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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2023 3:50 pm 

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Draco hadn’t come back around the following day nor the next, and going into the weekend Harry had felt worse than he had in years. It had eaten at him ever since Draco had shut the door behind him, and despite Harry’s best efforts to distract himself, it hadn’t stopped, and by the time Monday came around, Harry felt like a hollowed out shell of himself.
Having filtered through anger and fear and frustration, Harry had above all missed Draco so much it had made him sick with it, having had to face the fact that it was selfish to want Draco’s reassurance but not his worries; to pick away he part of Draco that had been treating him for a year simply because Harry couldn’t bear to hear it.
He had intentionally withdrawn to his office for the day, fearing he carried everything too visibly on his sleeve, barely able to stand the thought of being witnessed.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2023 4:59 pm 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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When Draco had left Harry’s office immediately the next day, however his comment about him doing his research and not panicking had stuck with Draco and he refused to return until he had something more concrete with him.
That was what he felt that he had now though.
His arms were filled with folders with the notes he had made as he made his way to Harry’s office, determined to get to the bottom of this, even if he had to drag Harry through it kicking and screaming.
He only knocked once before entering, knowing that what he was doing was wildly against protocol, but it was so incredibly hard for him to care. Instead, he simply dumped his folders on the desk in front of Harry, showing little to no care as to what he was working on currently.
“I need to see Granger and Weasley’s scars.”

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2023 4:45 am 

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By the mere way his door was opened, Harry knew it was Draco even before he looked up to confirm it. Harry had looked up from his work to watch Draco crossed the room, but still he jumped at the smack of paper against his desk when Draco all but tossed them at him.
It took Harry several moments to react. Had Draco made his arrival like this a week ago, Harry would have likely been furious, riled by the challenge burning bright just beneath the surface of Draco’s demeanour. Now, Harry just felt empty, the sound of Ron and Hermione’s names in Draco’s voice making his stomach ache.
“Why?” he asked, voice dull with a lack of any infliction as he lowered his eyes to the material Draco had presented him, although he doubted the answer was readily available anywhere on it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2023 6:28 am 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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Draco had absolutely expected to be questioned on his request, knowing that Harry didn’t make much of his suspicions of the scar, however, he knew that his paperwork was in order and even while it seemed doubly full that Harry would look through it in any detail, he figured that Granger might be won over by it.
“You will find my reasoning thoroughly documented in my notes,” he stated and nodded towards the folders that he had placed in front of him.
“But if you want it brief, I find it alarming that we have found that scar on the body from Towthorpe and would like to see how it has developed when the mark has been placed there before death,” he stated, professionalism making his words sharp like a dagger. “If I find the scars on Granger and Weasley to be in the same state as it is on you, I shall let it rest, however I find that I would not be doing my duty if I didn’t at least look into this.”

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2023 5:14 pm 

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Harry’s eyes remained lowered onto Draco’s work, mercifully so. Draco’s request twisted his guts, and Harry wasn’t sure he was able to fully keep his face steady through the ache.
Draco hadn’t yet elaborated on the bounds of his access, and still it felt like too much for even Harry to ask of them, heartbreakingly aware of how his relationship with Ron had deteriorated the past few years. This past spring had felt like a nail in the coffin, and despite Draco’s attempt to keep Harry out of Tsai’s morgue, Harry still felt like he was being asked to dig up a dead body.
“Our scars were left by a Horcrux,” he finally said, when he felt sure his voice wouldn't crack. He almost succeeded, and managed even better yet to keep his expression closed off as he once again met Draco’s eye. “What are you implying about Towthorpe?”


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2023 4:24 am 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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While Harry’s questions probably weren’t unreasonable, Draco felt frustrated by the way that he seemed utterly unwilling to meet him on this one. It made him realise how much he had taken Harry’s cooperation for granted, and how desperately he missed the Harry who was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
“We know Towthorpe to be an old Death Eater hideout,” Draco stated, feeling like he was just repeating the same points over and over again. “There has not been a lot of research done on long term exposure to a horcrux, much less what it means when it leaves a scar. Considering what we have seen on the body, I think it is fair to assume that Towthorpe has been used to produce at least one horcrux. We don’t know what that means for your scar and I would like to see if it makes a difference.”

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2023 5:54 am 

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That made a flash of nausea flash across Harry’s features, crumbling his composure for just a moment. He had asked because he had been certain Draco wouldn’t have stuck to that claim when pressed, that it perhaps hadn’t been an implication he had even considered, that that couldn’t possibly be what Draco was telling him.
“The DMLE has already identified every murder that Voldemort used to make his seven Horcruxes,” Harry stated, his voice feeling like it got stuck somewhere in the back of his throat. It felt like it went without saying that Towthorpe wasn’t among them, but the emotion that scratched at Harry’s throat wasn’t anger or annoyance.
“So what are you saying?”


