When Hermione Fights
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 Potter and Malfoy, a Never-Ending Fight, chapter 111

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Anzahl der Beiträge : 112
Anmeldedatum : 25.10.14
Ort : Bodensee

Potter and Malfoy, a Never-Ending Fight, chapter 111 Empty
BeitragThema: Potter and Malfoy, a Never-Ending Fight, chapter 111   Potter and Malfoy, a Never-Ending Fight, chapter 111 EmptySa Okt 19, 2019 1:43 am

Chapter beta: Dani
Chapter translator: Aivy

Draco’s POV

What didn't I do for Hermione? This had to be devotion!

Now, I had even allowed myself to get roped into going out and buying a wand in Knockturn Alley with the fool Potter. Hopefully, he didn't act as stupid today as usual.

At least the morning after Hermione's revelation, he had seemed quite accessible and thoughtful and had not forced her to reveal more. That she belonged to my family, was a member of the family, he really didn't need to know now, even if I wanted to be there when he found out; I wouldn't miss the fun.

I entered the cottage and hoped that Potter was ready to go, but as expected, he was still at breakfast and oh wonder, he apparently had a good time with Blaise. Well, maybe my fellow Slytherin, together with Daphne, had been able to straighten the Gryffindor's head in the last few days and the Twins had certainly also stood up for Hermione and possibly managed to conjure up Potter's very well hidden intelligence.

Hopefully everything went smoothly for her today. My thoughts weren't quite comfortable regarding the funeral. I didn't know what she had done with her parents but I was sure they weren't dead, even if it seemed otherwise. I wouldn't ask, though; she didn't want that and I respected that. Would Potter ever come this far to accept silence like I did?

The little chatting group hadn't noticed me yet.

"Not ready yet, Potter? I don't have all day!" I snapped at him, arrogant and displeased. Mischievously, I was looking forward to having him attack me again. I loved to quarrel with him and he always got into it immediately, hot-tempered as he was.

Potter reacted as I had expected. He jumped up passionately with an angry glare. How predictable, I thought contemptuously.

"What the hell, Malfoy? Can't you enter a room and greet normally?" he asked reproachfully.

Crossing my arms in front of my chest - I always did that in his presence to prevent myself from acting rashly - I measured him with a challenging smirk. He was really too fiery and predictable.

"What do you want to do, Potter? Hex me? Oh, well, now I'm scared," I mocked spitefully, then raised my hands into the air in a defensive gesture.

The others watched us calmly and sceptically, but didn't interfere. The Twins were probably already at work, Blaise would never interrupt me - he visibly enjoyed the scene - and the two sisters were much too shy and well educated for that. I watched calmly as Potter courageously pulled his wand, while I didn't reach for mine. He walked towards me and I smirked only further.

"And what now, Potter? Do you really want to curse me?" I asked provocatively. I openly smiled with an ironic twist to my lips.

He tried to tower threateningly over me and hissed, hot-headed as usual:

"I would really like to, Malfoy. Give me just one reason why I shouldn't. You're acting so arrogant here when this is Hermione's house. You order everybody around as if they were all your servants, but not with me!"

Groaning sorrowfully, I admitted to myself that I'd still have work to do with the fool in order to get rid of his nonsense. However, I would enjoy that. I knew Hermione wanted to turn him into a thoughtful tactician, and she recognized truly well hidden potential in him, for I had not yet discovered this in this stubborn skull. Although I assumed she would be right as always, I could really imagine something better than spending my time with Potter.

"I'm the boss here, haven't you understood that yet, Potter? Don't wave your wand at my face; that's silly. The snakes have to obey me, that's the way it is and the Twins do it, too. If you want to know why, just ask them. And believe me, if Hermione is here, it is the same if necessary. Respect is always very important for all of us. We love a hierarchical order! On the other hand, I also listen to what she says. Without her there wouldn't be any of this," I rebuked him firmly.

The fool still held the wand in front of my face. Now I had had enough. Did he want to stab my eye out? Thus, I pulled my second wand and took a step back. Potter remained stubborn as usual and snapped at me:

"I won't let you boss me around, Malfoy! You can forget that and if you approach Daphne or Hermione like that, I will also intervene. That's no way to talk to anyone here. Nevertheless, I am sorry that I forgot myself the other day and it will never happen again!" He was very upset. At least something he had understood, I acknowledged the end of his rant.

"Pah, be glad that we are not in Slytherin, not in Hogwarts. I talk to people in a completely different way there if it suits me. I'm really nice to everyone here. Ask your sweetheart, she will confirm it to you. And who was the one who insulted my Hermione so vulgarly? And you did not forget yourself! You deliberately hurt her because you know how it's done! You are the ass here, Potter. Also, you're the only one yelling right now," I rumbled deeply, but still in a deliberately controlled manner.

This blow went below the belt, but I didn't care and the fact that Potter grimaced painfully at the embarrassing memory only made me grin more broadly because my revenge was justified. If I wasn't allowed to beat him physically for it, then I would do it this way. He was not up to me verbally yet for a long time. Nobody hurt Hermione so much with impunity, not even her beloved Potter brother.

