maxine_chan: (HP - HarryDraco paint by Sherant)
Maxine ([personal profile] maxine_chan) wrote2011-10-16 10:17 am
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FIC: All the Answers - Chapter 22

SORRY, sorry!! I know this is late, but I was in NYC watching Daniel Radcliffe sing and dance around on Broadway, and I tried to post this when I got home last night but literally fell asleep in the middle of doing so, ahaha. But here it is!

Title: All the Answers
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Harry/Draco
Word Count: 5600
Disclaimer: It's not mine. JKR is the brilliant mind behind HP.
Notes: This is a post-HBP 7th year fic that is not compliant with Deathly Hallows at all. Many, many thanks to my awesome beta, [ profile] lksnarry1!
Summary: Horcruxes, former enemies showing up out of nowhere, and the usual teenage drama on top of it all - Harry isn't sure how he's ever going to make it through all this. But since when has conquering evil ever been easy?

--> All chapters can be found here. <--

previous chapter

~~Chapter 22~~

“While I’m glad you didn’t pick up the letter without thinking, Draco, I’m a little surprised you forgot you could use your wand to do it.”

Draco scowled at Hermione from across the kitchen table. He was sitting hunched over, elbows propped on the table as he rubbed in what was supposed to be a soothing manner on his temples. It didn’t actually seem to be accomplishing anything, though, because he still had a bloody huge headache.

“You’ll have to forgive me,” he grumbled. “I was a little too intoxicated to do any sort of logical thinking last night. I blame your imbecile of a boyfriend.”

Hermione gave him a disapproving look. “Yes, well. You can be sure I’ll be having a word with him about that whenever he finally manages to drag his arse out of bed.”

Draco perked up a bit. “Can I watch?”

No.” Hermione set a cup of tea down in front of Draco. “You most certainly cannot. Drink up.”

“You’re no fun,” Draco said, and then muttered a soft, “Thanks,” as he lifted the cup to his lips.

Hermione sat down across from him, watching him somewhat warily. “What were you two even doing? I didn’t think I actually had to worry that you’d let him talk to you about…things.” She went a light pink as she spoke, and quickly looked away with a frown.

For a moment, Draco contemplated ratting Ron out, but for some reason he found himself taking pity on Hermione instead. “Don’t worry,” he said. “We mostly talked about Potter.”

She blinked at him. “Oh?” she asked, trying not to sound as interested as she clearly felt.

Draco hid his smirk behind his cup. “Yeah, about what a tosser he is.”

“…I’m sure,” Hermione said dryly. Draco grinned, and then both of them turned to look towards the kitchen door as they heard pounding footsteps coming down the stairs.

“Morning!” Harry said when he appeared in the doorway, sounding somewhat breathless like he’d just come back from a morning jog. He was holding his copy of Hogwarts, A History.

“Morning, Harry,” Hermione greeted, with a warm smile.

“You look weirdly pleased,” Draco said.

“And you look terrible,” Harry returned. “Have a rough night?”

“Something like that.”

“Did you find something, Harry?” Hermione asked.

“Just finally remembered, more like.” Harry put the book down on the table and flipped to the page Draco had showed him last night. “It’s the shield. I know where I’ve seen it before.” He paused suddenly, looking up at the other two. “Where’s Ron?”

Draco snorted. “Probably still buried under his covers and not planning to emerge anytime soon.”

Harry frowned. “Is he sick?”

“No, he just drank too much last night,” Hermione said, sounding none too pleased about it.

“Last night?” Harry’s brow furrowed and he glanced at Draco. “Oh, you two…?”

Draco shifted a bit in his seat. “I just had to ask him something,” he said cagily, staring down into his cup of tea. “And then he broke out the Firewhiskey – it was unplanned.”

Harry gave a soft laugh. “I don’t need an explanation; I’m not your keeper. I’m just surprised you two managed to stay friendly long enough to get pissed.”

“See, that’s the brilliant thing about alcohol, Potter,” Draco said. “It only takes a few quick drinks before even Weasleys become tolerable.”

“Are you talking about me, Malfoy?” Ron suddenly croaked from the doorway. His skin had a pasty look to it, and he had one hand clinging to the frame – apparently to help keep him on his feet – and the other was curled into a fist and rubbing at his eyes.

