Chapter 2 : Trial and Error
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Chapter Two: Trial and Error
Draco Malfoy had thought Ronald Weasley to be many things- poor, stupid, and a Blood Traitor- but he had never expected him to be a cheater. He was the last person on earth Draco had expected to cheat. He had received that morning’s paper, and he had felt slightly sick looking at the image of Weasel kissing that Brown girl. Lavender, he thought her name was. He had expected to feel nothing but emptiness, but instead, he felt anger. Pure, cold-blooded rage.
And he had no idea, whatsoever, why he was feeling that.
The worst thing was, sitting at the dinner table later that day, drinking another glass of Firewhisky, Draco still felt the anger rushing inside him as he looked at the image yet again. And now he knew why. Weasel had cheated. On the Mudblood.
“I drank too much,” Draco muttered. “Why do I even care? I ought to congratulate him.”
But he didn’t feel like congratulating Weasel. In fact, if he looked at the Weasel’s face again, he might be sick. Draco pulled out his wand, got up from the dinner table, and walked over to the fireplace with the Prophet in his hand. He threw the Prophet in the fire.
“Incendio.” He said.
He watched the Prophet burn with some satisfaction, imagining what it would be like to watch Weasel burn.
Very fun, he thought to himself, if it didn’t get me landed in Azkaban.
At the thought of Azkaban, a shiver ran up his spine. He reached across the table, and grabbed the letter that had been sent a few days ago. He’d already read it, more than once, but he now opened it, and read it a seventh time.
Of course Harry, Ron and I will come to your trial! I’m sure Harry will be very pleased to see you. Ron… well, not so much. But we’ll all be there on the 25th.
Sorry about your father,
He smiled, ever so slightly. He had sent nothing but a quick “OK, see you there” in reply. She had not replied, but he knew he would see her there. He had sent the letter to Granger, rather than Potter, because he knew she would reply instantly. Plus, he wanted to shock her. Draco Malfoy, sending a letter. To a Mudblood. It was unheard of, honestly.
Draco looked up to see a Ministry owl sitting on his kitchen table. The owl had dropped a letter in front of him. Draco sighed deeply, picked up the letter, and opened it. The letter had been addressed to Mr. Draco Malfoy, Apartment 12, Britain. He read the words, his lips turning into a scowl.
Dear Mr. Malfoy,
We will see you July 25th at 2:00 sharp. You will be on the 2nd Floor of the Ministry of Magic.
Thank you. Good day.
Head of the Department of Wizengamot
Draco threw the letter on the table, paid the owl, and got up. ‘This is stupid,’ he said to himself. ‘I haven’t done anything wrong.’
Draco walked over to the refrigerator, opened it, and peered inside. He reached for an apple just as something flew over his head and landed on the counter. Another letter? He wondered.
triBut this owl was familiar, and Draco would’ve recgonised it anywhere, were it not for the fact that he had seen it many times during school.
This was the Weasely’s owl.
‘Why is a Weasel writing to me?’ He wondered aloud.
The owl hooted, and dropped the letter on the counter. Draco forgot about the apple, and walked over, picking up the letter. It was addressed to him. Curious, he opened the letter, and read an unfamiliar scrawl.
Hermione’s just told me about your trial. Also, Ron’s passed out. If you read the news this morning, you’ll know why.
See you on the 25th,
Oh. So it wasn’t a Weasel at all, only Pot-head. Well that was just as bad, Draco thought. And then he smirked to himself. Weasel-face was passed out, most likely because Mudblood had found out about the cheating.
Draco chucked, went to find some parchment, and came back to the kitchen. The owl was still there, waiting. He wrote a single sentence on the parchment.
Tell Mudblood not to do anything stupid.
He rolled up the parchment, tied it to the owl’s leg, and sent it on its way. Then he went to go finish his apple.
Ron was currently passed out in his bedroom. Harry had sent a letter to Malfoy a while ago, and Hermione was now waiting for his reply. She was downstairs in the living room, staring at the Weasley’s clock, her eyebrows knitted in anger.
