"We are never going to find decent clothes here in Diagon Alley!" Nilia complained as they walked out of their fourth shop with nothing in their hands. They had been spending hours wandering aimlessly around Diagon Alley, finding nothing that interested them in the area of clothes. "I am not going to wear any of these things." She pointed out when they were wandering down the aisles at the robe shop.
Hermione stopped in the middle of an aisle, and turned to face Nilia. "I have an idea, ever been in a muggle mall?" That was all Nilia needed to hear, they made their way to the center of London and wandered around the huge mall that sat in the middle of it. By the time they finished, Nilia had four bags filled with clothing, and two feet that were killing her. "These muggles sure know how to entice shoppers huh?" Hermione asked, rubbing her feet as they sat in the food court.
"I can't believe all the clothes you can buy here! Muggles are brilliant!" A few people glanced their way when they heard this, and Nilia's face turned red. "Suppose I better keep it down when I talk about them huh?" Hermione giggled and nodded. "Hey, what is that over there?" She asked pointing to a small shop with a picture of scissors above it.
"Oh, that is a beauty salon. I used to go there when I was a child." She pointed to her hair. "They cut hair, and style it. Color it to if that is what you fancy."
"Hmm?" Was all Nilia said, and two hours later she emerged from it feeling completely renewed.
"Going for the Weasley red huh?" Hermione asked as she gave Nilia a once over. Her hair was now a short, above the shoulders layered cut. Making her look older, and her hair was a dark red, with blonde highlights in the front. Quite a change from the girl she saw hours earlier.
"Does it look ok?" She asked nervously.
"You look great, Fred will love it." Hermione announced and grabbed her hand and walked her out of the mall.
Nilia arrived home an hour later, with Hermione trailing in behind her. "He is going to flip if he sees all these bags." She whispered sneaking up the stairs to her bedroom.
"Nilia!" A voice boomed from behind her. Her stomach gave a jolt, and she turned around slowly.
"Yes father?" She waited for him to start yelling when he saw the bags, but instead he walked up to her and held her back at arms length. The look on his face was priceless, he couldn't do anything but smile.
"You look, well, different." He said, aware that Hermione was staring at him. Nilia frowned, different didn't sound good at all. He saw the expression on her face, "Beautiful, absolutely beautiful."
Both of the girls let out a sigh of relief. He wasn't going to yell at them for spending so much time in a muggle mall. "Thank you father." She whispered and hugged him.
He cleared his throat to break the emotion that he so outwardly showed, "By the way, two things. One, Hermione there is a letter from Ron's owl on Nilia's bed. Two, Nilia if you ever bring home so many clothes again..."
"What does the letter say?" Nilia held up a blouse she bought, trying to decide if she should wear it when she surprised Fred at work tomorrow. When no answer came she repeated herself, looking at Hermione.
Tears plastered her face, and her hand was shaking, holding the letter. "He dumped me." She crumpled up the letter. "He said that we couldn't work it out, he needed to just break if off."
Nilia set the blouse down and comforted her friend. "You know, this means you don't have to worry about hurting him. He did what was best for the two of you." She wiped her face and started to say, "But I love him, and I can't lose-" But Nilia interupted, "You also love Harry. I saw how you were talking about him. You can't have both!"
She was shocked at how Nilia was raising her voice to her like this. But she knew she was right, she couldn't have her cake and eat it too. "But someone will get to listen to all of Ron' stupid jokes, and watch him snore in his sleep." Nilia smiled and patted Hermione on the back.
"You knew this was coming. AND you can't have both you silly girl!" She ruffled her friends hair, sending some pieces into their normal bushiness.
Hermione sniffled. "I know, but the girl that ends up with him better treat him great! Or she'll have hell to pay."
"My father is still alive and in Azkaban?" Draco asked Dumbledore for at least the third time that night.
The old man nodded again, but added. "He won't be the same if he escapes." Pansy gave him a frightened look. "But we are taking extra precautions to make sure he doesn't"
"Was he upset when he couldn't find us?" Draco gulped knowing full well how bad his fathers temper was.
Dumbledore nodded, "Very much. Visited me at least twice a month to see if I had heard anything. Your friends were useless to him, not knowing where you had gone. He often threatened them and their families if they kept information from him." Draco shrugged, he didn't really care what happened to his friends. "Anyways, soon after he couldn't get me to talk. He went after the Weasleys for information on Nilia. They of course, all stuck together, even when he tried to force Ginny to drink a very potent Truth Potion while she was alone in a hallway. Her brothers would often check on her, and George had come to visit, and no one knew where she was. He found her soon after, struggling with Lucias."
Draco felt sick. He couldn't believe that he had come from that horrible man, raised in his house, and he even considered joining the ranks with Voldemort. But after his father wanted to force him to wed Nilia, he changed his mind quickly. "And my mother?"
"Still in the manor." He shifted in his seat, and glanced at the baby, who was sleeping peacefully in its crib. "I owled her and told her you were safely back home. She sent me one back, estatic, and planning to come and visit you two and the baby in the next week."
