Recipient: The Community
Word Count: 20,000
Summary: Draco is home for Easter during his 7th year at Hogwarts when he notices strange noises coming from the basement.
He'd heard the frantic commotion from behind him and dropped his teacup in its saucer. With the Dark Lord gone, his parents had finally seen fit to visit him and the entire production felt stilted and phony.
But now something was going on. The Dark Lord was, thankfully, away in Germany or something, but there were definitely other visitors in the manor and Draco could sense tension in the air.
His mother strode quickly back to the sitting room. "They say they've got Potter."
Lucius' chair nearly toppled in his excitement. Draco, however, felt like someone had attached a Permanent Sticking Charm to his arse. "Draco, come here."
Leaden weights seemed to stilt his movements as Draco rose slowly from his armchair.
Was this it? If they really had Potter, then the Dark Lord would arrive shortly, end the wanker's life and the war would be over.
But Luna had promised that good would triumph . . .
Draco almost vomited when he saw that Fenrir Greyback was standing on the other side of the drawing room. Bound up behind him was Dean Thomas, one of the only Gryffindors that Draco didn't have a problem with, a Goblin, Granger and Weasley. Pulled to the side was some hideously disfigured individual with the same tragically shit-tastic hair as Potter, but several inches longer than Draco remembered. He also had the same stupid glasses and ugly—now filthy—clothing. Merlin. He was even wearing those fucking tatty red trainers that had followed Draco around all of sixth year. Christ.
And this was the person they were all counting on to save them? To defeat the Dark Lord?
Draco almost laughed. Almost. Instead, he swallowed the lump in his throat as Fenrir Greyback turned to him and growled, "Well, boy?"
Draco took a hesitant step further. What was he supposed to say? If he said it was Potter, then it was all over.
But wasn't that what he wanted?
"Well, Draco?" His father sounded almost manic. "Is it? Is it Harry Potter?"
Time. He needed more time! Draco couldn't just—just end it all! With Potter looking all . . . what the fuck was wrong with him, anyway?
No. He just— "I can't-I can't be sure." Potter was staring at his feet. There was a toe poking through the corner of his shoes.
"But look at him carefully, look! Come closer!"
Draco cast a worried look at his father. He'd known that Azkaban had changed the man, but this was the first time Draco had ever felt truly frightened.
"Draco," Lucius continued, his blond hair falling over his gaunt face as his eyes raked wildly over the figure of Potter. "If we are the ones to hand Potter over to the Dark Lord, everything will be forgiv—"
The snatchers interrupted and Draco had to look away from his father and back at Potter. It was amazing that no one else could tell that it was him. Draco would know Potter a mile away, perhaps with no face at all.
Draco was distracted from that weird thought for a moment by the sound of Luna singing Stubby Boardman's "Nettle Wine Weekend" one floor below.
"There's something there," his father whispered. "It could be the scar, stretched tight . . . Draco, come here, look properly! What do you think?"
Reluctantly, Draco crouched down beside his father and cast a glance at Potter's scar. His heart was pounding in his chest. Draco knew that the second he confirmed Potter's identity, someone would summon the Dark Lord. "I don't know." Draco stood up quickly and moved as far away from Potter as he could.
"What about the Mudblood, then?" Greyback snarled.
Shit. How could Draco be so stupid? They weren't all disfigured. Everyone would know he'd been lying. Shit.
"Wait," his mother cried. "Yes—yes, she was in Madam Malkin's with Potter! I saw her picture in the Prophet! Look, Draco, isn't that the Granger girl?"
"I . . . " Draco didn't want to look. He couldn't look. "Maybe. . . yeah." Feeling absolutely sick about what he'd done, Draco turned around completely and stared at the fire. Maybe he could grab the Floo powder and take off . . .
"But then, that's the Weasley boy!" shouted Lucius. "It's them, Potter's friends—Draco, look at him, isn't it Arthur Weasley's son, what's his name—?"
"Yeah." Ron. "It could be."
Within seconds, Bellatrix and Lucius were arguing over who got to Summon the Dark Lord first. Draco was ashamed on his father's behalf. He wrapped his arms tightly around himself and looked away when his mother cast him one of those pitying looks.
Suddenly, Bellatrix was shrieking about a stolen sword. Something had changed—for some reason they were all scared to call the Dark Lord now. Bellatrix Stupefied the snatchers and took the sword, turning it almost reverently in her hands.
"A curly-toed hobo on a Saturday night-du-weepa-dop-a-dooby-doo-wee!"
Was Draco the only person who could hear her singing down there? He cast a worried glance around the room, but everyone was too engrossed in the current situation to notice Luna singing.
"Draco, move this scum outside!" Bellatrix ordered. His eyes snapped to the werewolf first and then to the filthy men that lay beside him on the floor. "If you haven't got the guts to finish them," she continued in a snarl, "then leave them in the courtyard for me."
Draco sneered at his aunt. Her remark obviously had to do with his treatment of Luna.
