Reading Time: 130 Minutes
Title: Turn Back Time
Fandom: Harry Potter
Genre: Time Travel
Relationship(s): Draco Malfoy/ Hermione Granger/Harry Potter
Content Rating: R
Warnings: Discussion- Rape, Discussion- Child Abuse, Discussion- other triggers, Violence- graphic
Author Notes: A very big thank you to penumbria for her lovely art and betaing my story.
Word Count: ~64,000 total
Summary: Betrayals and tragedy lead Harry and Hermione to seek revenge in the past. Draco Malfoy persuades them to let him tag along. What can the three bitter and unhappy adults do as children again?
The night was freezing, except for the two people kneeling on the cold, snow-covered ground seemingly unaffected by it all. Perhaps the cold they felt inside was too great for them to feel anything else, Harry mused, as he helped Hermione clear the snow from the ground of the ritual circle.
“Do you have everything we need?”
“For the last time, Harry, yes. I checked three times,” Hermione huffed as she put her bag down with a thud.
“Good, ‘cause I want to make these bastards pay and pay for the rest of their miserable lives for what they did to my son,” Harry said, anger blazing in his eyes as he remembered how his baby son, his James, had died in his arms thanks to Ginny’s jealous lover.
The man had been trying to kill Harry so he could have Ginny and the Potter fortune, as well. It hadn’t mattered to him whether the baby Harry had been holding had survived or not.
The man himself, Michael Corner, had not survived Harry’s rage and grief, but Ginny had got off scot-free, and Harry couldn’t abide that. Harry divorced her immediately, of course, but the courts had decided that she could not have known what Corner had intended and ruled her blameless in the death of their son. Most of the Weasleys had sided with Ginny in the court battle or stayed neutral in the background, and when Hermione had taken Harry’s part, a lot of ugly truths had come out, which had led them to where they were right now.
“Like I’m going to take any chances with this, of all things,” Hermione said exasperatedly as she pushed a strand of bushy brown hair out of her eyes. “I want Ron to suffer just as much for potioning me sterile. God knows what other potions they’ve been feeding us over the years,” she said, her own anger evident in her voice.
Harry shook himself out of his murderous thoughts and slung an arm around her shoulder.
“I know. I’m sorry. I’m being a bad friend right now, aren’t I? I should have asked how you were doing.”
“Harry, it’s fine. I’m fine. Just so angry, I could kill the entire Weasley family with my bare hands,” Hermione replied, returning his hug. “You are not a bad friend. I understand how you must be feeling, you know. You have enough of your own grief to deal with.” She sighed before returning to unpacking their supplies from her bag.
“Instead of breathing down my neck, why don’t you make yourself useful and get us our sacrifice. You know we’re gonna need one for the ritual,” Hermione said as she began to arrange the symbols around the circle. One for each Fate: A spindle for Clotho, a pair of shears for Atropos, and a blank scroll of parchment for Lachesis.
“How about we toss a coin? Heads it’s Ginny, tails it’s Ron,” Hermione said, pulling out a galleon.
“Sounds fair,” Harry said, and he watched the coin fall, coming up heads. Hermione pouted as Harry gave a wide predatory grin, “I’ll be right back,” he said and apparated away.
Hermione shrugged and waved him off as she went back to her preparations. They had to get their arithmancy exactly right, or they would just end up dead and not achieve a single thing.
Harry returned twenty minutes later with a stunned and bound Ginny.
“Any problems?” Hermione asked from her position, as she knelt in the circle drawing the runes necessary for the ritual.
They were using the ritual circle in the forbidden forest as it was the one best suited to Harry’s magic.
“Nah, it was almost insultingly easy. They hadn’t even changed the wards around the burrow. Oh, and I killed Molly and Ron since they were there and tried to stop me from leaving with her. We better get this done soon before their bodies are discovered. I bought us a little time by bringing the house down on them, but still,” Harry said, shrugging as he placed Ginny on the altar.
“Fine, come help me finish these runes,” she said, handing him a rune quill of his own.
As they bent to their task, a sharp noise startled them, causing them both to look up and draw their wands.
“Oh, don’t let me stop you. In fact, I’d like to join you in this endeavour,” Malfoy drawled as he strolled out of the trees.
“If I’m not mistaken you’re preparing a time travel ritual of some sort, and I want in,” the blonde said as he walked closer despite the wands pointed threateningly at him.
After the war, Harry and Draco had managed to forge an uneasy truce based on the fact that Harry had testified to save Draco and his mother from Azkaban. Draco had never apologised or thanked Harry for returning his wand, but the blonde had seemed to go out of his way to avoid Harry and his friends. This had suited Harry just fine.
While Harry had mostly forgiven Malfoy for his past, the rest of the wizarding world hadn’t been so forgiving, and the only job he had been able to get was as the gamekeeper at Hogwarts after Hagrid had moved to France to be with Madame Maxime. Now here he was strolling toward them with not a care in the world.
Harry cursed under his breath, but before he could say anything, Hermione spoke.
“If we allow you to join us, what guarantee do we have that you won’t turn on us and help your father and Riddle kill us in the past?” she asked standing up and moving her wand threateningly.
“Hermione!” Harry exclaimed, aghast.
“What? If we don’t agree, he could do something to disrupt the ritual. Besides, the ritual works best with three. You know that” Hermione explained, keeping her eyes on Malfoy, even as she spoke to Harry. “Or we could just kill him. What’s one more in the scheme of things.” She shrugged, eyes hard and cold as diamonds.
Draco raised both hands in surrender. “I’ll make a vow on my magic. Easy there, I’m just taking out my wand to make the vow,” he cautioned when Harry moved forward threateningly. The blonde slowly pulled out his wand. “I, Draco Lucius Malfoy, do solemnly swear on my life and magic, not to join or help Voldemort or his Death Eaters in word or deed.”
“No, that’s not enough, I want you to swear that you will never work to harm us in any way,” Harry demanded before Draco could lower his wand.
“That might be a little excessive, Harry,” Hermione interjected.
“Fine, Potter. I’ll vow on my magic to never work against you if you would do the same for me?” Draco huffed a little in annoyance.
“Agreed,” Harry said, raising his own wand, and they made their vows together as Hermione watched.
“So, why exactly do you want to go back? I mean, I know you have a crappy job, and no friends or family left, but why would you want to risk your life with this ritual?”
Draco fidgeted reluctantly before he began speaking in a low, angry voice, “Because the bloody Dark Mark took my soulmate from me. My grandmother had the Sight, and she noticed soulmate magic in me, but because bloody Lucius forced the dark mark on me, I can’t connect to that part of myself anymore. I could be standing next to my soulmate and not know it. I want what my father and his master took from me. I would also like to save my mother,” He finished softly.
“Not, Lucius?” Harry prodded gently.
“That bastard can rot, for all I care. I would like him to rot in Azkaban for much longer this time for what he did to my mother,” Draco spat beginning to pace outside the circle angrily.
Hermione finally nodded shortly, and Malfoy walked into the circle. She handed him a spare quill and list of runes he needed to finish and the three of them worked together in strangely companionable silence.
When it was done, the men stood back in relief while Hermione checked their work to make sure it was perfect.
“You’ll need ritual robes,” Harry reminded Draco.
“Yeah, I guess I should go and get them,” the blonde said and turned to leave. “Don’t even think of starting without me,” he threw over his shoulder as he disappeared from sight.
When Draco returned with his robes, Harry awakened Ginny.
“Ha-Harry, what? What are you doing? Are you mad? Let me go,” Ginny screamed, struggling against her binds.
“Shut up, bitch. You’re going to get what’s coming to you. Because of you, my son is dead. Because you were too stupid and too selfish to just ask for a divorce. Or is that too greedy? You wanted the Potter, and Black fortunes for yourself and your idiot lover didn’t you. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole idea behind killing James and me was yours, to begin with,” Harry hissed furiously, his rage and grief causing his magic to flare around him.
“James, James, James. That’s all you ever cared about. You’ve barely even looked at me since he was born. Your precious son. If you had only listened to me and stayed an Auror instead of moving to Europe for a year to train as a war mage, this wouldn’t have happened. You left me behind, all alone with that brat of yours,” Ginny spat back, eyes alight with malice and contempt.
“You, bitch. I asked you to come with me. You were the one who refused, saying you couldn’t possibly leave your family behind. Or was it just your lover you couldn’t leave behind?”
“Ever since the obedience potion stopped working you’ve been impossible to talk to. Why do you have to be so stubborn?” Ginny asked eyes alight with malice despite her situation.
Harry lunged forward, as even Draco looked at the red-head with distaste.
“Hush, Harry, you wouldn’t want to accidentally kill our sacrifice before the ritual, would you? She’ll get what she deserves in a few minutes. And so will the rest of the family,” Hermione said glaring at her sister-in-law and drawing Harry away.
“You’re right, you’re right,” Harry said, casting a silencing charm on the still ranting red-headed witch.
“Good, now, let’s get started, shall we?” Draco said, stepping into the circle carrying his robes.
They each stepped into a cistern to cleanse themselves before the ritual, turning away from each other to give themselves some privacy. When they were done, they each dressed in their ritual robes and stepped into the circle.
“Harry, we’re going to need the Hallows,” Hermione prompted softly.
“Oh, right,” Harry said and closed his eyes to summon them. After that night when he had held all three, he was always aware of them and had always known that he could summon them anytime he wanted. A fact he had never shared with anyone other than Hermione.
“Wait? What? Hallows? You don’t mean the Deathly Hallows? Those are just myths, aren’t they?” Draco asked voice rising with incredulity.
“No, they are not myths. Harry is the Master of Death. Now, hush,” Hermione shushed him and watched as her friend closed his eyes and pulled lightly with his magic.
When Harry opened his eyes, the Hallows were floating in front of him. With a wave of his hand, he sent them to their places in the circle; the wand embedded itself in the ground next to the shears, the stone sank into the ground next to the spindle, and the cloak draped itself over the scroll.
Draco stared wide-eyed at the proceedings. “Y-you…I-I,” he stammered much to Harry’s amusement.
“Yes, I am Master of Death. Always have been. At least, since the night I defeated Riddle I have been. Now, can you move to your place in the circle?” Harry asked, sharing a smirk with Hermione as they moved to their positions. Draco shook off his surprise and moved to his position, mind spinning rapidly with the new information.
“I call upon Clotho the Spinner, the maiden, the giver of life, grant us your favour in our endeavour,” Hermione chanted as she moved to stand next to the resurrection stone and spindle.
“I call upon Lachesis the Allotter, the mother, the judge, grant us your favour in our endeavour,” Draco continued, as he moved to his spot next to the cloak and scroll.
“I call upon Atropos the Inevitable, the crone, death, to grant us your favour in our endeavour,” Harry added, as he stood in his spot next to the wand and shears.
“We call upon the Moirai to help us and grant us the strength to achieve our purpose. Placere auxilium, ut qui fata et ne nos omnes tribus. Mors place tut det nobis in praeteritum transit,” Harry chanted as he drew his holly wand and drew the runes for time and transport in the air in front of him. The runes glowed gold before darkening and sinking into the ground at their feet, and the dagger he had conjured flew straight and true, piercing Ginny’s heart. A whirlpool of magic began to gather, moving over Ginny’s body, moving closer and closer as it gathered them one at a time, dissolving first Hermione’s body, then Draco and finally Harry, before they could even call out in shock.
Harry’s last thought was that he really hoped they had succeeded or Hermione would never forgive him before his world went black.
Harry jerked awake and found himself looking into startled grey eyes and an outstretched hand of an eleven-year-old Draco Malfoy. Surprised by where they had landed in time, he quickly assessed the situation and took Draco’s hand.
“I think I can tell the wrong sort for myself. But thanks for the offer. Would you like to sit down?” Harry asked, pulling slightly on the hand he was still holding. “Ron, you don’t mind taking Crabbe and Goyle back to their compartment, do you? I need to have a chat with Malfoy here,” Harry continued, winking at Ron and giving him a slight mental nudge to do as asked.
The red-head stared blankly at him for a moment before nodding his understanding and herding the two large boys out with him. Harry didn’t know what Ron had understood, but he was just glad the redhead had left without asking any questions. The larger boys looked to Draco for direction, when he just nodded they went with Ron.
By the time the boys had left, Hermione entered the compartment again.
“Oh good, you’re both here,” she said and threw up a privacy ward and locking spell on the door.
Harry looked around and spotted Scabbers, still sleeping among the sweets, and he shot a quick wandless stunner at the rat.
“Oh look, he’s left the rat behind. Hermione, do you have anything we can use to keep this bastard confined until we can get an appointment with Madam Bones?” Harry asked, picking up the scraggly rat by its tail.
“That bastard, I’m tempted to just step on him now and solve some of our problems,” Hermione muttered darkly as she pulled out a piece of wood that she transfigured into a cage, adding unbreakable charms and Harry slipped the rat inside it.
“That’s Wormtail?” Draco asked, still staring at the rat lying asleep in the cage.
“Yeah, that’s the bastard who betrayed my parents and in the future brought Riddle back,” Harry said as he pocketed the cage with the still stunned rat in it.
“You agreed not to help them, Malfoy, but are you willing to work with us instead?” Harry asked slowly.
“I might be. But I think one more oath would be needed, between all three of us before we go further,” Draco said cagily.
“Fine, the loyalty oath?” Harry asked, quirking an eyebrow, and Draco nodded, pulling his wand out and lighting the tip holding it out. Hermione and Harry touched the tips of their lit wands to his.
“Your secrets are my secrets. Et erit in perpetuum defendat, ut mea furta,” they chanted together as the light flowed from their wands in a ribbon, coiling around each of them, before flowing back into their wands. When it was done, the three of them seemed to take a breath of relief. It occurred to Harry that they hadn’t believed that they would succeed, or trusted each other completely until the oaths had settled on them, and he sighed softly before focusing on what Hermione was saying.
“So all three of us are back, and we seem to have all our adult powers if Harry’s wandless magic is any indication. We know that in the current time Dumbledore had the wand and the cloak and the stone was buried in the Gaunt shack. Harry, do you still have your connection to the Hallows?” Hermione asked, turning to Harry as she settled herself in the seat next to him.
Harry closed his eyes and concentrated on his magic, pulling slightly until he felt the Hallows respond. When he opened his eyes, the Hallows were floating in the air in front of him. He reached out and grabbed the wand, and the cloak putting them on the seat next to him but left the ring with the stone levitating in mid-air, leery of touching the Horcrux as he could feel it pulsing with dark magic.
When he looked up to levitate the ring into his trunk, he found Draco reaching out to touch it.
“No! Don’t touch that,” he said, slapping the blonde’s hand away in a hurry before floating the ring to the floor.
“Whatever, Potter. I just wanted to touch it,” Draco huffed.
“It’s got a flesh-wasting curse on it, Malfoy. Not to mention the Horcrux in it. But if you want to die so badly go right ahead,” Harry said, gesturing to the ring on the floor of their compartment. Draco paled dramatically and sank back in his seat.
“That monster actually made a Horcrux? I thought that was just a story. I can’t believe even he would go so far,” Draco said in shock.
