AN: So if you readers didn't get the update, I sort of jacked the story up a bit with some inconsistencies that a fan kindly pointed out, I for some reason did not have a few chapters on my own personal copy of this story so when I began writing this again after a while, I just took off from where I had not even remembering I had skipped stuff. Anyway I was able to go back and kind of fix it all, (Just a few little adjustments, if you want to go back and read the changes feel free) but I just wanted to apologize for my error, if I was a reader I would be a bit frustrated, but if you all can be patient with me I think I can keep at this story until it's finished : )
Harry had just brought a tray of breakfast up for Draco, when the floo sounded that someone was coming through. Draco paused with his fork still on the plate and waited expectantly. He was not disappointed as soon Granger was popping in with a nervous grin at Harry she asked, "Harry do you think you could go downstairs for a bit, I need to talk to Draco in private."
Harry frowned but before he could decided how to respond Draco said, "Granger you should know he would hear anything you say from downstairs, so you might as well just talk."
Granger sighed and said, "Alright I was hoping to at least give you the idea of privacy, but frankly this is going to concern Harry as well. Remember not too long before you were attacked by Seamus, how a group of men kidnapped Pansy and managed to get her to reveal your location?"
Harry had almost forgotten about that, and he wasn't sure where this was coming from but Draco seemed to because he asked, "Let me guess, the ministry saw that the papers were trying to paint me as a victim so they decided to pull those files to show that I was not an innocent, are there photos?"
Hermione shook her head and said, "Just descriptions, but I was able to get a hold of the file before the minster got it, and now this might actually play into our hands."
Draco frowned, now seeming almost as confused as Harry who asked, "What do you mean, how will three dead bodies in Draco's home play into our hands?"
Hermione smirked and said, "Besides the fact that those men attacked Pansy and Draco because they knew that neither were allowed their wands and they thought they wouldn't be able to defend themselves, is the fact that I dug a bit deeper and was able to locate some information on the case, it turns out that those men were actually in the Ministers pocket, there were transfers from the ministers bank records to all three of their accounts right before they attacked pansy and again before they attacked Draco. I was able to send the copies of all that to the reporter Draco spoke with the other day before the Minister could send the accounts of the dead bodies to the daily prophet."
Draco took a deep breath and asked, "What exactly where in those accounts?"
Hermione pulled out a copy of a file from her robe pocket and said, "After it said that you showed clear signs of self defense… It goes on to explain from two witnesses of the body, how you slashed each of them with a knife in self defense, accept there is no record of a knife… Harry, this says you and Ron gave the eyewitness accounts, I've never known you to inspect a crime scene and not get the weapon, whether it is a wand or a knife, from the perpetrator, if the Minister sends this out people might ask questions. Especially since the news feed said that you were helping Draco with this case against the ministry. Also, it looks like they haven't taken this to trial yet, this could be bad, especially since we didn't bring this up when we were talking to that reporter, what if people think we are just trying to cover up the truth. I'm not sure how we can work this all out. Draco do you still have the knife?"
Draco stared at his hands, as he said, "I didn't use a knife."
Hermione frowned and looked down at her copy of the events then said, "But it says the men had slashes on their bodies, three fatal wounds that looked to be done by a knife, you weren't using your wand because the ministry had already banned your from using it by then so how else could you have done this without a knife?"
Draco clenched and unclenched his shaking hands and Harry suddenly realized why Draco was so upset again, and he said, "You turned into your animagus form, didn't you? I thought you said you only turned into it that one time!"
Draco flinched and said, "I only meant to that one time, I only wanted to that first time, since then... I've changed twice under dire circumstances. If the ministry finds out they could send me back to Azkaban, I never registered, not even when I finally came of age."
Hermione frowned and said, "Alright, I think I might have a plan, although I wish you would have told me this earlier, anyway we might be able to use this to our advantage. You obviously have been an animagus since before you were incarcerated, corrected?"
Draco nodded and Hermione began to passé back and forth as she said, "So you could have turned into your other form at any point and probably could have escaped from Azkaban, which goes to show that you are an upstanding citizen especially since anyone else would have escaped as soon as they suspected they might die in there without food or water."
