Title: Sanctum Sanctorum
Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this for fun and not profit.
Warnings: Sex, torture, violence, child abuse, gore, angst, ignores the epilogue.
Summary: The new Divination professor predicts that Harry and Draco will someday live together, with a family. Horrified, Harry goes to Draco to warn him that someone might spread rumors about this. It only takes one pebble to begin the avalanche.
Author's Notes: While this starts out as a light-hearted fic, it gets dark fairly quickly. Also, please heed the warnings. I don't yet know how long it'll be, though I estimate between twenty and thirty chapters.
Chapter One—In the Crystal Ball
"Auror Potter, you really must let me do a reading for you."
Harry rolled his eyes and kept walking. The soft, slippered footsteps of Janet Plumm, Hogwarts's new Divination Professor, continued to follow him, but he ignored them. She had made the request nearly as often in the six months she'd been working here as Professor Trelawney had predicted his death in four whole years. "No, thank you," he said, as politely as he could, when it became obvious that she was going to grab his sleeve. "I have no interest in predicting the future. I'd rather live it."
"You, of all people, should want to know what faces him."
Harry paused then, and glanced sideways at her. Plumm's voice had an eerie echo to it, like Trelawney's the times that Harry had heard her give a real prophecy. But Plumm didn't look like Trelawney had when he saw her. She just had a fixed, appealing expression that didn't go well with her heavy turban or thickly-ringed fingers. Harry sighed and shook his head. "I don't want to," he said. "I've had enough to do with predictions and saving the world for anyone. I'm a normal Auror now, and I want it that way."
"You'll never be normal," Plumm said. "Those who fight for the future of our world can't be."
Harry raised his eyebrows. "So you would want to do a reading for any Auror?" He should tell Ron. Ron had escaped a cornice falling on his head a month ago after some woman in the street had shrieked at him to be careful, and ever since then, he was superstitious. Harry might have been, too, except that he'd just had too much strange shit happen to him to give a fuck. Ron might be interested in knowing what "faced" him.
"No one else did as much as you." Plumm's eyes roamed over his face, and her look was so hungry that Harry winced. He knew that he shouldn't have even slowed down and showed politeness to her. The people who took advantage of that were myriad, and didn't always have wands in their hands and threatening tones. "I have to do it," Plumm whispered, with the eerie edge to her voice again, and this time clutched Harry's arm so hard that Harry could feel her squeezing the tendon down. "Please. You deserve to know."
Harry tried to take her hand off his arm subtly, but nothing was making her let go, and he doubted McGonagall would like it if he hurled her Divination professor down the stairs, particularly since he'd just had to visit her and tell her that one of her favored students was under arrest for use of the Dark Arts. Better to compromise and go along with things, the way the Ministry was always telling him to do. Harry had tried to grow up and not react unreasonably to things in the past five years.
"Fine," he told Plumm, and ignored her squealing and obsequious smiles the way he'd ignored her appeals at first, following her to her rooms. "But only the crystal ball, and only once." He thought that was the quickest way to be out of there. There were too many excuses to draw out a card reading or the drinking of a cup of tea so that she could read the leaves.
"You won't regret it, I promise," Plumm told him, and darted off so that she could prepare the crystal ball. Harry coughed and choked at the incense wafting out of the rooms, and tried not to look at his reflection in all the mirrors as he ducked inside. The mirrors were probably there to make the cramped rooms look bigger or to use in handy illusions, but Harry hated the way they bounced his face back to him twenty times. He stared at it enough on the front pages of newspapers as it was.
He took a seat at the table that Plumm shoved him into and gave her a weary nod. "Well? I'm here. What did you want me to do?"
"Look into the crystal ball." Plumm was trying to use the same deep voice that had first attracted his attention, but she was smiling too much for it to sound convincing. She drew her fingers over the surface of the ball, and Harry sighed and looked down at the moving silver shadows. At least he couldn't see any reflection of his face but a faint one here. "Try to think of your future."
Harry nodded. That sounded agreeable enough. He pictured all the Firewhisky he would need to drink to feel normal after this, and folded his hands on the table in front of him.
The shadows in the ball seemed to shift and change, but Plumm was moving her hands around so much, and all her bangles were clashing so much, that Harry didn't think that meant anything. He pictured telling this story to Ron in a pub, and how Ron would probably lecture him for not believing in the power of perception, which Harry thought was the title of a book Hermione had given him. Hermione continued to feel disdain for Divination, but she was so delighted that Ron wanted to read about something, she found him all the books he wanted.
