Chapter 20 : Goodnight and Not Goodbye
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“Why the bloody hell does this damn forest have to be so bloody dark and for Merlin’s sake, chop down some trees!” three cloaked figures weaved in and out of the tormented branches and roots spring from the ground and air.
“Would you be quiet boy, can you not wrap your mind around the fact that you have just fled from Azkaban, and that there is a very good chance we are being stalked by a pack of werewolves right now because of your obscene whining! ” The tallest cloaked shadow growled stopping in the middle of a clearing to turn and face the fidgeting boy in front of him.
“Both of you shut those holes in your face! All Malfoys are the same, and I’ve never like your bloodline Zabini.” The leader of the three hissed in a venomous voice. “We’re here, now quiet until the rest arrive.” The leader stayed standing while the other two leaned against a large blackened oak tree trying to conceal their rasping breath.
“What is up her ass, I thought vampires had some patience...”
“Quiet! We are meters away from the entrance of this forest, and Hogwarts is only a little further. Now if you wish to complain, I advise you to skip back to that school and cry for Dumbledore that pathetic old -”
“This is who you brought to help us perform the ritual, wretched wizards.” A cold female voice echoed from all around the three sending painful shivers down their backs. “Where’s the girl, she is all we need now. The other three are here, Armand, bring the princesses.” From an unseen path, a broad shouldered, dark haired man emerged with three beautiful women behind him being restrained by three other strong looking men. The first was a tiny woman with a grayish blue colored skin and black satin fabric wrapped around her chest and crossing her stomach to create a short skirt and then twisting down to her shins. Her hair shown blacker than the fabric itself only to end above her behind in a soft pony tail wrapped in Elvin gold. A small white glow was flying eccentrically around the small girl’s body pulling at the chains only to be swatted away by the large man dragging her along. The woman followed after her was tall young girl with straight blonde hair ending inches below her shoulders. Tiny emeralds adorned her exposed arms down to the knuckle of her middle fingers. Her tanned skin was covered in a light forest green velvet dress coming to the ground. The last woman did not walk over the black soil in the forest, but was gliding across with her head held high up. She glowed a radiating white and when she had come close enough to the cloaked figures no longer leaning against the tree, they could see soft wings tucked securely behind her covering her completely exposed skin from behind. Her auburn hair blew in wisps with the nonexistent wind flowing around her ruffling her feathers also. All three of the woman held their heads high with dignity seeping from their pores, angering the men around them. “I have secured three princesses of the four, now it’s your turn to lend a helping hand Lucius.” The cold feminine voice echoed again.
“It has already begun, this has been planned for sometime now, doubt my power over the mudblood again and you’ll never get the final princess you need.” Lucius said pulling down his hood.
“Don’t get too cozy Malfoy; the Dark Lord still knows nothing of our plans. It’s a bloody miracle those damned dreams of hers tricked even Dumbledore, let alone the Dark Lord into her supposed failure.” Armand snarled at Lucius for showing his face to his queen. “The mudblood looks like this so don’t screw up.” Drown bellowed to the new faces around him as he motioned his hand to a portrait of a young and beautiful princess surrounded mostly by darkness being held up by a tall woman.
Hermione had skipped classes that day with Draco and was now lying in his sleepy arms on his bed. She pretended to sleep while he lovingly ran his fingers along her arm and played lightly with a single lock of hair that had fallen away from her messy ponytail. Slowly Draco’s caressing ceased and she opened her eyes to see him in a deep sleep with his blonde hair fallen in front of his own eyes. Hermione watched as the candle he had lit earlier danced with the shadows on his face making him look as though he was meant to be with that lone flame. ‘How could someone that makes others so scared be so sweet...’ she thought moving some hair from covering his closed eyes. She glanced to a muggle clock that he had purchased with her in Diagon Alley. ‘2:47... good I still have some time.’ Hermione meticulously replaced her body with a pillow so that Draco would not wake from him being the only form in the bed. Quietly she tip toed out of the room and into the common room where she found a small black velvet bag lying on the dark coffee table. She snatched up the bag and quickly opened it and removed the objects. Inside there was a large silver ring with the dark mark engraved on an emerald, an old English looking muggle watch, and there was also two pieces of parchments were folded around the ring.
3:03 and 6 seconds AM
Put on the ring at the location marked on the map enclosed.
Hermione knew what the letter meant and exactly where the X was located in the Forbidden Forest. “Hoping Arielle isn’t there...” She mumbled as she gathered the things back into the small black bag and pulled it shut with a soft black leather drawstring.
Hermione arrived at the clearing she once trained in at exactly 3:02. She followed the second hand intently on the watch she had received. Once the second hand reached its destination and before she could even get the ring onto the tip of her finger, Hermione was being tugged by her navel only to land in an identical looking clearing.
