Chapter 25 : |Chapter 23| A Way Out
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This beautiful Chapter Image of Saleena's mom; Kireonna Blackwell, was gifted to me by my lovely beta: Jane_Volturi!!! =)
Draco dreamed a good dream that day, despite the disparity of the sorrowful mood he was in while being awake. Visions of a successful rescue and sweet, glorious freedom played behind his eyelids as he slept. He was slowly slipping back into consciousness when he started to hear voices talking somewhere close by. He was not ready to wake up yet, however, so he kept his eyes closed and tried his best to block out all sounds by concentrating on something else.
It's a difficult thing to do though, when the thing you're trying your hardest not to concentrate on becomes the only thing your brain seems to want to focus on. So try as he might to block the sound out, he could still hear people talking in low whispers and, from what he could tell, there were only two of them. One of which was clearly Kireonna, but the other voice was a much more difficult one to figure out. However, it came as more of a shock to him once he realized who it was. The voice was male, young, with a rough but smooth sound to it, and Draco had heard it's annoying tone several times before.
"And you're sure you're completely ready to do this?" he was asking Kireonna.
"Yes, I am positive," she answered promptly. "I don't know how long I shall be able to hold it for though, so you had better make it quick."
"Good point," the guy agreed. "But I have already scoped the Burrow's whereabouts. I know where it is I have to go, and I know that I won't even have to go in. it should not take me very long at all. Five minutes at the most I'd wager."
"Five minutes, huh?" she repeated. "I think I can do that."
"Better wake him then," the familiar voice said. "The sooner we get this over with, the better."
It wasn't until just then that Draco realized who his mysterious savior was supposed to be. "Lucas?" he asked suddenly. His heart sank with the realization that the young, annoying, Death Eater brat was the one with whom Kireonna was working with. All hope he had for rescue was suddenly lost. "You're the one who is supposedly going to save me?"
Lucas shot Kireonna a look. "You told him?" he chided.
"No," she snapped. "I simply suggested that there was a plan in the works. I can assure you that your name was never brought up."
"Would one of you mind telling me what the hell is going on here now?" Draco demanded. "I am sick and tired of not knowing what this plan both of you keep talking about is."
"My master has requested it of me to get you out of here," Lucas replied.
"Your what? But that doesn't make any sense," Draco exclaimed. "I thought Voldemort was your master. Why on earth would he command you to help me escape?"
"He wouldn't," said Lucas. "But he is not my true master. This whole Death Eater act has been nothing more than a charade, a ruse of sorts. I was originally placed here to spy on the Dark Lord, because my master wanted someone on the inside. But as of late, his target has chanced from Voldemort to another."
"And what does any of that have to do with me?"
"Well, so long as you are here, my master cannot make a move as he wants to," Lucas answered vaguely. "It's complicated, his plan is, and it is nothing that either of us have any business talking about at the moment. All I know is that he needs you out of the way, so that is why I am helping you to get out of here tonight."
"If you're not working for Voldemort," Draco started, "then who exactly are you working for?"
"Again, that is none of your concern," Lucas ridiculed. "Do you wish to be rescued or not?"
"Of course I do," Draco answered.
"Then you would do well to keep all questions concerning my master and me to a minimum," he threatened. "None of that concerns you, and he would like as little to be known about him to outsiders as possible. The only thing that should matter, is that he has graciously come up with a way to save you."
"But I don't -"
"- Draco," Kireonna cut him off sharply. "Just accept his help and be grateful. It is a good plan and it is going to work. Your questions will all have to wait to be answered later, because we are on a bit of a time schedule here."
"Right you are," Lucas agreed. "Now I will only ask you this once more; are you sure you can do this?"
Kireonna stood up and stepped out of her cell. "Yes," she said confidently. "I am positive."
Draco studied the open cell door for a moment. "Wait, how did you get out of there just now?" he asked.
"I opened the door for her and took her braces off while you were still asleep," Lucas answered, clearly annoyed. "Now what did I tell you about questions?"
