It was a pretty thing, a desperate thing, something to be treasured. His life was as full of purpose, as much as it was devoid of his own intent and he let it sweep him along. He should have just lain down and let the understudy fill in for him, but he wasn't sure he wasn't already doing that.
He did make choices but they were few and small. Then one night, he snuck out of Hogwarts and fell out of time. It was not a defiant move, and he was as surprised as everyone else when he disappeared into the deep trees.
He never expected to be able to live in this dreamless reality among the fairies.
Draco had left his cloak on his bed spread out like a slight reminder, like a man offering himself to the world. A discarded shell wrapped around nothing.
It was strange that he left any empty space at all in the school, since he was not of much consequence. Potter looked for a reason for his absence, and if he could, Draco would have told him it was unintentional. However, any ache fades. After conducting a long search of the grounds it. was decided that Draco Malfoy had just left. Even Potter, in time, was forced to let go.
No one realized the forest was greener and the air heavy, as if a thunderstorm was brewing. The nights, now filled with soft music, offset the impending tide of war.
Years passed like days for Draco, and the freedom he felt at first was tempered with the knowledge that he couldn't leave.
They left him things and he didn't understand why. Later, he realized that when any bet, pact, or agreement could bind you, gifts were a form of expression without entanglement.
The Mirror was one of those gifts. It let him watch the outside world but only the people he knew. He watched his fellow Slytherins for as long as he could however that was only for a moment. Life was short and he was timeless.
It made him lonely.
War crept closer to them, but the fairies treated immortality like another excuse to dismiss the outer world. Even though he loved this odd place, loved the heaviness of magic, loved the feeling of stepping out of time, he missed everything else.
It was mind numbing the amount of time he found on his hands. He missed eating and sleeping the most. Not eating was a choice he undertook, because he wanted to be able to leave when he had the chance. But he ached for sleep.
He was also careful with what he did and said. To them, keeping an item as uncommon as him was alluring.
He didn't hear the fairy until she was standing next to him. They always did that, and he'd given up trying to catch them before they were there.
The fairy in blue, Rein, waited and together they watched in the mirror as Harry Potter returned to Hogwarts after a trip to the Ministry of Magic. Draco tapped the glass and the image of Harry flying faded.
"What do you want?" he asked. It was not an uncommon question, but he never expected an answer. They came, they went, they tried to possess him, and they talked to him, never in the same order.
"You shouldn't watch that all the time."
"I don't have much else to do."
"We will not fight in their war."
"What if they burn the forbidden forest to the ground?"
She said nothing to that, moving closer until Draco could smell the heavy air of the ocean.
They were older than time and in all ways removed from their earth, though they were bound to it by their very nature. Draco was one of the only reminders they let themselves have, a chosen emissary to the rest of the world, a king in words.
"Come and dance with me." A smile and a caress like rain and thunder.
"No," he said, but he bit his lip and followed when the thin creature left. Not because the dancing would cheer him up, but because watching the flip-side world was like being encased in amber, alive.
It was too much, or not enough, and he watched the world looking for an out. To escape with more memory than the sense that he had danced for a night.
He wanted to hold on to this, to remember a choice of his own.
War was drawing near to Hogwarts and Draco considered his lot. The fairies played and danced without a care as he watched the mirror. They left him other things, but the mirror was addictive.
Time slipped by though none of them aged.
Slint lay down on Draco, a warm breezy weight. Red hair closed off his view, so Draco watched the fairy's face. They didn't express themselves like that and Draco wasn't sure he'd ever be able to read them.
Draco closed his eyes and sensed the leaves blow as Slint talked.
"It is closer."
"Wars always move. In time it'll come here, to this forest."
"We will not fight. It is not our war."
"I'd like to make a wager..." The wind pushed him down, the smell like burning wood. "If we fight."
Lips pressed to his cheek and moved, warm like the sun. "What will you wager?"
"What do I have?"
"Heh, that's not much." The lips were gone and Draco breathed. It was important to be precise. "If we fight in the war..."
"If." An agreement.
"I wager that my father will ask for asylum."
"And if you are wrong?"
"And if you are right?"
"I want to retain my memory."
The stale air hung between them, and Draco looked up to find Slint staring off to the side. They did that when they talked without words. Sometimes, if he tried, he could hear them.
He smiled as the wind ruffled his hair and he allowed himself to become a prize.
The battle had reached its end at the outskirts of Hogwarts. Harry watched Voldemort's forces approach.
