Chapter 13 : The Cornered Professor
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Hermione found herself in the garden once again. After a sleepless night, she just wanted to relax and try to find some peace. Her mind was in havoc and had been ever since she had first discovered her fate. She was going to marry Draco Malfoy. The idea still sounded ridiculous, even though it had been echoing in her mind since last night. Never in her wildest nightmares had she ever imagined she would marry the scum that had caused her misery for the last ten years. The idea was absurd, and yet it was to become a reality. She wondered if Draco knew already. When would he find out?
The sun was shining gently as the small licks of light filtered through the tree canopy overhead. Hermione was sitting beside the small lily pond that she had fallen in love with the first time she had walked through this spectacular garden. The sunlight sparkled on the dark water of the pond and seemed to make the lilies sing in all their colourful glory as it reflected back off their petals. Hermione saw a slight flicker in the water of golden orange as a fish ducked across the pond sneakily. She wished that she could stare into this pond forever. It brought a real sense of serenity and calmness to her as she let her mind wander whilst watching the lilies float gently across the pond.
She was going to be a mother. It wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’. No matter what happened, Voldemort would ensure that she fell pregnant by Draco Malfoy. Ergh! The idea of sharing a bed with that slimy creature was truly sickening. She wouldn’t just be sharing a bed, but a home and a life with him! To see him everyday, share their meals together, spend their spare time together – she didn’t realise before how much she had agreed to when agreeing to marry him. No, there was one thing that she could look forward to – if she ever got their – and that was the child. Even though she knew she wasn’t ready to be a mother, with the option being presented to her, she knew she couldn’t pass it up. In reality, she was a traitor to her own people – there was no way that she would be accepted back there now, and the likelihood of a Death Eater taking the Mudblood as a loving wife was very slim. Even though it was Draco Malfoy, she knew she was rather lucky to be given this chance for a family, and all the while she was helping Lord Voldemort in his quest to gain an heir.
“Hello you.” said a deep voice from behind her. She smiled seeing his reflection in the water below her.
“Hello Travis!” she said, happy for an escape from her own dismally disappointing thoughts. She patted the small piece of green grass beside her. He crouched down beside her and sat next to her, his arm brushing hers quickly. She felt herself blush. Why couldn’t she have had Travis? If things were to be different, she would have liked to spend more time with him, get to know him and his charming face. She didn’t care what Draco said, he wasn’t dangerous. He was much nicer and gentlemanly than Draco, but that wasn’t saying much considering a hungry werewolf would be more of a gentleman than him!
“What’s got you sitting here all alone staring into a filthy pond?” he asked gingerly. Hermione was slightly affronted by his comment about her pond, but she ignored it. The other half of the question was the part that bothered her.
“Oh, nothing. I’m just thinking is all . . .” she stated generally. He smiled at her and she felt herself blush a little. He knew that she was holding something back, but he didn’t question her any further. They sat in silence by the pond watching the lilies float around and the fish that skimmed the surface of the pond every now and then. Serenity. That was what she felt right now. A pure sense of serenity. The knowledge that she was here with someone, but she was left to her own devices without any probing questions brought her a sense of pure stillness. She could have stayed there forever.
Suddenly though, a large rock was dropped into the pond right in front of them, splashing the both of them. They both yelled out in surprised outrage. Laughing behind them was none other than Draco Malfoy. Hermione felt herself scowl as she jumped up from her seat on the grass heatedly and turned toward the blonde.
“What, do you think your doing?!” she spat at him. His laughter ceased momentarily as he considered her angry expression, but he simply broke into laughter again. Hermione gave an almighty cry of frustration and slapped him across the back of his head. She regretted it immediately. His laughter stopped and his face grew red with anger. Hermione sensed Travis getting up behind her in anticipation of the onslaught that was about to occur.
“What the hell do you think your doing you wench?! It was only a rock – but you have to go and get all uppity about it!” he spat at her angrily. Hermione felt herself flush with rage.
“WHY THE BLOODY HELL DO YOU HAVE BE SUCH AN IDIOT!?!?” she exclaimed wildly. Travis attempted an intervention.
