Author's Note: I'd like to offer a huge apology for making you all wait so long for this chapter. I had a bit of writer's block concerning Draco's conversation with Dumbledore, but I'm over it now (obviously). Much thanks to Katy for her excellent work on this chapter.
Draco was anything but ready to face this conversation, but he knew it had to be done. If anything, it would give him a valid reason to rage at Dumbledore. He waited until Harry was dressed before making his first move. "Sit on the bed, here, Harry," he said, kneeling in front of the little boy to have a better view.
Harry sat down on the edge of his bed, ringing his hands nervously. "Is something a matter?" he asked.
Draco took a deep breath and let it out slowly to calm himself. "I need to ask you something very important."
"You must answer truthfully, okay?"
"What's that mean?"
Draco reached out and gently held Harry's hands. "It means you can't lie and you can't leave anything out. I promise that I'm not mad at you."
"Okay," Draco said, taking another deep breath. "When you have a nightmare at Auntie 'Tunia's house, what does she do?"
Harry swallowed. "She gets mad at me," he said, his tiny child's voice sounding even smaller. "But only when I wake her up."
"And what does she do when she gets mad?"
Harry's eyes were very round and he looked frightened.
"No one is going to hurt you here, Harry," Draco assured him. "I just need to know what she does."
"She… she hits me," Harry whispered, dropping his head.
Draco felt like the most terrible person alive, but he pressed on regardless. "With her hand?"
Harry shook his head.
"What does she hit you with, Harry?"
"A hanger," Harry replied quietly.
A flood of rage made itself known inside of Draco, but he forced himself to remain calm, lest he frighten Harry. "What kind of hanger?" he asked, proud of himself when his voice sounded normal and kind.
Harry shrugged but said nothing. Draco reached out to pick him up, pretending not to notice when Harry flinched. Once he had Harry secure on his hip, Draco went to the wardrobe, opening it and pointing at the hangers inside. "Show me which one she used."
Harry's eyes came up reluctantly. He pointed at one of the empty wire hangers.
"A wire hanger?" Draco asked, removing one from the wardrobe and placing Harry on the floor.
"Yeah," Harry replied.
"How did she hold it, Harry?" Draco asked. He held the hanger by the corner so that the flat part was parallel with the floor. "Like this?"
Harry shook his head. "No." He held out his hand. Once Draco had given him the hanger, he turned it around, placing it against Draco's chest. He was holding it so that the whole of the hanger touched Draco, not just one part. "Like this. She makes me take off my shirt and then she hits my back with it like this."
Draco took the hanger back, a deep frown marring his face, and placed it back inside the wardrobe. He placed Harry back on his hip, smiling gently. "You did very well, Harry," he said. "Thank you for telling me."
"Is something bad gonna happen to Auntie 'Tunia, Draco?" Harry asked seriously.
"Maybe," Draco replied. "I'm not sure what will happen."
"Don't hurt her," Harry requested. "I was bad. I'm apposed to be good and not wake anybody up, but I did it anyways."
Draco looked at Harry sternly. "I need you to understand something. No matter what you do, or what rules you break, Auntie 'Tunia does not have the right to hit you with a wire hanger."
"Didn't nobody ever hit you with a hanger?" Harry asked.
"Never," Draco replied. "Like I told you last night, everyone has bad dreams. Hitting you only makes them worse. From now on, I'm going to read you a bedtime story every night before bed."
Harry's face brightened. "Can we read the one about the beetles again?" he asked.
Draco chuckled, ruffling Harry's hair. "Which ever one you like," he said.
Hermione was rather surprised when Malfoy showed up at the Gryffindor table that morning and handed Harry over to her. "Will you watch him for a bit?" he asked, sounding most unlike himself. "I think it would be good for him to get to know you -- again."
"Of course," Hermione replied, perplexed.
Malfoy bent down and placed a little bag in Harry's arms. "There's parchment and crayons and quills and things in this bag," he said. "I want you to draw and color while Miss Hermione takes her classes. Be good, okay?"
