Chapter 6 : The 'Blood Traitor'
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Draco thought that it was a pity that not calling Granger a 'mudblood' had been one of the conditions on which he was allowed to stay in Grimmauld Place. Since Potter and his two minions were moving in, they would be seeing a lot of each other. And after all, old habits died hard.
Draco knew that he would have to watch himself.
Of course, there was the possible complication of being too nice, which would tip everyone off that he was up to something immediately. This meant that he would have to act like the superior he was just enough that they would not suspect anything else in his behavior.
Sighing, Draco finished redistributing the dust bunnies under his bed to cover the hiding spot where the books he had found were hidden. He was very careful to put them away after he was done reading for the night so no one would find that he was reading them. He was fairly certain that the Potter wouldn't like him reading books about magic as dark as Horcruxes, and it felt good defying Potter even in this little thing.
Part of Draco's mind cringed that such as small gesture was so satisfying. He was a Malfoy, a pureblood, and extremely wealthy but yet took pleasure in hiding books from a halfblood? He knew that it was a sign of just how far he had fallen, and he had fallen very far since he had started school.
When he had started at Hogwarts, he had had it all. He was a pureblood, rich, and had a father that was a governor of the school and a well-respected member of the wizarding community. When he had offered his hand of friendship to Potter right before school started, he had expected to also be known as Harry Potter's best friend, the constant companion of the boy who had saved the wizarding world. Instead, Potter had chosen to befriend Weasley.
It was with at least some satisfaction, he noted, that had Potter chosen him, Draco knew that he was well known enough that it would have been 'Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy' instead of the 'Who's that red-headed kid with Harry Potter?' that Weasley had to deal with.
However, even that didn't change the point was that the moment that Potter had chosen Weasley over him was the moment his life started to go downhill. First, Potter had gained even more fame than he had had before by rescuing the Sorcerer's Stone. The next year meant even more fame for Potter, and worse yet, Draco's own father had been removed as a school governor. During the third year, he had tried to get back at Potter by getting that stupid hippogriff killed, but somehow that hadn't happened as he had planned either. Fourth year hadn't been good either, and finally during the fifth year his father had been sent to Azkaban.
His father, the man who's influence he use to threaten other students with, the man he had counted on to make things right again, was now a despised criminal. His father had done more than failed the dark lord that night, he had failed his son too. Draco had come to the realization that if things were to be right again, he would have to do it himself. This was the biggest reason why he had accepted the dark mark and the mission to kill Dumbledore. He had known that he would not fail.
But then he had.
Why was a matter that he was still trying to work out. Dumbledore had been there, weak and disarmed, and a simple 'Avada Kedavra' would have finished him. Draco had been trying to kill him for months with increasing desperation as time went by, and he knew that death for him and his family would be the price for his failure, but when he had had his chance….
Draco could still not explain, even to himself, what had happened.
That didn't matter now, though. What mattered was that the dark lord had given him another chance, an opportunity to pay for his failure with something other than death. The principle that people should get what they pay for, and pay for what they get, was one thing that his mother had hammered into his skull since he was young, and he was inclined to follow her advice.
Everything, after all, had a price. You just had to be willing to pay for it.
Deciding that it was probably time to shake himself out of his reverie and do something he considered practical, Draco got up and left his room. Where there had been popping sounds as people apparated and disapparated while moving stuff into Grimmauld Place, it was now fairly silent as things were merely being put into their rightful places.
He headed toward the kitchen with the vague notion of seeing if his mother had burned down the kitchen yet--Mrs. Weasley had been assigning chores earlier that day and for some strange reason wanted his mother to help her with the cooking--but after tiptoeing past the portrait of Mrs. Black stopped dead in his tracks, hearing voices discussing something in hushed tones just around the corner. It sounded like Potter and Ginny Weasley.
"Ginny, you do know that it could be years before this is over? I mean, you could wait all that time, and I still might not survive…and you could have been happy all of that time with someone else…."
"I've made my decision Harry. You are more than worth waiting for, and you proved it again just now! I mean, if you care enough about me to let me go and be with someone else if it would make me happy…that alone would make any girl melt. Besides, I already know how you'd react if I started dating another guy."
"Erm…you do?" Potter answered somewhat tentatively.
"Sure I do. First you'd have to resist the urge to go beat him senseless. Then you'd be trying to make sure that he…er…was treating me right, which would mean that I would have to put up with you spying on us all the time. Even if I managed to convince you that I was happy with another person, you would get sulky. Some girls think that a man is cute when he sulks…I am not one of them. I agreed to not argue about not seeing you because you want to keep me safe from you-know-who, but don't you think for one second that I'm even going to consider trying to find another guy I'd rather be with than you."
