Necromancy, Necrophilia, and Nargles
by curia_regis

Pairing: Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter
Rating:
NC-17
Warnings:
None
Other characters: Severus Snape, Pansy Parkinson, Luna Lovegood.

Word Count: 22K
Genre(s):
Humour, Romance
Canon:
Through DH (EWE)
Artist:
__hibiscus

Summary:
Dabbling in magic can be a dangerous thing.  Especially if this magic is necromancy.  Draco Malfoy learns this when he helps Harry Potter out on a special project.
Disclaimer: This fic is based upon characters created by J.K. Rowling. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. All characters engaging in explicit sexual activity are 18 years or older.

Author's Notes: Thank you to aigooism, kristan1, emerald_dragon8 and sff_reader for betaing! Despite the title, this fic has no actual necrophilia. I've been watching quite a bit of The Princess Bride lately as well as reading Terry Pratchett and Red Dwarf. The "inconceivable" reference comes from The Princess Bride. I'm fairly sure I haven't taken any specific references from the other two. *g*



Necromancy, Necrophilia, and Nargles


Draco stared at the hole he had just created in the wall. His foot still throbbed. He wished that the wall hurt as much as his foot, but he suspected that this wasn't the case. It was a Muggle wall and they tended to be rather stoic.

"I expect you to fix that," Pansy told him, frowning. "Stop kicking holes in my walls. My neighbours are Muggles. They'll think that you're abusing me."

Gritting his teeth, Draco waved his wand and the hole disappeared. "Third rejection in a week," he fumed. "This one was for a charms position that even a trained monkey could do. I got an Outstanding in my NEWTs. What do they want from me?"

"The right politics," Pansy said calmly.

Draco snorted. "I don't believe Muggle-borns are any less intelligent or worthy compared to us." He looked around the neat little apartment. "How can you stand living here though? It's so... Muggle."

Pansy shrugged. "It's either this or I'd be in the same job situation as you, or worse." Her lips curled up in a wry grin. "Turns out I'm quite a good journalist. Who'd have known? The Muggle world isn't as boring as you think, Draco."

Draco was positive that he wouldn't be interested in Pansy's articles. The Muggle world probably was only interesting to Muggles because they didn't have anything better to read. "You have money, you know," he pointed out. They'd had this argument numerous times before. Pansy still had a significant portion of her family's fortune. It had been put aside for her in a trust fund that the Ministry couldn't touch.

"I need to do this, Draco," she snapped. "I really do. Muggles aren't that bad. Some of them are even my friends!"

He shook his head. "You've changed." It was true. The Pansy Parkinson he knew back at Hogwarts would have never said that. She had always been more open-minded than the other Slytherins but she was never that open-minded. Idly, Draco wondered if she had a couple of half-bloods in her family. Perhaps that was why she was so different. Or perhaps it was because of the war; it had changed everybody. Plus, it had been five years. Almost everybody he used to be friends with had changed, or they were in Azkaban. Draco stood up and smoothed down his robes.

"You're going so soon?" she asked.

Draco shrugged. "I need to go home and rethink my job application strategy," he said. "You might want to make an appearance outside your apartment sometime just so your neighbours know you're still alive."

Pansy rolled her eyes and punched him lightly on the arm. "You're ridiculous. We're still on for dinner tomorrow night, right?"

He nodded. "My turn to choose, though."

She held the door open for him. "I take it I should air out my robes then?"

"I would if I were you," Draco said, with a grin. While he didn't really mind Muggle food so much, there was something disconcerting about being in a crowd of people who didn't know magic existed. How could they be so oblivious? Plus, he didn't really like wearing trousers. They tended to chafe.

He stepped out into the corridor. "See you tomorrow!" Pansy called as she closed the door behind him.

-***-


As Draco neared his front door, he could see a man standing there. In the dim light, he could barely make out any features but he could tell that the man was wearing robes. His hand crept to his back pocket where he kept his wand. There were plenty of people who would want him dead and he had no desire to satisfy any of their dreams. Many of his father's old compatriots thought that Draco had sold them out, especially when he'd moved out of Malfoy Manor, citing a desire to distance himself from the Malfoy name. Not that it had helped, Draco thought ruefully as he crept closer to his own door. Most of his father's assets had been seized by the Ministry when his parents had been arrested, and the pittance he was given every month was barely enough for his tiny one bedroom apartment in Hogsmeade. He needed a job soon, just to make ends meet. He'd had a few jobs over the past few years, but none of them had been on-going. He'd spent most of his time over the last few years brewing potions that he then sold under an alias. It didn't bring in enough money - he needed to be attached to a reputable brewing company for that - but it helped. Plus, it kept him busy.

Draco swore inwardly as he accidentally stepped on the squeaky floorboard near his door. The man in front of his door spun around. "Who are you?" Draco asked warily, not hiding the fact that he was gripping his wand tightly.

The man didn't answer but simply stepped forward. The floating candle in the hallway illuminated his face.

Draco stepped backwards in shock. "Potter!" he exclaimed. "What on earth are you doing here?" He hadn't seen the other man for years, ever since they had both left Hogwarts, in fact. And Potter had tended to lurk suspiciously back then as well.

"Hello, Malfoy," Potter said, stepping forward. He held out his hand.

Warily, Draco shook it. "Why are you here?" he asked bluntly.

"I have a business proposition for you," Potter told him. "However, it is best discussed somewhere more secure."

Draco stared at him. "Sod off, Potter," he said finally, placing his wand back in his pocket. "I'm not interested."

To his surprise, Potter moved to block his way into his apartment. "You haven't even heard what I have to offer."

Draco snorted. The way Potter was talking, it sounded as though he was about to propose some sort of sordid sexual liaison. "I'm not interested," he repeated flatly. "I heard that you're quite successful. I'm sure you could find somebody better than a former Death Eater's son."

"Self-deprecation doesn't become you," Potter retorted. "Look, I heard that you were having trouble looking for a job and I was looking for somebody who was good at potions."

"Why don't you get Granger to help you?" Draco asked. Despite himself, he was intrigued. As far as he knew, Potter was working as an Auror. They had their own Potions Division with more than enough Potions Masters. Whatever Potter was trying, it was undoubtedly a private venture if he didn't employ the resources of the Auror Department.

"Hermione wouldn't be as much of an asset to this project as you would," Potter said.

Draco snorted. Apparently, Potter was trying to be all mysterious. It was working better than Draco liked to admit. And Potter was obviously trying to pander to his ego. "Flattery will get you nowhere, Potter," he pointed out. "As much as it galls me to admit it, my skills and Granger's skills are on par when it comes to potions."

Potter stepped closer; Draco could smell the mint on his breath. "But only you have the notebooks that Severus Snape left to you."

Draco couldn't help but feel a little bit let down. So that was why Potter was here. Since he had received those damned notebooks, Draco had got a multitude of offers from a surprisingly huge range of sources of people wanting to buy them. He just never expected Potter to be one of those opportunists. Snape had invented many potions during his lifetime, and the secrets were rumoured to be in his notebooks. Draco hadn't touched them since Snape died. When the notebooks were bequeathed to him, they'd come with a scrawled note asking Draco to not look through them. Draco had figured he owed Snape that much. "You can't have them," he said flatly. He had no idea why Snape had left him the notebooks but he was going to look after them. Even if they were completely boring.

Potter smiled mysteriously. "I think you'll change your mind once you realise my intentions."

"I don't think so," Draco said. He'd been offered ridiculous amounts of Galleons for these notebooks before. He hesitated. "How much would you be willing to offer?"

"Nothing."

"I don't think so," Draco repeated, more firmly this time. If he hadn't been willing to sell the notebooks for a thousand Galleons, he most certainly wasn't going to give them to Harry Potter for free. He dug around in his pocket for his keys.

"Aren't you even the least bit curious as to what my proposition is?" Potter asked.

Draco paused, his hand halfway to the doorknob. He was definitely curious. There was a sly note in Potter's voice and the man seemed far more cunning than what he remembered. In any case, what would be the harm of letting Potter into his apartment? Surely it couldn't end up in disaster. He turned the key in the doorknob. "Come in then," he said.

-***-


Draco stared. He blinked a few times and stared some more. "I'm sorry," he said. "I mustn't have heard you correctly because I could have sworn that you said you wanted to dabble in necrophilia."

Potter pursed his lips. Draco couldn't help but think that action looked rather unpleasant on him. It made him look remarkably like a goldfish. More specifically, it made him look like Mr Bubbles, a puffy-faced goldfish that Draco had for one summer when he was a child. "Necromancy," Potter said, sounding annoyed. "I need Snape's notebooks for a project in necromancy."

"Oh, that makes it so much better," Draco said sarcastically. "You're an Auror, Potter. Haven't you checked the rulebooks lately? It's banned for a good reason." He narrowed his eyes. It didn't seem as though Potter was quite getting the urgency, so he added, "A damn good reason!"

"I would have thought you of all people would've wanted to help me," Potter said.

Draco snorted. "I would have thought that Harry Potter of all people would obey the laws of the wizarding world, but I suppose old habits die hard." He could see Potter grit his teeth. "There are spells to stop that, you know," he remarked.

"I'm trying to resurrect Snape," Potter burst out. There was an almost maniacal look on his face that made Draco feel rather uncomfortable.

"Why?" Draco asked bluntly.

"I'm surprised that you of all people have to ask that," Potter snapped. "He deserves it."

Draco narrowed his eyes. "There has to be more to it than that," he said suspiciously. He didn't know Potter well, but he didn't think that the other man would risk his entire career in the wizarding world on a simple whim. "What aren't you telling me, Potter?"

Potter hesitated before pulling out a note from one of his inner robe pockets. "I received this letter from Albus Dumbledore last week."

Draco stared. He didn't think he would have been more surprised if Potter had grown five heads and started singing the pom-pom polka.

"It was in storage," Potter added. "Dumbledore said in his letter that Snape was working on a resurrection potion and that it could be of benefit to me."

"And you assumed that this meant that you ought to come and recruit me on his highly illegal mission to resurrect a man who you've always proclaimed to hate?" Draco summarised.

Potter looked flustered. "Well, yes."

"You're a dolt, Potter," Draco pointed out. He pointed towards the door to his apartment. "You can leave now."

Potter stood up. "Did I mention that I'm willing to pay you for this job?" He held up a hand as Draco was about to speak. "I don't plan on buying the notebooks off you. I know how much they mean to you, but I plan on paying for your services."

It still sounded rather sordid to Draco, but then again, Pansy had always told him that his mind resided mainly in the gutter. "It's still illegal, Potter," he said with a sigh. "Please close the door when you leave. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy you dropping by unannounced after so many years, but please don't ever do it again."

Potter walked over to the door, opened it and paused. "I predict that we'll end up working together," he said.

Draco raised an eyebrow. "When did you become Trelawney, Potter?" He kept on staring at Potter until he left.

-***-


"This place looks ancient!" Pansy exclaimed as she looked around Diagon Alley.

"Your robes are ancient," Draco countered, with a sniff. She punched him in the arm. "Did you buy them five years ago?"

"Six," Pansy admitted. "But I have a whole cupboard full of Muggle suits at home. They're all quite up-to-date and fashionable. You know, my job does involve Muggles."

Draco rolled his eyes. "Don't remind me." He looked over her and raised an eyebrow. "You do have your wand with you, don't you?"

"I'm not an idiot," Pansy snapped at him. "I always carry my wand."

"How on earth do you explain it to the Muggles?"

To Draco's surprise, Pansy waved her purse in his face. "It's pretty easy to put a wand in one of these," she pointed out.

"Not particularly effective if you're attacked by a witch or wizard though," Draco said with a frown. "You need to be able to draw out your wand quickly."

She poked him in the ribs. "Stop it," she ordered. "You're even grouchier than usual today. What's the matter?"

Draco hesitated. He wasn't sure whether he ought to tell Pansy about Potter's offer. On one hand, he definitely wasn't going to be taking it, but on the other hand, he didn't want to get the stupid git into trouble for dabbling in necromancy. Then again, Pansy barely associated with any witches or wizards nowadays, so it was unlikely she'd tell anybody. "Nothing," he said finally. "Nothing's the matter."

Pansy looked disbelieving but she didn't say anything.

Draco was glad. That was one of the things he liked about Pansy. She didn't push an issue when it was obvious he didn't want to discuss it. Except, well, in this instance, he did actually want to discuss it. "Potter's offered me a job," he muttered.

Pansy stared at him. "Say that again?"

"Potter offered me a job," Draco repeated.

"Well," Pansy said, sounding cautious, "that's good, isn't it? A job's better than no job."

Draco rolled his eyes. "You've been in the Muggle world too long."

She poked him. "So? What's this job? What does the almighty Harry Potter want you to do for him?"

"He wants Snape's notebooks," Draco said bluntly.

Pansy raised an eyebrow as they strolled along towards the eateries that lined Diagon Alley. "I thought you said you'd never sell them," she pointed out. "You said you'd rather eat your wand, and since you've still got it, I'm guessing you rejected Potter's offer?"

"He didn't want to buy them," Draco said in a low voice. Pansy leaned forward with an interested expression on her face. "He wanted to use a potion in the notebooks to resurrect Snape and he wanted me to help him."

