Chapter 14 : Of hoaxes and fake identities
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“I- I don’t know. I followed him all the way here, but when I arrived, a few minutes later, he was already gone…”
“This is all so bizarre, why would Draco go into all the trouble of escaping by broom from that pestilential school, just to arrive here and Apparate away? It doesn’t make any sense.”
“It’s because he couldn’t Apparate from Hogwarts and couldn’t directly Apparate here either,” the tall man explained in an exasperated tone as if talking to a five year old.
“But why would he come here? Of all the places in Britain…”
“Did he know he was being followed?”
“I’m not sure, possibly.”
“I can’t believe my blood traitor of a son could be so stupid!”
“What do you mean, Lucius?”
“If he came here it’s because of a single reason.”
“Lucius?” she questioned.
But he didn’t answer. He started to look through the rubble of what was left of the once imposing Malfoy Manor and finally stopped when he found a wood carved snake with silver scales and emerald eyes. He pointed his wand to the object and murmured “Portus” without looking once at the cold faced woman standing beside him.
“Grab this, Bella, we are going to France. I hope you enjoy the ocean view.”
The black haired woman didn’t once question his actions and just touched the sinister object. Before she had a chance to look at her brother in law, Bella felt the familiar tug of being Portkeyed away.
They arrived to a little French château that, in spite of being quite beautiful, looked abandoned and poorly taken care of. They entered the house after Lucius tapped the door with his wand and murmured “Je suis fier de mon heritage,” and the two started to search for the young man they believed was hiding in there.
Half an hour later, after touring around the house, they finally decided to go outside, where they found a white-blond haired man staring at the waves that crashed against the rocks of the cliff below.
“What took you so long?” Draco asked.
“You know why I’m here, Draco, just give me that parchment you stole and I’ll spare your life.”
“I don’t think so father.”
“I’m warning you, Draco, or do you want your dear auntie Bella to curse you and remind you were your real loyalty should lie?”
“I know where my loyalties lie, don’t need reminding, thank you.”
“Don’t make me lose my patience, boy! Just give me what I came here for in the first place and I’ll give you a head start to run before I hunt you down and kill you.”
“I can’t give you the parchment, I don’t have it anymore,” he responded coolly.
“Either you tell us who has it… or I’ll torture you so badly you’ll be sorry you were even born,” said Bellatrix raising her wand maniacally.
The young man only chuckled. He quickly turned around and before either of the Death Eaters standing before him could react; he threw a stunning spell to the black haired witch and jumped backwards off the cliff. His robes swirled madly around him.
Lucius went after him but when he looked down, there were no traces of his son. Draco had obviously Apparated away before crashing into the sharp rocks below, his cold laugh still echoing in the air. Lucius turned around cursing and reanimated the stunned witch. When she finally stood up she was slapped by the vicious blond man.
“What was that for?” she asked, enraged, pointing her wand at her attacker.
“That wasn’t Draco, you stupid hag, that was an impostor!” he yelled.
“Of course that was Draco, we just saw him. It was his voice,” she defended herself.
“I think I can recognize my son, Bella. That wasn’t him, there was something off about all this. We fell into a trap,”
“I just followed your orders; if there is an idiot here it’s you!”
“You are supposed to be bright enough to figure these kinds of things by yourself, Lestrange. I’m growing tired of running around fixing your mistakes over and over again, I think you deserve a little ‘Crucio’ to keep you in shape,”
“Don’t you dare Malfoy! You don’t have any power over me!”
“Shut up, you stupid witch! You know you messed up, deal with it!”
“I still don’t understand what makes you think that wasn’t the blood traitor, you haven’t seen him in years,”
“He’s a Malfoy, Bella. He might be a blood traitor, but he’s still a Malfoy, and Malfoys don’t run away, we fight!”
“So he turned into a bloody coward! Big deal! That was Draco!”
“I’m not having this discussion with an incompetent hag; we are going back to London!”
“Why?” she challenged.
“Because now, only one person might be able to tell us where the real Draco is!”
“You look ravishing tonight Mrs. Cook.”
“Thank you, you don’t look so bad yourself.”
“Where are we going to eat?”
“Right here in the hotel. We shouldn’t wander around since we don’t know who we might bump into.”
“You’re right,” he answered as the elevator reached the lobby area.
They walked into the little restaurant and picked a tiny table by one of the windows. They ordered a nice meal and continued talking of their past and long lost lovers. The soirée was really nice; they were enjoying each other’s company and it felt so right between them that they didn’t even remember that once they used to be sworn enemies.
When they finished eating their meal, Draco invited Hermione to join him at the bar for a couple of drinks. Hermione got nervous at the prospect but accepted anyway. They sat at the bar and ordered apple martinis and continued chatting and flirting playfully. Slow music began to play when the local jazz band made its nightly appearance; this was a chance Draco could not let pass and invited Hermione to join him in a slow dance.
The atmosphere around them flew up a hundred degrees when they began to move slowly; Hermione’s arms were wrapped around his neck while one of his hands made tiny circles in the small of her back and the other lay gently around her waist. They moved softly, following the jazzy song’s rhythm. Both had their eyes closed and Hermione’s forehead was resting dangerously on Draco’s chin. They didn’t speak at all, they were enjoying this little moment between them like there was no tomorrow; any words would ruin it.
They continued dancing smoothly and oblivious to the world around them for another couple of songs. Suddenly, Draco stopped and took a step back. He found Hermione’s bewildered features staring back at him, confused by his sudden change. Draco couldn’t help losing himself into the pool of her eyes. His gaze sent shivers down Hermione’s spine as she felt how his intense look bared her soul.
