Authors Note: Thank you so much for all the beautiful reviews! This is my most successful work I've ever posted here. I hope you enjoy this next chapter. It is a little slower, but there are a few things I felt needed to be said. I will try to update again tomorrow. Please enjoy!
The next morning Draco was nowhere to be found. Harry panicked for a moment, assuming he'd been abandoned, but then realizing that was a load of rubbish. He was in Malfoy Manor. Draco wouldn't leave him here. It wasn't Harry's home. He sat up in the large bed, listening to the old house. He heard the faint sound of steps down one hall, but they were too light and sharp to be Draco's. They sounded like a woman's shoe. He concentrated on other noises. He found a robe draped over a chair with a piece of parchment on the chair. It had his name on it.
"Harry," it read, "wear this if you'd like. Bathroom is the second door on the left of my room." He looked over to see the door was slightly cracked, light working its way through the slight opening. He nudged it open, ignoring the robe, and followed the sounds of a bath. He had to go through two other doors to get there, but they were all open.
"Potter," Draco acknowledged as he saw Harry stepping into the steamy room. He was in the middle of a bath. He'd already shaved. He was about to lie back under the water for a moment before he saw the other man.
Harry stammered a bit and rubbed his arm. He became very aware of his nudity and of Draco's. There were no bubbles in the bath so he was able to see everything without the haze of several drinks to make him braver. He watched as the blond male disappeared under the water to wet his hair. Harry had to look away.
When Draco resurfaced, he looked annoyed. "Get in, then," he grumbled. He wasn't much of a morning person at all and he wasn't used to sharing his morning ritual with anyone before breakfast. He rolled his eyes as Harry tried to figure out what he was going to do and then finally got into the large tub. The bath itself was awkward, neither man speaking to the other, though a few bold caresses were exchanged, and a heavy snog was shared.
It was breakfast which really peaked Harry's interest in the day-to-day Malfoy affairs. The house elves had cooked up a delicious breakfast, but Draco didn't touch it. Harry followed Draco's lead after his foot was kicked when he tried to tuck in.
After a few minutes of waiting, the light footsteps Harry had heard before reappeared, this time with a body and face to match. Narcissa glided down the stairs, already dressed and gleaming. Draco stood and embraced his mother who looked like she had never smiled a day in her life, nor would she ever do it. The son kissed the mother's cheek; they separated and she sat down before Draco would take his seat.
At first Narcissa didn't take notice of Harry sitting at her table with a plate full of food. She only raised a brow at him when he wished her a good morning.
"Draco," she started as she reached for her morning cup of tea. "When did Harry Potter enter my house?"
Harry shifted in his seat as the pair began to speak like he wasn't there.
"I brought him home, Mother."
"You know what he did."
"I know exactly what he did," Draco hissed.
"Then you'd bloody well act like it! You can't just forget about the things he has done! You can't just bring him here for a quick shag like it's nothing!" Narcissa put a hand to her mouth, trying to forget the pain that followed her, the pain that had followed her family for generations.
"I'm sorry. I'll just… I'll just go then. I didn't mean to disturb anything," Harry mumbled making a move to stand.
"Don't go anywhere," Narcissa commanded. "Let's get one thing straight." She turned on Harry, her face contorted with anguish. "You saved my Draco. You saved me. You saved this home, but not my husband. You couldn't save him. You could not save my name. But you saved my son from a terrible fate. We owe you so much indeed. He would hate to admit it, but you saved Lucius's life. For a short time, anyway." Harry glanced at one of the portraits of the Malfoy family painted a few years ago. Scorpius was about to start his first year at Hogwarts. His mother was not in this painting. Draco looked faintly happy, but Draco's parents looked miserable. He remembered the headlines from The Daily Prophet which were printed that same month. Infamous Death Eater Lucius Malfoy Found Dead, Head of Malfoy House Commits Suicide, Draco Malfoy: Is He Doomed for the Same Fate? These were the most frequently seen articles. Lucius was dead. He was buried in the family cemetery deep in the southern lawn of the manor.
Harry bit his lip. What words would he be able to give to this woman? He couldn't tell her things would be okay. He couldn't tell her that he understood. He couldn't thank her. Instead, he reached out and touched her fingertips with his own. She nodded demurely.
"Mother, Potter is divorcing his wife. I suspect he could use one of your many contacts," Draco said, just to break the long silence which had followed Narcissa's small speech.
"Of course." Narcissa tucked her head down and nibbled at her breakfast. For all his faults, Lucius had been a good man to her. She had loved him. He was a devoted father, as she was a devoted mother.
Potter looked to Draco, trying to smile. Draco did not know how to do that, not even around his son. His son was the only thing he truly loved. He was loyal to his mother, but he was not sure how much of that was real love. He had never been happy. He had been close to it, but for only a few years when he was too young to understand the gravity of the situation. He had been close to happiness for three years, but it all stopped the summer Voldemort came back from the dead.
For the most part, breakfast, as usual, was silent. Draco waited until his mother had finished to stand. The servants cleaned up the mess for them.
