The man moans and slumps on her, sighing heavily. A moment later, he lifts his head and smiles, dazed. She pastes a plastic smile on her face before muttering, "Get off. You have got what you paid for."
He obliges and turns to lay down on the empty side of the bed. She covers herself with her blanket.
"Keep the money on the side table and get out." She says bluntly. She doesn't like this work but it's the only option she had when she was kicked out of Petunia's house. Harrie had nothing but a thin skirt and a shirt on her. She had no money and she had nothing to eat.
Today she has a flat. It has two floors and five rooms, a seating room, a kitchen and a dining room. She has food in her kitchen and a little money in her bank account. She has some money in her closet also which she uses for groceries. She has only one bad habit which is drinking.
"Why are you doing this work?" He asks, putting his shirt on.
She replies, "Didn't have any education or money or food. So I had to do this to stay alive. Why are you doing this, eh? Can't get a girlfriend without paying her off."
He is a handsome enough bloke with red hair, a lean body and a good face. She is honestly curious. Usually Harrie doesn't indulge in small talk with her clients. But this one seems decent and sincere enough. He also seems a bit familiar.
He stares at her before stammering, "I am not insulting you. I was only asking because you didn't seem the kind-"
"What kind, huh? I am a slut. That's my kind. I am not worth being your girlfriend. Nor do I want to. You got what you paid for. Fuck off now or I will tell you exactly what your kind is." She spits out and he glowers at her, "What do you mean, huh?"
"You are the kind who live on their father's wealth and have a lot time to waste. But I don't have a father and my time is important. This small talk might satisfy your ego but it won't place food on my table. So leave."
"Did I even talk about dad's business or wealth with you. Hell, I didn't talk about money at all." He snaps furiously and she huffs in annoyance, "Will you just get lost?"
"May I atleast know your name?" He asks and she mutters curtly, "Harrie Potter. You have my number. Call me up if you want my services again."
Once upon a time, saying these words had embarrassed her. Now she was so accustomed to all this that she barely blinked before speaking.
"What did you say?" He asks and she glares at her. Why isn't he leaving?
"I will send Jimmy after you if you don't leave."
"Jimmy... your..." He trails off and she chuckles darkly, "Girls my kind don't have boyfriends or husbands. He is my dog and he bites hard. Leave my premises."
"But I only want you to repeat your name."
"I just told you, didn't I? My name is Harrie Potter. Go away." She hisses, annoyed.
"I- I am going. Please calm down." He murmurs and strangely enough, he starts sweating. He wipes his forehead with his handkerchief and she stares, confused.
"Are you feeling hot? I could have decreased the temperature of the AC." She murmurs. As such she doesn't require an air conditioner. Her magic is enough to do that. Of course, her clients don't have magic so she does ensure to switch it on before they arrive.
"No, no." He smiles tightly, his brown eyes guarded as he watches her, "It's quite alright. I'll take my leave now. I think that I have overstayed my welcome. Can I ask a question though?"
"Yes." She frowns.
"Is this your permanent residence?"
"Yes. Why so curious?" She asks and he opens his mouth before closing it again.
"Just like that. I- I'll just leave." He stammers and she sighs.
"Leave already. My next client is about to come." She needs to take a shower.
"You don't need to do all this. Why are you doing it?" He mutters, standing at her entryway.
"Will you just leave?" She barks out.
"Ok- ok- okay, I'll - I'll leave." He stammers, his eyes cautious as he leaves a confused Harrie in his wake.
As soon as Ron exits her house, he starts running as fast as he can. He can't believe it and he doesn't think Snape or Dumbledore or Serene will be able to either. How is this even possible? She is supposed to be dead.
Merlin! He freezes in his tracks, his chest heaving. Hermione won't forgive him for this. Serene and Snape will have his head. They will not let him live in peace. But he can't hide this news from them. He was just so depressed and it was the first time he had resorted to this. Couldn't it have been anyone but her?
He can't very well hide this. No. No, I'll have to tell them. She is our only chance. Merlin! What have I done? We played together as toddlers.
Harrie takes a deep breath and stares at the swans swimming in the river. The garden is beautiful with all kinds of flowers scattered around it. Some people are walking on the tracks and some are running on it. Yesterday, after the red-headed man had left, she had canceled all the other appointments. Not that she was tired or anything. She was just feeling very depressed.
She crosses her arms around herself, feeling very cold and lonely and - well- depressed. Presently, she is waiting here for one Neville Longbottom. Had she not needed money to pay her bills off, she won't have taken this one at all. In fact, she doesn't want to do this anymore. She even visited a call center for a job, any job but they said that she did need basic qualifications if she wanted any job at all. She hadn't even completed her schooling.
So Harrie waits for her client and gazes at the swans, feeling stupid for being affected by that red-head's words. She wishes she was one. The legend says that swans mate for life and that they only sing when they are dying. Maybe she will sing just before her death too. She sings sometimes, mostly when she is drunk.
"They are beautiful, aren't they?" A soft voice asks her.
"Hmmm." She mumbles absently and continues gazing at them. Belatedly, she realizes that someone is standing beside her and turns her head to look at the man.
He is taller than her and has black hair, broad shoulders and a kind face. His eyes are black and round.
"I am Neville Longbottom. May I know your name?" He murmurs politely.
She chuckles darkly, "My name doesn't matter. What matters is the price. I will charge twenty five hundred for a hour, forty five hundred for two and sixty two hundred for three."
He clears his throat uncomfortably, "I just came back today you know. I was out, researching for some rare herbs."
"Oh! and you're telling me all this because-" She replies and he breaths deeply in response.
"I am doing this- this is the first time I am doing this. Ginny has gone for a match and -" He stutters and she stares, perplexed at him.
"Do you think I care?" She snaps, annoyed.
"Three hours." He mutters nervously.
"Do you want me to wear something special?" She asks.
He opens his mouth and then closes it.
"I usually wear skirts if my clients want a show." She mutters.
He breaths hard and starts, "Whatever you wish. I don't have any preference."
"I take cash."
"I have cash on me. Don't worry."
She chuckles, "I don't worry mister. I know how to protect myself."
This being said she walks towards her house. Sometimes she wishes that she had a car and she is saving for it. A small and second hand will do. As such, she can just disappear on will and reappear at her place but she doesn't want to take the risk of someone watching her do so.
Also, she likes the idea of driving a car. One day, she will have a big one like wealthy people do. She watches a family pass by in an expensive looking car and smiles at the child before heading back to her home. After unlocking the door, she walks inside and heads towards the kitchen to drink water. After that she walks towards her bedroom.
Three hours is a long time. Two or three more such clients and then she can take a leave for a week at least. She changes quickly and washes her face before sitting on her bed.
A few moments later, he opens the door and enters inside. She places her novel inside the drawer after marking the page.
He is handsome though looks hardly matter to her. They don't effect her. They are just clients and she only gives pleasure to them. It's not about her pleasure. So she smiles pleasantly at him. He locks the door behind him and comes closer to her.
Two hours and fifty seven minutes later, he's done and laid down besides her. His breath is loud and heavy.
"Keep the money on the side table and leave." She snaps at him, needing him to just leave. It's the same with all the clients. She can't look at them once it's over.
He sits up and looks at her, his eyebrows furrowed.
"What?" She says impatiently, "Will you leave?"
"You're very beautiful." He mutters, leaning towards her.
She backs off and averts her eyes with a politely worded, "Three hours are over. Kindly leave."
He sighs heavily at that and replies, "What's your name? You know mine. It's only fair that I know yours."
"Harrie Potter." She murmurs, "Call me up when you need my services again."
He stares at her in quite the same way the red haired man had stared.
"What? What's wrong?" She asks, annoyed.
"Nothing." He stammers, "I'll just take my leave now. Goodbye."
His eyes are wide and just like the red-headed man, he starts sweating. With a last terrified glance at her, he leaves her flat. She only stares at her door, wondering what just happened.
Neville walks out of her house, dazed and shocked.
Harrie Potter is alive. Ginny can't know about this yet. Merlin! Maybe there is hope for all of us yet.
He would have to tell her eventually but he'll wait until she tells him about her secret meetings with Dean.
An act of kindness
Harrie should never have consented to this. She finds herself sweating profusely as she stares at her reflection. For the very first time, she is utterly terrified. They had asked her as to whether she had done something like this before and she had lied. Harrie splashes cold water on her face and stares at her alarmed eyes. She swallows and blinks a couple of times to school her features and fails.
One's name is Dean Thomas and the other's is Seamus Finnigan. While Dean seems decent enough a guy, Seamus seems angry and frustrated. It seems that he has come to vent out his frustration on her. She needs the money though. The half of the money she earned from Neville went towards the installment and groceries. She saved the rest. She has no cash now, not even to get herself a drink.
She had quoted Fourteen thousand bucks for an hour, expecting them to refuse. But they had accepted.
She doesn't know how she will protect herself if they get carried away. She will have to use her magic which she can't. Petunia said that if anyone ever got to know about it, they'll kill her and despite living a life that is nothing short of hell, she doesn't want to die just yet.
She breathes hard and decides that she will use her magic if they try to hurt her and then she will flee away from the country. Plus she has Jimmy too. Maybe she should call him and warn the men waiting for her in the room. They are not heavily built. Dean is taller then Seamus although Seamus has more muscle. Yet Dean seems the stronger one.
She breathes once again and splashes cold water on her face one last time before pasting a cold look on it. They must not know how terrified she is. What they want from her will most likely render her helpless and she has never done something like this. She hates being helpless. Had she not needed the money so desperately, she won't have said yes.
After clearing her throat, she walks out of the bathroom, dressed in shorts and a cream colored top. Dean is looking cautiously into her eyes while Seamus is leering at her.
"Jimmy." she calls and hears his bark a second later. The door opens and her oldest and one and only friend saunters in. Jimmy is a grey German Shepherd she found on the streets when Petunia kicked her out. He refused to leave her alone after that and they became best friends. He is fiercely protective of her and she trusts him with her life.
"He is my best friend, you know. The only friend I have." She murmurs and kneels in front of Jimmy who is glaring at the two men frozen beside the bed.
She hugs her dog once and he barks, trying to comfort her. He is a strange dog.
She stands up and kisses his head and smiles. Jimmy walks out and she murmurs, "Stay close."
He barks and leaves tense silence in his wake. Harrie sighs as fear starts enveloping her again. She does the inevitable and locks the door before finally facing her clients. They are staring at her.
"That wasn't needed." Deans murmurs.
She shrugs carelessly. Seamus doesn't bother with small talk. In just two steps he is standing close to her. She fixes her cool eyes on his angry ones. What's the worst that could happen. They could hurt her. She has her magic at her disposal so it doesn't matter, does it?
With this in mind, she swallows and waits. Seamus waits until Dean has reached behind her. Not being able to know exactly what Dean is planning to do is terrifying but she keeps her features schooled and exudes nothing but cool indifference. She does this for a living. But she doesn't have to like it or appear as if she is affected by the way he is leering at her, as if she is his personal property.
"Get on with it." She sneers at the man. His eyes flash and he grits his teeth before smirking viciously at her. She shivers and prepares herself. She should never have accepted it. She curses her fate, her aunt Petunia, her clients before closing her eyes as Seamus leans towards her.
Fifty five minutes later, Harrie retreats inside her bathroom. Jimmy won't let them leave unless he has made sure that she's fine so she isn't worried about the money. She needs a moment to herself. She is sore and her legs are dirty. She stares at herself in the mirror. Her face is filthy and streaked with tears. Was she crying? When did she start crying?.
She washes her face and closes her eyes to let her magic clean her body. Of course, that doesn't help her get rid of the pain. It was inevitable really. She is not really surprised. She sighs and splashes some more water on her face before putting her night gown on her.
she opens the door and finds them standing in the middle of the room. They have dressed up. Dean is glaring daggers at Seamus.
"You shouldn't have taken out your frustration on her." He hisses furiously.
"So what if I did. We are paying her off."
"What is the difference between you and them, then?"
She wonders what they are talking about. They don't know that she has returned.
"I am so frustrated. It's getting beyond ridiculous. Who does he think he is to force marriage on any of us or to put such conditions. Earlier it was Marvolo and now that he is dead, it's his son. Why aren't Dumbledore and Snape doing anything about this?What are they waiting for? How can we-"
"None of this is her fault." Dean yells at his friend and Harrie decides to interrupt their conversation.
"Keep the money on the side table and leave my premises immediately." She murmurs, her arms crossed around her quivering body and her eyes averted away from them.
"Seamus you go on. I will follow you in fifteen minutes or so." Dean says, his eyes roving over her.
"Why?" Seamus asks.
"I want to ensure that she is fine." He snaps at him.
"Just leave." Harrie spits out.
"Look at her. She is so bloody arrogant." Seamus shouts and Dean hisses angrily, "Just leave."
"All right. I am leaving." The man storms out of the room.
"You should leave too. I don't need your sympathy. You paid and I delivered. That's it. Just leave."
He ignores her and heads towards her anyways.
"I want you to leave." She murmurs even as he holds her trembling hand and pulls her towards the bed.
"I will pour some water for you." He murmurs and she stays quiet after that. She is in pain and she is hungry and thirsty all at once. He places the glass on her lips and she gulps it all at once.
"Money." She murmurs desperately and he places the notes on her table before mumbling, "I'll fix something for you all right. Just stay put." and then he's gone.
Despite trying hard to keep her tears at bay, her eyes betray her and they start falling down. A violent sob shakes her frame and she breathes hard rubbing her cheeks almost viciously.
"I am sorry." He murmurs and kneels in front of her.
"I am fine. You have my number. Call me when you need my services again." She mumbles, her voice emotionless even as tears slide down her cheeks, "Please leave now."
He stares at her for a couple of moments before placing a plate of the Indian curry she had brought in the afternoon on her lap.
He starts feeding her slowly. The door opens and she stares at her doorway. An angry Seamus Finnigan glares daggers at her before storming away once again. Jimmy barks after him and then heads inside towards her.
Dean keeps on feeding her.
"I am very sorry." He murmurs and she finishes the curry. He helps her to lay down on the bed and places her blanket over her. He leaves after a last glance at her. She can't help but feel grateful to him for his kindness.
In the huge and lonely Gremmauld Place is seated, a quivering Serene Black in her study. Severus is standing on the door, staring at her. She doesn't know about his presence yet. He had often wondered if Serene will ever get over what Lily did, if she will ever forget her daughter. He had presumed that she will. He had believed that time heals wounds, even the ones that are deep and very painful.
He was mistaken. Nothing has changed. The study is the same and so is the curly haired woman sitting behind the table. People had thought that Harrie Potter's green eyes belonged to Lily. Severus had thought so himself that is until Serene had told the truth to him. Harrie was Serene's daughter not Lily's.
He sighs waiting for the green eyed woman to look at him. She doesn't. She is lost in the newspapers and notes and letters she has collected during the past month. She returned a few days back. Of course, she came empty handed. As he looks at her, he wonders when this will end. Will it ever even end? When will she accept that her daughter is dead?
While he waits for her to acknowledge his presence, he lets the past wash over him. His youth was a complete mess. He is unable to comprehend as to what really went wrong. The girl he had befriended was not inherently evil. She was a shy girl who had taken pity on him and had become his friend. Eventually, he had fallen in love with her and had proposed her. She had accepted him.
They had dated. He had tolerated Potter and his friends, one amongst whom was Serene Black. She detested him. He didn't know why and so he ignored her. He refused to be effected by her hateful words.
After dating Lily for a complete year, he had begun realizing that something was very wrong. He had just graduated and had taken up the position of potions master at Hogwarts, having achieved his mastery during his last year. This was when Serene had approached him. Potter and Lily were in the pub and they had sneaked inside, underneath Potter's cloak to overhear their conversation. Severus had broken it off with Lily after that and Serene had told her that she was pregnant with Potter's child.
Severus sighs in despair as he relives what happened next. Serene couldn't tell her parents about Harrie. They would have murdered the child and Serene didn't have any job yet. She couldn't run away. She didn't trust Severus enough at that time. So she gave over the child to Potter and Lily who had married straight out of Hogwarts. To the entire world, Serene was Harrie's godmother.
On Harrie's second birthday when Severus went to visit Potters with Serene, they realized that Lily had given Harrie over to her vile sister Petunia and by the time, they went to find the woman, she had already moved out.
It took them more than ten years to locate Petunia and when they did, Petunia told them that Harrie had died when she was five and that she hadn't been able to find the body to give her a proper burial.
Ofcourse, they decided that she was lying and started a search for Harrie but to no avail. Potter who had not said a word against his wife when she had left a child with the vultures joined them in the search. The man looked ten years more than his age and didn't have the courage to even show his face to Serene.
"Severus, I have found a new lead." She murmurs excitedly. Ten years have passed since they began the search and this is maybe the millionth time he is hearing these words from her.
He doesn't remember the last time she had laughed or even smiled. Maybe it was when he had told her that he loved her and she had said that she loves him too but doesn't have time to get married or start a family because she has to find her daughter.
"Serene." He hears and doesn't turn around. It's Potter. Of course it's him. He is here every time Serene returns from yet another unsuccessful search mission. Just like Serene, he still hasn't lost his hope. As usual, Serene ignores him and addresses Severus instead, her green eyes cold, "Ask this man to leave my premises. This isn't a hotel where he can come and go as he pleases."
"Serene please, did you find -"
"Ask him to leave." She hisses at him. He turns towards Potter. His hair have lost their luster and his face has lost its arrogance. He is a man haunted by his own sin. Maybe an eighteen year old version of himself might have been triumphant to witness the downfall of this man but Severus only pities him.
"But Severus the prophecy. How can she be dead?"
Ah! The prophecy. Around ten years ago, Marvolo Riddle had taken over Hogwarts as well as the ministry. Nobody had known about his family history. Some believed that he was a pureblood and some thought that his parents were muggles. He hated Muggles and everything connected with them and started changing the policies. Those who went against him were punished with death or worse.
A year back, Marvolo died of a mysterious disease and they thought that they were free. When Marvolo's twenty two year old son, Tom Marvolo Riddle, took his position, they were stunned. They hadn't known that the vile man even had a child.
If Marvolo was evil, then Tom is entirely heartless and extremely powerful. When Tom became the headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus told them about the prophecy. Apparently the prophecy spoke of Harrie and Tom. They were born on the same day, at the same time and precisely at the same second.
The prophecy said very clearly that they are the only ones who can defeat the either.
But this doesn't mean that Harrie is alive. She could very well be dead and Potter could very well have doomed them eternally by entrusting Lily with the responsibility of Serene's and his child.
"Tell him that she's alive and I'll find her." Serene yells loudly. Severus doesn't even flinch. This isn't the first time he is witnessing this and it won't be the last.
"Of course you won't say it. You don't care about my daughter. You love Lily and only care about her. You don't want Harrie to be alive. You don't care. You love Lily. You lied to me. You-" She starts screaming and Severus looks at her with the patience he has acquired over the past two decades.
Serene is not insane. She's just in pain. Her eyes shine with madness when someone suggests that her daughter isn't alive. That gleam tells him that if left alone in her conquest to find a girl who died long ago, she'll go entirely insane and he'll lose her.
