A/N: Well, hello there everyone :) I don't think I would have updated for a really long time unless one of my friends hadn't told me to, so if you'd like you can thank Neeraja in your reviews. :P I loved writing this chapter. I hope you enjoy reading it as much! Meet you at the bottom. (A huge huge thank you to everyone who's reading and reviewing or even just reading this story. Means the whole world and more).
Chapter 52: Alliances
For a few minutes, the three Potters just stared at the letter.
"This has to be some sort of hoax." Harry breathed, "There is no way that Malfoy would turn his back on Pureblood ideals. He always struts around..." Harry trailed off when he realised that last year, Malfoy hadn't been strutting around, cursing and taunting people. "Or maybe he really needs help."
James raised an eyebrow, "Why would you say that?"
"Last year, he wasn't being a Pureblood masochist; he was silent the whole time, like he knew what was coming and like he didn't want to be a part of it. I don't think Lucius Malfoy is giving Draco much of a choice. I really do think he needs the help." Harry turned to his mother to see what she thought and found her closing her eyes, concentrating. When she finally opened them, he looked at her questioningly.
"You're right. I think he really is telling the truth. He needs help." Lily nodded.
"You got that from parchment?" Harry gawked.
Lily smiled at the bewildered expression on her son's face, "I'd be able to detect a lie, yes."
Then Harry frowned and turned to look at his father, "But he's a Malfoy."
James shook his head, "You can't judge based on that. Sirius is a Black and they used to be just as bad as the Malfoys, if not worse. Look at Bellatrix, she's a Black. Both the Malfoy and Black families are Pureblood extremists, but there are always those with more sense who try to get away from all the crap."
Harry nodded, "Okay. Then let's go meet him. I want to see what the ferret has to say."
"He's selected a Muggle establishment which was rather smart of him and it's pretty near here. We only have ten minutes till the appointment so let's go."Lily smiled as she started walking towards the Leaky Cauldron.
They reached the place Malfoy had mentioned with two minutes to spare. Harry took a deep breath as he stepped in. He looked for the distinct Malfoy hair and his eyes widened when he saw Malfoy sitting at the table in the corner, his normally perfect hair was a little messy and he looked paler than usual.
Malfoy looked up, "Potter. I mean Harry...Th-thank you for coming."
Harry quirked an eyebrow, nodding as his parents sat down. Taking a seat next to them he asked, "What's going on?"
"Mr and Mrs Potter, do you think I could talk to Harry alone for a while?"
James and Lily exchanged a series of glances, before looking at Harry who nodded. Lily then took a second to examine Draco, giving him a calculating look before saying, "If this turns out to be a trap of any kind, we will hurt you. Don't give us reason to."
Harry jumped slightly when he heard his mother's voice in his head, "If you need us, just reach out with your mind. You'll be able to alert us. You can relax though; he isn't going to do anything."
As soon as his parents left, Harry turned to Draco and raised his eyebrows, "Alright Malfoy, cut out all the bullshit and snivelling drama. What do you want? And why have you come to me?"
"I mentioned in the letter, I want out. I don't want to be a part of the Dark Lord's army. I can't do the stuff they do," Malfoy suppressed a shudder, "I ran away two nights ago and I wasn't sure what to do. Going to Hogwarts was risky because I'd have had to travel through Wizarding towns and then my father would have definitely caught me. My father wants me to join the Death Eaters and my mother is pretty much powerless so I can't expect her to help me."
Harry rubbed his forehead, "But why come to me? Why not go to Dumbledore? Or your Aunt Andromeda?"
Shaking his head, "They would have known. The Dark Lord and my parents would have known if I'd gone to Dumbledore. As for going to Aunt Andromeda, I've never really met her and she doesn't know me. So you were really my only option."
Harry smirked a little, "I see."
"Look, P-Harry, I know we haven't been the best of friends. Hell, we've never even been acquaintances but this is a matter of my life, of my mother's life. If I ran away, it would mean that I was safe and she was safe because the Dark Lord and my father would question her and she wouldn't know where I was and so they would just leave her to cry. I won't be able to stomach the things they're planning to do. So please, Harry, I need your help."