Draco looked at him over Harry’s shoulder and smiled a too-cheerful grin. “I was telling Potter all about how we’re best friends now,” he said, and then in gleeful voice added, “You look awful.”

Ron glowered at him. “That’s because I had to put up with you for half the night,” he said.

“Oh, whatever, Weasley. You wouldn’t let me leave. I practically had to claw my way out.”

“You had to crawl your way out, you mean,” Ron said. “Barely took one drink before you could hardly stand.”

I couldn’t stand?” Draco repeated, arching his eyebrows. “Who was it that fell straight onto his arse again?”

Ron flushed. “Shut up,” he grumbled, and then he trudged over to sit down at the table where he took one look at Harry and promptly went an even deeper tomato red.

“Er…alright?” Harry asked, slightly startled.

“Fine!” Ron said, his voice higher than normal. “Completely fine! What’s that, are we reading something?” He focused on Harry’s book to avoid meeting his eyes.

Harry blinked at him for a moment longer before he redirected his attention to the book, as well. “Yeah,” he said, spinning it around so everyone else could see the page he'd flipped to. “This shield. Voldemort has it.”

Hermione gasped while Draco choked on his tea. Ron went bug-eyed. “What?!” he exclaimed.

“Harry, are you sure?” asked Hermione, frowning a little as she looked closer at the portrait Harry was showing them of Salazar Slytherin.

Draco set his cup down and crowded in so he could get a better look, too. “Where the hell would he have gotten it?”

“Where does he get any of this stuff?” Harry pointed out. “He probably caught wind of it somehow, stalked the person who had it originally, got friendly, buttered them up, and then killed them and had someone else framed for it.”

The other three stared at him.

“...He's done it before,” Harry muttered defensively.

Hermione shook her head and focused on the picture again. “How do you know he has this?”

“I've seen him use it. At the Ministry, remember?” Hermione favored him with a blank look, so he elaborated, “Fifth year! After the – the Department of Mysteries thing. When he was dueling Dumbledore, he summoned a shield out of thin air. It was this shield!”

Now Hermione looked doubtful, and both Ron and Draco seemed to be heading that direction as well.

“Harry, are you sure he wasn’t just using some kind of spell?” Hermione asked gently, which only made Harry scowl.

No, he wasn’t – trust me, I remember this! It was silver, the design looks the same. And…” Harry trailed off, trying to think back. “And it made a…a really strange sound when spells bounced off it. It was kind of…” He shivered a bit, and absently rubbed his arms. “I don’t know. Creepy.”

“Creepy, like the same feeling you get from a Horcrux?” Draco asked.

Harry hesitated. “I can’t properly remember; it was two years ago. But it makes sense, right?”

“I don’t know,” Hermione said slowly. “If this shield was a Horcrux, I don’t think You-Know-Who would have used it so carelessly. What if it had gotten damaged?”

“Well, he was fighting Dumbledore, right?” Ron said. “And we all know that’s who You-Know-Who feared most. Maybe he panicked and thought he needed a shield and didn’t have time to think about what he was doing.”

Harry spared Ron a grateful look, because at least he was trying, but now Hermione and Draco looked even more skeptical than before.

“Even going up against Dumbledore, I don’t think the Dark Lord is the type to panic,” Draco said. “He’s a skilled dueler, not to mention dangerous. I think he can hold his own well enough against anyone without accidentally summoning very important bits of his soul that are supposed to be hidden away forever.”

“Well, what was it, then?” Harry asked, frustration growing in his voice. “He had a shield and it looked like that.” He shoved his finger at the picture, like that would somehow help them all to see it more clearly. “Was it a spell? How did he get it to look so much like Slytherin’s shield?”

“…I don’t know any spell that actually physically summons a shield,” Draco admitted.

“There’s Protego, of course, but–” Hermione started.

“But it doesn’t produce a physical shield, like I just said,” Draco snapped. Hermione shot him an affronted look and he sighed, sitting back in his chair and massaging his temples again. “Potter,” he said in a more controlled voice. “Why would the Dark Lord keep a Horcrux with him? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of hiding them away?”