Draco shock his head and said, "My animagus form is to big to fit between the bars and besides when they first threw my cell mates in with me, then never opened the cell door, I couldn't have escaped even if I wanted to."
Hermione frowned but then added, "Still you didn't try and escape or harm your cell mates when the stole your food, and considering how you put down three full grown, hearty and healthy wizards in your home after they had beat you, well we can spin it to where it seems like that. Now I'm just curious, you said you have turned into your animagus form twice since the initial transition, when was the other time?"
Draco glared at his hand sand said, "It was during the war, before I was of age, it shouldn't matter."
Hermione frowned and said, "But all of this matters Draco, you have to understand we are trying to get justice for you and all of the Slytherin, if the minister makes you look like a law breaking liar then this will all go up in smoke and nothing will change."
Draco pulled his legs up and hid his head in them, wrapping his arms around himself like that could protect him, "When I failed to kill Dumbledore the Dark Lord was not pleased, he was going to kill me, but then Theodore Nott's father, Nott Senior, convinced him that it would be a waste to just end me, why do that when he could send a message to all the other death eaters of what became of failures. He and a few others beat me for days, but I took it, I bore through it, even when they used curses that even my father would shy away from. Eventually they got bored with me, and just left me in the dungeons, they said if I was still alive the next morning perhaps my Godfather would give me a healing potion. I thought I was going to die, and I thought that was the worst possible thing that could happen, but then Theodore came down to the Dungeons to find me. He spent a bit of time pretty much just rubbing in how far I had fallen in my face, but when that didn't elicit a response from me he decided to show me how far I had fallen. It wasn't till after that, when he told me if I wanted him to stop I had to do whatever he asked of me, that I realized I could turn into my animagus form. After that my form just became a reminder of how far I had fallen, and how I would die before I fell that far again, to become someone's toy, their play thing, a doll to break and mend."
Hermione and Harry both looked a bit horrified, but eventually Hermione asked, "Why didn't they ever try you for that?"
Draco laughed and said, "That's the only thing they didn't convict me off, they somehow got a hold of Pansy's memories of it, she thought like Potter and Weasley did, that I had somehow gotten a wand or something, but she also saw what Nott did to me, he tore me open, if her and Severus hadn't found me when they did, just after I had turned back, I would have died, as it was it was nearly two weeks before I could walk around or sit properly."
Hermione swallowed and said, "I need to go see Pansy, see if I can get her memory and send everything we had on this to the reporter, she will spin it off well for us if we keep giving her the inside scoop."
Hermione turned as if to leave then paused and said, "I'm sorry you had to go through that Draco, it's not right, and if I can help it, nothing like that will ever happen again."
Hermione left then and Draco focused his hearing on Harry, who hadn't moved from where he had been standing and when Draco glanced over he was just staring at Draco with an odd expression. After another long silence Draco asked, "What Potter?"
Harry took a deep breath and said, "I always thought, back in school that you were weak, that if you lived in my shoes for even a day you would break under the pressure, but now I realize… you have to be one of the strongest people I know.'
Draco fought off a blush and said, "Your just trying to smooth talk me because you think I'm your mate."
Harry smiled softly although his eyes still seamed sad and said, "Even if you never slept with me I think I'd be okay just being around you. You make me feel more driven to be a better person. Before I was changed, I just plugged and chugged. I did my job because it was my job, did my best to catch all the death eaters, but I never thought to go above or beyond that, I realize now I had lost my anchor. Before with the war, I did everything I did because I had something to protect, but since then, everyone around me seems as though they can protect themselves just fine and I didn't know how to cope with not being everyone's savior. Then I was bit, and you were so much like your old self but so different all at once, you made me want to be stronger, not because you weren't strong yourself, but because I could see that strength even if I never acknowledged it."
Draco blushed as he stared Harry in the eyes, he just seemed so sincere. After a moment he sighed and said, "dear lord you can never say stuff like that again, it makes me feel like a bloody Hufflepuff."
Harry smiled brightly and said, "Yes well even Slytherin have to feel happy and emotional sometimes, I'd rather prefer you felt that way with me at the very least."
Draco uncurled around himself and put the breakfast tray back in his lap. As he picked up the fork once more he said, "Only ever with you Potter, only with you."