A/N: Apologies for the delay, I know it's been a while – and I've owed you this update for some time. I hope you're still interested, and I should be ready with another update in November.
And so they'd ended up pretty decently pissed, Draco nursing his second bottle of firewhiskey as Potter knocked back another shot of muggle vodka. He noted absently that he had been surprisingly calm so far, not having thrown any fits even, not even when Harry had tried to pry again. (It had occurred to him at some point through the first bottle that he probably shouldn't have allowed his patient near the alcohol, but he was finding it impossibly harder to give a shite about that. Andromeda wouldn't be able to blame him, would she?)
And there weren't many words said after the first couple of swigs, and he hadn't quite said that he'd blessed Harry with a non-alcoholic bottle, a spell he'd learned back in Hogwarts, drinking down the burn without the classes of the next day in mind. It had been infinitely useful to, treat the alcohol addicts, easing them off so they could sit still and have that decent conversation; That really was the problem with Mind Healing, he mused, having to talk.
It kept him occupied for the most part at this hour – thinking about his craft – which helped with the splitting headache that was plaguing him. It came in waves, following an odd sort of pattern as thoughts clicked into place. Daphne, Astoria, St. Mungo's, Harry, Astoria, Healing, Astoria, Astoria.
He wondered, behind his glass, why she mattered – the political bride, wasn't she? He didn't need her. He didn't love her, for Merlin's sake, but he couldn't reason why he'd gotten himself piss drunk over the upset it'd caused. Irrational.
Instead of troubling himself further, however, he knocked back the rest of his drink and turned to Harry. He was surprisingly slurred as he spoke, having spent most of their night in silence, his body surprisingly muddled for his clear mind.
"M'going to bed," he said, tired, the syllables lazy and unclear. "G'night."
Harry, still sober and confusedly so, waved with a tentative nod. His fingers twisted into instinctive words, ones Draco knew he would be able to form even if Harry had been as smashed as he himself was. Night.
Draco made an odd note in his mind at that – that even drunk, he was able to listen, but he wheeled himself out slightly carelessly before he could say anything else. Heading toward his room, he didn't stop until he had tucked himself into bed, a movement so practiced his inebriated mind didn't have to care. "Night," he murmured to no one, and then sleep took him.
He would deal with Harry in the morning.
It was sometime after the war that he'd been prescribed a daily dose of Dreamless Sleep, and Draco hadn't ever missed a dose until that night. They said it would help him to move on, that it would ease the pain of nightmares where blood was shed and spells flew between two sides of a war Draco hadn't ever found a proper place in.
It was hard, he had reasoned, to choose – when you were hardly of age, when you hardly knew, truly knew, what you believed in. And that had been his downfall, had Harry bloody Potter not pulled him out of the fire when his last attempt to side with the darkness had failed.
But he had skipped that, the vial still tucked into the trunk that he'd managed to have brought into the house for his stay at Andromeda's. (It wouldn't do to have her providing for him all the time, not even if he was her nephew. Somehow, his pride wouldn't allow it.) For a while, the alcohol kept his mind cloudy, the colours abstract enough for him to ignore it.
But they eventually twisted into shapes – memories of being knelt at the feet of a faceless man as he tried to keep his legs steady and his hands from shaking as they bared an arm for him, letting him touch the tip of his wand to the unmarred flesh, pressed into him until Draco was screaming in pain, trying to pull away from the tip, and then–
"Draco, get up," a voice clouded the sound of the chamber, and the darkness began to fade into a grey immediately, leaving him to dart his gaze around for the source. The wand lifted from his arm and the figure he so feared seemed to draw back, almost burned by the echo.
Then, again. "Wake up, you sod," the voice – Harry grumbled, obviously having stolen his wand back again, and Draco could have laughed as he remained kneeling on the floor; More than ready to return to a world where he couldn't, where he was bound to a chair. It was all right. It would genuinely be all right. He would be safe.
Once more, the familiar echo in his mind. "I swear, Draco, you're a bloody–"
"M'wake," he barely managed to mumble out as he finally managed to get the words through his lips, his dream self dissolving into nothing as his mind slid back into consciousness. Draco immediately felt the weight of his hangover sinking in, and he groaned a bit as he tried to roll over.
"Welcome back, Sleeping Beauty." The smirk crossed his face, and Draco resisted the urge to glare. "It's noon. Fancy joining us in the land of the living?"
