Title – Finite Incantatum
Rating – NC-17 (for future chapters)
Genre – Drama/Romance
Pairing – H/D
Chapter – 10
Warnings – Language, kissing.
Summary – What should have happened after Half Blood Prince! It’s the autumn after Dumbledore’s death, the Death Eaters are steadily gaining power, and Harry and his friends are desperate to find the remaining Horcruxes. But then Draco Malfoy arrives at Grimmauld Place, traumatised, starved and drained of all his magical ability. It falls to Harry to show the Slytherin how to adapt to his new way of life, never guessing that Draco has a few things to teach him in return.
Disclaimer – I don’t own the boys, they belong to Ms Rowling. The chapter title loosely translates as ‘Wrongfully captured, well detained’. Done for fun, not profit!
Chapter 10: Male Coptus, Bene Detentus
Harry was making a list. He was listing the Horcruxes that Voldemort was known to have made, and trying to figure out where the remaining ones might be hidden.
1. The diary – destroyed by Basilisk venom.
2. The ring – destroyed by Dumbledore. Won’t be trying that one at home.
3. The necklace – found, not destroyed.
4. The goblet – ditto.
5. The diadem - ? Possibly Hogwarts? Dumbledore said how V. was obsessed with the place, so it would make sense in the context of what we know about him.
6. Nagini the snake – With V. Will be hard to get to. Should be relatively easy to destroy, though.
7. V. himself. I’m guessing he’ll find me.
Underneath this he wrote:
1. We don’t know where the hell the bloody diadem might be. Even if I’m right and it’s at Hogwarts, it will be like finding a needle in a haystack, and it’s not like we can just go wandering round exploring. I know for a fact that there are hidden rooms etc. not on the Marauders Map. Perhaps ask one of the ghosts?
2. We need to know for sure how to destroy the Horcruxes we have. It will be difficult to brew the potion Hermione is thinking of, and getting the ingredients will be tricky and dangerous.
3. Even if I get all the others, how the hell am I going to kill V? He is much more powerful than me and knows far more about magic than I probably ever will.
4. Two Muggle borns were found dead last night. Why am I being so slow? I could have saved them if I’d just worked a little faster, or been a little cleverer.
5. There’s a horrible, selfish part of me that almost wishes V. would kill me, just so this wasn’t my responsibility any more.
6. I have developed a huge crush on my former enemy, who happens to be a boy. He has no idea. The whole thing is so complicated, and I don’t know what to do. I can’t stop thinking about him. I feel like my head is going to explode.
Harry picked up his wand and hurriedly erased this last point. There was no way he was going to share that little problem with anyone just yet. In fact, he didn’t even want to think about it. He had been making every effort to bury himself in his work since his revelation, trying to forget how he felt. It was so stupid, anyway. Even if Draco was a remotely suitable person for him, he couldn’t contemplate getting involved with someone now, after everything he’d just been through. He had only split up with Ginny just over a week ago, and his heart still felt bruised. It was only hormones making him feel this way. He was scared and lonely, and he wanted some kind of physical comfort to take his mind off everything. Draco was attractive and sexy and good to talk to, and Harry had built that into more than it was.
The only thing to do was plan, and get this horrible war over with one way or the other. It made him feel slightly less helpless. He and his friends were spending all their time organising their visit to the school. Hermione had it on good authority that Slughorn was going to be away that weekend, so they had surmised that then would be the best time to conduct the theft. The only problem was how they were going to get in and out of the school without being detected. Of course they would be taking the Invisibility Cloak, but they were all quite a lot bigger than they had been a few years ago. There was also the problem of Harry’s theory about Ravenclaw’s diadem being hidden somewhere in the castle. It would be the perfect time to search for it, but where to start?
