Disclaimer: The Harry Potter Universe belongs to JKR and anyone she legally lets use them. Not me.
A/N: I know, I'm an awful person for not updating. Real life took over and I'm still drowning. This chapter has another like 2000 words in it, but I won't get that done until after next week. However, because I figured half a chapter is better than none, I'm revealing this and hoping you all still love me :] Thank you for the amazing reviews guys, it makes me more determined to find the time to write, because I know people are still reading :] Enjoy!
Harry stepped out of the Floo into the Ministry of Magic, the joy of finally leaving this blasted job flooding him. Even this joy, however, wasn't enough to overcome the ache in his chest at the thought of Draco and Severus learning the whole truth of the past. It wasn't going to matter, really, they weren't going to change their treatment or perception of him. It was just going to give them more ammunition against him. Why did he have to do the noble thing and give them those damn memories?
This would have been a good time to employ those Slytherin characteristics, Potter. Good job on a failure to do so once again.
Harry clenched his fists and took a deep breath before conjuring boxes to pack his meager office belongings into. Mindless tasks would soothe his nerves. Just as he had begun his packing, however, he heard footsteps approach his doorway and a knock sound against the wood.
"Ah, Auror Potter," came the deep voice of Kingsley Shacklebolt.
Spinning around, Harry clenched his teeth, "Yes, Auror Shacklebolt?"
"The Minister would like to see you."
"What does our esteemed Minister want now?" Harry hissed, placing the last photo frame from his desk into the box and walking towards the door.
The tall man shrugged, "I really have no idea."
"I'm technically no longer employed in this department yet."
"I think your paperwork hasn't gone through just yet."
Harry pursed his lips in anger, now would not be a good time to lose his temper. "I see. Yet another manipulation, Kingsley?"
Kingsley gave Harry a sad smile, "I really don't know what's going on Harry. I think it's something to do with Vela and the curse she put on you."
Shoulders slumping, Harry nodded, "I know. I'm just…frustrated." Harry frowned, "Malfoy already told us that the curse can't be removed unless Vela dies."
Kingsley shrugged, really having no idea what this meeting was all about.
Of course the universe seemed to be against Harry, because as he walked into the Minister's office, he nearly froze in the doorway when he saw who was standing in the office with the Minister.
"Ah, Auror Potter, come in, come in," the Minister said, his oily voice grating at Harry's nerves.
The Minister gave Harry a supremely bureaucratic smile and gestured for Kingsley and Harry to take a seat. Harry lowed himself into one of the chairs, staring at Aidan out of the corner of his eye.
"Now, I know that Healer Malfoy claims that the curse that Vela has placed on you can only be removed with her death. But, knowing his reputation—"
Having heard enough of this before, Harry allowed himself to interrupt, "Begging your pardon, sir, but Healer Malfoy is the foremost expert in the healing of the Dark Arts. Knowing his reputation just convinces me more that what he says is true."
The Minister's political smile got smaller, and his eyes narrowed. "Well, it wouldn't hurt, would it, to have you checked over by a curse breaker?"
Harry clenched his teeth. "Really Minister, I don't particularly care, I am no longer in your employ—"
"Ah, well, Auror Potter, your paperwork hasn't gone through just yet, so you shall obey these orders."
"And these will be my last set of orders, sir, correct?" Harry said, his voice icy.
"Yes," the Minister replied, after a moment's hesitance. This time Harry had two witnesses; the Minister couldn't go back on his word.
"Fine. And who shall be looking me over then?" Harry said, turning to face Aidan with an expectant look on his face. It took a surprising amount of effort to force himself to treat the other man as an unknown quantity.
"Yes, well, Gringotts has sent over one of their best. Aidan McCarthy, this is Auror Harry Potter, Auror Potter, curse breaker Aidan McCarthy."
Aidan gave Harry an easygoing smile and held out his hand, "It's a pleasure to meet you Auror Potter. I've heard wonderful things about you. You're friends with my cousin Blaise, correct?"
Harry smiled, shaking Aidan's hand, employing every trick in the Auror handbook to not give away the extreme awkwardness the situation was causing him. "Yes. Though, he's never mentioned you. I'll have to berate him about that."
Aidan laughed and nodded, "Ah, I see how it is. I'm going to have to ask Blaise if he's ashamed of me now!"
