Draco strode angrily through the streets of London as he made his way back to the hotel. He berated himself for believing for even a moment that the Chosen One would forget six years of hatred and enmity. Harry had just been biding his time until Draco's guard was down and Harry had the means to capture and incarcerate his rival. Draco would never have suspected the Boy Who Lived would be capable of such subterfuge. It rankled that he had been out-maneuvered by a Gryffindor.
As he approached the hotel, Draco noticed a dark-haired man sitting at the bus stop across the street. Thinking back, Draco remembered that the man had been in the same spot when he and Harry had left the hotel. On further reflection, Draco recalled that he had seen the man several times as he and Harry had made their way to Diagon Alley. He had not been concerned at the time as the man did not generate an immortal buzz nor did he appear to be a wizard. Now, however, Draco became suspicious. Had the man followed them to the Leaky Cauldron but, having lost them there, returned here to wait for them to reappear?
Loitering at a storefront window, Draco watched the man surreptitiously. When the bus arrived a few minutes later, but the man remained in his seat, Draco was positive the man was waiting for either him, Harry or both.
Deciding that he needed to determine the man's intention, Draco slipped into a nearby alley and removed his glamour. He then casually strolled down the street, past the hotel and into a nearby store. He waited near the entrance until he saw the man had followed him inside, and then he headed out the back. When the man emerged into the darkened alley, Draco was waiting.
"Your lessons in following prey appear to be somewhat lacking," Draco said as the man stopped in surprise.
"I don't know what you're talking about. I came outside for a smoke," the man replied.
"By all means then, continue." Draco smirked as he watched the man try to light a cigarette with shaking hands. Draco almost laughed at the dumbfounded expressions that flitted across Farmer's face. A second-year Slytherin had more control than this man did.
Deciding he had talked enough to the dim-witted man, Draco stepped forward until he was staring the man in the eye. "You have been following me. I want to know why. Legilimens!"
The man stood still, his breath coming in short gasps as Draco stared into his eyes and searched for the memories that would explain the man's behavior. Once he had learned all that he could, he whispered softly, "Obliviate."
The man blinked a few times and then gave Draco a puzzled look. "What's going on?"
"You didn't look well, so I followed you into the alley," Draco lied smoothly. "Are you better now?"
The man nodded slowly, a confused look on his face.
"Perhaps you should go home and get some rest," Draco suggested. He was confident that the man, who's surname was Farmer, would have no memory of having followed him. Aunt Bella may have been insane, but she was a thorough teacher when it came to mind-magic.
As Farmer stumbled away, Draco sorted through the memories he had found. Farmer was a part of a group that called themselves Watchers. These men and women devoted their lives to observing immortals and recording their history. Apparently, Joe was a Watcher and had told Farmer where to find Draco. It seemed that Muggles had some way of tracking the credit card Draco had borrowed from Adam.
Draco clenched his teeth in anger. Not only had Joe set spies on him, but Adam must have also helped by giving him the credit card information. The only consolation Draco had was that Harry was being followed as well. Draco wondered how long it would take the oblivious Gryffindor to notice, not that it was any of his concern.
Draco spun around as a cat hissed nearby and ran down the alley and over the back fence. His heart gave a lurch as he recognized the figure that had startled the cat. "What are you doing here? I thought you were dead."
Harry sat at the kitchen table while Hermione made sandwiches and Ron poured them something to drink. No place, except Hogwarts, had ever felt as much like a home to Harry as the Burrow did.
"You know, they planned your funeral for tomorrow," Ron said as he joined Harry at the table. "Won't everyone be surprised when you show up, still alive?"
"I don't think I can do that, Ron," Harry said hesitantly.
"Well, that would be an awful shock," Hermione agreed with a sour look at Ron. "When Ron's parents get back, I'm sure they'll know what to do."
"No, I mean, we can't tell anyone else," Harry said. "Just you two."
"What? Of course we have to tell everyone, Harry," Hermione exclaimed in a shocked voice. "It wouldn't be fair to let everyone grieve when you're not really dead."
"Yeah, mate. And Ginny… well, she's been waiting for you, you know," Ron added.
"I know people are upset, but…" Harry paused. "Look, the more people that know, the more chance there is of everyone finding out about immortals."
"Ginny isn't everyone," Ron said stubbornly.