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2023 11:04 am 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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Part of Draco just wanted to leave Harry with his notes and tell him to figure it out on his own, however, another part of him was so desperate for Harry to understand what he was saying that he was willing to keep explaining. He had to believe that, despite everything, Harry was still willing to listen to him as a professional, even if almost no others at the ministry were.
“It might not have been a complete ritual,” he stated, knowing that even implying so would be horrific to most people, but he had to believe that Harry knew him better than that. He had already come with shocking and horrifying theories in the past and he had to believe that this wasn’t the last straw.
“Making a horcrux is a terrible and involved procedure, and powerful as he was, something might have gone wrong in the process and they deemed it safer to just leave it down there.”

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2023 4:56 pm 

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The world suddenly didn’t feel in focus, Draco’s words having become a blur. Having dedicated the entirety of his life to undoing Voldemort’s horrid imprint on the world, the mere notion that more Horcruxes could have been made made Harry’s heart stop for just an instance. In that moment the world stopped spinning, and he felt something fragile within him snap. When he regained consciousness of his surroundings, Harry was left with an overwhelming feeling of being broken into fragments of whatever he had been before Draco had entered his office.
He looked down at Draco’s work, his expression shifting as though he only just now saw it.
“Have you shared this with anyone else?” he asked as he picked aimlessly at one of the sheets, his voice hollow. It was far removed from the request Draco had made upon arrival, but Harry had to know.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2023 7:19 am 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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The question took Draco by surprise, knowing full well that both of them were aware of the fact that Draco was supposed to report any and all findings to Buchannan before moving forward with anything.
However, they also both knew Draco well enough to know that he likely wouldn’t just do that.
“No,” he stated, unsure where Harry was actually going with the question, if it was perhaps just a way of catching him in not following proper protocol, but he had to believe that their relationship was better than that. He had to believe that some of what they had was still salvageable.
“I felt I owed it to you to show you first.”

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2023 3:24 pm 

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Harry nodded slowly at that, processing everything at half speed. Mercifully, it seemed like the worst of Draco’s anger had subsided, allowing at least a ounce of relief to wash over Harry.
“Good,” he answered, voice and gaze far away when he looked back up at Draco. He nodded a bit, still. “Let’s keep it between us until we know anything for sure.”
Throughout his life, Harry had had to do a lot of shitty things, but having to break the news to the Minister that Lord Voldemort perhaps still had undiscovered Horcrux littered through the country was among the worst of them. He would rather know for sure.
“I’ll - ah - I’ll talk to Ron and Hermione,” Harry finally replied, having no feasible counter to Draco’s incredibly high stakes.
A bit aimlessly, Harry looked down, glancing over his desk for a pen and paper, not trusting himself to remember any of the details come the morning. “You want them here for an examination?”


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2023 2:11 am 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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Seeing Harry so crestfallen, so broken down about this, almost had Draco regretting coming on so strong, knowing full well that he had likely pushed too much. He had just been so desperate for Harry to take him seriously that he hadn’t really considered the ramifications of what it was that he was suggesting.
“That would be the easiest,” he stated, trying to be more approachable, wanting Harry to know that he wasn’t interested in working against him.
Unsure why, Draco took a seat across from Harry, only barely seated as he reached across the table to put his hand on top of Harry’s.
“Let me fix this,” he pleaded, desperately wanting for Harry to understand why he was doing this.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2023 3:24 am 

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Harry jumped when Draco reached for him, feeling so disconnected from everything that the sudden reminder that he - that either of them - were present in the same moment managed to startle him.
Perhaps more surprisingly, however, was the sentiment Draco accompanied to the touch. Despite its kindness, it twisted Harry’s guts, an instinctive anxiety rising within him, a decade old need for control and the simultaneous burden of the responsibility that came with it. Nobody had ever before offered to not only share it, but completely unload it from Harry.
When he finally looked at Draco, everything was reduced to an odd sort of expression, above all feeling the need to soothe Draco, to tell him that nobody had been able to, but that it was fine, that Harry could manage. Harry failed to find the words.
Instead, he offered a joyless little smile, trying to accept his words, but retrieved his hand none the less, unconvinced.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2023 3:10 pm 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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_____
Draco was on edge.
Even when he had come to the conclusion that he needed to see Granger and Weasley’s scars, he had known that it would inevitably dredge up in things that all of them probably would rather forget, however, he also felt certain that this would be able to shed some light on Harry’s condition.
Harry had managed to book a meeting room, one that would serve well enough as an examination room, and they had both stayed quiet about what they were actually to be doing with it. Draco had kept true to his word and hadn’t told anyone else of his findings, wanting to at least be able to offer Harry that level of privacy.
He was happy, in that moment, that he had already done this particular spell on Harry so many times that he knew it by heart now, feeling certain that he was stable enough in it as to not cause either of them unnecessary discomfort.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2023 3:53 pm 

