Chapter 3 : I could Prove it
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I kept walking until the end of the hallway, out of sight of all the other workers. I came to a stop at a large black door with a gold handle. Taking a breath and making sure my cloaks were in order; I twisted the knob and pushed the door open.
I heard a loud groan and was greeted by a journalist rubbing her back where I was guessing the door had hit her. I smiled apologetically but she wasn't even paying attention. Her eyes were glued to something ahead of her, the quick quill floating beside her writing furiously.
I knew there was going to be a lot of people but this was more than I expected. I had to squeeze through the little space that was left in the small corridor before it opened into the wide court room. Once I made it to the front, after a lot of pushing, shoving and some minor profanities, my way was clear.
I hadn't interrupted anything; the court wasn't in session yet. I breathed a sigh of relief; I thought I was going to be late.
Once my robes were situated again and I made sure my wand and briefcase were still in my hands, I looked up. I felt eyes on me and I knew whose they would be but I couldn’t figure out where he was. After looking the whole room over five times I became frustrated and took a few steps forward.
My wand was pulled from my hand and my limbs were locked.
Before I could process what the hell was going on I heard someone scream "She's with me!" I would know that voice anywhere. Anyone who wasn't in a coma for the past 5 years would know that voice.
It was Harry Potter.
"Ginny, I thought you weren't going to come," Harry gave me a quick hug and quickly guided me away. I hadn't had time, before now, to truly take in the size of the court room. The high ceiling was made of black marble creating a dark lighting that suited the tension filled atmosphere. The Judge's seat was empty but the rows behind him were almost completely filled with the members of the Wizengomat.
"Why wouldn't I come?" I tried turning towards him but the arm he had around me, guiding me towards his seat, wouldn't let me; I still felt eyes on me, I wanted to find them. "I told him I would do everything in my power to prove his innocence, just as you should."
"Well, I-I just don't think he wanted you here." Harry had been hesitant to say it.
"It's not his decision," I spoke clearly, my voice hardened. I was here to save my friend and no one could stop me.
"Ginny try to think about it from his perspective," Harry sounded like a therapist.
"What the hell do you know about his perspective?" I tried to move away from him, but again his arm constricted me. Why wasn't he letting me turn around?
"I know a lot more than you think!" Harry nearly screamed at me, all the while keeping me and himself turned forward. He was behind us, I knew it. "I didn't tell you because he didn't want me to, but I think you need to understand. When I told him I would act as his lawyer he let me see his memories, all of them." I couldn't speak; I had no clue what to say. All of them? Did that mean he saw everything?
"Some were edited of course," Harry added, as if sensing my discomfort. It made me feel better but I still was having trouble believing it.
"Okay, Harry," I said calmly, "you know his perspective, now can I give you mine?" Harry seemed hesitant but nodded. I would have to be as persuasive as possible right now. This would determine if I could stay or if he would force me to leave. I was still itching to turn around.
Harry led me to a back room that was empty. We both sat down and I prepared to relive the past 5 years and all the emotions that accompanied it.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" Harry asked cautiously, I must have looked as if I was preparing for my death. "Why don't you just let him have his way?"
"No, because you and I both know his way is suicide." Harry didn't fight that, he knew I was right. "I am going to save him, even if he doesn't want saving. Now I will tell you why, and listen closely 'cause I'm not repeating anything." Harry nodded and I began to tell him why I needed to do this. I won't relay our conversation to you but give you even more of an understanding.
I'm not sure when it started exactly, but let’s just say it began 5 years ago; when Draco Malfoy came to live in the burrow.
This was my doing of course, I had to plead and beg but eventually I got my way. My family was not happy about it, even Charlie, who knew I trusted Draco, was a little antsy about it. They were afraid he hadn't really turned good but I knew that he was always good, he just didn't know it.
Draco was interrogated over and over, using veritruseum, about the whereabouts and plans of Voldemort and anything else on the related topic. He didn't mind telling them what he knew, he would have done it without veritruseum, but there was one thing he was hesitant to tell.
When Kingsley asked him "Why are you coming to our side?" I didn't think much of it but as a look crossed his face and he attempted to keep his lips closed it suddenly dawned on me that he might let secrets out that we'd both rather be kept in. It was too late for me to do anything; I braced myself for what was about to come and thanked God Ron was not in the room.