"What they're planning to do? You know what they're planning to do?"
"Roughly. Now that everyone's aware of the Dark Lord's existence, he's going to create chaos but on a larger scale."
Malfoy had to stop himself from recoiling at the sheer rage on Harry's face.
"You do know that this isn't going to be easy Malfoy."
"I know that-"
Harry cut him off, "But do you know that this will mean that you'll have to change your lifestyle more than just slightly? You won't be able to go back to Malfoy Manor if you move out. Your stay in Slytherin in the future won't be as comfortable as it was because the rest of the future Death Eaters who don't have the sense to back out whilst they can will make life difficult for you."
"That's fine. Seriously, Potter, I know that this is the only way."
Harry nodded, "Fine. When my parents come back, we're probably going to take you to Dumbledore and decide where you're going to stay. I want you to do one thing though; I'd like you to join the DA. It'll basically be when you properly, publically renounce Voldemort."
"I can do that. Thank you,"
Harry nodded, "Alright." And then in his head, he tried to reach out to his mum and was surprised when he hit a door with his mind. "Mum, you can come back now." He felt her nod and he left her mind.
A few minutes later, James and Lily entered the restaurant and crossed to where Harry and Malfoy were seated.
"What happened?" They asked together.
Harry smiled at his parents, "Meet our new ally."
Lily raised an eyebrow and Harry rushed on to explain, "Draco was supposed to join the Death Eaters this summer but he doesn't want to be one and so he'll be killed, hence he ended up running away. Now he wants to join the fight against Voldemort but he obviously can't go back home."
"And you believed him?"
Harry bit his lip, "I may have used the little bit of Legilimency I know."
James grinned at his son proudly, "Good. Alright Draco, let's go and meet Dumbledore. He needs to know about all this." He then pointed his wand at Draco and Draco's eyes widened as he felt his hair change colour.
"You are now a brunette and your eyes are brown too. It's just so you're less recognizable." Harry informed him.
They walked to the Leaky Cauldron and Flooed straight to Dumbledore's office. Dumbledore smiled as they entered.
"To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit James?"
"Well, Draco here has decided that he doesn't want to follow in his father's footsteps and be a Death Eater, so he ran away." James explained.
Dumbledore beamed, "That's wonderful. I must say Draco, I was rather worried about you and the rest of your Slytherin batch. Vincent, Gregory and Blaise, I understand, will have joined Voldemort's side. I'm sure you understand that now you will become a target for their attacks?"
Draco sighed and nodded, "Yeah, I know."
Dumbledore continued, "We have to find you a place to stay, so perhaps you could stay at Hogwarts or-"
Lily interrupted, "James and I thought that he could stay with us, if Harry has no objection. That way everyone will get used to having him around."
Draco looked at Lily, astonished that she would open her home to him. Dumbledore however smiled and nodded, and then looked at Harry. Harry frowned as he thought about Malfoy living with him for the rest of the summer but then he sighed, knowing that Potter Manor was one of the safest places for him and so he nodded, "Yeah, he can stay with us."
Dumbledore's smile widened, his blue eyes twinkling, "Then Mr Malfoy, you will be staying at Potter Manor till school starts again. Where are all of your belongings?"
"In my pocket." Malfoy said.
Dumbledore nodded, "Good. I also think that before Lucius decided to send out a headhunt for you, you write your parents and you tell them that you no longer wish to be associated with them. However, after that, it'll probably be best if your correspondence stops."
"Alright then, let's go home. I already mirrored Sirius and he asked Dotty to change the security features so that Draco will be allowed in." James said.
"Sirius is home?" Harry asked and when his parents nodded, he grinned, "Brilliant!"
Harry offered Draco a small smile before stepping into the fireplace and Flooing to Potter Manor. Draco sighed, feeling some of the weight life off his shoulders as he followed.
"Are you sure she's going to like the ring, Sirius?" Remus asked, rubbing his forehead worriedly.
Sirius gritted his teeth and Aurora bit back a laugh, "Moony, this is the sixth time you've asked me that question in the past half hour. She's going to love it. It's perfect for her. Now shut up." Then he said in an undertone, "Never have I missed James this much." And then to Remus, "You're worse than James was."
