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Helix-Breaker by Aether
Chapter 6 : Dinner with the Malfoys
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 5


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The wonderful, the amazing, and the talented emesias beta'd this chapter, and has been my beta throughout this whole story! Thank you, emesias!

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CHAPTER SIX: DINNER WITH THE MALFOY’S

--

“Ah, good,” said Mrs. Malfoy as Harry, Hermione and Pamela reached the bottom of the stairs. They could see from the hallway into the kitchen, where whole platters of food were splayed out on the counter-tops. Hermione was sure that Pamela and Harry could hear her stomach rumbling. 

“You saved me the walk upstairs,” Mrs. Malfoy said, as she pulled the roast chicken out of a magical oven. It looked like the most delicious chicken Hermione had ever seen, and it smelled fantastic. Mrs. Malfoy set it down on the countertop, and then turned to the trio, who were watching the scene in front of them with undisguised hunger.

“I have guests coming over very soon, and I would like it if you three could stay upstairs for the remainder of the night.”

Hermione felt sick at the thought of not being able to have a bite of the meal in front of her. She found she wasn't angry though - perhaps she'd been expecting this all along. 

“Oh,” said Harry, his voice dull with disappointment.

“Don’t be so glum,” Mrs. Malfoy said, not without scorn. “I’m hardly being ungracious. You three showed up covered in blood and uninvited, no less. I am grateful that Potter chose to repay his life-debt with this home, but I believe there is a line even I must draw. I will not have you,” she spared a quick glance for Hermione and Pamela and then looked back at Harry, “disturbing my dinner. You are not a fit group for the company I keep.”

Hermione shouldn’t have done it. She knew it was rude and unhelpful and useless against Mrs. Malfoy’s unwavering stare, but she was dizzy, her shoulder hurt, and she hadn’t been so hungry since the war. It felt damn good to laugh at the ridiculous woman in front of her, who cared more about dinner parties and ‘proper’ Pureblood manners than common human decency.

Harry put his hand on her shoulder in an attempt to calm her, but she flinched, her laughter transforming into a sharp intake of air.

“Are you still injured?” Harry asked, pulling his hand away like he’d touched fire.

Mrs. Malfoy had returned to her roast chicken, uncaring of Hermione’s state – mental or physical. 

“It just aches a bit. I’m fine, Harry. We’ll go to St. Mungo’s tomorrow.”

Harry looked like he wanted to protest that, but Mrs. Malfoy cut in.

“You three should be heading upstairs now,” she said, glancing at the clock. “They will be over any moment now, and I don’t want you to disrupt our evening." Pamela was already heading upstairs, and Harry had turned to do the same.

Hermione, though, couldn’t do it. She knew she’d regret this. Somewhere inside of her brain, there was a little voice screaming at her, telling her to turn around and go upstairs. Hermione had always had a bit of a chip on her shoulder, though, and people like Narcissa Malfoy drove her mad.

“There’s plenty of food here,” Hermione said, peaking into the dining room. It was set for only four people. “I’m sure there’s enough for everyone.”

Narcissa’s face was frozen, her gaze boring into Hermione like lasers. “As I said before, it is not a question of there being enough. The company is unacceptable.”

There. It was barely perceptible, but Hermione noticed the way that Mrs. Malfoy’s eyes flickered to Pamela for just a moment. Did that mean…? Hermione couldn’t help herself. The words flew from her mouth before she understood their implications. “Is Pansy Parkinson coming?”

“Hermione,” Harry said sharply, when Mrs. Malfoy’s expression gave it away. “Let’s go upstairs.”

“My sister’s going to be here?” asked Pamela in a small voice. The house was silent after her question, no one choosing to answer her. Even Hermione couldn’t summon the courage to say something. “She’s going to be in the same house…” Pamela trailed off, gazing at Mrs. Malfoy in undisguised grief.

“I believe it’s best…” Mrs. Malfoy said, trailing off when she met Pamela’s eyes.

“Yes, of course. I shouldn’t – but I haven’t seen her in years!” Pamela turned away, grabbing the stairwell. Her shoulders were shaking. “I should go before she comes.” The last bit was a whisper, only audible because the house was so mind-numbingly silent.

Hermione didn’t know what to say to Pamela, but she was excused by the sound of the Floo flaring up.

Pamela turned towards the kitchen, eyes wide in fear and excitement. She has a view of the parlor from up there, Hermione realized.

“Mrs. Malfoy!” the nasally voice of one Pansy Parkinson echoed into the kitchen. “Have you seen this article?”

