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A/N: PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE YOU READ!
Ok, now that I've (hopefully) got your attention, hello! This is my first "official" story on HPFF but that, by no means, means I'm new to this. I have a few things to say that I feel is really important for you to know before you begin.
First off: My name's Sara (yes, that is very important for you to know).
Second: I LOVE CRITICISM. Well, I love reviews, but I love being criticized because that's the only way I can make my work better!
Third: I have put a lot of time and work into this fanfiction (though it may not look like it). I have literally researched, went back to the books to check dates and other things, etc so please let me know if you catch any errors or feel someone is ooc. I want this to be as canon as possible (you know, plus the whole Dramione thing).
Fourth: Speaking of Dramione, this is one of those stories you really have to wait for it. They won't be in love, heck they won't like each other very much, for a while. But you'll see some interesting interactions between the two to keep you satisfied!
Fifth: I have written quite a few chapters for this so once I get at least two/three readers, I'll update.
Sixth: I feel like I had more to say but I've probably lost you guys by now. Please rate and review!
Please keep in mind this is a sort of prologue (hence the shortness):
Harry Potter was sitting on a dusty old couch, his eyes shut tight, letting the memories wash over him. With a clenched jaw, he remembered his fifth year...and the end of it. How he had come to this very place that summer, how they had all worked together to try to make this place more bearable. And then his final year, the year he finally defeated Voldemort. When he, Hermione, and Ron, had stayed here. He remembered how and when they finally had to leave. How terrible it was, knowing that there was no place they could go back to anymore, no place they could claim as "theirs". And then, finally, after so long, he allowed himself to think about Sirius...and it hurt. Oh how it hurt. He missed him so much...
He missed him so very much.
He ran a hand through his already messy hair, the memories almost too painful for him to bear. This was the first time that he had let himself think about Sirius, truly think about him....
The sound of the doorbell caused him to pull out of his reverie. A wry smile played on his lips as Mrs. Black's screams began reverberating throughout the house. He had told Hermione and Ron that he had needed some time alone. He had seen the worried look in Hermione's eyes when she heard his request, had seen the worry become more pronounced when he turned down their offer to help him, or to just be there with him so he wouldn't have to face the memories alone. He knew she wasn't going to leave him alone for too long but this was a bit too fast, even for Hermione.
He got up from his seat, heading closer towards the main door, Mrs. Black's yells becoming louder and louder. He tugged open the door, "Hermione I thought I told you-" he stopped mid-sentence; The figure standing before him looked slightly uncomfortable, and nothing like Hermione.
"Malfoy," Harry said, startled, "I- what are you...uh....come on in," he said, noticing Malfoy looking around a bit awkwardly. He stood to the side to let him in. Malfoy looked slightly weary but, with a nod, he entered. He looked edgy and looked around the house, searching for the source of the yells, Harry assumed. "Oh, don't mind her. She's just your mother's dear old Aunt Walburga," Harry said as he was shutting the door. If Malfoy found the house or anything about it distasteful, he said nothing.
Harry walked ahead, leading the way. He led Malfoy to the room he had been sitting in just a few moments ago. "Er...make yourself comfortable. So...." he said sitting down after Malfoy did, "what brings you here?"
Draco looked a bit weary. Harry waited patiently. "I wanted to...thank you," he said, the last words as if they were physically painful to say, "and I had heard in the news that you were staying here for a while. Guess the Daily Prophet got something right."
Harry was startled, taken aback. "I...would you like some tea?" he asked, not knowing what else to say, highly uncomfortable. Malfoy nodded swiftly, just as eager for the distraction as Harry was.
Harry nodded and headed over to the kitchen, his mind wandering. Malfoy? Here to thank him? Of all the crazy...
He shook his head as he grabbed a kettle from a cupboard and began filling it with water.
He heard a noise and figured it was Kreacher. He had let him do whatever he felt like doing for a bit, seeing as he wanted to be alone, but Kreacher had immediately began cleaning up the house, eager to have "Master Potter" back. But he had thought that Kreacher had gone out. He could hear footsteps coming towards him and wondered why Malfoy had, for some reason or another, followed him into the kitchen.
"Potter?" a voice filled with contempt asked disbelievingly. Harry turned around and dropped the kettle with a loud clang, all color draining from his face.
"Sirius?" he asked, not daring to believe his eyes.
A/N: I know you guys are sick of me by now but ONE LAST THING! Please please please rate and review. Let me know what you think, what you want to see, how you like the characters/plot so far, what your favorite color is, ANYTHING. And criticism, lots of criticism. I promise to reply to all reviews. Thank you !
Disclaimer: I wish the Harry Potter series was mine.
A/N: Thank you so much for the reviews! I didn't think I'd be getting any that fast. You guys are amazing! Just for you guys, this chapter is pretty long. Please PLEASE read carefully and tell me what you think of just about everything. And, most importantly, tell me what you think of Draco, did I portray him well enough? How about everyone else? Enjoy!
"Potter?" a voice laced with contempt asked disbelievingly. Harry turned around and dropped the kettle with a loud clang, all color draining from his face.
"Sirius?" he asked, not daring to believe his eyes.
What do you think you're doing here? Who let you in?"
Harry was shaking violently, unable to believe who it was standinbefg before him. It just...couldn't be. "Wh-what do you mean?" he asked, startled at the contempt he heard and felt radiating from him.
Sirius pulled out his wand and swiftly disarmed Harry, whose wand had been held weakly in his right hand as he had been heating up the kettle water. He just stood there, unable to move, unable to do anything. He sensed trouble but, for the life of him, couldn't figure out why. Sirius cast a spell his way and Harry, frozen in shock, managed to duck at the last minute, causing a cup behind him to shatter.
"I thought I told you that I never wanted to see you again!" he yelled.
"What?!" exclaimed Harry, dodging another curse. "What are you talking about?"
"Potter!?" came a startled call from outside of the kitchen. Malfoy! Harry had forgotten all about Malfoy! Just then the doorbell rang for the second time that day and Walburga's screams could be heard resonating around the house once more. Harry couldn't do anything; he was too busy dodging Sirius's curses.
"What the hell Sirius? What are you doing?"
"Shut up Potter. As if you can't tell! Now, you haven't answered my question. What are you doing in the Most Honorable House of Black?" he said, his grey eyes livid.
"What...I! You gave it to-"
"Expelliarmus!" a voice yelled by the door, causing both Harry and Sirius's wands to fly into Draco Malfoy's waiting hand. Draco looked startled. "What the hell is going on here Potter?" he asked. Sirius eyed Draco with slightly perplexed eyes. Harry shakily got up, broken. He had missed Sirius oh so much, his only family! And having him look at him the way he was…it was more than he could handle. Before anyone could do or say anything, the kitchen door slammed open for the second time that day and in came Narcissa Malfoy, her wand drawn. As soon as she saw her son, she ran to him and held him close.
"Oh thank Merlin, Draco! What in heaven's name is going on?" Draco gave her a one-armed embrace, his wand hand still trained on Sirius Black. Narcissa only just noticed her son's offensive stance and followed the direction of his wand. Her eyes widened as her vivid blue eyes met grey, and she gasped.
Both young boys' eyes snapped to Narcissa Malfoy. Draco showed no emotion but Harry was staring at her with his eyes wide.
"What?!" he rasped.
"Narcissa?" the figure that looked so much like Sirius finally said.
Narcissa ran to him and hugged him tightly, tears streaming down her pale face. "Oh my Merlin Regulus. Where have you been? Why were you cursing Potter? What are you doing here? What's going on? Oh my..." Narcissa was trembling.
Draco took a step towards her and placed an arm on her shoulder. Although he wasn't showing it, he was very worried about his mother and her behavior. Harry was too bewildered to do or say anything. He just stood there, as if frozen, not knowing what else to do.
"Cissy? My dear Cissy! How I've missed you! Ever since you refused to talk to me and..."
"I'm so sorry Regulus. I really am. I was so scared, so worried...but, I did something Regulus! I didn't let your efforts go to waste!" she said, pulling back, a teary smile on her face. "I couldn't let your...I thought you were...I wanted to honor you," she finally said quietly.
Regulus looked slightly perplexed, but tried not to show it. "Shh...shhh Narcissa. Calm down. That's wonderful. But I've...never been anywhere else. What do you mean where I've been?"
Draco finally spoke up, worried about his mother. "Mother, what's wrong?"
Harry woke up from his daze at the sound of the younger Malfoy's question. He echoed it with one of his own. "Mrs. Malfoy, what's going on?"
"Mother? Mrs. Malfoy? You finally married Lucius?" he asked softly. "He does look like a Malfoy," he said inspecting Draco, "but I still see some of you in him. I wonder why I didn't notice. Draco was what you called him?"
Then, it all seemed to piece together, but Harry couldn't believe it. He looked almost exactly like Sirius. Well, Sirius when he was younger. He was handsome, exceedingly so. He had the same dark hair, even the slightly haughty look that Sirius Black once wore. But, Harry noticed, his figure was slighter, smaller. Harry gasped.
"Regulus Black? You're Sirius's brother?" Harry asked, finally finding his voice.
Regulus sneered slightly, almost as if he couldn't help it. "Brilliant observation Potter. Now, I'm only going to say this nicely once, and only for Narcissa's sake. Get. Out."
Harry clenched the back of the chair in front of him so hard that his knuckles turned white, but otherwise showed nothing of the turmoil he was feeling inside. "Reg- Black," Harry said at his look, "Where have you been?"
"What are you talking about Potter?" he asked, something tainting his cold drawl. He hesitated. "Is Sirius alright?" he asked, voice quieter than before. And though he was obviously trying to hide it, he was anxious. Harry's eyes watered and he looked away. This was too much for him to handle. What in Merlin's name was going on?
"Can ghosts do that?" Draco asked, lowering his wand slightly.
"Cissy, where's Sirius? Is he alright?" He asked, his voice wavering slightly. "Why's Potter crying? The great James Potter never shows any weakness."
Harry froze. James Potter. His eyes went wide.
"James? Your name is James? After all these years, Potter? The great Harry Potter is really a James! After everything, after all the times I've made fun of your ridiculous name, I find out you're really a James. You could've saved yourself from a lot of it if you had just told me," Draco said wryly, trying to land himself into familiar footing.
Harry shook his head. "My father's name was James. I'm Harry James Potter," he said quietly.
Regulus's eyes widened. "You're his son?" he asked incredulously. Harry nodded, not sure what to say. "What's going on here?" Regulus asked, pushing Narcissa gently away from him, his hands shaking slightly.
Harry was the first to finally speak. "You...don't remember anything?"
"Is there anything I'm supposed to remember?"
"Bloody hell," Harry whispered, pulling at the chair in front of him and sitting down.
"What do you know Potter?" Regulus shot.
"I...think you should sit down for this. It's not...pretty," he said quietly.
Regulus shook his head vehemently. "What is going on Potter? And what are you doing in my house? Where is Sirius?"
"Regulus," Narcissa said softly, "I agree. I think you should sit down." She pushed him gently into the seat across from Harry and took the seat next to his. "Now, go ahead Potter," she said softly, nodding at him.
"Harry. Please. I owe you my life, as do so many others. Please, call me Harry," Harry said, his face heating slightly. Draco smirked from his position by the door, leaning against the doorframe, his arms crossed.
Narcissa smiled slightly, "And many owe their lives to you, Harry Potter." That wiped Draco's smirk right off. "I'm assuming you know what's going on?" she asked him.
"No, not everything. I hardly know anything at all, really. But I think I might know some things that you don't. Possibly the last thing your cousin might remember," he said, feeling it odd to call him Black, and knowing that Regulus wouldn't have appreciated if he'd called him anything else.
Regulus made an impatient noise. "Do I have to repeat myself to you Potter?"
Harry took in a deep breath. "A lot's been going on. Where to begin? As to what I'm doing in your house, it's kind of my house as well," he said dryly.
Regulus was so angry, he didn't realize that Harry hadn't answered his other question. "What?" He asked indignantly, pushing himself up off the seat in anger and disbelief.
"Sit down Regulus. We'll try to figure out what's going on and explain everything," said Narcissa.
