The Bonds that Tie, Chapter 11

Draco watched as three people tumbled through the fireplace. They were the ones he'd seen at Hogwarts. His aunt, uncle and cousin.

Sirius hugged Andromeda, grinning.

"Cousin! So great to see the one other sane relative!" She hugged him back, grinning.

"Not including yourself in that, are you?" Sirius let go, gasping in shock.

"Why, I've never been so insulted! Me? Sane? Never!" Remus chuckled, coming into the room.

"I second that. 'Lo Andromeda, Ted." He nodded to each of them, before turning to Tonks. She was watching him with interest.

"And you must be Nymphadora. Pleasure to meet you. I'm Remus." He held out his hand, which she took, smiling.

"Charmed. And call me Tonks, please." He raised a brow, but didn't question it.

"So, when is my darling sister arriving?" Andromeda asked, glancing around. Her eyes landed on Draco, taking him in. He wished she wouldn't; he felt odd enough without her looks.

The days at the Lupin house had resulted in him wearing Muggle clothing and not bothering to gel his hair back. He barely looked like himself.

"Draco, come on in. Narcissa and Lucius should be here in a few minutes." Draco walked in, and Remus looked over at him.

"You all packed up?" He nodded, watching with interest as Tonks' hair shifted through a few colors before settling on pink.

"Good. I'll just finish lunch while you all catch up." He walked out of the room, and Sirius gestured grandly.

"Well, sit. Let us engage in polite conversation about the weather and the d├ęcor." He sprawled into a chair, and Draco winced, sitting carefully on one of the armchairs. The others followed suit.

"Sirius, I didn't know you actually paid attention to your lessons." Andromeda raised her eyebrows, watching as Sirius laughed.

"There are lots of things I did you don't know about. For instance, one me n' Moony were up on the Astronomy Tower, and-" A hex came out of nowhere and hit his head. A voice called out from the kitchen,

"Shut it!" Tonks laughed, along with her parents. She glanced at Draco, noticing his stiff demeanor.

"You can relax; we aren't judging you." He stared at her, frowning, before leaning back into his chair, trying to pretend he wasn't in a room with relatives he'd been taught to hate his entire life.

"So, Tonks, what is it that you do?" She looked back at Sirius, who grinned charmingly at her.

"I'm in Auror training, under Moody. He got recalled when the 'clean-up' started. The Ministry thinks that having those from the first round'll help." He nodded, looking thoughtful. The sound of someone coming through the Floo stopped him from commenting.

Narcissa and Lucius Malfoy emerged through the fireplace, both looking slightly annoyed. Draco remembered that his parents hated using the Floo, and wondered why they had this time.

They looked around the room, and Draco could almost see their surprise at it. It was surprisingly nice, considering the werewolf laws regarding employment. Sirius jumped up, standing in front of the two.

"Welcome to the Lupin house, home of misfits, Muggle-borns and blood traitors." The grin on his face showed his amusement at their abrupt discomfort.

"Sirius. I didn't know you would be here."

What? How did they not know that? Draco was confused; hadn't they known who he was staying with?

"Course I would be, I live here." The others in the room stood up as well, Draco following suit a moment later than them. Remus walked in.

"Ah, I though I heard you arrive. Lunch is prepared outside today, if you'll follow me." They did so, but Draco lingered back, as his parents did.

"Draco. Are you okay?" Lucius watched his son closely. Draco frowned. Did they expect him to be hurt?

"No, that's not how you say it, Lucius. Draco, did you have a good time?" Narcissa smiled at him. Bewildered, he nodded.

"Yeah... It was weird, but I'm fine." Why were they asking. Narcissa smiled again, and led them both outside to where the others were already sitting. Remus had sent the other kids to the Weasley's for the day, so it was only them.

"Ah. Thank you for having us." Lucius said this stiffly after a nudge from his wife. Sirius chuckled, and Remus smiled.

"Of course. Come, sit down." The first half of the meal was quiet, though Draco couldn't decide if it was awkward or content; it felt like both, to be honest.

After several minutes went past, however, Tonks groaned.

"I can't stand quiet meals! Draco, how are you doing in school? Any plans for after?" He blinked, startled.

"I- I'm doing fine in school, I suppose. I dunno what I'll do after. Work in the Ministry, maybe." This was a lie; he wouldn't need to work at all.

"What's your favorite subject?"

"Potions." She asked several more questions, getting more and more obscure, until he started to question her back, to lighten the attention on him. Soon, Remus was talking carefully to Lucius, and Ted had drawn Narcissa into a quiet discussion of the family tree.

