Story [Harry Potter] Slave Child, Finally updated again! 10/16

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  1. Kriztin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 4, 2009
    star 1
    Thank you all!

    Chapter 63

    Harry woke early, just as the sun peeked over the horizon to chase away the heavy grey dimness of the fading night. He was still tired, but was too restless and uneasy to fall back asleep. With a sigh, he threw back the bedcovers and hurried to his bathroom, shivering in the chilly air. Perhaps a shower would make him feel better.



    He shed his flannel pyjamas and underclothes, tossed them into the hamper, and stepped into the shower, turning the water on as hot as he could stand it. For a long time he luxuriated in the warmth, concentrating on washing and trying not to let himself think about seeing Remus in just a couple more hours.



    But finally the water turned cool and Harry had to admit that he was as clean as it was possible to be. So he turned the shower off, snatched a fluffy towel from the rack on the wall, and stepped out, sinking his toes into the thick ivory rug that covered part of the marble floor. As he reached for his glasses on the counter, the thought struck him, just out of the blue, how different his life was now from what it had once been: his own bedroom and bath, the chance to take a long, hot shower whenever he wished, little luxuries like soft towels and rugs. Back when he had lived with the Dursleys, he had only dreamed of such things.



    And now...now he had them, and so much more besides. He had Severus and his friends and a beautiful home. All of a sudden Harry felt a little better, stronger and more prepared to face the morning. It was a good thing too, for his clock chimed the half-hour, and he realized that he would need to hurry to make it to breakfast. There was no more time for lagging about.



    Harry quickly selected some items from his wardrobe: underclothes, a pale yellow shirt, a dark green fleece pullover, and khaki trousers. He normally preferred his jeans, but since he would be studying at Hogwarts this morning he thought that perhaps he should wear something a little nicer. He pulled on tan socks and brown loafers, brushed his teeth and hair, and hurried downstairs to breakfast.



    Severus was already there, as usual, reading the newspaper and frowning down at it.



    "Morning, Dad," Harry slid into his chair beside his father. "Is something wrong?"



    Severus laid the paper aside. "There has been another attack by Fenrir Greyback."



    "Oh, no. What happened?" Harry asked.



    Severus grimaced. "Do you wish to know right now? It's not pleasant breakfast conversation."



    Harry shrugged. "Well, you don't have to be graphic or anything."



    "He attacked and killed a small boy last night, in a village close to Dundee. The child's sisters attend Hogwarts, incidentally. Do you know Alice and Brianna Montgomery?"



    Harry had vague images of two younger girls with curly blonde hair. "I think so. They're Ravenclaws, aren't they?"



    "Yes," Severus sighed. "It will be a sad day for their family."



    They were quiet for a moment and then Harry remarked, "But I thought werewolves only bit people and infected them. I mean, that's horrible and all, but I didn't think they actually killed people."



    "Normally they do bite with the intention of passing on lycanthropy," Severus replied. "But werewolves are savage creatures, Harry. Without Wolfsbane, they do not retain human characteristics during the night of a full moon. Remember that. No matter how kind-hearted or mild-mannered the person is most of the time, once he or she has transformed into the wolf, it is a violent dangerous monster. And sometimes they are so carried away by bloodlust that they do murder their victim."



    A grim memory flashed through Harry's mind: Remus changing into a werewolf that night at the end of third-year. He rarely remembered how frightening that had been because so much else had happened and besides, none of them had been hurt. When Harry thought of Remus he always saw the gentle teacher who had helped him learn the Patronus Charm and had shared stories of h
  2. jedimasterjsa Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Wow. I kind of expected Harry and Remus' reunion to go about like it did. No where near as bad as Harry thought it would. But no where near as well as I wish it would. But Draco's reaction was totally unexpected. My only conclusion is that Draco now harbors a general fear of all werewolves since Greyback attacked (murdered? I don't quite remember [face_blush] ) his mother. Which I guess kind of makes sense, but I still hadn't thought of it until now and was caught completely off guard by that. Because of that I must congratulate you =D= =D= =D= It's not often that I am as surprised as this. I can normally just about figure out how things are going to go, but you've done really well at throwing surprises left and right!
    Thanks for the great post, Kriztin!
  3. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    AWWW YAY for Remus!


