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29 August 2007 @ 11:45 pm
Chapter Two, The Victim of Circumstance  
Title: The Victim of Circumstance
Author: raining_slash
Beta: abundantfear
Rating: Overall, R.
Pairing: H/D
Spoilers: All books, including DH.
Warnings: Slash, Violence, Sexual Situations and Language.
Summary: WIP. Post DH. Novel-length. Nineteen years is a long time. What happened between the end of the Battle of Hogwarts and Albus Severus Potter’s first day of school?
Disclaimer & Author’s Notes: J.K. Rowling owns most of the characters and places in this fan fiction. No copyright infringement is intended. This story has been cross-posted because I’m an internet whore.


Previous Chapter

THE VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCE

(())

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” – Charles Dickens

Chapter Two: Red Heart Trumps Grey Diamond

163 days after the Battle of Hogwarts


Draco was surrounded by everything and nothing. A blackness. Impenetrable, inescapable, inevitable. And it was shrinking. Confining him. It was all over him, all around him and suddenly, it was inside of him. Eating away at his core and leaving an expansive nothingness in its wake.

He wanted to scream out in pain. But it was no use. No one was listening. No one cared. He was going to die in this blackness. There was nothing he could do. He felt a sharp pain clenching around his heart and with his death imminent …

… he woke up.

He was hyperventilating. He tried to calm his breathing but his throat felt like there was a large apple lodged in there. His blanket was twisted around him and there was a sheen of sweat all over his skin. He sat upright and the darkness of his cell enveloped him until he found what he needed.

His little window had let in some of the glow of the moon, which tickled the sides of his cell wall. He scrambled out of his bed, nearly tripping over in his haste, and he threw himself against the reflected moonlight. He slid down the wall as the moonlight washed over hi, and his breathing began to still.

There was no real relief though, in discovering that it was all only a dream. Because when his eyes were open, and exteriorly he was safe, internally the battle still raged. He glanced up to the calendar he knew was on the wall above his desk. Although he could not see it, he knew it would read tomorrow as a visitation day. This gave Draco relief. A brief moment of his incarceration where some semblance of normalcy could ensue. Where he could pretend that things were slightly better than they actually were.

He wished it were enough.

(())


Harry woke up to the sound of a portrait coughing and spluttering exaggeratedly.

Bloody Phineas.

His eyes adjusted to the soft morning light and he felt around on the bedside table for his glasses with his free hand. He found them and sleepily pushed them on and his bedroom at Grimmauld Place came into view, the rays of sun that managed to get around the ice on the windows, revealed a portrait on the wall of a snickering man. Harry’s other arm was being used as a pillow by Ginny. It had gone dead, but he didn’t mind.

He gazed at her sleeping form. Her thick, red hair fell about her pale skin and her pink lips looked extremely enticing. Harry listened to her breathe in her life and he lent into her and took in her scent. The portrait snorted loudly and Ginny inhaled quickly and her eyes popped open. She took a moment to focus, and when she saw Harry watching her, she smiled deeply at him.

“Good morning,” she said sleepily, stretching herself out. Harry smiled back and gave her a chaste kiss in reply. Ginny responded by lifting her leg to wrap around Harry’s waist – a promise of something more – when their bedroom door was thrown open and a slight young woman with big, chestnut coloured eyes and braided brown hair came into view, standing in the threshold.

“Oh good,” said Hermione unusually obliviously, “you’re up. Can you hurry up, Ginny? I want to get to Diagon Alley by nine. We’ve still got loads of Christmas shopping to do.”

I think Ron’s rubbing off on her, thought Harry.

“Oh, hullo Hermione. Good morning, how are you?” said Ginny, her voice dripping with sarcasm. “I certainly hope you’re well. But I see that you are. Perhaps because no one burst in on you at some un-Godly hour in the morning, right before a possible shag.”

Harry bit back a snort and turned his head away from Hermione as she went bright red. Harry was just pleased that it had been so cold last night that after his and Ginny’s private little welcome home; they’d thought to put their pajamas on.

“Oh …” said Hermione, blushing furiously and staring off at the bathroom to her left.

“Don’t be embarrassed now. I mean, how could you possibly know that maybe after spending four months at school, away from boyfriend, I may possibly want to be alone with him for a while?”

“Okay, okay,” said Hermione, flapping her arms in a very Ron-like manner. “I’ll just ah, leave you to it then.” Ginny was silently laughing as Hermione looked sheepishly away and closed the door behind her.

“That was a bit cruel,” said Harry, though he was laughing. “You like winding her up a bit too much, I think.”

Ginny smirked at him and began kicking off the covers, making her way out of the bed. “She’s just so tense. You’d think sharing a bed with my brother every night might-”

“Ah, don’t need the visual, thank you.”

