Chapter 25 : Chapter 25
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Draco’s eyes widened as he held his burden and whispered, “Oh shite.”
The creature before him snarled menacingly and a bead of spittle trailed from its jaw like a spider on a silken thread.
It towered over Draco, easily reaching seven feet in height. It was gaunt and emaciated, somewhat resembling a human or something like what a human might have been. It had a light covering of coarse fur all over its body and a tattered loin cloth draped at its waist. Its snout protruded from its face, like a werewolf’s, but it stood erect like a man. Its pale skin, under the fur, glowed in the moonlight. It looked like a hairy, resurrected corpse.
Draco cowered back against the stone statue behind him.
The creature lunged.
Only a foot from Draco and his charge, it snapped back on some invisible chain, though it did not stop gnashing its teeth.
“Sei ruhig, mein Freund,” a voice whispered in the darkness.
The creature whimpered and pawed at the ground but continued to watch Draco hungrily.
A man emerged from the darkness to be illuminated by the distant lights of the house.
“Wytte,” Draco said quietly.
“It is I,” he answered in a whisper.
The man’s face was a terrifying visage. A large, grotesque scar covered the left side and wrapped under his jaw to trail down his neck. No doubt, this injury was what had given him such an eerie and uncommon speaking voice. He had vibrant red hair, not unlike that of the Weasley family. And he leaned heavily on a black, knotted cane, dragging his right foot beside him as he emerged from the darkness.
“You’ll have to forgive my companion,” he coughed slightly before continuing on in the hushed tones, “he hasn’t fed in several moons.”
Draco’s eyes flicked to the beast beside the man and he grimaced slightly.
“How do you do that?” Draco asked quietly. “Keep him at bay?”
“I use his native tongue. He once was human like you and I, you see. But the black magic overcame him. It consumed him. At heart, he responds to the words of his home,” Wytte looked up at the beast and patted its large fur-covered shoulder.
Hermione stirred in Draco’s arms and moaned softly.
“The moments are fleeting, so I’ll make this quick, for it is your wedding night I will give a twenty-four hour reprieve. Tomorrow night, however, your presence is required. It all begins tomorrow, Draco.”
Draco readjusted the woman in his arms and looked at Wytte again, “Where?”
“Your father will know. You’ll meet him beforehand and Apparate to the location afterwards. She is not to know of your purpose or destination.”
“I know, but she’ll ask questions…”
“Then you must appease her curiosity however necessary.”
Wytte turned to the creature and patted it once again before speaking, “In den Wald gehst du.”
The beast groaned and whimpered before snapping its jaws and vanishing into the darkness.
“Tomorrow, Draco,” the he too disappeared, not into the darkness, but rather into a cloud of black smoke.
Draco watched the shadows cautiously for several moments before hurrying to the veranda of the house. He sat Hermione in one of the lounge chairs on the porch and retrieved his wand.
“Rennervate,” he whispered.
She stirred and blinked her eyes several times. When her eyes focused and she found Draco’s, she spoke.
“You passed out. Too much champagne?” he forced a smirk.
“Not at all, I had hardly any. I saw something…” she gazed into the garden and thought desperately.
“There was nothing there. I tried to wake you for several moments before bringing you back to the house,” Draco lied.
She shook her head and bit at a fingernail.
“I know I saw something…”
Draco looked around nervously, as though he felt the beast still watching them.
“Look, we’re about to leave so, go and say your good-byes,” he said as he watched the garden.
“Leave? To where?” she was momentarily distracted from her muddled thoughts.
He turned and gazed at her with a quirked brow. “You don’t expect to stay here for our honeymoon do you?”
“Honeymoon?” She stood up and looked shocked. “I hadn’t thought we’d have one…”
“Of course we’re having one, and soon, this spell is getting the better of me,” he muttered the last bit.
“But I haven’t packed and…” she started to pace and think. “And I can’t leave, remember?”
She turned to face him and waited for him to realize what she spoke of.
Instead of saying a word he stepped towards her and put his hands around her neck. He followed the chain with his fingertips and found the clasp. As he unhooked it, his fingers trailed along the back of her neck and he felt the fire within reignited. He groaned and closed his eyes.
“What’s the matter? Are you all right?” She asked swiftly.
“Fine. Go say goodbye, and make it quick,” he stated rather harshly as he righted himself and shoved the ancient necklace into his pocket.
Hermione nodded and disappeared into the ballroom. Her fingers danced along her bare neckline and she felt as free as a bird.
