Numb Without You (Draco Malfoy)

09

Of all the famous wizarding families, never were there two that didn’t get along quite like the Weasleys and the Malfoys. They were as opposite one another as the Capulets and the Montagues, and their constant fighting with one another could be traced back for generations. There were a lot of past transgressions that had been forgiven, but Ron Weasley had never forgotten the years of torment his family experienced at the hands of Draco and Lucius Malfoy.

“You better have a really good explanation for bringing him into my house, Rory.” Ron seethed as he kept his wand pointed accusingly at Draco. He hadn’t put it down since he came into the room. His chest was rising and falling at a quick pace as anger filled his entire body.

“I would hardly call this a house.” Draco muttered as he looked around at the mismatched furniture with disgust. He wasn’t threatened by Ron, or at least he wasn’t showing that he was. “Nice pajamas.” He smirked letting his eyes rest on Ron as the Weasley’s ears turned bright red. He was wearing a matching pajama set that Hermione had gotten him for Valentine’s Day that was covered in big red hearts.

“Draco, enough.” I hissed. He shut his mouth, but not before exchanging glares with Ron.

“Rory, please. What’s wrong? You look distraught.” Hermione said as she looked at me with concern and ignored her boyfriend completely. She pulled her robe even tighter around her torso. It was still the middle of the night and we had clearly woken them up. I held up my arm to show her my dark mark was back completely. I nudged Draco and he did the same, rolling up his sleeve to show the two of them.

Ron and Hermione looked at our arms in shock before exchanging a worried glance. “I’ll go call Harry.” Ron said before walking into the kitchen. Hermione motioned for us to sit down on the couch. I happily obliged, but Draco chose to stand awkwardly near me. I don’t think he wanted to touch anything belonging to Weasley or Granger.

“Do you know how this happened?” Hermione asked. She nodded towards my exposed arm, but wouldn’t dare say the words.

I shook my head, “No idea. We were out with a few others at a club and our arms just started burning. Next thing I knew our marks were back to looking like they did during the war.” I looked up at Draco for affirmation and he nodded his head. His grey eyes looked clouded as he thought about what this could mean.

“I thought the dark mark was directly connected to Voldemort.” Hermione said nervously. “That’s why they faded to scars when he was defeated.”

“They were.” I confirmed her suspicions, “but they also connected all of us. The Death Eaters, that is. It was kind of like a personal network.” I tried my best to explain, but unless you had the mark you couldn’t fully understand what it was like.

“Do you think someone is using it again?” Hermione asked. “The network?”

“It’s possible.” Draco spoke up, “but whoever would try that would have to be really stupid. Most of the Death Eaters are still locked up in Azkaban indefinitely.”

“There’s been a break in.” Ron said as he walked back into the room. He had just finished talking to Harry. He looked warily at Draco like he didn’t trust him with this information.

“In Azkaban?” Hermione asked. Her voice raised an octave and she looked genuinely worried.

“What? No, of course not.” Ron furrowed his brow in confusion, “It was at Gringotts. Why would it be Azkaban?”

“I dunno. It just sprung to mind.” Hermione lied. She clearly didn’t want to worry Ron any more than he already was. She could do enough worrying for the both of them.

“I’m going to check it out. You two should come along. Harry will be there.” Ron said as his eyes shifted between Draco and I, “The dark marks... the break in... Somehow, this all feels connected.”

“I’ll come too. Just let me get changed.” Hermione said. Both her and Ron hurried upstairs to get dressed. I suddenly wished I had that option. I was freezing in my choice of clothes. My dress worked great in a club full of people and dancing, but other than that, not so much.

“Like getting changed will make a difference. They might as well go out in their matching bunny slippers.” Draco muttered under his breath. I jabbed him in the ribs with my elbow and he turned his attention back to me, “Are we not going to talk about what happened between you and me tonight?”

“Nothing happened.” I said simply as I looked anywhere but his eyes. I was focusing intently on a picture of Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny on holiday together. It looked like they went to Greece, “It was just a normal night out at the club. That’s just the way it goes when there’s drinking and dancing involved.”

“You’re unbelievable.” Draco scowled. “You can’t just kiss me and then act like nothing happened.”

“You kissed me.” I reminded him, “And then I walked away.”

“As if you weren’t begging for me to kiss you. Pulling me in like that.” He seethed. “Don’t play dumb now. I know that’s what you were doing.”

“What would Pansy say?” I snapped. Draco fell quiet as he ruminated over my words. “I know you didn’t break up with her.”

“Yeah, but I also didn’t ever agree to date her. Certainly not exclusively.” He scoffed. Our conversation was cut short by the reappearance of Ron and Hermione. The latter walked up to me and handed me a jacket.

“Thank you.” I said as I wrapped the wool material around my bare shoulders. I instantly felt much better. I knew I was cold, but not that cold. We didn’t waste any more time dawdling and headed straight for Gringotts. It’s not like Draco and Ron wanted to make any more small talk than they had to. There were tons of Aurors and Ministry members outside of the building, and they stood in our way of the door.

“You can’t come in here.” One of them said gruffly.

“It’s fine. That one’s my brother.” Percy Weasley’s nasally voice called out. He beckoned us all forward. The auror shot Draco and I suspicious glances, and I was suddenly very glad to have accepted Hermione’s coat to cover up my arm. I knew Draco was thinking the same thing as he fumbled with the buttons on his sleeve to make sure they were secured.

“Good to see you, Perc.” Ron grinned at his brother. “We’ve missed you at family dinners recently.”

