I know it's a little later than I said but I had a lot more to study than I thought I would. You should all be thanking me! I'm procrastinating right now trying to get this done. My math grade might drop a bit but I'm horrible at it any way so it won't be to devastating for me. Some angst in this chapter (there seems to be a lot of that…perhaps I'll make the next chapter lighter? Or at least have a fluffy ending) and the introduction of another character! I was debating on whether or not to bring this guy in but I decided to because…well, spoilers! Enjoy the chapter, lovelies!
The week following Harry's attack was relatively calm. If you didn't count the nightmares, which he didn't. Harry had been living with them for so long that he couldn't remember what it was like to have a peaceful night.
His nightmares were always different. Sometimes he saw Cedric, dying right in front of him as he stood by helpless and useless. Other times he had the Dursley/Malfoy dream in which both families pointed out his numerous appalling flaws and reinforced the idea that he wasn't good enough for anyone, let alone Draco. The one that ruined his sleep tonight was about Sirius. Harry watched as Bellatrix hit his godfather with the killing curse. He watched as Sirius fell through the veil, leaving him forever. And then he listened as Sirius and Remus blamed him for the man's death.
"If you weren't so weak and useless you could have saved him." Remus growled, eyes glowing ember as his wolf rose to the surface.
"Remus, please. I'm sorry! I never meant for any of it to happen. I never wanted anyone to get hurt! I was trying to save you, Sirius! The vision-" Sirius cut Harry off with a mocking laugh.
"Vision? You mean that trap that Voldemort sent you? If you weren't so hopeless, if you had mastered occlumency, if you hadn't been so fucking stupid, none of this would have happened. I wouldn't have had to come and save your life." Sirius hissed. "If it weren't for you I'd still be alive." Tears filled Harry's eyes as he shook his head.
"No, Sirius! Please. I tried. I swear I did! I wish it had been me. I wish she had killed me instead," Harry sobbed.
So do we," Sirius and Remus spoke in unison. Together they turned their backs on the sobbing teen and began to walk away.
"Sirius! Don't leave! Please, d-don't leave me alone. Sirius! Remus, please! I'm s-sorry! P-please don't l-leave, Remus!" Harry pleaded, begging through his tears for them to stay with him.
"NO!" Harry gasped as he woke with a jolt. He was covered in sweat, his chest heaving as he gasped, tears still spilling down his face. A hand touched his shoulder gently and Harry jumped, flinching away from the contact as he leapt out of bed and huddled in a corner. His eyes darted around frantically as he looked for an escape, the beginnings of a panic attack making it hard for him to breath.
"Harry! Harry, calm down. Breath, submissive. Please, you have to breathe!" A voice begged him. Harry's head turned so fast he thought he'd snap his neck. Draco was kneeling on the bed, hands held palm out in a placating manner. His grey eyes were dark with worry.
"D-Draco?" Harry gasped, still trembling violently against the wall.
"That's it, Harry. It's me, Draco. Can you take some calming breathes for me? You just had a nightmare. Everything's going to be okay." Draco said soothingly, slowly moving off of the bed. Harry shook his head, sobs catching in his throat.
"No, it's not! It's not okay!" Harry shouted. "I killed him! Oh, God, Draco. It's my fault. I'm weak and useless and stupid and I got my own godfather killed and now Remus hates me and I never wanted to hurt them! Oh, God!" Harry's hands fisted in his hair and he yanked roughly on the inky black locks. "I can't breathe!" He choked, one hand going to his chest. "I can't- I'm sorry!" Harry fell to his hands and knees as he desperately tried to draw air into his lungs. Draco was by his side in an instant, pulling Harry to his chest.
"Harry, focus on my voice. Can you hear me? I want you to breathe with me. Deep breaths now. In. Hold it. Come on, Harry. You can do it," Draco encouraged as Harry gasped and shook in his arms. "Deep breath in. Hold. Now let it out slowly. Good, submissive. Again. In. Hold it. And out. Very good. In. And out." Draco cradled Harry to his chest as he helped his mate regulate his breathing. After a few minutes Harry calmed down, slumping against Draco as he cried silently.
Draco's chest tightened painfully in his chest as he held his broken mate. He picked Harry up gently and carried him back to bed where he wrapped himself comfortingly around the smaller male, protecting him from any outside force. Harry fell back into an exhausted sleep and Draco summoned a dreamless sleep potion and spelled it into Harry's stomach. Draco carefully left the bed, going out into their common room. He sat on the couch and dropped his head into his hands with a sigh, fighting back tears of his own.
