Chapter 21 : Schemes, Screwy Politics, and... Sewing?
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A/N: Sorry about the late update. I’ve broken my wrist, so this story is very painful right now. Chicken pecking is the worst way to type, but it’s all that I’m capable of. Sorry. I hope this chapter is a little more satisfactory than the last chapter. I hope that you like it and leave a review after reading! : ) Enjoy.
Chapter 21: Schemes, Screwy Politics, and.... Sewing?
Welcome back to a world of intrigue, screwy politics, and table forks that are used daily as attemptive eye gougers. Where the ladies are beautiful, the alcohol is good, the men are handsome, and nothing is ever found wanting. Unless you’re an extra, and who the heck cares about those? You guessed it! The one, the only, Fliadopia.
If one would have passed through Fliadopia at any other given time, they would have found the city to be exceptionally nice, yet calm and relaxing. This week, however, the city was buzzing with whispers and shouts of glory. The dressers’ was always packed with ladies who wanted to find something super special to wear, the bakeries filled with orders, the shoe-man out of shoes, and so on and so forth.
Only two things could bring this change about: A ball, or a wedding.
Merlin save Fliadopia, because both were going to happen in the next three days. Three days was a long time in standard Fliadopia days, but with all the excitement, the days were going to fly by like nothing!
The streets were filled with pedestrians, merchants, kids laughing and playing in the streets, dodging carriages of the wealthy nobles. When the Horseman made way, however, everyone moved. He rode quickly on a black steed through the streets, black cape billowing in the wind. He was the royal message deliverer and could kill someone, and then sleep like a baby the night after. No one messed with him.
The children stared with wide eyes as he galloped through the streets. He paused for a moment to toss one of the kids a coin, and then he galloped up a large winding road the Castle.
The Castle was light, despite the medieval timing. The village was right next to it, and, as most castles do, it had a little town in the inside of it’s expansive walls. It was a maze in and of itself, unless you had lived there a long time. Nobles knew where the niches were and Duke’s sons and the maids snogged face in little niches hidden everywhere, and no one was the wiser.
It was dark in the broom cupboard. Yes, castles too, had broom cupboards, and surprisingly spacious ones. The couple couldn’t see anything, but they didn’t really have to. They fumbled in the darkness, gasping. A white hand tangled in a boy’s dark brown hair, while his was tracing down her arm. She sighed for more, and he kissed her gentler, sweeter...
Cho Chang came up for air, looking at the boy in the dim light in front of her. “We shouldn’t be doing this before the wedding.” She felt flushed, happier than she had been since Cedric passed away. How he would have loved to be here…. But this was wrong in Fliadopia. At Hogwarts, perhaps, it was OK. But Cho didn’t feel like getting beheaded anytime for treason soon. Not that she thought that Harry would actually go that far to condemn her for her lust, but she was quite sure that the extra’s would…
Neville looked at Cho and sighed, shaking his head. “You should just tell him to call it off. He’s Harry. He’ll understand.”
“I can’t!” Cho whispered furiously through kiss-swollen lips. She ran a hand through her mussed hair that had been plaited just hours before. The maids were going to have a cow! “The extras--”
“Will listen to Harry,” Neville finished for her. He pulled out his wand , whispered a lumos and then set it on one of the many shelves lining the room. After the war, Neville had gotten over his fright, but he was still the same old Neville. He just stood up to people more. He took a step back and gestured for Cho to turn around.
“No they won’t. They’re stubborn and--”
“Shh,” Neville implored, taking her hair into his hands. He ran his fingers through it several times, and then began to plait it himself. Gotta love having grandmothers who make you learn everything. Not that he would tell anyone, but Neville was a champion knitter. He used to sell scarves for pocket change. But that was a secret that would go with him to the grave. And by to the grave, I mean under the tombstone. Really, no one would like to die with the words “Here lies Neville, the knitter’ on their obituary. It would be downright embarrassing.
“I don’t understand why you won’t just go to him about it,” Neville muttered.
Cho’s shoulders rose up and down with a sigh. “I can’t say no to a king.”
Neville let out a frustrated breath. “He’s just Harry! He’ll understand!”
“And they’re extras that outnumber us, Neville,” Cho answered fiercely. “They could even kill Harry if they wanted too.”
