aoifene: (draco tom)
[personal profile] aoifene
I am having so much fun in Azkatraz! It's been amazing meeting people from my flist and having everyone in one room! I'll make a more detailed post about slashers in Castro and gay bars and the drunken fun that always ensues after dark much later. Probably after the con. But I wanted to post this since I finished it. It's an extended version of my [ profile] hd_worldcup '09 fic, A Hope in Hell. Some scenes were cut from the original due to time constraints and this is my attempt to remedy that. I do hope you enjoy.

Title: A Hope in Hell (1/4)
Author/Artist: [ profile] aoifene
Wordcount: 23,062
Rating: R for sex and violence
Warnings: Draco-centric
Summary: In the aftermath of war, where extreme justice has led the way to injustice and victory has turned into complacency, Draco Malfoy finds the strength to save himself and a few others along the way.
Author's/Artist's Note: Thank you to my wonderful beta team: [ profile] jamie2109, [ profile] blamebrampton, [ profile] oldenuf2nb, and [ profile] kit84. This story was also inspired a lil bit by James Cameron’s Dark Angel.

“What power would hell have if those here imprisoned were not able to dream of heaven?”
Neil Gagman, The Sandman #4

Draco Malfoy sighed for the umpteenth time as he stood on the sun-baked steps of an old weather-worn building. His eyes narrowed in disgust as he spied several Muggles milling aimlessly about. Some of them even had the gall to stop mid-stride and stare at him curiously. No doubt his robes made him stick out like a sore thumb, but he didn’t care. He was a bloody Wizard and he would not wear those outrageous things Muggles passed off as clothes. His family had already given up so much of themselves to get this new Muggle-loving world off their backs. He was loath to give up more. Even if he was here to do exactly that.

Gritting his teeth, he turned his back on the ignorant lot and made his way up the stairs. Thankfully, Grimmauld Place was no longer unplottable so it was much easier to find it. As soon as he reached the top step, he sighed heavily and muttered a curse. He might as well get on with it. He grasped the ominous doorknocker with great trepidation and brought it down loudly three times.

A snicker from behind him caused him to turn around and he narrowed his eyes at a small Muggle child that was gurgling at him from the pavement, one of its chubby fingers pointing at him. Draco snorted at such an irritating display and would have ignored it fully if only the small brat hadn’t picked that moment to squeak out an insult from its dribbling, disgusting mouth.


At that Draco saw red. He was already tired, cranky, and quite irritable from another fruitless day at the Ministry and this was before he finally decided to face Potter. He didn’t need some little street urchin making fun of his robes. He reached for his wand angrily before the child’s oblivious mother gave him pause. Surely the woman wouldn’t mind if he gave her little munchkin a face full of dirt to go with that potty mouth of his. After all, she was busy chatting about something called the komputa with another passerby. He sighed as he let his hand drop, forcing himself to focus on the task at hand. Where was Potter anyway? It figured the wanker would be rude enough to make his guests wait for him by the door. He was about to knock once more when another chuckle reached his ears.

That was it!

He whirled around menacingly and pushed up his sleeves. He bared his teeth and made the most ferocious face he could at the boy, only stopping his antics when he heard a frightened cry from the child.

“That is a better look for you, Malfoy. I approve. You should make it permanent. Perhaps a Sticking charm?”

Draco flushed with embarrassment at being caught acting so foolishly but straightened his spine a moment later. He turned to glare at Potter’s smirking face. “If you didn’t have the manners of an orang-utan, I wouldn’t be forced to defend myself against your insipid Muggle neighbours. Clearly, it’s your fault.”

“What? Are you insane? How can-”

“See, you’re only proving my point because we are still standing at your doorway like barbarians. Or do you make a habit of leaving your wards open for attack?” Draco sneered, moving to push his way inside.

“And I have no manners!” Potter rolled his eyes as he moved to block the boy. “Why are you here, Malfoy? Or better yet how do you know where I live?”

“Again, I repeat, in smaller words so you can understand me.” Draco pointed towards the street. “Outside, bad.” He pointed down the dim hallway. “Inside, good. Or do you actually want to advertise where you live to people?”

“How do I know I can trust you?” Potter narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “You still haven’t given me a reason to ask you inside. In fact, you’ve given me several reasons to slam the door in your pointy face instead.”