"Enticing," he deadpanned in return, his head throbbing. "Anyone else out there besides you?"
"God, no." The slightest hint of a smile continued to play on his lips as he lay in bed, slinging an arm over his eyes – he'd realised belatedly that he hadn't closed the curtains, letting out a breath as he tried to ease the pain.
There was a silence before something clattered. Draco frowned and slowly uncovered his face, his eyes barely open as he tried to look around the room. "Potter?"
Another scramble as something else hit the ground, then – "Fuck you, Malfoy."
He raised an eyebrow, gently easing himself off the bed into his chair as he made his way to the bathroom, searching for Harry – even in his state, his mind was clear enough to pick up on the need to keep watch over him, and he sought him out. "Something got your knickers in a twist?" He pried lightly.
"Furnishings," Harry replied dryly, a bit of a pause before a groan echoed in his head.
"Your house," Draco shrugged, not missing a beat before tossing back a reply. Hardly sympathetic, he'd admit, but he wasn't about to apologise.
"Right. Where d'you even keep your potions?" Harry's voice came through irritably, and Draco came in to see Harry holding his head, digging around in the cupboard. From the look of the soap bottle on the floor, Draco noted, it must've fallen, and he picked it up into his lap.
"Here," he offered to help, picking the concealed bag in the corner, filled with his Healer's kits and his clothes; Ensuring he had the right compartment, he clicked it open, exposing the potions case. "Concealed poisons, mostly, but... Can't have people stealing my work, either."
Harry raised an eyebrow and tucked his wand into his back pocket, impressed enough as he looked at the variety – Killed anyone yet? Could slip these into anything.
"Wish I had, sometimes," Draco humoured him, letting out a long-suffering sigh. "That bloody ginger of yours, the girl Weasley... Would have given her some kind of sedative."
There was a pause where Harry should have laughed or even chided Draco for his words, and then, slightly delayed, he let a rueful smile cross his face. Yeah, he said slowly, and he pulled what he knew was a standard Hangover potion to drop in Draco's hands. She got interesting, after the war. Never quite the same.
Draco turned it in his hands, raising a brow. "Thought you'd tried to nest with her," he said absently, uncorking the vial to knock it back at one go. "What changed your mind?"
He ignored the initial bitterness rising in his throat, reminded of Daphne in the hall, the announcement that was due in the mail. They might even try to drag him out for a bloody interview with The Prophet, he noted with a sigh, looking up again.
Harry paused a moment before he replied, slower, considering. Expectations, he said simply, some reluctance in the admission – but they'd agreed that Draco was enough of a Healer to be trusted, and willing enough to help, so Harry'd agreed on his end to stay open. It was an odd sort of truce, if he admitted it, but it functioned the way they were used to.
Draco opted to nod, and he sighed as he set the empty vial back in his case. He was hardly in the position to give any advice as it was, and he stayed silent as he wheeled himself back into his room. The potion began to clear his head, and he grabbed a glass to fill it with water.
"Malfoy?" Harry's voice carried through again, his wand probably in hand as he set the bathroom back in order – making some effort to treat their guest well, Draco supposed. He needn't have bothered, because it wasn't like Draco was a muggle or something equally bland; he could care for himself.
"Here. Not about to try the stairs yet, thanks," he said absently, offering a smile over his shoulder.
"'Course you weren't," Harry returned dryly, getting out of the bathroom. He tucked his wand into his pocket, sighing as he looked around the room. Listen, we've got company, he told Draco after a bit, stepping behind the wheelchair to pull him down the stairs.
Draco frowned. his chair settling onto the floor again. He was hardly in order, and barely dressed – he didn't fancy any kind of company as it was, let alone the possibility of Harry's clamouring fangirls. "Potter, I don't think it'd be a good i–"
"Draco?" A small, excited voice interrupted him from a corner, and Draco's brow creased as he fell silent. It was familiar, and he paused with a look to Harry before turning back – only to be greeted with a blue-haired mess launching itself at him.
"Merlin–" Draco ground out as he leaned forward, winded slightly, and he looked down at the kid that'd landed in his lap. He remembered Teddy being calmer, somehow, but the weight that settled wasn't completely unwelcome. "How'd you know I'd be here?"
"Grandmother said you'd take care of me," Teddy announced proudly. "Are you going to stay with us now?"
Draco frowned down, and Harry smiled encouragingly – he spoke to Teddy, Draco could see, the eyes brightening still with excitement. It was always odd, watching Harry interact with anyone, but it was certainly something he could appreciate. If nothing else, it'd be filed neatly into Harry's folder.
