Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters and their backstories. I am writing this story for fun and not profit.
Author's note: The action starts straight after the Battle of Hogwarts. EWE.
1. Returning a Wand
Harry Potter sat on a bench on the edge of the Great Hall, surveying the scene. It was chaos. The only clear space was in the middle of the Hall: a black patch, where he had fought Voldemort, and killed him. There was rubble scattered everywhere else. There were clusters of people dotted throughout. Some were in groups mourning their dead. Some were couples or trios comforting each other. Some were sobbing, some weeping softly, some hysterical. But he seemed to be the only one alone. The only one who didn't seem to be expressing anything. Why was that? Voldemort was dead; the madman was out of his head for the first time he could remember. He should feel elated. But he didn't really feel anything at all.
The Weasleys were sobbing, still gathered around Fred's dead body. Part of him wanted to go to them, to give and receive comfort from his surrogate family. He was sorrowful that Fred was dead. But it was a muted feeling. Perhaps he would go to them soon. Perhaps he could mourn soon. But not yet. Not just now. Right now, he needed to be alone with his thoughts.
He was in a corner, away from anyone, and wrapped in his invisibility cloak, so there was no danger of him being felt or seen. For the first time since he defeated – no, let's be brutal, for the first time since he killed Voldemort - he'd managed to get away with no-one watching him, no-one trying to congratulate him, which only made him feel awkward, or comfort him, which only made them feel awkward.
No, right now, being alone, watching, that was what he needed. Because he felt, as he had all his life, that he didn't quite belong. He'd never belonged at the Dursleys', there was no question of that. He'd sort of belonged at Hogwarts – he should have belonged as much as anyone else, he was a wizard, that's kind of all it took – but somehow, the expectations that everyone had of The Boy Who Lived made it hard to be himself. He'd sort of belonged in Gryffindor, but even there the Boy Who Lived tag had made a barrier at times between him and his housemates. He sort of belonged with the Weasleys – but a bit less now, what with Ron and Hermione so obviously a couple now; and now he felt they needed space without him to grieve for Fred.
Harry shook himself. He was getting into a blue funk. His sense of humour reared its head and he looked around to see, as he wryly told himself, if there were any more friends there that he didn't quite belong with.
But it wasn't a friend that drew his eye. No, all by themselves, huddled together, meekly sitting at a table at the side of the Great Hall, were three familiar silver heads: the Malfoys. They looked so down – dejected, defeated, dispirited. Part of Harry reacted angrily: why were they so glum? They hadn't lost anyone, they weren't even hurt…
Except of course, they had lost someone. Bellatrix was dead. However much Harry had hated her, she was Narcissa's sister, and the loss must have meant something to Narcissa, if no-one else. And they were hurt. They had been on the wrong side, and it had cost them the thing they probably valued most – their position in society. They were never going to have the same standing in the wizard world. Surely the war had proved to everyone who thought about it that this blood code that they lived by, this obsession with "pure-bloods" and "half-bloods" and "mud-bloods" and "blood traitors" was just blind, hideous prejudice, with no nobility behind it at all.
And the Malfoys hadn't been able to fight in the battle, it suddenly struck Harry, because they had no wands. Voldemort had borrowed Lucius's on the night Harry had left the Dursleys' house, and it had snapped against Harry's magic. Narcissa had lent Draco hers, and he had had it in the Room of Requirement when the Fiendfyre had swept through, claiming the wand and damn nearly his and Draco's lives. And Draco's wand? Well, Draco had lost that. To Harry. It was in his pocket.
No wonder they were down-hearted, then. For what was a wizard or witch without a wand? The thought galvanized Harry into action. He couldn't do anything for Lucius and Narcissa; in truth, he wasn't even sure he wanted to. But he could give Draco his wand back. And since he could, he would. He may not particularly like the Slytherin, but the two had saved each other's lives, and that kind of connected them. He remembered how bereft he had felt when his holly wand had broken; he didn't want Draco to feel that at all.