He doesn't want to lose her. So he only stares at her, waiting and waiting.
"I am sorry. Just tell him that Harrie is alive and I'll find her and he doesn't have any right to call himself her father. I lost her because of him and his vile wife. I trusted them. Ask him to leave. ASK HIM TO LEAVE."
Severus nods calmly, "Calm down. I'll ask him to leave. Just calm down."
He turns around to address Potter but he is already leaving, his shoulders hunched and shaking and his head bowed. He is the very picture of a broken man.
"See, I have found a lead. This man, Frank Lumest - here he lives at 21, Street 200, Bamchester. He has sent a letter to me telling me that he saw her walking across the street at midnight..."
Severus sits down across her and listens patiently to her.
"Where are we going and exactly why are we going there? My time is precious and I can't waste it, Blaise." Draco snaps furiously at his best friend. The said best friend only smirks at him.
"Blaise, tell me or I am taking a u-turn."
"Merlin knows when Riddle is going to force marriage on us with the women handpicked by him. Atleast enjoy while you can." Blaise mutters.
"Exactly where are we going." Draco mutters through gritted teeth. As if he doesn't know what Riddle is planning to do. Bloody freak. Atleast Marvolo hadn't forced marriage on anyone. This stupid man who goes by the name 'Lord Voldemort' thinks that magical population is decreasing day by day and so they need to marry cautiously. Apparently a child is gifted with magic only when all the equations of genes of his parents are right. As if any of that even makes sense.
And father being father had to become a death eater for Marvolo. Apparently Draco is expected to follow in his footsteps and allow Riddle to order him around. Riddle is treating them like animals and no-one is daring to protest against it.
"There is this prostitute- green eyed, curly haired. Has become popular- has her own house. She's quite stunning. No-one knows her name and you have to book atleast a week before if you want her. We're going there." Blaise murmurs and Draco stops the car, turning upon him incredulously, "It's not safe. Merlin knows-"
"Don't worry. There were a list of conditions she wanted me to accept. She's quite strict and professional and discrete. I couldn't trace her past or friends or family, nothing."
"I'm only going to watch. You know I'm not interested in -"
"Yes yes, You are busy blah blah blah. You have your your apothecary to run - blah blah blah. Tonight we're going to have fun and we're not going to think about Riddle or your apothecary or the fact that three muggleborn students were found dead at Hogwarts this week. I am frustrated-"
Draco glares at him, "So you want to take your frustrations out on her."
"She is a professional Draco. Will you just chill?" Blaise mutters exasperatedly and Draco huffs in annoyance before starting the car.
"You're paying her for your own frustrations. Don't expect anything from me." Draco's voice is cold as he spits these words out. He simply hates this kind of thing. He hates himself for going along with Blaise but Blaise won't be stopped now so Draco will just wait for him and check the recipes of the new potions he needs to start brewing. He turns the music on and feels grateful for the wizards and witches who introduced cars and music to the magical world.
Draco meets Harrie
Draco stops in front of a two-story flat and moves out of the car. It looks cozy and large enough for one girl. It's painted red and has a wooden door beyond which there is a small garden and a wooden fencing. Blaise murmurs from beside him, "Man! She has a nice house, doesn't she?"
Draco nods silently and rings the door bell. The door opens after the second bell and a very stunning woman greets them. Her eyes are green and cool and she seems in her early twenties. As told earlier by Blaise, she has long curly hair. She is slim and curvaceous and her face is healthy and her cheeks are glowing.
Her looks aside, her lips are set in a frown and her eyes are wary and cold. Her body is still and alert as if she is going to strike them any second now and she is staring right into his eyes.
"Who is Mr. Blaise Zabini?" She asks coldly. Draco understands at once that it's her defense mechanism. She doesn't want them to have an upper hand on her.
Blaise clears his throat, "That would be me."
She walks out of the door and Draco regards her. She is dressed in a short skirt and a red shirt and is wearing no jewelery or make up. Yet she looks stunning. He hasn't seen such beauty in his entire life.
She looks straight at Blaise's face before starting, "You didn't tell me about him."
"I - well, I didn't know that he would be coming. I wasn't sure."
"The price was only for one. This is not how I work." She mutters, her fists clenched.
"I know I should have pre-booked for him too. I'm sorry." Draco is amused to see his friend apologize with flushed cheeks.
She is a formidable woman.
"I have enough cash on me." Draco drawls, his hands deep inside his pockets. She stares coldly at him and regards him for a few seconds.
"That's besides the point."
She turns to look at Blaise once again.
"I'm sorry I'll have to ask you to leave." She murmurs and Blaise stares at her in disbelief.
She turns to leave when Blaise grasps her wrists. She turns around with a snarl, "Don't cross your limits. You'll not touch me until I permit you to. Perhaps I was mistaken about you. I don't accept clients of your sort. Please leave." Maybe Draco had imagined it. Her fingertips had sparkled before Blaise had backed off.
"I've money. Make an exception." Draco drawls.
"Get lost." She snaps at him with burning eyes.
Draco's blood boils. How dare she insult him like this. He takes a couple of notes out of his pockets and throws them at her. Her fingertips sparkle again but only for a second. Maybe Draco is too tired and is just imagining things.
"Draco!" Blaise exclaims.
Draco ignores him, staring at the woman. Her eyes are boring angrily into his as she starts, "Did you not tell him about my conditions?"
Blaise swallows nervously, "I- I, well, I didn't get the opportunity. I apologize."
She looks silently at him for the next couple of minutes.
"Either you'll come inside alone or you both will leave." she states.
Draco breathes deeply, trying to control his rage.
"Blaise, you will not go inside." He mutters.
"Fine by me." She murmurs and turns around.
"I'm coming. Wait." Blaise calls her and then turns towards Draco, "Please, leave. You shouldn't have thrown the money on her. That was her first condition."
Draco stills. He is astonished. This has to be the first time he's meeting such a woman. She's quite intriguing.
"Let Blaise leave and accept me instead. I'll double the amount." Draco drawls, mimicking his father's arrogant drawl. Her back stiffens.
"Blaise, are you coming or shall I leave. You're wasting my time."
"I'll make it three times." Draco continues.
"Mr. Zabini. This is the last time I am asking you. I'll not wait even a minute longer." She murmurs in a low voice. Her voice is not rude but it's not soft either.
"Five times." Draco's own voice is quiet now. No-one has ever insulted him like this.
She sighs audibly and starts walking.
"Wait." Blaise calls. She doesn't wait but keeps the door ajar.
"I'll meet you later mate." He says and their eyes meet. He doesn't reply. He only turns around and gets inside his car to leave.
Draco is in his seating room, having tea with Severus when Blaise comes back. It's windy today and Draco hopes that it would rain. For the past few days, it has been too hot.
Of course, the moment Blaise walks inside the door, the first thing he notices is that all his things are kept near the doorway.
"What's exactly the matter with you today, Draco?" His godfather asks him. Draco doesn't know what's wrong with him. He only knows that something has changed ever since he met that woman. He's angry with Blaise for not listening to him.
It's irrational of course but that's how it is, howsoever irrational it might be.
"Nothing." Draco answers, "Fliffy."
"Yes, master Draco." Fliffy squeaks.
"I want another cup of tea. Thank you. Please make one for Severus too. Also, please bring some of those pancakes along."
"Yes, master Draco." She vanishes and Draco places his empty cup on the table.
By now, Blaise has come inside and is sitting on the couch just across from him.
"What does this mean, Draco?" Blaise murmurs. Draco looks at him and his rage flares. His fingers cease their tapping on his knees and he stares silently at his oldest friend.
"This is my house and you're leaving."
"You were the one who refused to take the rent from me. I could've easily afforded it." Blaise murmurs, his eyes shocked.
"This is not about the rent." Draco replies and Fliffy places his tea in front of him before offering the other cup to Severus.
"Severus, can you please excuse us for five minutes. Please don't leave. I need to talk to you." Draco murmurs and Severus nods, "I'll be in the library."
Draco doesn't live with his parents. He built this manor all by himself and is proud of it. If he doesn't want Blaise to live in it then Blaise will not live in it.
"How much did she charge?" Draco asks.
"Ten thousand." The answer comes in a heartbeat, "She was good."
Draco's fury peaks. He doesn't know why he's so angry. He glares at Blaise who continues, oblivious to Draco's annoyance.
"She was worth every penny."
"Shut up." Draco hisses, not understanding the reason of his anger.
"I talked to her about you. Call her. She'll make an exception for you. But she's expensive."
"Get out Blaise. Leave my home." Draco drawls coldly, his fingers tight around his cup.
"I'm leaving her phone number here."
"Leave and don't come back." Draco repeats, his eyes closed.
"All right. I'm leaving. But we're not done. We'll talk about this once you've calmed down." Blaise replies and leaves, his bags trailing behind him.
Draco leans back against his sofa and stares at the paper on which Blaise has left the number. He pockets it and finishes his tea, waiting for Severus. Maybe he'll give her a call.
He is lost in his musings when Severus returns. He settles down and asks, "What was that about?"
"Has Serene had any success?"
Severus shakes his head with a sigh, "No. Why do you always ask this question from me?"
Draco shrugs again, "There was no body, no burial. Who knows whether that woman - Petunia was telling the truth or not."
Severus stares at him, "You think that she's alive."
Draco ignores him and asks quietly, "Can you describe her appearance?"
Their eyes meet and Severus blinks, "Do you have any lead? Please don't start this Draco. She's not alive. We searched very thoroughly. We tried everything. I know that you don't want Riddle to -"
Draco cuts him off, "Just answer me."
Severus stares at him, "You really do have some lead, don't you?"
Draco can't say yes because he doesn't know where he is going by this. That woman. She's - he doesn't think that she's a muggle. There was something about her that Draco can't describe. It's just a feeling that he has. He needs to know who she's. When Blaise caught her wrist and Draco threw money at her, she got really angry and he was watching her very carefully. Her fingers had sparkled and then it was gone just a second later.
"Tell me." Severus mutters and Draco knows that if she's in fact the Harrie Potter Serene has been searching for almost two decades, then he can't just tell everyone about her.
He doesn't trust anyone and she definitely has issues that need to be addressed. Merlin knows since when she has been doing this. Maybe if she is really Harrie, then maybe she can help them. Although, Draco wonders if she'll want to. She's a very closed off person.
"Draco!" Severus hisses.
Draco murmurs, "Describe her appearance."
"Green eyes, curly hair. Short tempered maybe because both Potter and Serene are short tempered. And yes- she has a mole behind her right ear and a small scar on her forehead. She fell down from the stairs when she was almost two. Healers said that the scar will not go away. It was in the shape of an arc and can be hidden with hair or even make up. She was very playful and a very happy child." Severus's eyes are damp and Draco stares at his godfather, surprised.
Severus is not a very emotional person and Harrie was not his own daughter just like his mother was not really a Black. She was an adopted daughter. Her parents had met an unfortunate accident and his great aunt had adopted mother. Mother tells him that it wasn't really the same. Her adopted father loved her but her mother didn't.
"Why are you so curious? Do you have any lead? Tell me even if you are not sure."
But Draco can't, not until he knows for sure. He can't take it on his conscience to take the woman out of one hell and push her into another.
"I was just asking. I do travel a lot. I-"
"You've spent more than half of your childhood with me- either in my lab or just around me. Very often, you had a row with Lucius when he refused to bring you to meet me. He would say that you would disturb me and you would argue that I love you and that you'll never disturb me. Don't lie to me. I can read you very easily. I know you better than you know yourself." Severus finishes in a very 'matter of fact' voice and Draco averts his eyes.
"Then don't ask questions I can't answer yet. Trust me. I'll tell you. I don't care what father wants and I hate Riddle. Not that father is even interested in the man. He says that he had started despising Marvolo by the time he died."
"I trust you." Severus starts, "But Serene. She would be so happy. I just- I love her so much."
"I am probably wrong. It's only a hunch and it'll be very disastrous if wrong people get to know about it." Draco finishes and Severus looks at him.
"Wrong... as in Blaise?" He murmurs and Draco doesn't reply.
He murmurs instead, "Don't look deeper into it. It's just a feeling. Give me some time. It's not as easy as you think."
"All right. I'll wait." Severus requests him, his shoulders slumped.
Draco nods. Severus leaves and Draco dials the woman's number.
She picks up after the third ring.
"Hel- hell- hello." She murmurs. Draco stills. Her voice seems pained. Did Blaise hurt her?
"Draco Malfoy this side." He murmurs.
"Yes." She replies curtly after a pause of two seconds.
"Blaise said that you can make an exception for me. I'll read your conditions and I accept them. I apologize for over stepping my boundaries." He murmurs softly. She falls quiet.
"I'll send a message to you. Just go through it. Please be here in an hour. I've to go out today. I'll send you the price list too."
His heart clenches. She makes it sound as if she is a commodity and Draco isn't comfortable with it. Yet he knows that this is the only way to know more about her. It'll take a long time to get her to open up with him.
"Okay." He replies, "Can I know your name? "
" No." She mutters and hangs off.
Draco sits down with his hands on his forehead. He'll have to keep a track of her. If she's the 'Harrie' the prophecy talks about, then they are very well doomed. Although, he'll tell Serene and will ask them to leave the country. Riddle must not know about her. Nor should the wizarding world. He'll not let anyone force her, no matter what.
Harrie has decided to get drunk today. She has money on her hands now so she can afford it. She hadn't wanted to take up any client. She has still not recovered from last night. But Blaise requested on Draco's behalf and Draco apologized so she agreed.
An hour has passed and Draco will be here any minute now. She just wants to get it over with. Abruptly, the bell starts ringing and she rushes out to greet him, limping a bit.
She opens the door and regards him. He is the first man she finds attractive. He's handsome and has nice eyes.
"Come on. Come inside." She murmurs and limps towards her room.
"You are limping. Are you in pain?" He asks, following her.
"Your friend loves spanking." She replies curtly and opens the door.
She walks in. He follows her inside. She stands in the middle of the room and waits for him. He closes the door and leans against it, simply looking at her.
She waits for him to do something but he doesn't.
"What are you waiting for?" She asks. His eyes are steeled when they meet hers.
"What are you thinking?" She asks and he still doesn't reply.
"Will you say something? I have to go out after you leave. I have to go out. I made an exception for you." She snaps at him.
"Sit on the bed. I want to talk to you." He murmurs and she stares at him.
"All right." She replies and sits on the edge of her bed, wondering if he is drunk. His eyes seem sober enough.
He walks close to her and murmurs, "Stand up and turn around."
Startled, she does. His hands lift her hair and place them on her left shoulder. He strokes her earlobe for a second before murmuring, "Turn back around and sit down."
She obliges and when she turns around, she finds him staring at her. He is slightly surprised and a bit upset.
"What was that about?" she asks after readjusting her hair.
"Do you have a scar on your forehead?" He asks out of the blue. She blinks. Yes she did have a scar but she usually hid it with a bit of concealer. She wonders how he knows.
"No." She lies while looking at him with narrowed eyes. His eyes seem suspicious.
"What's your name?"
"Are you paying me to talk to you?" She snaps out.
"Yes." He answers and she blinks in surprise. This has to be the very first time someone is interested in only talking to her.
"What are you upto, huh? What are you after? Who are you?" She hisses, her body stiff with tension.
"I am Draco Malfoy and I am paying you for talking to me." He mutters calmly, his eyes pools of molten silver. He is perfectly at ease. His eyes are unblinking and his face is blank. His breath is even and steady. She doesn't frighten or intimidate him, not even a little bit.
"What do you really want from me?"
"Answers." He replies in a heartbeat.
"Why?" She asks, confused and alarmed. Why is he asking such questions from her and how does he know about her scar. Is he related to her real parents somehow? Have they located her because she doesn't want to meet them. They abandoned her and never tried to find her at all.
"I'm curious. You're quite intriguing." He replies. Once again, he seems honest, genuine and sincere. But she's suspicious of him. Now that she recalls it, the others who had asked about her name were startled when she had told it to them. Maybe she should move out of this city.
"Well, Mr. Malfoy. Thank you but I have to leave. Please leave my premises." She murmurs. She will need to find a buyer for the house and she does want to drink her night into oblivion.
He gets up, his eyes guarded, "Don't panic. Listen to me."
"No. I am not going to listen to you. Just leave." She presses and stands up.
"I need to know your name." He insists.
"Just leave me alone. I'm in a hurry. I did tell you that you need to book in advance. I don't work like this."
He takes a deep breath and starts walking towards the door.
"When are you free then?" He asks politely, his eyes searching hers.
"I'll tell you." She mutters quickly.
"I need to check my schedule too. Can you tell me right now?"
"I can't commit. I don't know if I'll be available." She blurts out. She is losing her patience.
"No!" She barks out and walks towards him. She places her hands on his shoulders and pushes him until he is literally out of her house and murmurs, "Leave."
Hurriedly, she takes out her phone after closing the door and dials the number of the property dealer who had helped her acquire this house. He picks up after the second bell, "Yes, Ms. Potter."
"I want to sell this house. I need a buyer by tonight. I am leaving tomorrow." She mutters curtly.
"But-" He starts and she cuts him off, her voice urgent, "No. I need to leave tomorrow. Please arrange a buyer immediately. It's urgent."
"Okay Ms. Potter. I'm coming right away then. A couple is sitting in front of me. They are insisting on having a look at your place." He replies.
"Okay." She mutters and hangs off.
Sighing heavily, she settles down on the edge of her bed, trying to calm down. She'll leave tomorrow and that will be that. She can relax for tonight at least. Tomorrow is going to be long and hard.
She breathes hard and walks towards her closet to choose an outfit.
Draco parked his car at a little distance from her house. If she won't answer his questions, he'll just keep an eye on her although he's certain that she's Harrie. He has been cursing himself for the past ten minutes.
He rushed everything. Merlin knows what she is planning to do. She looked so terrified just before she literally kicked him out.
"Damnit" He curses for the tenth time and his eyes widen when a car stops in front of the house. A couple in their early forties gets out of the car and two kids follow them. From the driver's seat, a man dressed in a black muggle suit gets out.
The couple is gazing at the house and the man is showing things to them, gesturing towards the garden and the house. Draco's heart sinks when he realizes exactly what is happening. They must be here to have a look at the house which means that she's selling it, which further means that she's leaving.
"All this in the matter of half an hour." Draco mumbles to himself, amazed.
He has no time to waste. His phone rings and he looks at it. It's his receptionist.
"Hello." Draco mumbles as he watches the green eyed woman greet them with a fake smile pasted on her face.
"Sir. Polyjuice potion is out of stock. An order of three dozen vials has come from Hogwarts and another one dozen is-"
"Take the order and tell them that it'll be ready in five days." Draco cuts off.
"If they argue, tell them that I need five days." Draco hangs off. He doesn't have time to waste. He needs to take her to Serene. She had the mole and her resemblance is exactly as his godfather described. She doesn't have to do this to earn money. Even without ancestral vaults of Blacks. Serene Black is a wealthy woman.
After around half an hour they come outside and shake hands. Draco slaps his forehead. This means that the couple has agreed. He has no time. Who knows when she is leaving.
The couple leaves and she walks back inside.
After another ten minutes, she returns. This time, she is dressed in a purple tube top high waist dress. She looks stunning. He sighs in relief. She looks all around herself.