Draco kept his mouth shut while Kireonna and Lucas both stepped into his cell and closed the door behind them. Kireonna turned around and gently placed both of her hands the door. She closed her eyes and began to concentrate while Lucas walked over to Draco.
"Do not panic," Lucas cautioned, "but I am going to be picking you up now."
"Why?" he demanded.
"Because we are going to be apparating out of here shortly," he answered.
"And how exactly do you plan on doing that?" Draco snapped. "Do you think that if getting out of here were that easy, I would still be laying here right now?"
"I am aware that the Dark Lord has put up an anti-apparation charm on this entire mansion," Lucas said. "That is why I have healed the gypsy. Kireonna is going to be taking the barrier down here within this cell, but only long enough for us to safely apparate out of here. Now, are you going to cooperate with me or not?"
He took a moment to seriously consider what Lucas was offering him right now. Could it be that against all odds, Draco had finally found a way out after all this time? But was it really safe to put his full trust in someone whom he barley knew anything about? And, if he were to leave here right now, would he ever gain his ability to walk back again? It definitely had the potential for danger, but at this point, it was certainly a risk that he was more than willing to take... Draco was ready to do anything that would mean getting him out of this prison.
"Alright," he said. "No more questions. I'm in. Let's do it."
"Okay, okay, I think I've got it now," Kireonna exclaimed. "But you're going to have to apparate directly back into this cell in order to get back Lucas."
"I think I can handle that," he smiled. "Just relax. It's a flawless plan, really. I will take him there, drop him off, and then I will come right back. How long do you think you can hold it for?"
"I honestly don't know," she said. "But the more time you waste just standing there, the weaker I become. You haven't got but maybe five or six minutes left." Lucas gave her a quick nod as he turned around. In one quick motion, he scooped Draco up, turned on the spot, and vanished into thin air.
Kireonna waited in silence as the minutes ticked by slowly. With each and every passing second, she could feel her strength slowly starting to diminish. Three minutes had passed before anything happened. Just when she had begun to think they were going to get away with this, a loud crack sounded and echoed off the walls of the basement. She gasped in fear as she looked to her right and saw Lord Voldemort standing there with a look of utter rage upon his face.
"Did you honestly think, for one morsel of a second," he snarled, "that I would not know of it the instant that one of my protective spells down here had been broken? Did you seriously believe that you could just go and do your own magic down here without me ever finding out about it?"
Kireonna was too terrified to answer at first, so she just stood there, staring up at him, frozen with fear, waiting to find out what was going to happen to her next. She knew that once he realized Draco wasn't there anymore, it would only be a matter of time before he would have her killed.
"Just because I do not constantly have someone down here watching you all the time," he continued, "does not mean that I am not keeping a close eye on what goes on in other ways. I can assure you that waiting around, trying to escape while I am someplace farther away, will get you nowhere. So what the hell do you think you are doing?" he demanded of her.
"I-I am not the one trying to get away here sir, I-I promise," she stammered. "I am merely b-being used by somebody else, so that they can get away. I would not be so foolish to try something like that sir, f-for I value my life a whole lot more than they do."
"So who is it then? And don't even try to say Draco, because I personally made sure that he couldn't -" Voldemort stopped in mid-sentence and his face went completely blank as he looked over and took in the sight of Draco's empty bed. "Kireonna. Where. Is he." he demanded through clenched teeth. The Dark Lord's voice was fearfully quiet and unnaturally calm.
Kireonna would have much rather had him shouting than acting the way he was right now. It was truly frightening to see him like this, especially since they were alone at the moment. She knew that anything could happen when Voldemort lost his temper. Oh, I never should have allowed Lucas to talk me into this, she silently scolded herself.
"Lucas?" Voldemort said, clearly suprized. "Lucas it the one responsible for all of this?"
"Wait, but I never said --"
"-- You didn't have to," he said, cutting her off, "one thought was all I needed. So tell me, where did Lucas take Draco to?"
"I honestly can say that I do not know," she answered. "Wherever Greyback told him to I suppose."
"So the person behind all this is not Lucas at all then," Voldemort concluded. "The one who really is to blame here is Fenrir."