The Floo flared up again, and another person with a voice Hermione couldn’t place said, “Did you really have to bring that rag, Pansy?”

“Oh, shut it, Daphne, and stop agonizing over that article they wrote about you. They were dead on – you’ve reached an unhealthy level of obsession.”

“Yes, I know your opinion very well, Parkinson. That was also in the article. However, I don’t have a clue as to why they cited you as my closest companion.”

The two Slytherin women walked into the kitchen, not yet realizing that they had three extra sets of eyes on them. “Mrs. Malfoy?” Pansy asked, following the woman’s enraged expression to the people still lingering on the stairwell “Potter? Granger? What are you two doing here? Does this have to do with the article…?” Pansy said, her eyes stopping on the woman at the very top of the stairs. “Pamela?” she asked weakly.

Pamela stumbled down the stairs, brushing by Hermione. She squeezed Pansy into a tight hug. Mrs. Malfoy watched in deep disapproval.

When they broke apart, both women were crying.

“Is anyone going to tell me what’s happening?” Daphne demanded.

Pansy couldn’t answer, she was too busy wiping away tears and smoothing out her pleated black cocktail dress. Pamela was dressed in a common Muggle outfit – jeans and a collared shirt. Nevertheless, their resemblance was uncanny.

“Is this…?” Daphne didn’t finish that sentence. Instead she turned to Mrs. Malfoy. “You’re sick,” she said harshly. “What the hell are you thinking, inviting Pansy’s sister? Are you trying to make things harder for them?”

Mrs. Malfoy let out a long breath of air, her eyes shutting for just a moment. “I believe we should set an extra three place settings so that I may be relieved of my guilt in this matter. I will explain, but I must ask that you not spread word of my indiscretion.”

Daphne said, “I can’t make promises until I’ve heard the full story.”

“Neither can I,” said Pansy quietly, using a handkerchief to wipe at her running nose. Pamela was looking away, neither acknowledging each other after that initial embrace.

“Come along. I would not deny a meal to a guest,” Mrs. Malfoy said, sending a meaningful look at the trio. Clearly, Mrs. Malfoy also didn’t want it known that she’d denied them dinner.

Mrs. Malfoy laid out the platters and the extra settings on the table. “Mr. Potter, Ms. Granger, and Ms. Parkinson all arrived here earlier today in a state of disarray. Because Mr. Potter was generous enough to give me this house through his life debt, I felt the need to be a gracious hostess and allow them stay here a night.”

“Oh, that’s in the article, isn’t it? There was an attack in Diagon Alley,” Pansy said, handing Mrs. Malfoy the paper. Then, she turned to Pamela. “But how are you involved in all this? Did you go to Diagon Alley?”

“I researched all this. Hermione came to me with her idea, and it turned out that I’d looked into it already. I’m a Muggle scientist now, at a University,” Pamela explained. “This sort of thing is my specialty. The hit wizards came to my house, and Harry saved me.”

Pansy’s brow furrowed. “Why would you do something so dangerous, Pamela?” she asked.

“I want to help prevent Squibs from happening,” Pamela said firmly. “I don’t know why on earth Purebloods wouldn’t be able to think the same about losing their loved-ones to the Muggle world.”

That stumped Pansy, who looked away from Pamela’s stern expression quickly.

The Malfoy matriarch frowned as she read the article, and then she turned to Hermione. “This was very unwise,” she said.

“What does that mean?” Hermione demanded.

Daphne sighed, replying for Mrs. Malfoy, “Sticking your head out in Wizarding society is dangerous, especially when it comes to something like this. Purebloods and halfbloods go crazy over the thought of Muggles becoming a part of our society. There’s some sort of prophecy or old wise tale that says that when Muggles find out about the Wizarding world, it will be the end of magic as we know it.”

“I’m not proposing that we introduce Muggles to magic!” Hermione said. “I’m just showing that Squibs are made because Purebloods have been marrying within a very small gene pool for the past few centuries.”

“So you would propose that we marry Muggles?” Pansy said in distaste.

“Not at all. If you were to do that, then your children wouldn’t be magical,” Hermione said.

“Actually, you could have a magical child if you married a Muggle,” Pamela corrected, “but it would be only slightly less improbable than the spontaneous appearance of Muggleborns.

“I can’t explain why without teaching you about genetics, and I think that might take a while. I can assure you, though, that I have done plenty of research. I have actual facts to support my theory.” Pansy seemed to respond to her sister better, her wide brown eyes staring at Pamela in surprise.

