Chapter 28 : Stories
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Disclaimer: As usual, I do not own Harry Potter and I'm not JK Rowling. I also do not own Beauty and the Beast, that story belongs to either Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve or Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont.
“I- I suppose so,” I stammered, shocked that he actually looked ready to tell me the story. I took a sip of my coffee and met his eyes, urging him on.
“Okay, well I suppose it all goes back to the beginning of the summer,” he said with a sigh. “I was in Diagon Alley with my mother as she was making her way through to go to Borgin and Burke’s. My parents were dealing with him and he was holding some of my father’s stuff.”
“What were they-” I began but he cut me off.
“Trust me, that’s better left unsaid.”
I nodded and he cleared his throat. “So I was with my mother and I decided to go off for a while. I decided I would just go hang out at the Leaky Cauldron and drink for a while, it was nice to be out of the house, but having a standing with the Death Eaters I didn’t have to worry about things being unsafe.”
“Must be lucky,” I said with a harsh laugh. “Sorry,” I muttered quickly, realizing it had come out rather rudely.
“There’s no need to apologize, the things that are comforting now are not what they should be,” he said rather sadly.
“I’ll stop interrupting,” I said quietly and he laughed.
“No you won’t, but I won’t stop you from doing so. Feel free to interrupt,” he smiled and took another deep breath.
“Continue,” I said with a smile, picking up my coffee once more, inhaling the strong scent and feeling a sense of peace I hadn’t all summer.
“So, I was sitting there and I saw Kingsley walk in with Mad Eye Moody. I wanted to say something to Moody about the whole debacle Harry and I got in back in Fourth year when I realized it hadn’t actually been him but at that point I’d already stood up so I walked over to the bar and ordered a butterbeer.”
“Oh, do tell me more about what you ate that day!” I exclaimed and let out a small giggle. What’s with you, Granger? He shook his head and laughed.
“Sorry, trying to recount all the details. Anyways, as I’m at the bar I watched them glance around and head upstairs. So I told Tom I needed a room and he handed me a key with my butterbeer so I headed upstairs in the hopes of finding them,” he let out a quiet laugh. “I’m not entirely sure what I expected to come from the whole thing but it certainly wasn’t what did happen.”
“Well, go on!” I said, suddenly excited for no apparently reason. Though there was something pulling at my heart, leaving me anxious as well. I was sitting at the edge of my seat now, gripping the chair with one hand while I held the cup in my other.
“I’m getting there!” he said, smiling. “So I heard Kingsley speaking and as I walked by the room, I- I heard your name,” he said quietly.
“M-my name?” I stammered. Why were Kingsley and Moody talking about me?
“They said something about safe houses and then I heard your name. Before I could think twice, I knocked on the door,” he said quietly and I stared at him in shock. “Moody opened it a few moments later and scowled, pulling me into the room by my shirt collar before slamming the door shut behind us.”
“What did you say? And what could possibly posses you to do such a thing?” I asked, shocked that he would even think about doing such a thing.
Because I’m in love with you? How could I possibly explain such a thing to her? She would never reciprocate my feelings and I had no idea how much time we actually had here. But I did owe her the rest of the story. “I really don’t know. I heard your name and just had this feeling that I should open the door and find out why it was they were talking about you. So I opened the door and one thing led to another.”
“Well, but what happened? Surely they weren’t happy with you barging in like that!” she nearly shrieked.
“I hardly barged in,” I said with a laugh. “I knocked!”
“Ughhh, Draco!” she said, rolling her eyes. “WHAT HAPPENED?” she leaned forward and I realized that our food now lay forgotten. I took a sip of the coffee and she groaned. “Come on.”
I smiled, “Patience, patience.”
“You promised,” she said with a sigh and I laughed.
“And I always keep my promises,” I winked. “Okay. So, Moody nearly threw me into a chair and Kingsley held a wand to my face.” I said and her eyes widened.
“You really are awful at listening to stories, aren’t you?” I asked, smirking at her obvious impatience.
“ONLY WHEN THEY’RE EXCITING!”
I laughed loudly, “I see how it is. So my near-death experiences are exciting to you, are they?”
