Summary: AU The Department of Magical Law Enforcement is checking up on all the former Death Eaters. Harry and Ron are sent to check on the Malfoys. Draco/?
A/N: Well this one shot is done, but maybe someday I'll add add onto this universe. The POVs are all 3rd person limited. Everyone's POV is broken up with page break. There are no repeats.
"What the- It's a bleeding forest," said a voice.
The sound of a heavy iron gate clanking closed.
"Well, maybe he fired the gardener-" suggested another voice.
"Malfoy has a bleeding forest on his property!" the first voice repeated with even more disbelief.
"-and forget to hire another one-" the other voice continued.
The sound of trainer shod feet traveling down dirt trails.
"And it's a bloody strange one!"
He could see their heads bobbing in the distance. Bright red-orange hair and black hair.
"-and then the old one decided to get revenge..."
The red head was taller than the black haired man and they were both wearing auror robes.
"I mean who would want a Pink Puffler Tree on their property? And who? Who in their right mind would put on right next to a Gurgling Moke?"
"Well perhaps he's no longer in his right mind."
The red head snorted. "That's if he ever was."
Pyxis Malfoy, more commonly referred to as Pic, was exactly eleven years two months and eleven and half days old. And he was at least twelve days smarter than that. So he knew the two aurors about to walk under the tree he was sitting in were most likely Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, two of the greatest heroes in recent memory.
But more importantly he saw an opportunity to have some fun.
"Hello," he called down to them. The both jumped and snapped their eyes up, up into the tree he was sitting in.
The red head, Weasley, gaped at him. Potter's eyes widened and he said, "Malfoy?" Although Pic had to wonder who else he'd expect to find at Malfoy Manor.
Pic raised a thin eyebrow at him. "Father said you were dim," Pic informed them coolly. It technically wasn't an insult. He was just stating what his Dad thought. It was important distinction. If he was impolite his mum would make him go and catch a nargle. And that took forever.
The two men below him exchanged a glance. "Definitely Malfoy," Weasley muttered.
"Why are you here? It's private property, you know," Pic asked as he jumped down to a lower branch. "I believe trespassing is against the law." And down to the next branch. "Aren't you supposed to uphold it?" Thud. And he was on the ground again.
"We're here on official business," the Man-Who-Won informed him stiffly.
Pic tiled his head to study them carefully. "Official business? Then why wasn't I expecting you?"
The two men shifted uneasily. "This doesn't concern you," Weasley snapped.
Sometimes Pic was thirteen days smarter. "Somehow I doubt that." He watched as their faces twisted into masks of exasperation. Perfect. "But what do I care?" he asked with a cheerful grin and unworried shrug. "It's not like you'll get anywhere. This forest is a maze."
He waved at them and made as if to disappear off the path. One, two, thr-
"Wait. We need to talk to your father and your grandparents."
Pic swung around to face them again. "Really? In your 'official' capacity?" He crossed his arms and tried for his Grandpa Lu's air of cold disregard.
Weasley was working his jaw and Pic could practically hear his teeth grinding together. Potter sighed and spread his hands out, "Look. We're not going to hurt anyone. We're just here to talk."
"Talk? Talk. That seems likely. Why didn't you owl ahead again?"
Potter sighed. To Pic it sounded like he was running low on patience. Luckily, Pic had plenty. He watched amused as the two men simultaneously decided to confer. They turned as one and started whispering to each other fiercely.
Eventually, they both swiveled their attention back at him. "Look. We just need to discuss some matters with your father and your grandparents," Weasley re-informed him with a forced smile.
"We'd very much appreciate it if you could help us find them."
He smirked at them. "Well, appreciation is nice and all, but I think I'll have to pass."
Weasley's smile fell off his face. Potter sighed again and muttered something that sounded like 'It was worth a go,' before fixed him with a determined look. "We'd be willing to pay you if you'd be kind enough to show us around."
Pic beamed at them. "Well, I do like being helpful. That'll be five galleons please?"
"Five galleons?" Weasley asked incredulously.
Pic donned a thoughtful look. "You're right. That's silly. Ten galleons please." When neither moved as if to pay him, he held out his hand. "I'm afraid we don't do payment plans. It'll have to be all at once."
