HP fic: Admittance, ch. 13: Planning [Draco/Harry/Snape, adult]
Title: Admittance Chapter 13, "Planning" Authors: celandineb and cruisedirector Fandom: HP Pairing: Draco/Harry/Snape, mentions of Draco/Snape, Ron/Hermione Rating: adult Warnings: none, really Summary: Draco has a plan to force Lucius to leave him alone, but everyone from Hermione to Snape thinks it's dangerous.
"There's a big charity luncheon tomorrow, I read about it in the Daily Prophet, and my mother is sure to be there. Exactly the kind of event she loves to attend. It'll be the perfect time to look around and see if my father has a copy of the original will hidden someplace. I managed to check the family vault at Gringotts, and no luck -- if there is still a copy, it has to be at the house."
Draco was sitting in Ron and Hermione's living room, his voice persuasive. Harry had come to stay four nights ago, and Draco had gone to Snape's flat at the same time. They were all worried about what Lucius Malfoy might do, and though it seemed safest for Draco to stay with Snape, Harry had to make an effort not to be jealous that Draco was doubtless getting shagged nightly. Meanwhile Harry's evening entertainment consisted of getting to hear gory details about St. Mungo's from Ron, who was at present in the kitchen washing up that morning's breakfast dishes, Hermione having had a last-minute dinner engagement with Remus Lupin and a deputation from Albania to discuss werewolf rights.
"I'm not sure. It's bound to take more than just one lunch hour," Harry said doubtfully. "And we both have to work."
"We can call in sick. This is important -- and we probably won't ever have a better chance. Besides," Draco looked Harry up and down, grinning, "if we both take the day off, you could drop in at Snape's for an hour or two first. Mother won't be out of the house till late morning anyhow, and if I know her, she'll go to the luncheon and then spend the rest of the afternoon at Twillfit and Tatting's."
It was tempting -- that was to say, tempting to drop in at Snape's. Four days had seemed like an eternity without seeing him, which was absurd, really, since he'd gone longer than that even since they'd all been involved. He and Draco had met for lunch twice and Draco had been owling him several times daily with messages that were rather less than urgent. Missing work wasn't really a big problem, since they had both notified their superiors that they would be leaving two weeks from the dates of their letters.
But sneaking around the Malfoy mansion seemed like an invitation to trouble. "Did you tell Snape about this plan?" Harry asked skeptically, unable to imagine that Snape would think it was a good idea for Draco to take such a risk. Maybe, if Snape was home, he'd insist on going with them... or maybe he'd help Harry distract Draco into not leaving at all.
Before Draco could answer, Ron came in, visibly not delighted to see a Malfoy in his home. Harry hadn't exactly explained about himself, Draco, and Severus to his best friend, though he was pretty sure Hermione must have told him something, from the way Ron went red and shook his head whenever Snape's name came up. Right now, he looked a bit sullen and embarrassed. "Get you anything?"
Draco glanced at Harry, then at Ron. "Why don't we bring in some food? Fancy some tandoori, Weasley? It's on me."
"Yeah, all right." Ron's face brightened a little; he was very fond of Indian food, and Harry was rather pleased that Draco had suggested it. "There's a good place a couple of streets over and they do takeaway. There's a tandoori paneer on the menu that's pretty good."
"I'll go, then." Draco stood up and stretched. "Harry, want to go with me?"
Harry hesitated. He did, but it seemed rude to Ron.
"Oh, go on," Ron said. "You know where the place is and Draco doesn't. I'll pop down to the off-license and get some lager." He smiled conspiratorially at Harry. "Hermione doesn't like it much, so we don't generally keep any on hand."
When Harry and Draco returned, laden with fragrant bags, Ron was already on his second bottle, which worried Harry a little. Ron drunk could be either sentimental or belligerent, and it was never certain which would prevail.
"Never thought I'd hear that you were going back to Hogwarts willingly, Malfoy. And teaching Defense? It'd make more sense for Harry to teach that and you to teach Quidditch, wouldn't it?"
Draco, for once, refused to rise to the bait. "Harry loves flying more than anything. And I never minded all those assignments about safety that you and Potter breezed through the first couple of years." He shrugged, pulling out a steaming container of rice. "Besides, with Snape there..."
Just hearing Snape's name made Ron blush. "Is he teaching you some special tricks, now that you're shacked up with him?"
"Not really. I think he'd rather wait for Harry." Draco winked, and it was Harry's turn to blush while Ron covered his face with his hands.
