Disclaimer: Harry Potter is not mine. Unfortunately.
Author's Notes: I know, I know - I started another story! Rest assured, I've not abandoned any of my olds ones. This story will be about fifteen chapters (not including the prologue) long, and will be updated about once a week. Many thanks to my beta, Daniella Flux, for putting up with the slash, and to the good people over at The Hex Files for helping a girl out.
Prologue: In Which We See Illustrated the Importance Improvisation SkillsFor everything there is a season
- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
If you asked Draco Malfoy what he was doing outside the famed 'Burrow', last known residence of one Harry Potter, he would not have been able to tell you. Still, standing in the gnome-infested yard while snow fell wet from the sky before melting on the ground, he raised his fist and knocked firmly once, twice, three times.
There was a sudden silence on the other side of the door, and Draco could only imagine the whispered conversation the inhabitants of the hovel were having.
'Who in their right mind would come calling on Christmas Eve?' someone would hiss worriedly as they put down a half-finished garland of freshly-popped popcorn.
'It must be important,' a more rational voice would insist, cautiously standing, and creeping towards the unlined curtains that covered the windows.
'Or a Death Eater,' someone would say darkly, perhaps Potter himself. Draco had read that the world's Wonder Boy had become even more brooding since the final battle between he and Voldemort a mere ten years ago.
Personally, Draco had bought an apartment in New York, and lived day to day hoping his father and/or mother wouldn't cut off his access to the family vaults, or re-write their wills. Luckily, they hadn't, and now that Narcissa was dead, killed while fighting Aurors in Manchester, and Lucius had been declared legally insane, Draco was the sole owner of the Malfoy fortune, executor of both his parent's legacies, and owner one of the darkest plots of land in all of England – Malfoy Manor.
Which was exactly why he was looking for, of all people, Harry Potter.
The door to the ramshackle house in front of him creaked open, drawing Draco's attention back to the real world; the real world where a woman with short, red hair was standing in front of him with an elegantly plucked and raised eyebrow.
Looking at her, Draco found himself thinking that she was out of place in her surroundings. Ginny Weasley had grown into the kind of woman he was accustomed to seeing in nouvelle restaurants wearing severe black and white suits with low cut blouses, high heels, and chic little purses. Instead, she was bundled in multiple jumpers with a badly knit scarf wound round her neck and wearing on her head something that resembled a woolly bladder, but Draco presumed was meant to be a winter hat.
'I need to speak to Harry Potter,' Draco said after a moment. Privately, he thought that his chances of finding him had just improved, if the way Potter and Ginny Weasley had been attached at the lips during their sixth year at Hogwarts was any indication.
'And just who are you?' she asked rudely, before being hauled out of the doorway by two other women.
'Never mind her,' said the first, a pregnant brunette with a head full of bushy hair Draco recognized instantly. 'It's what comes from a first pregnancy.' The woman patted her own burgeoning stomach with pride. 'She's only three months along, you can hardly tell.'
Draco had never, in all his years at Hogwarts, imagined Hermione Granger to be the type to sit quietly at home, knitting and popping out babies year after year. She had always seemed like the type to have one or two children, enough for a decent sized family at least, and then continue on with her career. Maybe he was reading too much into the situation.
'I'm afraid I don't recognize you either, though.' She turned to the second woman, a shapely blonde, and asked: 'Is he someone you know?'
The woman shook her head, blonde hair cascading around her shoulders in a manner Draco was certain he would have found attractive had he not been a) freezing and b) very, very gay.
''Ee iz not a friend of mine,' the woman said, her French accent strong. 'I theenk 'ee can tell us 'ou 'ee iz?' She looked at him enquiringly, momentarily highlighting the faint lines around her eyes.
Draco sighed, and barely resisted the urge to massage his temples. He knew that he had changed since leaving Hogwarts in his sixth year. Everyone had, judging by Hermione Granger's expectant mother glow, and Ginny Weasley's out of place elegance, but this was quickly becoming ridiculous.
When he had first arrived back in England, Draco had set off to see his old friend Pansy Parkinson, only to find that she now went by the name of Pansy Wood, and was a rising star in the fashion industry. Even Pansy had taken considerable persuasion and whispered secrets to believe that the blue-haired man in front of her was really her childhood friend.
Sometimes, Draco had trouble believing it himself.
'My name is Hugh,' Draco supplied quickly, not wanting to spend an hour proving his identity only to be turned out on his arse again. 'I need to find Harry Potter. Quite badly.'
Granger and the French woman gave him a final once over before opening the old door fully. 'Come in,' said the French woman. 'Seet on zee couch, 'Arry should be 'ere soon.'
