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Chapter 23 : Coming Home
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No light came into the room that Draco found himself in, his Father’s eyes lit up eerily from the dim candles that lined an altar. Draco was strapped down in a strong wooden chair. The leather straps cut into his wrists, and a trickle of blood was running down his arm. He turned his head to the right and saw Harry, he was strapped into an identical chair. He moaned once and his head rolled to the side, he was still out. “Harry!” Draco yelled, “Harry, wake up!”
His Father’s cold laugh echoed throughout the room, “You silly boy.” He laughed again, louder this time. “Potter can’t save you!” he screamed, an evil tone in his voice. “Saint Harold Potter,” He spat, “Utter nonsense.” He circled the two boys now, odd shadows being cast from the flickering candles. “But, he’ll wake up when it is time.” His voice was reserved but Draco could tell that he had a sneer on his face. “I think we should have a little but of fun with him before he dies, what do you think Draco?” He put a cold hand onto his son’s shoulder.
“I think you should burn and go to hell.” Draco’s drawl came back naturally as he addressed his Father the way he had always wanted to. “You’re a sick and demented man with nothing better to do than torture teenagers and muggles. You don’t know how repulsed I am by our family name.”
His Father stepped in front of him and a moment later he felt the back of his hand against his face, the hard knuckles jarred his teeth. “You ungrateful little bastard!” His Father screamed, his face only inches from Draco. “I give you my name, I give you my mark, and what do you do? What do you do?!” He shook his head, “You disgrace them both. Oh yes, I’ve had my reports from Adrian, you haven’t changed a bit. You’re still the coward that you always were.” He crossed his hands behind his back now, a calm look coming over his face. “Did you like my pyrotechnics display?” There was a mad light in his eye. “It is rather too bad that Krum was seen coming out of the burning headquarters, but we had to kill your three little friends, you see. Still, it’s regrettable that the Minister saw him, there is too much doubt in his mind now for our resources to be of any use.” He smiled a very wicked smile now, “Perhaps he can be your first project. You see, every Death Eater must be tested, what better way than to kill someone of such importance.”
Draco didn’t answer this, he knew that one way or the other Oblansk would probably not live out the end of the year if his Father wanted him dead. He could feel sweat starting to bead on his forehead, the room grew hotter by the minute.
His Father saw the sweat and he smiled again, “It’s alright Draco, come next year you won’t have to worry about the heat, your new school is nice and cold. Unfortunately Mr. Pucey and Ms. Parkinson won’t be joining you, but you’ll have Crabbe and Goyle for company.”
“I’m not going to study under that stupid man Karkaroff, I’d rather go to a muggle prep school.” Draco spit out, there was no way he was going to go to Durmstang.
His Father smiled at his words for some reason, he couldn’t quite understand why though. “I see you’ve finally come to recognize a good professor. Karkaroff is no longer the Headmaster at Durmstang, he had a rather nasty accident and hasn’t been seen in a few weeks.” Draco thought the accident probably consisted of running into his Father. “The regents of the school have chosen a new Headmaster, can you guess who it is?” He puffed out his chest importantly. “And I’ve recruited a very good Deputy Headmaster as well, he’s killed quite a few times for us already. Your new friend Krum. I must say, he is an excellent choice, he handled those giants quite well. It is too bad we had to kill them all, can’t say I didn’t enjoy it, but they were against us, and we can’t have that.” He smiled at the thought of killing all those innocent giants. “They knew too much, too much about our ways. Once you enter into the service of the Dark Lord, once you learn the secrets of the Order that he upholds, the Order of Slytherin, there is no way out. The Order of Dracul couldn’t defeat us and neither will the Order of the Phoenix.” He smiled sarcastically, “Do you think you could turn out half as good as Krum did? I do have a reputation to keep you know.” His Father stared hard into his eyes now.
Draco glared at him, “I think now that you’ve mentioned it, I’ll do everything in my power to disgrace you!”
His Father’s hand shot out and cut across his face. “You will learn respect!” He yelled. He began to pace again frantically, “We’re going to work on that, my master and I. We can make you great, greater than I ever was.” There was a light in his eye, one that Draco didn’t quite like. He strolled over to the altar casually, and picked something up, “Do you recognize this?” He asked, “I expect it’s been haunting your dreams.” It was the sword, the sword he had used to give him the mark six months ago. “Fitting isn’t it, that we use this sword again today.” There was a malicious grin on his face as he held the sword at the ready.
“You can’t give me the mark twice, it’s not possible.” Draco said, he didn’t know if it was true or not, but it would buy him some time.
His Father laughed quietly, “My dear boy, it’s not for you this time.” His focus shifted from Draco to the unconscious body of Harry, a very devilish smirk coming onto his face. “I thought before he died, we could give him the Dark Mark. Appropriate perhaps. If not, at least amusing.” Draco had never seen him this happy before, and that scared him more than anything else that had taken place yet. His Father cocked his head, “Would you like to help?”
Draco began to laugh uncontrollably, “Would I like to help? Are you mad?” His Father’s brow straightened, “Well of course you’re mad, look at you. And you stand there and call me a disgrace to the Malfoy name.”
“Enough of this!’ His Father shouted. He took out his wand swiftly and pointed it towards Draco, “You will obey me boy!” He smiled wickedly again and then cast, “Imperio!”
All of a sudden Draco’s body felt like it was floating on air. The room clouded with smoke, and only his Father’s figure was clearly visible. He saw him walk confidently towards him, he was untying the bonds. What was happening? His Father wasn’t stupid enough to think he wouldn’t try to run for it. The bonds were all undone, he tried to get up, to run for where the door would be, but he couldn’t, he couldn’t move. He heard his Father’s words inside his head, commanding him. “Stand up!” He tried to disobey, he didn’t want to do anything his Father wanted, but he was compelled to, he couldn’t stay seated. He felt himself rise to his feet, as if it were someone else’s body and he were simply watching them.
“Wake him!’ His Father commanded, indicating Harry. Draco felt his feet move on their own, they were moving by themselves. He was standing in front of Harry now, his arms reached out they were shaking his shoulders.