Remus scowled, "No I'm not. James was positive Lily was going to say no."
"And you're positive that Tonks will hate the ring. It's pretty much one and the same thing."
"Boys." Aurora said, smirking, "Remus, the ring is perfect. What time are you going over to meet her?"
"In about ten minutes. I'm taking her out for a picnic and then I'm going to ask her to marry me."
Sirius smiled mischievously, "What if she says no, Remy?"
"Don't be an arse, Sirius." Aurora said, cuffing him on the head.
"And don't call me Remy." Remus pouted.
"You sound like a petulant child." Sirius said.
"You are a petulant child."
Aurora shook her head, "Merlin, the only way this conversation could have been any worse is if James was here." She said, just as he entered the room.
A scowling James said, "That's not very nice. Nervous, Moony?"
"No. I'm pretty alright."
Lily, who had followed her husband into the room smiled. "I'm so glad you're doing this, Remus. I can't wait to see how happy she'll be."
"You don't know if she's going to be happy though, Lil." James said, impishly.
"Yeah, she might not want to marry the werewolf. She might just be in this whole relationship thing for the sex." Sirius continued.
"Keep this up and you won't be having any." Aurora said, her lips twitching as Sirius lost his smile very quickly.
Lily laughed, "We have something to say, just before you leave, Remus. Draco Malfoy ran away from Malfoy Manor. He asked us to meet him today in London and we took him to see Dumbledore. He's going to be staying here till they go back to school."
Sirius grinned, "Really? Well he's a man after my heart. Glad to hear people are following in my footsteps."
James shook his head, "Voldemort's recruiting students to join his Death Eater army. I'm glad we've given the kids a little combat training, they might need it."
Remus nodded, "Maybe you should tell Harry to continue the DA this year too?"
Lily smiled, "I think he planned on it to be honest."
"I wonder who the new DADA teacher's going to be this year." James said.
Remus shrugged, "No idea. Anyway, I'm going to go." He took a deep breath and then he smiled as his four friends came and hugged him and wished him 'good luck.'
As he left Potter Manor (with a picnic basket in his hand) and Disapparated, he felt himself being more excited than nervous. He never thought he'd find someone who was so accepting of him and so loving. As far as soulmates went, he was certain that he had found his.
Standing outside Tonks' door, he knocked and grinned as Ted Tonks opened the door. He had visited two weeks ago when Tonks was at work to ask Ted for permission to marry his daughter. Ted had beamed and pulled Remus in for a hug, welcoming him to the family.
Andromeda bustled out of the kitchen to hug Remus whilst Ted yelled for Tonks to come down. A few minutes later she did. Remus grinned at her.
Clad in a cream, floral printed skirt with a pale blue tank top. Her hair was strawberry blonde today and her eyes were an emerald green. She kissed Remus on the cheek, said bye to her parents and practically pulled her boyfriend (and soon to be fiancé) out the door.
"Hey there." Remus chuckled.
Tonks beamed at him, "Where are we off to, then?"
Tonks looked at him in surprise and Remus grinned at her, offering her his arm and they Disapparated with a crack. When Tonks felt her feet place themselves on the ground, she opened her eyes and gasped.
"Oh, Remus, where are we?"
"Biddulph Grange Garden." Remus replied.
"It's beautiful," Tonks said as she took in her surroundings. They were standing on a bridge. Beneath them was a lake full of lily pads, with swans and ducks floating around. The garden was vast. To their left, she could see thousands of different kinds of trees, their varying colours of green all complimented each other. Some had flowers, bright ones, in red, pink and yellow. There were little cobblestone paths and she could make out the beginning (or perhaps it was the end, she couldn't tell) of a maze. To their right was a plain stretch of land and then what looked like a castle.
It made her feel calm. Being surrounded by so many colours and standing next to the man she loved. She turned to look at him, only to find that he was looking at her with a kind of love in his eyes that Tonks had only read about in stories-the stories that started with 'once upon a time' and ended with happily ever after.' She never thought that she'd experience the kind of love, never in a million years.
