Chapter Eighteen
The Best Proof
of Love is Trust

They cleaned up and everyone was free to do whatever they felt like. The Weasleys would be arriving before lunch, and then they would eat sometime around one in the afternoon.

Harry picked up the gifts he’d received and followed Draco to their room. The blonde was still quiet, his face tired and withdrawn. Draco set his newly received gifts on the bedside table, and then laid down on the bed, sighing softly into the pillow. Harry watched him with concern.

“Harry?” Draco’s asked softly.


“Thanks for the gift. It’s lovely.” He turned his head from the pillow to look at Harry, fingering at the silver chain around his neck that Harry had given him. There was a tiny silver dragon on it as well and Harry had known in the moment that he saw it in the shop that it was what Draco was going to get.

“You’re welcome,” Harry said. “I’m glad you like it.”

“I’m sorry I’m so moody,” he said. “I wish I could blame it on PMS or something, but…”

“Don’t worry about it,” Harry said, moving up on the bed to sit next to where Draco was lying. He touched the side of the blonde’s face gently. “You have a reason.”

Draco sighed into Harry’s touch. “I’m going to fall asleep soon.”

“You do that; it’s fine,” said Harry.

“Will you stay with me?”

The voice was so small that had Harry not known for a fact that they were alone in the room, he would have believed it was someone else that had spoken.

“I’ll stay for as long as you want me to,” Harry said, and they both knew that he didn’t just mean right now.

Draco smiled. “’Night,” he said, his voice nothing but a whisper.

Harry bent down and placed a kiss on his forehead. “Good night, dragon.”

When the many Weasleys – Harry didn’t know how many there were now –, their better halves, girlfriends, boyfriends, children and cats had arrived several hours later, the house was filled with activity. Draco did his best to stay awake and alert, yet he kept close to Harry at almost all times.

The house was packed. Harry and Draco found themselves thankful that they always had their own room at the castle. The Weasley Castle was much like Hogwarts however, with secret rooms here and there and everywhere that suddenly appeared when Hermione touched a certain stone in the wall, or when Ron whistled the right tune.

Percy was there with Penelope and their children. Draco took it upon himself to take care of young Pearle as soon as the child’s mother would let him. Harry thought it was adorable and told his boyfriend so. Draco only took the time to stick his tongue out at Harry, before returning his full attention to the baby. Peter, Percy and Penelope’s other child, was happy to play with his new toys that he’d been given earlier in the morning.

Harry became involved in a conversation with the twins about their latest products. It seemed their shop was growing; their products were high on demand despite the war being fought – or perhaps just because the war was there. People needed to laugh now more than ever.

Hermione’s parents were talking with Ron’s parents. They seemed to get along perfectly well despite the fact that Mr and Mrs Granger were Muggles. Harry hadn’t overheard any of their conversation, but he would be willing to bet that Mr Weasley was asking about some Muggle contraption or other.

Bill and Charlie were talking with Sirius and Remus.

Ginny was with Neville on the couch, talking in hushed voices. Harry saw Ron move towards them and he moved wisely away, as he knew that an interrogation would follow, as well as threats, if he knew Ron as he thought he did. No one dated his little sister without Ron’s permission, or at least that’s what Ron liked to believe.

Hermione was on the other couch, watching everyone interact, smiling contently with one hand on her swollen belly. She caught Harry’s eye and smiled at him.

Draco had disappeared with the youngest Weasley. Harry went back to their room and there they were; Draco cuddled up with Pearle lying beside him. Both looked fast asleep. Harry smiled at the beautiful picture they made.

“She needs to sleep just as much as I do,” Draco said sleepily.

“I didn’t mean to wake you,” Harry said.

“You didn’t,” the blonde replied. “I was awake. I was just watching her sleep and resting myself. Can’t be up too long.”

Harry lay down on the bed, on the other side of Pearle, facing Draco. The baby looked peaceful.

“She’s beautiful,” he said, touching Pearle’s face with feather light fingers.

“I know.”

Then they lay in silence, with Draco eventually drifting off to sleep. Harry watched his boyfriend and the baby, his mind on only them and nothing else. At that moment, nothing else existed. No poison, no we’re-in-the-future, no war, no Voldemort – only Draco and Pearle.

The rest of the holidays went by quickly. Harry and Draco stayed for two days at the Weasley Castle, getting spoiled with all sorts of wondrous food, and playing in the snow. They had a rather large snowball fight in which everyone but Hermione, Penelope and her two children was involved with. The fight lasted for almost an hour, before the two ladies called them inside for dinner. By then, they were all cold and tired – but oh so happy.

