- Character Bashing
In the initial worry and panic over his vision and rushing to Grimmauld Place there had been no time to think about sending a message to Draco. Now waiting for Mrs. Weasley to bring news all Harry could think of was how he was going to get a message to Draco. He could really do with his guide’s calming presence right now as he tried to avoid the Weasleys’ eyes and his own guilt and fear. Harry could feel Draco’s worry for him in the back of his mind along their bond.
The closer the boys had gotten over the past couple of months the stronger their bond had become and they could now feel each other’s emotions even if it was faint and not completely reliable. Mrs. Weasley arrived an hour with the news that even with Harry’s warning they hadn’t been in time, Arthur Weasley had lost too much blood for them to be able to save his life by the time he had reached St. Mungo’s.
Harry watched as the Weasley family crumbled under their mutual grief. The next morning they left for The Burrow to prepare for the funeral and Harry was left behind with Sirius in Grimmauld Place. Harry had felt like he would be intruding on their grief if he went with them and with the looks that the twins, Ron and Ginny had been giving him he wasn’t sure of his welcome anyway.
Harry shut himself off in the room he had been staying in with Ron, refusing to even come down for meals and Sirius, lost in his own depression mostly left him alone. It wasn’t until Remus showed up that evening and dragged him downstairs making Harry talk to Sirius and Remus that Harry was able to put aside his guilt enough to understand that he hadn’t been possessed and it hadn’t actually been him attacking Mr. Weasley.
Dumbledore had sent orders to stay in Grimmauld Place for the holidays but Harry was feeling desperate to let Draco know that he was alright. He could feel Draco’s worry for him in the back of his mind. He also wanted to spend his first Christmas with Draco and he didn’t think it would be possible. Finally, he decided that the only way he would be able to let Draco know was if he trusted Remus and Sirius.
Harry walked downstairs the next morning determined to talk to his godfather.
“Umm Sirius, Remus. I uh have something to tell you.” Harry said seeing Sirius and Remus chatting over their breakfast. He sat down and piled food on his own plate even though his stomach was rebelling.
“Yes, Harry?” Remus asked looking interested.
“I need to tell you something but I need you to swear that you will not tell anyone.” Harry started, “Swear on your magic.” He continued when he saw Remus open his mouth to promise.
“Sounds serious. Are you sure?” Sirius asked concern for his godson written on his features.
“Please,” Harry said nodding.
When they had both taken the vow not to reveal what would be said to anyone Harry asked Sirius to erect wards and privacy spells so nobody, not even Kreacher could eavesdrop on their conversation. Harry was wondering where to start telling them about his guide until Remus cleared his throat and he just decided to tell it like it had happened.
“Ok, so do either of you know that I awakened as a sentinel during the fight with Voldemort after the third task?” He asked wondering how much they had been told by Dumbledore. Knowing the old man he hadn’t told them anything at all. Dumbledore liked his secrets.
When both men shook their heads in negation Harry nodded.
“When I woke up in the hospital wing the next morning I was back to normal, I suppose you could say. No more awakened senses and a sense of something lost. I thought it was just Voldemort being back and Cedric dying but it just kept getting worse. I mean, I didn’t even like Cedric all that much but I was grieving like I had lost a brother or something. I didn’t know what it was, but I was missing something big.” Harry said sadly watching the shocked expressions on the older men’s faces. He raised his hand to stop Sirius when he saw the man open his mouth to say something.
“Then I had a fight with my guide a few months ago and we passed out together and memories flooded my brain. I saw his memories of growing up and he saw mine. We bonded, partially. That’s when my senses came back and I started feeling whole again. Before you ask, we haven’t done much beyond talk and practice controlling our gifts.” Harry continued quickly.
Sirius and Remus stared at him shocked for a few minutes.
“Are you sure someone suppressed your senses in the hospital wing and it wasn’t s side-effect of the fight with Voldemort?” Remus asked hesitantly.
