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Draco and Blaise sat in the sitting room of Malfoy Manor later on Christmas morning opening their presents. Though Draco felt detached from everything right now; the box that held his father’s ring felt far to heavy in his pocket. He had not told Blaise about that morning yet, not wanting to alarm him, but also because he knew that as soon as he did tell Blaise, he would have been dragged back to Hogwarts. Blaise would probably stop him from ever returning home again. No, it was far better to just make it through this morning, forget about staying the extra night and go back to school for the rest of the holiday.
Now just came the tricky part of explaining that to his Mother. He was sure that his Father wouldn’t be suspicious about him wanting to return to school so soon, particularly now he had a mission to complete.
Draco looked over at his Mother who was pulling out a new necklace that he had gotten her for Christmas. “It is lovely Draco, thank you,” Narcissa said, smiling at him.
“I am glad you like it Mother.” Draco smiled back at her, knowing that the smile was forced; he wished that there was a way that he could bring his Mother with him when he left. He would feel much better with her away from Voldemort.
Blaise gave Draco a worried look, as he had been doing all morning. Ever since he had woken up to find Draco dressed and ready for the day, and looking even paler then he usually was. Even now Blaise thought that the blond boy still looked far too pale, he was sure that this had not gone un-noticed by Narcissa either. And was likely the reason neither he or Draco had been questioned about their absence at the party last night.
Blaise wrapped his arm around Draco’s waist pulling the blond closer to him. Draco jumped slightly, turning his head just enough to look at Blaise before he relaxed against him. “What’s wrong?” Blaise whispered in Draco’s ear.
“…I’ll tell you later.” Draco whispered back. Lucius cleared his throat from the doorway to the sitting room, and Blaise frowned even more when he felt Draco tense before pulling away.
“A word with you, Draco?” Lucius said as he eyed his son, a look that clearly demanded that his request be obeyed. Draco was not eager to have another conversation alone with his father, and so continued sitting there. But, as Lucius narrowed his eyes at his son’s silent defiance, Draco sighed and slowly stood up. He had not made it far when Blaise grab his arm standing up next to him.
Blaise had done this a couple times before, and it had worked to a point, but Lucius always managed to get his son alone to talk, even if he had to wait for it
Lucius narrowed his eyes dangerously at Draco. “Alone, if you do not mind.” The words were cold and demanding. Draco had no doubt that his father was still sore from the curse he had suffered earlier that morning, and as a result his patience was thin.
“Actually, sir, Draco and I were planning on returning to Hogwarts. We just need to collect his things from upstairs, and then we were going to leave.” Blaise said, Draco always admired Blaise for standing up to Lucius like that, but he also hated it because he knew one of these days, Blaise was going to push it too far and feel the full affect of Lucius’ anger. And judging from the look Lucius was giving Blaise right now, that day could be today.
Narcissa seemed to realise this as well, and spoke up hoping to defuse the situation before it got any worse. “I thought you were going to be staying at least until dinner tonight,” she said looking at Blaise then Draco.
“That was the original plan Mother.” Draco said. “But something has come up,” Draco glanced over at his Father, Narcissa also caught the look. She would have to have a few words of her own with Lucius later.
“Of course, Draco. I will go and have one of the elves pack your things. And then we can enjoy the rest of our morning.” Narcissa stood and hugged Draco briefly.
“Narcissa,” Lucius said, but she fixed him with a stern look.
“Lucius, what is so important that you simply must talk with Draco alone?” She asked.
Lucius narrowed his eyes at his wife. “Draco, come and speak to me before you leave.” Lucius left the room. He needed to make sure that Draco understood the importance of the task given to him.
“I am sorry to be kidnapping Draco from you so early into the Holidays,” Blaise said to Narcissa once Lucius had left the room.
“It’s quite alright, I was surprised that my Draco even decided to come home,” she admitted and looked at Draco. “I will be making reservations for dinner in France on new year’s eve, both of you are invited,” she said.
“We will think about it Mrs. Malfoy,” Blaise said before Draco had a chance to answer.
“Of course, with Lucius being so busy lately it may just be the three of us,” Narcissa said, knowing full well that Blaise didn’t particularly like Lucius; he was a hard man to get along with sometimes.