    Poor Draco, though. :(
  4. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Aww, so sweet that Harry's conforting Severus now! And I love Remus [face_love] I'm glad he reacted well, and I hope he and Harry re-bond soon.

    Poor Draco! I can't wait to see what happens next :D
  5. Kriztin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 4, 2009
    star 1
    Thank you all so much! And thank everyone who voted for SC in the Awards Ceremony too. I was so thrilled and honored to have won anything!

    I am really sorry that it's been so long...I have to admit that I got busy with school starting back up and hadn't realized that it had been so long since an update. Here are two chapters to make up for it. I hope you'll enjoy them!

    Kriztin

    Chapter 64

    For a second after Draco had raced out of the study, the others just stood in stunned amazement. From his office, they heard Dumbledore's voice calling Draco's name, but no response.

    Then Severus shook his head. "I should have realized that he is still terribly wounded," he murmured to no one in particular and strode quickly out of the room, black robes billowing.

    Harry hurried after him.

    Draco was not in Dumbledore's office and the headmaster was already gliding towards the open door leading to the circular staircase. Severus and Harry followed him out of the room and down the twisting stairs until they saw Draco huddled at the foot of the steps, his back to the closed door leading to the outside corridor, drawing in quick shaky breaths.

    "Draco," Severus began.

    But before he or the headmaster could say or do anything else, Harry slipped by them and went to kneel beside the other boy. He wasn't exactly sure why, but something about Draco's fear reminded him of himself, when he had been small and imprisoned in a dark cupboard at the Dursleys, or even later, after Voldemort's return at the end of the Triwizard Tournament.

    It was terrible to be so frightened and alone. Harry knew all about that.

    "It's all right, Draco," he said softly. "Don't be afraid. Remus won't hurt you."

    The blond boy swallowed and slowly focused his gaze on Harry. "But he's...one of them, a werewolf."

    "Remus is a werewolf, but he's nothing like Greyback," Harry replied firmly. "Remus is very careful to make sure he doesn't hurt anyone."

    The small voice in his head that had an irritating habit of pointing out uncomfortable truths reminded Harry that as a boy Remus had run free about the countryside with his Animagus companions and even more recently that there had been a time when he had neglected to take Wolfsbane and had placed Harry and his friends in danger. But Harry knew that Remus had been deeply shaken by those failings and surely he was more careful now.

    So Harry pushed the little voice away and continued to reassure Draco. "You can't just judge a whole group of people by one of them. Some wizards are evil, like Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange...and Dolohov," he added, remembering that Dolohov was also one of the those who had attacked the Malfoys. "But then a lot of wizards are good, like Severus and Dumbledore. Everybody's different. And werewolves are the same. Just because Greyback is horrible that doesn't mean you have to be afraid of Remus. Remus has never done anything to you, and he never will."

    "But he doesn't like me. I know he doesn't." Spots of faint color tinged Draco's pale cheeks. "I was not always very nice back in third year."

    Harry couldn't help it. He had to laugh. His own mixed-up emotions combined with Draco's euphemistic words overcame him and he laughed and laughed.

    "No, you weren't always very nice back in third year. Actually, Draco, you were horrible back in third year, and fourth year, and fifth year wasn't a glowing character reference for you, either."

    Draco looked at Harry as if he'd lost his mind, but then slowly his anxiety faded and the blond boy's lips twitched. He gave a hiccupping little laugh that almost sounded like a sob. "You're crazy, Potter."

    "Yep, and so are you, Malfoy," Harry agreed cheerfully.

    Draco was silent a moment and then said quietly, "You know, I think I like it better when we're calling each other by our first names."

    "Yeah, me too." Harry stood and held out a hand. "So how about it, Draco? Let's go back upstairs."

    When Draco still hesitated, he added. "Remus would never hurt you, Draco. I promise."

    "Harry is right," Remus spoke up.

