Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, settings, or spells. I am only borrowing them to entertain myself and a few others. Don't make me stop this car, do you hear me?
Chapter Six - A leap of faith
By Ivy Blossom
Draco sat on Harry's bed, rubbing his forehead with the tips of his fingers, chewing his lip. He could still hear Ron and Hermione in the other room, gathering up glasses, sliding plates on to one another, piling cutlery in a heap on the table. The apparition of Lucius had disappeared as quickly as it had arrived. For a moment he had been there, tearing at his hair, pounding invisible walls, shouting, shouting for Draco. While everyone else had heard nothing, Draco had felt, rather than heard, his screaming, his pleading, his angry and confused calls for his son.
"Draco! It's your face I should see here! You called me! Where are you? Draco! Help me!"
You called me. Draco's heart leapt into his throat. He had stared blankly into the face of the apparition, while the room full of people pulled out their wands and waited. It was rapidly clear that Lucius was not physically present, but it had all the same rather seriously ruffled the guests. Most, not having seen Harry when he was haunted by Voldemort, not having felt the burn of the Dark Mark on their own flesh, had not, until now, been struck with the kind of terror, the kind of knowing, that Draco and Harry had, that Dumbledore had. Tonight they left with sinking hearts knowing with a dead certainty that trouble was indeed brewing again.
Within about twenty minutes the group had become deadly serious, and small groups of the like-minded formed. They spoke in low voices, agreeing or disagreeing about what they had seen. ("I thought he was dead! Was that a ghost?" "He looked mad. All that darkness has driven him right batty." "Looked to me like he was aiming to Adava Kadavera all of us at once, if he could've." "Did you see his eyes? He was crying blood, can you imagine what Voldemort must have done to him?" "Im surprised he looked that good, given where he's been." "Where has he been?" "He's looking for his son, to help him return his strength." "Maybe Malfoy conjured him to frighten us. Maybe even to kill Harry while he was unawares!" This last statement got several knowing nods in a group by the door, accompanied by shushing and "don't say that too loudly around here!") Shortly after Lucius disappeared again, Harry hauled Draco into his room and shut the door.
"Did you hear him speak, Draco?" He nodded, and sat down. So Harry had heard it to, that figured. Draco had known, on some level, that this moment would come. He had never tried to run from his past, in fact, it was all around him all the time, every day, but tonight it had stood in the living room, and pointed at him, called him, begged him.
"You know what he meant, don't you." Harry looked at him, sitting with his eyes on the floor. "You called him? What does that mean?" Harry sounded angry, but cautious.
Draco sighed. "I didn't call him, Harry. Someone did, someone whoever stole the charm, they did it as me."
"As you?" Harry felt stupid, and conflicted. Was this another line, fed to him to make him believe Draco was deserving of his trust? Should be believe any of this? He shook the thoughts out of his head.
"Yeah. Okay, look, I'm going to tell you some things, you probably should have been aware of this some time ago, but it was agreed that perhaps you could be kept out of it. It was classified at the department, I was forbidden to tell you. For the record, I never really thought that was a good idea." He looked guiltily up at Harry. "My work for the ministry involves studying that charm, Harry. We didn't really know a whole lot about it, it was mostly goblin magic, all keys and security. We were looking at ways to break them out of the prison, so that we could see how that could be prevented. You understand?"
Harry nodded. He knows how, and now his father arrives at my apartment, telling us that he let him loose.
They sat in silence for a while. Harry walked over to the window, half staring at his own reflection, and half looking beyond it, out into the quiet night. From this vantage point, nothing seemed wrong with the world at all. He rubbed his chin. "And?"
Draco went on. "The charm gives keys to those who touch it by keys, I mean, the charm will recognize those who touch it, it will obey those who have touched it. Unless it's in use, then it shuts down. You see how brilliant it is? Empty, it's harmless looking and easily hidden. Once you called it that night, Harry, it boosted your energy and helped you, directed you, to use it to rid yourself of Voldemort. But after it's filled, no one else can get a key to it. Even if a Death Eater had picked it up afterwards, it wouldn't have mattered, you see? Even with it in their possession they wouldn't have been able to break him free. Do you remember when you touched the stone, Harry? The first time? It sends a kind of charge through you, it takes a kind of bloodprint, like a fingerprint, so that it will recognize only the people who touched before Voldemort was imprisoned. Those who touched it could hear it, but no one else."
