Enter The Realm of the Pendragon

Drabbles:

Various ficlets and drabbles, mostly written for contests at Sorting Hat, a Hogwarts community on LiveJournal. Ratings vary from PG to NC-17.

Apology Rated: PG
Baby Rated: PG
When Doves Cry Rated: PG
Backstabber Rated: PG
the Two Worst Words In The English Language Rated: PG-13
Dreams And Nightmares Rated: 15
Duplicity Rated: PG-13
Biting The Hand Rated: R
Masked Desire Rated: R
This Is Home Rated: PG
The Sum Of All Fears Rated: NC-17
The Sounds Of Midnight Rated: PG
Outcry Rated: 15
How To Make A Treacle Tart Rated: PG

Disclaimer: These stories are based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Apology

Ship: N/A
Genre: Humour
Rating: PG
Prompt: Apology
Word Count: 396
Date: 20 August, 2003
Author's Notes: A ficlet written for the 15minuteficlets community on LiveJournal. Set in the I Am Draco universe.

Father was angry. Well, perhaps angry is the wrong word, disappointed would be more like it, I think. At least that's what he usually tells me.

I was standing in his study before his vast mahogany desk, my normal position when being reprimanded. Father typically sat in his chair, leaning back with his fingers steepled beneath his chin and elbows rested on the chair arms while he informed me of my faults and the discipline I was to receive. He never raised his voice to me; he didn't have to, the threat was there and the fact that I had disappointed him was supposed to be punishment enough.

At one time, it would have been.

I dragged my thoughts back to the present, realising I should at least pay attention to find out what my punishment was to be.

"I am most disappointed in you," he said, quietly. What did I tell you? No wonder I gave up listening to his entire speeches quite some time ago, he was sadly getting repetitive in his old age.

He looked at me pointedly and I saw that he was waiting for a response.

"Yes, Father," I replied.

"A Malfoy never apologises," he stated firmly for about the fifteenth time in this lecture, "it is a sign of weakness, an indication that you were wrong initially and Malfoys are never wrong."

"Of course, Father." I filed that away for future reference, added to the list of 1001 other things Malfoys didn't do. Sometimes I wondered if Malfoys were allowed to have fun, it certainly didn't seem like it.

Father sat forwards, leaning on the desk top and studied me. "I think you're finally beginning to understand, I might yet have a son to be proud of."

I lowered my gaze to my shoes in case I should say something I would regret later, if only because it resulted in another lecture and there were better things I could be doing.

"Yes, Father."

He nodded in appreciation. "Well, do you have anything to say for yourself, for your behaviour earlier?"

I raised my head, looking into those cold grey eyes so like my own, before dropping my eyes in a play of meekness.

"Just one thing, Father."

He gazed at me in satisfaction. "Very well, what is it?"

I couldn't resist. Hiding a smirk, I smoothly responded, "I'm sorry, Father."

Baby

Ship: Harry/Hermione
Genre: Romance
Rating: PG
Prompt: Baby
Word Count: 522
Date: 20 August, 2003
Author's Notes: A ficlet written for the 15minuteficlets community on LiveJournal.

"Oh my God," Hermione gasped at the puddle of clothing before them. "What on earth did you do to him?"

Harry pushed his glasses further up his nose and frowned, "It was just a hex, it was supposed to send him back where he came from."

Hermione shook her head. "Well, it looks to me like you managed to remove him from this world altogether."

Harry stifled a grin, "Oops."

"Oops. That's all you can say? Oops?"

"What does it matter, it was only Malfoy after all."

A sudden squeal rent the air and they both fell silent, looking at each other and trying to work out what the sound was and where it was coming from.

"Did that sound like a baby crying to you?" Hermione frowned hesitantly.

"Well, sort of, but what would a baby be doing out here in the middle of a war zone?" Harry responded.

Hermione didn't reply, her eyes were fixed on the pile of discarded clothes that lay where only a minute before Draco Malfoy had stood. A faint movement had caught her eye and now Harry followed her gaze in the same direction. Hermione took a few rapid steps over to them and Harry heard a gasp come from her as she knelt down and rummaged amongst the garments.

"Oh Harry."

"What is it?" he asked curiously, going over to her side. Looking down at her, he couldn't help but notice something pale and wrinkled in her hands.

"I think - I think this is Malfoy."

"Malfoy? I mean, he always was short but that's a bit ridiculous." Harry retorted.

Hermione shook her head and sighed. "I think your hex went a bit wrong somehow, and rather than returning Malfoy to where he came from, it turned him back to a previous state."

"Meaning?"

"Meaning, you turned Draco Malfoy back into a baby."

Any further words either of them might have had on the subject were halted by the sounds of a loud skirmish coming closer in their direction. Hermione grasped the squalling child, wrapping him quickly in the discarded jumper and followed Harry's pelt towards a nearby deserted house.

Once inside, Hermione quickly charmed the door locked and turned to Harry, the baby cradled in her arms.

"What are we going to do with him?"

"We? Why should we have to do anything with him?!" Harry took a step back from her in disgust.

"For one thing, Harry, you did this to him and for another, both his parents are now dead so there's no one to look after him." She gazed down at the baby boy in her arms who gurgled back at her. "It raises a kind of interesting question though," she mused.

He frowned. "It does?"

"Wondering if Malfoy would have turned out any differently if maybe he'd had other parents, a different upbringing."

Harry studied Hermione swiftly, the way she was smiling and cooing at the little bundle she held so carefully. "You want to raise him, don't you?" He said finally.

Hermione's soft brown eyes met Harry's green gaze unflinchingly. "I want us to raise him," she replied.

When Doves Cry

Ship: N/A
Genre: Angst
Rating: PG
Prompt: N/A
Word Count: 510
Date: 26 January, 2005
Author's Notes: ~ For MAG, from NRF ~

Sometimes there is nothing worse than having your faults pointed out to you. Especially when you're really not in the mood to hear them.

I sighed and shifted slightly, feeling the complaint in my back from sitting hunched up as I was for so long. I pulled my knees up, hugging them to me and resting my chin on top. Staring out of the window next to me, but seeing nothing, I continued musing.

I didn't know if it made it better or worse that he knew me so well. Of course that then meant that he was right, something which in my current frame of mind, I would never admit. I wondered if this was pretty much because I was such an open book, my emotions ran very close to the surface and were never something I could hide very well. The other possibility was that when you've known someone for as long as we had, it's just automatic: you know instantly what the other person is thinking or feeling without them having to say a thing. Of course, added to that was the connection that we had and it all added up to someone who knew my inner most thoughts and feelings seemingly before I did.

I knew that he only did it because he cared but stupid male pride prevented me from backing down and telling him so. I studied the toes of my shoes, focusing on the scuff on the left one in a vain attempt to stop my mind from working.

Instinctively, I knew that he was coming into the room and a second later, heard the door open. I didn't turn my head to look at him, continuing my assessment of the view out of the window beside me instead.

