Title: Some Kind of Miracle (1/?)
Author: Annie (_pinkchocolate)
Warnings: Everything up to ch 14 disregards DH
Disclaimer: I just take JK Rowling's world and make it slashy.
Summary: Draco was determined to live the last nine months of his life with no regrets. But when a series of unfortunate events exposes a list of his innermost wishes, ambitions, and desires to Harry Potter’s eyes, he might find that facing his imminent death is not so easy after all.
Word Count: 4591
Notes: I know the Dementor's Kiss doesn't actually kill victims, but for the sake of moving things along, I'll use words like "death" and "kill" to refer to the Dementor's Kiss throughout this fic. Beta'd by the lovely Emily, Christine, and Sharon.
The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.
- Blaise Pascal
The sun rose on a mild, grey morning, casting its pale glow on the slumbering streets of London. Friday, October 9, 1997. Exactly one week ago, the world had ended and begun anew. Exactly one week ago, the Dark Lord had fallen, taking chaos, violence, and hatred with him.
The world stirred. Curtains were pulled back to allow feeble rays of sunlight in; doors were opened to welcome the occasional breeze. A new day was beginning.
Harry Potter woke up that morning with a start. Something felt different. He automatically reached over to the bedside table next to him and groped around for his glasses. After a few seconds, he found them and put them on. Immediately, his surroundings came into sharper focus.
He was in a bedroom, though not one immediately recognisable. The walls around him were coated in a layer of peeling yellow paint, and the only pieces of furniture in the room other than the bed and the table next to it were a rickety wooden chair, placed a metre or so away from the door, and a dusty, cracked mirror, which hung on the wall above the chair.
Harry sat up, surprised to feel the cool air on his bare chest. Since when did he sleep without a shirt on? He blinked and shifted his weight on the mattress. A sense of apprehension crept up on him when he realised that he wasn’t wearing anything on his lower half either. He definitely never slept without pyjama bottoms on.
Slowly, Harry twisted around to look beside him. He gulped. If it was uncommon for him to sleep naked, he was simply, positively, absolutely sure that it was even more unusual for Ginny Weasley to be lying next to him, fast asleep, when he woke up in the morning.
Harry felt a blush rise in his cheeks as he took in Ginny’s bare shoulders and back. “Oh,” he said faintly, averting his eyes.
Even the disconcerting knowledge that he and Ginny had somehow managed to fall asleep in the same bed without any clothes on could not bring back memories of the previous night. Try as he might, Harry could not remember for the life of him how he had ended up in this strange room.
Slowly, deliberately, he edged out from under the covers. The moment his feet touched the floor, he dropped to his knees and began desperately hunting for his clothes.
He found a rumpled pair of trousers and a stained t-shirt easily, but could not, no matter how extensively he searched, find his robes.
“Yeah,” Harry said feebly, straightening up. “Morning, Ginny.”
There was a brief pause, and then: “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” Harry said again, nonplussed. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
Ginny looked away. “Never mind.”
Harry blinked and stood up. “Where are Ron and Hermione?”
“They’ll be back later,” Ginny answered, still avoiding Harry’s gaze.
“Er… about us… whatever happened, I’m sorry if I –”
“No, Harry, I’m the one who should be apologising,” said Ginny, sitting up and clutching the covers tightly around her. “I thought it would have worn off by now.”
“Thought… thought what would have worn off?” Harry asked, wariness creeping over him.
Ginny lowered her eyes. “The Forgetfulness Potion.”
“What’s that?” Harry said sharply.
Ginny’s shoulders tensed and she looked back up at Harry. There was a defiant gleam in her eyes. “I gave you a Forgetfulness Potion last night. It was just so you could forget about everything that happened for one night.”
A cold sense of horror gripped Harry. “Forget…” he repeated, but even as he said the word, a tiny portion of the fog clouding his mind cleared, and a stream of memories began to trickle in through the opening left behind.