Harry had almost given up on his Sirius dreams. He realised now that his suspicions had been right – they really were just a figment of his subconscious. In spite of this, he couldn’t help feeling slightly betrayed by his godfather. Harry wanted his help and advice so badly, and he wasn’t there. He remembered Sirius’s words about Draco being able to teach him who he really was with a new sense of discomfort. They took on an entirely different meaning now. But then that was just proof that Harry had invented the whole thing, wasn’t it? He had known without realising it that he found Draco attractive, and he had shaped it into the dream. It was horribly galling, especially as there was still a small, childish part of him that hoped he was wrong. He still hoped that Sirius might really be watching over him, waiting to get in touch with him, and it hurt.
There was so much to do. Harry and his friends still needed to do so much preparation for the weekend, in addition to the work they were doing to help the rest of the Order. Lupin had finally persuaded a small number of the werewolf community to join him, so he was around even less. Arthur Weasley was helping to organise safe-houses for families on the run, as well as secretly liaising with the Muggle Prime Minister. The twins had had to move into Grimmauld Place after their flat was attacked, and were now conducting an underground operation to sell their supplies and help with the resistance.
A major step forward had happened the previous week when Bill had come over to tell them that the goblins had joined the side of the Order. They had stubbornly remained neutral until several goblin children had been found murdered and mutilated, the Dark Mark hovering over their bodies. Everyone had been horrified, and Bill spoke in hushed tones of the unbridled rage which possessed the goblin community. He said that the Death Eaters had underestimated them, seeing them as base animals, and forgetting that the goblins were ruthless, and had access to knowledge and power that the wizarding world knew little about.
Things seemed to be happening very quickly, and Harry knew that he alone had the power to stop Voldemort once and for all. Only he, Ron and Hermione knew about the Horcruxes, and only they were working to destroy them. He was right at the centre of this fight, and yet he felt so far away from it. He saw his friends leaving the safety of the headquarters on a daily basis, perhaps never to return, fighting for their world, and there he was, sitting around and doing nothing. At least, that was what it felt like. He had never felt so useless in his life.
“Good morning,” Harry said awkwardly.
Draco gave him a small, slightly hostile smile. “Hello.” He turned back to the desk where he was reading.
Harry threw his wet towel onto his trunk. He could understand perfectly why Draco was being so frosty. Harry had been determinedly avoiding him since he had become aware of his feelings for the Slytherin. It frightened him to be around Draco now. He was still so confused; he didn’t know what he wanted. More to the point, he was terrified that he would give something away. It was true that Draco had kissed him once, but that didn’t necessarily mean anything. And if it had meant something… well, that would bring up a whole new set of problems.
Even so, he missed the other boy. He missed the way Draco talked to him, the way Draco challenged him, made him feel alive. He felt guilty too. He had promised the Slytherin that he was going to help him, and then he’d just run off with no explanation. “I’m sorry I haven’t been around much this week,” he said awkwardly.
“No problem,” Draco said coolly. “I understand. You don’t have to apologise.”
“No, I do,” Harry said, feeling wretched. He couldn’t bear for Draco to go back to disliking him. “I’ve just… I’ve had to spend a lot of time with Ron and Hermione. There’s all this stuff to do with the war that I’ve got to take care of right now…”
“They don’t like you spending time with me,” Draco said quietly. “I do understand, you know. And you’ve been very nice, putting up with me and everything, but I do realise that you’d much rather be doing something else.” He wasn’t quite able to hide the bitterness from his voice.
“It’s not that!” Harry protested. “I do want to spend time with you! I never thought that I would, it’s true. Since you moved in here… I don’t know. You make me feel better. But I can’t put off my duty forever. And… and work helps me to forget about what happened at New Year.” He grimaced, hating how full of shit he was.
Draco laughed sadly. “I know. I’m sorry. It is funny how things change, isn’t it? I never thought I see the day when I’d apologise to you. I suppose I’m just still the spoilt brat I always was. I… I really find it hard to think about anyone other than myself. I always did. I know that you have much more important things to do than hang out with me and help me sort out my problems. Merlin knows you have enough of your own.”
“I do realise, if I think about it, that you have work to do. And I realise that you much prefer the company of your friends. I don’t have any right to get mad about it.”