" 'Kay," Harry replied quietly. "Draco?"
"Yes, Harry?" Draco asked, straightening Harry's shirt a little.
"When you comin' back?" Harry asked.
"I'll collect you at lunch, don't worry," Draco replied. "Miss Hermione and Mr. Ron were your friends when you were big, and I think you'll like spending some time with them."
" 'Kay." Harry said.
Draco sighed heavily. "Don't interrupt when Miss Hermione is in class."
" 'Kay," Harry said.
"And keep anything you draw so that I can see it later."
" 'Kay," Harry said again.
"Be good for Miss Hermione," Draco said, kissing the top of Harry's head gently. "I'll see you at lunch, and maybe we can go outside and play in the snow for a bit."
Harry brightened considerably at that. " 'Kay," he said once again.
Hermione frowned slightly. There was something off about Malfoy this morning, but, not knowing him well, she couldn't tell what it was. She decided to shrug it off for now until she had more information. "Are you hungry, Harry?" she asked, smiling when Harry turned in her lap to look at her.
"Yeah," Harry replied. "What can I have?"
Hermione gestured at the loaded table. "Whatever you like, dear," she said. Harry took some porridge and poured treacle over it. Hermione smiled. She'd always love her Harry.
Harry had his crayons out on the desk and a piece of the funny paper to draw on, but he was busy looking at the teacher. He was the smallest man Harry had ever seen. Harry was almost as tall as the teacher already, and everyone kept saying how he looked so small for a five-year-old. Harry wondered briefly if every five-year-old was apposed to be big like Dudders, but decided that he didn't want to know if they were. Everyone at Hogwarts (Her-my-knee had told him that's what the school was called) were big people, and he was just fine with that. If there weren't any other little boys, then no one would be picking on him. Draco had promised that no one here would hurt him, and he trusted Draco.
As he watched, the little man (who Her-my-knee called Professor Flitwick) began talking in a squeaky voice that Harry thought was funny. He looked down at his strange paper and picked up a blue crayon so he wouldn't laugh and hurt Professor Flitwick's feelings. He drew a wing, trying to remember what the dragons on Draco's robe had looked like.
"Today," Professor Flitwick was saying, "we will be learning spells designed to disable the wards we learned last term."
Her-my-knee was writing with a huge feather on one of the strange papers, the feather wiggling back and forth fast. Harry opened his mouth to ask her how come they wrote with feathers, but closed it again when he remembered Draco telling him not to interrupt when Her-my-knee was in class. Instead, he turned his attention back to the tiny man teaching the class, watching as a blue wall appeared around the big desk. The wall wasn't touching the desk, and it was see through. Harry's eyes were wide as he watched Professor Flitwick add more to the wall with his wand. The class quickly got boring after that, with not much magic going on, so Harry turned his attention back to his drawing.
After class, Ron picked Harry up to carry him to the next place. "Ron?" Harry asked, his little hands linked around Ron's neck so he wouldn't lose his balance and fall.
"Yeah?" Ron asked, shrugging his bag up higher on his other shoulder.
"How come everyone writes with those big feathers?" Harry asked.
On Harry's other side, Her-my-knee giggled.
"Huh?" Ron asked, looking at Harry curiously. "What, the quills?"
"What's that?" Harry asked.
Her-my-knee giggled again. "Quills are what we call the big feathers," she said with a smile.
"Oh," Harry muttered. "So how come you use them?"
"What else would we use?" Ron asked, looking at Her-my-knee.
"Oh, Ronald," Her-my-knee said. "Honestly." She looked at Harry again. "We use the quills because the magic makes pens go haywire."
"Oh," Harry said.
Ron was carrying him down a corridor with lots of people in it, headed toward the Green Lady's class. Harry reminded himself that the Green Lady's name was McGongal because Her-my-knee said that McGongal wouldn't like being called the Green Lady all the time, even though she only ever seemed to wear green.
