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Penitence by star_lite84

Format: Novella
Chapters: 8
Word Count: 17,718
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild violence, Scenes of a mild sexual nature

Genres: Drama, Romance
Characters: Hermione, Draco
Pairings: Draco/Hermione

First Published: 03/05/2016
Last Chapter: 10/11/2017
Last Updated: 10/11/2017

Summary:



Banner by: darth vader @TDA
All students in attendance of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry during the years 1990 to 1998 shall henceforth be subjected to an exchange program to ensure the tolerance of magical blood. Each student shall endure a one month stay in the hosting family’s homes to develop an understanding between worlds.


Chapter 1: The Letters
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A/N: I have had the idea for this story in my brain since ~2005…just never really thought about how to put it all together…but lately, it has been hounding me to be released…it will most likely be a slow update, I have a life after all, and another story to finish. But I haven’t stumbled upon a story that’s anything like this, so hopefully you’ll enjoy a new take on an EWE story.

 

Penitence

Chapter One: The Letters

 

Ministry Decree No. 547

All students in attendance of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry during the years 1990 to 1998 shall henceforth be subjected to an exchange program to ensure the tolerance of magical blood. Each student shall endure a one month stay in the hosting family’s homes to develop an understanding between worlds. Students shall be required to report on their stay to the Department of Magical Education at the end of the program. Failure to report will be met with the harshest punishment under Wizarding Law and a fine of 50,000 galleons.

Subject to Approval by the Imperial Wizardry Members of Section XII.JW-1998

 

~*~

 

Dear Mr. Malfoy,

This letter is to inform you of your placement within the muggle world. As stated in the Ministry Decree No. 547, you are to promptly report to the Ministry of Magic to register your wand before signing in at the Department of Magical Education on July 1st at 9:00 am. A DME official shall meet with you to go over the guidelines and restrictions during your stay with your host family. At 10:00 am, you will retrieve your wand, and the DME official shall escort you to your assignment. You are required to stay with the host family until July 31st. At which time you will return to your home in preparation for your guest that will arrive on August 1st. Failure to report to the Ministry, stay the appropriate length of your stay, or threats made toward your host family shall be punishable per the Decree. The report of your assignment shall be due no later than 11:59 pm on September 1st, 1998. We look forward to your cooperation in this matter.

 

Muggle Host Family: Drs. Henry and Erica Granger

Guest Arriving to Malfoy Manor, Wiltshire on August 1st: Miss Hermione Granger

 

Respectfully,

Griselda Marchbanks

Head of the Department of Magical Education

Lead Wizarding Examinations Authority

 

~*~

On the outside, his remained unchanged. He handed the letter to his father without looking at him. His father, on the other hand, was in mid-sip of his morning coffee when he the last line. The normally stoic head of the family, faltered slightly and began to cough as the hot fluid went down wrong.

He recovered quickly, looking thoughtful as he passed the letter along to his wife. His father reached for his fork to continue with his meal. His mother held the paper further from her face, as she was without her readers. With her nose higher in the air as she read it, it gave her the appearance of looking down upon the situation. She sighed as she raised an eyebrow at the parchment. She folded the paper and set it to the side. Reaching for her cup with dainty fingers, Draco noticed the slight shaking of her hands. If he wasn’t looking for it, he would have missed it entirely.

“You’ll have to start packing.” She said before she took a sip.

 

~*~

Two hours east of Malfoy Manor in Heathgate, Erica and Henry Granger simultaneously looked up at the kitchen ceiling after hearing something being dropped on the floor above.

Hermione had dropped her book. She could not believe what she had just read. The Ministry had just paired the two most volatile pureblood and muggleborn together for this ‘project!’ They had to be out of their minds.

She closed her eyes and tried to remember to take deep breaths. When she felt her heartbeat return to normal, she glanced out her bedroom window, silently cursing the white fluffy clouds that mocked her. She had just got her parents back and settled in their home, when they heard about the new decree. While she took all things from the Ministry seriously, she was just too busy mending the relationship between herself and her parents. It had been a long, confusing year, and filling them in about all the dangers and accomplishments had been trying. She thought in the back of her mind, it would be obvious that she would be placed with the Weasley’s. It was her second home for the last few years after all. But this… the room around her was going black.

The tunnel vision was back. She closed her eyes again and held her palms to her eyelids.

‘No! I will not let that git get to me!’ she scolded herself as she took deep breaths and blinked her eyes.

When her vision returned to normal, she picked up the book she dropped, inspecting it for damage on the spine. When it was ruled that it was, in fact, undamaged, she placed it on her bed. She stalled, inspecting her room for anything that was out of place. Once she ruled that her room was perfectly in order, she carried the letter down to the kitchen.

Her parents fell back into their normal routine quite quickly. Her father was busy at the stove, keeping an eye on the bacon, while her mother stirred her coffee and flipped through the morning paper. They would be leaving shortly for their office. They had sat together, late into the night when they finally returned, to remain unanimous on the cover story Hermione had put in place. A sabbatical, a once in a lifetime chance to live in Australia for a year, to enjoy some time with their daughter before she went off for her last year at the prestigious boarding school she attended for the last six years.

She watched the calmingly normal scene, as the sunshine filtered through the kitchen window. She felt as though the weather was completely against her. News like this should come with a dramatic rain storm, complete with thunder in the distance. As she stared off, deep in her thoughts, she never heard her mother talking to her. It wasn’t until her mother grabbed her elbow that she realized she was being addressed.

She jumped slightly at the contact and crumpled the letter in her hand.

“Is everything all right, darling?” Erika asked gently, removing her hand.

“Yes…yes, of course.” She answered as she shook her head.

She handed her mother the letter as she looked over at her father, giving him a small smile. Her mother read the letter, taking in all the details of the assignment. She slowly looked up at her daughter to confirm.

“We’ll be expecting a guest next week.”     


Chapter 2: A Muggleborn's World
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A/n: typed this up faster than I thought...

 

Chapter 2: A Muggleborn’s World

 

“Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.” –Unknown

 

The house was clean. So why did she have an obsessive need to make sure everything was in its place. She must have walked through the guest room at least ten times. Her mother had washed and changed the sheets the night before, her father had cleaned out the closet and dresser.

“A great excuse to donate things we haven’t worn in years. A good excuse for your mother to go shopping.” He said as he folded another sweater.

Hermione found herself standing at the end of the bed glancing around the room. She could go through it with a white glove, and not find a speck of dust. So what was she doing? She always liked the guest room. The wall behind the bed was a medium charcoal coal, while the rest of the room was coated in ivory. The floor was cover with a light gray carpet, the room was barely used so it still felt cushioned under her feet. The sheets were white, but at the end of the bed was a spring green blanket. Not exactly in the Slytherin color scale, but still green.

The room only had one window, but it had a lovely bench seat under it. It had a view of their small backyard. The grass was a brilliant green, her father had just trimmed it over the weekend, and she could still see the lines the lawnmower left behind in its wake. In the distance the bell at St. Jude’s Church began to toll the hours.

Hermione closed her eyes.

‘6…7…8…9…… 9 o’clock. One more hour.’ She thought as she took a deep breath.

With one last glance around the room, she smoothed the already perfect spring green blanket and went across the hall to her room.

~*~

Her parents had taken the day off in anticipation for their guest. Her mother was currently in the pantry that housed their washer and dryer. She was folding the towels she started earlier that morning. Hermione’s father was sitting on the couch reading the most recent dentistry journal, wisdom teeth extractions seemed to be the topic of the month.

She tried to read her book, but found over the last half an hour she glanced over the same paragraph. Every leaf that blew past the front window of the living room, every shake of the branch, the neighbor walking their dog down the street made her heart race with anticipation. She just wished they would arrive, so that the stress would disappear. She knew she was lying to herself, as soon as he arrived, the rest of the summer would be nothing but stress!

The past week had started with more tunnel vision, but she tried to keep herself busy with cleaning and organizing to take the anxiety away. At night she found it hard to shut her brain off. She was never trusted sleep aids, magical or muggle created. She told herself she had to learn to cope and shut down on her own. That’s when she found herself mentally writing the stories of the last seven years in her head. How she met a quiet boy on the train that had lost his toad, which lead her to meeting her two best friends. She thought about how hard it was to adjust to magical schooling, finding that the bullying he suffered through during primary had followed her into the wizarding world. How she was determined to show that a muggleborn could excel just much, if not more than any other student in the school. She laughed when she thought about the one term Harry was actually performing better than her in Potions, all because of that stupid book. Before she knew it, she was fast asleep dreaming of the pleasant memories.

Yet, now, it seemed the darkest part of her recollections was going to literally walk through her front door. The last time she had seen Malfoy, he was in the Ministry, preparing for trial. She had been there to support Harry as he testified about his accounts during the war. The Department of Magical Law Enforcement had also asked her and Ron to stand trial as well. The boys had no problem retelling the accounts of the past year, but Hermione had spent enough time in the limelight. She wrote multiple scrolls about what she had seen, what she had done, what others had done. Harry had told her that they read them at various points of the trials.

The day she saw him, was the same day Harry was going to testify that Narcissa Malfoy had lied to the Dark Lord in order to save her son. It was odd to see him in any emotional state, other than indifference. But that day he seemed nervous. Nodding his head anytime his mother addressed him, as if he would vomit if he dared opened him mouth. When it was time to enter the court room, he seemed to compose himself enough that you would never know he could show any concern. The old Malfoy was back.

The doorbell rang.

Yet instead of the light and friendly tone it normally chimed, Hermione heard it as a drawn out low dreadful pitch. Something that would be heard in a horror movie. She didn’t dare move. Her father glanced over the frames of his glasses at her, before he placed his journal down on the coffee table. He stood up and rounded the couch. The living room had a wall that separated it from the front hall. As her father neared the door, he became out of sight. Hermione stood, one hand still holding her forgotten book, she flicked her right wrist and allowed the base of her wand to drop from her sleeve into her palm. Constant Vigilance.

