A/N: Kind of an emotional chapter for the boys, but I also like how things go with them too :) Enjoy!
Chapter 14: Astronomy Tower
Harry debated about going to the Gryffindor tower, but he had a feeling that Draco wanted to go to the astronomy tower so he lead him in that direction. Draco was quiet next to him. "That was really insightful, what you said back there," Harry said quietly.
"Thanks. It's the truth though. I wish someone had told me that when I was their age," Draco replied.
Harry looked over at him. "Well, I did try to tell you. Well, sort of," he said.
Draco chuckled. "You did. In so many words anyway or maybe it was in so little words, more hexes?" he suggested.
Harry punched his arm with his free hand and laughed. "Okay, I get your point. I think that the students hearing it from you will get across much better than from anyone else," he complimented.
Draco smiled slightly. "€Well, like I said, I wish someone would have told me that, someone that I would have believed anyway," he replied thoughtfully.
"It's okay, Draco. You're making amends now and you're passing on wisdom that you learned from your mistakes. I saw their faces; they heard you and they listened. Don't be so hard on yourself," Harry said in a firm voice.
Draco stopped and turned to look at him. "You see the best in people don't you?"
Harry smiled slightly. "I do. Some people I can't ever find it, but you, I've always known there was good in there. Are you ready to go up?"
Draco turned and realized they were at the base of the astronomy tower. He suddenly felt sick to his stomach. He hadn't been up there since the incident with Dumbledore. He didn't want to go up there now. He could feel his brow getting sweaty with his anxiety.
"Harry, I-" Draco began in a shaky voice.
Harry reached over and took his hand. "We are going up there. Besides, you want to know what happened that night, don't you?"
Draco stared at him. He was curious as to what and how Harry saw that night. He sighed and looked up. "Okay," he said quietly.
Harry nodded and started up the steps. He wished he could have held Draco's hand the whole way up, but he had to use his free hand for extra support. Once they got to the top, Harry and Draco stood there next to each other. The tower was different and it looked more like a classroom than a tower with a bunch of platforms. Harry walked across to the window that Dumbledore had fallen through. He stared down and felt tears coming to his eyes. He hadn't thought much of Dumbledore's death in a couple of years. But being up there, even with the changes, it came back easily and he could only begin to imagine how Draco was feeling right now. He wanted to tell him what happened that night.
"So during sixth year I took special classes with Dumbledore. He was teaching me about Horcruxes, about how Voldemort had split his soul into seven things: a diary, a ring, a locket, a diadem, a cup, his snake, and me. Each item had to be destroyed in order to rid us of him permanently. I destroyed the diary in second year. Dumbledore destroyed the ring before sixth year and the rest, my friends and I took care of them during the war. Voldemort took care of me, the last horcrux, and then he was mortal again. The ring, it was cursed and when Dumbledore put it on, it poisoned him. That's how he was dying. All throughout sixth year he was dying. Snape knew. He was trying to help him get through it and then they knew about what Voldemort wanted you to do and so they decided that when the time came because they knew it would, that Snape would kill Dumbledore and not you," Harry paused as he looked over at Draco. He was sitting down in a chair that was in the corner. His eyes were on the spot that Dumbledore had been before he fell out the window. He was pale and Harry could see him shaking.
"Dumbledore and I had gone to find the locket that night. He had found the location. While we were there, he had to drink the potion that was in the container that held the locket. It was some potion that made him basically lose his mind for the time that he drank. I forced him to keep drinking because he told me before he even started that he would ask me to stop and I couldn't listen. It was one of the hardest moments to see him going through that. Once he finished the potion, he was weak, but we got the locket and we managed to get out of there. He apparated us to the astronomy tower. He knew you were coming so he cast me immobile and threw my invisibility cloak over me. I couldn't move and I was not able to be seen, but I saw everything that happened here," Harry finished.
Draco had tears streaming down his cheeks by the time Harry was finished. Harry stepped over to him, but didn't reach out. He wasn't sure what Draco would want him to do. "I was so scared that night. I knew that I didn't want to kill Dumbledore. I knew the second the Dark Lord tasked me with it. He wanted me to fix what my father had done. I wanted to protect my father so I did everything that I could, but it never worked out. I should have known then that I had to stop, but he would have killed my parents and I and I just couldn't let that happen. I did drop my hand as you saw. I knew that if anybody could protect me it would be Dumbledore and Severus, but then, Severus killed him and I just didn't know what was going to happen," Draco said quietly as tears continued to fall down his cheeks.
"Did Voldemort ever find out that you weren't the one to kill Dumbledore?" Harry questioned.
Draco shrugged. "I'm still alive so probably not or if he did, he had a bigger target in mind or just simply didn't care about my failure."
Harry nodded. "I'm sorry that you had to go through that."