“I’m sure Remus. I was still feeling my senses spike until I fell asleep after Sirius left that night. But when I woke up they were gone. Best I can guess Dumbledore thought I wouldn’t be able to handle it over the summer so he suppressed it. He may have been right about that. What I find unforgivable is that he ripped a part of me away without so much as telling me he had done it. Granted I wouldn’t have been able to control my senses without my guide but he didn’t even make an effort to find my guide. In fact, if we hadn’t got into a fight and the block hadn’t been negated by the contact I would never have found my guide.” Harry ranted, his anger coming to the fore.
“He didn’t even think to inform me about something that was about me. Maybe he figured that if I had someone else in my life who I could depend on to be on my side absolutely then I wouldn’t be as easily manipulated. I don’t know. “Harry said running out of steam and slumping tiredly in his seat, not even sure he had convinced the two men in front of him.
“You do know we would support you don’t you Harry?” Remus asked softly, exchanging worried glances with Sirius.
“You would but would you support me when Dumbledore is telling you I’m mistaken and it’s all for my own good? You all listened to him and left me to myself all summer when I was struggling with this hole inside me and nobody even cared to talk to me enough to figure out what was wrong.” Harry said sadly, “I used to think that Dumbledore cared about me but now I think I’m just a weapon to him and one he would sacrifice for the greater good without a single thought. I’m not saying he wouldn’t feel bad, but he wouldn’t hesitate either.” Harry finished.
The two older men exchanged looks wondering how they could have failed their best friend’s son so badly.
“We’re sorry Harry. We should have done better. Paid more attention.” Sirius started.
“It’s fine. You trusted Dumbledore. I understand that, I did too. I don’t think I can afford to anymore.” Harry said waving a hand dismissively, “What I need to know is if I can trust you to be on my side now? I’m not saying I will not listen to Dumbledore but I’m through following him blindly.” He finished looking inquiringly at the two men.
Sirius nodded, looked at Remus and said, “Yes. We will be on your side no matter what Harry.”
“I think I can guess but can you tell us who your guide is?” Remus asked hesitantly.
“I would, but we decided to keep it a secret until we complete the bond. When I turn sixteen we will complete the bond and register ourselves. Then nobody can separate us. They can try but I doubt they’ll succeed given how strong we both are. I will tell you this, until I saw his memories and felt what he feels I didn’t think we had anything in common. He’s quite nice when you get to know him.” Harry said smiling slightly as he thought about Draco.
“I’m happy for you Harry,” Sirius said walking up and clapping him on the shoulder.
“I need to send him a message to let him know I’m fine. Could you get me an owl? Hedwig is too well known in school.” Harry asked.
“Sure I’ll get you one if you want when I go out,” Remus said as he also got up and placed his dishes in the sink.
“I need to find him a present. I haven’t really been able to find anything I like so far. Do you think maybe, if you’re not busy you could take me shopping in Diagon Alley?” Harry asked hesitantly.
Remus and Sirius looked at each other and turned to Harry and smiled.
“Suuuurrre, first Christmas together. You want everything to be perfect. James was the same when he was buying Lily’s first Christmas present.” Sirius drawled smiling. Harry flushed happily under the light teasing.
“Eat and get ready Harry, we’ll leave in an hour,” Remus said smiling at the boy.
When Harry had finished eating and left the room the two men exchanged worried glances.
“Are we sure he is not being influenced by someone to believe he’s a sentinel and that the other boy is his guide?” Sirius asked.
“No, there’s something different about him now that there was in the before. You’ve seen it. You noticed how he heard us even when we were barely whispering. He’s a sentinel and considering the lore about the bonding there is nothing, no spell or potion that can mimic the bond between sentinel and guide. You either feel each other or you don’t.” Remus said.
“Do you think he’s right about Dumbledore? Do you think that’s the reason he hasn’t really pushed for a proper trial for me as well? So Harry will have one less person who can stand up for him effectively? I know you care about him and you would stand up for him but your status as a werewolf makes it difficult and Dumbledore knows that.” Sirius said thoughtfully.
