Title: A Quiet Full of Longing
Summary: Draco could have the perfect life; all that he desires. If only he'd talk to Potter.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warnings: Future tense, a bit of angst
Word Count: 6,000 words
Epilogue Compliant?: EWE
Author's Notes: Happy Holidays, katerina_black! I tried to fit in as many of your requests as possible. I met your wish for steampunk with much enthusiasm! I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I had fun crafting this for you ♥
Much love to R for the beta. Many thanks to the mods for their extreme patience and understanding. I adore you all.
I don't make plans. And I don't make breakfast.
They will be your own words. Thrown back in your face by you. Not today. Not tomorrow. But soon enough.
You won't think about that now, though. You'll have a peahen's nest to find, within it, a solitary egg. And it will be impeccable in size and shape. That's what you'll think when you hold it up, pinched between thumb and index fingers. The perfect specimen wasted on a far-from-perfect dish.
Your idea of culinary perfection would've been eggs Florentine. At the very least, coddled or poached. But you will meet the request for scrambled with no less than a smile on your face.
Admittedly, you'll find the idea of cooking foolish. Or more to the point, you'll find the idea of you cooking foolish. The only things Malfoys have been known to make for meals are reservations; the only things in kitchens, messes. But you will be a man of your word, however late it may make you for work.
In the shiniest of fry pans (shiny because they'll be there for aesthetic purposes only) you will check your reflection and find that the years have been good to you. You'll have naught but a touch of grey at your temples. Your eyes will seek solace behind a pair of wire-frames because your work is fastidious. And you will favour bowties in place of brooches.
But you are getting far enough ahead of yourself, aren’t you?
Despite all reservation, he will reward your grand gesture with a grander one. That feeling, that you'll fail before you'll even begin, is somewhat of a wish fulfilling prophecy you've come to fall back on. Your failure, you'll surmise, will not be due in part to skill or the lack thereof, but to the demands of peer pressure. You'll not be liked, much less wanted, but you'll forge onward, because you'll have something left to prove.
Kingsley will stamp his order 'Accepted', and you will hinge your hopes as a child does a miracle cure. You will have fallen before, dozens of times, and you'll have the bumps and bruises to prove it. You'll have talked a good talk; built yourself up inside a crystal-clear palace.
And you will not have counted on Potter to shatter your glass-fragile world.
Potter will wish to meet to discuss the terms of your partnership. You'll think twice about labelling it a peace treaty, because its more of a surrender than anything else. This agreement with Kingsley would be coming with conditions, all of which will have bearing on your future. Nevertheless, you will make Potter wait at least twenty minutes, watching him fidget from a darkened corner. And when you finally do make your presence known, your name will have been blasphemed in a tankard of ale.
He’ll invite you to sit, discreetly hiding the embarrassment of his faux pas with a mouthful of fish. Your constitution will be as delicate as your sensibilities, and the greasy smell of pub food will make your stomach flip flop. Your father's stay in Azkaban will have made you something of a germaphobe, so you'll pull a green apple from your pocket and grin as Potter tries to rationalise your absurdity. The conversation will be punctuated with long bouts of silences and discerning stares, but you'll not be daunted by his tactics. Besides your wand, you'll still have those weapons with which Snape has graciously armed you, and you'll still have the wherewithal to wield them.
You'll not know, not yet anyway, that Potter has built up a sort of grudging admiration for you. Not because you'll have displayed any such deference to him, but to the wizarding world at large. It will be humbling, but you'll have had just as much time as practice building proverbial crutches from the broken shards of your father's wand. And you will stand tall.
Potter's expression will prompt you to do something impulsive, and you'll ask if he's yet impressed. Potter will smile ruefully and say, 'I might be if you finish that apple and shit me out a fruit salad.'
Despite the crudity of his sentiment, you'll smile back, and he'll smile, too, and it will be the first in years you haven't pandered for.
