Harry grinned as he stood in the stands next to Draco, both of them cheering their faces off. Though Draco knew his own cheers were slightly lackluster, because he kept getting distracted by how adorable Harry looked when he was so excited. Draco glanced back at where his father and mother were sitting, enjoying the full benefits of their private box in the stands. He touched the top of Harry’s hand lightly, and then walked over to his parents. “Is everything okay? Normally you enjoy these things a lot more.”
There was a sour look on Lucius’ face, though he did his best to hide it as Draco approached. “Everything is fine.” He glanced at his wife for a moment before looking back at Draco, and speaking quietly. One of the benefits of the private box was that it was charmed to not let in the noises from the rest of the crowd, which meant that they could have conversations at a normal volume. “You really like your boy?”
Draco fought to keep a sappy look from settling over him. “Yes. He’s my- best friend.” Considering that his parents were strong believers in keeping pureblood family lines going, he was pretty sure that they would not approve of any relationship that wouldn’t bear children. And they especially wouldn’t approve if said relationship was with Harry Potter, of all people. “Why?”
Lucius sighed. “After the match is over, I want both of you to return to the manor immediately.”
“What? Why? What about the after party? We’re supposed to be able to meet the players!” He knew that his voice sounded too whiny, but Draco had already gotten Harry all hyped up for it. While Draco did enjoy quidditch, he wasn’t nearly as into it as Harry was, and the look on Harry’s face when he’d been told about the after party had been so beautiful that Draco had wished he’d been holding a camera in that moment.
There was a tired look on Lucius’ face. “Please understand that I would not take this away from you if I did not feel that it was important.”
Draco’s eyes widened just slightly, and he nodded in silence to return to the balcony just long enough to tell Harry he needed to use the restroom, and then practically fled. He didn’t want to ruin Harry’s day, and he knew that Harry would be able to see right through him if he tried to act all chipper right at this moment.
Because Draco wasn’t as stupid as his father seemed to believe, he was able to make a few connections that felt rather unpleasant to make. He knew that his parents had both been Death Eaters before Harry had accidentally killed Voldemort, and he knew that Harry claimed that Voldemort had been the one to attack him in their first year, not just Quarrell on his own. And he’d seen throughout the summer that various other former Death Eaters had been dropping by to visit the manor. It had been years since Draco had seen any of them around, and now they were suddenly meeting up for tea?
The World Cup was a huge event. Hundreds of thousands of magical folks from all around the world came to watch it, and the majority of them came via magical means due to the fact that they didn’t live nearby, which means that they would not all be able to run away at the same time. There was a horrible feeling in the pit of Draco’s stomach.
So the last thing he wanted was to bump into the female Weasley, who was heading back from the area with all of the tents set up. She narrowed her eyes as she saw him. “Malfoy. I’m surprised they don’t have a shiny golden toilet for you to use somewhere up in the private boxes.”
To be honest, Draco wasn’t even sure why the girl seemed to dislike him so much, especially considering the fact that he had helped save her life in her first year. As much as he trash talked the Weasleys behind their backs, mostly because it’s the same things he’d heard from his family and friends throughout his entire childhood, he didn’t actually have any personal problems with them, and they all generally lived by a rule of staying out of each others’ lives.
But not this girl, for whatever reason. “Look, I don’t have time to deal with you right now. Unless you want to talk about why you seem to hate me so much, I think it would be best for us both if you could just head on your way now.”
She scowled, but didn’t say anything, just crossed her arms over her chest and stomped away. Draco shrugged, unbothered by her reaction to him. He honestly didn’t care about her, no matter what she seemed to think.
After splashing some water on his face, Draco was able to return to the stands, not quite as chipper as before, but still appearing to be happy. Or at least that’s what he thought, until he realized Harry was giving him a worried look. “What’s wrong?”
Draco sighed, and reached up to rub at his face, wishing that he was better at keeping himself hidden, while also being happy that Harry knew him so well. “We have to go back to the manor right after the match,” he admitted.
The concern on Harry’s face didn’t morph into disappointment like Draco would have expected. “You don’t look like that’s what’s wrong.”
Draco narrowed his eyes. “Well then what do you think is wrong, since you know everything?” Before Harry could answer, Draco realized that even though he couldn’t hear the cheers of the crowd, he could see a lot of people jumping up and down and waving their arms, and all of the players were lowering themselves down to the pitch. “Did we just miss the end of the game?”
Harry didn’t even turn around to look. “So we’ll see it in the paper tomorrow. What’s wrong, Draco?”
