Title: Have Faith in Hope
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco and Harry Potter II/Thales Draco Malfoy
Summary: Saving people had always been a 'Potter' thing. Years in the future, there was still a Malfoy to rescue.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): mild violence, incest (first cousins)
Deathly Hallows compliant? Epilogue Compliant, AU
Word Count: 2,816
Author's Notes:, I hope this satisfies your desire to see Harry and Draco on a spaceship. ;) I saw that one throwaway line and it just clicked in my head. I did, however, want to do so much more with this fic, and I promise that sometime, in the very near future, I will be writing more of this tale. For now though, I hope you enjoy!
Right now, Harry reflected in a moody silence, was quite possibly the most dismal time of the year. There was a time, one his father used to tell him about, when December brought joy and good feelings. People had been happy and forgiving, Harry's father would say while sipping at an ancient bottle of Firewhisky; they had faith and persevered. It had been a time when there had been peace. Harry knew at one point that he had been alive during this happy time - a time before his grandfather, the original Harry Potter, had died, and everything in their world began to collapse.
His father would run a hand through his thick black locks with a fond smile, and whisper to him about all the great fun he'd as a child with Harry's Aunt Lily and Uncle James, all the Christmases with wild firework shows and practical jokes, many of them played on his father by his Uncle George and godfather Teddy.
Harry had barely met these people. They were preserved in his memory as if he'd stared into a moving photograph, and he didn't really have any other feeling towards them but fondness. The novelty of the thought wasn't lost on Harry as he exhaled in a wistful sigh.
Stuck in between the controls by a small piece of spell-o-tape was an aging photo of his grandfather at a Christmas party, the likes of which Harry had never seen. Christmas had since become a very small affair; no one dared to travel any longer, not even by Floo, so all of Harry's Christmases had been spent at home with his mum and dad. He scanned the photo, brown eyes taking in all the details, from the ornate robes, to the crystal bowl of punch, deliberately skipping over the man he was named after.
A twinge of regret hit him as he saw the figures in the photo trying to get his attention, but he couldn't let himself look at them. These were people who had died in the first wave of the hunt. The ones who had died to protect their children, the children they had vowed would never know the hardships of war that they had felt. A lot of good that had been, too.
Harry let his gaze linger for a few seconds on his grandfather and the man leaning drunkenly against him, whispering in his ear. A part of him wanted to know what the blond man had said that got such a blush from his grandfather, but he supposed it was for the best that he didn't know. He averted his eyes before the two men could snog again in his line of sight.
His insides twisted as he tried to ignore the reasons why the photograph bothered him.
If he'd had a choice, he would have burned this one ages ago, but he could never bring himself to do it. The photographs and portraits had been the first to go. Too easy to lose track of, too easy to get someone killed by recognition, had been the MoM's official decree before it too was abandoned.
Adjusting the controls, he locked into auto-pilot and leaned back in the pilot's seat, gazing out into the inky blackness that spread out before him.
"Earth? We're goin' back there, then? Why?"
Harry swivelled the chair around to face an enraged redhead. With a grim smile, he shrugged. "I go where I'm told, you know that." He sighed and ran a hand over his face. "If I had a choice I wouldn't come back before the new year."
Samantha Rose Weasley shook her head, tugging her shawl tighter around her shoulders. "Are you going—"
"If I have the time, but I doubt I will," Harry said, cutting her off before she could finish the question. "The boss didn't sound quite his usual cheerful self."
"You know, one day he's going to patch in when you say something like that and then we'll all be in trouble."
"We'd all be dead," Harry pointed out.
"Harry," Samantha moved towards him, a small frown turning her lips downwards, "you don't think…"
Harry couldn't look at her. "It's that time of year, Sam." There were some problems he could share with her to make things easier, but this was one he had to deal with on his own while his crew hid in fear. He idly ran his fingers over the soft leather seat before standing. "We're landing in half an hour. You'll need to run Cassandra through the motions quickly. I don't want another repeat of the Lovegood fiasco."
Samantha snapped to attention and nodded. "Yes, sir."
Harry moved across the cock-pit so he was standing before her. "And, Samantha?"
"That boyfriend of yours?"
"Yes?" she hesitated, eyes darting around the enclosed space like a startled mouse. "S-sir," she added.
Harry reached out, twirling a strand of her vibrant hair in between his fingers. His expression softened. "Tell him if he doesn't propose in the next week, I will drop him in an emergency pod and eject him from my ship."
Samantha coloured brilliantly. "Yes, sir."
