. “We know about Lucius Malfoy, right?” She opens one of them to the Malfoy line, and then opens another one to the Black line. “His wife was named Narcissa.” She points at the name on the Black line. “She’s a Black, and her sisters are-”

“Bellatrix Lestrange,” Blaise says, looking at the book. He shudders. “I’ve never met her, but she scares the bloody soul out of me.”

“I think she does out of everyone.” Draco points out.

“And Andromeda Tonks, but she’s not important right now.” Pansy continues as if they hadn’t spoken. “Guess who her cousins are.”

Draco moves closer to Blaise to have a look at the book, and his mouth drops.

Sirius Black?” He asks. “Harry’s God-father?”

“Precisely.” Pansy says, wicked gleam in her eyes. She loves knowing things others don’t, and she’s very good at finding out things people don’t want her knowing about. She’d be an outstanding unspeakable, if she ever starts acting out on what she wants and not only on what her parents don’t. “And that’s the only thing. I had to find newspapers from a long, long time ago.” She takes out some newspapers and passes them to them. “Narcissa died sixteen years ago, after Lucius Malfoy was sentenced to Azkaban.”

“And?” Blaise asks.

“You won’t guess how long after.” Pansy says.

“How long?” Draco asks.

“A little over ten months.” Pansy says. “And there’re records,” she takes out medical records with the official St. Mungo’s stamp. “That show-”

“How the hell did you get those?” Blaise asks, awed.

“I think you forget I shop-lift. And this hospital doesn’t have very good security, honestly, I expected more of a challenge.” Pansy says, and she sounds disappointed by it. Shoplifting’s not a very good habit of hers, even if she’s very good at it. Draco’s almost certain it’s entirely to piss off her parents. The Parkinson’s are swimming in money, they could buy her anything she wanted. For her to steal it is insulting. “Anyway, they show that she was admitted to the hospital on June Fifth 1982.” A weird look crosses her face, and she looks at Draco. “The day of your birthday, actually. They say she gave birth to a baby boy…”

She trails off.

“Yes?” Blaise asks.

She looks at Draco and then down at the file. Then at Blaise, then at Draco again, and then at Lucius Malfoy’s mugshot. Her mouth’s half-open.

“What?” Draco asks, frowning.

“And he died.” Pansy finishes, closing all the books and the files with a flick of her wand. She puts them all in her bag again.

“He died?” Blaise asks.

“Yeah. No record of him again. It’s useless. I shouldn’t have even told you about it.” She says quickly. “I’m starving, and the food here is atrocious. You guys stay here, I’ll go get us something to eat, yeah?”

And she doesn’t wait for them to answer before she’s out the door.

“Odd.” Blaise says.

Draco gives a half-shrug, frowning. “Pansy always knows much more than she tells us. She’ll tell us when she makes sense of it.”

“Yeah.” Blaise says. He shakes his head and grabs his own bag. “The professors sent me your school work.”

Draco groans. “I’m in the hospital, can’t I get a break?”

“Unlikely.” Blaise snorts. He looks around cautiously. “Aren’t your parents around?”

“No,” Draco says. “Bill managed to drag them away to breakfast. He promised he’ll stretch it out as much as he can.”

Honestly, as much as he loves his family, it’d been a relief; he needs a break from having them look at him like they’re scared for him.

Plus, in the past week that Draco’s been in the hospital, his siblings have visited every day, and it’s painfully obvious there’s something they’re hiding.

“How much time do you think we have?” Blaise asks.

“An hour, maybe. Hour and a half?” Draco guesses.

Blaise grins wickedly. “Good.”

He takes something tiny out of his pocket, and when he Engorgio’s it, Draco realizes it’s a huge Honeydukes bag full of candy.

Draco’s mouth falls open.

“I knew they had you in strict Hospital food diet,” Blaise says, grinning. “So I thought I’d surprise you.”

“Blaise,” He says vehemently. “I love you.”

Blaise laughs. “Don’t let Potter hear you, he’ll think you’re over him.”

Draco rolls his eyes and grabs the bag from Blaise.

“Shut up.” He says, cheeks warm. He grabs a Chocolate frog and pops it into his mouth, moaning at the taste.

“What do you think Potter’s cock looks like?” Blaise asks curiously, and Draco chokes on his chocolate.

Blaise’s laugh floods the room.

Chapter Text

Monday is Draco’s first day back to classes, and though people are treating him oddly, the weeks pass mostly smoothly.

Hermione and him sneak into the restricted section almost every night of the week – they really are pushing their luck – and even though they’ve learned a lot about Horocruxes, Draco feels more ignorant than ever.

He doesn’t know why they’re researching this, he’s half certain the professors are hiding something from him, and he knows Ron certainly is.

He asked Ginny about it and she sort of waved it away nervously, which makes Draco almost certain that she knows what it is, and he doesn’t understand why they’re not telling him. Ginny’s never hidden anything from him before.

It’s making him increasingly frustrated.

Pansy’s not helping matters; she’s acting even more weirdly than Ron and Harry are, and she’s avoiding him. Well, she’s not avoiding him. Draco knows she’s conducting more research on the Malfoy’s, but every time he tries to talk to her about it she denies it and runs away. She’s included Blaise in her search, and Draco doesn’t know what they know but they’re both acting terribly odd.

Even Hermione seems to be hiding things from him – whenever he tries to ask her about why exactly they’re researching Horocruxes, she sort of clamps up and tries to change the subject. She’s an acceptable liar, but only as long as long as she has the lie planned – so he finds himself spending an increasing amount of time alone.

He’s mostly hiding away in the library, but it feels more like rotting away. The three days he was missing are a blank space in his mind, and he knows they’re terribly important, but he doesn’t know why.

Overall, he’s feeling incredibly lonely.

As if that’s still not enough, Draco’s going insane. He’s seen Lucius Malfoy on every single god damn trip to Hogsmeade he’s made since he got back, and he keeps on dreaming of some blonde woman teaching him Occlumency and he knows that’s insane – not to mention impossible, considering there’s no way he knows Occlumency, since it has to be a family trait and the Weasleys don’t carry it, and Lucius Malfoy can not be anywhere near Hogsmeade – but it doesn’t stop, and it’s driving him insane.

“You’re thinking too much.” Harry says.

They’re sitting on the bleachers of the Quidditch Pitch, having just finished a Gryffindor-Hufflepuff match. Since he’s the only person who isn’t acting entirely weird around him, whenever Draco’s not alone, he’s with him.

“One of us has to.” Draco says, taking a bite out of the chocolate bar they’re currently sharing.

They’ve slipped into an easy sort of banter that Draco enjoys. He almost thinks it’s flirting sometimes, right before he shakes his head and chides himself for being dumb enough to think Harry would be interested in him.

“Brat,” Harry says, but there’s a teasing smile on his lips. “I’m serious. You’ve been very quiet lately.”

“I just…” Draco sighs. “I don’t know. Have you ever felt like every single person you know knows something that you don’t?”

“Do you feel that way?” Harry asks, frowning lightly.

Draco nods.

Harry gives him a crooked grin and an easy half-shrug.

“Well, not to worry.” He says. “You know me, and I certainly don’t know anything you don’t.”

Draco snorts and shakes his head, half-shoving Harry’s shoulder before passing him the chocolate bar.

“I’m serious.” He tries to scowl, but he can’t quite manage it with Harry by his side.

Harry’s demeanor softens. He takes a bite out of the chocolate and swallows before he answers.

“Hypothetically, let’s say they do. Why is it bothering you?” He asks. “Everyone knows things we don’t. Just like we know things they don’t.”

“I know,” Draco rubs at his forehead. “I just – I don’t know. I feel like they’re hiding it from me specifically.”

Harry hums. “And if they were?”

Draco looks at him calculatingly.

“Do you know something?” he asks.

Harry looks surprised. “What? No!”

Draco looks at him flatly, and Harry sighs.

“I swear, Draco, I don’t. I just meant that if everyone who loves you is hiding something from you, maybe it’s best that you don’t know.” He says.

“Maybe,” He says. “It feels like they don’t trust me, though. Or like they think I’m too – I don’t know. Young. Dumb, maybe. To know whatever it is that’s bothering them.”

“You’re not dumb.” Harry says softly. “You’re the smartest person I know.”

Draco’s cheeks heat. “Lies. You know Hermione Granger.”

Harry laughs. “Excluding Hermione. Still, you’re very, very far from being dumb.”

Draco smiles reluctantly. “Thank you.”

“Hey, uh.” Harry looks everywhere but at Draco, making him frown. “Do you, err – do you fancy going to Hogsmeade with me? This Saturday? Err, tomorrow?”

Draco forces himself to relax, even as his heart races. It’s a date, the dreamy, half irrational part of his mind whispers. He’s asking you on a date.

Harry’s not, Draco knows. He’ll never see Draco that way.

“Yes, please.” He says anyway, heart aching, knowing it means more to him than it does to Harry. “The castle is suffocating me.”

And, he tells himself ruefully, if I’m alone with you outside of Hogwarts, I can pretend you feel about me the same way I feel about you. Even if it’s just for a little while.

He’s so immersed in that thought that he completely misses the way Harry’s whole face lights up.

“Okay,” He says excitedly. “I’ll, uh, pass by your dorm at Eleven?”

“That sounds great.” Draco says. He yawns.

“You look very tired,” Harry says worriedly. “Have you been sleeping well?”

Draco’s been sleeping the furthest thing from ‘well’ that he can get, but he nods anyway.

“Yeah,” he lies. “Just a few, err, restless nights.”

He’s not sure Harry believes him. “Come on. I’ll walk you to your dorm, and you better get some sleep.”

Draco feels his stomach flutter when Harry grabs his hand and leads him into the castle.

They walk to Draco’s dorm silently, and when they get there, they stop by the door.

“Get some sleep,” Harry says. “And I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“Definitely.” Draco says, then curses himself for sounding so eager. “Err, yes.”

There’s a moment of silence. Right as Draco opens his mouth to say something – what exactly, he isn’t sure of yet – Harry leans in and kisses his forehead, and then promptly flees.

Draco can only blink, heat spreading across his face.

Later, in Remus’s room, Harry’s freaking out.

“Merlin,” He’s saying, while he’s pacing around in Remus’s room. “Merlin. I asked him on a date, Moony! A date! I haven’t even told Ron I like him yet, and I already asked him on a date!”

Remus watches fondly – and very, very amused – as Harry runs his hands through his hair and huffs nervously. Even without knowing it, he’s exactly as James used to be. He’s doing the exact same thing James did after Lily said yes to their first date; it’s like watching it all over again, and it makes Remus’s heart ache longingly.

“That’s good,” He says gently. “What did he say?”

“He said yes!” Harry says, turning to him excitedly. Remus is glad to see him acting like this. With everything that’s been going on, Harry’s been quieter and quieter, and Remus wants him to be happy. He deserves it. Even if it’s the Malfoy kid.

Hell, but Molly would kill me if she even knew I thought of him as a Malfoy, he thinks warily.

“Still, I haven’t told Ron…” Harry’s voice brings him out of his thoughts.

Remus shakes his head lightly. “Harry, forget about Ron for a second, okay? How do you feel about this ‘date’?”

Harry grins goofily and tilts his head to the side.

“Good,” He admits. “Better than I have in a long time.” He chews on his lower lip. “I just – I don’t know. What if I completely mess it up? Should I get him flowers? I don’t want him to think I want to marry him or anything – not that I don’t want to marry him-”

“Okay,” Remus cuts off warily, because Harry’s like his son, and he’s seventeen! The thought of him being married scares the shit out of Remus. “It depends. Is he the kind to like public gestures?”

“Maybe small ones.” Harry says. “Not big ones. I think he’d be very embarrassed.”

Remus hums. “Flowers are a nice gesture. Do you know what kind he likes?”

“I kissed him on the forehead.” Harry says, looking horrified, ignoring Remus's question completely. “Merlin. Merlin. I just ruined this, didn’t I?”

Remus laughs softly. “No, Harry. You didn’t do anything wrong. How did he react?”

“I don’t know.” Harry says, grimacing. “I kind of… ran.”

“Away?” Remus asks, cocking an eyebrow.

“Yes.” Harry says, cheeks reddening. “Some Gryffindor nerve, huh?”

Remus smiles softly. “We’ve all run away from something.”

Harry rolls his eyes. “Not from sixteen year old wizards.”

Remus smiles and hums. “More often than you’d think. Sometimes teenagers are terrifying.”

Or simply a pain to be around. Remus would know; he spends all day around them.

“Remus, what do I do?” Harry asks helplessly.

Remus motions for him to sit next to him.

“Don’t give him flowers.” He says. “Just – be calm, okay? Go on a date with him. Figure out if you like him. Figure out if he likes you. Talk about what you like, get to know him better. Try not to tell him you want to marry him and have babies with him.”

It had been what James had done, and though not completely fatal, it had been disastrous.

“If he makes you happy, let him know so.” Remus continues. “Stay around him. If you find out you like him as much as you think you do, then you ask him in another date. If you find that he makes you happier as a friend, well you know what you want.”

Harry nods, but he still looks uncertain. Remus smiles. “Would you like to floo home to Padfoot?”

Harry nods, relieved, and Remus laughs.

The next morning, in the Hufflepuff dorm – Draco slept better than he has since he disappeared – Draco stresses over outfits and ways to do his hair, even if he knows it’s ridiculous. It’s not a date. Harry probably won’t even notice what Draco wears.

He finally grabs Muggle denims – of all the Muggle things his dad’s brought home, he thinks these are the best ones – and one of the jumpers his mum’s knit him, and tries not to pace around too much in the living room.

Harry shows up at eleven sharp.

They walk to Hogsmeade – Harry’s acting sort of weird, Draco thinks, but he doesn’t mention it – and when they get there, they go to the Three Broomsticks.

“So,” Harry says as they sit. “Are you okay? Everything alright?”

Draco frowns lightly. “Of course, Harry. Are you okay?”

Harry grins nervously.

“Yeah.” He says. “Yeah, of course. I’m with you.”

Draco feels his cheeks heat, and his stomach flutters. He could honestly hit himself with how pathetic he’s being.

“Butterbeers?” Madam Rosmerta asks as she approaches their table.

They both nod, and she accios them over.

“On the house,” She says with a wink. “You boys look like you need it.”

Draco’s not sure that’s a compliment, but he grins lightly and thanks her anyway.

“So,” Harry says, drumming his fingers on the table top.

“So,” Draco repeats slowly.

He’s never had such a hard time finding something to say to Harry. So of course, he does what he does best; he makes a complete fool of himself by opening his big careless mouth.

“I was thinking about the whole Voldemort thing, and whatever, and do you think we could kill him like a muggle? He’s supposed to be powerful and everything, but if he doesn’t know about Muggle things we could just like – hit him in the head with one of those wooden things muggles use for balls? Or poison him? Imagine how embarrassing for him, the supposed ‘most powerful wizard’ of all Britain, dead because he slipped in the shower. Also, do you think his Death eaters have some sort of dress code or something? They’re always matching…” he trails off as he catches the way Harry’s looking at him. His whole demeanor has softened, relaxed, and he’s looking at Draco with something the blond can’t quite make out. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yes,” Harry says, very softly. He smiles. “I don’t think I’ve been better.”

Chapter Text

“I’m done.” Harry snaps, trying to get up.

“No, you’re not.” Snape says calmly, pushing Harry back down into the chair.

The bastard’s been training him on Occlumency – even Remus agreed it was a good idea, which is the only reason Harry’s doing this – and Harry hates it. It’s invasive, uncomfortable, too personal with a person he never wanted to share anything with.

“Empty your mind, Potter.” Snape drawls with a sneer. “Don’t be a Gryffindor. Feelings are useless, letting other people know about them is deadly.”

Harry wants to tell him that it’s bullshit, but he’s too tired to even argue.

“Attempt to block me out.” Snape says.

Harry tries, he really does, but when he feels Snape pushing into his mind he doesn’t even know how to, and his attempts are clumsy and half-arsed at best. Snape flickers through his memories easily, and Harry whips back when he finds one of Draco.

Snape raises an eyebrow, and continues to go through the memories he has of Draco.

“Stop that.” Harry hisses with difficulty. He’s trying to concentrate, but it’s not helping; he can’t stop Snape.

“Make me.” Snape responds easily.

“Don’t-” Harry groans, pained. His head is pounding and he just wants to leave, but-

But Snape’s found the memory of the first time Harry’d realized just how fantastic Draco’s arse is, and he sneers condescendingly.

“How plebeian, Potter,” He says, and Harry snaps.

He pushes Snape out of his mind as hard as he can – it’s not really effective Occlumency, as the point would be for it to be discreet – and the next thing he knows, he’s standing in front of Lucius Malfoy.

“So?” Malfoy asks. He’s fidgeting nervously, and his hands are shaking. “What did you find?”

Snape doesn’t answer immediately. He’s standing on the other side of the room, near the door, and he’s looking at Malfoy not quite disgusted.

“I’ve done every spell I can think of that could help. I haven’t found anything.”

They’re in Lucius Malfoy’s cell in Azkaban, Harry realizes as he looks around.

“They’re there!” Malfoy snaps. “They have to be there! Narcissa-” His lips curl at the name, disgust, and mourning, and longing all the same. “Was a smart woman, but she didn’t know what they were.”

“Then why would she hide them?” Snape asks. “Maybe she threw them away.”

“No. She knew – she had to know they were important.” Malfoy says. He bites his nails nervously. “What about the boy? Draco?”

Snape looks away reluctantly.

“He still thinks he’s a Weasley.” He says.

“He’s the most important thing to Narcissa. He must be able to find them. Before she died, she left him a way to them. She must have.”

“And if she didn’t?” Snape asks.

“If she didn’t,” Malfoy sneers, a dangerous glint in his eyes. “Draco will find a way.”

“He won’t see sense in our cause.” Snape says. “He won’t choose to-”

“Then it won’t be his choice, will it, Severus?” Malfoy snaps harshly. “He’ll do it because he’s with us or he’ll do it with a wand to his temple. I don’t care which.”

And Harry’s thrown out of Snape’s head, their matching hard breaths filling the room.

“That was Malfoy!” Harry says, shaking all over. “That was – you – you’re helping them!”

“Leave,” Snape hisses dangerously. Harry doesn’t listen.

“All along?” He asks. “You were helping them all along?” his mind is reeling. “You were talking about Horocruxes, weren’t you?” Snape goes gray, and that’s as much confirmation as Harry needs. “You’ve lost them. You don’t know where they are, do you-”

“We’re done, Potter.” Snape snaps. “Go!”

Harry leaves as fast as his legs will carry him, and finally, in the safety of the Gryffindor common room, he collapses on the couch, feeling like he might vomit.

“Harry?” He hears Hermione’s voice. “What’s going on? Are you alright?”

He manages to shake his head. Her and Ron manage to get him up to the dorms to have more privacy, and Ron sits next to him.

“Mate?” Ron hands him a glass of water. “Drink up, and then talk to us.”

Harry does, shakily, and it does make him feel better, if only marginally.

“I was in the Occlumency lessons, with Snape.” He says, taking a deep breath. “And I saw something.”

He explains everything. About Snape talking to Lucius Malfoy, about them looking for the Horocruxes, and about them talking about Draco.

Ron huffs angrily. “If that greasy-haired bastard thinks he’s getting his hands on my family he’ll have to think again.”

Hermione’s frowning thoughtfully. “He was a baby then, how would he have a way in?”

“I don’t know.” Harry shakes his head. “It doesn’t make sense. But Malfoy seems to think so.”

“You know,” Hermione says attentively, and Harry knows already what she’s going to suggest. It’s the same thing she’s been suggesting for weeks now. “This would be easier if we asked him. And he could help a lot – he’s really smart-”

“No,” Ron says harshly. “I already said it. Gin and Draco aren’t getting involved.”

“That’s not your choice.” A voice says angrily.

They turn their heads to the entrance of the dorm rooms. Ginny’s standing there, uniform still on, hands clenched at her sides.

“How dare you?” She snaps. “Not telling us about this? Not telling us about anything?”

“It’s not your business.” Ron says defensively.

“None of our business?” Ginny repeats. “None of our business?! This is a war, you bloody idiot! This is everyone’s business, and especially ours if Draco has anything to do with it! How could you hide this from us?! I would’ve never-”

“Oh, don’t act all high and mighty!” Ron snaps. “Don’t act like what you’ve been doing is any better! Lying to Draco’s face and then turning right around and getting angry at me for doing the exact same thing-”

“It’s not the exact same thing!” Ginny roars hotly. “I’m doing it to protect him-”

“And what the bloody hell do you think I’m doing it for?” Ron roars, equally as loud. “Merlin, Gin, do you think this is any bloody fun for me? I only lied because I wanted to protect you-”

“That’s not your bloody job!” Ginny says.

