Title: Leave Your Field to Flower, Part 1/2
Pairings: Harry/Draco, implied Hermione/Percy
Summary: Draco Malfoy is like all the other Survivors of the disaster -- except for one called Harry Potter.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning: Will be AU in about a month. Ha.
Word Count: 12800 words
• This fic started out being based on one of Lusiology's prompts and then went in a completely different direction as I started to flesh it out. I consulted with one of her friends, who thought she'd like it, and so I forged ahead. I hope she enjoys it!
• The passages about witchcraft are taken directly from the Witchcraft entry at Wikipedia, accessed May 20, 2007.
• The title comes from a line in the song "Magic to Do" from Pippin.
The window was dirty. Decades of grime clung to the corners of the panes, softly rounded in places from occasional half-hearted efforts to clean it off. It gave the scene outside an old-fashioned glaze, and it was easy to pretend to be looking out on a painting, an urban cityscape of sorts. Taxi cabs scuttled in and out of view on the street below, ferrying their passengers to destinations unknown -- and far more exciting, most likely. A homeless man was settling into a portico with his threadbare sleeping bag, carefully spreading newspapers around himself to ward off the chill. A pair of colorfully-dressed teenagers walked past and shot him a curious glance, but didn't slow their pace.
Draco Malfoy gripped a pencil between his fingers and squinted, drawing a circle in the air around the man's weathered face. He felt a compulsion to speak, but no words came to his tongue. He swallowed down his annoyance and kept the pencil point focused on the man's face.
"Draco, are you listening?"
He ignored Rosemary, focusing intently on the scene below. The man wasn't familiar, and neither was the setting, but he couldn't escape the feeling that he should do something.
"Draco? It's almost time."
"I know," he replied, still not turning to look at her. If he just concentrated, maybe--
"You still haven't answered my question."
He turned toward her with a scowl. "We both know I've got no answer for that. Yet you persist in wasting my time and yours by asking over and over."
She smiled and kept her eyes on his. "You haven't been doing the exercises."
"They didn't work. And it was boring. I'm busy, you know. I don't have time for that shit."
Rosemary leaned back in her chair, her expression just as condescending as ever. "Sometimes I think you don't want to be here."
"Perceptive, aren't you?" Draco turned back to the window.
"I'm only trying to help you."
"And the government pays you nicely for it."
A laugh. "Not as nicely as you'd think, but yes. I suppose that means we're done for the day. Are you coming to group tomorrow night?"
"No," Draco retorted. But he would. He always did. He had nothing better to do.
Draco frowned -- someone had moved the books on witchcraft and hadn't bothered to mention it to him. He had an idea of who that someone might be.
He found her sitting behind the information desk, glasses perched on the tip of her nose and her long frizzy hair twisted into a bun with a pencil sticking through it, holding it in place. The pencil was green and embossed with silver print, with a bright pink eraser at the end. He tilted his head to try to make out what it said, but only the letters KNO were visible. The rest of the word disappeared into her hair.
"Did you need something?"
His fixation on her pencil had made him forget what he was there to ask her. He pursed his lips and tried to concentrate.
Hermione smiled in a way that reminded him sharply of Rosemary. "You were over in Fantasy, weren't you?"
He looked away in an attempt to cover the flush creeping over his cheeks. "Someone moved the books on witchcraft out of my section."
Hermione sighed and swiveled her chair to face him. "I did. They don't belong in fiction, Draco."
"But they are fiction."
"Well, I suppose they are, in a manner of speaking, but they belong in the New Age section. That's where people expect to find them."
"And we must cater to the public's stupidity?"
Hermione gave him a sharp look and nodded to indicate a customer standing close by, perusing the self-help books. "It's my call, and that's where I want them."
Draco rolled his eyes. "Why did you give me that section to organize if you were just going to override any decisions I made about what to put there?"
"That's the only thing I moved."
"Today. And tomorrow it will be something else. I don't appreciate the fact that you check up on every little thing I do."
"That's my job."
"And what's mine?"
Hermione sighed. "Did you go to counseling today?"
"It's none of your business, is it?"
"You're always irate after counseling, and you take it out on me. Ergo, it's my business."
Draco scowled. "I don't want to talk about it with you."
