Harry slept through the night and halfway through the next day, his body needing the chance to recover from the physical and emotional trauma of the day before. Harry woke abruptly, immediately aware of his surroundings. There was an arm wrapped around his waist and he stiffened, frowning at the appendage.
"You're finally awake." Harry screamed and jumped away from the voice behind him, nearly falling of the bed in the process. He was saved when the hand of the person behind him grabbed his arm and pulled him back onto the bed. "Merlin, Harry! I didn't mean to scare you!" Harry turned, relaxing slightly when he looked up into Draco's face.
"Please, don't touch me. I'm dirty," Harry whispered, trying to pull his arm out of Draco's grasp.
"What? No you aren't. Mother cleaned you up yesterday." Draco frowned down at Harry before scowling in understanding. "That isn't what you meant, is it?" Harry shook his head and Draco sighed, something he seemed to be doing a lot of lately.
"You aren't dirty, or filthy, or a freak," Draco said forcefully. "Now get up. You need a bath and a change of clothes. I reckon mother will want to take you shopping today. You need to eat, you missed breakfast," Draco mumbled to himself as he herded Harry to the bathroom. He ran the bath, adding bubbles and setting out a towel. He turned the water off and turned to Harry.
"Get in. I'll go pick out an outfit for you and I'll come get you in ten minutes." Harry nodded and waited for Draco to leave, closing the door behind him, before he turned towards the bath.
"Don't be a baby, Potter. Uncle can't hold you under if he's not here," Harry whispered to himself. He shuddered at an unpleasant memory, slowly shedding his clothes until he stood naked. Harry took stock of his body in surprise. Most of his cuts and bruises were gone! Only the ones that had been really bad, that he had hoped would kill him, remained and they were mostly healed.
Harry smiled and carefully climbed into the bath, gasping at the warm temperature of the water. Aunt Petunia had always made the water freezing cold or scalding hot, but this was perfect. Harry allowed himself a minute to enjoy the luxurious bath before he began scrubbing his body. He could still feel his uncle's meaty hands on his skin, feel his wet breath on the back of his neck, and his cruel words ringing in his ears. Harry closed his eyes and resolutely pushed those memories to the back of his mind.
"I don't have to go back. Draco said I don't have to go back," Harry reminded himself. 'And we know how trustworthy people can be, don't we? They'll send you back the minute you make a mistake. You aren't safe here. You can't trust them.'
"Shut up!" Harry hissed to the cynical voice in his head. He pulled himself out of the bath and hesitantly grabbed the fluffy towel that Draco had left out for him. He wasn't allowed to use the good towels at the Dursley's house but Draco had said he wasn't a freak which must mean he's Normal and Normal people got to use the good towels.
When he was completely dry he carefully laid the towel out on the edge of the tub to dry and cracked the door open. He peeked out, jumping slightly when he caught Draco's eye. Draco motioned for him to come out and Harry slowly opened the door and walked into the bedroom. Draco made a strangled gasping sound and blushed as he turned around so his back was to Harry.
"Where is your towel?" Draco asked tightly. Harry frowned at Draco's back.
"I left it to dry in the bathroom. Should I not have? Do you want me to bring it to you?" Harry asked. Draco shook his head.
"No, just… You can't go walking around nude, Potter!" Draco exclaimed, still looking away.
"Why? My uncle used to make me do it all the time. Especially if he had guests," Harry said. Draco growled and turned to face Harry, grey eyes glinting dangerously.
"Your uncle was a pathetic excuse for a human being," Draco hissed. Harry took a step back in surprise, nodding quickly. Draco closed his eyes and shook his head, an apologetic smile making its way across his face. "Sorry. Let's just get you dressed."
Harry stepped forward to look at the clothes Draco had picked out for him. A dark grey sweater, black slacks, black socks, and black shoes. Harry looked at Draco, silently asking for permission to touch them. Draco nodded and Harry began to pull the clothes on. Once he was fully dressed Draco took his hand and led him out of the room.
"Come along, Potter. We need to go to the dining room so that you can eat a late breakfast. Mother will surely want to head out after you have finished."