Draco shrugged again. "Severus helped me deal with it. I do miss him," he said sadly.
"Me too," Harry commented absently as he thought back to the night he died.
"You hated him," Draco responded with a bit of a bite in his tone. He stood up and walked towards Harry wiping at his eyes. He was on the defense now about Snape.
"I didn't understand him," Harry replied calmly.
"What does that mean?" Draco questioned in a harsh voice.
"I reminded him of my dad who did not treat him very well in school. Plus, he was in love with my mum and so out of some duty to her; he was protecting me throughout all of my years at Hogwarts. It was in his own way of course, but he still was protecting me. It wasn't until he was dying that I learned who he really was. I wish that I had known that before and then maybe things would have been different," Harry explained.
Draco relaxed his shoulders. "Sorry, I just, he was more of a father to me than my own."
Harry reached out and squeezed his hand. "I know. Listen, why don't we look around a bit more and then maybe we can go into Hogsmeade and get a butterbeer or visit Honeydukes or something?" he suggested.
Draco smiled and nodded. He stepped forward and pressed a kiss to Harry's forehead. "Thank you for explaining some things," he whispered.
Harry smiled and turned his head to the side and caught Draco's cheek and pressed a light kiss there. "You're welcome," he whispered back.
They both looked once more at the window and then left the tower. Harry stopped by the Gryffindor tower briefly, but no one was in there. Probably out enjoying the day or still eating. "I suppose this place isn't so awful," Draco commented, his nose lifted slightly in the air.
Harry chuckled. "A lot warmer in here than in Slytherin," he pointed out.
"In more ways than one," Draco commented quietly. Harry looked over at him with a confused look. He was frowning as he looked around. He caught Harry staring and he shook his head. "Never mind, let's go," he said as he started for the door.
Harry followed slowly. He glanced around the first real home he ever had and smiled slightly before he walked out. Once they got to the ground floor, they saw McGonagall coming from the Great Hall. She smiled at them. "Well, what did you think?" she asked.
"Things are different, but the same all at once," Harry commented.
She nodded. "Yes. We didn't want to change the general structure and look of the school too much. Did you see the astronomy tower?"
Draco looked up at her and paled slightly. "Why did you use my donation for there?" he asked in a quiet voice that sounded a bit childish and afraid.
McGonagall studied him for a moment. "Would you say that's when you changed? That was the moment that made you realize that the path you were following was the wrong one?" she questioned him.
Draco stared at her with wide eyes. He glanced at Harry who was looking between the two. "Um, I'm not sure…." he muttered. He was looking at the ground, frowning, but deep in thought.
"Did you drop your hand?" she asked.
Draco nodded and looked up again. "Well, yes, but I don't know if that was because I realized I was on the wrong path more like I realized I was doing something I didn't want to do, but on the wrong path….." he trailed off again.
"You helped Harry during the war, didn't you?" she asked.
Draco blushed. "Yes, I did," he replied quietly.
"If you had chosen to continue on the path of Voldemort, you would not have dropped your hand and you would not have helped Harry," she reminded him.
"But I-" he cut himself off as she gave him a stern look.
"I've discussed this in length with Dumbledore. That was your turning point. You may not have had a say in what you were able to do, but it was in your mind and in your desires. That is why we used your donation for the astronomy tower. Your life changed that night," she explained.
Draco felt tears in his eyes and he wiped quickly at them and looked away. Harry looked over at him feeling the pain that he was feeling. McGonagall stepped forward and set her hand on Draco's shoulder. "You are doing good in this world, Mr. Malfoy. Dumbledore and Professor Snape are quite proud of you. You're a good person. Let your past guide your future, but don't have it bring you down. It was nice to see you both and Harry, please remember my offer. The same would be extended to you as well, Draco," McGonagall said. She smiled at them both, squeezing each one's shoulders before she turned and walked briskly away.
They both watched her leave and then turned and left the castle. They walked to the gates in silence. "What offer did she extend to you?" Draco asked, breaking the silence. They had just exited the grounds of Hogwarts and had both turned to look back at the castle. They could really only see the tallest parts of the castle.
"She said that if I couldn't go back to being an auror, she had a place for me at Hogwarts, as a teacher," Harry replied quietly. They started down the path to Hogsmeade. Draco stopped though and Harry turned to look at him.
"She extended that to me?" he questioned in disbelief. Harry nodded. Draco looked out in the distance thoughtfully. "A potions professor?" he smiled slightly at the thought. Harry smiled in return.
"Butterbeer and sweets for old times sake, well, more of reminiscing about childhood, the good parts?" Harry suggested.
Draco chuckled. "That sounds good," he replied feeling better than he had all morning. Harry smiled at him and reached his free hand out and Draco looked at it for a moment and then took into his own. They continued down the path to Hogsmeade, checking off Hogwarts from Harry's bucket list.