Chapter 42 : Trust Must Be Earned
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Trust Must Be Earned
This chapter is dedicated to one of my faithful reviewers whose birthday is on the 18th! You know who you are and Happy Birthday!!
The next two weeks were spent in training with the original DA members brining some of the older adults up to speed on various defensive and offensive techniques. Some of the adults were a little hesitant at being taught by ‘children’ but once they saw the talents of all of them they quickly dove in and trained.
They had been divided into different groups based upon their strengths with Harry taking those who excelled in duelling, Neville taking those who had an affinity with plants and animals and Luna leading the healing and potions group.
In an effort to keep everyone on their toes, Harry set up a patrol rotation where every two hours four people would patrol the grounds and three people would patrol the castle. Some had grumbled a bit, especially those that had the early morning duty but no one shirked their responsibility.
Ron was just about to take off on his eight pm start and was frantically stuffing his face with sausages and tomato sauce. Harry came into the dining hall and laughed, “Got enough there Ron? I am sure that there are some table legs somewhere which you could gnaw on.”
Ron gave a half hearted glare, “Shut your face Harry, it’s not my fault that I am a hungry lad!”
“Whatever, you better get going or else Hermione will have your guts for bootlaces for being late.” Harry chuckled.
Ron glanced at his watch and shot to his feet, “See you later! Front gate needs my attention!”
The red haired teen hastened out the door, his footsteps fading quickly. Still chuckling Harry sat down and grabbed himself some toast just as Ginny walked into the hall.
Spotting him quickly she plonked herself down and smiled, “So Mr Potter, what is the plan for tomorrow?”
Shrugging he swallowed a mouthful and replied, “Probably the same as the last two weeks, nothing too strenuous. I was thinking that we could get Neville to show his group how to get the singing fern to give up its nectar. Everyone is pretty tired so a nice easy day is in order I think.”
Ginny nodded, “Good idea. I keep forgetting that just because we don’t need sleep doesn’t mean that no one else does. Especially the youngest of our members are really starting to show fatigue.”
Suddenly the proximity alarm rang through the air, its piercing siren ringing in their ears. Harry got to his feet quickly and shot of several patronuses. It was only seconds before he received Ron’s terrier back.
The glowing dog opened its mouth and Ron’s surprised and harried voice rang out, “Harry, I caught an intruder; could barely believe my eyes when I saw who it was. I’m bringing him up now, you may want to have some medical supplies as he seems pretty badly injured.”
The dog dissolved and Harry glanced at Ginny and gave a wry grin at her mystified face, “I take it you weren’t expecting anyone then?”
She shook her head, “If I was do you think I would let them just waltz on up to the front door without letting them know about the wards?”
Harry wasn’t given a chance to respond as the doors to the entrance hall burst open and Ron hastened in, levitating a frozen body in front of him. Harry caught a glance of blond hair and a pale face and drew his breath in sharply.
Ron settled the body on the ground none-too-gently before eyeing Harry, “Don’t be too easy on him Harry, he is still a little ferret, no matter what Snape says.” With that he gave a nod and left, returning to his patrol on the edge of the grounds.
Harry knelt by Malfoy’s head and examined his classmate. Obviously living in Voldemort’s company had done nothing for his health. He was paler and more drawn than the last time they had met and Harry could see several badly healed wounds on his neck and shoulder.
Turning to Ginny he asked, “Please bring me the dittany, I do not like the look of those cuts.” Nodding in understanding she turned on her heels and marched out the door.
Harry eyed his former rival and sighed, pointing his wand and muttering the counter spell for the ward’s effects. Instantly, Malfoy flinched and jerked his body away from Harry, his face wincing in pain as his eyes flicked around taking in his surroundings.
Harry made no movements, merely saying calmly, “You are safe Malfoy. I would prefer you do not move around until I can determine how badly you are injured.”
Grey eyes met green and Malfoy gave a half hearted sneer, “Safe? No one is safe anymore Potter.”
Raising an eyebrow Harry replied, “Well you are safer here then you were on my front doorstep.”