However, despite the fact that Harry loved all of the Weasleys dearly – they were after all like a second family to him – he appreciated the calmness of their own apartment when they arrived back home. That was one thing he would miss when they came back to their own time: his own apartment. He would be forced back to living with the other boys in the dormitory – not that it was bad; it was just more comfortable to be on his own.

That was, if they ever did get back home.

As it happened, they had been in this future for over two months now and the possibility of their going home had not increased. They had come up with the grand total of nothing in all the times they’d been to the library. And neither had Hermione, obviously, or she would definitely have voiced her suspicions by now. Harry wasn’t about to tell her about their situation just yet, though. Or ever, if he had a choice.

New years and the rest of the holidays came and went calmly, with one exception. Draco once more found himself hallucinating, scaring Harry to no end. It was a few days into January and they had been talking calmly, sitting on the couch in the living room. Both had been completely content with just holding each other, when Draco suddenly took a sharp intake of breath and shot out of Harry’s arms.

“I’m not going to do it!” he screamed; his eyes suddenly wide and filled with unshed tears. His wand was out, pointed at Harry. The grey eyes had the same unfocused, glazed-over look as they’d had at the Weasley Castle.

Harry stood slowly, not knowing if he would be perceived as a threat or if Draco could see him at all.

“You are not going to do what, Draco?” he asked.

“I’m not going to join him!” Draco’s voice was panicked, his hands shaking.

“Draco, please put the wand down,” Harry said slowly, as though talking to a child.

Draco didn’t reply; didn’t react at all to Harry’s words, which made him wonder even more if the blonde could hear him at all. Slowly, he continued forward, his own wand out.

Accio wand,” he said softly, and Draco’s wand flew out of his hand.

The blonde whimpered as he felt the wand disappear from his hands, and mumbled, “No, no, don’t hurt me, please.” He shrank back, moving back all the way until he was pressed to the wall. Harry, with Draco’s wand in his hand, felt much more secure, and he cautiously moved closer. When he could reach Draco, he pulled the other boy close, holding him tightly.

“I’m not going to hurt you, Draco,” he mumbled, as the blonde fought against his hold. “It’s me, Harry. Can you hear me, Draco?”

He received no answer, but a few minutes later, Draco stopped fighting against Harry. He just stood there, shivering, until all his energy had drained out of him and he slumped against Harry. His head lay still against Harry’s shoulder, and Harry knew that if he were to move, the blonde would fall to the floor, as his legs would not be able to support him.

Draco mumbled something incoherent when Harry picked him up and clung closely to him when Harry wanted to set him down on the bed, leaving him to sleep. The blonde’s pale fingers would not let go of Harry’s shirt and the raven-haired boy didn’t mind staying. He wrapped his arms around the smaller boy and held him tightly. It wasn’t until they were lying there, on the bed, that he realized the severity of what had just happened – and that they would now, most likely, have to take Draco to Hogwarts’ Infirmary.

The blonde occupying Harry’s thoughts stirred and opened his eyes, blinking rapidly. When he realized where he was, he also seemed to realize why and he turned his head away from Harry. Harry felt the sense of shame come off Draco in waves and when he tried reaching out, the blonde moved away.

“Draco…” Harry began.

“Don’t, Harry. Don’t tell me everything’s all right, or that it will be okay,” Draco said, cutting him off. “It’s not going to be okay at all.”

They sat in silence, a few feet away from each other. Finally, Harry said, “Tell me about it. Tell me how you feel, please, Draco. I don’t know how to make it better, or what to do at all, if you don’t tell me…”

Another bout of silence followed, where Harry listened to the other young man’s breathing and hoped that Draco would open up to him.

When Draco began, his voice was small, quiet and without hope. “It’s strange,” he said. “There are times when I can really feel the poison course through my body, spreading, absorbing me. It eats me from the inside, and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, I can do to stop it.

“And then there are other times when I forget it even exists.” He gave a small shrug. “Usually, that happens when I’m with you. I don’t know if that is because I happen to forget everything else when I’m with you, or if it’s because you’re my Heart Mate in this wonderful future of ours, or if it’s because you’re a Healer… I don’t know; it could be either, it could be all, it could be something completely different.”

He fell quiet, collecting his thought before he continued.

“Both this and the first illusion have been about my father. They aren’t just hallucinations… they’re memories…” His voice was so small that Harry had to strain to hear him. “The first one was… I can’t have been more than five or six years old at the time. I had spoken without permission at our dinner reception. My father became… angry… and he…”

“He hit you,” Harry finished for him when Draco was unable to.

