Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or any related characters and situations. They belong to J. K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Inc., Warner Bros, and other authorised copyright holders. I also don't own the rights to any musical piece named in this fic, including the folk song "Come to You Again." I, however, do own the plot of this, and any original items, characters, spells, composition titles, etc. do belong to me.

A/N: I actually started this story long before "Restoring Faith." RF sort of grew after an afternoon's frustration with this story and it grew and grew and grew…I shelved "Let the Music Take You," so I could work on "Restoring Faith," but as that story is coming to an end I thought I'd pick this one back up again. It's H/D SLASH so if that's not your thing use the back button, it's a nifty invention. Note that this story is rated M which implies a more explicit content than in some of my other fics. Also, I make no guarantees about regular posting. I seem to be slogging through this one. Don't worry I won't abandon any of my active fics. And yup…yet again this is unbeta'd…

oOooOooOooOooOooOooOooOo

And you can let the music take you, follow where it leads
Or turn it any way you want to, make it what you need.
Lose yourself in dreamin' or sink yourself in pain
Or maybe find yourself in love and it will come to you again

1.

Michael lowered his friend onto the stone and steel bench gently; highly aware that if he injured Draco's legs the blond wouldn't feel it and an infection could set in. He hopped down the flight of stairs and brought up the wheelchair locking it into place next to bench.

Draco sighed, "After nearly 4 years you would think they'd get a clue about putting in a ramp!" He grumbled about penny-pinching administrators as he slid into his chair then pulled up the side support.

Michael snorted, "You'd think, but actually they're either just waiting for you to graduate so they don't have to modify this lovely historic building, or they're waiting for you to sue so they can tear it down and expand the stadium parking lot."

"I vote for the stadium parking lot. C'mon we're going to be late and you know how Hooks is about tardy arrivals." Draco easily pushed his chair down the hallway, grinning at Michael's attempts to keep up. Not that he'd stand a chance if Draco let loose--wheels beat feet every time--in the polished hallways anyways. He slowed as they reached their classroom and Michael held open the door as Draco wheeled in. He was glad he had decided to take this seminar with friends and that he and Michael always arrived together, as the room was hard for him to navigate alone and the professor, Dr. Hooks, was an arse when it came to special needs students.

"Ahh. Mr. Johnson, Mr. Malfoy, so nice of you to join us. Why don't you take your seats. Well…you should take a seat Johnson. Malfoy's already in his," the pompous little man chuckled at his lame joke and Draco rolled his eyes. He'd faced down his father and a cadre of Death Eaters in the last battle of the war. No small minded idiot was going to unnerve him. Draco parked slightly in front of Michael's desk as the desks and chairs were fixed in this room and his wheelchair wouldn't fit in the rows. It was annoying because Dr. Hooks would constantly toss in comments about Draco crowding the professor's space during lectures. He pulled out his notebook though and prepared himself for 90 minutes of unadulterated aggravation.

After class, Draco went with his other roommate, Celene, to the Student Union Café. "Gawd, that was even worse than usual. I swear I have never met someone who so totally gets off on hearing himself talk," Celene groused as she munched on her fries. "Seriously, if he didn't have tenure I swear his ass would be out of here."

Draco smiled as he sipped his coffee. Celene was flamboyant, colourful, brilliant and in the four years he'd known her, she'd never failed to sense when he was getting into a funk and pull him out before he got too deep. "Doesn't matter. The only reason people take his course is for the easy credits. It's the only senior level seminar that's set up with very little reading, and only 2 short papers. The man is a lazy arse, but it means I have more time to work on my recital pieces."

Michael slipped into the booth across from Celene at that moment, "Hey. Sorry to keep you waiting, the line is massive in there. So Dray, you were saying--recital pieces--how are those coming?"

Draco frowned, "They're not coming along as well as I'd hoped. I have an advisory meeting with Johansen Thursday to go discuss my latest revisions. I really need to get it all together by the end of next week. I know the semester just started but my recital is scheduled for late April, so I don't have a lot of time to get practice in."