Harry’s eyes fluttered open, “Draco?” He was still quite groggy. “Where are we?” He asked looking around slowly. He tried to rub his eyes, when he couldn’t move his hands he looked down to see why. He tried to tug his hands free, but every time he moved, the straps bit into him more and more, and blood poured down onto the chair like a river. “Draco, help me. Help me out of these Draco.” He hadn’t seen Lucius yet, any minute now.
Draco heard his Father’s voice in his head again, “Answer him Draco! He’s not going to live past the hour.”
The words came flowing out of his mouth before he could even think about it, “You’re not going to live past the hour Harry.” They held no emotional tone to them, and were so cold.
A Horrified look came onto his face, and he pulled at the leather straps harder and harder. “What are you talking about Draco? What’s going on?”
Draco couldn’t stand it, he wanted to turn away, he wanted to let his friend out, but he couldn’t. “You’re his executioner Draco!”
“I’m you’re executioner Harry!” The words flowed from his mouth like ice.
“Now take out your wand!” His Father commanded him again.
Draco did as he was told. He heard the spell his Father commanded him to use, he felt his arm raise up and point towards Harry, he tried to fight, he couldn’t, he tried with everything he had, but it just wasn’t enough. “Crucio!” He saw Harry twist in pain, lunging and heaving against the straps binding him to the chair. The leather straps cut deeper and deeper into his skin, the blood coming faster and faster. A look of pure agony came over Harry’s face as the pain lasted longer and longer. He started to moan, but he did no cry out. Still Draco went on, he couldn’t stop, his Father had not commanded it. It was almost a minute now, how long could one person last? How long until they went mad?
Finally his Father allowed him to stop, “There’s no sense making him pass out.” His Father said in Draco’s head, a very easy tone in his voice.
A calm look had come over Harry’s face, almost as if he could accept his fate, it was unnerving. He looked up at Draco, pity in his eyes, and pleading, the sweat dripping down his forehead, his breathing ragged.
“Well now that we’ve had our fun,” His Father’s voice in his head again, “Take the sword Draco!” His Father held the sword towards him. Draco walked without a word over to his Father and took it. He felt the cold hilt against his skin and the weight of it in his hands. “Now, start the ritual!”
Draco turned towards Harry, he had seen Lucius and knew what was going on. He looked to Draco as he walked towards him, “You don’t have to do this Draco. You can fight against it. Fight against it!” He was squirming in his chair, he was fighting to free himself, he thought Draco meant to kill him already, he didn’t know what Lucius had planned.
Draco felt the sword’s edge against his skin, it cut into him. The pain was surreal, it was happening to someone else, it wasn’t happening to him. At the same time he heard his words, “By this blood I bind you to me until my death.” The blood poured down his arm, spilling onto the floor and pooling. He took a step towards Harry and let his blood run down over his entire body, over his head, over his torso, over his already bloody arms. He saw the sword moving towards Harry, he tried to stop his arm, but he couldn’t. He heard his words again, “By this blood I bind you to me until your death.” The sword cut through Harry’s skin like it wasn’t even there. The blood poured out from the wound, it mixed with Draco’s, and splashed down onto the chair. Harry’s face twisted once more in agony, but his lips stayed sealed.
His Father stepped forward and took the sword, “Now finish it!” He commanded.
Draco took out his wand, leveling it at Harry. He knew what was coming now, he tried to squirm, he tried to free himself, he tried to talk Draco out of it. “No, please Draco, no!” But it was all no good.
Draco heard his words for the last time, “By this mark I bind you to me forever.” He saw Harry’s body lurch into the straps, his back arched, his mouth open in a scream. Draco couldn’t hear it though, he couldn’t hear anything, it was as if the sound of the world had been turned off.
As he watched in horror, as Harry continued to scream and writhe, his Father let the charm fall. Draco’s legs gave way and he fell down onto the floor, his hands breaking his fall. He was breathing rapidly, deep breaths, he couldn’t hear Harry’s screams. He looked up to see the limp form in the chair. He couldn’t fathom what visions and flashbacks Harry had seen and heard.
His Father knelt down beside him, “You’ll make a fine servant yet, willing or unwilling.” He smiled hideously, “Now get up. Get up!” He put a hand under Draco’s arm and was pulling on him.
The door interrupted him, there was a loud thud on it. Lucius stopped, and looked towards the door. The sound came again, there was no mistaking it for anything but someone trying to break the door down. Draco got to his knees and looked in the same direction of his Father. There were only two options, rescue or certain death.
The sound came again, and this time the door creaked, and began to splinter. Lucius moved towards the door carefully, calling out, “Who’s there? Who is? What do you want?”
Draco looked to Harry, he had regained consciousness and was staring awkwardly towards the door as well. He looked down at Draco, the pain still in his eyes. He jabbed his head towards the straps, Lucius was distracted. Draco crawled on his knees over to Harry and undid the ankle straps quickly. He stood and began to undo the wrist straps, but it was difficult, the straps were slippery from all the blood, he couldn’t undo them.
Lucius was standing right behind the door now, there was a loud crack and the door gave way, slamming Lucius to the floor.
The last strap wouldn’t come free, Draco couldn’t untie it, they needed to run. A giant form came trudging into the room. His huge hands ripped the remaining strap away in one pull. “Run fer it.” He said to the two dazed boys. They bolted towards the door. The sudden bright light blinded them but they continued to run. They were in a hallway, and they were running for their lives. They could hear heavy footsteps behind them as their rescuer ran with them. Draco could hear his Father as he regained concsiousness, he swore loudly and began after them.
Their eyes adjusted and they realized they were in a hotel, there were doors with numbers on them. Harry cast a look behind him, he could see a very large man running to catch up with them, and behind him he could just make out Lucius’ flowing black robes and white hair, he was still screaming.
The large man waved him on, he was trying to help them. “Go on ‘Arry, save yerself!” And all too late Harry realized who their rescuer had been. He came to a dead stop and looked back. Hagrid had turned and was holding his pink umbrella.
“Well, well, well. Hello Hagird, fancy seeing you here.” Lucius grinned maliciously.
“Yer never gonna ‘urt little kids or muggles again.” He swung his umbrella towards Lucius, but it seemed to have no affect.
Lucius stood in the middle of the hallway, laughing as if possessed. “Oh Hagrid, always good for a laugh. You could never hurt me.”
