Enchanted sunlight gave way to natural light as Draco engraved the Japanese Kanji for calm and clarity of mind onto soft gold, 平静を保つ, heisei o tamotsu.
The density of gold meant the spells would hold strong, despite the small size of the crescent-moon earrings. The alloyed copper and silver made the earrings more conductive to the infused magic and imparted its natural anti-dark-magic properties respectively.
Draco pulled off his magnifying glasses and shifted the earrings to a clear space. A moment of focus and a dab of magic later, the spell-characters activated, and all that was left was to soak the earrings in his Finishing Potion.
Draco rubbed his eyes and sighed. He cast an eye over the clutter of his workshop, and decided he had time for a quick nap before the day encroached. And even if the rest of the day went badly, at least he knew that the recipient would like his gift.
Harry pulled a face as he glanced down at the various wizarding shops in Diagon Alley. They all looked normal, and given whose birthday was coming up, none of it felt right.
He turned onto one of the narrower streets. Antique Books had a broad shopfront, cluttered with book—that would suit Hermione, but her birthday was over half a year away given that it was only February. There was also Piquant Preserves, and Marvellous Millinery, and Pendant Protegos & Charmed Creations.
Harry sighed and stuck his hands in his pockets. He turned, intent on heading to Muggle London instead when he noticed someone entering Pendant Protegos. They had heavy dark brown robes with silvery details along the seams, and long white-blond hair braided down their back. Their head turned slightly as they closed the door behind them, and Harry’s eyes widened.
Draco fucking Malfoy.
Last Harry had seen him was the War Trials, over four years ago. What the fuck was Malfoy doing in Pendant Protegos? If Harry remembered correctly, and he did, Malfoy had a deft hand at charming objects, from the Potter Stinks badges to the cursed necklace. Malfoy didn’t need to buy items from someone else. Eyes narrowing, Harry strode forward and pushed inside Pendant Protegos. The door opened smoothly with a chime.
The inside was larger than what the narrow shopfront suggested: wizarding space stretched wider beyond the shop front’s display, and long shelves of glass were against the wall, displaying dozens of items each with their own little card.
Malfoy was behind the counter, head tilted down as he wrote. He looked up upon Harry’s arrival.
Harry’s jaw tightened, and his eyebrows went up in askance. “Malfoy. You work here?”
Malfoy straightened. “I do,” he said, voice without the whine from his teenage years. He rounded the counter, eyes hooded. “How may I help you?”
Harry snorted, not fooled by Malfoy’s benign behaviour. “Place doesn’t look very busy. Who’s the owner?”
Malfoy’s lips tightened. “I’m the owner,” he said. “I’m surprised you didn’t know. After all, the Ministry inspects the shop regularly.”
Harry shrugged a shoulder. “You expect me to be up-to-date with whatever you’ve been doing these past years?” he scoffed. He strolled over to one of the glass cases and glanced at one of the captions next to a simple round silver pendant. Sterling silver. Infused with shield charms. Calibratable distance activation.
“Did you make these as well?”
Malfoy’s stance stiffened. “I did.”
Harry glanced at another piece of jewellery. It was a necklace with glass and stone beads. Glass charmed with Notice-Me-Not. Stone charmed with Protego and Muffliato.
The perfect kit for burglary, Harry realised. He slowly turned back to Malfoy. “You made these,” he repeated.
Malfoy gave him a flat look. “Yes. Should I expect a search warrant from you? Direct from the Minister’s Office?”
Harry shrugged. “No. Simply interested. I’m...looking for a gift,” he added, mixing in a touch of truth.
Malfoy’s eyes remained wary as he walked slowly over to Harry. “Protective pendants automatically activate a protego charm around the wearer when a malicious spell comes within its target range.”
“Rather paranoid if you’re not in a violent job,” Harry said with a sidelong glance.
However, Malfoy didn’t rile up as Harry wanted. Instead, Malfoy gave Harry an inscrutable look, and said, “If this form of paranoia does not hurt anyone, then what of it? A beautiful piece of jewellery.”