Harry warily rubbed his scar, Draco noticed. It was done almost as if unconsciously. Obviously, since the Dark Lord was gone, it couldn't have been hurting. Poor Potter must've missed his sociopath of a mind partner. Draco smirked again.
"What's the last thing you remember?" Harry asked tiredly.
Regulus frowned. "I'm...not sure." Regulus said in frustration.
"Nothing? Try a little harder. I need to know where to start," Harry insisted.
"I..." Regulus closed his eyes in concentration. He absentmindedly rubbed a spot on his forearm. With a jolt, Draco realized it was his Dark Mark. Narcissa turned questioning eyes to him, as did Potter, but Regulus paid no mind. Draco pretended he had intended to jump out of his position, and began brushing himself off. He raised a questioning brow back at them, as if he didn't know why they'd be looking at him so oddly. When they looked away, Harry with a shrug and Narcissa with a look that said she clearly knew better, he rubbed his forearm as well, before returning to his previous position.
Regulus's eyes fluttered open, widened in shock. "Kreacher! Is he...alright?" he asked. Narcissa looked at Regulus oddly but Harry understood and nodded.
"Kreacher's fine. I think he's out getting some things for the house. Okay, I think I know what happened. Or...at least part of it. Help me fill in the blanks, alright?" he asked, his gaze touching Narcissa Malfoy. She nodded. "And your help. I need your help as well," Harry said, his eyes boring into Regulus's. He gave a shaky nod. Harry was satisfied. "Alright, first thing's first," he said, opening a leather pouch that was around his neck, and pulled out a neatly folded slip of paper, "Do you recognize this?" He slid the paper towards Regulus.
At first, Regulus's eyes narrowed in uncertainty before opening wide in shock. "What...what's this doing with you?" he finally asked, placing a trembling hand over the words that were written in his own hand.
Draco cocked his head to the side before pushing himself off the wall. He pulled out his wand and muttered a quiet spell.
"I found this letter in a locket," Harry said quietly. Regulus's eyes widened, if possible, even more.
"But how? How are you alive? How am I alive?"
"I was hoping you'd know the answer to the second question. As to your first, I didn't drink the potion."
"Drink up," Draco said, levitating a tray of glasses filled with Firewhisky, the bottle lying beside it, onto the table. Harry looked at him oddly. Draco shrugged, "Looks like you'll be needing it." Harry stared blankly, wondering why there were only three glasses on the table. He figured none were meant for him. "Don't look so crestfallen Potter, one's for you."
"I don't drink," he answered casually, grabbing another glass and filling it with water.
Harry felt startled. He shook it off and grabbed a glass, taking a swig, noticing Regulus do the same. It looked as if he wanted to down the entire glass in one go but thought better of it. Harry couldn't blame him. Narcissa grabbed her glass and held it firmly between her hands but drank nothing. Harry noticed that her hands were trembling slightly. He cleared his throat.
"As I was saying, I didn't drink the potion. Albus Dumbledore did, shortly before his death," Harry said, his voice cracking at the last word.
The sound of glass shattering cut through the silence. All eyes turned to the cause of the noise and saw a cup being repaired, Draco's wand trained on it, his face slightly pink. He was coughing slightly. Harry realized why and quickly wanted to continue. Narcissa looked concerned.
"Albus Dumbledore, dead?" Regulus asked quietly in disbelief. Harry nodded. "How?" More coughing could be heard from behind. Harry glanced briefly at Draco before he decided to give only part of the truth.
"The potion killed him. Well, no, it didn't. But it helped. Professor Dumbledore had been trying to destroy a Horcrux, yes I know what they are, when one of them attacked, blackening his hand." He gazed steadily at Draco, "He was going to die of that blackened hand within a week or two." Draco Malfoy's eyes widened but Harry turned away, allowing him some time to process what had just been said.
"That potion...I drank it. I remember now. Kreacher had had some as well, Voldemort's orders. I remember that," he said quietly. Narcissa Malfoy had briefly shut her eyes at Voldemort's name. If Malfoy had shown a reaction, Harry hadn't seen it. Regulus's eyes sharpened when he noticed Harry's lack of reaction to the Dark Lord's name. The look in his eyes almost looked like begrudging approval, or respect.
"Do you remember why?" Harry asked.
"Siri...I realized how screwed up his way of thinking was. Hell, how screwed up everything was. He separated brothers, had mothers abandon their children, had young ones kill- all for his own cause, which was, truly, only for himself," Regulus said, his voice ragged. He looked as if he wanted to say more but decided against it and downed another shot of whisky instead. Harry wondered if he had noticed Narcissa's reaction to his words as well.
"You...don't remember what happened next?"
"I don't," he said in defeat. "What happened, Potter? And who are you? A Potter and a Malfoy? That's...unheard of." Draco snorted. The corner of Harry's lips lifted slightly.
"Oh, Malfoy and I don't get along at all. A lost cause if ever I saw one." Narcissa looked as if she wanted to say something. "I'm Harry Potter, James and Lily Evans Potter's son," he said softly.
"The Boy-Who-Lived," Draco supplied helpfully from where he was perched, arms propped onto the counter behind him.
Regulus's eyes opened slightly. "Evans, huh?" Narcissa Malfoy laughed softly, but it was laughter filled with pain and deep sadness. Harry just nodded, not knowing what else to do. "What's with the 'Boy-Who-Lived' name? A nickname?"
"More like 'The boy-Who-Just-Wouldn't-Die," Draco interjected. "Not that I'm complaining," he added quickly, holding both hands up in mock surrender at his mother's look. "I'm thrilled, really."
Harry shook his head, a slight smile playing at his lips, despite the circumstances. Regulus raised a brow. Harry understood the unspoken question. "I survived the killing curse, Voldemort's killing curse, when I was an infant. He killed both my parents but he only left me with this scar," he said, brushing away his hair to make it more visible. Regulus looked horrified.
"Potter and Evans...dead?"
"Murdered," Harry confirmed downing a shot of whisky, looking surprised when he saw Narcissa and Regulus do the same. Draco eyed his mother worriedly.
"I think you survived his killing curse more than once, Potter. No need to be so modest," he said. "How about that time in fourth year? And let's not forget the time my mother saved your life. Scared us all, you did. And of course, the final battle."
"The final battle?" Regulus asked.
"We'll get to that whe-" Harry was cut off by Draco.
"Don't you know? Oh of course, you don't. You've just come back from Voldemort-knows-where. Potter here defeated the Dark Lord," his face darkened slightly at the memory of the battle, all the bloodshed...
Regulus was gazing at Harry with his mouth slightly open. Harry avoided his gaze. "He can't die! He has too many horcruxes to-"
"Destroyed. All of them."
Regulus's voice was filled with begrudging awe, "All of them? Even the locket?" Harry nodded. "How?"
"What the bloody hell is a horcrux?" Draco finally burst out. Harry ignored him.
"Another story for another time. But it wasn't done all on my own. My two closest friends helped me. Speaking of which," Harry frowned, "they should be here by now."
"It's a good thing they're fashionably late then Potter. I can only imagine Granger's reaction to our friend here," he said, jerking his head towards Regulus. "I can practically hear that overused brain of hers whirring," he said with a grimace. Harry couldn't help but agree.
"Harry, I think you should start with your take on things now," Narcissa said softly, her eyes on Regulus.
"We're all waiting," Regulus said. Harry frowned.
"I-I don't know where to start."
"The beginning might be a good idea," Draco interjected helpfully.
"That's just it, I don't...I was never told the beginning. I only heard the end."
"Ah. Sucks knowing the end of a story, doesn't it Potter?"
"Well, that's kind of a moot point seeing as he's alive, isn't it?" Harry asked wryly. Regulus cleared his throat pointedly. "Do you remember anything from...the day Voldemort decided he needed a house elf? I'm sure, if you think hard enough, we might actually get somewhere, have a place to start."
Narcissa lifted the trembling cup to her lips again and took a swig before speaking. "I...I think I might know a bit. I think I remember. After all," she said, glancing at Regulus, "it was the last time I saw my favorite cousin." Her voice was pained. Harry nodded in encouragement while Draco frowned in worry over his mother, but said nothing. He crossed over to the table and pulled out a chair from next to her, sitting down in one fluid movement.
Narcissa took in a quiet breath before speaking. "It was about a year after Regulus had joined the Death Eater's ranks. So very proud, and so very young. He was, in almost every way, just like my Draco," she said, placing a hand on her son's leg. Draco said nothing. "He was quite happy and proud at first. So honored that the Dark Lord had chosen him at such a young age, so proud to finally be a Death Eater. He had no idea what he had gotten himself into," she said quietly, shutting her eyes. Harry could hear the double meaning in her words. Regulus looked pained. He discreetly took a sip of his Firewhisky.
"It was a hot day, sometime in the beginnings of summer. Regulus had just come back from Hogwarts."
"How old were you when you became a Death Eater?" Draco asked, his tone serious now.
"Sixteen," Regulus answered back automatically. Draco's face, if possible, became paler, but he said nothing.
Narcissa had taken a swig of her own Firewhisky at Draco's interruption, but continued her tale as if it had gone uninterrupted. "We were all gathered at Bell-Lestrange Manor," she seemed to have the sadness in her face become more pronounced. Draco placed a hand over the one that was resting on his leg, rubbing soothing circles with his thumb. Harry noticed her reluctance at saying the name he hated so much and wondered why? He felt his insides burn with anger at the thought of Bellatrix Lestrange. Before he could think more of it, Narcissa went on, her voice coming as if from far away, as if she were someplace else.
"The Dark Lord had ordered us to gather, had said that he had a task for someone, for one honorary follower of his," she said in contempt. "So we gathered, all of us eager to know what task the Dark Lord could possibly want. How sure they were that they would be chosen, that the Dark Lord trusted them above all his other faithful servants," she said bitterly. "I remember hating it all. I had an uneasy feeling about this new 'task,' fearing who would be chosen. Wishing with all my being, hoping, that my Lucius and Regulus would not be chosen. Whatever it was, I felt, it was something terrible. And I wanted nothing of it. And I was willing to do anything to keep them both away from it," She said quietly.
"I feared it was going to be some kind of murder or something terrible, I don't know," she said, shaking her head she took another gulp of her Firewhisky, "and Regulus was so young, so innocent- even as a Death Eater."
"You can imagine my surprise when the Dark Lord said he required an elf for one of his purposes. Regulus was fast and eager, being the first to react," Narcissa ran a hand over her tired face, "Regulus volunteered Kreacher, the Black Family house elf. I felt...I felt fear in my heart like no other. I'm not sure why, but I felt...I was scared for him. I was so worried," she said softly, eyes touching Regulus who was downing his whisky. She looked down at her glass, as if wanting to do the same, but placed the glass on the table with a soft clink that echoed around the kitchen.
"That was all? Then...you never saw him again?" Harry finally asked in a quiet voice. He knew what came next in the story. Narcissa shook her head, eyes glistening.
"Mother, you don't have to-"
"No no Draco, I'm almost done," she said with a weak smile. "No Harry. He came back. The 'task' was completed. I had thought Regulus would have been happy, proud even. I imagined he might've even gotten that haughty look he sometimes used to wear, the one that made him look so much like his brother," she said with an aching smile, her eyes far away, as if she could actually see them. "But he wasn't. No," she said softly," Regulus looked like he had aged years rather than days since the last meeting. His eyes were hallow, his face gaunt. He looked...I don't know. He was just so different. And it wasn't just the way he looked, oh no. Everything about him was off. I wasn't the only one who noticed," she said darkly, "one other person, if you could call him that, did."
"The Dark Lord," Draco said, understanding her tone. She nodded.
"But I was the first to notice. And I tried so hard to comfort him, to find out what was wrong. To help my favorite cousin, as he had for me, so many times. And I had failed him," she said, shutting her eyes briefly. "But he wouldn't have it. In fact, he kept pushing me farther and farther away, trying to push me away from him, to make me hate him. He should've known it was impossible," she said sadly. "I tried, I truly did. But...not long after I...he..." she put her head in her hands. Draco placed a hand on her shoulder but allowed her to grieve.
"Normally, due to her reaction, I'd say he died. And yet, here you are. So what did happen?" Draco asked in a grim voice.