Pansy whistled. "Who would have thought? Necromancy!"

Draco looked around but fortunately nobody seemed to have heard. "Shh!" he hissed.

"You aren't planning to actually go along with this crazy scheme?" Pansy demanded. "Please don't tell me you're actually thinking about it?"

Draco hesitated, biting his lower lip.

"Oh crap," Pansy said. "You are."

Damn it, Draco thought. She really did know him too well. He spied a narrow alleyway on their right and dragged her into it. A few steps and almost immediately, the noise and smells of Diagon Alley died down. "I'm not thinking of taking the job," he insisted.

"Uh huh," Pansy said, looking skeptical. She looked around and wrinkled her nose. "Why'd you drag me here anyway?"

"We're not having a discussion about necromancy in the middle of Diagon Alley," Draco said practically. He had no desire to be dragged away by overly zealous Aurors.

"If we'd gone to the Muggle world for lunch, then we could have talked about it over a nice meal and wine," Pansy suggested.

Draco narrowed his eyes. "Stop that smirk," he told her.

Pansy simply grinned at him. "Look," she said. "Why don't you just turn him into the Aurors and be done with it? It's illegal and there's a good reason for it. It's not like he's planning a prank or anything. Necromancy's dangerous."

What she said made sense. Draco knew that it was the right thing to do, yet ever since Potter had dropped in for his unexpected visit, he'd been thinking about what Potter said. Snape deserved better than he had got. He deserved to be alive with an Order of Merlin First Class or whatever other accolade he wanted. Of course, knowing Snape, he probably would just scowl and slink off to his dungeon, but he deserved that as well.

"I know that look," Pansy said slowly. "Don't be an idiot."

"What look?" Draco said irritably.

"That look you have on your face right now," Pansy said. "It's the look you have whenever you're going to do something stupid."

Draco glared at her. "I have never done anything stupid in my life."

Pansy raised an eyebrow.

"Well okay," Draco conceded, "there was that one time."

She gave him a pointed look.

"And the other time in your mother's rose gardens," Draco said, with a sigh. "But bringing back Snape isn't stupid. Well, it isn't that stupid. Potter claims that Snape was working on some form of resurrection potion or spell. Surely, Snape would have thought to counteract the normal problems when necromancy is involved."

"I suppose," Pansy conceded grudgingly. "But it's still illegal."

"When's that ever stopped you?" Draco pointed out.

Pansy rolled her eyes and grabbed him by the arm. "Come on, let's get some food. I'm hungry. I can tell you've made up your mind already."

-***-


To Draco's surprise, Potter turned up at his doorstep again that night. "What are you doing here, Potter?" he asked grumpily as he opened his door.

"I was wondering if you had changed your mind?" Potter said simply.

"Ah." Draco wondered if Potter had suddenly developed Divination powers. This was just too much of a coincidence. Unless... perhaps Potter was planning to turn up at his doorstep every night for the foreseeable future. Idly, Draco entertained that notion as he took off his cloak and hung it up beside the door.

"So?" Potter said, looking at him expectantly.

"You can come in," Draco said. "Wipe your feet though. You tracked mud on my carpet last time." He sat down on his couch and watched with amusement as Potter frowned as he wiped his feet.

"As much as I appreciate being invited in again," Potter told him, as he closed the front door, "what I really wanted to know was whether you had thought about my offer."

"Were you planning on stalking me until I accepted?" Draco inquired, raising an eyebrow.

"Of course not!" Potter said sounding indignant. He tilted his head and regarded Draco through his eyelashes. "Would it help?"

"Possibly," Draco admitted. "Fortunately for you though, I have decided to be generous and help you out."

Potter looked surprised.

"I fully expect to be well recompensed for my services," Draco said briskly. As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he regretted choosing that particular combination of words, but that wasn't to be helped.

"Of course," Potter told him. "How would you like your payment? Galleons or pounds?"

"Galleons, of course," Draco said, wrinkling his nose. "Why would I take pounds?"

"I am well aware of your friendship with Pansy Parkinson. She's quite the journalist. Hermione says that she rivals Rita Skeeter in the Muggle world," Potter said, a slight smile crossing his face. "I thought that you might want pounds for when you visit her."

Draco was alarmed. "No, it's nothing like that," he said quickly. "We've been friends since childhood. We're not..." He stopped. Why was he explaining himself to Potter of all people? "I'd prefer Galleons, thank you," he said.

"Very well," Potter said. He then named a price that made Draco's eyes widen. "I am well aware of the dangerous nature of necromancy," Potter informed him. "However, this is necessary."

"You know that Snape won't exactly come back to life and thank you on bended knee," Draco commented as he watched Potter write out a wizarding cheque for the first week. "He's probably going to just glare at you and stomp off to his dungeons."

To his surprise, Potter flushed a deep shade of red and there was a flash of defensiveness in his eyes. "I know that," he said stiffly. "But we owe it to him."

Draco raised an eyebrow. If he didn't know better, he would have thought that Harry Potter had a small crush on Snape. Maybe this would turn out to be some sort of necrophilia fantasy after all. Especially if the necromancy didn't end up working, he reflected. "Well, as long as you know," he said.

"Dumbledore would have wanted me to do it," Potter said. "I know he would."

Draco had to concede that point. It was quite likely that the crazy old coot would have wanted Potter to dabble in necrophilia just to bring Snape back. Dumbledore probably would have thought of it as a character-building exercise or something like that. "I'd like to see that letter he sent."

"I'll bring it around tomorrow," Potter told him.

"Tomorrow?" Draco repeated.

"We're going to get started straight away," Potter said.

Oh goody.

-***-


Draco blinked and re-read the letter. Dumbledore had practically ordered Potter to come and meddle in his affairs and get him to help Potter resurrect Snape. It was almost spelt out in black and white, or rather, blue and pink. He wondered if white parchment had run out when Dumbledore was composing his letter. Also, was the paper scented? Draco sniffed. It was. Violets. "Subtle, wasn't he?" he muttered as he put the letter down on his coffee table.

Potter shrugged. "I don't know what you mean."

Draco wondered if he was being deliberately thick or whether it was merely accidental. Either way, it annoyed him. "Never mind," he said with a sigh. "I'll go get Snape's notebooks." As he stood up, he wondered if he ought to be leaving Potter alone in his living room. Draco decided that he could. He walked over to his bedroom, drew out his wand and concentrated on bringing down the wards around the cabinet. He then reached into his pocket and used the key to unlock it. He pulled them out and walked back out to the living room.

He could see Potter looking around the room inquisitively. Potter's eyes seemed to linger on the photo of him and Pansy on the mantel. Draco could tell that Potter wanted to ask whether he was in a relationship with Pansy. He coughed slightly and was amused when Potter turned red.

"Here you go," Draco said as he sat down. He handed the notebooks over. He frowned slightly as he watched Potter flip through them rapidly. He had gone through the notebooks the previous night and found nothing.

"I expect you've been through these already," Potter said conversationally as he turned the pages.

Draco's eyes narrowed.

"I also expect you're wondering how I know that."

"Perhaps," Draco said cautiously. He itched to wipe that slight smirk off Potter's face. It didn't suit Potter at all. It was far too much of a self-satisfied smirk to fit that usually open face.

"Ah ha!" Potter said as he jabbed a finger at one of the blank pages.

Draco raised an eyebrow. Had he gone crazy? After the war, Draco had expected Potter to break down. Was it finally happening? Pansy had mentioned something about some sort of Muggle trauma illness that happened after violent situations. Perhaps Potter had that. Draco's lips twitched. If Potter did, then he couldn't wait to tell The Daily Prophet about it.

"It's written in Parseltongue," Potter said irritably. "Invisible Parseltongue." He flipped the page over to show Draco several more blank pages.

"Well, of course," Draco said sarcastically. "Why didn't I think of that? Invisible Parseltongue. It's obviously the logical conclusion to come to when faced with an empty page."

"It is when the rest of the book is full," Potter pointed out.

"But the pages are at the end of the book," Draco told him. "Your logic fails."

Potter made a dismissive waving motion. "It doesn't matter. This is written in Parseltongue." He held up the notebook and showed the blank pages to Draco.

"I still can't see anything," Draco said with annoyance. Was Potter usually this slow? "I don't suppose it has handy translating instructions in invisible Parseltongue as well?"

Potter frowned as he peered into the notebook. After a few seconds, his face brightened. "As a matter of fact, it does!" he declared.

Draco wondered how on earth Snape was able to write in Parseltongue; knowing Snape it was probably from some obscure potion he'd concocted. And not just regular Parseltongue. Invisible Parseltongue. Draco hadn't even known there was a difference but he didn't want to admit that to Potter. His father had always told him to show no weakness. Then again, his father had also said that Voldemort was going to win and that long hair was fashionable, so Draco wasn't really that attached to his father's sayings.

Potter drew his wand out and mumbled something that had a lot of hissing and syllables with the letter 's' in them. As Draco watched, letters and numbers appeared on the blank pages. "See?" Potter said triumphantly.

"Well, it's not invisible anymore," Draco said grudgingly. "Unfortunately, I still can't read Parseltongue. The little snakes are pretty though."

"This isn't English?" Potter said as he lifted up the notebook. He had a frown on his face.

"All I see are rows upon rows of snakes in various positions," Draco told him. He could have sworn that a couple of those snakes were copulating. He hoped that didn't mean that the potion required some form of sex magic. He didn't think he could cope with that if it involved Potter. Especially if it involved Potter. The very idea made him nauseated.

Potter frowned. "Well, this isn't very helpful," he declared.

Draco resisted the urge to bang his head on the coffee table, except he didn't particularly want a head-shaped crater in his expensive table. "Perhaps there are additional instructions?" he suggested through gritted teeth.

Potter flipped some pages. "Ah ha!"

Draco hoped that the exclamation was due to some sort of concise instructions for translating squiggly snakes into readable English. At the back of his mind, he wondered whether he was simply a bit jealous of Potter's ability to read and speak Parseltongue, but Draco quashed that thought. He had no reason to be jealous of Potter. Except, maybe of Potter's exceedingly better job prospects compared to him, he conceded inwardly. He definitely wasn't jealous of Potter's physical appearance anyway. Draco couldn't figure out why the ladies of the wizarding world seemed to fawn over Potter's abominable hair.

Waving his wand over the notebook, Potter made a hissing noise. As Draco watched, he could see the little snakes turn into English words. He was mildly surprised when the copulating pair of snakes turned into a rather innocuous word. "It's English now," Potter said. "Right?"

Draco considered lying but decided it wasn't worth the effort. "It's English," he confirmed, pulling the notebook towards him.

-***-


"So?" Potter demanded, about half an hour later. Draco had spent the entire half hour holding up a hand whenever Potter had tried to speak to him. "Have you finished reading it yet?"

"Potter," Draco said slowly, trying his best to be patient, "unless it's slipped your mind, this is an incredibly complicated potion, and I'm currently in the process of trying to figure out whether it is in any way physically feasible to create."

There was a brief pause. "Is it?"

Draco rolled his eyes. Potter apparently had no ability to keep his mouth shut. "I believe so," he said cautiously. "I won't know until I investigate some of these ingredients, but at first glance, it seems do-able."

"Good, we'll begin tonight," Potter announced.

Draco stared at him with his best 'are you crazy?' expression. "That's impossible," he said, pointing down at the notebook. "Look at this bit. The flowers need to be picked during the full moon. And the entire potion takes about a month to make and then the final steps also need to be taken during the full moon. That means we need at least two months, possibly more."

Potter frowned. "Isn't there some sort of short-cut?"

"Why, of course," Draco said. "Look! How could I have missed it! It says that you could go through all the effort of making the potion properly or you could just buy an equally effective version off the shelf and pour that into Snape's rotting skeleton." He rolled his eyes. "Of course, there isn't a short-cut! No wonder you were so awful at Potions when we were at school."

Potter looked annoyed. "A simple 'no' would have been fine."

"No," Draco said flatly.

He wasn't surprised when Potter looked even more annoyed. "I would like this potion to be made as quickly as possible."

Draco raised an eyebrow. "Any particular reason? He's been dead for the past five years. It's unlikely an extra half year will make a difference."

Potter made a grumpy face that would have been more appropriate on a three year old. "I hired you for this, remember?" he snapped. "I expect that we'll get started right away."

Draco shrugged. It really wasn't as though he had anything better to do with his time. Resume dropping was getting old. In fact, it was getting old the first time he did it. Malfoys simply didn't go around dropping resumes around at random institutions. It was embarrassing. No, it was mortifying. If his grandfather was still alive, he would have been horrified.

"I have a lab set up," Potter continued. "We can go there today."

"After we get some of these ingredients," Draco said, looking more closely at the list. "Some of them are pretty rare, but I have contacts in Diagon Alley." Some of these contacts were less than reliable but Potter didn't need to know that titbit. He also didn't need to know that other contacts were former Death Eaters who had yet to be brought before the Wizengamot. There was such a thing as honour among Death Eaters, after all.

Potter gave him a brief smile. "I knew that I made the right choice in hiring you."

"You didn't have a choice," Draco muttered. "It wasn't as though there was a line of people at your door wanting to sell you Snape's secret notebooks."

Potter looked miffed.

