Word Count: 2,147
Prompt: Day 22 traditional - Santa portrait
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, Part nineteen, Part twenty & Part twenty-one
Harry groaned, experimentally flexing his fingers to see if he could move. He gazed up at Hermione, who was rising from her chair.
"That bloody git!" growled Harry, taking out his wand. "I'm going to save him and then he'll see…"
"Harry, I would advise you to wait," said Luna.
"She's right, you're not going anywhere…" said Fred.
"… without us!" finished George.
"Mate, Hermione might have an idea or two," Ron said with a shrug.
Deciding that his friends had a point, Harry turned to Hermione. "What do you think?"
Hermione was visibly trying to control her temper whilst she stabbed the air with a leather-bound book. "I hoped Draco would help you cool down. It seems I was wrong because Malfoy has acquired your rashness!"
"Ouch, that hurt!" Fred and George said simultaneously.
"Mione, what do you think?" said Ron, making his way towards her and reaching his hand to touch her. "Is Malfoy right?"
"I want to help Draco if he's in danger," said Harry urgently. "That stuff about geas and Stonehenge; is it correct?"
"Mostly." Hermione huffed, "Why didn't he wait? We could've talked it over."
She waved the book at them. "The answer is here and it's so simple!"
Harry squinted at the cover, and said wonderingly, "Plutarch? Did that bloke write about geas and ancient spells?"
Hermione glared at Harry, who was carding his fingers through his unruly mane.
"Parallel lives," Hermione finally said. "Why didn't Draco see it was the obvious solution?"
"Parallel lives?" repeated Harry slowly.
"I have read about geas too." Hermione placed the book on the table. "Draco grasped their importance."
"Voldemort wanted magic to vanish, I reckon," said George.
Hermione nodded. "Voldemort must have placed a geas in Stonehenge to snuff out magic; Merlin knows it's a powerful place. He set up an obligation he knew would never be fulfilled." She tapped the tome with her fingers. "That is where the book provides a clue."
Noting her friend's puzzled expressions, Hermione said, "You and Draco have led parallel lives. As champions of the Light and the Dark, your lives have been warped by War; as members of enemy Houses, you embodied their hopes."
"And both of you were Seekers," said Ron.
"You're saying Voldemort placed the geas on Draco and me because we led parallel lives?" said Harry.
"No, Harry," she said kindly. "Voldemort set the geas so it would act unless his impossible condition was met."
"And that condition was?" said Fred.
"You have to remember that Voldemort trusted Draco," said Hermione reasonably. "He was pleased that Draco stood by him, and that was one of the reasons he hugged him. You've mentioned how angry he was when you told him about the Elder wand."
Harry nodded. "He was furious at Draco. Said he was going to kill him after he finished with me."
"Voldemort felt betrayed because he fully trusted Draco," Hermione said. "Therefore, I think the condition he set to lift the curse is for you and Draco to work as a completely united team."
"You-Know-Who was a foolish git because he didn't recognise the attraction between these two," said George.
"Couldn't agree more, old chap," said Fred.
Hermione nodded slowly. "Voldemort was brilliant, but naïve."
"What about the glow?" said Luna. "An enormous amount of magic was involved whenever it appeared."
"How do you know?" said Hermione suspiciously, but then she shrugged and muttered low under her breath, "I reckon the Snorkacks told you."
"Luna does have a point," said Harry. "There was this bright light shining when our scars touched."
"The Unbreakable Vow," said Hermione in a hushed voice.
"What do you mean?" said Ron. "I thought you just had to cast a spell for that and…"
"I know you haven't seen it in action." Hermione raised her arms in exasperation. "But don't you lot ever read?"
"Please explain yourself." said Harry patiently, his gaze straying towards the corner of the room, where he could hear a portrait coughing. He glimpsed a bearded man before he turned to look at Hermione.
"I've read that when you cast the Unbreakable Vow, there's light that shimmers around the hands of the persons involved. It's quite impressive," said Hermione, "Draco said the Unbreakable Vow was developed based on the geas. I'm quite sure the glow was the geas trying to fulfil itself."
"So what do we do to lift the curse?" said Ron practically.
"What Voldemort thought would be impossible because Harry and Draco led parallel and opposing lives. Parallel lines never meet, you know. " Hermione mused. " Harry, you two have to show that you have fulfilled the conditions Voldemort set up by acting in harmony."
Harry nodded sternly. "When Voldemort hugged Draco he must've set the final piece of the curse in place. He could fight me afterwards, knowing that his revenge would be assured."
He brandished his wand but Ron's pressure on his arm stopped him. Ron pointed out, "Mate, remember that Apparition has been causing people to get splinched."
"And the Floo is unreliable," said Fred.
"Took us several tries to even get here," added George.
"How do I get to Draco?" said Harry agitatedly.
"Harry Potter, here!" The mumbled voice originated near the tree. Harry made his way to the corner and stared at the portrait. It was a man with a bushy white beard, clad in red robes which had bright stars. The man peered at Harry through round spectacles, the corners of his blue eyes crinkling in merriment as he regarded the Auror with kindness.
"Did you call me?" said Harry.
"It wasn't me, dear Harry!" said the man jovially. "My, you have shot up like a stout oak, lad! Haven't seen you in…"
"Get out, old man!" growled a voice Harry knew well. Phineas Nigellus ambled his way into the portrait and the smiling, rotund man stood up with a swift movement, bowing towards Harry before he dashed out of the frame, laughing merrily.
Harry shook his head, wondering if his suppositions were correct. Was Santa a wizard from Gryffindor? He decided not to share this with Draco; the memory of his boyfriend, who had rushed into danger, caused Harry to become impatient.
"What do you want?" he snapped at the portrait.
