A Fine Spot of Trouble
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and Co are not mine, they belong instead to one JK Rowling. The instances and occurrences depicted herein are solely done as a creative exercise without any intent of personal profit.
Notes: I'm an evil, insane man. Beware.
Oh, wait, I was supposed to put that in the disclaimer, wasn't I? Ah well.
Draco could only stare in quiet disbelief at the figure slumped down almost supporting himself on the bottle of whiskey clutched desperately in his hand as he stared blearily through his wire rimmed glasses. Stained and wrinkled clothes clung limply from an overly gaunt frame, as several days' worth of stubble. Matted and stained black hair stuck out even more wildly than he'd ever seen it before as eyes that once shown like emeralds stared dully on a pallid complexion.
Unable to stop himself, Draco pulled out the chair directly across from the man, lightly pulling at the fingers of his glove for a moment, before giving the unseeing across from him a long, considering look before speaking. "Well, isn't this a sight. The savior of the Wizarding World, sitting like a common lush. So, tell me, Scarhead, what the bloody hell do you think you're doing?"
For a moment, those eyes light in a spark of recollection, and a flash of anger before the drunkenly slurred words dropped past his lips. "Leavesh… bug-bugger off, Malfoy."
"Or else, what? You'll offend me with your stench?" The blonde man wrinkled his nose as he shook his head. "Far, far too late for that, Potter."
"Wuz tinkin… moor luk… pishin on ya." The dark haired man answered back with a drunken laugh, before grinning. "Pished yerself… ow muny timez me cuz?"
For a moment, Draco blinked blankly back at the man, before wincing slightly as he finally made sense of the words and fought down a flush of embarrassment. "Twice, if you want to get technical about it."
Potter paused, and then stared back at the man, a completely dumbfounded expression painted across his face. "Wut?"
For a moment, Draco said nothing, studying the dumbfounded drunk in front of him as he struggled to fit it to the memory he had of the boy he'd built up as his rival, his nemesis, if only in his mind. Finally, he slowly shook his head and stared back at the man. "What the hell happened to you, Potter?"
The man blinked a moment, staring dully back at the blond man, before, for a moment, a brief moment, Draco could see a flash of almost painful clarity, as a single word was uttered. "Life."
Then, it was gone, and once more the vacant drunk was in his place once more.
Frowning again, Draco sighed a moment before cursing himself and idiotic Gryffindors under his breath, before standing up and stalking over to the pub's floo. Tossing in a handful of power, the man made another face, before barking out. "Hermione Weasley!"
There was a moment's pause as the flames turned green, before a more matured, bushy haired face appeared in the flames. "Hello can I…? Malfoy? What do you want?"
"Look Gran-… Weasley, I'm about as happy to see you as you are me, I just need to know where I can find Potter." Draco made another face as he sighed slightly in resignation.
"What do you want with Harry?" Those eyes narrowed in suspicion as the woman glared back at her childhood tormentor.
"I was planning on inviting him to my wedding and I want to do it in person." Draco glared back at her a moment longer, before sighing just a bit. "So, do you know where he's living or not?"
"How do I know…"
"I, Draco Malfoy, swear on my life and my magic that I have no intention of using the information I'm asking of you to in anyway harm or even impinge upon the happiness of Harry Potter, nor do I intend to give the information to anyone who would do so in my stead." As the glow of the oath pulsed visibly for a moment, the man glared back at her. "Happy?"
Hermione visibly fumbled for a moment as she stared at the man in open mouthed shock, before slowly pursing her lips as she lightly winced. "I… actually I'm not sure where he lives. Everything's been so hectic the last few years, we just… sort of fell out of touch. Maybe Neville, or Luna, or George…"
A sudden sinking sensation hitting his stomach, deepening with each subsequent floo call, each of Potter's friends embarrassed as they admitted to not quite having a clue where their friend lived anymore. The last, the surviving Weasley twin shrugged helplessly through the floo.
"Harry… Harry knows he can come in whenever he wants. He's family. I've just been so busy with trying to keep things running with the store… Since…" Draco nodded his head in slight understanding as the one eared man continued. "I send an owl his way every couple of weeks, giving him a statement on his share of the shop's profits, and trying to see how he's doing, but… I almost never hear back from him. If you've tried everyone from Hogwarts, there's still one person left who might know."
"Who?" There was a flash of confusion in Draco's eyes as he shifted just a bit, uncertainty written on his face as he tried to think of who he could possibly have missed.
George gave the boy a look, before sighing slightly at the clueless expression on the man's face. "Your aunt?"
"Bellatrix has been…"
"Your OTHER Aunt." George corrected with a frown.
