I've been really busy as of late, and haven't had a lot of free time, but I FINALLY managed to finish this chapter today. Hopefully you enjoy it! I will say that I am looking forward to the next few chapters because Draco gets to interact with some of the other characters, including more of the Slytherins!
Please leave a review and let me know what you think x
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Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling, only the story line and any OC's belong to me.
Tuesday, April 6th, 1999
Golden reddish hues are painted across the skies as the sun sets, and the crisper notes on the wind blew against Draco Potter, sending his hair flying about.
It's been years, logically he knows that, but for him it had been a handful of days since he stood in this exact spot in the front yard. It had been days since he'd been staring longingly at his home before a fiery redhead burst through the front door and stunned him. It had been days since he parted with his brother.
Draco's chest tightened as Harry took a few steps forward. Harry's unruly head of hair was frightfully similar to his Father's, and for a brief moment, Draco was transported to another time. Harry angled back towards them with a inquisitive look contorting his features and the spell was broken.
"Welcome home, Dray," Remus whispered in Draco's ear before he slung an arm around his shoulders.
"I'm home," Draco replied softly. The outside world may have changed drastically, and everything was different, but Potter Manor—his home—looked exactly the same as he'd left it.
The shrunken chest inside of Draco's pocket seemed to heat up against his thigh. He'd paid a visit to the Potter family vault earlier to retrieve a few precious items.
Gringotts lobby in all of its opulence and grandeur had been as silent as a grave when he strolled through their doors. (He'd apparated right outside and slipped inside before anyone noteworthy caught sight of him.)
The Goblins halted in the minutiae of their jobs, dark beady eyes following him keenly as he strolled up to a teller and requested to visit his family's vault.
"Which one?" The Goblin had inquired.
"The Potter family vault," Draco'd said as he held up the key embedded with a smooth onyx stone that was flanked by a trio of glinting red rubies on its bow.
No other questions had been asked of him, and he hadn't dawdled amongst the centuries of history and wealth contained in the vault. It'd laid untouched since James had visited it years ago. Draco frowned when he noticed the logs that indicated as much before he left the bank; he'd politely asked to see the activity logs.
So Harry has only ever visited the personal vault that James and Lily set aside for him before he was born. I wonder if he even knows about our collective vault, Draco mused as he finished up his business and swiftly headed back to Sett Cottage.
Hours later, Draco, Harry, Sirius and Remus had met at the cottage on the bluff before apparating to Potter Manor together.
Draco's mind was tied in knots, unsure how he felt about his return home, as if his emotions couldn't decide which direction to go. He sucked in air until it filled his lungs and he held his breath until his chest burned and his eyes were watering. The air burst out of him, and then he dragged in and out heavy breaths for several moments.
I don't feel any better, but I can't put this off any longer, Draco thought morosely. And with that sentiment firmly fixed in his mind, he willed his feet to move and he hesitantly approached Potter Manor with leaden footfalls that held imprints of memories.
Draco made it two steps over the threshold before a compact being that didn't quite reach his knee slammed into the side of his right leg. "Master!"
Draco froze in his tracks. He had hoped she would still be around but he hadn't allowed himself to truly ponder on the idea cause he didn't want to think of more loss if she wasn't. (Mipsy was already getting on in years when they were teenagers.)
"Mipsy," Draco said softly. He lowered himself to his knees and twisted to face the House Elf. Mipsy's wide eyes were watering (the blue colour had dulled over the years and there was a milky film across her irises), and her bottom lip trembled as she gazed up at him with blatant affection.
"You've returned," Mipsy said, reaching up to stroke his cheek tenderly. The House Elf looked expectantly behind him at the wizards gathered in the doorway, and her shine was dulled slightly when she realised Hermione was not with them. "Mistress?"
Emotion clogged his throat. Draco swallowed thickly and in a hopeful tone said, "she will be returning shortly."
Mipsy nodded curtly. She withdrew a dainty handkerchief with lace embroidery surrounding the edges from the front of her pale blue apron and delicately dabbed at the corners of her eyes. Draco reached out to cup her cheek and his thumb moved in comforting, circular motions.
Sirius cleared his throat behind them, and Draco started at the noise but turned to give his friend his undivided attention. "Yes, Padfoot?"
"You said there was something important you had to show us... "
Draco patted his pocket and smiled wanly. "I do. Although I don't know what's inside either, but I suppose we'll have to find out together."
Several minutes later, Draco had pulled James Potter's chest from his pocket as well as a small, stoppered phial that had had a stasis charm on it for almost two decades; it had been resting on a small table beside the chest with Draco's name on a note. Harry's blood probably would have worked as well, but I guess James wanted to operate within the realm of possibility that it wouldn't, Draco thought. Remus solemnly handed Draco the key to James's chest.
Draco inhaled deeply, and without wasting another moment, he opened it and revealed a slew of contents that bewildered them.
