"Ron and Ginny," Harry said, stretched across the couch the library, his feet up on one arm.
"Ugh," Draco said in response, curled up in an armchair nearer to the fire.
"We could literally walk to the Burrow right now," Harry pointed out, yawning.
"Or we could Floo there," Dudley interjected from the floor. "And then we'd have two Seekers, and Ron can play Keeper."
"I can play Seeker," Draco grumbled.
"But if we go get Ron and Ginny, then Fred and George might be there too, and we'd have more Beaters," Harry pointed out.
"Beaters are hardly necessary to a pickup game," Draco said, then ducked the book Dudley threw at his head. "Oi!"
"If you didn't have me chucking things at you, you'd be half asleep," Dudley told him, smug.
"Wanker," Draco said, settling back down in his seat and keeping a more alert eye on the patch of floor where Dudley had sprawled out.
Harry ignored them and continued. "And then Neville can play-"
He was interrupted by twin snorts from the pair of them.
"Neville Longbottom cannot play Quidditch," Draco said. Dudley spoke up a second later.
"Neville's not a fan," he agreed, shaking his head. "He won't play."
"He could just be an extra Chaser," Harry said hopefully, propping himself up on one elbow to look at them both. "Listen, Ginny and I'll be Seekers, Ron and Fred can be Keepers, George and Dudley will be Beaters, Draco will be the Chaser for one team and Luna and Neville can be on the other one, to even it out a bit."
Draco shook his head, incredulous. "No, that's useless, neither of them has a bloody clue what they're doing. It'll be boring. And sad."
"I'm not on their team," Dudley agreed. Harry scowled.
"Fine, you work out who plays what," he said, dropping his head back to the cushions.
"I'm hungry," Draco said instead. "What's for lunch?"
"Sirius and Remus are at Grimmauld Place," Harry reminded him. "They said to eat whatever we like."
"Hmmm," Draco said. "I like those sandwiches we had last week. With the chicken, remember?"
Harry yawned again. "Sounds good. Go make some."
After a long silence, Draco finally responded. "Me?"
"Yeah you," Harry said, turning his head to stare. "Who'd you think I was talking to?"
"I'm not making lunch," Draco said, a hair's breadth from outraged. "What d'you think I am, a house elf?"
"There aren't any house elves here," Dudley pitched in, stretching out a leg and managing to kick at Draco's chair. "Except the blonde one in the chair over there. Make me a sandwich too, would you, Drakey?"
Draco's appalled expression was enough to have Harry snickering along with Dudley. "Yeah, Drakey, I'll want some tea as well," he added.
"Oh, and some of those little meatball things like the elves at Hogwarts make," Dudley added. "And pumpkin juice."
"You can both starve," Draco told them, glaring. "I don't believe there isn't a house elf. This is like when Sirius told me I couldn't do magic here and then I caught you using lavare on the dishes when it was your turn, isn't it?"
Harry remained silent as he fought to keep his face impassive. Fortunately, Dudley piped up to carry on the argument instead.
"If there were house elves, why would Harry have to clean the dishes at all?" he pointed out. Draco scowled.
"Because Sirius thinks it's funny," he said, unconvinced. He raised his voice. "Hello? House elf? Is there an elf beholden to this property? I require your assistance!"
"Yes, his name is Drakey, and he's taking forever with our lunch!" Dudley called back, across the coffee table.
Harry covered his face with his arm and laughed when Draco looked around, found nothing, and actually took his shoe off and threw it at Dudley, who shouted.
"Chasers have better aim," he said darkly. His voice went imperious again as he continued. "I command Sirius Black's house elf to come here at once! I am a guest in his home and I require your services!"
A sudden pop had Harry and Dudley sitting up, startled. A house elf had appeared, quite unexpectedly.
"Aha!" Draco declared. Harry blinked at the hunched, wizened old elf bowing to Draco in the middle of the library, muttering to itself.
"Oh, I guess he does have an elf," Harry said, surprised. "I suppose he might have mentioned it before."
"Oh, I guess he might have mentioned it," Draco mocked, rolling his eyes. "I don't believe a word you say anymore, Harry."
"I really didn't remember," Harry insisted. Dudley had pushed himself into a sitting position with his back to Harry's couch, and they all stared at the house elf, whom Draco had just turned to address.