“Yer a monster, a monster tha picks on children.” Hagrid bellowed, “You leave ‘Arry alone!” He cast again, some sort of blue shape erupting from his umbrella. It shot towards his Father, who brushed it aside as if it were simply a morning mist. He was laughing again, but it wasn’t the crazed laugh like before, it was different. He pulled his wand from inside his robes, his face sombering. “It’s been fun Hagrid, but I really have other things to do.” His swung his wand over his head in a great arc and towards Hagrid.
Harry tried to help him, he tried to pull out his wand and run to his aide, but Draco was gripping his shoulder, and all he could do was watch as the green flash engulfed Hagrid.
He watched Hagrid fall as if in slow motion, his large body falling towards the floor. “Hagird!”
Draco’s hand on his shoulder tightened, it was pulling him away. “We can’t help him Harry. It’s too late.” He pushed Harry in front of him and they began to run again. Draco could hear his Father behind him again, chasing them, they had to make it outside.
Harry didn’t know why he was running, he didn’t know what was left to live for. He felt the wet hot tears running down his face, they clouded his vision.
They were outside now, the sky was dark, and the moon was rising over head. Draco could see the castle ahead of them, they were in Hogsmeade still. He pulled Harry’s shirt harder, the material beginning to tear, “Come on Harry, we have to get to Dumbledore. We’re not safe yet” He didn’t know where his Father was, he couldn’t hear him behind them.
They ran on through the village, lights in the windows shone through onto the street. They passed the gates to the school and continued on. Draco pushed the heavy doors open and pulled Harry towards the headmaster’s office. He could see the Great Hall was full of students, it must be dinner. Good, he thought, they wouldn’t run into anyone. He didn’t think it would be wise for students to see them both covered in blood.
Finally they came to the stone gargoyle, “Harry, what’s the password? What’s the password?” Draco said, his words coming fast and desperate, they still weren’t safe.
“Licorice whips.” Harry said flatly, the tears still running down his face silently. The gargoyle leapt aside and Draco pulled Harry onto the moving stairs. Once they arrived at the top he didn’t even bother to knock on the door, he simply pushed it open and ran inside.
He stopped dead, Harry sliding into him. He hadn’t expected this scene, never in his wildest dreams. Sitting behind his desk looking more distressed than he had ever seen him was Dumbledore, and across from him Snape as his normal self. Leaning against the fireplace was their old Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, the werewolf Lupin. Next to him, standing with a cup of tea in his hand, acting as if nothing were odd about the situation, and shaking like a leaf, was Sirius Black. When he saw Harry he dropped his cup of tea and ran towards him. Draco pushed Harry behind him and pulled out his wand, “We’ve just escaped my Father and I will not let you have Harry, you traitor.”
Sirius stopped and looked at Draco with his wand out and pointed at him, he noticed that he was shaking nearly as bad as he was and covered with blood. Dumbledore stood up slowly, “Please, Mr. Malfoy,” he said kindly, “Put your wand away, Sirius is Harry’s Godfather.”
Draco opened and closed his mouth, trying to form words. How could Sirius Black, the one who betrayed Harry’s parents, be his Godfather? He looked to Snape, who nodded, “It would appear, that Black was framed by another Draco.” Framed? Framed by whom, his own Father? No, it would have been someone in the crowd that day, and his Father hadn’t been cleared yet.
“One Peter Pettigrew, Mr. Malfoy.” Dumbledore answered, seeing the expression on his face, “He was a friend of theirs during their school days, but apparently, he wasn’t the friend they had hoped.”
He felt Harry’s hand on his shoulder pushing him gently out of the way. “It’s alright Draco, honest.” He took a step towards Black and collapsed onto the floor.
Everyone seemed to notice the blood as if for the first time now. Black and Lupin raced towards Harry and helped him to a seat, while Snape put a hand under Draco’s arm and did the same thing. “Perhaps you’d like to tell us where you’ve been and what you’ve been through.” Dumbledore said, his bright blue eyes staring at them over his spectacles.
Draco remembered everything in a flash, “My Father’s down in Hogsmeade,” he said rapidly, “he was holding us in a hotel there.” The three younger men exchanged looks and came to a silent agreement. Snape changed into Épanss, and Black turned into a massive dog, running out the door after Lupin.
Dumbledore came around the desk silently then and put a hand on Harry’s shoulder, causing him to look up. “What happened Harry?”
Harry swiped away his tears, swallowing hard once, “He killed Hagrid.” He said quietly, his tears threatening to overwhelm him, “Hagrid saved us and he killed him.” He hung his head now, a morose look coming over his face, but still not sobbing.
Dumbledore put an arm around Harry’s shoulder, “It’s alright Harry, it’s over.” Draco thought he saw a sole tear drip from the old Headmaster’s eye, and roll down his cheek.
Harry gave a giant sniff and straightened up, “We didn’t see him behind us until too late, Adrian and Pansy and Crabbe and Goyle and Bulstrode were blocking our path.” The tears started again, harder this time. His words came out loud sobs, “All I wanted to do was buy some new clothes, and now Hagrid’s dead because of me.”
Dumbledore put a strong hand on Harry’s shoulder, “Hagrid died because of Lucius Malfoy Harry, not because you needed new clothes. Lucius would have kidnapped you either way, and either way, Hagrid would have rescued you.”
Harry stopped his tears, and took a few loud and deep sniffs. He nodded his head and wiped the tears from his eyes with a handkerchief Dumbledore handed him. “Thank you sir.” He said quietly. He blew his nose once.
Dumbledore poured two cups of strong tea and gave them each one as he sat down next to them, “Please Mr. Malfoy, tell me everything.”
Draco swallowed once, and took a small sip from his tea. “We went into Hogsmeade to buy Harry a few new things, since we’re staying here over the summer, and on our way back here we ran into five of the Nine sir. We bickered for a moment, and then we heard my Father behind us, he stunned us both. When I woke up, we were tied down in chairs, in a dark room. He told me about how he burned down the Ministry and about how Krum is becoming the new Deputy Headmaster of Durmstang. My Father is the new Headmaster, I think he’s killed Karkaroff.” Snape seemed to take this rather hard and Draco couldn’t meet his eyes. He stared down into the floor, “He wanted me to kill Minister Oblansk, he saw Krum kill the three from Ministry, he’s in danger.”
