AN: Chapter 31. A whole year. It has now been a whole year since I started writing this story and I can't believe how fast it has gone, and we are far from done yet, so here is a chapter dedicated to every single one of you who has left he a review, supported me along the way or just simply read my story. Thank you and here is to the next year. *raises a toast*

Please do come and chat with me on facebook. If you would like to be friends with me there, there is a link on my bio.

Enjoy.

Warnings: Swearing, slash and Adult themes. For full warnings see story description.

Massive thanks to my beta, AchillesTheGeek.

(Note: This is the updated edited version of the chapter. Updated 29/05/16)


"I can't believe he wouldn't speak to me," Draco complained sulkily to his boyfriend, as he barged through the door to his and Harry's rooms, following their meeting with Remus, with Harry just a few steps behind him.

Hermione and Ron were still there studying, and looked up out of curiosity at sound of Harry and Draco's return. Harry shook his head slightly when Hermione opened her mouth to ask something. It wasn't that he minded her asking, rather that he could just tell that Draco was in no mood to go over all that had happened and the last thing he wanted was to stress his boyfriend any further. He would explain to her later when inevitably her curiosity finally got too much for her.

Draco had tried to speak with his father through the door but the man had stubbornly remained silent. And then Remus had denied Draco's request to enter the room where Lucius was being kept. Harry appreciated that, even if the blond hadn't. Tonks had tried to explain that it was for Draco and the baby's safety but that had just resulted in a tirade of insults which had only stopped when Harry had tried to pull his boyfriend into his arms.

Apparently the blond had not been in any kind of mood to be comforted because at that point he had shoved Harry away and stormed dramatically from the room without another word. With a hurried apology to Remus and Tonks, Harry had chased after him. It was a little concerning that they were still none the wiser about Snape's location but at least they knew what was happening with Draco's father, even if the man seemed to be, in Harry's opinion, sulking.

In his anger, Draco had walked very fast and Harry had only just managed to catch up with him outside the Slytherin common room; a good job too otherwise he might have been left to head all the way across the castle to the Gryffindor common room in order to gain entry to their rooms. Even then, Draco was still shaking, whether from anger or just adrenalin was not clear, but he had actively ignored Harry and hadn't slowed at all, and despite his longer legs Harry had had to all but run to keep up with him.

Despite his outburst, Draco didn't actually seem to be looking for an answer as he paced around the room, oblivious to the surprised looks on Ron and Hermione's faces. Harry sighed as he shut the door, and turned to watch his boyfriend, who seemed to be struggling to get his head around everything.

"I'm his son," Draco said, his hands clenched at his sides when suddenly turned to glare at Harry across the room, as though neither Hermione nor Ron were there. "He can't just ignore me, he must know where Professor Snape is," he insisted, his expression softening, looking at Harry as though waiting for him to fix everything.

"Remus said he would try and find out what is going on with Snape," Harry reminded him, taking care to keep his voice gentle. His boyfriend could get rather vicious when in a strop, after all. "And maybe you could try writing to your Mother; perhaps she can get your father to talk to her and tell her what is happening."

"Good idea!" Draco exclaimed. "I will do that now," Draco said decisively, as he headed straight for his desk; he was still angry with his Father but the mental image of Narcissa Malfoy yelling at her ex-husband for treating his own son so poorly was enough to buoy Draco's spirits somewhat.

Ron privately thought that Lucius Malfoy refusing to speak to the blond might be reason to celebrate, but then the man wasn't his father and he could at least acknowledge that Draco would likely see things differently; so he chose to keep that particular thought to himself. "Erm... Malfoy," Ron said, sounding a little hesitant.

"What?!" the Draco demanded, turning to glare at the red-head, who he honestly hadn't even noticed was still in the room; he didn't appreciate being held up in starting his letter, certainly not to chit-chat with idiotic Gryffindors. It was not helping that he was rather embarrassed to now realise that he had been emotionally ranting and raving in front of an audience, and was now wishing he had shown a little more restraint. 'Stupid hormones,' he thought grumpily, frustrated that his emotions had been getting away from him as of late.

