Nightmares and Daydreams
Disclaimer: I am not J.K. Rowling, I am not a multinational bookselling company, nor am I a multi-million dollar movie company, so I don't own anything that you recognize. I am a retired former teacher who likes to twist plots and play with characters, so enjoy.
AN: I have my first cataract surgery tomorrow and then the second one on June 22nd. I will still need glasses so I won't have them until after the second surgery in two weeks. I am not sure how much I will be able to see so I won't know if I will be able to type much so bear with me, I will do what I can. Wish me luck and pray for me, I don't particularly care who you pray to, I need all the help that I can get!
07/20/08 Surgery went well but I couldn't see at all for a while, my right eye was the first one done but my left eye crosses so I couldn't force it to stay straight enough to read very long. I finally have a new pair of glasses and can now be on the computer for longer than two hours at a time. It does feel strange to be able to see once again…and so much better than I ever have in my life.
Chapter 13: Explosions
Draco, no wait, his name was Derek Malone now, followed his mother through the huge airport, trying to keep up with the rapidly walking woman.
"Mother, slow down some…I'm still sore…" he whined petulantly when he stopped to catch his breath.
"You should have thought of that before you…" Narcissa Malfoy pinched her lips tightly shut as she refused to lose her temper in the middle of Heathrow Airport…she might no longer be a Malfoy but the ingrained teachings of both the Black and Malfoy aristocracy overruled her desire to give her son the dressing down he so richly deserved. She might have wanted to be free of the chains that Lucius Malfoy had tightly wrapped around her soul but she would have preferred that her son not be so stupid as to murder his own father with over a thousand witnesses in order to gain that freedom. She turned around and glared down her perfectly formed nose at the boy, her disapproval at his actions clear in every tight frown line and hard glare.
Draco looked at the floor, refusing to meet his mother's very angry glower. He felt like he was four years old again and had been caught writing naughty words in his father's books once again. But this time was much worse, he knew that he had royally screwed up and there was nothing that he could do right now to fix it. He gulped as he realized his mother could have just left him to the mercy of the Ministry of Magic or the Dark Lord and escaped on her own. He looked up at his mother, plastering the most pitiful expression on his face that he could manage; after all, it wasn't a look he was used to showing, but he knew his usual arrogant smirk would get him nowhere any more.
"I'm sorry Mother. I will keep up with you, now." He thought he managed contrition very well but according to his Mother's face, she wasn't buying it. He made a note to himself to work on his acting skills more once they got wherever they were going.
"Come along, Derek. Once we check in there will be time for you to rest some and even find a bite to eat before we board the plane." Narcissa squelched her annoyance at her son and tried to blend into the passing crowds better; thanking her sister Andromeda once more for her surreptitious meetings over the long years of her marriage to the arrogant prig her parents had forced her to marry. Without those clandestine meetings and her sister's patient lessons in how to get along in the Muggle world she would be at the mercy of the Minister of Magic right now and she doubted that Amelia Bones would be as easy to sway as the imminently bribable and congenitally stupid Cornelius Fudge had been. No, much better that she had been planning this escape ever since she had realized the brutal and totally amoral monster she had been married to would never let him leave her, at least not while she was still breathing or with her sanity still intact.
"Yes, Mother." Draco picked up the magically lightened rucksack once more and tossed it over one shoulder like the others in the crowd were carrying. He felt odd with the Muggle bag, but he couldn't afford to lose all of his shrunken belongings so he would have to get used to it. He took a deep breath and chugged after his mother once more, hoping they got to the security station soon…whatever that was.
Remus opened the window and let in the nondescript brown owl, absentmindedly giving the bird a treat after removing the thick roll of parchment that was tied to its leg. He sat down at his kitchen table as he unrolled the missive and used a stray fork to hold the top flat as he read it, his eyebrows going up and disappearing into his shaggy brown hair as he read.
Dear Mr. Lupin,
I apologize for the story this morning in the Daily Prophet. I neither authorized nor know how the story was leaked but I assure you that an investigation into that leak is already underway. Regardless of how the story was unfortunately leaked, it remains that the basis of the story was, in fact, accurate.