"The Potters? Yes, we're related. I believe Charlus Potter, Harry Potter's grandfather, was my great uncle by marriage. Is that right, Sirius?" Sirius, who had been listening to Tonks' tale of a Quidditch game she'd seen a few months ago, looked up.

"What?" She repeated herself, and he nodded.

"Sounds about right. That'd make Draco and Harry something like fifth cousins, I think." Draco glanced back at him.

"I'm related to him?" Tonks shrugged.

"All Purebloods are related, and the Potters were a pretty big family." She continued her tale.

XxX

"Cooro! Get back here!" Nana chased after Cooro angrily, as he bolted up the stairs, a grin on his face.

"Run Cooro! Escape!" Both the twins were egging him on from the top of the stairs, where they waited with their door open. He dove through, and they slammed it shut, just in time.

"Open this door now!" She banged on the door, holding back her laughter. Husky, Harry and Ron appeared on the next landing.

"What's going on?" She couldn't help it; she started laughing.

"I don't really know." She hit the door one more time for good measure, then went back down to where Mrs. Weasley and Ginny sat around the kitchen table.

Senri glanced up at the noise from inside, before turning back to the car that Mr. Weasley was showing him.

"See, you charm this part here, and then the entire thing will extend to fit as many people as you want! Nifty, eh?" Senri nodded, smiling. His mind was elsewhere.

Namely, a crow-boy who was currently waving happily at him from the window of the Burrow.

XxX

Draco watched as his father, with a look of intense concentration, called out,

"Knight to H3." The piece moved, killing the pawn that had resided there. Across the board, Remus examined the new arrangement carefully, looking entirely calm. Sirius sat on the floor next to him, watching carefully.

Sirius had been bragging of Remus' skills at chess over lunch, until Lucius finally challenged him to a game. Naturally, Remus accepted, and now they were maybe halfway through the game. From what Draco could tell, it was evenly matched.

The clock in the hall rung, calling that it was not three-thirty. Remus looked up from the board, frowning.

"It's later than I thought. Sirius, could you head to the Weasleys and get the kids? I doubt Molly wants all of them running around her house for too long." Sirius pouted.

"But I wanted to watch you win!" Remus shook his head.

"I'm losing. Now, go. If you hurry, you won't miss anything. Oh, and Bishop to D5." He glanced at the board as the designated piece moved. The pieces weren't calling any instructions to him, an odd trait for a chess set. Lucius had looked rather confused for a round or two, before losing himself in the game.

Andromeda, Tonks and Narcissa were talking quietly on the couch. Sirius left, and Draco turned back to the game.

By the time Sirius came back, the game was nearing its end, though it still wasn't possible to discern a winner. The large group walked in.

"Remus, Ron's gonna stay for a few days, okay? I figured it'd be okay, cause you like the kid," Sirius called, and Ron waved from the back of the group. He eyed the rooms occupants warily, before gravitating towards the chess board. Sirius sat next to Remus again.

"Check." Ron said, pointing out something on the board. Lucius finally looked up, noticing the new person. Ron met his gaze evenly, while Remus examined the board.

"You're right. King to C7." The King sighed in relief as he was transported away from danger.

Cooro walked over to Tonks, eyes fastened on her hair.

"That's cool! How'd you do it?" She smiled at him.

"I'm a Metamorphous*." He nodded, sitting on the couch and smiling at the others. Nana joined him.

"Hi! I'm Nana, and this is Cooro." Andromeda glanced at him, but continued her conversation with Narcissa. Cooro spoke a moment longer with Tonks, before hopping up, proclaiming hunger, and trotting out the door. Senri and Harry followed. Husky had joined the crowd around the chess game, talking to Ted.

"Checkmate." Everyone stopped what they were doing, turning to stare at the game. Remus' eyes were cool, as though he hadn't just spoken. Lucius scanned the board, looking at all the pieces, before looking back at Remus. There was silence for a long moment. Cooro, who had looked back into the room, saw Sirius' hand edge toward his wand.

Then, Lucius bowed his head slightly, putting out a hand.

"Good game, Lupin." Remus smiled brightly.

"It was an honor playing someone with your skill, Lucius." He shook his hand. Draco sighed in relief, and leaned back.

"Well, I hate to ruin the moment, but we must be going, I'm afraid." Narcissa spoke, standing from her place on the couch. Nana looked slightly envious of the grace that she had used in that simple movement.

"It was lovely having you." Remus stood as well, walking to her and smiling. Sirius hopped up, grinning madly.