Harry’s jaw tightened. “And what led you to jewellery making?” he pressed.
Malfoy crossed his arms. “One thing led to another, and I needed them,” he said, words short and sharp. “Buy something or state your business, Mr. Potter.”
Harry bristled, despising the way Malfoy spat out his name like that. “Get off your fucking high-horse. No wonder your shop is empty as fuck, what that kind of attitude,” Harry scoffed. “Don’t you think I have the right to questions before any purchase?”
Malfoy’s expression darkened. “You’re thinking of that cursed necklace,” he said, silver eyes glittering like blades. “You have no need to purchase anything. I wouldn’t have expected you to.”
Harry crossed his own arms. “Oh, I am going to buy something,” he said defiantly. He pointed out a pendant inlaid with a red gem. “That one. Rubies, suitable for Gryffindors, don’t you think?”
Malfoy gave him a flat look. He made some shapes with his hand, and then reached through the glass to take out the pendant and chain. “Red apatite, actually,” Malfoy said. “Its greater reflectivity and light scattering allows for the inclusion of a Lumos charm, along with the pendant’s silver shield charm.” He held it out to Harry, and Harry warily accepted it.
Nothing happened when the cool metal touched his hands. It felt like a normal piece of jewellery, which made it all the more suspicious, especially when the gem’s red looked like blood in just the right angle.
“Good. This would be perfect,” Harry lied.
“Then allow me to package it,” Malfoy said. He took back the pendant and laid it in a black-velvet-lined box, making the silver bright, followed by its lid.
Harry handed over his galleons and accepted the pendant box. “Cheers, Malfoy.”
“Pleasure,” Malfoy said, sounding anything but. Which only made Harry more vindictive with the fact that he had bought something Malfoy hadn’t wanted him to buy.
Harry tingled with purpose. Back at Grimmauld Place, he found some books on investigative spells in the library room that Hermione had installed. Cross-referencing the books, he slowly took apart the pendant and extracted the inlaid charms. To his dismay, they weren’t Latin spell words, but rather ancient runes.
All the better to hide the dark magic, Harry thought. He painstakingly copied out the spirals of runes onto parchment—they all just looked like straight lines with random extra decorations—and headed back to the library room.
The Ancient Runes books were like all the others—big and heavy and intimidating. Harry ultimately took out a textbook on the topic: Ancient Runes Made Easy.
“Runes are an ancient script dating from the old Germanic languages prior to the spread of Latin…” the introduction started. Harry’s brain glazed over the words as it went on and on about the history of runic alphabets.
Not useful anyway, Harry justified, and flipped over to the portion of the book that contained a dictionary of runes and rubbed his eyes in anticipation of the upcoming headache. He slowly picked at the different runes, but he couldn’t quite tell where a word ended or started, let alone a sentence.
The window was darkening by the time Harry made a breakthrough.
One of the runes said myrkru, darkness. Yet, Malfoy had said the pendant was supposed to charm light.
Harry was right. With a deep sense of grim satisfaction, he got up and left for dinner with his friends.
At least she liked it, Draco reminded himself, as he closed the door behind him. At least one thing went well today. It didn’t help the crash, though, knowing that his home was empty, knowing that there was no one who actually wanted to see him, knowing that some people didn’t want him alive at all.
Moving back to his parents wasn’t an option, for the same reason why Draco wasn’t out with Pansy “meeting new people” and for the same reason why Draco wasn’t out with Blaise on the pull.
I could fake it, Draco tried to tell himself. He’d seen how other people behaved. But the thought of acting for years and trying to be normal made Draco miserable.
It was hours later that Draco was finally able to drag himself into his workshop that took up the majority of his warehouse conversion. He headed to his drawers of gemstones. Rich green emerald for cheering charms.
Draco set the gem soaking in a calming draught first. He then took out bronze wire to make a cabochon wrap—bronze for light against the cold. Rune-engraving was impossible, but given that it was for Draco himself, he didn’t mind spell-charming it, and then rebuffing as necessary.