Draco shot me an apologetic look before he finally succumbed to the potion. "Ginny," Kinglsey looked at me, not understanding Draco. "I changed for Ginny." I could feel everyone’s eyes on me, but I kept looking at Draco.
"Why did Ginny have such an effect on you?" Kingsley was just doing his job but I wanted to kill him. "What is your relationship with Ms. Weasley?"
"She's my best friend." Draco answered through clenched teeth, he was trying to keep it in. He was trying not to tell them. He couldn't hold it back forever; I closed my eyes and waited for it to be over. "NO!" My eyes opened, what was he doing? "The first time I rode a broom was at the age of 5, when I fell off, sprained my wrist and started crying my father hit me; he told me I had to suck it up.” I had no clue what was going on, I don't think anyone did. Draco had his eyes closed tightly, he looked like he was in pain; I saw a tear slowly fall from his eye.
"In my first year when Potter made the quiditch team and I couldn't he used the cruciatus curse, telling me I must be better than him." His voice caught, he had had trouble even telling this to me, why was he telling nearly my whole family, and some of the order? His face betrayed no emotions but the shape of his tensed muscle could be seen through his shirt and his knuckles were white. "At the beginning of my 6th year," I wanted to scream, I wanted to stop him but I was frozen, listening to him relive his darkest memories. I didn't want to listen, this nightmare was already too real, but I couldn't stop him now.
"I was told I had to kill Dumbledore." I saw Harry perk up out of the corner of my eye; of course he couldn't help but want to know more about this secret. "My father threatened to disown me if I didn't. I tried several times to do it, but they were never good enough. I WAS NEVER GOOD ENOUGH!" He wasn't shouting at anyone, he was shouting at himself. "I didn't want to kill Dumbledore, but I had to. My parents lives were on the line, I couldn't let them die. I had to kill Dumbledore. I killed Dumbledore." The whole room perked up at this, I was waiting for Harry to object, to tell everyone it isn't true but he stayed silent.
"I may not have dealt the final blow but it was my fault." Draco’s voice was low and emotionless. "Must I continue?" Draco opened his eyes now, his voice was strained. "Do I need to tell you anymore of my secrets? I will. I will give you my life story before I tell a secret that isn't mine to tell." He slumped in his chair but his knuckles were still white and his muscles were still very apparent.
Tears cascaded down my cheeks; he was fighting veritruseum for me. "How did you do that?" Kingsleys voice broke the silence before I could think of anything to say.
"Summer going into my third year, my father taught me how to overcome veritruseum and the imperius curse," He didn't hesitate to answer, the words flowed from his lips. He looked exhausted; his face was drained of all color and his eyes were half closed. "My father isn't evil," he added, almost too quietly to be heard. "I know he was never, and will never be good but he isn't evil," Of course he was defending his father; family was almost as important to him as it was to me. "And he's willing to help you guys out."
Kingsley exchanged a glance with Charlie, he must have told him about what happened in the woods. Kingsley shared a few words with my father before turning back to Draco, "Okay that will be all for today, Ginny can we have a word?"
"No." It wasn't my answer, it was Draco. He sat up straighter and looked Kingsley in the eyes. No more words were spoken but Kingsley seemed to understand and simply nodded. He then ushered everyone out of the room, motioning for me to stay. Charlie patted my back comfortingly before he left the room; I tried to give him a reassuring smile.
"Draco," I breathed, getting up from my chair.
"Don't," He put his hand up, I kneeled next to him and took his hands in mine. His head fell onto my shoulders, I felt moisture begin to soak into my shirt. His body shook with soundless sobs, my own tears began to fall; I couldn't stand seeing him like this, he was always so strong.
"Thank you," It was all I could say.
After that emotional display of strength Kingsley was a little more fond of Draco however he was also concerned by his ability to overcome veritruseum so he was kept on a pretty tight leash. Ron was never told about what happened and no one else found out about Draco and my real relationship…well until my mother decided to have a little chat with me four months later.
We were doing the laundry while the boys worked on who knows what. I still wasn't allowed to know about what was going on in the war but Draco made sure to tell me whatever information they told him, which was never much. I should have known it was coming, my mother couldn't keep quite forever. But I was still taken by surprise.
"So you and Draco dated?" She asked, trying to sound casual.
"He never said that," I didn't want to lie but I wasn't about to spill my whole love life to her.
