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Chapter 13 : Chapter 12: Life in Paint
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I sighed and sat back, looking at the sketch so far. I smiled to myself, already feeling slightly better about my life. All I had managed to sketch out so far was the basic design of the castle, with what would be a blood red sky and lake. I had just begun the basic designs for the dragon whose tail would start below the castle and wrap its way around the walls of my room, it’s head ending near the head of my bed. I smiled, satisfied for the moment, and decided that maybe my growling stomach was right and that it was time for breakfast. I threw on a pair of old jeans and cotton white tee and headed downstairs.
I had expected to see some sign of movement, some sign of life, once I left my room, but the mansion was quiet. I shrugged and went to the kitchen. I pulled out a bowl, spoon, glass, the milk and a box of Cap’n Crunch cereal. I laughed quietly to myself, remembering the incredulity on my family’s faces when I returned from the grocery store with it. They had never had any, now we go through a box a week. I poured myself a bowl and sat down to eat. I finally glanced at a clock and scoffed at myself. No wonder I was the only one up, it was only 5 in the morning.
I finished eating just as the house elves started their chores for the day. I smiled kindly at them and let them take my bowl. I didn’t have the energy to fight a house elf about whether or not I was capable of putting away my own things today. I made my way through the gardens, walking among the many exotic and common plants, just breathing for a little while. Around 7 I decided to get back to work.
I spent the rest of the day locked in my room, working. Tink brought me meals and snacks. Other than her no one else was allowed through the door of my room. The boys kept trying to break through my mind to see what I was working on, but my mental blocks were too strong. I sat back on my heels as I finished the first wall of the mural. I smiled in a slightly self-congratulatory way. I had finished an entire wall. I gazed at the scene of Hogwarts castle on the lake, the sunset throwing everything bloody. My smile fell a bit when my gaze drifted lazily upwards and the image of Draco’s face, his deep storm eyes brooding and familiar, filled my vision. My stomach flipped and my heart lurched and I felt the overwhelming need to cry.
As if sensing my distress, Tink appeared just then. “Miss, are you alright?” She sighed when I looked at her, tears welling in my eyes. “Mione,” She sighed in a ‘why-do-you-do-this-to-yourself’ sort of way. She gently tugged me over to the bed and sat me down. “Just breathe Mione, it’ll be alright. You’ll see, it’ll work out in the end.”
I supposed that she might be right, but I couldn’t figure out how.
I sighed and closed my eyes. For the first time since I had come to Hogwarts, I was sitting in a compartment on the Hogwarts Express alone. I had told everyone to just let me be the day I had discovered Mione, my Mione, with that Weasel. Apparently they figured I was still cooling off.
Just then the door slid open. “Go. Away.” I didn’t want to talk right now.
“No,” Ginny’s voice was clear, calm, and plainly said she had something to say of importance. I opened my eyes to find her bright green eyes staring at my stormy ones intently. I sighed. She sat down, her fiery hair swishing back and forth across her back as she moved. “Draco, why are you so upset by this? You know she loves you.” I looked up at her in shock. Blunt little weasel. I looked out the window.
“Because I always kinda figured she’d go back to him. Their past is too strong, and our past is even stronger, but on the negative side of things.”
“Draco Lucius Malfoy! That is enough wallowing in self pity!” Her sharp voice was like a slap. My gaze snapped to her and locked with her ferocious green orbs. That’s when I figured it out. She had a story to tell. An important story; a story that would change my life. I settled back to listen. Her gaze softened, she looked down at her lap, hesitant for the first time. “I know she will be angry with me for telling you all this, but you need to know. And I can only hope she’ll forgive me eventually.” She looked back up at me and I knew that this story was not a pleasant one.
“Hermione Jade Zabini was born on June 28th 1990 to Marcus and Jeneane Zabini. She was the youngest of the triplets by 4 minutes. Her brother Blaise Samuel was born 2 minutes before her, her brother Brandon Maxwell 2 minutes before him. She was born with two tattoos of dragons on her; one on her right wrist, one at her left shoulder. Her family always remained completely neutral in the war. She grew up at Zabini Manor with her family. Loved and treated like a princess, she grew up knowing nothing but happiness. She was spoiled beyond belief but she never took anything for granted, and she never acted like a spoiled brat. She was kind, sweet, and completely innocent. But it would not remain so.
“A month before Hermione’s fifth birthday, her parents overheard a prophecy that put little Hermione in great danger of her life. The prophecy foretold her birth, whom she would marry, and that she and her future fiancé alone would have to power to permanently vanquish the Dark Lord’s power over the wizarding world.
