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Chapter 5: The Long Ride to Hogwarts Part I
The Long Ride to Hogwarts
"Your mom was pretty upset it sounds." Harry said. It was Wednesday night and he and Draco were leaning against the walls of the Quidditch Pitch waiting for Bagman to come by with their quaffle.
"Yeah she was pissed, not because I was drinking, but because I was drinking with you." He shook his head. "I forbid you to see that Potter boy for the rest of summer!" He squinted his eyes and squeaked in a high voice, imitating his Mother.
Harry laughed, "Mrs. Weasley was quite worried too, as well as Ron and Percy and Fred and George and Hermione and Arthur, Ginny knew where I had went I just told her not to tell anyone. I arrived in the living room to seven pairs of staring, cold eyes. ĎWhere have you been? Weíve all been worried sick.í" Ginny giggled from a few feet away at his mimicking of her mother. "She was pretty mad when I stepped out of the fireplace and she smelled all the alcohol, they all leaned back in their seats out of shock. Really it was quite funny."
It was Dracoís turn to shake his head this time, "Iíve corrupted the great Harry Potter. Bet you got quite a lecture from Granger afterwards as well." He ruffed his hair once and stuck his teeth out of his mouth, "Harry, you shouldnít be drinking, youíre not old enough yet. And hanging around with Draco Malfoy, what are you thinking Harry, heís a dangerous boy." He couldnít contain himself anymore, he leaned his hand against the wall and began to laugh unctrollably. "What did they say when you told them who you were with?" He asked straightening up.
Harry cleared his voice and stood a little straighter, fidgeting, "Well I didnít tell them actually. I told Ron and Hermione later on up in Ronís room, but them and Ginny are the only ones who know." He had been staring off at the entrance way but tore his eyes away and looked down into the grass. "You know how the Weasleys feel about your family, and Iím a guest there I didnít want to upset them so that I wouldnít be invited back." He stopped talking, he could feel Dracoís stare without seeing it.
Neither boy spoke, the silence endured as if someone had died. Draco was trying to contain his anger. He had told his Mother truthfully who he been with, and it wasnít like his family was crazy about Potter. They most certainly hated him worse than the Weasleys hated the Malfoys. Maybe Draco had been wrong about Potter, maybe he was what he had always thought he had been, just another spineless git.
Harry didnít feel much better about the whole situation. He wouldnít want Draco to lie about their friendship, or whatever it was they were, teammates, and yet he had gone and done exactly that. He felt disgusted with himself.
Finally it was Bagman who broke the relentless silence, "Hi guys, why the long faces?" Neither one spoke, he looked from one to the other and then shrugged, "Well whatever it is, this news might cheer you up. Saturday you were slated to play the Serpents for your last game, they hadnít lost yet, but theyíre center came down with Translyvanian Flu and wonít be able to play. So instead youíll be going up against the Chesterfield Cannons, theyíve only won half of their games. Should be easy for you to make it into the playoffs now."
Harryís face fell even more. The Chesterfield Cannons were Ronís team. This was going to be a problem. Ginny seemed to realize this as well. He tried to force a smile for Bagman, but he didnít think it was convincing.
Ginny took the quaffle, "Letís start practice." She straddled her broom and took off into the air. Harry nodded to Bagman and took off after her. Draco was quick to follow and a moment later they were running through their regular plays. There was no emotion as they flew today, they were simply putting one foot in front of another.
They called it quits early at eight Oíclock, they still had one more practice before their last game on Saturday. No one said anything as they silently walked in different directions. Draco, his head down, towards the back, the anger still in his eyes. Harry, holding Ginnyís hand, the remorse and worry still in his eyes. And Ginny, with Harry, not wanting to say anything as she wasnít feeling all that well what with the news of Saturdays game.
Draco silently walked up the steps and to his room. He took a long hot shower, trying to relieve his tension. The steam refreshed him and he felt invigorated. He slowly toweled himself off and walked in the frigid air of his room. He lit a small fire quickly and pulled on his pajamas and climbed into his four poster. His anger at Potter slowly drifted into the back of his mind as he fell into a deep slumber.
Draco woke in the middle of the night. His fire had gone out and he was curled into a tight ball but thatís not what had shattered his dreams. He could here mild crashes coming from the floor beneath him. He tried to think about what room lay under his and realized that it must be his Fatherís study.
He pulled on a robe and opened the door behind his armoire. He crept through the passage ways as quietly as he could, he felt the downward slope as he went from one level to another. He stopped suddenly as he came to the opening that looked in on the study. He held his breath as he slowly moved back the gate and pressed his face against the hole. The scene that met his gaze was very strange indeed. His Mother went from drawer to drawer, cabinet to cabinet tearing through everything on the shelves. "I canít believe he would forget something so important." She muttered to herself as she flung an empty trunk across the room. It knocked the chair behind his desk over and the rug went askew, his Motherís eyes lit up. She ripped the rug back and pulled with quite a lot of effort at the ring that was in the floor. The small trapdoor opened and she quickly found was she was looking for and pulled it out.
It was some sort of white cloak, the colors of the spectrum shimmered in it as his Mother lifted it up into the dim light to admire it. As she ran her hand over the coarse looking material Draco realized what it was. It was a very rare and expensive cloak made entirely of Unicorn hide. They provided protection to the person who wore it from many spells, curses, and incantations. The inside was no doubt stained with the blood of a Dragon to enhance itís strength.
His Mother waved her wand once and the mess began to restore itself to proper order. She tucked the cloak underneath her arm and left the room muttering once again, "He better be grateful, this may just well save his life." The door closed and the light extinguished.
