Chapter 7 : The first time seeing the dark mark up close.
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“I am beginning to worry.” Hermione said while pouring Ginny a cup of tea.
“Ron is acting really weird.” Hermione didn’t want to go into much detail with Ginny since it was her brother nor she didn’t want her to think about him badly.
“He has been working unusual hours and has become distant.” Hermione said
“He must be engrossed in a case.” Ginny started to answer just as her baby started to fidget in her arms and spit up on himself.
Hermione lost Ginny’s focus. “Things will get better. Harry gets like that sometimes when he is working a hard case. The only thing is; I haven’t heard about any difficult cases going on at the moment”
“Harry, tells you about work?” Hermione realized that she was still holding the tea pot and set it down a bit harder than she would have normally had as the world left her lips.
“Most of the time” Ginny supposed as she lifted the baby to her shoulder and started to pat him on the back
“See Ron doesn’t even talk to me much anymore, not even about random bullshit. That’s the problem.”
“Give it a little bit more time. You’ll see. I think I got to get this little guy home it’s about nap time and soon Lilly will be home from school. Sorry, I couldn’t stay longer. My mom is taking the kids next week. Let’s try to have a girl’s day. We can do lunch or the beach; it’ll be nice not to have to be mommy for a while” she said quickly as she put the baby in its couch, grabbed some floo powder. With-in seconds Ginny had hopped into the fire place, and that was that, she was gone.
And again, Hermione was back to being alone with her thoughts. She decide to walk down to the library. A place where she always felt at home with; she put on her sandals and then out she went. Taking the long way since it was such a nice day out and Hermione had nowhere to go, nor did she have a clue on what was Ron up to. The grass was green, and smelt like that it has been freshly mowed. Birds were chirping, squirrels were jumping from tree to tree fluffy clouds drifting through the bright blue sky. It was just a perfect summer day she thought while walked up to the library and then walked straight in. A little wave was given to the lady behind the desk before going towards the historical fiction section; her favorite section She grabbed a book about the women of the Alamo, found an open chair and began to read. Hermione sat there for an hour or two till she felt the hunger pangs and decided to check the book out. Waling aimlessly for a while she picked a pub that she had never been to get a sandwich and a drink; normally she drink in the afternoon but, decide to so do anyway.
Hermione walked in the dimly light bar and sat down. She ordered a sangria and a salad instead of a sandwich that she was thinking of. Hemrione felt that they would go better together. She opened my book and started to read. While taking a sip of sangria, she just happened to look right up at see the man in the black long coat walking straight for me who she saw the day before. She swallowed hard, hoping that she was wrong and he wasn’t heading for her but, he came right up to her with a half crooked smile on his dancing on his pink lips.
With a smile he then said;
“Hey, remember me?”
Hermione put down her book and looked up “Oh. Hi, yeah how could I forget, it was Justice, right?”
“Can I join you?” he asked through his cocky grin.
She nodded before asking. “Aren’t you hot in that jacket” Hermione was trying to think of some small talk, since she might be interesting to hear what he had to day. She was still in dark of what’s going on around me with Ron and or Draco, really everything.
“Is your business going well?” Hermione asked, picking up her book and pretending to read it.
He nodded while taking off his jacket, putting it on the seat next to her. He was wearing a black sleeveless tight t-shirt under his jacket. Hermione saw his big tattooed muscular arms with a phoenix tattoo on his bicep. At least from what she could see he wasn't hinding any sign of having a Deatheaters tattoo on his left forearm. He then waved over a waiter and ordered a beer. They sat there for a few minute in an awkward silence.
“Can I ask what kind of business would someone like you have here?” Hermione waited till after his beer came before speaking.
He joked “You could, but then I would have to kill you” Justice started to laugh, but all she could do was give him a nervous smile for her form of reply. Hermione thought he saw that he made her feel uncomfortable because then he said
“Ok, I’m lying. Sorry. I’m here for some R & R, you know like people watching and stuff.”
“Oh” Hermione started to feel a little better, even though she knew he wasn’t here for R&R and was lying about that as well. So, she changed the subject back to him.
“Where are you from in the States?”
“I live in New York City, but have spent most summers in London visiting my Aunts and cousins.” Justice scratching his chin while answering totally forgetting that his accent was a dead give away.
“What is New York like? I have only read about it in books or what I seen on TV.”
“It’s busy, lots of people and trash everywhere, nothing like it looks like on TV, but it’s home. I do have to say I like London,though; it has real history. This town is nice though; peaceful.”
Hermione shook her head in agreement. “I only moved here just a not that long ago and it still surprises me almost every day.” Thinking on how to get the subject back to him she started to play with her necklace; sliding it gingerly between her fingers. It worked, he looked right at it
“Didn’t you tell me what the rune around your neck stood for, when I met you last?”
