Actions

Work Header

this high hill in a year's turning

Work Text:

It's about another Ministry function, like it always is.

"I just - I don't get why you can't just come with me," Harry says, exasperated. "It'll only be an hour, two at the most. It's really not as big of a deal as you make it seems. Yeah, they're boring, but it's not torture or anything, just pompous bureaucratic arses blathering on about how what a great job they've done restoring order and combating Dark magic."

Draco shoots him a long look, and rubs the bridge of his nose a little in frustration.

"No, Harry. It is as big of a deal as I make it seem, because I'm not you," he spits. "I'm not Harry bloody Potter, I'm Draco Malfoy. You may have gotten over it and are perfectly okay with shagging me but the rest of the wizarding world is not so forgiving. I am who I am, and being seen with a Malfoy these days is like social suicide. Lest I forget that I haven't yet redeemed myself or contributed to society like the rest of you," he sneers in derision.

Harry looks taken aback, and a little hurt. In all fairness, Draco was unnecessarily harsh - but to his own credit, they'd had at least a dozen conversations to the same effect.

"Draco -" Harry starts, sounding apologetic.

"No, forget it. I don't want to talk about it right now. Perhaps you can ask Ginevra to accompany you, that'll please the gossip rags oh so nicely," Draco says, feigning nonchalance as he stalks out of the room.

* * *

"I'm sorry," Draco says softly over tea the next morning. "That wasn't fair of me." He bites his tongue - he has always hated apologizing, but has learned the necessary importance of humility and how wrong he has been and can be.

Harry looks up from where he's seated, having been examining the Daily Prophet in quiet but noticeable tension. They had gotten into bed without a word the night before, neither wanting to say a word to assuage their disagreement.

"Thank you," Harry acknowledges. He takes off his glasses and sets them on top of the Prophet. "For what it's worth, I hope you know that you've done more than your fair share of contributing to society. It's rubbish that people still hold such hatred for the actions you were forced to take as a child." He's silent for a moment, and Draco is equally so. "Anyway. I'm sorry I keep trying to push the issue. I just don't want it to appear like I'm - ashamed of our relationship. Forgive me?" He looks a mixture of hopeful and regretful, and his green eyes meet Draco's without the barrier of his usual frames.

"Yes," Draco offers a small but genuine smile before running a finger down Harry's hand. He stands up. "I've got to finish the Lunar Drought," he says apologetically, "but I hope you don't dwell on this so much. I'll see you later."

He leaves Harry to finish his coffee as he Floos over to his potions lab to note how his Lunar Drought is progressing. He is incredibly close to a more affordable and easier to brew substitute for Wolfsbane; if only he can record its effects in time.

* * *

Draco's deep into his work, taking notes with with multiple quills at a time as he observes the potion's brewing process when Harry stops in with what smells like Muggle takeaway for lunch.

Immediately, he lets his Quick Quotes quill fall to the table. "Pause dictation," he instructs his Dictation Quill, and that one too drops to the table. 

"Harry," he greets. "A lovely surprise. Indian, this time?" he asks, unpacking the plastic containers onto the end of his work table.

Harry grins. "Yes, Hermione's been going on for ages about the place in Muggle London. I thought we'd try it out before she drags us there herself." They eat in companionable silence before a sudden bubbling from the cauldron interrupts their lunch.

"Oh - buggering fuck," Draco swears, suddenly a flurry of motion. He's grabbing his parchment and activates his Dictation Quill, taking notes out loud as he tosses in Essence of Wormwood. It ought to have stopped the unnecessary bubbling, but instead smoke begins to rise in black tendrils.

"Harry - fuck, um. Could you just Vanish that for me, please?" Draco says, looking frantically for the armadillo bile he swore he had put into the bottom cabinet. He's going to bloody murder Millicent, especially if he has to rebrew the Lunar Drought.

