Chapter 14 : Brainwashed
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[ Nothing belongs to me, except for the plot and that annoying boy Matthew Raven. Everything else is JK Rowlings]
I chose to send a letter to Blaise before I went to look for Matthew, it seemed more important.
I would never have Matthew as a priority. My eyes searched the owlery for Draco's owl and found him sitting closest to the window, and as I made my way towards him I pulled out a quill and some parchment. What was I suppose to write?
I sighed and sat down on the window sill and then I wrote:
I thought that you have the right to know what has happened here at Hogwarts.
I reckon you know who Matthew Raven is, if not; he is the slimy,evil Slytherin bastard with black hair and a smirk on his lips. Actually his looks has nothing to do with anything... The point is that he attempted to kill Draco, and Draco barely survived. There were a few critical hours but he has pulled through now. He will be fine.He said to tell you that it's not the same without you here... I think he feels lonely, it's just him and me, you know... So, maybe you could ask your mother, if you could come back? I think that would mean a lot to Draco. Just try!
I apologize for the pathetic, poor-written letter. I'm not good at these kind of things.
I read through it, it was indeed pathetic, but I just sighed and decided that it would do just fine. I remembered the letter I had received from my mother but couldn't bring myself to read it at the time, so I attached Blaise's letter to the owl and he knew what to do. I sat and watched as the bird became smaller and smaller until it disappeared. I then went over to my own owl and patted its head ; it was clear that she was upset that I had given a letter to another owl.
“Oh, sweetie, I sent it from Draco.” I whispered as she bit be annoyed. “Stop that, now!”
I couldn't help but to giggle at her as she tried to ignore me. That seemed to make her even more annoyed. But then it was as if she gave up and she pressed her little head against my hand as if she was asking be to pat her some more. I then saw the small letter that was next to her, addressed to me. I noticed the handwriting immediately; Ginny. I couldn't open it fast enough, the difference between my mothers letter and Ginnys letter was that... Well, My mother had not stormed off at me when I had mentioned that I was going to graduate. My eyes traces the sentences as fast as they possibly could.
I heard what happened, is he okay?
Actually... That is not why I'm writing, I realize that I should have acted differently, I should have said goodbye... I am sorry for the way I have behaved, and for the things that I said. I don't want our friendship to be over.
Please forgive me?
PS Harry and Ron says 'Hi' and Ron would like to add that he is sorry too.
Did they expect me to forgive them just like that? I wasn't sure I could. Perhaps Ginny, but Ron? I snorted and put the letter in my pocket. I pondered over how she had found out about Draco before I returned my attention to my owl and I stood patting her for quite some time while I thought about what had happened the past twenty-four hours. How close I had been to losing him… The feeling of complete relief once again rushed through my body and I sighed out of happiness.
My thoughts drifted to Blaise, and wondered if he would be able to come back; it would make Draco so happy, I was sure of it, even if he would never admit it. On a second thought he might admit it if he was drunk…
I smiled at the memory of him telling me that he was happy to have me in his life.
My owl looked at me curiously, as if she was wondering why the hell I was smiling when she was annoyed.
“Oh, get over it.”
She hid her face under her brown and white wing and turned around as if telling me to leave. I took the hint and walked slowly out of the owlery, now with a new destination in mind.
Though I didn't know where to find Matthew, but I had a feeling that he wouldn't be in the dungeons, and not wandering the halls either… My best guess was that he was somewhere outside. He might be hiding away in a bathroom I thought as I walked down the corridor which was empty since it was in the middle of the night. Though I thought that I heard distant voices, but I shrugged it off as a imagination.
I was not afraid of the dark, but the castle had never looked more terrifying. It might have become more so because I knew what I was planning to do, who I was planning to find. I drew my wand and held it in front of me.
Lumos I thought and the tip of my wand lit up in a soft light. That and the moon was the only light I had. As I thought about the moon, I glanced at it; it was full moon. I couldn’t help but to think about Lupin… Grief rushed through me but I pushed it away to focuse on finding Matthew.