I would appreciate very much if you would meet with me and several others to discuss the newly opened position of Head of Interspecies Co-operation. I agree that sentient beings are and should be insulted by the old name of the Department and that will be the first item of business to be discussed. I am quite pleased with the name that you suggested and will recommend that be the name chosen if that meets with your approval. The second item to be discussed will be which laws need to be stricken from the books to allow fair and equitable treatment to all beings, no matter what their lineage or species.
If you would be amenable, I would like to meet with you in my office this afternoon at 3:00 pm. I anticipate a long meeting, so dinner will be served if necessary. Please think about what you would need to have happen before you could join the Ministry and bring your concerns and thoughts to this preliminary meeting. I look forward to meeting with you this afternoon.
If this time is acceptable, please send your acceptance with the Ministry owl that delivered this parchment. If you cannot meet this afternoon, please let me know when a more convenient time would be and I will reschedule my time as necessary to accommodate you.
Thank you, Mr. Lupin, for considering this opportunity to change our world for the better and I deeply apologize once more for the manner in which you were made aware of our interest in having you become the Head of Department.
Minister for Magic
Remus scratched his head as he thought about his response. The article had been true then, and they were considering him for a Department Head in the Ministry. Could he work for the very bureaucracy that had kept him little more than a dangerous beast for most of his adult life? Could he refuse this opportunity to make life better for all werewolves…and goblins…and centaurs…and all of the others with a clear conscious? Shaking his head he quickly penned that the offered time was acceptable and then watched the owl fly out of his kitchen window before going into his bedroom to peruse his mediocre wardrobe, hoping he could find something suitable to meet the Minister for Magic in, as he absentmindedly figured out the balance in his Gringott's account and wondered if it was enough for a new business robe.
Harry opened his eyes and listened as hard as he could. He was afraid if he tried to turn his head he would fall off of the soft tower of pillows he was currently reclining on. He caught a quick movement out of the corner of his eye and recognized the blur that was Dobby. He opened his mouth but only a long, low groan escaped his lips. He was so frustrated that he clenched his fists and then he realized what he had done. His hands moved…HIS HANDS MOVED! He opened and closed his fists several times but it appeared that that was all he could do, he still couldn't lift his arms or do anything useful. And his legs were still numb and dead feeling.
"Harry Potter, sir is awake. Dobby must fetch Professor Snape, sir. Dobby is happy to see Master awake." Dobby was bouncing up and down on the bed so hard that Harry felt himself falling off of his pillows, his head leading the fall towards the floor.
Before he tumbled fully off the bed, he felt the little boney hands of Dobby carefully grabbing him and putting him back on the pillows.
"Oh, Dobby is so sorry, Harry Potter, sir. Dobby is not meaning to make him fall. Dobby must punish himself for hurting Harry Potter, sir. But Professor Snape is saying that Dobby must not punish himself…oh, what is Dobby to do?" Dobby looked distraught and his head was turning rapidly from side to side as if he was looking for an authority to tell him what to do with his conflicting orders.
Harry managed to make his tongue work enough to say, "N-n-n-ooo!" but that was the extent of his vocal abilities it seemed.
"Oh, Harry Potter, sir is speaking to Dobby. Harry Potter, sir is there being anything that Dobby can be doing for you?"
Dobby was still bouncing but at least he was now standing beside the bed and not on it so Harry wasn't in danger of tumbling off on his head anymore.
"Gah-h-h-h, nggghh…" Harry's face turned red and he fought his tongue to move the way he desperately wanted it too but to no avail. Nothing intelligible came out at all and his frustration mounted. He shut his eyes and scrunched up his face but still nothing. He caught a movement out of the corner of his eye and realized that Fawkes was sitting on the top of a tall bookcase in the corner, his head turning every which way as he studied to boy on the bed. With a flash of his bright feathers, he glided down and landed on the foot of the bed. With an awkward gait that belied his grace and beauty while in flight, he tottered clumsily up the side of the bed until he was even with Harry's head and flopped down so that his body was laying against the boy's ribs, his long neck stretched across Harry's right shoulder so that his cheek was warm and comforting against Harry's own cheek.
