Draco Malfoy has been missing since the end of the war.
Harry would be lying if he said he personally has made it a priority to look for him, he’s pretty sure only Malfoy’s parents can count themselves among that group.
But he isn’t exactly not looking for him either.
There are rumors of course, about what had happened to him, that he’d presented as an omega some time during the final battle and been spirited away by dark wizards or witches unknown, to be sold off to the highest bidder. Or that his parents had sent him away to the U.S. to avoid trial. There are also rumors that he’d presented as an alpha, and that he and Harry had fought to the death during the final battle, with Harry, obviously, being the victor.
He knows some of the rumors to be false, but... he doesn’t know if any of them have any truth to them, and he wonders. About Malfoy, about what had become of him.
No one really knows what happened to him, he supposes, except presumably whoever is involved in making him disappear and stay disappeared.
Still, during idle moments Harry will often find himself searching the news for that familiar name. At the presentation parties he is endlessly invited to, and sometimes attends just because he is tired of people complaining that he is still single, there is always some small part of him disappointed not to spot a certain blonde slytherin among those being presented to society as freshly minted, and available, omegas.
Which is just ridiculous really, because even if Malfoy had been found and even if he had presented as an omega and even if he wasn’t already bonded to someone, and that was an awful lot of if’s, it will have at least made the papers before the party. Probably.
But mostly he has moved on.
It’s not like he and Malfoy had ever been together, it’s not like prior to Malfoy’s disappearance he had ever even wanted to be with Malfoy, but still… he wonders.
When Harry finally gets news that Malfoy has been found it comes not from the Daily Prophet, or the Quibbler, or even from any of the high society gossips Harry is forced to socialize with at the presentation parties, but instead, surprisingly, from Ron.
Ron and Hermione had lived with Harry for a while after the war, but they had eventually moved on to a place of their own. The three of them still get together once a week for dinner though, and it is at one of these dinners that the subject comes up.
Ron arrives late, still in his auror robes and looking taxed. Harry is hosting this week, and when Ron arrives he is finishing up dinner and Hermione is reviewing some case files of hers.
Ron immediately goes to Hermione and sweeps her up in his arms, holding her tightly and burying his face in her hair.
Ron, who had entered the auror academy shortly after the war, had taken to being an auror like a fish to water, but there are still some things he has to see and deal with in the course of his job that make him question if he wants to keep doing it, and it seems that today has been one of those days.
Once Ron has been sufficiently calmed by his mate’s presence and reassurances, dinner is ready so they all settle in at the large wooden table in Harry’s kitchen to eat.
“Raid today. Illegal brothel.” Ron says eventually. “We found…”
He has to stop to clear his throat, and Hermione leans into his side in a comforting gesture.
“We found a lot of trafficked omegas.”
Omegas being bought and sold isn’t technically illegal, so long as it is under the pretense of bonding and dowries paid to the omega’s families. After all, an omega belongs to the head of their family until such a time as they are bonded, then they belong to the person they are bonded to.
Omega prostitutes, though, are extremely illegal. Unfortunately, they can also fetch a much higher price for their rarity and desirability. So it isn’t unheard of for this kind of thing to happen.
“The healers say that they should… should survive.”
Prostitution is a line of work that will kill an omega eventually, if nothing else does first. Being mounted by someone who isn’t their bonded mate would be physical and mental torture, as would being repeatedly marked and bonded.
There is only so much a person can take.
Ron is holding on to Hermione like he needs the reassurance that she is there and okay, and she is trying to comfort him with quiet murmurs.
Hermione is a beta, and she’s more than capable of holding her own in a fight if needed. But Harry can understand Ron, who is an alpha same as Harry, needing the reassurance that his mate is okay either way.
Instincts aren’t exactly logical things after all.
Harry feels like he is intruding on a personal moment watching them, so he turns his attention back to his food, even though his appetite is gone.
“Some… some of them are going to have to stay at St. Mungo’s.” Ron continues, eventually. “And there are some we still have to sort out bond wise.”
There would have to be trials, to determine the legal validity of any bonds any of the omegas were still under, but with a case like this the trials should be over quickly with the Ministry ruling them invalid and sending the omegas home to their families.
