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Paper Dolls by dee
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Author's Notes:
For Cassandra, With Love.
Draco thinks that when this is over, when the War is all over and done with, he'd like to go somewhere quiet. Somewhere owls can't get to. Somewhere with no parchment.

*

Fold

It had started with an owl from Blaise. An owl; Draco hadn't even thought he could get them. It was written in code, and he'd known immediately who it was from, remembered lessons in ciphers given with Blaise's breath against the back of his neck that invariably ended with Theo throwing a cushion at them and telling them to get a room.

No one can trace the owl, the letter promised, decoded. I can't even trace the owl. I think it's going via Uzbekistan or something. It's coming back the same way, if you wanted to respond or anything. You know. If you want.

Of course Draco wanted. A letter. It was like a lifeline. Not that he'd let Aunt Bella find out about it, of course. He memorised it, and burnt it. Draco trusted Blaise, but Bellatrix trusted no one. She wouldn't believe about Uzbekistan. She'd think it was some Ministry plot.

Draco had thought there was nothing left for him but that paranoia. Paranoia and violence and hate and a thousand tiny little steps and endless lessons with Snape. Now there were wings at his window and words from a world that had seemed an eternity away. He commited them to memory before flame. Theo was running a book on how long that Weasel girl of Potter's would remain single this year. Milli was terrorising fifth-year Hufflepuff girls into thinking she was a lesbian. Blaise was embarking on a determined effort to get into Pansy's pants, and was just saying so so that Draco could raise objections if he wanted. Not that Blaise intended to pay any attention to them.

No objections, he wrote back. He and Blaise had been over a while ago, now, and he and Pansy had never really managed to make it past the friends barrier without one of them ending up bleeding. Of course, when Pansy wrote him a week later - same circuitous route, same code - Draco wrote back, Make him work for it.



He was presented to the Dark Lord. Him and Snape, and Voldemort looked at them, and Draco wanted to laugh, to be sick, to throw himself down on the ground and beg. The Lord was a monster, a thing, he was death, just standing there, and Draco couldn't have explained it, the terror screaming in his head, the cold dark plunge inside him.

"You've done very well," Voldemort said, and looked away, and Snape's fingers digging into Draco's arm dragged him back.

Afterwards, Draco saw his mother, her face drawn. She traced across his face with a finger, and said, "Your father would be so proud."



Then he got a letter from Harry Potter. Same owl. No code.

I guess I don't expect you to actually read this, it read, so I don't know why I've gone through three drafts already. If you haven't just checked the name and set the whole thing on fire, I might as well just say it. I don't like you. But I know you didn't do it. And I don't think you really wanted to, either. For what it's worth.

Draco wrote Blaise, wanting to know what the fuck was going on. He sent back some explanation about the Weasley girl overhearing them talking about owling him, and going on and on and on at him about it until Blaise agreed to send something for her. He hadn't known what it was. What had Potter had to say?

Can I send an Uzbekistani owl to Potter? Draco wrote back, fingers resolutely steady on the quill.

Yes, Blaise wrote, his scrawl more slapdash than usual. What the fuck did he say, Draco?



Draco swore his allegiance, his honour, his life to the Lord Voldemort. Snape had said many things, about waiting for his father's presence to do this, but in the end it was him standing behind Draco as he knelt. Draco held his head high and swallowed hard as the Dark Lord extended his wand towards the bared flesh of his forearm.

And then he screamed. Forever, it felt like, in darkness and smoke and horror.

When he came to, his mother's face was the first thing he saw, a pale beacon coalescing out of dark blur. She lay her cool, long-fingered, gentle hand on Draco's brow.

It was Bellatrix's voice, out of the shadows beyond her shoulder, that said, "Your father will be so proud."

*

Draw

Mass Azkaban Death Eater breakout on the fifteenth. The Dementors will be there. All of them. Keep people out of it.



The Uzbekistani owls were small and vicious, and Draco had no way of explaining a bite on his thumb, so he wore gloves until it healed, and swallowed the wince every time he had to use that hand.

His father was proud. He'd said as much in the brief moment they'd had together on the cold night of the fifteenth. He'd clapped a hand to Draco's shoulder, a moonlight-haired wraith, who'd then vanished again. His task was to lead the Ministry astray in Europe, while freshening some old contacts of the Dark Lord.

It hadn't made Draco feel any better. But he'd felt well enough. He'd seen a Dementor. He hadn't thought anything could be worse than Lord Voldemort. No one deserved that.



