The Exchange

BY : Mansi Jain
Category: Harry Potter > Slash - Male/Male > Harry/Draco
Dragon prints: 3168
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any other characters/things/places created by J.K. Rowling. I make no money from my fan-fiction.

Chapter-1

Frozen in the Past

Seated behind the window of the only dingy room she could afford, Dracie stares at the streets. It's ten at night and the streets are still full of life. Last she remembers, people preferred to stay indoors rather than outdoors. But then that was a different era, a different lifetime all together. They believe that the dark Lord is long dead and that dark marks disappeared with him. Shacklebolt fulfilled his promise and didn't let the truth go out. The memories of her mistakes are as fresh as they were Seven years ago.

Seven years at Azkaban gave her a lot of time to introspect and to accept them.

After being released, she read old newspapers and asked around. Pansy owns the daily prophet now and Blaise is the head of the potions division at the Ministry. Strangely enough, she feels no desire to brew anymore. Having spent half a decade between four walls, she doesn't want to live like that anymore.

She wonders where her son Scorpius is. He must be with Severus. She doesn't want to barge in his life and create complications.

She wants to see her son though and feels restless almost constantly. Her fingers are still tapping tunelessly on the window sill and her knees are shaking, unable to stay still for more than three minutes.

The Malfoy Manor is still sealed. She can claim it but she doesn't want to. This room seems as a better option as compared to the manor which has the memories that she would rather not relive.

People have moved on. They don't flinch when they see her or even react in any manner. A few times, they even smiled at her. As per them, she was a death eater and has served her sentence. She is still stuck in that moment seven years ago when the Wizengamot had sealed her fate. Even devoid of the dementors, Azakaban is enough to drive a person crazy.

There was no-one to keep her company other than spiders or mice or aurors who behaved as if she didn't exist. Leant against the dull and lifeless wall, all she could think about was that how her own false pride and blindness led to her downfall.

Someone knocks on the door and Dracie sighs, trying to ignore it. She knows that it is Severus. He must have tracked her out.

The knock becomes insistent and she stands up, knowing that he would blast the door apart in his impatience if she didn't open it soon.

When her aunt Sirius Black, donning a bright blue above knee length Velvet dress, greets her with a huge smile on her face, Dracie stares. Why is the woman grinning? What's there to be happy about?

"Sirius, move aside." Severus mutters and Sirius smirks, "Hello Dracie. How is my favorite niece tonight?"

Her jolliness irks Dracie. She is in a gloomy mood and the woman's grin is only worsening it. Dracie whirls around and walks back towards the window. Severus follows Sirius inside and they conjure a couple of chairs to sit on. Dracie avoids their eyes.

She doesn't have the courage to face her godfather yet. He had tried to talk to her innumerable times and she had been too shallow and mad to see it.

"I forgave you long back Dracie. Look at me." He murmurs and Dracie does, staring in his dark eyes. The crease that had been almost permanent on his forehead ever since Dracie had seen him has vanished and she wonders if it is because of the woman who is sitting beside him. Sirius is not wearing the smile now.

Her eyes are understanding. With a jolt Dracie remembers that Sirius was sentenced for a much longer period and that too when dementors were still haunting the place.

"Come and live with us." He murmurs and she shakes her head, "I don't want to impose."

"So now you think that you are a burden on me, your godfather. Have you forgotten that you have spent your entire childhood at my manor." He sighs patiently and Dracie looks at him.

He looks tired.

"It's okay, you know. We have seen things which were far worse than this. You were just a child. He never held it against you." Sirius whispers, "I understand what is going in your mind right now and that's the main the reason we want you to come with us. Moreover, he doesn't like shopping and I simply love it. We could go together. Also, he hates ice creams and I have a sweet tooth. I know you have one too. Almost all Blacks do. It will be fun."

Dracie is stunned. She hadn't expected this.

"Father and mother-"

"They are well and they have got accustomed to their life now. They have changed a lot." Severus cuts her off.

"I met Cissa. She is good and sent her love for you. We will go and meet them. Come on Dracie. What's the point of staying here when you have a home and family to go to. You are free. Don't create a new prison for yourself. We will discuss your career options too. People have moved on, you know." Sirius continues softly before smirking, "I sneaked inside your room and brought your old teddy bear from there."

Dracie's cheeks turn red and Severus smiles.

"You-" Dracie glares at him and he shakes his head, "Cissa told her."

"I brought it for Scorpius actually." Sirius murmurs and Dracie's eye become wide.

"Where is he? Is he living with you? I thought-" She trails off, her heart beating loudly.