“He keeps Nagini with him,” Harry said stubbornly.

“So – you think he has two with him, mate?” Ron asked uncertainly, and Harry frowned. Great, now they all thought he was jumping to conclusions.

“Harry, listen,” Hermione said, reaching across the table and clasping her hand over Harry’s. “We won’t dismiss this, okay? We won’t, because it’s too important to sweep under the rug altogether. But you have to admit this could be a bit of a reach.”

Harry set his jaw as he looked back at her. “I know what I saw,” he said, but after holding Hermione’s eyes for a moment he let his gaze drop to the table. “But I guess there would still be the matter of getting the shield, so it’s not like there’s much we can do right at this second anyway.”

Hermione smiled and patted his hand. “We’ll keep it in mind,” she said, and then glanced across at Draco. “Draco has some news, too.”

“Yeah?” Harry raised his eyebrows at him. “What is it?”

Draco glowered at Hermione briefly before reluctantly turning to Harry. “I – got an owl. From my father.”

“You – what?!” Harry’s eyes widened. “When?”

“What did it say?” Ron asked. “Is he calling you back?”

“I didn’t read it,” Draco said with a frown. “I didn’t want to touch it in case it activated a Portkey or something similar.”

“…That’s why we have wands, mate,” Ron said.

“Yes, well, I was drunk last night, wasn’t I?” Draco groused, glaring at Ron. “I didn’t think of that. Frankly, I was hoping it was some sort of alcohol induced hallucination.”

“Where is it?” Harry asked, bringing Draco’s attention back to him.

“Upstairs,” he replied. “On my bedside table. I suppose you want me to go get it?”

Harry shook his head. “I can. You stay here. You look like death warmed up, the pair of you.” He glanced at Ron as he spoke, and Ron gave him a sheepish sort of grin. Harry punched him in the shoulder. “Invite me next time, you git.”

Draco snorted. “We can’t invite you when you’re the one we’re talking about.”

“Ha ha, Malfoy,” Harry deadpanned. When Draco lifted an eyebrow at him, though, Harry hesitated. “Wait – you’re serious?” He swung a wide-eyed look back and forth between Draco and Ron. Draco just smirked at him, but Ron slowly flushed a dull red again. “…I don’t want to know, do I?” Harry asked weakly. Ron quickly shook his head, and Harry felt his own face grow warm. “Right. Okay, then.” He backed up toward the door, looked at the two of them again, and then turned on his heel and left.

“You guys, honestly,” Hermione said, just as Draco started snickering. “You shouldn’t tease him like that!”

“Who’s teasing?” Ron asked. He crossed his arms over the table and buried his face against them. “He doesn’t want to know. You wouldn’t believe what all Malfoy told me!”

Hermione’s brow furrowed. “…That would imply there actually was something to tell you.” Her eyes widened. “Is there?” She snapped her head around to look at Draco again. “What have you two done that I don’t know about?”

“It would be impolite to mention it in front of a lady,” Draco said loftily, and Ron groaned.

“Just – shut it, Malfoy,” he said. “I’m trying to shove that bit of unnecessary information into the dark recesses of my mind.”

“Stop whining,” Draco said. He kicked at Ron’s leg under the table, which made the other boy lift his head to scowl at him. “You practically asked.”

“I did not!” Ron cried.

Hermione pursed her lips. “Alright. You and I are going to have a long talk later, Ronald Weasley.”

Ron groaned again. “Weren’t you the one saying certain things should remain private?”

Hermione looked torn, but Harry chose that moment to enter the kitchen again, his wand trained on the letter from Lucius Malfoy as it bobbed along in front of him, so she was saved from having to answer.

“Here,” Harry said, taking a seat at the table. “I haven’t read it yet. Figured you should first.” He directed his wand so that the letter came to a stop in front of Draco and then slowly unfurled itself. Draco watched it somewhat warily until it was completely open, and then he steeled himself, eyes closing for a second, before he leaned forward to read it.

The others waited as patiently as they could, though Harry couldn’t help the way his leg bounced up and down nervously beneath the table. Draco was frowning, his brows coming together as he read. Harry hadn’t thought the letter looked that long, but Draco kept staring at it until finally Ron cleared his throat and Draco’s attention snapped back to them.

