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Chapter 17 : |Chapter 11| And There Will Be Justice For All
| ||Rating: Mature||Chapter Reviews: 13|
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It had been two days since the meeting. Two days since the discovery of the spy. Two days since Roxi’s capture and escape from Voldemort. The weekend was over and today was supposed to be the day that Roxi left the Burrow and returned to work. However, when Molly asked her where she was going to go, Roxi informed her that, after work, she was going back to the room she had rented at the Inn not far from there. Now we all know Molly of course, and Molly Weasly simply wouldn’t have any part in that.
“Now Roxi, that’s just silly,” she replied when Roxi had stated where she was going. “Do you even know how long you’re going to be staying here?” To which Roxi shook her head no. “Well then, why pay to stay at the inn when you don’t even know how long you’re going to be there? No one knows how long this war’s going to last, it could be years, and you really can’t be expected to stay there that long! I know, why don’t you move in here with us? Goodness know we have plenty of room! What do you say, hmmm?”
Roxi had taken Molly up on her offer this morning and moved all of her things into Charlie’s old room, which was conveniently located right across the hall from Draco. It was now lunchtime and Arthur was getting ready to go into work himself. He was sitting at the kitchen table, sipping his coffee when an owl delivered the day’s edition of the Daily Prophet. He had just taken another sip as he unfolded the paper and upon seeing the front page news, the coffee came spewing back out of Arthur’s mouth. “WHAT?” He shouted.
A startled Molly dropped her wand. “Good heavens, Arthur, you gave me a fright!” she exclaimed, scrambling to retrieve it. “What on earth was that for?” she demanded. Bur Arthur didn’t answer his wife, as his nose was now buried deep in the paper. “Arthur, did you hear me? What’s going on?” She then bent over her husband to get a look at the paper for herself.
“Oh my…” Molly trailed off, getting lost in the article herself. They were both so consumed by the news that neither one of them noticed Roxi come into the kitchen and pour herself a glass of orange juice.
“Whacha readin’?” Roxi inquired, causing both of the Weasley’s to jump. Arthur quickly folded up the paper and Molly hurried back to the stove.
“I-It’s nothing,” said Arthur breathlessly. “Just the news.”
“Cool! Can I see it?”
“No!” He replied fast.
Roxi gave Arthur a suspicious look. “Why not?”
“Uh, because,” he replied. “You’re new here, so you don’t know, but I happen to have a routine. Everyday I drink a cup of coffee and I read the paper before I have to go into work. And no one disrupts my routine!”
“Uh-hu… So, can I see it?” she asked again with a laugh.
“No! Didn’t you just hear me? I said I’m not done with it yet!”
“Well you’re not the only one who has to work today,” Roxi stated.
“Yes, but I have to be there in 35 minutes. You on the other hand, don’t have to be in until 2:00 this afternoon!”
“Arthur Weasley, if you don’t hand over that newspaper right now, I swear I… I’ll… I’ll just go to the store and, uh, buy my own!”
Arthur glanced up at her from behind the paper. “And you haven’t left yet because…?”
“Oh Arthur, for goodness sake,” exclaimed Molly. “Don’t you dare make that poor girl go all the way to the store! Just give her the damn paper. Everyone’s going to know about it sooner or later anyways.”
“Molly, I really don’t think that’s such a very -”
“- I’ll take that!” Roxi said, cutting Arthur’s statement short as she snatched the paper out of his hands while he was looking away. She glanced at the front page. “OH MY GOD!” she yelled.
“- Good idea.” Arthur finished. “Now, if you don’t mind, I’ll have that-” he snatched the paper away from Roxi, “-back now.”
“Wait! I have got to finish reading that!” Roxi demanded, scrambling over to Arthur.
“I haven’t even read it all yet!” Molly stated. “Let me see it dear…”
Then the two women leaned over one of Arthur’s shoulders and the three of them all started reading the paper together. They were all so consumed by the front page that, just as when Roxi came in, neither of them noticed Draco walk into the room. He went over to the fridge, poured himself a glass of milk, then took his usual seat at the table. “Anything good in the news?” Draco asked casually, taking a sip from his glass of milk. There was an audible gasp from the three of them as they all looked up from the paper and stared at Draco in shock.
After a beat, Molly Weasley was the first to recover. “Draco!” she exclaimed. “What are you doing down here?”
“Um, I came down here to join you for lunch, like I always do. Every day. At this time. That is your rule, isn’t it?” he reminded her. “That I join you for each and every family meal.”
“Oh, right. My rule. Of course it is!” she said quickly. “Well then, Draco, can I get you anything? Some more milk perhaps? Or I could make you a sandwich, or brew you some fresh sweet tea,” Molly was rambling on and on, trying to be as sweet and innocent as possible.
It wasn’t working. Draco saw right through her transparent behavior. “Alright, what’s going on?” he asked bluntly. The three of them all scrambled at once to answer him.
“- N-Nothing!” Roxi stammered. “Nothing is going on here. Absolutely nothing at al!”
“- What’s going on?” Repeated Arthur. “What do you mean; what’s going on?”
“- Dear, nothing is going on,” said Molly.
“Right,” said Draco skeptically. “Then why are you all being so nice to me? I’m not stupid! What the hell is in that paper?”
“Well would you look at the time!” Arthur announced. “It’s time for me to go to work!” He got up and kissed his wife upon the cheek. “Good luck dear,” he whispered into her ear.