When their armies crashed the ground shook, as magic was carelessly wielded. Harry fought and they managed to hold back the tide. Magic hung in the air and sparked across the open areas.
The forest was on fire.
Harry looked in vain for reinforcements that would not come. As Dumbledore continued to rally their forces, the Death Eaters pressed forward. Hogwarts would not last the night.
It would finally be over.
No one heard the arrival of the King of the Fairies until the elements themselves lashed out. Lightning broke across the sky and a heavy rain poured down on the forest snuffing out the fire. The rolling of thunder marked the appearance of a tall figure just inside the ruined tree line.
He walked forward and the forest followed him.
"Leave this place, bringers of death and sorrow," he said, his voice echoing in every ear. Commanding.
Surrounded by the green of fresh leaves on a hill of black ash, his outfit reflected a bright glow of the hidden sun. Nothing touched him. Silence hung on the battlefield.
Dumbledore smiled and Harry heard him whisper. "Strange, it seems the fairies have joined the battle."
"Will they make a difference?" Harry asked.
Dumbledore nodded. "But I wonder what has drawn them into this world?"
"Hopefully we will live to find out."
Part of Voldemort's army split off, turning to face the King of the Fairies, and Harry saw him acknowledge the overwhelming hoard with a bow. Voldemort laughed as the King raised his hand, and for a moment before the fairy King lowered his arm, time was still.
No one expected the strange willowy figure from the forest to wield such immense power. He threw lightning, moved the ground, washed people away, and the air itself crackled with raw magic.
Harry yelled, pressing his forces forward. This was their chance.
One decisive move ended the war, but in the aftermath there were those that marveled at their victory. Some people looked at the remaining Death Eaters with anger, others wandered the battlefield looking for fallen friends or enemies, and some looked to the survivors for the final conclusion. They were all unsure.
Harry watched the King of Fairies and wondered what it was waiting for. It was not a man, too tall and slight, his eyes hidden under a soft hood that was the color of new leaves. Dressed in finery, he seemed to be boneless yet aware of everything.
"Thanks for joining with us. We owe much to your intervention," Dumbledore said as he approached, bowing to the fairy King.
"We are sorry for our trespass," said the King. His booming voice in the quiet resolved itself to a strange harmony, as if all the noises of the forest were creating it.
"Will you stay for their judgment?" A sweep of Dumbledore's hands encompassed the remains of Voldemort's forces that had been captured after the final desperate spell killed Voldemort. Harry figured that they'd probably die before nightfall even with a heavy guard.
The King looked at them and the leaves of the forest shook.
"It is not our business, your world. We had a stake in this war. That has concluded." The thing turned from them and walked toward the forest, his outfit changing to the color of fall leaves.
A low voice stopped him.
"I wish to escape what has ensnared me."
Harry looked at origin of the request to find Lucius Malfoy, smiling, the other prisoners looking at him with confusion.
"Silence!" said a young Auror who hurled an angry curse at Lucius. However, the King of the Fairies reached out, deflecting the curse. His gaze focused on the witch and she cringed away from him.
"It is with regret that we're honor bond to listen to such a request." He grinned then, showing more teeth then was really comfortable to anyone. He looked at Lucius.
"Lucius Malfoy..." The king seemed to taste the name. "You are known to us. What is it that you desire from our kind?"
Harry felt a shiver of fear, as if something important was happening. He looked at Dumbledore but even he seemed to be waiting. No one moved even though some looked on with rage.
Even Lucius recoiled when the King of the Fairies laughed, a single shocking human expression of mirth out of place in his alien behavior. It was made stranger by the quick shift from laughter back to his emotionless facade.
"It's a pity. We concede that we can offer you what you have requested. Will you join us?"
"Yes, I will follow." It felt odd, like lines in a play. The King moved to stand in front of Lucius. The rest of the prisoners moved away and the Aurors moved forward. Harry wasn't sure what they would have done but the air twisted around the King and he threw all of them back.
He pulled off his elegant cloak and threw it around Lucius' shoulders, but when it fell on him it shriveled and rotted turning a dark brown. Lucius jerked back, his mouth open, trying to scream. The King leaned forward opening his mouth to display a strange set of pointed teeth. The power that passed between them slammed into everyone, sucking the air from their lungs. It was blinding, the sheer transference of power and everyone blinked in its aftermath.
It was with a sense of dislocation that Harry realized that Lucius and the King were no longer the same. In fact, it was almost as if they had exchanged places in some weird way.
