imuptonogood (imuptonogood) wrote,
imuptonogood
imuptonogood

Something Past Survival - Chapter 22 Part 2

Summary: After the war, reconciliation between enemies is necessary to create a better future, one that is only possible if one embraces the past. Begins during the final chapters of Deathly Hallows, ignores the epilogue. Will eventually be Harry/Draco.

Disclaimer: Harry Potter, his friends, his enemies, and the lovely world they live in all belong to JK Rowling. 



Chapters Posted: 22
Words Posted: 150,536
Notes: rosskpr has been my beta reader for many chapters, but she is unable to continue in that role.  I can't thank her enough for the work she did.  I now get to thank two marvellous people for beta reading this chapter - Badgerlady and Crescent did an amazing job, catching my wildly breeding commas, britpicking, and generally making this a better chapter.  Thanks!

Other notes:  I can't believe it's been a year.  This chapter killed me.  I have some good bits coming up, and I've been looking forward to posting them, but I could not get the celebration right.  In any case, this story is still underway, and I have started chapter 23!

On to the chapter!

Chapter 22 Part 2 - Dreams and Work



Filch

Each day the castle was less damaged. Filch wished he had the power to fix it all himself, and not have to deal with all these people tromping through his territory. He was a bit surprised at how willing people were to come help. That had never been the case, before. He had always taken pleasure in assigning unwilling little brats the task of cleaning, especially as each and every one of them had caused him work at least once during their time at Hogwarts.

Still, seeing his castle nearly brought to ruin had caused him pain. He dedicated himself to putting it to rights.

Filch had abandoned his office while he directed the repair of Hogwarts. That room was too small, too cluttered with the detritus of generations of miscreants, for the traffic that was necessary. Things might get misplaced, or damaged, if the volunteers were to intrude on his sanctum sanctorum. Instead, he set up in a room that would have been a teacher’s office, if the castle were being used to its capacity. It was his right, and he needed to be accessible.

His desk had several stacks of parchment on it. He reviewed each parchment daily, checking off the status of each project. He had lists of volunteers, together with their skills and the training they had taken. He had schedules, team rosters, task lists and plans. He had people willing to work, wanting to help. It was a new experience. He had never felt more powerful.

He felt competent. Who needed magic, when he could direct those who had it? Witches and wizards, people respected in the wizarding world, were coming to him and asking him to tell them what to do. They were not sneering at him.

He only wished this new regard hadn’t come at the expense of his castle. Slowly, though, over the weeks, he realized that his best service to the castle was to be that competent, powerful person.

He found he wanted the respect of those around him to continue. He began selecting the cleanest clothes out of his wardrobe each day. He combed his hair back into a tight tail. He could do nothing about his teeth, but he had ordered a tooth whitening potion, just in case. These things were not important when it was just the brats in the castle, but he'd be cursed if he was going to put up with disrespect from people who were coming to him, asking him if they could help.

The classroom attached to his office had maps on display, indicating what needed to be done in various locations. The maps were approximate at best. To Filch’s dismay, his castle was even more unpredictable than usual, to the point that even he missed his way on occasion. Rooms that had been stable had now taken to wandering; sudden doors appeared, opening to rooms on the other side of the castle. Filch had yet to find a way to seal the door that had opened a path from the sixth year Gryffindor boys’ dormitory to the girls’ Quidditch changing room. If it came to it, he would have to switch which changing room the boys and girls would use. Filch was not entirely certain that the new doorway was accidental, but he promised himself that if someone was responsible, and he found the culprits, they would suffer.

He looked up to see someone else that should suffer. Harry "I-Brought-War-To-Hogwarts" Potter.


Harry


It took the rest of that day, and most of the next, before Harry could make himself go talk to Filch. It was harder than he could imagine even to think about asking the man to put him back on Malfoy’s team.

Filch was not in his old office, and was not directing things from the Entry Hall as he had been. Harry repressed the thought that maybe that was a sign that he should give up. That wasn’t who he was either. He finally asked the leader of a work crew, and was directed to a classroom on the ground floor.

