Harry's owl arrived a few hours later, stating that all known members of the Alliance had been arrested and that Draco was free to leave the Manor should he chose to do so. It then went on to say that Harry would visit soon to tell Draco what had happened.
Theo had headed back to the Ministry to debrief, suggesting before he left that he would like Draco and Caltha to come for dinner with himself and Granger. Draco had promised that he would like that; if this experience had taught him anything, it was that he needed to try to regain his life. He couldn't hide away at the Manor or at work forever, and he couldn't do that to his daughter either.
He supposed he could be grateful to the Alliance for that if nothing else.
It was late when Harry arrived, the exhaustion showing clearly on his face in the form of dark circles and still pale skin.
"Thanks for waiting up," he said as he tumbled out of the Floo to face Draco who was trying to look as though he hadn't been sitting on the sofa in front of the fireplace all evening for Harry's arrival. "You needn't have; I'd have slept in the room I was using and filled you in tomorrow. Teddy's still at Hermione's so-"
"Why were they after us?" Draco had to know, it was eating him up. They might be safe now, but theoretically there was always going to be someone with a grudge after an ex-Death Eater, even if he had been a reluctant participant.
Harry sat down at the other end of the sofa and placed a hand on each knee. "They weren't after you. They wanted me."
"I don't understand."
"The plan was to take control of me. They knew – about Caltha being mine – they knew. They wanted her blood; that's why they wanted you, to get to her – to get to me." Harry ran a shaking hand through his dark hair and turn to fix Draco with tear filled green eyes. "Why can't people leave me the fuck alone?"
"Why?" Draco wanted to scoot down the sofa and wrap an arm around Harry, comfort him somehow, but he didn't know how that would go down, so instead he remained where he was.
"Why do you think? Because Ty was a on a power trip and thought he deserved to rule the Wizarding world." Harry laughed coldly. "Do you know, his real name wasn't even Ty – he's Muggle-born and his name is Brian Smith! He got the name 'Ty' because he insisted his followers call him 'Almighty'!"
"Your taste in men is appalling," Draco said bitterly, without thinking and regretting it instantly when Harry winced. He switched the subject back to topic with a pang of guilt. "Why did they need her blood?"
"Ty and his cronies were planning on using the Cruorgeni spell – the blood of the father – very dark magic; if they got their hands on as much as a drop of Caltha's blood they could brew a potion that could control me, and then through me, they planned to take over the Ministry. It's undetectable, unlike Imperious – and apparently they knew I could throw that off anyway!"
Draco went cold at the thought of anyone harming his daughter; and of anyone trying to hurt Harry.
"They overestimate my influence! Do they think that just because of my name they can control me and that the Minister and – well - everyone would fall at my feet?"
"I rather think they want you because of your power; you're the most powerful wizard alive today, surely you know that? If they could harness that power and your name for themselves and with your position in the Ministry and your standing in society – I think it could've worked."
"There are only five members of the Alliance! They've led us a merry dance, we thought there were getting on for a hundred – they've been very good with the propaganda." Harry sighed and stood up, pacing the wooden floor with an angry stride. "I'm sorry you got dragged into this, Draco," he said. "I'm sorry about everything."
"None of this is your fault."
"I should have known Ty wasn't all he said he was – I'm an Auror for Merlin's sake! He was with me so that when the plan was successful, no one would question his sudden appearance in my life. And why did I never do anything about the dreams? I might have worked out what it all meant if I'd only listened to Hermione, she's been telling me for years to do something about them and I refused!" As he spoke, anything in the room that wasn't nailed down began to hover in the air, rising as Harry's temper rose. "Why can't I just have a normal life? Must everyone have a hidden agenda?"
Harry rummaged inside his robes and came out with a dog eared envelope which he held aloft as he said, "Once Ty told us everything under Veritaserum, and we were able to locate their new HQ - I found this amongst his possessions." Harry waggled the letter at Draco, as if Draco knew what it contained. "One of the Alliance was Archibald Peterson; he's an ex-Auror who was there when they took Snape's body away, he must have stolen it from his corpse."
Draco reached out and placed a stilling hand on Harry's arm and took the envelope from his shaking hand. "Have you read it?"
Harry swallowed and shook his head. "It's addressed to you."
"Do you want me to read it?" Draco had an inkling what the letter might contain but with it being from Severus, he also knew he could be wrong – Severus had never been predictable.
Harry bit his lip and nodded as his magic calmed down and the levitated items replaced themselves back where they had come from.
Draco slid a pale finger into the envelope and eased out the letter.
Slowly he scanned the fading ink, not even thinking to read it out loud for Harry's benefit. "You were right," he managed eventually, his throat thick with tears. "It was Severus who wiped your memory, here -"
Draco offered the letter over to Harry and sat down again, his legs unsteady beneath him. All this time! Severus had watched Draco's pain at Harry's continued lack of contact and had said nothing! Yet – his reasoning was sound.
Draco could never hate Severus for trying to protect him and his unborn child, but he couldn't help wishing he had told Draco the truth about what he'd done to Harry.
