Disclaimer: Though we sincerely wish it to be true, we neither own nor have created these most fabulous of characters. They are property of one J. K. Rowling. We shall return them when we are finished. Hopefully they will be unharmed.
Doxa Vomica et Curo
Draco's Secret Life
Harry skipped down a few steps of Diagon Alley, trying to stay under the awnings so as to keep as dry as possible. It was another wet rainy day in fall London and he sighed. Twenty three years old and he had finally gotten away from some of the glory of his Hogwarts days. He wasn't hounded all the time by the paparazzi and the autographs had finally died. People seemed to more appreciate him rather than worship him and it was a nice relief. It had been five years since he had left Hogwarts, four since he killed Voldemort, three since he had put Lupin and his godfather to final rest and two since the last death eater was killed.
Draco didn't go out much, aside from going to work. He didn't want to be in the public eye much because it meant having to pull out his least out-of-date robes and try to pass them off as vintage… which was bad enough. As it was, it meant he was closer and closer to people discovering how he really lived his life. He didn't mind what people thought of him; he preferred it that way, hiding behind the Malfoy mask his father had left, not wanting to deal with anyone or be social after the horror that was the war. Someone only needed to watch their entire world fall apart once before they realized they didn't want to build another one to have it fall again. He was going out now though, delivering potion stocks to Hogwarts since his godfather couldn't do it himself anymore. Severus Snape was the only reason he kept trying anymore, using his meager funds to help support Severus and keep him comfortable.
Harry dodged out, deciding it was a useless race trying to beat the storm. He figured he'd get wet either way. Crossing the street, he had his head down but sensed the person walking across the sidewalk and stopped to let them pass. They seemed familiar but Harry didn't have time to place it so he just kept going. Draco kept his head down as he walked, as well. It was rainy so he hadn't bothered to dress up, wearing second hand robes and a hat to cover his all too recognizable hair. He would dye it but he didn't want people to know he was actually trying to hide. He barely noticed the person he passed, avoiding eye contact as he moved into the Leaky Cauldron to use their floo service.
The next day came and went and finally it stopped raining. Harry was staying at the Leaky Cauldron for auror business and came out with a happy sigh that it was finally sunny. Draco walked down the street, toward the apothecary, needing more supplies for potions. He spotted Potter and dropped his gaze, hoping he wouldn't see him. He was dressed nicely… or anyone who didn't know fashion might think so, at least… but that didn't mean he wanted to deal with The Savior at that particular moment. Harry turned and sighed having to go to the apothecary for different supplies. Heading that way he was a bit ahead of Draco. He didn't see him, but was walking in the same direction. Passing Snape's shop, he decided he needed to go somewhere else first before he went to visit his old professor. Draco's eyes followed Harry for a moment, curious as to why he would pause at his Godfathers shop… hoping he wouldn't be going there as he stepped into the apothecary.
Harry stepped into a dark arts shop, buying a few items. He may be the Golden Boy but he had his own tarnished side. Because he had to fight it off so many times, he found the dark arts interesting. Stepping from the shop he moved on to the apothecary, entering and looking around. "Severus..." he said gently, still having respect for his old professor that he saw at the front desk.
Draco turned his head just slightly, frowning when Harry came in and addressed Severus. He flushed and turned his head, gathering the supplies he needed. Swallowing, Harry chewed the inside of his lip, but moved in anyways. He looked at the man cautiously, nervous all of the sudden about meeting his old professor. "Hello sir..." he said softly, stepping up. He didn't notice Draco right away but seemed to have disttracted Severus from his job with Draco, leaving it a bit unfinished. Severus nodded at him.
"Harry…" he said softly, having dropped grudges long ago.
He'd been injured in the war, his eyesight lessened, making his potion ability significantly less.
"What can I do for you?"
"I just came to see how you were…" he said softly. "And pick up a few things..." he said pulling out a list of supplies he needed, most a tad more dangerous than a normal apothecary should hold. Severus smiled a little at that, hints of the old smirk held there as he took the list.
"Ah, yes, of course, business mixed with pleasure…" He looked over at Draco. "Draco... would you mind?" he asked, handing the list to him. "You needed some of that yourself did you not? You know where they are..."
Draco took the list, "Yes sir…" he said, not looking at Harry as he turned to the back to get them.
Harry blinked and swallowed, looking over. He chewed his lip, not even on mildly good terms with Draco. They had been fighting at the end of their 6th year before Draco went into hiding and since then the only contact Harry had had with Draco was through the death of his father. He swallowed and turned back to Severus, smiling just a moment, hiding his uncomfortable feelings. Severus looked up at him, giving him a knowing little smile.
"Honesty Harry, if I can give up a grudge surely the savior of the wizarding world could as well." he said after Draco was out of ear shot. Harry sighed and looked down. He didn't really have anything to say to that.
"Though I suppose Draco isn't any better… proud creature that he is." There was a definite touch of fondness to his tone. "But I shouldn't speak ill of him, something about biting the hand that feeds you I believe the muggles say." He said, standing and moving to grab a book from a shelf, setting back down to flip through the pages, looking for something. Harry smirked just softly, nodding and looking over at him.
