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It was awkward being in the Weasley house. Molly didn’t really seem to know what to say to me, and Arthur was barely home. Harry seemed to avoid me every day since our encounter on my first night there. Ginny would smile nervously when she saw me; she almost looked as though she wanted to speak to me, but found herself at a loss for words. Hermione didn’t seem like she knew what to do and Ron only glared. I could hardly blame them. I’d pretended to be a nice guy; I’d gotten together with their best friend, seduced him, seemingly used him, became a Death Eater, and then dumped him. Yeah, I’d hate me, too.

Meals were especially awkward. Everyone was so wrapped up in their own conversations that I was often forgotten. I didn’t mind it. I learned a lot more just listening that I would have if I’d joined in. for instance, I’d learned that Ron had finally gotten up the courage to ask Hermione out. (There’d been a running bet through Slytherin about how long it would take.) On the few occasions when Molly would try to bring me into the conversation as well, only she and Arthur seemed capable of finding anything to say to me. The others all became deathly silent.

I grew used to this after a while, and simply made my part in the conversation short, allowing the others to loosen up and start talking again. Molly didn’t seem pleased with this, but she never said anything against it.

I did, however, find the Burrow to be a great improvement over the manor. The feeling of being held captive was gone, and I was free to roam the house and garden, but the loneliness remained. I longed to talk to Harry; there was so much that I wanted to say to him, if only he’d let me.

♥♥♥


I didn’t see Severus again until after my second week at the Burrow. It was good to see him, partly because I wanted news and partly because it felt good to have someone who would actually talk to me. The others had quite obviously noticed that I was missing not long after I left. And, of course, my father wasn’t happy.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in such a rage,” Severus said as we sat together on a bench in the Weasley’s garden.

“And that’s saying something,” I added quietly. He smiled. It was good to see him smile. I hadn’t seem him do that since…well, actually, I’d never seem him do that. “Do they suspect you?”

“I don’t think so. Not yet, at least.”

“That’s good.”

“Yes.” He was quiet for a moment, looking around him. “Molly tells me you’ve been well behaved.”

“She said that?”

“I think quiet was the word she used, but with you those terms generally go hand in hand.” I smiled and nodded. “And I heard you and Potter haven’t spoken to each other.”

I shook my head. “He’s been avoiding me. I don’t blame him. He has every right to hate me. And he does, I know it. I can see it in his eyes.” Severus’s hand came to my shoulder, squeezing it ever so slightly.

“A lot’s happened in a short amount of time,” he said. “It’s a lot to handle—for all of us, I’m sure.”

“I just wish he would talk to me,” I whispered. “There’s so much I want to tell him…So much I want to explain to him…”

“You’ll get your chance, Draco.” He stood, his hand leaving me as he looked towards the house. “I need to be going.” My eyes snapped up to him.

“You just got here!”

“I know, and I’m sorry. You know how difficult things are, Draco. I’ve got to keep the Dark Lord’s suspicion away from me. I’ll visit you again.” I nodded, and we said goodbye. I watched him walk up the hill a ways before apparating off. I headed back to the house for dinner, knowing it would be soon.

♥♥♥


It was just as week four of my stay at the Burrow was fading into week five that things started to change. It began with Ginny knocking on my door. I let her in, of course, though the general idea of her coming to talk to me still seemed incredible.

“So,” she began slowly as we sat across from each other. “How are you, Draco?”

“Uhm, alright, I guess,” I replied, still trying to figure out why she was here. “A bit lonely, but…”

“Yes, well, I’m sorry for that. I should have been more friendly.”

“I understand why you weren’t, though. It’s hard enough to be friendly to a Death Eater, let alone one who hurt your friend so badly as I did.” My throat tightened at the mention of Harry, and I wondered what in Merlin’s name could have made me bring it up.

Ginny was looking at me sadly. “It hurt you, too, though, didn’t it?” I nodded.

“More than you know… But I didn’t have any other choice. I had to end it—it was the only way I could keep him safe. The connection Voldemort held with me was too fresh, too new….I wouldn’t have been able to hold him off for long if he tried to search my mind. I couldn’t let him see that I was with Harry. It would have….” I couldn’t say any more. The tears were already falling, and speaking would only make the situation worse. I stared down at the floor, mentally kicking myself for being so weak And then I felt the bed sag as Ginny sat down next to me, and I felt her arms wrap around me.

“It’s alright, Draco,” she whispered. “I understand why you left. I would have done the same in your place. And so would Harry.”

I shook my head. “No,” I said softly. “Harry wouldn’t have done it in the first place.”

“Maybe not, but I know you didn’t do it willingly, did you?”

“No. Severus told me to leave, he offered to bring me back to Dumbledore for protection…but they would have killed him, Ginny. I…I couldn’t bear to have his blood on my hands, too.”

“Did you tell Harry this?”

I shook my head again. “I never got the chance. He won’t listen to me now….I still love him.”

♥♥♥

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