"I disappeared," Regulus said, his voice hard. "I'm remembering this, all of it. But I still don't know what I'm doing here." He froze. He looked at Narcissa and Draco as if for the first time. "Narcissa? How long was I gone?" Narcissa looked up, eyes glistening.
"It's been seventeen years, Regulus. Seventeen years," she said in a choked whisper. Regulus's glass slid from between his fingers, shattering into thousands of pieces.
Harry nodded grimly. "And a lot has changed since then," he said quietly.
Regulus's eyes were wide, disbelieving. He looked at his hands, down at himself, searching for something, anything. Draco said nothing, showed no emotion. "Whathappened to me?" he asked quietly, as if talking to himself. He finally looked up at Harry. "You. You said you know some things. I am remembering, but I have a feeling it's not all of it. I don't know what's going on. Tell me."
Harry nodded. "I think I do. At least...part of it. There's just something that doesn't make sense," Harry said, frustrated. Regulus was fighting for control, Draco could see that. He could tell because he had done so many times before. He wordlessly repaired Regulus's glass and levitated it back to its place. Regulus's eyes met his, grey met grey, and he nodded in wordless thanks before turning his attention back to Harry.
"How I'm alive, you mean?" Regulus finally said. Harry looked apologetic.
"Just say what you know Potter, or should I call you Harry dear as well? Maybe Regulus will remember something as we go along," said Draco. Harry nodded.
"That- that letter," Harry said, jerking his head towards the slip of paper laying in front of Regulus, "I found it in a golden locket, the fake one. I already told you how I acquired it. With Dumbledore. Do you remember what this slip of paper was doing in that golden locket?" Regulus nodded grimly.
"Humor me, Potter, and I'm sure my mother would like to know as well. What's the story with the locket? Regulus might remember something along the way," Draco finally said when he realized he wasn't going to be getting an explanation.
"I only know what I've been told. I'll start from where your mother left off. We all know Voldemort wanted a house elf for one of his sick plots, but do any of you know why?" Regulus's jaw tightened. Harry nodded. "I see you remember."
"Enlighten us, Potter."
A/N: So what do you think? Comment on every line if you can :D Pretty please! The more reviews/reads, the more motivated I'll be *wink wink*.
IMPORTANT: Did anyone find out what Narcissa meant by her "doing something?" Care to guess? If so, do not read on.
What she meant was, remember in the last book, very end, she saved Harry's life, which led to Voldemort's downfall. Yeah, ring a bell? That's what she means by she didn't let Regulus's "death" go to waste. I felt like there was a lot more to her saving Harry's life than just the fact that Draco was alive (although that would have been enough :P)
[A/N]: Thank you so much for the amazing reviews! I hope you all enjoy this chapter. Somewhat filler-ish, but definitely necessary. Again, enjoy (you better! I have a midterm tomorrow, but I'm uploading this at 1 AM :D)
"Enlighten us, Potter." Harry ran a hand through his hair, collecting his thoughts.
"Voldemort created something called a horcrux. Several, actually. You asked me what a horcrux is. A horcrux is an object in which a person conceals part of their soul. You literally split your soul and hide part of it in an object outside of the body so that you can't die, because part of the soul remains bound to the earth, unharmed. You'd be less then a spirit, less than a ghost, but still alive. Many would prefer death over that," Harry said quietly.
"But how can one split one's soul? That's...impossible," Draco said.
"You can split one's soul by an act of pure evil...murder. Killing rips the soul apart. If one were to want to create a horcrux, they would use that damage to their advantage: They would encase the torn bit of soul into an object with a spell," answered Harry, almost reciting it, like Hermione used to. He had recited it in his head so many times in the past year.
"And the Dark Lord created several?" Narcissa asked, horrified.
"Seven, to be exact. That's what allowed him to live after the killing curse meant for me rebounded. That was what had opened the Chamber of Secrets in my second year. That diary was a horcrux." Draco's eyes widened.
"They are that powerful?" he asked. Harry nodded grimly.
"Voldemort wanted to put one of his horcruxes, Slytherin's locket, under lock and key, so to speak. He had everything prepared," Harry shivered at the memory.
"Not everything," Regulus said in a low voice. Harry nodded and went on with what he knew.
"He had a lake full of inferi, an enchanted boat that would take two people but bring back one, and a basin full of some kind of terrible potion, but no locket." Regulus shut his eyes tightly, remembering. The room was hushed. Narcissa was looking at Regulus worriedly. "I'm...not exactly sure what the potion did-"
"It burns you from the inside out. It makes you weak with thirst. It makes you remember the worst memories of your life, makes you see it happen again, right before your very eyes. Makes you feel unbelievable pain, and not just physical. Hardly. It makes you wish for death, anything to get rid of the unbearable pain," Regulus said, his voice ragged. Narcissa Malfoy was looking at him with a horrified look, her eyes filled with worry. Draco showed no emotion except for a taut jaw. Harry knew they were thinking of the same thing: Of Albus Dumbledore's last moments. His pleas. Harry downed a large swig of his Firewhisky in one gulp, welcoming the burning sensation, anything to dull the ache. Narcissa, who had ignored her glass since she had set it down on the table, grabbed it off the table, took a small sip, was about to put it back, thought otherwise, and drank another sip before holding it between her trembling hands. Draco finally spoke, breaking the uneasy silence.
"You say that as if from experience," he said in a low voice, breaking Harry out of his painful thoughts.
"That's because he has. Drank from it, I mean." Narcissa seemed to have realized this but a silent tear slid down her pale face. If Harry hadn't been watching so closely, he wouldn't have noticed. He went on.
"Voldemort wanted an elf, something worthless and disposable in his eyes, to drink the potion in the basin so he could place his horcrux at the bottom of it. So he made Kreacher, the volunteered elf, drink the vile potion, placed the locket, and filled the basin with more of it. And he left. He just left Kreacher there to die."
"But, didn't you just say that Kreacher...?" Draco asked, perplexed.
"What Voldemort didn't count on was the magic a house elf possesses. Of course he wouldn't. After all, he believed that house elves were far beneath him," Harry said wryly.
"Then what happened?" Narcissa asked in her quiet voice.
"I ordered him to come home," Regulus said simply. Confusion swept over Draco's face before understanding dawned on his features. Narcissa nodded in understanding. Harry was surprised they had understood so quickly.
"So Kreacher came back...and told his master everything. I believe this is the time when Mrs. Malfoy believed Regulus had changed." Narcissa nodded, eyes glistening. "I'm not sure how, but Regulus Black found out about what was going on, and he found out fast."
"The Black family library possesses quite a few nasty books," Regulus said in a strained voice. Harry nodded. He took in a breath before he went on.
"He began acting oddly, trying to protect the ones he cared about," Harry said, looking meaningfully at Narcissa. Her lips trembled.
"Protect them from what?" Draco asked, worried about his mother's reaction.
"From the effects of what he was planning on doing. If he was caught or found out...things wouldn't have been pretty for the ones he loved," Harry paused, "He was planning to retrieve and destroy the horcrux."
Narcissa covered her mouth with her hand. Draco paled slightly. Harry chanced a worried glance at Narcissa and turned questioning eyes to her son.
"I'd like to stay and listen," she said softly, understanding Harry's behavior. Harry nodded. Draco looked worried. Regulus's eyes were narrowed in thought, trying to remember something. Something wasn't right...
"So one night, Regulus came to find Kreacher in his cupboard and ordered him to take him to the cave where the locket, where the Dark Lord had taken him. Once they were there, he produced a locket from his pocket, a locket similar to the one in the basin. He told Kreacher that, once the basin was empty, he was to switch the lockets." Narcissa was trembling all over now, a sheen of bright tears visible in her startling blue eyes.
Draco, alarmed, placed a hand around her shaking frame, holding her to him. "Mother?" Narcissa wordlessly shook her head. Harry understood.
Harry bit his lip. This was important, though. Regulus finally seemed to realize what was going on. He took one look at Narcissa and swiftly pushed out of his chair and was at her side, his arm rubbing her back soothingly. "Shh Cissa," he said, using his old nickname for her, "I'm right here, alright? I'm fine," he said quietly. Narcissa nodded, leaning into his embrace, finding comfort in his words. Draco finally understood.
"What happened next Potter?" Regulus slightly pulled away.
"I ordered Kreacher to leave without me, told him to never tell my family and loved ones what had happened to me. I told him that he had to destroy the first locket, no matter what. And then," he dragged in a ragged breath.
"You drank the potion- all of it," Harry said. Regulus flinched slightly. Narcissa was furiously wiping her eyes. Draco took in a sharp intake of breath, finally realizing the conclusion his mother had reached before it was spoken.
He was horrified.
"And," Harry continued, his voice slightly weaker. Sure he had heard this story from Kreacher not too long ago but then, it was just that: a story. Now, with Regulus standing before him, it was so much more painful. So much more real. It didn't help matters any that Regulus resembled his brother so much.
"This is the part that doesn't make any sense," he swallowed, looking at Regulus oddly. "He said he watched you get dragged beneath the water by the inferi, Regulus," Harry said softly.
Regulus's eyes were wide, his body entirely still. He hadn't even mentioned anything at Harry calling him "Regulus." All eyes were on him. He felt something gently nudge his leg. Pulled out of his reverie, he looked down and saw his glass, now filled with Firewhisky, hovering in mid-air. He looked up and saw Draco deliberately looking away, a hand in his right pocket. He grabbed the glass and poured the contents into his mouth, welcoming the burning sensation, wishing it to help get rid of the dull ache in his chest, the confusion in his mind. He barely felt anything.
Draco frowned, for some reason, seeing himself in the stranger before him for the second time that day. Regulus was shaking slightly. Draco cleared his throat. Harry immediately turned his attention to him, glad for an excuse, anything to break the silence.
"I think Black's tired. He's obviously not remembering anything and he definitely needs a break. I think that's enough for today. Mother and I are leaving. We'll...visit later," he said, already standing up, a hand outstretched towards his mother. She took one look at Regulus and nodded, agreeing with her son. She could see that he needed some time alone. She was reluctant to leave him, but she could see that it was necessary. She took hold of his hand and unsteadily got up. Harry awkwardly got up as well, an odd look on his face. He cast a look at Regulus, who didn't seem to notice. Draco, however, noticed his odd behavior. He lifted a brow in question. Harry smiled wryly.
"I'm considering where I should go for the night. I'm a bit...homeless at the moment," he said, his eyes touching Regulus. Narcissa looked startled, but understood quickly.
"Oh!" She hesitated, looking at her son uncertainly before turning back to Harry, "You are welcome to stay with us at the manor, if you'd like." Draco's eyes widened imperceptibly, but he said nothing, years of good breeding and manners wouldn't allow it. Harry was just as horrified with the offer as Draco was, but also slightly touched. He wasn't sure where else he could go, though...
As Narcissa moved to push her chair back in place, Regulus's gaze snapped to her. "Narcissa, where are my mother and father?"
"They've been gone for a long time, Regulus. Almost as long as you," she said softly. Regulus nodded as if he had expected as much, but Harry saw his hands tighten into fists at his sides. Regulus didn't know what to feel. They had not been the kindest parents, but they had been his parents nonetheless. He finally looked up, deciding not to feel anything at the moment.
"Narcissa can you- Would you stay for the night? With your lovely son, of course. You could even invite Lucius if you'd like," Regulus said, Narcissa being the only one who noticed the pleading edge to his otherwise collected voice.
The room's tension increased, a strained silence followed. Draco froze, an unidentifiable look on his face, his jaw taut. Harry looked away. Narcissa pretended not to have heard the last part of her cousin's request. Regulus sensed the tension, but wasn't sure why it was there, what had caused it. Was it something he'd said?
"What's wrong?" He asked, realizing the foolishness of his words only after they were said. What wasn't wrong would have been a better question to ask. He thought back to what he had said and asked quickly, "Is Lucius alright?" Draco's fists were clenched tightly by his side, his eyes on his mother. He looked as if he wanted to reach out for her and leave. Narcissa swallowed audibly, her quiet voice breaking the silence.