“So?” Harry asked.

Draco gave him a long look, and then reached out to snatch the letter out of the air. “Well, it’s definitely a Portkey,” he said, as he was rolling the letter back up again. Harry made an alarmed sound, but Draco quickly shook his head. “A coded Portkey,” he amended. “The seal is.” He pulled the hardened wax off the parchment, staring at it. “I have to say something to activate it.”

Harry was sorely tempted to Accio it from him, but he managed to restrain himself. Draco wasn’t going to use the Portkey. Harry knew that. He trusted him. “Where will it send you?” he asked instead.

“Father didn’t say.”

“What did he say?” Hermione spoke up.

Draco gave a humorless laugh. “He wants me to complete my task, of course.”

“You must be joking,” Ron said. “Hasn’t he realized by now that’s not going to happen? That you’re not going back?”

“I think he’s under the impression that I’ve been…otherwise detained,” Draco said carefully. “He seems to think I just need a way out, so he’s chosen to provide it for me.” He glanced back at the letter in his hand, and his voice was softer when he spoke again. “He comes across as rather desperate. Bit embarrassing, really.”

“Hang on.” Harry straightened up. “You’re supposed to bring me to Voldemort.”

Draco raised an eyebrow at him. “I’m aware,” he drawled. “I was there when the assignment was given to me.”

“No – that’s not what I meant.” He pointed at the wax seal. “You’re supposed to bring me to Voldemort. And your dad’s just given you a way to do that.”

Across the table, Hermione gave a loud gasp. “Harry, no.”

Harry ignored her. “Don’t you think that’ll probably bring you to him?”

“My father’s not an idiot, Potter,” Draco said, sounding slightly exasperated. “This will probably take me to – I don’t know where, the manor or something. I doubt he’s going to bring me straight to wherever the Dark Lord is camping out, that’s too much of a risk!”

“But you just said he sounds desperate,” Harry argued. “He’s probably at the point where he’s willing to do just about anything to get back on Voldemort’s good side.”

“That exists?” Ron muttered.

“That doesn’t mean he’s lost all ability to use common sense!” Draco said. “On what planet does giving anyone a one-way ticket to the Dark Lord sound like a good idea? He’s locked himself away somewhere unplottable for a reason, Potter, use your head!”

“Hold on, calm down,” Hermione interrupted. She leveled a hard look on Harry. “What are you hoping for here, Harry?”

Harry raised his eyebrows at her. “Seriously? It’s a chance to find out where Voldemort is, Hermione. He’s probably got the snake with him – and maybe the shield, too. This is our chance to get in there and get some more Horcruxes!”

“We don’t even know for sure if the shield is a Horcrux,” Hermione said patiently.

“And Snape said he might be able to handle the snake,” Ron added. “You were going to ask him about it, remember?”

Harry shook his head. “Look, Snape has enough on his plate, we can’t rely on him for that. It’s been weeks since we’ve heard from him as it is.”

Hermione still looked uncertain, and she was starting to wring her hands nervously. “What if the Portkey does just take you to Malfoy Manor, though?”

“Then we Apparate back out,” Harry said. “Simple.”

Draco snorted. “Hardly, Potter. The wards will still be up. Hell, they’ll probably be changed to not allow anyone out. Like I said, my father isn’t stupid.”

“He’s following Voldemort, isn’t he?” Harry snapped. “I think that’s proof enough.” Draco abruptly shut his mouth and glared at Harry, but Harry didn’t care. He turned back to Hermione. “We’ll bring Dobby with us as a precaution. And anyway, even if it does take us to the manor, it’s likely the first thing Malfoy’s dad will do is present us to Voldemort.”

“Harry...” Ron said slowly. “You know I’m on your side, I get why you want to do this, but – all this? Just for the snake?”

“And the shield,” Harry said, determined not to let that get pushed aside. “Nagini is going to be the hardest Horcrux to destroy because Voldemort keeps her with him all the time. If we can get her out of the way now, that’s one less thing we have to worry about!”

“It’ll also just make it more obvious what we’re doing,” Ron pointed out.

Harry waved him off. “It’s obvious already,” he said. “And anyway, Snape says he knows.”

