This is the final chapter!
Crazy, I know, but the story does not want anything more written and so, I must leave you with this. Hope you enjoy, it's extra long to make up for it.
Thank you to everyone who has read, commented and enjoyed this story. You're awesome :)
And a huge thank you to Hidden Lily, my brilliant beta :)
Chapter 16: Change.
'"Ladies and gentlemen, citizens of Great Britain, and the world, I have a few words to say, so please hold all questions.
"Yesterday, a tragedy occurred. A great tragedy for this country and for humanity. The final death-toll reached a total of seven people as of a few hours ago. Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones in such senseless acts of violence.
"After such a day, one cannot help but ask, is this what we have become? A country, a world, divided? And over what? Over a race of people not like us. This situation brings to mind historical events we all thought we would never live to see the like of again, but which I now do not hesitate to compare us with.
"I admit freely, that this situation is also unique in the course of this world's history. Wizards and witches hold real power, and our fear of that power is understandable. What we have forgotten, however, is that these are people with power. They are not animals that exist to hunt us or hurt us.
"I hope everyone heard the words of the young man yesterday, one Harry Potter. His impassioned speech certainly reached me. It made me realise one important thing: that their power is magic, but that magic is just that: magical and unpredictable. Any random child could be born with such power. The question is therefore not how do we control this person, but how do we teach this person control, and teach them good values so that they do not become a threat.
"Certain laws, commonly referred to as Newton's Laws, must be altered. For if we continue down this path then it will not be long before we are building great fires in the middle of squares. And I for one do not wish to live in such a world. I hope we have progressed further than that.
"As for the people currently held in prisons all over the country, all their cases must be reviewed, and get a fair trial.
"Finally, I wish to again extend an invitation to Harry Potter for an open discussion, at a private location this time. And I also hope that the young man, Draco Malfoy, who was the first to be shot, is alive and well. Thank you all for listening."'
Granger finished reading her transcript of the PM's speech. The kitchen was silent. Draco sat very close to Harry, surprised to hear his name mentioned.
'The violence will not stop. If anything it will escalate after such a speech,' Severus proclaimed. There were murmurs of agreement all around.
'But it's a start,' Harry said, sounding ever-so-slightly hopeful.
'A tentative start, but yes,' Severus agreed. 'But do not expect too much. He is one man-'
'But he's very popular in the polls,' Granger pointed out.
'That will no doubt change after this.' They all nodded regretfully at that. Draco only hoped that his approval didn't drop too much.
'Should I meet with him?' Harry asked.
'Yes, but we must be more careful this time,' Severus all but ordered in his professor tone. 'Contact Lucius for a location we can spell safe.'
'Are you sure that's wise?' Granger asked. 'Maybe we shouldn't involve Malfoy in this.'
'He knows the PM and what the man will find acceptable. It is foolish to ignore inside information.'
'But he could be planning something-'
'Lucius Malfoy wants what we want at this point-'
'Draco, what do you think?' Harry cut through the rising bickering. Draco hated being put on the spot, but he focused on Harry and answered truthfully.
'I don't really know.'
'Come on, you must have an opinion.'
'I-... Severus is right. My father would not do anything to jeopardize this.' Harry nodded in agreement and they discussed the details for quite a while longer. Finally, however, the conversation turned to Adam.
'We should turn him in to the muggle authorities,' was Granger's suggestion.
'And what do you think they'll do?' Severus asked with a raised eyebrow.
'Release him, most likely,' Arthur Weasley spoke up, surprising Draco with the bitterness in this voice.
'We can't keep him here,' the youngest Weasley pointed out. 'Can we?'
'No,' Severus declared adamantly. 'He needs to be ... taken care of.'
'You're not seriously suggesting ...!' Granger spluttered.
'Suggesting what Miss Granger?'
'The bastard deserves it,' Harry muttered darkly, but only Draco seemed to hear it.
'Severus Snape, you will not pretend you would condone such an act,' Molly Weasley said sternly. 'We are not his judges and certainly not executioners!'