"Fine." Hermione turned back to the computer screen before her and began pecking at the keyboard.
Draco watched her fingers move, marveling at the speed. He'd never learned to use a keyboard somehow, and had an irrational fear of computers. Which was why she'd been promoted to assistant manager and he hadn't, probably. They'd started at the bookshop at the same time, but she'd done much better.
"I thought you didn't want to talk about it," Hermione said, eyes focused on the screen before her.
Draco picked at a piece of old sellotape stuck to the laminate surface of the information counter. "It doesn't seem to bother you. The counseling, I mean."
Hermione pushed away from the keyboard and turned to look at him again. "Have you had a break yet?" When he shook his head, she nodded toward the in-house coffee shop. He followed her.
They sat at a corner table with their steaming cups, looking down over the small shopping street in the afternoon sun. Draco watched the cream slowly melt into his coffee confection, and said nothing until he realized she wasn't going to speak first. He looked up to see she was watching him, a patient expression on her face.
"It's different for you," he said at last. "You have your family."
She nodded. "You're probably right. "I didn't lose my parents as you lost yours. I have a connection to the life I had before, even if…" She trailed off and paused for a moment before starting again. "I can't say I understand what it's been like for you and the others who lost their families. So I suppose that's made the counseling easier for me."
"And you like to talk."
She smiled. "So do you."
"But not like that. Not to Rosemary."
Draco shrugged. "There's something about her that… I don't know. It's like I find her very existence annoying."
"Is it because she's a woman?"
"No. I don't find you annoying. Well, not constantly."
Hermione's smile softened. "Well, I'm like you, aren't I? I'm a Survivor, and she isn't. She doesn't understand."
Draco frowned. "Yes, but it's more than that. She just… I can't explain."
"You don't have to do. I'm not Rosemary, after all."
They sipped their drinks in silence for a few minutes, neither of them ready to go back to work. Draco struggled to think of something to say to break the silence.
"Want to do something later tonight?"
Hermione brightened. "I've a date."
Draco raised his cup to his lips and said nothing. He knew Hermione and Percy were serious, and it wasn't his place to interfere. He resented losing his friend, but it wasn't as if he were interested in taking Percy's place.
Hermione cast a glance toward the coffee counter. "Why don't you ask Alberto to do something tonight?"
Draco looked over to where a striking young man was wiping down the coffee machine. He grinned when he caught Draco's eye, and Draco looked away.
"You hardly ever date, Draco. I worry about you."
"I'm not ready for anything like that."
Hermione leaned forward and grinned. "Just take him home and fuck him. It doesn't have to be anything more, you know."
Draco glared at her. "Will you lower your voice? Merlin!"
She raised an eyebrow at him, but kept grinning. "Merlin? You've been spending too much time in Fantasy. I should reassign you to Gay & Lesbian Interest."
Draco rolled his eyes. "I'm happy in Fantasy. I think I must have been some sort of geek before. The sort who knew what all those levels of dungeon master mean."
"Maybe you were." She pushed her chair back and stood, gathering up the rubbish on the table. "Are you going to group tomorrow night?"
Draco stared into his nearly-empty cup. "I haven't decided."
Hermione laughed. "Which means I'll see you there."
He watched her walk away, a bit baffled by her cheerfulness. He usually found cheerful people annoying, but this was a relatively recent development for her, so he supposed it was a good thing. For her, anyway.
He stood in front of St. Mary's Clinic for a good five minutes before Neville showed up and clapped him on the shoulder.
"Have a good weekend?" Neville asked as he tugged Draco through the door.
"No," Draco replied.
They walked down the corridor in awkward silence. Draco had never felt very comfortable around Neville, and he'd never been sure why. Neville was not so different from him in many ways; he'd even lost his family as well.
They turned left at the end of the corridor and then right into a room ringed with folding chairs. There were about ten people milling about, all familiar faces, all Draco's age. All Survivors.
He made his way across the room to where a lanky red-head was laughing with another man. Draco smiled for what felt like the first time in days.
"Fred, Seamus. What's up?"
They turned to him and held out their hands in greeting. Draco had a feeling they'd all been great friends once, an inseparable trio. They'd probably been quite the pranksters at their school, giving the teachers all sorts of trouble.
