“What are you playing at?” the angry redhead asked him.

“I'm sure I don't know what you are talking about. I thought we were dancing, not playing?” Draco smirked.

“You know what I mean!”

She glared. He was still smirking.

It was an Inter-House Cooperation Week. Generally, Draco hated them but this time it was different. This time, they had a Saturday evening dance where the dancing was compulsory and same-house partners forbidden.

“Relax, Weasley, it's just a dance,” Draco said.

“There is nothing 'just' with you.”

“Why so paranoid?” he mocked.

“Me? I'm just sensible. You, on the other hand, are a Slytherin. Paranoia is a requirement of membership in your house,” the girl mocked right back.

Draco laughed. Weasley had spunk. He'd had no idea this would be so much fun! Draco had bet Nott that through the evening, he would dance with at least a dozen different girls, skipping no more than two dances, and that all his partners would be exclusively Gryffs. Weasley was the sixth and, so far, she was the most fun he'd had in ages.

“Not bad, Freckles, not bad at all,” Draco said in a way that could be taken as a compliment as well as an insult. He pulled the scowling girl back to his chest and swirled her in a complicated step pattern, but Weasley kept up effortlessly. “I didn't realise you had enough room to practise ballroom dancing in your shed. What did you call it again? A Rabbit Hole?”

“The Burrow! Why did you ask me to dance?”

There was a small crease between her eyebrows. She looked surprisingly fetching with her flushed cheeks and peeved expression.

“Why did you accept?” he asked her with amusement in his voice.

“Because Professor McGonagall was standing right behind me!”

Draco gave a satisfied nod. “And smiling quite approvingly too, I might add.”

“You planned this, didn't you! I can't believe it!”

It seemed that Weasley was ready to thump him, so Draco reaffirmed his grip on her and started another series of turns. She would have fallen if she hadn't followed. She was the best dance partner he'd had all evening. Her fiery temper and angry words made the experience even better.

“And your strict Head of House is still overlooking the dance floor, don't forget that.” Openly grinning now, he steered her closer to the Scottish professor. The girl was still scowling but didn't make any efforts to pull away until the end of the song.

But, as he escorted her back, she surprised him again by saying, “You know, I'm actually glad you're suffering from paranoia.” At his raised eyebrow, she elaborated, “I'm just glad you don't have a dual personality. This one's bad enough.”

Draco laughed for the second time. He would make sure he'd dance once more with Weasley.


Draco struggled to stay above water. His heavy boots were dragging him down, so he tried to kick them off, but the laces were tightly bound, and without the help of his hands, he would never get them off. He tried to get rid of his blazer jacket, but remembered that he still had his wand in the inner pocket. Frantically praying that he hadn't lost it in the water, he searched for the hawthorn stick.

Yes! There! he thought as he struggled to get it out of the pocket while trying to stay on the surface. The moment his fingers touched the wand, his heavy boots vanished and the actual swimming became possible. Now he could think.

Water, water, water everywhere...

His heart still pounding with adrenaline, he Disapparated as far as he was able. Now that he was prepared to appear in water, he managed to stay afloat. Draco looked in every direction. There was still no sign of land. Rigidly trying to think of the same direction, he Apparated again a dozen miles or so.

Not good.

The water was still all he could see. Draco Apparated a couple of times more. His limbs were becoming numb from cold and it was difficult to swim, but he was trying not to think about it.

Was it possible to make a Portkey to another dimension? Apparate. If so, were there dimensions with only water in them? Apparate.

It was difficult to breathe, much less think.

Apparate. Better not to think of it. Apparate. Don't think. Apparate.





Astoria was something of an enigma. That's what had drawn him to her at first. Now, it was that feeling. “Are we going to meet tomorrow?” he asked, though he knew the answer already.

“Of course, silly. You think I could go a day without seeing my boyfriend?”

Draco smirked. “Of course not. How foolish of me to think so.”

