Chapter 1 : Abandon
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Chapter One: Abandon
It was like being submerged in a warm and deep pool. He heard echoing sounds that came from nowhere in particular, yet they surrounded him like a humming cocoon. It was difficult to focus; he tried to regain the sensation of his pulsating body but the increasing pain made the idea of falling back to unconsciousness very tempting. He knew he was inside a body, probably his own, but he couldn’t manage to place specific parts of it. He could not identify which were his legs and which were his arms. It all felt as a whole and uniform mass of bone, nerve and muscle. The pain however, has this unique gift of sharply sensitizing whichever part it makes its presence and that was when he felt how his arm differentiated itself from the rest of the mass; it came to life.
This whole process took only a matter of seconds –but inside the limbo, it felt like an eternity- and it ended with his painful resurfacing from the protective shelter, the shattering of his wholeness and the acute recognition of the different parts of his body. He opened his dry eyes, blinked and looked at the ceiling and realized he didn’t know where he was. He didn’t remember how he got there, or where had he been last night. He could not acknowledge his own existence for this extreme sensation of being alive numbed his brain and it felt like being born again and seeing everything for the first time.
He laid there for a couple of minutes as he regained his identity. He now knew who he was; he remembered his name, his face, likes and dislikes. It all came pouring inside him like an uncontainable cascade of memories although it seemed so impersonal, like looking at a stranger for the first time.
He heard distant music, it had been lingering throughout the room yet this was the first time he acknowledged it. This was music he had never heard before, he liked it. He assumed that wherever he was could not be a really bad place if they had such good music. He finally sat on the bed and looked around. He was clearly in a Muggle house. In one corner he saw the boxed contraption that Muggles called a telly. He could not remember any wizard that owned one.
What the hell was he doing in a Muggle house? How the hell did he get there? He desperately tried to find something familiar around here, but he was a complete stranger in the room. Everything around him was so Muggle-ish that he wondered if he could do magic in such a place. The idea the he might not be able to scared him the most. He looked around, trying to find his wand or his robes, and saw nothing. Looking at himself he realized he was dressed in Muggle clothes, and he suddenly felt sick.
The music downstairs suddenly became louder and he heard someone, a woman, sing a happy song. He knew that voice but he couldn’t place it; it was a kind yet strong voice, and whoever it belonged to seemed to be in a really good mood. He usually did not hang around people in good moods and this thought accentuated his feeling of awkwardness and depersonalization.
After weighting his options he decided to go downstairs and find out who was the owner of the place, it was surely the singing woman. He inspected the bright house, light came in from big windows everywhere, some of them were open letting in the warm summer breeze. It was so different from the house he had grown up in, the cold dark manor in which he was raised.
He came down into a big living room and saw her. She was dancing in her pajamas on top of the coffee table while holding a spoon in her right hand, and she was singing into the spoon. It was the most amusing view he could have ever stumbled upon; the funniest part was that she obviously was putting a lot of energy into her performance. She turned around as though she had a great audience in front of her, and with her eyes closed she hit a high note and merrily sang her lungs out. Then she fell on her knees and said “Thank you London, and goodnight.” It was at that precise moment when she theatrically raised her head, opened her eyes and saw him.
“Malfoy!” she screamed as she fell down onto the floor. “Shit!”
“Granger, didn’t know you had such talents,” he replied smirking.
She stood up, fixing her hair and trying to regain her composure. “Glad you’re up, I have been worried about you... it has been four days.” She tried to act as if she hadn’t been singing and dancing all over the living room pretending to be a famous rock star. She tried not to look so embarrassed, as if singing like that was a perfectly normal thing to do every morning.
He didn’t know what she was talking about. “Worried… but, why?...” And then he remembered he didn’t know where he was and how he got there. “Four days since what?” he asked.
“Since they brought you here and left you under my care.”
“What happened? I don’t… I don’t remember…”
“You got hurt on your last assignment, badly injured. You know we can’t take you to St. Mungo’s or else everyone will know where you are. So they brought you here, to my house. You have been under my protection.”