"Now put down your wand. What do you think you want to do? Really curse me here and now? Don't make me laugh, Potter! Because then you will be kicked out of school and the ministry will have you prosecuted faster than you can count to three. What do you want to do against me? My wand is not registered. If you do magic, you lose out! Remember one thing, Potter, I never do anything without thinking it through first. Whoever belongs to me, I always stand up for and everyone here has understood that, that's why they obey me and you will understand that, too... at some point," I explained growlingly, but resolutely. I wouldn't allow any objections.

"I don't need you," it came stubbornly from Potter.

"Don't be so sure. Hermione seems to have a different view," I said spitefully. A statement that Potter didn't seem to like at all, the way he grimaced.

Finally, Potter's brain cells slugishly started to move and he put the wand away with a resigned sigh. So my announcement seemed to work after all; my logic simply always won out.

"We haven't spoken the last word about it yet, but well, Hermione wants us to get along and we have plans. Are we going?" he actually asked with forced composure and I just nodded.

I was about to leave the room, but of course Potter had to say goodbye to Daphne. He went back to the table and kissed her on the forehead. Ew, I really didn't have to see her adore Potter and she really did, what a lapse in taste.

I waited impatiently in the hallway and a few seconds later he finally came to me like at a snail's pace. I grabbed one of the long black hooded cloaks hanging in the hallway and handed it to Potter, who looked at it questioningly.

"Put this on, Potter, otherwise you'll stand out like a sore thumb where we're going. One more thing: no discussions there and when I say that you should keep your mouth shut, or that you should keep going, then you do that, understood? Without pestering me, understood? Here you have to follow my every command immediately, otherwise it's too dangerous and Hermione will kill me if something happens to you, so trust me to get you out of there alive for once," I said imploringly to Potter, because I was vividly aware of the dangers and he had to understand that it was necessary that he really listened.

For the first time, he showed himself to be clever and intelligent, though not enthusiastic. He looked me in the eyes for a long time, thoughtfully, then only nodded carefully and put on the cloak. I also put my hood on again and told him harshly to do the same in order to cover himself completely.

"Potter, I don't like you and you don't like me either. Nevertheless, I ask you to give me your word that you will listen to me at all times. I trust that you will stand by your word, so..." I said with my usual icy and demanding tone of voice.

When it came to Potter, I wanted to be doubly sure. Not that he suddenly thought he had to freak out at the worst possible moment. His very green eyes scanned me carefully before he slowly nodded in confirmation.

"Well, Malfoy, I give you my word that I will listen to you and trust that you will bring me back here," he replied.

I now showed a very satisfied smile under my hood, which he didn't see, but I saw his unhappy expression on his face about this concession and was thrilled about it.

" Shroud yourself finally, no one is to recognize you and certainly not in my company," I asked him to finally put on the hood and rolled my eyes over his stupidity and pointed to the hood so that he would cover himself.

We left the cottage together and stepped onto the street. I would have laughed if it hadn't been so sad, a Potter and a Malfoy travelling in unison, unbelievable, but possible thanks to Hermione. Arriving under the big oak tree, I stopped and held my arm out to Potter grudgingly. After all, there was no other way, unfortunately, as he couldn't apparate. What could he do at all? I dared to ask myself that sarcastically.

Oh, my darling would have to make amends for that. Potter looked at me questioningly, I could outright feel it, although he had pulled his hood into his face and it was hidden.

"Come on now, we're apparting. How else are we supposed to get there? The fireplace in the cottage is not connected to the Floo network," I showed myself impatient and wiggled my arm.

At last, he carefully put his hand on my arm and I added: "Hold on tight!" Potter nodded and already we apparated directly into a side street of Knockturn Alley.

I already knew the dark, run-down alley well enough and liked some corners too, but Potter intensively scrutinized his run-down surroundings, his head going from left to right, which annoyed me and was far too conspicuous.

"You attract attention, don't stare like that! Follow me, don't dawdle," I ordered calmly, while rudely withdrawing my arm from him.

I didn't want to stay here any longer with Potter in tow than absolutely necessary and the boy attracted misfortune magically and so I urged him to hurry, because if anything happened to him, Hermione would give me hell. I headed purposefully towards the small shop where we had already bought the second wands for the Twins, and luckily Potter kept walking, still staying true to his word without hesitation.

Hopefully, he had really understood that it was dangerous for him here. Going by the hurried pace he was moving in now, it seemed he did. Was he afraid? I grinned to myself when I thought about the fact that Hermione always sneaked around here alone and at night. Even I would feel queasy in that situation. A woman shouldn't do that, my woman shouldn't do that, but if I were to veto it, I probably wouldn't be happy anymore, so I just had to trust in her skill and swallow my discomfort. On the other hand, I always went into the alley whenever and however I liked it and I knew she could defend herself, just as I knew that, thanks to my excellent education, only a few people had a chance against me.

After a few minutes, we reached the small shop silently and swiftly, and the sign indicated that we were heading for the right place, announcing the 'Dark & Hell Wands' store.

I didn't slow down, but pushed the old, creaking shop door open in stride, activating a bell, and Potter caught the door, closing it conscientiously behind us. Meanwhile, I walked towards Mr. Stock who was sitting behind his counter and had looked up with interest as we entered.

I didn't pay any attention to the dark and as always not very clean shop. I didn't know what Potter was doing in my back; only that he had fallen back a little, which I felt instinctively.

"What can I do for the gentlemen? The question came submissively and hesitantly from Mr. Stock, but we really didn't have time for delays. We'd better get this over with quickly.