He took her hand as they walked along Hogsmeade's main street. Her young, smiling face was turned up to him and he couldn't help but smile back. Draco knew the smile she wore. The put-on naivety, the hopeful and yet greedy glint in her eyes. What was she greedy for? He hoped it was for him.

“I could Apparate us to Diagon Alley next Hogsmeade weekend,” he suggested.

Astoria almost jumped for joy. “Really? That would be brilliant!”

Yes, greedy for him. Greedy for what he could offer her, at least. Draco was glad he had so much to offer. The challenge thrilled him.


By the time Draco reached land, he wasn't even sure he had made it in one piece. A part of him thought that as long as he got some sleep it didn't matter, but he also knew that if he fell asleep right then, there was a chance he wouldn't be waking up. It was so very cold and he was so very, very tired.

Suddenly, he realised that he had to have dozed off, since the dog he was looking at was morphing into a man and then walking towards him on two legs. Funny. If he weren't so tired, Draco would have laughed.


Once again, Evan burst into Harry's room without knocking.

“What?” Harry barked, annoyed.

“We've got him!” Evan shouted. “Malaysian Auror Department just contacted us!”

“What? What are you talking about?”

“Draco Malfoy, Harry! They got him during some raid on Malaysian werewolves. Can you believe it?”

“Werewolves? What was he doing with werewolves?”

Evan shrugged happily. “Who cares? Can I go? I've always wanted to see the islands.”

Harry nodded. “Take Weasley with you.”


It was already very late in Malaysia when they got there, so the local authorities took care of the paperwork fairly quickly; everybody wanted to go home as soon as possible.

“We're finished here,” their Malaysian contact said in very good, although accented, English. “But I doubt the hospital will allow you to see him at this time. I suggest you spend the night at the hotel and try in the morning.”

“Hospital?” Ginny exclaimed. “Why is Draco in hospital?” she asked, just as Evan demanded, “You have guards there, don't you?”

The dark-haired man's face was full of surprise. “Guards? I didn't realise his life would still be in danger! Let's go!” And without another word, he darted towards the fire place.

In a moment, he was already gone, and neither Brit was sure what name the Chinese Auror had uttered. So when they finally – after a couple of wrong Floo stops – entered the hospital's lobby, their Malaysian contact was contentedly leaning on the reception counter. He smiled.

“Mr Malfoy is all right, but under the circumstances, I decided to get him discharged immediately, so you can take him to Great Britain as soon as he gets dressed.” He gestured behind him with his thumb. “He's in there. His medi-wizard says-”

He didn't finish because suddenly no one was listening to him. Apparently, Ginny and Evan had thought of exactly the same thing, at exactly the same moment. Having given each other barely a glance, they charged for the door that Malfoy was supposedly dressing behind. Evan blasted it open and they barged in, their wands at the ready.

They stopped abruptly, Ginny's wand tip directed at Malfoy's half-clad chest, Evan's between his wide, surprised eyes. All three froze.

“Where's your wand?” Evan demanded.

Malfoy swallowed and blinked, his hands still raised to the buttons of his shirt. “Bedside table.”

Ginny summoned it and took a small box out of her pocket. She opened it and reached out to their captive. “Take it.”

The blond obediently touched the button inside the box and was instantly teleported to his cell. Both Aurors exhaled simultaneously.

“That was close,” Evan said, rubbing his forehead.

Ginny nodded.


Draco was being escorted down the hallway when he heard a familiar voice full of surprised outrage.

“You!” He turned slowly and saw Pansy standing not five feet from him.

She raised her finger dramatically and spat, “You!” Her face was a mask of hurt shock. “You are supposed to be dead!” Angry tears spilled onto her cheeks and she drew her wand. “Ava-”

In a matter of moments she was disarmed and dragged away. Soon Draco found himself in the same old interrogation room that he was already used to.

“Am I under arrest?”

“Yes. We've already notified Mr Briggs.” Stevenson was slowly walking around the table Draco sat at, and Ginevra was leaning on the wall somewhere behind his right shoulder. If it was their tactic to intimidate him, it was working.

