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Chapter 44 : Birth of a Hero
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44. Birth of a Hero
I first read about Draco Malfoy in the unofficial biography of Harry Potter—Harry Potter had never released an autobiography, and the many unofficial biographies that had been written were certainly not something that Harry Potter has been a large part of.
Draco Malfoy was the only son of Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy. He married Astoria Greengrass, who gave birth to two children—the eldest, a son named Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy, and the youngest, Sabriel Mirani Malfoy. He was a member of the school board, taking the position from his father. He began his career following the war as a dishwasher at the Leaky Cauldron but now worked at the Ministry doing something that hadn’t been disclosed to the public.
And in his sixth year, he was bound by he-who-must-not-be-named, and ordered to kill Albus Dumbledore. Behind his back, an unforgivable curse was made between Narcissa Malfoy and Severus Snape vowing that should Draco fail, Snape would complete the job.
In order to fulfil his orders, Draco Malfoy let several death eaters into the castle of Hogwarts, letting many be injured and attacked, and resulting in the death of Albus Dumbledore.
All these things spun through my head, my mind spinning and my eyes blinking furiously.
Todd Williams was about to become Draco Malfoy.
He was about to do exactly the same thing. Hell, he had done the same thing. There was a friggin Death Eater in this castle, and Todd Williams had put him there.
And I was the reason he would get away with it. He’d said it himself. My freaking obedience had made him untouchable.
It made me want to pull out my hair, scream and cry at the same time. Not for myself—god, no, I was the one stupid enough to risk this happening for Em’s damn pride—but last time someone had died.
And if someone died this time I would never, ever forgive myself.
“Are the others on their way?” McNair demanded of Todd.
Todd nodded his head, rolling his eyes at the death eater’s impatience. It astounded me. He was being a dick—the same rude, arrogant tool he always was—to a man who had kill hundreds? To the man who had cursed me?
“They’ll be here in moments.” Todd said. “Meanwhile,” he reached into his pocket, “you need to drink this. I’ve been all around the school getting what you need.”
McNair’s eyes narrowed.
“So you could be connected to this?” he thundered.
Todd held up his hands with another casual roll of his eyes. “No worries, man,” he droned. “I used some myself—it was a bitch to make and bitchier to drink—but if there are any questions asked, Katie Dalton was the one who went to the other common rooms and collected hair samples. I snatched a hair off her when we were doing business.”
My stomach dropped out of my stomach.
It literally felt like a giant gaping hole had opened up where my legs had once been and everything gushed out like a water tap. Simultaneously, I wanted to throw up.
“He told me everything.” Oz told me at the Hufflepuff table two days ago. “Everything that you did for him. You were bloody there—don’t lie about this, Katie.”
Eric frowns in front of the Ravenclaw common room. “What? We talked an hour ago, Katie.”
Fred watches me, half amused, half confused. “We hung in the common room for two hours before you went to study with Eric, Kats.”
Yep. I very definitely want to throw up.
Because I knew what that meant.
Honestly, who wouldn’t?
He had taken a strand of my hair. To make the potion that required a hair for the blame to be pinned on me.
Todd had been me. Now there was even more of a reason to freak out about this whole situation. Not only could it be linked to my little trip to the restricted section of the library, but Todd had spoken to my friends, as me.
Todd Williams had been walking around.
For who knows how long?
I pushed my head out from behind the couch cushion again, almost having forgotten that Indiana was right beside me until that point. She shifted slightly.
“Take the freaking potion, man.” Todd urged the death eater. “We don’t want some student walking down here and freaking seeing you.”
McNair rolled his eyes, but quickly downed the potion. His face contorting in disgust at the taste that I’ve heard described as ‘fermented cat piss,’ his features began to change almost instantly. I didn’t watch as their faces changed, but when the sounds of shifting bones stopped and I looked back, I recognised the man he’d become instantly.
“Where is the actual Longbottom?” Walden asked with the Professor’s voice. “You have seen to that, haven’t you boy?”