"I'm not an idiot, dear" I hated when she said that. "No boy would endure that much pain for a simple friendship, there's something more."
"What do you mean pain?" I asked, not just to get her away from the dating thing but because I seriously didn't understand.
"Do you think it's easy to fight veritruseum?" I wasn't stupid either, I wanted to say but instead I simply shook my head. "When you fight veritruseum the potion causes a response in your nervous system that feels as if you’re being electrocuted." I froze. "If they don't tell the truth willingly it's tortured out of them.”
Draco electrocuted himself for me. Draco electrocuted himself to help me. To help me, Draco electrocuted himself. Draco endured internal electrocution to keep my secret. There was no easy way to say it, there was no way that made the cold, brutal truth any easier to stomach.
"That's why he kept confessing, he was trying to confuse his body into thinking he was telling the truth. I've never seen anyone bear it for that long. Oh and it is a shame about his father," My mother just continued on, not noticing the mental breakdown I was currently going through. "I had no idea his home life was like that." She paused and thought for a moment. "Now, I will not be distracted, what is going on between you and Draco?"
"Nothing." Honestly, I wasn't lying. There was currently nothing going on between Draco and I.
"Well than what happened between you two?" Now that one was a little more complicated.
"It's a long story," I mumbled, focusing my attention on the shirt I was folding.
"We have plenty of time," My mother placed a hand on top of mine, stopping me mid-fold. I was not going to have a discussion about my love life with my mother.
"We dated, okay?" I was hoping that would suffice, the look she shot me made it obvious that it wasn't. "Draco and I started dating after Harry and I broke up. We dated for a few months and then broke up. After the break up we became friends, best friends. Is that enough information for you?" I turned towards her sharply; I didn't want to relive my 6th year, no matter how you told it there was no happy ending.
Thankfully my mum let it be and simply watched as I walked away. She didn't mention it again...for a while at least. For the next few years nothing really happened. We fought the war, which had officially started the day the Malfoy Manor exploded, oh and the Malfoys came to live with us.
Yes Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy lived with the Weasleys.
Of course they also went through the whole veritruseum interrogation, but I didn't care enough to listen and I wouldn't have been allowed to listen to the good parts anyway, so I skipped them all together. Kingsley was even more careful this time, now that he knew the Malfoys could fight the potion he made sure to back it up with spells as well.
Lucius gave away any and all information that he knew about Voldemort, the death eaters and any of their plans. He worked closely with my father and Kingsley for the next few years. I may even say they had become friends, or at least they were on okay terms; and mum was quite fond of Narcissa too. Turns out they had a lot more in common than you'd think.
The only relationship that seemed to be on the rocks during the war was Draco and mine. We talked about everything except each other. He never mentioned the interrogation and if I brought it up he would freeze and try to change the subject. We use to be able to talk about everything, even our relationship, now it was like that topic was off-limits. Until three years after the war had officially started.
Let me explain this war a little. After the explosion at Malfoy Manor a few ministry employees, under the imperius curse, tortured and killed Rufeus Scrimegour. That was when Voldemort basically took control of the entire ministry and either you followed him, you died or you tried to work with the order to fight him; which meant death was a very huge possibility no matter what you did.
There were several large battles that we thought might end the war, two took place at Hogwarts and one in diagon alley. The problem was Harry, Ron and Hermione were off most of the time doing who-knows-what and not letting anyone help them; although they did ask to speak to Lucius and Draco a few times, however those were few and far between.
Now if you hadn't guessed, Hogwarts was closed down so unless you were able to get out of the country before the death eaters caught you there was no school. My brothers decided to re-establish Dumbledores Army in our house, somehow Draco and I were roped in as teachers.
So I spent the best years of my life teaching others how to protect themselves while cooped up in the burrow- I'd say it was the highlight of my life…not. Draco truly was the only reason I made it out, I think I would have gone crazy or died of boredom if it weren't for him.
Now that brings me back to the first time we talked about our relationship, three years after the war had started. It wasn't even brought up by either of us, my dear brother Charlie initiated the conversation.
Draco and I were playing wizard chess in the garden when Charlie decided to join us. We made small talk, shared a few laughs, he helped me win, pretty basic stuff. Then the first silent moment we had, which wasn't even an awkward silence so he had no reason to say anything, he says this:
"What happened between you two?" Draco stopped mid-move and I simply stared, was my brother really going to go there.