“Ah! Good day, sir! I am Thomas Worthington, is this the Granger residence?” she heard a cheery voice ask through the screen door.

“It is indeed. Why don’t come in.” Mr. Granger said as he flipped the latch on the door.

Hermione heard the signature creek of the door as her father opened it wide enough for them to enter. She watched as Mr. Worthington entered the front hall and glance around at the pictures that hung on the wall. He seemed quite pleased that he had found the correct address and took it upon himself to peek down the hall towards the kitchen, before turning to look straight at Hermione in the living room. His eyes seemed to light up as he recognized her.

“Good morning Miss Granger! I hope the summer is treating you well.” He practically shouted at her.

Hermione tried to send him a polite smile, but then saw him enter the hall. She didn’t know why it surprised her, it would hardly be acceptable for him to walk down the street in the expensive robes he normally fashioned himself in. He stood there, unsure of what to do, wearing a pair of dark jeans, a dark gray t-shirt with a black leather jacket over it. He held the strap of his knapsack so tightly his knuckle were ghost white. He too, glanced around in the front hall, until Hermione’s father waved them inside the living room.

He gave her father a side glance before he entered the room. When he looked back up, he stared straight at her. He gave her the slightest of nods before he stood next to Mr. Worthington. Hermione’s mother entered the living room through the dining room entry just as her husband was offering their guests a seat. Erica placed a hand on Hermione’s shoulder and silently asked if she was alright. Hermione answered by taking her seat, sliding her wand back into her sleeve.

~*~

The better part of the next hour was Thomas Worthington talking so fast, it was almost impossible to see when he took a breath between sentences. There was a heavy stack of paperwork her parents needed to be briefed on and signed before he left Draco in their care. He explained that the same paperwork would be present to the Malfoy’s when Hermione was to spend her time at the manor. There was a protection spell placed on the person in their care so that no harm can come to them during their stay. Of course this excluded the killing curse, but the Ministry would be immediately informed if an Unforgivable was used. While Hermione and Draco were free to use magic, in no way could it be to harm one another or anyone within the vicinity of the town.

“This is a learning experience. If I were you,” Worthington suggested as he looked over at Draco, “I would learn to go without it. See how it is to live life without the use of magic.”

“Actually,” Mr. Granger chimed in, “While we accept Hermione’s powers, we discourage the use of magic around the house for quick fixes. She still does her chores, and cooks without magic.”

Mr. Worthington clapped his hands, “Perfect. When in Rome…” he encouraged as he stacked the papers.  

Hermione had to keep from rolling her eyes. She again felt her mother’s hand on her shoulder.

“Darling, why don’t you show Draco his room, and take him around the house. I’ll make lunch in a bit.”

Hermione glanced over at the blond on the couch. He refused to look at her as he reached for is bag and stood. They left the room silently as they made their way up the stairs. The Grangers lived in a modestly sized home. Three bedrooms, close to the town, their office not more than ten minutes away. It was perfect for the three of them. So why did it now feel as if it was claustrophobic?

At the top of the stairs, Hermione took a left down the hall. Her room and the guest room were at the beginning of the hallway. On the left, Hermione’s door was open to show the white and lilac walls, as well as a gray and lilac comforter neatly tucked into her bed frame. Draco was not surprised to see the bookshelves that were built alongside and under her window. She stopped at the door right across from her room. She opened the door and stepped in.

“This is your room. There’s a dresser you can use, that’s the closet over there,” she pointed out both on either side of the window. She watched as he took in his new environment.

“What’s that door?” he asked as he pointed at the door on the other side of the staircase they came up.

“Oh, that just leads to the attic.” She was waiting for the look of disgust, when she wasn’t presented with one, she stepped back out of the room and further down the hall. Draco took it as a signal to follow.

“This is the linen closet, any clean sheets or towels are in here, as well as the laundry hamper.” She walked further down the hall, “This is the bathroom, and that’s my parent’s room.” 

She led him back down the hall to his room. “I’ll just leave you to settle in, lunch should be ready soon.”

Hermione stopped halfway down the stairs to try and control the shaking of her hands. She took a deep breath and went to help her mother make sandwiches.

Draco reentered his new living quarters. He didn’t know what to expect, but this was certainly a far cry from the mud shacks he use to image muggles living in. He was still uncertain as to what the Grangers did for a living, but it had to be a respectable one to have this type of house. His room seemed quite comfortable, of course it was barely the size of his closet back home, but decent. He placed his bag on the floor by the dresser. He looked out the back window…green…the grass, the trees. It was strangely calming and yet he never felt more unnerved. He turned, sat on the bed, and ran his hands through his hair.

~*~

A/N: Honest thoughts would be appreciated...


Chapter 3: Dinner and a Game
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Chapter 3: Dinner and a Game

 


While Hogwarts always had enough food to feed everyone twice over, and the choices were endless, there was something about a simple turkey and cheese sandwich that satisfied her stomach. She was in the middle of slicing up a tomato when Malfoy hesitantly walked in. He took in the room, though not sure what he should do, or where else to go, he decided that the doorway seemed to be a safe spot.

“Are you all settled in Draco?” her mother asked as she pulled a loaf of bread from a drawer behind the island Hermione was using.

Draco nodded his head and crossed his arms over his chest.

“Well I’m sure all that traveling you did this morning has worked up an appetite. Grab a plate and help yourself.” She instructed as she untwisted the bag. “Hermione, dear, did you show Draco everything?”

“Just the upstairs.” She answered then turned to Malfoy as he approached the island. “Well…you’ve seen the living room, you’ve obviously found the kitchen…” she pointed to her right, “Over there is the dining room, the door under the stairs is the small bath, that’s the pantry in the corner…you can do your laundry in there…or…I can show you how to use the machines. Then, there’s the back door that leads to the yard.”

Draco glanced around as she pointed out the various places. When she pointed out the back door, he noticed a small plastic flap at the base.

“Is door for that cat of yours?” he asked as he placed some bread on his plate.

Hermione glanced back at the door, then proceeded to finish cutting the tomato.

“No…well yes…but no. We sort of have shared custody of our neighbor’s Scottish terrier.” She explained.

Draco raised an eyebrow.

“You see, not long after I got Crookshanks, our neighbor’s, Bill and Lisa, decided to adopt a puppy. Pepper became very attached to Crooks.” She said as she spread the mustard on her sandwich.

“Yeah, so attached, every time I let the cat in, Pepper would be right behind him. I still say we should our own dog.” Henry chimed in as he entered the kitchen.

“You can get a dog when we retire.” Her mother countered.

By the shaking of Hermione’s head, Draco could tell this was an old topic.

“Anyways, we accepted the fact that Pepper would be spending time here, so Dad installed the pet door.” She looked over at her mother with a slight frown. “Where is Crooks? I haven’t seen him all morning.” 

“He went out not long after breakfast, dear. I’m sure he’ll be along.” Her mother answered as she brought her plate over to the table.

Hermione had hoped that Crookshanks would be around. She was really curious to see just how he would react with Malfoy in the house. In truth, she had hoped that one of the furry animas would be present, she had noticed, not long after Pepper was adopted, that the two animals were more comfortable with one another than any cat and dog should be. Crookshanks was cranky on the best of days, but having a ten week old puppy tailing him around the yard was bound to drive anyone crazy. But it seemed as though Crooks had taken Pepper under his wing. One day when Pepper had joined the Grangers for the evening, she was one the floor reading when Pepper settled in next to her. It was then that she noticed the slight forking in his tail. Crups were known to look more like a Jack Russell terrier, but perhaps Pepper was only part crup. Either way, both kneazles and crups had the tendency to spot trustworthy people. Hermione needed to know.

~*~

The day was quite boring, yet on edge. The two teens seemed to do everything to avoid one another for the better part of the day. Hermione for the most part stayed in her room and read on her bench window. Draco, not knowing what freedoms he had within the house, did the same. It wasn’t until Hermione’s mother called them down for dinner, that they had the first interaction in hours. Practically bumping into one another in the hallway as they exited their rooms at the same time, Draco waved her to go first. In the back of her mind, Hermione gripped the railing a bit harder, anticipating him to kick her down the stairs. She knew he wouldn’t dare, but she could only trust him as far as she could throw him.

Dinner was always in the dining room, something his parents did for every meal. While their table could comfortably hold six to eight people, the table in the manor was made to hold up to twenty. It always seemed odd that the three of the Malfoys would all sit at one end of a very long table, while the rest of it went unoccupied. Then again, when it was last occupied, he watched an innocent teacher murdered, then devoured by a snake.

He waited for the Granger’s to settle before he sat down. Hermione’s father took the head of the table, he was placed on the right hand side of him; facing his wife and daughter. The smell of the roasted chicken, steamed vegetables and mashed potatoes were enough to make his moth water. He let the Grangers serve themselves first, before he placed anything on his plate. It was a custom to let the hosts have the first choice of the meat and servings. He helped himself to a breast, avoided the cauliflower in the vegetable bowl, and a decent amount of potatoes.

Hermione poured herself a glass of lemonade, when her father started the conversation.

“So, Draco, what is it your parents do for a living?” he asked as he cut a piece of chicken.

Hermione nearly missed her cup as she sharply looked up at Draco. He noticed her reaction, but was able to answer smoothly.

“My father has dealings with many companies, for the most part he is on the board of directors for the ones we are highly invested in. My mother, on the other hand, works with charities, fundraising events mostly, but she is also the executor of all Malfoy properties both here and in France.” He pierced a carrot with his fork.

“Investment and realty…very impressive. Do plan on following in your parent’s footsteps?” Henry asked as he grabbed his wine glass.

Draco swallowed before he answered. It was the first time anyone had asked him that question. Most people assumed that he would take over for his father, when it came time. But in fact, he really wanted to separate himself from his parent’s successes and failures. He wanted to make a name for himself.