"Right. Yes, yes -" Harry sputters, almost tripping over himself to get to the cauldron that is now, alarmingly, nearly on fire. "Evanesco!" he says, but something goes wrong - and there's a bang and a pop and far too much fucking smoke, Draco thinks, and he erupts into a cough.

As the smoke subsides, Draco opens his eyes to glare at his boyfriend. "Merlin, Harry -" and breaks off abruptly, staring in disbelief at his surroundings. Rather than his bloody gorgeous potions lab, his bright, large brewing space in the independent research laboratory is now what appears to be some sort of dumpsite. 

"What the bloody fuck," he says to himself, looking around in unabashed curiosity. 

He's still got his wand, he notes thankfully, as well as his notebook and Dictation Quill.

From the corner of his eye, he sees a coppery orange, sludgy, and smoking potion flowing in a little stream. It's his cocked up Lunar Drought, the one that Harry had Vanished only moments earlier. It should be a smooth silver, he thinks with biting annoyance, even as it flows down the tributary.

He looks around more from where he stands. There's junk as far as the eye can see, even worse than the Room of Requirement. 

"Resume dictation," he intones. The luridly pink quill animates and levitates above the parchment, poised to take note of whatever Draco says.

"April 26, 2004. Draco Lucius Malfoy. I am in what appears to be a vast wasteland of objects, potions, and other unwanted things. There was a potions mishap in my lab this afternoon, and following an attempted Evanesco of my improperly brewed potion, I have found myself... transported here," Draco says, slowly walking forward into the depths of this mass of things.

"I do believe I've found where all Vanished objects go," he notes further with no shortage of incredulity in his voice. 

* * *

He's walking alongside a sludgy, toxic looking stream of what he's insofar surmised to be bad or unwanted potions.

"It appears that every potion Snape Vanished while in his time as a professor at Hogwarts flows through this river," Draco says to the Dictation Quill dryly. "The combination of each together should prove to be disastrous, but I think rather than mixing they simply flow into one another, like oil and water. Nevertheless, these all appear to be botched potions and I will certainly not be inspecting any closer than mere observation."

Far off in the horizon is a heap of trash. He's not headed that way, nor does he desire to - Draco doesn't need to get up close to what can only be a towering mountain of centuries worth of trash. The wasteland seems to have no end, and no beginning. It's too vast for him to tell, and the part of his mind not utterly fascinated with making observations is gnawing at him in worry of how to return to his own world.

"I do not... I do not believe this wasteland is a realm that can be readily accessed in the physical world," Draco says uneasily. "Its manifestation seems to be a precarious balance between stable and unstable. For example, the potions do not mix yet they flow together in one stream. The discarded food has not appeared to age beyond when it was Vanished, so I suspect time is less of a concrete reality than... my own world. Otherwise, there would be far less pleasant smells and far too much mold and decay."

"I have to wonder what brought me to this dimension," Draco says aloud. "One could readily acknowledge the futility of attempting to Vanish a human being, but clearly Harry's managed to do the impossible, yet again. I suspect his magic ended up harnessing both the banishing and vanishing spells simultaneously, in his haste to remove the botched Lunar Drought from my cauldron," he surmises.

He continues dictating notes based on what he sees, surmising the composition of the wasteland before him. If nothing else, he knows he can rent a Pensieve from the Ministry to revisit these memories and continue his research, but any thoughts that arise of how it is constructed need to be jotted down to be examined in full later. He's still walking along, deep in thought, when he hears it: a cacophony of sounds.

He listens closer. They're the mewling of cats. Dozens, hundreds - maybe thousands of them.

Draco hesitates, and wonders if he should approach. The rational part of him is screaming not to, but he's also lived with Harry and his Gryffindorish tendencies for years. It's had the unfortunate effect of allowing the curious researcher in him to determinedly press on for the sake of knowledge. It's not something he likes to admit but is woefully true.  