Lucius looked like a broken tree, tall and gnarled. The deep brown cloak covering him rotted on his shoulders and his attire was transformed in to dark rags. He was even more alien looking but he had the same posture as the King. He reached out a withered hand to tilt the head of the light haired youth that had taken the place of the King.
The thing that had been Lucius said, "We have fulfilled our obligations to you as promised. Are you sure that you will not return with us?"
The young man laughed and Harry blinked, recognizing the sound.
"I'm sure that I will not. Don't be sad. It wasn't you. It was all of the dancing that got to me."
"We are satisfied then." Lucius' new form walked by, and no one tried to stop him as he disappeared into the budding forest, leaving the youth standing there.
He turned to regard the remaining wizards and Aurors, sneering in a fashion Harry was surprised to have ever seen again.
"That went remarkably well, don't you think?" Draco Malfoy said.
Harry watched Draco answer the Auror's questions. After the encounter with the king and Lucius on the battlefield they had moved into Hogwarts. The wind was picking up outside and it didn't feel safe after years of fighting. They were still looking for bodies on the field outside, but if you watched the night sky you could see wizards celebrating.
"No, you don't understand. Out here in this world you don't control the power of the fairies. They're the one's wielding it in your body. You're just a walking puppet."
"Will Lucius be allowed to leave?"
"Maybe. But it could be hundreds of years from now. Or tomorrow," Draco said.
"Why would they exchange you for your dad?"
Dumbledore stood next to Draco as the Aurors interrogated him. Harry wondered if they would have thrown Draco in Azkaban if they'd had it their way. He couldn't blame them for being skeptical of Lucius' son even though Dumbledore was vouching for him.
He hadn't aged.
Harry contemplated that, even when more Ministry officials arrived to question Draco. Hours passed by and out of all of the odd things spoken about, Harry was still disturbed that he looked not a day older then sixteen.
"You should ask Potter about that."
Harry blinked, noticing he was now the center of everyone's attention. He'd lost track of the conversation. "Um, I don't know what...."
"You're not confused that I'm alive. Did anyone else know?"
"Your two goons, Crabbe and Goyle."
"How did those two figure that out?"
"They told me they'd heard your father talking about it."
"Why would they have talked to you about me?" Draco looked suspicious.
"I have this thing for helping people. Who else were they going to go to?"
Draco shook his head with a smile. "They were so stupidly loyal."
He left after that, needing to clear his thoughts. He didn't see Draco until the next night.
Harry wasn't expecting the slight weight to settle on his bed, and he would have hexed him on reflex, but Draco had stolen his wand.
Draco grinned at the worried expression. "I just want to talk, relax," he said, handing the wand back to Harry.
"You're supposed to be on the other side of the castle under watch."
"So you snuck out to pay ME a visit?"
Draco flopped down on the bed so that he was lying across Harry's legs, warm and real. He found the fabric on Harry's bed fascinating. "I'm not use to sleeping and to be honest there's no one else I know in this castle."
"You know Dumbledore."
"Potter, if you think this is strange, how do you think this would look if you were Dumbledore." Harry conceded that it would be very strange but didn't say anything. He didn't want to agree with Draco.
Harry propped himself up so he could watch Draco. Still, by the time he did speak, Harry had almost managed to nod off.
"I saw them."
"Everyone. I watched them, all of them. But no one's still alive but you."
"I don't want... wait, you watched me? "
"I hate to break it to you Potter, but it's very boring in fairy land."
"What about your own friends?"
"They died." Draco's expression hardened and it wasn't nice to look at.
"Sorry," Harry said.
Draco considered him. "Yeah, me too."
Harry look at him, noting the dark circles under his eyes. He pulled a pillow out from under his head, and handed it to Draco.
"I can't sleep," Draco said.
"It won't hurt."
Draco pondered the pillow with suspicion for a moment and then shook himself, snickering. He laid his head down on it.
Moments passed before Draco spoke again.
"Do you know how I ended up in fairy land?"
"They said I looked lost."
"You didn't ask them like your father?"
"No. There are less direct ways."
"There was an old man in the woods that night and he asked, 'wouldn't you like to get away from this?' and I told him 'yes.'"
The seconds stretched before he continued. "The next thing I know, I'm stuck there watching every word I say."
"Why tell me?"
"I thought you'd understand." Harry waited and in the quiet he could just hear Draco murmur, "Wouldn't you have wanted to get away?"
Disclaimer: This story is 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. (it's true)