“Let’s just calm-“
“STAY OUT OF THIS!” both Hermione and Draco shouted at him and he unquestioningly stepped away from them, leaving them both to yell at one another. Hermione sighed and rubbed her temples agitatedly in an attempt to alleviate the stress of the situation.
“What do you actually want Malfoy?” she asked tiredly. She suddenly realised that it wouldn’t be long and she wouldn’t even be able to call him Malfoy any more, since she too would be one. At least he would have the same dilemma in not being able to call her Granger any more.
“I came to tell you that my mother is looking for you everywhere!” he stated.
“Well why couldn’t you just say that?! Why on earth did you have to throw a rock into the water and scare the crap out of the both of us?!”
“Because I thought it was a good idea at the time!”
“Well it wasn’t!”
“Fine! Point taken!”
“Fine!” she spat, marching away from Draco and Travis without another word or second glance. She had to leave before things got too out of hand. Marching across the green grass of the beautiful garden, her anger soon faded away as a feeling of calmness overcame her. She didn’t know how on earth she was going to manage being married to that man, but at least it would keep her on her toes! As she traipsed across the garden, her attention was drawn to movement in the far left corner of the estate. There, Draco’s two dogs Venice and Raven were huddled in the corner trying desperately to push their way into the large hedge that was growing there. Her curiosity getting the better of her, she wandered over.
“Venice . . . Raven . . . here dogs!” she called them to get them away from the hedge, which worked perfectly. They dashed towards her happily, ready to share their find with her. She crept a little closer to the large green hedge and peered underneath. The two dogs nuzzled at her face but she merely swatted them away. Underneath the hedge in the far corner she could see a small bundle of fur. The creature’s great big eyes glinted at her from in the dark and a tiny hiss was emitted. Hermione smiled and reached under the hedge.
The dogs jumped up and down around her happily, as they must have thought that they were definitely going to receive their play toy now! The small creature hissed at Hermione’s hand as she tried to scoop it up and attempted to slash at her with its tiny claws. Becoming fed up with the many small swipes she was receiving from the animal, she grabbed it roughly and pulled it out from under the hedge. In the light, she held the small kitten above her head so it was out of reach of the dogs. They jumped hungrily at the kitten and it hissed and spat at them angrily whilst Hermione quickly made her way to the sunroom and shut the door behind her – leaving the greedy dogs outside.
The kitten’s hair still stood on end as he looked around himself dazedly. He had finally stopped hissing and spitting, but still he clung to her hand tightly with his claws. She brought the little thing close to her chest and began stroking his hair back into place. He was small – no more than five weeks at the most, with dark grey-brown fur with black stripes running through it. Turning him over for a quick look (much to his distaste) she quickly discovered that he was in fact a she! The little kitten cried mercifully and so she placed her against her chest and stroked her gently.
“HERMIONE! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!” snapped Mrs Malfoy. She wasn’t angry at her but simply fed up with searching the mansion for her. Spotting the small kitten in Hermione’s hands, she faltered. “Er – what is that?” she exclaimed.
“It’s a kitten. I found her in the garden being bailed up by Draco’s dogs. I thought I might . . . well . . . it its okay with yourself and Lucius . . .”
“Keep it?” she exclaimed incredulously. “It’s a stray Hermione! We get them all the time. That’s why I got Draco those dogs to begin with – to keep the strays away!”
“Oh! Please Mrs Malfoy!” Hermione pleaded. “I’ll look after her! You won’t even know she’s here!” Narcissa regarded Hermione and her stray carefully, narrowing her eyes at the small creature as it attempted to claw its way up Hermione’s chest towards her face.
“Oh, very well! But if Draco’s dogs get it – I won’t be held responsible – and nor will Draco or anyone else! That’s what they’re here for!” Hermione smiled widely and hugged the kitten closer. She would have thanked Narcissa gratefully if she didn’t jump in before she could. “Now come on! The Dark Lord has informed us that he will be having dinner with us tonight and I want you to be ready!”
“But it’s still three hours until dinner!” Hermione exclaimed tiredly. She was almost sick to death with being formal and correct all the time – she just wanted some time to relax.
“Well I need all the time I can get! We can’t have you wearing that . . . that . . . thing you’ve been wearing to our dinners! Now come on!” Hermione sighed and followed Narcissa out of the sun room – ready to be prodded, pricked, poked and pampered by her maids.
