Propriety: Chapter 1
AN: Hello all and welcome to my third HP fic and first non-prompted, multi-chapter slash fic. This is a Draco/Harry fic. If this bothers, you please leave now. Severus lives! Yay! I'm pretty far along, but as mentioned in my profile, it is nowhere near done. EXPECT UPDATES EVERY 1 OR 2 WEEKS. I AM VERY STRICT WITH THIS SCHEDULE. DO NOT BOTHER ME ABOUT UPDATING. Please and thank you. :)
Warnings: There is some graphic child abuse at times, as well as homophobic slurs used later on. NO SEX! So don't worry about that.
Disclaimer: I think we all know at this point that no one other than JK Rowling owns these beloved characters. I just own this plot line. ;)
Harry sighed and shifted again, trying to get comfortable on the train seat. The Hogwarts Train was blasting forward, carrying him and his friends off to their eighth and final year at Hogwarts.
All of the seventh years who fought in the war were given a choice of either returning or getting full credit for their final year and immediately entering the work force or an apprenticeship. While some parents were disappointed, most weren't surprised when nearly all of them decided to not return. In fact, the only Gryffindor eighth years to return were the Golden Trio and Neville. Harry honestly hadn't been sure that he would return, and not for the reasons most people would think.
When Harry sighed and shifted for the hundredth time, Ron finally blurted out,
"You okay, Mate? You're not…you're not nervous about going back are you?" Ron had also considered not returning. With his family suffering from the loss of Fred and George needing help to get the shop reopened and ready for peace-time, Ron thought about staying back to help. It took the combined power of his parents and Hermione to convince him to finish up his education.
Harry shook his head in response to his best friend's question.
"Not really. I'm just…restless I guess. Not sure I'm going to be able to handle a 'normal' year." Harry hated lying to his friends but really, there wasn't anything they could do. Ron snorted and smiled at his wild-haired friend.
"Right. You'll probably get bored out of your mind by the third week. I'm just glad I don't have to take potions this year." Hermione rolled her eyes at her boyfriend but understood where he was coming from. Ron was aiming to become an Auror, and luckily, that program didn't require Ron to take potions. Harry had stunned everyone when he announced he wanted to be a Healer, which required a lot of potions. Hermione had been the only one not shocked.
"Really, Ronald, Professor Snape is sure to be behaving and teaching a lot better now that he's not playing the part of spy. He even contacted Harry and apologized to him." The Golden Trio had been getting so much mail, good and bad, that they felt like they lived in a post office the week after the Final Battle. They rarely responded to the letters, but one in particular had caught Harry's eye.
They all nearly fainted from shock when they found out that Severus Snape had survived the attack from Nagini and the letter was from the Potion's Master himself.
He apologized to Harry for his behavior and the things he had said. Snape admitted that while most of it was for his role as a spy, some was due to Harry's uncanny resemblance to his father and Snape's childhood tormentor. Harry replied immediately and wished the professor a swift recovery. He granted the man's request for forgiveness, and the young war hero felt that they would at least be civil to each other this coming year. That didn't mean Harry expected to suddenly excel in the man's class, however. Aunt Petunia had forced him to learn how to cook for all of them, but potions was just too precise for him to really nail the assignments.
Harry just barely resisted the urge to squeeze his shoulder and breathed deeply, hoping the pain wasn't evident on his face.
"If potions is my biggest worry this year, I'll be the happiest man alive." Ron conceded the point, and the three friends moved on to talk about trivial things. A few minutes later the door to their compartment slid open and Neville, Ginny and Luna poked their heads in.
"Hey Guys, do you mind if we join you?" Harry smiled at the three in the doorway and gestured them into the compartment. It was a tight but comfortable squeeze, fitting six grown students into one train compartment. Harry ended up having his shoulder pressed into the wall of the compartment by the window and bit the inside of his cheek to keep from whimpering. Just ignore it. Just ignore it. Just ignore it.
