The HP world and characters belong to JK Rowling
The Manor was a congenial place to be in those days. But the atmosphere didn't last long because a strange argument erupted.
It seemed that Draco had been perhaps a little more successful than he intended in his praise of Ginny, Girl-Who-Lived. The reporters had found out that as a result of the Killing Curse, both Draco and Ginny sported half lightning bolts in their chests. They wanted to devote an entire issue to them, with photos of the scars.
As could be reasonably expected, the Twins put their feet down and did not want to hear from the silly idea of someone taking a photo of their sister's naked breast. Harry also opposed the idea, blushing and not meeting anyone's look.
Hermione and Pansy rubbed their hands with glee, as they prepared to verbally tear them to shreds. However, it turned out that Draco also agreed with them.
And so the factions were formed. The defection of Blaise from the Clothed was disappointing, as was the utter lack of interest of Crabbe and Goyle. For all that, Luna, Susan and Narcissa joined them from the Unclothed side.
However, having Hermione, Pansy and Ginny, three formidable witches, against you, was quite unsettling. So everybody decided to avoid walking alone in case the aforesaid witches didn't like one's position. Narcissa observed how the Twins cringed when they interacted with Pansy, and took to mothering the redheads.
Fred and George enjoyed the attentions of Narcissa. Molly had been too weak lately to talk much. Thankfully she was safe at their home, being looked after by Bill and Charlie. They noticed that when Narcissa spoke to them, Malfoy got this strange look on his face, and wanted to needle him further, but the look was just the smug realization that the Twins needed Narcissa's comforting.
And it was difficult to know whose side Severus was on. If someone was brave – and foolish – enough to ask, he snarled an almost understandable reply and stalked off, robes billowing. Even Draco was treated in such a manner and he cringed, but he knew the strictures that Severus had been working under. It would take time to make Severus understand that the danger and compulsion were gone, that he could create a new life for himself, that his Slytherins loved him. His godfather was with him, and he didn't intend to let go.
Finally, one afternoon, Draco spoke with Blaise about the affair. Blaise asked him why he was so against the baring of the breast. Draco replied, "I don't want the common people to get ahold of photos and say bad things about her, Blaise! You know how fickle the public is. Now they adore her for what she did, but a few years hence, when she does something they don't like, they'll dredge up this. I don't want Ginny to suffer through the rejection inevitably caused by some of them!"
Blaise continued softly, "Have you considered her side, Draco? All her life her brothers have burdened her with rules, which ultimately proved futile. Her caretakers did not care enough for her, enough to recognize the damage she was showing and they did not take effective measures to stop it. She was left to muddle through it alone until you came along, a seemingly hardened antagonist who viewed her as a human being."
"Let her live without rules, on second thought, let her live according to her rules!"
"And then you convince her that she is worthy of being looked up as a heroine! Great deed! But when the dratted photo affair came up, you withheld choice from her, and want to impose your viewpoint. Draco, that smacks of hypocrisy, that she may only choose what you want."
Draco looked gobsmacked, and then repentant. He said, "That's not what I meant at all. I'll go talk to her. Come with me Blaise?"
Draco and Blaise made their way to the living room, where the rest of the gang was reunited, including the Black Sisters and Severus.
"Just the person we have waited for!" "Please seat yourself there, next to your accomplices." "Of course not you Blaise, you come up here," thundered the voice of Pansy. The menacing attitude of Hermione and Pansy caused Draco and friends to gingerly touch and see if they still had their bits.
Hermione pointed out with alacrity, "We've had enough of this row. It's grown and caught us, bystanders." "Mainly it's hurting you two." She pointed towards Draco and Ginny. She continued, "Fortunately for you, I've developed a new spell which might help you." She stared intently at Harry, who blushed and looked away.
"The spells allows you to feel what the caster does about a situation or person. I developed a variation where everybody in the room would feel what the person felt about something. The technique is similar to a Pensieve, though I doubt it could be used in a court of law…" Suddenly Ginny's elbow connected with Hermione and derailed a long lecture about law.
Hermione continued grumpily, "So how say you, Draco?"
Draco replied, "I'm game. Hit me with your best shot!"
Hermione raised an eyebrow in a Malfoyesque manner and said, "Revelo animi!"
They all felt a rush of feeling, of giddiness at facing the red-headed girl. Her passionate fury was beautiful to behold, if it didn't burn him so. It made him feel so inadequate to the tasks set upon him by his heritage and his father. Time moved forward in discrete jumps, and almost always was there the fiery girl, until a cold moment came when he realized the girl had been cruelly used, and needed someone's help desperately, even if it came from a former enemy.
Soon he faced her and noted the subdued looks, the shyness that hadn't been there, and he vowed to do what he could to bring the fire back to her eyes. Then occurred her masterful handling of Voldemort, and the current impasse.
He knew the fickleness of the public, and could hear them in his mind as they taunted her. He would not allow that to happen to her. That cannot happen to a Malfoy! OK, he knew she was a Weasley, but in his heart, she had become a Malfoy, representing the ideals they should have upheld. In his mind she was the little sister he never had.