Instantly, Draco paled as he recalled just who it was the man was referring to. "Andromeda."
"Yeah, she's the one that's raising Teddy since…" George sighed slightly and shrugged helplessly again as Draco looked away, the weight in his stomach plummeting again for entirely different reasons. "Your best bet's an owl."
"Thank you." Draco mumbled just a bit and nodded before he sighed and closed the Floo connection with a shake of his head before finding his way back to the table where Harry was again blearily nursing the bottle in his hand.
Catching the eye of the nearby tender, Draco asked quietly. "How much is his tab?"
"He doesn't have one." The man answered back with a shrug as he glanced sadly down at the drunken figure. "He only comes here to get drunk, and he sticks to the cheap stuff. After everything he's been through, I can't bring myself to charge him for it."
"Well, at least I won't be depriving you of a paying customer." Draco muttered slightly under his breath before handing over a number of galleons to the man. "I'm taking the drunken idiot home to get him sobered up."
"Good luck." The man answered seriously as he hesitated a moment, before taking the coins. "A man who does that to himself… There's usually not much out there that can bring 'im back."
"I think I know someone who can do it…" Draco responded, before wincing slightly. "I'm just not sure how I can approach her without her trying to kill me."
"Well, g'luck, sir." The man answered sincerely as he glanced over at Harry. "Would be a shame to lose such a great wizard."
"No." Draco corrected too quietly for the tender to hear as he walked back the drunken, slovenly man. "It would be a crime to lose such a good man."
Harry blinked blearily back up at Draco as the man approached, not quite seeing as he swayed slightly in his seat. "Wut?"
"Time to go, Potter."
"Drunk'n not finished."
"Yes, you are." Malfoy grunted softly as he pulled the man up, wrinkling his nose in absolute disgust as the smell assailed him. "Good Lord, Potter! Where've you been sleeping, the sewers?"
"Place gud any as." The man agreed with an empty nod of his head.
"Great, just bloody great." Sighing again, Draco dragged the man back to the floo and steeled himself for what awaited on the other side.
Narcissa Malfoy immediately wrinkled her nose in ill-disguised disgust as she lightly glared at her son. "Draco, I know we refused to allow you pets as a boy, but just because you're an adult now is no reason for you to begin bringing home strays."
"But Mother, I couldn't help it, he followed me home, can we keep him?" Draco's words were dipped in far, far more sarcasm than he'd intended, growing positively acidic as he addressed his mother.
The cool, imperious glare he received, made him wince, visibly as he wilted beneath its strength. "My apologies, Mother, it's simply… been a frustrating hour."
"And the vagabond you've insisted on bringing into our home?" Another sniff as she dismissed the man, swaying drunkenly on her son's shoulder, without more than a moment's glance.
"Someone we owe." That immediately drew her attention, as the woman frowned slightly and narrowed her eyes to study the man a bit more closely.
"Who could we possibly… Potter?" Downright disbelief flashed through her eyes as the woman almost toppled back in her chair. "Why the bloody hell did you bring him HERE?"
"Like I said, we owe him." Draco growled slightly as Harry stumbled slightly where he stood, almost collapsing and pulling Draco down with him. "And none of his bloody friends knew where he was bloody living."
"Language, Draco." The woman chided lightly before furrowing her brow slightly. "You talked to EVERYONE who might know, and none of them did?"
Draco winced slightly as he glanced away for a moment. "Well, almost everyone. The last… It would be better if you asked her."
"Who could…?" Narcissa frowned a moment, confusion written on her face before she immediately blinked in surprise. "Andromeda?"
"Considering what Death Eaters did to her husband, and Bellatrix did to her daughter… I don't trust her to not attack me on sight." Draco agreed with a nod, before grunting just a bit. "I'm going to put Potter in one of the unused guest rooms."
"Have one of the house elves at least clean him up." Narcissa muttered slightly as her eyes locked onto the floo with a look of resigned dread.
"Of course, Mother."
As the pair disappeared down the hall, Narcissa absently cast an air freshening charm, before cautiously approaching the floo. Gripping a small handful of powder tightly in her grip, she took a moment to breath in a slow, steadying breath before tossing the powder onto the flame before speaking the name softly. "Andromeda… Tonks."
"Hello? What can I…?" The warm smiling face that greeted her instantly sent a cold spike of pain through Narcissa's heart as it immediately dropped into a cold glare of recognition. "What do you want, Mrs. Malfoy."
"'Romeda…" Narcissa half whispered the word as she could feel the tears lightly tinge at her eyes, fighting down the sudden swell of emotions that rose through her chest.