“The location of your house is a secret kept by people you trust. It’s so safeguarded that you don’t even need to renew the old Fidelius charm on it. I clearly know where it is and have been given directions to find it by those very people,” Draco stated the obvious. “That should be enough to soothe your scarred, paranoid head until we get inside.”

“All right, fair enough but what’s the big rush to get inside?” Potter smirked. “The war is over, Malfoy.”

Draco shook his head in disgust at Potter's naiveté, reaching the end of his patience and shoving his way inside.

“No, it’s not.”

“So let me get this right. You want me to testify at your mum’s trial,” Potter said slowly, sitting back in his armchair.

“And I want you to give me back my wand. It is mine, after all,” Draco reminded him as he shifted uncomfortably in his own seat, trying and failing to prevent dust getting on his robes. Honestly! The man was a savage, letting his study reach such a rundown state. Granger probably forbade him from doing the sensible thing and getting a House-elf.

“Right.” Potter looked at him for moment, his eyes assessing. “Why would I do that?”

“Because you owe my family a debt!” Draco shot back, indignant at the thought of being refused. He never even considered that the git would say no. He didn’t even think it was possible. A world where Potter wasn’t itching to jump in to do his big heroing bit? Thus indebting thousands more to him? The thought boggled Draco’s mind and left him in a state of panic.

“I saved your life,” Potter pointed out. “Twice.”

“I had it under control that last time,” Draco groused as he looked away. “I didn’t need your help.”

“Yes, because pleading for your life with rabid Death Eaters always worked well for you.” Potter rolled his eyes

“I saved you from Crabbe and Goyle.”

“But you led them to us in the first place.”

“I didn’t identify you in the Manor.”

“You know, I don’t actually think you recognised me. Maybe you need glasses, Four Eyes?”

“I’d recognize your ugly mug anywhere, you git!”

“Oh Malfoy, I didn’t know you cared. Shall I swoon now or later?”

Draco glared at the infuriating man before him. He would be amused by their exchange if he wasn’t so busy entertaining homicidal fantasies about the wanker. “Well, well, Potter. It seems like you came back from the dead with a sharper wit. Are you sure you didn’t take home a souvenir? Like, say, someone inside your head that’s smarter than you?”

“Yes, Malfoy.” Potter’s expression grew inexplicably dark.”This time I made sure of it.”

Draco snorted. “All right, you’re weird but I’m content in leaving it at that. So which is it, Potter? Are you going to testify or not?”

Potter sighed explosively. “How could I not? Even though she’s yours, she’s still someone’s mother. And she did save my life.”

“Oh, how gracious of you. It must be such a burden to think about opening your mouth and telling the truth,” Draco said sarcastically as he stood up. Merlin, this was tiring and he’d been here less than an hour. “Just be at the Manor at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning and don’t be late.”

“What?” Potter spluttered as he rose. “Why?”

“So we can build a case around your testimony,” Draco scoffed. “Obviously.”


“Yes, we.” Draco gestured to indicate them both. “And while we’re at it, perhaps we can change your speaking skills into something that’s evolved past one word questions. But all in good time, I wouldn’t want you to strain yourself on the first day.”

“First day?”

“See? Already improving to two word questions. Progress.” Draco smirked at Potter’s reddening face. “A defence wasn’t built in a day, Potter. Of course, we need to work on it for more than that and I’m not jumping for joy about spending more time with you than necessary, either, but needs must.” He shrugged, his lips quirking at Potter’s flummoxed expression, and suddenly the idea of hours spent with the boy didn’t seem so tiresome, especially if he could torment him this much. “See you at ten, Potter.”

“What? No!” Potter growled.”If you want my help we’re doing this here. And we’re bloody going to do it in the afternoon. ‘Round tea time. That way Kreacher’s scones have a better chance of distracting me from the fact that I have to deal with you.”

“Me? In your house - which technically by the way should be mine since I’m the proper Black heir but you’ll be hearing from my lawyers about that soon enough- “ Draco waved away Potter’s impending outburst. “Don’t you live with the Weasel? With frequent appearances by Granger?”

Potter paled at that and swallowed thickly. “Doesn’t matter. I’m sure if you promised to behave yourself well enough, they’ll do the same. And you are smart enough to know you have to be civil.” He raised an eyebrow. “Or is that too much to ask?”

