"I don't believe it."
"These letters found in Draco's room only confirm his scheme."
"I don't believe it."
"The wig that Zabini found should be evidence enough, really."
"The one he found in that wardrobe?"
"Yes. He secretly kept it, even while he was in prison and during the wedding, so that he could show it directly to you, Lord and Lady Malfoy."
"I don't believe it."
Lord Malfoy grimly scowled at the wig and the three letters placed in front of him. "Granger was in on it too."
"Granger's intelligence is far too important to the plans of the – er – overtake of the various provinces, sir," an advisor to the left whispered. Lord Malfoy nodded in agreement.
"I don't – "
"Would you like to go down to the bloody dungeons, then?" Lord Malfoy angrily turned to the Lady. "They found the man naked in bed with your damned son! Or perhaps you should simply read the letter he wrote to you."
"Apparently, he was planning on leaving after releasing the slave."
Lady Malfoy said nothing as the letter was handed to her.
"Your verdict, m'Lord and Lady?"
Lady Malfoy was scanning the letter over, shaking her head, though the truth was finally settling – along with betrayal and anguish. The Lord had long ago made his decision.
"Contact our cousins in the Black province. Their eldest son shall replace Draco. The fraud is to be charged with treachery; have him publicly executed."
"And your son?"
"Let him go," Lady Malfoy said before anything else could be.
"But – but, he's successfully planned the demise of the Malfoy line. This is a form of treachery as well, not to mention the fact that he's already tried to kill Lord – "
"I have already passed my judgment," she snapped.
The five advisors turned to look at Lord Malfoy, who nodded:
"Let the little bastard leave, and pray that he'll be eaten by the dogs while he's at it."
"And Zabini, sir?"
"Commend him however you see fit."
The royal guard was alerted and went down to the dungeons. Harry and Draco were shivering in the shadows, having only thin clothes passed to them through the bars and the sheets they had wrapped around themselves when they were dragged down the corridors and to the dungeons. They looked up when the guard unlocked the door.
"You're free to go," he said to Malfoy's son without an ounce of respect.
"What's to happen to Harry?"
The guard laughed. "What, you mean him?" He looked at Harry, whose gaze was pinned to the floor. "Public execution, of course. As for you, Lord and Lady Malfoy both suggested that you leave the castle immediately."
Draco looked at Harry.
"Go on," Harry nodded. "There's no point in both of us staying here."
Draco's first impulse was to allow his conscience to take over and scream that he didn't care and throw the guard out, locking both of them into the cell once more. His cold, logical reasoning, however, won; he stood.
"Will… the others…?"
Harry shrugged. "Maybe."
The guard scowled. "Hurry up!"
Draco glanced at Harry before being escorted – rather, taken – out of the dungeons.
Shut in the darkness once again, Harry didn't expect anymore visitors until the time of the execution – whenever that time was to be. That's why he was sorely surprised when the door swung open again and Hermione entered.
She sat on the bench opposite of Harry, a grim expression on her face. "How are you?"
"As well as I can be, I suppose."
"Blaise – "
"That's what we figured," Harry interrupted sullenly. "Draco kept saying how we should've killed him when we had the chance. I guess he was right."
"No, Harry," she sighed. "It was out of your kind mercy that you let him live."
"And because of that, I'm about to die."
"Will – your friends," (she meant the Order), "Will they help you?"
"I don't know," Harry glanced away. "The Order hasn't been known for rescuing their members in situations like these."
Hermione was shaking her head. "That one friend, at least, has to try to do something; I mean, he couldn't have been so passionate about you not returning and then do nothing…"
"Do the villagers even know?"
"Are you kidding?" Hermione looked at him with wide eyes. "Everyone knows, including the provinces surrounding us. Blaise went straight to Lord Malfoy with that damned wig… and, well, all hell broke loose."
Harry thought of the servants who had cheered when they realized he'd somehow survived the fire. They liked him then, he knew. But now… "They were all disappointed, I bet."
Hermione nodded. "You were their savior."
"Were they angry?"
"Other than disappointment, no one really knows how to react. Even I'm still in shock. I never anticipated…"
"We should've thought that Blaise would do something like this."
"How did he get that wig?" Hermione shook her head. She seemed like she had been pondering on it for the seven hours. "He must've gone straight to the wardrobe during the wedding and taken one of the extras when no one was around."
"It doesn't matter now," Harry shrugged. "I'll be dead by the end of the night, either way."
"I told him, you know."
"Draco. I told him."
Hermione didn't know what to say for while. She was completely silent before, "How did he take it?"
