Title: Thirty Days of Saving Malfoy
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, Draco/Percy, Harry/Ginny, Hermione/Ron
Summary: It’s been twelve years since the war, and everyone seems to have moved on but Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): sexual content, implied violence
Deathly Hallows compliant? yes (stays true to the events of the epilogue for about six years after Deathly Hallows ends)
Word Count: 7,010
Author’s Notes: Your prompt gave me a lot of leeway, celandineb. I hope you enjoy this.
The auburn-haired little girl smiled, revealing several gaps in her teeth. Her brown eyes surveyed Draco curiously and she let the stuffed lion she had been clutching to her side drop softly to the carpeted floor.
"How... how old are you?" Draco managed. He clenched his clammy hands so hard he feared his wand would snap.
"Seven," she answered promptly, before her tiny fingers transformed into long, hideous claws that raked at Draco, who was screaming in terror, wand forgotten, as the girl's jaw distended and her scaly feet exploded from her high-top sneakers and she took a step closer, vengeance flashing from those sweet brown eyes.
Draco woke from the familiar dream with an inhuman yowl, kicking Percy awake with a thrashing leg.
"Watch it!" Percy yelped.
Draco cringed as the room came into focus around him. Sterile whitewashed walls closed in on him, and he felt the lasagna he had shared with Percy the night before stinging at the back of his throat. A neat mahogany desk, three black filing cabinets, and a plain wooden dresser completed Percy's room and Percy's life.
"What is wrong with you? You wake me up with one of your nightmares every single night we’re together!"
"Shut it," Draco muttered as he swung his bare, pale legs over the side of the bed. He buried his face in his hands, sliding his fingers through his sweaty bangs.
Percy sighed, then moved behind Draco and wrapped his arms around him. "Draco... I didn't mean to sound so harsh. I... you know how I get when I haven't slept enough."
Draco turned to bury his face into Percy's neck, but froze, a sudden horror twisting inside his chest. Percy's red hair, a shade browner than that of his siblings, filled his vision, and the image of a seven-year-old girl with auburn hair flashed through his mind. He shuddered and jerked away, standing up.
"What's wrong?" Percy asked, sitting skinny and naked amongst the rumpled bed sheets, the only thing in disarray about him.
"Get out," Draco said.
Percy's eyes widened. "Excuse me? This is my house."
Draco glared at him for a moment, then abruptly cast his eyes at the hardwood floor. "Right," he said quietly. "I'll go."
* * *
"I had no choice," Draco told the photograph, alone in his living room. He stood in front of the green marble fireplace framed by the silver-banded Doric columns, watching the embers die and thinking about how cold his manor was. Something tugged at him inside his mind, and he resisted at first, but finally closed his eyes to find himself thirteen years younger. The memories rushed to the surface, searing hot and writhing, but Draco's blood curdled to recall them, and he quickly placed the picture in its original position face down atop the fireplace. The fear, the revulsion, the anger, they had all been dulled by time, and it was an easy matter to shut them away again. The embers from the hearth flared up again all of a sudden, and Draco stepped back, shocked out of his reverie.
Time had lined the face that appeared in the fireplace, but those foolish glasses that still balanced on the tip of his nose lent him a boyish air. Draco stared, the grandfather clock behind him ticking the seconds away. A strange tingle ran up his spine.
"It's been a while," Draco said at last.
"Yeah. Eleven years, actually."
"What do you want?"
Harry's eyebrows knit together as he struggled to find the words. "Listen... I know how long it's been, and that it's usually best to leave a Whomping Willow like this be, but I couldn't let it rest on my conscience. So I decided to come to you about this... see what you have to say about it."
"Out with it, Potter."
His mouth hardened. "Fine then. As you may know, Hermione is working in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement now. She was looking through some old files and she came across yours, detailing the trial you underwent after Voldemort's fall, and –"
"I don't want to talk about it."
In the moment that followed, the room was silent save for the crackling of fire.
"Are you deaf or just stupid, Potter? I don't want to talk about it. What happened does not concern you."
"It does when you're fucking my best friend's brother!"
A pause. "I did not think anyone knew about that. It... it's not meant to be a big deal."
"Percy doesn't keep secrets very well. And you may think it's casual sex, but he doesn't. He expects more than you can give, and I told him as much."
"Please keep your arse out of my business, Potter," Draco said. "What's with this sudden obsession with me?"