"Do I have to go? I've never been shopping before. Are you sure it's okay for me to get new clothes? I don't really need any. Do you think your mum knows that? Maybe I should tell her that I don't need new clothes. She shouldn't have to spend money on me. Draco, where's you-"
"Merlin, Potter! Stop babbling so much. You're getting new clothes. Deal with it," Draco grumbled as he pushed open the dining room door. Harry stopped immediately, yanking on Draco's hand, when he saw the three adults already sitting down.
"I see you finally managed to wake him up, Draco," Narcissa said, sipping at her tea.
"He woke on his own. He was tired and I let him sleep. He needed it," Draco defended the smaller boy.
"Of course, dear. Why don't you two come and eat. I want to take Harry to get some clothes of his own," Narcissa announced.
"He can continue wearing my clothes," Draco offered as he pulled Harry to the table and pulled a chair out for him. "I don't mind."
"No, I'm sure you wouldn't," Lucius said cryptically. Draco narrowed his eyes in confusion but shrugged and turned to Harry.
"What do you want to eat?" Draco asked. Harry shrugged.
"I can wait. You eat whatever you want. I'll just have whatever's left."
"You don't have to, Harry. You aren't there anymore." Draco reminded him.
"I know. It just doesn't matter what I eat. At least I get to eat today, one time uncle made me go a whole week without food. I've learned not to be picky." Harry shrugged. Severus rolled his eyes and picked up a plate. He placed a pancake, a small amount of eggs, and a piece of bacon on the plate, setting it down in front of Harry when he was done. He poured a cup of pumpkin juice and set it next to Harry's plate.
"Eat that," he ordered. Harry blinked at the man in surprise before nodding.
"Yes, sir," Harry said simply. He picked up a fork and began eating. Lucius frowned, shaking his head. Obviously they had a lot to work on with Harry. Starting with the way he viewed himself and his sense of self-worth.
"After you two eat we shall go to Diagon Alley and get you a whole new wardrobe, Harry. You'll need shoes and socks, pants and trousers, shirts, and cloaks," Narcissa rattled off. Harry stared at her, eyes wide in horror.
"No! I don't need all of that, Mrs. Just a few shirts and trousers. I don't need much," Harry said.
"Nonsense, Potter. You live with us now and we will provide you with anything you need," Lucius insisted. Harry frowned in confusion.
"Oh. What do you want me to do in return?" Harry asked, setting his fork down beside his half eaten breakfast. Severus glared at him and Harry flinched but shrugged helplessly. He was full and couldn't force down another bite.
"Nothing. You don't have to do any favors. You're a little boy. Adults are supposed to take care of you. Obviously the muggles failed spectacularly, but we will not. You will be well cared for here, Harry," Narcissa said softly. Harry shook his head slowly.
"I don't understand," he admitted softly. Narcissa and Lucius smiled softly at him.
"We know. You don't understand now, but you will." Harry just nodded.
"I'm done," Draco announced, pushing his empty plate away.
"Fantastic. Let's go. We haven't any time to waste," Narcissa said, standing up and leading the way to the receiving room. "We'll apparated there. Draco, you'll go with your father. Harry, you will be going with Severus." Harry stared up at the intimidating man, shrinking back slightly.
He didn't have a clue what this apparition was and he wasn't entirely sure that he wanted to do it with Sir, but he knew not to argue against a direct order like that. It would just mean more pain for him and since he was finally pain free he intended to keep it that way. Harry shuffled closer to Sir, staring down at the ground submissively.
"I'm ready, Sir," he whispered. A tap on the top of his head had him looking up into dark eyes.
"You will look at me when you speak, Potter. It is rude otherwise. You have nothing to fear. We have already traveled in this manner. Do you remember how you got here with the house-elf? It is exactly like that. Just hold onto me and there will be no mishaps. I will not let you go," Severus murmured softly.
Harry hesitated before slowly wrapping his arms around Severus' waist, burying his face into the dark robes. Severus frowned down at him, looking back up when he heard muffled snickering. Lucius was eyeing them in amusement. Severus sneered and wrapped an arm around Harry's shoulder.
"Do grow up, Lucius," he snapped before twisting on the spot.
