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Harry spent his last few days of freedom with the Weasleys. He also had to make sure that he was packed for the upcoming weekend, when he would be taken from the second home he had ever known. He didn’t know when, or even if, the Malfoys would allow him to come back here; so he was determined to make the most of the time he did have, and the last thing Harry wanted was to forget something important.
No one said much to him about the new predicament, about having to go live with the Malfoys. Harry wasn’t sure how he felt about that. On the one hand he was painfully aware that there was nothing the Weasley’s could do about it; but, on the other hand, Harry would have liked, or at least had expected, them to protest it a little bit more.
Even if Harry told himself that he was, of course, welcome at The Burrow and always had been, it didn’t stop him from thinking that perhaps he was just a burden on the already struggling family. Maybe they would be relieved to be free of him, without the awkwardness of actually having to ask him to leave. He certainly hoped that wasn’t the case, but he couldn’t help but wonder.
What made things worse, was that Ginny hadn’t even said a single word to him. It was almost like second year all over again; though this time, instead of turning red from embarrassment, Harry was sure that she was turning red from anger. Harry had known that the possibility of them ever getting back together had been slim, but he still had hoped that they could still be friends. Maybe if she had some time to cool off then things would improve.
Ron had probably said it best. ‘She’s been obsessed with you since she was eleven. She’s just upset that her fantasy dream isn’t coming true after all.’
Harry had agreed with Ron about that, but it didn’t make him feel any better about the situation. However, there was nothing he could do; Ginny was clearly hurt, even if that had not been anyone’s intention or fault, and so all he could do was wait and hope that she could find a way to let it go.
When the weekend finally came, far too quickly for Harry’s liking, no one cried as they hugged him. Mrs Weasley made him promise that he would still come by for dinner now and again; while the twins made it clear that, even if Harry was going to be a Malfoy, they would still be insisting that Harry was the only one who would ever be allowed to test new products.
Ginny hadn’t come down from her room to say goodbye, even when Molly had told her to. Harry was really trying to respect her feelings about everything that was happening, but he couldn’t help but be hurt by her refusal to see him off; it wasn’t like she was the one being forced to marry Malfoy.
“It’s not like we’re never going to see you again mate. Hermione and I want an invite to the wedding. and I insist on planning you bachelor party.” Ron said grinning at Harry, who smiled back. He really did appreciate the brave face that Ron was putting on, even if it didn’t fool him; Harry had no illusions about how his friend felt about Malfoy, but that Ron was making a conscious effort not to make things harder for him meant a great deal. Hermione had offered to come over and see him off too, but Harry had written back, telling her not to; he didn’t think he could have bared to see her worried face or listen to her rationalisations about how it would all be okay.
“I’ll send you an owl when I’m settled,” Harry said to Ron, as his best friend pulled him into a hug, patting him on the back. However, as he heard someone clearing their throat, he pulled away and turned, finding himself now facing Malfoy senior, who was standing just outside the garden gate.
Harry’s first thought, upon seeing Lucius Malfoy, was how out of place the blond man looked standing at the Weasley’s front gate. The older wizard was dressed as properly as he had been every single time Harry had seen him and his hand rested upon his snake-headed cane; Harry supposed some people might have been able to respect Malfoy’s propriety but he just found it uncomfortable to be around.
“If you are finished,” Lucius said pompously, casually checking the time. “I have other things I need to be getting to.” It was clear that Harry had already bid farewell to his so called adoptive family, and so Lucius was not willing to spend any more time waiting then he truly had to.
“Wouldn’t want to keep the great Mr. Malfoy from his important appointments,” Harry said, ignoring the icy look that Lucius was giving him. Harry wasn’t fooled, he knew the only reason Lucius was here, instead of a house elf, was because the man wanted to throw it in the Weasley’s face that there was nothing they could do about him taking Harry away.
Mrs Weasley stole another quick hug, one that hung on a little longer than was strictly comfortable; Harry found he was rather grateful for the small sign that she really didn’t want to let him go. He didn’t want to make her worry though and so, as she released him, he turned from the Weasleys. Taking a deep breath Harry put his hand inside his pocket, where his shrunken trunk sat, and he made himself walk to the front gate.
“So, how are we getting there?” Harry asked once he was standing in front of Lucius, keeping his face blank so the older man wouldn’t see how much he wanted to turn around and run back inside The Burrow, to refuse to leave.
“Side along apparition,” was the cool reply, as Lucius offered his arm to Harry.