The jitteriness remained as he worked, feeling like he didn’t quite fit in his skin. He found himself glancing towards the door frequently, half-fearing that Aurors would appear—half hoping they would just to get it over and done with.
He went to bed when he finished, bronze necklace around his neck, emerald in its wire-wrap held loosely in his hand. He curled up, hugging his pillow and fell into a fitful sleep.
Harry grinned at the manic that was Sunday at the Burrow. He played with the kids first, nevermind that he had seen most of them throughout the week on babysitting stints on his days off from the Ministry. He then helped Ginny, George and Ron supervise the four- and three-year-olds on Quidditch brooms. He ended up being drawn into the kitchen to help Molly.
Eventually he was kicked out the kitchen with a platter of appetizers. He spotted Luna, Fleur and Bill seated out in the back and decided to head over.
“Food, anyone?” Harry asked, conjuring a table for the platter.
Bill grinned. “Cheers, Harry.”
Harry pulled a seat up next to them. “Whatcha talking about?” he asked, going to grab a morsel for himself.
Luna tilted her ear towards Harry, curling her hair behind her ear. “Aren’t my new earrings lovely?”
They were pale gold crescent moons, and if Harry looked closely, he could make out a moon-texture on them too.
“Yeah. They’re pretty...conventional, though?” Harry said.
Fleur snorted. “Really, Harry, The charms work on it is exceptional and highly unique. I might get a piece myself.”
Harry glanced to Bill, and Bill laughed.
“Better let Fleur pick rather than attempt a secret gift,” he said, with a besotted smile at Fleur.
“Oh, right!” Harry pulled out a small item from his pocket and resized it to a poorly wrapped shape. “Happy birthday, Luna.”
Luna beamed and immediately unwrapped it. It was a pair of socks with radishes on them. Luna’s smile widened. “They’re fantastic, Harry!”
Harry grinned and relaxed back to enjoy the conversation.
Monday morning, Harry headed to the Ministry, and in particular, down to the Records in the DMLE.
“Oh, hi, Harry,” Cho said when she saw him down the corridor. “Are you collecting the monthly reports now?”
“Right, yes,” Harry said. He accepted her reports, along with the reports from other senior Aurors. Exuding an air of I’m meant to be here, he then headed into the DMLE Records Room. Draco Malfoy’s file was easy to locate. Harry made a duplicate copy and slipped it into his pocket.
With all the reports in one arm, Harry finally headed up to the Minister’s Office—but made sure to drop by the tea room first. Putting on a casual smile, he knocked on Hermione’s door and entered.
“Harry!” Hermione said. “What are you doing in today?”
“Admin never ends,” he said, pulling a face. He handed her the senior Auror reports—she’ll delegate it to someone else, Harry knew, and placed a mug of tea on the tinest spare space on her desk.
Hermione snorted. “Thanks, Harry,” she said, her suspicion melting away as she took a deep drink.
“Any requests for dinner tonight, then?” Harry asked.
“Something not fussy to eat,” Hermione said with a tired grin.
Harry nodded. “Gotcha.” He gave her a wave, and headed back to Grimmauld Place without further incident.
He cast some alert charms and a handful of privacy charms around his desk first. Then, with anticipation—and knowing that he was technically breaking Ministry rules, but also technically not since his administrative position meant that he was allowed to read the majority of reports—Harry opened Malfoy’s file.
Every month, there had been another investigation at his jewellery shop. Unable to find any signs of Dark Magic, they said. No discrepancies between Gringotts accounts and business ledgers. One of them noted that Slow business. Could be a front for a criminal organisation. Malfoy has no formal Charms qualifications.
Harry pursed his lips and narrowed his eyes consideringly. He remembered vaguely that there was a door behind the counter—what lay in that back room? And who helped Malfoy make all those pieces of charmed jewellery—assuming all of them were real?
A little older was the business application, which was completed just under half a year ago, and filed a year before that. The boringly familiar form had Harry moving on.
