Losses beyond imagining

Chapter 9

“Wow, Hermione…wow…” Harry was flabbergasted. “And you… liked him?”

“I didn’t know it was him!” she defended herself. “But, yes, he was nice…. A bit arrogant maybe… But I kind of scolded at him as well so…”

“Wow…” Harry said again.

“Can’t you say anything else?” Hermione snapped nervously.

Harry shook his head, a small smile appearing on his lips.

“It is unbelievable… so I think ‘wow’ truly captures it,” he laughed. Hermione rolled her eyes but a tentative laugh appeared on her face too.

“It is kind of amazing, isn’t it… Who would have thought..” she said. She bit on her lip as she said: “So he probably knew it was me, when he walked in… He could have seen me sitting behind the window and have recognized me already…”

“And was probably just as shocked as you are now…” Harry grinned. “No wonder the healer didn’t show up…”

“He must have been scared shitless…. Liking a Mudblood was probably bad enough… but liking The Mudblood…” Hermione giggled.

“Yeah… that must have been quite hard to take… Although it shouldn’t be…” he remarked more seriously. “You’d make an amazing partner in any case.”

“Thanks Harry, but… Malfoy’s not really my first choice.”

“No, of course not… Ron was..” Harry sighed.

“Yes, and the love for broomsticks is really the only thing the both of them have in common,” she replied, determined not to think of the healer anymore now it had turned out to be Malfoy, the bully of her childhood.

“I’ll still have to visit them tomorrow though… Do you have any questions, any suggestions, things that I shouldn’t forget to ask them?”

Hermione and Harry began compiling a list of most important questions; the glazed ham forgotten and growing cold.

Eventually Ginny entered the house again as well. She still wasn’t pleased with her husband visiting Malfoy Manor first thing, but rather him than her!

Both Harry and Hermione thought it wise not to mention the true identity of the healer that stood Hermione up, to Ginny. One row was enough for the evening…

Draco had agreed to be present and Stirgood would also accompany Harry, as she’d reluctantly agreed to join him. It would be three against two if it came to the worst, with Narcissa present as well, but Harry wasn’t too worried. It could be a trap, but that wasn’t very likely, and the whole Auror Department was at their disposal the moment something went wrong…

The Malfoys had behaved rather well after the war, just like they had after the first one. It was not much to go on as far as their true allegiance went but better that outright hostility.

The sight of Lucius convinced Harry completely that nothing would happen. The man who had been his enemy for most of his life was but a shell compared to the elegant and commanding presence he’d had possessed before. He was seated in a large leather chair by the mantelpiece, but he seemed to be shivering nontheless.

“He cannot seem to warm up these days,” Narcissa admitted involuntary. “Perhaps you could make it brief…” Her hands lay protectively on her husband’s small shoulders as she stood behind his chair.

Paler than ever before, Lucius greeted them with a croaked voice.

“What is it you want.. Potter?”

Harry’s eyes searched for Draco’s: had he not informed his parents at all? Was this a trap after all?

“Draco informed me that you might possess information regarding people or groups that wish to… eliminate all pure-bloods,” he replied. His clear voice echoing in the empty hall-like living room.

“And why would Draco do such a thing?” Lucius asked unconvinced. “Inform you?”

“Draco?” Harry said.

“You remember I told you about that woman, father…? The one who had cast that spell…?”

“It seems that it has affected Draco after all, causing physical difficulties,” Harry continued, “and as its use is illegal, and has been for many years, and there are reasons to believe it may have been an attack on your son for his status as a pure-blood… the Auror Department wishes to investigate the matter further.”

“When has the Auror Department ever looked after us?” Lucius sneered… “What is it you are not telling me?” He asked, his clear eyes narrowing.

“They are willing to investigate, father, isn’t that enough?” Draco sought to keep the peace.

“Draco’s information appears to have bearing on another case as well,” Harry admitted. “Combined information might help both cases to be solved…”

“Which case? Why are you truly here?” Lucius demanded to know, even though the steel in his voice wasn’t intimidating anymore…

Before he could reply, Narcissa guessed.

“That Weasly… The papers were very vague about the cause of his death…”

“Indeed,” Elphaba answered as she saw Harry faltering. “In the case of Weasly’s death a similar spell was used, raising the question if pure-bloods may be specifically targeted as victims…”

“Two cases are not much to go on…” Narcissa replied; “or are there more?” she asked a little shocked.

“We are in the process of finding out,” Harry had found his voice back. “Draco’s information has brought this matter up, as Weasly’s death was regarded as an unfortunate incident by most. However, the two murder victims at the house that was burgled were also pure-bloods.”

“And still…. Why are you here?”

“Perhaps you know more about them,” Draco answered. “About where to look, which families might be connected… anything you remember that could be helpful…” He pleaded with his eyes and voice.

Lucius sighed as Narcissa squeezed his shoulders gently to encourage him; not wanting to antagonize the Aurors.

“Very well…. For Draco’s sake…” he finally croaked.

Everyone was relieved that the patriarch was willing to cooperate.

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