"Am I expected to believe that Granger just 'came across' these decade old files at the bottom of a stack of papers on her desk? Why are you so interested in me, Harry Potter?"
Harry's face stiffened and his lip curled into a snarl. Then, finally:
"I'm sorry I saved you."
Draco smiled as he watched Percy approach the lobby of the restaurant, first pausing at a gilded mirror to stare at his freckly reflection and smooth his carefully combed hair. When he finally deemed himself presentable, he pushed through the double doors
"You're early," he said, surprised, when he saw Draco standing there.
"So are you," Draco replied, then gestured at Percy to follow him to the reserved table.
"Fancy place," Percy commented. He tried to slip his hand into Draco's, but Draco quickened his pace, avoiding the outstretched fingers. By the time they reached their table and sat themselves in the plush velvet seats, Percy was frowning.
"What's the matter?" Draco asked.
"Nothing. It's just... why are you so opposed to people knowing about us?"
"I'm Draco Malfoy," he replied with a trace of the old smirk. "The gossip rags have been trying to stalk my manor since the end of the war. Thank Merlin for my father's charms. They'd explode if they found out I was a poof."
"You might be over-hyping yourself just a tad bit," Percy warned. "It's not such a big deal anymore. Ron thinks Harry –"
Draco tensed at the name. "You saw what happened to him. The media –"
"Regardless, I think it'd do you a bit of good to loosen up on the privacy issue. For god's sake, we've been out only three times before this, and each time was at a Muggle restaurant, which is funny, because I remember you used to hate Muggles!"
Draco tensed. "I don't hate Muggles. That's a dangerous thing to say. Anyone could be listening."
"No one around us even knows what a Muggle is, Draco!" Percy gave him a peeved expression. "Why are you so paranoid?!"
"That’s none of your business," Draco snapped. "Now order so we can eat in peace."
The food tasted like flobberworms in Draco’s mouth as he chewed. When the bill came, he paid quickly and pulled Percy out of the restaurant.
"My place or yours?" Percy asked when they had stowed themselves away into a telephone booth.
Draco turned away to hide his grimace. Something in him wanted to get back to his room and just go to sleep. "Mine," he said at last.
He closed his eyes and wrapped his fingers tightly around Percy’s wrist. A quick rush of wind, and he pulled them both past the Apparition charms that held his manor captive and felt his feet sink into the plushy softness of his living room carpet.
"Hoot" was the first sound he heard.
An oversized eagle owl flapped his splotchy wings as he stared as Draco from atop the fireplace.
Percy crossed over and grabbed the envelope, ripping the red velvet cord that secured it to the owl’s leg.
"Give that here," Draco demanded.
Looking a bit hurt by his abruptness, Percy handed the letter over to Draco, who stuffed it into his back pocket with hardly a glance at it.
"Get into the bedroom," Draco ordered.
Percy’s lip twitched, whether from annoyance or from amusement Draco could not tell, but he complied, pausing at the door to flash a sly look back.
On the bed, Draco undid the buttons on Percy’s striped blue Oxford shirt, absentmindedly watching the pale freckled chest come into the view. He trailed a cold finger down between Percy’s thin ribs, stopping at his crotch to feel the bulge beneath his palm, hidden by the thin khaki fabric. When they were both naked and Percy was gasping with each thrust, Draco’s mind was elsewhere, lingering on the name that he had caught a glimpse of on the envelope.
A few hours later, Draco awoke from the dream with a stifled scream. Heart pounding, Draco sighed in relief when Percy remained asleep. He stood and wrapped himself in an olive green bathrobe before seating himself in the velvet armchair by the window. An arrow of moonlight slipped through the satin curtains to bathe him in silver.
Harry Potter had scrawled his name on the envelope in crimson ink. The envelope itself was plain white and nondescript. A small pen tracing the word veritas, the official seal of the Daily Prophet, ran across the bottom of the parchment inside. Draco read the message slowly and reluctantly.
You are a murderer, Draco Malfoy, and I don’t trust you one bit, especially not with my best friend’s brother. I want some answers. Meet me in the Leaky Cauldron at nine tonight and we’ll talk, or else I’ll leak your story to the public.
-Harry James Potter, Editor-in-Chief
Draco looked at the mahogany grandfather clock in the corner. The shorter golden hand pointed to the three, its brother to the twelve. Six hours too late.
