Authors notes: I want to thank my BETAs Koorime and ChibiBecca. I would also like to appologise if people start craving cookies oo; Oh, and this Fic is set in Bath, Wiltshire, my hometown, so sorry if it sounds like a travel brochure at times ^^
Their lips met in a slow kiss.
Draco closed his eyes and lost himself in the sensation of Harry’s lips gently caressing his own. Still holding Harry’s wrist with his right hand, he moved the left up to run his fingers through the ruffled mop that was the other boy’s hair.
There was a loud explosion and they suddenly flew apart, startled, trying to figure out what was going on. Harry nearly toppled off the bed, once again entangling himself in the duvet and coverlet.
Draco flung himself at the window on the far side of the bed, flinging the curtains wide he looked out, gripping the sill tightly, his knuckles going white.
“Harry, you’re not going to believe this.” He turned slightly and looked at the other boy as he clambered out of the bed almost tripping over the linen and joined him at the window, a frown creasing his forehead.
There was a fading Dark Mark hanging over the city, close to the Abbey and in plain sight to anyone looking out of a window two or three floors up. Draco watched as Harry realised what he had, the Mark was hanging over the only wizarding shop in the area, Arcadia.
“’Oh shit’ indeed, Harry.”
They both jumped and turned; Moody was standing behind them, his arms folded, magical eye spinning slightly, taking in the surroundings with ease. He was wearing official Auror robes – something not lost on either boy, but still had his own belt with various pouches and that infamous flask round his waist.
“Are Henry and his wife ok?! That IS were it happened isn’t it?”
Moody looked a little more shifty than usual for a second, “They are both perfectly fine, Tonks has been taken to St Mungo’s for some minor-”
“Tonks?! Is she alright? What the hell was she doing there?”
Draco steadied Harry as he almost fell over in his haste to make sure his friend was ok.
“She’s fine Harry, nothing serious. Now, I’ve been told to tell you not to get your nose into this. Dumbledore knows how you like to, well, attempt to sort things out. Don’t. He’s expressly forbidden you to get caught up in this one.”
With that Moody disapparated, leaving the two boys looking on in confusion.
“I cannot believe you talked me into this, Harry,” Draco muttered just loud enough for the raven-haired boy to hear him, “You were supposed to spend the day in bed, remember? Dumbledore’s bloody orders.” He clearly enunciated every one of the last three words.
They were making their slow way to Arcadia, on Harry’s insistence, as he had wanted to investigate. It was a cold day today; the sun seemed to have decided it wasn’t a good day to be out and was hiding behind a thin wash of greying clouds, and Draco found himself shivering slightly in his light weight summer shirt.
The weather seemed to be reacting to his current mood, he didn’t want to be here, he had been perfectly fine sitting in his hotel room with Harry. He frowned slightly at the memory of what the Death Eaters had so rudely interrupted. He had just been getting into it when they had been startled by the explosion.
“And speaking of Dumbledore’s orders, Moody DID say he’d told us to stay out of it.”
He watched as Harry shrugged, a small smile on his lips at the defiance of Dumbledore’s words, from the looks of it not even taking in the ‘us’ he had slipped into the sentence.
“Oh shush, Draco. I know what I’m doing.”
Draco rolled his eyes, fingering the wand currently residing in a home made clasp on his left wrist. This was beyond ludicrous, it was cold, he was more than a little pissed off, and he did NOT want to be traipsing up to that damn shop just to see if the people who owned the place were ok.
Though he hadn’t been able to tell Harry that when he’d begun frantically dressing and imploring him to come with him. He just couldn’t tell him no, couldn’t tell him to sit the bloody hell down and think it through. He’d wanted to, but the look in those emerald eyes had shut him up and he’d simply pulled on his shoes and a muggle jacket and followed Harry out.
And now they were just a few moments from the side street down to where it had all started, just over a week ago. He followed Harry down the short and shallow stairway into the alley, looking down at the shops before him.
The wizarding shop was only about twenty feet into the alley, maybe less, and they could already see it had been cordoned off by muggles, probably the ‘Police’ as Draco had heard muggle-borns call them, effectively preventing anyone entering the other shops in the area.
The sign that normally hung above the shop window was hanging from one hinge and looked a little singed, the gold paint blackened and peeling. The glass of the front window was shattered and spread all over the floor of the alley, a few of the artefacts from the display were scattered about, two or three items lying at the base of the stairway.
There was a small crowd around the entrance way, mostly muggles, but one or two magical folk could be seen, most notably a badly disguised former Daily Prophet reporter by the name of Rita Skeeter.
He recognised her instantly. The few years since he had last seen her had not been kind and she certainly didn’t understand muggle clothing. She was wearing an obviously out of date dress with voluminous sleeves in bright purple with matching shoes. She looked ridiculous.
Since fifth year the woman had been freelance writing for various magazines and even occasionally the Daily Prophet. She was no longer as down on her luck as she had been before writing the article for The Quibbler, but she still had not regained her former stature.
