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Chapter 13: Chapter 13
Harry wasn’t hard to find. He was sitting on his bed, his forehead resting on his knees and his arms wrapped around them. Hermione sat on his bed and put her arms around him.
“Why Hermione, why would she say something like that? Why would she want me to think she doesn’t remember me?”
“Harry, she was just winding you up. She really didn’t mean anything by it. It was meant to be funny. I agree it’s not the smartest thing she’s ever done, but that’s what convinced me that she really is her old self. She is Ginny and she has recovered. So come on back to the hospital. She’s heartbroken and she needs you.” She got off the bed “Come on…”
“What did you say to me a while ago Harry? ‘Go and make it up. Don’t let it brew, get it sorted’. Now I’m saying the same to you.” Draco put his arm around Hermione. “Because it works Harry, and it’s worth it.”
Outside Ginny’s room once more Draco held the other two up. “You should do this alone Harry, just let me get everyone out.” Only Molly was with Ginny, and she was only too happy to give them some time alone. Draco held the door open for Harry and, although he didn’t need it, Hermione gave him a gentle push in the back. Going in, Harry closed the door behind him.
“Do we wait or go back to Hogwarts?” Hermione asked.
“I think it could be a while before he’s ready to leave. Let’s go.” He tapped on the door and poked his head into the room. Harry and Ginny were in a tight embrace. “Harry, we’ll see you back at Hogwarts, okay.” To Hermione he said, “We can go, we’re not needed here, our next problem will be prising their lips apart.” they walked to the hospital apparation point. Draco took Hermione by the hand. “Let me drive.”
They appeared standing by a large wrought iron gate set into two massive stone pillars. “Uh, okay Draco, this isn’t Hogwarts, so um… where are we?”
“Malfoy Manor or what is left of it. Which, looking at it, is nothing but a hole in the ground. Well, here goes.” He murmured a charm and the gates opened. They held hands as they walked through. Off to their right, about a hundred yards away stood a couple of temporary cabins. In one they found Draco’s builder poring over a set of plans. “Hermione, this is Bob, my builder. Bob this is Hermione, the future Mrs Malfoy.”
“Pleased to meet you, Hermione. We will need to meet soon to discuss the interiors of the new place. I assume it’s you I’ll be talking to and not this one with less appreciation of style than a baboon.”
Hermione smiled, “No Bob, you talk to Draco. He’ll know what I want; I’ll make sure of that. It’s nice to meet you too.”
Bob showed them the architect’s drawings of the house he was going to build. “It’s a five bedroom, three bathrooms, rustic exterior house. The master bedroom is en-suite, it has walk in wardrobes, windows in the two exterior walls so there will be plenty of light. The south facing wall has a small open balcony. Downstairs; a utility room off a large kitchen plus a reception room, living room and dining room.”
“It looks wonderful, Bob. How long will it take to build?”
“We don’t use magic to build places like these. I like the challenge of building the muggle way. My bricklayers, carpenters, plumbers and electricians are all time served and fully qualified ex-apprentices. It should be ready to occupy in four or five months. We still have some ground clearing to do so we’re planning on starting construction in about two weeks. But now, Hermione could you give the baboon and me a few minutes? There is something I need to discuss with him,” he dropped his voice to a conspiratorial whisper, “it’s about the mirrors on the ceiling of the sex room.”
“The sex… oh I…” she could feel the heat rising in her cheeks.
“He’s winding you up, Hermione, he’s not only a builder, he’s a pervert as well. Please give us a minute love, I won’t be long.”
“Okay, I’ll go look at the hole in the ground.”
“Thanks love, don’t fall in, will you?”
It was literally just a couple of minutes before she heard Draco call her name. He was walking briskly towards her. He was none too gentle when he grabbed her hand and disapparated them.
They re-appeared outside the gates of Hogwarts and started up the drive. Hermione was having to trot to keep up. “Draco, slow down, what’s the matter?” No reply. “Draco, talk to me please, what’s going on?” Draco stopped.
“Hermione, Bob’s just told me… something. Something I need to think about, to work out. It’s… it’s complicated, but it doesn’t affect us as a couple. Trust me please, let me work it out and I promise I‘ll tell you everything, just give me a little time.”
“Okay Draco, but I can’t help but be concerned.”
In the apartment they found a letter for Draco on the table. He read it and stuffed it back in it’s envelope. “Bloody hell.” Was his only comment. Hermione put her arms around him.
“Draco, you’re scaring me, please my love, tell me what’s happening.” He held her and they kissed,
“I need to think. I’ll go to my room for an hour and then I’ll tell you. Don’t worry please, can you do that? Just give me an hour.”
“Of course I can, I’ll see if I can find out anything about Harry and Ginny. Go on, I’ll see you in an hour, oh and by the way, I love you.”
“I feel better just hearing you say that. I love you too. One hour.” He went to what had been his bedroom. He left the letter on the table. Hermione picked it up and although greatly tempted did not open it. She did not recognise the handwriting on the envelope which suggested to her that the sender was female. Putting the letter down she left the apartment.
Hermione went to the Gryffindor common room. Neville was the only person there. “Hey there, Neville, have you heard from Harry at all.”
“Hi Hermione, you’ve just missed Professor McGonagall. Apparently Ginny has been discharged. She’s in good shape. She and Harry are spending the weekend at the Burrow and are coming back to Hogwarts on Monday.”
“That’s good to hear after the last few days.” She turned to leave. Neville stopped her.
