Chapter 11 : An Unlikely Ally
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“You should try to rest, you know. Healer Grant will figure out what’s going on sooner or later so you shouldn’t have anything to worry about,” Hermione said, walking over to Ron’s bed. He took her hand in his and pulled her closer.
“Listen,” he began, “Whatever happens to me, I need you to know that you –“ Ron stopped speaking as his other hand went to his head. He felt himself beginning to slip away and knew it wouldn’t be long before he lost control of his actions again. Unable to get his words out, Ron pulled Hermione’s face towards his and their lips met in a bruising kiss.
“Ron? What’s happening?” Hermione asked, trying to pull away from him.
“Just – shit, hold my hand,” Ron told her hurriedly. He squeezed his eyes shut and slowly slipped out of consciousness. His grip on her hand relaxed as Hermione stood over him. Slowly, Hermione smoothed Ron’s hair off his face and leaned in to kiss his forehead. She hoped that after he’d had some rest he’d be able to tell them what was bothering him. Hermione released his hand and slid under the covers in the cot next to Ron’s bed. After turning out the lights with her wand, Hermione propped herself up by her elbow so that she could look at Ron. His head was facing away from her.
Unnoticed by Hermione, Ron’s eyes flashed and his hands balled into fists. After a few moments passed, he relaxed his hands and turned over to face Hermione while feigning sleep. He simply had to wait until Hermione fell asleep and then use her wand to convince the Healers to believe he was ready to be released. Once he got out of St. Mungo’s, the rest of the plan would be simple.
“What the hell are you doing here? Do you know what time it is?”
“This is important. Let me in.”
“Not bleeding likely.”
“Look, I need to talk to you about something so just open the bloody door already,” Harry insisted.
“Fine. But it better be quick,” the blonde haired man consented, stepping back to allow Harry and Ginny to walk inside.
“Goyle’s been hiding Ron in his cell in Azkaban. Any idea how that happened?” Harry asked as soon as Draco closed the front door. Draco’s face turned immediately serious and Harry could tell the question had taken him by surprise.
“You don’t waste any time do you?”
“Like I said, this is important. We don’t have time to mess about.”
“Look Potter, I meant what I said after the war ended. I’m not in that stuff anymore and if I had any information I would have told you,” Draco said.
“You’ll forgive me if I don’t believe that,” Harry scoffed. Draco froze and turned to face Harry.
“I don’t like you. But I respect where you’re coming from so I’m going to let that comment slide.”
“So you haven’t heard of anything going on? Nothing from Goyle? Or your father?” Ginny gave Harry a reprimanding look before turning towards Draco.
“He didn’t mean that,” Ginny said gently, knowing talking about Lucius was a soft spot for Draco.
“Sit down.” Draco sat in an armchair while Harry and Ginny seated themselves on the sofa next to it. “I haven’t talked to my father in years. He almost went to Azkaban because of the pressure to defend Voldemort and keep his friends. You already know this, so if you want my help I suggest you refrain from making pointless jabs about things that are no longer relevant.” Harry and Ginny exchanged a look.
“I’d like to speak to your mother,” Harry said slowly.
“Out of the question.”
“Hear me out. Ron turned up in Goyle’s Azkaban cell. If you don’t know anything, your Mum might.”
“This whole post-war situation has blasted my family apart. You’re asking me to do further damage so that you can have your precious best mate back,” Draco said, his voice angry. Harry let out an aggravated breath and Ginny slid her hand into his.
“I’m sorry things had to turn out this way, but something isn’t right with Ron. I know it doesn’t seem like you get much out of this whole deal, but I wouldn’t ask unless I was desperate.” Draco stood and began to pace.
“Fine. I’ll speak with her. Only because she has some soft spot for you for some reason, Potter. Wait here. Don’t even think about snooping around while I’m gone.” Draco started for the door when Harry stood up.
“Don’t we get to come as well?”
“No. My mother’s whereabouts are to remain unknown.”
“How do we know you’ll be back?”
“You don’t,” Draco said calmly.
Harry sat back down as the door clicked behind Draco.
“Maybe this wasn’t my best plan,” Harry murmured, looking over at Ginny.
“As nutty as this sounds, I think we can trust him. I don’t think he fancies having anything to do with the death eaters after all that happened, with him having to kill Dumbledore and worrying about his parents during the war. He had a rough time, and sometimes people do change.”