Harry didn’t say anything for a minute. In spite of his bluff and bravado, he saw that Draco was telling him that he had been jealous. He was saying that he had missed Harry’s company. It didn’t mean anything, though, he told himself sternly. It was just that Harry was the only person Draco could really talk to. He was the only person who had given Draco a chance. True, Hermione had been quite nice to him lately, but Hermione and Draco… well, they weren’t exactly the most compatible of people. Draco would never be able to talk to someone like Hermione. She was much too practical for him. Still, Draco probably wouldn’t care at all about Harry if there was anyone else. If, say, Blaise Zabini was around, or Pansy Parkinson, Draco wouldn’t miss Harry at all. He’d love it if Pansy was around, wouldn’t he? They’d probably slept together loads of times…
“Potter, what are you scowling about? You’re not doing that inner monologue thing again, are you? The amount of times I’ve sat here and watched you gurning to yourself…”
“Sorry,” Harry said quickly, infinitely grateful that Draco didn’t actually know what he had been thinking. “No, it’s not that I don’t want to hang out with you. I… I can’t really explain.”
“You’re trying to forget about Ginny,” Draco said, not looking at him. “You must have really loved her.” When he grimaced, Draco got a little dimple to the right of his mouth. Harry wanted nothing more than to kiss it.
“I did love her,” he said slowly. “Last year, she was pretty much all I could think about. She was so pretty, and she was my friend, and… and I thought I knew her. I built up this idea of her in my head, you know? I couldn’t believe my luck that she wanted to go out with me. I suppose I made myself think she was perfect. Maybe if it hadn’t been for all the stuff with You Know Who, it might have worked out with her. Then again, maybe not. There were things she hadn’t told me; I guess you can never be sure that you really know anyone. Anyway… anyway, I don’t really know how I feel about her now. I don’t think I love her. I feel like I’ve lost something, but I’m not really sure what. The girl I loved didn’t actually exist. It’s just left me a little sore, that’s all.”
Draco came to sit next to him on the bed. “Well, you could do better. Ginny Weasley is a ‘make do’ girl. She’s the kind of girl that all the boys want at school, but I don’t know if anyone would really want an actual long-term relationship with her.”
“That’s not fair,” Harry said, staring at the floor. “Ginny isn’t a bad person at all; it’s not her fault. I can understand why she wouldn’t want to be with me, though. I just couldn’t give her what she needed. And… and let’s face it, I am in no position to offer anyone a future.”
“Don’t start with that again.” Draco put a hand on his shoulder and gave it a squeeze. “Look, I’m no good at this being nice stuff; I wasn’t cut out for it. All I know is what I feel. You were too good for her. Yeah, okay, so you may have had too high expectations of her, but still. You didn’t deserve what she did.”
“I don’t know. She was left on her own, and she was scared, and she’s so young. If you’re terrified that members of your family could be killed at any moment, you don’t exactly think about rash promises you’ve made so some guy you dated for a few weeks.”
Draco’s hand was still on Harry’s shoulder. His thumb was rubbing up and down slowly, and it made Harry feel slightly light-headed. Draco’s head was so close to his.
“You’re going to be all right,” Draco said shakily. “You have to be. You’re Harry fucking Potter, remember? You’re going to get through this, and you’re going to kill You Know Who, if that’s what you have to do. Then you’re going to be a hero, and everyone will throw parties in your honour. I expect there will be a national Harry Potter day, where everyone will be obliged to wear dodgy specs and garish knitwear, or something ghastly. You’ll get a fantastic job with minimal risk of fatality, and you’ll meet someone great. You’re the type who’d meet someone great. And you’ll get married, and you and your wonderful wife will have a bunch of annoyingly peppy and energetic children, and you’ll all live happily ever after.”
“What about you? What will happen in your future?” Harry whispered.