“It’s not looking good Siri. How have we been so blind?” Remus asked running his hand through his hair agitatedly. “I can’t believe it’s taken a fifteen-year-old boy to open our eyes for us. But now that we know we can take steps to be there for Harry and his guide who if I’m not mistaken is Draco Malfoy.”
“Lucius Malfoy’s son? My baby cousin? Are we sure it’s a good idea?” Sirius asked worried and surprised.
“You heard Harry he didn’t think there was anything in common until he saw his memories. Which means they do have a lot in common after all. Poor boys.” Remus said speculatively, “Besides I taught the boy for a year, he’s a bit prejudiced thanks to his upbringing but not a bad sort. I think we should support Harry as best we can until we know more or we see a problem.” He finished.
“Alright, so I guess it’s going to be just you and me for Christmas then Remus. The kid will probably want to go back as soon as possible and spend his Christmas with his guide.” Sirius said sadly. He had been looking forward to a Christmas with Harry for once.
“I would like to go back the day after Christmas if it’s ok?” Harry said shyly, “That way I get to spend Christmas with you and New Year with him.”
“Really? You want to spend your time with us old fogeys?” Sirius asked smiling eagerly.
“You’re not old and you’re my family too,” Harry said nodding.
“Ready to go then, Harry?” Remus asked walking towards him. When Harry nodded the two of them waved to a suddenly cheerful Sirius and left.
Draco was frantic. One minute he was waking up from a deep sleep feeling his sentinel’s panic and the next he could feel that Harry was no longer in the castle but miles away. He was half-way out of his dorm room in his pyjamas when he realised that there was nothing he could really do and nobody who would talk to him this late at night. He could feel that Harry was generally alright but feeling a lot of guilt and worry. Draco settled back in his bed in a huff unhappy with not being able to do anything. He began to think that they really needed at least one ally that would help them in a situation like this.
Draco spent a sleepless night tossing and turning and focusing on Harry and trying to push at the bond to see if he could figure out what was going on. A few hours after he had been woken up he felt a deep upwelling of grief from Harry and it hurt Draco’s heart to feel the pain his sentinel was in. He could also feel Harry’s need of him and it didn’t help him any. Punching his pillow in frustration at his inability to help Draco stayed where he was.
When morning came and the Headmaster announced at breakfast that the Weasley patriarch had died in the night Draco had his answer, especially since none of the Weasleys or Harry were there. Granger still seemed to be there but Draco supposed that she had been left behind since Umbridge already was on the warpath from the expression on her face.
Knowing why Harry was unhappy didn’t make waiting any easier or Draco especially as he could feel his sentinel’s distress. As the day wore on the distress waned and Draco began to relax a little. Now that he wasn’t worried about Harry as much he began to feel disappointed that he wouldn’t get to spend his Christmas with Harry like they had planned but he supposed that his sentinel needed to spend this time with his friend in his time of grief.
Still, Draco couldn’t relax completely until he saw Harry. Draco was snappish and brooding the rest of the day and it wasn’t till the evening of the next day when an unfamiliar owl flew through the window of his dormitory and delivered a letter from Harry that his spirits lifted.
I’m sorry I had to leave in such a hurry. But we got news in the middle of the night about Mr. Weasley and left immediately. I’ll tell you more about it when I see you. I should hopefully be back the day after Christmas if all goes well. I’m not being allowed to attend the funeral anyway, security issues. I have your present with me and I’m looking forward to giving it to you when I see you. Don’t worry about me, love. I’m fine.
Reading the note Draco sighed and decided that he would just have to make do until Harry returned. Luckily he was all alone in the Slytherin dorms other than a couple of seventh years who were busy studying for their NEWTS so there was nobody to question him if he decided to spend all day in the library researching sentinels and guides.
Draco was haunting the entrance hall the day after Christmas hoping to get a glimpse of Harry as soon as he arrived. He had been waiting there since breakfast and was beginning to wonder when his sentinel would get there.