She quickly found Harry and Ginny and told them she was about to leave. They tried to question her but even she didn’t know where she was headed. But she promised to write.
Narcissa caught her as she tried to escape the ballroom and wrapped her in a tight hug.
“My daughter,” she whispered affectionately.
Hermione felt her insides swell with warmth and hugged the woman back.
Lucius watched from a distance and pursed his lips.
Perseus emptied an entire glass of champagne as the word of their imminent departure reached his ears.
Hermione entered the empty hall and placed a hand over her heart and sighed. It had been a whirlwind of a wedding. She couldn’t believe it was over. And, boy, what still awaited her. She was even more terrified of her night with Draco than she had been of the actual ceremony.
She started down the hall but was stopped as a hand appeared from the shadows and grasped her forearm.
A cloaked figured stepped out of a dark room and with the hand that had held Hermione reached up and removed her black hood. Asteria Zabini stood before the newest Malfoy. One hand grasped her wand instinctively and the other rested protectively on her now-visible bump.
Hermione immediately stiffened and prepared for a battle.
“Hear me out,” the blonde woman stated but did not remove her hand from her wand hilt. “I don’t like you, but… I have to say… I… well… you gained my respect after our last meeting. I’m sure it took a great deal of willpower to curb your tongue and your wand. And that is the only reason why I offer you this tonight.”
Hermione watched the girl closely and wondered briefly how she had gained entry to the Manor in the first place.
“You truly aren’t safe here. You cannot trust Draco. His vision is clouded by something even I can’t comprehend.”
“Why are you telling me this?” Hermione questioned, her wand still trained on the tall blonde before her.
“Because, you have fight. There’s a fire in your eyes that I have not seen since before the war. You represent my childhood. And despite what you know of me and who I am, I cannot sit by and abide by the death of anyone. Not even my nemesis.”
“Then what do you know? Tell me,” Hermione demanded.
Asteria glanced over Hermione’s shoulder at the busy ballroom only meters away.
“I can’t. I can only tell you to be careful and be wary. Don’t trust him, Granger. I don’t know what he’s doing, but it’s dark.”
Hermione glanced over her shoulder at the voices of several approaching men.
“I must go,” Asteria whispered and raised her hood.
“Wait…” Hermione started.
“No, I mustn’t be found here.” The girl hurried into the dark room she had emerged from.
“Wait,” Hermione said, following her into the darkness.
“Go, Granger! Just remember what I’ve said.”
Green fire flared in the hearth.
“But you must know something…”
Asteria looked ghostly as the green light cast upward onto her face, creating shadows where none ever fell. She looked like Death in a blonde wig.
“I will find a way to tell you more… another time,” the girl conceded before stating her destination and vanishing in a green swirl.
Hermione’s heart pounded in her chest. She heard the men, laughing loudly in their drunkenness, pass her room.
She regained her composure and reappeared into the hall after the men and turned a corner. She hurried to her room to pack her things.
Hermione smiled at Harry in a daze as he cheerfully waved good-bye.
Things were moving too quickly for her to process.
In the matter of a few hours, she had married, been propositioned by a Death Eater, had her mind violated by her father-in-law, been told the most shocking news of her life, had her life threatened, been released from her prison, and now was off to consummate her marriage with a man she could neither love nor trust.
She felt the panic churn in her gut and a wave of nausea hit her. And what of the prophecy? She couldn’t get pregnant now. But would he allow her protection? Would she have the foresight to use it? She was already feeling the effects of the binding spell and she knew Draco had been for some time. What if she forgot as soon as they… started?
The familiar tug of Apparition hit her and she closed her eyes, losing her train of thought.
The couple reappeared in the midst of a large, open room. Heavy wooden furniture surrounded them, covered in white cushions. Large floor-to-ceiling windows covered two sides of the large rectangular room and the curtains billowed inward.
Hermione turned her head towards one and inhaled deeply, consuming the sweet fragrance of fresh rain.
A deep rumble shook the small embellishments around the room. The chandelier tinkled as the noise reverberated.
“Where are we?” she asked, moving away from her husband towards one of the open window-doors.
“Florida,” he said. She heard ice crackle and the thump of a heavy bottle.
She frowned and looked out into the evening. The sky glowed dimly from the newly set sun. Sinister black clouds filled the horizon and the ocean, dark and angry, churned and crashed on the beach. The palm trees in the yard whipped around in the abusive wind. Thunder rolled again and Hermione shivered as the cool wind hit her bare skin.
