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Chapter 4 : Confession
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Thanks so much to Marauder By Night for the great chapter image
Father McKenna was about to retire to his accommodation when he was struck by a sudden urge to check up on the Old Chapel of Saint Mary and the Apostles. Although this would add fifteen minutes or so to his journey, it had been awhile since he had been to the building. It was only prudent to ensure that everything was ok.
Draco had finally, after trying with all his might, managed to conjure a little fire. Although it was the height of summer, the place felt cold, cold as the stones themselves. In answer to his earlier question, yes, magic did work in a sacred Muggle place, but only when the caster truly needed it and, he guessed, never when intended for dark purposes. This was an educated guess, given the time and effort it had taken him to perform a simple spell. If he was right, that in itself would be a relief despite it also being an annoyance.
The priest looked at the chapel and shook his head. It was a shame really, he thought, such a beautiful late Gothic building, now semi-derelict, its garden overgrown enough to resemble a jungle! There were no funds available in the Parish for repairing such places. Maybe he should start up a collection, although he suspected that the only parishioners able to make a donation were probably more interested in flogging the building off to a property developer to have it converted into a residential dwelling.
As the priest reached the gate, he thought for a moment that he could see light coming from inside. That could not be. Visitors were becoming more and more infrequent, the chapel was practically abandoned, and it was meant to have been locked in the first place! It could only be the work of vandals, especially at that time of the night. He had better go and take a proper look.
He searched through his briefcase for a large iron key. He smiled when he finally found it but his smiled quickly turned to a frown of concern when he realized that the door was unlocked. He proceeded with caution, walking slowly, trying not to make noise. One could not be too careful nowadays. His eyes had been telling him the truth when he had thought he had seen a light. There was a fire between the altar and the front benches, he realised alarmed.
Father McKenna tried to avoid having his presence discovered by being extra quiet. He saw an intruder kneeling by the fire. It looked like a boy of about sixteen. He was pale, skinny and had dark circles under his eyes. He thought him a beggar, or probably drug addict. The priest managed to gather enough courage to confront the stranger. Draco didn't notice McKenna at first. When he did, his immediate reaction was to reach out for his wand.
"In the name of the Lord! What are you doing in my church?"
Hearing the word "Lord" brought reality crashing back down on him. "Sir, I mean you no harm, I swear, I mean you no harm," answered Draco, a little scared and completely startled.
"So what may I ask, are you doing here, setting the place on fire?"
"This will not burn your church, sir," Malfoy tried to reassure him.
"You think I am an eejit. Do you?"
"No, sir," replied Draco almost in auto-pilot.
Father McKenna did not know what to think at that stage, what to make of the youngster. He was well spoken enough, posh, one would say. But then, this kind of thing happened even in the best of families. Wouldn't he know about it! After all, he dealt with those kind of people on a regular basis.
"Get up and put that out," he commanded impatiently.
Draco, frightened and half asleep, got up to his feet and did as he was told, although he extinguished the fire the wizarding way without thinking about it. The priest blinked in disbelief. It was far too late anyway, surely he was seeing things.
"What are you doing here?"
"I came to seek sanctuary, sir," Malfoy stated automatically, surprising himself.
McKenna, not in the mood for sarcasm, asked, "Are you taking the mickey?"
"No, sir. I think I am in trouble," confessed Draco.
"With the police that will be?" McKenna more muttered to himself than asked.
"No," Malfoy responded categorically.
"With your parents?"
"Maybe," Draco replied a little defiantly.
"What have you done, you rascal? I bet your mother is worried about you."
Draco lowered his gaze, unwilling to show the fact that being cut off from his own world saddened and worried him, "I bet she is."
"Don't give me cheek, boy."
"I'm not. I'm just tired."
"It looks as if you could do with a decent meal. Are you on drugs, boy?"
Malfoy pulled a face at the priest in confusion. "Drugs?"
"Yes, drugs. Don't look at me like that."