"We were starting to think you weren't going to show up tonight," Seamus said.
"Almost didn't," Draco replied, rolling his eyes for effect. "I hate this shite."
"I've got five quid that says you'll finally spill your darkest secrets this fine evening," Fred said with a wink. "If you don't do it, you'll owe me a pint."
"I'll pay up right after," Draco replied, turning to look around the room. Nearly everyone was there -- Vince and Colin talking quietly across the circle, Luna staring into space and rubbing her ever-growing belly, Neville watching the movements of her hand with more than a little longing, Hermione and Percy giggling at each other.
"Ergh, look at my brother," Fred said. "Disgusting."
Draco snorted. "At least you don't have to listen to Hermione go on and on about how wonderful he is."
"I will, at this rate. They're -- Oi, who's that?"
They turned to see a young man standing in the doorway, looking as if he couldn't decide whether to come in or to leave. He seemed to be about their age, but Draco couldn't remember ever seeing him before. He was dressed all in black, which set off his pale, haunted face. Even his hair was black; it hung into his eyes and down to his shoulders in a way that suggested he simultaneously did and didn't care about his appearance. He wore thin-rimmed glasses, but his most striking feature was his bright green eyes, which were scanning the room suspiciously. The man's lips pressed into a thin line, and he looked like he wanted to be anywhere but there.
Draco's mouth had gone dry, and he found himself staring at the man, enraptured. He couldn't recall seeing him before, but he was sure he had, somehow. There was something familiar about the way he stood, the way his eyes seemed to pierce the air, the way he clenched his jaw.
"Is this your tongue, sir?" Seamus quipped, looking down at Draco's shoes. "Can I help you with that?"
Draco cringed. "Fuck off. I'm not."
"You were," Fred said, smirking. "Should I go and find out who he is? See if he'd fancy a quick shag in the corner before Rosemary gets here?"
"Will you shut it?" Draco spat, trying not to blush. He risked another glance at the doorway, and was horrified to see the man now staring at him, an intense expression on his face. "Look, now you've frightened him."
"I dunno," Seamus said. "He doesn't look the sort who's easily frightened."
Rosemary entered the room before Draco's friends could tease him any more. She put a hand on the new man's shoulder and steered him to a chair, then settled beside him. Everyone took this as a cue to take their seats.
It was silent for a moment. Rosemary looked around the circle as if mentally taking roll, and then smiled. "Before we get started, I'm sure you've all noticed we have a new addition to our group tonight. Does anyone recognize him?"
Draco looked around the room to see that everyone's faces were blank. Even Hermione was staring quizzically at the new arrival.
Rosemary turned to the man, who had slumped into his chair and was staring resolutely at the floor in front of his feet. "Why don't you introduce yourself?"
There was a long, awkward silence, during which the man neither moved nor made a sound. Draco had to bite his cheek to stop himself from smiling.
Rosemary's smile didn't falter as she looked around the group. "This is Harry, and he'll be joining us in our weekly meetings. He's also a Survivor. He'll talk to us when he's ready." She smiled and waited a moment more, as if Harry might change his mind. "Well then. Who has something to share tonight?"
There was silence for a few long seconds, and then Hermione raised her hand.
"You can simply speak out," Rosemary said, as she always did when Hermione raised her hand. "There's no need to ask permission."
Hermione's cheeks pinked a bit. "I was thinking… well, I should provide some context. Draco and I were talking yesterday"-- she shot him a quick apologetic glance --"and it occurred to me that there might be a difference between the ways those of us with families feel and those of us who were left alone."
"We've talked about that already," Neville said, a hint of annoyance in his usually timid voice. "What good would it do to bring it up again?"
Hermione seemed surprised that her suggestion was criticized so quickly. "Yes, we've talked about it here and there, but we haven't really compared the different ways we're dealing with everything. It might be helpful."
Rosemary nodded at that, but said nothing. She looked around the circle, waiting for someone else to speak up.
Fred made a snorting sound. "Different how? Like you go visit your Mum and Dad on Sundays while Percy and I sit about and wonder where ours might be buried?"
"I didn't mean that." Hermione sank down in her chair a bit.