Draco leaned back against the stone masonry of the tunnels, the chill crept through his robe and he pulled it tighter around himself. His Father now had the family sword and shield as well as a protective cloak, he thought, was he going to war or battle? Draco ran his fingers through his fine blond hair as he thought on this. It was too late and he was too tired to think very clearly and he eventually made his way back to his bedroom and drifted back into a gentle sleep.
Thursday came and went quickly. His Mother had not roused him all day and he slept peacefully into late afternoon. Friday morning he awoke early to more strange noises like those of two nights ago. He could hear servants rushing past his door, and moving things loudly in rooms far away. He pulled the covers back and swung his feet out over the edge. He stood up and immediately the Daily Prophet sitting on the desk caught his eye. He sat down into his leather chair and began to read the front page article,
Dozens of Giants Found Murdered outside Marseille
Late Thursday night the bodies of 15 giants were found near the mouth of a cavern by a group of muggle hikers. The hikers reported the incident to the local law enforcement who in turn tipped off The Sun, thought to be a muggle tabloid this paper is actually owned and operated by the Unspeakables division of the British Ministry of Magic. A department spokesman has confirmed that these giants were in fact the same ones seen fleeing an unknown danger only weeks before. Officials refused to comment about any suspects they had or about the identities of the slain giants.
The bodies were said to be found strewn, and in no distinction pattern, some appear to have tried to flee once more. The cause of death has not yet been determined but the Unforgivable curse is assumed at this point. Speculation is that there were numerous attackers and that they surprised the giants while resting. The exact number is not known but an unofficial ministry source has been quoted, "During our attempts to capture the giants back ten years ago, we needed ten Ministry Wizards per every one giant." Given this logic, it stands to reason that this band of opposition was composed of at least 150 highly trained wizards. Out of this group it seems that either none were wounded or that any wounded were brought away with the group. Early indications show no signs of any human blood or flesh and there have been no clothing fragments found to suggest any clues to who may have attacked these giants.
In Other news Viktor Krum did not play against The French National team in Paris due to illness last night. When asked to commentÖÖÖÖ
The article continued into other pages in the paper, most of the information they listed were things Draco had read in the last article. He set the paper down onto his desk and sat back in his chair, his eyes unfocused on the ceiling. What did all of this mean, he thought? He knew that in the past the giants had been allied with Voldemort, if they had refused to join him this time, if they had refused an alliance with him, would Voldemort allow that? Would he be so furious as to hunt and kill all those who would not become his servants once more? Did he have the man power that the paper had insisted was needed to kill as little as fifteen of these giants? These were all questions that Draco had no answer to, but he could guess, and he guessed that these Giants did not wish to join Voldemort again and he was taking his revenge.
He got up out of the chair and stripped off his silk pajamas, he shivered as the cold air hit his skin. He turned on the hot water and showered. He dressed in casual clothes and then descended the steps to investigate the source of the noise that had woken him.
What he found startled him, it was near complete chaos. Servants ran this way and that, carrying a large variety of different items, food, paper, bandages. All of the servants carrying items were moving in the direction of the sitting room and so naturally that was the path that Draco took. He was almost knocked over a few times by rushing elves as he took each step cautiously down the hall. He finally came to the door. There was a silent queue outside of it and the door was shut. Draco tried the handle but it was locked. There was rushing and loud noises coming from behind it. He tried the handle furiously, "Madame Malfoy has commanded that she shall not be disturbed," spoke a small elf at the front of the line. "Those sent on errands will remain outside until called upon and relieved of their parcels."
Draco scowled and pounded his fist now upon the door with full force, the elves cowered in fear of punishment. There came silence from behind the locked door and Draco ceased knocking. He heard the lock click and the heavy door was opened a sliver to reveal his Motherís face, "What is it that you want?" Her voice sounded annoyed and ridiculed Draco.
"I want to know what the hell is going on here!" There was anger in his words, but anger at what, even Draco didnít know. He supposed he was angry with the secrecy in his own home.
"Whatís going on here is none of you business, young man. Now, you will not disturb us again. Go into Diagon Alley for the rest of the day and do not return to the Manor until half past four. You are to leave for your Quidditch practice by a quarter to five and no later. Do you understand me?!" She didnít wait for an answer, just slammed the door.
Draco was left standing there, dumb struck and speechless. He turned after a moments pause and headed back towards his room. He had a puzzled expression as he walked and his gate was slow and unconcerned. He closed the door behind him as he entered his room and made sure that it was locked securely and then he sat down on his bed. It was no accident that yesterday a group of giants had been slaughtered and today the Manor was in complete upheaval. He put his head in between his hands and gently massaged his face. His Father was killing Gaints, his Mother was passing supplies and information to Death Eaters, and Draco did nothing. But what could he do, he couldnít go against his Father, not so openly.
He needed to clear his head, he needed to think. He picked up the change pouch from his desk and prodded the fire with his wand. Quickly he threw in some floo powder, "Gringottís Bank!" The world spun faster and faster, Draco wasnít paying a lot of attention and his elbows banged harshly against the sides, it almost sent him into a spiral. He came to a very sudden, and violent stop, and was thrown to the floor. He jumped up off the marble and brushed himself off quickly, hoping that no one had seen his arrival.
He took the key to his vault out of the pouch with his coins and approached one of the goblins. "Excuse me, Iíd like to deposit some coins into my vault if I could." The goblin looked him over once and then showed him to one of the doors that led to the tunnels.