Celene snorted, "Of course you do, you idiot. We've all pretty much been practicing what you've written as you've gone along, so it's not going to take that much to whip us into shape. We all happen to be pretty decent musicians you know." She slapped at her friend. She knew he was worried, he'd nearly driven their house mad over the summer with his revisions and his midnight sessions at the piano and his incessant, "What do you think of this stanza?" but she really felt his work was beautiful and she was honoured that she'd get a chance to finally perform with him, even if he was a psychotic anal-retentive task-master. "So Draco, have you decided what the program's going to be yet?"

He looked up from his coffee. "Yes. Depending on what Johansen approves, I want the two quartet pieces first, then the break, the piano concerto and the aria last," he smiled at his friend.

"Ah Mr. Flair for the dramatic…if you insist," Celene tossed her head back and fluttered her lashes, "such a hardship, but for you, Draco dahh-ling, anything."

The platinum blond shook his head and smirked, "You know you love it Cele. They're all going to leave thinking how beautiful you are, so they'll forget it's my recital anyway."

The cocoa-skinned beauty blinked owlishly at him, "Isn't that the point?"

Draco snickered, Michael groaned and their resident diva cackled.

"Okay you two, I'm done for the day so I'm heading home. Callie and I have cooking duty so if you're eating at home dinner will be out by 7." Draco, unlocked his chair, grabbed his trash and wheeled away from the café tossing a casual wave over his shoulder.

It took 20 minutes to get from campus to the 5 bedroom house he'd shared with 6 other students from the Conservatory since his sophomore year. He owned it, though no one else knew. That first year he realised he'd hate dorm living within the first week--everything was the wrong height, or placed awkwardly, the hallways were too narrow, the bathrooms cumbersome. He hated feeling like he was failing at making the adjustment to his new life. Two weeks into the semester he knew he'd be living off campus the following year. He also knew he'd have a terrible time finding accessible off campus housing, so he'd decided to buy a house and have it renovated to meet his needs. He'd found the expansive one story rancher with wrap around patio and deck that featured a detached garage with mother-in-law apartment, a large fenced yard, an in-ground pool and even a small 2 bedroom guest cabin, two weeks into his search and he'd purchased it outright the day after he'd seen it.

Just before Thanksgiving break he met with a design firm, and the renovations were underway by Christmas. Spring of his freshman year he told some of his closer friends about the "ad" he'd seen for fully furnished accessible house for rent, and asked if they'd be willing to move in with him. They'd been really "lucky" to snag a "former professor's" house as a rental. And he'd been really lucky in his choice of housemates. He was truly pleased that he'd chosen so well. All this time later and they were all still living together and got along so incredibly well. Sure there were arguments sometimes, especially over scheduling for the climate controlled soundproofed garage-turned-practice rooms, but they worked it out. For the first time in a very long time, since he'd left the home of his lover's arms, Draco felt there was somewhere he belonged.

As he pushed up the ramp to their porch he smiled at the sense of peace that being home brought.

After dinner and hanging out, Draco retreated to his room to work on several assignments and fiddle with his compositions. It amused him to no end that he'd decided to make his life in the Muggle world, but after the war, he just couldn't bring himself to be a part of the Wizarding world anymore. He'd seen so much death and destruction. The power plays and the heavy weight of guilt plagued him.

Besides he was a pariah. It didn't matter that he'd turned spy and worked for the Order of the Phoenix during the war or that during the final battle it was clear he'd fought against Voldemort and his forces, to the masses he was still Draco Malfoy, Death Eater, son of Voldemort's Lieutenant. He could never get away from the stigma of his name and so "hiding out" in the Muggle world was the best solution for him. As soon as he'd been healed enough to move he'd made arrangements. He'd taken advantage of the confusion that followed in the weeks after the war's end to attend to the logistics: freeing his house elves, appointing a manager for the Malfoy estates and investments, and closing his family's account at Gringotts before it could be seized by the Ministry of Magic and having it all transferred to a Muggle bank,. He was pleased to learn that wealth in the Wizarding world meant wealth in the Muggle world as well. And after some thought, and some planning, and a crash course in cultural awareness, he was off to California and Claremont Conservatory to be a Composition major.

