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Picking Up the Pieces by xMsFiggx
Chapter 14 : Realization
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 5

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Previously on Picking Up the Pieces:
Ginny and Harry were taken from St. Mungos and Hermione was taken from her flat. Draco learned his mother and father had something to do with Ron's disappearance.

Draco watched as his father motioned to Rodolphus to proceed with the explanation. Rodolphus stood from his chair and walked back to another room where a woman was seated in a chair next to another vat of the complex looking potion. Her eyes were closed and she looked like she was concentrating intently on something. Lucius stood behind Astoria while Draco opened his mouth but was silenced when his uncle began engaging in some advanced wandwork. He heard a sound behind him and turned to find that Astoria had fainted into his father’s arms.
“What did you do to her? Let her go,” Draco said, advancing towards his father.

“Calm down son, she’s just sleeping.” Draco stopped when the woman sitting in the chair opened her eyes and her mouth turned in a sly smirk.


“I thought you would never let me out of there. She’s too good. Not angry enough and very difficult to control. You better tie her up,” the woman said, standing from her chair. “Ahh, you must be Draco,” she said, extending her hand. Lucius waved his wand and Astoria fell lightly to the ground as bindings curled around her hands and legs.


“Let her go,” Draco began, walking towards Astoria and ignoring the woman’s outstretched hand.


“She will be fine, son. This is a precaution. Just let me explain, and then you can talk to her,” Lucius insisted.


“She doesn’t need to be tied up. She works for me and has keeping countless secrets. I don’t see any reason for this –“


“I need to show you something,” Lucius interrupted, nodding to Rudolphus who moved to sit down in the chair. “We’ve been working on a type of advanced imperius curse that we could use to gain control, and have found it to be quite successful. This potion is the key to obtaining ultimate control over the wizarding world.”


“Not this again,” Draco scoffed.


“You may not like me right now Draco, but I am still your father, and you will still treat me with respect,” Lucius said, his tone serious. Draco lowered his eyes. “We’ve been developing this potion and perfecting it for years. It still needs a bit of work, but it mostly perfected. We can control anyone we want.”


“Can’t you already control anyone you want? Isn’t that the point of the imperius curse?” Draco questioned, impatiently shuffling his feet.


“This curse allows for more control. In a sense, we can become the person we want to control by using their body.”


“And you can’t do that with a polyjuice potion?” Draco asked insolently. Lucius shot him a warning look and continued explaining.


“This allows for prolonged control. A polyjuice potion won’t last forever and there are new ways to detect the use of it. With this curse, we can access the memories of the person we’re controlling so that we can interact with people they know more effectively. We’re better able to fool people this way.”


“Ok, so this is what you’ve been doing with Weasley for all this time? Why him?”


“The potion works best with emotion behind it. The Weasley boy’s anger was perfect. We have the perfect memory of Viktor Krum kissing that mudblood to access and control his anger. It seems that if he’s going to be angry, he may as well take his feelings out on Potter and the girl of his dreams. He’s going to torture them for us,” Lucius explained, a sparkle in his eye that making Draco feel nauseous.


“So, what? You’re just controlling his body?” Draco asked, confused.


“We’re controlling his body and his mind. As I said before, it is like an imperius curse. He is inside his head somewhere, dormant, and watching everything. Though we’re not sure how much he remembers after Rodolphus has been in his head for a while. He’s been experiencing some black outs once we bring him out of it but we think it’s temporary. Given some time, he will remember everything he has done. After he’s tortured his sister, killed his girlfriend, and hurt his best friend, we will release the charm and he will probably go insane with guilt,” Lucius continued, his smirk growing wider. Draco’s expression hardened.


“You cannot be serious. This is Harry bleeding Potter. You don’t think people will be looking for him?” Draco ran his fingers through his hair in frustration.