There were three types of vaults in Gringottís, each with a different price. The most expensive were keyless vaults, they cost roughly 500 galleons a year and but had unlimited space and maximum security. The vaults underneath those were vaults that measure 5 metres squared and used a bewitched key that could not be duplicated or used for any other vault. These vaults had a one time fee of 250 galleons and were normally kept in family lineage. The third and cheapest vaults were no more than four or five stories underground. The measured one cubic metre and were stacked five on top of each other. These had one sole key and again there was a one time fee for these of 50 galleons. This was the sort that Draco had, and it was nearly full. He had resolved to purchase the next grade vault upon graduation.
The goblin lead him to an old fashioned elevator and set the lever to level six. Draco shut the wire metal door and the elevator began to move silently down the shaft. It stopped with a jar and Draco opened the gate and followed the goblin down the very familiar, very old hallway. Many of the bricks that lined the wall had been chipped and come out of their places and the granite tiled floor was uneven. Draco stopped at his vault, the top one in the corner, vault 6613. He opened it and took out his change pouch, he separated half of the coins and deposited these into the vault, leaving the rest for pocket money during term. He shut the large brass door, it made no sound as it locked once again, and Draco followed the Goblin back down the hallway to the elevator.
Out in the sunshine, Draco began to wander in between the small shops. Parents were rushing in every direction with their young children, shopping for last minute items. Draco winced as the sun shone into his eyes. He took out a pair of black tinted sunglasses and put them on. The lenses were small and round, they perfectly covered his eyes, and you could not see anything of his pupils through them.
He walked soberly through the crowded streets, the little amount of coins he had, jingled in his pockets. He walked past the small, dark entrance way to Knockturn Alley and was not surprised to see that it was empty of all patrons, even the regulars. Draco reasoned that anyone who normally shopped in itís stores were probably with his Father or off cowering in fear of him.
Draco wandered into a small book shop and browsed through the long, narrow aisles. A thin book jumped out at him, crammed between two other books. He tilted his head and tried to read the title off the spine. It was no use, he pried the book off of the shelf and opened it to the first page. "The Rarest of all Beverages." It was book on potions, but he had never heard any of his professors talk about this one before. He leafed through it quickly before deciding to buy it. He paid two galleons and left.
He walked quickly around the block and found a deserted looking pub. He took a booth at the back and ordered a cold pumpkin juice and then set to reading. He soon became entralled by the simplest of details and quickly forgot all of his previous worries.
The time slipped by as he read and Draco was shocked to find it was already four thirty. He quickly paid for his drink and headed towards Gringottís, he hoped that they hadnít closed early for the weekend. He found the doors unlocked and pushed his way in through the nearest one and in the direction of the hearths. He ignored the rude and questioning looks from the goblins and finally entered the hearth, "Malfoy Manor!"
He sprinted up the steps to his room. Pitching his new book onto his bed he changed into his robes. He grabbed his broom and lit his own fire. His room dissolved and was replaced by lush green grass and plenty of children. He glanced down at his watch, five minutes to spare he found, and let a smile form upon his face. He walked casually to the pitch they used and found that Harry and the young Weasley girl had already arrived.
With a prod from his girlfriend, Harry raised his head and looked in Dracoís direction. He pushed himself off from against the wall and began to walk across the field to meet Draco halfway, and out of earshot from Ginny. Draco stopped a few feet from Harry. His gaze was full of spite still, the memories flooded back into his mind.
Harry took a deep breath, "Listen Draco, Iím really sorry about the other day. I know that if you did, what I did, I would hate you for it. And," Draco cut him off with a very sharp wave of his hand.
"Potter, stop making an ass out of yourself, I donít want an ass for a teammate." Draco said nothing more, but his look had softened and taken on the look heíd worn on Saturdays drinking expedition. "Did you see the front page of the Daily Prophet today?" His question was sincere, but Draco didnít portray his suspicion of his parents.
They began to walk in Ginnyís direction again and Harry nodded his head, "Yeah, I was kind of worried actually because Hagrid was suppose to be over there on some kind of diplomatic mission with the Giants."
Dracoís eyes widened, "What do you mean, Hagrid was trying to convince the Giants to side with Dumbledore?" Again Harry nodded his head, Dracoís eyes brightened with recognition, "That would explain a lot." He stopped Harry with an outstretched arm, "Listen, if what youíre saying is true, and Hagrid has made an alliance with the Giants, then that would mean that itís Voldemort thatís killing them because theyíve sided with the enemy. If theyíre not smart, and I donít think they are, they may all end up dead before theyíre any use to either side."
Harry didnít seem to like what Draco was telling him. He also hoped that it wasnít a mistake leading him on about Hagrid and the alliance. "Draco, is youíre Father involved in this somehow?" His voice was very low, it was neither judgmental nor violent, it was simply a question.
Draco didnít answer, he stared into the grass, "I donít know."
Harry searched his face for signs of a lie, and when he could find none he nodded. "Do you think we should do anything? Owl Dumbledore, owl Hagrid, owl Fudge." Draco was about to put in his own suggestion, but Harry stopped him, "I know who youíre going to suggest and itís no use, Snapeís off somewhere doing something for Dumbledore just like Hagrid and the Weasleys." Draco looked defeated and they began to walk again in Ginnyís direction.
"What were the Weasleys doing?" Draco asked as they walked? Harry shrugged his shoulders, and from his expression, Draco gathered that he really didnít have any idea.