"I think I understand," Percy said as he reached for her hand. "After it happened, I had no one. Fred and I didn't even remember being brothers, and we certainly had no one to turn to. There was just a big empty void in our lives, and no one to help fill it in."
"Ring around the rosey, pocket full of posies," Luna sang softly, hands still caressing her belly.
"Whereas I woke up with my parents there to tell me what had happened," Hermione said, resolutely ignoring Luna. "They explained about the explosion at school, and how almost everyone was killed."
"Did they explain why they weren't there?"
Everyone turned to stare at Vince, astonished that he'd spoken. Even Hermione, anxious as she was to have this conversation, seemed taken aback. "Sorry?"
Vince made a sound of disgust. "Why weren't your parents there the day of the explosion like mine were? You had a home to go back to, didn't you? You had two parents who could show you photos of your life and tell you who you were before that day wiped it all away, and so you had a hope of putting your life together again. Unlike the rest of us."
Hermione's forehead was furrowed, and she stared back at Vince. "That's exactly my point. And we're all thrown into this group therapy together simply because we all survived, regardless of the resources we've had to rebuild our lives. I just… I don't think it's right."
Draco had never spoken in these group sessions and only partly paid attention to the conversation on most nights, but that was the first sensible comment he'd heard in months. He waited to see who else would contribute, looking around the circle. His eyes stopped on Harry, who was staring at Draco with an intensity that was nearly palpable. Draco swallowed, but found he couldn't look away.
"She's right," a woman called Romilda said. "None of us remember anything about our lives before the disaster, and throwing us together in a room once a week to whinge about how we don't remember hasn't done a thing to change it. It was almost a year ago, and it's never coming back. The sooner we all accept that, the sooner we can get on with our lives."
"But I like coming here," Neville said, looking sheepish. "Other people don't understand what it's like to be a Survivor. It's a relief to be around people who do, even if it's just for a little while."
"Ashes, ashes, we all fall down," Luna sang. Everyone was quiet for a moment.
"We could meet at a pub every Thursday and accomplish the same thing," Seamus quipped, and everyone laughed.
"I encourage you to meet more often," Rosemary said, smiling in her usual condescending way. "But having this time to express your feelings is critical for all of you, whether you would like it to be or not. Draco?"
Draco tore his eyes away from Harry's stare and turned to look at her.
"Do you have anything to add?"
He slumped down in his chair and scowled. "No."
"Now, Draco, you really need to open up to--"
"I said no," Draco growled, and felt a familiar anger rise up in him. It happened before he could stop it -- the empty chair next to him began to shake. He closed his eyes and tried to ignore it. Rosemary would just dismiss it anyway, thinking he'd kicked the chair in frustration. But he hadn't.
Weird things happened when any of them got angry, but they never talked about that. Even now, everyone was staring at the floor, pretending they hadn't seen it. Draco opened his eyes and glared at Rosemary, daring her to say something. But she only smiled blankly at him for a moment before moving on to Luna.
Draco scowled and looked away. Harry was still staring at him, and Draco saw one corner of his lip twitch upwards, just slightly.
The pub was busy for a Wednesday night, but they managed to find a corner table. Seamus and Fred headed to the bar to buy pints for everyone, and Neville sat awkwardly next to Draco.
"Did Harry look familiar to you?"
Draco shook his head. "Did he to you?"
"No, but…" Neville paused, his brow furrowing. "I mean, he did, but maybe it was only because I knew he should. But you two were staring at each other like you remembered each other. I thought maybe--"
"Ales all around!" Fred said, sloshing pints onto the table. "Seamus has the rest."
"Thank god," Draco said and took several large gulps from the nearest one. "I really needed that tonight."
"You still owe me one," Fred said, settling into the chair next to him. "I still think you should have asked Harry to come along tonight."
Draco shook his head. "He kind of freaked me out. He wouldn't stop staring at me."
"That was a two-way street from what I saw," Seamus said, arriving with two more pints. "I didn't know there were other Survivors still out there. Where did he come from?"
"The psych ward," Neville said, and everyone turned to stare at him. "No, really. I heard Rosemary talking about it with Dr. Stevens."
"He's been in hospital since the disaster?" Draco asked.
