Chapter 1 : The Confession
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The crash in Godric’s Hallow was muffled by the sounds of the rain crashing against the cobbled streets. The man who had Apparated pushed himself up quickly as the blood from his temple was washed away by the downpour. His robes dragged through the mud, and he struggled to maintain his balance as grey eyes searched frantically for the right cottage.
Under no other circumstances than what had brought him there on this night would the wizard dare ask anything of the one he was seeking. As if his reputation and name weren’t tainted enough, the words that were to be relayed would ruin him.
Harry opened the door after the third thunderous bang and could not conceal his surprise at finding Draco Malfoy on his doorstep. What threw him off completely was that there was no wand pointed in his face. The wizard was hunched over, sopping wet and the only thing Harry could think to do was step aside and let him cross the threshold. Draco obliged, bringing with him dirty footprints and the stench of mingled blood and mud.
Once in the lighting of the cottage, Draco’s visage was revealed. Dark circles encompassed his eyes and he once again retained the green discoloration of his skin that was present in their sixth year. The only recognizable differences were numerous cuts that lined his jaw and neck.
“You don’t look...er...why are you here?” asked Harry, shutting the door.
The words that had been so clear in his head moments ago now burned and bubbled like Bubotuber pus on his tongue. Almost regrettably, Draco lifted his eyes and with a scowl that was characteristic of himself in Potter’s presence, fought through the burning desire to throttle him and said, “Potter, I need your help.”
He had asked for help and he hadn’t burst into flames or dropped dead.
It was someone else who choked, sputtering as he tried to dislodge the copious amount of pie in his throat. Draco kept his eyes fixated on Harry’s scar as his breathing only became heavier and his scowl deeper as Ron flailed his arms in his peripheral vision.
“What kind of help?” asked Harry, his words laced with suspicion.
“What have you been tampering with now, Malfoy?”
Draco jerked his head towards the couch, where Ron had just spoken having recovered from his choking fit.
“It’s nothing illegal,” spat Draco, glaring at Ron from across the room. “As a matter of fact Weasley, you and Potter here might actually understand my reasoning for this… project.”
If project was an appropriate term for how Draco had been occupying his time for the last year. He had slaved away in the darkness, hovering over old books and objects that would have peaked his interest as a youth, until he finally found the answer tucked away where he told himself he’d never touch it.
The Bubotuber pus was edging its way back to Draco’s throat at the prospect of revealing what he had done. But who would blame his moments of weakness or those of sympathy and grief.
“Look, I can’t go to the Magical Law Enforcement directly, they won’t give me a chance to explain myself!”
“And who says we’re going to let you explain yourself, Malfoy? Besides, I think we’ve helped you enough. We saved your arse after Crabbe’s stunt with the Fiendfyre in the Room of Requirement!”
Only too well did Draco remember that night and at these words, his face twitched uncomfortably. This did not go unnoticed by Harry who was watching the former Slytherin carefully. Perhaps he realized that it was something besides the urge to hex Ron at his remarks that lingered in the grey eyes of Draco Malfoy. Regret, sadness, or even fear.
Frowning slightly, Harry cut in before Ron could continue with his tirade. “What did you do?”
Draco swallowed hard, the smell of his own blood and Harry’s soiled carpet were more overpowering than before. “I brought him back, Potter. I brought him back.”