It was almost seven o’clock that evening when Draco next remembered what he’d seen years ago of his father's hiding place back at the manor. He wondered remorsefully if Harry was angry with him about Ginny’s sudden decision to make their breakup permanent, but he hoped that what he had to offer might be even more important to him than hard feelings.
He found Harry upstairs a few minutes later, fidgeting with a small, wrinkled piece of old-looking parchment, though his eyes were unfocused and aimless, as if he were daydreaming. Draco had never known the Boy-Who-Lived to daydream, however, and was a little unsettled at the sight of it.
Not wanting to further anger Harry, Draco knocked quietly at his bedroom door.
Harry appeared startled at first, but when he looked up to see who was waiting in the doorway, Draco didn’t see the aura of resentment he’d expected to find surrounding him. “Draco?” Harry asked, surprised.
Draco pointed awkwardly to the parchment Harry was holding. “What’s that?” he asked before he could stop himself.
Harry looked down at it briefly, but then put the parchment away in a drawer in his bedside table. “Nothing you’d be too interested in,” he said dismissively.
Draco could tell there was more to it, but he decided to restrain his curiosity for the time being. Remembering once again why he had come, he eased his way into the change of subject. “Ginny tells me you’re planning on leaving soon.”
“Tonight, at midnight,” Harry replied, looking away. “It’s not a secret.”
“Well, I think I know something that might help you…”
Harry stared at him incredulously. “You, Draco?” he asked, his tone as skeptical as his gaze.
His surprised tone, and his choice of words, cut Draco like a blade, but he was determined not to get distracted again. “Yeah,” he said, making an effort to appear as confident as he could, despite the poorly-hidden claim that he was, or at least had been, useless. He knew he hadn’t done much of anything to help… yet. But he genuinely wanted to change that, and sooner rather than later. “I know you’re looking for something, Harry. And… I’m not going to say I know what it is… but I might know where it is.”
Harry looked Draco in the eye. “What do you know?” he asked solemnly.
“I can show you a lot more than I could tell you,” Draco replied hopefully. “In the Pensieve,” he added.
Harry looked confused. “Dumbledore’s…?” he began, trailing off.
“Yeah. Well, he left it to me a couple days after we got here,” Draco explained awkwardly, guessing that Harry mustn’t have heard that part yet. “In any case, can I show you?”
Harry nodded halfheartedly, and Draco led the way to the room in which his Pensieve stood.
“I haven’t got a wand, Harry.” Draco reminded him after a moment. “You can trust me.”
Harry looked uncertain, but a trusting glance at Dumbledore’s portrait seemed to reassure him.
“Indeed, Harry,” said the portrait.
Harry sighed grudgingly but took his wand out of his pocket and handed it to Draco. “I hope you’re planning on giving it back…”
The very idea that Draco might decide to keep Harry’s wand after he’d gotten the memory he needed into the Pensieve made him laugh. “What do you take me for, Harry? I’m not going to steal your wand.” As he took the wand in his hand, he felt a cool tingling in his fingertips, and he hoped in vain that his spell would still work, in spite of the resistance the borrowed wand was already showing him.
“What’s wrong?” Harry asked after a few disappointing tries.
Draco scoffed, frustrated and embarrassed. “Your wand trusts me even less than you do. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that we’re in love with the same girl?” Even before Harry had had a chance to react, Draco began to regret what he’d just said. “Harry… I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have brought it up like th—” He stopped short, however, when Harry put out his hand, quiet anger as clear on his face as his lightning-bolt scar had ever been.
At first, Draco was confused, but before he could ask, Harry spoke, sounding as though he were feigning politeness when he wanted nothing more than to hit him, and hard. “My wand, please, Draco…”
Draco wasted no time in placing that stubborn wand back in Harry’s outstretched hand, and Harry stormed out.
“I’m sorry…!” Draco called after him while his footsteps were still audible in the corridor.
“Undoubtedly, Draco, it will take time,” Dumbledore said, “but he’ll come to see that young Miss Weasley’s heart is safe with you. Perhaps, in the meantime, you’ll give yourself a chance to untangle a few knots in your own heart.” Draco looked up cautiously at the elderly wizard, who sat calmly in his painted chair, looking back at him with all the patience in the world. “Oh, everyone has them at one time or another. They are those regrets and bitter assumptions we’ve grown so accustomed to over the course of our lives.”
Draco began pacing the length of the room, shame filling him to the brim once again. “I should have just told him. I shouldn’t have bothered with the Pensieve this time. Everything would have been fine if I’d just told him what I saw.”
