Chapter 22 : Draco’s Angst
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“You miss Olga? She vanished suddenly.”
“She was a daughter of Cadwagan,” said Harry.
“Was she?” Kingsley said surprised.
“Yeah, I witnessed her transformation to Olga the other day. She blocked Bill’s and Hermione’s magic underground Gringotts,” he remembered his snogging her in his room of Grimmauld Place, and he felt guilty.
Kingsley pondered for a while. Harry waited for Kingsley’s next words.
“Harry, I think you will visit her magic land soon.”
Harry nodded and said,
“And I have to meet the representative of Gringotts. Please arrange the conference.”
“What are the odds that we will win?”
“I think the odds are in our favor.”
“I’m leaving it to you. I’ll arrange the conference. Next Friday afternoon?”
“Yeah, fine. Thank you,” said Harry and he sent his Patronus message to Ron to tell the date of the next conference. He took out Daily Prophet and said,
“So you must tell them when you retire at the press conference tomorrow?”
Kingsley knitted his brows and said,
“Yes. The press conference will become chaos. I’ll put off as possible as I can.”
“Auror Headquarters is on your side. Gawain and me will guard you, Kingsley.”
Harry left the Ministry and went back to Grimmauld Place at midnight and took a nap.
In the Slytherin Common Room, Pansy was irritating.
“Why doesn’t Draco show himself at all? Is he really ill?”
Millicent Bulstrode said,
“Ask his girlfriend. She knows why,” nodding towards the corner of the room.
“Yes, you’re right,” her look turned ill-tempered when she found Astoria Greengrass, who was reading a potions book quietly, in the corner of the room.
Pansy got closer to the spot and grilled her,
“Do you know why Draco confines himself to his room?”
Astoria tried to smile but she couldn’t hide her bewilderment and said in her trembling voice,
“I don’t know at all. Please ask Aurors who guard him.”
“Yes, you know, Astoria. You’re his girlfriend,” Pansy didn’t give up.
She casted silencing charm around them and said,
“If you don’t want to tell me, I’ll let you drink Veritaserum,” and she took out a small bottle out of her pocket and showed it to Astoria.
Millicent Bulstrode smirked. Astoria’s face turned to pale,
“You can’t use it. If you use it, you’ll be expelled. How did you get it? If professor Slughorn knows this, he’ll…..” but her words were interrupted.
It was Nott, who was standing behind her, put his wand against her back and he threatened her,
“Draco is ingenious, you know. If I hex you with my wand, his concealment potion will wash away the evidence. Tell me what he is doing right now.”
Draco kept brewing remedy. Ron was watching him yawning in the bathroom. Then they heard a sound like an owl mail was thrown and they turned around.
“It was from there!” shouted Ron and he looked inside the Vanishing Cauldron.
“From Nott,” groaned Draco, and he picked up a crumpled letter from the floor near the Vanishing Cauldron.
He unfolded it and read.
“What did he say?” asked Ron and he snatched it and read out,
“Astoria told us all story. If you don’t stop brewing remedy, your father will let you quit Hogwarts” Ron went red,
“I’ll go and arrest him!”
“No, you don’t,” said Draco.
“He has…well, we should better act as he says but we’ll continue this in secret.”
“I want to talk with Potter. Call him.”
Harry apparated in front of the gate of Hogwarts, where Ron was waiting for him and let him in.
“Is Astoria all right?” asked Harry.
“I think so. Malfoy is talking with them.”
“Seamus is with him, isn’t he?”
“Of course, he is. But they must be casting silencing charm around them."
They reached to the door of Great Hall. Harry pulled over his Invisibility Cloak and they marched to the Slytherin long table where they were talking. Astoria Greengrass was also sitting next to Draco. Her face was pale.
“I quit brewing but Weasley doubts me so I’ll be investigated by Aurors,” said Draco coolly.
Nott groaned and said,
“Don’t forget most of Pure-Bloods are on our side. Be careful about your behavior.”
