Pairing[s]: Harry/Draco and others.
Disclaimer: JKR owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Length: 3200 words
Summary: As a man is, so he sees. As the eye is formed, such are its powers. [William Blake]
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
Interregnum - Chapter 11Shortly after Potter and his hangers-on went through the main entrance, the doors swung open and the queue began to move. Blaise's "date", a wizard in his mid-thirties who, to Draco's continued delight, looked absolutely unremarkable, gave Draco a toothy little smile. Draco returned it, wondering if he'd somehow slipped up and made his feelings towards Blaise obvious. The last thing he wanted was for this Holzman fellow to needle Blaise about his pretty blond friend who clearly had a problem with Blaise's "date".
Their tickets entitled them to seats in the green section, just a few rows below the VIP boxes, where Draco immediately spied Potter and company. He was laughing at something George Weasley was saying and still looked good enough to eat. "What the fuck is he doing here, anyway? Shouldn't he be out fighting crime or something?"
"Why don't you ask him?" asked Blaise, settling next to Draco.
Theodore leaned over. "His girlfriend's Ginny Weasley, isn't she? One of the Harpies Chasers."
Oh, of course. "I remember a time when the Holyhead Harpies had standards," said Draco. "A Weasley? She'll get herself pregnant in no time, and they'll be looking for a replacement."
"How do you know this?" asked Holzman. Draco hadn't realised he could speak English and had been speaking English deliberately ever since they'd arrived at the stadium.
"Her mother had seven children," explained Draco. "In the Weasley clan, the apple never falls too far from the tree, as the saying goes."
"Ah. Seven? They must be very wealthy family."
"Quite the contrary," said Draco. A wealthy Weasley was humorous to contemplate, but quite impossible.
"I wouldn't say that," piped up Blaise. "George Weasley's joke shop is doing quite well. He's hired another saleswitch, and there are rumours of expansion..."
"Oh, please," said Draco, waving a dismissive hand. "A joke shop's not going to make them rich. There are too damned many of them."
Blaise started to say something else, but his voice was drowned out by the announcer's. The commentary would be in German, which made Draco very happy; at least Potter and his little clique wouldn't be able to understand a word.
The announcer's voice jolted Hermione out of her thoughts about the sabotaged Conference Globe -- at first, she felt a bit disorientated because she didn't understand what the announcer was saying. Oh, right. Berlin. Germany.
"Here," said George, passing her an Extendable Ear: Translation Edition. He turned to Harry with the other.
"I can hear him fine, thanks," said Harry with an incredulous glance.
George winked. "But can you understand him?"
"New model, mate," said Ron. "Translates anything, even Gobbledegook. The Gringotts goblins are dead unhappy; now they can't insult customers and get away with it."
Harry whistled. "When'd you come up with these?"
"This was George's big back-room secret," said Ron. "He was trying to get them done before today."
"Best advertising in the world," George put in. " Imagine all these Germans wondering why all these British wizards aren't constantly pestering them to translate. We've been talking about expanding for ages and I thought, why not the continent?"
Harry nodded. "You want to go global, like Zonko's?"
"Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes sank Zonko's Great Britain in a matter of a year," said Ron. "'Course we want to go global."
"It's what Fred wanted," said George, and Hermione resisted the urge to pat his arm.
"Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to introduce our honoured guests and defending champions! I give you -- the Holyhead Harpies!" warbled the announcer.
Hermione sat up a little straighter as she watched the all-witch team troop onto the stadium, broomsticks on their shoulders. There was Ginny, her flame-red hair tied back, looking resplendent in her team's dark green robes. She raised her hand to shield her eyes from the sun and lifted her broom high, then turned and blew a kiss in the opposite direction of the VIP boxes. Eddie, her new boyfriend, must've been sitting there somewhere. Next to Ginny stood Cho Chang, also shaking her broomstick at someone Hermione couldn't see. Hermione glanced at Harry, who had his Omnioculars trained on Ginny.
"Are those the same ones you bought at the Quidditch World Cup, Harry?" she asked.
"Uh-huh," said Harry without looking away from Ginny.
"And now, the challenger! Please welcome the Heidelberg Harriers!"
