Chapter 79 - Reconciliation

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School had been back in session for a fortnight since the week break Hogwarts had taken after the battle with Voldemort's forces. Everything was going back to normal, even if a few student's parents had elected not to allow them to return for the last few weeks of term. All signs of damage were gone from the castle and grounds and half the time Harry found himself forgetting what they had all done.

The letter from Narcissa had arrived in the evening post on the Friday. Lucius had finally been declared fit enough to leave St Mungo's. Hence, the Saturday morning saw Harry and Draco Travelling to Malfoy Manor and from there flooing to the hospital with Draco's mother.

They had not been back to see Lucius since Harry had declared him Dark Magic free, but Draco had been writing to his father for some time now. The diagnosis from the Healers seemed to be the turning point that Draco needed, as far as Harry could tell. It had been Draco who had decided on the visit and Harry had simply agreed. Narcissa was brimming over with barely concealed delight at the prospect.

They stepped out of the floo point in the staff area of the hospital. Harry still couldn't go out in public without the fear of being mobbed and they had been granted special permission not to use any of the usual entrances.

[If you need anything, just say,] Harry said as they were escorted down the hall to Lucius' room.

[I'm fine,] Draco replied and Harry just let that lie.

Draco was not fine, he was a bundle of nerves, Harry could feel it, but Harry wasn't going to bring that up.

There were still two Aurors on duty outside Lucius' room and something very peculiar happened as their group approached. The man and woman came to attention. Harry wasn't sure how to react, they hadn't done that the last time. As he and Draco neared, both saluted: wands pointed to the ceiling in their fisted hands, against their chests.

"Mr Potter, Mr Malfoy," the woman said, "thank you for your service."

Draco felt shocked, but he recovered far quicker than Harry.

"And you yours," Draco replied, nodding at her and then the male Auror as well.

"Um, thank you," was all Harry managed before Draco shepherded him into Lucius' room.

[What was all that about?] he asked Draco silently.

[You did what they usually do,] Draco replied, [they were treating you as one of their own. Just don't get any ideas that you want to try Auroring as a profession.]

[Okay,] he agreed meekly.

At least it had taken Draco's mind off what they were doing, until Draco laid eyes on Lucius at least.

Lucius was fully dressed and he almost looked like the man Harry remembered, almost. He was thinner and still somewhat frail, but the proud Malfoy stance was back, only it was tempered. Harry had never seen Lucius look at others without some shade of superiority in his gaze. The pureblood poise was there, the pride in his name, but the haughtiness was gone.

"Draco," Lucius said and smiled the moment he saw his son.

Harry couldn't help himself, he had to lower his barriers to take a look and it was just as it had been with Narcissa: pure gold. There was a tinge of shame in there as well, Lucius would probably carry that his entire life, but mostly what Harry could see was love. He automatically shared it with Draco.

[Go on,] Harry encouraged.

[Dying has not improved your Gryffindorish tendencies,] Draco replied, but Harry wasn't having any of it.

[Just do it,] he insisted.

"Father," Draco said, stepping forward, but hesitating before closing the final distance.

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