CHAPTER 8 - The Will
Hermione busied herself helping the house-elves arrange the new furniture and writing things down that would need to be added, mainly the little things like curtains, portraits, and so on. She couldn’t help but think over the words that Draco had said after the potion had started to work. Part of her was sad that it wasn’t real.
If only it were true, she thought. It’s going to be harder than I thought helping him, knowing that each time we’re only use a potion, and that each one is stronger than the one before it. Focus. I promised to help him. I’m his friend. I have to help him. I’ll just have to ignore my feelings, work hard to get over them, and be happy with this newfound friendship.
So, trying to concentrate, she looked at her watch, realising that he had at most another two hours until she could have Lucky unlock the study.
Meanwhile, in the study, Draco thought mournfully, I wish she was here. Merlin, I love her so much. He checked his watch for the hundredth time, noticing that she had left him three and a half hours ago. I hope she loves me. I have to believe that she does. I couldn’t stand it if she didn’t. I’ll just have to prove my love to her. She’ll come to love me. She has to!
He sat there for the remaining thirty minutes, talking to himself, consumed by his feelings. Once the time in the study reached the four-hour mark, he felt the potion beginning to wear off.
Starting to comprehend that he was himself again, he tried to remember what had happened during his “disappearance” under the influence of the potion. He looked down at his arm; the Mark was still there, although it was very faint. It had been faint since Voldemort was gone, but it was still there nonetheless. He thought about Hermione and her willingness to help him and he sighed with happiness. If only she would love me. Wait a minute—the potion has worn off. How can I still be thinking this?
A new voice in his head answered, Because this is really how I feel. This will be hard, but I have to remind myself to work to erase these feelings. I can’t lose the best thing that’s ever happened to me; I can’t lose this friendship. It would be harder to lose her altogether, but that’s what will happen if I can’t get over these feelings.
He stood up and walked to the door, hearing footsteps coming his way.
“Draco, how are you?” Hermione asked tentatively. “Are the potion’s effects gone?”
“Yes, you can call Lucky now, and we can start to plan our next move.”
A minute later the door opened, and she smiled in at him. Grabbing his arm, she saw that the Mark that was still there. She looked at his face, still holding his hand in hers.
“Don’t worry. There are three more potions to try, each one stronger than the last. We won’t stop here; one of the stronger ones may work.”
He moved in to give her a short-lived hug. “Thank you, Hermione. We do have to be optimistic.”
Pulling away, she handed him a list. “Come check out the rooms. They look beautiful. All the furniture is in place. I made a list of things you should consider.”
When they walked through the rooms, he was very happy with the changes. “It feels like home already. Thanks, Hermione. That’s two rooms and two bathrooms almost done and thirty-plus rooms to go. There are four wings of the house all together, so we have lots more work to do. Do you want to take a brief look at the rest of the second floor? Now that these are done, it shouldn’t be too hard to write a list for each of the other bedrooms and bathrooms up here. They’re smaller, very dark and gloomy. We can stick to the same basic kind of furniture we’ve put in here, but make each one a little different. Each one can have different colours of the wood furniture, walls, and so on.”
Taking a piece of parchment from the desk in her room, Hermione said, “Lead the way. Then we should get some sleep. We have lots of shopping to do for the rooms, and planning to do for our next attack on that Mark.” They made their way through the thirteen other bedrooms, bathrooms, and the nursery next to the two master suites. After an hour or so, they had a list for each room except for the nursery. Hermione had insisted that he should empty the room but not decorate it, advising him that if or when he got married one day, he should plan out that room with his wife.
They walked together back to the master suites. “Well, the weather is good, so I can sleep in my room from now on,” Hermione decided. Saying good night, they both told themselves it was for the best, thinking that it would be easier to get over their feelings if they weren’t snuggled in bed together.
The next morning when they were shopping once again for the Manor, thoughts of Lucius crept into Draco’s mind.