They practiced that night harder than they had ever practiced before. For the first hour and a half they reviewed ever play that they had used during the season. From then until nine Oíclock they learned three new ones that Harry had read about in Quidditch Through the Ages: A Captainís Guide, it had been a birthday gift from Ginny and some of the plays were quite complicated. By the end of the three hour session, each one was severely sore, tired, and completely ready for Saturdayís final game.
"Draco!" Harry called out as he began to walk towards the rear once Bagman had picked up the Quaffle. Draco turned, "Tomorrowís game is against Ronís team, the Chesterfield Cannons, but Ginny and I have talked about it, and weíre not going to let that affect how we play."
Draco smiled as if he had information they didnít, "I already knew about the Cannons, and I never doubted you." He turned quickly and left.
At once when Draco arrived at the Manor he showered and fell into a deep sleep. He dreamt bizarre dreams about potions that transformed a person into a Giant. He dreamt of drinking the potion and being mistaken by his own Father and killed in front of a cave. He dreamt of an evil, red eyed man, hidden away, deep in the forest of Russia. The man commanded all of his soldiers from a lonely stone house there, and was visited very frequently by Lucious Malfoy.
He was woken by the sunlight streaming in onto his face. He had neglected to pull the curtain around his four poster in his haste to sleep the night before. He looked over at the clock on his desk, it read nearly eleven Oíclock. He listened to sounds of movement, or tremendous noise like that which had woken him the morning before, but he heard nothing, the whole Manor was quiet. His Mother usually went out with friends today, but Draco doubted very much that she did on this Saturday after yesterdays on goings.
For most of the day he stayed in his room and read his potion book and put the finishing touches on homework for class. The only one that he still needed to finish completely was for Professor Binns, but he couldnít sit and write that essay for more than 30 minutes at a time.
He ate alone in the kitchen at four thirty. The house elves had prepared salmon and whipped potatoes for him, he ate this slowly until it was quarter after five and he left to change into his Quidditch robes. He looked over his broom once, it was immaculate of anything out of place. They needed to win the game tonight, and they needed to do so by a fair margin or they wouldnít qualify for the playoffs.
He arrived early and sat down in the bleachers to wait for his teammates. He had to admit he was a little nervous about this game. Nervous because he knew it was important and nervous that Harry would do just what he said he wouldnít yesterday. He guessed either way wasnít too bad, after all he only had a week left of summer and then he would be back at the castle. He was looking forward to talking with Professor Snape about the book he had bought, he was interested in trying a few of them. He also wanted to go over his paper about reversing the irreversible.
He looked up from his thoughts at that time when he caught sight of movement from the corner of his eye. Coming towards the bleachers where he sat were Harry and Ginny, as well as her brother Ronald and Granger. Draco took a deep breath and hopped down over the rail onto the field, his robes billowed behind him as he landed. "Hey Harry, already for our big game?" For the first time Draco heard a bit of happiness in his voice. He noticed that the eyes of Ronald and Granger had widened when he used Harryís first name, he enjoyed that.
Harry smiled and nodded his head, "Sure am, canít wait to cream these, what were they called again?" The sarcasm was thick in his voice but he was good at lying, there was no give away in his eyes.
"I think they were called the Couch Potatoes." Draco answered, he was even better at lying than Harry was, he could fool most of the teachers, all except for McGonagall, she hated all the Slytherins.
Ginny let out a long smile, she was no good at lying, "No, no, they were called the Red Haired Chuddley Chesterfields." She burst into laughter. She wasnít any good at making up names either. Draco noticed that Ronaldís face had went an interesting shade of red and he nudged Ginny quite hard. She straightened up right away, the smile gone.
Harry shook his head, "We better start warming up Draco, see you on the field Ron." He took Ginnyís hand and started out towards the goal post they would be using.
Draco noticed that when Harry has used his first name it got an even better response from the red head and Granger. They thought he was sick or something, they looked at each other with concerned expressions. "Good luck today Weasley." He turned sharply and followed after Harry.
They warmed up for the fifteen minutes that they had before the referee showed up. They played high speed follow the leader, they practiced a few of their old attack formations, then they pulled a couple of quick laps around the pitch.
Draco took delight in catching fast glimpses of Granger and Weasley on the sideline. They were stunned by the way in which the three had become such a perfect team. Draco and Harry responded to each other on their brooms like they knew the otherís thoughts. They used maneuvers that required the most intricate of all timing schemes. Their two brooms crossed paths only split seconds apart, if their rhythm had been off they would have collided, but they didnít.
Finally the official showed up as well as the other two players of the Chesterfield Cannons and the game got underway. For most of the other games the crowds had been limited to a few of the parents of the other players, but today that changed. Mr. Bagman and his brother Ludo were in the stands as well as Granger and most of the other Weasley family, indeed two parents, two twins, and Percy the Prefect. If they hadnít known about Draco and Harry they would now. There was another girl whom Draco recognized as a former prefect from Howgarts. Draco was surprised to see her with Percy, she could do better than him, he thought.
The other two players on the Cannons were scrawny boys probably in fourth year. They looked scared to death of playing against The Harry Potter, Draco scowled at them and watched them cower.
Harry and Ronald were in the center position as the game begun. The quaffle flew high into the air and Harry sped off. His broom outstripped his best friendís by quite a marginal amount, and he quickly had control of the red ball. He pulled a sharp turn and flew in the direction of his own goal to re-group with his teammates, their opposition was in hot pursuit, if thatís what you would call it. They formed into a tight diamond and then sped off down the field. Anyone who tried to break through their formation was thrown back without a hand being laid on them, the group was just flying too fast. Within a few moments Ginny had shot the first successful goal and the Knights were up ten to zero. Draco could hear the applause from the crowd.