Malfoy, breathing heavily, braced his hands against the ground and in one jerky and strained movement, pushed himself up into a sitting position. Harry shook his head at the boy’s lack of obedience to Harry’s request but didn’t bother saying anything.
Ginny walked back into the entrance, a small brown bottle clutched into her hands. She met Malfoy’s gaze coolly, but did not hesitate as she passed the dittany to Harry. Harry tilted his head to the door and understanding his hint Ginny left without a word.
Turning back to Malfoy Harry quietly ordered, “Take you shirt off Malfoy.”
Blonde eyebrows went up, “Excuse me? I don’t take orders from you Potter.”
Sighing again Harry commented, “If you insist on fighting me every step of the way Malfoy I may have to hurt you. You are in my home now and while I agreed not to kill you that does not mean that you rule the roost here. Now, take off your shirt. I will not have you collapsing at a later date because of injuries that could have been easily healed.”
Realising that Harry would have his shirt off whether he willed it or no Malfoy shrugged and slowly pulled off his shirt. He winced slightly as the fabric rasped against his back and Harry quickly saw why.
Obviously the blonde teen had been tortured for his back was a mess of white scars and red, infected sores. Harry, knowing the last thing Malfoy wanted was pity, merely conjured white pads and proceeded to pour a little dittany on them, pressing them to the open wounds.
Malfoy didn’t even flinch at the touch, indicating either a reluctance to show weakness in front of Harry or a genuinely high pain tolerance. After Harry had finished treating the teen’s back he asked softly, “Are you injured anywhere else? That you cannot reach yourself I mean?”
Shaking his head in answer, Malfoy sighed, “No, the Dark Lord hadn’t started a full work over on me before Snape got me out.”
Harry nodded and stood up, “Alright then, let’s go somewhere more comfortable and we can discuss your being here.”
Leading the way quickly, Harry opened the door to one of the lounges and sat down. Malfoy hesitantly copied him, looking around at the lavish furnishings that decorated the room. They sat in silence for a moment before Harry said lightly, “I must say, I am surprised to see you here. I had assumed Snape would let me know if and when you were coming. But we haven’t heard from him since the St Mungo’s attack.”
Malfoy’s face tightened at the mention of the night his father’s death but nodded, “The Dark Lord has been keeping him very busy. Only luck had him come back to headquarters in time to get me out of his clutches.”
Harry frowned, “Why was Voldemort torturing you anyway? Did he discover that you didn’t want to be a Death Eater anymore?”
Malfoy sighed, “Yes, though indirectly.” The blonde teen trailed off and looked at his hands, obviously loathe to continue.
Taking pity on the haggard teen Harry called out, “Saringa!”
“Yes Harry Potter sir? What do you desire?” the diminutive female elf asked cheerfully.
“Please bring in a decent meal for our guest, I don’t think he has eaten for a while.” He replied.
She cast a concerned glance at Malfoy before nodding hastily and disappearing. Only seconds later both she and her sister reappeared carrying a delicious feast between them. They set it before Malfoy’s whose eyes betrayed the hunger that he was feeling.
Nodding at the two elves stiffly he reached for a piece of bread, gingerly chewing its soft texture. Harry rolled his eyes, “There is no need to stand on ceremony Malfoy, eat for crying out loud!”
Not needing any encouragement, the former classmate hastily crammed the remainder of the roll into his mouth, already reaching for a bowl of tomato soup. Harry took a cup of pumpkin juice and sipped it slowly, trying not to watch the desperation in Malfoy’s actions.
He ate in silence for nearly half an hour, polishing off enough plates that even Ron would have been groaning in pain. Finally he sat back, the desperate hunger gone from his face and his customary sneer back in its place.
Harry didn’t break the silence, waiting patiently for Malfoy to begin his story. It didn’t take long with Malfoy sighing, “It all started with the debacle at Hogwarts at the end of last year. When we fled from the castle, Snape took me to his home in Spinner’s end. However, Bellatrix had returned straight to the Dark Lord’s side and told him everything. It wasn’t long before we were summoned.”