    Both boys
  6. Kriztin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 4, 2009
    star 1
    Chapter 65

    Harry stepped out of the Floo and into his father's sitting room. Severus was right behind him.

    "Harry? What's wrong?" Severus laid a hand on his son's shoulder, studying him in concern.

    Harry sighed. "It's nothing, really. Just that Ron's upset because Draco and I are getting on better. Hermione doesn't like it either, actually, but she was a bit more tactful."

    "Yes, I can imagine that Ron is not always the soul of tact," Severus agreed dryly. He squeezed Harry's shoulder and asked in a more serious tone. "How do you feel about it all, Harry? The situation with Draco? Your friends' reactions?"

    Harry hesitated, considering, and then gave a small uncertain shrug. "I don't know. If I think about it, I mean everything that Draco did to me...well, it still hurts. But I don't hate him."

    He paused for a moment, trying to make sense of his own feelings and to find the words to express them, before going on. "He was hurt really bad, too, and he didn't deserve to be tortured and to see his mother killed. I can't help but feel bad for him. But there's more to it than just that. It's like Draco never had much chance before, to be a different kind of person. Now he does. And I think that he deserves that chance. I think the person he's becoming is someone I could be friends with...maybe."

    "But it's hard for Ron and Hermione to see and I understand that. But I wish they could try. I hate it when things aren't right between us," Harry finished.

    "Is there anything I can do to help?" Severus asked gently.

    "I don't think so." Harry gave him a wry smile. "We'll work it out. We always do. If we made it through fourth-year, we can make it through this."

    "What happened during fourth-year?" Severus asked. "Besides the Tournament, obviously."

    Harry hesitated again. Although he was upset with Ron for speaking so hurtfully, he still didn't want to badmouth his friend. Ron truly was sorry that he had turned on Harry in those difficult weeks in fourth-year, and they had made it all up long ago. Complaining about that incident to someone else now seemed disloyal.

    But Severus was his father. It would be all right to tell him, Harry decided after a moment.

    "Remember how everyone thought that I had put my name in the Goblet at first and lots of people were giving me a hard time about it?" He asked.

    Severus nodded, his black eyes soft with remorse. "I remember. Harry, I cannot tell you how much I wish that I had been your father, or at least a friend, back then. I think of it often, of how differently things might have been, of all the ways that I could have helped and protected you."

    Harry could not bear the sorrow in his father's voice. "It's all right, Dad. I mean, it was horrible at the end, for sure. But if it hadn't happened, if Voldemort hadn't risen then, then he might still be alive now and the war still going on. As bad as it was, maybe it worked out for the best and saved more lives in the long run."

    A painful memory flashed through Harry's mind, one that he didn't think of often anymore, but that still had the power to wound him; Cedric Diggory's lifeless body lying on the ground after Voldemort had ordered his death. He swallowed and said, almost in a whisper, "I just wish that Cedric could have lived, too."

    "He was an admirable young man," Severus agreed. "His death was a terrible tragedy."

    He gave his son a sharp look. "But it was not your fault. You do know that, don't you, Harry?"

    Harry nodded. "Yeah. It's hard, but yeah, I know that Voldemort and Wormtail are the ones who really killed him."

    It had taken him a long time, and a lot of talks with Ron and Hermione, for him to accept that and Harry still felt vaguely guilty that he had suggested that Cedric take the Triwizard Cup with him. But he had finally come to accept that Cedric's death was not his fault.

    Sirius' death, however, was another matter.

    Harry swallowed hard and closed his eyes against the pain of remembering his godfather.

    Severus touched his shoulder again. "Harry?"

    He opened his e
  7. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    Yay! Good to have you back, and good luck with school!


    Awww, Daddy Snape getting to have words with Ron. This should be interesting. :D
  8. jedimasterjsa Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Hmmm, I know I shouldn't be too worried about this little argument, but for some reason, I have a bad feeling about this. Hopefully it's just me being paranoid! :) On the bright side, it's nice to see that Ron seems to trust Severus enough now to talk with him about something like this.