"We were here for nearly seven hours," Harry smirked. "Six hours is how long it took for him to calm down. He's still angry with me, really. But he listened."
"You told him everything? About the Order? About the spying? I'm surprised he didn't try to kill you."
He almost wanted to, that much was for certain. He felt betrayed, deceived that this partner of his was a spy. The enemy. He had been all along, even when he was pretending to be a friend. Everything was a lie.
But then Harry objected; insisted that things had changed. The part inside of Draco that wanted to believe what Harry was saying listened. He listened to Harry's descriptions of life outside of the castle walls under the rule of Lucius, his father, and about him joining the Order for revenge and to help the other villagers.
But the need for revenge melted away somewhere along the lines as he grew closer to Draco. Even though he was still part of the Order, his views had changed somewhat. As he was confessing this to both Draco and himself, he realized that he had been blindly faithful to the Order without realizing or caring to know what life was like on the other side.
Now he did know.
Draco trusted Harry a touch more after that speech and pushed away his doubt and distrust. When he was being taken away, he knew that he couldn't leave Harry in the dungeons; he knew that he couldn't possibly let this murder happen.
After collecting a few personal belongings from his room, changing into clothes that would be far easier to travel in, and taking an extra pair of traveling clothes, he picked up his blade and felt the tip to make sure it was sharp. He looked around the room: what else would he need? Ah, yes; he picked up his golden journal and put it in the sac that was over his shoulder.
He went outside, looking like a weary traveler already. A guard that was walking down the corridor glared and dismissed him without a second look. It was then that Draco realized that there was a smaller perk to being disowned by his father, one that he hadn't anticipated at all.
He easily made his way down to the dungeons, as everyone seemed bent on ignoring him. When he got there, he realized that his blade wouldn't be needed; the guard had momentarily left his station.
He picked up the ring of keys from the knob in the wall and went from door to door until he came to the one he'd been taken out of. He did some guesswork, but because he was never very good with keys and because there must've been the key to every door in the palace on the ring, he knew he'd be there for a while; and he didn't have the time for this. The guard could be back any second.
The door to the cell opened and out stepped Hermione with an annoyed look. "I – " she stopped when she realized it was Draco, and not the guard she thought was purposely rattling his keys to tell her that her time with Harry was up. "What're you doing here?"
Draco shook off his surprise and put the keys back onto the knob. "I'm taking Harry with me." He peered over Hermione's shoulder at Harry, who was looking up with a surprised look.
"We thought you'd left," Hermione said as Draco walked past her and handed Harry the extra pair of traveling clothes. "I never would've thought – "
"Yes, well, here I am," Draco shot a glare at her. "I'm not a complete barbarian, I'll let you know."
Hermione crossed her arms and rested against the wall.
"Draco, I…" Harry stood up from the bench weakly.
"We can talk later. The guard can return any minute now."
Realizing he was right, Harry changed quickly even though both Hermione and Draco were in the cell and pulled on the heavy cloak.
They were ready to leave.
Hermione's leg bounced before she finally gave in and hugged Harry tightly, kissing him on the cheek. Harry blushed, "Hermione," but he wrapped his arms around her too. And then, to the two men's surprise, she turned to Draco and gave him a hug also.
"You'd better take care of him," she glared, wiping her eyes.
"I can take care of myself," Harry protested, as he gave Hermione one last hug.
I'll allow you to know that one of the secret entrances was in the dungeon; though I won't tell you exactly where, it led straight to the courtyard. Harry and Draco, both shadowing their faces with their cloaks, were taken for early and eager commoners who wanted to see the public execution.
"That was easy," Harry said to Draco after they walked pass the crate that was being set up. It was the Tiger's Cage, as from our world in China; the prisoner would be placed inside of the crate, sealed inside of it, and he would be left there until he died of starvation or dehydration. Anyone who attempted to save him would suffer the same fate. Lord Malfoy had wanted Harry to suffer the same humiliation as he, and so chose the cruelest form of execution. The guillotine was too swift and saved the victim from the torture of pain. The gallows allowed the 50/50 opportunity for a swift death also, as the victim could break his neck and die instantly; and even the suffocating to death bit wouldn't last as long as the Tiger Cage.
They got outside of the courtyard, sticking close together and bowing their heads as they passed the row of royal guards. After setting foot on soil that wasn't directly part of the castle's, Harry felt a sort of elation. They got rather far away and well into the village itself before Harry asked, "So… where are we going?"