Malfoy leaned back into the seat, “I think that if Snape hadn’t killed Dumbledore, the Dark Lord would have murdered me on the spot. As it was his anger was terrible and I was bed ridden for nearly a month afterwards. In that time he had broken several of his Death Eaters out of Azkaban including my father. His stint in jail did nothing for his disposition, he came back just as cruel and twisted as before. He was desperate to prove his loyalty to the Dark Lord, willing to do anything to show that his belief in the cause hadn’t diminished. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named demanded a sacrifice two months after my father was released and he was only too happy to oblige.”
Malfoy’s eyes, deadened by all he had suffered, sparked with grief at the memory, “I had thought that he would have to kill me. That in sacrificing his only son he would prove to the Dark Lord that nothing was more important than the cause. I know that if that had been asked of him he would have done it without a second thought. But the monster that calls himself a Lord didn’t demand my life, he demanded my mother’s.”
Harry stifled a gasp of horror, refusing to show pity to Malfoy, knowing he would scorn any sympathy. Malfoy stared into the empty fire pit, “She was dragged before the full inner circle, bound like a cur, left with only scraps to cover herself. The Dark Lord had refused to let my father imperius her, saying that he wanted her to be in her right mind when he killed her.”
Swallowing hard Malfoy kept going, “They made me watch as she was tortured by the man that she loved. He didn’t care, there was no remorse in his actions, no hesitation as he cursed her. And I could do nothing to help. She cried for my help, begged me to stop him. And I did nothing.”
Harry, unable to stay silent exclaimed, “There wasn’t anything you could have done! You would have died right alongside her.”
Malfoy looked up murderously and spat, “You think I don’t know that Potter? Argghh why I am telling you this I don’t know, it’s not like you know what I am going through.”
Harry raised an eyebrow, “I do have some experience in the area of losing someone close to me, not being able to do anything as they were murdered before my eyes. More than once actually. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are the only person who suffers Malfoy.”
The blonde boy dropped his head in acceptance and Harry asked gently, “So then what happened?”
“When she couldn’t scream anymore the Dark Lord ordered my father to end it. And he did. No hesitation.” Disgust worked its way onto his face, “And then we all had to kneel and kiss the Dark Lord’s hem, saying how great he is and how much we believe in everything he is doing. I think even then he knew that I no longer followed him but nothing was said.”
Lapsing into silence, Malfoy stared thoughtfully at his hands. Harry asked, “So where was Snape during all of this?”
“Oh he was in Ireland I think but he came back promptly. I think I would have done something pretty rash if he hadn’t kept me in line. It was then that he told me what his role was, that he and Dumbledore had planned the whole ‘killing’ thing and that I could become a spy like him. I agreed for what else could I do? For the next eight months I played the good little Death Eater, but I tried to disrupt his plans where I could without tipping my hand.”
Harry frowned, “So what changed?”
“I became too cocky, thinking that no one could outsmart me. I made the fatal mistake of forgetting that while the Dark Lord is a monster, he is also incredibly intelligent, the epitome of Slytherin. During a planning meeting I tried to convince him that attacking a house near the ministry was a bad idea. I used all of my ideas but he saw right through them.”
Giving a dry laugh Malfoy continued, “Trying to change the Dark Lord’s mind was not my most brilliant plan. He simply stared at me for a while before asking how long had I been a traitor. He then blamed me for the leak over the St Mungo’s attack and had his followers imprison me. They left me alone mostly for the last couple of weeks, only torturing me for fun, not information. Snape returned from his latest journey in time to smuggle me out. He told me to seek you out, that you would protect me.”
Looking up at Harry, Malfoy said fiercely, “Look Potter, I don’t want protection. I want revenge!”
Considering the blonde teen before him Harry shrugged, “If revenge is what you want, you will certainly find it amongst my group. We are not going to just sit back and watch Voldemort take over the world, we are going to fight. But if you are going to live your life, not just survive, you may need something else apart from your hatred.”
