Draco Malfoy Harry Potter
Action Romance
Multiple Eras
Published: 05/29/2003
Updated: 07/18/2003
Words: 95,194
Chapters: 14
Hits: 106,924

Thicker than Blood


Story Summary:
It is Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts, and Voldemort has returned to full power. The Death Eaters lay siege to the castle, trapping everyone inside. Draco is injured, Harry gets roped into saving his life, Crabbe shows unexpected resourcefulness, Dumbledore gets his way (as usual), and life is complicated for Harry. But then, life is always complicated for Harry, and adolescence only makes it worse.

Chapter 04


Chapter 4: Under Siege

Professor Dumbledore sat behind his desk, scanning a piece of parchment with shuttered, expressionless eyes and twiddling his wand between his fingers. A small stack of scrolls rested at his elbow, as yet unread, and a curious brass lamp threw golden light over the black ink strokes on the parchment before him. On a stand beside the desk, Fawkes the Phoenix sat preening his scarlet feathers.

The room Dumbledore occupied had been a broom closet, up until yesterday. He might have chosen any number of dungeon chambers to appropriate for his emergency office, but he had selected one of Filch's closets out of a kind-hearted impulse. Poor Filch was feeling useless in the current crisis, being without magic of his own, and Dumbledore's earnest assurance that his miserable nook full of brooms, mops and buckets was absolutely essential to the smooth running of the school had cheered him immensely. It had also given him something else to complain about - essential for his mental health.

So Dumbledore had moved into the closet - after expanding it a good deal and adding a few necessaries - summoned his desk, produced a couple of mismatched armchairs with crooked legs, and brought Fawkes down for company. The entire effect was quite satisfactory - comfortable, reassuring, but with an air of hurried impermanence to it that would tell the careful observer that the Headmaster of Hogwarts had no intention of staying in a broom closet for long.

An enormous ginger cat leapt lightly onto the desk and threaded a path through the objects littering its top. Dumbledore glanced up, smiling, and suddenly his eyes were no longer distant or cold. They gleamed with laughter, as the cat stretched out between the lamp and the inkwell and dropped a half-chewed rat onto the desktop between its paws.

"And who do we have here, Master Crookshanks? An unfortunate friend, or a nameless denizen of the dungeons?" Dumbledore asked, conversationally. Crookshanks gave him an enigmatic stare and bit down on a slender bone. "You really ought to return to Miss Granger. She will be worried about you."

Crookshanks treated this observation with contempt, and even Fawkes seemed to think it frivolous. The bird rustled his gorgeous plumage and turned a black, unblinking eye on the Headmaster. Dumbledore chuckled and turned back to his work, leaving the cat to finish his snack without further editorial comment.

A quick rap on the door brought Dumbledore's head up again.

"Come in!" he called, and the door opened to admit Professor McGonagall. She looked worn and tired, with a few locks of hair straggling from her bun and the lines in her face cut deeper than usual by strain.

"We've finished with the second sweep of the dungeons, Albus," she said. "Everything is secure, but Severus confirms that there are four students missing."

"I'm sorry to hear that." Dumbledore rose graciously to his feet and waved her into the room. "Sit down, Minerva. You look done in."

McGonagall shut the door behind her and moved over to the nearest chair. "We're all done in." Sinking into the padded cushions, she allowed herself a small sigh of relief. Her eyes fell on the rolled parchments and her brows drew together in a frown. "Are those from parents?"

"Yes." Dumbledore gave a casual wave of his wand, and full tea tray appeared in mid-air with a soft pop. He caught it deftly, set it on the desk, and poured McGonagall a steaming cup. Then he sat down and looked at her over the top of his spectacles. "Did the owls go out, as I asked?"

"They did." Her lips thinned into a tight, disapproving line. "I don't like it, Albus."

"Which of many 'its' are we talking about?" he asked, as he sipped his own tea.

"The owls."

"I gave the students my word that they could owl their parents."

"When it was safe. It's not safe to have anything passing in and out of the wards, especially when we have not been able to stabilize the pattern properly."

"I'm well aware of that, Minerva. That is why I had Hagrid take the owls upstairs and release them beyond the inner wards."


"He is the obvious choice."

