Author's Note: Alright, my readers. I do believe some explanations are in order. I understand that you guys have been waiting close to 3-and-a-half months for this chapter, and I'm truly sorry for that. Shortly after I posted the last chapter, my parents had a "falling out" of sorts and my brother and I have had a hard time with that. My "father" hasn't been taking the split very well, especially because we're happier when we're not with him.
So, he's basically screwed up what was supposed to be a "pain-free" process and has totally ruined any chances of a relationship with the stupid comments and confusing mindset that he has said or shown to me.
Other than that, there was a flood 2 days after I arrived home from Spain in April (which I told you guys about). We were flooded from our home for the second time in 3 years. We got back into the house in June, but it was amazingly hard to write in a trailer with no personal space.
So, please excuse my absence from my writing on the site. I've been trying for 3-and-a-half months to write this chapter and it is finally finished! After all the trials and tribulations! I thank you for sticking with me.
I would also like to thank all my reviewers for staying, and any newcomers. Again, I apologize for the incovenience over the past few months, and I'll try to keep a maximum of a month between chapters (so long as no more floods happen!).
December 25, 1983
Once again, the Malfoy's sat in the waiting room. Ernest and Hermione were in the ICU being tested. Jack, the Healer from the day before, appeared again to break the news to the Malfoy's. Narcissa stayed seated and clung to Lucius.
"Well, Mr. Granger had a fairly major heart attack. He'll need blood pressure meds and to stay away from stressful environments." Jack looked over at Heather, who seemed more interested in the man sitting a few seats from her with his family. Jack turned back to Narcissa at her question.
"She's an interesting case. She's fine, but it seems she went into a fit similar to Ernest's heart attack and is recovering the same way he is. The only baffling thing is..." Jack stopped and rubbed his neck. Narcissa looked at him expectantly.
Everyone looked at Jack. Narcissa was confused at his apparent nervousness of the situation. "I'd be sad too if I'd gone through all that child has."
Jack shook his head. "No, I mean she's blue. And we can't turn her back to normal. We've tried everything. And this color thing is impeding on the healing process."
Narcissa nodded. "Can we see her?"
Jack nodded and the Malfoy's followed him. They arrived in Hermione and Ernest's room and found her reading Flowers in the Attic, her honey eyes scanning the pages fairly quickly. She seemed relaxed and happy, aside from her electric blue skin. Narcissa walked up to Hermione and stroked her hair.
"Do you feel alright, Joie?"
"Yeah, but my arm kinda tingles."
Hermione held out her arm and Narcissa noticed that her tattoo was bright red and orange. She knew she had to ask someone with experience to know how to fix Hermione's skin and the activation of her tattoo. As Narcissa made her way to the fireplaces to talk to Megan, she apparated in front of her.
"I must see tee girl."
"How did you know?"
Megan showed her arm to Narcissa, the same tattoo of the chalice glowing red and orange. Narcissa nodded.
"That would do it. Anyway, she's in Room 3--"
"321, I know. Let's go."
Megan made her way through the hospital and toward Hermione's and Ernest's room. She saw the blue child and grabbed Draco, placing him next to her on the bed. She took his hand and placed it within Hermione's. The two kids began to quiver and fainted next to each other, their hands still connected. Narcissa made to run to the kids, but Megan stopped her.
"Tey're fine, calm down."
The kids curled into each other and glowed brightly, turning a bright green.
"What the hell's going on, Megan!?" Narcissa was scared.
"Hermione's healing. It vill be over soon."
Moments later, the glow began to fade as the kids normal color returned. Hermione still had a tinge of blue and Draco was tinted yellow. Megan smiled and went up to the two kids, gently tracing over Hermione's tattoo, whose color then faded to normal. Megan looked at Narcissa.
"Tey'll be fine. The color vill fade vit time."
"How much time?"
"A few days. I have to go, Matlock is on." Megan left the room and Narcissa followed her. They arrived at the apparation point and Narcissa hugged Megan.
"Thank you, Megan. You're a godsend."
"It was nahting, Narcissa. Don't vurry about it." She then looked over and noticed Heather watching them warily. Heather made a face at Megan and turned away. Narcissa saw the exchange and rolled her eyes.
