This is what happens when an idea won't be quiet and I realize that these two characters really should be the canon pairing. Written for EchoesofTwilight as a holdover until the barony works out and in inadequate exchange for all the pretty words, and for wearingwords, coolbreeeze, sweetandsaltyff, and venis_envy, for their encouragement and giggles and general shared love of all things HP/DM, because they really should have ended up together.

All things Harry Potter belong to J.K. Rowling. No copyright infringement intended.


Prologue

December 1998, Number 12 Grimmauld Place, London

"What do you mean, he's gone?"

A very dishevelled and still rather groggy Draco Malfoy sits uncomfortably in the kitchen in what apparently used to be Sirius Black's house and now belongs to one very absent Harry Potter. He looks up at Granger with a look of bewildered irritation. He was rousted from his own bed at Malfoy Manor far too early by a very nervous house elf informing him that Granger was refusing to leave the Floo until he came downstairs.

It isn't the first time he's seen her since they left Hogwarts; Potter, Granger and the Weasel all spoke at his trial and they'd been the reason he wasn't rotting in Azkaban with the rest of the Death-Eaters. And there had been the funerals. Days upon days of funerals for classmates and teachers, and for some reason Harry bloody Potter and his bloody friends had been at all of them. Even Crabbe's, and Draco himself had only watched from a distance. It hadn't taken Draco long to figure out he wasn't interested in being one of The Dark Lord's pets, but Crabbe reveled in it and basked in the insanity right up to the moment he cast that wretched Fiendfyre and nearly killed them all.

But for Granger to appear uninvited at the Manor, even in the Floo, surely meant something was amiss, and so Draco dragged himself downstairs, now grateful he'd stopped to put on a dressing gown, because Granger had taken one look at him, popped through the Floo, grabbed him by the arm and Apparated straight back to Grimmauld Place, where Draco now sits, still completely lost as to why he's a part of this at all.

So what if Potter's gone? Bloody idiot probably found some kitten in a tree that needed saving. In Iceland. In a blizzard.

But Granger is having none of it. Draco notices her eyes are red and sort of puffy, and he supposes that if she's crying, maybe this is a bigger deal than he thinks.

"I don't know, do I Malfoy? If I knew, I certainly wouldn't be sitting here talking with you about it, would I?" Granger's voice has reached that shrieky level he normally associates with mistreatment of house elves, or the Weasel being, well, the Weasel. "He was here last night, just like always, but when I came downstairs this was at the table, and his things are gone!"

Granger waves a piece of parchment in front of Draco's face and he tries very hard to maintain the air of nonchalance he's managed so far. He really wants to grab the damn thing and figure out what the hell he's doing here at what he considers to be an uncivilized hour of the morning, but he waits, looking at her expectantly. Perhaps if he doesn't aggravate her further, she'll let him go home and go back to bed.

Finally she figures it out and turns a splotchy red, holding the parchment under Draco's nose. He reaches up to take it slowly, still watching Granger the as though she is a Hungarian Horntail that might just tear his head off if he moves too suddenly.

Satisfied she isn't going to start screeching again, Draco looks down at the parchment bearing Potter's distinctively inelegant script and immediately frowns, turning the thing over as though more words might just appear on the page. Stranger things have happened.

"This is it? This is all he said?" He's looking at Granger again and she nods. Something about the letter is...off. It's so very un-Potterlike, so lacking in Gryffindor sentiment and regard for everyone else's bloody feelings, but it hits a nerve in Draco anyway. Draco's stomach twists a bit as he holds Granger's eyes. This is wrong.

So much for going back to bed.

"Alright," he says, "I'll help you look for him. I haven't a bloody clue where he is, Granger, so stop looking at me like the cat that ate the canary, I just said I'd help. Now for Merlin's sake please go blow your nose."

She is beaming at him, or as close to beaming as he supposes she can get in spite of what Draco would call lunacy but a more generous person might refer to as zealous focus. Wonderful. He's helping Granger. And the Weasel too, he supposes, because where goes one goes the other. Draco Malfoy is helping Granger and the Weasel hunt for Harry Potter.

The world really has gone mad.

Then again, as he looks down at the piece of parchment still in his fingers and intentionally doesn't listen to Granger's insane prattle about plans and where to look and what books she most definitely will need, he thinks maybe the world's been mad, and Potter seemed to be the only one who could turn it right again. At least until he wrote this.