“We’ll let you know by Friday if we can come mother.” Draco said and Narcissa nodded.
“Then, why don’t we enjoy the rest of our morning before you two have to leave?” She suggested.
The rest of the morning went smoothly enough. Blaise and Draco had remained at the manor long enough to have an early lunch with Narcissa, and Draco had even managed to avoid a trip to his Father’s office, since Lucius had instead just corned his son when Draco had gone to retrieve his trunk before returning to Hogwarts.
“I expect updates on your progress, Draco,” Lucius had said, but didn’t get anything more out before Blaise had walked in on them.
“Professor Snape said we could floo into his office, as long as we did it now,” Blaise said looking at Draco, who nodded. Stepping around his Father Draco went over to Blaise. Giving Lucius one more look, Blaise put an arm around Draco’s shoulder and both boys went down to the fire place.
Narcissa was waiting for them next to the fire place. “I wll hear from you by Friday.” It was not a question, and Draco smiled hugging his mother.
“I will owl you,” He promised. Narcissa hugged her only child, trying to put everything she couldn’t easily say into that one moment, she then let go of Draco, looked at Blaise who was watching the two of them.
“You take care of my son,” this was not a request, and Blaise nodded easily. He had no intention of ever letting anything happen to Draco.
“I will see you on the other side Draco.” Blaise said grabbing some floo powder, he would give Draco that extra moment alone with his mother, knowing that Draco needed it because he had been far to tence all morning.
Even once they were back at Hogwarts Draco still didn’t seem at all relaxed.
“Alright Draco, what’s going on?” Blaise asked when they had left Snape’s empty office.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” was Draco’s reply, shoving his hand into his pocket Draco felt the small ring box still there.
“You know, I am really getting tired of hearing that,” Blaise growled, though Draco hadn’t been the one who had been using it lately. “Something happened, Draco, why are you hiding things from me now?” Blaise grabbed Draco stopping the other boy from walking away.
Draco turned and faced Blaise. “Because maybe I don’t want to tell you everything,” Draco snapped.
“I’m worried about you, Draco. I just want to help.” Blaise sighed letting Draco go. The other boy turned away from him, his shoulder’s sagging in defeat.
“I know, Blaise. I just…, I can’t tell you. I don’t know HOW to tell you.” Draco admitted; he really didn’t know how he could tell Blaise about that morning. Even now it felt like it had been something out of a nightmare, the only reason Draco knew for a fact that he had been in the same room as Voldemort, was the tiny box he now had clenched in his hand, still hidden in his pocket.
“Alright. But as soon as you do know, you will tell me won’t you?” Blaise asked, he didn’t want to push Draco, hoping that when he was ready Draco would tell him of his own accord.
“I promise,” Draco said and he allowed Blaise to take his hand. The two of them went back to their common room. Draco knew that he was going to have a lot of thinking to do. About what he truly wanted; just saying he didn’t want to take the Dark Mark, and follow his Father down that path, wasn’t going to be enough anymore.
Harry didn’t want to move; his body hurt so much, his chest felt heavy as he struggled to take a decent breath. His fingers twitched as he tried desperately to move his arm, he knew he couldn’t stay on the floor and he had to get up. He knew he had seen something important, but he couldn’t keep hold of the images that he had seen.
Voldemort had been there, he knew that, he had heard him. And there had been, someone, someone else. Voldemort had given them something. Harry gasped, managing to move his arm and pressing his hand against his head when his scar burned again; he braced himself for another wave of pain, that never came. Letting his eyes close, Harry decided that maybe he would just try and move later, the cold floor felt good against his burning skin. He would move when he had the energy to.
He heard the door to the common room open, and someone came in. There was a pause in the conversation between whoever it was in the common room; Harry couldn’t see who it was though due to the fact that he did not have his glasses on, and he was mostly hidden behind the sofa.
“Harry?” a voice, Harry dimly recognized as Blaise, asked. What was he doing back so early? Harry didn’t think he had been lying on the floor that long. But then again he could have easily passed out after the vision, and woken up a day later. He tried to push himself up, but his arms gave out and he thumped back to the floor, whimpering at the sharp pain that movement had caused.