    Great update. Slave Child always manages to lift me from the drudgery of school.
  9. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Aww, Harry and Draco were so cute!! And I liked the Gryffindors' reactions to Snape :D
  10. Kriztin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 4, 2009
    star 1
    Thank you all! I appreciate your kind comments so much!

    Kriztin
  11. Kriztin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 4, 2009
    star 1

    Chapter 66

    "I believe you asked to speak with me?" Severus arched his eyebrow at Ron Weasley as the boy joined them in the hall and Albus closed the door to the Defense classroom.





    He had to give Ron credit for Gryffindor courage. The boy met his eyes and nodded calmly. "Yes, sir. Thanks for seeing me."



    Albus spoke, "I'm sure the two of you would appreciate some privacy so I'll be on my way. In any case, I'm teaching a NEWT level Potions class later today and I ought to look over my plans." He nodded to them and swept away with a swirl of his violet robes.



    As he looked down at Ron, Severus realized that he wasn't entirely sure how to refer to the boy. Somehow he had grown accustomed to calling his son's friends by their given names when they visited with Harry. And of course he always called students' by their surnames when he taught them. But this situation seemed to be middle ground.



    So he just didn't address Ron by name at all. "Shall we head down to my rooms?"



    "Yes, sir."



    They walked down to the dungeons in silence. As they passed by the Potions classroom where Professor Grubbly-Plank was instructing the third-years on how to brew a Shrinking Solution, Severus' footsteps slowed involuntarily and he glanced inside.



    "They are supposed to skin the shrivelfigs," he muttered crossly under his breath. He was speaking to himself and was surprised when Ron spoke, also very softly.



    "It's not the same without you and Harry here, sir. We all wish you'd come back."



    "Myself as well? I never thought I would hear you say such a thing," Severus responded dryly.



    "I never thought I would either," Ron promptly replied.



    Severus' lips quirked and he had to stop himself from chuckling aloud. He tried to hide his amusement by shooting a dark look at Ron, but the boy didn't seem at all intimidated.



    Severus sighed to himself. First Hermione and Longbottom were happy to see him and now this. He really had lost his touch.



    Ah well, he had said he wanted to become a better person. He supposed he should consider these signs a mark of progress.



    Further down the corridor they came to the door leading to Severus' quarters. And Harry's quarters, too, Severus reminded himself with a smile.



    He held out his wand to the door, quickly tapping a complex pattern, and murmured, "Asphodel".



    The door silently swung open and Severus led the way in.



    He lit the parlour with a quickly muttered lumos and then paused to look about. Everything was as it had been when he and Harry had left over a month ago. The tall bookcase along one wall was empty as Severus had packed the books and taken them back to Prince Hall, but that was the only difference. The sofa and armchairs, the paintings and mirror, and the vase of Floo powder on the mantel were all in place and there was no trace of dust or cobwebs. Obviously the Hogwarts' elves were taking excellent care of things.



    He realized that Ron was speaking.



    "Are you sure you want me to know your password, sir?"



    "Actually, you could scream ?asphodel' at the door and it wouldn't admit you unless you also know the correct pattern with your wand," Severus replied. "But as a matter of fact, I do consider you trustworthy, Ron. I believe you know that by now."



    Ron flushed and looked down at the floor. "Thank you, sir."



    Severus nodded and motioned for him to sit in one of the armchairs. "Would you care for tea before we begin?"



    "Um, sure. Thanks."



    So Severus ordered a pot of tea and two cups before taking a seat himself in the other chair. Almost at once a silver teapot, two cups, and tiny containers of sugar and cream appeared on a small round table between them. Severus poured himself a cup and indicated that Ron should do the same.



    After a few sips Severus focused on the boy and spoke. "Well? You did ask to speak with me?"



    Ron nodded and set his cup down. "Yes, sir. I did."



    But he didn't seem to know how to begin. His composure faltered as he grimaced and bit his lip, then reached
  12. Kriztin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 4, 2009
    star 1
    Chapter 67


    "Hey, I've been looking for you," Harry said as he stepped into Draco's room after dinner that evening.