“He’s been one step behind trying to find the Weasley boy all these years. The Ministry will put it together, but by that time we will be gone and off to another location. You’ve hidden this place well and done your part exceptionally well, Draco,” Lucius told him.


“What do you mean ‘I’ve done my part’?”


“Clearing the family name. Creating this safe house for your mother. No one will suspect us,” Lucius said, raising his wand causing numerous potions to empty into the cauldron sitting on the table next to Rodolphus.


“You put Ron Weasley in Goyle’s cell in Azkaban! Of course they’re going to suspect us!” Draco exclaimed, turning and bracing his hands against the cool stone wall behind him.


“I know this is a lot to take in, son. I realize you’ll have questions, but it will make more sense once I show you. Goyle was in on this plan and had a hand in preparing the curse. Azkaban was a safe place for Goyle to practice with Weasley where we were sure no one would look for him until we were ready. Unfortunately I had to have his memory wiped when Potter showed up, but I did what I had to,” Lucius explained animatedly. He turned his gaze towards the woman standing next to Astoria’s limp body.


“Cynthia, will you please get everything ready for Rodolphus? I’m going to explain things a bit more to my son, then I’d like to demonstrate. Narcissa will assist you,” Lucius told her, his eyes locking with his wife’s. The two women nodded and walked towards the potion, their wands raised. Draco still hadn’t moved from his place next to Astoria. His mind was racing as he thought of the inevitable consequences his father would face if he were caught.


“How did Potter find him in Azkaban?” Draco forced out, his voice shaking slightly.


“I left hints. I told you he was always one step behind, but eventually I wanted him to find Mr. Weasley. We needed to know that we could control him when he was around Potter and Granger to make sure that the conflicting emotions he’d inevitably be feeling wouldn’t be a problem.”


“And did you tell Goyle his memory would be wiped as part of this plan?” Draco asked coolly.


“Of course not. But he understood. Sacrifices had to be made.”


Draco sucked in a breath. If sacrifices had to be made, he knew that his father would dispose of him in a second if he thought he wasn’t on board with his plan. He took a deep breath and tried to remain calm.


“So this imperius curse of the mind. It works?” Draco asked smoothly, glancing quickly at Astoria then back at his father.


“Yes. Better than we imagined.”


“And the part about needing emotion?”


“It’s more that we need the emotion we want to be most accessible. The Weasley boy has quite a temper, so we’re using his anger to our advantage. When Rodolphus enters his mind, he accesses the last memory he has, which is of the mudblood kissing Viktor Krum, and he becomes angry. We’re able to use that to facilitate his interactions with others. He doesn’t have to be angry, but we use it to remind him that the mudblood doesn’t love him and we remind him Potter hasn’t found him in 4 years and therefore doesn’t care about him either. We remind him of all this when we pull him from unconsciousness. Apparently he doesn’t immediately remember what Rodolphus has done while in control, but the memories come back to him. After a while, he remembers not being in control and trying to fight the curse off. It works great with him because he has low self-esteem as it is,” Lucius explained.


“And Astoria? What emotion did you use for her?” Draco asked, regretting the words as soon as they left his mouth.


“Love, of course,” his father replied, as if manipulating her feelings was nothing. “Your mother told me you two were getting close. We reminded Miss Greengrass of that before we took control of her. She doesn’t want you to be hurt of course, so using love allows us to guilt her into– Draco? Are you alright?” Lucius stopped talking noticing Draco’s hands had formed fists. Draco tried to relax his expression.


“I’m fine,” he replied curtly. “Is anyone besides you, Mum, Uncle, and that woman involved?”


“Cynthia is a friend of your Uncle’s. Right now, we’re the only ones involved, but Rudolphus has been gaining support among other fallen Dark Lord followers. Goyle may have talked to some people in Azkaban. We wanted to make sure this would work and now that we know, once we do away with Potter and his friends, we can infiltrate the Ministry.”


“And then what? “ Draco pressed.


“We give power back to the purebloods,” Lucius said with a smile, as if it was the most obvious response.