Is there any way that he could still be alive? Although Mr. Weasley was confident that he’s dead, I can’t help but feel worried about him. He was able to Apparate despite his injuries. If he still had his wand, he might have been able to heal some of his wounds long enough to find a hiding place where he could really recover. I must take precautions just in case. I’ll have the elves put up the shields, only let them be removed when Hermione and I leave the house or when shipments of the new furniture and decorations arrive or they do the grocery shopping and so on. Nothing can happen to Hermione. I’ll stick close to her. Maybe I can convince one of the members of the Order to do a little detective work. I can also put up some security and detection spells around the whole property.
Feeling better now that he had some kind of plan, he decided to keep this from Hermione, not wanting to frighten her. She had enough to deal with with the loss of her parents.
They concentrated on the remodeling for a few days since the next potion they were going to try would take two weeks to make. When they had finished with the second floor, Draco decided to ask Hermione about her parents.
“I don’t know if you’re ready, but I was wondering when you might settle things. You know, your parents’ house and stuff. If you’re ready, I can help you. Maybe it will make moving on easier if you take care of it.”
She’d been thinking about it herself since the day that the war had officially ended, trying to convince herself to get it over with. Hearing his offer to be there and help her, she turned to him. “Let’s contact their lawyer. He’s a Muggle, so you’ll need to be careful with what you say, okay?”
Nodding, Draco followed her to the fireplace. She said, “Granger family home, London.” When they stepped out of the fireplace, she looked around the familiar room. Holding back tears, she went to the telephone to check for messages. There was one, and she played it.
“I’m calling for a Ms. Hermione Granger. Your parents told me weeks ago that you are currently traveling across Europe, but they didn’t mention a way to contact you. I would like to offer my condolences for your loss. I hope that when you come home, you’ll contact me right away. They left a will, and we need to go over it. My name is Thomas Mason, and I can be reached at this number...” She wrote down the number and called Mr. Mason. He agreed to meet her at the house in an hour. After she hung up, she looked around. The tears fell down her cheeks silently.
“Draco, can you help me pack some things? I need to pack the things I want to keep. After Mr. Mason leaves I can rent a moving truck and put the stuff I’m not taking with me into storage for the time being.” He nodded in agreement. After gathering all of the newspapers that lay scattered about her front porch, they conjured packing boxes. He helped her wrap up photo frames and trinkets. She decided to keep all of the furniture for now; she would decide what she really wanted to keep when she eventually rented a flat. Having the first floor packed, they were about to start upstairs when there was a knock at the front door. Opening it, she greeted Mr. Mason.
“So I guess you’re planning to sell the house?” he said, noticing the many packed boxes. She nodded. “If you’re ready, I can read you the will, and we can get that taken care of.”
When she sat down, Draco sat next to her and grabbed her hand. Smiling at his gesture of comfort, she turned to Mr. Mason. “Oh, forgive my manners, Mr. Mason. This is my great friend, Mr. Malfoy.” Draco shook the man’s hand.
“Well then, let me get started.” Mr. Mason pulled out some papers from his briefcase and started to read.
“This is the will and testament of Mr. and Mrs. Granger. We bestow the following upon our daughter, Ms. Hermione Granger.
1. Our home.
2. Our vehicles.
3. All of our possessions in our home including all of our art and jewelry. Some of the jewelry is in a secure lockbox at our bank. We gave her a key years ago for her to hold. She will need it to access the box.
4. The money in our bank account.
5. The inheritance in our savings account that we put aside for our daughter, which is to be released to her immediately instead of on her twentieth birthday as planned, should both of us die before then.
Mr. Mason looked at Hermione over the tops of his spectacles and said, “As of the most recent of your parents’ wills, which they updated every six months or so, their savings amounts to a little over fifty-six thousand pounds.” He returned his attention to the will.
6. Our dental practice, which is to be sold to a dentist of good standing. Mr. Mason keeps a file of those we have approved of over the years who would be willing to expand their own practices and offer a reasonable purchase price.
7. Our vacation cottage located in a small town outside of The Jura Mountains Ski Resort in France.
If our daughter wishes to sell any of our properties or possessions, Mr. Mason is to help her. He has a list of people, museums, galleries, jewelry stores, and so forth, that we believe to be worthy of purchasing or acquiring these things. If our daughter wishes to donate or invest any of the money we have bequeathed to her, Mr. Mason is to help her accomplish her wishes. Enclosed in this will we have given Mr. Mason letters to our daughter from each of us. He is to hold them until she is ready to read them.
