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Safe House

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Harry stared at the clock, wishing time would speed up and bring him closer to the weekend. The air felt thick in his office despite the charm that was supposed to mimic an ocean breeze; the two o’clock slump was hitting him hard. Harry shook his head, and then looked down at his parchment, tapping his quill lightly against the top of his shared desk. No matter how long Harry stared down at his report, he could not make the words flow. Claire, Harry’s partner and office-mate, had long since finished her paperwork and headed off to the core of the department in search of something new to work on or someone fun to gossip with.

Only four months out of the academy, Claire still had a drive to want to complete everything, and by now paperwork was taking her about half the time it took Harry. He considered going over to her desk to see how she had managed to write a two page report on “Mom files missing person’s report on her child, after forgetting to pick him up from his grandparents and wasting an entire morning for nothing.” It’s not that Harry couldn’t write the report, it was just that he doubted Robards was appreciating just how often the word ‘moron’ was appearing in his paperwork lately.

Harry stood up, stretching his arms over his head he sighed and headed to the door; there was no way the report was being written without some caffeine. As Harry reached for the door handle the wood slammed forward and Claire ran in, face flushed and slightly out of breath.

“We’re needed in conference room three immediately. Big raid, all teams on call.” Claire said in a rush, grabbing Harry’s arm and dragging him along. Energy was radiating from Claire’s entire body, her black bun bobbing on her head as adrenaline pumped through her veins. Harry smiled at her enthusiasm, trying to remember the last time he had been that excited for a raid. At 26 Harry was far from old, but with two boys under three at home it was hard to muster the same fire and passion that had burned through him so brightly at the close of the war.

“Any clue what the raid is about?” Harry asked Claire as they sped down the corridor to the largest of the Auror’s conference rooms.

“None. Apparently the case has been completely hushed.” Claire said.

Harry narrowed his eyes, a feeling of deep unease coming over him, “This doesn’t sound like it’s going to be a fun time Sparks. Best calm down and prepare for a long night.”

Claire bit her lip and nodded, trying to calm herself down but her eyes giving away the excitement she still felt, “Maybe we’ll get to do some real good.” She said passionately as she pushed open the door.  

The conference room was a thrum of activity, twenty Auror’s mashed together to try and get a view of the far wall, which had been covered with pictures and notes. The air was buzzing with anticipation, and Harry tried to elbow his way forward through the crowd. It looked like most of the force had been called in for the raid, and Harry was immediately apprehensive. 

“Attention.” Head Auror Robard’s called, “I need everyone to focus; we have an important job to do tonight and we need to do it right. In the past two months, three muggle families have been slaughtered, each with a child whose name appeared in the Book of Admittance at Hogwarts. It appears there is a group of wizards targeting muggle-borns and their families before they can be informed they are wizards. In the past week an informant has given us credible information tying these cases together, and given us names of some of the people involved. We have just received news that they are planning another attack tonight near Wales, and we are going to prevent it.”

The head Auror laid out the case, and assigned the teams to their positions through the raid. “Potter, Sparks,” Robard’s called to Harry and Claire, “You’ll be in charge of apparating our informant out of harm’s way. His testimony is what is going to put these arseholes in Azkaban. It is imperative that you extract him cleanly, before any crazy spells start flying.”

Harry nodded his head seriously, taking the case folder Robards handed him. Skimming it over quickly he looked up puzzled, “Draco Malfoy has been your informant,” he asked incredulously.

“Aye. And a mighty fine one he’s been.” Robard’s face shadowed, “I know 'bout the problems you two had in the past, and it doesn’t matter now. You’re one of our best, and we need you on your A-game tonight. Take all of your issues and bury them, if they stop you from doing your job tonight you won’t have a job to worry about in the morning. Am I making myself clear?” Robards looked down thunderously at Harry.

“Crystal clear sir. You can count on us.” Harry said reverently.

Claire shot Harry a quizzical look but Harry minutely shook his head, he could explain any questions she might have after their job was done. Harry hadn’t seen Draco much since the war had ended; they had exchanged pleasantries in the lift on the occasion that their paths had crossed but neither had sought the other out. Harry knew that Draco had gotten married, and he knew that Draco and his wife had a young son near Albus’ age. Though Harry wasn’t looking forward to spending an evening babysitting Draco in a safehouse, he was confident that they could be civil with each other for one night.

Harry had a few hours before the raid was set to begin, so he quickly floo’d home so he could explain his absence to Ginny and gives the boys a kiss goodnight.

“You’ll be safe, right?” Ginny asked after Harry informed her he had to go out for a case.

“I’m always safe Gin, you know that,” Harry smiled indulgently at Ginny, wrapping her in a large hug.

