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Chapter 7: Draco Malfoy, Hero And World Saviour Extraordinaire
YES! I promised I would update again before Christmas, and despite people insisting I should actually be working I have managed to finish the chapter. I would like to take this moment to thank everyone who has continued to read and review. You are wonderful, and I would shower you with cookies (or whatever other sweet you prefer) could I. I hope you enjoy, and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The Headmaster is expecting you in his office at 7.00 this evening. Please do try to be prompt. The password is sugar mouse.
He was not worried, not in the least tiny bit. Sure he had strolled towards the office the tiniest bit slower than his normal gait would have achieved, but it had been an arrogant saunter as opposed to him just stalling for time. There was, after all, nothing even the slightest bit troubling about the fact he had ascended the staircase and opened the door just to find that Potter, Weasley and his bride to be were all ready congregated in the Headmasters office, and not giving the slightest indication that they were about to leave. In fact they appeared to be quite comfortable, if a little put out about the fact that they were apparently waiting for him. There was something rather annoying about all the muttering that was going on between the three of them, but this was quickly lost when the Weasel glared really rather impressive death threats in his direction and the words ‘kissed your hand’ floated inevitably towards him as the Mudblood flushed a rather fetching shade of pink.
Well, that answered the more immediate question. No doubt the red headed wonder boy had gone crying to Dumbledore over the fact that Draco Malfoy had desecrated their precious inner sanctum with his mere presence, violating the chastity of his sister and taking the attention of a certain know it all away from his horrendously freckled self. At least he had had the courtesy to wait until after the evening meal, but then again it probably took a cataclysmic event of epic proportions to distract a Weasley male from his food. They did look as though they had been there for while though, since rather rude and barbaric noises were issuing from Weasley's stomach.
‘Welcome Draco, I trust you have eaten?’ Dumbledore entered the office behind him and bellowed cheerfully over the growing Gryffindor quarrelling, stopping Weasley's newest rant mid sentence as the Mudblood whispered a hushed last word before smiling at the Headmaster. She opened her mouth, no doubt to cast the Malfoy name into one slanderous hell or another, but was stopped as Draco cut rudely across her.
‘If this is about my visit to the Gryffindor Tower, I would just like to say that I didn’t break a single school rule. I gave the password, and besides, they hexed me.’ Somehow Draco managed to look indignant, innocent and smug at the same time, earning himself another glare from the Weasel. He took a moment to show him how it was done properly.
‘This is not about your trip to the Tower,’ Dumbledore replied reassuringly, crossing the room and sliding behind his desk as he raised a hand to silence the muffled outcries of Ron. ‘I’m afraid there has been something of a mix up.’
Draco looked panicked. Suddenly the Golden trio bore less of a resemblance to a mob intent on his destruction than they did a welcoming committee. Admittedly a reluctant, still determined to cause him harm welcoming committee, but one nevertheless. It was hardly surprisingly the Weasel’s obvious disagreement with the Headmaster was so palpable. ‘You’re not going to claim I belong in Gryffindor, are you?’ he managed to choke out, his mounting horror causing his throat to constrict.
‘No, no,’ Dumbledore said with a chuckle, as though students switched houses on a daily basis. ‘I’m afraid it is something far more life altering than that.’ Weasley looked as though he was about to pop a vein, throwing his hands in the air in defeat whilst muttering to himself. Granger was staring at him again; a cold, calculating stare of someone who thinks they have almost all the puzzle pieces and is refraining from casting an opinion until they had all the facts. Potter was just staring blankly out the window. He did look slightly more content than normal though, which in and of itself counted as cause for great concern. At least his potential suffering was still good for something though, as there were some constants in life he would be floundering without.
‘Are you going to tell me then, Sir?’
‘It might be easier if I were to show you,’ Draco couldn’t help but notice how Potters features tightened slightly as the Headmaster moved to a nearby cupboard, pulling a plain shallow bowl from the recesses and placing it carefully in the centre of his desk. ‘Do you know what this is?’
‘A pensieve,’ Draco replied obviously, not bothering to contain his scorn.