They both stared at each other for a long minute before Draco let out a sigh of defeat. “I can’t tell you.” It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Harry, but he didn’t want to offer his suspicions to someone who would be so personally affected by them without knowing for sure whether he was right or wrong. “Let’s just go now, okay?”
Harry’s shoulders slumped down. “Yeah, okay. I just have to run to the restroom, and then we’ll go.”
“You know that those lines are going to be super long, right?”
“Well I won’t be able to hold it during a portkey,” he hissed. “So I’m going. I’ll use my fame to get to the front of the line if I have to.”
Draco rolled his eyes, but sank down into one of the empty seats in the box so that he could wait. Lucius gave him a long look. “Draco-”
“I know,” he interrupted. “Just give him a minute. He thinks he’s sneaky, but he’s definitely just going to try and get someone’s autograph. We’ll leave as soon as he’s back, I promise.”
A few minutes passed by in awkward silence, and then Narcissa cleared her throat. “Draco, you really need to head out now.” She tried to cut off his argument before he could even make it. “I promise you that someone will find Harry and make sure that he is sent somewhere safe.”
“Are you saying that this place won’t be safe?”
Lucius shot his wife an annoyed look and then turned back to Draco. “This is not something open to discussion right now. Go home, Draco.”
Draco grumbled openly before reluctantly agreeing. He was going to head towards the field of portkeys, but would then run towards the pitch to find Harry. But his parents must’ve known him too well, because Narcissa pulled one of her rings off and handed it to him. His eyes widened. “This is your emergency portkey.”
Lucius nodded towards Narcissa. “Yes, that’s a good idea. Now head home, Draco.” He reached out to activate the portkey before Draco could think of a way to get out of this.
There was nothing on the radio, though whether that was because nothing interesting was happening or because the reporters had all fled or been killed, Draco had no clue. Anything could be happening right now. And even worse, he had no idea where Harry had ended up. McGonagall would look out for him, but she hadn’t been at all interested in going to the sporting event.
It felt like Draco was going to go insane if he didn’t do something, anything, to try and figure out what was going on, to make sure that Harry was okay. He went to the floo, and called out Harry’s address before sticking his head in. He really hoped that Harry would answer and say he’d gotten home through some other means.
But he wasn’t too surprised when he saw McGonagall’s face instead. “Mr. Malfoy, I was not expecting to hear from you today. I was under the impression that you were all staying for the entire event, and would be there all weekend.”
Draco bit his lip as he thought about how wise an idea it was, but in the end, he’d rather get information through McGonagall than know nothing at all. “Have you heard any news about the Cup?”
“Should I have?”
Draco shrugged. “Do you have any way of checking?”
Some of his desperation must have leaked through, because a somewhat sympathetic look on her face. “Where is Harry?”
Draco shrugged, feeling miserable for having failed at his self-assigned mission of protecting and watching over the other boy. “The last time I saw him was still at the match. Please try to find out where he is. I was really hoping that he would have found his way home.”
“I will call you back at this address when I learn something,” McGonagall told him in her usual stern voice, and then the call was ended.
McGonagall invited Draco over to her house, and he immediately pulled Harry into a hug, never wanting to let the other boy go again. After Harry explained what had happened, Draco scowled and decided he was going to give his parents the silent treatment. How dare they do something to endanger Harry, and then leave him to possibly take the fall for it all?
The Triwizard Tournament sounded like it would be fun to watch, but Draco couldn’t deny that he was glad that they were too young to participate in it. Knowing how much of a trouble-magnet Harry could be, Draco thought that it was for the best that there was no chance for Harry to be in it. When he said as much to Harry, the other boy had started laughing so hard that he was crying, and then told Draco that he’d been thinking the same thing, but that Draco was the trouble-magnet between them.
When Harry’s name was called, the silence in the room stretched on even further, and Draco grabbed at Harry’s wrist before the boy could stand up. He leaned over to whisper into Harry’s ear. “We both know that you didn’t put your name in there, and you have no obligation to participate in this tournament. It’s only legally binding if you consciously choose it, which you didn’t.”
Dumbledore called out Harry’s name again. “Please come up here now, Mr. Potter.”
Draco glared at Harry. “Stay.” Then he got up to walk to the front of the Great Hall, his shoes clicking lightly against the stone floor, only audible because of how quiet the room was. A few people snickered when they saw Draco walking up, but mostly it was just silent. He walked right up to the goblet, and put his hands on his hips as he stared up at Dumbledore. “Harry didn’t put his name in there. You can’t make him do this life-threatening competition when he didn’t sign up for it.”
