Chapter 22 : The Curious Case of Draco Malfoy
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Professor McGonagall had cancelled all the classes after Snape had told them about Voldemort’s plan to attack Hogwarts on Saturday. Harry spent the whole Monday together with Ginny and Remus and Tonks. He knew that Kingsley and Mad-Eye were interrogating Malfoy, with the help of McGonagall. They had all offered Harry to witness the interrogation, but he declined. He didn’t want to listen to what he had to say. He would be happiest if he’d never see Malfoy’s face again.
Ginny, Remus and Tonks wisely avoided the subject of Draco Malfoy and they had a rather nice day together. That was, until Kingsley came by after dinner.
“So, how did it go?” Remus asked.
“We’re not getting anywhere with the boy.” Kingsley said. “He admits that he has joined the Death Eaters, but keeps maintaining that he has never worked for them.”
“How does that even make sense?” Tonks asked with raised eyebrows.
Kingsley shrugged. “It’s all we’re getting out of him. He just keeps repeating that he’s innocent and that he wants to talk to Harry.” The Auror looked at Harry. “That’s partially what I’m here for.”
“No way.” Harry said immediately. “Forget it. I don’t want to talk to him.”
“That’s what I thought.” Kingsley said. “I won’t force you, Harry. I totally understand.”
Ginny looked at Harry thoughtfully. “I think you should do it.”
“What do you have to lose?” Ginny asked reasonably.
“Nothing. I just don’t want to talk to him.” Harry said firmly.
Ginny shrugged, knowing it wouldn't do any good arguing with him right now. “Then you don’t have to.” she said soothingly.
“What’s the other reason you’re here, Kingsley?” Remus asked, making an end to the discussion.
“I’m afraid I’ll have to bother you again, Harry.” Kingsley smiled. “Professor Snape wants to see you. He’s waiting for you in his office.”
Harry sighed. He just knew that Snape would talk to him about Malfoy. He had always liked him. “You want to come?” he asked Ginny.
Ginny looked at him surprised. “Er… sure. If it’s alright with him.”
She looked at Kingsley. “I’m sorry, guys. He asked you to come alone.”
“Of course he did.” Harry grumbled.
Ginny quickly kissed him on the cheek. “I’ll wait for you here, alright?”
Harry nodded. He waved at the others and made his way downstairs towards the dungeons.
“Enter.” Snape’s voice said when Harry had knocked on his door.
“Good evening, Professor.” Harry said politely.
“Ah, Potter.” Snape motioned to the chair in front of his desk. Harry sat down, facing Snape and waited until he would say anything, but the Potions master didn’t seem to be in a hurry to cut to the subject of Malfoy. He merely sat there in silence, looking at Harry. Suddenly Harry felt a weak pushing inside his head. He quickly blocked Snape out of his mind.
“What are you doing?” Harry asked surprised. He wasn’t really mad at Snape for trying to penetrate his mind, because he knew Snape had been aware that Harry was a far more accomplished Occlumens than him for a long time.
“Testing your Occlumency shields.” Snape said lazily. “And they seem to be just as effective as always.”
“Because I think it is rather disturbing that I – in my own opinion a rather accomplished Legilimens – am not able to even pick up a little emotion from you, while Draco Malfoy, who is a novice when it comes to Legilimency and Occlumency, seems to be powerful enough to deceive you.”
“Don’t try to get him out of this.” Harry said firmly, not caring about being polite. “He’s one of them.”
“You trusted him.” Snape said. “You even trusted him enough to allow him to join Dumbledore’s Army.”
“Well then I made a mistake!”
“Then you are a fool!” Snape said loudly.
“If making a mistake makes someone a fool then how would you call yourself?” Harry said, glaring at his Potions master.
Snape stood up from his chair abruptly. “I know I have made mistakes in my past, Potter. I don’t need you to tell me that!” he said furiously. “But it’s not the mistake that makes you a fool. What makes you a fool is that you don’t trust your own judgement while you know that you weren’t wrong back then!”
“Obviously I was.” Harry said through clenched teeth.
Snape leaned forward on his desk and looked Harry right in the eyes. “Draco Malfoy is not working for the Dark Lord. He’s on our side!”
“He’s been branded with the Dark Mark!” Harry yelled, now jumping up from his chair too. “He is a Death Eater!”
Snape roughly rolled up his left sleeve and revealed the Dark Mark on his forearm. “I have been branded with the Dark Mark.” he said in a softer, but still angry voice. “What does that make me?”
Harry looked at Snape with open mouth. He had known that Snape had been a Death Eater of course, but to see the proof of that right in front of him was quite confronting.