It was the third day of silence, and Draco thought he was in the clear until he picked up the morning edition of the Daily Prophet and saw his face staring back at him.
WEALTHY RECLUSE DRACO MALFOY DUMPED BY SECRET GAY LOVER AND FORMER SCHOOL MATE
Draco almost collapsed with relief as he scanned the article, finding no mention of his father and no incidence of the words "Death Eater." He sat limply in the kitchen chair, his burnt piece of toast dangling from his fingers. When he heard the fireplace stir as the Floo network connected, he nearly jumped out of his seat.
Is it Percy? Draco pondered it for a second, but dismissed it immediately. That ship had sailed. Two days ago, Percy had confronted him in a dramatic storm, demanding to know the status of their relationship and relating what Harry had told him. Draco refused to speak and they were over.
He walked into his living room, and when he saw Harry’s head sticking out from the flames, he said quietly, "You have a lot of nerve pulling that stunt."
"I needed to get your attention," Harry said simply.
"You have it now. We’ll meet tonight at a Muggle restaurant in central London. I’ll owl you an address. Tap the parchment three times and say claustra Malforum. Make sure that you are not followed." Then, before Harry could respond, Draco pulled out his wand, pointed at the hearth, and yelled, "Aguamenti!"
* * *
"We’re men now. So can we agree to talk like men?"
"You’re so full of it, Potter," Draco said, settling into the seat across from Harry. It felt strange to be eating at the restaurant he went to with Percy on their last date with the man who ended that relationship. "You’re here early. This eager to see me?"
"I just want to clear a few things up," Harry replied, face stony.
"Before we get into that, I would like to ask you something. I want to know what makes you think that you have the right to invade my personal life and publish my business for the world to see. You of all people should know how the media can destroy someone’s life. Now you’re just as bad as Rita Skeeter ever was." Draco sat back, watching Harry’s expression flutter. The green eyes that Draco envied while they were at Hogwarts together deepened as Harry looked for the right words.
"I publish the truth, Malfoy," Harry said through gritted teeth.
"Your little tabloid story about me was the truth, yes," said Draco. "But it’s the truth that Wanda Wickleworth wears purple polka dotted underwear and the Fat Friar likes to spend his time in the first year Hufflepuff boys’ baths, but you never felt the need to publish any of that. Why me, Potter?"
"I needed to make it clear to you that you were not getting away from having this talk with me. That’s all."
"All for the greater good, right, Potter? The end justifies the means? Sacrifice your morality for the well-being of the common people? You thought you were going to bring about the new age of the media, didn’t you? Started your own little independent publication. But then the Daily Prophet fucked up your marriage to that Weasley girl and since then you’ve just been a lonely divorced man climbing the ranks of the published world. You sold out a long time ago."
"I took over the Daily Prophet to make sure the truth would be told," Harry declared, his anger evident in his voice. "At least… at least I never killed a little girl!"
"And now we come to it," Draco said with a dry smile. "Yeah, I killed that girl. What now?"
"How can you talk like that, Malfoy?" Harry’s face twisted with contempt.
"How can I not? The trial is over. It was over a decade ago. Why won’t you let me live in peace, Harry Potter?"
Harry stared. "I should have let you die in that fire."
"Right, right, you shouldn’t have saved me. You said that already. The Wizengamot released me, didn’t they? It was either kill the girl or have me and my family be killed by You-Know-Who. Why isn’t that enough for you?"
"I don’t understand why they didn’t send you to Azkaban," Harry said. "Unforgivables have to be meant. You can’t kill someone without the intention."
"I killed her with the intention of saving my own cowardly arse," Draco said.
Harry twisted the napkin in his lap until his knuckles grew white. "Then… he… Sna… Dumbledore died for nothing, then. He wanted to save your soul and have Snape kill him so that your pathetic life could be spared. But it was too late, wasn’t it? Your soul was beyond repair, you… you bastard." His voice grew in volume as he spoke.
"I guess so."
"Everyone was trying to save you, you worthless shitter." Harry was just about shouting now.
"My father was the last person to try and save me," Draco said calmly, although tension was now straining his voice. "And now he’s dead because of it."
"Bugger your father! You –"
"Why exactly are you talking to me so much, Potter? You were obsessed with me our sixth year and you still are. I think this conversation is over."
Harry stood and nearly knocked over the waitress as he stormed away.
