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Maxine ([personal profile] maxine_chan) wrote2006-10-15 08:25 pm
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FIC: All the Answers - Chapter 16

Right, so I know that I've kind of been failing at responding to comments on the chapters lately. Sorry!! I really do appreciate them, though. Thank you guys so much for sticking with me! ♥


Title: All the Answers
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Harry/Draco
Word Count: 5700
Disclaimer: It's not mine. Really. J.K. Rowling's the brilliant mind behind HP.
Notes: Post-HBP, so yes, SPOILERS! Many, many thanks to my lovely betas, [livejournal.com profile] annella and [livejournal.com profile] impish_nymph! Ladies, you're both fantastic!
Summary: Since when has conquering evil ever been easy?


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



previous chapter


~~Chapter 16~~


“R-Ron,” Harry distantly heard Hermione say, her voice shaking. “Ron, are you…” She laid a hand tentatively on his arm, and Harry was glad that at least she was able to move, because he was still standing frozen with shock, staring at the billowing smoke in the distance.

It took some effort, but he was able to tear his eyes away when he saw Ron jerk forward, taking a single, unsteady step.

Mum,” he croaked, his face pasty and pale.

“Ron,” Harry said quickly, shaking Draco off his arm and starting towards his friend. “Ron, listen–”

But Ron was already stumbling forward, breaking free from Hermione’s grasp as he took off down the hill.

“RON!” Harry shouted, immediately sprinting after him. “Ron, wait!” He caught up easily enough, latching onto his shoulder and dragging him to a halt.

“Let me go, Harry!” Ron cried, a desperate look in his eyes. “LET ME GO!”

“No, listen to me, Ron – listen!” Harry said, his brain working furiously to come up with a reason that Ron’s family was okay. They were, they had to be. “Ginny’s at Hogwarts!” he finally blurted, saying the first thing that came to mind. It had the effect of calming both he and Ron down considerably, so that his friend was no longer struggling against him and he could suddenly think clearly. “Ginny’s at Hogwarts,” he repeated. “The twins live in Diagon Alley. Bill’s with Fleur’s family in France.” That’s right. That’s right, none of Ron’s siblings lived at home anymore. “Charlie’s still in Romania,” he finished, taking deep breaths.

Ron was blinking rapidly. “But – my parents,” he said in a choked voice, and Harry went cold again.

“I’m sure they’re alright,” Hermione said softly. Harry hadn’t even noticed her standing beside them. “They must have gotten out.”

“But…”

“Ron,” Harry said steadily, ignoring his own pounding heart. “Let’s just go see.”

They made their way slowly down the hill, and they were about halfway there when an owl suddenly swooped down from the sky and came to halt in front of them, hovering in midair.

“That’s Fred and George’s owl,” Hermione said, reaching forward and untying the letter that was bound to its leg.

Some of the tension left Ron’s shoulders as they rounded the final bend and came to a stop in front of what used to be Ron’s house.

“Hey, Fred, look.”

“Cor, that was quick! When did our owl learn to Apparate?”

Harry’s head jerked to the side, and he honestly could not have found words to describe the relief he felt at that moment. “Fred! George!”

“Present and accounted for!” one of the twins, Fred he thought, said cheerfully.

“How’d you all get back so quickly?” the other twin asked.

“We were already back,” Hermione replied, lifting her hand that was still holding the twins’ unread letter. “Your owl found us just over there.”

“Fred!” Ron gasped out, stumbling forward and collapsing against his brother’s chest. “What’s going on? Where’s mum and dad? Why is our house gone? What happened?!”

“Whoa now, calm down, Ronniekins,” Fred said, taking the boy by his shoulders and shaking him lightly.

“Take a breath, already,” George added. “Mum and dad are fine. Seems they were out of the country when it happened.”

“Out of – out of the country?” Ron repeated shakily. “You’re sure? So they’re okay?”

“Everyone’s fine,” Fred said.

“Except maybe for the ghoul,” George added as an afterthought.