"You got a letter," Ron informed him tersely, looking to be somewhere between stunned and pissed off at having been yelled at, particularly given he was just trying to be helpful and had held back his own attitude.

Draco glared for a moment longer, before walking over and snatching the piece of parchment from Ron's outstretched hand, examining it closely. Draco was a little annoyed that the letter had been delivered to Weasley at all, who could easily have read it, but grateful to have it handed over so swiftly with the seal not having been tampered with, from what he could tell.

Draco seemed to be considering saying something, but his mouth became a pinched line as he instead chose to turn on the spot, storm across the room into the main bedroom and slam the door behind him.

"Well at least he is sticking to the 'if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all' rule," Harry said, giving his best friend a wry, apologetic smile, as he took a seat at the table with Ron and Hermione.

"Either that or he actually tried to say thank you and realised he didn't know how," Ron grumbled a little bitterly, rather wishing he had ignored Hermione's annoyed glare that had stopped him from taking a peek inside when the letter first arrived.

"Shouldn't you check on him?" Hermione asked with a worried glance at the door Draco had gone through moments earlier.

"Right now he needs some space," Harry said with certainty. It was strange; he wasn't sure if it was just because he spent so much time with his boyfriend that he could now read Draco's emotions like a book, but he knew that the blond needed to be left alone for a bit. "Trust me," he added, when Hermione looked sceptical.

Ron shrugged his shoulders, happy to let Harry worry about his own relationship, and Hermione nodded her head slowly, still not looking too sure. Harry smiled; it was strangely comforting that Draco was as much of a mystery to his two best friends as ever. Not everything had changed and he liked being the one who knew his boyfriend best; he could almost feel his Erote side preening with pride at the strength of their bond.

"Well, seeing as you don't have anything else to be doing, Harry, we can all focus on this transfiguration essay," Hermione suggested sternly, to which Harry sighed. "Ron's done reading this one, so it is your turn," she said moving the large book to in front of Harry, who looked at Ron in slight alarm.

"You heard her, mate, it's your turn," he said, looking far too amused for Harry's liking. For Hermione's too, apparently.

"You can wipe that expression off your face, Ron," she told him. "You get to start writing about what you have learned now."

"On second thought, I think I should check on, Draco," Harry said, going to get up. But Hermione gave him a warning look and he sat back down with a defeated sigh. He knew she was right really; he was going to have to do the work at some point anyway, at least if he did it now he would have her help. And so he settled down to start reading, the room silent but for the sound of Hermione and Ron's quills against parchment.

-#-

'Impertinent little brat,' Lucius thought to himself as he lounged on his inhumanly small bed; he would, of course, never have 'lounged' on anything under normal circumstances, but there was no-one around to witness such plebeian behaviour and these were most definitely not normal circumstances. He was being held against his will by a werewolf, Remus Lupin, and his own niece, of all people; he had no doubt that it was, of course, all carefully orchestrated by Dumbledore.

His mood was unsurprisingly atrocious. He was infuriated with his new so-called home, which was even less suitable than the accommodation he had been provided with in Severus' quarters. And then there was Severus himself, who he was angry at for both having dared to love him, and then for leaving in such a manner. None of this was helped by his ex-wife's meddling.

And then Draco had demanded to speak with him. It was too much, and he refused; he had no patience left for listening to the whining of his son. 'Let Narcissa and Severus deal with the boy,' he told himself. 'Or Potter,' he thought bitterly. After all, the Potter boy was now bonded with Draco; it was Potter's child that was growing within Draco. As distasteful as he found that concept, surely Potter should be the one to deal with whatever worries or complaints Draco had now.

