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Chapter 12 : Twelve
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Sorry for the slight delay, lets just say that migraines aren't the most conducive things for story writing.
AN - Everything bar the plot belongs to JK Rowling
We walked side by side in the bright winter sunlight, both feeling much more amiable now that we'd eaten and gotten over our little…disagreement. It hadn't really struck me until now how quiet it was here, and I realised that the only times we actually encountered life was after we had been immersed inside a fairy-tale. There wasn't even any birdsong; the only audible sounds were our footsteps and the occasional whisper of a breeze through the tall canopy of the trees.
"I'm bloody knackered, so the next one had better be a bit calmer. Is there such a thing as a nice and calm muggle fairy-tale?" He looked at me questioningly from the corner of his eye.
I laughed. "To be honest I've never really put much thought into it, but now that I do think about it, the majority of our fairy-tales seem to be pretty violent. But I guess there are also a fair few 'romantic' ones as well."
"Romantic eh; they sound a lot more appealing to me at the moment." He nudged me with his elbow, giving me a cheeky little wink. I could only shake my head at the cocky git beside me. "Do you have a favourite story?" He was actually making conversation, whatever next?
"Uhm, well I guess I've always quite liked 'The Princess and the Pea'."
He scoffed loudly. "Frankly, that sounds bloody awful. Does she keep it as a pet or something?"
"Do you actually want to know?"
"Well there's not much else to do around here, so go ahead, tell me the bloody story."
I conceded his point; it was just us and the trees. "Basically, it's about a Prince who's having difficulty finding a wife; he can only marry a Princess…"
"Of course he can, it's one of those bloody archaic principles that Purebloods fucking used to love as well." I stopped walking to look sternly at him. He gestured with an upturned hand for me to continue.
"Anyway, on a stormy night a beautiful young girl turns up at his castle seeking shelter; she claims to also be a Princess."
"Ooh, now there's a surprise."
"Fine, I'm not going to tell it to you if you're going to interrupt with your sarcastic comments all the time."
He chuckled, slinging an arm over my shoulders. "Sorry, do continue, I'm positively riveted."
"So to test her claim, they place a single pea beneath a steadily increasing number of mattresses; apparently only a Princess could have the sensitivity to feel a pea through all of that bedding. It makes me think of you actually. Anyway, the fall in love, get married and live happily ever after." I laughed at the expression of mock outrage on his face.
"I'm not that sensitive." He pouted. "By the way, that was an awful story; what the hell was the point of it?"
"Well…I think that her sensitivity shows the Princess' depth of feeling and compassion; showing her to be the only one for the Prince."
"Bollocks, she's just a crappy guest who can't appreciate what she's been given."
He actually made a fair point, not that I would tell him that, but I still preferred my own thoughts. "Each to their own opinion then I suppose." He inclined his head, obviously agreeing with me.
"I can't wait to sleep in my bed; a proper bed…" A moan of longing rose up my throat at the mere thought of the large, comfortable bed awaiting my return. "You're more than welcome to join me as well, of course Granger."
I tried to cover the small smile that graced my lips at his words, but failed when he smiled back beatifically. "Well, as lovely as a proper bed sounds; the first thing I'm going to do is take a really long, hot bath…"
"In which I'm more than willing to join you." He pulled me close to press a swift kiss to the top of my head whilst I blushed into his chest. "Hang on a sec." He stopped walking, squinting into the bright sunlight. "Can you see that?"
I looked over where his arm was pointing. Glittering faintly in the distance was what appeared to be another barrier. I walked closer, pulling Malfoy along behind me. The barrier seemed to cover the largest area so far; in fact, we could only see one edge of it as it disappeared to each side. There wasn't even a house visible yet.
Sighing tiredly, I stepped across the barrier, barely noticing the heat and tingle of magic as my wand vanished and I became essentially defenceless once again.
An arrow flew straight past my ear, followed by another in rapid succession, missing me by barely an inch before burrowing into the ground behind me. I had to jump to the side to avoid the next one. "What the hell…" Malfoy appeared beside me, having come through the barrier just in time to see me dive sideways. He moved to stand in front of me, brandishing a large shield and a sword. "Where'd they come from?"
I winced as yet another arrow was deflected by the shield. "Obviously, I am now in character; and for once, I quite like it." He admired his sword as it glinted in the light before turning his gaze to me. "You look…different."
Again, an arrow bounced off of Malfoy's shield, landing in the ground beside us. "I am sorry M'lady, but I have been sent to kill you." I spun around so fast at the deep voice that it almost made me dizzy.
"Wh…who are you?" I stammered, unsure why someone would announce such an intention so openly. Stood behind us a few yards was a tall, burly man; in his hand was a bow and arrow, secured in his belt was a menacing looking knife.