“Ron, this is serious. There’s no need to bring up family dinner” Percy scowled. “Hermione, Rory, good to see you.” His face scrunched up in confusion as he looked at the blond by my side. “Malfoy.”

“Weaslebee.” Draco said back, earning him glares from both brothers.

“I’ve got to get going.” Percy said as he turned his attention back Ron, “Harry is right over there.” He pointed to the young man who was talking with a few of the goblins who looked even more angry than usual, probably because they had been disturbed this late at night.

We walked over to him and he continued his conversation without acknowledging us. “Thank you for all your help and cooperation, Odbert.” Harry said graciously. “I’m sorry for all the disturbance we’ve caused here tonight. Our investigation shouldn’t take much longer.”

“I should hope not.” The goblin grunted, “You, we don’t mind so much, Mr Potter, but all of them...” Odbert waved towards the hoards of other wizards who were standing around, mostly doing nothing, “They are an inconvenience.”

“We’ll be on our way as soon as we can. I promise.” Harry reassured him. The goblin looked at him skeptically before walking away, and Harry finally turned to greet us. “Hi.” He said with a look of surprise. “You didn’t tell me you were bringing company, Ron.”

“You know damn well he isn’t my company.” Ron jutted his thumb out to point at Draco.

“I definitely remember you saying you wanted to invite him around for tea just last week.” Harry smirked as he made fun of his friend. It was far too easy to rile Ron up and Harry knew this better than anyone else. Ron began to grumble under his breath very angry thoughts, so Hermione stepped forward to talk to her friend.

“Rory had just arrived at our home when the break in happened. She needs to show you something.” Hermione looked over at me and gave an encouraging glance. I nodded and stepped forward.

“Harry, you told me to keep an eye on my Dark Mark in case anything happened to it.” I paused and waited for his reaction. He nodded his head in remembrance and waited for me to continue. I rolled up the sleeve of the jacket and showed him my exposed forearm. I watched as his brow wrinkled in confusion and he reached out to grab my arm to get a better look for himself.

“Did the same thing happen to you?” Harry asked, acknowledging Malfoy. Draco nodded and rolled up his own sleeve to show Harry as well. Harry looked between both of our arms in utter bewilderment. He didn’t know what to make of it any more than we did. “That’s so strange.” He muttered, “When did this happen?”

“Tonight, possibly around midnight.” I told him. “It just started burning and then it was back.”

“That’s around the time we think the break in happened.” Harry said thoughtfully. “It seems too convenient to not be connected somehow.”

“Did they take anything?” Ron asked.

“Not that we’re aware of, but the goblins are still checking to make sure none of the vaults have been tampered with.” Harry said.

“It’s not easy to break in here.” Hermione said. “It had to take some serious skill and knowhow. Do you have any suspects?”

“Not really.” Harry sighed in frustration and ran his hands through his hair revealing his lightning bolt scar in the process. “Anyone we might have suspected is already locked up in Azkaban.”

“Yeah, everyone except Lucius Malfoy and his son.” Ron glowered.

“Watch it, Weasley.” Draco glared at him. “My father has more money than is stored in all these vaults combined. Plus, we bank here too. Why would we need to steal from them?”

“There’s more than just gold down there and you know it.” Ron said accusingly.

“Ron, stop it.” Hermione said gently as she grabbed his arm. He seemed to calm down at her touch, but his face was still red with anger. Harry shook his head at his friend and gave me an apologetic glance.

“Look, I can vouch for Malfoy.” I assured them, “He was with me all night. As for his father... I can’t say for certain that he’s not involved, but I highly doubt it. The man has basically become a recluse. Isn’t that right, Draco?”

Draco shrugged. He seemed slightly embarrassed about his father, “Yeah. He hardly leaves his home these days.”

Harry cleared his throat, “That’s all good information to know. I think it’s best we all get some sleep now though. Rory, I’ll be in touch.”

We all nodded and went our separate ways. Draco and I hurried to re-cover our arms before we left. We were used to concealing them discretely, so no one noticed as we walked out of the bank and onto the quiet night street of Diagon Alley.

“Should we go?” Draco asked as he held out his arm for me to take so we could disapparate. I shook my head and started walking. “Where are you heading off to?” He asked as he followed behind me. I paused for a moment to take off my heels and held them in my hands. They had been hurting me all night, so I felt relieved to have the cool cobblestone street beneath my bare feet.

“I just want to check on something really quick.” I assured him, “It won’t be long and then we can go.” I kept walking until I came across my old apartment complex. I could see movement in my window as someone walked around, pacing. They seemed to be talking frantically and there were lots of hand gestures being used. If only I had been able to get into George’s shop for an extendable ear so I could hear what they were talking about so urgently. I wasn’t prepared for this whole spur of the moment spying endeavor, but Camille and Aidan were the only two others I knew around here who had been marked, so I wanted to see if they could give me any clues to what was happening.

“We should get out of here.” Draco whispered in my ear impatiently.

“Just a second.” I whispered back. The person in the window looked out at the street. I shoved us out of the light of the street lamp so we were cloaked by darkness and out of sight. I recognized her silhouette immediately. It was Camille. She was scanning the road to see who was out there, but she got bored after only a few seconds and shut the blinds and turned off the lights.

“That was weird.” I whispered. “I think she’s up to something.”

“Camille’s a weird bird, it could be nothing.” Draco rolled his eyes. “Let’s get out of here, please.” He was insistent, and I knew there wasn’t much else I could do at this time, so accepting defeat I grabbed onto his arm and with a loud crack, we were gone.

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