"The gentleman here would like a wand,an invisible holster and that has to happen fast. We don't have infinite time, Mr. Stock," my words clanked with my typical arrogance and coldness, and I watched the man in front of me suppress a tremor as he heard my cold, commanding voice and he nodded his head quickly. I waved my hand at my back which made Potter hesitantly step forward while trying to pierce me with his eyes. Well, Potter, you won't get that far here by saying 'please'.

"But of course, but of course, as the gentleman desires," the shop owner confirmed resignedly, for he had apparently given up on finding out who was hiding behind the covering hoods.

"Then make haste, Mr. Stock, we're in a hurry. And don't be too curious," I ordered silky and slowly pulled the jingling bag filled with gold out of my pocket.

The greedy little piggy eyes lit up covetously and mentally he apparently already counted the contents.

"As you wish, sir. Would you then be so kind as to free your arms?" he turned submissively to Potter, who did as demanded and folded back the coat, revealing his hands and arms, and the magic tape measure started measuring him by itself, dancing playfully in the air around him.

Meanwhile, I had crossed my arms and bobbed my foot impatiently and hoped that we would quickly get this dangerous action over with. Fortunately, Potter was smart enough not to say anything and to accept everything in silence. He had also left the hood on. Wonders never cease! Unbelievable, but true.

The old salesman came back visibly nervous and loaded with many boxes from the back room where he had disappeared as soon as the measuring tape had finished measuring. He carefully dumped the boxes on the counter. My mood sank threateningly at the sight of the big mountain of wand boxes. The Twins hadn't even needed that many put together!

"What do you want with so many wands? Can't you narrow it down?" I snapped angrily. Mr. Stock looked at me nervously and submissively.

"The measurements of the gentleman allow many possible combinations and you do want a suitable wand, I suppose?" he replied meekly. I nodded brusquely, but hopefully Potter would hurry.

Thus the endless adventure began. Wand after wand passed through Potter's hand and he swung everyone, but unfortunately not with the desired result. After countless attempts, he had managed to make me anxiously suppress a flinch when he picked up a new wand to swing it by way of trial. Okay, if Potter wanted to, he accomplished to worry even me, because every time objects whizzed through the air, things broke or exploded loudly.

He really made a big mess. It's a good thing I wasn't the only one who watched Potter anxiously, because Mr. Stock also looked shocked under his long, earth-coloured hair falling into his forehead. His gaze became more and more concerned the more wands revealed themselves to be a failure.

So far, every swing had led to a worrying result, making the place look like a proper battlefield. How good that magic could fix everything, otherwise it would be very annoying. There was still one rejecting explosion after another, it was really gruelling and so I looked at Potter's hand again apprehensively.

How did the boy manage to be such a walking disaster?

That wasn't normal, I... What did I assume? That he was normal? Clearly not, but I also had not assumed that this would escalate like this. Even after what Hermione had revealed to us about him, I hadn't thought it would be so difficult. For heaven's sake, I myself also had outstanding magical abilities and it had gone quickly with me, but I had to admit that my magic wand was also a very special one. I grimaced sufferingly and Mr. Stock didn't seem happy either. How many fucking wands did we have behind us? I think fifteen or twenty. How many more would it need?

"Wait, wait,' shouted the old man excitedly in between. He obviously seemed to have an idea and Potter stopped at destroying the store.

"What kind of wood is your primary wand made of?" Stock asked out of breath.

"Holly," Potter's voice sounded restrained and deep out of the darkness. Very good, he was really capable of learning.

"Mhm... good wood, but very light... Maybe with the dimensions... A-hm. Wait a moment, I'll be right back and don't touch another wand," the man warned worriedly, hurriedly scurrying into his room and mumbling to himself. Potter turned to me, but he pulled himself together.

"Was your first one such a problem, too?" I asked. I could tell from the movement of Potter's hood that he nodded. Together, we turned back to the counter and pretended nothing had happened.

After a short time, Mr. Stock returned with two more boxes that he held reverently in his hands.

"So, I had an idea. Let's see if it works... here please...!" He opened a box and took a beautiful white wand from it. Potter wrapped his fingers around it, swung it and fortunately for the first time nothing destructive happened. Instead, a single flower appeared.

"Wait a minute, I'd like to see him handle the second one," he asked and handed Potter a very plain, brown stick.

He swung it and something happened which disturbed me very much: The room sat itself to rights again and repaired itself on Potter's silent order who probably had a guilty conscience thanks to the chaos he had caused!

That was really extraordinary, I had to admit with envy, and the salesman seemed moved and speechless until he caught himself, stuttering.

"A-amazing, really amazing... Yew wood, very poisonous, very headstrong, sturdy and at the same time flexible. Only suitable for very strong-willed people. Furthermore, the core is made from the hair of a Veela chieftess and since these beings are generally also very headstrong, it is a very special combination. It is very rare! You obtained control over a very special and rare wand, Mister, truly extraordinary," the man explained enthusiastically and I was also amazed. But I wanted to move on and so I threw the coin purse into the air in a high arc and Mr. Stock caught it skillfully.

"For your trouble. Come," I ordered Potter and turned around.

Potter had already received the holster earlier and so he hid his wand inside and followed me without hesitation. As I had said, wonders never ceased.

We left the store and I hurried back to the point from where we could apparate so I could get rid of Potter quickly. I also wanted to be home when Hermione returned; she would certainly need me today.