He knew what was about to happen, as he knew he couldn’t stop himself. He knew it was somehow wrong, but he didn’t care. He knew they would soon regret it, but it didn’t matter. He also knew it was a mistake, but he chose not to think about that at the time.
Draco closed his eyes and took a deep breath; he looked down and planted a soft kiss on Hermione’s forehead. He then kissed her eyelids, her cheeks, her fine jaw and finally her mouth. She didn’t respond at first; she simply stood rooted to the spot digesting what was happening. ‘This can mean so much trouble,’ she thought, but the warning vanished as one of Draco’s hands pulled her closer. Yes, this was probably a very bad idea, but she would think about that later. She decided to take advantage of her light headed state and gave into Draco’s delicious kiss.
How they got back into their room was a question that Hermione still wondered about years later. They opened the door between giggles and caresses, kisses and provocative words. They almost fell to the ground trying to reach the bed that a couple of hours ago seemed too close to the door, and now felt miles away. Their frantic kisses became more passionate and rough as their clothes began to make a small bundle on the ground.
Draco threw Hermione on the mattress landing on top of her. This time her grunt was of pleasure, not pain. She felt his hands touching her all over, sending shivers down her body; she felt his soft kisses tracing paths on her neck and she couldn’t manage to hold back a loud moan of pure pleasure. She didn't want to miss out on the action either, so she decided to take control of the situation and flipped him over, placing herself over him. She started to touch him wherever she could reach. She began by tracing lines along his muscular torso as if wanting to engrave every curve, every feature in her mind.
She started to take off his trousers while kissing his belly and doing small circles around his navel with her tongue. Draco moaned softly closing his eyes completely ecstatic with pleasure. When she finished the task she had started, he pulled her up and kissed roughly her mouth once more; he bit down her lower lip and began to strip off her bra. She was beauty incarnated in a woman, completely breathtaking and exiting. He wanted so much to make love to her all night, sleep a little at dawn in her arms, and make love to her once more; throw the freaking mission away and run away with her to the farthest country on the planet where no one would ever find them. But the world around him crashed down loudly as he realised how these ideas were more than impossible.
“Granger, please stop,” he murmured in a barely audible tone.
She continued kissing him, ignoring his grunting.
“Hermione, please, listen to me-”
She stopped immediately giving him a confused look. “Am I doing something wrong?” she asked, bewildered.
“No, it’s not that…” he whispered. He couldn’t believe he was about to say what he was about to say. “You are drunk…” he began.
She immediately felt ashamed of herself and tried to cover her naked chest. She felt ridiculous hovering over him in nothing but her knickers and felt the immediate surge to cry.
“Please, don’t,” he commanded, stopping her. “You are so beautiful.”
“Then why do you want me to stop?”
“We are both drunk.”
“I don’t want it to be like this,”
She blushed madly and removed herself from her spot. He grabbed her hand before she could hop off the bed and run away forever.
“No, please don’t go. Just listen to me ok?”
She stopped but didn’t look back at him. She felt so stupid and naïve. Hermione couldn’t help scolding herself for agreeing to this madness, what on earth had made her believe she could finally spend one night with Draco? As her tears began to flow down feebly, Draco’s voice cut the tense atmosphere between them making her glance back at him.
“Oh, don’t cry, please don’t,” he pleaded as he sat up reaching her and holding her into his warm arms. “Listen to me first ok? Just listen to me and calm down.”
She didn’t respond for a while and began to cry harder. Draco felt like a complete arse for doing this to her, but he would make her understand; he had to. “Look Hermione, it’s just that I’ve pictured this so many times in my head, I’ve wanted to do this for so long now and-”
“And it’s not turning out quite like you wanted it to, does it?” she asked enraged between salty tears.
“Something like that.”
She tried to pull away from him so that she could Apparate far away to a place where no one could ever find her. But Draco’s reflexes were quick and he held her in place.
“Let me finish ok? Then you’ll decide if you want to leave,” he pleaded planting a kiss on the top of her head.
“I’ve wanted to do this for so long now. But I want us both to be sober when we do it. I don’t want to wonder for the rest of my life if you slept with me because you really wanted to or because you were so drunk you were not thinking,”
This made Hermione angrier than before. “Who do you take me for, Malfoy? Do you think I’m the kind of girl that gets drunk every week-end and brings back home every man she can get?”
“Of course not, it’s just that I want to be sure that you really want to do this. That you are ready. I could not live with myself thinking that maybe I forced you into this.”
“I’m a big girl Malfoy, I can handle my own life.”
“I know. But that’s not the only reason.”
“Then why Draco, why are you stopping this if we both want to-”
“Because I want us to be free first.”
“Free? From what exactly?”
“From this madness; this fucking war that tears us apart a little more every day. I want us to be able to go out together without hiding, without having to dress up as Muggles and use false names. I want to be able to tell the whole world that you are mine!”
She couldn’t respond to that. Somehow she knew he was right but failed to comprehend it completely. Her thoughts spun madly in her drunken head, she couldn’t think straight. She began to rise from the bed and begin to search for her scattered clothes but was stopped once more by his hand.
“Don’t leave me Hermione, I beg you.”
“Then what do you want me to do? I don’t understand you Malfoy. First you want us to make love, then you want us to stop and now you want me to climb back into bed with you?”
“Yes,” he merely answered.
“And how does that make any sense to you?”
“I- I don’t know… just please, don’t go.”
“What is it that you want?” she half yelled.
“I want you to let me hold you tonight. I just want to sleep by your side, please!”
She didn’t respond, she was too tired for that. So she let him hold her and crawled back into bed with him. Somehow what he said made some sense, but she refused to think about anything at that moment. She just placed her head on his chest as his arms brought her to him and fell asleep hoping to wake up and realise it had all been a bad dream.
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