As everyone grew tired that night and said their goodbyes, they slowly left the Manor, looking forward to their bright beginnings. After saying bye to Harry and Ron, Draco and Hermione packed her few things she had brought with her to the Manor and sent them to Malfoy Manor. She had asked Tonks earlier who would be keeping the Manor. “Well, Remus and I are, actually. We decided to use the house for another good cause. There are quite a few werewolves out there wishing to have a good life, not to hurt anybody, and to be accepted. We are going to offer them a home here. We will have constant supplies of the Wolfsbane potion for the full moons each month. Hopefully we will be able to really help them.” Hermione gave her a smile and a hug, saying good bye. Draco shook Tonks hand, wishing her good luck. They both walked to the fireplace, took out some Floo powder, and stepped into the green flames; with Hermione standing close to him, Draco said “Malfoy Manor.”
As the spinning stopped and they both stumbled a bit out of the fireplace, they stopped and took a good look around. The place had obviously been empty for a few months, with light dust on everything and a light musty smell. Draco had already offered Tiny and Lucky a job and also invited three of their own friends to work for him, too. They were asked to please straighten up the two master suites.
As Draco led Hermione up the stairs to her room, she couldn’t help but notice the gloominess of the place. “I understand completely why you want to change the place: it’s eerie…”
“Yeah, I know, but we will fix that. Thank gMerlin you’re here for the woman’s touch. I wouldn’t know how to decorate with style and flair.” She smiled, turning her away head a bit to hide the blush creeping up her cheeks. They had reached the master suite that she would be staying in. Even though it gave off a dark feeling, with the black and midnight blue decorations, Hermione could tell that it would be a beautiful and grand room once they redecorated it. “Well, this is it. We will definetly start with our rooms first. That way we can feel more comfortable. This door here to our left leads directly to my room.” Just then they heard rain start to fall and loud clap of thunder.
“Oh great, a dark room, and I’m afraid of storms,” she laughed lightly.
“Well, if you’re more comfortable, we can leave the door open between our rooms…” he suggested.
Giving him a thankful hug, she said, “Thank you.” He showed her the closet, where her things were already stored, and then her own master bath. It was made of beautiful, white marble with dark blue decorations. There was a large shower and a gigantic bathtub, which could easily be a small pool. “Now that’s what I’m talking about…bubble bath here I come.” She smiled, and then she blushed, realizing she had said that out loud.
He cleared his throat, trying not to get carried away with thoughts of her naked in a tub, surrounded with flower scented bubbles. “Well, I guess we should get ready for bed. It’s pretty late, and I’m exhausted from the party. And a little tipsy from the fire whiskey…” She nodded her head in agreement since they had taken a few shots together. He walked away, leaving her to grab her pajamas and change. When she was done, she walked to the large bed and slid beneath the covers. Just as she was settled and comfy, she heard the rain start to fall harder: the wind picked up, and a lighting bolt struck the grounds surrounding the house. She let of a small scream in terror. Before Draco could even jump out of bed to check on her, she was walking quickly into his room. When second bolt hit, she nearly ran to his bed and lay down. She chose to stay at the edge of the bed, not comfortable with being so close to him (her thoughts were running wild).She turned to him, saying, “Sorry. I don’t want to bug you, but I really can’t stand to be alone on a night like this…If you have any Calming Draughts, I could take some and go back to my room and then…”
He spoke before she could finish. “You’re fine. Stay here.”
She smiled at him, blushing, wishing she wasn’t such a coward when it came to storms. When a third bolt hit, she jerked and closed her eyes, trying to calm her nerves.
“Hermione, look at me.” He held out his arms. After hesitating for a moment, she moved over and snuggled up next to him. He put his arms tightly around her, and she smiled as she laid her head on his shoulder. He acted without hesitation, bending down and kissed her on her forehead, telling her that it would be alright simply from that kiss. At that moment, the storm was forgotten by both of them as they tried to ignore the tingles they felt from his lips as he kissed her. Daring to look up, Hermione made eye contact with him. They stared into each other’s eyes. Out of nervousness, she was the first to look away. As he pulled her tighter to satisfy his protective instinct, they both fell quiet, wondering what that moment was about. “Hermione, why are you afraid of storms?”
