Concentration

BY : Whitmore
Category: Harry Potter > Slash - Male/Male > Harry/Draco
Dragon prints: 6064
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, nor any of the characters from the books or films. I do not make any money from the writing of this story, just enjoyment

CHAPTER ONE

The battle of Hogwarts was over, most death eaters were either dead or arrested, the many trials that had taken place were over.  However, justice had had to be tempered with mercy, in an attempt to heal the rifts in wizarding society.  Harry Potter, Saviour-of-Magicdom, had been acclaimed by the celebratory crowds and, during the fuss, the Wizengamot had been pressured into creating him a seneschal [member] of that august body.  After all, it had been argued, during the debate, he would be representing two pure-blood houses – Potter by birth and Black by inheritance.  Harry was overawed by the invitation and consulted with Hermione and Ronald before answering the summons.

He addressed the Wizengamot: “I am honoured by your invitation to become a seneschal, my lords and ladies.  However, I am disinclined to accept the offer to join such a bigoted organisation.”

This speech caused and eruption of anger from some of the current seneschals; others were more conciliatory.

Eventually the Chief Warlock restored order and inquired from Harry, why he regarded them as bigoted.  Harry then explained his ideas about enfranchising the other major magical races.  The uproar that followed caused the Chief Warlock to suspend that session of the Wizengamot, postponing it for a further week.  Of course, the thaumic press got hold of the story, and Harry gave various interviews explaining his ideas.  Most the wizards and witches could see the reason for Harry’s proposal and, organised by Hermione, immediately started writing to the various seneschals urging them to support the proposed legislation, which Hermione had drafted for him.

During that week, upon Kingsley’s urging, Harry attended quite a few funerals, not only of supporters, but some of their opponents.  Naturally, he was asked to speak at many of them.  Once he had delivered a couple of homilies, his nervousness seemed to have evaporated.  By and large, the speech was short and to the point, consoling the remaining relatives, wishing that the conflict had never needed to take place, and urging all sections of magical society to work together for a better world.

For ease of communication Harry stayed at Number Twelve during that time and, having some spare moments, explored the rest of the seedy regency square called Grimmauld Place.  In common with other like residential squares in London, it had a central communal garden and the householders had keys to unlock the nearest gate opposite their house.  The garden was unkempt, but still showed the basic layout of flowerbeds, lawns and an ornamental pool.  The square appeared to be symmetrical, having four corner houses plus side-terraces of six houses each.  There was one entrance but it was offset, between numbers one and twenty-seven.  Thus, the corner houses were: five, twelve and nineteen.  Number twenty-six turned out to be a small church which, like number twelve, only had a door and single windows above it facing the square.  These four sets of entrances, had the same hiding potentials as Number Twelve.

So, Harry was not entirely surprised that, on approaching the corner of the square, the church entrance appeared between numbers twenty-five and twenty-seven.  Intrigued by this thaumic phenomenon he ventured to go inside.  The door opened, without him having to touch the ornate handle, revealing a glittering interior.  Harry had read that mediaeval churches had had their walls and arches painted, now he beheld one in all its colourful glory.  It was unusual in another way, it was square, and arranged diagonally, so that the altar was in the opposite corner to the entrance and the pews faced along two walls at right angles to each other.  There was a central aisle and two peripheral ones, inviting a visitor to perambulate around the walls.  There was another incentive too.  The walls were decorated with blind arches within which there were portraits of various saints.  The ones on each side of the entrance were of saints Grimonia and Aude; neither of which Harry recognised.  Each saint had a brief description of their lives written on the prayer-desk in front of them, the desk having holders for devotional candles.

Grimonia and Aude were virgin-martyrs, Harry found out.  Grimonia because she would not marry and Aude in a border dispute between two landowners.  He also learned that Grimmauld was a contraction of the two saints’ names and not, as he had supposed, a pun on the grimy state of the housing.  Some internal urging caused him to want to buy three votive candles; he was surprised to see they cost a knut each.  That got him musing about whether this was a magical church, and therefore, whether the whole square consisted to other mages’ dwellings.  He put three knuts on to the plate and took up three lighted candles; placing one each in front of Aude and Grimonia.  Holding the other one, he continued his inspection, noting that the four Gospel writers flanked the altar and wondering about the other saints depicted in the remaining arches.  Then he noticed something else.  Something that at Hogwarts would have been commonplace.  The faces in the pictures were all looking at him and, as he moved, so did their heads.  He did a couple of slow and fast traverses, just to make sure it was not his imagination.  It was not.  So, wand in one hand and candle in the other, he faced one of the portraits.  It was of Saint Godric.

