Chapter Three
I Can't Help You
If You Don't Tell Me

Professor Dumbledore came by later that afternoon. Harry was surprised to see him, but soon learned that the nightmare he and Malfoy had lived through really was a vision, and that was the reason behind the Headmaster’s visit. It had happened before, and it was usually somewhere between a day and a few days before it happened for real, which gave the Order some time to prepare.

“Remus and Sirius are coming by tonight,” Dumbledore said when they sat down for tea. Hermione and Ron – whom Hermione had no doubt filled in about the morning’s events – sat on one couch; Harry and Malfoy were on the other. Dumbledore conjured up his favourite chair, and sat down with a cup of steaming hot tea.

When Dumbledore mentioned Remus and Sirius, Harry’s heart leaped.

“But, if you could, I would like to hear this vision right away, so that I can go back and contact the necessary wizards of the Order,” Dumbledore continued.

Malfoy nodded. Harry took his hand – they needed to maintain the image of a perfectly happy (if a bit odd) couple. He was surprised to find Malfoy trembling, and gave him a reassuring squeeze. Malfoy shot him a look, filled with both confusion and a bit of gratefulness.

Then Malfoy began telling Dumbledore what he’d seen. Harry was glad that he’d made Malfoy go through the vision once already – it wouldn’t have done anyone any good to have him break down and throw up now.

“Did you recognize any of the Muggles?” Dumbledore asked when Malfoy was done.

Malfoy closed his eyes, trying to remember. “No,” he said finally.

“Was there anything about them that could tell you where they came from, or who they were?”

Malfoy was shaking, his face pale, but he went back and tried to remember. “The man, the one that they killed last… He wore a gun on his belt. I know, because they took it from him… And they shot at something, though I couldn’t see what it was…”

“Anything about the others?”

Harry put a hand on Malfoy’s shoulder. The blonde seemed close to a nervous breakdown, but he didn’t protest as Dumbledore continued interrogating.

“They… they all had the same hair… The woman and the children… His family. Oh those bastards… They killed his family right before his eyes…”

Malfoy held his head in his hands, and Harry tried to soothe him by making circles on his back. Malfoy pulled his hands through his hair again and again in a nervous motion.

“I’m so sorry to put you through this Draco, but I need to know,” Dumbledore said. “What did they look like? Hair colour, length, anything specific about them.”

Malfoy took a deep breath and spoke quietly. “There was a little girl… hardly older than three. She was wearing some sort of dress, or maybe a top and a skirt, I don’t know. Then there was a little boy, probably around seven or so. I don’t remember what he wore… And then there was a woman… She was beautiful. She had dark brown, close to black hair, just like her children… The one they killed last… he had a much lighter colour, and more red… He was around thirty-five, I think… He wore a shirt that said something like, ‘London shop of guns’ or something… I can’t remember…”

Malfoy spoke in a whisper at the end, and when his voice died out the last time, Harry said, “Enough. He’ll break down completely if you don’t let him rest now.”

Dumbledore nodded and smiled sadly. “Thank you, Draco. We will do our very best to find the family and make sure that they are not hurt.”

Malfoy nodded, but didn’t trust his voice enough to reply.

“You should get some rest. It is possible that we may need you out there on this one. Should the Muggles get hurt, we need you two to heal them.”

Harry and Malfoy nodded.

“Well then, I shall get back to the school,” Dumbledore said, standing up. He made the chair he’d been sitting on disappear, and continued, turned to Draco, “If you remember anything else, don’t hesitate to floo me. I also want to hear what Sirius and Remus have to say,” he said, turning to Hermione and Ron. “And I will see if Severus sees fit to come and visit. He has to be careful, though…” he said, more to himself than to anyone else.

Hermione nodded. “We’ll floo you later tonight, don’t worry, Headmaster.”

“Good. Now you take care of yourselves, all four of you,” Dumbledore said.

“We will,” Ron promised with a slight grin. Harry nodded in agreement.

“Good bye, Headmaster,” he said, and the old wizard stepped into the fire and disappeared.

Hermione walked back to the table and began to clean it off. Malfoy hadn’t stood up when Dumbledore left, and was still sitting with his head in his hands. Harry placed a hand on his shoulder. He wondered briefly if he did so to keep the pretence up, or because it was quite comforting for him as well. A second later, he’d decided to ignore the question until another time.