Ginny shrugged as she stood up and reached for her yellow dressing gown.

“Hey,” said Harry. “Where’s my promised shag?”

Ginny smiled mischievously at him. “Tense or not, she’s right. Three days ‘til Christmas and I’ve only got half my presents. We really should get there early.”

Harry narrowed his eyes playfully at her. “Tease.”

Ginny giggled and ran a comb through her hair. Harry made his own way out of bed and headed for the bathroom. He had his own shopping to do that day too.

Harry, Ron and Hermione had all been living at Grimmauld Place for a few months now. Directly after the war, Harry and Hermione were living at The Burrow. All of them stayed there, trying to piece their lives back together as the trials began and the newly elected Ministry officials returned order. But on the first of September, when Ginny was to return to Hogwarts for her final year, Harry decided it was time for him to leave, and with him went Hermione.

Hermione had been reunited with her parents after a group of Aurors tracked them down and returned their memories. But according to Hermione, something had changed between her and her parents. They didn’t seem to look at her the same way. The thought that their little girl could implant memories in their minds and invent whole new lives for them at the flick of a wrist, seemed to disturb them greatly. Plus, the memories of their time as the Wilkins’s seemed to be pleasing. They had moved back to Australia – lackadaisically asking Hermione to go with them. But she would not. It had nearly broken her heart.

Ron, not wanting to be separated from his girlfriend or his best friend, had moved into the Black house too – much to Molly Weasley’s annoyance. And so, there they had lived for the last four months. Harry and Ron were busy with their Auror training and Hermione, now that the trials were over, had moved into the Department of the Control of Magical Creatures. S. P. E. W was rife, and she had just had her first bill passed – Dobby’s Bill. It was an order pertaining that any house-elf owner that abuses their employee may face criminal charges.

“It’s not much,” Hermione had told Harry, “but it’s a start.”

They were also kept busy by their N. E. W. T’s. Whilst Harry and Ron were only doing four subjects, Hermione was doing seven. She had wanted to do all eleven that she had originally been enrolled in. But Ron had talked her out of it.

Harry was also kept busy with his monthly visits to see Draco. Not because it took up a lot of time – it was only three hours on a Sunday – but because he was having a lot of trouble keeping his visits secret.

Harry wasn’t sure exactly why he wanted it to be a secret. At least from Hermione and the Weasleys anyway, who had been well aware of the lengths Harry had gone to in order to cushion the blow on the Malfoys. But Harry felt, in some kind of bizarre and stupid way, very protective of Draco.

The first time he went to see Draco – and had seen the horror that had been inflicted on him by a bored guard, who had thought no one would care about a Death Eater – Harry had been sickened. And in some peculiar way, he had felt responsible for Draco’s pain. Like maybe, if he had done more for him when they had been at school, maybe if he had attempted some kind of truce, none of this would have happened.

As it were, Harry did not mind the visits very much. They were sometimes awkward and he often had to bite his tongue, and witnessed Draco doing the same. But there was something almost … endearing about his petulant arrogance. Something innocent about the indignant look on his face when he didn’t get what he wanted.

Harry was not ashamed to admit that his childhood rival made him smile. And it reminded him of simpler times, when Draco was his biggest enemy and not an evil wizard and his band of homicidal Death Eaters.

But none of this really explained why he kept his visits secret from the two people in the world he told practically everything to. He thought about all this intently as he made his way through muggle London in search of a present.

Harry had been debating for some time, what to get Ginny for Christmas. The Weasleys were a very big family and they had a lot of friends. What if he got Ginny the same present as someone else? Harry had decided the best method of avoiding this was to shop in the muggle world.

He had been walking up and down the particularly busy streets, slowly freezing to death in the snow, looking in windows, hoping something would pop out at him. But nothing did. He sighed to himself. After years of buying presents for Hermione, he had thought he would be better at this. But Hermione was not Ginny. And the way he felt about Ginny, he certainly didn’t feel for Hermione.

He stood outside a jeweler – Louis Jean Re’moi. He looked at the watch on his wrist, the one that had once belonged to Fabian Prewett. It read ten o’clock. Harry sighed. He had to be at the Ministry soon if he was going to floo to Azkaban in time for Draco’s visitation.

He stepped out of the icy cold and made his way into the store. It was much quieter than the other stores Harry had glanced in. A short look at some of the price tags told him why. But Harry shrugged his shoulders. Ginny was worth it, and it wasn’t as if he didn’t have the money. And it was easy to shop in the muggle world now, as Hermione and Harry had both acquired credit cards from a Swiss muggle bank, which worked directly with Gringotts.

Harry looked about the regal shop, with its polished floors and chesterfield sofas. It certainly looked promising. Harry was glancing around at the display cabinets, uncertain as to what would be appropriate, when a middle-aged man approached him, looked him up and down distastefully and asked in an extremely pompous tone, “Can I help you, sir?” He said it as if hoping Harry were just lost, and not a prospective customer.