He soldiers on, despite the back of his mind balking at the idea. And then, just across a vast field, he sees the cats. Thousands. Possibly millions, though the sound on its own could be misleading. Mewling around each other and clearly enjoying a society of their own. He looks a little closer, still at a safe distance, and notices the mice scampering between their legs.

"Bloody fuck," he mutters. The Dictation Quill dutifully records this, and Draco glares at the parchment. "Take that off the record," he snaps.

He clears his throat. "It appears that I have just found where all of the Vanished animals go following successful OWL examinations," he says warily. The quill scribbles furiously as he continues talking. He doesn't go any closer - with some grievous exceptions like his father, Malfoys decidedly do not have death wishes. He retreats carefully and continues on. It's probably the weirdest thing he'll see while here.

Though, speaking of which - 

He's got to find a way to get out.

(First, though, he'll need to keep poking around, and see what else he finds.)

* * *

He's been walking for what feels like a very long while, passing nothing much of interest. Broken furniture, unwanted clothing - including quite the number of undergarments and lingerie, bringing to mind impatient lovemaking. He's thinking he should retrace his steps before he's surrounded by stained or out-of-date clothing forever when the mountain of socks comes into view.

There are, undoubtedly, millions. And more than a few complete pairs of socks, he'd wager.

"Merlin," he breathes. The sheer amount in itself is staggering - he hadn't realized the number of socks that must exist in the world, but seeing them all in a towering pile certainly puts things into perspective. Even as he looks at the clothing around him, more and more socks and miscellaneous rags pop! silently into the wasteland, appearing midair before dropping unceremoniously onto a pile of clothes.

"As far as I can tell, this place where Vanished objects go seems almost... self-regulating," Draco hazards. "Everything seems to easily segregate, and it appears that there are sections for everything. I am currently surrounded by socks, clothing, and other related items, where every so often a new item will materialize and join with its peers, so to speak." 

His mind is left reeling at the implications of what such discoveries will mean to magical society.

* * *

His notebook, now nearly filled entirely with notes, and his Dictation Quill, looking worse for wear, are tucked securely into his inner robe. 

It's difficult to tell how long it's been since he's been transported to the place where Vanished objects go. As far as he can ascertain, it's actually another dimension entirely, and he's not sure if there are altogether so many ways to return to his most normal dimension.

He's cast a Tempus charm, to try and see, but the passage of time works less smoothly here and the numbers run confusedly around each other until Draco simply cancels the spell in exasperation. 

With no other option that he can think of, he turns his wand on himself. He's done very little in the way of spell creation, but Padma Patil's published some very thorough analysis on the design of spells recently and while it was difficult to understand, he had found her research incredibly fascinating.

Remembering that the core of new spells lies equally in desire and intent, Draco closes his eyes and focuses inwardly. He visualizes the blue light of Depulso and the soft pop! of Evanesco entwining around each other, and his wand is nearly pressed into his heart.

"Depunesco!"  he says, hoping to Merlin and every bloody Hogwarts Founder that he gets back.

The bang and the pop mirror what occurred before his dimensional travel, and he is thankfully spared the smoke. He opens his eyes, and nearly shouts in excitement.

He's back in his potions lab.

"Draco!" Harry exclaims, striding over to him in a few short steps. He looks like he's been camped out here, practically, which Draco would certainly not put past his boyfriend in the slightest. "Merlin, I was so worried. Are you alright?" His brows furrow with unconcealed anxiety.

"I'm fine," Draco says truthfully, though he does sink gratefully into his desk chair. He lazily moves his hand and casts a Tempus charm. It is April 28, 2004, 13:01:23. Exactly two days since he was transported to the wasteland.

"Bugger," Draco swears. "I'll have to rebrew my Lunar Drought," he remembers. "Well, actually. I just realized how hungry I am." His statement is more of a question. Harry still looks perplexed before jumping to action.

