Disclaimers and Warnings: Both are located in chapter 1.
Author’s Notes: Thanks for all the reviews! They continue to make me press on. I had about three-fifths of this done before things fell through, so it’s taken me a minute to find my place again, but I hope that you’re all still with me!
Chapter Twenty-Nine—It’s Not That Bad
Harry sat up in bed, his chest heaving and unable to breathe properly. Fuck, Snape’s in trouble, he thought, trying to disentangle himself reluctantly from the warmth and the vice-like grip of Draco’s naked body. I’ve got to get to Dumbledore’s office right away. Someone needs to get Snape out of there and help the Greengrass girls.
“Harry,” Draco muttered sleepily, cracking one grey eye lethargically. “Where’re you going?” He sat up and wrapped his warm, lean arms around Harry’s back. “Come back to bed.”
“Can’t, Draco,” Harry responded, biting back a frustrated sigh and wiping at the blood from his scar. Draco never plays fair. “I gotta go see Dumbledore about my dream.”
That seemed to catch Draco’s attention. “You had another dream? Was it about my mother and sister?”
“No, not really, it was about Lucius. He knows about them and Snape’s in trouble,” the Gryffindor said through clenched teeth as he looked around for his glasses. A small, startled sound like that of something being stepped on made Harry turn around to see that Draco had gone pale—even more than usual—and looked as if he was going to faint. “Draco, are you all right?”
The blond let out another sound that made Harry worry about Draco’s health. The dark-haired boy gave up trying to look for his glasses and wrapped his arms around his boyfriend’s body. “Draco, listen to me. I know that you’re worried about your mother and sister. That is why I wanted them out of Hogwarts and behind the Fidelius Charm of my house. Andromeda sent me a letter yesterday saying that the house is ready for them. Please, Draco, we’ve got to get this information to Dumbledore to save Snape and the girls.”
“I know,” Draco whispered. “I’m coming with you. It’s not safe to let you roam alone now that Weasley’s back in the castle,” he said, sounding a little stronger.
“Okay,” Harry replied, feeling relieved as he watched the blond move gracefully from the bed and start to get dressed. He was surprised when his glasses went sailing through the air towards his face. He snatched them like they were a Snitch before they could hit him and flashed his boyfriend a cheeky smile. “Thanks,” he said as he put them on.
“It’s nice to see that your reflexes are still up to par without you playing Quidditch this year, Potter,” Draco snarled playfully as he pulled his soft jumper on. His face scrunched up in disgust. “We need showers, Potter.”
“I know, but that can be taken care of once we’ve seen Dumbledore,” Harry responded as he straightened his jumper and ran a hand through his perpetually messy hair. “If you want, I’ll even follow you down to the Slytherin dorms and we can have breakfast with Narcissa.”
Draco wrapped him into a tight hug that felt as if it would break Harry’s ribs. “Thank you,” he whispered before letting go and making his way towards the room’s door.
The rest of the morning was spent by the boys helping Narcissa pack and get over to Number 12 Grimmauld Place—the address of the Black house, Draco learned from Dumbledore before his mother was whisked away into the fireplace in the Headmaster’s office. His mother had refused to leave him at Hogwarts without first securing the right to contact her son at any time and with the caveat that he and Harry could visit on the weekends.
When the fireplace whooshed in green flames that devoured the last sight of his beloved mother, Draco felt the little block of ice that had lodged in his heart and throat start to slowly melt since Harry had woken him up. Of course, it helped to have his boyfriend’s hand firmly in his own. It was Harry’s steady presence that kept Draco from trying to follow his mother and sister into the sooty fireplace and relative safety of Harry’s house.
He knew what was next, however. The Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore’s “secret” organization of fighters dedicated to fighting against the Dark Lord—with or without the Ministry’s help—had orders to rescue Snape and Daphne and Astoria Greengrass. They were to infiltrate Spinner’s End and see if they could get Severus out safely. If that turned out to be impossible, they were to get the girls out.
“Don’t worry, Draco,” Harry whispered as Madame Pomfrey and Professors McGonagall and Dumbledore talked softly near the portraits of the former headmasters and –mistresses about Merlin knew what. “Tonks, Kingsley and Bill will make sure that Snape and the Greengrass girls are safe.”
“I know,” Draco replied before he walked out of the office stiffly. He didn’t stop when he heard Harry’s heavy footsteps behind him, but he did stop for a second to allow the other boy to catch up. “I need to do something to get my mind off of what’s going on. I’m sure that Neville and the others would like to know what’s going on.”