"Stop it! Don't make me think about Snape and Harry." He grabbed the chicken tikka and shoveled a spoonful into his mouth, washing it down with another swallow of beer. "I thought you'd both gone mental when Harry told me he was moving in with you a couple of years ago, but this stuff with Snape is worse than mental."
"It's what we all want," said Draco calmly. "Just like you want to live with Granger and not get married, right? I can't imagine your mother approves of that."
"You can't compare..." Ron sputtered, waving his spoon.
"Of course he can." Harry handed Ron the paneer to give him something to do with his spoon. "Nobody's doing anything in public, Ron. Professor McGonagall stipulated that Draco and I would have to be discreet."
"So she doesn't know about Snape, then."
"It's not really her business. As long as we don't ruin the reputation of Hogwarts, and don't frighten the students, ghosts, Thestrals, or anything else on the grounds, at least." Smirking, Draco tore off a piece of naan and ate it, licking his fingers. "Not really any of your business either, is it?"
"Harry's my best friend. Of course I worry if he's doing something... something..." Clearly Ron was having trouble coming up with a suitable but non-insulting word. He took another long drink instead. "Just be careful if you do anything in the prefects' bathroom, yeah? I was in there once and Moaning Myrtle got a bit too inquisitive, if you know what I mean."
"Not to worry, everyone knows about Moaning Myrtle. And I think the professors all get their own bathrooms. You were a prefect too -- you know professors don't use that bath." Again Draco winked at Harry. "I'm surprised at you, Weasley. I'm sure Fred and George get up to all sorts of things more scandalous than anything we've done."
"Not with anyone old enough to be... Snape!" Ron spluttered, making Harry start snickering. "Doesn't it bother you that he's old enough to have had sex with your mother?"
"I think you mean my father," Draco said, and Harry had to wipe his eyes; between the spicy food and Ron's expression of pure horror, he couldn't stop laughing. "Speaking of whom, it would be very useful if your father moved up that meeting about confiscation of Dark Artifacts a couple of days -- my father's been ranting about it, there's no way he's going to miss it so he can tell Arthur what he thinks of his proposal. Harry and I need to go to my parents' house and if that meeting were held tomorrow, we could be positive my father wouldn't come home early."
"Do you think your dad would do that for me?" Harry asked Ron, rubbing his face.
"Dad would probably do whatever you asked him if you told him it was important. Though he isn't very happy about you leaving the Ministry. What are you and Draco up to at the Malfoy house that you don't want to get caught doing, or is it too perverted to talk about?"
"Nothing perverted, Ron." Harry swallowed his grin. "We wouldn't need to go to the Malfoys' for that, you know. We're looking for something, that's all, something that will give us a little leverage against Lucius. He's trying to force Draco to get married to a nice girl...any girl, apparently, so long as she's a pureblood." Explaining just what they were looking for didn't seem like a good idea -- it was Ron's family, after all, who would benefit if Abraxas' will stood unchanged, and Draco continued to resist his father's pressure.
"Yeah, I can see that," said Ron, and reached over to punch Draco on the shoulder. "My mum does that too, but she has seven of us... and Bill and Charlie are already married and having kids. Prob'ly much worse for you, only child and all." He was going to be sloppy drunk, tonight, clearly. "What're you looking for? Something for blackmail?" He looked gleeful at the idea.
"Not sure." Draco tossed it off lightly. "I know most of the keep-out spells my father uses. We'll just have to look and see what he has around. I don't really want to blackmail him, only to make him leave me alone."
"That's a good thing, to be left alone." Ron was nodding. "Yeah. D'you want to owl my dad then, Harry? Pigwidgeon's on his perch, you can send him if you like."
"Thanks," Harry said gratefully. He still hadn't had an answer from Draco about what Snape thought about this plan. "I don't suppose Lucius can have me locked in Azkaban for stealing from his home if I'm with Draco, can he?"
"You'd think that after everything you did during the war, that ungrateful bastard would..." Ron paused, looking at Draco. "Sorry. That ungrateful, um..."
"Be pretty funny if he was a bastard. Do you realize that you and your brothers and sister might be my nearest living pureblood cousins?" Draco asked. Harry shot him an astonished look and mouthed, What are you doing? "If I never had any children, Weasley, and the whole of the Malfoy estate eventually went to one of you lot, what do you suppose you'd do with it?"
