Valebis

In his wrath there are a hundred kindnesess, in his meanness a hundred generosities;

(Harry)


It is perhaps the most painful thing to witness, your family breaking apart. But that is what is happening to us.

It has never been more apparent to me as it is in these moments as I stand here and witness first hand my first-born’s rage and prejudice first hand.

I witness it, but I stopped listening to it a while back.

All I can see is the rage and imagined betrayal breaking on his face.

It morphs his handsome face into a cruel mask.

And I realize that it is too late. I have failed somewhere with him on such a fundamental level that the damage is irreparable now.

The devastation of this realization suddenly puts everything into a different perspective.

Axioms are broken.

No, there were never any axioms. None that applied to us anyway.

And this is the end.

This is the end of my patience and my guilt.

I feel the power of decision surge through me.

All my life I struggled and fought with myself always thinking that I needed to place myself last, crush my instinct to demand love. That I was the one who had to be worthy of love. That it was not my birth-right to be loved, that I had to earn it.

I have spent all my life pretending that my will does not exist, and that the life of my loved ones hung in balance against every deed of mine. I realize, that it does, hang in balance. But that balance and that suspension is dependent on my will. My decision. Not my actions.

I have a will and a path and power enough to set down the rule, if only I would take it.

In all my life and in all the things I have been through, I have never felt such complete confidence in myself as I do in this moment. It is as if something that had been weighing me down has finally let go. And as horrifying as it may seem. It is this so-called family.

Ron was absolutely right.

It all ends now. This is it. This has to happen now. Ginny is already lost, there is no way of saving that relationship and I realize that I have no will to save it, I haven’t for a long time. But my son is still salvageable.

“You have to let go of this anger my darling boy, there is no place for it here and now…” I hear Molly Weasley speaking slowly trying to reason with James, as she always does. I can see that it is not working. His flared nostrils and venomous lips are quivering. I know he is about to say something extremely hurtful. I can see that it is his own internalized guilt that pushes him to be this cruel person. It is a mask that needs to come off in solitude, and when it does, I know my son will return to me. Tonight I have to save two of my children.

“Molly?”

One word from me pauses her mid-sentence as she turns to look at where I stand in the corner.

Her expression changes slightly as she catches my stance in the shadow and turns to look at her husband who purses his lip and nods at me slightly.

I realize that they themselves have been waiting for me to do what I am about to do.

“I will say this once, and only once…” I say stepping forward. I need centre stage to say what I need to say. There is no turning back after this. Even if it kills me.

“Lily is my daughter, and while she is in my house she will be treated by whom I choose for her to be treated by. If anyone in this house disagrees with my decision, they are welcome to leave. But remember this when they leave, they will never be let back in. I have tried my best to hold it all together for everyone’s pleasure as long as I can remember. I have done my due, I have actually done a lot more than my due! No more. If anyone, and I mean anyone…” I shoot a pointed look at stunned Ginny,

“Tries or even thinks about interfering with Lily’s treatment upstairs, or give Malfoy even a sideways look, be assured that you will never find your way back into this home and you can have my word as a wizard on that.”

The pin-drop silence that follows my statement is reassuring. I turn to my son.

“And you ungrateful little piece of shit. You have not done nearly enough for this family to have any rights to feeling or showing anger! If I hear one more word from your mouth that holds even a trace of your vile, prejudiced, sick mind, I will disown you publicly and make sure that you never step a foot on a Quidditch field for the rest of your days. And you can have my word as a wizard on that too!”

His eyes grown comically large in his face. And it gives me a deep satisfaction. Perhaps this was what was needed all along.

Strike while the iron is hot wise people always say. If this is what it takes to save the life of my daughter, this is what I will do. There is no limit that I would not cross for the sake of my child. So I continue. Drive the point home.

“I have given you everything that a father can possibly give his son and I do not know what I did so wrong that you have turned out this way that I am ashamed to call you my son.”