He was quickly finding that he missed being in Severus' quarters. For a moment he had thought that maybe he missed the man himself, but that was preposterous of course; he had come to the conclusion that he was mourning the loss of Severus' rather remarkable collection of spirits. Severus had also had a standing instruction for the house elves to fetch whatever Lucius wished to eat, but now Lucius was apparently expected to survive on the three pitiful meals a day he was brought, and so far the house elves had outrageously ignored all orders he gave them.

Without even a book to read, Lucius was quickly growing bored with his change in circumstances, and starting to wonder if perhaps he should have spoken with Draco simply for something to entertain himself for a short while. Besides, the elves might be more likely to follow his son's orders than his, though the very idea was hard to swallow.

He couldn't help but wonder how it had come to this. He was Lucius Malfoy, for Merlin's sake; he was the very pinnacle of pure blood society and yet he was being treated abysmally. Someone would pay for this, he would see to it, no matter how long it took.

-#-

Draco all but threw himself face first onto their bed, glad that Harry had had enough sense not to follow him. Grabbing a pillow and pulling it over his head, Draco let out a scream of frustration. Over the years he had learned that his father could be a cold and infuriating man, but never before had Draco found himself ignored and rejected by the man quite so completely.

He tried to roll over onto his back, but when his own wing got in his way, he grumbled irritably as he pushed himself to his feet, spreading his wings wide before taking care to lie down with them pinned beneath him. It took a little shuffling but he eventually managed to get comfortable. Draco was still certain he would never get used to having to have his wings out all the time; though he was at least getting better at only hitting people with them when he actually intended to now.

Draco inhaled deeply as he looked up the ceiling, trying to calm the swirling irritation and frustration in his mind as he breathed out slowly. It helped somewhat, and he did it a few more times before he forced himself to lift his arm and hold the letter that Weasley had given where he could see it. He used his free hand to trail fingers over his mother's familiar, elegant scrawl, spelling out his name.

"At least one of my parents still wants to talk to me," he grumbled under his breath, as he slid it open in one easy motion, discarding the envelope onto the covers next to him as he focused his attention on the missive within.

'My dearest Draco,

It was so lovely to see both you and Harry the other day, and I must thank you both once again for having permitted me to stay, particularly given the short notice. It was a great comfort to me to see the affection and care with which you are treated, and to bear witness to the happiness Harry brings you.

However, as much as I would like to dwell upon such joyous things, I am writing to you now regarding your father.

Prior to taking my leave of Hogwarts, I paid a visit to Professor Snape and your father, wishing to ensure that neither had driven the other to distraction. Unfortunately, it seems that my concerns were not without merit for it was quite apparent that they had had some degree of disagreement, the result of which was in some rather insensitive remarks from your father. I shall not be divulging the specifics so I ask you to be discreet enough not to ask.

However, I feel I must inform you that, in the light of your father's insensitivity, Professor Snape then took his leave, with seemingly no intention of returning to either Hogwarts, your father, or indeed his teaching post, in the near future. This does, of course, raise a few issues which I must raise with you.

I have not been informed as to what is been done in terms of your father's care, but given his recent contemptible behaviour, I feel that I must request that, for the moment, you cease all contact with him. I understand that you may find this request frustrating or hard to comply with, but as your mother I beseech you to follow my guidance in this matter. I must insist on this until he has proven himself capable of being a suitable father for my only son.

I do not doubt that you also have concerns for the well-being of Professor Snape. On that front I do not have much news to share and I can only offer you my assurances that I am seeing to it that all that can be done to ensure his return is being taken care of.

With much love and affection,

your Mother.'

Her words both comforted and concerned him, and he took the time to read it through once more, trying to be sure that he had taken in every detail it conveyed. It certainly explained a lot; it wasn't much of a surprise to Draco to hear that his father had managed to say something offensive to Professor Snape; personalised insults were something of a Lucius Malfoy special after all, as Draco knew all too well. Draco was, however, disappointed that Professor Snape had let the man's words hurt him enough to chase him from the school.

He was also rather disappointed that things had clearly fallen apart between the two men. He had honestly believed that the two of them might have be able to find happiness together and he had begun to grow rather keen on the idea of Professor Snape as his step-father.