Dumbledore had a stern look on his eyes. “Is there some reason Harry is unable to tell this to me himself?”
Draco opened his mouth, but then paused as a shiver passed through him. He turned his head slightly, and saw that Moody was staring at him with his one visible eye, and Draco furrowed his eyebrows. Something about the professor’s gaze was giving Draco a weird feeling. Whatever it was, it was something that posed a danger to Harry, which meant that Draco couldn’t let this foolishness continue. “If Harry came up here, you would only berate him for something that was beyond his control. This was not a situation of his making, so you will leave him alone, and not involve him in this tournament, do you understand?”
He gave Dumbledore a very unimpressed look, so that there could be no mistake of what he thought about this whole thing. Professor Moody cleared his throat. “There are rules in place, boy. This goblet here is a sacred thing, and we listen to what she has to say.”
“Well in this case, she’s saying that she made a big mistake, but that she’s willing to put in the work to fix it if you are. Isn’t the whole reason for not letting anyone under seventeen sign up because it’s too dangerous? Why would you want to put a fourteen year old’s life at risk, against his own wishes, especially when he’s such an important figure to the world? Even if he doesn’t get hurt at all during the tournament, his pre-existing fame would take the attention off of our Hogwarts champion, Mr. Diggory over there, which wouldn’t be fair to him. So let’s write this off as a funny mistake, and be done with it.” The headmasters of the other two schools had very grumpy looks on their faces. Draco nodded in their direction. “And I’m pretty sure that trying to force the issue of Hogwarts having two champions is only going to make relations with them even worse.”
There was a pensive look on Dumbledore’s face as he considered all of that. “I would still like to speak with Mr. Potter on this matter-”
“No.” Draco stared up at the old man unflinchingly. “You will not try to talk to him. He has nothing to do with this. You can’t-” he cut himself off when he felt a tug on one of his sleeves, and glanced back to see that Harry had gotten up and was now standing right behind him. “I told you to stay at the table,” he grumbled. But he knew Harry well enough to already be well aware of the fact that he wouldn’t be able to get the boy to stay for very long.
Harry slid his hand down enough that he was holding Draco’s for just a moment, and then he let go and stepped forward to face Dumbledore. “Professor, I didn’t put my name in that cup, and I’m willing to swear to that under veritaserum.”
“There are rules in place-” Moody started to say.
“He’s not participating in the bloody tournament,” Draco snapped. “Unless you’re all trying to get him killed, you’ll be able to see easily enough why that is the worst idea possible!” He knew that he shouldn’t be losing his temper, and it went against everything he’d learned growing up, but he couldn’t help feeling frustrated by the sheer ineptness of these adults.
In the end, with both Draco and Harry remaining adamant about not joining the tournament, and a few mild threats from Draco about getting his father involved, everyone was convinced that Harry had not entered his name. What possible reason could he have for subverting the rules and attempting to join the tournament if he clearly was unwilling to accept a place among the other champions? For some weird reason, Moody kept trying to push for Harry being a champion, but Draco got his way, and it was announced to be an error. By the end of dinner, everyone seemed to have forgotten about the incident, though Draco could not forget so easily. Someone must’ve put Harry’s name in there, and that meant that someone had intentionally tried to put Harry in danger, which was just something Draco could not allow.
“Mr. Malfoy, I need to see you after class.” Draco raised one eyebrow, but the professor quickly moved on with the lesson. At the end of the class, he headed up to the front of the room. There was a strange urgency to Moody’s movements. “I noticed that you and Miss. Granger are both doing very well in my class, and I would like to assign a project to the two of you. Do you think you are capable of doing such a thing?”
Draco nodded. “Of course, Professor. What’s the project?”
“It involves going on a special field trip with an old friend of mine. This is a defense against the dark arts class, and I think that regardless of your plans for future careers, it would be beneficial to the both of you to shadow an active auror for a workday. Since both you and Miss. Granger have voice your lack of interest in the Tournament, I didn’t think you’d mind that the only day my colleague had available was that of the third task. It’s on a Saturday, so you will not have to worry about missing any of your other classes.”
Draco shrugged. “I can’t see any problem with that. Thank you for this opportunity, Professor.”
“I’m serious, Harry, I don’t think you should watch the third task. I won’t be around to keep an eye on things, and I’ve got a bad feeling about the entire tournament. We still don’t even know who put your name in the goblet, or how they managed to get it to get spit back out like that. Just promise me that you’ll stay in and do homework, alright?”
