Rated M for Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Language, and Violence.


Summary: Draco Malfoy is released from Azkaban and sent to Hogwarts for his eighth year where he has a year to show that he can be reformed. Hermione Granger, and her friends, are struggling to come to terms with what has happened to them and move on, but she has agreed to be Malfoy's Muggle Studies tutor anyway.


Disclaimer: I am not profiting from this story.

Anything you recognize belongs to the great and mighty JKR.


Beta Magic: Many thanks to several people who read this over for me in preparation of its publication. If I have forgotten you, I deeply apologize. Many, many thanks to RavenclawMidwife, AkashatheKitty, BadWolf 829, and JustLei.

Chapter One: The Trial

Friday, July 10, 1998

Azkaban may have been rid of Dementors, but it still stank of shit and death. It didn't matter how many times Draco Malfoy closed his eyes and tried to remember a time when his entire body wasn't steeped in the smell; it still consumed him completely and made him wish his death had been quick and painless during the battle at Hogwarts. Two months had passed since Potter had defeated the Dark Lord, and though the mark on his arm was fading, it didn't fade quite fast enough. Draco, his father, and his mother had all been brought to Azkaban and locked away inside its dank, gray cells.

He had been given little to no information and had learned quickly not to ask for it. Draco knew that he was in prison. He knew his parents had also been brought to the prison and kept separate from him. He knew that the Dementors had been forced out somehow and replaced by complex wards and guards, sometimes Aurors. He knew that he was fed the worst food of his life twice a day from a tray that was thrown on the floor and kicked into his cell. That was everything. That was all the facts he had left to hold onto in this world. He hadn't been given a specific charge of any crime or told what to expect. He was thrown into the filth and left there to wait for what? Death? A trial? The end of a sentence?

In the beginning, he had wanted to know what was happening outside. He had wanted to know what was going to happen to him. He had wanted to know if he would ever step foot out of this cell again. He had wanted to know where his parents were and what was happening to them. Slowly, as days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, Draco had accepted his fate. There was nothing to do and nowhere to go. There was no one to talk to and nothing to say if he could. He was a prisoner of Azkaban now. There was no coming back from that, as he knew all too well.

It was early in the morning, or late in the evening, or maybe high noon, it's not like time mattered anymore, when someone stopped outside of his cell and cleared their throat. "Ger'up, Malfoy," the voice sneered. Draco sat up on the bug infested mattress that had served as his bed for the past two months, wondering what in the world this man could want. His answer came quickly. "Time for your trial."


It was dark inside his bedroom at Number 12 Grimmauld Place. It was early in the morning and a small pale arm was draped over the boy's chest, holding him possessively. The boy, Harry James Potter, lay with his hands behind his head, enjoying the feel of the girl's breath on his neck, her leg over his leg. Her shorts barely hid any of the exquisite body that he had taken to devouring as often as possible. She was his prize, his spoils of war, the love of his life, and he was never letting go.

Her mother had tried to keep Ginny at home at The Burrow, but there was no point. Ginny knew he didn't sleep without her. Ginny knew he barely slept with her, and they needed each other. Fuck, did they need each other. After a year on the run and years of not knowing if they would both make it to this side of the war alive, they needed to know that the other was there, grounding them, keeping them anchored to this world.

Harry tried not to think about the day that was coming all too soon when she would leave him and return to Hogwarts. She wanted and needed to go back and finish. He wanted and needed to be done with the place. He couldn't wrap his mind around how he felt about Hogwarts or Dumbledore or any of the things that had happened to him there. He needed to leave it and not go back for now. He needed to be busy, to be doing something, and Kingsley Shacklebolt had given him that chance.

Kingsley had asked him to join the Aurors and help him restructure the department. Harry had jumped at the offer. It was his dream job and he didn't have to take a single N.E.W.T. to get it. Ron was supposed to be joining them as well, but Harry wasn't sure if Ron would actually be following through or not. Ron was … Harry didn't want to think about Ron. It was too hard. It was too painful. He would never get back to sleep.