"How are you, Severus?" he asked, concerned for the man he had grown to respect during the war.
Severus groaned dramatically. "Oh I am fine… old bones and all that." he said, hiding a smile.
Harry smirked again, shaking his head. "Still smacking patrons' heads together like you did us students?" he asked with a quirked brow.
"Of course… can't have Longbottom thinking I've gone soft… he'd be visiting for tea everyday." he said, acting scandalized by the very idea.
"And we certainly can't have that!" Harry said with a smile. "Did you hear? His parents were released from St. Mungo's..." Harry said, relief and a bit of emotion lacing his tone.
Severus smiled a little; he knew Draco had slaved away at that potion for many months, trying to right the wrong his aunt had done. No one knew it was Draco though. Draco was convinced people would just believe he did it for the fame. "I heard something about it… a miracle potion."
He nodded. "Yeah." He said. "I had my notions that it was you…." He said tilting his head and quirking his brow. "It certainly had your signature on it. It actually worked…" Severus smirked.
"It wasn't my potion Harry." Harry narrowed his eyes a bit then flicked to the back room then back to Severus. Severus merely shook his head. "I will not betray any confidences… but yes I know who it was. I supplied the ingredients and gave a little advice here and there." He smirked slyly. "I do believe your Miss Granger might have an idea as well." he said nonchalantly, his eyes on his book as he turned the page.
Harry looked at him closely again before just sighing and looking away. He didn't talk too much with Hermione and Ron. They were still close but Harry had ostracized himself a bit from them after the war was officially over. It was of his own choosing and he wouldn't deny saying that he regretted doing it. Severus looked up at him again. "It's not too late you know… to see more of them…" He didn't elaborate and Draco chose that moment to reappear, setting Harry's items down.
"Sorry sir…" he said to Severus, "One of the items was misplaced and I had to search it out."
Harry looked at him a moment before looking away, allowing Snape to ring the stuff up. Draco was uncomfortable; he hated being around anyone but Blaise from school. "I'll be back later for the books…" he said softly to Severus, avoiding Harry's eyes as he turned to leave, Severus just waving him off. He sighed and shook his head, finding Draco's wording funny, making it sound like he was borrowing something rather than doing Severus's finances.
Harry looked at him a moment as he passed, but just swallowed and looked back at Severus. "Alright then Harry, it looks like your all set." he said, giving him his change. Harry nodded and thanked him before leaving the shop with a sigh.
Draco had disappeared, heading quickly to the Leaky Cauldron and from there to apartment in muggle London.
Another week and Harry was at Snape's shop again, ordering something more when the man asked him if he would mind taking something to Draco's apartment. He agreed but knew Snape was possibly scheming just to get him to get over his grudge with Draco. Sighing he apparated to an alleyway near the apartment before heading up. He was surprised to see where Draco lived, not at all what he expected.
Despite living in a muggle apartment Draco had a number of wards set to alert him to company and he knew Harry was coming even before he reached the door. He looked out and cursed softly under his breath. "Meddlesome bastard... worse than Dumbledore ever was." Harry kept his hand off the railing a moment as he headed up, knocking gently at the door. Draco cursed softly to himself again. "Just a minute…" he called, wishing he had time to change as he was wearing muggle clothes: jeans and t-shirt. He looked into his mirror, hair loose and casual and he just sighed before he moved to open the door.
Harry was a bit surprised to see him, so used to Draco being perfectly pristine. "Uh..."
Draco resisted the urge to roll his eyes, pulling together his Malfoy composure he sneered just lightly, though it held none of the venom it used to. "Let me guess, Dumbledore the second sent you…" He said, stepping back so he could come in.
Harry stepped in. "Well... Severus did... dunno if that is who you are talking about…" He said, finishing a bit slow as he looked around at his flat.
Draco mentally cringed; he'd forgotten to cast the glamours that hid the meager state of his home. It wasn't horrible, but it was obvious he lived on limited means. "That would be him." he agreed, shutting his door and cursing Severus again.
Harry swallowed and turned his attention back to Draco. "Uhm... Dumbledore the second sent me to give you these…" he said softly, holding out a few vials. "Said you would know what to do with them…"
Draco's eyes lit a little when he saw the ingredients. He'd been waiting for those. "Oh, thanks." he said, not even realizing what he said as he was distracted now, taking the vials and moving into his kitchen which had been converted into a potions lab. Harry followed him just looking around. He was incredibly uncomfortable being here as he knew Draco had no idea Harry had killed Lucius. He swallowed and looked to the side a bit. He had requested that fact be kept secret and the only people to know the truth were Severus, Hermione, and the late Lupin.
Draco nearly forgot Harry was there until he heard the floor squeak and he looked up. "Oh… I'm sorry." he said, realizing he'd been rude. "Err… would you like some tea? I don't entertain guests very often…" He felt uncomfortable. He knew Harry thought that he lived in the manor just like the rest of the world… he didn't like anyone knowing the reality.