“We’re ready,” Cynthia said from across the room. Rodolphus was sitting in the seat next to the potion that looked something like a pensieve.


“Excellent. Let’s begin,” Lucius replied, nodding towards Rodolphus who placed his hand inside the potion. “You might notice it looks like a pensieve. We place all the memories for the person we’re controlling there and we’re able to manipulate and distort them. When Mr. Weasley was in the care of St. Mungos, we removed the curse completely so he would appear normal to his family. Then we took control again and had him bring the other three here.”


“And now, we’re going to play with them,” said a voice from the door. Draco turned to see Ron Weasley standing in the doorway with a smirk etched upon his face.





Mrs. Weasley paced nervously around the Burrow, cleaning here and there. She had already changed the sheets and mopped the kitchen twice. George was sitting at the kitchen table, his leg moving restlessly up and down. He had closed down the shop and agreed to stay with his mother while Mr. Weasley went to find Draco Malfoy along with Mr. Gordon. They were due back any second.


George’s gaze moved towards the window where he finally saw his father approaching. He threw open the door and called his mother downstairs. She reached the kitchen when Mr. Gordon and Mr. Weasley entered the house.


“Any news?” George asked anxiously as the two men shuffled into the room. Mrs. Weasley waved her wand and four cups floated towards the table as the teakettle followed behind.


“It appears Draco did not show up for work this morning, but he did send an owl saying he would need the day off.” Mrs. Weasley sank onto the bench at the kitchen table.


“That settle’s it. I’ll go to his house and I’ll –“ George began.


“George, I don’t think that’s the best idea. Draco has made it very clear he does not associate with Dark Lord supporters anymore,” Mr. Gordon tried to explain.


“And you believe him? I’m sorry sir, but the Malfoy’s aren’t exactly the most honest lot –“


“George, please,” Mr. Weasley interjected.


“Don’t tell me you’re on his side!”


“Draco wouldn’t do this. I’m absolutely certain of it,” Mr. Gordon said sternly.


“And what makes you so sure?” George pressed, becoming angry.


“Because he made a very firm commitment not to,” Mr. Gordon replied, raising his voice.


“Oh he made a commitment? He just said to you that he wouldn’t get involved in dark magic again?” George spat.


“Son, you may be of age, but you still need to be respectful,” Mr. Weasley said firmly.


“I agree with you Arthur, but I still don’t understand. Why aren’t you trying to find Draco? What if he does have something to do with this?” Mrs. Weasley asked softly. Mr. Gordon sighed heavily as his eyes fell to the floor.


“Because three years ago, he agreed to be an undercover Auror. He made an unbreakable vow that he would watch for any activity or uprisings from Dark Lord supporters and report back. He has his own team of undercover Aurors working with him and his contract is pretty specific,” Mr. Gordon explained slowly. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley exchanged a surprised glance. “The unbreakable vow was his idea and he wrote the guidelines for it himself. That’s why he can’t be a part of this. If he was, he’d be dead.”





Ron turned to leave the room and started down the dungeon hallway. Narcissa and Cynthia stayed to watch over the potion and Rodolphus while Lucius started to follow Ron. Thinking this might be his only chance, Draco moved towards Astoria, softly muttering and spell. Stooping down next to her, his hands moved towards her bindings when his father stopped him.


“Come Draco. She will be fine.”


“Why does she have to stay tied up? If she’s done everything Mum asked and she works for me then why leave her like this?”


“While she appears to be loyal to you and to your mother, she didn’t like when we tried to use her to get to you. It’s best if we leave her here for now,” Lucius explained briskly. His tone suggested the discussion was final.


“She listens to me. She won’t be a problem,” Draco persisted.


“Leave her, son. She will still be here when we get back.” Draco hesitated and then looked up at his father.


“Promise me nothing happens to her,” Draco insisted, standing up.