Potter cleared his throat and shook his head. "Right. That seems...reasonable, I guess." With clear reluctance he reached for his money pouch and carefully counted out ten galleons.
Pic raised an eyebrow at Weasley. "Mr. Weasley. It's ten galleons each."
Pic managed to keep his laughter in with a wide grin as the red haired man swore and yanked out his money pouch.
Three minutes later he was one, two, five, ten, twenty galleons richer. The easiest twenty galleons he'd ever made, besides all the ones he was born with. He bowed at them both deeply. "Welcome to Malfoy Manor! Come I'll show you around."
It was foolish of them to ask for something so vague. Sure showing them around could entail him actually getting them where they wanted to go. Or he could just lead them around in circles and then disappear on them.
Oh, the possibilities.
Circinus Malfoy, though he mostly went by Sir, was three minutes younger than his brother, but ten years quieter. So he heard Mr. Harry Potter and Mr. Ronald Weasley coming long before the red haired man said, "You! You left us alone in this garden gone awry and I want my ten galleons back!"
Sir flicked his gaze from the clouds in the sky to the two men. But then he flicked it back to the clouds and to a tree behind them and then back to the sky. "I most certainly did not." Honestly, he and Pic didn't look at all alike. Pic was much, much uglier. "And if you want ten galleons from me, you should give me fifteen now and when I go traipsing around your property I'll give them back to you then." The additional five would, of course, be a delivery fee.
Mr. Weasley's mouth fell open in a rather unattractive way or so he assumed. A quick glance proved it. Although maybe it only looked so bad when seen from below. He was lying on the grass after all. "Do you take us for fools?" Mr. Potter hissed loudly from behind him (Mum said he could speak to snakes). But that level of noise was completely unnecessary. It was a particularly quiet part of the day.
"What does that have to do with anything?" Man, the bloke couldn't even maintain a simple conversation. First Mr. Weasley accuses him of getting them lost and demands money. Then Mr. Potter asks about being a fool. It was hard to watch clouds with their inane babbling. "Also, I really don't care if you're poor." He winced as a thought occurred to him. "That is unless you're starving. I think would care a bit then." Speaking of food. He was getting hungry.
He saw Mr. Weasley's jaw clenching out of the corner of his eye. "You bastard," he snarled.
"Ron, he's a kid."
"He's a-He's a Malfoy, that's what he is!"
"Yeah, well, he's a small one."
Sir snorted and dismissed their quarrel with a negligent wave. "It does not matter. My parents were married before I was born, and I assume before I was conceived, so I am not a bastard in any sense." Though, he could be a touch mischievous sometimes.
Mr. Weasley just sputtered at him sounding much like a male gullerwelch. He'd have to be careful. There was a pod of them not ten yards away. The females could be quite clingy.
"Look. You said you'd show us around. We paid you," Mr. Potter 'reminded' him stiffly.
Sir furrowed his eyebrows in contemplation. "So you're saying you two paid me to show you around. Is that what you're saying happened?"
Mr. Weasley's face darkened to nearly his hair's color. "That is what happened."
"Sure," Sir chirped agreeably. "Anyway, it seems in my humble opinion that you two have been around. So I don't really see why I should have to give you back your money- Not that I took it. It seems you got exactly what you paid for."
Mr. Weasley went back to imitating a gullerwelch. "Who would pay ten galleons each to get lost?"
Sir shrugged and slowly got to his feet. "Perhaps two fools," he suggested as he dusted himself off. "Well, as fun as this is I'm going to head back to the Manor for lunch. You're welcome to follow me."
"We're not giving you another knut," Potter informed him angrily.
Sir chuckled at him. They sure weren't making much sense. "I wouldn't expect you to." An idea occurred to him. "You haven't been exposed to the pollen of the Etruscan Billerwrat Bush, have you?" The pollen made people act daft and irrational. Although from what his dad told him, the two men in front of him were inclined to act that way regardless.
Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley just looked at him blankly.
Sir nodded at them solemnly. "I'll take that as a maybe." And then he turned and sprinted away from them down the path. He'd said they could follow him, but he by no means felt obligated to make it an easy task.