“Oh, you have no idea. The sorry bastard made not one but seven Horcruxes,” Harry answered, grimacing slightly at the thought and Draco shuddered.
“So I guess that answers that question. You still have the Horcrux in your head, then?” Hermione stated gesturing to Harry’s scar.
“Yeah,” Harry sighed. “This is too dangerous to leave lying around like this ‘Mione, we need to destroy the Horcrux before we do anything else,” Harry said, sitting back and staring down at the ring that seemed to pulse with malevolence.
Hermione pulled her wand and ran quick diagnostics before beginning work to remove the curse on the ring. It took her a quarter of an hour, and she was sweating by the time she was done.
“How do we destroy it? The sword in this timeline isn’t soaked Basilisk venom yet, and we don’t have it anyway,” she asked, sitting back with a sigh.
“What sword?” Draco asked perplexed.
“The sword of Gryffindor, it’s what we used to destroy the Horcruxes in the previous timeline,” Harry said, rubbing his scar which was prickling in the presence of the Horcrux. “I haven’t felt this prickling in my scar in years. I’d forgotten how annoying it could be. And dammit we have Quirrell to deal with,” he sighed.
“Potter, don’t you know anything? The sword of Gryffindor will come to his heir if you call it,” Draco said, looking at Harry with a puzzled frown.
“That’s nice for the heir, but how does that help us?” Harry asked, quizzically.
“I always wondered why you never claimed your title in the future, but I guess this explains it,” Draco mumbled almost to himself.
“Malfoy, what the hell are you talking about?” Harry asked, half-angry and half-frustrated.
“Granger, don’t tell me you don’t know either? I would have thought you would have researched his family tree by now? You used Gryffindor’s circle in the forest for the time ritual and didn’t wonder why it was uniquely suited to Potter?” Draco asked, turning to Hermione in wonder.
“He wasn’t very interested, and I didn’t want to violate his privacy like that,” Hermione said shrugging, “so wait you’re saying that Harry is the heir of Gryffindor?” she asked catching up to what the blonde was saying.
“Yes, after the whole Chamber of Secrets- heir of Slytherin thing I researched the founders, and surprise surprise, Potter here is Lord Potter, Earl of Gryffindor. So if you call, the sword should come to you,” Draco said smirking a little. “I do apologise for starting that rumour about you being the heir of Slytherin by the way,” he finished smirking slightly.
“Of all the things you need to apologise for that one is the least of them, Malfoy,” Harry said, smiling wryly. “Anyway, that doesn’t help us now since the Basilisk is still very much alive in the chamber of secrets.”
“Ideas?” He asked, turning to Hermione.
“We could try fiendfyre. I think I can control it,” Hermione said, eyeing the ring critically.
“If you’re sure,” Harry said unsurely.
“I’m sure. Stand back,” she said and cast a ward to contain the fire around the ring before calling the fire.
Harry and Draco stood back, watching as the fire melted the ring, and the black mist rose from it with an unearthly scream before it faded. Harry rushed forward and supported Hermione, lowering her into the seat as she quickly ended the spell and took down the fire ward. Luckily, the ward had been effective, and aside from a small burn mark in the floor, the only thing left of the ring and the Horcrux was the Resurrection Stone.
All three of them sank into their seats in relief and stared at the stone that still glowed softly with heat. The ashwinder created in the fire slid between their feet moving to the darkened corner to lay its eggs before dissolving into ashes as they watched.
“Are you alright?” Harry asked, brushing Hermione’s hair gently out of her eyes.
“Yeah, a little tired, but I’ll be fine,” she sighed, leaning her head on his shoulder.
For some reason, this made Draco ache in a way he couldn’t explain, and he turned his eyes away to conjure a container and store the eggs.
Harry cast a cooling charm on the stone and picked it up, putting it with the other Hallows.
“So, we need to hide this from Dumbledore. How much do you wanna bet he comes looking through my luggage to see if I have them?” He asked smirking a little.
“Oh, I’d give anything to have seen the look on his face when the wand and the cloak disappeared,” Hermione said smirking back.
Harry reached in the overhead rack and hauled down his trunk, opening it.
“I think I can make a hidden compartment protected by blood wards in this so I’m the only one who can see them. But you’re better at it, so will you?” he asked, looking at Hermione who huffed at him, a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.
“Sure, you’ve never outgrown this habit of making me do things for you, have you?” she teased smiling, and Harry just smirked back.
“Hey, you don’t get to being head Unspeakable at the tender age of 27 without being the best at these things,” he said, smiling at her.
“Ah, but you could have been head auror if you had ever accepted their offer. And don’t think you’re kidding me, Harry James Potter, I know you are almost as good as me,” she teased back as she watched him create an undetectable extension in his trunk and hid the Hallows in it. She then knelt beside him and started casting the runes to shield it from everyone’s eyes but Harry’s.
Draco merely watched them interact quietly, a hollow feeling in his chest. He knew they had years and years of friendship and loyalty behind them, and he wanted that. He wanted their friendship so badly he could almost taste it. He had always been jealous of their friendship and wished to be included, and he knew this was his chance. He promised himself silently that he would do everything in his power not to ruin it.
When the Hallows were properly hidden, Harry and Hermione sat back in their seats.
“That’s one Horcrux down. Any ideas on how we get this one out of my head?” Harry asked, rubbing his scar.
“I don’t know. But you are not going to let that Dark git kill you again, you hear me,” Hermione declared, rounding on him. Harry just held his hands up in surrender.
“I would rather not die, but I really don’t have any ideas,” Harry said sighing.
“Y-you, really? You let him kill you? That’s true?” Draco asked, gaping a little.
“Yeah, that’s true. I was dead for about five minutes, I think. Had a chat with Dumbledore where he fed me more lies and dragonshite,” Harry said sighing. “You are now about to have a front seat view of all our adventures over the years now, Malfoy. You sure you’re up for it?” he smirked at the blonde.
“I think I can keep up,” the blonde smirked back.
“Ok gentlemen, we need a plan. We need to destroy the Horcruxes. Also, we need revenge on Ron, Ginny and Molly. I’m not sure where the rest of Weasleys stand,” Hermione stated brushing invisible lint off her robe.
“Percy needs to die. Bill and Charlie have stayed as far out of Molly’s machinations as possible, and the twins didn’t seem involved in the mess either,” Harry said, leaning back. “Malfoy, you have anyone to add to our list?” he asked, looking at Draco with an eyebrow quirked.
“My father needs to die, sooner rather than later. Oh, and Dumbledore. That bastard knew. He knew what I was doing and waited until the last second to offer me hope. I hate him,” Draco said, breathing hard, rage pouring off his small form.
“Oh, don’t worry, both those people — along with the rest of the Death Eaters — are already on our list,” Harry said smirking and sharing a look with Hermione.
The bushy-haired girl just looked determined, a hard expression that belied her youthful body on her face.
“You know, It’s going to be hard to act like we are just little kids,” Harry said, noting her expression. “Oh, speaking of, how are we going to sort? Last time I told the hat I didn’t want Slytherin, and it put me in Gryffindor.” Harry glanced at Draco, who was gaping at him again.
“Yes, Draco, all the stories about him are true. The really strange ones anyway,” Hermione said, smirking at the blonde, enjoying his astonishment.
“So you really did kill a Basilisk in the chamber of secrets, and Quirrell is really possessed by the Dark Lord?” Draco asked, dumbfounded.
“Yup, it was huge, and I killed Quirrell, too in first year. I didn’t mean to… but, yeah.” Harry admitted, a little amused by the awe in Draco’s tone.
“Right, yes, of course,” the blonde sighed. “I should’ve known. I decided to come back in time with a madman who likes to run around having adventures.”
“Don’t you dare. You think I liked having that Basilisk hunt me all over the Chamber? Riddle set the thing on me, and I was forced to kill that beautiful creature. He was huge and so old it was a crime against nature to kill him, but I was forced to do it. I do not enjoy the things that happen to me. I react when someone threatens me, that’s it,” Harry spat angrily, eyes flashing at the blonde who retreated holding his hands up in surrender.
“Alright, alright, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. I was just kidding, Mer-lin,” Draco said placatingly, and Harry glared but moved back into his seat deciding to let it go since he knew he was tightly wound right now.
Hermione eyed Draco narrowly, before turning to Harry to continue their conversation.
“The Horcruxes shouldn’t be too much trouble if Malfoy helps. We just need to get the one inside you out as soon as possible. And we can start messing with Dumbledore as soon as we get there by all sorting into Slytherin,” Hermione said, looking at Harry with a questioningly.
“Y-you think the hat will let you, a Muggle-born into Slytherin?” Draco asked uncertainly.
“Sure. Harry knows it was considering Slytherin among others for me last time so it shouldn’t be too much trouble convincing it. Also since you say Harry is the heir of Gryffindor he can convince it not to tell Dumbledore anything about our time-travel since I bet the hat will be able to tell that we are not who we are supposed to be.” Hermione answered, looking pleased with herself.
“But you’re a Muggle-born. The others will try to make your life miserable,” Draco said plaintively.
“I’m a thirty-year-old woman in the body of an eleven-year-old. They better watch their fucking step if they want to survive,” Hermione said evenly, and Harry nodded.
“Speaking of the other Slytherins…are you going to keep your lackeys?” Harry asked, turning to Draco.
“They are not bad sorts. A bit dim, but I was the one who led them down the path to the Dark Lord last time. Goyle never forgave me for it, or for Crabbe’s death. He was the only one who actually had what I consider a good reason for dropping me after the war. All the others can go rot as far as I’m concerned. The war helped show me who was really a friend and who was just interested in the Malfoy money and title,” Draco answered.
“I didn’t know you had a title,” Harry remarked.
“It was forfeit along with most of our money as part of my father’s punishment. I’d like to change that if I can,” Draco said, leaning back in his seat and crossing his legs.
“Merlin, it’s so weird to be in this body. I keep expecting to be taller,” the blonde said when his legs barely reached the ground.
“I know, right? I keep expecting to feel my beard when I touch my face,” Harry said, rubbing a hand over his face.
“I miss your beard. You looked very dashing with it,” Hermione answered, smiling slightly.
“Really?” Harry asked, quirking an eyebrow.
“Yeah, Potter, you looked good with a beard,” Draco said smirking. “Even I could see that.”
“Well, then I’ll just have to grow it back in a few years,” Harry said, smirking at them a pleased flush rising in his cheeks.
“So we’re agreed on talking the sorting hat into letting us into Slytherin?” Hermione asked, bringing them back on track.
“Yeah, shouldn’t be a problem, and it will make it easier for us to be friends. Although, Draco here might have some trouble with Lucius about being friends with a Muggle-born” Harry said, looking quizzically at the blonde.
“Nah, I’ll just tell him she came with you as a package deal. He wants me to be friends with you so bad he’ll probably allow it. He may not allow me to invite you to the Manor, but he won’t tell me I shouldn’t talk to you,” Draco answered, waving a hand dismissively.
“Speaking of the Manor, we need something from there, do you think you can help us get the diary? Before your father gives it to Ginny? Not that she doesn’t deserve to have her soul sucked out by Riddle, but I’d rather not have the Basilisk let loose in the school again,” Harry said, turning to Draco.
“It’s in his personal vault I think, which I can only access upon his death,” Draco answered grimacing slightly.
“That’s not a problem. If you invite me over for Yule break I think I can solve a lot of problems by killing your father for you,” Harry said, waving a hand dismissively.
“You really have no problems killing him, do you?” Draco asked wonderingly. “I never would have thought it of the Gryffindor golden boy.”
“I was never as innocent as everyone thought, and after the last few days I have no problem at all killing anyone who stands in our way,” Harry answered, eyes hard with determination.
“So we’re going to destroy the diary at Yule, and we can get the diadem anytime we want from the Room of Requirement. What about the cup? Malfoy, can you get us into Bellatrix’s vault?” Hermione asked
“I’m her heir, and she’s still stuck in Azkaban, so it shouldn’t be a problem,” Draco nodded.
“So that’s two we can get at Christmas,” Hermione said, smiling slightly. “And one we can get done this term. That’s four. What about the locket Harry?” she asked.
“I’m still Sirius’s heir so Kreacher should respond to me, and Draco as he’s a Black by blood. If we promise to destroy it for him, he will give it to us. We can destroy both the diadem and locket in the Chamber of secrets as soon as we have killed the Basilisk. That only leaves the one inside me as I don’t think he’s made Nagini a Horcrux yet. I don’t think he’s bound her to him yet.” Harry said.
“So this should be done by Yule. Then we just need to banish the spirit in Quirrell, and Voldemort will be gone. Then we can move on to the plan to destroy the Weasleys and Dumbledore while we eliminate the Death Eaters as we come across them,” Hermione concluded.
“Sounds like a plan. So do you want me to murder your father and gift you your family title and money for Yule, Malfoy?” Harry asked, relaxing into his seat and smirking at the blonde.
“Since you are being so generous you might as well call me Draco, both of you,” Draco answered and was greeted by twin smirks and nods.
“If you will call us by our given names as well,” Hermione answered for them.
Their tentative plans made they relaxed back into their seats until they heard pounding on the door.
“Oh, that’s probably Ron. The wanker.” Harry said as he dismissed the privacy ward and locking charm. He pulled the door open and glared at the red-head.
“What?” Harry asked, pointedly.
“Umm it’s…we’re nearly there and all my stuff is here. I need to change into my school, robes.” He responded a little surprised by Harry’s sudden change in attitude.
Hermione and Draco got up from their seats and walked towards the door.
“Ok, Harry, I’d better go help Neville find his toad. I’ll see you later,” Hermione said as she brushed past the red-head, ignoring him pointedly.
“I’ll see you later as well,” Draco said, leaving behind her with a nod to Harry. He also treated Ron as if he wasn’t there.
Harry nodded to both of them and let Ron in before turning to pull his robes out of his trunk, which was still on the floor where they had left it.
The sorting had gone as expected with the three of them in Slytherin, much to Dumbledore and Snape’s consternation. Both men had been aghast that the Golden Boy and a Muggle-born had been sorted into Slytherin. When Harry and Hermione sat next to Draco and started talking in a friendly manner, they were even more upset, which only served to amuse the trio, though they managed to hide their amusement behind childish giggles and whispers.
It amazed Harry that they were so good at this, but after ten years as an Auror dealing with politicians, he had learnt to keep his feelings hidden. He knew that he would not have been able to hide anything when he had been eleven the last time. Until he had joined the Ministry, he had still been hopelessly naive despite his hard past. Joining the Ministry and being exposed to all their rotten politics on a daily basis had destroyed what was left of his innocence rapidly.
It was part of the reason he had transferred to Rome after James’s birth to train as a War Mage at the ICW facility there. He had wanted to take James with him, but Ginny hadn’t allowed it for more than a couple of days at a time, which had broken his heart. But he had been determined to continue his training so he could move his family away from the corruption of the British Ministry.
By the time he had finished changing into his robes, the train had pulled into the station and Harry had managed to avoid talking to Ron anymore than necessary. As they waited for the sorting Hermione had introduced Neville to Draco and him, and they had managed to calm the boy’s fears regarding the sorting.