"We'd like lunch," he told it. The house elf stared at him out of tiny, narrowed little eyes.
"Kreacher isn't making lunch for the Masters since Mistress passed," he said, suspicious.
"Well," Draco said, taken aback. "Now you're going to. Chicken sandwiches." After a brief pause, he added, "Do I need to repeat myself?"
Harry frowned at Draco's rudeness, but the elf actually bowed in response. "Master's guest is a proper pureblood of the Black and Malfoy lines, Kreacher can tell," he muttered as he started to trudge toward the kitchen. The three of them watched him go. The lack of walls between them meant they could hear him muttering the whole way. "Kreacher will investigate to be certain Master isn't holding proper pureblood wizards in his filthy traitor home against their will."
"I think I understand why Sirius doesn't really talk about him," Harry said, once Kreacher was out of earshot.
"Right," Draco agreed, then seemed to shrug it off. "That's lunch sorted, anyway." He leaned back in his armchair again and turned the conversation back to their previous topic. "I think we're better off if none of us plays our usual position. It'll help with the handicap if we're honestly going to be playing with novices..."
"Everything Sirius does isn't actually a prank on you, you know," Harry said a few days later, as he trailed Draco through the house, watching him wave his wand at random objects.
"Of course it is," Draco said, glancing at Harry with a condescending expression. "And the longer you pretend it isn't, the more convinced I am that you're in on it."
Harry sighed. "I'm not in on anything. I thought we were going to work on our summer assignments at Number Four today. Not..." He gestured vaguely as Draco spelled a picture frame. "Whatever it is you're doing."
Now that Uncle Vernon had been talked down from pulling Dudley out of school, both Draco and Dudley were pushing Harry to spend some daylight hours at Privet Drive. They argued that Draco still hadn't seen it, and Dudley had promised Uncle Vernon he would meet their friends.
Harry wasn't keen on the idea, and he was already sleeping there to satisfy the blood wards anyway. He naturally woke earlier than Draco and Dudley both, which meant he could usually Floo over to Sirius's house before either of them could force the issue.
But now that he'd agreed, he just wanted to get it over with. Draco's prank, or whatever this was, was taking the sort of time that meant Harry was slowly talking himself out of going to Privet Drive at all today.
"He's had me doing 'chores' this whole time," Draco said, scowling. "The muggle way, at first! Like I'm an animal!"
"Or a muggle," Harry interjected, a note of warning in his tone.
"Or, yes, right," Draco said hastily. "My point though, is that he did it on purpose. Isn't it nice, not having to do chores now that we have Kreacher?"
"I kept my room clean and washed the dishes after dinner once every few days with a spell," Harry said skeptically. "I don't really count that as chores."
"I had to touch dishwater," Draco said, hexing a seat cushion in the Red Room with particular fervour.
"He's a monster," Harry said, deadpan. He grabbed Draco's arm as they neared fireplace, and grabbed a pinch of floo powder. "Come on, already."
Draco summoned their school bags, barely getting a hand around the straps before Harry shouted, "Number Four!" and dragged him into the fire.
On arrival in the Dursley living room, Harry paused and glanced around, relieved that no one was there for Draco's initial introduction to a muggle home. He turned to look at him, and sure enough, Draco's expression was pinched.
"Say it," Harry ordered. Draco winced.
"It's... lovely," he said, staring at the television like he'd never seen one before. Which he hadn't, Harry reminded himself, and pushed onward.
"Say it now," Harry repeated. "Because you're not saying it front of Dudley or my uncle."
"It's so... small," Draco said, clearly choosing his words carefully. Harry waited. "And... awful. Is it a receiving room?"
"It's the living room," Harry said, raising his eyebrows at Draco's expression. "Really?"
Draco shrugged. "The walls are all flat, and everything's so... bland," he pointed out, peering around and finding the light switch. "What on earth does this do?"
"It's to turn the lights on and off," Harry said, watching from near the fireplace as Draco prodded experimentally at the switch, and then moved on to the dial next to it. "I wouldn't touch that one if I were you."
Draco snatched his hand back as if scalded. "What does it do?"
"It's the thermostat," Harry explained.
"Thermo... statim..." Draco's forehead furrowed. "Fast heat? Is it some kind of fire starting device?"