"No, but she isn't my girlfriend anymore either," Harry said, trying to keep a lid on his temper. He really hated it when Ron dug his heels in and refused to budge on an issue.
"Harry, that's a cruel thing to say," Hermione scolded. "Ginny loves you. You may not be together right now, but that's just because of the Death Eaters and all. Now that that's over…"
"We're not getting back together," Harry said emphatically. Then relented a bit when he saw Hermione's shocked expression. "Look, it just wouldn't be the same now."
"Why, because you'll be young forever and she'll grow old and ugly?" Ron snapped.
Harry narrowed his eyes. "Because I can't give her the things she wants, like a family."
Ron started to make a snide remark, but Hermione cut him off. "What do you mean, Harry? Why can't you have a family?"
Harry sank back into his chair, the reality of his situation sinking in a bit more. "How could we be together if no one can know I'm alive? Besides, immortals can't have children and Ginny deserves better than that."
Hermione nodded sadly, as understanding dawned. "And if we tell her you're still alive, she'll probably say none of that matters and want to be with you anyway."
Harry nodded. "But you know it will eventually. After all, she's a Weasley. Family is everything to them." Harry spoke to Hermione, but looked at Ron. "It would be better if she found someone else; even if that means letting her think I'm dead."
Ron had the grace to look ashamed of himself. "Blimey, Harry. This immortality stuff really sucks."
"Yeah," Harry agreed sadly. "Sometimes it really does."
Lucius gazed calmly at his fuming son as they entered Draco's hotel room. Lucius had many questions, but in Draco's present state of mind, it was unlikely that he would willingly provide any answers.
"I would remind you that you should never assume one is dead unless you have seen the body for yourself, but that hardly seems accurate under the present circumstances," Lucius said. "I don't suppose your mother is…?"
"She was not as fortunate as I," Draco snapped. He walked further into the room and then turned to face his father. "How did you find me?"
"Actually, I was following a Muggle who I had seen die several times," Lucius replied. As he talked, he gently probed Draco's mind. "Imagine my surprise when I saw that he had not only resurrected the Potter boy, but my own son as well. Would you care to explain?"
Draco glared back at his father. "Aunt Bella may be insane, but she is an adept Occlumency teacher."
Lucius smiled, hiding his frustration that not only had he been unsuccessful in penetrating Draco's mind, but Draco had caught him at it. "You have always been an excellent student," he said in praise. If Lucius could not get answers the easy way, then he would have to work past Draco's anger with him. "I would not be a Slytherin if I had not made the attempt though."
"As much as I am enjoying our scintillating conversation, it has been a rather long day," Draco said. "Perhaps we can finish our tête-à-tête another time."
"Draco… son… there is no need for this hostility between us," Lucius said, his tone oozing regret. "I acted as I did only out of self-preservation. If I had not, you would still have died and I would have joined you. The Dark Lord was a harsh master, but he is gone now. We can begin anew, but this time, we will be the masters."
"There can be only one master," Draco said pointedly. "I have no intention of being your servant."
"You will be my equal in every way," Lucius promised. While Draco may have lost his desire to please his father, Lucius was sure that Draco had not lost his desire for power. "Think of it, Draco," Lucius said in his most appealing tone, "we could become what the Dark Lord strove for, but could never reach; powerful, invincible, immortal."
"I'm already all those things," Draco replied with a smirk. "Why would I share what I have with the man who tried to kill me?"
"Your power is raw, untrained," Lucius said. "With my experience to guide you, no one would be able to stand in our way. The world is ours for the taking."
Draco gave his father a calculating look. "And it matters not that you are offering equality to a possible Mudblood?"
Lucius was taken aback by Draco's question. "I'm surprised your mother told you. It was she who found you in the gardens and insisted we raise you as our own."
"And she performed the blood-magic to make me look like a Malfoy," Draco added.
"She hoped that I would accept you if you appeared a true Malfoy," Lucius replied. He realized that he needed to take control of the conversation before he lost Draco completely. "Even if she had not, you are in all ways my son. As for your blood being pure, the Dark Lord himself was a half-blood. Such things are irrelevant in one of great power."
Draco laughed harshly. "How utterly Slytherin of you. You are willing to overlook my possible low birth in exchange for immortality."