“So what happened?” Harry asked.

“Isn’t it obvious, Potter?” Draco spoke up, stepping forward, his eyes on the still burning remains of the Weasleys’ home. “This is the Dark Lord’s work.”

“’Course you’d recognize it,” George said, his eyes narrowed.

“Well, it’s a little obvious,” Draco returned, unruffled. He turned, locking eyes with Harry, and added, “This is probably why Snape sent us to Belgium.”

Hermione gasped. “Do you think so?”

Draco shrugged. “It was just a thought. But it’s possible.”

“Why are you guys here, anyway?” Harry directed towards Fred and George. “Shouldn’t there be someone from the Order here, too?”

We’re in the Order, thank you very much,” Fred said, giving Harry a feigned injured look. “Nice of you to remember.”

“But if it’s a higher-up you’re looking for,” George said, “you just missed Kingsley Shacklebolt. He’s been in charge of the investigation, but he had to run back to the office.”

“He left us in charge,” Fred said, grinning.

“At the moment we’re trying to figure out why mum and dad left for Romania without telling anyone,” George added.

“Romania?” Ron repeated, arching his eyebrows.

“Yeah. Seems they decided to visit Charlie out of the blue,” Fred said.

“Even though they never have before.”

“And they definitely can’t afford it.”

George sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. “Can’t afford much of anything now. They’re going to have to find a new place to live and everything.”

“They can live at Grimmauld Place,” Harry said quickly. “You know I’d never turn them away.”

“Yeah, but Harry, they can’t live there forever,” Fred said.

“When did this happen?” Hermione asked.

“Two days ago. S’why we were delayed in replying to you,” George replied.

“Two days?” Harry repeated. “Then why is it still burning?”

“Because of all the old magic around, Potter,” said a gruff voice. “That’s a fire fueled by Dark Magic, and as long as it has other remnants of magic to feed off, it’ll keep burning. Didn’t they teach you anything at that blasted school of yours?”

Harry felt Draco tense up beside him, and he whirled around to find Mad-Eye Moody suddenly standing there.

“Where’d you come from, Moody?” Fred asked.

“Didn’t even hear you stomp over,” George added.

“Clearly they made the right choice in leaving you behind,” Moody grumbled. His magical eye swiveled around to look at Draco, but otherwise he didn’t acknowledge him. Somewhere in the back of Harry’s mind he noted that none of the others seemed particularly surprised that he was even there; he guessed someone had spread the news. Moody directed his attention back to Harry. “Potter, I need a word with you.”

* * *

They Apparated to Hogsmeade, and from there Moody led them to the Hog’s Head.

“In the back,” he said gruffly, when Harry paused and tried to catch Aberforth’s eye. “Go on, before you make a scene!”

Harry pushed open the door that led to the room they’d met in last time, a sinking feeling occurring somewhere near his stomach as he guessed who was waiting inside.

You!” Ron spat angrily before Moody had even properly closed the door.

“Ron, calm down,” Hermione said softly, instantly standing at Ron’s side. “Hello, Professor Snape.”

“I’ll be keeping guard out front,” Moody said, backing through the door.

“I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at that greeting,” Snape said, nodding briefly at Moody and folding his hands in front of him, making no move to rise from his chair. “Take a seat, before you all self combust with internal rage.”

Harry didn’t move. “Why did you send us to Belgium?” he asked in a level voice, his hands closing into fists and his eyes narrowing.

“To find a Horcrux, I thought I made that clear,” Snape said dryly. “Don’t tell me you had no luck?”

Draco snorted. “Of course we didn’t. There was no bloody Horcrux out there!”

“You’re sure?” Snape said, arching one eyebrow.

Draco’s brow furrowed. “Yes. I’m sure.”

“So, you didn’t find anything,” Snape said, and it wasn’t a question.

“Professor Snape, we thought there might have been an ulterior reason for you sending us out there,” Hermione said quickly, moving forward and sliding into one of the four seats across the table from Snape. “Draco and Harry practiced Occlumency most of the time we were there!”