Todd let his lilting smirk creep onto his face as he surveyed McNair. “Do you think I’m a fool?” He asked dryly. “Of course I’ve taken care of it. As of this moment, the four heads of house of this very establishment are flying to Beauxbatons for an emergency meeting of professors to discuss the base curriculum. Because of the apparating regulations, it will take them three hours to get there, and three hours to return when they find that the letter was a hoax.”
To me, hearing that Professor Longbottom was not dead was a sheer bloody relief. As soon as McNair had taken his form I thought of the real man—Char and Carson’s cute but super scary dad.
McNair/Longbottom pursed his lips, his scarred eyebrows coming together.
“That doesn’t give us a large window.”
Todd rolled his eyes.
“You’re being overly cautious,” Todd informed him. “It gives us time enough for the plan. When the others arrive they’ll take their agreed forms, and I’ll take mine. By the time everyone finds out what is happening, they’ll have no idea who we are, and we’ll be holding every single student at Hogwarts hostage.”
For the first time, a confident smirk slipped onto Longbottom/McNair’s face.
“Because of the time I spent with the insipid friends of Katie Dalton,” Todd continued, “I know all of the passwords—so you three should have no difficulties making your way into the common rooms. From them on it’s just a case of sealing the rooms and making our demands.”
Todd grinned, before reaching into his bag. He pulled out a Gryffindor tie and pushed it into McNair/Longbottom’s hands.
“Augustus and Antonin will be here in moments,” McNair/Longbottom declared. “But before they arrive, might you tell me who that is?”
My heart literally stopped.
He extended a finger and pointed right at me.
Todd grinned. “That?” he said, looking right at me. With a swish of his wand, I was visible again. I swallowed, pure fear coursing through my veins. “That’s just Katie Dalton.”
McNair snarled at Todd. “The scapegoat?”
Todd nodded. “My bitch.”
I flinched, but didn’t move.
“Stand up, Katie.”
Fear pounding through every inch of me, I slowly pushed myself to my feet. Before they could see my wand, I slipped it up the sleeve of my shirt, but unable to do anything more than that.
“Come over here, Katie.”
I felt as though I was under the Imperious curse. I’d never known what it felt like, but if this was what it felt like to mindlessly obey, then I believed I was close to knowing. I hadn’t heard any spells though. This mindless fear was my own mind doing what it was told.
It was as though my free will had vanished entirely.
McNair spoke next, Longbottom’s face twisting to the cruel look that had me imagine how he’d killed the snake in the war. His face was terrifying—and yet, this was the dad of two of my friends.
“Do you know what is going to happen now, Katie Dalton?” he asked of me.
I couldn’t talk.
I literally could not talk. My throat had gone so dry that there was no way I’d be able to make any sort of sound.
I made an gurgling sound.
Right, so I could make some sort of sound.
Just not any that would help me in this situation.
“She looks a bit tongue-tied, friend,” Todd observed, grinning. “But she should be.” He leaned close to me—his mouth inches from my face as I stared into his snarling grin. “Do you know who this is Katie?”
I didn’t move. I didn’t speak.
Todd seemed to understand.
“She does,” he said leaning backward. He turned to McNair. “Do you know why Katie knows who you are, specifically, Mr. McNair?”
McNair watched me with curious narrowed eyes. “Why does she know me specifically?” he asked, a grin slipping onto his face as well.
Todd grinned at me.
They were playing with me.
They were bloody playing games with me—like I was a mouse that they didn’t need to worry about because they were the cat and the cat was faster, stronger and smarter than the mouse.
For the love of Merlin I did not like being that bloody mouse.
“Katie knows who you are, Mr. McNair, because you cursed her fifteen years ago, with bad luck.”
I was wrong.
That was when my stomach dropped through my ass.
I stared at Todd in horror. Gaping at him with my mouth opening and closing I also watched McNair as he realised who I was.
“Dalton? Of the blood traitors Michael and Helen Dalton?”
My parent’s names, coming from that thing’s mouth was enough to make my heart want to jump out of my chest and beat the man to a bloody pulp.