“Bloody thing is defective...” Hermione said about to toss the ring and watch into a nearby bush.
“It wasn’t defective dear; the ring just simply wasn’t the portkey. I see my hawk delivered your directions nicely.” Lucius Malfoy emerged from the shadows like he was floating. Hermione made a mental note of how creepy and evil even the man’s walk was.
“Believe me it drew enough attention to me at lunch having a huge hawk come swooping down on the Gryffindor table. Good thing your son was too busy to not show up to lunch earlier.”
“Luck has nothing to do with it; I made sure he was too busy. You know Severus is persuaded extremely easily when he’s knocked unconscious. The traitor will be better off dead once the new Dark Lord comes to power.” Lucius spat onto the ground showing his complete disgust.
“Unconscious? I saw Professor Snape, he was fine all day, except for breakfast, he did seem a bit off.” Hermione mumbled mostly to herself.
“Oh no, he was very much not awake and walking around, but we did have to intercede again during lunch. That other professor of yours is very handy when it comes to getting black market polyjuice potion quickly. Now what was his name, ah yes, Professor Drown, yes that man does play a grand Severus Snape.” Hermione saw other figures move from the shadows. One blackened shadow turned into Armand Drown who was grinning wildly, obviously proud of his plan working out perfectly. The next few figures became men she had never seen before, all very tall and very strong. The last shadow that emerged directly behind her was in a hooded cloak laughing softly sending prickles down her back. “I do believe you remember him, he escaped Azkaban just for you Granger.” The cloaked figure pulled down his hood to reveal a disheveled looking Blaise Zabini smirking with his eyes on fire with lust and anger. Hermione’s body went to stone from shock and fear, but slowly her fists tightened and any emotions she was feeling towards the boy in front of her turned to hate.
“Surprised to see me so soon love?” Blaise said baring his glossy teeth in the moonlight.
“Oh don’t scare the poor mudblood, she’s acting as if she’s seen a ghost.” Both Lucius and Blaise broke off into a hideous laughter causing Hermione to inwardly cringe and drop the ring and bag onto the dirty ground.
“Why am I here, you had your fun before, and I’m not exactly up for it now.” Hermione finally spoke up after the laughing died down.
“You’re here because I know you haven’t kept you end of the bargain Granger, my son is still with you. If you don’t wish to attend his funeral then I suggest you do as you’re told mudblood.”
“And why should I believe you, you still need him!” she yelled.
“You sound unsure of yourself; let’s see what your other half has to say about this.” Lucius pulled out his wand from the cane resting on his side and pointed it straight at the ring lying in the dirt. “Traga adiante a escuridăo!” The bulky silver ring sprung to life and attached itself quickly to Hermione’s thumb. Immediately, her body became cold, every feature she had became pale and lifeless until she could barely hold herself up. Soon an icy feeling traveled from the ring to the rest of her limbs causing her blood to chill and her heart to slow dangerously until she felt it stop. Hermione could feel her muscles stretching against her now ghost white skin. Now she was on all fours and gripping the ashy ground like it would save her from falling into the total darkness that she felt surrounding her.
“Like the way you feel mudblood?” Blaise asked stepping close to the frail form before him. Hermione could barely even form words on her tongue, her body was aching to the point that she refused to open her eyes. “What are you doing to me?” Hermione heaved pushing her fingers deeper into the ashy dirt.
“Simply bringing out the true Hermione Granger.” Lucius stated obviously intrigued by the transformation happening before him.
Hermione finally opened her eyes once the icy fire subsided in her veins. She sat back on her knees, watching the black soil run fluidly through her now pale fingers. Her nails had grown longer and sharp like claws, while the muscles in her arms had become more defined along with her legs.
“Here.” She heard Blaise say as an old looking mirror with black roses engraved on the frame was thrown to her on the ground. Hermione sat back on her knees and wiped the dirt and dust from the mirror as she gazed wide eyed into the new reflection that stared back at her. Her soft honey eyes were now covered over with a black mist, her hair was no longer brown and curly, but long, straight and black. Her once full and rosy lips were thin and powdery, the glow in every inch of her face was gone, there was no trace of the old Hermione Granger left.
“Permissum victus mortuus animadverto. What does that mean?” Hermione asked tracing her finger over the inscription at the top of the mirror.
“Let the undead see. This is your vampire form, your kind can’t see your reflection, I thought you might like to see the real you.” A familiar voice echoed from behind Hermione.
“Armand.” Hermione grunted throwing the mirror into the ground and standing up to face the one man responsible for all of her problems.