These omegas will likely always be considered “damaged goods”, and will likely never be able to make as good of matches as they otherwise would have, but... omegas are desirable and rare enough that their families will manage.
“But there’s one, even… even if his trial goes the way it should and his previous bond is deemed invalid, we’ve got nowhere to send him.” Ron says. “He only has one alpha relative, and he’s a known criminal so the ministry can’t release custody of an omega to him.”
“Doesn’t the ministry have a program to help find suitable mates for omegas in cases like this?” Hermione asks.
“Yeah, but it’s all voluntary.” Ron says. “There’s loads of alphas happy to take on an orphaned omega, and some even willing to take one with a troubled past, but the problem is we doubt anyone who qualifies for the program will be interested in this one.”
“He’s… he’s in bad shape. Tons of marks. The healers were shocked he was still alive.” Ron says, adding as an afterthought “Must have been there for years.”
“If he doesn’t get any decent offers, I’ll take him.” Harry says. He hasn’t even consciously had the thought before it's already out of his mouth.
“What?” “Mate, no.” Hermione and Ron speak at the same time.
“Why not? I haven’t found anyone I’m interested in elsewhere. I don’t mind about the marks, and it sounds like this guy could do with someone treating him kindly for once.” He didn’t plan to volunteer, but now that he has he thinks he rather likes the idea.
“Harry, when you kept turning people down I thought you just weren’t interested in settling down yet-” Hermione says, before Ron interrupts.
“You know I’m not supposed to name names in cases like these even with you guys but mate you can’t just agree to that sort of thing without even knowing who we’re talking about.” Ron says.
He knows Ron has a good point, but he’s kind of commited to this idea now.
“Does it matter? You guys know I’m not picky about gender and stuff.” Harry says. “And I think it’s safe to say at this point, that I’m never going to find the ‘one’ or whatever.”
“So why not help if I can?”
Ron makes a strangled kind of frustrated sound and gestures at Harry with a wild look at Hermione as if to say ‘help me talk some sense into him’.
Hermione just shrugs, which only seems to make Ron more frustrated.
“Fine. Fine, I know if I try to push this right now, you’re just going to dig your heels in and become more stubborn about this so fine.” Ron says, sounding exasperated. “Just- just promise me you won't officially agree to anything without finding out who it is first.”
“I feel bad for the guy, and I want him to find a place where he can recover, but it’ll do neither of you any good if you rush into this and then realize its not something you can actually deal with.” Ron says. And Harry feels sufficiently chastised for being so flippant about the matter.
“Okay, I won't rush into anything.” Harry says, and Ron sighs in relief. “But I do want to consider what I can do to help, whatever that is, so how do I go about finding out more?”
“Well Ron, you can talk about the available omegas with the alphas in the program can’t you? Harry hasn’t officially been approved yet but we all know he will be its just a matter of having to fill out a bit of parchment really. He far exceeds the program’s minimum requirements for housing, finances, and good standing. So maybe you could just tell him?” Hermione says, she frames it like this is all to make things go smoother and easier for the two of them, but they can both see her barely contained curiosity.
Ron thinks about it a moment. He’s certainly not opposed to bending or even breaking the rules on occasion, but maintaining the confidentiality of the people he helps in cases like these is more than just a rule to him, it’s something he considers very important.
“No matter the outcome, this information goes no further than here.” Ron says, seriously.
“Of course.” Hermione says, and Harry nods as well.
“It’s.. it’s Malfoy.” Ron says.
Hermione gasps. Ron keeps talking, but to Harry everything sounds far more distant than it did a moment ago.
“Maybe you could write a letter to put in his file, if you’re still insistent on helping somehow. That should help at least, with those that are hesitant about him having a dark mark and everything. You can still see it, I mean it’s faded and kind of mangled by scars, but it’s still there-”
“I’ll do it.” Harry says quietly, rushing into something he isn’t sure he can actually handle. He clears his throat and says again, louder. “I’ll take him.”
He doesn’t know why, but he just feels like this is something he needs to do.