Draco laughed softly. “Oh, the same thing that happens to all antagonists. I’ll do my best to clear my family’s name. I’ll probably be pressurised into getting married to some rich continental witch I don’t really like. I won’t have any friends, because my money isn’t enough to make up for the fact that I’m not actually that nice. My wife will divorce me, and my children, if I have any, will resent me. I’ll end up old and bitter, holed up in my manor. And I’ll remember how the great hero Harry Potter was nice to me once.”
“That won’t happen,” Harry replied, looking up at him. Their noses were only inches apart, and he could feel Draco’s soft breath on his cheek. “You won’t end up like that; you’ll turn things around. And… and I’ll be your friend. I don’t care that you’re not very nice.”
Draco smiled his broken smile. “It wouldn’t do much for your reputation, you know. It would be easier for you if you pretended you’d never even spoken to me. Maybe I’ll see you one day when we’re both old. Maybe we’ll accidentally meet at the train station. Maybe you’ll smile at me through the crowds. That would be nice.”
“Don’t be daft,” Harry said gently, nudging the other boy with his shoulder. “It’s not going to be like that. You’re—”
Draco leaned in so that their cheeks were touching. His eyelashes brushed against Harry’s temple. Draco’s face was so cool, and Harry wanted to keep him warm. He could feel his heart beating in his throat. It felt so good to be touched; it felt so good to feel needed like this.
Draco’s lips were pressed to the corner of Harry’s mouth. He could feel the other boy trembling. Harry hadn’t been aware of either of them moving, but before he knew it, Draco was kissing him. The intensity of it hurt him; he could sense the other boy’s urgency, his pain. Draco kissed him hopelessly.
It would have been so easy for Harry to just give in to it. It would have felt so natural for him to kiss the other boy back, to give in to the urges that had been plaguing him. It would feel so good to fall back with Draco onto the bed and... However, there was a hurt, frightened part of him that resisted. Draco’s kisses burnt him. He couldn’t breathe under this sudden onslaught of passion.
Harry put his hand on the other boy’s chest and gently pushed him away. “Draco,” he whispered. “Draco, I—”
Draco shuddered and turned away from him violently. “I’m so sorry,” he choked. “God, I didn’t mean… I’m so sorry…”
Harry’s heart clenched painfully to see the other boy huddled over, his head in his shaking hands. “Draco, it’s okay, you don’t have to—”
“Oh, for fucks sake, Harry, don’t be nice to me!” Draco moaned. “God, can’t you see that it only makes things worse? Why can’t you just leave me in peace? Why couldn’t you have just carried on hating me like before?”
“Draco,” Harry said, still a little light headed, “what’s going on? You can’t tell me that it didn’t happen this time; you can’t tell me it was a mistake.”
“I suppose I can’t,” Draco said. His voice was heavy with misery and hopelessness. He couldn’t even bear to look at Harry. “Do you know how easy it was when I could hate you? When I could write you off as a sanctimonious little prick? Merlin, I almost wish it could have carried on like that. I shouldn’t have given in. I shouldn’t have let my guard down. It didn’t hurt as much before I started to actually like you.”
“What do you mean?” Harry replied feebly, getting slowly to his feet.
“What do you think?” Draco spat back. “God, why the hell are you such a moron? Do you have any idea how… how fucking stupid you are? All that time when you didn’t realise what that little Weasley bitch was really like – I can’t believe I didn’t just tell you. Not that I didn’t try. God, I was so fucking angry, seeing you get all misty eyed over that generic little… How I had to listen to you sticking up for her, even when you knew… And you never saw. You never saw how it was killing me.” Draco’s voice was hollow with shame and despair. “All those years when you treated me like scum, when you looked at me with such disgust. You’d never given me a chance. Not that I can really blame you, I suppose. I can see that now, at least. You held me in such contempt, didn’t you? We were worlds apart. It was easier that way, you know? I could just tell myself that I was sick, that I was delusional. But then I came here. You have no idea how desperate I was not to share a room with you. And you couldn’t just leave me alone. You couldn’t give me up as a lost cause; you had to try to save me. If I’d been a bit stronger, I would have been able to resist it.” He laughed weakly. “I knew you only felt sorry for me, but… but I didn’t want to be alone any more, not after everything that had happened. I knew it would make it harder, but at the same time I hated the thought that you’d never think well of me. I kidded myself that the little you were prepared to give me might be enough. I should have been stronger. And now… now I’m screwed.”
