Losses beyond imagining

Chapter 41

A few days later, Harry still hadn’t gotten out of his coma. The healers were puzzled but hadn’t run out of options yet. Hermione spent day and night pouring over books—the rooms in her house covered in them even more than usual—whenever she wasn’t at Harry’s bedside.

Draco gritted his teeth. Seeing his lover so worn out, tired and pale, angered him so much. Why did this have to happen to them? Hadn’t they suffered enough? Didn’t Hermione deserved some happiness at last? Didn’t he?

He had been looking for answers in his own medical literature himself, but to no avail. Draco rose from his chair, stretching out. Desperate times called for desperate measures…

“I’ve decided to… Hermione, are you listening?” She looked up from her book, tears welling in her eyes.

“What is it, Draco?” she sighed. He couldn’t remember seeing her so lost and sad before… Not even when… Not even during the war…

“I’ve been thinking…. Perhaps my parents could help…” He saw her face turn to shock.

“You really think…. This is Harry we’re talking about…” she said.

“If it was just Harry… I wouldn’t dream of it, but it’s also the Jennings we’re talking about…” he argued. “My parents have as much to gain from defeating them as Harry’s friends do…”

“I won’t go with you…” Hermione said quietly. “Not out of spite, but… You’ll have a better chance of success if I don’t…”

“I couldn’t agree more… Come here…” Draco pulled her into a hug, before he kissed Hermione goodbye.

“I can’t promise when I’ll be back…” he whispered. “They may need some persuading…”

“Godspeed…” she replied. As she watched him go, Hermione felt a small spark of hope.

Draco took a moment to gather his thoughts as he stared at the manor. This was his heritage; built over many generations… The house where he grew up… That had been his home, the very home that he had chosen to abandon…

He sighed. It wouldn’t be easy… But it was worth it. Never in his life had he been so sure of anything.

The zeal he had for this one cause: winning this particular battle exceeded everything he had fought for before: the pureblood ideals that he had fought and argued for in his youth, his stint as a Death-Eater, or every Quidditch match he ever played as a Seeker.

“The prodigal son returns…” Lucius sneered at him. Narcissa had given him a much warmer welcome, but his father’s portrait was not so quick to accept his visit.

“What do you want? You must need something… unless you’ve finally chosen to embrace yourself, your family… and discarded that… that…” Lucius could see the reply written in Draco’s eyes.

“I do need you… Your wisdom and knowledge…” he said. Flattery went a long way with his father…

“What for? I don’t care much for blood traitors…” It was the first time, Lucius called his own son this. Bitterness had filled his heart. This curly haired, Muggle born woman, had stolen his only child from him!

“To fight the Jennings… To win for a change…” Draco sounded deflated. He had fought long enough… First in battle and now with his family, Hermione’s friends… He suddenly felt extremely tired… Worn out from all the hatred and hurt.

“Why don’t we talk about this in the morning?” his mother suggested. “Your bed is always ready for you… You don’t have a shift tomorrow?”

Alternated weekends meant that he could stay in the next day. Draco listened to his mother and went upstairs to his bedroom. Soon he slept a dreamless sleep.

Narcissa and Lucius argued for much of the night, before her eyes finally dropped. Draco found her the following morning, in what had been his father’s favorite chair…

After a hearty breakfast, where he had shared his concerns for Hermione with his mother, the discussion continued. Draco had enjoyed the house-elf prepared meal: it had been a while…

Filled with an assortment of pancakes, orange juice and eggs, he was ready to face his foe. Malfoy Sr.

“I see you’ve awoken… Looking better than last night…” his father said, begrudgingly. He didn’t look too well himself. Even the dead could feel bad apparently…

“I’ve enjoyed being home again… Seeing you and mother… Staying in my own wing again.” Draco said, not a word of it a lie.

“But you won’t stay… not merely for us…” Lucius remarked sourly.

“Father…” he began. “Let’s not… not hate each other over this. Let’s cooperate! We have a common goal…”

“No, we don’t… You are… I cannot bear to say it, but you are officially a blood traitor. And I don’t… Well, you should know it is my firm belief to… cast them out… Make them feel what a disgrace they are…”

“If you could just see Hermione for who she is…” Draco lamented. “Funny, caring… She is everything a man could wish for…”

Lucius cringed. It seemed his wife was right when she had claimed his son was head over heels…

“And now you want to revive the Potter boy…. That Potter… I’d say let him rot!”

“It’s not about Potter! If we can revive him, it means we are closer to breaking their spells… To knowing the secrets to undo them…. Don’t you see?” His father had always been so cunning: how could he miss this obvious goal?

“I do not assist traitors…” Lucius voice trembled, but his eyes were ice cold. “I couldn’t care less. It cut me at first… the end of our line…. However, a son who cohorts with the likes of that… may be even worse…”

Draco swallowed hard. He’d known it might come to this… but still…

“Father…” he whispered. “Don’t do this to me… to us… To mother…”

“How can I not?” His voice broke. The Lucius in the painting rose from his chair and left. Turning his back on his only son…

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