    Draco was sitting cross-legged on his bed, a thick book open before him. He didn't look up from it. "You must not have looked very hard. I've been right here, confined to my room just as Severus said."



    Harry frowned at him. "What?"



    "I'm not supposed to leave my room in the evenings. Severus said so the first day I came. Surely you know that," Draco responded coolly.



    He did know that, actually, Harry realized, but he hadn't been thinking of it. He'd been too busy thinking about Ron and Hermione's visit. They had spent a good part of the afternoon begging him to come back to Hogwarts for the Yule Ball.



    At first Harry had flatly refused. There was no way that he was ready to return to Hogwarts and face everyone. Oh sure, there had been moments here and there over the past weeks when he had briefly considered being back at school, times when he'd missed Quidditch practice, eating in the Great Hall, and wandering about Hogsmeade on the weekends. Hogwarts had been his first home, the first place where he had ever felt accepted and welcomed, and this year had gotten off to a great start. Of course there were times when Harry missed it all.



    But then he thought of how everyone knew about the slavery spell now, how they would all stare and whisper behind his back, and some of them might do even worse. Then Harry would shudder with relief at the knowledge that he didn't have to go through that, that he was safe at Prince Hall, his real home now.



    But Ron and Hermione had been very persistent, suggesting that Harry could take polyjuice potion or that Severus could cast a glamour spell over him. And though he hadn't admitted it to his friends, Harry had begun to consider those prospects. If his appearance was disguised and no one knew it was him...well, the Yule Ball might be fun. Maybe. He would have to think about it. He didn't have to make a decision yet. The Ball was three weeks away.



    He had grown tired of mentally debating his options and his father was engrossed in a potions journal that had arrived that afternoon so Harry had gone to see if Draco wanted to play that game of Exploding Snap.



    The other boy did not seem to be in the best of moods, but Harry decided to ask him anyway. "Well, I just wanted to see if you wanted to play Exploding Snap or something?"



    "I told you, I have to stay in my room," Draco said flatly.



    Harry rolled his eyes. "So? We could stay here or I bet Dad would say it was all right for you to come down if I asked him."



    "Oh, I'm sure Severus would agree if you asked him." Draco finally looked up from his book, giving Harry a cool stare. "Why are you so anxious for my company all of a sudden? Are you that lonely without Weasley and Granger by your side?"



    Harry's own temper flared. "Just forget it," he snapped, turning to go. "I've got other things to do."



    "Harry, wait!" Draco called, scrambling off the bed. His voice had lost its offended aloof tone and he sounded almost upset.



    It was that underlying pleading note that made Harry pause and turn back. "Yes?" His own voice was distant, but two could that game.



    "I'm being a prat, I know, and..." Draco took a deep breath. "I'm sorry."



    Harry considered, and then tilted his head slightly as he studied the blond boy standing before him. "What's wrong?"



    "Nothing's wrong," Draco replied so quickly that Harry knew it wasn't the truth. "I was just in a bad mood. I shouldn't have taken it out on you, especially when you've been really good about...everything. I'm sorry. I really am. Okay?"



    Harry sighed. "Okay."



    "So do you still want to play?" Draco asked, giving him an uncertain but almost pleading look.



    "Sure," Harry replied.



    Draco's tense features relaxed for a moment as he smiled.



    "Do you want to stay here or should I ask Severus if we could go downstairs?" Harry inquired.



    "Um, stay here, I guess, if you don't mind
  13. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    YAY updates!

    Severus sighed to himself. First Hermione and Longbottom were happy to see him and now this. He really had lost his touch. Hehehe! I loved this line.


    And YAY for Draco & Harry cuteness!!

    Great job as usual!
  14. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Snape being a softie cracks me up :D I love the Draco and Harry stuff - they're so much fun!! And it's nice that they're starting to confide in each other.
  15. Kriztin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 4, 2009
    star 1
  16. jedimasterjsa Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Wow, Harry and Draco are really starting to ... <gasp> ... like each other, aren't they?

    It's really nice to see that Severus is still making huge amounts of progress (though he does still have a ways to go to quell that reflex to scowl at all Gryffindors, doesn't he?).