Obviously there were issues that he had been unaware of, as his father's supposedly 'insensitive remarks' must had been regarding something serious for Professor Snape to have cancelled classes, and apparently leave Hogwarts altogether. For the moment though, there was nothing he could do to help the potions master, and so he had no choice but to leave that matter in his mother's capable hands and trust her.

As for her request regarding Lucius, it was surprising to say the very least. She wanted him not to have contact with his father? Draco could only assume that whatever it was that his father had said to offend Professor Snape, had also deeply upset his mother. 'It's not like he wants me to talk to him anyway,' Draco thought with a scowl.

He dropped the letter down on the bed next to him and crossed his arms over his barely curved belly as he stared up at the ceiling once more, trying to figure out what he should do now. He would, of course, respond to his mother and at least let her know about the alternative imprisonment that Dumbledore had organised for Lucius; despite her words, he knew that she would still want to know that her ex-husband was safe. Draco had also decided that he would agree to her request that he not speak with his father, seeing as he was unlikely to have wanted to do so for a while anyway, given today's rejection.

This thought, however, drew his anger to the surface once more, the humiliation sickening him. It would not have been so terrible if only Lupin and Tonks had not been there watching, witnessing his father completely ignored him. He hadn't wanted the looks of sympathy they had given him, but, more than that, Draco had been able to feel the undertones of 'what did you expect from Lucius Malfoy?' and that hurt. If he was honest with himself, he rather agreed with the sentiment; he had certainly had enough of the trouble that seemed to inevitably follow in his father's wake.

Draco shuffled himself off the bed, with far less elegance than he would have liked, and stretched his wings to ease the discomfort from lying on them. He moaned softly at the delightful sensation before folding them carefully behind his back as he took a moment to ease the tension from the rest of his body.

Feeling somewhat more in control of himself, Draco picked up his mother's letter and headed over to the desk in the corner. Pulling out a blank sheet of parchment, a quill and some ink, the settled down to write his response.

'Dear Mother,' he started, tapping the tip of the quill against his chin in thought before continuing. 'Thank you for your recent letter...'

-#-

Severus stood stiffly in front of the fireplace in the front room of his house in Spinners End. He had no love for the house really, apart from the benefit of being surrounded by his large collection of books, but for the time being it was still preferable to being at Hogwarts. He was certain that by now there would be talk; it was not, after all, common practice for him to cancel any classes, let alone several days' worth. And still he could not quite bring himself to care.

His back was as straight as ever, and his arms were crossed over his chest, keeping his black robes wrapped tightly around him, despite the warmth the fire was radiating. Severus would have been far happier to be left alone to lose himself in one of his many fine books, but Narcissa was insistent, and persistent for that matter. After her fourth owl he had finally conceded, and agreed to let her into his home, a decision he was already coming to regret.

Severus was unsurprised when, right on time, the flames turned emerald green and the perpetually beautiful Narcissa Malfoy… 'No, Narcissa Black,' he corrected himself… stepped through the floo and stood before him. It would be poor form for a Lady such as Narcissa to be tardy, after all.

"Now, Severus," Narcissa said with a stern tone that he would have considered more appropriate for Draco than him. "Are you ready to stop behaving like a child and discuss this like the mature adult you proclaim yourself to be?" she asked impatiently, apparently not in the mood to tolerate any nonsense from anyone.

Severus resisted the urge to gape at her, feeling rather taken aback at being spoken to in such a manner by his old friend. He settled instead for simply narrowing his eyes, hoping it would be enough to make clear his disapproval of both her tone and words.

"Very well, the difficult way it is," Narcissa said, sounding none-too-surprised, if a little disappointed.

Severus turned to watch her as she stepped passed him, moving further into his home as though she belonged there. She seemed to pay him no thought as she headed towards the room she knew to be the dining room. However, Narcissa paused as she reached the doorway, turning to give the potions master a warning glance and with a resigned sigh, he followed after her. "We shall start by getting you fed. Henny," she called out firmly.

