"Draco, can I borrow you for a few minutes?" Pansy asked as they all headed back to their corridor after dinner.
It was DA night, so they would all be heading back out again shortly, since most of them had continued helping with it. Draco turned from where he had been chatting to Harry about what they were going to practice that evening.
[Here it comes,] Harry commented, [she's finally decided we're all bonkers and she's going to kidnap you.]
Draco just about managed to keep the smile off his face.
"For anything in particular?" he asked.
"Well I haven't had designs on your person since we were fourteen," she replied, "but..."
She smiled at his dramatic flair.
"I'm introducing the effect of potions on some Transfigurations tomorrow," she said, "and I'd like to make sure I have everything perfect."
[She could ask Professor McGonagall about that,] Harry said.
[Ah, so you are learning,] Draco commented back. [This has nothing to do with potions. Makes a good excuse though.]
"Can you manage without me for five minutes?" Draco asked, giving Harry a very pointed look.
"Um," Harry replied playing dumb, which made Seamus snigger like a twelve year old.
"I'll make sure he doesn't get into any trouble," Hermione volunteered with a huge grin.
"Oh thanks," Harry responded to that.
"Come on, Pans," Draco said, "before we catch Gryffindor idiocy."
"Way too late for that," Pansy replied, but led Draco off towards her room.
It wasn't the first time Draco had seen inside Pansy's current residence, but he was always surprised each time by the delicate femininity of it. Pansy always showed a hard edge to the outside world, like armour, but her room was all pastels and flowers. Draco always found himself hoping that, after this war was done, Pansy would have more time to be herself and could expose her gentler side to the world.
"Okay, Pans," he said once the door was closed, "what is it you really want?"
"What are you and Potter up to?" she asked in a very blunt and direct manner.
Draco was shocked to realise his friend was worried about him.
"So you noticed then," he said.
"Stop deflecting," was her terse response to that.
"It's one of Harry's projects," Draco said after a few seconds silence, "and, no, I can't tell you what it is."
"He's discovered something else as well as ..?" She did not mention Transferring directly, even though Draco was sure Pansy's privacy charms would be as good as any he and Harry had.
"Let's just say, if he's successful, people will be talking about it for a long time," Draco replied.
"Is it dangerous?"
"Of course it is," Draco said with a shrug. "When has Harry ever found anything that wasn't dangerous?"
"And you haven't told anyone about this, not even Dumbledore." It was not a question.
"You have been paying attention," Draco said with a nod of his head.
Pansy crossed her arms, narrowing her eyes speculatively.
"So why wouldn't they approve?" she asked.
"They wouldn't understand."
"Because they can't comprehend the gravity of the situation; they would think it was personal and they would interfere."
"It's really dangerous then," was what Pansy took away from that.
Draco inclined his head.
"It is to do with The Dark Lord?"
"Pans," Draco said, "I can't tell you. Just trust me when I say it is very important and we are taking every care possible. Whatever else you believe, believe that I am still a Slytherin."
"I do," she said, "but when it comes to Potter your judgement can be severely suspect."
It wasn't as if Draco could deny that, so he didn't try.
"Fine," she said when he didn't reply, "but I'm watching you. If I see anything that makes me think you've gone too far I am telling Hermione."
Draco smiled at that, both because Hermione seemed to be everyone's go to person to stop Harry doing something stupid and that Pansy had used the Gryffindor's first name. Things really had changed since the beginning of summer.
"Thank you for caring," he said, well aware it would be far too late before anyone would see anything. "See you at the DA."
Pansy sighed dramatically, but did give him a small smile.
"What did I ever do?" he heard her mutter as he turned to go.
[Pansy has noticed we're up to something,] he told Harry as he left Pansy's room.
[So we need to worry?] Harry asked.
[We'll just have to be more careful until Monday,] was Harry's conclusion.
* * *
Draco stepped into the room where Harry was working and placed the large package he was carrying down to one side. His soulmate was kneeling in the centre of the room next to the stone he had been working on for the past few days. It was no longer the plain grey it had been and it glittered as if full of a thousand tiny facets, only it wasn't gems in the granite, it was magic. Harry's arms were at his sides, bent at the elbow with his hands in front of him, palms up. Across his palms was the wild wand and it was an almost hypnotising sight.
Of course Draco had known what Harry was doing, his soulmate had even shared some of his experiences with Draco first hand, but seeing it in reality was breathtaking. He could sense the magic, not just through Harry, but with his own magical abilities and it made his skin prickle.
Draco knew Harry was aligning himself with the wild wand in what he had taken to calling 'asking' rather than casting. Harry looked almost serene and it was at times like this Draco was reminded of what his soulmate truly was. This was Harry being himself as only Harry could.
