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Chapter 12 : The Break-up
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“Draco! What are you doing out here? And with that?” Scorn and hatred colored the voice that stopped the pair dead in their tracks. Hermione and Draco had been returning to Draco’s room from the tour of the grounds. As they opened the door to the sunroom, Master Malfoy confronted them.
The blonde and the brunette hurriedly parted, Hermione using the doorframe to prevent her from crumpling to the ground. “Nothing, Father,” Draco replied quickly.
“Oh, really?” The aging man reached out and grabbed Hermione’s ponytail, yanking it to force her to stand by his side.
Inwardly, Draco flinched in sympathy. “Yes,” he countered, trying to sound confident. “I was merely taking my patient out for some fresh air. I do believe that she was put in my care under your orders. Am I correct?”
A sneered crossed the older Malfoy’s aristocratic countenance. “You are correct, but I do not appreciate your insubordination. You must learn to respect your elders, boy.”
Under his breath, Draco spat, “When you die!”
“What did you say, boy? What did you say?” Draco remained mute though his father had released Hermione to step forward threateningly. “You insolent boy!” He raised his hand as if to slap the young man. After a few tense seconds, he slowly lowered it, his eyes blazing.
White-blonde hair slashed through the air as the master of the Malfoy estate stormed toward the door. He turned at the threshold and spoke with anger, “I will see to it that you never associate with that filth again!” With those final words, he departed the room.
She turned toward the young man, worry evident in her eyes. “Are you okay?” she asked quietly.
“I’m fine.” His voice spilled over with anguish.
She reached out with a hesitant hand. “You can’t help!” he roared as he pushed her hand away.
She stepped back, her eyes filled with questions and concern. “What?” Her voice quivered as she spoke.
“You can’t help! I can’t help you either!”
Tears sprang to her eyes. “Let me. He doesn’t have to know. We still have a few hours." Gathering her courage, she moved forward and placed her hands around his upper arm. She felted his hand clench, moving the muscles beneath her fingers.
“No.” He stared down, sadly, at her upturned face. His eyes met hers as they tried to convey his swirling feelings. “He’ll know. It will be worse for us both. I have to leave now. He’ll probably have me sent on some mission or something.”
Her honey-colored eyes pleaded against his cold, pained, stormy pair. A small part of him gave in. “I promise I’ll see you occasionally. I’ll let you know before I go. Okay?”
She knew that he would not give more. “Promise?”
“Okay.” Before she could speak another word, he broke her hold and walked out, relieved that she couldn’t see the tears that were threatening to form in his eyes. He truly had become fond of her.
Watching his retreating back, tears fell from her eyes. She did not know why she felt so strongly about his leaving – they were not even friends. She wiped furiously at the tears, remembering how cruel he had been to her. “Why should I care?” she thought to herself.
Weary, she sank down unto a Wicker sofa. Regretfully, she realized that she was in no state to journey all the way to her room alone. “Tituba,” she whispered.
With a crack, the house-elf appeared before her. “What can Tituba do for Missus?” she squeaked.
“Umm…” Hermione had not thought of what she would ask for. “Can you ask your mistress to… to visit me here?”
“Yes, Missus. Right away, Missus.”
“Thank you, Tituba,” she sighed as the house-elf disappeared.
A few minutes passed before she heard a knock at the door. “Come in,” she called.
The beautiful blonde woman rested her eyes on the red-eyed young woman, and she quickly walked over to her. She took Hermione in her arms gently.
As Narcissa held her, Hermione let go and allowed the tears to fall freely again. It had been so long since someone had held her that way.
“Dear, dear,” Narcissa murmured into the brown waves. “What’s the matter, dear?”
Hermione wiped her eyes, and studied the woman beside her for a moment. She thought about revealing the full story, but decided against it. “I just need to get to my bedroom but I don’t think I can make it.”
Being a mother, Narcissa knew that this was not the real problem, but she also knew not to inquire about it. “Of course, dear. I’ll help you.”
“What did you do to her?” Narcissa seethed at her only son.
“I did nothing, Mother. It was Father. He banned me from ‘associating’ with her.” Draco pleaded. He did not want his mother’s wrath on him, too.
Narcissa huffed angrily. “I will try to talk some sense into him, but I doubt I will be able to change his mind.” She placed her eloquent hand against his cheek. “You must tread carefully with him. You are my son, and I do not want you angering him. You know how he gets.”
“Yes, Mother.” He hung his blonde head. “I’ll try, but he makes me so mad.”
“I know. You are like to him in that. Just don’t allow your anger to rule you like it does him.”
A/N: Poor Hermione and Draco. Sorry to everyone who wanted them to kiss this chapter, but trust me, that's coming up (probably in the next chapter, Squeal!). Please review - they're very helpful and encouraging. Thanks!
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