“I hope you’re right,” Harry said, draping an arm around Ginny’s shoulders. “I never thought I’d see the day where we had to trust a Malfoy.
Draco arrived in a lush green field and started walking towards a large mansion in the distance. After many confrontations with his father, he sent his mother to a new home to which he was the secret-keeper. The situation was ideal, but he couldn’t risk further issues by allowing his mother to become involved in death eater activity again. A soft drizzle had begun to fall once Draco reached the front gates. He pointed his wand in front of him and walked through the gates and up the small walkway. Draco tapped the front door with his wand and entered. The house was dark and he suspected his mother would be sleeping. He hung his cloak by the door and started up the grand staircase. When he reached the top of the stairs he turned left to go to his mother’s room when he felt a hand on his shoulder. Brandishing his wand, he turned around to see a young woman with long blonde hair, silver eyes, and a serious expression looking up at him.
“Put that thing away. You know only three people know about this place. If you kill me then it’ll only be two.”
“Astoria. I didn’t expect you to be awake,” Draco said, surprised again by how beautiful she was. She was pulling her hair that reached a bit past her mid-back into a messy bun. Draco felt his cheeks begin to warm.
“Couldn’t sleep. You look like something’s bothering you,” Astoria told him, noticing the worried look in his eyes.
“I need to talk to Mum. Could you wake her please? Have her meet me in the study.”
“At this hour? Hope something exciting is happening. Being here everyday with no visitors and nothing to do but attend to your mother is starting to get bothersome.”
“You’re taken care of. The situation isn’t ideal, but –“
“Yes I know. I’ll get her.”
“Great,” Draco replied. He continued down the hall and lit the fireplace in the study. Sitting down on the burgundy sofa, Draco began to think about how much had changed in four years. There had always been tension in his family, but he never thought he’d fear for his mother’s safety enough to separate his parents. He rubbed his eyes and leaned his head against the back of the sofa.
“She’ll be here in a moment. Said she wanted to freshen up,” Astoria told him from the doorway.
“Ok,” Draco replied. Astoria turned to leave when Draco stopped her. “How’s she doing?” he asked.
“She misses him. Who he was anyway. She tells me stories about them dating and about what it was like when you were a baby all the time. You should come around more often you know. She misses you too.”
“She doesn’t. I just remind her of my shitty father, and I can’t let her see him. Seeing me only upsets her.”
“That’s not true Draco,” Astoria began, walking further into the room. “She loves you but she’s hurting. Her husband isn’t who she thought she was.”
“I know that! I’m dealing with the changes too. I don’t understand why she wants to forgive him. I was almost killed multiple times because of the stunts he pulled. The best thing I could do was walk away from him. I wish things were different,” Draco told her, leaning forward to put his head in his hands. Astoria sat next to him and rubbed his back comfortingly. His back tensed at the touch of her fingers but he tried to relax about the fact that she was touching him. Girls didn’t usually have this effect on him, and he wasn’t used to not being in control.
“Maybe just give it more time. Perhaps he’ll come around –“
“Yeah. Maybe,” Draco laughed. “But this is my father we’re talking about. It’s his way or no way.” Draco lifted his head and turned to look at Astoria. “I know this isn’t easy. But thank you for everything you’re doing for my mother. I’d look after her myself if I could but –“
“Someone’s got to keep up appearances so the Ministry doesn’t get suspicious of your family again. Yes I know the story.”
“Draco?” Mrs. Malfoy said from the hallway. Astoria stood up quickly and walked over to the tray behind the sofa to prepare a drink of Mrs. Malfoy.
“Mum. How are you?” Draco said, standing as she entered the room. The two embraced and sat down.
“I have been better. It’s quite a strange time for you to be visiting. What is it you want?”
Astoria set a cup of tea on the table and asked if there was anything else she could do. Mrs. Malfoy dismissed her with a wave of her hand and she left the room quietly, glancing at Draco quickly before exiting.
“Mum, I need to know if you’ve spoken to father recently.”
“Why would you suggest such a thing? You know I can’t see anyone. You’ve got me out in this unplottable mansion living with a witch who’s company I enjoy but tire of easily since she’s the only one around to talk to. You know very well that I cannot contact –“
“Mum, this is important. You’re an extraordinary witch but you can’t hide the fact that you’ve been conversing with him from me.”