Harry held back the urge to roll his eyes. “Yeah, I’m looking for a present for my girlfriend.”

“And what,” asked the man, still looking at him in abhorrence, “is your price range? Perhaps Harry Winston would be more appropriate.”

“My range,” said Harry, narrowing his eyes, “is the price of whatever I pick out.”

“Very well,” said the man, still obviously believing Harry were some kind of beggar. Harry really hadn’t thought he’d dressed that badly. Just normal black muggle jeans and a green coat. “What are you looking for? A little charm perhaps?”

“No,” said Harry, a slight resentfulness to his voice. “I can’t get her a ring though, ‘cause that would be a little … presumptuous. I was thinking maybe some earrings.”

The man still had that look about him that doubted Harry would buy so much as paper box from his store, but he looked resigned to the fact he would have to at least show Harry the merchandise.

They went through several pairs of earrings, none of which Harry thought would particularly suit Ginny. But as they went on, the store clerk seemed to become less repulsed by Harry, as he clearly enjoyed his job. He had just gone out the back to get a pair of earrings that had just come in; that the store clerk thought would suit Ginny – based on Harry’s description of her – when something in a cherry wood display cabinet caught Harry’s eye. It was reflecting off a gold wrist watch that another patron was trying on. Harry stood up from his chair and stepped away from the little table that he and the store clerk had been using.

When he reached the cabinet he saw what appeared to be a large charm or brooch. It had three, white gold coils all wrapped around each other so intricately that Harry never would have been able to follow the pattern of one coil, to see where it started and where it ended. Harry imagined that the coils would have been as tall as him when stretched out. And sitting in the middle of these coils was a large, grey stone, framed in smaller black stones. They looked like diamonds, but Harry had never seen diamonds that shade before. He gazed at it wondrously and then, was slightly horrified to realise that it reminded him of Draco. Perhaps because the grey diamond was so similar to Draco’s eyes or because the charm had a sort of, uneven elegance to it that was so like Draco.

Harry didn’t have long to think about it though, as the store clerk summoned him back to the chair. Harry sat back down, glancing back over at the charm as the clerk prattled on about the earrings he’d just got. Rose gold studs with a canary yellow diamond. They were simple and pretty and Harry thought that they would suit Ginny well.

The man looked proud of himself and then tentatively told Harry the price – £599. They were easily the most expensive thing Harry had ever bought, but he just shrugged his shoulders. The clerk seemed both shocked and pleased as Harry handed over his credit card and he went to run it up.

Harry involuntarily looked over at the cabinet again, knowing what he wanted to do, but wondering why he should. It probably cost a fortune. More than double what Ginny’s earrings were. But when the clerk came back to Harry to hand back his card, all pompousness gone, Harry asked him if he could look at the brooch.

The clerk beamed and Harry sighed to himself, wondering what kind of trouble he was about to start.

(())


Draco sat on his bed, his hands in his lap, staring intently at his cell door. He looked like an eager schoolboy on his first day, his eyes all wide and attentive, his hands wringing nervously.

He was waiting.

His cell was neat, orderly and sterile. His bed was made, his homework and school books stacked neatly on his little table, and a soft stream of light filtered in from the tiny window. The only thing that disturbed this scene was a massive funnel web spider in the left hand corner of the ceiling.

“Any second now, Esther,” Draco whispered softly, addressing the spider but still staring fixatedly on the door. “Almost time.”

And then, the sound of the locks being undone came through to Draco and he stood quickly. Ebenezer Crick, Draco’s dark, portly guard stood at the door, flanked by two Dementors.

“Well, it’s that time of the month again,” Crick groaned out in his husky voice. He was a miserable old coot, but he was without judgment. Draco appreciated that. “Ready to go are you, Malfoy?”

“Yes,” he replied, as the cheerlessness of the Dementors began to fill him with cold dread.

“Well, come on then,” said Crick motioning with his arms, clearly keen to be rid of the putrid creatures too.

Draco raised his eyebrows in farewell to Esther the funnel web, and walked out of his cell. His spirits were instantly raised, despite the immediate presence of Dementors. It was like this every time. Draco didn’t care that he only had three hours. He didn’t care that his time was spent with someone he didn’t particularly like. It was just always a relief to be out of his cell. To breathe some new air, see something different; speak to someone other than a poisonous spider.

Draco’s life in Azkaban had improved greatly since the firing of his old guard. And his N. E. W. T’s kept him busy. He was even surprised to find that Muggle Studies was not a completely boring subject – though he still liked Ancient Runes best, just like when he’d been at Hogwarts. But despite this, the first month in Azkaban lingered with him, haunting him at day or night. When he was out of his cell, and had a distraction, he was able to forget, if only temporarily, about that seamlessly never-ending blackness that had become his life.

