Who: Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy (for now)
Where: 12 Grimmauld Place and the Ministry of Magic
Summary: Harry and Draco sneak into the Ministry in an attempt to retrieve Draco's portrait
Watch for: Draco hitting Harry's head with his meat, a monster attack, Draco arguing with his portrait, a broom closet moment, and Harry and Draco in the garbage chute
Notes: This post was RPed by both myself and Aurora, to be continued via LJ
It was a very subdued Harry that came down that night, after the big confrontation in his room. As he tucked his wand away, within easy reach, he tossed a black hat in Draco's direction. "Last chance to back out, Malfoy. I suggest you take it."
Draco snatched the black hat that Harry flung at him and scowled. “I suggest you shut your trap so we can get going,” Draco countered. He should have been spending this night sleeping or preparing what to wear for tomorrow’s outing with Hermione, not going on some romp to Merlin knows where. Speaking of which…
“Potter…where exactly did you leave my picture?”
There was really no way to get around the stupidity that would be his reply, so Harry just gave it straight out. "The Ministry." Which brought him to his next point. "You understand why it wouldn't do to have you caught sneaking in."
The Ministry? Draco could hardly believe what he was hearing.
“What in Merlin’s name were you doing at Ministry with my portrait? And to remind you, I’ve been properly cleared by the Ministry, so I don’t see why my presence there should affect anything!”
"It would if we get caught. You really think that they'll be lenient on you just because you've been cleared by the Ministry?" Harry asked as he jammed his hat on his head. He did one last check of his attire, then turned to the door, but stayed in position to let Malfoy make the first move.
“Well I’m not daft enough to get caught, but considering your penchant to do so, can’t say the same about you,” Draco replied haughtily, checking his own appearance. Much as he’d like to dismiss the subject though, Draco felt Harry’s words did have a spark of truth in them. Was he so willing to risk getting caught so soon after the war?
Swiftly pulling out his wand, Draco pointed the tip at his chin and whispered a short incantation. Within seconds, a white beard sprouted from what had previously been fine, shaved skin. He then repeated the effect on his platinum-blond hair, which turned instantly grey.
“There,” Draco said, admiring his transformation in the mirror. “Satisfied, Potter? I’ve compromised my looks – they’ll never know that I’m Draco Malfoy.”
If it were that easy to change the man. "Just don't open your mouth," Harry advised. "That would give it away right quick." There was no rancour in his voice; he certainly understood Malfoy's motivations.
Taking on the Ministry with his childhood enemy was the least he'd do to retrieve something that belonged to his mother. That he had this in common with Malfoy irked him. That he was responsible for setting up this situation irked him even more.
Draco ignored Harry and concentrated on Apparating away to the Ministry instead. “I’ll go take a look out first. I don’t want to be seen by any late night workers.” With a crack Draco then Apparated from the entryway of Grimmauld Place, leaving Harry by himself.
"Drama queen," muttered Harry into the silence of the living room. He just hoped that Malfoy had the sense not to Apparate right onto Ministry grounds themselves.
Within moments, Draco found himself outside the Muggle entrance of the Ministry of Magic. Fortunately, since it was rather late at night, there were barely any Muggles loitering around and definitely no magic folk to be seen. Breathing a sigh of relief, he let himself wonder once more as to why Potter had brought his portrait here in the first place. Surely, his housemates weren’t scheming against him already? Feeling a new burst of annoyance at Potter and Weasley, Draco stamped his foot and shook himself from his thoughts in disgust, opting instead to just wait for the blasted Boy Who Lived to Torment Him. But when five minutes passed by without Draco seeing hide nor hair of Harry, he began to slightly worry. Where the bloody hell is that twit?
Harry came up the street a few minutes later, a flat brown package held in his hand. "Forgot something," he said as soon as he was within speaking distance, likely to forestall the question Draco was going to ask. He took in the surroundings, quietly assessing the environment, then let out a slow hissing breath. "Let's take the back entrance. It'll be faster."
“I’ll just assume you know what you’re doing,” Draco responded, before duly following Harry around to the back entrance of the Ministry. However, upon their arrival, an odd sense of foreboding began to sweep through Draco and he eyed Harry with uncertainty. “How far, exactly, do we have to venture until we reach my portrait?”