“Yeah. I was afraid of that,” Harry grumbled under his breath, wondering if putting people in uncomfortable situations was just a Malfoy family hobby.
Taking a deep breath Harry grabbed hold of Lucius’ arm. Harry turned his head to look behind him and get another look at the people he considered his family, but he only got a brief glimpse of them before he felt himself being squeezed through a tight tube. Closing his eyes tightly against the sensation and holding his breath, as his hand clutched tightly to Lucius’ arm.
A moment later, as the sensation passed and the only thing that kept Harry from falling flat on his face, was the fact that he still had a tight hold of Lucius’s arm, as he took a deep gasping breath of air. Harry forced his eyes open, and found that he was standing in the Entrance Hall of Malfoy Manor..
Lucius only gave Harry a short moment to straighten himself before shrugging the boy’s arm off; though Harry was grateful that at least the Malfoy patriarch had not just let him fall flat on his face. However, Harry quickly lost the small shred of appreciation for the man when Lucius dusted off his arm where Harry had been holding him.
“A house elf will show you to your rooms. Do not go wandering about until Draco has the time to give you a proper tour of Malfoy manor,” Lucius said looking at Harry.
Harry however was busy looking around the Entrance Hall, not that there was much to see in here; there were three sets of doors in the relatively small room, and a fire place. There were two sets of doors, right across from each other on either side of him, which Harry thought must lead into the actual house; in front of Harry stood a fireplace, large enough that a person could easily step in and out of; the last set of doors looked very ornate and decorative, and, from the windows either side of them, Harry could see they lead out of the house, into what he could only assume was the Manor ground and gardens.
“Are you listening to me?” Lucius snapped, when he received no reaction from the young man glancing around the room.
Upon hearing the elder Malfoy snap at him, Harry turned his attention quickly to the taller man. Harry hadn’t really been deliberately ignoring him, simply caught up in taking in the rather grand space around him, but it would seem that Lucius thought that that had been exactly what he had been doing.
“Yes. I heard you,” Harry said bitterly, stubbornly meeting Lucius’ cold gaze. “I’m supposed to stay in my prison…sorry I mean room,” he corrected with obvious sarcasm, “until someone decides I’m worth their time.” Harry crossed his arms over his chest. “Just because I wasn’t looking at you, doesn’t mean I wasn’t listening.”
Lucius raised an eyebrow at the boy. “That is something that will have to be addressed,” he stated, but before Harry could reply to this, the blond man had summoned a house elf and was giving the small creature instructions. “Take Mr. Potter straight to his rooms, and then fetch Draco. Inform my son that he is to join me in my study,” Lucius ordered, the elf bowed low to him then turned its attention towards Harry.
“This way, young master,” the tiny creature said, motioning towards one of the doors leading from the Entrance Hall. Harry was a little reluctant to turn his back to the older Malfoy, but Lucius was paying him no mind. The blond was already making his way out of the double doors leading off in the opposite direction to where the house elf was trying to get Harry to go, presumably off towards his office to meet with Draco.
Feeling somewhat resigned to his fate, Harry let the house elf lead him from the room; beyond the door was a corridor, not that different from the Entrance Hall they had just left, though this one had a large staircase spiraling upwards, splitting off to either side at the first landing. Over to one side of the staircase, Harry saw an open door that looked as if it lead into some sort of sitting room; and on the other side of the staircase, a similar door sat, only through this one Harry could see a large table and lots of chairs.
“Dining room,” he said to himself as he continued looking around. He could see more doors down a hallway, though he couldn’t see what rooms they were; he found that he was actually rather curious as to what could be in them. How could anyone need a house with so many rooms? There were currently on three Malfoys; four if he included himself he realised with a sickening lurch in his gut; was it even possible for them to use every room in the house?
“Please be following me, young master. Mister Malfoy will not like you poking about where you don’t belong,” the elf reminded Harry, clearly have caught his curious glances and suspecting that he might be doing just that.
“I wasn’t poking, I was just looking,” Harry said defensively, but started his way up the stairs after the elf none-the-less. The elf didn’t make any comment to that and waited for Harry to catch up, before continuing to lead him through the halls, and up another flight of stairs. Harry tried to keep track of how many doors they had passed but the place felt like a maze and most of the corridors looked the safe as the last; it was all he could do to simply hope that he would be able to find his way out if he ever needed to.
If felt like they walked for a long time, far longer than it surely was, in that way that travelling to an unknown location always does, but they finally stopped at a door at the end of a hallway. “What are all these rooms?” Harry asked, looking around at the numerous doors that lined the corridor they were currently standing in.