“Don’t say anything.” He turned away from Harry completely. “The only thing that made it half-way bearable was that you didn’t know. But there’s no sense in denying it now. I hate you so much. I hate you because you’ve never really seen me. I hate you because you’d rather go out with someone who didn’t love you than even contemplate anything with me. I hate you for holding everything me and my family stand for in such contempt. I hate you for being so good and kind and… and stupid, because you’ll never want me. You’ll never love me like I… Oh, just leave me alone. Don’t look at me any more.”
“Draco,” Harry said softly. “Draco, you don’t have to feel bad. Just let me explain—”
“Get out!” Draco yelled, rounding on Harry furiously. “God, can’t you just leave it? Can’t you just be content that I’ve made a fool of myself? I already know the deal; I don’t need your fucking sympathy!”
“You don’t understand!” Harry protested. “Please just let me—”
“Get out! God, you just can’t help making things worse, can you? I don’t want to talk to you any more! Or ever again!”
Harry swallowed a couple of times. He felt shaken, like he had never really known himself until that moment. He wanted to tell Draco that there was nothing to be ashamed of. He wished he could have just found the courage to kiss Draco back, and that he hadn’t backed away. Now it was too late. Draco was too upset and angry to listen to anything Harry had to say. He backed away slowly and left the room.
Dear Draco, Harry wrote. I’m sorry about before. I never meant to hurt you or make you feel ashamed. You were right – I had no idea how you felt. Or maybe I was just in denial because I was afraid. I guess it really was easier when we hated each other. I didn’t mean to make things worse. Draco, I’m so confused. I don’t want to hurt you, but I’m so scared, and I don’t know what to do. It’s just so soon after Ginny, and I have so much that I have to do. It’s a stupid time to even think about starting something. But over the past months, I’ve slowly developed feelings for you. I find you really attractive, and when you kissed me—
“Oh, this is stupid!” Harry cried, balling the letter up and throwing it on the floor, before setting fire to it with his wand.
He had gone straight to the attic after he had left Draco without even thinking about it. It had become his safe place, a place where he could go to think. Perhaps it helped that he was surrounded be so many things that reminded him of Sirius.
Kreacher looked up at him mulishly from the corner where he was busy cleaning a box full of old glass phials with a distinctly dirty rag. “Is the young Master going to be making a habit of burning things now?” he croaked. “Maybe his scar is making him go crazy again.”
Harry scowled at him. “Nobody’s going crazy,” he said. “And I burnt my letter because it was stupid.” He sighed. “Kreacher… what would you say to someone who likes you, and you kind of like them back, but you’re not sure if you want anything to happen?”
Kreacher gaped at him.
“God, I really am going crazy,” Harry groaned.
“Kreacher would not write a letter,” the elf said. “Letters is the wrong way. Master would probably write something stupid, anyway. Kreacher is thinking that Master should stick to fighting Pureblood fanatics and interfering in things that is not his business. He is good at that.”
“Thanks, Kreacher,” Harry replied sarcastically. “That’s… really helpful.”
The elf shuffled away, muttering under his breath.
Harry got to his feet with a sigh. Well, Kreacher had been right about one thing – writing a letter to Draco was probably a bad idea. He didn’t exactly have a way with words, and besides, what if someone else saw it by mistake? He would have to do this in person. He would have to talk to Draco and make him listen. Perhaps they would be able to come up with some sort of solution.
He climbed carefully down the attic stairs and made his way back to his room. He hoped that Draco would be a little calmer by now. He wasn’t entirely sure how he was going to make the other boy hear him out. He couldn’t even contemplate putting any kind of Immobilising Charm on him – Draco didn’t have any means of retaliating, and would probably never forgive Harry. And what was Harry going to say anyway? He knocked on the door before he had time to chicken out of the whole thing.