Potter kept up with me and had finally stopped looking around all the time. Most likely he was still too full of his amazing wand after the long search. But then I noticed a group of black-clad figures coming towards us.

I immediately recognized the Death Eater robes and the leader was unmistakable to me, just because of her gait. I hoped she wouldn't recognize me because I didn't want to see Bellatrix now. That would be just the thing to turn a bad day with Potter into an unimaginably crappy day with Bella and Potter. Terrific, that would be it.

That wasn't good, not at all. I noticed how Potter also recognized them. He slowed down, stopped and wanted to draw his new, invisibly hidden wand.

I had to act and I had to act immediately. Potter would throw himself into battle thoughtlessly, as ever, as careless as he was. Forcefully I grabbed Potter's arm and prevented him from pulling his wand, whereupon I guided him very roughly and determinedly with me into a narrow side street. This couldn't be true; such pigheadedness!

Why didn't he think? Did he want to kill us? How had he managed to survive the last few years, with that fiery temperament? Hermione! Yes, that was the only explanation!

Furious, I pushed him harshly against the hard stone wall, held him by his shoulders like a vice, blocked his view and path back into the alleyway with my body and snarled at him angrily before he could begin to rant.

"Forget it! Do you want to kill yourself? Kill us? You have no chance against her! If at some point you become a warrior and acquire the skills to fight her, then yes, I'll let you. At that point, you may try yourself at Bellatrix, but not now. Merlin, think about it! Hermione will kill me if something happens to you in my care."

Disconcerted, I ran a hand through my hair under the cover of my hood and pulled his own hood, which had slipped back dangerously, back into Potter's face. He still seemed to want to chase her, but I just pressed him harder against the wall by his shoulders.

"Let me go, Malfoy," he hissed angrily. But I remained firm and persevering, holding him firmly in place. It was good that I was stronger than him. Although he played Quidditch, he was quite untrained.

"Potter, think. What did Hermione tell you? First think, then act," I reminded him with forced calmness.

I knew she had told him that for sure, even though she had never mentioned it to me, but that was her motto and I seemed to hit the mark, feeling the tension fall from him and he leaned against the wall wearily. Good boy.

"If I let you go now, will you stay here and listen to me?' I carefully checked. I preferred to be on guard with him, I did not trust the hothead.

I saw his consenting nod by the movement of the hood, but I wanted to hear it.

"Say it," I demanded harshly.

"Yes, I'll bloody well stay here," he replied.

He seemed annoyed, probably because I was right, but it didn't matter now. He had to finally get his temper under control, otherwise we would have a dead Potter and even I didn't want that, though only because of Hermione. Well, it wouldn't be an advantage if he was dead, but sometimes I had fantasies... But well, that wouldn't happen. I said goodbye to my beautiful dream.

Slowly I loosened my grip on him, but remained alert. Then I began to explain, even managing to sound relatively compassionate.

"I can understand why you would want to kill Bellatrix. Who wouldn't? I mean, you have no idea how annoying she can be and she killed your godfather after all, but you wouldn't stand against her for even a second. You know what happened at the Ministry when you tried to fight her. You will still get your revenge, but you must learn not to rush in blindly, but to plan. This is the only way you can enjoy your revenge. What good will it do you if you fight against her and then die? Become a fighter, a warrior and then finally get your temper under control. Damn it, you're standing in your own way!

"Use your temperament and learn to control it. Think how often your imprudence has put people in danger. Not only yourself, but also Hermione and others. If one day you are up to it, I will be the last one to stand in your way if you want to give Bellatrix what she deserves. You can do what you want, Potter, but wait for the right time. Get that into your head. And now we should leave here as soon as possible," I spoke very frankly with him, but I thought he was more accessible to that than to a harsh order.

I noticed he was nodding again. Hopefully, he was thinking. I took a quick look at the alley where the group around Bellatrix had disappeared before I looked back to Potter and wanted to go back into the alley as he grabbed me by the arm and held me back:

"Why are you doing all this?"

"Not now, Potter, there's time for that later. We've got to get out of here," I snapped at him while I stepped back out onto the alley and realized he was following me.

I got the idea that the best thing to do was to go to the Twins, so we'd be out of here quickest, because the door to the store was closer than the Apparition Point, and when a bunch of Death Eaters were sneaking around here, others weren't far. I was worried, but I would never show that openly.

I headed purposefully towards the nearby alley where the door to my house was hidden, pulled my wand shortly before reaching it, and gave it a little flick. The next moment, the door appeared in front of me and opened by itself. I held it open, let Potter in quickly and threw a last, examining glance back, but luckily nobody noticed or paid attention to us.

Now that we were safe, I was relieved and allowed myself to breathe freely. Playing the keeper for Potter was really exhausting and very frustrating for me, Hermione really owed me for that.

I went on, opened the door that led from the small space in between to an office of the Twins' and entered. The sight in front of me put a big grin on my face, the tension clearly falling away.

I removed my hood and noticed Potter doing the same. He had entered behind me and stopped petrified when he saw the Red Devils just about to get really hot and steaming. One of the two, I still couldn't tell them apart because they looked so alike, just had impatiently and passionately stripped the shirt from the other, and threw it through the air in a high arc, while the other had already greedily sunk his hand into the open pants of the other.

