Truth and Secrecy.
Summary: Betrayed and imprisoned, Harry discovers who is who in his life.
Rating: Oh, my! I'm horrible at this one… but I'd have to go with "R", for now.
Feedback: Yes, please.
Characters: At one point or another, the whole crew from the HP Universe.
Beta: The beautiful Rose.
Author's notes: I'm correcting some mistakes and trying to pick up the habit of writing again. I won't make any promises since it's a compromise with myself to keep on writing, but I have to say thank you to all of you who read my fics and encouraged me to continue. This one, and all the others, is for you.
Disclaimer: Nope, not mine and not profitable… for me, that is. I've heard rumors that J. K. Rowling is doing terribly well, but she writes the originals, maybe it has something to do with that… Oh! And also, everything (but the misguided idea that originated this fic) belongs to her.
Harry sighed in relief; his mind was finally clearing. Not too much though, certainly never enough for him to forget the fear, the screams, or gather some coherence. In a way, it was better this way, never being able to think too much about his friends… his friends.
Now that was a big joke. Friends.
He should have known better. He should have seen it coming a long time before it actually happened, but when it did happen, it happened so fast he couldn't even remember all the details now. His last moments with his so called friends, it was a bit hazy now, blurry around the edges. He did remember the screaming, especially when the dementors came. He could always hear the screams.
Harry absently ran his finger over a small tattoo over his heart. It was hidden underneath his battered robe and he almost forgot it was there: a little Celtic knot tattooed on his heart. He knew it was something important, but he couldn't remember what it was. Maybe if the dementors stayed away long enough this time… maybe he would be able to remember.
There were a few things he could remember, the angry faces of his former friends: Ron being held back by the twins screaming that he would kill him if he ever got the chance; Hermione looking at him with her eyes full of contempt and anger; Molly crying in Arthur's arms screaming "how could you? We treat you like a son"; Remus, Dean, Seamus and so many others looking at him with hate; Draco crying at the end of the hall. Draco.
A small memory found its way back to the surface. Draco. His beautiful, beloved Draco. His secret. Draco wanted to come forward; Harry had seen it in his eyes, but Harry wouldn't let him. Draco was his secret and if Lucius Malfoy ever found out, Draco would be dead. They had given it a lot of thought when they had decided to give their relationship a chance and decided that Lucius should never find out, no matter what, that they were together. Even after they bonded in a secret ceremony, represented by the tattoos over their hearts, nobody would ever know anything until they graduated and were ready to start their lives.
That was why Harry kept his silence; he kept it for Draco, while Draco was alive everything would be all right. As long as Draco was alive, Harry's heart would be free. Harry caressed the tattoo over his heart and for the first time in weeks he was able to smile.
It had been a shock to the Wizarding World. The Daily Prophet ran the whole story for days. Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, had raped and murdered the baby sister of his best friend. Ginny Weasley was found in a back alley behind an apothecary in Hogsmeade, her cold hand firmly clasped around a Gryffindor tie, and on that tie a small name tag that read 'Harry Potter'.
Ministry Fudge immediately demanded that Harry be brought in for questioning after he refused to say where he had been all day, and the Daily Prophet ran long interviews with the grieving family, especially her closest brother Ronald Weasley and his girlfriend Hermione Granger, former friends of Harry Potter who attested to how much he had changed in the last few months and how cruelly he treated Ginny, who had been in love with him even before she attended Hogwarts. They also brought to the ministry's attention the fact that no Veritaserum potion would work on Mr. Potter due to his ability to throw off even Imperius Curse.
They never asked him again where he was the day of the crime. They never considered the use of Veritaserum and they never gave him a trial either. They simply accused him and threw him in Azkaban on a beautiful sunny day at the end of May. Harry Potter was 15 years old.
In the end it was an old, almost forgotten tradition that helped Draco Malfoy rescue his love. Azkaban was a hard place to be, but the Wizarding World liked to keep its illusion of fairness, and an old law, passed with that very intention, stated that in certain cases the dementors were to be kept away from a specific type of prisoner, when a different kind of magical creature would be brought to take care of the said prisoner for a certain period of time. That was why on the last week of school Draco Malfoy found himself face-to-face with an ex-servant of the Malfoy Manor.
"Master Draco sir," called a shaky voice from the corner of Draco's room.
"What do you want, elf?" Draco snorted.
"I is Dobby, sir. I has message about Harry Potter." The elf was holding a piece of parchment in his hands, offering it to Draco.
"And why are you delivering it to me?" Draco asked worried.
"The law says to gives it to other father. You is other father, sir." Dobby's eyes were wide.
"Other father?" asked Draco snatching the paper from the elf and reading it. "Oh, Merlin. Have mercy! Oh, gods. What do I do now?" Draco sank to his knees, tears falling from his eyes. "He is pregnant? How can he be pregnant? Does he have any idea how rare that gift is? Oh! Harry, why is this sort of thing always happening to you?" He finally remembered the house-elf, "How did you find out?"
"Master Draco, sir"--the elf was twisting his hands--"wizards have law that scary dementors have to leave pregnant prisoners alone. House-elf takes care of great Harry Potter and Harry Potter's baby, but other father must know…"
"Yes, I'll do everything to make sure the baby is taken care of; I wish I could do the same for Harry," Draco sobbed.
"Master Draco… Dobby should not say, Dobby not suppose to save Harry Potter's life again. Dobby promised…"
Draco spun around. "Do you know something, Dobby?"
"Dobby good elf, sir, Dobby promised!" The elf had tears in his eyes now and was pulling his own ears.
"It's ok, Dobby, you won't be saving his life if you tell me. Just tell me and I will do everything, you won't break your promise."
"Is…is… is apothecary in Hogsmeade very big, sir, very dangerous things inside. Dangerous things need wards for special conditions for not hurting wizards or witches…" but Draco never let Dobby finished his sentence.
"Not hurt pregnant witches! Every time a pregnant witch comes near a ward alerts the people inside so they don't expose the baby to dangerous fumes… Dobby, you are the greatest house-elf that ever lived, and if Harry hadn't set you free already, I would do it now. Thank you!" Draco yelled as he ran out the door. Dobby beamed with pride and popped back to the kitchens; he had a lot to do today.
Draco ran to the only person besides himself he knew who did not believe that Harry committed any murder. It never ceased to amuse him that this person was none other than his godfather, Severus Snape, who Draco also knew to be a spy in the Dark Lord's ranks.
"Professor, we need to talk," Draco said as he barged in the professor's office.
"And what, pray tell, could be so important that has you running into my office at this late hour?" asked Snape without raising his head from the papers he was grading.
"Potter is innocent and I can prove it," panted Draco, shoving the paper Dobby had given him on top of the pile in front of the professor.
That got the professor's attention. "Close the door and explain it to me."
It took Draco only ten minutes to convince Snape. He told him everything about his relation to Harry, the bonding tattoos, the baby, the wards and Harry's sacrifice for Draco. Snape believed every word that he said.
It took Snape two hours to convince Draco to tell Lucius about it and, even as Draco grabbed hold to the portkey that would take him and Snape to Malfoy Manor, he could not stop wondering if he hadn't just forfeited his life.
"Lucius!" Snape yelled in the Malfoy parlor where the portkey had taken them.
"Severus, what brings you here at this hour?" Lucius Malfoy entered the parlor from a side door that led to the library. "Draco. What is the matter?"
"Father," Draco began after getting a reassurance look from his godfather, "there is something I think I need to tell you."