“Hermione’s parents hid her away with a muggle couple who seemed sweet and loving. Jonathan and Janice Granger took Hermione in. She became Hermione Jane Granger and her first memory was then of her fifth birthday, where all the neighbor kids came to play with the new little girl in town. She grew up happy, blissfully unaware of the turmoil of the wizarding world that she would eventually become a part of.
“Jonathan Granger was a kind, gentle, sweet, loving man. He was the perfect person to become Hermione’s temporary father. His life should not have ended so soon.” Shock registered with me. Her father was dead? And wait, when she mentioned the Grangers having died, she mentioned a James, not a Jonathan. I was wholly confused, but I knew better than to interrupt. She continued,
“Janice and Jonathan were thought to be unable to have kids. Hermione always knew this, they called her their miracle. They had different reasons than she thought for this of course, but now a new little miracle was on its way, a real miracle. Janice was to give birth to a baby boy. She was five months pregnant when Jonathan died. The three of them were driving in the car and a truck broadsided them. They lost the baby and Jon. Hermione was ten years old.” Grief for the woman I loved swept through me. No wonder she could be such a hard ass.
“They had been very close, the Grangers, so the loss was devastating, most of all to Hermione, who had loved her father deeply. She still has nightmares about the crash on rare occasion. However, her tragedy doesn’t end here. Draco, what I am about to tell you will disgust you, repulse you, and probably anger you deeply. I urge you; I implore you, do not act on it, for there is nothing left to do. The man is dead.
“James Henry met Janice Granger at the market one day. He seemed so gentle, so loving. He was funny and adoringly sweet to Hermione. He wove his way into their hearts. The real nightmare began after the wedding. Three months into the relationship, Hermione’s letter came. Janice knew it was going to, James did not. Janice was excited, proud. James was enraged. They fought. He went out and got drunk, came home and beat Janice unconscious. Then he went after the little sleeping Hermione.” A feeling of foreboding, of the utmost dread, filled me as I listened to Ginny’s melodious voice, gone soft and desperate with the story she told.
“He went into her room and held her down. He beat her senseless then stole away the one thing no female wants taken. From that night on, Hermione’s innocent smiles, her naïve child’s play, her laughter, and her bright beaming face, were lost. She knew a world beyond the utmost pain. The hardest part was that it continued. It became a regular pattern. Get up, go to work, go out, get drunk, come home, order the wife and freaky kid around, beat the bitch, and rape the child. It was an endless cycle for Hermione. She began locking doors behind her everywhere she went in her own home. Draco, this never stopped. She only broke free when the Zabinis turned up on the Granger’s doorstep. Draco, he got her pregnant.” I pride myself on the cold exterior, of being able to stomach just about anything. When Ginny Weasley told me that my baby girl’s step father impregnated her, I threw up on the Hogwarts Express. Ginny cleaned it up with her wand while I cleaned myself up.
“Do you want to hear the rest or not?”
“There is more?!” She nodded solemnly. I sighed and nodded stiffly.
“Of course as soon as she found out she told her mother what was going on. James over heard through the door. He ambushed her that night as she was headed to the bathroom. Have you ever seen Hermione’s stomach?” I shook my head no, horror filling me. “Next time you do, take a good look just below her belly button at the scar. That scar is all that remains from the kitchen knife that killed an innocent baby girl and left her would-be-mother near death on the ceramic tiles of the Granger’s bathroom floor.
“Of course James would kill the babe, he was respected in the community, because only his family knew of his heinous ways. He couldn’t let his secret get out. Janice called an ambulance; James convinced them of a suicide attempt.”
“What year was this? Ginny, I need to know, what year was this?” My heart was thundering in my chest.
“Hermione was 13.” The scene flashing before my eyes made my skin crawl. I had stood there, and mocked her about watching the show. She would have seen it so differently, I could see it now. Not a hippogriff and an axe, no; an innocent creature’s life cut short by the blade of a knife. I nodded, swallowing the bile rising in my throat.
“Hogwarts was the only escape for Hermione, this is why she threw everything she had into her studies; she had nothing else. This is also why she spent so much time lying about her family. James made her work tirelessly, but she always claimed to be on holiday in exciting places. Draco, this is why she spends so much time at our house. Because then she isn’t near James.” It was beginning to make sense, I could see it from her eyes now. How could she turn her back on the only people that knew the truth? The Golden Trio - more like the golden sanctuary. Ginny, Weasel king and Potter were all she had for all those years. She didn’t even have family. No wonder she forgave him so easily. You can’t forget the people who save you from pain like that, from insanity; the people who save you from yourself.