"So, what did you all get up to?" Neville put his arm around Luna's shoulders, and the blonde smiled contentedly up at him.
"Father and I spent most of our nights seeking out the Moon Frogs. We hadn't done that since I was a child," Luna told the group. Her airy voice felt slightly heavier as she spoke of her father, but there was no mistaking her small, happy smile for what it was. Hermione and Ron told them how they spent most of the summer searching for Hermione's parents. It was only a couple weeks ago that they had found them, and Hermione was able to restore their memories.
"Mum and Dad weren't happy with me messing with their heads, and I imagine they won't be happy with me for a while…but they're glad I'm okay." Harry smiled at his best friends, and Ron squeezed Hermione's hand in support. Ginny confessed that she had spent her summer helping her parents around the house and practicing Quidditch, while Neville used their few months break to really get to know his Gran and help Professor Sprout rebuild the destroyed greenhouses.
"And you, Harry?" The young savior tensed minutely as he braced himself for his friend's reactions.
"Uh…well, I actually had to go back to the Dursleys." The expected outburst of rage came from the Weasleys, and Harry tried to calm them down. "But I also had to go and testify at a lot of trials…so at least I was out of the house a lot more than usual." Ron and his sister looked as red as their hair and ready to hex some people into oblivion. Hermione looked devastated, Neville confused and Luna contemplative.
"Harry, I know your home life…wasn't the best…but is there more I should know?" Neville had really become someone Harry respected. They had shared correspondence over the summer, and Harry learned a lot about the other boy. The Boy Who Lived Twice honestly felt he could call Neville a brother, much like he did Ron. However, none of this meant that either of his 'brothers' would find out how far the Dursley's went in their dislike of magic or Harry.
"The Dursley's just…aren't nice people, Neville. They've never liked me and never wanted me. They like to remind me of that every chance they get." Ron growled and looked ready to comment, but Harry cut him off.
"Honestly, I just don't know why I was made to go back to them. I'm eighteen, for Merlin's sake!" Hermione leaned forward and laid a hand on Harry's arm.
"Eighteen might make you legally an adult in the Muggle world, Harry, but in the Wizarding World we don't reach our maturity until twenty-one. We are required to stay with a guardian, though usually it's a magical one," Hermione added on, her anger making her last words sharp. Harry's jaw dropped, and he visibly paled. He…he had to stay with the Dursley's for three more years?!
"Yeah. Come to think of it, it's strange that you were made to go back to the Dursley's. The age of adulthood in the Wizarding World is a bit higher, because our magic doesn't fully develop and mature until twenty-one, and we also tend to live longer lives than muggles. You really should have been placed with a Wizarding family, so that they could help you fully grow into your magic and explain more about the Wizarding World." Harry's mind reeled at this new information.
His emerald eyes stared unseeing out the window as the others continued the conversation around him. Harry had no doubt that Ron was informing Neville of the bars on his window and the cat flap on his door the summer before second year. Ron had hated the Dursley's ever since. While most of the time it made Harry feel cared for and like he had a big brother looking out for him, sometimes it also scared him.
What would Ron do if he found out what really went on? Would he try and kill the Dursley's…or would he wash his hands of Harry, declaring him to be too much trouble? Both seemed likely scenarios in Harry's mind and he lost himself in them as the train continued on its journey.
Harry jumped when he felt a hand settle on his shoulder. The look everyone gave him spoke volumes, but he chose to ignore it.
"We're here, Harry," Ginny told him. Harry nodded and smiled gratefully at the girl he had once saw himself marrying. Oh how things had changed.
Draco was practically vibrating where he sat, inside the Great Hall, waiting for the Welcoming Feast to end. He desperately wanted to talk to Harry Potter about a number of things, but an apology and thank you would be the start of it. Draco's silver-blue eyes trailed up to the head table.