“Of course,” Lucius murmured, turning again for the door.


“No father, promise,” Draco repeated, his face hardening.


“There’s no reason for anything to happen to her. Let’s go.”


Unsatisfied but knowing he would never hear the words he was hoping to hear, Draco reluctantly followed his father out to the hallway.




Ron continued down through the dungeons and kicked open the door to the small room holding Harry, Ginny, and Hermione. He waved his wand and shackles appeared around Harry and Ginny's arms and legs, locking the two of them against the wall. Hermione’s shackles dropped causing her to slump over in her chair. Lucius stood outside the door, a smug look growing across his face. He stood next to Draco and watched through the large glass window he had installed so that he could watch Rudolphous’ training sessions when controlling Ron from outside of the dungeon room for his safety, in case anything were to go wrong. Draco watched as Ron walked over to Hermione and pulled her up roughly by the arm.


"Rennervate," he murmured, pointing his wand at her face. Lucius raised his wand and murmured the same spell towards Harry and Ginny. Hermione slowly began to stir as Ron shifted her so that she was cradled in the crook of his arm. He raised his hand to her face and moved his index finger across the scar on her forehead she had gotten from falling earlier and moved down her cheek as she began to open her eyes. She slowly began to take in her surroundings and looked up at Ron.


"What's going on?" she asked softly. Ron ran his hand down her arm and pulled her against him causing her to flinch. Draco tried to remain still and keep the feelings of sickness that were overcoming him from being visible. Harry's eyes widened as he looked around him to see Ginny chained next to him and Hermione in Ron's arms across the room.


"Ron? Hermione? What's going on? We've been looking everywhere for you two," Harry said, pulling against the shackles that bound him. “Where are we? What are you doing to her?”


"Shh, Harry. It's not him," Ginny whispered, trying to silence Harry with her facial expression.


“I’ll be with you in a moment,” Ron said to Harry before turning his attention back to Hermione. "We're just going to have a bit of fun, love, nothing for you to worry about," Ron told her. As Hermione’s memory became less cloudy, she remembered the events that had occurred in her apartment. She tried to push away, but Ron's grip on her tightened. He ran his free hand that wasn't holding her down over her stomach and moved his head next to her ear. "We discussed you trying to escape. It didn't work before, and it's not going to work now," he whispered.


"Don't touch her!" Ginny exclaimed, hoping to provide a distraction.


"Crucio," Ron thundered, his wand aimed at Harry, causing Ginny to cry out in anguish. Harry's body twisted and thrashed against the wall for a few moments until Ron released him of the curse. His body hung limp next to Ginny's as tears began to roll down her cheeks. She hadn’t expected him to jump to torturing them so quickly, and realized trying to talk him down might not be the best plan of action.


"I'm sorry. Please leave him alone," she said, her voice slightly defeated.


"That's more like it. I'm going to kill him anyway, but I might be open to making it less painful if you don't shout at me," Ron told her. Hermione refused to accept this and tried again to get away.


"This is ludicrous, let me go!" Hermione screamed, pushing harshly against him. Ron pushed his mouth against hers and attempted to silence her with a kiss. Hermione tried to relax into it, hoping to reach the soft side of Ron she knew was somewhere inside underneath the imposter, but the kiss was too rough, and the days events had left her feeling bereft of romantic feelings. Ron pulled away from the kiss and placed an arm under her legs. He walked over to wall across from Harry and Ginny and propped Hermione against it before pressing himself against her. She began to whimper softly, but was losing her will to fight as she worried it might put her friends in danger.


“Don’t be scared,” Ron laughed, moving his lips across her neck. “If you cooperate, I might be gentle,” he murmured, slipping a hand underneath her dress. Harry watched in horror and tried to break free of his bindings. His boss should have realized they were all missing by now and send someone to look for them. He turned his face to glance at Ginny and found her squeezing her eyes shut with her head facing the ground.