“Oh, wow, you remember. It’s a means happiness and prosperity. How did you know it was a rune?” Hermione asked while furrowing her eyebrows at him.
He stammered and leaned in to touch it “My Aunt was into runes and she tried to teach me to read them when I was small, but it just never took.”
Hermione didn’t think much of his answer, until he went to reach up and touch her necklace. Just then, precisely at that moment Draco walked up to the table. He put both hands on the table making the table shake a bit and a slight thump that rocked both of the people sitting at the table out of their comfort zone.
“Hi Justice” was said curtly with clinched hands and a puff up chest as if he was getting ready to fight.
Justice pulled his hand down quickly from Hermione’s necklace, sat back down in his chair, and instead moved his hand towards Draco, to shake his.
“It’s been a long time Drac, hasn’t it?” Justice stood up. Draco just gave him a look of daggers. His normally blue eyes seemed to turn steely gray, sending chills down Hermione’s spine.
“Well, it was nice.” Justice said whilst looking from Draco to Hermione
“It was nice seeing you too.” Justice then said to Draco as he grabbed his jacket off the chair, threw it over his shoulder and gallantly walked out of bar with his head up.
Draco sat down in Justice’s chair with his arms crossed at his chest refusing to look at Hermione in the eyes.
“What are you getting at, talking to him, again? Didn’t you get what you want the first time?” Draco said, knowing all along that Hermione hadn’t.
“What was that? Why do you keep doing that? I can talk to anyone I want to.” Hermione said with a little desperation to her voice.
She could tell that he was mad, but why? She stood up feeling frustrated, paid the bar keep and left with Draco following at hers heels. Hermione just needed to get out of there; it started to feel like the walls were closing in on her. “Why isn’t anyone telling me anything?” She wondered and Draco again read her thoughts, because he answered her unsaid plea.
“Don’t be upset, please. I’m sorry that I came up to you like that and stuff. It just burnt me up to see him talking with you like that, him being so close to you, almost touching you.”
“Why, Draco do you care?” Hermione asked in more of a sigh than a question.
“That’s the problem. I do care..... I just do.” Draco threw up his arms in defeat, turned his back, and taking a few steps away from her.
“But why, why now?” Hermione huffed and began to walk faster? Draco stopped Hermione by putting his arms around her waist. She let him turn her around and let him lead her to the park that was nearby at the end of the street. Draco summoned a bench and they sat down under a tree. It felt so comfortable with him; but, Hermione couldn’t look up at him. She couldn’t look into his eyes. It was hard enough to keep her thoughts straight while in his presence. Hermione knew if she looked in his eyes she would lose all rational thoughts and all the rest would be lost.
“Hermione there is just is something about you. Maybe, it’s that, you had it right all along, all those years ago at school. That there is more important than blood status. That there might be other ways, then the ones that were pushed on me as a child. How, maybe if I was my own person back then and gave you a chance, possibly even listened to you. Maybe, my life wouldn’t have turned out this way. I mean, thank God I got through the war, but it was only by the skin on my neck. It might have been different if I wasn’t trying to live up to my parent’s ideals. I wish I took a hint from you and Harry, that it’s better to be good person, then what who you were born in to. Because, of you I got a life, my life.”
Draco met her eyes briefly before continuing.
“You planted a seed that grew in me to make me into a man, a good man. You saved me from a horrible kind of life. I’ve seen what kind of men Deatheaters are and have lost friends to them. I have seen how and what their children become. You saved me from that faith and taught me that I can make my own.” Draco lifted up his left shirt sleeve to show her something she knew was there all along.
“I kept it; to remind me about what could of have happened; of what I could of, should of became. What if I did it...... What if I did what I was expected to do? Now, I look back at it and it makes me sick to think about the person I was trying to be; that I could have been. It was someone I never want to be.”
It was the first time that Hermione had ever saw the dark mark up close before. It was just as she remember it but, faded; a skull with a snake slithering throughout it. But, there was more added to it now. It was mesmerizing, filigree that encircled the dark mark, then ran up and around his arm from his wrist to somewhere under his shirt. The filigree seemed to be made up of pictures that would merge from the filigree, into to figures, and then back again into a maze-work of delicate entwining black lines. She could see that it went up the inside of his bicep. Barely, she could make out some words. It wasn’t English, but nonetheless it said something. She wanted to touch it but, couldn’t bring herself to nor did think he would let her.
“Draco, I didn’t do anything. You did it all yourself. You are in charge of your own destiny. No one else could have done it. I’m glad to have helped. I knew somewhere inside of you there was a good person. I knew it when you didn’t kill…. well you know.” Hermione sighed, she didn’t want to go there. So, she changed the subject.
