Thank you again for all the reviews! This is the end of Sanctum Sanctorum. I hope you enjoyed the story!
Chapter Thirty-Six-In Peace
"Wh-who are you? How did you get in here?"
Draco curled his lip under the hood that he had drawn up over his face, although he honestly couldn't be sure if it was more in amusement or in contempt. The blinking, wild-haired woman crouched on the bed in front of him didn't much resemble the importunate Seer Harry had talked about.
Of course, having a stranger in robes modeled after a Death Eater's appear out of nowhere in what she thought were her extremely well-protected private chambers might do that to someone. Draco had never sold the secret of the potion he'd invented that could contravene Hogwarts's wards. There had been a time when he'd thought he might have to flee back to the school for sanctuary after the war. Even then, however, he'd always intended to have private means of entrance at his disposal.
"I came to ask you about something," he said softly, drawing his robe back far enough that Plumm could see a potions vial in his hand. She read it for the threat it was and huddled back against the pillows, shutting her mouth.
"G-go on," she squeaked, when she finally realized that Draco was waiting for an answer.
"The vision that you showed Harry Potter," Draco murmured. "A month ago, perhaps." Strange to think that his life could have changed that much in so short a time, but then, he had never thought to be struck by Hurricane Harry, either. "How far in the future was it?"
Plumm took a few noisy breaths. Then she said, "How did you find out about it? What do you want to know?" As Draco had hoped, she took him for someone who desired to nose out more details about the Chosen One's life, not someone who might be concerned in the vision himself.
"We have our ways," Draco drawled, and paused to let her imagine all sorts of visions of secret orders and the like before he closed ruthlessly in and crushed the hesitation. "And there are rewards for you if you tell us."
"Galleons?" Plumm let her eyes flicker back to the potions vial in his hands as if wondering whether it was valuable.
A ridiculous threat, but one that worked on someone as unsophisticated as Plumm, who had not lived through the war or through danger since as Draco and Harry had. Whimpering, she nodded. "The vision was real," she whispered. "But I could not tell exactly how far in the future. Not misty enough to be a decade away, not clear enough to be very close."
"And did you use a spell to make it appear?" Draco flipped his wand into his hand under cover of his sleeve. He wanted to try and destroy Moonstone's trapped magic, yes, but he could not if it turned out the prophecy he believed himself to be under was false.
"No!" Plumm seemed to have caught the wand-movement from the corner of her eye, and thus to be a little more sophisticated than Draco had expected. She put her arms over her face and shook her head furiously. "I wouldn't dare! There are few things I'm afraid of-"
A lie, Draco noted, but at least it was easy to tell when she lied, her voice became so shrill.
"But abusing my Seeing gift is one of them." Plumm sat up and took a deep breath as if trying to recover more dignity, although that was hard when she wouldn't take her hands away from her face. "I wouldn't do that."
After a few long moments of studying her, Draco decided it was true. Then he said, "Why did you so want to tell Potter's fortune that day?" It was hard to prevent himself from saying Harry's first name, but doing so might give the game away and reveal who he was. Besides, Plumm didn't deserve to hear the caressing tone Draco knew he would add to it.
"Because I thought he might-reward me," Plumm said, and her voice sank, which revealed that to be truth.
Draco tapped his wand against his teeth for a moment. Then he said, "You will never reveal the details of this vision to another living soul." He had thought about Obliviating her, but someone who gave genuine visions of his and Harry's future might be useful. Perhaps in a few years they could come back and pressure her into revealing another one.
"I promise," Plumm whispered. "You'll be the last one I'll tell."
"Indeed," Draco said, not believing for one moment that she wouldn't tell someone else who might appear with a bag full of Galleons to offer her, or, for that matter, someone like him who made suitably threatening gestures. He had his own methods of ensuring that she wouldn't say anything he didn't like. "Linguam adstringo."
Plumm gasped and raised her hand to her mouth, feeling around her lips. "What did you do to me?" she whispered at last, and seemed immensely relieved that her tongue had actually moved and she could still speak.
