Chapter 4 : No Problem At All
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Also, important, I added a small note to my last chapter that I think a lot of you would find interesting (it's at the end of chapter two, "Narcissa's Tale.")
Draco Malfoy awoke to the sound of yelling. He immediately threw the covers aside and jumped out of bed. He threw on his robes while yelling for Kreacher. Kreacher immediately showed up, looking wide-eyed. Draco wasted no time, grabbing his wand from under his pillow and yelling orders as he ran.
"Cast a silencing spell on the room my mother's staying in. Now! And don't, under any circumstances come upstairs. Go back to whatever it was you were doing!"
Draco's door slammed loudly against the wall as he flung it open. He ran up the flight of stairs, towards the source of the yells.
Harry Potter felt like he had been jolted awake by a searing pain. He rubbed his scar wearily before realizing that it probably hadn't been the reason for his abrupt waking. Old habits died hard, he guessed. He realized that it was the hoarse yells that were coming from across his room that had woken him up.
He quickly kicked the covers off of himself, noting in the back of his mind how tangled they were. He snatched his glasses and wand from the table beside the bed, and clumsily put his glasses on. He grabbed the shirt he had discarded earlier and pulled it over his head. He opened his door and nearly fell over from a collision with another form. The figure looked startled but quickly gained control, his wand pointed steadily at Harry. Harry quickly put his hands in the air, recognizing the figure.
Once Draco Malfoy's eyes adjusted to the darkness and he took in Harry's stance, he lowered his wand.
"Potter, what the hell is going on? Which one's his room?"
"This way," Harry said, walking towards the room across his. Once Harry reached the door, he stopped. "Regulus? Regulus Black! You alrigh-" Malfoy pushed Harry aside.
"Regulus, Potter and I are coming in," he yelled, kicking the door open. Draco had his wand drawn, eyes scanning the room, looking for the source of danger. Harry knew better. He ran to the bed, pulling the covers roughly away from the writhing form.
"Regulus! Regulus wake up!" Harry said, trying to shake him awake. Draco paused for a second before understanding dawned on him.
"Aguamenti," he said, his wand pointing at Regulus. Harry jumped away before he could get wet. Regulus Black woke, gasping for breath.
With another wave of Draco's wand, the water disappeared. Another lazy flick and the blanket was draped over the foot of the bed. Regulus gazed around him with wild eyes. Once his eyes landed on Draco's controlled calm expression, he seemed to realize where he was.
"Nightmare," Draco said calmly. Harry was surprised to notice that Draco wasn't ridiculing him. Not only that but he somehow seemed to know what to do, as if he was no stranger to nightmares...
"Accio goblet," Draco said quietly, watching Regulus slowly try to gain control. A scraping noise could be heard for the bureau nearby, causing it to rattle slightly. Draco opened it and a silver and green goblet soared into his hand. He cast a quick cleaning spell on the goblet before letting cool water pour into it. He handed the goblet to Regulus, who took it with trembling hands. His breathing had calmed down considerably.
Harry was looking around Regulus's room sadly. How different it was from Sirius's! Draco Malfoy was idly perched by Regulus's window and was examining the yellowed newspaper clippings on the wall. He looked at them with a sort of detached expression; No one noticed how his fists were clenched at his sides, gripping his wand tightly.
A quiet clink reverberated in the otherwise quiet room as Regulus placed the goblet on his bedside table. He looked up and Draco saw and recognized the agonized look in his eyes. Hell, he'd seen it so many times before when he'd washed his face after a particularly nasty nightmare.
"Regulus," Harry said softly. Draco realized, judging by the look on Harry's face, that Harry was well acquainted with nightmares as well.
"It was the cave," Regulus said in a hoarse whisper, his haunted eyes still on Draco. He heard Harry take a sharp intake of breath. Regulus's eyes flew to him. Draco had no idea what they were talking about, couldn't imagine. He saw Harry chance a brief look at him before turning back to Regulus. Regulus's eyes were somewhere else now.
"I was so thirsty. I needed water. It burned. I saw myself being pulled into that cursed water. The inferi! I saw Sir-," Regulus shut his eyes, trying to regain control. Suddenly, his entire form stiffened.
Draco took one brief look at Regulus's stance and recognized it for what it was. He took one last look at Harry and Regulus before silently slipping out of the room.
Harry didn't notice Draco leave the room. He was...he couldn't explain it. He saw the pain, the agony, but he couldn't do anything about it; Regulus Black wouldn't let him.
