Chapter 10 : Of Comfort, Guests and Freedom
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Hermione held Draco in her arms for a few minutes, but the time seemed to fly by like endless hours. Her arms were getting sore and her breath was rapid due to her steadfast heartbeat. But what hurt most of all was her neck. She had it arched to one side while holding Draco against her, and the pain ached from her neck down.
She heard a few sniffles from Draco. She held his shoulders and helped him up. She gazed into his heartbreaking eyes.
“Are you alright now?” she whispered politely.
Draco nodded his head and brushed away the last tear that escaped his eye. “S-sorry about that. I usually don’t get all emotional.”
Hermione cheeked a smile. “It’s okay to get emotional, you know.” She rubbed his back soothingly, not knowing anything else to do.
They sat in silence for a few seconds and a question dawned on Hermione. She was itching to ask Draco.
“Um, Draco?” she asked, biting her bottom lip.
Draco looked up, his eyes sparkling. “Yes, Jean?”
“If you don’t mind me asking…was your father the one who made you blind?” Hermione finished, watching Draco closely.
Draco sighed and stood up. Hermione followed him to the window.
“If you don’t want to answer, I understand---” Hermione stated quickly, but Draco interrupted her.
“I don’t mind,” he said plainly. He paused before starting again. “I saw him murder my mother in front of my eyes.” Another pause. “He saw me and wanted to kill me before I said anything to anyone. He knew I would say something. I was close to my mother after all. The moment I saw him lay his bloody eyes on me, I knew I was as good as dead.”
“Then what happened?” Hermione pressed.
“I ran for it. I tried to get my wand from my room upstairs, but he had already called on his minions to kill me. Everyone was after me.”
“Luckily, you made out alive,” Hermione breathed.
“I wouldn’t call it ‘luck’.” Draco frowned for a moment in thought.
“What is it?”
“As I was running down the hall towards the front doors, I saw a green flash of light come at me.”
“How are you sure it was green?”
“I was hit by it. We have a mirror in the hall and I saw the reflection as I passed by.” He paused momentarily.
“The green light reflected off the mirror and hit me straight in the face.”
“It hit you straight in the face?” Hermione quoted. “That’s how you went blind?”
“That’s the last thing I remember seeing. What I don’t understand is…” His voice trailed off in thought.
“What?” Hermione questioned.
“I could’ve sworn I heard my father’s voice yelling out the killing curse. That’s when I was hit by the reflection. I went unconscious.”
Hermione chewed her bottom lip. “That doesn’t make sense though. If he shot the killing curse at you, you wouldn’t be blind…you’d be dead.” She imagined Draco dead and for some reason, shivered at the thought of it.
“I know, but it just gets to me sometimes.” Draco touched the glass window. “It’s like a bad dream you can’t seem to shake off.”
“I know the feeling.” Hermione murmured.
“When I woke up, I didn’t know where I was. I heard random people talking around me, but I couldn’t hear myself talk or open my eyes.” Draco brushed his bangs back. “I remember Pansy being beside me one time. I could hear her talking to me. She held my hand and didn‘t want to let go.”
Hermione felt a knife stab at her heart hearing of Pansy Parkinson being alone with Draco. She thought she was just hallucinating. I’m not jealous! Especially not of Parkinson! She forced in her mind.
Draco continued with his story. “When I opened my eyes all I saw was complete darkness.”
“Who took you to St. Mungo’s?” Hermione asked, trying to focus her mind on something else.
“I honestly don’t know.” Draco said. He rubbed his chin for a second and walked back to the bed. “Where’s the dagger, Jean?”
Hermione retrieved the dagger and placed it in Draco’s hands.
He held it gently in his hand as if it were about to dissolve away. “I remember…”
“Remember what?” Hermione asked immediately.
He stroked the dagger’s blade momentarily. “That day…my mother gave me this dagger. She had just returned from her trip with Jack and she gave me the dagger to keep.” Draco paused as if waiting for a response from Hermione.
She returned his look and said, “So, you had this dagger with you that day your father wanted to kill you?”
“Yeah…and Jean…” Draco’s eyeballs were looking as if they might pop out. “I think I’ve just found out what else Gryffindor’s dagger is capable of.”