“Do you like how you truly are? I must say you are rather stunning now.” Armand said wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her tiny body into his. Hermione struggled to get free from his tightening grip only to cause more pain to develop until he was squeezing her so firmly that she felt herself apparate in a thick cloud of black smoke to the other side of the clearing.
“My, quite impressive this new form has made you.” Armand announced walking over to Hermione’s confused form. She had not even thought of apparating, yet her body was able to defensively get her from danger. When Armand was a foot from her he turned and pulled a large dagger from under his cloak. Before the blade reached Hermione’s throat it turned to thick smoke and ash then a second later reappeared into her hand.
“Extraordinary...” Armand whispered looking into the gleaming blade now laying on the ground from Hermione dropping the cold hilt in shock. He waved a hand over her worried face and immediately all emotion drained from her and she resembled a zombie looking blankly into everything.
“Bloody hell!” Blaise shouted with his jaw hanging.
“Zabini!” Armand barked. “Fight her!”
“You have got to be pulling my leg; I’m not going near her!” Blaise responded in fear.
“Crucio!” Armand shouted throwing his hand towards the boy now sprawled on the ground screaming in agony. “Fight her now! ” Blaise shakily rose from the ground and made his way toward Hermione’s still shocked form. He straightened himself up and quickly threw a hard punch at her. Hermione recoiled and disappeared again in a cloud of black smoke that surrounded Blaise causing him to cough uncontrollably even after she reappeared many feet away from him. Blaise pulled out his wand just slowly enough for Hermione to see it and immediately a white streak exploded from her hand and sending his wand into the dark bushes at the edge of the clearing.
“What is this some freak show? I just lost my bloody wand!” Blaise shouted running to the bush her thought he saw his wand soar into.
“Lucius, tell me again why you risked everything to save that boy from Azkaban...” Armand stated sending glares at them both.
“I’m very sorry, but believe me he will come in handy. For now, I think we should send Granger back, it is nearly 4 in the morning.” Lucius said looking down at a pocket watch in his hand.
“I’ll take her back now, be back here tonight again, Da- the Mistress will want to speak with you I am sure.” Armand grabbed onto Hermione’s shell of a body and apparated to the edge of the Forbidden Forest. There he waved his hand back over Hermione’s blank face and pulled her from the trance. Her features became distraught and tears immediately began forming in her still blackened eyes.
“Why are you doing this to me?” Hermione murmured to the ground.
“Get into the school, you’re a powerful vampire for the next couple hours and I don’t think you would like to explode into a pile of ash once the sun hits those mountains.” Armand said pointing to the high peaks behind Hogwarts.
“You can’t leave me like this! It’s because of this ring! Take it off now!!” Hermione desperately pulled on the silver band wrapped around her finger pleading for it to come off.
“It will come off when the spell wears off, now into the castle quickly!” Armand grunted pushing her out from the shadows of the trees. “Oh bloody hell, you stupid little mudblood!” Armand touched on her shoulder and mumbled ‘Head’s Tower’ and Hermione was gone with no evidence of her ever being next to him.
Draco was wondering the dark corridors of Hogwarts since nearly 3:45 that morning. He had woken and found Hermione missing from his room and the entire Head’s Tower. Draco sat around waiting for her to come back for almost an hour until he was on the verge of freaking out and ran from the Common Room.
“Hermione! Hermione please, where are you?” Draco called down the empty corridors. “Herm-” He stopped short when a light purring sound came from behind him. A couple feet away from Draco was Mrs. Norris rubbing against the stone corner he had just turned looking straight at him. “You have got to be kidding me...” Draco sighed beginning to take small steps backwards not taking his eyes off the cat. Mrs. Norris took another look at Draco before she turned and ran off in the opposite direction of him. “Damn cat!” Draco shouted before he turned and sprinted back to the Head Tower before Filch could catch him. If he was caught, especially by Filch, his Head Boy badge would be stripped for sure and most likely given to the Weasel. On his way back to the Head Tower, Draco ran straight into someone smaller than him and knocking them both down.
“Hermione?!” Draco asked hopefully.
“Oh Drakey! I knew you would come back to me, it just took a couple months and a cold dark night in an abandoned corridor for you to find me!” A shrill voice said as the girl wrapped her arms around Draco’s neck.
“Ah! Parkinson, get off me you pug!” Draco yelled scrambling to his feet and trying to wipe the feel of Pansy off of him.
“Don’t be silly Drakey, I know you are just trying to cover your love for me.” Pansy squeaked.
“Parkinson! What are you doing in the corridors this late? I’m Head Boy and I can take points from your house and give you as many detentions as I want.” Draco stated firmly when he regained his composure.
