My Enemy, My Brother

Chapter 9 Confession

Draco was eating in the Great Hall when the owl arrived. He immediately recognized it as one of his family's. Wondering what gossip his mother was writing to him about this time, he picked the envelope, and froze.
The handwriting belonged to his aunt.
He swallowed the mouthful of food, almost gagging as he suddenly felt physically sick. He'd been trying to avoid thinking about his task. He knew Bellatrix was trying to orchestrate everything, and he'd neglected to inform her of any of his progress.
It was already the second week of October, and he hadn't made much progress at all.
He picked the gray envelope up like it would bite him, and then stood. He drew a few odd looks from his fellow Slytherins but he ignored them and stalked from the room. He was unaware of the youngest Weasley's gaze following him.

Fred tried desperately to curl into an even tighter ball than he was already, trying to draw more warmth to his shivering body. If he was correct in his calculations, he'd been here for ten weeks. Two and a half months that he'd been here. Summer was gone, and the chill of autumn had set in. Which only served to make Fred more miserable than he had been lately.
For two weeks straight, he'd had almost daily "interrogations" from Pravus, the King of no Toothbrush, and Bellatrix The Strange. For some reason, they didn't ask many questions. But he supposed that maybe it was because they didn't like his new names for them.
As a particularly violent shiver shook him, he gasped in pain as it aggravated the two ribs he was pretty sure were at least cracked. They were making breathing a little difficult at the moment.
Fred tried not to think of how many bruises he had. But he was pretty sure that there was more bruising than regular skin covering his body at the moment. Pravus enjoyed kicking him, and Bellatrix favored the cruciatus curse. Thinking of that, he wasn't that if he got warmer he would quit shaking. Too much time under the curse, and the shaking never seemed to quit.
Fred was scared. He had held on for so long, but now he just wanted for something else to happen. Something to take away the cold, the pain, the hunger, and the loneliness.
Fred did his best to take a deep breath, and then shut his eyes tight, trying to imagine he was home again, and he was in his own bed. He imagined that if he opened his eyes, he would see George's form in his bed across the room.
But it was just wishful thinking.
His mournful train of thought was cut of when an agonized scream rent through the silence. Fred froze, eyes wide. It sounded like the scream he had heard so long ago.
Only this time it didn't stop.
Fred squeezed his eyes shut, trying to block the terrible sound out, wishing that whatever was happening, whoever was getting hurt, that it would stop.
He didn't know how long he'd listened. But just as quickly as it had started, it finally stopped. The silence once again filled the air, but to Fred it almost sounded louder than the screaming.
Godric! What in the world had just happened?!
Then he heard it. The sound of shuffling feet. It was nearing his cell.
Fred was pretty sure it wasn't one of the Death Eaters-at least not one of the regular ones. He had been able to tell who was coming from the sound of their footsteps by now. But he feigned sleep just in case, not wanting to deal with any late-night torture.
The footsteps halted outside the door. Then after a moment, the door swung open. Fred tensed, his hopes quickly dwindling.
But the next thing that happened shocked him to the core.
Sobbing. It was quiet, but whoever had just walked into his cell was crying.
Fred finally opened his eyes, and almost had a heart attack.
It was Draco. Bloody. Malfoy.
Crying his eyes out.
And Fred realized suddenly that this wasn't the first time the other boy had come to his cell and cried.
Malfoy looked terrible. His normally gelled hair looked like a rat's nest, he was shaking, and even in the dim lighting Fred could make out the tears that streamed down his cheeks and dripped off his chin and onto the floor.
"Malfoy?!" Fred finally asked incredulously. The blond boy's bowed head shot up and he looked down at Fred in surprise.
Fred wasn't sure why he then did what he did. Maybe it came from being a big brother. Maybe he just couldn't take the pained expression on the boy's face. But ignoring his injuries, Fred got up and before Malfoy could turn and run, which is what he seemed to want to do, Fred grabbed him and pulled him into a hug.
Fred wasn't sure who was shocked more. Malfoy had gone rigid in his arms, but when Fred tried to shush him, asking him what was wrong, Draco actually hugged back.
Merlin's beard! If only Ron could seem him now!
"Malfoy? Draco, what is it?" Fred finally asked.
Between the sobs, Draco told him.

Draco was a Death Eater.

Draco was supposed to kill Dumbledore.

Fred was shocked and horrified.

Fred now noticed that Draco was shaking quite a bit, actually.

Wait. When had Malfoy become Draco?!

Trying to control the mixed emotions that ran through him, Fred tried to once again reason with the other boy.
"You don't have to do it."
"Y-yes I do-o."
"Draco!" Fred said, pulling the younger boy back and holding him at arms length. "You have a choice. You just have to put aside your stubborn, idiotic pride and ask for help!"
The transformation of emotions on Draco's face was sudden. The old Draco Malfoy was back, and angry at the insult.
"How would you know what was best for me? Who do you suggest help me? You? You can't even help yourself!"
"Draco-" Fred tried.
"Don't you dare call me that you filthy blood-traitor!" Draco spat.
And then punched Fred in the face.
It was so sudden, that both boys were stunned. Fred lay on the floor, looking at Draco with huge eyes, the hurt clearly visible on his face. And Draco stood over him, looking the part of a fish with his mouth wide open in shock.
And then he turned on his heel and left.

Fred wasn't hurt that bad. At least, not physically.
But emotionally was a different story.

His only friend in this place, and he may have just lost it.

Fred painfully made his way to the wall, where he sat, curled in on himself. All the despair that he had felt earlier came crashing down on him all at once, and for the first time since he had been there, he cried.

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