By Firelight

Remembering Dumbledore's Last

When Draco awoke the next morning, he had forgotten his dream, as usual. He stood up to look around the library when he found Narcissa, who had also woken up. "Mother," he greeted her softly.

Narcissa reached out her hand, which Draco readily took, and smiled warmly. "My son."

Although Draco could not recall his dream, or the memory to which it led, one memory could be found that was making him uneasy in that library. The duel that never should have taken place, the battle that still raged inside his soul.

"We can't stay here," he blurted.

Narcissa looked startled at the very mention of them returning to the magical world. "Where else could we go?" she asked him resignedly. "Who can we trust now?" While her son searched his mind for an answer, she took on a cautious expression. "Understand, darling," she warned him gently, "that all of your old friends from Hogwarts are likely to be next in line to become Death Eaters. How many of them do you think will be courageous enough to defy the Dark Lord, as you have done?"

"That wasn't courage, Mother," protested Draco. "I was terrified! I was sure I'd be killed that night!"

Despite his confession, Narcissa placed a hand on Draco's blond hair consolingly, but he looked uncomfortable.

Draco looked back up at his mother. "Dumbledore told me he knew what I was supposed to do, only he didn't try and stop me, for... for my own sake." Remorse welled up inside him, but he managed to continue after a pause. "I didn't believe him then, but now..." He sighed and closed his eyes for a moment, but felt driven to pursue the subject. "He also told me he could hide us. I don't know who would believe us now… but Mother, I've got to try!" he beseeched her, his eyes pleading. He wanted so badly to believe Dumbledore's words, he just couldn't ignore them.

Narcissa thought, bearing every intention of not allowing Draco to return to the Wizarding world. "Draco, listen to me," she began, but she could think of nothing to say to him that would stop him. She realized while she searched for words that she, too, wanted such protection for the two of them, too much to let it slip away.

"Just trust me," said Draco.

Narcissa stared at her son, but he stared back. Finally, she closed her eyes briefly and nodded. Draco smiled at her, and knew even more securely that after a year of wondering what was the right choice and where to begin, he was at last doing the right thing.

They left soon afterward, whole-heartedly agreeing to abandon the Muggle lifestyle. If they could find what they sought, and convince at least one person that they meant no further harm, they were sure to be safe.

Eventually, which happened to be more than a month later, they came upon an unlikely destination...

"Harry Potter!" hollered the odd and angry-looking Muggle who answered the door. No words of introduction had been needed. The man only had to glance at the Malfoys' attire to know who they were there to see.

Draco didn't care much for this man, and by the looks of it, neither did Narcissa, but Draco more dreaded Harry's reaction to the two of them standing there.

It came.

Harry looked down from the top of the stairwell and froze. He stood, gaping at Draco with a look of mixed confusion and anger. "Malfoy!" he exclaimed, scowling slightly. "What are you doing here?" Without thinking about it, Draco took a very small step forward, and Harry quickly drew his wand, the sight of which made Vernon Dursley cringe visibly, though it was clearly not aimed at him. Draco immediately put his hands up in a peaceful gesture, his mind spinning with dread that it might not work.

To his relief, Harry lowered his wand slightly, although his expression made it clear that he was still wary of his unexpected visitors. "What are you doing here?" he said again, his tone now more bewildered than anything else.

"This isn't an attack, Potter," Draco told him. "We need your help. Now, if you'd be so kind as to put away your wand, I can explain. You know as well as I do that dueling won't get either of us anywhere."

Harry said nothing at first. He seemed to be thinking it over, but he eventually decided he would give Draco a chance to say what he had to say. He put his wand in his back pocket and glanced at his uncle. "It's probably not a good idea to talk about our world here," he said, secretly amused at the look on Vernon's purplish face.

Draco nodded, still relieved that he would not have to duel, and the three of them headed off towards a quiet park on Magnolia Crescent. Narcissa walked a fair distance away from the Boy-Who-Lived, not quite sure if she wanted to trust him after all. She kept her gaze upon Draco, her ears straining to hear what he would say next. To Harry's relief, neither of them seemed to pay much mind to any evidence of Muggles living in the neat, identical houses as they passed them.

"Okay, what's going on?" he asked Draco, not ready just yet to believe that a civil conversation between a Malfoy and himself was possible.

