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From Ashes

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Draco stared out the window just watching the English countryside pass. Despite it being warm out, he couldn’t stop shivering. The train rattled on and he jumped when the door latch opened. He couldn’t quite believe it as Hermione Granger opened the door.

“There’s no more compartments open—do you mind?” She asked.

Did he mind? The right question was probably could he say no? There she was, Miss Golden Girl herself. He pushed the title aside immediately; he couldn’t call her that anymore. He lost. He needed to assimilate. He gestured to the open compartment and her shoulders relaxed as she sat down. She couldn’t have sat further away from him, but he didn’t take that as an insult. There was a reason why his compartment was open—people were terrified of him. Not without good reason, of course. He had fought for Voldemort. He spent the last three months in Azkaban. No one wanted to be around him. Draco didn’t pay attention to the rustling sounds.

“Malfoy?” Her voice was soft and he turned over to her. She was holding out half a chocolate bar, “I think you need it too.” She smiled a bit. He stared at the chocolate bar for a second and cautiously reached out. It was definitely a muggle chocolate bar, but he couldn’t exactly criticize that anymore, “Eat. You’ll feel better.” She promised. Somehow she had already managed to get four rolls of parchment out in the few minutes she had been there. She looked back at her notes, resuming the silence.

Draco stared at the chocolate in his hand. He frowned before turning to look out the window again. Had she poisoned it? Probably not. How would she have known to poison the chocolate? But why would she give this to him? Draco analyzed about a hundred different things before looking back down at the chocolate again. He concluded that it was probably safe to eat, but what did she want for it? She didn’t seem to want anything. Deciding he wanted the chocolate more than he cared about what she wanted back, he broke off a small piece and put it in his mouth. Nearly as soon as the chocolate hit his tongue, the feeling of despair left him. His breathing quickened a bit, looking down at the chocolate.

“Did you get out today?” She asked, looking at him. She must have been watching him the entire time behind her hair. It wasn’t fair it was so bushy to conceal her actions, “Of Azkaban.” She clarified when he didn’t say anything.

“This morning.” Draco answered. He had never been happier to see that fucking island get smaller in the distance. Fuck dementors. Fuck prison, “Mother did a cheering charm.”

“I found chocolate works best.” Granger said, her head bobbing.

Draco was silent for a moment, “Thank you.”

She was definitely surprised he had thanked her, her eyes got wide and she looked up at him, “You’re welcome.” Draco hadn’t realized how many people avoided eye contact with him until she stared at him full on. He bit into another piece of chocolate, “What classes are you taking?”

Civil conversation with Granger. Marvel of marvels. He could do this. He sat back in his seat a bit, his hand pressing down his leg, “Potions, charms, arithmancy, ancient runes, transfiguration, and herbology. I have to get my NEWTs in them.”

Hermione nodded, “I’ll be with you for Arithmancy, Ancient Runes, Potions, transfiguration and Charms—then I have DADA as well.” Draco nodded, the schedule made sense. Hermione bit her lip, “Y-you didn’t take your NEWTs last year?” It was getting into dangerous territory, but it skimmed enough where he didn’t have to delve deep if he didn’t want to.

“No one learned much of anything of NEWT consequence last year.” He answered. Hermione nodded solemnly, glancing down at her parchment.

“I’ve been trying to remember everything I forgot since I left.” Draco nodded in understanding, glancing back out the window.

He had another question and he nearly bit his tongue to keep it back, but he decided to ask it anyway, “Your friends aren’t coming?”

“Ron is working with George at the shop, so he told me he didn’t need his NEWTs.” Draco could tell by the tone in her voice how much she disagreed with the Weasel, “And Harry took the auror position that Kingsley offered.” Draco nodded. So scarhead wouldn’t be back. Great. He thought it was a bit ridiculous the prick wouldn’t have to get his NEWTs, but he guessed scarhead could do whatever he wanted now, “Kingsley offered an auror position to everyone that fought in the Battle.” He felt vaguely guilty for his thoughts that Potter got a free pass.

“Your side—everyone that fought on your side.” Draco corrected.

Hermione blushed, “I—I guess so yes.” She frowned, “Would have made sense to ask you, Zabini and Goyle for advice.”

Draco nodded, “I would have had to tell them anyway.”

Hermione’s frowned deepened, “Kingsley’s looking at getting the dementors out of Azkaban.”

He shivered, “I hope I never have to see that for myself.” He felt cold just thinking about it, so he took another small bite of chocolate.

“Did you hear there will be just one dorm for the eighth years?” Draco shook his head, no one would have bothered to tell him anything. It was safer that way, “We’ll each have our own rooms.”