Instead, Harry forced himself to think about the day he had ahead of him. He was giving testimony today, something he had done many times already, but today was different. Today was Draco Malfoy's trial, and in his gut, Harry knew he had to get him out of that place. That place had destroyed Sirius and stolen twelve years of his life. Draco Malfoy was many things, but he was not a murderer. He was a stupid git, born into a terrible family that taught him things he didn't understand until he was faced with their consequences and realized that maybe he wasn't as cold or as superior as he thought he was. Draco Malfoy didn't belong there in Azkaban, and Harry Potter knew he had to help him.


Hermione was buried in a book. Books were all she had right now to keep her heart from breaking, to keep her mind sane. She was staying at Grimmauld Place with Harry, well, and Ginny, and she had claimed the library as hers. Harry came in to see her occasionally and they would avoid talking about the one thing they both couldn't stop thinking about: Ron.

Ron had been a conundrum for the past two months, filling every silence, taking every moment she had and drawing her in. He was lost. He was so, so, so lost and Hermione just wanted him to be found. She needed him to be found. She needed her Ron who had snogged her in the middle of a battle and made her feel like her heart was on fire. That Ron was hidden right now behind grief and confusion, and Hermione wasn't sure where to begin with him. These days, he was usually the one that caused her to hide in the library and bury herself in a book.

Today, however, was different. Today was Draco Malfoy's trial. Today, Hermione had to make a choice. She knew that Harry had already made his choice. He had told her how he felt, what he thought, and why he was going to testify for the Death Eater-because that is what he was. Draco Malfoy was a Death Eater.

He hated her.

Draco Malfoy hated her.

There was no real reason other than prejudice and lies, but he hated her.

She didn't know how she felt. She didn't know what she thought. She didn't know what she would say when it was her turn to sit there and give evidence. It wasn't optional. She had evidence and they knew it. It was written on her arm, of course.


He'd watched it happen. His eyes had met hers and she had tried to understand, but she didn't know if she did. She didn't know.

But he had tried to lie about their identities.

He had not killed Dumbledore.

He had … what?

Who was Draco Malfoy?

She wanted to know the answer to that question more than anything. She needed to know. She didn't know how to testify because she had no idea what he was hiding behind that blond hair and those gray eyes. As he had watched them carve into her arm, doing nothing, she had stared at him, pleaded with him, and he had stared back and those eyes, those gray eyes, had tried to tell her something that she didn't understand.


Ginny stood in the shower. Her body shook as she cried and cried and cried. She never cried in front of Harry. It wasn't that she didn't think she could. It wasn't that she didn't think he could handle it. It was just that she loved him so damn much that she couldn't make him hurt anymore. She wanted to heal him, at least some small part of him, before she left him and went back to Hogwarts. She had to go back. She had to face it. She had to feel safe there again, to feel whole there again.

Besides, she couldn't let Hermione go off on her own. She knew Hermione was just as messed up as she was these days, and they needed each other, because Harry was pushing on and becoming even more of a damn bloody hero by letting go of things, and Ron was falling apart and sometimes girls just had to stick together. Sometimes you couldn't shag everything right again, but she would be damned if she and Harry hadn't been trying their hardest.

Today was going to be fucking hard. Harry was being noble and she bloody loved him for it, but he was going to try his damnedest to get Draco Malfoy out of Azkaban and she bloody hated him for it. She got it. She had listened to Harry carefully, following his reasoning, agreeing with him even, but it all still hurt so damn much and she couldn't get rid of the tiny part of her that was screaming that he was a Death Eater and deserved to rot.

He's just a kid. She would tell herself over and over. He's just a spoiled, misguided, fucked up kid. He's just like us. Scared and stupid.