"I know his giant blood gives him some protection from magic in general, but even full giants are not immune to the Dark Lord's spells. Hagrid is only half-giant and half-trained. What would he do if he met a Death Eater up there?"

"They are not likely to give him much trouble, considering that many of letters he has retrieved come from them." Dumbledore flicked the pile of scrolls with one finger. "They want their children."

"How many have written?"

"All of those already identified as Death Eaters and a few who are only suspected. Then there are the parents who are simply afraid."

"What will you do?"

"What I must."

"You'll send those children out there... give them to those..."

"Give them to their parents, Minerva. But only if they choose to go."

She gave a grunt of sour laughter. "Most of the Slytherins are already packing their trunks." Her eyes narrowed as they moved to the parchment spread out in front of him. "Have you heard from Malfoy?"

Dumbledore nodded.

"His usual pack of threats and insults?"

"Actually, this letter was penned by Narcissa." He smiled humorlessly at her startled expression. "Funny how we tend to forget that Draco has a mother, isn't it? But Narcissa Malfoy is as potent a force in his life as Lucius. And as dangerous. She writes in a different style from her husband, but the message is the same: deliver Draco to Lucius or suffer the consequences."

"It's hard to imagine a mother wanting her child in the hands of the Death Eaters," McGonagall mused.

"She has always supported Lucius' actions and encouraged Draco to follow in his footsteps. Family pride and so forth." Propping his elbows on the desk, he leaned forward and added, intently, "Don't make the mistake of assuming that the Malfoys do not love and value their son. He may be something of a trophy to them, but he is a valuable trophy and might well prove to be one of the most powerful wizards of his generation."

"That's why you want him, isn't it, Albus?"

"One of the reasons. Like Harry, Draco is destined to be a key player in the conflict ahead. It would be to our advantage to have both of those players on our team, wouldn't it?"

"Sometimes I forget how cold-blooded you can be."

"Is it cold-blooded to save a sixteen-year-old boy from Voldemort's clutches?"

"That depends on why you're doing it."

Dumbledore's face went still and the shutters behind his eyes came down. "I am fighting for the survival of our world, Minerva. I am also fighting for that boy's right to choose his own destiny. I will not compromise in either case."

McGonagall shifted uncomfortably beneath his emotionless gaze. "You said that his parents love him."

"Appearances to the contrary, yes, I believe they do."

"Then it will be doubly hard to win his loyalty away from them. Perhaps impossible."

"Ah." Dumbledore smiled brightly, his eyes warming into a kind of guileless enthusiasm. "That's where Mr. Potter comes in!"

McGonagall opened and closed her mouth a few times, like a beached fish, then exclaimed, "Albus, I do believe you've cracked under the strain of the past few days!"

"Have I?" His eyes twinkled wickedly. "How exciting!"

"Those two boys loathe each other. You couldn't have picked anyone less likely to win Malfoy away from his parents if you'd tried. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Malfoy chose his father over you just to spite Potter! It's the kind of thing that little demon would do!"

"Minerva, really. Is it appropriate to call one of our students a little demon?"

Her face hardened with distaste, but she managed to choke out, "I beg your pardon. I won't repeat it."

"No, no, don't apologize. I rarely get to see this side of you, and I find it quite illuminating."

"Do stop teasing, Albus. This isn't funny. It seems to me that you are not only throwing away what small chance we had of saving Malfoy from his parents' deadly folly, but risking Potter's life into the bargain."

"Nonsense. Mr. Malfoy cannot harm Mr. Potter through the link, even if he tries. Harry controls it."

"Yes, but Lucius Malfoy controls that summoning charm."

"Harry can handle Lucius." McGonagall's eyebrows shot up, and Dumbledore quirked a smile at her. "Do you doubt it?"


"And Harry, my dear Minerva, can also handle Draco far more effectively than you or I."

"How? By brain-blasting him in a fit of schoolboy rage?"

"You know Harry better than that."

"I don't understand, Albus, and I don't like not understanding!"

"None of us do."

She gave an exasperated sigh and tried again. "What special skill does Potter have in 'handling' Malfoy? Why are you so intent on Potter doing this?"

"Why, because they loathe each other, of course."


