Chapter Four
Home Sweet Home

Remus and Sirius left early the next morning by floo. Harry almost laughed when he saw Sirius – ‘hangover’ was clearly written across his face, as he staggered into the kitchen and ordered coffee in a gruff voice. Remus was better off, as he and Harry were the ones that hadn’t been drinking so much the night before. Ron had already left for work and Draco was still sleeping, so it was just Hermione and Harry who bid Remus and Sirius good-bye.

“We’ll see you soon, I believe,” Hermione said. “I don’t doubt that Dumbledore will put you out there on this one.”

Remus nodded in agreement. “Yes, I think so too.”

Then he took Sirius by the arm and led him to the fire. He was muttering under his breath about never ever drinking again.

“Yes, yes,” said Remus, “The day that happens is the day that I no longer transform.”

Sirius glared at him, and they stepped into the fire.

Hermione and Harry walked back to the kitchen. “Would you like something to eat, Harry?”

Harry smiled. “You can sit down, ‘Mione. I’ll get it myself. Would you like anything?”

Hermione shook her head. “I don’t do breakfast since I got pregnant, remember?” she said. “I only throw it up anyway.”

“It hasn’t been getting better?” Harry asked, trying hard to say things that wouldn’t sound suspicious. The Harry of Hermione’s world would have known that she wasn’t eating breakfast anymore.

Hermione shook her head again. “Nope. I really wish it would, though. I’m getting so tired of being sick every ten minutes.”

“But maybe it’ll all be worth it once the twins are born?” Harry asked, carefully choosing his words so that she realized that he knew she was carrying twins. Meanwhile, he took butter from the fridge to put on the bread he was toasting.

She stared at him for a moment, a confused look on her face, before she masked her feelings and said in a soft tone, “It will definitely be worth it.”

The toaster sounded, and the toast popped up.

“Maybe you could take a glass of water? Or milk?” Harry asked.

Hermione smiled. “Yes, actually. I think I’ll be able to keep a glass of milk down.”

A few minutes later, Harry was munching away on his toast, while Hermione was sipping a glass of milk. They sat in silence, looking out the big windows at the rain that was once again falling. Harry had been right – the big, dark clouds that had been at the horizon the day before were now over them.

“Draco still sleeping?” Hermione asked finally, after almost five minutes of comfortable silence.

Harry grinned and turned to her. “Like a baby. I think he’ll have a bit of a hangover, just like my dear godfather, when he wakes up.”

“And just like my husband had and probably still has,” Hermione smiled. “He always drinks when he’s with you boys, and then the next morning, I’m stuck with a hung over husband. And then he swears he’ll never drink again, although we both know that he will the next time you come over.”

She smiled. “And I would be right there with all of you if not for my… condition.”

Harry grinned at her, although he was surprised. Hermione had been drinking before she got pregnant? The clean, bookworm image had changed slightly, then.

The stairs creaked, signalling someone approaching. Harry looked up to see Draco.

“’Morning,” Draco said in a low, growling voice that sounded more like Crabbe or Goyle’s, than Draco’s own.

“Good morning,” Harry said cheerfully, deciding to torture Draco a bit. A hung-over Draco was not something he was treated to very often, and it could easily be even more fun than a drunk Draco.

The blonde winced at Harry’s loud voice, and dropped down in the seat next to Hermione.

“Coffee?” he grunted.

Harry was a bit surprised; he didn’t know Draco drank coffee.

“Coming right up,” Harry said in the same cheerful voice as before. “Would you like something to go with that? Toast? Eggs? Bacon? Anything?”

He saw Draco’s pale face become even whiter at the mention of food. Then the blonde shook his head ‘no’ and placed his head in his hands, sighing. Hermione stood and walked over to one of the cupboards. She took out some pills, then walked back to Draco and gave the pills to him.

“Here,” she said. “It’ll make you feel better.”

Draco took the pills and swallowed.

“Oh,” added Hermione. “They probably have some side effects, since the Weasley twins were the ones to create them.”

The Slytherin stared at her, as if wondering whether he should go and try to throw the pills up again. “What side effects?” he croaked, finally finding his voice.