Harry had also met the rest of their year and was a little astounded by how small they all were, he didn’t remember being this small, and he really hoped that he grew out of it soon.
“Hermione, how did you talk the hat into letting you into Slytherin?” Draco asked when they had finished their meal and were on their way to the dorms. The others had been uncertain of the three of them and left them alone for the most part, so they were the last to head upstairs and all alone.
“I told it that the heir of Gryffindor was a personal friend, and if he didn’t sort us all into Slytherin the Heir would make sure that the hat was turned into rags,” Hermione stated blithely.
“You threatened the hat?” Draco exclaimed while Harry burst out laughing.
“So that’s why he was so grumpy when I spoke to him and told him to keep my secrets and my friends secrets,” Harry managed when he had stopped laughing. “You really do belong in Slytherin,” He said smirking at the bushy-haired girl.
“You bet your arse I do,” Hermione said, walking towards her room with a quick good night. The boys replied in kind, and all three made themselves ready for bed and fell asleep quickly as they were exhausted from the time travel and train ride.
Harry walked down the stairs yawning as they walked together into the great hall for breakfast trailed hesitantly by Crabbe and Goyle. The two larger boys had been rather tentative around the trio ever since the sorting, and it amused harry to have them trailing after him as they used to trail after Draco in the previous timeline.
“Any issues with your dormmates?” Harry asked Hermione as they took their seats.
“They tried to hide my things but I just summoned everything, and after I hexed Parkinson, they calmed down and shut up,” Hermione answered nonchalantly.
Draco seemed to have stopped gaping at Hermione’s cold-bloodedness and was either taking it in his stride or hiding his feelings very well; Harry couldn’t decide which. He didn’t blame his friend for what she had become. The violation of her body and mind by someone she had trusted and loved was enough to turn even the strongest witch brittle. He himself could feel the coldness seeping in around his heart, and all he could do was be there for Hermione when she finally broke down like he knew she would be there for him. In the meantime, they had revenge to carry out.
Snape handed them their schedules during breakfast with a special glower for Harry, which he returned with interest, making the older man step back in surprise. Harry looked at his schedule and smirked at Hermione when he saw that their first class was Transfiguration with McGonagall. He had always respected the witch and was looking forward to making her acquaintance all over again. He really hoped that being sorted into Slytherin wouldn’t damage his relationship with her.
The usual whispers started in the halls about Harry, but this time, Hermione was included in the whispers as she was almost always with Harry and the only Muggle-born to be sorted into Slytherin in decades. Draco usually brought up the rear followed by Crabbe and Goyle who had taken to acting like their shadows, a fact which amused Harry no end. Harry just ignored the whispering, but they were beginning to irritate Hermione.
“How the hell you managed to go through this for all these years without hexing them absolutely silly, I’ll never understand.” She remarked to Harry late one night when they were alone in the common room, Draco dozing beside them.
“I’ve just learned to ignore them. They’re just idiots Hermione. They can’t help themselves, all these sheeple who expect me to do their dirty work for them.” Harry remarked from where he lay on the couch, one leg dangling to the floor as he lazily flipped through an advanced charms textbook he had gotten from the library.
“Get up, Harry. You look half asleep where you are. Come on, go get changed and into bed. And you’d better take Sleepy here with you. ” She said nudging his leg with a foot as she came to stand next to him.
Harry yawned and took her hand to help him get up.
“You’re going up too, right? No spending all night on spellwork, Ms. Granger.” He said, waving a finger under her nose which she pretended to bite with a grin.
Harry laughed and moved to nudge Draco who had fallen asleep in his chair awake, and together they prodded him up the stairs and into his bed, pulling the covers up over the blonde who immediately fell asleep again. The other two then said their good nights and Hermione reluctantly went to her own dorm leaving Harry to creep into his bed sleepily.
In just a couple of weeks, the three of them had taken to ruling Slytherin, so much so, that even if any of the other boys had been awake, they wouldn’t have protested Hermione’s presence. This was another source of amusement for the trio, and as Harry said, they had to get their amusement somewhere since sitting through lessons all over again was boring.
Lessons were difficult as they had to pretend to fail at things they already knew, which was very frustrating at times. Still, being one of the top students was easy for the three of them and homework was mostly just figuring out how many mistakes to make to look natural. One of the three of them usually helped Crabbe and Goyle with their work, although Draco seemed to have the most patience for the job. Much to Harry’s surprise, the blonde was endlessly patient with his lumbering sidekicks and always took great care when helping them with their work.
They had also made sure to strike up a friendship with others in different houses. Neville, Seamus, and Dean from Gryffindor, Hannah and Susan from Hufflepuff, and Terry and Anthony from Ravenclaw along with the Patil twins and Lavender. Their study table in the library was the talk of the school, and Harry was sure that Dumbledore was getting regular news of his activities.
Harry also knew that his trunk had been searched several times since they had arrived, along with Draco’s, Hermione’s and anybody else he might have possibly given the Hallows to. It amused him to think of Dumbledore stumbling along in the night searching students belongings for his lost wand.
Ron confronted Harry the first chance he got when the dark-haired boy was alone.
“Too good to be my friend now, Potter? Now that you are going around with the know-it-all Muggle-born and that prat Malfoy? I can’t believe you sorted into Slytherin. You were supposed to be my friend.” Ron spat angrily, grabbing Harry’s arm and hauling him around.
“Of course. They are much better company than you could ever be.” Harry answered coolly, pulling his arm out of the other boy’s hold.
“Just because my family is poor doesn’t mean that they are better.” Ron snapped face going red with anger.
“It’s not the fact that your family is poor that makes them better than you, it’s the fact that you are a lazy, spoilt brat who has no morals or loyalty,” Harry answered eyes cold and expressionless.
“How-how dare you. I suppose you stole my rat as well then? Just to get back at me?”
“Of course not. What would I want with your stupid rat? You probably lost it somewhere, careless tosser that you are.” Harry answered dismissively and started to walk away.
“Don’t walk away from me. I’m talking to you.”
“And I have nothing more to say to a talentless loser like you. And there is nothing I want to hear from you. Leave me and my friends alone from now on.” Harry said and walked away, leaving the redhead spitting with impotent anger but unable to do anything as Professor Flitwick was walking towards them.
Much as it annoyed Harry, they weren’t ready to deal with the Weasleys yet, so as per Hermione’s plan, they would wait. The red-head was left still searching for his rat everywhere. Having not noticed that the animal was missing when they got off the train, he had no way of knowing when he lost it. Pettigrew was tucked away in the corner of Harry’s closet, asleep in his cage thanks to The Draught of Living Death that they had stolen from Snape on the first day.
Hermione had yet to come up with a plausible explanation of how they had come upon the rat or how they figured out that Sirius was innocent. The most they could come up with was to introduce the subject with Neville’s grandmother and hope she would pursue it or dump Pettigrew’s body in front of the DMLE and hope someone asked the right questions. Harry felt bad for letting Sirius rot in jail for so long, but they couldn’t figure out a way to get him out without raising suspicion, so he pushed it to the back of his mind and concentrated on enjoying being back in Hogwarts as a student after so long.
Lessons with Quirrell always made Harry’s blood boil, and his scar hurt, as he knew exactly what the bumbling man had allowed himself to become. It took regular reminders from Hermione that they couldn’t exorcise Riddle’s spirit yet to prevent Harry from grabbing the man and burning him to ashes.
Harry had already decided not to play Quidditch that year, and he was sure that Snape wouldn’t make any allowances for him to play anyway, so he stayed quiet and ignored Ron’s taunting during their first flying lesson. The redhead had not managed to make any friends in his own house and seemed to think that taunting Harry would help with this. The more they ignored him, the more incensed he became, and that suited Harry just fine.
Harry knew that Hermione was working on a spell to castrate the boy magically so he would be completely impotent and sterile, but she wasn’t finished yet. He had already asked her to work on a spell like that for Ginny as well. As far as Harry was concerned, it was the least the two redheads deserved.
Snape was another matter entirely. The man couldn’t seem to make heads or tails of them. The potions professor had called Draco to his office the first day and tried to talk to him about his friendship with Hermione but had accepted it when Draco had pointed out that it had been Harry’s idea to befriend the girl. Their first potions lesson had been almost a repeat of their first lesson in the previous timeline with the difference being that Harry had answered every question the man had posed, shocking the potions professor silent for several minutes before he gathered himself and proceeded with his lesson.
After that, Snape left the trio to their own devices, though Harry knew that Snape still kept a close eye on them. The other teachers also seemed to take a special interest in the trio, but that seemed to be just because they were easily the three brightest students of the year, and while Harry felt bad about misleading his teachers, he consoled himself that it was necessary for their plans to work.
A couple of weeks had gone by, and Harry was surprised that Hagrid hadn’t invited him to tea yet. He wondered if being Draco’s friend had made the man hold off on inviting him or if Dumbledore had said something. He mentioned it to Hermione one Saturday a few weeks after the term had started.
“I wonder why Hagrid hasn’t invited me to tea yet. Last time, he invited Ron and me the first weekend.” Harry said as he sat down next to Hermione in a disused classroom that they used whenever they wanted to be alone.
Draco snorted, and Harry glared at him.
“Hagrid may have a good heart, Harry but you know he has his nose so far up Dumbledore’s arse that he can probably see his tonsils.” Hermione said, making Draco snort even louder, “I know you want to, but you can’t trust him.” She added kindly making Harry slump sadly.
Draco walked over and patted him on his shoulder comfortingly. It had been surprisingly easy for Harry to fall into a friendship with Draco as they seemed to have the same kind of sense of humour and a lot of the same interests.
“Come on, don’t mope. Want to get some of the school brooms and go flying with me?” Draco asked, trying to cheer Harry up, and Hermione smiled at them both indulgently.
“Yes, I know you’ve both finished all your essays, so go fly, clear your head. Both of you.” She said making a shooing motion with her hand. Hermione and Draco had also become quite good friends in the short time they had been in school. Having a shared secret and being the only adults among children had made it easier for them all to put aside their past differences.
The boys laughed and ran out of the room, chasing each other across the great hall and outside. One of the few good things about coming back in time was that they could act like kids again; it was a liberating feeling. When they were outside, by unspoken agreement, they slowed to a walk, each lost in their own thoughts until Harry noticed the sadness on Draco’s face. Then he stopped the blonde with a hand on his arm and cast a privacy charm.
“I know I don’t really know you as well as I know Hermione, but I can tell that something is bothering you Draco. You’ve been quieter than usual all day.” Harry said softly.
“I got a letter from my mother today. I’d forgotten how much she loved me. Is that even possible, forgetting something like that?” The blonde asked with a pained laugh.
“It does happen, Dray. You know it’s easy to suppress memories of things that hurt too much.” Harry said, squeezing his shoulder comfortingly.
“What? My mother loving me was too painful to remember? I’m a bad son. I should have done more to save her.” Draco said, turning away, grief and pain dulling his silver eyes.
“No, Dray. You are not a bad son. It’s not your fault those nutters attacked her when she was shopping. You couldn’t have known. Things had quieted down, why would you expect an attack years after the war? Losing her the first time was probably too painful to deal with so you just suppressed everything about her so you could function. That’s perfectly understandable. And as to doing more, you’re here now, aren’t you, you have another chance to keep her safe now.” Harry said comfortingly.
“After what my father put her through during their marriage she deserved a better life, Harry. She deserved better, and those bastards murdered her in cold blood. Now I have to watch my father curse and potion her into compliance all over again.” Draco said, turning away from Harry, unwilling to have Harry see his tears.
“Not for long. You’re inviting me home for the holidays, aren’t you, so I can take care of your father.” Harry said, turning the blonde around and putting an arm around him in a sideways hug squeezing until the blonde laughed.
“Thanks, Harry. I can’t thank you enough.” The blonde said, smiling a little. “Speaking of the bastard who calls himself my father, I got a letter from him as well. He’s thrilled that I’m your friend. This way, he’ll be perfectly positioned to offer you to his master when he returns.” He finished with a small moue of distaste.
Harry nodded agreement, “He really is a bastard. I’m so glad we can get rid of him so quickly.” He said and ended the charm as they continued on their way to the Quidditch pitch.
When they reached the broom shed they found the Weasley twins locking up the broom shed.
“Ooh What do we have here?” One of the twins said peering evilly down at Harry and Draco.
“Ickle firsties.” The other twin continued mirroring his twin.
“Slytherin firsties. Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy whom we have heard so much about –“
“-From dear Ronniekins. What shall we do with them brother dear?” They finished.
“Look, we don’t have any problems with you. Your brother, on the other hand, is a foul-mouthed, lazy git who keeps insulting us.” He said, trying to move around them, but they stepped into his path.
“I have to admit Ronniekins can be-“
“-A bit of a trial, but-“
“-He’s still our brother. Nobody gets to insult him-“
The twins said in their weird way of talking in turns and finishing each other’s sentences.
“Well, then he should stop insulting other people. There’s only so much a bloke can take before retaliating.” Harry huffed, trying to move around them again and being blocked.
“If you really wanted to be good brothers, then you would teach him not to pick on people who would rather hex him than look at his ugly mug.” Draco said glaring at the twins, “Now are you going to move or do we have to hex you?” he asked, pulling his wand and pointing it at the twins.
Harry’s wand was in his hand as well, poking the closest twin in the chest.
“We like feisty.”
“I’m Fred, and this is George.”
“We’ll take care of Ronniekins, don’t you worry. So you’re Harry Potter, are you? Should have known when we saw you at the station.” George said, eyeing Harry speculatively.
Harry nodded shortly, he had no real problem with the twins, none of Ginny’s brothers other than Ron and Percy had supported her in their problems in the future, they hadn’t supported him either, and that annoyed him, but he appreciated their neutral stance.
“And you must be Draco Malfoy. Where’s the third in your little trio?” the twins asked curiously.
“She’s inside studying. She doesn’t like flying much.” Harry answered when Draco merely nodded and kept quiet. The blonde didn’t have anything in particular against the twins or the Weasleys, but he held a grudge because of what had happened with his new friends in the future.
The twins peered at them curiously for a few minutes before stepping out of their way so they could attempt to get into the broom shed.
Draco cast a quick Alohomora, and they entered to pick out the least damaged of the school brooms.
“Your father should make a donation to buy new brooms, Draco. These are a disgrace. The one I had for our lesson pulled to the right, and I’m not at all sure about the braking charms.” Harry said as they walked out with the twins following them. Both Harry and Draco had decided to ignore them and see what they would do by unspoken agreement.
They entered the Quidditch pitch and kicked off soon flying up above the stands throwing and tossing a small ball they had transfigured from a rock as they didn’t want to release a snitch and attract attention. They made a note of the twins watching them from below for a while before they left towards the castle. Once they were sure, the twins had gone Harry started doing lazy sweeps with his broom, along with all the tricks he had missed doing all these years with Draco flying around doing his own dives and spins next to him.
After a good couple of hours of flying, both boys felt settled again and landed taking the brooms back to the shed and locking up after them.
