Hermione tucked a stray black curl behind her daughter’s ear before slumping back into the comfy armchair she had conjured for herself. Cecilia was tucked in her and Draco’s bed, the sheets and blanket charmed to change temperatures with hers, keeping her body comfortable and at the perfect temperature. Draco and Gabby were sleeping on the floor in comfy sleeping bags. Gabby had refused to leave his sister’s side until she woke up and Draco had had to rock him to sleep, something he hadn’t done since he was younger.
Blaise had picked up Laurel and would return to check in again in the morning. Pansy had left shortly after for her mansion in Greece, after making Hermione promise to owl as soon as Ceci was awake.
“Any change Mrs. Malfoy?” Julian asked as he entered the room and sat in a chair on the other side of the bed. He gave her a wry smile but Hermione could see the worry in his blue eyes. He had insisted on staying until she woke up and had sat quietly in his chair, gazing out the window on the other side.
“None yet Julian. Why don’t you go to Gabby’s room and try to catch some sleep?” she suggested. She thought of the boy as another son and was worried about his health. “No sense having two of you down if it can be avoided.”
He shook his head. “No thank you. Anyways, I don’t think I could.” Hermione nodded.
“I see,” she said. “You really care about her don’t you?”
Julian flushed a little but answered in a steady voice. “She’s my best friend. I love her- like a sister, that is.”
Smiling, she replied, “I loved Harry and Ron like brothers when we were your age but still, once in a while I would find myself with a crush on one of them.” Draco made a sound in his sleep, something between a snort and a loud snore. The two looked at him before breaking into soft laughter. “Even in his sleep he thinks he’s the only man deserving of my heart or any woman’s heart for that matter,” she added as an afterthought.
Cecilia stirred suddenly and instantly Hermione was at her side. “Mum,” she whispered before letting out a moan and shuddering. “Mum... help... me...”
“I’m right here Cecilia sweetie,” Hermione said soothingly, trying to keep the worry out of her voice. “Right here. You’re safe honey, perfectly safe, you just need to wake up now.”
I ran as fast as I could, tree branches scratching every uncovered piece of flesh on my body. Blood dripped into my eyes, making it hard for me to see in the already blurry darkness. Thunder rumbled loudly overhead and a streak of lightning momentarily lit up the dark forest I was in. Still, I kept running. Rain began to pour down, slow at first but gaining momentum with each passing second. The ground beneath my feet began to feel slippery. I could hear voices behind me, calling patronizingly, trying to make me give up and lose hope. To just... give in to them.
But I wouldn’t. I was a Malfoy and three other terrifying names but a Malfoy over all the others. I was proud, intelligent and haughty and I was not going to let them catch me.
I felt my shoulders straighten and with new found speed, kept running. I didn’t know where I was running to but anywhere other than here seemed good. The rain had quickly plastered my wild curls to my head. I choked back sobs, doing my best not to show more fear than I already was. Questions ran through my head. I didn’t know how I got here, who I was running from or why I felt the need to run. Sometimes I heard voices of people I loved, almost as if this nightmare was taunting me with them.
All I knew was that I wanted to go home.
I stopped running and took a deep breath. “I want to go home!” I shouted, ignoring the rain pelting down on my upturned face. “I want to go home now!” There were laughter, hard cruel laughter as shadows, blacker than the depths of night, fell upon me. Just as they were about to close in, I heard a loud boom and my birth mother yelling at her cousin to shut the hell up or otherwise he’d wake me. I felt a jolt rip through me and suddenly I was awake, lying in a bed.
“Yo ho yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!”
“Sirius, you are such an idiot! My daughter’s resting and you just come in and start singing some bloody pirate song?! You bloody idiot!”
“Erm, may I point out, my dear sadly confused cousin, that you are now the one yelling and making enough noise to wake the dead.” He paused, hearing his great-something or other-grandfather, Nigellus, yell up the stairs that he did not enjoy being woken up so early in the morning. “So to speak, that is.”
Bella fumed and stared at her cousin murderously. “Sirius Black, I will kill you-,”
“Slowly and painfully, yadyadyada,” he finished, rolling his eyes. “Really Trixie, get some new lines!”
“I told you never to call me that!”
“And whomever told you that I’d actually listen?”
“Ah, my dear, poor, sadly confused, and slightly less intelligent than I, friend who-,”
“FEARS FOR YOUR LIFE! And rightly so, might I add.” She smirked at him. “I can cause you pain Black. Oh yes, I can cause you pain.” She started walking slowly towards him in the spring time landscape portrait they were in. Sirius gulped and started walking backwards, looking around vigorously for a quick escape when he noticed something.
“IT’S ALIVE!” he screamed, in a rather girlish voice. He then continued to scream and run past Bella, down to his own portrait in the family room. Bella stuck her tongue out at him as he ran past before turning her full attention to her now fully awake daughter.
“Hello Cecilia Rose. Did my cousin’s annoying voice wake you up?”
“I’m not too sure,” she said wisely, not wanting anyone to get hurt... yet. “Is Mum around? My head hurts.”