You know, if I wasn’t terrified and immobile.
And if hearts could do that.
I stared at Todd. “You knew?” I croaked, finally finding my voice—the voice that sounded as though a truck had hit my voice box driving at one hundred miles per hour. “You knew about the curse?”
Todd let out a cold laugh.
“You got me suspended for six months, Dalton. You pissed me off, and I did my homework. And I realised that if I wanted any of this to work all I had to do was talk to you. Because you have the worst luck in the entire world—and you’re a freaking Hufflepuff. It was the recipe for brilliance.”
I coughed—which was really very tough considering the complete lack of air in my lungs.
“Hufflepuff?” I echoed hoarsely. “What does that have to do with anything?”
“You’re a Hufflepuff. Everyone knows its the most useless house—it’s the one where people who don’t matter go, and then they go and call you ‘loyal.’ As if everyone else isn’t loyal. You do know that your entire house is a lie? I mean, the mainly Slytherin based Death Eaters were loyal to the Dark Lord even in his death. And the bloody saint Gryffindors do everything based on freaking loyalty.”
What the hell was he talking about?
“Although, Dalton,” he continued to rant. “You’re loyalty did reach ridiculous proportions. You made me think a bit about the stupidity of Hufflepuffs, combined with their stupid blind loyalty. I mean—Emily was a bitch to you. A real, cold bitch, and yet you’re willing to risk your well being, other people’s safety and really, everything that’s important to you for the sake of her pride?”
“That’s either real loyalty—or real moronic.” He paused. “And you know what? I think it’s the second one, Kats, I really do.”
What happened next could not be attributed to bravery.
I was not a brave person.
In fact, it had just been made clear to me that I was a freaking moron.
I was not brave.
Not by any means of the word.
So if you want me to be honest?
This was all due to pure stupidity.
“I’m going to tell everyone.”
Frick. Frickety frick, frick, fricken frick.
McNair’s wand was brought up immediately. Todd stopped it, pushing it back to the death eater’s side. I realised that I wasn’t breathing—and upon realising this, didn’t restart. I just continued to hold my breath and await the consequences of my latest bout of stupidity.
“No you won’t, Katie.”
“I will,” I persisted foolishly. “Everyone knows what you are, Todd. They know that you’re a bad guy. They’ll have no problems believing this was you.”
Todd leered at me.
Really, truly, freaking leered.
“No Katie, they’ll have no problems believing it was you.”
For the third time, my stomach seemed to simultaneously fall through the floor and explode.
“Why are you here, Katie?” Todd asked me slowly. “Do you want to tell me why you were hiding in the Slytherin common room, at eleven o’clock in the night, with a known death eater?”
I was here to wipe his memory. A little piece of it, or all of it—I didn’t care when I arrived. I was here to break the law, and take his memories.
“Exactly,” Todd continued when I didn’t reply. “And who was it that got all the passwords to the separate common rooms? And who was it that broke into the restricted section and stole the books that taught who how to make the polyjuice potion—which is also illegal, without permit, post the second wizarding war? And who’s owl was it that delivered the message that sent away all the heads of house?”
I had only errantly wondered where Scrubs was this morning when he wasn’t in his cage.
But there was something that Todd wasn’t on top of.
Something that Todd didn’t know.
Indiana was watching this entire thing. She seemed smart enough o stay down and stay quiet now that it was a matter of death eaters and framed students and polyjuice potion. She’d seen it all and she wasn’t actually evil. She’d tell the teachers everything.
She’d smiled at me, that day, in my house, after the ball at the Malfoy’s home.
Indiana Stephens had smiled at me, and Indiana was going to get me out of this.
Todd smirked at me.
“Don’t smile Katie,” he told me.
I hadn’t been smiling. My lips had barely twitched. But come on, I was the girl that everyone knew was in love with Albus Potter, months before we got together. I was the girl who needed a necklace with a cushioning charm. I was the girl who was cursed to never be happy.
I was a girl who wore her bloody emotions on her sleeve.
And Todd had seen it.