“Do I suppose one of you is going to tell me something?”

“I would be happy to advise you,” Godric replied: “Would you like to enter my cell?”

Harry shivered slightly: “You’re not going to imprison me there, are you?”

“Far from it.  You will be welcome to leave at any time you want to.  We can leave the door open if you wish.  Please enter?”

Something about the portrait made Harry feel welcome and not threatened.  Something like the feeling he had at the Burrow.  So, he entered the room which the door-portrait had revealed.  It had a stained-glass window in the wall opposite the door, beneath which was a writing desk.  On one side was a long padded-bench and on the other was a statue of Saint Godric.  It smiled at him and bade him be comfortable.

“Do I suppose that there is a reason that I have been allowed to enter, Godric?

“Yes Harry, I am to be your spiritual guide.  All through your academic career I have been watching your progress.  So far you have conducted yourself well.  There have been occasional lapses.  After all, you are but human.  I was human once and I made mistakes, but, by the grace of God, I was forgiven,” Godric giggled: “And now look at me, an obscure saint as a portrait in an obscure church.”

“Is this your only portrait?”

“No.  I have a portrait in a church in Shropshire, an effigy in the church at Godric’s Hollow, and another one in a ruined church in County Durham, close to my human abode.  Perhaps you might like to put the candle down, before the wax drips and burns you.”

There was a holder on the desk so Harry placed the candle in it, and sat on the padded bench.

“Thank you,” said Godric: “I admire your courage in refusing to join the corrupt Wizengamot unless they emancipated the elves and goblins.  Well done!”

“Thanks!  Will they pass it?”

“The mood at the moment will probably carry you through, but not in a few weeks’ time.  They’ll have regained their breath by then.  That is not to say that they will try to stop it once it is passed.  They are cognisant of the mood of their constituents, and there will be other right-thinking seneschals supporting you, plus a few new ones, too.”

“Fine … Um … I have another problem.”

Godric chuckled: “Only one?”

Harry smiled back: “Fine … There are others.  This one’s about Narcissa Malfoy. Well … All of the Malfoys, really!”

“Take them one at a time, Harry”

“Fine! Um … Lucius … He makes my flesh creep when I meet him.  He treated Dobby abominably.  He nearly got Ginny killed by putting the diary in her bucket.  Then he had Hagrid imprisoned, Dumbles thrown out.  But he’s Draco’s father.”

“Can you put in a good word for him?”

“Not really!”

“Well don’t.”

“If I don’t’ stick up for him then I’m depriving Draco of his dad.  And I know what it’s like to not have one.”

“Yes, I know.  Your dad was a good man, but he let his hatred of Severus rule his heart sometimes.  I was his confessor too.  What about Draco?”

“Draco’s been a thorn in my flesh ever since we met. However, had he identified me positively in the manor, after I had been caught; I would not have beaten Voldie.  Then again, I don’t really know why, but I rescued him from the Fiendfyre, after one of his minions had failed to control it.  Ever since the incident on top of the Astronomy Tower, I don’t think his heart has been with the dark side for at least a year, probably longer.  I’ve heard rumours that his dad beat him, if he tried to speak up for the light.  I think I should speak up for him at his trial.”

“Have you answered the question of Lucius now?”

“I s’pose so.  He beat Draco, didn’t he?”

“Yes.  And he still bears the marks of it.  The scars are worse than the ones you gave him.”

“That’s another reason for me wanting to speak up for him.  I feel I owe him some recompense.”

“So, is your reaction to Draco positive?”

“Yes!  I cannot try to deprive him of his mum, as well, can I?”

“Remember that you are not the jury, although you may, as a seneschal, be part of one.”

“I will.  She’s a bit stand-offish, I don’t know her that well.  She changed everything when she said I was dead.  I was stunned and, after talking to the spirit Dumbles, was ready to fight again.  She gave my body the time to recover and I realised how much she loved her son.  Just as my mum had showed in the graveyard and later when she accompanied me in the forest.”