-***-


Draco quite enjoyed the look on Potter's face as they walked into his favourite apothecary. Dead rats brushed the top of Potter's head and he jumped. "This is the only place we can get the ingredients," Draco reminded him.

Potter pursed his lips. "Hurry up."

After half a minute, the dangly curtain that separated the back of the store from the merchandise moved and a squinty-eyed little man stepped out.

"Ah, Perkins!" Draco exclaimed. "How are you today?"

Perkins scowled unpleasantly. "Same as always, young Malfoy." He squinted upwards at Potter and there was a flash of recognition in his eyes. "This must be the renowned Harry Potter. This is mighty strange company you're keeping nowadays."

Draco coughed. "We're here to buy a couple of potions ingredients," he said. "Some very rare ingredients."

Perkins' eyes lit up like Galleons. It was obvious the man could smell a sale when he saw one. "Well, you've come to the right place," he said unctuously. "I have the market cornered on rare potions ingredients." He leered unpleasantly at them.

Draco shuddered inwardly but maintained a calm expression. "Then you should be able to help me with this," he said smoothly, sliding a piece of parchment across the counter. "I trust you will be discreet."

Perkins gave him a smile that showed all of his yellow teeth and rotting gums. "Of course, Mr Malfoy, I am always discreet." He turned his head to look at Potter and then tilted it to one side. Draco shook his head. "I have most of these in the back, but you'll have to come back for this one next week." His finger jabbed at the parchment, leaving a faint stain. He then turned around and walked into the back of the shop.

With a wince, Draco picked up the parchment and dropped it in a pocket. He made a mental note to wash that pocket out thoroughly.

"What was that about?" Potter asked, sounding suspicious.

"He wanted to know if you were trustworthy," Draco said mildly. "I told him you were."

Potter stared at him. "I meant the bit about being discreet."

"Oh, that," Draco said. "Well, some of these ingredients are controlled by the Ministry. People might ask questions if we just walked into a normal apothecary asking for them. That's why we're here." He wrinkled his nose at the layers of dust lying on everything. There was no excuse. They weren't Muggles. Nobody had to resort to using their hands to clean things. Perkins could have just used a spell to clean up his shop, but obviously he preferred to wallow around in the dirt.

"You mean they're illegal?" Potter looked horrified.

Draco shook his head. "No, just controlled. Highly controlled. I doubt that even if you walked into a shop asking for these that you'd be able to get out without at least a few raised eyebrows. Don't worry though, Perkins will be able to get them for us."

Potter didn't look mollified. He just stared around the shop with a look of distaste on his face. With amusement, Draco realised that he probably did care about the whole highly controlled factor.

A few minutes later, Perkins emerged clutching a plastic bag in one of his claw like hands. "All the ingredients, except the venomous nightflower, are in here. I should have stocks of the nightflower after the next full moon." He gave a sharp toothy smile. "That'll be a hundred galleons, including the nightflower."

From the look on Potter's face, Draco could tell that he hadn't expected the ingredients to be that expensive. It was obvious that Potter had never dealt with restricted or banned potions ingredients. They were always expensive, especially when procured through less-than-legal means. "Here you go," Draco said, handing across a small bag of Galleons that Potter had given him. He wasn't surprised when Perkins immediately opened the bag and began rifling through it. That man had no class.

"This seems to be in order," Perkins told him.

"Of course it is," Draco said icily. "You aren't presuming to imply that I would try to short-change you?"

There was a flicker of fear in Perkins' eyes that almost made Draco grin. It was obvious that the Malfoy name still commanded respect in some areas. "Of course not, Mr Malfoy."

"Good," Draco said. He reached forward and grabbed the plastic bag from Perkins. Without bothering to check the ingredients, he spun around and marched out of the shop. Perkins wouldn't dare give him incorrect ingredients and if he did, well, then it would be his funeral. As Draco stepped back into Diagon Alley, he could hear Potter's footsteps behind him.

"What was that all about?" Potter asked.

"Perkins is a rat," Draco said shortly. "There's only one way you deal with rats and that's through fear."

-***-


With a steady hand, Draco wiped sweat off his forehead. Potions brewing could be very difficult and dangerous. Hot liquids tended to spit out at you, and cauldrons had a terrible tendency of exploding at the wrong time. All in all, it wasn't an occupation for the faint of heart. In fact, as Draco continued to brew, he suspected that it wasn't an occupation for anybody who wasn't very masochistic. Snape probably had a yearly subscription to the Masochism Club. Most of the potions he'd sold in the last few years were simple ones that weren't likely to turn acidic and burn a hole through his floor.

"How's it coming along?" Potter asked.

Draco was startled but tried to not let it show. "Do you have to sneak up like that?" he demanded. "It's impolite."

"I wasn't sneaking," Potter protested.

"Make more noise," Draco grumbled. "Maybe we should put a collar on you. And then put a tinkly bell on the collar."

"I'm not a cat, Malfoy," Potter said wearily.

Draco suspected that Potter was getting used to these bizarre conversations. Whenever Draco was brewing, he tended to pour ninety per cent of his concentration into the potion, and only ten per cent into whatever conversation he was having. As a result, the conversations tended to be less than sensible at times. "I don't know, you would make a rather amusing one." Draco twirled his wand in his spare hand.

Potter took a step backwards. "You're not turning me into a cat."

"Not while you continue to pay me," Draco agreed. "I doubt the goblins will let you access your Gringotts account if you're a cat."

Potter didn't answer but Draco could almost feel him roll his eyes.

-***-


"Chop those," Draco ordered as he handed roots over to Potter. He winced inwardly as he saw Potter handle the knife awkwardly. "No, not like that. If you chop them that way, the potion will explode like it did last time. You need to chop them into cubes not rectangles."

Potter took a step backwards.

"Get back here," Draco told Potter wearily as he concentrated on stirring the potion steadily. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Potter slowly chopping the roots up into approximate cubes.

"Why can't we do this by magic?" Potter muttered.

Draco raised an eyebrow. "Did you listen at all during Potions? Some ingredients need to interact with human skin during the preparation phase. Our very skin imbues them with a tiny bit of magic." From the look of surprise on Potter's face, Draco concluded that obviously Potter had never listened during Potions.

"So," Potter said after they had been working for a few minutes in silence. "Parkinson is doing quite well as a Muggle journalist."

Draco nodded.

"I was ... surprised by that," Potter said.

Draco turned his head slowly. "Are you trying to make small talk?"

Potter shrugged. "This is boring. I figured we could talk."

"Not about my friends," Draco said flatly, suppressing a sigh. He couldn't blame Potter for being surprised through. He had been surprised when, after the way, Pansy had suddenly announced that she wanted to go into the Muggle world. At first, he had expected some sort of Magi-Muggle venture company or something, but instead, she seemed to have integrated herself in with Muggles. It hadn't always been easy. The first year, Draco remembered Pansy turning up at his door, cheek's bright red with embarrassment, because she had forgotten that Muggle men didn't wear skirts and had bought a skirt for a male co-worker's birthday.

"So what Quidditch team do you support?" Potter asked.

"I'm not talking about Quidditch either," Draco muttered. He had to sell all of his brooms to pay for the furniture in his apartment.

"Food, then," Potter said irritably. "Surely you won't mind talking about food."

"I like cantaloupes and orange juice," Draco said flatly. "How about you?"

To his surprise, Potter looked like he was actually thinking about the question. "I think I like pumpkin juice better," he said slowly.

Draco wrinkled his nose. He hadn't been able to drink pumpkin juice ever since Pansy had introduced him to orange juice. Plus, the Muggles seemed to also have other types of juices like apple juice, pineapple juice and grapefruit juice. "Keep on chopping," he told Potter.

Potter made a face. "I miss McDonald's," he said as he pushed a pile of chopped up roots to one side.

Draco shuddered. Pansy had dragged him in there once, and he'd sworn to never go again. "I don't see how Muggles can eat that stuff."

"It's nice!" Potter said defensively.

"It's disgusting," Draco pointed out. "Even the Muggles call it junk food."

Potter shrugged. "You're the one who likes orange juice better. It's also a Muggle drink."

Draco snorted. "And it's much nicer than cheeseburgers." To Draco's surprise, he was almost enjoying the conversation. It reminded him of the good-natured bantering he had with Pansy. Working with Potter wasn't as bad as he'd originally thought. While he wouldn't have considered them friends, they certainly seemed to tolerate each other. Draco reached over and grabbed a mortar and pestle. He began to grind herbs. There was a sudden clatter as Potter dropped his knife on the table. "What is it?" Draco asked irritably.

"Malfoy?" Potter's voice was hesitant.

Draco looked up.

"I... I think the cauldron's bubbling."

"I can see that!" Draco snapped as he grabbed his wand and waved it over the potion. Immediately the fire below the cauldron disappeared. "You've just ruined a cauldron."

Potter raised an eyebrow. "You were the one giving the instructions."

"And you were the one jabbering on about Quidditch teams and food," Draco pointed out. "When you brew, you need to focus all your attention on the brewing process."

Potter pressed his lips together tightly. "You sound just like Snape." There was a tiny note of surprise in his voice.

"Undoubtedly he told you the same thing when you ruined potions in his classroom," Draco grumbled. "He was a grumpy git most of the time, but he was right!" With that, he turned away from Potter and grabbed another cauldron out. "We're going to have to start again."

-***-


"I haven't seen you for a week," Pansy said flatly, leaning up against the doorframe, her arms crossed across her chest. "I thought we were having lunch on Tuesday."

Draco mentally swore. "I was with Potter."

"You were with Potter?" Pansy stared at him with her best 'are you crazy' expression. "You skipped lunch with me because you were with Potter?"

"I would have preferred lunch with you," Draco grumbled. "But this job with Potter seems to be taking up all of my spare time. The potion is a lot more complicated than it first looked." That was an understatement. Every cauldron he had used so far had managed to blow up in his face. He had made more trips to St. Mungo's in the past week than he had in the past five years.

"Well, necromancy potions generally are," Pansy pointed out. "That's why most necromancers end up dead. Blown up. Hoisted on their own petard."

"Oh shut up," Draco snapped, rubbing his nose. A flying shard of glass had embedded itself in his nose a few days ago. It had been fixed but he could swear that his nose wasn't the same. It didn't matter that the doctors all claimed that it looked the same; he knew the difference. Potter just told him that he was being stupid.

"Well, since you're here, you'd better come in," Pansy said finally, holding the door open for him.

Draco ducked under her arm and walked into the room. He went over to sit on his favourite squishy sofa that Pansy had bought two years ago at a Muggle yard sale. He didn't want to admit it but he suspected Muggles made better furniture. He sank into the sofa and breathed out. It had been a long week. A long week filled with unpleasant explosions and they hadn't even got the venomous nightflower yet. Draco certainly wasn't looking forward to that.

"Want a beer?" Pansy asked as she walked towards the fridge.

Draco wrinkled his nose. "Don't you have butterbeer?"

"Last time I had that, one of my Muggle friends asked why I was mixing butter and beer," Pansy told him.

"You have Muggle friends?"

Pansy hit him on the arm with a cold beer bottle. "You know I do. Now drink up."

Draco took a long sip from the bottle and almost choked. "This is beer?" he spluttered.

"Yes," Pansy said haughtily. "Now stop getting it on my carpet."

Draco straightened up the bottle and looked guiltily at the stain on the carpet. He was about to take his wand out to clean it up when Pansy shook her head at him. She reached over and grabbed roll of paper towels and handed them to him. Draco took the roll. "What do you want me to do with this?"

"Wipe it up," Pansy said, smirking.

"A simple Scourgify would do the job," Draco complained, as he gingerly used the paper towels to soak up the beer.

"This is more amusing."

Draco narrowed his eyes. He had long suspected that Pansy made him do things the Muggle way because it entertained her. There was surely no other reason why she told him that Muggles put heavy things on their back and then climbed up mountains. She had dragged him along on one of the so-called hikes at one point and Draco had almost fainted. There was just no point. He ended up Apparating to the top of the mountain, admiring the view and then Apparating back to their cabin. Pansy had spent the next few days being furious at him for spoiling the event. "It really isn't," he said.

"More amusing for me," she clarified, smirking.

"Because I obviously exist solely for your amusement," Draco said sarcastically.

Pansy smiled brightly at him. "Finally, you're getting it. Now drink up."

Looking dubiously at his beer, Draco took another sip. It wasn't any better than the first. In fact, if he had to rate it, he would have said that it tasted worse. Not only did it taste bitter, he also had the after-taste of the first sip in his mouth. "This is disgusting," he said, putting the beer on the table. "How do Muggles drink this?"

Pansy shrugged as she took a gulp from her own bottle. "They've probably destroyed their tastebuds. It's not bad once you get used to it."

"How long did it take you?" Draco asked, sniffing. He could swear he could smell the beer even from where it was on the table.

"What?"

"To get used to it," Draco said, rolling his eyes.

"A year," Pansy admitted. "Perhaps two. I think I might have one taste bud left in my mouth and it's currently dying a slow death." She took another sip of her beer, oblivious to the irony.

"I think I'd rather have Firewhiskey," Draco declared. "I think I'd rather go back and help Potter brew his life-threatening potions."

Pansy raised an eyebrow.