"I didn't do it," Draco said quietly. "I didn't kill anyone."

"I know."

Draco's expression changed from guilt to shock. "You do? But how could you? No one was there who could have told-"

"I was," Harry said. "I saw what really happened."

Draco stared at him in surprise for a moment, but then looked away. "You don't know the whole story," he told Harry. "You don't know the half of it. You're not the only one in the world with a hard life."

Harry narrowed his eyes angrily at the remark. After all he had been put through in the past six years, and all he was sure to go through in the near future, he thought it was a bit rich of Malfoy to trivialize it all like that. "What's that supposed to mean?" he demanded, glaring at him. "What do you know about trouble, besides what you caused yourself?"

A white-hot flash of light zipped through Draco's mind, carrying with it the agony of the Cruciatus Curse and the chilling voice of the Dark Lord. It was all Draco could manage not to lash out right then and there. "What I caused...?" he hissed through clenched teeth. "What do I know? Of course, Potter! What could I possibly know about pain? And fear? And death?" As Draco fumed, Harry's expression changed from his own anger to a genuinely startled look. Draco pulled back his left sleeve, revealing the Dark Mark branded on his arm. "Do you think I wanted this!" he growled.

Harry looked at the Mark and shook his head, wondering what to make of it all. Narcissa ran to Draco, trying to get him to cover it up, but Draco wouldn't listen. "No- They don't know what it means, Mother!" He gestured towards some Muggle children as they hurried past. Then he looked back at Harry and added scathingly, "Think, Potter. What would you do if he was about to kill Weasley and Granger? Would you sit back and let him? Or would you do everything in your power to keep them alive? As much as I despise you, Potter, I know you and your friends well enough to know you wouldn't just let it happen."

Harry thought hard about what Draco had said. "You're right about one thing," he said calmly. "I wouldn't just let Voldemort kill my friends." Draco had winced sharply at the sound of the Dark Lord's name, but Harry was used to people being rather jumpy about it and didn't react. "But I wouldn't do his bidding, either. There's another option you're forgetting, Malfoy, and that's fighting."

Draco shook his head, wearing an expression one might take as amusement, though he was anything but pleased. "In case you haven't noticed, you're pretty much the only person who's fought against the Dark Lord and lived to tell the tale." He looked at his mother briefly before adding, "That's why we came here."

This presented Harry with a rather large problem. He certainly believed Draco, but he wondered if there was anyone else in the Wizarding world that would. His best friends would be sure to protest, as would the Order of the Phoenix, which consisted of most of the adults whom Harry trusted. Draco might never be welcomed there. But something inside Harry told him there was a chance.

"I guess we'd better get back," he sighed, mostly just thinking aloud. "I've got to tell Ron and Hermione about this..."

Draco and Narcissa suddenly looked horrified. "Why don't you write the blasted Daily Prophet while you're at it?" Draco hissed.

Harry made a face at the idea. "I'm not keeping something like this a secret from my best friends!" he told them fiercely. The other two continued to stare as though Petrified, but Harry got up to leave, and the Malfoys followed silently, glancing at each other with shared dread.

This was your idea, after all, thought Narcissa, though she hadn't the heart to say it aloud.

Harry's uncle seemed anything but pleased upon their return to number four, Privet Drive. Apparently, he had been hoping for the return of only one wizard, if even that, but two wizards and a witch seemed too much for the Muggle to bear. "That's it!" he bellowed at the Malfoys. "One of your kind in my house is bad enough! Out!"

But Harry glared at Vernon until he seemed to realize that his nephew would soon be seventeen, and thereby old enough to legally hex him into a vapor. Finally, Draco and his mother had been allowed upstairs without a single spell being cast. Once there, the two of them glanced briefly around Harry's bedroom, as though expecting Aurors to jump out from every hiding place possible in the room. As soon as no danger seemed likely, a look of mild disgust crept onto Draco's face as he noted how messy the room looked.

"Is this what the Gryffindor common room looks like?" he scoffed.

Harry looked around, picked up a few socks and a t-shirt, and threw them dismissively in his trunk, too distracted to tidy up more carefully than that. He then sat down at his cluttered desk, took a slip of parchment and dipped his quill in a bottle of black ink. In a few moments, he had finished two letters, and sent Hedwig to deliver them. Hedwig clicked her beak proudly and soared off into the distance.

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