Finally after lunch a very tired looking Harry arrived with Lupin. His sentinel exchanged hugs with the werewolf before Lupin said something very softly and Harry nodded then raised his eyes to meet Draco’s as if he had known all along that Draco had been waiting there. The affection I those jewel-bright green eyes made Draco smile before he could control his expression. Draco felt the surprise coming from the werewolf and turned to meet his startled brown eyes. A quick nod and hen Lupin left without another word.
Unwilling to greet his sentinel in the entrance Draco turned abruptly and left with one last look over his shoulder. Harry gave an imperceptible nod and made his way to Gryffindor tower to put his things away. When he had unpacked he fished out the present he had found for Draco on his trip to Diagon Alley ad made his way to the astronomy tower.
It hadn’t been too bad a Christmas on the whole. They had been grieving the loss of Mr. Weasley but a few of the order members had shown up for Christmas dinner and it had turned out to be a lot of fun. Harry had got a book on animagus transformation from Hermione and some sweets from Ron. Frankly, he was surprised that Ron even remembered. The usual Weasley jumper from Mrs. Weasley was missing though and it was a reminder of what they had lost. Sirius and Remus had together got him some books on defensive spells that he was eager to read.
On his way to the Astronomy tower to meet Draco Harry decided to walk by Dumbledore’s office to see if the old man was in and had any news on when Ron and the other Weasleys would be returning to school. As he approached he heard voices. Surprised he looked up to see the stone gargoyle still firmly in place. Focusing his hearing the way his guide had taught him Harry listened hoping to learn something.
“Harry will definitely need Occlumency lessons now Severus. You will teach him.” Harry heard Dumbledore’s voice say.
“You haven’t taken the block off him yet, have you? If you took it off then he could find his guide and negate the reason for Occlumency reasons since his guide can protect him from external influence.” Snape’s voice answered, “Or is it that you fear that if he finds his guide he will be less likely to allow himself to be manipulated as you want Albus?” He sneered.
“Do not question me. The boy needs careful guidance if he is to serve his purpose.”
“Serve his purpose? Do you even intend for him to survive? Or is it enough if he dies a martyr to your cause? Is that why you give him so much leeway?” Snape asked in surprise. He had never thought the headmaster would treat his prize pupil so callously.
“Of course I intend for him to survive. Just teach him what you know Severus. Leave the rest to me.” Dumbledore said but Harry could hear the lie in his voice. Harry heard footsteps approaching the door and quickly made his way to meet Draco thinking about what he had overheard.
When he reached the tower Draco dragged him into the room and pressed him up against the wall kissing the breath out of him.
“Don’t you ever worry me like that. I was so scared. One minute you were here and the next you were miles away. I wondered if father and his friends had managed to get to you again somehow.” Draco said when they broke apart panting. He stroked a hand tenderly down Harry’s cheek as he looked into slightly dazed green eyes.
“I’m sorry, there just wasn’t any time or any way to let you know.” Harry said smiling apologetically up at Draco, “I woke up from the dream and Ron and I ran to warn Dumbledore but we just weren’t in time. He had already lost too much blood.” Harry sighed.
“Wait, what? So Voldemort sent you a dream of hurting Arthur Weasley and you tried to warn Dumbledore?” Draco asked surprised. He had just thought that the news had come to them in the middle of the night and Harry had been asked to go with the Weasleys.
“Yeah, it was scary as fuck. In the dream, I was Voldemort’s snake and I was attacking Mr. Weasley. Until Remus talked me down I wondered if Voldemort was possessing me and had somehow made me kill him.” Harry said with a shudder.
Draco’s arms tightened around Harry but he didn’t say anything a scared expression crossing his face. He wasn’t sure how to help his sentinel without the full bond. The end of July couldn’t come soon enough for him.
“Anyway, when Mrs. Weasley told us the news that we had been too late the Weasleys all left for the burrow and I ended up spending Christmas with Sirius and Remus at the order headquarters. It wasn’t bad. So I have your present. Here. Open it.” Harry said thrusting the package at Draco.