"Well, maybe not," he admitted. "But surely you'd prefer some butterbeer? That stuff slides down so smoothly that a twelve year old can drink it."

"This has a better kick."

"You can say that again," Draco muttered, leaning back into the couch. For all his talk, he was glad to be here with Pansy. He could feel his muscles unwind after the long week. Unfortunately, this unwinding process made his muscles throb with pain, but that couldn't be helped. It was as though the process of relaxing was physically painful. "Sodding Potter."

"Sodding Potter," Pansy agreed. She reached over to take a swig out of his beer. "I suppose you'll be going back over after this?"

Draco nodded glumly.

-***-


"This should work," Potter insisted.

Draco took a step back. "That's what you said about the last four cauldrons you brought in," he accused. "I have scars to show for those cauldrons." He reached up to feel the scar just above his right eyebrow. "Now, I have to admit this looks quite dashing, but I don't think I want any more, thank you."

Potter glared at him. "This will work." He paused, looking thoughtful. "Otherwise, I'll get you a welding mask."

"Uh huh," Draco said, sounding disbelieving. "And what makes you think that it'll work? And I do not want a welding mask. They look terrible."

"It's made out of plastic!" Potter said triumphantly holding up his new cauldron.

Draco stared. "So I can have melting, sharp pieces in my face instead of simply sharp pieces? How exciting."

"No," Potter said irritably. "This is a special kind of plastic that doesn't melt. It's some new Muggle invention or something. You can probably get Pansy to tell you all about it."

"Was that a snide anti-Muggle comment, Potter?" Draco said, raising an eyebrow.

"Of course not," Potter said as he handed over the cauldron. "It took me forever to find this one. You'd better not make it explode, Malfoy."

Draco made a face at Potter's back as he walked away. You'd better not make it explode? It wasn't as though Draco wanted the sodding cauldrons to explode. It wasn't as though he sat around and put the wrong ingredients into the cauldron so that it would explode in his face. It wasn't as though he wanted to destroy Potter's gaudy gold cauldron and expensive glass one. Actually, Draco reflected, he might have wanted to destroy the gold one. It really was quite ugly.

With a sigh, he put the cauldron on the bench and began slicing up the ingredients again. "I can't see why you couldn't help," Draco muttered as he sliced up the musical mushrooms, which made shrieking noises as the knife went into them. He'd given up on the notion of Potter helping him. The man couldn't seem to cut roots up into perfect cubes; Draco suspected that was why the first cauldron had melted.

"Because I'm paying you," Potter called out from across the room.

That was unfortunately true. "Not nearly enough," Draco retorted.

"I paid for the St Mungo's bills," Potter snapped.

"But who'll pay for the years of therapy if my head gets decapitated by a flyaway cauldron?" Draco wanted to know.

Potter stared. "I promise I'll pay for your years of therapy if you end up decapitated," he finally said.

Draco smirked. There was a slight chance he could still live after being decapitated. After all, he was a wizard and he could end up as a ghost. If that happened, then Potter would be paying out of his nose for therapy bills for the rest of his life. It was a glorious thought. Although, Draco thought, he probably wasn't going to be happy being dead. It would be such a bummer being unable to touch things or to do anything. All ghosts were really expected to do was look scary once in a while and go 'ooooh!' at people. He was surprised that some of them didn't die of boredom.

And that, Draco reflected, would be a tragedy.

-***-


Potter's Muggle cauldron seemed to do the trick. The necromancy potion was bubbling happily away, and even the musical mushrooms seemed to have shut up like they were supposed to. Nothing had blown up and Draco managed to stay happily alive. All in all, it was a good day.

Potter looked smug. "See? It wasn't so hard."

"This is the easy part," Draco told him. "Just wait until you see the venomous nightflower and the next few steps of this potion."

Potter looked unfazed. "You can do it."

"It's good to know you have so much faith in me," Draco said sarcastically.

"I have faith that you'll do good work so long as I keep on paying you," Potter said simply.

Draco sighed. When had Potter got so cynical? "I just want to point out that this was the easy part." He sat back in his chair and sipped the cup of hot chocolate that he had got from Potter's kitchen. "You realise that even the Muggles make better hot chocolate?"

Potter glared at him.

-***-


"That is a venomous nightflower?" Potter said, sounding horrified.

"Yes, it is," Draco said shortly, as he kept his distance. He was going nowhere near the giant flower with the teeth. Flowers weren't normally his thing and that was when they were relatively small, sweet smelling and pretty. Giant venomous flowers with stingers were definitely not his thing. He glared at the vivid pink flower with the purple spots. It seemed to be a giant sign from nature for animals and humans to keep away from the flower. It seemed to scream: Dangerous Flower. "Keep away from the ..."

"The stinger," Potter interrupted. "I know."

Draco nodded. He supposed that it was fairly obvious. The stinger dripped vile-looking green, vaguely acidic liquid out of the bars of the cage. He didn't even want to know how Perkins had got the flower in the cage.

"Aren't you going to pick it up?" Perkins asked, giving them a crooked smile.

"Give me a minute," Draco muttered. He took his wand out and trailed smoke into the cage. He was relieved when the flower's head drooped and it seemed to go to sleep. "Now, Potter, you can pick it up."

Glaring at him, Potter gingerly picked the cage up. "How venomous is this?"

"Very," Perkins told him, a glint in his eyes. "One sting has been known to kill a full grown wizard."

Potter stumbled and almost dropped the cage.

"Careful," Draco said as he continued directing smoke towards the flower. "We don't want it to wake up, do we?"

"No, of course not," Potter said sarcastically.

Draco waved his wand and a shroud appeared around the cage. Now it looked as though Potter was carrying something harmless like an owl. If nobody looked too closely and nobody saw the wisps of smoke coming out from through the material, then it was a perfectly believable disguise. Draco could see Potter's fingers trembling as they walked out of the shop together.

-***-


"So what do we do with this?" Potter asked, pointing towards the nightflower sitting on the bench.

"We milk it," Draco said matter-of-factly. He tried to keep all the fear and apprehension out of his voice, and he thought he did quite well. When he had first read the instructions, he had been horrified. Nobody went around milking nightflowers. It was ridiculous.

"We milk it?" Potter repeated, his eyes wide and round.

"We milk it," Draco repeated.

Potter looked towards the nightflower. It viciously slapped its stinger against the cage and spurted green acid at them. "How do you suppose we do that?"

Draco shrugged. "I was hoping you could do it."

Potter stared at him. "Why me?"

"You're the one who wants Snape resurrected," Draco pointed out. He grinned.

Potter frowned. "You smoke it and I'll milk it."

"I can't do that," Draco said. "See, that's the problem. It doesn't drip venom when it's asleep."

"Oh."

"So you're going to need to somehow get fresh venom from its stinger while it's awake," Draco said in a chipper tone. "We can't just clean it off the cage because it needs to be put in a non-reactive crystal vial immediately."

"Uh huh."

From Potter's tone, Draco gathered that he was less than enthused by the prospect. He handed Potter the crystal vial and watched as Potter approached the nightflower with gritted teeth and a raised wand. With a sigh, Draco raised his wand as well, ready to direct smoke into the cage at the slightest sign that the nightflower would attack. After all, he didn't actually want Potter to die. That would be a rather ignoble death for The Boy Who Lived.

"Getting there," Potter said through gritted teeth.

"We need ten drops," Draco cautioned.

"I know," Potter snapped. "Why don't you come over to get them yourself?"

"But you're doing so well," Draco said smoothly. "I think I'll leave it to you." He watched as the nightflower waved its stinger lazily in Potter's direction and a few more drops fell into the vial.

"Got it!" Potter said triumphantly. He almost stumbled in his haste to get back across the room.

"Good," Draco said as he watched the nightflower snap its petals at them.

-***-


"It's done!" Draco declared as he stoppered the potion bottle. He put it onto the lab table in triumph.

Potter looked up from where he was reading Quidditch Weekly. "So now what do we do?"

Draco rolled his eyes. It sometimes felt like Potter hadn't even bothered reading the instructions for the potion. He had to do all of the work. "We need to pour it into his mouth and then smear it over his skin."

Potter stared. "That sounds rather unscientific."

Draco sighed. "This is magic, Potter. Not science. And you didn't let me finish. There is a spell that I need to say. Before you ask, yes it has to be me. The person who brewed the potion needs to speak the words."

"Well, what are we waiting for?"

Draco shot the casket a dubious look. Sometime over the past week, Potter had moved the casket into his basement. Draco didn't want to know what kind of strings Potter had to pull to steal Snape's casket. It was currently sealed and frankly, Draco didn't particularly want to unseal it. Snape had been dead for many, many years. He wasn't going to smell nice.

"Well?" Potter demanded.

"You can unseal the casket," Draco said abruptly.

Potter stared. "Why me?"

"I did everything else," Draco said snippily.

"You look green," Potter pointed out.

"I do not," Draco insisted. He most certainly never turned green. That would be unseemly.

"You do," Potter said. There was a peculiar tremble about his lips, and Draco suspected he was about to burst out laughing. "You don't want to open the casket because of what's inside!"

"Maybe you're right," Draco said tartly. "So you can open it."

Potter glared at him. "Fine, but you can do the smearing of the potion."

Draco grimaced. "We'll both do that."

-***-


"Why isn't he waking up?" Potter demanded. They had gone through the potion smearing process and poured a good hundred millilitres of the potion down Snape's throat.

Draco honestly didn't know. From the potion he had created, Snape should be waking up. In fact, he ought to be bouncing up from the casket, fully rejuvenated and healthy. Right now, he still looked like a rotting skeleton. Draco held his nose as he approached the casket. "I don't see any flesh growing," he said doubtfully.

Potter glared at him. "You screwed up."

"I didn't," Draco protested as he stepped back from the casket. The smell was really too strong to bear. "Maybe the potion was written incorrectly."

Potter snorted. "As if," he said. "Snape wrote it."

"Good point," Draco said glumly. He wasn't sure why he was feeling glum. After all, he had been well recompensed for the past two months. He'd had an interesting time creating the potion. So what if it didn't work out? He wasn't the one who wanted Snape alive again. Mind you, Draco reflected, perhaps it wasn't so bad that the potion didn't work. Potter had been giving the closed casket puppy dog eyes for the past few weeks as the potion was nearing completion. Draco didn't think he could stand Potter shooting those glances towards the real Snape.

"So you must have done something wrong," Potter concluded.

Draco waved the instructions around. "I followed these precisely," he snapped. "I don't know why it didn't work but it most definitely isn't my fault."

"Check it over again."

"I've already read it over hundreds of times," Draco said. "I've even read it backwards but it didn't help. I've double-checked the ingredient list. I even prodded the nightflower to make sure that it was healthy. It spat acid at me." He showed his sleeve to Potter. It had a hole in it.

"Then it should be working," Potter snapped.

"Yes, it should!" Draco exclaimed. "He should be walking around and talking instead of being a rotting corpse."

"Who are you calling a rotting corpse?" a silky voice broke into their conversation.

Draco almost jumped a foot into the air. He spun around and stared at the open casket. His first thought was that a vampire was sitting up from his nightly sleep, but then he realised that it was Snape. "It worked!" he exclaimed. "I told you so, Potter."

Snape was examining himself. "What am I doing in a casket?" he asked with a raised eyebrow. His voice was surprisingly mild given the circumstance and the person, Draco thought. Snape coughed slightly and spat something out of the side of the casket. With a grimace, he climbed out of the casket and dusted off his robes and cape.

"You're alive," Potter breathed out.

"What am I doing in this casket?" Snape repeated, his tone acidic. "I shall not like it if I have to repeat myself again."

That's more like it, Draco thought, hiding a grin. Snape's tone of voice brought back memories of being at Hogwarts. "We just resurrected you," Draco said bluntly. He expected a myriad of expressions to play over Snape's face but instead there was a look of simple understanding. It was as though Snape had expected to be resurrected. Then again, Draco reflected, Snape did write the potions recipe. It stood to bear that he might have expected it to be used on himself at some point.

"I have to say that I'm not surprised at you Potter," Snape said dryly. He looked around slowly, seemingly taking in the entire scene. "This exercise has your mark all over it."

Draco shot Potter a look out of the corner of his eye. Snape definitely didn't sound like he was grateful. In fact, Snape sounded like his usual grumpy, dour self. It was apparent that death hadn't mellowed him out at all. Potter was looking rather upset at the words. With a mental sigh, Draco opened his mouth. "I believe I did help," he said smoothly.

Snape turned towards him and raised an eyebrow. "So you did," he said with a smirk. "I believe I have you to thank, Mr Malfoy. Without you, I surely would have been dead forever."

Potter looked like he was about to have a coronary.

Snape wandered over to the table where they had been preparing the potion. Picking up a vial, he sniffed it. "Very good, Mr Malfoy," he said. "Excellent brewing."

Draco snuck another look at Potter who was turning red in the ears. "Thank you," he said. "But as much as I hate to admit it, Potter did play a smallish role in your resurrection."

Snape waved a dismissive hand. "I know of that letter that Albus sent." There was a sly expression on his face.

"You mean," Potter said slowly, "that Dumbledore didn't send the letter?"

"Of course not," Snape said. "Did you think that he would want you to be dabbling around in necromancy? It's illegal."

