Part Two: Everything
Her head was resting on his shoulder inconspicuously when it happened. A sudden burst of sound from upstairs, followed by the clattering of flying objects. Draco could hear his parents rushing overhead, as if the noise had woken them from their beds, and then the sound of angrily raised voices quickly joined the fray.
What do you mean, the old fool was fobbing you off?
Just so! There was no sign of Potter!
Are you sure? Perhaps-
No, it was a trick. An attempt on our lives, no less!
Surly even he would not be so foolish? Not with his daughter’s head on the chopping block!
Almost subconsciously, Draco felt himself sitting upright. His hands twitched, as if he might like to press them over Luna’s ears. Prevent her from hearing the fighting above them.
Without really wanting to, he turned to look at her. She didn’t look nearly as scared as he was sure that he would have done, if it was his life hanging in the hands of such tempermental people. She offered him her usual half smile, before saying gently “My father is rebelling at last.”
Draco nodded, unsure of what else to tell her. She reached up with easy evocation, and she squeezed his hand between her own. “It’ll be alright. Listen.”
Already the sounds were dying out, and while Luna seemed to take this as a good sign, Draco knew slightly better.
“Maybe I should go up and see what’s going on?”
Luna shook her head serenely, keeping a hold of the hand that she had taken. “No. I think I’d be scared if you were to leave me, Draco.”
And that was all that it took to keep him firmly rooted to his spot. “Okay.”
There were a few moments of silence. And then Luna placed his hand back down on the dusty floor with a little sigh. “I wish…” was all that she said. But Draco understood completely.
A few hours later, once Luna had finally fallen asleep with her head resting backwards against the dirty wall, Draco got up very quietly. He cast a look around her filthy prison, and he felt sick. Sick with himself, for being a part of it. For not having the guts to just let her out. She was… His friend, though he tried not to believe it. It was true.
She looked so tiny when she was asleep. So doll-like with her delicate features, and so unlike anyone else that he had ever known. His thoughts flitted momentarily to all the other people he had ever thought to describe as ‘friends’, and he realised that he’d never really had any. Not like her. Not friends who really cared about him, or would just be there for him. It was a slightly disconcerting thought, but then her little smile filled his mind, and he felt almost better.
The sounds from upstairs were starting to pick up again, so he ascended the steep staircase silently, then let himself back into the real world. Dusting off the dirt of the cellar. Straightening his robes.
He walked briskly into the sitting room where the argument was taking place, and he said in the most tedious voice he could muster:
“What on earth is going on?”
Narcissa turned to glare at one of the Death Eaters standing beside her. “You see what all of your shouting has achieved? You have woken my son, you imbecille!”
“I hardly think that is of concern, Narcissa.” snapped the Death Eater in reply. “You boy,” he said, turning on Draco. “You hold affection for the girl in the cellar?”
“W-what?” he asked, immediately flustered. “I… God, no! Of course not.”
“You see?” said the Death Eater sternly. “It is only you who seems concerned, Narcissa. The girl is of no use to us now. Xenophillius is not going to hand Potter over, so the girl should be disposed of.”
Draco watched his mother narrow her eyes to angry slits, feeling a stab of panic in his gut. Get rid of Luna? What do they mean?
“I am simply saying that there is precious little point in killing the girl, when she has not yet served her purpose. Lovegood is hardly likely to be compliant if we kill his daughter, is he?”
“You stupid woman!” yelled the man angrily, “Can you not see that the man is not going to cooperate anyway? What good is it to keep the girl alive any longer?”
Draco could feel his very skin begin to crawl as they calmly discussed the murder of his only friend. The thoughts careening through his skull were like wild serpents, and though he tried to maintain his composure externally, he wasn’t sure how long he could hold it inside.
And in an instant, it was as if someone was listening. Someone had to be watching out for him, as a loud, clanging alarm rang out through the house.
Draco looked at his mother, and registered the apprehension on her face. “Someone’s trying to get in.” she said softly. Then she seemed to regain her composure, calmness settling over her features in an instant. Without further hesitation, she conjured what appeared to be a muggle telephone from the air, and held it against her ear. “State your purpose.” she said coldly.
The reply crackled back for all to hear.
“We’ve got Potter! We’ve captured Harry Potter!”
Draco felt his mouth drop open in horror, and he backed away as his mother’s face contorted, Luna Lovegood all but forgotten down in the cellar by everyone but himself.
Draco felt as if he was burning. Very slowly. Very painfully. Most certainly.
He knew that it was Potter and his friends standing captive in the living room. He would know those hideous, self-righteous faces anywhere. He’d hated them for most of his life, after all. And yet, for some bizarre reason he couldn’t force himself to confirm it as the adults in the room fought over whether or not to summon He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Draco gave himself a firm mental shake.
Of course he should tell them. They were bound to find out eventually anyway. After all, what would happen once Potter’s stinging hex wore off? He might as well just get it over with, put them all out of their misery.
He took a step towards the huddled group.
But then something stopped him. No. Not something. Someone. A tiny little slip of a girl, with ridiculously long hair all the way down her back. Locked in the cellar, waiting for something like this to happen. Strangely, unnecessarily, putting her trust in him.
There was no way that he could turn them in. No way.
“Draco.” His father’s cold, commanding voice sank back and joined him in the shadows, “Come here. Look properly. What do you think?”
He felt sick. He felt like a useless, redundant and pathetic pawn in his parent’s game. Taking that first step towards Potter and his friends made Draco feel more decayed than ever before.
He saw the three of them group tighter together, as if they fully expected him to confirm their suspected identities. Draco felt vile as he watched them struggle to entwine fingers; to bring each other minimal amounts of comfort.
It made him think of Luna.