"Draco, you need help with your bag?" Draco turned, to find Cooro standing behind him. Harry was standing slightly off to the side, trying not to look at him.

"Sure." They walked to the stairs in silence, before Cooro reached the landing. There, he ducked into his room, and emerged with a large box.

"Here, it's a gift. Don't open it 'til later, 'kay?" Awkwardly, Draco took the package, wondering what it was. Cooro grabbed the bag from his room, and they walked back down. Draco slipped the box into his bag as soon as they reached the door.

Narcissa smiled, nodded to the other occupants of the room, and Flooed out. Lucius let Draco go ahead of him, before going through as well. Draco examined the room he had entered, knowing it by heart. It was his own living room. He was finally home.

Later, he sat in his room, unpacked, looking at the package Cooro had given him. He opened it carefully, to find five smaller packages.

One was obviously from Nana, and contained a thick warm scarf, in green and silver. The next was Senri's, and held a wooden charm on a cord. He held it up, wondering what it was.

A note was with it. He opened it up.

This is a protective charm, specifically for dark spirits. Press your finger to the center and say your name; after that, you don't even need to wear it.

He did as he was told, and felt a rush of warmth. He set it aside, and pulled out the next object.

It was a bag of stones, polished so well he could see his own face in them. He could tell they were rather precious, but didn't recognize them. This, too, had a note.

These are precious stones with magic properties. Keep a few in your pocket while you practice difficult spells. You'll be able to tell which ones helps what after a bit.

He eyed the stones again, intrigued. He put them back in their bag, which also looked homemade, and set them aside. There were two left, and he could tell that one of them was Cooro's. The other confused him; Remus had given him a book on dragons earlier, so that left Harry and Sirius. He couldn't decide which was more likely.

Cooro's gift was a carefully carved flute, with a note explaining it.

This has two main functions. The first is as a call for help. Blow it loudly when in danger, and help will come, regardless of where you are.

The second is for calling. If you play it while alone, earth spirits will appear. They can't really do anything, but when you're lonely, they're a comfort. They cannot speak, and you can't touch them, so don't try.

Don't show this to anyone; it'll only work for you anyway. It should be glowing green right now, absorbing your 'essence.'

Draco looked, and it was, sure enough. He folded the note, shaking his head. Most people didn't actually put this much effort into parting gifts with half-enemies; what was wrong with these people?

The last package sat innocently on the bed, waiting for him to open it. He did so, and found two things; a large box of various homemade fudges, and a photo album. He opened it.

Inside were photos of his parents, ones that weren't allowed in the house, from them being children, to school, to their wedding. They didn't extend very far beyond that. He noticed that Remus, Sirius, James Potter and Pettigrew all appeared in a few, even the wedding. Why they'd been there, he couldn't guess.

He sat there for a very long time, watching his young parents, before they became cold and aloof, before the war and Voldemort. They'd been happy.

Draco wondered if that was why his mother was acting so different, because Voldemort was finally dead. Was it freeing? Was the weight of the Dark Mark finally gone?

XxX

Cooro relaxed against the couch, watching the flames. Senri and he were the only ones still awake now. The Tonks had left a few minutes ago and, beat, the rest had trooped to bed.

Now, Cooro was tired as well, but he didn't want to get up. He felt his eyes droop, startle open at a slight bang, and then close again, staying that way.

Senri glanced up as Cooro slumped against him, breath soft and even. He shifted, laying down, letting Cooro fall onto him. He lay there for a moment, waiting to see if Cooro would wake, then allowed his own eyes to slide shut as well, murmuring a spell under his breath before he did.

The fire flickered, before fading out entirely, leaving the room in darkness and drowsy warmth.

And the house was peaceful. Over the next few months, there would be Ministry visits, threats delivered and old friends reunited. The rooms were repainted, furnished, as its occupants decided on things. There would be kisses under the mistletoe, smiling students going off to Hogwarts again and the adults going off to work. There would be yelling and cheering, Quidditch matches and races around the house.

Remus would say he never got a moments peace, Sirius would ask why he wanted that.

There would be silly pranks, multiple redheads running loose, pet cats, new books, loud meals and warm nights in the living room.

But for now, it was quiet, and peaceful. The people inside were content and dreaming of the days ahead without a care or worry.

From Above, Lily and James Potter watched the house, smiling, before James looked at his wife.

"They'll be fine. Fate's finished with her work; they get to live now. Let's leave them to it, shall we?" And he held out his hand, and she took it, smiling.

"Let's." And they faded away, while white crows swirled around them, cawing at the sky.