The Cannons took control of the ball, Ronald was leading them down the field in a very weak attempt at a V formation. Draco swooped down from below and knocked the quaffle out of Ronaldís hands, it flew down towards and the ground but was plucked up by Ginny for another quick goal.
The Cannons tried to use the diamond that the Knights had used five minutes before but their brooms were too slow. Harry came up from underneath and broke up the formation as Draco stole the quaffle and put it through the goal. He could see that Weasley was becoming frustrated. He took one of the two boys aside and told him to stay in front of the goal, to play keeper. Ronald took the quaffle down the field, he was flanked on his left by the remaining boy, they passed it back and forth as quickly as they could, but they werenít fast enough. Harry put on a burst of speed from his Firebolt and intercepted the ball easily in between the two. He whipped down the field, faked out the young and inexperienced keeper, and brought the score up to forty to zero.
In a miraculous move, Ronald snatched the quaffle and flew directly towards Draco. Draco only had a split second to get out of the way or be knocked off his broom. Harry tried to catch up but Ron had already released the ball. It soared through the air and just made it into the goal. It would be their only point.
Going on forty five minutes the score was now 120 to ten. The game play had slowed considerably, each team taking a long time to set up and execute plays. The Cannonís plays became more and more desperate with every passing minute. Weasleyís anger was rising exponentially with the teamís desperation. By the time the game was over he was furious and wouldnít even speak to Harry, he stormed off to the fireplaces without even his parents.
Harry shook his head as he landed gently and congratulated Ginny with a soft kiss on her cheek, she blushed as red as her hair. He was soon joined by the Weasley family, who looked just as proud of Harry as if he were their own son. He was congratulated by all with red hair and then they left with Ginny to go and catch up with Ron. "Are you coming, Harry dear?" Mrs. Weasley asked as he lagged behind.
He shook his head once, "No Draco and I are going to go out and get something to eat."
She eyed him over once suspiciously, and then said in a whisper that showed her concern, "Donít drink to much Harry." She left quickly on the heels of her husband.
"That was a great game Harry, Draco. I think your best one yet." Mr. Bagman was standing behind him with his brother and Draco.
"Yes I must say I agree, hardly saw a game like that when I was playing for the Wasps." Ludo let out a hearty laugh after that followed by a large toothy smile.
Harry and Draco both thank him and he wished them luck in the playoffs, "Iíll be in the stands for everyone one of them, might even bring o a few of my friends by with me, theyíve got connections in the Quidditch world." He winked once and was gone along with his younger brother.
"Great, weíre going to be drafted in the Quidditch Association of England as chasers." Harry laughed at Dracoís words. "Shall we celebrate at our usual pub?" he asked.
Harry smiled, "Is there any other one that would have us? Iím going to change out of these robes first though." Draco nodded that he wanted to do the same thing and they moved on in the direction of the changing rooms.
A few minutes later they were both clothed in more comfortable attire, they stashed their quidditch robes in a locker and headed for the nearest chimney. Draco went first, followed by Harry and they soon found themselves in the dark and smoky atmosphere of the Black Lion Pub. They were on their way to the booth they had used before when Draco was taken very sharply by the arm and led into a corner by Miranda. Her eyes darted frantically around the crowded room, she looked very nervous.
"Miranda what the hellís the matter?" She quieted Draco with a sharp look and then sat him down in a booth the farthest away from the bar. "Well, what is it?"
She cocked her head to one side and gave him a very unusual stare, one that said not to play innocent. "Your Mother, Madame Narcissa Malfoy, was in here the other day and was speaking with the proprietor. She told him that she knew you came in here a lot and then informed him of your age." She paused here and again gave Draco a very hard stare. "She then informed him that if you showed up here again, that he was not to serve you and contact her or the Ministry immediately. Even went so far as to say that the one who did would be rewarded." She said this last bit very sarcastically as if she didnít believe a word of it.
Draco appeared to be thinking on this, he gazed off into the table trying to decide his course of action. Why had his Mother interfered? In all the years that Draco had been coming to this pub, she had never said anything, and Draco had not doubts that sheíd known the whole time. He was furious at her now. She was only doing this because she didnít like the idea of Draco brining Harry here, well she had no right to choose his friends, and he had let her for too long.
He let out a long breath, "Looks like we canít celebrate here tonight, Harry, but Iíve got an idea." He got up from the booth, "Thanks Miranda, for everything." He kissed her on both cheeks and slipped a few galleons into her pocket.
The two boys walked a stealthily and quickly towards the fireplace. "Whereíre we going to go now Draco? We canít go back to the Burrow, we canít go to your place."
"Why canít we go to my place? My Motherís not going to be around, itís Saturday sheís out all day, and my Fatherís still away." There was an evil smirk on Dracoís face.
Harry didnít like the idea, he remembered Luciousís face in the cemetery, the yells he had called after Harry as heíd ran from them. He shivered.
"Oh come on Potter, thereíll be no one there, I promise." Draco saw Harry agree reluctantly and then he stepped into the fire, "Malfoy Manor!" A moment after the world stopped spinning and heíd stepped out of the hearth, Harry arrived. "Welcome to my house Harry. Never imagined in my wildest dreams that youíd be here, willingly that is." He smiled and let out a small laugh but stopped when Harryís eyes narrowed. "Come on, my rooms this way, I think Iíve got a bit of liquor up there." He showed Harry the way, pointing out various paintings of his famous ancestors. "This is the first Malfoy of England, he fought with Merlin in the first war against the Warlords. Heís considered brilliant in potions and heís revered as the first Malfoy to come to England, but deep down every one hates him for fighting against the Warlords."