“These rooms are belonging to, young Master Malfoy,” the elf said distractedly, opening the door they had stopped in front of. “Your rooms is being next to them.”
Harry resisted the urge to roll his eyes; he felt he should have known that Draco Malfoy had a whole corridor of rooms to himself. Spoilt brat, he thought a little bitterly. The house elf was watching him a little impatiently though, and so, curious, Harry looked inside.
His eyes widened as he looked around what seemed to be a surprisingly vast room. The first thing that he could see, a little way directly in front the doorway, was what looked like a small sitting area, with a sofa big enough to sit two comfortably and a high-backed chair, both arranged around another large fireplace. Though this one wasn’t nearly as big, or as ornate, as the one in the Entrance Hall, it was still big enough that if Harry chose to he could stand up straight in it. Against the wall behind the armchair was a bookshelf, though it didn’t have many books on it at the moment Harry was sure that he would be able to fill it up with a bit of Hermione’s help. At least if he did, it would give him something to do while stuck in this room.
Harry then noticed the archway next to the bookshelf. He glanced at the house-elf questioningly but got only a nod of encouragement and so went to see what else was in the room. Stepping forward and peering through the archway, Harry found himself looking into the bedroom; there was a large four poster bed, which Harry was sure would have been able to fit four people on it comfortably, and yet it still didn’t come even close to filling the space it stood in.
“Um….this is just my room, isn’t it?” he asked; he had never seen a bed that big before, let alone slept in one. He was quite certain that the Malfoys were enjoying being able to rub his face in their wealth; normally that would have bothered him, but if it meant that his prison was like this then he wasn’t going to throw that in their faces for the moment.
“Yes sir. This is your room,” the elf confirmed, nodding its head but remaining by the door. “Young Master Malfoy insisted on it, sir. He is wanting a good room for his bride,” the elf explained, looking almost unsure of itself, as though it thought it might be revealing more information than was permitted.
Harry didn’t know what to make of that, as he looked around the rather lovely rooms. He knew that Draco wasn’t happy about their forced bonding, anymore than he was, so it seemed a little strange that the blond, who had hated him so much, for so long, would take the trouble to ensure that he had such nice rooms to live in. Perhaps his first thought was right, and Draco was simply taking a chance to flaunt his affluence.
“Is there anything else young master will be needing?” the elf asked, and Harry turned back to the creature, almost having forgotten it was there.
“Um….no, I don’t think so. Thank you…um…” He looked at the elf carefully, realising he was not sure what he should call the creature; Lucius certainly hadn’t bothered with anything resembling a name from what he could remember.
“Pippsy, sir,” the elf said, correctly interpreting Harry’s pause. “If you is needing anything, sir, just call.” The elf bowed low and then vanished.
Finding himself suddenly alone, Harry turned his attention back to the room. It really was far too large for him; he had never had this much space to himself in his whole life. He was fairly sure that he could fit the whole downstairs of the Dursley’s house in this one room.
Harry wandered across his room to the floor-to-ceiling windows, and discovered that the windows actually lead out onto a balcony, which had a wonderful view of the grounds and back garden. Harry smiled, wondering if he would be able to explore that on his own, or if someone would have to escort him through there as well. He turned back into his room and easily found the bathroom, with a bath built into the floor similar to that in the prefects bathroom at Hogwarts; though Harry knew first hand that that bath was a lot larger than this one.
Shaking his head at the fact that everything in this place really was much too large for just one person, Harry returned to his room. He headed back into the bedroom area; one look at the wardrobe was all it took for him to know that that as well would be far too large for just him to use, given that all of his clothes fit easily into his Hogwarts trunk.
Pulling the shrunken trunk out of his pocket, Harry gave it a sad look, realising that he wouldn’t be needing it any more. Sighing, he waved his wand and returned the trunk to actual size; he supposed he should start unpacking while he waited for Draco to show up.
Draco tried not to sigh while he sat in his father’s study, waiting for the man to finish whatever paperwork he had started. Pippsy had shown up and informed him that Harry had been shown to his rooms; however, before he had a chance to even consider going and talking to him, the elf had gone on to inform him that he was expected to join his father in his study.
“Father.” Draco said, trying to get the older man’s attention, but Lucius ignored his son, continuing on with the business he was currently attending to. It was something that Draco was used to, but it didn’t make it any less annoying. It wasn’t the first time that Draco found himself wondering if there would ever be a day when he would get a chance to do the same to Lucius.