“And that would be?” Hermione asked impatiently.
“Whoever has this dagger in their possession cannot die.”
Hermione blinked several times. “What?” She finally huffed. “But how’s that even possible? I mean, your mother had it and well…” She hesitated.
Draco shook his head. “No, not that kind of possession. I meant if someone was carrying the dagger with them, then they couldn’t die. I had it with me Jean. The dagger was inside my cloak when my father tried to kill me.” He smacked his forehead. “Of course that’s why nothing happened. He did shoot the killing curse at me, but I didn’t die because of the dagger.”
“But you did go blind,” Hermione said straight-forward.
“That must have been because of the reflection of the mirror. I was hit in my face.” Draco contemplated. “Speak of luck.”
“Right.” Hermione said. “Gryffindor was a genius wasn’t he?” She grinned.
“Yeah. He’s alright.” Draco smirked.
Ursula smiled at her image in the mirror and opened the door from the lavatory to head out. She gasped, holding her hand to her chest.
“You scared me, Millicent!” she said to the woman before her.
Millicent smirked at Ursula. “Sorry, dear. I didn’t mean to frighten you,” she said. Her voice sounded sarcastic. “So…I’m a bit curious. You don’t mind me asking you any questions, do you?”
Ursula smiled graciously, walking past Millicent, making her way to her guest room. “I don’t mind. What do you want to know?”
They both walked into the guest room and Ursula gestured Millicent to the sit on the bed.
“Well…” Millicent said as she sat herself down on the bed, “…I’ve noticed that you go to the lavatory an awful lot.”
“With all due respect Millicent, that’s not a question, that’s a comment,” Ursula said slyly.
Millicent folded her fists in her hand. She forced a smile. “Well, yes, Ursula. That’s right. It is a comment. But here’s my question, why do you go to the lavatory so often? Is there something you’re hiding?” She joked, but wanted to know seriously.
Ursula shook her head, playing with a strand of curly hair. “It’s nothing I’m hiding, but I do have a problem.”
Millicent sat forward in anticipation. “You can tell me.”
Ursula hesitated and bit her bottom lip. “The truth is…” She glanced around the room for a second. “…I have a bladder infection.”
Millicent’s mouth hung open as she searched for some words. “You-you wh-what?”
Ursula nodded her head vigorously. “I have to go frequently to the bathroom because of my bladder.”
“You’ve got to be damn kidding me!” Millicent spat as she stood up.
“What’s wrong?” Ursula asked politely.
Millicent walked out of the room, and slammed the door behind her. She stomped her right foot on the ground. “A bladder infection!” She kicked the opposite wall, frightening another house-elf downstairs. “She’s lying! She just has to be! Yes, that’s what it is. That bloody mudblood is telling a lie! I just know it.” She scoffed as she left to her room. “A bladder infection! Ha!”
Lucius held his breath as he and Fredrick walked down the dungeon stairs. The smell of blood and sweat filled the cold air. He never thought that the asylum would have a dungeon, but then he remembered it was an asylum.
It was dark in the dungeons. There wasn’t much light except for the torch that Fredrick held as he worked carefully with each crunching step.
He looked back once in a while at Lucius to see if he was alright, or not planning on attacking him since he was the one with the wand.
After a long time of walking in dried leaves and mud puddles, they came to a halt. Fredrick looked around the area and gestured to Lucius to back up; Lucius obeyed.
Fredrick murmured an enchantment at the opposite wall and swished the wand, but nothing happened.
He handed the wand over to Lucius. “You’re the pureblood, you try.” He said, huffing his chest out.
Lucius took the wand and glanced at the wall. There were a few strange marks that were unfamiliar. He took his wand and tapped one of the marks and the wall made a loud cracking sound. He quickly backed up, thinking it was a trap.
“Shit.” Fredrick cursed behind him. He stared at Lucius. “What the bloody hell did you do, Malfoy?”
Lucius didn’t say anything, except continued staring at the wall as it cracked from one corner to another.
Blaise Zabini clipped his cloak on and headed downstairs to find Vincent Crabbe. He bumped into a flabbergasted Millicent downstairs.