They walked past libraries and studies and other rooms that Harry didnít know what to call until they finally came to Dracoís room, the one with no pictures and the best furniture money could buy. Draco opened the door and let Harry in first and then closed the door behind them. He watched as Harry took in all of the furniture, the desk, the chairs, the bed, the armoire. Draco waited in anticipation. "This is nice Draco, really nice." Harry walked across the room to the red leather chair next to Dracoís desk and sat down. He let out a long sigh, "Oh this is great."
Draco smiled as Harry enjoyed the simple pleasures of a thousand galleon armchair. "Thatís my favorite chair in this whole Manor. Got it the year I started at Hogwarts as a Christmas gift." Draco moved over to his armoire and opened the bottom cabinet of it and pulled out a large dark colored bottle and two glasses. "The finest cognac in all of London. You thought what we had before was good, wait until you taste this." He poured them each a large glass and handed one to Harry. Draco sat down at the smaller black leather chair by his desk and took a long sip. "Now thatís much better." He watched as Harry sampled his glass and smiled with the delight Harry took in it. "Now all we need is a good cigar."
Harry laughed at this, "So what is there to do around here?" He looked again around the room but indicated with his hand that he meant the whole house.
Draco took another sip from his glass and then set it down on his desk, "Well letís see, thereís loads to read, and I draw a lot, and then thereís homework, and did I mention reading?" He shrugged his shoulders, "Thereís really not much for a teenager."
Harry cocked his head to one side, "I canít believe that, there has to be at least something to do. A pool table, a swimming pool, a basketball hoop, something."
Draco shook his head, "Nope, worst place a person could ever live, especially if they couldnít read or stand the sound of quiet." He let out another long sigh, "The sound of quiet has never bothered me, itís quite relaxing after you get used to it." He listened now, there was no noise at all in the entire house. He looked back to Harry, woken from a dream, "Not the funnest house in England but there's alcohol."
Harry held up his glass, "To the proprietor of this fine establishment." He tilted it in Draco's direction and took a long sip. "So you don't do anything over the summer for fun?" he asked putting his glass down.
Draco smiled, "Well I do my potions homework, I read, I play Quidditch, I've already mentioned all of these though."
"What about your two side kicks, Crabbe and Goyle?" Harry asked, "Where are they during all of this?"
Draco laughed, "You'll never believe this, well maybe you will," he laughed again, harder this time, "They did so horribly this year in their classes, that they were sent to remedial sessions at Durmstang for the summer."
Harry couldn't control himself at this, he spit out the cognac that he had been about to swallow and began to laugh. Draco tried to quiet him but it wouldn't be. "Harry really, if my Mother is home she's going to here you."
He had a few more quiet laughs and then was silent. "You must have been really bored this summer with out them. No one to play jokes on, no one to make fun of." His eyes were alight with humor and he wore a broad smile.
"Those two are just sheep, theyíll follow anyone around." Dracoís voice portrayed no emotion to admitting his own friends were in fact not. He spoke these words as he would speak any other facts of life.
Harry wondered whether Draco knew everything about Crabbe and Goyleís families. He wondered if he should inform him, he had the right to know. "Crabbe and Goyleís Fathers, do you know about them?" He asked this in the softest way possible. Draco shook his head. Harry took a long sip from his glass and then continued, "Not many people know the real story of what happened last year. The Tri-Wizard cup was a portkey, set up by Bartemius Crouch Jr. who was using polyjuice to impersonate ĎMad-Eyeí Moody. The portkey took Cedric and I to a far away cemetery, thatís where Womrtail killed Ced." It was hard for him to talk about this, he had only spoke of it once over the summer to Ginny when she had asked him. He went on, "Wormtail tied me to a head stone and performed a spell that Voldemort had created to bring him back from the dead. Bone of the Father, unknowingly given, Flesh of the servant, willingly given, Blood of the enemy, forcibly taken." He spoke these words melodically and with such rhythm, how often he had heard them in his dreams. "Voldemort returned to life with the bone from the Father he murdered, with Peter Pettigrewís hand, and my blood, and then he called his loyal Death Eaters to him."
Draco wanted Harry to continue very badly, he wanted to know everything. But something was holding Draco back as well, was he ready to hear what he had believed for so long, could he accept it? "Please Harry, go on. I need to know."
Harry inclined his head once and continued, "He pressed his finger to the Dark Mark on Peterís arm and waited. Minutes passed and then wizards, with hoods and masks, apparated everywhere. They formed a circle, Crabbe and Goyleís Fathers were in the center bit somewhere. Yes, they follow Voldemort, they are sheep just like their sons." He stopped and took another large sip of his cognac, to reinforce his strength, "But on Voldemortís right hand, stood your Father."
Dracoís eyes widened with shock, but they soon dimmed and he lowered his head in acknowledgment. It was what he always knew to be true, but now he had the proof of a witness not just the braggings of his Father. He could feel Harry watching him. "What did they do to you Harry? What did my Father and his associates do to you?"
Harry didnít answer him at first. He knew Draco simply wanted to hate his Father more, but he would not deny him the answer to the question. "Voldemort put the Crucio curse on me and let me suffer and then he tried to use Imperio me and force me to duel. Imperio doesnít have a lot of effect on me though and I ran away from him and back to Hogwarts." Harry purposefully hadnít told Draco about Prior Incantatem, that was his own special memory, he hadnít spoken of it to Ginny either.
