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Chapter 6 : These Cell Walls
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To Hermione, Draco Malfoy not only looks determined to go talk to his mother, but as though he might plan to do something rash. She certainly wouldn't doubt that he will do something, given the angry look on his face that she has seen on many occasions in school. He hates the Ministry right now and she knows it. How can he not?
When Hermione finishes gathering all the paperwork that they will need for this departure, she is watching him closely because he has suddenly started pacing the medium sized office. She takes comfort in knowing that if he tries anything, his arrogant self will be straight back in Azkaban where he was just a mere five days ago.
"You're taking bloody forever, Granger," he complains as Hermione finds other things she needs to take with them.
"This is a big case Malfoy, an Azkaban prisoner is not to be taken lightly in an investigation. In fact I think I’m going to invite Harry and a detective who isn’t in training along," Hermione says, wanting to take her best friend along for security in case something does happen and a real detective to watch over them as well. Harry is one of the best at seeing through people, especially people like Malfoy. She hopes her boss will approve a highly trained detective and an Auror trainee to come along with them.
"Just wonderful, that'll be the cherry on top of the cake, having two people that I despise instead of one," Malfoy sneers, rolling his eyes.
"I'll be right back, you stay here." Hermione tells him strictly, ignoring his last comment. She is attempting not to stress but she had never foreseen herself having to go to Azkaban to investigate Narcissa Malfoy. She shivers when she thinks briefly how it'd be with Bellatrix's face across the cell bars instead of Narcissa's. If it was in fact Bellatrix, Hermione may have not been able to do it. Bellatrix Lestrange visits Hermione's nightmares regularly and Hermione is glad she will never have to come face to face with her in real life again.
Hermione looks back to see Malfoy impatiently sitting near the desk again and continues to walk toward the Auror's Headquarters. The Auror Headquarters look much like the Detective's with its dull white walls, flyers of Azkaban prisoners glued to them all over the place, and no windows. Trainee of the Month portraits display Harry's face featured in half of them. Harry and Ron have offices next to each other and Harry's office is the second largest of all the trainees. No matter how hard she works she will never be seen as high up as her best-friend, the defeater of Voldemort. Hermione is okay with that because her best-friend is still with her now instead of in the ground.
Harry is writing furiously with his eyes scrunched up in concentration when Hermione enters his office. He seems startled when she enters. He is obviously curious as to why Hermione has left the safety of her own desk to come talk to him because it is hard to get her out of her office during work hours.
"Harry, I have a favor to ask of you." Hermione addresses, as she plops down in the office chair opposite of his.
"And what's that? I'm very much occupied today, but I will try to help you because it must be quite important," he answers with a chuckle.
"If you can't help don't bother with it but you might be interested in tagging along, it is quite important actually. Malfoy and I are going to Azkaban to investigate his mum's case. We are going to speak to Narcissa herself and get some answers and he seems very uneasy, so I'm not entirely comfortable going alone. I'd rather ask you than Ronald because I know he won't take this seriously," Hermione explains, putting her hands together and folding them on top of Harry's black marble desk while glancing at the door behind her to make sure Ron isn’t eavesdropping.
Hermione observes various pictures of Harry and Ginny in picture frames around them and there are also at least two pictures of Harry, Ron, and her from school as well. As she looks again at the portraits of Harry and Ginny, she observes the smile upon their faces in the pictures of them together and can't help but be a little jealous of Harry and Ginny's relationship, which is going almost perfectly now, unlike hers. She has not one picture of Ron in her office, and she silently wonders if that is a sign.
"I'll come. This is definitely something I don't want to miss!" Harry agrees to the task excitedly with raised eyebrows, his sharp green eyes look serious and he puts down whatever he is currently busy writing.
"I didn't think you’d want to miss out on this. If you are interested, meet us in my office. We are leaving in ten as soon as I ask Officer Barkner and Pack about the investigation." Hermione announces, relieved Harry is coming and leaving the office, as Harry starts to pack a briefcase of stuff for his own note taking of the investigation.
After Hermione okays the two men besides her and Malfoy coming to the investigation with her boss, Officer Barkner, she walks into Officer Pack’s office to okay his coming and returns to her own. She then reports to a sulking Malfoy that Harry and Officer Pack is coming with them.
"Why Granger? Scared of me are you?" He chides.