Draco was about to argue when he closed his mouth with a snap. He supposed he could be agreeable to that. The git was helping him after all and all it would be best if Potter and his band of Gryffindors didn’t go traipsing about the Manor unchecked daily. Merlin knew they’d had enough unwanted guests already with the Aurors still barging in every week for their paranoid Dark Arts checks.

“Fine.” He shrugged offhandedly and turned to leave.

“Really?” Potter blinked, looking surprised at winning the argument so easily, before his eyes narrowed in suspicion. “I mean it, Malfoy. You keep a guard on that tongue. You can trade barbs with me all you want but you can’t-”

“Offend your little ginger and frizzy sidekicks’ delicate sensibilities.” Draco cut him off with a wave of his hand as he continued his way out the door. “You’re boring when you’re this repetitive. See you tomorrow, Potter. “

“You can’t even be nice, can you?” Potter shook his head in disgust. “Not even when I’m saving your arse.”

“Wouldn’t want the universe to implode now, would we?” Draco called out from over his shoulder. “Three o’clock sharp tomorrow and try to clean up before then? Snitch-pattered pyjamas should really be forbidden after the age of six.”

The door slammed satisfyingly shut behind him but not before Draco heard Potter’s frustrated groan.

This was going to be fun.

Draco made his way carefully across the drawing room. It was pitch-black but he knew his home better than anyone and could probably move around it with his hands tied against his back. Now was not the best time to test that theory, however, because along with being tired he was also traipsing about at an ungodly hour. His mother would be asleep.

“Draco? Is that you traipsing about at this ungodly hour?” a strong voice called out and causing him to him nearly collide with an unsightly urn that was no doubt carrying one of his great ancestors.

“Yes, Mother.” He bit back a curse as he hastened to right the stupid thing. “And I don’t traipse about; I was ‘walking stealthily’. I didn’t want to wake you.”

He blinked back against the harsh lights that she’d conjured and grimaced at the displeased curve of her mouth.

“You wouldn’t need to be careful about waking me if you were already asleep yourself,” Narcissa admonished him. “Where have you been? You know it’s not safe out there right now.”

Draco barely refrained from rolling his eyes at her. Honestly! She was always so protective. He wasn’t stupid, of course, whatever business he had in the Wizarding World he conducted under a Glamour. He wasn’t about to go walking down the street after meeting with his Counsel without one, especially at this hour. “You don’t need to worry. You know I can look after myself and I really did need to meet with Youngblood before tomorrow.”

“Don’t need to worry?” She shook her head. “Your father always used to tell me that and look at what it’s led us to.” Her voice shook with such sorrow that Draco was reaching out to her before he registered the gesture. She shifted closer into his embrace, a sad smile tugging at her lips. “Besides I’ve been worried about our family for so long, I don’t think I remember how to stop.”

Draco inhaled shakily at that and tightened his arms around her. “You will, Mother. Soon, I promise. All of this will be behind us and we’ll have Father’s case appealed too. You’ll see. We’ll be together again.”

“You’re such a good son,” Narcissa told him as she turned to face him, placing a gentle hand on his cheek.

He closed his eyes against the familiar caress and thought about all the times this simple touch had kept him going even amidst the horror of the Dark Lord’s reign in the Manor. “Only because I have you for a mother.”

Her delighted laughter echoed into the night and her tender touch became a playful slap. “Spoken like a true Malfoy. Now off to bed with you! It’s past two.”

“You do know I’m of age, yes? And no longer have a bedtime?” He raised an eyebrow at her.

“Yes, but even scheming Slytherins need their rest. And I know that’s what you’ve been doing all night.” She matched his expression.

“I never could fool you.” He chuckled as he kissed her cheek, bidding her good night.

His steps were light as he headed to his bedroom, the sound of his mother’s tinkling laughter still ringing in his ears. It had been so long since he’d heard it. That night, sleep claimed him with a smile on his face and for the first time in a long time, he dreamt of tomorrow.


The afternoon started off well, to his surprise. Potter had met him by the door, promptly this time, and sans infantile attire. He hadn’t even caused a sufficient stir with Potter’s Muggle neighbours before he was unceremoniously dragged inside. After only a few minutes of heated protestation, he found himself abruptly ensconced into Potter’s study once more. He scowled at the general chaos of the room. The boy clearly didn’t tidy up even if he knew he was having company over this time. Cretin! Draco rolled his eyes as he gingerly sat on the cleanest chair in the vicinity.