"Well, if you're sure…."
The voices sounded like Potter and the Weasley girl were coming closer, and Draco knew that it would not go well if it looked like he had been listening.
Thinking quickly, Draco opened and shut the door to the bathroom just loud enough that the curtains that normally covered the portrait of Mrs. Black billowed out, and she started screaming.
"YET ANOTHER BLOOD TRAITOR! LIVING UNDER THE SAME ROOF WITH THE OTHER BLOOD TRAITORS AND THAT MUDBLOOD! YET ANOTHER OF MY BLOOD, A TRAITOR! FILTH! SCUM!"
He was fairly certain that this was the first time that he, Draco Malfoy, had been called a 'Blood traitor.'
The portrait continued to rant, and Draco grabbed the curtains, trying to close them. When Potter and the Weasley girl came into view, they both looked somewhat worried. Ignoring their expressions, he asked, "Is this bloody woman always this noisy?"
"Yes," Potter said. "By the way, don't you know to be quite in this hall? What were you doing anyway?"
Or, in other words, how much had he overheard.
"Well, if you must know," Draco answered sarcastically, "I just shut the door a little to loudly when I was leaving the bathroom after tending to business. After leaving the hall, I am planning to go to the kitchen. I heard a rumor that my mother is suppose to be helping with dinner, and I wanted to make sure that she wasn't going to try anything to fancy like…oh…boiling water. Malfoy women don't usually enter a kitchen for longer than it takes to give orders to the cook, but with my mother there is a reason in addition to the fact that we normally pay someone else to do it. Unless you want to find out what that other reason is, I strongly suggest that you find out what dishes she 'helped' with before dinner, and avoid them.
"Now, is that all or would you like me to write down hourly reports of my activities and owl them to you?" Draco finished.
"That won't be necessary," Potter said, looking relieved.
"Fine then," Draco said, and walked past the couple.
So, Potter had 'broken up' with the Weasley girl to keep her safe, and she had decided to wait around for him. Just the same, Draco was glad that he was not Potter; keeping away from a girlfriend that pretty, who most obviously wanted to spend as much time as possible with him, would be difficult to say the least. But Potter was willing to do it to keep her as safe as he could.
Potter was willing to pay for what he wanted.
Draco sighed, knowing that this meant that he wouldn't be telling the dark lord about it. Potter was paying for his woman's safety, so he should get it. It was as simple as that. And it wasn't as if he would be disobeying a direct order--the dark lord had not said, "And be sure to tell me if Potter is staying away from any of his ex-girlfriends only to keep them safe,"--so it would be all right.
In the long run, Potter was going to die anyway and whether or not Ginny Weasley outlived him was of no consequence.
He walked into the living room to see Granger lounging on the couch reading some book, probably already done with her unpacking.
"Granger," he said, nodding at her as he passed. He had found out long ago that a slow nod or slight bow was a good way to look a girl over without being too obvious, and whatever Granger's station in life was, he could not deny that she was attractive…or that the skirt that she was currently wearing had ridden up just enough during her lounging that he could get a good view of her long legs.
"Malfoy," she replied, not even appearing to more than glance over the top of her book at him as he walked past.
He smiled to himself as he left the room; it probably wouldn't be appropriate to report to the dark lord that the 'golden trio' had moved in and that he had discovered that Granger did have very nice legs….
As soon as she heard the door to the dining room close, Hermione hurriedly pulled her skirt back down to cover her legs decently. She hadn't noticed how high the skirt had ridden up until Malfoy had walked into the room…and then she had kept her face hidden behind her book to keep him from seeing her blush. She had felt his eyes more than she had seen them, and she hadn't wanted him to know that he had the capability to affect her this way. She didn't want him to know, at least partially because she didn't understand it herself.
She certainly did not like him. Draco Malfoy was an arrogant prick that had been picking on her as a pastime for years. He had caused nothing but trouble, and had even gotten himself mixed up with the Death Eaters and Voldemort. And then he had gone to the Weasley's house, practically begging his greatest enemy for help.
Hermione almost wished that Harry had not said that not calling her a 'mudblood' was one of the conditions of staying in Grimmauld Place, one of the conditions that let him and his mother live. While she didn't appreciate being called by that term, she knew that Malfoy was probably afraid that if it slipped out of his mouth once that Harry would toss him and his mother out of Grimmauld Place, after which it would only be a matter of weeks or months that they would have to live.
That kind of fear had a way of eating people up. Actually, that kind of fear had already eaten Draco up to some degree. If it had not, he wouldn't be hidden in the Order's headquarters trying to 'be civil' to people he had always hated.
Of course, he didn't know that they had as little choice about 'being civil' as he did.
Sighing, Hermione picked her book up and continued to read.
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