“He’s my husband, Draco. I shall speak to him if I want to.”
“Mum I brought you here for your protection! You remember what happened at the end of the war. You remember begging him to sever ties with the other death eaters so that we could all live in peace together but he wouldn’t listen.”
“Of course I remember. I haven’t told him where I am. You’re secret-keeper so I can’t give him that information. I simply owled to see how he’s doing.”
“And did he write back?”
“Yes.” Narcissa pursed her lips and took a sip of her tea. Draco rolled up his sleeves and ran a hand through his hair.
“What did he say?”
“He told me he was working on a way for us to all be together again. He wants to make amends.”
“No he doesn’t.”
“Draco, please –“
“Can I see the letter?”
“I’ve told you what he said.”
“You also told me you wouldn’t contact him and you did anyway so please let me read the letter.”
“Fine,” Narcissa said as she pulled the letter from her night robes.
My Dearest Narcissa,
We will be together again soon. I promise I’m doing all I can. I only want what’s best for you and Draco and after I’ve finished this project, we can all be together. Draco will come around and everything will be as it once was.
All my love,
“Mum, he’s manipulating you like he always has. If you care about us at all, you’ll stop this.”
“Of course I care for you Draco. You are the most important thing in my life. But if your father is willing to stop being foolish then we must give him another chance. But right now I’m tired. Is that all you wanted to know?”
“Yes. I’m sorry to have woken you at this hour. I’ll be back to visit soon. You should go back to bed.”
Narcissa stood and gave her son a hug before walking towards the door.
“I see the way Astoria looks at you, you know. I would love a grandchild sometime before I die. Perhaps you could –“
“Mum, don’t be silly. She’s here for you. Goodnight,” Draco said, kissing her on the cheek. Narcissa bid him goodnight and left for her bedchamber. Draco pointed his wand at the fireplace to put it out and started back towards the stairs.
“Short visit,” Astoria remarked from the bottom of the stairwell.
“Just needed some information. She thinks I’m worried about Father, which is just as well. Why haven’t you gone back to sleep yet?”
“Don’t need much sleep. Whatever is going on, you’ll be careful, right?”
“Sure. I’ll be fine. I’m more concerned that you keep my Mum safe. How long have they been talking?”
“It’s been months now,” Astoria replied, her eyes looking towards the ground.
“And you didn’t think you should share this with me?”
“She made me swear not to tell. But now that she’s told you I can talk about it.”
“I knew I should’ve kept her wand from her. I just didn’t want her to feel completely helpless. It’s a miracle she’s agreed to stay here as I’ve asked.”
“She loves you. You’re important to her and she wants you to be happy.”
“Right. Well I’d better be off. I’ll be back when I can,” Draco said, walking over to put on his cloak. Astoria opened the front door and handed him a bag of sweets.
“Your Mum made them yesterday. Figured you’d like to have some,” she told him. Draco took the bag and pushed a strand of hair behind her ear with his other hand.
“Thanks,” he whispered. “See you soon,” he murmured, walking out the front door. Astoria stood at the door watching until Draco was out of sight.
She closed the heavy door and turned to talk up the stairs when she saw a figure move away from the top of the staircase. She blinked and rushed up the stairs, but no one was there. When she reached Mrs. Malfoy’s room, she found her asleep in her bed, and decided her mind must’ve been playing tricks on her. Astoria walked to the other end of the hall and entered her bedchamber where she pulled off her night robes and settled into bed with a book, her face still tingling from where Draco had touched her.
When Draco returned home, he found Harry and Ginny asleep on his sofa. Harry’s arm was wound protectively around Ginny’s shoulders and his other hand was clasped in both of hers. Draco couldn’t decide if he wanted to vomit or not so he decided to wake them up so he wouldn’t have to look at them anymore.
“Ahem,” Draco coughed. Ginny began to stir while Harry pulled her closer to him. Draco coughed again and Ginny opened her eyes, blinking in surprise as she remembered where they were.
“Harry? Harry, wake up,” she murmured, pulling out of his grasp.
“Around 3:30. I think I have some news for you.” Harry rubbed his eyes while Draco resumed his seat in the armchair.