“In a way, it was a relief to wake up this summer and not be Hermione Granger anymore. It was a relief to find out James had no more power over her. And it was a salvation to find out he had died.” Ginny’s whisper was so soft; I almost didn’t catch the last part of her statement. I nodded to let her know I had, and then I turned to the window. I heard her leave, but at that moment, all I could think about was the screams of my little Hermione, my sweet heart, as her innocence was brutally ripped from her body.
I finally calmed down and got back to work. I began with the tip of the dragon’s tail. It started just below the castle and wound up and around the scene before stretching along the wall. It was well past midnight when I finally went to sleep. I had made it all the way around to the fireplace, the dragon’s body gleamed wetly in the moonlight as it stretched across the multiple walls and angles in my room. I slept a little more soundly that night. I had the same dreams of the war, but I could feel myself as a separate entity from the dream, and I was impatient for the end, when I would wake up screaming. I woke up just ‘ere dawn and looked around at my room. I smiled as my gaze lit upon the half-finished dragon. I gather my paints and set back to work.
It was sometime later in the afternoon that I finally sat back to rest for a moment. I had managed to finish the dragon. It wrapped all the way around my room, ending with its head curled lazily just about my headboard, making it appear as though my headboard were its pillow. I smiled and thought about my next plan as I sipped the lemonade Tink had brought me with my lunch. We shared the meal as I explained the next part of the mural to her.
“So anyway, I spent so many days sitting in that park, and the Grangers were such a huge part of my life, I want to remember it all, but in a good way. The way it was back before the accident. So it’s gonna be this meadow, right? I’ll place it between the bathroom and closet doors. Then faded in at the top left corner will be Jonathan, faded in at the bottom right will be Janice,” I finished explaining just as a pounding on my door echoed through my room.
“Hermione, you’ve been in there for two days! Please come out!” Blaise’s whine was barely audible through the door, and Brandon’s soft complaint was even worse.
“Blaise is right Mione; we all miss you and are wondering if you’re okay. Please come out, even for just a moment.” I sighed and stood, walking to the door. I used a spell to simply walk through it so they would not see the mural before it was completed.
“Yes? How can I help you?” I smiled at them, though my exasperation must have shown in my eyes.
“We are sorry for bothering you,” Brandon murmured, “we were just wondering if you were alright. And if you’d be rejoining the world anytime soon.”
“Yes, I am alright, and yes, it’ll be soon. The end of the day tomorrow I hope. Now good afternoon gentlemen.” I walked back through my door and put up silencing charms as well as muffliato. I set back to work with Tink on the bed watching gleefully. She loved to watch me paint. It was around 1:30 in the morning when I finally put down the paints and went to bed. In the morning I went straight back to work. Tink brought me food and made sure I ate it as usual and then would sit and watch me work. By midmorning I had finished the meadow and began working on Jonathan Granger’s face.
It was hard work to do; not because it was difficult in a physical sense, but because it made me sad to think of my former father. I missed him terribly and hoped that wherever he was, he was happy. I finished his face by lunch, having taken a great amount of time to put the detail and love into it that he had put into life. I sat and ate with Tink as I thought of him and Janice. James didn’t even cross my mind once through the entire project.
I set to work on Janice’s face, and had it finished just before 4 in the afternoon. I took a short break to stretch. Tink and I sat out on my balcony talking for a little bit, resting, and snacking. I went back to work, starting the final piece of the mural. When I performed the levitation spell and laid on my back in midair, Tink near about had a heart attack. I laughed and told her my idea for the last part. I was planning on showing how both my identities were one in the same by painting a single eye above my bed; honey brown iris with heavy amounts of green flecks in it. She nodded her approval and I set back to work.
I floated down to the bed and smiled happily at the ceiling. It had only taken me three hours to finish the eye. I grinned at Tink; she clapped her tiny hands together gleefully and grinned back. It was done.
AN: What do you guys think? I hope you can imagine the mural as well as I can, I tried to make it descriptive. In any case, I hope the idea goes over alright. I wanted a way for her to be creative and vent at the same time. Because we all know Hermione can’t just sit and vent, she has to be productive about it. What did you think about the stint into Draco’s mind as he hears all about “his Mione’s” horrible life? And what about her background story? Too dramatic?
Next to come: What will Draco do with all this knowledge? How will the Hogwarts kids spend their holiday? Whatever happened to the Parkinsons and Astoria? All this to come in the next installment of What Is Truth?.
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