'Well, Draco's the one who got shot,' Ron Weasley pointed out, shocking Draco by the use of his first name. They had hardly interacted at all. Little did Draco know, it had been Harry who had convinced the redhead to use Draco instead of Malfoy to separate the two Malfoys in the young man's mind. 'Maybe he should decide.'
Once again all eyes were on him and Draco felt his face heat as he stared at the table. Harry put a reassuring arm around his shoulders, but that only made him blush more to be so openly comforted.
'He's not a nice man,' he forced out. His voice had very little strength in it. 'I know he's killed others. But I wouldn't want any of us to be lowered to his level. Maybe...' 'But no, that was impossible. None of the others would even consider it. They would laugh at me for making the suggestion,' Draco thought.
'What?' Harry prodded. 'Please, tell me what you're thinking.'
'No,' Draco shook his head, staring resolutely at the table. 'It's stupid, crazy.'
'Oh, for Merlin's sake boy, spit it out,' Severus growled.
'Don't yell at him,' Harry leapt to his defence.
'I wasn't yelling.'
'I think it's well established that you're not exactly good at encouraging people, so stay out of this.'
'Draco is my godson and I will not "stay out of" anything that concerns him.'
'Boys, boys,' Molly interrupted. 'All our nerves are frayed after yesterday and Draco's near miss, but arguing is not helping anybody.' Draco's eyebrows furrowed in thought at Molly's words and he chanced a glance up to see that people were visibly trying to calm down. The very idea that more than just Harry and Severus had been worried about him left him quite flabbergasted, but there was Ron putting an arm around Hermione's shoulders, and all the others nodding in agreement. No one snorted at the thought, or protested her words at all.
'Yes, we were all worried about you,' Harry said quietly, his lips right by Draco's ear suddenly. Draco turned his head instinctively and his lips were caught in a soft kiss. He couldn't help his eyes fluttering shut, as they almost always did when Harry kissed him. The room disappeared for all of five seconds, before Harry pulled back slowly and Draco blinked his eyes open, finding his love smiling fondly at him.
'If you're quite finished,' Severus drawled and Draco's cheeks immediately reddened to resemble two tomatoes. 'Can we now finally hear Draco's opinion on his would-be assassin?'
Draco glanced around the table and found only expectant looks. He cleared his throat, knowing it would come out squeaky if it didn't.
'Perhaps, we could consider... giving him a second chance, of sorts.'
'Hear me out,' Draco begged and Harry fell silent. 'I mean ... it would also be a death-sentence, for the person we know as Adam.'
'You're talking about Obliviation,' Severus surmised.
'Yes,' Draco said, nodding. 'We remove everything. All memories of his life, and all his skills surrounding the military.'
'Wouldn't that be a terribly complicated undertaking?' Hermione asked.
'Yes, but there is a ritual,' Severus explained. 'Although it is designed to remove memories, not skills. Those we will have to do by Obliviation spells, somewhat altered perhaps, but it is certainly possible.'
'But that just lets him off the hook!' Harry protested. 'How can you want that?'
'But Adam would be gone, Harry,' Draco explained as calmly as he could. Inside he was actually pretty scared, for he was discussing killing a person, or identity rather. 'Just as gone as if we had executed him. Only now, his soul has a chance of being the good man I sometimes saw.'
'And we don't get the guilt,' Harry added. Draco looked away, but nodded. 'Couldn't the memories resurface?'
'Not with the ritual,' Severus explained. 'Well, there is always the possibility of something going wrong and complications could arise, but if done properly the ritual is much safer than the spell, because it is designed to remove everything.'
'Let's do it, then,' Harry said in his typical Gryffindor fashion. No point in waiting if it's decided.
'We should vote on it,' Draco said, causing several eyebrows to rise. 'We'll need practically everybody for the ritual.'
'You remember it then?' Severus asked, something resembling pride in his voice and Draco couldn't help but press that pride to his heart.
'Yes, and so everybody should agree before we proceed.'