"She's not upset with me?" He asked, not believing how pathetic he sounded. He loved his mother with his life, but knew that she was to do whatever his father wanted. Even if it meant disowning their own son.
"Of course not. She was terribly worried about the three of you, especially the little one." He got up and walked over to the crib. "Beautiful little boy isn't he?" He softly stroked the child's cheek. "Keep him close."
Pansy let out a sound of terror. "What does that mean?" She stood up and gathered up her baby, giving Dumbledore one of her glares.
"Calm down, all I meant is that things happen. I am not going to lie to both of you and say that there aren't anymore DeathEaters out there. We know there are." He sat down. "And I am sure they have heard of your escape from your father."
"We just need to be careful Pansy." Draco assured her, cupping her hand within his. "Professor? Can I go visit the Manor?"
Dumbledore chuckled, "Please call me Dumbledore, or even Albus. Remember, I am no longer your Professor. And the answer to the other question, I wouldn't advise it at this moment."
He nodded and stuck his hand out. "Thank you Albus, for everything." With that, Dumbledore nodded and apparated right before their eyes.
An hour later an owl arrived, addressed to Pansy. "Ohh, it's from my parents!" She handed Nicholas to Draco and sat cross legged on the couch, ripping the letter open. "Hmm...they don't seem very concerned about how I am." She looked up at Draco. "Just asked if the baby was alright, no sign of them coming to visit or anything."
"I am sure they will." Draco sat down next to her, making baby noises at Nicholas.
"I will write them back, asking them to visit." She announced and rummaged through the drawers of the kitchen for some parchment. She scribbled down the note, and sent it back with the owl that waited on the windowsill. "That should do it."
Draco yawned, "I am beat. I am going to bed." He placed Nicholas in his crib and crawled into bed, falling fast asleep.
Later that night, a letter arrived again by the same owl. Pansy ripped it open, and a smile curled up on her lip. "Of course everything is going as planned." She said to no one in particular, and grabbed her wand and ignited the paper, sending it into a heap of ash on the floor. "He is right where I want him."
"It's 93 Diagon Alley." announced Hermione for the tenth time that night, as Nilia tried to get her to owl Ron back with a response. "If you get lost, just ask someone where it's at. Everyone knows."
"Gods Hermione, I think I can find a Joke Shop in Diagon Alley. Now, write him back telling him you understand!" shoving the parchment in Hermione's hand and scolding her again. "He needs to know that you are ok with it!"
"But I'm not." Hermione pouted. "I like Harry, maybe even think I am in love with him. We have been through so much together! But I also love Ron!"
"Remember what I said?" asked Nilia as she stretched out across her bed, running her hands through her now short hair. Hermione grumbled, and started to write on the parchment. When she finished, she folded it and attached it to the owls foot. Nilia patted her on the back"Now, was that so hard?"
"Now, since I did that, I get one question to ask you." She crossed her arms over her chest. Nilia nodded, and waited for this super important question that Hermione was making it out to be. "Why did you do that to your arms?" Referring to the scratches etched into her right forearm.
Nilia looked down, hoping if she didn't see Hermione looking at her she wouldn't have to answer. But of course, Hermione cleared her throat waiting for an answer. "I don't really want to talk about it."
"Nilia Herne! I cannot believe you don't want to tell your best friend this!?" She yelled, and soon after Severus came bounding into the room.
"What is the racket?" He asked demanding an answer.
"Sorry sir. I didn't mean to yell, just got frustrated." Hermione answered, the same way she would of answered in his potions class. "It won't happen again."
"Good." He said and walked out of the room, slamming the door behind him.
Hermione walked across the room and found her pajamas and quickly put them on, hoping that Severus wouldn't come crashing into the room again. When she finished, she sat back on the bed, staring at Nilia. Who was now playing with her fingers, and holding back her tears. She decided to leave it alone for the night, it obviously upset her. But when she layed down, a small voice started talking. "Hermione, I will tell you if you just listen. Don't comment until the end."
Hermione turned back over to face Nilia, who was now sitting cross-legged on the bed, with her blanket wrapped around her. "It had been at least five or six months into us hiding out...the first time it happened"
One of the letters had arrived, the one that said the same thing, almost word for word. But this one had said that everyone they knew missed them, and hoped they got to see them soon. Then Pansy started in on Nilia:
"Do you think that Fred will actually be waiting for you when we get out?" Pansy stared at her. Nilia placed the necklace he had gotten her between her fingers. "I mean seriously, he is a good looking guy, by Gryffindor standards I suppose. He sure has a chance to meet someone working in Diagon Alley."
Nilia didn't say anything, just looked down at the ground. She had learned to avoid these attacks of Pansy's. Figured it was just the hormones talking. And she knew very well that Fred could of found someone, in fact, she told him if he found someone he wanted to be with then he could go for it. She wanted him happy. "Pansy, stop right now." Draco demanded, but she ignored him.
She was looking for a fight. "Come on Nilly dear, isn't that what he called you. Nilly dear? Anyways, I suppose he would wait for you. Being a loyal Gryffindor and all." Draco started to protest, but she still ignored him. "Probably a little upset that he didn't get to come though, huh? I know that I couldn't stand being around a Weasley that long, but that's just me. What about you Draco?"