She felt her heart skip a beat as he put down the picnic basket and took one of her hands in his. She marvelled at how well they fit together. Her eyes fluttered shut as he moved one soft, strawberry blond tendril out of the way, tucking it safely behind her ear. And then his face moved closer to hers, inching forward slowly. She could feel the seconds passing by, her heart thudding loudly against her chest. He licked his lips, never taking his eyes off of hers and then he leaned down and captured her lips in his.
She swore for a second she felt time stop.
All too soon he pulled away, "I can't do this Dora."
"Do what?" Tonks brow furrowed, "Do what, Remus?"
"Wait. I was supposed to wait until after we have lunch but I can't. I'm too excited. Or too nervous. Or too much of both. I don't know. I just can't wait any longer."
Tonks shook her head, "I don't understa-"
She stopped talking when she saw that he'd gotten down one knee, a little velvet box in his hand. Tears pricked her eyes and she felt her throat constrict.
"Nymphadora Andromeda Tonks, you're the most incredibly remarkable woman I have ever met. I love because you're more stubborn than I am and you can put up a hell of a fight. I love you because you're so beautiful and smart. I love you because you always make me laugh, even if I don't want to. I love you because you inspire me and because you give me hope. I love you because you're everything I've always wanted and more. I'm not sure when I realised, when it really hit me exactly that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. I think a part of me always knew, even when I was desperately trying not to admit how I felt about you. I still think that you can do so much better, that you deserve better, but you're happy with me and to me that's the most important thing in the world. So, Nymphadora Tonks-you're going to hit me later because I called you that twice-would you do me the honour of being my wife?"
Tonks sniffled and nodded before she squealed, "Yes! Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES."
Remus joined her laughter and pulled her in for a hug, lifting her up in his exuberance and kissing her deeply once again.
She pulled back this time, touching her forehead to his and breathed a contented little sigh. This was possibly the happiest she'd ever been in her entire life.
Lily knocked on Draco's door the next morning. She felt incredibly sorry for the boy. His parents obviously did not care about him and she couldn't even begin to imagine the horrors that he had faced when he was at Malfoy Manor. It was no secret that Bellatrix and Lucius were fanatical about Voldemort's ideals and she was certain that Draco had seen things he shouldn't have had to see and heard things he shouldn't have had to hear.
She smiled at him as he opened the door, "Good morning Draco."
Draco returned her smile shyly, "Morning Mrs Potter."
"Call me Lily. Come down breakfast. Harry's already down there and you can meet everyone else who's here too."
Draco nodded, "Okay."
They made their way downstairs and Draco was surprised to see the kitchen table full of people, most of who smiled at him and welcomed him in.
Draco nodded, taking a seat next to Harry, he gaped as Lily and a house elf began piling food into his plate. "Thanks." Everyone else was in the middle of a conversation and after they were sure that he was settled, they reverted back to it.
"Why aren't you with your fiancé anyway, Uncle Remus?" Harry asked.
"She had to go to work so I decided to come here so I could have some breakfast."
James mock-scowled, "That's all we're good for, isn't it?"
"Well I'm not exactly here for the company." Remus joked, wincing when Aurora pinched his arm.
"Is Tonks coming here? I want to see the ring." Lily said.
"I showed all of you a week ago, Lil."
Dorea shook her head, "Yes, but we want to see how it looks on her."
"Why?" Harry asked, "It's not like it's going to change shape or anything."
"Never try to understand women, Harry. They're impossible." James chuckled and then wiggled as Lily poked him painfully.
"And never say stuff like that when there are three formidable women in the same room as you are." Remus smiled and then added, "She'll be here for dinner."
Harry chuckled. Sirius, who saw Draco's half amused, half shocked expression gave him a small smile. He knew that this sort of interaction couldn't have happened in the Malfoy household and so he decided to get him to talk, "So, how are you doing Draco?"
Caught off guard, Draco's eyes widened as he hadn't really expected to be included in the conversation, "I'm okay. My parents know that I'm not coming back now."
Lily looked at him a little worried, "You wrote them a letter already?"
"Yeah, I sent it off this morning."
James nodded, "Are you worried about how they're going to react?"