    I'm also glad to see that Harry is at least considering the possibility of going back to Hogwarts (albeit in disguise, but it better than nothing).
  17. Kriztin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 4, 2009
    star 1
    Thank you! I'm happy you liked it, and yep, they're all making progress.
  18. Kriztin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 4, 2009
    star 1
    Chapter 68

    Severus was seated on the sofa in his sitting room, wearing maroon-coloured silk pyjamas and a matching dressing gown, flipping through the pages of his new potions journal.

    Harry knocked softly on the open door. "Hi, can I come in?"

    Severus looked up and smiled at him. "Of course. You don't even have to ask."

    As Harry came to perch on the sofa beside him, it crossed his mind that while Severus always wore black during the day, his pyjamas were more colourful.

    "How come you always wear black?" He asked.

    Severus raised an eyebrow at him. "Why, Harry, don't you know that I am the bat of the dungeons? How else am I to maintain my image? Besides, the black robes are much more dramatic, don't you think?"

    Harry grinned at him. "Nobody does dry humour like you, Dad. But you're not the bat of the dungeons anymore, are you?"

    "I suppose not." Severus shrugged. "There was a time in my life when wearing black suited my frame of mind. Now I suppose it's more of a habit. My robes are well-made and in good condition. It seems wasteful to buy more clothes when I don't need them. In any case, if I suddenly began wearing other colours at this point, it would cause quite the stir and I would not like the attention. Black suits me."

    He eyed his son. "Are you truly concerned about my wardrobe choices?

    "No, actually I was going to ask you to check on Draco." Harry explained to his father about the conversation he and Draco had shared earlier and why he was still concerned about the other boy.

    Severus nodded. "Yes, I'll go and make certain he's all right."

    He stood and patted Harry's shoulder. "You're a good boy, Harry, and a good friend."

    Harry immediately shook his head. "No, I'm..."

    "Yes, you are," Severus said firmly. "And no arguing with your father unless you want to scrub cauldrons tomorrow."

    Harry grinned. "Yes, sir. Oh, Dad, don't tell Draco that I told you all that, all right? He said he was fine and I don't want him to think that I just went and blabbed everything, even though I guess I did. But I'm a little worried about him."

    Severus nodded again. "I will be careful not to mention you. And Harry, whatever Draco said, I think you were right to come to me. If you have any cause for concern, it is better to err on the side of caution than to risk a tragedy."

    He swept out of the room, leaving Harry alone.

    Watching him go, Harry thought to himself, that while black robes might be particularly dramatic, Severus could be a striking figure even in his pyjamas and dressing gown.

    Wonder if he could teach me that trick?

    After a few moments Harry got up and crossed through the wide arched opening into the bedroom section of the suite. He was tired and though the sofa was comfortable, the bed looked even better. Perhaps he should just go on to his own room and go to bed, but he wanted to talk with his father about the possibility of going to the Yule Ball, to see if Severus would be willing to give him polyjuice and if he thought it would be a good idea.

    So he lay down on the bed, curled on his side, with his head resting on one of the soft pillows, to wait for his father's return. He was sound asleep within five minutes.

    ***
    "Harry?"

    Harry blinked up at his father and looked about fuzzily. Severus was sitting on the bed beside him, shaking his shoulder.

    He yawned. "Sorry, I didn't mean to fall asleep. Guess I was more tired than I realized."

    "Well, that's fine, though if you're that tired, you ought to go on to bed," Severus replied.

    "I wanted to ask you something first."

    "All right." Severus settled back against the pillows and looked expectantly at his son.

    Harry propped himself up on the pillows as well. "Oh, but first, is Draco all right?"

    Severus nodded. "Yes, I think so. We talked for a bit and he was upset at first, but I think he was more at peace by the time I left. Of course he's grieving and it's a difficult time, but I think Draco will be all right. It will just take time."