He cleared his throat and I hid a little smile to myself.

"I - er - "

"I know," I replied softly.

That was all it took. There was a brief pause in which I turned to look up at the face I knew so well, the face I saw reflected back at me everywhere I went. An awkward grin flashed over it and I returned it.

"You know, I think I figured out where we were going wrong," I said to him as though nothing out of the ordinary occurred.

"Really? Was it the - "

" - burdock, indeed." I completed his sentence as we always did. Two people, two bodies, one shared consciousness.

I sensed his eagerness to go test out this new theory and unfolded myself from the window seat, stretching leisurely as I did so. He glanced over at me before pelting out of the door and clattering down the stairs and I followed him, prompting a cry from Mum.

"Fred! George!"

I grinned as we charged through the kitchen, stopping only to give her a quick hug which put an end to whatever it was she'd been going to say. Rapidly I ran through the garden after my twin. Sometimes I was glad he knew me so well.

Backstabber

Ship: None
Genre: Drama/Angst
Rating: PG
Prompt: None
Word Count: 187
Date: 5 February, 2005
Author's Notes: None

Sometimes I really hate Harry Potter.

Look at him, people swarming round him like bees round honey and he loves it, loves the attention he gets. He doesn't question it, never has as far as I know, just accepts it as though it's his birthright. I suppose, in a way, it is. He's famous simply because he's alive.

Lots of us are though. Me, for one. I'm alive.

What has he ever done that's so great? To hear everyone else tell it, you'd think he'd taken on the world single-handedly. To hear the truth though, is to hear a different story entirely. He wouldn't have got anywhere without the help of his friends. He's not so smart on his own, he's not so special. He just believes what everyone tells him, that he's wonderful and brave and we would all just curl up and die if it wasn't for him.

Not me. I'd do just fine without him. I managed before, and I can do it again.

Harry bloody Potter. One day, you'll realise you're just like the rest of us. Or my name's not Ron Weasley.

The Two Worst Words In the English Language

Ship: Harry/Draco
Genre: Angst, Romance
Rating: PG-13
Prompt: None
Word Count: 828
Date: 6 April, 2005
Author's Notes: ~ To my Harry, in the hope that you will see, and to the one who opened my eyes ~

It's funny how one little thing can have such a huge impact on the rest of your life; you do something without giving it any real thought and suddenly any chance you might have of getting to know someone better has disappeared faster than ice cream on a sunny day. I meant well, I had good intentions but he either couldn't or wouldn't see them and a possible friendship was lost.

I had spent far too long musing over that one moment, taking it to pieces and analysing it carefully. I had tried every possible alternative in my head, worked out hundreds of other endings but what was done was done and there was no way of undoing it or taking it back. Foresight is an amazing thing, but unfortunately not something the majority of us are blessed with. I had lost count of the nights I had spent tossing in my bed my mind whirling with the two worst words in the English language: if only. If only I'd not said x, if only I'd not done y, if only I could go back and undo it, if only he wasn't him, if only I wasn't me, if only, if only, if only... A man could kill himself because of if only and I had never before understood that as well as I did now.

You start off on the wrong foot and naturally things seem to only get worse from then on. That was pretty much how it was between us. All too soon the lines had been drawn and the war began with him on one side and me on the other. The last thing I wanted to do was fight with him, but it seemed out of my control. Any chance of rational conversation was lost and some how all words spoken to each other were filled with a passion totally unlike the one I really wanted them to be filled with. But it took me some time to figure that out.

We had spent so long at loggerheads, every day filled with the barbs and taunts we threw at each other, that it was automatic now; the very sight of him across the room and within minutes I was on my feet to smirk and snarl some derogatory comment to him. At what point did it all change? When did I start seeking any response from him just to be in contact with him? When did I fall in love?

He had always been there, right from the beginning he had been a part of my life. Slowly, without my realising it, there was a subtle shift in the contact I wanted from him. The times that I saw him and his gaze just passed over me began to hurt. I started to find some excuse, any excuse to talk to him, to be near him. I studied how his face lit up when he saw his friends and I wanted that response when he saw me, instead of the narrowed glare I usually got. I craved his attention, I wanted him to notice me, to really see me. Just once, I wanted him to look at me, to see the look in my eyes that showed exactly how I felt about him and to see that look reflected back at me from his. Yet I knew, deep down, that there was no chance of it. He would never look at me that way and never think about me like that, he had other things that were much more important to him than I was.

But would a partnership such as ours even work? We were too similar and yet, we were so completely different. Stubbornness, intelligence, and a desire to make a difference were traits we shared, yet while he shunned the limelight, I gloried in it. He was quiet and gentle, I was loud and dramatic. He was the brave Gryffindor lion and I was the cunning Slytherin serpent.

I could see him now as I mused, see him sitting at his usual position surrounded by friends and admirers and general hangers on. I desired so much to be a part of his inner circle, to sit at his side and have people know that I was special to him, have them know that he had chosen me against all others. My heart swelled just a little at the mere sight of him, willing him to look up and see me. I couldn't tear my eyes away. I found myself wondering, did I love him because he was Harry, or just because he was Harry? I wasn't sure it made any difference. The fact of the matter was that I loved him and I wanted him to know. But he was Harry Potter, and I was Draco Malfoy and a little incident many moons ago had determined the ways we would react to each other. And I hated him for it.

Dreams And Nightmares

Ship: Neville/?
Genre: Romance
Rating: 15
Prompt: 250 words to include a chimera, a Lestrange and part of/a broomstick
Word Count: 251
Date: 22 June, 2005
Author's Notes: A drabble for the sorting__hat community on LiveJournal. With apologies to Goscinny and Underzo…

It was no good, he couldn't sleep. He'd awakened from a nightmare some time ago which had put paid to any hope of having a restful night. He couldn't remember any details but it didn't matter, he'd had this nightmare before; a twisted recollection of that night in the Ministry with that strange curtain and some woman called Bellatrix or Bagoftrix, he wasn’t sure which. He'd woken suddenly, a scream caught in his throat and his body covered in sweat.

He'd tried sleeping on his left side, then on his right. He'd even attempted lying on his stomach, a position he didn't usually find comfortable. He'd mangled his pillows, plumping them up one minute and flattening them the next but to no avail. Now he lay staring at the underside of the canopy above him listening to his roommates' soft breathing. He briefly considered reading but unless the book was of one Lockhart's recounting how he fought off a chimera using only the power of his smile, he doubted it would send him to sleep.

There was only one thing for it. Closing his eyes, he envisioned a certain member of the house Quidditch team astride his broom. The way his hands gripped the handle, how he flew with a grace he didn't possess on the ground, how his face came alive with joy every time he flew. One hand slipped beneath the covers, a soft sigh escaping his lips and he fantasised his way to slumber with a practised hand.

