Chapter 15 : The Room Again
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The house at Spinners End was hot, humid, and Hermione felt disgustingly sticky as she stood in the kitchen. It was a horrid kind of mugginess that left you gasping for air that couldn’t quite be quenched.
Hermione reveled in the chance of there being a thunderstorm by the dark clouds in the distance; she would give anything for the heat to be broken up.
She hummed a little to herself as she squeezed on the piping bag that let a small amount of pink icing fall on top of one of the two dozen cupcakes she had baked. Aurora was supposed to be helping her, but she had gotten bored of watching the cakes in the oven and had retreated to the living room where her box of colouring pencils where waiting.
Hermione listened to the faint scratches of coloured lead on paper, mixed with distant rolls of thunder outside. The only thing missing were the sounds of Silas, Molly had taken him for the afternoon so she could spend it with Aurora. The quiet was nice, yet uncomforting. Hermione would be happier in a deafening war zone than be in a house filled with silence.
Severus would be back tomorrow, and she felt herself suddenly excited at the thought. Being without him had been hard; she couldn’t help but admit it. She had never thought about the possibility of living without him. The fact that he was much older than her had never crossed her mind so thoroughly; those age lines in his frown and around his mouth, the tiny scattering of grey on the underside of his black hair. They were all things her eyes involuntarily ignored. But all at once those tells of his age swooped down on her, and she took a deep breath to steady herself.
‘M-Mummy, the red b-broke’ Aurora said in a little voice. Hermione shook her head of such thoughts, smiled and placed the piping bag down. She walked into the living room, where Aurora was holding the broken pencil aloof with wide, pleading eyes. She reminded Hermione so much of her father; she had that natural surliness about her.
Hermione pulled her wand from her pocket and gave it a wave, at once the pencil was lifted from Aurora’s fingers, and she watched eagerly as the pencil spun quickly in the air, at the same time a perfect spiral of wood shavings curled over the pencil until it was sharp and gleaming. It landed softly in front of Aurora and she picked it up with a smile.
‘Th-thank you M-Mumma’ she said.
Hermione turned back out to the kitchen and placed her wand on the work top and picked up the piping bag once more. She had around half a dozen left to do, and then she could practice letters with Aurora… Severus was sure to scold her if she didn’t.
There was a sudden silence; Hermione became aware of it immediately. She had stopped her humming, and the thunder outside had ceased. Heat pressed down on her as the sounds of her daughter’s steady colouring failed to reach her ears.
‘I don’t hear much colouring going on in there Aurora Snape’ she said in a mock stern voice as she felt the sweat bead on her upper lip.
‘Mummy’ Aurora said, and immediately Hermione felt as if an invisible hand had ripped through her stomach and seized a hold of her intestines until they were about ready to pop. Aurora always stuttered the word ‘Mummy’ any word involving mummy she stuttered. This word was spoken as clear as a bell in a voice that was so eerily calm and cold. There was not that string of phonetic sounds that Hermione was used to.
Mother’s instinct filled Hermione’s head like a nasty cold, and quite suddenly she felt like she could be sick.
She squeezed the piping bag so hard that thick tumults of pink icing dribbled over the sides of the cupcake, she placed it down raised her eyes to the window and listened for a mere half a second.
Something was terribly, terribly wrong, and whatever it was she had to deal with it alone. Something was familiar about this moment, a silence that seemed to take her back all those years ago to the night she took refuge in that’s secret room to hide from Draco and the Death Eaters.
She turned, and very slowly walked out of the kitchen towards the living room. Forgetting to pick up her wand in the sheer panic of hearing Aurora’s cold voice.
She stepped to the kitchen door, and gasped loudly, a hand covering her mouth as she saw a dark figure sitting next to Aurora on the floor. Aurora was staring up at him with curious, wide eyes. Her little girl raised a hand cautiously, Hermione watched, frozen to the spot, unable to do anything at all.
She watched as her daughter reached up, watched her hand disappear behind the long veil of dirty blonde hair. The figure turned, and Hermione shuddered as she saw Aurora’s hand was lightly stroking the hideous purple scars that more than often filled Hermione’s bad dreams.
‘Good Afternoon Granger’ Draco hushed as Aurora moved her hands away and looked towards her mother.
‘Draco’ Hermione said, but barely a sound left her lips, she was shaking uncontrollably, and all she could think of was how close Aurora was to the man that had once nearly claimed her life.
He was wearing a filthy black cloak, and his hair was caked with grime, his eyes shone out from dark, hollow sockets which gave them an even more defined kind of madness that she could remember. His fingernails were long and dirty; she stared at them as he stroked Aurora’s cheek gently while she looked up at him.
Beside him on the coffee table, the drawing Aurora had penciled over a week ago lay forgotten. A drawing featuring the Monster from her bad dreams. If anyone had cast a look at the picture now, they would see Draco on the white page surrounded by dark shadow, his cold, grey eyes shone from the pale sheet like two stars gleaming out between patches of dark cloud.
Draco turned his attention back to Aurora, and Hermione whimpered as he picked her up under the arms and sat her on his lap. She stared up at him, seeming neither to be happy or afraid of the man, of the monster that had also filled her dreams for so long.
