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Nano #46: Draco the Storyteller: Heart of Gold

Title: Draco the Storyteller: Heart of Gold
Author: [info]elfflame
Characters: Harry, Draco, Not-Moody, Lucius
Rating: PG13
A/N: Finale.


And In the End

Draco tossed Harry the lamp, but even as he did so, Harry saw Bartemius lurch toward him to try to grab it from him. Harry caught it, dodging the guards, then rubbed at the lamp even as he ran across the room. But this time, when the genie emerged, he did not offer the usual greeting Harry had become used to. Instead, it was quite different. "Hello, Master Harry. I am sorry."

"Don't be sorry! Just help me fix this!" He dodged a spear, then sprinted off in the opposite direction, desperately wanting to see if Draco was okay, but scared to look. "I wish that Bartemius was in chains and the guards were on my side!"

The genie only continued to look sadly at Harry. "I'm afraid I cannot do that, Master Harry."

"What? Why not? I've only had…"

"Three wishes, Harry. The first was getting free of the cave."

Harry clambered up a statue, kicking at the guards. "No…that wasn't…"

"It was. You asked to be freed. I freed you."

"But that means…" He glanced toward Draco, who was grappling with Bartemius on the dais. "Draco!"

Draco looked up, then kneed Bartemius in the crotch, making Harry wince. "What? Why isn't he in chains yet? Or gone?" He dodged a spear.

"I can't. I'm out of wishes. Here…catch!" He threw the lamp as directly to Draco as he could. "Rub it! You can…"

But before Harry could finish, before Draco could catch the lamp, a summoning spell snatched it out of the air.

Both boys stared in shock as not Barty, but the Duke summoned the genie. "Genie, subdue them all. My son may stay free." He glanced at Harry, who found his arms bound to his sides, and used a spell to drag him to the dais. "I knew you seemed…off…boy."

He glowered down at Harry, then turned to Bartemius. "And you…I should have known you'd be behind something like this. Always wanted more than your share. Pranced around the castle like you were a prince while your father was my chancellor. Spoiled child. I should have known you'd be an even worse man. But turning against me was most definitely not advisable. After all, there is a reason my family have been Dukes for so long. Your power…it was nothing to break. Especially when my son distracted you."

Bartemius sputtered. "You're just an overgrown vulture, Lucius! My father should have killed you when he was still in your good graces. But he was a fool. Weak. Something I will never be!"

The Duke snorted, moving up to the top of the dais, then slapped him across the face with the back of his hand. "You're not even worth wasting my magic on. If it had not been for my son…"

"Not just me, father…Harry…"

The Duke looked at his son. "Don't you understand, boy? He's nothing. Certainly not a Prince as he claimed. It was all a façade. To get to you."

Harry winced, wondering what Draco's reaction would be. He started when he felt Draco's hand on his shoulder, and looked up to see Draco looking determinedly at his father. "Perhaps not. If it was all about me, why would he fight so hard? And why would he give me the chance to break free, despite the fact that it would leave him helpless?"

"Because he was still hoping to convince you to come away with him, most likely. He's nothing more than another commoner who wants more than his share. And he will be paid accordingly. With the whip. And time in our prisons."

Harry shivered, his head bowing at the words. Now he truly had lost everything. All he could hope was that Minnie would avoid similar for helping him.

"No. He won't. You spent no time with him, father. You don't know. Perhaps there are people out there like…" He glanced at Bartemius, then shook his head. "Well, of course there are. But why would Harry take me away from the castle? Surely he would have been better stood to ingratiate himself there. Butter us all up. Get as much as he could while we still believed his story?"

"I never believed his story," the Duke spat. "He deserves worse for daring even to touch you, Draco! Now…step away from him and I will deal with him accordingly."

Harry was ready to hear a whipping spell, or even worse. But instead, Draco stepped directly between Harry and his father. "No. I won't let you. Consider him under my protection."

"Draco…what are you saying?" The Duke's voice was stiff, and Harry couldn't help but wonder if he would loose his magic on his son.

"You've always told me I need to learn who I am, and that I need more experience to become the best duke I can. Well, Harry made me see that I wasn't even trying. I've barely known him two days, and my life has already become more eventful that it has been for eighteen years, father. At home, I can be nothing more than your cosseted, pampered son. But if I see the world…well, maybe his reasons weren't perfect, but…he never tried to hurt me or force me to do anything. Not the way that piece of scum acted."

"Then how would you suggest dealing with him, Draco? He can hardly be allowed to get away with trying to use you that way."

Draco smiled. "Give him to me. Servant, if you must, though I think he's quite proven he could be a very effective bodyguard, if you'd allow it. He and I and…a few of the men you've picked for me over the years can go…see England. And maybe even cross to the continent for a time. See where mother came from." He smiled at her, then looked back at his father. "It would be good for me, surely you'd agree?"

The Duke scowled. "He's got you blinded, Draco. You could have anyone you wished as your guard. Why allow him that sort of access?"

"Because…despite everything, even though he had to know we'd find out…he tried to help us anyway."

The words gave Harry hope. He didn't deserve the Duke's pardon, but maybe this might all work out after all?

After a long silent moment, the Duke nodded. "Very well. But I will assign the rest of your men. And they will be under strict orders to kill him on sight should he attempt to harm you in any way. Are we clear, Draco?"

"Of course, father."

Draco turned to Harry, using his wand to banish the ropes around him. "So…now that you're in my debt…" He grinned, and Harry felt his face flush.

"I swear, I never meant…"

"Shh…" Draco stopped him. "Father has to get back to the castle and decide who to send with us." He glanced at the genie. "Will this castle stand now that the usurper is leaving?"

"It will stand unless you wish it, Master Draco," the genie said, smiling once more.

"Good." He tugged Harry to his feet, then waved at his parents. "I'll write soon…" Then he pulled Harry out of the hall and up the stairs.

"Draco…?"

"Yes, Harry?" Draco replied, walking toward another flight of stairs and looking into each room as they passed.

"Where are we going?"

"To find a room. "Someone promised to show me what camping is like."

"But…you don't camp in a castle…"

Draco grinned at him. "I guess we'll just have to make do, then, won't we?" He tugged Harry into a room, furnished with a lavish bed that looked soft enough to drown in, then tugged him close. "Now…I'd advise you to get started. You wouldn't want to make me angry…who knows what I might do to you…"

Harry grinned, then leaned in and kissed Draco. Everything would be just fine.

fin

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