Hi everyone! Finally a speedier update...I smiled so much writing this chapter, and I hope you do too :)
"Why won't you answer me? The silence is slowly killing me."
-Misery, Maroon 5
Another amazing image by Anna_Black @ TDA :)
“This is ridiculous.”
Harry rubbed his heavy eyelids with his fingers before glancing over at Ginny, who sat frowning on the starch hospital bed beside a lifeless Hermione.
“What, Ginny?” Harry mumbled as he prodded a snoring Ron.
Ginny rolled her eyes.
“I was saying that this whole situation is ridiculous. For almost a week now, we’ve been questioning everyone from our year, and no one knows a bloody thing about Hermione’s first kiss. Nobody.”
“We have to keep trying.”
Ginny groaned as she fell backwards onto the bed.
“Is Ron still sleeping?”
Harry threw a glance to his left.
“Yeah. He stayed up most of the night though. Neville and Luna left a few hours ago.”
Ginny groaned as her hand flew to her face.
“I can’t think of anything! Anyone or anything! I’ve gone through every single guy that Hermione would have possibly the slightest interest in, and no one knows anything. I know Hermione would have told me about her first kiss.”
“Don’t beat yourself up about it, Ginny. We’re doing everything we can.”
Ron began to stir beside Harry, and stretched as his yawn broke the silence in the room.
“Ginny, you’re so loud. It’s too early.”
“Stuff it Ron,” Ginny shot from her position on the bed, “I’m very stressed at the moment.”
Ron sat up beside Harry.
“Well, so am I,” he retorted.
Ginny left Harry and Ron sprawled on the opposite beds as she reached for the stack of yellowed parchment on the table beside her. Grabbing a quill, she flipped through the pages and marked a tiny check by a number of the names.
“We’ve gone through almost everyone in our year. Some have sent letters, and others have stopped by for a few moments.”
“Who hasn’t responded yet?” asked Ron.
Ginny’s dainty fingertips grasped the corners of the parchment, and quickly turned over each page.
“There’s a few stragglers in each house, no one we really knew. And of course, there’s the Slytherins.”
Ron released a grumble from his throat.
“Some of them have sent an owl, very short, expressing their condolences with no information, but that’s expected.”
“Well they’d better at least give us an answer, after we saved all of their….”
Ron was interrupted by the creaking sounds of the opening doors. The three turned to face the entrance to the private wards, revealing Healer Mismick with a tray of steaming tea.
“Good morning,” she greeted them as she handed each a warm cup.
“How are you, Healer Mismick?” Harry asked before the tea reached his lips.
“I’m alright,” she said almost somberly, after stealing a glance at Hermione.
She walked to Hermione and pressed a hand to her cool forehead, and checked her vital signs.
“She’s still with us,” Healer Mismick turned to face Ginny, Harry and Ron.
“Have you discovered anything at all?”
They lowered her heads.
“…No,” Ginny softly answered.
Healer Mismick sighed as she stood in front of the threesome.
“I wish you all the best of luck, and I know you will find the cure.”
“I almost forgot. There is a young lady from your year at Hogwarts waiting in the lobby for your questions. I’ll send her up.”
They watched Healer Mismick depart through the French doors before beginning their conversation.
“I wonder who it is,” murmured Ginny before yawning.
After a few minutes of lounging, they heard the sound of heals tapping the hardwood from outside the doors. They watched the brass handle turn, leaving Lavender Brown standing in the doorframe.
Harry could have sworn Ron suppressed a moan.
“Hi, Lavender,” Harry greeted her with a bit of surprise as he stood up,” Thanks for coming.”
She smiled, tossing her hair over her shoulder before accepting Harry’s hand.
“It’s nothing at all. My boyfriend is actually a healer, and he told me about the awful thing that happened to poor Hermione. It’s so upsetting.”
Harry caught Ginny rolling her eyes as Lavender moved to Ron.
“Hi, Ron,” she stated with a forced cheery demeanor.
“Thanks for coming, Lavender,” He mumbled as he quickly shook her hand.
They watched as Lavender’s eyes lit up as she approached Ginny.