"Lucius is...he's not available at the moment," she said in a shaky voice, her eyes on Draco. Harry avoided meeting their gazes, not wanting to see their pain. He knew where Lucius Malfoy was; He was in Azkaban. He knew he shouldn't have felt guilty, but he couldn't help it. He knew that it was hardly his fault, or even up to him, but he still felt guilty. Narcissa went on as if everything was fine, as if her husband was simply on vacation. "I'd love to spend the night. I'm not sure if Draco would like to stay, but I'd appreciate it if you'd let Harry stay," she said, ignoring her son's murderous glances.
"Potter?" Regulus asked incredulously, his eyes landing on Harry. He looked at him as if he had already forgotten he was there. This caused Draco's anger to alleviate slightly. Regulus quickly amended, "Potter is welcome here for as long as he wishes to say," he said with a gracious nod in Harry's direction. Harry was touched, startled at how...amazing Narcissa Malfoy was.
"Thank you," he said in a fervent whisper to her before turning and thanking Regulus as well.
"As for your son, he is more than welcome here if he wishes to stay," he said, looking at Draco oddly. Draco shot his mother an incredulous look.
"I'm not going to just leave you here," he said. Narcissa smiled softly.
"Would you like me to show you to your rooms or-" Narcissa cut Regulus off.
"I think we can manage," she said kindly. "You should just to get some rest in your room-" her eyes flew to Harry's as something just occurred to her. Harry nodded once in assurance that his room was perfectly fine. In fact, Kreacher had cleaned it just recently, along with the rest of the house. "Perfect timing," he thought wryly. Narcissa Malfoy looked relieved. "You should go to your room and get some rest. You're probably exhausted. We have a long way ahead of us," she said kindly, her voice sad.
Suddenly a loud crack could be heard coming from the living room. Harry's eyes widened. He had forgotten about Kreacher! He quickly turned to Regulus. "Please, let me speak to Kreacher. He can't see you. Not like this, not after..." his voice trailed off. Regulus hesitated. Harry worried. There was no telling what Kreacher's would be if he saw his beloved master after so long, after he had thought him to be dead. Regulus finally nodded stiffly, realizing it was best.
"He listens to you?" he asked quietly. "Kreacher is required to listen to all Black family members, but you?" Harry nodded.
"It's a long story. I'll go and talk to him. Good night. And thank you," he said before sprinting up the stairs before Kreacher would come into the kitchen in search of "Master Potter."
Harry saw Kreacher straightening the cushion that Draco had been sitting on in what seemed a long time ago. "Kreacher," Harry said. Kreacher turned around and bowed so low that the golden locket around his neck dragged onto the floor.
"Master Potter, Kreacher is back. Kreacher saw-"
"That's not important. I have two very important guests over and they're spending the night here. I'd like you to make them feel as at home as possible. They've done me a great favor by staying here. Is that understood?" Kreacher nodded and he could tell by his carefully polite expression that he had assumed that Ron and Hermione were his "special guests." "Now, before I introduce you, I also wanted to ask you to leave my floor alone for a while. No matter what." Kreacher looked at him oddly before nodding.
"Yes Master Potter. Kreacher will avoid the top floor." Harry nodded his approval.
"As for our guests," he said, "I'm not sure if you've met before but I'm quite sure you have met at least one of them. And you should recognize the other," Harry said, remembering the time in sixth year when he had asked Kreacher and Dobby to spy on Draco Malfoy. Kreacher looked startled. "I want you to stay here until I call you, alright?"
"Of course." Harry nodded before heading into the kitchen to grab a glass of water. He idly wondered which room Narcissa and Draco Malfoy had gone to. When he stepped into the kitchen, though, he saw Narcissa sitting in one of the kitchen chairs, her hands clasped together . Draco was pacing without really realizing he was doing so. He stopped at the sound of Harry's footsteps, his eyes on him.
"I thought you had gone... er...guess not," Harry said. Narcissa Malfoy smiled in understanding while the younger Malfoy looked like he was holding back a snarky comment. "I...wanted to thank you for...for everything," Harry said awkwardly, turning his back to them as he filled a glass with water. He finally turned around, propping his elbows on the sink behind him. He took a swig of the glass, enjoying the feeling of the cool water easing his dry throat. He awkwardly cleared his throat. "Er...Kreacher?" Draco was looking at Harry with raised brows, wondering if Potter had finally lost his mind. He opened his mouth to say so when, with another loud crack, a figure appeared before Harry, his back to Draco. Harry stood up straight. "Kreacher, these are my guests," he said, gesturing to Draco and Narcissa Malfoy, "I want you to-"
When Kreacher turned around, Harry stopped, looking weary. Before Draco could raise a questioning brow at Harry, Kreacher burst out, bowing ridiculously low.
"Master Malfoy! What a pleasure! Master Malfoy. Here! As Master Potter's guest! Oh, Kreacher would be most honored!" Draco Malfoy was beginning to look terrified. Harry smiled wryly. "And," Kreacher looked up and gasped, "Mistress Black!" Draco thought he was mistaken, but were those tears in his eyes?
"Oh Mistress Black it is so good to finally see you here again!" Narcissa Malfoy smiled softly, but Harry could see that it was a bit strained. Narcissa Malfoy was feeling a bit weary, what with all the memories she had relived. So many things were washing over her...
"Kreacher would be most honored to serve you both. Please, allow Kreacher to show you to your rooms!" Kreacher said excitedly. Draco looked slightly frightened.
"Good night," Harry said to their retreating backs. Narcissa Malfoy turned around to respond.
"Good night," she said. It seemed like all she could say. Draco looked as if he was just fine leaving without a word but gave a quick nod in Harry's direction before following.
All the while, much to Draco's discomfort, Kreacher had been muttering to himself. Draco could only catch bits and pieces of it. "Ecstatic...Mistress Black...Black Manor...Master...Malfoy..."
Harry rubbed his palm warily over his face. Narcissa was right; They had a lot to do, there was a long way to go.
Narcissa Malfoy was walking down the hallway, the tips of her fingers gently brushing the walls as she passed. She couldn't believe that she was here again. The memories were almost too painful to bear.
"Here we are, Mistress Black," Kreacher said. "This room should be suitable for you, I presume. I'm assuming that Master Malfoy would like a separate place to retire?" Kreacher asked, turning to Draco.
"Yes, Kreacher," Draco said. He thought he saw Kreacher's eyes fill up once more and didn't know what he had done wrong.
"Right this way Master Malfoy," Kreacher said with obvious adoration in his voice. He turned around to face Narcissa. "Should Mistress need anything, feel free to call Kreacher," he said, bowing low before leaving. Draco turned around and glanced at his mother.
"Goodnight mother," he said, voice soft. Narcissa walked towards him and threw her arms around her son.
"Goodnight, my Draco," she said quietly. Draco wrapped her small frame in his and squeezed gently.
"I'll be nearby, alright?" She nodded before reluctantly letting him go. Draco placed a soft kiss on her forehead before leaving, letting the door shut behind him quietly.
He saw Kreacher waiting a little ways away, mumbling about something or another. Draco couldn't help but sneer. Potter's house, everything, was old and somehow...messed up.
"Master Malfoy," Kreacher said, bowing. Draco only then noticed the golden locket around the elf's neck when it caught the light. Was it the same? The one that Potter and Regulus had been talking about? Draco decided to find out later.
He followed Kreacher into a spacious room. A large bed lay in the middle, a bedside table lying next to it. A slightly ajar door showed an empty closet. Draco Malfoy's lips curled in distaste as he realized that he had nothing to change into.
"Is Master displeased?" Kreacher asked, sounding hurt. Draco realized that Kreacher hadn't left yet.
"No, it's fine. I'll call if I need anything," Draco said, dismissing the elf. The house elf looked slightly crestfallen but, with another quick bow, he quickly left the room.
Draco sat down on the bed, dragging a hand through his hair. This was going to be a long night. And this was just the beginning.
Regulus Black was pacing in his room, unable to sink into the comfort of sleep. His room looked the same as always, but that was probably the only thing that felt right, and he wasn't even sure about his room. Something felt...off. For some reason, he felt absolutely exhausted, although he felt...odd. As if he had been asleep for a very long time. He realized that a lot of the noise in the house had died down. So they were settled. He walked back to his bed, slipping under the covers, hoping to get some sleep; He had a long way to go.
[A/N]: Please review, you have no idea how much it means to me. Feel free to criticize! What did you guys really think?
A/N: Sorry for the late update. Read carefully, I'm sprinkling little tiny details that you'll realize later on are very verrrry important ;).
Also, important, I added a small note to my last chapter that I think a lot of you would find interesting (it's at the end of chapter two, "Narcissa's Tale.")
Draco Malfoy awoke to the sound of yelling. He immediately threw the covers aside and jumped out of bed. He threw on his robes while yelling for Kreacher. Kreacher immediately showed up, looking wide-eyed. Draco wasted no time, grabbing his wand from under his pillow and yelling orders as he ran.
"Cast a silencing spell on the room my mother's staying in. Now! And don't, under any circumstances come upstairs. Go back to whatever it was you were doing!"
Draco's door slammed loudly against the wall as he flung it open. He ran up the flight of stairs, towards the source of the yells.
Harry Potter felt like he had been jolted awake by a searing pain. He rubbed his scar wearily before realizing that it probably hadn't been the reason for his abrupt waking. Old habits died hard, he guessed. He realized that it was the hoarse yells that were coming from across his room that had woken him up.
He quickly kicked the covers off of himself, noting in the back of his mind how tangled they were. He snatched his glasses and wand from the table beside the bed, and clumsily put his glasses on. He grabbed the shirt he had discarded earlier and pulled it over his head. He opened his door and nearly fell over from a collision with another form. The figure looked startled but quickly gained control, his wand pointed steadily at Harry. Harry quickly put his hands in the air, recognizing the figure.
Once Draco Malfoy's eyes adjusted to the darkness and he took in Harry's stance, he lowered his wand.
"Potter, what the hell is going on? Which one's his room?"
"This way," Harry said, walking towards the room across his. Once Harry reached the door, he stopped. "Regulus? Regulus Black! You alrigh-" Malfoy pushed Harry aside.
"Regulus, Potter and I are coming in," he yelled, kicking the door open. Draco had his wand drawn, eyes scanning the room, looking for the source of danger. Harry knew better. He ran to the bed, pulling the covers roughly away from the writhing form.
"Regulus! Regulus wake up!" Harry said, trying to shake him awake. Draco paused for a second before understanding dawned on him.
"Aguamenti," he said, his wand pointing at Regulus. Harry jumped away before he could get wet. Regulus Black woke, gasping for breath.
With another wave of Draco's wand, the water disappeared. Another lazy flick and the blanket was draped over the foot of the bed. Regulus gazed around him with wild eyes. Once his eyes landed on Draco's controlled calm expression, he seemed to realize where he was.
"Nightmare," Draco said calmly. Harry was surprised to notice that Draco wasn't ridiculing him. Not only that but he somehow seemed to know what to do, as if he was no stranger to nightmares...
"Accio goblet," Draco said quietly, watching Regulus slowly try to gain control. A scraping noise could be heard for the bureau nearby, causing it to rattle slightly. Draco opened it and a silver and green goblet soared into his hand. He cast a quick cleaning spell on the goblet before letting cool water pour into it. He handed the goblet to Regulus, who took it with trembling hands. His breathing had calmed down considerably.
Harry was looking around Regulus's room sadly. How different it was from Sirius's! Draco Malfoy was idly perched by Regulus's window and was examining the yellowed newspaper clippings on the wall. He looked at them with a sort of detached expression; No one noticed how his fists were clenched at his sides, gripping his wand tightly.
A quiet clink reverberated in the otherwise quiet room as Regulus placed the goblet on his bedside table. He looked up and Draco saw and recognized the agonized look in his eyes. Hell, he'd seen it so many times before when he'd washed his face after a particularly nasty nightmare.
"Regulus," Harry said softly. Draco realized, judging by the look on Harry's face, that Harry was well acquainted with nightmares as well.
"It was the cave," Regulus said in a hoarse whisper, his haunted eyes still on Draco. He heard Harry take a sharp intake of breath. Regulus's eyes flew to him. Draco had no idea what they were talking about, couldn't imagine. He saw Harry chance a brief look at him before turning back to Regulus. Regulus's eyes were somewhere else now.
"I was so thirsty. I needed water. It burned. I saw myself being pulled into that cursed water. The inferi! I saw Sir-," Regulus shut his eyes, trying to regain control. Suddenly, his entire form stiffened.