"Don't you DARE! Don't you dare try to Romeda me, Malfoy!" Andromeda Tonks hissed the words past her lips as she glared angrily at the woman who had once been her little sister. "You lost that right when your husband and your son's friends killed my husband, and your sister killed my daughter!"
Belatedly, Narcissa realized she'd forgotten the most important thing to remember when dealing with her sisters. Bellatrix had been the passionate one, the one who's loyalty, once won, was blind and unbreakable. She, herself, was the cool calculator, the protective one. But Andromeda… Andromeda was the one who could hold a grudge like no one she'd ever met before. The stubborn one, with the unbreakable will.
Again, she tried to collect herself, to speak as she started again. "Andromeda…"
"It's TONKS to you, Malfoy." The hissing words were so cold they burned against Narcissa's skin as the woman flinched back.
"My apologies, Mrs. Tonks." For the first time in over half a decade, Narcissa Malfoy could feel her icy control slipping as the tears fell down her cheeks, and she felt the words grow thick upon her lips. "I… I'm calling you… about Harry Po-"
"Harry? If you or your family have done ANYTHING to that boy, I swear to you there won't be a thing LEFT of you by the time I'm done! OF ANY OF YOU!" Narcissa could see the anger in the woman's face, the pure, boiling fury in it, but at the same time, she saw that thick, violent tremor of fear that raced through the woman's dark eyes.
"I assure you, Mrs. Tonks, we have done nothing ill to him." For a moment, Narcissa ducked her head, glancing away as she whispered out the rest of her words. "We owe him far, far too much for that."
"… What is this about then?" The anger had calmed into a more manageable thing, but had never left Andromeda's face as she glared back at the woman she'd once called sister.
"Draco… Apparently came across Mr. Potter in a rather… alarming state." Narcissa was slow and careful with her words, taking a slow, deep breath to steady the flood of emotions swelling up through her chest. "He looked like a drunken wastrel who hadn't bathed in weeks."
The anger faded into sad resignation as Andromeda merely nodded her head and spoke quietly. "What pub is he at this time?"
The way Andromeda, Andromeda of all people simply accepted the words about the godfather of her grandson sent the weight dropping to her stomach as she couldn't stop herself from asking. "How… how did he get this bad? Draco told he tried to contact every one of the boy's friends and not a single one of them knew where that was."
"When he's not drinking his life away, he sleeps…" Andromeda took a moment, her eyes shutting as she took a slow deep breath. "He sleeps in Nymphadora's old room."
"What happened to him?" Narcissa slowly shook her head in disbelief as she stared back at the figure in the flames. "That man… I can barely see anything of the boy I remember."
For a moment, Andromeda hesitated, biting down on her lower lip for a moment, before finally, the need to finally talk about it broke through her worry. "He always wanted nothing more than a quiet, normal life. At first, he thought he could have that with Ginny Weasley, but she wasn't satisfied with fading away into the background, she wanted the fame and the spotlight. Harry stood it as long as he could, before finally he just had to end it."
Narcissa nodded her head in understanding, Ginny Weasley had risen to be one of the top quidditch stars in the league, often with her face splashed across news papers and magazines across the continent.
"After that ended, he realized just how much he'd fallen out of touch with his old friends while he was struggling so hard to make things with Ginny work. Everyone else had simply moved on with their lives. They no longer really had time for him. It wasn't a malicious, or even a deliberate thing, just that while he'd been out of their lives, they'd moved on and he was left behind."
Narcissa took a moment to digest that spot of information, before slowly nodding her head, biting her lower lip a moment she heard Andromeda sight wearily. "Just tell me where he is, and I'll go fetch him."
"Currently?" Narcissa arched a brow slightly as a slight tug curled on the corners of her mouth. "The last I saw him, my son was taking him to an unoccupied guest room."
Andromeda froze for a moment, before again, the frosty anger was back in place as she glared through the flames. "WHAT did you just say?"
"He's here. Draco refused to leave him in that state and when he couldn't find out just where it was that the young man was staying, he brought him here." Narcissa answered with a calm collected tone as she discreetly wiped away the tear stains from her cheeks.
"Why the bloody hell didn't that idiot just take him to his friends then?" Andromeda was growling again, not a good sign at all, Narcissa noted.
"Because, this idiot isn't stupid enough to drop something like that on Potter's friends and expect to live." A new voice spoke up as Draco strolled back into the room. "And my fiancé would prefer me still breathing." The man paused a moment, studying the face in the flames for a moment, before slowly shaking his head. "Not to mention what Potter himself would do for revealing that to them."