“What are we supposed to do? I don’t want to hurt him, he’s my brother,” Ginny cried, frustrated, eyes still closed as if racking her brain for a plan.


“Hang on, Ginny. I’m going to get us out of here, I promise,” Harry told her, wincing when he heard Hermione whimper again from across the small room. Ginny nodded slowly, keeping her eyes shut tightly.


“Ron, what is it that you want?” Harry asked, cautiously.


“Shut up, Potter. I’ll get to you when I’m finished over here,” Ron said, moving his lips back towards Hermione’s.


“You, c-c-can’t do this to me,” she hiccupped, her voice close to a whisper.


“I can, and I will. I already told you, he’s fighting, but it isn’t enough.”


“You love me. I know you do. Fight this,” Hermione insisted, looking into Ron’s eyes. When she didn’t see a change in his eyes, she pulled her arms from his grasp and slapped him across the face. He staggered backwards slightly but caught her around the waist.


“Hermione, no!” Ginny cried as Ron pushed her roughly against the wall.


“Just kill me. Do it!” Hermione yelled, losing her patience. Ron’s hands curled around her throat. Hermione tried to pull his hands away, but she wasn’t strong enough.


Suddenly, a shield erupted around Hermione and Ron was blown across the room. Draco pushed his wand hastily up his sleeve and stole a quick glance at his father.


"Filthy mudblood, what did I tell you about wandless shields?" Ron bellowed, standing to his feet. Hermione's eyes filled with fright as she opened her mouth to speak but stopped when she heard a voice near the closed door.


"She's good. But you're better. Take control," Lucius said coolly, entering the room with Draco following behind him.


 "Mr. Malfoy? How can you be a part of this?" Hermione choked out slowly. "And Draco? How are you –“


"My father's had this plan for years. Clever isn't he?" Draco interrupted.


"You. Son of a bitch," Harry breathed slowly. "We. Trusted. You."


"Well that was your first mistake, Potter. Your second was neglecting your friend so much that we were able to manipulate him into doing what we wanted," Draco replied. "You want her Ron? Take her," he continued, walking towards Harry and Ginny. Hermione backed into a corner and moved to speak but no words came out. She faced Draco and tried again.


"You don't want to do this. Please. Talk to your father," she pleaded as Ron continued to advance. She looked up at Draco who shook his head once at her, as if telling her not to speak anymore. Draco stood on the other side of Harry and smirked.


"If she won't let her shield down, which one of these two would you like to kill first?" he asked, hoping to buy time.


"Ms. Weasley, please, if I might lend my suggestion. Mr. Potter needs to suffer," Lucius said as he watched in amusement.


"If you insist," Ron replied. He raised his wand towards his sister when Hermione's voice came from the corner, distracting him.


"Talk to him, Ginny! They're playing with his mind or something, but Ron is in there somewhere. Tell him something that can ground him!" Hermione shouted quickly. Taking the few moments when his attention was diverted, Ginny began to rack her brain for a useful memory.


"The first time you told me you loved Hermione. After Dumbledore's funeral, I asked what you would do if we won the inevitable war we were going to fight. You said you would tell a special girl that you were in love with her. Of course you couldn't anticipate Fred's death rocking our world and causing you to be unable to open up to her, but you've been sure of how you feel about her for a long time. Hold on to that," Ginny said, looking into Ron's eyes. When she saw them soften, she knew Hermione was right. This took her by surprise, and she looked away to glance towards Hermione who had a small smile etched upon her face.


"That was good. I think he might have heard that," Ron said. "And now let's see how he deals with this. Crucio!" Ron yelled angrily, his wand aimed towards Ginny. She screamed and arched against the wall. Harry fought against his bindings, but it was no use.


“Stop! Ron, if you don’t stop this I will never forgive you,” Harry spat angrily. Ron paused, as if seeming to consider this, but did not release the curse.