"Don't you dare speak to Draco like—" His mother was interrupted by his aunt and Draco decided to just move the men outside, like he'd been told. At least then he wouldn't have to be in the same room as Potter, being burned alive under the fiery stare of Ron Weasley.
Using his wand and being extra careful not to come into physical contact with Greyback, Draco bound the three men together and began to Levitate them out into the courtyard.
When he stepped outside, the sunny sky and chirping birds were a shock to his system. Draco couldn't remember the last time he'd been outside. He cast an extra Stupefy on each of the men and secured them tightly to a tree. Then he sank down onto the muddy earth, drew his knees up to his chest and stared at them.
A peacock trotted over to Draco and stuck her neck into one of his pockets. He elbowed the bird gently out of the way and pulled out the small bag of owl treats she had been trying to steal. Draco shook the bag and a treat fell into the muddy ground beside him. His generosity was met with an annoyed squawk. Draco carefully shook another treat into his palm. The peacock snatched up the clean treat and trotted off, her foot stomping the other snack into the mud.
"Only the best for a Malfoy, I see," Draco called after the bird, stuffing the bag back into his pocket. "Little bastard."
There was a terrible scream from the other side of the door that seemed to go on and on.
Draco squeezed his eyes shut, wishing he could block out everything that was happening inside. He didn't pray often, but he started to pray right then that he would somehow be forgotten out here in the shuffle of whatever was going on.
Weasley's voice sounded like it was coming from below. He must be in the dungeon, too. Great, now Draco would have to take care of Weasley and the others and he'd no longer have Luna to himself.
God, he was selfish.
Not that Luna would be happy that her friends had been caught, but with the Golden Trio in the manor, she probably had some chance of escaping.
Draco sat up a little straighter. Was it possible? Could Potter and his band of merry men actually rescue the prisoners? No, he decided. The wards at the manor were ridiculous. No human could break them, not even precious Potter.
Draco spat into the mud for good measure and watched as his spit collected in the divots of the bird's footprint.
Suddenly he was yanked by his ear until he was standing on two feet. His father was glaring at him. "What in Merlin's name do you think you're doing?" he hissed.
"W-watching them!" Draco pointed at the men on the ground.
"Well, go watch the other prisoners, dammit! That's your job! For God's sake, Draco, that could very well be Potter down there."
"Okay, okay," Draco muttered, dusting the dirt off his trousers and following his father back into the drawing room.
Hermione Granger let out a shriek of agony from two feet away and this time Draco couldn't help but look. His insane aunt had a look of childlike delight on her face as she carved into Granger's arm with a blood-soaked dagger. Draco stumbled in his walk, caught only by his father giving him another yank on the ear and throwing him in the direction of the cellar door.
"We've never been inside your vault," Granger was sobbing. "It isn't the real sword! It's a copy, just a copy!"
"A copy?" screeched Bellatrix. "Oh, a likely story!"
"Draco, fetch the goblin," Lucius called. "He can tell us whether the sword is real or not!"
Draco reluctantly opened the cellar door and began making his way down the steps. When he reached the door to the cell, Draco lit his wand and held it out in front of him. "Stand back," Draco called to the prisoners. "Line up against the back wall. Don't try anything, or I'll kill you!"
Praying he wouldn't be overcome by five teenagers, a goblin and an old man, Draco unlocked the cell door, ready for whatever the sneaky bastards—and most of them were—might throw his way.
Potter—it was definitely Potter, Draco could see that now, was pressed against the back wall next to Luna. In the other corner stood Dean, Weasley, Ollivander and Griphook.
Draco took a deep breath and marched into the cell when he noticed Weasley was fumbling around with something. There was a click and then—
"Ron, no!" Potter yelled. Draco moved to stun Weasley, but was suddenly caught off guard when the room erupted in blinding gold light. Draco had been staring right at Weasley's hand when it happened and whatever the hell that thing was, it had blasted Draco right in the eyes.
"I'm blind!" Draco yelped, stumbling backwards and into someone. The next few seconds were confusing. Draco still couldn't see, but was fighting to stay in control. "Stay back! Stay back! Don't move!" An elbow caught him in the chest and he collapsed back onto whomever he had bumped into in the first place. A girl's yelp alerted him that it must have been Luna and he was pretty sure he now had her pinned to the ground.
"Get off her, Malfoy!" This was Potter. Draco reached out and took hold of the only part of him he could grab which he assumed was his ankle. Draco dug his fingernails in, still hesitant to use his wand when he couldn't see. Potter lost his balance when Draco hooked a leg around him and pulled him down, but instead of freeing Draco, Draco was now sandwiched between Potter and Luna with his wand hand smashed under Potter's body.
Potter started yanking on Draco's wand and Draco bit him.
"My leg!" Luna whimpered.
"Potter, get off!" Draco squirmed underneath him, but this only seemed to hurt Luna more. "I'll fucking kill you, get off me!"
"I can't breathe!" cried Luna.
At that second, Draco's vision began to adjust. Suddenly there was a crack of Apparition. Who the hell had Apparated? Draco head-butted Potter's arm to try and get a look at what was going on. He could sense a lot of heated whispering between Potter and the others and he didn't like it. Draco sank his teeth into Potter's arm again.
