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The Darkness Within
Draco M. & Harry P. & Hermione G. & Ron W. - Words: 43,039 - Rated: M - English - Adventure - Chapters: 12 - Reviews: 48 - Updated: 25-10-2018 - Published: 04-09-2018 - Complete - by SBPagel (FFN)

Chapter 6

Potter
Your complete inability to grasp even the simplest of potion theories is utterly astounding! I have come to conclude that you are either a complete dunce, at which point I have no desire to keep up correspondence. Or you are actively trying to piss me off. Whichever it is cut it out and ask Granger! I refuse to try and help you.
Remus is off howling at the moon and eating poor defenceless bunnies so I'm all alone tonight. Actually what I should say is, I wish to be all alone tonight. Your damned elf seems to have moved beyond his contempt for me 'consorting with the enemy' and is convinced that you have me brainwashed. I'd gloat about your elf liking me more than you, but the thing is deranged. I caught him snogging my shoes this morning! Order it to leave me alone!
I hear the Weasley girl broke it off with Thomas, when are you making your move?
I'm going to bed and locking the door.
DM

Malfoy
Has anyone ever told you that you sound exactly like Snape? Seriously add a greasy black wig, maybe break your nose and the resemblance would be uncanny!
Kreacher is an evil cretin. I'd happily set him free today if he didn't know so much about what happens there. Plus if I did you'd have how to cook for yourself and I don't fancy having to clean up after you burn down my kitchen.
I have absolutely ZERO interest in asking out Ginny. She's essentially my little sister and looks far too much like Ron. I might be pretty flexible with my sexuality, but I draw the line at incest.
Speaking of Ron, he finally broke it off with Lavender. That was a month I'd be happy to Obliviate. Maybe him and Hermione will finally get together, it is painfully obvious to everybody but themselves. For a smart witch she's awfully dense.
I'm sending you my copy of Advanced Offensive Charms, see if you can master some of them when you're here next.
HP

Potter
Do you seriously have nothing better to do with your time than write to me twice a week? Weasley's mother caught wind of your letter writing capability and has demanded that you start writing to her as well. Normally I'd say no to being a messenger boy but the woman terrifies me! And I'm the nephew of Bellatrix Lestrange!
I think I've got a handle on that protective charm you were talking about over Christmas break. I can't help but wonder though, how far can we push it? Obviously it is only designed for one caster and a very small protective area but if we were to combine our efforts could we protect a large surface area? Or, would it not work because the casters would have to be completely undistracted? Maybe I should just ask Lupin, he's actually a brilliant teacher.
A little birdy told me that you have quite the little stalker in Romilda Vane. Did you enjoy her Valentine's gift? Maybe you're in more danger than me right now!
DM

Draco
Molly is as lovely as she is frightening! If she asks you to do something you just suck it up and do it, this is the woman who raised the twins!
If you really want me to stop writing, stop replying, simple really.
Your thoughts are interesting, and they could possibly work but it would be incredibly difficult. It would need to be completely planned out from the get go. Whoever was casting would need to be thinking about the exact same thing. Because of that I don't think it would work if you were under attack. In a duel you don't have time to think or plan, you need to act on instinct. If there was a way to completely protect a large group of people we wouldn't be so worried about Voldemort.
Do not ever mention Romilda ever again. I can't even walk down the hall without her offering me a pumpkin juice or a cauldron cake! I have to invest in a flask like Moody's.
Hermione overheard Parkinson asking about you today, she seemed worried. Weren't you two dating?
Harry

Harry!
No! Merlin No! Why does everyone think that Pansy and I were together? The girl is vile! I have never met someone so completely up themselves, well except maybe you.
Draco

Draco
Happy Easter!
I heard that your defence scores are improving, well done! I wish I could say the same about my potions marks. I'm nowhere near as bad as I was under Snape but I'm still not fantastic at it, the whole subject just annoys me.
Dumbledore is planning something, but he won't tell me what. I'm trying not to let it bug me, but he's told me everything this year and suddenly he's all secretive. He says it has nothing to do with not trusting me but if that really is the case why not just tell me?
Ron and Hermione seem to be in blissful ignorance still. If this goes on much longer I might have to just lock them in a cupboard and see what happens.
Harry

Harry
You have no patience, that's why you are absolutely abysmal at potions. You need to be careful, precise. I don't understand it, you're an amazing cook and at least practically they are essentially the same. Just you know less garlic, more pig spleen.
Maybe what he's doing is highly dangerous? You're a bit of a hot head and he knows it. If he tells you what he's doing, and it could put him in danger you'll end up either trying to stop it or insisting that you help which will just get you hurt.
That has to be the stupidest thing I have ever heard, and I spent years in the company of Crabbe and Goyle. Locking Granger in a cupboard? Do you have a death wish? Just leave them to it they'll figure themselves out eventually.
Draco

Draco
So why are you such a shocking cook? Seriously you set a fire last time! And you were cooking toast! How did you even manage that?
Harry

Harry
There's only three weeks left of term. Excited?
What are your plans for the summer? Going back to your relatives or will you be coming back here?
Draco

"Draco!" Harry called frantically when they finally reached Grimmauld Place, not caring in the slightest about the portrait on the wall. "Draco!"