Sirius clears her throat uncomfortably, "He is living in 'Harry Potter's Home for children'. It's sort of an orphanage. He didn't want children to feel that they are orphans so he refused to include the word orphanage in the name. We tried to get her custody but couldn't and your parents and his father were banished. He led a happy life. The place is managed by the elder Weasleys and you know Molly and Arthur. It really is their home and has all the facilities one could need."

Dracie stares out of the window once again, a lump settling in her throat. That's more then she could ever deserve from that man. A lesser man would have punished Dracie by refusing to provide her son a home but not Harry Potter. He has to go out of his way and be noble. Years she had mocked him for it but right now, she really feels grateful.

Suddenly Sirius gets up and in a swift movement, she pulls Dracie in her arms. For a moment, Dracie freezes. She hasn't hugged anyone for seven years. Severus and Sirius met her at Azkaban but they were allowed to talk at an arm's length. She hadn't been allowed to meet Scorpius. He was only a child and they had thought it inappropriate to expose a mere child to Azkaban.

A moment later, Dracie wraps her arms around her aunt. A stranger might even call them sisters. Sirius looks half her age. She has maintained herself quite well.

Eyes closed, she places her face on Sirius's shoulders and swallows softly. She misses her mother.

"We will go to meet Cissa and Lucius tomorrow after we bring Scorpius back from the orphanage. You are tired and you need to clean up. It won't do them any good to see their daughter depressed and broken." She murmurs and Severus stares silently at Dracie.

"How will I ever-" She starts, pulling away from Sirius'a arms to only be cut off by Severus, "You need to forget the past and think about your future. What happened was not just your mistake. Many others were at fault even if they don't want to accept their part in it. Believe is or not, Lucius, Narcissa and Riddle got far better than they deserved."

"That's not fair." She whispers, her voice layered with guilt.

"It most certainly is. Your parents agree with me."

Dracie sighs and looks at the floor.

"Okay." Dracie replies and together, they walk out. She breathes hard, trying to convince herself that not everything is lost.

XXXX

Her meeting with father and mother goes without a hitch. They are overjoyed to see her and Scorpius. Most importantly, they are well and healthy. They have changed a lot and it was truly very strange to see mother in a muggle floor length skirt and top and father in simple trousers and shirt. They looked comfortable in their skin and they didn't talk about the past.

Dracie doesn't think that she can confront them about it yet.

They spent an afternoon together and then Dracie took her leave, returning to Severus's manor with her son who knows her very well. Apparently, Sirius and mom have told him everything about Dracie and they have even shown the memories of Dracie's childhood to him. She wonders how he will react if he were ever to know about Dracie's past.

Right now, she is sitting in the garden, staring at the beautiful and colorful flowers that are scattered all around. Scorpius is sleeping, his face resting on her lap. His cheeks are round and healthy and his lips are pouting. He refuses to let her go for more than five minutes.

She regrets so much. She regrets being stupid and blind and as mad as her aunt Bellatrix and losing Scorpius's childhood. He is such a lovely boy with blue eyes and blonde hair. He is well mannered and softly spoken and completely non-violent.

"Scorpius, let's go inside. It's getting dark." She whispers and strokes his hair softly. Severus told her about Ariana Potter being her son's best friend. Isn't it completely ironical. She doesn't want the animosity between Potter and herself to touch her son't friendship.

Scorpius mumbles in sleep and she whispers again, "Come one. Let's go inside. You can sleep with me."

He opens one eyes and yawns loudly and then opens the other one. She finds it so adorable that she kisses his cheeks softly. She is glad that her complexities have not touched Scorpius. He is a happy child and and she wants him to always stay happy.

Sleepily he stands up and she drags him inside. With one hand around his shoulders, she opens the door of her room with the other and places him on the bed very gently. The she walks outside and closes the door again.

Severus and Sirius are sitting on a couch in the sitting room with Sirius's head in his lap.

"Severus." She murmurs and Severus turns his head to look at her. Sirius sits up and grins at Dracie.

Dracie smiles back before sitting opposite them.

"I have decided what I want to do." She starts and they wait expectantly.

"I want to be an auror." She continues and they stare at her.

"What?" She asks.

Sirius bites her lower lip before speaking softly, "You can do something else- maybe brewing. You loved it."

Dracie shakes her head and Severus sighs, "Harry Potter is the head auror. He hates you."

She swallows, "What's the worst he could do? Kill me. I don't feel the desire to live anyways."

Severus and Sirius stare at her and she gets up.

"Dracie, chose something else." She hears Severus call after her.

"I have already chosen. I sent an application in the afternoon and received a response. I have an interview tomorrow."

She continues towards her room. This time, they don't say anything.

XXXX



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