Harry took the letter from Draco and read it slowly. Snape's spidery scrawl explained that he intended to tell Draco this once Voldemort was dead, whether or not Harry had survived. It was as they had thought; he'd Obliviated Harry to protect Draco and the baby, and to protect Harry, who would have been at risk if he had gone after Draco, and had one of the death eaters reached into Harry's head and seen this, they could have used Draco or the baby as leverage. He'd married Draco to keep Voldemort from being suspicious.
'I know that Potter's apparent defection broke your heart, Draco, but I can't be sorry that it kept you alive. If Potter had come after you – and I believe he would have – then I believe you would have been in danger, and I couldn't allow that to happen, I love you as if you were my own son. Potter's memories of your relationship have been removed and he will only remember a vague notion of you during the time in question. If you find each other again, I hope you will think well of me.'
Snape was right. He had kept Draco and Caltha safe where Harry would have led them to certain death!
If Harry hadn't been deprived of his memories, then he would have gone after Draco; and probably got him and their daughter killed. Merlin, he'd been a bloody liability back then, and nothing had changed. People still wanted a piece of him; Draco and Caltha had been caught in the middle again. Well, no more. The best way to keep them both safe would be to stay out of their lives. It wasn't as if Draco wanted him around anyway, he'd made that perfectly clear last night.
"He did the right thing," Harry said hoarsely. "I would have gotten us all killed trying to get to you." He couldn't look at Draco. It hurt too much.
Draco reached out and took Harry's hand. "What's done is done," he said soothingly. "We can-"
Harry snatched his hand away, Draco's touch burned through him, his magic reacting with pure need to get closer to him. "I think it's best if we continue to let people believe that Caltha is Snape's daughter," he said, cradling his thrumming hand. "Theo has taken measures to ensure that none of the Alliance recalls the truth about her parentage once their trial is over."
"I think it's best if I don't have contact with her," Harry continued, staring unseeingly at the Floo, his heart breaking as he faced his future without Draco and his daughter. "If you need money or anything, I'll always help you, but I can't be in her life."
He ignored the way every part of him hurt at Draco's pained gasp.
"So, Theo will be over tomorrow to tie up any paperwork regarding the case, and we'll obviously keep you informed of the outcome of the trial, which should take place in the next few days." He stepped towards the Floo. "Goodbye, Draco and good luck."
He had a handful of powder and had tumbled into his own house before he had time to change his mind. He crawled across the floor to his sofa and levered himself onto it. His heart was racing, his palms hurt, and every instinct he possessed was shouting at him to go back to Malfoy Manor, take Draco in his arms and never let go.
How could he though, when he'd already hurt him so much? He couldn't blame Draco for hating him. He hated himself.
"I don't hate you, Potter," Draco said, startling Harry by following him through the Floo. He wasn't going to let him go so easily this time, not when he could do something to prevent him from leaving, unlike before. "I thought I did once; but now we know the truth, how could I? You didn't know. Even the Chosen One can't throw off Obliviation!"
"Did you just read my mind?" Harry accused as he jumped to his feet. His shoulders slumped. "Of course you did, thus proving Snape right – Voldemort would have had this out of my head as soon as he looked at me! Not you though, you always were good at all the things I was terrible at – that I do remember!"
"No– Harry – I can tell exactly what you're thinking from the expression on your face. I always could!"
"Oh," Harry ducked his head and mumbling, "Sorry."
"If another crazed mad man comes for us, we'll face him together – so stop being so ridiculously self-sacrificing and noble!" Draco said determinedly, crowding Harry's space and wrapping a firm hand around the back of his neck. "You're not leaving me again. I won't let you." He kissed him then, and Harry didn't resist, opening for him, as Draco aligned their bodies together.
Harry pulled back and stared intently into Draco's eyes, "There's always going to be someone who thinks that the key to power is through either defeating or controlling me. Do you want to live like that?"
"If we don't, Harry, then Voldemort might as well have won, because he's still controlling your life, even from beyond the grave." Draco heard his own voice trembling as he spoke. "Give us another chance. If not for me, for your daughter." Do it for us.
Harry rested his head against Draco's forehead, his hands gripping hipbones tightly as he took a deep breath. Draco held his own breath. His whole future depended upon what happened next.
Harry nibbled his lower lip and closed his eyes. He nodded his head. Draco exhaled and wrapped his arms tightly around Harry, burying his face in his neck. He'd never thought this day could ever come; the day Harry came back to him.
"We've got the future, Harry – if you want us?" Draco lifted his head to look down at Harry. "And don't ever repeat that rubbish about being a liability and a risk to us. I'd rather live life with a little risk with you than be without you again."
Harry's eyes filled with tears. "Of course I want you both. But Teddy and I come as a package. He might not be my blood, but he is my son."
"I know that, Harry, and I'm looking forward to getting to know him – and Caltha will be ecstatic that she's getting a brother to boss around."
The room was darkened; the only light came from the candles that Draco had placed on the mantle. He wanted this to be as relaxing as possible. "Are you ready?"
Harry nodded and swallowed nervously. "As I'll ever be," he smiled and gripped Draco's hand tighter. "I have to see it sometime."