Arthur’s abrupt departure was followed by a long awkward silence between the three of them, in which they all looked at one another, each waiting for the other to be the first one to speak. Finally, Molly decided to try and change the subject. “Draco, dear, are you sure I can’t get you some more milk, or something? Isn’t there anything you need? Anything at all?”
“Yeah,” he said. “I need to know what’s going on here! You two are keeping something from me and I demand to know what it is!”
“Well, alrighty then,” Roxi prattled. “Look Draco, there really isn’t any easy way for me to tell you this, Soo, I’m not going to tell you anything at all!” She then thrust the Daily Prophet towards him. “Here ya go! Everything you need to know is in there.”
“Roxi!” Molly gasped. “I really don’t think that’s the best way I-I mean, this is a very sensitive issue we’re dealing with here, and -”
“- Are you going to be the one to tell him all that?” Roxi challenged. “Because I sure as hell ain’t!”
“Ugh!” Molly exclaimed, throwing her hands up in the air in clear annoyance. Then she went back to leaning over the stove, slaving to get dinner done early.
Draco slowly unfolded the paper. A sharp intake of breath escaped him as he stared directly into the eyes of his father. A large picture of Lucius Malfoy was plastered onto the front page of the Prophet, with a heading that read: DEATH EATER SURRENDERS! And underneath the picture, the article began: “Last night, at approximately 1:00 in the morning, Death Eater Lucius Malfoy surrendered himself into Ministry of Magic custody. He claims to feel remorse for all that he has done and is said to be giving up at last. The Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, has informed us that, despite him turning himself in, Lucius Malfoy is still to receive the Death Sentence. However, the Minister it seems, is doing things a tad bit differently this time…”
Draco read, and re-read, the article quickly in complete silence. Then, without a word to anyone, he got up from the table and went back upstairs. As he lay in his bed, the last words of the final statement in the article were echoing in the back of his head: “Rest assured, says the Minister, By this time next week, Lucius Malfoy will be no more…” His father had been sentenced to death. That was it. There was no way out of it this time. The law was final. And, here within the next few days, Draco would be the only Malfoy left alive. And how long will that last? he wondered.
A few moments later, Roxi came in to find Draco sitting up, cross-legged on the bed, his face buried in his hands. He wasn’t crying, as she expected him to be. Instead, he was still. He sat there, motionless, contemplating the news he had just read. She sat down on the corner, at the edge of the bed, and waited patiently for Draco to be the first to speak.
At last, Draco said, “I can’t believe it, he figured it out after all.” Roxi was taken aback. Of all the things she thought he’d say, that was not one of them. “I-I mean, you were just saying here the other night that my father was trying to kill himself, but had no means of doing so,” Draco explained. “Well, it looks like he just found a means, doesn’t it? Turning himself in like that. I guess he‘s just decided to let the Ministry of Magic do it for him.”
Oh, now it makes sense, Roxi thought. “So, are you going to go tonight?” she asked softly, still unsure of how he would react.
“Are you?” he spat.
“Well, I- I do have to work tonight, so I suppose I will be there. I just don’t know weather or not I’m going to be put there exactly. It’s hard to say really.”
Draco shook his head. “All these years I’ve spent wishing my father were dead, wishing he would just go away and never come back, wanting him out of my life forever… Now that I seem to be getting what I’ve always wanted, I realize that what I thought I wanted was not exactly what I really ever wanted at all. Now that it comes down to it, I don’t want my father to die! I don’t want to be the only one left…”
“You know ,they always say to be careful with what you wish for.” Roxi had said this with the intent of lightening up the mood a bit, however, it had the opposite effect.
“Are you implying that I brought this all on myself?” Draco roared.
“What? No! That’s not what I meant at all!” She said defensively. “Draco, I - I am so sorry! That came out completely wrong and I-I never should have said that! Sorry!” She put a hand over her mouth.
“You should be sorry,” he sneered. Then he looked away from her and crossed his arms defiantly. “I don’t know if I want to go or not,” he said, speaking in a normal tone once more. “I mean, I do have more of a right than any of those people to be there. After all, he has screwed up my life a hell of a lot more than he has anyone else’s. So why shouldn’t I be there?”
“Do you think it’s right though, what the Minister is doing to him?” she inquired.
“Yes… And no. I-I mean, Voldemort killed my mother and a part of me yearns to just be able to take one shot at him, to pay him back for what he took from me. I am longing for revenge on Voldemort, and I am sure all those people are as well in the case of my father. But bringing in one person from the immediate family of every individual my father has killed, and then unleashing them upon him? I don’t know if I could take part in something like that morally. It’s barbaric to even think about! After all, there will be over 60 people there…”
“Well the Minister is trying to ensure justice for all,” she responded. “I mean, when you think about it, your father has quite a bit to make up for. He has wronged a lot of people and Rufus is only trying to be fair to all them, or at least, that’s what I think.”
Draco shrugged. “I suppose when you consider it logically, like that, it makes sense. But what I don’t get is that it’s not very Ministry-like behavior. This is more something the Death Eaters would do; something they might find funny. Not the strictly-by-the-book Ministry of Magic. It‘s not like them to host a punishment like this.”
“I wonder who came up with it then,” Roxi pondered.
“It doesn’t matter who,” he said. “The point is that they did, and now they’re doing it.”
After a moment, she him asked again; “so, are you gonna go?”
“I just told you, I don’t know!” he shouted. Then he asked softly, “I’d at least like to have a chance to say goodbye and let him know that I do believe everything you told me.”