A few seconds later, she starts walking and slowly, he gets out of the car. Very subtly he reaches her mind. He concentrates on her most recent thoughts to know exactly where she is going.
"Want to drink- been a long time- pub-" These are the only things he catches when she suddenly vanishes, thereby proving his suspicions. She is Harrie Potter.
He gets inside his car and starts driving. He'll have to search all the pubs in this area.
"Hey, look over there. Lesh shee if she's available." Dean slurs. Ron looks in the said direction. A woman dressed in a purple tube top is sitting on a counter. Dean and Neville are heavily drunk. Neville is mumbling something or the other about Ginny who broke up with him on Sunday. No-one knows why. She lost her position in the Canons. She had got it on the condition that she will marry Neville. Apparently, the chances of their giving birth to magical children were hundred percent. Coincidently, they fancied each other and it was perfect. Ron wonders what happened off, not that he has time to investigate. He has been avoiding Hermione ever since that day.
"Hot little thing, isn't she?" Dean mumbles, leering at her, "Me and Seamus hired her the other day. Seamus was a right bastard."
Ron squints and tries to focus on her face. He isn't as intoxicated as they are.
"Yeah, come on. Lesh go and ta- talk to her." Neville mumbles incoherently. Ron doesn't understand why he drinks so much when he knows that he'll just end up embarrassing himself.
When Ron's drunk mind finally registers who she really is, his eyes widen, "No no. Not she. Come on, we are leaving."
He has not yet accepted the fact that Harrie is alive. He doesn't really remember properly but mom has photos of him playing with her when they were infants. Being a total coward, he has not yet told anyone about her. He can't forgive himself.
"No Ro- on. You stay here if you want. We're going. I'm depresshhed." Nevilles slurs.
"Wait. Don't. You'll regret it."
Dean stares at him, his eyes completely lost and grins like a fool.
"I'll be right back. Stay here." Ron yells and walks towards the washroom.
"Another sh- shot of whiskey neat please." Harrie slurs. The bartender stares warily at her.
"I have the mo- money." She stutters and throws a couple of notes on the table in front of him. As the day is progressing, the pub is getting even more crowded which is a good thing. The noise helps her relax. She's not really fond of dancing. She is here to drink her frustrations out. The bartender places two more shots in front of her and she gulps them.
She's certain that she seems mad. The bartender has brown eyes and is looking cautiously at her. She has lost count of the number of shots she has already taken. She's blissfully intoxicated and is grinning as she stares at the dancing and sweating bodies scattered all over the place.
Her throat is burning and her hands are trembling. She doesn't know how she'll return tonight.
"Maybe it's enough for tonight." The bartender murmurs politely, his lips stretched in a tense grin.
She smiles back before slurring, "I ha- have the mo- money. Just make another shot for me."
He nods and obliges and she drinks it. The bartender continues serving others. Many are leering at her. After how she insulted the first two guys who tried to force her to dance with them, no-body is daring to approach her.
"Hell- hello there. Remember me?" She hears a familiar voice and turns to greet the man. It's Dean. She remembers him. He is with Neville and both are quite drunk.
She blinks and smiles at them before looking at the bartender, mumbling, "Another one, please."
This time, the bartender doesn't argue with her and she takes the shot quickly.
"Are you available?" Dean slurs. Neville smiles at her. It's obvious that he has had too much to drink.
"One... two." She counts and nods, "Twenty Thousand." A voice is screaming at the back of her mind to stop. But her drunken self ignores the voice. She will need cash after spending so much tonight.
Neville nods, "We have the cash."
Harrie grins and Neville repeats, "You are looking hot and we have the cash."
Dean holds her hand and they walk out of the pub together.
She sits in the backseat of the car, smiling like a loon.
The moment Ron opens the door, his eyes fall upon Draco Malfoy who is washing his hands. He is stunned and just freezes at the doorway.
"Weasley, what are you looking at?" He drawls.
"When did you start drinking?" Ron mutters, slurring just a little bit.
"I don't drink." Malfoy snaps at him and almost shoves Ron away.
"What are you doing here then? People come here to drink." Ron, being a drunk idiot asks him.
"I'm searching for someone." Malfoy mutters before walking out. Ron relieves himself quickly. He had almost forgotten about Dean and Neville.
"Damn." He curses and almost runs towards his counter. His heart sinks when he finds them gone. Harrie is nowhere to be seen. All the three of them are drunk. He looks around, alarmed and terrified. Where are they?
Ron almost falls down when someone suddenly shoves his shoulder.
"Watch it." Malfoy snaps and then when their eyes meet, he sneers, "Weasley, why do you drink so much when you can't handle it? Move out of my way."
Ron murmurs desperately, "Malfoy. You have to help me, please."
"I don't have time for your nonsense. I'm searching for someone and she was sitting there a few minutes back. But, now she has gone." He hisses and despite the noise, Ron can hear each and every word.
He wipes his sweating forehead and mumbles, "Harrie. You are searching for Harrie Potter. Let's get out of here. She isn't here."
Malfoy freezes before fixing a cold glare on him and nods before turning towards the exit of the pub.
"The time sh- shtarts now." She mumbles. They're in the car. She is in the back seat and Dean and Neville are sitting on either sides of her, "You have an hour."
"Okay." Dean murmurs.
"What do you mean - Are you crazy? You just left them alone when you knew- Why did you not tell anyone about her?" Draco snarls at Weasley who swallows, his eyes desperate and guilt ridden, "I - I know that I should have told Snape but I didn't want Hermione to know."
"I had never even - merlin, I don't have time for this. Where do you think- I think she must have taken them to her place. Come on. I'll need your help." He closes his eyes and apparates to her place. Weasley follows him a second later. He tries to open the main door but it's heavily warded.
After attempting for the fiftieth time, the door finally slams open and Harrie's dog greets then. The moment his eyes fall on Draco, he starts running towards Harrie's room. Draco follows with Weasley.
The sight that greets him when the door opens compels him to stop at the doorway. He needs to hold the wall otherwise he is sure that he'll stumble. Thomas and Longbottom are lying on the bed and so is she. Her face is streaked with tears. She's obviously still not sober. The scene is indescribable. He averts his eyes and points his wand at them. He casts a quick spell to clean them and another one to dress them. Then Draco casts a sleeping spell on Harrie.
Draco wonders if Thomas and Longbottom are blind. Couldn't they see that she was in so much pain that she was crying, that she wasn't even sober enough to consent. Is pleasure so important that they didn't care even a bit about the woman they were using to gain it.
Draco closes the door and Weasley casts a cleaning charm on the floor. Draco casts the strongest sobering charm on the unconscious men and then he casts the strongest stinging hex. They wake up with a shout on their lips. Weasley silences them which is good because Draco doesn't want to disturb her sleep.
"I told you to stay put." Weasley hisses. Draco notices the anger in his voice. Longbottom backs off, horrified and stumbles on the floor.
Thomas covers his mouth in utter shock.
"She is-" Weasley starts and Longbottom cuts him off in a horrified voice, "Harrie Potter. I know."
Draco freezes and Weasley glares at the man, "That's why Ginny broke it off with you. Does she know about Harrie's being alive?"
"Is she the same Harrie Potter?" Thomas murmurs, his eyes frozen on Draco and Draco nods.
"Now it matters because she is Harrie Potter, eh, not because she wasn't in the right frame of mind to consent. I'll see to it that she sues both of you."
"Of course, it matters Malfoy. We aren't animals. Harrie Potter or not, it matters. I don't believe it. How could I have been so drunk? I- " Longbottom mumbles, his eyes on the floor.
"She gave her consent." Thomas says defensively.
"Yes, she did give her consent." Longbottom mutters, though he doesn't sound as sure of himself as Thomas does.
"Consent while drunk isn't a consent." Draco sneers at them and notices Weasley trying to leave from the corner of his eyes.
"Don't you dare move, Weasley. You're an accomplice." Draco snaps at the red-head.
"I am not. I told you that I asked them to stay there." Weasley protests weakly.
"I don't believe you. I'll do when you confess this under veritaserum in the wizengamot." Draco says firmly.
"You can't do this." Longbottom literally pleads him, "It'll ruin my career."
"She's only a prostitute. How does it matter-"
Draco glares venomously at Thomas who is the one to say these words and sneers at him, "Law is equal for all. I can't believe that you have the nerve to say this."
"It's not my fault. Why are you dragging me in this?" Weasley mumbles.
"Like I said, I don't believe you."
"You can't do this to me. It'll ruin me." Longbottom is on the verge of getting down on his knees and begging Draco.
"Enough. Spare me the drama. I'm going to revive her now." Draco drawls dismissively.
Draco summons a water-bottle and a glass of water and casts the charm slowly on her. This being done, he waits for her to open her eyes.
Harrie shoots up and moans, her eyes tightly shut. Her entire body is in pain. Images start flickering behind her eyelids and fury and disgust she has never experienced before shakes her frame and a sudden urge to kill them takes over her.
They knew that it wasn't the place or time to approach her. How dare they take advantage of the fact that she wasn't sober. She was drunk.
"Harrie." A very soft and voice reaches her ears. It belongs to that bloke, Draco Malfoy. Why can't they leave her alone. She only wanted a day to herself. One day and they just had to ruin it.
She breathes again and tries to suppress her frustration.
"Harrie, it's me Draco." He murmurs again and ruins her concentration. She snarls and opens her eyes.
"GET OUT." She screams at the blonde who is frozen in the middle of the room. The duo is sitting on her couch, their eyes utterly terrified. Her fury only increases when her eyes fall upon the red headed bloke, Ron who was shocked to hear her name.
Something strange is going on here and she doesn't care what it is. She wants them goneShe clenches fists and glares at Dean and Neville.
"Keep the money and leave." She mutters as calmly as she can.
"It's kept on your side table." Thomas replies.
"Leave" She snarls and they don't move.
"Harrie, listen." The red-head starts and heads towards her. She glares at his feet and freezes them. He falls down.
"Who gave you the right to barge inside my house. Jimmy!" She screams and Jimmy runs inside, barking loudly.
She looks inside his eyes and murmurs, "I want you to get rid of them." She gestures towards the duo sitting on her couch.
Draco takes a step back and Ron exclaims, "Wait. Don't."
Jimmy doesn't pay attention to them. He runs towards the duo sitting on the couch and starts barking threateningly.
"Stop him. Let them leave. I'll help you sure them. But they need to be alive for thst." Draco murmurs. She ignores him, closes her eyes and tries to calm down.
"Had you just spoken to me instead of throwing me out, this would never have happened at all." He drawls.
Neville and Dean are trying to back off when Harrie mutters, "It's okay, Jimmy. Please leave. I'll call you once these idiots are gone."
Jimmy heads towards her and leaves after receiving a pat on his head.
"Leave my house immediately." She barks.
Neville doesn't even look at her. He only gets up and leaves. Dean follows him after a last glance at Harrie.
She snaps at Ron, "What are you waiting for? Just leave."
He does, leaving silence in his wake. Finally, she turns to look at Draco Malfoy.
"Do you need me to write it down? I want you to leave." She murmurs slowly as if he's a kid.
"I am not going to leave." He replies coolly and Harrie stares at him.
"Who do you think you are?" She hisses.
"Just keep quiet for a few minutes and listen to me." He insists and she punches her bed angrily, "Just leave me alone. That's all I want."
"Stop behaving like a child. I am not hurting you. I never meant to hurt you and you know that. I just wanted to talk to you."
"Until when, eh? One hour, two hours or until you get bored of this act." She mutters, her breath uneven and hard.
"For gods sake, just shut up for minute and look at yourself. You are hungry and thirsty and I am not hurting you. I just want to help. I know things about you that you don't." His voice is frustrated but kind, "Let me get something to eat for you and some tea for both of us."
"Hang on. Do you even know how to make tea? Maybe I should help you."
He glares petulantly at her, "Of course, I do."
She averts her eyes before replying, "Whatever. Just leave me alone."
Forty five minutes later find Draco in front of a woman who seems polar opposite to the woman who had ordered him to leave her alone. She won't stop talking. He wonders if she's just trying to forget what happened.
He stays quiet and listens to her. She is telling him about all the places she has been and all the places she still wants to visit. She has so many dreams. How should he tell her about the prophecy?
"And I want a car. I learned driving a year ago and I really want to buy a car. I have saved some money." She says. He's losing his nerve. He doesn't want to tell her yet he knows that he must. This news is bound to get out and Dumbledore won't give up until he has transformed her into a weapon.
"Why did you let me stay?" He asks out of the blue and she falls quiet. She looks at his face for a few moments before averting her eyes, "You were paying to talk to me. Who does that? You don't seem like them."
"Before we proceed, I want you to know that initially my intentions were not selfless. I-"
"So you wanted..." She trails off. Her smile falters.
"Of course not. You're a beautiful woman but no, that's not what I wanted." He says.
"What do you mean? You aren't making any sense." She murmurs, confused.
"Ah!" He starts, "You're a witch Harrie."
She stares at him for a few moments.
"Are you drunk?"
"I don't drink." He murmurs seriously.
"What's a witch?" She asks, "You are sure that you aren't drunk?"
"Of course not." He mutters, annoyed, "I hate alcoholic beverages and witch is someone who knows how to do magic."
The subsequent silence is absolutely deafening, "But aunt Petunia said that that I am a freak and would be burned to death if anyone found out about my magic."
"Petunia is a crazy woman. She is also cold hearted and utterly evil. So is her sister. "
"You mean my moth-"
Draco cuts her off, "She is not your real mother. Your real mother has been searching for you with my godfather for the past two decades. They couldn't trace your magic."
She turns pale, "I didn't want anyone to find me. Petunia said that my parents didn't want me. Lily Potter isn't my mother, then. Who's my mother?"
"Serene Black. It's a long story and not mine to tell. Rest assured, your she loves you and will be ecstatic when she realizes that I've found you. Petunia told everyone that you had died and that she couldn't give you a burial because there was no body to bury." He finishes.
A lone tear slides down her cheeks. His heart clenches.
She wipes her eyes and murmurs, "So my mother wants me and what about my father."
Draco stills, not knowing how to explain, "That's not my story to tell. Rest assured, your father has been searching for you too. There is something else, something important that you should know."
"More important then the fact that Lily is not my real mother. Why did my mother give me over to her then?"
Draco replies quietly, "I know it's too overwhelming for you but the only thing I am saying is that you are coming home with me. I live alone and my manor is large enough that we won't need to see each other-"
"I'm not coming with you. I'm leaving this city. Atleast I was."
Draco sighs. He had known that this would happen.
"You're coming with me and that's it. Like I said, we don't have to see each other."
"I don't have any problem with you. It's - it's too much. Just give me some time." She snaps at him.
He nods, relieved that at least she's not thinking of fleeing away, and replies, "Of course. take as much time as you want. But I must tell you - there's something you need to be prepared for before you come with me. Do you want me to tell you right now? It's only a matter of time before the prophet, Dumbledore and Riddle know that you're back and once they do - you should hear this from me."
She thinks about it, "Can we have some more tea? I'll go and make it."
"It's okay. I'll make some more tea." He murmurs and stands up, "Maybe we can have it in the kitchen."
"Yes, let's go." She says quietly and gets out of the bed. Draco looks at her from the corner of his eyes. She's really very stunning- takes after Serene with her eyes, skin and everything really.
"Ahem." she clears her throat, "You'll bump into the wall if you keep on staring at me."
The blood rushes to his face and he looks back in front of him, realizing that he really was about to bump into the wall.
"I'll just make tea." He says awkwardly.
"Thank you." She replies in a very amused voice.
Harrie watches him make tea in her kitchen. It had been slightly amusing when she caught him sneaking glances at her from the corner of his eyes. She's accustomed to people staring at her. Some leer at her and others envy her and many others watch her with disgust in their eyes. He's like none of them though. His eyes are clean. Of course, he finds her attractive but he doesn't watch her like Dean or Seamus or even Neville did.
A few minutes later, he settles down across from her after placing the kettle and two cups on the table. Harrie pours tea for both of them.
"There are some chocolate and coconut cookies in the second cupboard. I'll just bring them." She says and stands up. As she heads towards the cupboard, she feels his eyes on the back of her head. She places the cookies on a plate and returns.
"There is a prophecy-" Draco starts.
"You've lost me. What's a prophecy?"
"Ummm... there are seers. They predict future. So there is this seer. Her name is Sybill Trelawney. She stated this prophecy. You and Riddle were born on exactly same day and time and he - . Actually, before him his father had taken over Hogwarts. It's a magical school. He had complete control over the ministry too. He died and his son, Tom Marvolo Riddle took over. He calls himself Lord Voldemort and his servants and followers are called death eaters. He hates muggles- non-magical people and everyone who has a muggle parent. He thinks that wizards and witches need to marry cautiously because only then they can give birth to a magical child. He is picking brides and grooms for us. Deaths of a few half-blood and muggleborn children were reported at Hogwarts just last week. We are assuming that he is behind it. He wants to terrify them so much that they leave by themselves." The blonde finishes and Harrie stares at him, horrified beyond belief.
"What does the prophecy say?"
"It says that only you can defeat him and he is the only one who has the power to defeat you." He replies, his eyes guarded.
"So you want me to save your world." She snorts, "That's why you are here, aren't you?"
"Initially, yes. Now, though I only want you to know your mother and -" Draco stops speaking. Reluctance grows in his eyes.
"And-" She says. She knows what he'll say but it's still nice to hear.
"And I want you to stop doing this work." He replies.
"Hmmmm." She hums and takes a sip of her tea. It's all so ridiculous. Apparently, there is a hidden magical world in which there are magical people and Lily isn't her real mother. Oh! And her real mother gave her over to Lily who gave her to the Dursleys. Even the Dursleys didn't want her. Her birth must have been a mistake. That can be the only reason for throwing her from one doorstep to another like a sack of rotten potatoes. And as an icing on the top, she's supposed to defeat a megalomaniac for their magical world.
"I am not helping your world with anything." She sneers.
He nods calmly, "Yes I understand. Now can you please pack so that we can move to my manor. I want to tell your mother."
She breathes deeply and nods, "I don't see how does my existence matter to her when she threw me away when I was only a baby. I don't want to be a parasite on anyone."
"You can study and get a job. You won't be a parasite on me and anyways there was a reason she-"
"I do not want to know." She insists bitterly.
He continues, nevertheless, "- she gave your custody to them. She's a wealthy woman. She loves you."
"I don't care. If she really loved me, she would never have-"
"There's a reason. She'll tell you." He says softly. His eyes are soft and understanding.
"I am not interested in knowing. It won't change anything." She whispers. Their eyes meet.
"She has been waiting for you for the past two decades. It won't change the past but will give you a beautiful future." Draco replies gently.
She snorts, "Oh! A future in which I'm fighting with a megalomaniac you mean?"
"You don't have to -"
"Don't worry about me. I can protect myself." She sneers rudely.
He takes a deep breath and grits his teeth before drawling, "Well, then it's good. Now, let's pack your bags so that we can leave. Your dog-"
"I'll put him up for adoption. I don't want him to be hurt because of some ridiculous prophecy." She mutters, "I'll pack my bags and will meet you here in ten minutes."