"Yeaugh, fuck, Malfoy!"
And the next thing Draco knew, he felt the sucking sensation of Apparition. The sudden white-noise sound of space travel was jarring after the madness he had just been in and Draco almost relished the several seconds of peace, knowing it was about to get a whole lot worse very soon.
The next thing Draco knew, he was face down in the sand, the sound of ocean waves way too fucking close for comfort. He tried to free himself from Potter and Luna, but to no avail. Without another thought, Draco clutched his wand tightly and Apparated the three of them to the first place he could think of that wasn't . . . Potter Territory.
The sickening sense of Apparition—and it was sickening when performed by Draco—overtook his senses again. Moments later, they landed in one big thump on the wooden floor of a large, comfortable sitting room. Potter scrambled off of the heap and Draco rolled off of Luna dramatically, struggling to catch his breath and orient himself.
Potter took a dizzy stagger to the side and then dropped to his knees, looking like he was fighting off the urge to heave.
"Back up!" Draco yelled, pointing his wand at Potter and Luna. Luna, Draco quickly noticed, was absolutely drenched in blood. He'd splinched her.
"What have you done?" Potter yelled. "Get away from her! Where are we?" Potter made a reach for his wand and quickly realized that he didn't have one. "Malfoy, do something!"
"If you'd shut up for a second, Potter, you'd see that I'm trying to!"
"I can't believe you splinched her! You—"
"SHUT UP!" Draco roared. "In fact, Silencio! Impedimenta!"
Potter glared wildly at Draco, twitching in his binds.
Draco dropped down beside Luna and tried to find the source of the bleeding. When he located the hole in her knee where her leg had broken, he had to turn his head away to keep from throwing up. The bone stuck out of her leg. Surrounding it was raw, torn flesh and muscle. Something else pinkish and bubbly oozed out of the wound.
He knew he needed to do something and fast. With trembling hands, he tried to clean the cut out as best he could. Draco didn't know any Healing Charms and he sure as hell wasn't trusting Potter with his wand, but . . .
Sighing, he released Potter from the Silencing Spell. "If you say anything other than the answers to my questions, I'm putting it back on," Draco warned.
Potter glared at Draco, but his look wavered when he caught sight of Luna's leg.
"Muggle Healers," Draco said as he grabbed a pillow off the sofa above him and pressed it to the wound for compression, "they use stitches, right?"
"Stitches," Draco's voice shook and he could feel himself paling, "Stitches like the kind used in a Stitching Charm?"
"You're going to try and sew up her leg?" Potter cried.
"Well, do you have a better idea?" Draco snapped.
"Yeah, St. Mungo's!"
"Oh, I'm sorry," Draco growled, pressing, "but I thought you were on the run?"
"Well, you aren't!"
"Well, I'm not going to St. Mungo's, so answer my fucking question! Theoretically, would a Stitching Charm work?"
Potter swallowed, looking nauseated. "Yeah . . . theoretically . . . but her bone . . ."
"Try Episkey," Luna murmured from the floor. Her breathing was shallow and heavy and Draco feared that she was losing too much blood, way too fast.
Never having done the spell before, Draco hoped the sheer will and desperation of the moment would be enough. Draco cast.
Luna let out a bloodcurdling scream and Draco jerked away from her, his wand dangling from his fingertips.
"What did you do?" cried Potter.
"Shut the fuck up, Potter!" Draco snapped. "Your comments from the peanut gallery are not fucking wanted! One more word and I'll Floo you right back to the manor, got it?"
Ignoring Potter, Draco slowly lifted the pillow off of Luna's leg. She gasped as the cold air hit her open wound and, without a second thought, Draco pointed his wand at her leg and cast the spell. A single stitch wound itself into the first millimeter of a five centimeter gash. Luna let out a shriek of agony and began to flail on the ground.
"Don't you have any pain potions?" Potter asked.
"No," Draco said through gritted teeth, "I don't." He turned back to Luna who looked barely conscious. "Luna, I need you to calm down. You're losing blood really quickly and you need to be still and calm, got it?"
Luna gave a weak nod.
"Potter," Draco's voice cracked. "Touch me and I'll kill you. I'm letting you go. You'll hold Luna's hand."
Potter nodded quickly.
"Don't try anything funny." Draco released Potter from his binds and the boy dashed across the room and slid to his knees by Luna's shoulder. He took her hand and squeezed it.
Narrowing his eyes for precision, Draco cast the spell again. Luna tensed as the stitch knitted together the next few millimeters of her skin. This time she was ready for it and passed the pain along to Potter's hand. They continued on in this fashion as Draco slowly worked his way up the wound.
"Alright there, Potter?" Draco asked, after a particularly tight hand-squeeze left Potter grimacing in pain.
"Fine, Malfoy," he spat.
"Luna?" Draco asked.
"Hurry, please." Her voice trembled and she was drenched in sweat.
"Almost done," Draco murmured. "Then we'll have Potter cook you a nice meal. You can sleep in the guest room. It's quite nice. I think you'll like it even better than the manor."