“Actually…no…I’m looking into joining the Department of Magical Games and Sports.” He watched for Hermione’s reaction and was not disappointed. If her eyebrows could raise any higher, they would have gotten lost in her mop of curls. He turned back to her father as he let out a hardy laugh.

“A sports man! Finally, someone to talk football. Tell me you’re a Manchester United fan, I feel like this is our year…”

“Dad,” Hermione interrupted, “There’s no football in the wizarding world.” She tried to break it to him softly.

“No?” he asked as he looked to Draco for confirmation. The young man shook his head, and watched as the older man’s shoulder sagged slightly. With the next breath, Henry Granger seemed to come to a conclusion. “Well, I’ll make you a fan yet.”

~*~

Her father wasn’t lying. Soon after the dishes were brought back into the kitchen, and Erica reassured the boys that they would handle the clean, Henry steered Draco back towards the living room. Draco sat in the same spot he occupied earlier that morning. Although at the time he was concentrating more on the scratch in the coffee table then the company he was surrounded by. This time, however, he took in the room. There were pictures on the mantle of the fire place on his right. Many of which were Hermione taken at various ages. First birthday, first day of school, losing her first tooth, vacations, even one where she was wrapped in what seemed to be a duck towel. All in all, it seemed as though Granger grew up in a happy home.

Mr. Granger was currently playing with a large black box that was situated in the corner. He seemed to be holding a thick black wand that controlled the box, because with the push of a button the box turned on, and moving pictures and sound were displayed. While he thought the pictures in the frames were mundane, he had to admit, this box was extraordinary. The people in the box seemed to be talking to them, were they to answer? How did the people get in the box? But before he could ask, the pictures were rapidly changing. It seemed as though Mr. Granger had control over what was projected on the box, as he kept hitting the buttons until he found the right picture.

The picture he chose was loud. The commentators seemed to have to shout over the cheers of the crowds in the stands. The pitch looked like a much lower version of a quidditch field, yet it was rectangular in shape, there was only one larger goal per team, and the players were running. They seemed determined to kick a quaffle across the field.

Mr. Granger walked him through the rules and objectives of the game, as well as critiquing the way his team was playing. Before he knew it, Draco was just as into the game, yet kept his celebrations and disappointments to himself. He didn’t even realize Hermione had joined them until she spoke.

“It’s called a television. There are cameras at the game that send the images through wires and electricity, and then are projected through the screen. There are different channels, or pictures, that you can watch.” She reached over to the table and grabbed the thick wand. “This is the remote, it changes the channels, controls the volume, and the power of the tele. So I can hit this button and we can watch the news…”

As soon as she hit the button, she was met with an outcry from the armchair next to her. She looked at her father, shook her head, and then changed it back.

“I was trying to show him how it worked. Wizards don’t have televisions.” She explained as she set the remote down.

“He’s here for a month, darling. He has plenty of time to learn how to work the tele, just not during the game.” Her father answered as he confiscated the remote to prevent any further tutorials.

Her mother laughed as she entered the room, setting down a tray of biscuits. “Men and their sports…help yourselves.”

Draco watched as Hermione reached over and took a treat. She placed the treat between her teeth as she settled in to read her book. Draco turned back to the game. They were so normal. He had expected to enter the house and be confronted by Mr. Granger about the way he treated his daughter in the past. Instead, he was greeted with a smile and a handshake. Offered a nice room, and good food. And now the man was trying to bond with him. Everything he was brought up to believe about muggles, was so far proven to be the furthest from the truth and he had only been here for nine hours. He reached over and grabbed a biscuit. He took a bite…something was off. He stared at the cookie in question, had he been wrong? Were they trying to lure him in with comforts and were now trying to poison him? He glanced over at Grangers to see if they were anticipating his demise, but they were still enjoying the game. He glanced over at Hermione to find that she was trying not to laugh.

“They’re sugar free. That’s why they taste funny.” She explained as she closed her book and reached for another. “My parents are dentists.”

He raised an eyebrow at her as he swallowed the cookie that was now deemed safe.

“They’re like healers, but they specialize in teeth. Sugar degrades teeth, so they have a strict no sugar rule.” Hermione examined her cookie before she took another bite.

A no sugar rule? He could think back to all the times his mother had sent him sweets while they were in Hogwarts. All the times he stopped in Honeydukes during his Hogsmeade visits to restock his sugar supply. In fact, now that he thought of it, he could recall seeing Granger in said shop quite a few times. He’d have to hold on to this piece of information, should he need it.

~*~

Thoughts would b appreciated...


Chapter 4: Same Bright Star
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Chapter 4: Same Bright Star

~*~

The first night in a strange place always made it difficult for one to sleep. Draco could remember the first night at Hogwarts. Being in the dorms under the lake made for a vastly different atmosphere than the one he grew up with. The smell of damp stone, the snores from his oversized dorm mates, even the sheets felt scratchy. Here, in his room at the Grangers, it was just…odd. He could hear Mr. and Mrs. Granger downstairs preparing to come upstairs for the night. He heard Hermione walk past his room towards the end of the hall to use the bathroom, but had yet to hear her come back.

In the mansion, such noises would be non-existent. His parents had the tendency to retire before he did, and always to their rooms in the northern wing. As his rooms were located on the south side of the house, his parents could have a full house party and he would never hear a sound. This settling in routine was foreign to him, and he felt as though he should be doing something besides sitting on the edge of his bed and listening.

He was concentrating on the sounds of the dishes they used for dinner chiming against one another as Mrs. Granger put them back into their cabinets. He could also hear the sounds of scrapping alongside the house, when he glanced out the window that faced the backyard, he could see Mr. Granger dragging back a large bin and placed it beside a small shed. Focusing on these specific sounds, he almost would have missed the light knock upon his bedroom door.

He cracked open the door to find Granger standing there with her hair tied back and wearing a light blue pajama set.

“I was just about to turn in,” she explained. “I just wanted to see if there was anything else you need.”

Draco took that moment to study her. He noticed that since his arrival, anytime she had to speak to him, she refused to look him in the eye. Even now her gaze was fixated on a small scratch in the paint on the wall beside his door frame. This law would make anyone uncomfortable. She most likely had the hope that she would be spending the summer away at the Weasley’s, as she usually did. Take the time away from her parents and learn how to live from sickle to sickle while taking care of every member of the family she would soon be integrated into. Although it would be a sight to see Weaslbee try to survive here.

Without her usual sidekicks, one could say that she was relatively tall for a girl. Potter and Weasley were part troll as far as he was concerned, but standing here in front of him, the top of her head easily came to his chin. Her white robe was open in the front to reveal her summer nightwear. The shorts she wore could be claimed as modest, but seeing them on her gave Draco the realization of what a year on the run could do for muscular strength. Her arms were crossed in front of her lower ribs, sleeves slightly pushed up from the position, to show the beginnings of a tan and slight freckling of her skin. Her face was shiny. He noticed that her hairline was wet, not from sweat, but perhaps from being freshly washed. The splattering of freckles across her nose wasn’t as prominent as Weasleys, but still noticeable.

When it seemed as if he was taking an incredibly long time to answer a simple question, Hermione chanced a glance at him. She raised an eyebrow at him. He stood there half in the hallway, half in the bedroom, but his eyes were glazed over, he was here in body, but not in mind. She understood his state of mind, as she was frequently brought from it. The bathroom seems to be the only safe haven in the house. No one would dare question why she was in there so long, and if they did, she could claim a through flossing, or her hair. But in reality, that’s when she let it all break out. Gave into the tunnel vision, allowing her body to deal with the stress, even if it meant laying on a towel on the bathroom floor. When she would awake, a calm frame of mind, normal heart beat, and sharp vision would greet her. Most of the time, it felt as though she had taken a good long nap and felt more energized than she had when she woke in the morning. Yet, there were times when it felt as though she had not been out long enough, she would be left feeling groggy, nose stuffy, and a headache. These blackouts did not happen every day, but often enough when she knew when to excuse herself from the sight of her parents.

As she was getting ready for bed, she entered the bathroom to brush her teeth and wash her face, when the black tunnel started. She fought it off long enough to get through her routine, but now she wanted to go to bed. Welcome the darkness in the comforts of her bed, not the hard tile. Yet this tool was keeping her from it.

She focused on him again, finding that as the day goes on, the hair product that he uses to keep his strands from his face has failed. They weren’t long enough to be in his eyes, but annoying long that they would tickle his brow until he pushed it back, only to eventually fall again. She could remember his eyes being the color of steel when they were in school. Many a time they would be glaring straight at her followed by some repugnant comment from his lips. But now she found them to have lightened, more like a clear ice cube melting in glass of water. She could swear she could see a hint of light blue in the right light. Cold frosted ice, ready to freeze anyone in his path.

Yet, as she stood there examining him, she could see that he was just as tired. Tired of fighting, tired of pretending, tired of this day. They needed sleep, they needed the freedom the night offered. A shifting in her stance seemed to bring him back.

“I believe I have everything I require,” Draco responded, “Thank you.”

The last part seemed to take the last bit of energy he had to say it. Hermione nodded.

“Alright then. Have a good night.”

She turned and entered her room. She waited until she heard the soft click of his door before she reemerged in her door frame. He may have signed a contract, he may seem as though he is changing for the better, but if he was to stay in this house, she would do everything in her power to protect her family.

She tiptoed back down the hallway and cast at least six protection charms that would inform her if anyone tried to enter her parent’s room via magic, or pass through the door with any magical device, wand or otherwise. She would do the same for her own room, then turn and place the one charm she could thank Umbridge for teaching her: Stealth Sensoring Spell.

~*~

In the winter, when the air becomes cold and sharp, when there is literally no humidity in the air, and one is privy to electric shock from various objects, that’s what it feels like when magic is in the air, where it normally is not.

