Harry snorted and the anger drained out of his voice. He knelt down, took Draco's chin in hand and turned his face up. "I'm going to take you home. Idiot," he said fondly.
Draco opened his eyes, feeling fuzzy and not-quite-real. He expected to see the grimy stones of the prison cell – but instead he found himself blinking up at a familiar ceiling. He was in… his room at the Manor?
He heard someone shift, and turned quickly to see his mother, sitting in a chair by his bed, reading a book, and looking perfectly composed, as always, and not at all like she'd appeared out of one of Draco's feverish dreams.
His head ached dully, and his body was sore all over. Maybe he did have a fever. It would explain some of the disorientation. But how had he gotten here? The last thing he remembered was…
His mother laid down her book and smiled at him. "Good afternoon, Draco. I'm so glad you're awake."
"Mother," he said thickly, overwhelmed suddenly with emotion.
She smiled. "I should go and floo Healer Thompson, let her know that you're awake. She checked on you a little while ago and said she thought you might wake up soon." She pressed a cool hand to his forehead and her smile grew. "Yes, the fever has broken. Very good. I'll leave you in Mr. Potter's capable hands, then."
Draco started and tried to sit up too fast. Strong arms caught him before he could fall, and he instinctively relaxed back against them. His mother smiled again. "Do let me know if anything changes, Mr. Potter. Otherwise, I'll expect you boys in the parlor for tea."
"Of course, Mrs. Malfoy," Harry said, pulling Draco back against his chest. "We'll be there."
Draco watched his mother leave, feeling off-balance, then turned to stare at Harry. "Explain."
"Demanding, aren't we?" Harry laughed, ducking Draco's half-hearted punch. "All right, all right. Keep your shirt on."
Draco looked down at his bare chest and flushed. Harry snickered, holding him tight as he tried to squirm away. "Oh, no. Not so fast. I'm not satisfied that you're all in one piece, yet."
Narcissa chatted politely with Harry over tea, and Draco was incredibly relieved to see them getting along so well. Harry had apologized for their tardiness smoothly, kissing her hand and saying merely that they'd had a lot to talk about while Draco was ill. He wasn't sure he liked the amused twinkle in his mother's eyes when she glanced over at him, but it was certainly better than it could have been. He was relieved when the Healer pronounced him fit to return to school the next afternoon. Being at home was nice, as was being able to relax with Harry without worrying about someone seeing them, but it was weird. He wasn't sure how to act around Harry with his mother watching, even if she did seem, oddly enough, to approve.
They stumbled through the floo in McGonagall's office and explained the situation – trying to ignore the winks and mutters from the portraits behind her - which earned them an eye roll and exasperated instructions to "Shoo – and don't even think about attempting to attend classes today, Mister Malfoy. I've excused the both of you until Monday – at the earliest – and I expect to see neither hide nor hair of you until then. Do I make myself clear, gentlemen?"
They'd chorused a "Yes, Professor," on instinct, and then, armed with a signature biscuit each, wandered out onto the grounds.
Draco sighed and crunched his biscuit pensively as they crunched down the walk. The sun was shining, the birds were singing – and it was Thursday. What on earth was he meant to do until Monday?
Harry snorted. "You can catch up on homework, idiot. She only said not to attend classes."
"Oh. Good point."
"I do make them. On occasion."
"Hmmm. You know – I'm not sure I like that nickname. I don't think it really highlights my best qualities."
"Yes, well. Which of us got himself thrown in Azkaban?" He held up his hands, warding off Draco's half-hearted punch. "All right, all right. Truce. Where are we going, anyway?"
"Hmm?" Draco looked up, startled. "Oh. I wasn't thinking. What's that muggle phrase Granger's always going on about? Something about autopilot?"
"Come here often, do you?" Harry turned to look at the building they were approaching – Hagrid's hut – smirking.
Harry's eyebrows shot up. "What, really?"
Draco shrugged. "It's relaxing. Come on – I'll show you."
"You do know that I've been here before?"
"Yes. But not like this. You'll see – come on."
Draco didn't think to wonder if Hagrid would be home until he'd raised his hand to knock, but Hagrid answered the door promptly, assuaging his fears before they had time to take hold.
"Ah, Draco, lad. I'm glad 'arry found you! They've missed you, they have."
"Hang on – who's missed him?" Harry looked curiously around the empty hut.
"Ah, well now. That's up to Draco to tell. But come, come. I've still got a few scones and I was just about to brew me up a nice cuppa. Won't you lads join me?"
"Ah, maybe lat—Ow!" Harry rubbed his shin where Draco had kicked it, scowling at him.
"We'd love to join you, Hagrid," he said. "Come along, Potter."
Draco purposely steered Harry to one of the more pungent teas, and snorted into his cup at the faces Harry made while attempting to drink it. Harry waited until Hagrid's back was turned, and then leaned close and whispered, "I'll get you for this, you know."