“So, she showed you her compassionate side.”

“Yes!  So, I must act compassionately to her.”

“That seems a very good idea.”

“Um … Thank you for your help.  Was it just that once, or may I call on you again, please?”

Godric smiled: “I don’t think I’m likely to move away from here, do you?”

Harry grinned back: “To the me of old that would seem a bit difficult.  But then, chatting to an animated statue would have seemed impossible, too.”

“Rest assured, I shall be here, when you need me.  Or, for that matter, in one of the other locations I mentioned.”

“Fine … Thanks … I s’pose I shall have to visit my parent’s house sometime soon.”

“Yes, you must, but get the present worries sorted first.”

“Thanks, I will.  Goodbye, Godric.”

“God, bless you, Harry.”

In high spirits, Harry left Godric’s cell.  When he turned around to look, the smiling portrait was there and his votive candle was burning in front of it.  It seemed inanimate now, and so did all the other portraits.

###

The Wizengamot reconvened the following week.

“Lord Potter and Black,” The Chief Warlock started: “There are an overwhelming amount of ground-roots support for your Bill of Rights.  It is so great that ninety-one percent of the present seneschals wish to support it.  We are surprised, knowing the strident campaigning of one of your close friends, that you are not demanding freedom for the elves.  Therefore, with that support in mind, we wish to offer you a seat in this assembly.  Will you accept it?”

“Yes, Madam Warlock, I will.”

“Very well, Seneschal Potter-Black.  Please take your rightful seat.”  The Chief Warlock waved her wand and Harry was clothed in the maroon robes, that other seneschals wore.   He was applauded as he joined the august organisation.

###

The worst culprits were in Azkaban, some of them for life and that included Lucius Malfoy.  As for the rest of his family; Narcissa was pardoned of her misdemeanours because of her misleading Voldemort into thinking that Harry was dead.  Draco had, in turn saved Harry’s life by almost giving him wands at Malfoy Manor after he snatchers had caught him.  The court thought that being rescued from the Fiendfyre balanced that out.  Then they considered the vanishing cabinet incident.  On balance, because of the blackmail and Harry’s reportage of Dumbledore’s forgiveness, he was given a suspended sentence and told to behave properly in future, or else the Azkaban sentence would be invoked.  He was also told that he would remain in custody until it was time for him to enter Hogwarts where his behaviour and relationships would be monitored.

By Wizengamot decree all students were to be given one extra year’s tuition.  That effectively created an eighth year.   However, for certain young people this was officially abrogated.  For instance: Ronald could go and help the remaining twin resuscitate the joke shop; because ‘business as usual’ would boost people’s morale.  Neville had been accepted on a course at the Thaumic Herbological Society, despite his lack of formal qualifications.  In the same way, Gregory Goyle did not return, his father having been killed in the battle, he had to take over the family building business.  His brute force was given ample scope in knocking down the buildings Voldemort had destroyed and his creative forces went into building their replicas.  However, Draco was not given permission to take over his father’s estate management role, because it was felt that Narcissa could do that job better.  As for Harry, Kingsley cajoled him into returning to gain his NEWT’s.

“I know popular acclaim would get you an auror’s job, Harry, but public opinion soon changes.  They’ll want to forget the horrors that happened.  Best to get your proper credentials now, then there will be no comeback later.  I think you should take the Ancient Runes course; so many of those dark curses that we met were held together by runic formulae, and broken the same way as well.”

Hermione was part of the pressure group too.  Not being able to cajole her husband-to-be, she doubled her persuasiveness on Harry.  He could see the sense in what they were saying and, now that the pressure was off, wanted to see if he could lead a normal life.  This was nearly impossible outside academia then, because of the fawning adulation.  Inside Hogwarts, he felt he might just be able to become another student striving to get the best marks.