Harry shut the door behind him none too gently, a disgruntled expression on his face. He heard a throaty laugh come from somewhere nearby. His eyes flew to something silvery-white shining under the moonlight that had spilled through the window.
"He threw you out," Draco said, sounding amused. Harry scowled. Another soft laugh emerged. Harry saw the silvery thing shift back and Harry saw the rest of Draco's face bathed in the moonlight. He was sitting on an old couch, his head resting against the back of the couch. "He's grieving, Potter. He's had terrible things happen to him and...quite frankly, not only does he not know us, but he seems to hate you," he said. He paused. "Good taste." Harry snorted.
Harry glanced at the couch adjacent to Draco's and sighed before sitting down on it. "I guess he wasn't a fan of my father's," Harry said tiredly. Draco said nothing. "How'd you know? That he was going to kick us out, I mean?" Draco shrugged. Harry pushed his glasses higher up the bridge of his nose. "What do you think was wrong with him?" Harry finally asked.
"Like I said, he's gone through a lot. He knows something's up and he just relieved one of his worst memories. Isn't that reason enough?" Harry said nothing, the memory of the cave still vivid. Draco glanced at Harry briefly before getting up, brushing himself off. "Well, as much as I've enjoyed our lovely tête-à-tête, I'm going back to bed." Harry shook his head, watching Draco head down the stairs to the second landing.
Draco Malfoy yanked open the door to his room, shrugged out of his robes, and went back to bed, his eyes open wide. He slipped his wand under his pillow, trying to ignore the unease he felt. Something was going on and it made him feel uneasy. He tried shrugging it off; It was probably because he had had a civil conversation with Potter, and no one had forced him to.
Draco woke up to the sound of creaking floorboards coming from the landing below. He had become a light sleeper since...He shook his head. He pushed the covers aside and let his bare feet touch the cool ground, examining the room he had been given. In the daylight, it didn't seem as gloomy as it had before. There was a bare patch in one corner of the wall, as if a painting had been recently removed. Draco wondered what the portrait had been of.
The twin bed he was sitting on was quite large, the covers a dark green. Draco smirked. Who would know that Potter was a fan of green? He looked up and noticed the chandelier above him. It was serpent shaped. He almost laughed out loud; Definitely not Potter's taste. He saw the wardrobe he had seen last night, the doors still ajar, his robes the only thing in there.
He had to give Potter's house elf credit; the room was practically spotless. The windows gleamed, letting the sunlight shine through. There were green curtains that were being held back with a silver tassel. The floors looked recently scrubbed. The desk in the corner of the room was spotless. Bottles of ink and a glass filled with an assortment of quills lay on the table. Draco assumed that there would be plenty of rolls of parchment and sand in the drawers of the desk.
The creaking sounds of the floorboards were becoming more pronounced, almost furious. Draco frowned. He could barely make out voices. He tugged on his shirt, shrugged on his robes, slipped his wand from beneath his pillow, and quickly wore his shoes. He walked to the door and tugged on the doorknob, which, he noticed, was shaped like a serpent as well.
Regulus Black was downstairs, pacing around the room, his mind on the night before. He was confused. He was angry. Why had he shown such weakness, such emotion? And to strangers, no less. To Potter, of all people! Regulus scowled. Blacks never showed such disgraceful emotions. Blacks never-
"Harry? Harry, are you awake? Are you there?" A voice asked softly, coming from the doorway. Regulus's head snapped up, alert. "Harry, I'm coming in. I do hope you're decent." And with that, a slight figure stepped inside, only to come face-to-face with an angry, yet familiar looking face, his wand trained on her.
The girl's eyes widened in shock and terror. She was small, petite. She was wearing muggle clothing: snug dark washed blue jeans and an unzipped black leather jacket that showed the red t-shirt she was wearing beneath. Her golden brown tresses were smoothed back with a headband in an attempt to be tamed. She had a tired-looking expression, her face white. Her mouth, which had been open wide with a welcoming smile, was now flipped down in a frown. Her honey colored eyes, which had been warm and inviting, were now wide and chilled. She was obviously trying to hide it, but she had fear in her eyes as well. Little did Regulus know that the fear wasn't really for herself, but for the sleeping boy upstairs.
Regulus sneered at her muggle clothing, but really, he was livid. First Potter and now this?
"Filthy mudblood, how dare you enter The Most Ancient and Honorable House of Black?" he asked, his anger seeping into his words. The girl slowly raised a hand, a sign of surrender. In a movement Regulus barely caught, she drew her wand out as well. Something seemed to occur to her and, with a small gasp, her wand clattered to the floor. Her long lashes fluttered as she opened and closed her eyes in disbelief.