In the end they all agreed, despite some reservations from Molly, but after they promised not to just turn him loose on the street, but make sure he was taken care of to some extent, they started planning the ritual. Harry had wanted to be the caster in the ritual, but Draco insisted, saying that it was his duty as the afflicted party. Severus and Draco worked on the potions for hours, only stopping for lunch when Harry brought it to them. Then, at around eight o'clock that evening, they gathered in front of the cage.
'Jesus Christ, there's a whole stinking tribe of you warts,' Adam sneered. Harry, his shoulders tense and the knuckles on his wand-hand white, cast a spell to disappear the bars. Everybody spread out into positions.
'Come here,' Harry ordered. Adam eyed the people slowly surrounding him, and obeyed. Harry, Draco and Adam stood in the middle of a circle. 'Kneel,' Harry bit out, his wand aimed at Adam's chest. Adam obeyed again, the look of disdain and disgust never leaving his face. Harry looked at Draco, who nodded, and then Harry went to take his place in the circle.
Draco stood in front of Adam, his former lover, his drug supplier, his attempted murderer. He breathed calmly, trying to show no emotion. Around him candles were being lit, floating up above them. Draco took out the first little bottle and held it out. He hoped his hand wasn't shaking.
'Fuck off,' Adam replied. 'You're bleeding mad.'
'You either drink it, or I cast a spell that makes you into a statue, unable to move, and open your mouth and pour it in. You could choke, but it's a risk I'm willing to take.' Draco was surprised by the coldness in his voice, but glad of it all the same. He needed the Malfoy detached air about him now, at least on the outside.
Adam grabbed the bottle, uncorked it and downed the contents. He threw the bottle to the side afterwards, but a hastily cast shield prevented it from hurting anyone.
Suddenly, he gasped and doubled over, clutching his head between his hands. Draco watched passively until the right moment. He darted his eyes up to check that everyone held their wands ready and then Adam lurched up again, eyes wide and staring at the candles above him as if in a trance. Draco placed the tip of his wand on Adam's forehead, very grateful that his hand didn't shake too much so as to make it impossible to do it properly. He allowed himself one moment of weakness and closed his eyes just as he cast the spell.
Slowly, liquid-like blue snakes poured forth, flowing in all directions, gaining momentum as they reached the circle. It was a good thing they were many, so that all the memories got caught. If not, then they could find their way back and they'd have to start again. Draco kept his concentration on Adam, but could see in his peripheral vision that the memories were being caught by the people in the circle and sent into a large bottle each had in hand, which would be destroyed afterwards. Everyone looked focused and caught every one, despite the growing number of tendrils flowing from Adam. Luckily he wasn't so old as to make the task almost impossible.
Draco was beginning to sweat from focusing his power so long on a single point, but then, finally, the memories ceased. Draco let his arm drop, breathing heavily and watched as Adam slumped slightly, his eyes going misty for a few moments, his skin pallid.
Draco watched, fascinated and undeniably horrified, as Adam slowly regained his colour and his eyes grew clear again. He blinked several times and then looked up at Draco, a curious expression on his face.
'Hello ... who are you?'
'Drink this, it will make you feel better,' Draco said, holding out the second bottle. Adam took it from him, a small frown on his face, but he uncorked it and drank it down. Afterwards he closed his eyes for a moment and then sighed.
'That's cleared my headache.' 'And sealed the ritual forever,' Draco added mentally. Adam smiled gratefully up at him. 'Thank you.' Draco couldn't bear it and turned away, guilt washing over him. Harry was there in a second, leading him away with a firm arm at his back. 'What's going on?' he heard Adam ask just as they exited the building.
Harry led him straight to their room and sat Draco down on the bed, sitting as close as possible and with an arm around him. Draco breathed deeply several times, trying to focus on other things.
Adam was gone, as good as dead, and Draco had been the one to do it, but for some reason he felt more guilty over not feeling as guilty as he should... the thought of which made his head hurt, and it did not mean he didn't feel any guilt at the act itself, for there was plenty of that too. He put his head in his hands.
'It was the right thing to do,' Harry whispered.
'No, it wasn't. No matter what we did, it wouldn't have been right. He never got a fair trial.'