She glanced back up at him, saying, “When I was six or seven, a really nasty storm hit, kind of like this one. It didn’t bug me as much when I was little: I was actually fascinated by the rain and lighting back then. But as I was falling asleep, the wind picked up, and a huge branch from the tree outside my window fell into my room. It went straight through the window and the roof. It nearly crushed me. I had a broken leg and a few cuts. That day, I lost my fascination, and I had a fear from then on.” He didn’t comment, but gave her a tight hug. They soon fell to sleep.
When Draco woke in the morning, he smiled when he realized she was still in his arms. She had her back to him, but his arms were still firmly around her, holding her, never wanting to let go. He lay there, savoring the feel of her in his arms. He felt her stir, and she lightly started to open her eyes, taking in her surroundings.
She smiled to herself, thinking, He is still holding me. Merlin, I love his strong arms around me. If only he could like me as more then a protective friend. When he looked into my eyes last night, I thought I saw a spark, a longing. NO silly, you just saw what you wanted to see. GET A GRIP on yourself! She lightly started to slip out of his arms, hoping he was sleeping deeply enough for her to not disturb him. The moment she tried to pull away, his grip tightened. She turned over, facing him. “The storm is over, so you don’t have to hold me anymore, I’m fine now…” He looked into her face; she couldn’t read his expression.
“It’s ok. I… I like holding you.” He berated himself for speaking that thought out loud. All of a sudden, he started to release her. “I’m sorry. We should get ready to leave sometime soon. We should go shopping today and order some new furniture.” Without waiting for her reply, he rolled off the bed, rushing to his own master bath. As she slowly walked to her room, she wondered why he did that.
I am so stupid. Why did I run? I don’t deserve her. She was just being friendly. CONTROL YOURSELF! DON”T MESS UP THIS FRIENDSHIP!
In Hermione’s bathroom, similar thoughts were running through her head: Merlin, you’re being stupid. You must be flirting a bit without realizing it. I’m so stupid, I scared him off. We are friends. He couldn’t possibly like me. He wants someone who is exciting, not the bookworm I am… Good job, Hermione! They both took cold showers, fighting with themselves.
They decided to eat in his room once they were fresh and ready. Both rooms had small couches and chairs with a table. They munched on toast, bacon, and scrambled eggs. Not being able to handle the silence anymore, Draco got her attention. “We should make a quick list of the furniture, curtains and such we need to buy. I will ask to house elves to empty the rooms while we are shopping. If there is anything we want to keep, we need to let them know. I guess we should also hire a painter. Or we could do wallpaper, whichever you think will do.”
She looked at him curiously. “Draco, it’s your house, not mine. I wouldn’t feel comfortable choosing everything, I mean, I can help, but I would feel weird choosing almost everything. What are your favorite colors? What style of décor do you like? French, country, English, Victorian, any idea?”
He considered it for a moment. “I like any shade of yellow or blue. I can’t stand anything with gold, bronze, or brass. None of the gilded in gold frames and such. As far as décor, simple but elegant Victorian, or English. French and the like are better for sitting rooms, and dining rooms…”
“Good choices. I like blue myself also. And I can’t stand anything goldish either,” she said with a laugh.
He smiled. “Well, it looks like it will be easy enough to make it homey. If you’re done eating, we could instruct Tiny and the rest as to our wishes. Then we can go spend some of the Malfoy fortune, put it to good use.” After talking to Tiny, Lucky, and the others, they left for Diagon Alley, which they were to visit before they would head to Hogsmeade.
They spent four hours scouring the stores, buying stuff not only for the bedrooms, but also for the rest of the house. “We’ll go shopping for a few rooms at a time: first you need to see them to help me with planning.”