A pleasurable groan escaped the other redhead, making me grin even more, and now they began to kiss wildly, demandingly and passionately as they moved onto the desk behind them. I could clearly see and hear by the moaning that the one Twin with his hand down the trousers had intensified his game, which the other visibly and audibly enjoyed. Really exhilarating and somehow beautiful to look at, but Potter had turned scarlet red and stood there frozen, obviously ashamed and embarrassed, his jaw so wide open that I feared I could make out his tonsils.

That made the whole thing even more funny for me and I couldn't help but clap my hands. Slowly, I applauded them and praised with a grin: "Great show, you two. I have to hand it to you; I really enjoy watching you every time."

The two red ones had turned their heads to us in dismay. They now got bright red heads and looked at us shamefaced for a moment, but then a diabolical grin appeared on their identical faces and they re-dressed, effectively ending their show, although they hadn't undressed that much yet in the first place.

Potter seemed to awaken slowly from his rigor and asked now obviously completely horrified:

"Aren't you embarrassed at all, Malfoy? To barge in here like this? And you? Isn't that embarrassing for you, too?" He looked from me to the Red Devils, who only grinned shrewdly and somehow didn't seem particularly embarrassed.

I just looked at Potter pitifully. "You really have to loosen up, Potter, and I'm afraid Greengrass is no help in that regard."

"Uh... no." A redhead answered in the negative, only to have his brother confirm it.

"Nah, Harry, why should it? It's just a pity you disturbed us."

"Or you might have liked to join in."

"Yes, but Draco's right, you need to loosen up. Too bad Daphne can't help you there," added a twin, smirking.

Then they grinned deceitfully and winked at each other, as if they were already thinking something up again. That would certainly get exciting for Potter in the next two months. But it should be all right with me, maybe he will become more relaxed. In his place, I would start panicking now at the latest. What they were planning didn't look good for him at all.

But well, in the cottage with the Twins he would certainly fare much better than in his so-called 'home' with his regular 'family'.

"What brings you here anyway? Didn't you want to go and buy a wand?" the other one interjected businesslike and stuffed his shirt back into his pants.

Potter still didn't seem to have caught himself and looked speechless from one to the other.

"We met Bellatrix." The sharp, combining mind of the Twins didn't need more explanation, so they went straight on to the next topic instead.

"Do you have the wand?" they asked in unison and I nodded, whereupon they gave me a contented smile and a thumbs-up.

"Come, let's go upstairs. It's more comfortable and our good Harry doesn't even know the place yet." The Twins led us up to the store and I looked around with interest, too, considering that it had changed a lot since my last visit. It was even more colourful, even more crowded and even more exciting. They had really done a great job of running the business and they would definitely be very successful with it. They had already had great success and the store paid off.

I watched Potter follow us slowly and saw his amazement when he entered the store, looking at everything openly.

"Wow, this is cool. How can you afford such a big business anyway? I mean, the thousand Galleons weren't enough for all that, were they?" he sounded perplexed.

"We still had some savings and our most beautiful gave us the same amount as you did and then Draco added the same amount," they summed up busily.

I noticed with satisfaction how Potter stared at me in disbelief. Well, I was always good for a surprise, never transparent.

"Moreover, the good Draco helped us with the business plan and leased us this gem of a shop here at special conditions," the Twins continued chatting happily.

"Wicked place... but way too modest for a Malfoy."

"Yeah, that they even own such a tiny shack at all, tsk tsk."

"Do you feel ashamed for it?"

"The house is yours, Malfoy?" Potter exclaimed in bewilderment. He had turned to me and almost squinted through his ugly round glasses.

I just nodded and he realized that this was probably too much information for him again; the gears were rattling in his head. But good, finally he was thinking.

If only he had kept it that way when Hermione had told him what she had done, he wouldn't have hurt her so badly. I was already angry with him again. There was something about him that riled me up.

"Well, we can talk about that later. I'm taking Potter back to the cottage now," I decided and the Twins nodded immediately.

"You can take a closer look at the store later, Harry."

"Yup, Draco's right... Better get out. Off you go!"

"The door into the side street of Diagon Alley isn't closed, is it?" I asked while I was walking. You never knew where the two agents of chaos were concerned because the door was in their chaos office.

This house had a total of five entrances. Two were in the chaos office, where one each led into a side street of Knockturn and Diagon Alley and again two entrances which were located elsewhere in this house and led into other side streets of the two alleys mentioned. With the main entrance to Diagon Alley there were even six entrances, but you never knew what it was good for.

"All free. Until tonight, Harry," they shouted after us.

I turned around and called over my shoulder, grinning: "If you hurry, you'll have time for a quickie before lunch break is over."

I heard Potter sucking in the air next to me. Really too uptight, the poor guy. Only good that Hermione hadn't told him what she was up to in bed and nothing about Minna. The dear boy would have died with the shock that it would have given him.

Before I opened the door, I pulled the hoods deep into our faces again. We didn't only have to watch out for the Death Eaters as the Order was looking for him, too. It would really be too annoying if they caught him here in my company.

We stepped out into the alleyway and I took up position, raised my arm and Potter immediately put his hand on my arm. That's how I liked it. As soon as we were under the oak again, he let go quickly and I wanted to say farewell, because the sooner I got rid of Potter, the better I thought, but he stopped me.

"I want to talk to you, Malfoy," he demanded vehemently and I wanted to refuse, but he played the only card that could hold me back.