And the crescendo. With a strange strength coming from someplace unknown deep inside me, I find myself saying the words I never thought I would utter in my life. But I know now that I will have to be indisputably the strong head of the house. Who can give the harshest punishment if pushed far enough.

“Now I want you out of my house, until the time comes that your sister wakes and asks for you. And if she doesn’t ever wake, I am sure that it will be all over the newspapers around the world just as your mother likes it since she is so ready for her daughter to die, and you can find your way to her funeral rites, if your precious Quidditch allows you the time… Now leave.”

He is looking at me as if I have grown a second head.

I know what I am saying is extremely cruel and not true by any means. But they both need this verbal shock therapy, I need this verbal shock therapy to set their heads straight. To go from the offensive to the defence. To enable them a chance to step back and analyse their actions.

“You can’t possibly…” I hear Ginny start to protest and I turn towards her so fast that she actually startles and takes a step back. I don’t know what she sees in my face but she rapidly swallows whatever is stuck in her throat.

“Not a bloody word from you. This is between me and my son. If you don’t agree with my decision, you are welcome to leave as well. You know where the door is.”

I turn back towards my son again and gesture with my head for him to get going.

And though his graceless scrambling from his chair, and upset and almost scared expression wrench at my heart. It is necessary that this should be done. James should at least get an idea of what life is without privileges. And how easy it is to let go of prejudices when your life and those you love are on the line.

Once the departing green flames of the floo are settled again. I turn back towards my audience.

“Wobby!” I call for the house-elf, who pops into existence before the whole word is out of my mouth.

“Master Harry!”

“Wobby, I have a chore for you. Please go to my bedroom and remove all of Ginny’s belonging to Augusta’s bedroom on the second floor would you?”

“Yes, Master.” The elf squeaks and pops out again.

I turn towards my in-laws and my wife, but only address my wife.

“Don’t look so surprised Ginny. You see, all the facades are falling now. We don’t have to pretend in front of your parents that we are happily married. I think they do know that you kicked me out of my own house about a year ago. You always wanted my reaction. This is my reaction to all of it. I think both of us deserve a good life for suffering each other for so long.”

I want her to simmer over it all, so I make to move from the kitchen towards my study. When I remember the one thing that I have not said to her, but might be the perfect conclusion to the whole scene.

“ Oh…” I turn again towards her.

“You always accused me of being harsh with James, and picking favourites between my own children. That! What just happened now was harsh Ginny. And you will stand here and witness the change in him the next time he steps into this house. If you had not picked favourites between your children all your life, I would not have to be so harsh now. But since you always have been a failure at everything, here we stand.”

“I am a failure?” she almost shouts at me in bewilderment.

“Hurts, doesn’t it? When your life-partner tells you that you are a failure it hurts just like that. That is how I have been feeling. I thought that the worst I could feel about myself was over when I lost touch with the Dursleys, but it was never over Ginny. Not when you kept saying it to me day in and day out. I never knew what it meant to have a family… I never had one….that is my excuse for my so called failures! What is your excuse? You had the greatest, most gracious parents in the world! And this is what you have turned out to be? Think about it, Ginny. Think long and hard about it. Because if my daughter dies, and my son does not return to me, I would know where to place the blame. I would know who to punish.”


I don’t realize my tears straight away. But once I lock myself in my study, I feel the wetness on my cheeks. I wipe them away. Now is not the time.

I feel as if my heart would burst from grief. I should not be able to live and breathe with this pain.

My actions though necessary, do nothing to ease the pain performing them has brought me.

I don’t know how long I sit there at the edge of my desk looking at myself in the mirror that Albus had put up in my office to make it look more spacious.

It is strange that faces don’t come with labels.

What would mine say?

‘Broken’, ‘damaged’, ‘cruel’, ‘Failure’

There is a knock on my door.

I don’t want to see anyone. So I don’t answer, I don’t move.

But my tenacious visitor is not so easily dissuaded. Especially if that tenacious visitor has a sixth sense attached to my mood.

The door knob jiggles a bit and then I hear a small rasp of “Alohamora”

The lock gives way and the door opens cautiously.