Ron, who had no idea that there might be any reality behind this speculation, smiled dreamily as he took another drink. "That mansion is big enough that none of us ever would have had to share a room," he said. "Course, if Bill got it, he'd probably turn it into a posh werewolf containment facility, and Charlie would probably raise dragons on the grounds, and Merlin only knows what Fred and George would do... and, I mean, if it was me, Hermione would probably insist on turning it into a refuge for freed house-elves or something. Still be nice, though. I wouldn't marry a pureblood just to get it, though, if that's what you're asking."
"Somehow I didn't think you would," said Draco, lifting his own bottle and saluting Ron with it. "Just curious, you know? Cheers."
The conversation turned then to more general matters, with Ron and Draco getting on rather better than Harry had ever seen before. Perhaps time was all that was really needed... and more than a little alcohol. Harry sent off Pigwidgeon with his message to Arthur Weasley; he wouldn't hear back until the morning post, given the hour, but Ron insisted that they should assume his father would agree to move up the meeting.
When Hermione returned, quite late, Draco had just left after reminding Harry to get to Snape's early in the morning. Ron was sprawled on the sofa with his sixth beer, and Harry was tidying up the litter of takeaway cartons.
"Will you boys ever grow up?" she asked, her lips pursed. Harry waved her into the kitchen and followed her in.
"Don't nag, Hermione... Draco was here, and he and Ron were actually talking and being friendly. If a little mess is the result, it's worth it."
"Friendly?" she asked skeptically. "What were the three of you talking about... how bad the Chudley Catapults are this year?"
"It's the Cannons, and Quidditch hardly came up. Draco and I are going to see whether there's an original copy of his grandfather's will hidden away at Malfoy Manor, or, short of that, some other piece of evidence we can use to keep his father quiet. Ron wrote to ask Arthur if he'd mind moving up the meeting on Dark Artifacts in private homes; I think we all know there's no chance Lucius will miss that."
Hermione shot a quick look at the entrance to the kitchen. "Did you and Draco tell Ron that his father might be in line to inherit, depending on what that will says?" she whispered.
"No, and neither will you," Harry whispered back. "Since when has Arthur ever cared about that kind of money? I think you can be sure that if Draco inherits, he won't be spending it on the sorts of things Lucius did. And still does. But there's no way Draco's turning his cursed chess set over to the Ministry -- it's not going to harm anyone even if it is technically illegal -- and you know Arthur would insist on going through every bottle in the wine cellar at the mansion to see if any of them contained poisons."
"If Lucius hasn't already sold them all in Knockturn Alley," Hermione retorted. "Harry, it sounds dangerous. Are you taking Snape with you?"
"I'm not sure," admitted Harry. "I hope so. I'm supposed to meet Draco over at Snape's early tomorrow morning -- I want to at least make sure Snape knows what we're doing, and persuade him to come along if possible."
"Good. Not that you can't take care of yourself." Hermione's eyes grew distant and Harry knew she was remembering some of the last days of the war. "But I'll feel a lot better if there's another person there too, someone that the Malfoys trust, just in case." She cocked her head. "I'd better persuade Ron to get up and come to bed before he falls asleep out there."
It was too late for that. Ron snored away softly, the empty bottle rolling on the floor under his dangling hand. So Harry levitated him up and along the hallway to their bedroom, and Hermione maneuvered him into bed, tucking the covers around him with gentle hands.
"You really love him, don't you?"
"Ever since about third year." Hermione's expression was pensive. "I know some people think it's odd, but don't ask me to explain why, because I can't. He's just part of me now, you understand?"
"I'd never ask anyone to explain why they want who they want, except possibly Madam Pince." Harry grinned a little. "Just keep this in mind the next time you're going on about how you can't believe it about me and Snape, all right?"
Hermione shook her head slightly, but she was smiling now. "You mean Snape actually admits to loving anyone? You know, Harry, that could almost make a person believe in magic."
Though Harry blushed hard, he was laughing with her as he headed toward the bedroom door. "I doubt he'd say it out loud. Even Draco complains that it's a soppy word and we've been together for ages -- he should expect it. Don't tell either of them I said it, all right?"
"I'll try to remember not to mention it the next time I talk to Snape." She had followed him to the doorway and stood with her arms crossed, leaning against the frame. "Speaking of whom, Harry, if you haven't come back here or sent a message by suppertime tomorrow, I am going to owl him and ask if he knows where you are. I don't trust Draco's parents even with Draco around."