Harry sat down heavily on the end of the bed and clutched at his head. The potion was wearing off; recollections of everything that happened in the past few months were returning to him. The deaths… the Order’s attempts to imprison him in headquarters and his subsequent escape… the purging of the last Horcrux from within him…
Harry began to tremble violently as he remembered all the horrible details his mind had so gladly repressed with the help of the potion. Before he could stop himself, he doubled over and vomited on the floor.
When he surfaced, he refused to meet Ginny’s eyes. Instead, he swiped at his mouth with the back of his hand and stood up, shaking all over.
“I need some time alone,” he mumbled. Before Ginny could object, he lurched to the door, jerked it open, and stumbled out of the room.
Once outside, Harry fell back against the door with a dull thud. His mind was spinning dangerously. Last night – he remembered everything so vividly now. McGonagall had told him and Ginny that Hogwarts, which had been forced to close due to the threat of the war, had reopened and that they were to return to complete their education. Harry had protested, but McGonagall had been firm about his going back. After that, Ginny had led him to the Leaky Cauldron and tried to ease his pain by buying him drink after drink… She had, of course, somehow slipped the Forgetfulness Potion into one of them… and then they had… they’d…
Harry winced, feeling hot waves of embarrassment swell up and heat his cheeks. Had he really slept with Ginny? And if so, why the hell couldn’t he remember it? It had to be some sort of crime, not recalling the details of the first time. Then again, Harry wasn’t sure he even wanted to remember. The last thing he needed was one more thing to worry about.
Concentrate on the situation at hand, he instructed himself. You’re at the Leaky Cauldron. Now do something about it.
Harry inhaled. He needed a breath of fresh air to still the synchronised somersaults his mind and stomach were doing. Being out of the room wasn’t good enough; he still felt confined.
Harry easily located the stairs, descended them, and managed to leave the pub without catching the attention of any patrons. The street outside was already bustling with activity despite the early hour. Harry felt an immense and inexplicable sense of safety wash over him as he looked around him. He was in Muggle London now. Here, he wouldn’t be suddenly confronted by strangers… Here, he could be as inconspicuous as he wanted…
What struck Harry the hardest about the Muggle world was how ordinary everything was. Thanks to the Ministry’s quick action in erasing the memories of those who had survived Voldemort’s mass murders, none of the people passing him by remembered anything about the war that had raged for the past few months or the family members and friends who had been killed in it. They had all been forced into the blissful ignorance of forgetfulness.
Harry swallowed, tasting his own bile in his throat. He had to get away. But where? Where could he go? He had no family with whom he could seek refuge. The war had scattered the Weasleys, and he didn’t have a clue where the Order was. Save for Ginny, Ron, and Hermione (and he still couldn’t remember where the latter two had gone), he had no one in the world to turn to.
Harry reached into the pockets of his trousers, hoping to at least find some Muggle coins. Instead, his right hand closed around what felt like a crumpled piece of paper. He extracted it, wondering what it could be.
It was an article from the Daily Prophet.
YOU-KNOW-WHO SUPPORTER TO STAND TRIAL
The string of recent Death Eater arrests continued with the discovery and incarceration of Draco Malfoy, 17, yesterday afternoon. According to Gawain Robards, recently appointed Head of the Auror office, Malfoy had been hiding in a remote area of the Whispering Woods during most of the war. He vehemently insisted he was innocent upon being found. Veritaserum, however, discredited his claims, and Hit Wizards promptly took him into custody.
Malfoy’s trial is scheduled to take place on Friday, October 9, 1997. Auror Frank Dawlish spoke on the matter, saying, “We’re all thrilled about Malfoy’s capture. His father, Lucius Malfoy, was a notorious Death Eater, and as they say, ‘like father, like son’. Even though we have a trial scheduled, none of us have any doubt in our minds that Malfoy will be sentenced to receive the Dementor’s Kiss, or at least a good few years in Azkaban. As for the rest of his lot, suffice it to say that we’ve only got a few more of them to round up before all this is over.”