There were some incomplete assault charges; Unknown witch, Morning, Horizont Alley, Diffindo, one of the charges read. Harry was fucking unsurprised, skimming over the numerous reports. Fucking bad Auror work clearly meant old pureblood-”sympathy” was protecting Malfoy from being charged and prosecuted. Harry was right—
Attacker: unknown witch.
Victim: Draco L. Malfoy
No, that couldn’t be right. Harry rubbed his eyes and frowned at the report, but the words didn’t change.
Rather paranoid, Harry had said of the protego pendants. Was Malfoy actually justified? Harry rubbed his eyes again. Something didn’t match up.
...Unless Malfoy had provoked those attacks, and made a report to appear as a victim.
Harry firmly put the incomplete assault charges away: it wasn’t his job to follow them up.
Next were the parole reports. Harry skimmed over the interviews: all dry, and extremely repetitive.
Last were the War Trial papers.
Harry clenched his jaw as memories surfaced. The loud loud loud public, the constant flash of cameras, and shouting from the Wizengamot. Harry could hardly remember what he actually said in those trials, but he did remember how emaciated Malfoy had looked.
Each report had an updated image of Malfoy, and through the four years, Harry could trace how Malfoy’s face filled out a little more, and how his hair lengthened.
There was no point for Harry to look through the War Trial papers, he knew what Malfoy did. Instead, he turned back to the newer reports.
A criminal front.
What if the items on sale themselves where the criminal product? Harry scoured Malfoy’s file again, but found no thorough examination of the items themselves, which was a glaring omission.
Harry glanced at his own examination of one of Malfoy’s items. He placed Malfoy’s reports into the drawer with Malfoy’s insincere “thank you” letter after the War Trials and Malfoy’s old hawthorn wand.
Then, Harry started on the runes and the pendant all over again, feeling a sense of purpose that he never felt at the Ministry.
Vǫrn gegn myrkru illgirni. Vǫrn gegn myrkru fjarveru ljóssins.
Protection against dark-malice. Protection against the dark absence of light, Harry had finally translated the runes, once he realised they were in Old Norwegian in particular.
Harry hated the grammatical and sentence structure of ancient runes. Harry spent much too long just staring at the spell fragment, in the Ancient Runes textbook, er skygia gratur ok skæra þuer hirdis hatr, which apparently meant lamentation of the clouds and ruin of the hay-harvest and abomination of the shepherd. It wouldn’t have surprised Harry if it had been a common spell wizards had used on muggles, or on other wizards they despised.
Frustrated, Harry abandoned the Ancient Runes textbook once again and glared at the bits and pieces of the pendant that Harry had taken apart. He couldn’t put it back together: a Reparo didn’t work.
There was nothing for it. Harry grabbed his Invisibility Cloak and headed out.
Under his invisibility cloak, Harry examined the front facade of Protego Pendants & Charmed Creations. The main sign was in the style of Malfoy’s handwriting, and along the door and window frames were the faintest motifs of dragons. Harry leaned in closer, squinting at the dragons. They had different shapes, and some repeated: was it a secret code? The shop glass, as narrow as the door, displayed various silver pendants. He looked past them, but it was dark inside.
His frown deepened when he realised the shop was closed. A glance at the opening hours revealed that the shop was only open three days: Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Hardly a viable business model. Which made it all the more likely that it was a front for something more sinister.
I could submit an anonymous tip to the DMLE, Harry thought. But his stomach flipped at the thought of it, and he shook it off. All those past inspections had found nothing.
Drawing his wand, Harry did a little trick he had learnt during his (failed) Auror-training that pushed apart the molecules to make an opening.
To his surprise, it didn’t work. Harry jumped back at the sudden crack of apparition. Malfoy’s face was twisted in bitter resignation as he approached the door. Wand drawn, he began casting.
Harry took another step back, and froze when Malfoy’s head snapped to him.
Trust the fucking cloak!
Malfoy’s eyes narrowed. He stepped forward towards Harry.