"The Queen has sent me; it is her wish, I have no choice. But to kill someone so beautiful…it would be a travesty."
"Uh, you'll be doing no such thing mate." Said the blond man beside me. The other man's eyes moved over Malfoy briefly, his hand hovering over the knife in his belt before moving to look back at me.
He came closer, sidling around Malfoy as if he didn't exist. The stranger stared into my eyes intently before he took my hand and kissed it, I hadn't even had chance to think about running from him. I glanced at Malfoy who looked about ready to throttle this stranger, but he was obscured from view as the man leant close to whisper in my ear.
"Princess, it would be a tragedy to waste something so pure, so stunning." He was still surveying me carefully, an almost predatory look in his dark eyes. "Alas, I cannot do it. Run Princess; run far away from here. I shall trick the Queen, tell her I completed the task and instead find a boars heart." He pulled away, still holding my hand. "Yes, that should suffice. But you must run, now, don't waste a moment."
Releasing my hand, he took a deep bow, and with a courteous nod of the head ran off into the trees.
"Who the fuck was that?" Malfoy all but shouted.
"I have no idea." I was still staring after the man. For once I didn't actually know what fairy-tale we had been transported in to. "I'm not even sure who I'm meant to be, but apparently I'm a Princess." I looked down; I was wearing a long blue and gold velvet gown. The bodice was a deep midnight blue and cinched my waist in. There were puff sleeves and a long gold skirt.
"You're certainly even paler than me for once." He was watching me, his head tilted to the side.
"What…" An idea popped into my head. Skin as pale as the new snow, beautiful and a Princess. "Give me your sword."
"What? Why, what are you going to do?" He asked, suddenly wary.
Rolling my eyes, I grabbed the sword, pulling it up until I could see my reflection. I almost dropped it at what I saw. "No; bloody hell Draco, I look like Pansy." My long chestnut curls were gone, and in their place was a short bob of black hair. It was enough to make me nauseous.
"No you don't; you look infinitely more beautiful than Pansy, and thankfully you don't have that horrible pug-like look about you."
Infinitely more beautiful eh? "As sweet as that was, I think I've figured out who I am, but if I'm correct, then you character shouldn't come in until later."
Are you going to tell me who we are then?"
"I believe that I'm 'Snow White', and that you're effectively my knight in shining armour, my saviour, whatever you want to call it."
He burst out laughing. "Ha, it'll be another 'save' to me then."
"It's not a competition." I pouted.
"Yeah right, like you haven't been counting as well." He looked at me with a quirked eyebrow.
"Alright, I might have been, but you may recall that we're currently even at one and a half saves each."
"In that case, this'll be an easy win for me." He laughed again at the pout on my face. "You know, I think I may have preferred your 'Little Red Riding Hood' look. The hair this time is a touch too Pansy-esque for my liking as well. You still look good though." He added quickly at my disapproving look before slinging an arm across my shoulders. "Which way shall we go Princess?"
The trees in front of us were parted into two distinct paths. They looked identical, winding off left and right in perfectly symmetrical twists and turns. Looking between them, I finally spotted a single bluebird sitting on a branch along the left hand path. If I truly was Snow White then that could only be a good sign, right? "Uh, this way, I think."
I was feeling drained again, this not so little adventure that we'd been sent on was really taking it out of me, and as we walked, I found myself leaning into Draco's side more and more until I eventually gave in and wrapped an arm around his waist…purely for support, obviously. He leant his head against mine. It felt nice to finally be giving into my feelings.
"I didn't say anything earlier, but you look rather dapper yourself Draco." He truly did, in a cream turtleneck shirt, blue and gold tabard and tight fitting trousers tucked into knee high riding boots, all topped off with a rich burgundy cloak; he was the epitome of a Prince Charming. "If I was a lesser woman I'd be swooning in your arms right now."
He leant close to my ear, his breath tickling the fine hairs of my neck. "Swoon away Princess, I'll catch you." He pulled his face away, instead pulling me even closer to his firm body.
"Hmm…" I mumbled into his chest, his steady heartbeat sending me to sleep.
"Whoa, Granger wake up." Opening my now bleary eyes, I saw that we'd finally come across a house. There were a few people outside tending to a vegetable patch. They looked familiar.
"Are those Elves?" Malfoy asked, squinting at the scene before us. They were certainly small enough to be House Elves; not quite the Dwarves I'd been expecting. As we watched, one of them turned around, he had large pointy ears and perched on his head between them, was a small knitted hat.
The Elf smiled broadly as we approached. "Can I help the Master and Miss?" His big blue eyes looked intently at us.
I lied, there was a bit of fairy-tale in this chapter. I'll try not to take so long between the next update, but I can't promise anything. :-)
As always, I would appreciate any reviews or feedback from you lovely, lovely people.
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