Draco couldnít imagine what all of that must have been like for Harry. For a long time neither of them spoke and then Draco finally did, "Harry, Harry Iím sorry that all of that has happened to you." Draco truly meant what he had just spoken, he was sorry for anyone who had to endure what Harry had. He was even sorrier that Harry had had to go through all of that at the hands of his Father.
To his amazement, Harry simply smiled and shrugged it off. "Itís not your fault Draco. Thanks though." He took one last large sip and finished off his glass of cognac. They had been talking in Dracoís room for well over an hour now, and Harry thought that it was time to go before Mrs. Weasley got angry or Mrs. Malfoy came home. "I think Iíll be off Draco. Thanks for the cognac, youíre right itís better than the Dragonís Blood. Next time I think Iíll have to bring the drinks and you can bring the sob stories."
Draco smiled and nodded, "Anytime. You can use this fireplace to floo home if you want." He opened a small container and threw some of the powder into the fire. "See you Monday at five for a bit of practice before our first playoff game."
"Thatís a good idea, Iíll tell Ginny when I get back. See you later Draco, thanks again." Harry stepped into the fire and with a few words was gone.
Draco sat down into the large armchair Harry had been sitting in and refilled his own cognac glass. He turned out the lamp with a quick gesture and allowed the room to be lit solely by the roaring fire. He sipped from his glass and leaned back in the chair, relaxing as he slowly fell into a gentle sleep from the sounds of the flickering flames.
The week seemed to fly by for Draco. There seemed to be no more news about the murdered Giants and no new attacks either. Draco was kept quite busy packing and with his Quidditch games.
Monday night their first playoff game had been a huge success. They had beaten the Viking Raiders 200 to 100. The crowd in attendance was very supportive of them and afterwards Ludo introduced Draco and Harry to the coach of his old team, Coach Frank Glenn. Of course Draco knew that the Wasps had no chance of ever picking up him or Harry either as chasers or beaters. Since Ludo had left some ten years ago, the teamís reputation had declined steadily and there was talk about dismantling the franchise.
Harry told Draco about how Ronald had locked himself in his room all of Saturday night and part of Sunday and refused to speak to him. Harry had slept on the couch that night. Hermione had finally been the one to talk him out of his room promising that Draco was not replacing him as Harryís best friend. Draco had laughed quite hard at this, Harry did too for that matter, and agreed that sometimes Ron acted a little childish.
Tuesday brought nothing of importance for Draco. His Mother congratulated him on his win at breakfast and showed him the article the Daily Prophet had printed about the game. Then she was off into the city to run some important errands. Draco didnít know what kind of errands were so important that she wouldnít let the servants do them or force him to, but he didnít care.
Wednesday nightís game was somewhat more challenging. They were playing the Knightís Dragons, the team was made up entirely of fifth years and each of them had played chaser for their house team. Throughout the first half of the game the Knights of Hogwarts had been trailing by several points, and it had not looked promising. Going into the last half an hour though, Harry spurred them on and they played harder than they had played since their first game. There was five minutes left and the score was tied. Each team was flying at top speed trying to score before the end of regular game play, neither one wanted an over time match. The quaffle was being passed back and forth at high speeds. The defensive moves to prevent scoring were of a professional level. Draco was nearly knocked off his broom on one occasion they were playing so fierce.
Finally with only one minute left the Knights of Hogwarts tried a desperate attempt to win the game. They had never practiced this move before but they had seen it used once during the World Quidditch Cup game the year before. Flying in a tight, fast diamond pattern they bolted down the field, Ginny had the quaffle with Harry in the diamonds center position. The three opposing players attacked the pattern all at once. It was at this point that Harry leapt from his broom onto the back of Dracoís. His Firebolt continued on the same path by itself, Ginny leapt off of her much slower broom and onto Harryís. She pressed her body flat to it and sped off out of the formation. Draco and Harry tried to block the two players nearest them from reaching her. There was a lone rider following close on her tail, he was within inches and he could if he wanted to simply tug on the end of the Firebolt. The goal was coming up fast, Ginny brought her body up a fraction, just enough to allow her a shot. At the same time her follower grabbed the end of her Firebolt in a last attempt to prevent her from scoring even if it meant a penalty. Ginnyís broom jerked backwards and she threw the quaffle towards the goal before she fell. The ball soared through the air. It was not the shot that she had intended, it needed more speed.
The crowd watching went silent, and indeed everyone on the field stopped to watch itís flight as well. Finally it hit the rim of the goal and stopped, teetering first one way and then the next. No one dared to breath, the Knightís Dragon could lose if the ball fell through the wrong way and the Knights of Hogwarts could win. It seemed to stop wobbling for a moment as if it would not decide which way to fall and then it did fall, right through the back of the hoop to give the Knights of Hogwarts the final points they needed to win the game.
The crowd erupted in roars of applause and gave the Knights a standing ovation. Harry nearly toppled both him and Draco over he was so excited. He clapped Draco on the back a good many times. Ginny nearly collapsed she was so happy and quickly flew down to the ground. She was soon joined by Draco and Harry, who picked her up and swung her around in his arms. Then he pulled her close and just stood with her between his arms.
The three of them were congratulated by the two Bagmans again and this time introduced to the coach of the Chudley Cannons, who Harry thought were even worse than the Wasps. Ron nearly fainted when he came over to congratulated Harry and his sister, "Youíre, youíre, youíre," was all he could stammer out. Finally he begged his Mother for a quill and asked Mr. Patrick if he could sign the Cannonís emblem card that he carried with him in his wallet.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley congratulated Harry quite a bit and told Draco was he was a decent Quidditch player. Draco took that as a larger compliment than it was, since it came from the Weasley family and soon said good bye to his two teammates and headed home.
