The Mists of Memory
Written by: Giulia "Kagome-sama" (now JuliaFC)
Beta-read by: Chibisarel and Porlock (in 2003); Silver1119 and MysticRaven20 (2022)
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Chapter 2: I'm Not a Death Eater!
It took Draco a moment to recover from the shock. He continued to stare at Potter, as the other man re-adjusted his own clothes. He saw Harry remove his heavy cloak with the pointed hood and shake it, to get rid of the excess water. Then, Harry squeezed dry the sleeves of his jacket and the legs of his trousers. Finally, he draped his cloak back onto his shoulders and turned to look at him.
'The last person I thought I'd come across in a Muggle back alley, running away from a Dementor, was you, Malfoy. What happened?' Harry said, staring at Draco with curiosity. He seemed truly concerned. How could he be? And why?
'And the last person I thought I'd find was you, Potter. What made you think that I wanted your bloody help?' The words came out even more bitter than he intended.
'I'd gracefully remind Your Lordship that if I weren't there to save your royal arse, your arrogant little face wouldn't be a pretty sight to behold right now,' Harry snapped back.
A hard smile curved Draco's lips. Well, well. Potter's learned some sarcasm; time hasn't gone by only for me.
'You just can't get it in that minuscule brain of yours, can you? Maybe Your Lordship didn't want to be saved; especially not by you,' Draco snapped. And it was true. He'd rather die than have a life debt to…Potter! His father would never forgive him. But then again, his father was more than dead now. Who would tell him off? Who would even care? His eyes were staring right on his companion, who cocked an eyebrow at him.
Harry stretched out a hand to help him up, but Draco ignored the proffered help; so Harry opened the gate they had just closed behind them. A gust of icy air whisked into the landing, together with some snowflakes that had replaced the earlier rain and now quickly settled to the floor. Harry gestured towards the door with his free hand.
'If it annoys you so much to be alive, the door is open. You can leave,' Harry said. 'I don't think it'll take them much time to find you again. There's nobody around in this weather…' He smiled slyly at Draco's bewilderment.
'I didn't want to be saved, but it doesn't mean I want to go back outside,' Draco said as a shiver ran down his spine.
Nodding with a grin, Harry closed the door. He ran his hands through his hair, approached the steps on his left, which probably brought to the upstairs apartments, and sat down on one of them. Draco leaned against the wall and lowered his gaze.
'Why were you out?' Harry asked, looking at his own shoes. He took a moment to untie his shoelaces and tie them again.
'I'd ask the same of you,' said Draco curtly. 'It's not that easy, nowadays, to run into Saint Potter. Especially in the streets of London.'
This distracted Harry from his shoes, and a pair of green eyes stared at him. The Boy-Who-Lived seemed to think carefully about his words.
It was true.
They had finished Hogwarts four years ago. During their seventh year, they had faced Voldemort using the only weapon that could cause his death, the Green Torch. They had found it inside the Department of Mysteries, hidden inside an enclosed room. They'd used it in a memorable battle, a fight that had nearly killed everyone. Professor McGonagall, the new Headmistress after Dumbledore had disappeared in the sixth year, had died helping them. It had been a terrible loss.
They had become heroes. They had ended the year under the limelight, even if their hearts were drowning into sorrow. For a while, things had gone well, but Harry had never liked to be the centre of the attention, and this time was no exception. He'd wanted to be able to take some time for himself, to recover from the blow of the terrible losses he had endured—it was what all of them wanted. Ron, Hermione, Ginny…they had all loved the former Head of Gryffindor House. She had left an overwhelming emptiness in their hearts.
Strangely enough, not long after Dumbledore disappeared, Sirius had come back…all of sudden and without giving an explanation. Harry couldn't be happier to see him again, but his godfather didn't want to tell him how he got out of the Veil. Harry had tried to find out, but Sirius had always changed the subject…in the end he hadn't asked anymore, accepting Sirius's right to keep it a secret. He suspected that Professor Dumbledore had played a part in it, though.