‘Indeed. It is mine.’ The statement piqued Draco’s curiosity, as it was no doubt intended to do. It would be no good to disappoint the old man, Draco reasoned as he leant closer, watching the silvery strands swirl within it. There was the imminent risk of heart failure at his age, especially after spending so many years favouring Gryffindors so heavily. Forcing his foot to stop tapping against the floor with anticipation he schooled his features as Dumbledore placed the tip of his wand against the smooth surface, slowly sitting back down as a ghostly figure rose from the depths and started to spin, words echoing hauntingly from the walls.
‘The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches ... Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies ... And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not ... And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives ... The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies...’
Draco sat in silence for a few moments, churning the words over in his head as four pairs of eyes bored into him. ‘A prophecy,’ he eventually muttered disbelievingly, rolling his eyes and crossing his arms. ‘Trust Potter to have one of those.’
‘See!’ It appeared the Weasel couldn’t keep his mouth shut any longer as the word barrelled across the small room like a bullet. ‘Even the ferret figured out its talking about Harry!’
‘Well it’s pretty bloody obvious,’ Draco retorted with a haughty sniff. ‘The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord? It’s not like anyone actually needed this stupid thing for that to be blindingly obvious,’ Weasley looked momentarily gob smacked, unsure as to whether his comments should be taken as an insult or praise. ‘I’m not so sure about the marking him as his equal bit though.’ He couldn’t resist the extra dig. ‘Perhaps the more appropriate phrase would have been victim.’ Harry didn’t so much as bat an eyelid, although the faintest of smiles played at the corner of his lips again, verifying that whatever was coming next was going to be horrible.
‘It upsets me to hear you speaking like that, Draco,’ Dumbledore said softly, ignoring his scoff, ‘since it has come to my attention that this prophecy does not, in fact, relate to Harry at all.’ Realisation bloomed unpleasantly in Draco’s chest as his eyebrows shot up in the shock of anticipation. ‘It is talking about you.’
‘Excuse me?’ His eyebrows were now trying to independently orbit his own head.
‘You, Draco Malfoy, are the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord. To use your own words, the victim.’
‘We’re doomed,’ the mournful words of the Weasel rang across the room as Draco narrowed his eyes in his direction.
‘I’m not stupid,’ he snapped, turning back to the Headmaster. ‘Potter is the Boy-Who-Lived, he is the one destined to face the Dark Lord, much as it pains me. If, by some quirk of fate, he finds himself unable to live up to the role it may fall back onto either a hitherto unknown brother or sister, preferably long lost although believed dead is acceptable. If by some fluke this isn’t available, Longbottom will do. However I would really rather avoid placing my life in his hands.’ He stopped for a moment, taking a deep breath and reordering his jumbled thoughts. ‘Besides, that whole ‘Boy-Who-Lived’ title hardly applies to me, unless of course I have managed to evade a life threatening curse or two in my childhood and somehow forgotten about it.’
‘The title in itself is not necessarily linked to the prophecy.’
‘Thank goodness.’ He was riding the waves of hysteria now. ‘The-Boy-Who-Was-Never-Actually-Threatened-With-Death-In-The-First-Place doesn’t quite roll off the tongue,’ Weasley looked as though he was quite happy to remedy that little problem, as Draco prodded the now silent silvery figure with his finger. ‘Besides, it says born in the seventh month. I was born in June.’ At least one part of his brain was keeping tabs on reality.
‘Which brings me to the first of my misunderstandings.’ Dumbledore spoke with sadness, as though it was a rare failing on his part.
‘Difficult to see how you can get the number seven wrong,’ Draco replied lightly, a serene smile crossing his lips.
‘Ah, but you see, I did not.’
‘Of course,’ the small part of his brain that was continuing to function took a moment to remind him that it was the Headmaster at which he was aiming the brunt of his sarcasm. ‘No doubt it’s the calendars fault. Ancient druids atop a distant hilltop made a critical error in their calculations. Or did they just misalign a stone?’ Dumbledore just shook his head infuriatingly, not even bothering to dress him down for his tone. He prayed an attempt to fill the gaping whole in his life labelled ‘Mentor’ was not coming next.
‘It has recently come to my attention that Professor Trelawney, the maker, has something of a problem with numbers.’
Of course, a prophecy as ridiculous as that had to come from someone whose higher brain functions had probably been irrevocably damaged from inhaling so many incense fumes. He fleshed out his sarcasm with a healthy does of patronising scepticism. ‘How miraculously convenient.’
