Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, hence, I don't have a lot of money.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Hey look! The sequel is up! For those of you who haven't read The Code, you should if you want to understand this story. I mean, it's not vital, but it probably would help.
Summary: Bill is a contact for spies overseas, and sends the information they gather in coded messages. Draco is Bill's code breaker, and he's back in England for seventh year, but there are a lot of surprises in store for him, like the niece he never knew he had. Now, he finds himself opposing the Dark Lord, in the process of getting disowned (the paper work takes forever to go through), rescuing Harry from his relatives in a convertible, getting captured by Death Eaters, and meeting, very briefly, one Sirius Black, who comes back to life. He is also discovering exactly what having friends is like. Luckily, Bill will be there for him, and no, it is NOT slash for those of you who are wondering.
Bill waited outside the Headmaster's office, a letter from Draco Malfoy in his pocket and another from the Minister of Magic in his hands. He had received it a week ago and it detailed a network of informants that the Minister wished to set up to keep tabs on the growing threat of Death Eaters across seas. It was relatively simple.
There were to be spies in other countries, not actually spying in on the meetings, but keeping their ears open, and getting in contact with the types of people that would be working for the Dark Lord. They would then give their information to a contact in that country, who would be in charge of coding the messages. They would then be sent back to England to a decoder, who would translate the messages and then relay them to the Aurors.
Fudge had finally wised up and put Dumbledore in charge of the operation, and then had asked Bill to be a contact in France. Because Bill had gotten married in early June, and because he had found out in late June that Fleur was pregnant, he had been wary to join. The consequences would be doubly harsh if he was caught because he had escaped Voldemort once already, and he had a family depending on him. In hopes to persuade him, the Minister had allowed him to pick any code breaker he wished, as long as said decoder was willing and that he cleared it with Dumbledore.
That was why he was in Hogwarts in early August, waiting for the Headmaster.
The door opened and Dumbledore appeared at the door, stepping back to let him in.
"My apologies for making you wait, William," he said, smiling in greeting.
"Perfectly alright, Headmaster," said Bill, taking a seat and then taking the proffered lemon drop. Dumbledore regained his seat behind his parchment covered desk and looked at him with twinkling eyes.
"And how is your lovely wife today?"
Bill got that feeling of absolute wonder in his chest whenever the words 'your wife' were used to describe Fleur and he knew he must be beaming.
"She's doing well, though Mum is already trying to fill our house with loads of baby things."
Dumbledore got a knowledgeable look in his eyes. "I suppose she must be ready for her first grandchild."
"And everyone else is ready to be an uncle or an aunt," agreed Bill. "We'll have the most spoiled child in all of England."
Dumbledore chuckled, but then grew serious. "I suppose you are here to give me your answer about being a contact then."
"Yes," said Bill. He took a breath. "Fleur and I talked it over, and we decided that I will go to France to be a contact."
"Thank you, William," said Dumbledore sincerely. "And the Order will be checking in with Fleur everyday when you are gone, and there is always a room for her in Headquarters."
"Thank you," said Bill.
"Have you decided who you want to be for your code breaker yet?"
"Actually, yes," said Bill. "That's part of the reason why I'm here."
"Who is it?" asked Dumbledore.
Bill took a breath. "Draco Malfoy," he said.
Dumbledore actually looked surprised, his eyebrows shooting up to his hairline.
"Draco Malfoy?" he asked, and then he leaned back in his chair, stroking his beard thoughtfully. "I suppose there is more to this than currently meets the eye?"
"You were the one that said that there was something about him," said Bill. "What made you say that?"
"Minerva says that it's wishful thinking," said Dumbledore. "That I feel that I have failed Lucius in some way and so now I am trying to see some good in his son. Perhaps she is right. Lucius was…he was smart, but very misguided. I tried, in the past, to reach out to boys like him, from families with extreme prejudices, but my efforts merely worsened the conflict, especially with Tom. I think those students could tell that I was more concerned about those who were being oppressed, than those who were being told to do the oppressing."
"Were you?" asked Bill.
"It is easier to feel pity for the oppressed than for the oppressor, even when the oppressor is just as much a victim. It took me a while to see that and that cost me many students."
"But Draco?" asked Bill.
"Yes," said Dumbledore. "Draco…
"Hello, Madam Pince," said Dumbledore, smiling at the sight of the strict librarian who was glaring over the rim of her spectacles at the noisy students.
"Albus," said the librarian, then to the children, who were at the tables, "If you are not going to be quiet, you can leave!"
