52 Weeks Later
Sometimes I have wondered whether life wouldn't be much more amusing if we were all devils, and no nonsense about angels and being good.
Draco waited at the airport baggage claim for his suitcase to come back around the corner, but just as he was about to grab it, a large women pushed past him to grab her own and knocked him out of the way. He sent her a glare and waited for the his white bag to come back around. She was stilling standing next to him, his cheeks flushed pink and his lips dark red with lipstick. Draco sighed and stepped back and waited for her to grab a small pink suitcase for her daughter then retrieved his own bag.
Her daughter smiled at him before following her Mother to the exit. He walked behind them, smiling at the small girl struggling to keep up with her mother until he saw a tall, black man grinning at him outside.
"Draco, glad to see you made it."
Draco shrugged. "I've grown fond of muggle contraptions. They give me time to think."
"You're just saying that so that the Ministry can't get any pleasure out of not allowing you to learn how to Apparate. I finally learned a few months ago. They have lifted that part of the sentence for a few people since you left. Maybe they'll lift yours too if you stay long enough to fight it."
"Is that so?" Draco shook his head. "I cannot use magic for four years with the exception of the research done at the university." He lifted up his wrist to show Blaise a silver band with a blue stone in the middle. "See this? If I use any magic at all it sends a signal to the authorities in both Britain and America." Draco paused. "Did you know that in America, hardly anyone apparates because they actually prefer driving? It's not so bad, Laura taught me how -"
"You have a muggle license?"
Draco's face turned red and he scoffed and shook his head. "Of course not-"
"I never thought I'd see the day when Draco Malfoy used anything muggle, especially something completely muggle. At least the Weasleys magicked their vehicle."
"Did you offer to come pick me up because you missed me or missed teasing me? In any case, I won't risk using any magic at all. Now let's go, you know my Mum doesn't like to wait."
"You're no fun." Blaise smiled and started to walking away from the airport terminal. Draco followed closely behind and as they were crossing the street, Draco noticed the same little girl gazing out the window of a passing car. Once they were completely alone, Blaise turned around and grabbed his arm. "Ready?"
Draco nodded and immediately felt the familiar pull at his navel as Blaise apparated them to the outskirts of the Malfoy Manor, where a carriage that looked similar to the ones at Hogwarts sat waiting for them. It wasn't a long ride to the house and Draco stayed quiet. Blaise, on the other hand, looked giddy and once in a while would open his mouth to say something but then closed it with a snap.
"For heaven's sake just say whatever it is you want to say. It must be good with that silly grin on your face."
"Don't you want to know about Potter?"
Draco frowned. "Why would I want to know about Potter? I'm sure he is still with the Weaslette."
"Yeah, that's true. It's all over the papers that he proposed to her but that isn't what I wanted to tell you. It's just that with everything between you two I found it rather strange that Harry Potter was wearing your ring."
The carriage stopped in front of the gates, but neither boy moved. Draco watched Blaise for any signs he was lying. He sighed and sat back in his seat. "And let me guess. You've kept this to yourself because you want to know the reason why."
"You got me. What happened while you were captured?"
"A lot of things. He took it from me the first night I was there." Draco opened the carriage door and hopped out. "He probably just forgot about it and decided to wear it one day."
"Right. Because a ring with the Malfoy crest normally just fits to any old finger. Don't lie to me. I've known you since we were kids, I know when you're keeping something to yourself."
"Then you'll also know when to quit prying." Draco entered the gates and walked quickly to the double doors. A few house elves bowed to him as he walked past even though they were in the middle of clipping the plants. He acknowledged their existence with a quick nod and swung the door open with a little more excitement than he anticipated.
The doors slammed against the wall and he was stunned to see Pansy, Theodore, Astoria, and Goyle standing beside his mother with a sign that read: "Happy Birthday."
"What's going on? My birthday already -"
"Astoria insisted that we do something for your birthday when you came to visit," Narcissa said with a smile. "She wanted your homecoming to be memorable."
Draco couldn't resist grinning, but his smile faulted when he looked around, half expecting to see his Father, only to notice an empty space. He pushed back the thought and thanked everyone before they bombarded him with various gifts. Blaise gave him a photo book with pictures of their Hogwarts years, which Pansy and Blaise had both went back for their NEWTS while Draco completed them in America. He noticed a few pictures with Harry with his friends in the background, one during his sixth year where Harry was staring straight at him.