"Potter, calm yourself." Snape hissed.

"Fuck off Snape." Harry had wanted to say those words for years, but they didn't sound nearly as good as he had hoped. "Remus find Kreacher for me will you?" Harry bounded up the stairs two at a time and slammed Draco's door open. "Draco! You need to pack! And do it fast!"

"Harry?" Draco jumped off the bed. "What's wrong? Where am I going."

"I'll explain after we leave, just trust me, please. Pack absolutely everything that can be identified as yours." Harry ran into Sirius' room and grabbed anything that had any emotional value. He also took some of Sirius' clothes, he had no idea how long it would take for McGonagall to send his things to him.

Bounding back down the stairs, Snape and Lupin were gathering piles of parchment and casting incendio on them. Kreacher was standing in the corner muttering to himself, Harry crouched down to his eye level. "Kreacher I know you don't like me and that is perfectly fine but what I am doing is for your own protection. This is an order, you will go to Hogwarts now and speak to Minerva McGonagall, you will then go down to the kitchens and work with the other elves. Find another elf called Dobby, tell him who your master is, and he will look out for you. You are hereby forbidden from communicating with any witch or wizard who is not myself or McGonagall. Do you understand?"

Kreacher stared daggers at him but said, "Yes master."

"Good. Go." Once Kreacher had disappeared with a crack Harry turned to face the rest of the room. Remus and Snape both looked lost and disheartened and Draco, well Draco looked pissed.

"Will someone please tell me what's going on?" Draco said through gritted teeth.

"Not here, we don't know whether it's safe." Harry explained. "Like I said, I will tell you after we leave. Remus, you'll apparate us there yes?" Remus nodded. "Snape, can you go and check that everyone in the Order is safe? Send a Patronus once everyone is accounted for. Tell Ron and Hermione where I am, they'll be worried that I've just disappeared." Snape just glared at him in response.

Remus waved his wand and the pile of Draco and Harry's belongings disappeared. He ushered them outside and when they were just beyond the wards, disapparated landing in the Dursleys living room. Harry hugged Lupin tight and said, "Let me know what's happening?"

"You'll get sick of me." Remus promised. A single tear ran down Lupins cheek. "You're not being abandoned." With that, Remus disapparated.

Pain like Harry had never experience gripped him. He didn't even feel this way after Sirius, maybe because there wasn't a body or maybe because the world wasn't relying on Sirius to survive this. The lights started to flicker, and he had to grab the bannister to keep from falling. Draco was next to him immediately asking, "Harry, what's wrong?"

Harry blinked away the tears and breathed deeply. "Not here, they'll be home soon." He lead them both up stairs and into the smallest bedroom. Harry collapsed on the bed and thought about the last time we was looking at the cracked paint on the ceiling.

Draco sat down on the bed beside him. "Harry you have got to talk to me."

Harry sat up and stared at the blonde. "I'm sorry it's been a really long morning." He took another deep breath. "Dumbledore's dead."

"No." Draco said in disbelief. "He can't be."

"I saw it happen, so did a lot of people." Harry sat up, wondering how many more people he would have to watch die before this was all over. "Remember when I wrote you and said that Dumbledore was planning something?" Draco nodded. "Well turns out it was a raid on a Death Eater compound, it happened last night. The Death Eaters weren't happy, they managed to break into Hogwarts this morning, I still have no idea how they managed it. It was still early there were only a few students and teachers in the hall when they came in. Lupin had spent the night with Tonks in Hogsmeade so when Dumbledore sounded the alarm they didn't take too long.

"It was almost over, Dumbledore managed to conjure this massive rope and had trapped the five Death Eaters. But," Harry stared at Draco to let him stop, to not make him finish, but Draco just stared back. "But Bellatrix, her husband and Lucius showed up. He's still legally your dad, it's no surprise he could get in. That's when it became hell, two Ravenclaws were killed in the crossfire. I was trying to duel the ones that Bellatrix had set free, but they wouldn't engage. I think they were under orders to leave me alive.

"Dumbledore was duelling Lucius and Merlin Draco, he's good." Harry had no choice but to admit it, know your enemy. "He didn't see her coming. Bellatrix had knocked out Tonks and Remus was still trying to fight Rodolphus, she killed him while he was distracted. Snape killed her, lashed out and killed her. Lucius started screaming about Snape being a traitor, Snape can't go back now. I'm not exactly sure what happened next. All I know is the Death Eaters all escaped, and Dumbledore is dead.