Draco nodded again, he was glad for that. Having his own sanctuary to retreat to would be perfect, considering he planned on putting his head down and getting through this year without pissing everyone off.

 

To the surprise of everyone including Draco, Granger and him became quite good friends through out the year. It probably had something to do with the fact that they had every single class together. He was glad to have one Slytherin come back to Hogwarts, Blaise Zabini. Draco had expected to coast through the year without friends, but suddenly he had two good friends that he didn’t know what to do without.

It was two months into school when Zacharias Smith called Granger a Death-Eater’s Whore for hanging out with Draco and Draco punching the shit out of him that Granger became Hermione. She was still dating the Weasel, and Draco didn’t see her like that, but to call her that was still a horrible thing to say. Draco had broken a finger in his hand punching Smith’s thick head. Draco almost got thrown back into Azkaban for breaking his parole, but Hermione came to his defense. In the end McGonagall happened to lose the owl that stated Draco had broken his parole. She assured him the owl would not get lost again if he stepped out of line.

Draco never really wanted to rely on people before. But when his parents kicked him out at Christmas for refusing to marry Astoria, Blaise took him in without blinking. The only question Blaise asked was how his father had managed to come back from Azkaban, but three days home at Christmas had been negotiated into his sentencing. Blaise and Draco spent Christmas together, since Blaise’s mother had abandoned him for a new husband. They got drunk and ate too many cookies with the house elf. And despite all the turmoil, Draco was happy coming back to Hogwarts.

He dedicated himself to his studies as he wanted to go to be a healer. Healers already needed excellent NEWTs, but with Draco’s record he would need more than that. Hermione and Draco both got their acceptance letters the same day, pending their final NEWT scores. That was when Hermione sat him down and asked him to be her roommate post graduation. Draco was shocked she hadn’t wanted to live with her Weasel, but she said she was only eighteen and had no intention of moving in with Ron so young. At least until healing training was over, which was three years. The first year of healers school was in the classroom, the second two were in St. Mungos learning on their feet. Draco didn’t quite believe himself when he accepted her offer.

Ron hadn’t taken it well at first, but he came around eventually. Hermione kept telling Draco to be patient and she would make sure he was on board. It took time. Draco telling the Weasel he wasn’t interested in dating Hermione and then somehow the Weasel took that as insulting—so Draco had to assure him that it wasn’t anything to do with her blood status but just a person preference. The only relationship with a woman he had ever had was with Pansy, and while he may swing back toward women he didn’t see it in his near future. After he told the Weasel that, he backed down.

Hermione was the best roommate he had ever had. She was neat and perfectly willing to follow his insane need to organize every inch of the flat. It was also great to have someone in the same healers program. The asked each other questions and quizzed each other for better grades. And she was just as dedicated to studying as he was.

Her friends hardly ever came over to their apartment. Draco asked if she minded when he brought his friends, and she reminded him that his friends were her friends now too. Luna now was a shared friend, so were Blaise and Theo. But many of Hermione’s friends never came over. The Weasel would come over, but he hardly ever talked to Draco. They would move silently around each other if they were both in the kitchen, pretending the other didn’t exist. Draco didn’t have to deal with Potter at all. He was gallivanting all over the world as a spectacular auror. He would only come back for a week at a time, passing nods at Draco in Diagon Alley or the rare time he came over to the flat.

When residency in the hospital started, Draco learned how to do a lot on very little sleep but he loved it. One time after a particularly long shift, he stumbled back into his apartment. Hermione was just pulling on her healers robes for her shift. She scrunched up her nose when she saw him step through the floo.

“What happened?” She asked.

“Patient came in with boils that explode constantly and smell like cat piss.” Draco said with a sigh.

“Ew.”

“Yeah. Apparently his seven-year-old brother was sick of being beaten up, so it was accidental magic. Don’t really blame the kid, the kid covered in boils was a menace.”

“You would be too if you were covered in boils that smelled like cat piss.” Hermione said with a grin.

Draco scowled, “I knew you’d take the kid’s side.”

“See you in a few hours.” She said with a wave, stepping into the floo. Draco pulled off his gross robe and banished it to the washing machine. Another flick of his wand had it turned on and washing. His feet ached from being up all day, but he managed to shuffle to the kitchen and start to cook something. He was absolutely ravenous. He had been topping off his chicken tikka masala when there was a knock on the door. He frowned, wondering who it could be.

“Malfoy.” Potter looked a little bewildered, “Mione home?”

