A/N: whoohoo! This is my first multi-chaptered fanfiction. I hope you'll like! Beta-ed by Sofia.
Monday, 21st December 1998
Harry shut the door and leaned against it heavily, eyes sliding shut and basking in the warmth of Grimmauld Place. Over the summer holidays, the Weasleys had cleaned and overturned the dark Black residence, transforming it with freshly painted walls, gleaming wooden floors and the wonderful silence in the hallway since the removal of Walburga Black's portrait. He'd protested violently, not wanting to cause them any more trouble after the death of Fred, which only seemed to spur Mrs. Weasley on further. Eventually, he resigned to his fate and had set about breaking through the cobwebs surrounding the house. Now, this was home.
"Something on your mind, mate?" He opened his eyes to see Ron and Hermione looking worriedly back at him, standing in the doorway to the kitchen and leaving their trunks abandoned in the hallway. He smiled at them and shook his head, heaving himself off the wall and moving to join them. Hermione took his arm and they stood to gaze at the kitchen. The dining table stood proudly in the centre and most of the chairs remained skewed from the last time–
"It's almost like Dumbledore– or even Kingsley, I don't know– it's like they're going to call an Order meeting any time now," Harry muttered. They stood together, allowing the sense of nostalgia wash over them. Ron slung an arm casually around Harry's shoulders and patted him awkwardly. "You did it, though," he said. "You'd have made him proud."
Hermione sniffled a bit but stepped away toward the fireplace. "I'm so sorry, Harry, but we've got to visit Molly for a bit," she said, apologetic. "We'll be back soon." Ron groaned and stuffed his hands in his pockets, dreading the thought of his mum and girlfriend together in the same room. She threw him a withering look and he immediately moved to take her hand.
"The Burrow," she called confidently, throwing the powder into the flames. They disappeared into the fire and Harry waved them off as they disappeared. He gingerly pulled out one of the chairs and sat down, resting his head in his hands as he stared across the room at a picture of the marauders, the four teenagers laughing in the courtyard.
It's over, he thought, walking to pick the photo up, gazing at his father's face. And I'm still here.
Monday, 21st December 1998
"It's got to be here somewhere," he muttered to himself, opening the door into the study. He picked a stack of paper up, running his finger down the side of the manuscripts. Severus must have hidden–
Draco cursed and flinched away, examining the paper cut. He stared at the bright red line on his finger marking his pale skin and sighed, swiping off the bead of blood beginning to form. Satisfied, he returned to searching the desk, quickly flipping open books and peering carefully at Severus' tidy script, hoping that any kind of clue would present itself soon.
"Lumos," he whispered, holding his wand aloft. It didn't light. "Lumos," he tried again, harder. The familiar glowing tip did not appear and Draco's heart sank. "Lumos maxima," he flicked his wand this time, willing it to light. He flung his wand aside and continued to sift through the parchment covering the tabletop, searching for the scrap of paper when–
"He can't have gotten far," he heard the voice faintly. His eyes widened in alarm and he lunged to grab his wand and a cloak off the floor, pulling it on desperately and watching over his shoulder. And then, there it was, fluttering to the ground. Snatching it out of the air and checking the chain around his neck, he ran, the ink glinting in the moonlight shining through the windows.
The Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix may be found at number twelve, Grimmauld Place, London.
Wednesday, 23rd December 1998
He ducked another flying streak of red light, pulling his feet through the snow as fast as he could. Unclasping his cloak, he let it fly off his shoulders, leaving it in a crumpled heap as he ran on, trying to keep his eyes open against the snow. His hair fell into his eyes, snow clouded his vision, he was soaked to the skin in melting frost and just about ready to collapse.
Looking up into the bleak sky and grasping the bars of the gate around the park, he tried to reorientate himself before Rowle and the other Death Eaters could catch up. Then he saw it– Grimmauld Place– and he could have cried in relief. Moving quickly out of the way of more light, he braced himself and dashed down the road, leaving deep footsteps in his wake.
"What the fuck?" Draco gaped as his eyes darted between number eleven on his left and number thirteen on his right, glancing warily at the muggles who were now watching him. Rowle and the others came around the corner and he thought hard about Dumbledore's elegant cursive on he paper. The Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix may be found–
His knees buckled as the building began to shift. He forced himself upright and backed himself against the wall, willing Potter's hero senses to activate and come and save him now. He watched them approach with predatory grins on their faces, squeezing his eyes shut and praying that whoever was listening sent him to heaven for his troubles.
