Standing Beside the Fallen
Chapter Twelve - The Bright Side in a Bad Situation
Harry had decided that being held captive was far less scarier when he was wearing a blindfold. When they had forgotten to place the blindfold on him after his torture that day, Harry had become prone to jumping at every little shadow, whether it be the flicker of a torch or the shadow of a mouse. It didn't help that the Death Eaters had placed him in a new cell, this one slightly bigger than the other, and just large enough that the corners were shadowed. Every few minutes Harry would turn around in fear as though expecting to see Voldemort or a Death Eater hidden in the shadows with their wand raised at him.
Against his better will, Harry had started to find himself blacking out at very odd times, coming back to himself when his body jerked in a muscle spasm or he heard footsteps. He was pretty sure that these blackouts were not a good sign.
He tried to shift his weight off of a horrid bruise on his back, but the movement sent a spark of pain down his back and he stopped moving. It was pointless anyway, no matter where he moved, it would immediately turn uncomfortable three seconds later.
Footsteps brought Harry back to himself and he started to panic. His breath quickened and his head started to whirl, but he forced his face into a show of no emotion. Inside, he quaked with fear - outside, he could be carved from stone with all the emotion he was showing.
There was something a little different about the footsteps approaching the cell this time. There were at least two people coming towards him, but their pace was slow, and there was a sound as though something heavy were being dragged on the stone floor.
Harry's thoughts turned to only one possibility.
Another prisoner . . .
A Death Eater appeared in front of his cell, his mask firmly in place, yet Harry could practically see the smirk glowing right through it. He waved his wand at the cell and the door opened with a loud creaking noise.
"Are you sure the order was to put him with Potter?" The Death Eater asked.
Another man came into view, dragging a large thin torso with him. The Death Eater threw the prisoner into the cell, chuckling as it landed in an awkward heap. Whoever it was, they were clearly unconscious.
"Yep," The other Death Eater answered, wiping his hands together in satisfaction. "The orders had come from the Dark Lord himself."
"Whatever you say, Mate,"
The cell closed, and Harry was thankful to note that the Death Eaters hadn't even bothered to turn their heads towards him during the entire ordeal. Now Harry was left alone once again, but this time, he was alone with company.
Harry tried to look through the gloom to figure out who exactly was it the Death Eaters had thrown into his cell. Whoever it was, they appeared to be very tall and pale, if their hand had any indicator.
The man (Harry assumed it was a man) groaned softly and jerked, but fell still once again. So still in fact, that Harry actually thought the man had just died right in front of him. Slowly, he reached out his leg and jabbed the arm of the man.
"Touch me again, Potter, and I'll kill you myself,"
Harry quickly drew back his leg and stared at the man with wide eyes. He didn't have to be able to see the man's face to recognize that snappish voice.
What was Snape doing in a holding cell?
Draco stared inside the basin long after the memory had disappeared. His jaw was slack and his gray eyes watched the swirling colors without interest. He was sure with the heavy silence in the room that was happening that he could hear his own heart through his chest.
The Dark Lord will mark him as his equal . . .
That seemed to only qualify for one person he knew of, and of course the entire world knew that this person was born at the end of July, the very end on the thirty first in fact. But it couldn't be . . .
Potter was the one who had to defeat the Dark Lord? Potter, who was currently in the Dark Lords hands? If this . . . Prophecy as he guessed was true, than the world was already doomed. Not even Potter could manage to get out of the Dark Lords grasp in a situation like this. He may have done it before but . . . Now, Draco just wasn't so sure.
Realizing what would happen if Dumbledore caught him in such a precarious position, Draco quickly closed the door and headed back to his seat slowly.
Things sure were just as interesting on this side of the fence.
He decided for at least now, he would keep this information to himself. It seemed obvious that this was a serious bit of information, and that not many people knew about it. He would eavesdrop on the subject later.
Draco jumped as the fireplace came back to life, and Dumbledore stepped out of gracefully. Draco watched as he turned towards the fireplace and waited as though expecting something to happen. And it seemed he was, for no more than four seconds later, ex-Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Remus Lupin entered through, holding an odd assortment of a giant black dog and a jar with a rat in it.
Draco's eyebrows rose in curiosity and amusement.
Lupin looked over and saw Draco sitting at the table and his own exhausted and lined face mimicked Draco's for a moment before smiling politely.
"Mr. Malfoy, what a pleasure to see you again," He said.
Draco was sure he was lying.
"Professor," Draco said politely.
"Remus, if you would have a seat and allow me to see inside that jar, I would be very pleased," Dumbledore said with a knowing smile. Remus handed over the jar and sat down in a chair beside Draco. "And you," Dumbledore said, looking down at the dog. "May transform back."
Animagus! Draco's mind immediately screamed as he watched the dog look between himself and Dumbledore.
