Chapter Twenty Nine - Draco and Harry

Draco stood impatiently on the Tower and drummed his fingers on his broomstick. Granted, he was early, but still, what could be taking The Chosen One so bloody long?

"Are you ready?" a voice asked ridiculously close to Draco's ear. He nearly jumped out of his skin and he heard invisible Harry laugh.

"Fuck you, Potter," Malfoy snarled and took a breath to calm his racing heart. Harry chuckled again. "Bastard. You might be invisible, but I am not. Are any of your Order members going to spot me and try to drag us back here?"

"I doubt it. Most of them left for the Ministry of Magic this morning to decide what to do with the Carrows."

"I could give them a hint," Draco said.

"I think they're looking into a less permanent solution."

"Fools. Amycus and Alecto didn't know much, did they?"

"Not that I heard. Moody was in a wretched temper, so they didn't have anything useful to say, apparently."

"How did you explain your absence to your clingy friends?"

"I left them a note."

Draco burst out laughing. "You like to live dangerously, don't you, Potter? I'd hate to be around Granger when she finds that little present." To that end, Draco had left Hermione's Galleon in his trunk. He did not need her trying to contact him all day long in a rage.

"Let's go before she finds it and come to kill us," Harry suggested.

"Kill you," Draco commented. "This was your idea."

Harry made an impatient sound, so Malfoy mounted his broom and pushed off.

They Apparated on the outskirts of Carlisle, luckily in a deserted field. A very muddy deserted field. Draco disgustedly yanked his feet out of the sucking mud and got back on his broom.

"Malfoy! We could be spotted by Muggles!"

"I don't bloody care! I'm not walking through ankle-deep mud when I have a damned broom in my hand!"

He heard Harry sigh and after a short jaunt, they reached a dirt road lined in huge oak trees. Draco spent a ludicrous amount of time trying to scrape the mud from his boots before Harry cursed and shot a Scourgify spell at them. Draco tsked.

"What if a Muggle had seen that?"

"Do you see any Muggles?" Harry shouted.

"Thankfully not, or they would be wondering where the hell your loud voice is coming from. Do you plan to stay invisible the whole day? Not that I'm complaining because it spares me from looking at your ugly mug."

Harry pulled the cloak off.

"Do you plan to be obnoxious the whole day?"

Draco nodded. "Yes, I rather thought I would. Do you mind?"

Harry pulled at his black hair and Draco grinned. He planned to keep track of how many times Potter made that particular gesture, now that Draco could see him.

"Where do we go from here?"

"To the coast, Potter. If I remember the tale, I should be able to find it fairly quickly."

They were lucky to locate the cottage at all. If not for the broken chimney jutting from the surrounding bushes, they would have bypassed it completely. Brush and trees surrounded what remained of the building, which was perched on a windy promontory overlooking a rocky, crumbling cliff.

Draco and Harry picked their way carefully through the undergrowth, although Draco insistently blasted offending branches into powder with jets of green light until Harry yanked at his hair again. Two, thought Draco.

"Will you stop with the bloody magic?" he hissed. Draco threw him a hard glare.

"Relax. There are no Muggles around here at all. Why do you think Regulus chose this spot?"

"That was nearly two decades ago!"

"No kidding. What the hell are we looking for? Because unless it's green and shaped like a bush, we're going to have a hard time locating it."

The interior of the destroyed cottage was a mass of greenery. Even the rotting timbers were covered with a thick layer of moss. Harry looked around dejectedly.

"I don't know. I was hoping we would be able to find something, at least. It looks like this whole trip was a bloody waste of time."

"Not completely. You got to spend the afternoon basking in my perfection." Harry scowled, hand in hair. Three. Draco chuckled. "Actually, when we were at the Riddle House, Hermione cast a magical detection spell. Do you know it?"

Harry thought for a moment. "I think so, yeah." He tested a couple of spells and finally managed a faint glow. Unfortunately, the whole place had a dim residue of magic.

"All right," Draco said and sighed. "Teach me the spell. We will have to wade in there and see what is left. It will go faster with both of us."

The spell was relatively simple and quickly learned, so Draco and Harry separated to search the ruins. Over the next forty minutes they discovered broken potion bottles, a rusted cauldron, the burned and rotting covers of various illegible books, assorted containers with mostly unidentifiable potion ingredients, and a gold amulet that caused Harry to yelp in excitement until he cleaned off the grime to reveal a nearly worthless amulet containing a minor protection spell.

Draco was near the crumbling fireplace pressing various bricks to check for hidden compartments when he felt the floor shift beneath him. He froze in alarm.