There were rapid footsteps, and then another familiar voice called out., “Blaise, he’s over here!” Hands were on him, sitting him up. Draco had come back as well apparently. Harry tried to push away from the blond, knowing that contact just made what he could feel from Draco even worse, and the last thing he wanted right now was more hatred and anger added to his already pounding head.
“What the…Harry, what happened?” Blaise was kneeling in front of Harry looking into glassy green eyes. Harry was still trying to pull away from Draco. Reaching out, Blaise tried to take Harry from the blond and hissed at how hot Harry felt to the touch. “He’s burning up. Draco, hand him here and go start a bath,” Blaise instructed, and was glad that Draco didn’t even argue as the blond stood up allowing Blaise to take Harry.
Harry still struggled weakly when Blaise picked him up. “Shh, Harry, it’s alright,” Blaise softly, trying to calm the boy. Once Harry had stopped struggling enough, Blaise was able to pick him up properly and carry him to the bathroom where Draco had started the water.
Blaise put Harry down on the floor next to the bath, summoning a cloth he dipped it in the cool water before pressing it against Harry’s forehead.
Harry blinked slowly trying to get things into focus. “…Blaise?” His voice was barely a whisper, and it hurt to talk, just as much as it hurt to breathe right now. He hissed in pain when he felt the cloth press against his sore scar, pulling his head away from the cloth.
“It’s alright, Harry,” Blaise assured him and set the cloth aside, standing to look at Draco. “I need you to get him into the bath, it will help bring the fever down while I go and get Madam Pomfrey,” Blaise said, giving Harry another worried look. He wasn’t even sure if the school nurse was even still at Hogwarts, or if she had gone home for the holidays like most of the teachers did, but they needed to find someone.
“Why the hell do I have to watch him?” Draco protested.
“Because he can’t bathe himself Draco,” Blaise asked and Draco glared at him. “just help me with this, please Draco?” he pleaded, genuinely worried about Harry.
“Fine, but you owe me for this, Blaise,” Draco huffed. Blaise smiled giving Draco a quick kiss on the lips, and then left the bathroom. Draco turned his attention back to Harry who looked like he was falling asleep on the floor. “Is it too much to ask, that just once you don’t ruin something?” Draco asked looking down at Harry. The smaller boy looked so vulnerable as he sat there, and Draco wondered how easy it would be for him to just give Harry the portkey now, and then all his problems would be gone.
But as Draco stared at him, Harry’s chest rising and falling as the sound of his laboured breathing was drown out by the sound of running water, he knew that if he gave Harry the portkey and Harry landed at the manor with Voldemort, the boy would die.
Harry would not have a fighting chance against the Dark Lord. And as much as Draco detested Harry, no matter how jealous he got when Blaise would give this boy attention he didn’t deserve, Draco could not bring himself to be responsible for Harry Potter’s death. Even if he wouldn’t be the one to cast the killing curse, he would have been the one to send Harry to his death.
And so with this in mind, Draco took a deep breath taking off his outer robes so they wouldn’t get in the way while he got Harry into the water, he left the ring inside his pocket of his robe as he tossed it aside. Kneeling down Draco looked at Harry.
“Potter, you need to take your clothes off and get in the water,” Draco said, hoping that Harry would at least be able to do that much for himself. But the blank look Draco was getting was not promising at all. Letting out an annoyed sigh, Draco knelt down and reached out to pull Harry’s shirt off.
Lifting a shaking hand Harry grabbed Draco’s wrist, stopping the blond from removing the shirt from Harry.
“Potter, unless you want to be dumped into the water as you are, I suggest you let me do this,” Draco snapped. But Harry didn’t remove his hand.
“I’m sorry,” Harry gasped out, his voice still soft and weak. Harry was unsure of why he needed to say this, but he needed Draco to know he was sorry. Sorry for forcing him into the bond, sorry that because of him, Draco had been fighting with Blaise, because of him Draco had Voldemort living at his house now, sorry for being here at all.
Draco blinked his eyes wide in surprise, not because of what Harry had said, it wasn’t the words he was focused on. Being in contact with Harry, even using Occlumency, it didn’t fully block the bond. And now Draco was feeling the echo of everything Harry was, the pain, the heavy weight on his chest, the burning coming from his scar. And the emotional pain. Harry let his hand fall away from Draco’s wrist.