Anyway, using his newly acquired "influence" over the Ministry of Magic, Harry had cleared Sirius from all the charges. The day when the sentence of his godfather had been revoked had been one of the happiest of his life. He'd not been forced to return to Privet Drive any longer, and had moved to number 12, Grimmauld Place.
Ron had finally had his dreams come true…He'd got married to Hermione in a very private ceremony, and had also become the reserve keeper for the Chudley Cannons. Hermione had continued to study and was often travelling for work. They were like two peas in a pod; they argued constantly, but reconciled quickly.
Then, little more than two years before, someone had destroyed their peace.
Yes, him. Still alive, despite all efforts.
'It's not easy to meet you either. I read in the Daily Prophet that your father received the Dementor's Kiss two years ago. Many Aurors have been looking for you ever since.'
'Are you one of them? Were you following me? If so, you should've let that Dementor kill me. I'd have preferred that than to be indebted to you. Not kidding,' Draco said, slurring his words as his teeth chattered. He looked at Harry with his pale eyes as deep shivers ran through his body and a deep cough tickled his throat.
'Me? An Auror? You must be joking. No, I wasn't looking for you, I'd gone out to get something to eat.' He pointed to the package he was carrying, which Draco noticed for the first time. 'But it'll be cold by now, so the others won't want it.' He sighed.
'What were you doing in the alley then? The stores in this neighbourhood were all closed.'
'In fact I got this from the other side of the city. I'd only just Reapparated here when you bumped into me.'
Draco was startled. So that was Potter…After I bumped into him, he must have followed me to help me. He tightened his fists. 'Don't expect any apologies,' he hissed.
Harry bent his head backwards and laughed. 'Of course not. And I don't expect you to thank me either; I know you won't.'
Without looking at Draco, Harry opened the package he'd bought. It was all cold…well, it didn't matter; they'd heat it up. He took something out of it and bit into it. Then he turned towards Draco and threw him another.
'Eat,' he said. Draco observed with astonishment that what he had caught instinctively was a chocolate bar.
'I won't accept your charity, Potter,' Draco said, his teeth chattering with every word. It was not easy maintaining a semblance of dignity in that state…and he couldn't stop coughing, damn!
'Malfoy, I always knew you were a git, but I didn't make you a complete idiot.' Harry smiled when Draco's eyes became small cracks on his face. 'You were about to receive the Kiss from a Dementor; it's not a small thing. You're shaking like a bloody leaf!'
Draco realised at that moment that Harry was right. Probably the shivers running along his back weren't due to the cold alone.
'I don't think the Dementor was the main cause of that,' he reflected aloud, looking down at his soaking clothes. But he glared at the bar, unwrapped it and bit into it.
Harry seemed to notice his condition for the first time, his astonished gaze assessing his companion a little more closely. 'I guess that you won't tell me what made you go out in this weather without an umbrella,' he stated.
'For once, you guess correctly, Potter.' Draco looked at the floor. The only thing he still had left was a little pride. If Potter would find out what kind of life he'd been leading, he'd never dare look at his own face in the mirror ever again.
Draco knew very well that he looked like a shadow of the wizard he once had been. Paler than ever, haggard, dirty; he disgusted himself. There was no need for Potter to make him feel worse. In truth he's already done it…He smiled sardonically at that thought.
'I don't think that you've been having a good time. I remember you more in shape. And I never suspected you liked Muggle clothes,' Harry observed simply. It was obvious that Malfoy was in trouble. Harry wanted to help, but Draco had to open up first. Which, he being Draco Malfoy, was quite hard to believe it was going to happen.
'Actually, I don't like this crap.' Draco glared at the soaked clothes that he wore. 'If I hadn't been forced to, I would never have put them on.'
'The Malfoys have never had money problems. Even if your father received the Kiss, I don't think they'd confiscate all your fortune, so it can't be because of financial issues. I suppose it wasn't your choice to live among Muggles; I'd never think you'd be able to.' Harry sneered at Draco.