She groaned, “Not what I meant and you know it!”
“So, I started to speak but naturally Moody wouldn’t have it. He was as liberal with Crucio as the fake Moody was and I don’t need to tell you how painful that was. He only used it briefly, but immediately began to interrogate me.”
“Wh-what about?” she asked, her voice shaky.
“Scared for me, Granger?” I winked at her.
“Yes… terrified that you died in that room and that it’s a mere ghost sitting before me.”
“Sarcasm, Granger? I didn’t know you had it in you.” I couldn’t help but smile. She truly was full of surprises.
“Guess I’m full of surprises, huh?” she said, beaming. I took a sip of my coffee and held up a finger as I took a bite of broccoli and I watched her from the corner of my eye as she cut off a piece of chicken and ate it with a sigh.
“That you are, Granger. That you are,” I couldn’t help but laugh.
“So of course they wanted to know why it was I was there. They hadn’t exactly expected anyone to be in the pub; apparently Tom had only helped about five customers that week, including the two of them and myself. They figured it would’ve been a safe place to talk and they weren’t happy that this ‘son of a Death Eater’ was there eavesdropping on their conversation.”
“So, I had to calmly explain, while Moody occasionally used Crucio on me, that I wasn’t there as a spy. That I wanted nothing to do with the Death Eaters that were soon to be moving into my house, that I did not support that side at all and what they forced their people to do.”
My heart constricted as I sat there staring at the boy in front of me, wondering how he’d managed to endure so much pain from such a simple thing. I knew Moody was prone to do things like that though, he’d sent countless Death Eaters to Azkaban so it was merely another one for him.
“Naturally, and I don’t blame them for this at all, Moody forced me to drink some Veritaserum and continued to question me,” he said, stopping for a moment. “And it all came out. They realized that I wasn’t lying. That I really did hate everything I was supposed to stand for. That I wanted a chance to prove myself to them and to really do something useful in this war.”
“What did they say?” I asked quietly.
“They were hesitant at first, but I brought you up. Mentioning that the one thing I had heard from their conversation was your name and the words ‘safe house’. They left the room for a while, and came back telling me that if I was able to ensure that my house would be safe beyond all measure, that it would be possible to keep you here.”
“You actually wanted me here?” I asked incredulously. HE actually wanted ME to be here?
“Of course,” he said quietly. “I just- I wanted to do something and I felt that if I had any chance of smoothing things over with your group you would be the one who was most likely to be forgiving.”
“Yes,” he began, clearly hesitant. “I know what you’re thinking; Draco Malfoy isn’t one who looks for forgiveness. Why would he want people to think of him as a good person? But really, the way I acted all those years at Hogwarts was inexcusable. I was a horrid person who had some petty problem with Potter because he chose to be friends with Weasley despite everything I’d been taught about blood being the most important thing.”
“I- what exactly were you brought up being told?” I couldn’t believe that there were people that preached this sort of thing; it was racism all over again. I knew that it had to be his bringing up that told him us Muggle borns were horrible, but it still didn’t make sense to me.
“That’s a story for another time,” he said with a sad smile.
“Okay then.” I tried my best to smile at him but I could tell he wasn’t very happy at the moment. I would have to try and change that after he finished telling me his story.
“Anyways, I had to leave pretty soon after I started talking to them but I made a promise to meet up with them and go over the logistics the following day. My mother could tell I was keeping a secret when I met up with her so we went to her room and I told her everything,” he said, tearing up slightly.
“What did your mother say?” I asked, trying to urge him on as gently as I could.
“What I least expected,” he said with a hint of a smile. “She told me that she was proud of me. That I was doing the right thing and that she was glad I’d managed to find my head. Then she proceeded to tell me that she would be absolutely willing to help with whatever was necessary.”
“And you didn’t wonder whether or not she was going to turn me over to Voldemort?” I asked quietly before I could stop myself and his eyes flicked down to the table before meeting mine again.