The stadium roared as the German team ran out onto the pitch, black robes rippling, waving to the crowd. The captains shook hands, and banners unfurled out of thin air on the opposite ends of the pitch: the golden harpy on dark green and the roaring red dragon on black. From beyond the stadium walls, an enormous flat disc floated to a stop above the cheapest seats in the white section. The disc was actually a stage that held a small band, which immediately began to play.
"Let the game begin!" shouted the announcer. The referee raised his hands, and the teams kicked off.
"That's cool," said Ron, pointing at the band. "I want one of those at my wedding," he said to George.
Hermione winced inwardly. My wedding, not our wedding, and he didn't even acknowledge Hermione. Never mind that they'd never actually talked about a wedding. George caught her eye and winked. Hermione forced a smile, feeling very alone all of a sudden. Harry was too busy following Ginny's every move, so she couldn't even strike up a conversation with him. She had wanted to come because Ginny was one of her best friends, and she hadn't seen Harry in ages, but she cared very little for Quidditch, and the game held no appeal for her. She wanted the Harpies to win, but she didn't feel compelled to get to her feet and cheer for them. A part of her wished she could be at work, trying to sabotage a Conference Globe.
"That's Cho Chang, the Harpies' Seeker -- has she seen the Snitch? What is she doing? Look at that dive!"
"She's feinting," said Harry, and pointed towards the announcers' booth. "The Snitch is there."
Ron clapped him on the back. "Taught her everything you know, didn't you, Harry?"
"That's so patronising," said Hermione, scandalised. "Cho was a perfectly capable Seeker long before she met Harry."
Harry grinned at her. "Just what I was about to say." He lifted the Omnioculars to his eyes again, apparently dead to the world. It was a good sign that he was willing to stop staring at Ginny to watch an exciting game moment, anyway. Hermione hoped so, at least.
Harry was watching Ginny dodge Bludger after Blugder, but he wasn't really seeing her. His mind was occupied completely by what he'd seen outside the stadium, just before they'd gone in. He'd seen his mark in the queue, but right now he was more interested in one of Nott's companions than Nott himself.
Harry had known Draco Malfoy lived in Berlin thanks to Kingsley's investigators' notes. What he hadn't known was that Malfoy apparently still harboured an intense dislike for him. Malfoy's hateful stare had been nothing new, precisely, but Harry had been taken aback by the intensity of it, after all this time. Didn't it count for anything that Harry had pulled the little prick out of a fire? Not that Harry expected Malfoy's gratitude -- not at all. But it was a bit odd that Malfoy seemed to have changed his attitude not even a little. Harry himself hadn't thought of Malfoy in years -- like so many others he'd gone to school with, Malfoy's significance in Harry's life had ended when he'd decided not to go back to Hogwarts after the war.
Besides, Harry still remembered what Mrs Malfoy had done for him in the Forbidden Forest all those years ago. Well, she probably hadn't done it for him, but that hadn't changed the outcome. If Narcissa had chosen to tell Voldemort that Harry was alive, he wouldn't be sitting here now. At any rate, On the few occasions that Harry had run into Narcissa and Lucius Malfoy since the war, they had been perfectly pleasant. From what Harry remembered, Draco Malfoy idolised his father and always wanted to be just like him. So why was it that the father could let the past go but the son apparently refused to?
"But Narcissa was out of the country, too," muttered Harry, recalling the notes Kingsley had given him. "Asked by her husband... visiting her son..."
"What's that, Harry?" Ron gave him a curious look.
"Nothing," said Harry, realising that he'd lowered the Omnioculars and was staring at the band. "Just remembered something to do with work."
"You and Hermione," groused Ron. "Work follows you everywhere."
Harry glanced at Hermione, who looked guilty. She, too, had been preoccupied even before they'd taken the nine o'clock Berlin Portkey.
"The Harpies are winning," she offered, indicating the giant scoreboard opposite.
Indeed, the score was Harpies 240, Harriers 180. Ginny and her fellow Chasers were in top form, and unless the Harriers' Seeker could outfly Cho, it looked like a clear win for the defending champions. Harry felt a pang: this year, again, he wouldn't be a part of the team celebrations. Only family and "significant others" were allowed at those parties.
He saw Hermione's eyes glaze over briefly as she looked up at the floating bandstand, and then she got that feverish look on her face, like she couldn't get to the Ministry library fast enough.