They reached the end of the grey stone hall, and Crick opened the door to the visitation room. Draco walked in without comment; the door was closed firmly behind him and he could hear the sound of the locks, shutting him in.

He looked to his visitor, who was sitting at a rickety old table in the grey stone room – that was not unlike the hall, but squarer – with a newspaper shielding his face. He looked to the left and saw a glittering silvery creature. Prongs. The stag was lying down on the floor, apparently taking a nap. Harry Potter seemed hypersensitive to Dementors, and even if there was one, just one, a hundred metres away, Potter would still conjure Prongs.

Draco sat in the chair opposite, silently, embracing the warmth of the Patronus. The paper was quickly stuffed down and Potter looked at Draco, enquiry covering his features and something plastic hanging out of his mouth. Draco recognised the object from his Muggle Studies textbook. A pen.

“What’s another word,” asked Potter, the pen wobbling as he spoke, “for … lascivious?”

There were never any greetings in these meetings. Never a ‘Hello’ or ‘Are you well?’ Draco liked this. He hated pretence.

“Do you know what it starts with?” asked Draco.

“No,” said Potter, removing the pen from his mouth. “But the fifth letter is ‘d’ and the last letter is ‘s’.”

“Hmm,” thought Draco. “Libidinous.”

Potter looked down at the Daily Prophet crossword puzzle. “Perfect!”

Potter pressed the top down on his pen and wrote down the answer. He often did things like this when he was with Draco; brought school homework or Auror case studies that he would then proceed to ask Draco’s opinion on. Draco was curious as to why Potter did this, but did not want to ask.

“You never struck me as the ‘crossword puzzle type’, Potter,” said Draco, staring down at his hands and cleaning his fingernails.

“I’m not,” Potter said easily. “I’ve got a bet going with Ron. What’s the capital of New Zealand? I thought it was Auckland but it doesn’t fit.”

“Well it wouldn’t,” Draco drawled looking up at Potter haughtily, “being that Wellington is the capital of New Zealand.”

“Oh.” Potter scrawled down the answer.

“What kind of bet have you got with Weasley?”

“Last person to finish the puzzle has to tell Percy blonde is not his colour.”

“And here you are cheating, tut, tut,” drawled Draco, ignoring the horrific images in his mind of what a blonde Weasley might look like.

Potter shrugged. “Hermione will end up doing his anyway. Besides, I’ve only got one more to go. The ‘What Am I?’”

“Right then,” said Draco. “Let’s hear it.”

“Okay,” said Potter, all practicality, he held the paper up to read it. “‘I am an herbivorous beast from the Far East with the power of invisibility–’”

“Demiguise,” said Draco smoothly. Potter frowned and looked intently at the crossword to see if it would fit.

“That’s it,” he said, writing it down. “You’re a freak, Draco. And you just saved me a lot of grief.”

When he was finished the paper immediately began to glitter and glow and then popped out of the room.

“We enchanted the paper,” said Potter to Draco’s questioning expression. “It’s been sent directly to Ron.”

Draco nodded his head, now out of things to say. But Potter was nothing if not pre-emptive. He pulled out from a large bag under his chair, a thin tin, larger than a matchbox. Potter was wearing muggle clothes today. Normally, he wore robes.

“I want to teach you a game,” declared Potter. “If you’re willing,” he added for civility. He opened the tin and out came a deck of cards. Potter began rifling through them, disposing of certain ones.

“What kind of game?” Draco curiously asked.

“It’s a muggle game,” said Potter. Draco curled his lip but said nothing. “It’s called Five Hundred. It’s normally played with at least four people, but I’m just teaching you so it’ll work fine with two.”

“I much prefer chess,” Draco hinted, “to card games.”

“I know,” said Potter, apparently ignoring the hint as he flicked away one of the jokers.

Draco narrowed his eyes. “How do you know that I like chess?”

Potter looked up to him for a moment, as he shuffled the remaining cards, flipping his fingers expertly through the pack. “You used to play it at school all the time. In the court yard behind the greenhouses. You know, that tournament that the Ravenclaws used to run.”

“Oh,” said Draco. “Hmm. How did you know about that? I never saw you there.”

“Well I’m not very good at chess, so you wouldn’t,” said Potter as he began dealing the cards out, as if four people were playing. “But Ron’s good. He won the tournament in third year.”

“Oh. Yes.” Draco’s face darkened slightly. “I remember.”

“Yeah,” said Potter. “Didn’t play again after that though. Said it wasn’t worth the stress. Plus, he was the youngest player in like, fifty years to win so …” Draco again, said nothing and Potter asked politely, “Did you ever win?”