“Well,” Hermione said, “I don’t really know; they didn’t tell me.”

Then there was a popping noise, and smoke steamed out of Draco’s ears. He looked around wildly, and put his hands to his ears, but had to remove them again, for the smoke was hot. The smoke surrounded him, so the only thing Harry and Hermione could see was a big cloud, and when it cleared, it showed Draco again.

Well, almost Draco.

A Draco with cat ears, a tail and whiskers.

Harry laughed harder than he had in years. He was soon doubled over, pointing and laughing at Draco. The blonde in question didn’t notice the changes until now.

“Aah!” he screamed as he saw his tail and felt the whiskers on his face. “What have you done to me?!”

Hermione was giggling hysterically as well. “It – it’ll go away – as soon as your hang – hangover would have been gone,” she said between the fits of laughter. “You got this instead of the hangover, like a replacement.”

“You’d make a really cute cat,” Harry laughed.

Draco’s cheeks turned red, and he stormed out of the room. Harry and Hermione looked after him, still laughing hard.

“I didn’t get a thank you,” Hermione said, still giggling quietly. “I thought he’d be glad to be rid of his hangover.”

“Oh, I think that deep down, he was really thankful,” Harry said, then added, “Did you see his nose twitching?”

And they broke into yet another fit of laughter.

new scene

Later on, Harry found Draco in their room. He was staring out the window, his face set in an angry mask. Harry didn’t think he was aware that his tail was swishing back and forth, and even that motion seemed to reek of fury.

“Feeling better, Draco?” Harry asked. He couldn’t help but tease the other boy.

Draco whipped around and stared at him. “This is a bloody great deal of fun for you, isn’t it, Potter?” he asked.

“Well,” said Harry, “You must admit that it’s quite hilarious to see you with cat ears, and a tail.”

“You think it’s funny? I can give you a tail and some ears as well. Maybe then I will get a good laugh,” Draco said hotly.

Harry stopped grinning as he noticed just how angry Draco was.

“Jeez, Draco,” he said. “It was just funny.”

“Well I didn’t think so!” Draco yelled at him. “Do you know how many times I’ve been humiliated in the last thirty hours? I’ve fallen to the floor, ‘kicking and screaming like a baby’ in your own words, I have cried, I’ve had you comfort me, I’ve slept next to you, I’ve thrown up, I’ve told you things about myself that none except Dumble-bloody-dore knows, I’ve gotten drunk, I’ve fallen asleep on you a second bloody time, and finally you decided that none of that was enough, so you gave me cat ears and a tail! Did I forget anything?!”

Harry watched the blonde through his tirade, and when the other boy was done, he just stood silent. Draco’s tail swished back and forth in a foreboding way, as though he was watching prey. The silver eyes narrowed, and filled with tears, but Harry knew that this time, Draco wouldn’t let himself cry.

“You were brave, Draco,” Harry said. “You saw all that death and torture and -”

“And what did I do?” Draco screamed. “I went and threw up. I, the Malfoy heir, went and threw up after I saw someone get tortured.”

“What do you want me to say to that? You switched sides! Any normal person would get sick from watching what you had to see,” Harry tried to reason though he was becoming increasingly annoyed with Draco’s behaviour.

“I am not a good person! I’ve been raised since I was born to take over my father’s place in Voldemort’s circle! Even the Dark Lord himself has told me that I will be ‘the most perfect of my Death Eaters, more so than even your father’. I am not a nice goody-goody like you!”

Harry stared at Draco. “You’re not like that,” he said quietly. “You’re not evil.”

“I am not evil?” the blonde interrupted again, “Potter, there is nothing I am more than evil. Didn’t you watch me through the years? Didn’t you hear me? I was proud of my father when they tortured those Muggles at the Quidditch World Cup. I wanted to join him then – they had everything I ever dreamed of – power, and the fear of the people.”

“You are not evil,” Harry said again, although he was beginning to realize that Draco wouldn’t listen to him, no matter how many times Harry told him. “If you were, you wouldn’t have switched sides.”

Draco stared at him, his eyes narrowed in anger and frustration. Harry turned to the door before Draco could begin raving on and on again. He was just about to open the door to leave, when he remembered the reason he’d come. “We’re moving after lunch.”