Lucius sensed that, despite his protestation, Draco was weakening. "There is no one to stand in our way, my son. Together, we can rule all. The world will fall at our feet and worship us as gods."
Lucius waited patiently while Draco thought over the suggestion.
"You've betrayed me once to gain power," Draco said evenly. "How do I know that you won't do so again?"
"I was watching as you performed Legilimency on that Muggle in the alley," Lucius said. "I read his mind just as you did."
Draco crossed his arms over his chest and frowned. "That does not explain why I should trust you."
"Ask yourself, my son, why did this immortal resurrect you? Was he seeking a protégé?" Lucius asked, carefully gauging the impact of his words. "Or did he seek to gain power in this 'Game' the immortals play by creating a servant with the power he lacked; an immortal who is capable of magic?"
Draco's eyes narrowed. "What do you know of the Game?"
"Immortals kill other immortals to gain their power," Lucius said, confident that he was finally on the path to gaining his son's loyalty once again. He had seen only a little in the Muggle's mind, but with typical Slytherin cunning, he could guess what he did not know for sure. "You will be used as a pawn in this game, my son. Not to achieve your own ambitions, but to aid your benefactor - your new master - in achieving his."
"If I must choose between masters," Draco said with a smirk, "my gratitude should lie with my resurrector, not the one who took my life."
"What do you believe will happen once you gain enough power to become a threat to your new master?" Lucius asked. "He will take your life himself to obtain the power you have."
"Then why did he not kill me when he had the chance? Why let me leave?" Draco asked.
"He let you leave of your own accord to gain your trust, but he has his spies following you," Lucius said. "He has underestimated you, my son. Allow me to guide you in exacting your revenge for this slight."
Lucius felt triumphant as the smoldering anger reappeared in Draco's eyes, this time directed at another.
"I think I'd better put my glamour back on," Harry said as they returned to the living room, "just in case your parents come home before I leave."
Hermione nodded sadly. "It's going to be hard to continue acting as though our best-friend just died."
Ron grunted in agreement and then winced as Harry turned back into a blond. "Bloody hell, mate, you look like Malfoy."
Harry grinned at Ron's disgusted expression. If only Ron knew who had come up with the glamour originally. "Good disguise, huh?"
"I don't think I can talk to you like that," Hermione grumbled. She waved her wand and Harry felt a slight tingle as the glamour changed. Hermione gave a relieved sigh. "That's better."
Harry shook his head at his friend's attitudes. This probably would not be a good time to mention that Draco had become his traveling companion.
"So, what's the news about the Death Eaters? Have all of them been caught?" Harry asked.
"Most of the ones we knew about have been," Hermione replied. "Bellatrix is in custody. She'll be getting Kissed this time."
Harry smiled grimly. After what Bella had done to Sirius, Harry had no qualms about her impending fate.
"What about Snape?" Harry asked.
Hermione and Ron exchanged furtive glances. It was Hermione who spoke. "Snape turned himself in after they announced that Voldemort was dead. That's what the Order is meeting about. It seems that Dumbledore told Snape to kill him if it became necessary to keep his cover."
"And they believe him?" Harry growled.
"Dumbledore left a Pensieve memory behind that shows him telling Snape to do it. Dumbledore's portrait told Professor McGonagall where to find it," Hermione explained. "She kept it quiet until the war was over so that Snape could continue to spy for us without suspicion."
Ron snorted angrily. "Snape says he's the one that was sending you all those messages on Death Eater activity. Probably hoped we'd get killed in that final battle."
Hermione glared at Ron. "The Order believes him. They're meeting to prepare his defense at the Ministry."
"He should be getting Kissed," Ron said. "Too bad the Malfoys didn't survive. I'd like to have seen them Kissed too."
Harry bit his tongue to keep from arguing. He knew Ron was still angry over what had happened to Bill, but Harry felt that Draco had paid enough for that mistake. Having to live with the knowledge that your father killed you was worse than a Dementor's Kiss.
Thinking of Draco reminded Harry of the misunderstanding they'd had in the wand shop. He hoped that Draco would calm down by the time he returned to the hotel. Harry thought that they had made a start on something besides being enemies. Mac and Adam were nice enough, but they weren't wizards. Only Draco could truly understand what Harry had become. Their bond was one that no one else shared.