"The Dementors are, I think, disappointed," his aunt said.

Azkaban prison break bloodless, the Daily Prophet said.

Thanks for the tip, Potter's note said.

Don't know what you're talking about, Draco's reply said.

But he didn't go to any trouble to hide his handwriting. Nor had he before.



"It's a Muggle rock concert," Bellatrix explained, inordinately pleased with herself. "Apparently," she almost purred, "this musician fellow fancies himself rather evil, as do his insipid little followers."

It wasn't even an official meeting. It was a soirée Narcissa had put on, elegant and perfect and just happening to involve every single one of the major heirarchy of the Death Eaters. The parlour had never looked so sinister.

"You want to come bursting out of the stage decorations?" Rabastan drawled, kicking one leg over the arm of his chair. Everything was boring, gauche or both with Rabastan Lestrange.

"I want," Bellatrix said, draping herself over Rodolphus like some expensive scarf, "to kill a lot of stupid Muggles." Her husband caught up her hand and kissed her knuckles.

"Yes," the Dark Lord said, and Draco stepped closer to the fireplace, to rake the coals and pretend that was why he hadn't quite not shivered.



We need more details. Meet me in St Mary's Cathedral in Newcastle tomorrow night, half-six. - HP

How do I know this isn't a trap? - DM

I'm trusting you, aren't I? - HP



It irked him that Potter obviously expected compliance. He went anyway.

He had never pretended to understand Muggle religion, and he wasn't about to start making an effort now, but he would admit that this cathedral place made a pretty good meeting place. The architecture was admirable, and there were scatterings of people across the vast space inside, silent or quietly speaking, alone or in small groups. No one looked twice at Draco, nor at the scruffy-haired, bespectacled youth loitering against one wall.

"You're late," Potter said, as Draco came over. Sharp, but hushed, like every other person speaking in here.

Draco followed suit. "Five minutes," he said, dismissively. "Worried I wasn't going to show?"

Harry rolled his eyes. "In here."

'Here' was a little baby side church. It could seat maybe twenty, if they were friendly, but currently it was empty. Harry took a pew, Draco the one behind him.

Harry was looking at him oddly. "Why are you doing this?"

Draco shrugged. "Why did you owl me?"

That brought Potter's chin up a little. "It was the right thing to do."

Draco's turn to roll his eyes. "So fucking noble it hurts. Get on with it."

Harry glared, but did, firing questions at Draco - who, how, when. He had a little Muggle notebook and a pencil, and Draco had to admit it beat parchment and quill for portability. An awful lot of the questions Draco didn't have answers to, especially the more detailed ones, but Potter didn't get impatient. At the end, flipping the notebook closed, he asked, "Can you find out more, ask questions?"

And Draco said, "No," hot on the heels of his last word. He took a breath, looked down. "No. Nothing that draws attention to me."

Harry nodded - Draco saw it from the corner of his eye - unperturbed. "If they catch you, they'll kill you," he noted.

No shit. "Least of my worries."

Harry opened his mouth, but there came raised voices from outside, in the main church. Draco had his back to the wall in the niche beside the chapel entrance half a second before he realised Potter was right beside him. Harry smirked. "Paranoid much?"

Draco huffed a laugh. "That's the troll calling the giant ugly." He edged closer to the opening and peeked around, then laughed properly. "Just the old ducks saying goodnight."

Harry was flipping through the notebook, hair falling in his face, relaxed like he hadn't been absolutely poised for an instant there, right beside Draco. "They'll be closing up, soon. We'd best go. Not together, of course, just in case. You first?"

It wasn't an order; he could follow good advice when he heard it. "Sure." He straightened the neck of his coat, and stepped out of the chapel.

"And Draco?" He paused, looked back over his shoulder. Harry just glanced up, then said, "Dumbledore would be proud of you."



You've faced him before. You know what he is.

He's mad, is what he is. He's insane, and he's dangerous. He terrifies me. He terrifies everyone, except maybe my stupid aunt, and that's just because she's probably as crazy as he is. I know he terrifies my father, and maybe he can manage to mistake fear for respect, but I've been afraid many times before, and I can tell the difference.

You never knew, not really. You were told, and you accepted the evidence. I know. A world with him in charge is no sort of world at all.

That's why I'm doing this.


Once he'd written it, Draco couldn't just leave it lying around. Bellatrix might find it. He couldn't bring himself to burn the parchment. So he sent it.



"You're the first bloke I've fancied," he'd told Blaise once.