Harry grinned at him and pulled him into the hallway. "Sort of. Come on, I can hear them in the kitchen."
"Are all muggle houses like this?" Draco asked as he allowed himself to be led, staring around with wide eyes.
"Yes and no," Harry said, shrugging. They reached the kitchen and Draco frowned.
"Boxes," he said faintly, but fell silent when Harry looked at him.
"You actually showed," Dudley said from the kitchen table.
"Yeah, I had to drag him away from cursing everything in the house," Harry said, jerking a thumb at Draco as he dropped into a seat.
He kicked out another chair for Draco, who sat carefully and looked at Neville, sitting across from him with a similar lack of comprehension in his eyes as he looked around. They shared a baffled glance that seemed to cement some kind of camaraderie, because a moment later, Draco mouthed 'boxes' again. Neville nodded furiously.
"Right," Harry said, dragging their bags onto the table and pushing Draco's toward him. "Transfiguration first, I think."
"Yeah, I'm confused," Dudley agreed, opening the fridge. Draco and Neville craned their necks to see inside as Dudley gathered four fizzy drinks, one for each of them. "I don't even know what she wants us to write about, really."
He sat down and slid one across the table to Harry, who nodded his thanks, still ostensibly flipping through his textbook for the proper chapter while watching the two purebloods in their midst. Draco picked up his own can, turned it upside down, and looked back to Neville, who shook the can experimentally.
"No, don't-" Dudley took the can away from Neville, frowning. "Don't do that."
"Like animals," Harry said in an undertone to Draco, who went faintly red, put his can down, and folded his hands in his lap. When Neville looked at him, Harry pointed to the textbook and said in a normal tone, "Animate to inanimate transformations. That's what we're writing about."
"What was the... er, page number?" Neville asked, watching with something akin to alarm as Dudley replaced his drink with a new one. Harry leaned his chin in his hand to hide his grin as Draco mouthed 'What did you do?' and Neville shrugged, shaking his head helplessly.
"It was page four hundred and twelve," Harry said helpfully. Dudley looked around at them all, then at Harry, who had yet to open his own drink.
"Oh, honestly," he said, rolling his eyes. "Like this." He pulled the tab on the drink and Harry watched with unabashed enjoyment as Draco and Neville jumped at the sharp fizz of the carbonate.
"You have to be careful that they don't explode," Harry added, finally cracking open his own drink and innocently ignoring the appalled expressions on Neville and Draco's faces.
They'd decided to take a break from inanimate transformations and moved on to Charms by the time Uncle Vernon arrived home from the office. Harry realized first, his head coming up from his work when he heard the car door slam shut. The sound of the house key turning in the lock brought Dudley's eyes up to meet Harry's. In unison, they leapt to their feet and made for the kitchen door before Neville or Draco had a chance to ask.
"Hello," Uncle Vernon said with a baffled frown when they met him in the hall.
"We have some visitors," Dudley announced, while Harry hovered in front of the entrance to the kitchen. "Two of our friends from school. You said you wanted to meet some, didn't you, dad?"
"Ah!" Vernon declared, shrugging out of his suit jacket and hanging it up on the coat rack. He set his briefcase down on the hall table and peered past Harry, at the kitchen door. Harry shifted to block his view without thinking about it, and heard the telltale creak of someone leaning against the other side of the door to listen in. "In there, are they?" he asked Dudley, who was bouncing on the balls of his feet.
"Yeah," Dudley said, though he didn't move from his position by the stairs. "But dad, be normal, alright?"
Harry goggled. Surely that wasn't the correct advice for this situation?
Dudley caught his expression, and perhaps the bemused way Uncle Vernon tugged at his moustache, and hastened to add, "Just don't be weird."
Vernon grumbled to himself and hastened toward the kitchen door. Harry prodded at it to give Draco and Neville a chance to act like they hadn't been eavesdropping, then pushed through in front of him.
Neville and Draco were both hovering near the sink, and Draco gave Harry a bright smile when he raised an eyebrow at them. Uncle Vernon and Dudley followed him in before he could say anything, and Dudley took over introductions.
"Dad, this is Neville, he's in Gryffindor with me." Dudley gestured to Neville, who gave Uncle Vernon a quick smile, then hurried forward quickly when he realized Uncle Vernon's intent to shake hands.