Draco smiled at her, letting his teeth shine out in the darkness. From the way Plumm put her hands back over her face, that was more intimidating than showing the whole of his expression would have been. "Ensured that you cannot speak about the vision to anyone else," he said. "Aided you in keeping your promise. So many people need help these days, I find."
He turned his back, whirling so that his robes surrounded him, and appeared to dissolve into mist in her sight. In reality, he cast a Disillusionment Charm that combined with the ward-passing potion in his bloodstream to make him look that way.
Then he simply waited until her nervous sobbing had quieted, and left the room by slipping silently through the door and shutting it as silently behind him.
Well. Interesting. He was the subject of a prophecy as Harry had been; he was the one whose future, this time, was determined and stretched-out, the way Harry's had been. And such a future! The lover of a man he had hated, the father of children who had until recently been Muggles.
But Draco felt no distress as he stood there. He felt curiosity, anticipation, eagerness to begin with the future-the emotions he had felt when he first saw Harry walk through the door of his flat all those weeks ago, in fact.
He smiled, and went down the stairs.
"I think-I think it says-"
Adam hesitated. There was a breathless pause, or at least one that felt that way to Harry. Paulette and Walter were playing with toys that they tried to make spin through the air with their magic on the far side of the room, but even they looked up. Emery leaned forwards from the letter blocks Harry was having him play with.
"I think it says cat," Adam said.
The last word was in English.
Harry closed his eyes for a moment, so triumphant that he was afraid he might cry if he kept them open, and the children would certainly take that the wrong way. Especially Paulette, who was the most distrustful of all of them. Then he opened them again and smiled at both Adam and the book he was holding up in front of him, which showed a bright picture of a kitten and the simple word beneath, in English letters.
"That's exactly right," he whispered in Parseltongue. "That's what it says."
Adam whooped and hugged him around the neck. Emery promptly hurried forwards and pleaded to be allowed to learn, too, although Harry thought he was probably too young to read yet, period. Walter bounced up and down in place, chortling. Paulette watched warily, but there was a faint, far smile on her face.
Then the door opened, and Draco stepped in.
Adam and Emery paused and looked up at him. Walter shrank towards Paulette, who put an arm around him and stared at Draco. Draco just stared back, raising his eyebrows a little, and a moment later, Paulette's faint smile reappeared and she relaxed, turning back to her toys.
The others seemed to use that as a signal; Harry had realized they paid a lot of attention to Paulette, maybe because she was older than they were or more powerful than they were with wandless magic, or maybe because she'd tried to protect the rest of them when they were captives. At any rate, Emery and Adam relaxed enough to go back to talking, and Walter, who was the shiest of all of them, hid behind the shadowy cat his magic had conjured for a few minutes more.
Draco took a seat on the couch nearby and jerked his head a little at Harry. Harry put Adam on the floor, told him to try reading another word in the book by himself, and walked over to Draco, sitting down on the couch. Draco put one arm around his shoulders and leaned in to murmur into his ear.
"I've been to see Plumm. I'm confident that she'll be telling no one about the vision she had of us."
Harry rolled his eyes. "And I'm sure you reinforced the binding promise with a little Dark magic," he muttered out of the corner of his mouth.
"Harry, you wound me," Draco said, clapping a hand to his heart and bowing his head. "I only explained the advantages of the situation to her, and she agreed."
Harry snorted, but his desire to tease Draco was half-hearted. For one thing, he doubted Draco would have playacted like that a few weeks ago, when they were new to each other. He'd changed a lot for Harry's and the children's sake, and it would be wrong to ask him to change more. "Fine. What happens now?"
Draco stuck his tongue out and lapped gently at the curve of Harry's ear, which made Harry gasp and shiver. He glanced at the children, but they were busy with their books or their toys, Emery looking over Adam's shoulder as if to prove that he could learn the English words by reading them, too. Draco tightened his hand on Harry and squeezed.
"I have a small house in France," he whispered. "Part of the Malfoy property that we stopped claiming some time ago so as to avoid...inconvenient taxes. But the wards still won't let anyone not of the Malfoy line by blood or adoption in without permission. We could go there. It's a safe, isolated place, but one not so far from the normal stream of French wizarding society that the children would have to grow up unsocialized."