Almost as soon as he shut his door, Draco could feel the sting in the air. He knew Hermione was placing as many charms on the house as she could. There were basic ones put in place already, but now she was adding to the protection, every casting sent another shiver up his arm. He stood by his window again and stared up at the sky. It was moonless, and the stars were shining brightly. They seemed to pulse with light to keep in time with her spell casting. It was when she cast the final one on his door, that one particular star sparkled brighter than the others.

 

~*~

A/N: I was in a nostolgic mood, and made my daughter watch An American Tail...thus the title of the chapter...tell me what you think!


Chapter 5: A Pureblood in a Muggle World
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A/N: Sorry for the wait, but the muggle world can be so mundane. It's hard to make it seem wonderous in the eyes of a wizard.

 




Chapter 5: A Pureblood in a Muggle World

 

It was just like the first day at Hogwarts. You barely slept a wink the night before, only to just drift off when it was time to wake. Your senses scream that you are not in your bed at home, there are noises you are not accustomed to, and then there were the showers.

Wizarding and muggle plumbing were virtually the same. There are just some things magic can’t improve. Yet, here Draco stood, in the upstairs hallway of the Granger house, glaring at the gray and yellow flowered shower curtain. There was nothing worse than trying to figure out the handles of a shower that you were not familiar with. He remembered the first shower at Hogwarts has practically scolded the top few layers of his skin. How could something so simple challenge his intelligence? He sighed as he wondered whether or not he should just scorgify himself everyday instead. Just as he was about to retreat back to his room to do just that when snort came from down the hall.

“Afraid of catching something?” Hermione asked as she leaned against the door frame.

Draco tried counting to five before responding. It was far too early, and there wasn’t an ounce of caffeine in his body to argue.

“No, if you must know, I was thinking over what your father said yesterday.” He responded as he looked back into the bathroom.

“Oh? What was that?” She asked as she crossed her arms.

“About not taking the easy way out while I’m here. So I thought I’d start with a simple shower, but realized…”

“You don’t know how to turn it on.” She finished with a smug look.

She could the tightening in his jaw as he refrained from responding. Hermione pushed herself off the wall and walked down the hall. She waved him over the shower and pulled back the curtain. She explained the set of knobs protruding from the wall and the small switch to start the showerhead. Draco nodded when she finished, and she made her exit.

‘Hasn’t been here twenty-four hours, and he’s making an attempt to not use magic.’ Hermione shook her head as she made her way down to the kitchen.

 

~*~

Erica and Henry Granger’s practice had a rotating schedule. Working four days a week, with a three day break allowed them to occasionally work on Saturdays. They found that it allowed their working patients the time to have a proper appointment without having to adjust their own schedules. This was one of those Saturdays. Erica Granger was currently reading the paper while drinking her coffee on the island in the kitchen. Henry Granger had been the first to wake, therefore, the one to make breakfast. He was currently turning a few slices of bacon over in the skillet when Hermione entered.

“Good morning sweetheart. How did you sleep?” He asked as she made her way over to the cabinet.

“Alright, I guess. It’s just a bit odd, knowing that he’s staying in our house.” Hermione replied as she pointed up at the ceiling to indicate Draco.

“Is it…going to be a problem?” Her mother asked.

“…No, no it’s just, we don’t know each other as well as I know Harry or Ron,” She said as she poured her coffee. “It’s only month, it’s not like he’s living here permanently.”

Hermione went over to the fridge to grab some milk and a carton of strawberries. She poured herself a cup of coffee, and began to slice the berries on a plate. She had missed this when she was on the run. The normalcy of preparing meals, not having to go out into the woods and forage wild mushrooms, and attempt to make something they could survive on.

She could hear Malfoy’s footsteps on the stairs as her father was placing the bacon on the table. She looked towards the door of the kitchen to watch him enter, and was not paying attention to the knife in her hand. Just as Draco entered the kitchen, Hermione had brought the small knife down on her thumb, and sliced the edge of her nail. She gasped at the pain, but when she looked down at the cut and the small knife in her hand, it happened.

Draco was only three step into the kitchen as he watched Hermione stare at the small abrasion and lose her focus. She didn’t look as though she was going to pass out, or cry, but the troubled look on her face seemed to cause her to escape the present. She was lost in a memory as a trickle of red dripped onto the counter, just missing the plate of berries. He could feel the small familiar crackle in the air, and watched as a light breeze pushed a few strands of hair into her face. The windows in the kitchen were currently closed.

Erica had looked up when Hermione had gasped and watched as her daughter faded away. She carefully placed the newspaper on the countertop, and gently reached over to take the knife out of Hermione’s hand. Draco watched as the pages of the newspaper separated, floating only centimeters apart, not enough to draw attention. Hermione’s mother placed the knife on the newspaper without looking, creating a pseudo paperweight.  Once the utensil was out of reach, she laid a hand on her daughter’s arm.

“Hermione, darling?” she asked as she gave her a gentle shake.

Draco watched as Hermione blinked and take in her surroundings. She looked to her father, who gave her a gentle smile, and then over to Draco, who was looking at the knife on the counter.

“I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening, did you need something mum?” she asked, completely confused.

“Yes, I would like for you to stop bleeding over the strawberries. Come to the sink, dear. We’ll get you cleaned up.” Her mother answered.

Hermione blinked at her mother then looked down at the counter, and noticed the cut on her finger. She looked around for the instrument that caused the opening and noticed it in the middle of her mother’s newspaper.

Draco watched as Hermione’s eyes found the knife and unconsciously brought her uninjured hand up to the scar located on her throat. She let her mother bring her over to the edge of the sink and wash out the cut. Erica reached under one of the counters to retrieve a small clear box and pulled out a bandage, and then proceed to clean the counter and check the berries. When it was declared that there were no traces of blood on the fruit, Henry placed the plate on the table.

Hermione flexed her hand a few times to get some flexibility from the bandage before joining everyone at the kitchen table. Normally when she faded, it usually ended up with her on the floor, but this time was different. Fading while conscious was a new experience, and it unnerved her. She still couldn’t recall what was happening around her, and yet when she snapped out of it, she felt both refreshed and drained. Almost like taking a nap for far too long.

Hermione reached for the jam for her toast at the same time Draco was reaching for the bacon. The slight bumping of their hands didn’t cause sparks, it didn’t cause fireworks, it didn’t release a surge of magical power; it was simply human skin on human skin. Both made of cells, both warm and smooth, both the same. Hermione didn’t even acknowledge the contact and continued to reach for her jam. Draco, on the other hand, paused in his travels to look at the colliding appendage. She hand strong hands. Hands that carried the weight of overwritten tomes for years on end. Her fingers were long, piano fingers. She had an indentation on her ring finger, presumably where her quill laid when she wrote inches upon feet of scrolls. Hands that inevitably, had saved a world.

“So, what do you two plan on doing today?” Hermione’s mother asked as she reached for her coffee.

Hermione paused in the attempt to spread the grape jam on her toast and looked over at Draco. He in turn slowly placed his bacon on his plate and waited for Hermione to answer.

“Um…” was Hermione’s eloquent answer.

“Oh now, you are not spending the day cooped up in the house with a book. Take Draco into town, show him around. And while you’re at it stop at the market, I have a list of things you can pick up.” Erica scolded lightly.

As Mrs. Granger went over the list of items with Hermione, Draco could not help but notice the outrageous print on Mr. Granger’s shirt. The V-neck blue shirt was covered in sets of teeth with a pair of feet. Some sets portrayed an open mouth while others were closed.

“They’re scrubs.” Hermione’s voice interrupted his analyzation.

Draco looked over at her with a raised eyebrow. She had that sly smile back on her face. The one she liked to wear when she knew more than he. He was fairly certain he wore that exact look many a times in school.

“It’s a type of fabric that healers in our world like to wear.” She continued to explain.

“Most are made to resist fluids like blood, but we really like to wear them for comfort. Some doctors prefer to wear the plain boring colors,” Henry explained as he sent a pointed look at his wife’s purple uniform, “But I like to make a statement.”

“And a statement you are making, dear.” Erica replied as she brought her plate over to the sink.

~*~

“I’m not getting in that.”

Draco stood in the doorway with his arms crossed, looking like a five year old ready to throw a tantrum. Hermione sighed as she twirled a key around her finger.

“It’s not like we can apparate or even fly a broom, and besides with the list my mother gave me, there is no way we can carry all the groceries back. So either you get in the car, or I’ll make you carry them for three bloody miles.”

Draco stared at the silver tin can on wheels. He wasn’t sure how he felt about a powered carriage. Especially when he had to rely on Granger operating it. She had tried to explain it was almost like the thestral pulled carriages at Hogwarts, except she controlled the direction and the speed. She even showed him a small official card that proved she knew how to operate one.

He watched as she rolled her eyes at him and opened the front door.

“Look, I’m going, but when my parents start to ask how your tour was, I hope you’re prepared to tell them you were too scared to even leave the house.”

With that she got in the vehicle, and shut the door. Merlin help him, it was going to be a long summer. Draco huffed and walked over to the opposite door. He got in and sat on the seat.

“You need to latch the buckle.” She explained as she pointed to a strap behind his shoulder. He grabbed it and placed it within the locking mechanism on the side of his seat. He watched as she placed the key into a small opening on the side of the wheel. When she turned it, the tin can on wheels let out a growl. He looked over at her to see if she was just as unnerved, but Hermione simply looked in the mirror and moved a stick that allowed the can to move backwards. He sat motionless as she expertly moved the vehicle onto the road, then moved the stick again to propel them forward.

As they drove through the quaint little suburb, Draco noticed the commonality of the properties. Each building made out of red bricks, white window panes, and a variety of greenery in the yards. Some chose a low hedge to outline their yard, while others had a multitude of flowering shrubs. Even as an outsider, Draco could tell that some of the properties they passed had to cost quite a bit. While the Granger’s household was not as large as some of the ones they were passing, it wasn’t a small shack either. This was definitely a mid to high society town.