Her voice is firm and her stride is confident. She'll get to the bottom of this and Lily and Petunia will pay for what they did.
Serene stares at Draco. He is talking to her via floo. Severus is standing beside her.
"She's- was- how should I explain this to you?" Draco stutters.
"She is a prostitute. She is the same woman, isn't she- the one Zabini was talking about?" Severus finishes. Draco nods.
Serene's heart almost stops before racing. She suddenly can't breath. Harrie was barely two when Serene saw her last time. She was such a bubbly beautiful baby. Her daughter- prostitute - how -
"Serene! Breathe. You need to meet her. I've told her about you. I've told her about Severus too" Draco murmurs cautiously, "She needs to know why she was give to Lily in the first place otherwise she'll never forgive you. She has not come out of her room ever since she came here."
Serene can't focus. Severus tightens his arm around her waist and murmurs quietly, "You need to calm down."
"My daughter- she -" Serene trails off, not able to formulate the words.
"Serene." Draco calls and she looks at him, her eyes blurred from tears.
"She's alive and well. If you don't come soon, you'll never be able to reconcile with her. She probably thinks that you didn't want her."
"Of course, I want her. How dare you imply that I don't. She is my daughter, my-"
"Serene that's what he is saying - "
She glares at Severus, "Scold your godson. He is implying that -"
"I am implying no such thing. Come over and meet her." He finishes and Serene wipes her eyes.
"Harrie is alive." She murmurs, smiling at Severus. He is staring at her.
"She's back, Severus. She's alive." She wipes her hand and swallows a sob.
"It'll be fine." He says. She sobs, "Why did Lily do it? She could just have returned my child to me. Why did she do it? Why didn't she just return Harrie to me if she didn't want her? She could've given my daughter back to me. Why did she leave her with that wretched woman? Why, Severus? Harrie was only a child."
"Serene, please, come through." Draco murmurs and she wipes her face again before flooing over. Severus follows her.
She's dressed in blue jeans and red shirt and had no time to change her clothes. She's sure she's stinking. Her heart is in her throat and she is breathing hard. Draco's manor is huge.
"I have given the north east wing to her. It has a library and she wants to study." He says and Serene listens to him attentively. Finally they reach the wing and Draco knocks the door of her private quarters.
"Enter." Comes a soft voice and Draco opens the door before walking inside. Serene stares at her twenty two year old daughter. She has Serene's eyes, hair and lips. She has James's nose and chin. Her face is long like hers.
Serene blinks her tears away and snuffles before wiping her nose with the back of her hand. Harrie stares at her. Her body is lean like Serene's.
She was only two when Lily left her with that vile woman. Her hair was small and curly. It was utterly unmanageable. Tears fall down her eyes as everything flickers in the forefront of her mind. The only memories she has of her daughter.
"Serene, don't cry." Severus murmurs but it seems that Serene has lost her ability to speak. Harrie was a very naughty child. She would tickle Serene and hide her things using her magic. She had started showing signs of magic very early although she could barely speak a full sentence. She had started combining two or three words to make simple sentences. She was so energetic that she wanted to keep on playing with Serene. She loved sweets. Her breath hitches. She has waited for this moment for so long.
Harrie has beautiful eyes. She's so pretty. They stole her daughter's childhood from her. She wishes that there was a rewind button and she could go back and change everything. Why did she ever trust Lily? Why did she ever trust James? Why didn't she trust Severus enough?
Serene can't move.
But Harrie does. She comes closer to Serene and stands in front of her. They are of same height.
"I look like you." This is the first thing Harrie mumbles. Her voice is just like Serene's. Is it possible for a child to resemble her mother so much.
Harrie holds her hand and pulls her towards the bed. They sit on the edge and Harrie pulls Serene in a hug. Serene closes her eyes and finally starts crying. She embraces her daughter tightly and cries for her lost childhood, for all that Serene couldn't do for her daughter, for trusting Lily and James with the child, for everything.
She was barely two when Serene hugged her the last time. Time has flown away. It'll never come back now. She wants her daughter's childhood back. She wants to give her a happy life. She wants her little bubbly laughing baby with red cheeks back.
"Why're you crying?" Harrie is sobbing as well.
"I'm sorry for becoming a- a - but I had no money and Petunia had taken me out of school when I was twelve. I didn't know what to do. Petunia won't even give me enough food to eat. She won't give me money at all. I barely had any dresses." Harrie sobs and Serene wants to tell her that she's not angry with her but she can't stop crying.
"She would buy chocolates for Dudley and won't give any to me. So I started doing it. I was eighteen. A few days later she found about it and kicked me out." Harrie mumbles, "I'm sorry that I'm not what you expected. Please, don't cry."
Serene takes a deep breath and pulls back. Draco and Severus are not there any more. She is grateful for that.
"I love you and I'm not disappointed and I am so so sorry. It wasn't my choice. I didn't leave you. I had just graduated when you were born and I had no job, no money. My parents were very strict and you were born out of marriage. James Potter was my best friend at that time and my family hated his. I was afraid that they would kill you so I gave you over to him and his wife Lily. He promised that he would take care of you. Lily left you with her sister when you were two. I don't know why she did it." She finishes with a sob and starts kissing her daughter's cheeks and forehead.
"Don't cry." Harrie whispers, her voice trembling.
"Severus and I came to find you. Pet-" Serene sobs hysterically, "- Petunia lied to us. She said that you had died. I couldn't find you anywhere, I tried and tried. I could never stop thinking about you. I missed you so much. You loved sweets and you were so talkative. I - that first year, I really wanted to die but I couldn't, knowing that you were alive and alone somewhere. I kept on searching for you but could never find you. I missed you so badly." Serene can't stop crying.
"Petunia said that my mother didn't want me and if anyone came to know about my magic, they will kill me. "
"She lied." Serene hisses, "She lied about everything."
When Harrie yawns, Serene murmurs, "Let's sleep. We'll talk when we wake up."
"Okay." Harrie nods and lays down. Serene lays down beside her and pulls her daughter in her arms after two decades. Harrie starts snoring very lightly just a few minutes later but Serene keeps on staring at the dark sky through the windows for a very long while.
An hour later, Severus tip toes inside with Draco and finds them sleeping. He looks at them for a few minutes.
Then he turns the light off and walks out. He wants to know why Lily did this. The woman who used to be his best friend wasn't the kind of person who would do this to a child.
"Are they sleeping?" Draco asks and Severus nods silently before murmuring, "I'll be in my lab. Please don't disturb unless it's something very important."
"Okay." His godson says cautiously and Severus heads towards the fireplace to floo over to his house.
Draco wakes up when he feels lips on his cheeks. At first, he thinks that he's dreaming but then he opens his eyes and finds himself staring into intense green eyes of Harrie. He looks at the clock and realizes that it's four in the morning.
"What're you doing here?' He asks and tries really hard to stay calm and detached although it's extremely difficult. She's looking beautiful although she has worn her pajamas and a shirt. Nothing fancy. He wonders how she can manage to look pretty at four in the morning.
"You're really very handsome." She says. He stares, wondering if she'll continue.
He quirks an eyebrow when she doesn't and mutters, "I know that. That doesn't, however, explain your presence in my room at four in the morning."
"I was feeling a bit lonely." She murmurs and bites her lower lip. He narrows his eyes in response.
"Oh, I see and...?" He says, trailing off.
This time, it's her turn to stare at him.
"Do I really need to spell it out?" She whispers and looks at him from under her eyelashes.
"Stop it, Harrie." He murmurs sternly but she leans forward to kiss his lips this time. He places his hands on her shoulders. Her eyes flash for a second and her lips press in a straight line before she smiles and it lights up her face although it's not a real smile. She covers his hands with hers on her shoulders and leans towards him yet again. This time, he pushes her away.
She glares at him but her eyes soften just after a minute and she smiles yet again. She's good at this but he won't be fooled.
"What're you upto? Stop it."
"I want to know about Lily Potter's whereabouts. Give me the answer and I'll let you kiss me. You want it, don't you. I can see it in your eyes." She whispers softly, enticingly.
He glares at her and clenches his hands into fists to control the urge to slap her.
"I told you that I am not like that. You-" He mutters, trying to stay still and speak politely.
She cuts her off, "It's only a kiss. Stop overreacting. It's my work. Give me what I want and you'll get what you want."
He stares at her and his blood starts boiling. His face feels too hot and he grits his teeth angrily. Her eyes are devoid of any emotion. She is dispassionate and that's what irks Draco. It doesn't matter to her. It doesn't hurt her anymore, doesn't affect her the way it should.
"Of course it's just a kiss for you. After all, you are an escort." He drawls coldly.
She pulls back and glares at him with narrowed eyes before suddenly slapping his face hard.
"How dare you?" He hisses and clenches his hands again into very tight fists. He won't let his temper control him.
"Don't insult me." She hisses.
Their eyes meet and they glower at each other.
"Why do you want to meet Potter's wife?" He asks after taking a deep breath. He has always been short tempered and that's one of the main reasons he tends to stay away from people in general.
"That's none of your business." She replies in a heartbeat. Her eyes are burning with unbridled rage. He wonders if his own eyes reflect the same emotion. She is so infuriating. Why can't she just answer him?
"I am not telling you where she lives unless you answer me." He mutters flatly.
She only continues glaring at him so he continues, "Just get out of my room and don't come inside before knocking next time."
"Did it hurt?" She asks nonchalantly, staring at his cheeks.
He replies arrogantly, "You'll have to do much better if you want to hurt me. I have had worse."
"Just tell me where she lives." She hisses.
"Let me sleep. It's too early for this." He mutters carelessly, "Get out of my room."
She stares at him for a few moments and takes several deep breaths before standing up and storming out of his room. She slams the door behind her, leaving deafening silence in her wake.
He gets out of the bed and walks towards his window. Healing is a long and slow process and he'll have to be patient if he wants her to heal. He won't lose his calm and he won't yell at her again. He doesn't want her to hurt more than she's already hurting.
"Damnit." She punches her bed hard. An hour and a half has passed since she returned from his room. He hasn't bothered to even talk to her. She hadn't wanted to slap him but hadn't been able to control herself.
She's starving and she had expected him to call her for breakfast. But he didn't. Fuming silently, she walks outside her room and straight towards the kitchen. She stands at the doorway and looks at him. He's cooking.
"I'm going out." She mutters snottily. For a few moments, he doesn't answer and then he only nods at her.
She continues coldly, "I might not return."
In response, he just shrugs. He doesn't care at all but then that's not something new. She is accustomed to not being important for anyone.
"I need some money. Mine is in my bank account. I got my credit cards deactivated since I needed to save money. My cash has finished." She mutters.
Finally, he pauses and turns around, "Didn't Serene set your monthly allowance?"
She glares at her, "I won't spend according to her. I've always lived my life on my terms."
"But the allowance she set- it's a lot. She's a wealthy woman. I told you that she has been saving for you." He argues, leant against the slap. Omelet is getting cooked on low heat. It smells delicious and she's really hungry.
"I am not asking for a favor." She snarls, "I'll return it to you. Once I find a - once I have it, I'll return- leave it. I'll manage somehow." She mutters and whirls around.
She has only taken two steps when her shoulders are held roughly and she's turned around.
Draco's eyes blaze with fury as he hisses, "You aren't going anywhere."
His words only serve to provoke her because who's he to stop her from doing anything. Where was he when she needed help. Now she doesn't. She covers his hands that are clutching her shoulders and shoves him away.
"Stay away." She growls and he hisses furiously, "Serene will give you money. You don't need to do it."
"Has it crossed your mind that maybe I don't want to be a parasite on her. I was a parasite on Petunia and look where it led me." She murmurs, trying to keep her voice steady. She wants him to back off so that she can leave and get herself something to eat.
"Where're you going anyway?"
"To- to get some breakfast." She says impatiently.
He stares at her, his eyes perplexed, "I was preparing breakfast for both of us. Why're you going out?"
She glares at him, "You didn't even bother to ask what I want and you didn't care that I haven't had any breakfast. You don't care for me."
"I was coming to call you. I wanted everything set on the table before doing that."
She stares at him, feeling stupid all of a sudden.
"I DON'T WANT TO DEPEND ON YOU FOR ANYTHING." She yells defensively and shoves him hard.
He literally clenches his fingers before hissing into her face, "Do not raise a hand on me again unless you want me to hit you too, Harrie."
She backs off just a little bit, "What'll you do? I don't feel any pain now. Do your worst."
"Everyone feels pain." He mutters, his eyes suddenly very calm and cautious.
"I don't. I don't feel anything and I don't want to be a parasite on you."
"I suppose that what I want doesn't matter then. The fact that I want you to stay here and eat with me doesn't matter. GET LOST THEN." He is practically shouting by the end and he is shaking all over, "Go and do whatever you wish. See if I care."
He swivels around and walks back towards the stove. He takes out a plate for himself and slams it angrily on the slap. He throws the burned omelet in the dustbin and slams a pan on the induction. He places two loafs of bread on his plate and starts cutting them angrily. Of course, he ends up cutting himself.
"Ah! Damn." He hisses and places his fingers under running water. She flinches. He's really furious. She doesn't want to eat out anymore. So she goes inside the kitchen and takes out a plate for herself and slams it near his as loudly as he had. It calms her down, if only a bit. He returns and resumes cooking the omelet. She helps with the bread.
"I'll make tea. Just go and set the table." She mutters once everything is done. He doesn't reply. He only glares at her. She glares back. Silently, he picks up their plates and takes them towards the table.
She follows him after a few moments with the kettle and two cups. He's glaring at his breakfast. She glares at hers before shrugging and taking the first bite.
"It's delicious." She complements him.
"Thank you." He mutters a few seconds later, his voice calm. She starts calming down too. Rest of the breakfast is quite peaceful.
"Where is Lily Potter? I want to meet her while she is still unaware that I am back."
The tension between them makes a comeback in the evening. Throughout the day, they avoided each other but come evening, she walks out of the room for dinner and decides to confront him.
She needs to meet that woman and pay her back for what she did.
"Why?" He asks and she obviously doesn't answer him. He will most certainly not tell her anything if he realizes her intentions.
"Are you telling me or not?" She asks, her eyes boring into his. Unlike morning, she is calm and determined. She has decided not to use her mom's money. She can't help but recall Petunia's hateful yet true words. She doesn't want to be a parasite on anyone.
He's still and his eyes are searching hers.
"No." He says. She sighs audibly and stands up.
"Where're you going?" He asks quietly, his hands still on the edge of the table and his eyes still on her.
"Last I checked, you weren't my mom. Just mind your own business." She snaps at him and smirks in satisfaction when his eyes flash at her.
"I am not your mother, no but you'll tell me where you're going." He mutters dangerously and she hisses, "Why?"
"Because I-" He stops mid sentence and takes a deep breath. She glares at him.
"I'm going." She replies and as an after thought adds, "There's a club in this locality. I'm going there."
He nods, "I can come with you."
"You're not my keeper. Leave me alone." She snaps at him and they glower at each other. She doesn't understand why he infuriates her so bloody much.
"Don't even think of ordering me around." She murmurs quietly and when he doesn't reply, her heart aches. She wishes for him to care for her and if he really did he would do anything to stop her but he doesn't.
She leaves the house and he does absolutely nothing to stop her. It just cements her decision because she doesn't want to be thrown on the streets once these people get bored of her which they eventually will if she continues to be a burden on them. They don't really care for her. Nobody ever has.
With this in her mind, she closes her eyes and apparates to the pub in which Seamus and Dean had met her while she was drunk.
Draco thinks he knows where she has gone. What he doesn't know is whether she is going to take some client although again he thinks that she is.
The fact that he cares and is angry that she left is frightening. He has never cared for anyone before. He can't afford to care. Riddle is irrational and mad and will kill Draco if he dares to defy the man. He already dislikes Draco very much.
So Draco tries to make himself believe that he doesn't care. She can prance all over the country with a million and one clients. He simply doesn't care. Until a few days ago, he didn't even know her. She has always been doing this. So he doesn't care. Someone might seriously hurt her but he doesn't care. Someone might kill her. But why should he care. She is only a guest and Serene and his godfather have forced her upon him.
He doesn't care.
He repeats this mantra over and over and repeatedly images of what might happen to her come in his mind.
The image of Finnigan's or Thomas's filthy body pressed against her while she stares off into the space and simply takes it comes in his mind and he loses it.
He is not just concerned for her. He is burning with anger and is itching to beat the shit out of both the men. He realizes that he is in trouble when he accepts that he simply can't see her with anyone else.
It's confusing and annoying. Why's this happening? She shouldn't affect him like this. Except she does. There is something about her that quickens his heartbeat and makes him want to hold her in his arms for the rest of the eternity because that way no one would harm her and she would be happy.
He breathes hard, trying to control himself because that bar is the regular spot of those idiots.
No matter what he does, he can't calm himself down. His fury is only increasing.
He gets up and slams his hand on the table before storming outside his house and apparating with a POP.
Five minutes later, he finds himself inside a packed pub. Sweating bodies of boys and girls are writhing all over the dance floor. They are trying to engage him in a dance and he has already shoved a couple of wasted girls in his impatience and fury because right in front of him, bloody Finnigan is curled around Harrie who is staring at the ceiling blankly.
He is trembling. He doesn't know why he is so angry. He has certainly not felt anything like this in his life. All he knows is that he is going to teach Seamus a lesson tonight. He clenches his hand and narrows his eyes. His face is hot and his breath is fast.
It takes only a few seconds for Harrie to notice him and another couple of seconds to pull back. Her shirt is partially unbuttoned. It only serves to increase his rage.
"Malfoy, what-" Seamus doesn't get to finish the sentence before Draco punches his face. It was buried in her neck. Did he not notice that she isn't interested in him.
"Malfoy wait." He starts and Draco punches his other cheek. Finnigan falls down. By now, the music has stopped and people are staring at them.
"Draco stop this." Harrie murmurs quietly but Draco doesn't stop. He straddles the man and throws punch after punch. A part of him is shocked at his violent reaction because Draco has never used his muscle power but it's like something animalistic has taken over him and he can't stop himself.
Finnigan is bleeding from various places and Draco's chest is heaving.
He stops when Harrie shouts in his ear, "Stop it, you idiot. Don't kill him."
He stands up with a snarl and slaps her face hard. A hush descends over the crowd. Nothing can be heard except Finnigan's whimpers. Belatedly, Draco realizes that Weasley, Longbottom and Thomas were trying to stop him as well.
Draco glares at Harrie, his lips curled in a snarl. She stares, her hand on her red cheek. Whispers spread all over the room.
"How dare you?" She hisses, her fingers trembling on her cheeks.
Draco doesn't reply. He wants to take her away from this vile club. So he does what his instinct tells him. He bends down and picks her up in bridal style.
"Pu- put me down." She hisses but something tells him that she is not really angry at him. Maybe she is upset with the slap but nothing else.
People create a path for him as he takes a kicking and whining Harrie Potter out of the pub.
Weasley, Longbottom and Thomas stare at his back. He never raised even a finger at Weasley who was the most annoying man in their school.
He has no time to tell them that he is as confused by his reaction as they are.