A shadow moved in the corner of my eye and suddenly all I could hear was the blood rushing through my head, my heart beating like crazy. I turned around at the spot with my wand held in a tight grip in front of me. I took a calming breath and shifted the wand easily in my hand.
Surprisingly enough I found that I was not sweating, and as I took a few more calming breaths, my heart slowed down. Repeatedly I told myself that he was wandless, and that I could handle him. Within seconds I was as calm as if I would have been at a D.A meeting.
“Raven?” I asked in to the dark but got no response. My voice was trembling just a little bit, and I cursed myself under my breath. “Raven!”
A chuckle came from the dark followed by a deep sigh. “Ah, Granger. Is he dead now?”
“He’ll live.” I said slowly as I hesitantly walked towards his voice.
I jumped as he walked out right in front of me. “Well, isn’t this familiar…” he drawled as my wand dug in to his chest. He had changed clothes, I noticed as I eyed him. That meant that he had been to his common room, how he had been greeted by his house mates, I wondered.
“Indeed.” I felt a smirk appear on my lips and I did not like the feeling of it. “The last encounter ended up with you whimpering like a little girl on the floor, if you don’t want that to happen again, then I suggest you back off.”
He held his hand up in mock surrender and took one step backwards. “Better, Mudblood?”
I felt my anger boil inside of me, I was proud of my family and my blood for that matter, but being called ‘Mudblood’ still hurt and there was no way I could deny that.
“Watch it there, Matthew.” I hissed. It would have been so easy to mock him for his own blood, but I was not like that. There was no way I could be that mean, not even to him… or could I?
A blurred image of Draco in the hospital bed made me rethink. I could. “It’s one thing for a pure blood to call someone a Mudblood. But for a Half blood it’s just pathetic. Your mum is a Muggleborn witch, is she not?”
“You shut up about my mother!” he roared so suddenly it startled me.
“Then you shut up about my blood!” I shouted back at him.
He was so angry he was shaking; he seemed as if he wanted to jump at me and beat me to death but one glance at my wand and he decided against it. It felt good to have that kind of power over him. He clenched his jaw and I slowly slid my left hand inside my robe and took out the pieces of his wand.
“I brought you your wand.” I said emotionless as I threw it at his feet.
“What the hell have you done to it!?” He leaned down and picked it up and stared at it.
“Isn’t that quite obvious?” when he did not answer (he just stared at the broken wand with a cold, emotionless expression) I rolled my eyes. “I snapped it in two.”
“Why?” he breathed, his voice dripping with hate.
“Yet again…that is quite obvious.” I stated and then took in the image of him holding his broken wand. “You said this was the best day of your live. Let me tell you something; you will be expelled, your wand if broken and not to mention that you will bring shame to your family’s name… I would say that this day is more like your worst nightmare.”
“And yet, I would do it all over again. That’s right, I don’t regret it at all. You know why?”
I shook my head ‘no’ as I stared at him with wide eyes. That was not what I had suspected at all… He was not like other people, that was clear. Normally no one in the wizarding world would ever dream of bringing shame to their family name.
“How long was he out of it?” he asked lazily and I counted fast, his eyes now on me rather than the wand..
“About 20 hours.”
“Ah…” he smiled sadistically. “So Malfoy was in excruciating pain for twenty hours, now that is the reason to why I would do it all again. Those moments I was there and got to see him being immobilised by pain.” He chuckled. “At first he felt as if thousands of ice-cold knifes slashed through his muscles, but he was unable to scream or ask for help, now wasn’t he?” He still smiled as he continued. “Then the torture changed you see, and he felt as if he was being burned slowly, from the inside out, it must have torn him apart. Of course it would have been better if he died in the end, I bet you anything he was silently begging for death.
But twenty hours of torture is more than I expected. He will never forget it, now will he? He will dream about it, feel it in his sleep…”
“He is stronger than you think.” I felt sick, too sick to act, to do something. I simply pushed him out of the way and ran.
“This isn't over, Mudblood! Don't you think that I am done for one second!” He screamed after me.
How could a person become so cruel? So damned heartless?
