Words and Deeds

Harry found him on all fours at the bottom of a set of stairs, his dark robes cast aside, vomiting onto the stones. He whipped out his wand at once, holding it at his head.

"I knew it!" he said, yanking one of Draco's arms out from under him and spitting upon the Dark Mark he found there. "I knew it all had to be an act."

"Shove off, Potter," said Draco, retching again, trying to pull his arm back to wipe his mouth. Harry wouldn't let him. "You don't know anything."

"I know enough to know what that is," said Harry, sinking his fingers into the pale, soft flesh. Draco looked like he'd been to hell and back, thin and white, hair falling lank about his face, three days' growth of sparse stubble on his jaw. If he'd thrown his lot in with Voldemort, he deserved every bit of it.

Draco spat and grimaced. "Let me go. I need to see Snape."

"Not bloody likely," said Harry, wrenching Draco up to his feet. Draco staggered a couple of steps then braced himself against a wall. He should have looked more afraid. Two weeks ago Harry had accidentally blasted apart an outbuilding near Hagrid's hut. But he just looked tired and angry and ill.

"Potter," he said again, hissing out the name as only he could. "Snape. Now."

"Silencio," Harry shot at him, so fiercely his head cracked back against the wall. "Petrificus totalis!" He didn't bother to catch him as he slid to the floor, though his instinct was to offer him an arm. Fucking Malfoy, making Harry start to think he was all right. "I'm taking you to Dumbledore," he said, pointing his wand one more time. "Mobilicorpus."

Fucking Malfoy. Harry couldn't believe he'd almost bought the act these past months. "What was that all about, then?" he asked the stiff body floating just behind him. "Defying your father, getting in with Dumbledore, cozying up to me." Frozen Draco did not answer. "Ron was convinced you were trying to get into my trousers."

Harry took him through back halls and dusty tunnels that Remus had shown him over holidays in his sixth year, in case he ever had need of them. There were still traces of his and Hermione's footprints from the last time, coated by only a thin layer of dust. If Draco bumped into the walls going round a few of the corners, well, that was entirely accidental.

The last of the secret corridors let out just down from the entrance to Dumbledore's office. It was deserted at this time of afternoon, before the last lessons let out, but Harry was still cautious about parading his prisoner about. He stood before the great gargoyle and pulled a slip of parchment out of an inner pocket, tapping it with his wand.

He'd stopped playing the password game halfway through the previous year, standing mute in the corridor for hours until Dumbledore had finally given him a charmed parchment that revealed the latest password to him when activated. When no password appeared, nothing Harry could do could gain him admittance. At least it kept him from having to recite ridiculous lists of sweets to the gargoyle until the door was finally revealed.

"Pumpkin pasties," he said with a slight grimace and led Draco through, depositing him unceremoniously on the floor as soon as they were in the office.

"I assume," said Dumbledore, looking at him over the rims of his glasses, "you have something to tell me."

"He's one of them," said Harry. "He's been lying to us this whole year! We should have known he would never defy his father."

"Are you so certain?" said Dumbledore. "Perhaps you should remove your spells."

"He's Marked!" said Harry, grabbing Draco's petrified arm to show him.

"As am I, you imbecile," came Snape's voice from behind him. "Unbind him at once, Potter."

Harry looked at Dumbledore, who nodded slightly. "Fine," he snapped, pulling out his wand viciously. "Don't believe me. You'll be sorry."

The first thing Draco did was roll onto his side and retch onto Dumbledore's carpet. The second was snap his hand out and dig his nails into Harry's calf. "You loathsome dung beetle!" he growled at him. "You absolute--"

"Enough," said Dumbledore, his quiet voice echoing through the room. "Are you able to report, Draco?"

"Not with Potter here," he spat out as he struggled to his feet. Harry kicked off his hand, which he then used to finally wipe his mouth.

"I'm not going anywhere!" said Harry, eyeing Draco again. Neither Dumbledore nor Snape seemed to be at all surprised by Harry's revelation. And Draco had done nothing to protest his innocence. "No. You can't possibly be--"

"I would suggest you shut you mouth, Potter, before the rest of your brains leak out through it," said Snape. "Draco?"

"The initiation is almost harder to watch than it is to participate in," said Draco, eyeing Harry warily. Harry eyed him right back, scowling as Draco rubbed at the Mark on his arm. "But I watched the whole thing. Every detail."

"Be thankful you were not required to... assist," said Snape. "There are worse things, Draco. Bear that in mind."