"I want to talk about Hermione and you still owe me an explanation, Malfoy," he urged me earnestly.

"Pah, I don't owe you anything, but for Hermione I will come in with you. But only briefly, I don't have much time! Other people have to work, Potter," I explained to him matter-of-factly and impatiently.

I walked quickly towards the cottage and Potter followed me. We entered the living room. I threw my cloak over an armchair and poured myself a drink. I would never admit it openly, but after the shock with Bellatrix and our hothead here I needed it.

Amicably, I turned to Potter, holding a glass in my hands and pointed to him: "You, too?"

He nodded quietly and I poured him a measure of the Muggle whiskey, handed him the glass and let myself sink into the armchair. He looked at me attentively and astonished. Well, the fact that I could also be friendly and polite surprised him, but I would destroy the picture again straight away.

"Well, Potter, what do you want? Why am I still here" I asked him, casually crossing my legs.

He also drank a sip, but grimaced at once. Obviously, he didn't know what was good. Finally, he began to speak.

"So, why are you doing all this here, Malfoy? That's not normal for you. I mean, you accompanied me today, got me a wand and even stopped me from committing a big stupidity by going for Bellatrix. Why all this?" he showed me his lack of understanding.

I grinned. Okay, he slowly understood something, but probably not everything and so I grinned further mockingly.

"Well, Hermione is the reason, that's obvious," I replied casually and shrugged my shoulders. He seemed to think again while I drank with pleasure.

"What is that between you and Hermione? What has changed that you court her so much, that you even, as you say, need her? You never liked us ... liked her and now you fight for her and act as if it were the most normal thing in the world that you always stand up for her. So, explain it to me," he demanded with caution, but also quite vehemently.

He wouldn't let me out of his sight and I had to admit I was tempted to tell him more than Hermione would want. But I respected her wish that he didn't need to know yet. Nonetheless, I was itching to tell him that she belonged to me and only to me and that completely.

I leaned forward and began to explain slightly arrogantly, but fervently:

"Well, Potter, we are all changing and last year, the last holidays and the consequences of the TriWizard Tournament have changed not only Hermione, but also me. She came to me, offered me a truce and I have to admit that very few have confronted me as fiercely, as strongly and as confidently as she did! That impressed me. She showed me a completely different, fascinating side. Yes, don't look so surprised, you know her. If she puts something in her head, then she sees it through and something like that is just impressive. Especially when someone follows through as consistently in every situation as she does; so unscrupulously. And yes, I fight for her, and I gladly do so, because she deserves it. I stand up for my family without any ifs or buts!

After she had revealed so much of her childhood to me over the weekend, I was now able to comprehend her impressive attitude. She had learned early to fight for herself and control her extraordinary abilities alone, which was an outstanding achievement.

Potter had listened to me attentively, I noticed that, but he was now thinking. Well, finally he began to take Hermione's words really seriously, always thinking before he did anything. Had my words earlier been the trigger? I had no idea. The main thing was that he was slowly coming to his senses.

"What do you mean by that, Malfoy? You always have something in mind, never do anything without ulterior motives! Slytherins are not like that," came his reasoned objection.

Yes, he was right, but also someway not.

"I have already said it, I feel something for her... Man, do I have to repeat that so often? That sucks! Get it into your head, Potter, won't you? And ulterior motives, yes, sure, but none that would harm her. I told you already, I stand up for my family and don't harm it," I explained to him coldly and calmly, even if it annoyed me that I had to repeat that I felt more for her.

Man, now I had said that before Potter more often than I had told Hermione, really annoying and not my thing at all. I hated to talk about feelings. But I understood that he couldn't get his head around the concept of a family that held together when it mattered, as my family did, after all, he hadn't experienced it himself.

But Potter seemed to have to think further about my words. I saw something flashing in his eyes. Recognition and a glimpse of horror. What had he grasped now? Well well, I would surely learn it right away, he would certainly ask if he had the chance. And he did not disappoint me.

"You see her as family? You really mean what you say, don't you?" he echoed outright shocked.

Ah, he had understood something. Very nice, praise where praise was due. But I still couldn't resist to annoy him; a biting comment here and there was necessary.

"Very good, Potter, you finally understand. But don't worry, I won't take your big sister away from you. I'm an only child and I like the way it is," I said spitefully.

The brief confusion I could see on his face quickly gave way to the contemplative expression that was becoming customary quickly.. In fact, it was enough for me now, I had no time for this interrogation here and wanted to get up when Potter began to speak again.

"I'm not finished yet! Why wouldn't you hold me back if I wanted to fight Bellatrix? Would it bother you if she died?" He voice had taken on a sharp, hard tone.

Potter could hold himself differently if he wanted to. Potter also seemed to have really changed if he talked about or even considered that Bellatrix could die in a fight with him.

I laughed out loud. No, I really hadn't expected the question and I saw Potter frowning at my laughter. Okay, maybe this conversation would become interesting once again, because I was sure that he would ponder my statement that Hermione belonged to the family.

Family didn't equal family, he would learn that in time.