“You say you still have Kreacher, why don’t you put him to good use then?” Draco raised an eyebrow. “You do know what a house-elf is for, right? Oh wait, you see them as friends. Perhaps I should explain what I mean first before-”

“Oh shut it, Malfoy,” Potter plopped down on the worn chair behind the only desk in the room. “Not that I care one bit about your opinion but I know you won’t shut your mouth about it until you find your answer. Kreacher can clean the rest of this house all he wants. This room is mine.”

“Oh how,” Draco wrinkled his nose in distaste, “sentimental.”

“Whatever.” Potter straightened in his chair. “Now, tell me what is it that you need me to do so I can be rid of you.”

“So harsh, Potter.” He sneered. “You wound me.”

“And I’ll lay awake tonight fretting about it.” Potter snorted. “Get on with it.”

Draco just smirked and carefully reached into his robes. He placed a small ivory Pensieve on the table. “I told you that the only thing I need from you is the truth. Words are cheap and easy but a memory is irrefutable.”

“A Pensieve memory will solidify your case,” Potter said slowly. “Especially since it’s actually the truth this time.”

“Yes, of course, unlike all those other times where I approached you about testifying for my family’s behalf.” Draco gestured impatiently with hand. “Well? This is only the first step and we don’t have all day.”

“Well what?” Potter looked at him curiously.

“Put the memory into the Pensieve!” Draco snapped, reaching the end of his patience.

“Oh, what’s the spell for it?”

“What’s the spell?” Draco shook his head. “What do you mean ‘what’s the spell’? Just occlude your mind and find the memory!”

“Occlude?” Potter groaned, his hand over his face.

“Yes, occlude! That thing you do in Occlumency so people won’t just be able to pluck random thoughts from your head!” Draco gasped. “Surely they taught you that during the war? They couldn’t have let you run amok broadcasting every simple thought in your mind?”

“” Potter flushed red at an alarming rate and mumbled something incoherently.

“Say it slower, Potter. I don’t speak mumble.”

“I said,” Potter glowered. “If you must know, I never really learned to do that.”

“WHAT?” Draco groaned as he slumped back in his seat. Why had he thought this would be enjoyable again?


After a half an hour of shouting, insults, and aborted duels, they both managed to calm down enough to tackle this unexpected hiccup in Draco’s plan. Potter had begrudgingly agreed to let Draco teach him Occlumency so that he’d be able to record the memory. Before they could do that, however, Potter needed to write down exactly where the memory started and what it entailed, and Draco needed to research beginner’s Occlumency. Thankfully, the Black’s library was as extensive as Draco remembered it being and soon they were able to begin work on their respective parts. Kreacher’s scrumptious scones and tea went a long way towards easing much of the tension.

However, the peace was broken by the damnable scratching.

At first it was faint, barely audible in the companionable silence that had stretched between them for hours but as time passed it grew louder, steadier until it was an irritating drum beating against his head.

“Potter, stop it,” he growled without looking up from his book, The Beginner Occlumens.

“What?” Potter looked up from his parchment distractedly. “What are you on about now?”

“Most people appreciate silence when concentrating,” Draco pointed out. “And your damnable chicken scratches on that parchment are grating.”

“And how exactly do you want me to recount your mother’s defiance of Voldemort?” Potter gritted his teeth, ignoring Draco’s wince at the sound of that name.

“You’re a wizard. I would think that a recording spell would be obvious,” Draco said sarcastically. “But perhaps that magic is also a bit too complex for you.”

“I think you’re forgetting that I killed Voldemort.” Potter glared.

“Yes, Potter, by dying and I do remember a fair share of people that had to do the same in order for you to get near enough to him to do just that.”

“God, Malfoy! You really are a bastard, aren’t you?” Potter growled as he threw down his quill and stormed out of the room.

Draco sighed, cursing the git as he went after him. “Oi, Potter!”

“What?” Potter snarled as he whirled around and pinned him to the wall. “What, Malfoy?” His left forearm pressed tightly against Draco’s throat. “What other insults do you want to throw at me, huh?” He pushed harder. “By all rights, I should be helping them put you away. Instead, I let you into my house and offer my testimony while the only thing you’ve been able to do is insult me.”