Hermione nodded. “I’m not suggesting you marry any one person, either. I’m proposing that if Pureblood families were to stop marrying in such tight circles, then they’d stop having Squibs. I’d even say that it would be just about impossible to have a Squib if a Pureblood were to have children with a Muggleborn.”

By now they had all seated, and the three Pureblood women were considering the uninvited guests with tired expressions.

“Are you sure it’s the only way, though?” Pansy asked. “I mean, not that I believe you or anything,” she corrected hastily. “But according to whatever you’ve figured out… are you sure it’s the only way?”

Hermione nodded. “There’s no way you could change your genes. A gene is a part of your body that determines certain traits – like hair color, height, or amount of magic. Everyone has two copies of the same gene – one from their mother and one from their father, but only one of those genes is active. In purebloods with a mutation, the gene without the mutation is functional, leaving no outward signs of a defection. However, the problem with Purebloods is that they have become very genetically similar. They share the same mutations in their genes because they come from the same ancestors where the mutations originated.

“Every time a child is born, he inherits one of his mother’s genes and one of his father’s genes. If, by a twenty-five percent chance, he inherits the same mutated genes from both his parents, then he is born a Squib.”

That left a grave silence, and the three pureblood women didn’t have a reply. Perhaps, Hermione decided, she’d piled too much information in at once, but she needed them to know that she wasn’t just pulling her conclusions out of a hat.

Mrs. Malfoy took a deep breath, glancing away from her three uninvited guests for just a moment. “Draco should be along soon,” she said, indicating the extra plate.

All the room’s occupants froze.

“He’s back in London?” Pansy asked, clearly trying to hide the eagerness in her voice. “I haven’t seen him in ages.”

“That is why I invited you, Pansy darling. I thought he would appreciate your company,” Mrs. Malfoy said with a fond smile.

Pansy blushed a deep red. “We’re not… Mrs. Malfoy, we aren’t together anymore, if that’s what you’re suggesting.”

“What were we talking about earlier?” Daphne asked casually as she took a seat beside Pansy, “about unhealthy obsessions?”

Pansy scowled, her face turning a deep shade of red. “I have no such thing!”

“Ladies,” scolded Mrs. Malfoy, “There’s no need to bicker over my son. I don’t mean to be so insistent, Pansy. I understand that our reputation does not make my son a fitting suitor.”

Pansy nodded, though her blush didn’t fade.

“I haven’t seen Malfoy since the court room,” Harry whispered to Hermione.

“Neither have I,” Hermione replied, recalling that scene vividly. She’d wasted a whole day debating whether or not to go, but then she’d ultimately decided to do it for Harry’s sake.

Harry had testified on Draco’s behalf in front of the Wizengamot, though when asked whether or not Lucius Malfoy deserved to walk free, Harry had told the Wizengamot that he didn’t recommend it. She knew that Draco’s words after that hearing probably still haunted Harry:

“What right do you have to choose who lives and who dies?” Malfoy had demanded, when Harry and a reluctant Hermione had come to congratulate him. “You just sentenced my father to death, Potter – because that is what Azkaban is: a slow, tortured death!”

Harry hadn’t been able to reply, so Hermione had done it for him. “Your father murdered and tortured more people than I can count. How is it fair to all his victims that he walks away from this war a free man? How in God’s name could you think that Harry would ever let a murderer roam free, able to do it again? Lucius might be sane in ways Bellatrix never was, but that doesn’t make his crimes any better. None of this is Harry’s fault. Lucius Malfoy deserves every second of his time in Azkaban.”

Then Malfoy had done something that neither Hermione nor Harry had been expecting. His fierce stare had melted, his gaze skipping away from them. “Leave,” he’d told them. “I need to go comfort my mother. They took everything from us, and we don’t have a knut to our name left.”

“I’m sorry – ”

“Shut it, Potter.”

Malfoy had turned to leave, but Hermione couldn’t help saying, “We’ll see you at Hogwarts, Malfoy.”

“Put a muzzle on your Mudblood, Potter.”


In retrospect, a part of Hermione understood Malfoy’s anger. Draco Malfoy didn’t have the money for his seventh year at Hogwarts nor the humility to ask for some, and she’d ignorantly being rubbing salt in his wound.

They heard the Floo flare up, and Hermione turned her gaze to the dining room’s entrance in dread.

“Don’t say anything to him,” Harry said under his breath.

