Chapter 17 : Fateful Findings
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I've earned through hope and faith
The curves around your face
That I'm the one you'll hold forever.
If morning never comes for either one of us,
Then this I pray to you wherever.
~Coheed and Cambria: Wake Up (Good Apollo Album)
Zach swung the door to his library open in exhaustion. He forced his legs in motion to the luxurious maroon couch at the far end in front of a fire. He slumped down into the cushions and placed his face into his hands. Rubbing hard on his eyes he groaned in frustration. The sleep was aching in his body, but the dreams were waiting for him. The past couple nights, nightmares of the final moments of the Grangers hung in his mind. Each attempt at rest brought upon a new possible scene. It always ended the same; screams, a stream of Unforgivables, and then a roaring fire eating up everything in its wake. Zach sighed in defeat allowing his body to fall into a curled ball on the couch as his eye lids fell heavy over his bloodshot eyes.
A woman’s night robe swished against the cheap wood stairs as she searched for her husband. She woke alone in her bed and immediately went to look for him. She turned and noticed the stream of light from around the corner of the open refrigerator and a silhouette of a person in the middle.
“Graham?” She called rounding the corner. “What are you doing up at this hour?” The person turned from the open fridge and smirked at the woman.
“Why my name isn’t Graham, it’s Bellatrix you silly muggle.” Bellatrix Lestrange let out a horrible cackle as a strong pair of arms wrapped around the tiny woman’s figure and a hand muffled over her screams.
Two men on the other side of the kitchen were standing over the crumpled body of the woman’s husband. She began screaming louder through the man’s large hand as tears cascaded over her cheeks.
“He put up a great fight, you should be proud of the sad little muggle man. Yes, he fought hard for the safety of you and his daughter. It’s a true shame he lost.” Bellatrix said softly going over to the body of Graham Granger and moved his face with her black heels. The restraining arms released around the woman and she flew to her husband’s side with tears still falling along her face.
“Don’t worry Jane, darling. You will be with him soon enough.” Bellatrix growled before a man behind Jane Granger shouted the Killing curse.
Zach jumped from the couch and scrambled away from the roaring fire in front of him. He could feel the beads of sweat dripping to his eyebrows and the shakiness in every inch of his tired bones. The sudden feeling of falling overcame him and he could feel the walls slowing deteriorating in his mind. His legs pulled him from the ground frantically and ran from the library.
The door flung open and Zach hurried inside. He quickly made it to his nightstand and snatched up his wand. A crack signaled the presence of the still burning fire, but he rounded and extinguished it within seconds. Zach dropped to the ground and his wand was shaking unsteadily in his grip. All he wanted was to be rid of the terrible memory of a girl named Hermione and the tragic story of her parents. He wanted the past year of his life gone from existence. There was one way he could do it, a simple spell would obliterate his memory and he would be happy again. The trembling wand sat pointing to his head as his breathing increased. Suddenly his grip tightened and he shouted in frustration throwing his wand against the wall.
Zach kneeled crying in pain and anguish on his floor for almost an hour when he realized it wasn’t helping anyone. He flopped into a sitting position and caught sight of his trunk tucked under his bed. Walking back over to his wand he picked it up and waved it over his belongings. Everything he needed flew into the now open trunk.
“She needs to know.” He mumbled to himself in strength and flooed to Hogsmeade.
Harry waited in his winter jacket outside as students filed passed him in noisy groups. He was sitting in silent anger with Ginny beside him. A few minutes before Ron had walked up to them asking about “the girl who is bedding with the enemy”. Ginny was quick to tell him off for being so thick and stubborn, but Harry just sat and let his best mates feelings truly sink in.
Snow began to fall lightly making Hermione pull her winter hat further down her head in habit. Draco was beside her with an arm draped over her shoulders and ignoring the constant stares. If he and Hermione were truly going to throw caution to the wind, then he was going to take full advantage of being allowed around her any time he wanted. No sneaky goodbye kisses, no more across the room glances and smiles. They were now able to express their love and care for eachother without worrying about the repercussions and consequences. Everyone knew, so there was no reason for hiding any longer.
“There’s Harry and Ginny.” Hermione said and tugged lightly on Draco’s jacket to direct his attention across the court yard.
“Are you sure that he is alright with all this? He isn’t going to push me in a dark alley and hex me into oblivion, right?” Draco asked as they hurried toward the other couple.
“Um, no promises.” She said then saw the worry in his face. “I’m kidding Draco. Harry probably will leave you alone.”
“Sounds brilliant.” He muttered when the raven haired boy stood.
“Let’s set some ground rules Malfoy.” Harry said sternly staring nowhere except directly in Draco’s eyes. “You emotionally hurt Hermione, and I’ll break every bone in your body. She ever gets physically hurt with you, and I’ll dangle you from the side of the Astronomy tower and then let you drop. Is all that clear?”