"You can't possibly be a spy," Harry blurted out. "You're not subtle at all. You'd be found out in a minute! Less!"

"And you think you could do better, Potty?" hissed Draco, getting a little too close. Harry never had grown to his height. Draco loomed. "You and those little friends of yours? Speaking of unsubtle--"

"Under other circumstances, Draco, you would have been a horrid spy," Snape interrupted smoothly. Harry smirked. "However, Potter, among Voldemort's followers he can function virtually unnoticed."

"Unnoticed?" said Harry, while Draco returned the smirk. "You've been getting friendly with me all year. You've been shunned by half your House. How is that unnoticed?"

"Maybe because that's what I was supposed to--"

"Draco, have you anything we should know?" Dumbledore broke in, sounding as anxious as Harry had ever heard him.

"Unfortunately," he said, snapping his gaze away from Harry so abruptly it was almost dizzying. Harry hadn't realised he was still staring. Fucking Malfoy. "Three new initiates this time."

"Any surprises?"

Draco give an almost imperceptible shrug. "Nott," he said. No surprises there. "Brannigan." The sneaky little sixth year had once tried to poison Harry's soup. "Percy Weasley."

"Liar!" Harry burst out. "Draco's no spy, he's feeding you lies! He already admitted he's doing what they tell him to--"

"Silence!" said Snape. "Draco, are you certain?"

"Absolutely," said Draco. "There can be no mistakes at the initiation. You know that. Your absolute and true identity is revealed."

"It's impossible," said Harry. "He'd just begun to reconcile with his family! He'd never--"

"Oh? Like I've been civil to you?" said Draco, gazing at him evenly. "Friendly, even?"

"Oh," said Harry, and closed his eyes. "No." The word was barely more than a pitiful moan.

"I am very sorry, Harry," said Dumbledore kindly. "I will be even sorrier to have to tell his family."

"You're going to break their hearts," said Harry quietly. "Draco could still be lying. You don't know that he's not."

"I trust him."

"But why?" protested Harry. "Why do you trust him?"

"You do not know everything, Harry Potter," said Dumbledore, pressing his hands flat against his desk and rising to his feet. "Nor do you need to. I trust Draco because he is trustworthy. Do you trust me?"

'No,' Harry wanted to say, but he nodded anyway. Even as he shot Draco another glare. Now that Draco had some validation, now that Harry's wand wasn't at his throat, he stood taller, back straighter, chin high -- he became the boy Harry had known this past year. Cruel and arrogant, but honest and honourable, in his way.

He flicked his hair back in that manner of his, with just his fingertips, and finally stopped looking quite so ill. "Is that all you need?"

"For the moment," said Dumbledore, though he stayed on his feet.

"That thing you told me, after Charms that day," Harry interrupted, scanning his memories for some sign he should have seen this coming. He should have known. "Was that true?"

Draco winced, then glared. But ultimately nodded.

Draco had spoken briefly, in confidence, the first time any such thing had happened between them. Harry had believe him then, and he believed him again now. And if Lucius had done that, then maybe he had done other things as well. Maybe those things were part of why Draco had gone from who he had been to who he had become. Or maybe, like the other Slytherins who had remained neutral or come out in favour of Dumbledore, he simply wanted to win.

"If Dumbledore's word isn't enough for you, Potter, then I suspect nothing will be," said Snape acidly. "At least have the good sense not to display to us how imbecilic you truly are. The fate of this war may rest on your shoulders, and I'd like to be able to sleep at night knowing you aren't going to get it into your head to chat the Dark Lord up about his rotten childhood, when next you meet."

Draco snickered; even Dumbledore looked amused.

"Yes, we might find we have a lot in common if I do that," said Harry tightly.

"If that is all," said Dumbledore, grim now as he took his seat again, "then Professor Snape and I have things to discuss. If you would excuse us?"

Draco gave them a nod and slipped out respectfully. Harry just scowled and flung himself out the door. And nearly into Draco.

"So you were just talking to me under Voldemort's orders," he said at Draco's back as he started down the stairs. "I hope you didn't think I actually started to like you."

"No," said Draco, looking back of his shoulder. "Weasley was right about that bit. I was trying to get into your trousers. Pity you had to open your mouth and ruin the whole thing." And he smirked again and turned his head and practically bounced down the last few stairs.

Harry shut up and followed.

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28mar05. For the birthday of the lovely Pet.