“That would be from overexposure from my most infuriating relative. Who, might I add, I have to go kill now. Bye!” She gave her a wave before running out of the portrait. Ceci blinked and groaned, falling back on her pillow.
“My life... is messed...” There was a shriek and she bolted upright again, immediately cursing as the abrupt movement had made her head pound even more. Through the black spots in her sight she could make out her brother.
“Mum!” he wailed. “It’s alive!” He ran over to her and clambered up on her bed, wrapping his small arms around her, squeezing the breath right out of her.
“Gab... can’t... breathe...” He released her and she gasped before bursting into a coughing fit. Gabby looked at her worriedly and began to cry big, fat tears that rolled down his red cheeks and on to her bedspread.
“Ceci, I’m sorry1 Please don’t die!” he cried, letting out another wail.
“Gabs, I’m not going to die!” she said cheerfully, trying to reassure him. “I’m fine, see? My throat was just dry and I started coughing. Just a few little coughs. I’m fine. Erm... what happened?”
He stared at her. “You went Boom.”
“Boom,” he repeated, with a nod. “Boom.”
“Oh dear.” She paled. “That’s... probably not good.”
“And there’s three teens who are here to see you from earlier today, well, technically, yesterday. And Julian is still here. Everyone’s downstairs. Mum had to practically drag him away from here though. He didn’t want to leave your side.” He made a face. “I don’t get it though. Mum thinks it’s because he has a secret crush on you or something.” Cecilia glared at him and he pouted. “But you should probably go tell them all that you’re STILL ALIVE!”
“Egads boy! Zip it or I’ll throttle you,” she said through gritted teeth, holding her pounding head in her hands. He gave her a sheepish smile before scampering out of the room. Ceci groaned inwardly and half fell, half skipped, out of bed before making her way out of the room and downstairs.
Her mother was there to greet her, gathering her up in a warm hug, though not hugging her too tightly. “Oh my poor baby,” she whispered, her voice quivering, “are you alright? For a while you had a small fever and at some points it seemed you were having a nightmare.”
“I’m fine Mum,” Ceci said, giving her a weak smile. “Really.” Hermione just sighed before releasing her daughter as Draco joined them.
“Is she alright?” he asked her immediately, giving her a quick hug before stepping back to take a good look. “She looks pale. Hermione, does she look pale?”
“I’m fine,” she insisted, looking back and forth between her parents. “I feel fine!”
“Uh huh.” Once again, her father turned to her mother. “Hermione, is she fine?”
“Well, she could probably use some hot chocolate and a goodnight’s sleep,” Hermione mused, “but other than that, she just needs to relax.”
“Then I’ll send away-,”
“You’ll do nothing of the sort Draco Malfoy,” his wife warned. “Or so help me, I’ll-,”
“Fine,” he grumbled. “Ceci, our freaky cousin and two of the Potter brats are here to see you. They tried to sneak past me and just get to you but I caught them.” He smirked. “No one gets past the great Draco Malfoy!”
“Sure Dad, whatever.” Rolling her eyes, Ceci pushed past her parents and walked into the living room, her nightmare forgotten. Her curiosity was peaked and any change from the hellish dream that had haunted her sleep was welcome, even if it did come from Morpho-Boy and his Potter cronies.
Of course she hadn’t expected to see them sitting with Julian, drinking tea as if it were a perfectly natural, normal thing at a decent hour of day. Pounding filled her head again. Life, she thought painfully, was a puckish character who enjoyed people’s pain and liked to laugh at them.
“Ceci, thank Merlin, you’re awake!” Before she even knew what was happening, Julian’s arms were wrapped around her tightly, hugging her close to him. She sniffed and hugged him back, just as tightly, feeling all emotional. Well, that couldn’t be a good sign. Woman’s issues were not what she needed right then.
“Ahem,” Morpho-Boy coughed, “I’d hate to interrupt your little love fest-,” Ceci shot him a death glare and he flinched, “but, uh, we need to talk. All of us.”
“Fine,” she spat as they abruptly stopped hugging and sat down on the couch opposed to the one the other three were sitting on. “Let’s talk. But first-,” she non-verbally shut and locked the door and put a Silencing charm on it, “explain why you’re in my house.”
“You call this a house?” Al muttered. “It looks more like a damn mansion to me.”
“Well I don’t doubt that you’re used to it, seeing as how you live at Grimmauld Place,” she shot back. “Now. Explain.”
“We think you’re great and super-cool and wanna be besties with you!” The two boys glared at Lily who shrugged. “Well, at least I do.”
“Er, alright,” said Ceci, slightly taken aback. “Good to know. Now how about Morpho-Boy and...?” she looked at Al questioningly.
“Mr. McMoofy the Weird,” Lily added helpfully. Ceci smiled and nodded.
“Ah yes. And Mr. McMoofy the Weird explain why they wish to be honoured by begging for an audience with yours truly?” She smirked as Morpho-Boy rolled his eyes. Al didn’t know who he wanted to glare at first, his sister for being the annoying pain in the arse she always was or Miss Grim Reaper who was apparently the proud owner of a rather large ego. He settled for glaring at his sister.