Comprehension suddenly entered Malfoy's mind. Obviously, not knowing anything about the Muggle world was proving to be a big disadvantage. "You mean stimulants?" He nearly said potions.
"Don't you play games with me!"
"I'm here because I was left here by a friend."
"Ok, I see, this is some kind of college prank." McKenna now looked into the boy's eyes and smiled at him knowingly, with the sort of look that a teacher would give a kid who has just been caught messing about.
"Something like that." He resolved it was better to say something his questioner expected to hear.
"Have you got the money for a ticket home?" the Father asked concerned.
"No. Also, I cannot leave until my friend picks me up. I am in danger."
"In danger from what? We hide no criminals in here, do you understand?"
"But my friend said I could have forty days!" protested Draco, unsure as to how to go about this.
"Forty days indeed! Have you just come from Dr. Who or something? This ain't the bloody Middle Ages.” He quickly did the sign of the cross as he realised that he had sworn in the House of God. “As I said, on drugs!" he added as if speaking to himself.
Draco realised that, unless he was to come up with something and soon, he would have the Muggle police to deal with and, if he was unlucky, the Muggle publicity that could come with it. There were enough Muggleborns around to read the Muggle paper, such as that Mudblood Granger, who could recognise him. This was not looking good. "I would like to confess, sir," he announced, surprising the priest.
"To confess? I suppose ..." McKenna blinked again but he thought that if that was what the kid wanted, it was after all his duty.
Malfoy was now invoking the power of his memory to try to recall everything he had ever heard about Muggle religion, Christian religion, in fact. Although he knew little, he was aware there were different types. He had to admit, he could have done with Granger and her knowledge of the Muggle world at that point.
"You see, we got in with the wrong people and I was asked to kill a man," Draco said as matter-of-factly as he could muster.
"To kill a man?" The priest sounded horrified. "So, you are, or were, in a gang?"
"You could say that, I suppose. He threatened to kill my family if I didn't."
"As I said, boy. This is, after all, a matter for the police. But the Lord is merciful, and, if you confess..." added the Father weighing up Draco's chances of redemption.
"The Lord?" Malfoy was becoming increasingly freaked out at the sound of this word. In his short experience, he had never known the Dark Lord to be known for his mercy.
Father McKenna sighed. It is far too late to even think about beginning to discuss this. He guessed he would just have to take the kid in for the night."Ok. I can see this is going to be a long night. I think you better come with me. I can give you a bed. It's not much but it will have to do. Now, do not try to escape. I know what you look like. I will call the police if you do."
The police could be no worse than Dementors, Malfoy thought, but still he was not in any hurry to acquaint himself with them.
"I won't go anywhere. I have nowhere to go," Draco said sullenly.
"We shall see about that. You sound far too posh to me!" retorted the priest with a certain suspicion.
"I go, I went," he corrected, "to boarding school, sir. That's probably why you think I'm posh," he explained.
"Stop calling me sir." The way in which Malfoy was addressing him was beginning to irritate McKenna.
The priest took Malfoy with him to his quarters and decided maybe the boy could do with a wee beer and a bite to eat.
The priest broke the silence by asking the boy's name.
Of course, Draco was not remotely prepared to disclose his real identity, not in case the "police" and the Muggle equivalent to Rita Skeeter got hold of him. "Tim Adams, sir," he replied with the first name that came to his head.
"I told you to stop calling me sir," McKenna growled.
"Ok, what is your name, then?" asked Draco trying to sound more assertive.
The older man smiled and replied in a friendly tone, "Father McKenna, Sean McKenna. Come on, be a good boy and call your mum, she's surely worried about you."
"You don't understand, I can't, I TOLD YOU! I come from a different place, we don't do things the way you do." He was getting now to the end of his tether. Why did everything have to be so complicated? Why couldn't this man just leave him alone!
The priest was utterly confused. "Whatever do you mean, boy?"
"As I said, I can't say anymore. Please, don't ask me," Draco almost begged.