“Yes it is!” Ron snaps. “Merlin, what do you think I would do if something happened to you? I couldn’t-”

“And did you ever think about you?!” Ginny asks. “How the hell do you think we’d feel if something happened to you and we didn’t even know what you were doing-”

Her voice breaks, and she cuts herself off, looking away angrily.

Harry catches sight of Hermione bouncing her foot awkwardly.

“This might not be a good time,” He says, but really, he doesn’t think Ron can get any angrier, so it’s as good time as any. “But I think I’m in love with him.”

Ron, Ginny, and Hermione all round on him with incredulous looks.

“What?” they shriek.

Harry grimaces. “I’m sorry. I should’ve told you earlier that I wanted to date your brother, I know that – I do know that, and I don’t want to be a bad friend, and-”

“That’s where you’ve been all the time lately?” Ron asks incredulously.

“Yes,” Harry rushes out. “I’m so sorry, Ron, I should’ve told you sooner.”

“Yes, you should’ve,” Ron says harshly. “Honestly, you’re hiding things from me?!”

“Only that one thing!” Harry says, but Ginny interrupts.

“Oh, it hurts, doesn’t it?” She says drily, arms crossed tightly.

The room’s tense for a few moments.

“I’m sorry, Gin.” Ron says finally. “I shouldn’t have made that choice for you. And I should’ve told you everything sooner.”

Ginny glares, but it’s softer than it was before. “Yes, you should’ve.” She rounds on Harry. “And you! How could you not have told us?” then she looks hurt. “Why didn’t Draco tell me?”

“He feels you’re hiding things from him.” Harry says. When the other three look at him, his face heats and he shrugs. “He mentioned. But yeah. I should’ve told you both sooner. I’m sorry.”

Ron and Ginny nod stiffly. There’re a few seconds of silence, and then Ginny speaks.

“No secrets from now on, alright?” She says. “I don’t like being kept things.”

They all nod in agreement, and Hermione puts up her hand hesitatingly.

“Since we’re all sharing things we should’ve told each other sooner,” She says, grinning nervously. “I’ve been doing some research.”

“’Mione, if you weren’t it wouldn’t be you,” Ron teases gently.

Hermione tries to smile, but it comes out wavering. “About Horocruxes.”

“Oh.” Harry says. “That’s… good.”

“With Draco.” She finishes.

“Oh,” Harry says, stomach sinking. Does Draco know he’s a Horocrux? “That’s less good.”

She rushes to continue. “He doesn’t know it’s about you! He doesn’t even know why we’re doing it at all.”

“He hasn’t asked?” Ron asks, disbelieving. He knows his brother, and that’s nothing like him.

“Not properly.” Hermione waves it away. “We don’t really ask each other much after what happened in third year-”

“What?” Ron asks. “What happened in third year?”

Hermione goes red. “It doesn’t matter. The point is we have a no-questions-I-won’t-tell-if-you-don’t-mutual-destruction sort of agreement, so he doesn’t ask questions, and we’ve actually found a lot of things.”

With a wave of her wand, she Accio’s over a thick wad of parchment pieces, and she gets on her knees on the floor and spreads it out. Ginny has to stop some from flying out the room. She hands them back to Hermione and closes the door.

“Those are all my notes. He has more in his dorm.”

They all sit on the floor around the bits of parchment, and Harry reads what he can understand, which, embarrassingly, isn’t much.

“Anyway,” Hermione continues. “The first night we were there, we heard Snape speaking to Malfoy-”

Lucius Malfoy?” Ginny asks. It hits all of them that they haven’t told her anything, so they quickly fill her in, and she nods for Hermione to continue, tight-lipped.

“And he was talking about Malfoy’s son and how he was raised by blood-traitors, and I realized it was Draco and they were talking about taking him somewhere-” she looks a bit ashamed. “And when he went to sleep I placed a tracking charm on his wand.”

What?” the other three shriek.

“I thought Snape might take him!” Hermione says defensively.

“So you knew where he was when he was missing?” Ron asks.

“No.” Hermione says disgruntled. “The charm failed, and it didn’t notify me when he changed locations. However, I think it might still be active.”

“So let’s find out!” Ginny says.

Hermione shakes his head.

“I have to have the information from his wand.” She says. “And he’s always carrying it around with him.”

She sounds annoyed, as if they don’t all do the same.

“There has to be sometime when he doesn’t have it with him!” Ginny says. “When do you not have your wands?”

“Shower?” Ron guesses.

Ginny scoffs and rolls her eyes. “Yes, because he won’t notice if we sneak into the bathroom while he’s showering…”

She trails off. Cocks her head. Looks at Harry. Hermione and Ron look at him, too.

“Oh no.” He says. “No! Definitely not!” he throws a beseeching look at Ron. “How are you on board with this?! It would involve me seeing Draco naked! While he’s not aware I’m there! It’s all sorts of creepy!”

“Yes, I don’t like that.” Ron seems to think about it.

“You don’t have to look at him!” Hermione says. “When’s Hufflepuffs next match?”

“Tomorrow afternoon, against Ravenclaw.” Ginny says. “But all of his teammates would be there, someone’s bound to notice us!”

They stay quiet for a moment.

“You know,” Hermione says reluctantly. “There’s literally a complete house of ‘resourceful’ students.”

“Oh no,” Ron says apprehensively. “I don’t like the Slytherins! And Parkinson and Zabini are-”

“Our best chance right now.” Ginny reasons. “You always say it! Slytherins are sneaky bastards! We need a little bit of sneaky and a whole lot of bastard right now!”

“Fine,” Ron grumbles. “But I’m not inviting them up to our dorm.”

Chapter Text

“You want us to steal Draco’s wand?” Zabini asks, raising an eyebrow. He’s handsome in a way very few people are, and Harry understands why half the school has had or currently has a crush on him.

“Borrow.” Ron corrects.

“Steal.” Parkinson says, cocking an unimpressed eyebrow. “You’re his siblings.”

Ron has the decency to look ashamed, but Ginny does no such thing.

“And we’re trying to protect him.” She says pointedly.

Parkinson flicks her hair and cocks her head. “How?”

Harry and his friends look at each other.

“You don’t need to know that.” He says finally.

“We don’t work with half the information, not even with our actual friends.” Zabini says drily. “It’s how you get caught.”

“I put a tracking spell on his wand.” Hermione says, and Harry looks at her disbelievingly. He’d thought she of all people would want to keep this quiet. “When I thought Lucius Malfoy might want to kidnap him.”

Parkinson controls her reaction exceedingly well, but Harry can still see the twitch of her lips in an almost-smirk and the slight raise of an eyebrow in surprise.

“How very… Slytherin of you.” She says finally. She bats her eyelashes. “Why ever would Malfoy want Draco?”

“He’s his son.” Hermione says.

“Hermione!” Ginny and Ron say at the same time, alarmed.

“But you knew that, didn’t you?” Hermione continues. “It’s why you’ve been avoiding him.”

Parkinson’s cheeks redden, and she looks away. Harry thinks she might look sad, but he can never tell with Slytherins.

“I’m not avoiding him.” She says evenly.

“You are.” Harry says. Draco’d mentioned it in passing, waving it away before Harry could comment on it, but he could tell it made him sadder than he let on. “You both are. He told me.”

“Like what you’re all doing is any better.” Zabini sneers. “At least we’re ashamed to lie to his face, you’ve all been doing it for weeks without a problem.”

“He’s my brother, if you think we’re not-” Ginny begins angrily, crossing her arms over her chest, but Hermione interrupts smoothly.

“We’re all lying to him.” She says drily. “And if he finds out, you think it’ll matter to him if we were doing it to his face or not?”

It will, Harry thinks, but he doesn’t say anything. The Slytherins don’t respond either.

 “Now,” Hermione says, clipped. “Are you in or are you out?”

Parkinson and Zabini look at each other, and he can practically see the silent conversation, but he doesn’t understand a single thing.

“We’re in.” Zabini says. Harry sighs relieved, and then Zabini continues. “On one condition.”

“Which one?”

“You tell us everything you know.” Parkinson says. “About everything.”

Ron snorts. “That’s not going to happen.”

Parkinson shrugs. “Good luck stealing from your little brother then.”

“We’ll share.” Hermione says. “If you do the same.”

Parkinson’s lips twist, but she nods shortly. “Fine.”

“We were planning to get the wand while he’s in the shower, after the Quidditch game.” Ginny explains. “But his teammates would be there, and-”

“And you’re just making it harder on yourself when the answer is much, much easier.” Zabini says with raised eyebrows.

“What were you thinking about?” Hermione asks.

Zabini and Parkinson share another silent conversation. Harry’s going to hex them if they do that one more time.

“Theo would be our best bet.” Parkinson says, shrugging non-comital.

“Theodore Nott?” Ron asks, disbelieving.

Zabini nods. “I don’t know how you have sex, Weasel, but usually, when people are naked and with someone that’s making them feel good, they don’t have their wands with them.”

“Sex?” Harry asks, voice higher pitched than he’d like. Merlin, but he really, really doesn’t like the idea of Draco with Nott. Or anyone else that isn’t Harry himself, for that matter. “What?”

Parkinson gives him an incredulous look. “Sex, Potter, as in, when Mommy and Daddy really, really love each other-”

“I know what sex is, Parkinson!” Harry snaps hotly, face growing red.

Parkinson snickers. “Then why the surprise?” She takes one look at Harry and her mouth quirks mirthfully. “Oh no. Don’t tell me you’re jealous.”

“Of course not!” Harry says. It’s so painfully obvious that it’s a lie that he cringes.

Parkinson cackles delightedly.

Harry looks at Hermione.

“I’ll hex her.” he warns.

Hermione looks amused and nowhere near sympathetic, but she shakes her head.

“Parkinson, the plan.” She presses.

“Right.” Parkinson says, but the delighted look doesn’t leave her face entirely. “Theo and Draco aren’t dating anymore, but they still have the occasional meet ups.”

“I don’t want to hear this.” Ron says, looking lightly pale.

Harry can’t say he disagrees. He knows Draco and him haven't been dating for very long - really, they've gone on one date - but it was a date. He's not going to just have sex with Theo, not with Harry in the picture. Or at least Harry wants to believe.

“Oh, unclench Weasel.” Zabini says. “It’s entirely consensual, and believe me, from what I’ve heard Draco’s not complaining-”

“Shut up! Why would I want to hear that?” Ron says. “I don’t want to hear anything about my little brother’s sex life!”

And we’re not doing that.” Ginny says, frowning. “It’d be creepy enough to sneak up on him in the shower, getting him to have sex with someone just to steal from him would be creepier still!”

“He’s our friend.” Zabini says, disgusted curl to his mouth. “We’d never lie to him like that. They always end up in Theo’s bed after a Quidditch match. We just have to wait for it to be over.”

“And how much time would we have?” Hermione asks.

Parkinson gives half a shrug. “Unless they change their minds, an hour, hour and a half?”

That long?” Ginny asks, impressed, and then her cheeks redden.

“Usually.” Zabini says.

Ron shakes his head. “Something else I didn’t want to know. Thank you, Zabini.”

“Do you want to do this, or not?” Parkinson asks impatiently.

“Yes,” Hermione says. “Who’ll get his wand?”

“The less people we sneak in the better.” Parkinson says. “Granger, you need to be there to take care of the spell, so Blaise’ll sneak you into the Boy’s dorm. Anyone else want to go?”

“I’ll jump off the astronomy tower first.” Ron mutters. Harry secretly agrees.

“We can hide in my bed so we can sneak the wand back before they’re done.” Zabini nods.

“What?” Ron asks. He’s jealous, Harry can tell. “In your bed?”

“Where else would we hide?” Zabini asks, rolling his eyes. “If we leave the room and either of them change their minds, they’ll know the wand’s gone.”

“Fine,” Ron rolls his eyes. “Then me and Harry are coming with.”

“Oi, what?!” Harry asks.

“You expect us to sneak all of you into Blaise’s bed?” Parkinson asks, raising her eyebrows.

“Yes.” Ron says.

Parkinson rolls her eyes. “You Gryffindors are impossible.”

But she agrees, which is how Harry ends up cramped into Zabini’s bed that night, along with another three people, desperately trying to ignore the moaning around the room. Okay, apparently Draco really is just going to have sex with Theo, even with Harry in the picture. He tries to ignore the sharp pang of pain that runs through his chest. He's not angry, per se. It's not like they agreed to be exclusive or anything, but he can't help the sharp bitterness and disappointment that's been sitting on his throat since this whole thing started.

Parkinson and Ginny aren’t here; they stayed in the library, comparing notes and telling each other what their group knew, and Ginny will fill them in later.

“Don’t they know silencing charms?” Ron hisses, looking only a little sick.

“Theo’s deaf, so he never remembers, and Draco forgets we exist.” Zabini answers, looking all too used to this for Harry’s liking.

“Hermione, can’t you work any faster?” He asks desperately. They’ve been in ere only for a few minutes, but he's more than ready to leave.

Hermione’s muttering charms Harry doesn’t recognize and waving her wand in complicated patterns, and she throws him a glare.

“I’m working as fast as I can, Harry!” She snaps, but begins muttering faster. Suddenly, the moans stop.

“Does that mean it’s over?” Harry asks, frowning.

Zabini shakes his head. “No way. It hasn’t been anywhere near long enough. Either Theo or Draco must’ve changed their minds.”

“Shit,” Hermione says, waving her wand faster. “How long do you think we have?”

“Hard to say. They’re still good friends, so sometimes they stay there and just talk, even if they don’t do anything.” Zabini says. They all stay quiet, and he listens carefully.

“I don’t think they’re talking.” Ron says. “I can’t hear anything.”

“They could be signing.” Zabini says. “Or they could just be napping. Draco gets too strung up sometimes, Theo always knows what he needs.”

And well, that statement makes Harry more jealous than he’s been in his life. Part of him says that it’s not fair that Nott just knows what Draco needs like that, not when it should be Harry in his place, shagging Draco into the mattress when he needs it and curling around him and under a warm blanket when he’d rather do that.

The other part of him knows it’s incredibly selfish of him, especially considering just how much he’s been lying to Draco lately. It’s good that he has a friend – or whatever it is him and Nott are – that can take care of him when he needs it. And Nott apparently does that, probably better than Harry does.

“I’m almost done.” Hermione tells them.

They spend a couple more minutes in silence, and then Hermione smiles triumphantly.

“Done.” She says. “He was in Granada, Spain.”

Spain?” Zabini asks. “How the bloody hell would he get to Spain?”

“Hey Blaise!” they hear Draco’s voice from outside. “Have you seen my wand? I’m leaving.”

“Shit,” Zabini mutters, grabbing the wand from Hermione. Harry throws his invisibility cloak over Ron and Hermione, and moves to get under it.

Before he can, his legs tangle with Zabini’s, and he falls practically on top of the other wizard.

Draco opens the drapes.

He looks at him and Zabini, shocked.

“I-” he begins. “Oh.”

Harry looks between him and Zabini, and immediately knows what it must look like. His tie is off, and he’s unbuttoned the top three buttons of his shirt, since it was unbearably hot with four people in one bed, and Zabini’s in a similar state. It doesn’t help that Harry’s lying on top of Zabini.

“Draco, it’s not-” Zabini begins immediately, trying to push himself up, but Draco shakes his head quickly, interrupting.

“No,” He says, quickly grabbing his shoes. “It’s fine. I – I have to leave, I’ll, err, see you both later – I’m glad you’re-” he waves a hand towards them. “Happy.”

“No, Draco, it’s not like that,” Harry tries, untangling himself from Zabini to get off the bed. He can’t let Draco think that he wants Zabini like that, not when Draco’s the only one Harry’s wanted for the longest time now, wrapped safely in his arms.

Draco’s quicker than him, though, and he’s already across the room.

“Goodbye, Harry.” He says.

And the door shuts. No one says anything.

“Shit,” Zabini says. “Shit. Draco’s going to hate me.”

Theodore Nott, leaning against his bed, signs what Harry imagines must be an agreement, because Zabini flips him off.

Shit, but Harry just messed up big time.

Chapter Text

Draco doesn’t begin to think about Harry and Blaise in bed together until he gets out of the Slytherin dorms. There’s a tight knot forming at the back of his throat and his eyes are prickling, but it’s not sadness; He’s furious at Blaise, and he knows it’s ridiculous. It’s not like there was anything wrong, technically.

Harry and him aren’t anything. Harry can very well sleep with anyone he wants to. That’s the whole point of not being anything with anyone, right? Right?

And Blaise is his best friend, he has to have a good reason for this. He wouldn’t just do that to Draco, would he?

He tightens his coat around himself as he gets outside. He doesn’t know where he’s going, but he just wants to get somewhere he doesn’t think about Harry and Blaise together in bed.

Merlin, but this would be exactly the kind of thing he would go to Blaise to talk to about. He’s not stupid enough to go wondering around Hogsmeade in the dark, not with everything the Death Eaters have been doing, so he goes straight to the only place Draco thinks could make him feel better right now.

Honeydukes.

Okay, so he stress eats. So sue him. It doesn’t happen often, and even if it did, he’s fine. He can eat whatever the bloody hell he wants. His mom’s sweaters are big enough that no one would ever notice even if he gained weight, which he never does, and it’s not like anybody’s ever going to see him naked.

Theo – the only person he’s ever even come close to having sex with – is asexual. The only reason Draco finds himself in his bed after every single Quidditch game is because Theo asked him to, since some boys in his dorm wouldn’t stop giving him shit for being a virgin – and ex boyfriends or not, Theo’s always been Draco’s friend.

They’d made a deal; after every Quidditch game, Draco goes to his bed, they shed a shirt or two, occasionally their wands, put up a silencing charm and play a moaning tape over and over – really, how no one has noticed is beyond him, they are always literally the exact same moans – and they stay in his bed for a few hours, watching a movie, reading a book, doing homework, or whatever it is they have to do.

The only other person Draco’s ever been attracted to is Harry, and that’s definitely never going to happen, no matter how desperately Draco’d been clinging to a little thread of hope.

He buys a huge – huge – bag of candy with the money he'd been saving up and sits on the store’s steps to eat it, since it’s already closing. The clerk says goodbye to him and leaves after she locks the store, waving. He waves back much more cheerfully than he feels.

He’s eaten half a chocolate bar when the streets empty, the other half by the time he hears a noise beside him.

“Hello Draco,” a voice says.

Draco turns to look, just as Lucius Malfoy sits beside him.

Draco stops breathing, candy half way to his mouth.

Malfoy looks at it distastefully. “You should watch what you eat.”

Draco looks at him disbelievingly.

Excuse me?” He asks.

“Malfoys have to look their best.” Malfoy says. “That includes eating right.”

Is a Death Eater really lecturing me about what I eat? Draco thinks to himself in wonder. Really, of all the ways he could’ve imagined this moment, this was not even remotely it.

“I’m a Weasley. We eat.” He says, because it’s the only thing he can say. He stands up. “And you’re not real.”

He’s been seeing Malfoy everywhere he goes for weeks, he knows it’s not real. It can’t be.

“I am real.” Malfoy stands up too, even as Draco begins walking away stubbornly.

The streets are empty, and in hindsight, Draco really could’ve waited until tomorrow to get comfort candy.

“And you’re not a Weasley, you’re a Malfoy.” Malfoy says. Draco can hear his steps behind him.

“I’m not.” He says. He isn’t. Malfoy’s lying. “You’re lying.”

“I’m not.” Malfoy says. “Narcissa Malfoy was your mother.”

A sharp pang of pain shoots through Draco’s head, just like it did those few first days at the hospital, whenever he tried to remember what happened while he was missing. It’s so intense he has to stop walking for a moment, needs to catch his breath. He hears the sound of the candy he bought clattering on the floor.

“You’re lying,” he chokes out through gritted teeth. The healer gave him potions in case the headaches were back, but Draco left them in his room back at Hogwarts.

“I’m telling the truth and you know it.” Malfoy says behind him.

Thankfully, the headache subsides just enough for Draco to be able to think properly, and he turns to Malfoy angrily.

“Even if you’re telling the truth.” He says. “It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t mean anything.”

It doesn’t. Draco doesn’t care if Lucius Malfoy is his father. He didn’t raise him, he didn’t feed him when he was hungry. He didn’t do a damned thing for Draco, and Draco will gladly return the favor.

Malfoy’s stopped walking too, a few steps away from Draco. He can’t see a wand in sight or other Death Eaters, but he still feels in desperate disadvantage.

“Maybe.” Malfoy says, cocking his head. “Tell me, Draco, does it mean something that all of your friends know?”

Draco’s back goes rigid.

“You’re lying.” He says, again.

“Your so-called siblings know.” Malfoy says. “Your parents know. Parkinson and Zabini, they know, too. Your precious Harry Potter has been lying to you for weeks.”

“That’s not true!” Draco yells.

It isn’t. It can’t be, because Harry wouldn’t lie to him, not after explicitly dismissing Draco’s worries like he did in the Quidditch Pitch.