“I didn’t realise how much I’d missed flying. All these years of being too busy to play Quidditch. Never going to do that anymore.” Harry said once they had met back up with Hermione in what they had begun to think of as their classroom.
“Don’t worry Potter. I’ll make sure you don’t. If you forget, I’ll remind you.” Draco said, “I’ve missed it too. The difference is I knew I missed it, I just couldn’t afford a broom anymore, and I wasn’t allowed to use the school brooms.” He said stretching to relieve tired muscles that had tightened while flying.
Harry and Hermione exchanged looks but refrained from saying anything, as they knew that the last thing he wanted was their pity.
“I’m glad we brought you back with us Malfoy,” Harry said grinning. “Who knew you could be such a good friend.” He teased.
“You could have, you tosser. If you had only taken my hand last time around.” Draco teased back.
“Ah, but you were such a little git then. So stuck up and arrogant. You’re much nicer now.” Harry said smirking at the blonde who pushed him off the bench they were sitting on.
“Not much competition between you two. You were both little gits, to begin with.” Hermione told them, putting down her book and making a note in the parchment beside her causing both boys to burst into laughter while she looked up and smirked at them.
When they had managed to control themselves, Harry moved to look over her shoulder at what she was working on.
“What are you working on?” He asked, studying her scribbles on the parchment.
“Curses for Ron and Ginny.” She answered and went back to her book.
“If you can work it in I want them to be able to feel arousal but never actually come no matter what they try along with the sterility curse,” Harry said sitting back down opposite her and Draco took the spot next to him.
“Oh, you are evil Potter. I love it. How come I did not know this about you before?” Draco asked, nudging Harry in the ribs.
Harry just grinned at him and said, “You didn’t? I would have thought you would have figured it out what with all the detentions you didn’t manage to land me in over the years.” He smirked, making the blonde grin and poke him in the stomach.
Hermione just continued reading a smile, quirking her lips. It was surprisingly easy to joke and tease about their past now that Draco had apologised to them both for his part in the war, and for being a git in school, and Harry had apologised for the Sectumsempra incident. It had taken the better part of a month to get there, but they were all three pleased with how well they worked together.
When they sobered up, Harry turned to Draco.
“Dray, how exactly does it work, the title thing? I mean if we kill Lucius, do you automatically become Lord Malfoy, or what?” It had been bothering the dark-haired boy, and he had finally remembered to ask the question.
“If my father dies, I am his only heir, so I become Lord Malfoy as soon as I put on his signet ring which you can only do after your first magical maturation at eleven. But because I’m only eleven, my mother will be the one who will hold my seat in the Wizengamot. I only get the full wand rights and privileges of an adult after my thirteenth birthday and my Wizengamot seat at seventeen. It works the same for you. You can claim your title now and access to the family vaults and wards, but you can’t take your seat on the Wizengamot until you are seventeen.” Draco answered remarkably unbothered by the talk of murdering his father.
“So after each stage of our magical maturation, we get some more of our rights?”
“Indeed.” Draco nodded.
Harry nodded thoughtfully and frowned, staring off into space.
“Oi, Potter, what’s going on in that mess of a head of yours?” Draco prodded nudging him again.
“Hmm…oh just trying to figure out what all we’ll need to do during the holidays. We’ll need to kill your father, go to Gringotts where I will be reminded that I can claim my title and ring, and we can get the two Horcruxes. We also need to find the time to chuck Peter Pettigrew bound and unconscious in front of the DMLE, so they start looking into Sirius’s case.” Harry answered quietly, a frown on his face.
“I’m sorry to say this Harry, but we should probably postpone Sirius’s matter till the summer. I don’t think we can get everything done in time, otherwise.” Hermione said gently.
Harry sighed sadly, “I know. Makes me feel terrible, but that’s what I was thinking as well. Besides, it’s better that he stays in there safe while we get rid of Riddle once and for all.” He agreed.
Draco slung an arm around his shoulder in a light hug.
“Cheer up, Harry. If everything goes well, then you could be living with him as soon as next Yule.” Draco said bracingly. And Harry nodded leaning into the blonde a little.
That little gesture of trust, which would have been impossible as little as a month ago warmed Draco’s heart to an untold degree and made him wonder at his feelings for Harry.
“Are we still going to wait till Halloween to get the diadem and summon Kreacher?” Draco asked arm still around Harry. He didn’t want to move, and the dark-haired boy wasn’t moving either, which settled a feeling of contentment deep in Draco’s soul.
“No, I think we should kill the Basilisk on Halloween when everyone is busy running after the Troll. We can go back some other time and destroy the Horcruxes.” Hermione answered, looking up from her work.
“Can we at least try to talk him around this time. I feel bad for killing him the first time.” Harry said plaintively.
“Glad to see your hero complex is still very much in place.” Draco drawled teasingly, and Harry tried to push his arm off his shoulder, which the blonde laughingly deflected.
“Yes, Harry, you can try, but I’m not sure you will succeed, Riddle has already damaged that poor thing too badly. I don’t think Ginny made it worse when she had the diary.” Hermione said soothingly, and Harry nodded, feeling a little sad about that.
“I take it we’re not going to use the sword to kill it?”Harry asked.
“Oh no, there will be no half-arsing this one. We will be taking a rooster in there with us and spelling it to crow on command.” Hermione answered, pushing her hair out of her face in an annoyed gesture.
“I should just cut it all off; it’s so annoying.” She muttered.
“No, no, don’t do that. I’ll get you some of the stuff my mother uses; it will help tame your hair.” Draco answered quickly.
“Yeah. It’s gorgeous hair. Don’t cut it.” Harry agreed, making the girl look up in surprise and blush lightly with pleasure.
“Thank you. I had no idea you even noticed that.” Hermione said softly, looking down and making Harry wonder if Ron had ever complimented her.
He exchanged a look with Draco who looked just as worried about Hermione as he did. Both boys resolved to compliment their friend at every opportunity. They didn’t like seeing their usually confident friend so unsure of herself.
“Umm, how are we going to manage in the Chamber if we can’t even look at the snake?” Draco asked.
“Last time Fawkes showed up and blinded it, and I still ended up being bitten,” Harry said rubbing at the part of his arm where in the previous timeline he had had a scar from the Basilisk fang.
“You got bitten? How did you survive?” The blonde asked, looking at Harry wonderingly.
“Fawkes cried into the wound. Phoenix tears cure pretty much anything, I guess.” Harry answered, shrugging. “We can’t count on that this time so we should probably think of something else, just in case.” He continued.
“I think the rooster should do nicely to kill that monster. You go ahead and try to talk to it. We’ll give you five minutes and follow with the rooster, alright?” Hermione answered, “I’ll try to acquire phoenix tears through owl order before that.” She finished, and the boys nodded.
Soon the three of them split up with Draco going to the Slytherin common room to hang out with Crabbe and Goyle and help them with their homework. Harry went to the library to meet up with Neville, Dean and Seamus and Hermione stayed in their classroom and continued her work on the curses for Ron and Ginny.
Harry found it very different being friends with the three Gryffindors in this timeline. In the past, he had mostly ignored them in favour of Ron since the red-head was so jealous and Harry had tried to accommodate that as much as he could, but now he could see how much better they were as friends for him than Ron had ever been. He was beginning to think that just about anyone would be better than Ron as a friend and cursed himself for being so blind in the past.
The days and weeks sped by with lessons, and Hagrid finally invited Harry and only Harry to tea. After some discussion, they decided that Harry would go alone with Hermione and Draco following under the cloak. They were curious about what the half-giant would have to say to him.
“Arry. It’s good to see yer. How you been doin’.” The man asked cheerfully as he opened the door for Harry while holding Fang back to prevent him from jumping.
Once Harry walked inside with Draco and Hermione following closely he shut the door and found a place to sit so that the other two could hide behind him and stay away from Fang who they had forgotten in their plans.
The dog bounded towards Harry, and he tried to grab on and deflect him, preventing the dog from revealing Draco and Hermione’s presence and ended up getting on the floor with the big slobbering beast rubbing his belly much to Fang’s delight.
Hagrid plied him with tea and rock cakes that he fed to Fang and asked about his classes and his new friends. Harry answered as honestly as he could curious about what the man would say about Draco and Hermione.
“So, how is it yer friends with the Malfoy boy? And sorted in Slytherin?” The big man boomed.
“The hat said that Slytherin would help me on my way to greatness, so I didn’t see any reason to disagree. You’re alright with me being in Slytherin, aren’t you, Hagrid?” Harry asked curiously blinking innocent green eyes up at the half-giant.
“I sorta though yer woulda kept away from Slytherins, Arry what with You-Know-Who bein one an’ all.” The giant said uncertainly.
“Just because Voldemort was a Slytherin doesn’t mean they are all bad, right? I mean if the hat thinks that’s what’s best for me, who am I to disagree? Besides, I met Draco when we were in Diagon Alley and Hermione on the train, and they are very nice, so Slytherin can’t be all bad.” Harry said, feeling a little bad to be messing with the man, but he really wanted to see if the gamekeeper could think for himself or if he just parroted back everything the headmaster believed.
“Ah, guess so.” Hagrid mumbled before brightening a little, “I mean Perfesser Snape is Slytherin and he ain’t half bad. Perfessser Dumbledore says he can be trusted.” He said nodding to himself decisively and Harry had a hard time keeping a straight face.
The rest of the visit passed easily enough with Harry remembering to ask about the break-in at the bank and tricking Hagrid into revealing Flamel’s name again just so the headmaster would hear about it and be reassured that his little hero was still on the job.
He left quickly heading straight for their classroom with the other two following him. Once they were all inside, Harry closed the door and cast privacy and locking charms on the door.
“So, what do you guys think?” Harry asked as the other two came out from under the cloak.
“I think that next time we need to consider charms to mask our scent as well as silencing charms.” Draco groused having had the hardest time avoiding the dog.
Hermione nodded, “We completely forgot about him. Next time we ‘ll be better prepared.”
“I almost busted a gut trying not to laugh when he started talking about how nice Snape was,” Draco said, rubbing his stomach.
“I know, right? Too funny.” Harry said, and when Draco snorted it set them both off while Hermione smiled, giggling a little with them.
“It was pretty funny.” She agreed, “ But this just proves what I was saying, Harry. We can’t trust him not to go straight to Dumbledore. We have to handle him with care and only tell him what we want him to know.” She said, sobering rapidly.
Harry nodded, “Yeah, I figured. Dumbledore sure knows how to pick his minions.”
“He either bribes or manipulates them into doing what he wants. Are we sure the man didn’t sort Slytherin when he was in school?” Draco asked quirking an eyebrow, and Harry smirked at him.
“He would be horrified. According to him, the only good house is Gryffindor.” Harry answered casually, slinging an arm around the blonde.
“So all those rock cakes made me hungry. Shall we go and see what’s for dinner?” Harry asked, and the trio left the room after dismissing the privacy charms.
“That reminds me. Over Yule, you need to see a private healer and start taking some nutritional potions to make up for the ten years you’ve been living with the Dursleys.” Hermione said, and Harry grimaced.
He never liked to think of his relatives, and in the future, he hadn’t seen Vernon or Petunia since the night the order ‘rescued’ him from Privet drive before his 17th birthday. He had however kept an eye on Dudley from a distance to make sure he didn’t produce any magical offspring or illtreat them. He also didn’t like to think of the many many potions he would have to take to make up for the nutritional deficiencies he had suffered and could only hope they would be a little less this time since he was starting early.
“What do you mean nutritional deficiencies?” Draco asked curiously.
“They starve him more often than not and treat him like a house-elf the rest of the time. After the war, he had to take nutritional supplements and organ and bone growth potions for a couple of years.” Hermione answered, keeping her voice soft to prevent anyone from eavesdropping.
“I’m sorry I ever teased you about your family,” Draco said, horrified that anyone would do such a thing to a child.
“It’s fine, Draco. I put it behind me a long time ago.” Harry said, patting the blonde on the shoulder.
“But you’ll have to go back there in the summer. You can’t go back. You can come and stay with me at the Manor. Both of you. Come stay most of the holidays with me. I insist.” Draco said insistently.
“What’s got you so worked up, Draco?” Came Neville’s voice from above and they looked up to see him walking down the stairs from Gryffindor tower.
“Potter’s relatives starve him and treat him worse than my father treats a house-elf. I was just telling him he shouldn’t go back there for the summer and can spend both Yule and the summer at my place.” Draco answered despite Harry nudging him hard in the ribs. Neville and the Gryffindors who were following him looked horrified.
Draco just glared back at Harry, “Somebody needs to know about this and do something Harry. We can’t have a magical child living in such conditions.” He said defiantly.
Harry just sighed resignedly as Hermione looked on approvingly.
“You can spend part of the summer with me as well, Harry. I’m sure Gran can do something to make sure your relatives are properly punished for their treatment of you.” Neville added softly.
“Thanks, Nev. You’re a good friend.” Harry said, smiling at the quiet boy.
“He gets you’re a good friend, and I get glared at even though it was my idea. I see how it is Potter.” Draco said mock-pouting and Harry just laughed at him and slung an arm around his shoulder.
“You’re my best friend now, Draco. It’s kinda your job to look out for me.” Harry returned teasingly, and Draco grinned at him.
Draco was surprised by how much the sound of that pleased him. He had worked long and hard to get to where he was, and he wasn’t giving it up for anything. He friends walked into the hall to take their seats at dinner and Harry was sure that his circumstances would now be big news all through the school.
It wasn’t long before Harry was summoned by his head of house for a little chat following Draco’s outburst. Harry was honestly not expecting the man to do much, so he went without any expectations.
“Potter, come in, sit down,” Snape said as Harry knocked on his classroom door.
When Harry had taken a seat at one of the desks, the professor looked at him with his usual glare and Harry returned the look serenely. Draco and Hermione followed him invisibly wearing the cloak.
“What is this? I hear about your relatives mistreating you?” The potions master began without preamble.
“It’s true sir. They have never wanted me and always treated me like I was a freak. They tried to starve and beat the freakishness out of me, but clearly, that hasn’t worked since I still have my magic.” Harry answered evenly.
Snape’s eyes widened, and he paled a little, “Th-they hit you?” he asked his voice rising a little.
“Every time I had an incident of what I now know was accidental magic, they locked me in my cupboard and starved me. I was always lucky to get one meal a day on weekends. During school days, the school gave me breakfast and lunch, but they didn’t give me dinner when I got home.” Harry answered blandly, he was finding it quite entertaining to mess with Snape’s worldview, “My uncle seemed to also blame me for anything that went wrong in his life and regularly beat me with his fists and sometimes his belt when he was in the mood. My aunt never hit me, but she did make me cook and clean her house and maintain her garden. I’ve been cooking for them since I was three.” Harry finished.
Snape just gaped at him not knowing what to say. The man managed to pull himself together finally and glared at Harry like it was his fault.
“Why did you never tell anyone about this?” He growled.
“Who was I supposed to tell? The only teacher I tried to tell got fired, and I believe aunt Petunia was behind it somehow.” Harry answered, glaring back at Snape.