They passed many other moving vehicles on their way into town, each one a different shape and color. When they came to a stop, Draco watched as a muggle wearing an odd hat on a two wheeled device, roared passed them.

“That is a motorcycle. It is practically a broom on the ground. People that ride them prefer to be out in the open air, and usually like the need for speed. Thus, the helmet they were wearing to protect their head.” Hermione explained as she turned onto a street filled with various shops. They only drove a few more feet before she pulled into a large lot filled with these ‘cars,’ as Hermione called them. She turned into a spot and stopped the car. Draco felt the as the growling came to a halt as she turned the key again. Hermione unbuckled her seatbelt, and opened the door. Left, with no other option, Draco did the same.

“I doubt that you have ever stepped foot into a market before,” she started as they walked towards the large gray building, “but this is where muggle purchase their food.”

“I’ve been to a market before Granger.” He replied.

“Really?” she asked, not believing him, “One would think that you would send your house elves to do such things.”

She grabbed a large metal cart and walked through a pair of doors that magically opened on their own. He was about to scold her for using her magic in the presents of muggles, when he saw another pair of doors open as a muggle exited the building with a similar cart.

He followed Hermione into the store, and looked around with wide eyes. He wasn’t lying when he said he had been to the market before, but the outdoor markets in France, where his family vacationed in the summers, were vastly different than this.

He had never seen so much food in one place. He watched as people stood, inspecting the various fruits and vegetables, trying to decide which was best. He followed Hermione through the many alleys as she scanned the shelves for the exact item on her list. Many of the people walking around had more than half their cart full, while others only came in looking for one or two items, which they carried.

Granger wasn’t too far off when she mentioned the house elves doing most of the chores. There were plenty of times he had asked an elf to bring him something to eat, without wondering where the food came from or whether they actually had it in the house. He asked, the house elf always delivered. That’s just how it was.

It wasn’t until Hermione was finished that Draco began to feel a bit unnerved about the amount of muggles at the front of the building. He watched as Hermione got into a queue and began to pile her food onto a counter. He began to feel claustrophobic in the narrow line as she chatted with the shop keeper. Hermione piled the bags of food into her cart, and Draco watched as she exchanged the muggle money with the girl behind the counter.   

~*~

After depositing the food they purchased back in the house, Hermione insisted that she at least show him around the neighborhood. It was a quiet area, Draco had noticed that there weren’t as many cars driving around this area, as there were when they were in town. He would tune in and out as Hermione pointed out various locations, parks, primary schools, and certain neighbors her family was friends with. They were rounding the corner to head back to her house, when a flash of white came tearing out of the yard in front of them. Draco watched as Hermione bent down to receive the wild beast.

“Pepper, you naughty boy! You’ve chewed through your leash again.” She lightly scolded as she scratched the dog under the collar.

Hermione watched as the dog went from licking her hands clean, to suddenly noticing that she had company with her. Pepper edged closer to Draco sniffing the bottom of his trousers. Hermione held her breath. She knew that when Crookshanks trusted someone, he would show the bare minimum of affection, rubbing up against a leg, sitting in a lap. But she wasn’t how Pepper would show if he trusted someone he just met. He had always been a friendly dog towards her and her parents. She watched as Pepper circled around Draco, continuing to sniff. When he came back to the tips of Draco’s shoes, he sat and stared directly at Draco.


Chapter 6: Questioning Normalcy
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A/N: I know it's been a while, but life and all that! Here you go!

Chapter 6: Questioning Normalcy

The pressure he felt in his chest was overwhelming. The muggle term, he would later learn, was called a panic attack. The sudden fear of dread washing over you, breathing so shallow just to keep your heart from exploding out of your chest. He felt this before he even knew the Dark Lord had arrived at his house. Knowing that something was going to happen, and it was never good. That night, the Dark Lord had called upon his followers to convene at Malfoy Manor. Time was of the essence. Potter would soon be turning seventeen, the protection over his muggle family’s house would be null and void. When would the Order be so tempted to move him?

But Draco could give a fig about precious Potter’s escape. He was more concerned over the beaten and bruised sight of Professor Burbage slowly levitating just to his right. He watched as she faded in and out of consciousness over the course of the meeting. The bruises and cuts seemed to throb in excruciating pain. It was the handy work of his aunt. The purples and blues on the side of her face created a spidery pattern that led to her hairline, which was the telltale signature of her Cruciatus curse. When she would come to, her eyes would instantly tear in fear, she would close them as though praying that they never open again, for if they did, her fate would be met in such violence.

Every minute that passed the pressure in his chest would increase. Draco tried to inhale through his nose as slowly as he could muster. But often times, he would end up holding it. Surely, these “guests” could hear his heart thundering in his chest. If the Dark Lord could hear it, would he mistake it for weakness, the true dread of what was yet to come? Or excitement, the urge to watch a lowly teacher, one that taught all the beliefs they were against, be used as a toy for their own personal sick pleasure?

As the Dark Lord forced his father to surrender his wand and further humiliate him, Draco knew this was the moment he grew to fear. Draco refused to watch as the Dark Lord brought the Professor closer to the table, he wouldn’t look at her, he couldn’t. But what he would stare at is the single tear that fell right in front of him as she passed.

In that moment his heart couldn’t take anymore.

‘The pressure, dear Merlin, take it away…’

Thumpthump…thumpthump…thump-

~*~

He awoke with a start. He always did, just as the body crashed onto the tabletop, he would wake himself up. His heart was still working, it was currently racing as he tried to calm himself. But the pressure was still there. Not the agonizing sense of dread that usually accompanied it, but a weight still the same.

He raised his head to find a furry white mass curled up on his stomach and chest.  

Draco groaned and threw and arm over his eyes. Pepper had become a frequent visitor in the Granger home, since he met him a few days ago. He remembered Granger scolding the pup for making yet another escape attempt from his yard, and the curiosity shown by both the girl and the canine as they inspected his presence.

Pepper had sat directly in Draco’s path and gave an assessing head tilt, before giving him a small bark, followed by a smiling panting of his mouth. Draco raised an eyebrow at the dog, before looking over at his human counterpart.

Granger’s brow had sculpted the opposite of his. She was frowning at the pup with a squinted eye, as though she too did not know what to make of the dog’s judgement. That look would follow the four legged beast as he would continuously follow Draco every time it decided to visit.

The groan he had projected must have woke the pup, because as he went to glare at the terrier, he was met with the cold clamminess of his nose and tongue. Draco grabbed Pepper’s collar to pull him away from attacking his face and sitting up to get the dog a further distance away. Pepper took this as a sign to get off the bed. As Draco stretched, Pepper decided to investigate the room.

Draco was used to dogs. Correction, he was used to his dogs. Two beautifully, well-trained Irish Wolf hounds roamed the halls and grounds of Malfoy Manor. Lorcan and Phelan were a birthday present when Draco turned thirteen. Although his father had purchased them to be fierce hunting companions, Lorcan and Phelan had other plans.

As puppies the two hounds were extremely playful. Many times they were scolded for chasing each other up and down the hallways of the manor, teething on his father’s furniture in his private study, and pawing at the hideous new rug his mother had purchased for the tea room. Draco loved them from the moment he received them. They brought lightness and humor into his dark world. He loved taking them out onto the grounds and letting them run through the fields to the stables. They were glorious runners. Lorcan’s black and blue fur would streak by like the night sky, and Phelan with his red and brindle tones reminded him of the forbidden forest colors in the spring.

Draco’s horses had learned over the last few years to put up with the two pups. At first, they caused chaos and destruction within the barn that would set the five horses into a fit. Phelan had found that hiding within the mounds of hay in the back of the barn, only to jump out to scare his furry twin was one of his favorite games. Although now, Phelan was taller than any of the stacks of hay, but that did not stop him from trying.

Not long after Draco had left for his third year at Hogwarts, Lucius had sought out the best trainers in southern England to come in and control the young beasts. When Draco had returned, he found his two companions more subservient, sitting at his father’s feet in the study, walking gently through the hallways, and never stepping foot into his mother’s rooms. While he felt that another set of family member were being forced to serve a higher power, he found that when it was just the three of them, out in the fields of the manor, they could just be. A young boy playing catch with his two dogs, chasing after him while he rode his broom, a sense of complete normalcy that would end the moment they stepped back into the house.

So to have this over exuberant pup, which was currently carrying one of his socks around in his mouth, be so free within a house that he didn’t even belong to, it made Draco question, what was truly normal?

Draco sighed as he lowered his hand to the floor in front of the dog.

“Give.” He commanded as he stared at Pepper.

Pepper, in return, gave a muffled huff before running out the bedroom door and presumably down the stairs.

 

~*~

Betrayed.

Absolutely, utterly, and profoundly betrayed.

Knowing what she knew of Draco’s past, the acts he performed, and the choices that he made. She thought for sure Pepper would find him disagreeable. Instead he sat there on the sidewalk wagging his short tail and playfully staring at the blond next to her.

Then she watched as Draco dropped down to one knee and held out his hand for the dog to sniff before giving him a good scratch behind the ears. She had never seen him affectionate towards any animal. The eagle owl that delivered him mail always few overhead, never stopping for a stroke of the feathers or asking for a treat. The animals he encountered during Care of Magical Creatures were either sneered at or tried at hearings for death. So to watch him be so gentle with the small dog was something to behold.

“Do we take him home?” He asked as he hooked a finger under Pepper’s collar to keep him from running.

“Uh…No, Bill and Lisa are at work. We can just take him back with us.”

Hermione had called to the dog and had him up the drive to let him into the house. Little did she know that Pepper would stick around more than usual.