"I'd better be going," Harry said. "There's someone waiting for me back at the hotel." At least, Harry hoped Draco was there.
"Where will you go now? When will we see you again?" Hermione asked, tears in her eyes. Harry had only been back with them for a couple of hours. She did not want to lose him again so quickly.
"I don't know, but I'll owl you when I get there," Harry promised.
"Take care, mate. You know where to find us if you need anything," Ron said.
"I will," Harry promised. He wiped a few tears away from his own eyes as he Flooed back to the Leaky Cauldron.
When they arrived at the hotel, Joe went to talk to the watcher in the lobby while Methos cajoled a key-card from the woman at the front desk. Since his name had been used to pay for the room, he did not have too much trouble. He and MacLeod then rejoined a worried looking Joe.
"Baxter says Draco's back, but he's not alone," Joe said. "She hasn't seen Harry since they left together earlier. There should be a watcher outside as well, but I didn't see him as we came in."
"Who's with Draco?" Methos asked.
"Tall man, long white-blond hair, sound familiar?" Joe asked, looking at MacLeod.
"Lucius," MacLeod growled. "If Draco's father found them, Harry's probably already dead then. If they got wise to your watcher, he may be as well."
"We don't know that for sure," Methos said. MacLeod had a habit of jumping to conclusions based on gut feelings. "Harry was determined to see his friends. He and Draco may have parted ways before Lucius showed up. Your watcher could just be off getting some coffee."
"We'll see," MacLeod said. "Regardless, I have a score to settle with Lucius."
Methos grabbed MacLeod's arm to keep him from walking away and hissed in a low voice, "You know what Lucius is, MacLeod. You can't confront someone like him and walk away unscathed. If he's learned how immortals can die, then you won't walk away at all."
"What do you suggest, Methos? Live and let live?" MacLeod growled. "He may not be immortal, but he knows about us and he has no qualms about killing. I'm not going to walk away knowing I'll have to watch my back for the rest of his life."
Methos fumed silently. One day MacLeod's headstrong tendencies were going to get them both killed.
"Draco could be telling him all your deep, dark secrets as we speak," Joe said. "It he does, it could be like Horton all over again."
Methos had heard about the numerous immortal deaths that the Watcher, Horton, had been responsible for. He knew MacLeod would stop at nothing to prevent a similar killing spree from happening. The problem was that a wizard was far more dangerous than any normal mortal was. "Let me talk to him before you attempt any ill-conceived heroics," Methos said. "Let's at least figure out which side Draco is on. He may be as much a prisoner of his father as you were, Mac."
MacLeod did not look pleased with the idea, but gave a short nod. "I'll be standing outside the door in case anything goes wrong."
"You might need this then," Methos said, handing the key to the hotel room to MacLeod.
The three men took the elevator upstairs. Joe and MacLeod waited out of sight while Methos knocked on the door and waited for an answer.
"Pierson," Draco greeted coolly. "I thought you were taking a plane to someplace warm and sunny this morning?"
"I didn't get very far without my credit card," Methos said. He glanced around the room but saw no sign of Lucius. Perhaps the man had already left.
Draco walked over to the dresser to pick up the credit card he had borrowed. Flashing a disarming smile, he said, "Ah, an unforeseen difficulty. Now that I have access to my accounts, I will see that you are reimbursed for the expenses Harry and I accrued."
"Where is Harry?" Methos asked as he placed the credit card in his pocket. "We ran into an old adversary of his in Scotland. Mac insisted on coming here to warn you both." Methos noticed that Draco's gaze flitted around the room at the mention of an adversary.
Draco laughed shortly. "MacLeod would have fitted into Gryffindor house quite well. Brave to a fault, quick to action, but not a lot of forethought."
Methos had to laugh at the description. "That describes Mac perfectly. I would venture to say it describes Harry as well."
"The personification of the house," Draco agreed. "Slytherins are much more cunning." He gave Methos a sly grin. "I think you would have fit into my house quite well."
"I'll take that as a compliment," Methos replied with a grin back and then shifted topics abruptly. "Your father still wants the secret of immortality, doesn't he?"
"He would sell his soul to know how he can become immortal," Draco answered, "if he had one left, that is."
"Really, Draco, that was uncalled for," Lucius' disembodied voice chided from the far corner of the room. Both men waited, unsurprised, as Lucius disillusioned himself. "You must be Draco's benefactor," Lucius said graciously. "I am Lucius Malfoy, Draco's father."
