“And then you take the second stairway all the way to the end, make a left, then a right, and there you are,” Draco finished.
Harry blankly stared at Draco, confused about everything he just heard.
Draco saw the vacant look in his eyes and smirked. “You have no idea what I just said.”
“None whatsoever,” Harry immediately responded.
Draco sighed and took out his quill and ink from his bag. He grabbed a piece of parchment that was already on the table and quickly drew out a map. “Okay,” he began, as he turned the drawing toward Harry, so he could have a visual of what he was about to say. “Once you enter the Manor, you will make your second right. There will be stairs on your left and right. Take the left stairway up to the third floor, where you will see two stairways on your right. Take the second stairway all the way to the end. Turn left, then right, and my room will be right there.”
Harry eyed the drawing, as Draco moved his quill along the map, while giving him directions. When he finished, Draco looked up and watched Harry’s expression, wondering if he was still lost. Harry bit his bottom lip as he continued to stare at the map of Malfoy Manor.
“Come on,” Draco snapped. “It’s not that hard.”
“That’s because you’ve lived there all your life,” Harry retorted. “It’s easy for you.”
“Well, you better learn this quick because you’re going to be stuck there all Christmas break,” he reminded Harry.
Harry put his elbows on the table and positioned his hands on his cheeks. “Must you remind me?”
Draco lowered his head as he thought about Harry having to endure more pain, while living with his father during the holidays. He was also saddened that in a couple of weeks, Harry would be joining the Death Eaters and would finally have the mark Draco never wanted to see on his own skin. “I can’t believe it’s already here,” he sighed.
Harry took his hands off his face and placed them on the table. “And you’re sure about this?”
Draco looked up and nodded. “It’s the only way.”
They both remained silent, thinking about what was going to happen come the first of the year. Draco knew that as soon as Harry announces his decision, Voldemort would immediately want to mark him, so as not to waste any more time gathering up his army.
“When does the train leave?” Draco asked.
“In about two hours,” Harry groaned, as he looked over at the clock hanging on the wall behind Madam Pince’s desk.
“Sorry, mate,” Draco expressed.
“So, what are you going to be doing, while I’m out having a wonderful holiday?” Harry sarcastically asked.
“Just stay around here, I guess,” he shrugged. “Do more research and continue to study new defenses.” And spend more time with Hermione, he smiled to himself.
“I wish I was you,” Harry stated.
They looked at each other and bit their lips, recalling what Harry just said. Their lips trembled, as they tried to hold back their laughter. Not able to take it in anymore, they both burst out laughing. People in the library started shushing them, which made them want to laugh even more. They saw Madam Pince head over toward their table, with a scornful look on her face. They hurriedly packed up their belongings, trying to hold back their laughs as best they could, and ran out of the library.
“I needed that,” Harry said, as his laughter finally died down.
Draco nodded in response, as his laughter, too, strayed away.
“Okay, let’s go see McGonagall before I have to leave,” Harry said, as he started to walk to her office, with Draco following behind.
“Unity,” Draco announced, when the two boys reached the gargoyle statues that were guarding the Headmistress’ office.
The gargoyles nodded and opened the stairway behind them. Harry and Draco walked by them and up into the spiral staircase.
“Who told you the password?” Harry curiously wondered, while they climbed the stairs and reached McGonagall’s door.
“Snape,” Draco answered, as he knocked on the door.
The door opened and McGonagall stood in front of them, curious to see them together. She then crossed her arms and sighed. “What class did you two fight in now?”
“Actually,” Harry began. “We needed to talk to you about something.”
She raised her eyebrow, shocked that they weren’t there because a professor told them to see her. She moved out of the doorway and motioned for them to come in. Once inside, she shut the door and returned to her desk. “Sit down, then,” she said, pointing to two chairs in front of her desk.
Harry and Draco sat in the seats and glanced around the room. The former headmasters stared at them from their portraits, interested to know what was going on. McGonagall sat in her chair and silently watched the two boys, waiting for them to speak.
“Professor, there’s something we need to tell you,” Harry began, looking over at her. “Remember that night when we had detention with Snape?”
“Professor Snape,” she corrected. “Yes, what about it?”
“Well, we made a potion that night,” he continued.
McGonagall’s eyes widened a little. She remembered talking to Snape and how they decided they would not tell them about what they did, unless they came to them and asked about it.
“We know all about it,” he said, seeing the nervous look on McGonagall’s face.
“What exactly do you know?” she questioned.
“That Dumbledore wanted us both to take it,” Draco interjected.
She closed her eyes and placed her hand on her forehead, sighing. “So, that’s why you both are here? To ask me why we did it?”
Harry shook his head. “No, we already know that part.”
She lowered her hand and opened her eyes, staring at the two boys in front of her. “How?”
“Snape,” Harry responded, but before she could correct him again, he quickly added, “Professor Snape.”