I was panting by the time I reached the hospital wing, slowly I opened the door and peaked in. Draco was awake and he was eating candy. A good sign, I guessed. Narcissa was sleeping with her head resting on Lucius shoulder. Lucius was talking to his son. I walked in and the Malfoy men both looked at me.
“Hi…” I said silently as I walked up to his bed and sat down on it. “How are you feeling?”
“Uh-oh. What happened, Hermione?” he pushed himself up to a sitting position and put his hand on mine. Normal temperature, I noticed.
“Matthew bloody Raven happened.” I said through gritted teeth and let myself get embraced by Draco. I practically threw my arms around him and sobbed. I didn’t know why I cried; if it was out of happiness that I was back in his arms or if it were because of the things Matthew had said.
“It’s okay…” Draco whispered against my hair. “Everything will be okay.”
His hand stroke my hair slowly, tenderly, as he held me close to him.
“He told me about the torture…” I hugged him tighter, so glad to finally be able to really feel him again.
“Oh, about that… Thank you.” He smiled against my ear as he mumbled. “Pomfrey just told me that because of how fast I got help there wasn’t nearly as much pain as it could have been. You were the one that figured out the potion, were you not?”
“Yes…” I breathed and waited for the rest.
“You saved me from the torture, I owe you big time.”
“You weren’t in any pain?” I asked silently and doubtingly, remembering how he had been begging me to make the pain go away when he woke up.
“Well... It wasn’t painless, but it wasn’t that bad. It wasn't as bad as it could have been. I’ve been through much worse.” I felt how his head snapped to look at his father and I understood that he was partly talking about that time Lucius beat him, and most likely about Voldemort as well. Lucius shifted uncomfortably in his chair.
He continued. “I have never been more grateful to have you, my little know-it-all.”
I smiled slightly at his words and we parted. “I owe you.” He repeated.
“I guess you do…”
There were really no more words to say, nothing I could say could make him understand how worried I had been. He seemed to feel the same way.
His hand rested in the back of my neck, and he used it to pull me closer to him. I was so close that I could feel his breath on my face, warm and sweet.
He licked his lips and then he seemed to hesitate, and his eyes looked from my lips to my eyes and then when I closed my eyes, he lowered his lips to mine. I could feel my tears on his lips, but I paid them no mind.
The feeling of being complete was overwhelming and I wanted to stay like that forever. But it only lasted seconds as we parted when Lucius cleared his voice; my blush appeared immediately, so did my smile.
I was still looking at Draco who was smiling as well, that uncharacteristic, friendly, loving, breathtaking smile that he saved just for me.
At the same time we glanced over at Lucius, who immediately looked away from us, with the tiniest blush on his pale cheeks. Apparently it wasn't just embarrassing for me. I looked over at Draco again, who smiled lazily at his fathers uncomfortable state. He was not blushing the slightest.
His words echoed in my head. My little know-it-all. I smiled even wider; I was his know-it-all.
Narcissa began to wake up and Lucius seemed to be glad over that fact, possibly because the awkwardness that hung in the air became forgotten. I let my eyes linger at Lucius for a couple of seconds, I was glad that we were able to be civilized towards each other, and I hoped that he now saw mine and Draco's relationship as something more than just a little benefit for him.
“You're back.” Narcissa smiled at me kindly, making me snap out of my thoughts, and suppressed a yawn. “How did he take it?”
“Not all that well, as you can imagine.” I smiled back at her then glanced over at Draco who grinned widely. “What?” I asked him and hit his arm playfully to which he grinned even more wide.
“I'm glad that you all get along, that's all.”
I could almost hear the snort that threatened to escape from Lucius, but he didn't say or do anything. He stayed perfectly still, Narcissa on the other hand tilted her head to the side and smiled at her son.
“I hope that you will keep getting along...” He said while locking his eyes on his father who gave a short nod.
“Of course.” Narcissa said and placed her hand on top of Lucius' as she spoke, I could tell that Lucius most of all just wanted to get up and walk out but he stayed put looking a little lost.
The door to the wing opened and in walked the Headmistress with her head held high.
She didn't stop until she was standing right beside me and Draco. She gave a short nod to his parents before she locked her eyes on mine.