"We should go flying," Teddy responded, and he clambered out to go and take Harry's hand. "And Draco can watch, right? Or y'could teach me Wizard's Chess..."
Another pause, and Teddy grinned. The child turned back to Draco and bounded over, resting his hands on the arms of the chair. "Draco, can you teach me?"
"Teach you?" He asked, confused, his brow creasing. "Teach you what?"
Teddy laughed, and then he sighed dramatically. "Chess, Draco," he said, trying to look imperious. "Can you teach me chess?" A pointed look from his godfather in the corner, and Teddy softened a bit. "Please?"
Draco frowned, but he nodded after a pause. Harry was relieved enough, leaning against the wall, and Teddy grinned at him – sharing another thought, it must have been. As the chattery mass disappeared to fetch the set, Draco turned his eyes on his companion.
"He lives with us," Harry said easily enough, shrugging. "Andromeda – She let him stay at a friend's, but he's stayed with her since the battle."
The blond sighed, and he leaned back in his chair with a nod. "Figured it would be something like that," he said finally, and he picked up his own want to twirl in his fingers. "Doesn't seem like she'd allow anyone to take family form her – mother had always been rather illustrative with the stories of her husband."
"Can't say your father would have been better," Harry tried to joke, but Draco felt a painful settling in his chest at that.
"Bollocks," he returned, trying not to miss a beat. "Father was more than happy to hand me over to the Dark Lord, and I'm sure he'd allow mother to leave if it kept him safe."
Harry paused, almost trying to apologise, but Teddy didn't leave them much room as he ran back in. He set up on the table in the kitchen, and Harry sighed as he pushed Draco in. It was still odd for them both, not using their magic, not relying on themselves, but he supposed that he was allowed vulnerability for a while.
He'd found himself tired of being proud, anyhow. "Here. The pawn moves one or two spaces – only forward," he began, taking the white marble into his fingers, sliding it on the wood. Teddy watched with wide, curious eyes, and he propped his chin up on his hands.
"And... Checkmate," Harry announced triumphantly, setting his Queen down again.
"Don't suppose you have a rigged set, Potter? I wouldn't put it past you," Draco sighed, and he folded his hands in his lap. He was well out of practice, he was aware, and Harry had had nothing better to do with his time. Draco had forgotten, too, how the Weasleys had been rather well known for their games – he supposed Harry must have played, at some point.
"A set responds well to its master," Harry said, chuckling as he leaned back. They'd managed to set Teddy down for bed, after an admirable struggle, the blue of Teddy's hair fading to a light brown as his excitement died down. Interesting. "Besides, s'not like there's much else to do."
"Thought you'd have returned to your job," Draco said slowly, moving the set back into its box, being careful to lay them out properly. He recognised it – belonging to the Black house, and possibly inherited from Sirius. He sighed, putting it aside in his head. "Have the Wizarding World calling your name."
"Probably why I didn't," Harry said, surprisingly blunt and honest.
Draco rose an eyebrow, and he waited for an explanation. Harry didn't offer one at first, but he'd gone back to the nervous rubbing of his scar. "Well," he said after a pause. "Not much to do. Greatest scab to pick's already dead."
Draco sighed, and he leaned forward. He closed the set with a soft click, and he pulled it into his lap to examine. "You'd be surprised what they say about you," he offered, and he looked up at Harry again. "That you could do anything – could probably walk stark naked through London and start a trend, Potter."
Harry snorted. "And if I don't want to?"
"Anything," he said, pointed. "The press's done turning on you."
"How do you know?" Harry demanded, with some edge to his voice. He didn't like the topic, and it was obvious enough – Draco knew when to leave it, he supposed, and he held his hands up in surrender. He took a moment, gathering himself again, and he grabbed a glass of water himself. "It isn't like that's news, let's be honest."
Expectations, Harry said again, the same response he'd offered before – setting his wand aside. There was a bit of silence between them then, the dishonesty in that statement settling, but Draco could hardly fault him for it. Eventually, Draco turned to push himself back toward the staircase, sighing.
"Get some sleep," he called back over his shoulder. "Think you're going to need it, because I'm not getting up when he does."
"And fuck you, Malfoy," the voice called back loudly from the kitchen, a little tired, but it's a comfort.
The company of a child, a cousin. Kin.
He took comfort in that.