Draco took one brief look at Regulus's stance and recognized it for what it was. He took one last look at Harry and Regulus before silently slipping out of the room.
Harry didn't notice Draco leave the room. He was...he couldn't explain it. He saw the pain, the agony, but he couldn't do anything about it; Regulus Black wouldn't let him.
Harry shut the door behind him none too gently, a disgruntled expression on his face. He heard a throaty laugh come from somewhere nearby. His eyes flew to something silvery-white shining under the moonlight that had spilled through the window.
"He threw you out," Draco said, sounding amused. Harry scowled. Another soft laugh emerged. Harry saw the silvery thing shift back and Harry saw the rest of Draco's face bathed in the moonlight. He was sitting on an old couch, his head resting against the back of the couch. "He's grieving, Potter. He's had terrible things happen to him and...quite frankly, not only does he not know us, but he seems to hate you," he said. He paused. "Good taste." Harry snorted.
Harry glanced at the couch adjacent to Draco's and sighed before sitting down on it. "I guess he wasn't a fan of my father's," Harry said tiredly. Draco said nothing. "How'd you know? That he was going to kick us out, I mean?" Draco shrugged. Harry pushed his glasses higher up the bridge of his nose. "What do you think was wrong with him?" Harry finally asked.
"Like I said, he's gone through a lot. He knows something's up and he just relieved one of his worst memories. Isn't that reason enough?" Harry said nothing, the memory of the cave still vivid. Draco glanced at Harry briefly before getting up, brushing himself off. "Well, as much as I've enjoyed our lovely tête-à-tête, I'm going back to bed." Harry shook his head, watching Draco head down the stairs to the second landing.
Draco Malfoy yanked open the door to his room, shrugged out of his robes, and went back to bed, his eyes open wide. He slipped his wand under his pillow, trying to ignore the unease he felt. Something was going on and it made him feel uneasy. He tried shrugging it off; It was probably because he had had a civil conversation with Potter, and no one had forced him to.
Draco woke up to the sound of creaking floorboards coming from the landing below. He had become a light sleeper since...He shook his head. He pushed the covers aside and let his bare feet touch the cool ground, examining the room he had been given. In the daylight, it didn't seem as gloomy as it had before. There was a bare patch in one corner of the wall, as if a painting had been recently removed. Draco wondered what the portrait had been of.
The twin bed he was sitting on was quite large, the covers a dark green. Draco smirked. Who would know that Potter was a fan of green? He looked up and noticed the chandelier above him. It was serpent shaped. He almost laughed out loud; Definitely not Potter's taste. He saw the wardrobe he had seen last night, the doors still ajar, his robes the only thing in there.
He had to give Potter's house elf credit; the room was practically spotless. The windows gleamed, letting the sunlight shine through. There were green curtains that were being held back with a silver tassel. The floors looked recently scrubbed. The desk in the corner of the room was spotless. Bottles of ink and a glass filled with an assortment of quills lay on the table. Draco assumed that there would be plenty of rolls of parchment and sand in the drawers of the desk.
The creaking sounds of the floorboards were becoming more pronounced, almost furious. Draco frowned. He could barely make out voices. He tugged on his shirt, shrugged on his robes, slipped his wand from beneath his pillow, and quickly wore his shoes. He walked to the door and tugged on the doorknob, which, he noticed, was shaped like a serpent as well.
Regulus Black was downstairs, pacing around the room, his mind on the night before. He was confused. He was angry. Why had he shown such weakness, such emotion? And to strangers, no less. To Potter, of all people! Regulus scowled. Blacks never showed such disgraceful emotions. Blacks never-
"Harry? Harry, are you awake? Are you there?" A voice asked softly, coming from the doorway. Regulus's head snapped up, alert. "Harry, I'm coming in. I do hope you're decent." And with that, a slight figure stepped inside, only to come face-to-face with an angry, yet familiar looking face, his wand trained on her.
The girl's eyes widened in shock and terror. She was small, petite. She was wearing muggle clothing: snug dark washed blue jeans and an unzipped black leather jacket that showed the red t-shirt she was wearing beneath. Her golden brown tresses were smoothed back with a headband in an attempt to be tamed. She had a tired-looking expression, her face white. Her mouth, which had been open wide with a welcoming smile, was now flipped down in a frown. Her honey colored eyes, which had been warm and inviting, were now wide and chilled. She was obviously trying to hide it, but she had fear in her eyes as well. Little did Regulus know that the fear wasn't really for herself, but for the sleeping boy upstairs.
Regulus sneered at her muggle clothing, but really, he was livid. First Potter and now this?
"Filthy mudblood, how dare you enter The Most Ancient and Honorable House of Black?" he asked, his anger seeping into his words. The girl slowly raised a hand, a sign of surrender. In a movement Regulus barely caught, she drew her wand out as well. Something seemed to occur to her and, with a small gasp, her wand clattered to the floor. Her long lashes fluttered as she opened and closed her eyes in disbelief.
"Sirius?" she asked, her voice barely above a whisper.
So this was his brother, Sirius's, new plaything. All this time, Regulus had been worrying over his brother while...Regulus snapped.
"You filthy- What are you doing here?" he said in a dangerously low whisper, aware of the sleeping people upstairs.
"I- what have you done to Harry?" she asked quietly, her voice barely betraying the turmoil she felt inside.
"I don't know what you're playing at, filth," he said, taking a step closer, "but my brother" he scowled at the word, "isn't here. And you have caught me at a very very bad time."
Hermione backed away a step, her back hitting the door. If she could just find the doorknob...
Draco's steps raced as he heard the menacing tone of Regulus's voice. He was standing a few steps above the landing. He surveyed the scene below him and recognized the girl. He cursed in a low voice before running the last few steps. Before Regulus could turn around or look over his shoulder for the source of the noise, Draco was standing between the two. He held up a hand, a sign of peace, but the girl noticed his other hand casually resting at his robe pocket.
"Calm down Regulus!" Draco said.
"An intruder! A mud-"
"She's a..." he paused, knowing the words he wanted to use, even the kind ones like acquaintance, wouldn't satisfy Regulus, not in the state he was in. "...a friend." He practically felt physical pain saying the word. Regulus lowered his wand slightly and Draco understood that the worst was over, but not quite.
"Malfoy?" an incredulous voice from behind him, barely a whisper, said.
"Shut up Granger, I'm saving your life here. Start talking now and I might just remember how I'd normally be the one helping him," he murmured back. Hermione opened her mouth and closed it again, bemused.
"She's Potter's best friend. Remember how Potter said he had help defeating the Dark Lord? Yeah, she's the help," Draco said, wondering why in Merlin's name he was defending Granger, of all people.
Regulus's wand lowered another notch.
"She said she was looking for Sirius!" he said indignantly. "My brother sullies himself with pretty filth all the time. She must be-"
"I didn't ask for Sirius! I asked for Harry! And I thought you...well you look a lot like him," she said indignantly, peeking around Draco's shoulder. Draco sighed.
"Granger, I know the concept may be difficult for you to grasp but, do you think you could keep your mouth shut? Just this once?" he murmured. Hermione angrily clamped her mouth closed.
"She mistook you for your brother. She's only here for Potter. She had no idea you'd be here, did you Granger?"
"I don't even know who he is! Though he looks uncannily like Sirius," Hermione said, annoyed. Regulus's wand lowered a bit more. Draco's voice was soft now.
"I know you're mad, I know. I can only imagine what you're feeling right now. But, it's not worth it. It won't bring you any relief, only regret. Trust me."
Regulus pressed his lips into a firm line before letting out an angry sigh and turning on his heel. Hermione sagged against the door.
"Who was he?" Hermione finally asked, speaking to, in her opinion, the lesser of two evils. "And what is he doing here?" Malfoy opened his mouth to answer, but Regulus beat him to it.
"My name is Regulus Black. And this, Miss Granger, is my home," he said in mock politeness. Hermione gaped.
Hermione wordlessly repeated the name before..."What?" she spluttered. "It...it can't be!" she said in astonishment, leaning against the door for support.
"You look like you've seen a ghost, Granger," Draco said dryly. Hermione thought she saw Regulus smirk.
"I...he's too solid to be a ghost. And," Hermione shut her eyes briefly," Someone would have seen him by now." Hermione froze, something suddenly occurring to her. "Harry! Where's Harry? Oh God he looks so much like..." Hermione couldn't imagine what Harry was going through at the moment. What with Regulus Black...and he looked so much like Harry's beloved godfather. Hermione stood up straight, pushing up off the wall. "Where's Harry? Oh God Malfoy, is he alright?" she asked in a more urgent tone.
"Sleeping. He's fine, Granger," he added, taking in her pale demeanor.
"Where?" she asked quietly.
"Same floor as Regulus's-" Hermione didn't let him finish, already taking the stairs two at a time, anxious and wanting to see Harry, to make sure he was okay.
"No problem, Granger. You're welcome. Don't even mention it," he said wryly, scooping her wand up off the floor.
A/N: I REALLY enjoyed writing this chapter, and had it stuck in my head for a while. I hope you guys enjoyed the Draco and Hermione interactions! BEFORE YOU COMMENT that Draco would never stick up for Hermione, I promise you that you'll understand why next chapter.
Reviews are loved, and I respond to all of them.
A/N: Sorry for the freakishly long wait. I won't make you wait any longer, enjoy!
"Harry," Hermione said softly, for some reason unable to speak any louder. She knocked on Sirius Black's old bedroom door. "Harry," she said, a bit louder this time, letting her knuckles rap loudly on his door. She heard a slight rustling and then...silence. Hermione rolled her eyes but, really, she was growing a bit worried. "Harry, I'm coming in!" She paused, waiting. Nothing. She opened the door and scanned the room, ready for anything. The sight before her caused her face to soften. Harry had become a very light sleeper since their...camping trips last year. He must've been extremely tired if he hadn't woken up yet.
Before her lay a boy, an innocent little boy, whose face had been softened by sleep, although there was a slight frown on his face. His bed sheets were tangled and his hair was, surprisingly, even more messy than usual, his hair sticking out in every which way. Hermione smiled softly, brushing back some of his hair, revealing his lightning scar. Her hand lightly brushed his scar as she smoothed back his hair. Suddenly, Harry jolted awake, eyes wide, panting. Hermione quickly withdrew her hand and, without realizing, jumped a step back. Harry's eyes lost some of the bleariness of sleep and became more focused.
"'Mione?" he asked, his voice deep with sleep. Hermione nodded, trying to smile. Before either realized what was happening, Hermione flew into his arms, wrapping her arms around his neck. Harry reflexively wrapped his arms around her frame, trying to keep their balance, a slightly bewildered expression on his face.
"You're ok! Oh dear Merlin you're ok! I was so worried. So...so you're alright?" she asked, pulling back to inspect his face. "I thought-"
"I'm fine Hermione," Harry said, bemused. Hermione nodded, pulling back and headed towards his window, leaning against it. Her eyes landed on his bed sheets that were hopelessly tangled. Harry noticed her gaze. His emerald eyes darkened. Hermione noticed the bags under his eyes.
"I had...a terrible dream. Merlin, I think this place is getting to me," he said, dragging a hand through his already his messy hair. The sound of movement could be heard coming from downstairs. "Is Ron here?" Harry asked, grabbing his glasses off the table beside him and putting them on.
"No. He's got some kind of...food poisoning. That's why I didn't come here earlier. Why I didn't come yesterday." Harry frowned before his face darkened. He also looked...worried? "But he's alright! And he knows I'm here," she quickly added, not understanding the reason for his dark look.
"So it wasn't a dream...'least not all of it," he said. Hermione gave him a questioning look, narrowing her eyes and cocking her head to the side. Finally, understanding dawned on her features.
"Oh, you mean Prince Charming down there," she said, barely believing it herself. "Regulus." Harry gave her an odd look.
"So he was real," he said. Hermione nodded.
"I had a...run-in with him a few minutes ago," she said dryly. "Most...interesting welcome I've ever gotten." Now it was Harry's turn to look confused. "Hey, what's Malfoy doing here?" she asked, remembering her "encounter" downstairs. Harry fell back, throwing his head back against his pillow.
