Word Count: 1,121
Prompt: Day 19 traditional - Christmas hunk
Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns them, not me. This is for mischief's sake, not profit.
Author's Notes: This is for slythindor100 's Christmas challenge picture prompts. Sequel of Part one, Part two, Part three, Part four, Part five, Part six, Part seven, Part eight, Part nine, Part ten, Part eleven, Part twelve, Part thirteen, Part fourteen, Part fifteen, Part sixteen, Part seventeen & Part eighteen
"Sorry to bother you, Draco, but I needed advice in the matter of the treasure in this manor." Bill Weasley's earring glinted when it caught the sunbeams pouring through the open window as he paced to and fro in the small study in Flackwell Heath.
Draco sighed. "Your letter was a bit frantic. You said to travel using portkey, though."
"I know." Bill nodded slowly. "There's been trouble with Apparition; loads of people admitted to St. Mungo's because they got splinched. Reckon the Floo is still reliable; I don't know for how long."
Draco nodded absently. "Harry mentioned it in his message."
Bill came to an abrupt stop near the window, his ponytail swishing like the mane of an impatient centaur. "You and Harry, huh?"
"Well, Potter and I have…"
"You don't need to explain, Draco." Bill turned to Draco and made a sweeping movement with his arm. "I saw that forthcoming, anyone with eyes would have. Anyway, to business; I know you've researched ancient curses and obligations."
"I have, Weasley." Draco fished inside his robes and took out a yellowed parchment which he put on the table.
"What do you have here?" said Bill curiously, his tall frame leaning down as he stared at it.
"A network of ancient Roman roads, which isn't important right now." Draco's pale hand carefully smoothed the vellum, thinned by the centuries. "What's important is that the parchment contains a reference to the first uses of the Unbreakable Vow."
"It does?" Bill tilted up his chin, his blue eyes piercing Draco.
"Indeed, Bill. It's clear to me the Vow is a modified form of a geas." Draco's voice became progressively softer as he thought about Severus and the Unbreakable Vow he laboured under. It had sparked his interest in finding out more about those curses.
"An obligation is placed upon the wizard and if he doesn't carry it out, he dies," whispered Draco.
"Sounds like the Vow all right," said Bill. "I learned about that when I worked in the castle near Cork." He pushed away the parchment and leaned against the table, glancing down at his dragonhide boots. "An old man told me the tale of Cúchulainn. He had a geas placed on him, never to eat dog meat."
"Another one was to eat any food offered by a woman, so when an old hag offered him dog meat..."
Bill shrugged, "Version I heard is a bit different, Draco. The end result is the same though, the hero couldn't fulfil both simultaneously and so he died."
Draco looked up at Bill. "I take it a geas was placed upon the owner of the treasure, never to sell it."
"Nope, it's more complex. The owner can sell it, but I've deduced that a geas was placed upon the land. Far as I can tell, if the treasure strays a few miles from the property, the owner dies."
"We will have to find the shortcut, a Slytherin way out." Draco's grey eyes glinted at the promise of outwitting the caster of the curse; this was his mettle and Draco was convinced he was quite good at it.
Harry nursed his glass of firewhiskey in front of the cosy chimney fire in Grimmauld Place. He was overwhelmed by the information his friends had provided. The notion that Draco could have Voldemort's horcrux inside him unnerved him. It just didn't seem possible because he knew all the symptoms and Draco displayed none.
Harry sighed as he remembered Voldemort's ugly tricks. Yet he knew what it felt like to have one of the bloody things inside and could see no signs of it in Draco. The blond was courteous if overly sarcastic, and really a nice person.
His gaze slid towards the huge teddy bear propped up on the chair near the corner and Harry shook his head; he couldn't believe that the person who had gifted him Mr Blenkin held a horcrux inside.
They needed to talk, so Harry had sent Draco a Patronus message. He wanted Draco's opinion because he refused to play Dumbledore's game. Harry still fumed when he remembered his Fourth Year and Dumbledore always averting his gaze, thus fuelling his despair and hopelessness until Voldemort tricked him into going to the Ministry where Sirius died.
No, he would give Draco the chance Dumbledore never gave him. Harry's gut instincts told him to share all the information he had. Working together, they would get to the bottom of this.
Harry stood up, walked to the table and glanced down at the glossy Playwitch Christmas issue. A tawny owl, quite irascible, had brought it an hour ago.
He needed to kill some time before Draco arrived and his nerves were shot to hell, so Harry ruffled the pages as he browsed through it. The centrefold was a well-built wizard who strongly resembled that git, Cormac McLaggen. He wore a Santa hat and sexy briefs. The wizard was handsome, his toned chest and abs smooth like silk, but he had nothing on Draco, Harry decided.
His face softening as he remembered the blond, Harry realised it wasn't just his good looks he loved but their shared history.
He sat down on the chair and grabbed parchment and a quill, dipping the point in the inkwell that stood precariously next to the books Hermione had brought.
He wanted to pour out his feelings in a letter but, after a few aborted attempts, he gave up. How could he express in words the sensations the Slytherin evoked? The memories of his Hogwarts years seemed faded sometimes, like sepia photographs in the Daily Prophet.
Draco, however, was indelibly stamped in his brain with the force of a hippogriff's hoof. His recollections of Draco were precise and sharp. He didn't need a Pensieve to visualise his Slytherin and the precise hue of his gleaming hair in the sun as he chased after the Snitch, or the sharp contour of his green Quidditch robes flapping in the wind.
"Harry?" said Draco tentatively.
Harry turned his face and saw Draco holding up a glittering object which he recognised as one of the charms from the pudding.
Noting Harry's expression, Draco shrugged. "It is a portkey, Fred and George told me. I've modified it a bit." He put it inside his robes. "Bill and I managed to solve that case. It was quite complex but we…"
"Later, Draco," Harry lifted his hand, smiling wearily. "Won't you sit down? I have to tell you something important."
With an elegant, economic motion, Draco sat down on the chair opposite Harry.
"My friends have come up with the strangest idea which, by the way, I do not share," said Harry, and then launched into the tale.