"Right, of course - should I take you to St. Mungo's? Check for spell damage? Brain damage? Nutrition deficiencies?" Harry looks a sight, and Draco fights the urge to tease at his mothering, exacerbated by his Auror training. He can only imagine how beside himself Harry must have been in the last two days while Draco had been nothing short of mesmerized by his discoveries and surroundings.

"No," Draco shakes his head firmly. "Just some food will do."

They Apparate home and under Harry's watchful eye Draco manages to not only go through three bowls of Molly Weasley's soup but recount the events of the days past to Harry.

"Fuck - Draco. I was so bloody worried," Harry blurts out, and surges into a kiss. "Couldn't - fucking - do - anything," he says in between kisses. 

"I'm sorry," Draco says, pressing his forehead against his, and he means it. He draws Harry even closer. "It wasn't my intention to worry you."

"Though, I have to say, I think I'm the world's only wizard to survive being Vanished," he says while Harry's ministrations grow more heated.

"Can't even get rid of you," Harry replies, looking very, very pleased at that. 

Following that, they speak a lot less. Despite sometimes having his head in the clouds and focusing on his research, Draco is impossibly glad to be back home.

* * *

Reality, as it were, settles in the next morning.

"I can't keep working on the Lunar Drought now, not with this hanging over me," Draco explains to Harry in between mouthfuls of scrambled egg. He's so excited about the implications of interdimensional spell travel that he nearly loses his manners. "I've got to owl Millie; she can continue our work if she'd like or simply focus on her independent projects. I'm sure she won't mind."

Harry looks bemused behind his mug of coffee. "What are you going to do?" he asks. Harry knows him too well - he would never simply give up his research were it not for an excellent reason.

"This is infinitely more important," Draco stresses. "As far as we know, I'm the only wizard to be Vanished - and into another dimension, no less! Or, that's my theory at least. My understanding of Muggle physics is basic enough, and I'd needed it for our Ministry-contracted work last spring, you remember. And I do think that's the only explanation for what I've experienced. It's really quite magnificent," he says, before realizing he's been rambling like a fool.

Harry's smile is still bemused, but fond, too. "I know you're rambling," he says as he leans in to give Draco a kiss. "And I can't say I mind, not when you're this excited for the first time in so long."

Draco knows the tips of his ears are reddened, but he says nothing in response to that. "I'll have to go see Millie, and I know you'll be headed to the Ministry - though I think I'll be working in the Golpalott Library today."

The library is one of the best post-war educational efforts, and its vast size houses one of the most extensive collections of magical tomes in Europe. Draco finds the study rooms particularly nice to do work in, and its proximity to all of the cafes in Diagon only sweetens the deal.

* * *

Draco spends the next bloody year and a half working in the Golpalott Library. He's there so often that two months in he's renting his own work room on the third floor.

It's incredibly convenient for him, actually, because Hermione Granger's enchanted some Muggle computers on the third floor, too. 

His father would be rolling in his grave if he found out that his pureblood son was so willingly and enthusiastically utilizing a Muggle device, but the learning curve wasn't too steep. It's the easiest way for him to obtain information about advances in Muggle physics, besides, and that's the backbone of his entire theoretical analysis. 

Every day at noon, Harry stops by and they go out for lunch. The stares and whispers lessen over time, but Draco's always a little more smug to know that he, and not a single one of those judgmental witches and wizards, gets to lunch with Harry at every delicious establishment in both magical and Muggle London. And every day after Harry's done at the Ministry, he stops by so Draco can complete his theorizing for the day and return home to function like a normal wizard.

He draws closer to what he wants to know every day. And with each discovery, he finds another theory to pick apart and another implication to explore. It's exhausting but exciting work, and he commits himself to it fully, hardly stopping for anything during the day. He's reviewed his own memories of the dimension so many times he's practically dreaming of the place.