“C’mon, Draco,” he said, and this time, he was amazed by how easily Malfoy’s real name slid off his lips when they were in the company of Hermione or Ron.

“Will he be all right?” Ron asked Harry quietly.

To their surprise, Malfoy looked up. “I’ll be fine, Weasley,” he said. “Just need some rest.”

Harry smiled at Ron. “He’ll be fine,” he said. “You mind if I take him upstairs?”

“I don’t need a babysitter, Potter,” Malfoy muttered.

“Good luck,” Ron whispered to Harry. “I don’t envy you when he’s in that mood. Actually, I don’t envy you at all, but that’s beside the point.”

He grinned as Malfoy scowled at him and walked out of the room to the kitchen and his wife.

Harry put his hands on his hips. “Get up, Malfoy,” he said in a not-so-gentle tone.

Malfoy glared at him. Finally, Harry stalked over and grabbed him under his armpits and lifted him to a standing position. “Walk,” he ordered, and to his astonishment, the blonde did walk. They made their way up the stairs, through the beautiful corridor with the paintings, passed the two doors on each side, and reached their own room.

Harry wasn’t surprised when Malfoy made his way over to the bed. Without changing his clothes, Malfoy pulled the covers away and crawled underneath. Harry watched him as his face softened into sleep, and then he left the room quietly.

He made his way down the stairs to join Ron and Hermione in the kitchen, when he heard them speak.

“It’s strange, though. It was a long time ago since the visions made him react so terribly. I mean, it was almost like the first time, all over again,” he heard Hermione say.

“Well, it could have been particularly bad, couldn’t it?” Ron replied. “Three dead people, and a fourth being killed before your eyes – doesn’t sound like something I would want to see.”

“Still, there’s something about them… It’s like they’re different, somehow. And have you noticed how lost they look sometimes. Like when I asked Harry to set the table? He didn’t know where anything was. And neither one seems to know that I’m expecting twins – yet we told them that a month ago.”

They were expecting twins? Oh my, another set of Weasley twins were just what Hogwarts needed, Harry thought with an amused smile. But it didn’t bode well that Hermione could see through their pretence so easily.

“Okay,” said Ron, “I’ll give you that. They have been acting strange since they woke up from the last Healing coma. But what could have happened to them? I mean, there are so many wards and protecting spells on this place that we would have noticed if someone had done something to them while they were out. You can’t even Apparate within the Castle’s ground. And there was someone with them almost the whole time they were out, whether it was us or Sirius or Rem’.”

“I know,” Hermione said, and it sounded to Harry as though she was biting her lip and thinking hard. “But there is something.” She paused. “Do you mind if I go to the library tomorrow after Sirius and Remus leave?”

Ron laughed, and Harry was close to doing the same. Some things never changed, it seemed.

Then Ron stopped laughing abruptly, and Harry guessed that Hermione was glaring at him.

“I don’t mind, sweetheart,” Ron said.

Harry felt a bit bad about eavesdropping on their private conversation, and he slipped away as they changed subject. Silently, to not draw attention to himself, he made his way back to his and Malfoy’s room. He slipped inside quietly, hoping that he wouldn’t wake Malfoy up. The blonde needed the sleep – and Harry needed some time alone.

This was all such a mess, he thought, sitting down in a chair by the window. They were in a place where they certainly didn’t belong, and the people in this world had begun to notice. Malfoy’s theory about this being the future didn’t seem so far off now, for things were fitting better together. He still didn’t know what would make him and Malfoy get involved, romantically, some time during their last years at Hogwarts, but that was really the only piece of the puzzle that wasn’t fitting.

Ron and Hermione weren’t together at home, but Harry had no doubt about them becoming a couple sooner rather than later. The way they looked at each other, the way they teased each other – Hermione and Ron were really the only ones at Hogwarts that weren’t aware of the fact that they were in love with one another.

The Order existed here. And all the things that had happened in Harry’s life at home, had happened here as well, which made him doubt the alternate reality theory. Voldemort had killed his parents, given him his scar, he’d lived with the Dursleys, Hagrid, the gamekeeper and later the Care for Magical Creatures teacher, came and collected him when he was eleven, so that he could start at Hogwarts – all those things had happened both in this reality and that. Wasn’t the point of alternate reality that it was supposed to be just that – alternate?

