Chapter 10 : Return to Shell Cottage
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“Just follow my lead,” Hermione stated picking up her beaded bag with her other hand.
Malfoy opened his mouth to protest but was cut off as Hermione spun him into the whirlwind of apparation as the tent and forest disappeared in a spiral of colour.
Instinctively, Hermione had closed her eyes during apparation. When she opened them at her destination, she saw the familiar shape of Shell Cottage against the sandy beach background.
Hermione couldn’t help but smiling at the thought of seeing familiar faces. She desperately needed a Malfoy break.
“Where in Merlin’s name are we?” Malfoy asked gruffly, snapping Hermione out of her thoughts. She imagined that Malfoy wouldn’t be quite as happy to see the inhabitants of the cottage. However, she was also fairly certain that he would be less that well received.
“Just don’t say anything and try to behave yourself,” Hermione said praying he would listen.
“Behave myself? Who are you, my mother?” Malfoy replied snarkily, while wiping the remaining bits of sand off his pants.
Hermione let out a frustrated sigh and marched towards the cottage. She heard Malfoy angrily fall into step behind her.
She reached the pealing cream coloured door and knocked hesitantly.
“Let me talk and stand behind me,” Hermione whispered to Malfoy and surprisingly he obeyed without comment.
A moment later the door swung open revealing the beautiful and petite form of Fleur Delacour.
“’Ermione! Eez zat really you?” Fleur gasped before engulfing Hermione in a huge bear hug crushing the breath out of her. Fleur, it appeared, was surprisingly strong despite her size.
“Come een! Come een! ‘Ow ‘ave you been?” Fleur ushered Hermione in the door. Malfoy followed close behind her, concealing his face from plain view.
“Ah! You ‘ave brought a friend!” Fleur said commenting on Malfoy’s presence, “And what eez your name?” she asked with a friendly tone.
Malfoy hesitated. He began to speak when the angry voice of Bill Weasley echoed through the room.
“Draco Malfoy,” he snarled, causing a gasp from his wife, “What the Hell are you doing in my house?”
Malfoy glared at Bill. “Standing,” he said sarcastically. He moved across the hall and sat down in a nearby chair. “And now I’m sitting.” Hermione groaned. Malfoy’s cheek was not going to help the delicate situation.
Bill thundered down from his perch at the top of the stairs. “GET OUT! GET OUT NOW, YOU WORTHLESS PIECE OF SCUM! LEAVE!” He bellowed, thrusting his finger at the door.
Hermione chose this moment to step in. “Bill, wait please I have an explanation!” she pleaded walked towards Malfoy.
Bill turned to face Hermione. His face was still contorted in rage but it had softened slightly at the sight of Hermione.
“Hermione,” Bill said, trying to control his voice that was still shaking slightly, “What the bloody hell is going on here?”
“Let’s sit down and I will explain everything. Please?” Hermione gestured towards the kitchen table, her eyes wide with pleading.
Bill took a breath. “Alright.” He said and led them towards the table.
As soon as they were seated, Hermione launched into the story. She told them every small detail of Professor Noires project and all that this “Horcrux” hunt entailed. When she finally finished she let out a huge breath and fell back into her chair, exhausted.
Bill looked at Hermione with incredulity, “So they are making you practically relive everything you went through last year?” he asked.
“Yes,” Hermione replied sadly.
“And Malfoy here is your assigned partner?” Bill couldn’t keep the snarl out of his voice as he said Malfoy’s name.
“Yes,” Hermione confirmed.
“Bloody Hell,” Bill sighed leaning back in his hair and running his fingers through his ling red hair, “So where do we come in?” he asked, gesturing to Fleur and himself.
“We need something to destroy the “Horcrux” we already have along with the rest to follow,” Hermione said, “Professor Noires gave us a list of three items that could be used. One of them was a potion made with one hair from the head of a Veela.” Hermione finished, looking at Fleur.
Fleur touched her hair, “Will eet work?” she asked, “I am not one ‘undred percent Veela.”
“I know,” Hermione said, nodding, “Since your grandmother was a Veela, I think the magic that will be able to destroy these “Horcruxes” will be present in your hair.”
