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The Darkness and The Light Part 17
Friday came to Hogwarts a little too soon for Ron’s liking. Potion’s was the last class of the day and when it was over, Ron purposely hung back as his classmates poured out of the classroom and past him, one occasionally giving him such a saddened expression that he would have thought he was on Death Row at Azkaban. Harry and Hermione were the last ones out of the room, with Snape following close behind them. For a moment Ron felt sure that Snape would stop and give him a lecture on how wrong it was of him to curse Malfoy as he had, but he didn’t. Rather, he gave Ron an evil sneer as he walked passed, as though he knew what was in store for him once he reached the Gryffindor common room. Hermione now took Ron’s hand in hers and headed towards the hallway exit. When he didn’t budge, she stopped and looked over her shoulder at him with a quizzical look on her face. “Ron?” she asked. “I can’t go,” Ron said numbly. Ron didn’t have any experience with mothers, but somehow he just knew that no matter how fair she might be, his mother was the toughest there was. She hadn’t raised seven kids without learning to be. Especially where Ron’s older twin brothers, Fred and George, were concerned. They were constantly mischievous and kept Mrs. Weasley on her toes. Harry and Hermione exchanged worried glances. “Mate, you have to,” Harry said lowly. “It’ll be ok,” Hermione said in her best comforting voice as she gave him a small kiss on the cheek. “We know your mother, Ron,” Harry reminded him. “What’s the worst that could happen? She’ll have you chasing garden gnomes out of her garden until winter comes.” Ron shook his head and looked downward. He hadn’t felt this anxious since he had seen Mrs. Malfoy’s head in the fire. “If only it was that simple, Harry. I’ve never done anything like this before.” Not knowing what more to say, Harry gave a heavy sigh and headed for the tower once again with Ron and Hermione following slowly behind him.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
People sometimes said that Narcissa was the one who always seemed to be looking down her nose at people. They said that she walked around looking as though she had a very bad smell under her nose. Draco knew that people talked badly of his mother while holding his father in high regard, but he thought that if they looked deeper into the Malfoy family they would see that things were just the opposite. By no means was Lucius Malfoy the man that people thought he was-conversely, Narcissa Malfoy wasn’t the woman that people thought she was. Draco now stood before his father who had a look of contempt ion his face and was wrinkling his nose as though there were a very foul smell under it. “Your obstacle, eh?” Lucius laughed. “Yes, Draco nodded. “What are you going to do about it?” Draco stiffened his shoulders and stood as straight as he possibly could. “I’m going to fight you.” He stuck his chest out, hoping to give emphasis. Lucius gave a great, bemused laugh. “Like when you were twelve, right? Is the little dragon ready to come out and play?” Draco raised an eyebrow at his father and an uneasy feeling crept into his stomach. “How do you know about that?” That’s private! Draco thought inwardly. You aren’t good enough to know…that’s special…between my mother and I… “It doesn’t matter,” Lucius said plainly, clearly enjoying the fact that he had touched a nerve with his son. “It’s her fault you’re weak, playing that insipid game.” “I like that game,” Draco said under his breath. “That’s her way of telling me she loves me, my way of telling her.” He got a little louder as he continued. “That’s something personal and private. Between my mother and me. No one and mean NO ONE,” his voice went from a slight whisper into a yell now, “is to touch that! Is that understood?” If Draco was conjuring a spell, he wasn’t fully aware of it until there was a quick burst of white light, almost like an explosion of some sort that ended with Lucius having his feet knocked out from under him and landing flat on his back. There was a very brief silence and Draco could hear his father screaming with intense pain. “What have you done to me?” Lucius yelled, a mere few feet away. Draco made no move to rush to his father’s side; he just stood and listened to the howls of pain, quite satisfied with himself. “You aren’t the only one who can cast an Unforgivable Curse, Father,” he said to himself.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Ron was the first one to enter the Gryffindor common room and when his eyes met with his mother’s, he immediately hung his head and went to sit before her on the couch that sat in front of the fireplace, Harry and Hermione following close behind. Before Mrs. Weasley could say anything, Harry approached her with every intention of coming to Ron’s defense. He looked at her and spoke with respect about him as he said: “Mrs. Weasley, please. Ron just wasn’t thinking before he acted. He was angry, if you only knew everything that Malfoy did to Hermione…” “Harry, it’s very noble of you to jump to his defense, but he needs to be punished for what he’s done. There’s no excuse for it, I don’t care what games you kids thought you were playing.” Ron, who had been sitting with his head hung, looked up at his mother in confusion. “Games?” he said. No one seemed to hear him. Hermione and Harry exchanged an uneasy look and Hermione looked at Mrs. Weasly imploringly. “Mrs. Weasley, he thought he was helping me. He thought he was protecting me. Ron…” She stopped in mid sentence. She was about to tell her