"Good to meet you, son," Uncle Vernon said, and Neville nodded back.
"Pleasure, sir," he said, stepping quickly back next to Draco, who waited out the next several seconds before casting an impatient glance at Harry, clearly expecting his own introduction.
"Oh," Harry said suddenly, looking quickly away from Draco as his polite, expectant smile tightened. "Er, Uncle Vernon, this is Draco. He's in Slytherin with me."
"How do you do?" Draco asked, stepping forward smoothly to meet Uncle Vernon's handshake.
"I'm well, young man, and yourself?" Uncle Vernon responded, and Draco offered him a politely charming smile.
"Quite well," he returned. "You have a lovely home, sir. You have our gratitude for your hospitality."
Harry instantly decided that Draco must have eaten an etiquette book as a child, but he made it sound so natural that Uncle Vernon puffed up and took an immediate and visible shine to him.
"No trouble at all," he blustered, casting a proud eye around the kitchen. "Have the boys given you the tour?"
"They did, in fact," Draco said, his expression somehow conveying that he had been extremely impressed by all that he'd seen, when Harry knew for a fact that he'd laughed himself sick at the baby pictures of Dudley in the front hall. "We've been working on our summer assignments, just now."
"Ah ha," Uncle Vernon agreed, casting a disinterested eye over the scraps of parchment and books scattered across his table. "Dudley says he goes through the flue to practice Quidditch with his friends, are you one of those?"
Draco nodded once, and lifted a hand to gesture at Harry. "We're on our House team together," he explained, standing a little taller. "I'm Chaser for Slytherin." He paused, then added, "I score the points."
"Oh, indeed, yes!" Uncle Vernon was clearly more comfortable with this line of inquiry. "Dudley's just been made starter for Gryffindor, you know. Beater."
Draco laughed, a strange, upper-class sort of noise Harry hadn't really heard out of him before. "I've played against him before. He's quite good."
"I nearly took you down last time we played," Dudley interjected, grinning. "Knocked the Quaffle right out of his hands, dad."
Uncle Vernon's laugh, in contrast, boomed through the kitchen. "That's my boy." He glanced at Neville. "And what position do you play?"
Neville's eyes widened and darted to Harry, who'd backed up near the fridge and chosen to watch the conversation unfold quietly. At the unspoken plea, he scrambled to speak first.
"Oh, Neville's more interested in Herbology," Harry volunteered, and Uncle Vernon looked round at him in surprise. "You know, Devil's Snare, Venomous Tentacula. Dangerous stuff. Couldn't get around them on a broom, that's for sure."
Neville muttered something under his breath that sounded to Harry like 'Thank Merlin for that,' but Uncle Vernon was already speaking again.
"Takes all sorts, I suppose," he shrugged, then turned back to Dudley and Draco. "I hear there's quite the rivalry between your two teams. Not going to try to steal my boy's strategies, are you?"
"To my understanding, a Beater's strategy is largely to knock everyone else off their brooms," Draco responded with a small smirk. "I intend to stay on mine, and that's the extent of it, as it were."
"There's more to it than that," Dudley retorted, and Harry opened the fridge, finding two more fizzy drinks and sidling over to where Neville stood leaning against the counter. He even opened one before handing it off.
"Not going to talk Quidditch with them?" Neville asked, taking the drink and nodding his thanks.
"I'd just get in the way," Harry said with certainty. "Want an actual tour of the house?"
Neville considered the animated debate about National League beaters that was brewing in front of them, and nodded. "Sure."
The problem with staying overnight at Privet Drive came largely when he couldn't sleep. Or worse, like tonight, when Harry fell asleep and woke up in the grey-black of early morning, tangled in his sheets and lost in the buzz of muggle silence and his own panicked breathing.
He struggled to extricate himself from his bed clothes, his stomach roiling. He had barely the time and presence of mind to make it to his rubbish bin before vomiting. After he'd finished, he curled up with his back against his desk and squeezed his eyes shut, palms pressed firmly against his temples. His head was still spinning.
It had been- like during the school year, when he'd dreamed of Anthony. But much more. Everyone had been furious, everyone had been looking at each other and seeing themselves seeing each other- It'd been like... standing a row of mirrors in a circle and someone had thrown him into the center and replaced his glasses with kaleidoscopes.
