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Chapter 8 : Entry Eight
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Okay, so that was completely irrelevent, but, believe it or not, I don't own anything wizard-oriented.
January 14th, 1998
She’s alive. Oh, thank God, she’s alive.
I wasn’t allowed visitors until two days after the Hogsmeade incident. I’m sure this was Madam Pomphrey’s doing—she knew Potter wouldn’t hesitate to finish the damage he had started.
The nurse had done an excellent job of mending me up. Apparently, I had been graciously given three cracked ribs, a dislocated jaw, and several bruises and scratches including a black eye. However, I wasn’t certain which injuries were inflicted by Potter and which by Zabini. Blaise hadn’t been merciful when I had pounced on him, and there was no way in heaven or hell Potter would have shown me the least bit of mercy when it came to love.
For the second time in the last month, my mind had been in a whir—for entirely different reasons, obviously. When I had woken up on the twenty-ninth of December, the sun had already risen and was shining its rays through the hospital wing windows. I was pleased that I had not woken up during my slumber; I suspected the sleeping potion had actually been effective for once.
However, the potion had no effect once I was fully awake. I was anything but drowsy. My thoughts drifted from one memory to the next with incredible (and painful) speed. It was as if a wheel of memories was turning far too fast in my mind, a wheel that continued to spin despite how much I willed it not to. The wheel surfaced the memory of Potter yelling his pants off at me as he was being forced away from me before he accomplished what would have been killing me, than it changed to his girlfriend walking, eerily rigid, toward Zabini’s trap, than Granger crying her eyes out…completely torn, completely stripped of happiness as she mourned for her redheaded friend…
This was the memory that reoccurred most often on the wheel’s continuous rotation. It was maddening, for indescribable guilt arose within me at every reminder of the events of the Hogsmeade trip. I felt dirty, so much so that I knew a number of blissful baths in the prefect’s suite would never have sufficed.
I had backed out of the plan far too late for the deed to be abandoned. Just when I had cleared my conscience and decided to completely redirect my loyalties toward the good, my world came crashing down. I would never be accepted by any of them now. No, the Order’s offer would be withdrawn for certain. I had been responsible for sending an innocent girl—no, woman—to her eventual peril. That would not be taken lightly if I ever intruded upon the Order of the Phoenix’s doorstep. They would slam the door in my face, at the very least.
Thoughts of suicide often encompassed my better judgement, but I knew taking my life would be the cowardly approach to handling the guilt and unbearable feeling of loss and emptiness. After thinking it over, I realized death would not be a fitting punishment; I didn’t deserve the mercy of death. Then, again, I would probably have the first ticket to Hell.
No, I deserved to suffer more than just living with this onerous burden; I deserved to be whipped and torn to shreds and tortured alive. I deserved excruciating pain of the Cruciatus curse over and over again until my mind stability gave Longbottom’s parents a run for their money.
The Dark Lord was wrong—there are much worse consequences than death.
My knotted mind had a field day when Potter, Weasley, and Granger arrived, accompanied by McGonagall only an hour after I woke up. I knew they would want answers, and by Merlin, I would give them. It’s the least I could do.
“Mr. Malfoy, you have visitors,” announced Madam Pomphrey after she had answered the knock on the hospital wing’s door. “I didn’t think it wise for them to come so soon—your arm hasn’t healed over nearly as fast as I would have hoped, and goodness knows, your mind has been tortured enough…but the Headmistress insisted…you’d think that—”
“Just send them in, will you?” I snapped over her irritating complaints.
She gave me a cold look—I felt a twinge of guilt for being rude to her. I made a mental note to thank her for taking care of me later; hopefully that would satisfy the woman.
Despite her reluctance, she admitted Potter and the others into the room. I didn’t know what I had expected, but I wasn’t surprised when I saw the look on Potter’s face, a look that could kill. Weasley’s expression wasn’t much different, if not even more threatening. I didn’t feel intimidated, however—I was lost for all emotion other than guilt and sadness.