The total count of captured Death Eaters has, with Malfoy’s arrest, risen to 42.
Harry blinked and reread the article. When the words finally sunk in, his heart leapt into his throat. Draco Malfoy was going to receive the Dementor’s Kiss. Shocked, Harry stood stock-still. The image of Malfoy’s stunned grey eyes the night he had killed Bellatrix squeezed its way out of the deeper recesses of his memory and into his conscious mind’s eye. That Malfoy was going to die?
Driven by a sudden desire to go see the trial, Harry crossed the street. Even though the article had not stated the time or location of the hearing, he somehow knew that when he arrived at the Ministry of Magic, everything would work itself out.
Luckily, Harry knew exactly how to get to the Ministry; he had been there more times than he cared to count. His feet carried him down familiar sidewalks, allowing his mind to freely wander to anything… anything but the last two weeks, which were suddenly oh-so-clear…
Before he knew it, Harry had arrived at an old, broken-down telephone box situated in the middle of a dingy, deserted street. He stepped into it, shut the door behind him, and dialled the numbers six, two, four, four, two.
The welcome witch’s voice immediately rang out in the small space. “Welcome to the Ministry of Magic. Please state your name and business.”
“Harry Potter, here to attend the trial being held to decide Draco Malfoy’s sentence,” Harry replied automatically.
“Thank you. Visitor, please take the badge and attach it to the front of your robes.”
Harry watched as a small silver badge tumbled out of the coin chute, catching it just before it fell to the ground. He examined it and smiled wryly at the words written on it: The Chosen One, Draco Malfoy’s Trial. Even here, he could not escape the wizarding world’s obsession with him – but then again, had he really come all the way to the Ministry expecting to?
As the floor of the telephone box began descending into the ground, Harry felt a twinge of guilt. He had left Ginny behind without any sort of explanation or apology.
It’s her fault, he thought, clenching his fist around his visitor’s badge. Thinking she could erase everything that’s happened with alcohol and magic…
When at last the door of the telephone box swung open, Harry had to shield his eyes from the bright light that greeted him. He blinked several times before stepping out into the Atrium of the Ministry.
Several heads swivelled in Harry’s direction as he made his way down the long, gleaming hall. Though he was uncomfortably aware of his less-than-appropriate appearance, Harry walked on without letting his façade of composure slip. The security wizard at the end of the hallway stood back and let him pass without a word, and when he arrived at the lifts, the long line of Ministry employees waiting for it parted wordlessly for him.
Harry felt an unexpected surge of rage. He hated the way people treated him like he was some sort of deity, some sort of superior being to them. He wanted to whip out his wand and curse all of them for staring at him with such reverent expressions. What right did they have to admire him? They didn’t know anything about him; all they had was a false illusion of heroism.
Still, it was convenient, and Harry couldn’t help feeling grateful for being spared the trouble of having to wait in line. He walked towards the lift, trying his best to avoid the gawking of the people around him, and waited for it to arrive. When it did, he was relieved to find that it was empty.
Quickly, he walked into the lift. No one followed him, though there was plenty of room inside, and a few seconds later, the golden grilles slid shut and the lift began shuddering downwards. Harry waited silently, feeling strangely impassive towards everything in the world. Vaguely, he wondered why the notion of seeing Malfoy’s trial appealed to him so much. As the article he still clutched in one hand stated, Malfoy’s capture had been preceded by 41 others, and Harry hadn’t cared about any of those.
Then again, I didn’t know any of them as well as Malfoy. And… well, none of them saved me from a horde of potentially murderous Death Eaters.
“Department of Mysteries.” The lift halted and its doors slid open. Harry stepped out.