"No Malfoy, I'm not scared of you. I just wanted him to come for more ideas of questions to ask her. You see, we are on her side about this. That is something you obviously aren't getting through that thick head of yours."
"Why would you be on an ex- Death Eater's side?" Malfoy wonders venomously, his grey eyes focusing on her untrustingly.
"Because some people we believe didn't actually have their heart in the act of doing Voldemort's bidding. Why do you think Harry fought for your case?" Hermione answers smartly, sitting back and just waiting on Harry to be ready to go now since Officer Pack just entered the room to sit in the chair next to Draco’s.
"Because some people we believe didn't actually have their heart in the act of doing Voldemort's bidding. Why do you think Harry fought for your case?" Hermione answers smartly.
"You don't know anything about me Granger. Maybe it was a mistake to get me out of there," Malfoy scowls, avoiding the eyes of the much older man glaring at him next to his seat.
"Well, we don't think so. You aren't as bad as you think you are Malfoy!" Hermione admits to him, knowing most of this nonsense is just an act.
Malfoy then smirks and whispers sharply, "I can be your worst nightmare, mudblood, don't you forget that."
Hermione tries her best not to let the name bother her. She does, after all, have it carved into her arm, she doesn't need to be reminded what they all thought of her.
"There won't be any of that name calling today," Harry intervenes, as he arrives into the office. He then put out his hand in front of Draco. "You won't have your wand when we go to Azkaban, Malfoy. Try anything and I will have you back in a cell quicker than you can cast a spell!"
"Suit yourself Potter. Fancy seeing you again, not. Always acting like the big man!" Malfoy growled.
Harry ignored him for the most part. He motions for them to follow him and they walk into a brick private room, full of floo fireplaces. "So what kind of questions are you planning to ask Narcissa?" Harry asks Hermione.
"I am basically going to ask her what her purpose was to follow Voldemort and why she all of a sudden decided to change sides like she claimed in her trial," Hermione answers, as the four of them gather a handful of floo powder. They then jump into the fireplace and chant, "Azkaban!"
When they land on Azkaban's ground, the four of them all had different reactions, Hermione notes. Malfoy shivers and his face is flooded of all color. His grey eyes look wildly around for other inmates or anything in particular to avoid- he doesn't want to be seen here.
Hermione, of course, looks curiously at everything, having never been here before when they enter the side of the prison. Her fear shows in her brown eyes as she explores the claustrophobic walls and she also shivers. "This place is h-horribly cold."
"That'll be dementors they'd have left making it remained cold like this," Harry tells her, as he took the lead. Hermione and Malfoy both were less confident in walking deeper into the huge building but Harry and Officer Pack lead the way.
Finally after walking down long halls of dark, dripping cold walls they arrive in an office where three burly men sit together, obviously Aurors with huge badges on their pocket front, identical to Harry's but theirs was the color of red.
"Ah, Potter! What have you brought us here?" A man by the name of Sampson asks, as he looks over at Malfoy.
"Mr. Malfoy didn't last long, eh?" Another asks snidely, with a cold laugh.
Malfoy doesn't say a word but clenches his fists when they mock him. Luckily, Harry corrects their assumptions. "No, Malfoy is with Hermione as his mentor and is working in the Detective Department for his probation."
"We are here to investigate Narcissa Malfoy," pipes up Hermione, taking a step between the boys, having been hiding behind them a little.
"He most definitely will not be going back there to his mother." Sampson declares, his huge arms folding now threateningly.
"Why?" Hermione asked as Harry silences her with a hand movement.
"Hermione is Malfoy's mentor and therefore he needs to stay by her side, Sampson. I'll be there as well," Harry said, a bit irritably. “I agree, Hermione is more than capable of being responsible for the boy,” chimes in Officer Pack.
"The bloke just got let out three days ago. Do you honestly think he won't try anything? You're just a trainee, Potter," The other man asks smartly.
"I won't do anything," Malfoy sneers between his teeth. He covers his left arm with his long sleeve better because one of the Aurors has started staring at the edge of his Dark Mark sticking out.
"Fine, if you say so. Go ahead but don't expect us not to keep an eye on you," Sampson surrenders, as he flicks his wand toward a heavily armed door that opens. He then nods for one of his men to follow the group as they walk through it.
"Lady Malfoy's cell is A345." Sampson tells them, just before the door closes behind them.
Officer Pack, Hermione, and Harry walk ahead, as Malfoy drags behind with the Auror on his heels. It is not entirely comfortable for any of them to be here, but especially not for Malfoy.