‘He’s waking up.’ Said a voice behind her.
Hermione turned around to see Harry standing there, dark circles under his eyes. He was exhausted.
‘Alright,’ she said. ‘I think I better go, then.’
‘No,’ Harry said. ‘I mean, you don’t have to go. I’ll make sure he doesn’t do anything to you. I can’t believe he did that.’
‘It’s fine, Harry, really. I sort of expected something like this to happen.’
‘You expected him to cheat on you?’ Harry asked, bewildered.
‘No, not really. I sort of expected him to break up with me before we went back to Hogwarts. I can’t believe we’ve been together this long anyway, you know? I guess I was just waiting for something to happen.’ Hermione had to fight back her tears as she said it, so she wouldn’t cause Harry to worry about her. He’d done enough worrying in his life- he didn’t need anymore, especially now that Voldemort was gone.
‘Alright, ‘Mione.’ Harry started to go back upstairs, but Errol flew through the window, a letter attached to his leg.
‘He’s got Malfoy’s reply,’ Hermione said. For some reason, she was fairly excited about this. Although she didn’t know why. Harry untied the letter from Errol’s leg, and handed the letter to Hermione. She read the single sentence, feeling a smile creep to her face.
Tell the Mudblood not to do anything stupid.
‘Well isn’t he the same prat he was in school,’ Harry mused, reading over her shoulder.
‘Some people will never change,’ she said.
Ginny appeared on the steps. ‘He’s awake,’ the redhead grimaced.
Hermione almost Disapparated on the spot, but Harry grabbed her arm. ‘Stay. He won’t bother you if he values his life.’ He said.
Hermione sighed. ‘Alright, fine. I’m going outside.’ She said.
She turned and left before any of them could stop her. Once outside, she sat down on the grass where they had been only an hour ago.
Could it really have been just an hour? She wondered. It felt like forever.
Suddenly Hermione couldn’t hold it anymore. The tears started slipping down her cheeks. It wasn’t fair, she thought. Why couldn’t Ron just love her the way she wanted him to, wholeheartedly?
But she couldn’t make him do anything. In fact, Hermione had never been able to make him do anything. It was just that… well, she wanted him. There. She admitted it. She wanted him, more than she had thought she would.
Someone coughed, and Hermione looked up to see George standing a few feet away from her.
‘I didn’t mean to… um, stupefy Ron.’ He said awkwardly.
‘George, you didn’t do anything wrong. He deserved it. Anyway, if you hadn’t knocked him out I probably would have done an Unforgivable on him.’ Hermione said, smiling a little sheepishly.
‘Well he would have definitely deserved that,’ George said.
They both started laughing, then. It was nice to hear him laugh again. George hadn’t laughed much since Fred died. That was when Hermione decided that she wasn’t going to be upset about Ron cheating on her. Too many people had lost their lives fighting for the Trio in the Battle, and Hermione should have been grateful that she still had Harry, Ron, and the rest of the Weasley’s.
So no, she wasn’t going to cry about his cheating. In fact, she would be happy. Because there had been too many losses to cry over a silly little thing like cheating. Okay, maybe she was being a little stupid. Cheating wasn’t really a silly little thing, but she wasn’t going to cry about it.
George had stopped laughing, and was now looking at her. ‘What are you thinking about? I can practically hear the wheels turning.’ He said.
‘Ron, actually,’ she said. ‘I decided I’m not going to be mad at him.’
‘What!’ George exclaimed. ‘How can you not be mad at him? Look what he did to you!’
‘George,’ Hermione sighed. ‘I didn’t mean I’m not mad at him at all. Of course I’m mad at him. I just decided that…, well, I’m not going to hold a grudge.’
George shook his head at her. ‘You’re crazy, ‘Mione. But if you’re… forgiving him, then I guess I will, too.’
Hermione smiled. ‘Good. I’m going to go in the house now.’
She stood up, and looked once at the spot where she and Ron had lain, and then went in the house. Sometimes, you couldn’t hold a grudge against someone you loved, even if they currently had their wand stuck up their arse.