Granger’s expression wasn’t readable, but, then again, she wasn’t looking at me, anyway. I’m not sure which I would have preferred, her having the heartbreaking, hurt look planted on her face or her neglecting to look at me at all. I suddenly had the notion to cry—my only friend would be more likely to warm up to the Dark Lord than withstand our friendship. I held back the tears; they wouldn’t have changed anything.
The headmistress’s lips were pursed in utmost disapproval, no doubt holding back the ugly remarks I deserved to hear. She led the group and halted once she was a few feet away from me. I had long since abandoned my bed, for I had been pacing restlessly all morning, so I stood before them.
McGonagal greeted politely, “Good morning, Mr. Malfoy. Are you feeling better?” I could tell that she was no more concerned about my health than a Blast-Ended Screwt’s, but I nodded all the same. Of course, I wasn’t feeling better in the least, emotionally. I was worse off in that regard.
McGonagal went on, “I have been informed that you have some lengthy explaining to do, and, if it comes to this, I will force you to oblige accordingly.”
I raised a hand. “That won’t be necessary, Professor. It’s the least I can do to cooperate, isn’t it?” The headmistress’s eyes widened for a moment, as if she thought I wouldn’t be willing to do as she asked. She couldn’t be expected to believe me any better than a soulless bastard, could she?
And so, without the least bit of persuasion, I told them. I told them everything. It was the longest truthful thing I had ever said. I told them why I had joined the death eaters, why I had been so eager to prove myself a “man”. My story consisted of everything that had occurred up to the very moment. The only detail I left out was Granger’s influence on me, her friendship. I prayed that she would be at least a smideon thankful for my silence in that regard. However, I wouldn’t have been surprised had it simply glazed the surface of her mind and disappeared—she couldn’t appreciate anything from me now, surely.
I told them all about my task and how reluctant I was to carry it out. I told them how I had backed out at the last minute and how Zabini had taken over. I even told them over and over that no wounds Potter inflicted upon me would suffice for giving me what I deserved. The whole time, they were completely silent, save for a few gasps when I described how the Dark Lord tortured me at the last meeting. I didn’t look at any of them while I spoke; I was far too ashamed.
When I finally finished my confession, I dared a glance at them each in turn. McGonagall’s expression was hard to decipher, but, then again, when had it not been so? Potter was gazing out the window, no longer giving me the death glare he seemed to have invented just for me. I wondered what he was thinking…what did he think of me now? A coward? Would I ever be forgiven? I’m not sure I could ever forgive myself, either, so it wouldn’t come as a shock if he still hated my guts.
Weasley’s face was contorted in deep thought with a hint of confusion in his eyes. I wasn’t sure what to make of it other than the fact that he was not in a state to think about using me as a human punching bag. Granger was the only one who was looking at me. It was an odd look mixed with a pinch of pity, yet it was intriguing. She seemed to be trying to figure me out. I’d like her to explain if she ever did—I certainly couldn’t figure me out, and I’ve known myself for my whole life…or I thought I had.
I was left speechless when McGonagall patted me on the shoulder. “Thank you, Mr. Malfoy. You have been surprisingly honest.” I nodded appropriately and watched the woman usher the other three away. Potter and Weasley didn’t give me a second glance, nor did the professor. However, before Granger turned to follow the others, she locked eyes with me. For a moment, it seemed as if nothing had changed, nothing had happened. Her eyes were not full of scorn or anguish, but filled with worry for Ginny and—I gasped—hope.
It could have been due to shock, but I could have sworn I saw the sides of her mouth incline upward ever so slightly before she turned away and departed. Despite all I was going through, I couldn’t help but take hold of that small token and feel comfort. I felt a rush of warmth take over me for a few precious moments, but the feeling faded as soon as it had come. I didn’t know exactly where I stood with Granger, but at least I knew she didn’t hate me. That thought was enough to settle my over-active mind down a tiny bit.
The small hint of a smile, whether it formed in my imagination or not, gave me a twinge of hope. The hope also came from the look in Granger’s eyes. If she could still be even the slightest bit hopeful after what had happened, anyone could.