Wednesday, 23rd December 1998
"Harry! Harry!" Hermione was shaking him now, he thought. Perhaps if he laid still, she would go away. Soon, the shaking stopped and he smiled into his pillow. Then, the sensation of an ice bucket dumped on his head flooded through him and he bolted upright as Hermione yelled in his ear. "Someone's outside!"
Harry started groping around for his glasses, only just noticing the faint blaring of the alarms in the house. The wards, his sleepy mind supplied helpfully. He rubbed his eyes and put them on, reaching over to get his jeans off the floor and pull them on, barely noticing Hermione tapping her foot and crossing her arms impatiently.
"Who the bloody hell comes knocking at–" Ron cast a tempus groggily. "– seven-thirty in the morning?" Harry pulled on a sweater and pushed himself off the bed. The alarms had begun squealing now and his head was pounding. "It'd better be Kingsley or I'm hexing them into next week," Ron grumbled. Harry hummed in approval.
They tumbled down the stairs reluctantly and Harry threw up his wand to silence the wards. Head much clearer, he closed his fingers on the doorknob and braced himself for an intruder. Thousands of owls had been flooding their home since the end of the war, bearing presents, howlers, letters, photographs and most recently, marriage proposals. Ron and Hermione nodded and Harry turned the knob slowly.
The trio threw open the door, suddenly very wide awake with the gust of cold air flooding the house. Harry could have laughed at the unlikeliness of the situation and he swore he'd heard Hermione raise her eyebrow. Ron seemed to pale a little and the three of them stood for a second, frozen in shock. It wasn't every day you find a very wandless Draco Malfoy duelling a group of Death Eaters.
"Potter, I realise this may be a bit much to process," Draco managed to yell out, spitting blood into the snow and ducking another spell. "But a little help, please?" Harry opened and closed his mouth again, unsure of how to respond, but Hermione had already leapt off the stairs with Ron in tow, hurling a stupefy at the distracted masked figures. Shaking himself out of his stupor, he moved to stand behind Malfoy, firing off spells and looking around in alarm as Malfoy jumped out of the way, throwing up a shield charm at the last second.
Harry threw a glare and he shrugged, moving to crouch behind Harry. Ron and Hermione made quick work of the others, disarming them and tying them up with a simple incarcerous as members of the group disapparated. With the adrenaline coursing through him, Harry rounded on Malfoy, grabbing him roughly by the shoulder and pushing him against the gate, leaving blood trails on the pillar.
Malfoy watched him with wide eyes, staring down at the tip of Harry's wand. His pale face stained with red was now drained of colour as he tried to get the words out. Harry rolled his eyes. "You have about two minutes to explain yourself before I–" he trailed off as Malfoy promptly fainted, slumping down and leaving a dark trail of red behind him.
It was all Harry could do to stare disbelievingly, Malfoy's platinum blond hair stained with dirt and more blood as it hung. What brought him here? He raked his eyes over Draco's attire, finally noticing that all his aristocratic airs were gone, watching him dressed in muggle clothing. Harry sighed as he picked up Malfoy's wand from the middle of the street and turned back to him, curious– Malfoy manor was miles away.
Ron peeked over Harry's shoulder at him. "Suits him, doesn't it? The ferret in distress thing?" He turned and grinned at Harry, but he was watching Malfoy with an unreadable expression. He nudged him. "Let's get him inside, mate. We'll kick his arse later."
Wednesday, 23rd December 1998
Draco was sure there was no God if he was waking up to the Weasel. He put his arm over his eyes and willed him to go away, muttering curses to himself as he heard him approach and kneel next to the bed. Weasley seemed to stay there for a while until Draco began to be able to smell pizza on his breath. Disgusting.
He moved his arm and cracked an eye open, jumping when he saw the blue gaze much, much nearer than he expected. Weasley has the audacity to chuckle and Draco resisted the urge to hex him against the wall on the other side of the room. When he continued to be stared at, he opened both eyes and turned to face the ginger. He almost shuddered.
Weasley began to run several spells over him and Draco was sure he was about to die of a very painful curse. He felt the wash of healing spells but watched him click his tongue disapprovingly as they left an ugly glow on him, slowly annoying him. Weasley was a terrible healer. You're here for Potter, he tried to remind himself, You're here for Potter. In, Out– he let out a gasp of pain as a wand poked him firmly at a bruise. As Weasley began to laugh to himself again, Draco coughed and looked up at him, looking as offended as he could.