Andromeda studied the man for a moment, before giving a slight, reluctant nod of his head. "I suppose I can understand that. Let me through and I'll take him home."
Both sisters both froze in shock at the response Draco gave. "No."
"No…?" Andromeda's eyes grew flinty, hard as she glared back at her nephew. "And tell me, why exactly is that?"
"Because staying with you isn't helping." Draco shot back as he brought his arms across his chest. "And you have enough on your hands with your grandson."
"And I'm supposed to just let you take care of him?" Andromeda countered as she glared right back at the man. "How many times did you try to kill him again?"
"None." Draco countered with the slightest curve to his lips. "I tried to hex him and curse him plenty… But, to be perfectly honest, he always scared me too bloody much for me to try to kill him."
Andromeda grit her teeth, and glared a bit at the boy as she let off a slight growl of displeasure. "And your father?"
"Knows just how deeply we're in Potter's debt." Draco paused a moment, before shrugging just a bit. "Of course, if you don't believe me, you could always stay over and watch us yourself."
"What?" That made Andromeda blink as Narcissa stared, speechless at her son, her mouth hanging slightly open.
"I'm not letting Potter go until I'm sure he won't drag his idiotic Gryffindor ass back into a bottle." Draco stated bluntly. "So, you can either curse us through the floo, or you can come over and watch us like hawks so we don't do anything untowards to him."
"But, Teddy…" Andromeda immediately began to protest as she stared at the young man in a state of confused shock.
"Then bring my cousin with you. Merlin knows we have enough bloody rooms." Draco rolled his silver eyes just a bit as he gave the woman a look.
"Will be on his best behavior." Draco interrupted as he glanced towards Narcissa. "Isn't that right, Mother?"
"Ah, yes, yes quite." Narcissa simply continued to stare at her son in a bit of a daze as she struggled to work her head around the implications of what her son was offering.
For a moment, Andromeda visibly torn as she glanced from Draco to something over her shoulder, before finally, she gave off a growling sigh as she glared at the boy. "Fine. We'll be there in the morning."
"See you then, Aunt Andromeda." Draco agreed, almost smirking as he watched the woman widen then narrow her eyes darkly at the boy as she cut off the floo connection before glancing at his mother. "Well, that was fun, now if you'll excuse me, Mother, I have a batch of hangover cure to brew."
"Stop." The woman almost barked out as she lightly glared at the boy who had begun to walk away. "What did you just do?"
"Why, I do believe I got your sister to agree to stay here for the length of Scarhead's rehabilitation." Draco paused a moment exaggerated consideration flashing across his face, lightly tapping his chin as he did so. "Yes, I do believe that about sums it up."
"Rehabilitation?" Narcissa challenged as she narrowed her eyes at her son. "And when exactly did this go from an overnight stay, to a rehabilitation? And what on earth makes you think I'd agree to it?"
"Because, as long as he's rehabilitating here, you have a chance to patch things up with your sister and get to know your grand-nephew?" Draco calmly examined his nails for a moment before glancing up at his wide eyed mother. "Anything else, Mother?"
"… Draco, this has to positively be the most Slytherin thing I have EVER seen you do." Narcissa stared at her son with new eyes as she couldn't help but shake her head. "When did you…?"
"I'm getting married, Mother, and I'd like to have my family, my WHOLE family there." Draco paused a moment as he slowly shook his head. "After the war… All that talk of blood purity, after everything we learned… No offense, Mother, but I refuse to let the Malfoys go down the same paths as the Blacks. We both know where that leads."
For a moment, a flash of pain and guilt fell across Narcissa's eyes, before slowly quietly she nodded her head, as she whispered her own admittance. "Yes, we do."
Harry groaned softly as he slowly pushed himself into the realm of the living, through the familiar, throbbing pain of a hangover as he blearily began to look around. For a moment, he merely used his hand to cover his eyes against the bright expanse of light, stabbing into them through an open set of windows before he began to fumble around as he searched his surroundings for a sign of familiarity. It wasn't his room, he'd long since thrown up thick, heavy curtains over the window there to prevent just this sort of situation.
As he fumbled through the fog of pain, another fact slowly pushed itself home as he belatedly realized he was completely naked. Lying on fine, smooth linen sheets. Without his glasses or his wand. And once more, Naked!
"Oh bloody hell, what did I do this time?" Harry mumbled softly as he shook his head and blearily began to fumble around searching for his glasses.
"Other than be your usual, idiotic Gryffindor self, Scarhead?" A painfully familiar voice drawled.