Potter looked furious. "But, but..." he spluttered.

Snape sneered. "Don't tell me you thought that I would swoon at your good deed?"

The look on Potter's face said it all.

Snape shook his head with a pitying expression on his face. "Now that I'm alive, I believe I will have to get my assets unfrozen. There is a lot of paperwork associated with coming back to life." He spun around and began to walk away.

"There are wards up," Draco called after him. "You can't leave that way."

"Then it is fortunate that I was buried with my wand," Snape said, his voice floating back to them. There was a note in his voice that seemed almost satisfied. Draco could hear the smirk in his tone.

-***-


"I told you so," Draco said. He couldn't keep the smugness out of his voice as he watched Snape Apparate away with a swirl of his robes. "Now what was the point of bringing him back to life?"

Potter glared at him. "He deserved to be alive and recognised for his achievements," he said mutinously.

Draco shrugged. He was glad Snape was alive again. It seemed that despite all of his worries, the potion had worked. There were no nasty side-effects like skeletons walking the streets of Hogsmeade. Those were always difficult to clean up after. Still, he couldn't quite understand why Potter was so eager for this and why Potter seemed so upset. "I expect the last deposit to be in my account by tonight," he said. Reaching over, Draco picked up his wand.

It felt unaccountably cold in his fingers. This was odd because normally, wands were warm to the touch. They were tuned to a specific witch or wizard and felt almost alive. Draco turned the wand over in his fingers. It just felt like a piece of wood. He shivered slightly but shrugged it off. It was nothing. It had to be nothing.

"Goodbye Potter," he said as he prepared to Apparate away.

Potter nodded.

Draco closed his eyes but nothing seemed to happen. He frowned and concentrated but when he peeked out of the corner of his eyes, he was still in Potter's cold dark dungeon. "Do you have wards up?" he asked slowly.

"No," Potter said, shaking his head. "Why would I have put them up? You got out of here fine yesterday."

This was true. Except, the only other explanation for Draco's inability to Apparate was far less palatable. "Are you positive?"

Potter looked annoyed. "Malfoy, wards don't just put themselves up. I didn't put any up. Full stop."

Draco took a deep breath. "Well then," he said in a shaky voice, "I believe we have a problem. There was a side effect to that potion after all. I seem to have lost my magic." His knees felt weak at the words. What use was a Malfoy without his magic? It was unthinkable. Inconceivable! Except, now it had happened.

Potter stared. "You what?"

"I've lost my magic," Draco said stiffly. He waved his wand and muttered, "Accio Potter's robes."

Potter flinched but his robes remained where they were.

"See?"

"What if that had worked?" Potter demanded. "You could have tried to summon something else. Like that knife over there."

"That could have accidentally come at me blade first," Draco pointed out logically. "I could have been stabbed. Your robes are soft and therefore can't stab me." He carefully stepped over and sat down on the edge of the tomb. He wasn't going to embarrass himself further by falling down in front of Potter.

"Maybe you're just tired," Potter concluded.

There was an edge in his voice that Draco didn't like. Did Potter know something he didn't know? Was Potter hiding something? Draco looked at Potter suspiciously. He didn't look like he was hiding something, but you could never tell sometimes. It was entirely possible that Potter was a master at masking his facial expressions and that this was all a secret ploy to divest Draco of his magical powers. Hundreds of years ago, one enterprising wizard had come up with the idea that removing a witch or wizard's magical powers was the best way of punishment. They had revisited that idea after being burnt at the stake by a group of their enraged co-workers. It was quite possibly the most heinous crime in the wizarding world. Draco shuddered.

"Go home and rest," Potter said.

"I'd love to but somehow I seem to be unable to Apparate out of here," Draco said sarcastically. "You were the person who decided to make it impossible to get out of here without magic." In fact, Draco realised with a sinking feeling in his stomach, he couldn't even get Potter to Apparate him out. The wards were tweaked to sense that and to disallow it.

It was obvious from the expression on Potter's face that he was thinking of the same thing. "You'll just have to stay here," he said, after a short pause. "There's a bed in the other room."

"I don't want to stay in your dungeon, Potter!" Draco exclaimed. He frowned. Somehow, those words didn't quite sound right coming out of his mouth.

"Well, you'll have to, won't you," Potter snapped. "I can change the wards but the time delay means that you can't just walk up the stairs and out of here until tomorrow morning."

Draco groaned. Potter really took security to extremes at time. Not even the Dark Lord had put up a time delay system in his wards. Then again, he wasn't sure that the Dark Lord knew how to do that. It seemed that Potter had taken his substantial natural magical energy, coupled with his knowledge of the workings of Muggle technology and devised some fairly ingenious security measures. Of course, the measures could be considered paranoid by your average person. Draco was positive that Mad-Eye Moody would have been salivating at the thought of examining Potter's wards. "Fine," he grumbled.

"The wards should come down automatically in twelve hours," Potter said. "Then you can just walk up those stairs and out the front door."

Draco watched as Potter took out his wand. "Wait," he said, "you're just going to leave me here?" He regretted the words as soon as they were out of his mouth.

"I'm just going upstairs," Potter pointed out.

"You're Apparating upstairs," Draco pointed out. "There's no food down here. No water. No toilet!"

Potter stared. "You want me to stay here so I can enjoy the same conditions?"

"Yes!" Draco exclaimed. "It's your fault that I'm down here."

Somehow, he wasn't surprise when Potter just grabbed his wand out of his pocket and vanished.

-***-


Draco paced around the dungeon. He hadn't realised how cold and damp it was down here until now. He looked around. There was absolutely nothing he could do for the next eight hours until the wards came down. There was potions making equipment but the ingredients were severely depleted. It was obvious that Potter had built this lab for the sole purpose of bringing Snape back to life. As Draco poked around the cupboards, there only seemed to be a few mouldy bezoars and a sprig of parsley. Very handy if he was being poisoned or if he needed to decorate a fancy dish, but not very useful as a dinner option.

With a sigh, he slumped down on a chair and fiddled with his wand. It just felt like a stick in his fingers. "Accio," he said pointing his wand towards the bezoars, but there was no customary tingle through his forearm, and the bezoars stayed stubbornly still. Irritated, Draco threw his wand across the room and watched it clatter across the stone floor.

"Fuck you, Potter," Draco muttered. It was all Potter's fault. All of this. He wasn't sure what had happened to his magic, but he was sure that he could blame that on Potter as well. It was obviously no coincidence that his magic had vanished almost immediately after they had performed a very dangerous resurrection.

In fact... Draco frowned. Snape had Apparated away before. That was odd. All the scribbled theories in Snape's notebook had indicated a gradual return of magic. He shouldn't have been able to summon a feather much less than Apparate away, which required a significant amount of magic.

A sinking feeling was currently making itself known to Draco's stomach. He was beginning to have a feeling where Snape had got his magic from.

"Fuck," he said again. "Fuck. Fuck. Fuckity fuck fuck."

Snape had his magic. And from what he remembered of Severus Snape, there was precious little chance he was ever going to get it back. Even if he managed to find Snape, Draco couldn't think of a single way he could get his magic back from him. It wasn't as though he could just march up and ask nicely. And he very much doubted that Potter would be inclined to help him.

There was a sudden sound at the doorway. Draco spun around to see Potter standing there in the shadows. "How long have you been there for?" he asked suspiciously.

"Long enough to realise that you just had some sort of realisation or you enjoy swearing a lot," Potter said mildly. "Also, I've brought you muffins." He held out a plateful of chocolate muffins.

"Oh muffins!" Draco said sarcastically. "Muffins will make everything better." Despite himself, he moved over to take one of the muffins. They were still warm and as he took a bite out of one of them, Draco realised that they were gooey in the middle. They were delicious.

"Nice, aren't they?"

"Mmm," Draco said through bites. He hadn't realised how hungry he was until now.

"Anyway," Potter said, his green eyes serious, "I want to help you. I want to help you get your magic back."

"How noble of you." Draco surreptitiously wiped crumbs away from the corner of his mouth and brushed down his robes. Now that he had no magic, he couldn't afford to get stains on his clothing. He suspected washing his robes would be much harder than simply getting rid of stains by magic.

Potter frowned. "I'm trying to help you."

Draco sneered. "How like a Gryffindor."

"I could just leave my wards up and leave you here," Potter bit out.

Draco smirked. "Now that's more like it. That's more like the Potter I've known for the past few weeks. There's no need to pretend to be so high-and-mighty."

Potter sighed. "You've been through a lot. You're not thinking straight. Have another muffin." He held out the tray.

"Did you get that from an Introduction to Psychology textbook?" Draco demanded. Pansy was into that kind of stuff and he'd heard enough of that psych mumbo-jumbo from her.

"I might have," Potter said, looking sheepish. He walked over to the table and pulled out a chair. Sitting down, he crossed his legs. "I'm going to wait down here until the morning with you."

"Oh goody," Draco muttered. In the back of his mind though, he was glad. He didn't want to be in the dungeon all by himself. Although, being with Potter wasn't that much better. He walked over to the table and sat down next to the plate of muffins. "I suppose I'll have another muffin then."

Potter gave him a brief smile. "That's the spirit."

-***-


"Finally," Draco grumbled as he walked up the stairs. He'd tried Apparating out again about ten times in the last five hours but to no avail. His magic seemed to have vanished into thin air. He had no doubt that it was currently residing within one Severus Snape.

"I'll find Snape," Potter promised.

Draco looked at him suspiciously. If he didn't know better, he could have sworn that Potter sounded guilty and apologetic. "You didn't know that this would cause my magic to disappear, did you?" he demanded.

"No," Potter said, sounding wounded. "Although," he added quietly, "I did wonder why nobody else used this technique. I mean, Snape could have made a lot of money selling this potion."

Draco snorted. "Yeah, I guess having your magic vanish out of you would be a bit of a drawback," he said sarcastically. "You do realise Snape's probably disappeared. You'll probably never be able to find him."

"I will," Potter said firmly. "To help you, of course," he added.

"Uh huh," Draco said faintly. He suspected that Potter had his own ulterior motives for wanting to find Snape and none of these motives had anything to do with wanting to help one Draco Malfoy gain his magic back. "Well, thank you for a most pleasant evening. I'm glad we managed to resurrect one of our professors from Hogwarts who hated you and I'm especially glad that I'm now without magic."

Draco could have sworn that Potter looked like he wanted to punch him in the face. "You're welcome," Potter said tightly. "I'm still going to help you, whether you like it or not. I have friends that I could talk to."

Despite himself, Draco felt a flare of hope. Surely Potter had to know friends who were smart enough to figure this out. Surely somebody like Hermione Granger or one of Potter's multitudes of other friends would be able to help him. Meanwhile, Draco vowed to use every contact he had to try to hunt down Snape. He suspected that he would have more luck than Potter on that note. "You're not going to tell them, are you?" he said, suddenly alarmed.

"Tell them what?"

"That I'm ... you know, without magic," Draco said.

Potter frowned.

"If word gets around that I don't have any more magic, my reputation would be ruined," Draco said slowly and carefully so that as to be sure that Potter absorbed the full ramifications of what he was saying.

"But you already can't find a job," Potter pointed out practically. "And I'm sure you're going to tell Parkinson."

"But that's Pansy," Draco said. "She's different." He narrowed his eyes. "You'll regret it if you go around telling people."

Potter was wise enough not to ask how he was going to regret it now that Draco had no magic. "I won't tell," he said. "I promise. I'm just going to make enquiries."

-***-


"You've lost your magic," Pansy repeated, sounding incredulous.

Draco sighed and nodded. That was the fifth time she had repeated that sentence. He gave it five seconds before she was going to repeat it again. He counted silently in his head. Sure enough, as soon as the five seconds were up, Pansy opened her mouth.

"You've lost your magic?"

"Yes," Draco said, with gritted teeth. "It's gone. Poof. Vanished into thin air. And needless to say, it's all Potter's fault."

"Actually," Pansy said, "wouldn't it technically be Snape's fault since he has your magic now?"

Draco scowled. He didn't think she'd heard it when he muttered that part. "Well, I can't exactly go up to him and demand that he give it back," he said. "The way the potion works is that he's being sustained by my magic. It'll kill him, literally, if I take it back. Even if I knew how."

Pansy raised an eyebrow at him.

"And I don't know where he is," Draco admitted sheepishly.

"I thought it would be something like that," Pansy said dryly. "You're usually not so magnanimous."

"Hey!" Draco exclaimed. "I wouldn't just go and deliberately kill Snape."

Pansy didn't look like she believed him.

Draco sighed. "Potter's been in a right snit since Snape vanished," he complained. "You'd think he was the one with a vital part of him missing."

"Maybe he was in love with Snape," Pansy said with a giggle. "Maybe that's why he wanted you to help him bring Snape back?"

Draco was about to open his mouth to laugh but he reconsidered. It actually made some sort of bizarre sense. Potter had been acting rather strangely. And he did have that puppy dog face when he was looking at Snape after Snape had been resurrected. At the time, Draco had chalked it up to some form of hero worship, but now that he was thinking back on it, it could have been some sort of lust. He stifled a laugh.

"See?" Pansy said, smirking. "It makes sense, doesn't it?"

"In a bizarre, completely illogical way, yes, it does make sense."