Duplicity

Ship: Implied McGonagall/Hooch, Crabbe/Goyle, Draco/OC, Everyone/Everyone else
Genre: Humour
Rating: PG-13
Prompt: At least 600 words containing one het ship and one slash ship and part of it must take place by the lake
Word Count: 1,262
Date: 1 July, 2005
Author's Notes: My entry for the end of term fic contest for the the sorting__hat community on LiveJournal. This is very silly and very very bad!

Platform 9¾ was incredibly crowded. People were packed so tightly together that they jostled each other simply by breathing. The red head of Ron Weasley stood head and shoulders above them all and guided Harry to him like a beacon. Clustered close to him were Hermione and Ginny all looking as baffled as Harry.

"What on earth is going on?" he asked after the usual greetings.

"No idea," Hermione replied, watching everyone carefully. "I'm sure I don't know half of these students but yet some of them look strangely familiar."

At that precise moment, a girl walked past. She had black messy hair that fell down to her shoulders, bright green eyes and pale skin. She noticed that she was being watched and flashed them a bright smile.

"Hi there! I'm Harriet Jayne Potter!" With a cheery wave, she was lost in the crowds.

The others immediately looked at Harry. "What?" he asked. "Just because her name is Potter? It's a very common name!"

"But she looks like you," Ginny pointed out. "Except that she's a girl."

"Very curious," Hermione muttered. "Come on, let's get on the train."

The mad crush extended even further onto the train. Carriages were packed full of excited students talking at the tops of their voices. Ron pushed his way through and the others followed in his wake until they managed to find an empty carriage somewhere near the very end of the train.

"Do you think one of the other wizarding schools has closed down?" Ginny asked, once they were all arranged and seated.

"It's possible," Hermione answered, "Maybe one in the States, I did hear a lot of American accents."

Before they could discuss it any further, a familiar figure appeared at the door of the carriage and they all looked up to see who it was.

"Hello there, any space for one more?"

"Professor Lupin!" They all stared at him in amazement.

"What are you doing here?" Harry asked curiously.

"I'm not really sure," he replied, stowing his suitcase on the rack. "I got an owl from Professor Dumbledore asking me to come back. It was all a bit strange actually but I couldn't refuse."

He took a seat, just as the train pulled out of King's Cross and set off on the long journey to Hogwarts. It was largely an uneventful journey. Malfoy came and went, not daring to do anything with a professor in the same carriage. Neville and Luna Lovegood managed to work their way down the overcrowded train to join them. No one knew what was going on, but they were sure all would be revealed as soon as they got to Hogwarts.

It was a very noisy crowd that assembled in the Great Hall for the Sorting that night. Professor McGonagall stalked in followed by a line of new students that snaked right back out of the Hall into the corridor outside. Whispers flew along each of the house tables at the sheer volume of new arrivals. The Sorting Hat was placed upon the stool where upon it simply coughed, said "Well, really!" and refused to say anything further. Professor McGonagall did not look at all happy as she unfurled the sheet of parchment which dropped down to the floor and ran off down the steps. She cleared her throat and read out the first name.

"Arabella Felicity Abbot!" The first girl walked nervously over to the stool, placed the Hat upon her head and within a second of it sitting there, was sorted into Gryffindor.

The names flew thick and fast: Autumn Victory Black! Savannah Melinda Lily Black! Sparkle Kayley Evans! Dracona Lucinda Nirvana Malfoy! Harriet Jayne Potter! Alicia Minerva Geneva Potter! Kaithleyn Thomasina Riddle! Lucy Sinistra Snape! Philameena Weasley! Georgina Fredericia Weasley! Slytherin and Gryffindor were soon suffering from a surfeit of new students and the current occupants of the tables found they had to budge up and up and up till they were practically sitting on each others laps.

"Something very strange is going on," Ron muttered darkly into his beef stew.

The overcrowding continued at breakfast the next day. Professor McGonagall was looking seriously stressed as she ran about the Hall handing out new timetables. She'd managed to get the assistance of Madam Hooch in order to get the job done before it was time for the first class and she'd been only too willing to help. Strangely willing to help actually, Minerva thought. And she kept watching her from across the hall in an almost lustful manner.

Even the classes were cramped. Professor Flitwick had never seen so many people attend his Charms class and tumbled off the desk several times in bemusement. The Potions classroom was especially full and students ended up standing in the corridor because there just wasn't the room for them inside. Professor Snape blamed it all on the Gryffindors and docked them 100 points for it.

As soon as they had a spare moment, Hermione grabbed Harry and Ron and dragged them off to the lake where she hoped they'd get some peace and quiet. Unfortunately that wasn't too be the case. Everywhere they looked, students seemed to be paired off and were spending their free time getting to know each other as intimately as possible.

"Is that Crabbe over there with Goyle?" Ron asked, blanching white at the very thought.

"I think so," Harry replied squinting to make them out. Just at that second, someone charged straight through them, nearly knocking Ron into the lake itself.

"Malfoy!" Harry shouted at his rapidly retreating back. Another figure dashed after him, this one was female and had long white blonde hair that flew back out behind her as she ran, calling Malfoy's name at the top of her voice.

"Help me!" Malfoy cried out, as he disappeared round the lake trying desperately to get out of the girl's reach.

"What on earth is going on?" Harry asked.

Hermione suddenly answered, "I have an idea!" Running back into the castle, she made her way to Dumbledore's office with the two boys following her as quickly as they could.

"What's the password?" she asked as they caught up with her.

"Cockroach cluster, I think," replied Harry. "Or sherbet lemon."

The stairway revealed itself and they made their way up to Dumbledore's office. Hermione rapidly opened the door without knocking and the boys entered behind her.

"Ah, Miss Granger," Professor Dumbledore said, turning from where he had been stroking Fawkes. "And how may I assist you?"

"We're very sorry to come in here without knocking," Ron started to say but Hermione simply whipped out her wand and shouted "Petrificus Totalis!"

Dumbledore froze on the spot just as the door burst open and Professors McGonagall and Snape rushed in.

"What is going on here?" Professor McGonagall asked.

Hermione answered swiftly, "That is not Professor Dumbledore, it's actually Voldemort in disguise. He has Dumbledore hidden away somewhere and he's used Polyjuice to take his place so that he could sneak in here and kill Harry! And I think he Polyjuiced Fawkes as well."

"What about all the strange students?" Ron asked, "What have they got to do with it?"

"They're a distraction," Hermione explained, "A simple charm called a Mary Sue which gives lots of perfect students that feed off the students that are already here." They all stared at her in amazement.

"Hermione, how do you even know all this?" Harry asked.

She sighed in despair. "How many times do I have to tell you to read Hogwarts, A History? It's all in there!"

Biting The Hand

Ship: Draco/Voldemort, Draco/Death Eaters
Genre: Angst
Rating: R
Prompt: None
Word Count: 674
Date: 7 July, 2005
Author's Notes: A fic written for the sorting__hat community on LiveJournal.
Warning: Contains slash, underage, implied abuse and non-con.