“Oh, little Ginny Weasley! It’s been way too long.”
Ginny threw Harry an “It hasn’t been long enough grimace” before accepting Lavender’s hug. Harry and Ron stifled laughter with their hands as Lavender pulled Ginny tight to her chest.
“Way too long,” Ginny responded with a forced smile.
Lavender’s eyes caught Hermione’s still figure laying beside them
“Oh, Hermione. She looks downright dreadful.”
“She’s sleeping, Lavender,” Ginny shot.
Lavender’s lips pouted before facing them again.
“You all should make sure to moisturize her face as often as you can. Her pores are looking a little large.”
Sensing the award tension, she continued.
“I’m really sorry, but I don’t know anything about who would’ve kissed Hermione. I was sure it was Viktor Krum that took her lip virginity from her, but I guess that wasn’t right.”
Lavender eyed Ron.
“And you are all positive that it wasn’t him?” She thrust a finger in Ron’s direction, which in turn caused Ron’s cheeks to turn the hue of his hair.
“No, we’re definitely sure about that,” Harry retorted, eyeing a still crimson Ron.
Ginny stepped forward.
“Do you remember anything? Gossip? Rumors? People talking?”
Lavender thoughtfully stared at the ceiling.
“No, which really surprises me. I remember all the juicy gossip from our Hogwarts years. But nothing on Hermione’s first kiss, unfortunately.”
She glanced at her sparkling watch.
“Well, I’ve got to meet my boyfriend in a few minutes, so I should go. But I just wanted to tell you all in person that I don’t know anything.”
Ginny and Ron chose Harry with their eyes to escort her out.
“Thanks for stopping by and telling us, Lavender,” Harry stated as he began to usher her out of the room.
Lavender stopped in the doorway.
“Good luck finding this mystery man,” Lavender grinned before exciting.
After watched her leave, Harry returned to the others, and sunk into the bed beside Hermione, before eyeing Ron.
“Well, that was a bit awkward.”
Ron shook his head.
“That’s the understatement of the day,” He mumbled.
Ginny rolled her eyes directly before she fell back onto the bed. The three sat in silence, listing to the ticking of the grandfather clock, the calls of the healer’s voiced on the floors beneath them, and the rumbling of the muggle automobiles outside the open window.
“You know Ron,” Ginny stated, “This would be a whole lot easier if you had just grown some balls and asked Hermione to the Yule Ball.”
Ron narrowed his eyes on the opposite bed.
“Shut it, Ginny.”
Draco Malfoy eyed Blaise as he flipped through the stack of documents that were strewn over his mahogany desk. The morning sun was streaming brightly through the giant glass windows behind him, projecting vertical stripes on the walls behind Draco.
“Talk about a good week. An impressive Merger, and a raise in stock to dazzle the stockholders.”
“Definitely a good week, Blaise,” Draco responded.
Blaise brought his hands together as he leaned into his leather chair.
“I could almost go on holiday right now. Your villa in south France for the weekend?” Blaise chuckled.
Draco held up his hands.
“As much as I love the girls down there, I promised my mother I’d spend some time with her this weekend.”
“Quite the mummy’s boy, aren’t we?”
Draco narrowed his eyes playfully.
“Don’t give me that, Blaise. You are one just as much as I am.”
Blaise lifted his eyes as his secretary entered his office.
“Hi, Alana,” he greeted her.
“Good morning, Mr. Zabini, Mr. Malfoy.” She smiled, taking a seat beside Draco across from Blaise.
“How does the schedule look today?” Draco asked.
Alana tucked a strip of her chestnut hair behind her ear, and began to recite from her pad.
“Not a very busy day. You both have a quick meeting at 1:00, and after that, the day is open to what you prefer.”
“Wonderful,” Blaise stated as he pulled his hands behind his head,” The perfect day.”
Alana smiled at her bosses before standing from her seat.
“I’m off to file your papers. I’ll be back soon.”
Just as she was about to leave, she turned, pausing before the two of them.