Draco shook his head, "I think I know how they're going to react. They'll be disappointed and angry, and if they get a chance to hurt me they will. They're also going to write threatening letters, but it's alright because I sort of expect it."
Harry looked at Draco in surprise, realising that he deserved a lot more credit for this.
Sirius frowned, "Don't worry about it. You're safe here and if they try anything, I for one will be more than happy to help you hurt them. My family were just as bad as yours. In fact, I ran away from home when I was sixteen too."
Draco grinned and nodded, "Yeah, my mum and Aunt Bella told me about that. They said you were a disgrace to the Black name."
Sirius shrugged, "I wouldn't have it any other way. I always hated most of my family."
"Most of?" Draco asked.
"Yeah. Your Aunt Andromeda, she's fantastic. As is her husband Ted and her daughter Nymphadora. And I suppose you're not too bad either." Sirius said, teasingly.
Draco smiled, "Thanks."
Remus grinned at Draco, "So Harry and Draco, what are your plans for today?"
Draco turned to look at Harry, rather unsure of what to say. He hadn't expected everyone to accept him so quickly. In all honesty, he wasn't sure that they had. Perhaps they had accepted the fact that he had run away and switched sides, but they certainly didn't trust him. That was okay though, he figured, because really, up until the day before, he had been a part of the enemy side. He knew that he would have to prove himself. And for the first time, he was okay with that because this side had a good purpose.
Harry shrugged, "Well the Weasleys are coming over in around an hour or so with Hermione and I think Nev and Allisa are coming too, so maybe we can play some Quidditch and then we can introduce Ma-Draco to some videogames or movies."
James and Lily smiled at each other, glad that their son was handling this so maturely. It was a sign that he had grown up and as much as they hated the fact that their baby boy was growing up so soon and so quickly, they were also incredibly proud.
Draco nodded, "That sounds good. What are videogames exactly?"
Harry grinned at him, "You'll see. You'll be addicted in no time."
Draco smiled at him gratefully. He listened as they started talking about other things again. An hour later, when the Weasleys children came with Hermione, he felt a little nervous wondering how they were all going to react.
When Neville, Allisa and Theodore Nott came, Harry had everyone sit down in the living room. He'd written to all of them yesterday, telling them that Draco Malfoy has switched sides but he figured all of them would want a proper explanation.
"Hey guys." Harry grinned.
Draco felt a small tug of both jealousy and loneliness when they all hugged him. He'd never had a close relationship with anyone. Not his mother or his father, nor his psychotic aunt. The only person he felt he could talk to was his godfather, Snape, but he wasn't really sure how that was going to work out now. But Potter, it seemed was on good terms with everyone. His father and his mother loved him and were obviously very proud of him. His father's best friends looked at him as a sort of pseudo son. All of his friends were there for him no matter what. Crabbe and Goyle had always been his puppets, more than his friends and last year it was obvious that they thought that Zabini had more Death Eater potential than he did-which he was thankful for. He shook the thoughts out of his head as Harry started to talk about him.
"So Draco decided that he didn't want to be a Death Eater and he contacted me. He's decided to switch sides taking on quite a large risk personally. I know that we don't see eye to eye exactly, but I think he's changed and we're going to give him a chance."
Theodore Nott nodded at Draco, "Good on you, mate. Listen, if the other Slytherins give you trouble, and trust me they will, you stick to the people who are in the DA."
Draco nodded back, "I will yeah, thanks."
Ron eyed Draco, "Look Malfoy, I don't trust you. I don't think you've suddenly had a change of heart and decided to change sides too!"
"Neither do we." Fred and George said, stonily.
Harry was about to open his mouth but Hermione said, "Give him a chance you guys. He ran away from home, that couldn't have been easy, leaving his family. Give him a chance."
Draco looked at her in surprise as did Ron. She looked at Draco, "If Harry thinks that you deserve a chance, then I do too."
While all this happened, Ginny was trying to analyse his emotions and was surprised to find a mixture of so many. She tried to separate them out. She felt his nervousness, his pain that he was feeling because he felt as though he had no family. She also felt that he like had been through a lot more than any of them had thought. He also had many walls in his mind. He was a lot, she realised, like Sirius.