"Bollocks," Blaise said, not even looking up from his book until Draco's flabberghasted silence had stretched on quite a bit. "What about Potter?" he said then.

"I don't--" a raised eyebrow from Zabini "--think Potter's like that," Draco finished.

Blaise tilted his head consideringly. "No," he allowed eventually. "Probably not."



There were raised voices in the main room. Draco, in the corridor, heard Alecto Carrow screeching something about being run off, and then the door was closed, nothing but the insidious rumble of Dolohov's voice making it out.

The concert had been dark and crowded and a relative disaster. A few bundles of black-clad, face-painted idiotic Muggle brats terrified before they got run off. They were mostly just children; stupid, idiotic, melodramatic children.

They'd been about Draco's age. But some time in the past year, he'd grown up. Harry too, if he thought about it.

*

Cut

Long time, no owl. -HP

Miss me? -DM



It was a bloody inclement day in Cornwall, and Land's End was the last place Draco wanted to be. It felt like the wind was blowing straight from New York via a lot of icebergs. There was a lot of fog, and not another person in sight, until Potter stepped out of the mist.

"I'm fucking freezing," Draco complained.

"I brought coffee." Potter offered a stiff paper cup with a plastic lid. Draco just eyed it. Harry laughed. "Crazy Muggle invention. Trust me. I didn't know how you drank it, so I got it black with one sugar."

Draco drank it white with two, actually, but he took the cup. "This doesn't help," he said, but it did, the warmth seeping in through his palms, burning pleasantly down into his stomach.

"I wasn't sure you'd be here," Potter said, squinting off into the fog. It was like being wrapped in cotton. Somewhere, a seabird shrieked dolefully. Draco said nothing, and Harry turned to look at him instead. "Three raids in the past month. The Muggles are calling that tennis business a terrorist attack. Hestia Jones is in St Mungo's after the one in Suffolk. We could have done something. If we'd known."

Draco laced his fingers around the cup. "I'm being kept out of things." It tasted bitter as the coffee.

When he glanced across, Harry wasn't disappointed, or pitying, just sharply considering. "Do they suspect something? Do they suspect you?"

Well, really, Draco hadn't asked himself the same thing half a hundred times in the last month or anything, not at all. "I don't think so. Reckon I'd be dead by now, if they did. If he did. Not sitting at home wondering what the hell's going on."

"You're Lucius's son," Harry pointed out. "Could that--?"

"I don't think Voldemort gives a fuck," Draco said. He took another swallow of coffee, and let it warm him. Harry was still silent, so Draco said, "I haven't been out there. I haven't been indulging in random murders of Muggles. I haven't been proving myself."

"Why not?" Harry asked, and when Draco turned on him, he met the glare steadily. "Well?"

"Maybe they don't deserve to be wizards," Draco said, "but they don't deserve to die, either."

There was a considering blankness on Potter's face, and flecks of sleet on his spectacles. "Don't look at me like that, Malfoy. I'm not going to ask you to kill people just to be a better spy."

"Good," Draco shot back. "Because I wouldn't." Spy. He hadn't actually thought of it like that before. It sat in him, heavy and bulky. He wasn't sure how he felt about it.

Harry grinned suddenly, and clapped a hand on Draco's shoulder. "We'll think of something."

Draco snorted, draining his coffee cup. "Yeah whatever." When he lowered it, Harry still had his hand on Draco's shoulder, and when Draco glanced over, Harry was more serious now. He seemed closer, like that, though Draco didn't think he'd moved. "What?"

"Thanks," Harry said, like he'd been waiting the invitation to speak. "For... For being with us. Doing this."

Draco turned in towards him. "I'm not with you," he said, and realised what he was going to do.

Harry was saying, "Well, whatev--" when Draco kissed him. It ended in "mmph" in Draco's mouth. The hand on Draco's shoulder gripped and pushed, but not a lot. Not enough to stop Draco fisting his free hand in the front of Harry's shirt and pulling him closer.

Draco kissed Harry, and Harry kissed back. He opened his mouth against Draco's. His lips were cold, but his tongue was hot. His breath tasted of coffee consumed.

He pulled back, and Draco let him go this time. Their hands fell away, and they were separate again, isolated in the fog.

"I'm--" Harry started.

"Not like that?" Draco suggested, sardonic.

Harry's gaze was steady, but not stern. "In love with Ginny Weasley," he finished.