“No—she just started her shift. She’ll be back around five in the morning.” Potter was windswept and looked a bit more disheveled than he usually did. They were silently standing in the doorway for a moment, “You can come in.” Draco stepped aside, not really sure why he said that. Potter looked hesitant at first before stepping through the threshold. He immediately slipped off his boots, because Draco had chastised him more than once about tracking things in. When he took off his dragon hide boots, he revealed holey black socks. Draco rolled his eyes as he walked into the kitchen. Potter took off his black leather jacket, wincing before he hung it up. He had probably driven his awful motorbike to the flat, which explained his appearance a bit more. Draco turned around to see Potter and let out a small gasp.

“You’re bleeding.” Draco looked at Potter’s arm that had blood dripping down it.

“Yeah—I got nicked by a stray slicing hex.”

“Slicing hex? Where are you coming from?” Draco asked, moving to grab his wand. He turned down the pot to a simmer just to keep the chicken warm and checked the timer on his rice.

“An assignment.” Potter answered. Draco concentrated a bit more on his face and realized how exhausted Potter looked. The bags under his eyes were purple.

“Did you get the bad guy?” Draco asked.

“No, he escaped. Again. He’s a slippery bugger.”

“Yaxley?” Draco guessed, and Potter nodded. Draco moved Potter’s arm a bit, looking at the damage.

“Can you fix it?”

“Yeah.” Draco answered, “Just sit still for a moment.” Draco walked back into his bathroom to get some healing supplies. It took him a second to realize he and Potter had just had an entirely normal conversation. He let out a huff, grabbing his supplies in his hands before walking back out. Draco set down the bottles of potions on the counter, “You need something to eat.” He said sternly, walking back around the island to the cooktop to grab a plate.

“I—you don’t have to feed me.”

“You show up bleeding on my doorstep.”

“I was trying to show up on Hermione’s doorstep.” Potter argued, sounding amused. Draco served up some rice and the chicken, “Smells good—did you make it?”

“Yes.” Draco answered defensively, grabbing a piece of naan to give him before sliding him the plate.

Potter grinned, “I was only asking because Mione is not so good of a cook. Thank you.”

“Y-you’re welcome.” Draco stuttered, going over to the wound. He took some gauze and started cleaning it out. It wasn’t quite as deep as he first thought, “This will scar—even with the dittany.”

“Ok.” Potter said, taking a bite of his food. He groaned a bit, “Fuck this is good.”

“Thank you.” Draco said primly, “This will hurt a bit.” He put in the drops of dittany. The wound hissed as it began to mend, but Potter barely flinched. Draco cleaned around the wound and added an antiseptic before starting to bandage it. As he did, he noticed tattoos through Potter’s thin t-shirt. It sort of surprised him that after everything Potter would want to permanently mark his body, but Draco guessed artwork was better than a scar, “Keep it wrapped up. If it starts bleeding again, come back.”

“Yes Healer.” Potter said, taking another bite, “Fuck this is good—spicy too.”

“I like spicy. I set aside some for Hermione before I add too much spice because she hates it this way—but I like it.”

“How was your day at work?” Potter asked after a moment of silence. Draco grabbed his own plate for dinner. Draco raised an eyebrow at Potter.

“Are we having small talk?”

“Yes. It’s generally what people do when they see each other.”

“Potter—we’re not friends.”

“Hermione is my friend.” He countered.

“I know that.”

“Well—you two are friends. So if you two can be friends—might as well give it a go.”

Draco sat on the barstool next to Potter, “Alright. My day was fine. I worked in the walk in clinic today.”

“Hermione doesn’t particularly like those days. Says they’re difficult.” Potter said.

Draco nodded, “It’s not what I want to do long term. I realize why it’s beneficial, but I want to specialize eventually.”

“What in?” Potter asked.

“Dark Arts cases.” Draco admitted a bit reluctantly, not sure what Potter would say about that.

“Makes sense—you have knowledge in the field, practical knowledge too. Aurors would benefit from that.” He didn’t sound bitter about it either, which Draco took as a good sign, “Trying to convince Mione to go into that field too. But I think she likes the research side a bit too much.”

“It is difficult to pry her away from a book.” Draco agreed.

“Is that why you two get along? She just sits and reads.”

Draco actually chuckled a bit, “No—we’re both big readers though. We debate topics a lot—it’s good for both of us, I think. We’ve made it this far anyway.”

“You’ve lived together for nearly three years.” He pointed out, shoving more chicken on his naan and eating it with his fingers.

“There is silverware.”

“Indian is meant to be eaten with your hands.” Potter said with a cocky grin. Draco just scowled, “Have you been?”

“Where?”

“India.”

“Once—long time ago. I don’t remember it. I went with my parents, I think I was five.”

“I was there three weeks ago. It’s beautiful.”

