Harry Potter - Series Fan Fiction ❯ Harry Potter and the Werewolf Prophecy ❯ THE MORNING AFTER ( Chapter 15 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

“You should be upset!” said Ginny, her hands on her hips. “Someone tried to kill you! In fact, a lot of people were trying to kill you!”

Harry shook his head. “It’s not that. In a way… that was getting involved. It’s not as if I’m not used to people trying to kill me! And Malfoy was there to save me...”

“According to what you said, he turned up just slightly too late. If your cousin hadn’t knocked out Goyle he’d have killed you. I bet Malfoy would have been broken-hearted.”

“Well, Dudley did beat up Goyle, and Malfoy did stop Pansy Parkinson,” said Harry. “I know they were trying to kill me but...”

Ginny shrugged. “It only happened to me once or twice and I can tell you, I wasn’t able to shake it off that easily. You could have died, Harry. In a way, it was more dangerous than before. There’s no Lord Voldemort wanting to save you for himself. Any of them would love to see you dead.”

Harry shook his head slowly. “I was scared, of course, and I still feel a bit… shook up. The thing is, though – I still wanted to go to Malfoy’s house and help. I felt… left out. Neville and Ron were going there, and I was just… sent home.”

Ginny grinned. “I thought you hated the ‘great Harry Potter, The Chosen One’ thing?”

“I do,” said Harry. “Honestly, I think I preferred it when everyone hated me for some reason. I used to cringe when poor little Colin Creevy kept wanting to take my picture. I just wanted to be useful, that’s all.”

“You were useful,” said Ginny. “The chance of killing you drew in a whole lot of Slytherins who hadn’t had the chance to be full Death Eaters. It also split them so Shacklebolt could take the kids first, then the rest of them. Of course, Malfoy could have told Kingsley who the target was, but then you might have decided not to turn up.”

“I suppose…” said Harry, and shook his head again, wearily.

“You just want to be involved a bit,” said Ginny. “I know how it is.”

Harry smiled suddenly. “Maybe I did want to be ‘Harry Potter, The Chosen One’. Just a bit. Storming the Malfoys’ house to capture a bunch of Death Eaters.”

Ginny touched his arm. “I think you can let Ron and Neville have their moment, though.”

“Did we hear from Ron since last night?” Harry asked.

Ginny shook her head. “No, just that one time when his head popped up in the fireplace and he said they’d finished at the Malfoy’s and they’d be hours dealing with the prisoners.”

“We should go down to your Mum. There’s no real risk now, but she’s bound to be worried.”

They put on dressing gowns and went downstairs, and found Ron sitting at the table eating a huge breakfast.

“Harry!” he shouted as soon as they appeared, “you should’ve been there, mate. It was brilliant.”

Harry forced a smile. “Wish I had been, but I was sent home.”

Ron nodded. “Sorry about that, but we had a plan all worked out, and, well…”

“It’s fine,” said Harry, tightly. “Stupid to risk messing things up. Did it go all right?”

“I tell you what,” said Ron, buttering a thick slice of toast, “Malfoy is a complete…”

“Ron!” called Mrs Weasley from the stove.

“Well, he is. But, give him his due, when he sets out to betray all his friends, he’s really really good at it. They were all still asleep, and most of them hung over. The Malfoys had half emptied their wine cellar. I think they’d put something in the food as well. Malfoy was always good at potions. All that greasing up to Snape.”

“Was it Malfoy who planned it? Draco, I mean,” said Harry.

“Hard to say, but I reckon it was mostly him. Old Lucius is pretty much a wreck at this stage, and that hag of a mother isn’t much better. Bad enough being one of You… of Voldemort’s henchmen, but Lucius was a really bad henchman. If we’d left it to him he’d probably have accidentally delivered us all the Horcruxes. But Draco - I mean, he made sure that the attack on Harry was all young wizards and witches, our age, and told the really dangerous Death Eaters to keep out of sight.” Ron took a swig of tea, draining half the mug. “Funny, when we last saw Draco he was a wreck too, but he must have pulled himself together. Just goes to show that if you spend your life thinking you’re better than everyone else it doesn’t go away easily.”

“Why did he do it, though?” asked Ginny. “Malfoy’s always hated all of us, and he ended up landing all his friends into Azkaban, and saving Harry’s life.”

Mr Weasley lowered the newspaper, which had concealed him completely. “The Malfoys had pretty much switched sides by the Battle of Hogwarts,” he said quietly. “Now, as you know, Harry, I never had much time for that family, but I never thought they were stupid. Voldemort is dead, now, and his followers are dispersed and disgraced. The Malfoys knew a lost cause when they saw one, or at least that little sneak Draco did.”