Fawkes opened his sharp beak and crooned softly, urging Harry to calm down. And as always, the gentle Phoenix song had the desired effect and Harry felt all of the tension and frustrations leave his body, as if he was floating on the softest cloud. He let out a long sigh and closed his eyes in bliss. Fawkes continued to sing softly while several large pearlescent tears welled up in his bright black eyes and then slowly, almost too slow for them to be natural; they slid into Harry's open and slack mouth. Without realizing what he was doing, Harry let the tears dissolve slowly into his mouth and tongue without swallowing them and was gratified to feel his tongue lose its thickness and swelling more and more with each passing second. He swallowed gratefully and felt the numbness and overly taught muscles in his mouth, tongue and throat melt away until only a slight residual weakness remained.
Snape entered the room and stopped, reluctant to disturb the two on the big bed as he noted the phoenix comforting the injured boy and the traces of phoenix tears still glistening on Harry's lips and the tip of his still bloated and swollen tongue. Several more large pearl white tears slid down the crimson feathers and made their way into Harry's mouth where he finally swallowed them down. Snape let a small upturning of the corners of his mouth show his satisfaction as he literally watched the swelling and distortion of the boy's tongue visibly shrink.
Fawkes turned his long neck and glared at the man standing and watching them from the doorway, his black eyes glaring right through the black eyes of the potion's master as if daring him to say anything.
Harry was enjoying the feeling of healing and warmth that followed the tears as they slid softly down his dry mouth and sore throat. They landed in his stomach with a bath of increasingly comfortable warmth that seemed to spread from his stomach, upwards and outwards until he felt as if his whole body was glowing in the warmth of a gentle summer sun and didn't even notice that Snape had entered his room until he startled at the sudden shifting of the mattress when Snape sat down on the large bed beside him. He turned his head, relishing the freedom to do so without causing his body to catapult towards the floor and opened his mouth. "Ha-a-a lo-o-og heh?" Harry managed to squeeze out, pleased that he had managed to make even that small amount of words.
"How long have we been here, Mr. Potter?" Snape raised one black eyebrow and curled up one side of his lip in query. And Harry's awkward nod, he brushed on long finger across his lips in thought and calculated his answer, after all, the first couple of days he hadn't slept much at all and then he had been so busy between caring for the boy and perusing the excellent library that he, rather forgivably, had lost track of time himself.
"We have been here for a total of nine days, Mr. Potter. And before you strain yourself in trying to ask, the Headmaster and your little friends know approximately where we are and that we shall be remaining here together for the foreseeable future so that you may recover without fear of reprisal or interference. I know that I am not the one you would choose for company but the fact remains that since I do not know exactly where we are and I am incapable of leaving the heavy warding around this estate without the owner tying me into the wards…and no one else is capable of entering without being in your presence…we are stuck with each other. I am willing to set aside our past history in order to not kill each other…and since there is absolutely nothing that you can do at the present time to either hurt or intimidate me, I suggest that you agree to a truce so that you might recover in a more efficacious and timely manner. Agreed, Mr. Potter?"
Harry's face expressed his surprise at the totally unexpected offer from his most hated and feared teacher before he swallowed loudly and managed to gasp out an agreement. Snape then pulled three separate brightly colored vials from his robe pockets and carefully fed each one to Harry, pleased that the boy could now swallow much easier after Fawkes' help. Before the third one was completely gone, Harry was back to sleep once more. With a very pleased but somewhat evil smirk, Snape wiped off the last dribbles of potion, removed the excess pillows from behind the boy's back, and left the room to go play once more with the newly found potions grimoires in the dungeons. No, wait that was work…not play…must remember that this is work. If it wouldn't be so undignified he would be rubbing his hands together and skipping down the stairs in anticipation of the next new potion he could brew and feed to his patient.
Dumbledore was sitting at his desk wading through an ever growing pile of parchments when he heard the welcome interruption of the portrait of former Headmistress Greenbrier telling him he had several students standing in the hallway trying to guess at the current password to his office. It never ceased to amuse him when others tried to guess how he always knew who was attempting to gain access to his office. After all, everyone in Hogwarts knew that the portraits could not only talk to the living but they had the ability to move about through each other's frames at will. But so far, no one had guessed that the many portraits lining his office walls were so bored that they frequently toured throughout the castle looking for entertainment. And they loved to gossip…no one was safe from their meddling…no student and certainly no staff member had any secrets unless they utilized silencing spells or made sure that no portraits resided anywhere close to their conversations. And any portrait residing in the corridor leading to his office rushed to inform him of the identity of any visitors, in fact, the several portraits there fought each other in a race to be the first to inform the Headmaster.