“Then I think you should go, Draco,” she said seriously. “For this may be your only chance at that. I highly doubt that the Minister of Magic will allow somebody like Lucius Malfoy the luxury of Visitation Rights. In fact, I‘m pretty sure that the law clearly states that he has no rights, given that he is a Death Eater and all.”
Draco sighed. “I don’t know,” he said again. “I’ll have to think about it I suppose.”
Roxi nodded. “I can tell you need to be alone,” she said softly. “I’ll let you have some peace and quiet now, to think it all over. I need to go and get ready for work anyways. I have to be there in one hour. I’ll talk to you later, Draco,” she said, getting up from the bed. “And good luck figuring it all out,” she said earnestly. “I know you’ll do the right thing.” And with that, she left him alone to mull over everything that was going on…
Draco Malfoy had been at the Ministry of Magic for a little over an hour now. He was standing at the back of the room in which his father, Lucius Malfoy, was being “punished” for the crimes in which he had committed, by those in which he had committed them against. After finally getting up enough nerve to come here, he had crept into the back of the room about 10 minutes after it had began. He was wearing a long grey traveling cloak, and never bothered to remove his hood off after taking up his place in line. For Draco Malfoy was no fool. He knew that there were still witches & wizards out there who disagreed with the Minister’s decision to grant him his freedom and that, more likely that not, every single person in this room was one of them!
These people were all here to bring about the end of Lucius Malfoy because he had murdered their loved-ones. They were all there for the same thing: Revenge. So, how would it look if Lucius Malfoy -the one whom they were prosecuting-’s son turned up in their midst? He knew damn well that he would not be welcomed here if he were recognized anybody in this large, angry crowd. Therefore, he was sure to keep his head down, doing his best to remained concealed.
The man at the end of the line had kindly let Draco go in front of him when he came in. At first, he just passed this off as maybe the man was waiting for somebody else. But then, when 5 or 6 more people came in, he allowed them all to cut in front as well, insisting that he had to be the last in line. Draco thought this behavior to be quite suspicious, seeing how as everybody else in the room could hardly wait to get their hands on Lucius Malfoy. They were all dying to have a piece of him. He tried to keep a close watch on the man as he waited in line, but this, however, proved to be a difficult feat, for the majority of his attention-span had to remain focused on keeping his emotions in check.
Every time his father cried out in pain, Draco had to resist the urge to run up onto the platform and protect him. He knew that he could not interfere with what the Minister had decided to do. Lucius’ death was emanant, there was nothing he could do to stop it from happening. He was simply here to pay his last respects to the man who had raised him, nothing more. Still, it was a very difficult thing to have to watch. He stood there, gritting his teeth, clenching his fists, and squeezing his eyes shut, breathing heavily with the pent-up rage he was now feeling towards all of these people. Sure, he couldn’t blame them for being angry, they had every right to be angry! But, acting like this? After all, this was the kind of thing that the Death Eater’s would do. The sort of thing that they might find funny.
For his one-shot at Lucius, and to much applause from the crowd, a rather large and burly man had grabbed his father’s arm, the one bearing the Dark Mark on it, and bent it back in the wrong direction until it snapped. This caused Lucius to howl the loudest he had so far. Draco actually winced too, but thankfully it was not heard over the booming crowd. He seen so much in that last hour, so many dreadful things. Some used curses on Lucius, but others preferred the use of their bare hands. They punched him in the face, kicked him in the ribs, and even in the groin several times, One woman had even grabbed a handful of his hair and bounced his head off the stone floor, causing blood to trickle down the side of his face, staining Lucius’ pale blonde hair.
Standing there now, watching all of this take place, Draco still did not know weather or not he had made the right decision in coming here tonight. Nor did he know what he would do once he got up onto the platform where Lucius was. All he knew was that his turn was slowly drawing nearer and nearer.
When it was finally his turn, Draco slowly walked up onto the platform, his heart pounding. By the time he reached his father, he was trembling with rage. As he towered over Lucius, the whole crowd grew silent - just as they had done with everyone else, while they waited to see what he would do next. Draco stood there, allowing all the awful memories of his childhood to flow through his brain. Then he remembered finding out the truth about the day he was born, and discovering his entire life had been a lie. He thought of his mother and the sacrifice she had made for him, which in turn reminded him of the countless number of fight his parents had had over him. He had been so angry at Lucius for so long now, and this was his chance to finally release some of that anger.
He slowly drew back his fist, preparing to strike. And as he did do, Lucius looked up and froze, his eyes wide with shock. Only he could see that the man underneath of the hood, who was towering over him now, was his son. He lowered his head and closed his eyes, bracing himself. This is it, he thought. Draco hasn’t forgiven me then. He does still hate me…
Just as Draco was about to bring his fist down upon his father, he heard Roxi’s voice in the back of his head. He remembered her saying, just a few nights ago, that everything Lucius had done, he had done so to protect him from Lord Voldemort. And he had excepted that as the truth, had he not? He had forgiven his father completely… So then, why was he standing here now with his fist raised?
Draco screamed as he brought his fist down, putting all of his strength into it. He punched the ground. Hard. His fist hitting just inches away from Lucius’ face. He was almost certain that he had broken his knuckle in the process, but that didn’t matter to him right now. As he had stooped down to strike his father, his hood had blown off and now everyone in the room knew who he was. They gasped as they realized that Lucius Malfoy’s son had been among them this whole time.