"The Harriers' Weiss has seen the Snitch!" cried the announcer, and Harry swung the Omnioculars back up, forgetting about Hermione. The Harriers' Seeker was streaking across the pitch. Cho was flying towards him from the opposite direction, but Harry didn't think she could see what Weiss saw. All around him, people were getting to their feet and shouting, cheering alternately for "Chang!" and "Weiss!", their clamour drowning out the band. Cho stretched her arm out, lifting a bit off her broom, and Harry saw that she wasn't just reaching -- the Snitch struggled against her fingers, just a hair quicker than the other Seeker's.
Cho let out a triumphant shout and raised her fist high, and then her teammates swarmed her amid the spectators' shouting and foot-stomping.
"The Holyhead Harpies win!" bellowed the announcer.
"Yeah!" shouted Ron, who was on his feet, clapping furiously. "Ginny! Go Harpies!"
Harry let the Omnioculars drop against his chest. He wanted to share in Ron's euphoria, but he remembered all too well that he wasn't really here to have fun. Hermione didn't even seem to be aware that the game had concluded; she was still staring at the band, her lips moving soundlessly. Harry touched her arm, and she jumped.
"Oh! Goodness! What happened?"
"The Harpies just won the game," said Harry, smirking a bit.
"Good! Great," said Hermione, and began to rise. "Fantastic."
"You've figured something out, didn't you?" asked Harry.
"Yes, yes, I think I did," replied Hermione, blinking rapidly. "I just need my instruments... That stage gave me an idea, and I think I'm right. I hope I am."
"I hope you are, too," said Harry. "We could use a break right about now."
The teams, having shaken hands, were departing. Some of the spectators were, too, and further below, Harry caught a glimpse of white-blond hair. Malfoy. He clearly still hated Harry enough to stare at him with open dislike in public. Was it enough to want Harry dead? Did he want Harry dead badly enough to get involved with yet another anti-Ministry plot? Was that the reason he'd allowed himself to stare so openly? Was he just too angry to see Harry alive and well, that the plan hadn't worked?
"We'd better go," said Ron, putting his arms round Hermione's and Harry's shoulders. "George and I are going to the party, so I suppose I'll see you at home," he said to Hermione. Then, turning to Harry, "When are you coming back?"
"Soon, hopefully," said Harry. "Depends on how fast I can unravel all the red tape the Germans have been putting up to keep me from searching Nott's place. Apparently, he's got connections."
Ron nodded, kissed Hermione, and trotted off after George. Harry and Hermione made their way through the throng together, holding hands to keep from getting separated. Outside the stadium, Hermione gave Harry a quick hug. "I'd better run," she said. "If I hurry, I'll make the three o'clock London Portkey."
She Disapparated before Harry had a chance to reply. Whatever idea she'd got from the floating bandstand must've been truly extraordinary. Harry decided not to Apparate; the British Aurors' safe house was only a thirty-minute walk from the stadium, and he needed to think. It was a good thing he'd worn Muggle clothes to the match. A part of him wanted to walk around the stadium, towards the teams' changing rooms, perhaps to see Ginny before she and her teammates headed off to celebrate, but he shook the thought off. He would only look pathetic -- maybe if he didn't show up with Ron and George, she'd wonder if he was over her...
Which was a great thought in theory, but Ginny wasn't like that. She wasn't one of those girls who'd brush a bloke off as long as he was interested, and when he gave up, they'd suddenly want to be with him. He needed to get over Ginny, and if that meant focussing completely on his work, Harry could do that.
Which brought him to Malfoy. Malfoy and Nott, more precisely. Harry knew that Nott's father had written to his aunt and asked her to spend the weekend of July twelfth with Theodore. Alexandre Nott had certainly supported the Death Eaters during the first war, but there was precious little evidence tying him to the second war's events. Still, it wasn't a huge stretch to imagine that he was involved in the nuclear attack -- well, it was a little odd, because why would a "Magic is Might" advocate resort to Muggle weaponry? This also didn't fit with the Malfoy angle -- Harry doubted that Draco Malfoy would touch anything Muggle. Unless Malfoy's role amounted to not much more than it had been during Voldemort's time -- an insignificant lackey who eventually became too scared and reluctant to serve his almighty master. Even Peter Pettigrew had been more devoted.
Harry stopped, startled. A young woman with bright fuchsia pigtails held out a map to him. "I'm looking for the Mendau guesthouse."
"I'm sorry, I'm not from around here," said Harry.