Methos nodded politely as he replied, "Adam Pierson. By the way, Mac is quite irritated with you."
Lucius sighed dramatically. "Yes, I imagine he would be. The Dark Lord's methods were a bit heavy-handed. He need not fear such uncivilized behavior any longer. I'm sure that we can reach a resolution as gentlemen."
Methos noticed the slight tension in Draco's stance. After five-thousand years, Methos could read those minute changes in a person's demeanor as if he were reading a book. The boy was not as calm as he strove to appear. "What is it that you believe I can do for you?" Methos asked Lucius.
"I want the gift that you have bestowed on my son," Lucius replied. "There is much I have to offer in exchange."
Methos nodded slowly. Apparently, Lucius was not aware that immortals were born and Draco seemed to be encouraging that erroneous belief for reasons of his own.
"Father knows about the Game and how immortals gain each others powers," Draco added. "He would be a formidable ally, if you choose to trust him."
Methos leaned casually against the wall as he evaluated the situation. Lucius was easy to read. He wanted something and was willing to bargain to get it. Once he discovered that there was no bargain to be made however, he would strike out in anger at anyone near. Draco, however, was harder to figure out. Methos decided he would just have to keep them talking and hope that MacLeod would patiently remain outside.
"Can I trust you, Lucius?" Methos asked.
Lucius inclined his head slightly in Methos direction. "For the gift of immortality, I would willingly serve in whatever capacity you see fit."
Methos nodded thoughtfully. He noticed that the tension in Draco's shoulders eased somewhat. Whatever Draco's intentions, he seemed relieved that Methos was going along with it.
"Why, so you can become the next Dark Lord?" Harry snarled from where he stood in the doorway. "I don't think so. Petrificus Totalus!"
As soon as he heard Harry's voice, Methos dropped to the floor, expecting some rash action from the young man. Lucius dived to the side, avoiding the hex, while Harry charged into the room followed by MacLeod and Joe.
"Accio wand!" Draco cried out, taking Harry by surprise.
Seeing that Draco had taken care of Harry, Lucius pointed his wand at MacLeod. "Incarcerous!"
Joe pulled a handgun from inside his jacket and pointed it at Lucius. Before he could pull the trigger, Draco yelled, "Accio weapon!"
Lucius glanced at Joe, but decided he was unimportant now that he was unarmed. He turned to Harry and laughed maliciously. "So, the Boy Who Lived is now the Boy Who Lives Forever. How trite!"
Harry glanced over at Draco who was standing by the dresser holding Harry's wand. "I wasn't going to turn you in, Draco. You should know a Gryffindor keeps his promises," he said, hoping to re-establish the rapport that they had been building.
Lucius chuckled derisively. "Not turn over the one who let the Death Eaters into Hogwarts and precipitated the death of the Headmaster? How naïve do you think my son is, Potter?"
"The Death Eater that killed Dumbledore was already in Hogwarts," Harry snarled. "Draco's actions didn't change that."
Methos climbed slowly to his feet, careful to make no sudden moves. If he were lucky, Lucius would continue their dialog long enough for Methos to figure a way out of this mess.
"Methos," MacLeod growled from where he lay wrapped in thick ropes. "Do something."
"I am," Methos replied and then turned to Lucius. "I believe we were about to reach an agreement before we were interrupted."
"Don't trust him, Methos," MacLeod snarled. "He'll kill us all if he's given the chance."
"Your diatribe grows tiresome," Lucius said, pointing his wand at MacLeod. "Silencio!"
Methos' mouth quirked in a slight grin as MacLeod's mouth moved but no sound emerged. "I've wanted to do that for years."
"A man of reason," Lucius said with a smile. "An uncommon quality among Muggles."
"I am an uncommon man," Methos replied.
"It would be best to remove this threat before we continue, Father," Draco said as he walked over, his eyes on Harry.
Lucius nodded, a cruel smile on his face. "I shall allow you the pleasure, my son. I know that you have wanted this for some time."
"What about our truce?" Harry asked Draco.
Draco smirked as he stared into Harry's eyes. "Our truce was only until we were able to obtain wands again."
Harry's eyes widened in surprise. "Then you'll kill me just like you did Browning."