Snape gave Harry a steady look. “Would you say you’ve improved, Potter?”

Harry met Snape’s gaze evenly. “I think so.”

“Walls, Potter, walls,” Draco hissed, grabbing Harry’s sleeve.

“What?” Harry asked distractedly, giving Draco a confused look.

Walls, you bloody ponce! What do you think he’s doing right now?” Draco exclaimed, his cheeks turning faintly pink. “Do not let him in!”

“One might offer you the same advice, Mr. Malfoy,” Snape said smoothly, glancing at Draco out of the corner of his eye. The color in Draco’s cheeks deepened.

“I don’t fucking care about Occlumency!” Ron exploded, slamming his hands down onto the table. “And I don’t care about the Horcruxes, either! Tell me what’s going on!”

Snape blinked slowly. “Is something the matter?” he asked in a slightly bored tone.

“Yes!” Ron snapped. “Why is my house gone? Why were we sent to Belgium? Why are my parents in Romania–”

“Because I sent them there,” Snape interrupted. “Or rather, Moody did. He gave them a much needed holiday, if you will, and suggested a trip to see the dragons, under the pretense that they should report back to the Order with how the training is going.”

“So…they were sent away on purpose?” Hermione asked.

“Would you rather I had left them in their home when the Dark Lord attacked?”

“So it was Voldemort!” Harry spat, slamming his hands down onto the table beside Ron.

“Oh, for Salazar’s sake, enough with the theatrics,” Snape snapped. “Sit down, would you? Let’s try to have a civilized conversation like most adults would, if you think you can handle that, Potter. Nobody’s dead, so I see no reason for you to be throwing temper tantrums like children.”

“BECAUSE MY HOUSE IS GONE!” Ron roared, hitting the table again. “Forgive me if I’m a little upset!”

“Ron, sit down,” Hermione hissed, pulling at Ron’s sleeve until he collapsed in the chair beside her. “Harry, Draco, you too.”

“Why are you calling me Draco all of a sudden?” Draco asked, his nose wrinkling. “You don’t need to put on an act for him.” He tipped his head in Snape’s direction.

Hermione flushed slightly. “Fine, then,” she said indignantly. “Malfoy.”

Draco nodded, sitting down in his own chair, and Harry scowled for a bit more before he all but threw his body into the remaining seat.

“Now then,” Snape said, with a slight roll of his eyes. “Yes, I knew that the Dark Lord would be targeting your home, Weasley.”

“Then why didn’t you do anything?!” Ron exclaimed, half-rising out of his seat again before Hermione pulled him back down with an exasperated look.

“I sent you away, didn’t I?” Snape asked calmly.

“And what good did that do?” Harry asked, his eyes narrowing.

Snape gave him a level look. “You’re alive,” he said simply.

Ron scowled. “That was my home! We should have stayed and fought for it! We could have defended–”

“He sent forty of his Death Eaters,” Snape interrupted, and Harry could see that he was beginning to lose his patience. “You wouldn’t have stood a chance.”

“We’ve stood up to them before–” Harry started to say.

“That was pure luck and forgive me if I did not want to rely on mere chance again,” Snape snapped.

“You could have had the Order on guard!” Ron said.

“That would have been more than slightly suspicious,” Snape said.

“And us not being there wasn’t?” Harry retorted.

“Your absence can be explained in a thousand different ways, and it has been. The entire Order of the Phoenix being on guard for an attack that they should not have known about puts not only my life at risk, but it also risks the Order’s main source of enemy information.” Snape breathed harshly through his nose, his brow pinching downward in a look of irritation. “Is that quite a sufficient explanation for you, Mr. Potter? Or would you like me to add that Weasley’s parents knew about this plan and were more than okay with it?”

“Wait – they knew?” Ron repeated, his eyes going wide. “But – they didn’t – they didn’t say anything!”