Draco Malfoy hated Harry Potter. He hated everything about him: his unkempt black hair, those startling green eyes, the ridiculous glasses he insisted on wearing and that stupid scar. The annoying habit he had of pushing his glasses back up his nose. The way his clothes hung off him with about as much style as a tea towel on a house elf. The irritating way he rumpled up his hair while thinking which made it even messier than usual. Draco had an endless list of things he hated about Harry Potter; he had honed it to perfection because he spent a lot of time concentrating on these very annoyances. It was the only way he could make it through the day.

There were only two people he despised more than Harry Potter. The first was his father. Draco had spent many years idolising and respecting Lucius Malfoy but the older he got, he realised that Lucius had long ago lost any capacity to think for himself and now lived only to serve his Lord. What would Dumbledore's Army think if they realised that the great Lucius Malfoy was nothing more than a doormat for the Dark Lord to wipe his feet on? Now Lucius had taken up residence in Azkaban but he wasn't free from his son's loathing. After all, it was because of Lucius that Draco was in this position.

It had always been clear that when Draco was old enough, he would join with his parents as followers of the Dark Lord. More than once, he'd been given the impression that there was a special place waiting for him as soon as he was of age. Draco had always presumed that meant when he was 17 and considered an adult in the wizarding world. However, here he was, not yet 16 and already had been welcomed into the inner circle with open arms.

Draco had always been a small slight boy and his long awaited growth spurt still eluded him. His pale skin, white blond hair and large grey eyes combined with pointed face and delicate features gave him an androgynous prettiness. Naturally slender and graceful, he carried himself with an elegance bordering on precociousness thanks to his youthful looks. It had been the bane of Draco's life these past few years that he looked younger than his actual age. He knew that, together with his general appearance, it was this semblance of youth that made him so suitable for the position the Dark Lord had planned for him.

The one person that Draco reserved the majority of his enmity for was the Dark Lord, Voldemort himself. For him, Draco's animosity burnt white hot but had to be forced away, swallowed down and hidden out of sight lest anyone realise his true feelings of revulsion. So Draco concentrated on his hatred for Harry Potter instead.

If Lucius was the doormat, then Draco was the lapdog; the Dark Lord's treasured pet. However, Voldemort was generous with his pets and allowed others to enjoy them, the more brutally the better. It was a reward for those who curried particular favour. Draco was soon to realise that the exalted position he was to take up was on his hands and knees, sometimes on his back, other times seated, but always with a Death Eater pounding away at him in one way or another. Draco also realised that it mattered not what his feelings were on this; if anything, the Dark Lord enjoyed it more when he fought back.

And so, while he suffered these indignities, Draco Malfoy focused all his energy on hating Harry Potter. His gaunt blanched white face. His glaring scarlet eyes with the slitted pupils. His high mocking laughter. His incredible appetite for depravity. His voyeuristic lust as he watched his Death Eaters take their rewards. Through it all, Draco's rancour burnt white hot, every new atrocity fanning its flames, waiting for the chance to freely consume and destroy the one who was forcing this upon him. Even pretty lapdogs have teeth.

Masked Desire

Ship: Harry/Ginny?
Genre: Romance
Rating: R
Prompt: None
Word Count: 1,453
Date: 31 October, 2005
Author's Notes: A fic written for the sorting__hat community on LiveJournal in an hour and ten minutes flat in order to wrestle the House Cup from under the feet of the Ravenclaws.

Harry gazed at his reflection in the mirror which tutted in disapproval.

"Oh dear, that really is not a good look for you, it would be much better if we could actually see you."

He sighed in exasperation. "It's a masked ball, you're not supposed to be able to see me. The whole point is the anonymity." He'd already attempted to explain this to the mirror several times over and it just didn't seem able to understand why anyone would actually want to dress in such a way that they could hardly be seen.

Two weeks ago, the notice had gone up around the school announcing a masked ball to take place on Hallowe'en night. Attire for all students was to be provided and that morning, everyone found a parcel on their bed containing their costume for the ball. It was very simple, a plain black robe with hood and a slender black eye mask. Most of the girls, and admittedly a couple of the boys, had exclaimed in alarm at how plain and boring it was but it had been made very clear that no alteration of the outfit would be allowed. They were all told how it was to encourage house unity and that it would also enhance the anonymity of the ball if no one was able to work out who anyone else was. Personally, Harry wasn't sure that it would work. Most people had a certain something that made them who they were and a simple black robe couldn't hide it. At least, that was what he was counting on.

He peered into the mirror one last time, straightening the mask on his face and wondering how anyone would be able to take one look at him and not know who he was. It didn't matter if the mask and hood together hid the top half of his face, they only seemed to enhance his eyes and he'd been told often enough how unusual they were to know that people would know immediately who the brilliant green eyes belonged to. With a sigh, he turned from the mirror and went down to join everyone else in the Great Hall.

Harry stood in the doorway, looking around at the mass of black robed and hooded figures standing in silence. Here and there were little giggles of nervousness but everyone was eager to start the fun of figuring out who everyone was.

"It looks like a Junior Death Eater Anonymous meeting," he muttered under his breath. He scanned the room, hoping to find any clue that would make it clear who any of them were. That person there, shuffling from foot to foot in nerves, wasn't that what Ron did before a Quidditch match? That person over there, chewing on a fingernail, isn't that the kind of thing Ginny did? He had no idea. He suddenly felt very alone and extremely vulnerable.

...

The ball was getting underway. People were congregating in little groups, chatting away. Others were dancing, either with a partner or on their own. Harry stood at the side and watched. Someone grabbed his arm and pulled him to the dance floor, he didn't know who it was. He momentarily resisted, not liking the attention that dancing usually gave him, he had no desire to join in until he realised that no one know who he was. He could dance as much and as wildly as he wanted to, no one would think anything of it. The sudden feeling of freedom was like a rush of blood to the head, it made him feel giddy. He allowed himself to be pulled onto the dance floor where he joined the frantically moving crowd and danced along like he never had before.

Some time later, a black robed figure could be seen staggering out of the Great Hall in the search for fresh air. Harry fanned his face, feeling as though his cheeks were on fire. He had never been so hot. A trickle of sweat ran between his shoulder blades and down his back making him wriggle uncomfortably. He made his way to the entrance hall and out of the main doors where the sweet night air blew on his reddened face to cool him down. He sighed in pleasure and slumped on the grass in a secluded corner, totally unable to walk any further.

"It's hot in there, isn't it?"

Harry turned to his right, seeing a dark figure in a similar repose to his a little way off. "Yeah," he agreed, "Really hot."

"I don't think I've ever danced like that before, I felt so free."

He grinned and nodded. "Yes, I know exactly what you mean."

The figure pulled itself up with some difficulty and sank down again next to him. "So much fun though."