"Are you trying to be funny, Malfoy?" Potter asked him.
"No, I'm not," said Draco. "You can cook, can't you, Potter?"
Potter rolled his eyes. "Yes."
"Good. She hasn't eaten anything but sandwiches, so make it something decent."
"And whose fault is that?"
"Well, if she doesn't eat tonight, it will be yours."
"I don't understand why you can't cook—"
"Because I only know how to make sandwiches! For God's sake, Potter, follow along!"
Luna let out a soft moan. Draco suspected she only did it to get them to stop arguing but, in all honesty, if he'd been splinched that badly, he wouldn't tolerate two people yelling over him, either.
"Look what you've done, Potter," said Draco. "Now you've upset her."
"Me! How can you even—she's my friend! Y-you've been—"
"Please, please hurry," Luna said. "Shhh."
Potter snapped his mouth shut and Draco cast him a dirty look before putting in the final three stitches. When he was finished, he cast another cleaning charm on the area, placed a clean cloth over it and bound it into place with some Spellotape he found in a drawer. Together, Potter and Draco brought Luna to her feet and walked her down the hallway of his parents' summer cottage into a beautifully decorated white room. They laid her down on the large mattress and she sighed, smiling contentedly at what must have felt wonderful compared to the dirty cellar floor she'd been sleeping on.
"Thank you," said Luna. "How nice."
"Potter will bring you something to eat soon," Draco promised.
"Thank you, Harry." She sounded like she was falling asleep. "I like Draco's sandwiches, too."
"Okay, Luna." Potter gave her an awkward pat on the arm. Draco pointed his wand at Potter and shuffled him out of the room.
When they reached the parlor, Draco cast the Impediment Jinx on Potter again.
"Hey!" Potter cried. "I thought you wanted me to cook!"
"I changed my mind," said Draco. "I don't trust you not to give us all food poisoning."
Draco decided to keep Potter tied up in the kitchen of the cottage. He didn't trust Potter at all, but he couldn't very well cook on his own. And there was one thing that was really bothering Draco.
"Potter, how did you Apparate us out of the manor?"
Potter looked up from the knotted wooden table he'd been studying. "I didn't."
"Then who did?" Draco asked. "And how'd they do it? I can't even Apparate in and out of the manor and the wards there are keyed to the Malfoy signature."
"I'm surprised you can Apparate at all, seeing as you hardly went to Apparition class last year."
Draco stuck his nose in the air. "I was self-taught." Aunt Bellatrix had forced him to learn, actually. "And this was only my first Splinching."
"You must be very proud." Potter rolled his eyes.
"And you didn't answer my question."
"And I'm not going to. What do you think? I'm stupid?"
Draco raised an eyebrow and Potter scowled. "Would you like me to answer that?"
"I don't even care. I just want to get out of here."
"Don't count on it, Potter." Draco had decided to attempt to make soup. He added an unknown ingredient to the pot and gave it a stir. "We're staying."
Draco frowned and peeked in the cooling cupboard to see what else he could add to the sandwich. "Time."
"Time," Potter repeated. "We're wasting time."
"We're buying time—"
"Until what?" Potter challenged. "What's the matter—no plan, Malfoy? Don't tell me you don't know what you're going to do with us."
Draco decided to ignore Potter, completely. He wouldn't silence him, in case he accidentally slipped information that might somehow be useful.
Minutes later, Draco scooped a spoonful of the watery broth he'd managed to create and carried it over to Potter. Draco thrust the spoon toward Potter's mouth.
Potter jerked back and turned his head to the side. Barely opening his mouth, he said, "I'm not eating anything that you made."
Draco blew on the spoon just a little too hard, intentionally splashing hot liquid onto Potter. "Just. Try. It." Then he poked the spoon at Potter's mouth until the burning heat forced him to accept the soup and swallow. "Well?" Draco asked.
Potter only glared.
"Whatever, Potter." Draco tossed the spoon on the end table with a clatter. "More for me and your loony girlfriend."
Draco left Potter in the kitchen that night, tied to the chair. He strengthened the wards around Luna's room and then went into the cottage's master bedroom to sleep in his parents' bed.
As he lay flat on his back, staring at the stucco ceiling, he began to worry. He knew he should just take the two back to the manor . . . perhaps if he did it first thing in the morning, it wouldn't be too late. He could lie and say Potter had stolen his wand but that Draco had managed to get it back from him.
Were his parents worried about him? Did they even care if Draco was gone or were they more worried about losing Potter?
And what had happened to Granger and Weasley and the others? Had they managed to Apparate out, too? Did that weird light-thing allow them to?
Draco had a sudden vision of Wrackspurts, which he imagined to look like ten-legged spiders with multiple fangs, scuttling about under the bed. He pulled his covers more tightly around him. What nonsense, he thought, forcing his eyes closed.
With a frustrated sigh, Draco pulled out his wand, lit the end and leaned over the mattress to peek under the bed. Nothing. Rolling his eyes, Draco tossed his wand to the side and tried to force himself to sleep.