"While I realise I'm attractive, I'm going to introduce you to something," Draco gathered all his courage and drawls. He wants Weasley out. "It's called personal space." He rolled over and curled himself up in a ball, but he refused to budge.
"Honestly, are you deaf? Some of us were raised with enough space to breathe!" Draco was pushing hard now, willing him to get out of his sight. Weasley's posture stiffened and he stood, but didn't move. Draco tried again.
"Oh for goodness' sake, are you quite done?" He crossed his arms and glared defiantly from the bed. "You wanker!" Weasley growled out, snapping his gaze down. "Should've left you in the snow, ungrateful sod." He stormed out, the door slamming and Draco let out a sigh in relief.
He moved to face the ceiling again, searching his mind and trying to remember. Reaching down, his eyes flew open as he realised it was missing. He scrambled out of bed, wincing as he rested his weight on his left arm and pushed harder, searching for clues to how, who, where and more importantly, why the fuck couldn't he remember a thing?
The manor. He'd been at the manor, in father's study... why would he be in father's study? There was a gap then, before the snow outside. He tried to remember past the goddamn obliviation, prodding the barrier and hoping it would break. He caught sight of his reflection then, skin sallow and hair flat and lifeless. Good Merlin, he thought. I look like shite. Picking up his wand, he held it to his hair, facing the mirror across the room. Honestly, had Potter no consideration to fix his appearance before lying him down?
He held his wand up to an unsightly gash next to his mouth. "Episkey," he intoned clearly. Unsurprisingly, it stayed open and he moved his hand up to run his fingers along the scab. Setting his wand aside resignedly, he decided to go downstairs. Potter, he repeats. You're here for Potter.
Wednesday, 23rd December 1998
"It sounds like nobody's killed each other yet," Hermione reassured Harry as he paced in front of the fireplace. After a heated argument about what to do with their 'guest', they had sent Ron up to check on Malfoy almost half an hour ago and the silence meant either Ron was on uncharacteristically good behaviour or Malfoy was dead.
"Hermione, I –"
"Tell me again why we kept Malfoy around?" Ron's heavy footsteps on the staircase announced his arrival and Harry exhaled in relief. He watched carefully as he came into the living room, sinking into one of the couches and rubbing his temples.
"Is he alright, then?" Harry piped up. He put his hands up as Ron glared at him, holding out his wand. Hermione passed him a butterbeer and he downed half the bottle, continuing to throw Harry dirty looks as he did. "This is all your fault," Ron whined at him, nursing his bottle slowly.
Harry continued to watch him in silence. "He's fine," He finally admitted after a few swigs. Harry nodded. "Still snarky, still Malfoy. Lousy git's got some kind of fracture in his arm, but I can't fix it." Hermione moved into the kitchen again, leaving them to sit in comfortable silence. Ron finished his bottle and slammed it on the counter, obviously trying to erase Malfoy's existence from his mind.
"I'm gonna talk to him," Harry began carefully. "See what I can find out."
"That won't be necessary, Potter," came a voice. Malfoy was leaning against the doorframe, watching him with wary grey eyes. Harry looked him over, slightly uncomfortable to see the way his clothes fit on the blond. Honestly, Hermione should have given him Ron's– the bloke was slightly taller than Harry and he wondered how anyone would look so intimidating in pyjamas that didn't quite reach their ankles.
He was determined to keep control of the situation, though. It was almost Christmas, for god's sake, he wanted to spend it in peace. "Malfoy, you show up on our doorstep–"
"I don't remember a thing." Harry stilled and raised an eyebrow at him. Malfoy arched one in return, daring him to disbelieve it. He started to cross the room towards Harry and he forced himself to stand his ground as Malfoy approached him.
"You don't remember," Harry repeated flatly as Malfoy paused in front of him, arms crossed, nodding slowly. "Yes, Potter, I've said," he replied condescendingly, rolling his eyes. Harry searched Malfoy's eyes and saw nothing but challenge. He leaned against the wall again and took off his glasses, rubbing his eyes.
"Malfoy, if you think we're going to believe you," Ron mumbled from the couch, getting up to clap him on the shoulder. Malfoy flinched away. "You've got to be bloody joking, mate." Ron rested on the wall next to Harry and matched Malfoy's gaze.
"Draco, what about this?" Hermione had entered the room, holding out a ring hanging on a chain. She was holding it at an arm's length. Malfoy moved to peer at it and his eyes lit up as he recognised it. He snatched it away from her and went back to Harry as Hermione made a noise of protest, swiping at the ring.