Hermione was leaning up against the counter eating a bowl of cereal and reading the Daily Prophet when she had the soft ticking of the dog’s nails enter the kitchen. She assumed that Malfoy had entered as well, but was surprised when it was just the small white canine with a very black sock in his mouth. After a few minutes of wrangling the footwear out of his mouth with the bribe of a fresh bowl of food, Hermione returned to the paper.

Ministry Proposed Death Eater Registration Act

Officials of the International Magical Cooperation and Magical Law Enforcement have convened over the last three works on the proposal that would require convicted Death Eaters to mandatory registration with their Ministry of Magic.

Over a month has passed since the fall of He Who Must Not Be Named, leader of the league of Death Eaters that wanted the pure lines of magic to rule over the European Wizarding community. It was not until Harry Potter had vanquished the Dark Lord on May the second that his followers have been on the run.

With the expertise of the Magical Law Enforcement, Aurors have captured a numerous amount of suggested Death Eaters. While many of them are still awaiting trials and sentencing, both departments have expressed the idea to have convicted followers register with the Ministry in order to regulate the amount and types of magic they will be allowed to perform, the positions of power they can achieve within many of the magical corporations and a yearly tax enforced upon the families for damages to the magical communities and families inflicted in the war.


 

‘Mandatory registration. Have these people learned nothing?’ Hermione thought as she read over the article.

Her thoughts immediately went to the guest in her house. What if you were forced to join? What if your family had the choice between death or having your child marked for servitude? So you can be tried in a court, defended by the one person that defeated the Dark Lord, found to be coerced and freed, only to have to be further humiliated by registering. It almost guaranteed no employment, and an instant draining of any money you possibly possessed. All because you were brought up to hate.

Her breathing slowed and her eyes glazed over as she kept a tight grip on her mug.

“‘Enemies of the heir beware?’ You’ll get what’s coming to you.”

“Nobody asked you, filthy little mudblood!”

“Have it your way. If you think they can’t spot a Mudblood then stay where you are." *

“Look at her cry, Draco. Filthy mudblood can’t even take a little curse. Let’s see how muddy her blood really is…”

The burning pain in her fingertips snapped her back to reality. It was then that she realized that Draco had joined them in the breakfast. He was staring at the mug she was holding a few seconds ago. The coffee inside of it was still boiling.

“Something wrong?” Henry Granger asked as he brought his bowl over to the sink while eyeing the wizarding newspaper in front of the two teens.

“What? Uh…no dad…just…” Hermione stammered.

“Just when your favorite team decides it’s best to have your third string seeker start because the other two are recovering in the hospital after a faulty bludger knocks them off their brooms. Thought the Falmouth Falcons were really going to have a chance this year.” Draco explained as he lifted the sports section of the Prophet. The picture spilt into two frames, one with a light haired, wide nosed player in a dark grey uniform being hit in the left shoulder and falling out of the frame, the other a dark haired, long faced lad that looked like a deer in headlights as flashes of light repeatedly took his picture.

“Ah, yes, bad luck that. Just like the poor young man getting a root canal from your mother today.” Mr. Granger responded as his wife gave him a light smack of the arm.

Hermione gave a small smile as she walked her cup over to the sink to drain the remaining coffee down the sink. Draco watched as she rinsed it out to pour a fresh cup. As she painstakingly prepared her new source of energy. Draco glanced at his meal choices for the morning. He had found a few days ago that one of the cereals Mr. Granger had suggested had a muggle food called bran. Apparently this food had the tendency to rid the human body of all toxins within a few hours of consumption. It had not been a pleasant morning for Draco.

He chose what seemed to be the equivalent Ogre O’s, a bland cereal that Draco like to mix bananas with. As he reached for the bananas in the middle of the counter, he was assaulted with a dark fabric. Looking down, he realized it was the sock Pepper had stolen from him that morning.  

“Lose something?” Hermione had asked with a raised eyebrow.

Draco leaned to look around his classmate to find the white dog curled up on the floor by her feet.

“Yes, apparently Pepper made his way into my room last night and took it upon himself to borrow my sock.” Draco explained as he opened his banana.

“Oh, I’m the one to blame for that Draco, dear. Pepper was determined to get in last night, even if it meant he was going to claw his way through your door. He woke me up with all that racket, I was surprised you didn’t hear him, so I let him in. If it’s a bother we can bring him back to Bill and Lisa’s for the night.” Erica Granger explained.

Draco waved her off with a spoon, as speaking with a full mouth was poor manners.

~*~

Mr. and Mrs. Granger had gathered their things and left with the promise of returning later that evening with something called pizza. Draco did not know what that was, but it seemed to be a pleasant object as Mr. Granger and Hermione both smiled at the thought of it.

Pepper had awoken from his after breakfast nap and promptly went out the pet door and into the backyard. As Draco walked his bowl to the sink he saw that the dog had found a new friend pester. Granger’s cat, if you could call a walking pile of fluff a cat, had returned and was currently basking in the morning sunlight. He watched as Pepper tried to engage the feline in some form of play. But the cat simply rolled over and continued to ignore the pup’s presence.

Draco turned from the window and assessed the girl across the counter. A quiet Granger was a dangerous Granger. He could see the wheels turning in her brain, her eyes absorbing all that it could from the pages beneath her fingers.

“What happened?” he asked.

She gave a start as if she completely forgot he was in the room.

“Nn-nothing. Just more arrest warrants issued, captures, and idiotic proposals.” She answered as she folded the paper.

“Not that,” He replied as he pointed at the paper, “That.” His finger landed upon the untouched mug that was sitting on the counter.

Hermione stared at the cup and tried to come up with a convincing explanation.

“While I enjoy a good hot cuppa, one might think that was a bit…uncontrolled.” He quipped with a very convincing Snape-like pause.

Hermione squared her shoulders and tucked the paper under her arm.

“It’s nothing, Malfoy.” She turned to leave the kitchen, but before she completely exited, she turned back to him. “You might want change, we’ll be spending a great deal outdoors today.”

Draco looked down at his light blue button down shirt that he had rolled the sleeves up and dark pants.

“Where are we going?” he asked with hesitance, he and the sunlight did not always get along.

“We’ve been invited to lunch…” she started as she began down the hallway, “at the Burrow.”

~*~


* Quotes used: “‘Enemies of the heir beware?’ You’ll get what’s coming to you.” (HPCS)

“Nobody asked you, filthy little mudblood!” (HPCS)

“Have it your way. If you think they can’t spot a Mudblood then stay where you are." (HPGF)


A/N: Well, this should be fun...Let me know what you think!


Chapter 7: Mud in the Purified Waters
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Chapter 7: Mud in the Purified Waters

 

Hermione had to keep the smirk off her face. Never had she seen Malfoy squirm so much. At first it started with the blatant refusal to go, then questioning if she had been dropped on her head one too many times as an infant, to the resounding murmurs under his breath. Now as they walked down the street towards the center of town, she could see out of the corner of her eye that he had now resorted to constantly pulling and fixing his shirt and hair.

“This is it. My true sentencing, this could possibly be worse than a life sentence in Azkaban.” He said as they neared the church.

“Oh, stop being so dramatic. A few hours with the Weasley’s will only leave you with a full stomach and a light ringing in the ears. Besides, they know you’re coming, they insisted you come along.” She explained as she took the alleyway to the back of the church.

She found slight humor in the fact that her town’s appartion point was in the back lot of the church. How many people had been falsely persecuted for their ways of life? It made a very concealed area for her to go between her muggle existence and her adopted family.

Draco was in mid-complaint when she stopped them at the back hall stairwell.

“Just in case you have forgotten,” she said in her matter of fact tone, “the Weasley’s are also pureblood, which means that they too have been ordered to take in a student for the portion of the summer. Now, I wouldn’t say that they are as completely ignorant in the muggle way of life, but they still have a lot to learn as well. They felt it would be best for you to come along so that you can see that they, even as blood traitors, have to evolve.”

Draco frowned as he took in her words. He followed her as she tucked herself just under the staircase.

“Who’s staying with them?” he asked as he ducked under a spider web.

Hermione looked to him, smiled, and let out a small laugh.

“That,” he accused, as he pointed a finger at her, “that laugh, you’ve done that a lot lately, Granger, and nothing ever good comes after it.”

Hermione sighed, “You have so much to learn.”

She grabbed the accusatory finger and before he could pull it away, she turned.

~*~

He hadn’t apparated in a while. It took him longer to find his bearings. When he felt his eyes had finally synced with his brain, he found himself on a larger hill with a single willow tree. Hermione waited for him at the edge of the leaves and prepared to part them. Draco steeled himself for what was about to become a very long day. As he passed through the flowing leaves, he looked upon the most haphazard building he had ever seen. He rubbed his eyes jut to be sure the pressurized travel still wasn’t affecting him.

“Is it supposed to look like that?” He said as he tilted his head to try to make the residence straight in his eyesight.

Hermione gave him a look, and refused to answer. He took that as an affirmation. He followed her down the steep hill towards a lazy stream that seemed to feed into the pond located just behind the household. As they crossed a small creaky bridge, he felt it. The barrier of safety charms that were originally meant to keep the likes of him out. It made him stop halfway across the bridge. He waited for something to happen, alarms, boils, Aurors, anything to attack him and drag him away from the area.

Hermione turned when she realized he was no longer following.

“Nobody is trying to keep you out anymore. But if you continue to dawdle, so help me, I will place an entrapment charm on the property so that you have to spend the night.” She scolded.

The thought of having to survive a night in this lopsided hovel was more than enough to get his feet moving forward. As they approached the door, he noticed the very fragrant scent of honeysuckle. The Weasleys had quite a few well-placed bushes of the flowers just outside their windows. Honeysuckles were one of the many flowers Draco’s mother had in her own personal gardens. Although she has a hard time keeping that viscous peacock away from them.

The noise that came from the opened front door was enough to make his ears bleed. Being an only child in a large manor, if there was a noise to be heard, someone had to be dying in the dungeons. Not only that, but being forced to stay in a household that normally had a single child came with the minimal sound of passing cars. This was sheer madness.