'What other choice could I have? Azkaban?' Draco's look seemed to harden, if possible. He was silent for a moment, too busy trying to stop coughing. 'I won't allow you to make fun of me further, Potter. I'm leaving.'
Draco moved to reach the gate, but staggered badly. His head felt like it was going to explode and the shivers that ran down his back, even if they subsided a little after eating chocolate, hadn't gone completely away. This surprised him, but after all, his clothes were still soaking wet and the moisture was penetrating to his bones, freezing him.
'Where d'you want to go in this weather? Do you even have a place to stay?' asked Harry with a frown. For the first time since they had found shelter, he was fully aware of Draco's sorry state. He hadn't noticed it to start with—Draco's arrogance had fooled him. But, when the blond wizard staggered and steadied himself with the wall, Harry saw him shake his head and blink, and he couldn't ignore the way the other man looked anymore.
Draco tried to put one foot in front of the other, leaning against the wall forcefully. Damn…he didn't feel well at all. And the thought of returning to that storm didn't really please him.
'Stupid question. If you had a place to go to, you wouldn't have been out in the rain, facing the Dementors,' Harry thought aloud.
'Why the hell d'you care?' Draco shouted. While still opening the gate, he turned his head suddenly to watch Harry over his shoulder.
'Because you can't leave,' Harry concluded, scratching the nape of his neck. 'If you weren't Draco Malfoy, I'd take you to the others. But they'd never forgive me if you betrayed us.'
'Potter…' Draco turned fully towards Harry with difficulty, his hand still resting on the gate. 'It'll cost me dearly to tell you this, but I don't want you to get wrong ideas in that worm-eaten brain of yours. A Malfoy would never betray a life debt.' He looked at Harry before exerting greater pressure on the handle of the gate to open it.
I've no choice. If I let him leave, he won't last the night, Harry thought in horror. The temperature was dropping, and Draco was still wearing wet clothes. Harry wasn't dry either, but his clothes weren't soaked; while Draco's were.
Not that there was time to think; Harry forced himself to trust Draco. It cost him much, but he didn't want to consider the only other choice he'd had. He rose from the step where he sat, picking up the package with the food. Then he hurried towards the gate that Draco had finally opened. He put a hand on Draco's shoulder, supporting him, and they Apparated together.
When they Reapparated, Draco found himself a few steps from the large double gate of a huge, abandoned building. Draco broke away from Harry's support as though the touch of the other man was burning him.
'Potter, how many times must I tell you that I don't need your help,' he hissed, trying to get away. The rain had turned into hail by now, and was covering the roads with its white cape. The cold had become stronger than before.
'Don't act like an idiot now, Malfoy. Anyone with a little intelligence would know when they've reached their limit.' Harry took him by the collar of the jacket and dragged him with him. They arrived in front of the gate and looked around. Then, Harry opened it with caution and entered, carrying Draco's weight.
Finally, they made it to the landing and Harry let go. Draco tried to clean his jacket, annoyed, but the small pieces of ice that covered it didn't want to fall off it. He was about to try again when someone opened the inner door of the building—maybe an abandoned hotel, or something like that.
'Harry, thank God you're back. We were worried!' A young woman with bushy brown hair appeared behind the door, her frown and the crack in her voice showing restlessness. Behind her was a tall, muscular redhead with the expression of someone who had just seen a monster.
'Sorry but…I had a mishap,' whispered Harry, moving his head slightly in the direction of Draco. Ron Weasley's eyes opened wide, as did Hermione's. They had clearly recognised him straight away.
'Harry, what the hell made you bring him here? Are you out of your mind?' they burst in unison.
'I notice that, as always, you have more brains than Potter, Mudblood,' Draco hissed, looking at the woman mockingly. Hermione's eyes widened and tried to speak; had she become unaccustomed to his insults? 'I'd like to point out that I've not come of my own free will. He dragged me here.'
The two looked with horror at their companion.