He chuckled at the warning note in her voice. "Can you honestly have worked with young wizards and witches for so long without learning this much? Boys hate each other, Minerva. It's an immutable law of youth. They hate, they love, they switch back and forth depending on which girl they are fighting over... but none of it goes as deep as they imagine. Why, I remember when I was a teenager - fourteen or fifteen, I believe - and I got into a scuffle with Daedalus Diggle..."


"I beg your pardon. Where was I?"

"Teenage boys fighting."

"Yes, indeed. The hates and loves of teenage boys feel as though they could shake the foundations of the world, when they happen, but they are nothing more than tiny ripples in a very big lake."

"Try telling that to the boys."

"That is not the point."

"I assume that you will get to the point, eventually."

"I will. Here it is. What Harry and Draco feel for each other is in no way akin to those childish emotions. It is born in a deep, instinctive place that few of us ever visit in ourselves. It is something they cannot escape, though they have spent six years trying, and the force of it could indeed shake the foundations of our world, if unleashed."

"Aren't you afraid that this Blood Like will do just that?"

"I'm counting on it."

"But... why?"

His face was suddenly completely serious, his eyes intent. "Because I do not believe it is hatred that drives them, and because I want to be the one who harnesses the resultant power."

"Not hatred?" She stared at him as if he had tentacles sprouting from his forehead and demanded, "What then? And if you try to tell me that those two boys really love each other but would rather blast each other to twitching jelly than admit it, I swear I'll have you locked up in St. Mungo's!"

"I don't know how they feel. I only know that it is too strong for normal boyish hatred and too dangerous to let grow unchecked. It is time that Harry and Draco figured out exactly what draws them to revolve around each other like dual suns, each desperate to spin away but caught, helpless, by the pull of the other. They need to know, and so do we."

"And the Blood Link will help them do this."

"It has begun already."

McGonagall shifted restlessly, a frown gathering on her face. "What will you do if the thing that drives them is hatred?"

Dumbledore looked grave. "Lose Draco to his father, keep Harry with us, and watch them destroy each other in the dark times to come."

"Oh, Albus."

"We all have true enemies, Minerva, just as we have true friends, and in war we must learn which is which."

"Potter already has so many enemies."

"Yes. Let us hope that Mr. Malfoy is not destined to be one of them."

"You almost make me feel sorry for him. Almost."

"Why, Minerva!" His eyes twinkled irrepressibly at her. "I do believe you have a soft spot for the little demon!"

McGonagall snorted and heaved herself to her feet. "I'm due to help Alastor with the wards and must get some lunch first."

"How are he and Snape coming with the power feed problem?"

"Slowly. Alastor says the power levels from each of us are too widely variant to balance easily, and he is not confident that he can maintain it once we are out of physical contact with him."

"Which makes a ward pattern involving all of the faculty pointless. We must be free to move about the castle while contributing to the wards or we must abandon the idea and stay down here, in a more limited space."

McGonagall frowned. "The students are already growing restless. We can't pen them up down here much longer without serious trouble, especially with half of the Slytherins threatening to break down the doors and rush the wards."

"They will be leaving soon."

"That will help, but it won't solve all our problems. You know how these kids are, Albus. Even the ones who want to be here are full of crackpot plans. Sooner or later, one of them is going to decide that he knows better than we do and try to take out the Death Eaters with his latest Charms project."

"True enough, but I've already dealt with the worst offender in that area."


"Tied him up very neatly, thank you, so he can't run headlong into trouble."

McGonagall's eyes widened in understanding, then narrowed into slits as she began to chuckle. "You're a devious man, Albus Dumbledore. A very devious man."

"Thank you, my dear Minerva. Give my best to Alastor and tell him to hurry."

As McGonagall took her leave and strode out of the room, Dumbledore turned his attention back to the letter before him. Crookshanks still lay sprawled on the desk with a long, pinkish, hairless tail hanging out of his mouth, his golden eyes blinking sleepily at the old wizard. Dumbledore picked up his wand and used it to tickle the cat under the chin.

"You're as bad as any of them, Master Crookshanks. What cunning plot are you revolving in your feline brain?"

Crookshanks yawned and jumped down from the desk, then sauntered away, his tail sticking up jauntily. Dumbledore watched him go, smiling, then sighed and picked up the parchment. In a moment, his face had turned grave and his eyes distant.

* * *

"What are you doing here, anyway, Potter?"