He needed help. He didn't know how to help an abuse victim and he had never had to comfort anyone before. He didn't know what to do or say and he didn't know how to get Harry to talk about his problems when he wasn't half hysterical. He needed someone who had experience in taking care of people. Someone he knew who could give his mate the comfort he seemed to need. Draco needed…his mother.
Draco quickly strode to their fire place and grabbed a fist full of floo powder, throwing it inside the fireplace and kneeling down to put his head in the green flames.
"Malfoy Manor." He said clearly and waited for a house elf to appear.
"Dot is being answering young master's floo call. What does young master be needing?" Dot asked.
"I need you to get my mother," Draco ordered. Dot hesitated.
"Dot is being sorry, young master, but Mistress Malfoy be sleeping now." Dot said.
"I know that!" Draco snapped. He was well aware of the late, or rather early, hour, but his Harry needed her, even if he didn't know it yet. "Just go tell her I need her. Tell her it's urgent."
"Dot is doing as she is told." Dot said before disappearing with a loud crack. Draco sighed tiredly and rubbed his eyes as he waited for his mother to appear.
"Draco?" Narcissa's soft voice caught his attention. His mother was there, looking as perfect as always and worried.
"Mother," Draco breathed, tears prickling at his eyes again.
"Draco? What is it? Dot said it was urgent. What happened? Are you and Harry alright? Is it Severus?" His mother asked.
"Can you come through? Please?" Draco asked and she nodded.
"Of course, darling. Just a moment." She disappeared from the fireplace and Draco stood and backed away, giving her room to come through. Draco only had to wait for a few seconds before his mother came through the floo, stepping gracefully into their rooms. She took one look at him and stepped forward, opening her arms for him. Draco rushed to her, folding himself into her embrace and allowing himself a few minutes of weakness. He shook in her arms as she combed her fingers through his silky blond hair, whispering words of comfort as she led them to the couch and pulled Draco down beside her.
"Draco, what happened?" She asked softly. Draco told her about the nightmares that Harry had been trying to hide from him, about how Harry was putting his memories of his abuse into a pensieve. He told her about the attack on Harry and what had happened with Weasley and Dumbledore. And finally he told her about the panic attack Harry had just had because of his nightmares and the things he had told Draco in his dazed, panicked state.
"He feels so guilty, mother. He thinks he killed his godfather and that he's stupid, weak, and useless. He thinks someone named Remus hates him because of what happened at the ministry last year." Draco finished, voice rough with exhaustion and anger. "I just want him to stop hurting. I want him to be happy and not have to worry about people trying to attack him every other week. He doesn't deserve this hell he's going through but I don't know what to do! I don't know how to help him!"
"I'm so sorry, Draco. I know this hard for you, for the both of you, but it will get better. Just give it time. Now this is what we're going to do. It is the weekend so you will go spend time with your friends and I am going to stay here, with Harry. You need a chance to relax and he needs the comfort of a mother." Narcissa decided.
"I can't leave him! Not after a nightmare like that!" Draco protested.
"You can and you will," Narcissa said firmly. "Now go get dressed for the day without waking your mate. He could use the sleep." Draco hesitated but went to do as he was told after a stern look from his mother. He slipped silently in their room and stared at Harry, sleeping peacefully on the bed and smiled sadly.
"I'm trying, Harry. I won't give up either. We'll make it through whatever shit the universe decides to throw at us and we'll do it together," Draco promised softly. He quietly pulled on some clothes and kissed Harry lightly on the lips before returning to his mother.
"Good," she nodded approvingly, "I want you to go to the Slytherin dorms. You can go back to sleep or wait for your friends to wake up. Spend some time with them, relax, and plan retribution. Anything that doesn't require you to be here. I will take care of Harry." Draco nodded and headed for the portrait entrance.
"Mother," he called, holding the portrait open as he turned to face her. She raised an eyebrow questioningly. "If you hurt him in any way, shape, or form, I will never forgive you. You've already done it once. Don't let it happen again." Draco threatened calmly as he fixed his eyes unwaveringly on his mother, his eyes flashing completely silver in warning. She nodded understandingly. Draco simply looked at her for a moment longer before he turned and left.
Before heading to the Slytherin dorm Draco decided to make a quick stop at his godfather's chambers. He knocked on the painting for nearly five minutes before Severus yanked it open.
"What are you doing?" Severus snarled as he glared down at Draco.
"We need to talk," Draco said simply, not at all phased by Severus' grumpy mood.
"No," Severus said immediately as he began to close the door.