Because excellent sight was needed as an auror Harry was persuaded to undertake a sight-correction course of charms in Saint Mungo’s.  It would be expensive, but a grateful Wizengamot voted enough funds to cover it and the recovery time afterwards.  Harry remembered the many times he or Hermione had cast ‘Reparo’ on his glasses and agreed to undertake the course.  What was not immediately apparent was that some of the charms were still experimental.  It took three weeks before they were complete, some of that time Harry had been in total darkness under his bandages.  Afterwards, Harry had to admit that it was wonderful not to have those annoying spectacles on his nose and enjoyed looking afresh at his surroundings.  He noticed other things too.

It started when he was alone at Number Twelve, bar Kreacher.  He had had breakfast and was feeling lazy.  He looked at the cluttered table and wished that the dirty plate would go and clean itself, instead of him having to get out his wand [which he had left in his bedroom].  To his amazement, the plate went over to the sink and dunked itself into the bowl of water.  So he practiced on the other items, sitting in his seat and putting utensils and pots back on shelves.  After a time, he realised that it was his eyesight that was the trigger.  He could not just hope something would happen but he had to look at the object and then trace its course to where he wanted it to go.  There were mishaps.  Putting the jar of marmalade into the cupboard was the first, and messy.  He lifted the jar and floated it over to the cupboard.  Then he realised that the door was closed.  In concentrating on the door, he forgot the jar of marmalade which fell and broke messily on the kitchen floor.

As soon as he heard the crash, Kreacher came in and glared at his master whilst mopping up the mess.

Harry watched his elf, remembering that he had become more amenable.  ‘Come on Kreacher, smile’ he thought, as he said: “Sorry about the mess, Kreacher.  I was experimenting with non-verbal’s.”

Kreacher looked up from what he was doing: “Next time, warn me please, then I can come and catch the mistakes,” and smiled.

Harry was not too sure whether he had affected his elf, or if it was Kreacher’s new-found affability.  Anyway, he needed to think through the morals of forcing his will on other people.  ‘Practicing on objects was okay, but someone’s mind … Mmm … Not sure!  Probably a form of Imperio.’  So, he limited his experiments to objects, slowly becoming more adept, especially in planning.  ‘Obviously,’ he thought: ‘I should have opened the door before I moved the marmalade, or opened the wardrobe before I tried to get my clothes in,’ whilst looking at the crumpled pile of trousers and shirts on the floor.

On the train to Hogwarts he found he could cause the compartment door to open and close, just by looking and concentrating.  This was useful when he got tired of fellow students pestering him.  He could keep them out. merely waving to them as they peered through the glass.  For some time, Hermione sat with him; heaving a sigh of relief, because she was also being pestered.  She was relieved by Dean, and Seamus, friends he could chat normally with without the fawning adoration that the younger ones submitted him to.  There were others, too, Dumbledorian mates from other houses, they shared their sandwiches, joshed each other and drank bottles of butterbeer.

###

Draco sat with Blaise, Theodore, Pansy and Tracey.  They also kept their compartment door locked closed, although it took more effort than just concentrating.  If they used a charm with their wands it could be negated by another witch or wizard by a simple ‘finite’.  That happened a few times and the intruders were not too complimentary in their greetings; some even suggesting that they should be in Azkaban with their parents.  Even if that was untrue because their parents had not been death eaters, or in Draco’s case one had been exonerated.  Eventually, they worked out that by holding a double locking charm, they could keep unwanted intruders out.  It was relatively easy: the first finite undid one charm and whilst the aggressor worked things out and tried another the first charm was renewed.  That game kept them occupied for an hour or so, until; would-be detractors got the message.  Thereafter they were left in peace; bringing their friends up to date with what had happened to their families.  Draco told them that his father was in Azkaban for life.  When they sympathised with him, he replied that it was well deserved and explained that there was no love lost between him and his father.  They continued to chat about other death-eaters.  In some cases, commiserations were called for, and in others ‘served-them-right’ was the more appropriate response.

###

After the sorting and the feast was over the eighth years were asked to stay behind.

“I’m sorry, ladies and gentlemen,” commenced the newly confirmed Headmistress: “But the house accommodations have only seven floors.  I could have slotted you into spare beds in the various years’ dormitories, but I suspected that you would find that awkward.”

There were mutterings of agreement plus questions as to what she proposed.

