- Astronomy Tower
- Draco Malfoy Harry Potter
- Slash Action
- Multiple Eras
- Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Order of the Phoenix Quidditch Through the Ages Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Published: 07/20/2003Updated: 10/22/2003Words: 69,942Chapters: 24Hits: 117,475
- Story Summary:
- Year Six at Hogwarts, and Draco finds a way to spy on Harry's deepest fears. But will he use this knowledge to gain power over Harry, or to change his own destiny? Featuring Harry/Draco in a big, fluffy, slashy way. Also a hint of Ron/Hermione, a chorus of Death Eaters and one illicit potion.
- Chapter Summary:
- Dumbledore and the Aurors are having difficulty devising a plan to save Draco. Of course, there is a way to contact him, wherever he is. But will Harry think of it?
- Author's Note:
- A huge thankyou to Sean for the beta, and to everyone who has reviewed.
Draco and Bellatrix stood on opposite sides of the room, glaring at each other. Bellatrix strode slowly towards him, tapping her wand menacingly. Draco met her gaze, hoping he looked braver than he felt.
'So, you still won't talk?' she asked coldly.
Draco didn't answer. He kept his expression carefully blank as his aunt moved nearer. Seeing her face more closely, he noticed that behind the furious scowl there was another expression in her eyes altogether. He didn't know whether it was a good thing or not, but Bellatrix was terrified.
'If you tell me why you interfered, I might be able to think of a way to fix this mess,' she said, the panic in her eyes contradicting her calm tone. 'You might even leave this room alive.'
Draco steeled himself - it would not do for her to detect his fear. He resisted the temptation to gabble some made-up story. Instead, he smiled faintly and raised an eyebrow at her.
Bellatrix lost her temper in an explosion of fear and rage. She seized him by the shoulders and shrieked, 'You have no idea what's going to happen to us! You're as good as dead, whatever happens...I'll be executed for failing to deliver Potter...unless...' She thought for a moment. 'Unless I deliver the reason why I failed...then I might just get the Cruciatus...'
She was suddenly interrupted by the metallic sound of two large, iron door handles being turned. She whirled round to face the doors, eyes wide and anxious. She stood rather close to Draco's side as the two massive doors swung inwards with an ominous creak.
The sun, with perfect dramatic timing, dropped below the horizon. The bright, lavish room became gloomy and forbidding as Lord Voldemort entered, blood-red eyes glowing beneath his hood.
Professor Dumbledore paced slowly around his office, a grave expression on his weathered face. Harry fidgeted in his seat, waiting impatiently for the Headmaster to say something. He looked hopefully at Lupin, but he was deep in conversation with Madam Hooch. Tonks stood alone near the window, still looking shell-shocked. Professor McGonagall was whispering earnestly to Professor Snape, and didn't see Harry's worried expression.
While Harry waited, the door banged open and Kingsley Shacklebolt entered the room. 'Rosmerta's been found!' He announced. 'In the basement of the pub, with a Full Body-bind on her that took three of us to undo. She couldn't remember much - she said she went down there to fetch a bottle of Gillywater and zap! She didn't see who did it.'
Dumbledore assimilated this news in silence, as the other Professors and Members of the Order glanced at each other anxiously. Harry sighed inwardly. While the news confirmed his story - that the Rosmerta he had met outside the pub wasn't Rosmerta at all - he wasn't exactly pleased about it. In fact, he would have rather liked to be proved wrong.
After what felt like an endless wait, Dumbledore sat down at his desk. He breathed deeply and gave Harry a concerned look.
'Harry, once again I must admit myself mistaken. I believed that all necessary precautions had been taken to ensure your safety, but I placed too much faith in information that turned out to be misleading.'
Harry tried to say that it didn't matter, he didn't care, he just wanted to find Draco...but Dumbledore continued.
'Sending Draco Malfoy to warn you of the attack was perhaps an error of judgement. It was my intention that the gesture would go some way towards dispelling the enmity between you, and demonstrate that Draco is now our ally. I did not foresee that I was placing him at risk.'
Harry was too angry with himself to blame Dumbledore.
'Professor, Draco warned me not to go to Hogsmeade today but I didn't listen. It's my fault - I was angry with him. When I calmed down I think I did start to believe him. I don't know why I went near the pub, I knew it was dangerous...I...' He faltered, trying to remember what had been going through his mind while he wandered the streets of Hogsmeade, but his memory of the events leading up to the attack was strangely foggy.
Snape stepped forward and muttered something to Dumbledore. The Headmaster nodded slightly before turning to Harry again.