"Remus and Snape had to get me out of the school, with Dumbledore gone I was a sitting target. We were going to come straight here but then we realised that Dumbledore was secret keeper and none of us really know what that means to the Fidelius Charm, it might have dissolved." Harry looked at Draco and something he saw in him made the tears finally come. The closest thing he ever had to a grandfather was gone, just like his parents and Sirius.

Draco wrapped him up the same way Harry had in the Room of Requirement all those months ago. Harry tried to fight the pain, but it didn't work, he was a broken mess of heaving sobs. Harry cursed himself for always being so emotional, Dumbledore had told him that his greatest gift was his ability to love. Right now it seemed that love always just ended up turning to ash.

Once Harry had eventually calmed down, he wiped his eyes and said, "Thanks."

Draco just shrugged. "You would, and have, done the same for me." Draco started to look around the room they were in. "Where are we?"

"Oh, this is my room." He had forgotten that they had pulled Draco out of bed with no explanation. "My actual room at my Aunt and Uncle's."

As if waiting for his introduction, Vernon burst through the door. "What the ruddy hell are you doing back? And who the hell are you?"

"Uncle Vernon please," Harry closed his eyes, today would not cease to be painful. "if you give me five minutes I will come downstairs and explain."

"You'll bloody well explain now or there will be hell to pay boy. We come home from a weekend away and find a god-awful mess downstairs and turns out you're home early!" Vernon was starting to turn red, never a good sign. "Your aunt's going spare. Get your good for nothing ass down there now."

Harry needed a nap. Reluctantly he climbed off of the bed and followed his uncle down the stairs, Draco following behind. When he walked into the kitchen his aunt looked at him with something almost like relief. "Harry." She breathed quietly.

Harry looked at his uncle, Vernon looked like he was using every ounce of restraint not to explode. Harry said, "You should sit."

"You will not stand there and tell me what to do in my own house!" Vernon yelled. "You come back here, leave a bloody mess inside the doors, I almost broke my neck getting through it! Bring some boy I've never seen here and then you tell me to sit! Where the hell do you get off?"

"Where do I get off?" Harry yelled back. "Are you kidding me? I have had the worst fucking morning of my life and considering where I live, that's fucking saying something. I just watched my friend, one of the first adults I ever knew who treated me like a human and was forced to come back here afterwards! You think I want to be back here? You think I dream of coming home and getting a hug from my uncle? Most families would be thrilled to see the person they raised after almost a year! But you're too worried about what the neighbours would say if they found out what I truly am to care!"

"You ungrateful little," Vernon moved towards him, fist in the air, ready to beat Harry within an inch of his life.

"Do not even think about it." Draco moved in front of Harry, wand pushed into Vernon's cheek.

Vernon stared down at the wand, frozen. "You can't do magic, not allowed."

"He's not," Draco pointed at Harry. "But I am. I'm seventeen. It is well within my right to use my magic. In fact until recently I would have relished the idea of tormenting a muggle. You call Harry ungrateful? You are the most ignorant man I have ever had the misfortune to meet."

"Draco don't." Harry pulled the wand away from Vernon. He turned to his aunt, "I had wanted to have a reasoned discussion with you about this, but I really can't be bothered. You need to go upstairs and pack, only the essentials we don't have time for anything else. Kingsley will be taking you to a safe house in the morning. You can pick up Dudley on the way."

Harry had hoped that the conversation would be swift, it wasn't. He had hoped it would be calm, it wasn't. He had hoped that Vernon would keep his temper, he didn't. He had hoped that Draco wouldn't retaliate, he did. He hoped that at least Petunia would understand, she did.

In the end it was Petunia's resolve that forced Vernon to agree to leave. For the first time in almost sixteen years Harry saw a fire in her eyes. A fire that made her look exactly like the mother he had seen in Snape's Pensieve. At that point she wasn't the aunt that locked him away and served him cold soup, she was his mother's sister.

Once they were all calm, no one looking at each other, Harry made dinner. He was starving, it had been 12 hours since the Death Eaters had stormed into the hall. Even then he only had time for one piece of toast before the battle began.

While his aunt and uncle began to pack, Vernon had called his work and taken an emergency leave of absence. Harry moved his and Draco's belongings into his room and set up the camping bed next to his.

"Tomorrow you can take Dudley's bed or the spare room." Harry said, sitting down on his own. "It'll be best to just stay in here tonight. You know, avoid another fight."

Draco nodded and sat down on the low mattress. Harry had noticed that Draco looked drawn and was obviously wanted to mention what happened downstairs.

"Not tonight," Harry said without needing the questions asked. He laid down on his bed suddenly exhausted. "I'll tell you about it after they leave tomorrow."

"Ok." Draco was silent for a while, laying down and staring around the small room. "Harry why is there a flap on your door?"

"Tomorrow Draco."

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