"I'm not exactly sure. Well...it's a long story." Hermione grinned.
"So much for alone time, eh?" she asked in a teasing tone.
"Oh shut up," Harry said, throwing a pillow at her head. Hermione squeaked, the pillow hitting her square in the face. Harry laughed at her expression. Hermione scowled.
"I came here thinking you might be hurt.Worrying even," she said in a low voice, getting down to retrieve the pillow Harry had thrown. "Now I find myself wanting to do just that," she said, standing over Harry, the pillow raised threateningly. Harry covered his face defensively.
"Don't do it 'Mione! I'll...I'll tell you what Regulus and the Malfoys are doing here!" he said quickly.
"Malfoys?" she asked, forgetting to hide her interest. Harry hid his grin. Hermione would never refuse the offer; She was always too eager for answers. Harry said nothing. Hermione's hand froze above Harry, an internal debate going on in her mind.
"Start talking," she finally said, sitting down on the floor with her legs crossed, hugging the pillow to herself, leaning her chin on top. She raised her brows as if saying 'Well, go on.' Harry grinned before pushing himself into a sitting position, wondering where to start.
"I've...done too much talking lately," he said. Hermione slowly withdrew her chin from the pillow, slowly raising it above her head. Harry rubbed his head. "I'll just wash my face and be right back, alright?" Hermione smiled sweetly.
"What'll it be? Aguamenti or Scourgify?" she asked, an innocent smile on her face. Harry laughed.
"Seriously Hermione, I'll be right back. You sit tight. Besides, you're the best company this house has to offer," he said already getting up.
"I know you're not going just to wash your face." She sighed. "Alright fine, but hurry up." Harry nodded, grabbing some clothes from a drawer before heading out.
Hermione sighed again, getting up to examine the room more closely. She let her fingers brush against the slightly peeling wall. This was the one room Harry hadn't allowed Kreacher to touch. Hermione could see the striking contrasts between Sirius' and Regulus' rooms clearly. How different Sirius's room was from his younger brother's! Where Regulus's room had green walls and dark furniture, Sirius's were a bold red and gold. A lot of the furniture and items in the room seemed carelessly thrown whereas Regulus's room seemed to be in perfect order. Too perfect. Where Regulus's newspaper clippings of Voldemort's doings were, Sirius's had pictures and posters of various motorcycles, cars, and his friends.
Narcissa Malfoy had woken up a while ago. But, because she hadn't heard any noise, she figured she'd wait until someone woke up. This was odd behavior for Draco, who usually woke up early. She couldn't stand it anymore, the house was too quiet, eerily so. She took one last glance at her reflection in the mirror. Satisfied, she headed out.
The moment she stepped out of her room, it was as if she'd removed earplugs she hadn't known she had been wearing. The noise wasn't loud, but it was still...noise. Her room had been...silent. Frowning, she headed down the stairs. She knew it was her son's doing but, for now, she had something else to do.
"She's not your friend," Regulus said dryly, taking in the distaste on the younger Malfoy's face.
"Who, Granger? Oh hell no," he answered immediately, realizing his mistake a second too late. Regulus nodded.
"A Malfoy and a...muggleborn," he said with raised brows, "is unheard of." Draco's expression changed, darkening slightly. Regulus went on, oblivious. "If she's not your friend then...what was that?" he asked, jerking his head towards the front door. Draco glanced briefly at the door, knowing perfectly well what he meant.
"Because...Iowedher," he said quickly, as if it pained him to say it. "I figure we're even now. And I came here to...thank Potter, not get his best friend killed." He paused. "And it would have pissed my mother off had I done otherwise," he added as an afterthought. A small smile flickered on Regulus's face. He could tell that Draco wasn't...lying, but that he was avoiding the complete truth.
"I see what Narcissa means. I'll pretend I believe you," he said with an amused look. Shock escaped Draco's usually composed mask before he hid it.
"Those were part of it. The real reason? I know how terribly you'd regret it after. I know what anger, confusion, hell even fear, can do to a person. It wasn't worth it, and you know it," Draco said, voice intent. All traces of amusement had vanished from Regulus Black's face, replaced by a guarded look that Draco recognized quite well.
"Speaking of my mother, I'm going to go check up on her. If you'll excuse me..." and with that, he was gone. Regulus sat down on the couch. Narcissa Malfoy had no idea how right she was.
Him and Draco Malfoy were very much alike.
Harry toweled off his hair. He grabbed his glasses off the counter and put them on. He inspected himself one last time in the foggy mirror before stepping out, knowing that Hermione was growing impatient...and ran into none other than Draco Malfoy. Harry regained his balance. Draco spoke.
"Good of you to show up, Potter. I was actually looking for Kreacher, but I guess you'll have to do," Draco said. Harry sighed.
"Have you tried calling him?" Harry asked.
"Oh no, Potter, because the concept of house elves is completely new to me- Of course I called him. I figured he finally realized I'm not his master," he said. Harry looked slightly amused. So Malfoy didn't know. As a member of the "Most Honorable" Black family, Kreacher was required to listen to Malfoy. Harry decided not to say anything.
"So what'd you need Kreacher for?"
"Where's the library?" Harry flushed slightly.
"The library...the library..." Harry said flustered. Draco's voice was incredulous but he looked very amused.
"You don't know where the library is," he said, not a question. Harry flushed a deeper shade of red.
"I was a bit preoccupied with saving the world," he replied, attempting to sound flippant.
"Speaking of the library, your girlfriend arrived a while ago," he paused, "she was worried about you. Distraught, actually. But that could be because she saw someone she believed to be dead. So...if you know where she is..."
"Yeah, she'll probably know where the library is."
"Yeah...I think I'll try my luck at finding it on my own. My daily dosage of Granger has already reached its limit," Draco said with a grimace. Now it was Harry's turn to look amused. "You just give her this," Draco said, tossing Hermione's wand. Harry caught it, eyeing it in confusion.
"Alright, you do that. Just...be careful. There's some nasty stuff laying about in this house," he said to Draco's already retreating back. Draco paused and looked back.
"I've probably seen worse."
"I don't doubt that," Harry said dryly. "I'd check the first landing. Up here is mostly bedrooms and such," he added after a slight pause.
"I'll keep that in mind." And with that, he was gone.
"Kreacher?" Harry said. Nothing. Harry shook his head; It was probably nothing. He headed over to Sirius's room- his room. He opened the door and saw Hermione sitting cross-legged on his bed, watching the picture of the marauders intently. She turned a the sound of the door opening. Harry smiled sadly.
"I know you miss him. How are you...handling Regulus?" she asked. "Hell, I don't even know what to think. I'm confused," she said.
"And we all know how much you hate being confused," Harry said with a shake of his head.
"You took your time, more than usual. Now, I demand answers," she said, getting up from the bed. Harry sighed.
"I don't think any of us really know what's going on," Harry said, throwing himself onto the bed. Hermione grabbed a pillow.
"Just in case," she said sweetly. She inspected an uncomfortable looking chair near the bed and shrugged, taking up the position she had taken before Harry had left. She sat cross-logged on the floor, holding the pillow tightly to her chest. "Ok, shoot." And so Harry did.
He started off with Draco Malfoy's arrival, of him thinking it had been her, of him thinking he had seen Sirius. Hermione gasped, but otherwise remained silent. He repeated Narcissa Malfoy's story. He even mentioned Draco bringing the Firewhisky. He went on until he had filled Hermione in as much as he could.
Hermione had her hand over her mouth, eyes wide. She removed her hand and Harry noticed that she was biting her lip. He was waiting for her questions, knew it was on the tip of her tongue. She glanced back at the picture and then back to Harry.
"How are you handling it?" she asked quietly.
Well, he hadn't been expecting that question.
He paused, wanting to answer her truthfully, but wasn't sure he wanted to even ask himself the question she had. He had tried ignoring it, but Hermione knew him too well. He took in a deep breath.
"I'm...not really sure yet," he said, expelling the breath. Hermione nodded.
"Well, let me know when you finally decide, alright? If you'd like." Harry nodded. "We all miss him you know. I know I miss him a great deal. I know it's nowhere near the same, but still, they're all missed," Hermione said softly, looking back at the picture.
"All but one," Harry said angrily, his face darkening. Hermione's eyes were still on the picture. She was silent for a moment.
"I actually think he's missed too. Not Peter Pettigrew. Not the rat. Not...that pathetic excuse of a person, a human even. I'm talking about that round-faced, smiling boy. The boy. The one they befriended. It was the ghost of that little boy that caused his hand to slacken, just for a second. But it was enough, wasn't it?" Hermione didn't look at Harry, wanting him to process what she had just said. She was silent for a while. They both were.
"Do you want to have breakfast upstairs?" she finally asked.
"I would, but I have guests. I'm not sure if I can gather them all, though."
"Well, let's just head down to the kitchen," she said, opening the door and looking back, waiting for Harry. He was glancing apprehensively at Regulus's door as they headed towards the stairs. Harry remembered something as they were heading down the stairs.
"What'd you do to Malfoy?" he asked, grinning slightly.
"What did I-? I didn't do anything?"
"Well, he seemed a bit...put out about something," he said as they entered the kitchen. Her brows furrowed.
"No, I-" they were both cut off by Kreacher.
"Master Potter!" Kreacher squeaked happily. He gave a forced...something in Hermione direction, but she paid no mind. "Kreacher has made hot rolls and coffee and tea and pancakes and...would Master like something else?" Kreacher asked to Harry's bewildered expression. Hermione looked at Harry.
"No. Everything's fine, Kreacher. Just...that's a lot of food." Kreacher nodded happily before returning to the stove. Hermione gave Harry a laughing look as they sat down.
"Oh, Kreacher? Do you think you could gather the rest of our guests?" Harry asked.
"Yes, Master Potter!" Kreacher said, levitating a tray filled with delicious looking hot rolls. The waffles and pancakes came next. Harry looked weary as Kreacher levitated the utensils, plates, syrup, and flasks of both tea and coffee. Hermione frowned, seeing how much work Kreacher had done and was doing. Before she could say anything, Kreacher had left with a loud crack. She sighed.
Draco Malfoy ran a finger over the book spines, examining the titles. His hand paused in its movement. He grabbed a book off the shelf and flipped it open. His eyes skimmed over the pages quickly. With a sigh of frustration, he put the book back in its place. He grabbed a few books off the shelves and dropped them on the table before sitting down on the red chintz armchair, imagining that it was a new addition to the library.
The library was quite large but, Draco thought smugly, not as large as the one at Malfoy Manor. He could pick out a few things he was sure were recent changes. Probably Granger's doing. There were two very comfortable armchairs. Each of them had a small table next to them. A long forgotten quill and parchment lay on the other small table. There was a large table a little ways down with four chairs placed around it with a lovely light green lamp on top. In the corner was a small table covered with quills, parchments, sand, and even a ruler. They were all neatly organized and carefully placed. Definitely Granger's doing.
The books themselves covered all the walls except for one, which had a large window that let the sunlight stream in. It was odd, something so bright in such a dark house. There was a ladder left resting against one of the walls. A serpent-shaped chandelier hung from the ceiling. He got up to inspect the forgotten bit of parchment and dropped it in surprise as a loud crack resounded in the room. A figure appeared.
"Master Malfoy, Kreacher is very sorry for interrupting but breakfast is ready and they are waiting." Draco nodded.
"Thank you." Kreacher bowed low before disappearing with another crack.
Draco left his stuff and quietly shut the door behind him, deciding to come back later. Did Kreacher look...different? He shook his head. He briefly considered checking on his mother but figured Kreacher would get her to come to breakfast as well. He pushed the kitchen door opened and nearly groaned. Potter and Granger were more than enough on their own! Now he had to endure both of them...at the same time?
Draco gave a stiff "morning" to no one in particular before sitting down. Both Hermione and Harry gave greetings just as awkward as his. He had noticed something odd when he saw Potter frown at the same thing, too.
"Ahh Potter, so you can count!" he said with mock enthusiasm. Harry's doubts were confirmed by Draco's snarky comment.
"Err...Kreacher?" A crack and he was standing before them.
"Yes Master Potter?" Kreacher asked. Hermione was about to comment on something. Something about the house elf was...different.