“Oh, Ron.” Hermione sighed. “Do you really think they would have been okay with us disappearing for two weeks if they hadn’t already known what was going on?”

“But…they don’t know about Snape…”

“They may not know, but wasn’t your mum the first person to tell us that Professor Snape might have had an Unbreakable Vow? Wasn’t she the first one who said she believed that?”

“I guess…”

“They didn’t have much notice,” Snape spoke up again, “but I believe they would have managed to bring anything important with them.”

“We could have at least tried,” Harry muttered, crossing his arms and slouching in his chair.

“And that is exactly why I made you sure you were gone,” Snape said. “I know your Gryffindor stupidity far too well, Potter. I wasn’t going to risk you charging headlong into a battle you wouldn’t survive.”

“You don’t know that we wouldn’t have won!” Ron yelled.

“I don’t know that you wouldn’t have lost, either!” Snape snapped. “Moody knew and agreed with the entire plan, as well, Weasley! If you think I need your approval for something that is already said and done and therefore no longer even of consequence, you are sorely mistaken!”

“Ron,” Hermione said quickly. “Ron, he’s right. He kept us out of harm’s way, didn’t he? And no one in your family is hurt. And he protected his position. The plan worked!”

“I still think the whole thing is suspicious,” Draco muttered.

“No one’s asking you, Malfoy,” Ron snapped.

Draco’s eyes widened. “Oh sure, be petty just for the hell of it. I’m on your side in this, remember?”

“Look,” Harry said, before they could start arguing over nothing, “Hermione’s right. Everyone’s okay, so…”

And you managed to learn Occlumency finally, right, Harry?” Hermione said eagerly.

Harry frowned. “Can we please never mention Occlumency again? I’m really getting sick of it.”

Draco smirked, but Harry stomped on his foot before he could say anything.

“You didn’t find the Horcrux I sent you to search for, though,” Snape said in a more level tone.

Harry gave him a startled look. “Was there really one out there? Damn it, Malfoy, I told you–”

“Don’t blame me!” Draco interrupted, his eyes wide. “They didn’t think there was one either!”

“Yeah, but I wasn’t with them; I was with you and it’s your fault that we didn’t go looking for it because you wanted to look at every single one of my memories–”

“As fascinating as it is to watch you two argue,” Snape interrupted, “I’m fairly certain I got my fill of that when I was teaching you. Or attempting to teach, as the case may be,” he added, with a flat look in Harry’s direction. “In any case, there was no Horcrux in Belgium and, to my knowledge, the Dark Lord has never actually even been to Belgium. So, I’m glad you found something more…worthwhile to do with your time.” He arched his eyebrows at Harry and Draco as he spoke.

Harry was quite certain his stomach had just plummeted through the floor.

Draco punched him on the shoulder, his face flushed pink. “Did I teach you nothing?”

Ron and Hermione were giving them weird looks. Harry decided to just ignore everybody.

“Now,” Snape said suddenly, leaning forward and placing a picture on the table. “This is where the next Horcrux should actually be. If my research proves correct.”

Harry leaned over the table quickly, the other three crowding in around him as they stared down at what seemed to be a simple picture of the beach.

“There’s a cave off the shore there where the Dark Lord branded his first Death Eater,” Snape said slowly.

“You mean this is where he gave out the first Dark Mark?” Hermione breathed, her eyes wide.

“He already had a Horcrux in a cave by the ocean though,” Harry said, furrowing his brow.

“Well, no one ever said the Dark Lord wasn’t predictable,” Snape said dryly. “Though some of his more recent plans show he might finally be breaking out of this habit of setting useless traps and the like.”

“Because ambushing people’s houses makes me feel so much more comfortable,” Harry muttered. Then his eyes widened. “Wait, that’s why he was going to attack the Weasleys? To get me?!”

Snape gave Harry an odd look. “Of course. Why else would he dirty his hands? Potter, ninety percent of the reason there’s a war going on right now is because the Dark Lord is trying to kill you, I do hope you’ve realized that.”