I suddenly felt strong, stronger than I had felt in a while. My mind cleared as my subconscious Occlumency kicked in after being on hiatus for days. Determination shot through every inch of my body as I felt an incredible urge to do something. Anything.
I had made up my mind without a second thought. No matter the stakes, no matter the risk…despite the fact that I would probably be killed in the process…
I was not going to let Ginny Weasley die.
In that mind set, I rushed with a purpose to the hospital wing door. I ignored the nurse’s protests demanding that I was not permitted to leave the premises and left the wing, a strange adrenaline keeping me moving at lightning speed. My mind was alert to everything and clearer than every before. Now that I was sure of one thing, which I had never truly been in my life, nothing stood in my way. I was going on a mission, and no one could stop me.
Before I knew it, I stood before the entrance to the Heads’ common room.
“Dutifully defected dragon dung,” I breathed, hopping from one foot to the other with too much energy to stand still. I made to crawl into the portrait hole, but I quickly backed away—I had almost bumped straight into the portrait. Why hadn’t it opened?
“Newt,” I ordered, “Open up, will you?”
“No can do, young sir,” he informed, shaking his head.
I grew impatient. “Why bloody not? I gave you the password.”
He gave me a look of disapproval, saying, “Your lady friend, Miss Granger, changed the password late yesterday evening. I had just returned from tea with Rowena and Helga…seems Godric has been a bit busy with them both—”
“Damn,” I cursed under my breath, not listening to his blabber. Of all the things that could have stood in my way, it was this…
“C’mon, Mr. Scammander,” I pleaded, “You know who I am. You’ve let me in uncountable times—I’m Headboy, remember?”
He chuckled, which just made me all the more irritated. “Of course, Draco Malfoy. But I am bound magically not to open unless given the magic words. You never know who could be using the Polyjuice Potion…”
“Fine,” I resolved, scowling. “Could you see if Granger’s in there? It’d be wonderful if she could let me in and—”
“No,” he cut in. “The fair lady isn’t in attendance. However, the two young gents that are present might be so inclined t—”
“What?” I snapped—not they! “Who’s in there?!”
He sighed, not approving of my behavior, “Youth these days…so misguided…” He sighed bemusedly. “Two boys are seated on the couch, Mr. Malfoy. One has glasses…by God, he’s a mess. The other—”
“Alright,” I said, “Just get one of them to open up, will you? Preferably the one with glasses and the overly large head.”
Newt turned round, and I heard muffled voices. All of a sudden, the portrait swung open and Weasley peeked through. As soon as he saw me, he growled and snapped the portrait shut, causing the man in the picture to shout in pain.
“I say!” Newt scolded him from the other side, returning to face me while rubbing the back of his head. “Was that necessary?”
I shrugged. “I told you the black-haired one was preferable.” When he didn’t say anything, but kept massaging his head, I demanded, “Hello? That means you ask for Potter—I mean, the one with glasses! He’ll let me in, no matter how much he doesn’t want to. On the other hand, Weasley’s a right pain in the—”
I whipped around and became face-to-face with Hermione Granger.
“Er…” For some reason, I didn’t know what to say. “Hi.”
“What are you doing here?” she asked, calmly curious. Newt mumbled in the background about how grateful he was that he didn’t have children of his own.
“Well, I live here, you know. Isn’t that—”
“You’re supposed to be in the hospital wing,” she said a bit louder and in disapproval. God, she sounded like my mother…and I would never hear my mother’s scolding again…
I shook the thought away. “I know. But I couldn’t stand being cooped up in there, and I really am feeling much better, so I decided that, since I was able to walk about and—”
She shushed me, frowning. “It’s no matter, anyhow.” She then asked me, “Why are you waiting outside the entrance?”
I felt like shoving her; it was her fault I couldn’t get in, in the first place. “You changed the password on me, Granger.” I faked a smile. “How very kind of you.” I immediately regretted being rude to her. I still hadn’t yet known where she stood with me after Ginny’s kidnapping.