"What do you mean?" Draco and I ask at the same time.
"Alright I know you guys don't want to talk about it and maybe I should just be asking my sister, but I want to hear the truth so I'm asking both of you." Charlie meant well but I didn't want to talk about this right now. "Why did you guys break up? I know Ginny was really upset over it so it wasn't a simple falling out of love"
"Who said anything about love?" I asked, "Draco and I just realized we were better off as friends." Charlie rolled his eyes, he wasn't going to settle for that.
"I was stupid," Draco spoke up,
"It wasn't your fault, I forgave you so he doesn't need to know." I placed my hand on his, I had forgiven him. I knew he was sorry, there was no need to tell my nosey brother.
"No Gin, he wants to know so I'm going to tell him," He patted my hand comfortingly; I could see Charlie watching this curiously from the corner of my eye. "One of my classmates, Blaise Zabini caught me and Ginny talking together and asked what was going on. I told him some stupid excuse and he seemed to buy it but I was paranoid. There is no excuse for what I did but in the moment I just thought I was helping our relationship stay a secret, I was trying to keep her safe." Charlie nodded his head understandingly, but he was obviously anxious to hear what happened next.
"So that night at dinner,"Draco paused, shaking his head, "Pansy Parkinson came over to me and, like she always does, flirted with me. I usually ignore her, but I just thought it might be suspicious to Blaise so I flirted back." I don't think Charlie was quite getting it, but he would soon. "Pansy got excited because I was finally responding to her. When we went back to the common room she again started flirting and came on to me. I could have pushed her off, I could have said no but I didn't. Next thing I know she was kissing me.” Draco stopped.
"She kissed you?" I asked, "She bloody kissed you!" Draco looked at me with a 'duh' expression. I wasn't sure what to say or do next.
I slapped him.
Draco looked hurt and Charlie looked confused. I got up to walk away but Charlie was too quick. He had a firm grip on my arm before I was able to take a step. I looked at him, I wasn’t sure why but tears began to fill my eyes. I shook my head, why wouldn’t he let me go.
“No, you’re not going to slap him and run away. I can honestly say I have no clue as to what just happened so before anyone leaves this table I better understand.” Charlie’s voice was hard yet I knew he was trying to help me. “Why are you upset?”
“I betrayed her trust; she has a right to be upset.” Draco answered before I was able to.
“I didn’t ask for your opinion Draco,” Charlie said pointedly, “I want to hear it from my sister” Charlie looked at me, I looked at Draco and Draco stared at his hands.
I couldn’t look at Charlie, my eyes were glued to Draco. “You told me you had cheated on me,” I started off, my voice was shaky. “I thought you slept with her. I thought you finally gave in to her and found that she was worth it and that I wasn’t. I thought you were willing to have sex with her while you weren’t willing to have it with me!”
I blushed as soon as the words left my mouth; that may have been too much information for my brother. Draco finally met my gaze and I soon forgot my brother was even sitting there. His eyes were filled with guilt and sorrow.
“I can’t believe you thought that, Gin.” He shifted in his seat so he faced me completely, he placed his hands on mine. Now I was the one avoiding his gaze. “I would never have slept with someone while we were dating, I never would have wanted to.” He paused and I nearly met his gaze again but I didn’t want to see the emotions that I knew would be there: the same emotions that were in my eyes.
“Before I met you I slept with nearly every girl I talked to but I didn’t care about any of them. When we first started dating I thought you’d be the same way. I thought I’d play around with you and then dump you at the first sign of any true emotions but I didn’t get the chance. I fell for you so fast I didn’t know what was happening. It may sound corny but it’s true. I wouldn’t sleep with you because I wanted you to be different. I loved our relationship; it wasn’t built on physical attraction it was built on friendship.”
Now tears were falling freely from my eyes. I didn’t know what to say, there was nothing to say. I heard Draco’s chair move, I looked up as he made his way to my side of the table. He knelt before me., “Please Ginny, I’m so sorry I betrayed your trust, please don’t cry.”
“You’re so stupid Draco,” This caught him off guard, I wiped my eyes of the last few tears and looked at him. “I’m not mad at you Draco, I’m relieved. Okay I am a little mad but not because she kissed you. I’m mad because you didn’t tell me that that is what happened. I beat myself up for months over the thought of you sleeping with Pansy. And now I learn that it was all for nothing. You should have told me what really happened.”
