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Chapter 9 : A Tangled Web
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Chapter 9: A Tangled Web
Ginny was tiptoeing away from the guest room where she had just insisted Annie get some sleep. The poor dear, practically falling asleep on her feet. She must be exhausted, this is a lot to take in. When I get my hands on Harry… how dare he keep this from me…
As she closed the door at the end of the long hall of bedrooms softly behind her, she heard a loud thump from below. Oh, no! She had a bad feeling about this. I love Hermione, but if she hurt him…
She rushed down the winding staircase and into the small sitting room, at first not seeing anything out of place.
Then she glanced down to the Oriental rug in front of the fireplace.
“Oh! Hermione!” Her friend was laying face-up on the rug with her eyes open, apparently stunned. Of course, her husband was nowhere to be found. I cannot believe him. That chicken. Probably crawled over to my darling brother’s place with his tail between his legs.
Ginny took a deep breath and muttered the counter-curse, hoping her husband was too frazzled to use a stronger spell. She sighed in relief when Hermione suddenly sat up, the fury evident in her eyes.
“Where IS he?” she seethed.
Ginny looked at her oldest girlfriend and knew that this was something Hermione and the boys would have to figure out on their own. She could not interfere, as much as she wanted to hang both Harry and Ron upside-down by their toes for a few hours.
Ginny gave her a small smile. “I would guess he is with my brother. Cannon Cottage. The floo powder is on the mantle. Good luck,” she said as she left the room, “and Hermione? The prats love you. All of them. Please remember that. Now go, I will watch over Annie, don’t worry. She’s asleep.”
Hermione only hesitated for a second. She brushed herself off, gave Ginny a small wave, then turned to the fireplace and threw in some floo powder. “Cannon Cottage!”
And with a green woosh, she was gone.
Ginny turned toward the kitchen to make herself a cup of tea to calm her nerves. Stepping over the threshold, she found herself staring into a pair of startled silver eyes.
"Where did Mum go? Is this about my Dad?" Annie asked quietly.
Ginny sighed and flicked her wand to set the kettle boiling. "I'm afraid I do not know much more than you, dear. But don't you worry - that will all change very soon." Harry has been keeping secrets from me for far too long.
*** Some ruddy beach in California ***
After quickly ensuring that there were no Muggles anywhere in sight (it is a wizarding beach, sure, but you can never be too careful… Drat. Damn conscience sounds like Potter again), the seaweed that he had landed in lost a battle with the business-end of Draco’s wand. One firm “Reducto!” later, and all that was left of the smelly lump was a bit of charred salt.
Satisfied, Draco wandered away from the sand and onto a long street lined with various Muggle shops and approached one simply marked: “Tackle.” Draco smirked at the sign before entering. Aggressive lot of Muggles, these ‘Calflorians.’ My father would approve, I’m sure. Draco addressed the mustached muggle behind the counter. “Oi! You, there, where exactly is West Hills?”
The man looked up from the sporting magazine he was browsing, looking as though he would rather be anywhere but behind that counter. He frowned at Draco, uttered something and pointed to a sign over the door which read, “No Inglés Hablado.”
“Perfect. You are unable to understand English. Then you won’t care if I refer to you as a sodding–” Draco was fuming, but cut off when the door opened again. A man in a long dark coat stepped in off of the street. Draco looked into his eyes and instantly pulled his wand, disregarding the Muggle who had turned back to his magazine. “Father. Fancy seeing you here. In a Muggle Shop. In Calflornia.” Great, now I am stuttering like the Weasel.
“Now, now, Draco. No need to be so malicious. Can’t a father want to spend time with his prodigal son?,” the cloaked blonde man sneered. “Besides, I believe I have some news you may be interested in. Shall we?” Lucius gestured toward the door and Draco pursed his lips, keeping his wand hidden in his sleeve but still aimed at his father as he followed the elder wizard out of the shop.
Once they were in the sunlight, Lucius sat on a wooden bench. Draco followed suit, after demanding, “Well? Get on with it. I highly doubt any news you have would be of interest to me. I no longer believe in Pureblood supremacy, Father.”
“Oh, I am quite aware of your stance on blood purity. I believe you made it clear after you pranced about with that Mudblood – excuse me, Muggleborn – girl, Granger.”
“What happened between Hermione and I is no business of yours, Father,” Draco said with a sneer.
“On the contrary, Draco. While at first I was willing to let you keep your little… transgression… quiet, I believe it became my business when your Hermione gave birth to my half-blooded granddaughter.” With this, Lucius looked his son directly in the eyes as a small smirk wavered on his lips.
Draco looked at Lucius in shock, his composure badly shaken. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and then once more addressed the older man. “I don’t believe you. Hermione would not keep something like that from me. She loves me.”
“Loved you. You are no longer a part of the realm of the living, remember? Your precious Hermione believes you to be dead. And as for why she has seemingly fled with the sole Malfoy heir, I am certain she was merely too ashamed to show her face in polite society after seducing you as she surely did.”
“That, Father, is where you are entirely in the wrong. I care more for that witch than you would ever believe capable. I only… died… to protect her from you and your goons! If in fact she was carrying my child (Draco closed his eyes at the word, his heart skipping a beat) when I was abruptly forced to leave her side, I am only more determined to protect her while I can! You will NOT destroy my family further!” Draco stood, drew his wand and held it under his father’s chin.
“Temper, Draco,” Lucius calmly droned, “It is not me you need to be concerned with. I will certainly not harm my grandchild. But I know someone who would have no qualms with doing so. In fact, a plan has already been put in motion.”
“Damn it, Father, stop speaking in blasted riddles and tell me what you know!” Draco was nearly boiling over with rage.
“Beware of old acquaintances, Son. There are those who wish to reform our ranks, to take down that pig-headed Potter and his regime. The Ministry had better be prepared, the rebels will not go down without a fight.” Lucius’ smirk did not fully reach his eyes – Draco thought he looked rather tired.
With barely-disguised fury in his eyes, Draco seethed “thank you for the warning, Father. Now, I am afraid you will have to come with me to be questioned. I cannot start my career as the soon-to-be-appointed Head Auror by breaking protocol and playing favorites, can I? I’ll have you know I was not raised to shirk my responsibilities.”
As Draco grabbed onto his father’s forearm and pulled out his spare emergency portkey back to England, he could have sworn he saw a hint of pride in Lucius’ eyes.
A/N: Coming Up Next... the SHOWDOWN. :) The story will also begin to focus more on Annie's role in all of this in the next few chapters. Hope you enjoyed, and thanks again for all of the lovely reviews! :)
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