Ginny chewed her lip fretfully before looking up at Harry, “I don’t like it. You going off and me being stuck here with the boys, worried about you.”

Harry sighed, trying to push down his annoyance of rehashing the same disagreement they’d had many times before. “It’s my job love. Protecting people isn’t a 9-5 job, and I try my hardest to be here, but tonight I need to go and back up my other Aurors and try to make this world a better place for our family to live in. I’m sorry.”

“They need their father more than the world needs its savior. You’re the one who wanted a family so soon, stay home and be with them and leave saving the world up to someone else for once.” Ginny pleaded, her face contorting into a pout as she pushed away from Harry and walked across the room.

Harry followed her, trying to give her a kiss before she turned her head, presenting her check to his lips instead, “I’m sorry Gin. We can talk about it tomorrow but tonight I have to go. I love you, I love the boys, and I’ll see you in the morning.”

Harry grabbed some floo powder off the mantle before throwing it in the fire, heading back to the ministry and preparing for the long night ahead.

 

***

 

Harry and Claire apparated behind a tree at the back of quiet muggle neighborhood a quarter after ten, kneeling on the ground and disillusioning themselves to await the signal to move in. Harry watched Claire anxiously, this was her first large raid and her initial excitement had faded quickly to apprehension.

“It’s going to be okay, just keep breathing” Harry said reassuringly, grabbing Claire’s hand and giving it a quick squeeze. 

Claire smiled briefly at Harry before closing her eyes, “I know. Everything will work out. I just wish we knew when we were starting.”

Harry stared ahead at the beige house before him, scouring the windows for any sight of Draco’s bright blonde hair, “It’ll be soon. Once we see Malfoy we give the signal to the rest of the teams and we immediately go and take him. As soon as we see him we’ll be too busy to worry about anything, and before you know it everything will be over and we can go home and go to sleep.”

Harry finally spotted Draco on the top floor, “and go,” he signaled quietly as he pulled Claire’s arm to side-along her to right behind where Draco stood. As silently as possible, Harry grabbed Draco and dragged him back towards him, tensing and hoping Draco would remember to be silent. Waiting until the other Auror’s were in place, Harry quickly nodded to Claire before wrapping his arms around Draco and side-alonging him to a safehouse they could use to floo to the ministry from.

Harry heard a brief pop right after he landed, and saw Claire staring at Draco happily before putting out her hand, “Auror Claire Sparks at your service sir, and I believe you’ve met my partner Auror Potter. It looks like we got you out as planned, and as soon as we receive a floo call that they’re ready we can floo to the ministry. In the mean-time, have a seat. Would you like any tea?”

Draco’s head came back as he eyed Claire apprehensively before finally shaking her outstretched hand, “Nice to meet you Auror Sparks,” Draco said stiffly, “Thank you for getting me out of there safely.”

Claire smiled brightly, “I did nothing, it was all Harry. He's brilliant”

Draco nodded stiffly before turning to Harry, who was busy spelling the anti-apparation wards back on across the safehouse “Potter.” He said curtly, “Thank you.”

Harry smiled, “Anytime Malfoy. I think it was very brave of you to give us the information we needed to help save those families.”

Draco’s face softened, “It was the only option. For my son, and the life I want for him, he needs me to be an example for good.”

Harry hesitated, wanting to ask Draco how he had gotten the information on the blood-purist movement but not wanting to make him uncomfortable. Instead he nodded his head, “I think your son is lucky to have a father who feels that way.” Harry smiled before gesturing for Draco and Claire to sit down on the couch.

Draco sat down and Harry finished re-setting the wards before he sat down on the armchair situated nearest to Draco. Harry aimed his wand towards the kitchen, summoning a tea tray for them. The tray flew out of the kitchen and onto the coffee table, pouring three cups. Draco picked up one of the cups nervously, making frequent glances to the fireplace as he awaited the call from the ministry.

Time passed slowly, with the three of them making stilted conversation. After discussing quidditch scores, the newest Defense professor at Hogwarts, and the shared enjoyment of being fathers, Harry and Draco quickly ran out of conversation. The hours ticked on and more tea was drank, Harry started looking at his watch, watching the hours tick away with heavy eyes. At two, Harry decided to give up.

“I don’t know what’s going on, but I think the raid was supposed to end over an hour ago. If you two want to rest, I can wait up and wake you up when we finally get the call to head over.” Harry said.

Draco’s eyebrows furled, “Could anything have gone wrong?”

Harry shot Claire a warning look when he saw her begin to open her mouth, “I’m sure everything is fine,” Harry said quickly, “They just like to be thorough.”