"Stalker," Draco muttered, thinking of the time he spent with the Gryffindor in captivity. Blaise looked at him funny so Draco said, "It's nothing. I need to go to Knockturn Alley for a few things. Do you want to go with me?"
"Sure. I haven't been there in a while. It's pretty dead now, you know."
"Oh, Draco, can't you wait a few hours? Astoria hasn't given you her gift yet!" Pansy sat down next to them and pushed the photo book out of the way. "She went through a lot of trouble to get it and-"
"What? It's true. Go on, Astoria! Give it to him." Pansy nudged the girl forward and she gave Draco a small box enveloped in pink wrapping paper.
Draco stared at it for a moment before shaking it gently, trying not to show how curious he was about the girl's gift, and pulled the corner of the paper off. His brows furrowed as he saw a ring box inside. He opened it slowly and peeked inside, only to draw back. Draco's face crumpled when he saw his Father's ring. The Malfoy crest was endowed with jewels and it was made of pure gold and a snake circled the M. It looked different from his own ring – made of white gold and simple, without the jewels that showed off Lucius Malfoy's power.
The ring reminded him of Harry somehow, of what Blaise had told him on the way here. It made his heart ache. His imagination conjured an image of a pregnant Ginny Weasley standing next to her husband, who still wore Draco's ring. Yet this time, Draco was in the background, staring at Harry from a distance.
"Thank you, Astoria. How did you find it?"
"My sister said she saw it in Knockturn Alley but when I went for it someone had purchased it already. It took a while but I figured out who had it and forced him to give it back. I told him it was for you."
"Who was it?"
Astoria flushed. "I promised not to tell."
"Really now? Blaise," Draco stood up and slipped the ring into his pocket. "I think Knockturn Alley cannot wait any longer. Which shop was it, Astoria?"
"Borgin and Burkes. Draco, why do you care -"
"I just want to know who had it," Draco snapped, but he instantly regretted it once he saw Astoria's startled expression.
"Draco, may I speak to you alone for a moment." Narcissa wrapped her arm around his and lead him outside. "You have not visited your Father's grave since his funeral. I think that would be the appropriate place to talk."
"About Astoria," Draco supplied. Narcissa didn't reply, she allowed the answer to hang in the air as they made their way to the grave yard. "I am not interested in getting married right now. I know Father wanted me to marry either Daphne or Astoria, but – I'm not -"
"Interested," Narcissa finished. "He would have loved to see you marry. You need to get over this silly obsession with Harry Potter -"
"Potter? I am not obsessed with him. I haven't seen him for an entire year!"
"Do not speak to me like I am a fool. I am aware of your feelings for that Potter boy, I have for a long time. Your Father also knew."
"Father thought I had a crush on Potter? That's ridiculous. Potter was the reason he died -"
"Is that so? Well, then, I suppose I shouldn't point out that your ring is on Potter's finger at this moment. Don't look so surprised. I noticed it in the paper a few days ago." They entered the gates of the family graves and went to Lucius's headstone. It towered over the others by a good foot, an angel was carved next to his name "Draco," Narcissa said as she touched her fingertips to his cheeks. "You are eighteen years old. There is no rush to find a wife quite yet. But do not dabble too long or you will not have many to choose from. I do not want you to be with another man."
Draco frowned, but sighed in defeat. "I'm not even thinking about a relationship at all, especially one with another man. You have nothing to worry about, Mum. And even if I did, I could still have children."
"Male pregnancies are dangerous and foolish, Draco. Over half of the children die and a forth of the fathers do as well."
"You've done your research."
"No," she whispered. "Your Father did when I first came to him about the issue. Think about what he wanted for you, Draco." Narcissa turned and walked away from him, leaving Draco alone with his Father. He looked down at the stone grave and pink flowers laid out in front of it and sighed.
"It's been a year, Father." Draco began, his throat constricted and his words came out barely audible. "I think Mum has already decided on a wedding date but just hasn't told me." A hollow chuckle escaped his lips. "I live in America now. Everyone thinks I was crazy to go there, but they don't know anything about the war. They've heard of it, yes, but when they hear my name it isn't so bad. I know you wouldn't approve, but – I got my papers published. About wandless magic, you remember? You laughed at me when I suggested it."
Draco knelt down and touched the top of the headstone. He licked his lips and stared at the base of the grave, his sight blurred and his mouth was suddenly dry. "Someone got your ring back. I don't think I'd ever seen you without it until the funeral." Draco paused. "Mum wants me to think about what you wanted for me. But she doesn't realize I have.