Dumbledore nodded his head, “I received an owl from the Minister last week, he has finally come to his sense, he has asked how he can help.” He waved his hand once casually, “Please, continue.”
“He put, he put the Imperius curse on me sir. He made me torture Harry, I tried to fight it, but he was too strong, I couldn’t throw it off.” Draco swallowed very hard now, “When I was finished torturing him, my Father, my Father.” He couldn’t say it, he couldn’t tell Dumbledore what he had done, he was ashamed.
Harry said as he rolled up his sleeve, “He bound me to him sir.” He revealed the fresh mark on his arm. It still glowed black, standing out against the pale skin. “It wasn’t his fault sir, it wasn’t Draco’s fault. Mr. Malfoy is powerful, more powerful than Voldemort was last year over me.”
Dumbledore nodded, looking from one boy to the next, a look of pity and sorrow in his eyes. The door was thrown open and the three men walked back in much less energetic than when they had left. “He’s gone sir, must have disapparated.” Snape said, looking at the two seated boys.
“He’s killed Hagrid Albus. The bastard killed Hagrid.” Black said, a furry coming into his eyes that Draco had only ever seen before in his Father’s.
Dumbledore nodded once again, holding up a hand, “Hagrid saved Harry and Draco, Sirius. If it were not for him, they would both most likely be dead.” He stood up, “Severus, would you please bring these two lads down to Madam Pomphrey, I need to contact the proper authorities about Lucius. He’s gone too far this time.” Severus nodded and gave Draco a hand standing up. Dumbledore looked to Lupin then, “Remus, if you please, inform Minerva that we have found them. She’s in the Great Hall supervising dinner.” Lupin nodded and left the room quickly. Finally Dumbledore looked to Black, “Sirius, if you’d like to go with Harry, by all means.” The man smiled and changed into his animagus form. “I will stop by later on this evening to see how you are doing.” He said, and the four people left haphazardly towards the hospital wing.
“Worst two students I’ve ever had.” Madam Pomphrey muttered as she went back and forth between the two beds. “Never, in all my years here has a student been injured this much. Here, hold this my dear, and keep it steady.” She handed a wrap of bandages to Gwen and she began to bandage Draco’s cut wrist and arm. Silent tears were still leaking down her face. Draco could see Ginny next to Harry performing a similar task.
Just as soon as the three people, and dog had arrived, Madam Pomphrey had been nearly livid, not at anyone in particular, but livid just the same. With Snape’s help, she laid both boys down onto beds and began to mend their many wounds. Only a few minutes after their arrival, Gwen and Ginny had shown up, following a very severe looking professor McGonagall. To his surprise though, she didn’t start yelling at them. She looked at Harry first, a piercing gaze, and then shifted it to Draco. “What can I do to help Poppy?” Her voice was compassionate and worried.
“You can clear some of these people out of here for starters, and that mangy dog.” Madam Pomphrey answered, annoyed. When McGonagall didn’t answer her though, she let out a long breath, “In the back is a cauldron of sleeping draught, they’ll both need a cup from the looks of them.”
Finally she was done fixing the two of them up and she set a steaming mug next to each of their beds, “Drink all of it, and in the morning when you wake up, you had better stay in bed.” She cast a warning look at Draco, and left.
“Once the two of you are out of the hospital wing, we will sit down and have a serious discussion about this, and the rules over summer.” McGonagall said sternly, she then turned her look to Gwen and Ginny, “Don’t be too long girls, Poppy wouldn’t like it.” She smiled at them and left, giving Black a pat on her way out.
Gwen slung her arms around Draco’s neck and rested her head on his shoulder, her soft tears coming again and flowing onto his chest. He stroked a hand over her back reassuringly, “We’re alright now, Gwen. We’re safe.” He could hear Ginny and Harry crying together next to him, he had never known Harry loved Hagrid so much. It must have been like losing a parent for him, a Father he had never known.
The doors opened silently and Dumbledore strolled into the infirmary. “I see that Poppy has fixed you both up, excellent.” He sat down on a chair in between the two beds, his eyes being drawn to the medallion around Draco’s neck, “I wondered when Thomas’s cross might turn up again, no one has seen it since his death.”
Draco reached up and ran his fingers over the smooth metal, “I found it the first night in the castle.”
Dumbledore smiled, “Just like Thomas, he would be proud of you.” Draco smiled at this, remembering the stories he had read about his Great great great grandfather, and his times with Merlin. His thoughts were interrupted by Dumbledore’s words, “I have been in touch with the Ministry of Magic, they will be out sometime this week to take a statement from you each, and then they can start the formal investigation.” He looked at both of them, “I don’t know how much good it will do, but at least he will stay away from Hogsmeade and Hogwarts.” He looked just to Draco now, with Gwen still leaning against him, her chin pointed towards the headmaster so she could see. “I’m very sorry, about everything Draco. I can not even begin to imagine what your Father has put you through, and is still putting you through now in his absence.”
Draco nodded, “Thank you headmaster, that means a lot to me. What’s to be done about the five sir?” he asked timidly.
Dumbledore stroked his long beard as he answered, “They will have points taken off for being out of area, but I’m afraid that is all we can do without being impartial.” He looked quite sad about this, as if he wanted to expel them all. Perhaps he was sad though because he thought there was nothing left for him to do to try and help them. Dumbledore smiled now though, and stood up to leave, “I believe there are a few other people outside, who would like to say goodnight to you Harry before you take your draught.”
As if they had been waiting for this cue, Granger and Ronald both burst through the doors. Their eyes were red from crying, and Ronald was holding a firm grip on Granger’s tiny hand. Granger tossed herself at Harry, wrapping her arms around his neck, and laying next to Ginny. “Oh Harry, I can’t believe he’s gone.” She sobbed, the tears coming loudly.
Harry’s own tears had stopped, Draco suspected that there would be no more, and he held tightly onto Granger. “It’s alright Hermione, it’s going to be alright. He saved Draco and I, he faced Lucius.”