“Moving?” Draco spat, and Harry could hear the anger without looking at the Slytherin’s face.

“Back to our own apartment,” said Harry, trying to sound indifferent. “I talked to Hermione. Apparently we live together in a place right outside of London. We’re going there by floo later today.”

He left the room, his shoulders sagging slightly. It felt like there was a big weight hanging on his shoulders, and he knew that that weight was. For the past few days, Harry had come to rely, if only a little, on Draco, and to suddenly be fighting with him – it was unnerving. Especially since he didn’t know what to do about it. Draco wouldn’t listen to him. Draco was supposed to be his enemy, not his friend. Not someone to rely on. He didn’t know Draco at all; didn’t know how to deal with any of the things that the blonde had just screamed at him.

Sighing, he came downstairs. Hermione sat in one of the smaller rooms, a study by the looks of it, working. She took one look at him and asked, “Are you fighting?”

Harry nodded, but tried to look indifferent.

“About what?”

Harry stopped and thought for a moment. “I don’t really know,” he sighed. “Draco thinks that everything that has happened, with the vision, and him crying and all that, is humiliating. And he didn’t like that we laughed at him at breakfast.”

Hermione frowned. “Should I talk to him? I mean, it wasn’t supposed to hurt him. I just thought we could do with a laugh.”

Harry put his hand on Hermione’s shoulder. “We probably did need a laugh, only Draco doesn’t really like it when we’re laughing at him. If you’d done it to me, then I doubt we’d be here right now.”

“Still, maybe I should go and talk to him.”

Harry shook his head. “He needs to let some steam off right now.”

“Are you still leaving after lunch?”

Harry nodded. “Yeah. I told him, he seemed okay with it.” Well, that wasn’t a complete lie. Draco hadn’t said much at all about going to live in their own apartment.

“I’ll be making lunch at about one, so we’ll floo at about one thirty or two. Is that all right?” Hermione asked and Harry smiled.

“Sounds good to me. So, you’re coming with us?”

“Yeah,” she replied. “Thought I’d visit the library afterwards, so I might as well come with you. Ron is at the Ministry.”

After a few more minutes of small talk, Harry grabbed a book from one of the bookcases and sat down in the living room to read. It was a Muggle-written book, but Harry didn’t mind. That was the only kind he’d had access to whilst living at the Dursley’s. This one was called, “Angela’s ashes” and was about a boy’s poor upbringing in a town on Ireland. It was quite enjoyable.

“You re-reading that book again?” Hermione asked when she came out of the study three hours later to start on their lunch.

Harry looked at her, then at the book, then back up at his friend again. “Um, yeah,” he said uncertainly. Obviously, his older counterpart had read this book before.

Hermione shrugged. “It’s a good book. You can take it with you home if you want to.”

Harry smiled. “Thanks. There’s no way I’ll finish it right now.” He closed the book and followed Hermione to the kitchen. “Anything I can do to help?”

“I’m doing a salad for us, so you can start cutting the lettuce for me, please,” Hermione said.

“’Course,” Harry said and began.

Another twenty minutes later, lunch stood on the table. The salad contained ham, tomatoes, cucumber and other vegetables. Hermione called upstairs for Draco. He appeared a few minutes later, but he refused to look at Harry. Over all, the table was very quiet as they ate their food. Draco hardly touched his food, which worried Harry a bit. The blonde hadn’t eaten any breakfast and he now he just pushed his lunch around on the plate? Finally, he shrugged mentally, and signed it off to the hangover that Draco would still have been suffering from if it weren’t for the pills – his ears, tail and whiskers were still in place.

After lunch, Harry went up to his and Draco’s room and cleaned up – with the help of magic, of course. He assumed that the clothes in the closet belonged to Hermione and Ron rather than to him, and were supposed to stay at the castle for occasions like this – when Harry and Draco needed to be cared for, or were just staying there for some other reason. He checked Draco’s closet as well, but found that the blonde had already cleaned up in there. The only thing Harry brought with him downstairs was his broom, his Champion, because he assumed that it really did belong to him since it had his name on it.