“It is.” Malfoy says calmly.

Draco’s hand goes to his sleeve to get his wand, only for him to remember that he’d left the Slytherin dorm without it. Shit.

“You know it’s true, too.” Malfoy says. “It’s why they’ve all been acting so strange around you for weeks. Since they found out, they don’t love you. They don’t want to see you.”

“That’s – that’s a lie.” Draco says, hating that he’s getting so angry while Malfoy merely looks at him calmly.

“Is it? Zabini and Parkinson have been avoiding you? Your sister,” his lips curl around a sneer at the word. “Who you thought loved you found out and now she’s disgusted by you. And you want to know why they didn’t tell you?” Draco stops throwing hexes, only because the pounding in his head is getting too strong to think through. “Because they’re not your family. The only reason they adopted you was because they thought you were going to be a death eater. They didn’t want you, the ministry forced them to take you.”

“You’re lying.” Draco says weakly. He has to be. His family would never do that. They wouldn’t.

“I’m not.” Malfoy says calmly. “They all know, and they’ve all been lying to your face. Do you think it’s because they love you? No, Draco, it’s because they’re selfish. They don’t want you to know because they’re afraid of what you might do. They don’t trust you to make your own decisions.”

Draco shakes his head lightly, blinking quickly, vision blurry because of the pain or because of tears maybe, Draco can’t tell.

“I can give you that.” Malfoy says.

Draco stills.

“Narcissa died to protect you.” At the name, Draco’s headache intensifies again. “She was your mother. She did the sacrifices a mother does for her child. She never lied to you. I would never lie to you.”

Draco’s head is spinning, and his ears are buzzing, and it’s too much, it’s all too much. He needs Malfoy to stop talking, he needs to think about this, he needs to go back to a few hours ago when he still thought everyone he loves loved him back.

“They’ve never cared about you, Draco.” Malfoy says, suddenly much closer, grip tight on Draco’s arm. “They’ve never cared about you and they never will. What do you think will happen after all this is over, even if your side wins the war? That they’ll welcome you with open arms and freshly made food? No. They’re family, all of them. You’re not. They’ll never love you like they love each other. They’d let you die in a heartbeat.”

“They wouldn’t.” Draco says, with a lot less certainty than he meant to.

“They would.” Malfoy says. “Your teachers, too. Everyone knew about this but you. Every single person you trusted hid this from you because they think you’re a stupid child. They don’t think you can make your own decisions.”

“That’s not true.” Draco whispers, heart breaking in his chest.

“Then why hadn’t they told you this, huh?” Malfoy sneers. “Have they ever discussed the war with you? They’ve been talking about it since the beginning of the year. They haven’t told you because they don’t think you can handle it. They think you’re a child that needs protecting. Isn’t that what they’ve always told you? That you need them big, strong, Gryffindors to protect you?”

“Stop, please – I – I don’t want to – I need to talk to them-”

“So they can lie to your face again? So they can twist this to make it seem like they did nothing wrong?” Malfoy asks. “They’ve never loved you, Draco, and no matter what you do, they never will. You’ll never be good enough for them.”

“I – I-” Draco begins shakily.

“If you come with me,” Malfoy says. “If you help us – we can give you everything. No more lies. You’re not a child, you’re not dumb. You can make your own decisions.”

“I – Gin would never-”

“Ginevra knew since the beginning of the year!” Malfoy snaps impatiently. “She said so in the hospital, while you were asleep.” Malfoy stretches his hands in a ‘look around you’ gesture as he waves his wand. Hogsmeade changes around him, and he finds himself in Malfoy Manor, a horribly familiar blonde woman that Draco can’t place petting his hair and kissing his forehead, Lucius Malfoy beside her with a smile on his face. “With us, Draco, you can have everything.”

Draco’s head is spinning.

He doesn’t want everything, he wants his family. He wants to not know any of this, he wants to know if Lucius Malfoy is telling the truth, wants Ginny to hug him and hold him and tell him Lucius Malfoy is full of shit, that none of it is true, that she didn’t know about this anymore than he did. He wants Harry to love him, he wants desperately to not want Harry to love him.

He wants his friends not to be rotten liars.

“I-” he begins. “I-”

“They all expect it.” Malfoy says. “They raised you and even then, they all expected you to turn into a death eater. It’s what they all think of you.”

There’s a pause, and Draco looks around the candlelit room, Crups – he’s always wanted one, but his parents never had enough money – lying at his feet, everything he could ever want around him.

“You don’t have to choose now, Draco.” Malfoy says. He extends a hand and gives Draco a Floo address. “Call when you’ve made up your mind.

The illusion dissolves around him, and Draco finds himself back in Hogsmeade, cold and alone.

He walks back to Hogwarts, and the second Draco steps through the door, Ron and Ginny are on him.

“Where the bloody hell were you?” he asks tightly, glaring at Draco.

Draco gives half a shrug. “Out.”

Out?” Ginny asks in a shrill voice. “Out? It’s almost past curfew and we couldn’t find you anywhere-”

“Not like you’d care if I was gone, is it?” Draco asks coldly, and a hurt look crosses Ron’s and Ginny’s faces. Merlin, but Draco hates them.

And deep, deep down, Draco knows he never could. Until a few minutes ago he did think they were siblings after all, but he’s more furious than he’s ever been in his life, and there’s a tight, burning mess of emotions sitting on his sternum making him want to scream.

And Draco can see Hermione, Blaise, Pansy, and Harry behind them and he hates them, too, every single one of them. Mostly, he hates himself for believing they were his friends, even for a second. Hates himself for believing anything could happen with Harry.

“Excuse me?” Ginny asks angrily. “You think we wouldn’t-”

“Well it’s not like we’re family or anything, is it?” Draco asks. He has his hands in his pockets and what he can imagine is an ugly sneer on his face. His muscles aren’t used to it, and it feels weird, but Draco can’t manage another expression at the moment.

“What the bloody hell are you talking about?” Ron demands. “Of course we are-”

“No, we’re not.” Draco says. “Because I’m adopted. And you all knew.”

No one answers. And Draco can see the shock on all of their faces, the guilt piling strongly over it, and he knows Malfoy wasn’t lying; they all knew, and they’ve all been lying to him for Merlin knows how long.

“Merlin, you can’t even be bothered to deny it, can you?” he asks. “Have you nothing to say for yourselves?”

“Who told you?” Ginny asks in a small voice.

Draco’s temper snaps.

“Why the hell does that matter?” he demands angrily. “What I want to know is why you didn’t just bloody well tell me instead of making this whole – this whole shit show that ended up with me finding out from-”

He looks away and clenches his jaw.

“We’re done.” He snaps. “I don’t want to – I don’t want to talk to you.”

“Draco,” Harry begins softly, and Draco really, really needs to leave now, because otherwise he’ll cry and he doesn’t want that to happen. Not here.

“Shut the fuck up, Potter.” He says, voice shaking, lower lip quivering. “You’re the worst of them all. I told you – I told you that I thought they were hiding something from me and you said you didn’t know anything I didn’t and you knew all along, didn’t you?”

“I-” Harry begins, but Draco shakes his head.

“Just leave me alone,” He says, incredibly exhausted and miserable all at once. “All of you.”

And he leaves.

Chapter Text

Draco thought he couldn’t feel lonelier than he did after he came back from the hospital and everyone was acting weirdly, but he was wrong; this is definitely worse.

He assumes Ron and Ginny told their parents, because Draco gets dozens of letters from them and all of his siblings. He puts them in a pile under his mattress to read when he’s feeling better.

The anger’s faded by now, mostly, but all that Draco’s left with is a sort of emptiness that’s expanded through his chest and the worst identity crisis he’s ever had. He’s not a Malfoy – he refuses to be – but he doesn’t feel much like a Weasley either, so he’s floating in a sort of limbo he hates.

Every evening, he sits on his bed and toys with Malfoy’s Floo address, debating on what to do, trying to imagine what sort of life he might have if he calls him. He almost does, three times, before he stops lying to himself. It was a nice illusion, the one that Malfoy showed him, but that was all it was. He’ll never join him, no matter how angry he is at his family – and make no mistake, they are his family, even if Draco hates them all at the moment – so he’s left with two options.

Either he tells McGonagall and turns in the Floo address, or he calls Malfoy and pretends to join him so he can find out what they’re up to. The letters haven’t come for a few weeks now, so Draco assumes that whoever it was either got caught or was suspected, and so they stopped.

Calling Malfoy is definitely the more dangerous – and possibly stupider – of the two options, but Draco’s never been great at not doing stupid things.

“Mr. Weasley?” Lupin’s tone implies it’s not the first time he’s said it.

Draco blinks, and his face heats.

“Yes?” He asks.

Lupin gives him a disapproving look. “See me after class, Mr. Weasley.”

Draco sighs quietly. Out of the corner of his eye he can see Pansy and Blaise looking at him, but Draco upturns his nose and ignores them, shoulders tense.

When the class is over, Draco walks to Lupin’s desk, only to be ignored until the room is empty.

“Are you alright?” Lupin asks, and Draco looks at him, surprised. That’s not what he’d expected, if he’s honest.

“Fine.” He says stiffly.

Lupin gives him a look, which only serves to make Draco tense up further.

“I heard you know.” He says vaguely, and Draco’s eyes narrow.

“I hear you have known.” He says accusingly. “Since the start.”

Lupin cocks his head lightly. “Does that bother you?”

Draco wants to stomp his foot. Of fucking course it bothers him! It makes him want to hex the professor, and the only reason Draco hasn’t done it is because he respects him a little bit too much to do that.

He merely shrugs.

“None of us think less of you.” Lupin says gently, and Draco hates him for it, hates that he knows exactly why it bothers Draco, hates that it makes him feel ridiculous for it.

He’s not even completely right, Draco thinks bitterly. At first he thought that was what bothered him, that they’d think differently of him, but that wasn’t it. The problem is that he thinks less of himself, and that feeling isn’t going away.

He shrugs again, and there’s a beat of silence.

“Chocolate?” Lupin offers. He’s given Draco some before – often while they were practicing the Patronus Charm, since the dementors made Draco feel like utter shit – and Draco’s mouth waters, but he shakes his head wordlessly.

Though he knows it only affects him, and it isn’t really a way to prove how angry he is at the professor, he feels oddly satisfied with himself.

“I’ll be late to my next class.” Draco says. He’s not going to his next class; it’s Potions, and Draco’s been skipping it for the past week, not in the mood to see Snape. Merlin, but Draco really can’t believe he’s his godfather. “Sir.”

It’s said with as much impertinence as he can get away with. He doesn’t know if Lupin is amused, or angry, or worried, but he merely sighs and nods, and so Draco turns on his heel.

“Mr. Weasley?” Lupin calls, just before Draco’s out the door. “Professor Snape asked me to speak with you about skipping class. He’s been reluctant to go to the Headmistress, but if this behavior continues he’ll be forced to inform her.”

Draco slams the door on his way out.

He sits in the edge of the Black Lake – and he knows he’s in perfect view of the Potions Classroom, but what’s Snape going to do, drag him kicking and screaming? – and begins reading a book.

When the day is over and everyone’s at lunch – Draco’s been skipping the meals lately to avoid seeing his so called friends – he goes to the Astronomy tower and sits with his legs dangling out the windows, looking at the students passing through.

“You could fall from there,” Says a voice, and Draco snaps around so quickly he almost does.

“Zacharias Smith.” The Hufflepuff introduces himself, even though Draco already knows exactly who he is.

And hates him.

“What do you want, Smith?” Draco asks, rather aggressively.

Smith holds his hands up in mock surrender.

“I come in peace.” He says. The smug grin on his face tells a completely different story.

“Then leave in peace,” Draco sneers venomously.

He knows Smith is the one who started the rumor about Draco blowing Theo in the showers the year prior. And it was complete Hippogriff shit, and Draco knows Smith knows it. The only reason he started that rumor was because Draco refused to go out with him, and Smith had called him a slag for it.

“Now, now, Draco, let’s not be hasty.” Smith practically purrs, taking a seat next to him. “There’s something we’ve to talk about.”

“I doubt it,” Draco says, and he begins to stand up, but Smith grabs his wrist and pulls him down roughly, very nearly making Draco fall. “Merlin, what the fuck?!”

“You’re going to sit and you’re going to listen to me,” Smith says, grip tightening on Draco’s wrist to the point of painful.

“Let go of me!” Draco snaps, heart hammering against his ribs. “Get the fuck off me you moronic fuck-”

“Is something wrong here, Smith?” Drawls a cool voice from the doorway, and both Draco and Zacharias turn to see Harry standing there.

“Not your business, Potter.” Smith sneers, and though his grip on Draco’s wrist lessens, he doesn’t let go.

“In case you’re deaf, Smith, Draco said to let go.” Harry responds coldly.

And really, Draco’s furious at Potter right now, but he desperately wants to get away from Smith, so the second he lets go he scrambles to Potter’s side.

“Whore,” Smith sneers at Draco under his breath as he leaves.

As soon as he’s gone, Harry turns to him. “Are you okay?”

Despite the fact that Draco’s still shaking, he sneers. “I don’t need you to come rescue me.”

Harry looks shocked for a split second, and then he glares drily.

“Really?” he asks. “Because from where I was standing, it looked like ‘rescuing’ was exactly what you needed.”

“Well I didn’t,” Draco snaps.

“Why were you with Smith anyway?” Harry asks. “Is that really who you’re hanging around?”

“You have no right to say anything about who I’m hanging out with-” Draco says hotly.

“Don’t I?” Harry says, and anger shouldn’t be such a good look on him. “We’re friends-”  

“We were friends-”

“We still are-”

“You lied to me for weeks-”

“I was trying to protect you-”

“It wasn’t your choice to make-”

“You’re shagging Nott!” Harry snaps.

Draco opens his mouth but doesn’t find anything to say to that. After a moment, anger, hot and bright, swells inside him at the memory of Harry and Blaise with their shirts half unbuttoned.

“That’s none of your business!” He says. “You only found out because you were going to shag Blaise!”

“None of my business?” Harry asks in return. “Are you kidding right now?”

“What?”

“Merlin, Draco, it was only a few dates, but you can’t just-”

“I can’t just what?” Draco demands, before he processes completely what Harry just said. “Wait, dates?”

Harry doesn’t pay attention.

“It’s polite to tell someone you’re going out with if you have an ongoing relationship with someone else!” He says.

That catches Draco completely off guard. He’s getting more and more confused with every word Harry says.

What?” He asks.

“Look, I realize you’ve gone out with a lot of people-”

“Are you calling me a slag right now?” Draco interrupts angrily.

“Merlin, Draco, no!” Harry says, looking horrified. “I was going to say that I know you’ve gone out with a lot of people and I don’t know if you were serious with any of them, but I wasn’t just planning to go out with you on three dates and that was it!”

“Harry, what the bloody hell are you talking about?” Draco asks.

“Merlin, Draco, if you want to play dumb bloody forget it.” Harry mutters as he begins walking away.

Draco frowns and follows him, because however furious he is, he wants an explanation.

“Talk to me!” He snaps.

“I thought we were-” Harry exhales roughly. “I thought we were something!”

“We’re friends!” Draco says.

“Something more!”

Draco freezes.

“What?” He asks.

“I just-” Harry stops and exhales roughly, but he doesn’t look at Draco. “Look, it’s okay. I don’t – you don’t owe me to go out with me or anything-”

“Harry, what are you talking about?” Draco asks.

Harry finally looks at him. “I’m talking about the fact that we were going out and I thought we were exclusive until I heard you shagging Theodore Nott!”

Draco’s completely confused now.

What?” He asks.

“Look, it’s fine.” Harry says, even if his voice indicates that it’s anything but. “We haven’t been going out for that long anyways, it’s not like you can’t-”

“We’ve been going out?” Draco asks, high-pitched.

“What did you think we were doing?” Harry asks.

“I thought – I thought you were just being friendly because everyone was treating me weirdly!” Draco says.

“You thought I asked you out because of pity?” Harry asks.

“I didn’t know you were asking me out!” Draco says. “I thought we were friends!”

“We are friends!” Harry says, frustrated. “I just – I thought we could be something more. But it’s fine, okay? If you don’t want to-”

“No, Harry-” Draco begins.

“Look, I – I don’t know if you aren’t interested, or-” Harry swallows. “Or if you were, but I lied to you and I messed it all up, or if you wanted – I don’t know, sex-”

“Sex?” Draco asks, vaguely hurt. “You think that’s all I feel for you, sex? Merlin, Harry, I’ve been in love with you for years-

“What?” Harry asks.

Draco realizes what he’s just said and stops breathing.

“You’re in love with me?” Harry asks.

“I-” Draco desperately scrambles for a way to take back what he’s said – or at least somehow wave it away – but he can’t think of anything. “I-”

“You’re in love with me?” Harry asks again, softer this time.

“I-” Merlin, but of all the ways that Draco could’ve possibly screwed up, this is the worst one. And so he does the only thing he can think of. He runs away.

Chapter Text

“Is that all of them?” McGonagall asks.

Harry looks down at the list. Tom Riddle’s Diary, Marvolo Gaunt’s ring, Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem, Salazar Slytherin’s locket, Helga Hufflepuff’s cup, Nagini. And in the end, Harry Potter, marked with various question marks.

He’d woken up with this note on his nightstand; he doesn’t know who put it there – his dorm mates say it wasn’t them – and it didn’t take long to realize they’re Horocruxes. They already knew about Hufflepuff’s cup and the diadem, but they hadn’t known about the others.

“I think so.” He says. “But I don’t know who left it.”

McGonagall nods. “Whoever it is, someone must’ve noticed something. We need to ask around. In the meanwhile,” she turns to Sprout and frowns. “Your students are particularly good at finding hidden things, are they not?”

Sprout smiles fondly. “Yes,”

“A few of them – two or three, if you want – I want them to search for the Cup, the Diadem, and the Locket. If they were the founders’ they might still be here.” McGonagall says. “I’ll track down any remaining family members and talk to them.”

“Of course, Headmistress,” Sprout says agreeably, and turns on her heel.

“Wait!” Harry says before he can help himself. “Who are you going to ask, professor?”

“Well, Mr. Potter,” Sprout says, frowning. “I was going to ask Mr. Weasley the youngest and Thomas Franco. They’ve always had a particular talent – not to say willingness – at sneaking around the castle.” She pauses and gives him a chance to complain. “Unless you know any reason why I shouldn’t?”

Harry swallows. “Err, no. I just – what are you going to tell them?”

Sprout’s frown deepens. “I assure you, Mr. Potter, I will think of something.” The look on her face softens. “Is there something you’d like me not to tell Mr. Weasley?”

She looks at him almost piteously, and, of all the reasons Harry’s been looked at like that, he thinks this might be the worst one. His face burns, and he coughs awkwardly.

“Err, no.” He manages, sinking deeper into his chair.

“Okay, my dear,” Sprout says, and she leaves.

When the door closes, McGonagall speaks. “Professor Lupin, Professor Snape, Professor Flitwick, Madam Pomfrey, if you’d all ask around the Gryffindor students to see if anyone saw anything, please.”

The professors nod and leave, and afterwards Harry avoids McGonagall’s eyes desperately, face still burning.

“Have you talked to Mr. Weasley about the Horocruxes?” She asks, and this is exactly what Harry didn’t want to talk about.

“Yes,” Harry says, playing dumb. “Ron knows everything.”

McGonagall gives him a look. “Mr. Weasley the youngest.”

“Err,” Harry scratches at the back of his neck. “No.”

 McGonagall gives him a disapproving look, and Harry crosses his arms defensively.

“He’s not talking to me!” He says.

“Because you hid things from him.” McGonagall nods, and Harry nods too. “So you’re hiding more things from him.”

“It’s not like that,” Harry says.

He can’t just walk up to Draco and explain everything to him when the insufferable brat has been hiding things from him since he told him he loved him.

Merlin, and that’s another issue entirely. Draco told him he’s in love with him. And then proceeded to run away and avoid Harry for the life of him. Merlin, but Harry hates him.

Except he doesn’t.

Ever since he started spending more time with Draco his feelings for him shifted from friendship to something bigger, but he doesn’t know if it’s love. He doesn’t want Draco dating anyone who isn’t him, that’s for sure, and alright, whenever he looks at him there’s this sort of fluttering in his chest that sort of makes him feel like he might fly, right there without a broom, and when everything’s too much Draco just makes it somehow quiet down, be manageable, and he makes his nightmares go away, and he’s kind, and gorgeous, and funny, and an insufferable brat when he wants to be, and Harry’s three hundred percent sure that’s the man he wants to spend the rest of his life with, have babies, adopt six million stray dogs because Harry can’t ever say no to them, but that’s not love, is it?

Fuck.

“I don’t know what to do.” Harry says finally.

McGonagall sighs. “I never knew much about men. Being honest might be a start?”