"How come you've set the table for five? We're only four. Ron's not coming," Harry said.
"Why, for Master Regulus of course!" Kreacher said, beaming and sounding more excited than Draco felt was physically possible. Everyone was silent, each showing various signs of shock. Draco was the first to recover.
"Mother," he said, as if it explained everything.
"Well, at least that's off my shoulders," Harry finally said.
"That's why Kreacher seemed so different! He looked years younger. And look at this feast!" Hermione said, voicing Draco's opinion, albeit in different words. It wasn't long before Narcissa Malfoy came in. Hermione quickly stood up out of respect to greet her, with Harry following suit. Draco was already up, but he noticed. An odd expression overtook his face. He gave his mother a quick peck on the cheek in greeting.
"Good morning Mrs. Malfoy," Hermione said respectfully. Narcissa smiled.
"Good morning Miss Granger."
"Good morning Mrs. Malfoy," parroted Harry. Draco almost smirked. Where would Potter be without Granger?
"Good morning," Narcissa said, taking a seat next to her son, across from Harry and Hermione. Kreacher was back, cleaning already spotless surfaces. Draco sighed at Narcissa's expectant look.
"I guess I'm supposed to fetch the guest of honor?" Draco said. When nobody said anything, he slid out of his chair and stopped at the doorframe. "Just...prepare the elf. We don't want him dying on us or anything." And he left.
He walked out and up the stairs. He saw Regulus's hunched figure and tried to walk a bit noisier so as to alert Regulus of his presence. He saw Regulus's posture change every so slightly, indicating that he knew Draco was there. If Draco hadn't been looking for it, he might not have noticed. He cleared his throat. Regulus looked up at him expectantly.
"Breakfast is ready," Draco said.
"How?" Regulus asked. They both spoke the answer at the same time.
"Mother," Draco said.
"Narcissa," Regulus said. Draco almost smiled, the corner of his lip twitching.
It was obvious that Regulus knew his mother very well. It was just as obvious that Narcissa deeply cared for Regulus. His mother had always been an amazing judge of character. So, Draco decided, Regulus was worth giving a chance.
"I'm not sure how in control Kreacher is of his emotions right now. Just a warning." They were at the kitchen door now. "And Granger's here, I should warn you."
"Hermione Granger is the girl you so charmingly greeted this morning," Draco said in response before opening the door.
He saw Granger stiffen slightly, his mother smile brilliantly, and Potter turn his head away slightly. Hermione stood up respectfully and mumbled a brief greeting before placing a hand on Potter's shoulder. He loosened slightly underneath her touch. Draco was amused at how different the reactions were to Regulus.
"Wait, did Kreacher actually faint?" Draco burst out.
A/N: Ah, I love Draco. But I digress. Any theories as to what's going on/what will happen next? I'd love to hear them!
I really don't like how I described Sirius' room and I might go back and edit it. What do you guys think? Help please?
Reviews make my day. I would so love to hear your thoughts!
"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals." - Sirius Black (Goblet of Fire page 27)
Hermione was up and out of her seat in a second, rushing to the elf's side.
"Ennervate," she said quietly, pointing her wand at Kreacher's limp form, not noticing a pair of dark grey eyes watching her intently. Kreacher spluttered before bouncing onto the balls of his feet, gazing adoringly at Regulus.
"Master Regulus!" Kreacher said, almost reverently. Regulus just nodded, not sure what to do or say.
Kreacher looked like he was warring with himself, his tennis ball sized eyes pooling with unshed tears. Kreacher turned away and busied himself with the same spotless surface he had been cleaning before.
"Kreacher is most happy, no thrilled, to have his beloved master back," Kreacher said. Hermione had a wide-eyed expression. She had never seen Kreacher so...she couldn't find the correct word. Narcissa looked like she was holding back a smile. Regulus cleared his throat.
"Help yourselves," he said. Hermione was the first to react, pouring herself and Harry a cup of coffee. Harry shook his head at her. Hermione raised a brow.
"Tea," he said in explanation. Narcissa had noticed their little dilemma and quickly intervened.
"If Harry won't have that cup of coffee, I'd love some."
"Of course," Hermione said, smiling. She slid the cup. Narcissa caught it and took a sip.
"This is delicious. Really Draco, you would love this," Narcissa said. Draco, who had already poured himself a cup, held up his mug.
"I'm sure, mother. But, I've already got some," he said trying, and failing, to sound like he felt cheated out of the coffee. Narcissa Malfoy shook her head at him. Hermione was smiling slightly at Narcissa.
Regulus poured himself a mug of strong tea. Hermione helped herself to some hot rolls, as did Narcissa.
"So how did you sleep last night mother? Was it silent? Peaceful?" Draco asked with a smirk. Hermione noticed Regulus stiffen. Harry looked up from his plate with furrowed brows.
"As a matter of fact, it was too quiet. Don't deny it, it was your doing," Narcissa said, not really scolding. Draco shrugged and didn't see the thankful look Regulus shot at him.
"Not mine, Kreacher's," Draco said.
"On your orders, I'm sure," she said with raised brows, daring him to deny it. Draco grinned.
"Guilty as charged."
"Why?" Narcissa asked.
"Well, Potter said this place is full of nasty stuff. I wouldn't put it past Potter to have banshees in his house. And you've seen that large portrait by the entrance in action. I figured it was going to be hard enough to get some sleep without the added noise," he said, lying smoothly. Narcissa pursed her lips before finally nodding, letting him off the hook. Draco knew that look, and knew that she hadn't bought a single word he'd said but was agreeing to let it go...for now. A patronus appeared, startling everyone in the room. Hermione recognized the silver Jack Russel terrier immediately.
"Ron!" she said, jumping out of her seat.
Harry just noticed the pallor to her face, the bags under her eyes. She was worried and edgy. He had been so lost in his own thoughts and emotions he hadn't really paid much attention to anything else. He felt a deep sadness ache within him. What had the war done to them?
The dog circled Hermione once, twice, before relaying its message, "'Mione, love, thank you for last night. I don't deserve you, truly I don't. Tell Harry I miss him. I know you wanted me there but...something's come up. No big deal, really. I can see you getting all worked up and worried about this. Don't. Like I said, no big deal, but I'll be held back for a few days. Don't bother sending me a patronus, I'm leaving England. I love you." The patronus faded away, disappearing completely.
Hermione's cheeks were stained red, and she was gazing intently at her plate. Draco turned away, obviously realizing that the message wasn't meant for him to hear. Stupid Weasley.
Harry couldn't help but grin slightly. Narcissa looked...preoccupied. Regulus was eating, pretending to not have heard anything. Draco coughed, then made a disgusted face. Harry's grin only widened. Hermione peeked sideways at him, took in his expression, and smacked Harry on the arm. Draco smirked into his coffee and breakfast went back to what it had been, except that Hermione was more subdued.
Draco could tell from her frequent peeks at Regulus from the corner of her eye that Granger was burning to ask Regulus questions, but wasn't sure how. She was obviously still shaken by their first encounter. Draco decided, from the goodness of his heart, to help her out since Regulus Black wouldn't even chance her a look.
"Ask away, Granger, it's obvious you're dying to do so." Hermione's head snapped up, her honey eyes meeting his. Her flushed cheeks gave her away. Draco noticed that Potter was still looking amused.
"What?!" She finally spluttered. Narcissa was looking slightly amused as well. Regulus looked up, interest sparking in his eyes. It was obvious that he had frightened the girl, so he wasn't sure if he should talk to her, but he thought he had noticed her questioning looks as well. Her glance slipped to Regulus's steady grey one and looked away as if burned, her blush becoming more prominent.
"What do you mean, Malfoy?" she asked, tone sharp, as if daring him to go on. Draco smirked. Hermione's eyes flashed.
"Come on Granger, it's obvious you're dying to ask questions from our guest of honor." Hermione didn't look down, but looked anywhere but at Regulus. Harry held up his cup of tea, hiding his expression. Hermione didn't see the corner of Regulus's lips curl up.
Regulus had watched and seen the way each and every one of the people in the room acted around her. He had also seen the way she had acted around others. Potter adored her, he could tell. The younger Malfoy respected her, but would rather die a painful death than let her know. Draco's respect towards the girl confused him but, for some reason, he trusted Draco's judgement the most. Draco seemed to know a lot, and was so much like himself. And the way he had acted, in this very kitchen, last night, this morning, showed that he knew a lot. A lot more than he let on. And Narcissa, she was obviously trying to hide something, but she seemed to like the girl well enough. The way she acted towards Potter, the loyalty that she possessed...
And the way the girl acted towards Kreacher! The first to be by the elf's side! And she was wonderful to him, even though it was obvious that Kreacher wasn't at all respectful to her...neither was he. He was curious about the girl...
But she was still a mudblood.
"I'd rather not ask, Malfoy, but thank you for your concern," she said stiffly, her eyes weary.
"Oh so you are capable of thanking people!" Draco said. Hermione looked confused before, if possible, her cheeks flushed an even darker shade of red. Harry's brows were furrowed now, his gaze torn between Draco and Hermione.
A proud mudblood. She hadn't told Potter about their little "encounter."
Hermione grabbed her mug of coffee and quietly excused herself, before Draco revealed why she owed him a thank you. She nodded politely to Narcissa, a weary smile on her lips and sent one to Regulus, without the smile, and left.
A polite mudblood.
"Thank you Kreacher, breakfast was delicious," she said. And she left.
"Was Kreacher's breakfast no good? Were the hot rolls-"
"No Kreacher, the rolls were fine. Hermione's just..." Harry sighed, not sure how to finish the sentence, his eyes on the door.
"Maybe you should take her something more to eat?" Narcissa asked. Harry shook his head.
"She's...preoccupied is all." He glanced down at the mostly full plate.
"She looks as if she hasn't properly eaten for a while," Draco said. Narcissa shot him a reproachful look, eyes flashing.
"And you sound as if you haven't been properly raised," she said. Harry coughed loudly, trying to hide his laughter, taking a sip of his tea. Draco glared at him.
Regulus downed the rest of his tea and picked at the pieces of his hot roll, eyes straying to Hermione's barely touched plate. So she wasn't Sirius' plaything of the month. She looked too smart to be one, actually. He realized that now that he knew she wasn't, he didn't hate her as much. She was with another boy. Who was the other boy?
"Are we having more guests?" Regulus asked, his voice sarcastic. Harry looked at him with questioning eyes. "Who was that?" Regulus asked. "The patronus," he clarified.
"Ronald Weasley," Draco said with distaste evident in his voice and face.
"Arthur Weasley and Molly Prewett's son," Narcissa added helpfully.
Regulus processed the information. A pureblood. A distant relative. He remembered the Prewett twins well- Gideon and Fabian, had even respected them. They were quite brave. He also remembered their deaths. He had actually been there. He just nodded.
Hermione sat by the window, her hands wrapped around her mug of coffee, sipping occasionally. She knew she had overreacted, but she just needed some space to breathe.
She lost herself in thought while she watched everyone start their days, the world waking up, oblivious to the existence of number twelve Grimmauld Place. She was exhausted. Last night, Ron had been sick so she had been up most of the night taking care of him. She probably couldn't have slept even if she had wanted to. She hadn't slept properly in a very long time.
And now, on top of it all, she was confused. She hated being confused. What was going on? What was wrong with Ron? Was he alright? His patronus sounded...odd. She decided to write him a letter later. And Regulus Black. Why had he acted so...harshly towards her? And called her filth? And then he had acted so polite during breakfast, she thought bitterly. And she had been so worried about Harry that she had forgotten to properly thank Malfoy.
She didn't know what to think of Narcissa. And what in the name of Merlin's baggy pants, was Regulus Black doing alive? She shook her head. hating the confusion she felt. Harry needed her. She couldn't go on being this badly tempered and confused! She rested her head against the window, watching her breath fog up the window. She traced random figures on the window for a while.
She emptied the rest of her mug's contents before setting it down on the floor near where she was sitting. She curled her legs to her chest, resting her chin atop her knees, basking in the quiet and trying to sort out all of her thoughts.
She heard footsteps and looked up, smiling slightly, scooting over to the side. Harry sat down and gazed at her intently. Hermione squirmed underneath his scrutiny.
"You look like hell," he finally said. Hermione laughed softly.