"It's about Harry," Draco hinted. Severus froze and hesitated before letting the door swing open.
"Fine, come in you annoying child," Severus huffed, resolutely ignoring Draco's snickering. They settled before the fireplace, Severus in a comfy armchair and Draco on the couch across from him.
"What happened to Harry that you felt the need to wake me up at this ungodly hour?" Severus asked.
"I need you to clarify certain things and do me a favor," Draco sighed. "Harry had a nightmare, one of his worst so far. He woke up and had a panic attack and I barely managed to calm him down. He was hysterical, crying and screaming. He thought that he had killed someone named Sirius and that someone else named Remus would hate him for it. I need to know who they are, why he would think he had killed anyone, and why this Remus character seemingly hate him. Then I need to know where Remus lives so that we can have a little chat."
"I assume by chat you mean cause him bodily harm?" Severus snorted and Draco shrugged.
"There might be some violence," Draco admitted.
"Sirius is…was Potter's godfather. Last year I was to teach Potter occlumency. I…at the time we were still at odds. I…was not…gentle in my teachings. He did not succeed in learning how to occlude his thoughts. At the end of the year the Dark Lord sent him a vision of his godfather being tortured at the ministry. Potter raced to save him and his idiot friends followed. It was a trap. His godfather was not there; instead a few death eaters lay in wait. Potter found a prophecy, one that his and the Dark Lords name on it.
Instead of giving them what they wanted Potter and his friends decided to fight their way out. Once Dumbledore realized what had happened he called some people together and they went to get Potter. Potter's godfather wouldn't stay behind knowing his godson was in danger. He was hit with the killing curse. Potter was…inconsolable for quite some time. I hear he tried to use the cruciatus curse on the one who killed Sirius.
Remus was a friend of his father and godfather. They were in Gryffindor together, the same year. They were very close, they did everything together," Severus explained without interruption. Draco smoothed his hair back as he took calming breaths.
"So what you're telling me is that Harry thinks he killed his godfather because he fell for a trap that the Dark Lord made for him?" Draco asked.
"His guilt is misplaced, yes. It is more Dumbledore's fault, and mine. He did not talk to Potter once last year. He isolated him and Potter began to feel that he would have to handle any problems on his own. I did not help by being so aggressive in our sessions together," Severus said hesitantly, eyeing Draco wearily when the Veela began to growl softly at him, eyes slowly changing into pure silver. "I was biased against him. I wanted to see the worst in him so I did. I projected my hatred of his father onto him and in my blindness I now fear that I might have… weakened whatever shields he would have managed to raise."
"You hurt him? You intentionally tore at his mind? You're the reason he can't trust me with his memories?" Draco snarled as he slowly rose from his seat.
"Draco, I know you're angry," Severus began cautiously.
"Try furious," Draco hissed. "Enraged. Blinded by my hatred."
"I am trying to make amends. I see now that I was…wrong about him. Dreadfully wrong and I will do everything in my power to make up for the years that I spent tormenting him for his father's crimes," Severus said quickly. Draco continued to snarl at Severus until the man snapped at him.
"Do not dare be so hypocritical when you burst into my chambers demanding favors, Draconis. I was not the only one who tormented him these past few years. I seem to recall you attempting to get him expelled and bringing up his lack of parental figures quite often," Severus sneered. Draco flinched as if struck and backed away slowly. Severus sighed and softened his voice.
"I know it is different for you now, Draco, as it is different for me. If you deserve a second chance with him why am I denied the same privilege? We have a lot to make up for, Draco. It would be better if we worked together to gain his forgiveness."
"You're right. Of course, you're right. I just…I hate myself for what I did to him. I always thought that he had the perfect life outside of Hogwarts so I would do everything I could to show him how unimportant he was. I never once thought that the stories about him were lies. Knowing what I know now about how he was raised… Severus, if I were him I would never forgive me," Draco sighed.
"Then be thankful that Potter is more forgiving," Severus said. "Now, I believe you were going to ask for my help?"
"Remus. I want you to find this man and get him here. Or find some way to get Harry to him. I don't want Harry living with this guilt or thinking that this man hates him," Draco said firmly.
"Has Potter been writing letters to anyone? To Remus?" Severus asked suddenly. Draco shrugged uncertainly.
"I don't think so. At least, I haven't seen him write or send any letters. Harry can be incredibly sneaky when he doesn't want you knowing something. He's incredibly Slytherin like when he wants to be," Draco smirked. "Why do you ask?"