“I don't need him,” Draco said. “I haven't done anything wrong.” He felt silly saying it. It might have sounded courageous and noble in his head, but once said, it sounded utterly naive. If they hadn't believed the story told by Auror Wei, they probably wouldn't believe it coming from him either. Perhaps he would need a lawyer after all?

“Then why did you run?” Stevenson asked. It seemed that Ginevra was on a silent watch again.

“I didn't,” Draco bit out, angry despite being scared. Happy as he was about being alive, he would hate to spend the rest of his life in Azkaban.

“Really? Then why were you in Malaysia when we caught you?”

The polite surprise in Stevenson's voice made Draco fume. He was staring silently at the wall in front of him, and for a second, he was tempted to not answer. Fortunately, he thought better of it.

“You didn't catch me,” he said quietly, pronouncing the words exactly as if breaking chunks off an ice boulder. “I was waiting for someone to come and get me. It was I who asked Auror Wei to contact you, wasn't it?”

Stevenson paused his pacing behind him, but his calm “did you” sounded just as disbelieving as everything else he had said so far.

“Didn't you ask him why he contacted you in the first place?” Draco asked bitterly. “Or did you jump the ocean with your wands drawn just after hearing my name?”

Stevenson came into his field of vision again, but just as before, he simply walked on, not even looking at Draco.

“What happened after you left the Headquarters two days ago?” the Auror asked, as if Draco hadn't even said anything.

Draco held back his sigh and said matter-of-factly, “Came home. Found Astoria's trinket on the table, touched it, teleported to Merlin knows where in the Pacific. Almost drowned, Apparated about a hundred times until I reached the shore. Got caught up in some weird werewolf raid, spent two days at the hospital with some kind of fever, was attacked by two dim-witted Aurors, and teleported back here. Was almost killed again. Any questions?”

He was going for shock, yes, but the effect he got exceeded all his expectations.

“Pacific? You mean the ocean?” the male dimwit asked.

“Could have been the Indian Ocean, hell if I know,” he started with contempt, but his tone faltered when Ginevra suddenly sat down next to him and gently put her hand on his arm. The touch burned him through the two layers of material. “I was lucky I had my wand still on me,” he said, trying to seem unmoved.

Then, feeling on top of the world under the worried gaze of chocolate-brown eyes, he explained everything properly, starting with seeing the silver cup on his bedside table and ending with him being taken to the hospital.


The woman was staring at the far wall. “You aren't letting him go this time, are you?” Pansy asked through gritted teeth.

“Let's start with your own actions, Pansy, shall we? Could you please explain why you tried to murder Mr Malfoy just now?”

“Because I saw what he did! All right?” She stood abruptly and turned to Harry. “I saw what he did.” Suddenly the strength left her and she sat back down, looking at least five years older than her actual age. “I'm so tired of being afraid.”

Harry nodded compassionately. “You weren't really with Stephen Cornfoot that night, were you?”

Pansy shook her head. “No. I convinced him that we should give each other alibis the next day. He was one of the people borrowing money from Astoria behind Draco's back. I told him that he didn't want to become a suspect.”

“And he believed you?”

Pansy shrugged indifferently.

“So, what happened that night?”

“Astoria and I were supposed to meet just as I told you, but some time during the day she sent me a note asking to come later. And I... I did.” She sighed heavily. “I thought she had taken another lover.”

Harry's eyebrows shot up. “Another lover?”

“Besides me.” Pansy looked defeated now. “We were lovers and we loved each other. At least I thought we did. I did,” she added more quietly. “That night I-I...” She sighed, worrying her purse between her hands, and said, “The night that I Flooed in, I wanted to confront her about who it was. Her new lover. I had been psyching myself to do that half the night and when I finally got there...” Pansy shuddered. “I saw Malfoy... with his back to me, knife raised... and... There was so much blood. He... he kicked her and screamed, shouted... and... and I just stood there, frozen to the spot. I...” Finally the flood gates opened and Pansy started to cry. But it wasn't the hysterical display of nerves she displayed the morning after the first murder. This time it seemed genuine: the sorrow, pain, regret.