Draco stood quickly and began to start pacing, his shoulders stiff and arms held behind his back. “I just want this to be over. I don’t like being away from my son for this long.”

Harry looked at Draco with concern, “Where’s Scorpius now?” He asked softly.

“Staying with Daphne, Astoria’s sister. I wanted her to stay with my Aunt Andromeda, but Tori insisted that Daphne wanted to spend the weekend with him. I didn’t want to tip Tori off that something was wrong so I agreed, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be being away from him while his mother is getting arrested.”

Harry’s head shot up, “Astoria is getting arrested in the raid?”

Draco gave Harry an off look, “She’s one of the leaders of the group. That’s how I learned about what was happening.”

Harry stared at Draco with surprise, his respect for Draco mounting. Claire gave him an odd look, and he realized he'd made a mistake on not reading the case file past seeing Draco was the informant. “That’s a very brave thing you did then. Turning your wife and her group in”

Draco nodded his thanks and they grew silent again.

Despite his assurances, Harry was getting nervous about the length of time they had spent waiting to hear from Robards. He wished he could risk floo calling, but knew that if something had gone wrong he could put Draco at risk by contacting the ministry. As time continued to pass, Claire slowly drifted off on the side of the couch while Harry and Draco stared ahead blankly.

The fire flared green and Harry perked up with anticipation and relief. He was expecting to see Robards or another familiar face, perhaps even Ron who was on desk-duty for the six months after Rose had been born but who had been called into to help process the extra paperwork from the raid.  Instead, an unknown wizard with a bright red mask lept out of the fire, wand drawn. The unknown assailant fired off a quick stupify which Harry jumped up and countered. 

Fast as lightning Harry had Draco behind him and was firing off spells of protection around them. Claire rose from her position on the couch, her hand shaking slightly as she began casting spells. The mystery wizard was powerful, countering Claire's spells with a practiced ease. Another two men exited the fire, out-arming Harry and Claire. Harry tried to Incarcerous the masked men, but they were quickly able to counter his spells. Harry and Claire fought desperately, but they were barely able to keep up and the men moved closer towards Harry and Draco. As another spell began to break through his defenses, Harry realized they were no match for the mystery wizards. 

Harry grabbed Draco's shoulder and focused all his magic on the anti-apparation wards he had earlier placed. The second he felt the wards begin to crack he pulled Draco and himself past, hurling them from the safehouse and into the darkness. 

They landed with a thud on the cold forest ground, the force of their landing pulling them apart. Harry jumped up quickly, pointing his wand at a disoriented Draco before Draco could even process their landing. 

"Incarcerous," Harry quickly spelled ropes around Draco, binding his hands to his sides, "Accio Malfoy's wand". 

As Draco watched his wand sail into Harry's hand, he let out a screech, "Potter, what the bloody hell was that and what do you think you're doing?!" 

Harry approached Draco, placing his wand up against Draco's chin, "I just abandoned my partner, possibly let her die, to protect you." Harry's voice has dropped lower than Draco ever heard it before, more a hissed whisper than anything else, "That floo was only accessible from the Auror department of the ministry which means either the department has been compromised or this is all just a set up orchestrated by you. Until I know which, there's no way you're wandering loose." 

Draco's eyes grew wide with horror, "Scorpius." Draco exclaimed, "Potter. My son. If they know I'm your witness they could go after him." Draco was frantic, struggling against his bonds as he attempted to stand. "We need to get him. I need to make sure he's alright." 

Harry eyed Draco warily, adrenaline still rushing through his veins, "why should I believe you? How do I know this isn't a trap?" 

Draco's eyes flared, "I don't care if you fucking believe me or not. Kill me for all I bloody care. But I need my son safe." He stopped struggling against the ropes, kneeling on the ground, white hair falling over downcast eyes "Potter, please," Draco choked, "you have kids. You understand. I need to know he's safe." 

Harry hesitated, his instincts to help a father get to his son waring against his distrust of Draco. Finally, Harry dropped his wand to his side, his eyes fluttering shut as he let out a sigh. "Fine. We'll go get him." 

Draco released his breath, "Thank you, Potter."

Harry freed the ropes holding Draco and linked hands to pull him up. "We go in, get him, and then we get out. We go to a safehouse linked to a fidelous charm, and we stay there till we know what happened. Until I hear evidence that you didn't set this up, I'm keeping your wand." 

Draco's face hardened, his eyes flashed grey as flint but he merely nodded his head. 

Harry narrowed his eyes, "And one more thing Malfoy. If this whole thing was an elaborate trap planned by you, and my partner died for nothing, I’ll kill you myself."  Harry tightened his grip on Draco's arm, whisking him away in an apparition before he'd had a chance to respond.