Harry cocked his head at him. "And you're perfectly satisfied to raise these children, and raise them as wizards."
"That's what they are," Draco said, staring at him as if he hadn't anticipated Harry having an objection. "They used to be Muggles, but now they're not."
Harry just shook his head again. Really, the bigger issue was the one Draco's words neatly dodged. "Are you willing to have them to have me? Because you know that I won't walk away from them, no matter what the temptation." Draco was free to say that that was more because of Harry's issues than because he loved children, if that was what he liked. It was probably true. Harry remembered the fervent wishing, wondering, and hoping when he was at the Dursleys': hoping that today would be the day someone noticed him and liked him just because of who he was, hoping that it would all turn out to be a horrible lie that his parents had died and they would rescue him. He knew the sensation too well ever to turn away from Adam and the others.
Draco sighed and looked at the children. Paulette met their eyes for a moment, and then turned away to whisper to Walter. The shadowy cat on his shoulder leaped down, stalked over, and glared at the blocks Paulette had been making rotate. They rose into the air and spun around.
Harry started to applaud. It was the first time Walter's magic had done something besides make the cat appear. Walter flinched at the sudden sound, then realized what it was and glanced over at him with a smile.
"Good job, Walter!" Harry called, and Walter came running over to him for a hug. Draco reached out one hand as though to touch the boy's back, and then pulled it down so it rested on his lap again. There was such a complicated expression on his face that Harry realized he had no idea what Draco would say next.
Walter bounded back to Paulette's side of the room, and Draco turned, looked at Harry, and nodded. "I want you," he said. "And it will be...a challenge, raising them. An adventure. Different from what I expected."
"I thought that wasn't what you wanted, though," Harry murmured. "The shop, your job, your life-you could have had children if you wanted them. Are you sure that you can be happy this way? Not content, not sacrificing what you want and putting up with a lot you don't just to have me."
Draco gazed into his face, eyes so clear that the sight of them almost hurt. Harry looked back, and felt the coil of deep emotion down in his gut. Even if he and Draco ended up not staying together, he thought, Ron was wrong to worry. It was worth it to have been with him, to have had this.
Draco said at last, "I didn't imagine myself living this life, no. But I didn't imagine myself having sex with you, or wanting sex from you, or wanting the mental bond we have, either." The mental bonds had begun to fade, as Draco had warned Harry they would unless they both took another dose of the potion, but Harry could still hear the murmur of Draco's thoughts now, soft and drowsy and confirming the truth of his words with whispers of This is right. "Sometimes, what we don't imagine is what takes us by storm and makes us incapable of living without it."
Harry leaned forwards and rested his lips on Draco's, for a moment. He thought he felt the children staring, but he doubted they minded. As long as they had parents, as long as they had parents with a strong bond to take care of them, they would be all right.
And we're going to be all right, too.
Draco tilted his head downwards and reached out with both hands. He had never been here in his life, a small dell among dusty hills that seemed as absolutely blank and undesirable a spot in France as anyone could imagine, but he had memorized his father's instructions on how to gain entrance long ago.
The invisible sweep of a blade came down across both palms. Draco felt the sword taste his blood, and the movements of a guardian nearby, and didn't look up, as Lucius had warned him he must not, although he burned to.
There was more silence, and a brief glimpse of a blue-robed figure bowing to him. Then the sense of oppressive threat faded.
And when Draco raised his head, the landscape had transformed.
There was a fence in front of him, made of wrought silver with heavy scrolls on the gates, but now it stood open, and a faint, fresh breeze blew through it, aiming for Draco's nostrils. Draco smiled and strode forwards, feeling grass softly crush beneath his feet. Not overly-long grass, either, which indicated that the preservation spells left here were doing their work. The family hadn't had the house-elves to spare to tend to a home that no one would live in for long years, but the right kind of magic would keep the gardens in order and the furniture free of dust.
The garden around him still looked thick and green and wild, though, with clipped hedges towering along the path and winding walls of white stone that marked flowerbeds. Draco drew the complex scents of blooming roses into his nostrils and turned to the side, towards one of the huge bushes.
It was covered with dark blue blossoms whose centers looked black. Draco reached up and plucked one, and then turned around and held out the flower to the ones who waited behind him.