Harry stumbled away from Severus, gasping and shaking. Severus watched in concern as the boy vomited. Two loud pops nearby signaled the arrivals of the Malfoys. Draco instantly materialized at Harry's side, rubbing his back even as his nose wrinkled in disgust.
"What did you do to him, Uncle?" Draco asked. Harry straightened slowly, shuddering slightly as he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
"Not his fault," Harry rasped. "I don't think that I should do that again though."
"Still, you did not have this violent of a reaction to apparition with the house-elf," Severus mused. Harry shrugged as he composed himself.
"I also hadn't eaten anything for three days. There was nothing to throw up," Harry admitted softly. Severus closed his eyes, fury rising in him dark and cold. He took a deep breath and opened his eyes.
"Yes, well, perhaps we shall floo back." Lucius nodded in agreement.
"Certainly. For now, though, we should focus on shopping." Harry grimaced and turned to Narcissa.
"I really don't need any new clothes, Mrs. I don't mind wearing Draco's old ones. I'm used to it. You don't have to spend your money on me," Harry insisted, guilt and foreboding churning in his stomach. He didn't want anything at all. He knew that for every piece of clothing they got him he would be expected to repay them in some way.
"Nonsense, Harry. You deserve clothes of your own. You've been a very good boy and good boy deserve rewards," Narcissa said as she steered everyone towards the first store. Harry gaped at her in surprise. He'd never been called a good boy before. Warmth spread through his chest and he blinked tears away, averting his gaze from Narcissa's so she wouldn't see.
"Come on, Harry. I'll help you pick out some shirts," Draco offered as he grabbed Harry's hand and dragged him into the shop.
Albus Dmbledore sat in is office, a cup of whiskey set in front of him. He didn't usually drink but he thought that he rather deserved it at the moment. He was currently reviewing his abysmal meeting with Harry and was attempting to drown his guilt. He ran a shaky hand tiredly over his eyes, wiping away wetness. A knock on his door had him sighing and sitting up slightly straighter.
"Come in," he sighed. Minerva entered and stopped, staring at him, eyebrow raised in surprise.
"What is the meaning of this, Albus?"
"Do you think I am an awful person, Minerva?" Albus asked instead, swallowing a mouthful of whiskey.
"Of course not. What's the matter with you?" Minerva demanded as she sat in a plush chair opposite of Dumbledore.
"You would not be wrong in thinking so, my dear. I fear I am worse than Voldemort himself," Albus said staring moodily across the room.
"Enough of this foolishness. Tell me what had driven you into a drunken stupor," McGonagall said.
"Potter? What has happened? You ensured us that he was safe with the muggles, although I still think we could have found someone better," McGonagall sniffed.
"You would be right, my dear. Anywhere else would have been better for him. I have subjected young Harry to a life of misery and pain because I thought I knew what was best for him. I ignored everyone's objections and placed him in a house of horrors." Minerva shifted uneasily.
"Albus, what happened? Is Harry alright?" Dumbledore drained the rest of his whiskey before looking up at her with dull blue eyes.
"No, Minerva. No, he is not. He has been abused and neglected nearly all his life. He is severely malnourished and distrust worthy of everyone, with good reason. He has been beaten and…raped, and I am to blame," Albus croaked. Minerva paled, shaking her head in denial.
"No, you said he was safe. You promised us he would be safe. You said you were checking on him continuously," McGonagall accused. Dumbledore winced and nodded.
"I had someone watching over him, although I never checked on him personally. My informant never told me about the abuse. She never knew what was going on inside the house," Albus sighed.
"Do you mean to tell me that you Left Harry with unfit muggles and essentially abandoned him there to be tortured?" Minerva hissed, eyes dark with fury. Albus nodded despairingly. McGonagall took deep breaths, trying to reign in her temper.
"Where is he now? Is he safe? Truly safe?" She asked through clenched teeth.
"He is with the Malfoy family and Severus," Albus informed her. Minerva stood so fast her chair went flying backwards.
"Have you completely lost your mind, Albus? Severus hates him and the Malfoy's are surely no more affectionate! Are you trying to kill the poor lad?" She shouted. Albus flinched but rose to meet her, his blue eyes hard and cold.