A storm was coming.
“I thought you disliked America,” she said softly.
“Hmm?” Draco questioned, “Why’d you think that?”
“Well, you spoke of your uncle and cousin as though that were one of the main reasons you hated them.”
“I don’t really hate them,” he answered and she heard him come closer to her. “And I certainly don’t hate America. I have a certain appreciation for the comforts the country supplies.”
Hermione nodded vaguely and continued watching the waves rolling up the sandy beach front.
He sat his glass on the nearby end table and she heard him shuffling around. She looked over her shoulder and saw him removing his jacket and tie.
“I’m going to change,” he said after a moment. “I assume you’re going to as well?”
“Um…yes…” Was this really happening?
“Your room,” he said as he began walking down a long dark hallway, “is here.”
He stopped at a doorway and turned on a light.
“And your things are here already. I’ll,” he paused and looked back at her, still standing by the window. The sheer curtains swelled around her and her brown curls flittered around the edges of her face. “I’ll join you in a few minutes.”
She nodded and watched him disappear into the darkness. A light came on at the end of the hall and the door shut.
Her heart-rate sped into overdrive. She hurried down the hall and shut herself in her room.
She took a deep breath and put a shaking hand over her mouth. Was this truly about to happen?
She and Draco Malfoy were going to….
She felt bile rise up her throat and ran to the bathroom. Her nerves were getting the better of her. She flushed the toilet and crossed to the sink. She drank from the faucet and flushed her face.
She looked in the mirror and spoke.
“Calm down, Hermione. Just calm down, you silly bint. You’ve done this before. Just breathe.”
Her reflection nodded and she reached up to remove pins from her hair. The pile of hair pins grew and her curls hung loosely around her head. She took her wand off the counter top and used it to unzip her gown, letting it pool on the floor as she stepped out of it.
She wore the white undergarments Ginny and Narcissa had chosen: a strapless white bra, flattering white bikini-cut knickers, and her thigh-high stockings.
She swallowed deeply and looked at her reflection, finding no faults in her appearance.
A knock sounded at her bedroom door and she froze.
“Granger?” he asked after several moments.
“Uh… come in…” she said hastily and pushed the bathroom door almost closed.
She heard the bedroom door open and close as he entered.
“I’ll…” she swallowed again and breathed quickly, “be out in a moment.”
He made no sound but she heard the bed creak slightly under his weight.
“Oh god,” she whispered, watching herself in the mirror.
She reached up and fluffed her hair and pinched her cheeks.
“Oh god,” she said again. “Here we go.”
She flung the bathroom door open and stepped into the dimly lit bedroom.
Draco sat up from his lying position on the bed. His eyes travelled up and down her, taking in every inch of her body.
“Wow,” he muttered.
She swallowed and closed her eyes.
“I really don’t want to do this,” she whispered.
“Come here,” he stated, leaving little room for her to argue.
She approached him slowly. She breathed quickly like a scared rabbit.
When she was within arm’s reach, she stopped moving.
He reached out and grasped her hip and yanked her closer.
His touch awoke whatever dragon had been sleeping inside of her and she felt pure fire course through her veins.
“Oh,” she breathed.
He ran both his hands up her sides and she whimpered.
Something was wrong with her body. She had never felt like this before. She felt… empowered and ravenous.
She grasped his head by his hair and tilted it back.
She bent down and kissed him desperately. He responded immediately and his hands continued travelling over her skin.
When her tongue touched his, she felt fireworks explode in her body and she collapsed onto him, taking them both to the mattress. She gasped.
“Oh god, yes!” she cried.
Draco’s eyes widened.
Had kissing him alone done that?
She straddled him, pinning him to the bed, as she regained her breath.
He licked his lips and ran his hands over her hips and around her backside to cup her rear.
She gasped and immediately swooped into another kiss.
His touch was doing things to her she’d never felt before. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, was it? They weren’t even to the good stuff yet.
Hermione released his lips and sat up. He was breathing heavily and watching her every move. She tossed her curls back and looked every bit like Aphrodite. She reached behind her back, unhooked the clasp of her bra, and tossed it off the side of the bed.
His hands reached for her exposed flesh and she closed her eyes, reveling in the feel of his touch. This was magic. This was very strong magic.
And she knew it was going to be a long, but very enjoyable, night.
She woke the next morning in a fantastic mood. Exceptionally chipper for her normal morning self.