‘As far as she is concerned, the number five does not exist.’ And nevertheless the old man continued to endanger the intelligence of his students by sending up to share in the stupid frauds den of mind-altering substances.
‘And it took you this long to figure it out? Still…’ Draco crossed his arms triumphantly, ‘it goes on to say born as the seventh month dies. My birthday is at the beginning of the month.’
‘Alas, my hearing is not what it used to be either,’ Dumbledore stuck a finger in his ear and wiggled it about furiously to make the point. ‘Fortunately, however, I was corrected before my misconception could do too much harm.’ A cough issued behind him that sounded remarkably like the word Sirius. ‘I do believe the correct wording should read ‘born as the seventh month rises.’
‘Don’t you mean the sixth month?’
Dumbledore didn’t miss a beat. ‘Of course,’ he was smiling again. Why, Draco had no idea. Personally he was of the opinion that anyone who had discovered the fate of the World lay in the hands of a Malfoy should be either looking exceedingly worried about the whole affair, or trying to kill themselves in the knowledge they would be saving themselves a whole lot of hassle in the long run.
Ah, at least the Boy-Who-Was-Becoming-Quite-Inventive had the right idea.
‘I guess this is the part where you tell me my parents were actually wonderful human beings who fought heroically for the side of the light, thus defying their Lord and Master?’
‘You have got to be kidding me,’ the filthy excuse for a witch had lost control of her adoring lap dog again, although the Weasels indignation did mirror Draco’s own.
‘However, they have defied him. Or your father has, to be more accurate.’
‘Three times too,’ Draco pointed out, leaning forward as though to examine the ghostly bearer of his fate more closely. ‘Wouldn’t have thought he had it in him.’
‘I doubt it was his ambition, however it cannot be denied. After the first fall he renounced all connections to the Dark Lord, claiming he was under the Imperius in defiance of everything he claimed to support.’ Draco sat up straight, smiling to himself and fixing the Headmaster with the appearance of complete and unwavering attention. ‘In your second year he purposely used and destroyed something of great value to Voldemort, his diary. This was done against his wishes.’
‘So that’s two,’ Draco conceded.
‘He also failed to come to the aid of his Master when another, less capable, did in his stead.’
‘He’s talking about Wormtail,’ Potter offered helpfully at Draco’s look of confusion.
‘Indeed,’ Dumbledore was stroking his beard.
‘Well,’ Draco leant back in the chair with a sigh, tilting his head as he regarded the Headmaster. ‘There’s nothing quite like grasping at straws in order to create a theory so full of holes it could be used as a colander. Never let it be said there was any such thing as a completely unfounded plot.’
‘Nevertheless, unlikely and implausible as it may sound, it is the truth.’ Well, unlikely and implausible things did have an astounding habit of arising despite the fact that the laws of probability were working against it. Or perhaps they had seen the light and given up all ready. It couldn’t all be bad though, as a nasty glint had risen behind Draco’s eyes. Whilst he had been wallowing in indignation the truly Slytherin part of his brain has just cottoned on to something.
‘This would make me famous then,’ he crowed delightfully; he could practically hear the Mudblood rolling her eyes. ‘Loved and worshipped by all, picture on the front page of every newspaper...’
‘Powerful madmen out to see you dead before the sun sets,’ his future wife interrupted meaningfully.
‘A poor lost boy heroically battling the forces of evil,’ Draco corrected her with a nod. ‘And I didn’t know you cared.’
‘Unfortunately, this is not the case,’ Dumbledore interrupted with a sigh before the Weasel could launch himself at Draco’s throat. ‘It is too dangerous at the moment for news such as this to reach the world, which is why we must continue to, outwardly at least, pin all our hopes on Harry.’ The Boy-Who-Got-Everything was staring hopefully at the ceiling, no doubt looking for a handy rafter to hang himself from.
Draco took a deep breath. ‘Let me get this straight; dearly beloved Potter gets to keep all the fame, glory and honour, basically the only stuff that could make any of this worthwhile, whilst I get lumbered with the responsibility of actually killing the insane and, did I mention, horrifically powerful, evil Dark Lord.’
‘It is for your own safety.’
