Disclaimer: We hereby renounce any unrealistic claims we might potentially have made regarding ownership of all elements of the Harry Potter series – we do not own it!
AN: Always and Forever is an epistolary fanfic written in letters. This chapter is the only one where an actual scene will happen - the rest will be in letters (so far anyway).
PurePeace is the collaborative penname for me (Leximaven) and catrites. All communication by Harry and his peeps will be written by Cat, while I'll be writing for Draco and his minions. We're both very busy people, and this fic is a strictly stress-free zone, so don't be hanging out for regular, frequent posts. For added info check out our author page.
In the meantime, enjoy!
It started with a box.
Draco was sitting in the breakfast room with his mother, discussing their plans for the day (which room to clean and repair, the best way to contact the aurors should they come across anything Dark, who to talk to about freeing up some portion of the Malfoy vaults), when an owl flew through the open window.
There was a package hanging from its leg by a string – a long, thin, rectangular box. The owl settled on the back of the chair opposite Draco, fixing him with an unmoving gaze. It balanced perfectly on one leg, sticking out the other to be freed of its burden.
Ignoring the expectant owl's leg, Draco pulled out his wand. When he was entirely certain the box was free of hexes or curses, he offered the creature a treat with one hand, pulling the strings apart with the other.
The moment its burden had been lifted, the owl took to flight once more – apparently it hadn't been told to expect a reply. Draco looked down at the package.
He recognised Potter's messy scrawl., and for a moment was stunned into stillness. It really shouldn't surprise him, seeing as Potter had just single-handedly kept he and his mother out of Azkaban, but… Harry Potter sent Draco Malfoy a package, without even attaching a stinging hex? There was just something unsettling about that.
He set the box down across the table and stared at it over his coffee, all conversation with his mother forgotten in deference to the thoughts in his head.
After a few minutes, however, Narcissa got tired of being ignored, and cleared her throat delicately to grab her son's attention. When he glanced up, she merely continued to sip at her peppermint tea, avoiding his attempts to catch her eye. (Narcissa's lessons in manners had always been unlike the other society mothers'.)
Draco sighed. "Yes, Mother? Was there something you wanted to say?"
The elegant lady glanced up from her perusal of Mrs Zabini's morning letter, feigning surprise as flawlessly as only she could.
"Hmm…? Oh darling, you have a package! Aren't you going to open it?"
Draco frowned, as if this idea hadn't even occurred to him. "But Mother… It's from Potter."
"How lovely! Draco, why didn't you tell me you two were in contact?"
"Because we're not! He just sent me a box. For no reason."
Narcissa leaned forward minutely, covering Draco's hand with her own. She spoke as if to a young child. "Then perhaps you should open it, darling, and find out what the reason is."
Draco would not scowl at his mother. He wouldn't. But that didn't mean he didn't want to. Instead, he simply gritted his teeth and said, "Potter can wait. I'm busy." His mother sniffed elegantly, returning to her letter and granting him no further attention. But she'd made her point, as clearly as if she had snorted in derision. Draco's mother thought he was mental.
When Draco had finished his chocolate croissant, and was moving on to peaches and yogurt – all while looking anywhere but at Potter's Box – his mother finished the last of her tea and stood. She collected the morning's correspondence and swept towards the door, powder blue day-robe floating on the breeze behind her. Before leaving the room, she offered one last piece of 'advice' (Narcissa's advice was always followed).
"Don't sulk forever Draco. Whatever you may think of him, Harry Potter saved our lives. You may be the Malfoy heir, but you are my son; I raised you to be nothing if not gracious."
And with that proclamation she was gone, her delicate scent lingering in the room.
Sulking… Draco Malfoy did not sulk! Scowling – now that his mother was absent – Draco leant across the table with a sigh, and picked up the package. Pulling against the resistance of the weak sticking charm, he removed the lid, and pushed away the top layer of cotton to reveal – a wand.
Hawthorn, ten inches, unicorn hair; it was his wand. Potter was giving back his wand. The wand that defeated the Dark Lord, and he was giving it back to a known Death Eater.
Draco dropped the box as if burnt, leaning back in his chair and staring at the familiar length of wood. His breakfast sat forgotten.
He'd intended to buy a new wand. Maybe. If he felt the need for one. Or maybe he would just stop using magic; it only seemed to complicate things, after all. If he'd been a squib he would've been useless to You-Know-Who. Granted, he would probably be dead – but didn't that seem to be the better option some days?
