Chapter One

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Important Note: This is a sequel and the first story in the series is The Art of Forgetting, and it is only 5,000 words. I can promise you that you'll benefit from having the back story, please review if you enjoy it! WARNING: this story contains quite a lot of rather unpleasant injuries, and their descriptions may be graphic to some and hard to read. This story is also an entrant to the 2016 Potions and Snitches Springfest, the challenges I answered are: Something Similar by Scorpia, Anaphylaxis by Jan_AQ, Lost Glasses by Jan_AQ and Sequel Challenge by JAWorley. Beta-read by Waitingondasies, I so appreciate your help!

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When Draco found the body of Harry Potter lying half dead against the trunk of his favorite oak tree, he thought he was hallucinating. Of course, he hadn't realized it was Potter at first, and if he had, the temptation to kick some snow on him and walk away whistling may have been too great to ignore.

No, first, he'd spun around so fast that his booted feet slid dangerously in the mud. It took a great amount of willpower for Draco to calm his racing heart and steady his feet, but once he'd accomplished that, he stepped neatly away from the sopping wet ground and ran all the way back to the cottage.

"Severus!" Draco gasped out as he threw the door open so forcefully that the handle came back to punch him painfully in the gut.

His ex-Professor had his wand steadily aimed at him while his eyes narrowed in distrust. His expression turned to anxiety as he recognized Draco. On the living room table, his newspaper had a growing damp spot from where he'd hurriedly thrown it down and knocked over his teacup in the process.

"There's a man," Draco blurted, his hand pointing outside the cottage, "at the edge of the wards--I was looking for the ingredients like you asked me to, and he was just there, and he looks dead. What if it's a Death Eater on the run-or maybe he wants revenge, what if he's looking for me!"

Severus frowned and lowered his wand along with his taut shoulders.

"Then he's found you, and look, you're still standing here, as obnoxious and self-involved as ever. I ought to let him take you away somewhere, preferably somewhere far."

Draco gaped at him; his legs were shaking from cold and fear. "Are you seriously making jokes right now? This is not funny, damn you, what are we going to do?"

"You said he looked half-dead, Draco," Severus drawled, "What is he going to do, drag his bleeding carcass up the hill, across the floor, knife in hand, while you lie still waiting for him to stab you?"

Draco's eyes widened at that mental image, and he shivered against his will.

Severus' mouth twitched even as his eyes searched for his shoes. He knew what his words would do to the boy, and he thought it was quite healthy to strike fear into his heart whenever possible. The Dark Lord's defeat hadn't done too much to Draco's feelings of self-admiration, he'd gone quiet for a few days--but joy of joys, he was remarkably the same now. The Ministry of Magic was desperately scrambling for sturdy ground, the disappearance of Harry Potter after the Battle of Hogwarts had thrown everyone into a panic. Though there were numerous accounts of people claiming to have seen The Dark Lord defeated, some were still in denial and others were terrified of the Death Eaters yet to be captured.

The Death Eaters that were said to have taken Potter in an attempt to bring their Lord back to life once again. Draco shivered at the thought and Severus saw and sneered at him.

"When one such as myself witnesses first hand your bravery, Draco, I truly wonder what that odd hat was thinking by not placing you in Gryffindor all those years ago."

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