Harry sighed, but then nodded. “Fine, I’ll miss out on one of the most interesting things that I’ll ever get a chance to see.”
Draco gave Harry a brief kiss. “Thank you. I have to leave early tomorrow. Do you want me to wake you up to say goodbye first?”
Harry rolled his eyes. “You’re only going to be gone for a day. That’s hardly enough time to start missing you.” Then they both moved to lie down next to each other on Draco’s bed, and pull the blankets up and over them. The other boys in the their room had already gotten used to the two of them sharing a bed some nights, and since all they did was sleep and occasionally talk in soft whispers, no one minded it, which worked out great for Draco. He loved the feeling of Harry in his arms, even if the boy did always turn into a blanket hog in the middle of the night, and sometimes drooled.
Draco took a moment to appreciate the sight of Harry’s calm sleeping face before getting dressed and heading down to the front entrance of the school. Granger was already waiting there, flipping through a pocket-sized book. She peered up when Draco cleared his throat, and gave him a slightly disgruntled look. “Malfoy.”
He furrowed his eyebrows. “Is there a reason you sound so cold? As the leaders of our classes, shouldn’t we try to work together?”
She slipped the book into the bag she was carrying, and then crossed her arms over her chest as she turned to face Draco more fully. “I’m not an idiot. I know that you had to be the one who stole my time turner. You’re the only person I told about it. I could have gotten into so much trouble with the Ministry! And there’s the little fact that you could have been using it for literally anything.”
“When did you get it back, anyways?”
Granger frowned. “A few weeks before Professor Lupin got outed as a werewolf and left the school. And then I had two of them on my hands for weeks until the original version went missing. What did you need it for so badly anyways? And why did you think it would be a good idea to go back nearly a month? You could have damaged the timeline badly enough to break it entirely! I was told that the bloody things couldn’t even go back more than twenty-four hours. If I wasn’t so angry about the whole thing, I might even be impressed.”
Draco shrugged. “All’s well that ends well, right?”
She didn’t get a chance to argue before Moody showed up. He had them both grab the portkey, which was a marble, and then a moment later they were in the auror office in the Ministry of Magic. There was already a woman waiting for them with a cheerful smile on her face as she greeted them, and then proceeded to give them a tour of the entire office. Draco had the feeling that this was going to be a long day.
By the time they got back to the school, it was already after dark, and they split apart at the front doors. Granger said she was going to see if there was anything left of the tournament to watch, while Draco headed to the dungeons to find Harry and tell him about his day. There was a handful of Slytherins in the common room who’d had no interest in watching the task, but it only took a brief search to discover that Harry was not among them.
“Nott, where’s Harry?”
The other boy shrugged. “I think he said something about an extra credit assignment, and that he was going to the library.”
Well, at least the boy hadn’t been stupid enough to go to the tournament when Draco had already told him not to do that. Still, there was an uneasy feeling twisting up in the pit of Draco’s stomach, and he hated not knowing what was going on.
He hurried to the library, but the doors were locked. Draco cursed under his breath, and then started towards the front doors. He ran to the quidditch pitch, where it looked like the entire school was still gathered. Draco shoved past everyone, shooting the occasional minor hex at anyone who didn’t move quickly enough. It was unnerving that nobody seemed to be talking at all.
And then Draco could see it, in the center of the open field, Krum was standing in front of the winning tournament cup, carrying a limp body in his hands like it weighed nothing. Draco wasn’t close enough to see the face, but he could see the green-lined robes, and his heart began pounding like crazy. What the hell had happened?
Krum wasn’t saying anything, just staring down at the body in his arms in shock. Severus and McGonagall got to him soonest, and from the look on McGonagall’s face, Draco knew that his worst fears had just happened. He continued forward, not caring about anyone else in the crowd around him.
As soon as the body was removed from his arms, Krum crumpled to the ground, hunched over, shoulders shaking. McGonagall sank to the ground, hugging the body in her arms. Draco still couldn’t see the face, but it didn’t matter, because he already knew who it had to be. It felt like it took him years to reach the center of the field, and then he dropped to his knees, looking at Harry.
His face was much paler than normal, and he looked more peaceful, but other than that, it basically looked as though he were just sleeping there in his mother’s arms. Draco took in a shaky breath, and then turned to put his hand on Krum’s shoulder. “What happened?”