(In the back of his mind, he can't help but compare this to his sixth year, when his free time was obsessively taken up by a determination to discover how the Vanishing Cabinet worked - and oh, how ironic that nine years later he's still fixated on properties of Vanishment. He desperately hopes no one draws this parallel.)

When he's finally done and triumphantly emerges from his work room on the third floor, even the normally-impassive secretarial witch on the main floor cracks a smile. A little more than one year after his return from the 3 1/2 dimension, he's got an honest-to-Merlin research paper about his findings. Seven years after the war, and he finally feels like he's contributed something positive to society.

The first thing he does is Floo Harry for a celebratory shag back home, and the second thing he does is send his paper in to the Magi-Scientific Wizarding Journal for publication.

* * *

Where Vanished Objects Go:

A Study Incorporating Personal Experience and Muggle Physics

By D. L. Malfoy

Magi-Scientific Wizarding Journal

----------

Abstract

This study is a definitive and exhaustive compilation of all research regarding where objects go when treated with the Vanishing spell Evanesco. Prior to my own research, Messrs. Fawley, Blishwick, and Lowe (1782) had published their own conclusions stating that Vanished objects are indeed removed from the caster's vicinity. However, they were unable to ascertain where such objects go, and for over 200 years witches and wizards were taught that Vanished objects go "into non-being, which is to say, everything" (Fittleworth, 1903). Due to my own personal experiences, I can assert that a physical plane does in fact exist, and, using Muggle physics, it has been determined that this field exists in the 3 1/2 dimension. By compiling my findings, I hope to examine the implications of such a discovery, and it is my hope that the publication of my own work will elicit new conversations in the wizarding scholars' community.

----------

Where Vanished Objects Go: A Study Incorporating Personal Experience and Muggle Physics

               Once regarded as a simple spell to remove an object, liquid, or item from the state of being, the Vanishing spell Evanesco has a far broader scope and much more serious implications than ever thought possible. In April of 2004, I was hit with an accidental crossover of the Banishing and Vanishing spells (Depulso and the aforementioned Evanesco, respectively) and found myself in a physical manifestation of where Vanished objects appear to go. Prior to this experience, I had been taught that Vanished objects simply cease to exist; however, these circumstances rendered this long-unquestioned erstwhile fact incorrect (Waffling et. al, 1606). Combining my knowledge of all available Muggle physics research and magical theoretician analyses, as well as my own memories (viewed through Pensieve and found in Appendix A), I have determined that Vanished objects are released to a 3 1/2 dimension much resembling a wasteland of unwanted items. It is not my recommendation that the magical society ceases utilizing the spell; however, the results of my research carry serious weight and I believe they may be of consequential importance to interested parties.

               Utilizing the general relativity equations of Muggle theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, as well as American Muggle researchers' dimensional analyses (see Appendix B), I was able to characterize the place where Vanished objects go as a 3 1/2 dimension. Because gravity consists of the motions of spacetime and includes all dimensions simultaneously, any act desiring to remove it from being only removes it from our own dimension (Randall, Sundrum, 1999). Because Muggles cannot make use of Evanesco, and thus are unable to access the wasteland, I have determined the dimensional travel of Vanished objects to be to a half dimension rather than a full dimensional jump that Muggles would hold the ability to locate, identify, and explore. Included for the sake of magical physicists who likewise incorporate Muggle physics findings into their own work, I would also point out that this 3 1/2 dimension demonstrates a disregard towards Sir Isaac Newton's force law, as Vanishing objects renders the concept as not necessarily true in the presence of a nonfactorizable background geometry (Newton, 1686). This dimensional travel, so close to the fourth dimension of time, also lacks a proper concept of the passage of such, as I discovered while attempting to use the Tempus charm in... [cont. 33A]

* * *

"So?" Draco asks, looking hopeful.

"I - I don't understand half of what you've written, but I can tell that your work is going to be incredible," Harry replies, looking up from what he's read. He's beaming with pride, and draws Draco in for a long kiss. "I'm going to give a copy of this bloody magical science journal to everyone we know," he adds with a grin. Draco flushes slightly but doesn't object. He's spent ages on this.