“There are too many things we don’t have the answers for here,” Hermione insisted. “We don’t know where the Portkey goes, we don’t know how many Death Eaters might be waiting for you – this could all be a big trap!”

“Hermione, we have no other leads!” Harry said. “This is what we have to deal with. We can’t just sit around here and hope answers will pop up out of nowhere, we have to actually get out there and take risks and figure this stuff out ourselves!”

“That’s a shit way to go about things, Potter,” Draco finally spoke up again.

“Yeah, well, I haven’t got much of a choice,” Harry said. “If we don’t act, the war will go on forever and Voldemort will keep killing people until he’s got the entire Wizarding world under his control.”

Hermione pursed her lips and looked away for a long minute, her arms crossed tightly. “…Shouldn’t we at least tell Professor Snape what we’re doing?” she eventually asked, and Harry let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding.

“No,” he replied. “We can do this on our own. It’s better if we kill Nagini anyway, that way Snape won’t have to worry about accidentally blowing his cover.”

“I still don’t know about this, Harry,” Hermione said. “But you’re right, we can’t just waste time here when an opportunity like this is presenting itself.” She straightened up, and Harry could practically see her switch over into Planning Mode. “Promise me you won’t rush off right away, though. We’re going to think this through and come up with a plan. We’re going to need escape routes, we have to bring Dobby in and make sure he’s okay with everything–”

“Why does it have to be that elf?” Draco interrupted. “What’s wrong with yours?”

Harry shrugged. “Well, nothing,” he admitted. “I think we’re finally at the point where Kreacher might actually be willing to help us.” Harry chewed on his lip for a moment. “But I’d rather it be Dobby. Just…in case.”

“Agreed,” Ron said. “Less risky, that one.” He sat back in his chair, folding his arms across his chest. “So. What do we do after we get there?”

“Wait a minute, Weasley,” Draco said. “We can’t all go. You two have to stay here.”

Ron promptly scowled. “The hell we do!” he said. “We’re not letting Harry go in alone!”

“He won’t be alone; I’ll be with him,” Draco snapped. “It’s not like we’re going in with our wands blazing – this is supposed to be a subtle thing, yeah?” He turned from Ron to look back and forth between Harry and Hermione, both of whom glanced at each other and then nodded. “Right, so if all four of us show up out of nowhere, don’t you think that might be just a tad suspicious?”

Harry fiddled absently with his wand, turning it over in his hands as he considered what Draco was saying. “He’s right,” he said after a moment, and when Ron and Hermione immediately started protesting he spoke overtop of them. “No, he’s right! Guys, look, I’m sorry, but we can’t all just go bursting in. This has to be an undercover – thing.”

Draco nodded. “We’ll act like I’ve got Potter under the Imperius.”

“Harry can throw that off,” Ron said, and Draco rolled his eyes.

“Obviously,” he said. “But the Death Eaters probably don’t know that. I doubt my father does, and he’s going to be the one we have to fool.”

“This isn’t going to work,” Hermione said. “As soon as you show up, your father is going to cart you off to where You-Know-Who is; there isn’t going to be time to do anything else!”

Ron suddenly sat up, his eyes slightly wide. “I’m coming with you,” he said determinedly. Draco made a face at him and looked like he was about to say something, but Ron plowed on. “No, you need a third person there, trust me. It can’t just be Malfoy forcing Harry around.”

“Oh, for the love of – I’m not going to do anything!” Draco exclaimed. “I’m not saying you can’t come because I want to sneak Potter off to the Dark Lord. For fuck’s sake, Weasley, I thought we–”

“Merlin, Malfoy, shut up,” Ron interrupted. “Just let me talk for a bloody minute, would you? I know you don’t have an ulterior motive.” Draco subsided, but there was still a pinched look on his face. Ron just rolled his eyes at him and then turned to Harry. “I’ll go under your Invisibility Cloak,” he said. “You need someone to stick with Dobby anyway – if there are wards the way Malfoy thinks there’ll be, then it might take him some time to get them down. And then we have to worry about whether or not You-Know-Who will be able to tell they’re down. So the timing’s going to be tricky, and this way you and Malfoy can go off and pretend to be captured or whatever – you’ll be the decoy! While everyone’s attention is on you, I can search for the snake! And also be the…you know, middle person. I’ll keep you updated on what Dobby’s doing.”