Over the last few months they had used the pensieve to allow Harry to view the memories that Snape had taken from him. Every important memory of their lost time together had been retrieved from Draco's mind and viewed, in mostly chronological order.
The results had been mixed: frustration when they had argued, joy when they had been laughing together – happy just to be in one another's company. Not to forget when they relived their teenage intimate moments, and this never failed to lead on to an adult intimate encounter – or three. Harry's favourite memory was their first time – which had been a wandless fistfight that had turned into the terrible realisation that they were both having a certain reaction – and their eyes had met, their cheeks had flushed pink and- It was Harry who kissed Draco first, but Draco had not tried to resist. One kiss turned into many sloppy kisses, which became desperate frotting, resulting in them both coming in their trousers.
To Harry that was the hottest thing ever.
Harry had fled after that first time and as Draco stared at the spot where he had just been standing he'd said, "That was interesting."
Harry had laughed so hard he'd cried after watching that.
Tonight was not the time for reliving the happy times. Tonight was for the final memory.
The room was set up for them to watch the first scene; Caltha and Teddy were fast asleep at their Aunty Luna and Uncle Ron's, both of them completely inseparable, each refusing to go anywhere without the other.
The pensieve was in pride of place in the centre of the room. Harry and Draco went into the memory together with their fingers tightly entwined. Harry was plummeted immediately into the Astronomy Tower. Seeing events from Draco's point-of-view still felt odd and this one especially as this was the night he'd dreamt of so often.
Draco was shaking; his wand outstretched towards Dumbledore, and Harry could see he wasn't himself; that he was trying to fight the curse that was forcing him to go through with the orders from Voldemort that he had long since sworn to Harry that he wouldn't follow. It was working, but the effort was making Draco weak, and it was then that Bellatrix and the other Death Eaters made their entrance, having been let through the vanishing cabinet by Crabbe.
The memory became blurry with confusion as Draco must have panicked, still locked inside the Imperious. Harry saw the moment the spell was broken, the moment Snape cast the killing curse at Dumbledore – Draco's mission was fulfilled even if it hadn't been Draco doing the killing. Dumbledore was dead. Harry watched it happen again with a feeling of inevitability, as though it was something that was happening in a Muggle movie – Dumbledore was falling in silent slow motion – and then everything turned to chaos whereby the memory shifted.
Snape was dragging Draco towards the forest, and Harry noticed that the sky was still red as it always was in his dream, but overcast by the Dark Mark. "You have to leave, Draco, you have no choice, not now!" and Draco was shaking his head, tears streaming down his face as he kept trying to pull back from Snape's grip, his expression one of such desperate grief that Harry's heart broke again as he watched the events play out.
"I can't leave H-" Draco began, and Snape whirled around and clasped a hand over Draco's mouth, stilling their progress towards the forest.
"Quiet!" he hissed under his breath. "Do you want them to hear you?"
Draco's frightened grey eyes trained on Snape as he shook his head, his breathing ragged.
"You will say nothing about your relationship with Potter," he whispered. "I can't protect you if hefinds out the truth."
Draco licked his lips. "He'll come for me," he said, confidently, squaring his shoulders even as he voice wavered. "He promised that if anything happened he would find me-"
It was then that Harry made his first appearance in the memory, bursting into Draco's field of vision, hurtling towards him and Snape, all wild eyes and determination, but Snape hissed, "Run!" and Draco saw the others close behind Harry – unknown figures with one thing on their mind – to capture those who had killed Dumbledore.
Draco looked directly at Harry, then at the crowd behind him, and panicked, turning and running towards the edge of the anti-apparition wards, and Harry's voice was heard, "Draco!" and then raised voices between Harry and Snape causing Draco to turn again, in time to see Harry fall to the floor and cradle his head in his hands. Draco hesitated but Snape was upon him again, a hand on his wrist.
"Harry-" Draco protested, turning back again to look at where Harry was still slumped on his knees.
"Potter is merely stunned," Snape assured Draco. "Now – run!"
The vision faded and Harry and Draco were plummeted back to reality. Both of their faces were wet with tears as the collapsed back onto the sofa, clutching one another tightly. "I'd forgotten," Draco said softly. "Forgotten how out of control of myself I was – even after the Imperious broke, I let Severus take control of me. I panicked!"
Harry hung his head. "It was out of both our control." Seeing that memory back had been very emotive, but he had to remember that that was the past now. They couldn't dwell on it forever; they were free of it, together and happy.
They were a family.
"I'm not quite sure what we're supposed to do now," Draco said sadly. "Other than, never watch that again."
"I think what we're doing is just fine," said Harry, and Draco smiled softly; his head was on Harry's shoulder and he was curled into his side, Harry's arm wrapped around him with one hand absently stroking Draco's hair. "We can't change any of it; we have to look forwards now."
"I think I can live with that," Draco replied. "We can start off with finding a new place to live – one that's ours."
"Mmmmmhhm," Harry agreed, his eyelids drooping. He didn't care where they lived as long as he was with Draco and the children. They'd found each other again - despite all that had happened – fate had shoved them back together where they belonged.
Nothing else mattered.
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