Draco turned on Willy and Wally’s Wizardcast and was immediately greeted with a reminder of his unpleasant dinner two days ago.
"Harry Potter’s seven-year-old son, James Potter, named after the hero’s father, remains in critical condition in St. Mungo’s after yesterday’s attack. He is comatose, yet appears to be in perfect health, as there is no physical evidence of the curse. The boy was attacked while playing Quidditch with some friends in a popular playing field in Yorkshire, right outside Sheffield. The curse is unidentified and the culprit, suspected by most Aurors to be a former Death Eater, is still at large."
A second announcer took over. "James is Harry Potter’s only child from his marriage to ex-wife Ginevra Weasley of the Holyhead Harpies. The two split in February 2005, soon after James’ birth for unknown…"
Draco stopped listening and crossed over to the fireplace. His hand passed over the facedown photograph from so long ago and landed on an old newspaper clipping.
The living room was dark despite the time of day, so Draco walked over to the window and raised the clipping to the light. Harry and Ginny blinked at him from the yellowing paper. They smiled distantly, Harry’s arm loose on her shoulders, the growing rift apparent already. Ginny clutched her newborn baby, and when she looked down at the little bundle in her arms, her eyes flashed with a fierce pride.
Draco touched his finger to the scar on Harry’s forehead and made his decision.
* * *
Harry was sitting on one side of the bed, Ginny the other. When Draco entered the sterile white room, Harry’s hand instantly went to the wand by his side.
"Relax, Potter. I’m here to help."
"One of your little friends did this to my son," Harry said. "What kind of help do you think you could give?"
Draco felt that shiver again as Harry stood and faced him, his thin body taut with anxiety and distrust. "That’s exactly why I might be able to help, Potter. One of my ‘friends’ did this, and I might be able to figure out how to stop the curse."
"Listen to him, Harry," Ginny said, the pitch of her voice revealing her reluctance to accept help from Draco. "I don’t like him any more than you do, but perhaps he knows something."
"It’s a curse the Dark Lord invented to test our loyalty," Draco explained, his eyes never straying from Harry, not even to acknowledge Ginny. "He had his Death Eaters perform it on each others’ friends and families. Imagine that, Harry Potter. Your loved one as a vegetable, completely alive in every way except the one that matters."
"How do you stop it?" Harry asked through gritted teeth.
"The only way to stop the curse is to murder its caster. You-Know-Who would have one minion cast it upon another’s sister, or brother, or whoever. And then he would order the victim’s family not to kill the caster. It was a choice many Death Eaters had to make: obey the Dark Lord, or save their loved one. Not only would they have to watch the person who ruined their family live, but they would have to continue to work with them and serve the Dark Lord with them. True loyalty, wasn’t it?" Draco did feel pity for Harry, or perhaps something more.
"That’s horrible," Ginny said, her hand shaking as she brought it to her face.
"You called me a murderer, Harry," Draco said, the first name slipping out naturally as he watched Harry’s expression contort. "Are you willing to be one yourself?"
"To save my family, yes. What excuse did you have?"
"The very same," Draco reminded him. Then he added, "I would like to speak with you privately."
"Well, excuse me, Harry. There are those who would pay good money for a private audience with me," Draco said arrogantly. "Are you coming or not?"
Harry grudgingly stood and followed Draco into the hall. Draco walked a few doors away from the room where Ginny was clutching her son’s hand and staring curiously after them. He stopped next to a sign that read A daily dose of yeti fur in your morning pumpkin juice will improve your health and save your soul and turned to face Harry.
"You clearly didn’t learn your lesson from before. Keep getting photographed and letting the media put its spotlight on you and it’ll only hurt you. First, your wife left you, and now your son is in a coma. How do you think whoever did this knew where your son liked to play Quidditch, if not through the media? Professor Snape always said you loved the attention and now it’s plainer than ever that he was right."
"Are you saying this is my fault?" The anguish on Harry’s face betrayed his self-doubt.
"You should have done what I did. Nobody hears about me because I don’t let myself be seen. At least not until you wrote that silly article last week."
Harry’s eyes narrowed. "That’s why you have no friends, Draco."
"Who needs friends?"
"Everyone needs friends."
"Sometimes sacrifices have to be made."
"Mal… Draco, aren’t you lonely?"
All of a sudden, a tight rage clenched Draco’s chest. "Of course I’m lonely! But you have no idea what I have been through, and what my father went through, to make sure what happened to him doesn’t happen to me!"
