Chapter 10 : More Than Meets The Eye
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There's no real need to ask why for
We're all a part of this master plan
Things aren't always as they seem to be
And sometimes life is something you can't see
Vaughan Penn - More Than Meets The Eye
Hermione walked over to the shelf, the ripped wallpaper forgotten in a blink by this new discovery. It reminded her of a moon, of a crystal ball, yet only a sliver of shining silver was visible. It was clear that someone, undoubtedly Malfoy, had tried to hide it behind the various other objects crammed into the shelf.
Hermione moved a few books, some old and battered toy-soldiers and a vase aside, and behind the mess she saw the unmistakable shape of one of the most interesting and extraordinary magical inventions of all time.
It was a Pensieve.
She touched the granite basin with her fingertips, tracing the carvings of runes along the brim. ‘Memories are but pictures in your head of what was and what has been.’ she read before her attention was drawn to the swirling smoke above the watery, silvery, shady substance within the pensieve.
A face was forming and cold, uncaring eyes glared of her in the spirals of rising vapor.
Hermione let out an inaudible gasp as a female voice spoke from somewhere within smoky matter.
“He says it hurts.”
The pictures grew more solid, more clear, still within the silver although soon it was as though Hermione was looking down at a miniature, circular TV- screen. She recognized the two people at once; it was Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy, and they were standing in the very same room as she was. Lucius was looking distinctly battered and un-groomed; more so than Hermione had ever seen in him.
“He cries himself to sleep at night when-”
“Let him cry.” Lucius growled. “Let him cry like a little girl.”
And Hermione felt herself being drawn in. It was as though the smoke had formed hands that were pushing her head-first into the Pensieve and she found herself falling, falling like Alice when she fell into Wonderland, falling for a long time, until she landed in the very same room as she was currently in.
She stood between Lucius and Narcissa, the latter backing away with fear in her large, blue eyes.
“But-” Narcissa began.
Lucius interrupted his wife, looking more manic by the moment as he grabbed her by her bony shoulders and rattled her like a rag-doll. “Does he think it hurts him? Does he complain about the pain? Imagine that pain a tenfold, a hundredfold, a thousand-”
This time it was Lucius’ turn to be interrupted; by a slap on the cheek as Narcissa slipped out of his grip and stepped back, looking revolted. “He’s your son...” She whispered, as she continued to back away from the tall blond man before her. “You’re an animal.”
In the matter of the moment Lucius had swept up on her and struck, making the shelf fall in the act, books flying everywhere. A voice yelled “NO!”, Narcissa’s limp body fell, bloody and bruised, to the wooden floor and Lucius turned a face with bulging eyes towards Hermione once more and Hermione gasped and stepped back from him like Narcissa had done before her.
Suddenly she gasped; someone sprang right through her, and suddenly she knew how ghosts felt when people kept walking through them. It was not a pleasant experience.
A fearless little boy with blond hair was headed straight for Lucius, and once he stopped before him he banged loose on his chest. “You killed her!” the boy sobbed. “You killed her! You killed her, you killed her!” His yells subsided into helpless sniveling.
Hermione looked up at Lucius to see his reaction towards this, and she was startled by what she saw. Lucius’ face, contorted in pain and sadness, was not human any longer. “Draco...” he rasped to the little boy, whose knees had just given in, leaving him sobbing over his mother’s limp frame. Draco looked up as though a bomb had just exploded his name. “Run, Draco.... RUN!”
Little Draco was on his feet in a second, and in another second he had sprinted from the room and barred the door. Hermione followed, and she watched him manage the numerous locks and chains outside of the door with apparent ease. He was used to doing this. He had done it many times before.
Inside the room someone was howling, and Draco’s pale and sweaty face grew paler still. Tears that had frozen in his eyes when his mother was bitten now flowed freely down his milky cheeks.
“Goodbye...” he whispered, then he turned his back against the door and sank down against it. His face portrayed immense pain for a second before he wrapped his arms around his legs and buried his white-blonde head in his knees.
The scenes changed, the room before her melted and Hermione was sent down a drain of swirling colors before she landed in a much larger, much handsomer room.
Narcissa was here, too, and so was Draco. Narcissa looked less pretty than in the last memory; Draco looked older.
“Draco, listen to me...” Narcissa began, reaching out a bony hand, but Draco retreated. His silver eyes were narrowed in disgust.
“I can’t wait to go to Hogwarts.” he snarled. “I can’t wait to be away from this place.”
“It’s your fault!” Draco suddenly howled, pointing an accusative finger at his mother. “You’ve ruined this family. You, not him; you!” He looked away for a moment, as though he found Narcissa indecent, and when he looked back his eyes betrayed both disgust and the tiniest pinch of wonder. “Who marries a werewolf, anyway?” he whispered.