'I think that can be explained, Harry. You see, the plot to abduct you was more complicated than any of us had imagined. It seems that Voldemort went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that you visited the Three Broomsticks.'
Harry was baffled. He had only paused to glance in at the window on his way past, and that had been of his own free will...hadn't it? 'What do you mean, Professor?' he asked apprehensively.
At this point Snape fixed him with an accusing stare. 'Didn't anyone ever tell you not to accept sweets from strangers, Potter?' he demanded angrily.
Harry stared at him in utter befuddlement. As he watched, the Potions master banged a glass jar onto Dumbledore's desk. Inside was a greenish, gloopy-looking mess which didn't really help Harry to understand anything. He glanced at Dumbledore helplessly.
'Harry, it seems you have been the unwitting recipient of some kind of inquisitiveness potion,' explained the Headmaster. 'Professor Snape has analysed the remains of your ice cream, and the results are quite conclusive.'
Snape nodded, then added to the explanation in a voice like battery acid. 'I found traces of powdered sea urchin and fermented Snapweed in...this,' he indicated the jar of gunk with a distasteful gesture. 'The combination is unique to potions used for inducing a morbid sense of curiosity. There is no doubt that a sufficient dose would have driven you to visit the Three Broomsticks, despite the fact that you were placing yourself...and others...in danger.'
Harry tensed. He was torn between a fresh surge of guilt at the thought of Draco, and anger at Snape's implication that he had known he was placing Draco at risk.
I didn't know...I never would have gone if I'd known, potion or no potion...
He opened his mouth to reply but Dumbledore cut him off. 'If it is true that Bellatrix Lestrange is a Metamorphmagus, then she was probably following you from the moment you left the school gates. She could have disguised herself as anyone, in order to make sure the plot succeeded. Do you remember talking to anybody on your way into the village?'
Harry drooped in his chair and nodded, silently. Suddenly he felt very stupid. 'There was a girl,' he admitted quietly. 'I didn't know her, but I couldn't get rid of her. She gave me the ice cream - I took it to shut her up, then she disappeared...' He cleared his throat nervously. 'She was very talkative,' he added, feeling that the Professors were waiting for more details.
'Ah!' said Dumbledore, with an expression of dawning comprehension. Snape's eyes rolled skywards as if he should have known it all along. Harry was mystified.
'Did it never dawn on you...' growled Snape, '...that she was using a subliminal charm?'
Harry looked at him blankly.
'Brainwashing you, Potter! Hypnotising you! Making you believe that you wanted an ice cream!' he barked.
'No, umm, I mean...I was hot...' stammered Harry.
Snape looked like he was going to launch into a stream of furious admonition, but Dumbledore calmly raised his hand, effectively silencing him.
'Thank you, Severus,' he murmured. The Potions master stepped away, aware that he was being dismissed. Harry judged by the grimace of fury on his face that he was not happy about it.
'Once again, Harry, I must ask you not to blame yourself. Subliminal charms are very difficult to spot, if you don't know what to look for. You are not the first wizard to be taken in by one. They are used very effectively in advertising, for example. I confess I have been a victim myself - I was once persuaded to purchase...I believe it is called...a Play Station. Of course it doesn't work with all the magical interference in the castle - I would never have contemplated it, had I been in my right mind.'
Harry wasn't sure he believed this story. It was the type of thing Dumbledore would say to make him feel better, but he smiled in spite of himself.
Dumbledore stood up and glanced at the window. It was getting late - the sun had already set, turning the lake to a glowing pool of liquid gold.
'The details of the abduction plot are not important at this point,' declared Dumbledore decisively. 'The fact that it failed is a point in our favour. Our efforts should now be concentrated on the recovery of Draco Malfoy.'
Harry leapt to his feet. Finally! Here was a plan he wanted to take part in. 'What can I do, Professor?' he asked eagerly.
Dumbledore shook his head slightly, giving him a sympathetic look. 'I realise, Harry, that you are anxious to assist in locating young Mr Malfoy. But I'm afraid I must request that you stay in the castle. There are better ways to help him than by putting yourself at risk, when that is the very situation he has sacrificed himself to avoid.'
Harry was ready to scream with frustration.
'Professor, I...' he began to plead, but Dumbledore had already started to speak.
'Professor Flitwick is currently undertaking a search for a large-scale Location Charm. It is not certain that such a thing exists, but if not he has offered to work on inventing one himself.'
'But that could take ages!' protested Harry, horrified that this was the best plan the great Albus Dumbledore could come up with.