Besides he was sure they'd find their way eventually. His mum always said that no one remained lost forever.
Narcissa Malfoy was surprised when she stumbled upon Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley on her afternoon walk, but that didn't mean that she was going to let them know that. "Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley, I didn't realize you were expected?" Of course, that was just polite way of asking why they were covered in dirt and leaves and trudging down one of the many paths that ran through the forest that surrounded her home.
The younger men exchanged a an uncomfortable look. It reminded her yet again that the savior of the world and her family was her son's age. She hoped her grandchildren's childhoods would remain untouched by war and evil people and extremist views. Her lips curved into a rueful smile. Though they were a touch fanatical about the Quibbler.
"Mrs. Malfoy," Potter said and she almost jumped. Oh, dear. She'd been ignoring them. That wasn't very polite of her at all.
"Yes?" she inquired in the vaguely attentive, but very distant manner she'd developed over a lifetime of being politely interested.
"We're here to ascertain that you, your husband and your son a no longer practicing dark arts or supporting any fanatical pureblood campaigns."
Narcissa managed to restrain a very improper snort. More likely they were there to catch them in the act. She did laugh then. Like her daughter-in-law would ever let them do anything remotely dishonest, much less evil.
Her laughter, though genuine, seemed to alarm them as their eyes widened in a most amusing way. "Um, so you're alright with that?" Weasley asked her warily.
She just nodded as she finished laughing. "Of course, we've nothing to hide. Why didn't you send an owl? An elf would have been waiting for you at the gate." They became very interested in their shoes. They looked just like Pic and Sir had when she'd found them covered in pudding that one time. "Oh, so you meant to surprise us. But then I suppose the forest surprised you." She nodded to herself. They seemed like they'd learned their lesson. "Well, that's in the past now. Shall we go to the Manor for some tea?"
"That sounds great, Mrs. Malfoy," Potter said as Weasley mumbled, "Sounds grand."
The followed her silently and she took a moment to once again appreciate the odd beauty of the forest around her. Back before the Dark Lor- Voldemort rose again she would never enjoyed the scenery around her. It certainly wouldn't have been surrounding her house. But as her daughter-in-law was always saying: people change.
The front doors of the Manor were wide open to let the sweet summer air in and she was quick to lead them through the first floor and up to the second to her favorite sitting room. Wilda had already set the table for tea and stood off to the side in anticipation of their arrival.
"The tea has been set for four. Kilgar be fetching Master Lucius now. Can I be further serving the Mistress Narcissa?"
Narcissa directed her guests to sit down while she tilted her head in consideration. Finally she shook her head and sat down. "No. I don't think so, Wilda, as long as you remember to bring your newest granddaughter to tea tomorrow."
Wilda's ever present smile grew. "Of course, I be remembering!"
Narcissa nodded. "Thank you, Wilda, that will be all." And the elf disapparated.
"You talk to your house elves?" Weasley asked her incredulously as he eyed the complex tea setting in front of him.
Narcissa raised an eyebrow at him. She was sure his mother, a very distant cousin of hers, had taught him some tact. "Well, admittedly, I may not have always been kindly to Wilda and her kind, but I have found they are very forgiving."
He didn't say anything, but the flush crawling up his neck told her all she needed to know.
"Cissy, Kilgar told me we have-Oh. Harry Potter, and a Weasley," as he strolled into the room. She would have scolded him for being rude, but she was feeling more than a little irritated herself.
Potter and Weasley shifted uncomfortably as he took a seat next to his wife and he didn't bother trying to hide his satisfied grin. Just because he was no longer likely to hex them on sight, didn't mean that he shouldn't be respected in his own home.
He thanked his wife when she poured him some tea and watched as their two 'guests' squirmed in their seats. "So to what do we own the pleasure of your company?" he asked them only half sarcastically. He and his family had become reclusive and not many dared or cared to visit them. Even the presence of two of his former enemies wasn't entirely unwelcome. They were already proving to be amusing in any case.
"We're hear to ascertain-" Weasley started in a clearly practiced manner, but his wife cut him off.
"They are here to see if we've fallen back into bad habits," his lovely wife informed him as she sipped her tea. Her eyes boiled with irritation and indignation.