“We’re family. Family sticks together. I like you better than most of my ‘family’ and I’ve known them for years. While Mr. McFoofy the Weird over here-,” Al turned his glare to Teddy, “secretly idolizes you and thinks you’re the best thing to have come into his life since he discovered that Witch Weekly had a swimsuit edition.”
“I’m... flattered, I think.” Ceci scratched her head and looked at them, puzzled. “I find you three strange and amusing. We could be good friends. Or I could feed you to crocodiles in the Paris zoo. Either way, I get some entertainment out of it and that’s the important thing. Right Jules?”
“Sure,” her friend nodded, rolling his eyes. “Or we could use them as spies.” Ceci beamed.
“I knew there was a good reason why I keep you around! Alrighty then. Henceforth, you three shall be my minions and act as spies over in Crazyland.” She looked solemnly at Lily and walked over to her. “I hereby dub thee, Lily-,”
“-Potter, Countess Cherry of the Order of Cecilia Stars.” She tapped her lightly on the head with her wand before turning to Al. “Mr. Mcfoofy the Weird, I hereby dub you Boy-In-Black-And-Orange or Bibao for short.” She once tapped her wand on his head. “And last and perhaps least, Morpho-Boy-,”
“My name is Teddy Remus Lupin,” he said, through gritted teeth.
“I dub thee,” she continued, ignoring him happily, “Morpho-Boy Quacker.”
“Quacker?” Jules asked curiously.
“Yes, because I’ve decided that eventually I will turn him into a duck and see if he can still change his colours.” She smirked. “Just a little experiment I have planned.”
“Yay for me,” Teddy muttered.
“Now rise, champions of the Order of Cecilia Stars and bow to your leader, or curtsy.” Lily, giggling, stood up and curtsied. Teddy glared and Al looked pointedly at Julian.
“Aren’t you going to give him an official name?”
“Huh? Oh yeah.” Cecilia turned to her friend and gave him a pitying smile. “Ah, m’dear Jules... I hereby dub thee, erm... Right-Hand Man of the Order of Cecilia Stars!” She gently tapped her wand on his head before falling down into his lap. She yawned and then noticed that the other two males in the room were once again glaring at her. She tilted her head curiously.
“Why are you two glaring now?”
“You didn’t give him some weird wackjob name!” protested Teddy.
“Yes, well, I happen to like him and trust him and have been best friends with him for years. So bah!”
“Or you’re sweet on him,” Al said under his breath. Ceci quickly sent him a cold look and he gulped before finding his shoes very interesting to look at.
“Cecilia, what’s going on?” Her mother’s voice sounded from behind the door. “Everything alright?”
“Everything’s fine Mum!” she called back. “They were just leaving!”
“Yes, m’dear Bibao. Now shoo through the Floo! Shoo! Floo!”
“Damn, what the hell have I gotten myself into this time?” Al asked to no in particular.
“Oh and meet me in the forbidden Forest the second day of school at midnight!”
“Oh shut up Al! You’re such a baby!” With that, Lily grabbed her brother’s arm and shoved him into the fireplace. She smirked and threw a handful of Floo that was sitting near the fireplace onto her brother and the lifeless coals beneath him.
“12 Grimmauld Place!” she yelled as her brother opened his mouth to protest. She followed a moment later, leaving Teddy alone with his cousin and Julian. As he moved towards the fireplace to take his leave, he stopped as Cecilia skipped over and gave him a hug.
“What was that for?” he asked, surprised.
“You’re my cousin,” she said simply staring into silver eyes identical to her own. “But don’t get use to it. Hugs are the secret tool of the devil you know.”
“Right,” he said slowly before Flooing away.
“I think he rolled his eyes at me,” she remarked, as the green flames died out. “The nerve of Morpho-Boy Quacker. Which reminds me, we need to find a way to turn him into a duck.”
Julian stared at her. She stared back.
“Er, Jules? What’s... up?”
“You were having nightmares. What were they about?”
“In a nutshell, dark forest, big thunder lightning storm, evil voices laughing while I ran with every fibre in my freaking body.”
He stared at her.
She stared back, slightly unnerved.
“Oi, you two!” They jumped. “I heard Floo so unlock this door!” Draco said angrily. “I know what goes on behind close doors!”
“Oh really?” came Hermione’s voice, drily. “Do you know Draco? Tell me, what exactly are they doing?”
“Well,” he sputtered, “they’re...”
“Kissing? Snogging? Getting physical?”
“WHAT?! CECILIA ROSE ANDROMEDA NARCISSA BLACK-LESTRANGE-GRANGER-MALFOY, YOU OPEN THIS DOOR IMMEDIATELY!”
“Bravo Daddy, you said that all in one breath!” Ceci clapped.
“Sweetie, maybe you should open the door. Your father’s face is getting to be a Weasley shade of red. Not attractive.”
Author's Note- Heh, sorry about the wait... For some reason I really don't like how this chapter went so I've had to change a bit and then add more so that it was fairly long. Anyways, the next chapter should be out soon and will be the arrival at Hogwarts!
Reviews would be greatly appreciated and check out my other stories! There sohuld be new ones up in a while too including a next generation one with a different twist.