“Yes,” Draco answered, attempting to hide the pride from his voice, but failing. “In fifth year.”

Potter nodded his head, obviously not particularly impressed, and he began explaining the mechanics of Five Hundred and Draco listened with surprising attentiveness.

Draco had noticed in his previous visitation that Potter had a very easy way about him. A sort of naturally accepting nature and Draco noticed that he was much less arrogant than he had once thought. That, combined with Draco reluctant gratitude to Potter, meant that Draco was, for the most part, agreeable to Potter.

But Draco had almost immediately recognised that there was this look in Potter’s eyes. Like something that had once been there had been beaten out. The affect of the war, no doubt. There was no innocence to him anymore. And only a very little amount of optimism. This pleased Draco. Not in a sardonic way, but because he felt like for once in their lives, they were silently relating to each other.

After an hour of explanation and the arrival of lunch – just some turkey and cranberry sandwiches – Draco decided he wanted to play against Potter. Draco would take two positions and Potter would take the other two.

“I think we should play another open hand first,” said Potter, though he seemed pleased by Draco’s enthusiasm. Indeed, when Potter had told Draco that the best skill to have for this game was an ability to keep track of people and what they’ve been playing; Draco decided that he would be very good at Five Hundred. Certainly he could read people very well, and he had a good memory.

“No,” declared Draco, scooping up all the cards. “We’re playing.” Draco looked up at Potter and saw that he was smiling.

“You’re not used to not having your way, huh?” Potter grinned. Draco began dealing the cards as Potter had instructed.

“Privilege of wealth, Potter,” drawled Draco. “I generally get what I want.” Potter shook his head, bemusedly, and neither commented on the current irony of that statement.

“It’s not really going to work, you know,” said Potter, “with only two people.”

“It’ll be fine,” said Draco, firmly. “Now stop trying to delay your inevitable defeat.”

Potter laughed out loud this time. Draco thought it changed his appearance dramatically for the better. His mouth opened wide to reveal neat teeth and his cheekbones took an attractive stance. His eyes lightened and the sound of his pleasant laughter danced around the room.

Draco scowled when he realised he was staring, and he scooped up his cards. Potter gathered his own as his laugh died down.

Draco ordered the cards, his own, and then the cards of the person who would have been his partner – hearts, clubs, diamonds then spades. Draco sighed in thought. His hand was strong in clubs, but his “partner’s” was strong in diamonds and had only two, small clubs. He looked back at his own hand. He had a four diamonds. He only had to win six tricks. Between the two hands, it should be easy.

“I bet six diamonds,” said Draco confidently.

“I’m meant to bet first,” said Potter, still looking pleasantly amused.

Draco snorted. “Why?”

“’Cause you dealt. Standard card game etiquette, Malfoy,” said Potter teasingly. It was the first time that Potter had called him ‘Malfoy’ in a very long time.

“Build a bridge, Potter,” said Draco insolently. “Now bet, if you think you’ve got anything.”

“You bet diamonds, huh?”

“Yes,” said Draco, with raised eyebrows.

“Are you sure about that?”

Draco rolled his eyes snootily. “Spare me that psyche-out bullshit, and place your damn bet,” said Draco. “Or let me get on with the ass-kicking.”

Harry smiled. “Alright,” he said. “I pass. The kitty’s yours.”

Draco smirked smugly and picked up the remaining cards in the centre of the table. “I knew you were just waffling,” he said as he discarded his three hearts and took what was in the kitty instead.

Draco led with the ace of spades, Potter played the five of spades, then Draco played the six of spades, then Potter played the jack of spades. Draco smiled smugly and took the first trick.

“So,” said Potter, conversationally. “How’s your N. E. W. T’s going?”

Draco played the king of spades and said, “Fine. It’s not much different from sixth year. Though Muggle Studies is kind of hard, because I’ve never done that before.”

“It would be hard,” said Potter as he played low spades and Draco won that trick as well. “But it’s important to know about them and the way they live.”

“You think so?” said Draco, a slight trace of contempt and skepticism to his voice as he led with a third spade.

“Yes,” said Potter firmly. “I do.” Potter then put a diamond on top of Draco’s spade, and took the trick.

Draco watched this and scowled angrily, leaning across the table, trying to snatch the cards back. “Hey! I played a spade; you have to play a spade! There’s none of that trucking yet!”

“It’s trumping,” said Potter, laughing at Draco and holding the cards behind his back and out of reach. “And I can trump whenever I want, as long as I don’t have any of the suit that you lead with. My “partner” has no more spades.”

Draco sat back down, his eyes narrowed, muttering under his breath. Potter looked down at his cards, clearly trying not to laugh. Potter’s “partner” led this time, as they had won the trick. Potter dropped the ace of clubs down.

“So, uh,” said Potter, “you’re uh, not getting anymore grief are you? From anyone here?”