"I came to show you this," he explained, holding it out of reach as Ron tried to grab it. "I wouldn't touch it if I were you, though." He sneered at Ron, still holding it in front of Harry. "It's rather unpleasant, you see, and I was hoping you could help me."
"Help you?" The words slipped out before Harry could stop them. Draco Malfoy was in twelve Grimmauld Place, asking for their help and acting like nothing was wrong with that.
Malfoy tried remain oblivious to three gobsmacked faces and continued on, shifting uneasily under their incredulous looks. "The last thing I remember is the manor and then I'm out in the snow with this bloody thing and my father is dead." He looked at it carefully, holding it up to the light. He shifted again and looked at Harry, his eyes softer and begging him to believe him.
"He's barking, that's what," Ron leaned over and stage-whispered to Hermione. Malfoy sighed and held his hands in the air.
"Please, Potter," he was pleading now and Harry was sure he was about to wake up in bed from this very strange dream. "I need your help."
Harry remained on his guard. Malfoy has been missing since before the start of term– they'd heard the other Slytherins in heated discussions over his whereabouts, noticing when the teachers stopped calling his name in classes. And here his arch-rival was, dressed in Harry's pyjamas, asking for his help. He groaned in defeat.
"Mate, you cannot be thinking of helping him," Ron called. He rolled his eyes at Harry, knowing that look. Hermione looked terribly uncomfortable, lips pressed tightly together as she regarded him with Malfoy. He turned to see grey eyes widen in comprehension and a relieved smile start to form on his lips.
"What if it's a you-know-what?" Harry asked them. Hermione's mouth formed a small 'o' and Ron coloured slightly, suddenly very aware of the ring hanging on the chain.
There was a tense silence as they watched the ring swinging gently as Malfoy held it above their heads. They looked carefully at each other, doubtful and morbidly curious. Ron finally broke the silence.
"All right, all right! But I'm going to have my bloody Christmas first!"
Friday, 25th December 1998
"Malfoy," he heard someone calling him. He buried himself further in the pillows and refused to listen, bent on sleeping some more. Weasley had kept them all up listening to his woefully drunken rendition of Baby, It's Cold Outside. Granger had blushed redder than Weasley's hair and tried desperately to shut him up, but he'd given her a long wet kiss and continued louder than before.
Weasley was insufferably daft most of the time, but Granger made half decent company when she wasn't with him. She consciously asked him about the ring and he'd found himself engaged knee-deep in conversation regarding curses on jewellery and the history of the piece of silver that had found its way into his pocket. Eventually, she'd also healed his arm properly, for which he was grateful.
Draco was both amused and thankful for the formal politeness between them in their exchanges. They were less prying than Pansy and less crass than Theodore. As long as he held his tongue, Weasley and Granger were absolutely pleasant to him. And then there was Potter, who had been nothing but friendly since he'd arrived, treating him as if he'd taken Draco's hand back in their first year. It was unnerving to see a blatant ignorance of the last seven years, yet oddly welcome.
Potter had been rather quiet, really, watching Draco for most of the evening. They'd managed to play chess and laugh at each others' jokes, striking an awkward truce between them. As promised, Hermione had been looking into her books, but they'd dropped everything when Kreacher (he'd wondered where the Black family elf had gone, really) presented the dinner spread with a decent supply of firewhiskey.
Whoever it was had now resorted to poking him. "Malfoy, wake up," the voice was deep and rather nice, really. Draco was more than content to sleep if he kept it up like that, after all, Potter–
His eyes snapped open and he leapt backward on the bed as he came face to face with very startled green eyes, letting out a small scream. "Merlin's pants, Potter!" he clutched at his chest. "Do you all have no sense of manners?" He watched Potter sit there grinning widely, still dressed in his pyjamas. Draco pulled himself together and watched him curiously, slowly pulling the blankets back up to his waist.
"You don't have to scream like a girl, Malfoy," Potter still had his stupid smile on. "It was not a scream," Draco retorted swiftly, sniffing in his best pompous voice. "It was a perfectly manly gasp of surprise."
Potter laughed at that and Draco found himself liking the sound of that, lips curving into a smile. He moved to get himself out of bed and Potter stopped him, holding out a long box wrapped in red paper, tied neatly with a golden bow. His eyes widened.
"This– but– um, Potter–" A truce, yes. But a present?