Phineas Nigellus sneered at him. "I bring a message from Narcissa. That woman had better be grateful she's a Black!"
"What is it?"
"Narcissa's message is about the silver Snitch you grabbed from the pudding." Phineas Nigellus paused, and then muttered low under his breath, "It would seem the living become crazier every year."
The portrait continued in a louder voice, "Narcissa said the Snitch is a portkey that will take you to Draco. Just picture him in your mind and…"
Harry took the tiny Snitch from his pocket and made a fist around it. He imagined Draco vividly, carrying his huge teddy bear and wearing only sexy briefs.
There was a swooshing sound, and Harry was transported into Stonehenge.
Phineas Nigellus glared at the space the Auror had occupied.
The first thing Harry noticed was the roaring wind which played havoc with his hair, his robes flapping around him like they did when he chased the Snitch. Harry pocketed the silver charm and his gaze swept around the barren plain; the tall menhirs surrounded him like teeth protruding from a gigantic mandible.
"Draco!" he shouted into the dusk. The heavy clouds above him swirled over the stark landscape. Judging from Fred and George's words, Harry expected to see throngs of people but there was no one.
Harry took out his wand, holding it tightly between his hands so the wind wouldn't whip it from him.
"Point me Draco," he said. Nothing happened; the wand was dead between his clasped fingers.
Gazing up, Harry noticed the clouds forming a funnel high above; its stem appeared to point towards the centre of the circle formed by the monoliths. Harry saw a dash of colour right there, dim in the gloomy light. It was Draco.
Harry ran towards him, waving his arms. "Draco! Draco!"
"Harry?" Draco said, but his words were swallowed by the wind. Then he shouted, waving his arms, "HARRY!"
The stem formed by roiling black clouds thickened whilst the mouth opened wide, starting to lower towards Draco and Harry. Bright sparks of lightning burst forth from the funnel.
Harry wrapped his arms tightly around Draco, his hands prodding him everywhere. "Are you fine?" he shouted, trying to be heard over the whipping wind.
"What are you doing here?" Draco placed his fist upon Harry's chest, rubbing his knuckles against the woollen robes. "I don't want you to die because of the curse!"
"Hermione said both of us…" Harry couldn't go on. Thunder hit the ground thirty yards from the place they were. Harry knew a shield wouldn't work because magic didn't work anymore.
He hugged Draco tightly, glancing down at his stomach to see if there was a glow, but there wasn't.
"Harry, run!" said Draco urgently, gazing up towards the clouds. Flashes of light burst forth every few seconds; the zigzagging lightning crashed against the monoliths in strange patterns.
The flashes multiplied, brightening the place so much, Draco had to squint so he wouldn't be blinded. Harry lifted his hand to cover his face. The light was so intense it hurt Harry's eyes; he wished he could turn off the flashes to give him time to formulate a plan.
With a start, Harry remembered he had a device he could use to remove light; the Put-Outer Ron gave him.
He fished inside his robes with trembling fingers, looping his arm tightly around Draco. After a few seconds, he lifted his hand and held the Put-Outer towards the sky.
Hermione had said that he and Draco, acting together, would satisfy the geas, so he shouted, "Help me! Grasp the Put-Outer and wish with all your heart that it works!"
Draco nodded, doing as Harry told him. Blond and black hair topped diminutive silhouettes which appeared to be nutcracker soldiers amongst the towering menhirs. Then Harry and Draco lifted their eyes to the sky and simultaneously operated the Put-Outer.
Bolts of light shot out from the clouds whilst their bodies shined brightly. In the foreboding plain, they seemed to be the wick of a lonely candle, valiantly holding out hope during the darkest hour of the solstice.
The light surrounding Harry and Draco flickered for an instant and then brightened, expanding upwards from their bodies and forming a bright, glowing cylinder that hovered, poised for a moment between earth and sky, and then exploded into a burst which contained all the colours of the rainbow. Peering towards the menhirs before the flashes forced him to close his eyes, Harry fancied he was again in the Room of Requirement during the conflagration.
The light shot up to the clouds, lighting them from within, and pale wraiths became visible dancing inside them. Draco thought he had glimpsed them before, leering down at him whilst he hung over the flames, the Fiendfyre raging around him.
The clouds pulsed once, before they started retreating towards the horizon, rushing as if a gigantic hand pulled a cover over the sky like a giant bedspread.
Harry panted in exhaustion; the burst of magic which had enveloped their bodies had drained him.
"Are you all right?" Draco patted Harry's back, wincing at his voice which seemed to boom in the deafening silence left in wake of the magical storm.
"Am fine. Reckon we managed to lift the curse."
"We did it, Harry." Draco said hoarsely, and sank on his knees on the cold ground. He took out his wand and swished it, casting a warming spell on their robes.
"I feel so tired," Draco said as Harry sat on his haunches next to him.
"Like me." Harry shrugged tiredly. "Feels like I just swam the length of the Black Lake."
They sat in silence for some time. Harry felt a pull on his sleeve and Draco nudged his elbow. "Look up."
Harry gazed at the sky. The faint stars glimmered above the remnants of the clouds marching across Salisbury Plain. Harry's hand clasped around Draco's, and the two wizards leaned on each other.
It was like this that Narcissa found them.
She strolled towards them. Lucius walked a few steps behind, his cane leaving a trail upon the snowy ground.
"Draco, Harry," Narcissa said briskly.
"Mother," Draco said, before covering his mouth with his hand and yawning discreetly.
"Narcissa." Harry nodded at her.
"Boys, it is time to go home and rest." She took from beneath her robes a white snowman ornament.
"It's a portkey." Narcissa's lips curled upward in a faint smirk directed at her son. "It will take you to your room where there is hot chocolate and your favourite sweets waiting for you two."