"Auror. Concentrate, please."
His mind must have been visibly wandering, if Plumm had noticed. Harry tried to sit up and use the attentive expression he plastered on his face in inter-departmental meetings at the Ministry. He had the Minister and Hermione and the other Aurors who thought him unfairly favored by everyone watching him there. And they were all better observers and more sensible than Plumm.
Plumm pressed her hands to the glass abruptly and hummed something beneath her breath that made Harry try to listen more closely. It sounded like the mindless tune that Dark wizards of all kinds seemed to hum when they were brewing a dangerous potion. Not that he thought Plumm was really Dark, but it never hurt to be careful.
Plumm drew her hands back, and a vision formed in the glass. Harry blinked down at it. His first thought was that Plumm had to be more talented than Trelawney, since he couldn't remember her ever getting that result.
His second thought was that it had to be a joke. There was no way in the history of the world that it could come true.
"This is what you wanted to show me?" He controlled his voice when he wanted to snap, again. Bad things happened when he lost his temper. He glanced at Plumm and didn't bother to control what was in his eyes. "The vision that you thought I had to know or I would lose out on some special opportunity?"
Plumm's eyes were bright and savage, and she kept moving her hands above the glass as though she could make the traitor vision go away. "I thought it would show you your most fervent desires!" she wailed. "Not this!"
Harry stared at the vision, his lip curled. It was a large garden, with walls around it and wards so thick that they distorted the vision even seen from above, as it was. The grass was disgustingly green, the walls crowded with roses and ivy. No one but a house-elf could keep them trimmed that neatly, Harry was sure. Hermione didn't live in this house and had probably never visited.
Of course she never had. Because Harry and Draco bloody Malfoy were sitting in the garden, side by side in matching chairs, their hands entwined as they watched several children play. The oldest was a girl who might have been eight, with honey-blonde hair and bright grey eyes. The others all looked to be boys, perhaps from five to three, and the girl had organized them in a line. Enchanted stones hovered in front of them, and the boys were making them move by scowling at them.
Harry reached out and brushed the surface of the ball. The vision vanished. He started to control his breathing, and closed his eyes.
It couldn't be real, and not only for the obvious reason. It had looked as though the children were manipulating those stones, but that was ridiculous. At their age, they would have either purely accidental magic—which didn't achieve such precise results—or be only beginners with wands. Harry knew, none better, that there was never as much magic when you were a wizarding child as you could use. So everything was wrong, and he had nothing to worry about.
Except that Plumm saw the vision, too.
He didn't know if she had seen exactly the same things that he had, though. He opened his eyes and focused on her, hoping to find out.
Plumm was looking at the ball as though it had surprised her, her mouth slightly open and her eyes wide. Then she stared up at Harry, and said, in a different kind of breathless voice than the one she had used when trying to convince him that she had to show him his future, "That—that wasn't what I expected at all from my gift urging me to make you come here. I thought you would see some awful danger to you, not happiness."
"I'm seeing a danger to my sanity," Harry said, keeping his voice dry, not letting the emotions break free and out. That's a public relations disaster for the Ministry waiting to happen, and you know it. The same reason you couldn't throw her down the stairs earlier. "You do know that Draco Malfoy and I were rivals in school? That there's no reason for us to end up—like that?" It was hard to say the words that were boiling in his head, any of them. Holding hands. Being together. In love.
"The vision only gives us a glimpse, not the whole context," Plumm said, which at least made her different from Trelawney, Harry thought. Trelawney thought she could discern everything from that one glimpse. "We don't know why you were sitting together. Perhaps you were simply friends and the guardians of those children."
But her eyes—
They were reporter's eyes. They said she knew differently, the same way Rita Skeeter's eyes did when she watched Harry and Ginny having lunch, or Harry and Ron, or Harry and someone he was working with in another Department from the Ministry. Plumm was sure, just like that, that Harry and Malfoy were going to be in love or something, and that they would have children together, and that they would live in this little walled house or at least visit. Harry shook his head.
Certainty like that led to rumors. And he already dealt with more than enough rumors about his love-life. The public was almost immune to Skeeter's by now, since she had proven wrong so many times before and some people finally recognized that. But Plumm was a new source, and there were always people who wanted to believe in Divination. It would be awful.