"What do you mean?"
The words rushed from Draco, and he was surprised by how much he wanted to say them, after all these years. "Did that paper you see say what happened to me at the trial? What they decided? To punish me and my father for our services to the Dark Lord, we would have to relive the crimes we did, every single night, in our nightmares. Every single night of our lives! But that’s not it. They were going to publish everything we did for the world to know. My father did something for me, possibly the only truly good thing he’s ever done. He made a deal and allowed his trial to go public, and all his deeds to be exposed, and then ratted out all his friends that had not been caught yet, just so my trial could remain private."
Draco paused to take a breath, and then continued, cutting Harry off just as he opened his mouth. "He lasted three years. Three years of media attention, of public criticism and humiliation, of death threats from his former friends, of those horrible, unending dreams. Then he killed himself, Harry."
A heavy silence choked the space between them, sucking the oxygen out. The charmed lamps almost seemed to flicker and dim from the leaden air.
"I can’t even speak to my own mother anymore. Because of the guilt." Draco crossed his arms over his trembling body. His vision blurred unexpectedly.
"I’m sorry, Draco," Harry said finally. He stretched out a tentative hand to touch at a stray tear that was making its way down Draco’s cheek. Upon contact with the wetness, he pulled away.
"Yeah, well, that’s my life story," Draco said, heart thumping from the brief stroke. "Now it’s best that I live out the rest of my days in peace."
"You’ll never recover that way."
"I thought you regretted saving me," Draco said, a strange smile forming on his lips. "Don’t worry about me. The nightmares aren’t so bad once you get used to them." Out of the blue, he felt weak, and sat down on the cold hospital floor, ignoring the weird look he received from a passing Mediwizard.
Harry sat down next to him, and put an arm around him. Draco decided that it was the grief and the heady healing fumes emanating from the adjacent room that made Harry do it, and him allow it. For a second, he didn’t consider who might be watching or who might find out.
Draco’s hand was cramped but at least the list was done. He put his peacock feather quill down and handed the parchment to Harry.
"There. Everyone who might have known the curse is on that bit of paper."
"Thanks a lot, Draco. I really mean it."
"It’ll be quite the pain in the arse to track everyone on that list down," Draco commented.
"I’ll do whatever it takes to save my son," Harry said.
Draco stood up and found his coat, surveying the mess that was Harry’s living room. Copies of the Daily Prophet strewed across the floor so that you could hardly see the dull gray color of the carpet. Spilled ink blots, pillows with frayed edges that had tumbled from the old couch, and scattered spell books completed the décor.
"You know… I’ve been thinking about what you said yesterday," Harry began, interrupting Draco’s reverie. "You’re right, I’m too much in the public eye. I still don’t agree with your way of hiding, but it’s true that I need to reconsider things, and think about the way my life is heading."
"I’m glad you’re thinking at all," Draco quipped, surprised by his own good humor. He approached Harry’s front door, painted a bright red years before but now faded and decayed.
To his credit, Harry smiled. Then, right before Draco stepped outside, he added, "Draco… come visit me sometime."
Draco decided that three days was an appropriate amount of time. Any less and he would appear too desperate. Any more and Harry might forget the invitation.
Bits of paint fluttered from the door like snowflakes as he lifted the knocker and rapped it three times.
"Right behind you," Harry said, and Draco turned around.
"I just came back from the hospital," Harry explained. "And before that, a meeting with the Aurors. That list of yours is really going to help."
"Shirking your Daily Prophet duties?"
"Some things are more important than my job," Harry acknowledged. "Let’s go inside. I’m starving, I need something to eat."
Draco followed Harry through the living room and into the kitchen. "You’re a mess," he commented.
"Not everyone has a house-elf on staff."
"I had a house-elf on staff. Until you got involved."
Harry grinned. "I remember that. Our second year. Your father…" Harry trailed off, his smile fading.
Draco broke the awkward silence. "It’s okay." Then he stepped forward and kissed Harry softly on the cheek. He remained there, a sliver of space between the two of them, waiting for a reaction.
It took a few seconds. "Draco… this won’t seem right. I ended things between you and Percy; Ron will hate me forever."
Draco looked Harry coolly in the eye. "Won’t you think about your personal life for just one moment? What do you want?"