Harry nods. Now he just has to figure out how to be honest when Draco’s avoiding talking to him at all. He sighs.

“Headmistress.” Remus knocks on the door quietly. “Parvati Patil let Mr. Weasley the youngest into the Gryffindor Common Room at two a.m. last night.”

“Draco?” Harry asks. “Why would he – oh.”

“Oh?” Remus asks.

Oh.” Harry says. “The letters.”

“What letters?” McGonagall asks.

“From Lucius Malfoy. Except they’re not from Lucius Malfoy, we think.” Harry says.

“Letters?” McGonagall asks. “Mr. Weasley got more than the one he turned in?”

Harry scoffs. “Tons more,”  

At McGonagall’s disapproving look, he tries an innocent smile.

“He didn’t show me the others, after the first one, but he thought they were from a spy, or a prisoner.” He explains. “They just said what the death eaters were up to.”

McGonagall’s lips tighten. “And Mr. Malfoy-” everyone freezes. “Weasley. Mr. Weasley didn’t think to mention this?”

“I don’t really know what his logic was.” Harry says. “Okay, that’s a lie. He only turned in the first one because he thought it might be cursed, and then you said it wasn’t, but you didn’t let him read it-”

“How did he?” Remus asks. “Read it, I mean?”

Harry looks away. “Err, duplicated it.”

McGonagall shakes her head lightly. “He always was very creative with his charm work. What did he say about the others, then?”

“That Voldemort was back,” Harry says. Every person in the room flinches, even if it was something they already knew. “Mentioned something about an old wand-”

“An old wand?” Remus asks.

“Something like,” Harry says. “Older wand?”

Elder wand?” McGonagall asks. Her face has gone pale, and Harry frowns.

“Yes?” he says.

Remus and McGonagall look at each other, a silent conversation between them that Harry can’t understand.

“Harry,” Remus says gently. “Have you ever heard of Albus Dumbledore?”


 

“Hello,” Draco says cautiously. “I’m Draco.”

The Grey Lady barely even glances at him.

“I need your help,” He continues when she doesn’t respond.

She doesn’t react.

“I’m looking for a diadem?” he asks. “Ravenclaw’s diadem?”

The Grey Lady’s in front of him so quickly he nearly jumps backwards, which would’ve had him falling off the stairs of the Astronomy tower.

“Why?” she asks.

“I – it’s a-” He doesn’t know what to say. Should he tell her it’s a Horocrux? If Sprout told him to look for it, it means that Harry found the list of Horocruxes Draco left by his bed and he took it to McGonagall. He’s glad.

It’s the only thing that came in the mail yesterday, but it came from Malfoy Manor, so Draco assumes whoever was sending him letters isn’t dead.

“You’re going to do horrible thing to it, aren’t you?” she asks. “Like that other boy did.”

“What other boy?” Draco manages.

She glares at him. “Leave.”

She turns around and floats back to the window, and Draco takes a deep breath and walks towards her.

“I need to find it,” he says. “It needs to be destroyed.”

“You think I’m going to let you destroy the only thing that belonged to my mother?” she asks. 

Draco doesn’t know what to say. 

"I know who you are." She says. "You're a Malfoy. I know who your father is. You're no better than the rest of them."

Draco swallows. He doesn't respond, because he doesn't know what he'd say. He's terrified that it's true; that no matter what he's done or what he will do, he'll always be just a Death Eater's son. He's terrified that no matter what he does, that's where he'll end up.

“I'm not like them." He says. "And you know how dangerous the Diadem is. You want it gone just as much as I do.”

The Grey Lady glares at him. “No one will ever find it. It’s safe. It can’t do any harm anymore.”

“That’s a lie,” Draco says. “And you know it. As long as it’s here that – that boy – Voldemort, he can come back. He is back.”

The Grey Lady looks outside.

“His name was Tom.” She says softly. “He charmed me into telling him. He was so handsome…”

Draco frowns. “It’s not your fault.”

“It is,” She snarls. “I should’ve been smarter – I shouldn’t have let him trick me like that. I knew he didn’t want me. He couldn’t.”

“We all believe things we know are a lie sometimes,” Draco shrugs. “This can be undone. We can destroy the diadem.”

The Grey Lady stares at him for a moment.

“I was here.” She says. “When you were talking to that blond boy, you know?”

Draco swallows. “Smith?”

Even the name makes his heart pound faster and his throat close up. He’s not going to be scared of Smith, no matter what he’s done to him; he refuses to be.

“He wants you.” She tells him.

Draco’s jaw tightens. “I know that.”

He’s made it clear enough.

“He’ll try to take what he wants.” She says.

“I won’t let him.”

“It’s not that simple.” She says harshly.

There’s silence for a beat.

“The Baron did the same thing to me.” she says softly. “When I refused him, he killed me.”

Draco tries not to look too surprised.

“The bloody baron?” he asks.

She nods.

“I’m sorry,” he says honestly.

She looks surprised. They spend a few minutes in silence, and then she speaks.

“I’ll tell you what you need to know,” she says.

“You will?” he asks, surprised.

“Yes, I will.” She says. “The diadem is in the room of hidden things. You have to promise you’ll destroy it.”

“I promise,” Draco says softly.

She looks at him “You need to stay safe.”

“I’ll try,” Draco says.

He’ll get the Baron kicked out of Hogwarts if it’s the last thing he dos. The Grey Lady doesn’t deserve to be spending eternity like this, forever hidden away and avoiding a man who harmed her.

“You need to leave.” she says. “Find the room. Get the diadem, destroy it. Don’t let Tom back here.”

“I won’t.” Draco says.

“And take care of yourself.” She whispers, already floating away.  

Chapter Text

Ron catches sight of Harry and sighs.

“He still avoiding you?” he asks.

Harry looks up at him briefly before he looks away, towards the windows. They’re walking towards Herbology, and Ron can’t help bringing it up. “Yeah.”

It’s been a few weeks since Harry’d come running into the common room and proceeded to completely freak out because Draco had apparently told him he loved him in the middle of an argument.

Ron had been both surprised and confused – since when was Draco in love with Harry and why the hell hadn’t he noticed? – but Gin and Hermione had immediately started squealing happily.

It had turned into a less happy occasion when Draco continued to avoid them all – especially Harry – and they realized that even though he loved them, it didn’t change just how angry he was at them.

“I’m sorry mate.” Ron looks down at his feet. He misses his brother, but he knows that of all the ways they could’ve handled it all, they chose what was possibly the worst one, so he understands the anger. “I miss him, too.”

Harry’s just finished speaking to McGonagall about the Horocruxes, and he’d been telling Ron about how they have to go speak to someone named Dumbledore and the Elder wand – which Ron had believed a fairytale – and how Sprout was going to ask Draco to find two Horocruxes; at the mention of the name, he’d gotten the sad, far away look he’s currently wearing.

Harry sighs. “I just – I know he’s angry at us, and he has every right to be honestly, but I wish I could talk to him about it.”

Ron tightens his lips slightly and sighs, finally asking the question they’ve both been avoiding for the past two weeks.

“Are you in love with him, too?” Ron asks.

They don’t talk about Draco, because as much as Ron loves Harry, it makes him a bit uncomfortable – and protective – to imagine him dating his baby brother. Though to be fair, it makes him a lot less uncomfortable than imagining anyone else with Draco. Really, he just doesn’t want to imagine anyone with neither Ginny nor Draco. They’re too young, still. They’re his younger siblings, and even though Ron realizes it’s not his place, he feels very protective of them.

“I-” Harry hesitates. “I’ve been very busy with everything that’s been happening, I haven’t really thought about it. But… I think I might be. I could be.”

Ron hums. He’d rather Harry were already in love with Draco, but he won’t say anything. Draco will kill him if he even thinks about meddling in another one of his relationships – the last time had not gone well for Ron, and all he’d done was talk to Draco about it, not the person he was dating – so he merely keeps his mouth shut.

“So, err-” Ron scrambles for something to change the subject, but he shuts up, because as they get closer to the courtyard, he begins to hear a chanting of ‘fight, fight, fight’.

“Who’s fighting?” Ron asks, frowning lightly.

“No idea.” Harry frowns, too. “Want to check?”

Ron gets a dreadful feeling in his stomach, even if he knows it’s ridiculous to assume it’s anyone he cares about; Hermione would never get in a fight – she’s smarter than that -, Harry would, but he’s here with him, Ginny’s more creative for harming people, and it’s not really like Draco; he’s a bastard, and he always gets even, though in a much less obvious way.

They walk to the courtyard until he can see a crowd of students, and as they get closer, the chanting grows louder and Ron’s dreadful feeling gets worse.

They push through the crowd of students, and when he catches sight of white-blond hair, he knows his gut feeling was right.

“Parkinson!” Harry snaps, and Ron realizes Parkinson and Zabini are standing there, looking worriedly. “What the bloody hell is going on?”

Ron can only get glimpses; he catches sight of darker blond hair, and he frowns.

“I don’t know!” Parkinson yells back. “Draco came looking for Smith and as soon as he saw him he hexed him! And then Smith tried to hex him back, but-”

There’s a rather sickening crunch, and Ron sees his baby brother’s fist collide with Smith’s nose.

“Shit,” Zabini hisses. After he gave Theo Draco’s wand to give back to him, he didn’t imagine this was what he’d use it for.

“And you’re just watching?” Ron demands.

“What are we supposed to do?” Parkinson asks. “Draco’s wicked with a wand and not half bad with his fists, apparently!”

“Merlin fuck,” Ron mutters.

He catches sight of the blood running down Draco’s face, and he knows that’s it; he stomps across the crowd of students, and sends Smith flying back into a group of students while he grabs Draco’s collar tightly.

“Let go of me!” Draco snaps angrily, not even looking at Ron, and the red-head has to tighten his grip until Draco hisses painfully and looks at him. “Let go of me you pr-”

“Shut the bloody fuck up.” Ron snaps, as he begins to drag him away. He tries to calm himself, not the anger, but the vicious fear at seeing his brother’s face covered with blood and already littered with bruises that will likely just get worse in the next twelve hours.

Draco struggles while Ron drags him away from the students and the teachers beginning to arrive, and doesn’t stop until Ron shoves him down onto a chair in an empty potions classroom.

“What the bloody hell did you do that for?” Ron yells. “Have you gone completely insane?”

Draco glares at him and wipes his nose. The back of his hand comes down wet with blood.

“Merlin fuck, Draco, I get you’re angry at us but stop ruining your own fucking life!”

“I’m not ruining my life,” Draco snaps.

“Yes you are!” Ron’s never been this angry. “You’re skipping classes, you’re not eating, you’re picking bloody fights-”

“It’s not your business!” Draco stands angrily; he’s shorter than Ron, but when he stands he can at least not be properly looked down on. “You don’t even care!”

“Of course I care! I’ve been worried sick about you for weeks and you don’t even bloody bother to-”

“Get off your fucking high horse, you brought this on yourself-”

“And I’ve said I’m sorry! I know you’ve every right to be angry-”

“Sorry doesn’t bloody fix anything-”

“So what the hell do you want me to do? Tell you the truth? You don’t let me speak for long enough to do that-”

“You acted like I was your family, like you loved me-”

“You are family! And I do love you-”

“No you don’t!” Draco snaps accusingly. The anger is too suffocating, expanding, hot and burning, all over his throat and his lungs, and he feels like he just might crumple right there. When he speaks again, it’s barely above a whisper. “You don’t love me. If you did, you would’ve trusted me like I trusted you.”

The silence is deafening, and when Ron reaches out to touch Draco’s shoulder he shrugs it off tensely. Ron merely tightens his grip.

“Listen to me you bloody brat,” He says. “I love you. I do, more than anything else in this world, and right now I bloody well hate you, but you’re my brother, and I don’t give a Merlin damned thing what anyone thinks, or says, because you are not a Malfoy.”

Draco’s face doesn’t soften. “I could be.”

“Even if you were.” Ron says, a sinking feeling to his stomach. “Even if – even if you’ve been a complete idiot and done something you can’t get out of right now – you’re still a Weasley, and you’re still my brother. Whatever it is, I’ll help you out of it. We’ll help you out of it.”

Draco stares at him for a long time, and when he speaks, the knot in Ron’s stomach tightens further.

“Lucius Malfoy told me.” he says. “That you were lying. He told me I’m his son.”

“Oh.”

“And he gave me his Floo address.” Draco continues. “He told me to call him.”

“Did you?” Ron asks, heart pounding. He desperately wants to grab Draco’s forearm, see if he has the mark, but he won’t; he wouldn’t.

Draco shakes his head mutely, and Ron exhales.

“And what about Smith?” Ron asks. “Why did you hex him?”

Draco’s spine tightens, and he shrugs Ron’s hand off. He slides down to sit on the floor, and after a few seconds, Ron does the same.

“Did you know the Bloody Baron killed the Grey Lady?” he asks. “He wanted to date her, and when she said no he killed her.”

“Alright…”

“Smith wouldn’t leave me alone.” He says. His jaw tightens and he upturns his nose, something he does when he’s daring Ron to tell him he’s done the wrong thing. “She told me to take care of myself. Breaking Smith’s nose is as close as I can get to that.”

Ron feels sick. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Even if Draco doesn’t answer, Ron can see it clear as day across his face; shame and fear both, more terrified of what Ron would think of him than what Smith could do.

“I’m sorry,” he says hoarsely.

Draco nods jerkily. There’s a few seconds of silence in which Ron takes in Draco’s face fully. His nose is still bleeding, and his lower lip is split. There’s a cut across his right eyebrow, and there’s a quickly darkening bruise around his right eye. There are bruises on his jaw, and a small cut across one of his cheekbones.

“You can’t lie like that to me again,” Draco says, snapping Ron out of his haze. “I won’t stand it. You’re supposed to be my brother.”

“I am.”

“You’re supposed to trust me.”

“I do,” Ron says.

There’s a beat of silence.

“Are we alright now?” Ron asks.

Draco nods reluctantly.

“Alright,” Ron says calmly. “So now you can tell me how you’re in love with Harry and why you didn’t tell me.”

Draco goes so red so quick Ron thinks it might’ve been painful.

“I – I – he told you?” He practically shrieks, mortified.

“Of course he bloody told me!” Ron exclaims. “Why didn’t you?”

“I thought you knew!” Draco says, cheeks growing even redder. “Everyone knew!”

I didn’t!” Ron says.

“I don’t know how you missed it!” Draco says. “Even Hermione noticed! Who, by the way, you’re never going to date unless you get your head out of your arse and ask her out.”

Excuse me?” Ron asks, deeply offended.

“She’d say yes,” Draco continues, as if Ron hadn’t interrupted. “If you asked her.”

“We’re in the middle of a war.” Ron says. “I can’t just ask her out.”

“You should.” Draco says. His face lights up. “Ask her to Bill and Fleur’s wedding!”

“She’s already invited!” Ron says.

“Ask her to go with you.” Draco rolls his eyes. “As your date.”

“We are not talking about this,” Ron shakes his head resolutely. “You told Harry that you loved him!”

Draco goes red again and buries his face in his hands. “Merlin, this is so embarrassing. Does he hate me? Did he say he hated me? He must think I’m ridiculous-”

“Harry could never think that of you!” Ron says. Draco peeps at him through the gaps of his fingers, and Ron grins a bit. “Well, maybe he would. But not because of that.”

Draco buries his face in his hands again, and Ron nudges him before he stands up.

“Come on,” He says, rolling his eyes. “You haven’t been at lunch lately, and you need to eat.”

Draco sighs, but they go to the Great Hall together.

Chapter Text

The meal in the kitchens is perhaps the most awkward thing Draco’s ever had to endure. They decided not to go to the Great Hall, because even though he’s cleaned up his face so there’s no blood on it, he still has bruises and cuts, and he doesn’t want Sprout to see it. She’ll give him detention for the rest of the year.

They’re all here. Hermione, Pansy, Blaise, Gin, Ron, Harry. They keep giving him cautious looks like he might run away.

“Thank you,” Draco says politely as Ditzy the house-elf gives him a bowl of mint-chocolate ice cream. She bows lightly and beams at him before leaving, and they move to Draco’s dorm in the Hufflepuff dorms for more privacy.

“So, err.” Hermione begins. “How have you been?”

They’re all standing around awkwardly while Draco sits in his bed, and he cocks an eyebrow.

“Alright.” Draco says.

He’s not as angry as he used to be, but he’s not going to make it easy for them. A dreadfully awkward meal is the least they deserve.

“We’re sorry.” Ginny blurts. Draco looks at her. “For lying to you. It was a decision that affected you, and we shouldn’t have made it for you.”

“No, you shouldn’t have.” Draco agrees. Everyone waits in silence, and he sighs. “I do forgive you. I’ll murder all of you, though, if you hide something like that from me again. I won’t stand it.”

They all nod immediately.

“Now,” He says, very calmly. “You’re going to explain everything to me.”

And he eats in silence while they speak.

“Voldemort split his soul into Horocruxes.” Hermione explains. “Pieces of his soul. The list you left for Harry, we think it has all of them.” She doesn’t mention that Harry’s in that list, and neither does Draco. There are some things that are best kept private. “The diadem's here in the castle, we think.”

“In the room of Hidden things.” Draco nods. “The grey lady told me.”

“Alright.” Hermione nods. “And Hufflepuff’s cup might be here, too, but we’re not certain. We’re trying to track down the rest of the Horocruxes, and McGonagall’s found most of them, except for Riddle’s diary, Slytherin’s Locket, and Marvolo Gaunt’s ring. We think they might be hidden in Malfoy Manor.”

Draco nods.

“In my Occlumency lessons with Snape,” Harry continues. “I saw him speaking to Malfoy, in his cell, in Azkaban, just before school started, I think. They were talking about you.”

Draco swallows. “What about me?”

Harry looks grim when he answers. “Malfoy said you’d know a way to find the Horocruxes.”

“Why would I know?” Draco frowns. “I’ve never been there.”

“We don’t know, either.” Ron says. “But Malfoy seems convinced that you’ll know. He’ll try to get you.”

Draco rolls his eyes and gestures for them to continue. “What else?”

“Granger put a tracking spell on your wand, before you went missing.” Blaise continues. “That’s what we were doing, when you saw me and Potter in my bed together. We weren’t going to – I would never – I wouldn’t, Draco.”

Draco feels half-embarrassed by the intense wave of relief that floods his body. He shrugs a shoulder tensely.

“What did it say?” he asks. “The spell?”

“That you were in Granada,” Gin tells him. “Spain. Can you remember any of that?”

Draco shakes his head mutely, grimacing at the sharp flash of pain that shoots through his head at the mention of Spain. He scrambles for one of the potions the healers gave him from his bedside table and grips it tightly in his hand, in case it gets worse.

“Are you alright?” Ron asks worriedly.

“Yeah,” He mutters. “It just – it hurts.”

He drinks the potion, and gestures for them to keep talking.

“McGonagall also mentioned the elder wand.” Harry tells him. "She’s taking me to a man named Dumbledore, said he might know some things that might help us.”

“When?” Draco asks.

“This weekend.” Harry tells him.

Draco takes a deep breath and nods. “Alright,”

“Alright? Pansy repeats.

Draco nods. “What’ll we do next?”

Hermione lifts a shoulder. “We look for the Horocruxes we can. We can begin trying to destroy the diadem, see if something works. But until they speak to Dumbledore… there’s not much we can do.”

Draco chews on his lower lip thoughtfully.

“Meanwhile,” Ginny pointedly says. “I think we’ll leave you two to talk.”

She signals between him and Harry, and this was exactly what Draco wanted to avoid, so he opens his mouth to protest. Before he can, however, they’re already walking out.

“So,” Draco says, avoiding Harry’s eyes because of how intensely he’s staring at him. Harry leans against the bedside table, very close to him, and Draco looks at his shoes, suddenly very interesting. “Err. Nice weather today, isn’t it?”

“Draco,” Harry says.

“It’s sort of cloudy, and it’s cold, of course, but I’ve always liked this sort of weather,” Draco continues nervously. “Makes you wonder what sort of weather there’ll be in the wedding-”

“Draco.” Harry repeats.

“Fleur’s and Bill’s wedding, do you remember that?” Draco begins twisting his hands in his lap nervously, scratching at the skin until it goes red and raw. “Of course you do, it’s in a month and you’re invited and-”

“Draco!” Harry says.

Draco stops talking. He scratches harder at his hand nervously.

“We need to talk about this.” Harry says.

The scratching intensifies, and Harry takes his hand to stop him. Neither pulls away, and it’s sort of awkward, holding hands, but Draco’s almost swooning over the contact, however small it is.

“I can’t do this while you’re shagging Nott.” Harry tells him.

“I’m not.” Draco says quickly. “It – we – we don’t have sex. It’s a moaning tape. It was just to convince the boys in his dorm that we were having sex.”

Harry exhales, nodding slowly, and then he looks at him.