Harry considered this. He did remember the stone sending a kind of jolt through him. "But Voldemort could hear it."
"Yes, but he had no blood of his own, it was all yours, and you had touched it."
"You heard it, too. Didn't you?" Harry didn't look at him.
Draco shut his eyes tight. He didn't like thinking about this, but there was no point in leaving out details at this point. He wondered if he could cushion the realization Harry was certain to have. "Yes. I heard it because of the potion. I heard it in your head. You see how important this makes you even more important than before, you and the rest. It was recognized that this was a risk, Harry. Someone could throw an Imperius curse on any one of the people who had touched the stone and bring Voldemort back in a heartbeat, it left you very vulnerable. The ministry has been keeping a close eye on you for years, a standard Imperius curse won't work on you for that reason. You could also have be abducted and tortured, objects turned to port keys dropped in your path, they could have possessed you again, you name it. It's all been tried. And it had all failed. Until now."
Harry hmmed. "But not only me, who else? Dumbledore handed it to me "
Draco nodded. "You, Dumbledore, Hemsley, the goblin who created it, and me, Harry. I was carrying in the end." He rubbed his temples.
" so. It had to be one of the four of us, who freed him."
"What do we know about this goblin?" Harry saw where the line of blame was pointing, but his mind refused to take that path for the moment. It couldn't be. It simply couldn't be. Not again.
"He died two years ago."
"Then couldn't someone have cut us, taking our blood, dropped the charm in a jar of I mean, I've donated blood before, or, a polyjuice potion"
"No, Harry." Draco looked up, watching Harry push his palms into the glass. "It doesn't work that way. It has to be someone whose blood, all of it, belongs one of the four of us. Looking like us wouldn't help. They would have to have no blood in their veins that didn't belong to one of us, and only one of us."
Harry turned, facing him. "So "
Draco sighed again, heavily. "I know what it looks like. I knew all this. I'm the one whose father is in there. I'm the former Death Eater. It looks like it was me who did this. But Harry." He looked up into Harry's face, heart breaking at seeing his doubt, his uncertainty. "I didn't. I don't know who did it, but I know it wasn't me. They must have found a way a way around the charm's limits."
Harry pursed his lips, thinking. He turned, hands and forehead against the glass, looking down at the street below. A man with a bowler and a trenchcoat was walking on the slick, wet sidewalk, turned left into an alley, and disappeared. He saw a cat walking from one stoop to the next, momentarily glowing silver in a pool of light from a lamp post. "And tonight .he wanted to know where you were."
Draco looked up at the ceiling. He knew there was no reasonable way to talk around this. He knew how guilty he looked. Dumbledore believed his claims of innocence, but how could Harry? After everything that had happened? Draco knew that were their roles reversed, he would have slaughtered himself where he sat, bloodying up the bedsheets and causing an even further commotion at the little Potter/Weasley party. "Yes. I assume it came through me somehow, but I have no idea how it could have been done. We've been working on alternate ways, ways to get around the bloodprint, but we haven't found one. Harry, you know that " He stopped. He had been about to say, you know I would never hurt you. You know I love you. You know I would rather die. Harry knew none of this. Draco could tell him, but it made no difference. Trust wasn't knowledge, after all. There was nothing he could say to force Harry to trust him. That could only be demonstrated, and Draco knew full well he had yet to demonstrate trustworthiness. He had already played this card with Harry. No matter how hard he tried, the blood on his hands was painfully obvious.
"Oh, hell." His heart dropped into the soles of his feet. "You have no reason to believe me, and certainly no reason to trust me. I understand that you're going to be suspicious. You should be, okay? I understand that. I didn't do this, I wouldn't do this, but I don't blame you if you can't help but hate me for it. You have every right. I'm still working on finding answers. I'll talk to Dumbledore in the morning."
