Chapter 23 Clearing Things Up
Fred was very much aware of how pathetic he and Draco looked as they stumbled down the hallway. Draco really shouldn't have been out of bed, but one look at the determined expression on his face, and he knew it was useless to argue the fact.
Fred himself was still a little sore, and he really looked worse than he felt. (He had spent a while just looking at himself in the mirror the other day, and he really did look bad.)
Whipping his head around, Fred saw Ginny running toward him.
"Gin?" he asked. His younger sister looked panicked, and there was a certain disbelief and sadness to her.
"Death Eaters," she gasped. "In the castle! I-I think, I mean, Dumbledore…"
Fred felt his heart constrict, and he noticed the strained look on Draco's face. They both knew what was going to happen that night after he had come to deliver Snape's short message to the blond, but actually having it happen…
Then Fred saw Draco's eyes widen.
"How did the Death Eater's get in?" There was a panic to his voice, and Fred thought he looked a little guilty.
"I think Ron and Hermione said something about the Room of Requirement."
Fred felt like slapping himself in the forehead. How could they have been so stupid?! Draco had confessed his part in fixing the cabinet, and they had both known about it, but they had conveniently forgotten to say anything to Dumbledore or Snape. Snape didn't know, and therefore Dumbledore didn't know.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, Fred was remembering all the detentions he and George had gotten from the head of Slytherin house. He had the same feeling of getting caught doing something wrong and the impending punishment that would be coming…In short, Snape was not going to be happy with them.
There was an explosion down the hall, and someone yelled. Snapping out of his trance, Fred hurried down the hall, momentarily forgetting about the slower boy behind him. When he did remember Draco, he turned around, and noticed that said boy was getting help from his sister.
Draco had his arm around her waist, and vice versa.
Fred turned forward again, blinking as things slid into place. Oh. Well. He should have seen that one coming.
Draco felt the guilt suffocating him. How could he have forgotten to mention his repairs on the vanishing cabinet? Now, there were Death Eaters roaming the castle, and who knows who was getting hurt.
These thoughts that were consuming him had momentarily distracted him from the fact that he had his arm around Ginny, and that she was supporting him. But it actually didn't bug him like he thought it would.
Then his thoughts were interrupted as they got to the courtyard. Below the Astronomy Tower.
Knowing and seeing were two different things.
There was a crowd forming around the still figure lying on the ground. Draco had known who it was going to be, but he still felt an incredible sadness well up in him as he looked at the body of the man who had accepted him, and had helped him. And now he was dead.
He heard someone's breath hitching, and looked at Ginny. There were tears running down her face. Draco could feel his own eyes watering, but he blinked them back. He had cried too much the last few days. He wasn't going to cry anymore.
At one point, Draco vaguely noticed that Potter had shown up. It wasn't until Potter was kneeling down beside the old man, quite obviously crying and being comforted by Granger that Draco saw Professor McGonagall raise her wand to the sky. Watching, confused for a moment, he saw a light appear at the tip.
Then more started to raise their wands. More lights.
It was a salute to a great wizard.
And not only that, but looking up, Draco suddenly noticed the hideous Dark Mark fading away.
Swallowing thickly, he raised his own wand, lighting it up, pouring all his respect for Dumbledore into it, and all his hatred for the Death Eaters and what they stood for. He was out of the corner of his eye Ginny and Fred doing the same thing.
And then the Dark Mark was gone.
But so was Dumbledore.
They all sat there, each person mourning quietly.
Draco jumped a little, and he and Ginny turned at the sound of a panicked George. As soon as he saw the look on his face, Draco felt dread fill the pit of his stomach. Something had happened, and Draco had a feeling it wasn't Dumbledore.
"Georgie?" Fred asked, his own face reflecting the fear that Draco felt.
Draco was once again sitting in the hospital wing. Madam Pomfrey had not been happy with the fact that he had run off, so as soon as he had stumbled his way back in-to see Bill, mind you-she had scolded him soundly and forced him back into his bed.
After a while, Ginny, Fred and George came to sit by him.
The guilt was really eating at him now. It had been Greyback. The werewolf that he had let in. Draco could clearly remember the feel of the claws on his face, and shuddered again to think of the horrendous wounds he had seen covering the oldest Weasley sibling's face and chest.
After waiting a while, Ginny fell asleep, lying on the side of his hospital bed. Draco himself was sitting Indian style on the edge, Fred was sitting in a chair beside the bed, and George was on the floor with his back up against the bed.
After having a silent conversation with a few gestures and knowing looks, Draco and Fred decided to finally tell George what had happened for real.
"So let me get this straight," George said slowly. "Dumbledore was already dying, you-" he pointed at Draco"-were supposed to kill him, and if you didn't do it, then Snape was supposed to. It was all planned out, Snape is still on our side, and since we know, we're gonna see if we can help Snape out with the whole spying thing."
"Don't forget about the horcruxes," Fred mumbled.
"Oh, yeah. The mission my idiot brother is going to go on with Hermione and Harry."
"And they can't know that we know. It's all a big secret. The less people who know about Snape's true loyalty, the better."
George sighed. "Okay! This should be fun!"
He just got exasperated stares from the other two.
Ginny lay still, keeping her breathing even.
She hadn't meant to eavesdrop, but after dozing off and then waking up to the three boys talking about their master plan, she couldn't sleep.
And apparently she was going to have to keep her mouth shut about what she had just heard too.
It seems there are a lot of secrets floating around lately. And it would appear I know the most. Snape is good, he know about Harry, Ron and Hermione's mission, Fred, George, and Draco know about it all, and now I know all that they know, and they don't know I know.
Ginny was going to get a headache.