There was a small familiar pop and a petite, though rather elderly, house elf with squinty eyes appeared in front of them. "How's can Henny be serving you, Mistress?" the elf asked, with a slow, elegant bow.

"I suspect Professor Snape here has not been eating as he should, the last few days," Narcissa said primly, with a knowing glance at Severus, who kept his arms still crossed over his chest defensively, feeling no need to actually respond when Narcissa seemed so certain in the conclusions she was drawing for herself. And sure enough, she did not wait for a response before delivering clear instructions to the little elf. "See to it that we are provided with a selection of dishes from a light soup to something a little more substantial."

While it was true that he had not eaten as he usually would, he had genuinely had little appetite and sure that he would have eaten had he felt so inclined; certainly, being forced into consuming food on the whim of Narcissa Black was not something that he was entirely pleased about.

"Now seriously," she said with a tone of exasperation, sitting herself on one of the chairs around the far side of the modest dining table, "do stop pouting, and sit down," she all but ordered him, when she realised that he was still stood in the doorway to the room.

Severus' lips thinned until they were little more than a line, and his eyes narrowed again. Every instinct was telling him to rebel against her instructions but having already been accused of childish behaviour once in the last five minutes, he was sure that any protest he put up now, would simply be taken as proof of his continuing need for assistance. So, resigning himself to his fate, he stepped into the room, pulled out a chair across from Narcissa and sat himself down.

They only had to wait a few moments before a range of dishes began to appear on the table. Just as Narcissa had instructed there were several types of soup and petite sandwiches, that Severus didn't understand the point of given they surely wouldn't be enough to curb anyone's hunger; right though to what looked to be a couple of plates, each supporting the weight of a full roast dinner.

Severus had no trouble admitting, to himself at least, that the food both looked and smelt delicious and that perhaps he was rather hungrier than he had believed himself to be. With that in mind and the tantalising spread in front of him, Severus decided that it would likely be a good idea to eat something. It would at least, if nothing else, mean delaying whatever discussion Narcissa had in mind, and so he pulled one of the plates of roast towards him.

"Now we are getting somewhere," she said happily, though Severus still looked mutinous as he cut a roast potato in half and started to eat.

-#-

Narcissa watched on as Severus ate his way through a fair portion of his plate of food with what she suspected was deliberate slowness. She was not fool enough to miss his motivations but while he was at least eating, she was not going to complain too much. She helped herself to a couple of sandwiches and a bowl of what seemed to be a rather marvellous pumpkin soup, wanting to have something to occupy herself with rather than simply sitting and watching her friend.

She honestly understood Severus' reluctance to talk about Lucius, having been in Severus' shoes on numerous occasions; however, she was not about to sit back and watch her ex-husband chase Severus from his home and job, regardless of what hope there was for them to have a future together. Though, she did admittedly still hold out hope that things could be recovered between them.

The potion master's feelings were, as she had always been well aware, not new and Narcissa had often suspected that, without the influence of Abraxas Malfoy, Lucius might have returned Severus feelings openly. Of course, that was not to be; her family and Lucius' had arranged their marriage, and they had both accepted their roles with the grace and humility which they had been raised to show. They had made it work; but, they had never truly been in love with each other, even if they had managed to find a great fondness, that have even looked a little like love, for a while.

And so Lucius' blunt and heartless words had been hard to hear, even without them being directed at her. The pain on Severus' face had been heart-breaking to witness and for the first time she had let herself wonder whether the potions master might have been better off living the rest of his life with his love unrequited.

"You seem pensive, Narcissa," Severus stated.

She looked up from the soup she had been staring into with surprise, not having meant to get lost in her thoughts. She placed her spoon down and sat upright in her chair, her hands delicately placed in her lap before she spoke. "I was thinking of Lucius," she answered honestly, watching for her friend's reaction.