Draco purposefully avoided Potter’s gaze and played the lowest club he had, not wanting to waste any of the higher ones as he could not beat Potter’s ace. “Everything’s fine,” he said a little closed-lipped.

“I only ask,” said Potter, scooping up that trick and putting it on top of the other one as Draco’s narrowed eyes followed his movements darkly, “because uh, the guard, Crick, he uh, said you um ...” Potter sighed loudly and looked down at his cards. “Well, he um, kind of, er-”

Draco’s envious eyes left the trick he’d just lost and glanced up at Potter in annoyance. “For fuck’s sake, Potter, just say it.”

“He said you’ve been having nightmares.”

Draco froze as Potter played the joker – the highest card in the game.

Figures he’d have it.

Potter looked up at Draco, waiting for him to play his next card, but Draco sat their frozen.

“I’m sorry I brought it up,” said Potter softly. “It’s your business. It’s just that … you know no one would blame you if you were a little stressed out … and I thought I should give you a heads up because uh, they’re going to give you a psych evaluation. Crick just told me today.”

Draco spun around to Potter. “I’m not doing that!”

“I don’t think you’ve got much choice,” said Potter. “But I mean, you’ll get out of your cell for a day, and if they think it necessary, you could start having sessions with a psychologist and then you’ll get out of your cell like, once a week.”

Draco mentally cursed Potter for that. For preying on what Draco longed for the most – escape. But what the fuck was a ‘psych evaluation’? What were they going to do to him? Would they make him take potions to calm him like the mentally unstable? What if they want to hurt him like that guard had?

“What will they do?”

“I dunno,” said Potter in small voice, shrugging his shoulders.

Draco sighed, avoiding Potter’s gaze and bit down on his bottom lip, embarrassedly, before he finally turned to Potter and said, “Could you come with me?”

Potter’s eyes turned away for a moment and his facial expression went a bit odd. Then he slowly nodded his head in agreement. Draco took in a deep breath of relief and threw down a diamond as the joker always followed whatever trumps are. Diamonds, in this case.

They continued their game in a bit of a subdued sort of fashion. Draco did not win another trick and Potter later explained to him that he shouldn’t have bet on diamonds unless he had had one of the red jacks or the joker. Potter had all of them.

They made small talk and Potter filled Draco in on the latest Quidditch news. Draco supported the Falmouth Falcons. A fact that Potter found amusing for some reason. Potter claimed that he supported the Appleby Arrows, but when Weasley was around, the Chudley Canons.

Then two o’clock came and Crick banged on the door, telling them to wrap it up. Potter stood up to leave and Draco followed suit, turning his back towards the door. He turned back around to say goodbye to Potter and saw that he was standing right next to the young man who had a small box in his hand, wrapped in deep green wrapping paper.

Draco met Potter’s eyes which were wide and questioning, and also doubtful. Of what though, Draco didn’t know. Draco held his gaze as Potter gave him a very little smile.

“Happy Christmas, Draco.” Then he pushed the present into Draco’s hands and walked quickly out. Draco stared at it open-mouthed.

“We already scanned it,” came the wheezy voice of Ebenezer Crick, standing at the door flanked by two Dementors who were reluctant to come too close as Prongs still lounged in the corner. “Nothing in it of concern.”

Draco absently nodded his head and walked out of his cell, throwing a glance back at Prongs who stood up as he left, as if wanting to follow. But the door was closed and Draco was led back to his cell. All the while, staring down at the present in his hands, wondering what on Earth it could be.

Crick locked Draco back into his cell and Draco immediately walked over to his little desk and put the present on it. He sat there staring at it for a while before he finally picked it up and greedily ripped the paper off it.

A pretty, black wooden box was revealed and Draco ran his hands over the smooth surface before setting it back down and cautiously opening it, wondering if there would be anything inside or if Potter’s present was just the nice box.

As the lid came off, and the box’s content was uncovered, Draco’s eyes went wide and he clamped his hands over his mouth. And, typical of whenever he had received nice, expensive things, and almost as if he wasn’t in Azkaban, surrounded by homicidal psychos and Dementors, Draco let out a rather girlish squeal and did a strange, little kind of dance in his chair, flapping his hands about.

His father always blamed his mother for this kind of behaviour.

He picked up the beautiful trinket and felt the smoothness of the coils and watched the way the small light from the window made the stones glitter prettily up at him. And in that moment, surrounded by what he was, and feeling everything that he had been feeling – he had never loved any other object, he had ever had, more.

(())


Harry picked up a fistful of floo powder, a very strange kind of feeling in his chest. He walked into the grate, ready to leave Azkaban. He threw the powder down and shouted, “The Ministry of Magic!”