By the time, he reaches the entry of his house, his fury is replaced by guilt. Harrie is silent now. Her head is resting on his chest and her cheek is still red. It still has his finger prints.
He stops for a moment and stares at her.
A moment later, she looks back at him.
"I slapped you in the morning." She mutters but he closes his eyes. His mother had taught him to never raise a hand on a woman. It's completely against his principles.
He walks inside.
"I wanted money. I don't have cash and I wanted information about Lily. He had both and was willing to give it." She mumbles, still resting in his arms.
Draco freezes when he notices Serene and Severus sitting on his couch. Serene walks towards them with a soft, "We were so worried. Where were you? I-"
Her words freeze in her throat when her eyes fall upon Harrie's cheeks. Her shoulders stiffen and her eyes turn cold with betrayal and anger. Draco prepares himself for the inevitable and places Harrie back on the floor.
Clenched fists and trembling frame. Serene Black's anger leaves Harrie shaken. She shouldn't have gone to the pub. She shouldn't have sold herself that first time. She should have endured her hunger, let herself starve, begged, borrowed or even stolen. Anything but that. So many should haves and shouldn't haves. Until now, no-one had cared. But now there is someone who does. She is standing in front of Harrie, glaring daggers at Draco Malfoy.
Harrie takes a step back. The rage emanating from her frame is too much to handle. She looks angry enough to kill the blonde. Harrie stares at her mother and wonders if this is where she gets her temper from, if mom has ever lost her temper like Harrie did in the past.
"Hasn't she gone through enough? " Mom hisses coldly.
It feels so warm to have a mother who is so angry on her behalf at someone who hurt her. However, it's equally horrifying to be aware of the fact that what Harrie did is going to break her mother's heart.
"We'll talk about this after you calm down." Draco replies calmly but his voice is cold and his lips press in a straight line as soon as he's finished speaking. It's clear that he wants space and time to think and calm down. Harrie opens her mouth but realizes that the words are stuck in her throat. Mr. Snape is looking at her as if he can see straight through her soul. She swallows and averts her eyes. How should she tell mom that she had gone to-
"You slapped her." Mom's cold words compel Harrie to focus on present and attempt to intervene before it's too late.
"You don't know what she did."
Harrie takes a deep breath. Once again she opens her mouth and then closes it again.
"She needs a therapist." Of course, Draco's patience is wearing thin.
"What do you even mean by that?" Mom murmurs and becomes very still. Her eyes narrow suspiciously.
"She went to -" He stops and looks down before starting again, "She wanted money and so she went to a pub to earn it the way she knows. She also wanted to know the whereabouts of Lily Potter and Finnigan happened to know that."
Deafening silence follows his statement. He's the one to break it.
"I followed her and lost my temper and I am sorry for hitting her. I'm sorry, all right. I should have known better."
Draco is so frustrated right now and at the same he's guilty. He avoids looking at Harrie and looks at a wall instead.
"Take your daughter away from here. I have had enough. Bloody brute is what she is. She-"
He stops speaking because mom is not listening to him. Her hand that is pressed upon the table is perhaps the only thing that is keeping her on her feet. She is staring at Harrie. Her eyes are damp and Harrie has nothing to say to her.
"But I gave you money. I- I didn't realize. Maybe you don't like the system of having a monthly allowance. I - this key. Keep it." She abruptly takes out a key from her purse and walks gracefully towards Harrie, his long skirt flowing around her, "This is the key of my old vault. I will get money transferred into it."
Harrie doesn't know what comes over her but she throws the key away, shouting, "I don't want your money."
"It's not just my money. I have no-one. No husband, no children, no-one except you. What will I do with this money." She mumbles, tears flowing down her eyes.
Harrie loses it completely. She is sad but she is frustrated as well because mom doesn't understand.
"I don't want to become a parasite on you. I want to earn." She yells and mom flinches. She feels guilty and looks away. She can't see tears in her mother's eyes. It's been just a couple of days but mom has already become dear to her.
Severus sighs. He had known that this would happen eventually. Serene is in tears and Draco is simply glaring at the ceiling instead of the opposite wall, not caring about the blood that is still on his hands, face and shoulders. Severus decides to be the practical one.
"There are other ways to do that, Harrie." He says. He can see James's defiance and fury gleaming in her green eyes.
"I don't know anything else. No education, nothing. This is all I can do. I don't deserve a mother like her. I don't want to become a parasite and I won't." The girl hisses and she doesn't shed even a single tear. Leave alone the tears, there is not even a little bit of sadness in her eyes. She has accepted her fate.
"You can study now." He answers softly.
She looks incredulously at him.
"This is no age to study. What will people say?" She murmurs and finally Serene gathers herself and replies sharply, "People need something to gossip about. They will gossip for some days and then they will forget it. You shouldn't care about them so very much. There is no-one except Severus and Remus I care about, Harrie. Who are you talking about?"
"And there is no age to study. I am still studying although I am already a potions master." Severus continues.
"She doesn't have the guts to study. This is all I know." Draco mocks, mimicking Harrie. She glowers at him.
"What are you glaring at? You don't want to study. Maybe you never did. You-"
Severus's jaw falls open when the girl takes her heals off and throws them at Draco's face who catches them easily, grumbling furiously, "Brute."
"I BEGGED HER TO LET ME STUDY AND YOU- YOU- DON'T CLAIM TO KNOW ME-"
"PROVE ME WRONG THEN." Draco shouts back and she throws a punch on his chest. He catches her fist and shoves her back.
"This only proves me right. You don't want to study. You don't want to even try."
"I do. Just shut up." Harrie hisses, her face leant towards Draco. Serene stares at Severus.
Severus places a finger on his lips and Serene nods.
"You don't. If you do, then prove me wrong. I will help you. I am a potions master and I can afford best teachers in this country. I challenge you. Find something you like and study it. Black Library has all the books you would ever need and I will ask father to allow you in his library too. But I know that you won't. You are a hypocrite. You don't want to study and you are simply making excuses." He sneers.
"I have not studied for the past eight years. I will not be able to understand-"
"Excuses! Excuses! I am a busy man and I don't have time for your excuses."
Harrie stares helplessly at Draco's back who has started walking towards the stairs. For a moment, Severus witnesses her dilemma but the moment passes and Harrie shouts, "Okay. I'll find something."
Severus can swear that he sees Draco smiling but the blonde only glances indifferently at Harrie before sneering, "We will see that, won't we." and then he walks off.
Harrie turns to look at Serene who blinks her tears off before smiling.
"I am sorry." Harrie mumbles and Serene smiles tightly. Severus can see the way the woman is controlling her despair.
Serene walks towards her daughter and embraces her tightly before mumbling, "I missed you. Come on. Let's go to your room. I will tell you about Hogwarts."
Something flashes in Harrie's eyes but Serene has already started heading towards Harrie's room so she misses it.
Severus doesn't. They stare at each other.
"I want to meet Lily Potter." She murmurs quietly, her eyes sharp.
"Why?" He asks and she shrugs, "Just like that."
"Ask James about her whereabouts." He answers her.
"When will my father come to meet me. Does he even know?" She asks curiously.
He shakes his head before smirking at her, "No. Serene hates him and refuses to tell him."
"I will convince her." She replies confidently.
Severus's smirk widens, "You can try."
She narrows her eyes in a very Potterish manner and stalks off, leaving a tired Severus Snape in her wake who doesn't know what to do. By tomorrow morning, Riddle will know and so will the entire wizarding world. Sighing audibly, he walks towards her bedroom.
"How did you start - start doing it Harrie? Would you like to share it with me?" Draco almost stops breathing, almost. He's surprised that Serene even asked this question and wonders if Harrie will tell Serene. Harrie is laid down on her lap while Severus is sitting on a couch. Draco is leant against the wall besides the door.
He doesn't know what urged him to come here. He just wanted to see her. It's really strange. For a few moments Harrie stares into space. Her eyes become a bit damp as she gets lost in her thoughts. But then she blinks and it's gone and is replaced by coldness.
"No." She replies curtly. Serene ceases stroking her hair and looks at Severus for a few moments.
"I want to meet my father." She mutters abruptly. She is clever. She knows that Serene will not tell her about Lily's whereabouts so she wants to meet her father to try to get it out of him.
"Why?" Serene asks and Harrie shrugs. He wonders if she will lie.
"I want to ask him about Lily and I want to meet him." She mutters and Serene freezes. Several emotions flicker in her eyes. Fear, anger, despair, helplessness and fear again.
"You are not her daughter. Why do you want to talk about her?" She asks, her voice shaking.
Harrie turns around and looks at her mother's face before getting up and sitting in front of her. She takes Serene's hands in hers and murmurs softly, "No-body will take me away from you ever again. Don't worry."
"You don't know her. Her soft eyes hide her wickedness. I'll never let you meet her ever again." She mutters sharply. Her words have a note of finality.
"And my father. I want to meet him."
Serene thinks for a bit before answering, "Okay. Severus will tell him but James won't tell you about Lily. He has always been in love with that vile woman. Although, there is someone else I want you to meet."
Draco knows who she is talking about.
"Who is it?" Harrie asks.
"Remus Lupin." Severus answers in Serene's stead.
Harrie looks at Severus.
The man continues, "He might tell you about Lily but then you never know with him. No-one knows where he is. He left when you were reported missing and never came back. He just left a letter for Potter and Lily telling them that he hated both of them. He didn't leave anything for Serene."
"He was angry with me. He had asked me not to trust Lily and I-"
Severus cuts her off, "It wasn't a crime. You have to forgive yourself. You-"
Harrie stares from Severus to Serene much like Draco is doing.
Serene averts her eyes before murmuring softly, "Look at Harrie and tell me that you think that I'll ever be able to forgive myself."
"You are most certainly not responsible." Harrie hisses and Serene shakes her head before closes her wet eyes.
"Anyways, I want to tell you about Hogwarts."
Draco returns to his room. He doesn't know why his heart aches and burns for this girl. He doesn't want it to. His fate is decided. He will marry the woman Riddle choses for him otherwise he will either have to flee away. He will be declared dead and will not be able to return to the wizarding world. Sighing to himself, he returns to his room and lays down on the bed and after tossing and turning for a really long while, he finally falls asleep.
His dreams revolve around Harrie though nothing is really specific. He is somewhere cool and quiet and doesn't wish to get up because the dream seems pleasant when he feels fingers on his lips. They are soft and still on his closed lips.
He attempts to part them to ask her reason of being present in his room after midnight yet again but she whispers, "Stay quiet. I want to tell something to you."
He freezes, wondering what she wants to tell him and nods after a couple of moments. She pulls back and he makes room for her. After around three whole minutes, she settles down beside him and leans against the headboard. She folds her knees and places her hands on them.
"I know that you were standing outside my room."
She sounds melancholic. He wonders how she knows but stays quiet. He doesn't want to interrupt her.
"The first time - I was almost eighteen at that time. I have never told this to anyone. No-one has really bothered to know except mom and I didn't want her to feel guiltier than she already is. I don't know why I am here in the middle of the night telling this to you, of all people. It's raining and I couldn't sleep. I love the rains." She becomes quiet. His window is closed but the curtains are not covering them tonight. She is looking out of the window. It's a beautiful night. She looks ethereal, sitting still beside him, her eyes staring out of his windows at the dark sky. Her beauty amazes him.
"Petunia let me live in her house when Lily left me there but that was all." She continues softly, "She hated me and she won't give me food and I had no education. I was practically a walking skeleton. It was a cold Monday. It had been a week since I ate last. I was really hungry. I was so hungry that I could have eaten anything by that point. So I got a job at a petrol pump. It was simple enough. The very first day, the owner came to me after I was finished and took me inside his office."
His heart starts pounding and he wants her to continue. The pause is unbearable but he stays quiet. It must be difficult for her.
"He said that if I let him kiss me, he will give me some money otherwise I will get the pay at the end of the month like other workers. I needed to eat. My stomach was aching and I was worn out. So I agreed. He kissed me. He said that if I let him touch me, he will give me more money. I agreed because I knew that Petunia would not feed me at all. He was a plump man with wicked eyes and a huge face. After that I asked him to stop and he did but not before kissing me for one last time. I hated it. I hated him but he gave me money and I ate after a very long week. Petunia realized what I was doing and threw me out. I accused her for being responsible. She said that she didn't care. I begged her to let me stay but she refused."
She becomes quiet once again and stares outside. He feels numb.
"I like the rain." She murmurs. He is angry at Lily and he is angry at Petunia. He is also very very sad for her. It's confusing and strange because he hasn't felt this for anyone.
She gets up and walks out of his room. She is as silent as she was when she came inside. He wonders where she is going. She is not weak but she is only human.
He gets up and follows her. The house is dark.
"Draco." Someone murmurs and he turns around to find Severus and Serene gazing at him, dressed in their nightrobes. They must have been worried for her.
"I-" He starts and then resumes following her with a soft, "I am going after her."
He doesn't know whether they are following him or not. She opens the door and walks outside.
He follows her, not understanding why she is going out. It's raining heavily and she is dressed in a thin sleeveless top and an above knee length skirt.
He opens the door and shivers. It's chilling outside. She is standing in the garden. It's dark and nothing can be heard except the rain drops that hit the grass over and over again. She is just standing there, staring at the sky. Her nightgown is sticking to her body and her hair is wet. She is so beautiful.
Silently, he walks towards her and murmurs, his arms over his eyes, "Harrie, come inside. You'll fall ill."
She swirls around, as if shocked and he finds himself standing too close to her bright green eyes.
"Don't be sad. It'll be all right." He murmurs softly before resting his hands back on his sides. He is wet and the water is going inside his mouth and eyes and clothes but he realizes that he doesn't mind, simply because she is there in front of him.
She smiles a little bit and whispers back, "I am never sad. I just like the rain."
He studies her. She's not crying. Her eyes are not red. She doesn't seem sad. He can't comprehend as to what she is really feeling. She is an enigma. She backs off a bit and spreads her arms and tilts her face back. Then she starts spinning slowly. There is a wide smile on her face.
He stares at her.
She spins and as the minutes elapse, he realizes that he is lost. He is falling in love with her. He doesn't understand why. She annoys him. She fights with him and it's been very few days since he met her. No woman has ever had this effect on him.
Suddenly he can't breathe. She is so beautiful and he wants to wrap her in his arms and keep her there forever. She is still spinning and he can't take his eyes off her.
Everything has suddenly become very complicated. He's not supposed to fall in love. He's not supposed to feel anything for her.
Panicked, he swirls around and runs blindly back inside the house. He needs to talk to mother. Maybe she can drive some sense into his mind.
"Draco." Serene calls and he stops before looking at her. Her eyes are kind and understanding. She nods silently as if she has realized something very important about him and then turns back around to join her daughter. Severus calls gently, "Are you going to talk to your mother?"
He nods silently and he is sure that he must be looking mad right now but mother is mother and won't mind. He rushes towards the fireplace and calls, "The Malfoy Manor, France."
Lucius is sitting in his study when suddenly the fireplace starts blaring loudly. He places his file on the table and accepts the call.
He is very surprised to find a wet Draco on the other side. His eyes are wild and he's completely wet. His cheeks are red and he's shivering violently.
"I need to talk to mother." He says and Lucius asks, "Is something wrong?"
Draco shakes his head and murmurs, "Mother! MOTHER!"
Lucius almost jumps in shock when Draco shouts for Narcissa who comes running inside.
"Draco what's the matter? What- why are you wet?" She asks, her voice concerned.
"I need to talk to you." Draco insists and Lucius and Narcissa reply at the same time, "Come through." before backing off. He comes through. Lucius stares. The boy is wet from head to toe and he's literally shivering, staring at Narcissa with terrified eyes.
Narcissa flicks her fingers and dries him up before placing her hands on his shoulders, "What has happened?"
He stares mutely at her face before literally blurting out, "Do you love father?"
Lucius's mouth pops open in shock and he slumps on his sofa. This is not what he had expected.
"What?" Narcissa blurts out before ushering Draco towards the couch near the fireplace.
Draco has turned quite red. He runs a trembling hand through his hair before murmuring, "I - When did you realize that you were in love with father?"
"Draco look at me. It's okay. You can ask anything." Narcissa replies and Draco does. Lucius tries to be as quiet as possible. He must not interfere or Draco will loose his nerve.
"He came with his parents to meet me and then he took me out. By the end of our first date, I had fallen in love with him." She says and Lucius nods to himself. He has always known this. It took a few days for him to fall for her.
"But- but that's too sudden. How- how can you fall so quickly for someone." Draco mutters, clearly stunned.
Narcissa simply shrugs, "Love is not always rational. Why are you asking all this?"
"I-" Draco starts and then looks helplessly at Lucius. Lucius swallows when he realizes what Draco wants to say. He is in love with someone. Riddle will not let him follow his heart.
"Who is she?" Lucius asks politely and Draco shakes his head, his eyes wild, "I can't tell you. It's very complicated. I don't think you will agree with my choice and anyways you'll know everything by tomorrow morning."
"Draco, we will support you, no matter what. But right now- does she even know?" She asks and Draco shakes his head frantically before placing both his hands on his forehead, "It's very complicated. She doesn't know. I- she isn't ready- I don't think she will ever be ready."
Lucius stills and so does Narcissa.
"Who is she Draco?" Lucius asks again and Draco shakes his head.
"I can't tell you." He murmurs, "Though I think you will realize it by ourself once you read tomorrow morning's prophet."
With these words, he gets up and hugs them before walking towards the fireplace.
Before flooing away, he turns around and looks at them for the last time before murmuring, "I hope you'll support me."
"We'll always support you. Go and sleep. We'll talk tomorrow. Don't worry." Narcissa murmurs and Draco floos away, his eyes still dazed.
Lucius slumps on the couch before staring at Narcissa, "Who do you think she is?"
"We will find out from tomorrow's prophet."
"How can you be so calm about it?" He asks and Narcissa smiles very slowly, "The worst that can happen is that he will have to flee away to the muggle world. If he has to do that, he will do it. We won't be able to stop him. We will have to go into hiding too. It's okay. It was inevitable really. I had never expected him to accept Riddle's decision. This was bound to happen."
Lucius sighs and gets up before smiling tightly at his wife and together they retreat towards their room. He can't help being worried for Draco although he agrees with his wife. This was a long time coming.
Cost of Peace
Harrie sniffs loudly and then sneezes for the twentieth time in the past one hour. She is trying to sleep but has been unsuccessful so far, tossing and turning after every few minutes. She wipes her running nose with her handkerchief, wondering for the umpteenth time as to where Draco has run off to.
As if on cue, the door opens with a soft creak and the blonde appears at her doorway. He is wearing his night suit which is thankfully not wet. His hair are messed up and he is staring straight at her with unreadable eyes. Harrie wonders how he manages to look handsome even in a nightsuit. Not that she asks that from him.
She closes her eyes and sneezes again before sniffing noisily. She peaks at him and mumbles, "I'm having a cold."
"It was bound to happen." He mutters and comes inside, closing the door behind him. He sits down besides her and simply stares at her for a few moments. She frowns.
"Did you go back to him?" He asks and her blood turns cold. It was a easy that time. It was dark and she didn't have to acknowledge his presence. It was almost like talking to herself. But right now, he is staring at her and she doesn't want to talk about it.
