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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: 19
Words Posted: 122,783

Notes: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] rosskprfor beta reading and giving good suggestions.  She has been very patient with me.  Thanks to my readers for their patience, too! To reward you for this patience, this time there will be TWO chapters posted today - both of which are multi-part chapters due to length!

Comments and questions are always welcome. I find they inspire me to write further, knowing someone else cares about the story.

On to the Chapter:



 

Pretending

May 17, 1998

When his father finally returned from the hospital wing toward the end of the week, Draco was surprised how normal his life felt.  It was good to have his father back, and not only physically.  Something about the experience seemed to focus Lucius Malfoy, and when he returned from the hospital wing, he mostly was aware of his surroundings, no longer retreating into himself.  It was almost like Malfoy Manor, well, like Malfoy Manor would have been if they had been poor and lived in a box.  It was like it had been when he was younger, before the Dark – he really had to cure himself of giving that half-blood any respect! – before Voldemort had returned.  There were three at the breakfast table.  They had conversations about their day, and their plans.  They ignored the fact that his father’s plans mostly included being convicted, and hopefully not being Kissed.  They ignored the fact that Draco’s and his mother’s futures were not secure either.   

They had the present.

Working together

May 18, 1998

Draco was surprised when the door opened Monday morning.  With Pansy at her parents’ trial, and Theo at his father’s funeral, he had not expected the team to be sent out.  The Auror who opened the door did the usual checks with her wand, testing the rooms, giving special attention to Lucius, and Draco’s minder.  When all tested clear, she gestured him through the door.

“We don’t have the full team today.”  Draco informed her, just in case.

“You don’t have your usual team.  A replacement has been arranged for.”

Draco followed the Auror down the hallway, as the other guard returned to sentry duty on that corridor.  Draco had discovered that two other captives had been placed in rooms along that corridor.  He had not been told who they were, and they were not allowed out, as he was.  Is this what Hogwarts had been reduced to?  An auxiliary prison?  Draco shuddered at the thought.

He wondered who they would get to fill in.  He had not seen Blaise, Tracey, or Greg.  Or Millicent.  He hoped they would not put Greg or Milli on the team…  Milli was not dexterous enough for the work, and, frankly, Greg was not smart enough.  Besides, Draco had been enjoying the challenge of finding ways to talk without revealing anything useful to the guard. 

So, perhaps Blaise or Tracey.  Neither of their parents were active followers, however, so, unless the ministry was following a policy of “lock up all Slytherins”—which, come to think of it, was not beyond what Draco would expect of them—they were probably at home with their parents.  Unless they had volunteered.  There would be no reason for them to do so, however.  Volunteering for this would show Draco in a better light.  Even if it did emphasize his familiarity with dark magic, it showed he was willing to help the new order.  But the Zabinis and the Davises did not need to prove themselves in the same way.  They were not tied to the Dark Lord except for the fact that they were in Slytherin.  Sure, Blaise understood the value of the protecting blood, but his family were merchants, and valued business above politics.  And Tracy was a half-blood herself, if rumour was to be believed.

Well, he would see when they got there.

When they got to the site of today’s work, the cauldron was already there, filled with clean water.  The other supplies were in the carry box that had been found for them.  Daphne and Adrien were already there, but no one else.  The Auror took a watching stance, fingering something that Draco recognized as the controller for their minders.  Most of the Aurors guarding them had not felt it necessary to hold it.  The threat of the minders was enough.  They could not get too close to, or too far away from the controller, and that was sufficient for the guards.

Draco raised an inquisitive eyebrow.   Adrien shrugged.  “They just told me that they’d be bringing in a substitute today.”

“Start your preparations.  The other member of your team will be here shortly.” The guard told him, when he noticed them hesitating. 

Draco retrieved their gloves from the box.  At least they could each wear a complete pair, as even with the substitute, they would be one person short.  He checked them over for holes, both to annoy the guard and because they had seen more use than his silk gloves usually saw.  One glove had a snag, and would have to be consigned to the rag pile when he was done, but as it had no holes, it was still usable for this.  After passing each person a pair of gloves, and tucking the last pair in a pocket to give to the newcomer, he then meticulously measured out the salt, and checked and set out the brushes on the top of the carry box. 

At that point, Filch came, leading the last team member.

No.

“What did you do, Potter, to piss off the Ministry so quickly?  I thought you were touring around getting your boots licked.”

Potter’s eyes widened when he saw Draco, then narrowed at the comment.  “Nope, that was Voldemort.  He’s dead now.  You may have caught the news flash.  I thought you’d be all locked up, by now.  You and your family.” 

“Malfoys always rise to the top.  You might want to remember that.”

The Boy Who Lived turned to Filch.  “This is the team you want me to work with today?”