“This isn’t exactly on the schedule, but there’s been a lot of talk concerning Hermione Granger’s well being. Harry Potter and the aurors from his department are asking wizards and witches from their year to stop and give any information, or lack of, that they know. You were both in their year at Hogwarts, right?”
Blaise gave a short grunt.
“Yes, we were.”
Draco went rigid, twisting his rings in his lap. For the last week, he had pushed that particular subject out of his mind, but Alana’s point dredged up his repressed thoughts.
“Are you going to talk to Potter, Draco?” Blaise questioned.
Draco didn’t hear Blaise as his mind raced.
“Sorry…um…I don’t know yet.”
Blaise cocked his eyebrow in a questioning look.
“I was just thinking about sending them a nice, Malfoy & Zabini fruit basket, or floral arrangement. I don’t have time to go talk to Potter about Granger’s love life. I mean, why on earth would a Slytherin know who kissed Granger first? We weren’t on speaking terms, let alone exchanging girlish gossip,” Blaise stated.
“Yeah, why would we know anything?,” Draco mumbled.
“Alright, I’ll have one send right away.”
“Thanks Alana,” Blaise stated before her figure departed through the door.
Blaise turned to Draco.
“Are you feeling alright?”
Draco cleared his throat as he shook his head.
“Sorry. I’m fine. I just didn’t sleep well last night.”
Blaise stood from his seat.
“How about lunch?”
“Actually, my friend, I’m having lunch with my mother.’
Blaise narrowed his brow.
“Ditching you best mate for your mother? What a shame.”
Draco sarcastically brought a hand to his heart.
“It kills me Blaise, to choose her over you. But really, it’s me, not you.”
“Tell her I said hello. I should finish this anyway.”
Draco saluted Blaise before grabbing his coat.
“I’m off then. See you later.”
“Have fun,” Blaise shouted as Draco exited through the door.
Draco’s stomach lurched as he landed on the gravel drive in front of his mother’s manor, or rather, his childhood home. As he made his way to the front door, he noticed the wide array of flowers and bushes that scattered the landscape. His mother had truly tried to lighten the mood of the place a bit.
He visited his mother on a regular basis, like any loving, affectionate son would do. Once a week he would meet her for lunch, and some weekends he would stay overnight to keep her company. His father had died a few years after the war, leaving his widow alone in the massive country estate. Draco had watched his father slowly deteriorate while Voldemort strengthened his reign during the war, placing the head quarters within the walls of his own home, imprisoning his family. The aura of arrogance surrounding Lucius Malfoy during Draco’s childhood had vanished, leaving only a ghost of what his father had been. His gleaming blonde locks had lost their gleam, leaving a stringy mane and a receding hairline; seemingly permanent black shadows took hold under his lifeless eyes, and his once muscular frame began to thin. The disgrace he felt from disappointing Voldemort destroyed him, and in the end, ultimately led to his death. Lucius was overcome with a sickness two years after the Dark Lord had fallen dead, and the healers described to Draco and his mother “A man who had lost his will to live.” He took his final breath a day later.
Draco was neither upset nor thrilled with his father’s death. There were pleasant moments he shared as a boy with him, but he mostly saw his father as a cold, leading figure of his household. Most of his grief was for his mother, who was left alone without a husband. But Narcissa shared most of the same emotions as her son, feeling almost liberated from the man who had such a tight grip over his family. His mother remained in his manor, and Draco eventually earned enough to purchase an estate for himself.
These thoughts ran through Draco’s mind as he reached the front door. Before he could lift his knuckles to knock, a figure appeared through the opening door.
“Good morning, Mr. Malfoy,” greeted the smiling housekeeper in the doorway.
“Hi, Nina,” Draco greeted the older woman as he stepped through. He rather liked the gentle woman his mother had chosen to run her estate after his father’s death. Narcissa no longer wished for house elves, and with the passing Magical Creature Emancipation Act, her feelings were solidified by law. Nina was a squib, the only non-magic child born to pure-blood parents. Narcissa was more than pleased when she offered herself as the primary housekeeper, and secretly enjoyed the company of another human inside the empty rooms of the manor.
“Your mother is waiting on the veranda.”