Filch looked as if he had dressed for a date, or tried to anyway. Harry shuddered at the thought. The man was still unpleasant to look at, even with his lanky hair pulled back so tight Harry thought it would be giving him a headache, and his crooked yellow teeth even more noticeable as they seemed to glow between his sneering lips. He wore a brown tweed jacket that had been patched several times, and a slightly different brown pair of trousers.

Harry cleared his throat.

“What do you want, Potter?”

He hesitated. This was mad. What was he thinking? Malfoy would never let him work on his team. If he did, he wasn’t going to teach him anything, not now that Harry had gotten him covered in this stuff that was supposed to be so dangerous that it had the Slytherins being so meticulously careful it bordered on paranoia.

He couldn’t imagine it being so dangerous, even now, even having experienced it. He knew it must be, after watching the hospital people rushing around at the mere thought that he had been touched by it, and after feeling the nausea, disorientation and befuddlement, but he couldn’t think of that as the same thing that glowed darkly, interacting with another glow, expanding and contracting swirling and flowing, as if they belonged in an eternal dance.

“I want to be put back to work.”

“Oh, you do, eh Potter? And why should you get what you want, eh?”

“I don’t know. I need—I need to put it back together. After the war, after all the destruction...” Harry couldn’t believe he was begging Filch to put him to work. “I could work on Malfoy’s crew. I’ve learned... I’ve learned my lesson, sir.”

Sir. He could see that that had influenced the old caretaker.

“Draco Malfoy is in charge of that crew, Potter. If I even consider this, you would have to follow his instructions.”

“I’ll pay attention to what he says.”

“You’ll do what he says. I won’t have you putting this castle in danger again with your recklessness.” The caretaker’s sneer did nothing to hide the fury Filch felt. The man’s eyes made it clear he wanted to kill Harry, and rip apart the pieces to feed to his cat.

Why was he doing this? It wasn’t worth it. He had to deal with Filch, who was looking less wounded, and more resolute as the weeks went on. And if Filch agreed, he’d then have to deal with Malfoy, and he could not imagine the Slytherin would make it easy for him. Was he really willing to crawl, just for information about what he saw?

Even remembering the glow of magic he’d seen made him want to see it again, to understand it, to interact with it. It wasn’t just that he was bored. It wasn’t just that he felt he needed to help repair what had been destroyed because of him. He’d seen something that caught his soul, and he couldn’t rest until he could see it again, and not just from a distance.

When he finally did, he almost wished he had not.


Harry and Draco

Harry checked the Marauder’s Map to locate Malfoy's team, using Filch’s instructions as a starting point. The Slytherin team was working on rooms in the fifth floor corridor. How the fuck did any sort of magical residue get all the way up here? Where they really cleaning it, or where they just looking for an excuse to be out of their cells? He had been told about the anklets that kept the Slytherins in line, but he still didn’t quite trust it.

He detoured to the place he had left the two wands last time, and hid them there again. He trusted the castle more than he trusted any person with the Elder Wand.

The team had just started work, when Harry found them. He waited until Malfoy had come out of the room to re-wet his brush.

“Malfoy.”

“What are you doing here, Potter?”

“I’d like to work on your team.” Harry was amazed that his voice was steady. He felt nervous and belligerent in turns.

“Haven’t you done enough damage? Do you want to get us all killed?”

“No, I...”

“Contrary to what you might think, Potter, I value my life. I’ve also learned when to cut my losses.”

Harry repressed the comment that he wanted to make to that. Had Malfoy cut his losses when he let the Death Eaters into Hogwarts? When he cast Cruciatus after Cruciatus on innocent victims for Voldemort? Saying any of that would cut off the last chance that Malfoy might teach him. “I didn’t mean to cause anyone harm.”

“You are just naturally talented at putting others in danger. I always suspected as much. You can’t bull your way in and force people to forgive your stupidity. I made a good offer and you threw it back in my face. You always do that!”

Harry stopped short. Always? “What do you want? What assurances can I give you that I want to learn what you offered to teach?”