She either took no notice of my attitude, or she simply ignored it as she recited, “Traitorous Trolls Take Draconius Titles.”
I could only guess what was the significance of that.
The portrait swung open, and I made a point to let Granger in through the hole first, having felt sorry for how I was acting toward her.
I received a rather pleasant greeting from Weasley once in the common room.
“Chuck him out!!!”
“Ronald, is this really necessary—”
“Who ever said it had to be? Let me at ‘im!”
I backed away as the poorly tamed lion attempted to lunge at me and rip me apart.
“He’s not welcome here!!!”
“He’s more welcome here than you are.”
“What?!? How can you say that?!?!?!?! He’s sent Gin—”
“This is where he lives, Ronald.”
“Not anymore, he doesn’t. Let go, Harry!”
“Since when is it up to you to decide whether he—”
“Shut up, the pair of you!”
My attention turned to Potter, who was currently in the midst of digging his shoes into the back of Weasley’s heels to prevent the wild redhead from moving. Both Granger and Weasley hushed immediately at the tone of Potter’s voice.
He spoke to Weasley over his shoulder, “Control yourself, mate. You hear?”
With utmost reluctance, Weasley nodded, scowling as Potter let him loose. He did not refrain from giving me the deadliest glare he could muster, however.
For the longest and most unendurable of moments, no one said a word nor moved a muscle. The silence was like a dead weight, causing me to tire and wish it would be penetrated.
So, naturally, I was the one who was smart enough to break it. “Look, can we sit down and talk for a bit? I’ve got—”
“A lot to say, yeah,” snarled Weasley, staring pointedly at me as he plopped grumpily onto the sofa. Once we were all seated—Potter and I on the carpet facing the sofa and Granger tentatively seated next to Weasley—, silence once again dominated the room.
I did not let it last, however, beginning throatily, “I really don’t know how better to say this, but—”
Weasley, as I had so happily anticipated, interrupted me, “—You’ve been a right bastard and deserve to go to hell?”
“Ronald!!!” And, before he knew what was going on, he received a hard—extremely loud kind of hard—slap across the face from his lady-friend.
He gaped at Granger, as did both Potter and I. The violence was something we had surely expected, oh, yes, but not from her. I barely held back a smile at the look of pure triumph on Granger’s face. I could tell that she had been itching to slap him for some time.
What did make me smile—I couldn’t hold it back this time—was how Granger recovered from her outburst (and out-fist) as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred.
Her prime and proper patient posture (what a mouthful) didn’t help me any. “You had something you wished to say, Malfoy?”
My smile leapt and gone before I spoke, “Yes. I…well, I have many things to say, really…and I’ll try to sum everything up in a sentence or two, which is hardly enough…I don’t know how I can say anything that can amount to—”
“On with it,” Potter encouraged me. Right.
“Well,” I paused, taking in a breath and letting it out through my apology, “Weasley had it right, actually…I deserved to go to the bad place. I know it’s not enough to say I’m sorry, but…er…I am. Terribly. Painfully. Excruciatingly. Infinitely—”
I did have to agree with his obvious annoyance—my apology sounded chessily dramatic.
I got down to what I was really here to say to them, what I had been so determined to say and do that caused me to bolt from the hospital wing. “Well, my real point is…er…I owe you. Majorly.”
Weasley muttered, “He’s got something right.”
For the first time during the conversation, I directed my words to Granger. “I want to fight.”
Weasley hopped up like a jack rabbit from his place and said eagerly, posing in fighting stance, “Best idea yet, ferret boy! That earns you the first blow!” Granger pushed him forcefully back onto the couch and gave him a glare of disapproval and annoyance. She crossed her arms and huffed; at least she was herself again.
“Not that sort of fight, Ronald,” she tried to scold without scorn, but scolding without scorn for her was pathetically attempted, yet never successful. Potter had ignored Weasley’s immature disruption and had his eyes on me. I could tell that he was mildly surprised and was observing me in attempt to understand me—a pointless effort since I don’t even understand myself.