about how she was now Ron’s girlfriend and that was why things were as they were now. Mrs. Weasley held up a hand to hush Hermione before she could start again. “Hermione, dear, it’s no secret that Ron has feelings for you. I’ve known it since he was twelve. I know that he did what he did because he cares for you, but it doesn’t excuse it. He has to see why he did what he did was wrong.” Hermione sat beside Ron and looked at him helplessly and took his hand in hers, stroking it gently with a sorrowful look in her eyes. After a moment, she leaned over and spoke in Ron’s ear: “I’m sorry.” “Her mind is made up,” he said knowingly. Casting one more look at Ron before turning to Mrs. Weasley, Harry said: “Mrs. Weasley, please, does he have to be jerked out of school? Can’t he finish the term?” Mrs. Weasley shook her head. “No,” she said finally. “He was playing a rough game and he took it too far. He must be punished!” There was that word again. Game. Ron looked at Hermione who was still focused on him and appeared to not have heard Mrs. Weasley say that word. Ron, feeling a little agitated that she had referred to the situation as a game, gave his mother another confused glare. “Mrs. Weasley,” Harry began with the shake of his head, “it wasn’t…” he looked in Ron’s direction and their eyes met. Instantly they both knew that they were keying in on the same word. Game. Neither boy understood why she kept using this word. With an uneasy look, Harry glanced back at Mrs. Weasley. “…It wasn’t…” “It wasn’t a game, Mum!” Ron yelled as he got to his feet. Mrs. Weasley stared back at her son amazed that he was yelling at her. “If you only knew exactly what he had done to Hermione…if you had seen her…you would know that he deserved what he got!” “No one is deserving of what you did, Ron!” Mrs. Weasley protested. “Draco Malfoy is!” he shot back; he could feel his ears turning red. There was a deafening and uncomfortable silence between them. All four knew that if this went any further here, it would proceed to get worse and Mrs. Weasley for one did not wish to fight with Ron on school grounds. She felt it better to do in the privacy of The Burrow. “I think it best if you went and got your things, Ron,” she said lowly. Ron hung his head as he trudged towards the steps to his dormitory to do as his mother instructed. A few moments later, he returned dragging his crate behind him. “I’m ready. Let’s go,” he said with a heavy sigh. Then he turned to Harry and Hermione who were looking back at him helplessly. “I’ll owl you when I can,” he told them. “You’ll be doing nothing of the kind, Ronald Weasley! “What?” Ron asked, going wide-eyed. “You are to have no contact with your friends while you’re at The Burrow!” “Mum! No! That isn’t fair!” “Well, you should have thought of that before you cursed Draco Malfoy into St. Mungos!” Mrs. Weasley reached in her pocket and brought out a handful of Floo Powder which she threw into the fireplace making the red and orange flames that usually lapped at the inside turn green and lap around the outside. Both Harry and Hermione gave a small jump, startled by the whoosh! that sounded when that happened. “Into the fire with you,” Mrs. Weasley said, giving Ron a slight push to get him motivated to leave. He ducked his head as he now stood inside the green flames, his hand outstretched for his mother to give him some Floo Powder. “The Burrow!” he announced with a frown on his face once the powder was in hand and he had thrown it at his feet. He was engulfed and when the flames died down, he was gone. Mrs. Weasley turned to Harry and Hermione. “He’ll be fine,” she assured them. She took a few steps forward into the flames. “The Burrow!” she cried as she threw the powder at her feet and was gone in very much the same manner that Ron had disappeared.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Lucius Malfoy had been keeping a silent watch on Draco’s room eversince he had Apparated from The Ministry that evening. He was waiting for his wife to be gone from Draco’s side so that he might be alone with him. Once Narcissa had finally left, he Apparated once more from the outside of St. Mungos and into Draco’s room. As he took a few steps to his son’s bed, he was pleased to see that he had regained a lot of color and appeared t o be on the mend. Draco looked as he always had; healthy and strong. It was as though he had no reason to be lying in a hospital for what was now a third week. Throwing his staff onto the next bed as he usually did, he took Narcissa’s post by his son and as he looked him over once more, he took Draco’s hand in his without thinking. “Draco, wake up,” he said softly. Draco didn’t stir, but a panged expression came upon his face and left just as quickly. “Draco,” he said again and squeezed his hand gently. Still nothing. A Healer came into the room to check on Draco and upon seeing Lucius, she quickly made the connection that he was the boy’s father. “Why won’t he wake?” He asked as the young lady worked over Draco. “His color is back and he looks perfectly healthy, why isn’t he awake?” “Mr. Malfoy, we’ve found out what your son was hit with and we’ve administered the proper potions. The affect they have had on him has been nothing short of unusual. It’s up to him now. He has to want to live.” “’Want to live?’” Lucius repeated as he screwed his face up in confusion. The Healer nodded gravely. “We’ve done all we can, Mr. Malfoy. I’m sorry.” She cast him a sympathetic look before she left the room. Lucius squeezed Draco’s hand tightly and bowed his head, resting his forehead on his forearm. “You have to live, Draco,” he said softly, just above a whisper. “I need you to. Please.” Draco’s hand twitched under Lucius’ ever so slightly and the elder Malfoy looked up hopefully. All hope was dashed away when he saw that his son still had his eyes closed looking peaceful but bothered at the same time. “Are you dreaming? You are, aren’t you? What is it Draco? Is there something wrong?” Lucius had been so intent on this moment with his son that he didn’t see or hear Narcissa’s footsteps as she returned to Draco’s room and stood silently in the doorway. She had seen and heard everything that transpired since the Healer had left the room.