“That’s…” Harry blinked. “Not a bad idea, actually. How are you going to keep in touch with us?”

Ron glanced at Hermione like she would automatically have an answer, and she didn’t fail him. “The coins,” she said immediately. “The ones we used for the D.A. We can redo the charm on them!”

Harry nodded. “Alright… Good! See? We can make this work!”

“And what, you’re just going to stay under the Invisibility Cloak the entire time?” Draco directed toward Ron skeptically.

“I guess,” Ron said.

“You can’t guess, we have to know exactly what we’re doing,” Draco said sharply. “There won’t be any room for mistakes once we’re there.”

Ron let out an exasperated breath. “Alright, fine,” he said. “Then I’ll definitely stay under the cloak the entire time.”

“Wait, no,” Harry said suddenly. “I should be the one searching for Nagini – I mean, I can speak Parseltongue. That’ll probably help.”

“Then what’s he supposed to do?” Draco asked, throwing a hand in Ron’s direction.

They thought about it for a moment, and then – “Polyjuice?” Hermione suggested. “Ron can go as Harry. He’ll be the one with Draco and you two will be the distraction.”

Draco’s brow furrowed. It was obvious he wasn’t all that pleased with the idea, but he didn’t argue against it. “And just where are we supposed to get Polyjuice Potion?” he asked.

Ron shrugged. “The twins might have some. Wouldn’t put it past them to experiment with that stuff for their shop.”

“Or we can always brew it,” Hermione said.

Draco frowned. “But that would take–”

“A month, I know,” Hermione said. “Which, honestly, would at least give us plenty of time to have a solid plan in order.”

“Do we really need that long?” Harry asked. “Malfoy’s dad is probably expecting us sooner rather than later.” Now that they actually had an idea of what to do, he wanted to jump straight into action. He was already getting antsy just sitting at the table.

“We’ll need to practice…” Draco said slowly. “And where would we get the ingredients for the potion?”

“Again, the twins,” Ron said. “If they haven’t got the potion, then they’ll definitely at least have the stuff to make it.”

“Are they actually good at brewing?” Draco asked curiously. “I didn’t think most Gryffindors were into that.”

Ron snorted. “Honestly, those two probably should’ve been put in Slytherin. You should see their shop, though – they’ve got an entire lab in the flat above it. It’s pretty impressive.” He sounded proud, and Draco actually managed to look mildly impressed.

“I went in there last summer,” he said. “Just the shop, obviously – and only for about a minute. There were loads of kids there, and it was fucking loud. But it was…interesting. I suppose.”

Impressive,” Ron said again, grinning. “Admit it.”

“What do we have to practice?” Harry asked.

Draco waved a hand at Ron. “This git being under the Imperius, of course. If anyone is going to be able to recognize whether or not someone is having their actions controlled, it’ll be the Death Eaters.”

“How hard can it be?” Ron asked, his brow furrowing a bit. “Just do whatever you tell me to, yeah?”

Hermione shook her head. “There’s more to it than that,” she said. “Remember when we did it in class? You’ll have to watch your facial expressions, and kind of just have a blank look the entire time. Move when Draco tells you to, follow him, do exactly what he says, keeps your eyes fixed straight ahead but not really on any one thing in particular–”

“Okay, okay,” Ron said hastily. “I get it.”

“So, practice, then?” Draco asked. There was a faint smirk on his face, and Ron nodded, though he looked thoroughly unhappy about it.

Harry looked at Draco. “And what’s your cover story going to be?”

“Oh, I’m sticking with the truth,” Draco said. “As much as I can.”

“…How’s that going to work?” Harry asked. “That kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?”

Draco gave him a slightly incredulous look, but it was Hermione who answered. “It’s always a good idea to stick as closely to the truth as possible,” she said. “Rather than making up a bunch of details that you might forget when put on the spot.”

“Plus, if someone manages to get into my head…” Draco trailed off and shrugged. “Then at least most of what they’ll see will match up. In fact, I’ll probably even let some things drift through the Occlumency barrier on purpose. Then I can just focus on keeping the important bits well hidden.”