The light filtering in from the corridor fixture illuminates me, yet hides the real source of light in my life in a deep shadow. I wonder what he sees. Does he know how unfair and cruel I have just been to James? Would he understand?

He enters and closes the door behind him quietly. And stands by it, quiet and seemingly calm. I have not enough strength to actually look up at his face. I am too afraid to see disappointment in it.

“Dad?” the voice that reaches my ears is so full of the little boy I have always known and I can’t help but spread my arms for him, just like I always did for my sons. Only now I am afraid I will never feel the two of them together in my arms again. It breaks my heart further to think that James may never return to me. No matter how confident I was in there with Ginny, my heart is full of ‘what ifs’.

He is in my arms in under a split second. Strong, tall and sturdy. When did he grow up so much? When did he grow enough to switch positions in this hug? When did he become a source of comfort for me in place of me being his? How life changes, time changes. And as strong as loss is, the gain is far bigger. If Albus is here now. James will be here too and soon. I can feel the despair washing away as I hold on to my last anchor. My last tether.

I don’t know how long we stay that way. All I know that I have rarely felt such comfort in my life without feeling impropriety. This is my son who is holding me. I am a part of his genetic make up. He belongs to me. He is mine. I am not borrowing anything from anyone. This is all mine. I can deserve this love without trespassing on anyone else’s territory. He might have a whole different life altogether. But he will only have one father. No sharing in that.

“I am sorry Dad…”

He sighs into my hair. So much regret in such a young voice.

It forces me to let go and look into his face.

“I am so sorry James is so out of control. If only I had gotten along with him better this might not have needed to happen. If only I talked to mom more…”

“Albus… stop!”

He bites his lip and looks away, green jewel-like eyes filling with tears.

“Look at me…” I turn his chin towards me.

“You are giving yourself far too much importance…” I say teasingly trying to smile at him reassuringly, pinching him on the chin as I always used to do. He smiles back half-heartedly but the tears finally escape as he takes a deep breath which turns into a sob that he tries to inhale.

I can’t bear it, so I stand up and take him in my arms again.

“This is not your fault. This was never your fault. You are my pride and joy and you have worked so hard and more than your due to keep us all together.”

“It’s all breaking apart isn’t it, Dad? You are going to… You are going to divorce mom aren’t you?”

Am I? Am I going to divorce Ginny. I hadn’t thought of it that far.

“I don’t know why I’m even crying, I have known it would happen for over a year… And I only knew because Lily pointed it out.”

I can’t believe that our deteriorating relationship has been so blatantly apparent. True our relationship was never as easy or as happy as say Ron and Hermione’s but I always thought we were able to hold together a front. For the children at least.

“It is too early to say. Or maybe too late…” it is a strange reality to face.

“I just don’t have the answers right now… I wish I did, but I don’t.”

“You know what I wish dad?”

I look at his sincere visage and it reminds me of Dumbledore for some reason.

“I wish for you to be happy. Just completely, truly, happy... that is what you said to me in the fifth year when I told you about Leo. Do you remember?”

How can I forget? It was one of the most important conversations of my life. When he finally told me about who he thought was his one true love. And who has actually turned out to be just that. Leo is perhaps the reason Albus is so grounded in this whole scenario. Leopold Aloysius Prince. I got to know him because of his extremely violent and infamous rivalry with James.

But I have also never seen a boy so desperately in love as Leo is with Albus. You just have to have eyes to look. And the one time I did look closely in Leo’s eyes, in one of those unsuspecting moments, I only saw Albus, expanded to the size of a whole universe.

It was unsettling, unnerving and extraordinary all at the same time.

People on surface will never understand how Leo and Albus can be together at all. But I do understand it. And tonight, the night of miracles and misery, it reveals to me even further.

