Chapter OneDisclaimer: none of the characters are mine, but belong to their proper owners.
Once upon a noon, Draco Malfoy and Neville Longbottom were sitting in the cafeteria of the Ministry of Magic, drinking coffee and reading newspapers. They could have also smoked pipes or cigars, but smoking was currently unfashionable in the wizard world, so they did not.
Despite sitting on the opposite ends of a stall, neither wizard paid much attention to the other: during their seventh year the two of them were half-upping each other and half-ignoring, and the year after that they ignored each other fully. Since many a British wizard believed that “if it isn’t broken, then it doesn’t need to be fixed” they continued in this vein even after graduating Hog-warts at a long last, and that’s what they were doing now, when Ginny “soon-to-be-Potter” Weasley made her appearance.
“Malfoy,” she said in her best scornful voice (after looking around to check – just in case – that Faith LeHane or some other friend of Malfoy wasn’t around).
“Longbottom,” Malfoy drawled out lazily, pointing in the direction of the other wizard.
“Oh,” Ginny flushed, and carefully thrust a large, dark grey, sealed envelope to Neville. “Hi, Neville. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but-“
“Let me guess,” Neville said bitterly, taking the envelope from Ginny but making no attempt to open it. “Their condition is stable, it hasn’t deteriorated, it hasn’t improved, and it hasn’t done anything. They’re very hopeful, of course, and encourage me to be hopeful, and they encourage Gran to be hopeful-“ He ripped the envelope open and looked at its contents. “Well, what do you know? I’m right on all counts!”
“Sorry Neville,” Ginny said in a small voice, even as she glared disapprovingly at Draco, who got up to leave the booth.
“What she said,” Draco replied, looking vaguely uncomfortable in that detached Malfoy way.
“Yeah, you should be,” Ginny began to wind up despite her intentions to the contrary, “since it was your aunt-“
“My aunt Bellatrix was killed by your mother,” Draco said flatly, “but... you’re barking up the wrong LeStrange for the moment. My aunt wasn’t that much smarter than my mother; she was just braver and bolder than mom is. My uncle Rudolphus, on the other hand... he could drive people mad just for fun in so many different ways, with our without the wand, he could, and – since he is still alive and at large – he still can.”
“And that’s all very fine, Malfoy, but what can you do?” Ginny snapped. Mentioning Bellatrix was a very big tactical mistake, in no small part because Molly Weasley herself was less than happy for having done the deed in question, and would rather keep it under wraps instead, for a number of reasons...
“Pardon?” Draco looked genuinely intrigued for a change. “What are you implying?”
“Do you know of any way to do something about them?” Neville said slowly. He didn’t like where this was going either.
“Dark magic made them thus, so dark magic should fix them,” Draco replied flatly. “It’s one of those magical sub-laws that are related to the law of simulacra.”
“Neville’s parents aren’t simulacra-“ Ginny began, but Neville interrupted her:
“No, but for all thoughts and purposes they might as well be. Malfoy, let’s settle this here and now. Can you, or can you not, do something about my parents’ condition?”
Draco didn’t flinch. “I can,” he solemnly replied. “That said, I do not guarantee success. Either I can make them better or worse. Is that clear enough for you?”
“Perfectly,” Neville nodded solemnly and turned to Ginny. “Ginny, I need your help with an Unbreakable Vow.”
Ginny nervously gulped. TBC...