After a long silence, which stretched on for several minutes, Draco stood up. “When you are actually free to talk father, I suggest you request my presence then. As of right now, I have my fiancé to attend to,” Draco said with a straight impassive face, but it did get the older man’s attention.
“You will sit down and wait, Draco,” Lucius said, though his eyes remained firmly fixed upon the documents in front of him. “There are things that I wish to discuss with you the upcoming marriage.” Lucius slowly raised his gaze and glared at his son, who glared right back at him.
“With all due respect, father, I believe that this is my marriage and, while you are in fact the one who set it up, I do believe that it is my job to arrange everything that is needed,” Draco pointed out. He knew that his father wanted to control what was happening, but that was why Draco had talked to Blaise, Pansy and Theodore at the beginning of the week. If all went according to plan, then the engagement would be in the morning paper.
“That is not acceptable, this is a delicate situation,” Lucius said sternly, actually putting his pen down and giving his son his full attention for the first time since Draco had entered the room. He waited patiently, and, a moment later, Draco sat back down with a scowl on his face. “No one is going to simply accept the fact that you two are engaged. That is why I have taken the liberty to get us invited to the ministry party tomorrow night. We will start this out slow, with you and Mr. Potter being seen in public as friends; in a few months, when your closeness has become accepted, you two will be seen as more then friends. If we do this right then by New Year’s the engagement will be announced,” Lucius explained.
Draco couldn’t help but smile. “Of course, father.” He knew that those plans would be changing come the morning. “If that is all, I do believe that Harry will be getting far to restless locked in his room, and I doubt you want him wandering about on his own just yet.” Not waiting for any response from the older man, Draco got to his feet and headed out the door.
Lucius frowned as the door closed; Draco had rarely ever agreed to anything so easily before. He would have to keep an eye out to make sure that the future plans were not ruined.
Draco made his way through the manor, heading straight for his personal corridor of rooms, where the room he had picked out for Harry was situated. He was really going to have to talk to him about what they were going to do; aside from the information being leaked to the Daily Prophet, curtsey of Pansy, who happened to get a job there recently, Draco knew that he and Harry would have to be seen in public soon. And that was something that would only really work with Harry on board with the plan; he just hoped that his fiancé would managed to be agreeable, though given said fiancé was Harry Potter, Draco had no delusions of it being simple or easy.
Upon entering Harry’s room, he looked around the small sitting room, noticing that there were a couple extra books on the shelves. Draco smiled; pleased that at least Harry was being productive, and not sulking like he thought he might be. Stepping through the archway, Draco stopped, leaning casually against the doorframe and not making a sound; he watched Harry curiously. The other boy had the wardrobe open, and all the new clothes had been pulled out and thrown haphazardly onto the bed, while the floor surrounding the black haired boy was littered with old Hogwarts books, school robes and a small pile of rags.
“And here I thought you might be bored locked in here,” Draco said and was surprised at how quickly Harry stood and spun around with his wand drawn. Draco Malfoy, however, remained standing where he was, leaning against the door frame, continuing to watch Harry.
“Is this how you greet your fiancé?” Draco asked with a small smirk. “Then again, I suppose it’s almost second nature to you now. Perhaps I should be thankful that you never got into the habit of throwing hexes before finding out who was standing behind you.” Draco pushed himself off the wall and walked over to stand next to Harry, who was slowly lowering his wand.
Draco looked at the clothes that were spread out across the bed. “The clothes are charmed so that they will re-size to fit you perfectly the first time you put them on,” Draco said and he picked up one of the silk dark green shirts that had reminded him of Harry’s eyes. “I picked them out myself, if you don’t like any of them I can have them returned and we can go pick you up something different.”
Harry huffed, and put his wand back in his holster. “What do you want?”
“I thought you might be interested in exploring the house,” Draco said shrugging. “But if you would rather spend your first night stuck in your room, that is also an option. I don’t have to give you a tour.”
“Let me guess, you have better things to do,” Harry said crossing his arms over his chest, glaring at the blond.
Draco took in Harry’s defensive stance and sighed. “Actually no, I don’t have anything better to do,” he admitted, running a hand through his blond hair, which Harry noticed wasn’t slicked back for once.
“Look, Harry,” Draco said, before pausing, thinking how odd it was to say the other boy’s first name, but also knowing it was something that the two of them would have to get used to. It wasn’t as though Harry could keep calling him Malfoy. “I think you and I have a few things we should probably talk about,” Draco said, ploughing on. “Either while I show you the house, or else we can stay in here and talk. Either way, we should try and make sure that we are not over heard by my father.”