'That is true,' conceded Dumbledore. 'Therefore I have already asked Alastor Moody to lead a party of Aurors in a search of all Voldemort's old hideouts. It is possible that he may be using one of them again.'
Harry didn't think it likely, somehow. Voldemort wasn't stupid, and setting up camp in one of his old haunts would just be asking to be found. However, instead of pointing this out, he voiced a concern which he felt was far more important.
'By now they'll know. The Death Eaters, I mean, and maybe Voldemort, too. They must know that he was trying to save me, and that he's on our side now. That means he could be dead already.' Saying it out loud made the possibility seem very real, and Harry heard his own voice waver as he spoke.
Dumbledore's pause before he spoke suggested that he thought it was a possibility too. 'Don't forget, Harry, that Draco Malfoy is a Slytherin. He is clever and cunning, and very capable of deception. It would not surprise me if he were able to conceal his true motives from his captors.'
It had not escaped Harry that one of Draco's captors was likely to be his own father. He wasn't at all sure that he'd be able to conceal much from him, but he was too tired and too distraught to argue.
While Harry stared disconsolately at an ornate inkwell on Dumbledore's desk, Snape stepped forward and contributed to the discussion.
'If I may share an observation, Headmaster,' he intoned. A thoughtful expression developed on his face, as if he was trying to remember something. 'The Dark Lord would be unlikely to dispose of the son of his loyal follower without a fuss. There would be a ceremony of some sort, and all the Death Eaters would be summoned to witness his demise. It would serve as a warning, to demonstrate how Lord Voldemort deals with traitors.' Snape gave a humourless half-smile which turned to a grimace of distaste as he added 'That would be his...style.'
Harry didn't see this news as much of a consolation. For a moment he was certain that the Potions Master was sadistically trying to add to his suffering by piling on the fear and guilt. Then he noticed Dumbledore giving Snape a questioning glance, and the almost imperceptible shake of his greasy head in reply.
Of course! Harry suddenly remembered how Voldemort summoned his followers to his side. Snape's Dark Mark is inactive! That means they are all inactive. Harry heaved a sigh of relief. Wherever Draco was, and whatever Voldemort had planned for him, there would be no ritual killing just yet.
Dumbledore's words seemed to confirm his thoughts. 'We still have time, Harry. We will find him.' He gave Harry one of his twinkling blue stares over his glasses. 'In the meantime, the best thing you can do is get some sleep.'
Draco was not surprised to find Voldemort every bit as terrifying as he had been in Harry's nightmares. But it isn't a dream, he told himself. I can't defeat him with a few made up curses this time.
The hideous figure advanced a few paces, cast a mildly surprised look at Draco, and stopped in his tracks. For the first time Draco noticed that he was flanked by two other figures, standing in the shadows. One of them lit the chandeliers with an incendio spell, and the bright, flickering light revealed him to be...
Lucius stared at his son in surprise. Then he closed his eyes and sighed, without speaking. The other figure - a short, bald man with small, watery eyes - was less restrained. His jaw dropped at the sight of Draco. Then he threw a nervous glance at his expressionless master, gulped and took a furtive step backwards.
Draco's involuntary exclamation had seemed to rouse Bellatrix. She straightened up, and walked slowly towards the silent, expressionless Voldemort. 'Master...' she murmered, before dropping to her knees. Voldemort continued to stare at Draco as he spoke.
'This is not Harry Potter,' he hissed quietly.
Bellatrix was visibly trembling. She didn't respond. Voldemort ignored her and turned to Lucius, giving him a quizzical look. Draco had never seen his father look flustered before, although he was hiding it well.
'My Lord!' he gasped. 'I am as surprised as you are...I have no idea how...'
Draco gripped his wand in his pocket and tried to remain expressionless while his father floundered. He used the time to wonder what he was going to say when pressed for an explanation.
Ok, Bella tried to chicken out, and I took over instinctively...I tried to get the bottle and force it on Potter, but then the spell activated...He glanced at the kneeling figure of Bellatrix Lestrange. She'll deny it, of course, but it'll just be my word against hers. He looked back at Voldemort, who appeared to be growing tired of the older Malfoy's excuses. On second thoughts...he won't have the patience for that. He'll just kill us both.
As Voldemort raised a hand to silence Lucius, Draco realised that there was nothing he could say to get himself out of this fix. So he just clutched his wand tighter and waited.
It was quite late when Harry made his way back to Gryffindor Tower, still frantic with worry. Draco may be alive but that doesn't mean he's safe, he thought. Snape's point about the Dark Mark had calmed him a little but he was far from reassured.