He felt his stomach propelling him onwards as soot got up his nose and he watched grates flash by, seeing flashes of people before finally landing – thankfully on both feet – in the Floo Hall of the Ministry.

He absent-mindedly brushed the soot off his clothes, wishing that traveling this way was a bit cleaner. He raised his head, heading for the residential grates to go home when the sight of his two best-friends, standing directly in front of him, both with scowls on their faces and disapproval in their stance, stopped him in his tracks.

“So, Harry,” said Hermione tartly, her hands on her hips. “Anything you want to tell us?”

(())


Author’s Notes: This chapter was rather uneventful, but necessary. And the Lord said, “Love thy beta.” And I do. Thank you, AbundantFear.

Thanks must also go to everyone who reviewed the first chapter. You guys are the chocolate in brownies, the cherries on top, Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain, Britney Spears pre-skank, Quarter Pounders, public holidays and movie marathons. You rock my world.

Reviewers of this chapter get imaginary lollipops!

Next Chapter
 
 
Current Mood: determineddetermined
Current Music: See You Soon - Coldplay
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
Caitlyn Darcy: Audrey Hepburnraining_slash on August 30th, 2007 02:05 am (UTC)
*squeeage*

Thanks for reviewing again!

*loves* *snogs*

AbundantFearabundantfear on August 29th, 2007 03:28 pm (UTC)
OMG.

Next chaptererer! NOW.
Caitlyn Darcy: Boy Loveraining_slash on August 30th, 2007 02:07 am (UTC)
I'm working as fast as I effing can! I am preparing for honours next year, you know?

*smirks at name-droppage*
Kelleycopperbeech on August 29th, 2007 06:04 pm (UTC)
I'm enjoying this series. Can't wait to read more!
Caitlyn Darcy: Cupid!Galeraining_slash on August 30th, 2007 02:09 am (UTC)
Eek! Thanks for reviewing and even reading this story after The Crooked Heart fiasco.

*loves*
gurliemoviegeek on August 29th, 2007 06:11 pm (UTC)
As the lid came off, and the box’s content was uncovered, Draco’s eyes went wide and he clamped his hands over his mouth. And, typical of whenever he had received nice, expensive things, and almost as if he wasn’t in Azkaban, surrounded by homicidal psychos and Dementors, Draco let out a rather girlish squeal and did a strange, little kind of dance in his chair, flapping his hands about.

You are brilliant!
I love your Draco so much!
I just want to hug him and take him away from that awful place!
Can't wait for more!
Caitlyn Darcy: Dan 1989raining_slash on August 30th, 2007 02:12 am (UTC)
You know, I was really nervous about Draco's reaction to the present. But for some reason, I just couldn't get that image of Draco squealing and flapping about like the spoilt little shit he is. I'm glad you enjoyed! :-)
aubergineautumn on August 30th, 2007 04:09 am (UTC)
NO, the reaction was the BEST.
ura_hdura_hd on August 29th, 2007 09:15 pm (UTC)
I love this story. Very well crafted and interesting. Cannot wait to read the next chapter!
Caitlyn Darcy: Doctor McDreamyraining_slash on August 30th, 2007 02:13 am (UTC)
*squee*

Thanks for reviewing! More coming soon. :-)
Cheshyrecheshyre on August 29th, 2007 11:55 pm (UTC)
Really enjoying this, but minor typo:
he told practically everything too
Should be "to" not "too"
Caitlyn Darcy: Draco Malfoyraining_slash on August 30th, 2007 02:16 am (UTC)
Thank you! :-)

*scurries off to fix*
Anigrubby_tap on August 29th, 2007 11:59 pm (UTC)
More fic, more fic!
Caitlyn Darcy: Harry/Draco Kittensraining_slash on August 30th, 2007 02:17 am (UTC)
More fic, more fic!

Coming soon, coming soon!

*smirks in Draco-like way*

:-D
(Anonymous) on August 30th, 2007 01:24 am (UTC)
Love the sotry, cant wait for the next chapter!
Caitlyn Darcy: Hugh Jackmanraining_slash on August 30th, 2007 02:18 am (UTC)
Thank you for reviewing! :-)
More coming soon.
Laura Stefaniformerlydumb on August 30th, 2007 06:32 pm (UTC)
Hi, I'm laura and I'm an italian girl.
First of all, I'd like to say that I really like your writing, and it's for this reason that I would love to translate this story into Italian, if that's ok to you! I'm not a newbie at translations, I've already done it for furiosity and strigoia among others.
I hope you'll go on with this fiction soon,
love
Laura
Caitlyn Darcy: Marilyn Monroeraining_slash on August 31st, 2007 02:32 am (UTC)
I don't see that being a problem, as long as I'm properly credited and know where it will be uploaded. :-)