When I met Leo for the first time in one of my guest lectures at Hogwarts, he reminded me so strongly of Draco Malfoy that I was a bit jarred for a few moments. Despite the clear contrast in looks; the body language, the attitude, the sneers he had for James were uncannily Draco Malfoy, and for some reason, they were not a source of irritation at all. They endeared me to Leo for some reason. Perhaps it was encouraged by a floating piece of nostalgia, or perhaps I finally understood Draco’s misfortune in the whole war. But now that I think about it, how hard it must have been for Draco to make a turnabout in his life as he has. I now see the potential of radical and extraordinary change Draco always had, which is something I see in Leo too, which serves him in his relationship with Albus.

Perhaps it was the same thing with Snape too. That radical contrasting devotion simmering just underneath the surface. Snape’s devotion towards my mother, Leo’s for Albus and Draco’s?

I don’t know what burns at Draco’s core.

But I am starting to think that it was just the idea of right and wrong. The uprising against cruelty.

I don’t know if I will ever find out what burns at Draco’s core. Only that I envy him and his purposeful life.

And I envy those who inspire such radically devoted love.

And perhaps once I am free of this farce of a relationship, I can look for some bigger and radical purpose in life.

The options are unlimited.

“That is all I want for you dad. Once Lily is well and back at Hogwarts, I want you to take time out, do something crazy like go on a trip with Aunt Luna and family to look for a Bilgesnipe in Norway. Anything that makes you happy, Dad. I can’t bear to see you miserable for our sakes when we are not even there.”

During these hard months, Leo has been the one travelling, going as far as South-America for the sake of Lily’s cure, while Albus managed home-ground. I had heard that he would return for Christmas, but since there is not a tall, toffee-blond Slytherin in my house,

“Okay, I will think about it after I research what a Bilgesnipe is actually. But tell me, where is your Bilgesnipe? I though he was going to show up for Christmas.”

The smile that graces Albus’ lips is brilliant but at the same time a bit sad. I am sure Albus has been very busy, but not busy enough to not miss Leo.

“He is back tonight, I just got a call from him a few hours ago, but he won’t be able to make it here till after lunch, you know how his mom is.”

“So that means he will be here after breakfast, if I know him any.” I tease. Knowing Leo’s propensity to always come before the time he has settled with Albus.

“No, I already did the reduction because I do know him best, Dad. He said he won’t be able to sneak out before Dinner, which means he will be here just after lunch. And he’ll bunk with me, but it’s not like we are going to get to sleep though…”

“Ehm..Ehm.. I did not need to know that Albus.” I tease some more.

“No, I meant that we will probably be in charge of the Lab, because Ustad will be brewing or administrating the Potion for Lily…Psh... you know what, I don’t even have to explain to you. I am well-over age dad.”

“You will never be not answerable to me when you are in my house, haven’t you heard? But, what is this potion you are talking about? Draco did not tell me about any potion.”

His smile is all excitement and hope. And this is all that you need in the end.


The Herlinatilly extract arrives just as Leo does, both during lunch.

A certain look at a being awkwardly side-hugged Albus is all I allow myself.

Ginny is strangely serene and does not say a word. Though she keeps looking at me sideways which is even more uncharacteristic of her.

Molly and Arthur seem their normal cheery-self. Especially to see Leo, because just as they can’t have enough grand-children they can also never have too much of Grand-children in-law-to-be.

“Uh… we better deliver this downstairs straight away.” Albus says holding the precious package in one all wide-eyed while his other is holding Leo’s tight enough to turn their knuckles white.

Before Molly can say anything to the effect of them being to skinny to skip through half of lunch, I intervene.

“Sure, go ahead. I am sure Leo would love to see Rose all flustered and awed as she is with our house-guest.”

Leopold raises a sardonic brow in such a way that he gives me a flash of my old potions professor who he is distantly related to.

As if Draco himself was not enough to do that.

His body language and stoic expression matches Snape so much that it is unnerving. Of course where Snape was always sneering and venomous, Draco is just resigned and tired for some reason.

Though, Snape was never in his life as beautiful as Draco has turned out to be.

Just as graceful, but never as breath-taking as Draco.

And I am not ashamed to admit it. Not to myself at least.