Neville took a swig from his pint and nodded. "Apparently they only just let him out a few weeks ago. He was completely nutters. Thought he remembered everything that happened before the disaster, but it was all nonsense. They had to keep him drugged up for months, and even after that he wouldn't stop. I heard Rosemary say they thought it might do him some good to be around other Survivors for a while."
They were all quiet for a moment, and Draco imagined they were probably thinking the same thing: What did Harry remember?
"Oh, I almost forgot," Neville said, rummaging through the leather bag he carried everywhere. "I saw this in a shop and thought of you, Draco." He held out a small package full of pencils, each a different, vibrant color.
Collecting pencils had become a bit of an obsession, and everyone humored it. There was something about the way they felt in his hand that could calm him when he was upset. When he had a pencil in his hand, those strange things didn't happen. He had no idea why. "Thanks, Neville."
"You're so easily amused," Seamus said, shaking his head.
Draco grinned. "It's a cheap hobby, at least."
It was late by the time Draco left the pub and walked back to the tiny efficiency he'd letted a few months ago. It was overrun by roaches and unsavory folk, but it was better than the halfway house he'd been in since getting out of hospital. He had his privacy, and it meant a lot to him. It had been uncomfortable living with other men, especially because he was the only Survivor who was gay. They didn't treat him differently because of it, but he was always conscious of making everyone else uncomfortable.
He wondered what it had been like at school. Had he been out, or had he kept it to himself? Did he have a boyfriend? Had his parents accepted him?
He didn't even know his parents' names, of course. The Survivors whose parents hadn't died seemed to have records, but the rest of them didn't. It was as if they had suddenly come into existence the day they woke up in hospital. Draco only knew his own name because he'd been found wearing a shirt with a small embroidered tag sewn in: "PROPERTY OF DRACO MALFOY". Some days he wondered if it had even been his shirt at all.
He stopped at the stoop and dug through his pockets for the key to the building's front door while keeping an eye out for the junkies who trolled this neighborhood looking for easy victims. They'd almost got all of his money once, until he'd somehow found himself on the other side of his building's door, with no idea how he'd got there.
Draco started and whirled around. It was Harry from group, and he seemed to have materialized out of thin air.
"Harry, isn't it? Hi." Draco took a step toward the door of the building, wondering if he could unlock the door with his hands behind his back, if Harry turned out to be dangerous.
"Sorry if I startled you. I've been waiting since group got out. I found out where you live from Luna."
"Luna knows where I live?"
Harry blinked. "Apparently. She was more than happy to tell me, at least."
They stared at each other for a moment.
"So what did you want?" Draco asked. "It's late. I have to work tomorrow."
"To talk. Can I come in?"
Draco wasn't about to invite a complete stranger into his flat, Survivor or no, but he had to admit he was curious. "There's a coffee shop around the corner that's open late."
They made their way there in silence, ordered coffee, and sat at a corner table. Harry stirred a packet of sugar into his coffee, frowning at it as he did, and said nothing for several minutes. When he finally looked up, the expression on his face was the same as the one he'd had at group earlier: intense and nearly hostile.
"Are we going to talk or just glower at each other?" Draco snapped. "I don't have all fucking night."
Harry's expression softened. "Sorry. Habit, I suppose. I just wanted to know if you remembered me."
Draco rolled his eyes. "Of course I don't remember you. None of us remember anything. That's why we're in this situation."
"I remember you," Harry said.
Draco rolled his eyes. "No you don't. That's impossible."
"Your name is Draco Malfoy. Your parents were Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy, and you were their only child. You lived in a huge mansion with servants and portraits of your ancestors, and you were a right shit. Your father was a bastard, by the way."
Draco felt a wave of annoyance. "Why should I believe any of this? You're probably making it all up. I hear you're nutters anyway."
"You're gay," Harry said. "Your first kiss was with a boy called Blaise Zabini when we were in fifth year, and he told everyone. You denied it for a while, but it was obvious to everyone who knew you."
"Everyone knows I'm gay. That doesn't prove anything."
"You have a series of scars on your chest."
Draco felt himself pale. "How do you know that?"
"I'm the one who gave them to you. Almost killed you, too."