"How dare you suggest such a thing, Minerva? All I have ever wanted was to protect him. I may have failed him once but I will not do so again. Severus does not hate Harry. How could he? Harry is an abused child, not his former rival from school. The Malfoys are not the evil family you seem to think they are. You know they were spies for the Light in the war. I trust them with my life and with Harry's. They will take good care of him, I have already seen it," Dumbledore snapped. Minerva nodded looking a little sheepish.
"My apologies, Albus," she said stiffly. "I don't want him to come to anymore harm."
"I understand, Minerva. I swear on my magic he will be welled cared for with them. Already he seems attached to the young Malfoy boy. This will be good for him."
"I hope you know what you're doing this time, Albus," McGonagall warned.
"Of course, my dear. Although, now that we're on the subject, there is something you can help me with," Albus intoned. McGonagall eyed him suspiciously as she righted her chair and sat back down.
"What manipulations are you up to now?" She sighed.
"I don't know what you mean," Albus smirked. "Harry is safe with the Malfoy's but it is not a permanent arrangement. The Dursley's are still his legal guardians. He could be forced to go back. The Malfoy's will have to adopt young Harry if they want to ensure he stay with them. I need your help in making this happen." McGonagall groaned. She wanted to tell him no and was opening her mouth to do just that when he cut across her. "For Harry." He added and she groaned again.
"Fine, you meddling old coot. I'll help you, but I want to see Harry when he's better," she demanded.
"But of course, Minerva," Albus agreed easily. She rolled her eyes at him as he conjured another glass and snatched his bottled of whiskey of the desk, filling both of their glasses.
"To Potter's health," she toasted. Albus knocked his glass to hers.
"To Harry's health."
Harry shuffled tiredly along behind Draco. How the older boy still had so much energy was beyond him. Harry was tired, emotionally and mentally. So much had changed in such a short amount of time and he just didn't know how he was supposed to act. He'd been used to it at the Dursley's. He kept his mouth shut and did what he was told. As long as things got done exactly like his uncle said he wasn't hurt too bad, and when his uncle wanted to use him he didn't fight back. That was how he had survived but it was radically different with the Malfoy's. They didn't seem to want him to do anything. They gave him food without making him work for it and bought him brand new clothes of his own and let him sleep in an actual room on a real bed! It was confusing and Harry was terrified, waiting for things to change.
"Harry?" A hand landed on his shoulders and he twisted out from under the sudden contact, pressing his back against the nearest flat surface, his eyes quickly scanning the surrounding area for danger. His breaths came in harsh pants, his eyes were wide, and his whole body trembled. "Harry? It's okay. You're okay. I'm not going to hurt you."
Harry looked up and his eyes fell to Narcissa. She stood in front of him, her hands hovering uncertainly in front of her as if she wanted to touch him again. Harry looked over her shoulder, catching Lucius' worried gaze before turning his eyes to Draco. Draco bit his lip, looking from his mom to Harry and back.
"Harry?" Harry's gaze snapped back to Narcissa. She was closer now and he pressed himself more firmly against the wall at his back.
"Yes, ma'am?" Harry whispered.
"I'm sorry for scaring you but I promise I'm not going to harm you," she whispered back. Harry stared at her, content to stay where he was until she had backed away some.
"Potter, we do not have time for your panic attacks. We are all hungry so if you could stop holding us up we can continue to the restaurant before heading back to Malfoy Manor so that you might rest," Severus snapped curtly. Harry nodded slowly.
"Yes, sir." Harry pushed away from the wall skirting around Narcissa carefully until he was standing at Severus' side. Harry hesitated a moment before slipping his tiny hand into Severus' much larger one, blushing heavily as he looked everywhere but at the man. Severus raised an eyebrow, his lip curled in disgust. He tensed, prepared to rip his hand out of the smaller grasp.
