Hello! Something new from me... I'm testing the water a bit here, feedback is greatly appreciated.
Beta'd by I am the Color of Boom xx
Hogsmeade- June 1996
The Hogshead had never been what one would call a welcoming environment. The air was heavy with the musky odour of stale ale, unwashed wizard, and unmistakeably, goats. Every surface seemed to be coated in a film of grease that the dusty air clung to, thick, unpleasant, and probably decades old.
But despite the health risks, this was where Draco Malfoy found himself - seated at a sticky table, across from Albus Dumbledore, in the wee hours of the morning. A situation, not to mention drinking companion, he could have never predicted twenty-four hours ago. For a start, from Draco's point of view, Dumbledore had been dead for almost two years. But with the day that Draco had experienced so far, seeing Dumbledore alive and well was possibly one of the least concerning things he had to deal with.
"You say a time-traveling chess piece brought you here?" Dumbledore repeated Draco's last statement, his tone serene but the light blue eyes behind his half-moon glasses held scepticism and something colder that was more difficult to describe. Dumbledore looked different from Draco's memory of him, he was swathed in a black traveling cloak, the hood up to hide his trademark silver hair. This was a Dumbledore on the run from the Ministry, risking quite a lot to return to Hogsmeade just to talk to Draco. If Umbridge found out he was here, if Draco was caught with him… the consequences would be dire indeed.
Draco looked away from the piercing gaze, pushing away thoughts of the Dark Lord's retaliation, of the harm that would come to his mother if he, Draco, was suspected of turning traitor. Dumbledore's protection was his only choice right now. He pulled a small, life-like marble pawn from his breast pocket, and placed it on the table between them. The miniature uniformed soldier bowed politely to Dumbledore, who scrutinised it closely, though he did not touch it.
"It's the only theory I can come up with," Draco said tiredly, "I was on my way home and I found it in my pocket, then I slipped and hit my head, and now I'm back here, and so is it, and as far as I can tell I look like I'm fifteen again, well, nobody seemed to think I was out of place and my uniform still fits me." He plucked at his white school shirt in illustration, making his silver and green tie swing briefly before falling back into place.
Dumbledore was still regarding the little pawn with suspicion as he asked, "And how old do you claim to be now, Mr Malfoy?" He didn't sound the least bit concerned that Draco had found himself in the life and body of his younger self.
"Eighteen," Draco replied shortly, agitated that the old wizard was so indifferent to his plight.
"And has the world changed a great deal since you were fifteen?" Dumbledore questioned, his tone still completely calm, as if they were discussing the weather, not the apparent corruption of the fabric of time.
There was a part of Draco that wanted to laugh at the absurdity of such a question. But the last two years had made the wizarding world almost unrecognisable, and his memories sucked even the most cynical humour from him. "Yes," he answered seriously, thinking about the crumbling Hogwarts Castle and the frantic, furious mind-set that had ripped through the magical community and led to Draco's own imprisonment. "Our world was torn apart, but it's mending now."
"Voldemort is defeated?" Dumbledore clarified, still focused on the pawn, and not looking at Draco.
"Yes, and many others, including yourself," Draco added, his annoyance making his final statement sound almost threatening.
Dumbledore did not seem bothered by this. "Great success often requires great sacrifice Mr Malfoy, and I am nothing if not great."
Draco had no idea how to reply to such a pronouncement, so he sat in silence, waiting for Dumbledore to continue. Their surroundings did little to comfort Draco; the last time he had been in this pub was the night of the final battle, when he had snuck back into the school to hunt out Potter with the goal of delivering him to the Dark Lord. He kept expecting the grouchy barman to start sending hexes at him, cursing him for trying to kill his brother. But of course, at this point in time, Draco was nothing more than a student up at the castle. Rather than an attempted murderer.
Eventually Dumbledore spoke again. "And tell me, who was it that dealt the final blow? Who is the hero that vanquished Lord Voldemort?"
"Potter," Draco said, unable to say the name without a slight grudging inflection, it was too much of a habit to break. "In the hall at school, duelled him in front of hundreds of witnesses."
This statement affected Dumbledore far more than the warning of his own death. He met Draco's eyes again. A tremulous kind of sadness filled the old wizard's face, or perhaps it was pride, Draco found it hard to tell the difference.
Then Dumbledore's expression became impassive once more, his silver eyebrows lifting in question as he asked, "Your father would be furious if he knew you were here, would he not?"
"Probably," Draco said, "but as I've already said, if I'm stuck here then I intend to be on the winning side of this war."
"I would hazard a guess that you are indeed stuck here, but then I have never seen magic that allows an inanimate object—other than a time-turner—to bring wizards back in time, so perhaps I am wrong. Where did you get it?"
Draco sighed, resisting the urge to drop his head to his hands; there was a resounding ache starting at his temples, and he really just wanted to get some sleep. He supposed he should tell Dumbledore the full story, just in case he was able to fix the situation somehow. But then... did Draco even want to go back? The unknown possibilities that lay ahead were surely better than the known, grim existence he'd faced until yesterday.