“Why? Does your father make a habit of listening in on your conversations?” Harry asked raising an eyebrow at him.
“Not usually, but concerning this, he is going to want to keep a close eye on this arrangement he has set up between us,” Draco sighed and Harry almost laughed.
“Arrangement? Is that what we’re calling it now?” Harry asked with a grin.
“I know neither of us wanted this, but my father obviously had other ideas. There is nothing we can do about the situation, but that doesn’t mean I want my father running things,” Draco explained.
Harry frowned; he could understand Draco’s point, but all Harry could do was shake his head. If he had wanted to fight then he would have fought harder to stop any of this from happening at all; then again, Dumbledore had made sure that any opportunity Harry had to fight this was blocked.
“Look, does it really matter what happens and who’s pulling the strings?” Harry asked, sounding resigned. “I’m here, I’m the Malfoy’s get out of jail free card, but beyond that I don’t care what you or your father do.” Harry walked straight passed Draco into the sitting area, sitting down in the chair closest to the fire place; though there was no fire in it at the moment, Harry still stared into it and waited to see if Draco would leave now. Not that Harry really wanted to be shut in his room all night, but he wasn’t in the mood to talk about the situation they were in either.
Draco frowned as he watched Harry; that was definitely not the response that Draco had been looking for. It didn’t really seem to fit the whole ‘Harry Potter’ image, but as Draco looked closer, he couldn’t help but notice that there was something very different about the other boy now. There wasn’t the normal flare that he used to have in school.
Draco knew that war could change people, had changed people, so it made sense that even Harry would have changed, but to just accept things like this? It wasn’t how things were supposed to be. Though Draco had to remind himself, that the way things were supposed to be most certainly did not include the two of them getting married either.
Draco walked into the sitting area, though he didn’t sit down, he just continued to watch Harry for a moment before speaking. “You do know that this marriage wasn’t my idea right?” Draco asked, wanting to make sure that that was clear.
Harry looked up at him. “I know, but, like I said before, it doesn’t matter who is the one pulling the strings. The fact is I’m here and there’s not much I can do about it. Does it matter whether it is you or your father who has control over my life now?”
“I think it does matter,” Draco said seriously, taking a seat on the sofa. “My father has always been running my life, telling me what was acceptable and what wasn’t. What I should think, or say, though I was always reprimanded for saying too little or too much. I had thought that once the war was over, I would finally have a say in what I got to do with my life, but my father seems more determined than before to have control over something,” Draco explained.
Harry snorted; he didn’t mean to, but Draco being upset about this was almost to funny. “You’ve always happily followed your father’s orders., boasting about it in school; if something didn’t go your way you ran straight to Daddy to fix it for you. I suppose having Voldemort living in your house opened your eyes to the fact that your father isn’t as perfect as you once thought him to be. And of course Lucius wants something control, he spent the last three years kissing the feet of a madman,” Harry pointed out, staring at Draco, ignoring the glare that the blond was giving him.
“You’re not making this any easier, you know,” Draco snapped and Harry just shrugged.
“What part of, I don’t care, are you not understanding?” Harry asked, unable to keep himself from grinning, when he saw that Draco’s temper was slowly rising. This was reminding him a little bit of their fights at school, for a moment Harry could forget about being betrayed by Dumbledore, could forget that he was sitting in the Malfoy manor, but that’s all it was, just a moment. Harry had to remind himself that they weren’t at school anymore; they were both now adult wizards and their lives were about to get more complicated; fighting with Draco most likely wasn’t the smartest thing to do.
Harry sighed closing his eyes, deciding that it would be best if he explained to Draco why he didn’t care; from the sound of it, Harry thought that the other boy might just understand his reasons. “Look Draco, I’m tired. I’m done fighting with everyone about every detail of my life. I’ve never had my own life,” Harry told him, his eyes still shut as he tried to find the words.
“So your father has been your puppeteer,” Harry went on, “well I’ve been pushed and pulled in so many different directions I don’t even know who I am any more. I don’t have the strength to fight with everyone over every tiny detail, I just want to settle down and have the chance to live my life. And if the only way to get close to that is to marry your skinny arse, then I will.” Harry leaned back in his chair letting out a long sigh, opening his eyes to look at Draco again. “It might not be what I would have chosen for myself, but I stopped having delusions about my own life long ago.”
“How is wanting to make decisions for yourself having delusions?” Draco asked, surprised by Harry’s attitude.