"Seer Plumm," Harry said, deliberately picking a higher title than he had given her so far.
Her eyes widened in a way that the vision had never made them do, and she leaned forwards. "Yes?" she asked, voice nervous, squeaky.
"If you talk about this to anyone," Harry said, leaning forwards, keeping his voice gentle as gentle, "then you are going to find yourself under siege from the best lawsuits money can buy."
Plumm stared at him, mouth open, and then blinked and nodded all at once, eyes full of compassion. "Of course, of course," she murmured. "I should have seen how things stood. This is a world with a lack of understanding for someone like you, a hero who has saved it more than once. They want you to marry your best friend, or your best friend's sister. They wouldn't understand that you were bent."
Harry closed his eyes and shook his head. In truth, given that he didn't really have much interest in the words Hermione threw around, he thought he was probably bisexual, but he'd never liked a bloke enough to do anything about it. Maybe someday he would, but that time was not going to be dictated or tainted by the rumors that Plumm could spread around.
"Don't say anything," he told her. She just looked at him with that false compassion again, and he thought of something that might persuade her. "After all, we should leave the future to happen by itself, shouldn't we? We can't force it. It will come true, but in its own time and at its own pleasure."
Plumm clasped her hands together in what Harry decided was her version of piousness. "Of course!" she cried. "I should have seen it earlier. You don't want anyone intruding into your courtship of Malfoy, and since he was your rival everyone would have an opinion. You see the vision, but you don't know how you're going to get there yet." She closed one eye in a slow wink. "You can count on my discretion."
Harry doubted that, and the temptation to open his mouth and correct her mistaken perceptions was strong. But in the end, he held himself back and simply shrugged as he stood up. This might keep her quiet for a little while, and that would give him time to warn Malfoy. Malfoy had been devious back when Harry knew him, and he was cunning enough now to survive on the very edge of the law, in Chemic Alley, an area more or less between Diagon and Knockturn in terms of darkness. He might have a better solution than Harry to what they should do next. "Thank you," he said.
Plumm clasped his hand before he could move away. "A word of advice, young Potter?" she asked, exactly as if she were his kind aunt. It made Harry sort of glad he'd never had a real one.
Harry held his tongue and waited.
"Don't let this chance at happiness slip away," Plumm told him, and squeezed his fingers. "You never know when waiting and putting things off will catch up to you. You could die tomorrow, or Malfoy could. You could find the means to overcome your rivalry and never follow it up. You should always take what happiness you can find." She sighed and squeezed his hand one more time before she let it go. "If someone had shown that vision to me and it concerned me, I would lose no time in pursuing it."
Harry just nodded and left without saying anything further. He would cause an incident if he did so. His temper was under much better control than it had ever been, but not the sarcastic thoughts, and sometimes the sarcastic thoughts overcame the control.
He had a task for his mind that would take up all its energy, anyway. He needed to compose a nice, non-threatening note to Malfoy asking him if they could meet. Harry might have written all the details out in a letter, but those could be intercepted by someone, and he doubted if he could make it convincing.
The letter came during the part of the brewing process when Draco most needed his attention on the potion, of course. Then again, Potter's irruptions into his life had always been like that.
The owl hooted just as Draco was counting the ground scales that he sifted into the potion. He had paused to unstick two of them, and the hoot scattered the neat numbers in his mind. He reared back and stared grimly at the bird squatting on the windowsill of his lab, wings outstretched as if enjoying the sunlight.
"You needn't do that," he told it. "I know that all of your prefer flying at night to flying by day."
The owl turned its back neatly, and sat staring out the window as though the secret of life was out there, or at least the secret of how many mice it would catch that evening. Draco sighed and walked over to relieve it of its letter. He didn't recognize the handwriting on first glance, but then, that wasn't wonderful. He had clients all over the world, and patrons who wanted special potions developed, and people who still thought they could threaten him as a reformed Death Eater. Letters from friends were rarer.
When he opened the letter, his eyes immediately skipped to the signature, and he frowned at it. It was a mess, a curving, sprawling mess that took up more room on the parchment than he would have thought it possibly could. He had to tilt his head to the side and squint before he could make out the letters in the mess.
Draco scowled and considered burning the letter right there. Whether it was a joke or Potter actually contacting him for some reason, Draco doubted it would work out. Potter would want to chatter earnestly to him about his moral duties, or someone would come to Draco in a petal-thin disguise and want to pretend that Potter desired an illegal potion, and either way it was tiresome and a distraction from work.