Harry nodded. That made sense – or at least, if Hermione thought it did, then Harry wasn’t going to argue with her. “So…when you say ‘the truth’, though. What do you mean, exactly?”

“Well,” Draco hedged, absently turning his long-forgotten teacup in his hands. “It’s – okay.” He stilled his hands and leaned forward to look Harry in the eye. “It’s going to sound like I’ve played you, Potter, because I’m flat out going to tell my father than I managed to trick your sorry arse and befriended you by playing the part of some pathetic little victim who just needed a second chance. No lies. Just the facts, as much as possible. But you can’t–”

“Malfoy,” Harry said quickly, before Draco could continue. “I get it. You’ll say a load of shit that’s going to sound exactly like what happened, and you don’t want us to second guess you.”

Draco let out a slow breath and nodded. “It’s going to be convincing. It has to be. It’ll sound exactly like it’s supposed to, like I’m really – betraying you. But I’m not.”

Harry laughed a bit. “I know, alright?” He glanced at Hermione and Ron, before looking back at Draco. “We all do. The more convincing the act, the better.”

Draco seemed relieved for a second, but he quickly let a more unconcerned look settle on his face. “Good,” he said simply.

“I just wish we knew for sure where that Portkey is going to take you,” Hermione said. “I’d be much more comfortable with this if we could figure out a map of the area.”

“It’ll be okay,” Harry said. “Dobby will be able to get us out.”

“I don’t know, Harry,” Hermione said uncertainly. “We should be careful with how much we rely on him. What if he can’t get you out?”

Harry shook his head. “He and Kreacher got us out of the cave.”

“Exactly!” Hermione exclaimed. “He had help.”

“Because he needed it,” Ron pointed out. “Kreacher didn’t have the time to do it alone. This will be different; we won’t be trying to get out right away.” He paused, and then added under his breath, “…Hopefully.”

Hermione exhaled harshly. “Okay. Alright, I suppose we don’t really have much of a choice anyway. And I trust Dobby. This will be fine.” She seemed to be trying to convince herself. Harry and Ron glanced at each other and left her to it.

“I’ll owl Fred and George,” Ron said as he stood up from the table. “See what they can do for us. Here’s hoping Pig hasn’t taken off somewhere.”

“If he has, just use Hedwig,” Harry said.

“Will do,” Ron said, grinning. “Back in a minute.”

Hermione pushed away from the table, as well. “Hang on, I’m coming with you,” she said. “I want to talk to you.” Ron gave her a pained look, but she ignored it and wrapped her arm around his and practically dragged him from the room.

Harry very pointedly didn’t think about just what, exactly, she wanted to talk to him about. Instead he watched Draco as he got up and went about making himself another cup of tea. “You should have some toast or something,” he said after a moment. Draco sent him a questioning look, and Harry shrugged. “I figured you didn’t eat. But getting something in your stomach will help settle it.” He paused, frowning a little. “Or maybe there are some potions upstairs that would help. Tonks might have something–”

“I’m fine, Potter,” Draco cut in, sounding slightly amused. “It’s not as though I’ve never gotten wasted on Firewhiskey before. I can handle it.”

Harry shrugged. “If you say so.”

“It’s not even my stomach, really,” Draco said. “Just a pain in the arse headache.”

“Mm,” Harry said noncommittally. He watched Draco for a minute longer, and once he’d sat down again Harry asked, “What did the rest of the letter say?”

Draco looked up sharply. “What do you mean?”

“You had a look on your face,” Harry said in a neutral tone. “And you didn’t pass it off for anyone to read.”

“It’s my letter, Potter, it’s hardly any of your business – I said I’d tell you if I heard from him, that doesn’t mean I have to give you every bloody detail–”

Malfoy,” Harry interrupted somewhat exasperatedly. “Stop, I wasn’t – I don’t want to read it. I just…” He trailed off and then shrugged, looking away. “It just seemed like there was more to it. I wanted to make sure you were – okay.”