"Draco," Ginny started, giving him a small smile as he turned to look at her, "Everyone here may not trust you, it might take a while and it probably won't be easy, but it'll be worth it. We're all here to help you if you need it. I for one, think that it's brilliant that you turned your back on the Dark Arts; simultaneously turning your back on your family and that can't be easy. Some of us here," she looked pointedly at her brothers, "are too callous to understand that it must have been difficult for you, especially because in order to do so, you had to swallow your pride and ask for help from a person you don't particularly like. So, I'm going to give you a chance too. But if you give me a reason to hurt you, I will."
Draco smiled slightly, "Thanks, Weasley."
Ginny beamed at him, "Call me Ginny."
Harry raised his eyebrows at Neville and Allisa who still hadn't said anything.
Neville shrugged, "I'm glad you decided to change sides."
Allisa bit her lip, "So am I."
Harry grinned, "Alright, now that's done, how about we play some Quidditch?"
Draco nodded. They split into teams-Hermione, Allisa and Neville opted out of playing and decided to watch instead. Draco, Ginny and Fred were in one team and Harry, Ron and George were in the other. They played for a good two hours, Fred, George and Ron very reluctantly admitted that Draco was a pretty good player. They stopped for lunch, which they had with Aurora, Sirius and Lily and then decided to play some videogames, which Draco did get addicted to.
After that, they played some board games too and Draco found that he could actually laugh and relax a little. Even though he had his walls up, he felt himself feeling a little more comfortable. He kept catching Allisa's eye and each time he did, he couldn't help but be a like awestruck by her beauty. Her eyes twinkled when she smiled and they were the prettiest blue he'd ever seen. Her mouth was a pale pink colour and he noticed that she would chew on the left side whenever she was thinking. Then he shook his head silently, knowing that she was too good for him and giving up on the spot.
By dinner time, Potter Manor was full of even more people. Allisa and Theo had left just before as their parents wanted them home for dinner-their father wasn't really the social sort, but Tonks, Mr and Mrs Weasley and Kingsley had been invited. James explained that Draco had run away and changed sides and to his surprise, Draco had been pulled in for one of Mrs Weasley's hugs. Tonks (who was his cousin) had clapped him on the back and congratulated him for seeing sense and he had congratulated her on getting engaged. She'd beamed at him and ruffled his hair. Kingsley had been a little cold, but Draco figured that he had to start somewhere.
He smiled to himself, realising that running away was probably the best decision he had ever made.
A/N: How was that, then?
I know I promised that I'd try and update sooner but this year is going to be incredibly busy. Quite frankly, I barely have time to breathe in between all my classes and college and so you're going to have to continue to be very very patient with me. I have started to write Chapter 53, so I'll be able to send you some teasers. The coming year is going to be amazingly fun to write. I can't waaaait!
Also if I don't reply to your reviews, it isn't because I haven't read them, it's just because I haven't gotten around to it yet. I promise I will though. I'm sorry if I'm late :3
Some recs now:
1. That Elusive Aha Moment by Wilhelmina Willoughby: L/J. The Aha Moment: a point in time when something finally clicks. Everyone realizes that there's something more between James and Lily, though it takes some people longer than others. James has always been a slow learner.
It's a oneshot but it's absolutely adorable! Very ideal for a quick read when you want to be cheered up :)
2. Through A Glass Darkly by EHWIES: Nothing's fair in love and war anymore. xx The sixth and seventh years. JPLE, MMSB
Another really really good story! Definitely deserves more recognition. :)
3. Letters by GhostOfBambi: Abandoned by her best friend and suffering the torment of her hideous older sister - and her sister's hideous boyfriend, Lily Evans thought she was in for a boring summer. James Potter had other ideas.
This is a MUST read. It's adorable and so well-written that it'll make you smile for aaages after you're done reading!
Let me know what you thought about this chapter! Do you think Draco will be a huge asset when Voldemort attacks? And what did you think about Remus and Tonks getting engaged? Reviews get a sneak peek!
Hope you're having an amazing weekend :)