Hermione stirred the boiling water. Bill had managed to find a suitable cauldron and Hermione had immediately begun working on the potion. The water bubbled and tumbled splashing all those who stood to close. It was ready. Hermione walked over to the table where Malfoy was still sitting, and plucked the hair from the napkin she had laid it on. She held it over the cauldron for a moment before composing herself and dropping it in. Suddenly, the potion turned into what looked like liquid silver. Hermione pulled out her wand and pointed it at the substance. “Signa Magica!” she cried. There was a loud bang, followed by a large plume of smoke erupting from the cauldron. Hermione fell to the ground coughing and covering her eyes from the blinding smoke. Just then Malfoy appeared in the room.
“What’s going on in here, Granger?” he asked, raising an eyebrow at the mess.
“Nothing,” growled Hermione as she pushed herself off the ground and peered over the cauldron.
The smoke cleared revealing a silver, luminous liquid that seemed to be made of a newly forming Patronus.
“Did it work?” Malfoy was just barely whispering, caught up in the wonder of the mysteriously beautiful liquid.
“Let’s see,” Hermione replied. She grabbed her beaded bag off the table by the door and pulled out the key from the cottage and an eyedropper.
Hermione placed the key down in the center of the empty kitchen table. She dipped the eyedropper into the potion. She pulled it out one it was full and held it steadily over the key.
Alright Hermione, She thought to herself, 1, 2, 3.
Hermione let three drops fall onto the key. The second that the third drop hit the surface, the key began to sizzle. Suddenly, a loud scream interrupted the silence and the key turned from antique silver to a horrible corroded black colour.
“I think it worked!” Hermione squealed delighted.
At that moment Bill and Fleur appeared in the doorway.
“You are sure making an awful lot of racket, is everything alright?” Bill asked eying the key on the table.
“It worked!” Hermione proclaimed joyously.
Bill and Fleur both beamed at her, obviously glad of her accomplishment.
Hermione, still smiling, grabbed her beaded bag. She placed the destroyed key inside and pulled out a small, reinforced flask. She filled it to the brim with the potion before corking it and replacing it in her bag.
“Malfoy come on let’s go,” Hermione said. Malfoy stood up and joined Hermione at her side, preparing for apparation.
She turned to thank Bill and Fleur for their hospitality when a small ‘pop’ came from the foyer.
“Hey Bill! Do you have anything to eat? I’m starving!” Came a familiar voice as it approached the kitchen.
Hermione stiffened. This was not going to be pretty.
And from around the corner, the tall, lanky figure of Ron Weasley appeared.
“Bill did you hear me? I---“Ron froze midsentence as his eyes fell on Hermione and Malfoy standing right in front of him.
“Wha—what’s going on?” Ron asked confused, then like a trigger going off he became furious, “I SAID, WHAT THE BLOODY HELL IS GOING ON?” he yelled, glaring at Malfoy, who returned it with equal malice.
“Ron,” Hermione began calmly, “You know I have to do this school project—“
“WITH MALFOY!” Ron interrupted.
“Yes, with Malfoy. We were assigned partners. It was either we work together or we would fail the year.” Hermione replied matter-of-factly.
“Then you should have chosen the latter!” Ron shouted, “Malfoy is and has been our enemy for years! He tried to kill us! And all of a sudden for the sake of a grade you will betray me and Harry to work with him?”
“Ron, I’m not betraying anyone! How dare you expect me to fail just because of a few harsh feelings?!” Hermione yelled back.
“’A few harsh feelings?’ HE WORKED FOR VOLDEMORT, HERMIONE! He’s evil!” Ron bellowed.
Hermione felt angry tears stinging the back of her eyes. “This is my decision, Ron. I don’t believe he’s really evil.” Hermione could hardly believe she had said that, but she kept up a mask of confidence while glaring at Ron. Out of the corner of her eye she was sure she had seen Malfoy’s eyes widen in shock.
But Malfoy’s look of shock was nothing compared to Ron’s. But his look of pure astonishment faded quickly into rage. “I can’t believe you, Hermione. I really can’t. You’re dead to me.” And with that Ron turned on the spot and vanished.
Hermione felt hot tears spill out of her eyes.
“Bi—Bill, Fl—Fleur, Thank y—you ss—so much fff—for your hospppp---hospitality.” Hermione managed to choke out.
Fleur made a move to comfort her but Hermione had already snatched her beaded bag off of the table and had grabbed Malfoy’s wrist.
She turned rapidly on the spot and apparated back to the tent in the forest. As she landed, her legs gave way and she collapsed on the forest floor, sobbing.
Thanks for reading! Super sorry for the late update but, anyway I hope you liked the chapter and I hope with every fiber of my being that you review. Please. Thanks again!
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