    Harry wondered what his father and Draco had said to each o
  19. Kriztin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 4, 2009
    star 1
    Chapter 70


    Harry spent the next few days debating with himself over the prospect of going to the Yule Ball. He wanted to go, but yet he couldn't seem to actually commit himself to it. The idea of returning to Hogwarts was at once both enticing and frightening. Even though he knew he would be disguised by polyjuice, the thought of facing people, with everyone knowing that he was a slave, made his stomach churn.



    But he did want to go. As much as he loved Prince Hall, it would be nice to get out for a while, to be around other people. The Yule Ball would be a fun experience to share with his friends, and though he didn't like to admit it, even to himself, there were times when he was just a little bit lonely, staying home all the time.



    Harry brought the subject up with Remus one day the next week, when they had finished lessons a little early and were waiting for Draco to arrive for his session. He wasn't sure why. He and Remus did not talk much about personal matters. Their conversations were mostly about schoolwork and if they did touch on other things, it was usually about minor inconsequential concerns.



    Harry had a feeling that all the deep personal issues were lying just under their surface conversation, and a few times he was almost tempted to mention one...to ask why Remus had always disappeared during the times that Harry had needed him the most, or to ask him to tell stories about James and Lily, for Remus was one of the few people left who could.



    But he never did. He still felt that Sirius' death hung between them, even though Remus had never blamed Harry, and coward that he was, he couldn't deal with the pain of remembering Sirius.



    Sometimes Harry thought that Remus was on the verge of mentioning something too, perhaps asking about the slavery spell and how Severus and Harry had gone from being arch-enemies to father and son. But then Remus always shied away from the more intimate issues, too.



    But Tuesday morning, as they sat at a table before the blazing fire while a dreary rain fell outside, Harry gave Remus a sidelong glance and decided that the Yule Ball was a safe enough topic to mention.



    When he brought it up, Remus nodded enthusiastically. "I think you should go, Harry. I'm sure most of the students would support you."



    "That's what Dad says, too," Harry smiled wryly, thinking to himself how funny it was for Severus and Remus to agree on something. "But if I go, I'm going to take polyjuice. I don't want anybody to know it's me, except for Ron and Hermione."



    "And maybe a few others," he added after a moment. It would be all right for Ginny, Neville, and Luna to know.



    Remus hesitated before leaning closer and saying, "Harry, you know there's no reason for you to be ashamed. You've done nothing wrong."



    Harry sighed. "I know I haven't done anything wrong, but it's still just..." He broke off and shook his head. "I'm tired of people always staring and talking about me."



    "Yes, I can understand that," Remus said slowly.



    And he probably could. Remus' werewolf condition was...well, not slavery, but he too was bound by circumstances that he could not help or change. He too must have had to put up with others judging him and gossiping about him. Though the Wolfsbane potion had recently made things much better, Remus had suffered for many years, as much or more than Harry had, probably.



    Harry was wondering how to convey his empathy and compassion, and if he dared to bridge that divide between them to do so, when the Floo roared to life and Draco stepped out of the green flames, holding a large book in one hand.



    "Hi, Harry. Good morning, Remus. Here's that book I was telling you about." Draco came to the table and laid the book down, flipping through pages of full-colour photographs of famous sculptures and paintings.



    He chattered on animatedly, pausing now and then to point out particular pictures. "I adore Da Vinci's Mona Lisa and of course all of Michelangelo's work, but I think Giotto's contributions to the Renaissa
  20. jedimasterjsa Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Wow, that last bit was really powerful. It's easy to forgive after reparations have been made, but to forgive while still suffering from another's actions? That's impressive.

    I'm glad to see Draco and Remus getting along as well. The transformation of Draco has been so powerful and so life-like.

    I'm glad Harry's decided to go to the Ball. I think it will be good for him to go either with or without polyjuice (but it might be better for Draco if he went as himself). But I do hope Harry and Remus can get over this wall that seems to have crept up between them. I have a sneaking suspicion that they are both assuming the other blames them for something, and so are afraid to breach what they see as an unspoken truce.
  21. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    Excellent job! Awww, more Harry & Draco cuteness!
  22. Kriztin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 4, 2009
    star 1
    Thank you both!

    jedimasterjsa I always love your insightful comments, and I'm really encouraged that you approve of Draco's progress. He's a bit harder for me to write, so that means a lot.