"Oh, come now," said Dumbledore soothingly. "They are just children. They learn by interaction."
"Yes, but this is a library," said the witch in a huff. "Is there anything I can do for you?"
"Yes, actually," said Dumbledore. "I'm looking for the Rare Magical Creatures Limited Edition."
"Someone's already using it," said the librarian.
"Indeed?" asked Dumbledore, wondering if someone had come to the same conclusion he had. He tried to think of who it might be. Hermione Granger was a sharp one, and no doubt she would be interested, but Richard Terrington, Ravenclaw 5th year, was the smartest boy in the school.
"Right over there," said Pince, pointing to a far table.
Dumbledore could make out a slight figure and he nodded his thanks and walked over to the lone student. As he drew closer he could make out the white-blond hair of Lucius Malfoy's only child, who would be a second year, same as Harry.
The boy was small for his age, small and skinny when he had every right to be overweight with how much his parents could afford, but then again, Narcissa had always been preoccupied with her own figure and the amount of food she ate, and he wondered if it could have been passed down to one so young.
And Draco Malfoy did look very young, sitting in the lotus position on the chair, the large book in his lap, writing on a piece of parchment. His hair was slicked back, as usual, but now it was coming undone and was slightly mussed. Dumbledore pulled out a chair and sat, watching as the cold grey eyes turned to him, a faint flicker of surprise shining for a second underneath all of the ice, but then it was gone.
"Hello, Mr. Malfoy," said Dumbledore kindly.
"Headmaster," said the child, nodding ever-so-slightly, like an emperor nodding to a subject. "Is there something you would wish to discuss?"
The child was wary, he could hear it in his polite, formal tone.
"Not at all," said Dumbledore. "I was just about to look at the same book as you."
He gestured to the tome in the child's lap and Draco raised an eyebrow, a trait he no doubt picked up from Lucius. "Indeed?" he asked. "Do you often have urges to read Choski?"
There was a slight derisive tone in the voice now, and the boy pulled out a new piece of parchment, writing rather hastily now, and although Dumbledore couldn't read the words, he could see that the handwriting was still incredibly neat.
"Not at all," said Dumbledore again, "I actually try to steer away from him as much as possible because I find him rather dry, but I believe that the book might actually be useful during these times."
The boy smirked slightly, closed the book, and handed it over. "Happy reading then, Headmaster. I am quite finished with it."
Dumbledore watched as the boy packed up his things and then walked away without another glance in his direction. He followed the child with his eyes as the second year paused by another table, leaning in to whisper something and then walking out the door. A few seconds later, the table erupted in shouts and accusations and Dumbledore had no doubt that Draco Malfoy was the instigator, though he would not be able to prove it.
Pince sorted the students out and Dumbledore turned back to the book, looking up basilisk in the index and then turning to page 366. To his surprise there was a piece of parchment tucked between the pages. He pulled it out and read the perfect script of one Draco Malfoy.
I recommend a supplementary reading of Burgeson's Guide to Ghosts, page 37.
Intrigued, Dumbledore found the other book and turned to the suggested page, skimming down the lines until one caught his attention "…it has been theorized that the gaze of a basilisk would indeed affect a ghost negatively, causing a condensing of the 'grey matter' that makes up the incorporeal figures as well as paralysis..."
Dumbledore put the book back, stroking his beard as his thoughts turned to one certain blond haired boy.
"I still don't know what it is about Draco," said Dumbledore, once he had finished relating the story to Bill, "and there have been other incidents, but they are so few I haven't been able to pinpoint what it is that is off about him. The only thing I know is that he is quite clever, cleverer than what he shows."
"That he is," said Bill, unable to stop the smile from slipping onto his face.
"What is it?" Dumbledore asked. "You know what he is hiding."
Bill nodded and started to explain. "Draco decoded my board last year."
"He what?" asked Dumbledore, leaning forward slightly.
"He figured out that I was sending a message through my instructions on the board," said Bill. "He even figured out that Tonks was impersonating a student."
"And yet you didn't tell anyone?" asked Dumbledore. "You could have been exposed." His tone was grave and slightly disappointed; Bill knew why. It hadn't been just his life he was risking, it was Tonks as well.
"I realize that it might seem incredibly foolish not to tell anyone," said Bill, "but he couldn't tell, and even if he could expose me, I don't think I would have told you, or anyone else for that matter."
Dumbledore looked extremely serious now. "And why is that?" he asked.
Bill paused for a moment. "Because he's not as bad as everyone thinks he is," he said finally. "He's not even as bad as he could be."
Dumbledore studied him for a moment. "I think you had better start from the beginning."