Draco smiled. "Exactly." He looked at Methos who was watching them cautiously. "If I may borrow your sword, Pierson."
Methos noticed that the tension in Harry's frame had eased with Draco's answer. While he was not entirely sure of Draco's intentions, Harry seemed to be. He turned his attention to Draco. "It's kill or be killed time, is it?"
Draco nodded. "Just like you taught me. Take out the enemy while you can or he'll keep coming after you."
"An excellent piece of advice," Lucius said. "I'm glad my son has such a teacher."
Methos inclined his head in acknowledgement.
"Methos, don't do this," Joe said. Before he could say more, Lucius silenced him as well.
Draco accepted the sword from Methos and then stood facing Harry. The two teens stared, unflinching, into each other's eyes.
Lucius stepped forward and placed a hand on Draco's shoulder. "Avenge our Lord, Draco."
Draco raised the sword, handle gripped in both hands, tip pointed downward. "Vengeance," he said, then drove the sword backward as hard as he could into Lucius' body. As Draco turned, he pulled the sword free by ripping it sideways.
As Lucius fell to the floor, a stunned look on his face, Draco added softly, "Rest in Peace, Mother. Your death has been repaid."
"It looks like Farmer is going to be fine," Joe said as he joined the four immortals for a drink in the hotel lounge. "He doesn't even remember being told to follow the boys. After Draco planted that suggestion in his mind, he just went home and went to bed."
"Those who have been Obliviated are easily susceptible to altered memories," Draco said.
"I'm not even going to ask what that means," Joe said, taking a healthy swallow of his beer. "I always thought wizards were just fantasies."
"But immortals are so pedestrian," Methos teased.
"Would either of you happen to know that silencing spell?" Joe asked with a meaningful look at Methos.
"I think we've had enough magic for one night," MacLeod said. "I'm just glad you two are on our side, although I'll admit that Draco had me fooled."
"I'm with Mac. I thought for sure Draco was going to kill Harry," Joe said then turned to Methos and added, "I can't believe you went along with it."
"It was obvious that the boys were planning something," Methos replied calmly. "Draco may be able to keep his emotions from showing, but Harry is an open book. He knew Draco wasn't going to harm him."
Harry looked surprised. "I was just hoping I understood what Draco meant. When we left Scotland, our truce was just until we had wands, but we had another after that. That's why I asked about Browning. Just to be sure I was right."
"A far more subtle method of questioning my intentions than I would have previously given you credit for, Potter," Draco noted.
"Who was Browning and how did he fit into all this?" Joe asked with a confused frown.
"He was an immortal that we ran into on our way to London," Harry swallowed hard. He still hadn't reconciled himself to killing the man. "He was going to take Draco's head even though Draco wasn't armed. It took both of us to knock him out, and then I took his head. It wasn't a fair fight, but he didn't give us much choice." Harry was relieved when the other men nodded in understanding.
"Then you were on our side all along?" Joe asked Draco.
"I'm on my own side," Draco reiterated with a smirk. "You lot just happened to have been a more palatable alternative."
"He just wants to keep me alive so that we're the last two in The Game," Harry said, rolling his eyes. "Then he thinks he's going to take my head and get the prize."
Methos chuckled. "Every man needs a goal in life."
All three adults had noticed the lack of animosity between the two teens since they had met back up. One could almost say they had become friends. As a wise woman once said, there are some things you cannot share without ending up liking each other and, for Harry and Draco, defeating the man who had killed them both was one of them. 1
"So what are you two going to do with yourselves now?" Joe asked the teens.
Draco shrugged, while Harry looked thoughtful. "I hear that cruises can be quite relaxing," Harry said with a shy smile at Draco. "Lots of sun, blue water, lying by the pool with nothing to do but sip a cold drink…"
Draco slowly smiled back. "I suppose someone should go along to make sure your Gryffindor tendencies don't get you into trouble again."
"We did promise to protect each other," Harry said with an answering grin.
"That we did, Potter," Draco said with a genuine grin. "Until we're the last two standing."
Harry raised his glass as if toasting. "Until we're the last two standing," he echoed and they clicked their glasses together.
1 Paraphrased from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, "There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other and knocking out a twelve foot mountain troll is one of them."
CJ DeanPage 105/13/2007