Chapter 10 : Gossip and Dead Things
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It’d been nearly two weeks since they’d been back to their little cottage, and Hermione had been teaching him a few things about being in a kitchen. Not once had he been alone with a stove and to be a little a condescending, she was impressed nothing had burned and that the cottage was still in one piece.
“If this was meant to be a surprise for me, you should’ve closed the kitchen door.”
Hermione’s sudden words made Draco drop the plate that was in his hand. Luckily his good reflexes caught it before it could hit the floor.
“Oh, I’m so sorry!”
“No, you’re not.” Draco said as he put the plate on the table. “I bet you’re laughing on the inside.”
“…Maybe a little.”
Draco rolled his eyes and Hermione went over to his cooking area to inspect things. Everything looked fine on the surface and she turned to Draco who had his arms crossed and a brow cocked in the air. “Ten points for presentation,” She smiled and then noticed the peach cobbler on the counter. “And you baked too?”
“Absolutely not,” Draco snorted. “Robbie brought that over. For you in particular,”
“Did he?” Hermione looked at the cobbler and then at Draco. She suddenly felt very guilty for wanting to eat it.
“Yeah… Said he had promised to bring it by long ago and finally decided to do it. Hasn’t been too long since he brought it either. He would’ve stayed to say hello to you but he didn’t want to catch anything.” Draco smiled wickedly and Hermione stared at him suspiciously.
“And what’s that supposed to mean exactly?”
Draco looked at her and then began to laugh. “I told him you were desperately ill and very contagious.”
“…Somehow I always thought the jealous role fit you well.” Hermione huffed and then sighed as she sat down at the kitchen counter. “But very well… Janice has been trying to say hello to you for the past week and I’ve been shooing her away from the cottage every time. I guess we’re even.”
Draco sniggered and Hermione hid the blushing of her cheeks with her hair. “Now who’s the one being sneaky?”
“I call it chasing away intruders, thank you very much.” Hermione said with a chin raised proudly. “Besides, if you’re going to leave me, it’s not going to be for a dimwitted blonde with way too many enlarged body parts.”
“Fair enough. So long as you don’t leave me for a cashier of all things. To go from pleasantly rich to that is a million steps backwards.”
Hermione chose not to reply to such a shallow comment and watched as Draco began to pile food onto her plate. Still arrogant and snobby he was, and yet she still liked him? Yes, evidence for that Illusion Potion grew dimmer with each passing day.
Aside from having to go to the kitchen to eat, Hermione and Draco spent the entire day in bed. They spent it talking, watching the television that they had bought off of Ford Watson, and reading. Well, the reading was mostly Hermione while Draco laid there and listened, occasionally interrupting her by negatively commenting on one of the story’s characters.
Before going to bed that night Draco asked, in a very lighthearted manner, if he was going to have to bash Harry’s and Ron’s brains in for them to accept him. “I’m not sneaking around them.” He added, and Hermione stared at him pensively.
Draco Malfoy was the biggest enigma Hermione had ever encountered. He puzzled her about being so open to the idea of them being together and now about being open with their relationship when this whole mess was over. Truth be told, Hermione had all intentions on keeping this part of her life from public eye. Not indefinitely, because no secret stayed a secret for long, but just long enough until she herself felt comfortable with it.
It was easy to be with Draco now. They were in hiding. No one knew them there. They were acting as a married couple so it was expected of them to be affectionate. But what about back home? They were supposed to be at each other’s throats, not each other’s lips. Hermione wanted to ease into it. Apparently, Draco did not. And as they slept that night she wondered how he could not be apprehensive about all of this. She held in a laugh about how she was supposed to be the brave one, being placed in Gryffindor and all. But she came to the conclusion that this had absolutely nothing to do with bravery. This had to deal with pride. Draco wasn’t one to hide. He took things head on to show that he wasn’t afraid and that he wasn’t going to back down.
This was no different.
“You just stick it right through that loop there.”
“The one right next to it… Yes, that’s it. And now just continue on like I showed you.”
Hermione was smiling. She was sitting in her living room with Mrs. Cohen and being taught how to knit. Draco had left with Chester early that morning to go hunting and Mr. Cohen had gone along with them. A few hours later Mrs. Cohen came knocking on the door saying that they’d might as well have a “Ladies Day” while their husbands were out. Hermione welcomed it and very much felt like she was ten years old again and spending it at her gran-gran’s house.
“Okay, so we’ve talked about Ford, Ernest, and good ole Chester. Who’d you like to know more about next?”
“Hmm,” Hermione thought. Her mind wandered over to the peach cobbler she had yet to touch and then put her concentration back on her knitting. “Robbie,”
“Ah, I was wondering who you were going to bring up next.” Mrs. Cohen smiled. “My guess was close.”
“Who did you think I’d ask about?”
“Who else..? Janice,”
Hermione stared at her perplexed, but the kindly elderly woman simply continued to smile and work her knitting needles like clockwork.
“It’s no secret that she fancies your lovely Ian.” Mrs. Cohen sighed and began to switch the color of her yarn. “And it’s no hidden matter that Robbie seems to fancy you.”
“But…Ian and I are married.”
“Can’t control a fancy, dear… But on with the gossip, shall we? It’s so funny that both of their names should come up together. It wasn’t long ago that they were trying to impress each other.”
Hermione cocked a brow in the air. “They dated?”
“I wouldn’t call it dating, but my, did they flirt endlessly.” Mrs. Cohen gave a soft chuckle and gently shook her head. “It was one of those ‘why don’t you make it official already?’ kind of things.”
“Did they ever?”