"Someone must've told you about my scars." Some of the hospital staff had seen his bare chest, though he'd kept it hidden as much as possible. "Besides, it doesn't make sense that you're the only one who remembers anything about the disaster. What makes you different from any of us?"
"Because I'm the one who caused it," Harry said, staring into his coffee. "It was my fault it happened, and I'm cursed to be the only one left who remembers what happened before, what we all were."
"Completely insane and with a martyr complex to boot. What do you mean, what we were?"
Harry looked up again, and seemed to be considering. Draco was curious as hell to hear what he supposedly remembered, whether it was crazy or not. He'd have a story to tell Fred and Seamus, at least.
"What happened in group tonight, with the chair -- does that happen to you often?"
Draco's eyes narrowed. "Does it happen to you?"
"Yes. Want to see?"
Draco nodded, and Harry looked around the empty café to make sure no one was watching. He held out his hand, palm up, and his coffee cup rose off the table and settled gently in his hand.
Draco blinked, sure he'd missed something there. "What was that, some kind of magic trick?"
Harry snorted. "Oh for Merlin's sake. Pick something else, and I'll show you again."
Draco pointed to the spoon next to his coffee cup, and Harry held out his hand. The spoon flew into it.
Draco frowned. "It's just a trick. It doesn't mean anything."
"Doesn't it?" Harry asked. He held out his hand, and where the spoon had been was a green pencil.
Draco took it and turned it over. Written in silver letters was "PROPERTY OF DRACO MALFOY". He stared at it, unsure what to say.
"We're wizards, Draco. You were born into an old wizarding family, and you went to Hogwarts School when you were eleven years old. We all did."
Draco shook his head and put the pencil down. "You're insane. There's no such thing as magic or wizards."
"Then what do you call this?" Harry asked, pointing down at the pencil. It began to spin on the table, slowly at first, then faster and faster until Draco worried it would draw attention. He snatched it off the table, and the feeling of his fingers wrapped around it sent a jolt of energy through him.
"How do you do that?" he asked, turning the pencil over in his hand.
"I just do. Just the same as you."
Draco shook his head. "I can't do that. I've… never done anything more than make things move on accident."
"When you were angry or upset, right?"
Draco stared back at him. He couldn't believe he was having this conversation.
"The cup," Harry said. "Imagine the cup in your hand. Concentrate."
Draco shot him an incredulous look, but Harry just waited. Draco rolled his eyes and held out his hand, and thought about the cup, imagining it flying through the air and into his palm. It would be kind of cool, if it weren't complete nonsense. His fingers tightened on the pencil.
And then he was holding the cup, as if he'd momentarily blacked out, picked it up, and then regained consciousness. He dropped it to the table in surprise.
"Do you see?" Harry asked, a touch of excitement in his voice now. "You can still do it. We all can, if we remember."
"I don't want to remember anything! Magic or insanity or whatever, it got my parents killed, didn't it? It got everyone's parents killed. We're the only Survivors. What does it matter now?"
"Your father would turn over in his grave to hear you talk like that. He may have been a bastard, but he was proud of being a wizard. And so were you."
Draco shook his head. "You're mad, that's all. I'm leaving now." He pushed to his feet and headed to the door.
"Wait!" Harry was right behind him, and followed him down the street.
"I'm not listening to you any more," Draco spat, stalking down the pavement.
"I know you, Draco." Harry panted as he jogged to catch up. "I've known you for ten years. I can't believe you'd be satisfied living like a common Muggle."
"I'm not a Muggle!" Draco growled, and then stopped and turned back to Harry. "What the fuck is a Muggle?"
"You prefer being around Survivors, don't you?" Harry said, taking him by the arm and pulling him closer. "You don't want to associate with anyone who isn't like you. You'd rather spend an evening with Neville Longbottom than go on a hot date with that cute boy in the coffee shop where you work."
Draco shook him off and took a step back. "What the fuck? Are you spying on me?"
"Yes," Harry said, sounding a bit desperate now. "For the last few days. You were the only one I thought might remember."
"Leave me alone," Draco spat, pushing past him and fumbling for his keys again. "I'll call the police."
He headed to his doorway, but Harry was right behind him.
"Please listen to me," Harry said, grabbing Draco's arm again. There was a weird wrenching sensation, and they were standing on the other side of the door, staring at each other.