Not wanting to disturb his soulmate, Draco waited silently in mind and body and just watched.
Eventually Harry opened his eyes and shifted the wand to his right hand.
Draco realised he was holding his breath, so captivated by what he was seeing.
Even from the side he could see the total concentration in Harry's expression as with complete focus Harry let his magic flow. Silver and gold light leapt from the end of the wild wand, entwining like two streams of molten metal and disappeared into the stone. Since his first try Harry had become more and more proficient and the light went on for several second. The hairs on the back of Draco's arms all stood up.
It ended suddenly as Harry gasped and blinked and the light level returned to normal in the room.
"Draco," Harry said, turning to him with a smile, "right on time."
Harry looked tired, but as Draco stepped towards him, he pushed himself up and stood, leaving the wild wand sitting on the stone.
"That was incredible," Draco said, giving his soulmate a once over with his eyes and his other senses just in case.
That brought an even bigger smile to Harry's face.
"I think I'm getting the hang of it," Harry said and Draco walked right up to him, giving him a quick kiss on the lips to show how impressed he was. "I've been thinking about other possible applications. Imagine if you could create a magical object with no hint of the magical signature of the creator at all; it would be compatible with everyone. The medical applications alone..."
Draco took Harry's face in both his hands, effectively shutting up his soulmate. He had only seen the light in Harry's eyes in Ravenclaws with new ideas before.
"Absolutely amazing," he said, "but one thing at a time."
He smiled and kissed Harry again.
"Oh, yeah," Harry said and smiled back a little sheepishly.
"I think one day your name is going to be down in history for so many things," Draco said, "but today we need to concentrate on Sirius."
"I think I am beginning to understand how Hermione feels when she gets going on one of her research kicks," he said. "It's weird. I don't feel this way about the Apparating."
"Maybe this is more you," Draco said and took Harry's hand. "I brought everything else we will need."
"The robes arrived?" Harry asked.
"Half an hour ago," Draco said and led Harry over to his parcel.
He hadn't shrunk the package for transport because what it contained had been specially decontaminated of all magic. Casting anything on the contents would risk undoing all the good work. The wrapping was designed to withstand most casual magic, but you could never be too careful.
Harry knelt down beside the parcel and pulled on the string keeping it sealed. The paper had been folded very precisely and as Draco watched, Harry carefully pulled it back while making sure not to touch anything inside. On top there was a knife and a bowl which were required for the blood magic part of the ritual. Underneath that was a robe so white it almost shone and Draco knew there was an identical one beneath that as well.
Draco had utilised a few family connections and some rather underhand deception to order the items from a very specialised supplier. There was one advantage to being a Malfoy and that was the ability to obtain things without anyone asking questions. All the things he had ordered were perfectly legal, but the last thing either of them needed was anyone finding out what they were doing. Draco could only imagine the furore, even if Harry explained why. A few Galleons in the right places had assured complete confidentiality.
Harry sat back and Draco felt a tremor of something coming from his soulmate.
"Everything alright?" he asked.
At that Harry looked up and gave him a slightly unsure smile.
"Suddenly it seems real," Harry admitted.
Draco couldn't help it, he looked over at the stone that Harry had been working on for days.
"I know," Harry said, without Draco having to say anything, "but that's all theory. It's kind of like a game that I only know is more serious deep down. Seeing everything we need in the same place, somehow, it makes it seem much more now."
"Ever since you started throwing around wild magic it has all been very now to me," Draco said as Harry closed the parcel and tied the string once more.
Climbing to his feet, Harry came to stand in front of him, a very serious look on that expressive face of his.
"I'm sorry," Harry said, reaching out and taking Draco's hand, "if there was any other ..."
Draco reached up with his other hand and silenced Harry with a light finger on his lips.
"You don't have to explain," he said, looking his soulmate directly in the eyes, "I understand. I know, and I am with you every step of the way. You never have to apologise to me for something like this, okay?"
For a moment Harry simply looked at him. There was so much knowledge and age in Harry's eyes, far too much for an eighteen year old wizard, and sometimes Draco wished he could wipe some of it away. He wished he could take the same from himself at times as well.
"I love you," is what Harry finally decided to say.
Draco found himself smiling despite the seriousness of their conversation.
"You are such a Gryffindor," he said and Harry's lips twitched as well.
"If you are suggesting I say what I mean without hinting at it for days," Harry said, "then, yes, I totally agree."
Draco rolled his eyes, but did reach out and pulled Harry in by the front of his shirt for another kiss.