Draco is strangely elusive since morning and Rose and Arthur are probably being helpful minions, while Victoire, Louis and Teddy sit upstairs with Lily, playing Wizard’s Uno someone has acquired from someone as a Christmas present.

It is a rather confusing scenario, this elusiveness especially when I had been told by a not very comfortable Rose that Draco needed to ask me some important questions.

I wonder what those important questions are as I retreat from the lunch table to my study.

“Harry?” there is a knock on my study door, which snaps me out of a half-doze and reverie that I was in.

“Yeah, come in.” I say feeling the inexplicable tiredness in my bones. After all the upheaval last night, I had taken responsibility of sitting with Lily in the early morning hours while Rose and Albus both rested. Corresponding with the apothecary in Rouéville, and I had hardly slept for two hours afterwards after breakfast, with all the coming and going in the house.

I have been awake for longer than 72 hours in one go before, but it is harder in the circumstances.

The door opens to reveal Ron and Hermione.

I am not sure how I feel about what is coming next. There is no way they don’t know what happened last night and that is why they have come to talk to me now.

I only know one thing that nothing would change.

My circumstances and my inevitable break-down has made the decision for me and though for this once I would have liked to have made it willingly rather than forcefully. I know it is the right one, and if that is not characteristic of the lore ‘Harry Potter’, I do not know what is.

“Since there was no proper gift opening this morning, we thought we would bring you your present ourselves. Merry Christmas Harry…” Ron says, holding out a longish wrapped package towards me.

I smile and open it with as much enthusiasm as I can conjure out of thin non-existent air.

It is a sleek, fully concealable wand-holder. And it is frankly magnificent. Hand stitched leather with a personalized anti-disarming enchantment.

I turn the dark leather clasps to enclose, only to see the flaps come together to make my initial in embroidery.

It is a brilliant gift. Well though-out and executed.

“There is another present in that box.” Hermione says smiling her easy smile. A smile that knows me inside and out. More than Ginny ever did.

I move the cloth and butter paper in the box to reveal a small palm sized book.

‘Celtic History of Wandlore’

I open the book to read a first few pages that look old, but are written in a very simple language.

Hermione knows of my interest in Wandlore, and it is a perfect gift.

“It has some really good information on very little known subject regarding wands. Things that should be common knowledge in my opinion, but isn’t.” she explains leaning over my desk.

“I have even marked some pages that may be of interest, especially the part about Veela and their wand magic is truly fascinating.”

“That does sound interesting!” I say looking down at the unsuspicious looking book and it is not a lie at all, I never even knew Veela’s wand magic was something of notice or different than normal magic.

I haven’t even thanked them. What kind of an Englishman am I?

I stand and embrace both my childhood friends and thank them to my English heart’s content.

I then I bring out the gifts that I have been storing for them in my office and hand them over.

Ron looks extremely pleased with the written commentary of all memorable Quidditch matches starting from 18th century that is his gift. It is a book, and it is about Quidditch, so Hermione can hardly complain.

For Hermione I simply bring out a piece of paper from my drawer and hand it over.

“You already gave me my gift with the donation this year Harry!” she says taking hold of the paper that I know will eclipse everything else that is on her mind, for a while.

It is the new Regulation press-release regarding the admittance of two-wizards to be on call in all the rescue stations in a certain zone of Muggle central-London.

It is something she has been working at for more than Five years now. And to see her eyes fill with astonishment at the two stamps that adorn the bottom of the paper is all the present one can ask for.

“Dear God! Harry?”

“Now, now, God is a bit much, Hermione, I am just a normal wizard you know.” I grin at her.

Her hug is fierce, while Ron looks a bit sympathetic behind her back for my probably fractured bones.

“Think of how many lives it could save, Harry! It is a Christmas miracle delivered by the bureaucracy. Who could have imagined?” she says smiling and tearing up and hyperventilating all together in the way only she can.

“You imagined it… who else Hermione? You imagined it, worked at it. It’s true that Ron and I had to lay the ground work, but, it is ultimately all because of you.”