Red flashes of light went off in front of his eyes as he remembered screams and fire. He felt again that sharp pain in his shoulder, like being stabbed. He grabbed his arm as his weak knees surrendered beneath him crashing down.
“You are still weak,” said Hermione as she ran to grab him. “You should go back to bed, you haven’t recovered yet.”
“I’m fine… damn… it was just… I don’t need your help anymore. I can take care of my self.” He clumsily stood up, pushing her away. “Where are my things, my wand and all?”
“You are not ready, and you are not leaving until I say so. You are still very weak, it wasn’t an easy task, your last one. Although everything went as planned, you received too many injuries, your body isn’t ready… and they are looking for you anyway. You are not safe outside either, you have to stay here. So until I receive instructions saying otherwise, you’re not getting out of here, and I’m not returning your stuff either.” She turned away and headed for the kitchen. “Breakfast is almost ready, go back to bed I will bring it up in a moment.”
He felt angry and powerless, but she was right, he had to admit it he was weak. All the fibers in his body were complaining by the mere fact that he dared walk, or even move. With a spinning head he silently went back to the room he had woken up in. He climbed back into the bed and stared at the ceiling, trying to remember exactly how he had ended in Granger’s house.
It had all begun three years ago, the night Dumbledore died because of him. He had eventually accepted Dumbledore’s last offer and went to the Order of the Phoenix looking for protection. After all, he hadn’t fulfilled the Dark Lord’s wishes, he hadn’t killed Dumbledore. He recognized now that he had gone to the Order because of fear at the beginning, but after a while what Dumbledore had told him also became true: he wasn’t a killer and he didn’t want to be one.
It had been so difficult at the beginning. No body believed him and he only received help from the person he least wanted it from: Potter. For some unknown reason Potter trusted him, Draco never knew why Potter believed that he didn’t want to be a Death Eater and follow his father’s footsteps. The Boy Who Lived somehow knew that he wanted a life of his own, a life in which he had the choice of what to do. Having Potter’s support wasn’t the most difficult thing of joining the Order. His mother didn’t followed him in his decision, although she helped him escape. She loved her husband too much and decided to remain by his side even if it meant losing her only son and remaining in the service of a lord she feared and hated. That was why Draco firmly believed that love was the worst curse of them all.
And so began Draco's life as one of the Order’s members. He grew to like it, the thrill, the danger, the adrenaline rush that accompanied each one of his missions. Most of the time he remained underground or leaving for long periods on assignments. Only a few knew the true nature of his tasks, assignments only the son of a Death Eater could finish successfully.
He felt tired now, though, for he thought that with the Dark Lord’s fall, it would all be over. But the organization Voldemort had founded was still alive and wanted revenge. The war wasn’t over, although the end had begun, and it was in trying to end that war that he had been sent on his last assignment: he was to destroy the new known location of the Death Eaters' headquarters.
“Here you are,” said Hermione as she passed him a tray with his breakfast.
He returned to reality and looked at the thin figure in front of him. She was so different from the last time he saw her, almost a year ago. She seemed more mature, less impulsive, wiser and calmer. She was almost nice looking, and although he had seen her little display of joy moments ago, he saw deep sadness in her eyes. She was definitely different from the Granger he knew once at Hogwarts, but at the same time she was very much the same. And the fact that in spite of how much she had grown up, she still remained Granger, reminded him that he hated and envied her.
Feeling scrutinized, she left the room hastily. She didn’t like the way he looked at her, as if trying to figure her out. She didn’t want to be understood by anyone, especially by Malfoy. She knew it wasn’t his fault at all, she knew he hadn’t anything to do with it, but still, he was a Malfoy and his mere presence reminded her of what had happened that terrible night six months ago. Don’t think about that Hermione, she told herself. Just get this over with, he’s a member of the Order and I must help him. I just have to stick to the necessary things to be done for him… the better I do it, the sooner he’ll leave.
She went to the back of the house, entered a small studio and grabbed a piece of parchment and quill.
He’s awake now, he doesn’t seem to remember what happened. I don’t want to be the one to tell him. Try to find another place for him to stay.
She addressed the letter to Minerva McGonagall, Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, London, and gave it to her owl. “Try to reach her as soon as possible, I don’t want him here.”