He rubbed her back up and down, comforting her. Harry sniggered once and Hermione looked up at him her tears ceasing. “What’s so funny Harry?” Ronald and Ginny were looking at him now as well.
Harry sniggered again, his eyes far away, remembering. “Hagrid, that’s all, he faced Lucius with nothing but that pink umbrella of his.” He laughed for the first time in what seemed like forever, just once, and an odd smile came onto his lips. The others around him smiled at this, remembering Hagrid in their own ways.
A door to the rear was thrown open, “What’s all this?” Madam Pomphrey cried as she strolled out quickly. The mood sombered, Harry’s smile disappearing. “This isn’t a pub, and visiting hours are over, these two boys need rest!” She began to shoe people out of the infirmary, she seemed furious.
Gwen kissed Draco once quickly, “I’ll be back in the morning and we can share breakfast.” She kissed him again and then allowed herself to be lead out of the room by Ginny.
Madam Pomphrey came back after she had shut the door, casting a menacing look at Black in his dog guise. “Now the two of you drink up right now.” She indicated the two goblets and stood with her arms crossed and waited.
Draco picked his up, “See you in the morning Harry.”
“G’night mate.” Harry answered and lifted the draught to his lips, Draco did the same thing. The potion burned going down, and he had to struggle to finish it all. As the last drop dripped onto his tongue, he felt his eyelids growing heavier and heavier, and then the room went dark.
The Great Hall was draped all in black, as it had been in at the end of last year, and Harry walked with Ginny up the long rows of chairs, Hermione and Ron were behind them, and behind them were Draco and Gwen. The Weasley family was waiting at the front row for him, they were all choked up over his death. Molly and Arthur had known him when they were only students, so had Bill and Charlie. Percy had come along with Penelope, although he had never been close with him he had been a professor in his last year. Fred and George both looked saddened over Hagrid’s death, they had formed a somewhat odd relationship with him over the course of their seven years, and although they would never admit it, they were quite fond of him and never missed a chance to torment him. Standing next to him, both Ginny and Ron had taken the death worse than he had. Ron felt that Hagrid had almost been like a third best friend for him, an extra uncle, and Ginny had become very close with Hagrid her first year as a student, when the Chamber of Secrets had been opened. Hermione was just as upset as everyone else, her eyes were still stained red with tears. She was perhaps the closest to Hagrid after Harry, she spent every minute there when things were wrong, and was never afraid to help out.
Witches and wizards from all over the country and continent had come for the occasion. Madam Maxime could be seen in a distant corner, her hands covering her mouth as she cried uncontrollably into a lace handkerchief. The teachers were all present, even Hagrid’s predecessor, Professor Kettleburn. Harry could see Professor McGonagall standing with Professor Sprout, both were crying softly. There were a few students, it hadn’t been mandatory, but they had come anyway, to show their respects. Most were from Hufflepuff and Gryffindor, but there were a few Ravenclaws, and Aaron, the first year Draco mentored.
Harry went up to the casket that was placed where the teacher’s table would normally be. He ran his hand over the smooth wood. It was the largest casket he had ever scene, but then again, Hagrid was the largest man he’d ever seen. “Nothing will be the same without you Hagrid. I’m going to miss you.” Harry whispered quietly, his eyes remained dry, he was done crying.
“I wonder what the teacher will be like next year Harry?” Draco asked as he came up from behind him and stood staring at the coffin. “Class won’t be as interesting I’ll say that much.” Harry chuckled lightly. “I don’t think we learned a single thing that was on the curriculum in his class, but we did get an awful lot of practical experience. I heard next year they were suppose to start a magical medical class for upper class students, every class took place at the same time as one of Hagrid’s lessons.”
Harry laughed, ‘They were not.” He pushed Draco.
“No honest they were, Épanss had an announcement posted about it a while ago.” Harry shook his head, and the two boys fell silent, simply staring at the wooden box holding their late Care of Magical Creatures professor.
Harry could feel someone come up behind him and he turned around to look up at Madam Maxime, her eyes as red as a rose. “Pur pur ‘Agrid. ‘E was such a gentleman.”
Harry nodded, but didn’t say anything in response. “’Ow are you ‘olding up ‘Arry?” He turned to stare at Fleur Delacour. She was wearing a simple black dress and her golden hair was pulled back in a tight braid.
“I’m doing alright, thank you.” She wasn’t crying, and she hadn’t known Hagrid, so Harry suspected that she came to give her condolences and keep her old Headmistress company.
“I ‘ave just been talking with Dumbledore, ‘e wants me to take over ‘Agrid’s class.” She swallowed once and her eyes shifted, “I did not vant to accept vithout your permission.”
Harry smiled up at her, “I don’t think I can think of someone who would do a better job than you. So long as you never use a book, and always teach something interesting” She kissed each of his cheeks in gratitude, beaming at him, and left with her Headmistress, crying again slightly. She cast a smile over towards the Weasley, and Bill smiled back at her warmly.
The Great Hall filled with more and more people, Harry didn’t know who most of them were anymore, but he thought maybe they were former students who knew his as the Keeper of Keys and Grounds. He noticed a few were wearing very unusual cloaks and robes, they looked very formal. “Those are Ministry officials, it’s their uniform for special occasions.” Draco whispered, noticing the peculiar look on his face. People continued to pour in, and as more and more people arrived, the sky overhead turned grayer and grayer.