Harry stammered, "I… I find you attractive, but Ginny –"
That was enough. Draco shut him up with a hard kiss to the mouth. Harry did not resist, nor did he reciprocate, so Draco tilted his head and began working his way down Harry’s neck, sucking lightly on the smooth skin there. He could hardly believe what he was doing, but his hand found his way to the top button of Harry’s shirt. He removed it slowly, kissing and licking Harry’s collarbone.
He wasn’t quite strong enough to just pick Harry up any time of day, so he shoved against his chest, indicating that he should climb onto the countertop. Harry obliged, knocking dirty plates and takeout cartons to the ground.
Draco, still standing, positioned himself between his legs and returned his lips to Harry’s. Harry twisted, and when Draco grabbed the bulge in his pants, he bit down. Draco felt the coppery taste of blood in his mouth.
"Sorry," Harry gasped. "Keep… keep going."
Draco remained silent and unzipped Harry’s pants agonizingly slowly. The first contact of hand on member made Harry moan, and Draco harden.
Draco clumsily clambered onto the counter, pushing Harry down beneath him. The choice of the kitchen for a location was frustratingly restrictive, but made him hot nonetheless. He removed his hand from Harry to pull down his own pants.
Harry finally made a move. Still on his back, he hoisted himself lower until his head was between Draco’s legs and he could wrap his mouth around Draco’s cock. Surprised, Draco shot upwards and slammed his head into a cabinet.
"Ow, fuck!" he exclaimed.
Apologetically, Harry slid his head up and down Draco’s member. He was clearly inexperienced, but the sight of Harry’s bright green eyes looking up at him from between his legs made Draco growl lowly.
"Wow, Harry," Draco grunted. He reached behind him and ran his hand over Harry’s arse. When he found his puckered opening, he tentatively probed it with a finger.
Harry hissed and tried to move but Draco grabbed his hair and kept his head there. He slowly began to insert his finger, Harry’s arse tight around it. Harry’s entire body stiffened.
"Okay… how ‘bout… why don’t you do me?" Draco suggested. Harry’s expression was a relieved one, so Draco dismounted and looked around for some proper lube.
Harry at least seemed to know what to do. "Is this okay with you?" he asked slyly, holding up a can of shortening.
Draco stood there dumbly, but his dick, still erect and glistening with Harry’s saliva, was bothering him too much to look for something better. "Yeah, that’s fine," he finally managed, sounding choked.
Harry stepped closer, turned Draco around, and pressed him down to the kitchen table. He dipped his hand into the grease and slid his fingers into Draco’s hole. Draco gasped as he moved his fingers in and out.
"Hurry up," Draco urged.
Harry slicked his own member with the same stuff and positioned himself between Draco’s hips. He thrust and missed, then thrust again. Draco groaned as he entered, gradually but surely. Yes, Harry was inexperienced with men, but he was no virgin.
Draco reached down to grab himself, but Harry knocked his hand away and wrapped his own hand around Draco’s shaft.
"Oh, shit," Draco moaned, his legs feeling weak and shaky.
"You’re vocal." Harry’s voice was strained as he made the comment. His right hand was pumping away, his left hand was holding Draco down by the small of his back, and he was awkwardly yet effectively driving himself into Draco’s arse. He clearly hadn’t gotten any in a while, because after a few hard thrusts, he was coming.
Draco felt himself being pulled back roughly by the arm and made to stand in the middle of the kitchen. Harry dropped to his knees and began sucking again, nestling Draco’s balls with his hands as he did so.
Draco’s legs buckled again and he leaned against the counter for support. He ran his hand through Harry’s sweaty black hair. After a few minutes, he shuddered, rasped, "Harry," and released into his mouth.
Harry winced and quickly stood to spit out into the kitchen sink. They both stood panting for a while, Draco against the counter with his head back and looking at the ceiling, Harry bent over the sink, looking astonished.
"I usually get offended by spitters," Draco said at last. "But I think I’ll forgive you for that."
"You killed me," she shrieked. "And you didn’t even know my name!"
With a scream, Draco woke up from his fourth night of sex in Harry’s bed. For a few minutes, he stayed frozen still, breathing hard and listening to Harry’s loud snores.
Then he reached over and roughly shook Harry awake.
"Are you okay?" Harry asked, once he had blinked the sleep from his eyes.
"I have something to show you," Draco said. He leaned over the side of the bed, searching through the pile of clothes on the ground. At last, he found his robes and pulled the photograph from a deep pocket.