Draco followed his mother’s housekeeper through the winding halls, the elegant sitting rooms, and the four dining areas until they reached two French doors which led onto the veranda. Draco allowed Nina to open the doors for him, and he stepped out into the soft summer breezes that twisted through the sprawling gardens below. His mother was waiting for him, sitting elegantly in one of the chairs seated by a freshly set table. She wore an emerald beaded dress, which covered her arms, and matched the shade of her eyes. Her platinum blonde hair cascaded in waves down her back and covered the sides of her chest. When she caught sight of him, her crimson lips caved into a warm smile.
“My son finally made room for his mother during his busy week,” Narcissa greeted him as she stood, and made her way over to Draco.
“Hi, mother,” Draco stifled out as she took his cheeks in her polished hands, and kissed his forehead. Draco then wrapped his arms around her.
“I had Nina make your favorite treats today, and they look wonderful.”
He followed her to the table, which was covered in freshly made pastries and steaming tea. Narcissa watched him grab every possible item in his reach.
“How was business this week? I read about the merger with the Stockwood firm.”
Draco quickly swallowed half of his roll.
“It was a great week. The merger was an impressive feat. Blaise almost wet himself when we got the filing papers.”
Narcissa chuckly behind her hand.
“Oh, Blaise. How is he? I met with Mrs. Greengrass the other day, and she told me Astoria and Blaise are inseparable.”
Draco placed his teacup down on the table.
“Blaise is typical Blaise. He’s living life like any twenty-something would. And if you ask me he’s pretty smitten with Astoria. But I think she’s a stuck up cow.”
Narcissa’s eyes widened.
“Draco Malfoy! No she is not! She’s a lovely, respectable girl.”
“She practically followed my every move during fourth year, and cried in the bathroom for hours when I asked Pansy to the Yule Ball instead. I have legitimate reasons for my opinions.”
Narcissa laughed at her son again.
“Blaise told me about Celine. She seems like your type.”
Draco rolled his eyes.
“And when did Blaise tell you this?”
“He may have mentioned it when I stopped by to arrange this lunch meeting the other day. So? Have you contacted her again?”
Draco shook his head.
“Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time with her. But she’s one of those girls you meet once, and then usually don’t talk to again.”
Narcissa seemed genuinely disappointed as she turned to face the gardens.
“When are you going to settle down, Draco?”
Draco leaned back into his chair.
“Mother, I haven’t even reached twenty-five yet. I’ve got plenty of time.”
“I want you to be happy. And this living high, bedding different girls on a daily basis isn’t how you find someone to marry.”
“I am happy mother. I’m in charge of the most powerful corporation in the Wizarding World. A time will come for that.”
Narcissa didn’t respond to her son as she continued to face the swirling hues of the flowers below her, and let the warm breezes twirl the ends of her twisting blonde locks. Draco watched her twist her ancient wedding band on her ring finger, which she still wore.
“Did you hear what happened to the Granger girl?”
Draco felt his insides knot tightly.
She shook her head.
“It’s awful. I can’t imagine what her family and those close to her must be going through.”
Draco had a feeling that his mother was picturing himself in the same position.
“A curse like that is created to cause more than physical pain.”
She brought her eyes to her son.
“I read as well as heard that Harry Potter has requested wizards and witches from their year at Hogwarts to go to St. Mungos and give them any information, or lack of any.”
Draco suddenly became interested with his golden rings, feeling his mother’s stare burning into his cheeks.
“Well?” she firmly asked.
“Well what?” Draco replied.
“Have you gone and talked to Potter?”
Draco cleared his throat.
“Blaise and I were going to send them a fruit basket from our company to show we don’t feel good about the situation.”
Draco’s eyed widened as his mother’s eyes narrowed, and her face suddenly tightened.
“A fruit basket? Draco Abraxas Malfoy, a fruit basket is all you send when they asked something better of you? ”
Draco rolled his eyes.
“How would Blaise and I know who kissed bloody Granger?!”
Narcissa narrowed her brow even further.
“May I remind you, Draco, that without the sacrifices that that boy and Hermione Granger made, neither of us would be sitting here today.”