"Yes sir," Kireonna agreed, relieved that he seemed to be too preoccupied to take his anger out on her. If she could only keep him distracted long enough, then she just might stand a chance at living to see another day after all…
"And you were still holding the barrier open when I came down here, so I take it that that means Lucas is planning on coming right back here then," he observed.
"I was holding it open for him, yes," she confessed. "But then you frightened me and I sort of lost my concentration after that."
"No matter, no matter," Voldemort said. "I personally lifted it myself the moment I came down here. But don't even think about trying anything," he quickly added, glaring at her. "So long as you are wearing that little necklace there, you are under my power, remember?"
"Yes sir," she said submissively. "As I have already told you, I am not the one trying to get away here."
"Well, if Lucas does not come back here with answers, then that'll be the end of him I guess," the Dark Lord hissed. "And if he does not come back at all, that it will be the end of you, Kireonna."
Lucas landed at the end of the Burrow's drive, exactly as he had planned to. He hurried up to the porch and carefully sat Draco down on the swing. "I haven't the time to hang back and explain things to them, so I am trusting you to fill them in," he told him. " Can you do that?"
"Of course I can," Draco said. "It would help a lot more though, if I knew who you were working for, but I understand that you have to go."
"Please don't start that again," Lucas said, rolling his eyes. "I've already explained to you that I cannot tell you who he is. Deal with it."
As he looked around and took in his surroundings the realization that he was finally free from the Riddle House began to overwhelm him. "This is really happening, isn't it?" he asked. "I'm really out of there right now."
"Well it's not a dream, if that's what you are asking," Lucas answered.
"You could be killed for this you know," Draco informed him.
"That is a risk I am willing to take, if it means that I have helped to further my master's ultimate goal," Lucas said proudly. "I knew what I was getting myself into before I ever even got involved in this. You just worry about reaping the rewards to this, and leave me to worry about whatever risks may come."
Draco smiled. "I think I can do that, no problem."
"Good." Lucas went to the door and pounded hard on the wood several times before continuing. "Because if anything were to go wrong, I would hate to have you think that any of it was your fault. You are merely a pawn in my master's great plan. Think of it as that. Whatever happens to me will be my fate, I am not that worried about it, so you shouldn't be either."
Draco looked at him skeptically. "I never knew you were so daring Lucas," he chuckled. "And to think, I always thought that you were just another annoying, pompous prat, who was nothing more than a Death Eater wannabe."
"Like I said, that was all part of the act," Lucas smiled. "I still need the Dark Lord to be convinced that I am on his side, you know." Just then, there was sound coming from the other side of the door. "Someone is coming. I must not been seen. I have to go.," he said quickly. "Be careful Draco, and try not to enjoy your freedom too much," he added with a wink.
"I'll do my best," Draco laughed. And in the time that it had taken him merely to blink, Lucas has already turned on the spot and vanished.
Unfortunately for him though, Lucas had no idea of what he was apparating back into. He barely had time to register the fact that Kireonna was shouting at him to look out before an angry pair of cold, white hands gripped him tightly. Next thing he knew, he was being thrown; not pushed, not shoved, but thrown into the wall behind him. He hit his head and bounced off of it, landing in a crumpled heap on the floor. In a flash, Lord Voldemort was towering over him, his wand aimed directly at his chest.
"I am only going to give you one chance to answer this Lucas," he said threateningly, "so you had better answer it right. Where is Draco at?"
Lucas raised his head proudly and looked straight into Voldemort's cold red eyes, fully aware of the fact that he was probably about to die. But this was the moment he had been preparing for all of his life. This was the moment that he had finally helped Greyback, who was truly like a father to him, thwart the Dark Lord in his evil plans. He wasn't entirely sure how he had helped, but he did know that his master's will had been accomplished, and it was all because of his efforts. And that fact alone was enough for him to die for with pride.
"And what if I told you that I had no answer?" Lucas answered proudly. "What would you do then?"
"You fool!" Voldemort raged. "You dare mock me? I will kill you for that!"
"I guess you're going to have to do just that then," Lucas spat, "because I'm not telling you anything."