She no longer spoke of Harry with a wistful look in her eyes, he noticed. It was as if she were talking about him as a regular person. Almost a stranger, even. And yet, she still wouldn’t break it off with him, as if she couldn’t let him go. It confused Neville to little bits of cheese, and boy, did that make him mad.
“It shouldn’t matter,” he said fiercely, in the same tone he had used in first year with Harry, Hermione, and Ron. His ‘mean voice’ rarely ever saw the light.
“But it does,” Cho answered, meeting his eye. Obviously, his mean voice had no effect on her. She tied the sash of her dress and buttoned the top buttons of her chemise. Her hair looked just the way it had before, the dress perfect. Everything looked good, except for her lips. Those were a little mussed up.
Neville let out a groan of frustration. “Why can’t you just agree with me for once?”
Cho looked at the boy turned man before her. His hair was falling into his eyes rather handsomely, and his face had lost much of the baby fat that it had retained for the longest time, baring angles on his face that were very, very attractive. She sighed, and reached up a hand that cupped his cheek. “He’s my friend--”
“And I’m a platypus,” Neville bit out before she could say anything. His brown eyes were furious. The whole situation was beyond ridiculous. Here was the only girl that he truly felt comfortable with, and she was blowing him off for… Harry Potter. This couldn’t get much worse.
“Shh,” Cho scolded gently, putting one finger to his lips. She gave him a smile. “But you’re my platypus, and that better never change,” She said, and then stepped out the cupboard, leaving Neville to sulk in the darkness.
He ran a hand through his hair, and then over his face. “Women,” he muttered under his breath, and stepped out the door into the light.
Susan rubbed her eyes, tired. Thaddius had disappeared without a trace. She had looked for him all night, doing whatever she could to trace him, but it was no use. The boy was like a wisp of smoke. She thought she’d see him in the shadows, but by the time she got there, there was nothing to be seen. He was nowhere to be seen. She had long since changed into a shirt and breeches, and retired to her room, closing the windows to the afternoon light. Darkness. Silence. They were all she needed. Susan closed her eyes again, and fell into a dreamless sleep…
Thaddius peeked at her through the window and sighed at her sleeping form and wondered why she couldn’t trust him… He closed the window just as her eyelids began to fluttered again, and walked out into the afternoon rays. He was walking down the street, when plain as day, someone grabbed him from behind.
He opened his mouth to speak when he heard a very harsh, very… feminine, voice whisper in his ear. “Tell me where Granger is, and I won’t hurt your new squeeze.”
Thaddius struggled for a moment, but then went lax when a very, very cold, sharp blade was pressed against his neck. He watched, eyes shocked, as extra’s walked by as calmly as they pleased. “Why can’t they see?” He asked, voice frustrated.
“They only see what their eyes expect them to see,” the girl said.
“And obviously that isn’t you killing me in the middle of broad daylight,” Thaddius snapped.
“Very good,” the girl said, and released him. Something about her voice was so familiar. He turned around and he gasped at what he saw. “You’re kidding me, right?”
Pansy arched a brow at him. “Not in the least.” Her blade was still pointed at his heart. “Here’s your ultimatum. Tell me where Granger is, and your Hufflepuff squeeze won’t die.”
“You have no right--”
She stepped forward and pricked his chest through his shirt with her knife. It could have split hairs. “I have every right that you can possible imagine.”
“You won’t touch her,” Thaddius growled, unmoving, unflinching as the knife flicked and drew blood.
“Ah, so you do have feelings for her,” Pansy said, raising a dark, perfectly manicured brow. They were too outwardly perfect, he realized. It was almost amusing, the lengths that they went to look so untouchable, so superior. “How do you know I’m not doing this just for your own benefit. Maybe I’m making you believe only what I want you to believe.”
“Let him go, Pansy.”
The voice was unmistakable. There was no way that Thaddius didn’t know that voice, no way that Pansy didn’t know that voice either. They had both spent considerable time with him.
“Keep your sticky fingers out of this, Blaise,” Pansy hissed, throwing her black, raven hair back from her face.
He gave her a wan smile and pulled out a musket, aiming at her heart. “Looks like all the pirates are congregating here. What ever could be the occasion?”
“Gee, I don’t know,” Pansy said, green acid eyes filled with caution, then they lit up with an ingeious fire. With a movement that was barely seen by the naked human eye, a dagger was suddenly in Pansy’s hand and slicing through the air to Blaise’s heart.