It's July of 2005, and it's been well over a year since Draco had gotten stuck in the 3 1/2 dimension, when his research is published in Magi-Scientific Wizarding Journal. Instantly, it sends a ripple of shock and excitement throughout the magical community. With the Journal's wide-reaching audience, Draco soon finds himself with well wishers from wizarding Nairobi to the magical researchers camped out in Antarctica.

He feels like a giddy eleven year old once again when Ambrosius Flume of Honeyduke's owls him to ask permission to create a chocolate frog card with his likeness. It's a bit bizarre, and he tells Harry as much, but Harry only whoops in excitement. 

"Your own chocolate frog card! And not even related to the war," Harry grins boyishly. This, Draco acknowledges, is an excellent point, and he owls back his assent within the hour.

(He receives fifty of his own card in the post, and is slightly at a loss as to how to react. Harry is more than amused, never having gotten his own cards by virtue of how old he was when his fame gained enough merit for a card. Draco quite likes the biography, though. It's simple, to the point, and doesn't dwell unnecessarily on his actions during the war.

Draco Malfoy, magical theoretician and research potioneer,
is the only wizard in history to have been Vanished and survived. 
His Vanishment resulted in the discovery of the 3 1/2 dimension
where objects treated with Evanesco are transported. His work in
creating the Lunar Drought as well as his theoretical analyses are
also well known. He resides in magical London with Harry Potter.

The last bit is a nice addition, he thinks. And though he won't admit it to anyone, it's always been a boyhood dream of his to be featured in a chocolate frog card.)

He gets flattering features in international publications like America's Magical Times and the French Sorcier, though they're neatly countered by the ugly exposés that doubt his work or accuse him of practicing Dark magic. Others like Rita Skeeter desperately dredge up old war affiliations in an attempt to discount his findings. He couldn't care less; some of the most influential magical minds had come forward to support his work and that alone leads him to care far less about what any ill-wisher is thinking.

The Ministry, just like nearly every other wizard in the world, takes an interest, too. They seem particularly thrilled to be the governing body of magical England, where they proudly can claim that Draco Malfoy, "esteemed member of the Sacred Twenty-Eight, reformed Death Eater, and magical researcher" resides. Harry states that it's all a load of bollocks, and Draco for once is inclined to agree with such a statement.

The two of them are lazily nursing glasses of wine in the living room after dinner when a tawny Ministry owl presents itself at the window with an official Ministry letter for Draco Lucius Malfoy in the finest calligraphy. They certainly pulled out all the stops, and rather than Conjuring an addressed envelope, the letter is straight from the one-person Calligraphy department where Draco knows for a fact Lavender Brown spends her days penning handwritten letters to the most important officials and world leaders. That he'd receive a letter himself is surprising.

He sends the owl off with a treat, and closes the window firmly. It always tends to stick.

Draco snorts in amusement as he scans the letter in curiosity. "Have the Ministry always got to include the word 'magical' in everything they do? As though anyone will soon forget that the medal being awarded to the author of research on the place where Vanished things go is, in fact, for a magical contribution." His voice is just this side of derisive.

"C'mon Draco," Harry says. "They're proud of their magical heritage and identity. Don't deny them that." But there's laughter in his voice and Draco knows he's only teasing.

The blond merely rolls his eyes. "They did send a nice letter, though, I will give them that," he says, offering it to Harry to examine.

The letter from the Ministry is on cream-coloured parchment, and has a flashy golden header with magical sparks that dance across the top of the page. Draco expected absolutely nothing less from the incompetent but incredibly pompous British magical government. He would hazard a guess that the tossers in the Wizengamot spend less time voting on the Ministry budget or revising outdated laws than they do on their stationery design.

