Description: Harry tries to put his life back together after the fall of Voldemort, but it's more complicated than he thought. And he hadn't counted on war changing everything around him so much. Harry/Draco Slash. Rated M for violence, language and sexual activity. Spoilers for all 7 books. Canon compliant up to the epilogue. NOT epilogue compliant!
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoat Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
by Lady Katie
Chapter One - Insomnia
This isn't how I wanted it to happen, Harry kept thinking. It's funny how dying, or nearly dying, put one's life in perspective. Harry could do nothing but ponder this in the hours following Voldemort's death. Even when he was finally free to rest, it haunted him. He didn't sleep, but sat alone in the Gryffindor dorm wondering how a person moves on from such a significant event. He hadn't even cried for the lost loved ones yet. He couldn't. He wasn't sure yet how he felt about how everything happened.
And he certainly didn't want to be a hero. He didn't want people congratulating him on a victory that was only partly his own. Snape would never get the full credit he deserved. No matter what Harry said, he would always just be another dead Death Eater. Harry may have been the last one to face Voldemort, but he was certainly not the hero. He had hated Snape for so long that Harry wasn't sure how to think of him now. Severus had loved Lily. Oh, Harry still thought he was a bit of an arsehole, but he was more brave, loyal and honorable than Harry had ever known. If only Dumbledore had told him the whole story. Would he have believed it? Probably not. But now all those horrible things that he had said to Snape over the years came back to haunt him. Sure, Snape asked for it most of the time, with the frequent barbs about James and Sirius, but Harry felt intensely guilty for how he had treated the Potions Master.
Where would he go next? There would surely be Death Eater trials. He wondered how the Malfoys would come out in the end. Draco and Narcissa would probably not go to prison, but Harry doubted Lucius would be able to get out of it this time. Then Harry remembered that he still had Draco's wand. He was currently the owner of three wands as a matter of fact. One would go back to its rightful place with Dumbeldore. The phoenix core wand would hopefully never be separated from him again. But he supposed he should give Draco's back. Whether it would work for him or not Harry didn't know, but it was a good gesture. He may not owe Draco anything, but without Narcissa's help in the forest, things would have gone much different.
Unable to sleep, Harry got up, slipped the invisibility cloak over his head and left the Gryffindor dorms. It was late in the afternoon and the common room was crowded. Many of the wounded were being treated at the school and the Ministry had requested that everyone else stay until they could interview witnesses for their reports, so McGonagall had opened up all the houses and guest quarters for them. The Weasleys of course had stayed in Gryffindor, most of them huddled around their mother where she sat by the fire. Harry noticed Ron and Hermione had fallen asleep in one of the large arm chairs together. Ginny was sitting alone, staring into the fire.
Harry wondered if he should wait until someone came through the portrait to leave. It would look a little suspicious if the portrait opened with no one going out, but he finally decide that he didn't care and most would be too busy with their families to worry about it.
He was halfway down the hall when he heard the portrait open again and a very familiar voice called his name. He turned around to see Ginny. Her face was till dirty from the fight, but now tears had left their mark down her cheeks.
"Portraits don't open on their own, Harry."
Harry pulled the cloak off. "I didn't think anyone would notice."
"I didn't think you'd mind if I did."
She looked hurt at that and that was the one thing Harry didn't want.
"I'm sorry. I decided to give Malfoy his wand back. It's only right."
"I can come with you."
"I really need to do this alone."
"Do you even know where he's staying?"
Harry shrugged. "Someone around here must know." But he could tell there was something else she wasn't saying. "I'll be okay. I just need to be alone for a while. And your mum probably needs you."
"Harry, don't give me the brush off."
"You run off getting yourself nearly killed all year, while I've been home being a good little girl, and now you can't even be honest with me about all this. I want to know what happened. How did you even get Malfoy's wand?"
Harry sighed. He imagined he would be telling that story for the rest of his life. He cared about Ginny and she deserved to know, but in the hours since he had gone to meet his death, something inside him had changed and it didn't want to be bothered with her. "I'll tell you all about it later. Right now I don't want to keep Draco's wand."
She stared at him for several moments, but finally nodded. He continued unnoticed through the halls and was surprised to see how many people were still in the Great Hall. He saw Professor McGonagall talking quietly with Professor Flitwick near the door and waited until Flitwick left before approaching the new Headmistress.
"Professor," he whispered, glad that she had her nerves under control enough to not give him away, "it's Harry. I'm under my cloak. Could I speak with you?"
Without a word, she left the Great Hall and he followed until she stopped in a passage just off the entrance hall where she wouldn't be seen talking to an invisible person.
"I was wondering if you could tell me where the Malfoys are." She looked startled at this request and he rushed to explain. "I still have Draco's wand, and I wanted to give it back."
"They asked to stay down in Slytherin and I thought it was best to keep them separated from the others. Do you know where the Slytherin entrance is?"
Harry nodded, but then realized he was still invisible and answered, "Yes."
"At the end of that hall there's a door and it's a guest suite where the Malfoys are staying." She paused, frowning. "Isn't anyone going with you?"
"No offense, Professor, but I just stood in front of Voldemort. And the Malfoys are all wandless."
He could tell that she wasn't entirely sure about him going alone to the dungeons, but she didn't argue and he continued on his way. It was a quiet trip, as there was no one else staying down there and he didn't pass another person the entire way. It occurred to him at one point that maybe he should be a little worried. After all, he was visiting a family that had served Voldemort since before he was born. Lucius had tried to kill him several times over the years and Draco wasn't exactly a close personal friend either. But it was over now. Not only had the Malfoys not fought in the final battle, but he knew that they would want to do all they could to stay out of prison and there's no way they would do that if they hurt the savior.
