A/N: Like the summary said, this story is a SEQUEL. Meaning there is a PREQUEL, which is called 'THE PROMISE'.
Would I recommend to read the prequel first? Well... yes. There is always something to be said about starting at the beginning. 'The Promise' is the story of how Sirius breaks out of Azkaban and saves Harry. It's the story of a little boy and a young man, who have suffered too much, but who might be just what the other needs to heal. Remus is in this story too and, like all of them, carries a lot of baggage.
So, while you'll probably be able to follow the plot of this story after a few pointers from me, the journey of the characters has already begun, and you will be able to understand them better when you see where they were coming from.
Anyway, there is a short (as in very) explanation about the plot of the prequel at the end.
This was beta-read by ShaylaShiera. Thank you very much for this, darling!
Note that this is a prologue of sorts. Also it is set BEFORE the end of The Promise.
The Heart's Desire
by Zaira Albereo
- Prologue -
24th of November 1988
It was a normal evening, as evenings in the large Manor in Wiltshire, England come. A small, pale boy in very expensive and well-tailored robes, whose haughty expression gave him the air of a much older child, although he actually was only eight, sat in an armchair of dark green velvet in front of a vast marble fireplace, looking bored.
His parents were out for the evening, attending some sort of soirée without him, and like always the boy couldn't really decide what was worse. Being bored, because he was left home alone again with no company besides the house-elves, or getting dragged to some party of one of his relatives or friends of his parents, where he would then be expected to sit still and make conversation in an appropriate manner and later had to listen to the lectures of his mother and the cutting remarks of his father.
Maybe it was better to stay at home. Tonight his parents were at the Yaxley's, and they only had a three year old daughter, who was horribly whiny. The boy shuddered. No, it was better to be left at home. He only had to think of something fun to do. Maybe he should eat something first...
"Dobby!" the boy called loudly. "Dobby!"
After a few moments a faint 'pop' was heard, and a small, wrinkled figure with large green eye-balls appeared in front of the little boy, bowing so deep, that the tea-towel wrapped around its thin frame brushed the floor. "Yes, Master Draco? What can Dobby do for young Master?"
"I'm hungry." Draco said snootily. "Bring me a sandwich. Toasted. But no onions, do you hear me?"
"Yes, Master. Dobby will do so immediately!"
Draco smirked cruelly. "And Dobby? Squash your hands in the oven door when you're at it. For letting me wait."
After young Master Malfoy had eaten his sandwich, which Dobby had brought together with a glass of milk, all on a tablet wobbling clumsily in hastily bandaged hands, he strolled through the Manor rather listlessly. He contemplated torturing the house-elf with silly orders for a while, that was always fun, but he knew his mother would be angry when it wasn't up to the task for her own gathering tomorrow evening. He sighed. Sometimes he really hated his life. His parents never allowed him anything...
He turned around the corner on the second floor corridor that led to his fathers study. That was another of those things. He knew his father had all kind of cool stuff in there, some of which he had bought when Draco had accompanied him to Knockturn Alley. But Draco wasn't even allowed to go in there! It was just so unfair! He stopped in his tracks, when he saw that the door to the study stood just slightly ajar. His heart started to beat faster. His father never left his study unlocked when he wasn't in there. Salazar, sometimes he locked the door even while he was! He must have forgotten when his mother had made all that fuss about them being late, and Dobby not being able to find her new emerald necklace or something. He really couldn't believe his luck.
Carefully he sneaked closer, not really sure why he was sneaking, since he knew that nobody could be in there. A single lamp was burning on his father's desk, which was covered in parchments. It looked like he had run out in the middle of something, and then forgotten about it. Curiously Draco looked around the room in the dim light. He had of course gotten a few glimpses through the open door, now and then, but he had never actually set foot into his father's sanctuary. The need to explore all those forbidden doors and drawers was overwhelming.
Draco moved to the desk, but the parchments all looked rather dull and boring. Nothing interesting there. He sidled to the other end of the room and stared at all the weird and sometimes sinister looking objects behind polished glass doors. His hand reached out for the handles, but withdrew after a moment's hesitation. He had heard his father saying, that some of the stuff was dangerous. And this stuff looked just too scary. Was that a skull over there? Was it looking at him? Hastily Draco moved along the wall to the heavy bookcases, so that the skull-thing was out of his line of sight. He let his gaze wander over the spines. Lots of books on spells and potions. He had no use for them, since he couldn't brew anything without someone noticing and he had not yet got a wand. Lots of books on history, on bloodlines... He was told all about that by his tutor, Mrs. Avery. Salazar, this was a lot more boring than he would have expected! But then his gaze caught on a small leather-bound book. There were only a monogram and the word 'Riddle'. It looked rather ordinary in fact, but something made Draco reach out intrigued.