Malfoy sneered, “My mother and father are dead Potter, I am the last of the Malfoys and our name will forever be disgraced. I have nothing to live for except to see the Dark Lord make the long journey to hell.”
“Well that is your choice, I am not going to try and change your mind.” Harry stood up, “Come with me, I’ll show you around the castle. I’ll also call in a full meeting so that you can meet the DA. Your mother’s sister, Andromeda is here so you do have some family.”
Surprise flitted over Malfoy’s face and he stood up as well. Harry led the way out of the room and gave a quick tour, taking care to avoid the founder’s quarters. When he bumped into Ginny he asked her to call the meeting immediately and she scampered off.
Harry showed Malfoy his rooms and let the two female house elves mother him while he waited outside. After half an hour the blonde teen came out of his room, freshly showered and dressed, the blood and dirt gone from his face.
Gesturing for the blonde teen to follow him Harry said, “Come on, everyone should be assembled by now. This’ll be a quick meeting, you won’t have to tell your story or anything. I am basically just letting everyone here know not to curse you on sight.”
Malfoy rolled his eyes, “No, they’ll sneer at me and then curse me.”
Harry gave a grin before stopping suddenly, “Oh one more thing, do not under any circumstances mention our spy within Voldemort’s ranks. We have a traitor amongst us and we do not know who it is. I do not want our ace in the hole being flushed out just yet.”
Malfoy snorted, “I am a Slytherin Potter, I do not blab. I actually learnt that from the Dark Lord, he has been extremely tight lipped regarding the identity of his little information feeder.”
Harry sighed, “I had hoped you may have heard who it was. Oh well, I guess we’ll find out sooner or later.” He started to walk off towards the hall again.
Entering the dining hall Malfoy was obviously surprised by the number of people present but quickly smoothed his face into an expression of calm arrogance. Harry walked to the front of the room and smiled, “Hey everyone, thanks for coming so quickly I know it was short notice.”
“Harry, do you realise that you have a ferret standing next to you?” Seamus asked incredulously.
Harry frowned, “I am well aware that Malfoy is here Seamus, I am not blind. And here is where he is going to stay. He is not a Death Eater and he has gone through some very hard times recently. I ask that you all leave him alone, do not badger him with questions and try and make him feel welcome.”
There was a snort of scepticism from Dean and Harry gave a wry smile, “Yes I know many of you have not gotten along with him in the past, but we are all on the same side.”
Andromeda stood up and walked over, her eyes alight with emotion as she surveyed her nephew. He eyed her cautiously but lost the arrogant sneer. She whispered, “She is dead?”
Malfoy’s head dropped and his shoulders sagged. Letting out an anguished cry Andromeda threw her arms around him, burying her face into his shoulder, “I’m sorry, I’m so, so sorry!”
Malfoy automatically leaned into her embrace his face hidden by her thick hair. Harry looked out at the stunned DA and signalled for them to leave. Understanding, they got up quietly and left the hall whispering amongst themselves.
Andromeda sighed, “You’ll come and live with us now, we’ll be your family. I may have been disowned by my mother but I am still a Black and I am your aunt.” Her tone left no room for argument and Draco nodded. She gently took his arm and turned to Harry, “Was there anything else that you wanted from us?”
Harry shook his head, “No. Just remember Malfoy, I am trusting you not to cause disruption here. Don’t prove me a Gryffindorish fool for being too naive regarding the secret goodness within your soul.”
A ghost of a smile flickered over Draco’s face and he nodded, “I’ll do my best Potter. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, now go and rest, you look like you are about to fall asleep on your feet.” Harry replied
Nodding wearily Draco allowed himself to be led out of the hall by his aunt and back to his rooms.
A/N: righto! I'm back! Sorry about the delay, but I hope you liked this chapter regardless! I am going to be doing NaNoWrimo during the month of Nov, so please understand that if I upload EoT during that time, you'll be lucky!!!!!!
I have also uploaded a couple of one-shots if you'd all like to go and check them out!
As always, please REVIEW the chapter! I love them so much!
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