The Disillusionment of Draco Malfoy
(and His Accomplice Hermione Granger)
Their meetings become weekly. They get more books through friends and old co-workers, anyone that can be trusted, at least with the barest details, and make schedules so as to devote as much time as possible to each subject. Hermione is thrilled. Remus spends so much time in the Granger sitting room that he starts keeping a set of clothes under the sofa.
Dean joins them at the beginning of February, helping them find pieces for broadcasts on the wireless and then, curious and too observant for his own good, Lee Jordan starts accompanying him. It's not a huge surprise that by mid-month Draco finds himself being stared down by two gingers in hideous jumpers. Poor they may be, but they're hardly stupid. He stares back at them unflinchingly.
"You know, we could—" says one of them.
"No," says the other.
"But what about the—"
"What the hell are you two doing?" Hermione asks, walking into the kitchen where Draco's been cornered. He's supposed to be making tea.
"Trying to think of a suitable way to make sure Malfoy here won't squeal on us," one of the twins says.
"We can't think of anything that won't kill him…eventually." They both grin. Draco almost wants to squirm.
"Oh honestly," Hermione scoffs, stepping around them and filling the kettle, flicking her wand and setting the mugs and teabags and milk sorting themselves out. "All of this was his idea too. What makes you think he would go running to the Death Eaters?"
"He's a slimy git."
"Fred, he is in as much danger as we are, so stop bothering him and go back into the living room and be useful."
Fred, the one with the 'G' knitted on the front of his jumper, mutters an apology and shuffles out. George follows behind. When they're gone, Hermione slides her arms around him and drops her forehead to his shoulder. He can feel her whole body sag against his.
"They are exhausting," she mutters.
"I was handling them all right on my own, you know," he says, running the palm of his hand up her spine.
"I know, but I just…I am so tired."
He nods, her hair tickling his face. It seems like that's all they've been doing lately, explaining themselves; explaining, and defending him, and he really wishes she didn't have to. Sometimes, he wishes he could go back to when he was sixteen and scared and make a different choice. Maybe then, he wouldn't make her sigh so much.
"I'm sorry," he says.
Hermione snorts. "It's not your fault." She lifts her head, staring at him with circles under her eyes and cheekbones startlingly sharp. She kisses him. "None of us are at fault. That's the Dark Lord's jurisdiction."
There's a click. The water is boiled. Draco sniffs and pulls away. "Thanks," he says.
"You're my knight in shining armor."
"Next time my life is threatened by ginger weasels, I'll call you—"
"—my gallant Gryffindor."
She tries to kick him; she misses.
It's getting crowded in her house. Fred and George are whispering furiously to Remus who looks bemused, and she can only imagine what they're saying. They're clever and persistent and weaseled out where their friend and his new flatmate where taking off to every week in no time, and she should be pleased about the extra help; should be, if they weren't so annoying. She passes out mugs of tea and sits next to Draco on the sofa. Pointedly. She is so fucking sick of this.
"Have you heard from Ginny since the holidays ended?" Tonks asks, and Hermione smiles at her.
"Just a couple of times; she said she and Neville have started doing more research into the Room of Requirement to see if they could just ask it to give them the diadem. It would save time, after all. If that doesn't work, they're forming backup plans to sneak in and look for it without getting caught by the Carrows," she explains.
"And they know what it looks like?" asks Dean.
"I've given them the names of books to look in, but they're thinking of asking Cho Chang if she can give them any more information. She's a Ravenclaw, maybe she knows something."
"What about the other horcrux?" Lee asks.
"The Dark Lord moves, so unless we can find a way to track him, or get lucky and catch him at the Manor, we can't really do anything about the snake," Draco says.
"What if we send you in?" George suggests. "You can spy at the Manor for us."
Draco lets out a short, bitter laugh. "I deserted them months ago, Weasley. I'd be killed on sight."
Something inside her lurches sickeningly, and she threads her fingers through his own. Around them, Andromeda pales and Tonks squirms and even Remus ducks his head. She wonders if Draco notices that his family—his extended family—does not want him to die.
"Shit," Fred whispers.
"What about wandlore?" Remus asks.
"Still working on it," Ted says, wiping his mouth. "What about Miss Lovegood?"
"Kingsley is still looking. He can't ask any direct questions, and so much of the auror department is infected by Death Eaters and Dark Lord sympathizers that…" Remus rubs a hand over his eyes, "it's hard."
The room goes quiet, everyone sipping their tea and staring everywhere but at each other. Dean coughs. "Uh, so, I was thinking…well, that is, I—"
"Spit it out, Thomas," Draco says.
"There are others out there, like us," Dean says, "muggleborns and Potter sympathizers and magical creatures, all of them with nowhere to go. What if we gave them one?"
"What are you saying?" Hermione asks.
"I mean…what if we found them, and took them in? I was starving on my own, and I can't be the only one. And a resistance, it needs as many people as it can get, right?"
Beside her, she can feel Draco recoiling at that word: resistance. But at the same time his body turns to steel. It's still about his family, she knows, his parents pressed hard under Voldemort's thumb—like when they first met all of those weeks ago. But now it's about more, more family and friends and peace and equality, and more people means more brains, more help to have this all end like he so dearly wants. Vive la résistance.