He looked around the bare corridor and noted, with some surprise, that nothing, not even the black double doors leading into the Department of Mysteries at the end of the hall, had changed since his last visit. Of course, only a year or so had passed since then, but so much of Harry’s life was different now that he almost felt annoyed that the Department of Mysteries stood unaffected, a staunch reminder of the prophecy that had started and ended it all.
Harry tore his gaze away from the doors and turned to the left, where there was an opening leading to a dark staircase. He descended slowly, lost in his thoughts. They had begun to use Courtroom Ten regularly again; a tribute to the time Harry Potter had attended a disciplinary hearing there, they claimed.
Harry reached the bottom of the steps and found another corridor waiting for him. Courtroom Ten was situated at the very end of it; even though Harry had only been down here once, he knew. When he reached the foreboding door with its iron bolt, he blinked. His hand lingered on the door handle as his mind flashed back to the morning of his disciplinary hearing when Mr Weasley had rushed him down here, only to send him into the courtroom alone.
But Mr Weasley was gone now. Having no desire to dwell on this particular fact, Harry shook his head to clear it away, turned the door handle, and stepped into the courtroom. Not once did he consider the possibility that his unexpected presence might disturb the trial being held.
It seemed the trial had not yet begun. When Harry entered the large dungeon, all whispering and talking ceased at once. Harry looked around, but he could not see anything from where he stood; thus, he walked towards the chair in the centre of the room. He had seen this chair many times in his dreams and, on the day of his trial, even sat in it. Despite his familiarity with it, however, a thrill of dread still crawled up his spine at the sight of the chains covering its arms.
The interrogators sitting in the middle of the front bench, all of whom Harry could not identify, looked up in unison when he stepped into sight. For a moment, they stared at him blankly; then, the plump wizard sitting at the centre of the bench grinned broadly, his face brightening.
“Harry Potter!” he exclaimed jovially, clapping his hands in delight. “Merlin’s Beard! What a pleasant surprise!”
Harry furrowed his eyebrows. “Er, sir, if I may ask, who are you?”
A ripple of laughter passed through the crowd of spectators sitting in the benches around Harry. The wizard who had addressed Harry chuckled merrily, apparently not at all disturbed by Harry’s lack of enthusiasm at seeing him.
“Leonard Jorkins, at your service,” he said, beaming. “Sit down, my dear boy, sit down! The trial is just about to begin… Those Hit Wizards certainly enjoy taking their time…”
Without bothering to consider his reasons for staying, Harry obediently climbed the narrow steps that led into the raised benches. He found an unoccupied seat in the second row next to an old witch with loose grey hair and sat down.
After a while, the pairs of eyes that had flicked over in Harry’s direction looked away and whispered conversations resumed. Harry shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He shouldn’t have come here…
Just then, a loud knock penetrated the low murmurs in the courtroom. Harry tensed, his senses oddly heightened.
“About time,” the witch next to Harry muttered under her breath.
“The accused may now enter,” Jorkins said, his voice ringing across the courtroom, surprisingly clear and authoritative.
There was the sound of a door creaking open, followed by the echo of footsteps on the cold, stone floor. Harry craned his neck, desperate to see what was going on.
At first, there appeared to be nothing moving below; then, slowly, a head of white-blond hair made its way out of the darkness. As the accused walked into the pool of dim light cast by the torches around the dungeon, it became clear that the reason for his sluggish movement could be attributed to the six Dementors flanking him.
Harry’s sharp intake of breath was lost amidst the revival of the mutters that had pervaded the courtroom earlier. In the excitement elicited by the arrival of the defendant, no one noticed the Chosen One blanch and grip the bench beneath him so tightly that his knuckles turned white.
If, one year ago, Harry had been shown a picture of the young man sitting chained to the chair in the centre of the room and told that he was Draco Malfoy, he would have laughed and walked away, for this Draco Malfoy looked nothing like his former self. His sleek blond locks were matted and tangled; the rags he wore hung loosely and ungracefully off his thin frame; and his sunken cheeks gave him the look of a starved madman. As far as Harry could tell, the only feature of Malfoy’s that had survived the war was his eyes: they glittered coldly like two polished stones in his pale, drawn face.