“Yes, Potter.”  Filch’s voice had just enough of a sneer in it that Draco understood.  This was vengeance.  Potter had always gotten away with breaking the rules, and now, Filch had a chance to punish him.  Especially as, come to think of it, it was Potter that brought the battle to Hogwarts.   From what Draco’s father said, Voldemort had discovered that Potter was at Hogwarts.  And that meant that Potter was responsible for Filch’s precious castle having been so severely damaged. The thing was, Draco did not think Harry knew he was being punished.   Draco gave a wicked smile. 

And what was Potter doing slumming in the work parties?  The Boy Who Lived had nothing to prove.

The real question, though, was whether they could use him.  He would never have had any training in clearing the magic after dark magic was used. Come to think of it, Potter had not even been in Ancient Runes.  Did he even know how to paint a Sigil?  How to control his magic?  Judging by what Draco had seen in the past, the answer would be a resounding no.  Draco would not even trust him to watch the kettle.  No, as amusing as it would be to put bloody Harry Potter at risk of infecting his magic, it would put the rest of them at risk too.  Draco valued his own skin a bit too much for that.

“Sir?”  He said to Filch.  While Filch was in no way his equal, it never hurt to cosy up to those in power.  In his own, petty way, Filch had power, at least within Hogwarts.  For the immediate future, Hogwarts was their home. 

“I am sorry, but Potter here does not have the training to do this job.  He would be a danger to himself and to the castle.”  There, that last should clinch the matter. 

Filch did indeed pause for a moment at the thought of more danger to his castle.  But he turned to Draco and replied coldly, “Then you’ll just have to teach him, won’t you?”  And Filch left, leaving the Boy Who Lived under Draco’s tutelage.  Joy.

Draco turned to Potter.  “Before we start work, I am going to be bloody certain that you won’t blow us all through the wall.   What we are doing has not been taught at Hogwarts, and it is doubtful even your mu-Muggle friend would have learned it in all her… research.  So you are going to listen very carefully.

“We are removing dark magic residue from Hogwarts, room by room.  Before anyone can rebuild, these rooms need to be cleared of residue, McGonagall called it a taint, if that makes it clearer to your Gryffindor mind.”

“I should have guessed that dark magic contaminates any area where it is cast.  Such lovely toys you all play with.” 

“We know how to use the tools at our disposal.  We don’t cripple ourselves by limiting ourselves to a fraction of what magic can do, and we don’t endanger others by leaving magic residue behind where it can harm others.”  Not unless we want them harmed.  Draco thought.  “Potter, you may not know it—no what am I saying?   You don’t know it, but even the magic they teach at Hogwarts leaves a residue.  Haven’t you ever wondered why Hogwarts feels different than anywhere else?”

Potter’s eyes sharpened, as if his brain was finally engaging.  Probably an illusion, a trick of light, but it was clear he somehow had the Gryffindor’s interest.

“With all the magic cast here, the residue builds up.  In fact, anywhere else, residue left behind from the battle might just dissipate, if we did not clean it up.  Perhaps not before someone got caught in it, or caused a little accident, but over enough time, it would eventually seep back into the ambient magic.

“The problem is, the blood traitors that run this school don’t think it’s necessary to close the school for amelioration, and never bothered to teach the students how to clean up after themselves.”  Adrien spat, his voice full of venom.  Draco gave him a quelling glare.

“Most likely because they do not teach dark magic here,”   Potter said, as if he had just won his point.

“Do you not listen?”  Draco wanted to slap the smug expression from Potter’s face.  “All magic leaves a residue.  It is just that different residues have different effects.  Oh, why am I bothering.  Fine.  To put it in terms you can understand:  nasty dark magic was cast here.  Nasty dark magic is dangerous.  We must clean up nasty dark magic to make it safe for pure little Gryffindors like you.  With me so far?”  Draco’s voice took on a sing-song quality.

“I think I grasp the idea.”  Potter said dryly.

“Now, you do not want nasty dark magic to be activated, so it should not be touched by any magical field.  You must control your magic, and … Potter, do you have your wand on you?”

Potter gave him an incredulous look.  “Of course I do.” 

“Well, give it to the nice Auror over there.  You cannot bring it into the working area.” 

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Look.  None of us have our wands.  The Auror has hers, and will watch to make sure we don’t attack the Boy Who Lived while he is defenceless.  But any magical field, especially one like the one generated by a wand, is potentially lethal if it comes into contact with the residue in there.  You do not have a shield on it like any reasonable person would, am I right?”

“It is in a holster…”

Draco did not even grace that with a comment.  He pointed to the Auror, then crocked his finger at her to beckon her closer.  “Give her your wand.” 