Bill nodded. "As you know I took the Ancient Runes position to pass on information from the Death Eater meetings to Tonks, who was disguised as a Ravenclaw girl in my class, by means of a code on my blackboard. Draco Malfoy was also in my class, and my brother and his friends told me many horrible things that Draco had done, painting him to be a miniature Lord Voldemort."
Dumbledore half-smiled at that, though not in amusement, and Bill continued.
"I started noticing things about Draco, things that went against my original view of him. When the attack on the Quidditch Pitch occurred, I stayed with Draco while Severus had to make an immobilization potion. Because Madame Pomfrey had given him some rather potent pain medications, he was talking more than he usually did, finally saying, right as he passed out, 'There's a riddle on your board. R is for Riddle. M is for Malfoy.'"
"That's when you found out that he had decoded the information," said Dumbledore.
"Right," said Bill. "So, I immediately went inside and did what no other teacher had done before. I looked into his file and found something rather startling."
"And that was-?" prodded Dumbledore, completely enthralled in the story.
"You have copies of the files in here, don't you?" asked Bill. "I think it's better if you checked for yourself."
Dumbledore flicked his wand and a cabinet opened, a file flying out and landing on his desk. The Headmaster opened it, scanning the pages and then going still. Bill watched as he stared a moment, then flipped back to the beginning.
"All E's," said Dumbledore, looking up at Bill. "Six years of straight E's. It's impossible to receive those grades on a fluke."
"That's what I thought," said Bill. "Of course at that time I saw it, there was only five years of straight E's, but it still proved a point."
"He was purposefully getting E's," said Dumbledore.
"Exactly," said Bill. "And because he had figured out my code, I knew he must be incredibly smart, so I went to visit him in the infirmary, and told him that I knew, and we reached a sort of truce."
"His silence for your silence," said Dumbledore.
Bill nodded, remembering Draco saying those exact words.
"I started working with him on the Persian Runes, which have never been translated," said Bill. "I've been trying to translate them for a while now, but haven't made any real progress. I knew that someone as smart as Draco would love the chance to help decode the runes, and it would also give me a chance to talk with him."
"You wished to be his friend," said Dumbledore.
"Not then, no," said Bill. "I was more intrigued that he managed to go for nearly his entire school career without anyone noticing that he was smarter than he pretended to be, and I was also curious as to why he didn't tell anyone about the board. I realized then that because he was so smart, he would have undoubtedly realized that Voldemort is not worth following, although his childhood beliefs came into conflict with his revelations. I also knew that if he did join Voldemort, we wouldn't stand a chance against the Death Eaters."
"He's that smart?" asked Dumbledore.
Bill nodded. "I had to teach him the Slavic Runes before we could get started on the Persian ones, and he knew it cold in half an hour, and then he corrected me on a verb conjugation." Bill shook his head, smiling at the memory.
"You think of him as a brother," said Dumbledore, his insight once again proving to be astounding.
"I do," said Bill. "I'll be the first one to admit that sometimes the kid is frustrating, and some days you just want to slap him for being such a git, but all over, he's an okay kid. Perhaps he's a little misguided, and he has these rather large trust problems, but for the most part I think he turned out rather well, considering the circumstances."
"I see," said Dumbledore, nodding thoughtfully. "Do you think Draco will want to be your code breaker?"
"I think so," said Bill. "He did, after all, save my life."
Dumbledore's blue eyes lit up. "Your angel," he said.
"Yeah," said Bill. "He showed up out of nowhere, and took on the whole Death Eater army. It was rather impressive."
"I can imagine," said Dumbledore. "I'm also impressed that you managed to befriend him. It's not every day a Slytherin will risk his neck to save someone else, especially when there is no benefit to the Slytherin. He must think highly of you."
Bill laughed. "I don't think Draco thinks highly of anyone," he said. "But, I am his friend."
"Well then, I approve Draco Malfoy as your code breaker, though it might be difficult to send the letters under Lucius Malfoy's gaze.
"He doesn't live with Lucius anymore," said Bill.
"Oh?" asked Dumbledore.
"He was disinherited and is on his way to being disowned," said Bill. "Apparently he refused Voldemort's offer at the initiation at the end of summer."
"Severus didn't mention that Draco was there," said Dumbledore.
"Draco asked him not to," said Bill. "After he refused Voldemort he met Snape at his house to give him a letter to deliver to me, since Draco told me about the initiation and he knew I would be worried. Severus says that Draco created quite a stir. Apparently Voldemort wanted Draco to be his heir and Draco told him to 'screw himself' though in less polite terms. He then Portkeyed away."