The girl looked puzzled. "You are English?"
"Er, yes," replied Harry, wondering why she would ask him if he was English when she was speaking English herself--
Oh. He was still wearing the Translation Edition Extendable Ear. Well, at least he'd be able to understand German, which would be good. In case any of the local bureaucrats decided to say rude things about him, like the goblins at Gringotts apparently did.
After apologising to the fuchsia girl, Harry continued his walk towards the safe house, and soon was lost in thought again. Nott and Malfoy -- was there a connection, aside from friendship? And if there was, who was more important?
Draco's head hurt. He shouldn't have gone to Krause's party on the night of the game; as usual, he had ended up drinking too much of the green stuff Krause always brought out for the occasion, and the hangover was now well into its fourth day. He leaned against the bar and stared into the milky depths of his White Russian -- why did they call them White Russians, anyway? It was decidedly off-white, and there was nothing Russian about it. It tasted more... Portuguese, than anything. Brazilian, maybe.
Maybe you ought to lay off the spirits.
Draco sighed. What was keeping Blaise? They hadn't seen each other since Saturday, and Theodore had some important recital coming up next week, so he was unavailable. Draco had spent the first half of the week alternating between nursing his hangover and masturbation, and these worthy activities made him feel completely useless. Maybe he needed to be more like Blaise -- a finger in every pie wherever he went. That required effort, however, and Draco Malfoy had never been a fan of making an effort when he could pay somebody else to make it for him. Perhaps if he cared about something enough...
His pocket-watch trilled out the opening bars to the Weird Sisters' Lone Werewolf, and for a few moments after taking it out, Draco just stared at it stupidly. He had never actually expected to hear this particular tune from the watch, which doubled as a time-telling device and an intruder alarm for his flat. This particular tune meant that someone was in Draco's flat when he wasn't, and it had never sounded before. Perhaps Blaise had forgotten that it was billiards night. Or perhaps Blaise wanted to have sex first and play billiards later. Except his flat didn't consider Blaise a stranger.
Draco's heart was thudding; he realised he was frightened. The alarm had been Theodore's idea, and Draco had laughed at it then -- who would dare trespass at any place belonging to a Malfoy? Suddenly, he rather wanted to know. Clearly the intruder did not know about the alarm, and that meant Draco could catch him by surprise.
The barman looked up and arched an eyebrow. "Mr Malfoy?"
"Tell Mr Zabini that I had urgent business at home, and he should meet me at my flat."
Draco went out through the bar's main doors and ran downstairs to the loos, where he could safely Disapparate. His street was quiet -- the workday was long over, and everyone was out drinking or at home watching telly vision. Or paddling on the intertubes. Traversing the interweb. Whatever. The point was, this was a respectable neighbourhood where people didn't just break into other people's flats -- not even the Muggles. As Draco approached his building, he saw the telltale circle of wandlight shining in the sitting room window. He watched it move tentatively from one end to the other, the disappear. Whoever it was must've gone into the corridor leading to the bedrooms and Draco's study.
Draco climbed the stairs as quietly as he could. The doors to his flat were locked -- either the intruder had locked them again or Apparated inside. Draco didn't want to make a noise, so he took out his keys, taking great care not to jangle them. He also made a mental note to put up anti-Apparition jinxes. It would stop Blaise and Theodore from just showing up in his kitchen whenever they pleased, but they'd understand. Eventually. He slid the door closed behind him and locked it again, replacing the keys in his pocket. They clicked, and Draco froze.
The flat was so quiet that Draco wondered if the intruder had seen or heard him coming, and Disapparated. But Draco would've heard that, wouldn't he have? He took out his wand and thought, Homenum Revelio. A wispy floor plan of the flat appeared before him, and there, in the guest bedroom -- his mother's -- a man's figure stooped over one of the bedside cabinets.
Draco crept through the sitting room and corridor, carefully avoiding the creaky floorboards. His mother's bedroom was next door to his own, but he didn't have time to go and see if the stranger had gone through his things already. He stopped in the doorway. A wand floated above an open drawer, but the wand's owner was nowhere to be seen. Except that even after all these years, Draco knew exactly who could do something like this.
"Petrificus Totalus!" he said loudly. There was a dull thud, and the lit wand rolled under the bed. "I'm getting a feeling of déjà vu here. Aren't you, Potter?"