He raised both his eyebrows at the men before him. "Oh, I see. Well, we haven't," he assured them with a cold smile before snatching up a biscuit: oatmeal, his favorite. "You know the saying. Fool me once, shame on you," good biscuit Wilda really had outdone herself, "Fool me twice, shame on me," the tea was rather nice too, "Fool me thrice and, well, I think that would just make me a fool."
Weasley choked on the biscuit he'd been nibbling at. Who knew a muggle saying could be so useful?
Potter cleared his throat for no apparent reason. He hadn't eaten anything at all. "Well, be that as it may, we have to be certain. We going to have ask you some question and we kindly ask that you would be under the influence of veritaserum."
Lucius drained his tea and sat the cup back down. "Are you sure you're up to that?" he asked concernedly.
Potter just blinked in confusion.
He leaned toward the young Aurors the picture of earnestness. "It's just. My wife and I don't especially appreciate unexpected guests. Who knows what we might say under the influence of a substance such as veritaserum?"
Weasley laughed nervously. "Uh, well, I'm sure we'll be fine..."
Potter even smirked at him. "After all, it can't be any worse than the times you've tried to kill us." Lucius just laughed. How horribly blunt and tactless the boy was. There was no way to change the past after all. At least no way he was willing to entertain (for long).
He watched his wife's lips press together in a firm line, but he knew she was at least a little amused. He supposed they had lightened up some over the years.
Wordlessly each Auror produced a small vial for the two of them to drink.
Lucius uncorked his and raised it in a toast. "To the truth."
Cissy mirrored his motion. "May it set us free," she said crisply with a stern glare at the two boys.
The serum was as fast acting as it was nasty. The fuzzy feeling wasn't unpleasant, but it certainly wasn't comfortable.
Potter sighed. "Alright. Have either of you done anything illegal in the last fifteen years?"
"No," but of course the serum didn't allow him to stop there, "I may have wanted too, but I found it impossible in the immediate years after the war because of your department's heavy scrutiny. Then my son's wife and their children disinclined me from furthering my pursuits in the dark arts."
"Our daughter, Draco's wife, is very opposed to the Dark Arts," Cissy added. "She's very sweet, but she can be quite intimidating when she wants to be and it's impossible to sneak something by her. She's frighteningly perceptive."
"So you have no evil plans or intentions for the future and nothing dangerous hidden in your home?" Weasley asked them levelly.
"Not like you're thinking. Just some mostly harmless pranks on little boys who think they can prank their Grandpa Lu and get away with it," he informed them shortly.
"Mrs. Malfoy," Potter prompted his wife.
"No, but I don't plan on helping you find Draco either. A few more hours in the forest should teach you some manners."
Weasley's mouth dropped open, but Potter pushed on. "Alright, last question. Is Draco involved in any of the things previously mentioned."
"Absolutely not, Draco is much too busy with other things these days," he said.
"He writes for the Quibbler you know. Caught a Rattling Gurglefly just the other day," Cissy continued.
"Or sometimes he's just playing quidditch with the boys."
Cissy chuckled. "Or tea with Dera. You should have seen them the other day. It was just darling."
Potter and Weasley looked equally dazed.
He raised an eyebrow at them. "Are you quite finished now? We were having a pleasant day until you dropped in on us."
"We still need to speak with Draco," Potter told him.
"You want to see Daddy?"
They all turned to find his youngest grandchild, Pondera, peeking in at them. She favored her mother strongly all except for her eyes.
"Dera dear this is-"
"Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley!" the six year old exclaimed excitedly. Lucius tried not grimace. Sure they were technically heroes, but still.
Cissy just nodded. "Yes. They need to find your father. Could you take them to him?"
The girl nodded, visibly vibrating with enthusiasm. She beckoned the younger men to follow her and they were off.
He slid his wife a sidelong look. "I thought you weren't going to help them find Draco?"
"Hmm? Did I? I must be getting old." She poured herself more tea.
He chuckled. Dera was impossibly cute, but she could be very trying.
Harry Potter was very confused. Malfoy had a crazy forest around his house. His son was a monster (no surprise there), his parents were exceedingly civil and his daughter...
His daughter was alarmingly familiar. The way she skipped down the path with her long, curly blond hair streaming behind her. The way she hummed.
