Evitar
by Sofie K. Werkers

(Cuba, 2011)

He made it to Cuba by May, and by then Harry's trail was only seven years old. "I'm gaining on him," he thought, and spent the next three weeks cursing Harry as he tracked him over dusty roads, from village to even tinier village.

"¿Dónde puedo encontrar un lugar para dormir?" The reaction of the old man didn't give Draco much hope that he'd be spending the night anywhere but outside. Again.

He was startled by a voice coming from behind him. "I didn't know you spoke Spanish."

He whirled around. "What the hell are you doing here?" Which, really, was the stupidest thing he could've said.

"I live here. What are you doing here?" Looking disturbingly calm for someone who‚d vanished off the face of the earth over ten years ago, and was now found again.

"I was ..." He pauses, and thinks. "Following you."

"Any particular reason?" And he was still showing no emotion aside from a faint trace of amusement, and Draco really wanted to kick him in the shins just to get a reaction out of him. 'Just like old times,' he mused.

"Not really. Because I wanted to see if I could find you, I guess."

"And now you found me."

"So I have."

Harry was quiet for a moment, and then, amused, "I think my line is 'You realise I can never let you go back, now,' isn't it?"

Draco smiled despite himself. "I think that's the traditional way, yes. Will you, though?"

"Will I what?"

"Let me go?"

Harry shrugged. "You're a free man, Draco."

"Yes, and you're a man who disappeared off the face of the earth for well over ten years. One would expect you to not be thrilled about your whereabouts being reported back to the civilised world."

"You of all people, Draco, should remember I rarely do what's expected of me."

 

(Hogwarts, 1997)

He expected the first thing out of Harry's mouth to be "Why?" Why are you suddenly on our side? Why are you the one doing this, and not Snape, or anyone else? Why you? Why me? Why?

Of course, Harry never did what was expected of him, and instead just asked "How do you want to do this?"

"How on earth should I know, Potter? I've no experience in teaching someone the Dark Arts."

"Really? I thought you'd be jumping at a chance to corrupt someone. Especially me."

"I hate to burst your bubble, Potter, but 'Corrupting the Boy Who Lived' is not on my list of life-long ambitions."

"I'm so disappointed. What is on your list, then?"

"None of your business," he snapped, and instantly regretted it, because it really didn't do to show any kind of emotion, let alone in front of Harry bloody Potter. "Let's just get on with it."

 

(Cuba, 2011)

"Are we there yet? Fuck, how far from civilisation can you get? Please tell me you at least have a decent bathroom installed."

"It's right behind that hill. Very far. And I'm afraid you'll have to settle for a bucket of water from the well."

Draco groaned. "I really fucking hate you, you know."

"Nobody forced you to come." Draco almost wished he could hear a thread of bitterness in Harry's voice, something, anything other than vague amusement. He no longer wanted to kick Harry; punching sounded much more satisfying.

 

"Maria?" Harry called, opening the front door to what looked to Draco like the kind of house people would live in a century ago.

'Trust Harry to not give a damn about comfort,' he thought to himself. "I bet this place doesn't even have proper beds."

A young girl appeared in the doorway. "Maria, puedes preparar el cuarto pequeno, por favor? Tenemos un invitado." The girl nodded and disappeared into the next room again. He looked at Harry. Harry looked back. "She's not, and I wouldn't try anything if I were you. Her brothers are very protective. All four of them."

Draco snorted. "My days of seducing innocent maidens are over, I'm afraid."

Harry looked at him silently for a while, until he couldn't take it anymore and blurted out, "What?"

"You look old."

"I am old. We were eighteen, Harry. I'm thirty now." Harry didn't answer.

 

(London, 1998)

"I'm leaving tomorrow."

"So you're going through with it, then?"

Harry sighed. "I have to. If I stay here much longer, I ..." He made a vague gesture. "I don't know," sounding years older suddenly. "Don't you ever want to just leave all of it behind for a while?"

Draco shrugged. "Sure. But I can't. Granger said the trails are starting next week, and I haven't gotten anywhere yet with father's plans."

Harry was silent for a moment. "It just never ends, does it? Even now Voldemort's dead, we still have things to do."

"We have things to do. Granger and Weasley will handle the trails, and I'll be Crown Witness for the Prosecution." He couldn't stop the bitterness in his voice, hoping as soon as he said it that Harry hadn't noticed. "And then we'll start dismantling the Death Eater strongholds. But it's over for you. You killed him, you did your part, your work is done."

"Is it?" Harry's voice was completely void of emotion, and Draco looked at him, feeling as if he saw the other for the first time. Harry continued, "People keep looking at me like they're expecting something from me. I just don't know what they want me to do."

