I'd rather be a traitor
The young blond-haired boy sighed with happiness at the sight of the manor in which he had been living since he was born. He had had to stay in a private hospital for a few days so that the mediwizards could dismantle all the hexes he had been into. They also said it was an interesting mixture, because the combination had caused him to look like a slug (at least, from what he had been told). But now it was a time to forget the humiliation he had been through and think what he could do to take revenge on Potter.
While he was unpacking all his things, a house-elf Apparated soundlessly into his bedroom.
"Master Draco, Mistress has required your presence in the dining hall."
"Thank you, Idget. Tell her I will come down in a few moments."
When he put in order all his clothes and books and tidied up his bedroom, he went downstairs to meet his mother. He entered into the dining hall, and was surprised at the sight of Lord Voldemort, the man his father served, sitting in his father's chair.
"Ah, young Malfoy, I was waiting for you."
Draco bowed to him.
"Good morning, my Lord."
"Yes, it is a good morning today. I'd like to talk with you for a moment."
Draco nodded, wondering about the reason of this summoning.
"I'm sure that you are aware of the great failure your father committed a few weeks ago, when he was on a mission."
Draco nodded again: the reason of his attempt to ambush Potter was that he was behind the capture of his father.
"Although he should be greatly punished, I'm going to try and take him out of Azkaban. When the Dementors rebel, everybody will be able to escape and rejoin my ranks."
"Thank you, my Lord. It's very kind of you."
"While the plan is prepared, you should be thinking on what you will do when you join me."
"In a few weeks, I will hold a ceremony to welcome the new Death Eaters. You will be among them, and you will receive the Dark Mark."
"That… that will be a great honour, my Lord."
"You may go now, young Draco. I have to talk alone with your mother and your aunt."
"Thank you, my Lord."
With one last bow, Draco went towards the door and opened it. He caught a glimpse of movement: it was his mother, making a signal he understood, but did not know why.
Draco Malfoy went back to his bedroom, where he was supposed to not hear anything, but unknown to the Dark Lord, there was a way he could hear what was said: there was a communicator in his bedroom which could receive any noise made in other rooms of the house. He only had to trigger a few switches, and soon the cold and harsh voice of Lord Voldemort sounded in his ear:
"… disappointed with you, Bella. How could you not retrieve the Prophecy?"
"The Potter brat managed to keep us away from it. And he must have trained the blood traitors and the Mudblood, since they could do all those charms easily…"
"Silence! That's not an excuse for your great failure. They were only schoolboys, you should have been able to get it and maybe kill one of his little friends. Why didn't you do it?"
"I had Longbottom in my hands, but the Order people surprised us. I managed to kill Black, sending him through the Veil in the Death Chamber, but Dumbledore appeared and I ran away to the entrance."
"And Potter fought you. Why didn't you retrieve the Prophecy then?"
"Apparently, it had been broken before Black died. He said you knew about it being broken, and he was laughing at me…"
"Enough! You still have an opportunity to redeem yourself. Bring me one of Potter's friends or Potter himself, and I'll consider the possibility of forgiving you."
After a short silence, Bellatrix Lestrange said, "Thank you, My Lord. I promise I will not fail you…"
"You have one month. Now go."
After Bellatrix had left, Draco's mother, Narcissa, whispered something which Draco did not manage to hear at all, and Voldemort, laughing with his cold laugh, answered, "Yes, you may visit your son. I expect great things from him, and soon he will start with a project that will help me to get rid of that Muggle-loving fool which rules at Hogwarts. Instil him the idea that he may be my favourite if he succeeds. I have to go on a business trip; I'll be back in some weeks."
Alerted, Draco turned off the communicator and waited for his mother, who knocked on the door a minute after.
"Hi, Mother," Draco said, smiling.
"Hi, Draco," she answered, hugging him. "Were you listening in on the conversation?"
"Mother?" he asked, confused.
"Were you listening?" she asked again.
"Yes, Mother, but why…"
"Listen to me, there is not much time. I can't allow you to be one of the Dark Lord's servants, it's too dangerous. I want you to get prepared to run away from here as soon as possible."
"Mother, I want to be one of them, you heard Him, and I'm prepared to do whatever he asks me to do…"
"No! You may want to do it, but I'm sure you don't know any detail of what it is to serve Him. Has your father ever told you what happened the last time he did not do what the Dark Lord had ordered him to do?"
"He was put through the Cruciatus Curse for nearly half an hour. He had to kidnap someone without causing any harm, but he shot a Diffindo Charm, trying to break that person's wand, and he ended without one of his fingers."
Draco gasped in horror.
"You understand, son? I can't let him do the same to you. Your father may have surrendered completely to him, but I know you can be saved. And don't believe he will leave you unharmed even if you do everything he orders correctly. He uses the Cruciatus once a week in one of his servants randomly, only to show the others what their punishment will be."