Not exactly paying attention to where he was going Draco actually walked into Harry’s suddenly still form. He blinked and looked over the slightly taller boy’s shoulder, mildly perplexed by the hesitation.
Harry ushered him backwards and started to move back himself, “It’s that bloody woman from the Prophet. Skeeter.” Harry turned before Draco knew exactly what was happening and disappeared back up the stairway.
He took one more look down at the crowd, looking closely at the forty-six year old blonde journalist for a moment, then hurried up after Harry before anyone thought to look up and noticed him.
He found the Gryffindor just round the corner, his back to a wall, panting slightly, looking thoroughly pissed off. He leaned on the wall next to him and smirked, repeating his earlier question.
“That bloody woman is what’s wrong.”
Draco was surprised at the anger clearly evident in Harry’s voice, “Sticking her nose in where it isn’t wanted. I can’t even stand the sight of her.. Every single time we meet she tries to turn me into some front page story about a ‘Weepy Lost Boy’ or ‘Scar Headed Freak.’ She picks and chooses the tone of the bloody segments depending on how I react to her god damned questions”
Draco looked at the floor as Harry spoke, then glanced up again and watched him as he slowly sank down the wall until he was sitting on the roughly paved ground, knees pointed vaguely at the sky.
“I thought you were back on good terms with her? I mean, after that interview you did with her in that magazine.. what was it?” he paused, unable to remember the name of a magazine he had read only that once, and then simply for the article and the insight it had given him into Harry’s life, “Anyway, she wrote you pretty well in that one.”
“Hah, it was The Quibbler, and she only did it because Hermione threatened to tell the authorities about her being an unregistered Animagus.”
Draco snorted lightly, “And she’s in Gryffindor? She should be in Ravenclaw at the very least.”
The blonde raised his eyebrows at the look Harry gave him and backed down slightly, letting him continue.
“I am not in the mood to talk to her, even if I do want to know what’s going on down there.”
Draco wrinkled his nose slightly as he thought of something, something not entirely un-repugnant to him, as he didn’t actually like the woman that much these days. Sure he had spoken quite happily with her before now, but that had been years ago, when he had been nothing more than a spiteful young schoolyard bully, when he had wanted to do anything to gain some sort of attention.
“I’ll go down there and see what’s going on; last time I spoke to her we were on relatively good terms.” He didn’t need to mention the fact that the last time he’d spoken to her he’d been spearheading a time of rumour mongering at Harry’s expense. He knew very well it was going through both their minds as he spoke.
Harry nodded and he left him sitting were he was and walked swiftly back to the small crowd gathering around the now desolate building.
His boot crunched on some herbs and glass, (giving him the distinct impression that he would shortly be needing new shoes,) as he neared the actual shop entrance, slithering his way through the press of bodies until he was close enough to see inside. The place was an absolute mess, it looked like the Death Eaters had decided to do as much damage as possible, and he knew they only did that when they were frustrated.
He realised they must have been incredibly pissed off over the loss of one of their own the other night, and over the fact that Harry had once again gotten away from them. He understood perfectly how they would be reacting, as he had often watched his father closely at home, taking note of his reactions when it concerned The Boy Who Lived. He shuddered slightly at the thought of the punishments Voldemort may right now have been meting out, sure that the Cruciatus curse would be featuring largely.
“AH! Young Master Malfoy. May I have some of your time?”
Draco turned and looked Rita Skeeter straight in the eyes. She still wore those ridiculous horn rimmed glasses with the fake jewels, glimmering in a vain attempt to look real, that were her give away when in animal form and he didn’t care one bit for the way she was looking at him, there was an undisguised emotion in her eyes that he really didn’t appreciate.
He forced a gentile smile, thankful for his impeccable upbringing and drawled, “Of course.”
He followed her out of the crush of the slowly growing crowd and they stood in a doorway a few feet down the alleyway. She had that annoying bloody Quick-Quotes Quill in her hand and a large parchment notepad. She looked up at him, for he was now taller than she, and grinned her three gold teeth sparkling alarmingly.
“May I ask you a few questions?” She tapped the quill on the pad, in a small tuneless rhythm, making him want to grab it and shred it into a thousand pieces right before her ridiculously horn rim framed eyes.
He gave a quick curt nod and she grinned again, intoning something under her breath at the quill that was now balanced on its nib, awaiting her commands. She tapped her heavily varnished and extremely long nails together, setting his teeth on edge.
“Now then, could you give me any thoughts on this most heinous of incidents?”
Draco blinked at her choice of wording before replying. “Heinous incident? I don’t even know what happened; I just came down to replenish some supplies.” The necessary lie just slipped from his tongue.
Rita looked a little put out, her heavily pencilled eyebrows rising for a second. Draco realised that she obviously believed a Malfoy ought to know such things. He watched her over make-upped face as she rallied herself.