His face became pinched; he pushed his half eaten meal away and took a steadying breath before he spoke. "I appreciate the intent behind your visit here, Narcissa," he said, his voice cold and a little harsh. "However, if you wish to remain here a moment longer, I will ask you to refrain from speaking of that man in my presence."

"I assure you, Severus," Narcissa said curtly, thinking of all the times she had wanted to simply forget all the spiteful things that had rolled off her husband's tongue, "I am perfectly aware how hurtful Lucius can be when..."

"Indeed," he interrupted with a frown. There was no doubt in his mind that the woman would be able to regale him with numerous woeful tales of spiteful things that had come from the mouth of Lucius Malfoy, but that made him no more inclined to be forgiving, nor understanding.

The thing was, though, that he did understand. He could plainly see his own foolishness now that events had fallen out, much as he had anticipated in those first few days of when Lucius had been held prisoner. He had warned himself and been so determined to not surrender his mind in favour of serving his lustful urges; and yet he had failed and now was paying the price.

"You blame yourself?" Narcissa asked, her blue eyes fixed on him intently. She was sure that he did but was curious to see just how much he would admit to at this point. She had always understood him, certainly far better than Lucius ever had or could; they were rather alike in many ways, calculating and collected, but prone to patches of sentimentality that they found difficult to admit to.

"No," Severus stated. It wasn't entirely true, but he wasn't ready to admit otherwise, at least not out loud; but he could see by her soft smile that she didn't believe him and yet was unsurprised by his response. "Maybe," he amended. "I did not make him speak such things to me, though he is not under any obligation to treat me in a particular manner. I simply should not have let him affect me so."

"Ah, do not fear, my friend," Narcissa said, with a wry smile on her face, "I do not believe that anyone will think to accuse Severus Snape of caring too much."

"Fortunately not," he agreed, feeling rather affronted by the very implication that anyone ever might. And yet that was the problem, he still cared, despite his most ardent attempts not to. He had tried to forget the way Lucius had felt against him, or above him, but failed, and he seemed still incapable of escaping the lustful images of the tall blond that had haunted his adult life, and far too many of his teenage years.

"I have no doubt that you will not believe me when I say that I am certain Lucius spoke out of fear," she said calmly. She chuckled lightly at the predictably disbelieving scowl on Severus' face. "He is even less adept at coping with emotional reactions than you or me. To push you away and remove the source of his emotions was a... logical move."

"And… even if we suppose your hypothesis to be correct…" Severus began, still not convinced that Narcissa was not expecting emotion from someone who simply did not have the capacity. "…do you propose I return to him?" he questioned, his tone obviously mocking. "Perhaps you would have me forgive his words, or help him embrace this... affection you suggest he feels towards me?"

"Severus..." she said, her tone warning.

"A woman's sentimentality, I'm sure," he stated with a sneer, not caring if Narcissa objected to his words or took offence.

"I propose no such thing. I simply wish you to see that you were not the only one who let your heart rule over your head," she said snappishly, tiring of the petulant attitude of her friend.

"I care not for what motivations your former husband might have," Severus told her angrily, getting to his feet suddenly enough to scrap his chair against the floor loudly. Narcissa remained seated, her face carefully blank and as elegant as ever. "Lucius is nothing to me," he insisted.

"And yet you flee from him," she pointed out, and Severus couldn't help his flinch at her words. "He has simply insulted you and you run, surrender so much that is yours. Your home, your job, your potions."

Severus couldn't help but think on that as Narcissa paused, waiting patiently for him to reach his own conclusions. He hated the truth in her words. He had never proclaimed himself to be brave, and had never sought to be thought of as such, but he had fled like a coward in the face of naught but words. "Then you suggest...?"

"That you return. Lucius has been moved into alternative accommodation, and will no longer be your responsibility," she informed him. "Return to Hogwarts, Severus; that is where you belong."