"Mmm." Harry studied the person next to him out of the corner of his eye, trying to work out who he was talking to. The voice was soft and light, breathy and amused. It didn't really tell him anything. As he watched, the figure lifted a hand to wipe at its sweating brow. A small slender hand with pale skin. He glanced over at the only part of the face that was visible: a slender throat and delicate jaw line, above that a pair of pink lips, smiling shyly as a little pink tongue came out to wet them slightly. It was strangely erotic. A faint pink blush began to stain the pale cheeks as Harry watched.

"It's so nice out here though, nice and cool and ... peaceful." Harry couldn't tear his eyes away from those lips, watching as they shaped the words, wondering what they would feel like under his.

He felt his mouth go dry and his breathing get slightly faster as the other leaned in closer. "Very peaceful," he replied before those soft pink lips met his.

He lost track of time as those lips teased at his own, the tongue trailing along his own lips, now and then dipping inside his mouth to taste him there. He responded eagerly and in kind, his own tongue probing into an open and willing mouth. A gentle thumb brushed against his cheek, and he sighed in pleasure. He felt a slight pressure on his knee, pushing his legs apart and then gentle fingers brushing against him. He moaned soft and low in his throat as he felt himself surrounded by a warm wet mouth.

Harry returned to the Great Hall, his cheeks still flaming. He thought about what he'd just done; he had a vague idea as to who it was and felt something stir in response. The Hall was less crowded than before, some people were still dancing as though making the most of it before the ball was over; others were seated in little groups, chatting slightly or just watching the dancers; most had left and gone back to the common rooms. Harry stood close to the door wondering whether to go back in or whether he wanted to be alone to relive the experience he'd had outside. Another student was hanging around seemingly in the same undecided state of mind. A solitary figure was making its way towards the door and as they passed, he noticed a long strand of red hair snaking its way from under the hood.

"Ginny?" he asked cautiously.

The person stopped and turned back to him, throwing back the hood to reveal the youngest Weasley. "Harry?" she queried, peering at him. He nodded. "Are you coming or going?" She grinned at him, nodding her head to the doorway he was hovering in.

"I'm not sure," he responded. A flush came to his face as thoughts unbidden assailed him: a slender hand, soft pink lips.

"What on earth have you been doing?" She indicated the back of his robes. "It looks like you sat in something wet."

Harry rapidly ran his hands over the back of his robe and discovered a large damp patch. "I went outside for some fresh air," he mumbled, "The grass must have been wet."

"You didn't notice?"

"Erm, no. I was... thinking."

A sudden snigger came from the student behind him. Harry frowned and turned to see what they were laughing at. They were standing facing him, and as he watched, they slowly lowered their hand to brush at their knees. Two small damp patches, one on each knee, was clearly visible. Harry's eyes widened as he understood the gesture. He glanced back at Ginny, his stomach turning as he realised she wasn't who he hoped she was. He turned back to the student and watched as they flipped back their hood with characteristic smugness.

"Evening, Potter."

This Is Home

Ship: Harry/Draco
Genre: Romance
Rating: PG
Prompt: 250 words to include peanut butter willow and sapphire
Word Count: 251
Date: 3 May, 2006
Author's Notes: A drabble written for the sorting__hat community on LiveJournal. Inspired by real life events…

He looked down at the person snuggled so tightly into his side and smiled. He ran light fingers over the dark hair that covered the head nestled perfectly in his arm careful not to disturb. He tried to commit to memory the soft pink lips, pale cheeks and long dark eyelashes. He couldn't believe after all that he'd been through that he was here in this moment; that the fates had finally smiled kindly on him and given him all he ever wanted. A rush of emotion threatened to overwhelm him, but he was well practised in the art of not letting this be seen.

"Draco?" He raised tired eyes, turned sapphire through lack of sleep, and realised they were no longer alone.

"I thought you might be hungry, so I made you a little something."

Draco looked over to see his favourite mug filled to the brim with coffee and a willow pattern plate holding two slices of toast, spread liberally with -

"What's this?"

"Peanut butter. It's nice, honestly!" Harry sighed in despair.

"I know, just shh." Draco looked down at the tiny bundle as it shifted slightly.

"Asleep?" Harry asked cautiously.

Draco bit back a snide retort that still rose automatically to his lips and nodded. "Finally. I was up all night with her."

Harry smiled at the picture before him, the man he loved - the last remaining Malfoy no less - with their daughter cuddled in his arms. He didn't want to forget this moment ever.

The Sum Of All Fears

Ship: Harry/Draco
Genre: Horror
Rating: NC-17
Prompt: None
Word Count: 897
Date: 23 July, 2006
Author's Notes: For my Harry, whose regrettable fear inspired me.

"Let him go!" The cry echoed rapidly, slamming back in his ears and reverberating in his head. He didn't realise till then that it was his own voice, that the plea had been torn so violently from him that his throat felt raw. He swallowed instinctively.

Darkness pooled around the edge of his vision but the main focus of his attention stood directly before him, bathed in a sickly yellow light, a light as unnatural as the monster that stood within it. Two figures, a smaller one being tightly embraced by a taller thinner figure; no, being held close like a lover, like a child, like... like a shield. Long white fingers caressing a pale cheek possessively, making his skin crawl at the sight as if it was his own cheek being touched in such a manner.

"Let him go." A whispered command, a veiled threat, a promise of an untold punishment yet to be meted out.

"Mine." A hissed response, the warning going unheeded. Red eyes flickering dangerously, giving a warning of their own. "All mine."

He tried to take a step forward, to reach out but all his muscles were frozen in place. He could no more move a single limb, a finger or toe than he could move his head. He desperately wanted to turn away, to block out the sight that make his stomach clench and heave but at the same time, he needed to know what was happening even though there was nothing he could do but watch. He had never felt so torn. As those long white fingers slipped tenderly down the delicate neck into the collar of a nondescript shirt, he longed to close his eyes, unable to withstand the torturous vision before him. Fabric fell free from slender shoulders as the shirt slid away, revealing a slim chest beneath which those fingers travelled over, ever downward, finally coming to rest in the centre.

He dared to raise his gaze momentarily to meet steady grey eyes that looked back at him unflinchingly, seemingly aware of the predicament they were both in. Soft pink lips parted in a gentle smile.

"It's all right," he soothed. "He won't hurt me."

He wanted to scream a warning, but his throat was dry and as much as he strained, he made no sound. He struggled to move even a fraction of an inch but that too was denied him. Like a statue, he watched helplessly those skittering fingers over the smooth planes of that pale chest, feeling the queasiness and panic rise within him until without warning they struck, plunging beneath the skin, grasping for something buried inside. Grey eyes widened in shock and in pain, mouth opened to release a scream of pure horror that made him cringe.

Ever so slowly and with deliberate pause to enhance each lingering moment, fingers now red slick withdrew from the hollow, tightly fisted round a throbbing red mass that trailed a cord behind it, connecting it still to the slight figure now trembling in fear and incomprehension. He struggled for breath, fighting the rising wave of nausea as his own heart thumped madly inside his own chest. He watched those long thin fingers smooth over the fragile organ, noticing how every movement slew off a small segment which drifted lazily down to the floor like so much scarlet confetti. Faster and faster those digits moved, gradually wearing the heart down till they finally squeezed a little too tightly on it and it burst, showering droplets of red all around and there was nothing left.