He could tell Ron noticed this too, but neither of them could figure out who her mother was.
"So is Dera your full name or is it short for something?" he asked the girl bouncing ahead of them.
She stopped skipping and started walking backwards so she could face them.
"Dera is my full first name. It isn't short for Pondera."
"Do people often make that mistake?" Something about the girls bright smile was making him nervous.
She shook her head. "I was lying of course!"
"Of course?" Surely she wasn't-
She giggled. "I never lie and that's a lie."
So she was.
"So your name is short for Pondera and you never tell the truth?" Hopefully he'd misunderstood.
"Nope!" she said while nodding.
Ron massaged his temples like they hurt. Harry could feel a headache coming on himself.
"Why do you go around lying for no reason?" Ron asked her carefully.
She hopped backwards over a tree root before she asked, "Why do you go around telling the truth for no reason?"
Well, that was actually kind of a good question. Maybe.
On awkward silence fell between them and Harry debated over whether he preferred it to the awkward conversation they'd been 'enjoying.' Eventually Ron decided the matter for him by asking, "So what's your brother's name. He gave us a bit of trouble you know."
"Brother? I have one brother. I don't have two, and I'm still lying to you."
He churned her words through his brain. "You have two brothers? We only saw one."
She laughed. "Well, my brothers aren't twins, you know? Nobody has any trouble telling them apart. I understand that because they are completely the same and none of that is true."
Twins. So maybe the second time they'd run into that boy, they'd actually ran into his brother. His head hurt.
"Twins? Two little Malfoy brats!" Ron sputtered in a horror Harry felt all too keenly himself.
Dera's face darkened and she suddenly looked much more like her father. "That was a very nice thing to say."
Ron gave her a nervous smile. "Uh...sorry."
The girl glared for a second longer, but then her face brightened. "Oh, I suppose it isn't alright," she said in a tone that reminded him of her brother, one of them, promising to show them around. Also the whole saying what she didn't mean made it hard to tell if she angry or not.
She turned away from them and started to sing a song about some creature called a nargle.
Nargle. Where had heard that before? He felt that he should know.
"Bloody hell," Ron said abruptly.
Harry snapped his attention to him. "What?"
Ron just scowled towards their guide. "She bleeding disappeared."
Harry blinked. Correction: Ron was scowling towards where the small girl had been.
Though she'd probably say she was there.
He closed his eyes and tried to tamp down his frustration. They were supposed to be done hours ago. He should have known nothing concerning Malfoy would be simple. He had expected it to be passably sane though.
"Harry, I can't believe I'm even thinking this, but I actually want to see Malfoy."
Harry nodded. Draco Malfoy was a known quantity. He would sneer and smirk and be a spineless bastard. Harry looked at the forest around him worriedly. And hopeful the spiteful blond would be as sane as he ever was.
Draco Malfoy supposed he should feel more pity for the two lost Gryffindors he was tailing as they searched his property for him. But he was never very inclined to pity anyone and particularly not his enemies. Even if they weren't actually enemies anymore.
It had been about three hours since Pic and Sir had persuaded Dera to abandon them and they were going nowhere real slow. A quick glance at his watch told him it was a little after four.
He might have left them wandering for another hour, but he knew his wife would want to see them so he decided they had had enough.
"Hey, Potter, Weasley. Lovely day for a stroll, isn't it?"
They both jumped.
"Malfoy!" the said in unison as swiveled to face him.
"Observant as ever I see," he drawled at the two Gryffindors.
Weasley, predictably, glared at him while Potter said, "We've been looking for you."
Draco affected surprise. "Oh! That's what you've been doing! If I had known, perhaps I would have greeted you sooner. I thought you were just sightseeing."
"You thought no such thing Malfoy!" Weasley hissed at him. Potter frowned clearly torn between wanting to calm down his friend and joining him.
Draco shrugged. "You may be right. So how can I help you?"
Potter sighed. "Don't you know?"
Draco nodded. "I suppose I do. Can you interrogate me and walk at the same time?"
Potter cast him a wary look. "Well, sure we could. Any particular reason you want to?"
"Yes," Draco said simply. "I hear you have some veritaserum?" he prompted them.