"I hate Bellatrix. She's so annoying and nasty since we retrieved her from Azkaban. Yes, don't look so horrified, Potter. On the Dark Lord's order... Unfortunately she's also family, but luckily only through my mother, so it doesn't count that much. Now, after we had brought her back from Azkaban, she lived with us initially, but Father quickly arranged for her to move back into her own house. Honestly, he doesn't like Bellatrix either. I can understand anyone who wants to wring her neck. Who wants to have such a crazy woman in their home?" I spoke with disgust in my voice. That woman could drive you crazy.

Potter seemed visibly shocked that I didn't like the good Bellatrix either. He probably wouldn't have thought that. Let's wait and see what else came next, because Potter raised some interesting topics. While he didn't react as he did days ago and jumped up shocked, his horror was still clearly visible.

"You were there when the Death Eaters fled? So many Aurors were killed. You are a Death Eater after all, aren't you?" he asked breathlessly and looked upset, but I interrupted him harshly. Did he want to start down that road again? Not yet, Potter, not yet... but it would happen soon!

"Potter, I do what must be done to survive, just like Hermione. I don't have to remind you that she has already killed too, do I? Yes, there were Aurors who died. Unfortunately, that couldn't be prevented. You have no idea what it looks like in a real battle, you only fight to get out alive. And I'll tell you again very clearly: I am not a Death Eater and you shouldn't make the mistake to infer from my father to me. I'm not a nice person, Potter - neither is Hermione, as she already told you - but the circumstances don't allow it any other way.

"Your environment in which you grew up in, as sad as it may be, has made you what you are today, and mine made me what I am. We can only try to make the best of it. I do what I have to do, just like Hermione. We can't get out of our environment, because besides the circumstances we don't... well, like, or even hate, there are people who are worth protecting and so we are committed to it. Everyone should make the most of what is offered to them and we do what is necessary. And you already know that, or why else did you lie in front of the Aurors? Why didn't you tell them that Hermione had the toad on her conscience?" I argued with unusual intensity and let my statement sink in.

Things like families that prevailed and that there were others who fought with you, he had yet to experience. That much had eluded him during his childhood and that he did not necessarily have the best picture of life, looked at everything sceptically at first and was very cautious about much, could probably not be blamed on him under the circumstances.

It was a miracle that he had nevertheless been able to build up such great trust in some people and had let Hermione get so close to him. A great achievement from Hermione. However, if I really thought about it, they probably had too similar a past and that was one of the reasons why they were so fond of each other. I understood very well that Potter sought and found the support with Hermione which he had never gotten from his family, because he wasn't such a strong and mature character as Hermione was.

He hadn't started fighting from an early age, but had surrendered to his destiny. We had to change that. He had to fight! But he had probably already gone through a hard but good school in the last few years. Without Hermione, he would certainly have been screwed.

After the last weekend, I saw the heroic deeds, which the oh-so-celebrated Potter had committed in the last years, in a slightly different light. He had never wanted to be the hero, I truly understood that now, yet I still didn't like him.

He clearly had a way of unconsciously taking the lead that was very different from my calculated way and I didn't like that. In our small group, I was the only one setting the tone. If I would allow anyone else to do that, it would be Hermione, but not him. And so I was aware that we would have many more fights and that Potter probably wouldn't even understand why exactly I continued to quarrel with him.

While I was thinking about all the new information I had recently received about him and Hermione, I watched him closely.

I noticed that he was changing from disbelief to horror to reflection. Arguments really worked best for him. His next, very cold question surprised me very much.

"How many were your doing?"

Well, we were already at the open confessions. Well, mostly open, the last truth still belonged to Hermione. This, however, was a truth of mine; I could tell it, but before that I had to do something.

Calmly, I began to speak while I pulled my wand.

"Before we continue speaking, Potter, I want to cast a spell on you. You can understand, I have to insure myself, all of us here, that you can't talk about anything. Hermione developed the spell and it protects us all. Not that you would deliberately betray anything, but you never know. So, may I?"

After all, I needed his consent and to my astonishment I saw knowledge shine in his green eyes.

"I know the spell; Snape already performed it on me!"

That surprised me. After all, what did Severus have to do with him that made him cast this spell? And what names had he woven in? That was important.

"Who did he include in the spell?" I asked with intrigue.

"Hermione and himself," he explained briefly.

"Okay, then I have to expand that. Do you agree?" I asked calmly and hoped he would agree now.

He nodded and that was enough for me. I pointed my wand at him, spoke the incantation "Credere Tacientiae" and added my name, the Twins, Blaise, Daphne and Astoria, and finally, as a precaution, Father's too. The first few, Potter took in calmly, but the next with growing surprise and the last one slightly shocked. But better safe than sorry and should he learn anything about Father, we were protected.

"Why did you include your father?" Potter wanted to know vigilantly.

Of course, this was the first thing that worried him. But well, I was able to answer briefly, even to partly reveal my real motives to him.

"Well, we're talking about Death Eater activities here and things my father started, so I included him. If you learn more about him, I don't want to have to cast another spell or worry about your secrecy. I told you before, I take care of my family."

This seemed to be plausible to Potter and he nodded, whereupon I continued businesslike.

"Well, you wanted to know how many there were? I was accountable for five and I'm not proud of it, but it had to be." I drank another sip while keeping my eyes on him.

He looked really shocked, but he didn't immediately jump out of his skin, as I had thought he would.

"And you really aren't a Death Eater? Then why did you do that?" he asked annoyingly.

Enervated, I yanked up my sleeve and extended my white, unblemished forearm.