"Away from there," Draco looked at Harry. "We'll head over to Amhert province, first. I want you to see that, at least. And then, after a month or two, I'll take you back here. You can return to the Order then."
"Don't speak of that so freely," Harry hissed.
"What will happen to my parents, anyway?" Draco inquired. "While I'm gone, will their throats be slit while they're sleeping?"
"I won't let that happen," Harry shook his head.
It was when they came by a bread stand and was attacked by the pleasant scent that they paused in hunger. Harry smiled when he saw the Fat Lady and her friends. It almost seemed like old days.
"Here, buy two," Draco handed him the coins.
"They say he's barely an adult, couldn't be any older than your little girl," a man said to the Fat Lady behind the counter.
"Could even be that cute customer of yours that disappeared," another woman, Violet if he remembered correctly, said sadly.
"You can see if that's true at sunset."
"It's really going to happen, then? He's really going to be executed?"
"Of course! He has to be! No crazy boy prancing around in a dress and trying to build foreign relations with an imaginary country is going to be allowed to live."
"Do you think Draco Malfoy knew that he was marrying a man?"
"Of course he did. They lived together after the fire, you know. He was bound to find out some way or the other."
"And he didn't even mind."
"I bet you anything he was part of it; that it's his fault the boy pretended to be a foreign princess."
"And if that's so, then it's also his fault he'll be executed. I don't suppose he cares, though."
The Fat Lady finally noticed Harry. She glanced up at him and then did a double glance, peering into the shadows; and then her eyes widened considerably as Harry peeled back the cloak.
"You!" Violet exclaimed. "It's you! We all thought you'd been killed!"
"Rather, thought you were going to be killed," one of the men snickered.
"How are you?" the Fat Lady asked.
"Great. I was only traveling for a while."
"It's good to see you. Would you like your regular order?"
Harry shook his head. "Two loafs, please." He glanced back at Draco, who was standing a bit away.
She pulled out two fresh ones. "Nice to see you smiling."
"He really does look much more charming," Violet noted.
He paid and took the bread, saying goodbye, and turned back to Draco. He explained the relations as they walked down the bustling streets.
"Couldn't you just ride a horse to the bread stand instead of walking for so long every day?"
"Only royals have horses, Draco," Harry smirked.
"That's a pity," Draco said before adding, "We should've gotten some. It's a long walk to Amhert."
"It'll be pretty dangerous too, won't it?"
"Probably," Draco noted. He thought about that for a while. "But you're part of the Order. Surely you've trained for such perils."
"Stop speaking of it!" Harry insisted.
"All right, all right," he said. "But I have to know: after we split – wherever and whenever that may be – should I be expecting an assassin?"
"No," Harry said instantly. "I won't let you die."
He nodded in understanding.
There were more people than usual, and all of them were streaming in through the large gate Harry and Draco were trying to get out of. "All came to watch my execution, I expect," Harry whispered to Draco.
It must've been because it was afternoon and the sun was high in the sky that, once outside of the province, Harry and Draco didn't meet with any dangerous beasts or bandits. At sunset, they had made their way through forests and fields until they came to the province of their destination.
Back in the Malfoy province, Molly had stopped crying. Tonks was gently consoling her. Ginny was trying to keep back her tears as well. The twins were oddly quiet; Bill and Charlie, like the other adults, were solemn. Ron was silently fuming.
They were among the crowds that had come to watch Harry be killed. And yet, they weren't going to do anything to stop it.
The greasy, scary man dressed in black was there again early that morning, after they found out that Harry had been captured; his orders were strictly to not attempt to rescue him.
And so there they were, doing nothing as they were about to watch him die.
The sun began to sink; the crate seemed intimidating and large from where it stood. And finally, the Lord and Lady Malfoy walked out and took their seats in the private boxes. A tiny little man shuffled out with a long list of the crimes Harry was charged with; he read them off slowly, painfully; but was interrupted with a disembodied shout. There was another yell of protest, and a few pleas to spare the false foreign princess. More and more people were joining in on the chants. The Lord and Lady looked at each other in surprise, but did nothing; they merely looked at the tiny man to continue as the members of the royal guard stared menacingly. However, he was interrupted again when a guard rushed out and whispered something to Lord Malfoy.
"WHAT!" he bellowed, standing up in his rage. The guard, who was on his knees, was kicked aside as the Lord barged past him and into the castle. The crowd's protests paused. A few minutes later, they were told to return to their homes as a grand search was put on for the missing slave. Every corner of the province was examined.
At that time, Harry was asleep on a bed in a motel. Draco was sitting at the window, knowing that by this time, every home was being invaded by the royal guard. Intimidation must've been wild through the air.