"Pansy wrote me letters to tell me how disappointed Mum was that I was in America. It frightens me to think you would feel the same... Your ring... I think I know who it was, but I'm not sure. I just think he'd be the only bloke to be stupid enough to give into Astoria. She's not persuasive like her sister." Draco shook his head. "I don't know why I'm talking to you about this. It's time for me to leave for a bit. Do you mind if I bring a friend next time?" He kissed his fingers and pressed them against the large L that began his Father's name. "I love you."
He couldn't stop them. The tears slowly made a trail down his face and trickled down to his chin until the drops fell to the soil. He had not cried at the funeral. He had refused to shed a tear in front of others nor himself, but now with only the sky and the distant sight of Fafnir's grave in sight, Draco allowed hollow sobs to wrack his body. His knees buckled so he fell onto them, he clutched the ring in his hand, the ring he had adored as a child and fantasized that one day he would wear. Draco plunged his hands into the soft earth and dug a small, deep hole. Dirt covered his hands and was stuck under his nails, but his eyes ignored the filth to stare at the ring in his hand. It seemed to glow and sparkle in the sun. Draco brought it to his lips and kissed it before he placed it in the shallow grave he created, and covered and flatted the area.
He stood up and brushed the dirt off his pants and slapped his hands together. Draco walked back to the house, his tears dried as he walked and he used his sleeve to remove any proof of his grief. He thought of how he was going to get the information from the store owner, Mr. Borgin. His first visit there as a child was peculiar; after all, Draco had never listened to his Father when he was told to keep his fingers out of trouble. Every time he reached out to grab something, Lucius would tell him what terrifying things would happen if he touched that particular object. He never quite believed any of the stories, yet still felt nervous going there.
When he reached the house Draco headed straight for the Floo with Blaise at his heels with an expression of mock anger on his face. Knockturn Alley was not what eh remembered. The streets were empty save a few dirty wizards standing in a corner and half the stores were closed. Despite it's reputation, Draco thought fondly of Knockturn Alley. Especially a candy shop that claimed to have the spiciest candy in London and Draco was quite certain nothing could beat Dark Spice hard candies. Now, however, they were closed, except a few that were surviving by the skin of their teeth.
The few faces did not spark even a bit of recognition within Draco, but when Adrian Pucey turned the corner with a tall man with sandy blond hair, Draco was tempted to turn tail and run. Adrian had been on the Quidditch team with him, but that hadn't deterred his political agenda within the Ministry. In a bitter way, he reminded Draco of his Father – willing to use anyone to get where he wanted to be.
"Malfoy, is that you? Jesus, I thought you were still in America with your tail tucked between your legs." Adrian stopped right in front of him and looked down at him. He was as tall as any of the Weasleys Draco had met.
"I wasn't aware that I had went to America in that situation," Draco replied. "I was under the impression it was you that had lost. I still have the Manor and my inheritance, and what do you have? The legacy of trying to take down the Malfoys? You've petitioned for further punishment against us for over six months now. Isn't it about time you gave up?"
"The public wants what it wants."
"I wonder if the public knows you spend your time in Knockturn Alley."
"Is that a threat?"
"Consider it advice. I think you're still jealous of this retched tattoo on my arm. That's what you've always wanted, isn't it?" Draco sneered and took a step back from Adrian, who's face had turned bright red and his entire body tensed. He took a step forward as if to close the distance between them. Draco just smirked at him and crossed his arms over his chest. "Did I hit a soft spot?"
"Let's go, Adrian." The wizard next to Adrian nudged him, his voice was so soft that Draco couldn't make out what he said, but it seemed to calm Adrian.
Draco evaded Adrian's shoulder as he forced himself between him and Blaise. He glared at the other wizard's back until he disappeared, then turned to Blaise. "What a prick," he said before he entered Borgin and Burkes.
Borgin and Burkes was just as messy as he remember it when he went with his father. Shelves filled with random items cluttered the place, making it almost not worth it to get to the counter. Dust was worse than the random things, however; Draco walked through the store with his mouth covered, but he still sneezed the moment he made it to the counter.
"Mr. Malfoy," Borgin said. He didn't look particularly happy to see him, if anything he glanced at the back door as if he could escape through it. "What brings you in here today?"
"My Father's ring. I know you know who bought it so just save yourself the time and tell me."
"You don't have any influence anymore, but he does. I'd much rather meet your bad side than his."