Draco's mind never slowed down enough for restful sleep and, instead, he spent the evening in a semi-conscious state, dreaming of Splinching and Wrackspurts and Stubby Boardman.
"I'm hungry," Potter complained as Draco set about trying to work the French press in the kitchen. "And my back hurts."
Draco flicked his wand and levitated Potter out of the kitchen chair and onto a small sofa in the adjoining room.
"Do you get the Daily Prophet here?" Potter asked.
"No." Draco took three mugs out of one of the cupboards and cleaned the dust out with his wand. "Tea or coffee?"
Potter shifted on the sofa. Draco had loosened the binds on the Impediment Jinx just enough to give Potter some breathing room.
And had Potter even thanked him? Of course not.
Draco's jaw tightened. "Tea or coffee?"
Draco rolled his eyes and abandoned the French press attempt. Why had he even bothered? He wasn't a coffee drinker, anyway. He poured some water from the kettle into one of the mugs and carried it over to Potter. "Here."
Potter reached out as if expecting to get zapped by wards, and accepted—ungratefully, in Draco's opinion—the cup.
"No thank you? Where are your manners?"
"Must have left them with my wand," Potter growled, taking a slurping sip of tea.
"Oh, don't kid yourself." Draco turned back to the kitchen to prepare some eggs. "You never had any. How do you like your eggs?"
"Fried," said Potter.
"And, yet, it still amazes me when you fail to say please." Draco cracked an egg over the edge of the frying pan the way he'd watched the house-elves do it when he was younger. As it turned out, cracking eggs was harder than Draco thought. He poked at the runny yoke with a spatula. "You're getting scrambled."
Potter let out another little sigh. "What are we doing here?"
"When are we leaving?" When Draco ignored him, Potter pressed on. "You have no idea what you're doing, do you? Does Volde—"
"Shut up!" Draco spun around. "There's a Taboo on his name, you stupid arse," he hissed. "He knows you're the only idiot dumb enough to use it!"
A dull thunk came from Potter slamming his head against the armrest of the sofa. "Shit. Shit!"
"His name." Potter squeezed his eyes shut. "I'm such an idiot. That's how they found us—the Snatchers."
Draco's eggs had cooked into a hardened pan-shaped circle. He loosened the edges with a spatula and dropped the whole mess onto a plate. "Where?" Draco asked, passing the plate to Potter. Potter eyed the eggs, unimpressed, and poked at them with the baby spoon Draco had given him to use. Draco released one of Potter's binds completely and loosened the other one to allow him to eat.
Deeming them edible, Potter sawed into the side of the egg patty with his spoon and took a bite.
Potter gave a forced smile. "Mmm." He broke off another piece.
"Better than any rubbish eggs you'd make." Draco turned away and returned to the kitchen. "Does Luna have any allergies?"
"Only to Nargles."
Draco was surprised that Potter made a joke about Luna. He would have thought him too noble. "We have Wrackspurts, apparently, but no Nargles, as far as I'm aware."
Potter gave Draco an odd look. It seemed like he was trying not to smile. "Oh. Then she'll be fine."
As Draco walked to Luna's room with a plate of eggs and a cup of tea, he wondered how he had found himself in the role of caretaker to two enemies.
Captor, he scolded himself. Captor, not caretaker.
Draco kicked the door open with his foot. His eyes went directly to Luna's bed. Her slight figure was difficult to distinguish amongst the pillows, sheets and down duvet and for one terrifying moment, Draco feared that she had escaped.
And when he found her blinking owlishly up at him from the wrong end of the bed, the sense of disappointment he felt was confusing.
"Good morning, Draco," she said, pleasantly.
Draco set the eggs and tea on the bedside table. When Luna began to climb over the covers to the other end, Draco put out a hand and stopped her. "You should probably stay still," he warned. "You don't want those stitches coming out."
"Don't I?" Luna asked. She pushed the covers down and peered at her swollen, sewn-up knee. The stitches were neat, but the skin around them was red-streaked and lumpy. "Will they stay in forever?"
Draco pulled up a chair to the bed and peered at her knee. He waved his wand over her leg and pretended to check her vitals. It occurred to him that he'd faked his way through a medical procedure. If Draco hadn't cleaned her wound out properly, it could have lead to a serious infection.
"Um," Draco began, "Yes, obviously. They have to hold it together, right?"
Luna tilted her head to the side and nodded. "I suppose." She poked at the stitches and sucked in a painful breath. "Since these are going to be here for the rest of my life," she mused, "I think I'd like them to look a bit more fun."
Draco waited for her to continue.
"Can you change the color?"
Draco peered at the black stitches, zipping their way up her knee. He had to admit, it wasn't pretty to look at it. The black lines and torn flesh reminded him of . . . Inferi. He shuddered. "Of course."
"Oh, how lovely," she said, bringing her hands together, happily. "Purple would be nice. Though green is good for healing. And orange is my favorite color."
Draco stared at her knee, trying to picture what it might look like in fifty years: wrinkly, saggy skin with purple stitches on it. "Wouldn't you rather pick something a bit more . . . subtle?"