Two Days Later, The Trial
‘Argh,’ Draco muttered to himself. ‘This is agonising.’
He was sitting in the waiting room before the trial, having come far too early for his own good.
‘Better get used to it; you’ll be spending the rest of your day here. Hope you didn’t make plans.’
Draco looked up at the voice, and immediately felt a small smile appear on his lips. He quickly changed that smile to a smirk. Pot-head and Mudblood stood before him, no red-headed Weasel in sight.
‘Mudblood, Potter.’ He said, trying to seem civil. Granger’s lips tightened when he said that word.
‘Malfoy,’ she replied coldly. ‘If you want us to tell the truth at your trial, I suggest you start being more civil. That does not include the use of the word Mudblood.’
‘I can do what I want, Granger.’ He said just as coldly. She sneered at him, a sneer worthy of the Malfoy name. But it didn’t look good on her.
‘Would you guys stop these petty little fights? We’re adults, and if you haven’t noticed, we’re not in school anymore.’ Potter sighed.
Granger mumbled something that sounded like ‘sorry’, and Draco remained silent. Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore.
‘So where’s the Weasel? I assume he’s in the bathroom. What, do you not have good showers at that ruddy place?’ He snickered.
Potter glared. Granger looked away, suddenly interested in a spot on the wall. He could tell she was trying hard not to cry.
‘Malfoy,’ Potter said, ‘if you know what’s good for you, you better shut your mouth. And it’s not any of your business, but Ron didn’t want to come.’
‘Oh, I see,’ Draco smirked. ‘Has the Golden Trio turned into the Golden Couple now?’
Granger was on him before he could even blink, her wand pointing threateningly at him.
‘Shut your mouth,’ she hissed. ‘Don’t say things like that in public.’
Draco paled, remembering that the press was waiting for something big to happen again. They were still gossiping away about Weasel’s cheating, but it appeared the Prophet no longer had anything good to publish besides the Golden Trio.
‘Look at that, Malfoy’s speechless.’ Potter laughed.
‘I guess I have that effect on men.’ Granger said, laughing as well. She had pulled back from him, and Draco now straightened.
‘You wish, Granger.’ Draco muttered.
She had no idea, of course, just how she made him feel. She made him feel things no girl, even Pansy, had before.
A woman in a suit appeared at the doorway. ‘Ah, Mr. Potter, Ms. Granger. You have arrived. Wonderful. The trial begins shortly.’ The woman said.
Potter and Granger nodded, and Draco pursed his lips. The woman shot him a glare, and walked back into the courtroom.
‘You’ll be alright,’ Granger said, so quietly that only he could hear. ‘You’re going to be OK. I put a spell on them so they have to let you off.’
Draco looked up so fast that he almost gave himself whiplash. She shook her head, mouthing ‘Harry’, letting him know that Potter didn’t know about her spell, and that he should keep quiet. Draco, not wanting Potter to take the spell off, nodded once. Anything to escape Azkaban.
McGonagall arrived a few seconds later, wearing the emerald green cloak she was so fond of.
‘Professor McGonagall!’ Granger said happily. ‘How are you? We haven’t seen you since…’
‘I know, dear. I know,’ McGonagall said. ‘And it’s Headmistress now, not Professor.’
Granger let out a shriek of delight. ‘You got the Headmistress job?’ She asked excitedly. Draco rolled his eyes, but secretly he was happy. He thought McGonagall should have gotten it all along, really.
‘Yes. Shortly after the Battle of Hogwarts. I trust you have been well, Ms. Granger? I heard about the… erm, break up.’ McGonagall said.
Granger, for once in her life, fidgeted. ‘I am well, thank you, Headmistress.’
‘Are you sure, Ms. Granger? It is tough to deal with such a thing after losing so many.’ McGonagall said.
‘I am sure,’ Granger said.
Draco felt like falling asleep. But a part of him was glad that she had broken up with Weasel-face. She deserved better, even if she was a Mudblood.