Dumbledore shifted pensively in his armchair. “What memory would you have shown him?” he asked.
“Back at the manor, there’s a little room under the floorboards in our drawing room where Father keeps his most… incriminating belongings. I found it during the summer before I started school. I’m almost sure I’m one of the people he was hiding those things from; he was furious when he found out I’d seen it.”
“Were you able to see anything he’d hidden in there?” asked Dumbledore.
Draco tried hard not to shudder at the unconcealed interest in the late headmaster’s tone, but he answered with as little hesitation as possible. “Not really. I just remember seeing something shining gold through the darkness. I… didn’t have much chance to get a better look…” He flinched slightly, remembering how badly his father had cursed him when he’d caught him standing there.
“The cup…?” Dumbledore gasped in a sudden hush. “Thank you, Draco,” he added, inclining his head to the young man in an extra show of gratitude. Then, he asked in a somewhat urgent tone, “Would you do an old man another favor and ask Harry to return to me? I daresay you may be right, and this information - however minute it may seem on the surface, could prove most useful to him.” He wore a strange mix of apology and enthusiasm on his face as he added, “I’m afraid there is no time just now explanations or apologies. You’ve been more helpful than you know.”
“Er, th-thank you…” Draco stammered uneasily, but hurried out of the room at once to search for Harry without the slightest idea why he’d been told to do so. What “useful information” had Dumbledore been able to glean from the memory Draco had described? Or, he surmised with a start, had he unwittingly allowed Dumbledore to examine that memory for himself with Legilimency, recognizing something within it that he himself had not noticed at the time? Mysterious… Very mysterious, indeed…
Luckily, he was able to locate Harry downstairs and, gathering up whatever courage he could find within him, he spoke up before Harry had even realized he was there. “Dumbledore wants to talk to you.” Harry turned around, his expression unreadable. “It sounded urgent.”
“Did he say why?”
“No, but he said there was no time to waste. Something about a… a cup. I don’t know, he wouldn’t expl—”
At the mention of the mysterious cup, all traces of wariness vanished instantly from Harry, replaced with a half-excited, half-worried expression that caught Draco off guard, cutting off his speech. He jumped up from his seat and rushed out of the room without another word, leaving Draco even more confused than before.
Late that night, Draco couldn’t stop tossing and turning in bed, wondering what had been so urgent about a shiny object in an otherwise dark room. Finally, unable to relax, he got noiselessly out of bed and left his room. Without putting too much thought into where he was going, he climbed the stairs to the third floor, his footsteps slow and silent on the wooden staircase.
Looking around in mild curiosity, he saw many doors left wide open, and a few that were tightly shut. It was a door left ajar, however, that invited his curiosity, enticing him to look inside. Slowly, he neared the door, which creaked softly as he nudged it open. The sight that greeted him from across the room was… his own face.
A full-length mirror stood along the opposite wall, leaning back against it so that only his face was visible from the doorway. The odd part of all this was that the Draco in the mirror was smiling, for the Draco who had just entered the room was not. Strange, old-looking words were carved into the gold frame, arching around the top edge and down the sides of the ornate mirror, barely visible in the dim moonlight from a solitary lamp. The carvings read: “Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi”
He took a tiny step forward, wondering if the words were of an ancient language, or perhaps the incantation of a long-forgotten spell. Although smiling in a way the real Draco had never seen himself smile before, as if he were the happiest person alive, mirror-Draco moved along with him, as though he were a normal reflection in a normal mirror, and thus, had no choice. Draco looked over his shoulder on instinct, but when he turned back to the mirror a few steps later, he stopped, frozen in his tracks. The reflection stopped walking, too, but nodded, smiling more softly than before.
The Draco in the mirror was wearing Hogwarts-style robes with bright blue lining, embroidered with the Ravenclaw emblem and complete with a blue-and-bronze striped tie.
The real Draco nodded back and tried to smile, but he could not foresee the vision ever becoming real. He had understood for six years that he would only ever be a Ravenclaw in the privacy of his own heart, where no one could ever go to steal his most precious dream away.
Slowly, he walked back downstairs to his bedroom and climbed back into bed. The mystery of the cup under the floorboards was far from his mind now. By morning, he was sure that his finding the mirror had been nothing more than a strange dream. And indeed, as far as he could tell, the idea of his being a Ravenclaw had never been much more than that – a dream from which he would eventually awaken, his face tellingly cold and shimmering with tears.