Harry considered this. "That might be a good idea. Listen, I have to be up and out very early, so if I don't see you in the morning, thanks."
"You're welcome. See you tomorrow night, then." Hermione kissed him quickly on the cheek before shutting the door.
In the morning Harry showered and left before either Hermione or Ron had stirred. Snape's flat was several miles away, but he decided to walk; he hadn't been getting in much exercise and was feeling that he was on the way to becoming soft, flabby even. By the time he reached Dorse Alley, his feet hurt slightly but the rest of him was invigorated. Snape had given him the entry charms for the door, so he simply went inside.
"Any chance for breakfast, or at least tea?" he called out cheerfully.
"Kettle's in the kitchen." That was Draco, sounding sleepy... or maybe satiated. Harry privately -- and selfishly, he knew -- hoped it was the former rather than the latter.
Snape's rumble added, "Or you could join us here."
"I'll bring you some tea," Harry decided, rather thirsty after the long walk. He went into the kitchen and rummaged through the cupboard. After a bit of thought he rejected all of the more obscure sorts and stuck with a standard breakfast blend. Balancing the teapot, milk and sugar, and three cups on a tray, he carried it into Snape's bedroom.
Draco had a pillow over his head, blocking out the light, but Snape was sitting up against his own pillow, looking expectantly at the door. "What brings you here so bright and early?"
"We could've slept in, you know," Draco said wearily. "We're not going to work and my mum's not leaving the house for hours!"
"Then go back to sleep," said Harry, grinning at Snape and putting the tray down on the table by the bed. "I'm sure Severus and I can keep each other occupied." As soon as he'd settled the cups, he found himself being pulled over and kissed hungrily. "Did you miss me?" he asked when Snape let him up for air.
"It's only been a few days," Snape scoffed, though his indignation was clearly a pretense, as Draco pulled back the pillow to look at them.
"He moans your name in his sleep. Makes it impossible for a bloke to get a night's rest around here."
"It's impossible for a bloke to get a night's rest around here because you toss and turn all night!"
"That's because this is a bloody awful mattress! Especially for two people. When we're at Hogwarts I expect you to get a proper bed for me and Harry to shag you on."
Harry couldn't help laughing. His jealousy at Snape and Draco being together without him dissipated, and he reached for a swallow of tea before rolling over Snape's thighs into the middle of the bed. "Doesn't seem so bad to me."
"You're not sleeping here," Draco grumbled, but he snaked an arm around Harry and started unbuttoning his shirt. "However, I think Severus and I agreed that you're not supposed to be dressed while in bed."
"You mean just me, or anyone?" asked Harry, as Snape unzipped his trousers.
"You may notice, Potter, that neither of us is wearing clothes, and therefore deduce that the rule applies to everyone." Snape sighed dramatically. "I do hope that you will think before you speak when you're teaching." It was difficult for Harry to take the criticism very seriously when Snape's hand was fondling his prick, however. He used his feet to help push his trousers down and away as Draco leaned closer to lick along the back of his neck and bite his ear, making Harry shiver pleasurably.
Harry could feel both Snape's cock and Draco's pressing against him, one from either side. His own had hardened quickly under Snape's touch, aided by the fact that it had been several days since he'd had more than a few stolen kisses from Draco.
"Since you've been deprived, I think you should get to decide who you want to fuck first," Draco suggested.
"You stay there and do me," Harry replied promptly. There couldn't possibly be anything better than to come with Draco inside him and himself inside Snape, could there? Except possibly the reverse, but they were already lined up this way so nicely. "Severus, roll over."
"You're letting Malfoy top both of us? He'll be insufferable," Snape announced, but he obeyed, reaching over the side of the bed to get the lube and knocking a teacup to the floor in the process.
"You mean to tell me you haven't let him top once this week?" demanded Harry as he slicked his fingers, then passed the potion to Draco, who was snorting.
"Only when I woke him up and stuck it in before he could protest. He's erotically obsessed with you, you know. We had a conversation about how you were probably wanking that got him all bothered." Draco's fingers began to tease the backs of Harry's balls and along his bottom. "I said I figured you were probably doing it in the loo instead of risking getting caught on Weasley's furniture, and Severus came all over me when I wondered aloud whether you got on all fours and..."
"Malfoy," Snape groaned, as Harry felt his face growing pleasantly warm. He had one finger inside Snape and the other hand stroking his cock, a task in which Snape was assisting with his fingers over Harry's.