He stepped to the side and plucked it from the air, careful not to touch the blade. Merlin only knew what she had tipped it with this time. “My death would have been a splendid occasion, in case that’s the even you were trying to convey to me. However, invariably, I have obviously delayed it. Your death, however, would seem a cause of celebration, don’t you think?” With those words, he cocked the pistol back.
Simultaneously, in a great rush of movement, Pansy pushed Thaddius in front of her, and ran.
Her luck was with her when she heard a shot being fired, just after she had pushed. A gasp of pain told her all that she needed to know. For a moment, she relaxed. Then, rapid footfalls came up from behind her. She threw a look over her shoulder, and her adrenaline spiked up.
Looked like Blaise wasn’t as compassionate as she thought.
Pansy took off running, Blaise hot on her heels.
Now would be a great time not to run out of breath.
Blaise shot a healing spell at Thaddius as he ran after Pansy. He heard his sigh of relief and know he had preformed it well. Being the son of a Death Eater had it’s props. Well, the son of an ex-death eater, anyway.
He ran faster, hot on her heels. They were nearing a corner, and he strove faster, but he simply couldn’t close any space between them. She was about ten paces in front of him, running like a gazelle that was about to be eaten. A very, very fast gazelle.
For a moment, she was out of his sight, just as she turned the corner. When he turned the corner, however, he saw the last thing he expected to see.
An empty dead end, with no Pansy in sight.
Pansy swore and worshiped her own luck as she ducked through the hidden tunnel in the wall. She had barely made it in time to twist the wooden section of the wall covered with stone on one side, get inside the new opening, and close it before Blaise had gotten there. It had gotten very close. Too bloody close.
She picked her way though the darkness, feeling her way though the underground of the city. These places were long forgotten. It was a city built on a city. She could destroy Fliadopia from within, if only she had the number of people. She could do this, surely, it couldn’t be so hard. She certainly entertained the idea.
After about thirteen minutes of cutting through the darkness and taking a path through various tunnels that split off from each other, she reached a door. She cracked it open.
“I was waiting for you,” Ron said, not moving from where he was. Then he turned and saw her flushed face. “What is it?”
“Nothing,” Pansy replied, unflinchingly. “I went out for a run. I need to keep in shape.”
“To have enough stamina to run away?” Ron asked.
Pansy crossed her arms. “Don’t be absurd, Ronald.”
“I’m not absurd.”
Pansy rolled her eyes. “Moot point.” She strolled over to a shelf with several scrolls on it, took one out and unfurled. “I’ve got a mission for you.”
“A mission, now, really?” Ron asked, curious.
Pansy rolled her eyes. “No, I was teasing you, you sodding Gryffindor.”
Ron’s eyes narrowed. “Anything else to say about my house, Parkinson?”
“No Weasley. Besides, I still hold your life in my hands.”
“Dear Merlin, and one of the has a broken nail. I feel robbed.”
Pansy took a deep breath and counted to ten. Her eyes snapped open. “You’re coming with me. Now.”
“Oh I’ll be the judge of ---”
The murderous look in her eyes shut his mouth for him. This was not good.. Not good at all.
"You have to be nice to him,” Pansy hissed from beneath her cloak, and shoved Ron into the castle library, who protested, “ You don’t even know what the word nice even means--“
He turned back towards her to argue, but she was already gone. He sighed in frustration. In a bloody library with Harry was the last place that he wanted to be.
This is what arguing with a Slytherin got him. A very attractive one, at that. But really, if there had been anything other than this… He would have done it.
Or so he’d like to think. He glanced around the room and at once spotted his friend. Somehow, Harry had this aurora of goodness around him that just made you feel better. Instantly, Ron felt his tense muscles relaxing. He almost even felt a tug of a smile on his face.
Harry looked up from the book in front of him quizzically, feeling someone’s gaze resting on him. His eyes scanned the room then fell on Ron. “Oh, hi Ron.”
Ron stood awkwardly. “Hi, Harry.”
Neither said anything for a moment. Harry, being the dominant personality in their friendship sighed. “I’m sorry if I’ve been a prick to you.”
Ron nodded, yet said nothing.
“And about the whole Hermione thing. That was… not what you though it was.”