He glanced at the words in the letter, and they made him read on. That was the trouble with Potter. You thought you had him under control, or that you understood him, and instead he reached out and gathered you in with tenacious, leafy branches, creeping under your control like one of those wretched spider plants that his mother inexplicably favored.
When he reached the end, he stared at the signature again. It seemed more likely than before to be Potter's actual name, because only Potter would have come up with this bald and bad a series of hints.
"You expect me to believe," Draco said aloud, because he needed an audience for his more incredulous Potter-inspired statements, and at least the owl was there, "that Harry Potter went to see the Divination professor at Hogwarts, and for that he needs to come and see me?" He looked at the bird. "Did he tell you anything about this?"
The bird hunched its shoulders in his direction. It was only an ordinary post-owl, Draco realized abruptly, distinguished by neither strength nor speed nor beauty. It was the kind of owl that Potter was said to favor, though, because the last time he had got a bird of his own, it had been injured by the people trying to steal his post from it.
That made it all the more likely that the letter was from Potter. It did not tell him what this was about, and it did not improve his temper. Then again, anything that could improve his temper where Potter was concerned would be a miracle, and Draco doubted that anything out there owed him one.
He sighed, put the letter down on the table in front of him, and busied himself cleaning up the ruined Delicacy Potion. He used the routine motions of his hands, the way his body turned automatically to where the best scrubbing rags and disposal vials lay in the lab, the spells that flowed through his wand with no thought from him, to soothe himself into a state where he could consider the matter.
The first thought that came to him was another prophecy, but he snorted and rejected it. A prophecy could involve Potter; it would never involve him. Draco had accepted that while he was certainly as intelligent and handsome and courteous and well-bred as any wizard in his generation, that was not enough to make him a doer of grand deeds, the way Potter was. Well, one could be splendid without being grand.
So. The Divination professor had spoken to Potter; he needed to speak to Draco. As a consequence of that, the letter said, so the two visits must be related somehow. Draco knew from reading the papers that Potter often used language quite carelessly, but this looked like a deliberate choice of diction, not something different from what he had meant to say or a strike at the wrong word.
Very well. The only thing he could be sure of, after ten minutes of charming away fumes and scrubbing out the cauldron and casting more charms that rendered the ruined potion inert and incapable of burning off skin, was that the news had disturbed Potter. If the prophecy had been neutral, or if the Divination professor had merely threatened to blackmail him, then there would be no need to involve Draco. And if it contained something to Draco's disadvantage alone…well, there was no reason that Potter couldn't write a letter to Draco and stay away at the same time, having a mocking laugh.
Draco could not imagine what the prophecy, or the vision, or other communication from the future, contained. He would have to see Potter, not because he was curious or wanted to but because there was absolutely no other way to determine what lay ahead of him.
Like as not this is all a false alarm, and it'll turn out that Potter mistook the pattern of leaves on the bottom of her cup for a sign that his son will marry mine.
Draco felt his lips twitch up. A good joke, that, given that Potter didn't have the brood of red-haired children everyone had assumed he would produce and Draco had no child, either. But his father would be comforted by the news that his heir intended to settle down someday and reproduce the Malfoy future.
Why not? he decided at last as he began to assemble the ingredients he would need for a new batch of the Delicacy Potion. It might amuse me. It might be legitimate news. It might be a chance for me to see Potter discomfited. The work was the most important thing in his life, of course, but even the round of work could sometimes bore one. He might as well see Potter and, if he discovered that this was a waste of time, keep the meeting short. He was master of his own life now. He could easily overbear Potter if it turned out that this was a distraction and nothing more.
He wrote a short acceptance of the letter, suggesting a meeting the next day, and sent it out with the owl. It occurred to him as he watched it fly that Potter, an Auror, might find the timing of that meeting inconvenient. Draco was masterful in more ways than one; his hours for brewing were peculiarly his own. Potter was at the beck and call of the Ministry and random dangerous Dark wizards who might decide to kidnap maidens or kittens just as he was sitting down to breakfast.
After all these years, he could still easily picture the indignant flash of anger in Potter's eyes, the way his hands would tighten on his wand as he read the letter.
That's fine, Draco thought, and considered the depth of green in Potter's imagined eyes again. He was startled, and impressed, by how true he was convinced the memory was, how close to the right color he was sure he had come. That might be better than fine, in fact.