When he came downstairs again, Hermione had put on thick cloaks, making her look slightly less pregnant than she was. Slightly.

“It’s the middle of November,” she said. “I thought it’d be good if I didn’t freeze to death on my way to the library.”

Harry smiled, and nodded. “Ladies first?” he said and motioned at the fire. He was a bit nervous – what was he supposed to say to the fire? He needed Hermione to go first, and he and Draco would just do the exact same thing.

Hermione sighed. “Don’t be surprised if I throw up when I get to the Nest,” she said.

The Nest? Well, that was one thing to name their home, Harry thought.

She took a pinch of floo powder and threw it into the fire. “The Nest,” she said clearly. Then she stepped into the flames and disappeared.

Harry watched as Draco, with a look of complete indifference on his face, did the same thing, before he picked up the book he’d been reading, and threw the floo into the fire.

The world began to spin quickly around him, and the living room disappeared, until everything around him was a blur. Then he saw the faces of Hermione and Draco before him, and he hurried out. He landed flat on his face on the floor of a large room, and his broom and the book fell out of his hands.

“Oof,” Harry muttered.

“Really, Harry,” Hermione said. “One would think that after all these years, you should know how to travel by floo.”

Harry’s cheeks went a bit pink, but then he turned his attention to the room he was in. The floor he was on was soft because of a big, blue mat just like the one in their room at the Weasley castle. The walls were also similar to the ones in the castle; light blue. That was the end of similarities, though. This room was much more sparsely decorated; simple was definitely the description of the room. There was a couch, a white one, with three pillows – navy blue – on it, and a low glass-table. Right in the middle of the table stood a high vase with a single red rose in it.

Behind the couch, as well as on the other side of the fireplace, were large windows, and Harry could see a balcony outside of those windows. It was, as usual, raining.

On both the other sides, there were doors. One of them was open, and Harry could see a corridor but not much more. On that side of the room was also a wooden desk, with papers neatly stacked upon it. A comfortable-looking working chair stood next to the table.

“Welcome home,” Hermione grinned. “I had Ginny come by here before to clean this place up.”

“Tell her thank you,” Harry said. Draco kept quiet.

“Well,” said Hermione as the boys began to look around. “I guess I should leave you two alone then. I think Ginny filled the fridge too, so if you’re hungry…”

“We’ll be fine,” Harry assured her. “Thanks for everything.”

Hermione smiled at him. “Always,” she replied, then turned and walked through the door leading to the corridor. She navigated easily through the apartment – she should, after all she had been there before, unlike Harry and Draco. The Boy Who Lived followed his friend to what looked like the front door.

“I know I can floo to the library, but I actually think I’ll walk. I need the exercise.” Hermione stood on her tiptoes to give Harry a kiss on the cheek. “Dumbledore will probably contact you tonight,” she continued. “He should have a team ready by now.”

Harry nodded, and said goodbye to Hermione.

When she left, he decided to have a look around the apartment. Draco had disappeared somewhere, probably sulking wherever he was.

There was an open door, opposite the front door. It led to a rather large kitchen, with a ‘half-island’, and three high stools on the other side of it for guests. Beyond it was a table with two chairs on each of the longer sides of it. All the furniture was made of wood; the table and the chairs were some light-coloured wood, while the high stools were made of something darker. Above the half-island were cupboards with glass doors. Harry looked through them, as well as the drawers, and memorized where everything was. Knives, forks, two different sets of plates, matching cups, and a large collection of cooking tools. Seemed that the older versions of himself and Draco liked to cook.

He liked what he’d seen of the apartment so far. The rooms seemed to have different colour themes – the living room was mostly in blue, with the occasional break of white and wood. The hallway was painted a deep red. On the walls hung pictures, but Harry hadn’t had time to look at them when he walked with Hermione. He would look at those next.

The kitchen had pale yellow walls and ceramic in a soft orange leaning towards light brown colour on the floor.