Stunned, Harry barely noticed when the trial began. He blocked out Jorkins’s voice as he began reciting the details of the hearing to the Court Scribe. How could Malfoy have changed so much? It had only been a few months since they had last seen each other. Had the strain of the war really taken that much of a toll on him?
“…use of the three Unforgivable Curses to torture and/or murder four Muggles and two wizards, one of whom was an Auror; brewing of illegal potions listed under the multiple sections of the Registry of Proscribed Brewable Potions; and otherwise involvement in the Dark Arts,” Jorkins was saying when Harry tuned back into the trial. “The charges against the accused, of which there are six in total, therefore violate a total of eight Ministry laws. Do you or do you not deny the verity of this statement, Draco Lucius Malfoy?”
Harry watched closely as Malfoy glared up at Jorkins, his grey eyes dark with malice. “I do not,” he said coldly, surprising Harry with his ability to still compose himself in the presence of the Dementors.
“Very well, then,” Jorkins said triumphantly. “If there are no objections –”
“I’m afraid I have one to add,” said a voice from one of the upper rows.
Everyone swivelled around to see who had spoken. Harry was the first to recognise the voice, having just heard it the night before.
It was indeed. She had stood up and now glared sternly down at the three interrogators over her wire-rimmed glasses. “I object.”
Jorkins blinked. Quickly, he looked to the round-faced witch sitting next to him and muttered something inaudible. She shook her head slightly at him and turned to face McGonagall. “Minerva McGonagall, is it?”
“And what are your reasons for objecting, madam?”
McGonagall drew herself up to her full height. “This boy must finish school before he goes to Azkaban.”
A bewildered silence followed McGonagall’s proclamation.
“So you mean to say…”
“…that I intend to accept him back into Hogwarts and have him complete his final year there, yes,” McGonagall finished. Her frosty tone never wavered. “Regardless of his crimes, he is only seventeen years of age and just as deserving of an education as any ordinary young man.”
Harry gaped at McGonagall. Was she serious?
“If you don’t believe me,” she continued, as if Harry’s thoughts had somehow reached her ears, “you may try to interfere. Keep in mind, however, that I will not give up easily. Albus” – her voice softened as she said the former Headmaster’s name – “would have been very adamant about having all his former students return to Hogwarts.”
Another round of mutters swept through the crowd. Dumbledore! She had brought up Dumbledore! That was it; there was simply no manoeuvring out of an argument that concerned Dumbledore.
Throughout all of this, Malfoy remained stony-faced and silent. Despite his situation, he sat in the chair exactly as a king might sit in his throne: high and proud, with his shoulders held back and his chin tilted up defiantly. Even when McGonagall stood up to interfere on his behalf, he did not look at anyone but Jorkins. Harry couldn’t help admiring his steadfastness.
Having now heard McGonagall’s argument, the interrogators in the front began whispering furiously amongst themselves. The tension in the air of the courtroom thickened considerably, and Harry found himself all but holding his breath in fear of… well, he didn’t really know.
Finally, after several minutes of quiet discussion, the interrogators straightened up.
“We have considered your proposition, Minerva, and it appears that it is a valid alternative to the court’s current verdict,” Jorkins said stiffly. “However, we have several concerns regarding the flaws in your plan of action that will need to be addressed before we proceed with the vote.”
“And those are?”
Jorkins cleared his throat. “First of all, Malfoy is a convicted Death Eater who is fully capable of performing all three Unforgivables, not to mention several other –”
“I shall arrange to have his wand tracked and its magic limited, then,” McGonagall replied without skipping a beat. “You can rest assured that we will be alerted the moment Malfoy steps out of Hogwarts boundaries during his stay. Moreover, his wand will not be capable of performing magic that is not necessary to his academic performance. Surely you do not expect me to place any more restraints on the boy? Perhaps you would be satisfied with shackles on his wrists to prevent him from leaving his dormitory between classes? I’m very sorry to say that’s not an option; unlike your law enforcement department, I am not inclined to chain those under my power to their seats.”