“Draco,” Harry called softly. “Draco, can I come in?” He slowly opened the door.
The bedroom was empty. Harry didn’t know whether he should be relieved or disappointed. He figured that he should probably sit down and wait. He hoped that the other boy wasn’t too determined to avoid him. Now that he knew how Draco really felt about him, Harry didn’t…
There was a note on his bed.
I’m sorry about before, I was an idiot. I should have had better self control. Please don’t tell anyone what happened. It was my fault, so you shouldn’t feel bad. I’m sorry, but I can’t be around you any more. You’ve been very decent with me, and I know you wouldn’t purposely make me feel bad about what I did, but that would only make it harder. Don’t worry, I’ve always been pretty resourceful. I’m sure I’ll be okay. You have a life to lead, and there is much important stuff that you need to take care of. I’m holding you back from that. Kill that bastard for me, will you? If you can, it would be great if you could lessen the charges against my family, though I won’t hold you to it. Thank you for being so nice, it meant a lot.
Draco L. Malfoy.
Harry clenched his hand around the letter, his heart hammering. He experienced a moment of queasy indecision, before jumping to his feet and racing down the stairs, grabbing a jacket on his way out. There was no time to tell anyone. He would have to try and explain why Draco would run off like this, and that might compromise the Slytherin. He had to take care of this one on his own. Draco couldn’t have got far – Harry had only been in the attic for fifteen minutes at the most.
Harry slipped out of the front door and looked around cautiously. There were only a couple of chilly-looking dog walkers in sight, so he raced down the front steps and through the wards. 12 Grimmauld Place promptly disappeared behind him, and Harry found himself standing alone on the windswept heath. He pressed a hand to his head, trying to focus himself. Where the hell had Draco gone? Obviously he couldn’t have Apparated, so wherever he was, he had gone there on foot. Think, Harry!
There was a road a short distance away, and Harry headed for it, turning up his collar against the icy wind. Draco would have headed into the city, he was sure of it. Where else could he hide himself so well? Besides, he might have some idea of trying to get up to Scotland and see Snape. Yes, Harry would bet anything that that was Draco’s plan. After all, who else was there? He didn’t know how much money the other boy had on him, or if he even had the first idea about Muggle travel. Harry had to get to him as quickly as possible. He reached the road, and headed towards Hampstead Town, breaking out into a gentle run. God, anything could happen to Draco out here on his own. What the hell had he been thinking? Was being around Harry really so unbearable? He couldn’t have gone far. Surely Harry would find him. If not, he would have to head back to headquarters and enlist the help of the Order. And anything could happen to Draco in the meantime. He didn’t know how to cope as a Muggle in the outside world; he could get into trouble. Worse still, what if he was discovered by the Death Eaters? What would they do to him? Harry had to find him – he just had to.
He left the Heath and headed down the first road he came to, looking frantically around him. This was all his fault. If only he’d refused to leave when Draco had told him to. He should have stayed and tried to explain himself. What an idiot! But then, how was he supposed to know that Draco would do something so stupid. Merlin, Harry had credited the boy with at least half a brain.
He almost knocked into passers-by as he hurried down the street, looking into shops and cafes as he passed. He was going to kill Draco for doing this…
“Excuse me,” Harry said to the Big Issue seller on the corner of the high street. “Excuse me, I don’t suppose you’ve seen a boy heading along here not too long ago? He’s got light blond hair, fairly long, and grey eyes. He was wearing… he was wearing grey wool trousers and a white shirt. Probably a black jacket as well. He might have been looking a little lost or confused.”
The man frowned. “Yeah, I reckon so. Skinny lad, kind of angry-lookin? Very pale?”
“You’ve seen him?” Harry said desperately.
“Has he got mental problems or somethin’?” the man asked. “He nearly got ‘imself hit by a bus. Only got out of the way at the last minute. Looked angry and said the bus shoulda stretched around ‘im. Funny kid.”