    Miana I'm really happy that you're still enjoying the story!
  23. Kriztin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 4, 2009
    star 1

    Chapter 70

    The weeks before the Yule Ball flew by. Ron and Hermione were thrilled that Harry was going to attend, even under disguise, and so were Neville, Ginny, and Luna when Harry mentioned it to them one evening in Dumbledore's study at Hogwarts.



    "Harry, that's wonderful!" Ginny exclaimed, giving him a hug.



    "Yes, Hogwarts isn't the same without you," Luna agreed, a smile lighting up her face.



    "Have you changed your mind about coming back then?" Neville wanted to know.



    "We're still working on him for that," Ron commented.



    Harry shook his head at the same time. "No, I'm going to take polyjuice and say that I'm a Weasley cousin come to visit for the holidays and that's how I got an invitation to the Ball."



    Ginny gave him a mischievous grin. "I suppose that means we can't snog under the mistletoe then."



    Harry stared at her blankly, not sure how to respond. If he had happened to glance Ron's way, he would have seen that his friend also looked a bit non-plussed.



    Ginny just laughed. "You should see your face. Don't worry; you're safe from me."



    Harry felt himself turning red. "Well, I mean, that would be...okay, I guess."



    "Do you mean you want to snog my sister or not?" Ron asked dryly.



    Harry looked from Ron to Ginny and back again. "Considering that there's no good way for me to answer that, I think I'll just be quiet now."



    The others laughed and while the boys turned their attention to the plate of pastries that Dumbledore had provided for them, the girls discussed dress robes and various hair styles. Harry wouldn't have expected any of his three closest female friends to be so enthusiastic on those topics. Though he thought Hermione, Ginny, and Luna were all very pretty, he had always considered Hermione too much a bookworm, Ginny too much a tomboy, and Luna too out of touch with reality to be concerned with mundane ?girly' matters.



    But when he mentioned that to Hermione as they were leaving, she rolled her eyes at him.



    "Honestly, Harry, don't be so narrow-minded."



    "Narrow-minded?" Harry had certainly never thought of himself that way.



    But Hermione nodded. "You think you have us all pigeon-holed so neatly. But people grow and change, Harry. Just because we're smart and tough and strong, that doesn't mean that we can't enjoy dressing up now and then."



    "Well, yeah, I do know that," Harry defended himself.



    "In a way it's the same thing as what you've been fussing at us over with Malfoy," Hermione continued.



    "Huh?"



    "Well, you keep telling us how much he's changed," Hermione explained. "But it's hard for us to see that because for as long as we've known him, he's been a real git and we can't see him any other way."



    "But didn't you just say that that was being narrow-minded? That people can grow and change?" Harry pointed out.



    "Touché," Hermione admitted. "But as for Malfoy changing, I'll believe it when I see it."



    She leaned over and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "Good night, Harry."



    She started out the door after the rest of the group, but then turned around. "Oh, and speaking of dressing up for the Ball, you should talk with your father about getting some new dress robes. I'm sure you've outgrown your old ones."



    "I'm not," Harry sighed, but she was already gone.



    Harry walked on through to the headmaster's office where Dumbledore and Severus were sitting on either side of the massive desk, carefully reading sheets of parchment, hoping to find some clue to freeing Harry from the slavery spell.



    He noted tall stack of papers resting a side table, the papers that they had already searched through in vain and repressed another sigh. Severus and Dumbledore had not yet read through all of the archives, but they were getting close to the end and so far there had been nothing, no mention of a slavery curse or how to free someone from any type of forced bond.



    It was hard not to feel discouraged.



    But Severus and Dumbledore had both promised him that they would not give up, that they would
  24. jedimasterjsa Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    That was rather clever of Harry. I'm glad Draco agreed to it as well.

    That last bit with the camera was very touching.

    Sorry this is so short, finals are coming up...:rolleyes:
  25. Kriztin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 4, 2009
    star 1
    Thank you! Good luck with your finals!
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