Draco, who’d been turned away from Harry the whole time, spun around to look at him now. His face was completely clear, not an emotion in sight. Still, behind the well-kept façade, Harry could sense the storm, if only from the Heart Bind. He knew that Draco wasn’t as uncaring about the fact that his father abused him as he liked to think he was.

Silver eyes met green for a short moment, before Draco looked away again.

“It was the first time he did so,” he said. “Or at least I don’t remember any time before that.

“This… the memory I just had… it was when I was about ten. Rebellious and angry with my father and that was the only time I went against him. He taught me never to do that again…”

His voice died off as he stared into space, his mind somewhere completely different than his body. Harry wondered for a second if Draco was hallucinating again, until the blonde began speaking again.

“He put the Cruciatus Curse on me for the first time that night. I screamed until my throat was raw; I’d never experienced that sort of pain before. Then he forced water down my throat and I nearly choked on it. He stayed only long enough to be sure that I didn’t choke; then he left me on the floor. Thing is,” he said with contempt, “That the Malfoy Manor has stone floors that are ice cold. So while he wouldn’t murder me – I assume that would have made him look bad in front of the Ministry – he had no qualms about leaving me there to get sick, which is just what happened. I was a small child; I have always been for reasons that don’t belong here and which I’ll tell you about later…

“I caught pneumonia and almost died. Mum took care of me best she could; the house elves did the rest. Still, even with their magic, they say it was a close call. Father didn’t mind if I died from pneumonia or any other illness – if I died from anything like that, he would only get the Ministry’s regrets about his loss.”

Harry wanted desperately to take Draco in his arms and hold him until all evil, bad thoughts were banished, yet he knew he couldn’t. Draco wouldn’t allow him to do so, not even now when their relationship had developed to something beyond simple friendship.

“I didn’t die, to his great disappointment,” Draco said, and his voice was hard, stronger now than when he’d begun. “The punishments became worse after that. Everything I did was wrong, no matter what. He made me fear him, made me follow his every order. Made me believe I was evil, just like him – perhaps I am, but then again, maybe not… He made me hate Muggles, made me hate everything and everyone but rich purebloods like my own family. Most of all, he made me hate you. He still wanted me to befriend you, yes, but only because that would mean power – power over you, power for himself, power for Voldemort… He still made it quite clear that I should hate you.

“I guess a child’s heart – a child’s body – cannot hold that much hate, for it broke, as you can see.”

He looked up again, his eyes and the feelings radiating off him speaking volumes more than the mere words did.

“I was his servant. Do anything wrong, you get punished. Do anything right, you still get punished, for you are not supposed to be able to do anything right.

“I don’t hate my father; I’ve told you that before. I cannot be happy that he is dead; he was still my flesh and blood; he is still my father. However, I can say that I don’t care. I don’t care that he died, or that you – or the Harry of this time at least – killed him. I just… don’t care.”

With those words, he finished his tirade and stood nervously from the bed. Harry followed him, eyes never leaving the small, pale body of the young man he’d grown to lo– like. Admire. Want. His arms slipped around Draco and pulled him close. Draco let himself be embraced and surrendered to Harry.

“I can’t do anything about your childhood, no matter how much I want to,” Harry said softly. “But I am glad that you told me. You don’t always have to be strong.”

“It would be nice to be strong sometimes,” Draco’s muffled reply came from somewhere in Harry’s neck.

Harry smiled, pulling away from the blonde. “You are strong. You were only a child when all of this happened and your father is a full-grown man and a fully trained wizard. You couldn’t fight him.”

“I didn’t even try,” Draco said, his voice full of self-loathing. “I only took it, took it, took it…”

Harry sighed, knowing that it wouldn’t be easy to make Draco see reason.

“What good would it have done, Draco?” he asked. “You would only have gotten another beating, and quite possibly even have died from the injuries. What good would that have done? No, I’m not finished,” he said, holding up a hand to quiet the blonde. “You did do the right thing. You joined the good side. You joined Dumbledore. You joined me. Isn’t that much better than dying when you were little, when you were too young to fight or understand at all?”

“I still could have tried!” Draco cried at him, raking his hand through his hair.

Then Harry did the only thing he could think of – he pulled Draco to him and kissed him thoroughly. The blonde was surprised at first, but found himself quickly kissing back with just as much ferocity as Harry did.

When they broke apart, they were both panting.

“That’s a very good way to settle arguments,” Draco breathed. “Let’s do it that way from now on.”

Then a wave of energy surged through them both and they locked gazes. Their thoughts seemed connected, as though they had performed the Audiosis spell. They both knew exactly what had just happened, even though it had never happened to them before.

A moment later, the room was empty. The two Healers were on their way to the Weasley Castle, for it was the wards of self-inflicted pain that had gone off.

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