'Merci,' Draco said with a small smile. 'Comment vous appelez-vous?'
'Je m'appelle Fleur Delacour-Weasley,' Fleur replied kindly. 'Eet iz good to meet you.'
Draco nodded, and tried to contain his surprise. When last he had seen Fleur, she had been competing in the Tri Wizard Tournament alongside Harry Potter, Cedric Diggory, and Viktor Krum.
Draco was lead into a cluttered sitting room filled to the brim with red headed children and adults, although there were a few brunettes sprinkled liberally in the mix, and he was certain there was at least one more person with a hair color as improbable as his own in the far corner.
'Sit here. When Harry arrives someone will tell him you're here,' Granger said pleasantly. 'Help yourself to some – Frederica, Georgina, those better not be real frogs! – Eggnog while you wait.' She turned in the direction to which her motherly warning had been shouted, but Draco reached out desperately and grabbed a limb.
'Wait,' he said. 'Do you know if he has a diary or keeps a schedule?'
Granger looked puzzled, but shook her head. 'No, he doesn't keep either, although he should, what with all the meetings he constantly has to rush off to – why?'
Draco sighed, and stood. 'I don't think he'll be coming tonight. Could I trouble you for some Floo powder, and his address?'
Granger's expression grew incredulous. 'He hasn't missed a Christmas at the Burrow since –' She was abruptly cut off as someone tumbled through the fireplace, and a cheer erupted in the crowd. 'That will be him,' she shot Draco an 'I told you so' look he remembered vividly from Arithmancy. 'I'll go fetch him, you wait here.'
Draco sighed, and slumped into the chair Granger had led him to. If Potter were here then Draco was probably wasting his time and needed to completely re-evaluate the situation and all the clues he had which had pointed him in Potter's direction. The most obvious clue being the two names scrawled in blood on the floor of the Malfoy dining room.
Potter and Granger were cutting through the crowd like a hot knife through butter, and Draco found his mind speeding to create a suitable cover story; anything besides the truth.
'Hello,' Potter said once he'd reached Draco, and Granger had melted into the background noise. Potter spoke with the air of someone meeting an old school chum who one doesn't remember in the slightest. 'Hermione tells me you came here to see me.' Potter's eyes drifted to where Granger was leaning against a tall, red-haired man before focusing on her very pregnant belly.
'How did you know where to be today, Potter?' Draco asked amicably, knowing that he sounded nothing like he had when he and Potter had gone to school. After all, it stood to reason that his accent would have faded after all those years in America. Still, Draco was gratified to see Potter's eyes widen in recognition.
'Malfoy?' he asked incredulously.
Draco nodded. 'The one and only, Potter. Now, how did you know you needed to be here today?'
'I – I spend every Christmas at the Burrow, Malfoy. It's not a new experience.'
'Let me rephrase,' Draco sneered. 'How did you know today was Christmas?'
Potter looked so baffled that for a second Draco actually believed that the other man had no idea what he was talking about, but for a moment fear flitted across Potter's face, and Draco knew he had to be right.
'You're not alone, Potter,' Draco said amicably. 'Owl me tonight. We're in this together.'
Draco smiled, tucked a strand of blue hair behind his ear, and Disapparated.
Draco opened his eyes – Apparition always made him feel a bit queasy if he didn't have them closed – and reached into the pocket of his leather jacket for his notebook. Flipping it open and taking out a self-inking quill, Draco penned a question mark next to Potter's name.
Potter's and his weren't the only ones that were on the list, weren't the only ones that had been etched in blood on the Malfoy dining room. It pained him a bit to look at the list, mostly because he and Potter seemed to be the only people from it who had managed to live as long as they had. Although, Percy Weasley was technically alive – just in a seemingly irreversible coma.
Sighing, Draco strode from the Apparition room of the manor, and wound through the halls and rooms, headed for the dining room to decode more of the complex spell on the floor. He'd never seen anything like it – at least, he was pretty certain he'd never seen anything like it.
Draco wasn't really certain of anything anymore. Ten years ago he had moved to New York City. He had bought a flat and spent a year creating a new life for himself, and last he remembered, had taken a pain-killing potion, and passed out, which seemed odd because the potion was supposed to prevent things like that.
When he'd woken up, eyelids heavy, sprawled across a king-sized bed in a penthouse apartment, he'd been quite surprised. You see, Draco remembered taking the potion in 1997 – eight years earlier.
And that was precisely the problem. He'd been pulled into the future, and it appeared that Harry Potter had been too.