"Is that so?" Draco sneered. "And I'd bet the authorities would love to know where you get most of your merchandise. I may not have political influence like my Father, sir, but I am his son. He told me many things, most of which are easily proven if looked into. How has Burkes been these days?"
Borgin stepped back toward the door, but Blaise was already behind him. He put a hand on the other's man's shoulder. "I would tell him what he wants, Mr. Borgins. Draco hasn't been in a good mood since he got here."
"It was Harry Potter! Harry Potter was going around looking for it about six months ago. Now please leave my shop. You're scaring away the business."
Draco stared at him, his eyes stared far away, past Borgin and Blaise and past the nasty wall of dust staring at him. He shook his head and turned around without a word, he ignored Blaise's protests and inquiries and made his way to the corner. He looked at the masses in Diagon Alley, the happy faces of witches and wizards going about their business as if nothing had happened one year prior. Draco shut his eyes and cleared his head of the troublesome thoughts.
He was about to enter Diagon Alley when he heard a familiar voice. The sound of her voice still evoked jealousy and anger deep within his gut, transforming his insides to rock with a simple word. He listened to Ginny Weasley stand outside a well known baby clothing store with Harry.
"Did you hear that Ron got promoted? He's so excited to head his own group of Aurors now, especially since no one thought he'd make it. But you know what tickles me? His partner is Pansy Parkinson. She's lucky she never got the mark."
"Ron complains that she picks on him a lot," Harry supplied. "But otherwise they work fine together."
"Why haven't you joined the Auror training?"
"Ginny, we've had this discussion."
"I know, it's just, don't you want a job? I know you have enough money to wait, but don't you want to start a family? We're getting married soon and -"
"I know that, Ginny! I just don't know what I want to do, that's all. I'll figure it out by the time we want to start having kids."
"Harry, we really need to talk..."
Draco chose this moment to stop listening and take his first steps into Diagon Alley since the war. He glanced over at Ginny, who had her hand on her belly with a wistful smile on her face. He turned away from them quickly, hoping they didn't see him, and began to walk down the street, once again he ignored Blaise's protests until he was roughly pulled back.
"Harry? Are you listening – oh, is that Malfoy? They finally published his papers on wandless magic here," Ginny said. "He's been back from America for what, a few days and he's already in Knockturn Alley?"
Draco couldn't help himself. He looked back at Harry and met his eyes, and suddenly he couldn't move. His entire body was frozen and his eyes were locked on the other man's. Draco felt his throat constrict and nerves threaten to shake his body, but he couldn't look away. Harry looked different than the last time he saw him at Hogwarts. He looked older and his eyes reflected uncertainty and Draco saw him fiddle with the ring on his finger.
Ginny looked between them, his face twisted in pain and somehow, Draco was sure she had known what had happened a year ago. She touched Harry on the shoulder and silently pleaded with her eyes for him to choose her, to not go to Draco and leave her behind. But Harry didn't break eye contact with Draco despite her touch.
"I'm sorry, Ginny." He didn't tear his eyes away from Draco's to look at her before he went to him. He stared straight into Draco's eyes, a passion burned there that made Draco shudder and when Harry reached him, he pulled Draco against him and into a kiss. Harry's lips were softer than Draco remembered, his body was familiar like the callouses on the hands that cupped Draco's cheeks. Voices all around them gasped and off to the side Draco swore he heard Blaise chuckle.
Draco relaxed and ignored the voices. He kissed Harry back, his arms wrapped around Harry's torso and pulled him close. Every inch of his body craved the other boy and wanted to feel him, a part of him wanted Harry to be his and only his. When they broke apart Draco looked at Ginny Weasley, who was still by the window with tears in her eyes and her hand on her belly. He almost regretted finding out Harry had been the one to buy the ring. If he hadn't, Draco knew he would have brushed Harry away and allowed her to keep the man that had been his guard. The thought squeezed his heart, and Draco shook his head.
"I'm sorry it took me so long to give it back." Harry slipped the ring off and put it into Draco's palm. "You disappeared and then I saw your paper – Gods, you're always getting under my skin. Even just the mention of your name is enough."
"That's because I'm the wrong sort," Draco snipped, his eyebrow raised slightly. "Least that's what everyone has told me."
Harry smiled. "I think I can tell the wrong sort for myself, thanks."
Draco looked at him, his eyes searching for a lie in Harry's words. He scoffed and shook his head. "Harry," He whispered. "Harry, Harry, Harry. I suppose I could get used to it. Maybe."
We are not angels. Nor are we the devils you have made us out to be.