Dumbledore looked highly amused at that, no doubt figuring the exact phrasing used, but then turned serious. "That would be enough to get him disowned," he said, "though it usually takes quite a few months to get the papers through. Do you know why Voldemort wanted Draco as his heir? Does he know that Draco is highly intelligent?"
"I talked to Severus about that," said Bill grimly, "and the closest he understands it is that Draco answered the initiation questions correctly and that Voldemort seemed impressed that he didn't cry after repeated administrations of the Cruciatus."
Dumbledore's eyes darkened at the mention of the curse, but then he looked down at Draco's file still on the table.
"It seems to me that Draco is a very good candidate to be your code breaker. Have you contacted him yet?"
"Well, no," said Bill a little sheepishly. "You see, I don't really know where he is right now."
"Really," said Dumbledore.
"He left the country soon after refusing the Dark Mark," said Bill. "He sends me letters every week with information on the Persian Runes that he is working on, but I have no clue where he is. I've tried to trace the letters, but I haven't been able to. I was wondering if you could take a look at them."
"Of course," said Dumbledore.
Bill pulled out Draco's letter and handed it to the Headmaster.
"I'll let you know what I find as soon as possible," Dumbledore promised.
"Thank you, Headmaster," said Bill getting up. "Good day."
"And to you too, William."
Draco frowned as he stared at the walls covered in Ancient Runes, or rather, the large sheets of paper he had taped over every wall in his apartment were covered in Ancient Runes. He stood in the middle of his living room, his left hand holding the black marker and his right tapping out his pattern as he thought.
The room was messy. Sheets of paper that had already been marked all over were strewn about in piles and the bookshelf was filled with volumes on Calculus, advanced mathematics, psychology, chemistry, and computer technology. There was also a keyboard in the corner, which was the only piece of furniture he personally owned because the flat had come already furnished.
He flipped through one of the notebooks Bill had given him, skimmed it over, and then scribbled hastily in one of the margins on the paper. He stepped back and frowned again. It still didn't work.
"Merde," he said out loud.
He was answered by the ding of the microwave and he gave the wall one last look and then walked into the kitchen. The smell of some sort of fake pasta meal wafted from the microwave and he opened it, then pulled the plastic container out and shut the door. On the way back to the living room he grabbed a plastic fork and began to eat.
It was a pre-cooked meal, one which required only three minutes in the microwave, and it was one of the only meals Draco could make. He had no doubt that he could become proficient in the kitchen, but he honestly thought doing so was a waste of time. He had nearly starved the first week he was in the States because he didn't take the time to make anything, but then he had discovered the freezer section in the grocery stores and the meals that were already cooked for him. So what if they tasted strangely like plastic? It was nourishment.
He returned to staring at the walls again, the flimsy carton in his hand, working as he ate. This one dialect had been giving him trouble. To be truthful, the whole entire thing had been giving him trouble, but then again, he was trying to decipher an Ancient Rune dialect that had never been translated before.
He sighed. Maybe it was time for a break. He had been doing Ancient Runes nearly the entire time he had been away from England, only taking breaks when his head had been too muddled, like it was right now. The first time he had turned to physics, publishing a paper on the speed of light. The math world had eaten it up, astounded by the equations that had disproved so many theories on the speed of light. 'A break-through' one famed mathematician called it. Draco disagreed. It was in all honesty, a piece of crap. All he had done was disproved theories; he had made no conclusions of his own.
The second time he had taken a break was when he had first moved to this apartment. It was in some middle-sized city and it did little to block out the noise from the street. Draco had been sorely tempted to cast a silencing charm, but magic is easily traced and he wanted to remain inconspicuous. So Draco had purchased the keyboard and spent all night playing and tinkered a bit with composing. He had finally published a symphony that was picked up by quite a few orchestras, and was even played in Carnegie Hall as well as the Sydney Opera House. The critics raved about the piece, and this time Draco agreed. It was quite beautiful.
It was these two pursuits that gave him enough money for the apartment, and quite a bit extra, which Draco was thankful for. He had no intention of drawing money from his Gringotts account because money is a whole lot more traceable than magic.
The third time, he had toyed with creating a supplement to counter Veritaserum. He had finally come up with a theoretical potion, but without a real potion lab, he couldn't test it.
He sighed again. Perhaps it was time to look to another subject for a while. He did have an idea for a jazz piano piece that had been lingering in the back of his brain. He walked back into the kitchen and threw out the remains of his meal, and than drank a glass full of water, or rather, a paper cup full of water because he hated washing dishes.