‘You are a pretty little thing’ he said to her, twirling one of her black curls around his finger ‘just like your mother, she’s a very pretty little thing, more beautiful than the last time I saw her even. Five years has done something good to one of us at least’ he peered back at Hermione, his grey eyes greedily drinking her in.
‘Draco’ she said shakily ‘Don’t… please, please don’t hurt her. You can have whatever you want, just put her down, let her go’ he could see tears beginning to swell in her eyes.
Draco laughed ‘Oh Granger, you can be so dense for such an extraordinary witch, can’t you see that I have no interest in the spawn of Severus Snape’ he stood up and lifted Aurora onto his hip ‘She is like him isn’t she?’ he asked rhetorically, looking over the raven hair and eyes.
‘What I want is you… it has always been you my dear’ he sounded like Voldemort, he too had been prone to using the term ‘dear’ in such a horridly silky tone ‘and it always shall be. Do you think I escaped Azkaban for any other reason than this’ Hermione pinched her pocket for her wand, and remembered she had left it in the kitchen, kicking herself she walked forward slightly, holding her arms out for Aurora.
‘You can have her back’ Draco hissed ‘If you come with me quietly and without a fuss, all I want is you’ he smirked, and the scars creased on his face. Hermione thought for half a second and then nodded her head. She had a plan, a recklessly stupid plan.
Hermione and Draco walked forwards, to meet each other in the centre of the room. Hermione’s hands were trembling so severely that she was unsure whether Aurora would be safe in her arms. Draco held Aurora out, and Hermione snatched her back quickly, holding her close. She pressed her daughters face against her shoulder and whispered, just low enough for Aurora to hear.
‘Shut your eyes baby’ Aurora did, and as she did Hermione screamed as she kicked out unexpectedly. She remembered once she had kicked out at Draco, attempting to kick him in the groin and missing by several inches… this time round, she was right on target.
She watched as the wind was knocked out of him and his face turned a horrid plum colour, he bent down and Hermione swung a strong elbow into his face, forcing him over onto the coffee table which collapsed. She ran the few strides across to the book case where she tapped her wand on the Brontë book which held the secret room. The wall molded into the door and she rushed inside, shoving Aurora through the portrait hole at the back of the room.
There was a rugged scream from outside the room, and several crashes and bangs as Draco got to his feet. Hermione was just shoving foot through the canvas when quite suddenly the air exploded with noise and wind and the walls seemed to crumble around her. A large piece of rubble struck the back of her head and she was knocked out cold, laying spread eagled in the secret room with a trickle of blood leaking over her lips.
Aurora watched as the dark figure from her nightmares staggered into the room, bent over slightly. He tilted his head as he looked down at her mother, greed and lust in his eyes, swimming about with the tears of pain.
He bent down and pulled her up into his arms. She had seen her daddy hold her mother like this a few times, but this looked strange, it didn’t look right as her mother hung there limp and lifeless. Draco was like a hideous Puppet Master holding his favourite, but broken doll aloof to the audience.
He held her up to him, her head rolling against his shoulder, he moved his face towards hers and placed a soft kiss on her parted lips. Blood smeared over his bottom lip and chin.
‘Oh Granger… how I have dreamed of you. How I have imagined myself back in this room with you… how I have seen you in my eyes for years on end. You’ll help me in my quest Granger, whether you want to or not’ he hushed as he turned out of the secret room ‘You’ll help me… and when you have and you still deny me… I shall make you mine by force’
Aurora heard the footsteps leave, then she heard the front door close, after a minute the tears started. This is what she had dreamed, exactly this. But her daddy had assured her, promised her there were no such things as Monsters. How dare he lie to her like that!
She crawled out of the canvas and fell to the rubble strewn floor, grazing her knees. She got up, and ran unsteadily out towards the fireplace. Archie, her teddy bear, was laying face down on the floor covered with plaster and bits of brick. She dragged him up by his arm that hung lower than the other one and pressed him tightly against her chest, as if nothing else mattered in that one moment but her and Archie, tears began to moisten the top of his furry head.
Aurora seemed to come to her senses when she felt the wetness on her bear, and she wiped her eyes, there was dust laying on the wet tear tracts on her cheeks as she reached up into the small well of floo power on the wall and threw it into the fire. She wasn’t sure what to do next, for she had seen her mother and father do it several times and a head had appeared every time. But she did not know what to do or who to call.
Quite suddenly a small spark of green flames sprung from the fire, and a familiar voice that she couldn’t quite place called out.
‘Hello’ it beckoned.
‘H-he-hello!’ Aurora cried, breaking into fresh sobs, suddenly the fire erupted into larger flames, and a pair of wide, bright blue eyes shone out from the fiery depths. Her mother’s friend Luna was looking concerned at the four year old that had called.
‘Aurora?’ Luna shouted concerned.
‘The Monster c-came and took M-Mummy! Daddy said h-he wouldn’t, b-but he d-d-did!!’ she cried and fell to her knee’s and she could no longer speak for sobbing.
Hello everyone! I expect you were all wondering when this chapter would finally be uploaded? And here it is! What do you all think? I would love to hear all your thoughts and suggestion? Thank you!
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