'I found him on my way back. He was being chased by a Dementor and I saved his life.' Harry looked Draco in the eyes, sternly.
'Save his life? Why on Earth would you save Malfoy's life?' Ron said, getting even more horrified.
'Shut up, Weasel,' Draco snapped. Age and Quidditch have made him grow taller, not smarter.
Harry didn't let them come to blows. He pushed Draco through the door and entered, removing his cloak and hanging it on a peg. Closing the door, he put down the package on a piece of furniture.
''C'me on guys, look at him…and tell me if I could've left him there.'
'Of course you should've left him there, Harry,' said Hermione. 'We know very well that he's a Death Eater.'
'I'M NOT A DEATH EATER!'
Draco felt like his head would explode, and a deep pain in the centre of his throat forced him to start coughing, but he couldn't allow them to insult him that way. Hermione stopped dead, vexed. She seemed astonished at a reaction of that sort. I can't blame her. Until a few years ago, it'd have been a compliment for me, he thought. But nowadays things were different. Not that Granger could know that; and yet, she shouldn't have presumed.
'Really? How can we be sure?' Ron hissed, glaring at him.
Hermione crossed her arms on her chest and rhythmically stomped her foot on the floor, her gaze sparkling fire. 'For all we know you could be a spy of Voldemort, ready to reveal our hiding place and get us captured. I'm amazed that no one has arrived yet.'
Hearing these words inflamed Draco's face, which up until now was as white as a sheet.
'Don't you dare say that again, Granger.' Baring his left arm, he waved it forcefully in front of her eyes, while her words burnt him even more inside. 'D'you believe me now? I don't have the Mark, I'm not a Death Eater!'
Hermione didn't seem surprised. She observed his arm sceptically and then glared at him again. 'That means nothing. You could be a spy for Voldemort even without the Mark,' she snapped.
Draco knew that it was true and he couldn't blame her. However, he wasn't going to lose an argument with her. And above all, he didn't accept to be confused for one of those. One such as his father.
'Now, Granger, please don't offend the intelligence of us both. My father has received a Dementor's Kiss.' His sight was clouding. Damn, his headache had got worse and he was aching everywhere. He staggered while aiming a finger at Hermione, but her glare didn't seem to soften. If possible, it hardened.
'The parents of many Death Eaters are in Azkaban. Why should you be an exception? Your father receive the Kiss because he murdered someone, a girl, if I'm not mistaken. Why should we believe you? Even if Harry saved you, you're still a Malfoy.' The girl hissed that name as if it were an insult. Draco's sight blurred at her words and Marion's face flashed in his head. He had to blink twice before speaking his mind.
'I don't care if you can or cannot accept it, Granger, but I urge you to get this truth into your damned Mudblood head. I'm a Malfoy. I won't betray a Life's debt.'
"Mr Malfoy, good evening! Look, Mr Malfoy, it's snowing!"
Draco staggered again and blinked, trying to remove that memory from his head. He began to feel colder, ice invading his spirit. Oh…he knew that feeling well. He paled and opened his eyes wide.
'What's going on, Malfoy? You look like a ghost,' Hermione said. Despite the sour words, her tone showed anxiety and a thin line wrinkled her forehead while she approached him, her gaze scrutinising him worriedly.
'A Dementor…nearby,' groaned Harry, who also blinked, grabbing hold of a piece of furniture to prevent himself from staggering. He too grew pale, but succeeded in resuming control. Luckily, this captured the attention of Hermione and Ron, leaving Draco to deal with his ghosts unnoticed.
"Mr Malfoy, look how much snow! Mr Malfoy?"
Draco shook his head, cursing the pain such a small movement inflicted to him. He didn't want to see Marion again; he didn't want to feel sick. Not there, not now. Not in front of them.
He had to leave.
He turned and moved to get out, but staggered unsteadily. He cursed under his breath—he didn't want them to see his weakness; not the Mudblood and Weasley. It was bad enough that Potter had seen him at his worst and had saved his life.