Narcissa’s face changed, grew more desperate still, her eyes pleading her son to understand. “It’s complicated...”
“There’s nothing complicated about it.” Draco said stiffly.
“I...” Narcissa whispered, though her voice trembled so that the single syllabi was hard to make out. “I l- I loved him.”
She turned her head towards the sound of a closing door somewhere in the house, and as her head turned Hermione could see the marks where Lucius had bitten her. They looked exactly like the marks upon Hermione’s own neck; they were so identical, in fact, that Hermione thought she had just discovered who had bitten her.
The scene dissolved, this time showing Draco in yet another room. Hermione recognized the room at once, there was no mistake about the circular vicinity so filled with brass instruments and ancient magical artifacts that it was hard to navigate through them all.
They were in Dumbledore’s office.
Draco looked yet another couple of years older, now fourteen, maybe fifteen. He was looking out the window, down upon the snowy ground below. Hermione felt a slight stab in her heart when she saw who was playing in the snow below; she saw Harry there, Ginny, Fred and George. Ron. Then she saw herself, bushy-haired and stern-looking, shaking her head and explaining something animatedly to the rest before retreating into the castle. Of course she remembered that day; it had been the day of the Yule Ball, the day when she received her first kiss.
“Draco...” an old voice spoke, and Hermione swiveled around to notice that Albus Dumbledore was in place just behind his desk with his long, thin fingers shaped as a pyramid before him. He gazed at Malfoy’s white-gold head. “I understand the pain that you feel-”
“It’s growing worse.” Draco said, not turning, but his voice trembled. “The transformations, or what they are. I don’t actually change, but... They hurt.”
Dumbledore nodded, though Draco couldn’t see. Nevertheless he seemed to guess Dumbledore’s response and when he turned his expression was desperate.
“Headmaster,” he pleaded. “Can’t you make it go away? You, the most powerful wizard of all, can’t you do anything to relieve the pain? I can feel something moving inside of me every full moon, something wishing to get out, something not human... An animal...”
Dumbledore smiled, yet it was the saddest smile Hermione had ever witnessed. “I am touched that you have chosen to come to me, Draco. Touch, when I know what your parents have taught you about me.”
“I don’t listen to my parents.” Draco said. “They’ve never done anything but caused me even more pain. But you... I’ve heard great things about you. Grindelwald, the twelve uses of dragon blood, the bloody Sorcerers Stone! There has to be something... Something you could do...”
But Dumbledore merely shook his head somberly, gazing at the tip of his pyramid.
The scene changed yet again, and this time Hermione found herself in something more like a dungeon of a room. The walls looked old and oily, a dark chandelier hung from the cracked ceiling and the green flames in an ancient fireplace were the only sources of light. Someone stood in front of the fireplace, looking down at his feet. The green flames licked his back and gave his pale skin an eerie glow.
“You wished to see me, Lord?” Draco Malfoy spoke into the silence only interrupted by the cracking of the fire.
“Indeed.” A cold, horrible voice responded from the armchair before Draco. She could see the familiar bald and white skull poking up over the back of the armchair, yet she could not find it in herself to walk around it to lay eyes upon the rest of Voldemort. “I requested a meeting with you, Draco, because I believe I can help you with your... problem.”
“What problem?” Draco asked in a plain voice.
“Your mother came to me.” Voldemort said, and Hermione saw his unnaturally long, white fingers trace patterns on the arm of his chair. “She was pleading, like she always is. Crying. Begging me to help you. She told me everything.”
Draco nodded slightly, still not daring to look at Voldemort. “It hurt, my Lord.” he said. “And for every full moon I feel a little less human. It scares me. I think... I’m afraid I’m turning into one of them.”
“Ah...” came a cold, content sigh from the chair. “I know just the remedy.”
For the first time Draco looked up, and the horrible figure of Voldemort was reflected in his eyes for Hermione to see. She cringed, yet Draco seemed to be looking at the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. “Y-you do, m-my Lord?”
“Indeed.” Voldemort said. “But first I need you to do a little favor for me.”
Draco bowed his head. “Anything, my Lord. Anything.”
“Hold out your arm, Draco.”
“Your right arm.”
Just as Voldemort’s long, slender, white fingers took a solid grip around the joint that connected Draco’s lower and upper arm he screamed in the utmost pain and terror, and Hermione’s screams joined his as someone grabbed her in the exact same place and wrenched her up from the Pensieve and into the real world.
Her back was slammed into the wall and she stared into eyes she had discovered so many sides of in just the last hour.
“Been having fun?” Draco breathed, his voice ice, his eyes burning flames of hatred as he held her against the wall in a breathless calm before the storm.
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