“You know, Lucius Malfoy is my father. I know how to act,” said Draco dispassionately.
Nott noticed Ron was staring at him like he wanted to spring on him right now, and he smirked, finished his silencing charm and said,
“Are you worrying about your Mud-Blood girlfriend?” and he left there with Pansy.
Ron flushed darker but he hung on.
“Well done,” Draco said to Ron.
Harry was very surprised, Draco of all the people praised Ron for his control over his temper. The color of Ron’s face went back to normal color slowly and he said,
“Harry is here. Let’s go back to your room.”
Four of them ascended the staircase to the Head Boy’s room. Draco said the password to a medieval knight of the portrait,
“Unicorn,” that was Draco’s Patronus Harry remembered, the door swung open and they entered the room.
His Patronus was a unicorn. That is what Draco Malfoy should be like. Harry was looking back when they were first years: Draco and he had detention and they were sent to the Forbidden Forest where Harry witnessed a poor unicorn lying dead and a cloaked figure of Voldemort was drinking its silver blue blood…and he remembered Draco’s scared face when he was forced to murder Dumbledore and his sobbing in the bathroom. Besides, Draco didn’t admit it was Harry in disguise at Malfoy Manor when Bellatrix and Lucius Malfoy grilled him. He thought he could understand Draco’s angst these two years. He naturally thought he could trust Draco.
Then Draco’s irritated voice let Harry come to his senses,
“Potter, we don’t have much time, take off your cloak!”
Harry pulled off his cloak and asked,
“What’s your plan?”
The blond-headed wizard stared at Harry seriously and said,
“We need Vanishing Cabinets to bring this bronze cauldron to Auror Headquarters.”
“Vanishing Cabinets? I’ve thought Fiendfyre burned all things in the Room of Requirement,” said Harry.
“Potter, are you an Auror or not? Search the bloody Vanishing Cabinets all over England and bring the bronze cauldron to your office if you want to save Granger!”
“You mean you’ll keep brewing at Auror Headquarters?” asked Harry.
“How quick to understand,” Malfoy said sarcastically.
Harry turned around to Ron and Seamus and said,
“Search twin Vanishing Cabinets. I’ll be here until other Aurors are placed,” he sent his Patronus message to Gawain to request reinforcement.
After Ron and Seamus left there, Harry sat down on a stool on the bathroom. Malfoy kept brewing as Snape taught him.
“How did you get it?” asked Malfoy.
“This druidic bronze cauldron.”
“Oh, yeah,” Harry stood up and got closer to Malfoy and said,
“My mother bought it.”
“How do I know?”
Silence fell upon them. There was only bubbling sound of brewed potions.
It was Malfoy who talked first,
“I heard from Weasley someone put Love Potion in juice your girlfriend drank.”
Harry could tell from Malfoy’s awkward manner that he knew something.
“What do you know?” Harry stared at Malfoy.
Malfoy turned his eyes away and restarted his work.
“Malfoy?” Harry waited.
Malfoy kept cutting herbs and shoved them aside on a cutting board and turned around.
“If I tell the truth, will you send me to Azkaban?”
His grey eyes stared at green eyes.
“How deep do you get involved with Nott?”
“Well, if you intend to be on our side, I will defend you from accusation.”
Malfoy sighed with relief and said,
“And one more thing. Guard Astoria. She’ll be their target to attack. She has already been threatened.”
“Okay. I’ll request a body guard for her,” said Harry thinking Blaze was the best.
“Good, well do Legilimens,” said Malfoy and he stared at Harry.
“Are you ready?” asked Harry.
“Yes, I’m ready,” grey eyes met green eyes.
Harry penetrated Malfoy’s mind. He saw Nott smirk holding a bottle of powder. He attacked Hermione and he sprinkled powder over his wand.
Harry stopped doing Legilimens and asked Malfoy,
“Did you make Concealment Potion?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Do you have the rest of them now?”