Draco was panting as if he had just ran a marathon, his heart was racing. “I can’t do it,” he whispered. Then he yelled at the top of his lungs, “I CAN’T DO IT!”
One man in yelled, “Get the hell off the stage then!” Which was followed by several agreements from within the crowd. Draco slowly got to his feet and turned to face them as they bombarded him with their protests.
“Who invited him?”
“He has a lot of nerve showing up here like this!”
“What the hell is he doing here anyways?”
“Yeah, what the hell are you doing here, Malfoy!” The disgusting emphasis the last man had put on Draco’s last name caused him to snap.
“What the hell am I doing here?” he spoke softly. “What the hell am I doing here?” he repeated, shouting it this time. “I’ll tell you what the hell I’m doing; the same thing as all of you! Getting my shot at revenge is what!”
“Yeah, right, like we‘re going to believe that! That man is your father!”
“You’re damn right he is! And you’ve got no clue what is was like being raised by him, now do you?” he shot back. “I have more a right to be standing up here right now that any of you people,” he shouted. “After all, that man” - he jerked his hand back towards his father, and Lucius flinched involuntarily - “has screwed up my life a hell of a lot more than he has anybody else’s! Not a damn one of you know what I‘ve been put through because of him! So how dare you question why I‘m here!”
“Get off the stage!”
“Yeah, stop protecting him! We all know you’re just like him!”
“I am NOT like him at all,” Draco insisted. “And I will never put my children through half the things he’s put me through! This man has taken everything from me! My childhood, my youth, my confidence, my self-respect, my entire life basically! It’s all been 20 years of pure hell because of him! I’ve never had any real friends, because he never allowed it! Growing up, I was never allowed to go outside and play with any of the other kids because, well, lets face it, I wasn’t even allowed to be a kid! And anytime I would even remotely act like one, my father would always smack me around and say things like; ‘stop acting like a baby Draco, it’s time for you to grow up now Draco, you’re not a child anymore Draco!’ " he said, immatating Lucius' voice.
"I got so sick of hearing it! Nothing I have done in my life has ever been good enough for dear-old-dad, now has it?” He turned on his father. “Admit it," he spat. "I was never a good enough son for you, was I father?”
“Draco,” Lucius said weakly “I-I, you know that I -”
“- I don’t wanna hear it!” he yelled, cutting his father off sharply. Then he turned back to face the crowd, none of them were daring to interrupt Draco now. They were all so shocked by his outburst, that none of them really could find the words to speak, even if they‘d wanted to. And so Draco ranted on.
“My point is that I am pretty screwed up now because of him! I can’t even seem to keep my emotions in check anymore, because he never allowed me to have them growing up. I’ve never been allowed to express myself before, never had the freedom of speech that you all take for granted. It was always; keep your trap shut and do as I say, Draco!” he said, imitating Lucius’ voice again, as he had done before.
It was at this was the point in the conversation that just Roxi happened to walk in to the back of the room. She was on her lunch break, and had decided to stop by to check how Lucius’ punishment had turned out. Instead, this is what she walked into! She froze by the door and listened intently to every word Draco was saying.
“Emotions make you weak. That’s what he always taught me. But I have recently learned that this is a lie! Hell, everything he’s ever taught me is a LIE! Emotions don’t make you weak, they make you human!”
Oh my gosh, thought Roxi. I taught him that! That must mean he really does listen to me!
“Not even my perfect father back there is exempt from having them. Why else do you think he is allowing all of you to treat him like this? Why else do you suppose he's turned himself in? Because he feels remorse, that’s why! Because, weather he likes to admit it or not, he has feelings, the same as all of you!
"Now, I can't say I blame you all for being angry. I don’t blame you for wanting revenge. I’s a perfectly natural thing to want after you loose someone close to you. I should know, Voldemort killed my mother” -an audible gasp arose from the crowd as Draco mentioned the Dark Lord’s name. - “He killed her right in front of me, and her dead body landed practically in my lap!" Draco's throat clenched tightly as he fought back another torrent of tears. He was not about to give these people the satisfaction of crying in front of them.
"Don’t think I’m standing up here just to hear myself talk! I can identify with each and every one of you! And oh, what I would not give to have piece of Voldemort’s ass for what he has done to me! But I know now that it doesn’t matter. Even if I could extract revenge upon him, what difference would it make? It surely wouldn’t bring my mother back to me, nothing ever can!
“So I must ask you all now, what is the point? Now you all know why I’m here, but why exactly are you here? Is what you’ve done tonight going to make it all any better? Has it made you feel good about yourselves? You take a good look at that man behind me and you just look at what you’ve done to him! Look at what your anger has caused. Look at yourselves even! Do you know what you all remind me of? DEATH EATERS!" he screamed. The crowd simultaneously gasped, clearly offended that he would dare compare them to people like the Death Eaters.
"What? You are!" he insisted. "I've been with them enough to know that this is exactly the kind of thing that they would d - the sort of thing that they might find amusing! It is certainly not anything I would have expected out of all of you! I mean, you’re all supposed to be the civilized witches and wizards of today, are you not? We’re all adults here, and yet the only adult-like behavior I’ve seen today comes from my father!
"Yeah, that’s right” - he added in response to the dirty looks he was getting now. “I am indeed talking about Lucius Malfoy back there. At least he was man enough to fess up to what he has done. At least he was able to admit that he was wrong! Whereas all of you have been parading about here all evening, gallivanting around and acting like Death Eaters! In all my lifer, I never would have thought I’d live to see something quite like this, and believe me, I’ve seen a lot of shit!