Hermione broke the spell and turned towards Ginny, who was crying. Hermione asked, "Ready?" Ginny nodded, Hermione intoned the spell and:
At first they felt disoriented in a world in which your brothers pave the way for you. They offer advice, and stifling rules. Harry is there too, but not very noticeably. The confrontations with the blond, though, soon become regular. Given enough time, everything changes, your brothers leave or stop paying attention to you. You end up with Harry, and then break up. There's a menacing feeling on the edge of your mind you can't quite get rid of, because it's the result of Obliviates. The fights with Malfoy remain constant, and for that you are grateful.
When troubles accumulate and completely overwhelm you, it is him who lends a helping hand, an understanding ear. The one who is there to see you through. The one to explain things to you so you can understand them. Things about you.
You want him to be proud of you. Surely this article and photos will help! But he reacts to the proposal with fury, seemingly smothering your choice. You are hurt.
Draco approached Ginny gingerly, and hugged her tightly. He was crying and his eyes were cyan blue, he said, "I'm sorry Gin. If you want to, do the article and photos."
Blaise came near, and he said, "I think I can offer a compromise. Since the main point of contention are the photos of Ginny's breast, which have to be shown, this could be sidestepped by printing a drawing of the scar."
If Blaise was expecting accolades for his sage advice, that didn't happen at all. Instead, both Draco and Ginny narrowed their eyes dangerously, and with fire in their eyes, looked at him. Blaise cursed his one-upmanship, and wished he was safe, say in France .
Then Draco and Ginny talked finishing off each other's sentences, like the Twins:
"So, Blaise, this is very."
"Smart of you. But you could have told us."
"Long ago and we'd have avoided trouble. Now"
"you're in trouble!"
Blaise insisted he'd had the idea just today. Draco used magic to hold him captive while Ginny used a tickling charm on him.
It was two days later that Harry's world came crashing down. He could tell from Draco's behavior at dinner, that the blond was uncomfortable about something. Because Draco looked away and didn't glance in his direction, it had something to do with him.
After dinner, Harry read a little. Soon someone knocked, Harry answered and Draco got in. Harry could tell from Draco's closed expression that the news would probably be bad. Maybe Voldemort or Dumbledore appearing again.
However the news was worse. Draco, as was his wont with Harry, spoke plainly and with the truth, "Summer vacation is almost over. I have decided not to resume my studies at Hogwarts. Instead, I will earn my license finishing with the courses offered in Beauxbatons. Severus has taken a position as Potions Master at Beauxbatons and Blaise will attend with me. You're the first to know this, other than them."
Harry lurched into the bed. He grabbed the duvet to himself, and told himself that he didn't feel so cold, so alone. The thought of Hogwarts without the bright mop of blond hair was repugnant to him. He lashed angrily, without thought, without remorse, "So this is it! You leave me, us, after all we've done. We're just another problem solved!"
Draco answered patiently, "Of course not, Potter! There are reasons which I will explain to your thick self! McGonagall called a meeting of the prefects and said that Hermione would be Head Girl and I would be Head Boy, thereupon all the prefects threatened to resign if I was Head Boy."
Harry asked in a small voice, "What about the Slytherin prefects?"
Draco answered, "They acted like the others."
Harry growled, "I'll kill them!"
Draco replied, "Not so fast. I had to persuade them to act like this, they had a role to play."
Harry stuttered, "Wh-what?"
Draco continued, "Harry, to our classmates I'm still the one who let the Death Eaters into Hogwarts, who helped kill Dumbledore. Right now they read in the paper that I'm a hero, and believe it. But what will happen when they congregate at Hogwarts? They will lash at me like there is no tomorrow. If there were few of them, I'd curse them, but since there will be so many, that solution proves unadvisable."
"No doubt you would defend me, and my friends, but then, two factions would exist, and we'd be in the minority."
"I've thought about this, and the best line of defense is simply to disappear from their disapproving eyes. While they ruminate on their best joke about me, I'll be enjoying my studies with Blaise, and the joke will be on them."
"I once read a book that had this line: It is the story, not he who tells it."
"I think it is the truth. I serve the story better by being unseen."
But Harry was imagining the Dungeons, always trying to get a glimpse of the blond hair, and now, as if it were forever out of reach at the other end of the Channel, his spirits sank.
Draco recognized the feelings of the fellow Seeker, and tried to raise his spirits, "Come on, Harry! We can always have portkeys and visit! I'll make you some and then you can go to France , other times I can go to Hogwarts. You will also have your friends with you, the Twins, Ginny, Hermione, the Slytherins."
Still, Harry's demeanor rang warning bells in Draco, and he tried to react appropiately.
Bellatrix asked scandalized, "Are you serious?"
Draco answered calmly, "No, but I know who will. You said it was possible when I asked you yesterday."
Bella said, "It depends on whether the hard version of Tradition is true. It dictates that the Veil was created to punish criminals. If so, then the criminals remain there and could theoretically be rescued. The soft version says that the Veil is death. If so, it is the final answer."