“I’ve just never been able to make my own choices, why should I think people would let me start now?” Harry asked with a shrug of his shoulders. “Though, I suppose since you’re the one I’m going to be stuck marrying, I’ll be going along with whatever you want,” Harry said.
Draco frowned even more. He really didn’t like this; Harry was just handing over control of his whole life to someone who had been a rival since they were eleven. But that was something to worry about on a later date. “So if I suggest we hold a interview with a few reporters at the daily prophet, and other publishers, and we announce our engagement before my father has the chance to…”
“Then let’s do it,” Harry shrugged again It made very little difference to him whether the world found out that they were engaged in a few days or a year from now. “If that’s what you decide. You want control of the situation, I get that. I’m not going to fight you on this,” Harry admitted. “You seem to have already thought of a plan, and anything I could think of wouldn’t be nearly as effective I’m sure.”
“Are you trying to flatter me now?” Draco raised an eyebrow, giving Harry an amused smirk.
“No, not really. I just know that thinking isn’t my strong suit,” Harry told him. “Or rather…I’ll say planning isn’t. I think perfectly well in tough situations, when I have less than a second to decide what I’m going to do, but this whole ‘planning things out before making a move’, not my thing.” Harry smiled then. “I suppose that’s why I suck at chess.”
“So, you’ll let me plan out the strategies, and you will follow along with no arguments?” Draco asked, finding it difficult to believe this. He might have issues with Harry’s attitude, but it at least made it easier to get him on board with the plan.
Harry couldn’t help but laugh. “For right now, yes, I will go along with whatever you decide,” he said with a nod of his head. “Though I can’t promise that there won’t be any arguments, I do still have a temper.” Harry leaned forward in his seat a little to look at Draco, “As long as you let me know what you’re planning beforehand, I’ll most likely go along with it.”
Draco nodded his agreement, and Harry sat back again studying the blond for a moment. “So, an interview with the prophet?” Harry asked.
Draco shook his head. “Not right now, but they’re going to want one by tomorrow.”
“And why is that?” Harry frowned.
“Because that’s when the news of us being engaged is going to be all over the front page of the Prophet,” Draco told him with a grin, watching Harry’s eyes go wide.
“That soon?” Harry asked. He had thought that it wouldn’t have hit the papers that fast; mostly because he didn’t think the Malfoys would have talked to anyone until they were sure he was actually living in the manor.
“Yes, that soon,” Draco confirmed. “I talked to my friends, and one of them has a job at the prophet. Granted, she is probably using this bit of news to kick start her own career,” Draco pointed out, “but it was the fastest way to get control over the situation before my father could follow through with his plan. He wants us to be seen in public as friends first and move forwards from there. Then we would have the wedding by next year.”
“What was wrong with that plan?” Harry asked; people would have been talking enough over the fact that Harry was even on speaking terms with Draco, the son of a known death eater. But to just have it pop up out of nowhere that the two of them were going to get married? Harry could already picture the headlines on that one. There wasn’t a single person alive in the wizarding world that would believe that Harry’s mind hadn’t been tampered with and he couldn’t understand why Draco would want that.
Draco ran a hand through his blond hair. “It’s what my father was going to do, making it seem like neither of us are being forced into this against our will. And it will put the Malfoy name right back on top where it has been since before the first fall of the Dark Lord.” Draco shook his head. “It’s not that I don’t want the Malfoy name to mean something again, of course I do. It’s that I just don’t want our name to be built up on lies again,” Draco explained; it was a safe explanation because he would not have to go into detail.
“Nothing wrong with that,” Harry said, smiling at him; this was something he would encourage with Draco. It would be interesting to see his school rival become his own person. “So, the engagement is going to be in the papers first thing tomorrow,” Harry said, and then bit his lower lip thinking. “They’re going to ask a lot of questions, especially concerning me. After all, ‘the savior’,” he said with a look on his face that made it clear how he felt about that name, “is marrying the son of a known death eater; and it isn’t as though our rivalry is a secret either. How are we going to explain that to them?”
“That is why we need the interview, after this has hit the papers,” Draco admitted. “It all depends on how much information we want to give them,” Draco said. “But I think those details can be worked out later, once I know how my father is going to react to having his own plans ruined.” Draco stood up “How about a tour of the manor now?”
Harry nodded, actually thinking that this was a Draco he might be able to work with. Standing up as well, he decided he would put the rest of his things away later, and followed Draco out of the room.