But Albus thought little on this when he asked her who the students were. "That Ravenclaw in Gryffindor costume, Miss Granger, and the four Weasley children are outside your office now, Headmaster." She whispered in a conspiratorial fashion, as if there weren't dozens of other painted individuals keenly listening in.
Dumbledore floated the stack of parchments over and into a waiting cabinet as he told the miniature gargoyle perched eagerly on the small bookcase behind him to let the students in. With a slight flicker of movement, the miniature disappeared, only to reappear a second later, accompanied by the grinding sound of the guardian gargoyles moving aside and the staircase beginning to slowly spiral upward, gaining momentum as the friction of stone on stone decreased slowly.
Dumbledore waited for the first tentative knock to sound on his massive oak office door before gently calling out, "Come in, children."
Ginny, George, Fred, Ron, and Hermione all tumbled into the Headmaster's office, unconsciously looking around as they always did when entering the fascinatingly cluttered space. Dumbledore waved his wand and conjured several more chairs in front of his desk before motioning the children to sit down and tell him what they had come to see him about.
"To what do I owe the honor of your presence this afternoon, children?" He steepled his fingers and waited patiently for them to speak.
Hermione bit her lip nervously before glancing sideways at the four Weasley children, and at their encouraging nods, she took a deep breath and hurriedly began to speak, almost slurring her words together in her hurry to get them all out. "We think we should go to where Harry is staying with Professor Snape so that we can help him take care of Harry and make sure that he recovers all right. I, that is, we know that Professor Snape has stopped the poison and is taking care of his potions needs, but we feel that we can help Harry recover physically and emotionally much better and then Professor Snape won't have to take care of Harry and they won't…." she looked around at her companions before finishing in a much softer voice, "kill each other." She bowed her head, not wanting to look into the twinkling eyes of the Headmaster after her very rushed and nervous speech to him.
All five children startled when the elderly Headmaster just chuckled and his eyes twirled madly with merriment. "That might not be a bad idea a little bit later on, but for now Professor Snape will just have to muddle on by himself…" he hurriedly added, "not that I don't think you could be of immense help to Harry, but for now we don't know exactly where they are and would have no way of transporting you to them. But if a way is found I will let you know and have you at least able to visit Harry and help him to recover as much as Professor Snape can tolerate." The group exchanged pleasantries for another few minutes before the Headmaster gently dismissed the five Gryffindors back to their common room. They weren't particularly happy with the Headmaster's decision but at least he had left open the possibility of them going to Harry later on.
Draco left the stall in the men's loo at Heathrow and walked over to the sinks to wash his hands, thinking ahead to finally boarding the airplane and leaving England behind and wondering exactly what he had been thinking of to order a 'hamburger and chips'. It had been impossible to eat neatly and now he had to somehow get this goopy stain off of the front of his shirt without magic. This whole experience of Muggle life was dissatisfying and disorienting. The language was odd, the money was confusing and how did Muggles stand to be in such crowds and who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to hang around for four hours at the airport just to take an even longer ride in some huge metal contraption. He still wasn't too sure about his mother's assurances that the oversized thing could actually fly and wouldn't just kill them all when it crashed, but he would have to take her word on it because he sure wasn't going to stay behind to have the Ministry for Magic find him.
He turned from the sink only partially satisfied on the cleaning job he had managed on the front of his shirt only to find an elderly man standing right behind him, a disconcerting and malicious gleam in the cloudy dirty blue eyes as the man looked him up and down like a prized hippogriff at an auction. The man had stringy grey hair and looked even greasier than Snape on a bad hair day. He was wearing an old wrinkled trench coat with more stains than clear fabric and he smelled as if he hadn't bathed in days. Draco wrinkled up his aristocratic nose in disgust and held his breath as he put up a hand to push past the man, his arrogant snarl telling the man to remove himself at once.