With your father in Azkaban and your mother in France, the Manor will become something of a tomb. You will find the quiet too unnerving to study, and distractions will come in the forms of paper Quaffles and shadow puppets. An owl, possibly too premature for its own good, will find its way to Potter, and he'll be of a like predicament, except in reverse. Perhaps just as prematurely, he'll offer up a solution to study elsewhere, and you'll both be off and running to County Antrim at the graciousness of Potter's dead parents. It will not become clear to you, at least not yet, why he will have chosen Ballycastle to build his home, but the stones and the mortar piece together a sort of quiet conformity not unlike your father's.
Not less than a week into your stay, you will notice Potter retire nightly to a strange barn. On some occasions he will only be gone a few hours, but on others he will try and sneak inside the house quietly so as not to wake you. Potter will have all the stealth of a wizard at a Deathday party.
On the nights he's gone for more than a few hours, you will stand outside the cottage and smoke your Japanese Death or your Scottish MacGillicuddy's. You'll hesitate to call yourself a real smoker, because you'll view smoking as more of a slow torture for past transgressions than a means of pleasure. Still, smoking will bring you a sense of calm as you focus on the dull light just beyond the only four-paned window. You can't possibly imagine the secrecy Potter will be up to, but you'll make a game of trying to guess what it is, with the strangest of your guesses bordering on magical cloning so you can skive off your training.
But you will find come morning that your free thinking was nothing more than a bit of folly, and you'll sit down to breakfast with Potter like you have every morning since your arrival. You'll add a splash of milk to your Earl Grey and a dab of orange marmalade to your over-burnt toast, and you'll go about your day with the taste of char on your breath.
You'll partner off with Potter during practicals while the rest of your time will be spent hunched over a book with cramped, ink-stained fingers. If you had thought in your boyish naiveté that Snape was hard on you with his assignments, you will laugh out of turn during lessons. You will endure alongside Potter, who's just as overwhelmed despite the wall of confidence others have built up for him brick by brick with their words of encouragement and their stares of awe. And despite not having a wall of your own, Potter's smile is better than any such garrison. You will continue despite their petty torments and the fresh irritations.
Your weekends will be full, but you'll be thankful for them nevertheless. You will continue to wake as you did when The Dark Lord slumbered under your roof, frightful that some phantom hand will come and snatch away all that remains of what's good and kind in your life. Many sleepless nights will mark your calendars, and you will stand under the sagging eaves in the pouring rain and smoke your cigarettes in between chants and jabs of your wand. And you won't know, because you are oblivious to such things, but he will be watching, pride etched just as deeply on his brow as his famous scar. And you will thrive in his mind's eye.
Potter will give you little to no indication of what he's been up to in the barn, but on some nights he will come inside with fingernails blackened and hair slick with grease. Because you are meticulously clean to the point of obsessive, it will not occur to you just how soot-smudged and sweat-caked he is, until you remember your visits to Azkaban and how the only things holding your soul-broken father together are the dirt and the detritus.
And Potter, for all his false modesties, will strip himself bare and leave you his clothing to follow like a trail of breadcrumbs. You will sit on the ledge of the bath with book open and eyes averted, imagining the arch of his spine or the flex of a toe as it tangles with the chain stopper. The water will eddy down the drain and you'll tick off the moments you'll have before you must stand with Potter, juggling a trifecta of towel and book and delicate poise.
By dinner, you'll be back to your jangle of nerves and you'll slip out mid-meal for a smoke, finding your calm outside. He will not come to check on you in the hour you're gone, but when you come back inside, he'll have left dessert on the table for you, and in that instant you will realise that he knows how you feel.
By the end of your Auror training, the skies will have shifted from blue to grey. The months ahead will be wet and cold with the days feeling twice as long. In the interim, when you're not inhaling words like stolen breaths, you'll be furiously alternating between dodge and parry. You can never quite acclimate to Potter's fighting style. One moment he's there, the next he's not, like a candle flame in a breeze. You will be knocked on your arse so many times, you'll begin to think the ground is your second home. The improvements will come in fits and starts, but you'll still know the ground far too often, leaving fresh bruises to bloom where they demand.