Hermione raised her brow. “Excuse me?”

Harry flushed and looked away. “It’s just, you tend to make things worse…”

She scoffed. “Will you never get over that slap? We were only third years!”

“I think we’ll get a lot further with tactfulness, in this battle.”

Harry looked nervous, like he expected Hermione to bite off his head.

Hermione sighed. “Yeah, alright, I know. We should feel them out about genetics. Any Pureblood supporters we could gain might really help us. I feel like we’ve reversed roles all of a sudden – since when did you like level-headed logic?”

Harry frowned. “I don’t want a repeat of what happened at the trial. When it comes to Malfoy, you lose your head sometimes. Besides, this whole goal is completely different from the war against Voldemort.”

“I’ll give you that,” Hermione said, thinking for just a moment that everything would be easier if they just had to slay a villain. Changing society was much more difficult, and it probably wasn’t work meant for Gryffindors. “Why isn’t he coming in, anyway?”

Hermione looked around the room, noticing that Mrs. Malfoy had slipped out. Pamela was glancing nervously at her sister, who was huddled at the other end of the table with Daphne Greengrass, whispering.

“Guess Malfoy’s going to get a bit of a warning from his mum,” Harry said. “Maybe we’ll get lucky and he’ll decide to leave.”

Hermione hoped that Harry was right, but a part of her knew well that Malfoy wasn’t one to walk away from a fight.

---

Draco tried. He really, really tried to understand what his mother was telling him, but it didn’t seem to register. 

“Do you know how tired I am? How much I’ve gone through today? I was about ready to collapse in bed when I came home!”

“You could have refused,” replied his mum. Her expression gave no emotions away, leaving nothing but a cold mask. “Besides, I did not ask for Potter or Granger or their Squib pet to Apparate into my front hallway, but that is a price I must pay for our family’s mistakes. All I wanted was a nice, peaceful evening with my son, who I rarely see, and two Pureblood women who can still bear to be in the same room as us.”

Draco looked away from his mother, his lips tightening in a scowl. “How’d you know I was in London?” he demanded.

“Daphne told me earlier today – she said she’d heard from Blaise that you were going to be back today. I would have expected to hear from you directly, though!”

Draco took a deep breath of air, trying to control the rising anger he felt. Granger was in his mother’s dining room. Before he would even have time to sleep a full night at home, he was already starting his newest mission. What a terrible coincidence. Draco never believed in coincidences. It was something his father taught him years ago: There’s always someone pulling the strings – you’re just not looking hard enough.

“They know I’m coming?”

“Yes, Draco, you cannot leave now,” replied his mum, who placed her hand on his shoulder. “You look very handsome. I’m glad you chose to wear your dress robes.”

“I know you too well, mummy dearest,” Draco said with a bitter smile. “You wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to show off your son to eligible Pureblood women.”

Her lips quirked at that, and her normally cold blue eyes twinkled. “Just try to be a bit more forthcoming to Pansy, would you? Someone in our position could do much worse, and I think Pansy loves you enough to forget our terrible reputation.”

This would have been the perfect moment for Draco to correct his mother, to tell her about everything that had happened, but he couldn’t. Some part of him knew that when he told his mother about how he’d captured all the remaining Death Eaters, she wouldn’t believe a word he said.

“Try not to bite the Mudblood’s head off,” said his Mum as she brushed past him.

Draco rolled his eyes, and he muttered in reply, “Because this can only end well.”

--

Hermione nudged Pamela. “Why don’t you go sit next to your sister?” she asked.

Pamela’s lips pierced. “It’s strange seeing her. When they left me, they told me to forget about my family – build a new one and all that rot.”

“So you built a new sister?” Hermione said incredulously.

“Figuratively,” replied Pamela.

“But you were so happy to see her!” Hermione exclaimed.

“Yes and no.” Pamela looked at Hermione, her brown eyes staring at hers, exasperated. “You still don’t understand, Hermione, and part of me thinks that I can’t actually explain it to you in words. They didn’t abandon me – they saved me from a life of jealousy and bitterness! Can you imagine what it would be like to grow up without magic in a world that treasured magical power?”

“People are disabled all the time in the Muggle world,” snapped Hermione, “but Muggles don’t cast them out because of it. They aren’t usually consumed by jealousy and bitterness either.”

That silenced Pamela, who looked away angrily. “But Muggles don’t have the option to travel to a world where their disability isn’t a disability.”

They heard the door open and turned their attention to the doorway.