“We need to get you into the bath, Harry,” Draco said trying to ignore the new emotions running through him, even after Harry had let go of his wrist. He couldn’t understand, even feeling the echo of what Harry was feeling, how could anyone be in this much pain? Even now, if Draco wasn’t feeling it for himself, and knew it was coming from Harry, he never would have believed that the other boy was in this much pain.
As Draco worked to rid Harry of his clothes as he continued taking short gasping breaths. Draco wished he could do something to help Harry’s breathing, but he didn’t know anything about healing spells and would most likely just cause Harry even more pain if he tried.
When he had undressed Harry down to his underwear, Draco was surprised once again as he now stared down at the mostly naked body flushed with fever. Scares littered Harry’s upper body, reaching out Draco absently traced one of the scars up by Harry’s shoulder. Harry flinched away from him and Draco got a flash of a large man bearing down on him.
Shaking his head, Draco lifted, the surprisingly light, Harry up in his arms and gently put him into the bath tub. What happened next was very unexpected. As soon as Harry felt himself being lowered into the water, his eyes, that had been closing out of pure exhaustion, snapped open and he struggled to get out of the water. Draco lost his hold on Harry, and the black haired boy fell into the bath, submerged completely in water.
Harry didn’t have much time to think as Draco managed to grab him and sat him up quickly. Coughing violently Harry tried to once again get out of the water. “Sit down you idiot!” Draco snapped at him.
“…Draco?” Harry blinked in confusion coughing again. Draco sighed and rubbed his back until Harry’s coughing fit had calmed down enough.
“Lay back, you have a fever, and we’re trying to get it down a bit.” Draco explained. Harry was still staring at him, though he could not see Draco properly. He still didn’t seem fully aware of his surroundings, but he no longer fought to get out of the bath. “Just don’t fall asleep in the water,” Draco said, as Harry seemed to be doing just that.
Draco sat there, making sure that Harry didn’t actually fall asleep, but he also studied the other boy. For the first time he could actually remember, he truly looked at Harry. The far too skinny frame of the boy, the bright red scar on his forehead, the dark circles under his eyes showing that he most likely had not slept well in a while. And then the curious scars that littered his body. Draco knew by looking at them that they were not done by a wand, having his own fair share of scars from lessons with his Father, but Draco’s scars were nearly invisible, and unless you knew they were there, they were hard to see. Draco’s thoughts was brought out of his thoughts when Blaise came back into the bathroom, looking like he had run all the way to the infirmary and back again.
“Where’s Pomfrey?” Draco asked when he did not see the witch with Blaise.
“She wasn’t there, I got a fever reducing potion though,” Blaise said as he came into the bathroom to stand next to Draco, he looked down at Harry, looking at the scars that he had already seen once on the boy’s body. But that time he had not gotten a very good look at them.
“Let’s finish washing him up a bit, then we’ll give him the potion.” Blaise knelt next to the bath and picked up the cloth he had set aside before. Draco made no move to help him, but he didn’t leave the bathroom or protest as Blaise started washing Harry.
“He has a lot of scars,” Draco commented.
“I know, I saw them before,” Blaise said glancing over at Draco waiting for some kind of comment to that, when none came he continued. “He said he didn’t want to talk about them.”
“He doesn’t talk about things,” Draco observed. “Even to his so called friends. Even I’ve noticed that much.”
Blaise gave Draco a curious look before he returned to washing Harry. Once he was finished with that Draco moved to help him get Harry out of the bath, casting a quick drying charm on him before Draco let Blaise lift Harry up. Draco followed them to Harry’s room, where he watched as Blaise put Harry on the bed.
Draco got some warm pyjamas for Harry, while Blaise took out the potion, trying to get Harry to drink it.
“He won’t drink it on his own,” Draco said as he came over to the bed. Setting the night clothes down he took the vile from Blaise. “Tilt his head back,” Draco instructed and Blaise did as he was asked, letting Draco poured the potion into Harry’s mouth, closing his mouth before Harry could spit it out.
Harry was left with no choice but to swallow the potion, coughing when Draco removed his hand. It was kind of tricky and a little bit awkward, but with the help of both Blaise and Draco, Harry was soon dressed and settled down into bed. Waiting a moment to make sure that Harry was in fact going to sleep, both boy’s left the room, though Blaise left the door to Harry’s room open, just in case he woke up.