"Take great caushuns vit her, Narcissa. She's no good for tee helt of her husband or her children."
Narcissa nodded, "I'll watch them."
Megan smiled and apparated away. Narcissa turned to return to the room, when Heather stood and walked over to her.
"How are they?" She seemed genuinely concerned, but only Narcissa knew when she was sincere.
"Come in and see for yourself. I'm not a messenger." Narcissa continued back to the ICU and found Ernest awake and moving in his bed. The Malfoy's were between the two beds, Lucius with Jack and Ernest while the kids sat together. Narcissa went over to the men and caught the middle of the conversation.
"Does it mean anything?" Ernest asked.
"Well, in your case, your environment is too stressful for you to continue living in it. I know you probably don't want to hear this, but Heather's actions are most likely what cause the attack and may just kill you."
"How did you know about what she's been doing?"
"Let's just say she doesn't just come to the hospital for injured family or friends."
Ernest was quiet. He stared at Jack, silently daring him to tell him to divorce Heather. Jack knew what Ernest was thinking, but it had to be said.
"If you don't get a divorce, you'll die."
"Ernest, he's try--" Lucius began.
"I don't give a damn what he thinks, Lucius. Heather is my wife. We took vows, we promised 'til death do us part', and I intend on keeping that promise." He looked at Jack menacingly, ďDeath before divorce."
Jack sighed and looked to Lucius and Narcissa for help. They looked at each other uneasily.
"If that's what you want..." Lucius muttered.
"You know it is. Nothing will change my mind of that."
Jack sighed and looked at Narcissa. "They can leave when they're ready."
Narcissa nodded and went over to the bed full of kids. She smiled jovially, "Joie, ready to go home?!"
Hermione smiled and nodded vigorously, clapping her hands and ripping the tubes and probes of. Narcissa helped before Hermione hurt herself and conjured a pile of clothes, telling Hermione they had been in the corner chair.
When Narcissa finished with Hermione, Ernest was walking with Lucius. Lucius had been freed of his bed before coming to St. Mungo's, but Narcissa was going to go commando when he got back to the house. The two families left the room and found Heather yelling at the receptionist.
"Where are my husband and my daughter?! I demand to see them! Why won't you let m--Oh, Ernest! Joie! Oh, I was so worried! Those cruel people wouldn't let me see you!"
She ran to Ernest and threw herself on him, squeezing and hugging. Ernest fell right into it. Lucius and Narcissa could not believe it. They watched as Heather pulled Hermione to her and kissed the two all over, proclaiming how much she loved her family.
Heather left the hospital hand-in-hand with her husband and daughter, leaving the Malfoy's to floo home. Later that night, Heather and Ernest were talking at the dinner table, long after Hermione was supposed to be asleep. Hermione had snuck down the stairs and into the hallway between the rooms to listen.
"How do you feel?" Heather played with her glass.
"Better than earlier. How come you were trying to seduce Frank?"
Heather sighed and shrugged her shoulders. "Impulse?"
"I'm sick of that answer. Frank kept telling you no and you kept pursuing. Give me a real answer."
Heather scrunched up her face. "I don't know, Ernest. Something comes over me when I drink an--"
"There wasn't any drinking. I know you weren't drunk. Give me a real answer."
Heather hesitated, trying to find another excuse. "Look, my hormones got all screwed up after Hermione's birth and I've lost contr--"
Ernest became impatient. "Give. Me. A. Real. Answer!"
"Dammit, Ernest, It was stupid and an impulse and nothing else! I don't know why I did it, I just did! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to hurt our family."
Ernest was silent a moment. He stared at Heather intently, trying to see if there was truth to her words. She was well-hidden and he took that as truth. He smiled at her and patted her hand, squeezing it lightly.
"Go to bed, Ernest. It's been a long day."
Hermione jumped up, quickly and quietly running to her room and hopping into her bed, feigning sleep. Ernest nodded to Heather and kissed her cheek, smiling down at her. He walked away up the stairs and happily got into bed. A small twinge of uneasiness surfaced, but he pushed it away and fell asleep.
Heather walked over to the Liquor cabinet and pulled out an assortment of liquids, pouring them into a glass and taking a long, hard gulp. She swallowed a few times to get rid of the after taste and finished off the cup. She put the glass in the sink and went to her bedroom, staring at Ernest.