And thanks for reviewing! I'll be posting the next chapter soon.
Laura Stefani: HP_AS/S_deathly hallowsformerlydumb on August 31st, 2007 07:56 am (UTC)
Of course I'll give you full credit and the direct link to the story!
I'm currently working on it. Probably I'll wait for your last chapter (or the italian pubblication of DH, on january 2008) before uploading my translation, but if it's a problem for you, let me know it immedialy ;)
btw, I usually upload translations at my LJ and here: http://www.nocturnealley.org/index.php
my email is lauradumb@gmail.com, if you want contact me for anything!
thank you very much
Laura.
Caitlyn Darcy: Harry/Draco Kittensraining_slash on August 31st, 2007 10:54 am (UTC)
Sounds great! :-)
zentarianazentariana on August 31st, 2007 03:11 am (UTC)
Awesome chapter! This story is very good!
I found an error though:
"It was an order pertaining that any house-elf owner that abuses their employer may face criminal charges."

Probably should be employee :)
Caitlyn Darcy: Quotesraining_slash on August 31st, 2007 04:28 am (UTC)
Thank you SO much for reviewing and for pointing out my mistake. :-)

*scurries off to fix ... again*
Elysia Starlitelysia_starlit on September 1st, 2007 12:59 pm (UTC)
Hey honey!

Haven't read it yet, but just letting you know its on my list! I've only recently discovered McShep (Stargate Atlantis) fandom, and am drowning in fresh fic. Once I'm floating again, will come over and catch up my HP fandom - I'm so behind!

Glad to see you writing though. I'm so looking forward to getting to this!
Caitlyn Darcy: Lee/Kararaining_slash on September 1st, 2007 01:39 pm (UTC)
lol

That's alright. :-)

I'm not big on the McShep, but I do love Stargate. Sheppard is awesome and Rodney cracks me up.

Read it when you can and thank you!

*smooches*
Elysia Starlitelysia_starlit on September 29th, 2007 11:18 am (UTC)
So I read it! And its *great*. I imagine Harry being protective of Draco after everything - someone he did directly save. Nice. Am greatly looking forward to your developments!

PS Sad about Hermione and her parents being not-quite-right. :( That would've been hard for them, and sad for Herm.

My McShep streak is still going strong. But then again, HP fandom has been a wee bit lacking. Any recs from you?

Lys
Caitlyn Darcy: Harry/Draco Kittensraining_slash on September 29th, 2007 12:59 pm (UTC)
*Squee*

I'm glad you liked it!

Next chapter should be up on Monday. Had some dramas with my beta.

Caity
xoxo

P.S Yes, The Fandom has been lacking immensely, and there is only one story that I've liked so far. Can't remember the name of the author ... some one big in the fandom ... maybe Rhysenn? Hold on, I'll check.

*is checking and hoping laptop power doesn't fail before this message is written*

Was right! It was her.

Linky - http://www.fictionalley.org/authors/rhysenn/TD01.html
Elysia Starlitelysia_starlit on September 29th, 2007 01:25 pm (UTC)
Awesome! Thanks for the rec. Hope grad school is going well. I realise this week I only have 6 months to go. *Eep!* Have to get working, I think.

Look forward to the next chapter. :)
Elysia Starlitelysia_starlit on September 29th, 2007 02:01 pm (UTC)
Hey! She's actually finished this fic on her LJ.

http://iscaris.livejournal.com/tag/the+debt

Am prolly gonna read it tomorrow - very late here and I might go to bed.

Chat later.

Lys
Caitlyn Darcy: Hugh Jackmanraining_slash on September 30th, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC)
Yes, I knew she'd finished it. But I hadn't actually read it so thanks for the linkage.

*mwah*
scholar of war: Music: BANeliminate on September 3rd, 2007 03:13 am (UTC)
Ah! I tend to shy away from most WIP stories (I'm far too impateint to wait a week for an update D:!) but I am enjoying this. :D Good luck, and I hope to see the next chapter out soon. *g*
Caitlyn Darcy: Draco Malfoyraining_slash on September 3rd, 2007 07:03 am (UTC)
Thanks for reviewing, and I hope I don't keep you waiting too long! The next chapter will be up very soon. :-)
.  C  A  R  A  .  M  .: [draco] angstlovepanic on September 15th, 2007 07:01 am (UTC)
wow, I'm really enjoying this, and very much looking forward to the next chapter! Great job!
Caitlyn Darcy: Boy Loveraining_slash on September 15th, 2007 12:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you so very much for reviewing! Next chapter will be up soon! :-)
darluludarlulu on September 29th, 2007 06:44 pm (UTC)
I just happened to stumble upon this wip, and am so happy I did. I love your Harry and Draco and can't wait to see where you're headed with this.
Caitlyn Darcy: Draco Malfoyraining_slash on September 30th, 2007 03:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reviewing! :-)