“Yes, well. We will have to look into it.” Snape said, and Harry just nodded taking it as a dismissal he left the room.
Dumbledore ended his disillusionment charm and stepped out.
“The boy is lying, or he’s exaggerating. They are his family. They wouldn’t treat him like that.” Dumbledore stated coming to stand in front of Snape.
“If you’ll remember Headmaster I knew Petunia and Lily when we were younger. I wouldn’t put it past her to do that to him.” Snape answered. He had been shaken by the calm recitation of abuse from Harry, and he didn’t know what to make of the boy.
“Come, come, my boy. You don’t really think that anybody can survive treatment like that for ten years? The boy clearly had a falling out with his family and is now lying to avoid going back there.” Dumbledore said, smiling a little but his eyes had a hard glitter rather than their usual twinkle, and it took the potions master aback for a minute.
“No, Albus. I think he told nothing less than the unvarnished truth. You saw him. There was very little emotion behind the words.”
“Exactly, my boy, that’s because he was lying.” Dumbledore insisted eyes hard again, “ I also think he has the wand and the cloak. I don’t know how he got them, but somehow he has my wand and his father’s cloak. It disappeared from my office on September 1st, and there is no other reason for them to disappear.” The old man ranted before collecting himself and striding out of the room.
“You are so obsessed with the loss of your wand and the cloak. Why is that exactly? You’ve searched all three of their trunks repeatedly and found nothing. Why do you think the boy has it?” Snape asked, following the headmaster out.
“The boy is too powerful as it is. And what with his sorting Slytherin and if it is true that he is being mistreated at home, he could very easily become the next dark lord. I will not allow that to happen.” Dumbledore stated ignoring Snape’s question, and Snape stopped in shock.
“You think that just because he sorted Slytherin and is powerful, he is going to become dark? Merlin, he’s only a child. If you think he’s on the wrong path, you should be doing all you can to help him get out of the bad situation he has at home and show him some care. You don’t prevent someone from turning dark by ignoring their cries for help, Albus.” Snape pointed out aghast at the depth of the headmaster’s distrust of Harry.
Dumbledore just waved a hand dismissively at Snape and entered his office, and Snape sighed. He would need help to rectify Potter’s situation, and he didn’t think the headmaster would be the one to offer it. Determined he made his way to McGonagall’s office with Draco and Hermione following invisibly.
The two young Slytherins crept along and just about managed to enter McGonagall’s office without Snape noticing their presence.
“Minerva, we need to do something about the Potter situation and the headmaster doesn’t seem to believe him,” Snape said as he swept into the office and sat down opposite her.
“But you do?” She asked, looking up from the essay she was marking.
“I knew Petunia and Lily as children, you might remember. I certainly wouldn’t put such behaviour beyond her. The bitch was jealous of Lily and her magic and absolutely awful to her whenever we were home from school.” Snape answered nodding.
“I tried to tell Albus. That night, when he was going to leave Harry there, I tried to tell him they were the worst sort of muggles, but he wouldn’t listen to me.” The deputy headmistress sighed, “What is he fixated on now? Then, it was the fact that the fame might go to the boy’s head.”
“He seems to believe that with Potter sorting into Slytherin that he might be becoming the next Dark Lord.” Snape said pinching the bridge of his nose, “Ever since he lost his wand he hasn’t been exactly rational. We have to do something.” Snape finished tiredly.
“I agree. But what would you have me do? The only person who is in a position to protest Harry’s placement is in Azkaban.” McGonagall said sadly.
“Black.” Snape spat angrily.
“Sirius is still his magical guardian. They tried to strip him of his rights to Harry as well as his Black heir’s ring and didn’t succeed. I don’t know why. If he was guilty, then it should have worked. But then he was sent to Azkaban, so I guess they managed to prove that he was guilty at his trial. I didn’t understand it at the time, and frankly, I still don’t.” McGonagall sighed.
“Are you sure he had a trial? I don’t remember hearing of one.”
“Of course he had a trial. They wouldn’t put the heir of an ancient and noble house in jail without a trial. Would they?” She asked, aghast at the thought.
“Wouldn’t they? You remember what it was like then. Crouch out for blood. So many people killed no questions asked in his quest to rid the world of dark wizards. I never liked Black or Potter for that matter, but the one thing I was sure of was that he was loyal.” Snape said looking so tired and sad the McGonagall got up and patted his shoulder comfortingly.
“For now he has been invited to stay with the Malfoys and Longbottoms for the summer and Yule. We just have to make sure the headmaster doesn’t interfere with his plans.”Snape added, and McGonagall nodded thoughtfully.
“The boy has managed to make friends with a variety of people despite being in Slytherin, did you notice? He’s a lot like his mother in that way.” She said, smiling.
“And Merlin, his eyes. Looking at them, it’s like looking at Lily all over again. I miss her so much.” Snape sighed.
McGonagall nodded sadly.
“She was so bright and beautiful, a lot like Miss. Granger in fact. You two were so close in those days, more like brother and sister than friends.”
“Until I ruined it all by taking my anger out on her and joining the Dark Lord. I’ve never forgiven myself for it.” Snape said sadly rubbing a hand over his face.
“I should do better by her son. Maybe then, she’ll forgive me in the afterlife.” Snape said, looking up at the older woman.
“She forgave you. You know she did; she just stayed away to keep you safe.” McGonagall said gently.
Snape just sighed sadly and got up from his seat.
“So we are agreed? We keep Albus from interfering with Potter’s plans for now while looking into ways to remove him from that house permanently.” He said as he pulled the door open, and McGonagall nodded, “Goodnight Minerva.” Snape added and walked out of the room, closely followed by the two invisible listeners.
Draco and Hermione made their way quickly to their room to join Harry, pulling off the cloak as soon as they entered.
“How’d it go?” Harry asked, looking up from his homework where he was adding small mistakes so nobody would suspect him of cheating.
“You were right. Dumbledore was in the office, invisible. And he does think even without proof that you have the Hallows and are fashioning yourself to be the next Dark Lord.” Draco said, sitting down opposite him.
“Snape was a surprise though. Not only did he believe you, but he also went to McGonagall for help. And his relationship with your mother was more like siblings rather than romantic as we thought.” Hermione added perching on the corner of the desk next to Draco.
“Huh. So where did Dumbledore get the wrongheaded notion that he was in love with her?” Harry asked, “Honestly, it’s a relief. The thought of him having a zombie boner for my mother was just creepy.” he said shuddering at the thought of Snape and his mother.
“Anyway, they decided to keep the headmaster out of your business as much as possible while also investigating Sirius’ circumstances since he’s the only one who can really do anything about it,” Draco added picking up a potions textbook from Harry’s desk.
“That’s interesting. In the previous timeline, nobody bothered to look into his incarceration, ever. It was only after the war that I managed to get his name cleared, posthumously. Oh well, I wish them luck. We can help as soon as we figure out a way to get Pettigrew into the ministry bound and gagged with a note explaining things.” Harry said, putting down his quill and stretching.
“I have a couple of ideas about that. But we can discuss them in the morning. Let’s get to bed now. I’m exhausted.” Hermione said, herding both boys to bed after locking and disillusioning the door behind them.
Halloween dawned bringing with it a sense of dread for Harry. They were going to face the Basilisk today. He couldn’t believe he would have to do it twice in his life, although he supposed that it wasn’t really the same life, technically.
Practising wand movements to cast the levitation spell brought back memories, some not as pleasant as others for both Harry and Hermione. As soon as everyone started heading into the great hall for the feast, the trio disillusioned themselves and headed up to Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom with Hermione carrying one of the school’s roosters. After checking to see that Myrtle wasn’t inside, they walked in, and Harry unlocked the Chamber.
They walked carefully, looking at the ground and watching for movement out of the corner of their eyes. When Harry unlocked the inner chamber, he went in alone.
~Speak to me, Salazar. Greatest of the Hogwarts four.~ Harry hissed walking up to the statue of Slytherin’s head.
~Sss who dares wake me?~ The Basilisk hissed as it slithered out of the statue’s mouth.
~I do. Are you bound to serve the Heir of Slytherin?~ Harry asked, hoping for the best.
~The Heir has cursed me to kill anyone he does not approve of. But he has not visited in a long time, and I am hungry. You smell good little speaker.~ The snake hissed, making Harry curse his stupidity in getting so close to it in the first place.
Harry yelled for his friends and ran as fast as his little legs would carry him towards the entrance with the snake hot on his heels. Hermione and Draco entered the chamber at a run, and the snake turned its attention on them. As it slithered closer and closer, they tried to spell the rooster to crow, but when their repeated attempts failed, they checked the animal to find it had been petrified. Panting and terrified all over again, Harry had already spotted their predicament and closed his eyes to call the sword.
He jumped on top of the beast’s head and thrust the sword down with all his might just as it reared up to strike Hermione. It slid in the Basilisk’s skull as smooth as a hot knife through butter much to their relief. He held on with all his might even as the snake collapsed and writhed in its final agony.
When the snake finally stopped moving, Harry sighed and jumped down to the ground.
“Wow, I can’t believe you did that all by yourself last time,” Draco said gaping in awe at the gigantic snake.
“Hey, this time I didn’t even get bit,” Harry said, panting a little from his exertions.
“This place is creepy. And would you look at that statue? Talk about vanity.” Hermione snorted.
“That wasn’t too bad. So, do I call Kreacher now?” Harry asked.
“You might as well. We have the sword now and everything.” The girl said, still looking around.
“Kreacher,” Harry called and the tiny dirty house-elf popped into the Chamber.
“Who calls Kreacher?” It asked, peering up at Harry.
“I bind you not to tell anyone but your master anything about this place,” Harry said. He figured he wouldn’t get away with more than that.
“Half-blood master gives Kreacher orders like he has the right to.” The elf muttered annoying Harry but Hermione just squeezed his hand, and he kept quiet.
“If you won’t listen to Harry, then you listen to me, elf,” Draco said imperiously.
“Of course, young master. You is a proper Black.” The elf said, bobbing his head obsequiously.
“We know the last order Regulus gave you, and we want to help you fulfil it. If you bring the locket to us, we can destroy it.” Draco said, and the elf popped away and returned in just a moment holding the locket in his hands.
Harry gestured for the elf to put the locket on the ground and when he did everyone stepped back, and he hissed it open. Before the locket could start talking and try to tempt anyone in the room, Harry brought the sword point down into it rendering it into two pieces and destroying the Horcrux which rose as a black mist with a howl of displeasure before dissipating into the air.
“Thank you, Master Harry. Thank you. Kreacher is very grateful.” The elf gushed falling on his knees in front of Harry and hugging him, “Kreacher tried and tried so many times to destroy the locket. Master is very powerful to be able to destroy it so easily. Thank you.” The elf said and bowed to him.
“Kreacher I have one more job for you. I want you to go to the room of hidden things here in Hogwarts and retrieve Ravenclaw’s diadem for me. If you can’t find the room that’s alright and you can come down here and tell us that, but if you do find the room, the diadem will have the same dark aura as the locket did. Can you do this for us.” Harry asked slowly. He couldn’t help wanting to destroy all the Horcruxes he had access to as soon as possible.
Kreacher nodded fervently and popped away. A few minutes later the house-elf popped back in holding the diadem. It dropped the tiara at Harry’s feet, and he brought the sword down on it with all the strength left in his already aching arms, destroying another Horcrux. He knew he was done, even if there had been more Horcruxes, he was too tired to do anything about it. He pushed lightly with his magic, and the sword went back to where it came from with a swirl of magic.
Harry sank down to the ground, tiredly resting his back against one of the stone pillars and sighed in relief.
“You shouldn’t have done both today. We could have come back some other time for the diadem. Now you’ve tired yourself out.” Hermione chided as she sat down next to him and handed him the pepper-up she had brewed for them in the little potions lab that she and Draco had set up in the back of their classroom.
“You know, this Basilisk is very valuable. It would be a shame to leave it like this to rot. We should have someone harvest it for us.” Draco said still examining the huge snake.
“Kreacher can do it. Kreacher will do it for masters.” Kreacher said bowing and bobbing up and down excitedly, and Harry just nodded tiredly when Draco quirked an eyebrow at him, and Kreacher happily bounced towards the snake to start his work.
“When you are done I want you to take the whole thing to Grimmauld Place and store it in stasis until I need it,” Harry said getting up with Draco and Hermione hauling on his arms and Kreacher nodded.
“How do we get up to the bathroom? Last time Fawkes carried us back up?” Harry asked, looking inquiringly at the other two.
“Kreacher, can you take us back to the Slytherin common room? Make sure it is empty before you pop us in.” Draco asked the little elf who nodded happily and held out his hands for the trio to take.
In no time at all, the three of them were sprawled in chairs in front of the fire relieved beyond measure to be back in the relative safety of the dungeons.
“Well that was easier than expected,” Harry said sighing as he snuggled into the couch cushions.
“What do you mean easy? You are exhausted, and we nearly got petrified by a bloody Basilisk.” Draco asked, staring at the other two when Hermione just nodded.
“Hey, it was much easier than last time. Last time we had to break into the ministry and steal the locket back from Umbridge, and we nearly got killed by fiendfyre in the Room of Requirement getting the diadem.” Harry answered, “This time I’m a little tired, but we don’t have a scratch on us. Bonus.” He finished.
“You may have a point. Honestly, Potter, I don’t know how you survived all those years.” Draco admitted.
“Luck, Draco. Lots and lots of luck.” Harry said smirking up at the blonde who just smiled back at him, “Do you think he felt it? Riddle? In Quirrell’s body?” Harry asked, turning to Hermione.
“I don’t know.” She said slowly, “My theory is that in this state he is too dispersed to feel it like he did last time. Last time he felt it but had no idea what was happening which was good for us. So I think we should be fine since even if he feels it now, he can’t get to the other Horcruxes as they are in the bank and he can’t create new ones in his disembodied state.” She finished.
“Good, that’s good. Now I’m going to sleep; nobody wake me for a week.” Harry said snuggling in further.
“Get up and have a shower before you go to sleep, Harry James Potter. You’re filthy.” Hermione said, getting up from her chair and poking him in the side. He just grunted and turned over, and she sighed and cast a cleaning charm on him.
“That will have to do.” She said and levitated him upstairs and into his bed in the dorm, “Sleep well, you deserve it.” She said as she tucked the covers around him.
Hermione stood watching him sleep for a while before brushing back his hair from his forehead and pressing a kiss to his head. Harry just mumbled in his sleep and turned over.
“You really care about him, don’t you,” Draco said from where he was sitting on his own bed watching the other two.
“Of course, he’s been my best friend since we were eleven years old. That’s a lot of years of friendship between us. We’ve been there for each other through every good and bad thing in our lives.” She answered, coming to sit down next to the blonde, “That doesn’t mean that we don’t care about you, now. You’ve been a very good friend to us, so far.” She continued, nudging the blonde gently and making him smile.
“I’m glad. I care about you both too. I guess. It’s nice to have friends you can count on.” He blonde answered knowing that, that wasn’t what he had meant to ask but not wanting to push.