“We all miss you up here, you know.”
“Thanks Nev. I miss it too.”
“About this thing with you and Malfoy. I just wanted to say that I hope you’ll be very happy together. I’ve thought for a long time that there had to be more to him than meets the eye. All the best Hermione.” She walked back to him and kissed him gently on the lips. Neville mentally crossed one item off his schoolboy fantasy list.
“Thank you, Neville, that’s nice of you. I appreciate it more than you could know. I’ll have to go, see you later.”
It took Hermione a while to make the return journey. Many students waylaid her to enquire about Ginny’s condition. All were relieved to hear that she would be returning the following week. In the apartment all was quiet with no sign of Draco. She lay down on the couch and tried to relax. It wasn’t many minutes before she heard Draco’s door open. Rising quickly she met him at the bottom of the stairs. He looked… strange.
“Let’s sit down, Hermione.” They moved to the couch where Draco picked up his letter from the coffee table. “Did you read this?” he asked her. It was only then that she noticed for the first time the crest of St. Mungo’s on the back of the envelope.
“No, I didn’t. I admit I was curious, but I didn’t.”
“Thank you, sweetheart. That means a lot to me.”
“So do you want to talk about it? Can you talk about it?”
“Yeah, it’s okay. It’s about my mother. She is in St. Mungo’s and apparently she is terminally ill. Bobby heard about it yesterday from his daughter, she’s a nurse. The letter confirms it.”
“Oh Draco. I’m so sorry. Oh God, this must be awful for you. When will you go to see her?”
“I don’t know that I will, Hermione. We did not part on the best of terms; in fact we parted on probably the worst terms you could imagine.”
“You… you won’t go to see her! Draco Malfoy, that is an awful thing to say. If you parted on bad terms, are you going to pass up what may be your last chance to put things right?”
“It’s her fault that we parted that way; she called me a traitor and a coward. Still think I should go and see her?
“Yes, I do. She’s dying Draco. Nobody deserves to die alone, especially not a woman with a son, and if your only reason is that she called you names, then you’re not the person I thought you were.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Just that it sounds like something you would have said a year ago when you were… someone else. I think that if you don’t go then the day will come when you will bitterly regret it.”
“That’s my problem, Hermione.”
“Really!? Shouldn’t that be ‘our’ problem? Unless, of course, you’re not planning on me being in your life much longer.” That remark hit home and pulled him up short.
“I’m counting on you being around for the rest of my life, don’t you ever doubt it. Look… I’ll think about it, sleep on it tonight. Alright?”
“Okay, and so that you can really think about it, perhaps you should sleep in your room tonight so that you will have no distractions.”
“That sounds like blackmail, Hermione. Are you saying that if I don’t go and see my Mother, you won’t sleep with me?”
“No Draco. I’m not saying that at all. It’s just for one night. Haven’t you been listening to me for the last couple of months? I love you, Draco, and I’m going to miss sleeping with you tonight, but I really think it’s necessary. You have a big decision to make and I don’t want to get in the way, but there is something I want to say.” She was quiet for a moment, “Draco, I know that, strictly speaking, this is none of my business but if…” she sighed heavily, “if you don’t go to see her then… I will. I’ll tell her about us. I think she has the right to know. She may even be glad that you found somebody to love who loves you too… even if it is a mudblood.”
“Blackmail and now threats. I don’t respond well to either of those things, Hermione. Why are you doing this?”
“Because I care for you and I’m trying to stop you hurting yourself. I’m going to bed now. Think carefully, Draco, please make the right decision.” Before she could move and without speaking, he left her on the couch and disappeared into his room.
Hermione winced as the grip on her wrist tightened, and she felt herself being apparated against her will. Reality returned and before she could examine her surroundings she was propelled forward to land in a sprawling heap on the floor. Her right knee throbbed painfully where it had made hard contact with the stone floor shortly before her head did the same. Voices penetrated her spinning brain,
“Well, well, what do we have here?” she knew that voice but the name would not come.
“It’s the mudblood, my Lord, as you commanded.” My lord? Voldemort! But how… She looked around to see a lot of black-clad figures pointing at her and laughing.
“Very good, Draco. I am pleased. There were two parts to my command, have you…” Draco? No, it couldn’t be… he wouldn’t do this. He loves me. He loves me. Icy fear gripped her heart. She turned her head slightly and there he was, her Draco, with an evil grin on his face as he spoke.
“Yes, my Lord, I have. She is not a virgin I can assure you.” Her heart now pumped fear tainted, and ice cold blood around her body.
“Good Draco, very good. How was it?”
“It was necessary to show outward pleasure, master, but inside I was cringing. She seemed to enjoy it, judging by the noises she made.”
“Really! I think we would all like to see that. No, not you Draco. Never let it be said that I order my followers to do something I’m not prepared to do myself. The table I think.” Hermione screamed as she felt herself being levitated, coming to rest on a large, dark hardwood table. She screamed again. All she could see was the leering face of Voldemort and his hands reaching for her. A sudden shout,
“No! Stop! Keep your filthy hands off her. I love her and you’re not going…” Draco, thank God, Draco.
“Do you defy me, Draco? A pity. Avada Kedavra.” She heard the sound of a body falling to the floor, her own voice was loud and desperate.
“Nooooo, no, Draco no. Please God, no.” She was shaking, sobbing. She could still hear Draco’s voice calling her name. Somebody grabbed her shoulders, forcing her back down, holding her. She screamed again, and again.