“Are you sure it was him?”

The woman nodded. “I didn't see his face, but his hair is not something you can really mistake for someone else's. And... I've known him for years. I'd have realised if it were someone else with the same hair.”

“And you clearly saw Draco Malfoy stabbing his wife?” Harry purposefully stated the full name.

“Yes,” she said quietly but with conviction. “When he started turning around I Flooed to Diagon Alley. I panicked, I have no idea why I didn't say just 'home' or the address. Thank Merlin I didn't, of course, but I was just lucky. I'm sure that he only heard the Floo, and maybe saw the flames but had no idea who it was. Maybe he thought it was Theodore?”

“Why do you think so?”

“Well, Theo's dead, isn't he?”

Harry nodded. “And what did you do when you reached Diagon Alley?”

“I Apparated home.”

“Why didn't you tell us that in the first place?”

Pansy shook her head, as if confused. “I was scared. I wasn't sure you would have believed me and... I was scared.”


Pansy looked at him as if he were mad. “Malfoy, of course! Astoria told me such stories about him, you wouldn't believe! He's an animal! The way he just... viciously. I have never seen anything like it.”

“You realise that if you had just told us what you saw, he would have been under arrest until the trial, don't you? There is no way he could have harmed you.”

“But it's his word against mine, isn't it?”

“That, and the motive,” Harry said disapprovingly.

“Yes, I realise that now. I'm sorry.”

“Did you tell your husband?”

She shook her head. “No. No point in putting him in danger.”

“He didn't know about your relationship with Astoria?”

“No, he knew. We never kept these things from each other. He had lovers too, but I don't think he understood about me and Astoria.”

“Didn't understand what?”

“How close we were. He never cared to find out.”

“I presume the letters Draco found were written to you?”

Pansy nodded.

“We'll need to view your memory in the Pensieve,” Harry said. “It can't be used in trial, because memories can be tampered with, but it helps if the prosecution believes in his guilt.”

Pansy nodded calmly and Harry's eyebrows furrowed. This was bad. Very bad.


“It's not like I don't believe in blood purity, I do! It's just...”

“I understand.”

“No, Astoria, you don't! It's...” Draco threw up his hands. They always said they understood when they clearly couldn't. How could they? He was the only Malfoy heir. “I was supposed to lead the DE Youth Movement.” He sighed as she moved her hands up the lapels of his jacket in a soothing manner.

“I remember. We were all surprised when you declined.”

“I-I just couldn't join because... I'm... I'm not...”

“You don't have to tell me, Draco.”

“But I want to tell you.” The problem was, though, that even a year later, he himself didn't know why he hadn't joined. How on earth was he supposed to make her understand?

“You don't have to tell me because I already know.” She smiled gently. “You are just not like your father.”

He smiled back, relieved. Sometimes she just got him better than he did himself.


“Now, tell me how Mr Malfoy ended up in the Pacific.” Ginny was quite angry. In fact, she was livid.

Pansy's eyebrows furrowed. “How would I know? And – wait! What do you mean in the Pacific?”

Harry thought it was a very good performance, much better than the 'Malfoy-tore-her-dress-up' act.

“Cut the crap. We know that you turned the cup into a Portkey.”

Almost an hour later, it was clear that Pansy Zabini would admit to nothing. Yes, she tried to Avada him, but it was a spur-of-the-moment thing, not an I-charmed-a-Portkey-to-kill-a-man thing. Her solicitor demanded a Mind-Healer's examination.

Ginny was so furious she wanted to spit.


“You don't understand, Ginny!” Harry exclaimed. “I don't care if Malfoy gets a life sentence. I'm sure he's done something to deserve it! My problem is that Pansy will get only attempted murder and a holiday at the resort for crazies! I know she's the one that charmed the blasted chalice!”

“But look on the bright side. If she's crazy, she's useless as a witness against Draco.”

“There is that, yes.” Harry didn't look very ecstatic at the prospect.

“So, you don't think he did it?” Ginny asked hopefully.