He suddenly became cold.
“And may I also remind you, that he saved your life.”
Draco lowered his head to the floor.
“You are forever in his debt, Draco, as am I. The least you can do is give him what he asked for, even if it involves telling him you know nothing.”
Draco had no response to this as he brought his eyes to face his mother. Sensing he had no way out, he threw up his hands in frustration.
“Ok, Fine! I’ll go talk to Potter. I’ll set aside my appointments in the morning and go to St. Mungo’s tomorrow.”
Narcissa flashed a small smirk as she shook her head.
“No, you’ll go talk to him right now.”
Draco widened his eyes in bewilderment.
“Yes, right now. I’m finished eating, and my tea’s gone cold anyway. And besides, I need to meet the ladies in the next half-hour. We’re planning an event for later this month.”
“You’re just as stubborn as I am, mother.”
“Well, where do you think you get it from?” Narcissa turned. “Nina, we’re finished here.”
Draco moaned as his mother stood from her seat and motioned for him to follow her into the manor, through the rooms, and to the front door.
When they reached the main foyer, Narcissa crossed her arms over her chest, and smirked triumphantly at her son.
“Go on, you’ve seen enough of me today.”
Draco sighed as he kissed his mother on the cheek and began to turn for the door.
“You know I’d rather be engaged to that prissy Astoria, forced into a loveless, painful, agonizing marriage than do this, right?”
Narcissa continued to grin at her son as she began to elegantly wave a polished hand, watching him exit through the door, and disapparate with a loud crack.
When Harry had gone for a quick lunch break to bring food back to Ginny and Ron, he didn’t expect to come back to the ward and find both livid with ferocious anger. He almost wished he had stayed out for a little longer.
“Can you believe the arrogance of those stuck up, little tosspots?!” Ginny huffed by the window, her arms crossed over her heaving chest.
Ron’s eyes were narrowed angrily as he sat his hands folded on Hermione’s bed.
“The both of them are downright, filthy leeches!” Ron spat in Ginny’s direction.
Harry glanced at his wife and best mate.
“What the bloody hell are you two going on about?!” Harry yelled over their shouts.
Ginny turned on her heels and sped past Harry. He whipped around to see Ginny holding a large, decorated fruit basket, with golden ribbons streaming down the handle, and various assortments of colored fruits hanging over the side.
“What’s so wrong with an innocent assortment of fruit? Those apples look really tasty,” Harry asked, pointing toward a gleaming, scarlet apple.
Ginny’s brow narrowed so severely that Harry could barely make out her pupils.
“What so wrong with this innocent fruit basket Harry, is that it’s from Malfoy and Zabini, or rather, their Company,” Ginny spat with a disgusted tone, “Just look at this.”
Ginny thrust a card into his hand. Its gold coloring matched the ribbon, and on the front was an image of Draco Malfoy and Blaise Zabini, both smirking next to their company emblem. He lifted the cover to see an automated message quilled inside.
From Malfoy & Zabini Enterprises.Sorry.
Harry felt his temperature rise.
“Those weasels! They can’t even take time out of their bloody day to write a decent card.”
“I can’t believe they have the nerve to show-boat their wealth by sending this fruit basket when out friend is stuck in an eternal sleep? Did they forget everything you all did for them? You saved Malfoy’s bloody arse twice!”
Ron shook his head.
“The next time I see that ferret, I’ll pummel him,” Ron spat again.
The three turned a around when a sudden knock rapped at the door. An older healer peered through the opening.
“I hope I’m not interrupting anything, but there’s someone from your year who is here to visit you.”
The three exchanged looks and composed themselves with quick smiles.
“Thank you. You can send them in.”
They anxiously watched the door as the healer disappeared, and the silhouette of a new figure appeared in the entry way.
In an instant the color fled Ron’s face, and Harry’s draw dropped a fraction. To his right, Ginny’s lips suddenly tightened.
“Oh…my…bloody…” Ginny shot as Draco Malfoy stood smirking in the doorway.
“Well, Potter. It looks like we have a date.”