“You want to fight with us?” he asked very quietly, so quietly that I hardly recognized it as his voice at all. He had only ever talked to me in dulcet tones before then.
I didn’t answer right away. “Yes.”
I glanced at Granger, and my spirits lightened slightly; she was smiling. I knew that even if her friends did not accept me, she would. She would.
However, considering the situation, I needed to be on at least slightly better terms with Potter or I wouldn’t be allowed to help them. “Potter, I don’t care if you hate me or would rather see me shoved off the edge of the earth—that would actually be fitting. But I feel I must fight against him now. He took my mother, he took my pride, and he took away an innocent bystander who means so much to you. I can’t just sit here blaming myself. I need to be out there.” My determination was so intense that I didn’t know how I could stand it.
I added with finality and force, “She won’t die, and that’s a promise; I’ll die upon that promise if I have to.” For some reason, my eyes were locked with Granger’s as I said this. Her expression told me that she was full of emotion—what emotion is a mystery to me. But whatever she was feeling, it was so strong that I couldn’t turn my eyes away. It was so powerful that it seemed to surge through my veins, also, though I was still at loss as to what it was.
Potter’s voice broke our gaze. “Alright. Ron—go fetch the invisibility cloak. Hermione—some Felix Felicis would do wonders. I’ll—”
Granger was flabbergasted. “We’re leaving now?” I didn’t see why it was such a surprising thing; I was ready to take on anyone at anytime at this point. Potter, though he did not say it aloud, had accepted my offer to fight.
He was pacing in front of the fire now, and I had to strain my neck to look up at him from my position on the floor. “Of course! Did you just expect us to sit here?”
“But…well, it just seems a bit—”
“A bit what?!” Potter’s voice had risen, and he had stopped pacing to fume at her, “There’s no telling what he’s doing to Ginny right now, and, frankly, I’d rather not know. We have to go immediately!”
Granger was still unsure as she fiddled with her nails, not looking Potter in the eye. “Yes, I understand, Harry, it’s just…well, the last time someone was in trouble, it was a trap, and—”
He was so heated, I was afraid that he might strangle her. “Sirius was different!” Angry tears glistened in his emerald eyes. “We know he has Ginny, no thanks to Malfoy,” I fidgeted where I sat. “He didn’t have Sirius…and Voldemort didn’t send me a vision about this—it’s real, Hermione. This. Is. Real.”
She stood, throwing her hands up in defeat, resigning, “Oh, Harry…alright. I-I’ll run and see if Slughorn stocks Felix, though I’m not sure where—”
“Just nick it, Hermione,” Weasley said as if it were the most obvious answer to their problem. My eyebrows raised; did these truth-obsessed Gryffindors actually resort to stealing?
Apparently, they did. “But Ron…we almost were caught last time; I don’t much fancy risking—”
“Hermione,” Potter reasoned impatiently, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
“Harry, I really don’t think—”
“Look,” said Weasley, standing and advanced toward her. “If we got away with the Polyjuice Potion, we can get away with this.”
I could barely understand them stealing at all…but for the making of one of the most illegal potions in existence?
“Woah, Polyjuice,” I couldn’t help but intervening, “You three would’ve done well in Slytherin.”
For some reason, Potter was particularly effected by my comment and snarled, “Don’t ever say that again, you hear?” I nodded fervently—for the first time I could remember, I was truly a bit frightened of Potter; his icy glare spoke volumes.
He turned back to Granger. “Just…just get the ingredients. You can be under the cloak. Malfoy will be the diversion.”
Yes, master. I nodded, holding back the retort; I knew it wouldn’t have been worth the trouble.
Ten minutes later, Granger and I reached the dungeons. We had come up with the simplest of all diversions—the guard-the-door-and-don’t-let-others-inside method. I double-checked to see if anyone was present in the corridor outside the potion’s classroom, then said hastily, “Get under the cloak.” She did so and disappeared instantly. The only way I was able to tell that she was still there was her loud breathing (we had run a marathon to get down to the dungeons).