“How did you change or maybe what was it that made you give up the dark arts? I have heard stories from Harry and Ron about your missions. There were a couple big ones, haven’t there? I know Harry was pissed about not getting one he thought should have once; when you got chosen to do one over him.”
Draco smiled at this. “Well, Harry has gotten a few that should have been mine too.”
Hermione’s heart was already fluttering and now it went straight banging out of her chest, causing her to blush and looked away. “Well, then what was it that made you come to over to our side?”
His smile left his face “It wasn’t a what, but a who.”
The butterflies in Hermione’s stomach instantly stopped when she heard the word 'who'. She could feel the hole that was left from where they just were and could almost taste the sick in her mouth. “Oh, um, what are they like? She said trying not to sound down or upset.
“It was a muggle believe it or not. But, they’re not here anymore.” Draco let out an uncomfortable laugh then looked away.
“Draco, really, you were friends with muggles!”
He stood up “Actually, more than friends”
“So, it was a girl, then. Really!?....You really had a muggle girlfriend? Wow, what did your parents think?” Hermione couldn’t help, but to raise her eye brows and give a weak smirk at the thought of him having a muggle girlfriend.
Draco began to pace in front of her. Hermione could feel that something changed inside of him.
“Draco you ok? I’m sorry, what did I say?”
He sat back down next to her, but wouldn’t look at her, just stared off into the distance.
“You know you can talk to me. I won’t judge you. It’s ok.” Hermione said in a soft voice, she hoped was comforting.
Draco raised his voice to her, not knowing he had “You wanna know, you really want to know?” Draco stood up quickly and took a post leaning against a nearby tree, but still wouldn't look at her. His quick change of demeanor surprised Hermione. She thought she could see the old Draco in him, but it was only a flash, and then gone the next second.
“Only if you want to?” Hermione answered him in an almost whisper.
With a slight twinge of defeat in his voice he began to tell him what he had been locking away for a long time.
“I met her a few years after the war. You know my family was trying to find a common place out in the open branded as ‘reformed Deatheaters’, but it was hard. We weren’t tried for any war crimes, because we left the dark side before the end of the war. But, there was still a lot of hatred towards my father. It was hard being in the wizard world. I rarely left the manor nor did parents, we rarely ever went out. One weekend however my mother got an idea for some tea in Paris. Since, we weren’t known in France my father and I thought it was a good idea. So, off we went.
“My father took my Mother shopping while I wondered the streets. Amidst my wondering, I found myself looking into this flower shop window where I saw this girl, no women.” Draco trailed off for a second, before continuing.
“The most striking women I have ever seen before. I didn’t care if she was a muggle or not, I just knew I wanted to meet her. So, I went in and asked for white lilies. Lilies were one the only name of a flower that I could think of. I couldn’t always remember their muggle name, but since they are on my Mother’s favorite flowers; white lilies. It wasn’t hard to pull something out of my head to talk to her. I was so stunned by her that I forgot that she spoke a different langue.
Luckily, she smiled and said ‘we got la lilies’.
“After, that day I found a reason to go back there every day. It was almost a year, before I asked her to have lunch with me. You would have no idea on the money I spent on flowers in that year….” Draco stopped momentarily to see that Hermione was transfixed on his story, so he continued.
“I didn’t know what muggles did on dates or what they did to impress each other. It may have been the worst first date ever. I tried to pack a picnic but, it just went to hell because she had no idea of what the food was that I bought. She must have thought that all English food just had to be that bad. She thought it was crazy that I had brought pumpkin juices or something as fatten as butter beer. I didn’t even try to explain the fire whiskey I had brought. But, she didn’t hate it, as it turned out, and we started to see each other often. About a year into our relationship, she found out that she was pregnant.
“I knew it was time to tell her what I was, because the baby could have magically powers. She took it really well. She actually was quite amazed, not scared by it. She was happy to think that she could be having a witch or wizard growing inside of her. I was so happy, but then realized that now I would have to tell my parents. I knew that they would be a problem but, didn’t know how big of one it was going to be. I told my Mother first. She definably wasn’t happy, but she was happy that I was happy. I asked her if you can aparate with someone who was pregnant. She told me that it was ok to do so, as long as she is healthy.
“Now, all I had to do was find the right time to tell my Father. The situation presented itself, before I knew it. He was in a good mood that day, he found out earlier that his and the family’s name has been cleared by the ministry of anything illicit activity. I chose that was the day to do it, I felt that it was the right time. I told my father that I met someone and was going to bring her to dinner that night. He was happy to hear, even though he showed no emotion. He then went on with his day without another word about it. I thought the hard part was over, little did I know how wrong I could be."
A/N: Thanks for the read. Slowly fixing all chapters. Leave a review please. They make me smile and a better writer for you. Thanks again!!!!
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