Chapter 8 : A Broken Man
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Hogwarts had officially sent all students home and for Ginny that meant her entire family along with Harry, Hermione, Neville, Dean, the Pavarti sisters, and the rest of the order went to her aunts. It was the safest place they knew since the burrow could no longer be relied on and Snape knew too much of their other operations. Who knew what he had already told the dark lord. It was nice to have everyone around. Most of Gryffindor had been inducted into the order by now, but were safe enough where they lived. Muggle borns especially, with the exception of Hermione, who for their own safety had to distance herself from her family as much as possible. Not that it bothered Harry to have her around.
It was also the same place Sirius and Remus were questioning Draco, and prying into his mind. She suspected they kept him dosed with Versitarium as well. She had barely seen him, but in passing and from she did see he looked like a ghost of his former self. She didn’t think Draco Malfoy could becoming anymore pale, and his build more slender and frail looking. His eyes held dark circles and his face was starting to look gaunt, almost as bad as Sirius when he had escaped Azkaban. Ginny wanted to reach out to him, to tell it was going to be ok, but her mind held her back. How could she love the boy she knew and hate the man who had led to Dumbledore’s death. How could he still be both people to her? She was pretty sure she was going mad by now, but she kept her thoughts to herself. Most of her family was still on the outs with her, even if they acted nice to her face. She knew she had screwed up royally, she had disappointed her parents as well, but there was some comfort knowing they stilled loved her, no matter what happened.
She left her room at the same time Draco was headed to his, done with his “sessions” for the day, Ginny wasn’t sure there was a thought left in his head that was his own, that was private anymore. He was looking down as if he had memorized the way back by floorboards alone. He didn’t seem himself. The Draco Ginny knew could sometimes be arrogant and a git, but he was confident, he was fierce. The many in front of her only seemed broken and lost.
“You look like hell”, was all she said and Draco looked up for the first time since his walk back to where he slept.
“You look like an angel”, A smirk ghosted across his face, and for a moment she could almost see his older self flicker, but like a flame it died, and his face dropped again.
“What have I done to you?” She brushed his cheek lightly with her hand.
“Don’t” was all he said as if her touched pained him. He removed her hand with his own. It was hard to let it go for a moment, but he let it drop. “You didn’t do this, I did”.
He walked past her then without another word. Ginny just stood staring straight ahead. He didn’t want her pity she knew that, and she wasn’t even sure she was ready to offer him forgiveness. Her heart still ached at the sight of him, but her mind screamed for her run, go in the other direction.
Weeks went on, and as if what happened before was the quiet before the storm open war had broken out in the Wizarding world. At first a few skirmishes and then battles, plans, strategy. Words Ginny had never seen applied to real life before, and yet she was stuck merely sixteen still, unable to participate, accept as an assistant healer to her mother. Her aunt’s house had become a safe house and group by group, people left. The order was divided into teams, each serving their purpose and each needed different places. The means in which they traveled, sent letters, even how Molly bought her groceries had changed. It wasn’t safe for any of them. More than half of them were wanted and those that weren’t were halfblood or less. They’re time would come shortly.
Without fail however, Sirius and Remus pried into Draco’s innermost thoughts as the young man had to just grip the edge of the chair and suffer through it. He wasn’t even sure what they were looking for anymore, or if his mind was just throwing stuff at them he didn’t even remember learning, anything to make them stop.
“Enough is enough”, Molly Weasley burst into the room one night as Sirius was examining Draco’s memories of his home, the best way in the sorts of wards his father had placed around it. “This is ridiculous”, she looked angry and her hands immediately went to her hips it was a look he had seen mirrored by Ginny when she argued over his decisions. “Deatheater or not, he has told you all he knows and he’s only bloody seventeen, he’s still a boy, he’s not sleeping, he barely eats your slowly draining the life away from him, and unless you mean to send him to Azkaban for fixing a bloody cabinet I suggest you give him a little more leeway and a much deserved break”. The two men sat bold upright immediately ready to protest. Draco himself starred at the woman in shock, since when did Molly Weasley care about his well being,
“Molly, we could have missed…” Remus started in,
“My foot, you and I both know there isn’t anything left in his head that you don’t already know, it’s messy business poking around in someone’s mind”, she hissed at them, “Cruel even.”
Sirius seemed to regard her with contempt, while Remus looked away abashed.
“He’s a deatheater”, Sirius said with rage. “Should be hoisting him up on our shoulders saying good job mate?” Draco’s knuckles whitened as he clenched the table. Sirius had no idea what it was like, he had friends like Potter when he was in school to turn him away from what most of his family had become. Draco had no one. No one to tell him it wasn’t right. His mother tried to shield him for as long as she could, but even then.
“This isn’t about him”, Molly starred the man down and his thin form seemed to slouch just a little. “Severus betrayed us all”, she broke through the tension and cut right at the heart of it all. “No one knew”.
“They’re all the same”, Sirius shot back.
“You of all people Sirius should know better”, Molly raised a brow and Sirius simply looked away. Whatever she knew about him had gotten in his head.