A few titters rose from the shadowed upper rows, but they died away quickly. Jorkins, on the other hand, looked rather discomfited by McGonagall’s implied admonishment.
“There’s still the question of the trauma his presence at Hogwarts would inflict on his fellow students!”
“I’m quite sure that, having already suffered through six years with Mr Malfoy, his classmates can bear to withstand one more,” McGonagall said coolly.
It appeared that Jorkins could find no more faults in McGonagall’s plan of action, because he turned immediately to his partner and began muttering rapidly in undertones to her. This time, the crowd did not have to wait very long for them to reach a decision.
“Those in favour of allowing the accused to finish his final year at Hogwarts before carrying out his sentence?” the round-faced witch said loudly, standing up.
Harry looked around him. Hands were rising, some slower than others. He frantically tried to count them all, but found that he couldn’t concentrate. Even so, his heart inexplicably sank when he realised that only about half of the courtroom had voted in favour of McGonagall’s suggestion.
“And those in favour of the conviction?”
Again, approximately half of the hands in the room were raised. Harry held his breath. He hadn’t counted, and the outcomes of the two votes had been too close to tell just by sight. Had McGonagall won?
An ominous silence spread again as the three judges fell to another round of frenzied whispering. At last, Jorkins looked up, an expression of severe disappointment on his face. “It appears that this courtroom has been split in half over the verdict.”
Several members of the crowd gasped. The wizard sitting behind Harry even ventured so far as to exclaim, “No!”
“Unfortunately,” Jorkins continued over the restless murmuring his announcement had elicited, “in such a case, there –”
“Wait!” Before he knew what he was doing, Harry stood up. “I – I’d like to vote in favour of sending him to Hogwarts.”
Harry gulped and closed his eyes tightly, willing his suddenly rampaging nerves to slow down. Anxiously, he glanced up at McGonagall. She looked just as surprised as the rest of the court by his sudden contribution, but pleased nonetheless. Upon catching Harry’s eye, she nodded encouragingly. This eased some of Harry’s trepidation, and he continued.
“I know I’m not part of the jury or anything” – his eyes swept uneasily over the fifty or so members of the Wizengamot, all of whom were wearing robes emblazoned with a silver W and staring at Harry with expressions varying from confusion to fascination – “but I agree with Professor McGonagall. I think Mal – the accused ought to be allowed to finish school.” He chewed on his bottom lip. “Even if he’s going to… to…”
Unable to bring himself to say the word “die”, Harry sat back down on the bench, his face red. He was surely in trouble now.
To his astonishment, however, when he ventured a quick look at the Wizengamot and interrogators, he found that almost all of them, including Jorkins, were smiling and nodding.
“Well!” Jorkins said, clasping his hands. “That’s that, then. If Harry Potter says so… and of course, such compassion is to be expected…”
Harry nodded rapidly. Now that he had spoken, a sense of embarrassment dawned upon him. He was dying to see Malfoy’s reaction to the sudden verdict, but he couldn’t bring himself to look at anything but the ground, so he stood back up. “Er, if you don’t mind, I’m going to leave now…”
“Yes, yes, and thank you very much for attending our trial today, Harry.” Jorkins cleared his throat. “Very well, this court is now adjourned. Minerva, if you would please step down… I’d like to have a word…”
Meanwhile, Harry had already dashed out of the dungeon, down the corridor, and up the stairs leading to the ninth level. Once he reached the lift, he jabbed at the up button several times before bending over with his hands on his knees, completely spent.
Harry took a few moments to catch his breath. When he finally straightened back up, he couldn’t help bringing his hands up to his face in frustration. Only one thought ran through his head:
What in the world just happened?