“You said you were in love with me.” He says, slowly, grip on Draco’s hand tightening slightly as if afraid he’ll run away.

Draco exhales carefully. “Yes.”

“For how long?” Harry asks.

Too long.

Instead, he lifts a shoulder.

There are a few tense moments of silence before Harry speaks again.

“Do you regret it?” he asks. “Now that you know everything.”

Now that you know I’m a Horocrux, he wants to ask, but he doesn’t.

Draco looks at him, eyes hard.

“No.” he says firmly. “I wish – I wish I hadn’t said it that way, but I don’t regret how I feel about you.”

Harry exhales, feeling like he might be able to breathe again.

“I – I’m falling in love with you, too.” He says lowly, and Draco’s heart stutters, lungs momentarily useless. Harry chuckles. “I realized it when you left after seeing me and Blaise. You were gone and I didn’t know if you were alright-” he exhales harshly. “I was so fucking worried.”

Harry looks at him, and Draco allows himself to look at his impossibly green eyes, shining and so fucking gorgeous, staring only at him.

Guided mostly on instinct, Draco pulls Harry onto the bed, sits him beside him, lets their noses rub together, their lips almost touch.

“Let me kiss you,” Harry murmurs.

Draco’s heart tries to escape his ribs.

“Yes,” he whispers.

Harry leans forward and kisses him.

It’s… everything. Draco doesn’t know how to describe it. It’s urgent and relaxed at the same time, it’s soft, and firm, and warm, and kind, and everything. His lips are soft, and warm, and Draco has longed for this so bad for so long he’s burning with it.

His hands tangle in Harry’s hair to drag him closer, and instead, Harry pulls away, panting lightly.

“Don’t do that again.” He whispers. “Disappear again, not letting me know if you’re alright. I can’t take it.”

“I won’t.” Draco whispers back. “I swear.”

Harry kisses him again, and Draco melts against his body. He’s pulled into Harry’s lap, and Merlin this is going to be Draco’s favorite place to sit for the rest of eternity.

The kiss drags on for a few more seconds before Draco feels Harry’s tongue against his, and all he can think of is ‘oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck’.

He’s never kissed anyone like this before. He’s never really kissed anyone, other than Theo, and those were chaste kisses at best.

Still, when Harry grips his waist, Draco finds himself relaxing into it, not a thought in the world except for how good it feels when Harry touches him.

Before long, he finds lying on top of Harry, still kissing lazily, and as soon as he realizes their position, he pulls away from the kiss, though leaves their bodies flush against each other.

“I’m a virgin,” he blurts, panicked, face burning.

Harry looks at him through heavy-lidded eyes and clears his throat, letting go of Draco’s waist for a moment to push his glasses up his nose, even though they’re fogged up.

“Alright,” he clears his throat again, leaning up on his elbows. “We don’t – we don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. I’m not expecting anything. We can take it slow.”

Draco nods, heart hammering in his chest.

“You – you do know how it works though, right?” Harry asks awkwardly. “I mean, the basics?”

“Of course I know!” Draco says, embarrassed, even though he doesn’t. His parents never really talked to them about sex. Bill tried to, once, Draco pretty much plugged his ears and ran away.

“Alright,” Harry says, clearly relieved. He looks at Draco hesitantly. “But… we can keep doing this, right now? Snogging, I mean.”

Draco’s cheeks are burning, but he nods quickly, and really, it’s the best choice he’s made in his entire life.

Chapter Text

“Mate, I’m trying to eat here,” Ron complains, throwing a couple of crisps at Harry.

Harry stops kissing Draco reluctantly, grunting and glaring half-heartedly at Ron.

“Just because I’ve given my blessing for this doesn’t mean I can’t take it back,” the red-head threatens.

Draco huffs, but topples off Harry’s lap, sitting next to him on the grass. Harry thoroughly enjoys the debouched look on him: the red cheeks, the messy, moussed hair, tie undone and a lovely bruise just in the underside of his jaw – though that was done in private – and Harry probably shouldn’t be as smug as he is that he’s the reason for the blonde’s untidy look.

Draco sticks his tongue out at Ron.

“We don’t need your blessing,” he says petulantly. “And you can’t take it back now.”

Ron scowls, and Harry grins, kissing his boyfriend’s cheek. It makes Draco turn redder, but he hums in appreciation.

“Let them be happy, Ronald.” Hermione says besides Ron, lying on the grass and reading a book on Horocruxes.

Harry admits that he’s probably been too caught up in Draco and not focusing enough on what’s been going on around him, but he can’t help himself. Draco’s irresistible, with his soft hair, softer lips, his terribly biteable neck and his exquisite arse…

And Harry’s half hard now. He quickly changes his line of thought and thinks of the time he was stuck listening to Seamus and Dean all night when they first got together because they forgot silencing charms.

It does the trick.

“They can be happy!” Ron says. “I just don’t like my best mate snogging my baby brother when I’m eating!”

“You’re always eating.” Harry points out.

“So?” Ron asks.

Draco huffs again and rolls his eyes, until a devilish smirk takes over his lips.

“Alright,” he agrees. “So we’ll just have to do it in private, won’t we Harry?” he hums and runs his fingers teasingly through Harry’s chest. Harry’d like to pretend it doesn’t get to him, but, frustratingly, it does. He’s not a virgin, damn it, the ‘I’ll get an erection if you even look at me inappropriately’ stage was supposed to be over. “Imagine how much more we can do with no one around-”

“Alright, alright!” Ron snaps. His whole face is red, and Harry, Hermione, and Draco all burst out laughing. “I don’t want talk about that. I don’t want to even think about that. I don’t even want that to be something anyone thinks about-”

Harry tunes him out as he continues rambling, instead using his time to rub the tip of his nose against the line of Draco’s throat, teases his lips against his clothed shoulder. Draco hums again, and he sits between Harry’s legs when he straightens back up. Harry wraps his arms around his boyfriend’s waist, and Draco burrows himself deeper against his chest.

Ron makes a face.

“I’m disgusted,” he says. “Really, I am.”

“Shut up, I’m happy.” Draco says from somewhere in Harry’s chest.

Harry laughs. “I am, too.”

“You are?” Draco practically beams up at him, face glowing.

“Yeah,” Harry says, smiling down at him. “Definitely.”

They kiss again.

“Seriously!” Ron complains. “What’s it going to take to-”

Draco pulls away abruptly.

“Wait, wait,” he says. “I forgot – I have an essay due tomorrow – it’s thirty inches – I haven’t even started-”

Harry pouts. “Do you have to?”

“Yes, he has to!” Hermione says crossly. “Schoolwork is very important, Harry!”

Draco nods. “I have to.” He stands, stumbles lightly since his legs are half-asleep. “I’ll see you at dinner, alright Harry?”

Harry nods – they kiss goodbye once more – and Draco hears Ron complaining as he walks away.

He checks carefully before taking a turn towards the staircase instead of the library. He uses one of the secret passages that lead straight to the shrieking shack. It’s filthy, and it sort of gives him the creeps, but it’s what he has to do.

He pulls himself out of the passage, coughing violently, and finds Ginny already waiting there for him.

“A thirty inch essay?” she scoffs, giving him a look, dusting dirt and filth off her robes. She’s wearing dark, plain robes, with a hood that allows her to hide her face. He’s wearing a similar attire. Their resemblance to death eaters isn’t accidental; fear really motivates people to give them what they want. “That was your excuse?”

Draco goes red. He hadn’t noticed she’d heard that. “What was yours?” he asks accusingly.

“Loo.” She says.

“Loo?” Draco asks disbelievingly. “Don’t you think they’ll begin to wonder after you’ve been in the ‘loo’ for three hours?”

Ginny upturns her nose. “I’ll figure it out.”

The sky outside is quickly darkening, and Draco chews on his lower lip. “Let’s go,”

“Do you have it?” Ginny asks anxiously.

Draco shakes his head. “I left it in the room of hidden things. It’s better there.”

Draco found the diadem nearly a week and a half ago, when he spoke with the grey lady – but after a week of endless experimenting, he still hasn’t gotten any closer to destroying it, so he’d called Ginny in.

They’ve tried everything – and he means everything – from a well placed Incendio to rare, black-market venom, but nothing’s worked. They venture into Knockturn Alley thrice a week in the hopes that something might work, but so far, it’s been useless.

They place a mild disillusionment charm on each other, and then sneak out, making their way into Knockturn.

People move out of their way practically quivering with fear – something Draco really isn’t used to, being as short and narrow as he is – and they walk closely together, wands gripped tightly on their fists.

They meet Mundungus Fletcher at their usual spot – it’s really, really weird to have a ‘usual’ spot in Knockturn.

“It was expensive,” Mundungus assures them. “And you’re not going to find a lot of it, ever. It’s a one of a time opportunity.”

“What do you have for us, Fletcher?” Ginny asks impatiently. She doesn’t like being here with Draco; he’s her baby brother, and she doesn’t feel quite certain on her ability to protect him here, so she always tries to get them out as soon as possible.

“Basilisk venom.” Fletcher whispers, extending a small vial. It’s one of the last few things on the list Draco had given him. “It’s really, very quite rare. You need to be careful-”

Draco takes the vial from him, shoving it in the pocket of his robes.

“Are we even then?” Fletcher asks nervously as they walk away. “You won’t speak to Greyback?”

They’d threatened him with it; even gone as far as to use one of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes’ ‘realistic werewolf bite’ on Draco’s arm to convince him he’d bitten Draco. He’d eaten it up like candy.

“We’ll tell you if we need anything else.” Draco says lightly.

They walk away, and Ginny lets out a sigh.

“Jesus,” she murmurs. “I hate being here-”

There’s a flash of blond somewhere near the corner of Draco’s eyes, and he turns, blinking widely at Lucius Malfoy’s figure, retreating into a side alley.

“That’s Malfoy!” He whispers to Ginny.

She shudders and makes a face. “Let’s go, come on.”

“We should follow him.” Draco says immediately.

“Follow him?” Ginny screeches in a whisper. “Follow him? You want to follow a known death eater into an alley? Where the hell is your sense of survival, you bloody moron?!”

“We could find answers!” Draco says.

“We could end up dead!” Ginny points out.

It’s a very good point.

“It could-” he begins, but before he can continue, there’s a hand at the back of his neck, gripping tightly, and a long-suffering sigh.

“I swear to all Gods,” A deep voice says. “Harry had told me you tended to find trouble, but this is just ridiculous!”

Draco turns back, manages to catch sight of dark, long hair, a sharp jaw.

“Get off me!” he struggles, as Ginny does, too. “Who the fuck do you think you are-”

The man grins, and he lets go of them as soon as they exit Knockturn Alley.

“Sirius Black,” he says coolly, stretching out his hand. “I believe we haven’t met.”

Draco freezes, and Sirius’s grin widens.

“Now,” he says calmly. “I believe you two kids belong at Hogwarts?”


 

McGonagall gives them the scolding of Draco’s entire life. He has to sit in the chair and just listen while she hisses at them furiously, Professor Lupin, and Sirius Black all standing around.

When McGonagall is finished, she sends them away harshly with a promise that she is going to chain them to their beds at night if she has to – and she’s not like Sprout, Draco doesn’t believe for a second she won’t follow through – and when he steps out into the Hall, Ron is standing there, with his arms crossed.

“Are you bloody stupid?” is the first thing he asks.

Draco crosses his arms sullenly.

“No.” both him and Gin mutter.

Ron raises an eyebrow. “Were you imperiused then?”

“No,” they say again.

“Alright,” he says calmly. “Then why – why in all bloody hell would you sneak into KNOCKTURN ALLEY AT NIGHT?!”

His words keep getting louder and louder until he’s roaring, and Draco cringes.

“I-” he begins.

“Don’t.” Ron snaps. “Do you like giving me grey hair?! Do you want me to die of a stroke!?”

“No!” Both him and Ginny say.

“Then stop bloody acting like it!” Ron roars. “Sneaking into Knockturn at night, how fucking – bloody morons – don’t even tell a guy – gonna die at seventeen, this is it – have to put a bloody leash on you, like crups – I swear I bloody hate you-”

Draco grins hesitantly.

“But you love us?” he guesses.

Ron glowers, and Draco stops grinning.

“Too soon.” Ginny mutters beside him.

“You,” Ron says pointedly. “Are both sleeping in the Gryffindor dorms tonight.”

“What?” Draco asks. “But-”

“Or,” Ron continues. “I can chain you to your bed and then you can sleep in the Hufflepuff dorms.”

“Alright,” Draco mutters. “Fine.”

They walk to the Gryffindor dorms, and when they enter the dorm, Harry’s shirtless. It’s all Draco can see.

“What are you doing here?” Harry asks, pulling on a shirt. Draco’s half sure he’s drooling.

“He snuck out to Knockturn.” Ron says gruffly.

“What?” Harry asks, turning to look at Draco. Draco shrinks back a little.

“It was for a good cause,” He defends weakly.

“Risking your life?!” Harry asks.

Draco doesn’t respond.

“I call the left side,” he tells Ron instead.

“Fine,” Ron mutters.

They change into their pajamas, and afterwards, just lie in bed quietly.

“I’m sorry.” Draco says, because he feels like he has to. “That I scared you. I didn’t mean to.”

Ron shrugs stiffly. There is silence for a while, and then, he sighs, rubbing at his forehead.

“Can you just – stop?” he says. “I know we agreed that you’re a part of this war – I know you’re a part of this war but – can’t you just be an – I don’t know, a passive part of this war?”

Draco smiles crookedly.

“I think you know the answer to that.” He says quietly.

Ron sighs. “Yeah, fine. Fine. Just – next time, warn me, yeah?”

Draco nods, even though he’s not sure he isn’t lying.

After Ron falls asleep, Draco tosses and turns for a few minutes, attempting to sleep, and when he doesn’t manage it, he sighs and sits up.

“Trouble sleeping?” Harry’s voice sends a chill through Draco’s spine, and he straightens slightly.

“It’s nothing.” He says.

He can see Harry’s vivid green eyes even in the dark, staring at him from the next bed over.

“Do you want to…?” Harry trails off, pulling a bit of his blanket backwards, patting the mattress next to him.

Draco’s heart pounds, and he swallows. “I’m not ready to have sex yet.”

Harry shakes his head. “That’s not what I meant.”

He chews on his lower lip, and his voice comes out weak when he speaks. “Would you mind if I slept with you tonight?”

Harry grins a little bit. “If I minded I wouldn’t be offering, brat.”

Draco slips into Harry’s bed, as quietly as he can, and lets himself calm down with the feeling of Harry’s arms wrapped around him, his chest against Draco’s back, their legs tangled together.

“You’re safe now,” Harry whispers. “It’s alright.”

And there, like that, Draco falls asleep.

Chapter Text

“And we’ve found the Blackthorn’s-” It’s dark, and everything’s fuzzy around the edges, but Harry can see one of them speaking across from him. Across from Voldemort. There are more death eaters than he can name – their numbers have been rising more and more at a worrying rate – but he can recognize Bellatrix and Rodolphus Lestrange, Antonin Dolohov, Lucius Malfoy sitting around the table.

Greyback is sitting in the corner picking at his teeth with a slender bone, glaring half-heartedly at another death eater.

“I don’t want to know about the Blackthorns.” Voldemort snaps harshly. “I want to know about the Malfoy boy. Where is he?”

“Still at Hogwarts, my lord.” Lucius Malfoy says. “Snape has been keeping an eye on him-”

“Is that what I asked of you?” Voldemort asks. “No! I asked you to bring him here. You said you needed help, Lucius, and I gave you Bellatrix and Dolohov. Are the three of you so incompetent that you’re unable to get me a sixteen year old boy?”

“He’s never alone,” Dolohov says. “He’s always with those Weasley’s or that – that Parkinson girl and that Zabini boy-”

“I didn’t ask who he’s with.” He snaps. “I want him here. Get him from the wedding, everyone will be distracted.”

He pauses, and everyone avoids his eyes. Voldemort’s eyes. It’s getting harder to tell which is which these days.

“You’ll get me the boy, Lucius. Or I’ll send Greyback for him.” Voldemort declares.

Harry wakes up with his heart hammering against his chest, and his hand immediately goes to the space beside him, frantically searching for Draco, unknowing of the reason why. He doesn’t remember anything from the dream, apart from small, vague images of it.

The sheets are still warm, but the bed’s empty, and Harry sits up, halfway panicked. He scrambles to put his glasses on, and then he pulls his drapes open.

“Hey,” Draco comes into the room right as Harry swings his legs over the side, and he breathes out relieved. “I got you coffee.”

He passes Harry a steaming mug, and climbs onto bed beside him. Harry maneuvers his legs onto the bed again, and Draco closes the drapes with a charm.

“Coffee,” Harry repeats, brain still a bit foggy from the dream, stomach still tight in knots but less so than when he woke up, anxiety fading away gradually thanks to Draco’s hand running softly through his hair.

“I convinced the elves to sneak me some before breakfast.” Draco says, smiling and perching himself onto the space between Harry’s legs, placing his legs over Harry’s and wrapping them around his hips so they’re face to face. “I thought you’d like some. You’ve been sleeping less and less lately.” He looks at him sternly. “Even if you’ve been trying to lie to me.”

It’s true, and Harry feels a pang of guilt go through him. They’ve been sleeping in the same bed for a while now, and Harry always stays in bed until Draco wakes so the blond will think he sleeps as much as he does, but truth is, he often doesn’t sleep at all.

“Are we going into that subject?” Harry asks lightly. “Because then we also need to talk about why you’ve been venturing into Knockturn Alley.”

It still bothers him, that Draco didn’t tell him, but he doesn’t want to get mad without speaking to him first. Of course, with McGonagall fuming at him and Ginny and then Ron getting protective, they’d had little chance last night.

Draco takes a deep breath. “I wasn’t trying to hide it from you.” He pauses. In the privacy of Harry’s four-poster, he is unexpectedly soft. Nowhere near as sarcastic and witty as he is outside. “I mean, I wasn’t trying to hide it specifically from you. I promised the Grey Lady I’d destroy the diadem alone.”

“Have you?” Harry asks.

Draco shakes his head. “Everything I’ve tried has been a pathetic attempt at destroying it. I’d – I found a dealer in Knockturn and Gin and I got some rare stuff from him for the diadem, but nothing’s worked yet.”

“How did you get the money for it?” Harry frowns.

“We didn’t.”

“Then why would he-?”

Draco’s lips twist, and he scratches uncomfortably at his forearm.

Realization dawns.

“You told him you’re a Death Eater.” He says bluntly.

Draco flinches. “I – we – I didn’t know how else. We didn’t have anything to offer, and – I’m going to find a way, Harry. I have to.”

I have to find a way to save you, goes unsaid between them, but Harry hears it all the same. He sighs.

“If you don’t-” he begins.

Draco’s eyes flash dangerously.

“I will.”

“I’m sure you will, love.” Harry says softly. “But if you don’t-”

“Harry Potter, I swear to god-”

“Listen to me, Draco, please.” Harry says. Draco looks away, and his cheeks redden in anger, and his forehead tightens in a frown, but he listens. “If you don’t, you have to know how this could end.”

“It’ll end with me, or Hermione, or McGonagall, or bloody Luna finding a way to only get rid of the Horocruxes.” Draco snaps, eyes flashing towards Harry and then away again. “Turn them off, carve them out, whatever the hell it takes.”

“Or it’ll end with us having to destroy the part of Voldemort that’s inside of me.” Harry tells him. “You know that. You must know that.”

Draco refuses to look at him, and he blinks quickly. If Harry’s not mistaken, there are tears in his eyes, and he never wanted to make Draco sad, so he pulls the smaller boy closer until there’s barely any room to breathe.

“Don’t, Potter.” Draco snaps in his ear, all teeth and no bite behind it. His fist grips tightly at Harry’s shirt. “It won’t end like that. I won’t let it.”

“I know,” Harry murmurs against his neck, pressing a soft kiss to the soft skin. “I believe you.”

“You fucking better.” Draco says. “I’ll take it as a personal offence if you doubt my ability as a researcher.”

Harry laughs softly. “I wouldn’t.”

“Good.”

They stay like that, in silence, until Harry lies down with Draco on top of him, legs tangled together and chests pressed against each other. It’s Saturday, so they don’t have to be up until Harry has to meet McGonagall. He keeps one hand on Draco’s hip and the other one running softly up and down his side until his boyfriend’s breathing evens out.

This’ll have to do, for now. Whatever happens, with Voldemort, with the war, with Lucius bloody Malfoy; Draco’s Harry’s, just as much as Hermione and Ron are, and Harry’s not going to let anything happen to him.

He’ll make sure Voldemort doesn’t ever fucking touch him.

-----

They wake up later again, when Ron freaks out about Draco being in his bed, and Harry showers and goes with McGonagall so they can visit Dumbledore. She floos the two of them only, leaving a worried looking Remus, Hermione, Ron, and Draco behind, and as much as Harry wishes he could stay with them, he can’t.