Harry looked at each room that Draco pointed out to him, rooms that included Draco’s private potions lab, a library and a training room. Apparently all these rooms belonged to the Malfoy heir; and, as Harry was going to be marrying him, the rooms now belonged to him as well.
Once Harry had had the full tour of Draco’s rooms, Draco showed him the rest of the house. Harry’s jaw almost dropped at the site of the main Malfoy library; he couldn’t help but think that Hermione would be extremely jealous if she found out that Harry had access to so many books. Though Harry also got the feeling that he wouldn’t be allowed to just walk into the library and take any book he wanted off the shelf.
There seemed to be three different sitting rooms. “Each room is set up to entertain a certain kind of guest, from reporters, to people my father works with,” Draco explained when Harry expressed his confusion about this. “There is even one we have for just the family, though it is hardly used except during the holidays.” Draco closed the door to the sitting room they had just been in. “Mother also has her own,” he told Harry, “to entertain guests for tea during the winter.”
“Why just the winter?” Harry asked hurrying to keep up with Draco. The last thing he needed was to get lost in this place; he thought it could happen very easily and wondered how Draco never got lost.
“Because in the summer time she has tea in the back garden.” Draco smiled at him and Harry nodded.
“I saw a garden from my window. It looked really nice out there. Do you have a gardener that tends to it?” Harry asked curiously and Draco raised an eyebrow at him again.
“Of course not, we have house elves for that.” Draco shook his head at the ridiculous question and lead Harry into the dining room. “This is where we eat dinner. It’s not necessary to come here for every meal, but it is insisted upon that everyone eats dinner here.”
“Do well to remember that, Mr. Potter,” Narcissa said from behind the two boys. Harry spun around quickly. He didn’t like having people walk up behind him, especially in this house, even though Harry knew that it was just Narcissa, Lucius and Draco here now; all the other Death Eaters were either locked up or dead. Despite this, Harry knew he would still be a bit jumpy until he got used to being around these people.
Draco turned a little slower then Harry did, and smiled at the elegant woman. “Hello, mother,” he greeted. “I was just giving Harry a tour of the house, and explaining some of the rules to him as well.”
“Yes, your father informed me that Mr. Potter was here,” Narcissa said giving Draco a small smile.
“I was going to bring Harry around to greet you mother,” Draco replied. “I did not know you had returned from shopping yet.”
Harry frowned at the almost formal way that Draco spoke to her. Harry looked at Narcissa; she, like Draco and Lucius, looked a lot better then she had the last time Harry had seen her, during the trials for the Death Eaters. Harry had testified on behalf of her and Draco to keep them both out of Azkaban and he remembered clearly how thin and tired the blond woman had looked.
“It is good to see you again, Mrs. Malfoy,” Harry said as he smiled at her.
Narcissa turned her attention towards him and returned the smile. “Thank you, Mr. Potter. I am sorry that the circumstances of us meeting again are not much more agreeable than they were last time.”
Harry shrugged. “I don’t think there’s any reason for you to apologise. I know where the blame truly belongs, Mrs. Malfoy. But nothing is going to change from pointing fingers either.”
Narcissa looked a little surprised at Harry’s response, but nodded. “Very true, Mr. Potter. Since you are going to be here for quite some time then, I think it might be nice if you joined me for tea some time. I have spent far too much time living among strangers, and would like the chance to get to know you on better terms.”
Harry smiled and nodded. “I think that might be nice. It would be better than having to be stuck in my room all the time.”
“Very well then, we shall have tea tomorrow afternoon then. Unless you and Draco have other plans?” Narcissa asked now looking back to her son.
“Father mentioned that there was a ministry party that he acquired invitations to,” Draco informed her. “I am unsure about the time, but an afternoon tea should be acceptable. I can escort Harry to the garden before I have to leave.” Draco smiled at his mother when she nodded.
“I think that would be a good idea. Well then, Mr. Potter, I will see you at dinner tonight then.” She nodded to him and Harry watched as she left the dining room and continued on her way, most likely going to talk to Lucius.
“Somehow that seemed a little weird,” Harry said once Narcissa was gone.
“How so?” Draco asked looking at the smaller boy with confusion; it had seemed perfectly normal to him.
“Well, for once she actually seemed nice to talk to,” Harry pointed out and chuckled when Draco glared at him. “Well, I’ve only met her a few times, and none of them have actually been all that pleasant, so it’s just surprising that she’s being nice now. Though, is that just because I’m going to be stuck living here and married to you?” Harry asked.