Most of the times, she tries not to think about it. When she is doing it, she tries to disconnect herself from her body. They can violate her body but no one can touch her soul. She looks coldly at him before sitting up and backing off.
"None of your business." She snaps at him and sneezes two times in a row.
He sighs audibly, "Did you take medicine?"
He is understanding but everyone who wants her is nice and gentlemanly in the beginning. They show their true colors when they finally have what they want. She let them think that they have her under their control even though she knows that it was not true.
"Harrie." He murmurs and it irks her. Why doesn't he just say what he wants. Where's he going with all this.
"Get- get out." She sniffs.
"This is my house. You can't ask me to get out." He growls and she glares poisonously at him.
"Then maybe I should leave." She mutters in a low voice and gets out of her bed. It will be easy to fall in her old life. She could just exist the way she was. This- all this is too good to be true. Her mind made up, she opens her wardrobe. He stares at her in stunned silence for a few seconds.
She starts throwing clothes in her old suitcase. For some reason, her heart feels heavy as if it doesn't want to leave. She must though because this is too much to hope for. It's - it's a dream and she has to get out of it. Vacation is over and it's time to-
"You are not going anywhere." He snarls at her and she snarls right back, "Of course I am."
She throws her dresses inside her suitcase angrily and would have continued had he suddenly not held her shoulders and stared in her eyes before growling in a low voice, "Where will you go?"
"To my old house, my old life." She replies blandly.
"You will not return to that life again. It's your past and it's over. You are not leaving." He snaps at her, his fingers digging in her shoulders, grounding her.
She stares at him, her chest heaving and her eyes damp very suddenly.
"I am leaving. Get off me." She murmurs sharply and he glares at her, "No. You are not going anywhere."
"Why- why shouldn't I leave. I only asked for a kiss but you refused as if I was a dirty little thing, as if I am too - too dirty for you." She just blurts it out and her eyes blur. He is staring at her, his eyes wide with shock.
This thought has been torturing her ever since he refused.
"Lemme go." She mumbles, struggling, "I will not stay here. I will just go."
He leans closer to her and murmurs softly, "You are not going anywhere and stop presuming things about me. I have no such thoughts about you. You are impossible."
She swallows and glares at him before punching his chest, "You are impossible. I hate you."
"Nevertheless, you aren't leaving."
She makes a show of taking her clothes out of her wardrobe when he snarls, "I will burn your old house down to ashes if you leave."
She stares at him. His eyes are angry and he's utterly serious. His hands are clenched in fists and he's glaring at her.
"Or You could simply just kiss me." She mumbles and he stares at her. Anger transforms into disbelief.
"I don't understand your obsession with kissing me." He murmurs and she slumps on the edge of her bed.
She grimaces as she stares at her suitcase and then crawls inside her blanket. Then she closes her eyes and sneezes again. She hears him move around and she peaks at him while he arranges her clothes back in her wardrobe. When he turns to look at her, she closes her eyes again and purses her lips to resist the urge to sneeze. Thankfully, the urge leaves her a few moments later.
"Good night." He murmurs and turns the light off. It's dark once again and he's about to leave. It's strange that she wants to answer him now, now that it's dark when she was so averse to it earlier.
"Yes. I went back." She mumbles softly and sighs. She had wanted to get that out.
He doesn't answer. There's a window in her room too and she's grateful that it's rather large. She hates places with no windows.
He walks towards the bed and sits beside her legs. She stares outside the window.
"The money that he gave - I tried to save it and but it got finished in a month. I had to go back. A few days later, Petunia asked me as to where I get the money from. I didn't answer her. But the wretched man had spread the word about me and I had already taken few more clients. Petunia had heard about it too and instead of helping me, she kicked me out of her house." She stops speaking, unable to speak through the knot that has formed in her throat. This is not the complete truth but it's all she can tell him right now.
He stays still and just looks at her. She wonders what he is thinking.
"What happened after that?" He asks gently.
"I slept on the streets and tried to get some more clients. That's it. I saved money and purchased that flat. Things started changing when your folk started visiting me." She replies in a quiet voice and wonders if he knows that she's lying.
"How can I help?" He asks and she swallows, trying to get rid of the lump in her throat. He doesn't. She almost wishes that he knew. Almost. She's not ready to tell the whole truth to anyone right now.
"You can't." She whispers blankly.
"You have to move on. It's over. You have a new life now." He mutters. She doesn't say anything. She doesn't want to give any false promises to him. She doesn't know if it will ever be over. She only wants to give Lily and Petunia what they are due and maybe then it will really be over. Maybe, she will finally be able to rest in peace after that.
"Everything will be fine." He murmurs. She stays silent and blinks her eyes rapidly. They still betray her though and a couple of tears manage to escape and trickle down her cheeks. She doesn't know why Draco's presence makes her want to lament over everything she lost. It could have been so much better.
"Go away." She murmurs hoarsely.
"You are crying. Harrie-"
"Just leave." She murmurs, sniffing softly.
She starts shoving him out of the bed. She doesn't need anyone. She needs to stay away from the guilt and the shame and she needs to locate Lily and her sister.
"Okay. I'm going. By tomorrow, everyone will know that you are back. Your photograph will be in the newspapers and people will recognize you." He mutters. She doesn't reply.
Sighing in defeat, he walks out of the room. She closes her eyes, wishing that her father will finally visit her tomorrow.
Harrie tosses and turns and tries to sleep but can't. This was why she avoided thinking about her past. She shouldn't have lied to him. She hadn't wanted to tell him at that time but now she desperately wants to let it out- let everything out.
A sob wracks her frame and she sits up. She abhors crying. Crying is for the weak and she's not weak. She has never been weak. Yet, when she sits up and presses her knees to her chest and stares out of the wind, tears trickle down her cheeks.
The truth is suffocating her. It's unbearable and she doesn't want to think about it. She feels trapped in the endless cycle of her memories.
It was quite soon after the first time that she had had her second client. She had decided not to do it again but she had to. There was no other alternative.
Harrie rocks back and forth, trying to get the hateful words of that vile man out of her mind. They have been taunting her for the past two years now. Had Petunia not kicked her out, Harrie would anyways have fled.
She shakes her head but he's still there at the back of her mind, taunting her, mocking her, throwing the truth on her face. She closes her eyes and sobs again. It could have been so different. Earlier she didn't know the meaning of having a real family and now that she does, she feels robbed.
She swallows the lump in her throat and takes an uneven breath. The past is past. She can't go back and change things, no matter how she wants to. She can only move forward and mom is trying to help her. She has decided to stay here with Harrie and so has Mr. Snape. Harrie just has to let them in.
It won't heal her but perhaps it will extinguish the ever present fire of hatred inside her heart. Maybe, it'll give her peace.
They literally robbed her. It could have been so different if Petunia had just let mom take her away. Harrie places her head on her folded knees and cries harder. It hurts although she pretends that it doesn't. She was only a child and she had never hurt Petunia. Why did she let it happen?
The twin monsters of shame and pain make an appearance after a very long time and succeed in embracing her so tightly that she doesn't know when she starts crying loudly, her frame quivering with sobs. This is the second time in the past couple of years she's crying her heart out.
No-one was there for her that time and even now there is no-one-
As if on cue, the door slams open and Harrie realizes that the thought is not true because mom is standing at the door, dressed in her jogging shorts and a thin tank top.
Her eyes are startled and alarmed and a second later, Mr. Snape follows her.
Harrie stares silently at them.
She hiccups and sniffs but doesn't move or even avert her eyes. They are not uncle Vernon and aunt Petunia and she knows that not everyone is like them.
Harrie wipes her eyes and it brings mom out of her shocked stupor. With a startled jerk, she blinks and walks towards Harrie.
Mom sits besides her and as usual Mr. Snape sits across the bed on the couch. He's a strong man. He seems like a pillar that can't be moved or broken. Harrie is not his daughter. She doesn't understand why he cares so much.
"What happened?" He asks and mom wraps Harrie in her warm arms. It's so strange. Harrie is not a child. She is twenty and yet mom rocks her like a child and it is oddly very comforting. It makes Harrie sob harder because this is what Lily stole from her. She wants to be a child again. She wants another life. She wants to be reborn as this woman's daughter. She wants her stolen childhood back.
Harrie's lips tremble and she wraps her arms around mom's thin waist. She looks into Severus's calm eyes. It's like the man always knows everything.
Tears slide down her cheeks and she blinks her eyes to focus on him.
"Harrie, was it some memory?" Mom asks softly, her hand stroking Harrie's hair.
"Yes." Harrie murmurs because she wants mom to know and yet she can't tell her. She can't be so cruel to the woman who has spent her entire youth in searching Harrie. It is not mom's fault and Harrie can't punish her. She closes her eyes and sobs harder.
She wishes that she could just return to her prior state of mind but she can't.
"Tell us." Severus murmurs softly and Harrie shakes her head, her eyes still closed. They must not know. She didn't tell Draco even. She doesn't know what they will do once they know everything. Mr. Snape is mostly very calm and composed but he has this aura and Harrie can literally feel that he can be very dangerous when he wants to.
"Your mother is a strong woman, Harrie. I am not weak myself. Tell us." He says in a steeled voice and Harry's eyes shoot open. There is a glint in his otherwise calm eyes. She swallows and shakes her head yet again. She can't be so selfish. They deserve to have some peace now. Harrie can't destroy it.
She shakes her head again and pulls back. Mom's eyes are twin pools of pain.
"I am fine now." She murmurs and kisses her cheeks. Mom stares incredulously at her.
"This - this helps a lot." Harrie murmurs and mom hugs her once again. Harrie simply closes her eyes and feels a hand stroking her head a few moments later. The hand doesn't belong to her mother and when she opens her eyes, she finds Mr. Snape standing in front of her.
She can tell that expressing emotions is not his cup of tea. He looks awkward and he pulls back after a last pat on her head.
Harry sniffs noisily and pulls back before looking at mom, "Are you going to jog?"
Mom nods, "Yes. The weather is nice."
"I'll come with you." Harrie murmurs and mom beams at her, "I am waiting for you outside then. Let's see if you can outrun Severus. I always lose."
"No-one can outrun me, Serene." He claims smugly and Harrie smirks, "You don't know me, old man."
He glares at her, "I am not old."
That makes Harrie chuckle.
"I'll come within five minutes." She murmurs and mom kisses her forehead, "Okay. We are waiting."
They leave and Harrie breathes deeply. If this is some kind of dream, then she doesn't want it to end. She gets out of the bed and walks straight inside her bathroom to get ready.
The big reveal
They spend good thirty minutes running at a good speed and by the time they stop, they are utterly breathless. Harrie stops first and is followed by mom. Mr. Sna - uncle Severus doesn't stop.
Harrie makes a face at the man and mom grins, "He has a lot of practice."
Harrie smiles at mom who smiles back and takes a sip of water before handing over the bottle to Harrie. She wonders what time it is. They had spent quite a lot of time gazing at the swans and ducks floating on the small pond in the garden before starting. Harrie had even fed some bread crumbs to them.
It's a nice day, neither too sunny and nor too cold. A gentle and cool breeze is flowing all over and Harrie takes a deep breath before turning towards mom who is now staring beyond Harrie. Her eyes are narrowed and her teeth are gritted together. She is angry. Harrie frowns before turning around.
A man who seems older than mom is walking towards them, his eyes red rimmed and fixed on her. Harrie stares, trying to understand why mom is glaring so coldly at him.
When he closes the distance between them and freezes at a distance of five steps, it finally hits her that he must be her father.
"What are you doing here, James?" Mom snarls and steps between them.
He glares at mom, "I found out from the prophet. Why didn't you tell me?"
Mom's fury transforms into incredulity as she mutters, "You still have the nerve to ask this?"
"She is as much my daughter as she is yours. You weren't the only one who was searching for-"
"Damn you, Potter. Damn you. I can't believe that you have the audacity to show your face - " Mom stops when uncle Severus calls from a distance, "Wait, Serene."
It takes only a moment for him to reach them. Harrie wants to say something but he shakes his head and mouths, "Shhhh."
She nods silently. Mom and Mr. Potter glare at each other.
"Maybe I should tell everyone as to why you started searching her in the first place, James." She growls dangerously, her wand still pointed towards him.
A glint of fear enter Mr. Potter's eyes, "Don't-"
"Why? She should know. Everyone should. Why you started helping us and why Remus fled away from this place. She should know why Remus hates you so much that even after almost two decades, he has still not returned." She continues.
Uncle Severus looks shocked as he asks, "What do you mean? You said that he wanted Harrie back just like you did. You said that he had realized that what Lily did was wrong."
"I lied. We had a deal. James and I. Why do you think I hate him so much?" Mom murmurs, "Why do you think I always asked you to stay away from him? Who knows why he is here today? Maybe his dearest wife has asked him to bring Harrie so that she can throw my daughter in the pit we have brought her back from."
"Mom, what do you mean?" Harrie finally asks, her eyes searching Mr. Potter's terrified ones.
"I will tell you what she means." Comes a soft voice. Harrie turns her face to the side and stares. A man who seems mom's age is standing in front of them. His lips are twisted in a snarl as he glares coldly at Mr. Potter. His hands are clenched in fists and he is dressed in jeans and a white shirt. He looks clean and really really angry.
"Remus." Mom whispers, her voice laced with emotion.
Remus only scowls at her, "I haven't forgiven you yet. I am here only for Harrie, not for you. You're not the only one she can rely on. You're not the only one who lost her."
Mom looks away and murmurs, "I know that."
Harrie shivers. So many people were searching for her and had Petunia not lied to her about how people would hate her if they ever knew about her magic, they would have succeeded. It's so frustrating to know that she was the one who was keeping them away.
"I know." Mom whispers and then Mr. Potter takes a step towards her. Mom glares at the man, "Don't come any closer, James."
"She's my daughter. You-"
"Stop it. You might not have known what Lily wanted until she literally left her with Petunia but when you did realize, you could have gone and brought her back." Remus is seething. His eyes are almost yellow. Harrie stares, shocked. How can his eyes be yellow!
"Please stop." Mr. Potter whispers, taking a step back.
"Why should I stop?" Remus snarls coldly.
"Let Harrie know everything." Mom hisses.
"No! Please." Mr. Potter begged but mom continued nevertheless, "Harrie."
"Yes. I'm listening." Harrie replies.
"When I realized what Lily had done, I threatened James. I said that I would get Lily imprisoned if he didn't help me and he helped me on the condition that I won't sue Lily. He didn't want you. He wanted to live in peace with his wife and you were not Lily's daughter. It was creating complications in his marriage. Lily despised you and didn't want to share James with you. She was also frightened that James will leave her for me."
Harrie stares speechlessly.
"Why did you lie to me, Serene?" Uncle Severus asks.
"He was terrified of you." Remus answers and much like mom, he is standing right in front of Harrie, facing Mr. Potter, besides her mom, ready to fight if needed.
"He's still terrified of you and he forced this condition on us. He wanted me to leave and not return and he didn't want us to tell anything to you, Severus." Remus finishes and beside Harrie, uncle Severus stares at her father.
Harrie is surprised, to say the least. Petunia had been partially right. Her father had despised her.
"That was- I owled you. I apologized and I did realize my mistake." Mr. Potter murmurs, his shoulders slumped, "Lily could never bear a child. I regretted it. I realized and I apologized so many times."
"Only because you couldn't have another child. You wouldn't have realized anything if Lily had given you a kid." Mom snaps furiously at Mr. Potter who mutters, defeated, "I'm sorry. Please, let me talk to my daughter."
"No. God knows why you are here. I'm sure Lily has sent you." Remus snarls.
"She regrets it too. She-"
"Shut up and leave." Mom screams loudly.
"Damn." Uncle Severus's softly muttered curse startles everyone, "Skeeter."
Harrie doesn't get to mutter another word before reporters with cameras and mikes start swarming over them.
"Ms. Potter. Where were you-"
"Ms. Potter, a little birdie told me that you are a prostitute-"
"Ms. Potter the public wants to know where you have been for the past twenty years."
"Ms. Potter, what were you doing with Mr. Finnigan in the pub the other night-"
"Why did Mr. Malfoy-"
"Is Mr. Finnigan your client-"
"Mr. Riddle will soon pay you a visit Ms. Potter. What's your plan -"
"Is potions master Draco Malfoy your client?"
Of course, it's mom who comes to her rescue. She hurries towards Harrie and holds her hands. After just a moment, she finds herself in front of Draco's mansion which is also surrounded by several reporters and journalists.
"Bloody hell." Mom curses.
"Calm down, mom. It's okay." Harrie murmurs and smiles at her mom's panicked face.
She starts walking towards the house and as soon as the reporters realize about her presence, they start surrounding her.
"ENOUGH." She booms loudly and the front door of the house opens. Draco comes outside with an older couple who look like his parents and then several others follow him. She can recognize Ron, Neville, Dean and Seamus but there are a few girls too and then there is Blaize Zabini as well who is standing at a safe distance from Draco. In fact, all the five of them are away from Draco whose anxious eyes are on Harrie.
"Harrie, let's go inside." Mom murmurs, her hand wrapped around Harrie's forearm and Harrie kisses her cheeks before replying, "It's all right, mom. Let them ask their questions. It doesn't matter to me."
"But what's the point." Says Remus kindly.
Harrie shrugs, "They will not stop following me around otherwise and anyways Riddle already knows now. Draco told me about the prophecy. I don't care. I'm not helping anyone with anything. They can all go and help themselves."
At once, everyone stops whispering. They stare at her as if she has grown another head.
"I had already expected this." Uncle Severus mutters, "But you don't have to answer their questions."
"They must know who they are dealing with. I won't take any of this nonsense. They can go and hound someone else and I anyways don't care who knows what. The muggle part of this country already knows about me and I don't care about your world." She replies and then clears her throat before smiling patronizingly at the huge crowd.
"Harrie." Hisses mom and she kisses her cheeks again.
"It's okay mom. I need to do this." She murmurs and mom sighs, "All right."
This being said, mom backs off with uncle Remus and uncle Severus.
Harrie addresses the crowd, "You have ten minutes. I will answer your questions, provided you ask them like civil human beings. Anyone who continues asking after the ten minutes are over will be prohibited from taking my interview in future."
A woman of short height comes forward, her face full of arrogance and mutters, "Who are you to order us around Ms. Potter. I am a reputed and respected reporter of The Daily prophet and you have no right to-"
"Reputed - respected- big words. I was living right under your nose and you still couldn't locate me. Some reputed reporter you are." Harrie mocks and the stupid woman points her wand at her.
Harrie chuckles and before the woman can even open her mouth to cast, she simply flicks her fingers. The wand flies towards Harrie.
She holds the wand in both her hands and drawls, "Shall I break it? It's only a wooden stick for me. I never had a wand to do magic. I will break it."
The woman trembles and sheer terror shines in her eyes.
"Rita, just back off. She is Harrie Potter." A reporter says, scowling at the stupid woman.
"Skeeter, don't screw this for us." Someone else says and Harrie smirks, "Apologize. You have one minute. This piece of wood holds no importance in my eyes."
"I am sorry. Please give my wand back." Skeeter murmurs through gritted teeth. Her eyes burn as she does and Harrie throws the wand back towards her. It falls near her feet and Harrie announces, "Your time starts now." ignoring Skeeter's enraged eyes.
