Chapter 10 : Breakable Vow
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"Vhat do you mean?" he demanded of Draco, his voice tinged with anger. Viktor stood in front of Arachne; he was obviously quite protective of his wife. But Arachne was no shrinking violet. She touched Viktor's arm and shook her head and he stepped back solemnly.
"Herr Draco Malfoy," Arachne began with respect,"I've always known I was adopted, but I never knew my birth mother," she addressed the blonde in front of her. "I've also led a very privileged life. Both of my parents are kind, intelligent, and magical. I went to Durmstrang and found Viktor, the love of my life. We have a son. I also went to the Universität der Magie. I have no reason to go digging back through my past. And now here you are, claiming to be my half-brother. Allow me to be blunt with you as you are with me,Halbbruder. Why are you here? After all this time, why have you decided to find me?"
Draco swallowed, partly with nervousness, partly with relief. Harry and Hermione stood there and held their breath. Draco was worried this Arachne might hide behind Viktor, but she was already reminding Draco even more of their mother. She was quiet yet strong and eager to get to the point. That last trait reminded Draco of himself.
"It's a long story," Draco replied. Where do I start? he thought, then decided to again stick to the point. "My–that is to say, our–mother revealed your existence to my father some weeks ago, as he was dying, and again to me two days ago. I wasn't aware at the time, but the next day, I came to find out that all birth mothers are required to take an Unbreakable Vow to never reveal the existence of their child once the child is given up for adoption."
Arachne's eyes flew open wide. "Ach, du meine Güte!" she exclaimed, holding a hand to her bosom. Clearly, she realised the implications of Narcissa's action of telling Lucius and Draco about her daughter. "So she broke the Vow..."
"Yes, she broke her Vow and is now in a coma as a result."
Viktor and Arachne again looked at each other, as Viktor said to her in German, "Aber was hat das mit dir zu tun?" To which she answered, "Ja, du hast Recht." She turned again to Draco.
"Why are you telling me this now, though? There is nothing I can do for her, nein?"
"Two reasons exist in my coming to you now: the first is that our mother wished to say goodbye to you one last time, but apparently she overestimated her longevity after breaking the Vow. The second reason would be as a favour to me–the Vow which Mother took can be broken by one person, and one person only. If the adoptee chooses, he or she may break it."
"Jetzt sehe ich," Arachne said in comprehension, "now I see." She covered her mouth with one hand, slowly walked over to one of the couches in the room, and sat down.
Hermione and Harry spoke to Viktor as Draco followed Arachne and sat down next to her.
"Is there any way we can just let them speak alone?" asked Hermione.
"Of course," Viktor said, as he gave them directions out of the manor and onto the grounds out back. Harry and Hermione made a discreet exit.
Viktor hovered in the background whilst Draco and Arachne talked to one another.
"So, tell me, bitte Schön. Does our mama have dark hair, like me?"
Draco shook his head and spoke softly. "You look almost exactly like her, except for your hair. Both of you have very blue eyes. Mother's hair is white-blonde, like mine. Your father's hair was black."
"Was black?" Arachne asked in dismay. "So my birth father no longer lives?"
Again, Draco shook his head. "He died during the war with the Dark Lord nearly five years ago. He helped to save Harry Potter's life many times."
With that, Arachne held her head high and replied, "Then my first papa was a hero?" she asked proudly.
"Yes, very much so."
"That is good to know," Arachne said, her voice tinged with sadness. "Now I regret not knowing them. I wonder why they gave me up?"
"I cannot tell you that, because I do not know."
"Perhaps they were both young and didn't know what to do...?"
"I don't dare speculate, Arachne. Your first parents are very complex people."
"As are you, Draco Malfoy. You hide your true feelings with a mask of arrogance. But you have a good heart. I can always tell with people."
Draco almost smiled. There was a time the arrogance wasn't always a mask. It had become a comfortable mask, though, so he preferred to wear it.
"What is our mother's name?"
"Her maiden name was Narcissa Black."
Arachne's jaw dropped. "My maiden name is a form of Black, too. Did you know that 'Schwartz' in German means 'black'?"
Now it was Draco's turn to be surprised. "No, I was not aware of that."
They sat in companionable silence for a time. Draco broke the silence, "Why do you wear a Gringott's vault key around your neck?"
"Is that what this is?" Arachne asked innocently, lifting the chain. "I have no idea where it came from. All I know is that an owl delivered it to me in about five years ago and it had a little note with it. It said, simply, 'From Severus Snape'."
Draco looked in shock at Arachne again.
"Severus Snape?" he repeated with excitement.
"Ja. Why? What is the significance of that name?"
"Arachne...Severus Snape is your birth father's name. That key might very well go to a vault of his in Gringott's bank. I wonder what he's left you!"
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