Besides, Harry had looked at today’s Daily Prophet – and it had said that it was indeed, to the day, seven years later than it should have been.

So, he was either in a) the future or b) an alternate reality and the future. The future seemed to come back, no matter how Harry turned on things in his brain. But why in the world – and how – could he and Malfoy have been transported seven years into the future by just falling on their heads in Quidditch?

Maybe it was all a dream.

A very bad, strange and elaborate dream, but a dream just the same.

Still, Harry didn’t think so. It seemed too real to be a dream, and besides, he’d felt pain since he got here, and that was supposed to be a sign that it couldn’t be a dream.

No, this was real enough. And if it was real, and he couldn’t get home by just opening his eyes – he tried opening his closed eyes, but to no avail; he was still sitting by the window in the same room as before, and Malfoy was still sleeping on the bed behind him – then there had to be some other way. Harry refused to be stuck as a sixteen-year-old in a twenty-three-year-old body, and miss half his teenage-years. He just flat out refused.

“There has to be a way to get back,” he muttered quietly to himself.

Outside the window flew the birds, completely unaware of the problems in Harry’s world. He suddenly found himself missing his Nimbus 2000 – he wanted to fly! He hadn’t flown since he got here to this strange world, and now all he wanted was to soar up into the air and compete with the birds about who flew the fastest, far away from all the problems on the ground.

He walked over to the closet, opening the doors and hoping that his broom would be there. He pulled the robes aside, and – there was a broom! But it was not his Nimbus 2000.

Champion, it said simply on the side in gold letters.

Harry reached out and took it in his hands. It was light as a feather in his hands, perfectly balanced and with the exact right thickness for it to be comfortable to hold. He ran his fingers down its handle, and saw that ‘H. Potter’ was written in a small font right at the end of it.

“Awesome,” Harry mumbled to himself. “Absolutely awesome.”

He made his way downstairs. Hermione and Ron sat in the living room. Hermione was, unsurprisingly, reading a book. Ron looked like he was writing a report for the Ministry of Magic, for the paper had the Ministry’s seal on it.

“I’m going to go outside and fly a bit,” Harry said.

Hermione looked up, and nodded. “All right.”

“See you later,” Ron said, and Harry was out the door.

He had been outside the castle once before – that was the time when he had decided that it really was a castle. It looked old, and was built in stone. From the outside, it didn’t look very comfortable at all, but Hermione and Ron had made sure that the place had all the luxuries a modern house would have. They had, of course, also increased the living standard with magic. At first, Harry had wondered how in the world Hermione and Ron had the money to buy such a home, but apparently, they hadn’t bought it all by themselves. Dumbledore needed a second Headquarter, away from Hogwarts, for the Order, and this was it. Of course, there was also the fact that Ron and Hermione were making quite good money at the Ministry, so they still owned most of the castle.

The castle had two towers, one on each side. Harry and Malfoy’s room was on the left side, while Ron and Hermione’s was on the right. Underneath Ron and Hermione’s were – amongst other things – the two rooms where Harry and Malfoy had been when they were unconscious. In the middle of the castle was the entrance hall with two staircases on either side, and behind that were the living room and the kitchen.

Both in front, in the back and on the sides of the castle were huge areas of grass fields, and further off there were forests.

Harry mounted his broom, fully enjoying the rare sun and the cool November breeze. It had rained every day since they got here, up until today. There were still dark clouds at the horizon, and Harry knew there would be more rain, either later tonight, or tomorrow.

He lifted slowly from the ground, getting the feel for the new broom. It was easy to steer; only a small change of his weight made it move differently. Harry tried to dive, and then, just a second before he would hit the ground, he moved and steered the broom upwards again. It was so easy, and he felt so free. For the first time in days, he felt the problems vanish. They felt so small up here, compared to the never ending skies, and the blood-red sun dropping beyond the forests.

The birds flew and sang around him, and he followed them happily.

He pretended to be writing in the air, and spelled out ‘Harry’ in great big letters. Anyone who’d have been watching would have thought he was crazy, but Harry just felt happy. He was free.

