Chapter 63 - Surprises

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It had taken them three hours to make a decision about seeing Lucius. It hadn't been an easy one. Neither of them ever wanted to be near the man again, but, once the anger had faded, they had both seen the need. There was the alturistic side of the argument, but that wasn't what had helped Harry make up his mind in the end. The fact was, if Lucius was pretending, if he had managed to fool all the Ministry experts, they needed to know how.

Draco was the one who had pointed it out. As soon as Harry had heard the logical Slytherin argument he had known they were going. He didn't like it, Draco didn't like it, but it was necessary.

Now, three days later, they were in a car on the way from Grimauld Place to St Mungo's. It had taken that long to get through Ministry red tape, but at least Dumbledore had dealt with all of that.

Draco's back was so straight and tense that it looked painful. Harry had absolutely no doubt that his soulmate was conflicted and terrified, although very little emotion was coming down their link as Draco kept it all inside. The Slytherin had been uncommunicative and tense since they had got up that morning. Here they were in a Malfoy car, on their way to what was beginning to feel like a meeting of doom. Draco was sitting staring out of the window, the only contact being maintained with Harry where there legs were touching, and Narcissa was sitting opposite them both, worriedly watching her son.

Finally, Harry had had enough and he reached out, pulling Draco to him and not taking no for an answer. At first Draco resisted and was stiff in his embrace, but Harry did not give up. Pouring his love down their bond, he wore down Draco's defences and eventually his lover sagged in his arms.

[I will not let him hurt you, or touch you, or even say anything if you don't want him to,] Harry said firmly. [I only have to see him and I will know, and then we can leave.]

[He tried to take you away from me,] Draco replied and slipped his arms around Harry, clinging on almost desperately. [I think of him and all I can see is his face as he cast that curse. That man was not my father and I never want to see him again.]

[Maybe,] Harry said tentatively, [if your mother is right, that man is gone.]

[Harry,] Draco said, tone cool, [I gave up believing in Father Christmas when I was seven, and that is just as likely.]

There was no point in replying to that, so Harry just held Draco as they continued their journey in silence.

~*~

Draco's grip on his hand was almost painful for Harry, but he did not complain. It had taken more courage than most wizards had in their whole body for his soulmate to walk into St Mungo's and now they were standing outside Lucius' room. There were two Aurors guarding the door and Narcissa had already gone in. It only took a few moments until a portion of the wall in front of which they were standing went from opaque to transparent and brought with it sound from within the room.

"Good afternoon, my love," Lucius' voice sounded strange to Harry's ears for some reason he could not quite place.

It distracted him enough that he was not ready for the flood of images that came from Draco as his soulmate's knees buckled. They were not new memories to Harry, Draco had had nightmares like this since the attack, but this was the first time they had assailed his waking mind in such a stream. Harry's reaction was instantaneous as he caught Draco and pulled him away from the magical window to two chairs on the other side of the corridor.

Draco's breath was coming in short, panicked gasps and Harry did his best to just let the nightmarish recollections of pain and suffering roll over him so that he could comfort his lover. Rubbing gently on Draco's back, he did his best to send back images of comfort and of now, a lifeline to bring his soulmate back from the memories that were flooding his mind.

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