“What exactly do you do for the ministry?” Draco asked before he could help it. He watched Potter freeze up, “Fine, I understand. I’m an ex-Death Eater.”

“No, it has nothing to do with that.” Potter huffed, “I’ve never told Mione what I do. It’s top secret.”

“Catching Death Eaters?”

“Amongst other things.” Potter said with a blush.

“Is this what you want to do forever?”

“No.” His response was strong, “I barely want to do it now. I want to be an auror, but I’d like to be home more often. When I started this job, it was good for me to travel but now—now I’d like to be in one place more often.”

“What’s stopping you?” Draco asked.

“Guilt mostly.” Draco wasn’t expecting that honest of an answer, and it didn’t look like Potter had expected it either, “Always more people in danger.”

“Ah—being a savior.”

“I think of it more as being selfish with my time if I don’t at least try to help people.”

Draco bit his lip and tried to keep from being condescending. He was sure this was a real struggle for the scarhead. He lived his whole life sacrificing for others, “I’m sure there’s people all over the world that need your help Potter—but there’s people here too. And your friends need you.” There was a rattling sound and Potter groaned, “What is that?”

“Robards. New head of the Auror Department.”

“He’s making the rattling sound?”

“No, this is.” Potter produced a tile, “It’s made with a Protean Charm. It’s how he calls me back into the office. He must have found out I finished this case.”

“You need sleep before you go back in.”

“Fuck off.” Potter grumbled.

“You look exhausted. And you’ve been injured. Rest isn’t unwarranted.” Draco snapped back.

“Could be something important.”

“It probably is.” Draco said, “but so is rest.” Potter scooped up more food, “Stop—stop! No need to shovel. I have Tupperware. You can take some with you.” Draco went to grab his plate but Potter grabbed it.

He flushed, “I’ll put it in the Tupperware.”

Draco narrowed his eyes, “I’m not going to do anything to it.”

“I didn’t think you were.” Potter told him, taking the box away from him, carefully moving his food from his plate, “I’m weird about food on my plate. It’s—I know it’s weird.”

Draco shrugged, watching as Potter very carefully placed every small bit of food from his plate into the container, “We all have our things, I guess.”

“Yeah.” Potter’s blush was still on his cheeks, so at least Draco knew the topic made him uncomfortable, “Thanks for stitching me up—and the food. I’ll return the favor one day.” He grinned.

“Stitching you up?” Draco asked.

“Oh—muggle phrase. Thanks for the arm.” Potter moved it slightly and it tightened the material of his t-shirt so Draco could faintly see another tattoo on his left pectoral, “Bye Malfoy!” He called as he walked out the door. Draco shook his head. What an odd situation.

 

Draco had slept through the night but woke up at five in the morning. His shift today was a bit later, but he had already slept his eight hours. He heard the floo, which meant Hermione had gotten home from her night shift so he walked out into the kitchen.

“Morning.” She said, pulling off her robes.

“How was the night shift?” Draco asked, pulling his robes out of the dryer and hanging them up to dewrinkle.

“Not too bad. Uneventful, actually.” She said, putting her robes in the wash and starting the machine.

“Potter came over last night.”

“You saw Harry?” She brightened considerably, despite her obvious fatigue, “I haven’t seen him in weeks.”

“I do not think this Robards person has the best intentions.” Draco said, turning on the skillet to make some eggs and pancakes.

“He is a bit demanding, I’ll give him that.”

Draco scowled, “It’s a bit more than that.”

Hermione bit her lip, “There’s just so much to be done.”

“And it’s Potter to save the day.” Draco sneered.

“Why are you saying it like that?”

“Because the man could barely keep his eyes open while he was eating, had a sliced arm, and is clearly exhausted. Robards is working him to death.” Draco snapped, “I saw that in fifteen minutes. What the hell have you been looking at?”

Hermione scowled, “Harry would say something if he couldn’t take it.”

“That is absolute hippogriff shit.” Draco said, “As a healer, if you lose sight of being able to see your patient objectively, then you must reassign someone else.”

“I’m not Harry’s healer.”

“The principle still applies. You have lost sight of the fact that your friend is human. Just like the rest of us.” Hermione bit her lip, clearly trying to digest what Draco had said. It was still quiet when there was a knock on the door. Hermione got up and walked over to it.

“Harry!” She cried out, hugging him tightly. He gasped in pain so she immediately jumped back.

“What happened?”

“Cracked few ribs I think.” Potter said, stumbling into the flat, “Morning.” Potter looked a lot worse than he had even a few hours ago. Draco dished out the first round of pancakes and eggs and slid it over to Potter, “I’m fine. You eat first.”