"They want you to be a hero. They want you to be the Boy Who Lived To Defeat Voldemort, they want a myth, not a real live person. And most of all, they want to get on with their lives, without a living, breathing reminder of the past." He paused for a moment. "It'll happen to us as well, I suppose. But Granger and Weasley will get married, have children, and live a quiet life somewhere in the country, I'll go back to the Manor, try and restore it, but you ..."

"... have nowhere to go and nothing to do." There was no bitterness in Harry's voice, no anger. Then, after a pause, "It's not just that, though. You of all people should know that."

"Me? Know what? Why?"

"Because we're two of the only ones outside of Azkaban who are trained in the Dark Arts."

"Ah. Right." He fell silent. He did know, of course. People crossed the street to avoid him, contempt and distrust clear in their eyes. Seven days away from helping to sentence his parents, his friends, his family to life in Azkaban, and people still expected him to turn around and kill them all. Paranoia still lingered in the wizarding world, and apparently even their Golden Boy wasn't safe from it.

"You don't seem surprised."

"I wasn't expecting people to suddenly love me, no. I'm the son of a Death Eater, Harry." He shrugged. "I don't blame them, really." Harry stayed silent. "Do you really think this vacation of yours is going to help?"

"Something has to. And it's the best I can think of."

 

(Cuba, 2011)

Two hours later, bathed (of course there'd been a shower, and a bath, and he'd taken advantage of both), clothed and fed, Draco leaned back in his chair and looked at Harry. He wasn't the only one who looked older than his years, he realised.

"Were you ever going to come back?"

"Hm?" Harry looked up from contemplating his Calvados. "Come back?"

He rolled his eyes. "Honestly, could you just pay attention to me for a few bloody minutes?"

"Oh, I'm terribly sorry." Harry set his glass down and made a big production of placing his elbows on the table, chin resting on entwined hands. "There, you have my undivided attention now. Better?"

He rolled his eyes. "As I was saying. When you left, did you actually believe it was just going to be a vacation? Did you really intend to come back?"

Harry considered the question. "I did. Still do, I guess." He leaned back in his chair, taking the glass again.

"Thirteen years is a damn long time for a vacation, Harry."

"Mm-hm," Harry hummed non-comittedly around a convenient mouthful of liquid.

"Prat."

Harry looked at him quizzically. "What? I didn't do anything."

"Exactly. You disappear for more than a bloody decade and you don't even have the decency to ask me what's been going on back home."

"Would you believe me if I said I simply didn't know where to start asking?"

Bluntly, "No."

"Damn." A pause. "All right, then, here's a question. Why did you join our side?"

'Bastard.'

 

(Azkaban, 1999)

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Ron, fretting, and if you'd have told either of them three years before that Ron Weasley was going to stand outside Azkaban worrying about Draco Malfoy going in to visit his parents, both of them would have agreed wholeheartedly that you were crazy.

"I'm quite sure I don't want to do this, actually. But he is my father, and if I don't go now, I never will."

"All right. Just ... be careful. I'll wait for you out here."

 

There were no Dementors in this part of Azkaban, and the cells didn't have walls, just bars, so the guards could monitor the prisoners and abort any suicide attempts. No Death Eater was going to escape their just desserts.

"Traitor!" The word echoed off the walls like a whiplash, and he clenched his jaw. It took him a few seconds to identify the voice, even though he'd heard it countless times in the common room and on the Quidditch field. Flint.

"Traitor!" Higgs, just that little bit more vicious than Flint, because of course Flint hadn't been thrown off the house team because Draco's father had the money to buy seven state-of-the-art brooms.

"Traitor!" Bole, who'd broken Draco's arm once, calmly and deliberately, for no other reason than that Draco had missed the snitch, again.

"Traitor!" Crabbe Senior, who blamed him for the death of his son, even though Vince had died at the hands of an Auror, and Draco hadn't even heard of it until two weeks after the facts.

His father said nothing, just stood, looking him in the eyes. "Draco."

"Father. You wanted to talk to me?"

"I did. I would ask you to sit down, but ..."

Part of him felt as if he were twelve again. Just a boy, believing every word his father said, infinite trust, unshakeable faith that Lucius Malfoy was, or soon would be, the most powerful man in the world.

"You're still calling yourself Malfoy, I hear?"

"It is my name."

"It was your name. I raised you to be worthy of it. Why, Draco? You could have been the most powerful Death Eater--"

"And I still would have had to kneel and grovel before Lord Voldemort. I wasn't raised to kneel."

"And yet you kneel for that Potter boy."

"He never demanded I kneel for him, father."

There was no answer.

 

(Cuba, 2011)

The next morning, during breakfast, Draco looked around the small, almost Spartan house, and asked, "What do you do around here all day?"

