Draco stood at the steps of Number 12 Grimwald Place. He had never had a reason to visit his mother's childhood home. But now, as a deserter hoping to make things right, he stood at the one place he thought the Golden Trio might be. Nervously, he opened the door and stepped inside. He turned to close the door.
When he turned back, he was greeted with the familiar sight of Granger's wand pointed in his face.
"What do you want, scum," she sneered, "and how did you find us?" He did not cower before he as he did in his third year at Hogwarts. Instead, he looked past the tip of the wooden object and straight into her eyes.
"I came to help," he answered coolly. "And for the record, this was my mother's home as well as Sirius'. Now, if I may politely ask, remove your wand from my face." He could see the shock in her face, and he smiled inwardly. "As to your next question, which I'm sure you're going to ask, I have no plans of helping the Dark Lord any longer. I no longer believe in what he stands for, and I am revolted by what he wants to do."
"Explains why you acted the way you did last year," Potter chimed him. Draco nodded.
"I began to open my eyes then," he continued, his gaze shifting to Potter. "I was revolted, but couldn't turn away. Since my family is no longer under the watchful eye of the Dark Lord, my mother encouraged me to come here. I think she knew you guys would be here."
"Still don't trust you," Weasley snapped. Everyone turned to him. "How can we be sure you aren't lying to us just to turn us in to Volde-"
"Don't," Draco cut in. "That's how they're tracking people now. If you want to keep going undetected, for Merlin's sake, don't say his name." Granger turned to Weasley.
"Ron, would he have said that if he was lying," she pointed out. Weasley glared at the platinum blond man.
"Fine," he growled. "But one wrong move, and we'll leave you for the Death Eaters to get." Draco nodded.
"Just to let you know, we're about to go steal a Horcrux from Umbridge," Potter informed. "Stay here."
"Where else am I going to go," Draco asked. "I step out that door, I put myself at risk of being captured by some patrolling Death Eater." Potter nodded thoughtfully.
"Good point," he mused. "We'll be back in an hour, no less. We'll go from there." Draco nodded and stepped aside, allowing them access to the door.
"Be careful," he instructed. "If you three fail, the Wizarding world is through." They nodded at him before stepping out the door.
He wandered the old house, taking in the surroundings his mother grew up in. He couldn't help but smile when he came across his mother's old bedroom.
Neat and orderly, just like she would want it.
He turned around in the small hallway to see the door to his aunt's childhood bedroom. He pushed the door open and entered, curious as to whether she was always as crazy as she is now or if that came with age. His silver eyes focused on a portriat on the wall.
The beautiful woman stared back at him, a soft, kind smile on her face. Her hair was brushed away from her face, and he could see a hint of joy in her eyes. He cocked his head sideways, somewhat confused.
"Bellatrix," he called. She nodded.
"From ages ago, young man," she answered. "You resemble my sister, Narcissa." He nodded.
"I'm her only son," he replied. "You watched yourself go crazy?" She nodded.
"Sadly, I did," she began. "Your mother became the favorite, because of her hair. I watched as Bellatrix became jelouse. Then your mother attracted the attentions of your father, Lucius. After that, it all went down hill." Draco gazed at her.
"You were so beautiful," he murmured. She giggled and looked away.
"Why, thank you," she responded, somewhat embarrased. "It is nice to hear such words after so long." Sadness glinted in her gaze. "It is sad to know what has become of her." Draco nodded.
"I'm hoping maybe to bring her back to some form of sanity," he stated.
"No one can bring back her sanity." He sighed, realizing that it was true. His aunt was far too gone to ever recover. "You're friends should be back soon."
"I know. Potter is hoping to live here when it's all over with."
"I would like that. I would like that very much." He smiled.
"I'll let him know." He turned and started towards the door.
"Nephew." He stopped and turned back to the portrait. "Will you be visiting?"
"I hope to, if Potter will let me." She smiled.
"Then I hope to see you in the near future." He smiled again, then turned to leave again.
No sooner had he entered the living room, he saw the trio apparate.
With Yaxley in tow.
Draco sprung into action. He grabbed Yaxley and threw him into the love seat, then grabbed Harry's hand to apparate with them. He landed with a thud on his back, and he could make out trees all around him. He heard the sound of someone in pain, and he heard Granger trying to sooth them.
"Harry, Malfoy, hurry," she called, and Draco scrambled to his feet. The last thing he saw before he passed out was Weasley's splinched arm.
"Now you can't bring up my fainting spell with the Dementors," Potters voice stated as Draco came to. Draco nodded before slowly opening his eyes.
"I don't handle something like that very well," he responded. "Saw pleanty of Death Eaters get splinched one too many times." Potter chuckled.
"This is the first time I've ever seen someone get splinched," he informed. Draco sat up.
"It isn't pretty, is it," he asked rhetorically. Both men turned as Granger entered the room.
"Ron won't be able to apparate for a while," she began. "He just isn't strong enough." Potter nodded his understanding.
"So what do we do until he's strong enough," Draco questioned. She gazed at the ground thoughtfully.
"I guess we just stay here until we have to leave," she finally answered.
Draco didn't bother to keep track of how long they had stayed in the forest. He was to amused with watching Potter and Granger try to destroy the horcrux, which, to Draco's dismay, was the locket of Salazar Slytherin.
"Why Slytherin's locket," he mumbled as he stood next to Weasley. The red-haired man shrugged.
"You-Know-Who was a Slytherin," he pointed out. "Must have seemed like a legitimate reason to him at the time." Draco nodded.
"Can't believe I'm saying this," he confessed, "but knowing that makes me ashamed to be a Slytherin."
"Can't believe I'm saying this," echoed Weasley, "but you're not too bad." The duo chuckled. "I wonder if we could have been friends long before this."
"Had it not been for my medling father, we would be," Draco answered. "That and, I must admit, I was jelous of you three." Weasley turned to him.
"You're joking," he blurted out.
"Nope," Draco confirmed. "You guys had the kind of friendship I could only dream of. You can count on one another. I can only trust Crabbe and Goyle about as far as I can throw them." Weasley laughed, leaving Draco to stare at him, somewhat confused.
"Each of them could sit on you and we'd never find you," Weasley chuckled. "I doubt you could lift them enough to throw them!" Draco smiled.
"At least I'm not the only one who found that funny," he mused. Their eyes met.
"Maybe we can start calling each other by our given names," Weasley suggested. "The whole last name thing is getting old." Draco nodded.
"It'll take some getting used to," he pointed out. "We'll have to earn each other's trust first. Don't expect me to change over night."
"I don't mate," Weasley replied. "But Hermione might. She's held on to some hope for you. I can't explain it." Draco turned to look at Granger.
"Maybe that's just her nature," he whispered.