Harry smiled again, subconsciously relaxing under Aidan's familiar gaze and humor. The second he felt himself relax though, Harry tensed again. He couldn't let himself act casually around this man, even though he knew more about him than he could let on.
This was going to get really insane, really fast.
Draco stared at the rack of memories as Severus slowly replaced Potter's first memories. A sense of panic descended on him, and without a second though, Draco attacked the rack, suddenly pouring all the memories into the Pensieve.
"Draco! What are you doing!" Severus exclaimed, reaching out to stop Draco. To his surprise, and frustration, Draco's wild magic whipped him back and stuck him against the wall.
"I have to know!" And Draco plunged himself into the full Pensieve.
"Fuck." Severus dropped his head back against the wall, willing the sticking charm to loosen. Who knew what sort of things were in those memories, what type of reaction Draco was going to have to the memories.
Draco entered the memories, his panicked mind only processing the need to see the memories. As if in double speed, the memories ran by, laughter, nightmares, comfort, kisses, soft caresses, loving words in ears, flying, a tumble in the grass…
Draco pulled himself out of the memories, gasping for breath, as Severus finally removed himself from the wall.
"Draco!" Severus rushed over, running his hands over Draco's body to check for any potential adverse effects from the forceful plunge into the Pensieve. "You idiot, what were you thinking?"
Draco turned his tear stained face towards his lover, "Do you realize what I lost when I lost those memories?"
The older man froze, his heart icing over in pain and fear. "Draco, it is clear that you lost a love—"
"No, don't be stupid Severus. I love you. I don't have feelings for Potter. That hasn't changed because of a couple of memories."
"I lost myself."
Severus furrowed his eyebrows, breathing a little easier now that it seemed that the memories hadn't changed Draco's emotions. "Yourself?"
A broken sob escaped Draco's mouth, "That summer…I grew up Severus! All these stupid, immature things I keep doing? I matured and then you two took those memories away. And all I was left with was this childish attitude!"
"Who knows how much better I could have been?"
"Oh Draco." Severus enveloped his young lover in his arms."Ssh, you have not lost anything that cannot be gained once more."
The two men stayed on the kitchen floor, embraced, for a while before Draco whispered, "It was like watching someone else's life."
Tightening his embrace, Severus murmured against the blonde hair, "How so?"
"I was so…tender. So open. I've never felt comfortable enough to be like that. Unless we're in the dark and in our bedroom. But there I was, in the hospital wing, sleeping with Potter! Where anyone could see us! I was teasing him in public!"
Severus's mind was awhirl with the information he'd just been given. Draco and he had two options at this point. They could take the memories and forget that anything had ever happened. Or…
"Do you want to recapture that?"
"What?" Draco snapped his head up, staring at the other Slytherin in disbelief. "What do you mean?"
Severus shifted uncomfortably, "Well, you did say that it seems that Potter is interested in both of us. Perhaps, if you become friendlier with him, his actions towards you may invoke the same feelings that had developed between the two of you in the past."
Draco continued to stare at his lover, his mind a blank field, "I don't understand."
Severus tensed, what a fool I am, "Never mind—"
"No!" Draco clasped his lover's hands, pressing his weight against him to hold him in place. "Please Severus. Explain. I'm trying to understand. Are you suggesting I try and…fall in love with Potter again?"
Severus shrugged, "Perhaps the reason you are not as...openly tender in our relationship is because I am a Slytherin and do not expect it. But as a Gryffindor, I can see how he would. I thought about what you had said yesterday, and maybe, if Potter would like to…join us, I would not be completely averse to the idea."
Draco's eyes widened.
Severus pursed his lips, "Of course, I may change my mind if I find that Potter is even more irritating as I become friendlier with him."
Draco smiled and leaned in to kiss Severus tenderly. "I don't know Severus. I need to think about this."
Severus nodded. Pausing a moment before rising he said, "We should also consider…we do live with Potter. We know that he is seeing someone else, and we also know he did love you once. As much as he might irritate me right now, I do not wish to cause him to hope and then crush him miserably."
Draco nodded, "I agree. True, we may not get along right now. But if we do pursue him, the purpose is to get along with him. And as much as I have a childish hate for him, his memories seem to make it seem like there's more to him than we understand."