He watched her closely, before taking his seat again. He felt a little ashamed of his outburst, but took care not to show it. "All this so that I can watch over Draco?" he asked, suspecting her motivations lay with her son's safety as they so often did. That was where her only true sentimentality was to be found, in her love of her only child.

"A consideration that I would appreciate," she admitted, nodding her head at him slightly.

"I shall consider it, Narcissa," Severus agreed reluctantly. "For now, that is the best I can offer you in good conscience."

-#-

It was a few days later when Harry received a letter from Dumbledore, inviting him to a meeting in the Headmaster's office that evening. Harry was somewhat reluctant to leave Draco given that there was still no sign of Snape's return and that things were still so up in the air regarding his boyfriend's relationship with Lucius. Draco had assured him, however, that there was no need for such worries and that he would simply use the few hours of peace to study.

And so it was that Harry made his way through the familiar and mostly empty castle corridors towards the Headmaster's office. It had been the best part of a month since they had last met; between the release of the article about Draco and him being Erotes, and whatever was going on between Lucius and Snape, the meetings seemed to have been put on a back-burner. Though that simply could have been Dumbledore waiting for them to meet 'at the right time', or some other such nonsense.

Either way, Harry was not exactly looking forward to the next few hours as he climbed the staircase behind the gargoyle and made his way into the large office.

"Ah, good evening, Harry," Dumbledore greeted warmly, from where he was sat behind his desk. He seemed genuinely pleased to see the teen standing before him; though Harry supposed, given the eventual purpose of these meetings was to defeat Voldemort, it made sense that he would be enthusiastic about their continuation.

"Sir," Harry said a little stiffly. He still had very little desire to cooperate with these meetings, certainly while the Headmaster was keeping him so much in the dark about their purpose. He did, however, wish to see to Voldemort gone from all their lives, so, as long as the Headmaster's demands were what he would consider reasonable, he would continue to allow Dumbledore to lead them down this path.

"Have a seat, my boy," he said, his voice kindly and keen in a way that Harry found rather exhausting to even listen to. But he complied nonetheless, moving across the office and dropping himself into the rather kitsch armchair that was there waiting for him.

Dumbledore seemed to be finishing off some kind of paperwork and so Harry took a moment to glance around. Fawkes was absent from his perch and he vaguely wondered where the phoenix was. Otherwise the office was more or less as Harry had always known it to be and he was not surprised to see that the pensieve had already been moved into place and that there were several phials containing memories next to it. He would admit to a mild curiosity as to what they would show, but given the choice, in that moment, he would have still taken the option to return to Draco.

"A few of my own memories to start with today, I think," the Headmaster informed Harry, as he got to his feet and indicating for the Gryffindor teenager to do the same. "I attempted to gather memories from others who knew Tom Riddle in his younger years, but you might not be surprised to hear that most were reluctant to acknowledge that they knew him, let alone discuss or share memories of him."

Harry frowned, mildly annoyed that it seemed he was going to spend another evening studying the history of Voldemort and he could only hope that they would reach the point of this little venture soon.

"We will not be spending much time on these, I simply wish you to show you the studious, polite young man that Tom became whilst within this school," Dumbledore informed Harry, having seen the expression on his face. "Do not fear, my boy, I have a particularly curious memory of when Tom went to meet Morfin Gaunt that I wish to show you after."

"His uncle?" Harry questioned, remembering the memories of the Gaunt family that Dumbledore had shown him previously. That admittedly piqued his interest somewhat and at least explained why he had had to watch the previous memory; he could only hope that there was some purpose to all of this.

"Very good, Harry," the Headmaster praised, glad that his student was paying attention; they still had a fair bit to get through before they were done and so he was glad to not have to be explaining every little detail.

Harry watched on as Dumbledore added the few memories, which were apparently of Voldemort in his school years, into the pensieve. "After you, my boy," the old Headmaster said with a wave of his hand. Harry was familiar with the process by now, and, bracing himself for another long evening immersed in scenes of the past, he lowered his face to the bowl and fell through into the first of what was likely to be many memories.


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