As he padded along the deserted corridors his mind returned to Dumbledore's parting words to him. Had it been his imagination, or had the Headmaster placed slight emphasis on the phrase get some sleep? Harry shook his head, wondering if the stress of the day was making him paranoid.
What does it matter whether I sleep or not...?
An answer leapt into his head from nowhere, but before he could seize it and make sense of it, it was gone again. He tried to retrace the steps he had taken in his mind. Sleeping...sleeping...why did Dumbledore give me that knowing look when he mentioned sleeping? Harry was gripped by a moment of panic. That niggling thought sprang into his mind again but he couldn't keep it there. He was too horrified by the very idea of Dumbledore knowing about the dreams he had shared with Draco.
He banished the thought as he turned into the corridor leading to the portrait hole. It was academic anyway - he was far too worried to sleep. He just hoped that wherever Draco was, he was sleeping safely.
He continued to plod along the moonlit corridor.
Sleeping safely...He paused in his tracks.
The elusive thought reappeared, this time jumping up and down and waving a flag.
His tired, stressed brain finally made the connection. He began to walk more quickly, then he ran hell for leather to the Gryffindor boys' dorm to collect his Invisibility Cloak.
He was in and out of Gryffindor Tower so quickly that the Fat Lady didn't have time to fully close the Portrait Hole in between. She opened her mouth to reprimand him but he was gone before she could speak.
He pelted along corridors and down staircases, his Invisibility Cloak billowing behind him. He descended the stairs to the dungeons by means of the banister, flying off the end with slightly less grace than a drunken Hippogriff. Fortunately he landed on something soft, which turned out to be Mrs Norris. She yowled and sped off towards Filch's office as Harry got to his feet, but he didn't have time to worry about the caretaker. He ran so fast along the Potions corridor that the Bloody Baron got caught in his slipstream, and wafted through the wall into Snape's office.
'CATWEAZLE!' he bellowed, as he rounded the corner into the Slytherin corridor. Up ahead the Portrait of the Victorians moved aside, and Harry sprinted through the opening without a pause. A few students were up late, studying in the common room. They looked up as the entrance apparently opened all by itself, but if they noticed the rush of air as he dashed past, they did nothing about it. There were enough ghosts around the castle to make it a commonplace occurrence. Harry didn't stop until he reached the door to the sixth year boys' dorm. He paused to steady his breath, clutching at a stitch in his side, then crept in.
The curtains were closed around all the beds except Draco's. Harry could hear deep snores coming from one, but he couldn't be sure if the other boys were asleep. He tiptoed across the room until he stood on Draco's bedside rug. He gazed sadly at the empty bed, remembering the last time he had stood on this spot.
He shook himself before he could drift into a daydream about the beautiful, sleeping Slytherin. There were more pressing matters at hand. The flask of potion was not on the table where it had been last time. Harry dropped to the floor and searched under the bed, but aside from an extraordinary number of shoes, there was nothing there. He tackled the trunk at the end of the bed next. When Draco had last left the room, he had obviously done so in a hurry - the trunk was unlocked and the contents in disarray. Harry rummaged among the books and clothes, trying not to get distracted by the mental image inspired by a pair of black silk boxer shorts.
He was starting to worry that perhaps the potion wasn't in the dorm at all when his eyes fell on the small cabinet next to the bed. He tried the door, but it was locked. His heart skipped - if Draco kept it locked there must be something either very valuable, or very secret inside.
Alohomora didn't work, and Harry didn't know any advanced unlocking spells. But he knew something Draco didn't: He knew how Muggles get into locked cupboards. He quickly cast a silencing charm and took one of the brass tripod legs from Draco's telescope. He inserted the flat end into the crack between the doors of the cabinet, hammered it in using one of Draco's designer boots, then pulled hard on the makeshift crowbar. The lock remained intact, but the wood splintered and cracked, eventually parting from the lock altogether.
The first thing Harry found inside was a framed photograph of a five or six year old Draco with his parents. He was sitting on his father's knee, holding a squirming puppy that kept trying to lick his face. His mother was kneeling by his side, holding her husband's hand. All three were laughing. Harry watched the blissful domestic scene for a few moments. For some reason the image made him sad.
He didn't have time to dwell on it. He spotted the flask half-hidden behind a fluffy, stuffed toy snake, and seized it. There wasn't much of the purple potion left - he hoped there would be enough for one more dream. He tucked the flask under his cloak and retreated, making his way straight back to Gryffindor Tower.