Harry frowned. “I – I know that, but… How did he know I was there?”

“I told him,” Snape said simply. “I have to pass him some information occasionally.”

“So he didn’t just…know. He hasn’t been trying to…?” Harry gestured at his scar.

Snape furrowed his brow. “Dumbledore explained to you why that didn’t work so well last time.”

“I know, I know, I just–” Harry glanced at Draco out of the corner of his eye, and of course Snape noticed. His eyes widened almost imperceptibly.

“As far as I’m aware,” he said slowly, carefully, “the Dark Lord hasn’t been using any of his…connections to determine your whereabouts. He hasn’t yet realized that option is available to him.”

“So he doesn’t know,” Harry said, shoulders sagging in relief.

“No,” Snape replied. “Although I’m somewhat surprised you do.” He eyes slid over to Draco as he spoke, and the other boy flushed but determinedly held his gaze.

“…What the bloody hell are you all talking about?” Ron spoke up. Hermione looked a mix of curious and concerned, as well.

“Later,” Harry said quickly. “Professor, wasn’t he angry there was no one at the Burrow, then?”

“He was. Lesser individuals placed under me were punished for giving misleading information,” Snape said. “They assumed you were still there. I didn’t bother to correct them.”

“…Professor,” Hermione spoke up tentatively, looking at the picture again. “How can you be sure there’s a Horcrux here? How do you find them exactly? How did – how did Dumbledore find them?”

“Mostly it has to do with having a certain amount of knowledge of the Dark Lord’s past, and the majority of people don’t. I knew where he first began branding his followers because I was there. In going back to check the area, I noticed the changes in the magic and the noticeably darker seals in the cave. When you were with Dumbledore, I believe blood magic was required, right, Potter?”

Harry didn’t bother to ask how he knew that. “Yeah,” he said simply.

“If I’m correct, this is a little bit different.” Snape shifted his gaze to Draco again. “This seal requires someone with a Dark Mark to break it.”

Draco blinked. “And you can’t do it, why?”

Snape leaned forward, clasping his hands in front of him. “I believe it will leave another mark, something that the Dark Lord would notice, and I can’t risk that.”

“That would explain why Regulus didn’t go after that one, then,” Ron muttered.

“Oh yeah, he only went after the one that would get himself killed instead,” Harry muttered back.

“Voldemort would have killed him anyway, right?” Hermione asked.

“Point,” Harry murmured. He glanced at Draco. “Well, Malfoy? This is probably the biggest chance you’ll get to prove you’re against Voldemort.”

Draco shot him a glare. “As much as I dislike the idea of having to prove myself to you, Potter… Alright, fine.”

“You should go in three days time,” Snape said, leaning back in his chair.

“How come?” Harry asked, narrowing his eyes.

Snape smirked. “Because that is when that particular beach will be officially closed for the season. Most Muggles will stray away from that area regardless, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to be safe.”

“So we’re going to the beach now?” Ron asked wearily.

Harry sighed. “Guess so.”

* * *

They spent the next couple of days cleaning up Grimmauld Place and making sure it would be comfortable for Mr. and Mrs. Weasley to stay in. Harry thought that was a bit unnecessary, but Hermione had insisted and put all three boys, plus Fred and George when they made the mistake of dropping by one evening, to work. The result was a mostly sparkling clean house, with the exception being the rooms that were designated specifically for the Order’s use. Although, Harry noticed, none of the Order members had actually been by yet. He figured that was a good thing; he knew at this point he’d have to officially tell them Draco Malfoy was living right under their noses, and while it was reassuring that at least some of them had evidently been told and hadn’t carted the other boy off to the Ministry yet, Harry was still apprehensive about what might happen when the news was completely out in the open.

The night before they were supposed to head out, Harry was in his room re-reading a book about old wizarding artifacts when someone knocked softly on the door and then, without waiting for an answer, pushed it slightly open.

“Potter?” Draco whispered, sticking his head inside. “You’re not sleeping, are you?”