"Come with me, Potter. I want to show you something," Draco said quietly. He was about to do something he'd never done before. He was about to go to the room where Voldemort had stayed. The man… No. He had never really been a man. The monster had lived in the largest bedroom, the room which, until that point, had been inhabited by Draco's parents.
Harry followed Draco up winding staircases which reminded him of a few of the towers at Hogwarts. Up they went to the second highest level. No one dared touch the half of this floor that Voldemort had marked as his own. On the door was a writhing Dark Mark, the tongue hissing cruelly as they approached it.
"We have tried every spell we could think of to get rid of it. We've devised a few of our own. We've used potions and different sorts of magic to erase it but it is just as permanent as this," Draco whispered, drawing up his sleeve so that his own Dark Mark was plainly displayed. The snake on his arm slithered in and out of the skull. It hurt. Draco never got this close to the door, so he had never experienced so much pain.
"I think I might like to go in, Draco," Harry asked, his hand reaching out to take Draco's hand or to open the door, whichever Draco allowed first, if either. The blond began to reach for the offered hand but withdrew and instead forced open the door with his wand. He refused to touch it.
The room itself perpetually smelled of smoke and ash. They had tried to burn everything within the room to rid themselves of the plague. Instead of dying off, the memories expanded and multiplied and all members of the household felt as though something had changed. Even now that both Draco and Harry were still and silent, an eerie breeze rustled piles of ash, tickling the sleeping dragon Draco knew was hiding under the remains of the bed.
Draco would not walk beyond the threshold of the door, but he hated being so close to the spooky door in the first place. Harry, on the other hand, was intrigued.
"It feels like him, if that makes any sense."
Draco clenched his jaws in response. "If my mother was not so attached to the place, I'd have us all moved, including my father's bones. The rest of them could stay here. I don't want to have anything to do with them. They were not here to assist with anything. They did not fight for their right to live on this land. They didn't have him living amongst them, mocking them, torturing them, threatening them with death if they didn't murder others. Harry, I need you to know that he would have killed my whole family if I didn't do as he asked. I had to be the one to kill Dumbledore. It had to be me. He didn't believe my parents could do it, but he was willing to give them one more chance by using me. All I wanted to do was to stay out of it. Of course there used to be a time when I envied my father's Death Eater status. All of us did. Crabbe, Goyle, Zabini. All of us. My wife seemed to be the exception. She is the type of person who never cares about anything but herself. Her selfishness rivaled Voldemort's and mine. Scorpius knows about our past, but he idolizes you, Harry. I don't want that. I want him to look to me for answers, not to your son and to you."
Draco's words stung Harry a bit. He knew that Scorpius and Albus were close friends, but he didn't know that Draco's son desperately envied his friend's life. Scorpius had not had a difficult life, but he was always surrounded by the world's perception of his father, grandmother, and especially his grandfather. He was always aware of the hate that had once poured freely from the Malfoy home, aware that it had harbored the most hated man in the wizarding world. He knew what his great aunt had done to Teddy's family, what she had done to Harry's godfather, what she had done to Hermione and Dobby and countless others. He knew that his father had tried to kill Dumbledore. He knew that his father had tortured Thorfinn Rowle. He also knew that if it weren't for Harry Potter, his father would have been in Azkaban forever and he would have never existed. He knew that Harry Potter had saved his father's life twice, with an implied third rescue from a life sentence in Azkaban. Scorpius had never seen his father really smile unless the man was drunk or delirious with pain.
"I'm sorry, Draco. I know you love him. Al's always telling me how you send him letters every day and send him whatever he could need or want. I know you are devoted to your son. I'm sorry that he doesn't look up to you like he should," Harry said, barely audible. He pushed his unruly hair out of his face and stared around the room, but he had had enough of the ghosts that whispered to him here. He stepped closer to Draco who took a step back.
Draco turned away from Harry, walking back down the stairs to one of the libraries he had made into his sanctuaries. As Harry followed, he realized that Hermione would die to be able to live in a house with three fully stocked libraries, each roughly the size of the library at Hogwarts.
"I don't know how long you are going to stay here, Potter, but you are welcome to my home. I'll leave the decision up to you about continuing this… affair. I have some work I need to do today, and I suppose I need to talk to Astoria. I think she's ready to end our little charade, although it does benefit her. She likes the money and the clothes and the infamy. She loves our son, though I almost wish she wouldn't. It would make leaving her easier," he said. He was sitting on a sofa with his eyes closed.
"Draco, I think I would like to continue to spend time with you. I would like to spend more time with you and get to know you. I want to divorce my wife and find happiness with someone. I'd like to see if that someone is you. I'd like to get to know your son and have you know my children. If you want to leave your wife, I would not mind helping you at all with that too."
Draco smiled slightly. The left half of his mouth curled up gently and his eyes opened, softened. "You sound like you're making a commitment, Potter. We don't even know each other. Don't commit yourself to me. I agree that getting to know each other would be great, but it isn't like we are getting married. Don't make it sound like that."
"Please call me Harry."