"This was the little girl."
Harry took the picture from Draco and examined the cute button nose, the hodgepodge of baby and adult teeth between the parted lips, the lopsided dimple in her right cheek.
"I took it from her mantle place right after I killed her. I thought… I wanted to remember her. What I did."
"I understand," Harry said. He leaned against his pillows and pulled Draco closer, wrapping his arms around his torso.
Draco clutched Harry’s hand and they watched the morning light begin to filter through the window, painting the dirty, yellowing curtains a blinding gold.
Hermione Granger had not changed much since Hogwarts. Her robes were neatly pressed, her face was devoid of makeup, and her bushy hair was pulled back into a bun reminiscent of Professor McGonagall. The insignia of the Department of Law Enforcement stood out as the only color on her dark clothes. Draco shook her hand, the memory of the things he had called her back in school producing a tension between them.
"How are you and Ron?" he asked politely. Hermione’s office was insulated from the dull roar of the bustling activity happening in the Ministry of Magic, and his words sounded awkward in the quiet, solemn air.
"Good, thank you," she answered, brusque as usual. "Harry has told me about these dreams of yours. There is nothing that I can do about them, but I invented a spell to perform on the photograph of the girl that could locate her grave for you. Perhaps that will help you find some peace."
Draco looked quickly at Harry, surprised by how much she knew.
"Sorry," Harry said. "But I wanted to help, and Hermione is good at that…"
Draco nodded and turned his attention back towards Hermione.
"Harry told you to bring the photograph?"
"Yes, I brought it."
"The spell is a variation of Scarpin’s Revelaspell, which reveals an object’s hidden secrets and properties, combined with the Taboo they put on Voldemort’s name back during the war. At first, I thought that saying invenio specialem would do the trick, but that only successfully tracks down a living person who has given you an item specifically meant to for you to use to track him or her down. So –"
"I don’t care about the etymology of the word, thanks. Let’s just get started," Draco said. After Harry shot him a glare, he admitted, "Sorry. I’m just nervous."
"I understand," Hermione said simply. "The spell is invenio interfectum inconcessum." Then, she added, "I do enjoy the alliteration."
"Try it," Harry urged.
Draco slowly removed the photograph from his pocket and placed it flat down on Hermione’s desk. Then, he pointed his wand at the picture.
"Invenio interfectum inconcessum," he intoned.
A flutter of sparkles dispelled from his wand, but the photograph remained as still as ever. The little girl smiled eerily at him. The three waited, but nothing happened.
Hermione’s face fell. Finally, she said, voice full of disappointment, "I suppose I’ll work on it some more."
"Thanks for your help anyways, Hermione," Harry sighed.
"Yes, thank you," Draco said, heart pounding. "Thank you so much."
Harry breathed into Draco’s ear, a move that made Draco shiver and arch his spine. But he caught Harry’s hand before it found his pants.
"Have you told Hermione about us yet? Or anyone?"
Harry slowly put his hand down. "No. I don’t know how to bring it up."
"It’s been years since that Weasley girl," Draco said. "No one’s going to think you’re a slut for it."
"I know. But Percy."
"That’s just an excuse and you know it. You’ve been so caught up in your work and being a media star and getting to know the paparazzi that you don’t know how to live for yourself."
"And you only know how to live for yourself, Draco," Harry said, not harshly. "Not to be mean or anything, but you’re the most socially maladjusted person I’ve ever met in my life." He paused. "Well, except for a few," he amended. "When we were younger, I thought that it was just the way rich people were, but now I know better."
Draco paused. "You’re right."
"What?" Harry said, surprise registering on his face.
"Yeah. And the first step is learning how to deal with outsiders as well as you do. We both need to change, Harry. I’ll start. I’ll take down the charms around my manor and we’ll be seen going in together. What do you say?"
For a moment, Harry looked trapped. Finally, he leaned in and found Draco’s mouth with his own. His tongue snaked in and Draco knew he had his answer.
"How’s that list going?"
"Seven people left. I miss my son, Draco."
His security blanket was gone. The familiar hum of the charms died and the silence was deafening. The silvery glow that usually emanated from his manor disappeared and the sharp lines of the gargoyles and the cylindrical shapes of the towers and the soaring bridges that connected the separate wings and the immense gilded windows came brightly into view, the white haze obscuring them gone.
"Your place is obscene," Harry commented.
