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Chapter 14: Vivid Dreams
Saturday, November 1, 1997
Harry sat silent between his two best friends. He gently placed his steady hand over top of Hermione’s fidgeting fingers. Guilt still lingered in his thoughts from his outburst on her only hours ago. She understood his stress and anxiety, but that just made it all the more unfair. His friends never stopped sacrificing for him and he could never repay them enough. So much pain and heartache felt by both Ron and Hermione. Harry knew that it was his fault that they never experienced a good childhood. But they always argued. His friends believed that their companionship was special enough to live through a few rough years. The door to McGonagall’s quarters creaked open and bright purple hair popped out.
“Minerva will see you all now.” Tonks said and held the door wide for the three students. Harry led them inside and couldn’t help but find the Headmistress’ nightly wardrobe enough to lighten the bleak mood of the night.
“Kingsley has contacted me; I must thank Merlin everyone was able to get out without harm. The Deatheaters destroyed everything we had though. Nothing was taken, just burned to ash.” McGonagall looked older than the Trio had ever seen her; she looked as though time had ravaged her mind and body.
“Where do we go from here?” Hermione asked, her voice matching the anxiety in her leader.
“Harry, do you still have Albus’ journals?” McGonagall asked and Harry quickly nodded. “Good, those journals are the only remaining link that the Order has to him and his plan for us now. You must protect them and allow no one to see them except for you. Albus entrusted myself and Remus to make sure those journals made it to your hands. Any clues or plans that Albus would have left would be encoded so that only you can figure them out.”
“But, there are nearly three dozen of those journals and I’ve only just gotten through his entries from his final year here at Hogwarts as a student. There’s just too much to read in such little time.” Harry said feeling annoyance for being told to sit back and read instead of fight and plan with the rest of them.
“This is no time to argue with me, Mr. Potter. It would do you well to remember who you are in this world. The time for fighting will come all too soon, but for now you need to figure out what Albus wanted for you.” McGonagall ordered and Harry let his eyes sink to the floor.
“What about a new Headquarters for the Order? We can’t return to Grimmauld.” Ron asked trying to pull the attention from his friend.
“We’re searching, Mr. Weasley. It will take some time to find a suitable place that is absolutely unknown to everyone.” Hermione listened, but all her mind could think over was if a decision was made before the attack. She knew without a doubt that the Order needed Draco, and she hoped dearly that they thought the same. But, if she brought it up, that would be just another blasted thing she turned around to be about Draco. She was beginning to feel crazy with so many things in her life revolving around the nuisance.
“How about the meeting? Are we taking a risk on the junior Deatheater?” Harry asked with his emotions obvious in his tone.
“It was a near unanimous vote. Too many members see our defenses in peril with the loss of Albus, so it seemed only natural. A letter has already been sent to Mr. Malfoy from my own desk to inform him of our request. It’s going to be his decision whether or not he joins us. We will never force a member of our side to fight with us against his or her will. If he decided against it, we stand where we are now. Losing nothing, and gaining nothing.” McGonagall explained.
“He’ll say yes.” Hermione decided and stared at the two boys next to her. “He just has to.”
“I surely hope so as well Miss Granger. Now, off to bed. It’s been too long of a night already.”
Hermione walked up the short flight of stairs to her bedroom and collapsed into the soft sheets. Tears streamed onto her pillow as she quietly sobbed. The tension eased on her muscles and she finally felt relief when the last of her tears fell. It had been too close. The Deatheaters could have caused an absolute massacre and torn the Order down for the last time. Though, the fact that they held back and only destroyed documents was even more unnerving. Obviously they saw no need to take lives from them. Are we that weak without Dumbledore? They don’t even see us as a threat. We’re going to die. She rolled onto her side and kicked off her shoes, coat, and pants and curled into the thick covers. Her exhausted mind and body easily slipped into sleep the moment her eyes shut. After a short while, the darkness began to lighten and Hermione blinked her eyes open. She was surrounded by endless snowy tundra and the thick snow blocked nearly all her vision. A black orb floated a few meters in front of her and she moved to step closer, but the snow was too deep to shift. Two smaller blue orbs blinked up at her. Suddenly she realized that it hadn’t been the wind howling at her.
“Easy, I’m not going to hurt you.” Hermione whispered and felt for a wand but couldn’t even find her pockets. The stark white wolf snapped its teeth in the air as she fidgeting and tried moving in the snow.
“What are you doing?” The voice had been coming from the wolf, but it was still growling viciously at her. She swallowed hard and caught her breath to calm her heart.
“I have no clue.” Hermione said breathlessly.
“Then get out!” The wolf chomped the air and took a jump forward causing her to scramble frantically a few steps away. The wind died slightly and the wolf’s ears dropped and it began whimpering. “Wait, why are you going?”
“Are you freaking kidding me?” Hermione shouted and gestured towards the bipolar animal. It kept whimpering and bowed its head down low. She reached her hand out towards it, but jumped backwards again as its sharp teeth lunged at her.
“Stop leaving!” The wolf howled up at the sky startling her to the ground.
“What do you want?” Hermione finally asked from her seat in the snow. Silently, the wolf circled her, watching her eyes carefully. With each turn, he came closer to her and slowed. When the wolf was just close enough to touch, it came to a standstill. Its face was on the same level as hers, and the warm breath huffing from its nose breezed over her neck. In a single motion, the wolf rolled onto its back and exposed its furry stomach to her. He looked up expectantly at her and began to whimper again when she refused to move an inch. Taking a deep breath, she leaned over the massive white wolf and scratched his stomach softly. Suddenly, his back leg started batting back and forth and low groans came from his open mouth, tongue dangling out and all. Hermione couldn’t help but smile at the puppy-like attitude of the animal. The wolf flipped up right and licked her quickly on the face before running off and disappearing into the thick blizzard. Hermione gently opened her eyes and stretched slowly, enjoying the relaxing feeling. The sun was already low in the sky and with a glance at her clock, she jumped from her bed. She nearly slept the entire day away already. Quickly she gathered up clothes and a towel before hurrying into her bathroom. If she rushed, she could still make dinner, and hopefully Harry and Ron as well.