“It’s the best and Harry is always someone you can count on to come through in a pinch. He may be scattered and seem to not even be listening to you sometimes, but when you really need him, he’s there doing exactly what you need him to do. He’s like that.” Hermione said, looking at Harry fondly.
As they left Harry to his sleep and each went to shower the other Slytherins started to trickle into the common room with tales of trolls in the castle and Draco, and Hermione just exchanged glances and grinned.
The next morning at breakfast the trio noticed Snape limping a little.
“I guess he had a run-in with Fluffy again,” Harry whispered to Draco and Hermione. He was sitting between the other two at the end of the Slytherin table closest to the staff table.
“Fluffy? You mean to tell me that three-headed monstrosity is named Fluffy? Merlin, Hagrid is seriously nuts.” Draco exclaimed still in a soft voice making the other two snort into their porridge.
“Well, at least we don’t have to go up against him again.” Hermione muttered, “Although he wasn’t too much trouble last time, a little music and he went right to sleep.”
“Oh, crap, Norbert!” Harry exclaimed.
“Oh right, do we interfere with Hagrid getting the dragon egg? Do you remember when exactly he got it? Before or after the holidays?” Hermione asked frowning as she looked up at the half-giant at the teacher’s table.
“It was after Yule remember, we had Charlie come and take her to the sanctuary he works for, and Draco here got us into detention in the Forbidden Forest,” Harry said smirking at the blonde who smirked back.
“So with any luck, Riddle will be long gone before he can give Hagrid the egg.” Hermione said nodding but still frowning in consternation as she tried to figure out the timing, “Speaking of, you need to memorise the ritual to banish him through the Veil, Harry.” She whispered frowning at her dark-haired friend.
“I will, Merlin, would you stop frowning at me. You have too pretty a face to ruin it by frowning so much.” Harry teased, making Hermione flush and poke him in the chest.
“Don’t tease.” She said, looking down.
“Hey, hey, now. I’m not teasing. You are very pretty, and in the future, you were a beautiful woman. You do know that, right?” Harry said, nudging her gently.
“I have to agree with Scarhead here,” Draco said nodding along earnestly.
“Thank you.” She said flushing and smiling while still looking down at her hands.
“I’m sorry I ever let Ron run you down, Hermione. You have always been the most beautiful person I know, both inside and out.” Harry said, sincerely guilt eating up at him as he thought of the years when he had been too busy to notice what Ron had been doing to his best friend.
“Don’t worry about it. We’re going to destroy him for what he and that harpy sister of his did to us.” She said, looking up at him and taking his hand in hers and squeezing it gently, “They had you too dosed up with potions to notice much of anything. God knows when they started dosing us. I have to wonder if anything we felt for them was real or if it was all potions and spells.” She finished sighing.
“If none of it was real then they started dosing me in 6th year. That’s when I started noticing Ginny. Until then, I couldn’t care less who she was dating, so it does seem a little strange that I would suddenly be so jealous of her relationship with Dean.” Harry said contemplatively.
“Ok. I get it, they are disgusting and must pay but do we have to discuss it at breakfast? You are ruining my appetite.” Draco complained in his drawl causing both of them to glare at him, but he only smirked back at them unrepentant until Hermione huffed at him and Harry smirked back.
They finished the rest of breakfast in relative peace with no more talk of the future they had left behind. As they got up to leave for class they found their path blocked by their Head of house.
“Sir?” Harry asked, looking up enquiringly.
“The Headmaster would like a word, Potter. And you, too, Miss Granger, Mr. Malfoy.” The man bit out before sweeping off, expecting them to follow. The three exchanged glances, shrugged and followed his billowing robes.
Harry had a feeling he knew what this was about, but he didn’t say anything, just waited with the others as Snape said the password and followed the man up the stairs to Dumbledore’s office.
“Mr. Potter, Mr. Malfoy, Miss Granger if you would sit down.” The headmaster said as soon as he saw them. Snape took a position beside the headmaster his usual dour expression in place.
When they had seated themselves opposite him the headmaster peered over his spectacles, eyes remarkably lacking a twinkle.
“As you know, there was a troll in the castle last night. Of all the students, the three of you were not accounted for when this happened. May I inquire as to your whereabouts?” Dumbledore asked, staring at them.
“I heard that Halloween was the night my parents were killed, so I wasn’t in the mood to celebrate, sir. Draco and Hermione didn’t want to leave me alone and decided to keep me company in our common room. We spent some time playing games and went to bed early.” Harry said, leaning forward, earnestness pouring out of him.
“Ah, I suppose that is understandable, my boy. So you had nothing to do with the troll?” The headmaster asked twinkle back in his eyes.
“No, sir. We only found out about it this morning before breakfast.” Hermione said, her eyes wide with innocence.
Draco just sat back and nodded when the headmaster turned his gaze on him, and the man sat back in his chair, a mixture of relief and disappointment evident in his stance. Snape just looked a little shocked, and Harry figured that he might have figured Harry didn’t know the significance of the day.
“I’m glad we got that cleared up. You may go.” Dumbledore said, sitting back and steepling his fingers under his chin. The trio nodded and left eager to be away from the scheming old man.
They quickly made their way to class so as not to be late, not bothering to stop and discuss things as they knew that Dumbledore probably had the portraits watching them and spying on their activities.
They went to all their classes, as usual, making sure not to deviate even slightly from the norm so as to try to allay Dumbledore’s suspicions. Harry was sure that it was a lost cause, but the other two convinced him that they had to at least try as the more innocent they looked, the crazier the headmaster would look to the rest of the world.
Later that night after dinner, they quietly slipped into their room to discuss the situation.
“He suspects me. He suspects me of something, but he has no proof whatsoever.” Harry said as soon as they were inside and had activated the privacy wards.
“Yes. He thinks you are the one possessed by Voldemort and trying to get the philosophers stone at the very least.” Hermione said a giggle escaping her lips.
“It’s nothing to laugh about, Hermione,” Harry complained but a smile was quirking his lips as well and when Draco snorted it set them all off and soon they were all rolling around on the floor giggling at the thought of Dumbledore’s face if he ever found out what they had actually been doing.
“By the way, do you want to lock down the Chamber, so Riddle doesn’t get in?” Hermione asked, looking at Harry when they had managed to collect themselves.
“Naah, not right now. I mean there’s nothing important there now anyway, and if he goes down there, he’ll only find it empty after Kreacher finishes harvesting the Basilisk. I also think it would be the ideal place to perform the ritual to banish him permanently.” Harry said, leaning back on his arms.
“You’re right. One of us could let slip that you spend a lot of time in that girl’s bathroom and Riddle would be down there so fast your head will spin. We can trap him there and banish him.” Draco said nodding.
“That is a good idea, Harry.”
“Why the note of surprise. I have good ideas all the time.” Harry mock-pouted and Draco snorted.
“You, think a plan through? Unless you’ve changed drastically in the past ten years or so, I really doubt it.” Draco said smirking at the dark-haired boy who pushed him playfully which led to playful wrestling on the ground while Hermione watched indulgently.
They knew that they couldn’t spend too much time in their room that day, so they left quickly to make their presence known in their common room and start working on their homework.
“I’m going to need a couple of advanced books Draco, do you think you can get them for us without anybody noticing?” Hermione asked a few days later. They were still working on modifications of spells and/or potions that they could use to ruin the Weasleys lives, and she had hit a dead-end with some of it.
Draco nodded, “I’ll get Father’s supplier to look for them in his name after we get rid of him.” He said, “How are we getting rid of him by the way. We didn’t make a plan for that.” Draco asked, looking at Harry, who just shrugged, and the blonde sighed exasperatedly and looked at Hermione.
“The simplest and least detectable way to kill him would be to inject an air bubble into his veins as he sleeps,” Hermione said thoughtfully.
“You can really kill someone like that?” Draco asked surprise written all over his pointy features.
“Sure. Muggles kill like that, and it’s practically undetectable.” Harry answered, “Do we have a spell for that, or would I need to transfigure a syringe of some kind?” He asked, turning to Hermione.
“It might be better if you use minimal magic. It would also be best if he had taken some kind of sleeping draught, so he doesn’t wake up while you are doing it.” She said, resting her hand under her chin thoughtfully.
“Father sometimes takes a Dreamless Sleep in the nights, especially around yule,” Draco said frowning thoughtfully.
“There you go. We just need to convince him he needs to take one sooner rather than later.” Harry said, waving his arm for emphasis and almost knocking Draco down in his enthusiasm. The blonde glared at him and pushed his arm down.
“Sorry,” Harry muttered sheepishly.
“Sometimes I’d swear you really were eleven years old, Ry,” Draco muttered smirking at the other boy.
“Ry?” Harry asked, questioningly.
“Well if you can call me Dray then I can call you Ry,” Draco said, folding his arms in front of him and smirking.
“Fair enough I guess,” Harry said, rubbing the back of his neck and they went back to discussing the best way to convince Lucius to take his Dreamless Sleep.
The next couple of weeks went by quickly classes and homework. Harry was finding it mind-numbingly boring, and he didn’t know how he was going to take seven more years of it. The only positive was that he had managed to accidentally on purpose break Neville’s wand forcing his grandmother to get him a new one better suited to him. Harry felt bad for breaking it as he knew how much the other boy valued it but Neville would be better off with his own wand, and his grandmother wouldn’t buy him a new one unless this one was broken so he ‘accidentally’ hit it with a hex while they were practising charms.
McGonagall herself had taken Neville to Ollivander’s over the weekend to get him his new wand and the boy was showing marked improvement with his casting already. It didn’t help him much with potions, but then Harry was sure that unless they got a new teacher, Neville was going to be too much of a nervous wreck to do well there.
He sighed and pulled off his school robes and jumper, leaving him in his shirt and trousers, dropping them on his desk in the room they had made theirs. He was surprised to find it empty as both his friends had left the library earlier than him. Harry had gotten stuck helping Goyle with his Transfiguration essay. He knew, however, that his friends would join him sooner or later as they always tried to spend some time together in their room. It was nice to be able to drop all their pretences and masks and just be.
As he sank down into his chair, Draco burst into the room, waving a letter.
“My mother wrote to me.”
“That’s shocking that is.” Harry snarked tiredly.
“Oi, Enough out of you. Just listen.” Draco said, pointing a finger at Harry who just held his hands up in surrender, “ She says you are invited to Yule break at the Manor. She invited Hermione as well, but we know she’s going home to her folks. And it’s better that way; Father will just be nasty if she comes along.” Draco finished throwing himself into the chair opposite Harry.
“Good, so our plans are set then. We just need to think of ways to convince your father to take a potion or something.” Harry said softly even as he rubbed tiredly at his forehead. He had had DADA that day, and those days were always worse for headaches for him.
“Scar, hurting?” Draco asked concern etched in his features as he watched his friend wince in pain.
“Yeah. This is one thing I did not miss about being in the future. It hadn’t hurt since the night I defeated him. The night he killed me, again.” Harry sighed and buried his head in his hands, tugging lightly on his hair to relieve the pressure.
Draco got up and pulled a pain relief potion from behind the desk in the corner where they brewed potions.
“Here, I brewed a large batch just for you. Hermione said, you might need it.” The blonde said, handing it to Harry.
“Thank you,” Harry said gratefully downing it without a second thought. After a few minutes, his shoulders relaxed slightly, and Draco smiled.
“Better?” he asked, pushing Harry’s hair away from his face gently.
Harry nodded as Hermione entered the room, and both boys turned to her.
“What took you guys so long? You left the library ahead of me. Thanks for that by the way, sticking me with Goyle.” Harry said, toasting them with the empty potion vial.
“Don’t be such a drama queen Harry. It was your turn, anyway.” She said, putting her books down on her desk, “I snuck into the restricted section to see if I could find anything. Headache?” she asked, finally checking Harry’s scar herself.
Harry nodded, “Any luck?” he asked.
“Not yet.” She sighed sitting down next to him, and Draco perched himself on the desk in front of Harry.
“I’m beginning to think we are overcomplicating things a little. He’s still eleven, and so are we physically. Maybe something simple like making him trip down some stairs or something would be easiest and provide the most fun.” Draco said, tapping his chin thoughtfully.
“To start with that sounds good.” Hermione said nodding tiredly, “Oh, how about an honesty hex. The tosser can’t tell the truth to save his life most of the time.”
“That will be gold, especially since he’s always lying to the teachers about his missing homework. Now that you’re not there to nag him about getting it done, he barely manages to finish one assignment a week,” Harry said laughing, and the other two laughed with him.
“We could start after the holidays. For now, we need to get you an appointment with a goblin mind-healer.” Hermione said, pulling a sheet of parchment out to write a letter.
“Are you sure we should do that now? Couldn’t we just do that after Lucius is dead? We can’t take the chance of anyone else finding out.” Harry asked, looking over her shoulder at the letter she was drafting.
“We need you Horcrux free as soon as possible. They might not be able to get you an appointment on short notice. So we take this one little chance.” Hermione said, crossing out something she had written and adding something else. Finally, she was done and handed the draft to Harry to copy out in his own handwriting.
Draco leaned over his shoulder to read it as he copied it out and signed it.
“Very carefully, worded. Nothing given away. Good job, Miss Granger.” The blonde drawled, and Hermione merely inclined her head at him and smirked.
When they were done, Harry wandered up to the owlery to send it off with Hedwig while the other two made their way to the common room. He was standing in the owlery enjoying the quiet of the night air when he felt a presence behind him. Turning, he saw the headmaster watching him from an upstairs window.
Harry nodded acknowledgement to the old man and turned back to watch Hedwig’s flight towards the bank. As he watched, he swore he would get an amulet made for Hedwig to protect her as soon as possible. He couldn’t bear the thought of losing her all over again.
As Harry left the owlery and made his way back to the dungeons, he wondered if the old man would stop him and question him on the whereabouts of his owl or try to hurt Hedwig. He found himself quite murderous at the thought of something happening to her. Turning, he went to the Slytherin common room to ask someone about ways to protect Hedwig.
He strolled into the common room and threw himself into the seat next to Hermione, sprawling over the rest of the sofa with his head next to her leg and his legs thrown over the side.
She looked up from the book she was reading and raised an eyebrow at him. Harry huffed and crossed his arms.
“Do we have any way of protecting owls. So they can’t be hurt or killed?” He asked, frowning up at her.
Hermione’s gaze softened, she knew how much the loss of Hedwig had hurt Harry, better than most. She also knew that he had refused to get another owl in all the years since and with Fawkes living with him, he hadn’t had to.
“Sure, there are amulets that you can get from the goblins that are charmed to repel anything short of an Unforgivable,” Draco answered as Hermione stroked a hand through Harry’s hair gently. The blonde watched them curiously. He remembered Harry’s owl, but he didn’t know the history like Hermione did.
“Oh, good. Maybe we can get something like that for Hedwig. Maybe we can even figure out a way to protect against Unforgiveables.” Harry said sighing and throwing a glance at his friend.
“Sure, Harry. We can get one from the bank the next time we go there, and we can ask a professor for help with shield charms for owls.” Hermione said pointedly, looking around the room to remind the boys where they were and that there were other people around them.