Draco continued, "If I make contact, I will need the Power of Three to give Black corporal form. You should be able to convince your sisters to cooperate. The delicious symmetry of helping him now after being his enemy is staggering. Talking about this, please don't enter into rows with him. Just don't listen to him at all. It's what I do with Potter."
Bella rolled her eyes and murmured sweetly, "Of course, Draco."
Blaise looked up from the report he was reading to find a serious-looking Draco. Draco was fidgeting and had a slightly guilty look, which meant that he'd gone and done something bad or was thinking about doing it.
Draco started, "I'm considering doing something dangerous, Blaise; to help Harry with his demons. It could prove effective but it would be dangerous. But I don't want to do it if you will worry too much."
"I'm asking for your permission on this, because our emergencies happened very fast, and we often reacted to them."
"Here is what I would do:" And Draco expounded his masterful plan to Blaise's inquiring mind. At the end, when Draco asked for the decision, Blaise answered, "I'll say, go with your heart, Draco. I've never met anyone with a bigger heart than you. You are ever so much more than anyone intended, not Child of the Dark, but Child of the World. With you, I fly, and I will follow you all the days of my life."
There was whiteness all around. There was no time, for there was no sequence of actions to give it meaning. Sometimes he managed to peek at the real world, using his abilities as part Siddhe. Unfortunately they weren't enough to leave this place. And so he endured.
He remembered Harry, and tortured himself thinking how the boy would be suffering from his absence. Whenever he got too weary and the temptation to disappear was strong, he imagined his godson's troubled face and he remained.
Suddenly there appeared color amidst the white. A will was imposed and the space looked like the Slytherin common room. A mop of blond hair appeared, followed by the rest of Draco Malfoy.
He said, "How much do you remember, Black?"
"Pretty much everything until your aunt killed me. I've gotten glimpses of things now and then."
Malfoy sighed and said, "Then that eases things a bit. I'm coming for you because Harry needs you. He suffered your loss a lot. Things got heated in Hogwarts for a while, but now, Harry and I are friends. I'm leaving for France and didn't fancy how he looked, he needs you. We are about to enter Seventh Year, Dumbledore is dead, and Voldemort is dead."
Malfoy continued in a low voice, "I just have some requests concerning some people: your mother's portrait proved invaluable in the fight against Voldie, please treat her with respect. Kreacher also helped, but I leave the elf to your discretion, and Bellatrix has also proved very helpful against Voldemort. I would ask both of you that you do not kill each other on sight, but rather conduct a more civilized fight, like Potter and me!"
"Apart from these requests, it's your life!"
Draco took out the Black Ring and gave it to Black, who said, "What are you doing?"
Draco replied, "I'm giving back your title of Lord Black!"
Black answered, "I don't want it, you can keep it!"
Draco, astounded, countered with "Are you serious?"
"Yes, I am, I'm Sirius! Seriously though, I think you've handled very well the pressures of the title and the power that it has, I also think there might come a time when being Lord Black could prove advantageous for you."
Draco sighed and said, "OK, but I'm giving you the deed to Black House and half the contents of the vault."
Sirius was about to say something when Draco replied, "I don't want you to keep you from buying Harry a new broom due to funds!"
Sirius asked, "And now what?"
"We will be called by the Power of Three, your cousins the Black Sisters, they will use their magic to give you your body back."
Tomorrow, Friday, Draco and Blaise were leaving and everybody was behaving so strangely. They were commiserating with Harry but also seemed to know something he didn't, they smirked.
What Harry didn't know was that they were aware of the surprise person coming to dinner.
When everybody had been served, Draco made a point of asking Dobby to set another plate. The elf did, and Harry asked who it was. Draco answered slyly, "Someone you haven't seen in a while, and would love to see." Harry was bouncing on his seat when Draco relented and called, "Black!"
The door opened and Sirius Black sauntered in. Harry lurched, the biggest grin appeared in his face, which soon turned into a grimace when he asked, "Tonks, I'm going to kill you!"
Draco said, "No, Harry, not Tonks, she is right there next to her mother." Harry turned and saw Tonks talking to Andromeda.
Harry asked, "How and why?"
Draco replied, "How: as a Siddhe I could enter the Realm of the Veil as just another one. My mother and her sisters provided the magical force necessary to provide Sirius with his body. Why, because you deserve it."
After the meal, everyone went their separate ways. When Draco tried to leave and let Harry and Sirius together, Harry insisted he stay, because he was leaving so soon. Eventually Harry pouted, and Draco decided to stay.
On Sunday, Harry and Sirius had lunch in Black House. Sirius showed off his impressive CD collection.
Later, Harry had to stay indoors because of the storm. He leaned on the window, as the raindrops traveled their short way before merging together again. He listened to his favorite song, and thought how fitting some imagery was.
Stud my heaven
Lie the jewels that eye my place
And the warm winds
That embrace me
Just as surely kissed your face
Yeah these miss you nights
They're the longest
Miss you nights – David Townsend
Sirius had said, "I know that you miss him, Harry. You must learn to let go, at the same time that you keep some hope. What he did for me indicates that you mean a lot to him. The future is open. Your future may be with him, or not. Change what you can and live your life, is what he'd want you to do, it's what you've earned."