"Not too far," Harry muttered in reply, adding something that sounded suspiciously like, "I hope." Once at the door, he handed the parcel to his unwanted companion and studied the wards that had been set up. Unlocking charms had always been left in Hermione's capable hands anytime they'd had an adventure, but Hermione wasn't here and he wasn't keen to look stupid in front of Malfoy again by asking for help.
Taking out his wand, he cast a discreet sensing charm to see what security measures had been placed at the door. He and Ron had escaped through this door after their caper, but getting out was a lot easier than getting in. As the sigils that represented the charms lit up, Harry nodded to himself. He knew these charms. He could get around them. If only his hands would stop shaking.
Draco did not miss the shakiness of Harry’s hands and swallowed. So much for the hero. “Hurry up, Potter, we haven’t got all night,” he softly barked at his companion. It took Harry another moment before he was able to shut off all the wards and charms. Once he was finished, Draco swiftly opened the door and they both huddled in.
The corridor that they were standing in at the moment was pitch black, and Draco couldn’t help but allow a drop of cold sweat to drip from his forehead. “Alright, now where do we go from here?”
Harry didn't answer for a minute, instead giving himself a minute to listen for hints of anything moving in the oppressive silence. Only when he was satisfied that all was quiet did he allow himself to light his wand.
It still shook, which annoyed him. He'd hoped, after the previous night's adventure that somehow the lingering effects of Voldemort's curses had somehow been miraculously cured, but he should have known better to believe in miracles. And now Malfoy was looking at him as if he were a big coward for being afraid of the dark.
Let him, Harry told himself grimly, and surprised himself how resistant he was to the idea that he be anything less than his best around Malfoy.
The dim glow of his wand illuminated a long, winding corridor with a number of doors at the sides. Harry led the way down, trying to get a good look at each one to figure out which one he and Ron had used the night before. "Now we find your portrait."
Draco followed Harry's lead, checking each door. He was vaguely aware that behind certain doors lay vast storage rooms, but also behind some lay dark, mysterious ‘things’. After strolling down the whole length of the corridor, Draco began to feel weary. "Well, Potter? Are we near yet? Because we've walked past every single one, save for that one," Draco spoke irritatingly, pointing to an ominous-looking ebony door at the very end of the hallway.
Oh, yes. That door. Harry had a brief memory barreling through that door the previous night. There had been some screaming involved too, but anything more concrete was lost with the adrenaline rush. "That's the one," he told Draco, glancing down at the other man's hands. "Get the package ready for easy opening. Just in case."
Draco looked down at the package he held in his hands. He had forgotten all about it, what with the excitement of having broken into such a place and all. “What am I supposed to do with this?” he asked Harry as they neared their chamber of destination.
Being ever wary of his surroundings, Draco thought he heard a low, grumbling noise emanating from behind the chamber’s wooden door. He paused in his steps and strained his ears to listen more carefully. “I don’t think we’re alone here, Potter. Let’s hurry up and get out before we’re found.”
For once, Harry agreed with Malfoy. "There's some sort of Fenris-type creature in that room," he said quietly. "The portrait should be close enough to the door that we won't need to be in there too long, but the beast is fast. I'll open the door and get the portrait; you distract him with the meat." He gestured vaguely to the package.
“Alright, then. Let’s get it over with,” Draco said determinedly, watching Harry push the door ajar and enter. As his former Gryffindor companion bolted inside the dark room, Draco quickly followed suit and thrust some of the packaged meat forward, hoping to distract the creature, whatever it was.
Unfortunately, Draco couldn’t aim very well in the dim light and his piece of meat smashed into Harry’s head instead.
“Ow!” Harry shouted from somewhere inside the chamber.
“Too bad, Potter, I can’t see a thing!” was Draco’s hasty apology as he prepared to fling another cut of meat. Not wanting to hit Harry’s head again, though the git deserved it, Draco walked further inside the room.
Meat in hand, he was just about to hurtle it forward when he walked right into a pair of sinister, red eyes.
There it was, right where he and Ron had dropped it in their flight. Miraculously, it was still more or less in one piece, other than that incriminating bit that Malfoy had found in Harry's room. Still rubbing the back of his head, Harry moved forward to pick it up, but a sudden stillness had him whipping around, wand out. "Malfoy," he said in a low voice, "give him the meat and step away."