Harry shrugged. "Fixing things, working the field, reading if I have time."

"Not writing your memoirs?"

Harry quirked a small grin. "Do you think people would be interested in my memoirs? 'Harry Potter: The Man Behind the Legend'?"

"Why not?"

"A very wise man once told me that people don't want a real live person; they want a myth."

Draco didn't have anything to say about that, so he didn't, just thought, 'I should owl Ron and Hermione' before realising there probably weren‚t any owleries close by. "Is there a post office in the town? Or anywhere nearby?"

Harry blinked a little at the sudden subject change, and Draco suppressed a grin. "There is, but I don't know how reliable it is. Since when do you use Muggle mail?"

"Since I ended up in the middle of nowhere, with no owlery nearby." He paused. "I have to let them know I'm alive." Draco said. "I don't have to tell them about you."

"Can you wait? For now? I don't think I'm ready yet."

Draco nodded, understanding, but wondering if Harry would ever be ready.

 

He wrote the letter that evening, and it took him three hours to compose three paragraphs.

Ron, Hermione,

I'm in Cuba. I'm fine, if sunburnt like hell. I really miss English weather, believe it or not.

I'll be staying here for a while, so you can send a reply to the post office, and I'll get it. Hopefully, anyway -- Cuban post isn't all that reliable.

Give Gwennie my love, and tell her I'll be back to see her off to Hogwarts.

Draco

"Gwennie?" Harry asked when Draco let him read the letter.

"Their daughter. My goddaughter."

Harry looked thoughtful for a moment, and Draco thought he could see a trace of hurt and regret. "Never thought I'd see the day."

 

(The Burrow, 2000)

"So what I want to know," Ron said, looking at Draco over a stack of Lucius Malfoy's maps, "Is whether you knew."

"Knew what?" Slightly distracted, because fuck, his father had the worst handwriting in history.

"That he wasn't going to come back."

"Hm? Oh, Harry?" Draco looked up.

Ron rolled his eyes. "Yes, Harry. Who else?"

"I didn't know, as such, no. I don't think he knew himself, when he left. But I suspected it, yes."

"Why?"

"Because if I'd have had the chance, I'd have done exactly the same thing."

Ron nodded. You were closer to him than we were, after the war. I used to hate you for that."

He snorted. "You mean all the effort I put into annoying you was just a waste of time?"

Ron grinned. "Very funny." Then, after a pause, "Hermione's pregnant."

 

(Cuba, 2011)

The response came late June, just a few short paragraphs in Hermione's neat handwriting, and a P.S. from Gwennie telling him to get back before September, or else.

He folded the letter and went outside, where Harry was fixing the roof. "Are there actually any other wizards in this country?"

"I think so. There's a wizard community in Havana, I believe."

"How long would it take me to get there?"

"Best case scenario, two weeks. Three weeks if you're out of luck. Why?"

"Would I be able to get a Portkey there?"

"Probably."

"But you don't know for sure?"

"I don't really like being around a lot of wizards anymore, I'm afraid."

 

(London, 1998)

"We have to tell him."

Ron glared at him. "He's in the fucking hospital, Malfoy. He's just woke up, he's only barely survived killing You-Know-Who."

"I know. Look, I know you don't believe me, but I do care for him. I'm simply not too blind to see that this has to be done. He has to know, and he has to go out there and talk to them."

"Do you really think they're going to listen to him? You've seen what they're doing; they're not going to stop because he asks them to!"

"They might. And this isn't about them, this is about him."

"Malfoy--" Ron started, but Hermione interrupted him.

"Ron. He's right."

"You're on his side, now?"

"I'm on Harry's side. And Harry's going to find out about this sooner rather than later, and when he does, he'll be more upset if he finds out we didn't give him a chance to do something."

Ron clenched his jaw.

"I'll tell him," Draco said, giving Hermione a look that stopped an protests she might have had.

 

"Are you well enough to make a speech?"

Harry looked at him. "I take it this wouldn't exactly be a victory speech, right?"

"Not quite." He paused. "People are ... rioting isn't the right word, really. Going mad. They're going after everyone suspected of having Death Eaters sympathies, any girl suspected of having slept with a Death Eater. There haven't been any deaths yet, but it's a matter of time, I'm afraid. Nobody's been able to calm them down. Maybe you can."

Harry nodded. "I'll try."

 

(Cuba, 2011)

"So you're leaving, then?"

"Not yet. In a month or so. Can you tell me how to get to Havana?"

Harry didn't say anything, seemed to be thinking, considering. "I'll go with you."

Draco looked at him intently, trying to read the expression on Harry's face, but couldn't. "How far?"

"All the way. If that's all right."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah. I think it's time."

 

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