A shrill cry rent the silence. "How could you do this to me?" Tears pouring down the pale cheeks, eyes glancing wildly from side to side trying to make some sense of it all. "How could you leave me?"

He struggled to reply, yearning to break through; although he had anticipated this, he still couldn't turn away as much as he knew he needed to, wanted to, should do. I didn't leave you, I would never leave you, I'm here, I'm with you, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. Gasping hard, his forehead beaded with sweat, he gave one final valiant surge of strength and found himself sitting up in bed, reaching out to the last vestiges of a dream.

He glanced round feeling totally displaced, staring into the murky light for the horrific vision that was still fresh in his mind. Sleepy grey eyes met his from next to him in the bed.

"What's up, love?"

"Nothing, just a bad dream. Go back to sleep."

He felt those eyes look over him in concern. "Are you sure?"

He nodded. "I'm fine. Honestly. It was just a dream." He lay back down, feeling a soft warm body bridge the gap between them and insinuate itself in his arms. He hugged it thankfully to him and closed his eyes, trying to dispel the traces of the nightmare that still lingered. He breathed deep, seeking calm in order to return to sleep but his mind continued to mull over the events his subconscious had confronted. It was ridiculous, the old enemy was gone, vanquished never to return. He was safe, they were both safe. He had no reason to fear losing his other half ever again, the danger was past. Except sometimes, one danger gets replaced with another and the fear never completely dies away.

The Sounds Of Midnight

Ship: Harry/Draco
Genre: Fluff
Rating: PG
Prompt: None
Word Count: 539
Date: 1 December, 2007
Author's Notes: None.

I can hear them. It doesn't matter which way I turn, I can still hear them. They're only in the next room - after all, they wanted me to be as close to them as possible so that they could hear me, but obviously, they forgot that it works both ways and that I can also hear them. And some of the things I've heard so far! Well, it's enough to make my hair curl. Or it would, if I had any.

I can't tell what they're saying, it's muffled through the walls so I can only pick up the sound of speech but there's a distinct tone to it and I can work out the emotion that's fuelling this midnight conversation. I don't like what I hear, there's an edge to it that seems to bite and make me feel anxious. The very uniqueness of this kind of feeling coming from one of their late night discussions is making me feel even more apprehensive; usually I can sense a kind of mutual warmth and something a little more heated from them. This is scary and I don't think I like it. I wriggle around a little and clutch onto my blanket for security but it doesn't help and I'm unable to do anything further.

I let out a wail of annoyance. The next thing I hear is the sound of hurried footsteps along with wooden flooring between the two rooms. I open my eyes and see the faces of my worried parents looking down at me. I break off my cry of distress midway and attempt to wave a hand at them instead.

"Hey, sweetie, what's up with you?" Daddy asks me, gently smoothing his hand over my head. I say nothing but just wave up at him instead. I can feel the love emanating from them both now and it makes me feel safe and secure. "Are you hungry, love? Are you wet?"

Father leans over me as well and I wave up at him too. Neither of them seem to be waving back but I'm happy enough just to see them both here. "I think someone just wanted some attention," he smiles at me, tickling my tummy and making me giggle. It looks like he managed to work out my ulterior motive. He always does that, he's so clever that way.

I watch as Father slips his arm round Daddy's waist and nuzzle at his neck. "Come on, love. Let's go back to bed and let this little tyke get some sleep."

Daddy smiles at him and nods in agreement before turning and leading the way back to their room. I watch them leave, holding hands and I'm sure I see Father turn back and wink at me. I yawn sleepily and wriggle a little to get comfortable. Above my head, I can see the mobile dancing lazily in a non-existent breeze, the little green dragons and golden lions chasing each other round and round. Daddy says the dragons suit me; I'm not too sure what he means by that but it always makes Father beam with pride.

As I'm drifting off to sleep, I realise I can hear them again. I can hear them laughing.

Outcry

Ship: Dumbledore/Harry
Genre: PWP!
Rating: 15
Prompt: N/A
Word Count:
Date: May 31, 2007
Author's Notes: Written in response to the Great LiveJournal Strikeout of 2007.
Warning: Contains slash, underage sex and possible non-con.

"I really don't know how we're supposed to write a foot about the properties of moonstone." Ron said disgruntledly as he measured his essay for the eighth time in the last half an hour. Harry grunted in agreement, attempting not to lose focus as he'd just discovered a possible point that he could stretch out for at least two inches.

Hermione looked up from where she was skimming through Fool's Gold: Fact or Fiction by H.M. Samuels but before she could say anything, a group of noisy first years came in the portrait hole. One of them, a small dark haired boy who looked petrified at the thought of approaching such important people as sixth years, broke away and walked over hesitantly. As he came closer to Harry, he glanced up to his forehead and then down to his glasses, as if to verify that he was the right person. He held out a roll of parchment in a shaky hand and, after taking a deep breath, managed to say, "P-Professor Dumbledore told me to g-give this to you."

Harry took the proffered parchment and thanked the boy who scuttled away as fast as he could back to the safety of his friends. Harry could hear them whispering amongst themselves, questioning the brave youngster about what he had done and what Harry had said. Ignoring them, he rapidly unrolled the parchment, immediately recognising the thin sloping handwriting that it contained. He read it twice, but the second time did not help him to understand what it was about.

Dear Harry,
I have something of the utmost importance to discuss with you and I would very much like it if you could come to my office at your earliest convenience. It seems that our little community is being drawn into question and I hope that you will be able to help me enlighten those concerned.
Yours sincerely
Albus Dumbledore
PS Could you also bring the pineapple lumps you mentioned you had received.

"What is it, Harry?" Ron asked.

"I'm not sure, it's from Dumbledore, he wants my help with something." He passed the note over to Ron who read it with Hermione leaning over his shoulder.

"Weird," Ron breathed as Hermione took the parchment from his hand to read it better. "I wonder what he wants you for."

"It's obvious, isn't it?" Hermione said, pulling the latest copy of The Evening Prophet from her back. She quickly rifled through the pages until she came to one close to the back and turning it round to face them, indicated a small article near the bottom of the page. "There. Read that."

The two boys leaned over the paper and read the few sentences.

Outcry Over Wizard's Retreat
An outcry was sparked early on Tuesday morning, after it was brought to light that one of the Directors of Sleepy Memoirs had ordered the deletion of 354 accounts held at its Six Acres retreat after rumours of debauchery involving under-aged wizards, house-elves and several gallons of Never-Melt Vanilla Ice Cream. One of the account holders concerned, Vingelbert Wingledanck said, "I've been a member of this community for nearly 7 years now and I've never heard such poppycock." There has been no word from Sleepy Memoirs as yet.