Harry watched, clearly delighted, as Draco and Hagrid chatted easily, and Draco smirked at him when Hagrid turned to fish another scone out of the basket. It was delicious, sharing this with Harry. He couldn't wait to see what he made of the Thestrals.
"I expect you'll be wanting to see 'em now?" Hagrid asked, as he heaved himself out of his chair.
Draco grinned. "Yes. If that's all right, that is. I don't usually come this time of day, I know, but—"
"Not to worry I'm sure they'll be delighted to see you. And you too, 'arry. You're in for a right treat, you are." He winked at Draco and refused to answer any of Harry's questions.
"Well, that was enlightening," Harry said, as they waved goodbye to Hagrid and walked toward the Thestral enclosure. "Though I'm still not entirely clear about what it is I'm going to see?"
Draco grinned. "It's not far now— there. Do you see them?" He grabbed Harry's hand, pointed toward the herd of Thestrals, who were just then descending into the pasture.
Harry gaped for a moment. "Well," he said eventually, "it's not what I expected, certainly. We're not going closer, are we?"
"A bit." Draco tugged him forward, through the gate, ignoring Harry's reluctance, and led him up to the leader of the herd. "Hello there, old girl. Did you miss me?" She nosed his shoulder in greeting, whickering softly. He reached up and stroked her leathery hide. "I know. I missed you, too. I'm back now though – Harry rescued me, you see. Have you met Harry?" He reached blindly back for Harry's hand, guided him forward, holding his hand out. "See?" he said softly, as he scratched behind her ear. "He won't hurt you. He's a friend of mine." The Thestral snorted, blowing puffs of warm air over them, but then she nodded, inclining her head to them. Harry, Draco was relieved to see, bowed back easily.
"Well," Harry said faintly, as the Thestral moved back to join her herd, "this brings back memories."
Draco shoved him. "I may have been a fool back then, but you weren't much better. Anyway, all I ever wanted was your attention."
Harry wrapped his arms around Draco, pulling him back into his warmth. "Mmm. And now that you have it, what are you going to do with it?"
Draco forced himself to pull away, just enough to clear his head. "Talk. There's a few things I've been meaning to ask you."
Harry sighed but followed him obediently to his favorite spot by the fence. "So," he said, as they settled themselves comfortably back against the wooden posts. "What did you want to ask me?"
Draco plucked a blade of grass, shredding it between nervous fingers. "Well… How did you find out where I was? And how did you get me out?"
Harry ducked his head, flushing. "Kingsley contacted me."
Draco turned to him, suddenly worried. "Harry. What did you promise him?"
Harry coughed and pulled at his collar. "Er. That I wouldn't become an Auror?"
"Are you asking me or telling me?"
"He didn't actually mean for you to stay in there, you know. That Auror that took you – turns out he had a grudge against your father and decided it was the perfect opportunity to get a bit of revenge." Harry's eyes flashed with sudden anger. "He won't get the chance to abuse his position like that again – Kingsley was livid when he found out. Tossed him out of the Aurors on the spot. Don't think I've ever seen him that angry, actually."
"So you've decided?" It was too much too fast – that Kingsley hadn't meant to lock him up, that a rogue Auror had been exacting revenge – Draco focused on the one thing that made sense to him. Harry wasn't going to be an Auror. It was a comforting thought.
"Well. I'm not going to Auror training, in any case. Kingsley said he didn't want to know what sort of trouble I'd get into if I did. Said to let him know if I ever do decide to join up – and he'll make sure to retire before I get the chance, leave me and my 'special brand of trouble' for the next Minister. I promised I'd let him know, and that I wasn't planning on it anytime soon. Haven't decided what I am doing, though." He grinned. "Speaking of, do you remember that list you wanted me to make? Of the things I liked?"
Draco snorted. "Yes? But I rather thought you didn't."
Harry rolled his eyes. "Prat. Anyway, I spent some time thinking about it, after you – anyway." He cleared his throat. "Want to hear?"
Draco raised his eyebrows, since words didn't seem necessary.
"Right. Er. Here goes. Flying is first, obviously. Teaching the DA second – not the dark arts part, in particular – just teaching. Figuring out what each student needs in order to understand how to do whatever they're struggling with. Guiding them through it. Watching them succeed the first time – it's a heady feeling. Magical, even." He flushed. "Anyway. Third was going to be Care of Magical Creatures, but…" he looked over at the Thestrals and snorted. "I suspect I'm actually ambivalent about the subject. You, on the other hand…" He raised an eyebrow as one of the younger Thestrals wandered over and began nosing about in Draco's robe for the treats he often carried.
He just grinned. "People change," he said softly. "Though I do believe I asked you for five things," he said, as they stared out at the grazing herd. "And you've only given me three – two, really. Since you said yourself you're ambivalent about Care of Magical Creatures."