"But this" he shook his head in disgust. "This just tops the cake. You people are unbelievable! What would your children think if they had seen your behavior here tonight, hu? Think about that!” He took a moment to pause for dramatic effect. “Lucius Malfoy was able to come to his senses enough to at last admit that he was wrong. He has finally decided to tell the truth, for once in his life. And it is for that reason, that I have decided... to forgive him." Draco began to lower his voice now.
"Even after everything that he has done to me, everything he’s stolen from me, and all that he has put me through; I forgive him. And if I can stand up here and do that, even after all I’ve just told you,then why cant you do the same? Now I know my father is going to die. His sentence is just, and I am in no way trying to change that. All I’m asking is that you please, find a different way. There are hundreds of other ways you can kill him, just please… not like this..." he trailed off for a moment, taking the time to get his emotions under controll once more.
“I know now that there are only a handful of you left to come up here, so it hardly makes a damn bit difference what you decide to do from this point," he said. "If you still want to come up here and have a go at him, then I wont stand in your way. However, I will remind you each to think about what your doing. Think about how your behaving. Do you really want to partake in this Death-Eater-like activity? I’m done now… I will have no part in this.”
Then Draco stood aside and waited. Slowly, the crowd began making their way out, and the last couple of people who had been behind Draco began to follow them. Draco sighed in relief, glad that it was over. Roxi slowly started pushing her way to the front as everyone else was making their way towards the back. The Minister of Magic took the stage again, announcing that the session was finished. However, there was still just one man who was refusing to leave. The suspicious guy who had let so many people, Draco included, cut in front of him was up on the platform now, arguing with Scrimgeour.
“I’ve waited my turn in this bloody line all day, damn it!” he shouted. “And now I’m leaving until I get my shot at him, weather you like it or not. I rightly don’t give a shit what his boy has to say about it neither!”
“Didn’t you hear me?“ shouted Rufus. “I just said we’re done here!” A few people in the crowd stopped and turned around to see what all the commotion was about. Roxi stopped too, now in the middle of the room, to listen to what was being said
“And did you hear me? Because I said that I‘m not,” The man shouted back. Then he pointed a finger at Lucius. “That man killed my wife, and I intend to make him pay for it!” Upon hearing this, both of the Malfoy’s gaped at the man in shock.
“Let him come,” Lucius wheezed.
“Honestly, Lucius,” said the Minister, “haven’t I complied for you enough? I used your stupid idea already, and look at what it turned out to be!”
“Wait, what?” said a confused Draco. “His idea? You mean- you mean this wasn’t your plan, Minister? You didn’t come up with this punishment?”
“Heaven’s no,” he insisted. “I could have never come up like something like this on my own! Your father was so damn adamant about paying all these people back. So you see, you weren’t far off in thinking that this was a Death Eater kind of thing, my boy. I‘ve been waiting for it to be over since the moment it began!”
“It doesn’t matter, Rufus. Let him come,” Lucius said again, a little bit stronger now.
“My god, Lucius,” Rufus exclaimed. “Now I know this is a bit of a weak spot of yours, but how much more of this can you possibly take?”
“But Minister, I thought you wanted to kill him,” Draco said darkly.
“Well yes, but this -”
“- You heard him,” croaked the crazy man. “Now step aside Minister.” He slowly advanced upon Lucius and Draco, who was now standing only a few feet away from his father. He withdrew a dagger from under his cloak. Roxi, being a ways away from the scene, saw it before Lucius, Draco or Rufus did. She gasped and started running towards the platform. This can’t be good, she thought as she started pushing her way through the crowd once more.
“When Lucius Malfoy murdered my wife, he may as well have stabbed me in the heart!” The man rambled. “And now that is exactly what I intend to do to him!” He brandished the dagger so that all could see it. “And now I know just how I want to go about this too!”
“Now sir, really, there is no need for -” Rufus began, but he was too late. The man pushed past the Minister of Magic and ran, not for Lucius, but for Draco. He plunged the dagger into Draco’s chest not once, not twice, but three times before Rufus intercepted and pulled the man off of Draco.
“NO!” Roxi screamed. “Get the HELL OUT OF MY WAY!” She shouted at the people in front of her. She withdrew her wand and the crowd split in two at once. By this point, everyone in the room had stopped what they were doing and were staring at the scene unfolding up on the platform.
The crazy man broke free of the Minister’s grasp and tried to make a run for it. “SECURITY! Arrest that Man, right NOW!” Rufus Scrimgeour shouted. Two Aurors surrounded the man and carried him off at once. He stood no chance of getting away.
For Draco, everything was moving in slow-motion. He was in shock. It had all happened so fast that his brain couldn’t quite keep up for some reason. He felt lightheaded and all of a sudden, the room started spinning. He slowly moved a hand to his stomach, then withdrew it and looked down to examine it. His hand was covered in his own blood. Then he looked down at the floor, his vision fading in and out now, and already blood had spattered there as well. Gasping for air, he swayed back and forth a few times before falling onto his knees. Just as he was about to collapse, face first onto the floor, Roxi slid underneath of him just in time to catch his fall. she gently lowered Draco down the rest of the way, sobbing as she did so.
Lucius Malfoy was beside himself. Despite the incredible amount of pain he was in, he was now frantically scrambling on the ground, desperate to get to Draco. “NOOOOO,” he bellowed. “THAT’S MY SON! MY SON! DRACO!!!”