"Uh, yeah," Weasley said slowly as he produced a small vial and handed it the blond.
Draco uncorked and quickly drained it. Silently, he tossed it back to the red head before turning and leading the two Aurors back the way they had come. He could actually hear how reluctantly their feet followed him.
"So have you gone mental?" Weasley blurted. Draco was almost certain that wasn't one of the questions they'd been sent to ask.
"Not to the best of my knowledge. Although, I suspect I wouldn't know if I was truly mad," he mused.
Someone cleared their throat and Potter said, "What he meant to ask was if you've involved in any illegal activities."
Draco chuckled. "I don't think that's what he meant to ask, but I haven't been doing anything illegal. If I am, I don't know it's illegal. I hear you get in less trouble if you don't know."
"Well in most cases," Potter admitted. "So just to be clear you're no longer practicing the dark arts or supporting blood purist campaigns for supremacy."
"No. I'd even let my children marry muggleborns if they really wanted to." Fanatical blood purity hadn't really gotten him or his family anything after all.
And there was silence.
"Uh, well, could you show us to the gate?" Potter eventually asked. It was clear that a day spent being lost had caught up with him.
Draco stopped and turned to face the two weary Aurors. "I'm afraid not Potter."
Weasley's eyes widened. "I knew it. I knew it. He's going to kill us! It was all a trap!"
"I also afraid that is not the reason you can't leave," Draco told him with a frown. "It's my understanding that my wife and you two were friends during school. She would be upset if you saw everyone on the property except her."
"Your wife?" Weasley sputtered.
Draco raised an eyebrow at him. "Well you've met some of my children. Are you really that surprised I have a wife?"
"Who's your wife?" Potter asked him suspiciously.
"Oh that would be me, Harry. I'm so glad you and Ron could drop by."
Luna blinked. Harry could be so silly sometimes. "Well I have not seen either of you for quite sometime."
"No, not that. Why did you marry Malfoy?"
Luna laughed. "Harry, I married Draco because I love him." There was no other reason to go around marrying people in her opinion.
"But-but how?" Ron asked alarmed, though what he was alarmed about she could not discern. He was always rather excitable.
"Well the usual way. It was small ceremony. Our parents were there. And a ministry official."
"Not that! How could you love him?"
Luna blinked. She'd forgotten how weird her friends could be. "How could I not? Would you like some tea?"
Harry rubbed his head. "Well Luna actually-"
"It's been so long since we've seen each other after all."
"Well, uh, but," Ron stuttered.
"There always time for friends. Yes?"
Harry sighed. Ron moaned. Draco was smirking for some reason.
Luna nodded to herself. "Yes. Rinka!"
Rinka pop into view with her customary grace. "Yes Mistress Luna Ma'am!"
"Light tea for four, please. In the Southeast Meadow."
"Yes, right away, Mistress Luna!"
"You have house elves," Harry said, "I thought you agreed with Hermione."
"I assure you they're treated quite well. We offered to free them, but none of them wanted to leave. As it is we managed to get them to take breaks."
"Took bleeding forever it did. Like talking to a sodding wall," Draco muttered clearly remembering the months it had taken to even convince even one of the elves to just relax. Her silly Draco. He still got annoyed so easily.
"Enough on that I think." It wouldn't do for Draco to get all worked up. "The meadow is just down this path. Harry, Ron, how have your days been? I hear Pic showed you around some. I would have thought you would have asked him to take you directly to the Manor."
Her inquiry was met with silence so Luna turned at the entrance to the meadow to see Ron had let his mouth fall open while Harry looked like he just swallowed a harlanuckle berry. She'd heard they tasted most foul.
Her friends were even stranger than she remembered. "Well, did you have a good day? The grounds are especially lovely this time of year."
"Your son charged us ten galleons each to show us the bloody hell around. He got us lost," Ron informed her angrily.
"Oh, dear. I'm so sorry. Pic really isn't the best tour guide. You should have asked Sir. Although a tour from him would have been worth at least twice as much as you paid."
Ron started sputtering. Which she figured was understandable. He had really missed out. Harry sighed. Maybe she would get Sir to give them a tour later.
It wouldn't do to have them mope.