'We don't have the luxury of a civilized society out here. And it's his kind that's banished us here, so I think it's entirely justified.' That made Draco feel a little better. Harry leaned in close and started pressing kisses on his cheek and ear, along the pale jaw as far as he could reach. Draco turned his head, supplying him with more and sighed as Harry started kissing him properly. Harry could make him forget, just for a moment. Another moment of weakness perhaps, but Draco was no stranger to those he felt.
Soon they had their arms around each other, exploring each others' mouths.
'You know,' Harry breathed between snogs, 'I never actually-...' Their tongues danced a moment. 'I mean, we never managed to go ... all the way.'
'A grave oversight on your part, I believe,' Draco said, though it lacked the sardonic drawl he had been going for, instead coming out in a horny pant. Harry nipped his lip in retaliation.
'You're just so irresistible,' he hissed. 'I want you.' Draco wanted nothing more either, but he just prayed to all that was sacred that he didn't think of Adam during- Almost immediately he wished he hadn't thought that as now he was conscious of his attempt of not to think of the man. 'What's the matter? We don't have to, if you'd rather not. We can just, you know, like last time.'
'No, I want to.' Draco kissed Harry even deeper to prove his point, but Harry pushed him away, looking sternly at him.
'Talk. Now.' Draco shut his eyes and looked away. He could not allow Harry to know what he had been thinking. 'Draco, we both know that the only way for us to work is for us to talk. We've both been through so much. It'll just be one misunderstanding after another if we don't get it out in the open... I... I don't want to find you outside on the rocks again.' The open fear in Harry's voice made Draco open his eyes and look into Harry's. The green was shimmering and beautiful, as always, but marred slightly by unnecessary fear - for Draco would never leave Harry no matter what.
'The last person I was with-' Draco bit his words off, but Harry knew. His eyes both lit up with recognition and darkened with many emotions, almost simultaneously.
'Then I'll just have to make you forget, without a ritual, but it'll be just as effective,' Harry announced. He had that Leader of the Light look in his eyes. The one Draco admired so much, and he felt himself melt rather sappily as Harry determinedly pushed him back on the bed and started removing his clothes.
'Harry, stop a moment,' Draco interrupted just as Harry was about to lick his exposed nipple. 'You don't need to try so hard. Don't expect so much of yourself. Just be you and you'll be better than anyone in the world, to me.' Harry's cheeks pinked, but he smiled in gratitude and some of the fierceness left him. Draco was grateful (though he knew he would like the Leader!Harry in bed when they were more comfortable with such roles), for he wanted just Harry in bed with him tonight.
The return of "just Harry" did not mean his kisses were any less passionate, however, or that they didn't leave a trail of fire wherever they went – and they went everywhere. Draco was spread out on the bed, feeling like a worshipped god, and Harry hadn't even taken off his own clothes yet. He didn't know how Harry had gotten hold of lube, but his fingers were certainly moist and slippery as they slid oh-so-deliciously inside him. He loved the way Harry fingered him – he was so relaxed and so goddamn horny that nothing else existed.
'Get. Naked. Now,' he panted. When Harry didn't obey immediately, he kicked him, going for playful and managing a little harder than that.
'Hey! Hold on, little miss bossy,' Harry grumbled, though a smile tugged at his lips. He sat up and started practically ripping his clothes off.
'Little Miss!?' Draco exclaimed, highly offended. He almost wanted to deny Harry his prize, but then Harry's body slithered up his, hot and naked, and all thoughts of retribution were filed away for later. Much, much later.
Harry was slightly awkward as he positioned himself, and his breathing was erratic, but he managed to hit his target, so to speak, and soon they joined.
'Holy Merlin's balls,' Harry half-hissed in pleasure, half-laughed in shocked bliss. Draco pulled him down for a sloppy kiss and rolled his hips to get things started. The bed creaked rather quaintly, but neither cared if anyone heard. Harry pushed himself up a bit to brace himself so he could thrust a little harder and deeper. Draco groaned and threw an arm over his face, but Harry quickly pushed it out of the way and their eyes met. Harry thrust and they both moaned in unison.