"Did you get on all fours, Harry?" Draco snickered lightly, teasing Harry's pucker. "Did you fuck your own arse with your fingers?" Harry felt Snape's prick leap under his hand at the question.
"What do you think?"
"I think you did." Teeth nipped at Harry's shoulder. "I think that you wanked in the bathtub, your bum in the air, imagining that you were sucking my cock and that Severus was fucking you. Come on, tell the truth."
Harry shivered as Draco's cock nudged against him. If he weren't facing away he would have thought that Draco was using Legilimency, because he had indeed done very nearly that the day before yesterday, when he had returned from work before both Ron and Hermione and taken advantage of their absence. "Yes," he admitted in a hiss.
"Pity we weren't there -- I know Severus would enjoy watching you do that." Severus made an inarticulate muffled noise -- he was biting the pillow as Harry pressed deep inside him, trying to grab his other wrist to slow him down.
Oh yes, Snape did like that idea. "Didn't the two of you talk about anything besides me while I wasn't here?" Harry asked smugly, then cried out as he felt Draco pop the head of his cock inside him, withdraw it and push it back in slowly.
"Patronus," Snape groaned, pushing back against Harry who withdrew his fingers and teased the well-stretched opening with his cock. "I gave Malfoy lessons."
"He was strict about it, too." As always, Draco was quite capable of talking and fucking at the same time; he continued to open Harry with slow shallow strokes as he explained. "Wouldn't go for the do-it-right-and-I'll-get-naked technique. Said to stop thinking of my wand as my prick and learn to concentrate. Hypocrite -- I bet he's been picturing you wanking to conjure his Patronus ever since the war ended."
"That true, Severus?" panted Harry, the most he could say with Snape's buttocks clenching around his cock. Snape was shoving greedily back against him, pushing Harry's hand down to make him cup his balls.
"Not exactly," Snape groaned. "Quiet, both of you!"
For the minute or so that Harry and Draco obeyed, the only noises in the room were the wet sounds of cocks pumping in and out of well-lubed arses and Harry's hand rubbing up and down on Snape. But it couldn't last -- or, rather, Harry couldn't. Draco was pressing inside him at the perfect angle, and Snape was tight around him, and it had been days... he wailed as he felt his balls tightening, clutching at Snape's hip to keep him close.
When it had just been himself and Draco together, they had never made a fetish of trying to come at the same time; it was nice when it happened, but not worth the trouble of it, Harry had always thought. With three it was exponentially more complicated. This morning, however, seemed to be the exception to the rule, since Draco shoved deep inside him, crying out, and Snape's cock pulsed hot and sticky into his hand just as Harry came into Snape's arse.
"Oh, fuck that was good." Draco's voice was lazy and he reached over Harry to stroke Snape's chest as well. "Worth the wait, Harry?"
"Mm." Harry nodded, blowing stray hair out of his eyes. "I'd rather not wait, but I've no complaints, although I'm not sure it was quite Patronus-worthy." He chuckled. "What do you use as your memory to conjure your Patronus, anyway, Severus? If it's not an image of me wanking?"
Snape wriggled to help Harry's prick slide out of him and then rolled over to face the two of them, with a dour expression slightly belied by the quirk of his mouth. "Why all this prurient curiosity, Potter? Does it really matter to you how I achieve a Patronus?"
"It doesn't matter. I was just curious." If Harry moved his head just a bit, he would be able to kiss Snape. He did so, tasting the remnants of tea, then pulled back, opening his eyes and pushing his thoughts out to see if Snape would let him in.
Snape did not. "Some things are private, Potter," he warned. And then, unexpectedly, he sat up, swung his legs off the bed and headed off toward the bathroom without another word.
Draco was looking at Harry in utter astonishment. "What was that all about?"
"I don't know." Harry was still staring after Snape, slightly stung and more than slightly ashamed of himself. "I guess we're not at the tell-each-other-everything point."
"You don't honestly think Severus is ever going to tell anyone everything?" Draco shook his head slightly. "You should know him better than that."
"I was optimistic, I suppose," said Harry, biting his lip. He hoped that this wasn't going to make Snape rethink his decision to go with Harry and Draco to Hogwarts... sometimes he had the feeling that Snape might be looking for an excuse to get out. Draco picked up Snape's teacup and refilled it, casting a heating charm on the cooled liquid and handing the cup to Harry.
"Take this to him."