His godfather Severus sat tall in his seat, resuming his position as Potions Professor. Many of the students hadn't contained their groans, and some even protested that 'Snape was a Death Eater'. Headmistress McGonagall glared the students down and made it perfectly clear that Severus Snape was acquitted of any crimes that may have been committed and even awarded an Order of Merlin: First Class for his help throughout the war.
What had shocked everyone even more was when Harry Potter himself stood up and defended the man to everyone present. That one act did more to firm Draco's resolve than anything.
His eyes drifted away from Potter for the time being and settled back on his godfather. The man, he knew, was lucky to be alive. Severus had developed an anti-venom for Nagini's bite and had ensured that he and Draco's father took regular doses, just in case. It had taken many weeks and a number of trials, before Draco's family was cleared of all charges and free to do as they pleased. That was only the first reason Draco wished to seek Harry out: to thank him for speaking up for them.
Lucius Malfoy had turned spy not long after Severus had. Hearing that the Dark Lord had been willing to kill an innocent baby because of some cracked up prophecy had stopped Lucius in his tracks. He himself had only recently become a new father and could not stand the thought of any harm coming to his baby boy. Draco was raised with the understanding that his parents had to play a part, and while at Hogwarts he was required to as well.
Once Harry had defeated Voldemort once and for all and all of the Death Eaters were rounded up, Draco feared that with Dumbledore dead, no one would speak up for them. That they would all be sent to Azkaban or be given the Kiss without one word to stop it. And then Harry Potter had stood before the assembly and testified on their behalf. The act had actually driven his mother to tears and if she had been able to, she would no doubt have wrapped the Boy Who Lived in a bone-crushing hug. Instead, the boy was whisked away by stone-faced Aurors and Draco hadn't seen him again.
He didn't know where Harry had stayed over the summer. Severus was technically Harry's magical guardian according to Lily Potter's will. He hadn't been granted custody of the boy before, because of his role as a spy, and Dumbledore had felt it best that Harry be raised by family. At the time, Severus hadn't had any objections and was quite happy to be child-free. However, this summer, Ministry officials had informed Severus that as the potion's master was in the throes of healing, Harry would temporarily be placed with a different magical guardian. Snape tried to fight it, but with a still bleeding throat and barely-a-whisper-voice, he didn't have much of a case to prove himself capable of taking care of a child in the eyes of the Ministry.
Severus Snape was currently looking at Harry with a mix of shock, pride, guilt and peace. No one else would see all that, but Draco had grown up around the man and knew how to read him. What Draco didn't understand was why Severus had not told Harry yet, that he was his guardian. He knew Severus had written Potter a number of times, but after badgering his godfather for a solid week, Draco got the man to confess to his non-confession.
Draco was of the firm belief that it was due to Severus's fear of rejection. The man feared that the boy he had both tormented and protected for years, his last connection to Lily, would run away from him in disgust at the mere thought. Draco could not help but feel that his godfather's fears would not come true. Harry had just defended Severus in front of the entire student body, after all. Besides, Harry might use it as an opportunity to learn more about his mother, since Severus was her best friend growing up. Then again, maybe Draco was picturing Harry as too much of a Slytherin.
The silver-eyed boy watched Potter push the rest of his food around his plate and chat amicably with his friends. If Draco wasn't mistaken, he'd almost say Harry's face was pinched in discomfort, but again, Draco dismissed it, sure that Harry would tell his closest friends if anything was wrong.
"Hello! Earth to Draco! The war's over. You can stop your game of staring at Saint-Potter." Draco rolled his eyes at Daphne Greengrass's demand for attention. The girl obviously had a crush on him, but he was more than ready to tell her that it wasn't reciprocated. Lucius had no intentions of caving under Lord Greengrass's pressures to marry the two, knowing full well that Draco's…inclinations fell elsewhere. If Draco had to describe his inclinations, he'd have to say they leaned more towards dark, shaggy hair, bright, emerald eyes…and definitively male.
He crossed his fingers that Harry shared the last of his inclinations.