All the wrong choices. (Ch3 – The Green Jacket)

Harry stood staring after Malfoy long after his silhouette had disappeared. He wondered whether he would return after a walk or whether he was leaving the grounds to disapparate. He felt his nerves dance through and over his innards like a colony of ants. He felt so confused as he ran over the conversation in his mind. His mind kept returning to a single phrase. No doubt a throwaway comment of no importance but Harry just couldn’t dismiss it. Harry drove Malfoy crazy. For some reason, that comment brought a rush of heat to his face and a wave of adrenaline through his veins. He turned to re-enter the castle, pushing the large doors with a groan. How he’d not heard it when Malfoy had snuck up on him he didn’t know.

He found Ron had returned with the drinks but Hermione was nowhere to be seen. He looked down at the three fire whiskeys sitting in a cluster and looked back at Ron quizzically. Ron smiled sheepishly in return.

“I’ve heard divorce is a bitch” he patted Harry on the arm as Harry collapsed into the chair.

“What?” Asked Harry nervously.

“Come on mate!” he smiled “Mione may be the smartest witch of our age but she’s a rubbish liar when you know her, these days the only time she and Ginny talk is when there is trouble. And they’ve been talking an awful lot!” He snorted “Plus, I still have one of Fred and Georges extendable ears. Are you alright?” Harry sat dumbstruck.

“How – How long have you known?”

“Me and Mione have known for a while that there’s been trouble but all relationships go through rough patches, I didn’t know about the other bloody bloke until tonight, I’m going to bloody kill her!” His face was serious and grim with anger.

“Thanks, but don’t bother, what’s done is done. She hasn’t been happy for a while so it’s my fault anyway.” Harry said as he sipped one of his new whiskeys. “I’m surprised it took this long for her to find someone else”

“Well, I can guarantee that Mum won’t be knitting him a Christmas jumper in the near future!” They both laughed. “But seriously, are you alright?” Harry nodded, not really knowing how to explain his ambivalence toward the split.

“So where’s Hermione disappeared to?” Asked Harry changing the subject. Ron rolled his eyes with a smile.

“Her and Luna have gone to ‘powder their noses’ what does that even mean?” Harry smiled weakly but shrugged. He took another sip of his whisky and caught sight of what he could only describe as a walking, lime-green pompom. He choked on his whiskey, causing Ron to turn. How had he not seen her in the hall sooner? There were more frills on her dress than Ron had on his old hand-me-down dress robes.

“Hello Harry,” She said, her floaty, lilting voice crooned as she arrived at the table, Hermione close behind her.

“Hi Luna, I like your dress, its… very green” Harry smiled trying to be nice.

“Thank you, I like your jacket, it’s very green too” She smiled and tilted her head. “It’s not yours is it?”

Harry jumped as he realised what he was still wearing. He felt his cheeks begin to burn as he looked down at the dark dress blazer that adorned his shoulders. The intoxicating scent filled his nostrils, spicy and sweet adding fuel to the fire.

“Who’s jacket are you wearing, Harry?” asked Hermione as she sat next to Ron.

“It’s Harry’s,” said Ron, then as if not sure himself as he appraised it “isn’t it?”

“No, Ron, It’s green, Harry is wearing black” Three sets of eyes looked at him waiting for an answer. He shrugged out of it reluctantly as he felt the warmth leave with it.

“you wouldn’t believe me if I told you!” He replied as he knocked back one of the whiskeys, emptying the glass completely

“Steady on mate!” remarked Ron with a laugh.

“Well?” Asked Hermione, not letting a good mystery go.

“It’s Malfoys” Hermione’s eyes grew wide, as Ron’s eyebrows raised. Luna looked as dreamy as ever as though it wasn’t a surprise at all. The silence between them was deafening.

“Malfoy?” Hermione asked, finally “As in Draco Malfoy?”

“Mione! It’s not as if there any other Malfoys running about the place!” Scoffed Ron

“RON!” Said Hermione, as she smacked his arm in horror.

“What?”

“His mother died?” Asked Harry

“Yeah, not long after Lucius as it happens, about ten years back”

“Really? I don’t know why I didn’t know that!” Said Harry feeling shameful.

“It wasn’t publicised much, to be honest. Malfoy left not long after that” Ron replied after he took a sip of his mead.

“Left? He said something about travelling”

“You could say that from our records he went all over the place!” Ron nodded

“How do you know all this” Asked Harry, feeling very ill-informed.

“I am an Auror, Harry!” Ron scoffed again “We tend to keep tabs on ex-death eaters and other Voldemort cronies”

“Oh yeah,” Harry smiled.

“Yeah, He ended up with Charlie at the dragon sanctuary, in the end, so we were able to keep good tabs on him there. ”

“I bet Charlie enjoyed that,” Harry said sarcastically.

“Actually, Charlie and Malfoy are good friends now, they worked in the field together for years”

Harry felt his eyebrows raise high enough to touch his hairline.

“I can’t believe that a pureblood like Malfoy would deign even to speak to a blood traitor like your brother!”

“I know right? But Charlie said he’s really changed. Me, George and Bill think that they were more than friends if you know what I mean?” Ron’s eyebrow raised, with a knowing look

“Ron! You’re dreadful!” Said Hermione, but she was ignored.

“You think they dated?” Asked Harry, his adrenaline had spiked but he tried not to show too much interest.

“And the rest” Ron’s face screwed up in disgust “But we don’t talk about it, especially in front of Mum”

They all chuckled, all-knowing how Molly would probably react, not to the possibility of Charlie being Gay but to his choice of bedfellow.