There were Aurors on him in an instant, doing their best to restrain him. “Mr. Malfoy, you need to come with us now,” they told him.
“No! My son, my son! I have to make sure my son is alright! DRACO!” He was doing his best to fight them off, but to no avail. One of the Aurors took out his wand and stunned Lucius with it. He quit struggling instantly and his body went limp. The Aurors then lifted him up and carried Lucius Malfoy away.
“Draco, look at me!” Roxi cried, holding his head in her lap. “You’re going to be okay, I just know it! You’re going to get through this.” Draco was struggling to catch his breath now. He groaned and looked up at her, clearly trying to say something. “Shhh! Don’t talk now, you need to save your strength. I’m going to get you some help. You’re going to be okay, I promise,” she said, reassuring herself as much as she was him. “WILL SOMEBODY GET ME SOME DAMN HELP OVER HERE!” She shouted at everyone in the room.
The Minister of Magic rushed over to them. “Excuse me Miss, if you will allow me.” He moved to pick up Draco but Roxi would not let him.
Instead, she started standing, carefully lifting Draco off the ground as she went. “I’ve got him,” she said.
“I said, if you’ll let me -”
“And I said I’VE GOT HIM!” she snapped. “Just tell me where I need to go!”
“Right,” Rufus said with a nod. “FUDGE! Get out here this instant!” Cornelius Fudge came scurrying out into the center of the platform. “Take this girl to St. Mungo’s, and when you get there, you make sure that Draco gets a room at once! If they give you any rash about it because of who he is, you tell them that I said to give him a room NOW!”
“Yes, sir. As you wish, sir. Right away, sir!” said Fudge.
Then the Minister leaned over and whispered something into Fudge’s ear so that nobody else could hear. “And you find out what she knows, got it?”
“Absolutely, sir," Fudge whispered back. "You’ve got it!” Then he ran ahead of Roxi. “Now follow me, follow me,” he commanded, leading the way. As Roxi carried Draco out of the room, his eyes met hers one last time. Then they slowly shut, and he saw no more…
When Draco awoke again, he was lying in bed, shirtless, and someone was bustling over him, muttering to herself as she did so. He’d know that muttering anywhere. He slowly cracked an eye open, but the light in the room was so blindingly bright that he had to force it shut again. He had seen just enough to notice that Roxi was asleep in a chair right next to his bed. He took a deep breath, and groaned at once as he realized that this was a mistake.
The Healer’s head snapped it’s attention onto his face at once. “Draco,” she whispered. “Are you awake?” He only groaned again in response. She sighed in relief. “Thank god! I almost thought we’d lost you this time! Don’t you ever scare me like that again, you hear?”
“Turn the damn light off,” was his response.
Annoyed at his reply, she went over to the window and threw the curtains shut with such force it startled Roxi out of her sleep.
“Whazzgoingon?” she muttered tiredly, rubbing her eyes. “Is he awake, Saleena?” she asked with a yawn, stretching.
“Yes,” she replied. “And it’s about time too!”
Roxi gasped and looked at Draco. He was smiling, in spite of himself. “Draco,” she asked gently. “How do you feel.”
His eyes still remaining closed, he answered sarcastically; “I fell like I just got stabbed in the gut by a crazy man, how do you think?”
Saleena rolled her eyes. “So in other words, he’s fine,” she said.
“Did they arrest that lunatic?” Draco asked weakly.
“Yes Draco, he is sitting in Azkaban as we speak,” Saleena answered.
Draco smiled again. “Good. I outta sue that man for everything he owns, you know that?”
“Yes, Draco,” Saleena answered, clearly both annoyed and bored at the same time. After all, this was nothing she hadn’t heard before.
Roxi on the other hand was shocked. “Draco!” she exclaimed. “That’s not very nice, you know! I’ve never heard you talk like this before!”
“Roxi,” Saleena drawled. “Then allow me to introduce you to the real Draco Malfoy.”
Draco’s eyes shot open at once. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“Oh look, his eyes do open!” she said.
“Don’t you change the subject on me!” he demanded. “What, you think I should just let that bastard get away with an attempt at murder? Look at what he did to me!”
“Well you survived, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, but most likely only because you were here!” he answered. “How did you get here so fast anyways?”
“So fast?” she repeated, blushing in spite of herself. “Draco, you’ve been in this hospital now for almost 2 days!”
The smirk on his face vanished at once. “What? What do you mean 2 days? But what about my- is he, I-I mean, well… did they do it yet?”
Roxi figured out what he was talking about before Saleena, so she responded first. “We don’t know, Draco. I’ve been keeping my eye on the news but so far, the Prophet hasn’t said anything more about your father yet.”
“Oh,” said Saleena. “That. It took me a minute to figure out…” she trailed off.
“Did you hear about what they did to him?” Draco asked. “I mean, I know you weren’t here and all but surely, someone must have told you by now…”
“Oh yes, I heard. Believe me, I’ve heard.” Then Saleena smiled down at him. “I also heard about what you did as well, and I must say Draco, I was quite impressed.”
Draco blushed. “It was nothing, really.”
“Nothing!” exclaimed Roxi. “Draco Malfoy, you were bloody brilliant! You just let them have it! I was so proud of you!”
Draco chuckled. “Stop it guys, seriously. You’re going to give me a big head.”