“I don’t need your forgiveness,” he responded, watching his sister collapse against the wall. “I’ve come in second to you long enough. What you’re feeling now doesn’t even touch the despair I’ve felt watching my brother and other people I love die for you.”


“Then take it out on me, don’t hurt her!”


“Didn’t you learn anything from Voldemort? Hurting her is the way to hurt you.”


When Ron finally released the curse, Ginny collapsed against the wall behind her, blood beginning to pool behind her head from where she was knocked around. Her wrists were bruised from the bindings. Draco swore softly as he watched helplessly.


"Ginny? Stay with me, you have to stay awake," Harry shouted as he continued to reach for her.


"Now, you come here, or it's going to get worse," Ron said, gesturing towards Hermione. She tried to walk towards him but found there was still a shield up in front of her.


"I can't. I-I-I can't break the shield," she cried, pushing against what seemed to be an invisible force field around her.


"Then it's Harry's turn," Ron said, shaking his head. "For what it's worth, he's trying to get to you. He's trying to control his own mind, but he's not strong enough."


"You're wrong. He can fight this," Hermione murmured, more to herself than to anyone in particular.


"Ginny! Wake up!" Harry exclaimed, his voice growing hoarse.


"Ron, you have to snap out of this. You have to remember how much we mean to you and fight it!” Hermione pleaded, pushing against the barrier that was both keeping her safe and holding her captive. Ron laughed and moved towards Harry.


“Potter, I think I would like to give you a chance to defend yourself,” Ron said, raising his wand and releasing Harry from his chains. As soon as Harry was free he lunged at Ron, shoving him and reaching for his wand.


“You don’t get a wand, Potter,” Ron told him, shoving back. The two wrestled and fell to the floor, with Harry attempting to get in as many punches as he could, but he was weakened from the cruciatus curse.


“How could you do that to your sister?” Harry bellowed between punches.


“She’s not my sister. And you’re not my friend,” Ron yelled back, pulling Harry into a headlock.


“She is your sister, mate. And she’s dying. So you better break through this so we can get her to a hospital,” Harry said, pulling against Ron’s arms.


“Stop,” Ron yelled, his hands releasing Harry and rushing to his head. He bent over on his knees. “Stop this,” he said to himself.


“Rodolphus?” Lucius questioned from near the doorway.


“Stupefy,” Ron said, causing Lucius to fall to the floor, bindings curling around his wrists as Astoria pushed her way into the room. Her hair was disheveled, falling loosely from its bun, and her cheeks were flaming. “Expelliarmus,” she continued, catching Ron’s wand as it flew from his grasp. “Petrificus Totalus,” she said, causing him to become paralyzed and stiff as a board.


“Levicorpus,” Draco assisted, watching as Ron was hoisted into the air. Astoria ran towards Draco while Harry crawled towards Ginny and Hermione stood frozen with surprise.


“I locked up your mother and Cynthia,” Astoria began breathlessly.


“That’s my girl,” Draco murmured, cupping her face in the palm of his hand.


“I’m sorry it took me so long. I was trying to be discreet about untying the ropes you loosened so your mother wouldn’t notice.”


“You’ve done brilliantly. Give me a hand with these two, will you? Granger, you should be able to come over here now,” Draco said, turning towards Harry while Astoria moved to help Ginny.


“What in Merlin’s name is going on here? Don’t touch her!” Harry bellowed as Astoria removed Ginny’s bindings and moved her gently towards the floor.


“I will explain later, but right now, if you want her to live, we have to get out of here.” Draco said evenly.


“You bastard! Don’t touch her! I’ll kill you!” Harry continued to yell, his breathing short and quick. He moved towards Draco who grabbed his arms and held them tightly behind his back.


“Granger? A little help please?” Draco sighed.


“He’s going into shock and probably isn’t going to calm down,” Hermione said, rushing over towards Harry. “Why didn’t you do something to help earlier? You could’ve died!” she said to Draco.