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Upon arriving at The Burrow, the first thing Ron saw when he stepped out of the fireplace was his father sitting at the kitchen table drinking a cup of tea. Before making his presence known, he tried his best to read the expression on Mr. Weasley’s face so as to get an idea about how drastic his punishment would be. When he took a few small steps closer, he realized that this was impossible. There was a sudden whoosh! and Mrs. Weasley stepped from the fireplace. She ushered Ron on over to the table to sit across from his father who looked back at him warily. His eyes never left his youngest son as he spoke to his wife: “Molly, if I could be alone with him, please,” he said flatly. Mrs. Weasley nodded and went upstairs to busy herself with some laundry that needed to be folded and put away. Once she was out of earshot, Ron began: “Dad…” Mr. Weasley held up a hand to silence him. “I’ve smoothed things over with The Ministry, Ron. If you can give a valid reason for your actions, you will not face such a fierce punishment from them or your mother and I.” He sighed heavily and removed his glasses from his face, placing then in front of him on the table. “I’m lucky they didn’t have my job for what you’ve done, Ron. You’re lucky to not have your wand and your powers revoked.” “I know…” Ron said quietly. “But, Dad…” If Mr. Weasley heard Ron, he was not aware of it. He continued on, talking over top of his son. “Being a wizard is a gift, not a privilege, Ron. I would think that you were old enough to understand that…” “I know, Dad, I do…” “Do you comprehend the seriousness of what you’ve done? If Draco Malfoy dies, you’ll be locked up in Azkaban!” “Does anyone understand the seriousness of what Malfoy has done?” Ron said and this was the thing that caught his father’s attention. He fell silent. “What?” “I said, ‘does anyone understand the seriousness of what Malfoy has done?’” “What does that mean?” “It means, Dad, that Hermione was bloody lucky to have gotten away with her life. I did what I did because he had kidnapped her and taken her to Malfoy Manor.” Mr. Weasley narrowed his eyes and shook his head in confusion. “That’s where you played this game?” He asked. Once again, there was that word. Ron had had enough. He stood up and slammed his hands down flat on the table, causing his father’s tea to topple over and coat the entire table top. Mr. Weasley gave a start and looked at the mess on the table and then up at Ron in amazement. “Why do I keep hearing that word?” he yelled, clutching at his hair as his ears turned red. “It was no bloody game!” He had been looking at the ceiling in aggravation and now his eyes were fixed on his father. “Harry and me found out that Hermione had been sneaking around with Draco for a month,” he opened his mouth to say more but his father stopped him. “That’s Hermione’s business,” he said matter-of-factly. “I’m in love with her, Dad!” He bellowed. “We found out that Draco was hurting her. He was bruising her-“this seemed to get a small reaction from Mr. Weasley but it wasn’t compared to when Ron said what he said next. “He was raping her-“ Mr. Weasley’s eyes went wide in horror at this. “In the middle of everything, Hermione and I got closer and finally became a couple and Draco didn’t like it, so he kidnapped Hermione! Merlin only knows what went on at the Manor!” Mr. Weasley didn’t know what to be shocked over the most; the fact that his youngest son had yelled at him like a man or the fact that he had even yelled at all. Taking one last annoyed look at his father, Ron stormed up the steps to his bedroom passing his mother as he went.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
They were back. Draco could see them in the distance walking towards him with their wands drawn and aimed right at him. Normally, he would have felt nothing but cowardice, but not now. He had his wand and he was ready to take whatever they could dish out. “Still hanging around, I see,” Ron chuckled as he and Hermione came to a halt in front of Draco. “It isn’t because I want to,” Draco said. “Then apologize,” said Hermione. “NEVER!” Draco screamed in her face. “Then you won’t be getting out of here,” Hermione said simply. “But I will,” Draco told her with an evil grin. He brought his wand up in front of them and disarmed them both; sending their wands flying from their hands and landing somewhere so far off that no one heard them hit the floor, if they had at all. Ron and Hermione exchanged nervous glances and when Draco saw this, he laughed. “Tell me what I have to do.” They both opened their mouths to speak, but were interrupted by a voice that came from nowhere. “Wake up,” it said. Draco strained his ears when he heard this voice, trying to make out who it belonged to, He didn’t recognize it. “You have to wake up.” This time, he recognized the voice. Or so he thought. It couldn’t be, could it? Surely that voice didn’t belong to his father.

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