“Draco!” Pansy screeched. She sprung to her feet and then halted, staring at Malfoy with a panicked look in her eyes.

Malfoy had the decency not to comment on it. Instead, he said, “Pansy, it’s good to see you again.” His gaze traveled around the room, sweeping over Hermione, Harry and Pamela before reaching Greengrass. “And Daphne,” Malfoy said, his head ducking. Pansy scowled at Malfoy’s sudden shyness, taking her seat again.

Hermione just about rolled her eyes. No male could resist the slim, blonde and beautiful Daphne Greengrass. Hermione wondered what would happen if a Pureblood like Malfoy ever found himself attracted to a Muggleborn, but she quickly discarded that thought. Purebloods saw Muggleborns like vermin – as if it were programmed into their brains from birth. Which probably happened, considering all the 1984-style conditioning their parents put them through.

“I guess I shouldn’t be offended that you didn’t greet me,” Hermione said, as Malfoy took a seat. She winced when she felt the toe of Harry’s boot from under the table.

“You were not invited guests, so I found no need to do so,” Malfoy replied.

Daphne rolled her eyes, drawing the attention of the whole room. “Will this be our entire meal? I, for one, do not wish to deal with Draco and Granger’s bickering the whole evening. I’m more curious about where you’ve been, Draco, and how did Blaise know you were back?”

Malfoy shifted uncomfortably, finally replying, “I’ve been involved in a secret mission for the Ministry, and I was able to complete it this morning. I happened upon Blaise at the Ministry, at one point. Either way, I’m not supposed to talk about the mission yet. There will be a press release early tomorrow morning, and it should be in the paper.”

Hermione furrowed her brow in confusion, trying to sort out what Malfoy meant. “You’ve been working overseas, though,” she said. “What’s so important out there?” She felt another nudge from Harry under the table.

Malfoy shrugged. “Like I said, I’m not to talk about it until the morning.”

Hermione didn’t believe it. Malfoy had always been one to boast when he managed to do anything right, and now he seemed more uncomfortable than proud. She said as much, “It’s not all good, though, right? You don’t seem particularly happy about it.”

Malfoy flushed in anger, and he was about give a retort, but Pansy cut in, “No, I agree with Granger. There’s definitely something huge that you’re not telling us. For a Slytherin, you’ve always been a terrible liar.”

“Of course there’s something I’m not telling you!” Malfoy said. “I’ve already told you as much.”

Mrs. Malfoy raised a brow. “There’s no need to shout, Draco. We can stop talking about what you’ve been doing, if you wish.”

Malfoy nodded, and Hermione knew the instant when he saw that paper, that things were about to get a lot worse. “What’s that rag doing on our dining room table?” he demanded.

“Draco,” warned Mrs. Malfoy. “Don’t make us regret waiting for you. It’s quite late already, and we’re all very hungry.”

Mrs. Malfoy placed her wand on the largest serving plate and food appeared instantly, steaming as though it had just come out of the oven. “Dinner is served,” she said. With another swipe of her wand, a portion of each of the platters appeared on their plates.

Hermione stared, wide-eyed, at the delicious meal in front of her. The ultimate distraction, though, didn’t faze Malfoy. She took a bite of the deliciously moist chicken, trying to block out the annoying tone of his voice.

“I hope you weren’t discussing that garbage seriously,” he said, drawing the attention of the three Pureblooded women. “I know for a fact that it’s all fabricated for the express purpose of destroying Pureblooded society.” He turned to Hermione with a sneer as she finished swallowing. “You three should be arrested for treason!”

Pansy rolled her eyes. “Watch it, Draco. That’s my sister you’re accusing of treason! You’re acting like a first year Gryffindor.”

That seemed to catch Malfoy, who turned attention back to his steaming plate.

“Besides,” Hermione said, ignoring the especially hard nudge Harry gave her. “Since when did you know for a fact that we were trying to destroy your precious lifestyle? The only thing we’re doing is trying to prevent the occurrence of Squibs like Pamela.”

“Oh, yes, from the goodness of your Gryffindor hearts,” said Draco sarcastically. “It has absolutely nothing to do with the integration of Muggles into our society!”

“Not Muggles!” Hermione corrected instantly. “Muggleborns! If anything, my research is against the integration of Muggles into Wizarding society! Intermarrying with Muggles could destroy the existence of magic, but my research proves that Muggleborns and Purebloods have the same magical trait! It would only be healthy for Purebloods to expand their narrow gene pool by integrating Muggleborns.”