Finally at eleven O’clock people took their seats and the service began, the two dogs, Fang and Snuffles, sitting next to Harry. Dumbledore, who looked the worst Draco had ever seen him, even worse than the day it happened, walked very slowly to the podium. His voice was very soft and he spoke in a manner unlike himself. “Dear friends, we are here today, to commemorate the life of Rubeus Hagrid.” He stopped here and looked around the room before he continued. “Hagrid was something different to each of us: beloved son, tremendous friend, game keeper, professor and much, much more. He was known and loved for his caring and his compassion towards all creatures. We may never see a man, who loves and cherishes such diverse animals as Hagrid did. Nor will we see a games keeper who cared more for his students than the animals of the forest.” Dumbledore wiped a tear from his eye. “On weekends he could be seen watching the teams practice on the Quidditch pitch, he never missed a game, or down in Hogsmeade on a stool at the pub.” Draco could hear Madam Rosmerta somewhere in the hall cry out at the mention of her restaurant. “Hagrid would want to be remembered for these things, he wouldn’t want to be remembered for his death, dying to save the lives of two students.” He let out a long breath that he had obviously been holding, “The one thing in his life that Hagrid missed the most, the one achievement he wished upon all others that he could have succeeded in, was in Graduating from Hogwarts. Today, it is my honor to repeal his mistaken expulsion, and declare Rubeus Hagrid an honorary graduate of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.” The hall burst into applause, and everyone stood, their faces covered in tears, their sobs being covered by their laughter, their happiness. For Hagrid had finally received what he had always wanted, and even though he wasn’t here to accept his diploma, his friends were pleased for him. When the hall settled again, Dumbledore spoke, “Never was there a student here, that loved Hagrid as a Father, and never was there a student that Hagrid loved like a son, except for Harry Potter. It is fitting that Harry receive this, his most recognizable possession.” Dumbledore was holding Hagrid’s pink umbrella, the one he had used to fend off Lucius with.
Harry stood up slowly, his knees shaking a little, and he walked to the podium to accept the gift. He took the umbrella with both hands, they trembled slightly. Dumbledore stepped away from the podium now, obviously wanting Harry to say something. Harry hadn’t prepared anything, he hadn’t known he was going to have to make a speech, but he stepped up to the podium anyway. “I remember when Hagrid arrived at the doorsteps to take me away from the Dursley’s, wearing his moleskin overcoat, and carrying his pink umbrella. He was the first person to ever defend me, he told me what I was, he told me about my parents.” Harry looked down at the umbrella in his hands, where was this story going? He didn’t even know why he’d told this story about Hagrid. He sniggered remembering the rest of the story, “My uncle called Dumbledore a crack pot old fool, and that I wouldn’t be allowed to come to Hogwarts. Hagrid was furious, he tried to turn my cousin into a pig.” He laughed, “All that he could manage was a small pink tail, said it was because he was already so much like a pig. But that’s how Hagrid was, he stood up for his friends, and for what he believed in, he was never a coward, and his death proves that.” Harry left the podium silently, the hall just as silent. He noticed more and more people were blowing their noses and wiping at their eyes.
Harry gave the umbrella to Ginny to hold for him and he joined the other five people next to the casket, Ron, Fred, George, Charlie and Draco. They lifted in onto their shoulders and walked down the long rows of chairs. People stood up and bowed their heads as it passed, still others burst into tears. As they left the Great Hall, Draco saw for the first time that the halls were packed with people, all of them dressed in black. They parted and made a space for the six carrying the coffin and the people following them. The entrance doors opened as they neared and they stepped outside. The rain was pouring down now in buckets, but somehow not a single drop landed on any of them, except Harry, for some reason he was soaked. There were more people outside, crowded around the door, they all craned their necks for a look at the coffin, some people throwing flowers. They marched along the wet grass and towards Hagrid’s small hut, there were no lights on inside. They walked behind the hut and into the dark forest along a very old and worn path of cobblestone. They reached a large clearing, one that Draco never knew existed. It was filled with hundreds upon hundreds of graves. Some were ancient looking, and some looked almost brand new. Each had an inscription, none of them were worn off from weather, and they read either professor or student. Draco could see at the very back were three statues of the founders, Godric, Rowena and Helga.
They trudged over to the right side and set the coffin down on a small green stand next to a headstone that Fudge was standing over. He began to read, “Rubeus C. Hagrid. Professor of Care of Magical Creatures. Keeper of Keys and Grounds. Order of Merlin Third Class. 1929-1996.” Draco could see around the edge were carved animals of al shapes and sizes. Three of them were seated at the top, a dog, a dragon, and a hippogriff.
There was a noise off to the left, and all gathered turned to watch as a group of Centaurs entered into the clearing, followed by a sole spider, and a flock of other cteatures. The lead centaur spoke, it was a raspy and old voice. “We have come to pay our respects to Hagrid.”
Dumbledore nodded, “Thank you Therin, it’s means a lot.” He looked to the multitude of people, all had followed, those from the Great Hall and everyone else. “It is time to say goodbye. We will always remember our dear friend Hagrid, in our hearts.” He took out his wand and touched it briefly to the headstone, giving it a slight glow. “Good bye, old friend.” He said quietly.
Following his lead, everyone took out their own wands and touched the headstone gently, making it glow brighter and brighter. Finally Ron walked up to it with Hermione, he was gripping her hand and tears were flooding down his face. They touched the headstone together, Ron bursting into loud tears.
Draco walked up all alone, he touched his wand to the hippogriff, “Thank you Hagrid, and I’m sorry.”
Ginny took Gwen’s hand and they walked up together, they both touched the grave, tears streaming down their beautiful faces. Ginny looked to Harry as she walked back and he walked towards it, her eyes full of sorrow. Harry took out his wand, “I’ll never forget you Hagrid.” One last solitary tear dripped down from his eye, mingling with the rain that was still pelting down on him. As he touched his wand to the grave, a bright light shot out from it and up into the sky. Everyone gathered look up at it, amazement on their faces. Fang began to howl and Draco looked over to see the centaur in silent tears. Harry turned around and walked back to join his friends, putting and arm around Ginny.
Harry watched as Dumbledore slowly lowered the coffin into the ground. His eyes held agony in them, but he didn’t make a sound. He watched as the dirt covered the casket, and his vision of it faded until it was gone. The grass was replaced over the hole and Dumbledore waved his wand over it once. He looked up at everyone then, his normally bright blue eyes, as gray as the sky. He forced a smile, “Hagrid would not have wanted us to mourn him this way, he would rather us drink ale and eat good food in the Great Hall, which is what everyone is invited to do now.”
The people started to walk back towards the castle, but a few remained. Mrs. Weasley took Harry into a large hug, “Will you be alright dear?” She asked, concern in her voice, and tears on her cheeks.
Harry nodded, “I’ll be alright.” His voice was a little hoarser than usual, but just as strong as ever.
Mr. Weasley clapped him on the back and they walked away with Charlie and Bill, Percy and Penelope, and the Twins. “We finally got into the forest.” Fred said to his brother, “After all these years, and we get in, only days before we graduate.” His brother was smiling at this, thinking the same thing no doubt.