He would live his life making music: to bring enjoyment to others, to bring peace or beauty or love or passion to an audience. He'd give something beautiful into the world because he'd seen so much life and beauty ripped out of it.

He worked for a couple of hours then noticed Celene had returned, so before she could get too cosy with her girlfriend, Draco grabbed her and dragged her off to a practice room to go through (what he hoped were) the last revisions to his lengthy aria. Callie, of course, came along. When the last note faded away, Callie had tears in her eyes and he knew the piece was what he'd meant it to be. He thanked them both quietly, picked up the sheet music and wheeled away to deal in his own way with the tears he hadn't been able to shed.

Cele's smile was bittersweet as she watched Draco enter the house. He'd found the house and brought them all together, and they had truly become her family. He was the big brother she'd never had, and just like a big brother, he took care of her and protected her, but sometimes she wished he'd just come to her as a friend and talk to her about what had hurt him so badly. The aria was beautiful and poignant and terribly bitter yet triumphant. And spoke to something deep within. It was the sort of piece that came from the intimately knowing life and death, the joy of discovery and the soul bitter ache of loss, of beauty and abject horror and she desperately wanted to know how a 22 year old man had come to experience such things so fully.

She doubted he'd ever tell, it was as likely as him acknowledging that he'd written the aria just for her to perform because she'd been passed over for so many opportunities at Claremont Conservatory, which meant more to her than she could ever say. His work had already caught some important national attention and they all knew there would be some rather influential people making an appearance at his senior recital.

By giving her a complex and poignant aria to sing as his finale he'd provided her a chance to showcase her talent more broadly than any school performance would. In that single action he was making up for every role she'd lost to someone the Voice Department Director felt "looked" the part more than she did. This was his shot at the big leagues and he was bringing her along for the ride.

Four months later, their happy house was a study in chaos as 6 people ran (or wheeled) around looking for cuff links, begging help with zips and buttons, fiddling with jewellery, failing at tying bowties and generally getting ready for Draco's senior recital. For Bree and Michael, the recital was important on another level, as they'd both taken independent project credits this semester and their performances were being counted as their final grades. Callie was a wreck because Cele was a bundle of nerves; Jonathan worried that he'd miss the transition he'd been having problems with the last few weeks and throw everyone off, ruining the first quartet piece and Draco's recital and therefore his life. Paul was in music education, but seeing his housemates and his boyfriend in a tizzy was driving him to distraction and Draco…well…they were all wondering where their mild mannered, even tempered, dynamic friend had gone, because the sneering, screaming, impatient ass that was issuing commands like some sort of crown prince was not anyone they knew. As for Draco himself...he was ready to kill for a bottle of firewhiskey and a time-turner.

Eventually though, they all were dressed appropriately and made it to the Catherine Janefield Hall. Bree, Michael, Jonathan and were onstage and ready, Dr. Johansen had made his introductory comments and finally Draco wheeled onstage. He looked out into the audience, not that he could really see much with the bright lights and cleared his throat. He introduced each member of the quartet and announced the first two pieces, "The Sorting" and "The Tournament." He rolled back from the microphone, wheeled into place next to Paul and picked up his violin.

When the break arrived he went back to the dressing room and tried to hold it all together. They'd done well. And if the applause was any measure, the audience had enjoyed his compositions. The second half of his recital though…that was the true test. He'd be performing several pieces for piano and then Cele would sing his aria. It had been difficult to revisit his memories for that material. He'd told himself he was writing it to bring himself closure, but it felt in some ways he felt he'd only been ripping the scabs from his still healing wounds.

It was a lover's lament, telling the story of her hero, his destiny a burden, his life one of hardship, discovery, betrayal and restored hope, his valiant battle with evil and his triumph. There was also the story of their love. Two beings from different social worlds, their families enemies, who grow to love each other in secret and only by chance is their love revealed to one another. A beautiful and fragile relationship blooms and then the battle comes and she must choose--her hero and her truest love, or her family and the way of life she's always known.