“Do you think I still work for the Dark Lord too, Potter?”
“No.” Harry said softly.
Snape rolled down his sleeve again, concealing the ugly mark on his arm. “There’s only one person in this castle that can decide if Draco Malfoy is to be trusted or not.” he said slowly. “I think you know who. You can go.”
Harry walked back to Remus and Tonks’ living quarters, absorbed in his own thoughts. Had he done the wrong thing handing Malfoy over to Mad-Eye and Kingsley immediately? But then what was he supposed to do? It wasn’t like Snape who had been spying for years and had now shown open loyalty to the Order of the Phoenix. Malfoy was only seventeen years old and had already been branded with the Dark Mark. Surely that meant that he was working for Voldemort?
When he arrived at Remus and Tonks he saw that Kingsley had left and Andromeda Tonks had arrived since he went to see Snape. He told them everything the Potions master had said.
“Maybe he’s right, Harry.” Ginny said. “Maybe you did judge too fast.” Remus and Tonks quickly exchanged an amused look. They knew Ginny was the only person who would tell Harry straight to his face that he was wrong, aside from Ron and Hermione maybe.
Harry shrugged. “I don’t know what to think anymore.” he mumbled.
“I’m only an outsider.” Andromeda spoke up. “But I have heard the story of Draco and I thought it was very similar to a story of another wizard who was believed to be a part of He Who Must Not Be Named’s inner circle.”
Harry looked at her for a few moments before he realized who she was talking about. “Sirius didn’t have the Dark Mark on his arm.” he said.
“Indeed he didn’t.” Andromeda admitted. “But he spent twelve years of his life in Azkaban, Harry. Something that could have been prevented if someone had taken the time to listen to him. Remus has told me about the animosity that has always hung between you and my nephew, but surely you don’t wish for him to go through the same thing that Sirius did?”
“Not if he were innocent.” Harry said. “But he isn’t.”
“Sirius was my favourite cousin, Harry. When I heard that he had been arrested and that he had betrayed his best friends… It was horrible. I felt like I had never really known him. I never tried to visit him while he was in Azkaban, although that might have been allowed as we were family. I just assumed that he was indeed guilty and decided to try and erase him out of my memory. Later I found out that I was the one who was guilty. Guilty of not knowing that Sirius wouldn’t be capable of such horrid deeds. Guilty of not believing in him. The only consolation that I have today is that I was able to reconcile with him before he passed away. But still the guilt is there. And it will be there for the rest of my days.”
Harry thought about Malfoy. How he had come to Godric’s Hollow with the rest of the DA to help Harry and the others get away safely. How he had walked up to Bellatrix during the battle of the One-Eyed Witch and duelled her. Had he done that out of defiance of the Dark Arts or because he had to keep his cover and he was sure that he had nothing to fear from his aunt?
Harry raised from his chair and everyone looked at him in expectation. “I have to talk to him.”
When Harry and Ginny arrived at the dungeon where Malfoy was held, they were stopped by two of the Aurors that were staying at Hogwarts since the Ministry had fallen.
“We just need to talk with him.” Harry said.
“Does Kingsley know you’re here?” one of the Aurors said sternly.
“No, but he won’t have a problem with it.”
“That’s for him to decide, isn’t it?” the Auror said.
Harry raised his eyebrows and opened his mouth to retort, but he received help from the second Auror. “I’ll go and find Kingsley to let him know. You’ll be alright by yourself for a while, won’t you Dawlish?”
Dawlish nodded grudgingly and let Harry and Ginny into Malfoy’s cell. When the Auror wanted to follow them inside, Harry turned around and said: “We’d rather be alone for this.”
“Sorry, but if something happened to you I would be held responsible.”
“There’s two of us and he doesn’t even have a wand. I think we’ll be fine.” Harry said and he closed the door in front of Dawlish’ nose.
“Way to make friends with the future colleagues.” Ginny said dryly, but Harry was already looking at Malfoy, who seemed to be extremely relieved to see them.
“Potter.” he said hoarsely. “You came.”
“So it seems.” Harry said. He waved his wand and two armchairs appeared. Harry and Ginny sat down while Malfoy remained seated on the wooden board that seemed to be his bed.
“Please, just let me explain what happened.”
“That’s what we’re here for.” Harry said shortly. “We’re listening.”
“Last year, during the Christmas holidays, father came home with what he said was great news. Voldemort had asked him to bring me with him to the next Death Eater meeting. I would be branded with the Dark Mark and I would be admitted in Voldemort’s inner circle. Although it was expected from me that I would join the Death Eaters after I graduated Hogwarts, it was a surprise that I would receive the Dark Mark while I was still at school. Voldemort has strict rules about children from Death Eaters. None of them are allowed to join until they are away from Hogwarts.”