She shuddered as nothing inside of her was drawn to Ernest any longer. She sighed and grabbed her pillow and a blanket from the chair, going back to the Living Room to sleep. She muttered, "I'll just have to hide it better, that's all," before falling asleep.
"And even if I could it'll all be gray,
but your picture on my wall
It reminds me, that it's not so bad,
it's not so bad..."
--Dido Thank You
September 12, 1984
Hermione stood in the back of the school. She was first in line in her class for the first day of second grade. Draco was behind her, picking dirt from his fingernails. A bell rang and their new teacher arrived, beginning roll call. Hermione was only slightly paying attention, immersed in a book already way beyond her reading level. Draco was talking to Suri Cruise. They had become better friends, but not nearly as close as Hermione and Draco.
Hermione rolled her eyes as she heard Suri giggle. Her giggle annoyed Hermione to the point of tears. She'd rather stuff her ears with nails than hear that girl laugh. The teacher soon led the kids into the school to their classroom. Her name was Mrs. Chivarella.
The kids got settled into the classroom. Hermione looked around and realized that the room was nothing special. There weren't any decorations or posters or what seemed like an inkling of effort or thought put into the room. Hermione sighed and sat in a desk in the middle of the room. Draco sat down to her right, Suri behind him.
The teacher stood before the class and spotted Draco continually turning and talking to the girl behind him. Mrs. Chivarella had not realized until that point that he was not talking to just any kid, which required disciplinary action, but a star.
Draco turned back around after hushing Suri for the umpteenth time, and found Mrs. Chivarella staring at Suri. He looked back at her when he heard her whimper. Draco did some quick thinking to cover for Suri, but when he turned to explain, he found Mrs. Chivarella was gone. She had run behind him, clapping her hands with excitement.
"Suri Cruise! How lovely to have you in my room! Your parents are my favorite actors!"
"Thanks, Misses Chivarella." Suri had a look on her face that she was disgusted that a person like Mrs. Chivarella would even look at her, let alone speak to her.
"I'll make sure you're as comfortable as possible and we'll do whatever you'd like to do today." Hermione turned to the spectacle, disgusted. She could not believe this teacher was star struck!
Suri gave a cocky smile. "I'd like you to leave me alone and let us go outside for the rest of the day."
The teacher smiled and made it so. The kids cheered and went outside. Hermione and Draco were playing on a section of ground near the soccer fields, playing American style football. Suri came to the edge of their game, growling as Hermione tackled Draco and they laughed, rolling around together.
She pretended to laugh, causing the kids to look up and smile at her. Hermione decided she should be nice and try not to let Suri's personality quirks possibly ruin her years at school. Suri had another idea.
"What are you guys playing?"
"American football. We've been watching it since we saw an Eagles game in America a couple years ago," Draco said.
"You've been to America!?"
Hermione smiled, reveling in the fact that Suri's famous parents hadn't taken her to America yet. "Yeah, our families took us for our 5th birthdays and Christmas."
Suri made a face at Hermione and turned to Draco. "Want to play on the swings?"
Draco smiled, oblivious to the tension between the two girls. "Sure. C'mon, Joie."
The three kids ran to the swings. Only two were open. Suri insisted Draco take one and she take the other. Draco, being the little gentlemen he was, gave the swing to Hermione.
Suri began to whine. "Draco, would you push me?"
He smiled happily and obliged, checking his distance so he wouldn't be hurt. Hermione watched as Suri played up the moment, laughing and yelling for Draco to push harder. After 10 minutes, Suri became bored and drug Draco to one of the playground pieces, going down the slides and hopping along the steps. Both had forgotten about Hermione.
As Hermione sat on the swing, watching Suri and Draco play, she felt an intense jealousy within herself. She also felt detached and suppressed. The loneliness was so overwhelming, she went back towards the school and began reading a book she found on the ground. The book relieved her stress, allowing her an escape from this feeling that scared her. She didn't like the feeling she got when Draco wasn't around, especially when he was with another girl and forgetting about her.
Suri smiled discreetly at Granger's frown as she retreated to the big tree on the playground. Perfect, exactly what she wanted. Draco would be her's in no time. Suri turned to ask Draco if he wanted to go down the slide again, but found he was gone. She looked up and saw him under the tree, next to Granger, laughing with her.