Draco understood Potter’s reluctance.  Potter did have something that kept him alive, although Draco was hesitant to call it common sense.  Whatever it was that masqueraded as self-preservation for Gryffindors would make Potter unhappy about the idea of giving up his wand.  Come to think of it, Potter had Draco’s wand.  Potter was sitting there whimpering about giving up his own wand, when he had already taken Draco’s.  Suddenly his moment of sympathy left him.  Draco wanted his wand.  He wanted his proper, shielded holster, not as elegant or as perfectly shielded as his father’s snake-head cane, but still serviceable.  And his.

“I’ll consider it.”  Potter said.  “First, tell me the rest of it.”

Draco levelled a gaze at Potter.  Oh, for Pansy to be back.  Or Theo.  Instead, they get the most ignorant of Wizards.  Potter not only did not grow up with Dark Magic, he had grown up with Muggles.  Was this a joke?  Perhaps Filch was punishing Draco.  He sighed.

“This cauldron contains a mixture of salt and water.  We will use it to purify that room of the residue left behind.”

Potter’s face looked incredulous.  “Saltwater?  That is the secret ingredient?”

“It’s not a secret ingredient, Potter.  Did you never learn any magical theory?”

“I don’t know about you, but I remember quite a few essays on theory.  Defence was all theory in fifth year.  Wasn’t that enough for you?”

“Do you remember any of it?  See, this is what is wrong with Hogwarts.  All these classes in charms, and wand movements, and vocalizations, and not once did they truly go over the reasons behind things.  Of course, I learned all that from my tutors at home, like a proper Wizard…”

Draco stopped.  That was a first step.  That was something that needed to be done.  He would be one of the ones leading the Wizarding World, and he would start with Harry Bloody Potter.

“Potter.  I am going to teach you magical theory.  I am going to teach you why magic works the way it does.”  Draco did not acknowledge the stricken looks on the part of his two compatriots.  He was too busy watching Potter’s face.  He needed to see each expression, he needed to use whatever information Potter’s face gave him.  Potter never could hide his emotions.  Potter would be his key.

Potter had not been raised in the Wizarding World.  That made him a perfect subject.  The Muggle-lovers were pissing away their heritage.  Well, Draco was going to lure the icon of the goody-goody Muggle-lovers, Harry Potter himself, into the culture that they were throwing away.  He was going to make Potter fall in love with Wizarding culture.  And then he will have won.

“And why should I spend my time?  I have plenty to do this summer cleaning up after you lot.  Look at this!”  Potter waved a hand to encompass the broken wall at the far end of the dark-residue-tinged room.  All over Hogwarts people are coming to repair what your beloved Voldemort’s war broke.  The Ministry is being rebuilt from ground up.   We are returning from chaos… and you want me to spend my time learning theory?  No, just explain to me what needs to be done here, and we’ll get the job done.”

“That’s just it, Potter.  In order to do what needs to be done, here, you need to understand why.  You need to understand the value of saltwater.  You need to understand the sigils.  It is not enough just to do the motions, you need to focus on your intent.” 

“Why?” 

“You need to understand why, because that is how Magic works.  In order to perform a cleansing ritual properly, you need to understand what we are trying to accomplish.  You need to keep it in mind as we work.”

Potter looked at the Auror.  The Auror looked back at Potter and shrugged.  “My job is to make sure those three do not leave the area, and complete their work in a timely manner.  I’ve been told they know what to do.”

Draco smirked.  Even the Aurors recognized his competence.

“Fine.”  Potter bit the word out.  “Just explain it quickly, so we can get to work and get this over with.”

“OK, Potter.  Listen carefully.”  Draco spoke slowly, to make sure Potter understood.  “All magic leaves a residue.  Some magic, like that taught at Hogwarts, leaves one that only has the effect of strengthening the magical field, making it easier to perform magic.  That is why even weaker Witches and Wizards,” Greg and that idiot Longbottom came to mind, “can perform magic at Hogwarts.  There are other effects, some useful, some not, but we will start with that.”  Later, when he had lured Potter in, he would explain how the magical field both strengthened the magical field of the witches and wizards who practiced there, but also weakened their magical skills, as they would become accustomed to having magic easy to hand.  Hogwarts often turned out strong Wizards that never lived up to their potential because of this.  At Durmstrang, Draco had been told, the magical residue was cleansed regularly, so every ounce of a Wizard’s ability was coaxed, or forced to the surface. It was one of the reason’s his father had considered sending him there.  

“Dark Magic, because of its uses, tends to leave behind a residue that can be inimical to Wizards.”  Upon seeing the look on Potters face, Draco clarified.  “Dangerous, Potter.  Dark Magic residue can be dangerous.  With me so far?”

“Yes, Malfoy.” 

The exaggerated patience Potter tried to convey just made him sound tired.  Draco ignored the poor attempt at quelling him and continued his lecture.