A sharp kick to his ribs sent him straight to his knees with a jarring crack and thump. He cried out in pain, vision swimming with tears. Thales Draco Malfoy cursed the very blond hair that damned him to this injustice. The glamour hadn't held long enough for him to get the food he needed for the week.
Not that it mattered anymore.
The Muggle police force had found him easily enough. The snitching bastard behind the counter at the grocers had been far too kind to him, far too superior. Thales should have Apparated out of there the moment he had his change in hand.
The whistling crack of a whip echoed in the dingy alleyway when it landed on his back, sending him sprawling in a filthy puddle. One of the officers chuckled, nudging him with the toe of his black boot. Thales just wished they'd get on with it and kill him. He had heard the stories, everyone had, of the cruelty exhibited towards those wizards and witches who had the misfortune of being captured out after curfew. It only surpassed the punishments dealt to those who got captured in general.
"You're lucky," the taller of the two men sneered, pulling him to his feet by the collar of his shirt. Thales gasped as spots danced in front of his eyes. "You're getting off easy, ain't he, Robby?"
"Aye, he is."
Thales flinched as spit landed on his cheek. He didn't dare wipe it away. He wasn't sure he could make his arms move to do so even if he wanted to.
"You get to die."
Robby snorted, digging a thumb into a welt that was forming on Thales's back. "That's right, as soon as Potter gets here."
"Leave the Potter kid alone. He does his job just like the rest of us."
"He gets all the glory for doin' it too. What do we get? Ain' nothin' in comparison to 'im."
"Hell, Robby, you wanna be the one to dump this filth out there?"
Thales whined, blond hair falling in shambles around his face, as he heard something crack. One of the brutes, he couldn't see which, was twisting his ankle slowly, in a direction his ankle was not made to go. He tried to jerk his leg loose, but the action only caused the men to laugh.
"Frightened little rat, ain't he?" Robby sneered, wrenching Thales's head up by his hair.
"Not so powerful now, eh, wizard? Can't perform magic tricks to get outta this."
"Help," Thales whispered, eyes slamming shut against the fist that suddenly connected with his nose in a sickening crack. White-hot agony tore through his face, leaving him gasping and choking on the viscous fluid that dripped from his nose. This was all the Potters' fault. It didn't matter which one. Be it the Chosen One, the Chosen One's Slytherin bastard of a son who'd killed his father's spirit, or the latest one. The angel of death. The last one was the only one left he could openly scorn.
It didn't do well to disparage the dead, but the living...
A gunshot rang out through the darkening alleyway and he felt the two thugs holding him captive freeze.
"What's going on here?"
Thales recognized the voice instantly. Who wouldn't? Cold dread crept down his neck as he heard the telltale sound of boots crunching over leaves and broken glass. This was it, then. Maybe, maybe they'd knock him out and he wouldn't have to feel it. The tightness in his chest as all the air left him, or his veins trying valiantly to pump blood through him when there was no gravity to regulate the flow.
His body was falling, he realized, before he hit the slick pavement, biting his tongue when his chin smacked the cement. Blood filled his mouth and he wondered just what the famous Harry Potter thought of him when he deigned to look down.
"Harry! Good to see ya, lad."
Thales tensed. This was it, then. They'd bind him and he'd be dragged away to--
"What is going on?" Potter repeated, a hard edge creeping into his tone.
Thales imagined that both men froze in the act of backslapping and congratulating themselves. He'd heard stories of Potter's mercy before death, how he hated to see the witch or wizard bloodied beyond recognition, but Thales couldn't call that mercy.
"We was just havin' a bit of fun with him."
"Yeah, ain't no crime in that."
Thales flinched when Potter crouched before him. "No, but you know how the boss is."
"He won't know, will he?"
"No," Potter snapped. His fingers brushed across the back of Thales's head, hitting the scrape he'd received when slammed against the brick wall. Lights danced before his eyes, and for a split second, Thales thought he felt lips dust over his forehead. "Now you've done your job, I can take over from here."
There was an uncertain pause, and Thales wondered if they were considering disobeying orders. His head pounded, and he laid his cheek against the wet cement, closing his eyes once more. He'd be dead in a matter of hours; Potter was, after all, a man of his word. Always had been, he admitted, if only to himself. So, no one would care if he chose to pass out.
Harry gritted his teeth and glared as the lumbering idiots stood staring at him like he'd spoken in foreign tongues. He just wanted to get off the ground. He needed to be airborne again. The longer he stayed, the more anxious he became. It was all he could do to not reach for his concealed wand and hex these two senseless.