He didn’t land again until the sun had set and the grounds were almost completely dark. His hair was a mess after so much flying, and his cheeks were rosy. A big grin was plastered on his face, and he felt like jumping and singing.


Harry saw Hermione stand in the doorway of the castle. He hurried up a little, wondering why she was calling him.

“Yes?” he asked when he got close enough.

“C’mon inside, Snuffles and Rem’ are here,” she told him.

Apparently, they hadn’t stopped calling Sirius ‘Snuffles’ whenever someone else could be around to hear them. Though Harry doubted that anyone who wasn’t supposed to was anywhere near the castle and its grounds at the moment.

Once they were inside, Harry took his boots off. When he turned around, someone caught him in a hug.

“Harry! It’s so good to see you, kid,” Sirius said happily.

“Kid? I’m taller than you,” Harry grinned. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched Ron and Hermione – they just continued to smile, so Harry assumed that this was something ‘their’ Harry would say.

“Yes, you’ve been that way for quite a while now. Say, you wouldn’t mind if I cut your legs off by your knees so that you’re shorter than me again, would you?” Sirius grinned.

“I don’t know if I’d care, but I’m pretty sure Draco wouldn’t love you so much if you did,” Harry replied, trying his hardest to say things that would sound like a twenty-three-year-old Harry.

“Ah yes, speaking of which, where is that boyfriend of yours?” Sirius asked, looking around. When he did, Harry caught sight of Remus. The werewolf hadn’t changed much since Harry saw him the last time at home; he still supported the rather scruffy-looking robes, his hair was still quite wild, although specked with more grey now than before, and he looked just as friendly as Harry remembered.

“Rem’,” Harry said, remembering to use Remus’ nickname. “How nice to see you again.”

“You’re looking better than when we dumped you off here,” Remus smiled at him.

“I would hope so,” Harry said, “As I am not beaten and unconscious this time.”

“Well, maybe we should move into the living room,” said Hermione. “It’s a bit more comfortable than standing here in the foyer.”

“Always follow the lady,” Sirius grinned and walked into the living room where they had been before Harry had come back from flying. Remus and Ron followed him, while Hermione turned to Harry.

“Why don’t you go get Draco,” she suggested. “I think I heard him upstairs before, so I believe he’s awake. Just don’t take too long.”

Harry grinned. “I’ll try. But you never know, he might need a bit of … comforting,” he said, a bit suggestively, trying his very hardest to be Hermione’s Harry.

Hermione looked a slight bit shocked. “Harry!” she said, but she was grinning, so Harry took it as a good sign.

“I’ll be right back,” Harry promised. Hermione nodded and followed her husband and her friends into the living room, while Harry set off up the stairs.

“Malfoy?” he asked as he opened the door.

The blonde sat on the floor with his back resting on the side of the bed. The bed was a mess; it looked like Malfoy may have had nightmares, for it seemed he’d been thrashing around quite a bit. Malfoy himself was now looking at a frame, but Harry couldn’t see the picture it held. Malfoy looked up when he heard Harry’s voice, though he didn’t say anything. He stared at the frame and its content, his eyes empty.

Harry sat down next to him.

“What’s that?” he asked, as he still couldn’t see the picture.

“Us,” Malfoy said simply and showed Harry the picture.

It was them. A happy them. Harry had his arms around Malfoy, and they were both grinning and waving at the person behind the camera. By the looks of it, it had been taken some time in the middle of the summer, for the sky was blue and they only had thin cotton shirts on.

But why was Malfoy sitting on the floor in their room with a picture of the two of them in his hands, staring at it like he was trying to memorize it?

“Malfoy, what’s up?” Harry asked finally, coming up with no good answer to his question.

Malfoy shrugged. “It’s us,” he said. “We’re happy. Why are we happy together? I mean, what could make us be happy together? We don’t even like each other.”

His voice was even, flat as though he didn’t care one way or another, yet still like he was a bit curious at the same time.

“I don’t know,” Harry said, “But we don’t have time to think about that now. Sirius and Remus are downstairs with ‘Mione and Ron, and they want to see you. Are you up for that?”

Malfoy looked doubtfully at Harry. “Why in Merlin’s beard would they want to see me?”