Harry nodded and settled next to them. Soon someone else joined them, and the discussion turned to other topics.
Soon Christmas was in the air, and the whole of Hogwarts was decorated. Hagrid was helping haul trees into the great hall, and the professors were decorating them. Harry had forgotten how beautiful Hogwarts could be at Christmas. He looked around appreciatively much to Draco’s amusement.
“You would think you’d never seen anything like this before.” He blonde drawled as they took their seats for breakfast on the last day of school before they were to leave for the holidays.
“And where would I have seen magical trees like this? I was raised by muggles remember. Besides, the whole place looks beautiful.” Harry defended himself before leaning in close and whispering, “At least not in years. Unlike you both, I just couldn’t bring myself to come back after the war.”
The blonde nodded and patted his shoulder, “You’ll see better trees at the Manor. Mother takes great care with her decorations at home.” He said eyes shining with pride.
This statement was so reminiscent of the Malfoy they had known before that Harry and Hermione exchanged a smirk which the blonde didn’t notice. After breakfast, they all piled into the carriages to take them to the station. The trio were surprised that they could see the Thestrals but managed to cover the fact before anyone noticed.
When they were alone in their carriage, Hermione cast a privacy ward and locking spell before sitting down by the window.
“You two could see the Thestrals too, couldn’t you?” She asked sighing.
“Yeah. I guess the ability came back with us. I mean in the previous timeline, I couldn’t see it until after Cedric’s death.” Harry answered, rubbing his forehead tiredly.
“Of all the abilities to travel back with us, I really didn’t need to be reminded of how much death we’ve seen,” Draco grumbled from his seat opposite Harry and Hermione.
“Maybe it’s because, in essence, we died to come back that we can see them now.” Hermione theorised.
“Whatever, whyever we can see them it doesn’t matter right now. We have enough to worry about without worrying about this relatively harmless ability.” Harry put in repressively. He knew that if he didn’t squelch this Hermione would start researching this as well and she already had enough to be getting on with. Without someone to tell her to stop, she would work herself into the ground like she had during their third year in the previous timeline.
Hermione nodded reluctantly and then relaxed against the window, looking out until she fell asleep. The boys talked quietly while she slept relieved that their friend was getting some rest. They had been worried about her for the past few weeks since she seemed to do nothing but study and research spells to be used on the Weasleys.
By the time Hermione woke up, they were almost pulling into the station, so Draco dismissed the privacy ward and locking charm on their compartment and started pulling their trunks down. Harry had sent Hedwig ahead of him to Hermione’s home since he didn’t trust her safety at the Manor yet.
They had decided that the best way to get attention on Sirius’ innocence would be if Pettigrew showed up in the middle of platform 9 ¾ bound and unconscious. That way, the ministry wouldn’t be able to suppress the news easily. They had also agreed that it would probably be better to do it at the end of the holidays rather than at the beginning, they had too much to do during Yule to be called in for questioning by the Aurors. So Pettigrew was also stowed in Hermione’s backpack, still unconscious from the Draught of the Living Death.
Hermione made her way to her parents, hugging them close and walked out with a wave to the boys who made their way to a smug looking Lucius Malfoy. It took everything in him to suppress the loathing he felt for the man, but Harry managed. Beside him, Draco was having the same problem, but long practice made it easy for him to greet his father with none of his hatred showing.
“Father, may I present Harry Potter.” Draco drawled smirking at Harry who smirked back and offered Lucius his hand.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir. I’ve heard a lot about you from Draco.” Harry said, looking up at the man who had tried so many times to kill him and probably would again if given half a chance.
“Mr. Potter, we are honoured to have you spending Yule with us. I have heard a lot about you as well, from Draco’s letters. It’s nice to see him making friends and doing so well in school.” Lucius said, shaking Harry’s hand.
Harry felt his skin crawl at the touch but kept it off his face and smiled blandly at the man. Lucius gestured that they should follow him and shrunk their trunks and the boys pocketed them. He led them to the apparition point and took their hands. A quick twist and a feeling of being squeezed and they were in front of large gates.
“Welcome to Malfoy Manor, Mr. Potter,” Lucius said, throwing open the gates. Harry looked around, and only a part of the awe he showed was faked. Malfoy Manor was very different without Voldemort’s dark shadow looming over it. Even the white peacocks that Lucius prized looked healthier.
Narcissa greeted them in the foyer. She was gracious but distant with Harry, but she hugged her son close and held him close for slightly longer than strictly necessary. When they drew apart, Harry could see that Draco was having trouble controlling his emotions.
“Show me around, would you?” He said nudging the blonde and hoping some time alone would help Draco. The blonde nodded and grabbed his hand, tugging him towards the stairs.
“We’ll start with the room you’ll be staying in. It’s right next to mine.” Draco said, walking in front of Harry and surreptitiously wiping his eyes. When they were out of sight of the elder Malfoys, Harry put a hand on Draco’s shoulder and squeezed lightly.
“You, alright, Dray?” Harry asked softly.
“I’m fine. Just forgot how much I missed her is all.” The blonde said, smiling a little waterily at Harry before brushing it off and ushering the dark-haired boy into a well-appointed room done in blues and greens. The carpet was a deep blue so dark it was almost black while the furnishings were green with blue accents.
Harry stared around the room in awe.
“Draco, this is beautiful.” He exclaimed much to Draco’s pleasure.
“I’m glad you like it. Get settled, and I’ll be back in a few. Just need to drop my trunk off in my room.” Draco said, waving a hand at the next door down the hall.
Harry nodded and walked into the room, feeling a little uncomfortable. He was completely unused to this much wealth. He had been comfortably off in the future, but it had been nothing on the size and scale of Malfoy Manor. He sighed and sat down on the bed, which seemed to be made of clouds. No wonder Draco had complained about Hogwarts in the previous timeline.
As he was setting his shrunken truck on the floor and wondering how he could unshrink it without using magic when he heard the pop of a house-elf’s apparition. Turning, he was surprised and pleased to see Dobby standing in front of him.
“Dobby is here to help Harry Potter, sir.” The elf said, unshrinking his trunk with a snap of his fingers.
Harry was struck by several emotions at once, delight at seeing his old friend again, guilt that he had forgotten that Dobby would be here and the grief he had carried with him after the house-elf’s death in the previous timeline.
“Thank you, Dobby. How do you like working here, then?” Harry asked kindly, wincing a little after the words were out of his mouth as he remembered what he had freed the elf from in the previous timeline.
“Dobby is as happy as Dobby can be, sir. Harry Potter sir is very kind to be asking after Dobby’s happiness. Harry Potter is a very great wizard.” The elf said, bowing repeatedly.
“Stop, Dobby, stop. Please don’t bow to me. I’m not that great. There is something I need, but I’m not sure where it is or how to get it. I would also need you to keep this a secret from Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy.”
“Not Master Draco?” The elf asked head tilting curiously.
“No, Draco knows. Would it be a problem for you to keep this a secret?” Harry asked, uncertainly.
“Dobby cannot keep secrets from the master, Harry Potter sir. But Dobby is wanting to help, Dobby is.” He elf said nodding a little sadly when Draco strolled into the room.
“Ah, I see you’ve found Dobby then.” The blonde said, walking up to Harry, “I need this room warded completely for privacy Dobby. Nobody, not even my father should be able to eavesdrop or enter without Harry’s permission, clear?” he asked turning to the elf who nodded fervently and with a snap of his fingers Harry could feel the strongest privacy wards coming down around the room and he shivered at the feel of Dobby’s magic before the elf popped away.
“I never found out what happened to that elf.” Draco said, shaking his head slightly, “He disappeared sometime during our second year, and I always figured my father killed him.” He finished before looking at Harry and noting the strange expression on his friends face.
“It was your aunt Bellatrix who killed him actually.” Harry said hoarsely, “I freed him from your father after the Chamber of Secrets thing in second year and he bonded to me. I didn’t know that at the time of course and Hermione started her S.P.E.W thing. But when we were escaping from here during the war, Dobby was the one who helped us. Bellatrix’s knife hit him, and he only had enough strength to get us to safety. I buried him near Ron’s brother’s cottage.” Harry finished softly.
Draco didn’t know what to say to that, so he just reached out and gave Harry’s shoulder a quick squeeze.
“God, it was years before we could get Hermione to listen long enough to figure out that house-elves couldn’t live free like she wanted them to. By that time, Winky was dead too, and we lost both elves. After that, Hermione drove herself spare, trying to find a way to prevent the ill-treatment of house-elves by their bonded masters. She joined the Unspeakables, I think, mostly to try to find a way to free them and keep them sane and alive at the same time.” Harry said, laughing a little brokenly.
“Well, we have another chance to change things for the better now. We can do better. We’ll save Dobby and his girlfriend too.” Draco said, trying to comfort his friend.
Harry nodded then looked up at Draco.
“Do you think we should ask Dobby if he knows where the diary is? He was the one who warned me about it in the previous timeline.” Harry asked, looking up at the blonde, “Merlin, but he was a mess. His efforts to ‘help’ me nearly got me killed so many times that year.”
“What do you mean?” Draco asked quizzically.
“He hid all my mail that summer, came to my house and cast magic in an effort to get me expelled, spelled the barrier to platform 9 ¾ shut when we were trying to get in. He wanted to keep me away from Hogwarts, you see. In his mind, it didn’t matter if I was unhappy or sick; I just had to be alive.” Harry said, grinning a little.
“What do you mean, sick?”
“Do you remember the rogue bludger?” Harry asked, and when the blonde nodded, he continued, “That was him. Lockhart didn’t help, of course, vanishing all the bones in my whole arm,” Harry said snorting.
“The flying car thing was because of Dobby?” Draco asked thoughtfully.
“Yeah when the barrier closed on us and everyone else was on the other side, Ron convinced me that it was a good idea to fly his father’s car to school. That car saved us from the acromantula in the forest later that year, though, so there’s that.” Harry said, lost in his memories.
“Merlin, Potter. You’ve had some adventures, haven’t you? Possessed professors, flying cars, basilisks, werewolves, dementors, just to mention a few.” Draco said smirking.
“What can I say, Malfoy? Strange things are always happening to me. It’s not like I ever went looking for trouble, it just… sort of found me, usually.” Harry returned in the same teasing vein grinning.
“Fine, come now let me show you around. It’s much nicer without the Dark git messing about.” Draco said, pulling his friend along out of the room.
Draco showed him all his favourite hiding places and the places he had played. More importantly, he showed Harry the rooms where his parents slept. Harry thought the Manor was beautiful and it was a pity that the only memories he had of the place was Hermione being tortured and being held prisoner in the dungeons.
By the time they were done, it was time for dinner, and both boys were still drawing a blank on how to get Lucius to take his sleeping draught without raising suspicion. They were quiet for most of the meal each lost in their own thoughts and only speaking when they were asked a question. Luckily the elder Malfoys just accepted that the reason for their silence was tiredness from their long train journey and they were dismissed from dinner early much to Lucius’ disappointment.
Both boys entered Harry’s room and collapsed onto the bed side by side.
“That was awful. I’m not sure I can do this.” Harry said tiredly.
“Don’t back out on me now, Potter. I was counting on getting the Lord ring for Yule.” Draco said, nudging him.
“No, that’s not what I mean. I mean sitting through a meal with the man when all I want to do is kill him. It really sucks.” Harry sighed.
“I know what you mean. I guess I learned how during the war. Having Voldemort at our table was eye-opening in more ways than one.” Draco said, and Harry shivered in revulsion.
“He was so gross. I don’t know how you tolerated it. I would have AK’d him or myself after the first night.” Harry said with a grimace.
Draco snorted and got up, “We still don’t have a plan.”
“Yeah, no plan. But we probably shouldn’t kill him tonight, anyway.” Harry answered, using his elbows to support him as he half-sat up.
“Maybe we can just spell him asleep and remove the spell as we leave the room?” Harry asked
“That might work. We’ll see what happens at dinner tomorrow. If he doesn’t take dreamless sleep by the 23rd, we’ll figure something out.” Draco said, making his way to the door.
Harry groaned, “Is there any way we can avoid him for most of tomorrow?”
“I suppose we could ask the elves for a picnic lunch and go to the lake in the afternoon and we can avoid him at breakfast if we go down late enough. He’s usually up and out of the house by 9.” Draco said thoughtfully. He wasn’t too keen on spending time with his father either.
Harry nodded, “Yes, let’s do that. That sounds good.”
Draco left, pulling the door shut behind him. And Harry got up to get ready for bed. ~*~
The next two days were spent avoiding Lucius as much as possible, although Draco did spend a lot of time with his mother while Harry lost himself in the library with books on magic theory that he had never seen before. In the previous timeline, Lucius had destroyed the Manor in a last act of defiance when he was sentenced to life in Azkaban for his crimes.
When he had moved to Rome for his training as a war mage, Harry had discovered the depths of his ignorance when it came to magic theory and rituals and had worked really hard to remedy that. The Malfoy library was filled with rare and expensive volumes on magic that were all but impossible to find in the future and Harry was ecstatic.
The third night at dinner Lucius finally added his Dreamless Sleep potion to his tea at the end of dinner and the boys breathed a sigh of relief. They waited in Harry’s room for the household to go to bed and when they were sure that everyone was asleep the boys pulled on the gloves Hermione had insisted on and made their way to Lucius’ room under the invisibility cloak.
Draco pushed the door to his father’s room, open carefully and listened for a few minutes to confirm that the man was asleep. Then they crept in, and Harry carefully turned Lucius’ head on the pillow exposing his carotid artery. They had been instructed by Hermione on where and how to find the best place to inject.
In the dark, they fumbled until Harry got tired and cast a wandless lumos and quickly found the artery and injected the air using the rather large transfigured syringe, into Lucius’ veins. They crept just as silently back to Harry’s room and collapsed onto the bed.
“Well, that was sorta anticlimactic. But now, we have to see if it works.” Harry said from his position on the bed.
“I’m so pumped. How long do you think it will take for him to die? Maybe we should have injected him closer to his heart?” Draco asked a big grin on his face. He found himself completely guilt free, and he wasn’t sure what to make of that.
“Naah, Hermione said that this way he will die of a stroke, and he won’t even be able to call out for help, also it is extremely hard to find the point of injection if some enterprising Muggle-born decides to look since we did it under his hair,” Harry said getting up to stow the cloak and the gloves in his trunk.
Draco nodded and shifted on the bed to watch him.
“Are you going to move, or are you planning on sleeping in here with me?” Harry asked as he climbed onto the bed and nudged Draco with a knee. Draco just turned over and made room for Harry next to him. Harry sighed and lay down next to him, pulling the covers over them both.
“Sure, why not. Make yourself comfortable.” He snarked poking the blonde in the shoulder.
“I will,” Draco answered, turning away and lying with his back to Harry.
They were woken a few hours later by the wailing of house-elves. All the elves were in a tizzy and wailing and carrying on as their master was dead. They could feel the loss in their magic and were all feeling unsettled.