“God, I wish I had one of those…nicking food from the kitchens would have been much easier…”
I heard a whisper from beside me, “Let’s just get this over with…the plan?”
I recited, “I’ll yell dementor at the top of my lungs if there’s trouble. There won’t be any, so I don’t see why you’re worried, Granger.”
“Is that why you’re trembling?” She did not answer me, but I heard her scowl slightly under the invisibility cloak.
“Alright,” she whispered. “I’m off.” Without so much as a slight breeze from the switch of her cloak, she entered the potion’s classroom, leaving me alone outside. I did not receive a rush of paranoia as I used to when trying to sneak about the castle. Even though it was not after hours, I knew if we were caught down here, we would surely be expelled (stealing class supplies wasn’t exactly charitable work). During my early Hogwarts years, I had snuck out of bed after hours with Crabbe and Goyle simply for the thrill of doing so. We often did not stay out for long; once the rebellious euphoria wore off, we never knew where to go. However, in the last few years, I had taken advantage of my Malfoy stealth for malicious reasons as opposed to silly ones. I had gone uncountable times to the Disappearing Room that used to be used for the Defense Army (or whatever Potter called it) back in 5th year to plan my attacks on Dumbledore and travel to Borgin and Burkes through the fixed vanishing cabinet.
Now that I think about it, I had gone out after hours for more foolish reasons than I had serious ones. I seem to vividly recall spending several outings in secluded corridors or towers with an assortment of giggly girlfriends on weekends. We never did anything…far, so to speak, but somehow, most of the school population had the impression that I was a travelling sleeper. I never had minded having that reputation—it was the slaps from angry ex’s that bothered me. Maybe I shouldn’t have given them the impression that I only loved them…
I almost snorted—I had an absurd thought. Granger was one of those girls that I snuck off with…only for different reasons entirely, but it was still comical. I just cannot see her in the same position as the others. It would be so out of context! There was one Ravenclaw girl—and, yes, I extended my personal life beyond the Slytherins on occasion—who asked if I would runaway with her to Africa after a particularly enjoyable evening on the Astronomy Tower. After I ardently refused, she broke up with me. Before I knew it, she started getting cozy with an obnoxious Hufflepuff boy outside Transfiguration one day. I never saw either of them again; I strongly suspect that he took up on her Africa offer. I laughed out loud—the thought of Granger begging me to runaway with her to the jungle was simply hilarious.
I was still chuckling when the door opened and Granger slipped out, throwing off the cloak.
It took her a minute before she turned to me and froze in mid stance. “Why are you laughing?”
I sent her a crooked grin. “You don’t wish to runaway with me to the Congo, do you?” Her expression was priceless.We began to walk back down the corridor and up the dungeon staircase.
“I’m not so sure I should answer that…”
“Good thinking,” I said, then changed the subject, “Did Slughorn have Felix in stock?”
“Yes,” she answered, her voice not comically nervous as it had been with the Africa talk, “Thank goodness, or we’d have been out of luck.”
“Literally,” I smirked, and, to my surprise, I received a smile in return. Only hours before, I had convinced myself that she would hate me for the rest of eternity. I had definitely underestimated Granger; she truly was a loyal friend.
Once we had returned to the Heads’ common room portrait and gave Newt the password, I hesitated, stopping Granger from entering through the hole in the wall.
“Look, I just wanted to tell you that I’m really so—”
She placed a finger over her mouth and a hand on my shoulder to silence me. Her grip on my shoulder was very subtle, yet it provided warmth to my whole body. How is it that she could have that effect on me?
“Save it,” she cooed in a whisper. The warmth I felt only increased. She took her hand away from my shoulder and my temperature regulation was back to normal. Maybe having the Felix Felicis in her robes made her hands warmer for some reason…
“Are you expecting to close me anytime soon, children, or is this a form of protest against passwords?” Newt’s emphasis on the word “children” would have been enough in itself to get his point across.
