Chapter Thirteen: Azkaban







Draco became the Prince of Slytherin for beating Harry in Quidditch. The novelty of it wore off after five days. It was impossible to get anything done with people wanting to recount the game every time they cornered Draco. Draco was exceedingly grateful when winter holidays began and almost everyone left for home.

He was not grateful, however, to be awoken at dawn on the first day of school break.

"Potter, you must have a death wish," Draco mumbled into his pillow.

"Perhaps." The bed shook as Harry bounced on the edge.

"Gah! Cut that out!" Draco pushed himself to a sitting position and glared at the raven-haired annoyance.

Harry snickered at him. "Nice hair."

"Sod off." Draco forced himself not to try and smooth down his bed-head. "What do you want?"

"We're going on a field trip," Harry told him, rising from the bed.

"A field trip?" Draco repeated.

"Yes. Hurry up and get dressed," Harry said as he started for the open dormitory door. "I'll wait for you in the common room."

"Wait! Where are we going?" Draco asked.

"Azkaban."




The portkey deposited Draco, Harry, and Headmaster Dumbledore outside of the wizarding prison, Azkaban. The prison was a gothic monstrosity; a crumbling castle shrouded in shadow. Draco felt chilled. This was where his father had died.

Draco glanced over at Harry. Potter stood close to Dumbledore, his face a waxy grey color. The scar stood out in stark relief on his forehead.

"Ready, boys?" asked Dumbledore.

Harry swallowed thickly and nodded. Draco watched as the expression of terror on Harry's face disappeared behind the familiar blank mask.

"Mr. Malfoy?" Dumbledore looked questioningly at Draco.

"I'm fine," Draco said dismissively, though his insides were tied in knots. The purpose behind the field trip to Azkaban was to experience first-hand the power of the Dementors. Dumbledore predicted that the creatures would be on the side of Voldemort when he made his presence known to the world. Dumbledore felt Draco needed to experience their effect on wizards in order to protect himself. Harry came with for the same reason, even though he'd been in contact with Dementors in the past.

Dumbledore led the way into Azkaban. The chill permeating Draco grew more intense with every step. The inside of the prison was as foreboding as the outside, with crumbling stone halls and dim lighting.

The professor spoke to someone at the front desk and they were promptly escorted down a long hallway. At the end of the hall was an open doorway and, beyond that, a barred gate bisecting the empty room. Behind a protective window set into the sidewall sat a wizard, whose job was to open and close the gate.

The visitors' escort spoke through the glass to the bearded wizard. "Call up a Dementor to the gate, if you would, Virgil."

A tall, black-robed Dementor glided into view almost immediately. The hooded figure stopped on the other side of the gate and made a hissing sound.

A strangled cry drew Draco's attention from the Dementor. Harry was sweating profusely. His lips were pulled back in a snarl, exposing his tightly clenched teeth. His eyes had rolled back so only the whites were showing.

Dumbledore quickly escorted Harry from the room. The prison official followed, leaving Draco alone in the room with the Dementor. The wizard behind the glass smirked maliciously. Slowly, Draco slid his focus back to the Dementor behind the gate. Fear slithered down his spine as he waited for the Dementor to act.

The memory of Posey Parkinson relating Lucius Malfoy's death suddenly sprang to the forefront of Draco's mind. The emotions that Draco had felt the first time hadn't lessened when repeated. However, if Dementors were supposed to show their victim the most terrible experiences and this was Draco's... well, it was actually a positive sort of torture. It proved that Draco had lived a very good life up until his father's demise. He'd have to rub that fact in Harry's face once he was sure Harry was all right.

Draco forced his feet to move. The memory was still painful, despite the positive outlook. He knew he was crying, though silently, as his heart was bruised again. No matter what anyone else's opinion had been of Lucius Malfoy, Draco had loved his father very much.

Dumbledore was waiting alone in the hallway when Draco exited the room. The elder wizard peered curiously over his spectacles at him. "Everything all right, Mr. Malfoy?"

"Everything's fine," Draco said as the Dementor's effects immediately began to fade. "Where's Harry?"

"I sent him along back to Hogwarts without us." Dumbledore started for the exit, with Draco at his side. "I believe you shall find him on the Quidditch field upon our return."




Harry was, as predicted, soaring on his Firebolt above the Quidditch field, when Draco had gone looking for him. Bundled in winter robes, Draco watched Harry circle in the air for several minutes before joining him.

It was chilly. The cold winter air burned Draco's cheeks as he kept beside Harry. They flew silently together until Draco felt icicles hanging from his ears. He was about to suggest heading inside when Harry spoke.

"I expected to hear Voldemort killing my parents," Harry said. "That's what usually happened when a Dementor was near me."

"I take it this time was different?" Draco said, prompting the conversation. After his own experience with the Dementor, he felt sort of bad for dressing up as one and trying to scare Harry in third year. He'd only thought Harry was afraid of them, like Weasley was afraid of spiders.

"I hadn't forgotten, but didn't really think about the fact that far worse things have happened since third year." The wall that Harry kept between himself and the rest of the world, only recently allowing laughter to escape, crumbled completely. The purity of the pain reflected on Harry's face was exquisitely beautiful in a macabre way, and Draco's breath caught.

"Cedric Diggory's death wasn't the worst thing that happened the last night of the Tri-Wizard Tournament," said Harry, his voice like sandpaper rubbing against glass. "That night, I also brought Voldemort back to life."


Chapter 14