“The muggle authorities are calling it a simple gas explosion, but I have several reliable witnesses to a Dark Mark hanging over this very building for some minutes after the initial explosion. What are your thoughts on that?”
Draco raised an eyebrow, “I certainly wouldn’t put it past the Death Eaters to do such things.”
They stood in silence for a moment, the only sound that of the acid green Quick-Quotes Quill as it scribbled over the parchment with a much larger statement than he had just given. He resisted the urge to glance over and see what was being written.
Rita moved into knew territory with an unsettling grin, perhaps despairing of his lack of co-operation over the hit on the Shire’s establishment.
“May I ask about your apparent friendship with Harry Potter?”
“You may,” he replied reluctantly and quietly, one eyebrow again raised.
“Could you tell my readers why the sudden change of heart?”
Draco sighed inwardly, he had forgotten quite how annoying and persistent the woman could be, Harry had every right to feel the way he did about her, even after she had helped him regain people’s trust in fifth year.
“We got to talking and have put our pasts behind us.” A suitably non-informative statement, hopefully she’d leave it at that. He looked over her shoulder at the ruined shop entrance, muggle authorities were attempting to disperse the gathering crowd.
“How long, would you say, have you been friends?”
“Just over a week now,” Draco was no longer paying her his full attention as he watched the ‘Police’ remove all but the few non-muggle members of the crowd.
Harry watched Draco walk away and disappear back round the corner and rested his head on his knees. He stayed as he was for a while, not exactly paying attention to anything going on around him, listening to the many muggles walking past.
When a coin fell on the ground between his feet he looked up.
‘I don’t look that bad, do I?’ he wondered as he picked up the twenty pence piece, a frown marring his forehead. He clambered to his feet and crossed to an empty bench in the middle of the street and sat down there instead, stashing the coin in his pocket.
It took him a moment, but he slowly registered a voice behind him. Someone he knew was sitting on the bench behind the one he was now sat on, talking quietly, as if not wishing to be overheard.. He turned slightly to hear the conversation better.
“I can’t believe those idiots did that.” The first voice was one he didn’t recognise, but it sounded young, around about his own age.
“Yes. They did act rather rashly. The Shire’s place is, after all, a well protected building. Did they honestly think they would be able to break the wards?” This statement was followed by a snort. He knew this voice all too well. For he had been forced to listen to it for nigh on three hours only a day before.
His eyebrows disappeared into his fringe but he didn’t move. Mr Henderson. Colin Henderson. The cat obsessed drill worker who worked with his uncle. What the fuck were they doing having this conversation in the middle of Bath?
He stared forward for several seconds, eliciting a few bemused looks from passers by. The conversation continued behind him.
“They are new; they have not yet learned the discipline required by our Lord. Though he did not punish them as harshly as he could. It was lucky for them that the Shire’s woman is a Mudblood.”
There was some rustling, as of a newspaper being flicked open and the pages turned before Mr Henderson replied. “I’m just surprised he didn’t kill anyone after that fiasco at the hotel. Those idiots underestimated the Potter boy, even after countless warnings, and now Bonaparte’s dead.”
The first man snorted rather loudly, making Harry jump slightly, a little guilty. Before anything else was said he jumped up and walked quickly to the wall he had been previously sitting against.
‘Oh shit, oh bloody shit’ his brain was in overdrive, taking in everything that had been said and the meaning of it all.
He yelped and struck out with a clenched fist when a hand dropped onto his shoulder without warning.
“Whoa!” Draco ducked the fist, one arm held up protectively and Harry calmed the instant he saw his blonde head now almost a foot and a half below his own. “What was that for?”
Harry grabbed the other boy’s shoulder and propelled him back round the corner a little, then peeked round again, checking the two Death Eater’s were still where he had left them. He let out a breath of relief when he saw they were.
He closed his eyes a moment then turned to the shocked Slytherine. “I just found out how they knew where I was, and who attacked Arcadia.”
Draco’s eyebrows rose, a questioning look on his face, he obviously didn’t need to ask what Harry was on about. “And I thought I had news.”
Harry gave him a questioning look before continuing, “It’s that man that works with my uncle. Colin Henderson, he’s a Death Eater. I was just sat on the bench and over heard them talking about the other night. Apparently Voldemort didn’t kill anyone over it.”
“Pity,” he muttered as an afterthought.
“Are you sure?” He turned back to look at Draco, a look of defiance on his face that made the other boy clamp his mouth shut and nod. He looked round the corner again and saw the two men getting up.
“Come on, they’re leaving. We’ve got to follow them, see where they’re keeping themselves.”
He felt a long fingered hand on his shoulder and turned back again, “What?”
Draco shook his head, “We can’t just go careening after them like this, Harry. We should simply tell Dumbledore and the Auror’s what you know.”
“And let them get away? If we don’t find out where they’re staying the Auror’s will never find them. We need more proof than the snippet of bloody conversation I overheard.” Before Draco could disagree he grabbed the boy’s hand and dragged him after him, following the two Death Eaters down the street.
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