“If you don’t eat it, I will shove it down your throat.” Draco told him. Hermione had run off to her bathroom to get healing supplies. She ran a few diagnostic spells, casting a healing spell that made Potter sigh with relief. Potter ate the next bite, and Draco watched him fall asleep sitting up. Hermione and Draco both watched him carefully that after thirty seconds or so he was up again, eating. Draco narrowed his eyes at Hermione—this was a classic sign of sleep deprivation. Potter was probably falling into microsleeps without realizing it.

“Harry, when is the last time you slept?” Hermione asked.

“I dunno.” His speech was a bit slurred.

“You are going to get some rest.” Hermione ordered.

“Ok.” Potter didn’t argue, “Sleep here?”

“Sure—why not at home?”

“Ron’s mad at me.” Potter said, his lids falling shut again.

“He sounds drunk.” Hermione said.

“It’s what happens after so little sleep.” Draco told her, “Put him in my room, my shift starts in a few hours anyway. That way he isn’t on the couch.”

Hermione looked up at him with eyes swirling with tears, “Thank you. I’ll wash everything. I promise.”

“You better.” He swore. Hermione spelled Harry’s sleeping body to float into his bedroom. He scrunched his nose at the idea of a dirty body in his bed, but he would get over it. Hermione better scrub his sheets. Especially if the wounds weren’t wrapped and blood got on them. Then she’d just have to buy him new sheets.

She walked back out into the kitchen, “I’m going to call Ron, see why he is angry.” Draco nodded, starting to eat his own breakfast. He was tapping out of this one. He did his duty. A few minutes later, the Weasel came through the floo.

“He’s here?” He sounded concerned for a man who was angry with his best friend.

“Yeah. He could barely talk and sit up right.”

“Yeah. It’s happened before.” The Weasel said angrily, “It’s happened so often, that I had a conversation with him about taking care of himself. And then he keeps fucking doing it. So he doesn’t want to come home when he’s like this because he knows I’ll get mad at him!” He was practically yelling by the end, so Draco shot a silencing charm at his room to keep Potter asleep.

“He’s working hard Ron.”

“He’s working himself to death Hermione!” The Weasel was yelling now, “And you’re encouraging him!”

“He just wants to help.”

“We all want to fucking help. Even Malfoy is fucking helping. But why does Harry have to kill himself to be more helpful than everyone else? Robards is not giving him time to recover—he’s guilt tripping him to traipsing all around the world. This has to stop!” There was a rattling sound and the Weasel made a scandalized sound, “See! There he goes again.”

Draco snatched the tile off the counter before Hermione could grab it. He sent the message and set it back down on the table.

“What did you say?” Hermione asked, her voice shrill.

“He’s under Healer’s orders to get a week off from traveling and seventy two hours bed rest.” Draco said calmly.

The tile rattled He needs to be back within 24 hours.

Draco scowled and sent another message. When Hermione took a breath to ask what he said, Draco answered, “This isn’t a negotiation. Seventy-two hours bed rest, one week from traveling. You’re lucky I’m not going to the Prophet with his overworked state.”

“Draco!” Hermione yelled.

“Thank you.” The Weasel let out a breath, “I doubt Harry will listen—but thank you.”

“What if someone else gets murdered?” Hermione asked, biting her lip.

Draco scowled, turning from his food, “Is there not someone else in that entire auror department? I know it has been rough, but there has been four years since the war. He isn’t the only auror on the force.”

“He’s one of the most senior members.”

“The others have to get experience somehow.” Draco countered instantly.

“But-but these are bad people.”

“You were in fifth year when you went off to the ministry to save Black. I’m not saying we should send fifth year Hogwarts students, but surely trained aurors are better.” Draco snapped.

“But what if he slips away again!” Hermione countered.

Draco huffed, “You are so blinded by your need to save everyone that you are putting your own friend at risk.”

Hermione turned to the Weasel, “Don’t look at me—I agree with Malfoy.” He blanched, “I can’t believe I just said that.”

“Truly such a momentous occasion means we are right.” Draco said to Hermione.

“I’m tired. I’m going to get some sleep and think about this in the morning.”

“Potter is not allowed out of this apartment until I come back and can reassess.” Draco warned her, then looked at Weasel.

“I’ll keep him here. Promise.” Weasel said.

“I’ll be back in at four this afternoon.” Draco said, grabbing his healer’s robes and slipping them on.

“Your bedside manner needs improving.” Hermione said.

“You’re not my patient.” Draco snapped back, truly angry with her for the first time since they started living together, “I don’t have to be nice to you at all. I’m here for the well being of my patient. You are here for the well being of someone else.” He glared at her a bit more before striding off into the floo.