She sat in the chair in front of the mirror, alone in the room – all except for the small kitten that played with its tail on her lap. She was ready for dinner, looking her best in a formal gown of black and her hair curled and placed delicately off her neck. After watching the kitten for some time, she soon came to the conclusion that the two of them actually had a lot in common. They were both strays; Hermione being from a world considered foul and dirty by those around her now. And they had both been cornered. The small kitten bailed up by the large brutes that were Draco’s dogs and Hermione cornered into marrying Draco Malfoy – evil himself. But the two of them both had a glimmer of hope. Maybe, just maybe, they could both grow to become a part of this world. Hermione was slowly becoming accepted by the various parties that went to and fro between the manor and their own private destinations. Some still watched her with hate filled eyes, but she was seeing less and less of those each and every day.
The kitten had grown tired of her tail and now sought a new adventure by trying her luck at crossing from Hermione’s lap to the dresser perched in front of her. Hermione had noticed the small specks of black that existed around her eyes – almost like little animated sparkles of glitter. The small feature had reminded her of her Hogwarts professor Minerva McGonagall. When she had transformed into her cat animagi she had had similar little speckles around her eyes that almost represented her glasses. This had given Hermione an idea on what to name the kitten.
“How about Professor?” she whispered to the kitten as she struggled with the dresser edge, her legs dangling off the side. Hermione scooped her off the dresser and held her up to the light. “So what do you think Professor? Suitable?” she smiled. The Professor’s great big orbs simply watched Hermione’s lips with unmoving curiosity.
The small bell jingled in the corner of the room indicating that she was expected downstairs. Placing the Professor on her large queen sized bed; she left the room quickly, shutting the door quickly behind her. Gliding down the staircase, she was greeted by Narcissa. Without a word, the two of them walked gracefully into the formal dining room. Hermione took the seat that she was appointed by Narcissa and sat quietly. The places were set either side of her and so she began to wonder who would be sitting either side. A slight clatter of cutlery across the table alerted her to Travis’s presence across from her. He raised his glass of water to her and sipped seductively. Hermione felt herself blush. A man with a billowing black cloak and rather long, greasy hair sat down on her right hand side. He didn’t say a word to her nor did he even acknowledge her in any way, but she was sure that she knew him. His gaze flew across the table and she was shocked that the man beside her was none other than Severus Snape. His eyes wandered over her but they showed no sign of recognition.
With the quiet scrape of a chair, Draco Malfoy sat down on her other side. She inwardly sighed at this horrible revelation, but outwardly she showed no sign of distaste. It wouldn’t be polite to kick up a fuss about being seated beside her future husband. She looked at him secretly and tried to read his expression. He didn’t even acknowledge her as he began an animated conversation with the gentleman on his other side. She wondered if he knew yet of their pre-arranged engagement, but guessing from the way he ignored her so obliviously, she guessed that he didn’t – or he simply didn’t want her to know that he did.
The room went quiet as the Dark Lord took his position at the head of the table and those who were still standing and talking scrambled to their designated chairs. Voldemort did not take his seat like everyone else did; he stayed standing. Watching everyone settle, he finally spoke.
“Welcome, my trusted friends!” he said welcomingly, opening his arms widely in a gesture of greeting. A sickening smile spread across his face as his eyes wandered over each and ever one of them. “We are gathered here tonight to celebrate a special event – something I have been anticipating for some time now.” he said happily. Hermione wondered what this grand event could be. She hadn’t heard anything great happening lately, so this was news to her as well. “I am here to announce an exciting and heart warming event, which I’m sure many of you will be looking forward to . . .” Everyone’s attention was on him unwaveringly as he smiled broader, sucking them all in. “I’m happy to announce the engagement of Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger!”
Silence filled the room. Hermione’s stare snapped from Voldemort to Draco. They stared at each other shocked. She knew it as soon as she looked into his eyes – he knew about the marriage.
Author’s Note: Hi everybody, hope your all enjoying it so far. This chapter was a bit boring in terms of twists and turns (hence, there weren’t any!) but it’s just a build up. The next chapter will skip forward in time towards Hermione’s and Draco’s wedding (lets get the ball rolling, shall we?) So leave me a review!
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