It’s a small house they come to, and though it seems to be too full of books and cauldrons and various curious-looking objects, everything seems to have its place.

“Minerva, Harry, I’ve been expecting you.”

The man has white, long hair, and a matching beard. He has twinkling eyes, and he’s sitting in a small couch with a steaming mug.

“Albus,” McGonagall nods. She hasn’t told Harry much about him, other than the fact that he’s one of the most powerful wizards in the world. Harry isn’t in anyway inclined to doubt her. “Potter, this is Albus Dumbledore. Albus, this is-”

“Harry Potter, yes.” Dumbledore says. Harry doesn’t like that he interrupted McGonagall, but he tries to keep an open mind. “Sit, my boy.”

He sits across from Dumbledore in a small couch, and McGonagall sits next to him.

“Now,” Dumbledore leans back. “Tell me everything.”

----

While Harry goes to visit Dumbledore, Draco grabs the vial of Basilisk Venom from his robe pocket and goes back to the room of hidden things. He sits in an old desk with the diadem, the vial, and his wand, trying to figure out the best way to do it. He needs to figure it out that day, because tomorrow they’re leaving for the Burrow for the Winter Hols, and he doesn’t want to take a Horocrux with him.

He wonders what he’ll do if it works. For all the confidence with which he’d told Harry he’d find a way, he’s not sure. Even if Basilisk venom does work, there’s no way Harry’ll drink it and survive. Draco’s been spending more of his time on Horocrux research than on classes, and he’s getting desperate. There’s very little information on the subject, and he hasn’t found anything about a person being a Horocrux.

It doesn’t matter, he thinks decisively. He’ll do whatever he has to, for Harry. He doesn’t care what he has to do, Harry will survive this. He’ll make sure of it.

---

Harry arrives back at Hogwarts at nightfall with a heavy heart.

“Potter,” McGonagall says, placing a hand on his shoulder. “What Dumbledore said… you’re not going to have to die for this. I won’t allow it.”

“Thank you, Professor,” Harry says. “But I’m not sure there’s much you can do.”

McGonagall’s eyes flash angrily in the same way Draco’s did this morning, and Harry almost feels like laughing. The pounding pain running across his scar stops him though. It hasn’t stopped hurting since it flashed while they were in the middle of their visit to Dumbledore.

“That man may be brilliant, Potter, but he is not a seer. A supposition from him is not a death sentence.”

It feels like one.

“Harry!” His mood lightens a bit when a flash of blond hair comes in sight, a second before Draco crashes into him, making Harry stumble backwards when he catches him.

“What’s wrong?” he asks immediately, grabbing Draco’s face to make sure everything’s alright. He’s grinning wildly though, grey eyes shining, and Harry relaxes a bit.

“I did it!” He says.

“You did it.” Harry repeats. “Did what?”

“The diadem!” Draco says. “The Horocrux, I did it, I found a way to destroy it!”

“You did?” McGonagall asks, eyes widening behind her glasses.

“I did!” Draco says, pulling away from Harry to look at McGonagall excitedly. Harry grabs onto his hip, pulling him closer and resting his chin on his head. Draco wraps an arm around his waist and presses a kiss to Harry’s shoulder before turning to McGonagall again. “Basilisk venom! It just – as soon as it touched the diadem it started sort of – hissing, and a green light came out, and – and I asked the Grey Lady and she says it’s done!”

“You were experimenting with basilisk venom?” McGonagall and Harry ask at the same time.

Draco waves them both away impatiently, and Harry decides that they’ll definitely revisit this subject later.

“Look! Look at it! It’s nothing! It’s a diadem!” Draco shoves the diadem at them, and McGonagall takes it cautiously.

“I’ll have Mr. Black test it.” McGonagall says. Thanks to Sirius’s long time living with dark objects, he’s good at identifying and testing them, so he occasionally does McGonagall – or other people he respects – these kinds of favors.

She leaves with a curt nod, and Harry turns to Draco with raised eyebrows.

“Basilisk venom?” he repeats.

Draco flushes a little. “I was careful.”

Harry gives him a deadpan look. “Right.”

Draco flushes further, and Harry grins and presses a kiss to his forehead.

“What did Dumbledore say?” Draco asks, and Harry’s heart sinks again.

“Nothing,” Harry lies. “He wasn’t helpful, at all.”

“Oh,” Draco frowns lightly. “Well. We’ll figure it out. With or without that loon’s help.”

Harry grins half-heartedly. “I’m counting on it.”

 Draco pulls him close again, and, together, they walk towards the Gryffindor Dorm. Harry tightens his hold on Draco’s hip and kisses his hair, trying to calm the dread pooling in his chest.

Chapter Text

It’s relatively quiet on Sunday, and then they all pack up and get on the Hogwarts express to the Weasley’s for Bill and Fleur’s wedding. They’re getting married Friday, and Draco can barely contain his excitement, even if he is a little nervous about seeing his mum for the first time since he found out he was adopted.

“So,” Thomas grins from where he’s sitting on Adam’s bed with his arms wrapped around him. Draco shoots him a warning look. It’s the first time Harry’s been around his dorm mates – he’s sitting on the bed while Draco finishes packing – and he just knows Thomas will say something inappropriate. “How’s the sex?”

There it is.

Draco feels his face grow hot, and he glares at Thomas venomously. “Shut up.”

“You’ve been sleeping in the Gryffindor dorms for weeks, Draco, so something must be going well.” Thomas grins. “Potter, you have to be gentle with our Draco, because he’s still a blushing virgin-”

Shut up Thomas!” Draco says, panicked, and he can see Harry laughing quietly. Bastard.

Thomas laughs, and Adam pinches his thigh lightly. “You’re a menace.”

“A bastard is what you are,” Draco mutters darkly. He snaps his suitcase shut and pulls it off the bed. “We’re leaving.”

He grabs Harry’s hand and ignores his friends’ yells as he walks out of the Hufflepuff dorms.

In the train, Draco falls asleep curled up in Harry’s lap, and he doesn’t wake until they arrive.

When they get off the train, his mum is there waiting for them, and there’re a few moments of tense silence before she grabs him and pulls him to her chest, hugging him tightly.

“You’re my son,” she whispers, blinking tears away. “You must know that.”

Draco hugs his mum back, and she smiles and pets his hair lightly before moving on to hug everyone else. When they get to the burrow there’s a similar flurry of hugs in which Bill smacks Draco and calls him ‘a bloody idiot’, with which Fred, George, and Charlie agree.

Draco hugs Fleur, and she immediately steals him away to her bedroom – which is Bill’s, actually.

“What’s going on?” he asks, frowning lightly.

“I,” Fleur says, sitting on the bed. “Want you to be my – my honor – my man? My best maid?”

A smile begins to spread out over Draco’s face. “Your maid of honor? Your best man?”

“That!” Fleur says triumphantly. Then her face softens, and she smiles lightly. “Will you be?”

“Of course!” Draco says immediately. “I’d love to be your best maid!”

Fleur laughs and throws a pillow at him.


By the time Draco and Fleur come back downstairs, something’s happened. Draco doesn’t know what, but Harry’s sitting at one end of the table, looking supremely uncomfortable, and Bill, his mum, Charlie, Fred, and George at the other end, with crossed arms and frowns on their faces.

Ron and Hermione are sitting by Harry’s side, looking uncomfortable, and Ginny’s sitting between Harry and the frowning Weasley’s, watching all of it with a terribly amused expression.

“What’s wrong?” Draco asks.

Immediately, his mum and siblings look to him.

“You’re dating?” Molly asks, signaling between him and Harry. “And you didn’t tell us?”

Draco’s face is immediately burning, and he can only imagine how red he is. Ginny laughs, and he glares at her. “You told them?”

“No!” She says. “Ron did!”

Draco turns his glare on his brother.

“It slipped out!” Ron defends. “It’s not like I meant to do it! I just asked about the sleeping arrangements because you’ve been sleeping with Harry at Hogwarts, and-”

“You are sleeping together?” Molly practically shrieks, looking between Harry and Draco accusingly.

“No-” Draco tries, but he goes unheard.

“Are you using protective spells?” Bill asks immediately. “All of them? I knew I shouldn’t have let you run away from that conversation-”

“We’re not-” Harry begins.

“Is it good?” the twins ask, and that’s just one step too far for Draco.

“No!” He says immediately. Everyone looks at him, and his face goes even redder. “I mean, no, we’re not sleeping together! We’re just sleeping together!”

Everyone stares at him.

“We’re not having sex.” Draco explains. He can’t possibly ignore how much his face is burning, but he feels like he needs to clear this up. “We are dating, we’re not having sex, we’re just sleeping in the same bed. That’s it!”

His siblings and his mother stare at them suspiciously. Fleur and Ginny seem terribly amused, though at least Fleur is trying to hide her laughter behind her hand.

“Well, would you look at the time!” She says, and Draco glares at her venomously. “Draco agreed to be my best man, so we’re off to do some bridal – wedding – planning – things.”

And with that, she takes Draco’s arm and leads him out the door, leaving Harry alone with the wolves.

“You,” she says, finally letting go of her laughter. “Need to tell me everything.”


The next four days are spent in a haze of putting out fires (most of them rhetorical except for one), helping Fleur greet family and guests coming from France, making sure everything is ready, and, at night, finally collapsing into bed with Harry.

Technically, Draco’s supposed to be sleeping with Ron, but Ron agreed to not tell their mum that Draco sleeps in Harry’s bed – his bed, actually, just with Harry in it – as long as there’s ‘no funny business’.

As if Draco would be willing to lose his virginity with his brother in the room.

The wedding arrives surprisingly quickly, and the night before it he’s lying on top of Harry’s chest, with Harry’s hands gently running up and down his spine, when he mentions it.

“Draco?” he asks gently.

Draco hums in response, nearly asleep.

“Ron, Hermione, and I are leaving.” It’s said too quickly and too lowly for Draco to understand immediately, but when he does, he stiffens against Harry. He pulls away slightly so he can look at his face. “We need to find the rest of the Horocruxes, now that you know how to destroy them. We have some – some suspicions as to where they are, and – say something, please.”

Draco swallows, tries to organize his thoughts.

“I’m coming with you,” he says.

“No.” Harry answers immediately. Draco’s heart skips a beat. “No, Draco, it’s too dangerous, please. I need – I need to know you’re safe, I need you here.”

Draco begins to shake his head as he sits up, straddling Harry’s lap. “No. I can’t – I can’t just sit around at Hogwarts while the three of you are out there almost dying. I – I want to come, take me with you. I’ll help, I can help. You know better than anyone that I do help, I’m the one who found out how to destroy them-”

“And that was crucial.” Harry agrees. “But-”

Draco doesn’t hear the rest of his sentence. He can’t think past what Harry’s already said. I’m leaving. You’re not coming with me. Merlin knows when we’ll see each other again. If.

He shakes his head and gets off Harry with shaky legs.

“Draco, where are you-”

“I’m going.” Draco says, more harshly than he means to, and sees Harry flinch back slightly. He doesn’t care. “I – I need to leave.”

He stumbles out of his room in a daze, and somehow ends up in the twins’.

“What’re you doing here, brat?” Fred asks, words slurred lightly with sleep.

“Can I sleep here tonight?” he whispers, and something in his voice must not be right, because Fred opens an eye to look at him. He assesses for a minute, and then pulls back the covers to his bed. Draco gets in stiffly, and Fred pats his head.

“Whatever it is, we’ll fix it in the morning.” he says. “Everything is always fixed in the morning.”

Draco tries to believe him.


The next morning, the day of the wedding, Molly wakes all of them at seven a.m.

She seems to be even more nervous about this than Fleur is, and so she gives everyone something to do. Thankfully, everything she assigns to Draco is Fleur-related, since he is the best man, and so he doesn’t have to face Harry.

He sees him throw concerned glances at him once in a while, but Draco resolutely ignores them and tightens his jaw every time it happens. By the time the wedding comes, Draco’s jaw is painfully tight.

He greets guests with a very fake smile, and then cries during the ceremony. He’s incredibly happy for both Bill and Fleur, and when the celebration begins, he sits in one of the tables, watching them dance. Their smiles bring a real smile to his face.

“Do you want to dance with me?” he turns to see Harry extending a hand towards him, and his chest tightens in anger and sadness both.

“You don’t dance,” he points out.

“Do you want to stand in the dance floor and pretend to dance just so I can hold you very close to me without having your mum smack me with a spoon?” Harry rectifies, and, despite himself, Draco smiles lightly.

He takes Harry’s hand, and Harry leads him to the dance floor. Once there, he grabs Draco’s waist and pulls him closer, and Draco wraps his arms around Harry’s neck, resting his cheek against his chest, Harry’s chin on the top of his head. They sway from side to side gently, not at all to the beat of the song, but Harry’s hands are on him and Draco can hear his heartbeat and nothing else matters for a moment.

Until it does.

“Take me with you,” he says softly.

“Hmm?” Harry asks, frowning lightly.

Draco pulls away lightly.

“Take me with you,” he repeats. Harry opens his mouth, and Draco doesn’t let him continue. “I – I know you say you need me to be safe, but who knows how Hogwarts will be after the Holidays? Or – or who knows what’ll happen with the death eaters, and Voldemort, and whoever the fuck else. Please, just – please. I need to – I need to know you’re alive.”

Harry cups his cheek, softly presses his lips against his forehead and takes a shaky breath. “Merlin, Draco you don’t know how badly I want that.”

“So do it.” Draco pleads, but Harry shakes his head.

“I can’t. I – Voldemort wants to kill me, and if – I can’t. If he finds me and you’re with me, he’ll kill you. I can’t risk that happening to you.”

“But you can risk it happening to Ron?” Draco demands. “Or Hermione?”

“That’s different,” Harry argues. “They’re not – they’re my best friends-”

“And I’m just your boyfriend,” Draco says. They stop swaying, and Harry runs a hand through his dreadfully messy hair.

I love you, Draco.” He says. “Alright? I love you, and I can’t – I can’t ask you to do this.”

“You don’t need to ask!” Draco says, exasperated. “I am offering. I – I-” his voice breaks, but he pushes through it because he needs this, needs Harry to agree, to take him along, to be with him even if they both die before next year. “I’m not some Muggle wife you can just leave behind when there’s a war.” he tries to blink the tears away, but a few of them slip down his cheeks. “I can’t – I refuse to be useless.”

“You’re not.” Harry dries his tears with his thumb soothingly, and he pulls Draco close and presses his lips to his hair. “Merlin, Draco, of course you’re not. I love you, alright? Remember that. I’ll do everything I can to get back to you.”

“I love you, too.” Draco whispers, fisting his hands on Harry’s suit. “Please. Please, I – take me with you, please.”

“Draco, I-”

There’s a loud scream, and then everything descends into chaos.

Before he knows what’s happening, Draco has his wand in his hand and is looking around warily, just in time to see dozens of death eaters beginning to shout out spells in flashes of green.

Protego!” he manages to shout it just in time, and a flash of green fizzles out against the invisible shield. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

He loses track of Harry.

He tries to stay close to him, at first, but there are too many people screaming, too many bodies on the floor – unconscious – Draco thinks, because they cannot be dead, they are not dead.

It’s quick, and it’s brutal. Draco thinks Harry’s already left until he catches sight of green eyes, looking straight at him, shouting something that Draco doesn’t understand. It’s only a second of distraction, but it’s also his downfall.

The next spell fired at him shatters his protego, sends him crashing back into one of the tables, hitting his head on the edge of it.

Fuck,” he mutters.

Everything is blurry, his ears are ringing. Distantly, he knows he needs to stand, needs to reach his wand. Without it, he’s as good as dead, and he needs – needs – needs – fuck, he can’t think.

He catches sight of his wand, lying under rubble and burning pieces of wood, and he tries to get to it. Just as his fingers close around it, a shiny black shoe steps on his wrist. Draco drops it with a pained grunt, looking up at the blurry figure of Bellatrix Lestrange.

“Hello, nephew.” Her grin is terrifying. “You and I are going to have so much fun.”

Before Draco can open his mouth, she grabs him, and they disapparate.

Chapter Text

Draco wakes up cold and alone. The floor he’s lying on is damp and uneven. He thinks, for a moment, that the reason he can’t see is because he’s been blindfolded, but he’s not. His next conclusion is that he’s been blinded, and the panic rises in him like a tide wave. He forces himself to breathe, forces himself to lie there instead of standing and running like he wants to.

The events of the wedding – however long ago that was – come back to him in what feels like a punch to the gut. He turns to the side and vomits.

When he’s done, he fights back the rising panic – because fuck fuck fuck he’s dead, or he will be because he will never last long with the death eaters, he can’t do this, he can’t – and instead busies himself with tentatively getting on his knees. He feels the space around him, and carefully, slowly, he begins crawling in one direction, arms feeling the floor in front of him to make sure he’s not in danger of suddenly falling to his death.

It doesn’t take him long to reach one wall. He doesn’t dare stand yet, so he instead crawls along it until he bumps into a corner. He makes a turn and crawls along that wall, then the next, and the third time he turns, instead of a wall, he finds metal bars.

Fuck, he thinks. Certain that he’s not going to fall to his death soon, he stands, and walks around the small cell twice again, feet dragging on the stone floor.

He presses himself against the corner furthest from the cell bars, and sinks down onto the floor, shaking like a leaf. He desperately tries to think of something to do, anything to keep the panic that’s threatening to suffocate him at bay, but he can’t think.

Instead, he buries his head in his knees and breathes.

*

Various days pass without anyone coming to visit him; the first few days the hunger sent pangs of pain along his whole body, but eventually the pain seemed to calm down. No one’s come to visit him, and Draco’s half-convinced that the death eaters have no intention of using him, only buried him alive, when a door opens.

The light is bright, and Draco squeezes his eyes shut with a flinch. He hears the cell door unlocking and opening, and he opens his eyes, even though they hurt, trying to get a good look at whoever it is that’s there. The relief he’d felt when seeing the light – he’s spent however long he’s been here wondering if he’d gone blind – is short-lived.

He only manages to see a silhouette before he’s grabbed by the arm and dragged to his feet. He immediately begins to struggle, and the grip tightens, claws digging into the skin of his arm, drawing blood.

“That’s not going to work, princess.” The man informs him, and, as he’s dragged outside, Draco freezes in horror.

Fernir Greyback.

That’s – that’s – fuck.

His struggles, now renewed, become more insistent, but Greyback only laughs and digs his claws in tighter until Draco whimpers, eyes filling with tears. He blinks them away quickly and tries to balance himself so that he’s walking instead of just letting Greyback drag him.

His heart seems to be trying to beat out of his chest, and he looks around, trying to remember the way from wherever he’s being held to any sort of exit.

Greyback opens a door and pulls him through it. Draco’s brain seems to stop working. The Death Eaters are all staring at him, and, with growing horror, Draco recognizes various faces; Bellatrix and Rodolphus Lestrange, Lucius Malfoy, Antonin Dolohov. Draco feels like he might vomit again; he’s never been this terrified in his life, and he doesn’t think he can – can – can –

His heart stops.

“Hello, Draco.” There, sitting in something akin to a throne in the front of the room, is Voldemort.

Draco’s thrown on his knees in front of the Dark Lord.

*

Ron listens to Potterwatch every day to make sure his baby brother’s name is kept on the ‘missing’ list and not on the ‘dead’ one. He knows he was the one who said not to bring Draco, but this is… not the alternative he imagined.

The search for Horcruxes is unbearably slow. The days pass in monotony, slowly driving him insane with worry. He knows the rest of his family is okay – or he wants to think so, because he hasn’t ben able to talk to any of them since this bloody stupid fucking unbearable search started.

Harry’s not in a much better mood. Hermione seems to be tiptoeing around the two of them, uncertain of what will set them off, and they haven’t talked to each other since the wedding, two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago. Ron can’t think of what Draco might have lived in these two weeks.

“What are you doing?” Hermione asks hesitantly.

“Sending an owl.” Ron responds gruffly.

“An owl?” Hermione sounds alarmed. Ron feels bad – or he thinks he would, were he not in this – this unbearable, grey sort of trance where all that he feels is worry – but he doesn’t stop writing. He needs to know that his family is alright. “But Ron, we can’t-”

“I don’t care.” Ron says, with a glare down at the paper. “I need to know they’re alright.”

Hermione’s quiet.

“You’re not sending that Owl.” Harry says. It’s the first thing he’s said to either of them in weeks.

“Oh yeah?” Ron asks. He stands and folds the paper. “Try and stop me.”

Harry stands too, glaring, and Hermione steps out of their way, frown deepening.

“Harry, Ron-” he begins.

“Don’t be stupid.” Harry warns. “We’ll be found.”

Ron sneers. “I’m being stupid? At least I’m not here sitting on my arse without even worrying about Draco-”

“Ron-” Hermione winces.