“Let me be very clear about something first. I don’t want any harm to come to any member of my family. If I help you, things will be on my terms and I want them all to be safe,” Draco explained. Harry nodded. “I think my father might have something to do with this. I don’t know where he is. My mother might be able to get it out of him since it turns out they’ve been talking for months behind my back. I’m not going to go back to bother her about this right now because she’ll become suspicious. I’m going to need time to sort all this out.”
“We might not have much time. We don’t know what’s going on with Ron –“
“But we also don’t know how long it’ll take the Healers to figure it out, Harry,” Ginny interjected.
“Malfoy, if you’re father is behind this, I don’t know that I can guarantee his safety.”
“He feels like he’s got something to prove to the other death eaters. This stupid plan of his will backfire and we can leave all this shit in the past.”
“How do we know this isn’t some type of diversion and that you’re not going to double-cross us?”
“I won’t beg you to believe me. All I can tell you is I’m in control now. I’m not answering to Voldemort, Snape, my father, or anyone else.”
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but someone’s really softened you up,” Ginny said, still trying to believe what she was hearing.
“The war broke my family. I’m going to fix things,” Draco said easily.
“We can relate to that. Well, we’ll get out of here. Let me know if you figure anything else out.”
“Right. Erm, you too I guess.”
Harry hesitantly held out his hand and Draco shook it. He then took Ginny’s hand in his and left Draco’s flat and apparated home.
Once they arrived at their flat, Ginny released Harry’s hand and started for their bedroom.
“I guess I’ll rest a bit then go back to St. Mungo’s to check on Ron and Hermione. Could you check in with me at some point if you’re going to work late? Or maybe I’ll see you at the hospital?” Ginny asked, stifling a yawn.
“What do you mean?”
“Aren’t you going to work?”
“I thought I’d stay here actually. Figured we could both use some rest and then go to St. Mungo’s together.”
“But don’t you need to talk to Mr. Gordon about the Malfoy’s?” Ginny asked, her face looking puzzled.
“It can wait,” Harry replied, placing a hand on her cheek. Ginny smiled and pulled him towards her. As they kissed, Harry lifted her easily into his arms and walked towards their bedroom.
Ron opened an eye to see that Hermione was sleeping peacefully next to him. Looking carefully around him, he pulled himself carefully from the bed and glanced at a chart hanging on the wall. The junior healer that was supposed to check on him had marked off that she’d been in at 7:00, so he figured he had at least another half hour before she came to check on him. He moved slowly towards Hermione’s bag and found her wand resting on top of some clothes. He noticed another bag sitting near Hermione’s and was surprised to find a change of clothes for him along with his wand inside it. He picked up his wand and turned around hearing footsteps coming down the hallway. A junior healer poked her head into the room and smiled.
“Mr. Weasley, you’re awake. How about I bring you some –“
“Confundo,” Ron said quietly, pointing his wand at the young healer. Her eyes lost focus for a few moments and a dreamy look fell upon her face. “Write up the paperwork releasing me. Do it now,” Ron told her.
“Yes, Mr. Weasley,” the young witch replied. She left the room and Hermione began to stir. She opened her eyes slowly and began to open her mouth when Ron stopped her.
“Stupefy.” Hermione fell unconscious immediately and Ron changed his clothes. A few moments later the door to his room opened again.
“Did you get the papers?” asked a woman in dark robes.
“The girl should be back with them soon,” Ron replied.
“And you know where to go when you get out of here?”
“I’m going to have some fun with the mudblood first,” Ron said with a smirk.
“And how do you plan on keeping Potter and his girlfriend from wondering where you went?”
“Well that’s your job isn’t it? Figure something out.”
“Here are your release papers, Mr. Weasley. Have a nice day,” the junior healer said, handing him some paperwork. Ron nodded at her and took the paperwork. Once the healer left he tossed his and Hermione’s bags over his shoulder before going to pull Hermione into his arms.
“Here’s her address. And here’s the place you need to be by tonight. Bring her, and try not to mess things up too much.”
“Sure thing,” Ron replied. He started for the door when the woman stopped him and pulled a few hairs from his head.
“Have fun,” she laughed as she pulled a flask from her robes and added Ron’s hair to it.
"I plan on it," Ron told her. He hurried down the hallway to the lift with Hermione in his arms.
A/N: Lot's of stuff going on in this chapter and big things to come in the next! Has anyone seen the final Harry Potter film?? I hope you all enjoyed the chapter, please review!! :)
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