Lucius shook his head quickly, glaring warningly at Severus. Severus glared back just as darkly, lip curling higher. Lucius narrowed his eyes, his lips thinning furiously. Severus huffed in annoyance, tossing his head in irritation. He stalked off, hand still clutched in Harry's. Harry let a small grin flit over his face. He hadn't been rejected of punished! Sir was letting him hold his hand! In public! Where anyone could see and he didn't seem to care. Harry peeked up at the man through his curly bangs.
"Thank you, sir," Harry whispered. Severus glanced down at him and sighed at the hopeful look in his eyes.
"You are welcome, Potter. Do not, however, expect this treatment all the time," Severus sneered.
"Yes, sir," Harry nodded his understanding and walked silently beside Severus until they reached the restaurant. Draco dragged Harry to a table and pulled a chair out for him, quickly claiming the chair to his left. Lucius sat on Harry's right, with Narcissa on his other side, and Severus between her and Draco.
"Good afternoon! My name is Brenda and I'll be your server for the day. Can I start you off with something to drink? Maybe some appetizers?" A bubbly woman with short red hair asked, stopping just behind Narcissa. Everyone ordered their drinks, wine for the adults and pumpkin juice for Harry and Draco.
"Do you know what you want to eat Draco?" Lucius asked as he picked up a menu.
"Alfredo," Draco announced without touching his menu.
"Which kind?" Lucius asked.
"And you, Harry?" Narcissa asked. Harry hesitated, staring at his menu uncertainly.
"I-I'm not really that hungry, Mrs. Malfoy," Harry said softly.
"Harry, you have to eat something. Just pick whatever looks good," Narcissa encouraged. Harry bit his lip and cast a pleading look at Draco.
"The alfredo is my favorite, especially the shrimp. Do you like seafood, Harry?" Draco asked. Harry shrugged.
"They never let me try any," Harry admitted in embarrassment.
"That's alright. They have chicken alfredo. Do you like chicken?" Harry nodded. "Then you should get that one. I'll let you try some of mine so we can see if you like shrimp."
"Thank you, Draco," Harry murmured, smiling at the blond softly. He hesitantly reached over for Draco's hand, casting a quick glance at Severus as he gently squeezed Draco's hand before letting go. Draco blushed lightly and ducked his head. Narcissa and Lucius shared a smirking glance and Severs rolled his eyes at the display.
Brenda returned with their drinks and took their orders. A few minutes later their plates were brought out. Harry scooped up some chicken and noodles onto his fork and took a tentative bite. His eyes widened and he squeaked in surprise before shoving everything on the fork into his mouth.
"'S so good!" Harry mumbled around another mouthful.
"Potter, you are not a pig. Show some manners and cease speaking with food in your mouth. It's disgusting," Severus snapped. Harry swallowed, quickly nodding his head.
"Yes, sir. Sorry, sir," Harry placed his fork down and folded his hands in his lap, staring down at his plate. There was a moment of silence in which all of the Malfoy's turned to glare at Severus. Severus sighed, he could already feel a headache coming on.
"I did not mean for you to stop eating entirely, Potter," Severus said.
"But…but I was bad. Bad boys don't get to eat for at least three days," Harry said seriously, holding up three fingers. "You have to punish me too." Severus frowned.
"No one will be punishing you, Potter, and your eating rights are not being revoked. You can continue to eat, just do not talk with food in your mouth and do not eat too fast, otherwise you will get sick," Severus explained.
"I…don't understand," Harry said in confusion.
"We know, Harry. Those muggles did a lot of awful things to you. We will never treat you so despicably," Lucius promised. Harry, for the first time in his life, found himself wanting to believe that these people would really take care of him and care for him, but he knew better. Eventually everyone hurt him and the Malfoy's would be no different. Draco tapped Harry's shoulder and held out a forkful of shrimp alfredo for Harry to taste. Harry smiled and opened his mouth for the food, nodding decisively.
The Malfoys would no doubt hurt him on day, but until then he would enjoy his time with them, however fleeting the good times were.
So, no excuse for the lateness. I was just introduced to tumblr and I haven't been able to pull myself away long enough to actually get anything done. Tumblr is amazing and addictive. Anyway, sorry for the wait. Hope this chapter makes up for it. Next chapter they should be getting their Hogwarts letters. They'll go shopping for school supplies, get their wands, and meet some people.