Harry fought the urge to scream at him to get the hell out of his room, and instead gave him a flat look. “My light’s on and it’s not even past midnight yet,” he replied dryly. “What do you think?”

Draco rolled his eyes. “Just thought I’d ask before I came barging in,” he said. He stepped further into the room, shutting the door behind him and leaning against it.

Harry swallowed and steadily ignored the way his pants suddenly seemed tighter.

“What do you want?” he asked, closing his book and holding it protectively over his lap without trying to seem too obvious about it. The way Draco’s eyes followed his movements made him aware that he’d utterly failed.

“I wanted to ask you what you thought about this whole thing,” Draco said, meeting Harry’s eyes again.

“About what whole thing?”

“This whole cave by the ocean thing,” Draco said, starting forward and plopping down on the opposite end of the bed. “Aren’t you at all suspicious?”

Harry pulled his legs closer against him, cursing the fact that he’d even let Draco into his room in the first place. He’d been avoiding him for specifically this reason, and now here he was, plain as day, not three feet away from him. “Suspicious?” he asked absently. “Not really.”

Draco sighed, leaning back against the footboard. “I feel like Snape’s leading us wrong again.”

“No, he definitely gave us more information this time around,” Harry said.

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

“Huh?”

“I think we’re being stupid, is all.”

“I think you’re just nervous,” Harry said with a roll of his eyes.

Draco shrugged. “Could be.” He glanced down at his forearm, and Harry noticed for the first time that he was wearing short sleeves, which wasn’t something he did very often. Or at all, really, as Harry couldn’t remember another instance like this.

Harry swallowed again, trying to ignore the weird clenching thing his stomach was doing, and was about to say something else when a familiar scent wafted by. His eyes widened. “Hey, Ginny’s not here, is she?” he asked, standing abruptly and taking half a step towards the door.

Ginny?” Draco repeated, frowning. “No, not that I know of…”

Harry’s brow furrowed. “What’s that smell then?”

“Smell?” Draco asked, and then his eyes widened a bit. “Oh, that.” He pulled a crumpled piece of parchment from his pocket, smoothing it out in front of him. “It’s the latest letter from my mother. She has this scented parchment that she uses sometimes,” he said, a faint smile on his face.

“…Oh,” Harry said, frowning. “Um. How is she? Your mum?”

“She’s still in Spain,” Draco said, scanning the letter once more before stuffing it back into his pocket. “She seems to be doing alright.”

“That’s…good, I guess,” Harry said haltingly. He moved back towards the bed, and then remembering that that was where Draco was sitting, he made an abrupt turn and went to stand in front of the window instead. “We should probably be getting to bed soon,” he said, leaning forward and bracing his hands against the windowsill. He stared out at the scraggly looking tree in the yard as if it was the most interesting thing he’d ever seen.

He could hear Draco shifting around on the bed behind him. The old springs squeaked as the other boy adjusted his weight. “Potter…”

Harry abruptly yawned. “Merlin, I’m tired all of a sudden,” he said loudly, swallowing yet again. Why was his throat so dry?

There was a pause, and then Harry heard Draco stand up. Footsteps sounded lightly across the creaky floorboards, and Harry assumed Draco was moving towards the door. He shoulders sagged in relief. “Well, goodnight, Mal–”

“Potter,” Draco said again, and Harry’s heart very nearly jumped out of his chest at the proximity of the other boy’s voice. Draco reached around, resting his hands against the windowsill outside of Harry’s, effectively boxing him in.

Harry drew in a shaky breath when Draco rested his forehead against his shoulder.

“M-Malfoy…” He turned around abruptly, giving Draco a wide-eyed look, and since Draco’s hands were still on the windowsill they were close enough now that their noses were practically touching. Draco leaned in, just an infinitely tiny amount closer, and his hand came up to rest on Harry’s shoulder with a touch that felt as if it could burn straight through Harry’s clothes and into his skin.