"I know that you're working for Greyback," Voldemort snapped. "I'm on to your little game. Now you either tell me what I want to know right now, or I swear it'll be the end of you."
"Well, since you already know who I really am working for," Lucas responded, "you will have no problem understanding me when I say that I cannot tell you anything. I am forbidden to ever speak of where I was instructed to move Draco to, and I am already prepared to die for my master's cause. As you can tell, your idol threats mean nothing to me. So why don't you just kill me then, if that what it is you're planning to do."
"AVADA KEDA --"
"-- Wait!" A voice rang out from the top of the basement steps. "My Lord, please, wait." Percy Weasley was hurrying down the stairs. Being the nosy prat that he was, he had been listening at the top of the steps for some time now. He had heard all that was going on, and had come up with an evil little alternative plan of his own.
"You had better have a good reason for interrupting like this, Weasley. Otherwise I shall kill you too, once I am though with him," Voldemort snarled.
"I've just had an idea," Percy gulped. "An absolutely wonderful, incredible, brilliant idea. Not that I was trying to pry or anything," he quickly added, "but I could not help but overhear that Draco is gone, and it's all Lucas' fault. However, I did not interrupt you because I am trying to convince you to spare him, because by all means, I too believe that he should die. It's just that, well, I think that we could use his death to our advantage my Lord. It has just occurred me that you killing Lucas could very easily be the solution to all our problems."
Voldemort looked at Percy through narrowed eyes. "Go on..." he prompted.
"Well for starters," Percy said as he joined them in Draco's cell, "we would just have to go about doing it the right way…" He trailed off as he walked over to the cot in the center, where Draco had been laying at, and took a moment to examine the pillow. A few very quiet moments later, Percy finally bent down to retrieve what he had been looking for.
"For example; this, I believe, would do the trick," he finished, holding up a slender strand of Draco's white-blonde hair. "With this, we shall solve everything! This single strand of hair will be the solution to all of your issues with both Lucius and Roxi. Now, I don't think I need to say anymore for you to see where I'm going with this."
There was a beat of silence before Voldemort looked up and smiled wickedly at Percy. "It is for reasons like this that I first made you one of my Death Eater's Weasley," he said pleasantly. "And a brilliantly evil mind like yours does not deserve daunting tasks such as kitchen work or guard duty. I knew I had chosen to move you up into higher ranks for a reason, and tonight, tonight Weasley, you have truly outdone yourself with this one." Voldemort clapped Percy on the back and carefully took the hair from his grasp.
"Can't you see it my Lord?" Percy asked mischievously. "You can take that strand of hair, add it to some Polyjuice Potion, and then you can force Lucas to drink it just before you kill him. That way, when he dies, Lucas will look exactly like Draco."
"Yes, and then we can leave his body down here for Roxi to find. I can see it all now," he said distantly, speaking more to himself than he was to them now. "Polyjuice Potion. Why didn't I think of that one before? Once Roxi discovers his lifeless body, she is bound to run off and tell Severus and Lucius. If both of them believe Draco to be dead, then they will be like putty in my hands. I will be able to bend them to my will all the more if they both believe that Draco Malfoy is out of the picture. It is a perfect and flawless idea, Weasley, I must say. Lord Voldemort is quite impressed by you. Well done."
"It is a pleasure, as always, to serve you my Lord," Percy said with a low bow.
"Now go and tell Severus that I am in need of a dose of that potion, and make it fast," the Dark Lord commanded.
Percy wasn't gone for long. In a matter of no time, he had returned with a goblet of the Polyjuice Potion that Voldemort had asked for. He handed it to his master and watched as he added in the single strand of Draco's hair. The potion bubbled and frothed until it finally settled, transforming into a clear, translucent, crystal-blue color. Both Percy and Lord Voldemort turned to face Lucas then.
"Any last words before I kill you then?" the Dark Lord asked mockingly. Lucas silently started laughing to himself.
"I see nothing funny about this situation," Percy spat. "How dare you laugh in the face of the Dark Lord." Percy took out his wand and aimed it at Lucas, ready to defend his master's honor.
"Relax, Percy," Voldemort said smoothly. "Is there something you would like to say, Lucas?"