When he was within sight of the door he removed the cloak and ran a hand through his hair. He was feeling inexplicably nervous as he knocked on the door.
"Potter." Narcissa Malfoy didn't attempt to cover up the shock in her voice.
"Hello. I was wondering if I could speak to Draco for a minute."
"Oh. Of- of course."
She opened the door, gesturing for him to enter. It was only a small sitting room. Dark and a bit chilly, but not entirely uninviting. Draco and Lucius were seated in the corner, probably plotting their escape until Harry had knocked.
"Lucius," she motioned for him to follow her. "Mr. Potter would like a word with Draco."
Both Lucius and Draco looked surprised, but said nothing and the other man stood and joined his wife as she opened the bedroom door.
"Mrs. Malfoy," Harry said suddenly. She turned with a questioning look. "Thank you. For what you did in the forest. I know in the end you– you both," he glanced at Lucius when he said it, "were just trying to save your son."
She gave him a very small smile. "Thank you. For saving him. For saving us all."
Harry blushed. He would probably never get used to people thanking him. After all, he killed Voldemort as much for himself as for anyone else. He nodded and she and her husband left the room. Harry turned back around to look at Draco who had stood, but didn't dare come any closer. They just stared at each other for a few moments, Harry realizing that he didn't really know how to talk to the blond without fighting.
"I... er, brought your wand back." He pulled it out of his back pocket and handed it to Draco. "I don't know how well it'll work for you now, but I thought you would like to have it."
Draco took it in his hand, but didn't hold it the way one would a wand. Instead he just stared at it, as if it was some rare specimen under a microscope. "Thanks."
"I just know that I hated not having my own wand and I thought if there was any chance it would work for you again you would want it back."
"I thought you would want to keep it."
Harry quirked an eyebrow at him. "Don't you think I ended up with enough wands? I can't possibly use them all."
"No, but... this is the wand that killed him, isn't it?"
Harry blinked. It was. He hadn't thought of it that way. Not that it would have made a difference in him wanting to keep it, but he understood that it might make a huge difference to other people.
"Yes, that is the wand I used. But it was actually his own curse rebounding that killed him and I don't care to have it anyway. It doesn't really mean anything to me; it's just something I did. It doesn't make me or the wand special. Although I suppose most people would disagree. You keep it. If nothing else you can brag that you have the wand that killed Lord Voldemort."
Harry turned to go to the door, but froze when he heard Draco's voice barely above a whisper.
"Why did you save my life?"
Harry faced him once more. There were so many answers to that question. Because Harry felt sorry for him. Because Draco was only ever just trying to survive. Because he was just a little boy who wanted to keep his family safe. Because Harry saw how miserable Draco was when they had been taken to Malfoy Manor. Because he knew that Draco, although unpleasant, had never been evil.
"Why didn't you positively identify us when we were caught and taken to Malfoy Manor?"
Draco looked surprised and he cast his eyes down to the floor before answering. "I never really wanted him to kill you."
"That's why I saved you." And with that, Harry left the room.
Instead of heading straight up to Gryffindor tower, where he knew Ginny would be waiting for him, he decided to wander the castle. Minutes later, he found himself standing just inside Moaning Myrtle's bathroom. She was hovering over her favorite stall, but looked over at him when he removed his cloak.
"Oo. Hello Harry," she giggled.
"I heard what you did. All the ghosts are talking about it. They're having a party over on the third floor, but the Grey Lady and her friends made it quite plain that I wasn't welcome, so here I am." She was sulking as usual, but her eyes lit up after a moment. "Maybe if you came with me they wouldn't mind. Would you be my date?"
Harry had always found it awkward enough when living girls hit on him, but he wasn't at all sure how it could even work with a ghost. "I'm sorry, Myrtle, but I don't really feel like parties right now."
"Oh fine. Are you going to stay with me a while at least?"
"Sure. I just need someplace quiet to think."
"I'm a great listener. Pity most don't think to visit. That blond boy hasn't been back ever since you almost killed him."
Harry's insides turned to ice. He hadn't remembered that in a long time. He had cursed Draco Malfoy, not in this bathroom, but another one a few floors up, and he still hated himself for using a curse he didn't know the effects of. They had such a long, violent history. So many years of trying to kill each other, just to end up almost on the same side of the final battle. Not that Draco was really on his side. He was on his family's side, and Harry respected that. But now that it was over, did it really matter who was on what side? From here on out they were only wizards trying to rebuild their world and there were no sides.
"Did that boy come to see you often, Myrtle?"
"Once in a while. He was so sad. He wouldn't tell me what exactly was wrong, but he was very afraid of someone. But sometimes he didn't talk about that. Sometimes he just sat in here and talked about school. He even mentioned you a couple times."
"Me? You're sure?"
"Yes," Myrtle sighed. "Unless there's another Harry Potter at this school."
"What did he say about me?"
"Oh I don't think I should say. He trusted me with his secrets."
"But it could be really important. Please tell me."
Myrtle eyed him for a moment. "Oh, okay. But only because it's you. He knew that you were following him. I told him that you could help him, but he said he was afraid of telling you. That you'd hate him more than you already did. He didn't really explain, but I got the impression that he really wanted to impress you. That's why I was so surprised when you cursed each other that day."
"Why would he want to impress me?" Harry asked more to himself than Myrtle.
"I think he likes you." She said it as if it upset her to admit, then Harry remembered that she seemed to have a bit of a crush on Malfoy before.
"That's silly. Malfoy's hated me ever since first year." Although, that wasn't entirely true. Their feud had started because Harry wouldn't accept his offer of friendship. And because Malfoy was a spoiled little shit. If Harry had been willing to be friends with Draco they may have never hated each other at all.
"Maybe hate was only jealousy," Myrtle replied mysteriously.