Draco took Gwen’s hand then, “Come on, let’s let them have this moment.” They walked away leaving Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione.
“It’s not going to be the same around here without him.” Ron said, holding back his tears. “Who’s going to bring in the Christmas trees?”
“Who’s going to try and kill us with interesting animals?” Hermione said a fresh batch of tears coming now.
“Who’s going to lead the first years across the lake?” Ginny asked, resting her head against Harry’s chest. Harry remained silent, staring at the grave, but yet not really seeing it. The rain was falling harder and harder and Harry was getting wetter by the minute. “Harry?” Ginny said, reaching a hand up and stroking his face, “It’s not your fault.”
He didn’t seem to believe her, “Do you think he would have done the same thing if it had of been Ernie MacMillan?” He asked, his voice hollow now.
“He would have done the same had it been Ginny or Ron or I, Harry.” Hermione said. “He would have done the same for any of his friends, and he knew you would have done the same thing for him.”
“He died because I wanted new clothes.” Harry said, still staring off into space, “He died because I was stupid enough to sneak off to Hogsmeade.”
Ginny put her arms around Harry’s neck and began crying hard now. “He sacrificed himself to save you from Lucius Malfoy, Harry.”
“He believed in you mate.” Ron said, putting a hand on Harry’s shoulder. “We all believe in you.”
Harry became very quiet now, his eyes staring down at the muddy ground. “You are destined for greatness, young Potter.” Came a voice from over his shoulder, “Your Mother and Father knew it, and so did Hagrid.” It was the centaur, the one who had been crying. “One day, you will believe. One day you will know. But it is not time yet for you to understand.” Harry didn’t know what he was talking about, he was talking in riddles. “Until then Harry Potter.” And without another word, he strode off into the forest.
“I attract them don’t I?” Harry said, staring off at where the centaur had been. “I attract weirdness.” He began to laugh. He smiled at the three people gathered around him, “Thanks.”
For the second year in a row, the Great Hall was draped in black for the end of year feast, and no House cup was awarded. Draco and Harry decided it was best if they ate with their houses for the last time. Draco let Gwen sit in his normal seat, and he sat next to her. He was pleased when Aaron sat across from them with his friend Dell, but a moment later his demeanor fell. “It looks as if Draco finally decided to sit with his housemates, isn’t that unusual.” Adrian sat down across from him, “So, what did your Father want the other day?” He asked, looking very innocent.
Draco leaned across the table, a sneer on his face and hatred in his eyes, “He told me to tell you this.” And without any hesitations Draco punched Adrian in the nose as hard as he could. He heard the bone crush and blood spilled out onto the table.
He could hear the entire table gasp and stare as Adrian tried to pinch his nose and stop the blood flow, to no avail. “Just because Épanss made you Prefect doesn’t mean anything. You just wait Draco, just wait until next year.” And he stormed away down the table to where Pansy was sitting with Bulstrode, Crabbe and Goyle.
“Mr. Malfoy, what was all of that about?” Épanss called from the teachers table.
Draco shrugged, giving a very confused look, “Adrian just got a nose bleed sir, that’s all.” It was very apparent that Épanss did not believe him, but he didn’t say anything further.
“Is anyone sitting here?” Asked a timid voice standing over Adrian’s seat.
Draco looked up to see Tracey and Blaise wringing their hands and staring at Draco expectantly. Draco smiled at the two of them, “Not at all. We’d be pleased if you joined us.”
“We were sorry to hear about your Father Draco, and what he did to you.” Tracey said as she sat down.
Blaise nodded, “It must have been horrible.” She spoke sincerely and Draco was pleased to see that it looked like they had made a decision.
McGonagall rang the side of her goblet with a spoon and the Great Hall became silent. The Headmaster stood up, “Another year has passed, and with it’s fair share of excitement I might add.” He smiled to the students, some who understood his meaning and others who didn’t. He waved his two hands over the Hall and food sprang to life, “Before we engorge ourselves, I ask you all to raise your goblet to our teacher and friend Hagrid.”
Almost as if in unison, the tables raised their goblets once in silence. Draco raised his goblet as high as he could, but he knew most of the table was simply sitting idle, he had been this time last year. It seemed odd that in one year’s time a person could change so much, and yet he knew he had.
Draco sat in the common room in front of the fire, Gwen resting against his chest, he was watching as the flames died lower and lower, turning into embers. “You’ll write won’t you Draco?” Gwen asked softly, looking up at his face.
He smiled, stroking her hair, “I’ll write to you every Sunday afternoon, and don’t be surprised if I turn up once or twice.” She smiled back at him, snuggling into the crook of his arm. “I think it will be safe for you with Tracey now, but you know what to do if it’s not.”
She nodded, “When can I come and see you?” She asked, watching the embers turn slowly from red to orange.
Draco thought for a moment before answering. “Why don’t you come in a month for Harry’s birthday, we’ll have another party up on the astronomy deck.” She nodded again lightly, a month was so far away. “Are you all packed and ready to go?” Draco asked as they continued to stare into the fireplace.
“Yes.” She said softly.
“And you have the watch?” Draco asked to make sure.
Again she answered softly, “Yes, I have the watch, and I’ll bring it with me wherever I go.”
Draco ran his hand through her hair, it was still just as soft as ever. “I’m going to miss you.”
She looked up at him, “I’m going to miss you too.” Their lips touched, bringing back passion that they hadn’t had a chance to experience since Christmas. He held her so close, running his hand up and down her back. Her fingers entwined in his hair, gripping the back of his neck and deepening their embrace to another level. She pushed him back down onto the couch and climbed on top of him, their lips never leaving contact with each other. She pulled away, both their breathing heavy, and she looked down into his eyes. There was only love in them, and it was only for her. “Will you come with us to the train tomorrow?” Her voice cracking slightly as she spoke.
He smiled, running a hand down her smooth cheek. “Of course I will.” He raised his head now and kissed her again. “You better get to sleep.”
She knew she had to but she didn’t want to leave him. She let out a long sigh and moved off of him. “I’ll see you in the morning.” She said quietly as she walked off towards the stairs and disappeared.