"Take it. S'yours anyway." Potter pressed the box into his hands and turned to walk away. Draco quickly tore open the wrapper and bit his lip to keep his surprise in when he saw his wand lying comfortably in a box. He lifted it into his hands and felt nothing, but he smiled at Potter anyway.
Friday, 25th December 1998
Malfoy was smiling and Harry exhaled in relief. He paused in the doorway and returned his smile easily, about to join Ron and Hermione downstairs when Malfoy stopped him.
"Thank you, Harry," he breathed. Harry raised an eyebrow, not sure if he was more surprised by the address or the look in Malfoy's eyes as he regarded his wand. He looked hesitant to try it out, cradling it in both hands and smiling at him uneasily. Harry returned it again, reassuringly.
"No worries, Draco," he chuckled a little. It was Christmas, he was standing in the same room as Draco Malfoy and exchanging pleasantries. The world was about to end, he just knew it. Malfoy wasn't so bad when he wasn't throwing hexes, keeping up intelligent conversation and genuinely interested in whatever Harry had to say, as if he'd really changed everything after the war.
His expression hardened. Everything had changed after the war.
Friday, 25th December 1998
He watched them gather their things before standing around the fireplace. Draco twirled his wand between his fingers as Weasley adjusted Granger's coat. Potter was gathering gifts into a bag from under the tree, counting them off and nodding to himself.
"You sure you don't want to come, Malfoy?" Granger asked. He shook his head, rather violently at that– they'd offered to take him to the Burrow with them, but Draco would rather keep his hide intact, thanks. He'd had enough run-ins with the Weaselette to last him several lifetimes and he hadn't enough of a death with to put himself in the same room as the proprietors of the Weasley Wizarding Wheezes.
"George won't lay a hand on you," Potter– or was it Harry, now?– was smirking, as if he'd read Draco's mind. He shivered at the thought of it.
"I'll stay here, thank you, with my hundred-percent-blond population," he stuck his tongue out, feeling like a five year old. But Harry returned the gesture, Granger huffing in disapproval. He threw his best smile at her and she rolled her eyes.
"Gentlemen," she admonished, "we're all adults now, aren't we?" She glanced between them, pushing her bushy hair out of her eyes before she laughed. She turned to Draco.
"Before I forget, you should safe-keep this," she said, pulling the chain out of her pocket. As her other hand moved to pull the chain out, Draco leapt across the room to try and stop her, but it was too late– her fingers had already brushed across the gleaming surface.
There was a resounding crash of glass in the kitchen. Draco stared at her in horror.
As a familiar face slowly emerged from the kitchen, his mind shut down. He was vaguely aware of a shield charm being thrown up and lights flying between them, then the telltale crack of disapparition filling the hall. Granger and Weasley were gone, Harry had shoved Draco behind him and was fighting for their lives, but all he could do was to look into his riveting gaze as he fired spells into Harry's shield.
His mouth was moving without a sound as he stared emptily into the attacker's face, not wanting to believe it. He was supposed to be in Azkaban–
"Draco," Harry muttered into his ear, trying to maintain their shield charm. "I want you to take your wand and go." He was suddenly holding onto a long stick of wood, that didn't do anything because–
"Go!" His voice was slightly hoarse from the shouting of spells flooding the house. Draco looked at him helplessly and shook his head, watching Harry's eyes widen as he turned to see him still standing there, like an idiot, in the middle of a battlefield.
Harry dropped his shield charm, grabbed Draco and they disapparated. He felt the stinging of a slicing hex open his cheek, but he closed his eyes and started to breathe again.
Friday, 25th December 1998
Harry slapped Draco awake and he moaned in pain.
"When the fuck were you going to tell me you had a trace on your lovely silver toy?" Draco opened his eyes slowly and Harry's burning green gaze met his. He registered Potter straddling him–
"Malfoy," he ground out dangerously. His wand was quite dangerously near to Draco's throat.
"I don't have any magic," he got out as quickly as he could, trying to get out from under Potter. "They found me when I first had the ring and they cast some kind of curse. They took it from me, I think," Draco continued, trying to babble as much of it as possible. "And Severus told me I could come to the Order if I needed you and– oh God don't point it at me like that."
"It's the handle end of a wand, Malfoy, I hardly think it's going to hurt you." Harry's expression was pained but Draco reached out to take it gingerly.
"Show me." It was simple. Harry trusted him.
"Lumos," Draco intoned. The wand remained as it was, lifeless in his fingers.
Harry put his head in his hands.