"Why me?" Harry asked plaintively. Draco raised an eyebrow.
"You're the one who made him run out of here, and you're the one he obsesses about."
The floor was cold under Harry's feet as he stood in the hallway and tapped at the bathroom door. "Severus? I'm sorry." He thought about saying "I didn't mean to upset you" but decided that Snape was likely to take offense at the suggestion that he was not in control of his emotions, so instead he just added, "I've brought you a cup of tea."
"Bring it in, Potter." Snape's voice was weary, and when Harry entered he was standing with his back to the door, gripping the basin and staring into the greenish mirror above it. Harry put an arm around his waist and held out the tea, catching Snape's reflected gaze. "I've lived alone," Snape said. "I'm not used to..." He broke off and turned. Harry tilted his head back to look up at him, and this time Snape did not block him entirely, though all Harry caught was a glimpse of himself.
He hadn't meant to try to force things again, and looked away quickly. "It's my fault. I shouldn't have pushed like that. I guess I want..." He shrugged a little. "Draco doesn't let me in that way. There are still things I'm embarrassed to tell him, and he won't tell me, or he turns them into jokes. You've already seen so many of my... but I used to hate it, when you went digging in my thoughts. I should have known better."
Snape was looking at him oddly. "Have you never thought," he began slowly, "that you might prefer not to see what's inside my mind? It's one thing for you to know intellectually that I was a Death Eater, that Lucius Malfoy and I had a... past, that I've killed... It would be something else to witness those experiences firsthand. There's a reason that it's difficult to go digging in someone's thoughts, as you put it. Some things are best not shared."
"You're right that I shouldn't be trying to pry. But, Severus, it wouldn't make me hate you or anything if I did see those things. I'm not an innocent."
Then Snape gave him a rare, genuine smile. "You are an innocent. The Headmaster believed you had an extraordinary capacity for goodness, and I never believed him, but in some ways you are remarkably untainted by the people and events that have touched your life. I prefer that you not..."
There was a knock at the door and Draco stuck his head inside. "Did you kiss and make up?" he asked.
Sometimes Draco said exactly the right thing... and sometimes not. It was frustrating not to have had the chance to finish this conversation, but there was nothing to be done about it. "Not quite," said Harry. He stretched up and gave Snape a quick peck on the cheek. "I guess we have now, though."
"Good. Because Severus probably needs to leave soon."
"So do we." Harry looked pointedly at Draco. If Draco could interrupt at an inconvenient moment, Harry felt no qualms about ensuring that Snape knew what their plans were. "When do you think your parents will be gone?" he asked, adding for Snape's benefit, "And where exactly were you planning to search in their house?"
Snape had just gone to turn on the shower, and now he turned it off again. "What are you two up to?"
Harry turned on the water once more. "We can talk meanwhile. I think Draco's the one who should explain."
"We're going to look and see if my father has a copy of my grandfather's will, the original one, somewhere about. Or possibly something else that might be useful as leverage to get him to stop pressuring me into marriage. Mother has some sort of luncheon today, and Harry asked Arthur Weasley to move up the conference on ownership of Dark Artifacts to this morning, so neither of my parents will be home and we ought to have a good five or six hours. The house-elves won't interfere with me -- it's the perfect opportunity." Draco took the soap from Harry and started washing, his elbow bumping into Snape and his bum into Harry in the crowded space.
"Malfoy, have you lost your mind? If your father has the will in the mansion, it will be warded with curses, and if by some chance there is another copy hidden away that he has never discovered, you and Potter aren't going to find it in the course of an afternoon! You won't even get through searching the chamber under the dining room floor and the room in the dungeon." Draco's eyes widened; apparently he had not expected Snape to know about the hidden room beneath the ground, but Harry had a feeling Snape knew many of Lucius' secrets that the older wizard had not shared with his son. "If you get caught, they'll have Potter arrested for trespassing and you may find yourself a prisoner in your own parents' home."
"We're not going to get caught! I know that house as well as my parents do and I know places to hide where they never caught me when I was younger. Father's not going to stop until we make him stop -- you told me that yourself. If I can find the proof that the will was altered..."
"Suppose you don't?" Snape yanked the soap from Draco's hand and began to wash himself vehemently. "Suppose you discover that the terms of the will are both valid and legal? They may very well be, you know, even if your grandfather did have it changed. You're taking a very great risk for what might be nothing."
"Or it might be freedom for all of us." Reaching out, Harry began to rub at the suds on Snape's chest, wishing he'd calm down. "I think it's worth the risk."