Draco shut his mouth abruptly and had the decency to look a bit sheepish as he slouched back in his chair. “Oh,” he said simply. “Well. There wasn’t anything…” He fished around for what he wanted to say, and then eventually just sighed. “It was all the usual rubbish,” he admitted. He dropped his voice to a lower tone that was a closer match to his father’s. “Don’t let me down, do the Malfoy name proud. Everything I’ve heard a thousand times before.” Draco hesitated as he glanced back at Harry again. “It’s just different this time knowing that I’m going in with deliberate plans to say ‘piss off’ to his face. …You know, in a manner of speaking.”

Harry grinned. “Bet it’ll feel good, though.”

“…Yeah,” Draco said, giving him a small smirk right back. “Suppose it will.” He took a sip of his tea, and then winced slightly and flexed his hand, frowning down at it.

Harry’s eyes widened. “Is your–” Draco shot him a quelling look before Harry could get his entire question out, so he quickly shut up and scowled down at the table. The corner of Draco’s mouth curled upwards again at his reaction. Harry caught sight of it and rolled his eyes. “So,” he said instead. “What did you guys talk about last night?”

Draco threw his head back and laughed.

“Oh, Potter,” he said. “Trust me, you don’t want to know.”

Did you know this fic is actually longer than SWAS now? Weird, haha.

Anyway, next chapter should be fun times! Thanks for reading!


next chapter

You can also read it at Skyehawke.

[identity profile] 2011-10-16 07:59 pm (UTC)(link)
First comment yay! Good chapter. I hope Harry doesn't do anything stupid and heroic like the self sacrificing bloody Gryffindor he is. Oh boys you did deserve those hangovers.

[identity profile] 2011-10-28 05:26 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you!!

Haha, you'll find out soon. Next chapter should be up tomorrow. :D

[identity profile] 2011-10-16 08:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Im scared! There are so many flaws in this plan... should make for exciting times ahead though. Love to see a new chapter! Poor harry he is so oblivious.. i hope he comes to his senses soon :P

[identity profile] 2011-10-28 05:27 am (UTC)(link)
Oh god, there were a thousand flaws which I REALIZED VERY QUICKLY when writing it, haha. But when aren't there flaws in their glorious plans? XD

Thanks for reading!!

[identity profile] 2011-10-17 10:20 am (UTC)(link)
The hangover!!! just so hilarious, and Hermione know it all, wants to know everything. And poor Harry, maybe he wants to know haha.
Oh the plan! would be waiting for reading the action! :D

[identity profile] 2011-10-28 05:29 am (UTC)(link)
Hermione isn't used to being the last one to know, haha!! And Ron and Draco are so fun to write in that "we can actually stand each other now but we're going to keep pretending we can't" sort of way. XD

Next chapter should be up tomorrow! Thank you!
ext_40819: Shifty-eyed starfish from Nemo  (HP Harry - invisible man)

[identity profile] 2011-10-20 10:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Ugh, this plan is so flawed but exactly what I'd expect from them. I really worried about Ron. This just the sort of thing that could get him killed. I'm also still worried about whatever else was in that letter. Snape is going to be pissed off too.

I loved Ron and Draco in the last chapter, though poor Ron is going to have to talk to Hermoine now. Can't wait for her to get all blushy and weird around Harry too. :D

I like the shield idea! I was always partial to that wand that was on display at Ollivander's shop in the 1st book. A diadem? I swear she made that one up because we all had guessed every possibility. ;)

[identity profile] 2011-10-28 05:40 am (UTC)(link)
Oh man, I knew it was flawed going in but it just became so much more obvious while I was writing it, lmfao. But I only had to remember their polyjuiced adventure at the Ministry in book 7 to reassure myself that flawed is exactly the sort of thing they do best. XD

I am having SO MUCH FUN writing Ron and Draco right now! Haha, I said to someone above, they're very much in that "we can actually stand each other now but we're going to keep pretending we can't" stage so I'm really enjoying writing all their scenes.

Oohh, I never even thought about the wand! But yeah, I remember even before HBP came out that I was SO SURE the shield had to mean something. I think it was because of the creepy sound it made. And, admittedly, the drawing of it in the American version helped -- that's where I borrowed the whole serpent design from. But JKR never actually included that description in her writing, so. >.> OH WELL.