Draco would later (much, much later considering the state of his mind at the moment) realise how completely different this experience was to anything he had done in the past. So different, that he hadn't even thought of anything else in existence while Harry possessed him so thoroughly.
Draco tried lifting his legs a bit – Harry grabbed them and threw them over his shoulders. The sight was so erotic Draco just had to grab his prick, which made Harry groan for similar reasons. The proper fucking began in earnest, Draco concluded, and felt himself nearing the precipice.
By the time they were so close it almost hurt, the bed was knocking about like a bowling ball on a ship, and Draco's head was dangerously close to the wall.
'I'm-' Draco never finished his sentence, as his release blinded him. Distantly, he heard Harry growl obscene things as he shuddered above him. Draco grunted when Harry landed on top of him, but didn't have the strength to do much about it.
'Why haven't we been doing this since, oh, I don't know, we met?' Harry laughed as he snuggled into a more comfortable position. Draco summoned his wand and cleaned them up.
'We were too busy fighting each other, and after that, to stay alive.' Harry fell silent and Draco regretted not having said something funny instead. Harry's hand came to rest of Draco's chest.
'I don't want to fight anymore,' Harry breathed so softly Draco barely heard it. He tightened his hold on his lover.
'Neither do I,' he admitted freely. 'It's okay not to want to fight anymore. You've done more than enough.'
'It's not enough until it's over,' Harry countered sadly.
'Maybe it will be, soon,' Draco suggested. 'The PM sounded very sincere.'
'Yeah ... maybe ... I love you.'
'I love you more,' Draco whispered, quoting something his mother used to say to him.
'I love you most,' Harry countered and Draco barked a laugh out because that was exactly what he always replied. 'Sorry,' Harry said sheepishly. 'I guess I'm quite the sap with you.'
'No, it's not that,' Draco explained, but then fell silent. He hadn't thought about his mother in ages.
'What then?' Draco took a deep breath and began talking, and Harry listened. And it felt unexpectedly yet wonderfully good.
A little over six months later most of the Newton's Laws were gone or had been altered. People had been let out of prison, though many cases had still to be reviewed. Harry's speech, as well as the PM's had been broadcast around the world, and some countries had taken similar action. There had been more riots, more violence, but never as bad as that one day. Wizards and witches still lived in hiding, but in a way that was how it had always been and they were reluctant to change that.
The Order abandoned Jan Mayen and returned to Azkaban to rebuild it now that the government weren't actively hunting them. It became a place for orphans and homeless, and soon a place with windows and light instead of gloom and darkness. There were many problems still remaining, but in many ways the fighting was coming to a close. The future was uncertain, but more hopeful.
About a year later Ron and Hermione, along with Draco and Harry a month after, bonded. They all settled in Azkaban to continue their work, but Harry and Draco had their own little flat within the complex, and it truly felt like home.
As for Lucius Malfoy, he disappeared again and Draco got a letter from him every few months, usually from somewhere in East Asia, but it seemed he travelled everywhere. The letters were vague, but showed that his father still thought of him, and that was something Draco had to treasure.
Neville Longbottom never recovered fully from what the military had done to him, but he did eventually resemble his old self. He and Ginny built and planted a greenhouse inside Azkaban and produced most of the food for the institution. He would always have trouble with his memory, but his green thumbs worked perfectly.
Both Draco and Harry received counselling from the same mind-healer as Neville, for both acknowledged the past could not be ignored. They retained the witch on staff and she helped heal a great many wounds that had left no visible scars among the population.
The world turned and soon the riots of the previous year had become history, and promises were made to ensure they never happened again. After everything they had been through, and to some extent were still going through, Harry doubted such promises. It wasn't until he saw Lucius Malfoy on a muggle talkshow in the US that he thought maybe, just maybe, the world was changing.
Draco's jaw had almost hit his knees at the sight, and Harry had laughed and kissed him, right there in the internet café. Then they had gone home and Draco pretended to interview Harry on the more intimate details of his private life.