"What did you do?" Draco asked, voice trembling.
"I didn't do it," Harry replied, his expression soft. "You did." He took a step backwards and ran a hand through his hair. "I'm sorry if I frightened you. It's just that I've been alone in this for almost a year now. No one believes me. No one else remembers. Can you imagine what that's like?"
Draco couldn't think of anything to say in response to that. He shook his head.
"I'll go now. I'll stop by the book shop tomorrow, in case you want to talk to me some more. Just think about it, please." He opened the door to the street and walked through it, leaving Draco standing alone in the entryway.
- Practices and beliefs that have been termed "witchcraft" do not constitute a single identifiable religion, since they are found in a wide variety of cultures, both present and historical; however these beliefs do generally involve religious elements dealing with spirits or deities, the afterlife, magic and ritual. Witchcraft is generally characterised by its use of magic. Modern practices identified by their practitioners as "witchcraft" have arisen in the twentieth century, which may be broadly subsumed under the heading of Neopaganism. However, as forms of Neopaganism can be quite different and have very different origins, these representations can vary considerably despite the shared name.
Draco frowned at the page. None of this made sense, and none of it sounded remotely familiar. All of the books he'd found said much the same thing, focusing on history and traditional cultures. None of them said anything about whether or not witchcraft was real.
He flipped a few pages forward.
- Probably the most obvious characteristic of a witch was the ability to cast a spell, a "spell" being the word used to signify the means employed to accomplish a magical action. A spell could consist of a set of words, a formula or verse, or a ritual action, or any combination of these.
That morning he'd tried to levitate his coffee cup, fork, toast, and toothbrush, but he couldn't make them so much as wiggle. He had no idea why it had worked with the coffee cup the night before, what he'd done differently. It wasn't as if he'd said a spell or anything. Of course, he'd been with Harry then -- so perhaps Harry had been the one who'd done it, to trick Draco into thinking he could do magic too.
He shut the book and put it back on the shelf. This was insane. So Harry could move things with his mind. It probably wasn't such an uncommon skill. It didn't make him a wizard, or anything so silly as that.
He stuffed his hands in his pockets and found in one the pencil Harry had given him the night before. He pulled it out and stared at it for a moment, and then it levitated out of his hand. He watched it float there, and wasn't sure what to think.
He snatched the pencil out of the air and turned to see Harry standing behind him. He scowled to cover his surprise. "I didn't expect you so early."
Harry shrugged. "Don't let me interrupt. I just came by to see if you wanted to talk more."
Draco had spent a good deal of the previous night wondering what he'd say if Harry actually showed up again, trying to convince himself that he should just tell him to bugger off and forget all of this nonsense. But then he'd remembered how Harry had pulled him close in the heat of argument, and that had led to another line of thinking altogether.
He blushed and looked away. "I don't get off for a few hours."
"I can wait."
"You don't have to--"
"Draco, would you mind--" Hermione's head popped around the corner, but she stopped when she saw Harry. "Oh. Hello."
Harry turned to her and the expression on his face changed completely. "Hermione. How are you?" He looked as if he wanted to reach out and touch her, but didn't dare.
Hermione looked taken aback. "You know my name."
"Of course I do," Harry replied, but seemed to stop himself from saying more. He just smiled at her.
She turned back to Draco, raising one eyebrow. "Was I interrupting anything?"
Draco gave her an annoyed look. "No."
"I was just trying to talk Draco into having lunch with me," Harry said.
"I see," she said, and grinned at Draco. "It's a bit slow today, so why don't you take your lunch early?" Draco gave her a pained look, but she ignored it. "Take your time. I'll cover for you if you get back late."
"You don't have to do that," Draco said, but she waved and walked away, a definite swing in her step. Draco shook his head. "You do realize she thinks this is a date?"
Harry was staring at the spot where she'd disappeared. "I'm fine with that if you are. How is she, anyway?"
Draco shrugged. "Fine, I guess. Better than most of us. She has a boyfriend, you know." He watched Harry's face for a reaction, but Harry only smiled.
"I'm glad. She deserves to be happy. Ready to go then?"
They made their way down the street to a small café, and didn't speak again until they were seated with drinks in front of them.