With a resigned slump of his shoulders Harry turned his head towards a vaguely blurry figure sitting in a seat across the room from him with a familiar shade of blonde. "Bloody hell, what do you want, Ferret? Where the hell am I?"
"Malfoy Manor." The man answered with a slight chuckle, before wrinkling his nose. "And right now, I want you to take a bloody shower, cleaning charms can only do so much."
"Joy, where I've always wanted to revisit." Harry spat as he glared angrily at the man. "Why the bloody hell would I do anything you say, Malfoy?"
"Because, I'm the one with the hangover cure?" The blond answered with a smirk Harry couldn't quite see, but could practically hear on his lips as he held up a bottle in the air.
"How do I even know that's what it is, not something to poison me?" Harry countered as he continued to glare, even as his eyes had affixed themselves to the bottle in the man's hand.
"Because, it would have been easier for me to have just fed it to you while you've been passed out since I brought you here last night?" Draco shook his head and chuckled slightly. "Really, I know it's difficult, but you've shown you CAN use that head of yours when you want, Potter."
"Because, you've shown me ooooh so much reason to trust you in the past, Malfoy." Harry spat back sarcastically with an acidic growl. "And do recall, I've apparently been dragged to this damned place AGAIN against my will."
"Yes, but I do believe you'll find your accommodations far superior this time." Draco offered up with another of those smug smirks before shaking his head as all of it suddenly drained away as a hardness entered into the man's voice. "And I wasn't going to let you drink yourself blind then crawl down into the sewers."
Harry flinched back at the accusation I the words as he looked away, suddenly refusing to meet Draco's gaze. "Where'd you get a damned foolish idea like that, Malfoy?"
"You," Malfoy said sourly as he lightly glared at the man. "Not to mention I was bombarded full force by the way you reeked of it when I half carried you here."
"Why the hell did you even bring me here then?" Harry snapped back as he suddenly again glared at the man.
"Because, imagine my surprise when I contacted all of your old friends, and not a single one of them could tell me where you lived," Draco stated those words with a calm measuring glance, studying the way Harry's eyes immediately fell down onto the sheets in front of him and his fingers clenched back into the sheets. "Originally I was going to just let you sleep it off, clean you up, give you some new clothes, breakfast and a hangover potion, then send you on your way, but now, I'm afraid I can't do that."
"Can't…?" There was a dangerous growl burning from the depths of Harry's throat as he began to glare, far, far more dangerously at the man in front of him.
"Yes, I discovered you had been staying with my Aunt, and my cousin." Draco stated with a calm he truly didn't feel. "As such, and judging by the way what I experienced last night is by no means an unusual occurrence, I refuse to put them through any more of this kind of suffering."
"Bullocks. What's the real reason, Malfoy?"
"Well, that IS a reason," Draco admitted with a slight shrug of his shoulders before glancing at the man. "The main reason, you wouldn't believe, so I'll give you one of the ones you will. Do you remember how we Malfoys are about family, Potter?"
Slowly, reluctantly, Harry nodded his head in quiet agreement, tension still rippling through his body. "Yes."
"Andromeda is my mother's sister. She's family and my mother has missed her since before I was born. As long as I have you here, 'rehabilitating,' she'll be here, to make sure that we're not trying anything underhanded. Which allows my mother…"
"To try and patch things up with her." Harry finished before his eyes narrowed dangerously. "And why should I go along with this?"
"Because, you get to make sure we don't try anything underhanded with Andromeda and my cousin." Malfoy answered with a cheeky grin on his face.
"She's bringing TEDDY here?" Harry's eyes widened in shock as he stared in absolute horror at the boy.
"Well, there are far, far more empty rooms here than there are in her home." Draco pointed out with a slight look of amusement. "And of course, you'll be here to protect them."
"And she AGREED to this?"
"She does want to make sure we're actually trying to drag you out of the gutter you've crawled into."
"What's to stop me from telling you to shove it, hexing you into oblivion and leaving?"
"Because you don't want the grandmother of your godson to be alone, when you could help repair the bridge between her and the only family she has left."
"… You're a right bastard, you know that, Malfoy?" Harry growled, his emerald eyes flashing. "Where's the bloody shower?"
"Wonderful, the elves will have something for you to wear down to breakfast when you're done, I'll leave the Hangover potion on the stand with your glasses and wand." Pausing a moment, Malfoy lightly tapped his chin. "Oh, and please do shave, my fiancé and her sister will be joining us, along with my mother."
"… Just when I think I can't loathe you anymore."
"Does this mean you won't be my best man at the wedding?"
Harry just glared at the smirk he just KNEW Draco was wearing before standing up and stumbling his way to the door the blonde had directed him towards.