Quietly, quickly, he rose and made his way across the Great Hall. Somehow he managed to avoid tripping on anything, or being touched by any one; given how clumsy he could be, he was quite impressed with himself. He managed to sit on a bench near the three, next to a large stone column that had once supported a gallery of some sort. The gallery had been destroyed in the battle, but the column still stood, tall and proud. And useless.
Now, to get Malfoy's attention. He was about to hiss the name – it would be so familiar, he could hear the sound in his head: "Malfoy" - and then realized that of course there were three Malfoys there. He was going to have to do something he couldn't remember doing before. He was going to have to start a conversation with Draco Malfoy using his first name.
Well, he could do that. It wasn't the strangest thing to happen that day.
"Psst! Draco!" he whispered.
The blond head whipped round, and of course didn't see anything. Harry was shocked at the expression on it. Malfoy, who had always seemed so self-assured, so certain of his own superiority, so clear about what was expected of him, looked lost. The soon-to-be-eighteen year old youth looked more like a frightened little boy of eleven.
"Potter?" he asked, with some heat in his voice. And then, since the other had used his first name, and why not respond in kind, he started again, softer and gentler: "Harry?"
"Yes, it's me." Harry responded, quietly, but glad that Draco – he couldn't think of him as Malfoy again, not just yet – had calmed a little. "Could we have a word? In private?"
Draco hesitated for a moment, then obviously decided that he had nothing left to lose, and replied, "Yes, all right, I'd like that. Actually, I have something to say to you, too.". He was surprised to hear himself say that; even more surprised that it was true.
"Come round behind the column. I don't fancy being seen by everyone just yet, and it'll give us a little cover."
Draco raised his eyebrows, but didn't say anything, and slowly got up and edged his way around. Behind the column was a small alcove created by the rubble from the destroyed gallery, and Harry – he should call him Potter again, but he just couldn't, not just yet – was standing there, having removed his cloak and draped it over his shoulder. Draco took a good look. The boy was near exhaustion. Fighting dark wizards, and defeating them, and rushing off to sort things out all over the place had obviously taken a huge toll, and Draco was willing to bet that no-one else would notice until he actually fell over. That funny feeling Draco had had about Potter – about Harry – for years flared into life again. He still couldn't decide exactly what it was. Compassion? Not quite; something like that, something he couldn't put his finger on, something completely unlike what he would ever have expected to feel for the boy who had been the bane of his school life. As always, it unnerved him. He didn't like things he couldn't understand, couldn't explain.
While Draco was thinking, Harry asked first. "OK, so what would you like to say?"
Draco took a deep breath. He had to do this. He'd known for an hour or more. Ever since he'd seen the Dark Lord die at this boy's hand, he'd needed to do it. Before, he hadn't been sure that he wanted to; but now this feeling had gripped him and he found, surprisingly, that he did want to, very much.
"Well, you saved us."
"Um, yeah, I'd noticed." Harry interrupted, a wry smirk on his face.
"Please, don't interrupt. I've got to say this."
Harry raised his eyebrows, but stayed silent.
"Harry, when you saved me from Fiendfyre, I've never been so grateful to see anyone. When you held me on the broom.. it made me feel like .. like he could be defeated. That you could do it. And then you did. And since then you've been rushed off your feet and sorted things out, and I bet no-one's actually said something everyone should be saying…"
Draco dried up for a second, but Harry remained silent. He wasn't sure where this was going, but the other boy was being more emotional, more open, hell, more honest than Harry had ever known him to be, and he didn't want it to stop just yet. Especially since Draco had called him Harry. That touched him in a way he found comforting; and just a little unsettling.
"And that's .. well .. thank you."
Draco could hardly get the last words out. This was no perfunctory, polite conversation; this was something he clearly really meant. There was water in both their eyes. For a moment, Harry wondered if Draco would cry. He almost hoped so; it might help them both to cry. But the famous Malfoy mask was never far away, and the boy managed to compose himself.