"Here, Potter. Just get it! And why I did it? That should be clear to you by now: because I had to," I snapped at him.

"You can't always use that to talk your way out of things, Malfoy, you certainly have a choice," he protested stupidly.

I laughed dryly and spat out: "I wish!

Now he looked at me even more surprised and I began to explain calmly. Wow, you really could make progress with that where Potter was concerned.

"Just like you have to be the hero - even I have slowly realized that you don't want to be the hero - I also have to fulfill the expectations my family has of me. Not everything my family does is bad, believe me, Potter. It all has advantages and disadvantages and if the disadvantages start to outweigh the advantages, you just have to do something about it. You have to become more selfish, Potter, see that you get out of everything intact, just like Hermione does! Without her egoism and foresight you wouldn't have gotten out of some of the situations and without my help you wouldn't have escaped the toad's office!"

Potter really didn't want to be the hero and stumbled into his heroism as unprepared as he had into the magical world. His family expected virtually nothing from him or only that he would become as abnormal as his parents. That didn't mean it couldn't be any different for others.

"But... how, what? What did you do there to help us escape?" Yes, I had shocked him again and now explained further.

"Hermione just manages to communicate with me, even if we don't talk. We are very similar." I thought about how Hermione had pressed herself against me and how I had acted instinctively but correctly. "And who do you think keeps the Slytherins in check? Or recall your adventure in the DoM and the interrogation of the Aurors. Who do you think got the Slytherins to just tell the truth and help you Gryffindors like that?"

"Did you really support us?" he asked now in disbelief. I had really hoped he had at least understood this point now, but I guess I had been wrong.

"Potter, just get it into your head. I know that was a lot of news in a few days and I don't expect us to become friends. God forbid, I don't even want that! But just get it: I am not the bad guy and when it comes to Hermione I will do everything in my power to protect her. She needed help at that time. She didn't have to say or ask anything, it was natural for me to use my position with the Slytherins to help her by just letting them tell the truth," I explained calmly, but forcefully.

I watched him carefully, wanting to know if he had understood, but he just nodded absent-mindedly and seemed lost in thought. Probably a permanent condition with him in the last few days. Just as well; he finally used his brain. I waited a little longer, but since he said nothing more, I decided to take my leave. I got up and picked up my cloak. Even if the conversation with Potter had been amusing, I wanted to be with Hermione now.

"I'll go then. I can hear the gears turning in your head. Well, see you later!"

I was walking towards the living room door when I heard Potter getting up and trying to hold me back:

"Malfoy, wait!"

I turned around again and looked back at him. I saw him struggling for words and reluctantly pulled up an eyebrow while I crossed my arms in front of my chest. He made it really suspenseful. But then he finally spoke, actually rather insistently and forcefully, and approached me further.

"I will warn you only once, Malfoy. I will keep an eye on you. I stand by Hermione and accept that, even if I find it hard to understand why, she has chosen you. But I trust her. What you told me today gives me a lot to think about, even more than I already had, but I guess I won't be able to get around that for a while. Oh well. My opinion about you is not yet set. I will see whether your words will continue to be followed by deeds before I pass judgement. I was absolutely serious that I would not sway back and forth, but will always support Hermione and so I won't leave her alone among you snakes. No matter what she does, she is my sister and I stand by her!"

Well, finally he had got it and didn't disappoint Hermione. He did what she had hoped. Our conversation had yielded results and the fact that he didn't trust me immediately after a few conversations and our short meetings also somehow spoke for him. He even garnered a bit of respect from me because he finally managed to make a firm and secure stand, providing his opinion which he had thought through before.

He remained sceptical and if he wanted to measure me by my future behaviour, my deeds, he would likely experience even more surprises. After all, he had already seen today and in the last days that I was not who he thought I was. I had many faces, like all Malfoys. It also showed that he was thinking and becoming more mature, which was urgently needed.

"Well, Potter, then you will finally do what Hermione expects from you, what she deserves, namely to support her. And I think it's good that you want to measure me by my deeds, which I'm sure you'll rate differently now that you know more. Well, that would certainly be it for today. I really have to go now!"

I wanted to go, turned around, but again he held me back, held me by the arm. What else came now?

"What else is the matter, Potter?" I snarled at him brusquely, but he did not step back and instead scrutinised me unfathomably.

"Why are you helping the Twins? What do you hope to get out of it?" he finally asked sceptically.

Ah, the fact that the Twins were such vehement advocates for me seemed to give him a headache. However, that I had helped them had a simple reason, which I now also gave him. It didn't matter today anyway, after so much openness.

"I like them, quite simply. I like the way the two agents of chaos go their way unperturbed, do what they want and don't follow expectations. One has to support so much self-confidence and you have to admit that Molly Weasley is no real help for her children. She's more of a nuisance and the Twins have grown up!"

The last sentence, I spat out disgusted, because the way this mother hen patronized her children, especially the Twins, tried because they didn't run in the tracks she had imagined for them, was really annoying. The two had grown up and probably earned more in a month than their father in a year.

He seemed really speechless now and I took advantage of that and hurriedly left the living room. Walking out of the hallway, I called out:

"See you soon!"

Then I saw to it that I disappeared before Potter could think of any more questions. In retrospect, I had the shocking thought that he could compete, at least in part, with Father in his annoying way.
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Potter and Malfoy, a Never-Ending Fight, chapter 111
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