One Time Deal
“What?” Draco blinked rapidly, staring at Harry as though he’d suddenly grown three heads.
“Harry,” Hermione chided softly, catching the hopeful look on Scorpius’ face. “There’s no way to bring the dead back to life. You know that. Didn’t Dumbledore explain all of that to you years ago?”
“Sure he did,” Harry agreed, running a hand through his already mussed up hair. “But I’m not talking about bringing her back from the dead. Luna’s gone and that’s just the way it is. But,” he paused and glanced down at Scorpius, “There is a way you can see her.”
Ginny shook her head and frowned. “I don’t understand, Harry. If you aren’t talking about bringing her back from the dead and you obviously don’t mean to use a pensive, how do you plan on performing this miracle?”
A small secret smile curled Harry’s lips. “Come with me and find out,” he suggested, turning on his heel and heading down the corridor.
Ron huffed, “Why can’t you just tell us now? Is it far?”
“Oh for goodness sake, Ron!” Hermione exclaimed, giving him a shove in the shoulder. “Let’s get a move on.”
Albus looked up at Ginny. “Where’s dad taking us?”
“I have no idea,” Ginny admitted, falling into step beside her son, subtly shifting him away from Draco and Scorpius. “So, how’s James been to you?”
“Pain in the ass….um, I mean neck.” Scorpius corrected himself quickly.
“Older brothers are like that. Trust me,” Ginny replied with feeling.
“You’d know,” Albus agreed, linking his arm with his mothers.
“Oh yeah,” Ginny said dryly. “I’d know alright.”
Scorpius held on to Draco’s hand, feeling his fathers sweaty palm against his own. Nervous excitement caused the muscles in his stomach to clench and jump around and he blinked back more tears that were threatening to fall. “How is Mr Potter going to do this?”
“Who knows,” Draco said. Even though he could hardly wait for Harry to perform his little miracle, there was still a slight feeling of resentment in Draco that it was going to be Potter and not him who brought Luna back. “Old habits die hard,” Draco mused quietly, he just couldn’t help the way he felt towards Potter.
“What?” Scorpius glanced up.
“Nothing.” Draco shook his head dismissively and followed the others out of a side door and across the grounds of Hogwarts.
The grounds were quiet, a sure sign that something was going on somewhere at the school. Draco vividly remembered how the place had looked after the final battle. It was hard for him to remember a time of peace and safety at Hogwarts. His last two years there had ruined his memories forever.
Hermione paused and stuck her hands on her hips. “Harry, why are you taking us into the Forbidden Forest? It’s banned to students.”
“Yeah, not very role-modelish mate,” Ron said. “Right, Hermione?”
“Suck up,” Ginny muttered.
“We don’t have to go far. Just trust me will you?” Harry glanced at them over his shoulder. “I’d hardly put the kids in danger, would I?”
“I’m not a kid!” Albus snapped annoyed. “Why does everyone think I’m a kid?”
“Because you are squirt,” Ron said, ruffling his hair playfully as he passed him to follow Harry into the forest. “No getting away from facts.”
“Like that fact that he’s a moron,” Ginny told her son, casting a sweet smile in Ron’s direction.
“Oh for the love of Merlin!” Hermione explained exasperated. “What is the matter with you two? Every time we come here you start acting like children all over again.”
“She started it,” Ron said pointing a finger at his sister.
“I did not!” Ginny snapped outraged.
“I don’t care who started it, I’ll finish it if you two don’t put a sock in it!” Hermione warned. She turned to look at Draco who was bringing up the rear and looking rather amused by the whole affair. “We’re lucky we don’t have brothers and sisters I think.”
“Looks that way,” Draco agreed. He gave his son’s hand a gentle squeeze of reassurance as they entered the forest and walked single file down the little dirt path. He wished he had been able to give Scorpius a brother or sister, Luna would have liked that, being an only child, she would have liked to have had more children around her. Luna had a lot of love to give and Scorpius would have benefited immensely from Luna, in ways that he, Draco was unable to be of any use at all. He didn’t have Luna’s gentle, sunny nature.
They followed Harry for around five minutes, just to get deeper into the trees and avoid detection by Headmistress McGonagall. Harry was sure that even if he did defeat Voldemort and even if he wasn’t a student any more McGonagall would string him up by the ears and inflict some sort of punishment on him for taking them all into the forest.
He silently executed a summoning spell and waited, his green eyes peeled as he scanned the area around him, awaiting his summoned object.
“Mate, what are we doing?” Ron demanded. “Bloody hell! There’s giant bees in here!” He exclaimed ducking low to the ground as something, whizzed by him.
