Chapter 6 : An Unexpected Answer
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Chapter 6: An Unexpected Answer
Draco sloshed his way through a stereotypical London downpour on the way back to his flat, his expensive shoes becoming akin to rubbish – the idea of apparating just did not appeal to him tonight. What a day. Could life get any more bloody confusing in 24 hours? Honestly, if I did not KNOW that Potter controls his every move, I would think this was one of the Weasel’s pranks, Draco thought moodily as he tipped his hat to the doorman in front of his building.
He entered the upscale brick building through the glass door that was held ajar for him, and then turned to his right and paused at the foot of the fire stairs, deciding against taking the lift. I must subconsciously desire to do everything in my power to walk these shoes to the death, he thought. With a rather loud sigh, Draco approached the stairs and began his climb to the topmost floor.
Barely registering the seven flights he had just ascended, Draco pushed open the stairwell door and briskly walked the few remaining meters to his flat. After a cursory glance to either side, he decided the hall was Muggle-free and uttered "alohomora," sensing the magic around him shift as the locking charms disengaged.
He entered the flat and closed the door quietly behind him. He pondered hanging his overcoat and hat on their appropriate hooks but then promptly slid down the wall to the floor; the stress of the day having finally begun to take its toll. Draco’s mind was desperately trying to focus, but the swirl of emotions kept returning to the same heart-wrenching thought.
Hermione. She will never forgive me. Not for what happened at Hogwarts, and not for what I have had to hide since then.
He stood and turned his attention to the bare hooks awaiting his hat and coat. The sound of a kettle boiling for tea met his ears and he automatically smiled. She always knows just what I need. His smile melted away into a large sigh when he realized exactly how this latest assignment, for want of a better term, would affect those around him as well.
He walked over to the owl perched atop a rather precariously-stacked pile of Defense books. Absentmindedly scratching the bird by the ears, he pulled a folded parchment from his trouser pocket and tied it to the owl’s now-outstretched leg, giving his instructions as to who the letter was for. “Be quick, Storm. No need to wait for a reply.”
Draco watched as the magnificent grey owl, a gift from Blaise several years ago, launched himself effortlessly through the open window and into the cool night air. Probably will regret doing that by owl later, he thought. Ah well, what’s done is done.
“Draco, Dear, is that you? I have a fresh pot of your favourite Earl Grey steeping for you, and a batch of my blueberry scones on the table. Do eat something, you have been acting rather unwell,” a concerned woman’s voice called out from the kitchen.
Oh yes, life was about to become much more complicated for Draco Malfoy and all those he cared about.
Especially her. The woman whom Draco had considered a second mother for nearly a decade. He sighed again.
“Thank you for your kindness, Jane. I do hope I did not have you up worrying, I was merely caught up at the ministry and overlooked the late hour” Draco answered softly, genuine concern for the woman’s well-being lacing his every word.
Draco closed his eyes, and then slowly walked toward the kitchen.
Very complicated indeed.
*** A small cottage near the Burrow ***
Ron Weasley loved his mother. He loved her tenacity, the pride she had for all of her childrens' accomplishments, and Merlin, he loved her cooking. However, anticipating that his mother’s more... overbearing... tendencies would become entirely too much for him to handle when all of his siblings had left the Burrow, Ron decided to venture out on his own as well.
He quickly purchased a small ramshackle cottage on the other side of the village, fixed it up into an ideal bachelor pad – all dark colors, with the kitchen being the largest room – and settled in to life as an underpaid auror. He was still near his childhood home, close enough for his Mum to go on one of her “health walks” and deliver him a tasty meal or two while commenting on the ghastly state of his quarters and fawning over her “poor dear!” Daily.
However, Ron knew that if his mother would decide to choose this moment to appear at her youngest son’s home, she would raise her voice to decibels unheard of and insist he “leave this instant, Ronald Weasley, I am ashamed to call you my son! No pudding for a month!”
Tonight, there were the remains of one of Molly’s masterful casseroles on the table, two candlesticks melted into a puddle of wax on the linen tablecloth. There were clothes littered from the kitchen counter to the bed, and the bedroom door of the 4-room cottage was hanging half-off its hinges. These things alone were not anything unusual. Ron would be the first to admit that his infrequent use of housekeeping charms left something lacking. What was out of the ordinary was the man himself, sprawled on the rumpled orange sheets of his bed after yet another too-long day at the ministry, scowling at the ceiling.
“Ron dear, I really have to leave, you know I would rather stay with you but I just can’t tonight! He’s expecting me!” a woman’s voice entreated from the tiny en suite. “Surely you understand, I at least have to keep up the pretense of being in a happy relationship.”
Ron gave a sigh and closed his eyes. He took a deep breath, and then answered, “Love, I don’t know why you keep this rubbish up! You don’t love him. Just tell him its over, for Merlin’s sake. How hard could it be?”
Ron smirked as another thought popped into his head. “If you want, I can handle him for you. ” The GIT doesn’t deserve her, he never has, and he knows it.
At the smug tone in his voice, the washroom door opened to reveal a petite brunette witch who shot him a look before turning her back to the red-head on the bed and facing the mirror. “Honestly, Ron, you are so thick. I have told you, we are just friends. Now please, zip this up for me? I can’t be late.”
Ron grudgingly got off of the bed and, after tugging on his shorts, walked over to her. He decided to take advantage of the opportunity by kissing as much skin as possible as he tugged the dress’s zipper north. When he was done, he hugged his witch and turned her around in his arms.
She took one look into his dejected blue eyes and continued her reasoning, “We have known each other all of our lives, I just could never bring myself to hurt him like this. We have been together for so long my mother is chomping at the bit for an impending marriage proposal.”
Seeing the look of shock and poorly-disguised fury on Ron’s face, she quickly added, “But not to worry, Love, I don’t think he has felt that way about me since before the war. In fact, if I did not know him so well, I would suspect there is someone else he thinks of whenever we are together.”
Ron silently praised Merlin for the truth in that statement. However, he did not enjoy standing by and doing nothing as his witch placed another man’s ring – a glorious emerald and silver band, though not an engagement ring – onto her finger. She leaned on her tiptoes to place a soft kiss on his lips. “This is purely for show, Love. It means he has my friendship, though nothing more. I will tell him about us. Tonight if you would like.”
As the last word escaped from her lips, the soft hoot of a familiar owl caught their attention from the window.
“I wonder what this is about, maybe he is held up and you can keep me here a bit longer after all…” her thoughts broke off as she untied the proffered note and the owl flew abruptly back into the dark mist of the night. She unfurled the small page quickly, as Ron peered at it over her shoulder.
Her hand flew to her mouth.
The parchment had only nine words after her name. It was unsigned, but they both knew who had sent it.
PANSY, IT’S OVER. YOU DESERVE LOVE. NEVER LET HIM GO.
A/N: I know, no Hermione or Annie this chapter. They will be back soon! Hope you enjoyed reading. If you would be so kind, please let me know what you thought. ☺
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