There were a few things Draco could have said. Yes, but she's at Hogwarts and you're not getting any, for instance. I'm not in love with you, perhaps. He said, "Thanks for the coffee," and shoved the empty cup into Potter's free hand.

And Apparated out of there.



Dear Draco,

I really loathe the new Transfig professor, did I mention that? This class will be the end of me. If Pansy doesn't get me first. I suppose she's my girlfriend now, though I keep wondering if she's worth the hassle. OK, I'm lying, she's great, and I'm pathetic. Shut up.

- Blaise




Dear Blaise,

Ha ha ha.

No, seriously, congratulations. Word from the wise: never let her brood too long. It just gets worse. Trust me.

- Draco

P.S. If Theo's still running that book on the Weasley girl, put me down for a galleon on her staying single.


*

Open

It was raining in Wiltshire. Narcissa was swathed in grey light in the solar, her tea gone cold on its tray. She startled at Draco's entrance. "You shouldn't be here."

"I know," he said. "Sorry." The Ministry were investigating her, he knew. Stalking her. Reading her mail. Releasing her from custody only to take her in for questioning again eighteen hours later. Looking for Bellatrix, looking for Lucius, looking for Draco.

He wanted to sit at her feet, have her stroke his hair. He stood beside her chair, and watched her. She barely blinked. When he was young, he'd like to think of his mother carved from ice. "Where's Father?" Draco asked.

She looked up at him with a small, fragile smile. "I wish I knew."

"He should be here," Draco said. "Or we should be there." He took a breath. "We should be somewhere else.

His mother turned her face against his chest, and he held her close. He did not stroke her hair.



He passed on what he could. Names in the Ministry whose loyalty was dubious. (There were enough that he wondered what all their motives could be.) Who was working where, and if they were in isolation. Alecto was taken like that, but everyone agreed she'd been more of a liability than an asset, and with Azkaban out of commission, Draco doubted the Ministry would be holding her long.

The raids continued. He'd stopped reading the Daily Prophet long ago. He made his mind into a selective sieve; retain plans and facts, let body counts pass by.



The meeting place this time was an address in Norwich. A bland street, a drab building, a numbered door that Potter opened to Draco's knock.

"What the hell?" Draco said.

"Come in," Harry said.

It wasn't a big place, decorated in threadbare generic style with highlights of underground. Annotated maps on the livingroom walls, along with charts, pictures, big envelopes with names Draco recognised on them. Two brooms in the corner, three pairs muddy boots by the door. A corridor, a bathroom, two doors. A glimpse of a muddled bed through one.

Draco hung his scarf and coat on hooks by the door. Harry led the way into the little kitchen. "Coffee?"

"At this hour? I'll be up all night."

Harry shrugged. "I will be anyway. Tea, then?"

"Yeah, sure." Draco looked around. Two rows of cupboards, low and high. Dishes in the sink. Potter put the kettle on. "This is where you live?"

Harry glanced over his shoulder. "For now. It's hardly home. Ron and Hermione as well, but they're out."

"Why?"

"I think Hermione's taking Ron to the movies, which will probably result in them being thrown out of the cinema, the way Ron usually takes to Muggle technology."

"I meant why did you invite me here."

"I know," Harry said. The kettle clicked off, and he poured. Turning, he passed Draco a steaming mug. Draco took it, set it on the bench nearby, and didn't look away from Harry. He leaned back against the bench, and braced his shoulders against the higher cabinets. "I want you to know I trust you."

That wasn't... well, actually, Draco wasn't sure what he had expected. "All right."

By the look on his face, Harry clearly wasn't finished yet. "In Newcastle, there was a whole Ministry team waiting outside the cathedral. They didn't know what was going on, but they were there if I needed them. At Land's End, I had two junior Order members backing me up. I didn't want them there, but... Anyway. There's no one else here. No one knows you're here. Not even Ron and Hermione. They all know I'm going to meet you, and why, but they don't know when or where." He took a breath. "I trust you, Malfoy."

It was a little overwhelming. The feeling of safety in the stone of the cathedral: false. The isolation in the fog: false. It was in the past, there was nothing to be done about the information now. "Why are you meeting with me?"

The smile flickered across Harry's face. "For this." He took the lid off the tea cannister again, and pulled out a much-folded square of parchment, that he then held out across the kitchen.

Draco eyed it. "And what's that?"

"Bait," Harry stated. "It's the location of one of Voldemort's Horcruces. On that paper is the location, to confirm the validity of the threat, and the date and time you're going to tell him I'm going after it."