Whoa! He told himself. Stop thinking about her like that, it’s Granger, for crying out loud!
‘Malfoy?’ Potter looked bewildered. ‘You okay?’
‘What? Yeah, of course.’ He said.
Potter definitely didn’t believe him. But he nodded, and turned to Granger. ‘Trial’s about to start. C’mon, Mione. Let’s go. See you later, Headmistress.’ Potter said.
Draco almost laughed. Mione? What a stupid nickname. He would have nicknamed her Mia. Wait, I’d what? He thought. He shook himself. He was just nervous, that’s why he was thinking like that. Although Draco Malfoy had never been nervous before.
‘Mr. Malfoy? I’m going to take my place now. You will be alright. I know of Ms. Granger’s spell, and her spells never fail.’
Draco looked up at McGonagall’s voice. ‘Thanks,’ he said, surprising himself. ‘I’ll be okay. Don’t worry about me.’
McGonagall nodded, and a minute later, she was gone, and he was alone. And he had never been quite so alone in his life. But it was not long before someone came to get him, and escorted him into the courtroom. Draco was sat on a chair before the Wizengamot, and his stomach turned over. He did not doubt Granger’s spells, but he had no idea what to expect.
‘Mr. Malfoy, do you know why you are here?’ The Malkin woman said, gazing down at him with a glare.
‘Yes,’ he said. ‘It’s because I am a Death Eater.’
There were murmurs throughout the courtroom. Draco spotted Granger, and Potter, and noticed that Granger was whispering something to Harry. He couldn’t make out the words she was saying, but he hoped she wasn’t saying something nasty about him.
‘So you admit you have been involved with Lord Voldemort’s plans to kill Mr. Harry Potter?’ Malkin asked.
Draco felt like throwing up when she said involved. It made it sound like he’d had an affair with Voldemort or something. ‘No,’ he said. ‘I was not involved with Voldemort’s plans to kill Potter. I never wanted any part in it. You have to understand, it was my parents. They-’
‘Enough!’ Malkin exclaimed. ‘You are a lying little fool, if you think I am going to let you get away with this. Do you know your father killed my sister? And that your Aunt Bellatrix tortured the Longbottoms, whom have done nothing to harm her in anyway? You yourself, Mr. Malfoy, almost killed Albus Dumbledore, one of the greatest wizards in all time!’
‘I WAS NEVER GOING TO KILL DUMBLEDORE! I had NOTHING to do with the Longbottoms or your sister! I only became a Death Eater to protect my family!’ Draco shouted.
Granger stood up.
‘Ms. Granger, sit down.’ Malkin said. She sounded very much like Professor Snape right then.
Granger sat, rather reluctantly. Malkin turned to Draco again, her glare fixed on him. ‘You admit you are a Death Eater,’ she said slowly. ‘And that you knew of Voldemort’s plans to kill Harry Potter, possibly since the Triwizard Tournament. Your father is a well-known Death Eater, and your aunt as well. Your mother said practically the same thing you just did, that she was only protecting her family.’
‘Look, Ms. Malkin. I will gladly give back the lives my family took, but that’s impossible. I’m willing to pay whatever price it is for my actions, even if I have to die.’
Granger let out a startled gasp. She must not have expected him to say that.
‘Very, well, Mr. Malfoy. All those who declare Mr. Draco Malfoy innocent, raise hands.’ Malkin said.
Almost half the people in the court raised their hands, including McGonagall, Granger and Potter.
‘All those who declare Mr. Draco Malfoy guilty, raise hands.’ Malkin said.
There were less people to raise their hands this time, and those included Malkin.
‘The court declares Mr. Malfoy innocent on this day, July 25th, until further incident shall occur.’ Malkin said.
Draco almost let out a breath of relief. Of course Granger’s spell had worked. He couldn’t have expected anything different, really.
His trial and error might have been looked over, but Draco was sure the ministry would be keeping a close eye on him from now on. But for now, Draco was going to celebrate.
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