"What do you want me to do? It'll be impossible for me to run away from him…"
"There is one person who will help us. You may not like it, but we have to talk with Albus Dumbledore."
"What? Are you mad? If he discovers us, we are dead…"
"He's gone. That gives us some time, and I will talk with Dumbledore. I know you don't like it, but it is the only way to save you." Draco just nodded this time.
"Right. I want your things packed in less than half an hour, while I talk with your professor about this." She enlarged the boy's trunk. "Put all your books and some clothes in there. Don't take anything which is not important. I'll be back soon."
She opened the door and ran to the first floor, leaving her son with the chore of organizing everything he would need in the magically expanded trunk. After twenty minutes, he had done what his mother had asked him to do, and he even managed to put a few more things that he surely would miss, like his "Nimbus 2001" broom, which he surely would use if he would be hiding in Hogwarts, and some comfortable clothes which he liked to put on when he was at his house. In the moment he had closed his trunk, his mother appeared again.
"Well done, Draco. Take this," she said, giving her son a tea cup. "It will take you to the Headmaster's office in five minutes."
"You are not coming with me?" he answered, alarmed.
"No, son, I have to turn off the anti-Portkey wards. Don't worry about me, Dumbledore has given me another Portkey, and when I get you out of here, I will only have to go outside the property; that will activate it."
"Mum…" He had not called her 'Mum' since he was five: it was a proof of his nervousness. "Please, Mum… be careful. I don't want you being hurt."
"As I said before, don't worry. I can take care of myself. Your grandfather taught me well to defend myself, although I'm sure he never thought I would use my abilities to run away from here," she added, with a sad smile. "Prepare yourself; I have to leave you here. We'll see each other in one hour or so, if everything goes OK."
"And if not?"
Narcissa merely shuddered. She then hugged her son tightly and kissed him on his forehead before going out of the room again. Draco waited patiently, and in the moment he felt the magic around him was falling slightly, the surroundings disappeared while the usual hook on his navel took him around the whirlwind of colours.
In the end, he prepared for the landing, but he failed desperately.
"Ah, Mr. Malfoy, I'm glad to see you. Sit down, please," Dumbledore said, pointing at the chair in front of the desk. The young boy did as asked. "Would you like something to drink?"
"Yes, Professor. Some tea would do great, thanks."
Professor Dumbledore flicked his wand and two cups appeared on the desk, filled with steaming hot tea. Draco took his trembling slightly.
"Is there anything you would like to tell me?"
Draco breathed deeply before talking about what he had heard a few hours before:
"I arrived this morning to my house and when I unpacked my things, the Dark Lord…"
"Draco," Dumbledore interrupted, looking over his half moon glasses, "you should try not to call him that. As I'm sure you have heard me say, fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself. His name is Voldemort" --Draco winced--, "and since you have fled from him, you may keep fighting him by calling him by his name."
After an awkward silence, he said: "Please, continue with your story."
"Well, after I unpacked, V-V-Voldemort," he winced again, "made my mother call me to the hall. When I arrived, he was sitting down in the preferential seat, the one my father takes. He told me that soon I would be accepted as a Death Eater, and that I would have to do something to earn the possibility of filling my father's position as his favourite." Draco sipped some more tea and started with the most difficult part of it, the one he had heard by chance. "Then he sent me back to my room. Nearly nobody knows it, but all the rooms have a magical communicator. It is possible to hear everything that is said in other parts of the house. My father has forgotten about it, since he hardly has been at home since I was one, so maybe V-V-Voldemort doesn't know about it, but my mother remembered it, so she gestured for me to activate it just before I left the hall, and when I arrived to my bedroom, I turned it on. He was talking to my aunt Bellatrix about what had happened in the Ministry last week. V-V-Voldemort was angry at her because she had failed on her mission. She then tried to excuse herself, saying that Potter had kept all of them away from some Prophecy, and V-Voldemort sent her on another mission to redeem herself: she has been told to kidnap any of the ones that were at the Ministry with Potter, or Potter himself, and that she had one month."
Dumbledore seemed alarmed at this news: Bellatrix Lestrange was widely known for her extreme loyalty to Lord Voldemort and for her sadism when she was on a mission.
"When she left, he talked with my mother about what I was going to do. He did not say it clearly, but I think that he was saying that I was destined to kill you, Professor. After that, he left and my mother came to my room. At first, I was eager to do whatever V-Voldemort asked me to do, but my mother opened my eyes telling me the custom he has of using the Cruciatus on one of his followers once a week and that he punishes them severely for the tiniest failure. I agreed to come here, because she said that you would be able to protect us…"
"Indeed, Draco, indeed," the older man said, with a smile. "Tell me, is there any other thing, apart from your mother's advice, that has made you change your mind?"