He pulled the book down from the shelf and turned it in his hands. On the back side, imprinted in the leather, he read 'Possession of Tom M. Riddle'. Oh. So it wasn't a book about riddles. It belonged to someone called Riddle. Draco wondered why the book stood in his father's bookcase, when it did, in fact, belong to someone else. He opened the book to the first page and was even more disappointed when he saw that the pages were empty. Then he frowned. It was rather unusual for his father to have something that looked as old and used as this journal; because that was obviously what it was. A journal that some bloke called 'Riddle' had bought and imprinted, but never used. But why did his father have it?
Draco could not have said why, but he stuck the book into his robes, and then, with a last look around, he left and pulled the door closed behind him.
It was getting late, but his parents had still not come home. Not that he had really expected them to. They often stayed out late, when they went to these kinds of gatherings, and it wasn't like he was in need of anything. One shout and the house-elf would bring him anything he wanted. As he cautiously walked back to his own room, rushing by any especially dark corridors or corners, he pushed away the urge to do just that. Because he would never, ever admit to anybody; and on a bright sunny day not even to himself, that it was just a little scary being alone in the vast and dimly lit manor at night.
When he reached his room he firmly closed the door behind him and breathed a small sigh of relief. There was a fire burning merrily in the marble fireplace and the lamp on his nightstand next to the huge four-poster with the green hangings was brightly lit. He lit another lamp on the desk in the far corner, just for good measure and any remaining dark corners vanished. Pulling out the journal from inside his robes he placed it down on the polished surface and looked at it with a puzzled frown. He still wasn't sure why he had taken it. It wasn't like he had ever thought about keeping a journal up to now. Although it seemed like a cool and very adult thing to do. Pursing his lips, he pulled out a quill and an ink bottle and opened the book on the first page.
Malfoy Manor, 24th of November 1988
Mother and Father are staying out late again, and it was a rather boring evening.
No sooner had he written that sentence than the words and numbers were slowly fading, until they had completely vanished. Draco frowned. That was strange, but then again not all that much. Maybe the journal was enchanted, to make the ink invisible, so that no one else could read the entries. That would be rather useful, and might explain, why his father possessed the otherwise rather ordinary looking journal. This could be really awesome; he only had to find out how he could make the words visible again if he wanted to read them once more later on. For now, he quickly dipped the quill in the ink once more and wrote
It's always like that when they stay at the Yaxley's. It's not like I would have wanted to go with them exactly, last time Aurora spilled her pumpkin juice all over my new dress robes and then she cried because her juice was gone. Really that brat is just horrible. I hate her.
The ink vanished again, but this time Draco just kept writing.
Still, I wished father would not only talk to me when he was teaching me or scolding me. He is always working! Mother is really great though. She promised to buy me a new Gobstones set when we go shopping at Diagon Alley next weekend. I lost a few pieces and the stupid house-elf couldn't find them. He is useless.
The ink vanished and Draco felt satisfied with his first entry. Before he put away his quill something else occurred to him, and he dipped it in once more, and then wrote on the opposite page: Journal of Draco Malfoy.
He almost knocked over the ink bottle, when on the page he had written on earlier, words appeared suddenly out of nowhere. It were not the words he had written either. And it wasn't his handwriting. Dumbfounded Draco stared at the neat letters on the paper.
Hello Draco. My name is Tom. Sorry to hear you had such a bad day.
The blue spotted bowls were shattering on the tiles. Harry was clutching his forehead. Suddenly a bright white pain had shot through his head, like someone had stabbed him with a hot poker. It had come out of nowhere, and it was gone a moment later, leaving in its wake a dull throbbing that felt like his brain was bleeding out of his eyes. Harry pressed his hands to the right side of his head, trying to take shallow breaths and not puking up the mushrooms and bread he had just gorged down at dinner.
They had gone mushroom hunting that afternoon, because Sirius had said it would probably be the last opportunity this year, before the first snow arrived. It had been cold and the air had been brittle, especially in the shade of the forest, where the low rays of the sun did hardly reach them. But it had still been fun. Harry had worn one of Sirius' thick wool jumpers, so the cold didn't really bother him. The jumper was almost as big on him as Dudley's clothes and a little worn too, since it once had belonged to Sirius' uncle, but unlike wearing Dudley's hand-downs, wearing Sirius' made him feel all warm inside, a different kind of warm than the one expected from the thick material. The air had smelled of wood and herbs and they had watched squirrels and even a fox family.