She has borne worse.
"Ms. Potter, where have you been for the last twenty years. We believed that you were dead." Comes the first question from a pretty reporter. She seems in her mid twenties.
Harrie smiles and lies, "Just at a distance of seven kilometers. "
"What did you do to earn a living?"
"I was a prostitute." She answers honestly and keeps her voice as blank as she can. Instantly, she feels mom's arm around her waist and is grateful that mom doesn't stop her or anything.
The silence that follows her answer is completely deafening.
"Ms. Potter do you know about the prophecy?"
"Yes." She answers.
"What are you going to do about it?" A forty something man asked.
"Nothing. I plan to do absolutely nothing." She mutters.
After a tense silence of a few seconds, someone clears their throat before muttering, "What were you doing with Mr. Finnigan that night and why did Mr. Malfoy fight with him?"
She sighs, "He was my client and I don't know why he fought with Seamus. You'll have to ask him."
"How many clients have you had?" Skeeter asks, her eyes shining with hatred.
"I have lost count."
She glares at Harrie before asking, "Do you enjoy your work?"
Harrie stares at the woman before muttering, "Have you gone nuts? Of course not."
"Is Serene Black your mother?" She asks and Harrie nods silently.
"What will you do when Tom Riddle comes to meet you?" She asks.
"I don't know." Harrie replies.
"You could offer yourself as consideration for our freedom." The woman mutters, smirking at Harrie, "After all, this is all you are good for."
This last sentence is what blows Harrie apart. It brings the memories that she is trying to forget to the forefront of her mind. She stares speechlessly at Skeeter.
"Rita, shut up." Someone hisses furiously at Skeeter and Harrie swallows.
Mom's arm tightens around Harrie's waist but it doesn't help.
"Ten minutes are over." Uncle Severus's voice booms and Harrie walks inside the mansion, her eyes downcast. She should have told the truth to Draco. It would have helped.
Someone is trying to talk to her but she is not listening. Then someone holds her hand and she shoves the person away. However, the moment, mom's arm removes from her waist, Harrie whimpers.
"Shhhhh. I am here. I am not going anywhere." Mom whispers and Harrie swallows and doesn't look at anyone. Mom ushers her inside her room and closes the door.
A few moments later, Harrie falls asleep.
She wakes up to a hand on her forearm. She opens her eyes slowly. It's dark. The curtains are drawn and mom is not there.
"Draco, is it you?" She asks.
"Yes. Are you fine?"
She doesn't reply.
Instead she murmurs, her face away from the man, "I lied to you."
"About what ?" He asks softly.
"After that first time, I returned home. I spent some money on food and saved the rest. But the moment I reached home, Dudley, my cousin snatched it away from me. I begged him to give it back but he didn't. Vernon locked me up in my room for three days."
She stops and takes a long breath.
"Petunia had gone out for a few days and three days later, Vernon let me out. I was going mad with hunger by that time. He asked me if I - I sold myself to that man. I agreed and he asked me if I would sell myself to him. I agreed to that too. It happened twice. The third time he was just about to start when Petunia saw us. She threw me out instead of accusing her husband. I would have left the house myself anyways even if Petunia hadn't caught us."
There is a lump in her throat and her voice is hoarse by the end. They had been the only family she had known. Instead of helping her, Vernon had used her helplessness.
Draco places a hand on her elbow.
"I want to sleep some more. Please, leave." She murmurs.
"But you need to talk to someone about this." He says, "Look at me, Harrie."
"I am talking to you, am I not? Please, just leave. I'm not comfortable talking about the rest." She repeats.
"Please, look at me. I-"
The lights turn on and there is a sudden and loud noise. Harrie jumps in surprise. She sits up and stares at her entryway in shock.
Mom is standing with uncle Severus.
Draco is still frozen beside Harrie, his eyes enraged.
Mom is crying. Her face is expressionless but tears are flowing down her eyes. Uncle Severus is as furious as Draco is. To Harrie's surprise uncle Remus is standing beside them, his eyes yellow once again. That's something Harry is going to ask mom later.
"I'll ask the elves to bring some tea." Draco murmurs and looks at Harrie. His eyes tell her that the discussion is not over yet.
"I want everyone to kindly leave. I will come out within ten minutes and we will not talk about this." Harrie murmurs and crawls inside her blanket again, facing the other side. However, a few moments later, she feels her bed dip and mom's warm arms encircle her waist and Harrie hugs her back hesitantly.
It takes just a few seconds for her to fall asleep. Mom doesn't say anything and Harrie realizes that she really really loves her mother.
Draco stares at the fireplace. His day was long and busy and in the few moments that he could spare, he had lunch, all alone since Serene had returned to her manor and Harrie had her meals in her room. Severus is living with Serene right now and so he left with her. They warned Draco to keep an eye for Riddle.
Draco is surprised that he hasn't heard from the man yet.
He is also very angry and his rage only seems to increase as the day passes. Serene was disturbed too. It was obvious from the way she had a constant frown on her beautiful face.
Draco is sure that Harrie didn't tell anything else to her mother. He feels that she should, not that she cares about what he thinks. What he doesn't understand is that why she told the truth to him. She will only distance herself if he asks anything. So he stays away from her and lets her stay in her room. His elf told him that she didn't come out at all. He wonders what she is doing-
A knock on his door distracts him from his thoughts and he blinks before taking his wand out. Maybe it's Riddle. Just as Draco reaches the door, Harrie's room opens and she comes out, dressed in a blue skirt and a light green shirt. She yawns and rubs her eyes sleepily. Draco frowns. How can someone sleep all the time?
Draco sighs when he hears the knock again and finally opens the door.
He stares at the man standing at his door. Six feet tall and broad shouldered, Neville Longbottom is looking quite handsome and he is smiling too, not at Draco of course. He is not even looking at Draco. It's like Draco doesn't exist but then it has always been like this between them.
The thing is that Longbottom is smiling fondly at Harrie who is still yawning and is looking very adorable.
Draco clears his throat and finally Longbottom looks at him but not before sighing audibly.
"To what do I owe the pleasure of-" Draco is rudely cut off by the man however.
Longbottom makes a face before murmuring, "Cut out the pleasantries Malfoy. I am not here for you. I have come to meet Harrie."
Draco narrows his eyes at the man, "She doesn't want to talk to you."
"Who are you to decide for me?" Says the woman and Draco turns his face around to glare at her. She glares back. She seems quite awake now.
"Actually, I called her up before coming." Longbottom mutters.
"You still have your phone? You-" Draco asks and she nods, scowling at him, "Not that it's any of your business."
"Come inside, Neville." She murmurs softly and the man just walks inside, ignoring Draco's scowl. Draco wants to snap at Harrie about this being his house but then she would simply say that she can leave if he wishes her to which Draco obviously doesn't want.
Draco could leave of course and he should. He shouldn't sit here and try to listen to their conversation while pretending to ignore it but he does it anyways. He picks up the newspaper and pretends to read it. Longbottom settles down opposite Harrie.
"I know that this is quite sudden but I want to take you out." The man murmurs and Draco grits his teeth. His fingers tighten around the newspaper. He wants to fling it on Longbottom's head but that isn't what he does. He sits patiently and waits for Harrie's reply.
Father and mother had wanted to meet Harrie in the morning and Longbottom had wanted to talk to the woman and so had Weasley but Harrie had refused to speak to anyone. Eventually they had left, promising to come back.
"Out - but why?" She murmurs blankly. Draco glares at the article he isn't reading. Is she really that thick or is she simply pretending.
"Out as in- I want to take you on a date." He replies. Draco closes his eyes, mentally urging Harrie to refuse but the woman doesn't do that.
"What about - don't you have some girlfriend or someone whom that man - Riddle - yes - Riddle has picked for you?" She asks and Longbottom nods, "Well yes but Ginny broke off with me and Riddle couldn't just kick her out of the wizarding world. She is a pureblood. But he did kick her out of the team and well, can we not talk about it, please?"
After a silence of two minutes she murmurs, "I want to know. Tell me."
"She was sleeping around with Dean. He is her team mate and I am no-one to judge her but it still stung. I-"
"You cheated on her too." She retorts. Draco smirks.
"Yes. I did but only once-"
"Once is enough." She interrupts.
"- with you and she has been cheating on me for months but that's beside the point. That's not why I am here. I have not been able to get you out of my mind-"
She interrupts him again and this time she chuckles while murmuring, "You want to fu-"
"Stop!" Longbottom mutters sharply and for once Harrie does.
"That's not what I am here for. I just want to take you out for dinner. You are charming and beautiful and-"
"I am also very rude." She murmurs.
"- and I want to take you out. It doesn't have to be a date. It's only a dinner in one of the finest restaurants of this city. We can go as friends." He continues and Harrie doesn't reply.
Draco peaks at her and finds her staring at Longbottom in surprise.
"I just- I like you. You are so adorable and confident and fearless and beautiful. Anyone on this planet would want to date you." He mutters desperately.
Draco wants Harrie to refuse because Draco wants to date her. Not that he has the courage to say all those things that Longbottom has said so bloody easily. But he doesn't want her to date anyone else.
However, Harrie has something else in mind. She nods and smiles before mumbling, "I'll get ready and come back in a few minutes. But this is not a date. It's just a-"
"Dinner. Yes, of course." Longbottom finishes for her.
"I'll be right back."
She sounds excited and Draco is an idiot because he doesn't have the heart to stop her. She has probably not experienced this and she should if it makes her happy.
"Draco." She murmurs softly and Draco doesn't glare or scowl at her. He schools his features, dumps his jealousy in the deepest pit of his heart and mumbles, "Hmmmmm."
"I'll call you if I see Riddle." She murmurs and Draco nods, smiling, "Okay. Have fun."
She grins and rushes to her room excitedly and Draco closes his eyes, trying to reign in his temper.
"You hate me don't you?" Longbottom asks softly and Draco smiles coldly at the man before replying, "I detest you."
Longbottom doesn't say anything else but Draco can see newly found respect in the man's eyes when Draco doesn't let his anger and pain and envy come on his face when Harrie returns, looking extremely stunning in a long red skirt and white shirt.
He only smiles, "Enjoy your evening."
At least she is not crying or sobbing. She smiles back at him, her eyes sparkling with excitement and somehow her smile makes it worth it.
"Bye." She murmurs and her cheeks tinge when Longbottom opens the door for her. She leaves and Longbottom closes the door behind him and Draco allows himself to scowl at walls, wishing that he was like Longbottom and could just ask her out.
He retreats to his room. The crumpled newspaper falls on the floor behind him.
The dinner went off fairly well. Neville had asked for a kiss which she had refused politely. Her cheeks had become quite red and he had complimented her for the umpteenth time which had only made her blush even harder. For the first time, it had felt that someone respected her and saw her as a living human being.
"Harrie, open the door."
Draco's words bring her back to present. Two days have passed since the dinner. She stares at the white wall of her own bedroom and wonders why this house seems so alien now.
"Harrie, please, open the door." Draco requests gently.
She stands up and her feet carry her towards her mirror. Her remorseless eyes stare back at her and although she has no remorse for her crimes, she does feel ashamed of being a -
She ignores him and tries to prevent her rage from spiraling out of control.
After returning from the dinner that night, she had found Draco sleeping on the couch. It was quite late and it was nice to know that perhaps he was waiting for her. She had never had anyone who would care enough to do it.
He had woken up when she had peered at him and had smiled lazily at her with eyes that were too bright and soft. They had tugged at her heart and her breath had hitched. No-one had ever looked at her like this before. Okay maybe Neville was looking at her like this too but somehow Draco mattered to her more than Neville did which was confusing.
The next morning, he had called her for breakfast and asked her out. Very politely and formally, Draco requested her to accompany him to a ministry ball. Harrie was very surprised. Never in her entire life had she been invited by someone to a formal ball. It was something she had dreamed about when she was very tiny. She had no formal dress. She was clumsy and didn't know how to dance.
Yet, she had agreed and he had smiled before assuring her that it will be fine and she doesn't need to worry. He had hired a stylist for her and she had brought some gowns. Harrie had chosen one.
Everything was fine and it was just like a dream.
But then the ball itself was a disaster. She takes a deep breath and attempts to keep the memories at bay and when closes her eyes before shuddering when they nevertheless wash over her.
The ball room is beautiful. She stares at the huge chandeliers in awe. There are tables full of snacks and drinks and several elves are wandering all around the ballroom with trays in their hands. Harrie feels a twinge of something when she watches one of the guests berate a little elf.
"-arrie, Harrie." She blinks before focusing on a very nervous Draco Malfoy.
"Yes." She replies with raised eyebrows.
"Would you like to dance with me? He asks and then as if he just can't stop himself from saying, he continues, "Have I told you that you look absolutely stunning tonight?"
Harrie blushes. He has already complemented her several times. She's wondering if it's even possible to turn redder. The nervousness is replaced by amusement as silver meets green.
"Yes you have and I don't really know how to dance." His amusement further transforms into fondness and lips twitch upwards.
"But I do." He says.
She rubs the back of her neck nervously and whispers, "Are you sure? I have never been to such parties. I have never danced."
He smiles and puts his left hand out. After a hesitation of a few seconds, she accepts it and allows him to lead her to the dance floor.
She enjoys dancing with him. Draco is a graceful dancer and she doesn't remember the last time she had smiled so much.
Everything goes very well until she walks towards the table where snacks are kept. Draco excuses himself to meet a couple of his old friends. He asks Harrie to accompany him and she politely declines the offer.
No one has approached her yet and she doesn't want anyone. It's strange that Riddle is not here tonight. She had expected James Potter to be here as well. She wants to talk to him about Lily.
She picks up a plate for herself and checks out the dishes. They look delicious. This area is a bit crowded which is understandable, seeing that it's quite late.
Her dress is a strapless green floor-length gown.
She serves some Indian curry for herself and some biryani. She moves on and almost drops the plate when she hears a soft voice from a man standing beside her.
She doesn't need to look at the man to know that he's an old client of hers. Having no desire to attract attention, she ignores him and moves on to other dishes.
"I've missed you so much. Let's get out of here." Something very painful and shameful twists in her stomach and her hands tremble. Yet, she continues ignoring him and takes a deep breath, wondering where Draco is right now and then serves an Italian dish for herself. People are starting to stop to stare at them.
"Harrie, don't ignore me." He murmurs and follows her. She closes her eyes and imagines tossing her plate over his head. But she doesn't wish to embarrass Draco by creating a scene,
"Go away." She grits out in a low voice and looks at him from the corner of her eyes.
However, instead of leaving, he moves closer to her and wraps his fingers around her wrist.
"Don't touch me." She hisses furiously.
"Oh, Harrie. You haven't forgotten who you really are, have you? You don't belong here. I hope that you haven't mistaken Malfoy's pity for something absurd like love." He drawls arrogantly.
Harrie places her plate on on the nearest table and turns to face him. His grin is as creepy as it was then and when she tries to pull her hand back, he only tightens his hold.
"Back off, Amos." She sneers at him.
"What's happening over here?" The anxiously murmured question belongs to Seamus who is standing beside Harrie now.
"Don't tell me that you don't know, Finnigan." The man asks and a silence falls over the hall. Harrie stills and stares at the floor.
"Just back off, Amos." Harriet whispers in a low voice and wishes that her voice communicates only her rage, that no-one can read her pain, her shame.
"Diggory, leave her alone." Seamus growls and Amos mumbles, "Give my best regards to your mother."
In the silent hall, his words are loud and clear and she's sure that everyone has understood by now that he's a client of hers. He does pull back after that and her hand drops back to her side.
"Harrie, don't listen to him." Seamus murmurs and takes a few steps to stand in front of her. Amos leaves, whistling merrily with his hands in his pockets.
"Look at me, Harrie." He says. Harriet stares at her feet and takes a deep, unsteady breath.
"What're you doing over here Finnigan? Leave her alone." Draco's snarl reaches her ears before he does. Of course, it does. Everyone is still silent. They are still staring at her.
Seamus pulls back and Draco replaces him.
"Harrie, what's wrong?" He murmurs softly and Harrie is surprised when Seamus snarls at him, "Where were you? Diggory - he - where were you, Malfoy?"
Finally, Harrie looks into Draco's eyes. The man joins two and two and his eyes widen and Harrie feels several eyes burning into her skull. She is ashamed and angry it becomes impossible to stand there for even a minute longer.
"Harrie, it's okay." He murmurs gently and reaches for her hand. Seamus glares at other occupants of the hall and many of them avert their eyes.
She flinches, "I just want to leave." and looks away and then realizes that most of them are still looking at her and their eyes are curious. Some are even disgusted and so she looks back down at her feet.
"You haven't eaten anything yet." He whispers.
"I can't stay." She whispers back. She hadn't wanted to embarrass him. The evening had started so beautifully. She hadn't wanted to ruin it.
"I want to go back to my own place. I don't want to stay at yours. Please take me back and then leave me alone." She whispers in a low and urgent voice. Silver meets green again. He nods and she follows her out of the hall. Eyes bore at the back of her head as she heads out...
Harrie blinks and comes back to the present. The door finally opens with a loud THUD and Draco comes inside with concerned eyes.
It's surprising and slightly worrying to know that he cares a lot about this woman. She's dressed in a sleeveless shirt and pajamas. There are a few scars on her neck and on her forearms. Either they escaped his notice before she concealed them somehow.
"Where is your pet?" He asks, trying to ignore them.
"She has left."
"Serene and Severus are very upset. Please, come back." Draco looks deep into her eyes before saying these words. He omits the fact the fact he misses her as well, that he wants her back in his house and that he's really very worried about her.
However, she only stands up and settles down on her bed. She places the blanket on her legs and murmurs, "Leave me alone."
"No." He says.
"Just. Leave." She mutters slowly.
Draco looks silently at her.
"I don't belong in your life." She hisses, her eyes bright with frustration, "I don't belong in your posh parties and balls and respectable and wealthy circles."
"That's not fair. I-"
"It was okay before I met you. I had stopped caring about it but now- now I can't stop feeling ashamed and furious all the time. I can't get rid of this feeling. Just go away."
Draco stares at her red face. Her hands are clenched in tight fists and her back is stiff against the headboard.
"You're not fine. You need to talk to someone Harrie. You-"
She cuts him off, "I'm not comfortable telling anyone about my past. Keep - keep mo- mom away too."
The pain in her eyes at that last statement doesn't escape Draco.
"Harrie. Listen to me. Forget what happened at the ball." He says softly.
Irritated green eyes stare at him before she murmurs, "Don't you understand? Just leave."
"So that you have to do all that again?"
"No. I won't do it. I'll study and find some job. I just need some time. I'll come back to take some books from your library. Just leave me alone right now. I need some space. I'll not live in your house or in your world. I don't care about Riddle or your problems." She reaches for a novel kept on her bedside table.
"Okay but I'll be back later and bear it in your mind that we're not asking you to get rid us of Riddle." He murmurs and when he receives no reply from her, he sighs and leaves her be. He'll just have to come back later.
Hidden on the chair beneath Harrie Potter's clothes is Tom Marvolo Riddle. Having snake as his animagus comes handy in situations like these. It would be so easy to bite her and end her right here. Not that he's scared of this girl.