She turns towards her smiling and reddening husband.

“Oh remember me suddenly? The poor bloke who had to go to every Met in London for bloody inspections?”

And then they are hugging and kissing and laughing together. And it aches and climbs up my windpipe like the devil’s snare. And before I can turn away I am being pulled in by Hermione, and it is just like we always were. Embracing each other through extreme happiness, sadness, excitement, devastation. This embrace is the legacy of our friendship something that we have passed on to our children through our genes.

I can’t hold myself together any longer. My heart is still broken. And their warmth is comforting so I cling to them. I remember how Lily had clung to me yesterday, I know why. Even if she does not know what is happening to her or what we are doing for her, she is suffering it. Her little body is so fragile, yet so strong and enduring through so much.

I don’t know how long we stand there, but then someone moves and lets go, and we all move towards the couch in the corner by the small fireplace not breaking touch in some form or shape.

A few minutes pass in silence, a heavy silence, but then I somehow find my courage to address the proverbial elephant in the room.

“So you heard what happened with James and Ginny last night?”

“Yea mate. We heard.” Ron’s hand on my back adds a comforting pressure before it eases again.

“And?” I ask unable to look at them both.

“And we want you to know that we will stand-by you, whatever decisions you make.”

Now, I did expect this support from Ron, but from Hermione, it is a surprise.

“Really?” I turn to look at her. She smiles reassuringly

“Really, Harry. You have been miserable for years, so has Ginny. It was wrong of me to say that you should stay together and be miserable because of your children. Now that I see what James has taken out of the whole mess, I can hardly advocate in favour of your relationship for the sake of the children.”

“I still can’t believe I kicked him out of the house.”

“It is a difficult time mate and he needs to be taken down a peg or ten you know. Ginny’s got him so high up there, I always said this to Hermione and Ginny too a few times, but she herself is too up there in her head. And the whole thing with Lily and her treatment… let us just say that I am glad to see you take all the control in the situation… you were always good at it, reluctant, but good.”

And like that, it is all good. I can’t believe that I am not getting any backlash. It is as if the whole universe was waiting for me to make this decision. You would think that keeping the family together, and staying married would be an option that everyone would flock to, but it’s not. It seems that everyone has been more aware of my misery than I myself have been.

And it is a relief beyond relief.


Without knowing that I am allowed or not, I dare to venture into my former basement that has been Albus’ potion lab for past 3-4 years. Since he lives here much more than at Godric’s hollow and since Leo lives here more than he does at his own home in Aberystwyth, it was only wise to have a potion’s lab in both places.

The warm cup of hot chocolate and the package that was just delivered by a harassed looking owl is my excuse. Though, I am sure he will see through it or maybe not. Package is a good cover.

I had asked Wobby earlier if the master potioneer had had anything to eat at all during the whole day and the sad and guilty face Wobby made was enough for me to take a guess.

I wonder what a third party might think of my concern for Draco Malfoy, my former sworn enemy. I feel it deep inside me that he needs it. He is pushing himself to some kind of limit and though I do not know what it is, I can feel it. There is something so fragile and fluctuating around him. And all that he has done so far for me and my family and is still doing makes me feel obligated, and more than that, it makes me instinctually concerned for him.

This might be the norm for him. How he usually works, but if it is only this much that I can give back at this point. Then I will.

People might say things and people might talk. But I have embraced Draco Malfoy, held him close enough to know how stretched thin he is. I would love to know the reason. But it is his secret to keep and though I might feel concerned and friendly towards him for obvious reasons, he does not have to return it, he does not return it in fact. He rebuffs or at least tries to rebuff it. I can still clearly remember feeling the stiffness and alarm in his form, when I had hugged him yesterday, and though it hurt somewhat at the time. I am starting to understand the strange relationship we might be forming now, and I am going to be extra careful to not take liberties that he might be uncomfortable with.

He may find it unnecessary. But I am going to put my hand forward for friendship. He would always be welcome in my home after this, and perhaps when time and place allows, we will be able to walk through all the problem we once had and resolve some of the issues.