“Draco probably wouldn’t have gone to Azkaban, though,” said Ron. “And Narcissa helped Harry. You know, when she said he was dead.”

“Ah, yes, Ron, but that wouldn’t be enough for a Malfoy. They’ve been one of the most influential and powerful wizarding families for hundreds of years. They would do anything – anything at all – to preserve their status.” Mr Weasley stirred his porridge absent-mindedly.

“He seemed to gloat in it though,” said Harry. “What he did to Pansy Parkinson…”

“Know what you mean,” said Ron. “After hating her for years, all I could think of was when she saw the baby unicorns and couldn’t help admitting how cute they were. I mean, I know she tried to kill you, and she had it coming, but still…”

“He didn’t need to do what he did to her. It was... gratuitous. I’m sure that she would never have been involved in something like this if he hadn’t set her up for it,” said Harry, shaking his head. “I thought she was his friend. I thought she was his girlfriend!”

Ginny sighed. “Harry, you must have noticed how annoying Pansy Parkinson was. Malfoy had her hanging around him for six years. She must have driven him crazy with that horrible laugh and those stupid jokes.”

“I always assumed he fancied her,” said Ron. “I mean – well, Lavender was annoying too, but I fancied her lots, to start with.”

Ginny laughed. “Ron, you fancied everybody. You’d have gone out with McGonagall if you’d had a chance.”

 “Shurrup!” said Ron, blushing.

“Malfoy must have hated all those Slytherin girls, what with fancying Hermione so much,” continued Ginny.

“Hermione?” chorused Harry and Ron.

“He hated her!” said Ron.

“He hated her worse than me!” said Harry.

“Of course he hated her,” said Ginny, patiently. “She was Muggle-born, and she was everything he despised. But she was clever and tough and precise, which was everything he admired. Do you really mean to say you never realised?”

Mr Weasley looked up again from his paper. “I hardly ever saw the boy but I could tell,” he said, smiling.

Ron shook his head. “Blimey, I suppose it makes sense in a sick sort of way.”

“Harry, you said Malfoy had a girl with him,” said Ginny. “What’s she like?”

“Like a Ravenclaw girl,” said Harry. “Clever, tall – a bit strict.”

“Sound like anyone?” said Ginny, dryly.

“Did Hermione know?” asked Harry.

“Why do you think she hated him so much?” said Ginny.

“Hang on a minute – Malfoy hated Hermione ‘cause he fancied her, and she hated him why exactly?” Ron seemed somewhat perturbed.

Ginny sighed. “Hermione hated Malfoy because he was a pig, who insulted her horribly, and had a leering creepy way of staring at her. She certainly didn’t fancy him.”

“At last something I can understand,” said Ron, grimacing, and he drained his mug. “Mum? Any tea left?”

“You could get it yourself, Ron,” chided Ginny, as Mrs Weasley refilled Ron’s mug.

“Have a heart, Gin – I’ve been up all night fighting evil. Thanks, Mum.”

Mrs Weasley replaced the pot. “How’s Neville?” she asked. “Is he seeing that Luna Lovejoy girl?”

“Lovegood, Mum. No, they’re just friends. Neville’s doing really well, but I’m not sure that he’s enjoying it much.” There was a pause while Ron addressed himself to his scrambled eggs. He continued with his mouth half full.

“When we’d rounded up all the Death Eaters at Malfoy’s house, we had to search the place. Malfoy said there was no-one else but we weren’t going to trust him, were we? I was told to stand guard over the prisoners. I’ve not been fully trained, you see.”

Ron paused, and serious expression grew over his face. “There were no more Death Eaters, but there was… stuff. I didn’t see it, but Neville did. They brought it out in sacks and crates. He was white as a sheet, but he kept on doing his job.”

“I think Neville’s the bravest out of all of us,” said Harry. “I thought he was – well, not a coward, but a bit of a wimp when we first met – but the more scared he is, the more he’ll wind himself up and do it anyway.”

Ron nodded, and gestured at Ginny with his fork. “He asked her to the Yule Ball. Killing Nagini must have been a doddle after that.”

They laughed, and Ginny slapped Ron’s shoulder with the back of her hand.

“Surely they must have arrested Malfoy’s Dad when they saw all that stuff,” said Harry.

“He nearly blew it,” said Ron. “He was about to protest about them taking everything, but Draco jumped in and said that the Death Eaters brought it all when they came to hide out.” He gave a short laugh. “All covered in cobwebs and hidden at the back of drawers. Still, Shacklebolt is going to look the other way as much as he can.”

Mr Weasley shook his head. “The times I searched that house… I dare say there’s more hidden away somewhere.”

“Judging by the look on Lucius Malfoy’s face, we got a lot of it anyway,” said Ron. “Hey, Dad, what does it say in the Prophet?”