"Now, Potter, what did you want to say to me?"
Back to "Potter" then. Somehow, it hurt. But Harry was a Gryffindor, he had given himself a job to do, and he was going to do it.
"Well, um, yes, you see, I thought, er, you might want, um, this."
He might be a Gryffindor, but he was never going to be a smooth talker. But as he stuttered through his words, Harry offered the hawthorn wand, and Malfoy – damn, why were they back to surnames – opened his eyes wide and completely missed the chance to rib him about it.
"Really? You're – you're offering it back to me?"
"No, I thought I'd taunt you with it and then snatch it back," Harry said, heavily ironic. "Yes, of course I'm giving it back to you. It's yours, isn't it?"
Draco reached out slowly, and then at the last second grabbed the wand lightning-fast, exactly as if he expected Harry to snatch it away just as he had said. But Harry didn't move at all. He just watched, with a hopeful expression on his face.
Draco swished the wand to try it out. Nothing happened. He whispered "lumos", but there was no light. His face fell, and his chest constricted.
"Won't it work for you?" asked Harry, a note of concern in his voice.
Had it been anything else, if Draco had heard any reproach or taunt from Harry, he would have charged him, or run away. But the obvious compassion from his classmate was too much. He started sobbing.
"He forced me to take the mark," he said, through his sobs. "When he learned it was you at the manor, the Dark Lord forced me. And then just before the Battle of Hogwarts, he put a spell on us through the mark, to bind our magic so we couldn't betray him. And now that he's dead … it's like my magic is locked away, I can't use it any more."
Harry was no longer concerned, or compassionate. No, this outrage on another wizard made him see red. It was anger that coursed through him. He couldn't stand this. He wouldn't allow Voldemort to have this obscene victory. A wizard without magic was practically dead, broken, disconnected from himself and all of the magical realm. A wizard who didn't belong.
He had no idea how to stop it. No idea what spells would be required to break this curse. But then, having no idea had never stopped him before, and he did have the elder wand, the most powerful wand ever made. He whipped it out of its hiding place up his sleeve, and laid it on Draco's wand. He tried to think of a spell, but all that would come were words opposing the thoughts he had just been thinking.
"Life … Wholeness ... Connection ... Belonging …"
The wand in his right hand started to glow with hot magic. Clearly it knew what was needed, even if he didn't. He felt something hard Apparate into his left hand, and then the two wizards were suddenly engulfed in a huge cloud of white light. It hit the column, which crumbled to dust at its touch, and then spread out throughout the Hall.
Seconds, or minutes, or hours later, Draco couldn't tell, he became aware of two things. One was a huge noise erupting from the hall behind him. It sounded … joyous? How could that be? But he had no time to think about it, because he was also aware of Potter falling towards him. He reached out his arms and broke the boy's fall; at the same time, without even thinking about it, without saying a word, he Summoned the bench Potter had been sitting on, so it would break their fall as he fell onto it; and as an afterthought, Transfigured it into a chaise longue.
Then it hit him. With an impact that he imagined a freight train at full speed would have. He had used his magic! It was back! And stronger than ever – he had never been particularly good at wordless magic, but he had just used it twice, and it had worked perfectly. He turned round to look at the chaise longue and realized that it was a beautiful green – exactly the colour of Potter's eyes – and it made him smile.
All of this happened as he fell backwards onto the chaise, supporting the other boy, and he magically moved Harry's legs onto the chaise so he could lie comfortably with his head in Draco's lap.
Harry was completely unaware of all of this. As the whiteness spread out, he finally surrendered to the exhaustion he felt, and fell unconscious and unknowing into Draco's arms.
Author's note: OK, you know the drill: if you want more, review. If you liked it, review. If you don't want more, review. If you hated it, review.
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