When Draco awoke the following morning, it was to the sound of someone knocking crisply at his bedroom door. The dazzling sunlight coming in through the window landed on the back of his head and neck, warming him. He opened his eyes a little, letting them adjust.
Another knock came from the door. Draco sighed softly, wishing he could have stayed in bed longer, and opened the door. He was startled, however, to find that it was not his mother, nor Ginny, but Harry who stood there, waiting to speak with him. “Harry?” Draco greeted him quizzically.
“I need to ask you something important. Come with me.” Harry gestured for Draco to follow, and he did, quite curious.
Draco watched Harry’s face as best he could while they ascended the stairs to the second floor. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Hermione and Ron, walking hand in hand to their meeting place: Hermione’s bedroom. Hermione nodded wordlessly towards the door, and the four of them entered.
“Don’t tell me he’s coming, too!” Ron groaned straightaway, glaring at Draco.
“Coming where? On your treasure hunt?” Draco shot back. “Are you serious? I’m not going anywhere!”
“Why not?” Harry asked seriously, shocking the other two boys. Hermione, however, looked unfazed by the question, as if, perhaps, he had already consulted her on the subject.
“You’re joking…?” Draco gasped. “Harry! I’m wandless, remember?”
“Not anymore,” Hermione said, smiling a little. Draco and Ron both gaped at her as she took a small, narrow box out of her charmed handbag she was carrying and handed the box to Draco. The box bore gold writing on the top.
Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC
“I thought Ollivanders closed last year…” Draco said, staring, bewildered, at the box in his hands. He opened it and scooped his new wand out of the velvet cloth lining its box. A small slip of parchment was tucked under the velvet and folded neatly in half, and he assumed it would tell him the materials of which his wand consisted. He would read it later, he decided. For now, any combination of wood and core was sufficient. Now, he had a wand again.
It felt warm and comfortable in his hand, a sign that it already trusted him well, but he was careful not to seem too eager to start using it; Ron was watching his every move through narrowed, suspicious eyes, and he’d already gotten his own wand out of his pocket.
Draco donned a reproachful sneer at this. “Ronald Weasley,” he said lightly, “if I’d wanted to harm any of you, don’t you think I would have tried something by now, with or without a wand?”
Ron mumbled something under his breath that Draco couldn’t quite distinguish, but Draco didn’t mind much that he’d missed the message.
Harry shook his head at him. “Draco, don’t go provoking an argument now. We don’t have a lot of time left to talk about all this.”
Draco put his wand back in its box and put the cover on. “Right,” he said. “Sorry, Harry.” For some reason, Ron seemed even angrier after the apology. Noticing this, Harry sent him a warning look that said: That goes for you, too.
“So, will you come with us now that you have your own wand?” asked Harry.
“You sure you want me?” Draco asked back uncertainly.
“Yeah, I’ve got a feeling we’re going to need you with us at some point,” Harry answered, nonchalantly avoiding his gaze. Draco had a hard time believing that Harry didn’t already know at what time and place that point awaited them, but he decided not to bring up his suspicions just yet.
Draco hesitated, feeling their eyes burning into him while he searched his mind for a way out of the mess that would surely ensue, should he agree. It didn’t take any real effort to recall the fear that had literally controlled his life for seven years. Now, Harry was trying to convince him to face all that terror head on, all over again... On one hand, Harry had just bought him a new wand, and to decline would surely be seen as a show of ingratitude. On the other, the thought that Lucius was looking for any sign of him, ready to cast that one final curse at him, made him shudder as though the room had suddenly gone ice-cold around him.
Hermione’s voice broke him out of his reverie. “Draco, I hope this isn’t about Ron.”
“No,” Draco answered quietly, his eyes on the floor, “of course not. If I go to with you to fight in the war, trust me, he’ll be the least of my problems.”
“Like I said, there isn’t a lot of time for you to make your decision. We’re leaving tonight,” Harry reminded him pointedly.
“I-I just…” stammered Draco. “Can I, er, just have a couple hours? I mean, it’s a pretty big decision to have to make on the spot like this…”
Harry sighed impatiently. “Fine, but don’t take too long. We won’t be leaving empty-handed; we have to be sure to pack enough supplies for all of us.”
Draco swallowed hard but nodded. “Thanks,” he said quickly before hurrying back downstairs, the box with his wand held tightly in his right hand.
Before he was out of earshot, however, he could hear Ron’s voice ask wryly, “Think we’ll ever see him again?”
Harry’s voice followed, thankfully solemn: “That’s enough, Ron.”