Even though Harry knew Malfoy couldn’t see him—and knew that the cloak was impervious to charms and spells—Harry uncomfortably shuffled back.
Malfoy’s jaw tightened, eyes flickering down to the ground. He turned, and unlocked the shop, and headed inside. The closed sign flipped to open.
Harry let out a breath. He moved to the glass and settled in to watch.
However, for the next hour, Malfoy simply sat behind the counter, writing and occasionally summoning some books. No one else entered the shop, meaning Harry couldn’t slip in.
Eventually, Malfoy packed everything up and exited the shop. Harry was ready, throwing a tracker spell at Malfoy’s boots.
But the spell bounced off with a sizzle of magic, that for the briefest moments revealed a shield around Malfoy. Malfoy didn’t even glance back: he turned on the spot and Apparated away.
Harry slammed a fist down on the door. WHAT THE FUCK? His spell wasn’t malicious at all, it wasn’t dark, and yet Malfoy had repelled it.
Malfoy must think he’s so fucking high and mighty. He must think he’s so powerful and smart.
Didn’t matter anyway, Harry thought grimly as he apparated back to Grimmauld Place. He’ll make and have dinner with Ron and Hermione first. After that...he knew where Malfoy Manor was.
Draco stalked through his house, stomach boiling. The nerve of Potter—as if Draco wouldn’t notice his attempted break in, or the flash of his shoes underneath that invisibility cloak. Draco had been gracious enough to open the shop—a clear invitation for Potter to come in and talk. Except he hadn’t, and he’d even fucking tried to stick Draco with something as Draco left.
Not fucking innocent at all, Draco seethed.
He headed out for his afternoon meeting, and his anger only simmered down when Fleur Delacour greeted him outside the Caffè Nero.
« Bonjour, Madame Delacour, » Draco replied in kind.
« Fleur, s'il te plaît, » she replied, eyes sparkling. « Thank you for meeting with me, » she continued in French.
« The thanks is all mine, » Draco demured.
Fleur held the door open, and they headed inside for coffee and a table. Draco cast a discrete Muffliato around them and produced a notebook with various jewellery designs. Fleur flipped through it with clear appreciation.
« These are adorable, » she said, a smile curving. She ran a light finger down the page, nodding slowly.
The tight ball in Draco’s chest eased a little. « Merci, » he said, and started to build a discussion about what Fleur wanted to commission from him.
Cold, wet, and fucking miserable, Harry apparated back to Grimmauld Place much too late—early in the morning of the next day. He collapsed into bed for a short nap, already dreading the day ahead sifting through papers at the Ministry.
Staking outside Malfoy Manor had gained Harry nothing. No, he needed to return to the original source of his suspicions: Malfoy’s shop.
Under the cover of night, Harry set up monitoring spells around Malfoy’s shop, and in every spare moment in which he hadn’t plans with his friends, or babysitting Teddy and the other kids, or sorting Ministry paperwork for Hermione, Harry was there, under his invisibility cloak, watching. He even took some of his work breaks there, lurking—at least it made him more energised on the return.
On the days the shop was open, Malfoy appeared five minutes before the opening time, and left five minutes after closing. There were a handful of customers. One of them was a repeat customer, though they never left with anything. Malfoy’s shop was in a dead-end street, and the foot traffic was sparse. But even Marvellous Millinery had thrice as many patrons.
Outside closing time, there was nothing. Through the week, then two weeks of surveillance, there were no suspicious figures entering the shop, no suspicious figures loitering around the shop.
Nothing. It may have well been dead.
A teeth-grinding impatience set in him, and one day, Harry slipped into the shop behind the repeat customer under the cover of his invisibility cloak.
Malfoy’s face was tight, eyes flickering to the door, and to the witch. “Ms. Juneberry,” he said, nodding stiffly. “How do you do?”
“Oh, just looking, dear.” The witch drew a pale-wood wand, and started muttering some basic dark-magic detection spells. A sparkle of silver meant the shop came up clean. She pursed her lips and adjusted the fall of her robes. “All seems to be in order,” she said.