“That is something you would have to ask her,” Draco said a little tersely. “Though I’m warning you, if you upset my mother…”
“Relax, Draco, I don’t plan on upsetting anyone here. I have to live with them now too. Well, I don’t suppose it wouldn’t be too bad if I were to upset your father,” he added thoughtfully. “I’ve seen him really angry a couple times before, it’s almost kind of amusing.” Harry grinned and Draco stared at him open mouthed.
“Being on the receiving end of my father’s wrath is NOT amusing Potter!” Draco snapped watching as Harry started laughing. “I fail to see what is so funny about this.”
“Nothing really. Just, you actually took me seriously,” Harry said. “I am not dumb enough to actually provoke your father.”
“See that you don’t,” Draco said, mostly because he knew that Lucius was already going to be angry enough when he saw the paper the next morning.
Sunday morning came a lot faster than Draco truly wanted it to. Dinner the night before had been quiet, no one really had much to say, though Lucius had informed both Draco and Harry that they would both be attending the ministry party the following night.
Now it was morning, and it was not the party that night that had Draco wanting nothing more than to hide in his room for the entire day. No, Draco was currently looking at his own copy of the Daily Prophet, and as promised, there were two pictures on the front page, one of himself and one of Harry. The title on the top read ‘Forbidden Love!’ And if the title was bad, then the rest of the article was even worse.
Draco knew that it had been Pansy who wrote the article, but it sounded more like something Skeeter would have published.
‘Starting as arch rivals in school, to mortal enemies on the battlefield, no one would have guessed that a secret love affair was playing behind the scenes of these tragic lives. Though this reporter has taken it upon herself to look deeper into the lives of the newly engaged couple.
A young boy hidden by the shadow of his father, and another blinded by the light of the fame thrust upon him. Each of them has had their lives planned out from the day they were born, so looking at it from this direction, maybe it is no surprise that they found love in the most unlikely of places.
But is this true love? Or simply a way to break away from the image thrust upon them? Or perhaps it is something more? I have contacted the two in question and hope to receive an interview with the couple.’
The article continued on from there explaining the rivalry that Draco and Harry had through school, along with a few quotes from ‘close friends’ of each boy explaining that, at times, it seemed as if the boys were almost obsessed with each other.
Draco looked up when there was a knock on his door. Setting the paper aside he stood up and opened it, staring at Harry. “I take it you read the paper?” he asked stepping aside to let Harry in.
“I did. It’s not exactly truthful though,” Harry pointed out.
“No,” Draco agreed. “When has the paper ever printed the truth though? All of this is just guess work at most. I did get a letter from Pansy this morning as well though; she does want to be the one to get the interview with us. We can use that to set the record straight if you want.” Draco walked back over to his bed where he had tossed his paper. “It’s not really a bad piece of work, if she was writing a fantasy novel. Really, secret lovers,” Draco snorted, shaking his head in amusement.
“I think everyone will find that a little farfetched,” Harry said. “Then again, they’ve believed worse.” Harry watched Draco. “How’s your father going to take it?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” Draco told him. “I’m surprised I haven’t been called to his study yet. Though he’s probably thinking how he’s going to clean up this mess before he calls me down.” Draco shrugged. “Have you had breakfast yet?”
“No, I didn’t want to run the risk of bumping into your father this morning,” Harry pointed out. He got the feeling he wouldn’t want to be seeing Lucius at all for a few days, not that he thought he was actually going to be lucky enough for that to happen.
“You could have just called a house elf.” Draco walked over to his wardrobe as he said this and started picking out his own clothes for the day.
“I didn’t see the point to it, when I’m capable of getting my own food,” Harry told him with a shrug.
Draco chuckled. “You just forgot the way to the dining room didn’t you?” The blond turned to see Harry’s cheeks turning slightly pink.
“It’s a big house,” Harry said in his own defense. “Maybe I should just draw myself a map of the place, then I could get around without needing to be lead like a child.” Harry huffed and Draco chuckled again.
“You’ll get used to it. Though I’m sure I can get one of the house elves to make you a map if you really think it would help,” Draco offered as he pulled out a nice set of dark blue wizard robes.
“I think it will,” Harry said. He looked at Draco’s clothes then back at the blond when he noticed Draco starting to take off his night shirt. “I’ll just…wait in the library,” Harry said turning to leave the room quickly so Draco could get dressed. Harry felt his cheeks heating up having caught just a glimpse of the pale skin under the shirt.
Draco raised an eyebrow at the hasty retreat Harry had made before shrugging and getting dressed for the day. It was most definitely going to be a long one.
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