Harry walked back to the hallway. Now, when he had time to study the pictures, he saw that they were an assortment of photos of himself and Draco, as well as pictures of their friends. Hermione and Ron were featured on several, and their photographic selves were grinning and winking at Harry as he passed them. There were pictures of the gang at the beach, in the forest, at the Weasley castle, at Hogwarts… Harry stopped and looked at the ones of their graduation. Harry, Ron, Hermione and – Draco. The Slytherin was the only one that wasn’t smiling to the camera. Harry thought he could detect some bruises on his neck and the side of his face, although Draco tried his best to hide it.

Harry wondered if it had been right before graduation that Lucius had kidnapped his own son and tortured him. Hermione hadn’t said any specific date about it, or even a year. It would make the pictures make sense, for that would explain why Draco had bruises – and why he could be with Harry so freely. Draco’s father would be dead, leaving Draco free to do what he wanted.

Halfway down the corridor were two large wooden doors, formed like a portal, leading to a room. Harry pushed the doors open curiously.

The Master Bedroom was an impressive sight. Deep red walls, and several paintings hung on them. Right in front of Harry was a large bed – the largest one he’d seen in his life. Beyond the bed was a big window, the same size as the ones in the living room – they started at the floor and reached almost to the ceiling. Dark red drapes with patterns of gold hung around the window. There was no doubt that the room was inspired by the Gryffindor colours.

But what made Harry move back out of the bedroom before he’d memorized how it looked was Draco. He was sitting with his back to Harry, staring out the big window. Harry couldn’t see his face, but he guessed that the blonde’s face was back in its mask of indifference again. The boy didn’t turn when Harry entered, nor did he turn when he left.

Harry went back to the living room, picked up the book and his broom off the floor and sat down heavily on the couch.

What a mess this was. Hermione was at the library, looking up who-knew-what because he suspected the truth – that Harry and Draco weren’t the people they made themselves out to be. Harry didn’t doubt that if she really tried, she would find them out. Would that be a bad thing? Perhaps if Hermione realized the truth she could help them get back home again? For Harry and Draco were certainly not getting any closer to being able to go home and leave these bodies to the people that were supposed to inhabit them.

Harry stretched and flexed his fingers – fingers that didn’t belong to him. It was odd to look at himself in the mirror and see a stranger. Well, there were the familiar eyes and the scar, but still… The reflection was a stranger. It was a bit easier to look at everyone else. Hermione, Ron and Draco had changed, but they were still them. He wondered if Draco thought of it the same way – that Harry looked more like himself than Draco thought he did.

This world was … weird, to say the least. Hermione and Ron were married. He’d known that for a week now, but he had yet to come to terms with it. And Hermione was pregnant with twins. Hermione as a mum wouldn’t be so odd – but Ron as a father? Harry had a very hard time picturing that.

Dumbledore hadn’t changed much, thankfully. He still supported the long, white beard and hair, the occasional – okay, more than occasional – strange hat and colourful robes. His blue eyes still twinkled with mischief and amusement ninety-eight percent of the time.

Sirius and Remus had also been grown-up when Harry last saw them, which made them easier to recognize. They hadn’t changed as much – except for the fact that they were now lovers. Harry wondered briefly what made them discover each other – and then he wondered if everyone were gay now. Sirius and Remus, the Draco and Harry of this time… The Boy Who Lived suddenly realized that the thought of him and Draco as lovers didn’t want to make him throw up anymore. In fact, it would probably be quite nice to have someone to hold and love and be loved by.

That, however, wasn’t going to happen any time soon. Draco wasn’t speaking to him, and Harry had no doubt in his mind that if Draco didn’t want to make peace again, then it would be a long time before they would speak civilly to each other again.

“Potter, wake up!”

Harry woke from his reverie and looked around himself. The room was empty, so where –

“In the fire, Potter,” the same, annoyed voice said.

Harry turned and almost jumped a foot into the air. “Professor Snape!”

The Hogwarts Potions Master looked oddly at him. “That was a while ago since you called me that, Potter.”

“Um, sorry,” said Harry. “I was startled, that’s all.”

Snape shot him another look, but Harry was surprised to notice that it didn’t hold the same amount of disgust as the Potions Master at home always had. The Snape at home had never, in almost six years, said anything even remotely kind to Harry. So the Boy Who Lived assumed that the reason Snape was being nice now would have to do with Dumbledore forcing them to make peace, for the sake of the Order.