Granger and I apologized hastily and gave Mr. Scammander what he had been hoping for—his back planted against the wall.
“That certainly took a while. Didn’t it, Harry? Didn’t they take far too long find the Felix?”
I had a sudden, childish urge to stick my tongue out at Weasley, but I restrained myself and kept my tongue in check. Both Potter and Weasley had returned from their errands and were standing in front of the fire.
“No,” Potter scowled, rolling his eyes. He caught Granger’s eye when we entered farther into the room and quit moving (he had been pacing again). “Don’t get your tubes tied, mate.”
“That’s what I thought he might’ve been up t—”
“So,” Potter intervened, oblivious to Weasley’s complaints. “Did you get it? Did you get the Felix?”
She smiled and held up a medium-sized flask of bubbly liquid. “Luckily enough.” She cast me a knowing glance.
Relieved, he sighed, “Thanks a bunch, Hermione.”
Unfortunately, not everyone was pleased. “Thanks a bunch, Hermione. Right—as if she wasn’t doing other things while she was at it—”
“What is it now, Ron?” Granger snapped, clearly annoyed at her fiery friend. I had a pretty accurate guess as to what he was harping about, and it didn’t help matters any. I stood up abruptly, knowing that there was a battle firing up.
I decided to clear things up bluntly, “Look, Weasley—she’s all yours.”
“Yeah,” he sneered; the git was so immature. “Once you’re done with her.”
“Oh, is that what this is about?” Granger’s voice was much louder this time. “Ronald, you’re acting out of order.”
“He’s out of order!”
Potter muttered, “Out of your league, more like…”
Granger rounded on him, causing Potter to practically cower away. “Not you, too!”
He raised up his hands and rose, defending, “I’m not part of this! Keep your hair on.”
Weasley never let it rest, did he? “Why so angry about it, eh? Is it a sensitive topic for you? It’s certainly how you act whenever I bring up Victor—”
“—Only because you’re unable to keep your jealousy at bay!”
She seemed to have touched a nerve. Weasley started toward her with fists at his sides, his knuckles pure white.
“Oh, so you admit that Malfoy’s an issue now? He’s definitely become—”
“I said nothing of the sort!!!”
“But you didn’t deny it, either, so—”
“SHUT UP!” Potter bellowed above their shouts. The ringing silence followed immediately, as if on cue.
“All immaturity aside—let’s talk seriously now. Alright?” He made sure that his voice was calm and reserved, though I could tell that he wanted to scream at the world right then and there; frankly, I didn’t blame him. Had Weasley always been such a cracked up fool?
Potter began discussing what we were to do about the rescue party for Ginny Weasley. We decided to head out early the next morning when we would least expect to be seen wandering the corridors (the invisibility cloak would only cover two of us squatting down low). Weasley wondered why we weren’t planning any intricate ways to save his sister, but Potter had a good point—we had no idea where exactly she was, who (or what) was guarding her, or what conditions she was in. There would be no way to have a clever rescue plan. I told him where we were to head first, however—the valley in which I was tortured at the last death eater meeting. The Dark Lord, believing that Potter and the Order did not know of his whereabouts, would most likely still be stationed at the same hideout. Though I do not know the name of the location, I would be able to Apparate there by memory of the evil place.
There was only one slight problem.
“We can’t all go.”
“What?!?” the trio asked in unison.
I shook my head sadly. “I’m sorry…but since I’m only able to Side-along one person at a time—”
“You could Disapparate back and forth and pick us up one-by-one, couldn’t you?” Weasley suggested, hopeful for anything. They all cared dearly for Ginny Weasley; I could see it in all of their eyes and expressions. They did not want to be left behind unless absolutely unavoidable.
Unfortunately, it was, as Potter pointed out, “No, he couldn’t do that. He shouldn’t leave anyone alone while he retrieves the rest of us…who knows who—or what—will be waiting for us.”