Taking his offered arm as they exited their ninth store, she said, “Sounds like a plan. Maybe we could get started with the Love Potions today while Tiny and the others fix the rooms? We could stop into Fred and George Weasley’s shop. They have a line of love potions that are pretty strong. You up for it?”
“Yes ma’am. Lead the way.” As they entered Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes, they headed for the Wonder Witches display. Picking up a few of the potions, Hermione felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned with a smile and hugged Fred. “Nice to see you! How’s business?”
He gave a piercing glare at Draco, answering, “It’s great. Business is picking up already now that the war is over. People are enjoying shopping without fear. May I ask what you two are doing buying love potions?”
Draco answered him, not letting Fred’s glaring face get to him. “She has bravely taken on the task of helping me get this mark off my arm. We found some info in a book about the first recorded use of the mark. It was concluded that one of the steps to making it, was for the person who bestowed it upon a follower had no love in his life for anyone but himself, and no one loved him. Voldemort was the same. So we figured we would try out some love potions and see if they work. It’s worth the try, anyway,” he said with a small laugh.
“You’re going to let him fall in love with you after feeding him different potions?”
She blushed a little before answering. “No, he won’t be doing that. He will give me his wand and then Tiny the house elf will shield his whole study while he is in there, waiting till the potion wears off.”
Feeling a little better knowing that Hermione wasn’t losing too much of her mind, he helped them buy their products. Hermione hugged him goodbye, and Fred gave Draco a tight but short handshake. When they got back to the Manor, they went to peek at the suites. Both of them smiled with awe, loving the changes: they were cheery, beautiful, and a little bright. Draco escorted her downstairs, and he walked into the study that was once his father’s. Taking a look around, he took out his wand and conjured boxes. Pointing his wand, everything but the furniture stuffed itself inside the boxes. He made them disappear. “Well, let’s lock me in here and hope for the best.”
Pulling out the bottle of love potion, she said, “It says here that its effect will last for four to six hours. Can you handle it that long? I can have Lucky send some food for you…”
He took the bottle and handed over his wand. “I’m not sure what I will want to eat, but it will be nice to have some food delivered.” She took his hand and wished him luck. She called to Lucky and asked him to shield the room.
As Hermione exited the study and Draco heard Lucky utter the incantation, he glared at his arm, saying under his breath, “Heres to getting rid of this bloody thing.” He said glaring at his arm. He took the bottle, pulled off the cork, and swallowed it’s contents in one gulp.
“Have you drunk it yet? Is the mark still there?” she asked through the door.
Draco was hit with a powerful wave of longing. He wanted Hermione: to kiss her, to tell her he loved her. He looked down at his arm, and to his dismay (however slight, since he was feeling so much love), it was still there. “It’s still there, darling. Please unlock the door. I have so much to tell you.”
She giggled, and then her giggles turned into a fit of laughter.
He heard her laughing, wishing he could grab her into his arms and kiss her deeply, intoxicated with her laugh. “I love you, Hermione Granger. Please, let me out so I can show you how much I love you.”
Trying to control her laughter, she replied, “I think I will let you alone and I‘ll help the elves with dinner and our rooms.” Knowing he wouldn’t remember much of what happened while under the influence, she left.
Hearing her footsteps leaving, he said, “Don’t leave! Please, I need to hold you in my arms. They hurt because they’re empty. They miss you!” He heard her footsteps walking farther away, leaving him with more yearning for her touch. How can I get out of here? I have to touch her, to feel her in my arms as I kiss her deeply! he thought to himself. He looked around the room, trying to come up with a way to get to her. He tried to Apparate but to no avail. He tried the fireplace but he bounced off of it, not able to get through. Feeling hopeless, he sat down, thinking about his true love.
A/N: I hope you liked this chapter. Please review, I love to hear your comments/opinions! And don’t forget to check out my other fan fic, ‘Her Sweet Curse’! Love you guys!!!
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