Ron looked over at Hermione. "What's this going on about? I've never even heard of it."

Hermione sighed. "The Sleepy Memoirs community is a very influential one. I've heard that it contains some of the most powerful, and certainly the majority of the most richest, witches and wizards. Dumbledore is a member, and I think Slughorn is too. It wouldn't surprise me, it sounds just like the kind of thing he'd be involved in."

"But what does it do? What's happened?" Harry asked, frowning.

"I'm not entirely sure," Hermione admitted. "As far as I can gather, there were some infiltrators who threatened to tell what they've seen happening at the Six Acre estate. It's all very hush hush and private, you know. You pretty much have to sign an oath not to reveal what goes on there before they'll even let you join. I think it's where Dumbledore's brother got into trouble after all that business with the goat. I think goats are pretty important for some reason, but I've not been able to find out why."

Harry and Ron exchanged a look which Hermione caught. Snatching up the paper, she folded it roughly before shoving it back into her bag and returning to her book.

"Well, you'd better go and see what it is he wants, mate," Ron said. "It's probably nothing. I bet it's about Quidditch. She just has a thing about house-elves," he added, jerking his head in Hermione's direction. Hermione looked mutinous at Ron and Harry scrambled up from his chair, intending to leave the common room as quickly as possible before the argument started. He made his way to the seventh floor corridor where the statue of the gargoyle resided. He gave it the password of pineapple lumps, upon which the statue sprang aside and the wall split in two, revealing the stone spiral staircase. Harry climbed onto a step and the stairs slowly wound their way up to Dumbledore's office.

As usual, the highly polished oak door was closed, but before Harry could take hold of the griffin knocker, it swung open. Startled, he took a step back just as Dumbledore came into view.

"Ah, Harry, there you are. You got my note, I see. Splendid, splendid."

"Yes, sir," Harry replied, a little taken aback by the older wizard's extremely cheerful demeanour.

"Well, come on in, we haven't got all day and we must leave now if we're to get there on time."

Harry frowned. "Go where, sir? Should I have brought my Cloak?"

"No no, you won't need it. We're going by Floo and you're expected."

"But where are we going?" he asked again.

Dumbledore smiled at him, his blue eyes twinkling. "To the Six Acre retreat, where else?" He moved back into the room, beckoning Harry in. Harry found himself walking forwards into the room, following those bewitching eyes. Dumbledore smiled again and slipped an arm round Harry's shoulders, a unusually familiar gesture that took him by surprise. "You know, Harry, I've always had a soft spot for you. Would you care for a Chocolate Cauldron? They have a rather interesting filling..."

Fawkes let out a soft musical cry as the door closed swiftly behind him.

How To Make A Treacle Tart

Ship: Harry/Draco
Genre: Fluff
Rating: PG
Prompt: Create a treacle tart
Word Count: 12, 986
Date: July 19, 2007
Author's Notes: Written for the sorting__hat community on LiveJournal. It’s set post-Hogwarts, but written before Deathly Hallows was published.

Harry surveyed the cluttered worktop, hands on hips, trying to work out by sight alone whether or not he had everything he needed. It looked like an awful lot of ingredients for what he considered to be a fairly straightforward and simple process. He started to roll up his sleeves when a noise at the door made him stop and turn round.

"Hello, love," he smiled at the figure in the doorway. Reaching down, he swung the child up into his arms. Big blue eyes gazed down at him as he ran his hand over her dark unruly curls, rumpled from her nap. She held tightly on to the foot of a teddy bear which dangled upside down from her grip.

"Watcha doin'?" she asked, gazing at all the bottles and jars on the kitchen counter with interest.

"I was going to make a pie for tea," he informed her. "Would you like to help?"

Her eyes lit up and she nodded eagerly at him. "Down pease!" He laughed and set her down on the floor.

He crouched down in front of her. "First, we need to wash our hands and put a pinny on. I think maybe we should put Teddy up over here so he can watch and not get dirty." She looked down at the bear she held and relinquished her grip so that Harry could put him on the windowsill.

Pushing the child's sleeves up her arms, Harry's fingers brushed over the pale skin, giving him a slight shiver inside. So soft and tender, it never failed to make him wonder how he'd managed to get this tiny little person in his life. She followed him over to the kitchen sink where he hefted her up to wash her hands under the tap which she did with great concentration. He took the towel to her and dried each finger carefully, making her giggle. Rummaging in the bottom drawer, he found a brightly coloured cotton apron which he slipped over her head and, folding the apron up so she didn't trip over it, tied it swiftly at her back.

"Are we ready now?" She nodded at him, beaming.

1. Rub the fat into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Harry opened the tub of flour and brought the scales to the front of the counter. Bending down, he checked that they were on zero ready to weigh out the correct amount.

"I c'n do it!" He looked down to see her holding her hands up, eager to get involved. "Pease, Daddy?" Harry smiled at her enthusiasm.

"Okay, sweet, let me get you something to stand on." He quickly conjured up a small stool and she clambered up on it. "I think you'd be best with a spoon - " he added and turned round to get one out of the cutlery drawer for her. He heard a soft 'whoomph' and turned back just in time to see a small mushroom cloud of flour settle over the surface of the worktop and a head of black curls.

"Oh, Rose," he sighed, sagging back against the drawer which slammed shut under his weight. She blinked at him, startled by the dusting of fine white powder everywhere.

"F'our done, Daddy!"

Harry quickly took the near-empty tub out of her hands and tipped the filled pan from the scales back into it. He swiftly measured out the correct amount and fastening the lid back on tightly, stowed it safely away in the cupboard. Wiping the scales clear, he measured out the butter and dumped that into the bowl. He explained to Rose the next step off rubbing the butter into the flour and she immediately plunged her fingers into the bowl to attempt this new idea.

A short time later, Harry was absorbed in cleaning partially melted butter combined with flour from the fingers of a giggling three year old.

2. Mix in the egg with a knife, then knead to a smooth dough.

"C'n I knee it?" Rose asked, watching his hands work rapidly in the bowl, squeezing the mixture together.

"Knead it, baby," Harry corrected automatically. He had mostly finished mixing the dough together but moved the bowl in front of her, taking up position at her back. She shoved her hands eagerly into the bowl but he managed to catch them before she started attacking the dough. "Not so hard, we don't want it to end up with tough pastry," he admonished gently and watched in amusement as she lightly patted the dough ball. He slid his hands in around hers and showed her how to squeeze it together.

"All done," he said, taking their hands out of the bowl.

"All done," she echoed him, wiping her hands mostly on her pinny but also on her clothes underneath. Harry despaired a little.

3. Roll out two thirds of the pastry and use to line a 25cm/10in tin.

"Be careful, love, this is heavy," Harry warned Rose as he got the old wooden rolling pin out of the drawer. She was too busy patting the ball of dough he'd placed in front of her, but looked up when he took up position behind her again. He coated the pin with a fine layer of flour and made a start on rolling out the pastry.