“I’ll explain once we’ve gotten out of here, but I need you to help Harry and then we have to do something about Ron.”


“Harry? Harry, you have to calm down,” Hermione told him in a soothing voice. “You have to calm down so we can help her,” she told him. Harry slowly began to calm down a bit and looked into Hermione’s eyes. “Just trust me. It’s going to be ok. Draco, let him go.”


Draco released Harry and helped him onto the floor. He crawled over to Ginny and pulled her gently into his lap.


“Episkey,” Astoria murmured, sealing the wound on Ginny’s head.


“Ginny, it’s going to be ok, I’m here,” Harry murmured to her, his voice breaking.


“Astoria, I need you to go for help. You’re the only one who can bring Aurors back here –“


“I’ve already called them. Our undercover team should be here any second. I told one of the guys the location of this place last week after the first time they tried using this mind curse on me, just in case you needed backup and I couldn’t help.”


“What did you do with Rodolphus?” Draco asked, looking up at Ron. Astoria’s face fell.


“I don’t understand the potion they made. It looks very complex and I don’t want to ruin anything and end up hurting Ron. I left him sitting in that room with the potion.”


Hermione turned away from Ginny and moved towards Astoria and Draco.


“Could I borrow one of your wands? I might be able to make sense of the potion. Just let Ron down, and I’ll be right back,” she said, stretching out her hand.


“Here’s your wand, I’m sorry, forgot I took them off Narcissa. I’ve got Ginny’s and Harry’s too,” Astoria said, handing Hermione her wand. “I’ll go with you,” she said, following Hermione towards the door.


“Liberacorpus,” Draco said, causing Ron to fall to the ground. He heard feet thundering down the hallway outside and Auror’s began to stream into the room.


“Malfoy? What can we do?”


“Get these two out of here,” he replied, gesturing towards Harry and Ginny. One of the Aurors created a portkey and pulled Lucius, Harry, and Ginny towards it. “You should find my mother and one of her accomplices locked in one of the dungeons. Granger and Greengrass are working on getting Weasley released from whatever curse this is. When they finish, everyone needs to go to St. Mungo’s,” Draco delegated. The Aurors sprang into action and started moving about the dungeons. Draco rested his head against the cold wall behind him and breathed a sigh of relief. After a few moments, Astoria returned to the room with Hermione following behind her.


“She cracked it. Brilliant, she is. The Aurors took Rodolphus and we should be able to move Ron,” Astoria said, pushing her hair out of her face. Draco nodded.


“Thank you,” Hermione said softly. “I wasn’t sure you had it in you.”


“You almost blew my cover, trying to tell my father about the unbreakable vow,” Draco laughed softly.


“You played your part well. It looked like you were ready to die for the death eaters to return. I just couldn’t believe you would give up everything you worked for in the past three years,” Hermione said, helping Draco pull Ron off the floor.


“You were part of my unbreakable vow. I was very clear about having you be involved to hold me accountable. Potter and Weasley let their tempers get the better of them too much,” Draco replied.


“All the same. I know you did what you could. Thank you for the shield, as well,” Hermione smiled.


“I couldn’t do more.”
“I know. I know the specifications indicated in your unbreakable vow.”


“I wouldn’t have let them die," Draco said, referring to Harry and Ginny.


“Maybe, maybe not. Can we talk about it later?” Hermione asked, wanting to leave and help Ginny, Harry, and Ron as soon as she could. Draco nodded in agreement.


“Malfoy, we’ve secured the premises and sent the prisoners down to the Ministry where they will await trial. Are you four ready to go?” asked a tall Auror with dark hair positioned near the door.


"Yes, we will meet you upstairs, thanks," Draco responded. Hermione followed the Auror out the door leaving Draco alone with Astoria.


"I don't want you to think I'm a coward," Draco said.


"You did what you could," she told him softly. "Let that be enough for now." Draco nodded, took her hand in his and led her form the dungeons.



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