She knew Malfoy didn't kill Fred. She knew that he'd had nothing to do with it. She knew this in her brain and in her heart and in her soul, but she still had to shove down that small part of her that wanted vengeance from anyone it could take it from, and she hated that part of herself. That was why she cried in the shower because she knew if she had been him and her family had needed her to save them by doing terrible, awful, unforgivable things, she too would have tried her hardest to do them.


Ron didn't know how to explain to his family how he felt. He was drowning in guilt and sadness and loss. He missed Fred, that was certain. He couldn't imagine what life was going to be like for the next however many years without him by George's side. It had always been as if they were one person, not two. Fred would be missed, but he was not the reason that Ron couldn't hold Hermione's hand or kiss her or hold her.

It was Lavender.

Lavender lying in a pool of blood, Greyback feasting on her body.

Ron should have been there. He should have protected her. He should have sent her away. Beautiful, funny, giggling Lavender didn't belong in a battle.

But she had been there, and she had been savagely attacked, and Ron didn't know if she would ever be the same. He couldn't believe she was even alive, but she was. He had snuck away several times those first weeks, when the pain had been so bad that she had been kept unconscious with sleep and pain potions. He had held her hand and whispered apologies and wished that he could take it all away: the attack, the wounds, the pain.

Sure, what they had had was largely dependent on snogging, but you didn't date someone for nearly a year and not have any feelings for them. He felt lost and awful and like he was to blame. If he had just stayed with her, not broken up with her, he would have been more worried about her during the battle. He could have saved her.

After she had woken up enough that she was remembering things, Ron had stopped going in the room. He would arrive at St. Mungo's and stand outside her door with his head against the wall. Many times he would just listen to her cry, as he tried not to do the same thing.


Draco was shackled, which he found laughable, actually, physically, not metaphorically, laughable. For the first time in however long it had been since he had last been able to find humor in something, Draco Malfoy laughed. He had no wand, and he was so weak that he wouldn't be able to perform magic even if the Aurors walking him down the dark hallway had handed him one. It was ridiculous.

"You'd think the Dementors had got this one, ey?" one Auror asked the other, shaking his head, and Draco didn't give a shit what he thought. He was getting a trial. Sure, the chances of it being fair or landing him anywhere but Azkaban were slim to none, but it was a break in the monotony and maybe he could persuade someone to tell him something about his parents.

The room they finally entered, once he had stopped laughing, was lit by torches and made of stone. Benches surrounded him, seats full of witches and wizards who had surely already made up their mind about him and his fate. "Take your seat," a voice called out, and Draco moved to the center of the room and glanced at his shackles and then at the shackles on the chair. The Auror who had insinuated that he was insane came up behind him, tapped the wrists of his bindings and removed them. Draco sat and the chains sprang to life, clenching their way around his arms and legs.

"This is the hearing for Draco Malfoy on July the Third for offenses as follows: That you, Draco Malfoy, did knowingly and in full awareness of the illegality of your actions join the group known as the Death Eaters and allow their mark to be burned into your skin." Draco flinched at the memory. Guilty. "That you, Draco Malfoy, did knowingly and in full awareness of the illegality of your actions attempt to murder Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore." Dumbledore. They were coming after him for Dumbledore. Guilty. "That you, Draco Malfoy, did knowingly and in full awareness of the illegality of your actions bring Death Eaters into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry on June the 30th, 1997 with the intention of killing Dumbledore and succeed at your mission." Guilty. "That you, Draco Malfoy, did knowingly and in full awareness of the illegality of your actions allow Tom Marvolo Riddle, widely known as Voldemort, Death Eaters, and several escaped convicts, including your father Lucius Malfoy, to live in your home at Malfoy Manor, which had become your property and responsibility upon your father's arrest." Wait. What? Allow? "That you, Draco Malfoy, did knowingly and in full awareness of the illegality of your actions allow for the imprisonment of innocents at Malfoy Manor." What the actual fuck?