"Were you two a couple?" Draco asked at last.
"Do you mean Hermione?" Harry laughed. "No. She was like a sister to me. She was a great friend." A veil seemed to fall over his face, and he stared down at the table.
"I imagine it must be difficult to be the only one to remember," Draco said, though he still thought what Harry 'remembered' was rubbish. They sat in silence for a moment more, and Draco began to wonder why Harry had wanted to ask him to lunch in the first place. "You said last night you thought I might remember too. Why?"
"Because you were there when it happened. You and I were the only ones there who survived, so I thought… well, it doesn't matter now."
"Will you stop talking in code? There where? What exactly happened?"
Harry sighed. "It's a long story, and I'm not sure you'll understand a lot of it."
"I'm not a complete dunce, you know."
"Not like that. You just don't have a context for most of what happened, and I'm not sure how to explain it so that it doesn't sound like complete rubbish."
Draco sat back in his chair. "Try me."
And so Harry began to talk. He told Draco about a world they both had lived in, one that was completely different from this one in almost every way. He told Draco about the school they'd gone to, about how they'd taken classes in casting spells, making potions, and working with exotic plants and animals. He talked about an evil wizard who had tried to control that world, and how Harry had been prophesized to be the one to defeat him. But there was a curse Harry hadn't known about until it was too late, one that erased the memories of all wizards who survived upon the death of the evil wizard -- all except Harry himself. And so that world was to be destroyed either way, and there was nothing Harry could do about it.
"So it was my doing, you see," he said, and paused as the server set their sandwiches on the table. "And I don't know if anything can be done to reverse it."
Draco took a bite of his sandwich, chewed for a moment, and swallowed. "You do realize all of this sounds completely mad, don't you?"
Harry smiled. "Yes, it does."
"I mean, it's an awfully convenient delusion. You're so stressed about the loss of your memory that you invent this incredibly detailed fanciful one, one in which you are the hero of the story, the good guy fighting the baddie. Oh, and the curse is perfect, because it explains why you're the only one who remembers."
Harry's smile faded a bit. "You don't believe me, do you?"
Draco paused to take a sip of his drink. "I'd like to believe it, certainly. It sounds better than the official version, that there was a gas explosion at our boarding school during a family weekend, and most students and their parents were killed."
"And you believe that's really what happened?"
"Of course. There were witnesses who found us lying about unconscious, and the school was reduced to rubble."
Harry's eyes narrowed. "So why didn't any of the Survivors have burns from the explosion? All of them were perfectly fine except for suddenly having a massive case of amnesia."
"I suppose all of the ones who had burns died."
"That doesn't make sense. There would have to be a number of people who survived with injuries. And why did your parents die and not you? If it was a family weekend, wouldn't you have been with them?"
Draco scowled. "Did Rosemary put you up to this? She's always trying to get me to talk about this stuff."
"Don't be ridiculous." Harry started tearing his sandwich into small pieces. "The only reason they let me out of hospital was because I stopped trying to tell them all of this. Why would they want me to go about telling the other Survivors?"
Draco picked at his food for a moment, his hunger long gone. There were holes in the official explanation of the disaster that had always bothered him, but he'd never thought very hard about it. He'd decided early on that the past didn't matter, that knowing the whole story wouldn't change anything. He sighed. "All right, fine. You said I was there when it happened. Was I helping you?"
"No. You weren't."
"Were we friends?"
Harry looked up at him. "No."
"Did we know each other at all?"
"Yes. We just… we never got on well and…" Harry pursed his lips. "We weren't fighting on the same side."
Draco felt a strange twisting in his belly. "You're saying I was working with the bad guy?" Harry nodded. "You can't expect me to believe this."
"I told you it would be hard to explain--"
"No, you've just told me this incredible story about how you triggered the disaster trying to save the world, and then you slip in the fact that I was one of the people you were trying to save it from. What do you expect me to do?"
"Help me set it right," Harry replied, his voice small.
Draco pushed his plate away and stood. "This is completely ridiculous! I won't waste any more of my time listening to this rubbish." He tossed a few pound coins on the table and left, pushing the door of the café open so hard the hinges groaned.
He looked over his shoulder several times on the way back to the book shop, but Harry didn't follow.