And then of course, like with almost everything, Sirius had made a game out of it. A competition who could find the most of the tasty little fellows in the undergrowth. Harry had accused Sirius of cheating, when he turned into Padfoot because his nose was better suited to detect their scent as a dog. But then Sirius would playfully chase him, which surprisingly often ended in him stumbling over an especially large group of their prey.
They had spent an afternoon full of running and laughing and picking mushrooms in between, and when they had come back to the cabin, shortly before the sun went down over the lake, they had been exhausted. Well, at least Harry had been. They had agreed, that Harry would warm up in front of the fire and Sirius would do the cooking and then Harry could help with the dishes later. Sirius had actually done pretty good this time, frying the mushrooms with herbs and not burning them at all, and they had tasted great, just like the smell of the forest. They had crunchy slices of bread with the mushrooms and Harry had happily chatted with Sirius about the fox family, and if they could go and see them again. Rather tired from their out-door activity Harry had carried their bowls into the kitchen corner, and that had been when it happened.
For a moment the pain was so intense, that he didn't even realize that the bowls had slipped from his fingers, which were now pressing against his forehead. But he immediately remembered when the pain ebbed away and he became aware of Sirius hand tightening on his shoulder and his voice.
"Harry! What's wrong!"
Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. Harry stared at the mess of shards on the floor. "I'm sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry." He mumbled still clutching his head. "Sorry. Sorry."
Hands were holding his shoulders, rubbing over his arms. "Harry. Look at me. Harry!" Sirius voice. Concern, not anger. "What is wrong? Please. Tell me what is wrong! Are you hurting?" Helplessness and desperation, not impatience and resentment. "Come. Come, let's sit down for a moment." Sirius guiding him to the sofa, pushing him down into the cushions. Gentleness and comfort, not harshness and indifference.
Hands were stroking through his hair. Sirius voice murmuring under his breath. Soft, calming noises. Gradually the pain faded, reducing to a low throb. Sirius hands, gently prying his from his forehead. Soothing touches.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Sirius."
"What ever for?" Helplessness again, and confusion in Sirius voice.
"For breaking the dishes. For being a bother."
A deep sigh. More gentle touches. "The dishes are the last of my worries, pup. It's you I'm worried about. And you are not a bother. I told you, you are never a bother. But you need to tell me if you hurt. Is it your head? Have you knocked it?"
"No. No, it just started to hurt out of nowhere."
"Let me see." Sirius hands, touching the pain. Not erasing it, but erasing another pain, buried deep in his chest. "I can't see anything, really. Let's put you into bed with a cool cloth, and I'll see if I can find some lavender. That much I remember from Herbology."
He was lifted in strong arms and carried into Sirius' bedroom and he was wrapped into warm blankets, with a cool washcloth over his forehead and Sirius was there, quietly fiddling with whatever, and the pain was almost gone already, fading to a memory as he was fading into sleep.
When he woke the next morning to the usual smell of something slightly burned, the pain from the day before was almost forgotten. Something was nagging him. A dream about a boy and a book, but he couldn't really remember, and when he sat down in front of a huge pile of French Toast that had been forgotten as well in an instant.
A/N: You want to read more? You want to have the first chapter? I'm on it. You know a great way to make me write faster? Clever! I knew you would want to leave a review...
Just for those very few of you: A short explanation about where we are starting from in this AU
When Sirius became Harry's godfather he made a promise, which turned out to be a 'Wizard's Oath' (Think mixture of Unbreakable Vow and Lily's Blood Sacrifice). This promise caused a special bond between him and Harry, but nobody really knew what that would mean or how strong it was. When Harry is eight Sirius feels the pull of this promise, escapes from Azkaban and 'kidnaps' Harry from the Dursley's, where he was abused. Lot's of interesting stuff happens, Sirius and Harry slowly bond and heal each other, Remus is on the hunt, even more interesting and exciting stuff happens and finally they are caught and bad stuff happens but luckily no one dies. So now Sirius is about to have his trial, Remus hopes Sirius will forgive him and Harry is currently residing at the Weasleys. From here on out it's new and undiscovered territory... I said it would be short, didn't I?