What Evil Will Come
The next one-and-a-half hours were filled with a silence as thick and heavy as the low clouds that were forming over the homes and businesses of Little Whinging. Boredom had sunk in, and Harry was the only one prepared for it, having Quidditch books to read through, and friends to write to, and an owl to welcome home once she returned from her trip. Draco had begun to regret entrusting anyone with his situation who had been raised by Muggles. His mind wandered aimlessly, leading him on a wild goose chase in the search for a way to busy himself.
Finally, Hedwig came soaring through the open window. Draco looked up, wide-eyed. For him, this was the moment of truth. Would Harry's friends be convinced that he genuinely needed help? Or (Draco swallowed hard at the thought) would they try to convince Harry that Draco was lying, and actually serving as a spy for the Dark Lord?
Harry was reading Ron's rushed writing when Draco cleared his throat impatiently. "Just a minute!" Harry answered irritably. After a moment's pause, he started reading Hermione's neatly-written letter. When he was finally done, he turned to Draco and his mother and said, "This is going to be harder than I thought."
Narcissa sighed sharply behind her hand, a sure sign she was crying. Draco, on the other hand, had seen this coming. "And what's worst out of all of this," he said stiffly, his hands clenched tightly into fists, "they know where we are now. The Minister's probably on his way to arrest us both!" He pressed his palms to his forehead, swearing not to break down in front of the so-called Chosen One. Some good Draco had done, coming here!
"The Minister's got no business here, as far as I'm concerned," said Harry calmly, and Draco sensed Harry wasn't much happier with the new minister than anyone else in the room. "I know it won't be easy, but if there's a chance to keep you two out of harm's way, I'll take that chance."
Draco searched Harry's expression for any hint of dishonesty, something he was quite used to from Slytherins and thus expected it from a Gryffindor. He was surprised, however, to find nothing less-than-genuine there. He sighed, dropping his gaze to the floor. "What do we do now?" he asked.
Harry shrugged, and glanced out the window. The sky was turning a deep shade of purple, and the setting sun threw golden light against all the west-facing windows of Britain. Draco looked out, too, feeling rather more homesick than usual. He inched nearer to Narcissa, and she understood. There was no boredom in that silence, nor worry. A tight, knot-like sensation formed in Draco's throat as he stood there, his eyes and mind blurred by tears he refused to let show.
The next morning, another letter arrived for Harry, delivered by a tiny ball of feathers he introduced as Pigwidgeon. Harry read it to himself, while Draco waited anxiously with Narcissa, both of them wondering what it contained.
"Ouch!" gasped Draco suddenly, having been knocked in the head with the twittering little owl, who then continued zipping around the room excitedly.
With an effort, Harry resisted a laugh at the look on Draco's face. "He does that sometimes," he told him casually, as though getting hit in the temple by an owl was something that typically happened to typical wizards. He looked briefly back at the letter, and his amused expression faltered noticeably.
Draco finally stopped glowering at Pigwidgeon and saw Harry's grin fade. "What?" he asked, his voice heavy with worry. "What does it say?"
"Well..." Harry began, looking up from the parchment in his hands, "it sounds like you can come to The Burrow for the rest of the summer. But-"
"What burrow?" interrupted Narcissa, more than a hint of distaste in her voice.
"It's not a real burrow," Harry said. "It's just a nickname. It's where the Weasleys live. But you-"
"We're not staying with them!" yelled Draco.
Harry stared at him coldly. "Would you rather stay here with the Dursleys?"
Draco fumed at the idea of being forced to live with a family whom he despised, and who all despised him. What evil will come of this? he wondered. The look on Narcissa's face suggested she agreed whole-heartedly with her son, though she said nothing more. On the other hand, the prospect of a safe place to stay – one where they wouldn't be surrounded by angry Muggles – began to tempt them more, the more they considered it.
"Why would they want us there, anyway?" Draco contemplated warily. "It's got to be a trap. They want us to walk right in, and the next thing we know, we'll be shut up in Azkaban!"
"They wouldn't do that, Malfoy," Harry sighed, getting annoyed with their arguing. "I know them! They're not sneaky like that. Not like you've been..." With that, he sat back on his bed, reading the Evening Prophet from the night before. He scanned each page, then tossed it aside and shook his head. "How many people have to die before this is over?" he asked himself.
Draco's gaze dropped to the floor. "Everyone," he answered, his voice shaking with anger. "Everyone he can get his filthy hands on." Harry gaped at him, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, never having expected to hear those words from him.
Narcissa cried out in shock. "Draco! What are you thinking?"
"I'm thinking that's the perfect word for him."
Narcissa stared. Harry stared. Draco stared back. All was silent for the longest time, during which the red-hot fury Draco was experiencing continued to boil within him. Harry's brain was now swimming with questions, but decided it was not the best time to ask.
At last, the time came to depart for The Burrow. By then, Draco had calmed himself quite a bit, but he still wasn't happy at the thought of what lay ahead.
"But what if-"
"Are you coming or not, Malfoy?"
So the three left by floo, using the fireplace as soon as all the Dursleys had left the house. Draco left the living room with a distinctly sour look on his pale face, and Harry assumed he arrived at The Burrow with that very expression. As soon as Narcissa had arrived, Harry followed, not surprised to see the look on Ron and Ginny's faces as they watched the Malfoys.
Mrs. Weasley hugged Harry, looking concerned. "Hello, Harry," she said. "Are you alright? I've been worried sick since we got your letter..."
Harry smiled, happy to once again be in a room with people who cared about him. "I'm fine, Mrs. Weasley," he replied.
"That's good, dear. Let's have a seat, and you can tell us what happened," she told him gently, gesturing toward Narcissa and Draco.
Harry, Ron, Ginny and Mrs. Weasley sat down in the kitchen, but the Malfoys stood a safe distance away, glancing warily between each other and Harry as he explained the situation at hand. When he was finished, there was a deep, unreadable silence that filled the air around them.
Ron was the one to break it. "So they just showed up in the doorway, after all that's happened?" he asked Harry in disbelief. "After all he's done?" He shot a furious glance at Draco as he said this.
Draco swallowed hard; he preferred to convince himself someone else had done all he had in the past year, and that he never could have. He realized, however, that that comforting thought would be nearly impossible to consider here.
Harry nodded. "But I think what happened that night could be enough to change anyone. I mean, why else would they end up at the Dursleys'?"
Ron raised an eyebrow. "To capture you?" he said.
"Strangely enough, Ron, that idea reached me, as well," said Harry. "But so far, nothing like that's happened, and I don't think it will, by the looks of it."
"The looks of what, exactly?"
"The point is, a part of me knows I trust them. You weren't up in that tower, Ron, and you didn't hear what I heard."
"What did you hear that could possibly make me trust him, Harry?"
"I'm not making you do anything. I'm just telling you they're obviously not here to harm anyone. I think they deserve a chance."
Ron's eyes widened at these words, then narrowed. "That's exactly what Dumbledore thought about Snape."
Harry said nothing, but dropped his gaze to the table between them. Draco, however, felt a small wave of hope wash over him. "Dumbledore wanted us safe," he said suddenly. "He knew Mother and I have never been true Death Eaters." He stepped forward, feeling brave for the first time in months.
"It takes more than the Dark Mark to make a person loyal to the Dark Lord."