Chapter 2 : Seeking an Answer
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Chapter Two: Seeking an Answer
“Run, run, Draco! Please, just listen to me, ok? I have made my decision, I love your father and I can’t just leave him,” said the woman desperately. “I know you don’t understand why I’m making this choice, but someday -I hope - you will fall in love with someone and you will understand.”
“But he’s in jail, mum! He got caught! And you already saw what he tried to do to ME because of HIS mistakes, imagine what he will do to HIM because of MY mistake. You know father is as good as dead,” he screamed to her, hoping that she would listen to him.
“You may be right, but I will not abandon him… it’s a matter of loyalty, of love!” She grabbed a small leather bag and with a flick of her wand some clothes and basic needs things went inside it. “You have this one opportunity, don’t waste it, Draco! He will believe me when I tell him the members of the Order of the Phoenix came to kill you. If there is one thing I surely got right, it is Occlumency. Now go!”
“Mother, I won’t leave you! I refuse to. Don’t you love me mother?”
“Of course I love you, Draco, you are my only son. That’s exactly why I have to let you go. Now listen to me: this is the last order I will ever give you, Draco. Go for what you've always wanted: your freedom, Draco. You don’t have to take orders from anyone anymore.” She took his right arm and touching his Dark Mark said “I know, I’ve always known that this wasn’t what you wanted, my son. You always said that you wanted to be like just your father, but deep in my heart I knew you always said those things to please him. You never really meant them.” She took him by the arm, gave him the bag and draged him to the door. “Goodbye, Draco, my son." Tears were streaming down her pale and beautiful face. “I wish you the best of lives, I wish you happiness and freedom. Now GO!”
He woke up sweating. It was the same dream over and over again, the same memory. It always hurt him, as if he was reliving the whole experience. Every night he wondered what had happened to his mother, she was surely dead or in hiding. No, probably dead. A couple of years later the Death Eaters found out Draco wasn’t killed after Dumbledore’s murder and that instead he had chosen to betray his Lord and join up with the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter, the boy who murdered Voldemort. Surely they guessed that Narcissa lied about Draco’s death and killed her, it was the Death Eaters' way. He had always wanted to come back and rescue her from the life she had never wanted to live; he wanted to save her as she saved him. He had the secret fantasy of going back to Malfoy Manor after the war ended and finding her in the door step waiting for him. But he knew that it would never happen, that the night he said goodbye to her was the last night he would see her ever again.
There was really no point in trying to go back to sleep, so he got out of bed, walked to the window and opened it hoping for fresh air. He could see the backyard of Granger’s house. He closed his eyes letting the morning breeze soothe his pained face and tried to imagine her being a little girl running around, playing in the sand box. Just by looking at the backyard, he instantly knew that she had had a beautiful and happy childhood, so much unlike his own.
A small owl flew through the kitchen window. Hermione rose from her chair and took the envelope the owl had attached to his leg.
“Dear Miss Granger,
I am sorry to say this to you, but Mister Malfoy has to stay with you for at least two more months. Tonks and Finnigan are trying to locate the remaining Death Eaters and until the threat is removed, Mr. Malfoy has to remain in hiding. The surviving Death Eaters are after him and your house is the safest place available. Miss Granger, if you remember when you joined the Order of the Phoenix, you sworn to always follow the Order’s wishes and the Order’s wishes right now are for you to take care of Mister Malfoy. I will try to send someone to your house to keep you company soon.
PS: Taking into account the events occurred during Mister Malfoy’s last assignment, it isn’t very likely that he remembers what happened. But if he does, you will have to help him get passed it.”
Shit. Hermione sat down and putting her head into her hands, Why me? Why of all the people in the universe did it have to be me? She got up and helped herself to some tea. At least he doesn’t talk to me.
She was right. Two weeks had passed since he woke up and he hardly had spoken to her. He only addressed her when it was necessary and spent most of his time in his bedroom either reading or just staring at the ceiling. She liked the way it was working out; when the Weasley twins dropped him at her place she thought he was going to annoy her all the time with his cocky comments and cutting words. She was amazed to see how much he had changed: even when he was working for the Order he acted superior to everyone, always making mean remarks when someone made a mistake and always speaking of how perfectly his assignments had turned out. Although he barely spoke to her, she noticed he was more mature; he seemed to have grown up, finally. But when she looked into his eyes she also saw sadness, deep sadness just like her own, and through that same feeling she knew they shared, she felt strangely connected to him.
“Oh well, I made an oath… this won’t be easy…”
“Who are you talking to, Granger? Have you finally gone mad?”
“None of your business, Malfoy. Do you need something?”
“As a matter of fact, I do. I need to know when is it that you are planning on letting me go. I feel well now and remain sure I can take care of myself.”