Suri's anger boiled as she watched the two friends laughing.
What does Granger have that I don't?! I'm pretty, graceful, and famous! Granger has bushy hair and buck teeth, she's nothing compared to me!
Suri stomped down the plastic steps on the back of the giant dinosaur, formulating a story to get Granger in trouble and make Draco hers. As she paced the playground, one of her sandals got caught on the blacktop and Suri went down, skinning her knee and her hands.
Suri stood and began to brush herself off, tears in her eyes, when she saw two kids fighting near her. She realized her perfect revenge, popping out plenty of tears, rubbing dirt on her body and ripping at her dress. She looked like a certified mess when she was done and ran inside, running to her classroom.
Mrs. Chivarella was inside, grading papers. She looked up at the sound of Suri's pounding steps and her mouth dropped. She ran to the dramatically crying Suri, picking her up and taking her to the nurse's office.
The nurse fixed Suri's wounds and cleaned her, offering her clothes, but Suri growled in disgust at them. She put her dirty, torn dress back on and Mrs. Chivarella began bugging her for answers.
"Who did this to you? Where are they? Why did they do this? Who was it?! Oh dear, what will your parents say? Suri, who was it?! Dear Lo--"
"What, dear, what? Anything fo--"
The teacher immediately went silent and Suri took a deep breath, steadying her mind and story. "Draco and I were playing on the swings and the play set when Granger came over and got all crazy! She started screaming and crying and didn't even do anything! Then Draco tried to calm her down but she yelled at him and they started arguing and I stood up to stop them when she pushed me and ripped my dress. She started throwing dirt at me and I started crying and she ran away, Draco running after her. I ran in here to tell you because I trust you."
Suri had blatantly lied through her teeth. The nurse didn't even believe her.
"Looks to me like a nasty trip, that's all," said the nurse.
Mrs. Chivarella snapped her head toward the nurse, pulling Suri to her. "How dare you insinuate that after that horrifying story! You should be ashamed! C'mon, Suri, letís go back to the room."
Suri smirked at the nurse for her teacher's gullibility. As she walked with her, she sniffled and asked, "What will happen to Granger?"
Mrs. Chivarella smirked and patted Suri's hand. "Don't you worry about that. She'll get what she deserves. Go run along now."
Suri went back outside and hid by a nearby tree, watching Granger and Draco. She heard a beep and an announcement was made to the playing kids. "Hermione Granger to the Principal's office. Hermione Granger to the Principal's office."
The phone hung up and Hermione looked at Draco. They shrugged their shoulders and Hermione went inside. Suri took this as her chance and walked over to Draco, well, sauntered, and sat down next to him.
"What happened to you?"
"Nasty fall. Where's Granger?"
"Got called to the office. Want to play 'til she comes back?"
Suri smiled. "Sure."
Meanwhile, Hermione sat in the main office, waiting to be called into the Principal's office. Her legs swung back and forth as she wrung her hands. She was finally brought in. In the Principal's office was Mr. Homer, Mrs. Chivarella, and her mother. Hermione sat down and saw the look on her teacher and her mother's face. Mr. Homer looked at her calmly.
"Tell me, Hermione, why did you hurt Suri?"
Hermione cocked her head to the side, "I didn't."
Her mother's hand clapped against the back of her head. "Don't lie."
Mr. Homer glared at her. "Misses Granger, please."
Hermione's teacher slammed her hands on the desk, scaring Hermione. "Why did you hurt, Suri?!"
Mr. Homer intervened again as Hermione began to cry. "Ladies, show some self-restraint!"
The two women calmed and all three of them realized Hermione was crying, repeating the same phrase. "I didn't do it. I didn't do anything."
Hermione looked up at the three adults, seeing disbelieving looks on all their faces. She looked closer at her principal and noticed his hair was askew and his clothes ruffled. She quickly looked at her mother, noticing the same flaws in appearance and cried harder, knowing what had gone on. She spotted her teacher's evil glare at the two of them. This was the worst first day ever.
Mr. Homer spoke, "Hermione, you're suspended for a day and will come back to school on Friday. Good day."