"I c'n do it, Daddy, pease?"

Harry swiftly turned the pastry over and placed the rolling pin close to the child. "Okay, take hold of the handles here," he told her and placing his hands lightly over hers, helped her to roll out the pastry.

"Wan' do it on m' own!" she grumbled.

Grinning, Harry took his hands away and watched as she attempted to move the heavy rolling pin over the pastry. He explained how she needed to push down on the handles as well to make the dough flatter.

After a little while, she stopped and swept her hand over her forehead, wiping away imaginary sweat and brushing her hair away. "Ooof!" She exclaimed. Harry chuckled, only noticing later on the streak of flour that now decorated her face. With only a little help from Daddy, Rose managed to roll out the pastry and lined the tin with it. Daddy had already greased it which was fine as far as she was concerned because the butter was icky and she didn't like how it felt on her fingers. She watched in admiration as Harry balanced the tin on the tips of his fingers and span it round using a knife to trim off the excess pastry from the edge.

4. Prick with a fork and bake the pastry blind for 10-15 minutes until light golden brown.

It was fun stabbing the pastry with a fork, Rose discovered, wielding the implement in her left hand. Harry had to repair some of the damage where she'd got a little over-enthusiastic and had gone right through to the tin underneath. She'd enjoyed pouring the dried peas into the case as well, giggling at the noise they made against the layer of greaseproof paper that Harry had laid on top. Harry put the tin in the oven and set the timer to let him know when it was done. He'd glanced at the clock when he'd straightened up, sighing inwardly that it had taken as long to do the pastry with Rose as it would have taken him to do the entire thing on his own. Looking at the happy face on his little girl soon wiped that twinge of annoyance away.

5. Warm the syrup over a gentle heat and add the breadcrumbs, grated lemon rind and juice, and the ginger. Pour into the pastry case.

Harry stared at the tin of golden syrup sitting on the top of the oven. He'd placed it there while making the pastry to warm through and was now trying to work out the best way to weigh out the one pound of syrup the recipe required. Rose was engrossed in tracing her fingers through the flour on the worktop left over from rolling out the pastry. Harry went back over to the cookbook to see if that gave any advice. Glancing desperately all over the page, he finally noticed a little tip hidden at the bottom. "When measuring semi-liquids such as honey or syrup, 1 tablespoon is equal to half an ounce."

An awkward calculation later saw Harry start to struggle with removing the first of 32 spoons of syrup from the tin; starting by picking up the hot tin that had been sitting on top of the oven.

"Ouch!" He sucked firmly on his burnt fingers. Rose looked up at him with big eyes and he saw her lower lip quiver a little. "It's okay, baby, Daddy's not hurt. I'll just run it under the cold tap," he said quickly, hoping to stop her tears before they started. She followed him over to the sink and watched as he held his fingers under the flow of water that soon turned icy cold. She was happy to play nurse and get the towel for him to dry off his hand. He cast a healing spell on his burn, glad that he'd insisted on learning spells for minor injuries in readiness for Rose's arrival.

He wrapped a tea towel around the tin and looked grabbed a spoon. "All right. Now can you help me?" Rose nodded eagerly and reached for the spoon he held. "Why don't you hold the tin?" he added quickly, "And you can help me count as well." Her tiny hands held the swaddled tin as best they could, although Harry held it as well as he dipped the spoon into the viscous golden liquid. Hastily switching the spoon over to the bowl, he scraped the syrup off with a butter knife.

"One," he said with a little sigh, thinking about how many more they had to do and how long it was going to take.

"One!" Rose repeated cheerfully, looking at the light trail of syrup that ran down the side of the tin and over the back of her right hand. She giggled a little, it was tickly!

Harry dipped the spoon back into the tin again.

6. Bake in the oven at 190C/375F/Gas 5 for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.

Draco smiled appreciatively as he stepped in to the house and heard a peal of laughter followed by a deep chuckle; both sounds made his heart pound a little harder. He shut the door quietly behind him and then closed his eyes for a moment, just breathing and letting the warmth of feeling in the house melt and revive him. As he stood there with his eyes closed, a tantalising smell gradually became apparent to him and he opened his eyes in delight.

He stood in the doorway of the kitchen for a moment before either Harry or Rose realised he was there. He surveyed it, wondering how it had managed to get in such a state, before remembering the tiny person currently engaged in playing with the leftover pastry while Harry watched in amusement. Draco's eyes fastened to the two dark heads bent over the counter and smiled.

After a moment, Harry looked up and met Draco's eyes.

"Hello, love," he smiled, going over to greet him with a soft kiss. Rose clambered down off her stool and threw herself at her father's legs.

"Hello there," Draco laughed, catching her before she could reach him. He took one look at his daughter, covered in flour and other substances he couldn't identify and refrained from picking her up as he normally would. "What have you two been up to?"

"Made a pie!" Rose told him gleefully.

"You did?" Draco looked over at Harry, noticing that he also had been slightly decorated with flour although by no means to the same extent as Rose. "What sort of pie?"

"It's treacle tart," Harry replied with a smile. He knew how much his partner loved the gooey sweetness of that particular pudding. Draco sniffed the air and a slow smile of recognition spread over his face.

"It looks like it was a lot of hard work anyway," he commented, raising an eyebrow at the state of the pair of them as well as the kitchen. "But that's easily rectified." He withdrew his wand and with a simple "Scourgify!", both Harry and Rose were restored to pristine cleanliness. A second spell cast over the dishes and utensils that Harry had piled near the sink took care of those and another flick sent them hurtling back to their storage spaces.

Draco smoothed down Rose's hair and beeped her nose, making her giggle, before turning to Harry. "So, how long before it's ready?"

7. Serve either hot or cold, with custard, cream or ice cream as desired.

"That was amazing," Draco sighed, stroking his hands over his stomach. "I don't think I've felt so full in ages."

Harry grinned, helping Rose to finish off the small portion of pie she'd been given. "I thought you enjoyed it. I'm surprised there's any pattern left on the bottom of the dish."

Draco leant back in his chair and stuck his tongue out at his partner. "Did you really make it all by hand?"

"Of course," Harry nodded. "I like cooking," he said simply, and then corrected himself. "I like cooking for us.”

"I don't know why you don't just use magic, it would have been so much easier."

"I know," he acknowledged. Draco liked the efficiency and simplicity of using magic as much as possible, while Harry preferred to do a lot of things without, especially when it came down to cooking. "I keep telling you, there's something to be said for making things without magic. There's an extra satisfaction in something you've made from scratch, by hand as it were." He looked over at their daughter who was oblivious to the conversation going on over her head and was engrossed in getting as much pie in her tummy as she possibly could, despite the fact that most of it was going round her mouth instead.

Harry glanced back to Draco, running his hand over the unruly curls on Rose's small head. Draco leant his chin on his hand and watched her with pride.

"I think there's a lot to be said for things we've made by hand."

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