When Mr. Mason finished reading, he handed Hermione the papers to sign. She released Draco’s hand, her own shaking slightly as she signed. “Mr. Mason, I’m staying at Mr. Malfoy’s estate for the time being.” She gave him the address and told him she would buy a cell phone where he could reach her. “If you’ll go ahead and put together a list of realtors for the house and the dental practice, I can go over them and we can make the arrangements. I’d also like to sell my mother’s car, but I will be keeping everything else.”
She grabbed a pen and paper and started to write a few things down. “These are a few charities I’ve heard of. If you could check into them and make a list of the ones that take every penny for their cause’s and are in good standing, we can arrange some donations as well. As far as investments, I’ll need some time to consider those. I’m not sure I want to do that. The furniture and such will be put into storage, and any jewelry that’s here in the house I’ll take with me for now. The rest that’s in the secure lockbox at the bank can stay there until I have a chance to go through it. I’ll be withdrawing their bank account immediately.”
She paused for a moment, fighting the tears and the tightness in her throat. Then she stood up and shook the solicitor’s hand, thanking him for all his help.
Putting his copies of the papers in his briefcase, Mr. Mason said, “Again, I offer my condolences for your loss, Ms. Granger. Please call me with your cell number as soon as you get one. I’ll start on the arrangements right away. Good day to you.”
After Mr. Mason left, Hermione pulled out the phone book and called a moving company and a storage company. She reserved storage rooms, guessing how many and what sizes she would need The moving van would show up in two hours or so. In the mean time, Draco helped her finish packing and sending her clothes and things that she would be keeping with her to the Manor.
“Do you have a lawyer, Draco?”
“Yes, I do: a nice and very loyal wizard by the name of Stan Levels.”
“Do you think you could ask him to check into Mr. Mason for me? Once I transfer my parents’ back account into wizard money, I can pay him for his services. My parents never told me who their lawyer was, and I just want to make sure he really is a decent man.”
“I’ll call him as soon as we go home to the Manor,” he promised.
She didn’t let herself cry again as she packed the rest of her belongings. When they were done, they waited in the living room for the moving van. Unable to stand the silence any longer, and wanting to distract Hermione and cheer her up, Draco turned and spoke to her.
“Hermione, what’s a cell phone?”
She laughed and tried to explain how it was a telephone that didn’t have to be connected to the wall. She elaborated when she got a confused stare, telling him about land lines and cell phones that were powered by batteries and satellites. When he still didn’t understand, she laughed, telling him to never mind.
When the moving van arrived, everything was loaded up and Hermione followed the large truck, driving Draco in her father’s brand-new Mercedes to the storage facility. When the moving van left, she parked the car in a separate storage room and locked it. They walked out of the storage facility and once they were in an alley, sure that no one was in sight, they Apparated back to the Manor.
Hermione was exhausted, both physically and emotionally, and bid Draco a good night, needing to recover from this very long day. She fell asleep the minute her head hit the pillow. Draco crept into her room and sat in a chair by her bed for a while, watching her sleep. His heart broke for her; her silent tears and the pain that showed in her eyes all day had not gone unnoticed.
He got up after a couple of hours and went downstairs to his study, where he summoned the house-elves. He told them about his concerns that Lucius might still be alive and the precautions that he wished to take. Thanking them for their help and concern, he watched as they popped out of the study to protect the house.
He then wrote a brief letter to Mr. Weasley, telling him of his concerns and asking him to contact the members of the Order that might be willing to track down Lucius to ascertain whether he was dead or alive. He sent the letter off with his owl and climbed the stairs to his room. Taking one last look at Hermione, who was still sleeping soundly, he left the door between their rooms open and went to bed.
A/N: I HOPE YOU GUYS LIKED THIS CHAPTER...IT TOOK ME A WHILE TO FIGURE OUT THE WILL. PLEASE REVEIW!