Draco looked directly at his Headmaster's eyes and he felt that he was, somehow, watching through him; obviously, he knew that he had been thinking about other things.
"Yes, well… when I was on the train home, I was still angry at Potter, because my father was in Azkaban due to him. I tried to ambush him, but some blokes of the DA" Dumbledore's eyes twinkled, "managed to protect him from me. At first I thought they were stupid, helping him that way, but when my mother told me what would happen if I chose to be a Death Eater, I started to think that maybe they were helping him because they liked doing it, because they were his friends, and Potter behaved very nicely towards them. I would have liked the idea of having friends like them, eager to help you at any moment, and I thought that maybe I was the one doing the wrong thing, that I should side with Potter, although he is a half-blood."
"I'm not sure if you are aware of this, Draco, but did you know that Voldemort is a half-blood, too?"
Draco was shocked at the news: he had always thought that Voldemort was a pure-blood, like him and his father, since he was always talking about getting rid of all the Muggles and Muggle-borns.
"I see that you didn't know. Now, I'm going to send your luggage to one of the guest rooms." Dumbledore flicked his wand once more and the trunk disappeared. "If you give me a few minutes, I must tell some friends of the danger Harry and his friends are in. Feel free to talk to the portraits or to investigate these instruments, but please be careful with them, since they have just been repaired. Your mother should be arriving here in forty minutes or so."
Draco nodded and the old professor went out of the room. At first, he did not do anything apart from sipping more of his tea, but after a few minutes curiosity made him get up and start to investigate all the portraits. From what he had heard once, these were the portraits of other headmasters and headmistresses which had been here at other times. The people in the portraits seemed to be sleeping, but he was sure that two or three of them were just feigning it, because he noticed they were looking at him.
Only one of the portraits was empty. He didn't know why, but he thought it would be interesting trying to know who he or she was. He approached the empty portrait, but it did not have any names or clues that could tell him who was the person in that portrait.
"He left that frame long ago."
Draco nearly jumped when he heard the voice. He turned around and he saw an old woman, wearing something that, for the sight, could be around 200 years old.
"Hello, Mr Malfoy. Surely you didn't think we would like to talk with you? Having Albus as an interlocutor is interesting, but having new people to talk to is a good change."
"Hello, Professor," Draco answered politely. "I don't want to sound rude, but could you tell me your name?"
"Why not, young man." She seemed delighted. "My name is Dilys Dervant. Hogwarts' headmistress between 1741 and 1768. That portrait is of Phineas Nigellus, I'm sure you may have heard of him."
"Nigellus? Yes, my father told me about him, he said he had tried to get rid of all the Muggle-born and half-blood wizards…"
"Exactly. That decision he tried to take was the reason he was so unpopular; doing that would have emptied the school, because in the whole school there were hardly twenty or thirty really pure-blood wizards among the seven hundred or so that studied here during his time. Phineas was related to you, he was your multi-great-grandfather or something like that."
Draco nodded again. He didn't feel like talking with these strangers, although Professor Dumbledore had told him to talk with the portraits. He instead felt attracted to one of the instruments which rested on one of the tables in the room. It seemed fragile, and it was giving off some purple smoke. Draco took it carefully, put it on the desk, and started to see how the smoke took strange forms, like a two-headed snake.
A few minutes after, someone on a Portkey arrived in the office. Draco ran to greet his mother, but he saw, horrified, the deep cuts she had on her legs and her face had lots of bruises. When she fainted and fell to the floor, he realised that if he didn't call the nurse, his mother would die. He went straight to the fireplace; he had not used the Floo to communicate with anyone, but he had seen his father or Professor Snape using it thousands of times to talk with friends or other Death Eaters. Draco took some of the
Floo powder, threw it to the fire and shouted: "Madam Pomfrey! I need you in the Headmaster's office! Now!"
A few moments later, the school nurse arrived through the fireplace, shaking off the dust and ashes.
"What's the problem, Mr. Malfoy?"
"It's my mother!" he answered, taking her to the still pale form of his mother. "She's been hit by loads of hexes!"
Madam Pomfrey went straight to Narcissa, and started to check her with her experienced sight and her wand.
"Mr. Malfoy, please call Professors McGonagall and Snape. I'm going to need their help to sort this out fast. She has lost loads of blood."
Draco did as he was told and, when the professors arrived, Madame Pomfrey told them that she had to take Narcissa to the hospital wing.
"Professor Snape, please take the best Blood-Replenishing potions from your laboratory. Professor McGonagall, open this door: in the state Narcissa is, she can't go by the Floo."
"I'll be back soon," Snape promised. In two steps, he reached the fireplace and went to his office. While McGonagall opened the door and conjured a stretcher, Madam Pomfrey healed magically all the cuts Mrs. Malfoy had on her legs.