"You'll go back eventually," Draco had said to Harry earlier; "Just not now. It's not safe."
And why Amhert Province? Well, because Lord Amhert was well known for his disgust of Lord Malfoy. He would never concede to having a search for the fraud in his own province; he would prefer to wait for the request to come directly from Lord Voldemort.
The next day, Harry regretted at least stopping by the head quarters to let the others know that he was okay; but he knew that doing that while Draco was with him would but the other in danger. Draco, who had no idea that Harry was brooding on such things, took Harry out in search for a temporary home they could stay in. There was an empty one near the river, and the landlord practically gave it to them for free. For the entire day, they did nothing but spruce it up; Harry finally snapped at Draco to shut up after hearing endless complaints of how this was nothing next to the royalty he was used to.
And so they would stay for months. To say their friendship grew all the more from where it had left off would be a bit of an understatement as they came to understand each other more and more. Draco began his book analyzing job, as he always insisted he would. He actually became rather well known for his profoundness and much more likeable, in Harry's opinion, after he began to do something he actually enjoyed.
They would go to plays in the evening and sleep throughout the day. Harry would take odd jobs that required the strength of a young man and made a few acquaintances. Every now and then, they would visit the neighboring province, Elread Province, just for the hell of it. They had built a temporary but stable life together, frankly. And for the romantic readers, I might mention that this life hadn't quite become a haven for lovers where they made love every night under the moonlit sky, though it was something quite near it. Their lives were like this until they heard rumors that the Malfoy Province had given up its search for the fraud.
Draco escorted Harry back to the province. Neither broke down when it came time to say goodbye, but neither were casual about it, either. Harry promised to return to Amhert Province someday in the near future. They would keep in touch. It was impossible not to after all that they'd been through.
And so they parted ways. Draco returned to Amhert, and Harry walked to the forest, the growing feeling of unsettled business already haunting him.
The headquarters almost seemed abandoned. Harry went to the front door and knocked. He was nervous, for some reason – he couldn't place a finger on it – and when the door opened, and Ginny's scream exploded through the forest; and when he was ambushed with grasps and hugs and, "Welcome back!"s; and after he was seated at the table for the first dinner he'd had with them, his old family; after all of this, he was able to realize why he was nervous: because eventually, he would have to explain to them where he had gone the night of the scheduled execution and who he had stayed with.
This explanation would come about a year later, however, after he would be pressured into admitting where it was he snuck off to once a month, for a week or two, before returning and acting as if he'd never left in the first place. During the time of this explanation, a plan would be in plot: one that Harry was interweaved with.
He would become the Order's poster boy of sorts, according to the greasy man dressed in black. The commoners would welcome him once he showed himself to be the man who was to bring help to the province. The villagers still spoke of him kindly, and thought that he probably was still their savior, and would've helped them hadn't he been caught. The other departments of the Order would take care of everything; he merely had to wave and smile.
He agreed, but on one condition: that no harm would ever come to any member of the Malfoy family.
Now, frankly, the story is complete. While many more chapters could go into the elaborate scheme of how Harry helped to bring the about the rise of the Order and the downfall of Lord Voldemort, this simply won't happen: because the story is about Harry and Draco, and that is finished.
However, for an epilogue of sorts, I will conclude that, sadly – as Harry became busier and busier – his communication with Draco seized altogether. The province formerly under the Malfoy rule was controlled by a branch of the Order. Harry, who had become well respected for his troubles and ordeals in the Order, quickly suggested that a search be made for Hermione Granger. (She had captured the real thief from the beginning of the story, by the way; the one who had Harry captured.) Her genius would help the rule of the province greatly.
The province, independent from the other provinces under the rule of Lord Voldemort, quickly became a haven: the safe place for travelers to live instead of risking their lives in the wild or having to escape from their bad province to a worse one.
Though there was never again a Lord or Lady of the haven, legend of the first male Lady spread over all of the lands.
And, if you must know, a few years later – after everything was settled and treaties confirming that the province was completely neutral was signed – Harry did leave north to search for a rumored well-known book analyst who had an uncanny physical similarity to a former son of a former Lord.
AN: It's done! Cheer! Honestly, I had this elaborate plot where Draco would leave and meet everyone at headquarters, form a truce, and rescue Harry from the evil Tiger Cage and whatnot; and then they would part, never to see each other again until Harry left afterwards to find him; but I decided that I'm sick of elaborate plots and just ended it where I did.
I'm extremely sorry that it took so long to complete, and I hope you all liked it.