“Well, this is turning out to be an interesting Christmas day,” Blaise commented.
“Interesting isn’t quite the word I would choose for it.” Draco looked back into the room at Harry’s now sleeping form.
“What are you thinking, Draco?” Blaise asked wrapping his arms around his boyfriend.
“How could he get so sick that quickly?” Draco asked, trying not to sound worried, but it really wasn’t normal, Harry had seemed fine before vacation had started.
“Well, my guess is going out flying yesterday without proper clothes on has something to do with it. I’ve told you before, Draco, Harry doesn’t take care of himself at all. I would even bet that he didn’t eat at all yesterday after I left.” Blaise kept his arms wrapped around Draco, letting the blond think.
“You said Professor Snape gave you a book about the bonding?” Draco turned his head slightly to look at Blaise.
“It should be in the common room, last I saw it.” Blaise let Draco pull away from him, and the blond went down the hall to the common room. After one last look at Harry, Blaise followed him.
“I already marked a few things that it could be,” Blaise said, going over to sit on the sofa next to Draco, who had found the book open on the floor, sat down, and started reading the page that the book had been left on.
“Signature bonding?” Draco frowned skimming the section over. “Signature bonding can be formed between two or more people, due to the fact that each person has many different signatures. A magical or emotional signatures being the most common,” Draco read out loud and then looked up at Blaise, who was reading over his shoulder.
“That does sound about right. And this part here.” Blaise pointed to a passage further down the page. “If a person’s magical core is in danger, it is likely that a signature bond will be forged.” Both boys continued reading the book. Finding out what they could. It seemed that the bond, forced a close relationship between people, though it did not have to be a romantic relationship. Just being close friends could be enough for this bond to form.
They knew that Harry and Blaise had formed a magical bond, though they could not figure out why this was, and it would require more research if they truly wanted to know. But as for Draco and Harry, they had formed an emotional connection. There were many reasons as to why this could have happened, but after seeing the scars on Harry’s body, Draco would have to assume it had something to do with a dark childhoods they shared.
The down side to all of this was, that after trying to find a book on what this bond was, and trying to find a way to break the bond so they could all continue on with their lives as if nothing had happened, it was all for naught.
“There’s no way to break the bond…” Draco said a bit faintly, closing the book. He didn’t know what to think about this. They were stuck with Harry…, unless Voldemort killed him. Draco shuddered at that thought, shook his head to try and rid his mind of it.
“We can figure something out, Draco.” Blaise pulled the blond closer to him and Draco allowed it. Draco knew that Blaise was trying to keep him thinking positive about this. But it really just came down to the fact that Draco now had only two choices open to him.
He could use the portkey that Voldemort had given him, sending Harry away to his death and be rid of the boy wonder forever. But in doing so he would proclaim his allegiance to the Dark Lord, be forced to take the Dark Mark and follow in his Father’s footsteps, kneeling before the snake faced man for the rest of his life.
Or he could turn his back on everything he had been raised to know and believe, walk away from his family, be labelled a blood traitor until either someone killed him, or better yet, killed Voldemort.
Looking up at Blaise, it turned out it wasn’t a difficult choice after all; Draco knew what he wanted to do. Leaning up, he kissed Blaise. “I’ll be right back,” he said and pulling away from his boyfriend. he stood up. Blaise gave him a curious look as Draco went down the hallway. He went back into the bathroom and got his robe; digging in the pocket he pulled out the small box and opened it. It was a priceless heirloom that had been passed down from generation to generation in the Malfoy line. And it had been tainted by the man his Father called master. Closing the box, Draco left the bathroom and went to Harry’s room.
The boy was still asleep. Reaching out Draco put a hand on Harry’s forehead, it no longer felt too hot to touch, so at least the potion seemed to be working.
“You win, Harry,” Draco sighed closing his eyes and dropping his Occlumency shields, allowing the bond that should have been formed sooner to enter his mind, linking him and Harry, the way that Harry had been linked to Blaise. He hoped he would not regret this, turning his back on his family; Harry was now his only hope for surviving what was to come. But somehow, Draco knew that Harry would need him, and Blaise as well.
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