“As you realise we have several guest towers.  One has been adapted for the young ladies to use and the other for the young gentlemen.  Each Dormitory contains four beds and there are only three floors of bedrooms in each tower – they were originally family rooms with a double and two single beds.  However, we have made the doubles into two singles.  The original idea was to house each house in each room.  As you can no doubt calculate, that would mean one house splitting.  That seemed unfair to one house.  So, we hit upon a scheme to separate every house.  Each dormitory will contain one member from each house.  I shall leave you to sort out who sleeps in which bedroom,” she smiled warningly: “and … I don’t expect opposite sexes to share.”

The girls, under Hermione’s influence wrote their names on coloured pieces of paper and drew lots.  The boys used an organic system; started by Justin and Anthony clinging together and not wanting to be parted.  People were afraid to ask Harry in case they were seen as toadying up to the newly appointed Wizengamot seneschal.  They also shunned Draco because of his death-eater connections.  The other two fours quickly formed thereafter.  Harry looked resignedly at Draco and lifted his eyebrows.  He received an equally resigned look and a shrug and a glance at the two entwined gays.

“It looks, Potter; that you are saddled with me.  It seems as though we shall have to ask those two roost with us.”  Then he gave a weak smirk: “Maybe it would have been better if McG hadn’t changed the double into two singles.”

With an arch smile, Harry asked: “Are you propositioning me, Malfoy?”

For a few seconds, Draco looked aghast.  Then he realised that Harry was not serious: “Very funny, Potter,” he replied drily.

The girls had gone off quickly.  As the other boys had formed fours equally rapidly, it meant they had chosen the two lowest floors.  Draco grumbled a bit as he climbed up the stairs, the other two were oblivious in their entrancement, their only comments were endearing ones to each other.

###

Arriving on the top floor they found that the spiral stairs fitted in the smallest quarter of the circular tower; having four equally spaced wide windows on each floor.  One lighted the spiral staircase, and two lighted the main room, under which were two triangular desks with two study-chairs drawn up at each.  On the right of the door was a wide fireplace with two deep luxurious armchairs, between which was a small occasional table.  Opposite them was a sofa almost the size of a single bed.

It was obvious where the double bed had been because that area contained two beds side by side separated by a screen.  Whereas the other two four-posters were separate; divided at the heads by two wardrobes with just enough changing room in between.  On the left of the entrance, there was a door which led into the bathroom.  That contained one loo, a wash-basin, and, under the remaining window, a large walk-in shower; ample for two, possible for three, but four - a crush.

As could be expected Justin and Anthony claimed the divided double.  Draco and Harry shrugged and took the two remaining beds.

Draco looked at Harry: “I like my bed to be on the left!”

Harry shrugged: “It doesn’t matter to me; I’ll soon get used to where I’ve put my things down.”

“Do you snore?”

Harry chuckled: “No idea … I wouldn’t hear myself, would I?”

“Did your dorm-mates not complain.”

“Not really!  It was my nightmares that disturbed them.  They’d then come over and comfort me, until I settled down.”  Harry grinned: “Usually by climbing in bed and hugging me.”

“You wouldn’t catch me doing that, Potter.  No-one’s ever shared my bed.”

Harry grinned even more: “There was a rumour that you had had Theo.”

“What that wimp!”

“Blaise then?”

“We’re friends, that’s all!” Draco scowled at Harry.

“So, you like a bit of rough then.  I should have guessed really.  You were very close to Vince and Greg.”

“Potter … I’ll have you know … …”  A red-faced Draco trailed off into silence, when he saw Harry's grin and realised he was being joshed, yet again: “Why so light hearted?”

“No nasty Dark Lord threatening me.  No importuning public fawning over me.  No Ministry expecting me to attend boring functions.  And back in the only place where I ever felt secure.”

“What about your relatives, the home where you grew up?”

“In case you haven’t heard.  They hated magic.  I think they tried to starve it out of me.  I lived in a cupboard under the stairs until I was eleven.  The bedroom they gave me was a little better, at least it had a window – the smallest in the house.”

“I think you’re joshing me again.  You come from a long pure-blood line.  Even the Weasley clan treated their kids better than that.  I’m told Molly Weasley is a good cook.”

“She is.  But where I lived I had to learn the hard way, or be beaten.  When my godfather found out he said I was treated worse than the lowliest house-elf.  I was going to live with him, but your aunt killed him.”