"No," said Luna, "I don't think so. What's your favorite color, Draco?"
"I like green, too. Has green always been your favorite color?"
Draco nodded. "Slytherin," he pointed out, unnecessarily.
"Ravenclaw," she said. "Perhaps I'll pick blue."
"Well, pick something," said Draco. The look of her knitted flesh was making him feel a bit queasy.
Luna frowned and shook her head. "Oh, I can't decide. There are so many lovely colors to choose from."
Draco sighed in frustration. "Whatever. Then don't pick one."
"A rainbow—that's a wonderful idea!" Luna pointed at her knee. "Red at the top, please."
Draco just looked at her.
"There are sixteen stitches in my knee and seven colors of the rainbow. I'd like two red, two orange, two yellow, two green, two blue, two indigo, two violet, one silver, one gold and . . . you can pick the last color. You're the artist."
Luna nodded. "Could you pass me my tea, please?" Draco handed it to her without a word, still pinning her with a hard stare.
"What about when you're old?" he asked. "You would want rainbow stitches on old, wrinkly knees?"
Luna stopped to think about it. "Yes, I believe I'd like that."
Draco shook his head. "Whatever. Your knees." He proceeded to charm each stitch into a color of the rainbow. He picked orange for the last stitch.
Draco looked in the direction of Potter's voice.
"MALFOY, I NEED TO PISS!"
"Potter," Draco growled, "you do realize there is a girl in the house, yeah?"
"So sorry to offend you," Potter was rocking back and forth and jiggling his leg. "But it just hit me and I really have to go."
"I don't trust you," Draco stated. He crossed his arms.
"Trust me or not, you're going to have a mess on your hands in about ten seconds." Potter's face was urgent. There was no faking that. The bloke was going to piss on Draco's mother's couch.
Rolling his eyes, Draco quickly released Potter, keeping his wand trained on him. "Go." Draco pointed to the only hallway. Potter got up quickly and groaned. He squeezed his legs together and braced himself with a hand on the arm of the couch. "What are you waiting for, Potter? Go!"
"Hang on, I haven't moved in a day. Give me a bloody second!" When Potter had composed himself he began tottering to the bathroom—a sort of small-stepped trot—keeping his legs squeezed together.
Potter moved to shut the door. Draco placed a hand on it and pushed his way in behind him.
"For fuck's sake, Malfoy—"
Draco crossed his arms and averted his eyes to the floor. "Just go. I'm not looking."
Potter let out a disgruntled growl and dropped his trousers and pants. Draco peeked up at his bum for a second, then looked back at the floor.
"I can tell you're looking!"
"You wish, pervert." Draco scowled.
"Just hurry up, will you?" Draco tapped his foot as Potter relieved himself.
"And what happens when I have to . . . you know . . . " Potter hedged, zipping up his trousers.
"When you what?" Draco asked, a look of disgust on his face.
"You're not that stupid, Malfoy. Do I have to spell it out for you?"
"I—" Draco was getting flustered. "I don't know, Potter. We'll cross that bridge when we get there."
"Well, we'll be crossing it soon." Potter eyed the toilet in longing.
"Just saying." He narrowed his eyes. "Not cut out for this, are you, Malfoy?"
"What—watching you take a shit?" asked Draco, looking at the floor. "No, Potty, I can't say that I am, but it was never one of my aspirations."
Draco kept his wand aimed at Potter as they walked back to the living room. When Potter climbed onto the couch without complaint, Draco decided to bind just one arm to the couch this time. He reached into a basket under the end table, pulled out a magazine and tossed it unceremoniously onto Potter's lap.
"What's a six-letter word for a four-letter word," Potter mused. Frowning, he re-read the clue. "Huh?"
Potter looked up. "No—cause it's . . . oh, wait. Oh, because the theme is magical creatures. Wait—does Jarvey have an E in it?"
Draco didn't answer. Potter picked up the quill Draco had given him when he'd expressed an interest in the crossword puzzle. Draco could see that the paper was full of scribbles and cross-outs and didn't bother to erase any of the marks. Draco felt the mistakes served as testament to Potter's mental inferiority. He thought he might hang the mess on the kitchen cooling cupboard when Potter was done with it.
"I don't like these," said Potter, trying to write with one hand while balancing the magazine on his knee. "Why can't they just say 'A six-letter word for a creature who likes to curse?'"
"Because then it wouldn't be a riddle."
"I hate riddles."
"Good thing you weren't in Ravenclaw, then," said Draco. "Or maybe not. Imagine it: The Savior of the Wizarding World, too stupid to get into his own common room."
"Hermione's good at that sort of thing," Potter mused, ignoring Draco. He paled. "Hermione."
Draco could sense guilt in the way Potter held his shoulders. "Shouldn't have said the Dark Lord's name . . . "
"Piss off, Malfoy."
"But you just had to be a rebel."
"I always knew disrespect would be your downfall."
Potter glared. "He hasn't won yet."