“HA!” exclaimed Saleena. “As if that’s not something you don’t have already!” Saleena and Draco shared a laugh, but Roxi was rather confused. She didn’t quite yet get the way the two of the spoke to one another. Saleena seemed to understand him very well, a lot more than Roxi did herself, that much was obvious. But judging by how they got on, you’d think they were siblings or something, what with the way that they quarreled back and forth.
Just then, there was a knock at the door and the Minister of Magic entered the room. “Draco, it’s so nice to see that you’re awake. Heard it from the portraits. I must say, it was quite a relief to hear.”
“Oh, I’m sure it was Minster,” he responded scathingly. “I can hardly imagine what would have happened to you if an innocent person had died, on Ministry of Magic property, at an event nonetheless, that you permitted to take place. It would be scandalous indeed if the press were ever to get ahold of something like that, I’m sure.” Roxi and Saleena were gaping at Draco, clearly stunned at how he was addressing the Minister of Magic. They both looked at Rufus, eagerly awaiting his response, and half expecting him to start shouting again.
However, Scrimgeour did not shout. Although he was clearly affronted by Draco’s open speculations, he remained calm. “I daresay you’re right, my boy,” he replied “It was quite the fiasco, to say the least.”
“Yes, quite” Draco agreed. “I still can’t believe you even allowed it to happen, Minister.”
“Now Draco, we’ve been through this,” Rufus replied gruffly. “It was not my idea! Your father insisted that all of those people be repaid somehow, and that was how he wanted to do it. And, well, after everything that he had said to me that night, who was I to deny him that much?”
“You’re the Minister of Magic, are you not?” Draco answered coldly.
“Well, yes, Draco, I am. But that is not the point! What I’m getting at here is that your father told me things that night, things that night that not even you mentioned. He also confirmed much of what you said, so I guess, as a plus side to all this, you could thank him. Because I now longer have any doubt in the fact that your story was indeed true.”
“And you doubted me before?”
“Well, Draco, in my defense, you were going on and on and on about You-Know-Who befriending the Gypsies, for crying out loud! What the hell was I supposed to think?”
Draco paused for a moment. “Yeah, I guess it does sound kind of crazy,” he admitted.
“Kind of? I daresay that’s a bit of an understatement,” the Minister chuckled. “Anyways, after hearing the same story from your father the other night, I have decided to take heed to it at last and do a bit of investigating.”
“And have you found anything?” Saleena blurted, a note of worry in her voice.
Rufus eyed her suspiciously. “No. Not yet anyway,” he replied. “But we will get to the bottom of this eventually. Rest assured Miss. Saleena, I will make absolute certain that everyone within my Ministry remains safe throughout the course of this war.”
Saleena nodded slowly. “Yes. Right. Of course you will,” she said.
“You wouldn’t, uh, happen to know anything about this, now would you?” he asked.
“I know nothing sir,” she said tersely.
“Dr. Nelson tells me that you have been away on leave for some time now,” he said, still looking at her speculatively.
“I had family things to attend to, Minister, and I would rather not discuss it right now, if you don’t mind.” Her tone was blank, emotionless, tense even. Rufus sensed that Saleena was hiding something, but he questioned her no farther on the subject.
Draco took advantage of the temporary silence to ask the question he had been dying to know the answer to since the moment he first woke up. “Minister, sir, my father… What’s been done with him?”
“Draco, I am terribly sorry,” he said. “But that information in strictly classified. I will, however, tell you that Lucius Malfoy will never be of any bother to anybody ever again. Interpret that as you will…. Right then, I believe my time here is up. I must be getting on. Glad to see you’re okay, Draco. Catch up with you later, Miss. Saleena.”
“I’m sure you will,” Saleena muttered, glad to see the back of him as Rufus shuffled out the door. “Humph!”
“What was that all about?” Roxi inquired.
“Oh, just the Minister sticking his nose in where it doesn’t belong, as usual,” she said bitterly.
“I take it you don’t like him,” Roxi observed.
“I don’t like the fact that he’s so interested in my personal business,” Saleena corrected. “Other than that, he fine. A much better Minister thus far than Fudge ever was.”
Roxi turned her attention back on to Draco. He was now staring blankly at the ceiling, his mouth hanging open. “Draco, are you okay?” she asked gently. He didn’t respond. He just lay there, staring off into space. And that was the way he stayed for the remainder of the day. He wouldn’t eat or drink, and Saleena couldn’t even get him to snap out of it long enough to take his medicine when it came time to do so.
Finally, Saleena gave up and called in for help. She contacted the only person in the world she knew of that would be guaranteed to get a response out of Draco; Minerva McGonagall. Minerva showed up at St. Mungo’s several moments later and Saleena filled her in on what was going on.
“He’s just been laying like that ever since Rufus left here this morning,” she said.
“Well what on earth did Rufus say to him to make him act like that?”
Saleena thought for a moment, embarrassed that she hadn’t stopped to do this before now, and that’s when it hit her. “Oh my god, that’s it!” she exclaimed. Draco asked him what happened to Lucius, and the Minister told him that he was gone now.”
“What?” McGonagall was clearly appalled to hear this. “That is absurd! Lucius Malfoy is not dead! Not yet anyways. Is that what he told you?”
“In a matter of words, yes.” Saleena was shocked. “But why would he lie to Draco about something like that?”
“I don’t know,” said Minerva crossly. “But I intend to get to the bottom of it.”
Roxi placed her hand on Draco’s bare arm. “Did you hear that, Draco? You’re father’s not dead yet, alright? Now snap out of it!”