The walls around them seem to sink in around them as if they were attempting to suffocate them and it makes Hermione have to catch her breath. She glances at Malfoy and wonders whether he would have come if it wasn't his mum that they are investigating.
"She is down this hall of cells here. I will stand back to give you all your privacy," the Auror tells them. He has a long black beard and blue eyes that reminds Hermione of Dumbledore, only younger. “I will also stand back with him and just evaluate the investigation from here,” Officer Pack says. “You’ve got this, Granger.”
Hermione, Harry, and Draco walk down a group of six cells. They are less armed than some of the ones they have passed and the three of them read the numbers slowly as they walk. Hermione gasps when she spots a message written in blood in one of the cells. Flies buzz everywhere in the cell and a man Hermione recognizes as one of the Death Eaters from the war, lay in a corner sleeping. The message reads, "LONG LIVE VOLDEMORT. HE WILL RESCUE US FROM THIS HELL. HE IS OUR KING. HE WILL NEVER DIE."
They continue walking and find the cell at the end where Narcissa Malfoy resides in, a cell the nasty color of copper that contains rusty bars. She sits in the corner, her black and white robes are whipped around her skinny, skeleton like knees, and her face is very sunken in as if she hasn’t eaten in days. She is not as beautiful as Hermione previously remembers. Narcissa Malfoy looks truly worn down.
Her eyes are aroused only when Malfoy appears where she can see him. She slowly and weakly turns her head toward the three of them, as they sit in metal chairs that the Auror had provided them.
"Son?" She asks, her dark eyes lighting up a little.
"Yes, it's me mother," Malfoy confirms. Hermione can hear him fighting for his voice not to crack from the emotions that she can see overcoming him in this moment. He can't lose it in front of two of his enemies, she knows that well.
"How are you?" Narcissa whispers to Draco, holding onto an old chair to help her stand up and walk slowly toward them. A huge chain is wrapped around her ankle and it makes a horrible clanking sound as she walks.
"I'm fine mum but I could be better," Malfoy confesses honestly. He almost loses the tears that start to gather in his eyes but frantically blinks them away when he sees Hermione looking.
Hermione looks away from Draco and steps forward toward the cell where Narcissa is standing and holding her son's hand. Narcissa's dark eyes fall off of her son and to Hermione, and she glares.
"What do you want from me? Trying to ruin my life further?" She sneers, letting go of Malfoy's hand and stepping back. "Why are you with them Draco?"
"Mum we are here to ask you a few questions. I am with Granger and Potter because I work with them. I have to work for the Ministry because it's part of my probation."
"Oh," Narcissa says, shrugging and realizing they must not mean harm if Draco has agreed to come with them. She seems so weak you can barely tell she made a movement.
"How's Father?" Malfoy asks suddenly. Hermione sees his eyes look away distantly and she knows he doesn't really care to know but feels he needs to ask this question.
"He's erm... not very well Draco," Narcissa admits as her eyes fill with tears. "He's gone mad. He's not himself any longer."
"I'm so sorry," Hermione’s voice cracks out, speaking for the first time, but silences herself when she receives a glare from Malfoy.
Narcissa looks back to Hermione and then to Harry. "What do you want to ask me?"
"Well Mrs. Malfoy, we want to investigate you on the reasons why you joined Voldemort and why you decided to change sides at the last moment," Harry tells her, as she starts nodding with understanding.
"Well I have wanted to tell my side of the truth and was never able to. So please, ask me any questions you have," She answers, pacing the small cell uncomfortably, her legs not able to move far from the heavy weight of the rusting chains on her ankle.
Five minutes pass and Hermione decides to start when she remembers the first question she desires to ask. "Mrs. Malfoy, why did you choose to join Voldemort in the first place?"
Narcissa sits down on the concrete cell's floor and wraps her hands around her knees. She starts rocking back and forth and Harry and Hermione start to wonder whether she may be mad too.
"I joined Voldemort because I didn't want to disappoint my family." Narcissa says, looking at Draco as she does. He stiffens up and looks uncomfortable, making Hermione wonder whether that was one of the reasons why he joined too.
"How would you disappoint your family by not joining him?" Hermione goes on, her quill writing on its own on her parchment the questions and answers.