"Do not worry, I trust Mr. Malfoy to hold this secret," The animagus barked and Dumbledore gave him a stern glance before in the blink of an eye, the dog transformed into a tall and rather haggard black haired man.
Draco snorted. "Figures,"
Black turned and glared at Draco. "What the hell is he doing here?"
"Draco is here on my behalf. I trust him just as much as I trust the two of you. He is young, still a boy, and yet he is already facing the pressures of his father and Lord Voldemort himself. Draco decided to choose wisely, and he chose the path that both you and I follow. Therefore, he asked ask for a safe haven away from his father and I have offered him one."
"Are you telling me I have to let him live in my house?"
Draco held back a groan, but he couldn't stop himself from rolling his eyes.
"That is exactly what I am asking of you Sirius. Draco already knows his limitations and is just waiting for consent."
"Pardon the interruption," Draco said planting a sneer on his face. "But I wasn't informed I was going to be living with a mass murderer."
"It was the topic we were about the discuss before I was called away," Dumbledore said sitting at his desk. "Sirius is innocent of all charges and the proof to that is currently stunned in this jar here,"
"Your evidence is a sewer rat?" Draco said, sounding as though he thought the entire room had gone mad. Black made a noise in the back of his throat like a growl and Dumbledore chuckled.
"Why yes, a rat," Dumbledore said. "For you see in this room we have two animagus's. Sirius over here, and this rat, otherwise known as Peter Pettigrew."
"It's a long story Draco, but I promise you, Sirius will not harm you in any way," Remus put in.
Draco stared between Black and the rat. "Okay, let's say I'm stupid enough to actually believe this story for a second. Wouldn't you" He pointed to Black, "Be proclaimed innocent if this were true?"
"Not if I just caught him ten minutes ago," Black said with a roll of his eyes. "Now if you are finished with your stupid questions, I would like to get to the point in this meeting where that rat is woken up and tells us his information on how to find Harry,"
Okay, Draco thought, So apparently Black is innocent and a rat killed everybody, or Peter Pettigrew who is dead might I add, and also Black knows Potter and cares about him since he wants to know if Pettigrew has information on him . . . Yep, things definitely don't get boring around here.
Dumbledore unscrewed the jar and took the rat out by the tip of its tail and placed it on the floor. He then proceeded to roll up his sleeve before pointing his wand at the rat. Without a word, a blue light shot from Dumbledore's wand and encased the rat. There was a second where everything seemed to pause, before, the rat slowly started to grow into a man.
Peter Pettigrew sat on the floor, holding his head and looking around the room blearily. Draco stared at him with his mouth slightly opened, not believing what he was seeing.
"Well I'll be damned," Draco said, and Peter looked over at him and his eyes widened.
"So, Peter," Sirius said, pointing his wand at the man, which quickly shot out ropes to bind him. "Tell me where Potter is,"
"S-Sirius," Peter stuttered. "P-please,"
"Tell me and maybe I wont kill you right away," Sirius hissed. "Now I'm only going to ask one more time. Where. Is. My. Godson?"
Pettigrew gave a yelp before a high pitched sob escaped his throat and he started to bawl. Draco rolled his eyes at the cowardice at the man, and he was sure he was not the only one.
"S-Sirius you have to und-understand," Pettigrew gasped. "We - we weren't a-allowed to know where the D-da-dark Lord was, only to touch our marks and apparate!" He gave another shuttering sob before a loathing glare from Black forced him to continue.
"He - he's in a c-cell in the basement!" Pettigrew cried. "He's t-tied and blindfolded and is only let out for t-tortures,"
"You've given us nothing we don't already know, Peter," Dumbledore said, in a such a cold and angry voice that Draco jumped. He never heard Dumbledore talk like that before, and it sent shivers down his spine.
"P-p-please don't hurt me," Pettigrew wheezed.
"We may think it over if you give us some information that we can use," Sirius said. "Lets start with by how to get to Voldemort's hideout,"
"I d-don't know!" Pettigrew said, and yelped when the tip of Sirius's wand was placed at his temple. "Okay, okay, okay! H-he's in the middle of a f-forest in Ireland! I-I-its all I know I swear!"
Remus sighed and watched Pettigrew whimpering on the floor.
"Do you know how much forest is in Ireland?"
Black sat back onto his heels and covered his face with his hands. Draco knew he was growing really frustrated, but there seemed to be a hue of emotion glowering off of him like a light.
"Let's get him to the Ministry," Dumbledore said and Pettigrew was quickly stunned. "Sirius I believe it's a good idea for you and Remus to head back to Grimmauld Place until I come to fetch you for the Ministry. If you'd be so kind as to take Draco with you and show him his room?"
Sirius got up without a word and quickly flooed away, not looking back once. Remus gave Draco a smile before taking some floo powder for himself.