Harry lowered his book - a scrounged copy of Quidditch through the Ages - to gaze at Malfoy over the top of it. The sight that met his eyes wasn't exactly reassuring.

Malfoy did seem a bit better, if Harry didn't look too closely. He was awake, relatively alert and looking less corpse-like than before. But he was still so pale he seemed almost transparent, and his eyes were a flat, clouded grey, set in purple shadows. Even his voice didn't sound right. When he spoke to Harry, it was with a dull, rather petulant hostility that had none of his usual spark. Draco might be utter slime, but he was normally very colorful slime. Talking to him now, Harry missed the gleam of triumph in his eyes when he said something really cutting, or the wickedness that lurked in his smile. There had always been something feral about Draco's enjoyment of humiliating, tormenting and infuriating Harry that gave him a certain morbid charm. Without that charm, he was simply obnoxious.

"I'm reading," Harry said in answer to his question.

Malfoy gave a grunt of disgust. "You know what I mean. There's nothing wrong with you, so why is Pomfrey keeping you here?"

Harry shrugged. "She says I need rest."

"The Hero business getting to be too much for you?" Malfoy drawled.

"Something like that." He raised the book again and pretended to read.

Malfoy twisted onto his left side so he could look at Harry without turning his head and pulled his knees up toward his chest. It was an unconsciously defensive posture that made him look smaller and more fragile than Harry would have thought possible just a few short days ago.

"Are you my jailer?" he asked abruptly.

The book came down again. "Your what?"

"My jailer. My guard. My babysitter. The goon who's supposed to keep me here for Dumbledore."

Harry grinned at him in unaffected delight. "That's me. Captain of the Gryffindor Goon Squad." Then he rolled his eyes and said, "Get over yourself, Malfoy. No one cares if you leave."


"No, seriously." He nodded toward the screen that obscured the rest of the room. "Go on. I won't stop you."

Draco stared at him for a long moment, then shut his eyes, exhaustion and defeat hanging thickly about him.

Harry closed the book and let it drop to the bed. Turning onto his side, he propped himself up on one elbow and regarded Malfoy curiously. "Do you really want to leave?"

"How could I," he mocked, softly, "knowing how terribly you'd miss me?"

"I mean it, Malfoy." As he spoke, Harry sent a swift, silent burst of energy through the link, pleading, Tell me the truth. Tell me! I need to know! "I'm not trying to be funny or snide. Do you want to go, even if Dumbledore works it out so you don't have to?"

Draco's eyes opened again and fixed thoughtfully on Harry's face. Something inside of him had unclenched, a door opened, a wall dropped. And for the moment, his eyes were completely clear. "Of course I do."


His silvery-blond eyebrows rose in surprise. "This is my family we're talking about. My mum and dad. Why wouldn't I want to go to them?"

"Because..." Looking into Malfoy's face, Harry suddenly found it impossible to say the hurtful things that came to mind. He hesitated, floundering, and Malfoy spoke again.

"Just because you don't like them doesn't mean they're bad people."

"They torture Muggles for fun!" Harry blurted out.

"I know."

That simple statement rocked Harry back on his heels. It carried with it a wealth of conflict and disappointment, worry, hope, love and anger, all tied up in a child's stubborn faith that his parents knew best. And it convinced Harry as nothing else could that Draco Malfoy had a heart - a heart that trusted the wrong people, but a heart just the same.

With this realization came an overwhelming desire to throw himself into the link, to surge across it, grab Malfoy around the brain stem, and shake him until he saw reason. He had to know what his parents were! He did know, and he didn't like it! But still he trusted them, still he hid every better impulse he had beneath a veneer of vicious snobbery, and soon he would sell his soul to Voldemort for love of two people who didn't deserve it. Didn't deserve him. If Harry could only reach him, get beneath that veneer and those years of slow poison to touch the person who still lived somewhere inside him... the person who hurt when innocent people suffered... he could save Draco from himself!

Harry pulled himself up short, horrified by the direction his thoughts were taking. This was exactly the temptation Dumbledore had warned him against, and Harry had almost walked straight into it the moment Malfoy showed a hint of decency. But it was wrong. The worst kind of wrong. A wrong so complete that it would put Harry on the level of Lucius Malfoy and Voldemort himself to do it! He could not tamper with Draco's feelings, subvert his love for his parents or force him to choose a path not his own. He could not, no matter how desperate the ache in his chest when he thought of letting Draco walk out of this castle and home to them.