“I need to know what happened, in your own words, Miss Granger.”
“I... What?” I was confused. “I'm sorry, but haven't you already been told what has happened, Professor?”
“Indeed, but only from the Malfoys, and Horace. But unfortunately none of them saw exactly what happened, word has it that you did. Horace told be that he had only just jumped to the conclusion that Mr Raven had done it because you had been shouting at him... Now, I want you to tell me what happened.” What was she on about? Surely Horace and Pomfrey would have told her about our conversations in the wing? He had confessed to what potion he had used for crying out loud!
“What I saw was how Matthew poured the continents of the vial over Draco in Potions class.”
“And what did the continents look like?”
“Light yellow drops with gas around them.”
“How many drops?”
“About five, Professor.” I said, confused to why she was talking to me in that tone, disbelief filled her voice. I didn't like that for one bit.
She looked at me with a penetrating gaze as if trying to tell if I was telling the truth. “I trust you understand that this is a serious accusation...”
“Accusation?” I echoed before she could say something else. “You are telling me that the reason that you haven't expelled him yet is because you think that it's just an accusation? You seriously don't think he did it? What, you think Draco did this to himself?” I gestured at Draco in the hospital bed.
“I do not want to think he did this to himself, I strongly doubt that he is suicidal, Miss Granger. But surely you understand that I cannot go around expelling students without evidence!”
I huffed and stood up. “Fine, you want evidence. Here I am.”
“Excuse me?” She said and looked puzzled.
“Pour Veritaserum down my throat, take my memories and watch them in a Pensieve. Do whatever you want as long as you expel that bastard!” I threw my hands out in a sort of desperate gesture and her lips became a thin line as she gave a short nod.
“Very well, Miss Granger. But if I find that you are lying to me about this, then I... I will have no choice but to expel you and Mr Malfoy-”
“Us?” I couldn't believe what she was saying. “What has he told you, Professor? What exactly did Raven tell you?” I couldn't stand Matthew, the strong hate rushed through me, making me want to hit something, someone. Him, preferably.
“That you have been brainwashed by Mr Malfoy into hating Mr Raven. According to him, he has done nothing to make you hate him.” I bet Matthew was smirking somewhere in the castle.
“And you believe him?” I breathed silently and shook my head. Behind me someone stood up, and moved to stand beside me. I saw blond hair in the corner of my eye but couldn't tell if it was Lucius or Narcissa. McGonagall shrugged sadly as if she didn't know what to think.
“How dare you, McGonagall?” the person hissed; Lucius I noticed. Before she could even open her mouth to reply to him, he spoke again. “How dare you imply that Draco would do such thing? And how dare you suggest that Hermione would be lying?”
I tried to not show that I was shocked over the fact that he called me 'Hermione' so casually, but I blinked several times before I got over it.
Apparently it shocked McGonagall as well for she didn't reply to him for half a minute. “I have to listen to both parts, you know that, Lucius.”
“Of course you have to listen, but when has she ever lied? You have known her for eight years, has she ever lied about something like this before?” He was angry, I could easily tell, and the tone in his voice would have brought shivers to my spine if he had been talking to me. But McGonagall didn't shiver nor did she break eye contact.
“No she has not, but I am concerned for her new found friendship in your son. You know very well that I do not trust any of you Malfoys.”
“Are you saying that you actually think that Draco has... What did you call it, brainwashed me?”
I raised my voice and made an attempt to step closer to her, but Lucius grabbed my upper arm and yanked me back. “Don't make things worse.” He said when I looked at him furiously.
“She actually... I mean she... I hate Matthew!” I growled the last words and Lucius seemed to be at loss of words so he gently pushed me down on the bed again and Draco pulled me to him while glaring at McGonagall. “I hate him...” I mumbled again and leaned my head against his chest.
“I know, I know.” Draco said as he held me, probably still glaring at McGonagall.
He smelled good, even though he had been through hell. He smelled like fresh, green apples and something that reminded me of the breeze of an ocean, I think that might have been what was left of his aftershave. He smelled like heaven. “Hey, Hermione...” he said, making me look up at him. “We all know what happened, and as soon as they know it too, he will be expelled. He wont be able to hurt you, or me for that matter. It wont be long until he's gone, you'll see.”