You'll just as soon wish to fall into bed tired and muddied, but Potter's insistent hand will lead you to the bath, the drip-drip of the tap mesmerising. You'll sink into the water bleary-eyed and Potter will tend to your hurts, cross-questioning you on policy and procedure and magical law long laid to rest. He’ll escort you to bed, the two of you shambling along like ill-gotten Inferi, and he'll place a kiss to your brow for good luck as the light fades around you.
The subtle differences you were never able to interpret as a child will come easy to you now. A thin line exists between the veils of scrutiny and mere attention. Cold and judging gazes will fall down around you like a line of dominoes as Potter sidesteps your approach. Your marks will be the highest in years and they'll swear you in first in recognition. But this will seem trite with respect to his smile. It will mark the day when your Patronus changes a second time.
It will be raining back in Antrim, but that will not dampen Potter's spirits. He'll make a show of constructing you a paper crown to ring in your coronation. Your prickliness will be heavily implied, but you will have mountains to move before you can pull swords from stones. Outside, he’ll drag you under the eaves and share a fag with you, quiet as the smoke mingles with your breaths, passed back and forth between eager fingers.
And not a moment too soon, he’ll pull you out into the rain and kiss you gently, the paper crown flagging between your wet faces.
The invitation will be the first of their petty jealousies.
They'll maintain, of course, that your invitation was lost in the post. But you'll know better, and the truth will hurt. Potter'll insist you accompany him as his guest. But you've no desire to be relegated to five meaningless letters and the crook of Potter's arm. You will be destined for bigger things and brighter futures. At least that's what your mother's weekly letters of encouragement imply.
Potter will beg, though, and you'll agree to go just to quiet him. You think it will feel like the Slug Club all over again, but Potter will promise the functions are not interchangeable. That this branch of Magical Law Enforcement will do for you what the Most Extraordinary Society of Potioneers did for Belby or Snape.
But this wretched insecurity will not be at the heart of what's troubling you, and you think your decision to reveal yourself as Potter's dirty secret will be its own reward.
The night of the gala you'll be dressed to the nines, clad in Victorian finery. You'll thumb open the case of the fob watch left to you by your grandfather Abraxas and remember his words: 'Men do not dress as they once did.' You'll honour the sentiment with a nod to frocks and waistcoats and spats, employing your father's old tailor out of sheer indulgence. You'll lay out a similar outfit for Potter, threatening to burn his wardrobe in effigy if he so much as tries to Accio a ratty trainer.
Potter'll be in that stupid barn doing Merlin-only-knows-what, pushing the boundaries of fashionably late. You'll walk up to the doors to investigate, and you'll hear Delibe's Sous Le Dome Épais playing so loudly you'd swear the two sopranos were standing inside. Potter will walk out momentarily looking as though his smile was painted on with dirt and grease, and he'll recall the wards. For the moment, you'll forgive him his secrecy and usher him back to the cottage. Despite your time constraints, Potter will clean up nicely, and you'll forget your irritations, placing your hand in his for a Side-Along-Apparition.
You'll promise to be on your best behaviour, but there's little damage you could inflict having checked your wand at the door. Potter will leave you momentarily to talk with Kingsley and a few of his aides while you play musical highballs with a tray of drinks. In retrospect, you'll think it was a bad idea to accompany Potter when all you have to offer in the way of conversation is how to keep the ice sculptures chilled indefinitely to a pair of Ministry suits inhaling hors d'oeuvres. One man, however, will be left when all of the others have made their polite conversation. He'll discreetly slip you his business card and say, 'I have been following your career closely, Mr Malfoy, and I think your talents are highly under-utilised.' You'll glance at the business card just as inconspicuously as it will have been handed to you, but there'll be nothing to see. Just two blank sides.
'I'm afraid I don't understand,' you'll say. 'Mr…?'
'The name is unimportant, dear boy,' he'll return, then counter, 'You'll have your answers when the time is right and not a moment before.'
