The next morning, Harry woke unusually early, rubbing sleep from his eyes as he made his coffee. He had a meeting with the Minister about the case today, something he wasn't excited about. Peeking into Draco's temporary room, Harry shook his head. How he was going to explain that they couldn't prosecute Draco because he was busy getting off? Sighing, the raven haired man retreated back into his study, trying to figure out a way out of this whole mess.
While he was staring at the case file he carried on him all the time, he heard a knock at the partially closed study door. "Mind if I come in?" a voice asked around a yawn. Recognizing the voice of that of Draco, Harry closed the file and put it away, clicking the desk drawer shut before answering. "Of course." The door opened and a very sleepy Draco Malfoy stumbled in. "You should still be asleep. I made sure to be extra quiet this morning," Harry said softly.
"I'm fine. Listen, Harry, you're...you're doing so much for me, and I'm grateful, I really am. But I wasn't...I wasn't getting off in that hour."
"Oh? Then where were you?"
"I was...I was at counseling. I've been going for about eight years now. If anyone knew...my reputation would crash, moreso than it already has. Do you understand?"
"I understand, Draco. Thank you for telling me this. I have to meet with the Minister today, and if I told him that you were innocent because you were busy getting off for an hour, I'd be laughed out of a job. Who's your doctor?"
"Dr. Calistone. She has an office on Kelstone Avenue. I have an appointment at 10:00 this morning. Do you mind if I leave Scorpius here? Blaise is getting sick of being the only one I rely on. But I know he's good with Scorpius."
"Sure. Can you do me a favor, Draco?"
"Can you bring me a file with all of your visits? It's up to you whether you do or not, but I think it'd help the case if I understood."
"Yeah. I'm guessing the fact that it helps me deal with past issues won't exactly hold up in court, eh?" Draco asked, a smile playing on his lips.
"Afraid not," Harry replied, returning the smile.
As Harry watched Draco leave the study, he pulled the file back out, looking over it once more, mulling over everything Draco had told him. On a fresh piece of paper, Harry began writing.
'Gay. Has a 4-year-old with Pansy Parkinson. Was a sperm donor for child's mother. Pansy and mother dead, Draco visits. Muggle flower shop. Dr. Calisto. Doesn't want to lose his son. Close to Blaise Zabini.'
Sighing in frustration at the short list, Harry put the file back in it's drawer, closing it with a decisive thud. There had to be something more, something that would leave no trace of a doubt in the jury's mind. Standing, the former Gryffindor checked his watch.
Almost time to leave.
Harry approached the Minister tentatively an hour later. He knew the man was keeping a close eye on the case, trying to get it settled before the newspapers had any more of a heyday.
"Em...sir? Could I have a word with you?" Harry asked, knocking on the man's doorjamb.
"Sure, Potter. How's the case going?" A grim smile from the Minister caused Harry to grimace; that meant the media had caught wind of the Ministry's hasty arrest.
"I think I have an alibi for Mr. Malfoy, for most of the day. Unfortunately, his son will be present, and the things that will be undoubtedly brought up are not...family-friendly, to put it nicely."
"You have to use the alibi in court. I don't care if his dead wife hears it; you have to use it!" The Minister was understandably upset, but that didn't stop Harry's heart from sinking-or his anger from rising.
"You have no right! You're the one that arrested Mr. Malfoy just because of his family! You don't know what he's gone through...what he's still going through!" Harry spat from between clenched teeth. All traces of professionalism were gone, and Harry knew he had overstepped his bounds.
"Potter, why do you care so much about his child seeing his father in court, answering for what he's done?"
"I always try to keep kids out of the courtroom. This man's son has never had a mother. I know how that feels. Valarie will know how that feels. I'm not going to stand by and let that little boy watch his father get taken away from him, too. I doubt anyone can argue his alibis, but if it comes to that, I don't want his child to see it."
"Very well. You won't have to give in-depth details, but you will have to present his alibi."
"Thank you, Minister. Oh and one more thing?" Harry asked, drawing a deep breath. The hard part was over; now it was just a matter of keeping the media-and Rita Skeeter-out of this.
"What?" the Minister snapped irritably.
"Keep the media and Rita Skeeter out of this." Harry said quietly, his voice full of venom.
"We're doing the best we can..." the Minister offered weakly, shrinking under Harry's sharp gaze.
"Try harder." Harry said, standing and exiting.
Once he got back home, Harry collapsed on the couch, utterly worn out. Draco walked through the door just then, file in hand. "Here you go," he said curtly, quietly.
Nodding, Harry grabbed the file and retreated to his sanctuary. The kids were all asleep, taking mid-afternoon naps, a treat for them. Flipping to the first page, Harry slowly began to read what demons Draco Malfoy was hiding from.
Sheepishly, Draco knocked on the doorframe once more, peeking around the door. "Mind if I come in? I'd like to talk to you."
Harry glanced up; the blonde standing before him reminded him of a teenager on a first date. He couldn't help but smile as he nodded, gesturing for the man to come in.
"I don't want you to learn about my past from a file, Harry. I want you to hear it from me…if you're willing."
"Of course I'm willing."
"My childhood was never…pleasant. My father was strict, at best. When I was in nursery school, there was this boy. I came home and told my father that I thought he was cute. As you can imagine, that didn't go over well." He tried to lighten the moment with a forced laugh. The attempt fell flat.
"I have a feeling there's more," Harry prompted, smiling slightly. He liked the fact that Draco trusted him enough to tell him about his past, though why he couldn't say.
"I'm getting there. Blaise and I have been friends since we were in diapers. Our fathers both came from a long line of Purebloods; they wanted that association to continue. When I was 14, I met a bloke—Anthony. It was the summer holiday of third year. He lived near the manor, and I struck up a friendship with him. We got…involved, and I brought him back to the manor one day. My father caught us making love. He…he killed Anthony, and beat me within an inch of my life as punishment. The beatings were nothing new; I've lived with them most of my life. My mother would try to defend me, protect me from my father. She was the only person to stand up to my father, especially about his…methods of raising his only son. For that, she got punished nearly as often as I did. The whole reason I was on the Quidditch team at Hogwarts was because of my father; he bought my way onto the team. The way I kept my position on the team in later years was because I would do Nott certain 'favors'."
"Favors such as…" Harry prompted, keeping his gaze fixed on Draco's.
"Such as giving him a blowjob before a match, or a handjob after. There were times when he'd take me against a wall, or in the shower; he said that those were what kept me as seeker. After the war, mum died. That…that started my downward spiral, especially with the fact that my family's name was the most despised name anyone had ever heard…they had begun to call Voldemort by his real name, but no one would dare mention the fact that I was a Malfoy. I experimented with muggle drugs, but only got addicted to one—heroin."
"Draco…if this is uncomfortable, or you don't want to tell me, I can read your file," Harry said softly, his eyes sympathetic.
"I'm fine. I want you to hear it from me," Draco emphasized. "Anyway, it was Pansy that finally found me. I had just finished shooting up, and she came over. She flushed my entire stash and checked me into rehab, paying for everything. Thank god she did," Draco finished softly, smiling.
"I'm glad you're clean," Harry murmured.
"She was coming over that day to ask me to be her sperm donor. But when she saw the state I was in, she decided to wait until I was clean. Once I was out of rehab and had been sober for 3 years, I donated for her. She was sick…she had cancer, but she wanted a baby so I obliged her. She died in childbirth, and Scorpius became my responsibility. It's made me grow up quite a bit." Draco looked down, blushing. He hadn't meant to go into that much detail with his past.
"Thank you for telling me this. It means a lot, Draco."
Draco nodded and stood, turning to leave.