"Mr. Malfoy, would you rather stay in here or be with your mother?" McGonagall said, obviously concerned.
"I'd like to be with her when she wakes up, Ma'am" he answered.
"Good. Come with me, then."
Hours had passed, and Mrs. Malfoy was still unconscious. Draco was still with her. He hadn't moved since he had sat down on the chair he had pulled aside his mother's bed. He had barely paid attention to what was happening around him, because his concern was eating at him. Snape appeared next to him. He had a bottle filled with purple potion.
"Draco, please, drink this."
"I don't want to."
"Draco, it will not do any good for your mother that you don't get any rest. I now you are worried, but you need to rest. Drink."
Draco obeyed; he was knackered, and he knew that Snape only wanted the best for him.
Soon, he was knocked out by the Draught of Peace he had been given. The hook-nosed professor took him to the bed next to Narcissa and covered him with the blankets. His concern was deep; after all, Draco was his favourite student and his godson.
Professor Dumbledore arrived at the hospital wing some time after. His face wasn't the one he usually had, filled with joy; it had been replaced with a sad one. When he looked around, he saw that Snape was watching over the two Malfoys, and went straight to him.
"What happened here, Severus?"
"Narcissa arrived very badly injured. She had long cuts on her legs and she was bleeding a lot. Draco called Poppy and then Minerva and me. We brought them here and I gave Draco a calming potion half an hour ago."
"Where is Minerva? I need to talk with her."
"Here I am, Albus," the old Professor said. "Is there any news?"
Dumbledore told McGonagall and Snape everything he had been told by Narcissa and Draco.
"I went to alert the Order about the new state of problems. I've been able to have contact with Molly and she has agreed to move to Headquarters. I have told Augusta Longbottom where the Headquarters are and now she is taking her grandson there. On Miss Lovegood's side, she is in Sweden with her father, so on that part there are no problems."
"And Miss Granger?"
"That's the problem," Dumbledore answered, sadly. "I haven't been able to get into contact with her, nor with her parents. I have searched their house, and her parents' dentist office. Nobody is there."
"I fear they are having a walk by Muggle London or something. Drs. Granger have not seen their daughter since last year, when she went to Headquarters to help with the cleaning, and they want to recover the lost time I'm sure."
"We have to find them before Lestrange does. Tonks and Lupin are looking for her now, and I'll be joining them in a few moments."
"What about Potter?" Snape snarled. "He is able to get caught, only because he knows we would look for him…"
"That's enough, Severus. I don't understand why you hate him, apart from the fact that his father and his friends did some pranks on you. Harry is not James," McGonagall replied, sternly.
"Severus, stay here. I'm sure Mr. Malfoy and his mother will confide in you. Minerva, I need you to go to Headquarters and tell them everything. I'm leaving now."
And with those orders, Dumbledore called Fawkes, his phoenix, and disappeared in a flash.
Not far from Hyde Park, a brown-bushy-haired girl was having a nice time with her parents. They had decided to have a picnic there, to enjoy the sunny day and the heat that filled the atmosphere. Now, they were coming back to their house, walking. She was chatting excitedly about everything she had learned at her school the last year, trying to keep her voice down so that the other people didn't hear.
When they passed in front of an ice-cream parlour, her father asked, "Hermione, would you like some ice-cream?"
"Yes, Dad," she answered with a smile. "A chocolate one would be great."
"All right. Barbara?"
"A vanilla ice-cream, please."
"OK. Wait here, I'll bring it out in a few minutes."
The two women stayed, enjoying the fresh breeze that blew around them, when Hermione noticed the shoelaces of her left shoe were untied. She kneeled to tie them again, when she heard someone shouting and her mother fell to the floor.
When she looked to her right, she saw a mad-looking woman that, one week ago, had killed Harry's godfather and tried to do the same with him a few moments later.
Fast, Hermione took her wand out of her jeans' pocket and used a Shield Charm so that the Stunning Spell Bellatrix had shot did not hit her. She then got far from her parents, to put them out of harms way and keep them safe, but the Death Eater seemed to be concentrated on the girl. Hermione was a bit faster than Bellatrix, but the latter could cast more spells than her, and was more experienced, something both of them knew.
Soon, Hermione felt that she needed some of the Order to arrive soon, because she was starting to get tired from the constant interchange of spells and hexes and the dodging and protecting.
When she thought she was going to lose the battle, she saw Remus Lupin running towards the battling couple. This distracted her to the point that the Death Eater caught her with a Disarming Spell that sent her towards a tree. She hit her head, and the moment before she lost consciousness, she felt she was being taken away with a Portkey.
I'm sorry for leaving you at this cliffhanger, but it was necessary for the second chapter of 'Harry Potter and the Unexpected Visitor': 'Quaero Amoris Anima'!