“No, they didn’t. Eventually it slowed and they went their separate ways until they became as you see them now.”
“I see.” Hermione frowned as she messed up a row of her knitting. “And concerning this…fancy that they have toward us. What do you think they’ll do about it?”
“Well, last I heard, Robbie was cooking for you.” Mrs. Cohen winked. “Came by the cottage to borrow a few ingredients he didn’t realize were missing from his cupboards. How did that taste by the way?”
“Haven’t eaten it yet,” Hermione blushed. “Felt absolutely horrible for wanting to with Ian and all.”
Mrs. Cohen nodded, fully understanding. “Yes, well, Robbie’s been in the kitchen, and from what I’ve gathered from Angelique, Janice is fully convinced that your husband is a very busy man. Is he?”
Here Hermione laughed. She’d completely destroyed her knitting by now, glanced at it, and set it aside on the coffee table. “To her he is… I wouldn’t let her go near him even if he was dying and she was the only one that could save him. I only hope she and Robbie aren’t so persistent especially when they can gain nothing.”
Mrs. Cohen resolved into silence in order to gather her thoughts. A few seconds later she changed the color of her knitting once again and then gave a satisfied “hmm.” “There’s no empty gain when it concerns Janice and Robbie. The two of them are quite the persistent ones no matter what they do. It’s something to be admired to be honest. For whatever they want, they take what they can get at the moment. All with the intention on getting their whole desires later. If that’s not patience, then I don’t know what is!”
Mrs. Cohen began laughing. Hermione joined in as well though hers was a little forced. To actively pursue married people… It was a bit pathetic in her eyes. Why not go at each other as apparently they had once done? And to think, all evidence was pointing to Delamere being the perfect town with the most perfect people. But of course, everything has its flaws. And this was Delamere’s.
“Make room! Make room! Dead animal coming in..!”
Hermione and Mrs. Cohen brought their attention to the front door and the two of them watched as three men tried to wrestle in what appeared to be a dead deer. Once it was inside, they maneuvered themselves to bring it into the kitchen. Hermione was on her feet and in the kitchen’s doorway just in time to see it being placed on her clean kitchen counter.
“Ah, just imagine the possibilities with this beauty!” Chester smiled broadly as he turned to Hermione. She took a swift glance at Draco who shrugged and held in a grin. She placed a hand on her chest and the other on her hip as she continued to gaze at the dead thing in her kitchen and Mrs. Cohen moved to stand beside her.
“…And what exactly am I supposed to do with this?” Hermione asked with her brows raised.
“Whatever you like, my sweet Nicole. You’ve got food for days! Just know that I expect an invitation to dinner a night.”
“As do my wife and I,” Mr. Cohen chimed in and soon the whole kitchen was in an uproar of laughter. After a bit of a small talk (in front of the fireplace and not in front of the dead animal), the cottage was empty save Hermione and Draco who were both trying to recline on the opposite ends of the sofa, but gently kicking each other as each tried to get comfortable.
“We’re hopeless.” Hermione rolled her eyes and curled her legs up under her so she could avoid Draco’s occasional kidney shot from his feet. “And so, judging from the dead deer that’s sitting on my kitchen counter, I take it that you like hunting?”
“For someone who’s never shot a gun in his life, nevertheless only just saw his first one today, I’m pretty good at it.” Draco stretched and folded his arms behind his head. “Got it right between the eyes. No different from a wand, I’d say. Still got to anticipate when or if and how your prey is going to move and anticipate other factors.”
“Only you can relate magic to hunting. But yes, I suppose it’s the same. You still have to aim and be calculating. Even a gentle breeze can offset your bullet and miserably ruin a shot.”
Draco stared at her in surprise. Hermione was avoiding his eyes, shame filling her endlessly, but he wouldn’t let her get away with things so easily. “Have you gone hunting before?”
“…A few times with my father, but I only shot once. He had shown me how to hold a rifle, how to aim, how to take in account for wind, and made me watch animals run for hours each time we went. To get a feel for how the animals walked and ran so I could anticipate their actions,”
“If that’s the case, you should’ve gone with us then.”
Hermione immediately began shaking her head. “I hate hunting. And I hate guns even more than that. I killed a bunny when I was thirteen. A perfect and clean shot so my father said, but when I saw the poor thing I couldn’t believe what I’d done. I never went hunting with my father again after that.”
“Hmm,” Draco stroked his chin. After that he sighed and made himself more comfortable on the sofa. “Well then, you’re going to absolutely hate what I’m about to suggest.”
“To go to a shooting range,”
“You’re kidding.” Hermione said wide-eyed. Draco smiled at her reaction and gently kicked at her feet.
“Come on, Hermione. So you like to remind me every now and again, there’s a murderer looking for us. Have you thought about what would happen if Iverson was to find us here? How would you protect yourself without a wand?”
“I’d… I’d… I’d do something. Just please, Draco, no guns in this house.”
“As you wish,” Draco acquiesced with a nod to her, but then he began smiling again as he gestured to the direction of the kitchen. “So, what day are you inviting Chester and the Cohens over to eat that?”
Hermione threw a throw-pillow at him and he laughed loudly. Soon she was coercing him to go upstairs with her. Not just to spend an intimate time with him, but also so she wouldn’t have to be reminded that there was a dead animal downstairs that she would soon have to deal with.
author's note: has it been over two weeks since i posted? ah well, a post is here now! finals were driving me up the wall, and i still have a paper to turn in tomorrow. anybody want to write a french paper for me lol?
either way, i decided to post to make me smile as well as you all ^_^. it made me laugh writing it and i hope it did for you as u were reading it!
thanks for all the reads/reviews!