"So," Pansy said, after a pause. "What are you going to do now?"

Draco shrugged. He really didn't know. When he was a child, his plan for life had involved being rich and possibly joining the Death Eaters. In the past few years, both options had been unceremoniously yanked out from under his feet. All the options he had left involved using his magical powers. Now that they were gone, he was out of options.

Pansy put a hand on his arm. "You could live with me," she said, sounding cautious. "Until you get on your feet that is. You know I mostly spend my time in the Muggle world. There, you won't get reminded about your... affliction."

"You might have run away, but I'm not going to," Draco said tartly. He ignored the hurt look that flitted over Pansy's face. A lot of her family had been either killed or incarcerated during the war and it had changed her. "Besides, I'm not disabled."

"You are, sort of," she said flatly. "Being a Squib is a registered disability."

With dawning horror, Draco realised that she was right. He'd never really thought about it because he had never really thought that he could ever be a Squib. It was something that happened to inferior folk, unlucky folk, but not somebody like Draco Malfoy.

"It's not the end of the world," Pansy said lightly, her eyes serious. "It's not that bad in the Muggle world, I promise. I quite like it."

"I'm a Squib," Draco spluttered. "A Squib!"

"There is nothing wrong with being a Squib," Pansy told him firmly.

Draco stared at her. Sometimes, he wondered if the Muggle world put anything in their drinking water that warped people's minds. "There may be nothing wrong, but I still don't want to be one. I'm going to find Potter," he said decisively. "He's going to fix this. After all, it's his fault." Almost automatically, Draco reached for his wand but as he wrapped his fingers around it, he realised that it wasn't going to work. With irritation, he spun on his heel and walked away.

-***-


It took Draco several days, but he finally tracked down where Snape was. He stood in the doorway of Snape's cottage, which happened to be smack bang in the middle of nowhere, and knocked briskly on the door with his useless wand.

The door swung open with a creaking noise. "Oh, it's you," Snape said flatly. "What do you want?"

"My magic back," Draco said bluntly. "You have it. I want it. Please give it back." He tried to crane his neck to see inside but Snape blocked his way.

Snape raised an eyebrow. "Perhaps that would make sense if I had spent the past few days residing within your head. Given that I haven't, you might need to give me a bit more of the background. And stop doing that, Draco. I'm not going to invite you in."

Draco made an irritated sound. He couldn't help but think that this was probably what Potter and his friends felt like back when they were at Hogwarts. "After your resurrection," he began through gritted teeth, "I suddenly lost my magical powers. I can't help but think that those two events are connected."

He had expected Snape to deny it. He'd expected Snape to feign ignorance. Instead, Snape surprised him. "It most likely was connected," Snape said mildly.

"What?" Draco burst out.

"It was a risk of the potion," Snape said with a smirk. "That was why I was so surprised that you had helped Potter. I would have thought better of you, Draco."

"You could have mentioned it," Draco snapped. "In amongst all of the instructions on how to get venom from a nightflower, you could have mentioned that your potion might suck somebody's magic away!"

"I did," Snape told him. "If you were imbecilic enough to ignore my warning, then that isn't my problem."

"What?"

"I had an entire page on the possible side-effects of the potion."

Draco pulled the notebook out of his robe pocket. He opened it to where the potion was written. "Nothing," he declared. "There's nothing on side-effects."

"It's in the next notebook, you dolt." Snape sounded like he was explaining the mechanics of potions making to first years.

Draco's mouth dropped open. "In the next notebook?" he spluttered. "You couldn't have put a note at the end of this one saying that it wasn't finished? That anybody attempting the potion ought to try to look through the next notebook first?"

Snape snorted. "You're smarter than that, Draco. These notebooks were for my own personal use. I knew that the side effects were listed in the next notebook. Why would I need to write that down?"

And that, Draco reflected, made a sort of sickening sense.

"Anyway," Snape said smoothly, "your magic should return soon. My calculations indicated that there was a 50-50 chance that you would get it back within a month."

Draco blinked and looked up. That sounded positive. "50-50?" he said suspiciously.

"If you don't get your magic back within the month, then the chances of you getting it back exponentially drop. If you don't get your magic back within six months..." Snape shrugged, a small smile playing around his thin lips. "It's likely gone forever."

That was fairly grim news, yet, Draco's heart felt lighter than it had been for days. There was a possibility that this wasn't permanent! He felt like throwing a party! Preferably one that required him to clobber Potter's head in the pretence that it was a piñata. He'd seen one in a shop with Pansy once. They looked amusing.

-***-


"I have the perfect solution!" Potter declared.

Draco was dubious but tried to paste an interested expression onto his face. From slight lifting of Potter's left eyebrow, he suspected that his fake expression of interest was less than effective. "Oh?"

"I have this friend," Potter said slowly. "I think she can help."

"Is this friend a Potions Master?" Draco asked. "Is she some sort of mediwitch?"

"Well, no," Potter admitted.

Draco narrowed his eyes. He suspected that Potter was hedging. "Who is she? Have I heard of her?"

"I'm positive that you know of her," Potter said, his eyes wide and innocent. "She's excellent at what she does."

Draco was very suspicious. He suspected that Potter was attempting to foist somebody like Trelawney on him. A fraud or charlatan. There was no other reason for Potter's furtive expression. Unless, of course, Potter really needed to use the toilet. "Do you need to use the toilet?"

Potter looked startled. "Of course not."

"Well then, spit it out. Who is it? And how much am I going to hate the name?" Draco watched as Potter chewed his bottom lip. It was strangely mesmerising watching Potter's upper teeth worrying that lip, making tiny indentations on it... Draco blinked and looked away. Why did he think that looked strangely endearing? On anybody else, Draco would have thought it an unseemly nervous habit. Why did Potter's frown look so adorable? And why was he suddenly hungry? He really shouldn't have missed lunch.

"It's Luna," Potter said.

Draco's musings flew out of his mind. "Luna Lovegood? Loony Luna? That Luna? You think she can help me?"

"She's not as crazy as she seems," Potter protested.

"Oh good," Draco said sarcastically. "So you mean she's only slightly loony as opposed to several points short of a Quidditch match?"

"She's helped me before," Potter insisted. "You said you would try anything to get your magic back."

Draco opened his mouth and then closed it again. He did say that, didn't he? That was an unfortunate choice of words on his behalf. Mentally, little gnomes inside his head were kicking at the areas of his brain responsible for making that decision. "Fine," he said grumpily. "I'll go, but it won't work."

Potter raised an eyebrow at him. "Now won't you be kicking yourself if it actually does work?"

"No, I won't," Draco said tartly. "I'll be celebrating."

Potter rolled his eyes.

-***-


Luna gave him a wide-eyed stare that made Draco take a step back. He bumped into Potter who shoved him forward again. Draco ignored the shiver that slid through his spine at the warmness of Potter's body through the robes. Obviously, he was getting sick. It was magic-withdrawal or something like that.

"I've lost my magic," Draco said. He couldn't believe he was here. More accurately, he couldn't believe that Potter had convinced him to come. What sort of help could she be? Especially since she had named her shop Nincompoops and Nargles? He was quite positive she had got crazier over the years and that was no small feat!

"Well, then, shouldn't you go and find it?" Luna asked, looking puzzled.

It was Draco's turn to stare. "I've tried," he managed to get out. What else could he say to that kind of question? It wasn't as though he had a handbook in his pocket of how to speak to somebody who seemed to spend most of her time with her mind floating around the stratosphere.

"Ah," Luna said sagely, "so it's run away."

"It has not run away," Draco insisted. His magic wouldn't just up and run away. It wouldn't do that to him.

Luna gave him a delighted smile. "So it's back?"

Draco resisted the urge to kneel down and bang his head on the tiled floor. "No, it isn't."

Luna looked over his shoulder at Potter. "He's in denial, isn't he?"

Draco expected Potter to roll his eyes, but to his surprise, Potter simply nodded. It was insane. They were acting as though he was the crazy one. "I'm leaving," he snapped but Potter grabbed him by the arm.

"She can help," Potter insisted.

"Sure," Draco agreed, "if I wanted to make my robes more sparkly, but I sincerely doubt she's going to somehow wave her wand and make my magic return."

Potter stared at him.

"Would you like sparkly robes?" Luna offered with a beatific smile.

Draco stepped backwards hastily. "No, I wouldn't," he said. "I really wouldn't. Thanks, but no." He really didn't know what he would do if Luna decided to take it upon herself to gift him with sparkly robes. He was going through enough already.

Luna looked disappointed. Draco refused to look over at Potter to see what his expression was. He didn't think he could take it if Potter also had a disappointed expression etched onto his face. "I can help you with your magic loss," she told him.

Despite everything, Draco felt his heart leap at the words. "You mean you can return my magic to me?" he asked and then added, "Preferably without harming Snape?"

Potter glared at him.

"I should be able to," Luna said cautiously, sounding serious for the first time in Draco's memory. Her next words, however, dashed his hopes. "Unfortunately, the Nargle is notoriously difficult to catch."

Draco let out a long sigh. "Possibly because it's imaginary?" he suggested.

Luna looked at him with wide eyes. "Just because nobody has found one doesn't mean it's imaginary," she chided him gently. "After all, the Loch Ness Monster isn't imaginary. Incidentally, he isn't a monster either. And neither is Big Foot."

Draco opened his mouth but then shut it again. He didn't know how to respond to that. There was no response to that kind of insanity.

"Nargles are very magical creatures and they have been rumoured to be able to restore a person to peak physical and magical health," Luna told him calmly.

"Oh, good," Draco said, unable to help himself, "an imaginary creature might be able to help me. I feel better already!"

"That's the power of positive thinking," Luna said. "If you think that you have a chance of getting better, then your body is already halfway on the path to healing itself. I suggest that you try to think about your magic, but not how much you're missing. I want you to think that you will get it back. That it's only gone on a holiday.

Draco reflected that the advice was possibly the most inane advice he had ever been given. It was even worse than the time his great aunt Enid had decided to give him advice on the proper attire to wear at a fancy ball. He was four at the time, and there had been absolute silence in the hall when he had turned up in a full length evening gown that was trailing behind him, high heels that were too big for his feet and a delicate rose-pink transparent robe thrown over the top. Aunt Enid had even given him make-up lessons, although she subscribed to the quantity over quality type of charms, it seemed.

"I can see you're thinking positively already," Luna told him.

Potter gave him a suspicious look but didn't say anything.

"Very positively," Draco said blandly. "I'm positively brimming over with positiveness."

Luna beamed and handed him something pink and sparkly. Draco turned it over in his fingers to discover that it was some sort of sweet smelling flower that was covered with glitter. "It's one of my newest inventions," she said proudly. "It's for young girls who enjoy fresh flowers and glitter."

"I'm sure it sells... well," Draco said.

"You'd think so," Luna said sadly, "however, I haven't had a single sale yet. I've resorted to giving them away with other purchases."

Draco wrinkled his nose. "Thank you," he said cautiously, still staring at the flower. He saw Luna giving one to Potter who gave a rather unconvincing facsimile of a smile. "I'm afraid I must be going."

Luna nodded. "I'll keep an eye out for a Nargle."

"Fantastic," Draco said faintly. He started walking towards the door and this time, Potter didn't try to stop him.

-***-


Pansy looked as though she was trying very hard not to splutter with laughter and not succeeding particularly well. "She offered you Nargles?"

Draco nodded. "Non-existent Nargles," he said with a sigh. "Nobody except her even believes that they exist! Well, perhaps Potter does, but he's equally crazy. She doesn't know what they look like but claims that she'd know if she ever saw one."

"Certifiable," Pansy agreed.

Draco slumped. He resisted the urge to cradle his head in his hands. "What am I going to do?" he muttered. "No job, no magic. I might as well turn in my wand and call myself a Muggle." He looked over at her plaintively. "Do you know how hard it is to clean up the Muggle way?"

"That might not be a bad idea," Pansy said. "And yes I do know."

He looked up at her suspiciously. Her tone was far too cautious, far too careful to be anything but planned. "What do you mean?"

"I've been in the Muggle world for years," Pansy said. "It's not that bad. You'd like it, I'm sure. I have plenty of contacts and I could get you a job like that." She clicked her fingers.

"No thanks," Draco said wrinkling his nose. "I think I'd rather go with Lovegood's non-existent Nargles."

"Joke all you want," Pansy said, sounding exasperated, "but if your magic doesn't come back then you're going to have no other choice. The wizarding world isn't kind to Squibs."

The words hung in the air darkly, like a rain cloud. Draco knew she was right. The wizarding world definitely wasn't kind to Squibs. It wasn't particularly kind to a host of other people either like werewolves, vampires and Muggle-borns. "Snape said it might come back," Draco said stubbornly.

"I hope so," Pansy said quietly, looking worried.

-***-


"I was right!" Draco crowed. He'd had a few too many drinks and usually the first thing to go was his sense of decorum. In any case, the world looked nicer when he was drunk. Less desolate anyway. His situation didn't look that bad with a few shots warming his belly. At least he had his health!

Potter glared at him. "Gloating isn't nice," he snapped.

"You brought Snape back to life for what? A shag? A romp? Some sort of secret illicit romance?"

"It was nothing like that," Potter said stiffly.