“You think I’m not worried?” Harry’s voice rises, and Ron feels thoroughly satisfied of getting a reaction out of him after two weeks of him saying nothing. “You think I wouldn’t stop this in a second to find Draco if I could?”

“Clearly you wouldn’t,” Ron spits. “Because you’re not doing it.”

Harry’s face flushes angrily. “Are you fucking stupid? He’s my boyfriend-”

“He’s my brother-”

“If I had any idea where he was-”

“You’re not doing anything to find him-”

“The fastest way to find him is to finish this, Ron-”

He would look for you.” Ron snaps viciously. “If it were the other way around.”

Harry looks gutted.

“Sit down.” It’s Hermione. “Both of you.”

Neither of them sit, but they do listen to her. She huffs.

“You both love Draco,” She says. “And we’re all worried about him. You think either of you are marching towards whatever place he’s in heroically? You’re not. You want to know what will happen even if you find him Ron? You’ll be captured. You’ll be tortured.” Ron secretly thinks it’d be worth it, if it meant he got to see his brother again. “You will only make it worse for him. And there’s a chance… he’s not… he’s already…”

Don’t.” He snaps. He’s shaking. He hates her for saying that, more than he’s hated anything else in his life.

Harry looks like he might be sick. “I need some air.”

And he walks out of the tent.

*

Draco wakes when there’s a sharp kick to his side. He rolls to his side and coughs, blood staining the stone of the cells beneath Malfoy manor. He’s still here.

It’s disappointing.

“Wake up, princess.” It’s Greyback – he’s the only one who calls Draco that; it’s – funnily enough – not the worst name the death eaters call him, even if Greyback is – in Draco’s opinion – the worst of them. “You’ve a new roommate.”

Draco sees a flash of pale blonde hair right before the door shuts again.

“Draco?” A soft, airy voice asks.

Draco swallows and sits up. “Luna?”

There’s suddenly a hand on his forearm, and Draco flinches violently, scrambling away from it immediately, pressing himself against the wall.

“I’m sorry.” Luna says. “I can’t see you. I thought I could find where you were if I touched you.”

Draco breathes through the sudden panic.

“I’m sorry.” He croaks. It’s been a long, long time since the hands that touched him didn’t leave him hurting for hours afterwards. “I – I-”

“I don’t have to touch you.” Luna says. “Can you speak? I want to sit next to you.”

“I don’t know what to say.” Draco hasn’t had a conversation since the wedding. He’s barely said a word that wasn’t ‘stop’, ‘please’, or ‘no’. Or, of course, screaming when he’s in pain, but those aren’t words.

“How have you been?” And it’s such a Luna thing to ask while they’re both captive with death eaters that Draco has to laugh.

It’s tiny, and sort of ugly – he hasn’t laughed in a long time – but it’s there.

“I – well. I’m being tortured every day.” He says. “Crucios don’t feel like I thought I would.” Draco honestly doesn’t know how he thought they would feel, but he doesn’t think anything could’ve prepared him for the pain of it. “Greyback keeps threatening to bite me, but he never does. I think he’s not allowed. Voldemort keeps him like a dog.”

Draco thinks the image would’ve amused him, at some point; Greyback in a red leash that Voldemort is holding, sitting like a good crup at his side. Right now, it doesn’t even make him smile, but knowing that it – at some point – would’ve, is comforting.

Luna hums. “What else?”

“I miss my family.” He whispers. “I miss Harry.” The admission makes him feel like his heart has been carved out. He snorts humorlessly. “I miss my bed.”

He misses sleeping comfortably, not having nightmares.

He misses waking up and not thinking ‘I wish I hadn’t.’

“I’m here.” Luna’s voice is much closer now, and he can feel the heat of her body beside his. He shudders. He’s been so cold for so long. “I’m not your family, and I’m not Harry, but I can hold your hand if you want.”

Draco hesitates. “I – alright.”

In the dark, he finds her hand – burning in comparison to his, so cold he might be mistaken for a corpse – and they link their fingers together gently.

“I’m scared.” Luna admits lightly.

“We’ll get through this.” Draco tells her. It’s the same thing he’s been repeating to himself tirelessly, every second he’s awake. “We will.”

“Of course,” Luna rests her head against his shoulder.

Chapter Text

Time passes, or it doesn’t. Meals come, or they don’t. They sleep, or they eat, or they’re tortured. They survive. 

Draco doesn’t know how long it’s been since the wedding – and that’s his only point of reference to time passing – but he’s very slowly wasting away. The only thing he ever feels is the vicious fear whenever the door is opened and someone comes to fetch either of them from the dungeons. 

Which is exactly what happens. 

He’s dragged from the dungeons by Antonin Dolohov. Every day, he is tortured and asked about  where  the Horcruxes are – as if he could know – and, after the first few days were unsuccessful, Voldemort left, with most of his death eaters, and instructions for the ones who remained to  get it done

Draco’s steadying himself for whatever torture they’ve come up with today, but, instead of being taken to the dining room – the only room he’s been allowed to see apart from the dungeons – he’s walked past that. 

He can’t see anything because of the cloth tied around his eyes – they always blindfold him when they take him out of the dungeons – but he’s counted the steps, he has every turn and bump on the floor memorized, and he knows they’ve gone the wrong way. 

He begins wondering if Dolohov is finally going to kill him. His heart begins beating faster, and his throat tightens. He stumbles over his feet, and Dolohov pulls him forward harsher, making Draco’s foot twist painfully. 

He yelps, but Dolohov continues walking, so Draco does, too. Otherwise he’ll only be dragged. He’s pushed through a door, and he falls onto his knees, which makes a thrill of pain shoot up his body. He bites back a pained sound. 

“Search all of this,” Dolohov sneers at him. “And find anything that looks out of place. If I’m not satisfied, you’ll regret it.” 

And he locks the door, wards potent around the library so Draco can’t leave. Draco cautiously takes the blindfold off himself. 

The room is big, with nice, big windows that have been obscured by a spell and shelf upon shelf full of books. It’s a library, Draco realizes with a thrill. The thought is strangely comforting. 

Greyback is standing by the windows – whether to pressure him or to watch him he doesn’t know – and there’s a house elf standing by the door nervously, ears twitching. 

“Search, princess.” Greyback barks at him. “Or you’ll be my dinner.” 

Draco begins moving. 

He’s thrown into a different room every time he’s dragged out of the dungeons. They leave him there without food or water until he finds what they’re looking for – which he hasn’t, because he doesn’t know  what  he’s looking for – or he tells them he’s searched everywhere and not found anything he thinks is out of place. They usually  Crucio  him then, for a long time. 

He eats something and gets a few hours of sleep before he’s put to search again. Greyback doesn’t watch him anymore; they’ve instead told him that if he tries to escape, Luna will pay the price for it.  

Draco doesn’t try to escape. 

Because Narcissa Malfoy died and Lucius Malfoy was in Azkaban, the manor has sat untouched for years, and everything is still in place. Things are covered in thick layers of dust and spiderwebs – Draco  hates  spiders, but he doesn’t have the luxury to let that stop him – and, though regal and stiff, everything seems to… fit. 

Nothing has caught Draco’s eye yet. He doesn’t know if something should’ve. 

“What’s your name?” He asks. The house elf is the only constant. They leave him standing by the door of whatever room Draco’s searching, as if to watch him. Draco doesn’t know what good it is. 

“Dobby, sir.” The house elf seems nervous. 

Draco doesn’t respond. 

He searches the chapel. 

He’s in the nursery the first time Dobby starts a conversation. Draco’s been doing it because he’s terribly lonely, but Dobby had limited himself to answering Draco’s questions with short sentences. 

“Mistress Narcissa loves you very much, Mr. Weasley.” Dobby says. 

Draco’s head has been pounding since he stepped into the nursery, and the name doesn’t help. Still, he answers, “She’s dead.”  

Dobby doesn’t respond. 

It feels odd to talk about his birth mother like that, like someone who existed. Someone who, logically, would’ve been a huge part in Draco’s life, and now isn’t a part at all.  

Deliriously, he thinks that it’s funny that his birth mother died to protect him and that now he’s here; stranded in a house full of people who want to kill him, stalling for time and attempting to survive the next second, minute, hour, day. 

Half hoping he won’t.  

He’s so  tired

It’s funny. He thinks. He’s not sure. This whole situation has given him a rather odd sense of humor. 

The nursery’s… pretty. Cozy. Unlike any other room in the manor. 

There are magpies painted on the walls – thirteen of them, Draco has counted – and a sun, high on the wall, right above the nursery. He doesn’t know why, but he thinks that’s important. 

He doesn’t have a wand, but he feels like there’s something he’s missing. 

Revelio ,” Nothing happens.  

There’s nothing here. Everything’s clean, baby stuff in every drawer and closet. He’s about to call Greyback and tell him he’s done – if he gets the  Crucios   over with quick, maybe he’ll sleep longer, he thinks – but something catches his eye. 

One of the magpies’ eye is shining silver. He stares at it. Dobby shifts on his feet. 

Draco climbs one of the chairs – they’re considerably high off the ground – but he can’t reach it. He climbs the edge of the crib. It creaks and shudders. 

“Merlin fuck, don’t let me fall from this.” He mutters. 

He stands on his tiptoes, and reaches up towards it. He can feel a faint hint of a magical signature, but he doesn’t recognize it. It’s not any of the death eaters’.  

He runs his fingertips across the paint, and shudders when the magical signature gets stronger. It feels warm, comfortable, and Draco  knows  it but he doesn’t know from where and –  

The magpie seems to shudder to life, too, and it flies along the walls around the room, stretching its wings wide. Draco tumbles off the crib and falls into it with a loud noise. He hits the side of his face on the edge of it, and when he opens his eyes, he’s staring right at the sun painted on the ceiling. 

Everything comes back to him. 

“Oi, nephew,” Bellatrix sing-songs as she walks down the stairs. “I have a surprise for you.” 

Draco’s stomach sinks, and Luna’s hand squeezes his hard. Draco lets go of her, because they know – from experience – that if they come get one of them and they won’t let go of each other, they’ll just torture them both. 

“Don’t you want to know what it is?” Bellatrix smirks when Draco doesn’t respond. He stares at her, even if he knows that that will make her angry. Instead of yelling or frowning, as she usually would, her smirk widens. “Your brother is here.”  

Draco’s thrown on his knees in front of Harry, and Harry has half a mind to kill Bellatrix Lestrange for it and half to pull Draco into a hug because he’s  so  fucking  relieved

“Well?” Bellatrix demands. “Is it him?” 

Draco’s face is dirty, bruises mottled all over it, both fresh and new. The most recent one is on the side of his face, a week old at most; it looks oddly round, like a stick, or a pipe, the darkness of it contrasting strongly against already previously pale skin, that now seems even paler. 

He looks like a corpse. 

Still, Harry has never been more relieved to see someone. 

When Draco sees him, his entire demeanor changes almost imperceptibly. He exhales. He looks at Ron and Hermione – held kneeling behind Harry – and Harry can see the almost frantic edge around his eyes disappear. 

“Is it?” Bellatrix’s hand twists in Draco’s hair painfully, and he flinches. Harry hears Ron struggle behind him, but he cannot look at anywhere but at Draco.  

“I can’t tell.” Draco says, tone resigned. Harry doesn’t know if he’s telling the truth. For a single, terrifying moment, he thinks,  w hat if – what if he somehow doesn’t remember  me ? What if something happened and he really can’t tell  whether or not  it’s  me ?  

“You’re lying!” Bellatrix screams. 

Harry does a quick look around the room; there are seven death eaters in the room, Voldemort probably already on his way. They need to get out of there  now

“I’m not,” Draco says, crying out in pain when Bellatrix drags him up by the hair to look at his face. Harry’s fists tighten behind his back, and he struggles, but Lucius Malfoy tightens the spell around his wrists until the edge of his vision darkens from the pain of it. “I don’t – I haven’t seen him in so long – and – I can’t tell.” 

Bellatrix looks furious. 

“Get them out of here.” She barks. 

The death eaters holding them pull them away at the same time Bellatrix cries, “ Crucio !” 

The screams are driving him insane. He keeps trying to distract himself by hitting his head against the wall, over and over, but it’s not working, and he thinks he might be bleeding. 

“That doesn’t help.” Luna is the only one who looks unaffected.  

Hermione’s sitting with her head between her knees, shoulders shaking with what Ron thinks are sobs, and Harry has his hands over his ears, forehead against the wall with a pained expression on his face. 

“How are you just  listening  to this?” Ron demands. He doesn’t know how she can stomach this without vomiting. 

“I’ve been here for a long time.” Is the only thing she says. Ron doesn’t think she knows just how long; she went missing two months ago. He doesn’t want to think about how many times she had to listen to people  screaming  this way to get used to it. 

Luna has a black eye, and her clothes are dirtied and bloody. She doesn’t look much better than Draco did, but she sounds mild. Serene, even. Ron wonders how the hell she’s keeping calm in this situation.  

The dungeons are entirely bare, and he Luna and Draco have been kept here, he thinks they must’ve been sleeping on the floor. The torches on the walls are dimly lit.  

The screaming stops, and, a few seconds later, the door opens. 

Ron looks up the stairs expectantly, desperate to see his little brother, hug him, see him,  anything  to make sure he’s not  dead , but it’s only Lucius Malfoy and another three death eaters. 

Ron’s hope turns into rage. 

“He’s your  son ,” he snaps. He’s not, not really, but Ron’s desperate to stop this, and if appealing to Malfoy’s compassion is the way to do it, he will. “Why are you letting this happen?” 

“He’s no son of mine.” Malfoy sneers.  

They’re dragged upstairs again – Draco’s half-unconscious on the floor, but he blinks blearily when he sees them.  

“Draco won’t tell us anything.” Ron feels proud of his little brother, and he’s sure his face shows it; Malfoy scowls. “But you will.” 

“Why would we do that?” Ron asks, glare tightening. 

“Because,” Malfoy says conversationally. “Otherwise we’ll kill him.” 

“Don’t,” Draco murmurs, curling into his side. He looks young, small, terrified. “Don’t tell them anything.” 

Chapter Text

Avada-”  Harry can’t think when he sees Bellatrix Lestrange’s wand against Draco’s temple, so he doesn’t. Instead, he lets out an almost inhuman sound; Bellatrix Lestrange, along with all the other death eaters, is thrown against the wall. The windows shatter. 

He’s on Draco in a second, kneeling beside him and pulling his head onto his lap. He’s blinking, trying to clear his head now, and there are tiny cuts all over his face and neck. Harry curses nastily in his head. 

“Draco,” He says. “Draco, are you alright? Can you hear me?” 

Ron is beside him now, and he’s saying something, but Harry can’t concentrate on it. 

“Don’t,” Harry’s eye snap up at the unknown voice, and there’s a blonde woman by the doorway. She looks a lot like Draco. “There’s no time. Get the girl from the dungeons. You need to get out of here.” 

“Who are you?” Harry doesn’t know when Hermione got her wand back, but she’s pointing it at the woman, and Harry’s grateful, because he couldn’t concentrate on anything but Draco even if he tried. 

“My name’s Narcissa Black,” The woman says. “I’m Draco’s mother.” 

When Luna and Hermione emerge from the dungeons, Narcissa Malfoy is standing in the doorway of the dining room of Malfoy Manor. Draco isn’t entirely awake yet; Harry’s carrying him, and his head is hanging over his shoulder, face discouragingly blank. Ron is looking towards Draco worriedly every few seconds. 

“Is that all of you?” She asks. 

Hermione looks over to the unconscious death eaters nervously.  

“Yes,” She says. “How are we going to get out of here? We can’t apparate-” 

“Dobby will apparate you.” Narcissa says. “He called me.”  

“Are you coming with us?” Ron asks awkwardly. He doesn’t seem to be entirely comfortable with Narcissa around; his hand is around Draco’s possessively. 

“Can’t leave,” Draco mutters weakly, lips pressed against Harry’s shoulder. “We need to – need to go – nursery – Horcruxes-” 

Narcissa smiles gently, and she runs a gentle hand through Draco’s hair. He lets out a pained sound. 

“Rest, my darling,” she whispers. “You’ve done so much. It’s okay now. I’ll take care of it.” Ron’s hand tightens around Draco’s. “Dobby told me you figured it out. I knew you would. You’re so smart, darling. I love you so much.” 

Ron is suddenly hit by the terrifying idea that she might come back after the war’s ended. That she might want to take his baby brother away from them. He couldn’t bear it. He wouldn’t let her.  

She presses a kiss to Draco’s hair when he finally slumps against Harry’s shoulder, passing out from exhaustion. 

“No, Mr. Weasley.” She smiles, finally answering. “I need to take care of some things here.” 

“They’re not dead.” Hermione warns. “They’ll wake up.” 

Narcissa Black’s smile is terrifying. “When they do, I’ll be long gone. And they won’t be able to move.” 

“Draco mentioned horcruxes.” Harry manages to get a tighter grip on Draco’s legs so that he won’t slip now that he’s practically dead weight. “What did he mean?” 

“I hid three Horcruxes here in the manor.” Narcissa says. “The locket, the ring, and the diary. I’ll destroy them.” 

Ron doesn’t trust her, but he’s not about to leave his brother’s side to make sure she destroys the Horcruxes. 

“I’ll stay.” Hermione says quietly. 

“No, ‘Mione-” Ron begins, but she cuts him off with a look. 

“Draco needs to be taken home.” She says. “He looks hurt. Luna, too, and they need to rest. I’ll join you when I’m done here. I won’t take long.” 

There’s no convincing her of anything else, not if she’s already made up her mind. 

Ron grabs her waist and pulls her into a kiss. 

The first thing they do is  Stupefy  the Death Eaters, bind them, and put a sleeping curse on them, assuring they won’t wake up until it’s lifted. The next thing they do is go to the nursery. 

Narcissa Malfoy touches one of the magpies on the wall, and it shudders to life. It flies around the room a few times, before dropping a painted silver ring right onto Narcissa’s hand. It becomes real when it touches her hand, glinting in the setting sunlight. 

“They won’t do it for anyone else,” Narcissa explains, when it doesn’t work for Hermione. “Only Draco and me.” 

So Hermione watches quietly as she does it with another two magpies – each one giving her one of the horcruxes – and, soon enough, she’s holding all three. 

“I can take that.” Hermione says, opening her hands. 

Narcissa smiles. “Don’t trust me?” 

Hermione doesn’t, but she doesn’t respond.  

Narcissa’s smile widens, but she hands over the Horcruxes. “Smart.” 

“Okay,” She exhales. “How do we get rid of them?” 

Dobby apparates them into the Burrow. At the sharp crack, Ron’s entire family – even Bill and Fleur – emerges from the dining room – they’d been having supper – and, when they see them – and then a very familiar blond figure in Harry’s arms – they all begin talking at the same time. More than a few of them are sobbing. 

Draco’s taken from his arms – Harry doesn’t let go of Draco’s ankle, because he’s not quite ready to – by Molly, who Harry didn’t expect to have the strength to carry Draco.  I’m his mother , he can practically hear her in his head,  of course I can carry him. I can carry  all of  my children

She keeps insisting on it, even though no one believed she could carry any of them anymore. It appears they were wrong. 

Luna, Ron, and him are also pulled into hugs, and kisses, and a flurry of ‘how are you’, ‘are you hurt’, ‘is everything alright’. 

“We heard you were missing,” Arthur says to Luna. “Are you alright? Were you with Draco?” 

Luna nods.  

“You need something warm,” Molly decides. “You all do. Come on.” 

Bill had taken Draco from his mother shortly because it became evident she was struggling – though it had been an impressive feat to carry him, it quickly became evident that she couldn’t do it for very long – and they’d laid him on their couch, which means that they’re all now sitting either on the dining chairs or the floor around him. Harry’s sitting on the arm of the couch, a hand tightly around Draco’s ankle. He hasn’t let go of him since they arrived. 

They’ve already floo’d McGonagall at Hogwarts so she can tell Ginny that both Draco and Luna are here, because she’s been worried sick about the both of them for months.  

The relief in the room is palpable. After months of not seeing either of their youngest brothers, Harry, or Hermione, everyone’s attitude’s had been in a pitying state. Even Fred and George, usually always smiling, had been looking grimmer and grimmer each day. 

Bill takes a moment to just  breathe , knowing that his family is safe. 

“Hold still,” Narcissa Black is performing a healing charm on Luna’s face, a finger on her chin softly.  

Her and Hermione Granger had arrived shortly after Draco had been laid on the couch, when everyone was still hugging and speaking quickly. Everything’s much quieter now. She can imagine it’s awkward, to have Draco’s birth mother in their living room. 

“What happened?” Molly asks nervously. She’s the one sitting closest to the couch in one of the kitchen chairs, Draco’s hand on her lap. His nails and lips look nearly blue. One of the Weasley’s – the one that works with dragons, Narcissa knows – is working over him tirelessly, casting every healing charm he knows just to make sure everything’s alright. 