“I see,” she said, a little perturbed that Snape told them without her knowing.
“Professor, we made a wish,” he finally said, looking over at Draco for some help.
“To switch places with each other,” Draco finished for him.
McGonagall’s eyes grew larger, as she looked from Draco to Harry. She couldn’t believe what she just heard and was left speechless.
“And now we’re stuck in each other’s bodies,” Harry stated.
McGonagall shook her head and stood up from her chair. She paced back and forth, behind her desk, feeling her anger rising. She looked over at the portraits hanging on the wall and furiously stormed over to Dumbledore’s portrait.
Dumbledore looked at the infuriated woman in front of him. “So, you’re finally able to come over to me,” he smiled.
“Were you just listening?” she fumed.
He nodded, still smiling. “I was.”
“And?” she bellowed.
“Don’t you see the problem, Albus? They wished to switch places!”
“I understand that, Minerva. I already told you I was listening,” he replied, emitting a twinkle in his eye.
“They’re going to be stuck like that forever. There’s no reverse. How could you have let us give them that potion?”
“Ah. You finally asked the right question,” he smirked.
Harry stood up and walked over to his former Headmaster’s portrait. “You know this can be reversed, don’t you?”
Dumbledore smirked again. “A true wish will last forever.”
Draco, suddenly remembering that particular line Dumbledore once said to him on the rooftop, quickly got out of his chair and rushed to the portrait. “That’s why you said that to me on the rooftop. You knew we were going to switch places. You knew I wanted a happier life and would probably wish to be in someone else’s place. You wanted me to switch with Potter. That’s why you made sure he was supposed to take it, too.”
“Well, yes and no,” he said, looking over at Harry. “I knew Harry was questioning his role in this war and wishing he was someone else. I’ve read your mind, too, Harry,” he said, seeing Harry’s shocked face. “I knew you two would be the perfect pair for what needed to be done.”
“But why, Albus? Why now, when there’s a war coming?” McGonagall questioned.
“Because it’s the only way they can win,” he replied.
Harry and Draco looked over at each other. Draco shrugged, not sure what he meant by that. Harry shook his head and returned his attention to the portrait.
“You both needed to learn to trust each other, so you could help each other out in the end,” he continued.
“But, you always told me this was my fight,” Harry remarked. “It’s even in the prophecy. Either must die at the hand of the other, for neither can live while the other survives. How can Malfoy help?”
“What is the one advantage I said that you will always have over Voldemort?”
“Love,” Harry stated.
“Love for your family and love for your friends,” Dumbledore smiled, as he turned toward Draco. “And the strongest power of them all: love for your enemies.”
“So, it really isn’t only me fighting this, is it?” Harry questioned.
Dumbledore turned toward him and shook his head. “As long as your friends are by your side, you will have a stronger power that Voldemort has never been able to handle. The love he will feel on that battlefield will weaken him, giving you the opportunity to defeat him.”
“We can defeat him,” Harry asserted. “We will defeat him.”
“I know you will, Harry,” Dumbledore smiled, as his eye twinkled again.
Harry smiled and looked over at Draco. His smile soon faded, and he turned back around toward Dumbledore. “But, the potion. What about the reverse?”
“A true wish will last forever,” Draco quietly answered, looking over at Dumbledore’s portrait and seeing him smile.
Harry turned toward Draco, puzzled at his statement. “What does that mean?”
“This can’t be permanent because our wish wasn’t what we truly wanted,” Draco started to explain. “The potion will continue on its course, until our one true wish is finally acknowledged.”
“But, how will we know what that one true wish is?” Harry asked, looking over at Dumbledore, hoping he would have the answer.
“Only you will know the answer to that question,” Dumbledore responded.
Harry sighed, knowing he was right. He had many wishes right now and had no idea which of those wishes was truly what he wanted. He knew he wouldn’t be able to figure it out any time soon. But I will continue to search for it. I will find out what I truly want in my life, he thought to himself.
“We should get going,” Draco expressed.
Harry nodded and turned to Dumbledore’s portrait. “Thank you for everything you have taught me, Professor.”
Dumbledore smiled. “You were always the son I never had, Harry.”
Harry felt a tear trickle down his face. He wiped it away, but more tears started to fall. He decided to ignore the tears and let them fall. “I miss you so much, Professor,” he whispered.
“Remember to always keep that love in your heart.”
Harry nodded and turned to walk away, wiping away his remaining tears. Draco gave a little wave to the portrait and followed after Harry. They said goodbye to McGonagall and silently walked out of her office.
“Well,” Harry said, clearing his throat. “I guess I should go pack.”
Draco looked over at Harry and frowned. “Good luck, Harry,” he said, holding out his hand in front of him.
Harry nodded and shook Draco's hand. "Thanks, Draco."
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