Draco's eyes flitted across the neatly organised items that had been fitted inside with painstaking care. There were old Quidditch jerseys folded neatly, thick letters in stacks and tied together with twine, old jumpers, a few pairs of faded jeans, piles of photographs, picture frames, a jewellery box that Draco recognised as Lily's. Draco rubbed the length of his jaw in heavy ponderation as he caught sight of more of Lily's items also thrown into the chest.
"This is Prongs' chest? I don't think he was ever this neat a day in his life," Remus whistled lowly.
"Is that a muggle pregnancy test?" Harry asked, nose crinkled in mild disdain. It was sealed inside of a clear, plastic bag.
"Classic Prongs," Sirius shook his head, squatting down beside Draco to peer at it closer. "Trust him to keep that kind of thing."
Sirius scanned over the other items, and then quietly asked, "what's that?". He pointed at a black, rectangular box that was snuggled into the bottom right corner of the chest. It was on top of James's corduroy jacket that Hermione had gifted him for Christmas all those years ago. Draco sniffled as he picked it up; a leather-bound journal of some kind laid beside it.
Draco gingerly picked it up, and tentatively opened it as his fellow Marauders and nephew eagerly watched. It was unnaturally smooth to the touch, and it almost slipped out of his fingers, but he held firm and flipped the lid up.
Draco's breath caught in his throat as he caught sight of two phials nestled on plum satin, both with a little tag tied around them. The left one said, 'for our son'. Silvery blue liquid swirled inside. Memories, James had left them with memories. Draco's chest collapsed in on itself for a brief moment, and air was hard to come by. A shaky breath scurried into his lungs as he read the other tag; it simply had Lily's name scrawled across it.
Afraid he might drop them, Draco carefully placed the open box back in the chest, whilst Remus picked up James's corduroy jacket, buried his nose in it and sniffed loudly. "It still smells like him." Truthfully, James's scent with a hint of Lily's had gently enveloped them from the moment Draco opened James's chest.
Draco clumsily fell back on his rear, hands loosely wrapping around his legs as he gazed at the chest. James had known he was going to die, and with his last few precious days with all of his memories intact, he opted to make sure that he left things behind for them. He'd left memories, and letters, and a journal that Sirius was leafing through with a deep frown. Not to mention his smell was everywhere.
"I thought I was ready, but I'm not," Draco said abruptly. The others all looked at him. Harry was a noticeably silent presence behind him. It was too much, too soon. Draco shook his head violently, and without a proper thought as to where he might go, he apparated away with a viciously loud crack that ripped through the room.
None of them thought it right to keep exploring the chest without Draco present. Thus, they levitated it up into James's old room and left it at the foot of his bed with a paperweight wedged under the lid so they wouldn't have to worry about opening it again.
With Mipsy's help, they managed to open the floo network to McGonagall's office—they'd had to floo call the Headmistress first so that she could open it from her end—and Harry uneventfully returned to Hogwarts.
Sirius and Remus set out in search of their friend, and found him standing at the edge of Sett Cottage's bluff overlooking the sea. The sky was grey, and softly rolling thunder surrounded them; the clouds were fluffy but dark. Night was coming, there was hardly any light left in the day.
"Harry get back okay?" Draco asked by way of a greeting.
"Yes," Remus replied. Several feet separated them, and he was unsure how to cross the intangible barrier that kept them apart.
"He still looks at me like…"
"Like you're going to morph into Draco Malfoy, his childhood rival?" Sirius supplied in hushed tones that the wind attempted to swallow.
Draco stiffened. "I was going to say his enemy, but sure, that works." Draco shrugged, the fabric of his shirt undulating across his back with the wind. Remus couldn't see his face, but he could envision what emotion most likely contorted it; grief.
"It's not as frequent now, but his expression shifts and it's apparent that he's withdrawing himself, doubt creeps in and—"
"He just needs time, Draco," Remus tried. "It's a lot for him to take in."
"Fair," Draco snorted. "He's taking this marvellously well, all things considered."
"He'll come around, Dray. I'm sure of it," Sirius said, his voice blooming with buoyant expectation.
Draco sank to his knees, back curved in defeat, head hanging. "If Hermione was here… she would know what to do. She would know how to bridge the gap between us."
"Why isn't she back yet?" Sirius asked loud. He crept towards Draco, step-by-step, trying to breach past the wall standing in his way. Remus doubted he expected an answer, but Draco provided one regardless.
"I don't know," Draco murmured. Sirius finally reached his friend and slipped his arms around him. Determination licked his heels as Remus strode forward, piercing the blockade in his way until he reached his friends. He fell to his knees, and cradled Draco's head to his chest.
Time lapsed, night consumed day, and their heightened senses allowed them to stare out at the dark ocean as it roared and slammed against the base of the bluff. The sea stretched out endlessly before them, and the cooler wisps that twirled in the night air caressed their skin.
"You're dying to ask me questions, I know you are, so go ahead," Draco said eventually.
"When did you start preparing to leave us?" Sirius asked, his voice so soft, it was as if he hadn't spoken.