“Yes,” answered Malfoy, and he got out of the bathroom.
Harry followed him. Malfoy stood in front of the bookshelf, he took out one of potions books. He opened a page, and he took out a small bag of powder. He handed it to Harry.
“How many students did Nott threaten?”
“He threatened Granger, most of prefects except Ernie Macmillan whose father has a great influence in the Ministry and Astoria.”
“I need your memory. I must keep it as hard evidence in the Pensieve of Auror Headquarters.”
“Okay, finish it,” said Malfoy.
“You must extract the memory,” said Harry and he pulled out his holly wand from his pocket of Auror robes and showed Malfoy how to withdraw it.
Malfoy pulled his wand out of his pocket of Slytherin robes, touched the tip of his wand to his temple and withdrew it. A silver thread of memory came away clinging to the wand-tip of his wand. Harry took out a small empty bottle, and he handed it to Malfoy. Malfoy put his swirling silver gas into it carefully, and he handed back the small bottle to Harry.
“Well, I can arrest Nott with this. But we’ll go undercover to catch him,” said Harry and he pondered over it. How would he set a trap for Nott?
“Don’t worry. You’ll be questioned but I’ll report that you did it because you were threatened by Nott.”
Malfoy gave a sigh of relief, and he tried to say something but he didn’t.
“What are you worrying about?” asked Harry.
“Well, eh.. well, who will guard Astoria?”
“I’ll recommend Blaze Zabini for the job.”
Though Harry still felt Malfoy worry about something, he went back to the Ministry after Blaze and Dawlish arrived. When he entered the conference room, the press conference was about to start. Gawain shoved the Prophet into his hand. Harry unfolded it and read the great bold headline:
Suspected Of Casting Curse Against Muggle-Borns Underground Gringotts
Harry knitted his brows when he saw a huge photograph of his own face filled in the front page. He continued to read:
Not a few Muggle-borns are suffering from an unidentified curse. Rita Skeeter, an expert journalist, who has mellowed with age, scooped an undeniable fact:
‘Eye witnesses inside Gringotts saw the mark of the curse on the door of Potter’s Vault. What does it mean? That is for the wizarding community to decide who is involved in the matter deepest. The Boy Who Saved the Wizardng World has been believed that he devoted himself to help the Minister to rebuild the Ministry as an Auror, his status was put in shaky state under Kingsley Shackbolt who has a tendancy to press Pure-Bloods overly. '
Williamson whispered Harry,
“Potter, she is there.”
Harry squinted at the spot Williamson told him. Rita Skeeter was staring at him sucking her green Quick-Quotes Quill.
“Her next sensational publication is about your relationship with witches,” said Williamson, and he handed a flyer.
Harry looked at the flyer. He saw a photograph of Dara, which might have been taken at Leakey Cauldron. Next to Dara, Ginny, and Hermione were smiling in each separated photograph. Harry wanted to hex Skeeter, but he barely suppressed his impulse to cast wandless magic. Then the journalists stirred when Kingsley came in. He made signs with the eyes at Harry, and Harry nodded, Kingsley sat down. Soon Rita Skeeter questioned,
“Minister, when will you resign?”
“I cannot tell you now. We must make sure to identify the curse underground Gringotts,”
There happened a roar of the journalists, and Skeeter opened her mouth again,
“We have been told the same answer each time we ask you. Most wizards and witches of our wizarding community think you should resign as soon as possible. Minister, take a load off your mind. Who will you recommend as a next Minister?”
“Miss Skeeter, I never give up. Our Aurors and curse-breakers are making a great contribution to our community. Please wait. Give us time,” said Kingsley.
Skeeter ignored Kingsley’s words and she tried to refute,
“Cornelius Fudge has plenty of experiences as a Minister, so will you leave the task to him in the near future?”
“No, if I leave the task to the other, I will trust professor Scrimgeour at Hogwarts,” said Kingsley.
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