Heather yanked Hermione up and winked at Mr. Homer before leaving the school. She dragged Hermione to the car and drove home, yelling at her the entire time. Hermione knew her mother would never believe her, so she kept quiet and listened.
Once back at the house, Heather seemed angrier than before. She seethed at Hermione, "Get upstairs and wait for your punishment."
Hermione walked up the stairs quickly and sat on her bed, grabbing one of her pillows and holding it tight against her body, holding back tears. She heard her mother get on the phone.
"Ernest, you need to talk to your daughter."
"She attacked the Cruise's daughter at school today and interrupted my m--meeting with the principal."
"Why were you in a meeting with the principal?"
"He wanted to talk about a secretarial position."
"Oh, well, where's Hermione?"
"In her room."
"Hun, I really don't think Hermione's capable of something like that. She's not an angry kid. At least, not unprovoked."
"Ernest she did it. I saw the girl. Hermione will be punished."
Ernest hesitated. "Wait until I get home and we'll talk to her."
Heather rolled her eyes. "Fine."
Heather silently gagged. "Love you, too!"
They hung up and Heather stomped up the stairs to deal with her daughter.
Back at the school, Draco fretted when Hermione didn't come back from the office. He kept pacing and it was making Suri mad that he was so upset about Granger and not her.
"She's fine, Draco."
"And how would you know?"
"Because I'm the reason she's there!"
Draco turned to her. "What?"
Suri scoffed. "I tripped and got hurt, so I made up a story that Granger pushed me and hurt me."
"Because I'm pretty and famous and you weren't paying attention to me! You were playing with Granger when I was better!"
Draco glared at Suri and walked toward the school. Suri followed him. "C'mon, Draco letís play on the swings again."
Draco shook her off. "Joie's my best friend. We aren't anymore."
Suri stopped where she was, watching Draco walk back to the classroom. She scoffed and went back outside, waiting under the tree for Draco's return.
Draco got back to the room and found it empty. He quietly packed his bag and made for the main entrance, planning on escaping to Hermione's house. Just as he opened the door, Mr. Homer closed it, looking down at tiny Draco.
"Where are you going?"
"To Hermione's house."
"Because she didn't hurt Suri."
Mr. Homer smiled and kneeled down to Draco's level. "Son, Hermione did injure Suri. We've handled it. Go back outside."
"No, she didn't! Suri told me it was a lie!"
Mr. Homer went quiet and led Draco into the office. A few moments later, Narcissa was at the school with Suri and her parents. The families met in Mr. Homer's office and began to discuss the matter. Eventually, Suri admitted to lying and was sent home, suspended for two days. Draco was permitted to go home after the stress of the day's events.
At Hermione's house, Heather was pacing and yelling at Hermione. She guilted her with a fake call from the Cruise's and upset her with another fake call from the principal, suspending her for three more days.
"Dammit, Hermione! Why do you do this!? You can't ever just get along with kids, you have to be different!"
"Why do you do bad things with other men than Dad?!"
"What are you talking about?"
"I saw Mister Homer looking at you! You did bad things again like you did with Mister Sawaged and Mister Longbottom and Mister Finnegan!"
Heather ran over and grabbed her daughter by the collar of her blue shirt. "Listen here you bushy-haired, buck-toothed, little wretch! You will not speak of those men ever again. You will regret it. Understand me?"
Hermione didn't answer, too stunned by her mother's words, making Heather pull tighter on the collar. Her lips moved, but her teeth didn't. "Understand me?"
Hermione nodded and was dropped back on her bed. Heather left the room for a moment and Hermione ran to her closet, crawling in and hiding. Heather came back and snapped the black leather belt in her hand angrily as she found Hermione gone.
She went directly to the closet and ripped her crying and screaming daughter from the pile of clothes on the ground.
"No, no! Please, don't! Please! Not the belt!"
"Only guilty, little wretches cry and beg from a beating!"
Hermione screamed and struggled against her mother. "I DIDN'T DO IT! I DIDN'T DO IT!"
Heather finally managed to keep Hermione still and raised the belt above her head. The belt came crashing down. As the stinging pain faded, so did Hermione's consciousness. The last thing she saw was a picture of Draco on her wall before she faded completely.
Please review! I'm still sorry this has taken so long! Thank you for reading!