"Sirius?" she asked, her voice barely above a whisper.
So this was his brother, Sirius's, new plaything. All this time, Regulus had been worrying over his brother while...Regulus snapped.
"You filthy- What are you doing here?" he said in a dangerously low whisper, aware of the sleeping people upstairs.
"I- what have you done to Harry?" she asked quietly, her voice barely betraying the turmoil she felt inside.
"I don't know what you're playing at, filth," he said, taking a step closer, "but my brother" he scowled at the word, "isn't here. And you have caught me at a very very bad time."
Hermione backed away a step, her back hitting the door. If she could just find the doorknob...
Draco's steps raced as he heard the menacing tone of Regulus's voice. He was standing a few steps above the landing. He surveyed the scene below him and recognized the girl. He cursed in a low voice before running the last few steps. Before Regulus could turn around or look over his shoulder for the source of the noise, Draco was standing between the two. He held up a hand, a sign of peace, but the girl noticed his other hand casually resting at his robe pocket.
"Calm down Regulus!" Draco said.
"An intruder! A mud-"
"She's a..." he paused, knowing the words he wanted to use, even the kind ones like acquaintance, wouldn't satisfy Regulus, not in the state he was in. "...a friend." He practically felt physical pain saying the word. Regulus lowered his wand slightly and Draco understood that the worst was over, but not quite.
"Malfoy?" an incredulous voice from behind him, barely a whisper, said.
"Shut up Granger, I'm saving your life here. Start talking now and I might just remember how I'd normally be the one helping him," he murmured back. Hermione opened her mouth and closed it again, bemused.
"She's Potter's best friend. Remember how Potter said he had help defeating the Dark Lord? Yeah, she's the help," Draco said, wondering why in Merlin's name he was defending Granger, of all people.
Regulus's wand lowered another notch.
"She said she was looking for Sirius!" he said indignantly. "My brother sullies himself with pretty filth all the time. She must be-"
"I didn't ask for Sirius! I asked for Harry! And I thought you...well you look a lot like him," she said indignantly, peeking around Draco's shoulder. Draco sighed.
"Granger, I know the concept may be difficult for you to grasp but, do you think you could keep your mouth shut? Just this once?" he murmured. Hermione angrily clamped her mouth closed.
"She mistook you for your brother. She's only here for Potter. She had no idea you'd be here, did you Granger?"
"I don't even know who he is! Though he looks uncannily like Sirius," Hermione said, annoyed. Regulus's wand lowered a bit more. Draco's voice was soft now.
"I know you're mad, I know. I can only imagine what you're feeling right now. But, it's not worth it. It won't bring you any relief, only regret. Trust me."
Regulus pressed his lips into a firm line before letting out an angry sigh and turning on his heel. Hermione sagged against the door.
"Who was he?" Hermione finally asked, speaking to, in her opinion, the lesser of two evils. "And what is he doing here?" Malfoy opened his mouth to answer, but Regulus beat him to it.
"My name is Regulus Black. And this, Miss Granger, is my home," he said in mock politeness. Hermione gaped.
Hermione wordlessly repeated the name before..."What?" she spluttered. "It...it can't be!" she said in astonishment, leaning against the door for support.
"You look like you've seen a ghost, Granger," Draco said dryly. Hermione thought she saw Regulus smirk.
"I...he's too solid to be a ghost. And," Hermione shut her eyes briefly," Someone would have seen him by now." Hermione froze, something suddenly occurring to her. "Harry! Where's Harry? Oh God he looks so much like..." Hermione couldn't imagine what Harry was going through at the moment. What with Regulus Black...and he looked so much like Harry's beloved godfather. Hermione stood up straight, pushing up off the wall. "Where's Harry? Oh God Malfoy, is he alright?" she asked in a more urgent tone.
"Sleeping. He's fine, Granger," he added, taking in her pale demeanor.
"Where?" she asked quietly.
"Same floor as Regulus's-" Hermione didn't let him finish, already taking the stairs two at a time, anxious and wanting to see Harry, to make sure he was okay.
"No problem, Granger. You're welcome. Don't even mention it," he said wryly, scooping her wand up off the floor.
A/N: I REALLY enjoyed writing this chapter, and had it stuck in my head for a while. I hope you guys enjoyed the Draco and Hermione interactions! BEFORE YOU COMMENT that Draco would never stick up for Hermione, I promise you that you'll understand why next chapter.
Reviews are loved, and I respond to all of them.
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