“First of all, I didn’t come here to ask you to help me. This is for my mother,” Draco shot back angrily, struggling against Potter’s grip. “Secondly, you act like I’m asking you to do something ridiculously complex or noble. As though I should fall at your feet and bask in your reflected glory because you lowered yourself enough to do this one thing.” He found the strength to break the boy’s hold and pushed him back solidly. “You only need to tell the truth and give back what you stole. A decent man would’ve offered to do this when my mother’s story hit the papers but you probably didn’t give her any thought, did you?”

“I was busy! Do you know how much needed to be done after-”

“I don’t care! I don’t want to hear about the pressures of being the Wizarding world’s darling or the guilt complex of the Chosen One,” Draco snarled. “I’m not asking for your help because of that. I’m asking because you owe us a debt and that is all. I don’t care about the Boy Who Lived.”

Potter visibly deflated at that. No doubt the novelty of such a statement had stunned him as he continued to stare at Draco. “You know, for a while there, I thought they broke you. You looked so scared at the Manor, so very different from the bastard that I knew.” He laughed flatly. “But then I saw you after the final battle. Your mother and father were crowding beside you. They had their heads bowed and they were both holding you as if you were china or something precious that might disappear if they didn’t cling to it tight enough. But you-” He shook his head ruefully. “You met every look in that Hall that turned your way.”

“A year’s worth of my dreams had just come true,” Draco replied, his voice small and wan, lost in the memories of crumbling old walls and the sound of his mother’s steady heartbeat against his ear as he settled in her arms. “I wasn’t about to let anyone take it away. I still won’t.”

Potter’s eyes snapped up to meet his and held. “I think I understand.”

“I should hope so.” Draco turned away, flustered a little at the unsettling intensity he saw in those green eyes. “Now can we go back to sufficiently ignoring each other and working on our parts?”

Potter laughed a little at that which startled Draco because the boy hardly found any of his jibes humorous. “As long as you don’t whinge about my writing. Honestly! Who goes on a five minute diatribe over quill scratches?”

“What? Five minutes?” Draco squawked in protest. “It was at least ten.”

The resounding laughter was quick and stark as if Potter hadn’t meant to do it but he couldn’t help himself. It was also infectious and soon enough there were two chuckles instead of one. Perhaps this afternoon could be saved after all.


They seemed to come to an uneasy truce after that first meeting. Draco no longer baited Potter with every sentence and, likewise, Potter didn’t gripe about the inconvenience of having an unwanted guest in his house. They came to understand that they needed to work together to achieve the same goal. It also become increasingly clear to Draco that he had quite an uphill fight ahead of him and he needed Potter firmly by his side if he wanted to win this. Every day held a new headline screaming about his father’s evil deeds, or a special broadcast over the Wireless about their ‘undeserved’ vast fortune. The Wizarding world wanted their vengeance. It no longer seemed to matter if it was warranted or not. Either way, he really needed Potter to learn how to use a Pensieve.


Potter looked up at him from where he was sprawled on the floor. “Just give me a few minutes.”

“No, Potter. It’s already been three days and we still haven’t made any progress,” he growled. Never had it been said that he was the most patient teacher.

“Well, maybe if you weren’t such a shite teacher, there would be some progress.” Potter glared as he gingerly picked himself up from the floor. “What good were those books you were reading if all you’re going to do is bark at me to clear my head and then try to break into it? Bloody hell! Did you learn this from Snape?”

“No, Potter. I learnt it from my Aunt so you’ll have to excuse my teaching style.”

“You learned this from Bellatrix?” Potter grimaced.

“Yes, and believe me, the threat of having her in mind for longer than necessary was enough incentive to learn quickly.” Draco looked away as a shiver made his body tremble.

“Funny.” Potter regarded him with careful eyes. “I always thought you wanted to be on that side.”

“So did I.” Draco shrugged uneasily. “Now come on, that’s enough of a break. As I said, the ticket is to clear your mind.”

“And I told you that-”

“It’s not all that different from conjuring a corporeal Patronus, Potter, and I hear you did that in third year, you flash git.” Draco rolled his eyes.

“That was hard, too, but eventually I just learned to focus on one happy moment.” Potter shrugged uncomfortably. “Are you saying I should do that again?”