The man will turn to leave, and you'll tug at his coat sleeve in much the same way that you did with your father's all those years ago, when he kept his agendas better hidden. 'Why me?' you'll ask. And the answer will be thus:
'After awhile, the shadows will grow too cold to stand inside; the coattails too ratty to ride upon.'
And that's when Potter will show up, a bored expression on his face. 'Let's get out of here,' he'll say.
With a nod and a wink you'll comply, slipping the card someplace safe.
Of all nights, it will be this one Potter will insist on showing you what he's been up to in that blessed barn all this time. You'll suggest first thing next morning, but he’ll drag you by the collar of your frock and place his hands over your eyes as he disables the wards, whispered breaths ruffling the hair at your nape.
At first glance, his big secret will come as somewhat of a disappointment to you. There, in the middle of a barn the size of a Quidditch pitch, is a fancy motorbike. When you have naught to offer in the way of surprise, he'll explain his motivations.
It will have started off as a project after the war to busy his hands and mind. He’ll have begged off Sirius's old Bonny from Arthur Weasley, using it as a blueprint. From three different motorised skeletons, he'll have built something piecemeal like Frankenstein's monster, until something new and unique will be standing. He'll have no spare parts left over, and you'll wonder were he to take you apart, would his results be as successful. You'll break from your reverie at the snap of his finger and pose curiously a question. 'Why?'
'Why not?' he'll reply, gesturing for you to climb aboard.
You'll straddle the bike just as Potter turns the engine over, and when he does, you'll note the genius in his design. Insect armoured, gears and cogs and clock mechanisms will comprise its innards, and the engine will purr not with roars but with ticks and tocks that rival the hyperspeed of a hummingbird. Like everything precious in the magical world, Potter's great, bloody beast will be one part this and one part that.
He’ll hand you a pair of brass-studded goggles and seat himself behind you, slipping his arms about your waist. 'Whitbread,' he'll say, and you'll have to turn off the engine to hear correctly, because you'll have sworn he just said…
'Whitbread,' he’ll repeat.
'But isn't that tomorrow?' you'll protest.
'Eight a.m. sharp,' he'll confirm with a dubious grin.
Outside, it'll be raining. It will have done that a lot, lately. No matter, you will start that bike up and steer it right out the double doors. Fat droplets will batter the blues and blacks of the bike's exoskeleton at your ascent.
You'll feel his fingertips digging in at your hips, and idly you'll wonder if his colour preferences mimic his fondness for bruises.
The Whitbread 'Round-the-World has been the wizarding world's most prestigious race for hundreds of years. This year's race will originate in Reading. There will be contestants on brooms built for two and three, thestrals and hippogriffs, and flying carpets. There will even be a one-man hot air balloon, a small dirigible and a flying catamaran. Potter's motorbike will still be the most extraordinary entrant, and you'll feel a surge of pride just as much for him as you do for yourself. Even if you don't win, you will make an impressive display of it.
To keep things interesting, none of the contestants will have any prior knowledge of the ten locations used for checkpoints. Potter will volunteer you to pick for their team, and you'll select Papua New Guinea, your fourth stop on the tour. A smile will tug at the corners of your mouth as you reflect on your itinerary; a long snog in Almaty, Kazakhstan, a leisurely frot in Auckland, New Zealand, a cock sucking in the Canaries, a quick shag in the City of Angels. And in between, you will fill your rest periods with animated conversations, thoughtful silences and frantic meals of the local cuisines. You will be wired on adrenaline and sexual energy and world coffees, and the prospect of returning home will be like a splash of cold water to the face. But you will have forty days of Potter and the bliss he inspires, and you will not care one iota that your fingers will numb, your legs will cramp or your arse will hurt.