Severus grabbed Draco by the wrist to yank him back up to his feet. “Now is not the time for that,” he said in a grim voice. “We need to-”
But Draco wasn’t listening to his godfather. He instead was looking at McGonagall, who had tears silently running down her cheeks. He didn’t think he’d ever seen the witch cry before, and that somehow made everything feel so unreal. Harry couldn’t possibly be dead. He was going to wake up any moment, eyes slowly fluttering open as he looked around in confusion, that brilliant green focusing on Draco almost immediately, and- Wait! Draco wasn’t just imagining that! It was really happening!
He pulled himself away from Severus without another thought so that he could drop back to the ground and pull Harry into a hug, leaving the boy resting partially on him and partially on McGonagall. “You idiot,” he breathed out. “Don’t you dare ever scare me like that again!”
Krum was shaking his head, looking at the trio with wide eyes. “It is not possible. He used the killing curse on you. You cannot still be alive after that. I could feel that you were dead!” Because of the way he was shouting, all of the closest spectators could hear his words, and they began gasping and whispering amongst themselves.
The small group moved inside, heading to the hospital wing despite Harry’s insistence that he was just fine. After Pomfrey looked him over, McGonagall gave Harry a long look. “What exactly is it that happened?”
He sighed. “Professor Moody offered me extra credit if I helped him with something. He didn’t say what, but ended up leading me through the maze to the cup. Krum got there at the same time. We ended up in this graveyard, and Krum dove behind one of the graves while Moody disarmed me. He tied me up and cut my arm,” he waved the injured arm that Pomfrey had already bandaged. “and cut off his own hand and threw a creepy baby blanket into a cauldron, and- and-”
“It was You-Know-Who!” Krum hissed. “He rose up, alive! He summoned his other followers, and then cast the killing curse on Potter! I grabbed Potter and grabbed the cup to get us the hell out of there!”
Draco ground his teeth together. Even if Harry had somehow survived being killed, for now the second time in his life, it still made him want to track down Moody and torture him and make him sorry for ever hurting Harry. “He was probably the one who put Harry’s name in the goblet, too,” Draco growled out.
Dumbledore, who had entered the room at some point, motioned for Severus to follow him as the two of them rushed out of the room. Probably to investigate Moody’s quarters, though it wouldn’t matter if Moody was still in whatever graveyard he’d kidnapped Harry to. “Voldemort is back,” Harry said quietly. “And Moody said that putting my blood into the cauldron meant that I wouldn’t be safe from him anymore.”
“He will not harm you,” McGonagall announced loudly. Then she turned to look at Krum. “You are willing to verify what Harry saw?”
Krum nodded. “Yes. Durmstrang may be willing to use the dark arts more often than Hogwarts, but we do not abide by genocide, or murdering innocents. There’s no way that it won’t be believed when the words are coming from two who are as famous as we are.”
There were quite a few people in the Ministry who tried to claim that it was all made up, that everything was going to be okay, that there was no way Voldemort was back. But in the end, with Harry and Krum both adamantly agreeing that Voldemort was back and a threat, and with McGonagall and Dumbledore’s support behind them, Minister Fudge decided to believe them.
When the first copy of the paper was printed with the headlines screaming, ‘He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named’ has Returned!’, Draco pulled Harry into a tight hug, and assured him that he would keep him safe. But he hated that there were so many threats still out there.
It also turned out that the real Moody had been kept prisoner all year while an imposter used polyjuice potion to impersonate him. He insisted that it had been Barty Crouch Jr, who he’d apparently recognize anywhere. Crouch Jr was a known associate of Voldemort’s, and it crushed Barty Crouch to hear the news. No one caught him, though, which meant he was still on the loose, along with the rest of Voldemort’s followers.
The first day of summer vacation, Draco marched into his father’s study, and slammed his hand down on the man’s desk to grab his attention. “Were you at that graveyard?”
Lucius gave him a long look. “Draco, don’t-”
“Were you at that graveyard?” he repeated in a cold voice. “Did you just stand there and watch as your master killed Harry? Did Mother? Tell me that you weren’t there,” he demanded. When Lucius didn’t answer, that was answer enough, and Draco clenched his jaw. “So long as you are working with that homicidal maniac, trying to kill my Harry, you are no father of mine.” He didn’t want to choose between his parents and Harry, but if he had to make a choice, he’d pick the one that wasn’t actively trying to murder the other. “Don’t try and speak with me again until you’re man enough to admit to your own actions.” Then he stormed away to the floo so that he could go and visit Harry, and assure himself yet again that the boy was miraculously still alive.