But the surprisingly strong old man merely grabbed his wrist and used his own momentum to flip him around, his arm bent up painfully behind him as the old man pushed him back into the stall he had just left. The man's other hand had clamped down tightly across his mouth and was barely leaving enough room for him to breathe through his nose without suffocating, the odor of the man's unwashed hand clamped so tightly over the bottom half of his face causing Draco's nasal passages to burn in revolt. Draco's muffled cries of outrage and then horror went unheard in the busy noise of the huge airport as he was forcibly crammed into the small cubicle and the stall door was slammed shut tight behind the two.
Hot smelly breath felt like it was scalding the side of his neck as the pervert leaned down to whisper into the perfectly formed shell of Draco's pink ear. "Now, what you want to fight me for, boy. I know you're going to love this…just so perfect and pure…hmmm…I think I might keep you for a while…" as the pedophile kept talking in Draco's ear, he had pressed himself up against the boy's back to hold him with Draco's face pressed tight against the graffiti marred side of the stall. With one hand still clamped over Draco's mouth, and his body holding the lithe young body tight against the wall, his other hand was now free to roam the boy's perfect body and he reached down, sliding his hand over the firm stomach and down the boy's thigh, licking his lips in anticipation of reaching his prize.
Draco closed his eyes tightly, willing with everything he had to make this filthy Muggle pervert go away and just leave him alone to find his mother and get on the plane when a huge flash of magic seemed to burst out of his every pore, blowing the walls of the stall outward, shattering the toilet and spraying a huge fountain of water into the air. Draco felt drained of energy but he forced himself to turn around and look for his assailant. He instantly wished that he hadn't bothered as his stomach heaved in protest of the sight before him. The old man had been blown backward, forcing his head through the cubicle wall and then into the sharp corner of the countertop that held the row of sinks. Blood and brain matter dripped in a steady stream, spreading impossibly fast and wide with the gushing water from the broken toilet. Some part of Draco's mind registered that the man had on nothing but a shirt under his now open raincoat but his conscious mind was too busy trying to figure out how to get out of this mess and find his Mum to pay much attention to it.
He closed his eyes tightly and gave up a prayer to Merlin before running as fast as he could out of the ruined men's loo just seconds before the tell tale pops of multiple apparitions sounded over the fountain of rapidly spreading gory water. Draco gasped for breath, once, twice, and then took off as quickly as possible without seeming to be in a hurry, heading straight for his waiting Mum. She took one look at his ashen face and dripping clothes and surreptitiously cast a cleaning charm, a drying charm, and a cheering charm before handing their boarding passes to the waiting steward and hustling her now vacuously smiling son onto the waiting plane, hoping they could take off before anyone could find them.
"Thank you Mr. Lupin for coming in at such short notice." Amelia Bones was shaking his hand as she was directing him to an open spot at a small conference table. As he sank into the opulent leather chair, she continued. "I want to apologize once more for the leak in the Daily Prophet this morning, and I assure you that our investigation is ongoing in the matter. In fact, I am happy to report that we have found the culprit and am taking care of the matter as we meet now. This is Croaker, Head of the Unspeakables, I believe that you know both Kingsley Shacklebolt and Arthur Weasley, and this is Rufus Scrimgeour, who is taking over as Chief Auror since Kingsley is now taking my spot as Head of Magical Law Enforcement."
Remus shook hands all around and then sank into the waiting chair, forcing his nervousness down so that nothing showed on his prematurely aged face. Being in the Ministry for Magic and meeting with Ministry officials had never been a good idea for any werewolf, especially under the leadership of Cornelius Fudge and his toady, Delores Umbridge and it was very difficult to convince his own mind that he was safe there and would be leaving under his own power and not locked up in a Ministry holding cell for 'public safety' and they had euphemistically called killing any werewolf that they managed to gain custody of.
He forced his mind back on the matters at hand, thankful he had apparently missed very little as his mind briefly wandered and turned his formidable intellect on to the problems facing his brethren and the other magical inhabitants of the British Isles under the new and refreshing leadership of Amelia Bones.