"Oh it's nothing really," Lucas answered evasively. "Just that your plan here will never work."
"And what might make you suggest that?"
"Yes, do tell us," Percy snapped. "What on earth could there possibly be wrong with my idea?"
"How are you going to explain Draco's death to Roxi and his father, hmm?" Lucas asked. "Surely you weren't planning on telling them that you killed him, because everyone will know better than that right away. You cannot touch Draco, because of the protection that his mother gave him, remember?"
"Of course I do," Voldemort shouted, "I am no fool! I would not overlook small details such as that."
"Well, the answer to that is simple enough," Percy cut in, desperate to add his two-cents worth. "Suicide. I know for a fact that Draco has been talking about offing himself all week. It wouldn't be a difficult story to sell, and nor would it be an impossible scenario to set up. We could easily make to look like he - I mean you - had suffocated yourself in that pillow. And after finding Draco dead, I am pretty certain that neither Roxi or Lucius will be in any mood to investigate all the minor details."
"That is very good Percy," the Dark Lord commended. The he turned back to Lucas. "Now, are there any other questions?"
"Yeah, I do have a few more actually," Lucas scowled. "How exactly do you plan on making me drink that? What if I should refuse to take it?"
Voldemort looked at Lucas in clear amusement. "I am not opposed to using absolute force if necessary," he said. "So you can either drink it willingly, or you can chose to do this the hard way. Ultimately, the decision is all yours of course. But I am going to kill you either way, so we may as well just get on with it."
Lord Voldemort extended his hand, offering the potion to Lucas. An entire minute, which seemed to drag on for hours, passed before Lucas finally reached out and took the goblet. "I swore I would accept whatever repercussions would come," he sighed. "Even if it meant that this mission ended in my death. I have already prepared myself for death, so if this is the way you have decided that I should go, then so be it. At least this way it will give me one last chance to serve you, my Lord."
Percy and Voldemort both watched as Lucas drained the Polyjuice Potion in three gulps.
"You are no longer a servant of mine," the Dark Lord spat once Lucas had set the goblet down on the ground next to him. Voldemort raised his wand once more and struck him with a torture curse.
As Lucas was thrashing about on the ground, his body began to rapidly go through many changes. A few moments later, Draco was the one squirming at Lord Voldemort's feet. But even then, after the transformation was complete, he did not lift the curse. He let it drag out for several minutes, secretly pretending to himself that it really was Draco, and not Lucas, whom he was torturing. How he had longed to punish Draco Malfoy for so long now…
But finally, the Dark Lord grew bored with the Cruciatus Curse and he lowered his wand. Based on how still the replica of Draco's body was laying on the cold floor now, there was no doubt in his mind that he had just tortured Lucas into insanity. He smiled to himself, clearly pleased with what he had just done. Then he brought his wand down one last time and there was a bright flash of green light.
And then Lucas Galyon was no more...
Draco's gaze snapped off of the spot from which Lucas had vanished as the front door of the burrow flew open. Standing there on the threshold was Molly Weasley, a look of pure astonishment on her face.
"Draco, is that really you? I don't believe it. ARTHUR," she yelled, "get out here, it's him!"
A few moments later, a bewildered Arthur Weasley was standing right behind Molly. "Draco? Where in Merlin's name have you been, and where is Roxi at?" he asked.
"I was being held prisoner by Voldemort," he answered sadly. "And Roxi won't be coming back here. Ever," he added. "I am sorry to say that she has decided to betray us."
"We figured that's where you were, but what do you mean that Roxi has betrayed us?" Molly asked, clearly concerned. "How? What has she done?"
"Perhaps we should take this inside," Arthur suggested before the conversation could carry on any longer. "It is not safe to linger on one's doorstep during these dark and dangerous times."
"Right you are Arthur, dear," Molly agreed. "Now, if you'll excuse me…"
Mr. Weasley stepped aside, holding the front door open and allowing his wife to pass by. He then turned and looked expectantly at Draco, who was still sitting with his legs propped up on the rickety porch swing. "Are you coming inside?" he asked him.