All of this flashed through Harry's mind in a the time it took to digest Draco's words and come up with an answer. Malfoy was still looking at him with unguarded eyes, and Harry felt a curious twinge of guilt at the trust implied by that look.

"You don't have to be like them, Draco."

The other boy's eyes went blank and closed, his face hard, all in a breath. "You don't know anything about me or my family, Potter."

"I know that your father helped launch an attack on this school with you still inside it."

The blank disbelief in Malfoy's face was echoed by a cold horror that ran like dead fingers down Harry's spine. Forcing his own feelings down deep, where they could not show in his face, Harry set a rigid mental guard about the Blood Link. He opened it wider, allowing a strong, steady flow of power to pass into Malfoy's body, but he sent no spark of awareness with it, no guidance or emotion.

Then he said, quietly, "Last night, the castle was attacked by Voldemort's forces. The Death Eaters blasted three holes in the outer wards and swept the grounds, killing anything that moved. You were found right next to the wards at the spot where we think they made the first breach. You were almost dead, flattened by the blast and the Dark spells they hurled through the hole."

"No." The word came out levelly enough, but it was underscored by a surge of anger and panic. "No. It didn't happen like that."

"I was the one who found you, Malfoy. I saw what they did to you."

"No! My father wouldn't hurt me!" Malfoy shifted his left hand higher against his chest and candlelight glinted off of the polished silver of the summoning charm. "He sent for me! I remember that much... hearing him call..." There was an edge of desperation to his voice now and a feverish glint in his eyes. "He wanted me out!"

"Maybe. But he knew you weren't safely out when the attack came, and he did nothing to stop it. He must have known you were on the grounds somewhere, trying to find him. He must have known you were in the line of fire."

"Stop it!" Malfoy hissed. "It wasn't him. He didn't do this to me." He twisted abruptly onto his back and turned his head away, shielding his face from Harry's gaze.

Harry swung his legs over the side of the bed and sat up, wanting to circle around Malfoy's bed and confront him face-to-face again. But his movement was halted by the appearance of a familiar face poking around the screen.

Hulking and vacant, with a pudding-bowl haircut that looked even more ridiculous now than it had when he was eleven, Vincent Crabbe regarded them both in slow surprise. When the fact that the boy sitting on the edge of the far bed was Harry Potter had penetrated his skull, he straightened up and sidled around the screen to stand next to Draco.

"Hallo, Malfoy."

"Hallo, Crabbe. Paying a morning call?"

Crabbe's arrival had broken the tension building between Harry and Draco and helped his fellow Slytherin to bring himself back under control. Harry could feel the shutters slamming down, the walls going up and the threatened hysteria being ruthlessly quashed, as Malfoy struggled to face Crabbe with something like his usual flippant manner. Crabbe didn't notice the difference, but then, Crabbe didn't notice much beyond the size of his meal.

"It's too late for that," he informed Malfoy earnestly. "It's almost supper time."

Malfoy heaved a longsuffering sigh, then broke out coughing. While Crabbe scowled at him in concern, Harry sent him a surreptitious calming thought. The spasm passed quickly, but Harry could not see if Malfoy was bleeding again.

"You look a right mess," Crabbe observed.

"Thanks loads. Is there a reason you're here, Crabbe? Or did you just want to cry over my wounds?"

"I, uhh, wanted to talk to you about something, but..." His eyes flicked to Harry's face then away again. "I guess it can wait."

"Ignore Potter. He's just there for decoration."

"I'll come back later."

With a sullen nod in Harry's direction and a muttered farewell to Malfoy, Crabbe shuffled off again. Harry watched him go in bemusement, then looked down to find Malfoy glaring at him.

"Isn't it bad enough that I'm stuck here with you, Potter? Do you have to scare off my friends?"

Harry shrugged. "You scare off mine, so I guess we're even."

With a disgruntled sigh and another short burst of coughing, Malfoy curled up with his back to Harry and pretended to sleep. Harry watched him for a moment, toying with the notion of venturing through the link to help him sleep for real but decided against it. Picking up his book, he lay back down in bed and tried to concentrate on the exploits of famous Seekers.