"Call for Number Twelve Grimmauld Place," He said to Draco before shouting it into the flames and disappearing. Draco turned to Dumbledore.
"Potter's really important, isn't he Professor? That's why Black is so desperate to get him back,"
"Harry is important, yes, more than you can know. But that's not why Sirius and the entire Order of the Phoenix are looking for him so hard. They do it because they love Harry for who he is. Not for his importance,"
Draco raised his eyebrow at Dumbledore, who only smiled back.
"Now I believe its time for you to head to your new residence, and for me to head to the Ministry," Dumbledore said. "And don't worry about your things, I promise they will be delivered by nightfall."
Draco nodded, his face set. "Thank you Professor, for everything," He said before grabbing some floo powder.
"Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place!" He called, and immediately he was sucked into the green swirling flame.
Harry watched as Snape slowly moved himself into a sitting position, groaning in pain as he moved. He flinched whenever Snape growled in annoyance at his lack of function, or jumped, wincing from the pain in his own body when Snape cried out. At one point Harry was watching Snape struggling to move his leg, and the next moment, he blinked and Snape was perfectly at the wall.
"Had enough entertainment for the day Potter?" Snape growled in annoyance, obviously not overjoyed at the fact that Harry was not only in the same cell as him, but watching his every move. Harry didn't bother with any sort of answer.
"Of course not," He muttered and turned to face the bars of their cell. He winced as he moved his neck and only let off a small noise of pain.
"It's your fault I'm in here, you know that Potter?" Snape said without looking at him. "Not only can you not keep yourself out of trouble, but you had to drag me into it all too."
Snape sighed and stared straight ahead again, looking as sour and loathsome as ever.
Snape slowly turned to look at Harry, with his eyebrows raised. The boys voice was quiet, barely above a whisper, and so hoarse that it came out as almost a grunt, but Snape heard him perfectly in the silent chamber. After a moment of staring at each other, Snape actually gave off a smirk. Harry flinched at the sight of Snape's face and quickly closed his eyes.
"I'm surprised at your stubborness Potter," Snape said. "I knew how many tortures you received, but even I didn't think that you'd actually still be sane enough to speak." Snape stopped for a moment. "I was asked to kidnap you. To bring you here. I was suspected. When I didn't act immediately, I was impersonated by Lestrange, who could easily break into Headquarters. How she knew you were there I've yet to learn. She looked like me, took you, and I ended up here. A spy caught in the act."
Harry didn't want to open his eyes to see the bitterness on Snape's face. He was the reason Professor Snape would die in this cell, just like he would. As much as he hated the man before, he couldn't bring himself to draw any feeling towards his usual curt potions master except for regret.
"Time?" Harry rasped out hoarsely, and winced. A deep cough rattled his chest, jolting his body and he suppressed a scream into a moan, not even realizing something wet was running down his chin.
"You think I know what time it is, boy?" He said with a deep scowl.
Harry winced and took a deep breath. "Long,"
Snape looked confused for a minute before understanding dawned on him. "You've been here for five days, almost six,"
Harry closed his eyes, not having the energy to keep them open any longer. It had felt like so much longer, and it had only been five days? His heart fell when he allowed the truth to sink into his mind - he wouldn't last more than a day.
His eyes snapped open when he heard movement around him and he quickly searched the chamber for a third party but found none. Instead, he saw Snape gathering himself to his feet before limping over to where Harry was tied. Harry held his breath and screwed up his face, flinching away as the man grew closer. It wasn't until he felt gentle hands on his wrist that he opened his eyes and realized Snape was untying him.
Neither of them uttered a word as Snape worked the ropes, his fingers slipping from the fresh blood coating, but finally the man had untied him and his arms fell weakly to the floor. Harry slowly pulled himself upright and dragged his body painfully to the corner before settling down and closing his eyes. His body shook with a few rattling coughs before finally seeming to rest.
Harry looked up and saw a vial in Snapes hand and a cloak in the other. Harry weakly raised an eyebrow and Snape sighed.
"A restorative that should help you feel better. I had it on me to give to one of the Dark Lords followers on request, but due to my - situation - it was never received. Fortunately, it wasn't taken off of me, nor my cloak when my wand was taken."
"You sure?" Harry breathed.
"Just take it Potter," Snape sighed in a more defeated than snappish tone. Snape uncorked the vial and held it at Harry's lips who carefully took small sips until the vial was gone. Immediately, Harry felt a ghost like strength returning, just enough for him to be able to talk almost normally.
"Thank you," Harry said as Snape placed the cloak over his body. "It wasn't necessary you know, I'm just going to die anyway,"
"Such a morbid outlook Potter," Snape said as he sat down, facing the boy.
"It's the truth isn't it?" Harry sighed. "I'm as good as dead right now. They just keep me alive for show. We both know it."