Draco took Harry’s hand in his and together, they made their way through the gardens, formerly manicured, now wild and rampant. The hedges, no longer carefully trimmed, enclosed them, but Draco knew that cameras, enchanted to peer through natural obstacles, were clicking away.
It took them five minutes to slither their way through the overgrown lawn. The ornate door greeted them at last, and when it closed behind them, they stood alone in the large, empty hall.
"Your house is beautiful," Harry said. He stepped to a window and looked out at the nearby lake, glittering in the sun. "You have an amazing view."
"I like the view at your house better," Draco said softly. "The surrounding buildings, the people walking by, the white noise. I’ve been all alone here since my dad died and my mom moved out."
Harry turned away from the window. "It’s not easy losing the people you love. I thought I’d never get over Sirius. And I never did. When Ginny left me, I thought that that was it. My life was over, and all I had left was my work."
He walked towards Draco, continuing, "But I think you know that by now, that you never stop grieving. You just learn to live without them. Although… I don’t know what I’d do if I lost James." He shuddered, and pulled out the bit of paper. "Three people left."
"The list, Harry?"
"There’s only one left, Draco. We’re having trouble locating him. He’s the one who cursed my son, I know it."
Harry hesitated. "Gregory Goyle."
Draco knew what he had to do. But first…
He went to his fireplace and retrieved the photograph. The original one, not the copy he had shown Harry and Hermione. Some things were meant to be taken on alone. It was time for Draco to face what he couldn’t when he was younger: his own conscience.
"Invenio interfectum inconcessum," he repeated.
The photograph started to tremble, then wrinkle, then fold over into itself. A murmur resonated from it, the most brilliant golden light accompanied it, and Draco closed his eyes, shielding himself from the blinding radiance.
When he opened his eyes, he found himself in a vast cemetery surrounding by rolling green hills. He stood in front of one grave among many.
Draco sat down on the wet grass and read the name on the headstone through his shaky, blurry vision.
Lucy Jennifer Miles
A light drizzle began to fall. His clothes slowly soaked through, but he remained seated, shivering and letting the rain mingle with his tears. He stayed by the little gravestone for hours, until he thought his chest would explode from the emphatic beating of his heart and his lungs would bleed red from his sharp inhales. Then, he stood and said goodbye to Lucy Jennifer Miles.
Now he turned to his next task. Remembering Hermione’s words, he took out the last letter Gregory Goyle had ever sent him, asking him to come out of his seclusion and lead the surviving Death Eaters who had eluded Azkaban in a last ditch effort to take over the Ministry. After Voldemort’s fall, Goyle, stupid and leaderless, had nothing.
At first, I thought that saying invenio specialem would do the trick, but that only successfully tracks down a living person who has given you an item specifically meant for you to use to track him or her down.
"Invenio specialem," Draco said, the fear sinking in and clawing at him. He felt colder than he ever had in his life. He took one last look at the gravestone, evoked the memory one last time, and summoned up the words that made up the Killing Curse.
It had been thirteen years since he had said those words for the first time. Until now, he had held the hope that it would be for the last time.
The stories were out even before Draco could make it to the hospital. Walking down the hall, he passed a dozen people reading about how Harry Potter’s son had miraculously come back to life.
In the room, Harry and Ginny were rejoicing and hugging their son as if they would never let go. Draco stood watching for a moment, and then knocked.
Harry left James’ side to stand with Draco in the hallway.
"Did you do it?" Harry asked.
Draco nodded his head. "You said something about saving my soul. So I tried to do the same for you."
Harry looked down at the floor. "It was my responsibility. I should have been the one to do it. Especially after what you’ve been through. I mean… at the beginning, one month ago, when I first talked to you, I wanted to punish you. Then I realized that I actually wanted to save you."
"Maybe you needed a bit of saving yourself."
Harry took Draco’s hand. "Percy and Ginny and Ron… they all understand. I think everything is coming together now."
"That’s good to know."
"I’m glad for everything that’s happened between us, Draco," Harry said. "I think… I think we both had our stories to tell, and we were right for each other to tell them to."
"I think so too. Now go see your son. He needs you. I’ll be waiting."
Draco watched with a faint smile as Harry returned to James’ side. For the first time, he felt the hole in his heart begin to heal and the disarray his life had been in start to assemble itself. He didn’t think they could ever make things as perfect as Harry expected them to be. But maybe they could each spend a lifetime trying.