"My sister was Bellatrix Lestrange, who of course you know by experience was a very dangerous woman. Since my sister Andromeda left the family and went her own way, she got banned by the family and was threatened to be killed by Bella. I was too scared to follow in her footsteps because I never wanted to be disowned by my family and especially by my eldest sister, who was my role-model. I also married Lucius who, as you know, was one of his most loyal followers until he broke the prophecy. As most of us Death Eaters did, I kind of lost myself and started to only care about his well-being, the Dark Lord's." Narcissa confesses to them, still rocking back in forth as though she is going to hit herself like Dobby used to, when he said things he shouldn't have.
Hermione and Harry looks from Malfoy, who has a look on his face that could kill, to Narcissa who looks as though she can cry.
"Why did you want Draco to join Voldemort?" Harry asks, making Malfoy look his way in a glare.
"I didn't, but if I told him not to then my loyalty to the Dark Lord and my husband would be questioned. Lucius is proud of Draco and wanted to show the Dark Lord what kind of power his family held still, after he had ruined the mission in the Department of Mysteries," Narcissa tells the three of them. "I am sorry about Sirius by the way, Potter."
"It has been years but thank you very much. He was the last family member that I had," Harry says, frowning, surprised that Narcissa even mentioned that.
"He was quite the joker back in school before he started to disappoint the family. Even though he was in Gryffindor I talked to him quite often, before I was told I couldn't around my fifth year. Bella shouldn't have killed him," Narcissa confides in them, shaking her head.
A silence fills all of them, and Hermione wonders whether Harry is thinking of Sirius.
"Why did you change sides the last moment?" Hermione asks, as the inmates around them started to sneer things like ‘because she's a traitor like her husband and son’.
"Because I realized that I was not who I was pretending to be, I realized that I didn't want to die after all, and I wanted more for my son. And most of all I realized I didn't want to be a mad woman like my sister," Narcissa whispers, her eyes filling with tears yet again.
"Thank you Mrs. Malfoy for your time, that'll be all for today," Harry says, as Hermione looks at him questionably.
"She's had enough for now. We'll come back another day," He tells Hermione, who clearly wants to go on with the questions.
Hermione and Harry then conclude the investigation, as Narcissa is growing increasingly uneasy by the minute. After they finish their notes and say their goodbyes to Narcissa they found the Auror who led them in, when they remember Malfoy is supposed to be with them.
When Hermione turns around he is found by his mum's cell on his knees. Narcissa holds his head with her dirty hands and is whispering things to him. He has his hands wrapped around her wrists, looking into her face.
All Hermione catches from their hushed conversation is. “It’s going to be okay. We will be back with you Draco. We won't leave you in this world alone. I'm so proud of you, son.”
After a good ten minutes Draco joins them again and they start to head back to the Ministry.
"Are you okay, Malfoy?" Harry asks Draco as they enter the fireplace. Malfoy's face is sad and defeated.
"I'm fine Potter," He sneers, annoyed, as the three of them and Officer Pack disappear in the green flames.
Later after they arrived back at the Ministry, Hermione and Malfoy got back into her office and both settled down as she was writing her report with Malfoy closely watching her. She has to write down everything that happened and show Officer Pack her investigation findings.
"So are you going to try and get my mum out of Azkaban?" Draco wonders, trying his best to see what she was writing.
"Yes I think I will. I'll try my best," Hermione tells him seriously, meeting his grey eyes with her brown ones. He rests his eyes on her for a few minutes and Hermione blushes and looks away as a thought about how pretty his eyes are crosses her mind.
"You can head home now if you want to, we are basically done for the day," Hermione tells him, as she closes the binder with Narcissa's case and stands up to go to Pack’s office.
"Well thank you Granger. I guess," Malfoy says, standing up and grabbing the briefcase he brought to work that morning.
"My pleasure," Hermione replies awkwardly. It doesn't feel right talking to an enemy like that, but for some reason Hermione doesn't hate Malfoy right now, she pities him. And for the first time in her life as she watches him leave her office... she understands how Draco Malfoy feels, for she has been without her parents for a long time too.
A/N: So what did you think of the investigation? Do you believe everything Narcissa was saying?
And it seems like Hermione and Draco are starting to have an understanding for one another but don't get too excited yet... they are far from realizing feelings for each other.
I hope that you like my story so far and I am so grateful that you have even decided to read it! Please review if you have some time! I would love any advice you have or just would like to hear what you thought. Thank you!
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