“Harry!” Ginny scolded smacking his arm.
“Just because everyone thinks I’m going to hurt Hermione doesn’t mean I will. I care about her just as much as you do Potter, and probably more.” Draco said truthfully.
“Good.” Harry simply said and headed to the carriages with Ginny on his arm.
“See, I told you he would be civil.” Hermione said walking behind the other couple linked hands with Draco.
The carriage ride was silent and awkward for both couples. Harry still didn’t trust Draco, but Ginny and Hermione had given him a chance and their trust, so he was truly trying. But Draco was still a Malfoy, and that was the only thing he couldn’t get past. What would a Malfoy want with a muggle born? During the ride, Hermione was leaning into Draco’s chest with her eyes tightly shut and her hand playing with the strings coming down from his sweatshirt hood. Harry was surprised by how carefree she was in the arms of a boy who tortured and slandered her for almost 6 years.
Hermione felt the carriage lurch forward as it came to a halt. The four students bustle about grabbing their scarves, mittens, and other things before getting out.
“So where are we going first?” Ginny asked leaving last as Harry helped her down from the carriage.
“We should find Zach first.” Draco said, but got questioning looks from Ginny and Harry. “Err, what’s wrong?”
“How do you know that Zach is visiting?” Harry asked.
“He is my cousin. Do you think he wouldn’t tell me that he was coming back for a day?” He responded in an obvious tone.
“So, where do we look first?” Ginny said.
“Well he is your cousin Malfoy, how about you tell us where he is.” Harry said sarcastically.
“Gladly.” Draco was smiling and pointed straight to a boy hunched over, sitting on a bench not far from where the carriages stopped.
Zach was waiting for the Hogwarts students to arrive to Hogsmeade. He remembered where the carriage stop was, so he was close by on a bench. He turned his hand over and watched the thick snow flakes fall onto his black gloves. Everything he was wearing was black, except for his dark blue jeans that were getting wet on the bottom.
“Zach!” A girl’s voice cut through his blank thoughts. He looked up and saw Hermione waving excitedly and Draco beside her with Harry and Ginny close behind.
“Where’s Ron?” He asked once the four got closer to him and he noticed the red haired boy’s absence from the group.
“Long story,” Hermione said then added, “Can we talk inside a store, its getting colder out here by the minute.” Everyone agreed and walked into the town.
“So, do I have to ask?” Zach said nodding to Draco who was at the counter in the Three Broomsticks ordering everyone a mug of butterbeer.
“Erm, well, there was a bit of an accident and Ron-” Hermione started.
“Oh stop beating around the bush.” Ginny scolded. “Ron caught ‘Mione and Draco up against a wall all over each other and went mad. He practically blew up the couch in the Gryffindor Common Room when he got back from dinner.”
“But if Ron isn’t here, then why are you here Harry?” Zach asked in confusion. “You hate Draco just as much as Ron does, maybe more.”
“I still hate the ferret’s entire being. But I trust Hermione’s judgment.” Harry sighed and smiled warmly at his friend.
Draco stood tapping his fingers against the bar as he waited for the butterbeers. He looked up to see the bartender flirting with a young witch who was twirling her hair around her finger. ‘She’ll be getting free drinks for the day.’ He thought to himself. Groaning and turning to leave the bar, Draco saw Pansy and her disgusting friends walking straight up to him.
“Bloody hell.” He swung back around and leaned on the bar hoping he wasn’t noticed.
“Oh Drakie, you can’t hide from me. You learned that last summer.” A hand ran down Draco’s back and he shuddered at the horrible feeling.
“What do you want Parkinson?” He growled turning around to face the girl. He towered over her with his height, but that only gave her more of a reason to stand taller and lean into his chest. Both his hands were by his sides and grasped against the bar ledge in an attempt to be further away from her.
Hermione saw Harry looking oddly toward the bar, but then he turned back to her.
“Hey, isn’t that Parkinson with Malfoy?” He asked her.
“What?!” Hermione blurted out and looked to see Pansy up against Draco and running her hands along his chest and neck. “I’ll rip her head off.” She snarled and jumped from the table.
Pansy was whispering things into Draco’s ear while he stood rigid and trying not to puke.
“Parkinson I swear if you don’t get away from me, I’ll -” He warned glaring at her.
“You’ll what, Draco? We both know you would never hurt me.” She said sweetly, but her voice still made his blood go cold.
“Hermione!” Draco shouted in a desperate tone. “I promise you I had nothing to do with this.” He added seeing the fury in the Head Girl’s eyes. Pansy whipped around and smirked at her.
“Since when does Draco need to be helped by a mudblood?”