She chooses rightly and stands beside her lover. The battle rages around them and she's forced to kill her own father who with his dying breath lashes out and disfigures her. The hero defeats the evil lord and his followers but during the night of their victory she realises they can never be together for she will never overcome the taint of her family name or the sins they committed. She leaves him before dawn breaking her heart so he can retain his honour and glory.

It was Harry's story and his, well--except for the leaving in the night part,and in a way it had felt wrong writing it in his third language, but English was out of the question, and Cele was wonderful with Italian, her French wasn't as good and he wanted this to be perfect. In the program the Italian lyrics were printed along with an English summary, in it he'd passed the story off as an adaptation of an old folktale, though he'd had a bit of trouble convincing Johansen that his aria deserved a title as grand as Trionfo D'Amore: La Storia Del Ragazzo Che E Sopravvissuto'. He couldn't call it anything else though--when all was said and done, the story of the Boy-Who-Lived was love's triumph. Still, he was nervous as hell about it. And he'd never heard it in its entirety. He'd practiced bits and pieces with Cele, and was, each time, moved beyond speech, but he'd never been able to bring himself to hear it all.

Before he knew it, the break was over and he wheeled himself back onto the stage taking his place before the piano for the second half. He pulled the microphone down and spoke to the gathered crowd. "These last pieces hold particular significance to me and I would like to dedicate them to some very special people who taught me a great deal about what is truly important in life. I've listed them in the acknowledgements of the program, but I'd like to call attention to them now. So the following are dedicated to Albus Dumbledore, Ernie McMillan, and Ginerva Weasley, who are no longer with us; and to my living heroes: Severus Snape, Remus Lupin, Pansy Parkinson, Blaise Zabini, Ronald Weasley, Hermione Granger and most especially Harry James Potter."

He'd scrapped the idea of one concerto for 5 separate compositions "On the Pitch," "By the Lake," "The Great Hall," "The Order," and "Battlefield." As he'd written them he laughed, thinking that if anyone got a clue the Ministry's Obliviators were going to be really busy with memory charms.

By the end of "Battlefield" he was exhausted. He'd poured every bit of himself into his playing--all his passion, his anger, his pain, his pride, his love…everything. He desperately wanted them to feel as he'd felt…he wanted them to know the exhilaration of flying and the thrill of the chase; wanted them to feel the honour and camaraderie that bound members of the Order of the Phoenix to each other and the rightness of their cause; he wanted them to despair on the battlefield and hold their breath in anticipation of the end, hoping against all that they would emerge victorious, if not unscathed.

When he was finished the hall was silent. He rolled away from the piano and bowed, then gratefully gave the stage to Johansen who had a strange look in his eye, but Draco would think on that later. His advisor introduced Cele and then Draco was caught in the web of his own making and let the power and clarity of Cele's voice take him back to all he'd known and given up.

An unrelenting roar returned him to the present and it took some time before he recognised the sound as thunderous applause. It was well deserved, Cele had been magnificent. And he was really glad he hadn't heard the completed piece before tonight. It was awesome, and horrible, and he couldn't stop the tears. He didn't realise until Bree wiped his face and held him, that he'd been sobbing, but he regained himself quickly enough when Johansen hissed that he needed to come and make his final bow. He collected the bouquets he'd had prepared and presented them to his housemates, his friends--his family. He pulled Cele down to kiss her cheek, and thanked her. Finally, he turned to the audience and bowing his head, and was rather surprised that the applause grew even louder. Draco blushed, bowed again, and rolled offstage right into...

Hermione Granger.

Oh, she was older, taller, more polished--her hair was styled and curled casually around her shoulders, but her eyes were still bright with the spark of keen intelligence. Draco rubbed his eyes. "Her-her-hermione?" he huffed out quietly. He didn't catch her response since he passed into the dark of unconsciousness as soon as she opened her mouth.

Tbc…

A/N 2: I am not a student of languages, but Viridiana corrected my first attempt. I still extend my deepest apologies to the Italian speakers out there for botching it the first time…for the rest of us…in English the title of Draco's aria 'Trionfo D'Amore: La Storia Del Ragazzo Che E Sopravvissuto,' is 'Love Triumphant: The Story of the Boy Who Lived'

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