Narcissa came looking for them and directed them to dress quickly as the healer, and the Aurors had been summoned. The woman was pale and worried, but there was also a sense of relief about her as the spells on her had dissipated with the death of their caster.
Draco and Harry exchanged glances when Kingsley Shacklebolt entered the library where they were waiting. Draco was pacing on the carpet, looking pale and tired from too little sleep and worry about being found out. He vowed to himself that this would be the last time they did something so close to home, something that could lead directly to one of them.
Harry was sitting in a chair by the fire flipping through an old potions textbook desultorily. It wasn’t his favourite subject on a good day, and this was going to be a very long day for all of them.
“Mr. Malfoy, I’m Kingsley Shacklebolt. I’d like to ask you some questions about your father.” The auror said and sat in the seat Draco indicated while Draco seated himself as well.
“This is my friend Harry Potter. He’s visiting over the Holidays.” Draco said, and Harry nodded to the older man, keeping his silence.
Kingsley did a double take the same as everyone who ever heard his name did on meeting him but then focused back on Draco.
“Could you tell me what happened yesterday?” he auror asked.
“Well, Harry and I spent some time doing our homework after breakfast. Then we had lunch in the conservatory by ourselves. After lunch, we went for a fly on the Quidditch pitch we have here and played some one-on-one. Then we came in for dinner; we saw father for the first time at dinner. Then we excused ourselves and went to Harry’s room. We spent some time talking and fell asleep there together. My mother woke us up and told us that there was something wrong with Father. Is he alright? Nobody has told us anything yet.” Draco said, and Harry nodded his agreement.
“So the only contact you had with your father was at dinner, and neither of you saw him after that?” The dark-skinned man prodded.
“No, we didn’t. It’s not unusual as Father is usually very busy with his work and Harry and I have been spending most of our time with my mother and entertaining ourselves. So far, we’ve mostly seen Father at dinner and sometimes lunch if he’s free.” Draco replied.
“Anything to add Mr. Potter?” The older man asked, finally focused on Harry.
“No, like Draco said, we’ve only seen Mr. Malfoy at mealtimes the last couple of days. And before that, when he came to pick us up from Kings Cross.” Harry said shrugging, “What has happened to him? Is he alright? Can they fix him?” Harry asked peering intently at the auror.
Before the Auror could say anything else, Narcissa Malfoy entered the room and hugged her son.
“I’m very sorry my Dragon, but your father is gone.” She said, holding him close.
“Gone? What do you mean gone? He was fine last night. Well, other than the Dreamless Sleep he took, he didn’t seem unwell. But then he takes the potion quite regularly so that can’t be it.” Draco said, pulling away from her embrace a little, shock writ large on his pale features.
Harry was very impressed by his friends acting abilities, and he barely managed to suppress his own sigh of relief. Despite all their planning, he hadn’t been able to get rid of the dread that somehow they had failed and Lucius would survive.
“I am very sorry my Dragon, but by the time the healer got here he was already dead,” Narcissa said softly, stroking his cheek gently with one hand.
Draco’s features hardened, “I do not believe he could possibly have just died like that. There must be some reason for it. Whatever it is, I expect you to find out who did it.” He said, turning to Kingsley and glaring at the man.
“Dragon, I know you are upset, but your father’s health has not been the same since before you were born. Perhaps it was just nature taking its course.” Narcissa said softly trying to divert Draco’s attention, “ I believe this is now yours,” She said, holding up a ring.
Draco swallowed at the sight of his family ring. He was unsure how the ring would react to him when he put it on; he had, after all, killed his patriarch. Hesitantly he moved a finger to touch the ring and felt a welcoming warmth from it. Relieved, he picked it up and put it on.
As soon as it was on his finger, magic sparked around him brightly, and the ring shrank to fit his smaller hands. Draco took a breath of relief, joy deep in his heart at the feeling of finally reuniting with his family magic, something that had been denied him in the future he had left. It seemed that magic recognised this fact as well as it gave him a final burst of warmth and dissipated.
Draco smiled a little sadly at his mother, to see her looking at him speculatively.
“What is it, Mother?”
“It seems as if the family magic has accepted you as an adult. I do not understand it, Dragon.” Narcissa said, drawing her wand, “Let me just check something, if you would.” She said and cast some kind of diagnostic charm on a very surprised Draco.
Harry held his breath and waited; none of them had expected to be discovered this way. He bit his lip and reconsidered claiming his own family ring that Yule. When the results of the scan came through Narcissa drew in a sharp breath and Kingsley gaped a little.
“Your core seems to have matured rapidly; you are quite mature magically. It’s almost as if putting on the ring has accelerated your magical maturation so that you may shoulder the burdens of your heritage.” Narcissa said when she managed to find her words.
Harry gave a quiet sigh of relief. It was very good that they thought the ring was the reason he had matured. They were safe from discovery for now. Harry didn’t even want to think of how bad it would get if the Ministry somehow found out about their time travel. Being obliviated and experimented on would be the least of their problems.
“Is that even possible?” Draco asked his face the picture of puzzlement and worry.
“It looks like it. Sometimes it happens when a patriarch dies suddenly, but not usually in someone so young.” Narcissa said turning to Kingsley in her confusion, something she wouldn’t have done if she had been entirely herself, “Have you heard of something like this happening in someone so young?” she asked.
“No, Mrs. Malfoy. I have not. But I do believe it can happen, especially if there is no other possible heir.” Shacklebolt said frowning, “I’m sorry to have to intrude in your time of grief, but Lord Malfoy mentioned a potion your husband took last night?” he prodded gently.
Narcissa straightened whatever grief and pain she felt was pushed deep within, and she was once more the matriarch, Lady Malfoy.
“Yes, he was of the habit of taking Dreamless Sleep at least three times a week if not more often. He suffered from nightmares and insomnia ever since…..I suppose it doesn’t matter anymore and I suppose it will come out anyway….ever since he let the Dark Lord mark him as his slave. He also had other health issues ever since Harry here killed the Dark Lord.” She said, raising her chin defiantly and almost daring Kingsley to say something about her husband being a Death Eater.
“The healer will confirm this?” Kingsley asked nodding and making notes in a sheet of parchment.
“Yes, Healer Roberts has been tending to him for the better part of two decades and knows everything there is to know about his health. You may also test both Lucius’ body and the potion vial to check for foul play. I do not believe you will find any. As far as I’m concerned, the Dark Lord killed my husband.” Narcissa said, and Kingsley nodded and excused himself to go talk to the healer.
“I didn’t know Father was that ill. Why didn’t you tell me?” Draco said rounding on his mother as soon as the auror had stepped out of the room.
“Oh, Dragon. You are my precious boy, and I didn’t want you to worry. As for your father, I believe he just didn’t want anyone to know of his weakness, and so he hid it from everyone. He would have hidden it from me as well if I hadn’t been with him for the initial consultation. Did you not wonder why you were an only child when most of your peers have at least one sibling? Your father’s health did not allow for more children, Dragon.” The woman said softly, cupping her son’s cheek and pressing a kiss to his forehead.
“You have shouldered a burden of magic so young. I hope it is not too much for you.” She said gazing worriedly at him, “I’m sorry your stay has been interrupted by such inauspicious events, Harry. I hope you have a better time when you come back to visit us.” She said, stepping away from her son and focusing on Harry.
“No, Mrs. Malfoy, please don’t apologise. Please accept my condolences on your loss. I hope it is not my own bad luck following me into my friends’ home.” Harry said softly, nodding to Narcissa.
She nodded back, “Thank you, Harry. Now if you’ll excuse me then I believe I have arrangements to make for the funeral and Draco, you should probably make an appointment with the goblins to go over the family accounts and make sure everything is in order with your father’s will.” She said, walking towards the door and leaving them both to sag back into their seats relief pouring through them both.
By mutual consent, they made their way back to Harry’s room and once inside collapsed side-by-side into chairs by the fire.
“That was close,” Harry said, smiling relievedly at Draco.
“Too close. We should write to Hermione and let her know the news.” Draco said, getting up and moving to the desk in the corner of the room, “When is your appointment with the goblins? Maybe I can do my business with them at the same time.” He said, beginning to write.
“Hmm… oh, the note they sent with Hedwig said that the goblin healer will see me on Boxing day. You can come along with me then. In fact, I believe Hermione is going to meet us there as well, much as I tried to dissuade her. So, I’m counting on you to take care of her while I can’t.” Harry said, looking up distractedly as an owl flew into the room and perched on the desk next to Draco.
“Why wouldn’t you want us with you? I’m guessing it’s going to hurt a lot, and I, for one, would like to think you’d like your friends there for moral support, even if we can’t do anything.” Draco asked after attaching two letters to the owl’s leg and sending it off.
“Draco, I’m…uh…how, do I say this.” Harry temporised, “The last time I tried to get the Horcrux out I died. I mean, I was literally dead for a few minutes. I don’t want her, either of you there if that happens. It will hurt her too much. And even if I don’t die, there’s always the pain. She’s never been good with seeing me, or anyone she cares about in pain. And after everything that happened, I just don’t want to put that on her as well. But she won’t listen to me. So you have to take care of her when I can’t. Swear it to me.” Harry said, staring fiercely at Draco.
The blonde swallowed hard and nodded in silence. It occurred to him that it might hurt him just as much as it would hurt Hermione to see his friend in pain. In the past few months since they had come back in time both Harry and Hermione had become very important to him, they were by far the best friends he had ever had, and he didn’t know how he would deal with it if something happened to either one of them.
“For the record, I wouldn’t like it very much if you died either. So, make sure you don’t.” Draco said a little stiffly, and Harry smiled at him warmly.
“Did you ever think, when you found us there in the forest that we’d become friends. After all this time and everything that happened before?” Harry asked eyes staring into the distance as he got lost in his memories.
“No. Honestly I expected you to either stun me and leave me there or kill me as a sacrifice in your ritual. I never expected you to actually let me join you, much less become friends.” Draco answered quietly. Harry shook himself and focused on the blonde.
“I’m glad we’re friends now. You’re much less of a git these days.” Harry said, smiling teasingly.
“Git? I’ll show you git, you prat,” Draco said, attacking the dark-haired boy and proceeding to tickle him until they rolled off the chair and landed on the floor laughing. Acting like eleven-year-olds was getting easier every day and felt freeing in a way.
The funeral was set for the day before Yule in two days, and Harry was feeling uncomfortable being in the Manor where grief seemed to be heavy in the air. Harry was sure that nobody in the family actually missed the man, but the manor and the family magic was missing a member, and it showed in the dullness of the portraits and the silence in the rest of the manor.
Draco was spending time with his mother helping with the arrangements and corresponding with the Aurors in charge of his father’s case. So Harry had taken to getting the books he wanted out of the library and spending his days in his room so as not to disturb them.
Dobby would pop in and out tidying the room and bringing him his meals. The only time Harry saw Draco was when the blonde came into his room before bed to bitch and complain about the investigation taking too long and the people who were trying to attend the funeral.
The funeral itself was quite a show with a number of important personages attending, although Fudge didn’t attend, he had probably decided to distance himself in light of the news of Lucius’ Dark mark coming out. Harry sat in the back and listened to people talking about how wonderful the man had been and barely managed to keep his face impassive. He wanted to retch from the lies people were telling.
After the funeral, the boys relaxed in Harry’s room and drew a breath of relief. The investigation into Lucius’ death had lead to a verdict of natural causes. Nobody had been able to find any magical reason for the man’s death. They had gotten away with it. Now they could get on with the rest of their plan in peace.
“Draco, I know it’s a lot to ask, but could you do something for me?” Harry asked hesitantly, and when Draco just quirked an eyebrow at him, he continued, “Would you consider transferring Dobby’s bond to me? If he wants to that is?”
Draco didn’t answer; he just sat up straighter and called “Dobby.” And the little elf popped into the room looking slightly worried.
“Would you like to be Harry’s house-elf?” The blonde asked, “Answer me honestly; I promise neither of us will be offended by whatever you say.”
He was completely unprepared for the elf to burst into tears and throw himself at Draco.
“Master Draco is the best master ever. Thank you, Master Draco. Master Draco cares about Dobby’s happiness. That is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for Dobby. Dobby is so grateful to Master Draco.” The elf gushed.
Draco looked at Harry and found the other boy most amused by his predicament; he stuck his tongue out at him and then pushed the house-elf away gently.
“Does this mean that you wish to be bound to Harry?” Draco asked gently.
“I do Master Draco.” The elf said nodding fervently, “I be the best, most loyal elf in the world to Master Harry. Harry Potter is a great wizard. Dobby be the house-elf of a great wizard.” The elf said, turning to Harry.
Harry just smiled at the excitable elf and wondered if he was making a mistake. He caught Draco’s eyes and the blonde rolled his eyes, picked up a sock from the floor where Harry had thrown it earlier and handed it to the little elf with a little push from his magic. The elf burst into tears again before reaching out to touch Harry’s hand. Harry felt a small tug on his magic and grasped the tether Dobby was trying to form with him and shored it up in his core firming the bond.
“Dobby belongs to Master Harry now. Dobby is so happy.” The elf cried excitedly.
“Don’t call me master Dobby. Just Harry Potter will do.” Harry said, smiling at the little elf. Dobby nodded repeatedly and then stood there, waiting for his next order. Harry watched the house elf bobbing up and down with excitement next to him and then glanced at Draco for help.
“Harry has no need for your help at present, Dobby. Why don’t you go back to your usual duties? He will summon you when he has need of you.” Draco said, rolling his eyes at Harry and gesturing imperiously.
Dobby looked at Harry for direction, and when the dark-haired boy nodded, he popped away eyes still shining with joy.
“Merlin, I think I just made that house-elf’s year,” Draco said laughing, and Harry joined him.
“He’s always been an excitable little guy. I hope he does better this time than the last.” Harry sighed when they calmed down.
“So, nervous about the appointment with the goblins?” Draco asked, leaning back in the chair and crossing his legs.
“Terrified. I can’t wait for it all to just be done so we can go about just living our lives. If you know what I mean.” Harry said softly.
Draco nodded, “But see, even after Riddle is gone there’s still Dumbledore and the Weasleys, not to mention the other Death Eaters and Umbridge. Oh, and Fudge if you want to add him to your list.”
“Isn’t it a shame that so many people need killing just so I can live my life in relative peace.” Harry sighed, “You sure you want in on this? Your part will be done once we retrieve the diary and the cup.” He asked, raising his eyebrows.
“Don’t be silly. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I’ve been wanting to teach Ron Weasley a lesson or two all my life. And the rest sounds fun as well. You’re not getting rid of me that easily.” Draco said glaring at Harry who just raised both hands in surrender.
“Just asking. No harm in making sure. It’s not your fight, after all.” Harry replied softly.
“Are you and Hermione, not my friends? Those bastards hurt you both so much that you took this dark path. I look forward to showing them all just why they shouldn’t mess with us. Now for Merlin’s sake, stop insulting me with this Gryffindor nonsense.” Draco said gruffly, arms crossed across his chest and getting up, effectively ending the conversation.
Harry just sighed a little and didn’t push it. He got up and followed the blonde down to dinner.