He glanced at the paper-covered wall in his kitchen, also covered in Ancient Runes, and then he tore a section off and ran back into the living room, taping that section under the one he had just written. He stepped back, his mind going into overdrive. He picked up his marker and began to write.
He stopped four hours later when night fell and the light disappeared from the windows. He took the opportunity to close the curtains and turn on his lights, and then took down the covered pages and put blank ones up.
The tapping at the window halted his progress three hours later and he pulled open the curtain to see an owl at his window, a letter tied to its leg. For a minute he stared. No one knew where he was, why on earth was there an owl at his window?
He left the window to grab his unregistered wand from the bedside table, just in case there was something wrong with the letter. While all magic is noticeable, the unregistered wand insured that it couldn't be traced to his name. He opened the window and took the letter from the owl, which immediately flew away.
Draco closed the window and made sure that all of the curtains were closed tightly, before screening the letter for any curses or hexes. There were none. He slowly opened the letter, surprised to note that it was written in the Syrian dialect, the same dialect he had used to write his letters to Bill. He knew it couldn't be coincidence, but how did Bill find him?
He read the letter.
It's Bill. Since you're probably wondering how I managed to get this letter to you, I didn't. I had Dumbledore trace your letters.
Draco felt a surge of disbelief and betrayal. He had Dumbledore trace his letters? What was going on?
Listen, don't jump to conclusions and don't get mad. I'll explain, starting from the top. There is a growing threat of Death Eaters overseas, and Fudge is finally doing something proactive. There are to be a network of spies in the other countries, mostly undercover Aurors, and they will be listening in the right places in hopes to pick information up. They will relay the information to a contact in the country, who will code the messages and send them to a code-breaker in England, who will translate the messages and send them on. Fudge had put Dumbledore in charge of the whole project, which is why I told him about you. I'm to go to France, to be a contact. And I would like nothing better than to have you as my code breaker.
Draco re-read the last paragraph, wondering if Bill was serious. His last stint as a spy didn't go so well, but he could tell Bill was serious. He read on.
I realize you might be rather upset that I told Dumbledore about you, and you have a right to be; it is not my secret to tell. However, even if I wasn't going to be a spy, and even if Dumbledore wasn't in charge of the mission, I think I would still tell Dumbledore that you are a genius. I asked Severus about what happened that night, and I know that Voldemort wanted you to be his heir, and that you said no. I want someone on the faculty who knows exactly what is happening so that they can keep an eye out for you when you return to school, and since I don't know if you are returning to school, I want someone who has a lot of influence to keep tabs on you, hence Dumbledore. And yes, that would be my Gryfindorish traits of worry to much coming out.
Draco had to smirk at that, even if he didn't know what he felt about Dumbledore knowing his secret. If someone on the faculty had to be told, he was glad it would be Dumbledore because he held no respect for the other teachers. He read the rest of the message.
If you do wish to be my code breaker, meet myself and Dumbledore at the Three Broomsticks on Thursday at ten in the morning. If not, don't come. I really do hope you are doing well, Draco, and stay safe, alright?
P.S. Dumbledore was quite impressed at your hiding skills. He tried to trace the letters, but couldn't even figure out what continent you are on, so we had to settle with merely figuring out how to send a letter back to you.
Draco knew that in sending the letters to Bill, it would be possible to send a letter back to him if Bill really looked hard enough, or asked Dumbledore, but that was part of the reason he had sent them. He wanted to know if something major had happened.
He sat down on the coach, thinking it over. He had planned on going back to England for school, had more than planned on it. He already had a flat in London, near Diagon Alley, and he had gone out shopping for furniture already with the money he had made from his paper and his music. While he needed the time away from the war and everything else to figure things out, he never planned on hiding away for the rest of his life. He needed to go back. He was a part of the conflict.
He didn't want to join the Order of the Phoenix, at least, not yet. He wasn't ready for the Order just now, didn't feel like associating with the type of people that, up until a few months ago, he hated. But this was Ministry run, and he firmly believed that the Ministry needed to be a part of the war. So, he got up, and began to pack.
It was Monday right now, and he could manage a flight back by either tonight or tomorrow. That would give him plenty of time to settle into his new flat, and then he would meet Bill and Dumbledore on Thursday. He took one last look around the life he had created for himself, and didn't feel at all sad about leaving. It was time to go home.
Well, what do you think so far? Things will definitely heat up in the next chapter (Draco runs into Lucius, not literally, but still unexpectedly). Review!