Draco glared at her, "Stop this instant. You are being cruel and unfair!" She laughed at him.
"What is she going to do, tell me to go away?." Turning her attention back to Nilia, who was now sitting with her head to her knees, she wished she had somewhere to hide, to get away from this horrible person. "Do you think he would fancy you much right now?"
Nilia breathed, trying to push all of her emotion away. She was not going to let Pansy upset her, not one bit. Then Pansy burst into her thoughts again. "He is better off with someone like his brother Ron has. You kow, the mudblood!" Her face turned red instantly, and she almost climbed across the table to throttle her when she heard her fathers voice. He emerged from taking a shower.
"What is going on here?" He looked at Pansy, a horrible scowl on his face.
"Nothing sir, we were just discussing things." Her innocence made Nilia feel like she would throw up. "Weren't we Nilly?"
Nilia nodded quickly and bee-lined for the bathroom, muttering something to her father. When she locked the door she did a quick survey of the bathroom, not knowing what she was looking for. She opened the cabinet, and started tearing stuff off the shelf. "I hate her, hate her, hate her!" She repeated to herself. "I bet she planned the pregnancy, little wench!"
When there was nothing else in the cabinet to throw on the floor, she sank to it, throwing her arms at both sides of her. That is when she felt it, a small sting graze the top of her arm. She looked down and saw a trickle of blood hit the floor, and then another one hit. Underneath it, she found a razor laying face up. Assuming it must ber her farthers, she picked it up and turned it in her fingers. The blade was sharp, and tinted with the red from her blood.
The cut wasn't deep, but there was something about it that mesmerized her. The blood trickled out slowly, and the emotion she felt towards Pansy seemed to dim. The cut on her arm healed the day after, and she forgot about how it made her problems go away. Until the next time she felt worthless, she pulled it out, and cut her right forearm.
Over months, the cuts seemed to run into eachother. Only a few scars were on her arms. And no one saw them because she wore her sweatshirts, even when it was blistering hot. And the last time she cut, it was deeper than normal. It scared her and she threw the razor against the wall, nursing her now bleeding arm. "Dammit." She muttered and hoisted herself up on the wall, and ran water over it. But the blood still ran, and this time it didn't make any emotion go away, in fact it made it worse. "Why the hell does it have to be me?" She yelled loud enough to send her father to the door pounding. "Nilia, open up please!" He pleaded from the other side of the door.
"NO! I don't want to be here anymore. I don't want to be anywhere, just let me bleed to death Father, please?!" She cried, and slumped to the floor. Blood formed on the floor underneath her, her arm not wanting to stop bleeding. She wanted her life to drain away with it, but her sobbing kept her father at the door begging her to let him in.
"Please, we can talk about this. LET ME IN!" He shouted. She could hear Pansy behind him demanding to know what was wrong. But her father ignored Pansy, and kept talking to Nilia. "You're all I have left!"
Those were the words that hit her. The only woman he had ever loved was in St. Mungo's, unaware of anything that was going on around her. He only had Nilia in his life, and she loved without question. Her mother didn't love Severus, she had been an independant woman with wild streaks. And Severus had been one of them, then Voldemort sealed her fate also. Casting a curse on her, leaving her immobilized and basically dead in a hospital bed.
She crawled to her knees, which landed right in her pool of blood, and opened the bathroom door. Only to fall into the arms of her father, the man that would never leave her.
~*End of Flashback*~
Hermione wiped her tears from her cheek. "What happened after that?"
Almost in a monotone voice, Nilia said. "Nothing, I never cut myself again. It left scars, and a few scratches are still there." She sighed, "But I just learned to not feel anything. No emotion at all. My father would agree it was better than cutting myself."
"I am so sorry Nilly, I didn't know you'd have to go through this much pain." Reaching out to hold her friends hand, she gave it a squeeze. "We are here for you, we never forgot about you. I would constantly think of you, and even Ron brought up some of your silly antics at times."
Nilia smiled, "He's a good guy. Got a great brother too."
Hermione had to point out, "He has five great brothers, wait till you get to meet the other three!" Then she fell silent, obviously thinking about another question. "So, you and Pansy aren't very close I suppose?"
She looked down, "No, she drives me nuts. And I am still convinced she got pregnant on purpose. Draco won't hear me out though." Curling up beside her best friend, she threw her arm over her. "You want to know what that stupid git said about me when I opened the bathroom door?"
"OOH. I bet it was something evil." Hermione pointed out.
"She told my father that I was just trying to get attention! Guess how he took that?" They both giggled and Nilia fell asleep. Hermione stayed awake for at least an hour, trying to figure out how she was going to tell Nilia about the thing she was hiding.
All right, another side note. I know that this chapter was all 'poor Nilia!' I had to think of something to put in here besides fluff and Pansy complaining. So, review please, and just be patient with me. I will try to get the next chapter out ASAP! Oh, and sorry Fred and Nilia didn't meet yet, promise it's coming up soon.