“You’re so funny Dra-”
“Where were you Parkinson?” Draco stated again.
“I was with Snape; I still have detention with that bloody idiot from when your sex toy played that horrible joke on me!” Pansy pouted grabbing onto Draco’s cloak.
“Don’t touch me Pansy!” Draco growled ripping his cloak from her fingers. “For that expect to see Filch tomorrow.” Draco said and walked off back to the Head Dormitories.
Draco finally made it back to the Portrait of Sir Bartley without being caught by Filch or Mrs. Norris again, and without being delayed by any unstable stalkers. Sir Bartley sleepily let Draco in and he headed straight towards Hermione’s room. He noticed the fire was burning but thought nothing of it as he ran up the stone stairs.
“Mione are you here?” Draco said softly making his way to her bed. Not finding anyone in the cozy covers Draco rushed from the room and headed to his own room hoping Hermione would be back there. He again noticed the fire that had not been burning when he left blazing in the fireplace and stopped in his steps.
“Mione? Is that you?” Draco whispered again when he saw a bundle of covers shift on the couch.
“No leave the blanket over me!” Hermione pleaded when she felt a heavy hand tug on the green silk cover.
“Hermione where have you been, Merlin I’ve been so worried. It’s almost 4:30 in the morning, come on I’ll take you to bed.” Draco again attempted to pull the cover from her, but Hermione wouldn’t let him take it. “Is everything okay?”
“I don’t want you to see me.” Hermione responded a little muffled from the blanket.
“Mione you’re beautiful, why would you think other wise?” Draco said sitting down and scooting Hermione’s bundled form onto his lap. He could feel her sigh and relax against his chest. Slowly Hermione pulled the silk boarder from her face to show Draco what his father did to her. Her hair had begun lightening and curly slightly, but her skin was still ghost white and her eyes were still empty black orbs.
“Oh ‘Mi, how did this happen?” Draco said softly pushing some hair from her face revealing the new tears forming in her shining black eyes. “You don’t have to hide yourself from me ever, I’m always going to love you Hermione. Now who did this to you, I swear they’ll regret it.”
“N-Nobody, it just happened when I-I found this ring.” Hermione lied showing him the old silver ring still secure on her finger. ‘Why does that look so damn familiar? Damnit where have I seen that ring before!’ Draco thought staring into the emerald that gleamed back at him.
“I’ve seen that ring before...” Draco wrinkled his forehead in thought until his face hardened in realization. “That ring is my father’s.” Draco said flatly looking up into Hermione’s face. “Hermione, tell me right now that that ring didn’t come from my father.” Hermione shifted off of Draco and backed away from him on the couch letting the blanket fall to the ground.
“Draco please, there is no way I could tell you.”
“How can you not tell me? Hermione you can’t hide something like this from me! I can’t trust my father or any other Deatheater with you! Merlin they probably want you dead!” Draco shouted standing from the couch.
“They don’t want me dead! They... they are going to kill you if I don’t cooperate. That’s why I tried to hate you, and now Lucius knows we are still together and he wants you dead.” Hermione quieted down and dropped her head after accepting what she had said.
“My bloody father won’t touch you or me, believe me I would never let anyone get to either of us just because we are in love.” Draco said reaching Hermione. “Merlin ‘Mione look at you, you’re completely exhausted from all the rubbish that damn man has put you through.” Draco picked up his green blanket from the floor and wrapped it around her flimsy body. “Come on, I’m taking you to bed it’s not even 5 in the morning yet.”
Draco pulled the warm sheets over Hermione and himself and pulled her to him with protective arms.
“Hermione I know you aren’t sleeping... you can stop pretending.” Draco whispered into her ear. “You need to stop worrying, just get some rest.”
“Easy for you to say, you aren’t a vampire until a damn ring comes off your finger.” Hermione mumbled.
“Alright fine, you’re right I don’t have as many things on my plate as you, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve some sleep. Here, I’m gonna sing you something that my mom used to when I was little when my father was away on missions.” Draco sat up a little and kissed the top of her head. “Let me just think of how it went... okay here goes...
No more tears
In the morning
I’ll be here
And when we say
Dry your eyes
Because we said
And not goodbye”
When Draco looked down he saw Hermione‘s eyes closed and felt her body finally relaxed. He settled back into the silk sheets and whispered a quiet ‘Goodnight’ before he too succumbed to sleep.
Author's Note: The song was 'Goodnight' by Evanescence and also... can some people start reviewing?!? i have over 13400 reads and only like 142 reviews... i think those numbers are a bit off... and also since it helps encourage me to post quicker... i don't remeber to write unless i get reviews! just so everyone knows.. i'm being honest about my stupidity lol
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