Before the race commences, there will be pictures taken for the Daily Prophet. Skeeter will be there, smug as ever, reporting the news from her viewpoint and her viewpoint alone. You'll figure as long as she's inferring things and putting words in your mouth, that you'll give her a show with an arm around Potter's shoulder or a kiss to his cheek. But it won't just be for Skeeter, it will be for Blaise and Pansy and Weasley and Granger, and perhaps a tiny bit for your father, whom you'll seek to enlighten, not to punish.
And then with a final wave of goodbye, you'll climb aboard that wondrous flying clockwork and pull the brass-studded goggles down over your eyes. A cannon will fire, and you and Potter will be off, sailing through spectral clouds of grey as Potter engages the Invisibility Booster. You'll wrap your arms tighter about Potter's waist as he ascends higher. You'll catch your breath and wait on your ears to pop, easily accelerated with two sticks of Drooble's Best Blowing Gum.
Your wand will be as close to your heart as a robin keeps its red breast, and you'll safeguard the silver-beaded bottomless bag in the inside pocket of your spell-protected 'six ways to Sunday' frock. You'll have the Great Pyramids of Giza set in your sights, and you'll calculate the distance - first consulting the map - over a hastily shared cauldron cake. Potter will have windburn to soothe, and you'll land just shy of the Nile, stretching your legs and clamouring for a smoke. At dawn, over an apple, you'll ponder the Sphinx's inscrutable smile, and by six fifteen a.m., you'll be through the first of the journey's many checkpoints.
In New Delhi you'll help celebrate the Qutub Festival, pulling Potter into a dance with you. Then, drunk on fenny and full on mango, you'll plead with Potter to make a detour to Agra and to the Taj Mahal, where you'll hear there will be freedom from guilt and forgiveness of sin, both at the mercies of a grief-stricken husband. But before long, it will be time to go, and you'll quietly note that you came here with someone who forgave you your wrongdoings even before your journey started.
Papua New Guinea is where you'll carve your wood totem, a shape that will remain secret forever, despite Potter's persistence and his promise to tickle. The totem will ground you to this earth, even when you are miles above the patches of greens and blues, and it will share space with a growing number of curiosities in that silver-beaded bag until such time that it's needed.
The deep freeze of Nunavut will be too much for your sensitivities to bear, but you'll have read that serpents den together in winter, even if Potter seems unaware that he preens scales just as much as he does feathers. You'll hole up in your tent and watch Potter shave, restless and bored. But inspiration will strike at the glint of his mirror and, sensing something stir, you'll reach into the bottomless bag and pluck from its depths the stranger's business card. Where once it was blank, a name will be indelibly inked: Magnus MacGillicuddy. The dots will begin to connect even if you can't see as far ahead.
You won't be sorry to leave the cold and the snow behind. Not when there are endless beaches and a lively metropolis awaiting your arrival. Your steps on her shoreline will be somewhat reminiscent of the first steps of the Malfoy Huguenots who left France for these shores seeking freedom from persecution. You'll gather up a handful of sand to bottle and stopper, and it will be used to fill your mother's hourglass, so that she will know peace in the long waits.
Potter will sit with you on the beach as the sun sets, and he'll lean into you, absorbing your quiet genius. Inside your head, wheels will turn and gears will shift, and cogs, once rusty with disuse, will twist with a bit of mental elbow grease. Without pulling away, you'll scribble your Arithmantic calculations into the wet sands, stretching what was once cramped in the crawlspace of your brain out in long, flowing equations. Potter will watch unobtrusively until he releases you from his stay, not because he wants to, but because he needs to. He'll encourage your mad-passionate attempts at solving whatever it is your higher maths are attempting to solve, or better, for wizardkind. You will love him that much more for kicking the cage door wide open for you, because you will always, always fly back to him.
Inside the silver-beaded bag, a warm glow will suffuse the silk lining. Chief Architect; Ministry Research and Development will accompany the name on the business card. 'We should get moving,' you'll say. 'Venice calls. And then home.' Potter will agree with a sleepy nod, and from here on out, you'll do the piloting.