"I feel like it, too." She paused. "I'm sorry about down there. I'm just so confused and tired," she said. "I hate not knowing so much," she said, her voice slightly whiny. This time Harry laughed. Hermione gave him a half-hearted reproaching look before giving up and smiling.
"Geez, I must sound terrible." There was a pause. Hermione smacked him.
"Ouch! What was that for?" he asked, rubbing his arm.
"You're supposed to say something along the lines of 'Oh no, Hermione, love, my amazing and smart friend, you sound amazing and wonderful, like always.'"
"Hermione, my love, my most amazing and brilliant friend-" Harry began but was cut off by the sound of footsteps. Hermione ducked her head, her smile disappearing.
Harry glanced behind him. It was Regulus. He saw Regulus's eyes land on something and narrow in confusion. Before Harry could follow his gaze, he turned away.
"Harry, I'm going to step out for a bit, alright? I need to get some errands done. And there's a book I need to return. Do you want me to get you anything?" Hermione said, speaking up. Harry looked up, eyes questioning.
"Come back for the night?"
"To stay?" Hermione asked, brows raised, tipping her head slightly towards Regulus, who's back was to them. Harry nodded.
"Don't leave me here, 'Mione!" he said, only half joking, knowing she wouldn't refuse when asked that way. Hermione swallowed hard before finally nodding.
"So...I'll see you later," she said, getting up and brushing herself off. She summoned her jacket, slipping it on before giving Harry a quick hug and leaving. The door shut quietly.
"Wonderful. More guests." a voice said, breaking the silence.
A/N: So I know I've been a very very terrible person and for that I apologize. I don't think I can promise much faster updates as my schedule will remain more or less (most probably more) the same. Summer classes, the works. University is no joke!
Anyways, reviews make my day, and I thank you all for reading this!
Any suggestions? I'd love to hear them (:
By the by, I realize the chapter is very short. Once this one validates, the next one shall be up not too far after!
Harry didn't know what to say to Regulus's comment, so he said nothing. Draco and Narcissa entered, Narcissa giving Harry a questioning look.
"She went out to get some things done," Harry said, explaining his friend's absence. "She'll be back tonight, though. I've asked her to spend the night."
"Lovely," Draco said. Narcissa Malfoy shot him a glance before turning to Regulus.
"Which reminds me," she said, "Regulus, are we to be spending the night again?" Draco looked away, saying nothing.
"If you two don't mind then yes, I'd love the company," Regulus said, the uncertainty barely showing in his voice. Narcissa nodded.
"Of course not, Regulus. We'd love to. But that means that I need to go out and get some things. If you'll excuse me," she said. Regulus nodded.
"Of course, of course," he said. Narcissa gave both him and her son a quick hug, a smile in Harry's direction, and disapparated. Draco looked at the spot his mother had just stood before looking up.
"I need to get some things as well if I'm staying again tonight." Regulus nodded. Draco summoned his coat before disapparating as well.
Harry shuffled a bit awkwardly. "I...guess I'll head out as well," he finally said, walking towards the staircase.
"Your friend...the one who just left. Was she one of the two who you said helped you defeat the Dark Lord?" he asked Harry. Harry paused at the foot of the stairs, turned around, and nodded.
"Yeah, she helped out. A lot," he replied honestly, knowing that no matter how much he would say about her involvement, he'd never be able to say enough.
"And she's not a pureblood?"
"She's purer than most of the witches and wizards I've seen," Harry said sharply before continuing his ascent up the stairs. Regulus let out a growl of frustration.
Old habits died hard.
Harry grabbed his coat, changed into a pair of jeans, and disapparated.
Draco grabbed a bag and threw it onto his bed. He grabbed a notebook and pen and placed them neatly into the bag. He was about to enter his closet to pick out a few cloaks, jackets, robes, coats, and whatnot when he heard a small knock.
"Come in," Draco said absentmindedly, running a finger over his many coats and cloaks.
"Master," a little elf squeaked. "Master is backs! Buttons was worrie- is Master going out again?" Buttons asked quietly.
"Yes, Buttons, my mother and I will be out for a few days, not sure how long," he said, grabbing a black coat off a hanger and folding it neatly before placing it into the bag.
"Woulds Master like Buttons to pack his bag for him?" she asked eagerly. Draco hesitated for only a second before nodding in acquiescence.
"That would be great Buttons," he said with a slight smile of approval. Buttons beamed widely before running into his closet, mumbling different items under her breath that she wanted to pack.
Draco rummaged through the trunk at the foot of his bed. Once he found what he was looking for, a small pouch, he dug his hand into the pouch and grabbed something out of it. The object gleamed in the sunlight; A silver key hanging on a chain. Draco pocketed it to take with him in case he needed it later.
He glanced around his room once more before turning to the house elf, who was practically hidden behind all the clothes she had taken off the racks. The corner of Draco's lips curled up.
"Buttons." An unidentifiable sound emerged from the pile of clothes. Draco grinned slightly, the sight was just too ridiculous.
"My mother and I will be staying at number twelve Grimmauld Place, the old Black Manor. We might check in occasionally. I'm not sure how long we'll be staying. Just...have my suit pressed and ready for...for the hearing," he paused. "I'll be back for my stuff later today." He paused, his hand on the door. "Thank you," he added as an afterthought before opening the door and leaving.
He didn't see the pile of clothes that had so amused him before fall over in shock.
Draco nodded at the various elves in approval or when they stopped to bow or curtsy. Buttons had seemed to take it open herself to be "Master Draco's" personal elf ever since he was a young boy, and she did an amazing job at it. He truly cared for the elf. Hell, he had grown up with her. He was grinning at various memories, long forgotten, of his childhood mischief. He stopped, reaching his destination.
He knocked once, twice, before entering his parents' room. He saw his mother get up from her seat in front of the vanity and splash water on her face. Draco's grin faded; He wasn't fooled. He glanced at the big bed that lay to his right, something tightening in his stomach.
"Mother," Draco said, walking towards her. Narcissa wiped her face with a towel before turning to him. He decided not to say any of the things he wanted to say, settling for a question that had been bugging him.
"How long are we going to stay with your cousin?" he asked. She shook her head.
"I'm not sure. I actually have no idea. All I know is Regulus needs us, he really does. And I can't just leave him. And," she swallowed hard, "it's not like I'm needed much here anyway." Her eyes strayed to his father's clothes.
Draco's heart clenched. He wished he could protect her, keep her safe and away from pain. He held her slender frame safely within his arms. Narcissa held on to him tightly, a small sigh escaping her lips. She pulled back slightly.
"You know you don't have to stay," she said seriously. "I'll be perfectly fine where I am and-," Draco silenced her with a look.
"Don't be ridiculous mother," he said. Narcissa smiled, but it faded slightly.
"I have a feeling we'll be staying there for a while, though, Draco," she said quietly.
"Then I'll just have to pack more," he said.
"Buttons?" Narcissa asked with a soft, knowing smile. Draco nodded, turning to leave.
"I might go out for a bit, do you want anything?" Narcissa shook her head. He nodded, pressing a kiss to her forehead before disapparating.
"Be careful, my Draco."
Hermione waved at the young man as the door shut behind her, a wide smile on her face, her errands complete. It felt good to be in control of something in her life. And she always enjoyed Brandon's company, who shared her love for books and was also very intelligent. She sat down at a seat nearby, placing the bags on the ground with a sigh, not knowing what else she needed to do. She looked up to see a sign reading "Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor." Her smile faded. She knew what she wanted to do or, more precisely, where she wanted to go.
Ignoring the many looks sent her way ("Is that Hermione Granger!"), she held her bags close and apparated to her flat. She pulled out her keys, unlocking the door. The quietness, the emptiness, made her feel hollow and, for some reason, more sure of her decision.
She trudged towards her room, dropping her bags by the doorway, deciding to put them in place later. She threw open her closet and, after a brief moment of contemplation, pulled out her beaded bag, smiling softly. She hadn't really bothered with clearing it out before and she figured she might need some of the stuff for her time in Grimmauld Place. She grabbed a notebook and pen from her nightstand, along with the book she had been reading the night before, and threw them into her bag.
She turned back to her wardrobe and threw in an assortment of clothing she might need; A coat, a jacket, a cloak, a scarf, a pair of tennis shoes, a pair of boots, a few shirts, t-shirts, blouses, socks, and pants. She grabbed a dress and two pairs of her favorite heels as an afterthought. She shrugged; It wasn't as if she'd feel the weight anyway. Satisfied, she let her beaded bag snap shut, pushing her closet doors closed as well. She turned slowly in her room once, making sure she hadn't left anything. Her hands itched for the many books on her bookshelves, but she ignored the urge, before leaving. She heard a quiet meow emit from beneath the couch and laughed softly.
"I was wondering when you'd show," she said, scratching the back of Crookshanks ear. "I bought you some food. Now, I'm going to be staying somewhere for a few days so I'm going to have to leave you with a friend. Behave, alright?" she said, voice firm. Crookhshanks meowed, disgruntled.
Hermione ran back and grabbed the food she had purchased earlier that day. She went back to Crookhshanks, picking him up and holding him tightly as she apparated to the Burrow, ignoring the cat's protests.
Hermione rang the bell a few times. When no answer came, Hermione grew worried. Brushing off her worry, Hermione decided to try Luna Lovegood's house. Luna always seemed to have a way with creatures. She remembered the place from when Harry, Ron, and herself had come to talk to Luna's father, Xeno(what's his name?) Lovegood. She clutched her beaded bag tighter before knocking once, twice. She only had to wait for a few moments before the door opened showing a familiar smiling face.
"Hello Hermione," Luna Lovegood said in her own particular dreamy fashion. Hermione smiled and returned the greeting, giving her a quick hug. "Come on in!" Luna said brightly, standing aside to let Hermione in. Hermione shook her head.
"Actually, Luna, I'm here to ask you a favor." Luna's smile didn't falter. "I was wondering if you'd be willing to house this fella for a while? I have to spend the night somewhere and I'm not sure if they'd appreciate his presence. I'm not exactly sure how long I'm supposed to be staying there so I can't exactly leave him alone." Luna smiled delightedly.
"Oh no, I wouldn't mind at all! You know, his species is quite smart. And they're real keen when it comes to character," she said, holding her hands out for Crookshanks, an invitation. Crookshanks looked once at Hermione before leaping into Luna's arms.
"Traitor," Hermione muttered. Luna's smile, if possible, widened. "I have some food for him here," she said, using a wordless summoning charm to get the food out of her beaded bag before giving Luna the unopened pack. Luna took it.
"Don't worry. I'll take care of him for you," she said, petting him before letting him down to explore the house.
"He's well trained and, as you said, quite smart. He just craves a little attention now and then," Hermione said. "And I'm nearby if you need anything. I'm only an owl away." Luna nodded.
"And now...I've got to go," Hermione said, glancing at the soon-setting sun. Luna's face sobered, all signs of her bright smile gone.
"Hermione?" Luna called out to Hermione retreating back. Hermione paused and turned around.
"You think you could do me a favor as well? Nothing too difficult, I'm sure," she said, her voice soft. Hermione nodded, something about Luna's voice not allowing her to speak.
Luna gave a nod and pulled out her wand, shutting her eyes in concentration. A moment later, Hermione saw three beautiful flowers floating towards the ground: A rose, a lily, and a daffodil. Luna opened her eyes and plucked the flowers from the air. With a sad smile, she handed them one by one, to Hermione.
"Do you think you could leave these for me? One for Professor Lupin," she handed her the rose, "for that little Gryffindor boy with the camera who came to our DA meetings," she handed the daffodil, "and for Professor Snape," she said, her voice barely above a whisper as she handed the last flower, a beautiful lily.
"I promise," she said in a choked whisper, tears gathering in her eyes, not sure how Luna had known where she had been planning on going since Fortescue's. A place she had probably been planning on going subconsciously from before that. She was also amazed at how Luna had chosen the perfect flowers, the same ones she had been planning on giving.
"Thank you," Luna said. Hermione hugged the girl tightly before leaving, apparating to her destination.
A.N: See, I did good on my promise! I didn't take forever to update!
It would mean ever so much if you would leave a teeny tiny (or long) review for me to tell me how I'm doing?