His stomach curled in on itself; he wanted to throw up again. Harry clutched at his midsection and pressed his face against his knees, groaning. How to stop this... he knew he'd been told what to do, but his mind felt fragmented and drained, like... his Occlumency walls weren't working, or had been damaged-
Thoughts of Occlumency led to thoughts of Snape, who would certainly have something to say about Harry's current inability to control his own mind-
Snape would want to read his dream journal after something like this, wouldn't he? He'd want Harry to write down what had happened and tell him about the meditation he'd done after the dream to rebuild his walls...
Right. Harry took a deep, shuddering breath. Writing it down was the first step. Parchment and a quill on his desk. He tugged them down to the seat of his chair and readied the quill before realizing he wasn't wearing his glasses.
Right. He retrieved his glasses from the bedside table, flicking on the small lamp and feeling more calm already. Snape would want to know the basics: he always wanted to know who, where, and what.
Who? Everyone. All of them. But that didn't make any sense, did it? Harry paused, considering the memory. Voldemort, he decided with certainty. Voldemort had definitely been there, the eyes were fresh in his mind. He wrote that down.
And then... Anthony? No - Harry's stomach lurched again at the thought.
Tom Riddle. And Harry, but Harry didn't count in this sort of dream. He was always there. Death Eaters, though, they counted. There had been a lot of them.
Harry scribbled this down, then moved on to the next question. Where? Somewhere dark and familiar. Somewhere on a hill, with jutting shapes outlining the space around where he'd watched. Their silhouettes were too sharp for bushes or trees, and he thought they reminded him of-
Gravestones. Harry dropped his quill at the sudden realization, the dim shapes of his bedroom furniture looming up threateningly around him as he lost focus on the dream in favour of rising hysteria. They were in the graveyard, all of them, him and Voldemort and the Death Eaters, just like last time, but Riddle was there, and Anthony lay where Karkaoff had writhed, screaming, and-
His hand scrabbled at his side for his wand, and instead he caught the leg of the desk chair, his parchment falling into his lap. He forced himself to flatten his free hand on the floor and focus on the scratchy carpet under his fingertips, the scent of fresh ink and vomit and dirty socks which, yes, there they were, just there at the foot of his bed. The only sounds were the steady ring of muggle silence and his own harsh, sobbing breaths. He swallowed hard and lifted a shaky hand, pushing his glasses up and swiping at his eyes. He was in his bedroom, in Privet Drive. He was alone. Dudley was in the next room, and Uncle Vernon across the hall. If he went downstairs and stepped into the fireplace, Sirius and Remus would be there, and Draco, all of them.
Feeling more centered, Harry straightened up and laid his parchment out against his makeshift table again. He took several deep breaths as he wrote out a one word explanation for 'where', then paused to listen to the silence until he felt his heart rate had steadied.
Finally, he moved on to the 'what' of the matter. Anger, certainly. Everyone had been angry. And afraid? Or had that just been Harry? The dream was already shifting and slipping, especially with the confusion of old memories in- where they'd been.
With some consideration, Harry realized that yes, he'd been confused and frightened. But someone else had been shocked and genuinely fearful, like something enormous had gone monumentally arwy. Harry didn't feel it in the way he was used to feeling the memory of his own emotions. It felt more like the anger, like someone else's adrenaline dropped into his bloodstream to deal with.
Someone had been furious, but... he frowned and let his quill drip onto the seat of the chair as he tried to piece together what else had been happening. Excitement? That couldn't... but it felt right. Harry added this to his list. They had all been there: the Death Eaters and Voldemort, and Tom Riddle, and someone was excited about it.
He leaned his shoulder against the desk, drawer handles digging into his arm, and read through his notes. He couldn't think of anything else to report. Nothing firm, anyway, and now that he'd begun to calm down, his eyes were drooping. He dropped the quill onto the surface of the desk and set his glasses on top of his notes, so that he wouldn't forget to owl them off to Snape first thing in the morning. With that, he crawled back into bed and buried his head under his pillow. In the morning, he'd be surprised to realize he'd left the light on.
A/N: Another chapter for you! Much more quickly this time, though I know that's a relative statement... Anyway, enjoy!