All she has done is sulk and frown and glare at the walls during the past twenty four hours. There are dark circles beneath her eyes. He doesn't understand why she is hell bent upon hurting herself.
He studies her carefully. She has a lot of control over her emotions. She has not lashed out, not even once, not even a tiny tantrum. No, she has mostly sulked by herself and glared at the wall. She also grumbles every now and then although Tom is unable to hear any of it. She doesn't sleep at all. Tom pays attention to their conversation and realizes that Malfoy fancies her. She - well, she likes him.
Although, she's not interested in fighting with him and will leave him alone if he doesn't bother Malfoy, Tom knows that he needs to be sure of the fact that she'll stay away because he can't take risks, not after everything he has done to reach at this point.
He follows Malfoy out of the room and decides to visit her again tomorrow. He'll have to keep an eye on her and won't hurt her unless it becomes absolutely necessary. He can't afford to attract any more negative attention then he already has.
"Hello." Uncle Severus's voice is quiet, measured but then it always is. After Draco had left, she had tried to read but the silence and emptiness of the house had been too much and she had been unable to focus on the words. So she had decided to sleep and had spent the following thirty minutes tossing and turning and thinking about everything from the number of dresses in her closet to the amount of money in her wallet. It had been fruitless and had compelled her to sit up and close her eyes and wonder why she was torturing herself like this.
Now that she was alone and had time and space to think, she couldn't ignore the simple fact that she was tired of running. She couldn't spend the rest of her life in terror. It had been easy to do it when there was no-one to care for her. She realized that she didn't want to run anymore and that she actually missed everyone.
She had stared out of her window into the darkness of the night and had shuddered one hearing a particularly loud howl from the nearby woods and had come to the decision of talking to uncle Severus about her past.
"Is someone there?"
Harrie blinks a couple of times and breathes deeply. She had discarded her old mobile phone and switched to landline. She would leave it here when she would finally sell this flat.
"Harrie. Harrie, Is this you?" Asks the man in a smooth voice.
She stays quiet and hears a few whispers before mom's soft voice reaches her, "Harrie, how are you?"
She sounds ill.
"Harrie, listen. Draco told us what happened at the ball. Don't let it affect you. Don't let him win." She says and her voice breaks off at the end but that doesn't stop her from continuing, "We don't care about him. We don't care about anything except your happiness."
Harrie swallows, wondering if she would say the same after knowing everything about Harrie's past.
"Draco told us everything you told him. Talk to us if it helps. No-one will judge you." Mom whispers. Her voice is so gentle and smooth that it leaves Harrie with an urge to just blurt everything out. But- Harrie closes her eyes because it won't do to dump everything on her like this.
"Harrie." Mom murmurs. The quiver and the hoarseness has gone entirely and there is only strength left there and it's the strength that makes her take another step forward.
"I want to talk to uncle Severus." She says and then continues, "But you may put the phone on speaker."
"Harrie?" She sighs when he hears his calm and composed voice and wonders if Draco is with them. But she doesn't ask because she doesn't want to lose her nerve.
"I want to talk about my past but initially I wish to tell you only." She replies and instinctively her hold tightens around the receiver.
"Why?" Mom asks and Harriet falls quiet. Nothing except her breaths is audible.
"He may tell you afterwards. I don't think that I can face you." She replies softly.
A sigh is the only immediate reply she gets. After a few seconds, mom says, "Nothing you have tell me will make me hate you or turn away from you. However, if it makes it easier for you, then it's fine. Why Severus, though?"
"I don't know."
"Okay. I'll come tomorrow morning at around seven." The other man replies.
"Hmmmm. Good night." Harrie replies and hangs off.
Sighing softly to herself, she heads back towards her room.
Severus is surprised, to say the least.
"Ahem. Ahem." Serene clears her throat and looks at him with tired eyes. She is still not well, reason being that she's not eating properly at all.
"Whatever she tells you, tell me only if she wants me to know. If she doesn't, then don't insist. It doesn't matter whether it's you or me. In a way, it's better because-" Severus stares at the woman. In a way, Serene is permitting him to deal with Harrie as he sees fit. This is one thing he had never imagined Serene doing.
"- I think that you'll be able to be practical and mask your emotions better than me." Serene finishes and looks at him with bright eyes.
His eyes meet hers and they only stare at each other for a few seconds that is only until his godson clears his throat impatiently. Draco is in love with Serene's daughter. He had suspected this but now that Draco is looking at him with slightly frustrated yet relieved eyes, Severus is sure about it.
"Have you decided to retire, Draco." Severus asks politely in response of which Draco gapes at him.
"What?" He stammers.
"Or have you perhaps found some way to keep Riddle at bay?" Severus asks.
"What's this even supposed to mean?" Draco asks although he knows what Severus really means. It's apparent from the redness of his cheeks.
"You have chosen the most inconvenient time to fall in love and that too with the most difficult woman." He sneers.
"I don't - I - you- I'm going. Good bye." Draco stammers and gets up quite abruptly and Severus makes a face before meeting Serene's amused eyes.
"I'll firecall you after I return." He mutters and Draco only nods before literally fleeing away from the Gremmauld.
Draco leaves silence in his wake. Serene's amusement leaves her and leaves concern in its place. Severus stands up and settles down beside her. She stares at him for a few moments before resting her face on his shoulder.
"Do you think she'll be fine?" She asks.
"Yes, with time, she will." He answers calmly and Serene only sighs.
The next morning finds Severus in front of Harrie's front door. It's a nice house- neither too large, nor too small, just enough for one person. He takes a deep breath and the rings the door bell twice. It's eight and he's sure she's awake and he's proven right when the door opens and anxious green eyes greet him with a politely spoken, "Hello. Please, come inside."
He does. Nervously, she leads him towards the fireplace and settles down on a couch. He sits on the couch across from her. He stays quiet and allows her to calm herself. It must be difficult for her.
But, when she continues staring at the bright fire burning in the hearth, he murmurs gently, "We can do this tomorrow if you're not ready."
She shakes her head. He waits some more.
"When I left aunt Petunia's house, I had no clothes except the one pair I had on me." Harrie murmurs.
"Hmmmm." He replies.
"I had no money, not even a single penny. No body was ready to give me a job. So I resorted to begging." She falls quiet for a moment, "People spat on me and called me names. Women just avoided me and men leered at me. So I realized that if I wanted to live, I will have to make money the only way I know. I had to earn somehow. I didn't want to die."
Harrie looks at him with a bitter smile before continuing, "It was strange how people who spat at me came seeking my services. They pretended to detest me in front of their families and came to me when their wives were sleeping."
"I had just one rule. I rejected violent clients outrightly. The first couple of clients were all right. They got what they wanted and paid. The third client however - his name was Ellyq Jones. He accepted my condition and yet he tied me up and whipped me. I was scared of using magic because of what Petunia had told me."
Severus doesn't interrupt her and tries to keep a straight. He tries to hide his rage at the wickedness of that woman. Either he succeeds in hiding his anger or Harriet is too lost in her memories to notice because she looks at him with cold eyes that aren't completely focusing on him.
"After he was done, he untied my hands and lay down beside me. He laughed at me and said that that I'll never be free of him. I was angry and afraid and so I - " She takes a deep breath and utters, "I killed him."
Then she blinks once, twice and then again and really looks at him. Severus wonders if he misheard her because she didn't just claim to have murdered someone. But she's only staring at him with hard and remorseless eyes. He stares back, still frozen in those moments when she claimed that she killed someone.
"I picked up my pillow and placed it on his face and suffocated him to death. Then I stole his money and ran away."
Her eyes are passionate and angry. She has no remorse, no regrets. Something akin to fear lurks in those green depths and Severus stores it for further consideration. He stares blankly at her and her unblinking eyes meet his and don't move away.
After a few moments, she asks as politely as he had, "We can do this tomorrow if you're not ready."
Finally, he blinks twice and swallows and then shakes his head, "Please, go on." and she nods.
Tom is sure no body has ever managed to surprise him quite like Harrie Potter has. Who would have known that such a harmless looking girl could literally suffocate someone to death. He's stunned. Maybe- maybe he underestimated her. He presumed that she one of those women who had beauty and no brains. He'll have to know more about her. If she can kill someone be remorseless as she is, then she can prove to be a danger to him.
"So-" She starts and Tom ignores the part of his thought where he called this girl beautiful. It was just a slip of - well thought.
"So, after that, I decided to stay in the same town for a few weeks to make sure that no-one was suspicious of me." Harrie starts in a monotone, staring at the fireplace, her knees pulled to her chest. "He had quite a lot of money on him. I rented out a room." She stops because suddenly she starts feeling that she's in that small, suffocating room and she has to take several deep breaths and look around to ensure that she is still in her own house.
"It's over, Harrie. You are never going back. Don't worry." He murmurs in a steady voice. It is neither soft, nor sharp. It is just enough to calm her racing heart.
She sighs and then starts again, "The room was small and suffocating. It had a very small bed and it stank. The walls were dull and there were spider webs in the corners. There were mosquitoes on the floor. The owner was a fat man. His name was Arson and he had long, dirty hair and he kept on leering at me. But I was desperate. I had asked around before I found him. Rooms were too expensive. I couldn't afford to waste the money. I had to move from the town in a couple of weeks, anyways. So, I paid the rent for two weeks and he left me alone in that room. I hated it and the first night, I couldn't even sleep. In the morning-"
She stops and breathes deeply before continuing.
"In the morning, I woke up and in the matter of ten minutes, I realized that I was supposed to use his bathroom. He was sitting in his room, eating something with his beefy hands. When he saw me, he licked his lips. I shivered. I was very frightened. I was no match for him and I didn't need to do it again and I didn't want to." She looks at uncle Severus. His face is so blank that it seems that he is made of wax, frozen forever in time. It's impossible to know what he thinks of her being a killer.
"The worse thing was that the door of the bathroom had no lock. Actually, it had a lock but it was broken. I was terrified but desperate. Somehow, I managed to use the shower. I made it as quick as it was possible and then just retreated to my room and locked it from inside. The room was safe, no matter how dirty it was. He didn't approach me so I started letting my guard down. I started taking a bit longer in the shower. You have to understand that I was afraid of using magic. It was fine until the eighth day."
Harrie stops and stares quietly at the fireplace.
"I had just started undressing when suddenly the door opened and he came inside. He had a cloth in his hand and he was grinning lasciviously and I was sure that it would make me unconscious. I had no other option." She stops for a moment before continuing in a low voice.
"I used my magic. I just willed my magic to suffocate him. For just a few seconds, I let my magic weaken him and then I pushed him. He fell down and I tied a towel around his neck and looked into his eyes until he took his last breath." She finishes and still doesn't feel nothing except hatred for that man and relief that he was dead.
She looks at him before murmuring, "I could have run away. But I didn't. I killed him and I don't regret doing it."
Uncle Severus stares at her. It's strange to call him that. He tries really hard to hide his shock but he's unable to. His eyes are really wide and he has become very still. She sighs tiredly and turns her eyes back towards the fireplace.
"I want you to go and I want you to tell this to mom and Draco. But, before that I want to meet Draco." She says.
"Okay." Severus says. He doesn't say anything else. His face is blank once again.
"But I want to talk about - about all of the rest with you. I want to tell you." She continues hesitantly.
"That's good. Harrie, you had no alternative-"
"It's okay. I don't regret it." She says.
She knows that she does, if not about them, then about the fact that she's a murderer. But, this is only the starting.
He sighs deeply and gets up but before leaving, he murmurs, "I'm not saying that it was the right thing to do. At some point you'll have to forgive yourself and move on. It was a difficult situation and you acted in self-defense."
She nods silently and he mutters softly, "I'll let you rest now and my elf will bring some food for you. Will that be okay?"
She replies quietly, "Yes. Thank you."
Tom follows Snape and stays hidden in some bushes until the man apparates away. Snape stops for a few moments and looks around suspiciously before apparating away. Tom breathes silently in relief. He'll have to be more careful. Snape is a dangerous man.
After he turns back, he starts walking aimlessly. The street is empty and he needs to think. On the one hand, he feels that he's only wasting his time. She's not interested in fighting with him. She is not interested in him. Period. No, it's not him she's interested in. He thinks to himself as he watches her stare at the fireplace with distant and cold eyes. It's someone else. There are some things he doesn't understand about her. The prophet had printed that she is Serene Black's daughter, not Lily Potter's. Then why was she living with the Potters in the first place. And where did the Potters leave him. Why would they do so? He was there at the ball the other night and he had heard Amos Diggory. If that man knew about her all along, then why did he never tell Serene.
On the other hand, she's his enemy and it's only prudent to know whatever he can about her. With this in his mind, he closes his eyes and apparates in from of the gate of Hogwarts. He shouldn't have postponed the meeting he had with Slughorn today. He has a lot of political allies and might be able to sway the wizengamot in Tom's favor.
With this in his mind, he enters inside. Several students tremble when their eyes fall upon him. He looks straight ahead and continues heading towards the great hall. It's time to tell them about their new 'Dark Arts' teacher.
He can only imagine the terror that will shine in their eyes when they realize that he'll be teaching the 'dark arts' to them and that they will be concentrating on the art itself instead of the 'defense' against it. He would never forget the rage that had shone on Dumbledore's face when the board had finally agreed upon it.
Tom smirks and pushes his hands inside the pockets of his robes and opens the door of the great hall.
Harrie wakes up to the shrill TRING of her door bell. She blinks a couple of times and takes a deep breath before getting up and heading towards her door.
"Who is it?" She asks.
"It's me, Draco." Comes a politely worded reply.
She opens the door and he comes inside, dressed in black denims and a cream shirt. He is looking handsome and only when he clears his throat, she realizes that she's staring. She looks away with a blush on her cheeks. He is as magnificent and unreachable as a moon on a full moon night.
"You wanted to talk to me?" He asks gently.
She only nods and tries to gather her thoughts before looking up at him.
"Before he tells you everything I told him today, I want you to kiss me." She murmurs softly and doesn't avert her eyes.
His eyes widen for a moment and then narrow before he finally replies, "You think that I won't want to talk to you after he tells us."
She nods, "I know that you won't."
"You are wrong there but first I want to know ... why me?" He asks quietly with curious eyes and Harrie sighs. She holds his gaze while she thinks. Trusting someone is difficult for her. But he's a good man and she finds him attractive. She knows that he won't hurt her.
"I don't know." She lies. She's aware that he likes her. He's a good man and an accomplished potions master. She stands no where in front of him. Maybe in another life time in which there won't be Lily Potter and Dursleys to throw her away to the wolves, she would grow up to deserve him. Maybe she would be as proud as he is, as educated and accomplished as he is and maybe she won't be a murderer. Maybe in that lifetime, he will take her on a date and she will be shy at the end of it. But this is not that lifetime. He deserves someone better, someone who can stand with him and make him proud of her. She can only put him to shame.
He bends towards her and their lips meet for a few seconds. The kiss is gentle and chaste and ends very soon. Yet it's the sweetest she has ever received.
He pulls back and looks into her eyes.
"How was it?" He whispers.
"Beautiful." She replies and turns around to head towards the sofa.
"Harrie, nothing will change." He says softly.
"Please leave. Thank you for coming at such a short notice." She replies.
"Harrie." He insists and she closes her eyes. There is no point. She doesn't want to get attached to him.
"Just leave." She mutters and Draco sighs, "I'll be back. You'll see. One day, all this will just be a distant memory."
So will I, Draco. So will I be.
"I thought it prudent for Albus to know about this too." Severus finishes, leaving a stunned silence in his wake.
Where on one hand, Serene looks as white as a ghost, Draco is stunned. He had not expected this. Professor Dumbledore is staring quietly at the flames crackling in the hearth. .
Draco opens his mouth and then closes it. He takes a deep breath and then starts again, "We can't let her murder Potter's wife and the Dursleys. She'll never be able to move on like this."
A few moments later when Serene has finally collected herself, she speaks softly, "Draco is right. The first thing we have to do is to make her understand that we'll never abandon her. She has to understand that she can't go on murdering people. There are other ways to punish them."
"Are you sure that this doesn't change how you feel about her, Draco?" Severus nods at Serene and then looks at him with careful eyes. He ducks his head. He can't lie. This does change things.
It means that she can go to any extent to get what she wants. It means that she is not quite different from Tom Riddle. How is Draco supposed to react to this? Of course, he can't stop loving her but he can't ignore this.
"Draco." The calm voice belongs to professor Dumbledore. Draco's eyes flicker towards him and meet warm ones of the other man.
"Sleep on it." The man says calmly.
Draco nods and without another glance at Serene or Severus, he walks towards his room. He feels their concerned eyes burn on his skull and ignores them. He needs to think and right now he is in no position to do that. Draco shakes his pounding head and changes into his night clothes.
Tom watches Draco's retreating figure smugly. If he were in his human form, he would be smirking at the blonde's retreating back. As it is, he is in his animagus form and can't risk Dumbledore knowing. He would know. He always knows when Tom is around which is not surprising, considering the fact that Tom studied animagus transformation from Dumbledore himself. He was one of those fortunate students who had attended Dumbledore's seminars when he was a kid.
The old man thinks that there is still hope for him. He doesn't understand what it even means.
Snape leans forward before asking curiously, "What are you thinking, Albus?"
Dumbledore doesn't answer like a sane man would because he is well, Albus Dumbledore. No, he leans back and adjusts his hat and then takes out a small box from his robe pocket. Everyone including Tom leans forward to see what is inside.
"Lemon drops? Anyone?" Dumbledore answers Snape who backs off, brows furrowed in frustration.
Black, however takes one from the box and chuckles softly before her laugh transforms into a sob and she covers her face with both her hands. She starts shaking uncontrollably and it becomes too much for Tom. He slithers out of the house as quietly as he can, hoping that Dumbledore didn't sense his presence.
Harrie has not heard from anyone yet. She is waiting- for what, she is not sure. It's past midnight.
Severus sent some vegetables and fruits via an elf and Harrie did cook something but now she can't sleep. She misses them. But she doesn't know if they would still want to talk to her.
She is so lost in her musings that when the door bell starts ringing, she jumps with a gasp. It's late. She wonders who it is.
"Coming." She yells and heads towards the door.
She opens it and comes face to face with a handsome man who seems about her age. He's a bit familiar but she can't place it. His eyes are glued to her face and they are wide in surprise. Beside him, there is a girl with black hair and dark black eyes and plump lips. She is in a above knee length dress and pencil heels. Harrie eyes them warily. She has never met them before.
"Ahem. Ahem." The man clears his throat almost nervously.
"You still can't recognize me?" He murmurs and Harrie's eyes widen. Her mouth pops open and she looks at him properly.
"Dudley." She exclaims, shocked to see such a transformation.
The shock turns into anger because Dudley brings memories with him.
"Why're you here?" She hisses furiously and crosses her arms before glaring at him.
"I'm sorry. I'm here to say sorry." These are the words that escape his mouth and Harrie's anger only grows.
"Go away." She snaps at him and slams the door. He is saying something but she doesn't stop to listen to him. She storms back inside her bedroom and crawls inside her blanket. She tries to sleep but spends better part of the night just tossing and turning in her bed.