“Fine, gather everyone then and let’s decide what’s to become of Draco Malfoy”, he relented. Draco’s stomach did some sort of weird turn thing and he thought he may lose the little he did eat that day. So this was it? He was no longer useful and he was going to be thrown out and left for the deatheaters. Or perhaps Remus and Sirius would take care of him themselves, end him right there. He thought of Ginny, she was also so worried over him. He couldn’t help but wonder why. Was she just another attempt to get information from him? Just in case he was hiding something else. He let the dark thoughts fade. No, she was real. She was good, probably the only thing in his life that was untainted, granted she could never trust him again. She could never look at him as if he didn’t completely shatter her world. He could protect her though. He could protect her and he could protect the ones she loved. He could go into the thick of it.
It took shorter than he would have imagined to convene a large group of the Order. The entire Weasley clan was of course there, Ginny stood next to her mother. She didn’t meet his gaze when he chanced a glance at her. Harry was there as well along with Hermione and the rest of his school mates. He recognized most of the others Remus’s wife Nymphadora, his second cousin. There was also Kingsley from the ministry and Mad-eye. The man still made him cringe even though technically it wasn’t actually him who turned him into a ferret some years back.
“We know why we’re here”, it was Ginny’s father that spoke. “Personal interests aside”, he was addressing his own family now it seemed. “This young man has chose to betray Voldemort and in doing so has made himself a target. We need to come to a decision on what would be best for the Order”.
“Why should we have to look after him at all”, it was Sirius who spoke first, Draco had been expecting this. “He’s of age, and was old enough to play deatheater, I say let him take his chances far away from us”. Ginny scowled at the man.
“Much too hasty as always”, Kingsley regarded Sirius with a look one would give a child who had just gotten out of line. “He’s a formidable fighter and has great inside knowledge of the Deatheaters, who they are, where they are, with his help we could possibly turn the tide of the war”.
Draco wasn’t sure he wanted any of this to be honest. He listened as everyone else decided the rest of his life seemingly all too familiar. Dumbledore had spoken to him once of choices, but it seemed that he was destined never to be allowed to make one for himself again.
Then Ron spoke up, a mess with words as he was. It was a pity his insane girlfriend wasn’t here to sort them out for him. “He’s helped us” he said shortly, “If we just took what we wanted from people and casted them aside what’s the difference between us and them.” Draco was shocked for the second time today. Did Weasley just stick up for him?
A few more people spoke after that, some good, some bad. Most of Ginny’s brothers seemed to disagree with Ron, but they were dismissed for being bias by most of the others. It was when Harry finally cleared his throat that everyone looked to the wonder boy for the solution.
“Malfoy”, their eyes locked. Draco hadn’t expected to be addressed at all in this discussion. Things were just surprising the usually in control blonde left and right today. “What would you chose?” he asked simply. It reminded Draco so much of Dumbledore talking to him about choices.
“I”, he spoke for the first time, but couldn’t seem to form a sentence he sat for a moment to gather his thoughts, he had so many rambling around in his head. “I never chose this”, he motioned down towards his arm, which was covered by his sleeve. “It’s practically a birthright in the Malfoy household, I barely knew what it meant until recently”, he sighed. “It’s not an excuse for letting things happen, it’s just how things were”. He didn’t want everyone feeling sorry for him he did the best he could with what he was given. “I didn’t think I had another option”, he continued.
“I’ve already put your daughter in danger and that was not my intent”, he turned to Ginny’s parents. “I must only assume he knows about Ginny, not only her attachment to Potter, but to me as well now”. Ginny knew it wasn’t completely his fault, she could have ended things, but never did. He turned to her next and for the first time in weeks their eyes locked, “I am truly sorry”, he breathed.
“I know what I want now”, he raised his voice to the address the entire crowd. “Kingsley is right the inside information I have can be useful especially on the other Deatheaters”, he felt weird lumping himself in with them again. He left out the fact he could hold his fair share of them off, gloating wasn’t going to help his argument. “I want to fight them”.
“Then it’s settled isn’t it”, Harry almost looked a bit amused, “he stays he fights he helps in whatever way he can the same all of us do”.
“On probation of sorts” Remus added in. “You’ll have to have an order member with you at all times, partly for our safety and partly for yours”.
“Yes sir”, Draco agreed.
“Your wand I believe is being kept by Ginny”, Draco looked a bit surprise by this. He had given it to Luna for her to keep safe, but he wasn’t sure Ginny would have. His wand was almost like an old friend to him, it felt like he was missing part of his arm when he didn’t have it. “She can return it to you, only when you have need for it”.
“Alright, everyone in agreement”, There were murmurs around the rooms and people start filing out. Draco didn’t move from his spot, he couldn’t believe what just happened.
“Who’s for dinner?” Molly interrupted the smaller conversations that had broken out, some of them not so civil towards Draco. She shooed everyone from the room as quickly as possible so she could prepare. Ginny was of course stuck helping and Luna hopped up assuming that meant her as well. She like Ginny had become sort of a healer in the war as well. They all did their part, Luna was of course much better at it, but Ginny wasn’t cut out to sit on the sidelines.
“Looking a bit pale there mate”, Harry had caught Draco in the hall whilst he was on his way to his room, his tone wasn’t exactly friendly, but it was civil.
“Why?” Draco asked him.
“Because I trust Ginny”, Harry said simply. “You ever hurt her thought.” He paused for dramatic effect.
“If I ever hurt her, I’ll send myself to you bound and gagged”, Draco finished for him.
“Fair enough”, Harry chuckled. Was that a real friendly conversation he just had with wonder boy? Draco’s head was spinning now.
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