“Merlin's beard, Ginny! Someone is chomping their limbs off to make sure we'd think he did!”

Ginny sat, sighing. “Good. I thought I would have to convince you.”

“No, just the Wizengamot.”

“Great.” There was no real joy in her voice.

“Pansy's memory clearly shows Draco doing it,” Harry stated.

“So we just need someone who would be smart enough to brew Polyjuice!”

“Brilliant.” Harry's voice dripped sarcasm. “That narrows it down considerably. It's what? Only half of wizarding England?”

“Less than half, I think. They'd have to be able to brew it successfully. But yes, I understand what you are getting at.” She thought for a moment. “What about Pansy being in on it with the murderer?”

“Possible, but I don't think so. The last interview was the first one where she didn't over-act. I think she genuinely thinks its Malfoy.”

“So we're back to nothing then? Oh, joy!”

“Not exactly. We are pretty sure that it wasn't Pansy or Malfoy. Unless he planned for us to suspect him.”

Ginny snorted. “Right.”

After a while, Harry said, “So, junior investigator Weasley, what's our next step?”

“Check everybody's alibis once more?” she answered morosely.

Harry nodded. “But only some of them.”

“You mean Blaise?”

“Yes. And Cornfoot.”


“So you don't know who Theodore Nott was and cannot explain why he was receiving a monthly check from your wife. Is that correct, Mr Sanders?”

“What? From my wife...!”


“We know you supplied Theodore Nott with a steady income, Mr Cornfoot. Why?”

Stephen Cornfoot sighed. “I knew you'd find out some time.”


“What were you paying Nott for, Ms Lloyd?”

“You mean..? What! No! That is to say...”


“Mrs Abbott, can you tell us why your name was on the Theodore Nott's debtors' list?”

“Me? I have no idea what you are talking about.”


“I've never paid Nott anything.”

“Almost two thousand galleons a year, it says right here. It doesn't sound like nothing to me, Mr Malfoy.”


“This is a notebook Theodore Nott was keeping. Your name is in it. Care to enlighten us as to why?”

“Did dear old Theo keep a diary? Why, I never knew! What did he write about me?”

“Mr Flint, do not take us for idiots.”

Marcus Flint seemed confused. “You mean, you are not?”


Evan threw up his hands. “This is getting us nowhere!”

“I agree,” Harry said. “How many more people are there in the notebook?”

Ginny sighed. “About forty.”

“Brilliant,” the men said simultaneously. They looked at each other for a moment and then away. Ginny was having a hard time holding a giggle in.


“Look, all right, I give. I really was paying Nott a bit, but not because of gambling debts or anything criminal. And it wasn't that big of a deal. I could live without him holding the secret. It was just a bit of a friendly service between friends.”

“What was it he kept a secret for you?”

Gerald Gelding sighed. “A business venture. Nothing worth killing for.” He shrugged indifferently. “I dropped the contract about a year ago. That's why I stopped paying Nott.”

“Won't they sue you once they find out?”

“Nah, Huges and Son are a respectable firm. They won't be admitting to making such a blunder. It was more of a case of them not doing their homework and me omitting certain truths. As I said, nothing worth killing for.”


“We want to know what really happened that night, Mr Flint.”

“You and I both. But for some reason, we all got quite merry that night, so I don't remember much. We've never really drank that much before, but that night we did. I think Blaise even threw up at some point.”

“And by 'threw up' you mean he did it in front of you on the Higgs's otherwise pristine floor and fluffy carpet or-”

“God, no!” Flint's face was one of utter disgust. “No, he went to the bathroom and I'm pretty sure he threw up, because he spent a bit of time there.”

“Can you tell us at what time it was exactly?”

Flint grimaced. “Somewhere between eleven and two?” He shrugged. “Sorry. Told you, drunk.”


Draco knew it was a bit of a cliché, but for years, he had thought of his life as before and after meeting Astoria. At first, the after was thought of with joy and excitement, then with contempt and finally resignation. Now there was just that – now. A blurry mix of hazy now and vague images of the past. The only thing that was so inconspicuously absent was the future. There was only one thing to anticipate and Draco wasn't keen on anticipating the trial.

