Chapter 4 : A Fear Discussed
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Chapter 4: A Fear Discussed
Narcissa Malfoy was not a patient woman. That was a trait her son shared, and surely inherited from the Blacks. Today, however, her patience was running thinner than usual as she paced the hallway in front of her favorite sitting room in Malfoy Manor. Draco was late.
She heard a scuffle coming from the east wing, and whirled around to see who it was that approached. A familiar head of blonde hair appeared, and she let out the breath she was not aware she had been holding. “Draco! Come, you are late and we have much to discuss.” Narcissa rushed her son into the sitting room, closing and double-locking the door behind her with her wand.
Still considered a beauty to behold though she was in her fifties, Narcissa sat regally in one of the elegant brocade chairs in the formal sitting room and snapped her fingers. A pop was heard, and a pillowcase-clad house-elf appeared and gave a small curtsie. “Mistress called Holly? How can Holly be of service?” The young elf kept her eyes downcast and stood to Narcissa’s left, trembling slightly.
“Holly. Please fetch us some tea and fresh scones, and then leave the tray outside of the door. My son and I do not wish to be disturbed. Thank you.” And with another curtsie and a nod of the head, the elf vanished.
“Mother,” Draco drawled as he draped his designer muggle overcoat over the settee and sat, “what is this urgent business concerning? Do get on with it, I have had a rather… eventful… morning, and will soon have to take my leave.” He looked at his mother expectedly, trying to get comfortable in the stiff chair.
Narcissa had always doted upon her son, even though it was in a rather less-obvious way than that of other mothers. Before he entered Hogwarts, she had loved to read with him, dance, play games, even instruments. However, Lucius did not want the Malfoy heir to go “soft,” and therefore he forbid any such motherly affection once Draco began his schooling. Despite this command, Lucius truly adored his wife and eventually gave in to her pouting, allowing Narcissa to send very elaborate care packages to her only child quite often. Draco’s letters home were never more cheerful than after receiving a pound or two of Honeyduke's Finest by owl.
Knowing that her son was precisely like his father when it came to discussing serious matters on an empty stomache, Narcissa simply frowned at him. “Dear, there is no need to rush, you know your father is away on… business… and we can discuss the issue at our leisure over tea.” Narcissa gestured with a perfectly-manicured hand to the door, looking pointedly at her son. Draco sighed and stood up to fetch the tea, muttering “…treats her own son like a bloody house elf.”
Draco opened the ornate door and saw an elegant bone-white china tea set on a tray piled high with delicious-looking baked goods, the aroma wafting into the sitting room. He picked up the tray, closed the door with a wandless Alohomora, and placed the tray on the coffee table in front of his mother before returning to his seat. Narcissa smiled and began to pour the tea. Once that matter had been seen to, Draco again asked, “Mother? What is it you wish for me to know?” This time his voice held the hint of gentleness that few ever saw in him.
“How are things with Pansy? I heard from her mother that you have yet to ask for her hand. You know, Dear, people will start to talk if you do not settle down with someone soon. You are not as young as you once were. Now that you have come to your senses and realized Malfoy’s need not work, and you are no longer galavanting around, risking your life on a daily basis for the Ministry, you will make a wonderful husband. Your father and I would like a grandchild as well, of course” Narcissa began with a smile, before delicately holding her teacup to her lips and taking a sip.
Draco groaned. “Mother, I would hardly call my being a Potions Master ‘not work.’ And I have no intention of asking Pansy to be my wife. You know that we only attend functions together to keep up appearances. I do not love her. I can barely tolerate her most of the time, in fact. Besides, she has been seeing someone on the side for months now, likely Zabini, and I suspect that the time has come for me to simply sever my ties with her. She has been acting increasingly odd lately.”
Narcissa carefully placed her teacup in its saucer and reached for her son’s hand. “Draco, I am pleased that you wish to marry for love, but, Darling, I fear it may be too late for that…” she paused and met her son’s confused look with sorrow in her eyes.
Then she uttered the words Draco never expected to hear. In fact, he had made it his primary mission in life to prevent this very thing from ever occurring.
“Your father knows about your muggleborn witch. Son, I believe your Hermione is in grave danger, though she may not yet be aware of it.”
Draco simply stood from his seat, kissed his mother’s forehead, and turned from the room with as much dignity as his panic-ridden body would allow. At the doorway, his back to the room, he uttered quietly, “Thank you for this information, Mother. If you have further news for me, owl Potter. I will be off galavanting around for the Ministry.”
Narcissa smiled sadly at his retreating form, closing her eyes as the door shut. She knew her son would do anything in his power to protect the witch he had loved for so long.
Including confronting his own father.
*** A continent away***
Anneliese had asked her mother so many questions, Hermione’s head was spinning as she finally readied herself for bed. She felt it best to adhere to the adage, “honesty is the best policy” for this situation, as she wanted her daughter to trust her explicitly. Therefore, she had spared none of the unsavory details about her past. Annie had eventually drifted into an exhausted sleep fully dressed on her four-poster, so the rest of the conversation would have to wait for morning.
Hermione was thankful for the reprieve. The memories were still painful and bittersweet after all these years. As she pulled her nightgown (one of the few still in the wardrobe from years before) over her head, Hermione felt her eyes brim over with tears. I think I have lost track of how often this has happened to me lately, she thought.
Having Annie find her in the library with the mysterious book had truly rattled her. How did THAT BOOK get into a muggle school library? MY muggle school? Surely this cannot be a coincidence? Hermione remembered feeling drawn by some subtle, unseen force to the library that morning; before she knew it she was holding a dusty leather-bound volume in her hands, opening it to reveal none other than a history of pureblooded families in the U.K. If it had not been for the moving photographs that littered each page of the tome, she would not have believed her eyes.
And it had fallen open to the M’s! Surely that could not be happenstance. The tears were now flowing freely down her face as she clutched her blanket closer to her chest. The windows rattled from the force of the storm outside, but Hermione knew they were safe from harm inside the little cottage – magical protection would see to it.
She sighed. Maybe it is time. Maybe I can face my demons and go… back. She swallowed, quickly shaking her head. No. It was still too soon for that. But… maybe I can do something. I can make contact. I can call Harry. Feeling very apprehensive about that idea, it still seemed the best option available. Hermione was not considered the smartest witch of her age for nothing; she saw the signs. Something was happening, and she needed help, not for her own sake alone but also for her daughter’s. Then it’s decided. I will floo Harry in the morning.
A sliver of light crept into the room as her door was slowly opened. Her hand reached quickly for the wand under her pillow as her eyes readjusted to the light, and she breathed a sigh of relief as she saw that it was only Annie.
“Mum? Where is the loo? I forgot to ask earlier, sorry,” her daughter asked in a soft whisper, rubbing her eyes sleepily.
Hermione laughed, lit her wand, pointed to a door across from her wardrobe, and settled further under her covers as Anneliese rushed by her and into the small washroom.
She closed her eyes. Tomorrow was a new day. Tomorrow she would seek some answers of her own. Tomorrow, Hermione Granger would reenter the Magical community.
A/N: This chapter was mainly a filler chapter - the action will start to unfold soon, so hopefully you enjoyed this and will continue reading! Reviews mean a lot, so if you do have the time, please leave me a little note. :)
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