The next long week passed in a blur of brewing potions, tending to the very slowly recovering Potter and endless hours of searching in the massive Potter Library for something more to help the destroyed nerves and atrophied muscles of the injured boy he was now beginning to respect. No matter how painful or tedious the exercise, Potter had done his best without complaint, sometimes until tears coursed down his pale cheeks and his arms and legs shook with exhaustion, but Potter never gave up until Snape himself was himself exhausted, or just unwilling to watch the torment the boy was going through any more without respite. Snape turned from the now sleeping boy and rubbed his sore hands together, stretching his long fingers and moving them every which way to relieve the ache left from the long and tedious hours of repeated range of motion exercises that he had performed on Potter's gravely injured body. He had been pleased at the slow progress the boy had made over the last week of their time in the Potter Manor but he knew that Harry was even more frustrated at the slow progress than he was. He had searched and searched through the extensive Potter library but he still had not found the potion he was desperately searching for. He just knew that somewhere in the old poorly written grimoires was a potion that would help Harry recover much swifter than the series of nerve regenerators and muscle builders that he was currently feeding the boy.
He shook his head at his own growing softness towards the boy, since when did he think of the brat as 'Harry'…even in his own mind? He was slipping and he knew he would have to return to seeming to hate the boy once they both returned to the school, but deep in his slowly thawing heart, he regretted the necessary spite and cruelty that being a spy for Dumbledore forced upon him.
As he left the boy in Dobby's capable hands and shut the door to go to the library once more, he sighed deeply and once again pondered about how utterly foolish and stupid he had been to listen to his fellow Slytherins instead of completely investigating exactly what taking the Dark Mark and vowing servitude to the Dark Lord meant. He who never took an unknown potion and investigated every single nuance and variation of any potion he brewed had blindly accepted the glorious tales and promises of power and riches Lucius and the others had spouted so loudly and frequently. He absentmindedly rubbed his left forearm where the hated mark tingled slightly and muttering imprecations at his own lack of foresight and intelligence, he stalked down the grand staircase to once again immerse himself in ancient texts.
Amelia waved Kingsley to a seat as she finished perusing the long parchment on her desk, muttering softly under her breath at some new injustice perpetrated on the wizarding public by her predecessor. Kingsley waited patiently, rereading his Muggle style notebook to refresh his memory on the items he was bringing to his bosses attention as she finished up.
"So, Shack, what do you have to report?" Amelia was always a no nonsense woman and hated to waste time, her own or anyone else's so she got right to the point whenever she could.
"That unexplained explosion of accidental magic that killed that Muggle bum at Heathrow last week wasn't quite as accidental as we thought."
Amelia dropped her monocle and sat back as she rubbed her tired eyes. "What have you found out?"
"The man killed had a long history of mental illness and crimes against young boys, sexual crimes in particular. Our intelligence at Scotland Yard had him a 'person of interest' in several unsolved crimes, including a couple of young boys that disappeared without a trace. At first we thought he had been unlucky enough to target an unidentified Muggle-born, perhaps one too young for Hogwarts yet. But we've finally tracked down the magical signature and it turns out to belong to our young friend Draco Malfoy." Kingsley paused to wait, mentally counting, one, two, three…
"What!" Ah, right on time. He continued his report. "Seems a boy of his general height and weight left Heathrow with a woman of Narcissa Malfoy's general build and age on a flight to Sydney, Australia not less than twenty minutes after the incident in the gent's. With glamour charms, it could be the two of them easily. Do you want to send someone to investigate or just notify the Australian Ministry and let them worry about our missing Malfoy's?"
Amelia steepled her fingers together and leaned her chin down onto the tips. She rubbed her square jaw up and down several times as her face tightened in thought. "I can't see any reason to waste resources on a chase. I imagine they will just fade into the background, after all, we only want to arrest Draco Malfoy, I strongly suspect that if any of Voldemort's followers manage to find them he wants to do a whole lot more to both of them. I don't know which hurt his organization the most, losing Lucius and his influence with Cornelius or Narcissa absconding with the contents of the Malfoy vaults." She chuckled evilly, "And I know he can't be pleased with losing all of his moles in the Ministry and the Wizengamot. If we keep cutting off the heads of his hydra, eventually the beast will be much easier to kill.
AN: Sorry, not much of a chapter but some things had to be set up for the next ones to work right. Thank you for waiting so patiently (and some not so patiently) while real life straightened itself out for me once more. Please let me know if you want Draco found or not. I appologize for any massive errors, but my vision still isn't wonerful and I really can't read what's on the screen at so all of the editing has to be done before I upload a chapter.