“Not yet. The Order will decide when the time comes. Until then you will have to stay here.”
“Why does the Order want me to stay here, is there another assignment coming? Because I’m feeling ok now and I don’t want to stay here, in your house, anymore.”
“You are not safe outside. And believe me, I’m not happy with this situation either. I tried to convince them to move you somewhere else, but they feel you’re safer here.” She put some toast and tea in front of him. “Your breakfast is ready,” she said leaving the room.
He was lying on his bed wondering about what Granger ha said. What did she mean by him not being safe? Did something go wrong with his last assignment? I know some of them survived, I remember that. But something happened, something big… I can’t remember… but if they are after me… He turned around again and faced the wall. If the Order doesn’t think I can take care of myself, it is because something happened… but what? He started pacing around the room thinking. How many times have I’ve gone on dangerous missions? How many times have things gone bad? Never had the Order decided to protect me like this… He lay down on the bed and started to examine the wall again. And they sent me to Granger’s house of all places. Everybody knows how much I hate that little-miss-know-it-all. Am I being punished for something? No… I know the bloody mission went well… Granger’s house of all places, is this some kind of joke? Granger… He rolled out of bed and started pacing again. Granger… she… Granger must know.
She was sitting in the kitchen reading as usual. “What?” she answered without looking up from her book.
“I’ve been thinking…” he replied ignoring her rudeness.
“How does it feel?”
“How does it feel to use it for the first time? I mean… your brain?” she said still avoiding looking at him.
“As if you would know…”
“Whatever… What do you want? I’m busy here.” She finally looked up and marked the page she was on with a finger.
He walked slowly towards her. He stood right in front of her, reached down a bit and took her by the shoulders, making her look up to him in the eyes. She got up from the chair and walked away avoiding his gaze.
“You are not telling me something. If the Death Eaters are so desperate to kill me, it is because something happened. Or else the Order wouldn’t think I needed your protection.”
“Maybe it's because they finally realized what a jerk you are and decided to finish you off.” She opened the fridge and began to look for something inside it.
“Hey, I’m not being rude to you. I haven’t been rude to you all this time, so why are you being such a nice hostess?” he asked with sarcasm all over his voice.
“Fine then…” she answered closing the fridge without taking anything from it. “You betrayed them didn’t you?”
“Yes, but they have known that for more than a year now… what happened at that castle, Granger? Why do they want to kill me now?”
“You destroyed their Headquarters, they are not happy,” she said finally looking at him. “It should be quite obvious.”
“Hey Granger, I’ve always known you had a thing for me, but trust me, keeping me here won't get you anywhere with me… you’re just not my type.” He looked at her smirking “Just get over me, get on with your life.”
“You never stop do you? Do you always have to act like this?” she replied. “Look, as much as I hate to admit it, you are valuable to the Order, you are a member for crying out loud! So, now you are in danger and we have to protect you, it’s our job… It’s my job, at the moment, and I intend to do it well. So grow up and take things for what they are. Actually, now that you mention you are feeling much better now, you can start by helping me with things, you know?”
“And what exactly do you mean by that, Granger? You want me to cook?”
“Oh no! I rather starve to death than to taste something you made… no, you can help with the garden, or the cleaning up. You could also…”
“Are you mad, Granger?! I’m no servant of yours. I’m a guest and guests…”
“I am not your servant either, but I have been cooking for you these past few days and I took care of you while you were unconscious! Just accept the fact that we are living together now, or sharing the house if you prefer it-," she corrected after the look he gave her " -and you have to help as much as I do around the house. You see, I’m not the kind of cruel witch that would contribute to slavery by having a house elf and…”
“Ok stop. Please don’t begin with your ‘please free the elves’ speech. I know it by heart now.”
“Are you going to help around here? You can start tomorrow, we need more wood, you know, and we better not use magic… they can find you that way.”
Once again he walked up to her and looked her in the eye, this time without touching her. “You are lying and I’m going to find out what it is you are hiding from me… and why.” He looked away, staring at the nearby window. “You don’t trust me anymore? Does the Order trust me?”
“Don’t change the subject now, Malfoy, we need to distribute chores around here.”
“Does the Order trust me, Granger? Am I being punished? Am I being detained here for some other reason?”
“Oh come on, I knew you were a spoiled little brat but to call ‘chores’ a punishment, that’s going a bit too far.”
“Does the Order trust me?! Just answer a simple direct question, ok?”
“Of course we trust you. We are protecting you! And I’m not lying to you!” She walked out of the room for the second time in a day.
“I don’t believe you! I’m going to find out sooner or later what it is you are hiding from me, and you will be sorry you ever did,” he cried after her.
“Tomorrow I shall make a list of chores for you to be in charge around here ok?” she yelled almost reaching the second floor.
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