“Well, it’s almost time for lunch if you want to head up to the Great Hall. We could always tell them all at once and get it out of the way,” Harry suggested as he slung an arm around the blond’s waist with a slightly possessive squeeze that made a tiny part of Draco’s petty heart rejoice.
“Of course,” he stated evenly.
“Explain to me, Severus, how you thought it was acceptable to stage Narcissa’s death and that of Lucius’s unborn child,” Voldemort said calmly as his red eyes bored into the Potion master’s own. “I still have yet to fully grasp why you, as ssssssssmart as you are normally, failed to take into account that Lucius would be able to consult his family tapestry and see that his wife and children live.”
Severus stared back stoically at his former master’s reptilian face and shook his shackled arms to get the circulation to return to his hands. It was a very annoying habit of Voldemort’s to hiss when angered greatly. Any sibilant sound was made to sound as if it was Parseltongue. And it didn’t help that the great snake, Nagini, swayed whenever he did it. Since his resurrection, however, it had become more than just mere affectation and more like he himself was a snake.
“Lucius was as much responsible for keeping Bellatrix away from Narcissa as Rudolphus or Rabastan. Since both Lestrange brothers and Malfoy refused to intervene between the sisters, I felt that as an old friend to Narcissa that I should ensure the safety of her and her unborn child in as much as I could,” he answered flatly.
His black eyes were still as his brain buzzed behind his Occlumency shields. He could feel the Dark Lord attempting to tear into his head, but Severus had spent too long as a spy for both him and Dumbledore to fail now and he only allowed the creature access to the conversation he’d had with Narcissa about her likelihood of surviving a pregnancy in Perfidious Albion with an equally pregnant and unstable Bellatrix ready to attack at any second. This seemed to appease the other man momentarily as he nodded his bald head and stroked the large snake that had draped itself across his lap.
“Yesssssss,” Voldemort hissed as a look of gruesome delight on his twisted face. “However, I demand that you tell me where she is currently residing. Lucius deserves to be with his family.”
Really? I doubt that Lucius wants the return of his wife and unborn daughter as much as he wants his hands around the slender neck of my godson, Severus thought nastily. “I must regretfully inform you that I have no idea where Narcissa is now. I told her that it would be the only way for her to be truly safe if she told not even myself her destination. Narcissa is the only person who knows exactly where she is.” Truth, as I don’t know if she is still at Hogwarts or has been moved to other locations.
“I find it difficult to believe that you have no idea where she might be, Severussssss,” the creature crooned dangerously, his wand pointed directly between Severus’s black eyes. “I have no wish to kill you, as your skills are so valuable. However, if you continue to engage in this farce, I shall have no choice.”
I shall not beg you, creature. Snape’s face remained passive and he refused to say anything.
“You leave me no choice then. We will see how long you can last now, Severussssss,” Voldemort hissed as he raised his wand to curse him. However, the door to the chamber banging open and a bloodied, bedraggled Travers stumbling in staid his hand. “What is the meaning of this!?”
“My Lord, they’re here. The Order, they’ve breached the defences.” Travers’s ugly face twitched as he continued. “They’re being led by Aurors.”
When Harry and Draco reached the Great Hall for lunch, Neville, Ginny, and Luna were all sitting at their normal spots at the nearly empty Slytherin table. Both boys noticed a very important person missing and exchanged looks before joining their friends. However, Harry couldn’t eat, uncomfortable with the lack of Hermione. Instead of tucking into the delicious looking fare before him, he turned to Ginny and elbowed her gently. “Where’s Hermione?”
“She said she wasn’t feeling well and that she was going to study in the library,” the redheaded girl said sadly. “I don’t think that’s what’s wrong though. She and Ron had another row this morning.”
Harry could feel his jaw clench at that news. It wasn’t really surprising, but it hurt nonetheless. The subject of their fight wasn’t even anything new, he guessed. With a shaky sigh, he pushed his plate away from him. “I’m going to go talk to her. Draco can fill you in on what happened this morning, yeah? I’ll see you guys with ‘Mione later.” The rest of the table nodded in reply, but as Harry left, he knew that a pair of silvery eyes watched him.
Instead of going to the library, Harry ducked into the girls’ bathroom, the one that had had to be remodelled after Quirrell had let in that mountain troll Halloween of their first year. It had been a hunch, but he found his best friend staring at her reflection with red, puffy eyes and tear tracks streaking her face. The sight was like a punch to the gut, making him feel guilty for not spending enough time with her as of late and for the ungenerous thoughts he’d had earlier in the year about her.