Harry blinked, and when Draco went to move in even closer, Harry put a hand on his chest to hold him in place.

“What’re you doing?” he asked in a low voice, trying to keep the burning in his cheeks to a minimum.

Draco didn’t answer, and instead stared at him for a long moment. He finally pulled back, a smirk falling easily into place on his lips.

“Night, Potter,” he said simply, turning and walking towards the door.

Harry didn’t reply, didn’t even move until Draco had closed the door behind him and his footsteps has faded away down the hall, and it was only then that he was able to stumble forward and collapse onto his bed. He buried his face in the pillow, vaguely wishing that he would wake up to find that the entire trip to Belgium had been nothing more than an extremely fucked up dream.

* * *

“Is everyone ready to go?” Hermione asked, looking around their small group for confirmation. “We all know where we’re going?”

“Déjà vu,” Draco muttered, twirling his wand absently. “We’re not going near as far this time; I think we can handle it, Granger.”

Hermione gave him an annoyed look. “Are you going by yourself, then?”

Draco scoffed. “Of course not, are you crazy? I’m going with Potter.”

“Wait, what?” Harry said, startled.

Draco patted him on the shoulder. “Nothing, Potter, don’t worry about it. Same thing as always, yeah?”

“Malfoy, you are so weird,” Ron said, shaking his head lightly. “Has anyone ever told you that?”

“Oh, go shag your girlfriend or something,” Draco said flippantly, looping his arm through Harry’s. “We’ll just be waiting for you at the beach.”

Hermione gave Ron a disapproving look when he grinned cheerfully at Draco’s words. “Give us a minute, would you?” she said, her eyes narrowing. “We’ll meet you there, Harry, go on ahead.”

Harry’s eyes widened. “But–”

“You heard the girl, Potter. Off we go!”

Harry sighed, closing his eyes. “Fine,” he said, and then he Disapparated them.

When Harry opened his eyes again, it was to a sight unlike anything he’d ever seen. Well, he’d seen pictures of it, but he’d never actually been to a beach before. It was still early in the morning, as they hadn’t wanted to try finding the cave when it was completely dark out, and the sun was just beginning to come up across the water.

Harry stared, amazed, and only remembered he wasn’t alone when Draco coughed slightly beside him.

“See something you like, Potter?” he said, arching an eyebrow as he released the other boy’s arm and stepped away

Harry blinked, and tried not to think about how far the distance between them suddenly seemed. “I’ve just…never been to the ocean before,” he said softly, turning to look out at the water again. The beach wasn’t very long, but it was peaceful and quiet and it was obvious there was no one else around.

“Didn’t you and Dumbledore have some wild and crazy adventure at the ocean?” Draco asked, kneeling down and poking at something in the sand.

Harry laughed shortly. “That was a little different, trust me,” he said flatly. “This…this is really nice.”

“Isn’t it?” Draco stood up again, tossing something up and down in his hand. “My father used to bring me to the beach when I was younger. My mother didn’t like it too much – we burn very easily, comes with the fair skin – but I never cared. I haven’t been in a while though.” He looked out across the water, staring at some distant thing that Harry couldn’t see. “It’s been years, actually,” he continued, voice softer. “Before I started going to Hogwarts, even.”

“You probably have a lot of good memories with your father – family,” Harry corrected himself quickly.

Draco shrugged. “Well, some are better than others.” He turned toward Harry, holding out his hand. “Here.”

“What is it?” Harry asked warily.

Draco rolled his eyes. “It’s a horrible cursed item that I’ve managed to hide away until just this moment,” he said dryly. “Just take it, would you?”

Harry gave him a suspicious look. “You are joking, right?” he asked, and when Draco gave him an irritated glare, he quickly held out his hand. Draco dropped a small shell in it, pinkish orange in color with a shiny, smooth underside. Harry stared at it.

“Something to remember your first trip to the beach by,” Draco said, turning away abruptly. Harry thought his cheeks looked a little pink, but he could have been mistaken.