"Then we bother to understand."
Both Slytherins flushed guiltily.
Severus smirked, "So, if we do decide to pursue Potter, we do so in an extremely Slytherin manner?"
Draco laughed and wrapped his arms around Severus' neck, "Of course, dear."
That, of course, earned him a smack on his backside.
Harry collapsed in the chair in his office, burying his face in his hands.
The first man I truly loved is the lover of the second man I had intense feelings for, who happens to be my husband, but in legality only. My…boyfriend is now the curse breaker in charge of making sure my diagnosis is correct. However, he has no idea who I am, since I've been dating him in disguise.
Could my life get more complicated?
Harry really needed to learn to not ask such questions.
Aidan knocked on the door, poking his head in. "Auror Potter?"
Harry looked up and smiled, "Oh, come in. Please, call me Harry. Sorry, I was just packing so my office is a bit of a mess."
"No worries!" Aidan laughed, "And, please, call me Aidan."
"Of course, Aidan. Now, are you going to just wave your wand around me or..." Harry trailed off. "I really have no idea what's going to happen," Harry blushed.
Aidan chuckled, "Well, I'm going to run a basic diagnostic first, that's going to show all the various spells that you are currently under. So, anything you would like to tell me, before I reveal all?"
Shaking his head with a small smile, Harry said, "No, go ahead."
Aidan waved his wand in a slightly complex manner, muttering something that sounded like Latin and then lights began to flicker out from Harry's body.
"Um…okay," Harry said, a little startled by the lights shooting out from his body.
Aidan laughed and waved his wand again, which rearranged the lights. "You have a strange combination of curses that have been put on you. None of these seem to be long term except this one," Aidan pointed to light of deep purple that had an ethereal glow to it. Frowning, Aidan waved his wand to circle the purple light and muttered in Latin once more. The purple light pulsed brightly before returning to its near constant glow once more.
Harry took in Aidan's frowning face, before asking, "Aidan? Is something wrong?"
The other man shook his head, a contemplative look on his face, "It's just odd, that's all. Like Healer Malfoy said, the life of the curse is tied to Vela's life force. Like..well, like a Muggle battery." Aidan paused, "Uh, do you know what that is?"
Harry nodded, interested despite himself.
"So, basically, Vela is serving as the battery for the curse. She provides the power for the curse to remain intact."
"So, then, it can't be removed unless she dies."
"That's the problem," Aidan exclaimed, "It seems like it can. But, how, that's what I can't seem to figure out just yet."
"It can?" Harry whispered in surprise. It didn't really matter, he supposed, since Vela seemed to need to be near him for the curse to activate. Still, it would be nice to not have to worry about it.
"Yes. What really worries me is that since it seems like it can be removed, it also means it can be transferred."
"Transferred?" Harry exclaimed, an ominous feeling creeping up inside him.
Aidan nodded apologetically, "If she is able to contact someone else, she may be able to transfer the curse's ownership to them. Now, she may not even realize that she can do that, but…"
"But it's possible," Harry sighed, rubbing his forehead frustratingly.
Aidan nodded, "But, I'm going to try and see if there's a way to remove it. I'll need to consult some books, but we're going to try, so don't worry about it just yet."
That is not going to happen, sadly. But Harry gave the other man a small smile and said, "Thank you."
"No problem, it's my job after all. Anyway, I'll write to you when I find something, if that's okay?" Aidan said, walking towards the door.
"Sure, that's fine," Harry said, his mind half occupied with the consequences of the curse.
"By the way, Harry, have we met before? I know that's a strange question, but I feel like I've met you before and I just don't remember it," Aidan asked, just as he was about to walk out the door.
Harry froze, before forcing himself to smile and laugh off Aidan's comment, "No, not that I know of. This is the first time I've met you. To my knowledge at least."
Aidan shrugged, "Ah, okay. Maybe I'm just going insane. My partner always says I am."
"Bill Weasley, he's my partner at Gringotts."
"Oh, wow, small world."
"Yes, he talks about you too. We clearly should have met earlier," Aidan said, grinning.
Harry laughed, "We do have quite a few mutual friends."
Nodding, Aidan said, "That we do indeed."
A tight smile on his face, Harry wondered what he had gotten himself into.