Draco closed his eyes and drove out the noises of the speaker, one Kingsley Shacklebolt, as he listed the Interrogators. He didn't want to know. They were blaming him for the shit at the Manor. They were blaming him for everything at the Manor. It made his blood boil and he knew he needed to calm down, so he kept his eyes closed and didn't open them again until the man was done listing each member of the Wizengamot.

"Witnesses for the Defense," the dark man continued and Draco sat up, leaning in. What?! What defense? "Harry James Potter, Hermione Jean Granger, Luna Lovegood, Narcissa Malfoy."

"What?!" He had meant to roar the word, let it out as a shout, but it had caught in his dry throat and croaked it's way out instead.

"These four people have come forward as witnesses for your defense," Kingsley repeated, his face unreadable as Draco stared him down. There was the sound of a door opening and chairs scraping behind him. He turned to face the noise, craning his neck as he couldn't properly turn with his arm shackled to the chair.

"Mum." His voice cracked again as he saw her. She was clean, but she was dressed in a demure set of robes, one that he had never seen before. Her once beautiful and healthy hair was falling limply around her face, and her eyes were hollow.

"Draco," she returned, her own voice full of pain.

"Did you …"

"This is not the time for reunions," Kingsley continued. Draco turned to look at Potter and Granger and Lovegood for a single second each. Potter and Granger avoided his gaze, while Looney smiled at him reassuringly. What the fuck were they doing here?

Draco turned back to the Minister, still confused. "Harry James Potter for the defense has requested the right to speak at the beginning of this trial. I accept and approve this request. The floor is yours, Mr. Potter."

Draco heard scraping behind him and a throat clear. Potter walked towards the center of the room, not looking at Draco at all. "I did not decide lighlty come here today. As you realize, I have only spoken in defense of two participants in these trials and after today, I will not speak in defense of anyone else. I spoke to you last week of Narcissa Malfoy and the incredible kindness that she showed to me. I told you that I would not be standing here in this room if she had not lied for me, risking her life. I told you that she was redeemable, and you saw fit to give her that opportunity." Potter had saved her. Potter had saved his mother. He felt a weight lift from his chest and his body sunk further into the stone. She was safe. No matter his own outcome, she was safe.

"Today, I come before you as Harry James Potter, Chosen One. A title I deplore, a responsibility I did not ask for, and beg that you look at this man and see in him what I have seen. I will not contest all of your charges, for I believe them to mostly be true. Draco Malfoy did become a Death Eater. He did attempt to murder Dumbledore. He did let the Death Eaters into Hogwarts one year ago, but he is not responsible for Dumbledore's death."

"Albus Dumbledore was a complicated, incredible man, who never told any one person every truth. He was dying as the result of a Horcrux. He knew that Draco Malfoy had been ordered to kill him and as his Headmaster and caregiver did nothing to stop or protect him until Draco had let the Death Eaters into the castle. I was there that night. I saw him with Dumbledore. Dumbledore offered him immunity, and Draco was going to take it. He lowered his wand. He was ready to come to our side, to give up everything he had ever been taught, but that chance was stolen from him." Draco's mouth fell open. Potter was asking them to …

"Though it was perhaps accidental, Draco saved us all that night. He disarmed Dumbledore, allowing me to control the Elder Wand after I, in turn, disarmed him. Voldemort is dead because of his actions." Draco's body leaned forward, trying to see Potter's face, but the wizard had his back firmly turned at Draco.

"When we were brought to Malfoy Manor this past spring, Draco Malfoy recognized us instantly. I have no doubt in my mind that he knew I was Harry Potter, and he held my life in his hands. He delayed the calling of Voldemort and saved my life, so that I could carry on to be your Chosen One." Potter spat the last three words as if each person in this room had personally selected him for the role, and he believed they were each truly vile for it.