And she woke alone.
Which she decided was absolutely best. She would have been mortified to have faced him first thing that morning after what they had done the night before. She blushed as she thought about it.
What had gotten into her? She’d been an animal.
He’d have scratch marks down his back for the next week.
She started humming as she rose and went to shower and dress for the day.
She came out of her bathroom wrapped in a towel with her hair hanging in damp ringlets still humming a happy tune.
Her door swung open and her husband walked in.
“Morning,” he said, as though nothing had happened between them.
“Good morning,” she said with a smile, passing him to enter her closet.
“You’re in a good mood…” he observed.
“I suppose I am,” she said as she searched through her clothes. “Did you need something?”
He watched her reflection from the mirror hanging on the inside of the closet door.
She must not have been aware he could see her because she dropped her towel and began stepping into her purple knickers.
He felt his breath hitch and looked away only to glance back a moment later.
“Draco?” she asked after several moments of silence.
“Sorry, breakfast is ready.” He said, still watching her walk around bare-breasted in her closet.
“Was that all?” she asked and turned to look at the door, then she noticed it cracked and him looking directly at her through the mirror. She blushed a bright crimson and snatched her discarded towel off the floor. “Malfoy!”
“Yes?” he asked innocently.
“You…you… you!” She yelled at him, flinging the door open to glare at him.
“Me, me, me. Yes.” He said and crossed the distance to the closet door where the little witch stood. His eyes drifted down to the towel and with one finger he tugged on the front of it.
She swatted his hand away with her free one. “Get out.”
He frowned. It would be too much to ask for the same fire she’d shown the night before, wouldn’t it?
“Not what you said last night,” he muttered as he opened the bedroom door and stepped into the hall.
She arrived at breakfast several minutes later in a pretty yellow sundress and glared daggers at him.
“Purple suits your coloring,” he said, sipping his glass of orange juice.
She huffed and set her jaw before looking at him.
“Voyeur,” she hissed.
“You’re my wife, I can look if I want,” he sniffed and pushed the eggs around on his plate. He looked like a scolded child but finally asked, “What are we doing today?”
“How should I know, you dragged me down here. Don’t you know of things to do here?”
“We could go to the beach,” he offered.
She glanced out the large window beside the table and observed the overcast sky.
“Or… something,” he added.
“Well I’m sure I could find things to do in the Muggle community. I’ve never been to… where are we?”
“Florida, Granger,” he said dryly.
“Where in Florida, Malfoy?”
“South of Miami.”
“Oh… I’ve never been to Miami. There’s a hopping night life and of course the beach and boardwalk and then there’s the zoo and the science museum and art galleries…”
“I’ll find something for us to do…” he said, shutting her up.
She frowned at him and continued her breakfast.
It was nearly eight when they returned for the evening. All things aside, it had been a fairly enjoyable day with only minor bouts of bickering between the couple. Hermione dropped onto one of the couches and let the bags of shopping fall around her feet.
"I’m buggered,” she said as she propped her feet up on the ottoman.
“Dinner will be ready shortly. I have to leave for a few hours,” he said, looming over her.
“Why?” she asked, suddenly alert again.
“Business, Granger. I’ll be back in a few hours, will you miss me terribly?” he asked with a smirk.
“Hardly,” she said and rolled her eyes.
“As I thought,” he bent down and kissed her hard before straightening up and buttoning his jacket. He crossed the room and lifted his cloak from the hook by the door. “Goodnight.”
“You know it’s…” but the sound of Apparition cut her off and she found herself alone on the second night of her honeymoon. How was that for starting out their marriage? It certainly didn’t bode well for their future.
AN: So... there it is. I hope it was satisfying. I'm absolutely terrified of writing sex scenes. So don't expect much more than this. :D I don't see myself as one of those Romance novel writers and have a very hard time putting those intimate moments into words. I like the mystery story so much better. Besides I'm sure your imaginations can conjure up much more elaborate scenes than I could ever write about. :) Thank you all so much for the reviews, I really love reading them. And feel free to check out my blog on the forums. I'm going to try to update it when I update the story and with other odds and ends. Hermione's clothes, songs, etc. So check my author's page for the quicklink. Thanks again guys and I really hope you like it!And these are my translations. If I've managed to muck it up, please someone let me know. :)
*Sei ruhig, mein Freund - German - Be calm, my friend*In den Wald gehst du" - German - Go into the woods.
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