Draco was conscience again in an instant, but not because of anything that was said. It was because he felt her touch upon his arm. His right arm at that. His bare right arm. He jerked away from her and shoved it under the blanket. “Don’t touch me there,” he spat, desperately hoping against all odds that she hadn’t noticed anything. But who was he trying to kid? It was obvious, wasn’t it? Especially if he had been laying like that for two days now. She was bound to notice something… He glared at her as if he were daring her to say anything.
“Geeze, if looks could kill I’d be dead by now, wouldn’t I?” she asked sarcastically, unsure of what exactly she had done wrong.
“Anyways,” Draco went on, completely ignoring her. “I heard what you said, professor. But how can you be so sure he’s alive? The Minister said that was classified information.”
“Well I happen to be qualified enough to be on the inner-informative circle,” she said. “And it just so happens that the Minister is keeping your father in the dungeons of Hogwarts.”
Draco was taken aback at this news. “What? Why not just keep him in Azkaban?”
“Because your father has already escaped from there once, and the Minister is convinced that he will try it again,” she answered. “Not only that, but if he were in Azkaban, Voldemort would have access to him. We all know he has invaded there before, and he could do it again easily, if he wanted to. I imagine he’s not too pleased with your father right now, and therefore Lucius is being kept at Hogwarts where Voldemort has no chance of regaining him.”
“Ah, and that’s why it’s so classified then,” Roxi stated. “Because the Ministry doesn’t want Voldemort to find out where they’re keeping him. That makes sense.”
“Yes, but why keep something like that from me?” Draco demanded. “I’m his son! Lucius Malfoy is my father!”
“I was just asking myself the very same question, Draco, believe me,” said McGonagall. “I am going to see Rufus and I promise, I will get to the bottom of this. Now you take your medicine and get yourself something to eat. I will arrange it so that you get to see your father before the deed is carried out. So you have nothing more to worry about.”
“Thank you professor,” Draco said sincerely, bowing his head. “I’d like that.”
“Now, if we’re done here, it appears I have a meeting with the Minister of Magic,” she said with a wink. “I shall see you all later.” Then McGonagall turned and walked out of the room, leaving silence in her wake…
An hour later, Minerva was meeting with the minister, just as she had promised. And so far, things were not going as well as she had hoped. But despite all that, she was putting up a very good argument, and giving Rufus a run for his money.
“Minerva, I am not going to tell you again,” he boomed. “The answer is no!”
“But Minister, you should have seen him,” she fired back. “The look on his face when I walked in there! Do you even realize what you put that poor boy through? I’m sorry, allow me to correct myself; what you are putting him through.”
“What are you on about?” he demanded.
“Minister, after Lucius is gone, Draco will be the only one left you know,” she divulged. “Surely you knew that.”
“Well, yes, of course I knew that,” he grumbled.
“And did you ever once take his feelings into account, Minister? I mean it is the boy‘s father your killing after all.”
“The boy’s father, who happens to be a convicted Death Eater,” he reminded her.
“All that has been considered, and Draco knows that you are bound by the law. He understands that you cannot alter Lucius’ fate. However, what he doesn’t understand is why he is not allowed to be given the chance to say goodbye.”
“He had his chance at the Ministry the other night.”
“Oh, that’s right,” Minerva snapped. “But if you remember correctly, he was only interrupted by a crazy man who tried to stab him to death. I think that you and I both know that hardly qualifies as a proper goodbye.”
“Yes, well, Minerva, my decision on the matter is final,” he asserted. “Look, Draco thinks his father is already dead, and Lucius believes Draco to be dead. So why don’t just we leave when enough alone, alright?”
“Well, that would be alright, Minister,” she said. “Except for the fact that I have already told Draco you were lying.”
“You did what?” he bellowed.
“You heard me,” she said calmly. “I wasn’t about to go on letting him suffer needlessly like that. As I have already stated, you did not see him!”
“You do realize, of course, that you have just made a severe confidentiality breach.”
“And you do realize, of course,” she said, imitating him. “That I don’t care.”
“Minerva McGonagall, if you don’t -”
“- Let me put it to you this way,” she interrupted him. “I’ve tried being nice and negotiable with you, but now I’m through! You will let Draco see his father, otherwise, you will be finding another place to keep Lucius, besides my school. Do I make myself clear, Minister?”
And now she had him. If there was just one thing in the entire Ministry that he lacked any control over, it was Hogwarts. That was all Minerva’s territory, and right now he needed her cooperation. He knew right then that he would have to oblige. “Alright then, fine! You win! Happy?” he blurted. “When Draco gets out of St. Mungo’s, I will allow him to see Lucius for ten minutes. But that‘s it I tell you!
“One hour,” she demanded.
“Minerva, it will hardly take them an hour to -”
“- One hour, Minister. That is my demand.”
“No. One, or you find someplace else to keep Lucius.”
“But there is no other place!”
“Then I suggest you take my offer while it still stands, Minister.”
“Urgh!” He cried in frustration. “Alright then, FINE! Do whatever the hell you want!”
Minerva smiled triumphantly. “Why thank you, Minister,” she said airily. “Now if you don’t mind, I must be off.”
“No, I cant say that I mind at all,” he said, ushering her out the door, glad to see the back of her at last. As she was leaving, she thought she distinctly heard Rufus mutter, “And I thought Dumbledore was bad…” A huge grin spread across her face as she left the Ministry of Magic and headed back to Hogwarts…
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