Harry swallowed and shook his head. "Uh... no… no I'm alright…" He said watching Draco a moment before he bit his lip and looked away. "I, um, had best be on my way, yes?" He said clapping his hands together in a slightly nervous gesture. "Uhm… I will…I'll see you around then..." Draco took Harry's nervousness as an opportunity to study him for a moment before he nodded, dropping what he was doing and moving to the door.
"Tell Severus he sucks at meddling." he said softly, opening the door in such a way that his left arm was exposed, clean of the dark mark. For some reason he wanted Harry to know at least that much.
Harry looked at his arm, holding it in his view a moment before he brought his eyes up to Draco's. He looked at him with what seemed like relief before ducking out of the apartment and heading down the stairs. Draco released a breath he didn't know he'd been holding before he shut his door and reset his wards. He sighed softly. "What the hell?" he murmured softly before he moved back toward his kitchen. Harry walked down the steps, rubbing his forehead. He was relieved, that Draco hadn't followed in his father's footsteps. He sighed out and went back to his hotel, collapsing into bed and just falling asleep.
It was another couple weeks later and Draco hadn't seen anymore of Harry. Severus had called Wednesday morning, needing Draco to run the shop as he had the flu and now, Saturday afternoon he was in the shop working on the books, business slow.
Harry walked in, needing some different items than normal, looking at his list. "Severus... I don't know if..." he looked up and stopped, seeing Draco at the desk. "Oh… I uhm… where is Severus?"
Draco looked up, flushing lightly. Just his luck. He swept a hand through his hair. He hadn't gotten much sleep lately between working here, tending Severus and developing potions. "He's sick…"
"You look sick..." he murmured just barely, before he bit his tongue. "Uhm… I have a list of ingredients… that I need… I don't know if you have them..." he said, knowing they were more dangerous than even he figured Severus had.
Draco took the list from him scanning over the items, knowing them all well. "Well, Severus has a few here... a couple he could order... that one though, the lunar nectar... I haven't seen since they closed the manor... father had a lot of it in his stores."
He looked down biting his tongue hard to keep an even face. He had been one of the few aurors who had swept through the manor. He swallowed and looked back up. "That… that's okay… I can find that one else where..." he said a bit quickly.
Draco glanced up at him, he knew the aurors hadn't found much, it was part of the reason his home was still closed to him: all his fathers' stores would be intact. "Can't you ask the ministry?" he asked, standing and moving toward the back to get the rest, leaving the door open if Harry wanted to follow.
Harry knew that would be the only way to get it. "Yeah..." he said following him carefully to the back, tightening his coat a bit as he was still uncomfortable.
Draco resisted the urge to make anymore comments. He needed that ingredient too, but the ministry wouldn't be helping the orphaned son of a death eater any time soon. He waved his wand, gently levitating down a few of the ingredients. "Huh... what's that doing there..." he murmured, levitating himself up to check something. "You don't belong here..." he murmured again, pulling the vial down and placing it where it belonged. Harry watched him with a small smile before looking away. He walked over and picked up a small bottle, brushing the dust away from the label before holding his breath, just looking at it.
Draco looked down but couldn't make out what Harry was holding. "What's that?" He licked his bottom lip before speaking. "Wolfsbane." Harry said simply, setting it gently back onto the shelf. "Oh..." he said softly, turning back to what he was doing and grabbing the last few vials Harry needed.
Harry swallowed as he cast one more glance at it before turning back to Draco. He watched the once incredibly prestigious boy now turned... dare he say it, average. "What happened?" He asked softly, though he didn't mean to, the question coming out when he accidentally voiced his thoughts. He just couldn't understand how Draco wasn't able to pick himself back up.
Draco came down before Harry asked and his face turned back to the careful mask he had worn before as he handed the vials to Harry. "I'll put an order in for the rest of those items if you'd like."
Harry bit his lip hard, cursing himself. "That'd be wonderful... thank you..." He said carefully. Draco just nodded, moving out and grinding his teeth against his lip as he rang up the ones Harry had now and wrote down the rest for an order.
Harry stood by the desk quietly, very embarrassed. When he had the bag in his hand he paused a moment. "I'm sorry... Draco..." he said, using his first name. "It wasn't my place." Draco waved him off.
"You always were unnaturally curious about my life…" he said simply, finishing up. Harry snorted and rolled his eyes before starting for the door. Draco looked up as he was leaving. "Oh, Potter?" Harry looked back, stopping midway through the door.
"Could you tell Hermione that the potion is almost finished, if she still wanted to help with the final stage."
He opened his mouth a bit confused but shut it, and nodded. He bit his lip and nodded again before heading back out. Draco smirked a little to himself, still enjoying throwing Harry off his center... though what he'd said was true.
That next day, when Draco came to work there were four bottles of lunar nectar sitting on the desk, Harry having the other four bottles in his possession. Draco paused when he saw them and kind of gaped. Looking up to see Hedwig leaving, he shook his head, quickly putting the bottles out of site. They weren't actually opened on Sunday so he didn't have much to do. Later that afternoon, Draco returned home putting the Lunar Nectar safely away before turning to the gently simmering potion.