“Where did he go?” Harry asked impatiently.
“Well, I asked ‘im if he was okay, and he said he wanted ter get ter Scotland. Weird thing to ask, I thought, but I humoured ‘im. I said he should get the tube to King’s Cross. It’s that way.” The man pointed further down the street.
“The tube! Oh, bloody hell. Thank you!” Harry called as he ran off in the direction the man was pointing in. Bloody hell, indeed. Did Draco know the first thing about travelling by the Underground? Did he even have any money on him? Snape had given him some back in September, but most of that had been spent on clothes. Besides, it had been wizard money, hadn’t it? He was sure that Bill had had to go to Gringotts to get it changed. He hoped that Draco hadn’t got into too much trouble. Still, he couldn’t be far now. Harry didn’t want to think about the possibility that Draco had figured out how to use the Underground and was halfway across London now.
He brushed past a group of teenagers as he ran down the station steps two at a time. There was something going on by the ticket stiles. A small crowd was gathering, and people were looking over curiously. Harry felt faint with relief when he recognised the unmistakable voice of Draco Malfoy, raised in anger, full of imperious contempt.
“…can’t see what all the fuss is about!” he was saying. “I asked the stupid bitch to change it. I don’t have any of your stupid paper money, all right? Get your filthy hands off me! Ugh, I can’t believe you people actually travel like this – this whole place stinks of piss!”
“You’d better calm down, my lad!” a station master said. “You can’t take that tone of voice with members of staff. Either clear out, or I’ll call the police.”
“But I have to get to Scotland!” Draco protested. “God, you’re all so fucking incompetent! Get the fuck off me!”
“Draco!” Harry called, approaching the group cautiously. “Draco, I’ve been looking for you everywhere. Come on, let’s go.”
Draco looked at him furiously. “I will not,” he said. “How dare you follow me? Just leave me alone, okay!”
“I can’t do that,” Harry said. “Please, let’s just talk.”
“You know this kid?” the station officer said.
Harry nodded. “I’m his… carer,” he said, taking his cue from what the Big Issue man had said. “I’m sorry if he’s caused trouble, but it’s not his fault. He’s not right in the head.”
Draco looked at him in furious disbelief.
“He wandered off, and I’ve been looking for him. I’m very sorry; please don’t call the police. He doesn’t mean any harm, and I promise it won’t happen again.” He looked up at the man appealingly.
“Well, all right,” the officer said grudgingly. “Just get him out of here. He’s disturbing the customers. And keep a better eye on him in future.”
Harry nodded and took Draco’s arm, steering him firmly out of the station.
“How dare you!” the blond hissed furiously when they were outside. “Get off me!”
“Draco,” Harry said in what he hoped was a pacifying tone, “please calm down. I said the only thing I could think of; they were about to call the police on you!”
“You shouldn’t have followed me,” the blond muttered. “I thought my note made that perfectly clear. I can’t stay there any longer. You should have let me go.”
“And how far do you think you would have got, exactly?” Harry said, beginning to get angry. “You don’t have the first clue about getting around out here, you have no money… how the hell did you plan to make it all the way to Scotland? And even if you did manage it, what exactly did you expect to do there? Snape risked enough simply by bringing you to us! You could ruin everything for him if the Death Eaters found out you’re being helped by him. Of course I had to come after you, you idiot.”
“Oh, what the hell do you care what happens to me?” Draco snarled at him. “I bet you’ve only come now because my absence would be awkward to explain to the others.”
“If you think that, then you really are an idiot!” Harry shouted. “I came after you because I was terrified something might happen to you! But you didn’t think about that, did you? You just thought about yourself again.”
They faced each other furiously, boiling with frustration and hatefulness.
Draco finally lowered his eyes. “See, this is better, isn’t it? Just like old times. Makes things so much easier to hate each other, doesn’t it?”