Snape didn't answer, nor did Harry expect him to. Instead, Harry turned his gaze away from Snape and closed his eyes, leaning his head back against the wall and gripping the cloak tightly around him.
For some reason, Harry could help but feel disappointed at the professors lack of response. A tiny glimmer of hope had been shining inside of him, just thinking that maybe Professor Snape would be able to save him like he had done so many times in the past. Because even though the two hated each other, over the years Harry seemed to have grown a small bit of trust for the man.
I guess if Professor Snape can't get me out of here, the only other person who might be able to is Dumbledore. And if Dumbledore knew where he was, he would have already come.
Draco found himself stepping out of the fireplace and into a dim and dingy looking kitchen. Draco immediately grew a huge dislike for the cramped and dirty kitchen and watched as Lupin sat down at the table and withdrew his wand.
"Would you like a cup of tea, Draco?" Lupin asked.
"No thanks," Draco said as he carefully stepped to the door. "I'm going to go upstairs for a while I guess . . . Where's my room?"
Remus thought for a moment. "I'm guessing that you can choose between any of the rooms on the third floor. Just don't open the last two because we haven't gotten a chance to clean them and we don't know what is actually living in there,"
Draco nodded slowly before turning.
"Oh and Draco," Lupin said, and Draco turned around. "Be very quiet in the entrance hall,"
Draco raised an eyebrow but nodded anyway before turning and heading up the stairs. He was sure that he didn't want to know.
He slowly climbed the steps at a sluggish pace as he looked around. He gave a second glance over to the amount of mounted house elf heads on the wall, and shuttered. Why ever would somebody have a collection as sick as that?
He paused when he reached the second floor and looked through the crack of one of the bedrooms. He watched as Black emerged from the room, not even noticing him as he headed upstairs, looking to be in a horrible mood. Draco didn't move until he heard Black moving around upstairs before heading to the room.
Draco slowly slipped into the room and found it to be an ordinary bedroom. On the nightstand was a pair of black glasses that Draco knew belonged to Potter. He sighed when he saw them, his mind flashing back to the look of defeat Potter had had on his face. Draco gave a small sigh as he turned his eyes away and fell on Potter's trunk.
An idea slammed into him so suddenly that he blinked in shock. He remembered a few years ago in Hogsmeade as Potter's head floated in the air, he himself wiping mud off of his face thrown by a disembodied spirit . . . Or Potter under his invisibility cloak.
Draco quickly opened Potter's trunk and sorted through it. He looked under the piles of clothes, books and crumbled parchment and quills until he reached the bottom, where a cloth was just visible under a thick volume. He pulled it out and looked at the invisibility cloak before setting it into his pocket.
He had just closed the trunk and sat up before he jumped a mile high at hearing a voice behind him.
"I wouldn't be caught in here if I were you,"
Draco turned and blinked in shock at seeing a woman with violent pink hair standing behind him. He quickly glanced at his pocket to make sure the cloak wasn't showing before looking back at the woman.
"Sorry, I was just . . . Er . . . Looking for my room," Draco lied.
"You must be Draco," She said. "I'm Tonks. I was told you'd be staying here for a while. No, your room is somewhere upstairs, I'd wager. This room though, its off limits."
"I understand," Draco said.
"I hope you do," Tonks said. "Because if Sirius catches you in here, you'll probably get kicked out, despite what Dumbledore says."
"I wouldn't get kicked out," Draco said pompously. "So what if I look around? It's not like I'm conducting any dark activity,"
"Try telling that to Sirius," Tonks said with a small shake of her head. "For as long as I've known him he's been very overprotective of his friends and who he cares about. Sirius is Harry's godfather, so obviously he would be overprotective of Harry anyway. But Harry's had a hard time lately, so Sirius has been even more attached to him. And when he was taken . . . Well even though Sirius is wanted by the Ministry, he's been out every day looking for him."
Draco nodded. He doubted that if Draco were in the same situation, his father would hardly lift a finger to try and find him.
"So what I'm trying to say is, if Sirius catches you here, messing with Harry's stuff, he isn't going to be happy. He'll be irrational and toss you into the floo without a second thought. So wotcher,"
With that, she turned around and walked away.
Draco quickly headed out of the room and closed it behind him as he breathed a sigh and looked after Tonks. He stood for a moment looking as if he were debating something before taking a deep breath, and with a determined face, he walked upstairs.
Authors Note: Another chapter up and running. Please review and tell me what you think about this story, what you like and don't like, or what you want to see in the story and I'll see what I can do. This is the unbeta'ed version, considering that my beta seemed to be on some sort of hiatus. When I get it for her, I will repost it to be more grammatically correct. I apologize for that.
PS - Cutoff lines dont work right now, so im not being random with the whole ...0o0... thing