The Weaslette had let them in with the explanation of Ronald being scolded for not degnoming the garden like she asked hours ago. It was met with shouts from somewhere above about where a certain pair of socks could be located, and the further callings on whether the post arrived.

If he had ever been in the Gryffindor common room, he would imagine that it looked exactly like this living room. Mismatched shabby couches and chairs near a fireplace, with volumes of books on how to be obnoxiously courageous and self-righteous. It was gaudy, it was worn, and annoyingly red. The only thing in the room that looked somewhat distinguishable was the grandfather in the corner. The shiny red oak and highly detailed carvings along the side was most likely the most expensive item in the house. Upon closer inspection, Draco noticed that in fact it did not tell time at all. But rather where each member of the family was. He watched as one of the hands labeled, Ronald, moved from ‘Home’ to ‘Garden.’ Seems that the Weasel lost that fight. As he continued to look it over, he found one hand pointed in a peculiar spot. It seems as though the clock found Fred Weasley as ‘Lost.’ Draco looked around to see if anyone else seemed to notice this. But Granger seemed to be reassuring the girl weasel, while she openly glared at him. He could hear sounds, from what was presumably the kitchen, but other than that, no one seemed to notice.

“No, I’m fine, Ginny.” He heard Granger explain. “No, I’m not under an imperious curse, honestly…” she scolded as she walked away from the girl and towards Draco, but was stopped halfway by a short plump woman wiping her hands on her apron.

“Oh, Hermione dear, I didn’t hear you come in.” She exclaimed as she patted the girl’s cheek. “You’re looking awfully thin, dear, would you like me to make you something?”

“No, thank you Molly, I just ate a while ago.” Hermione smiled then looked over towards Draco. “Molly, you remember Draco Malfoy.”

The portly woman glanced over, just realizing that another guest had entered her home. He waited for her to spit on him, cast him out of her house before he could endanger her precious kits. Instead he was met with a soft, comforting smile.

“Of course, welcome Draco dear. Thank you for joining us for lunch. I hope I’m not taking the two of you away from any enjoyable experiences in the muggle world.” Molly fretted as she glanced between the two.

Hermione shook her head, and the two were escorted into the kitchen where a fresh batch of ‘tea with ice and lemon’ had been made and a fresh batch of banana bread. When they rounded the corner, Draco’s eyes landed on someone he did not expect to see pouring the tea in tall glasses.

“Ava?”

~*~

Ava Eugenia Burke was a short, dark haired, green eyed girl in the same year as Ginny. As Pansy was pug-like, Ava was plain. Unlike most in her house, Ava did not possess any striking features. Because of this, she seemed escape the attention of most of her classmate and professors. She was a shy, quiet girl that mostly kept to herself whenever she was in the Slytherin common room. Draco could count on one hand the amount of encounters he had with the small girl in the five years he had known her. She was smart, well versed in Ancient Runes and Charms. There were quite a few times she held study sessions for others in their house that seemed to be struggling in those classes. But she was calculating, she always seemed to be observing the world around her, so that she could remain one step ahead. If he was completely honest with himself, she was the Slytherin equivalent of Granger. But he still didn’t understand what he was doing here.

“Hello, Draco.” She greeted as she placed the pitcher down on the table.

He could feel Granger watching him, trying to gauge the reaction, but in all honesty, he was confused. He could not recall the Burke family ever becoming blood-traitors, that’s not to say that they hadn’t kept that bit of information to themselves, as there were no members of her family that had joined the Dark Lord when he came to call. Then what was she doing here?

“Why don’t we sit?” Granger suggested as she pointed a well-worn wooden chair at the head of the table for him.

Hermione sat on the bench that was opposite of Ava and pushed a glass and cozy towards Draco, as if he was going to need that drink in order to process the information that was about to be thrown his way. Ava seemed to hesitate and looked to Hermione for how to proceed. The older girl just shrugged.

“It will be better coming from you.” Hermione answered.

Ava nodded and took a deep breath.

“First year, I was the third student to be called to sit on the stool to be sorted. The moment McGonagall called my name I was met with whispers and surprised looks. I didn’t know why, I didn’t know what I had done. I sat in my own compartment on the train ride over, shared a boat with three other first years to the castle, I spoke to no one.

I climbed onto the stool, felt the hat on my head and thought I was losing my mind. A voice questioning my traits, my values, and all that I held dear. I thought for sure I was going to be placed in Hufflepuff. It seemed the most logical of houses for someone like me. So it was a complete shock when it had commanded I be placed in Slytherin.

The instant I sat down at our house table, I knew why there were whispers. I overheard a fourth year rejoicing in the fact that the ancestor of Elizabeth Burke had joined Slytherin. ‘How lucky were we to have the five times great grandchild of a once true and proper headmistress.’” Ava paused as she looked to Draco.

Elizabeth Burke had been the headmistress of Hogwarts School in the late 1680’s. Prior to that, she herself was a member of the Slytherin house. Draco knew that before she became the headmistress of the school she was a professor Ancient Runes. Thinking of the vast tapestry that hung in his family’s library, Elizabeth Burke had married a Potter at one time and had a child together that would carry one the Potter line. He also knew the Elizabeth was an extremely distance relative of Draco’s, as her mother was a Malfoy.

Elizabeth Burke was the quintessential pure-blood. She believed that magic should only belong to those families of pure lines. The half-bloods and muggleborns had no place in their world. Passing her portrait on the way to the common room, he could hear her encouraging the taunting and teasing his housemates displayed towards others.

“I went along with the story for so long. I researched all that I could on that vile woman. Every day I had to go along like I was better than everyone, more worthy of the powers I possessed, hateful to people I didn’t even know. I reached my breaking point in fifth year.

I was in the library, trying to translate runes in the most intricate Celtic knot I had ever seen. When who should just walk by to return a book in my aisle, but one Hermione Granger. At first I glared at her, it was becoming instinctual at that point, but then I remembered, she could be the one, the one person I could confide in. And I told her everything.”

Ava turned in her seat so that she was facing Draco straight on. Her green eyes bore into his icy grey. He could see the courage and power she was gathering as she prepared to speak again. It frightened him, the surge of energy in the room was overwhelming, and he had never felt such strong magic.

“Draco, I’m a muggleborn. They say it’s extremely rare for someone like me to be sorted into Slytherin, but the Sorting Hat said I needed to be there, that I had a greater purpose. I am not related in any way to Elizabeth Burke, trust me, I looked into my lineage. I live in Mablethrope, my dad’s a fisherman, my mum volunteers at my primary school that my younger brother attends. I have been living a lie the last six years in order to survive.”

Draco watched as the condensation from his glass slowly made a trail down to the cozy. As it landed, he saw the flash of a tear on the dining room table that he would focus on as the giant snake devoured a human in front of his eyes.

“Those cunning folk use any means…” he whispered.

“…to achieve their ends*.” Ava finished.

“It’s a miracle she lasted as long as she did with you lot.” A voice from behind Draco piped.

Draco turned his head to find that Ron leaning against a counter, when he had joined them at some point in the story, Draco couldn’t tell. He looked as though he grew another two inches and had gained some muscle in the process of the war. He was currently wiping his dirt coated hands on a rag and inspecting what seemed to be a small bite mark.

“A right surprise when we got the letter from the Ministry. Thought they had botched the partners.” He explained as Hermione left her seat to greet her friend.

It was an awkward reception to say the least. Almost pained. The two friends silently stared at each other for a moment before Weasel wrapped a hand around the back of her head to kiss her forehead. Granger in response had patted his chest before turning away.

~*~

Hermione stood in the middle of the stuffy bedroom listening to the sounds of distance conversations and the running water of the shower. It was a room filled with the optimistic views of childhood. A time when your biggest worry was whether or not your quidditch team would make the finals, if your brother’s hand-me-down potions book could last another year, or if your best friends could come a few weeks earlier than planned. The house flags displayed proudly on the wall with the star player of the Chudley Cannons; smiling faces in frames scattered throughout the chaos of the desk.

“Are we just going to pretend this isn’t awkward?” Ron asked as he re-entered his room, drying his hair with a towel.

Hermione placed the picture of her and Harry sitting in the courtyard of Hogwarts back on the desk. She was pointing some fact out to Harry in one of their textbooks, when he made, what seemed to be a sarcastic comment, which led to a light smack on the arm, followed by laughter.

“Don’t have to pretend. The fact that Draco Malfoy is currently sitting at your picnic table eating your mother’s cookies is odd enough.” She replied as she looked out into the backyard.

“He probably thinks they’re poisoned, the pale git.” He replied as he threw the towel over his foot board.

They were quiet for a while as Ron dug through his drawers to find a fresh shirt to wear. Hermione continued to watch as Draco and Ava attempted to exchange in a conversation. But even from here she could see that it was strained. She turned when she felt Ron step closer to the window.

“What do you want me to say, Ron? I told you I needed more time.” She sighed as she looked up at her friend.

“I know. You needed time to find your family in Australia. You needed time to restore their memories. You needed time to move them back to England. You needed time away…away from magic. I just need to know, whether I should keep holding out for time, or let it pass?” Ron questioned.

“We went from learning non-verbal spells and transporting our bodies through space, to traveling the expanse of England and Scotland hunting objects that could kill us, being chased by people that wanted me exterminated and watching our friends and classmates die. It’s not exactly how a normal teenager is spending their last years of schooling. I should be graduating at the top of my class, with university’s tripping over themselves for me to attend. Instead I find myself barely holding on to reality. Locked in the bathroom losing pieces of time, embracing darkness just to find a sense of calm.” She looked back out the window and watched as a flock of birds landed in the pond. “How can I care for someone, when I can’t even care for myself?”

She felt his hands on her shoulders bringing her closer to him. He enveloped her, as she kept her arms at her sides.