Harry rolled his eyes, “It’s not…..”
“They could be killer bees!” Ron said worriedly. “I saw it once on TV!”
Hermione took a deep steadying breath and said through grit teeth. “That’s it, the TV goes.”
“Never mind about the TV,” Harry waved a hand dismissively. “It’s not a bee, it’s what I came in here for.” He looked from Albus to Scorpius. “What I’m about to give to Draco cannot be revealed to anyone. What happens next has to stay between us and no-one else. Not even James can know about it,” he added to Albus who was nodding his head along with Scorpius.
Albus was quite pleased to be involved in a grown –up secret that his brother was unaware of. “I won’t tell him. I won’t tell anyone.”
“This is a one time deal,” Harry continued, resting his free hand on Scorpius shoulder. “When it’s over, it’s over.” Harry’s eyes locked with Draco’s. “You can’t look for more. You have to let go.”
“Alright,” Draco said uncertainly. He had no idea what Potter was up to, but he was willing to go along with him if it meant seeing Luna.
“I mean it, Draco.” Harry said firmly. “Just this once. Just this one time. You say your goodbye’s, you say what you have to say and then you let go.”
Draco nodded, curiosity and excitement thrumming through him. He glanced down when Harry pressed a small round object into his hand. Opening his palm he stared at the stone in complete bewilderment. “A rock,” he stated nonplussed.
“Oh! Oh, Harry, I don’t know!” Hermione bit her bottom lip having finally realised what Harry was up to. “Are you sure this is a good idea? You do realize what the consequences could be?”
“Everything will be fine, Hermione. Like I said, just this once. We owe it to Luna.”
“Is someone going to explain?” Ron glanced at his sister who shrugged to show that she was just as clueless as he was.
“This isn’t just a rock,” Harry said slowly. “This is the Resurrection Stone. One of the Deathly Hallows.”
Draco shook his head, “You can’t be serious!”
“But, how?” Draco couldn’t quite get his head around the fact that the Hallows were real. Luna had always told him that they were and now he knew why. She knew that Potter had known all about them, had owned them, used them.
“I used this the night of the final battle,” Harry said, his tone wistful as he recalled how loved and safe he had felt with his parents, Sirius and Remus crowded around him. He hadn’t really been afraid of anything then, not when they had been there. “It’ll bring her back for a short time. We’ll be over there, somewhere,” he gestured back up the path they can come in by and moved around Draco. “Just turn it over in your hand three times and she’ll come.”
Draco was unaware of the others slowly drifting away from him, he was unaware of the dark, dense forest around him and even of the presence of his own son, his small hand tucked safely and securely in his own. All Draco was aware of was the hard thumping of his heart against his rib cage, moving up to beat frantically at his throat like the wings of a trapped bird. His lungs were burning as he tried to drag in enough oxygen to keep himself from passing out and a hard knot of tension had materialized in the center of his chest.
Part of him was desperate to do this, to see Luna once more, to speak to her and hear her soft, gentle voice speak back. Speak words of love and wisdom as she had so often done. Sometimes, in the dark of night when he lay alone in his childhood bed, Draco worried that he was forgetting the sound of Luna’s voice. It distressed him and weighed on his shoulders like a ton of bricks that sometimes, just for an instant, he had trouble calling to mind the familiar, and comforting, wonderful scent that was Luna. The moments always passed and Luna would drift easily into his mind as though she had never been absent from it, but still, it upset him that perhaps, when he was much, much older, he would loose the sense of her completely.
The other part of him didn’t want to do this at all. Draco was terrified that seeing Luna again, even just a ghost of her, would drive him over the edge and he would be unable to let her go. For a moment, an image of him battling Potter for the stone came into his head and a shiver ran down his spine. Maybe the dead should be left where they were, or perhaps he should let Ginny do this with Scorpius so he didn’t have to. Draco saw no reason to deprive his son of seeing his mother for the one and only time, but he didn’t know if he could do it. How could he face Luna again and let her go?
While he battled with himself, Draco’s fingers fiddled with the Resurrection Stone, the surface cold and smooth against his skin; and he must have turned it three times, because Luna was suddenly there.
Draco’s breath caught in his throat and tears stung his eyes. Luna looked no different than the last time he had seen her. She was still small and dainty. Her hair was still a long, untamable mess around her shoulders and her eyes bright with curiosity and wonder.
She smiled, a heartbreaking smile that Draco remembered well and her soft voice floated around him as she greeted him as she always had, “Darling, Draco.”