"And he's not going to," said Potter in a determined voice. "Ron and Hermione . . . Dobby must have gotten them out—"
"Dobby?" Draco sat up a bit straighter.
"Er—" Potter's eyes shifted to the side. "What?"
"You said 'Dobby.' Dobby must have gotten them out."
"No . . . What? No—Rob—Robbie. I said Robbie. Robbie must have gotten them out."
"Robbie?" Draco asked, doubtfully. "Who's Robbie?"
"Yeah—it's . . . a nickname for . . . Ron."
Draco narrowed his eyes.
"You know, Ron . . . Ronny . . . Robbie . . . it's a long story," Potter assured. "You had to be there."
"I see," said Draco, frowning.
They read in surprisingly comfortable silence until Potter asked, "What's a six-letter word for 'the opposite of because, semi-colon, a dark creature'?"
"Oh," said Draco, turning the page of the photo album he'd been looking at, which was full of pictures from family vacations they'd had at the cottage. "And of course I'd have the answer to that one."
Potter shrugged. "The opposite of 'because' is 'why,' right?"
Draco took a sip of cold tea and winced. "Wyvern."
Potter's eyes lit up. "Ohhh. Is there a—?"
"No 'H.' Just W—Y," said Draco, "and then vern."
Potter wrote in the answer. "You should check on Luna."
"Why?" Draco scoffed. "So you can plan your big escape? You can't get out of here, you know. Only Malfoys can Apparate in and out. And don't bother trying to steal my wand. It won't work for you here without the Malfoy signature, anyway."
Rolling his eyes, Potter set the magazine to the side. The crossword puzzle was even more of a mess than Draco had anticipated. "She hasn't come out of her room."
"She can't," said Draco. "It's locked."
"Oh." Potter scowled. "Well, she hasn't asked for anything."
"Maybe that's because she doesn't need anything." Draco found himself offended by the insinuation that he couldn't properly care for Luna. Though, Potter did have a point. Draco really should check on her. But now he'd have to wait a few minutes so that it looked like it was his idea and not Potter's. "And, anyway, she's sleeping."
Potter glanced out the window at the sun high in the sky. "It's been nearly a day."
"She has to recover," said Draco. "I didn't realize you were a medical expert."
This remark was met with a flashing stare. "Playing doctor doesn't actually make you a medical expert, either, Malfoy."
"Well, I at least have more experience than you do."
"Can we not?"
Potter huffed. "Never mind. Also, I need to use the bathroom again."
Draco looked up slowly from his photo album. Potter was wearing a slightly amused, defiant look on his face. Draco waved his wand. "Just go."
Surprised, Potter stepped tentatively from the couch. He seemed hesitant, at first, but after a moment he took advantage of the freedom and went directly to the bathroom.
Earlier, Draco had reinforced the wards around the bathroom and around the entire cottage. The land was unplottable, but easily accessible by a Malfoy. Potter and Luna couldn't get out and no one but Draco's parents could get in. He really hoped they wouldn't think to check the cottage but, in all honesty, the Malfoys hadn't vacationed there in years. Draco wasn't even sure how he, himself, had thought of the place so quickly.
The next few days followed much the same as the first two, with Luna making more frequent appearances in the living room as she healed.
Potter was growing restless and Draco found it extremely annoying. All Draco wanted to do was wait out the war in this damn cottage and re-emerge into high society when it was all over with. All Potter wanted to do was get out there and fight. The paradox was that Potter was one of main players in the damn war and, at some point, would have to face down the Dark Lord.
In the meantime, Draco would ensure that Potter was well rested and poorly fed for the battle.
"Do you have any games?" Luna asked one day.
She, Potter and Draco had just finished up a nearly inedible salad he'd made with unknown leafy vegetables from the back garden. As it turned out, the leaves were actually a magical herb that induced slight euphoria, commonly used in elixirs for social anxiety.
The result was that Draco, Potter and Luna kept collapsing into random fits of laughter and were engaging with each other in a manner much deeper than ever before.
"Sure," Draco said, easily. He was sitting beside Potter at a small wooden table with a bench and two chairs. Draco pointed to a cabinet in the living room. "Under there."
Luna went to stand, but Potter stopped her. "Wait, let me get it, Luna." After several minutes of putzing around Draco's living room unattended, Draco got up and followed after him.
Potter was sitting on the floor, surrounded by dusty boxes and struggling to read the directions of some game that involved dice, cards and a timer. Draco dropped to his knees beside him and started sorting through the boxes.
"Oh, look!" Draco cried, picking up a box and blowing the dust off. It was a box marked "Wizard Trivia." He and his parents used to play it together on rainy nights at the cottage.
Potter raised his eyebrows.
Draco got in control of himself and tapped on the box. "We should play this one. It's a good one."
"I won't know any of the answers," Potter complained.
"So? You can be on Luna's team." This suggestion did not seem to cheer Potter up. "Don't be a poor sport."
"You just want to play that because you know you'll win."
"Oh, stop complaining," said Draco. He stood up, pointed his wand at the boxes and sent them back into the cupboard in a neat stack.