"I can't," he answered evasively.
"You can't, or you won't?"
"Can't," Draco stated once more. "Believe me, I would love, more than anything, to be able to get up and come inside to join you. But I…" Draco trailed off and sighed in frustration. He wanted to tell Arthur what has happened to him, but he was too embarrassed to admit his weakness aloud.
And to think, I actually believed that I was truly free for an entire five minutes, he thought to himself. I'm not free at all. I'm going to be just as much as a prisoner here as I was there. I hate being like this. I hate having to ask for help, especially from these people! Why in the hell did I let myself think that things were going to be any different now? It's all the same; I'll still be stuck laying in a bed, unable to help myself. Only the scenery has changed…
"Draco," Arthur's concerned, soft-spoken voice suddenly broke through his reverie, "what's really going on here? You can tell me."
Draco, who had been staring off into the distance, turned towards the doorway to look at Aurthur. "The Dark Lord has crippled my legs," he finally told him. "He did so in order to ensure that I would not be able to escape. I cannot walk, Mr. Weasley. I cannot move my legs at all, nor can I feel them for that matter. I have been able to do nothing except lie in a bed and stare at the ceiling for who knows how long now. It's awful, and I hate it. I would much rather be dead right now than have to live like this!"
Draco's breath caught and he stopped talking abruptly. Arthur gave him a moment before offering to help. "I could always carry you in," he offered, once his breathing had slowed back to normal again. "It's not a problem, really."
"Maybe it's not a problem for you, but for me it is," Draco said defiantly. "However, I see no other option, so lets just get this over with."
Arthur knew how prideful Draco was, and was therefore aware of just how difficult asking for help must've been for him. And he really did feel bad for him, for the poor boy had been through a lot, in his opinion. But he said no more on the matter, and just smiled dismally as he stooped down to pick Draco up. He couldn't help but get a sense of déjà vu as he was doing this, for it reminded him of the day that he had come home from work to find Draco laying unconscious on the porch, with a letter signed from Lucius, begging him to take Draco in.
He had carried him in that day too, and just as before, Draco had been unusually light and easy to carry. Arthur frowned as he realized how thin the boy in his arms was... again. And he couldn't even begin to imagine himself being held against his will and nearly starved to death by the most powerful wizard of all time. There was no way that he, in his mind, could ever be strong enough to survive against such hopeless odds for as long as Draco had, especially without his family by his side.
It was in that moment that Arthur Weasley gained the utmost amount of respect for Lucius Malfoy's son. Draco was, to some degree, a much stronger man than he believed that he could ever be. Arthur found his bravery to be admirable, though he would never openly admit to it.
"Why are you carrying him Arthur" Molly asked as they entered the room. But Arthur ignored her as he strode across the sitting room and placed Draco gently down on the couch.
"Now tell us about Roxi," he said, getting back down to business at once. "What exactly has she done to betray us?"
"Well, she told the Dark Lord everything she knew for starters," he answered. "She made an unbreakable vow with Voldemort, swearing to truthfully answer each and every question he so chose to asked her. There is no doubt in my mind that she told him everything she knew about both the ministry and the order that night."
There was stunned silence in the room as Draco's words took time to sink in. "But what on earth would she vow to do something like that in exchange for?" Molly asked, breaking the silence.
Draco flushed slightly as he recalled the answer to Mrs. Weasley's question. True, Roxi's intentions at the time had been good - at least in her mind they were. But what she had done to him since that time, in Draco's mind, had distorted any meaning her actions may have once had. To him, her intentions had now been evil from the start, and his anger and hatred towards her was blinding him to the truth. Draco was now just desperate to make everyone else despise Roxi as much as he did.
"I honestly have no idea Molly," he lied. 'All I know is that she told him all kinds of things and now, now she is even working for him."
"Impossible!" exclaimed Arthur. "Roxi, a Death Eater? I simply cannot believe that, there's just no way."
Draco opened his mouth to correct him, but then he closed it suddenly. Why defend her when she wasn't even going to be around anymore in the first place? True, she hadn't joined them yet, but with the way she had been acting lately, Draco was sure that Roxi would be taking the Dark Mark soon enough; especially now that he was no longer going to be around there to stand in her way."