"Oh shi—" he managed before the floor collapsed beneath him. He was down before he could so much as lift his wand. His head slammed into something hard and a searing pain shot through his leg, so intense he would have screamed if the breath hadn't been knocked out of him. He fought for air and tried to hold off the encroaching blackness.

"Malfoy!" Harry yelled. Draco drew in a painful breath. He could hear Potter thumping around above him. Great. That was all he needed, for the idiot to fall atop him and break something else.

He blinked at the jagged span of light above. He had fallen about eight feet onto an uneven pile of something. The urge to succumb to blackness slowly faded and he cautiously lifted his wand.

"Malfoy!" Harry bellowed again.

"I'm alive, Potter! Be careful up there. I don't need you collapsing rest of the floor!"

The effort of shouting had sent pain exploding through both Draco's head and his right leg. He gasped and reluctantly lifted his wand. He raised his throbbing head and looked down. He groaned and shut his eyes against another wave of vertigo when he saw the thick splinter of wood jutting from his thigh.

Potter's head blocked the light from above.

"Are you all right? Do you want me to levitate you up?"

"Hell no! My leg—I think it's… impaled on something."

"Hold on! I'm coming down."

"I wasn't really planning to go anywhere," Draco said dryly, but Harry was gone.

A few mnutes later, a rope snaked down through the opening. Potter slid over the edge and climbed down hand over hand.

"Are you a wizard or aren't you?" Draco asked.

"My Levitation spell is… not very precise."

"Oh, but you were willing to levitate me?"

"Of course."

Harry made it down and knelt beside Draco. He looked at Draco's thigh and swallowed hard. Worried green eyes met silver.

"It's a splintered piece of a broken beam. Still attached. We'll have to… pull your leg free."

Draco's jaw tightened, although he had already expected that to be the case.

"All right." He took a deep breath. "Let's do it."

"Hang on," Harry said. He stood and pulled out his wand. "I have to do something first."

He pointed his wand at Draco and a jet of bluish light was the last thing Malfoy saw.

Harry knelt down, working quickly. He did not know how long Malfoy would be out. The shard jutted about an inch out of the top of Draco's thigh. Harry wrenched at Draco's cloak and cut several strips to use as bandages. Then he steeled himself, got a solid grip on Malfoy's leg, and yanked.

The pain must have been excruciating, because Malfoy arched his back, gasped, and his eyes snapped open, negating the sleep spell. Harry put his hands over the wound, top and bottom, trying to staunch the blood flow. He held the pressure for a moment and then quickly wrapped the cloak strips tightly around Malfoy's thigh. He tied them off tightly.

"God, Malfoy. There's so much blood. We've got to get you to St. Mungo's."

"Did you search down here?" Draco asked.

"For what?"

"Anything! We're already here and I don't plan to come back, so get searching."

Harry glared, but cast the detection spell. Several spots about the cellar glowed.

"There," Draco said and pointed his wand toward a glowing portion of the floor. Harry hurried over and ripped at the boards. A moldering leather bag was revealed by a quick Lumos spell. Harry hefted the bag and tugged it open. A small silver box fell into his hands.

He looked at Draco and then flipped the latch. He reached in and lifted the golden chain attached to an open locket. The inside of the locket was blackened. The locket spun slowly and the light glinted off the S insignia. Slytherin's locket.

"Regulus did destroy it," Harry breathed. He felt a sharp pang of sadness when he recalled the other locket, the fake locket Regulus Black had left for them to retrieve—the one that had ended in Dumbledore's death.

"Bring it," Draco said weakly. "We need to be certain."

Harry returned the locket to the silver box and stowed it in his pack with his Invisibility Cloak. He hurried back to Malfoy. It was difficult to see against the black bandage, but Harry could tell it was wet with blood.

"Time to go," he said.

"Don't forget the brooms." Harry tugged at his hair. Even wounded, Malfoy was a pain in the ass.

"Accio brooms!" Harry snapped. They hurtled through the opening and into Harry's hand. "Now can we go?"

"Almost. Take off your glasses."

"What?"

"Do you plan to burst into St. Mungo's and announce to everyone that Harry Potter has arrived? Perhaps you should take out an ad in The Daily Prophet."

Harry took off his glasses and stowed them in his shirt pocket. Draco tapped him on the head and muttered a spell. Harry's head felt ice-cold for a moment.

Malfoy touched his own head with his wand and Harry watched in amazement as Draco's hair darkened.

"That will have to do. Let's go."

Harry knelt down and slid his right arm around Draco's shoulders, since he did not have a free hand. His right held his wand and his left gripped their brooms.