Malfoy’s head dipped. “Thank you, Ms. Juneberry.”
Juneberry pursed her lips as she scanned the items on display. “Nothing new,” she muttered under her breath.
Harry held back a snort. There had been no other customer between her visit yesterday and her visit today—there was no need for Malfoy to restock.
“Well, I’m very busy,” she said more loudly. “Good day, Malfoy.”
Harry took a quick step back to avoid her path. To Harry’s dismay, Juneberry pulled the door shut behind her as she left. Harry glanced back at Malfoy—maybe he could try a strong Notice-Me-Not.
Malfoy was staring elsewhere, so Harry drew his wand, and nearly fucking dropped it when Malfoy spoke.
“What do you fucking want, Potter?” It was sharp. Bitter. “If you’re going to skip the search warrant, you may as well skip the Veritaserum warrant too and just issue whatever verdict you wanted.”
Harry kept his mouth shut, and waited.
Malfoy smirked. “Oh, Potter.” He drew his wand, and a fine mist appeared in the shop. Water condensed onto the glass, and Malfoy turned and looked Harry straight in the face. With a snap of movement, Malfoy stalked around the counter and straight towards Harry. Harry raised his wand, stepping back.
Malfoy’s eyes darkened. He reached out and yanked. Harry scrambled to keep the cloak on him, but Malfoy held it tight in fist, and by then, it was too late.
Harry tilted his chin up. “This is a shop. I’m allowed to be here.”
Malfoy threw the cloak back at Harry. “Terribly interesting watching, isn’t it?” he drawled. “Learnt anything in two weeks?”
“I’m merely healthily skeptical,” Harry said, squaring off back at Malfoy. “You’re right. I am thinking of the cursed necklace. I suppose you must buy this stuff cheap from a muggle jewellers’ and markup with your charms.”
Malfoy’s jaw tightened. “So that’s what you want.” He threw his head back and strode to the door. His eyes glittered. “Well then. Let’s go.”
Harry’s feet propelled him through the open door. “Where?” he demanded, eyes narrowed when Malfoy offered his arm.
Malfoy’s lips curved into a dark smile. “Wouldn’t you want to know?”
Scowling, Harry grabbed Malfoy’s arm. The side-along yanked him to a London street. Malfoy led him inside one of the buildings.
Harry narrowed his eyes as he took in what was Malfoy’s living areas: the empty walls, the sparse furniture, pillows and blankets piled on the sofa, books piled on the coffee table.
Further in, the ceiling opened up to a cavernous room. Shelves and cabinets were packed, up against the walls. In the center were rows of tables, and on each table there was a different set of tools and objects, including a table that looked exactly like a miniature potions bench, complete with half-sized cauldrons and implements. Tall windows let in light at the far end, revealing nondescript gardens.
Malfoy stripped off his robes, revealing his waistcoat and puffy-sleeved shirt. He crossed his arms, facing Harry. “Whatever you want, Potter. I’d answer. I’ll make anything for you.”
“You make everything yourself,” Harry said, not quite believing it.
“Oh, of course not—”
Harry started to smirk—
“—The Earth and planetary processes led to the creation of metals, gems, and magic,” Malfoy drawled. “I merely combine them together.”
Harry scowled. “You’re a fucking bastard.” He stepped forward, crowding Malfoy back into the shelves. “What’s your deal, Malfoy? What’s your fucking angle? How did you get this place? Who are your suppliers? Who did you bribe to get the Ministry's approval for your shop?”
Malfoy rested his head back against the books, smiling at Harry as though Harry was a fucking idiot who needed to be coddled. “We needed protection, after the War. Nothing like hexings to the back to push one into action. There is no angle, Mr. Potter. I source my supplies from various companies in Muggle London and beyond. Perhaps you’ve heard of real estate agents. And Deputy Minister Granger herself stamped my business application form. So.” Malfoy’s eyes gave a slow blink. “What would you like, Mr. Potter?”