“You really don’t know a damned thing about this, do you?” Draco threw up his hands.

“That’s what I’ve been telling you!” Potter scowled, crossing his arms over his chest.

Draco studied the boy in front of him. Could it be that he was guilty of doing the same thing he’d accused the general public of? Placing unwarranted hopes on the slim shoulders of Harry Potter? He had to admit that a part of him thought Potter would take to Occlumency like a duck to water, excelling despite his own protestations of inadequacy. Perhaps the first step should be to see him as he was - a young Muggleborn boy who had not grown up with the practice of occluding his mind.

“Let’s start with something familiar, then.” Draco motioned him closer. “Summon your Patronus.”

Potter paused momentarily to give him a suspicious look but eventually he did as he was told. His face lit up when his iridescent stag burst through the room. “Hey, Prongs,” he whispered happily, his hand reaching out to touch the animal’s bowed head.

Draco’s face softened at the picture they made before he coughed delicately. “How did you do that?”

“What?” Potter blinked up at him, his hand stilling as his Patronus began to fade. “You know how I did it. I focused on one happy memory, said the spell and-”

Draco waved his hand to cut him off. “Occlumency over time becomes a reflex. You musn’t think of it as a magic spell like a Protego or a Patronus. Think beyond the words and focus on what you did before you called the stag.”

“So close my eyes and focus on a single moment of happiness?”

He shook his head. “Not quite. Occluding the mind means freeing the mind of all thoughts. Find one moment in your life where you felt the most free- the most peaceful. Hold that memory until you forget all else and block everything out.”

Potter closed his eyes and was quiet for a long time. So quiet, in fact, that Draco wondered if the git had fallen asleep and if he had, whether or not, he should poke him. Thankfully, the silence was broken when shrouded green eyes shot open to meet his in alarm.

“What if I don’t have one?”

There was no saving the rest of the session after that. Overcome with disappointment, Draco had stormed out but not before demanding that Potter look for one as if his life depended on it before he came back tomorrow. He’d spent the remainder of the day, holed up in his own study and reading more books on Occlumency. If they were to have a hope of Potter learning this in time, he’d have to find it.

The next day found Draco nervous and irritable. Twice his mother had commented on his flustered countenance but he managed to put her off with a quick smile and a change of subject. Although that steely look in Narcissa’s eyes suggested that his pretence wasn’t quite as suave as he thought it was. He was glad that she had left it alone all the same.
Needless to say, his anxiety only lessened when he was in front of Potter once again, ready for another session.

“Have you found one?”

Potter took a deep breath. “I think so.”

“Good.” Draco nodded and without further ado, he cast. “Legilimens!”

He gritted his teeth when he was barraged with a thousand of Potter’s memories, once more. As always, the flashes were too jumbled and frenzied for him to make out anything save for one – a small cupboard door. How curious.

“Did you focus on one peaceful moment as I said?” Draco shook off the bizarre feeling of being in another’s mind.

“Yes.” Potter glowered at him from his position on the floor.

“It must not have been strong enough.” Draco sneered. “Think of another.”

“I told you I can’t-”

“Yes, you can. Bloody hell your life isn’t that insane! I gave you the rest of yesterday to have a pow-wow with your sidekicks. Surely you must’ve come up with more than just one?” Draco growled at the back of his throat when Potter’s only response was stony silence.

“Come on. There must be one. How about the moment just after sex? That’s always peaceful for me.”

“Ginny and I broke up.” Potter’s scowl only deepened. “And I don’t need to know about your sex life, thank you very much.”

“At least I have one,” Draco shot back, staring at the boy incredulously. “How the hell could you be a virgin? You’re the saviour of the bleeding world! Birds must be throwing themselves at you left and right. If the Weaselette was too much of a prude to suck your cock then I’m sure-”

“You shut your mouth about her! That’s none of your business.” Potter glared, tightening his fists. “And besides, if it was given like that-” Potter huffed and blushed at the same time, an admirable trait that made him look like a replica of the Hogwarts Express. “I wouldn’t want it anyway.”

“Ah, suddenly the unfathomable question is answered.” Draco rolled his eyes. “You really are something else, Potter.”

Potter merely shrugged and crossed his arms. “I know that’s not a compliment but I’ll take it as one anyway, so thanks.”