“I…I wonder what’s taking Hermione and Ron so long,” Harry said hastily, shielding his eyes as he glanced across the water again.

“Maybe they’re taking my advice,” Draco said with a leering grin.

“I thought we established that that wasn’t funny?”

“Bloody hell, I know, and yet we keep bringing it up.” Draco shuddered.

“Still.” Harry grinned widely. “It really is nice out here.”

“Perfect place for date, don’t you think?”

“Yeah,” Harry murmured. Then his eyes widened and he jerked his head around, finding Draco smirking at him with crossed arms. “I mean – it’s the sort place Ginny might like to visit.” Draco’s smirk fell and an exasperated look crossed his face. “Er, you know, once the war is over and all–”

“Fucking Merlin on a bloody broomstick, are you really that dense?” Draco interrupted irritably. Harry spluttered out a nonsensical reply, but before he could clarify himself, Draco had lunged forward and twisted his hands into the front of Harry’s shirt so that he could pull the other boy down to meet him.

There was a part of Harry that tried to fight it. A stubborn part that was yelling at him to shove the other boy away, to push him flat onto his arse and leave him there while he Apparated away. But there was also another part of him, a much louder part that was telling him there was something strangely poetic about kissing someone on the beach while watching the sunrise together, even if it that someone was a person he really would have preferred to drag over to the water’s edge and shove straight in.

In any case, he couldn’t help the way his mouth opened without any prodding from Draco at all, the way his arms easily wound their way around Draco’s waist and pulled him closer. He couldn’t help it if his cock jumped a little at the way Draco’s breath suddenly hitched, and he certainly couldn’t help it if his mind was suddenly betraying him and replaying the events that had happened in Belgium over and over again, only this time with the rough feel of sand under his back instead of the hard floor of the tent.

Draco pulled back first, gasping for breath and staring at Harry in something akin to amazement.

“Well…that was somewhat unexpected,” he panted, eyes still wide.

Harry blinked at him. “It means nothing,” he said shakily. “Just. The beach. It was the sunrise.” He blinked again, because whatever he’d just said really didn’t make any sense.

Draco apparently thought so, too, because he was smirking now. “Yeah, I blame the sunrise,” he said.

Harry frowned.

And a sudden loud crack informed him that his other two friends had finally decided to show up.

Harry and Draco sprang apart from each other before it became obvious just how they’d been helping the time pass.

“Sorry!” Hermione exclaimed, fixing her hair as she rushed over to them. “I – we forgot something and – well.”

“It’s all taken care of now, though,” Ron said as he strolled up, grinning cheekily. Hermione smacked him on the shoulder, and then finally caught sight of the ocean sparkling in front of her.

“Oh, isn’t this gorgeous!” she said, her eyes going wide. “Wow!”

“Yeah, yeah, Potter and I are tired of admiring the sunrise,” Draco said snidely. “Are we going or what?”

“Right, let’s get this over with,” Ron said. He took Hermione’s hand in his and began pulling her down the beach, Draco trailing behind them.

Harry moved to follow them, but then he paused for a second, glancing down at his clenched hand. Slowly he relaxed his grip, letting his fingers curl open and keeping his palm facing up so that he could stare down at the pinkish shell that was still resting there.

“Potter, you coming?” Draco called back to him.

Harry’s face jerked up, and he nodded absently. “Yeah, I’m coming!” he said. He took one more look at the shell, staring at it almost in confusion for a moment. Then he shoved it into his pocket and took off after his friends.



Yay, no cliffhanger! Um, that would be because this is going to be the last update for awhile because I love you guys!

*cough*

Well, I do!

But yeah, no new chapter for a bit. I have to concentrate on another fic for a Christmas exchange thing, seeing as it actually has a due date. ^^;; And you know how I am with due dates. Ack. Sorry!! But honestly, it probably won't be any longer than normal. ^^;;

Hope you liked this one!

~Maxine


next chapter




You can also read it at my website, or at Skyehawke.

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