“Never,” he said steadily. “There’s something you have to understand. My mother and I always shared the same opinion on the whole Voldemort thing. But because she was arranged to marry my father and his whole family had always been heavily involved in the Dark Arts, she knew she would have to play the part. Voldemort started his huge upswing in his rise to power around the time of their marriage and when I came along father only delved himself deeper in their plans and ranks. Mother was infuriated, always trying to keep me separated from everything. But Bellatrix asked about me once and that was it. Soon it was play dates with Crabbe and Goyle and the other children of Death Eaters and then, Voldemort tried to kill Harry.”
“But that should’ve been good news, right?” I asked, sitting on the edge of my seat now and leaning clear aver my plate. Draco smirked when he saw me leaning over, clearly sensing that I was excited and tense about this story.
“Enjoying yourself, Granger? Or just nervous for my well-being?” he asked with a wink. My heart stopped beating for a moment but I cleared my throat.
“Oh, shove off, Malfoy!” I said, though I knew he could tell I was joking. “Come on, it was a good thing that Voldemort was gone, wasn’t it?”
“Yes and no,” he said, his smirk gone as quickly as it had appeared. “Father was scared out of his mind. He didn’t know if Voldemort would come back and he wanted to ensure that if he did we were still around the same families we had been before. Associating ourselves with “the right crowd” so to speak.”
“So more hanging out around Crabbe and Goyle?” I asked. It all made sense, that’s why he was with them on the first day of school. Why they always seemed to be together.
“Exactly,” he said before he continued on very quietly. “He drilled into my head time and time again to the point where I was nearly driven insane how I should only be associating myself with Purebloods. How everyone else was poison, they weren’t deserving of magic. I only recently realized how unbelievably wrong he was.”
“How recently?” I asked, my voice barely even registering as a whisper.
“Fifth year,” he said sternly. “I realized how much of the whole Dumbledore’s Army thing must have been your idea. I knew you were the brains behind that little trio of yours, you always have been. And though I knew Harry was the one training you lot, I sort of realized how brave you were, how powerful you were, and how completely and utterly brilliant you were with magic, despite not even being a half-blood. It all got me thinking and I really just realized that you weren’t the only one, that there were others who were deserving of magic despite not being born into it. Then I came to the biggest realization yet, that you lot who are muggle-born are the ones truly deserving of the magic. You rose from nothing and managed to learn something that shouldn’t be possible…” he trailed off, his voice full of awe.
My hands were shaking now and my heart was beating frantically. “So you knew that your mother was telling the truth, but how?” I asked, desperate to change the subject.
“Because, all those years she was telling me that I should do my best in school, earn the best possible marks I could so that I would be able to get a good job soon after Hogwarts and hopefully would be able to get away from the whole Death Eater business. She always wanted what was best for me and never, not for one second wanted me to join them. Not just because she didn’t want me to get hurt, but because she wanted me to have a better life and she truly believed that their ideals were wrong.”
“Your mother truly is a wonderful woman,” I said, completely awestruck that she’d managed to get through to him despite all the outside influences. It had taken a while, but considering everyone else he had been raised around, the fact that he was sitting before me under the current circumstances proved how well she had done.
“I’ll have to tell her you said so,” he said, smiling a genuine smile. “I don’t think she hears often enough how amazing a person she is. My mother’s had so many misfortunes in her life and I was her pride and joy and she had always hoped she would manage to raise me right. I wish I could convince her that she did a brilliant job but I think she needs to hear it from someone else and no one around here is very likely to tell her that.”
I sat there in shock for a few moments before I finally spoke, “I-I… you’re right. I’d never even thought about that. I couldn’t imagine how terrible that must be for her. She is absolutely brilliant, she’s managed to raise a thoughtful, handsome, smart, and obviously respectful young man in one of the darkest times this world has ever seen despite her own upbringing and those around her.”
“You think I’m handsome, Granger?” he asked, smirking again.
“That- That’s all you managed to get from that whole thing?”I asked, stunned at his persistance.
He smiled this time, “Well, that and the fact that you think I’m thoughtful and smart. But mostly the handsome thing.”
“Ugh, you really are insufferable sometimes, you know that?” I asked and stood up from the table. He stood up, looking concerned.
“Going somewhere?” he asked, his voice cracking slightly. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you and I-”
His words were cut off as I silenced him with a kiss full on the lips.
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