The three eyed Draco Malfoy breathlessly as he glanced around the room, before leading against the door frame. His smirk stayed constant as he surveyed the fuming three in front of him.
“You’ve got some nerve showing up here, Malfoy,” Harry shot.
Draco pretended to be shocked.
“But you asked for everyone in your year to pay you all a visit, so here I am,” he arrogantly stated.
“You and Blaise are nothing by cocky, imbeciles. How dare you send over a lousy fruit basket with a message you couldn’t even take five seconds to write,” Ginny snapped.
Draco brought a hand to his heart.
“Why hello Weaslette. Wait, but you’re Mrs. Potter now, right? Not too friendly today, are we?”
Harry clenched Ginny’s arm before she charged toward Malfoy.
“And the older weasel. Still as dim as a troll. Just as I expected.”
Harry and Ginny both grabbed onto Ron’s arms before he could reach for his wand.
“Shut your dirty trap, Malfoy,” Ron spat with a venomous tone.
Harry stepped forward.
“Alright Malfoy, you’ve given your daily dose of insults. What are you doing here? We asked for people to help us save Hermione, and I guarantee you didn’t come here to do that at all.”
For the first time, Draco saw Hermione. It startled him to see her so still and lifeless, as if her spirit had been drained from her body. Her skin looked frigid and pale, and her chestnut curls had lost their usual spring. He half expected Granger to jump up and defend her friends, but she remained still and silent.
Harry eyed Draco curiously.
“That’s right, you stupid, heartless git. Hermione is in trouble. She was cursed by one of your old kind now she’s stuck in an eternal sleep until we find the bloody person who kissed her first.”
The words of “Your kind” stung for a few moments. But he covered his emotion in front of his nemisis.
“So it wasn’t Krum then? I’m genuinely surprised. It sounds like your little goody-two shoes Granger got around. And I mean really got around and got busy if you didn’t even know about it.”
Ron snarled before lunging at Malfoy. Before he reached him, Harry and Ginny restrained him again.
“You little, rotten ferret! Don’t you dare talk about Hermione like that!”
“But the beauty of this situation is, that Granger can’t defend herself, so I can say whatever the hell I want.”
Draco paused as Ron pushed against Harry and his sister.
“And wait a minute, it wasn’t you who kissed her first, Weasley? That’s a surprise. You know if you had just put one on her before Krum, you lovely people wouldn’t be in this unfortunate situation.”
Harry was enraged, and he had enough. He flew towards Malfoy.
“THAT’S ENOUGH! GET OUT OF HERE, MALFOY!” Harry shouted with a snarl.
“But I just got here. And I just getting started,” he snapped.
Harry was unaffected.
“The ONLY REASON you came here was to ANTAGONIZE us and ENTERTAIN yourself. You DON’T want to HELP US SAVE HERMIONE AT ALL. Your OLD BLOODY DEATHEATER PALS have potentially RUINED her LIFE as well AS OURS. YOU UNGRATEFUL COWARD.
“DON’T YOU DARE CALL ME A COWARD POTTER!” Draco shouted.
“Where DO WE EVEN BEGIN?” Ron shouted, “First, there was your ROTTEN, COWARD OF A FATHER-“
Malfoy lunched toward Ron.
“HOW DARE YOU BRING UP MY FATHER-“
“GET OUT MALFOY!” Ron and Harry bellowed.
Draco’s blood was boiling past his normal anger point. His insides were twisting with malice and anger, and his hands were clenched as his side. He was so overcome with hatred towards the three, that he let slip a comment that he had sworn to himself that he would never say.
“WELL WHAT IF I TOLD YOU I KNOW WHO BLOODY KISSED GRANGER FIRST?!?”
The room, which had just been overcome with piercing shouts and screams, fell silent.
*Gasp!* Draco cracked! And he tried so hard to keep it in...I wonder how Ron, Harry and Ginny will react ;) Thanks for reading! Your wonderful feedback keeps me writing! Haha if you noticed the quote was from the song Misery, by Maroon 5, whenever I hear that song, it just makes me think of this story.
Please Review! It only takes a few tiny little seconds :D
Until next time,