While he had been speaking, I realized, “And even if we risked that, I wouldn’t be able to Disapparate back. The Dark Lord has a special system where if you Apparate to him, you can’t Disapparate unless given permission.”
Granger scowled, rubbing her temples and looking at the floor. “How convenient.”
“Well,” Potter finalized, “This means only one of us can go with him.”
“Hey!” Weasley suddenly stood up angrily. “Who says he has to go? Why can’t two of—”
“Because I am God,” I said sarcastically, then snapped, unable to hold it back, “I’m the only one who’s been there, you idiot. Why else?” He made the inclination to pound me to the ground, but Potter prevented him from throwing himself onto of me. Again. One would think I was just simply irresistible under other circumstances.
“So,” Granger said quietly, not looking at either of her friends, “Who of us will go with him?” I thought it was obvious who would end up being the chosen one…The Chosen One would be the chosen one. He always was.
“I’ll go,” blurted Weasley without hesitation. “I care about her.”
Granger countered, “We all care about Ginny, Ron. She’s practically our sister, too.” She took note of Potter’s expression of unbelief, then hastily added, “Well, not you, Harry, obviously.”
“Yes, but…she’s my responsibility. I can’t just let—”
“Hey!” Potter snapped, “I believe I share some of that responsibility!”
“But she’s my sister!”
“I love her!!”
“Well, so do I!!!"
It was my turn to be the mediator; I turned to Granger, saying loud enough to be heard by the other two, “This isn’t exactly the mature approach, is it?!?” After a few more mumbled protests, Weasley and Potter plopped moodily back onto the couch (Granger and I were on the floor this time).
I had a better idea how to handle this. “Let’s just sleep on it, shall we? This way, we’ll be able to cut some steam and use our heads.” Potter and Weasley exchanged grimaces but did not seem to have any other solutions.
A few minutes later, Potter and Weasley made to leave the common room. Weasley had already struggled his lanky way through the portrait hole when Potter beckoned me to the side out of earshot of both Weasley and Granger. What did he wish to tell me?
“Mufliato,” he muttered a spell I had never heard before, explaining, “I don’t want this overheard…”
He lowered his voice and told me, his tone as serious as I had ever heard it, “Look, Malfoy, I think you should choose who goes with you to the mountains. But I have a strong suggestion.” He made sure we had eye contact, then proposed, “I didn’t want to seem selfish with the other two, but I really believe I should be the one. And this isn’t because I love her; it’s because I know that if I have to, I’ll fight Voldemort for the last time. I can’t give you details, but I’m the only one who’s able to defeat him. I don’t want anyone else killed because of me. Alright?” I nodded. “Just consider that.”
Without another word, he muttered something else under his breath (most likely a counterspell to what I assumed was some sort of anti-eavesdropping charm) and followed out where Weasley had already gone. I stared after where they had gone for a few moments, though I didn’t see what was in my line of vision. My thoughts were swarming and faraway from the confines of the common room. When I turned back around, I found Granger’s eyes on me. Why did she do that now?
After realizing that I hadn’t eaten hardly anything in days, Granger and I decided a trip to the kitchens was a wonderful idea. Once satisfactorily nourished, we spent the remainder of the day bidding our time in front of the fire, barely speaking. It was a relief when night finally came and welcomed bed.
I know Potter is right—he has to be the one to come with me. There is no question about it. Despite the fact that I might die tomorrow, I can’t help but feel quite excited. This is my chance to prove that I have changed, that I finally care. I cannot wait to see the look on my master’s face when I arrive with Potter. Hopefully, though I’d like to have the satisfaction from the Dark Lord’s shock, I never get the chance to see his face. Otherwise, there would be a fight. The fight.
For the first time in my life, I finally feel confident and sure of something. I will fight.
And the fight’s worth fighting for.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'm sorry I took a few weeks to get this next entry in! The semester has had a stressful start. How did you like Entry Eight? Will Ginny be found/rescued? Will Harry fight Voldy once and for all? Please leave a REVIEW or two with your thoughts. Check back for the next entry every once in a while!
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