“This is not home, Malfoy. Here, they have accepted you, just like ‘Mione and Ron have. Oh,” Harry added as an afterthought. “Just so you know, ‘Mione is expecting twins. And she’s kind of realizing that we’re not who we say we are.”

“That girl always was too smart for her own good,” Malfoy muttered. “And another set of Weasley twins? Just what we need.”

Harry stood up. “Now don’t be a grump. You need to act just the way the Malfoy of this time would. I don’t think it would be a good idea to try and explain that we really are Harry and Draco, just not the ones they are used to. Don’t think that would go over too well…”

Malfoy looked up at him. “Would you continue to do that?”

“Do what?” Harry asked, dumbfounded.

“Call me Draco, rather than just ‘Malfoy’ the whole time,” the blonde said. “Even when Ron and the lot aren’t around.”

Harry stared at him. “You actually want me to call you by your first name?”

Malfoy nodded, his eyes trained on a spot on the floor. Harry could have sworn he saw a slight blush creep onto his cheeks, though he couldn’t really understand why.

“All right,” he said. “But then you’ll have to call me ‘Harry’ rather than just ‘Potter’ the whole time.”

Draco nodded. “Deal.”


There was an uncomfortable silence for a few seconds, then Harry said, “They’re waiting for us downstairs. You ready to play boyfriends again?”

Reluctantly, Draco nodded. “I still think that Sirius is just pretending,” he muttered. “He’s going to murder me in my sleep the first chance he gets…”

Harry ignored Draco’s muttering and concentrated on getting into the right mood to play the part of the blonde’s boyfriend once again. He – no, they – had to play their parts well. Like he’d said to Draco – it wouldn’t be an easy task explaining to Ron, Hermione, Sirius, Remus, Dumbledore and anyone else they happened to bump into that they were Harry and Draco, just not Harry and Draco as the people in this place knew them. No, that wouldn’t go over very well, Harry guessed.

Down in the living room, Ron and Remus were talking to each other while Hermione and Sirius seemed to be discussing – baby care? Harry wondered if he had wax in his ear.

“There you are, boys!” Remus exclaimed as Harry and Draco came down the stairs.

Harry saw Draco smile shyly behind him, and he took Draco’s hand in his. Had to keep the pretence up. It was only for pretence. Really.

Sirius came over and gave Draco a big hug; just like the one he’d given Harry. Draco, however, was much smaller than Harry, and he looked frightened as Harry’s large godfather took him in his arms. Harry just grinned at him, though.

Draco and Remus shook hands like old friends, but didn’t hug. The young Slytherin looked happy about that.

“Honey, how long before dinner is ready?” Ron asked his wife.

“If you guys help me set the table, it will be done in just a few minutes,” Hermione answered.

All four boys – well, boys according to Hermione at least – began setting the table.

“I’ve seen riots that were better organized than this,” Hermione muttered to herself when she saw that both Sirius and Ron were getting plates, which was why there were suddenly plates for twelve people on the table, rather than six.

Draco took glasses for all of them, and Ron went to pour wine instead of getting the plates.

Before long, the table really did get set, and the friends all sat down. They talked about everything between heaven and earth, and spent quite some time discussing baby names. Hermione wrinkled her nose at most of them.

“Sarah?” she said. “You’d really name your baby girl Sarah?”

Sirius looked slightly hurt. “Yes, I happen to like that name.”

“I like the name,” Ron said, “But it’s to common.”

“And you, Remus?” Hermione asked, turning to the werewolf. “What would you name a daughter?”

“Well, considering the fact that I will most likely, for several reasons, never have a baby at all, I haven’t really thought about it that much,” Remus replied quietly. “But if I did ever get a little girl of my own, then I would probably name her Rachel.”

Hermione and Ron both nodded thoughtfully. “Rachel is a nice name,” Ron said. His wife sat silent.

“And you, Harry?” Ron asked. “What would you name your daughter?”

Harry looked thoughtful. What would he name a child? “I like Amber,” he said finally.

“You are so not naming our daughter Amber,” Draco said. “No way.”

“So what do you suggest then, love?” Harry asked, annoyed.

Now it was Draco’s turn to look thoughtful. “Jade.”