“I’ve just spoken to the Headmaster,” Snape said. “He wants you and Draco to come to Hogwarts tomorrow; they think they’ve located the family Draco saw in his vision.”

“Does the Headmaster have a plan?” Harry asked, choosing his words carefully.

Snape nodded. “There will be a meeting here tomorrow afternoon that you and Draco are both supposed to attend. I’ve been called, as well as the Weasley twins, and a few others of the Order. Ron and Hermione have received orders about keeping the Ministry out of our way, so they’re working on that, but that’s all I know. Dumbledore will fill us in tomorrow. He seems to think there’s plenty of time.”

“I trust the Headmaster completely,” said Harry.

Snape smiled. Harry couldn’t help but think that it looked strange on the Potions Master’s pale face. “As do I, Harry,” said the Professor.

“Oh,” Harry said, remembering something. “Could you make some more Althidia potion? I’m almost out.”

Harry had looked at the vials on his belt and memorized the names. As soon as he had time, he would find out exactly what the different potions did, so that he would be able to use them correctly. The Althidia Potion was the only one that he didn’t have a lot left of, though. He’d taken a risk in assuming that Snape made the potions for him, but he couldn’t believe that he himself was supposed to make them – Potions was definitely not his best subject at Hogwarts.

“Already working on it,” Snape replied. “You asked me before our last operation, as you might recall. I will have it ready for you when you arrive here tomorrow.”

“Thank you, Severus,” said Harry, taking yet another risk. He hoped sincerely that ‘Severus’ – or perhaps ‘Sev’ – was what he called the Potions Master. It seemed right, for Snape didn’t look at him oddly this time.

“Just tell that seer of yours to be at Hogwarts around ten tomorrow, and you can come at about twelve or so. The password for the Headmaster’s office is ‘Snickers’, though I have no clue of what that means.”

Harry laughed. “It’s a Muggle chocolate bar,” he explained when Snape began to look sour.

Snape muttered something that sounded like, “That Headmaster and his candy…”

“I’ll see you tomorrow then,” said Harry.

The Potions Master bid Harry good-bye, and with a ‘poof’, his head disappeared from the flames. Harry stood, picked the broom – which had once again fallen to the floor – and his book up and proceeded down the hallway to the kitchen. He didn’t want to go to the bedroom, for he knew that Draco would still be there, still ignoring him completely.

Instead, he set about making dinner for them. He found noodles in one of the cupboards, and frozen chicken in the freezer. For once, he was glad that the Dursley’s had made him cook their food every night since he was eight years old, for now he knew how to better than most of the students at Hogwarts.

Soon, the kitchen smelled wonderfully of noodles and chicken sauce. Harry set the table for himself and Draco, cut the vegetables and poured them water to drink. Then he called for the Slytherin.

Draco showed up after a few minutes. His cat ears and tail were gone, Harry noticed.

“Dinner?” Harry asked, and Draco nodded but didn’t say anything. He held a look of complete indifference when he sat down opposite Harry. When he’d put the food on the table, he began eating slowly. Harry watched him out of the corner of his eye, and wondered if he was actually eating or just moving the food around this time as well.

“You need to eat,” Harry said when he’d watched Draco push the food around without taking a bite for several minutes.

“You’re not my mother,” Draco muttered back without looking at him, and making no attempt to eat any of the food on his plate.

“You didn’t eat breakfast -” Harry began, and Draco cut him off.

“And whose fault was that?”

“Draco, I’ve said I’m sorry about that -”

“I don’t care if you’re sorry!” Draco said, and Harry could hear the annoyance in the Slytherin’s voice grow. Harry was getting angrier as well at the other boy’s childish behaviour.

“Can you just please eat?” Harry asked, his voice getting louder.

“No!” Draco yelled back at him. “I don’t want any of your bloody food! I don’t want anything to do with you at all!”

With that, Draco stood and stormed out of the room. Harry heard the doors to the bedroom open and then slam shut with a loud ‘bang!’ He sighed to himself and continued to eat.

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