"Well believe it Mr. Weasley," Draco urged him, "because it's true. She's even openly having relations with your bloody son! I mean, she was snogging him right in front of me earlier today. I saw the whole thing, and they're both claiming that they were meant for each other now."
"Roxi... and Percy..." Molly seemed unable to wrap her mind around this new bit of info. "But I thought that she was interested you, Draco."
"Yeah," he snorted, "well so did I. But no, she left me for him, and now I am certain that she has every intention of becoming a Death Eater right alongside of him too."
Molly and Arthur were indefinitely silent after hearing this. As the minutes ticked by, Draco found it more and more difficult to stay awake. He was waiting patiently for one of them to speak, but both of the Weasley's seemed to bee too far gone in their own thoughts to continue this conversation out loud.
But in a way, this was fine with him. Interrogations had always made him nervous, and he was therefore glad that this one appeared to be getting over quickly. But though he knew that more questions would be likely to come later on, he put them out of his mind for the moment as his eyes grew heavy with exhaustion. Draco opened and closed them several times as he began to nod off. Before he knew it, he had drifted off into a comfortable, yet uneasy sleep.
When he awoke a few hours later, it took him a moment to get his bearings about him, for he had almost forgotten where he was at. The thing that had called him out of his sleep was the morning sun, which was streaming in through the cracks in the old, tattered curtains that were covering the windows. Draco groaned and moved a hand upwards to shield his eyes from the blinding sunlight. It wasn't until then that he noticed someone had covered him up with a blanket, and he realized at once that he must have fallen asleep on the couch at some point in their conversation that night.
At first he felt bad for doing so, but then he told himself that they couldn't have been too mad about it, for if so, they would have woken him up, rather then let him sleep there all night. He smiled at their thoughtfulness and stifled a yawn as he raised his arms up over his head to stretch himself out more. Then his body instantly froze as he heard a creaking sound come from somewhere close by him. He looked up and was suprized to see a pair of strikingly familiar green eyes, staring at him from the armchair that was positioned directly across from the couch.
"Harry," he exclaimed, clearly suprized. Of all the people Draco expected to wake up to, Harry Potter had never been one of them. "So you're back again I see."
"Funny," he said, not sounding at all amused. "I was just about to say the same to you."
"So, what have you been up to lately?" Draco asked him, just trying to make small talk.
Harry merely shrugged his shoulders. "Just camping…" he answered vaguely.
From across the room, there came a dissatisfied grunt. Draco looked up and was surprised to see that he and Harry were not the only one's sitting in there. "Weasley," he said, grudgingly acknowledging Ron's presence.
"Malfoy," he snarled back.
Pleas you two," Harry pleaded, "not right now. Can't you be in the same room with one another for five seconds without ripping each other's heads off?"
"Technically, Harry, we just did," Ron sarcastically stated.
"Not funny Ron," Harry said sharply. "We've only got a limited amount of time to be alone down here. You know how your mom's been acting, she'll never let us speak with him in private again. Why else do you suppose we waited up all night?"
Ron's only answer was another grunt. He crossed his arms and looked out the window.
"You waited up all night, just so you could talk to me?" Draco looked away from Ron and asked. "What the hell could I know that would be so important that we would have to talk in private?"
"Well," Harry began, "I just have a couple of questions to ask you. And it's not so much that it's something only you can answer, it's more of something that I don't want anybody except for you overhearing. The lesser people know about my -er- mission, the better."
"I'm probably the only person in the world who could care less about whatever it is that your doing," Draco casually stated. "So what is it you wanted to ask me then?" Draco wondered.
"The funny thing, is that there probably is some truth to that," Harry laughed. "Alright then, now, I'm not expecting to get very much here, but we're getting rather desperate... So, can you tell me exactly where Voldemort is? I need to know where he is hiding at."
"Oh Harry," Draco sighed. "I really wish that I could tell you that. If there were one thing in the world I wish I could say the most, it would be that. You are not the first person to come to me with this question, you know. McGonagall and the Minister have both asked me the same thing, and I have had no choice to give them each the same answer... I cannot tell you, and I am very sorry."