He sighed, and stood. "I should go, it's late." He walked toward the door and put a hand on the doorknob. Harry was still standing by the window, looking into the night. He didn't turn, keeping his eyes trained on the red lights of a car in the distance, driving slowing down a dark street. He knew to be wary. He had always known, since seeing Draco again at Three Broomsticks, that he needed to be wary. Draco could be corrupted so easily. He knew that in Draco's mind it was Harry who was the innocent, but this wasn't about innocence at all. Harry couldn't be corrupted, and Draco had been corrupted before he could spell the word. Harry knew that Draco could lead him to his death, even unwittingly, perhaps especially so. But like this? Harry had seen Draco a matter of hours after his visions began; Dumbledore trusted him. Bringing Voldemort back, along with Lucius, made Draco's life far more difficult. Draco himself was probably in just as much danger as Harry was himself. But aside from that, he had been kind to Ron tonight. Harry had seen it, and he had been touched. He didn't feel certain, not certain at all, but he realized that nothing was ever certain with Draco, not his mood, his desires, his motivations, but he felt certain enough.
"Stay." Harry said. He pressed the palm of his hand against the glass.
Draco stopped. Harry had never asked him to stay. So many nights they were laughing, stumbling home, Draco's lips on Harry's neck, Harry's hands in his hair, or flying about while he gestured madly, arguing, debating, outright fighting; or simply being, quietly drinking each other in; those still nights when he pressed Harry's wrists into his mattress, a nipple between his teeth, Harry's warm thigh against his hip, under his lips, those myopic eyes studying him, pleading passionately with him, teasing him, Harry had never asked him to stay. He waited until a quiet moment, when Draco was spent, when he himself was sated, and then he rose, almost apologetically, and gave him that boyish half-grin. He gave no excuses, ever. "I have to go," he'd say, no "I have an early morning," or "Ron will wonder," or "I forgot my toothbrush." No lies with Harry. The truth was easier. He had to go, because he couldn't stay. Draco didn't come here, Ron didn't need or want a front row seat for their escapades. In fact, he could count on one hand the number of times he had even stood inside Harry's bedroom.
Why now? Is this some form of Gryffindor pity? Boy sees ghost of halfdead father, gets what he has most wanted? Harry must know that he has been craving this, to have him entirely, to watch him sleep, peaceful, unharmed, unbetrayed, to never let him go. To wake up still certain that he was welcome, that he was still forgiven. To wake up and be able to see that he trusts me.
"Scared of the dark?" he sneered, and instantly regretted it. He paused, hand on the doorknob, watching Harry stare out the window, watching his own reflection sneer back at him. He hated it just then. "I'm not sure I'm very good company tonight, to be frank." He turned the doorknob and opened the door, but didn't move. Please. Please forgive me. Again.
Harry sighed, and turned from the window, arms crossed over his chest. "I'll take my chances," he said, crossing the room and closing the door.
The next morning, Ron opened Harry's bedroom door with the Daily Prophet in his hand. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Harry's got to see this. He opened his mouth to wake Harry, and nearly yelped instead. The first thing he saw, rather than Harry's messy head of hair poking out underneath his blankets, was Draco's sleeping face. Harry's familiar mop of hair was resting on Draco chest. Ron noted the way that Draco had wrapped his arms around Harry, the gentleness of it, and the severity. As though someone might pull them apart at any moment. Ron shook his head. Suddenly Draco's eyes flew open.
"Can I help you, Weasley?" He said quietly.
"I uh I just wanted to uh show Harry the paper." He dropped it quickly on the bedside table, knocking Harry's glasses off onto the floor. He scooted back and quickly and shut the door quickly.
Draco shook his head. He grabbed the paper, trying to avoid disturbing the sleeping form that covered two-thirds of his body. He didn't want anything to ever disturb that form, if he could help it. He glanced at the front page, and looked straight at an angry-looking picture of himself. The headline read, "Former Death Eater Prime Suspect in Return of YKW." He sighed, and felt Harry shift, waking slowly. He threw the paper on the floor and wrapped his arms back around Harry, praying that these slow morning moments could last forever.
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