“What the hell’s wrong with you?” He asked rudely as he examined himself in the opposite hall mirror.
“None of your business, Zabini!” Millicent barked back, biting her nails.
“Whatever. Tell me, where’s Vincent?”
Millicent stopped in her tracks and folded her arms across her chest. “Do I look like a house-elf to you?”
Blaise smirked evilly and opened his mouth to say a response, but Millicent gave him a nasty gesture before he could say anything. She ran up the stairs to her room.
“Wilfred!” Blaise said loudly.
With a ‘pop’, a wrinkly house-elf appeared. He bowed, but not too low.
“Where can I find Crabbe?” Blaise asked plainly.
“Outside in garden, sir.” Wilfred replied, coughing afterward.
Blaise gave him a disgusted look. “Get rid of that cough before you get me sick!”
The house-elf bowed and disappeared with a ‘snap’.
Vincent touched one of the red rose’s from the rose bush and broke it off.
“What beauty,” he whispered as he caressed the rose with one hand. He placed it in the inside pocket of his cloak. He listened to the approaching footsteps behind him. “About time you showed up,” he said without turning around.
“I had things to take care of,” the man replied roughly.
Vincent turned around and approached his guest. He held out his hand to the buff, dark wizard.
The wizard shook it forcefully.
“It’s been a while since I’ve seen you,” Vincent said. “Sit down.”
But the wizard didn’t budge. “I’m not here for any pleasantries, Crabbe.” He folded his hand in a fist. “Where the hell is everyone?”
“They’ll be here soon, Greyback.” Crabbe replied calmly.
“You should know I don’t like to wait,” Fenrir Greyback growled.
A sudden ‘pop’ interrupted them. Wilfred the house-elf bowed. “They’re here sir.”
“Good.” Vincent replied smirking at his guest. “Let them into my study and tell them I’ll be there momentarily.”
“Very well sir.” The house-elf left.
Vincent gestured to the open door. “Shall we?”
Hermione tossed her pencil to the floor, stretching her arms high in the air. She glanced at her watch for the time.
She wasn’t very tired or exhausted. Hermione sighed and retreated to the couch. She retrieved the T.V. remote and turned on the television. She changed the channels and tried to watch something--anything--that would make her mind turn off. (Which was a bit impossible for her.) Since nothing was on, she flicked the television off and relaxed on the couch.
She heard Draco come out of the family room. She bit her bottom lip, hoping he would just go upstairs to his room and not come by her.
That is exactly what happened. Draco walked into the living room and plopped down on the opposite couch from Hermione.
“What are you doing, Jean?” He asked.
Hermione shut her eyes for a few seconds before replying. “How did you know I was here?” She asked, regretting the question the moment it left her mouth.
Draco smiled. “I smelled your fragrance. Vanilla.”
Hermione was a bit shocked that he knew her shampoo fragrance so precisely.
“My other senses are stronger now that my eyesight is gone.” Draco’s face sadden.
Hermione fought the urge to place her hand over his, but did it anyway. “Your eyesight is not gone forever, you know. It’s only temporarily.”
“Thanks for the reassurance,” Draco said simply. He placed his left hand over hers smoothly.
Hermione swallowed uneasily. “No problem at all.” She removed her hand from his. “That’s what we nurses are here for.”
Lucius blinked his eyes several times, rubbing them. Apparently the light from the wand had gone out and now, there was total darkness.
“Bloody hell,” Fredrick cursed next to him. He rose to his feet. “Lumos.” The wand’s light reappeared and now Lucius could see clearly.
He gasped as he, too stood on his both feet. He walked forward and gaped at his surrounding. There was no longer an opposite wall. It was as if some monster had bitten off a huge circle of the wall.
Fredrick walked through the hole and grinned proudly at Lucius. “Well, Malfoy, I gotta say I didn’t know you had it in you.”
Lucius joined him and stared at the bare night sky with the fresh air breezing past them. He took a long inhale before exhaling it out. He smirked evilly.
Fredrick slapped him on the back. “Damn it, friend! We’re free from this hell hole! We’re finally free!”
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