"Fidelius Charm, huh?" Harry concluded.
"Yeah," Draco nodded.
"Any clue as to who the secret keeper might be?" he asked hopefully.
"Unfortunately no," he answered back sadly. "But if I did I would tell you, honest."
"I believe you," Harry stated truthfully. "Not that it gets me any closer to where I need to be, but thanks anyways Draco."
"You're welcome Harry," he said. "I'm just sorry I couldn't do more."
Harry nodded, lost in thought. He looked over at Ron and exchanged with him. "Well, maybe there is something you can tell me still," he said cautiously.
"Harry, don't," Ron warned. "I think you've said enough already."
"I know what I'm doing Ron," Harry spat. "You're either with me or you're not. I only asked you to stay down here to serve as both a lookout and a witness. But, if you'd rather I go and wake Hermione up..."
"I'm fine," Ron said quickly, raising his voice slightly. "Don't you dare bother her at this hour. Of course I don't understand why you think you need a witness, seeing how as you're best mates with Malfoy now, but whatever. I said I would stay, so I will. Just ask him you stupid questions and let's get this over with."
"You'll have to excuse Ron," Harry said nervously. "He's just not been feeling like himself lately." Draco could tell that Harry was hiding something, and was therefore sure that there was probably more to it than that. He didn't say anything, however, and just let Harry do the talking.
"So, the last thing I wanted to ask you about was…" Harry bit his lower lip, second guessing himself again. But we need this information though, he reminded himself. "Have you ever seen Voldemort's snake?"
"Nagini?" Draco asked. "Yeah, of course I've seen her. Who hasn't?"
"Good point," Harry chuckled. "What I meant was, did you see her while you were there? Where does he keep her? Is he still sending her away from him, or does he always have her close by?"
"Well I wasn't exactly his best mate while I was there Harry," Draco said harshly. "I was locked up the whole time, I didn't really see much of anything. As a matter-of-fact, I think today has been the first time I've seen the sun since that night the ministry tried to poison my father."
"It's alright, Draco, I get it" Harry said. "No need to get defensive. But anything you could tell me about Nagini would be helpful, more so than you know."
"As far as I know, he does not keep her with him," he replied more calmly. "At least, he never had her with him any of the times he came down to the basement to see me, that is. Other than that, that's about all I can tell you. Sorry."
Draco was suprized to see that Harry was actually smiling. "Thank you Draco," he said. "That means that we do still have a decent amount of time."
"I don't understand," Draco said. "What does Nagini have to do with anything?"
"You see," Ron exclaimed. "There we go, right there! I told you he'd start asking questions, didn't I?"
"Ron, I said don't start!" Harry practically yelled.
"What in Merlin's name is going on in here?" Molly's stern voice rang out from around the corner. "Do you boys have any idea what time it is? Ronald, your father is sleeping. You, of all people, should know better. And Harry, fighting… in the living room? I am must say, I am very disappointed. What has gotten into you two? You've been at each other's throats since you got home!"
"I'm sorry Mrs. Weasley," Harry said at once. Ron on the other hand did not apologize. "We were just headed back to bed anyways."
"Well go then, both of you," she said. "I will call you in a few hours once breakfast is ready."
Harry and Ron filed out of the sitting room and back up the stairs, while Molly headed off towards the kitchen. Draco didn't know why, but he had gotten the feeling that Harry did not want her to know that he had been in on their argument. Therefore, when Molly had come into the room, he had turned slightly over to one side and pretended to be sleeping. Which wasn't a difficult thing to do, seeing how as his mind was now lost in deep thought.
So far, this day had given him a lot to think about already, and he hadn't even been up that long. Try as he might not to, he kept wondering about Harry and what he could possibly want with Nagini. He knew he had no business knowing, but he just couldn't put it out of his head.
Draco didn't Know much about what the trio was up to, nor did he think he wanted to. But whatever exactly it was they were doing; he was certain that Harry, Ron and Hermione were up to a whole lot more than just camping...
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