"Her-my-knee?" he asked after a moment's silence.
"What's 'haywire' mean?"
Her-my-knee giggle again. "You use it when something isn't working the way it's supposed to work."
"Oh," Harry said. Harry wondered why Her-my-knee giggled whenever he asked her questions, but decided she'd be mad at him if he asked that question, so he kept it to himself. He didn't think she was laughing at him, so he let it go the way only small children seem capable of doing. "Is lunch after Transfigation?" he asked as they entered the classroom.
"Trans-fig-u-ra-tion, Harry," Her-my-knee corrected him gently. "And yes, it is."
"Trans-fig-u-ra-tion," Harry repeated as Ron set him in an empty chair. Harry missed Draco already, but he didn't want to say so because he was afraid someone would make fun of him. He liked most of the big people here, and he didn't want them to think he was stupid. One of the big people he didn't like was the dark man they called Snape. Her-my-knee said that Snape taught potions, and Harry would just as soon skip that class. He could tell that Snape didn't like him, but he didn't know how come. He didn't remember doing anything to make Snape mad at him, but grown ups were weird about why they got mad.
Harry liked the Transfiguration classes the best because they were always turning things into other things. Last time, when he'd come with Her-my-knee before he'd met Draco, they were turning each other into raccoons. Harry liked raccoons because he thought they were cute. He'd clapped excitedly when McGongal had turned herself into a cat, but the big people had laughed when he did that, so he'd decided not to do it again. He didn't like being laughed at. Today, they were trying to turn each other into puppies. Harry smiled. He liked puppies; they were cute.
Draco was beyond livid by the time he'd finished his breakfast. The rage had slowly been simmering inside him as he contemplated what Harry had told him, and by the time he'd accosted Dumbledore in the entrance hall, it was at a slow boil.
"I'd like to speak with you, sir, if you don't mind," he said through his teeth, using every bit of control he had to keep his tone somewhere above a growl.
Dumbledore stared at him for a moment before replying. "Of course, Mr. Malfoy. If you'd just come up to my office." He turned toward the marble staircase, leading Draco at a brisk pace toward the gargoyle that guarded the headmaster's office. Once they were both seated on garish armchairs, Dumbledore said, "What can I help you with today?"
"I want Harry's pitiful excuse for a family arrested," Draco replied, gripping the arms of the chair hard in an attempt to keep from shouting.
Dumbledore's eyebrows rose. "Whatever for?" he asked pleasantly.
Draco, who was having a very difficult time controlling the rage that was trying to consume him, closed his eyes and breathed deeply for a moment before speaking. "Harry had a nightmare last night," he said calmly, not opening his eyes. "When I told him to come up on my bed, he sat with his back facing me and removed his nightshirt."
Dumbledore frowned but said nothing.
"He seemed to believe that he was in trouble because he'd woken me up," Draco went on. "I turned him to face me, and he began sobbing and apologizing for waking me. This morning, after we were both dressed, I asked him what happens when he has a nightmare at his aunt's house." He finally opened his eyes to pin a hateful glare on Dumbledore's withered face. "He said that she hits him with a wire hanger for daring to wake her up."
Dumbledore stared at him for a moment, before an aged and shaking hand came up to hide his face. "I didn't know that they were beating him," he murmured.
"Harry has also informed me," Draco pressed on, uncaring of the headmaster's guilt, "that his bedroom is a cupboard. He went so far as to stretch out in my wardrobe to show me how well he fit inside."
Dumbledore uttered a shaky sigh. "Minerva," he muttered, seemingly to himself. "Why didn't you make me listen to you? Dear, merciful spirits, what have I done?"
Draco frowned deeply, wondering what Dumbledore was on about. After a moment, Dumbledore's hand dropped and he gazed at Draco with eyes that were terribly sad and impossibly old. "I was aware that Harry's family did not treat him well," he said. He held up a stalling hand when Draco opened his mouth to speak. "I was not aware, however, that their abuse was so severe. I imagine he's only told you a small part of it. I have every intention of pursuing this to the full extent of the law, but I must ask something of you."