Just like that. Harry bloody Potter, standing in his kitchen and declaring that he was going to do it just like that. Draco's fingers closed around the parchment, and Harry let it go. "An ambush," Draco said.

"Yes," Harry replied. "This can't go on, Draco. People are dead, and... It has to end. And no one's going to end it if we don't."

"If you don't," Draco said.

Harry shook his head. "I need your help. You have to convince him that this is real. You have to lead him into the trap." A smile. "I just have to spring it."

Draco turned the parchment over in his hands. He had no idea how to go about it. Not the faintest idea of how to begin.

He knew he had to do it.

"Right," he said. He tucked the parchment into his breast pocket, and picked up his tea. "Well, that's that, then."

When he lowered the mug, Potter was looking at him. Still. Differently. "What?" Draco said.

Harry looked down, flicking his thumbnail against his coffee mug. There's no one else here. Ah.

And Draco set down his tea, still half-full, and waited. Waited as Harry glanced up. Set down his own (empty) mug. Summoned his gumption, took the whole two steps across the kitchen, grabbed Draco's head in both hands and kissed him.

It wasn't a kiss likely to win awards, a little too hurried, a little too stilted. Draco wasn't complaining. He went with it, kissing back until Harry's hands slipped down to his neck and shoulders, and when Harry eased back, Draco let him.

"I'm not--" Harry said, short and puffed. "This isn't--"

Draco rolled his eyes. For services rendered, about Ginny, something he did often; Draco didn't care. "Shut up," he suggested, and shoved Harry back against the cabinets, following with body and mouth.

It felt like a long time since Draco had kissed anyone properly. With intent, with invitation, with a hand at the back of his neck holding him close and hips hard against his own.

A long time for Harry too, he guessed.

They kissed hard, not fast, lips smearing, open-mouthed and lacking finesse. Draco got his hand up under Harry's t-shirt. Things rattled in the cupboards as Draco pushed Harry back against them, a knee between his. The fastenings of those Muggle trousers of his were absolutely aggravating; Harry had to help, his fingers pushing Draco's aside.

Draco pinned him, one hand holding his shoulder against the cupboard, the other shoving his pants down, wrapping firm around his cock. Draco pulled back to watch, Harry's lips wet, eyes glazed, face flushed. He edged forward, mouth open, as Draco stroked, but Draco shifted his hand - braced his forearm across Harry's collarbones - and held him there. Stroked slower, firmer, deeper and Harry said, "uh," in a breath. And then, a little later, "fuck, Malfoy." His hips jerked to meet the rhythm of Draco's hand and Draco felt his breath harsh and hitching against his mouth over the inch he was away from Harry, watching him as his eyelids fluttered closed and his mouth opened, silent as he came, over Draco's thumb and wrist and his own stomach.

Draco leaned forward, then, and Harry kissed back wild and slick, and hooked fingers under the waistband of Draco's trousers. Tugged. "You," he mumbled, and Draco was not resisting. Helped open his pants, letting them drop around his knees. He took Harry's hand in his own, still slick, and wrapped it around him where he was hard - Merlin - and stroked with him once, twice, until - oh yes - he got the hang of it. Draco's hand slipped up to Harry's wrist, then gripping his forearm, and Draco realised he still had his arm braced across Harry and his forehead pressed against the cupboard beside Harry's head, breathing hard against his shoulder. Harry shifted his grip, rolled his wrist, something, and Draco couldn't stop the noise it jerked out of him, a faint "ah" against Harry's collar.

Then Harry was saying, "Yes, Draco, come on," into his hair, against his ear, and Draco did, he came, gasping and wishing - really wishing - that Harry hadn't said his name like that.

They stood there for some time - a few minutes, five, something like that. Draco kissed Harry's jaw, far back, near where it hinged, and pushed away. Harry cleaned them both up, because it'd be a bad idea to leave the residue of Draco's magic in Harry's flat.

His tea had gone cold. Draco put on his coat, patted his breast pocket for the crackle of parchment.

"Good luck," Potter said. Draco nodded, and closed the door behind him.



"I would speak with the Dark Lord," he said. "Alone."

They looked at Draco: Rabastan half-bored, half-sneering; Dolohov with his terrifying scowl; Bellatrix looking offended that he hadn't gone through her; Snape... Snape he couldn't look at, or he might lose his grip on this entirely. If you must, do it alone. Easier to focus. They never, ever spoke of anything directly.

"Very well." Voldemort waved a languid hand. "Leave us."