"In some way or another, I think we were always ready for our time to be done, that's why we tried to live in the moment as much as we possibly could…so we wouldn't regret it when whatever mysterious force dumped us in the past decided to whisk us away."
"That's not what he meant, Draco…and you know it."
Draco sighed. "After we graduated, we knew the war was coming, we knew time was running out before our past selves were going to be born, and we needed to do something. So we did, even broke into the Ministry." Draco tacked on the last statement without an ounce of emphasis and they almost missed it.
"I beg your pardon?"
"We needed to get rid of all the official mentions of us ever existing lest we create a time paradox or a bigger issue…reminds me that we are going to have to talk to Kings at some point and smoothly mesh our two lives and identities together."
"Fuck, Kings. You knew he was going to be Minister of Magic," Sirius chuckled lowly.
"It's a good thing he has a soft spot for Hermione. He might have respected her as a colleague in the Order when she was Hermione Granger, but he was quite smitten with Hermione Potter," Draco said dryly. He sagged into Remus, resting all of his weight on his friend.
"It's not funny…but you have to admit it's amusing how besotted he was with her. Although, it's hard not to be considering what a wonderful force of nature that witch is," Remus smiled gently.
"I don't have to admit shite," Draco grumbled. "She's my force of nature."
"That she most certainly is," Remus agreed. A brief image of the pair snuggled on a loveseat in the Sun Room, bathed in the morning's rays a few days before they left, came to mind. Hermione's face still mushed with sleep, her eyes half-lidded, her explosion of curls framing her face as she gazed up at Draco with pure adoration.
"I'm relinquishing my name and title as Draco Malfoy," Draco imparted with no provocation. Sirius and Remus's heads whipped to peer at their friend. Serenity was awash in his features. Remus didn't sense an ounce of regret.
"That's massive. You can't take that back," Sirius whispered, the weight of events long since passed pressing down on him. Remus could see it in his eyes. Sirius had inherited his family's wealth; all of the titles and estates regardless of his Mother's staunch wishes against it. She'd burned him off the family tree, and yet he'd ended up with everything.
"I know, but it isn't mine anymore. I am not Draco Malfoy. He is my past and he will always be a part of me, but it isn't who I am now."
"Speaking of inheritances," Draco cleared his throat. "I discovered something quite heinous when I went to Gringotts to check on the family vaults and retrieve James's chest."
"Really? Like what?"
"James set up a small fund from his personal vaults that went into effect after October thirty-first, nineteen eighty-one."
"Small fund for what?" Sirius asked, perplexed. A sinking feeling tugged Remus's stomach down into an abyss of dread at the murderous contempt that shadowed Draco's features.
"The Dursleys were being paid handsomely every year to cover Harry's living expenses and more, yet, from what Hermione's told me, none of that money was used for Harry's benefit. I also know that Vernon Dursley's signatures are on all the paperwork accepting the money. Dumbledore's are also there as a witness on the initial paperwork. Dumbledore took it upon himself to manage things in our absence, but he really mucked it up didn't he?"
"So the Dursleys were being paid annually to take care of Harry and—" Remus started, before Sirius cut him off with a ferocious growl.
"Those fuckers took advantage, treated Harry like dirt and were getting paid to do it," Sirius snarled in disgust.
"Which is why I am going to make them pay," Draco promised with ire in his eyes and fire on the tip of his tongue. Sirius and Remus gravely nodded their agreement.
Sometime later, after some idle chatter and less intense topics, Draco posed a question that had been on his mind for some time since his return. "I know you have your own homes now, but…do you think you would want to move back into Potter Manor? There's more than enough space for all of us and—"
"Yes. I will ask Riley right now, but YES," Sirius exclaimed excitedly, bouncing up and down on the spot like a giddy child.
Remus wanted to be as forward as Pads and impulsively say yes, but he knew that ultimately his decision didn't just affect him. "I'll have to discuss it with Tonks, but that sounds like a great idea, Draco."
And it did. They had been forcibly split up for so long, and it seemed right to move back into Potter Manor where their journeys all began. Truthfully with so much time spent apart, all they wanted to do was spend as much time together as they possibly could.
"I'll take that as a tentative yes," Draco snorted, adjusting their positions so he could affectionately ruffle Remus's hair.
Remus ducked out of Draco's reach with a short laugh, but eventually Draco leapt at him and they collapsed in a heap of laughter. Not wishing to be left out, Sirius jumped on top of them and winded them both.
"We'll have to re-negotiate our room situation, but that shouldn't be too hard considering the sheer size of the place," Remus said when he caught his breath.
"Someone will probably have to move into Dorea and Charlus's wing," Draco added.
"You and Hermione," Sirius said instantly as he flopped to the side. The three men laid in the grass on their backs and stared at the stars peeking through the cloudy night sky.
"I'll talk to her about it when she gets back, but for now I'll stay in my old room," Draco said haggardly, rubbing at his temple. Remus brushed the hair back off his friend's forehead and smiled gently.
Remus closed his eyes, and hoped with every fibre of his being that that day would come sooner rather than later, for all their sakes.