“Since I decided I don’t enjoy you being in such close proximity to my boyfriend, or me for that matter.” Hermione replied curtly.
“Come on ‘Mione, she isn’t worth any of our time.” Harry’s voice said coming up from behind her.
“Aw, are Potter and the Mudblood parenting each other?” Pansy’s friend, Millicent, asked in a shrill voice. Hermione ignored them as she turned to leave with Draco following.
“Don’t mind their poor manners, Millicent, neither of them have parents to teach true etiquette.” Pansy said haughty and smirking.
Hermione spun around on the poor confident girl with her wand out, “Atleast I have better manners than a sniveling pug.” Sparks flew from her wand and in a flash of yellow Pansy was sitting on the floor, looking much like a tiny squashed face dog.
They were all laughing at the yipping dog that was bouncing inches off the ground when the bartender finally came back to reality.
“Hey! What are you kids doing?!” He shouted seeing the two Slytherin girls trying to pick up Pansy, and the others doubled over in laughter. “Get back here! I’m reporting this to your Headmaster!” He shouted again after Harry and the group as they sprinted out of the Three Broomsticks.
“Hermione that was awesome!” Ginny praised once outside the restaurant.
“Bloody brilliant, really it was.” Harry agreed.
“Hey, what about stopping off here?” Zach asked pointing to the ‘Honeyduke’s’ sign above their heads.
“No!” Draco suddenly shouted. “Erm, how about Flourish and Blott’s instead?” He asked. He was determined to stay as far away from Honeyduke’s as he could. That dream he had was too real to just ignore the possible truth behind it.
“Come on Malfoy, we’re right here and I promised to get Ginny some of that new white chocolate they just got in.” Harry said.
“Well you guys can go in, but I think I’ll go to Flourish and Blott’s with Draco.” Hermione said and linked arms with him. Her and Draco left and Zach quietly followed, finding no need for sweets.
Inside the elaborate book store, there were many Hogwarts students picking up fresh notebooks before the end of break, and new quills. At the check out desk, people were getting finely made books wrapped up for late Christmas presents and last minute gifts to give to friends when they returned to school on Monday. Hermione immediately scooted to a section of the store that she used the most. The books lining the shelves were all beautifully decorated and aged to perfection.
“Hey Hermione, can I talk to you?” Zach asked after rounding the corner and seeing her.
“Sure,” She placed the maroon leather book back on the shelf and faced the boy. “What’s on your mind, Zach?”
“There is something important I’ve needed to tell you. Before I met you I already knew your name because -”
“Hermione, where did you bury yourself this time?” Draco asked passing by the shelf isle they were in. Zach sighed and called out to Draco so he would come back. “There you two are. Er, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” Zach said then added, “I’m going to go get some air, and I’ll be waiting for you both outside.” He left swiftly from the store, shoving on his black ski cap before stepping out into the cold.
“What’s bothering him?” Draco asked Hermione as she pulled the maroon book back down from the shelf infront of her.
“I’m not sure, he was telling me something he said was important, but then you interrupted. I guess he only wants me to know because he wouldn’t have left like that for any other reason when you came.” She said nonchalantly as she flipped through the old book pages.
Outside the thick snow had stopped falling, but a crisp blanket of white was left behind. Zach walked over to a bench and dusted the snow off before sitting down. He had never been so frustrated with his cousin. Draco had ruined the moment he was going to tell Hermione about her parents. She would finally know the truth and he could finally move on from this horrible part of his life. He didn’t know when another time would come up when he could just spill everything to her. She would cry, be mad at him for not telling her, and maybe even run from him, but that was better than her never knowing. An idea came to him and he pulled out his wand. He conjured a piece of paper and a quill with ink and began writing.
Inside the book store, Hermione was paying for a book and Draco was standing beside her. He laughed as she declined a bag and said she would read it out of the store. Only Hermione could walk and read at the same time while both understanding each sentence and never running into a thing and getting to where she needed to be.
“Hey Hermione, Draco,” Zach’s voice traveled from the shop door. “I think I’m going to be getting back home.” He walked over to the two.
“Really, this early?” Hermione asked.
“Yes, I have a lot of paper work to be filling out for my new school. They need it by tomorrow.” He lied.
“Well it was good seeing you again.” Draco said and shook his hand. Zach turned to Hermione and hugged her tight. He slipped the folded parchment into her coat pocket as he let her go.
“Tell Harry and Ginny I said it was good to see them once more.” Zach said and left the shop.