Mechanical problems will hamper your flight to Venice, and you'll have to touch down just south of the checkpoint. Potter will look wearied and off colour, and it will come down to you fixing the great, bloody beast with its tick-tocking heart. Underneath its carapace, you'll find a broken-toothed gear that needs replacing. A Legilimens into Potter's mind will reveal his specs and design and confirm your worst suspicions; it can't be Transfigured. Always quick thinking, you'll remember the pocket watch inside the silver-beaded bag. Potter will insist you not dismantle it, but you'll have none of his demands, and with a tired smile you will pluck the gear from behind its clock face and surgically replace the old one. Unbeknownst to you, Potter will find the old newspaper clipping of him behind the photo of your parents, hidden in the adjacent casing. He will say nothing now, instead suggesting a bit of relaxation before you make the checkpoint and fly back into Reading.
You will expect gelato at a canal-side café, but Potter will summon a gondola instead. The moon will be too bright. The gondolier will sing off-key. And your trousers will be damp from the wet seat. Despite all this, you'll be the happiest you've been since you've left, and Potter's kiss will be the perfect cap to forty days.
You'll pilot the rest of the way home with Potter at your back, keeping you straight like a tireless bookend. It will culminate in four teams racing for the finish, but you will want it more than anyone else. Merlin knows you always do.
Team Malfoy-Potter will take first, and Potter will hoist your arm up with his in victory. A funny thing will happen, though, and Potter, with his tumbledown hair and his famous scar, will turn from the flashes. From inside the bottomless bag at your belt, the sounds of quill scratching parchment will alert you to the business card once more. A Floo address will now appear.
Your star, once part of Potter's cluster, will shine now in its own constellation.
One year after your triumphant return, you will be sitting up in bed next to Potter, wide-eyed and on the brink of a full-blown panic attack. Research notes will litter the bed leading up to your lap, and Potter, nose buried in Quidditch Quarterly, will be oblivious to your fright.
In just six short hours, you'll be expected at eight a.m. sharp in front of the Research and Development board for peer review. Foolishly, you'll have thought you could've invented a new and obscure branch of magic called Mirrormancy. Naively, you'll have thought it would've revolutionised the travel industry. Realistically, it will remind you of your inadequacies with the Vanishing Cabinets.
It will become harder to breathe normally, and your vision will tunnel. In a flash of what will seem like sixty seconds, you will backtrack this road to the beginning and all the steps and measures it will have taken you to get from A to B and back again. All on the whim of a shaving mirror and Potter's scraggle.
Your life thus far will have been an endless stream of numbers and letters, cruising habitually on autopilot. Every spare moment of your free time will have been spent scratching this new itch in the form of trial and error. No surface will have been safe from your scribblings. Spare bits of parchment, old copies of the Daily Prophet and cocktail napkins will be graffitied with numbers and magical symbols. Colourful fridge magnets left behind by little Teddy will have wrapped around surfaces with your numerical ramblings. Even the paper in the privy will not have been spared, and on more than one occasion you will have had to rescue it from certain doom before it would've been lost forever. Your hard work will have paid off, though, and you will have had Potter to thank for it. There on his back, gouged in long scratches and crescents, will have been your salvation.
Your ever increasing heart palpitations will snap you right back to the there and then. Potter will be hovering over you, worry cleaved in the lines of his brow. He will take you by the hand and talk you down, kissing each of your knuckles in turn. His lips will be soft, smooth, but they will leave a burning trail down your flesh. Each kiss will be different and unique from the last, like fingerprints left or snowflakes fallen. They will take you apart, piece you back together and still leave you incomplete. He will worship you like a Medici prince; with a look, with a touch, with a kiss. You will beg him to stop just as persistently as he begs you to continue, until the lines blur and your head swims with the weight of it. Your legs will part shamelessly, and Potter will settle in the vee of your thighs with his mouth on your cock and his fingers inside you. And you will forget. And you will forget. And you will forget.