Mr Weasley held up the paper and began to read.

“‘A murderous attack on Harry Potter, the boy who defeated Lord Voldemort, was foiled last night by a brave band of Aurors, led by the Minister for Magic himself. Among the ranks of the heroes was Neville Longbottom, who slew Voldemort’s snake Nagini, Ron Weasley, Harry Potter’s greatest friend… ‘”

“Sorry, Ron,” said Harry, grinning.

“For Pete’s sake,” said Ron. “Harry’s friend. Is that all I’m ever going to be?”

“‘…and Draco Malfoy, formerly thought to be part of Voldemort’s gang.’”

“Malfoy!” exploded Harry. “Tell me they aren’t making Malfoy an Auror?”

“Of course not, Harry,” said Ron, soothingly. “Nobody with the Dark Mark will ever get in the Auror’s Office. Just the paper getting it wrong. Who wrote it anyway? Oh, I think I can guess.”

“‘Draco Malfoy and his parents Lucius and Narcissa had infiltrated the Death Eater gang, and waited until the perfect moment to trap them all. Draco, an old school friend of Harry Potter…’”

Mr Weasley was drowned out by the chorus of derision. “Language, Ron!” snapped Mrs Weasley, before Ron could finish what he was saying.

“Yeah, I think that’s enough, Dad,” said Ron. “That’s how it’s going to be. The Malfoys are officially the brave wizards who spied on Voldemort for the good guys. They’re implying that they were working with Snape the whole time.”

“That’s disgusting,” said Harry, angrily. “How can Shacklebolt go along with that rubbish?”

Mr Weasley refolded the paper. “Because Kingsley has just arrested most of the Death Eaters who were still at large, Harry. And it’s now in the Malfoys’ interest to make sure that any remaining Death Eaters are caught as soon as possible, if they want to keep safe. You aren’t the most hated person on the Death Eater list any more, Harry.”

“It’s still wrong!” snapped Harry. “Lucius Malfoy was the leader of the gang that murdered Sirius. He was sent to Azkaban and now he’s being let off! The Malfoys deserve to be punished”.

“Of course they do,” said Mr Weasley. “I’m afraid that they probably won’t be. How many people went along when Voldemort took over the ministry? Almost everyone.” He stood up and walked to the door. “Even me. Must be off to work now.” He kissed his wife and walked to the back door.

“Will you have some breakfast, dear?” said Mrs Weasley to Harry.

Harry forced a smile. “No, thanks. Not really feeling very hungry.”

He stood up and walked out to the garden. It was looking unkempt, half tended, like the rest of the house. Molly Weasley was working, if anything, harder than ever, but many of the tiny jobs that nobody else would deal with had been left undone. Meals were always ready on time, but they were just food now, put together to keep them fed – not the loving feasts that brought the family together. Every surface was clean, but nowhere was polished to a gleam. Maybe it will change, thought Harry, now that the family is getting going again.

He felt a touch on his arm and turned to see Ginny. She smiled at him. “Feeling a bit let down?”

“It’s stupid, but yeah. I wouldn’t have minded Malfoy getting away so much. It’s just…”

“When everyone else gets caught, and he’s the one getting away with everything – getting to be the hero even.”

Harry shook his head. “Do you know, I even felt sorry for Pansy Parkinson, and she was trying to kill me. And Millicent Bulstrode – she didn’t say a nice word to me all the time we were in the same classes, but all I can think of is the one time, in third year, she dropped a book and I picked it up and she thanked me. Now she’s dead.”

Ginny squeezed his upper arm. “I didn’t ask Ron if any of the Slytherins in my year were there. I don’t think any of them were as bad as Malfoy’s lot, but there were some nasty ones.”

“It’s weird, isn’t it – going to school with someone who tries to kill you? Dudley was horrible, and he and his friends used to beat me up, but that was as far as it went. Crabbe and Goyle, though...”

“How much does Malfoy hate you?”

“I think he hates me because he couldn’t make himself kill me. Couldn’t kill Dumbledore, couldn’t tell Bellatrix who I was. When it came down to it, I was that boy he was at school with and didn’t like, not some enemy who had to be destroyed. He failed at the one thing he wanted to be good at, and he thinks it’s my fault.”

“Sounds like he’s found a new vocation, though. Respectable leader of the pure-blood faction. They’ll be squeaky clean, especially since all those dark magic treasures have been cleaned out.”

Harry grinned. “They’ll hate that. All that horrible stuff they spent centuries accumulating. Dobby hinted to me about it sometimes. Junk, mostly, but expensive. They’ll have to watch it burn.”

“That will have to do. No Azkaban for Draco or Lucius.”