Yet now, here was the wand of his childhood, back within reach of his hands. The wand that had helped him perfect those clumsy hexes; the wand that had duelled with Potter countless times; the wand that had repaired the Vanishing cabinet; the wand that had disarmed the greatest wizard of all time; the wand that couldn't kill him. This was the wand that understood Draco.
Long minutes passed, and the memories and fear gradually ebbed away. There was a soft, summer-scented breeze blowing in the window; the room was filled with sunshine and light; the hawthorn wand could change with him again.
Draco reached out with one shaking, elegant hand. His fingers touched the surface of the wood, curling to grasp the smooth handle.
There was no bright flash of light, not like the first time he touched this wand. But it felt familiar, and natural; it felt like it had never left his hand. There was no trace, so far as Draco could tell, of the powerful magic it had channelled mere months ago – Potter's magic.
Draco felt the same tingling pull in his fingertips as he rolled the smooth length of wood between them. It was like his power was being drawn into that hand, into that movement. Without a specific intent, without words being spoken, nothing would happen – the magic just continued to build and flex, pushing at the confines of his will.
But would the hawthorn wand work for him now? Would it serve to channel his magic the way it used to? There was only one way to find out.
He pointed the tip at the package, still sitting on the polished wooden surface. He considered – what was the most appropriate spell, as his first with his wand in months? Something ironic? Incendio, perhaps. Or something simple?
And there it was, the single thread of magic connecting his wand tip to the box, this box that had been connected to Potter, this wand that had been almost a part of him. He tugged the wand up, and up lilted the box; he moved his wand to the left, the box flowed to the left; he moved his wand to the right, and the box followed its every move, swaying as his hand shook, tilting, but always moving, floating, over the table, over his mother's empty place setting, towards the door—
Oh. He was being watched.
Narcissa Malfoy stood in the open doorway, hands pressed against the wood as if to brace herself, eyes on the stick of wood in his hand.
The pause was momentary, almost short enough to be imagined, and then she flowed into the room, bestowing Draco with a smile that reached her eyes.
"How kind of Harry to return your wand."
Before he could respond, she had reached into the still floating package and plucked out a scrap of parchment. She scanned it, face unreadable.
"Draco, dear, tell me before you send a reply; I want to add my own message."
Reply? The moment he realised there was a message, Draco was desperate to read it. How would Potter explain any of the past year's events? Wands changing allegiances; faerie tales come to life; exactly what went on behind the closed doors of he and his mother's trials; why in Merlin's name he was returning the second-most famous wand in the Wizarding World to his school rival…
Draco restrained himself while Narcissa deposited the parchment neatly on the table by his elbow, feigning nonchalance. He waited while she pursed her lips in amusement and left the room once more – then he pounced.
His eyes fell eagerly on the words…
Congratulations on the result of your trial.
Recently, I fixed my own wand, so I figured you'd like to have yours back. So, here it is.
P.S. Tell your mother 'thank you' for what she did for me.
First I must thank you for the return of my hawthorn and unicorn hair wand; it was unnecessary, and a gracious move on your part.
Secondly, what the hell are you up to now? Surely not even you have enough 'good will', stupidity –call it what you will – to simply return the weapon that killed the Dark Lord to a wanted criminal. So name your price.
When did you become so close to my mother? She's been calling you 'dear' all morning. In fact, when have you ever spoken more than two words to one another? No one keeps secrets from me, Potter, not about my family.
With reluctant gratitude, and much irritation,
Always and forever,
P.S. How did you fix your wand? And why, couldn't you just buy another? What about the Elder Wand, not good enough for you? And how in Merlin's name did I become wrapped up in all that?
My dear Mr Potter,
You are most welcome – but you must know, I did what I had to in order to protect my family. I was moved by no concern for your well-being, or the well-being of our society; my motives were entirely selfish.
Despite that, however, I find myself glad you survived this war, and I would like to thank you in return, for all you have done for our world. You are an inspiring young man.
Miss Weasley is a most fortunate young lady. The blessings of my family, the House of Black, on you both.
Oh – and I apologise for my son's rudeness; he will regret it. I hope you do not allow his and Lucius' behaviour to shape your opinion of all Malfoy's – the House of my marriage was not always as it is.
To be continued! Reviews are definitely appreciated, especially since this is a joint effort between Leximaven and I! (yes, it's Cat writing the endnote. weird, right? yeah...) Anyways, PLEASE REVIEW!