"Ok. Now tell me about this man that you are supposed to kill." The priest could not deny his own curiosity.
A grim expression crossed Draco's face as he spoke. "He is dead now, anyway."
"God rest his soul. What did you say? WHAT DID YOU DO?" McKenna's eyes now denoted true panic.
"I didn't. That is the whole point. I COULDN'T, I DIDN'T. That is why I was hiding in your church," Malfoy replied angrily.
"Jesus, Mary and Joseph! We don't need this kind of trouble here!"
"Don't worry, I think those looking for me will not find me in this place. At least not for forty days. That is the magic, I think," Draco tried to reassure him.
McKenna was getting more worried by the minute. "And here we come again with the forty blessed days! Explain yourself, boy. What is this about, and did you just say magic? By the way, what did you do to that fire? How did you get rid of it?"
Draco felt disarmed. He was in enough trouble in his world without having to worry about the Ministry being after him for revealing their existence. You may as well be hanged for a lamb as for a sheep! he thought. "Ok, I am a wizard," he confessed.
"You mean a frigging Pagan?" corrected Sean McKenna slightly horrified.
"Something like that."
"Are your parents the same?" McKenna asked.
"Very much so, sir," Draco's reply had sounded proud, even if he hadn't intended to come across quite like that.
The priest couldn't keep himself from asking, "And this dead man, who killed him?"
"Someone I know but I can't tell you. I think he is in trouble too. Maybe he is dead as well."
"This is beginning to test my patience, boy. It's beginning to sound like the mafia!" exclaimed the priest, shaking his head.
"Mafia? What's the mafia?"
"Now, don't be clever with me, boy!" McKenna warned him.
Draco resolved that from now on that it would be best to just nod and the like. Obviously, having taken Muggle Studies would have helped him now. Who would have thought! "It is all very complicated. Where I come from, there is a war going on," Draco begun.
"War? What war are you on about? The troubles in the Middle East?” asked the priest willing for Malfoy continue with his story.
"No, not that one. You've got to trust me. I come from a different place."
"It well sounds like it," McKenna admitted.
"One guy thinks he can conquer immortality," started Draco.
Father McKenna had a scandalized and outraged expression on his face as he ranted, "Blasphemous! Preposterous! Our souls are immortal, but we have to die first!" He thought that he had heard it all now, immortal indeed!
"He doesn't think so. He has gathered followers, many amongst the best families."
"There ain't such things as best families in God's eyes," corrected the priest.
"Well, there are in our world," Malfoy answered back.
Father McKenna was secretly rather entertained with this tale and decided to let him carry on. The boy indeed had an imagination. Maybe he was a wannabe poet, or a singer-song-writer. "Are you from America? All kind of queer things happen in America, I am told."
Draco was flabbergasted. 'How in the name of Merlin did he come up with that?' "No, I am not. Do I sound American to you?"
"No, I don't think so. Anyway, if you are going to be here for forty days, I better put you to some use. Are you good at anything?"
This was worryingly beginning to sound as if he wanted to use him as a house elf. However, given the circumstances, Draco thought he better not mention. "I don't know. I can fix things for you, I guess." He thought this should be little trouble as he could always use magic when the priest wasn't looking.
"Just out of curiosity," asked the Father, "what happens when the forty days are up?"
"According to Muggle tradition..."
"To what tradition?" he asked, uncertain as to whether he had heard correctly.
"To old tradition, a posh name for old," Malfoy invented quickly.
"I see..." McKenna said somewhat unconvinced.
"You either give yourself up or leave the country for good. I am hoping though, that things will get sorted out before then," Malfoy said truly hoping for his wish to come true.
"And if they don't?"
"Then, I haven't a clue," he concluded.
Before going to bed Draco remembered to do the memory charm. He was aiming at only erasing from the priest's memory the bits about the magical world, however, he had to admit, he had never cast this before. He would just have to wait until the following day to see how it had worked.
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