"As for the imprisonment and torture of innocents in his home... You were not there. You did not see what I have seen. What Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood have seen. There was no denying Voldemort. There was no casting him out of your home. Draco Malfoy did what he could to protect himself and his mother. He was a child being forced to make adult decisions. We were all children forced to fight a war, and I will not stand for you locking him away and robbing our society of a man who could be redeemed, who could be changed, who, when it really mattered, dropped his wand and could not murder someone. Who, when it really needed to be done, lied for me, and saved every single one of us." Potter's voice was hard and cold. Draco had never seen him this way before. Never watched him so sure, so clear about his words. He was terrifying, if truth be told.

"Draco Malfoy is not my friend. He has never been kind or giving or generous to me, and I have nearly killed him myself in the past. We have both made mistakes, but his have landed him here and mine have landed me a position in the Auror Department. I challenge you to see that he does not deserve to spend the rest of his life rotting in Azkaban because he had the unfortunate luck to be born into a family of Pureblood purists. Do the right thing, and give him a chance to make his own decisions."

Draco stared, open-mouthed, at the unruly black hair before him as Harry Fucking Potter tried to save his life. He didn't understand. It didn't make any sense. It didn't even begin to make sense. What the hell was he playing at? As Potter walked back to his seat without even a glance at Draco, murmurs of conversation struck up around the room.

Kingsley cleared his throat loudly. "We may continue this trial as anticipated if necessary, but I have an alternate solution for this case. I have heard the evidence and pleas of Harry Potter, a man I trust and look up to as a hero and a leader in our world, and a friend. Taking his word into consideration, I suggest a sentence of Probation for Draco Malfoy to be served for one year. This probationary period would be lived out at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where Draco Malfoy will enroll to complete his interrupted seventh year of schooling. Draco Malfoy will be required to take Muggle Studies during this year and must pass the Muggle Studies N.E.W.T. at the end of the year. He will be prohibited from using his wand for any reason outside of classwork, and his wand will be checked weekly by the Headmistress for any signs of magic outside of the classwork. In one year, we will reconvene to hear testimony of the efforts made by Mr. Malfoy to become a productive and healthy member of our society. The end of his probation or readmittance to Azkaban will be entirely up to him and his actions."

Draco listened to the man telling him that he was sending him back to Hogwarts and his heart thudded wildly in his chest. They were … They might just let him go. "Mr. Malfoy, do you find this plan acceptable and yourself capable of carrying it out." Draco stared at him. What the hell other option did he have?


"All those in favor of the plan laid out before us for Draco Malfoy." He closed his eyes again. He couldn't bear to look. "All against." There was a rustle and sounds of movement. "This plan for probation has passed. Mr. Malfoy should be taken to retrieve his belongings and brought to Hogwarts immediately. He will not be permitted to stay in his mother's home until the end of his probationary period." Kingsley stood, his words still hanging in the air, and left the room. Draco felt the restraints around his arms and legs shake, loosen, and fall away. He also stood, confused and afraid to turn around. His mother, however, didn't seem to have the same issue. She flew into his arms, wrapping her own tightly around him.

"Draco," she sobbed into his shoulder. He clutched onto her, breathing in her clean scent, so different from his own smell of filth and despair.

"Mum." He choked on the word as a sob rose up from his dry throat. Draco felt a hand on his elbow. It was time to go.

"You have to pass that class and stay out of trouble," his mother told him quickly. "Don't worry about me." She pulled back from him and the hand at his elbow was pulling at him. He had let it move him a few steps before he realized he should say something to Potter. He spun around to face the black-haired wizard, but he was already gone, as were Hermione and Luna.

A/N: This story has four chapters written and ready to be posted, and it is pretty far into the planning phase. I can't make any promises about how often it will be updating. It will be back burner while I work on Starting Over. I am very invested in it, so it will get updated, but only when I have the time to devote to writing it the way I want it to be written.

Thank you for reading, and I hope that you will let me know if you enjoyed this.