“Gryffindors don’t want to learn. Learning implies caution, something Gryffindors are congenitally lacking. Now, if you don’t mind, we are busy. Our crew is still short, and it is dangerous without a full crew. We would have had a full crew, if some stupid oaf hadn’t come in and nearly blown up the castle!”

Harry pulled at his hair, probably making it even more wild than before. What could he do? What could he say? “I won’t do that again. I’ll listen to your cautions. I want to learn this, Malfoy.” He hesitated. What was he doing? “Please?”

Malfoy’s eyes widened at the word.

“You'll do exactly what I say.”

Harry nodded.

“I want you to repeat after me: Draco Malfoy knows what he is doing, and I will listen and obey his instructions, while working on his team.”

Harry kept himself from rolling his eyes, but just barely. He was only promising to listen while they were working together, and he had already promised that to Filch. He repeated the words, only barely managing to repress the urge to singsong them sarcastically.

Draco gave him a critical examination, before nodding. “Fine. Get a pair of gloves from that box. Try to find some that do not have holes. Get a brush from over there.”

Harry grinned. A brush meant he would be doing more than watch the cauldron. He found a left glove that was hole-free, and a right glove that was frayed along the wrist edge, but otherwise intact. One was black, and the other was a Slytherin green. Harry shrugged. He'd worn worse. At least both looked clean. He was more careful about the brush. He looked them over as if he were inspecting his broom before a Quidditch match.

He picked one with smooth bristles and a smooth handle, and returned to where Draco was standing. "Now what?"

"I wish I could leave you out here to paint the runes on an inoffensive surface," Malfoy gestured a ways down the corridor, and Harry was certain that the gesture indicated quite a bit more distance than the passage afforded, "but we are short a person today, again."

Malfoy paused. "Do you think you can do again what you were doing last time, only without blowing the room up?"

"Yes."

"Think about it, Potter. You will need to keep your magic within your skin, and paint the runes, engaging the ambient magic of the room but not your own!"

"I can do that." Harry repressed his annoyance at Malfoy's attitude. He could do this. He had done it.

"Show me."

The other Slytherins had paused in their work when Harry had approached, and were now gathering to watch. The guard said nothing, but watched as well. No pressure then. He gave his wand to the Auror without prompting, meaning to start as he would go on. As much as he might wish otherwise, Malfoy knew more about this than he did, and Malfoy was a gateway to understanding the magical glowing dance he had seen.

He tried not to feel naked without the wand. He took a deep breath and focussed inward, feeling his magic, letting it subside inward, waiting, ready, but not acting. He wondered if this was what Occlumency was supposed to be like. Probably not. That would be too easy.

Once he was sure his magic was calm inside, he picked up the brush he had put on the carrybox and wet it in the cauldron, noting that the water was clear. He took another deep breath and drew the shape Malfoy had shown him, extending the brush like a hook to catch the magic in the middle of the X.

Malfoy nodded. "Again."

Harry repeated it four more times before Malfoy was satisfied.

"So, with Potter here, we're going to do this like we did as little kids. Potter, Daphne, you'll do the protection rune. That one has less chance for failure, and Potter has already learned it. Theo, you and I will follow behind and do the cleansing and banishing, after verifying (in Potter's case) that the protection has been drawing correctly. Adrien will stay with the cauldron."

Harry flushed at the implication but withheld comment. He was learning. He needed to do this. Malfoy had said he could teach him magical theory, but Harry couldn't just expect him to do it for free. With no friendship to count upon, Harry had to make himself useful to Malfoy.

He had promised himself that he would not blow up every time Malfoy needled him, and he wouldn't. A feeling of pride rose in the back of his mind that felt like Remus, and he could almost hear a chatter of approval. The Black ancestors seemed to want maturity from the Head of the Family. He repressed a fit of giggles at the thought of being mature for Sirius. He could almost hear Remus laughing.

*   *   *

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Story Index

Chapter 22 Part 3 (on to next section)

Tags: draco malfoy, ewe, fanfiction, harry potter, hd, hpdm, minerva mcgonagall, slytherins, something past survival, sps
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