"No, of course not," Draco said in a mock-serious tone. "It was a deep meaningful romance. It's just unfortunate that it was so one-sided. Has Snape even talked to you since we brought him back?" He threw his head back as he downed another shot. How many had he drunk? He wasn't sure any more. All he knew was that the little shot glasses lined up on the kitchen bench looked rather blurry and there were a good many of them.

"Yes," Potter said. "He thanked me."

Draco stared. "That was all?"

Potter nodded.

"That ungrateful bastard," Draco declared. "Here I go, giving him the most important part of me, and he doesn't even seem grateful."

Potter stared at him. "You're sounding like a virgin, Malfoy."

"What?"

"You sound like you gave your virginity away to Snape."

Draco wrinkled his nose. "Merlin, no!" he exclaimed. "Can you imagine that? The long hooked nose?" He shuddered and then noticed the expression on Potter's face. "I guess you can," he added quietly.

"I don't even know where he is now," Potter admitted. "He mentioned that he wanted to go somewhere where nobody knew him and where he couldn't be recognised. He said it was for my own good, so that I wouldn't be charged with necrophilia."

Draco blinked.

"Necromancy!" Potter corrected himself quickly.

"Uh huh," Draco said. "You sure you didn't do anything to his body?"

Potter punched him in the arm. "Don't be disgusting, Malfoy."

Absent-mindedly, Draco rubbed his arm. It was weird the way he was watching Potter lately. He tried to tell himself that it was out of anger for the situation. At the beginning this was probably true; he did start watching and following Potter because he didn't have anything else to do without magic. Of course, since he didn't have magic, the stalking didn't exactly go terribly well. Draco had found himself bounced off wards several times and he heard the word Squib muttered in his vicinity. Now, however, it seemed like he simply watched Potter out of habit. He found himself tailing Potter almost daily. Pansy was worried and was talking about some sort of intervention. Draco put that down to the Muggle psychology textbooks she had a disturbing fondness of reading.

"Are you okay?"

Draco gave a start. "I'm fine," he said abruptly.

Potter had a concerned look. "You looked sort of spaced out. Perhaps we should have taken you to St. Mungo's after the accident."

"I went," Draco muttered.

Potter stared at him.

"What, you thought I wouldn't try all the possible alternatives before coming with you to see Loony Lovegood?" Draco said sarcastically.

"Well if you put it that way..." Potter said thoughtfully. "I guess she takes a bit to get used to."

"Potter, I don't think I'd get used to her if I spent the rest of my life with her."

"Well, I'm not asking you to try that," Potter said impatiently.

"No, you're asking me to try her magical, fictional Nargle cure," Draco pointed out. "That's quite possibly worse."

Potter stared. "You'd rather spend your entire lifetime with Luna than believe in Nargles?"

Draco frowned. It really was quite a difficult decision and his mind was really quite fuzzy with all the drinks they'd been downing. "Are those my only two choices?"

Potter nodded.

Damn. Draco had been hoping for a much better third option. Perhaps something that involved getting his magic back, or at least something that involved Potter losing his magic as well. Least that would have been comeuppance. "I'm not choosing."

"You have to," Potter insisted as he took another swig of his drink.

Draco pondered the choices. He knew that Nargles were fiction. There was simply no doubt about it. He couldn't just make himself believe in them. It was like making himself believe that magic didn't exist and that he was actually in a padded room in a mental asylum. It was impossible. Then again he thought he just might rather believe in them than spend an eternity with Luna. He didn't think he could maintain a puzzled expression for that long. "Fine," he grumbled. "Nargles exist."

Potter beamed. "See? It wasn't so hard, was it?"

"Oh sod off," Draco muttered as he reached over to pour himself another shot. He slipped slightly on the sofa and pushed himself upright again. "I believe in Nargles. There. Now where's my magic?"

"It doesn't work that way," Potter scolded. The shot glass he was holding sloshed over his hand. "Crap," he said, looking down at the scotch that was soaking into his robes.

Draco shrugged. "Just magic it away."

Potter hesitated.

"I'm not going to go crazy just because you do a little bit of magic," Draco said tersely.

"If you're sure," Potter said, sounding doubtful. He took his wand out of his pocket and waved it over his robes. The scotch stain and smell vanished.

Draco made his best scary expression and was amused when Potter jumped. "Scared, Potter?" he drawled.

"No," Potter snapped. "But you know one day the wind's going to change and it's going to be stuck like that."

"Don't be silly," Draco said smoothly. "That's impossible. Like Nargles."

Potter just narrowed his eyes.

-***-


Potter was looking at him weirdly.

At first, Draco thought he was imagining it, but as he scrutinised Potter closer, he realised that every time he looked up, Potter glanced away. It was irritating, to say the least. And every time he talked, Potter looked startled, turned red, and mumbled into his robes like he was a little kid. "Do you have a twitch?" he asked irritably.

Potter gave a start and blinked owlishly at him. "No," he said slowly, "why do you ask?"

"Because you keep on looking away," Draco snapped. "Look, I'm not contagious or anything." He could feel his stomach churning slightly. He wasn't sure why he cared what Potter thought, but he did. It wasn't right, he decided. After all, he was the pureblood. Potter was a half-blood. That meant that Potter shouldn't be the one looking down on him.

"I never thought that." Potter looked offended.

Draco was slightly mollified. The indignant expression on Potter's face seemed genuine. "Well then, why do you look so nervous?" he demanded. A sudden thought occurred to him. "It isn't because I hit the nail on the head with the Snape comment?"

"No," Potter said quickly.

Too quickly, Draco thought. He smirked. "I gave you his address," he teased. "You could always go and find him."

"I'm not in love with Snape," Potter said, sounding irritated. There was faint colour on his cheeks.

"No, of course not," Draco said. "You just spent all that effort and money to bring back your most hated Professor back to life."

Potter frowned at him. "Why are you pushing this anyway?"

Draco shrugged. "It amuses me?" he offered.

Potter rolled his eyes. "Anybody would think that you were in love with Snape yourself."

Draco snorted. "Potter, I'd have more of a chance of being in love with you. At least you aren't a grumpy bastard." He was puzzled when Potter breathed in sharply and two bright spots of colour appeared in his cheeks.

"I have to go," Potter said quickly. He pushed past Draco, who stumbled against a table. Potter ended up pressed up against him, Potter's hands on his chest, pulling him upright again and then Potter's face seemed so close to him. Draco exhaled slowly and could see his breath fogging up Potter's glasses. Inexplicably, he shivered. Potter's hands were still on his shoulders, fingers warm against the cool fabric of his robes. Potter's face was centimetres away. Draco realised that if he leaned forward just a tiny bit, he could kiss Potter. Then he wondered why he was thinking that. He shook his head sharply.

"You can move now," Draco managed to get out.

Potter yanked his hands back as if Draco was on fire. "Excuse me," he muttered as he walked off.

-***-


Draco bit his lip. He couldn't seem to stop thinking about Potter. It didn't help that he was ridiculously horny and somehow instead of dashing a bucket of cold water on his imagination, the image of Potter dancing in and out of his mind just made it worse.

His cock hardened and Draco could feel the silk of his robes brush up against its burgeoning length. Damn it, Draco told himself. Think of Potter in a pink silk dress. Think of him naked. His cock jumped at that thought. Dimly, Draco realised that he should have thought of something else. Maybe Umbridge in a pink dress would have done it, but his mind seemed fixated on the idea of Potter now. Those vivid green eyes behind those ridiculous owlish glasses. That rumpled black hair and the perpetually wrinkled robes.

Draco wondered what Potter looked like under those robes. Did he exercise much? Did he have visible muscles under there? Involuntarily, Draco thought of Potter under the shower, rivulets of water trickling down his muscles, wet hair slicked back and Potter's hand on his own cock, slowly bringing himself closer and closer, his head thrown back and mouth open in pleasure.

With trembling fingers, Draco unbuttoned several buttons around the waist of his robes. He curled the fingers of one hand around his cock and then ran a light finger over the head of his cock. He leaned back in the chair and closed his eyes. The way Potter had felt against him had made his head spin. If he had his magic, he could have just reached in his pocket, taken out his wand and made Potter's clothes vanish. Draco shuddered. He could have felt Potter pressed up naked against him, Potter's fingers wrapped around his cock, pumping, while Draco teased Potter by running his fingers up and down the length of Potter's cock, listening to Potter breathe hard in his ear and gasp out his name.

He could have Potter spread out in front of him, a veritable feast, and he could slowly thrust into Potter, feeling the tight ring of muscle let him in. Draco moved his hand faster, squeezing his cock as he bucked his hips up.

Potter could strip in front of him, slowly pulling off his robes - no slowly pulling off those Muggle jeans that he had seen Muggle men wear. Potter could peel them off slowly, exposing his hard cock as he bent over to take them off. Draco slowly moved his hand up and down, imagining that it was Potter's fingers around his cock. He pulled a leg up and cupped his balls with his other hand. Potter could have one wet finger circling him while sucking him off. The image of Potter's red lips around his cock made Draco shudder.

He came almost explosively over his couch cushions.

-***-


They were in Potter's house and Potter had just offered him a cup of tea. They were walking towards the kitchen when suddenly, Draco stumbled and ended up pressed up against Potter. Just that simple action seemed to make all the blood rush down to his cock. Feeling his face flush, he stepped back and brushed his robes down. "I believe your clumsiness is catching," he drawled.

Potter had an indescribable expression on his face.

"You're staring," Draco told him.

"You had... you had," Potter said, looking down at Draco's crotch area.

Draco fought to keep his expression calm. Potter noticed? That was beyond embarrassing. He most definitely wasn't attracted to Potter. The fact he wanked off to a picture of Potter last night wasn't proof. He straightened himself up and looked down his nose. "It was my wand, Potter. You have a very dirty mind."

Potter looked disbelieving. "I know the difference between a wand and ... that."

Potter knew the difference? Draco raised an eyebrow and smiled slowly.

"I didn't mean it that way," Potter said quickly. "I meant that I know what a wand feels like and that wasn't a wand. Of course, I know what that feels like as well. But only mine, of course. Not anybody else's. Not that I touch mine a lot."

Draco blinked. "Shut up, Potter," he muttered and took a step forward. He could see Potter's eyes widen and the little pulse point at his throat thrumming faster. "Shut up." Draco wanted to look away but he couldn't. He wanted to lean forward and press his lips against Potter's neck and hear Potter gasp. He wanted to press Potter up against the wall and feel Potter's cock pressed up hard against his thigh.

Potter breathed in sharply. "I...I..."

With effort, Draco turned away. He took a step backwards. "I need to go," he said quickly. He half walked, half stumbled away. As soon as Draco was out of Potter's house, he leaned against the wall to catch his breath.

Merlin, it was embarrassing. He hadn't acted like that since he was ten and he met Pansy for the first time. She hadn't let him forget it for the first four years at Hogwarts. He didn't even like Potter. He most definitely wasn't attracted to Potter. It was ridiculous. Draco resisted the urge to turn around and bang his head against the wall.

-***-


"It's your fault," Draco snapped. He had long since stopped blaming Potter for his lack of magic, but it was so easy to accuse him. Besides, it distracted him from the images in his head, the images that drove him to distraction, the images that made him want to strip Potter and have his way with him on the desk.

"Oh shut up," Potter said, sounding tired.

Draco's eyes widened and the long row of Potters dancing naked in his mind abruptly stopped. "Did you just tell me to shut up?" He couldn't believe it. Potter had never been so utterly rude before. Usually Potter made some sort of apologetic remark and then Draco would drop the topic after making a few more snide remarks.

"I've tried to help you," Potter said tightly, not looking at him. "Merlin help me but I've definitely tried to help you. You've been nothing but ungrateful."

"Me?" Draco spluttered. "Ungrateful? It's your fault my magic is gone."

"I didn't mean it to happen," Potter snapped. "It wasn't some sort of deliberate plan to steal your magic. But my decision to stay for the past few weeks and help you look for ways to recover your magic was deliberate! You would have thought I'd deserve some sort of thanks!"

A part of Draco's mind couldn't help but think that Potter was right. He knew that Potter could just have left him to be magic-less. After all, who would he go and complain to? He was a Malfoy. And besides, they had been dabbling in necromancy. Draco had no desire to join his father in Azkaban. "Thank you for ensuring that I no longer have magic," he said snidely.

"It wasn't my fault!" Potter exploded.

"Yes it was," Draco snapped. "It was completely and utterly your fault. You were the one who came up with the hare-brained scheme to bring Snape back to life. It was you who couldn't brew a potion to save your life. It's your fault!"

"Shut up," Potter said, finally looking up.

Draco was surprised at the fire in those green eyes. He shivered. He couldn't seem to look away. Finally, with some effort, he managed to blink. "No, you shut up," he said, knowing full well how childish he sounded.

Potter stepped forward. The look in his eyes intensified. "I'm trying to help you, you ungrateful bastard."

"Much appreciated," Draco managed to get out.

"Don't you ever just shut up?" Potter's voice sounded almost lazy. If Draco didn't know better, he would have said that Potter's voice sounded caressing.

"Why don't you make me?" he challenged.

Almost immediately, Draco regretted his words. Potter's eyes flared and he took another step forward. If Draco reached forward he could have touched Potter. "I think I will," Potter said softly.