But he couldn’t know—
“Indy? Will you stop hiding from me please? Come out.”
My stomach really needed to stay inside me. My inside went cold as I heard the familiar sound of the disillusionment charm being removed, and the shift of furniture as Indiana made her way out from the hiding spot.
“Todd, are you really doing this?” She asked, her eyes blinking away tears while she frowned at her boyfriend.
Todd sighed. “Yes, sweetie.” He told her with a grim nod.
Indiana nodded, setting her arms.
“You won’t get away with this, Todd. I mean—those days are behind us now. The war, you-know-who, all that terror. We’re done with it—I won’t let you bring it back. I won’t le—”
The flash of green came out of nowhere.
Indiana was dead before she hit the floor.
Todd smirked. “Maybe now she’ll finally shut up.”
Longbottom/McNair launched himself at Todd, his fist colliding with the side of his face so hard that I heard the crack of Todd’s neck, pulling back, there was blood on his fist as he snatched Todd’s wand from his hands and grabbed the mirror, pressing his palm, red with Todd’s blood, against the surface he vanished. My wand was in my hand, the wood cold in my numb fingers, I could hear a scream, oh Merlin, was that me, Indiana was dead, Todd laughed like a maniac, my face was wet, why was my face wet? Todd moved forward at me, runs his fingers through the blood on his head and grabs my hands, smears it across my knuckles and steps back, again playing with his bleeding head.
I lifted my wand and pointed it at him.
The scream—it was me—cut off and there was silence. My head swung to the left, where, through the left door, stood Scorpius Malfoy, staring at Indiana’s body with his face as pale as a ghost.
“OH, MY GOD!”
The scream came from my right. Sabriel Malfoy was a blonde blur as she ran past me to the body of her now dead best friend. I remained still, wand pointed at Todd Williams’s face as Sabriel’s shout turned to hysterical sobs.
“She did this.”
Everything went silent now. I couldn’t even hear my own heart throbbing in my chest. Pure terror had silenced my whole world.
“She did this!” Todd lifted an accusatory finger in the air and pointed it at me. “She was in the common room—Indy and I were just here—and then she was here and, oh, my god, she killed Indy.”
I didn’t move.
I couldn’t move.
All of Slytherin was here now. They come out and they were watching.
“Katie Dalton just murdered my girlfriend!”
I found my voice. Not moving my hand I shook my head vigorously.
“He’s lying.” I tried to shout to the crowd loudly, but it came out as a hoarse whisper. “He’s lying. I didn’t do this. He did this.”
Todd looked at me—there were tears in his eyes—why was he such a good actor? His face showed a look of pure incredulity.
“I did this?” He echoed. “I don’t even have a wand. I loved her. How dare you!” He launched himself at me—but Scor was there faster, grabbing him and pulling him back, away from me.
I still hadn’t lowered my wand.
Scor pushed Todd behind him, and outstretched his hand. “Katie, calm down. You need to put the wand down.”
I looked at Scor pathetically.
“You believe me, don’t you?” I whispered as he got closer, no one else able to hear over the sound of Sabriel’s sobs. “Don’t you Scor? You believe me?
Scor just watched me. Wearily, he reached out his hand and pressed it against mine.
He pushed my arm down, swiftly taking the wand from my hands.
“You believe me?” I whispered again. “Scor, you believe me, don’t you?”
Scor watched me with his piercing grey eyes. He got those from his father—from Draco Malfoy. I knew that because Harry Potter said it was one of the first things he noticed about Draco Malfoy. That he had grey eyes.
Scor and his grey eyes watched me. He hurled my wand out of reach, and I watched pathetically as it fell into the green flames. It was ruined almost instantly. But I didn’t really care. I was watching Scor.
And I watched Scor as he moved himself, around me, away from Todd so that he was between me and Sabriel.
I watched as he instinctively protected his sister.
The title of this chapter is supposed to be ironic. It’s supposed to reference Todd’s rise to heroism following Katie’s fall. But we as the audience (and author) know that it’s obviously the other way around.
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