At the moment, he was staring at the grey wall. Fifty-nine stones. He counted. Draco had always thought that the prisoners stared at the windows or doors while sitting in their cells, but that would have required the presence of hope. And there was none. No hope, no future.

Once, Draco had given up a chance for love because he had thought it hopeless. And then he met Astoria. She was a force of nature and he succumbed to her charms. Yes, that was what he deserved, he had thought later: a fresh breeze turning into a hot, dry desert wind.

Now, Ginevra was his oasis.

She came every couple of days to tell him what they were doing to help him. She told him that they were a bit closer to finding the real killer, but he knew it wasn't true. He pretended to believe her, to still have hope. He wished she wouldn't say those things, but he never told her not to. What if she stopped coming? Would she come after the... But he wouldn't think about that yet.

“Would it kill you to use my name?”

“What? Ginevra?”

“You know what I mean,

“Oh! You mean that plebeian butchering of a noble name you seem to favour?”

“Yes, that! Oh, noble one.”

“Probably.” He smirked.

“Probably? Probably what?”

“It would probably kill me.” He enunciated every word as if she were simple.

Ginny rolled her eyes.

After a pause he said, “Ginevra.”


There was a pause again, during which he just watched her watching him, and then he said, “I just wanted to say it. Ginevra.” He smiled.

Draco heard footsteps. More often than not, they passed his cell, only to stop behind some other door, or fade into nothingness down the corridor. Draco couldn't help but look at the door every time he heard them, nonetheless. This time, though, they stopped just behind his door. It opened and a young woman stepped in.

“Mr Malfoy, I've been appointed as your new solicitor.”

Confident pose, professional smile, and a distinct lack of bushy hair. Granger had indeed changed. Draco's eyebrows shot up. “What happened to the old one?”

“He resigned.” She stepped to the small desk at the far corner.

Draco clenched his teeth. They both knew what had really happened. Ginevra shouldn't have... “I don't need your pity or your charity.”

“Oh, it's not charity. Believe me, you're going to pay me handsomely whatever the outcome.” She opened her briefcase. “And I would never even dream of pitying you.”

He scrutinised her for a moment and then nodded. “So, what are my chances?”

“It's too early to say for sure, but not stellar.”

Draco smiled a bit at that. Her matter-of-fact attitude was refreshing. “Tell her I said thank you.” Not that he really thought Granger could get him out of here, but if there was a top lawyer in Wizarding law, that was Hermione Granger-Weasley. Although she didn't specialise in criminal law exactly, she was a well-known champion for hopeless cases. Which suited him fine.


“You were very patient with Astoria,” Ginevra said quietly.

“No, Gin, patience is Blaise's virtue, not mine. I have been proud, not patient.”

“I don't get it. If you were proud, then why didn't you divorce her? She didn't love you, she was cheating on you. Why stay married?”

Draco shook his head slowly. “That's going to be one of the things the prosecution will lay on thick, won't it?” He scowled in derision. “Should I have admitted that a manipulative gold-digger tricked me into believing that she loved me? Should I have admitted that I was so bloody lonely that any bint with a half brain saying the three magic words made me pop the four-word-question and the vault key?” Draco didn't quite dare to look at the small red-head next to him. “Should I have admitted that I'd been so utterly desperate to have anyone to care about me?”

“You had just lost your parents and you were only seventeen.”

“And she was fifteen!” he all but shouted. “A girl two years my junior tricked me into a marriage, Ginevra. Can you blame me for not wanting to admit to it?”

She shook her head. “No. But you still should have divorced her.”

“Had I known it would turn out like it did, I would have.” Draco could feel Ginevra's gentle gaze on his face and it warmed him. “I thought it amazing how she supported my struggle to change sides,” he continued. “Did you know that I was supposed to be a leader to the Death Eater Youth Movement? It was only a lot later that I realised how lucky I had been that the opportunity to sell me out to the Dark Lord had never been presented to her. I was truly a fool to have trusted her so explicitly.” His tone was calm but resigned. “It was only about two years into the marriage that I finally admitted to myself that she was fake. It was at some Ministry charity event. You were there... I saw you smile.”