"I asked because Remus has been getting letters. I saw them the last time Dumbledore called us in for a meeting. He keeps them in the library. He hasn't opened any of them. There are about fifteen letters and he's tied them together."
"You think the letters are from Harry? That he's been avoiding my mate?" Draco asked. Severus nodded.
"Black was his best friend and now he's dead. Some part of him might be blaming Harry and that's why he hasn't read any of them or written back."
"Find out and if he does blame Harry I want you to persuade him to change his mind, by force preferably." Draco said as he stood and began walking towards the door.
"Where are you going?" Severus asked.
"By orders of my mother I am going to spend the day with friends doing anything that doesn't require me to be near Harry. So basically I'll be torturing myself," Draco grumbled. Severus smirked at Draco's petulant expression.
"Well just think, he will be all the more excited to see you when you get home," Severus said soothingly. He waited until Draco was grinning brightly before smiling evilly. "Or he'll be incredibly angry. I guess that depends on whether or not you left him a note explaining why you would be gone all day." He chuckled when Draco paled considerably.
"Bloody hell," Draco rasped. Severus snorted and closed the door in Draco's face, leaving his godson to panic in the corridor.
Harry woke gradually, stretching out sleepily before melting into the mattress again. He rolled over searching for Draco as he opened his eyes blearily. He frowned upon noticing the empty space and sat up slowly, yawning as he ran a hand through his hair. Harry snagged his glasses off the bedside table, putting them on as he shoved the blanket away. He stood up, shivering slightly and walked over to the large closet on Draco's side of the bed. He grabbed one of Draco's many jumpers, pulling one on and inhaling the scent of his dominant. He frowned at the sleeves that fell past his fingertips and shook them back slightly. He slipped on some fuzzy socks before shuffling from the bedroom with another yawn. Harry stumbled into the kitchen, trying to force his eyes to remain open long enough for him to make a cup of tea. Harry hummed softly as he made his cup and wandered into their private sitting room. He inhaled the hot steam coming from his cup, looking up with a soft content smile when he heard someone moving on the couch. His emerald eyes met the light blue eyes of Narcissa Malfoy. Harry gasped in shock, dropping his cup of tea as he stumbled back. Narcissa stood slowly, hands held unthreateningly in front of her.
"What are you doing here?" Harry gasped as he tried to push away the panic trying to overwhelm him. "When did you get here? Where's Draco?"
"Calm down, Harry," Narcissa said softly ignoring his questions for now.
"Don't call me that. Answer my questions."
"I arrived early this morning. Draco fire-called me. He needed someone to talk to," Narcissa said.
"Draco has me. He can talk to me. Why would he call you? What did you talk about?"
"He called me because I'm his mother," Narcissa said coolly. "We talked about you. He's worried about you. He's worried that he isn't doing enough to help you because he doesn't know how to help you. He asked for my help. He doesn't know how to comfort you."
"And you do? You hate me! Why would you want to help me?" Harry asked as he wrapped his arms tightly around his waist. He didn't want her here in his and Draco's rooms. He especially didn't want to be alone with her. There were any number of things within reach she could hurt him with and unlike his muggle relatives she also had magic at her disposal.
"I don't hate you, Harry," She said calmly. Harry snorted in disbelief and shook his head.
"I'm not stupid," he snapped back. She watched him closely and he shifted uneasily under her stare.
"I never said you were." Harry narrowed his eyes at her.
"Well, I'm fine so you can leave now," He said abruptly. Mrs. Malfoy shook her head as she sat back down.
"No, you aren't fine, Harry."
"I said don't call me that."
"I will not be leaving. I told Draco I would stay with you. He needs some time to relax. He's too stressed right now and he needs to step away from the situation for a while," Mrs. Malfoy said.
"You think I don't know that? You think I can't see how tired he is? How much he worries about me?" Harry demanded. "I've tried to keep the worst from him but there are somethings that I just can't hide. I'm trying to everything he wants me to do. I'm putting these stupid memories in the pensieve; I'm talking to Snape about my nightmares. I've kissed him! We've…we've-do you know how h-hard it is not to f-flinch away whenever he reaches for me? I can't be i-intimate with him in any kind of way unless I'm having an emotional breakdown! I know that he deserves b-better than me so I'm trying to be better but it's so hard and I'm s-so tired and it h-hurts!" Harry was sobbing by the end and Narcissa stood again, holding her arms out to him.
Harry hesitated for a moment and then she smiled reassuringly at him and he ran into her arms. Narcissa hugged him tightly, one hand combing through his hair and the other wrapped around his shoulders. Harry sobbed against her, so utterly tired of pretending.