The ferocity that Harry used to explain took Draco aback.  He held up appeasing hands: “Alright, alright.  I agree she was a nasty piece of work, I’m glad Molly Weasley did away with her … Oh Merlin … Listen to me, a Malfoy, praising a Weasley.  My father would have had an elf cane me if he’d heard me.”

“I thought you kicked them into submission.”

Draco narrowed his eyes: “Father did, Mother tried sweet-reason.  Voldie-thing was worse.  We almost ran out when he was in residence.  Because he enjoyed torturing them; most of them died.  Now we have none at the Manor.  Not that Mother or I would have liked to return there.  Too many bad memories.”

“Weren’t you happy there, before Voldie returned?”

“Only moderately so – Father was a harsh disciplinarian.  I was whipped for letting Hermione beat me in ancient runes, and again when you beat me in DADA.  Mother was so pleased when The Ministry found her an apartment.  She really didn’t fancy taking over Bellatrix’s house.  I suppose I’ll have to live there though.”

My commiserations!”

“Thanks.  The Aurors only released me when it was time to come here, so I had given no thought about the holidays.  I wonder who will be monitoring me.”

Harry gave a calculating grin: “I’m sure we can work something out.  After all the Wizengamot did say I had to look after you.”

Draco had an uncomfortable feeling: “You?”

“Yes!”

“Thank you, I think.”

Harry's reply was nonverbal in the form of a grin, which perturbed Draco further.  What disturbed Draco even more was when they were unpacking their trunks.  Awestruck, he watched Harry sit on his bed and float his clothes into the wardrobe; opening drawers and doors without the use of his wand.  Draco did not stare outright because his Slytherin training had taught him how to watch covertly.  Eventually he realised that Harry's rejuvenated eyes were the instruments through which the magic was manipulated.  Draco, still using his wand and verbal commands to put things away, was still working after Harry had finished.  Neither of them took much notice of the other two who were helping each other and giggling at the same time - they took even longer.

###

Task finished Harry sat in one of the comfortable chairs, a few minutes later Draco joined him there.

"Do you mind if I sit next to you?  I think it would be diplomatic to let the two lovebirds have the sofa."

Harry chuckled: "I agree; I think the supper bell will ring before they have their stuff put away.  I do hope we can keep this friendly atmosphere going.  You and I always seemed to be at loggerheads before.  Some of it was because I knew what had to be done to defeat Voldie, and that it was me who was fated to do it, or die."

"I think I was uptight too.  Mainly because of my father's insistence that we follow his dark lord.  Thank Merlin you defeated him.  I think perhaps, it's also because we have both been through some harrowing experiences which quickly forced us to adopt adult attitudes."

"Um ... You have a point there.  My magic seems to have matured too."

"I had noticed.  You were using silent charms to put your things away, weren't you?"

"I suspect that that ability was more caused by the experimental charms the St Mungo's healers used when correcting my eyesight.  I don't think I had that possibility before I went there."

"Any idea what you will be doing after you take your NEWTs?"

"Going into the auror training programme, I think."

"Your silent magic will be a great asset for that job, won't it?"

"Um ... I s'pose so.  Not that Kingsley's aware of it yet ... Oh!  That reminds me, he thinks I should take a crash course in Ancient Runes.  Um ... Would you mind helping me.  Hermione says you’re shit-hot in that subject."

"I think so.  I need some tutoring in DADA. So we’ll be honours even, won’t we?  Hmm ... I think as we're going to be dorm mates, and … because we don't seem to be behaving belligerently any more … Hmm … I'd like you to use my given name, please."

"I'm happy with that Draco.  So you must call me Harry."

Just then the supper bell rang.  Draco looked at the other pair: "Will you two be joining Harry and I for supper?"

Justin looked bemused for a minute: "Supper?"

"Did you not here the bell?"

"I thought that that was the curfew bell."

Draco grinned: "It is for the other students, but McG said that as we were adults now, we could meet for supper before retiring."

"Any idea what she means by Supper, Draco?  My guardians never gave me any."

"No idea really, Harry.  Most probably a nightcap and biscuits, there might be light snacks too.  We'll have to go and find out, won't we?"

"Okay, count us in," replied Anthony, and started towards the door.



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