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If his and Ron’s friendship had been fragile to begin with, Harry felt like he had just obliterated whatever little had survived Harry’s divorce from Ginny. Having had to ask Ron to let Draco examine him had been just as impossible as Harry had expected it to be, the request having been met with so much anger that Harry had left their house shell shocked, a hollowed out hull. Regardless, Harry couldn’t blame Ron, intimately familiar with the way the pain from the war never stopped feeling fresh.
He hadn’t actually thought they’d show.
The mood had been solemn on the trip from the Atrium to a quiet corner of the DMLE, the tentative calm only barely kept in check by Hermione’s reassuring hand on Ron’s arm, a sole point of reasoning amidst it all.
Upon arriving, Harry knocked on the door, wanting to give Draco what little warning he could before opening the door.
“Draco,” he said in lieu of a greeting.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2023 4:59 pm 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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The knock on the door made Draco jump, having been so caught up in nerves that he had lost all sense of time and had almost forgotten why he was even there in the first place.
He had only just managed to get a hold on himself again when Harry entered together with Granger and Weasley.
As much as Draco had tried to prepare himself for this moment, he had rationally known that nothing could have actually prepared him to be standing face to face with them. They both looked like themselves, aged 10 years but definitely the same people he knew back at Hogwarts.
“Harry,” he said in a soft voice, needing any and all levels of normalcy.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2023 4:15 am 

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The situation wasn’t made easier by Ron’s reluctance to even enter the room. Harry’s eyes had been on Draco, vulnerable and trying to remind himself why they were even doing this; once he looked back at Ron, he was all but bristling, his entire stature tense.
Harry wasn’t sure it was worth it.
“You - er,” Harry started, the unnecessary formality of an introduction growing thick in his throat.
“Hello Malfoy,” Hermione interjected with great composure. Her voice wasn’t unkind, and not for the first time, Harry felt reassured by the familiarity of her level-headedness.
Ron, on the contrary, simply stared daggers, jaw working.
Quietly, Harry shut the door behind them, figuring that that would have to do.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2023 4:58 pm 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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There was no way this was ever going to be a pleasant experience, that much Draco had known the second he had realised that this was something that he needed to do. However, he didn’t think that he had actually been able to prepare himself for the scale of his discomfort, suddenly feeling like his own skin was simultaneously too large and too small.
He felt scrutinised under their gazes, almost as if they were trying to find a lingering sense of malice within him, and Draco couldn’t help but feel crestfallen at that, so desperately wanting to rid them of the idea they held of him.
“Granger,” he said in a soft voice, gently nodding his head in her direction, not wanting to make any too sudden movements.
“Weasley,” he added after a short pause and nodded towards him as well, wanting to appear as non threatening as humanly possible, even though he doubted that that was ever going to be a real possibility for him with these two.
“I don’t know how much Harry has briefed you, but I was thinking that I will explain the entire procedure thoroughly and you, of course, have the option of opting out whenever you want to.”

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2023 5:11 pm 

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Harry really wished that he could be of greater support to Draco, seeing the tension in his shoulders as he addressed Ron and Hermione in a way Harry hadn’t seen for months of Draco working at the Ministry. It made Harry’s stomach ache, feeling like this entire thing didn’t feel like progress, instead a huge setback to right where they started.
In another world, it would have befallen on Harry to wrangle his own friends into participating, but in this, he just felt so incredibly small and tired. Thankfully, Hermione was present, too.
“It’s fine,” she dismissed, though the stern glance she stole towards Ron had Harry believe it wasn’t done out of unkindness to Draco but rather an attempt to keep Ron from flaking out. “We’ll do it.”


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2023 3:48 pm 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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“Right,” Draco stated, mouth dry and feeling under far more scrutiny than he had during his entire ministry career so far. I made perfect sense, of course it did, yet Draco had become so unaccustomed to that level of suspicion that he really had no idea what to do about himself.
“So, what I am going to do is take a look at what your scars look like and if I deem that they are similar enough to how Harry’s is looking, I will want to do a brief test to check for dark magic,” Draco explained, trying to fall back into the professionalism that he had managed to put on like a cloak for the time that he had been working at the ministry.

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