Harry thought for a minute. “I suppose, when it comes down to it… I would be dead if Draco and Narcissa hadn’t lied to save me. But I can just imagine in twenty years seeing him in Flourish and Blotts and he’ll sneer at my son and I’ll lose my temper…”

Ginny gave him a sudden grin. “Thinking of having children, are you?” Harry blushed, and squeezed her shoulder. He leaned towards her, but then heard a call from inside the house.

“Hermione’s here, Ginny, Harry!” It was Molly Weasley calling. Harry and Ginny ran back inside.

“Talk about her and she appears,” said Ginny, laughing.

Hermione was sitting at the table talking animatedly. “...in the Prophet I was so worried about you both, so I apparated straight here. Harry, are you all right? They said you were attacked. And Ron too!”

“I’m fine,” said Ron. “They’re still keeping me out of the firing line. Harry was the one they targeted. We still don’t know exactly what happened. Malfoy says that it was Goyle who planned it all, but I don’t believe that. Goyle wouldn’t tie his shoelaces without someone telling him to. Of course, Harry saved Goyle’s life as well, but…”

“Oh, Malfoy would know how to hint to them. Goyle probably thought it was all his idea.” Hermione shook her head. “Endangering Harry would have been a bonus.”

“Yeah, if I’d been killed that would have suited him, and saving me and acting like a hero was the next best… hang on, what’s that noise?” said Harry, looking around.

There was a creaking, grinding noise that kept getting louder, sounding like machinery that had been long out of use starting up.

“It’s the clock!” said Hermione, suddenly. “Look, the hands are moving.”

They all turned to look at the Weasley clock – the magical device that showed the whereabouts of every member of the Weasley family.

“It’s been stuck on ‘Mortal Peril’ for years,” said Ron. “Assumed it was broken.”

“No, just that we’ve been in mortal peril and gotten used to it,” said Ginny.

The hands on the clock were quivering, moving a little way off the position they had held for so long, then snapping back. Then, all at once, they began to circle the clock face, and the grinding noise settled down to a rhythmical tick.

“Oh, look! Look, Harry, Hermione – the extra hands!” said Ginny excitedly. “Dad must have added them.”

Harry straightened his glasses and stared closely at the clock. There were three new hands, rotating slowly around the face, labelled Harry, Hermione and Fleur. He blinked, feeling momentarily overcome by emotion.

“Well, of course,” said Mrs Weasley. “We have to have the whole family.” Hermione ran to her and gave her a hug.

Gradually, the hands came to rest. The hands belonging to everyone who was in the kitchen were pointing to ‘Home’. Those belonging to Arthur, Bill, Charlie, George and Percy were pointing at ‘Work’. Fleur’s came to rest at ‘Shell Cottage’.

As the hands stopped moving, a butterfly made of tin, its wings brightly coloured, emerged from a slot at the top of the clock and circled the outside of the face. It came to rest eventually back above the slot from which it had emerged, its wings gently flapping.

“Hang on – does this mean we’re all safe?” said Harry, slowly.

“Well, dear, it’s not infallible, you know. You know what Arthur says about things that think without a brain.” Molly Weasley shook her head. “I think it does mean that whatever you and Ron did yesterday has disposed of the main danger, for now.”

“Greyback’s still out there,” said Ron, “but I don’t expect he’s got any particular grudge against us. More than anyone else, I mean. Everyone else who should be locked up is, now.”

“Except the Malfoys,” said Harry.

“Well, yeah. Which is bad, obviously. But not dangerous, as such,” said Ron judiciously. “I mean, he had the chance to kill you and didn’t. Or let you be killed.”

Harry couldn’t argue with Ron’s reasoning, but was too angry about the Malfoys to say anything.

Hermione had released Mrs Weasley and was standing staring into space. “So that’s it,” she said. “The war is over. Things can really get back to normal.”

“Yeah, suppose so,” said Ron. “As normal as they ever are.”

“Hermione, how are your parents?” asked Ginny. “They’re home now, aren’t they?”

“They’re really well,” said Hermione. She was looking at Ron, but he wasn’t looking back. “They’ve settled back into their old life… re-opened the practice…” She tailed off.

She looked down. “I must get back. Just… so glad you’re all OK.” She got up.

Ron shovelled a last mouthful of scrambled egg into his mouth. “Hang on,” he said indistinctly. “See you off.”

Hermione went straight to the door, not looking back. Ron raced after her. The others stared at each other. A few seconds later there was a loud crack. Hermione’s hand on the Weasley clock moved to ‘Travelling’. Ron came back into the kitchen, looking puzzled.

 

“She… er… had to rush.” He didn’t look at them. “I think I’ll go for a sleep.” He left the room. The others sat in silence.


Chapter 14
Chapter 16
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