Hermione raced down the stairs and into the common room, but immediately slowed as she noticed Draco half asleep on the couch with a book teetering dangerously on his stomach. She gently closed her door and the light click was enough to wake him up. Draco raised his hands and rubbed the sleep from his face as she moved towards him for the door.
“Where’d you escape to last night?” Draco asked trying to make himself sound nonchalant and uncaring.
“Why?” Hermione asked quirking her brow at him.
“I heard you skipped out on patrolling duties last night even after your little rant to me about how important a duty it is, especially to a Head.” Draco explained arrogantly and pulled the book back up to continue reading, purposefully avoiding looking at the girl before him.
“The veratim that was caught was taken somewhere safe. I spoke to it last night.” Draco finally looked up with curiosity and kept silent. He had no smartass comment to make, and he surely didn’t care if she knew how much he wanted her to explain. The blasted creature nearly killed him after all. Knowing why could never hurt. Hermione inhaled slowly and glanced around the room for a momentary distraction, but found nothing. “Who’s Abraxus II?”
“No clue, though I assume you do know-it-all.” Draco shot back in response and couldn’t figure out the sudden conversation switch.
“He was on the Black family tree.” Hermione prompted, but he only kept looking at her with confusion. “Abraxus Malfoy II, he was your brother. His face was covered up on the tree and some ancient spell was used to destroy his recollection. I couldn’t find him in any books about your lineage.”
“Granger, I have no brother. I’m not sure what weird things you Trio have been messing around in, but it’s melting your sane mind.” Draco said turning back to his book.
“I saw him on the family tree myself. I still have the books with the missing pages where he should be. How can you just brush this off? I’m telling you that you have a brother with whom you don’t even remember!” Hermione pushed quickly getting flustered with the prat. Draco slammed the book shut onto the table and stood up, towering easily over her.
“Most of my childhood I don’t remember, Mudblood.” Draco ground out with fury flashing in his eyes. “I have no solid memories from before I came to Hogwarts. They all look and feel like fucked up fever nightmares that I have to pretend could never be true.” He was yelling at her, only inches away from her face. She flinched visibly each time he shouted just a bit louder and she had to turn her face from him to avoid the frenzied anger in his eyes.
“What are they about? The nightmares?” Hermione asked softly feeling her stomach tie up in pity and sadness for the distraught boy. She had never seen him lose himself so completely, he looked like a cleaned up version of the boy she met in Voldemort’s dungeon.
“Nothing,” Draco growled and stormed away from her with his fists balled tightly at his sides. Hermione watched him retreat into his room and her heart dropped from knowing that he would stay in hiding for days again, and this time it was only her fault.
Draco wrapped his fingers over the edge of his tall window sill and sucked in the chilled evening air. Conflicted thoughts barraged him from the common room. Stupid Mudblood, Draco slapped his palm against the stone. Hermione debated quickly with herself over what she should do. The same choice repeated in her mind. Knock. Make it better. It’s my entire fault for even saying anything. Ultimately, he heard the soft steps of her leaving the tower. He leaned slightly out the window and caught a glimpse of her sunken head through the glass pane as she hurried down the tower stairs. He sighed and let her soft voice fall away as she moved through the castle, further and further away from him. The sun was quickly fading away on the horizon and Draco shied away from the creeping dark extending from the shadows. He hated winter, the light would die so fast and stayed away dangerously long. Until the sun finally extinguished, he stood staring off over the landscape. Hermione echoed loudly through his mind and he knew it wasn’t her, it was him. He allowed her to infect his thoughts, allowed her thoughts to mingle with his and create something foul. She somehow unleashed his deep buried nightmares that haunted him again. If he had even the slightest notion that destroying his own memories would save him, he would’ve had a room at St. Mungo’s by now. But, he knew all too well that a pesky little ‘Obliviate’ wouldn’t do the trick. He had tried it many times already since he changed. It was the brightest, blinding light he’d ever seen and for a beautiful moment he thought he was free. His room would come back into focus and he remembered who he was, why he was crumpled on the floor, and what was growing inside of his magic. Running was so useless. He could no longer be the safe coward he had so happily taken to being. Though the more he reeled over his pathetic state, the more Hermione spun a web inside his thoughts. She was stronger than he had ever given her credit for. She and the witless duo truly were above him. They towered close to the sun, above everyone else around them, and he, Draco Malfoy, was the roach hiding beneath a rock waiting for the lights to go out. He didn’t want to wait for the darkness. The darkness was not as friendly as he once believed. His family’s history and Lucius Malfoy’s lust for pain crystallized all those nightmares from his childhood. Each sweat soaked morning, gasping for air, wishing the images away of a horrible dream. But the scars and marks revealed in the morning light were never something his mother could disperse. The scars that were now gone; sunken deep back into his skin only to disappear without a trace. Without the evidence, the ceremonies never happened. All his pain and tears were never experienced. At least that was what Lucius had explained. Draco was insane according to his father. He felt insane. Absolutely and completely out of his mind. Especially with his new sudden want and decision.
Author's Note: Sorry the update was so long, I've been very busy. But, remembering about this story AND the awesome plot I have in store, I decided to get back to writing! Let me know what you think :D This was a short one, so the feedback would be greatly appreciated!