“And I’d really like it if you’d stop acting like Crookshanks, and be my friend.”
Ron tried to hold back the grin, he really, really, did. But it was too powerful. His smile lit up the room as he walked out to his friend, hand outstretched. Harry took it, and pulled him into a hug. “Good to have you back, Ron.”
“It’s good to be back, Harry.”
The great thing about friends is, is that even with all the spats and such, underneath it all, they’re still friends. They have a basic foundation that can never be shaken. They say that jealousy can tear friends apart, but friends say that it puts them closer together afterwards. If they trust each other, that is. Which might not even be the issue. But that was the issue with Ron and Harry.
Ron opened his lips to ask what Pansy had told him to ask, but he knew, somehow, he knew already, that he couldn’t do what she wanted. He closed his mouth. He wasn’t going to ruin his friendship. He would not. For a moment, he felt brave, he felt like a Gryffindor.
There’d just be hell to pay afterwards.
And a question to ask. But was he really that afraid to die here? He thought about the flash of blue that he saw when Pansy died. He sighed. Maybe it was worth it. He turned his back on the shadows and looked at Harry. “Do you want to go out to eat?”
Harry looked up at his suddenly friendly friend, a silly grin on his face. Maybe it would all go back to normal. With Ron here, everything was safe. Everything was going to be alright. “Sure.”
Ron felt a sigh of relief. It wasn’t exactly, ‘No, you fool,’ but hey… it was a start. How he’d explain it to Pansy, he didn’t know. He’d just… improvise. Make it up as he went along.
Yeah. That sounded brilliant.
The bundle in the middle of the bed sighed contentedly and burrowed further into the sheets. The bed was shrouded by a canopy of curtains; the room was flooded with light, fighting to get into the space of darkness that encased the bed. The occupant, however was not even aware of the war between light and darkness that was taking place around her.
The first thing that she heard was the birds chirping. It was a beautiful sound. A very beautiful sound. Hermione sighed contentedly and burrowed further into the darkness. For once, her parents had let her sleep in. It was nice of them. Was it a Saturday?
She turned over, feeling the silk of her nightgown slide against her skin. She felt… sensuous. She sighed, relaxed and let her eyes flutter closed again, and began to drift off into another dream.
Drift. Wait. Hermione’s eyes shot open, sleep gone. Drift. Why wasn’t she rocking? She rubbed her eyes and took in her surrounded. It was dark, there was fabric everywhere.
She heard footsteps outside the fabric wall. She scrambled on the feather mattress for a stick, as sword, anything. Biting her lip, she faced to the hand that was fumbling to open the curtains surrounding the bed. She laid back down, slowly, and closed her eyes. Perhaps the playing dead attempt would work.
“M’lady, It’s time to get up.” The curtains were flung open, light piercing her eyes. And then, the words that were just spoken processed through her head.
Lady? What the-- Hermione shot up in bed and out the curtain as the memories flooded back to her mind. Malfoy, dying, the almost …. She jumped out of bed to land smack dab in front of a mirror. The girl looking back at her… Shoot, she wasn’t a girl anymore. Her hair was plaited into a braid, her nightgown revealed more than it covered. She looked..
“M’lady, are you alright?”
She gaped at the frills. Her hair was braided. The gown was frilly. She was… a lady. She ran a hand over her face. There were no traces of pirate. Zero. Except for the ‘X’ shaped scar on her cheek. The one over her heart was gone. Apparently, McGonagall had taken care of that herself. This was… When the headmistress took things into her own hands…
“You have sewing in half an hour. Would you like me to help you get dressed?”
Sewing? She would be ...sewing ....while Malfoy was looking out to kill her. Rage filled her. That was worse than being a mouse to a cat. She was a sodding lady to his pirate. She wasn’t allowed to fight, she wasn’t aloud to even look at ships, hold a sword, feel the salty water of the ocean slap her face, she had to.. She gaped at the maid, dressed in a nice little gown, waiting on her, expecting her to say something
She had a maid, and … sewing. Sodding sewing. McGonagall wasn’t kidding. Not in the slightest.
Sewing. With a needle, and thread, and basket and everything.
Merlin, this was tragic. Bad. Horrible! But seriosuly….
Hermione looked into the mirror, and words slipped out before she could stop them. “Bloody hell.”
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