“Me?” Ginevra's freckled face scrunched up in confusion.

“Yes. You've always had a hundred different smiles. And the one that lit your face when you were in love was special. I had never seen such a smile on Astoria's face.” Draco smiled slightly at her. “Ah, here it is now. One of those amazing smiles you have.” He cupped her face gently as his heart thudded away in his chest painfully. “Shh! No, don't tell me anything.” He put his finger on her mouth. “Don't tell me I'm mistaken. If I am, I don't want to know. It's probably the only positive thing I'll be taking with me to Azkaban. And don't tell me if you do,” he continued quickly before she had a chance to open her pale pink lips. “It would be too painful to know that you do, and never be able do anything about it.” Those lips. In all probability, he would never be kissing them again.

Then, he had to look away so he wouldn't see the truth in her eyes. “Astoria never smiled at me any differently than at other people.” He was quiet for a moment. “She only had a small variety of smiles. Most people got her polite and indifferent smile; sometimes, she graced people with the cheerful smile, full of laughter. I loved that one. It was very contagious. And then there was the needy, playful one that I somehow got confused with loving. Only when I noticed her sending it to other people besides me, did I understand what it really meant.” Draco's tone turned bitter. “It was the smile of an arrogant little girl who knew that she would always get what she wanted, no matter what.”

Draco hated himself for not being able to enjoy his time with Ginevra without spoiling it with the memories of his sordid past. And he hated himself for the inability to tell her the full truth about it, about himself.

“Do you want to know a secret?”

“What secret?”

He saw that Ginevra was more than confused with his constant topic changes, but just for a moment, he couldn't help but toy with the idea of telling her everything. He leaned closer to her and whispered into her ear.

“I deserve it. All of it.”

“No! Don't say that!” She jumped up from the cot, by all signs ready to give him a piece of her self-righteous mind, but he wouldn't let her.

“Even if I didn't kill my wife, I deserve the Kiss. Ever thought about that?” Draco stared intently into Ginevra's eyes, half-wanting her to believe his words. “You didn't really think I was the repentant pillar of the wizarding society, whose image I have so carefully fostered through all these years, did you?”

“No! I won't let you talk about yourself like that! The trial is tomorrow, you must have hope! What happened was not your fault, Draco!”

“Wasn't it? How do you know that? I cheated on her too, you know. And I hated her, more than I've hated anyone in a long time. How do you know that the supposed burglary was really meant to free me of the marriage contract?” He was now standing very close to her, squeezing her upper arms. “Pansy saw me killing Astoria. Who's to say that I wasn't planning on staging a bigger mess, killing Walter and stuffing his pockets full of Malfoy money? I could have claimed self-defence later.”

For a moment her look was full of horror. “You didn't...”

“No.” He let her go. “But I thought of it often enough. I wanted to kill her. I even wrote some fool-proof plans down. We could tip the prosecution off to search in my London town house." Draco stepped away from her, facing the wall. “Leave.”


He heard a mix of anger and exasperation in her voice. He didn't turn around. “Draco, look at me. I won't leave until you do. Draco, please!”

“I said leave.”

She came to face him, but he wouldn't look at her. He wouldn't react to anything she did or said. He wouldn't.

“I'll see you tomorrow,” she said.

Yes, tomorrow. Everyone will be looking at me, but I will be watching you.


His stomach lurched as he stood to leave his cell.



“Now tell me honestly: what are my chances?”

“Like I said-”

“No, Granger. No molly-coddling now. I know the odds are not good; I just want to hear you say it.”

The rather short woman in front of him stood straighter. “It's not looking good, Malfoy, not good at all.”

Draco nodded. “Thank you.”


Author notes: There's nothing sadder than a chapter without reviews... (Yes, yes, I'm a review whore.) Pretty please? ;)

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