The three sat around the table for several hours, joking and playing. Potter, as anticipated, was abysmal. Luna's answers were nearly as bad, but Potter started awarding her points for creativity. Draco allowed this since he had enough of a lead to win. In the end, Draco annihilated the competition and felt pretty good about the whole thing.
He stopped feeling good when Potter fell to the floor of the kitchen, clutching his scar in pain.
Alarmed, Draco and Luna shot to their feet. Luna sat on the floor beside Potter, repeating his name, while Draco stood awkwardly by, clutching his wand in his fist.
"GET ME MALFOY," Potter growled in a voice most unlike his own. Luna and Draco exchanged worried glances.
"What, Potter?" Draco said, his voice nearly a whisper.
Potter kicked out a leg and began thrashing violently on the floor. Draco raised his wand to cast a Full Body Bind, but Luna stopped him and told him to wait.
When Potter finally came to, he pulled himself weakly to his feet, then stumbled off in the direction of the bathroom to vomit.
"What was that?" Draco asked Luna. He'd seen Potter do something similar before. It hadn't been as scary back at school, surrounded by professors and laughing friends, but seeing it now and knowing what he did about the Dark Lord, Draco was terrified.
Luna knocked on the bathroom door. "Harry?" she called. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah," Potter called back, weakly.
Draco joined Luna at the door.
There was a flushing sound and then the sink water started running. The door opened and a very pale Potter pushed his way out.
"What the hell was that?" Draco asked.
Potter seemed to be avoiding looking at him. "Nothing."
"Did you have another vision of You-Know-Who?" asked Luna.
"What?" Draco's eyes widened. "You did?"
"Er . . . "
"Was it something about me?" Draco asked, almost desperately. "Or my parents?"
"No . . . "
"You're lying!" accused Draco, stepping back to allow Potter to pass. "You said my name."
Potter shifted. "He's looking for you." Rubbing his forehead, Potter sat back down at the table. "He's not happy you're missing."
A sick feeling rose from the pit of Draco's stomach. "Oh."
"But I think the others got out."
Draco started cleaning up the game pieces on the table, trying to busy his restless fingers. Potter and Luna said nothing else, though Draco suspected they were trying to communicate with their eyes. Whatever had happened—whatever Potter suddenly knew—it was good news for Potter and bad news for Draco. Apparently, the prisoners had escaped the manor and, in all likelihood, the Dark Lord thought Draco had helped them do it. "I'm going to bed."
"Goodnight, Draco," said Luna.
As Draco headed toward the master bedroom, he felt a presence behind him. He turned to find Potter standing over his shoulder. Draco flinched, pressing his back against the wall. "Jesus, Potter—"
"Sorry," Potter said. He looked highly uncomfortable.
"Was there something you wanted?" Draco snapped, embarrassed at his own reaction.
"Just—" he frowned. "Um, are you alright?"
Draco turned his back to him and fiddled with the doorknob. "I'm fine." Draco went to push the door open, but Potter stopped him with a hand.
"Why would You-Know-Who be mad at you?"
"I don't know," said Draco. "It was your psychotic vision, not mine. Move."
"Are you working for The Order?" Potter's voice had lowered to a whisper.
"Don't make me laugh."
"Then—" Potter shook his head and looked to the floor. "Then why are you doing this?"
Draco glared at him and pushed his arm off the door.
"You didn't identify me at the manor," Potter said. "You knew it was me."
Draco shrugged. He was feeling more uneasy with each passing second.
"And you didn't kill Dumbledore," said Potter.
Draco froze. "Of course I didn't kill Dumbledore," he said. "Snape did. Everybody knows that. Now, excuse me. You are my prisoner and I'm going to bed."
"I saw everything, Malfoy."
Draco could feel heat rising in his neck and his heart began racing. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"I saw you on the Astronomy Tower. I was there. You were supposed to kill Dumbledore, but you couldn't."
When he opened his mouth to reply, all that came out was an embarrassing choking sound. "I—" Draco focused his burning eyes on the doorknob. "What do you mean you were there?"
Potter told Draco about how he'd been silenced by Dumbledore that night and unable to move. He heard Dumbledore offer sanctuary to Draco and he saw Draco lower his wand.
So it was true. Potter had seen everything.
"So," Potter added, since Draco still wouldn't speak, "if you did take Dumbledore's offer, then you can tell me about it. Because I already know."
Draco's eyes fell shut and he couldn't stop the disgusted snort of laughter that escaped. "I am not in the Order of the Phoenix." Draco shoved by him. Potter blinked, stunned, as Draco finally slammed the door shut in his face. He collapsed onto his parents' bed.
"I don't believe you!" Potter called through the door in a singsong voice. Draco buried his head into his hands and groaned. "I'm onto you, Malfoy!"
There was a picture of their long-deceased krup, Perkis, sitting in a frame next to his parents' bed. The krup had his head tilted the side as his two tails wagged slowly. "Potter thinks I'm on his side," Draco spoke to Perkis, who barked at the sudden attention. "What a bloody idiot."
Click here for part three.