Up until now, Narcissa has kept herself at a distance from Draco, uncertain of where she fits here. The Weasley’s… they’re a family. They’re her baby’s family, and even if she wanted to take him away from them – which she does want, so,  so badly  – she couldn’t. She won’t do that to them. To him. 

“We were in Malfoy Manor.” Luna says. Narcissa pulls back from her, having healed her, and sits on her heels. She moves towards the couch uncertainly, putting a hand on Draco’s calf. Molly’s eyes flash with something akin to possessiveness, but she says nothing. Narcissa doesn’t remove her hand. “They were trying to find something, and they thought Draco knew where it was.” 

“Horcruxes.” Narcissa clarifies.  

“Did you destroy them?” Potter has a hand wrapped around her son’s ankle, and Narcissa sees – very curiously – how they fit together. It’s melancholic, to watch them like this. It reminds her that her baby’s all grown up, and that she wasn’t a part of it. Any of it. 

“Yes,” Granger says, when Narcissa has taken too long to respond. She’s sitting near Ronald Weasley, and neither of them are looking at each other. Narcissa wants to snort. She remembers being young and embarrassed about things like kissing. Her life has changed since then. “We’re only missing Nagini. And well…” 

Everyone looks at Potter. 

“He was on the list,” Ronald says. “It doesn’t mean it’s true.” 

“What list?” One of the twins asks. 

“The one that was sent to Draco.”  Granger says. “We don’t know who-” 

“It was Dobby,” Narcissa says. Everyone looks at her, and Dobby – at her side – waves nervously. “I told him to. I needed Draco to know what was going on.” 

Molly flushes in anger. “He’s just a boy. He shouldn’t have been a part of this, and you dragged him into it.” 

“He was a part of it before.” Narcissa says quietly. “And if I hadn’t informed him of certain things – like the Horcruxes, might I say – he would be worse off than he was.” 

“That’s not your choice.” Molly snaps. “He’s  my  son-” 

“Okay,” Two of the Weasley children, the twins, stand. “Draco needs to rest. I’ll take him to his bed.”  

“Are you sure you can carry him, Fred?” Molly asks nervously. 

Fred cracks a smile. “Mum, if Draco was light before, he’s even lighter now.” 

Narcissa thinks it’s hardly appropriate to crack a joke about the evident malnourishment Draco and Luna suffered in Malfoy manor, but it certainly helps lighten the tension in the room. 

“Alright, alright.” Molly mutters. “You all need a warm meal and then a nap. Come on.” 

“Actually, Mrs. Weasley, I-” Potter begins, evidently reluctant to be away from Draco. 

“You will sit down and eat Harry Potter.” Molly says sternly. “McGonagall’s already told Remus you’re here, and he told Sirius, and you’re not getting any worse under my care.” Her face softens, and she says. “And afterwards you can see Draco.” 

Potter agrees reluctantly.  

“We need to get to Hogwarts.” Narcissa points out. Harry knows she’s right, even if he’s tired of this. All of this. He feels oddly jumpy without Draco in his arms or in the room, and he’s trying not to let it get to him. 

“That will draw the death eaters there,” Molly says. “There are children.” 

“Would you rather we draw them here?” Narcissa asks. 

No one says anything for a moment. Then, 

“We have the cup,” Hermione says carefully. They’d broken into Gringotts to get it, and they’ve been carrying it ever since. “We need to destroy it, and I think Draco must’ve some Basilisk Venom left at Hogwarts. It’s the last one.” 

It’s not; neither Nagini nor Harry are dead yet, but he knows no one wants to point that out. 

“We need to warn McGonagall if we’re going.” Ron says. “It’ll be-” 

There’s a creak on the stairs, and everyone turns to look. Blonde hair. Grey eyes. The love of Harry’s life. 

He stands with the full intention to grab Draco and keep him, but – of course – he’s beaten to it by Molly Weasley, who hugs him so hard his feet are lifted off the ground. 

“Ow,” Draco mutters, and it’s all it takes for her to let him go. 

“Does something hurt?” She asks worriedly. “Is everything alright? Charlie healed you, but if there’s something wrong-” 

“Nothing’s wrong,” Draco looks hesitantly around. He looks like he doesn’t quite know how to fit in here anymore. It’s oddly sobering. “I-” his eyes still on Narcissa. “I know you.” 

She smiles lightly, and Molly frowns. 

Draco doesn’t stare long, merely looks around at his family. “I missed you.” 

It’s too quiet, but everyone hears it anyway. They all hug at the same time, and though still uncomfortable, Draco looks somewhat relieved. Then he sees Harry. 

“Harry,” He says. 

Harry – who’d stood the second he’d seen Draco walk into the room – opens his arms, and, a second later, Draco’s wrapped around him like he wants to disappear. He buries his face into his chest. 

“I missed you.” He says against his shirt. “So much.”  

Harry exhales shakily, feeling both a million times better at having Draco in his arms and a thousand times more uncertain. He can feel the tension of it, the way Draco curls himself around him differently, and though he thinks he should’ve expected – he did, sort of – it doesn’t make it any less painful to watch. 

“I missed you too,” Harry says. “More than you can imagine.” 

They hold each other for as long as possible, somewhere between forever and not long at all. 

Chapter Text

 Ginny doesn’t let go of Draco for a long,  long  time. He feels too skinny in her arms, lighter than he used to be, and it’s all wrong. It feels all wrong. 

She’ll take  wrong  over  missing  any day though. 

“I was so worried.” She keeps murmuring, whether to herself or to Draco she’s not sure. “So worried. I thought you were dead.” 

Draco cracks a smile against her shoulder, and though she doesn’t see it, she feels it. “Honestly I thought you’d know better by now. No matter how many stupid shit I do, I don’t die.” 

She doesn’t like the sound of that, but there are too many things to do, too many worries and too much relief to really worry about it. 

Never ,” She vows, taking a step back. “I am  never  losing sight of you again.” 

She does see Draco’s smile then. It’s dry and lacking any sort of humor. “That might get complicated in the next few hours.” 

“No, it won’t.” Ron says. “Because you’re both leaving with the rest of the students.” 

“Unlikely.” Ginny scoffs, hand tightening around Draco’s. Draco doesn’t say anything; he’s tense beside her, unsteady. He seems to be trembling every few minutes, and Ginny can’t see one thing about him that doesn’t scream  ‘not alright’  but she can’t  think  about it. Her mind seems to be rusty-geared, slow and screeching every time she comes close to thinking about what might’ve been happening to her brother while he was away from her. 

“Mum and dad are going to be here soon,” Ron tells her, oblivious to Ginny’s mental turmoil. It’s alright; he loves both Draco and Ginny – they all do – but none of them understand them like they do each other. “Fred, George, Bill, Charlie, Fleur. The Order of the Phoenix. This isn’t your responsibility.” 

This is everyone’s responsibility,  Ginny thinks.  It’s bigger than all of us, none of us can afford to be uninvolved.  She doesn’t say it; it’s not her priority. Instead, she says, “You guys should go tell everyone.” 

“What?” Harry says. He hasn’t stopped looking at Draco since they arrived, and though Ginny can pity the anxious state he’s evidently in, she doesn’t give a fuck; this is her  brother , and she wants to talk to him, everyone else be damned. 

“You need to tell everyone.” She repeats. “We’ll argue about the rest later. Draco can stay here with me.” 

Ron, Hermione, and Harry all seem reluctant to leave, but they all know that there are things that must be done. Ginny wishes there weren’t. 

When everyone leaves – Luna presses a kiss to her cheek before she parts, and Ginny wants,  desperately , to hug her closer – Draco lets himself drop onto Ginny’s bed, exhausted.  

Draco rubs at his eyes furiously with the edge of his sleeve; he thought he’d be able to hold it together longer, but not with Ginny, not with his sister. It feels impossible to lie to her.  

“You don’t have to stay here,” She says cautiously. She’s trying not to make his breakdown worse; Draco doesn’t think there  is  worse. 

“I can’t leave either,” Draco says. He feels somehow hollow and incredibly furious at the same time. The anger and the pain that are sitting in his chest like a rock is something he doesn’t know how to deal with, not like this. 

“No one would judge you.” She says.  

“That’s not what this is about.” He says. 

And it isn’t; the fiery desire of justice is something they have in common, and Draco never believed it could be a bad thing. He won’t leave because he doesn’t think it fair that there’re people fighting a war when he’s  not , won’t leave because  he doesn’t  want  to leave.   He  wants  justice.  

He  wants  payback. He  wants  to be obliviated, wants all of this not to be happening, wants  to be so fucking far away from all of what’s happening and  hates  himself for it because he knows it’s cowardly. 

He wants revenge, he wants to  Crucio  Dolohov, or Bellatrix, or fucking  Greyback . He has no doubt that he could cast it. He  wants  to cast it.  He wants both not to feel like this and to  never  stop feeling like this because if he’s angry at least he’s  doing  something, and not simply waiting for death, like at the manor. 

He’s furious about that, about how long it was that he was simply  waiting  for death, that it felt like the only option. That it still does somehow, even if he’s gotten out. He hates the fact that his body isn’t in that place, but his mind seems unable to leave it.  

“You’ve done enough,” Ginny says, quietly, but there is no  enough , not here, not in the middle of a war. Nothing short of stopping it is enough, because Draco’s seen the horrors that the death eaters do, first hand, and nothing that he’s done has stopped them; it feels like nothing he  can  do will stop them, like the only option left is some holy miracle that isn’t coming. 

“I haven’t.” He says. He wouldn’t forgive himself if his family died, and he wasn’t here. Wouldn’t forgive himself even if he  were  here, knowing his presence hadn’t changed a damn thing. “No one else would leave, anyway.” 

If he could guarantee his family’s safety – and Harry’s, and Hermione’s, and all of his friends’ - he’d leave in a heartbeat. He wonders if that makes him selfish, if it means something’s changed in him and he’s not a selfless Hufflepuff. That he’d leave England burning, if no one he cared about was in it. 

“They don’t want us here anyway.” Ginny says. “We have a choice.” 

And  fuck , how does one  make  a choice like that? Stay, fight for what’s right, lose not only yourself, but your loved ones in the process – because no one who’s faught in a war has come out the same and Draco isn’t ready to rebuild himself from nothing – or leave. Spend the rest of your life running, from one bad guy or another, from the past, from yourself. Lose yourself in the process, anyway. 

“There’s no choice,” He shrugs. “We stay.” 

Ginny knows there’s no changing his mind, knows what could happen. That they might not see each other again, if anything happens to either of them, so she does what she can. She sits next to him and hugs him. 

They stay like that for as long as they can. 

When the death eaters arrive at Hogwarts, Harry is ready. He’s shaking all over, pent up energy, and righteousness, and  anger , at everything they’ve taken from him, from all the people he loves. His parents, first, then his last year at Hogwarts, his boyfriend; all the months he and Ron fought over it, the ways he knows he was unfair to Hermione. How he knows  he  changed, how Draco has.  

And he knows Draco has, because no matter how he tries to hide it, Harry sees it in his eyes; he sees the bleakness, the panic, the desire to flee. The fear. No one deserves to live scared, and Draco’s terrified. 

He’s staying, though. 

Harry isn’t stupid enough to think he can convince him otherwise. They sit together in the stairs, hands linked together, fingers intertwined.  

The locket, the diary, and the ring have been destroyed. The diadem, too. Hermione and Ron have gone to look for the Basilisk venom, and Harry wants to go with them. He  should  go with them, it’s his fight, after all.  

He can’t bring himself to let go of Draco’s hand. 

They’ll have to kill Nagini, they’ve already talked about it, but they haven’t talked about killing Harry.  

He knows it’s necessary, by now. He’s accepted that it has to happen. The months he spent alone with Ron and Hermione in the woods, half convinced Draco was dead, he’d been resigned to dying. Yearned for it, even, felt as though it could finally give him peace. Here, sitting next to Draco, he never wants to have to go. 

“I love you,” He says, and presses a kiss to his hair. 

Draco turns to him. He’s dirty, still, face ashen and haunted. 

“I love you, too.” He says. Harry can’t look away from his eyes, everything he’s ever wanted mirrored in them; to grow up, to be happy, to have a job, to get married, to be happy, to have children, to raise a family, to love his husband, to be happy, to grow old with someone, to be happy, to do something with his life that wasn’t defined by his birth and the murder of his parents, to be  happy.  

He’d let all that go for a day, an hour, a minute, a  second  more together where neither of them are hurting. 

“I love you,” Draco repeats, and squeezes his hand firmly. “And we’ll make it through this.”  

Harry wants him to believe that more than anything. 

“Potter,” McGongall is at the end of the hall, looking out the window at the shields she’s put up. “They’re here.” 

“It’s here!” Hermione says, lifting the phial of Basilisk Venom triumphantly. Ron rushes over and fishes the cup out of the bag he’s carrying, unwrapping it from the handkerchief they’d placed around it. He places it on the floor. 

“Ready?” He asks. Hermione nods, and uses magic to pour the venom over the cup. 

Draco loses track of things, during the battle. He sees the Dark Mark, he fires spells. He sees Hogwarts’ Crests, he doesn’t. He sees Lupin, at some point. Sirius Black, too, fighting back to back in a way that can only mean they’ve done this before, and Draco can’t imagine how they’ve managed. He doesn’t think he could ever do this again. 

As it is, he doesn’t know how he’s getting through it. He feels as though there’s nothing real. 

He fires spells without thinking, and when the first Death Eater that falls dead –  dead –  before him, Draco has to look down at his wand. He doesn’t think he fired a killing curse, but there’s no one else who could’ve, and the green light came from his direction. 

Things feel a lot more real after that. 

He fires the killing curse knowingly, at everyone who tortured him those long months at the manor. He sees his classmates –  classmates,  fuck – fighting beside him, dying, or wounded, or dead, or  killing , and he thinks maybe they’re all different people than they thought they were. 

He certainly never thought he could do this. 

When he encounters Greyback – leaning over Lavender Brown, whose face is scratched badly, but she’s alive – Greyback flashes bloodied teeth at him. He’d been drawn to the empty hall by the screams. 

“I told you, you would become my dinner, blondie.” He says, and begins stalking closer. 

He must’ve forgotten something, Draco thinks, because he’s not cowering and hurting in front of Greyback anymore. They’re not surrounded by a dozen death eaters whose entire attention is on Draco.  

Draco’s not defenseless, and he’s not weak. 

He’s not wishing for death. 

Crucio !” And it’s an unforgivable, of course, what comes out of his mouth. He watches  Greyback  howl, writhe in pain, and, all of a sudden, he’s hit by the desperate  thirst  for revenge. He never wants to stop this, never wants  Greyback  to stop feeling like this, to feel even a  little  bit of what he’s done to dozens of other people, to pay for the harm that he’s caused. 

He’ll do it, drive Greyback insane with it; he’ll do it to the rest of the death eaters, too, all of them, death too merciful. 

There’s a touch on his arm, and Draco rips around, anger like a wave at being interrupted, ready to kill whoever’s broken his concentration. 

“This is not you.” Neville is entirely white faced, but his mouth is set grimly.  

His parents were driven crazy by the curse.  Bellatrix  drew his parents crazy with the curse, and they didn’t deserve it. Draco’s shaking, unable to breathe, suddenly. 

“I-” He feels dazed.  

“Kill him.” Neville tells him. “If you want. I  understand . But this does  nothing .” 

Draco looks back at Greyback, still in pain, curled on the floor. 

Avada  Kedavra ,”  

Harry doesn’t see Voldemort between his death eaters; he expected it. The bastard’s too much of a coward to show up. He’s eager to see Draco, because he hasn’t seen him since the beginning. He assumes Hermione and Ron are still struggling with the cup, and the rest of the students are blending together in his mind.  

He catches sight of white blonde hair once, and thinks it’s Draco, but it’s only Luna. As relieved as Harry is to see her – and surprised, considering that she’s putting death eaters on the ground like flowers. 

He catches sight of Ginny, too, even though she and Draco were told to go home by their parents. It confirms his suspicions that her and Draco soundly ignored that order, and he doesn’t know why it makes him smile, however briefly. 

The battle is quick, and it’s brutal. There are more bodies on the floor than Harry cares to count, and he has to step over them on his way to the Great Hall, where they’re gathering. Some of them are death eaters, yes, but others are Hogwarts students, or professors, or parents who came to fight with their children, and Harry can’t  think  about it, any of it. 

So he doesn’t. 

Before he gets to the Great Hall, he catches sight of Draco, and they look at each other and make a detour; Harry can’t quite breathe, sitting in the middle of a half-destroyed staircase in what used to be his second childhood home and now is nothing more than war ground, but it’s better with Draco sitting with him, holding onto his hand. 

They don’t talk; Fred is hurt – he's going to make it, he  has  to – but Tonks saved him just in time, and they’re alive. Not in any shape to fight any longer, either of them, but  alive

When the announcement happens – Voldemort, telling Harry to give himself up – it's Draco who breaks the silence. 

“You can’t,” he says. 

“I can’t not,” Harry says. He's looking at him, at his own private little miracle, and he doesn’t understand how any of this happened. How they’re together, after all of this, why this is how it ends. 

Harry doesn’t want it to end. 

A second. That’s all he wants, a second where everything is well. That would give him the strength to walk to his death, knowingly, willingly. He could do it, he just needs – he just needs  time

“I won’t let you.” 

“I’m not asking.” 

And Draco’s looking back at him, earnestly, loving and sincere and  there,  always there, and Harry can’t imagine a time when they’re not together, but he doesn’t have a choice. 

“I’m coming with you,” Draco says, finally, as though he knows there’s no changing Harry’s mind.  

He’s crying. Harry thinks he might be crying, too, but he’s not feeling anything at the moment. 

“There’s no point in the two of us dying,” Harry tells him. “We knew this could be the end, love. The horcrux-” 

“There’s no point in  either  of us dying,” Draco says, and his voice breaks. “I can find a way to destroy the Horcrux, I can, Harry, I know I can-” 

“It’s alright,” Harry cups his face, and Draco’s sob is enough to break his heart, enough to make him want to stay. He’d be selfish for this; he’d stay, he’d run away, he’d doom the rest of the world if only he and Draco could have a different fate. 

But that’s not going to happen, and if Harry has a chance – even the smallest chance – to give Draco a few more minutes to live, hours, days,  years , even if it’s not with him, even if he’ll never get to see him grow old like he wanted, if they won’t ever have kids -  

It’ll be alright. 

Harry knows it’ll be alright. 

“I have to go.” 

He doesn’t trust Draco not to follow him, of course he doesn’t. He takes him to the Great Hall with his family, where they're all kneeling over Fred, who’s still cracking jokes. No one will look at him, but Harry’s alright with that; Draco won’t look away, and that’s really all he needs. 

He walks to the forest without hesitating. 

Dying is easy. Too easy, almost; it’s warm, and light, and  peaceful , and Harry wants so badly to stay there. He thinks of Sirius and Remus, thinks of Ron, and Hermione, and Ginny, and knows he can’t, even if he wants to. 

He thinks of Draco, and he  wants  to go back, wants to either live to see the rest of their lives together or die knowing his love is alright, knowing he knows he loves him. Harry feels as though he hasn’t told him he loves him in so long. Draco needs to know it. 

He comes back, wakes up in Hagrid’s arms, and he can see Draco, standing there, and they’re in the middle of the Hogwarts grounds, and of course Draco sees him, he always does, he always has, and he does the last thing he can. 

He tosses Harry his wand. 

And the fighting begins again. 

 

Five years later  

 

It’s alright, love,” Harry says, soothingly moving a hand up and down Draco’s back. Draco makes a small, choked noise, and Harry hushes him gently, pressing a kiss to the side of his neck. “Draco, love, wake up. It’s alright. It’s just a nightmare.” 

Slowly, Draco comes into consciousness; Harry can feel his heart pounding through his skin, sees the way he’s taking frantic breaths. 

“It’s alright,” he says again. He hadn’t been sleeping – Draco had fallen asleep in the middle of their muggle telly marathon – so he’d caught the nightmare early. “It’s alright. It was just a nightmare.” 

Draco nods, exhaling harshly, and Harry drops a kiss to his temple, followed by three more. 

“Alright?” He asks. 

“Alright,” Draco says softly. He turns on their bed, facing Harry, and presses a slow kiss to his lips. “Everything’s alright.” 

“Everything’s alright,” Harry echoes, nodding; they both still need reassurance, sometimes. 

“I love you,” Draco says, burying his face in Harry’s chest. 

Harry smiles; five years, four graduations, a new flat, three pets, and hundreds of hours of therapy later, but they’re here. They’re finally here, and it’s not perfect, but it’s as close as Harry’s ever gotten, and he doesn’t think he could wish for anything more. 

“I love you, too.”