The rest of the day was slow and relaxed. Harry had laid off on Draco and started joking with him and being civilized. The last shop they went into was the Quidditch shop. Both the Boys forced Hermione into the store since it was so easy to persuade Ginny to go. Draco and Harry messed around with all the new merchandize that had come in for the holidays. They had a Quaffle painted red and green, and a toy Snitch that when released would play Christmas carols and dropped sparkles with each wing flap. Hermione looked at all the children Quidditch things. Tiny brooms that didn’t fly higher than 5 ft, remote controlled Bludgers, slow moving Snitches, Quidditch board games with flying pieces. She imagined that Harry and Ginny would have each of these games if they ever had a child. Harry would find a way to change the height restrictions and Ginny would most likely hex him horribly.
“The carriages are coming soon,” Draco came up behind her and slipped an arm around her waist, “Are you ready to leave?”
“Of course, but what do you think about this kid Quidditch stuff?” She asked.
“Those beginner brooms don’t go high enough.” He had honestly. “Five feet really isn’t high enough to learn how to fly.”
“Isn’t high enough? I wouldn’t want my child to be flying that high.” Hermione said sternly.
“Yeah, we’ll see about that.” He laughed and twisted her around so he could see her face. She stood flush against his body trying to suppress a giggle as he ran his hand sensually over her side.
“Come on you two, we have to go so we don’t miss the carriages.” Harry said walking past them with Ginny, completely ignoring their closeness and seeing how happy they both looked.
Hermione ran up the stone steps of the Head’s Tower to her room. Snow had begun to fall once again and the temperature was dropping. The clothes she was in had snow covering them and all she wanted was to change into warm pajamas and sit with Draco by the fire. She walked in her room and magically started the fire by her bed. She dropped her cloak on the hearth to dry and disappeared into her closet.
Draco quickly changed out of his cold clothes and got into a pair of thick sweatpants and a thermal long sleeve. He crossed the bathroom and snuck into Hermione’s room where he could hear her rummaging in the closet. He jumped onto her bed and stretched out to a comfortable position. Hermione waltz out of her closet in flannel pajama pants and a zip down sweatshirt and her wet clothes in her arms.
“What do you think you’re doing?” She asked smiling at him.
“Just relaxing and watching you.” He replied. Hermione dropped the clothes on the hearth and began shaking them out. She grabbed her cloak and shook the snow from it. A piece of parchment flew out of it and almost into the fire. She quickly grabbed it and saw her name scribbled across it.
“What is it?” Draco asked.
“A note I suppose.” She tossed it onto her desk and walked over to Draco. “Let’s go down to the Common Room.” Draco smiled and took her hand allowing himself to be led out of the room and down the stairs.
Torches roared on the dank dungeon walls illuminating the expensive black robes of the man rushing down the corridor. He pushed open a set of oak doors and immediately bowed down in front of the threshold.
“What news do you bring?” A voice hissed from a thrown in the middle of the room. The servant stood and walked to the thrown before him.
“My Lord, the speculation against young Malfoy isn’t yet confirmed, but Malfoy Senior has given me this.” The dark cloaked man kneeled again and placed the golden trinket in the pale outstretched hands above his head.
The Dark Lord passed the little trinket from hand to hand until he was satisfied.
“What is this supposed to do?” He asked his servant.
“It is one of Lucius Malfoy’s many dark magic inventions. It is able to track down any living member of the Malfoy lineage with just the name.” The servant pointed to a slit in the side of the smooth gold. “Simply write the name on a piece of parchment and slip it into that hole, my Lord.”
“You’ve done well my loyal follower.” The Dark Lord conjured a small piece of parchment and in a swish of his wand ‘Draco Malfoy’ was written across it and the parchment floated through the slit. A glowing orb popped out of the top of the trinket causing a large grin to spread across the Dark Lord’s thin lips.
Inside the glowing orb was an image of the Head’s Common Room. Draco was sitting relaxed on the couch staring into the fireplace where a blazing flame was roaring. A girl walked around the couch and jumped into his lap giggling. She quickly quieted down and relaxed in his strong arms and laid her head against his chest.
“My Lord, it can not be. Young Malfoy has been loyal to you since he was born.” The servant said not allowing the image to be truth.
“You said this invention is of Lucius Malfoy’s?” The Dark Lord hissed.
“Yes, sir. He gave it to me himself.” The servant forced himself strong and not to cower.
“Then it is true. Young Malfoy has betrayed me and has laid his allegiance with the Mudblood and the Order.” The Dark Lord growled and threw the gold trinket to the ground. The glowing orb flickered as Draco kissed Hermione lightly. A heavy boot came down on the working pieces and extinguished the orb.
Author's Note: Basically, Draco and Hermione are screwed. Again, I'm sorry but no preview. It would have taken another month for me to get another chapter out just for a preview. So, I decided this chapter was more important. There is a major twist-ish thing in the next chapter that I BET no one will guess. Go on, try, leave a review and tell me what you think is going to happen. I know nobody will get it, but hey, I have brilliant readers, so you never know!
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