Harry walked forwards holding Adam and Emery by the hand, Walter and Paulette crowding behind him. He let go of Adam briefly-and Adam leaned against his leg in response-to accept the flower. Then he took a deep breath of it, and looked at Draco, and smiled.
Draco smiled back, letting the moment linger because he wanted to, and then led them on towards the house.
It had only one floor, but it didn't need to rise high, not when it sprawled in lazy wings of stone across the grounds. Draco could feel the way it had dozed, and the way it was waking up now, stretching and shaking out its magic, yawning as the spells beat their way through corridors and rooms, its doors falling open to continue the yawn.
The stone that made up the building was a mild, mellow grey, varied here and there with red and yellow. Draco's ancestors had cared less about a uniform look than picking what they liked.
Draco waved his hand, and the wards, sensing his desire, made the flight of stairs that led up to the front doors less steep and wider, more like a ramp. It would have to be that way from now on, for children whose grasp of their own steps was sometimes still uncertain.
When he walked into the entrance hall, it was dim for only a moment before shutters swung back and slight burning spells devoured any dust that had escaped in mid-air. Draco watched early morning sunlight pour through onto gleaming butter-yellow stone and portraits of Malfoy ancestors start to life and peer out at him.
None of them spoke yet. Draco found himself grateful for that. The children were likely to take less explaining than Harry was.
He walked further in, and doors opened to sitting rooms, to bedrooms, to studies full of books that the Malfoys had considered less than essential when they went to live in England. And off to one side was a potions lab, clean and wide and polished. Draco would only need to clean out some of the older equipment that most Potions masters barely used anymore.
The children followed behind, so silent that Draco knew the solemnity of the place was affecting them. Only one way to change that. He turned around with a broad smile and his arms spread, and watched them come to a halt, piling up behind each other, their eyes wide and fastened on him.
Inwardly, he grimaced. They were growing more comfortable around him all the time, but still they sometimes thought of him in the same category as the wizards who had hurt them.
But that was in the past, as were Draco's arrangements for placing his assistants with other Potions masters, and gathering up his stock, and placing the shop for sale. He chose to drop his arms and meet all their eyes instead, waiting until last to look into Harry's. "Welcome to Jour Hall," he said. "I hope that you will make this your home."
Paulette was the one who considered him the longest, and then she nodded and said in a dry little voice, "Thank you." Draco was no longer surprised that Plumm's vision had shown her as leading the others in their practice of wandless magic.
Harry translated for Adam and Emery, and then picked up Walter, whose shadow-cat-the size of a panther this time-was stalking beside him again. "Let's go find the bedrooms you want," he said, both in English and in a ripple of Parseltongue that made Draco's body ache.
That was enough to wake them up. They ran away down the corridors with shouts in the direction of more doors that Draco hadn't opened, and Draco watched Harry walking with them, opening those doors with perfect confidence, looking into the rooms and discussing the arrangements of beds and toys and windows and cupboards.
As if he had been here before, or planned to live here for a long time. As if this was his home.
Draco leaned back against the wall and watched them, his lover and his children, making their way further into what would become his home, too-a place that had been the home of his ancestors, that could have been the home of his parents if they had not chosen to reside in England, that would be the home of those he had chosen and those who, if they wanted to and when they reached the right age, he could make Malfoys by adoption.
It was strange, perhaps the strangest thing that had ever happened to him, to acquire a different future at a stroke. Not that he hadn't had one when he had been a Potions master; not that he could not have been content without Harry. That was important to him to clarify in his own mind. He was not dependent on Harry for everything he had received from him. If he had found that material, that kind of contentment or sex or belonging, lacking in his own mind, then he would have gone to find it himself.
But this he had not imagined. This, he had not planned for.
This, he had simply gained.
Draco touched the packet of Galen's notes that rested in his pocket. He watched the children, self-confidence slowly growing back after their traumas, become lost in the thrill of opening more and more rooms, watching everything spread out in front of them, rather than choosing one yet.
He watched Harry glance back at him over his shoulder and wink, solemnly.
Draco nodded back. It was good to be coming home.