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Who Needs a Reason by Renei
Scene 1 by Renei
It happened in the middle of my seventh year. The Dark Lord was gone, destroyed by my own rival, Harry Potter, and I was free. I had escaped the fate planned by my father, going into hiding rather than take the mark. I know everyone believed Snape was working against the Order, but things were much more complicated.
My mother was safe, or as safe as she’d ever been with Lucius, and Snape had hidden me away. When Voldemort fell, Snape went to the Ministry and voluntarily took Veritaserum. He told them of the UnbreakableVow he’d made to my mother and he revealed where I was hiding.
I, too, took Veritaserum and told of my role in the attack on Hogwarts. While under the potion’s influence, I described the threats I’d been faced with. A few others came forward to support my tale, including Saint Potter himself. He told them how I hesitated in the tower that night; how Dumbledore had promised sanctuary for my mother, as well as myself, if I would just accept. And he told them all that I’d not had the chance to make that choice.
That was enough to get me off of the most serious charges, but one other came forward who surprised me most of all. The youngest Weasley stood before the full court and said that she had seen me in the bathrooms, struggling with the task Voldemort had appointed me long before the night everything came to a head.
She then went on to remind people what a powerful motivator fear could be and how well the Dark Lord could exploit those fears. She reminded the court that stronger wizards, wiser wizards, had fallen prey to that fear. When she said that, her eyes went directly to Cornelius Fudge, the former Minister of Magic, and to his favorite underling, Dolores Umbridge.
It was her testimony that saved me. Her testimony that got me re-admitted to school and allowed me to be here for the announcement about to be made. I just wasn’t sure why she’d done it.
Headmistress McGonagall stood at the front of the Great Hall, arms raised for silence.
“Welcome back to Hogwarts! It is my pleasure to see so many of you returned to our halls after the events that took place this Christmas. We still mourn those we’ve lost to war, but now we can rejoice that it is over.
“You seventh years who missed the start of term,” Here, she glanced at me and then over to the Gryffindor Wonder Trio, “will find this half of term useful in preparing for your your N.E.W.T.S., which will be delayed until next spring. You will take them with the sixth years. Those of you who have been here the entire term will also be offered the chance to delay your N.E.W.T.S.”
So, now I had an extra half-term to prepare for my final examinations. This was probably a good thing, as the foundations of my world were still rather shaky from the last year and a half.
I turned my attention back to McGonagall as she began to speak about those of us who’d been cleared or who had fought.
“Some of you may believe the Ministry has cleared people who you think are guilty. I will take this chance to warn you all that there are NO students here who were Death Eaters. There is no one here who has not suffered during this war and none of us have the right to judge each other’s choices until we have been in their shoes.”
I knew she was speaking of me, one of the handful of Slytherins left. Whispers began to flow as soon as she sat, despite the disapproving glare she showed. I did not look up, merely sat and ate quietly. None of my housemates had sat near me, which didn’t surprise me, but there was nothing to shield me from the speculative stares of other houses.
What did surprise me was the hush that spread across the room as Ginevra Weasley rose from her seat, slapped her brother across his freckled face, and then came to sit beside me. I raised one eyebrow in question as I dared to look at her and smiled tentatively in response to the smile she gave me.
“You don’t have to do this, Weasley.”
“It’s Ginny. And yes, Draco, I do. I know how it is to have no choices and I will not tolerate anyone judging you for something beyond your control. That includes my own family. I know we’ve never been friends, but if you need anything, let me know.”
I was stunned. Here was this girl who I’d never been anything but horrid towards, and she was standing up for me a second time.
“Weas…” I paused at her look. “Ginny.” She smiled. “Thank you. I don’t understand this, but thanks.”
We ate in silence before she pulled out her potions book.
“This doesn’t mean I have to like your brother? Or his friends, right?”
She laughed then.
“Of course not. Ron’s a prat most of the time, and Harry is almost as bad. As if six brothers weren’t enough, I had to get a seventh, in Harry-Bloody-Potter. As for Hermione? She has to be cracked after spending so much time with them.”
I smiled then, not a smirk, a real smile. “Want some help with that?” I asked quietly, gesturing towards her potions book.
She grinned playfully. “Actually, I’m the only Gryffindor in years to ace potions. Even Snape was impressed by my grades. But it can’t hurt to add an extra pair of eyes. You probably need to review though, right?”
And that is how I wound up sitting with Ginevra Weasley, working on potions essays. Still not sure how I wound up holding her hand though. Doesn’t mean I want to stop either.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.