“Jade is nice,” Remus said. “I like that name. It’s sweet. I could name my daughter Jade.”

And so it continued. They suggested name after name, but there was always something about it that someone didn’t like. When they were done with the baby names, they managed to move onto some gossip – which was slightly surprising, considering the majority of the people around the table were men.

“It just proves that boys like to gossip just as much as girls do,” Hermione said in triumph.

They also covered Draco’s vision, so that Sirius and Remus were now completely filled in on it. This topic, however, dampened the mood, so they left if fairly quickly.

They sat and talked until long after they’d finished eating. They continued to drink wine – all of them except Hermione – and by midnight, they were all more than a little bit tipsy. Hermione bid them good night when they moved from the kitchen table to the living room. Now, the five men were scattered around the fire. Sirius and Remus sat on the couch together, looking more than comfortable. Ron sat on his own now that his wife had left him. Draco lay in Harry’s arms on the other couch, almost asleep.

“Aw,” Ron said, “I am surrounded by cute couples.”

Sirius grinned and pulled Remus closer. Harry, pretending to be more drunk than he really was, asked, “Yeah… How long have you two been together now?”

“Let’s see…” Sirius said and began counting on his fingers. “Schix years.”

“Ooh, he’s drunk!” Ron said, his voice triumphant. “We’d better get him to bed.”

“I’m not tired,” said Sirius indignantly.

“I know one that is tired,” Remus said. “Despite having slept all day, according to my sources.”

He pointed at Draco, who was indeed either sleeping or very close to it, with a small but content smile on his lips, in Harry’s arms.

“You two are such a prefect… respet… couple,” Sirius said.

“You mean perfect,” said Remus.

“Thasch what I shaid,” Sirius said. “Respet.”

“Okay,” Remus said, sitting up reluctantly. “Let’s get you to bed. You’ll have one hell of a headache tomorrow anyway, so if you get at least some sleep, you might be able to function tomorrow. Good night everyone.”

“Nood gnight,” Sirius said, as his boyfriend led him out of the room.

“Well then,” Ron said. “I guess we should be going to bed as well.”

Harry nodded. “Draco?” he said softly. The blonde moaned and muttered something that sounded like, “I don’t want to get up yet mum.” Harry smiled to himself.

“Draco, wake up.”

Draco opened his eyes reluctantly and saw Harry hovering above him. “What, Potter?” he asked irritably. “Why don’t I get to sleep?”

Harry grinned. “Because you’re a) on the couch in the Weasley’s living room, and b) lying on top of my arm, and I want to get to bed, so you need to get up so that I can get out of here.”

Draco muttered into the sofa, “This is good enough for me to sleep on, why not for you?”

Ron stood. “I’ll see you two tomorrow,” he said.

“Yeah,” Harry replied. “Good night.”


Ron left the room, leaving Harry and Draco.

“Get up,” Harry said to Draco. “I’m so not carrying you to our room this time.”

“Why not?” Draco whined into the couch.

Harry didn’t answer. He just pulled out the arm that Draco was using as a pillow, and as a result, Draco fell off the couch onto the floor.

“What did you do that for?” he groaned, sounding annoyed, mad and just a bit drunk.

“I’m going to bed,” Harry said to the blonde. “You can sleep on the floor if you want to.”

He left. As he turned up the stairs, he heard Draco pick himself up from the floor, and then there were footsteps, so Harry assumed that the Slytherin was following him to the room. Too bad, or Harry would have had the bed to himself.

The house was silent now. Sirius and Remus were sleeping in one of the guestrooms below Ron and Hermione’s room, which was all the way on the other side of the castle, so even if they were still awake, Harry wouldn’t be able to hear them. He undressed and got into his pyjamas, then crawled into bed. A few minutes later, he heard the door open and saw the Draco enter. The room was dark except for the moonlight shining in through the window, and Draco didn’t turn the light on, so Harry watched the moon’s soft silver light play over Draco’s body. Draco’s pale skin and blonde hair shone, making him look like a ghost, or something else otherworldly.

“Ouch,” Draco muttered, sounding not so ghostlike. He seemed to have hit his toe on something on the floor, for he continued to mutter curses under his breath. Then he was finally changed and he crawled into bed, careful to keep to ‘his side’ of the bed.

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