Draco was instantly wary, but he only raised an eyebrow and waited.
"You must attempt to find out more," Dumbledore said. "Obviously, little Harry isn't going to be able to remember everything that happened to him over the sixteen years he lived there, but perhaps just the things before he turned five will be enough."
Draco nodded slowly. He'd been planning to find out more, whatever the headmaster had to say about it. The only problem now was how to go about attaining the information. Harry was very reluctant to speak of his family, but Draco knew that there had to be some way to coax it out of him. "I have a request of my own," he said after several minutes.
Dumbledore nodded, waving his hand in a circular gesture.
"I wish to spend this morning in Hogsmeade, or perhaps London, to purchase some things for Harry," Draco said. "His clothes are abominable, his shoes don't fit him, and I believe that he can't see anything. I would, therefore, request that either Madame Pomfrey or a qualified professional perform an eye exam to determine if Harry needs spectacles. I would also like to suggest that, because we don't know how long he might remain a child, he be provided with a governess who could teach him the basics: arithmetic, reading, writing, and so on."
Dumbledore nodded. "All of those things can be done," he agreed readily enough. He produced his wand and conjured a parchment, which he handed to Draco. "This is a pass to allow you off of school grounds until the end of the lunch period. I shall speak to Madame Pomfrey about an eye exam, and I will be spending the day looking for a suitable and trustworthy governess."
Draco nodded, slipping the pass into his pocket as he stood. When he reached the door, Dumbledore spoke again.
"Justice will be served, Mr. Malfoy," he said gravely. "The Dursleys will not go unpunished."
Draco turned his head to regard Dumbledore from the corner of his eye. "I hope they rot in Azkaban," he replied, stepping out of the office and closing the door without waiting for a reply. Mr. Filch accosted him briefly as he left the castle, but he made it away, Mr. Filch grumbling under his breath, probably disappointed that he couldn't punish someone. Fortunately, he found everything he would need in Hogsmeade, saving him the trip to London, which he hadn't wanted to make in the first place.
Harry leapt into Draco's arms when he saw the blonde at lunch, babbling happily about all of the wonderful things he'd see in Transfiguration. Draco beamed proudly at him when he pronounced it right, and complimented him on his drawing when Harry presented it.
"Draco?" Harry asked once they were seated.
"Yes, Harry?" Draco replied, piling food onto a plate and setting it before Harry.
"Where we goin' next?" Harry asked.
"I have Potions next," Draco replied airily.
Harry frowned. He didn't want to go into Snape's class. "Can I stay with Miss Her-my-knee?" he asked.
Draco frowned at him, but he didn't look mad. "You may if you like, but she has Potions next as well."
Harry frowned harder. "What about Mr. Ron?" he asked. "Does he have Potions too?"
"Why don't you want to go to Potions, Harry?" Draco asked seriously.
Harry, afraid that he'd made Draco mad, lowered his head and didn't reply. " 'S nothin'," he muttered unhappily.
Draco gently lifted his chin with one finger. "Tell me why you don't want to go with me to Potions," he said.
Harry, who was fighting a losing battle over his tears, looked down with his eyes. "That Snape man doesn't like me," he muttered. "He'll get mad at me and yell."
"Oh, Harry," Draco sighed, pulling Harry into his lap and holding him gently. "Snape has… issues that he needs to work out. If he gets mad at you for no reason, I'll just get mad back at him."
Harry looked into Draco's sincere face. "Really?" he asked.
"Really," Draco replied.
Reassured, Harry turned to his lunch. "Draco?"
"What does 'issues' mean?"
Draco chuckled a bit. "It means that some things have happened to him before, and he hasn't gotten over them yet."
"Oh," Harry said, eating his lunch at last.