"Mr Malfoy! Look, it is snowing!"Marion's smile flashed in his mind's eye, followed by his father's glare. His heart tightened in pain.
"Don't you understand that she's lying?"
"I'm not lying!"
"Mr Malfoy, do you know what becomes of snow, when it melts?"
"She's a whore who wants to tarnish the name of the Malfoy!"
"That's not true!"
"She's a whore…"
Draco didn't even realise that he brought his hands to the sides of his head. The memories emerged and dissolved in his brain like painful flashes, making him dizzy. Harry wasn't feeling well either—his hands on the sides of his head exactly like Draco. Ron and Hermione came close to their friend asking him worriedly how he was feeling.
"I'm not lying Mr Malfoy!"
"Draco, please…tell me you'll never leave me."
"She's lying. She only wants your money!"
"She'll tarnish the name of the Malfoy!"
"Tell me that you won't ever betray me. I wouldn't bear it."
'ENOUGH!' he screamed without even noticing, smothering a cry while embracing his clothes, which were still wet and cold. His head was heavy and his thoughts confused.
'Malfoy? What's going on?' Not only Granger, but now even Weasley looked at him with concern. Damn…he couldn't keep his composure anymore. Hermione's face blended with Marion's; the questions of the woman in front of him faded into the howls of pain of the one he'd loved.
"I won't allow you to harm her!"
"Draco, look! Have you ever wondered what lies beyond the rainbow?"
"I love you, Draco!"
"It's true! It's true, I tricked you, Draco. I've taken you for a ride!"
"I'll torture you!"
"I'm not lying, Mr Malfoy!"
"I'm not lying!"
He fell to his knees. He didn't want to think of it anymore. Once again that image of the woman he loved, lying on that stone pavement, flashed across his mind. Those eyes, empty pools of pale brown, were blaming him in his conscience and were dragging him to hell. He felt as if his heart had been torn out of his body and crushed into a million pieces. Then he felt someone approach him and try to move him with little success. He felt an icy cold hand on his forehead.
'He has a very high temperature!' Someone smothered an outcry.
'What?' said another.
Draco felt them muttering amongst themselves, then he felt his body being seized under the armpits. They made him get up, guiding him somewhere. He didn't have the strength to complain or to resist in any way. The soft touch of a pillow behind his neck was the last thing that his mind recorded, before his consciousness slipped into darkness.
To be Continued…
Hello there! Here's chapter 2 of this story, hope you're enjoying it. I would like to remind you that this story was written pre-HBP.
I would like to thank so much the lovely people who wrote a review for this story, and those who blessed it with a kudos, or put it in their favourites or follows. It's so disheartening to upload a story and see no engagement whatsoever, especially because in my other fandom I always get good feedback, and this story's very dear to my heart (hence why I have literally cried when i found again the plot in those CDs and why I'm putting such a big effort in editing the English of it and posting it again).
Good news is that I have edited the story up to chapter 13. I have one more chapter left to edit before I go straight into translating what I had already written in Italian and never put into English. And then, obviously, I'll start writing it again until the end. I hope you're ready for the ride, because it's going to be full of bumps, but very rewarding.
PS: if you enjoy this story but feel shy of posting a review for it, you can join the Emerald Library Discord server at /rjQhnJNh (for people on FFN or Wattpad, discord dot gg slash rjQhnJNh) and access my personal channel. I'm there all the time so if you pop around we can have a chat. I promise I won't bite ;)
I shall see you in a couple of weeks for chapter 3. And those who follow my Miraculous stories, don't worry. I haven't forgotten about you! I have been busy last week writing a story for the birthday of a friend (I'll post it next weekend!) but i'm writing the next chapter of nekmouse as we speak and I'll hopefully publish it this weekend. Next weekend I'll publish the next chapter of 'Cheesy situation'. Sorry for the week delay, it was meant to be just a short oneshot for my friend's birthday and, as usual, it grew VERY long legs. Never mind. See you soon for the Snekmouse update!