She would suffer, if he told the truth. It was a solid fact. Once they realised that they really did have Potter, Luna would no longer be needed. The casual mention of her murder was still echoing in his bones, and he finally understood why he needed to lie.
Not for Potter. Not for the trio whom he’d spent almost seven years despising. No.
It was for her. Because nothing else really mattered. Everything else paled in comparison. All that concerned him was making sure she remained alive and well.
He stood in front of the boy. And he shook his head very gently. Draco. What do you think?
“I don’t know.” he lied. His voice trembled.
Draco stared. He truly could not look away, no matter how desperately he wanted to, he found that he could not. Granger writhed in agony, screaming out and begging for mercy, but his Aunt permitted none. Bellatrix just held her wand more statically, “Crucio.” she said calmly, over and over and over again.
“How did you get into my vault?” she asked, lowering her wand and offering the muggle-born witch a moment of liberty. “Did that dirty little goblin in the cellar help you?”
“We only met him tonight.” Granger replied, staring at the floor and pushing herself onto all fours, as if trying to get up. “We’ve never been inside your vault… it isn’t the real sword,” one of her arms gave way but she persisted, looking up bravely to meet Bellatrix’s eyes, “It’s a copy, just a copy!”
“A copy?” Draco’s Aunt screeched, raising her wand threateningly again and causing Granger to shrink away in fear. “Oh, a likely story!”
“But we can find out easily!”
Draco jumped at the sound of his father’s voice, so cold and close to his own startled form. “Draco, fetch the goblin, he can tell us whether the sword is real or not!”
Draco froze. Go into the cellar? Face Potter, and his friends, and… Her? How could he stand in front of Luna as a Malfoy, and a Death Eater, when truthfully he had been neither of those things since meeting her. How could he-
“What are you waiting for boy?”
In a heartbeat, he leapt to his feet and sped towards the cellar steps. So familiar and comfortable before tonight, but suddenly now so foreign.
He froze, however, when he heard a loud crack from behind him, and he span around to see his old House Elf staring around itself wildly.
“Dobby!” Draco exclaimed, hastily dropping his voice as the creature looked up at him with wide, alarmed eyes. “Why are you here?” he hissed.
“Dobby is here to save-” the elf hastily shoved his fist into his mouth, shaking his head, hard. “No,” he said in a muffled voice. “Dobby is not disgusting Malfoy property anymore. Dobby does not have to tell you anything.”
But Draco had already heard enough. “You’re here to save them?” he asked, his voice coming out in a harsh whisper. Immediately, Dobby turned and made to run, but Draco seized him hastily around the neck. “Wait,” he said, dropping down to his knees next to the creature, “They’re in the cellar. D’you hear me? The cellar.”
The elf’s eyes widened even further, if possible, than before. “You would try to help Dobby?”
Draco felt a nauseating clawing inside his stomach, and he shook his head firmly. “The girl.” he said, “With the long blonde hair. Take her first, you understand me
Dobby looked extremely confused. “Dobby no longer takes orders from-”
“You’ll take the girl first,” Draco said in a threatening voice. “And if anything happens to her, I’ll make sure that-”
“Dobby would never let any harm come to one of Harry Potter’s friends!” The House Elf interrupted hotly, and Draco felt the gnawing in his gut intensify. “Dobby lives to serve Harry Potter!”
Draco released the creature, and lifted himself back up to full height. “Good.” he said, forcing the word out as smoothly as he could. “Then save them. Just… Wait. Wait until you see me coming back out again. Don’t let them know that I helped you.”
The House Elf nodded, though his wide eyes were swimming with confusion. He opened his mouth, but then shut it again, and Draco found himself very grateful. He did not want to be questioned by the Elf, not when he himself did not have any answers.
He nodded at Dobby, then drew his wand, scuttling down the steps and taking a deep breath.
“Stand back,” he called out through the door, hating the terrified shake in his voice. “Line up against the back wall. Don’t try anything, or I’ll kill you.” Not you Luna. Please know that I don’t mean you.
He turned the key in the lock and kicked the door open.
And there they were, standing with their backs pressed against the wall and their faces full of the most intense hatred that he had ever seen. Weasley’s eyes were so dark, it was as if he was in love with- Oh. Perhaps Draco could understand that kind of darkness.
For the briefest moment, he let his eyes meet Luna’s. Unsurprisingly, she wasn’t glaring at him like the other’s, and in the second that passed between them, she gave him the smallest, most imperceptible of nods. Like she knew what he was doing, and why. As if she understood that he had no choice but to play along. To be what he was supposed to be. A smile flitted over her lips, as if she knew something else too, and it filled him to the brim with strength.
Looking away from her, he reached forward and grasped the goblin’s arm, yanking him clear of the others and then frogmarching him towards the door, turning back for the briefest second to look at Luna once more, before the door slammed between them, drowning out the sound of the apparating House Elf. Draco locked it firmly, then pushed the goblin up the staircase.
Two hours and a stolen wand later.
He practically ran down the steps, feeling his heart thudding against his ribcage as he neared the open door. His feet hit something large and solid, sending him crashing forwards, on top of what was undoubtedly a corpse.
Draco hardly dared to look down, but when he did his eyes met the glassy stare of Peter Pettigrew. He felt nothing, no emotion, other than relief that it hadn’t been her.
Pushing himself back to his feet again, he quickly pulled out his mother’s wand and whispered “Lumos,” letting the bright white light encompass the dank cellar. He swept the wand all around, turning a full circle before realising that the room was most definitely empty. He was alone.
She had escaped.
Suddenly, the tiny room seemed incredibly large, and incredibly empty. But for some reason, he was happy.
She was gone. And she was free.
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