“That still doesn’t explain what Harry is doing with Draco’s coat,” Luna said in her floaty voice. And Harry inwardly cringed as he realised that he would have to go into more detail. He felt his cheeks redden again, his heart beat faster over the quick flash of memories and knowing now about Draco’s history. “Why are you blushing Harry? You look very cute” Luna smiled kindly tilting her head as she studied him.

Harry wanted to world to swallow him up as all their attention turned to him again.

“Yeah Harry?” Ron asked with his eyebrow raised.

“I’m not quite sure what happened to be honest. It was very odd.” He glanced at the jacket again, remembering its warmth. “I went outside for some air and he appeared behind me, said I looked cold and draped it over my shoulders.” He felt the heat creeping up his neck now as he pushed the words through gritted teeth.

“And you put it on?” Asked Hermione

“Are you mad?” Said Ron at the same time.

“Well no,” Harry replied.

“So why are you wearing it? For all, we know its cursed” Said Hermione. “Did you even check?” She asked sternly.

“Well No-”

“Oh, Harry!” Hermione chided

“Revelio,” Said Ron as he waved his wand over the jacket. When nothing happened then all let out a sigh of relief.

“Hmm, maybe Charlie is right, maybe he has changed” Said Hermione impressed. “That would have been a good way to curse you, You’re too trusting Harry!”

Harry looked away from her stern look and looked back to his drink. He downed another feeling the need to get very drunk, returning.

“I’ll mention it to Rolf Monday night,” Said Luna suddenly.

“What?” Asked Ron and Harry together.

“I’ll ask Rolf whether Draco has changed.” She smiled again, her eyes bright and wide.

“Why would your husband know?” Asked Harry.

“He’ll be working on the same project at the Ministry”

“Malfoy? Working at the Ministry?” Ron laughed.

“He’s a highly sought after Dragonologist, according to Rolf,” Said Luna, “The Ministry had no choice, they need his expertise with a new project”

“Amazing, isn’t it?” Said Hermione bitterly “That he can get a job after everything that has happened”

“He didn’t kill anyone Mione” Harry reminded her.

“But he did some truly awful things Harry”

“My dad used to say that if people were punished for being bad people then all the good people would have to go to Azkaban to be safe from them.” Said Luna looking at Hermione. Hermione sighed heavily and nodded.

“So what are you going to do with the jacket?” Ron asked, darting a glance back to Hermione. Harry felt the embarrassment bubble inside him at the question. What would he do with the jacket?

“I don’t know, I guess I had better return it, it looks expensive” Harry shrugged. “What department did you say he was joining Luna?”

“Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures of course” She smiled. Harry nodded,

“What floor it that?”

“Fourth floor, However, if anyone tries to send you to the Centaur office, ignore them, it’s a trick”

Ron laughed and nodded

“Yeah, no one ever uses it so sometimes we tell newbies to go and ask for a long wait” He snorted as though it was the funniest Joke he’d heard. He slapped the table laughing.

“Right okay,” Harry said with a polite smile.

“If you’re coming to the Ministry we could all get lunch?” Said Hermione hopefully. “Me and Ron are on the Second floor” Hermione smiled as she looked at her giggling husband. Harry nodded and went to stand.

“How are things at work Harry?” Luna asked. Harry nodded again.

“Things are alright, busy as usual, always more people coming in, we had a whole bus full of muggle children come in having been hit with a rogue tail-growing hex. Not sure how it happened but it was an admin and publicity nightmare!” He smiled slightly. He didn’t really enjoy his job and he knew that in comparison to the others, his Job was very dull. He had tried doing the Auror training but since the war, he had lost the stomach for fighting. He was a drifter, he had been left everything from his parents, and also from Sirius, so he had no need for money, what he needed was distractions. He needed the distraction from the nightmares and memories, and now a distraction from the divorce.

Remembering Ginny made him sigh. He stood up and pulled on his jacket. He smiled at them all as he grabbed Malfoys, the material felt cool and soft against his fingers.

“Right I’d better get back, I’ve got to sort stuff out before I go to sleep”

They all nodded and smiled their best sympathetic and supportive smiles.

“What about your last whiskey?” asked Ron. Harry smiled and knocked it back, feeling the burning sensation as the fire coated his insides satisfyingly.

“Harry!” Hermione said “I hope you’re not too drunk to apparate! If you splice yourself, I won’t be visiting you at work!” She smiled

“Give him a break Mione, he’s going through a divorce” Ron winked at him and Harry watched as her face dropped into one of horror

“How did you-”

“Good night, Harry” Ron winked again. “Owl us if you’d like to meet up.”

“I will, Goodnight”

“Night mate,” Ron called

“Goodnight Harry” crooned Luna.

Harry waved as he left the great hall, waving to some of the others as he left. He looked back and Hermione was still looking at Ron in shock. He snorted as he pushed through the large doors and into the cold January air again.

As he walked towards Hogsmeade he looked around, even though he knew he was alone. He guiltily raised the green jacket to his face and he breathed deeply. He didn’t know what it was about that scent. It smelt so familiar but exotic at the same time. The spicy scent seemed to heat the places that the fire whiskey couldn’t touch. He walked as he puzzled over the evening in his head. So Malfoy might be gay, and he might have become s decent human being. He pondered on what he was going to do on Monday. He shrugged to himself as he took another breath of the delicious scent. He had all day Sunday to think about it. He felt his heart droop slightly at the thought of spending Sunday alone, going through old stuff to separate ready for the finalisation of the divorce but he knew that freedom would be his soon. As soon as he passed through the gates, he revealed his wand and with a crack, he found himself on the top step of Grimmauld place.

Accio Next Chapter

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