Chapter 11 How to Save a Life
Draco was anxious to be home. The thought that he wanted to go home made him pause and wonder if he was mad. But ever since he had made his choice to do the right thing, he had had the nagging feeling of guilt for the way he had treated Fred the last time he had seen him. Not only did he want to apologize, but he also wanted to tell Fred about his change of heart, and ask for advice on how to go on. Of course, he had toyed with the idea of telling Dumbledore, but the thought of doing so scared him.
He groaned and put his head in his hands. He was way too confused right now.
He had gotten a compartment on the train to himself, surprisingly. At one point, Pansy had come in and tried to keep him company, but he had told her off and she had stormed away in a huff. It put Draco in a good mood.
He had been staring out the window for hours now, his thoughts churning. He was unaware of how late it had become, and when the train slowed and came to a stop, he jerked himself out of his musings, and quickly stood and grabbed his briefcase. The house elves would get his trunk.
He didn't expect his mother to meet him at the station. She never had. And now, he didn't think she would enjoy being seen in public, what with all the publicity of the trial. And, true enough, when he stepped onto the platform, he saw no sign of her. Making his way through the crowd of departing students, he went to the back of the station, where his house elf usually waited for him with a portkey. Before he got there though, he heard a voice call out.
He turned, and glance behind him, and felt a jolt of surprise when he noticed that it was the Weaselette that had called.
"What?" he snapped.
She gave him a pointed glare. "I just wanted to say happy holidays."
His face must have registered surprise, because the glare disappeared and she smiled in a yes-I-just-said-that way. Draco stuttered for a moment, and finally nodded at her, saying, "Same to you."
He quickly turned away to hide the heat he felt rising on his face. Why was he embarrassed? Mentally shaking himself, he continued walking, but not fast enough to hear the Weasel make some sort of indignant protest at his younger sister. His embarrassment quickly faded as a smirk found it's way onto his face. Anything to make Ronald Weasley mad.
"What in the world was that?"
Ginny sighed, and just gave Ron an exasperated look.
"Ginny, why would you wish that stuck up prat happy holidays?"
"Why wouldn't I?" she retorted.
"Because he's Malfoy! He's probably a dirty Death Eater, and, and-"
"Oh, stop it Ronald," Hermione cut in, walking up beside the two. "If you hadn't noticed, Draco hasn't been mean to anyone lately, and if you ask me, he looks like he could use any cheering up he can get. So just leave it."
Ginny gave Hermione a grateful smile. Ron looked affronted, but he kept his mouth shut, choosing to glare instead. Ginny turned back to the direction that Malfoy had headed, her brow creased in thought. She hoped his Christmas and New Year were truly happy.
"Mum! I'm home!"
Normally, Draco wouldn't shout, especially if his father was there, but he was in a really good mood and his father was gone. So, he shouted.
Draco actually let himself smile as he made his way to his mother, and gave her a quick hug, surprising her greatly. But she returned it.
"I took the liberty of eating earlier. You can have the house elves bring your food up to your room later on."
Draco looked at her in confusion. "Why can't I eat now?"
His mother gave him a pointed look. "I happen to know you have other places you would rather be. I just advise you to go quickly. He isn't doing very well. I'm afraid my sister has not been lenient lately."
Draco gaped at his mother, trying to understand what was going on. Then her words registered.
"You- Fre-wha?" And then, without thinking about what he was doing, he turned, and raced as fast as his legs would carry him, down to the cellar where he knew Fred to be.
Narcissa Malfoy watched as her son sped off. She had been reluctant to tell him about the Weasley boy, as he had seemed to be in such a good mood. But she was not stupid. She knew that whatever change had come across her son, it was because of the boy in the basement.
Narcissa closed her eyes and turned away, hoping her son would be in time. What he was doing was dangerous, but she knew it was the right thing to do, and her heart soared with the knowledge that it was the path Draco had chosen.
Draco stared in horror at the sight before him. When his mother's words had finally registered, he had felt panic course through him, but he hadn't expected the scene before him.
There was too much blood. At first, Draco didn't recognize the pathetic figure sprawled out on the ground before him. At first, he wasn't even sure Fred was breathing, but then he made out the faint movement of his chest as he breathed. But just barely.
Snapping out of his stupor, Draco rushed forward and knelt down on the blood stained floor. And froze.
Oh, no. His arm. Draco had to try to not be sick, as he looked at the words carved in it.
Draco clenched his eyes shut. "Libby!" he cried, the panic he was feeling seeping into that one word. Hearing the distinct snap of apparition, he looked up at his house elf, and said in a rush. " I don't know what to do, he's hurt bad. I had you heal his arm that one time, but now it's so much worse. What do I do?" He wasn't sure who he was talking to anymore-himself or the house elf. "Can you apparate him into my bedroom? No, that might not work. He's too badly injured. Portkey him there. Yes, can you make a portkey? Quickly? If we carry him there, it might hurt him more." Draco was out of breath and feeling more anxious than he had never felt before. He couldn't let Fred die. Not now.
Libby actually kept her mouth shut, no "Yes, Mast-ter" at all. She kept a cool head, and Draco was thankful, because he was feeling anything but prepared to handle this situation at all.
"C'mon, Fred. Don't die now. I need you to survive! I need to apologize, and I was trying to figure out how to help you escape. Please, Fred. Please!"