Potter will insist he accompany you for your peer review. He will do that a lot, insist upon something. You will agree, though, because you will need him. Need him as a magician will need his assistant in a magical West End farce. If you had more time, you will think, you would've jokingly volunteered to saw Potter in half with Goblin-forged steel. Or pull a kneazle out of your hat. But you will want out of there as soon as possible. The contents of your stomach will have already threatened mutiny.
'It will be simple,' you'll begin. 'A pair of Two-way mirrors and a single thought process.' A trifecta of words and intent; Destination. Determination. Deliberation. It will be a similar formula like Apparition. Potter will first Engorgio his mirror and then you your own, and with a fluid yet savage refinement, you will enter through one mirror and exit out the other. Tiny cuts and scrapes will stay hidden beneath your glamours, and with a flick of your wrist, the Two-way mirrors will melt back into the small, rectangular shapes they once were.
With a scrutinising look, the Chief Architect will stamp your proposal 'Ministry Sanctioned' and approve further safety protocols. His nod will be all the congratulations you'll receive, and for a brief flicker, you'll wish they'd denied you. The pressure to conceive, to imagine, will be weighty.
The moment you are alone, Potter will attack your mouth with slipping grace, and you'll fall limp in his arms, hazy.
Opportunity has parted the seas for you, and you will try not to piss on its sands.
The years will pass quickly in the hands of Father Time. You'll have created many things in the services of Merlin and Ministry and Magicfolk, but it will seem as though your best days are behind you. Over a late morning meal of tea and toast, Potter will suggest you quit waiting and create your own atmosphere. You will stare back at him over an orange-slathered triangle, and the inspiration, like lightning, will strike when you catch a glimpse of that faded scar behind a loose curl.
Like so many after the war, your father will fall into the category of the mindsick as he slips further and further into himself. You'll petition for a patent that will allow the Legilimens to extract and share memories with loved ones. At first, the results will be successful, but then the memories will degrade. It will take months and months and months of solid research to find its flaw, but it will eventually come down to either the technique or the conduit through process of elimination.
As if on cue, Potter will present you with the wand you'll have both tried so hard to forget about. But he will be unable to ignore the calling, of both yours to receive and his to give back. Skeeter will call attention to your actions in the Prophet, cheapening your deeds as you make the rounds at St Mungos to try and help those cerebrally wounded regain some of their dignity. Your last patients will be the Longbottoms, and with the help of Neville, you'll be able to show Frank and Alice the achievements and endeavours of their son, his wife and their heirs. It will earn you an Erised Achievement award, and your own accomplishments will finally make the history books. They will want to present you with the award in person at a ceremony, but instead, you will spend it with Potter. Alone. In this you will finally be complete.
And then, you will find yourself where you once were, cooking this infernal mess for Potter. The post will come over breakfast, and an important looking envelope will make its way into your hands. The Ministry will propose to darken and twist your good will by using your methods to implant a victim's torture into his killer's mind at random intervals in lieu of the Kiss. This will raise all sorts of moral dilemmas for you and for Potter, but you will have time enough to discuss this later over dinner, you'll think, or perhaps after…
A voice will just barely cut through the fog of your thoughts. 'Draco, the eggs are burning.'
A phantom pain tingles your skin as hot oil splashes, jarring you back to the present.
The air is stifling in the Wizengamot chambers. Your mother's nails dig into the tender flesh at your wrist as she helps bring you to your feet for the deliberation.
'Not guilty,' comes the verdict.
You and your mother are wracked with sighs of relief. Over her shoulder, you can see Potter looking at you. With a nod, he turns to walk away. You extricate yourself from your mother's embrace, and in an unexpected turn, you approach Potter. Kingsley watches unobtrusively.
"Thank you, Potter," you say. "For that."
Two hands reach out.
"Feel like coffee?" he asks.
With a look and a nod back to your mother, you say. "Sure, Potter."
"It's Harry," he says, unafraid to smile. "Where should we go?"
"Your choice. But you should know," you begin.
"Yes?" he asks.
"Never mind," you tease, thinking, I don't make plans. And I don't make breakfast. For now.
You grin back.