“I’m here. In whatever form you need me, I’m here.” Ron whispered into her hair.

“I know.” She answered into his t-shirt.

The shout from Mrs. Weasley five floors let them now that their alone time had exceeded.  

~*~

The afternoon went on in a strained silence. Neither party willing to bring up a conversation they weren’t willing to participate in. So many questions left in the balance, yet too afraid to have them answered as it might jolt the reality they were trying to hold onto. Draco’s mind was processing too many facts at once. Is this how Granger felt on a daily basis when she entered his world? How did she manage the headache and eye twitch, let alone organize a thought? He needed to lie down, let his brain process this while he slept. One thing was for sure, he would be weary of any other adventure Granger took him on, lest he let his world come to a crashing end.

 




* Quote from Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, Chapter Seven: The Sorting Hat.

 

 


Chapter 8: Amber Rain Drops
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Chapter 8: Amber Rain Drops

 He would never admit it. But she was right. He could not remember the last time he ate so much food. The year had been suck a stressful time for him and his family, that they were lucky to eat a few meager bites of their meals. The spread of food the Weasley’s had on the table was akin to the dinners his mother use to manage whenever they were trying to impress their guests. But the Weasley’s had a different approach to meals than at home.

Dinner at the Malfoy’s house was always on time, food prepared perfectly on each plate, a vast array of silverware and cutlery, and multiple glasses of water and wine would be elegantly placed on their dinner table. Conversation would be kept to a minimum, and second helpings were never an option. Tonight, however, Draco could not focus on the multiple conversations happening across the table. Or the amount of platters and bowls being passed from one person to another. Yet, there was still more than enough food to go around for each person to take an extra scoop of potatoes, another roll, or another chicken wing.

He sat silently observing the meal, wondering how long it took Granger to keep up with the rest of the weasels. He had a slight headache from all the noise and trying to process all of the day’s events. He looked across the table at Ava, who was explaining to Mrs. Weasley how muggles to use a barbeque to cook their chicken over a flame. He could feel his own flame growing within. All the lies he had been told since he was young. How the people he was currently sitting with were not really human beings with families, loved ones, and friends. They were deficient swine ready for slaughter. Yet, here they were, alive…together…happy.

So many lies…

 

~*~

She knew he would awkwardly quiet during this visit. He knew when it was best to not draw attention to himself, and when to put on a show. She figured he would still be digesting the news Ava had broken to him earlier. But he was now at a point in his silence that worried her. ‘Always fear the quiet one,’ rang in her mind as she watched him out of the corner of her eye during dessert.

He ate out of politeness, even a snobbish boy like Malfoy couldn’t turn away the meals Molly Weasley prepared. She watched him try to follow along with the conversations at the table. He seemed to give up after a while and was now lost in thought. Maybe it was a little too soon to tell him.

 

~*~

They left later than she had anticipated. It was when the garden lights had turned on in the yard that Granger finally came to and announced their departure. She made the customary promises of visiting again, promises of writing, and of course dragging him along for another meal while he was staying with her.

He politely thanked Mr. and Mrs. Weasley for their hospitality, and followed on Granger’s heel out the door.

 

~*~

‘Perfect. Just bloody perfect.’ He thought as they apparated back to Granger’s town.

They were back behind the church again, except this time the weather matched Draco’s mood. Dark and stormy. It was pouring rain, and them without so much of an umbrella. No point in even bothering to use magic with all the muggles driving around. He watched as Granger closed her eyes and raised her head up to the clouds. He watched the rain drops descend down the plains of her face as she released a large sigh.

“Wonderful.” She said as she turned to him. “Come on, we’ll take the short cut through the park. Maybe the trees will provide better coverage.”

Coverage they did not provide. In fact it seemed as though the rain went right through the branches. Purposely finding their way to the top of his head. Every drop he felt make contact was another strike of the match waiting to set him off. The wheels in Draco’s mind had not stopped turning all night. How dare she take him to the house of blood traitors! How dare Dumbledore for placing a mudblood in Slytherin! How dare his parents force him to follow a maniac that created lies that could have gotten them all killed! How dare the Ministry pair him up with Granger of all people!  How dare she make him walk through the rain!

Before he even realized what he had done, Draco had reached out and grabbed Granger by the arm. She spun around with a surprised look on her face. She saw the anger building behind his eyes, she had seen this look more times than she could count. Sometimes it was directed at her, most times it was thrown at Harry.

“Draco,” she said softly, trying to keep her voice calm and reasonable. Yet at the same time she could feel her heart beginning to race, mind beginning to defend.

“You brought me there to rub it in, didn’t you?” he hissed as the rain from his hair dripped down his face.

“Stop. You’re overreacting, they only wanted to make peace with you. Show you that everyone can make mistakes that can be forgiven… You’re hurting my arm.” She said slowly as his grip became harder on her bicep.

He laughed through his nose as his face formed his signature sneer.

“You just wanted to watch me as the truth destroys my entire world, my entire way of thinking. Making me sit there with those…those weasels…as you continue to regal your triumphs over me and my family. Laugh at the fact that a muggleborn was in our house for all those years without me knowing.” He continued to sneer, as he pulled her closer, shaking the raindrops from the ends of her hair onto her shirt.

“Draco, stop.” She tried again with a little more force.

Her breathing was rapidly increasing. There was no one around. He could easily pull his wand and end her now if he wanted. There would be no witnesses. The bright orange of the pathway lights grew dimmer in her vision.

“And now you drag me through this weather knowing we can’t use magic just to further push my buttons. Well, considered them pushed! You filthy…disgusting…mudblood.” He spat.

He had enough time to watch as Granger’s pupils completely dilated. The warm brown that oddly reminded him of the grain of his dining room table was completely gone, replaced by the darkest black that even put his suits to shame. The air around her seemed to vibrate and electrify. Her hair began to fan out away from her shoulders as though Medusa had returned from legends.

“I said… STOP!”

 Draco was thrown ten feet back by a force that radiated between them. It felt as though someone wrapped a rope around his stomach and tied it to a horse to pull him back off his two standing feet. The first thing he registered after hitting the ground was the pain in his lower back and right shoulder from taking the brunt of the fall. He was winded, as though all the air had been forced from his lungs. He reached up with a groan for his shoulder and opened his eyes. That is when he knew something was definitely wrong. He ignored the pain in his back as he tried to sit up.

The rain had stopped.

In fact it had completely suspended.

The rain drops that were once on a downward path were completely frozen in time. All around him as far as his eyes could see, the rain drops hung in midair like crystals off a chandelier.

Draco slowly reached out to touch one of the drops and watched as it moved down the path of his finger to his hand. His focus on the water changed when he saw her laying on the ground as well. Except, she wasn’t moving.

Draco half stumbled and half crawled his way over to her. She was on her back, her head was off to the side with wet strands of hair clinging to her cheek. His eyes went immediately to her chest and watched as the blush pink t-shirt slowly rose and fell. It looked as though she decided to nap in the middle of the park. He was afraid to touch her, as much as he wanted to wake her, he did not want a repeated aerial trip across the park.

He hovered over her wondering what he should do. He looked around to see if there was anyone walking by, but it seemed as though the whole world was still. He looked back at Granger and that was when he noticed the smoke rising from her twitching fingertips. Her middle finger raised slightly and he watch as a small strike of light emerged and disappeared. Had he blinked, he would have missed it.

“Granger…” he whispered, never taking his eyes off her hands.

She still did not move. Draco became increasingly more nervous.

“Granger…” he tried a more forcefully. Frustratingly pushing his hair out of his eyes.

Still no response.

Draco took a deep breath and tried once more. Placing his hand on her shoulder and giving her a little shake.

“Hermione!”

He watched as her brow began to frown, and her breathing increasing. She moved her hands to her head as though she was awaking with a massive hangover. Her hands moved down to rub her eyes as the light assaulted her through the closed lids. She let out a small groan as she attempted to open her eyes.

~*~

Everything was blurry. And bright. So very very bright. She reached for her wand to extinguish the light, but thought better of it. She slowly began to blink to adjust her vision. The sight above her made her squint. Amber shaped rain drops hung in perfection above her. She raised herself up on her elbows, and almost instantly regretted it. The rain drops in her path collected on her face and traveled down to her neck, only to be absorbed into her shirt. Her vision went blurry again, but after a few deep breaths, she regained it.

She looked around the park to see that it was cascaded with these amber and silver crystals. The water particles refracting the light of the pathway lamps giving them their color and sparkle. It was beautifully terrifying, because she knew she had caused it.

The movement on her left caused her to jump. Draco had been sitting so still as she took in the sight that she did not realize he was there. She sat up further, taking in the soreness that spread throughout her body. Her hands hurt the most, yet there were no signs of injury or burn. She clenched her fists as she attempted to stand.

A waterless tunnel was formed after every move she made. She could feel Draco’s eyes following her as she moved between the droplets. Gingerly, he stood and also started to explore the area. They could not hear the sounds of traffic, or the movement of the breeze between the trees. Just the sound of the two of them cautiously moving across the slick grass. Taking in the soothing splash of each drop on their skin as they pushed through the space.

They continued in their silence until both of their eyes fell on one drop in particular. It was unquestionably the largest particle they had seen. As they drew closer to it, it seemed as though it was carved by the clouds. A flawless raindrop. It harvested the orange light from the lamppost and sparkled in perfection.

Hermione raised her hand at eye level, the same time Draco was bringing his up to his chest to reach out for it. The pull to collect something so perfect drawing their fingers closer to breaking the surface. Their fingers just barely touching the drop before they felt a jolt pass through their hands. The droplet breaking as they pulled back. In the moment their eyes met, the world came back to life.

It was as though the entire time they remained in their little bubble, the rain that was previously falling had collected above them. As reality came back, a wall of water came crashing down upon them. Soaked and confused, Draco looked at her through dripping hair.

“What just happened?”


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