Draco’s bark of laughter startled both of them and they had a moment to stare at each other in surprise before they each burst out into guffaws. Who knew Potter could be personable? It was amusing now that he wasn’t so bloody irritating. And when the laughter died out, it was replaced by a silence that was now more companionable than before.

“Potter-” he paused haltingly. “What’s that door?” He put his hand up in appeasement. “I know we said no discussions about what we see in these sessions but I keep seeing it. It’s the only thing that I can make out, actually, and it seems harmless enough.” He shut his mouth when he realised he was rambling.

Potter looked away. “What do you mean?”

“There’s a door I keep seeing. It’s pretty small, like, I don’t know, a cupboard of some sort,” Draco explained with a shrug. “Might be what’s blocking your ability to occlude your thoughts.”

“It’s not,” Potter said gruffly as he made to stand. “Are we done here?”

“What? No, of course not, sit down. We barely just got started,” Draco protested.

“Well, I’m taking a break then,” Potter called from over his shoulder as he swiftly left the room.

Draco cursed his retreating back as he sat down in frustration.

What the hell was that about?

“Ready?” Draco asked impatiently as Potter had come back into the room.

“Malfoy, look, I-”

“Not yet? Let’s take our sweet time then. How about next month? Oh, wait my mother’s trial will be over by then.” Draco crossed his arms in front of his chest.

“That’s not what I- Ugh.” Potter sighed, running his fingers through his hair. “Fine! But-”

Legilimens!” Draco cast the spell and immediately his mind burst with familiar flashes of images and light. Gritting his teeth, he demanded. “Again.”

“No.” Potter coughed heavily, from his kneeling position on the floor.

“What? Does ickle Potty want a nap again?”

“Stop it. You’re angry and I’m not doing this when you’re being this unreasonable.” Potter shook his head as he turned and began to walk away.

“You think expecting you to at least fucking try to learn this so that you can help my mother is unreasonable?” Draco’s nostrils flared and when he spoke, his voice shook with frustrated anger. He gripped his wand firmly and when he cast, it was with a single-minded fury that was born from sleepless nights of fear and the uncertainty of tomorrow.

His spell hit its mark and held.

Suddenly he was assaulted with voices not his own and visions of faces and places he’d never been to before. He saw a fat boy berating a five-year-old Potter as a horse-faced woman and walrus of a man stood smugly behind the chubby brat. A redheaded woman and a man that looked exactly like Potter smiling behind hazy glass. Sirius Black laughing and waving as he flew on the wings of a Hippogriff. The images went by quickly, barely giving Draco any time to make them out clearly but the emotion he felt from them was enough. Fear. Love. Hate. Over and over again in a cycle that made his breath catch in his throat. All the more heightened by the fact that out of all of them, it was fear that ruled the most. Finally he came to the picture of that door but before he could make out anything from it, a dull ache began to form behind his eyes. His mind was wrenched from Potter’s then and a helpless sort of rage built within him when he recognized what was happening now.

The spell was working in reverse.

Bile began to rise from the back of his throat as a myriad of memories were wrenched from his mind. From the things he kept away and hidden in the dark to the moments he cherished and held up to the light, revelling in their brightness for just a little longer. His father’s disappointed face. His mother’s eyes filled with a quiet sort of terror. Dumbledore looking so small and wan but never fearful. His first kiss with a boy and the surprised delight on his face. He wanted to close his eyes and shut it all out but even from behind close eyelids, the same visions were filling his senses. He hated being this vulnerable, so cruelly exposed. He fought to keep the tears from forming and it took all his being to stop him from screaming.
When it was over, they were both on their backs and panting heavily. It was a struggle to even open his eyes, especially since he knew he’d be caught in the accusing stare that’d be directed at him. He had violated Potter’s mind and had been violated in return. He never thought he’d do something that he himself detested. No matter how angry was he had no right to put Potter through that. To do so made him no better than Bellatrix.

In fact, he was worse.

For he knew the pain he would inflict, still carried the scars from his own experience and yet he'd done it anyway. Shame began to take root in his heart and just as he was about to push himself off the floor and a put an end to his plan of enlisting Potter, a hesitant touch halted his movements. A rough, callused palm sat atop his and, as he raised his eyes to meet green, Potter’s expression mirrored his own.

“I’m sorry.”

Draco sighed and turned his palm over. “Me too.”

Part Two
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