Shaking his head, Snape looked frustrated. "You're going to do this regardless of my best advice, I can tell."
"Yes, we are," said Draco in a voice of forced calm. "Because I want to settle this once and for all. Going to Hogwarts will help, but you've said yourself that Father will doubtless keep harassing me there, even if not quite as regularly as he's been able to do while I'm living in London and working for Gringotts."
The sigh that Snape exhaled vibrated through Harry's arm. "I'll tell you what I know of the wards and passwords. It's possible that Lucius has mentioned some to me of which you are unaware. If you insist on doing this... I'd rather not see either of you in any more trouble than you've already had."
"Could you go to that meeting today as well?" Harry asked. "Make sure that Lucius is occupied there and doesn't go home early? I think it's supposed to begin at eleven. I know it's an imposition, but..."
"Please, Severus," Draco chimed in, turning his most charming and persuasive smile on Snape -- a smile that Harry always found impossible to resist, and it seemed the same was true for the older man.
"Very well," Snape growled. "I have to meet a client at ten, and after that I will go to the Ministry. The original date was inconvenient for me and I declined, but I was invited to participate. If I attend no one will be suspicious."
"Good," said Harry. "Then tonight we can all meet back here..."
"I will stay at the meeting only for as long as I can keep Lucius in sight," Snape added as if Harry had not spoken. "If he leaves early, or if I have reason to believe that either of you is in danger, I will come to the mansion to get you. Please consider that before you do anything foolish, rash, or dangerous."
"I'll be safe in my own house," Draco said, rolling his eyes a bit. "They aren't expecting me, so they can't have any special traps waiting for me. I haven't been disinherited so the house elves still take my orders. It'll be fine, Severus."
"I have searched that house before, you know," Snape said, frowning, his voice begrudging. "During the war. The Headmaster thought it possible that if your father had had one of the Dark Lord's Horcruxes, his diary, then he might have had another such object without understanding what Voldemort had done to it. I found no evidence of your grandfather's will but I did find many cursed objects. Don't touch anything."
Reaching past Snape, Draco rinsed his hands and turned off the water. "My father's been getting rid of that stuff -- he knew today's meeting was coming, even if he doesn't approve of the Ministry telling wizards what heirlooms they can keep in their own homes."
"There are places that Lucius may believe are safe from inspection, and that is where you could be in real danger. Don't treat this lightly, Draco," cautioned Snape again. "It is not yet your house, even if you are the Malfoy heir." Stepping out, he wrapped a towel around his hips.
"We can't exactly avoid touching anything," Harry pointed out. "We'll have to open drawers and so forth, I'm sure. But we will be careful. Won't we?" He poked Draco.
"Yeah, of course. Don't worry so much, Severus; I know what I'm doing, really." Draco ran a comb through his damp hair, peering in the steamy mirror to see that he had it straight.
Snape sighed again and shook his head, but said nothing more about his concerns. As they ate toast and marmalade in the kitchen, he went over the various wards and hexes that he knew of that Lucius Malfoy had used to protect his belongings, some of which Draco was already aware of but some of which he had not known. "He may have changed these," Snape warned. "Your father is nothing if not careful, and he knows that I am familiar with his precautions. Now that he no longer trusts me fully, he could well have set up different spells."
"Harry managed to get through all of Voldemort's spells," said Draco. "We can do this."
"I had Snape's help then, though," Harry pointed out.
Draco looked at him sharply. "Do you not want to do this?" He darted a glance at Snape, and Harry wondered whether he still suspected that the two of them were manipulating him somehow.
"I think we should do it," Harry said. "But I don't think it's going to be a nostalgic trip home for you. Are you sure you really want to know what skeletons your father might have hidden in his closets?"
"One way or another, I'm going to have to live with them anyway." Wiping his mouth, Draco threw down his napkin and went to get his things.
Harry glanced at Severus. "Do you really think this is a terrible idea?"
"Yes," said Snape, waving the dishes toward the sink, which began to wash them. "Unfortunately I have no less-dangerous proposal to offer instead. I will do what I can to keep Lucius distracted at the Ministry, but if he becomes suspicious, there will be very little I can do other than to warn you."
"Thanks," said Harry. "I hope that it doesn't come to that."
"So do I." Snape's mouth was a thin line as he pulled on his formal outer robes. "If anything untoward happens, you both know how to reach me."