He didn’t know what he was going to do over the summer without her, it was going to be a long two months. He and Harry had received official letters from the English National team the day after they had received the OWLs, inviting them to tryout. Tryouts were being held at the Ludo Bagman Memorial Center, the league had commissioned it shortly after his death over Christmas. The initial tryouts were three days per week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and the first cut was a month away. He had also received a letter from Bagman’s brother, inviting him back to the Youth Quidditch Association. He had created a new rule just for the Knights, “Reigning Quidditch Champion teams must stay together the succeeding season to defend their title.” This meant that even though Ginny was a year too young, she would be playing in the seniors league with him and Harry. Bagman had stressed the fact that only amateur players were allowed to compete, no professionals were permitted. This meant that if they made the National team they couldn’t play, but Draco had owled the head coach and asked that the announcement of the team be made the day after the Quidditch Cup game. It seemed that his family name still held some respect, as his wish had been granted. So starting next week on Tuesdays and Thursdays he would be playing with Harry and Ginny in their purple robes again. Quidditch six days a week was going to be the only thing keeping him from insanity this summer, and even that might not prevent him from sneaking off once a week to see Gwen. All in all it was going to be another interesting summer.
The carriage jostled it’s two occupants back and forth as it moved swiftly through the town. It was a bright day outside, the sun was shining, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Draco wished that he could have been sitting under Harry’s tree with Gwen, instead of inside this stuffy carriage. Gwen was leaning into his shoulder, her arm resting across his chest, staring silently at the passing buildings. Harry had taken a separate carriage with Ginny, Ronald and Granger, they seemed sad that they wouldn’t be able to see him this year at the burrow. Draco nuzzled closer to Gwen, planting a kiss on the crown of her head. He knew she was smiling, but she remained silent.
The carriage pulled up to the station and Draco took Gwen’s hand, helping her step down like any gentleman would. They walked up the platform, trying to spot an empty compartment. Draco could see Harry with Ginny down at the far end, Ginny waved them over. As they walked down the crowded platform two heads stuck out a window, “Hey Gwen, come and share our compartment.”
Blaise nodded, a broad smile on her face, “Yeah, Tracey nicked a bit of that muggle soda pop, Coca-Cola.”
Gwen smiled at them and then looked down the train to Ginny and mouthed that she would see her in a little while. A whistle blew somewhere and students began to board the train rapidly. Gwen slung both of her arms around Draco’s neck, pulling him into the tightest embrace of his life. Her lips met with his, kissing him frantically. Draco smoothed down her hair, “Send me an owl when you get there.” She nodded, still staying silent, and tears welled up in her eyes. Draco brushed them away with his finger tips. “It’s only a month. You’re going to have a great time with Tracey.” She smiled up at him again, the tears streaming down her face now, and across her smiling lips. Another whistle blew, “It’s time to go.” He took her hand and led her over to the steps. He looked up at her standing on the stairs, “Don’t say it, don’t say anything. I’ll see you in thirty days.” He stood up on his toes and kissed her one last time, giving her hand a reassuring squeeze.
He train began to move slowly, pulling their hands further and further apart until they finally had to let go. It was picking up speed now, Gwen was still standing on the stairs, watching Draco grow smaller and smaller. Draco waved his hand to her, back and forth in a big arch. Her tiny hand waved back desperately, he knew the tears were still streaking down from her red and puffy eyes. Tracey and Blaise would take good care of her, they always had before.
The large red train grew tinier and tinier until it looked just like a little toy, and then it was gone and so was Gwen. Harry clapped a hand up onto his shoulder, “It’s going to be quiet around her without them making all of that fuss, eh?”
Draco shook his head, “There’s never a dull moment around here with the two of us.”
Harry had to laugh at this, trouble was still following him around, and it was now walking next to him up to the castle. He looked up to the sky, shielding his eyes from the morning sun as they walked along the dirt path that the carriages had just been on. “It’s going to be a busy summer, I’ll say that for sure. National tryouts, defending our title, teaching you to control your tattoo. Not a spare moment it seems.”
“You can always make time for drinking though, we never did properly celebrate out OWL scores.” Draco took out his sunglasses as he talked and fit them onto his nose. Both boys had received excellent marks, Draco excelling in Potions, Harry in Defense Against the Dark Arts, and of course Hermione in nearly everything. “Have you decided where you’re going to stay yet?” Draco asked in a casual manner.
Harry nodded, “I won’t be able to stand the quiet of the common room, and there’s too many memories in Hagrid’s hut. I pulled out that book yesterday and figured we could start converting the clubhouse this afternoon.”
Draco smiled wickedly, “Add a nice little up stairs flat, equipped with mini bar, game room, pool, and jacuzzi. This is going to be a great summer.” Draco pulled out a second pair of sunglasses from his cloak pocket, “I ordered these for you, figured they might help during practices.”
Harry put them on tentatively, they fit perfectly on his nose. “Why’d you get these for me? They must have been expensive.”
Draco shook his head, “Consider it a thank you to you and Hagrid.”
Harry smiled and clapped Draco roughly on the shoulder, “Anytime mate.”
The boys walked through the town, passed the closed shops and up towards Hogwarts. If anything, this summer was promising to be even more exciting than the last one. There would be no parents, and now aunts and uncles, they were free to do what they wanted when they wanted, and for the first time, the summer was theirs.
Draco laughed as Harry tripped over a root and gave him a hand steadying himself. “Come on, I need a drink before we start charming, and I think Chez Malfoy’s is about to open.” He began to run up the street calling over his shoulder and laughing as a student on vacation should, “Last one there has to mix the drinks.”
Harry ran to catch up, thinking that this would be the best summer he had had. No Dursleys, no yard work, no Aunt Marge. There would only be good food, Quidditch, and maybe a bit of adventure.
Draco ran faster and faster. As he neared the gates he could see Hogwarts standing there like an unmovable mountain. This was his home, and he was finally with his family.
I hope you enjoyed this story, my second feature lengthed novel. If there is enough response, I will write the untitled sequel. If you haven't reviewed yet, and you've gotten this far, why not take a second and do it now. Thanks for everything and I hope to hear from you,
Seven Years at Hogwarts
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