Draco was paralysed with horror. Ever since third year when that blasted Hippogriff mauled his arm, he had developed a semi-phobia of all untamed magical creatures and had made sure to stay clear them. But now that he was face to face with one, he found that his old fears were returning and his breathing became laborious. He wanted desperately to loosen his far-too-tight grip on the slice of meat in his hand, but his body would not respond to his mind. He couldn’t even make himself reach for his own wand, which was tucked neatly inside his cloak.
“P-P-Potter…”Draco croaked softly, voice lost as his body went cold and rigid.
Presently, the creature in front of him inched closer and bared its shiny, sharp fangs. He knew it was in attack mode. It would only be a short matter of time before it struck him, yet his body was completely out of his control.
“Potter…”Draco whispered again, hoping fervently for the first time that the black-haired wizard would come to his aid.
Harry watched with growing dread as the black beast slowly stalked towards his schoolyard nemesis. Why wasn't Malfoy doing anything? Then it struck him: Malfoy was scared: Malfoy, who had defied his own father, who had turned against Voldemort to help people who had always hated him. Dammit, Malfoy was not allowed to be scared.
But scared he was, and close enough to the giant dog that Harry couldn't get a clear shot at the beast. Feeling a momentary pang for another giant dog that he'd once known but that had died in the war, Harry straightened. "Hey!" he shouted loudly to get its attention, shooting up a series of sparks with his wand for good measure. "Over here!"
He waved his hands wildly, hoping to draw out the beast far enough that Malfoy wouldn't get trampled when it lunged. Once he had a clear shot of its paw, he fired a hex at it. And another. And another.
The red eyes glinted as the dog grew increasingly angry. And then, without warning, it leapt.
The dog-creature’s sudden leap away shook Draco out of his frozen state and he gasped for air. His whole body shook violently now that his muscles had regained their agility and he had never felt more embarrassed and ashamed in his life. How did it come that he had just owed his life to his insufferable nemesis?
With his senses having fully returned, Draco realized for the first time that if the dog wasn’t attacking him, it must be having a go at Potter. He then saw more flashes of light beam from the darker depths of the chamber, indicating that Harry was shooting off hexes at the monster. With newfound strength, Draco hurried towards the sounds of Harry crashing into things and the dog growling and barking furiously.
“I’m coming, Pot-“ Draco began yelling, before tripping on something solid and falling flat on his face. “Sodding fuck!” he cursed himself as he struggled to get up. That was when he noticed that the item he had just tripped over was none other than the frame of his portrait.
“Potter, I’ve got it! Get your arse out!” Draco cried, grabbing the frame and darting back towards the door. Reaching for his wand, Draco bellowed “Lumos!” and watched as the tip of the wand glowed with enough light for him to see Harry’s silhouette running towards him.
Harry had never been so glad to hear Malfoy speak. The hexes and jinxes he'd been throwing were simply glancing off the creature's skin and having no effect other than provoke the thing further, and now that Malfoy had retrieved that blasted portrait, he could just concentrate on getting the hell away. He dodged a massive paw and dove under the belly of the beast, but before he could get clear, razor-sharp teeth finally caught hold of his leg and his vision turned white with the pain of it.
"AAARGH!" Blindly, he struck out with his wand and felt it sink into the soft flesh of the dog's nose. The dog howled, dropping him in the process, and backed away. Harry shoved himself up the minute the tumbled back on the ground, and lurched for the door, bleeding copiously as he did so. "Go! Go!"
Draco was already outside the chamber by the time he heard Harry shouting for him to go. Turning back to see the creature right by Harry’s heel, he made for the door. Gripping it tightly, he slammed it shut in the creature’s face the minute Harry dashed out.
Both of them collapsed onto the floor, panting heavily from their near-death experiences. Mustering an ounce of strength, he crawled towards Harry and pointed his wand at the other wizard’s injured leg, which was still oozing with blood after having left quite a trail. To both of their surprises, Draco muttered a quick healing spell that instantly closed up the wound, though the area continued to swell.
“With the racket we’ve just made Potter, I’ll consider us mightily lucky to get out of here alive,” Draco commented, reaching for his dear portrait. “Well, at least we got what we came for.”
Picking it up, he brought it close to his chest, not caring if he looked like vain son of a bitch. “It’s good to have you ba-” he began before his eyes went wide in horror once more.
“Bloody sodding hell! I’m gone!”