Draco didn't turn to watch them out the door. He needed to keep his focus.

Then the door had closed, Voldemort took a seat, at ease. "You've been quiet recently. Are you missing your father?"

A weakness. Draco shook his head. Made himself look at Voldemort. A thing, a monster, death. He smothered the fear in determination. "I've been working on other things. More quiet things."

"Oh?" There was curiosity there, but also warning, suspicion, danger. As though Draco did not know already that he must tread carefully. Keep his mind very, very keen.

"I have friends still at Hogwarts, Lord. On the inside, as it were. I have kept in contact with them, through certain untraceable channels." He kept his gaze level. "I did not want to trouble you with it unless it offered some fruit."

"Which it has?" Voldemort suggested. Still aglitter with edge. Still so dangerous. Draco couldn't feel a thing inside his head. That did not prove anything.

"It has. Through Theodore, he's become friendly with the Weasley girl, who is important to--"

"I know to whom." There was little languid about him now, a sharp focus. "Theodore? The Nott boy?"

"Yes."

"And what is it that he has told you?"

Draco looked straight into the otherworldly eyes of the Lord he was sworn to, and lied. "That on the third of next month, as the sun goes down, Potter will be visiting a vault in Scotland."

"A vault." No hint of unease. "Did he mention what Potter would be doing there?"

"Trying to destroy a Horcrux."

There was silence, and Draco did not hold his breath. Eventually, Voldemort said, "Go and bring them back in."

Do it alone; easier to focus. "Lord, I don't--"

"Do it!"

Four pairs of eyes snapped to him the moment he opened the door. "The Dark Lord wishes you present," Draco said.

They filed past him, into the room, ranging a rough semi-circle in front of Voldemort's chair, as though it were a throne. "Step forward, Draco," Voldemort said, beckoning with long fingers until Draco stood in the centre of the space. Eyes on him. Minds on him; focus! "Draco tells me that Potter intends to destroy a Horcrux."

"Which?" Rabastan asked, as though merely curious, and then batted his own question away. "How does he know this, anyway?"

Voldemort's eyes were steady on him. "School friends," Draco said.

"What?" Bellatrix snapped, as Snape demanded, "You've kept in contact?" and then Bella added, "It's a plot, some Ministry scheme."

"It's not!" Draco turned on her. "I knew you'd think that. You're crippled by paranoia, it's made you fearful."

Her eyes blazed, and she stepped forward, but from the corner of his eye Draco saw Voldemort raise a hand, and she stopped. Draco held hard to anger, to need. Let everything else slip away, everything but what must be the truth.

"I've heard nothing from the Ministry about this," Dolohov growled.

Even as Draco turned on him, Voldemort waved a hand. "If the boy has half a brain, he'll make sure those idiots are the last to know about anything." He stood, and they all fell back half a pace, Draco bowing even as the others did. "I will think upon this."

He left the chamber, the others following him. Except Snape, who was still there when Draco turned around, feeling hollow. Feeling filled by heavy, bulky things, like the word 'spy', and the echo of determination.

"What do you think you're doing, boy?" Snape demanded.

Draco squared his shoulders. "Proving myself."



They took it.

*

Chain

On the second, they met one last time. For the final details. To make sure that nothing could go wrong. Everything would go according to plan. It had to.

"As soon as they're in," Harry ordered - he'd got used to giving orders, it seemed, "Apparate out of there. We'll take care of the rest. Go here." He handed Draco a scrap of parchment. "I'll meet you there afterwards."

Draco took the parchment, but didn't look away from Harry's face. "If I go, they'll know something's up." Some of them might escape. Someone important.

"If you stay," Harry said, implacable, "they'll kill you before we can incapacitate them. They'll die to do it. You know what your aunt's like about traitors."

"I know better than you, I think," Draco snapped.

Harry just glared at him. Always so fucking belligerent.

Draco screwed the parchment up in his hand and shoved it into his pocket. He pushed past Harry and left. He knew Harry wouldn't follow. They couldn't chance being seen together.

*

He finds the parchment still in his pocket the next morning. There's an address on it. It's in Sussex, and for a moment he thinks of a cottage, on a cliff, overlooking the sea. No parchment, no owls, just him and Harry.

"Let's go," Bellatrix says behind him. Her voice is rich with anticipation and bloodlust.

Draco scrunches the parchment up even smaller, but there's nowhere to set fire to it that she won't see, so he shoves it back in his pocket.

And follows her out.