"Ah. Right. The last three were… unexpected."
Harry took a deep breath. "Right. Well, cooking, for one. I always thought I hated it, but it's just that my aunt made me do all the cooking when I was small, but I was never allowed to eat any of it and…" He stared at his fingers for a moment, expression unreadable, then shook his head. "Anyway. I spent a lot of time in the kitchens after you stormed off. Turns out I really like it."
Draco stared at him in horror. "Hang on. They made you cook for them?"
"No, no. Go back. We're going to talk about this."
Harry sighed. "Later. I promise." He took Draco's hand and squeezed it. "I still have to tell you the last two things, remember?"
"Pinky swear?" Harry hooked their pinkies together, and Draco snorted.
"You are impossible. Fine. What are the last two?"
Harry grinned. "Number four is arithmancy and ancient runes together. I'd have never even attempted to understand them without you, but I think they're fascinating. I like the logic of them. And I can definitely see what you and Hermione like about them, now. And five… five is you." He looked up shyly, biting his lip.
"Yes. Prat." And Harry smiled as he leaned in and kissed him.
Later, as they lounged by the lake, Harry cleared his throat. He'd been reading ahead in their Arithmancy text – which had nearly given Granger a heart attack, when she'd joined them earlier to get their opinion on a sticky Arithmancy problem. Draco was feverishly scribbling, catching up on all the work he'd missed when he – temporarily lost his mind. That was the only explanation he'd been unable to come up with for his melodramatic overreaction.
"Why?" he asked quietly.
Draco sighed. He knew exactly what Harry meant, of course. He'd hoped to put it off a while longer but – well, they were going to have to talk about it sometime. He carefully finished his sentence, closed his books, put away his quill and parchment. And then he explained – about the Weasel, and his angry tirade, and Draco's own jealousy over the Weaselette, and the great roiling mass of misunderstanding.
Harry was, predictably, livid. "Ginny and I have NO intention of getting back together – Ron was completely out of line. He's never been very good about letting her make decisions, but if he'd been paying attention he'd know that we work better as friends. And after the war – well. She's practically family, anyway."
"You know," Draco said hesitantly, "there is one way to get the Weasel to back off and leave all of us the fuck alone…"
"And that is?"
He leaned over and whispered it in Harry's ear. Harry laughed delightedly. "Oh, hell yes."
They planned it for dinner that night. Harry set off to corner Luna and the Weaselette and hash out the details while Draco finished his essay. They met up outside the Great Hall just after dinner had started for last-minute preparation.
"This is gonna be so much fun – Ron will flip!" the Weaselette said, straightening her Ravenclaw tie once more and then grabbing Luna's hand. "Ready, love?"
Luna grinned at her, reaching out and tucking an errant strand of hair behind Ginny's ear. "Always." They skipped through the doors, still holding hands.
Harry met Draco's eyes and they started counting silently together. "One. Two. Three… Now."
They pushed through the doors together, not holding hands like the girls, but walking in step, shoulders brushing. Draco stared straight ahead, resisting the urge to worry at his Gryffindor tie – Harry's tie. He could hear the mutters as people noticed that he was wearing red and Harry green. They walked to the eighth year's table, but didn't sit down. Instead, Harry turned to Draco, laughter lighting up his vibrant green eyes. Draco thought faintly that the tie must bring out the green in them, and that he would insist on Harry wearing his ties as often as he could get away with.
Harry waited until the whispers died out, and then winked at Draco. "Listen, Malfoy," he said. "There's something I've been meaning to say to you ever since the war ended. I really should have said it earlier, but I'm saying it now." He paused and looked down, twisting his fingers nervously. Draco couldn't look away, wondering what ridiculous thing Harry was about to say. They'd not planned this part – or rather, they'd planned for Harry to say something, but Harry had refused to tell him what it would be. He took a fortifying breath, resisting the temptation to run, hoping it wouldn't be too embarrassing.
"I'm sorry," Harry said, pulling him abruptly from his thoughts. "I don't think you're a bad person – I know you never wanted to do any of those things that you had to do during the war, any more than I did. I saw what it did to you – what he did to you. I think… I think you just got in with the wrong sort, you know? And I just want to start over." He reached out, offering his hand. "Friends?"
Malfoy grinned, wider than he could remember grinning in years, tilting his head to the side and pretending to consider. "I think I can tell the wrong sort for myself, thanks," he said. They stared at one another for about three seconds before they both burst out laughing.
McGonagall stood up from the head table, clapping slowly as she winked at them, and then Hagrid rose, clapping with a bit more enthusiasm, and then everyone stood at once, clapping and shouting and it was more than Draco could take in. But it didn't matter, really, because, as usual, he wasn't paying attention to anything besides Harry.
A/N: Thanks for sticking with me, you guys! Hope you enjoyed my silly little tale. Not to worry - more Drarry is in the works and will be coming soon, so keep an eye out!
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