Potions, Harry discovered, was a very boring and smelly class that he didn't like. He liked it even less because Snape was always glaring at him. He sat quietly at Draco's desk and didn't touch anything, not even to get out his funny paper and crayons, but Snape still looked at him like he thought that Harry was going to mess something up. By the end, he was happy to get away.
Draco sat Harry on his bed and removed several tiny bags from his pockets. He waved his wand at these, and they got bigger and bigger until there was a whole pile of things on the floor in front of Harry.
"Now, Harry," Draco said, bending down by the bags.
"I won't touch anything," Harry rushed to say. "I promise."
Draco looked up from the bag he was rummaging in to frown at Harry. "Why ever not?" he asked. "These things are for you."
Harry's eyes became very large. "All of it?" he asked shyly.
"Of course all of it," Draco replied. He held up a red jumper. "This certainly won't fit me."
Harry, whose eyes were brimming with happy tears this time, launched himself at Draco and hugged him hard. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" he cried.
Draco rocked back when Harry hit him, and then regained his balance and returned the hug. "You're very welcome, Harry," he said fondly. After placing Harry back on his feet, he began showing him all of the new clothes he'd bought. He held up a shiny pair of black shoes. "These are just for special occasions, Harry," he said, setting them aside. "These," he went on, holding up a very black pair of trainers, "are for everyday wear and for playing. You are never to play in your special shoes, okay?"
" 'Kay," Harry agreed, just happy that he'd finally have a pair of shoes that didn't blister the backs of his feet when he walked in them too long.
Draco waved his wand, and all of the clothes went flying into the wardrobe. Harry stared after them.
"All right then," Draco said, drawing Harry's attention back. "Now for the good stuff." He picked up the last bag and held it upside down, and toys began pouring out of it. Harry's eyes widened as the pile of toys got huge.
"Wow," he whispered. "Is all of them for me?"
Draco made a strange face, but he said, "Yes, there are all for you."
Harry smiled, but when Draco spoke again in a serious tone, the smile slipped away.
"You are allowed to play with whatever toys you like," he said, "but must keep the room tidy. Once you are done playing, you must put your toys back where they belong, okay?"
Harry nodded, the smile coming back. He could do that. " 'Kay," he agreed.
Draco reached into his pocket and pulled out a very tiny, very colorful box. He set the box in a corner and flicked his wand at it, making it grow until it was ginormous. With another flick, all of the toys went sailing into the air and into the toy box, the room instantly neat again.
Harry clapped his hands enthusiastically. "Do it again!" he cried, giggling happily.
Draco opened his mouth to say something, but at that moment, the door opened and Snape came in. Harry scurried to hide behind Draco, peeking at Snape timidly from behind one of Draco's legs.
Snape, who had a very ugly look on his face, glared at him before looking up at Draco. "The headmaster wishes for you and the little imp to go up to his office immediately," he said.
Draco frowned. "He is not an imp, Professor Snape," he said angrily. "He's a little boy, and you'd do well to remember it."
Snape made an even uglier face and left the room, his long black robes puffing out in a scary way.
"Bastard," Draco muttered.
"Draco?" Harry asked as he was scooped into Draco's arms and carried out of the room.
"Yes, Harry?" Draco asked.
"What's 'bastard' mean?"
Draco seemed to choke on something before replying. "It's a bad word and you're not allowed to use it."
Harry frowned. "How come you can use it and I can't?" he asked.
"Because I'm not supposed to use either," Draco replied.
"Oh," Harry said with a giggle. " 'Kay."
The Zedmeister – You are not the first one to ask for those stories back, but I have decided that they need to be rewritten before I'll post them again. To put it simply, I just don't feel that they're my best work. Once I feel that they're ready, I will repost. Thank you.
Bananagirl – Thank you so much! The reason I originally started making Harry the dominant in H/D stories is because all the stories I've read paint Draco as Mr. Domineering. I felt it was time Harry had a break. I'm happy to inform you that Dëlîgo Sanguis is under revisions right now (I had to re-write some of the racier scenes that were lost in the purge) and the first chapter should be going up soon. Hope to see you there!