“I could beat the crap out of him like I did to Draco in Fifth Year. No Umbridge to assign me detention.” He was making light of the torture he faced under that toad-faced reign of terror, but Hermione would know he was more than just a little serious.
Her watery smile was answer enough and he came over to hug her tightly. “It wouldn’t do much good, Harry, but thanks.”
“We could find another troll and set it on him? I mean, how hard could it be? Quirrell did it by himself, yeah?”
That got the reaction he was waiting for when she burst out laughing and pulled away. However, he wasn’t really ready when she started crying again. “Why does he hate us so much?” she wailed, looking as miserable as he’d ever seen her. He pulled him against her again, surprised to find that the top of her head came to his chin, finally.
He took a deep breath before he answered her though. “Honestly, it’s probably about Draco as much as anything. Or the fact that I kept secrets from him again. Or the fact that he’s a jealous, unreasonable prick who hasn’t outgrown being jealous of everyone he thinks has more or better than he does. Take your pick.”
Hermione let out a pained squeak and Harry realized that he was holding her too tight and loosened his grip but didn’t let her go. “He wants me to drop both Draco and Neville and beg for his forgiveness.” He scowled, his reflection as menacing as he could get as he spoke again. “It’ll never happen. I lo-care too much for Draco to drop him and Neville’s been a great mate since First Year. It’d be like cutting you out at this point.”
If she caught that slip—and he had no doubt she did by the sharp look in her tear-filled eyes—Hermione was at least gracious enough to not make a big deal of it. And Harry was grateful for that, since he hadn’t told Draco yet how deeply he felt for the other boy.
“Neville is rather amazing this year. Of course, wasn’t he the one to tackle both Crabbe and Goyle first year during a Quidditch match while Ron and Draco got into a fist fight?” Her eyes sparkled with both mischief and unshed tears and Harry relaxed, reaching into his pocket for the handkerchief he knew his boyfriend had no doubt shoved into it. He wasn’t disappointed and his best friend was pleased as she wiped her eyes. “Although, he’s not the only one to have changed over the past few months, is he?”
Harry responded with an embarrassed laugh, steering her towards the door, ignoring the indignant squeal of a third year Hufflepuff girl as she entered into the lavatory. “You know, I’d forgotten about that scene, honestly, but Nev’s been pretty much pulling his own weight in the fierce department when it counts for years now. He’s just quiet about it.”
“Well, he is a Gryffindor, as were both his parents. And with that grandmother of his,” she said with a shudder.
“Oh, yeah, Nev’s Gran is a tough old bird. Almost as tough as that vulture on her hat she always wears.”
“Best not to let her hear you say that.” As they headed to the Great Hall, Harry could see his best friend staring at the damp cloth in her hands, but he was bad at reading her facial expressions and nervous habits as of late. “You know, I was rather rude to Draco when you two talked to me, but you haven’t said anything about that.”
Harry sighed. This conversation had been in the making all year and even knowing that didn’t make him want to have it. “I’m not here to police your actions with Draco, ‘Mione. You two get along and you don’t antagonize him on purpose. You’ve respected that he’s trying to be more…friendly to you and that’s all I can ask from you. He was a right little shite when we were younger to all of us, but he’s been trying to prove that he doesn’t want to be Lucius’s clone anymore. ‘Course, far as I know, he hasn’t apologized to you about all the things he called you before last year either, so fair’s fair in this case.” He ran a hand through his hair, keeping the other around her shoulders. “So, whether apologies happen or not, I won’t force you. I’m just grateful that you’re both willing to be civil for my sake.”
“I’ve seen the way you two look at each other, Harry. If I want to stay your friend, I know enough to play nice with your boyfriend.” She scrunched up her nose before smiling widely at her best friend. “Besides, now that he’s not calling me Mudblood and sneering all the time, he’s rather pretty to look at. And it’s more obvious when you’re paying attention to him.”
“He is rather pretty, isn’t he?” Harry asked, thinking about the way that Draco’s grey eyes turned almost silver when they talked alone.
“I always thought so, but only if his mouth was shut.”
She laughed at his mock-outrage, pulling from under his arm and through the Entrance Hall to the Great Hall’s doors. “You know it’s true, Harry. But, I’ll admit that he’s gotten a lot better as of late. It must be your influence.”
His response was stalled by the heavy doors opening and a group of people exiting. Harry didn’t even have to look at who it was because Hermione went completely still.
“Well, well, look who we have here.”
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