"Go!" Harry barked, satisfied to see them jump and scuttle away. He didn't want them near him when he went back to his ship and family. Keeping one eye on the person at his feet, Harry waited until the two goons were out of sight, before gently rolling the victim of their assault over to get a better look at the damage.
For a moment, Harry couldn't breathe. "Thales?"
It would have been easier to Apparate them back to Aethonon, but with all the magic detectors set up around London, it was hard to guess when someone might set them off. He hadn't survived for fifteen years in this job, only to risk it to save a childhood friend. A childhood friend you thought was dead, a nasty little voice reminded him as Harry scooped Thales up into his arms. He stood on unsteady feet, taking another quick look around the dark alley, before taking off at a sprint.
Blood soaked through his shirtsleeves from the gashes on Thales's back, but Harry hardly noticed. He hadn't had someone come into his care this badly hurt since the first years. If Thales died before he got home... What would his Aunt Lily say? What could he say to her? Her only son lay dying in his arms from blood loss and exposure and who knew what else, and Harry never felt younger. He refused to even entertain the thought that Samantha and his aunt couldn't perform the correct medical procedures to bring Thales quickly back to health.
"Sam!" he shouted as he staggered up the ramp and into the cargo bay. Readjusting his hold to put less pressure on Thales's back, he collapsed onto an overturned crate, cradling Thales against to him like a father would a child. "Samantha Weasley, get down here right now!"
Harry startled, nearly dropping Thales onto the cold floor. "He needs treatment. Get Aunt Lily and get him some help," Harry begged.
"Is that--" Samantha clapped her hands to her mouth in shock. "It can't be, he was--"
"Sam, please," Harry pleaded, "Please, just get Aunt Lily."
"I, yes. Aunt Lily, yes." And she was gone. Harry heard a door slam somewhere down the corridor, but he couldn't be arsed to tell her off for it.
His fingers carded through Thales's blood-matted hair, pulling at the sticky strands in disgust and horror. Of all the people, of all the seasons, why him? Why now? It was clear that someone was playing some huge cosmic joke on him, but he didn't understand why.
"Auntie, I...Well..." Damn, at thirty-seven, he'd hoped he would be a bit more eloquent than he was being now. "I picked up someone tonight and, well..." He turned Thales in his arms so his face was visible.
"Oh my God."
"Aunt Lily, focus," Harry commanded, as he watched the frail older woman sway as if caught in a breeze. He couldn't catch her if she fainted, not without dropping Thales. "You're the only one on board with healer training."
"Aunt Lily," Harry said, forcing as much authority into his voice as he could. She looked up at him with frightened eyes and his chest constricted. The last time he'd seen her look at him like that had been the night he brought her on board. He had hoped then that he would never have to see it again. Faced with it now, it stunned him that he was managing to keep calm. "He needs help. Standing here looking at him won't make him live."
"The med bay?"
Harry got to his feet in a purposeful movement and nodded curtly. "Yes."
Hours passed at an agonizing rate. After leaving Thales to his aunt and cousin's tender mercies, Harry had scrambled to the flight deck, needing to escape the sight and smell of blood. A few Scourgify spells later and his skin was raw, but he still hadn't felt clean. He still didn't, if he were truthful with himself.
Gazing down at Thales's slumbering body, Harry urged him to wake up. Lily hadn't been able to stay in the room, and Samantha had left a few seconds after her, leaving Harry alone with the newest member of his crew. There was no telling how Thales would react upon awaking, but Harry knew one thing for certain, and that was Thales was not leaving Aethonon again without a fight, from both him and his aunt.
They had all thought Thales had perished in the fire set to kill Scorpius. They'd thought both of them had gone. It had been luck alone that had Lily visiting him at the time of the fire. Harry never once regretted saving his aunt from running headlong into the fire after her family, but he had been sure at the time that she'd hated him more than the Muggles who had set her home on fire.
Harry ran his fingers through his hair and spun around one full turn on the padded stool. It was hard to say how much longer it'd take for the Sleeping Draught to wear off of Thales, but Harry reckoned it couldn't be much longer. His aunt had only given Thales half the necessary dose, just to keep him asleep while his bones stitched themselves back together again.
A low groan sounded in the blindingly white room, and Harry sat up straight. He leaned against the bed, watching as Thales's eyes began to move behind his eyelids. This was it, then. The chance that Thales would fight him was great; most passengers did when first brought on board and released from their bindings, but Thales only seemed confused.
"Where...?" Thales clutched at his pale throat, opening one eye to look around. Harry tensed when Thales's gaze fell on him. "Potter?"
With a weary smile, Harry said the first thing that popped into his head, "Welcome on board the Aethonon, Malfoy."