Crabbe stumped into the Slytherin common room and was pounced on by Pansy almost before the door had closed. She dragged him over to the corner where Goyle, Millicent, Blaise and a handful of others were waiting.

"So?" she demanded, shrilly. "Did you see him?"


Pansy waited for him to say more, her eyes wide and anxious, then gave a shout and slapped him in the head. "What happened?!"

"Nothing. Potter was there."

Blaise frowned at him. Crabbe didn't like Blaise Zabini. She made him nervous. She was almost as smart as Malfoy and twice as mean when she didn't get her way. And she was a girl, which made her dangerous in ways Malfoy would never be. "Why was Potter there?"

"I don't know."

"Oh, bollocks! Why did we send this moron in the first place?"

"I wanted to go. I told you I wanted to..."

"Shut up, Crabbe. Just shut up."

Now Pansy was pulling on his arm and screeching in his ear again. "What did Draco say? Did he look all right? Is he coming with us?"

"I didn't ask him. I told you, Potter was there."

"Come on, Crabbe! Tell us something!"

"I went to the hospital room and I found Malfoy. He's there with Potter."

"Potter's in the hospital, too?" Millicent demanded, before Blaise could stop her from interrupting his train of thought.

"Yeah. He was in his pajamas and sitting in bed, so I guess he's sleeping there. Him and Malfoy are behind this screen. Like, in a private room. I went in to talk to Malfoy, but Potter was there, so I didn't say anything. Except... I'd come back to visit later."

"Brilliant," Blaise snapped. "We'd have done better to send Dormand's rat."

"How did Draco look?" Pansy said.

"Ruddy awful." Pansy put her hands over her mouth and made her eyes go all round in that mushy way he hated. "Doesn't look like he could get out of bed without falling down dead, much less out of the school."

"Oh, Draco!"

"Shut up, Pansy," Blaise snapped. Crabbe thought she looked even more hacked off than usual, but he could have been mistaken. Blaise was always hacked off. "We'll just have to find some kind of leverage to use on Dumbledore. Something that will force him to let Draco go with the rest of us. There's got to be something..."

As the others fell to nattering about plans and leverage, Crabbe drifted over to the fire and slumped into a big, green, scratchy chair. He thought for a long time about what he had seen in the infirmary. He didn't understand it, but he knew it was important - Malfoy and Potter together. Potter refusing to leave when he came in. Malfoy looking like he'd been dug up out of a fresh grave. Somehow it all fit, and somehow it was important, but he was buggered if he could figure out how.

The others had left, probably gone to find dinner. Crabbe was hungry, but he was thinking too hard to be bothered with food just now. As the common room emptied, he reached into his robes and pulled out a roll of parchment.

His blunt fingers spread it out flat on his knee, and he stared down at the crooked, clumsy lines of his own writing. He didn't need to read it. He knew it by heart, even though he never learned anything by heart. It was a letter to his mum and dad, asking them to bring him home from Hogwarts. It was supposed to be tied to the leg of a Barn owl, headed for Hogsmeade where he knew his dad was right now. But Crabbe had volunteered to carry the letters to Hagrid for a reason, just as he had volunteered to hunt up Malfoy for a reason. He had carried those letters so he could slip his own out of the bundle without Blaise or Millicent noticing. And he had gone to Malfoy to ask him what he planned to do, because Vincent Crabbe had his suspicions about Malfoy.

They could call him stupid - all those clever, clever Slytherins. They could laugh at him and treat him like a gorilla in a little kid's haircut. But he noticed things. Little, niggling things. Like the fact that Malfoy never called Granger a Mudblood anymore. Or the way Malfoy hated Harry Potter so much that he talked about him more than anyone else and looked at him more than anyone else and spent all his time thinking of ways to get even with him. No one ever got even with Potter, but Malfoy never stopped trying, and he never stopped talking about him and watching him and thinking about him.

No, Crabbe wasn't as stupid as they all thought. He knew that Malfoy wanted one thing more than he wanted to be a Death Eater. He wanted to get Harry Potter. And Crabbe wanted something else, too. He wouldn't tell anyone, wouldn't even think it out loud, in case one of those clever Slytherins had learned how to read minds, but just maybe he could have it, if he didn't have to do it alone. Just maybe.

With a sudden flick of his wrist, Crabbe flung the scroll into the fire.

To be continued...