"That's it, Harry. Let it out. I'm here. Everything's going to be alright," She whispered to him as she lowered them onto the couch. Harry curled up against her, tucked into her side. He wrapped his arms around her thin waist as he let out his anguish. He didn't know how long he cried for before his tears finally slowed. He collapsed bonelessly against her and she tightened her grip.
"Go to sleep, Harry. I'll watch over you and we can talk when you wake up," Narcissa said softly. Harry nodded and snuggled closer to her. Narcissa conjured a blanket and wrapped it around him just as he fell asleep. She brushed his hair out of his face and kissed his forehead sighing softly. She would help this boy in any way that she could. He deserved nothing less than her best from now on and she would protect him with her life.
Hermione Granger was smart. Incredibly smart. Practically a genius.
Hermione Granger was stupid. Incredibly stupid. How could she be so stupid? She had been thinking about her conversation with Malfoy in the library, well, it had been more like a threat. A very blunt, terrifying threat. She didn't want to believe what he had told her. She didn't want to think that Harry had been…had been…but she didn't think he would lie about something like that just to get a rise out of her. At least not when his mate was involved. And it wasn't an unfounded assumption. She knew that Harry had been abused. She didn't know the extent of that abuse but she knew he had been neglected and starved. It explained why he was so thin and short.
She was in the girls Prefect dorm, sitting on her bed as she thought things over. She had been blinded and manipulated by Dumbledore and it might have cost her her best friend but she wouldn't give up on trying to make amends. She would help Harry in any way that she could and she wouldn't stop trying to gain his forgiveness.
First she would have to gain Draco's trust or at least try to convince him that she was sincere in her remorse. Decision made she set off in search of the blond git. Hermione wouldn't let Harry fight this battle alone. She had been with him through all the horrible things he had endured at school; she had stuck by his side. Admittedly she hadn't been a very good friend to him recently but that would change. Harry was her brother in all but blood and she was so very tired of people hurting her little brother. People seemed to forget that she wasn't just smart, she was also a Gryffindor, and it was time she started being brave. She would remain loyal to Harry and she would pounce on anyone trying to cause him harm and tear them to pieces.
She grinned in anticipation, this one going to be fun! It would also be very hard to convince them she'd changed but this was what she wanted and she wouldn't allow herself to be tricked any longer.
Hermione Granger was smart. Incredibly smart. Practically a genius.
Her peers were stupid. Incredibly stupid. And they better watch out because Hermione was doing being nice. She was done following the rules. Hermione Granger was going incredibly smart and she was going to make them pay.
Dumbledore paced his office angrily, his magic lashing out and breaking various delicate items. There was one thing taking up his attention, one nuisance that kept foiling his plans at every turn. He had seen Potter's eyes when the boy had lost control of his temper. They had been pure emerald and his ears had slimed and tapered off at the end, forming small points.
Dumbledore had left as quickly as he could, returning to his office so that he could do a bit of research and what he had found could ruin everything. He needed to make sure though. If he acted on his suspicions and it turned out he was wrong he could accidently kill his weapon and ticket to more fame. He would have to test the boy first. Maybe a potion? There were potions that could detect creature inheritance. Perhaps he could make a suggestion to Severus and get him to put the potion on the sixth year curriculum. That way it would seem less suspicious. Yes, that's what he would do. The student would test the potions and he'd have Severus take note of what Potter's potion revealed. If it proved his assumptions right then what he had planned wouldn't kill him, it would bind his creature, making him unable to access the powers he otherwise would have received.
He called Severus to his office and told him about the potion. He made sure to make it seem like he thought it was something that the children would enjoy, his eyes twinkling as he played the harmless grandfather. Severus grumbled and complained but eventually agreed to teach them how to brew the potion before storming impatiently out of Albus' office. Albus grinned to himself as he popped one of his lemon drops into his mouth. Everything would go as planned this time. He would make sure of it. And if, somehow, the Potter brat managed to ruin another plan he could always cast the imperius curse and order Potter to do his bidding.
Yes, things were beginning to look up for him. Soon he would have all the fame and glory that the boy had stolen from him. He would be the most powerful wizard in all of Europe and no one would dare stand in his way!
So before I posted this I went through all the reviews for this story and do you know what I found? Do you?! Nobody has flamed me! I haven't had one rude or bad review! You guys are fantastic! It means so much that so many people support me in writing this story. I really do appreciate it guys. Hugs for everyone! Do you feel that? That's me hugging you. Thank you, Lovelies.