Harry closed his eyes and took a couple of deep breaths. “Look… can we just talk about this? You know I can’t let you go off on your own. You’d get yourself arrested, or worse. Just… just come over here and sit down with me on this bench. We’ll talk this over, and if you’re really sure that you can’t stay in the headquarters any more, we’ll try and arrange for you to go into one of our safe houses. Okay?”
Draco looked at him hesitantly. “Fine. I suppose I was a bit hasty. But I want to get transferred as soon as possible. Get in touch with Snape and arrange something.”
Harry didn’t say anything. Draco was starting to be cooperative, and he didn’t want to argue in case he took off again. They sat down side by side, gazing in silence at the passing traffic. There was so much that had to be said. Harry wanted to tell Draco everything, but he was still so scared. He was scared that he would get hurt again. He was scared of dragging Draco into his messy life. What would become of them? Did mutual desire even mean anything? Yes, he was attracted to the Slytherin, but try as he might, Harry couldn’t imagine being in an actual relationship with him. What would his friends say? What would Draco’s family do? But he couldn’t leave things like this, with Draco feeling so wretched and humiliated.
“About before…” he began.
“Don’t let’s talk about that,” Draco said miserably. “I’ve had enough for one day, and I’m tired. I don’t want to think about it. If I was still able, I’d happily erase your memory, but that isn’t really an option, is it? You know everything, and I’ll never be able to look you in the eye again. You didn’t tell anyone, did you?”
“Of course not! I wouldn’t. Nobody even knows you’re missing – I ran out of the house as soon as I found your note. I was so worried about you, you idiot.”
Draco laughed weakly. “You’re too noble for your own good sometimes, you know that?”
Harry sneaked a glance at the other boy. He wished that he could read Draco’s face. He looked so tired and sad. There was no way this could be an act, was there? Harry hated himself for even suspecting it. Surely Draco wouldn’t sacrifice his pride like that just to win Harry’s trust, or take advantage of his good nature. He knew Draco by now, didn’t he?
But it just seemed so impossible that Draco Malfoy, who was so rich and cultured and snobbish, could have feelings for someone like Harry. What could Draco possibly see in him? And it wasn’t like Harry’s good nature hadn’t led him to be fooled countless times before. Even Ginny had fooled him, and she was on the side of the Order – what might not someone like Draco, who had made no secret of his hatred for Harry in the past, do?
Harry decided to keep quiet about his feelings for now. His heart was already bruised – another betrayal might crush it for good. He would get Draco back to Grimmauld Place where he would be safe, and they would talk about what would be best. As much as it pained him, he wouldn’t stop Draco from moving somewhere else if that was what he wanted. It didn’t pay to trust people too much.
“I’m not going to tell anyone about what happened,” Harry said quietly, resisting the urge to start gabbling about his own confused feelings and desires. “I never will. I won’t ever mention it to you again, either, if you don’t want me to. But I can’t let you go off like this – you know that. It’s not safe for any of us out here, let alone someone who can’t use magic to defend himself. Come back home, and we’ll try and sort something out.”
Draco sighed and looked up at him. “All right. All right, I’ll come back with you. I’m not promising anything, though.”
“Fine,” Harry said. “Let’s just get back quickly. I don’t want to be out for too long.”
The boys got to their feet, and were starting to make their way back along the street in the direction of the heath, when there were several loud bangs all around them. Harry wheeled about, an icy hand clutching at his heart. Six figures in long black cloaks were advancing on them, emerging from alleyways and behind parked vehicles. They were all wearing masks.
“Oh God,” Draco whispered, gripping onto Harry’s wrist. “Oh God, Harry…”
Panic churning in his stomach, Harry searched for his wand, before realising with a further jolt of horror that he had left it back at Grimmauld Place. How could he have been so stupid, so careless? He had been so scared that something would happen to Draco that he had rushed out of the house, leaving it on his bed. And now he had ruined their only chance.
Harry did not have the opportunity to chastise himself any further, because a bright red flash of light hit him full in the chest. The last thing he was conscious of was Draco screaming his name, Draco falling down beside him, and then everything went black.
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9