His day Thursday wasnít much better than Tuesday. The highlight of the day was when he received an owl from Professor Snape.
I wish to send my congratulations on such a fantastic game Wednesday night. Unfortunately I was not able to attend and Iím sure the article does not give the final play justice. I am pleased to inform you that I will be in attendance for Fridayís game, as will the Headmaster and perhaps a few of the other Professors. I hope that our Mr. Potter isnít giving you too much trouble, but if he is simply let me know, the semester starts soon after all.
Hope your summer has been well and that you are ready for the start of a new school year.
Professor Severus Snape
Draco re-folded the letter and put it into his trunk. He had always felt e certain connection with Professor Snape that he hadnít had with other Professor or adult. Snape knew what he was going through, of that Draco was sure. He knew of his Father and he knew of many of Voldemortís other feats. Draco had never stopped to wonder how Snape knew so much, he had always taken it for granted.
Thursday Draco also finished packing. He made sure that he left one of his new school uniforms on top so that he could change on the train and that his book on potions was also easily accessible during the trip.
Friday night the Knights had their third and final playoff game. If they won this game then they would go on to the Junior English Quidditch Cup. Draco trimmed all the straw in his Nimbus 2001, he polished the handles and made sure that it was balanced right. He took out his clean set of robes and laid them out on the bed and then he sat down with a glass of cognac to quiet his nerves as he waited out the next two hours.
Finally at a quarter to five he took a very long shower and dressed in the most meticulous fashion. He made sure his robes were pressed properly and that everything was strapped in the correct fashion. Once he was positive that everything was where it was suppose to be he took the floo network to the Quidditch Pitch.
The game was quite fast paced once they started but the Knights had a clear advantage over the Chameleons. The Chameleons were all fourth year students who had clearly been lucky in their match ups. Their technique was admirable but was not fine tuned enough to pose a threat to the Knights. Throughout the game one team would score and then the other, it went back and forth every point. But the Knights made up for that when the Chameleons would drop the ball or miss a pass and couldnít recover quick enough. In the end the Knights won 300 to 190.
The filled bleachers now roared to life, again giving the Knights a standing ovation. Harry shook hands with all of his opponents, each one agreed that if they had to lose in the third playoff game it was worth it to lose to The Harry Potter.
Ludo and his brother were again in attendance and this time they had a coach that was worth while to meet. Mr. Duncan was the coach and head scout for the English National Team. "You boys are the best pair of chasers Iíve seen in quite a while." His voice was sincere and he smiled as he spoke to Harry and Draco, Ginny had joined her family and some of her Fatherís friends from work including Mr. Diggory.
"Thank you Mr. Duncan, but Harry and I are both Seekers normally and weíre even better at it." Draco didnít mind playing chaser, he liked being able to move so freely and maneuver through such difficult plays, but he would much prefer to be alone in the sky searching for a ball that only measured an inch.
Mr. Duncan nodded, "So Iíve heard. Some of the catches that youíve made Harry are ones my seekers could only dream of making." Harry smiled at this flattery. He remembered each catch that he had made. Each one in itís own way had been his best, from the first to the last. "Next summer Iím starting to train another National team. If you two are interested Iíd love for you to come and try out, in whatever position you want." He smiled again.
"Thank you Mr. Duncan, Iím sure Draco and I would love that. Perhaps I can convince him to play chaser for one World Cup and then return to our more preferred position. But who will you find that can keep up with our pace?" The small group gathered laughed at Harryís wit and then left saying good bye and that they would all be in touch.
As the people cleared Draco could see Professor Snape waiting at the back for him. He smiled as his Professor approached him, he could feel Harryís disposition changed as Snape became closer and closer. "Well Mr. Malfoy that was an excellent show, congratulations on going to the finals. Iím sorry to say that the Headmaster missed tonightís game, there was something he needed to tend to." Snapeís words flowed out of his mouth in the usual fashion, very hoarse, very sinister.
Something didnít feel right though when Snape pronounced his name and his eyes seemed so much colder than ever before. "Thank you Professor, but to be honest that wasnít one of our most challenging games, was it Harry?"
Harry shook his head, "No, Wednesdayís game was much more difficult and that last play was really something. I think it was the Daily Prophet that said next yearís league would never top this summerís after that play." His tone was very mild, not arrogant, and he was simply stating the facts of what he had read.
"Yes, I believe I read that as well Mr. Potter, but you shouldnít always believe your own press coverage." Snape seemed a little hurt when this didnít earn a snigger from Draco. His eyes widened in a questioning sort of way. "Well, I must be going Draco, I will see you and Mr. Potter in a few days." His head jerked in Harryís direction as he said his name. Then, with a courteous bow he left them both.
Harry shook his head after Snape had left earshot, "I really donít understand why that man despises me so."
Draco smiled, "Wouldnít hold out for universal popularity Harry, never gonna happen with my Father around. I guess Iíll see you tomorrow night, I hear theyíre actually having to sell tickets now because everyone wants to come and see us play."
Harry wasnít sure if he believed this or not but he knew that he would find out the next day. "Yeah, see you tomorrow, same time as before for a bit of warm-up." Draco nodded once and then left Harry as well. He wandered slowly over to where the Weasleys were waiting for him. He had been feeling quite exhausted lately from all of the Quidditch, and he thought that it would be a relief to be back at Hogwarts soon.