“Promise?” I knew I sounded like a child that needed comforting but I didn't care, I was too upset, to angry and to sad to care. Upset because Matthew had lied, angry because McGonagall thought so little of Draco and sad because she didn't believe me.
“I promise.” he said softly and his lips brushed gently against my forehead. I tilted my head to look at him better and then I pressed my lips against his and felt his faint smile against my lips. His promise seemed to be all I needed, it was so sincere.
“Thanks.” I whispered when we parted.
McGonagall cleared her voice and both of us looked at her. “You will come by my office tomorrow morning, and we'll sort all this out. This is a serious matter, which needs to be taken cared of as soon as possible.”
“She'll be there.” Said Narcissa coldly and Lucius gave a short nod. McGonagall looked as if she thought that she was imagining things then she nodded and walked out of there with her head held high.
I sat perfectly still with Draco's protective, calming arms around me as I felt all the Malfoys exchange looks. My mind was spinning, desperately trying to figure out that Matthew was up to now, why he was trying to blame me- us. It was obvious that he wanted us to hurt, one way or the other and since he hadn't been able to kill Draco... He wanted to make it look as if we had done it ourselves. But why? What did he have against us, against Draco? I refused to believe that all this had to do with our blood. I mean, his own mother was a muggleborn.
But then again, what else could it be?
My thoughts were interrupted when the door once again opened and Neville walked in. He smiled faintly as he walked up to us.
“You're alive!” He stated; nervously and relieved at the same time. Draco gave a low chuckle and a nod. “What happened to her?” I heard him ask and was at first confused to why he didn't just ask me, but then I realized that I had turned my face away from him. When, and why I had done that was a mystery to me.
“Apparently Matthew Raven has walked around talking bullshit, saying that he is innocent and that Hermione is lying... Yeah. I don't know.”
“Oh, yeah, yeah.. I heard about that! He has been telling people, well you see everyone is up and about, despite it being in the middle of the night, no one cares about curfew 'cause this is big news, you know. Well, anyway, he has been telling people that you have been using her only to damage her reputation, to destroy what is left of the 'Golden Trio', you know. He said something about how you have brainwashed her in to hating him, and that you wanted some kind of revenge at him for something that happened years ago. You, apparently, wanted to make it look as if he tried to kill you and then let her take all the blame afterwards. Complete bullshit, if I may say so myself.”
“Complete bullshit, indeed!” Growled Draco furiously. “I would never do that to her, no matter how awful I have been in the past, you know that right, Longbottom?”
I looked up at them both now, Draco's silvery eyes met Neville's brown ones with a powerful intensity. Up on seeing Neville's serious nod, I smiled.
Lucius let out a deep sigh and then he shook his head. “This boy needs to get stopped, he is insane.”
“Neville...” I sat straight up and looked at him. “You need to try to make people understand that I have not been brainwashed in to anything. I know you can make people listen to you, you did a lot for D.A during the war, just make them listen and...” I hesitated before I continued. “And turn them against him. If he understands that he's got nothing against us then he'll give up.” Hopefully, I added in my head.
Neville got determination in his eyes, they were completely filled with it and he nodded once more. “I can do that, I'll just gather some D.A people and we'll bring him down. I know that we all have your back.” He glanced over from me to Draco. “Well...” he scratched the back of his head. “They wont have your back.”
“Yeah, I know.” He smiled faintly. Neville nodded.
“Good, well... I'll go now, might check back later to let you know how it's going. Bye, 'Mione.”
“All right. Bye, Neville.” He walked out confidently.
Too much had happened in too little time, it was impossible for me to process everything.
The fact that people would actually believe him was ridiculous and I didn't know if I wanted to laugh or cry at the situation. But as Draco had promised and as I knew myself; it would all be over when they saw my memories or had me under the influence of Veritaserum. I knew what I had seen, and the lies that Matthew was spreading was outrageous.
But how much damage could Matthew do until then?