“Salt activates magical energy, but cannot be contaminated.  Pure salt, that is.  Water is a good overall cleansing base, and salt water is the most frequently used tool to cleanse old magical signatures and magical residue, even the traces of old spells.  All it leaves behind is the potential for magic.”

“We—” Draco gestured to encompass himself and the two other Slytherins, will be painting sigils on ourselves, the floor, the walls, and the ceiling of the contaminated space.  Do you have a quill and some parchment?” 

Potter shook his head, and looked inquiringly to the Auror, who fished said items out of the pockets of her robe.

“Here are the sigils.”  Draco drew each rune on the parchment, as Potter watched.  “This one is protection.  This one is a cleansing, for purification.  And this one is a banishing.  On ourselves we will paint a different protection, this one here.” 

“Why two different protection runes?”

“This one is to protect living organisms, which we three, and I suppose even you, count as, and this other is to protect spaces.”

“Got it.  But, we’re Wizards… why not just cast a cleansing charm to get rid of the stuff?”

Draco wanted to bang his head on the wall of the corridor.

He took a deep breath.  He let it out.  Must keep an eye on the snitch.  In a tight, overly calm voice, he answered.  “Magic, any magic, but especially active magic, could activate the residue.  The residue contains the intent of the spell.  My guess, since this was magic cast in a battle, is that the intent was to cause damage, don’t you think?  I don’t particularly want to activate that while I am standing in the middle of it.”

“Oh.”

Yes, Potter.  Oh.

“While the three of us are doing the hard work, you, Potter, will stand out here and watch the cauldron.  You must make sure absolutely nothing gets into it.  Not a speck of dust, not a gnat, nothing.”

“Why?  I thought you said that salt could not be corrupted.”

“Pure salt cannot be corrupted.  Pure water will not affect the properties of salt.  But add anything else, and it is no longer pure salt.  It is then on its way to being something else.  Something that cannot purify a room.”

“So, nothing gets in the cauldron.  Got it.”

Draco looked at him, trying to determine if Potter was taking it seriously.  But it couldn’t be helped.  There was too much of a risk of missing something if there were only two painting the sigils in the room.  Too much of a chance of the sigils drying before the row was finished, thus weakening the threshold.

“While you are watching the cauldron, Potter, you must ensure that your attention is not on it.”

“What?  Malfoy, that makes no sense!”

“You have not been trained in this, Potter.  Do you know how to keep your magical field out of your focus of attention?”

Potter just gave him a confused look.  Brilliant.

“I’ll take that as a “no”.  When I said nothing can go into the cauldron, I mean nothing.  Especially not a magical field.  So, your wand needs to be a distance from the cauldron, and you need to restrain your magical field.  Since you do not have the … skill to do that, the best way to accomplish it is to keep your attention away from the cauldron.  If necessary, focus on the air above the cauldron.  Do it now.”

He watched, focusing as best he could on Potter’s magical field, more feeling it than seeing it, as Potter clumsily tried to control his own magical field.  If it weren’t so necessary to the task, Potter’s attempt would be humorous.

After several attempts, Draco had gotten Potter to the point where he didn’t feel that the Gryffindor would endanger them.

When it came time to give his wand to the Auror, however, Potter balked.  “I’ll be right back.”

Draco watched, astonished, as Potter strode quickly down the hall and out of sight.  He exchanged glances with the other Slytherins.  Potter really was a prima donna.

It was probably a quarter hour before Potter returned, and reluctantly gave his wand to the Auror. Draco shook his head, and then joined the other two, and began cleansing the assigned area. 

Potter was more vigilant than Draco had expected.  With seeker trained responses, Potter managed to wave aside even the stray bits of dust with his glove covered hands.  How did Potter manage to do that?  Draco would not have expected Potter to be so aware of the debris and dust around him, nor would he have expected Potter to even act like he took the task seriously.  Surely the Boy Who Lived would consider it beneath his dignity to keep a cauldron clean.

Still, he seemed competent enough that Draco could continue with his plan.  When the room was clean of residue, Potter even helped Draco pack up their supplies.  As Potter walked away, and the other three waited for the Auror to ferry them back to their cells, Draco promised himself he would find a way to get Filch to assign Potter to him again.  He would work on him until he could convince Potter to learn magical theory.  From magical theory to magical culture.  And from there… he would have Potter protecting the pure-blood way of life before the summer was over.

With that goal in mind, Draco entered into the room with his parents, not even bothering to watch the door closing and locking behind him.



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Chapter 1 (If you've not read the story yet, start Here...)


Chapter 18 Part 1 (if you missed the previous chapter, click here)
Chapter 18 Part 2
Chapter 19 Part 1
Chapter 19 Part 2

Chapter 20 Part 1 (On to the next chapter)

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