"A Ministry ceremony for your contributions to magical society," Harry exclaims, sounding equal parts pleased and surprised. "It doesn't sound like they'll let you decline."

Draco shakes his head. "Probably not. Wouldn't want to give up the chance to show off their reformed Death Eater, and how their post-war efforts have had the effect of fostering the latest and greatest magical minds," he says wryly. It's in reference, too, to Hermione's legal reform of the Statute of Secrecy, Padma Patil's groundbreaking work in spell design, and even Seamus Finnigan's revolutionary magical microbreweries.

Their Hogwarts class had certainly produced some of the finest wizarding scholars in generations, Draco could well acknowledge. Living in a society free from the stress of war would do that.

"I'll attend, if only to show up every one of those pompous bastards. Going from threats of Azkaban and trials every year to falling over backwards to pat themselves on the back that I reside in the same country as them - I'd like each of them to stick their wands up their arses," Draco says bitterly.

Harry looks at him sidelong from where he's sprawled out on the sofa. "And while there are just as many people who are genuinely proud of your accomplishment, I'm sure you'll do an excellent job of showing them all up, regardless," he says with a smile. 

"Damn right I will," Draco replies without heat in his voice, and he goes to draft a consciously polite and overly gracious reply. "We'll have to get you a fine set of dress robes for the ceremony, too," he adds - almost an afterthought.

Harry very nearly groans in annoyance.

* * * 

The ceremony occurs outdoors, due to the sheer number of wellwishers that Draco, against all odds, seems to have.

Though, he supposes, it's not every day - or even every century - that long-accepted magical concepts are proved wrong, only to be replaced with revelations far more shocking and exciting. 

He's standing on a stage to the right of Minister for Magic Frederick Burbage, while he blathers on about the importance of contributing to magical society in any way possible.

It's quite a dull speech, he thinks, but Harry's steady presence behind him and his own desire to be accepted by his peers again cause him to refrain from rolling his eyes.

He's nearly to the point of losing track of the speech entirely when he hears the last few words.

"...and with that, it's my greatest honor and privilege to present the Medal for Distinguished Magical Contribution, for his work in the burgeoning field of magical research and his research into the Vanishing spell, to Mr. Draco Lucius Malfoy!" Minister Burbage finishes with a triumphant boom.

The subsequent applause is equal parts due to the audience's support of Draco and their excitement that Burbage's speech has finally concluded. He's been a popular Minister since his election three years ago, but no one would make the mistake of calling him a gifted orator.

Draco steps forward, and he feels immeasurably proud as the gleaming golden medal is placed around his neck and the framed certificate is pressed into his hand. The Minister takes his hand and holds it up triumphantly, and the cheering is deafening. He will never forget this moment, where his tireless research has come to this - the whole of magical England coming forward to accept him and cheer for him.

He steps toward the podium. 

"Thank you all very much for coming, and for your support. I've heard from many of you, and read many of your letters. I'm glad that my contribution has had such an effect. Thank you again; I'm most grateful." 

He steps back again.

Minister Burbage clasps his hand again. "Thank you again, Mr. Malfoy, for your impressive work and study into the Evanesco spell. And thank you, witches and wizards, for coming out here today!" He cancels the Sonorous, and that's it. The ceremony is over, and Draco feels impossibly proud of himself.

Golden fireworks go up around them. It's quite a magical moment, Draco thinks.

"I'm so proud of you," Harry murmurs behind him. "And rightfully so." 

Draco turns to him as they step off the stage.

"To think, Harry," he drawls. "It was all due to your bungled attempt to Vanish my potion that I was able to do this. So thank you," he finishes sweetly. Harry rolls his eyes fondly.

"Now - if you'll excuse me. I'm afraid my Lunar Drought can't remain under the Stasis for more than two hours so, um. I'll see you at home?"

"Of course," Harry says.

"If you mess up, don't use Evanesco!" he calls, Draco laughing as he Apparates away.