“If Purebloods and Mudbloods have the same trait, then why are some more powerful than others?” Malfoy demanded.

“It’s not known,” Pamela said. “I could never determine that precisely though scientific evidence, though I would guess that it has something to do with traits that enhance or take away from the magical one.”

Malfoy didn’t even spare Pamela a glance. “Purebloods may occasionally have to cast out a Squib, but it’s worth it if it means we’re more powerful.”

“That’s garbage and you know it!” shouted Pansy.

“Excuse me?” Malfoy said, turning his fierce gaze to Pansy.

Pansy backed down, her eyes skittering away, but Daphne cut in for her, “You’re being tactless, Malfoy, though I can’t say I’m surprised.”

“Tact is unnecessary when dealing with Gryffindors. They do not understand subtlety, nor do they deserve the respect of veiled insults.”

“I can’t even be in the same room as you!” Hermione managed to say, her appetite completely forgotten. Nothing enraged Hermione more than bull-headed ignorance, and Draco Malfoy was the single most thick-headed bigot that she’d ever met.

She stood, wincing at the sudden flare of pain in her shoulder. “Come along, Harry,” she said, looking back at her raven-haired friend. He looked like a kid denied a lollypop, with his chicken-filled fork halfway to his mouth and a look of pure disappointment on his face. “How can you still be hungry?” she demanded. “After everything Malfoy just said!”

“Granger,” Malfoy said. “You’ve lost your mind.”

“Me?” Hermione said with a half-manic laugh. She frantically looked around the table at the faces around her, all watching her cautiously. “I make sense!” Hermione exclaimed. “You all sit around this table, living the lifestyles you were born into, listening to all the legends and half-true stories that have been retold and manipulated for centuries. You don’t question anything! You live in denial, refusing to acknowledge the truth or follow logical rules of common sense!”

“Hermione,” Pamela said softly.

Hermione’s head snapped to the black-haired Squib, who was staring, with wide-eyes, at Hermione’s shoulder.

“What?” she demanded, breath coming out in pants now. Her shoulder ached terribly, but she refused to cradle it in front of Malfoy.

“You’re bleeding!” Harry said, standing suddenly, causing Hermione to back away quickly. She looked down, surprised to see that the shoulder of her black robes was wet.

“My wound must’ve reopened,” Hermione said faintly, stumbling backwards to the sofa behind her.

“Not on my furniture!” Mrs. Malfoy exclaimed. “I do not want your blood on my furniture.”

Harry turned to Mrs. Malfoy, enraged. “Shut up. This was my godfather’s furniture, and her wound’s reopened! We need to get her to St. Mungo’s!”

“No,” Hermione said faintly, panic blossoming in her chest, “It’s too dangerous – they might be out there still.”

“Granger, you need St. Mungo’s,” said Malfoy, who neared her shoulder with a conflicted expression on his face. “I’m sure your attackers aren't out there any m.”

“I don’t need to go if one of you know some healing spells,” she said hopefully.

“Yeah, some basic healing spells, right. Just something to close up the wound again until we can go to St. Mungo’s in the morning,” Harry said, turning to the four other people in the room. “I’m rubbish at them. Do any of you know any?”

Hermione felt very dizzy. She could barely see, but she noticed the way that all three Pureblooded women turned their attention to Malfoy. Hermione groaned as a wave of pain spread throughout her body. Ordinary wounds didn’t affect the whole body like this…

She felt her robes being pulled off and a cold hand moved the sleeve of her shirt over her wound. A collective gasp spread throughout the room.

“You were hit with a dark curse, Granger,” Malfoy said, and Hermione realized the Malfoy was the one examining her. “Whoever fixed up this wound probably thought you’d be going to St. Mungo’s afterwards for a more permanent fix. I only know basic healing. A mending spell won’t do anything, at this point.” Malfoy's voice was oddly strangled. Hermione could barely register it though - her brain was getting hazy, and she'd lost all ability to follow a train of thought. 

“Then what will?” Harry asked. 

Stupefy.”

Malfoy’s spell hit Hermione before she could even realize he’d cast it.

--

So, here it is! Thanks so much to everyone who reviewed - D2Diamond, academica, petrificus tortalus, GreenMe, granger_, and Bookworm530! It's so nice to know you guys are following this story, and your feedback means a lot to me. :)

I'm going back to college in a little over week, so updates will slow way down. However, I'm hoping to maybe get another update in before I go back to school, though. Ugh. It's that time of year again.

Aether


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