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Chapter 53 - The Future and the Past

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Draco and Harry had returned to Hogwarts the day after Boxing Day because they were still catching up on all they had missed after raising Sirius. Most of the other members of staff had returned by New Year, so there was an impromptu party in the Great Hall, instigated by Dumbledore himself. Then, before Harry realised it, it was time for term to begin again.

This time he made sure he and Draco were with the others on the train to escort the pupils back. He saw a familiar face on the platform that surprised him, even though afterwards he remembered that it shouldn't have done.

[Blaise,] he told Draco silently as they watched most of the school boarding the Hogwarts Express.

[Albus said they were hoping he was going to be cleared to come back this term,] Draco replied.

[They must finally have given him the all clear over Christmas,] Harry said, trying to catch Blaise's eye.

He wanted to assure the other boy that there were no hard feelings, after all it hadn't been Blaise's fault he had been used. However, the subdued Slytherin was quite obviously deliberately not looking anywhere near Harry at all.

In fact, in the end, Blaise managed to get on the train and just about vanish. At least, Harry didn't see him again until the platform at the other end. If he hadn't been dealing with a first year who was crying his eyes out, having lost his wand already, Harry would have cornered Blaise on the way to the carriages. As it was, by the time they found the wand stuck down the side of a seat (it had been far easier since Harry could see it's magical signature) Blaise was long gone.

As they made sure all the pupils were safely on their way to the castle, Harry resigned himself to having to talk to Blaise at a later date.

[It's not like he can go anywhere,] Draco assured him.

[I just want to clear the air as soon as possible,] Harry replied.

[And I'm sure you will,] Draco told him. [Wayward scarf at three o'clock.]

It was quite blustery on the platform and the Slytherin-coloured scarf managed to whack him right in the face. Draco found it highly amusing.

* * *

The first dinner of term was as noisy as ever, but so far nothing disastrous had happened, which Draco counted as a win. He hadn't been expecting any deliveries, but, as the evening owls arrived, one headed straight for him. He and Harry were sitting at their usual places at the second high table when his mother's familiar bird swooped down and delivered its letter. There were never as many owls arriving for the evening post as there were in the morning, but the occurrence was common place enough so that no one took any notice.

"Hello, Persius," Harry greeted and fed the owl a chunk of beef off his plate.

The bird hooted and nibbled at the offering as he stuck his leg out and offered the letter to Draco, but otherwise ignored him.

[You spoil that creature,] Draco gave his concise opinion to his soulmate.

It really was unseemly the way Harry cooed over anything remotely fluffy in nature, but as Harry beamed at him and tickled the once aloof owl under the chin, Draco had to admit that it was kind of cute. When he realised he had thought this he seriously considered obliviating himself. Shaking his head to clear it of the Gryffindorish thoughts, he opened his mother's letter and began to read.

The first paragraph was perfectly normal; his mother sent her love and enquired after both himself and Harry, even though she had only seen the previous week. It was the second paragraph that made him go cold.

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