Because, before he sauntered back into my life again, I did not realize how much I actually had missed him over the years. It feels as if I have been thinking about him constantly for the past twenty years without even noticing.

The sliding door opens by itself as I reach the last step to allow me entrance into the lab.

It is lit dimly enough to remind me of the dungeons at Hogwarts, but the ceiling and the clean marble green walls make it look more clinical and functional. I wonder how long it’s been since I have been down there. We all learned early in no candid words that Albus’ lab was off limits to all.

‘It is important to the integrity of a potion composition that the Potion Master shall be given enough privacy to be undisturbed from the careless comings and goings of others.’

No, despite being Slytherin, he was not very subtle about it. But then again those days were the days of frustration for him. He was young, vulnerable and harbouring feelings for his elder brother’s arch-nemesis, an older brother with whom his relationship was already on a decline because of the differences in temperaments.

“Seven times anti-clockwise ,Potter, every twenty minutes, and stop the ladle on the seventh round exactly on the spot you started in the first…” I hear from the far corner of the lab, from where a light yellow colour smoke is rising in delicate puffs. I hear my son murmur something I can’t catch.

“Yes, Potter, common sense would suggest that you start from the marked part of the Cauldron, and make sure the ladle does not scratch on the bottom, it’s brewing in copper and copper is very soft.”

I stand frozen in my spot. It sounds uncannily like a lecture from Snape.

I am still standing on the spot when he comes out from behind the glass addled counter and stops mid-stride when he catches sight of me.

And it is like looking at a marble monument when you yourself exist in Stone Age. The long sleeves of his light-grey-blue oxford are folded neatly up to his elbows showing off slender but sturdy wrists. His waist coat is half covered in a green Slytherin monogrammed Potion making apron, but it is the first two open buttons of his shirt that catch my attention because for a moment it seems as if the sliver of skin peeking through the small V is glittering, as if it is reflecting the shine of the few tendrils of his hair that have escaped their binds. And why wouldn’t they? It is a crime to leave such beautiful and long hair tied.

“Do you want something?” he looks like a menacing angel in that moment. All that is missing is the razor sharp wings on his back. His voice is harsh, brow furrowed, as if I have offended him by just being born.

I probably have.

Silver eyes are glittering with irritation.

Well, there goes my chance at all the chances I was going to take.

I slowly lower the cup of Hot-chocolate in one of my hands on to the free work station on the side.

But he is still looking at me expectantly and also irritated, so sanity suggests that I must retreat and quickly.

“Umm… Wobby told me that you haven’t had anything to eat all day, so I just thought I would bring you a cuppa. I did not mean to disturb. Also this package arrived for you just now, it was late so I thought it might be important,” I place the wrapped package on the workstation too.

“Please tell Rose and Albus that I will be in my study for the night, if they need anything.”

I want to say more, at least ask him about the questions that he wanted to ask me, but, he’s made it clear enough that I need not hound him for it. So I quickly retreat.

And by the time the door slides shut behind me, my heart is pounding in my chest for no apparent reason.

A lot of things I was about to say run through my mind as I climb up the stairs.

‘Wow, you truly are a disciple of Severus Snape.’

‘Go easy on my kid there, he is a Potter and any mistakes he makes are mine.’

‘Wow you have beautiful hair, can I touch it?’

What?

I don’t want to touch his hair.

Besides, it is good that I did not get to say anything. Don’t even think about hair touching.

Conversations with him are such a minefield. One wrong step. One careless joke and who knows how much offence he takes. I remember how he freaked out when I tried to take his pulse accusing me of looking for his Mark.

The war might have been two decades ago. But it was monumental enough to not be forgotten so easy.

How can I expect Draco Malfoy to forget, when I myself haven’t forgotten it?

This attempt that I am thinking of making towards Draco, the offer of friendship and trust, in this moment it feels as if it is a lost cause.

But then again, when have I not made lost causes my own? My own life is a lost cause and I haven’t let go of that yet, have I?


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