Draco opened it to find two bracelets, one with green and silver links and a flat silver plate with his name inscribed on it and one red and gold similarly inscribed with Harry’s name. Harry pulled out the green and silver bracelet from the box.
“Here let me.” He said fastening it around the blonde’s wrist, “It has a modified version of the charm on our DA coins so we can send short messages to each other when we need to. When I put it on you it became tuned to your magic so only you can read the messages, everyone else only sees your name.” Harry said looking up and smiling at his guide.
“Brilliant. Now we don’t need owls to let each other know when we should meet. I love it. Thanks, Harry.” Draco said taking the red and gold bracelet out of the box and fastening it around the brunette’s wrist and pulling him in for a quick kiss in thanks.
“I’m afraid my gift may not be quite as personal but it will be helpful,” Draco said hesitantly handing Harry a package.
Harry ripped into it happily and pulled out a book on sentinels and guides.
“Oh, I love it Draco. Thanks. I’m going to read it thoroughly. I really don’t know enough about us do I?” Harry said smiling up at Draco. He then pulled the blond down to the floor and settled himself in his lap comfortably cuddling in. Draco held him close so relieved to have Harry back after so long.
“I missed you.” Harry said quietly, “Even when I was freaking out about being possessed I still wanted you there. Oh um, don’t be mad ok?” Harry said hesitantly.
“What did you do now Potter?” Draco asked slightly amused by the nervousness in Harry’s voice.
“I talked to Sirius and Remus about us. I swore them to secrecy first though and they don’t know you are my guide, just that I have a guide.” Harry said quickly.
“Oh, that’s fine. I know you trust them and when I couldn’t do anything this week I was thinking we needed some allies, people who can get to you when I can’t.” Draco said quietly surprising Harry and making him realise just how worried his guide had been. Harry leaned forward and kissed him gently in apology.
“So anyway, I told them what I thought about Dumbledore and I think they agree with me to a certain extent. They will support us no matter what though. They promised. I think Remus guessed it was you, but he didn’t ask.” Harry said softly.
“Oh, and speaking of Dumbledore I just overheard something on my way here.” Harry continued and proceeded to tell Draco what he had heard.
Draco listened silently holding Harry close and cursing Dumbledore for his callousness towards his sentinel all these years. When Harry was done he kissed the top of the brunette’s head and pulled him closer.
“Do you think maybe we could possibly trust Snape?” Harry asked.
“I think so. He’s always been good to me, tried to protect me from father as much as he could. And you say he’s a spy for Dumbledore so he’s not on Voldemort’s side. Sounds like he doesn’t exactly agree with Dumbledore either so maybe we can get him to side with us.” Draco said slowly as he turned the conversation over in his mind.
“He hates me though. Thinks I’m just as arrogant and obnoxious as my dad used to be. Maybe my dad was obnoxious to him when they were younger, I don’t know. He and Sirius definitely hate each other. How do I get him to see that I’m not the attention seeking brat he thinks I am?” Harry asked.
“Occlumency lessons. He’s going to teach you occlumency, which means he will be trying to look into your mind while you try to block. It’s the perfect opportunity.” Draco exclaimed.
“What do you mean?” Harry asked with some trepidation.
“Hear me out now. Show him some of your memories of your life with the Dursleys. It’s what convinced me that I was wrong about you.” Draco said slowly.
“No, nonononono. I’m not going to let that bastard walk through my most humiliating memories.” Harry said backing away a little.
Draco took his hands in his and pulled him closer, “You have nothing to be ashamed of. It’s those damn muggles who should be ashamed. And it’s the only way, Harry. I’ll help you organize those memories for maximum effect.” Draco said eyes begging Harry to agree.
“Fine. I don’t know how you talk me into these things but fine. You can meet me before my lesson and help me so it’s fresh in my head. When I have him convinced you can come in and we can talk to him together. Ok?” Harry said resignedly. He still didn’t like the idea but he knew that it was probably their only chance and they would definitely need Snape’s help if they were going to stay together.