“Except you.” Ginny said.
Malfoy nodded. “The reason for that became clear after the ritual. Once he branded me with the Dark Mark, Voldemort gave me a task. A task that I had the greatest chance to succeed in, because I was still going to Hogwarts.”
“What task?” Harry asked.
“I had to kill Dumbledore.” Malfoy said softly. “I had been doubting the beliefs of my father and the dark side for a while back then, but I never voiced it. But when Voldemort gave me the task I knew that I had no choice. I would have to leave my home one way or another and defy my family and Voldemort or I would have to not only join the Death Eaters and become a murderer, but also give a possible fatal blow to the people that were opposing them.”
“I barely left my bedroom at home for the rest of the Christmas holidays. My parents suspected nothing. They thought I was working on a plan to kill Dumbledore. I actually considered doing it.” Malfoy looked away from Harry and Ginny, ashamed. “I really considered trying to kill him, but I knew that it would be nearly impossible. He was far more powerful than I will ever be. And if I was honest with myself, I knew that even if I had the chance, I probably wouldn’t be able to bring myself to do it.”
“I spent the rest of the Christmas holidays in my bedroom, coming up with all kinds of scenarios to get out of the situation. I considered everything, from killing Dumbledore to just run to Dumbledore’s office the moment I got back at Hogwarts and tell him everything. I didn’t know what to do. And then…”
“Then your father attacked Jacinta.” Harry said softly.
Malfoy nodded. “He’s an animal. When I was younger I always looked up to him. I wanted to be just like him when I grew up. But now I see him like he really is. An animal.” He quavered as he thought back about that day. “He could have killed her. He would have killed her if I hadn’t stopped him. My mother brought Jacinta to St Mungo’s and left me alone with him. That was the first time that he ever laid a hand on me. I swore to myself that it would be the last time.”
“I planned to just pack my bags and leave by myself. To leave the country if I could. But I knew that wherever I tried to flee, Voldemort would find me and kill me for defying him. So I returned to Hogwarts.”
“Did you tell Dumbledore?”
Malfoy shook his head. “I didn’t have the guts.” He let out a bitter laugh. “I was afraid that Dumbledore would kick me out the moment he knew that I had the Dark Mark on my arm. Then I would have to go back home and wait for Voldemort to kill me. I considered telling Snape. We had always gotten along quite well and I knew that he had always liked me, but back then he was still a double agent and I must say that I was convinced that Snape was really on Voldemort’s side. But then Snape told me that Dumbledore wanted to see me in his office.”
“I was terrified. I thought that Dumbledore must have found out about my joining the Death Eaters, but when I got there he merely talked about Jacinta. He said that he wanted to make sure that she would never have to return to my parents. I was so grateful for that. Then he did indeed tell me that he knew about everything that happened over the holidays. He promised me to tell no one and offered me protection, in exchange for one thing.”
“You had to testify on your parents’ trial, so Jacinta would be taken away from them.” Harry nodded.
“Yes.” Malfoy said. “That’s the whole story. Yes, that Dark Mark is on my arm, but I never really was one of them.”
Harry and Ginny looked at each other.
“I know what you’re thinking.” Malfoy said quickly. “I had a whole night and a whole day to come up with this story. But it’s the truth. I swear.”
Harry looked into Malfoy’s eyes. The Slytherin didn’t avert his gaze but looked straight back into the green eyes of his former nemesis, who was now his only hope.
“I believe you.” Harry finally said. “I guess I owe you an apology.”
Malfoy let out a breath of relief.
“I’m going to get you out of here.” Harry said, raising out of his chair. “One thing: why didn’t you tell this to the Aurors while they interrogated you?”
Malfoy shrugged. “Like it would have made a difference. I knew that you were the only one that would maybe believe me.”
“Alright then.” Harry said. “I’ll get Kingsley so you can get out of here. I’ll call in a DA meeting tomorrow to sort everything out. I’m afraid you’ll have to tell your story another time. They have the right to know the truth.”
Malfoy didn’t seem to look forward to it, but agreed. Despite everything he seemed to be quite relieved to finally have everything off his chest.
“Okay.” Harry said, still a bit disconcerted by everything he had heard. “I’ll see you tomorrow then.” He took Ginny’s hand and the couple left Malfoy’s cell.
“Thanks.” Malfoy muttered to the empty room.
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” – Ernest Hemingway
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