‘Right, so where’s my unstoppable super weapon,’ a deathly silence engulfed the room.
‘My unstoppable superweapon,’ Draco repeated slowly. ‘I am, in case you had failed to notice, only seventeen years old, whilst the Dark Lord is, well, considerably not. However you look at it that’s a fair bit more experience on his side. And it does say ‘power the Dark Lord knows not’. I think it is only fair that this power take the form of an unstoppable superweapon,’ Draco cast the Headmaster a scandalous look. ‘Unless, of course, it is your ultimate plan to send me to my untimely death. Rid the World of one Slytherin at a time and hope one of them gets lucky before you have to starting sending in your noble Gryffindors. And you were only just commenting on the importance of my safety.’
‘We have none, and no that is not my plan.’
‘Fine, a flaming sword of righteousness will do.’
‘We haven’t one of those either.’
‘Potter got a sword.’
‘Yeah, and I had to fight a whopping great big snake with it,’ Harry commented sullenly, his eyes momentarily drifting down from the roof as Draco shook his head and turned back to the Headmaster.
‘I don’t suppose you have developed an immensely powerful spell I could take a quick moment to cast, thusly causing You-Know-Who to drop dead wherever he happens to be and leaving me to my adoring public?’
‘I am most terribly sorry.’
‘Well then, what do you have? Or should I go grab a pair of earmuffs and brandish a Mandrake Root in his vicinity?’
‘Love.’ Dumbledore looked pleased.
‘Yes,’ Dumbledore smiled again.
‘You’re giving me love,’ Draco said flatly. ‘You’re sending me against the single most powerful wizard of our generation, and you’re giving me love.’ He was, for the first time in his life, lost for words. ‘Has anyone mentioned in the last several years at all how much of a ridiculously stupid, retarded prophecy this is?’
‘We’re doomed,’ Weasley mumbled, face hidden in his hands. After all, why break from a good thing.
‘Much as I hate to agree with anything spewing from the mouth of a Weasley, but he may have a point.’
‘I have faith in you.’
‘I have no idea why then,’ Draco declared hotly as he tried with futility to understand the Headmaster and his eternal desire to see good in everyone. ‘I am not a reformed character, and I’m not sure how many times I have to say this before you’ll believe me. Perhaps you’d like me to fetch a box of kittens and poke them with a sharp stick, would that convince you?’ He was fairly sure Snape kept some around somewhere to pass the long and boring evenings.
‘You should not underestimate yourself.’
‘No wonder Potter’s going off the deep end. Did he know about this?’ Across the room Harry nodded dismally. ‘And you never complained?’
‘I think, Mr Malfoy, that you generally do enough complaining for most of the student body,’ Dumbledore said genially as Draco’s voice rose, reason having once again been abandoned.
‘That’s right, ruin my future and slander my name whilst your at it, why don’t you. Next thing you’ll be telling me my hair is a mess.’ He reached up almost habitually to smooth it down.
‘Perhaps you should sleep on what I have told you, allow it to properly sink in,’ Dumbledore spoke softly as Draco scowled. ‘We shall talk again in the morning. All four of you are excused from your lessons.’
‘Four?’ Draco looked scandalised as he waved dismissively in the direction of the trio. ‘Why on earth do they have to be here anymore?’
‘There is much you could learn much from their experiences.’
‘I assure you I am perfectly capable of throwing my life into imminent danger all by myself, Sir.’
‘Yes, but how are you at getting it out again?’
The world perked up again. Sunshine streamed through the gathering grey clouds of despair to make the World a brighter place. ‘They’d have to be willing to sacrifice their very existence to save me!’
‘I wouldn’t quite go that far,’ the Mudblood seethed.
‘Be quiet, if I say you must jump in front of a Killing Curse then so you shall,’ he stepped backwards slightly at the look his unknowingly betrothed shot in his direction. ‘And there will be no slapping me again either. One cannot go about saving the world with unsightly, blemished skin.’
‘I’m sure you can work something out,’ Dumbledore gestured towards the door, which swung open soundlessly as the Mudblood grabbed Weasley and the Boy Wonder by the arm and stalked angrily onto the staircase beyond.
‘Of course,’ Draco beamed, as before him an endless stream of possibilities trickled merrily on their way.