"Make one comment and I'll leave your ass here, Malfoy," Harry warned. "I swear it."

"You're terribly sexy when you're forceful, Potter," Draco breathed huskily. Harry shut his eyes, prayed for strength, and Disapparated.

They Apparated into the lobby at St. Mungo's. Harry dropped the brooms and lifted Malfoy, who seemed barely conscious after the strain of Apparition. A witch hurried up to them.

"My… brother was in a… flying accident," Harry blurted, wishing he had thought to come up with a story.

Another hospital employee hurried up and quickly levitated Malfoy to an elevator. "Check him in, please. They will tell you where to go afterward. Your brother should be fine."

Harry watched Malfoy disappear and then he picked up the brooms and walked to the front desk.

"Name of patient?" the witch on duty asked calmly.

"…David Masters," Harry replied, pulling a name from the ether of panic.

"Nature of injury?"

Harry explained the flying accident, elaborating a bit for effect.

"How will you be paying for this?"

Harry reached absently into his pocket and pulled out a handful of Galleons. He set them on the counter and the witch blinked at him in surprise.

"Cash," she said.

"Say, if an underage wizard happened to Apparate into St. Mungo's with a patient… in an emergency…"

The witch smiled. "Don't you worry, dearie. The Ministry sort of turns a blind eye to underage magic when St. Mungo's is involved. They certainly won't punish any twelve-year-old who Apparates their injured grandparent to the hospital. They might investigate, but it would be bad form to fine people in an emergency. Now, if you go over to the elevators, they can direct you to your brother."

Harry nodded. He noticed a bright spot of blood on his cuff and another on his forearm. His hands were covered in blood, dirt, and grime, so he stopped at the lavatory on the way to the elevator.

He gaped in shock when he saw his image in the mirror. No wonder no one had stared at him and looked for his scar. For one thing, he had grown his hair out nearly to his eyes in order to cover the scar, and for another his hair was now white-blonde. Without his glasses, he was completely unrecognizable. He turned his head this way and that. His new hair was striking against his green eyes. He laughed at his handsome reflection. No wonder Malfoy was so conceited.

Harry shook off his bemusement and washed his hands and face before heading upstairs to find Malfoy.

Draco lay back against the pillows, looking as handsome as ever, but extremely un-Malfoy-like with raven-black hair. If possible, he was even better-looking with the contrast of his silver eyes below the dark locks. He looked paler than usual.

"Better, David?" Harry asked, stressing the name.

Malfoy nodded. "They fixed it. My leg was broken, too. Go figure. And I had a concussion."

"That explains your attempt to kiss me."

Malfoy actually grinned at the riposte. His lids fluttered shut over grey eyes. His smile faded. "I'm bloody tired."

"You lost a lot of blood. We need to get back so you can rest."

Malfoy nodded without opening his eyes. "They're fixing my clothes. Should be back with them shortly."

Draco was bare to the waist, where the bed sheet was pulled over his legs. Harry saw a thin white line bisecting Malfoy's torso in a jagged scar. He swallowed hard. Malfoy wore a permanent legacy of Harry's Sectumsempra attack. Not for the first time, Harry felt a twinge of regret. Draco's eyes flew open and met Harry's, but a nurse burst into the room with a bundle of clothing.

"Here you are, Mr. Masters. Mended and cleaned and good as new, just like your leg." She stopped and blinked at Harry. "And you must be the other Mr. Masters. As soon as your brother is dressed, you may check him out." She giggled. "Brothers. My, you're both so very handsome. One so fair and the other so dark."

Harry chuckled at that. "You have no idea."

Malfoy rubbed a temple. "Can we just get out of here, brother?"

Harry waited in the hall until Draco limped out. Harry looked at him in concern, but Malfoy shook his head.

"It's just tender. I can walk. Let's get out of here before someone recognizes us."

They made it downstairs and nearly to the front doors without incident. Harry was about to breathe a sigh of relief when the front door swung open and they were nearly run down by Rufus Scrimgeour and Percy Weasley. For a shocked moment, Harry's eyes met Scrimgeour's. The Minister's thick brows drew upward in surprise and Harry stammered a quick apology before he hurried out. He heard Percy say, "Bloody familiar, both of them. I just can't think where…"

Harry pushed open the door and shoved his way out. Malfoy stopped.

"I'll take us back to Hogwarts. We don't want you in any trouble."

Harry didn't waste time arguing. Malfoy reached out and grabbed Harry's shoulder just as the door burst open and Scrimgeour yelled, "Wait!" The Minister leveled his wand at them an instant too late.

Draco took them away.