Before Draco knew it, Potter had leaned forward. His lips were soft and his breath tasted vaguely of sweets. Draco struggled to get a hold of his thoughts while emotions caroused through him. It was absolutely nothing like how he had imagined it; it was better. A thousand times better. His imagination would have never captured this feeling, the feeling of indecision and the feeling of just the slightest bit of hesitation from Potter.

And then Potter pulled back. His eyes were wide with shock. "I'm sorry," he gasped.

Draco opened his mouth to rebuke him but somehow, he found himself pulling Potter forward by the robes. "Don't be," he murmured into Potter's ear before kissing him again.

-***-


Three Months Later


A Nargle danced happily through a field of primroses. It was a beautiful day. The sun was smiling in the sky and the sea was crashing into a cliff a mere twenty metres away. It looked across the field and could see other Nargles playing happily together.

A shadow fell across its path. The Nargle looked up and for the first time in its pink and blessed life, it felt fear.

-***-


"Got it!" Luna said, beaming as she charmed the Nargle into her bag. "I've been looking for you for over ten years." She leaned over it and kissed the Nargle on the nose. "We're going right back to London," she promised. "And you'll help a couple of friends of mine. Oh yes you will, you adorable thing."

With a happy whistle, she lifted the bag up and trotted back to where her partners on this expedition were giving her quizzical looks.

"You look happy," Rolf told her.

"I am happy," she said serenely, showing him the Nargle.

His eyes bugged out of his head. "So it is real," he said wonderingly.

"Of course," Luna told him seriously. "I told you it was." She looked down at the Nargle. "I didn't think that it would be so cute though."

From the look on Rolf's face, he hadn't thought so either. With a slightly bemused expression, he patted the Nargle on the head.

"I think it likes you," Luna said delightedly. "Look, it's licking your hand!" Or at least she hoped that it was like. For all she knew, it could have been Nargle-ese for extreme disgust. She really needed to learn Nargle-ese, she decided. It would be undoubtedly very useful when it came to communicating with the Nargles.

-***-


Harry handed him a copy of The Daily Prophet. Draco stared at it. "Thanks?" he ventured. "I've always wanted a copy of this. I'll treasure it forever in my heart and frame it on the wall."

"Don't be an idiot," Harry said affectionately. "Look at that article." He jabbed a finger at the lead article on the front page, the one with shiny letters and Luna's face next to the writing.

"Oh," Draco said. He stared at the heading and then at Luna's picture and then back to the heading again. "She actually found one?" He felt as though the world had been yanked out from under his feet like a rug. It was ridiculous. It was as though Luna had announced she had found a great glass elevator that led to the moon. In fact, Draco wouldn't be particularly surprised if she announced that next.

"She found a Nargle!" Harry affirmed with a grin. "Isn't that fantastic?"

"For her, definitely," Draco said cautiously. "I'm sure she's very happy. However, for me, unless you believe that Nargles can cure my affliction, it's less than cheering news."

Harry hit him on the arm. Draco frowned. A lot of people seemed to tend to hit him on the arm. "Don't be stubborn, Draco."

"I'm not being stubborn," Draco protested. He didn't think he was, anyway. He thought Harry was being ridiculous. "It's not stubbornness to be sceptical of the ability of a Nargle to cure me of being a Squib."

"You're not a Squib," Harry said in a long-suffering tone. "It was a magical accident. And as a very magical creature, the Nargle can help."

"I think," Draco said slowly, "that you have been affected by whatever affected Luna when she was a kid. Perhaps it's some sort of crazy gas." It was one of the few sore points between them. Actually, his lack of magic was the sore point, but Draco knew that Harry hated it when he brought it up. So he only brought it up to needle Harry whenever he was annoyed.

"Just give it a try," Harry insisted. "I know it sounds silly, but Luna's right sometimes. You know she is."

"I suppose," Draco said reluctantly. "But you know they don't even have a picture of the Nargle on the cover. How do you know she didn't just make it up?"

"Luna wouldn't do that," Harry said. "Besides, it says so right there that the Nargle is camera shy."

"A convenient excuse," Draco grumbled.

Harry walked over and pressed a kiss on the top of his head. "Just promise me that you'll go," he said. "It won't hurt. Who knows? It might be cute."

"With my luck, it'll be as cute as a venomous nightflower," Draco muttered. "Besides, I'm still not sure they exist." He wondered what Luna was going to show him. Possibly something invisible, knowing Luna, he thought.

-***-


"So," Draco said, "that's a Nargle." He stared, blinked, and then stared some more. He considered blinking again but didn't think that would be particularly helpful.

Luna beamed at him. "Isn't it gorgeous?"

Draco supposed that he ought to be glad that she wasn't telling him 'I told you so'. He stared down at the fluffy pink Nargle sitting on his palm. It was about the size and shape of a very small kitten. "What am I supposed to do with this?"

"Well," Luna said seriously, "most people feed them using a mixture of milk and solid foods, but I suppose you could try breastfeeding."

"Do I look like I have breasts?" Draco spluttered.

"You could," Luna pointed out. "Harry still has magic."

"I'm not letting Potter give me breasts!"

Luna smiled sagely. "You never know, Harry might like it. Anyway, I thought you could give her to Harry. You know, as a present."

Draco narrowed his eyes suspiciously. Was Luna giving him a knowing smile? He couldn't tell. Her normal smile was usually fairly content and knowing. Did she know about him and Harry? The past few months had been rather surprising. He and Harry had made a pact not to tell anybody. So far nobody knew, not even Pansy. Not even Weasley and Granger. How on earth did Luna know? "Why would I give Potter a present?"

"You're not fooling anybody by calling him Potter," Luna told him.

"I'm not?" The words were out of his mouth before he could stop himself. He could have kicked himself. It was the kind of amateur mistake that Harry usually made.

"You're not," Luna confirmed.

"Harry wouldn't like this anyway," Draco said. He hoped that Harry wouldn't like it. It looked too cute for words and as such, it sickened him. The Nargle looked up at him with huge plaintive eyes and made a meowing sound. "It looks like some cat bred with a pink fluffy ball."

"She does, doesn't she?" Luna picked the Nargle up and cuddled it. "I'm sure Harry will love it."

Draco eyed it doubtfully.

"Besides," Luna told him, "this Nargle will cure you." She handed it back to him and shooed him out of her door. "You'll thank me later."

"I doubt it," Draco muttered as he blinked at the bright sunlight outside. He lifted the Nargle so it was in front of his eyes. It was a remarkably docile creature. "I'm taking you back to Lovegood tomorrow," he told the Nargle. "I'm not keeping you and neither is Harry."

The Nargle blinked at him innocently.

-***-


"That is a Nargle?" Harry said, sounding rather shocked.

Draco held it up. The little pink Nargle made a plaintive mewing sound. "It is," he confirmed. "Luna seemed enamoured of its cuteness. I think it clashes with our furniture. I figure we can keep it for a night and then give it back."

"I always expected that it would look more... magical," Harry said slowly. "Do you feel any signs?"

Draco raised an eyebrow. "If you came closer I could feel something," he said with a wink.

"Not that kind of sign," Harry said irritably, his cheeks flushing slightly. "I mean your magic. Do you feel it coming back at all? It should have been instantaneous."

"I think that you're a bit crazy," Draco said as he put the Nargle on their dining room table. He couldn't help think that Harry's surety that Luna could cure his affliction bordered on the insane. Sure, now they knew that Nargles existed but there was absolutely no indication that it could help cure him. Right now, the Nargle looked like a very cute little kid-friendly family pet, not some sort of magical cure-all.

"You wouldn't say that if you knew Luna more," Harry said sounding cryptic.

Draco stared. He'd always suspected there was a reason for why Harry believed so much in Luna's cures. "What'd she cure?"

Harry gave a start. "Who said she cured anything?" he said irritably.

"It's pretty obvious," Draco said. "Why else would you believe her? Face it, she isn't exactly a paragon of sanity."

"She's right more often than you know," Harry said. He then looked over at the Nargle sitting there on the table. The Nargle turned its head towards him and started licking itself. "Although," he admitted, "possibly not in this case."

"Ha!" Draco said. "You admit it. This was a crazy endeavour."

"Maybe," Harry admitted slowly, taking a step forward and laying a hand on Draco's shoulder. "But we wouldn't be in this situation if I hadn't started to help you. And I wouldn't have tried to help you if I didn't think that Luna could help me help you."

Draco blinked. "That's completely illogical," he said.

"Perhaps."

"No, it is," Draco said. "Are you trying to say you wouldn't have helped me if you hadn't known Luna even though it was your fault that I was in this situation?"

"Well, no," Harry said. "I would have tried to help."

Draco shook his head. "Then we'd be in this situation anyway."

Harry sighed. "Let's just say Luna was right before when nobody else thought she was right. I tend to trust her." Draco noticed he still cast a doubtful look at the Nargle.

Draco reached forward and ran a finger down Harry's cheek. He enjoyed seeing Harry close his eyes and shiver. "The Nargle's still going back in the morning," he said softly. "But right now, I think we have far more interesting things to do than to sit around discussing Nargles."

Harry nodded vigorously.

-***-


As he was eating dinner that night, Draco felt a strange tingling sensation in his fingers. He hoped that it wasn't the beginning of some sort of weird illness brought on by lack of magic. He knew that having magic afforded him immunity to a multitude of illnesses that Muggles were afflicted with. He certainly didn't want a Muggle illness. That would be so embarrassing. He was positive Pansy would laugh at him.

"Are you okay?" Harry asked, a frown on his face. "You're looking at your fingers like you've never seen them before."

"I'm fine," Draco said slowly. "They just feel weird, that's all." He flexed his fingers experimentally. There it was again! The strange tingling. He looked down at his hand. It didn't look different. It just felt strange.

Harry leaned across and ran a finger slowly across Draco's palm. He lifted up Draco's hand and seemed to examine it intently. "I don't see anything wrong with it," he said slowly, his breath warm against Draco's arm.

Draco shivered.

Harry lifted Draco's hand and slowly licked a drop of chocolate from their dessert that had fallen on his finger. "Whatever it is, I'm sure I can fix it," he murmured, running his tongue across the top of Draco's fingertip. "In fact, I'll stay over tonight, just to look after you."

Draco suspected that Harry's brand of looking after involved more shagging than tucking into bed, but he didn't mind. In fact, his cock jumped at the very thought and without further ado, he tackled Harry onto the sofa. He could feel Harry's erection grinding into his own, sending pleasurable tingles throughout his entire body. "I have another part that's tingling right now," Draco said, moving his hips. "Perhaps you'd like to look after that?"

Harry laughed and dragged him down for a kiss.

-***-


Draco stared at the ceiling. He had been lying there for hours ever since he woke up with the bizarre feeling in his hands again. Except now, it seemed to be shooting all throughout his body. It was as though something was waking up inside his veins. Almost automatically, he reached over for the wand that was on his bedside table. As his fingers wrapped around his wand, the tingling grew stronger. It was almost a thrumming now.

His fingers itched.

Draco's eyes widened. It was a very familiar feeling. He didn't dare hope but he was almost sure what it was. Quickly, Draco reached over and poked Harry in the back. "Wake up!" he said. "Wake up!"

Harry rolled over and blinked blearily at him, rubbing his eyes. "What?"

"I think..." Draco said slowly. "I think I know what the tingling was."

"Mmm," Harry told him. "I'm sure you don't have rabies or any of the other things you mentioned last night before we went to sleep."

Draco rolled his eyes. "Not that," he said. He hesitated, not wanting to say it out loud. Normally he wasn't superstitious but this was too important. "I think I might have my magic back!"

Harry sat up immediately.

Holding his breath, Draco waved his wand experimentally. Sparks flew through the air. "Accio book," he ordered, pointing towards a book on the bureau. The book half-heartedly slid towards him. Draco was ecstatic. "It's back!" he crowed. He had to admit that it didn't seem to be particularly strong but perhaps it just wasn't at full-strength. Frankly, Draco didn't care. He'd rather only have a modicum of magic than be a Squib. He pulled Harry forward and kissed him and then pointed his wand at a lamp in the corner. This time, the lamp slid towards the window. It seemed like his magic was coming back slowly. It seemed to be getting better every time he used it.

"Do you think..."

Draco turned to look at Harry who was looking over at the door. "Mmm?"

"D'you think that..." Harry trailed off again.

"Just spit it out," Draco said, rolling his eyes.

"Might that have something to do with it?" Harry said, pointing towards the doorway.

Slowly, Draco turned around and stared at the fluffy pink Nargle sitting there looking at them solemnly. No, it couldn't be. It just couldn't. It was impossible. Surely, the Nargle didn't have anything to do with it. "No," he said slowly. "I'm sure it didn't do anything."

He could have sworn that the Nargle smiled at him.

-***-



The Nargle was puzzled. This place was nothing like its field. It had no flowers, no grass, no fellow Nargles, and no smell of ocean. Instead, all it had were things that smelt musty, things that smelt bad, and two very large creatures. These large creatures occasionally made loud noises but mostly romped on a bouncy surface.

The Nargle approved of romping. With regret, it thought of its Nargle mate back in the field. And then it wondered if it would ever get to go back. It hoped so.

-fin


 

   

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