Harry’s stomach bubbled. Hermione? No offence to her, but she must have accepted it when she was in a rush. “La-di-da, Malfoy. What are you charming the jewellery with?”
Malfoy raised a hand. A summoned book slapped into it with a thud and he shoved it against Harry’s chest. “Go on. Have a look.”
Harry grunted. He had to shift back to open the notebook. Malfoy’s handwriting and runes filled the pages.
Defence from the dark-malice. Defence from the dark-absence-of-light, was the English underneath mostly-familiar runes. The rest though was hard to decipher, and Harry now knew first hand how the runes did not directly translate to English, since they weren't written in English at all.
For all Harry knew, the English translations were the benign meanings. For all Harry knew… “Where are your other books? Your...research logs? Your rune texts and proper translations?”
Malfoy stared at him. A hand cut through the air. “Look around, Potter!” he spat out. “Go then! Pick whatever you damn want from the shelves! Go on! Do your investigation! Call in the Aurors! The Hitwizards! The Unspeakables! Look. Poke. Touch your fill!”
“Hey, calm down, Malfoy.”
Malfoy growled. Books flew from the shelves, and Malfoy shoved them at Harry. “My first notebook. My working notes. And another. Go on! Take it all, Potter!”
Harry scrambled to hold all of them.
“And oh, you want a proper translation? Then take a fucking look at this!” With that, Malfoy dropped a copy of Ancient Runes Made Easy on Harry’s feet.
“Fuck!” Harry stepped back, toes throbbing with pain. “What the FUCK, MALFOY?”
Malfoy sucked in a sharp breath. “Just trying to be helpful, Mr. Potter.”
Harry bared his teeth. He dropped all of Malfoy’s precious notebooks to the floor and drew his wand. He became irrationally angier when Malfoy refused to draw his own wand.
“Go on,” Malfoy said. He tilted his head back, a hand bringing his braid over his shoulder. “No one to witness anything. Your word against mine.”
Harry seethed. “What are you implying, Malfoy—”
Fuck! Harry turned his head to see Luna walking towards them carrying a basket.
“Harry,” she said, brows crinkling.
Malfoy pushed his hair back and stepped away from Harry. “Luna,” he said, voice soft. “How may I help you?”
Luna glanced at Harry. “I wanted to thank you for those earrings, Draco,” she said, holding up the basket.
Harry struggled to think on the onslaught of fragments. “What—Malfoy made those earrings? You two know each other? Do you feel safe alone with Malfoy?”
Luna stepped up alongside Draco, physically putting one of his hands onto the basket handle. “All since that incident in the Manor,” she said calmly.
Malfoy flinched. “Luna, really, it was a gift—”
“And I want to give you a gift,” she insisted, giving Malfoy a stern look.
Malfoy tilted his head, accepting the basket. “Arigato gozaimasu,” he said to Luna.
Harry felt invisible. Harry felt like an intruder.
And then Luna looked at him, and Harry felt guilty. He lowered his wand, scarcely able to believe what he had just done, was about to do.
There were reasons why he had flunked out of Auror training. There were reasons why he was just working admin for Hermione. And now, he struggled—struggled with the fact that he let all that anger cloud his judgement. Hating Malfoy, fine. But attacking him? It’s not the War anymore!
“I think,” Luna said slowly, “That you were about to leave on an urgent matter you have forgotten.”
Harry glanced at Malfoy, but Malfoy wasn’t meeting his eye.
Humiliation bubbled in his stomach, and anger welled in his chest. This was Malfoy’s fault. If Malfoy had just been polite, and open and good from the very beginning, it wouldn’t have come to this. Harry gritted his teeth and pointedly turned away from Malfoy.
“Thanks for reminding me, Luna,” he forced out. “Have a good day.” Harry marched out, out of the workshop, out of Malfoy’s living quarters, out of the building.
And then it was just Harry. Standing on an unfamiliar street and feeling like fucking shit.