Not a second after I finished the last word Draco’s lips were on mine. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t breathe but I didn’t want to think or breathe. From the moment I felt his lips all I wanted was to close my eyes and relish in the feeling. It was familiar, sweet and made me feel as if we were back at school. As if there wasn’t a war being fought outside our front door. I felt as if there was no one else in the world other than us.
Then it ended.
Draco stared at me with a bewildered expression “I’m sorry.” He tried to leave, to run just as I had tried to after I slapped him. This in a way was a slap: an apology for a kiss we both obviously enjoyed, running away from something most people would run to. I didn’t let him, just as Charlie didn’t let me.
I grabbed his arm quickly, all the time wondering where Charlie had gone and when he had left. I prayed that it was earlier on in the conversation. Now that my hand was firmly gripping Draco’s hand I attempted to pull him towards me…he didn’t budge.
“Draco I am not letting you go.” I stated firmly, giving up on pulling him. “Why are you apologizing? I am not sorry it happened…are you?” My voice lowered at the end, I was almost afraid to ask it. I was afraid to hear the answer. Up until this point I was still standing behind him, holding his hand firmly. I had preferred to talk to his back; I didn’t want to see what he was thinking.
Now he turned around sharply, nearly hitting me on the way. “You just don’t get it, do you?” To anyone who overheard this he would sound livid but I knew this voice. This was the voice that always came out when he was trying to hide what he was truly feeling.
After living with him and his parents I also realized his father used the same defense mechanism. It was interesting to see how much the father and son had in common without even knowing. I didn’t answer Draco because I knew he wasn’t really asking. I let him fume for a moment as he collected his thoughts. I slackened my grip on his hand; it had begun to hurt my fingers. Now he gripped my hand, almost painfully tight but this was a pain I welcomed.
“I can’t be with you Ginny.” His voice was no longer hiding emotions, it was completely blank. “and for that I am sorry.” I stared at him in shock. We had gotten so far, I thought we were making progress but just like that it was all gone. He reverted back to the belief that he was evil and I was an innocent who needed to be protected.
Now as I finished that last memory off for Harry, I of course left out the more intimate details of our past relationship, I don’t think he truly knew what I was getting at. So I broke it down real simple for him.
“Draco believes he’s evil.” I stated pointedly. “He thinks it’s his fault that Dumbledore died, but you and I both know that’s not true, he was going to take Dumbledore’s help.” Harry nodded in agreement but it wasn’t too convincing, he better agree otherwise there’d be hell to pay. I continued to try and persuade him. “Draco withstood internal electrocution to keep a secret because it wasn’t his to tell. He could easily have said we had dated and now were friends but he didn’t. Why? Because he is a good man…he is a great man. He is a major reason we were able to win this war. You can’t let him throw away his life.”
Harry looked at me in thought, I knew he would agree with me. I wouldn’t let him disagree with me. I waited for him to say something, but he simply sat in silence. There were countless times that Draco helped the order, not only by supplying information but by fighting side by side with them during nearly every battle. I couldn’t count on my fingers the amount of times he had saved by life, let alone others lives as well.
“Ginny, I agree with you” Harry said, then he paused. I waited for the “but” because I knew it was going to come. “I already told the judge that we were pleading guilty, and I am Draco’s lawyer I can’t go against what he wants. He told me he wanted to plead guilty and I told him I would have to respect that decision.”
“No,” I stated firmly, “no, I won’t let this happen, you can’t let this happen. There has to be a way out!” Now is the time that I wish I read more, like Hermione. I wish I had her vast knowledge about wizarding law but no amount of wishing could help right now. Draco was going to get his way.
Harry and I sat in silence. I wasn’t too sure what he was thinking about, and I didn’t really care. Right now I was focused on trying to come up with a way to save Draco.
Then it hit me.
I knew something that no one but Harry and Draco were supposed to know. I could expose what would probably be the largest scandal in wizarding history. I knew a secret that would make Dumbledore roll over in his grave. A secret Rita Skeeter would kill for. A secret that could change the world.
It didn’t take much digging or research to discover this little-well more like gigantic- secret. It was almost as if I was meant to learn it. I was meant to learn it because I was meant to save Draco.
I could prove his innocence.
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