The Exchange

BY : Mansi Jain
Category: Harry Potter > Slash - Male/Male > Harry/Draco
Dragon prints: 4760
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, Draco stares at the streets. It's ten at night. She is surprised to see that the streets are still full of life. Kids are playing outside their houses. Their chuckles and snickers are as heartwarming as it's frustrating. That she was responsible for bringing tears on similar faces is so unbearable that she can hardly even look at their red sparkling faces. But she does. She looks at them and laments over her sins, her madness. 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. Nobody except a very few people know about the complete truth.

Seven years at Azkaban gave her a lot of time to introspect. She can hide from others but she can't hide from herself anymore.

After she was released, the first thing she did was to search for some place to stay. She wanted to see her son but knew that she should refrain from doing so. She didn't know whether he knew that she is his mother. She read some old newspapers to find out about Blaise and Pansy and found out that 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 more then half a decade between four walls, she is afraid of solitude.

She wants to see her son though and feels restless almost constantly. Her fingers are still tapping tonelessly on the window sill and her knees are shaking.

The Malfoy Manor is still sealed. She can claim it but she doesn't want to. This dull room is a much better alternative. The manor has 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. According to 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 Draco sighs, trying to ignore it. It must be Severus.

The knock becomes insistent and she stands up, knowing that he would blast the door apart 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, Draco stares. Why is the woman grinning? What's there to be happy about?

"Sirius, move aside." Severus mutters and Sirius smirks, "Hello Draco. How are you?"

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

She doesn't have the courage to face her godfather yet. Innumerable times, he tried to talk to her and she was so stupid that she ignored him.

"I forgave you long back Draco. Look at me." He murmurs and Draco does, staring in his dark eyes. The crease that was almost permanent on his forehead 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 Draco 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. Have you forgotten that you spent your entire childhood in my house." He sighs patiently and Draco looks at him.

He looks tired.

"It's okay, you know. We have seen things far worse than this. You were just a child. He never held it against you." Sirius whispers.

"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 Draco. 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."

Draco's cheeks turn red and Severus smiles.

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

"I brought it for Scorpius actually." Sirius murmurs and Draco'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 an orphanage. We tried to get her custody but couldn't and your parents and Riddle were banished. He led a happy life. The place is managed by the elder Weasleys and you know Molly and Arthur."

Draco stares out of the window once again, a lump settling in her throat. That's more then she ever deserved from that man. A lesser man would have punished Draco 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 Draco in her arms. For a moment, Draco 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 child to Azkaban.

A moment later, Draco 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 Draco.

"But what I did was unforgivable. When the truth gets out- 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. The truth will not get out. Riddle has changed a lot. He wants to meet Scorpius too."

Draco sighs and looks at the floor.

"Okay. I will come with you." Draco 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 meet her. 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 muggle trousers and a shirt. They looked comfortable in their skin and didn't talk about the past.

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

They spent the afternoon together and then Draco took her leave, returning to Severus's manor with her son who knows her very well. Apparently, Sirius and mom told him everything about Draco and they have even shown the memories of Draco's childhood to him. She wonders how he will react if he were ever to know about Draco's past. She wonders what he will feel if he ever gets to know that his father was the dark lord Voldemort.

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 many things. 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's friendship with Potter's daughter.

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

He opens one eye and yawns and then opens the other one. She finds it so adorable that she kisses his cheeks softly. She is glad that her past has never 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 Draco.

Draco 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."

Draco shakes her head and Severus sighs, "Harry Potter is the head auror Draco. He detests 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.

"Draco, choose 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 heads towards her room. This time, they don't say anything.

XXXX



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