I sighed softly and tightened my grip around Draco's waist as I laid next to him in the small bed, in return his grip tightened around me and he pulled me even closer to him.
Lucius and Narcissa had gotten a bed each across the room and they were sleeping heavily. Even though Pomfrey had told them that they could go home, they had insisted that they would wait until the following day. I thought back to what Neville had said.
The fact that people actually believed those things about Draco seemed crazy to me, but I guessed that if I didn't know him as well as I did then I would have thought that he was capable of it. But as it was I knew him. I knew him, and I was in love with him.
I was intensely, crazily, desperately, and completely head over heels in love with him and that seemed to be all that mattered in that moment so I tilted my head up which made him open one eye to look at he.
“Kiss me.” I demanded softly and he obliged.
The kiss was similar to the one we had shared in the empty storage room not too long ago, not rough and demanding, but still filled with indescribable passion. His hand moved slowly up my sleeve to grasp my hair in a possessive yet painless way. I took some control over the kiss as I let my tongue slowly trace his lip until he opened his mouth to let it in, he seemed to approve of my actions and let me deepen the kiss further. I pushed myself up a bit so I could kiss him better, I held my hands on his chest and his hand gathered my hair to keep it out of my face – our faces; he also used it to press my head closer to his.
The kiss got more demanding as he took back the control, he let his tongue start a fierce battle with mine, and then he captured my lip between his teeth and bit down. Not hard, but hard enough for me to let out a strangled moan. Then he let his lips crash down on mine again; swallowing my moan.
Narcissa let out a cough, probably in her sleep, that made us come to our senses and we parted. Both of us panting heavily.
Draco smiled tenderly as his eyes traced my face as if he was memorizing it, he seemed really happy.
His hand let go of my hair and it fell down on the sides of my face, slowly he put it behind my ears and then let his fingers linger at my cheek, he traced his fingertips down my jawline and then he traced his thumb over my lips.
“Are you really mine?” he breathed while still smiling, his hand cupping my chin now.
“All yours.” I admitted softly and his eyes bore in to mine. Those silver depths that seemed to suck me in, I completely lost myself in them.
“Then I'm all yours.” he said after a while. I swear that my heart skipped several beats at his statement.
I laid my head down on his chest once more and listened to the beats of his heart. In that moment it didn't matter what anyone else thought, it seemed as if as long as I knew how it really was and as long as I had him, then I would be fine; then everything would be fine.
I needed him, I realized. He was mine, and I needed him so much.
He kissed the top of my head then he murmured against my hair. “Mine.”
He took a long, deep breath. “You do know that I would never do anything like that to you, right? I couldn't. I really have changed... I... I need you to trust me on that.”
I nodded hesitantly. “If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, then I would have my doubts. But, I did see what he did, Draco. And as far as this, with us go, I think you would have found another way to destroy my reputation if that was what you wanted; since this relationship is making you a Blood traitor, you are destroying your own reputation as well. If you were only interested in destroying me, then you wouldn't have kept it up as long as you have.”
I did believe him, I really did. How that was, I had no idea how, but I knew that he had changed.
“I'm not the same git as I once was.” He reassured me in a low voice.
“I know.” My fingers tugged at the covers, as I thought about what I should say next. “Has Lucius changed his opinion about us?”
“Ha! Not likely, but he has agreed to give you a chance.”
“I guess that's something.”
“Oh, it is. Trust me, that is something coming from him. I guess he feels as its the least he can do, since you kinda saved me.”
“What about your mother?”
“She has approved of you, she actually told me that she thinks your good for me. That was quite a shocker for me.”
“She said that?” I smiled widely. I could feel his nod. “That's good!”
“Indeed.” He said, and then I yawned. “You should sleep.”
I sighed, wanting to talk some more, but cuddled up to him as his hand began to stroke my sleeve and my heavy eyelids closed as I drifted in to a dreamless sleep.
[Ah, new chapter up! Let me know what you think about it! What do you think of Lucius and Narcissa? And Matthew? How was McGonagall and Neville? Over all, was it a good chapter? I'd love to know what you think! - Cathyyy-]
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