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Chapter 10 : Chapter Ten - A Ballet Comes to Life
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Hermione enjoyed spending time with Draco. He was everything that a girl wanted from a boy all rolled into one giant ball of good. She wouldn’t call him perfect though or her ideal man as that implied there was no room for improvement and that my friend is a bad situation to get into.
Her time with Draco was spent very normally compared to the rest of her life. Life was a dance of emotions; an elegant Waltz, an exciting Charleston, a passionate Salsa. But sometimes one needed a break from the dancing emotions, Draco was the perfect distraction. He made her feel alive and she was starting to realize how much their friendship meant to her and how, even when she was with Ron, her thoughts and feelings for Draco hadn’t been completely proper.
Draco was punctual in picking her up the following evening. He wanted this night to be good, special and a surprise. Hermione usually hated surprises she had trouble putting her trust in others and really who could blame her? However a realistic little voice in the back of her mind kept telling her that Draco could be trusted.
The mind was a funny thing, the games it plays to bring out your worst fears and worries turning them tenfold. This was silly and as Hermione put the final touches to her makeup and dressed up with her earrings and bracelets, she looked at herself in the mirror and packed her fears away. She’d have fun tonight; she always did when she was with him.
He knocked at the door of Grimmauld Place in the normal way, no flooing into the house, no apparation. He’d arrived in a sleek black car that would be their transportation for the evening. His crisp grey suit was neatly ironed and brought colour to his pale skin unlike a black suit would do. Hermione opened the door herself, she’d forbidden Sirius from getting involved, he always had a knack for verbal diarrhea and the less he spoke to Draco on a night like this the better.
Draco thought she looked breathtaking. When she opened the door he was momentarily stunned by her natural beauty. Some girls caked on the makeup, they mistook belts for skirts, had fake body parts or were after something he didn’t want to give. But here stood a girl who took no part in the above list, he was quite privileged that Hermione even thought to look at him. Girls were everywhere but a real honest to god girl was hard to find.
Hermione looked elegant in her purple shift dress, hugging her chest it flared out from her waist and fell into a pool around her knees. The sleeves were capped and the purple colour shone invitingly against Hermione’s blushing skin.
“Where are we going tonight?” she asked.
“It’s still a surprise” he replied, “Your chariot awaits my Lady”.
He offered her his arm and led her towards the sleek black car. Regardless of the driver it was Draco who opened the car door for Hermione to slide into the car.
“A driver Draco?” she said with a smile.
“Tonight will be special” he replied mystically.
Draco had a lot riding on this night; this wasn’t just a date with any ordinary girl. Draco had made a promise to himself the day he’d read that article about Ronald and Hermione’s split. Hermione had been in his life as a good omen for many years, the thought of losing her now didn’t bear thinking about. This night would be a success for him, for her, for the both of them.
As the car drove through the busy streets of London Hermione let her mind wander to the possible ideas and locations of her date with Draco. Never had she felt so alive, this feeling of excitement and well-being that she felt with Draco by her side. She wasn’t one to believe in fate, but perhaps things were at last coming together for her. They do say that the love that blossoms from hate is the strongest. She wanted to berate herself for all those years she spent with Ronald, a man who was so completely wrong for her but she’d stuck by him and for what? If she was honest with herself she’d say it was because she was scared to be alone. But she wasn’t alone and dwelling in the past only brought fears and negativity. Hermione was a strong willed, independent woman, this was her chance.
The scenery outside the car window changed and she suddenly realized that the streets they were driving down were the ones of muggle London not Wizarding London. It seems strange to not notice that when you think of Diagon Alley but in truth there were many other parts of the Wizarding London, not all were open to every witch or wizard and not all were as easy to access as Diagon Alley.
As the car started to slow down, Draco was already standing on the pavement before the car came to a complete stop and walked around to let Hermione out. The driver drove off as Draco and Hermione walked away and it was then that Hermione first realized where they were, what they were seeing and how much information Draco had absorbed about her over the years.
Covent Garden Opera House loomed high and statuesque in front of them, its bricks telling a thousand stories, the lighting reflecting a million colours. Draco felt his first flush of success for the evening as he gazed upon Hermione’s face lit with pure joy and excitement. It’s funny how much information the brain holds and saves on someone who’s important and close to your heart.
“What are we seeing?” she asked as he led them inside the building.
“Do you remember Christmas a couple of years back, you came over for a Friday night dinner with my Father and Severus after you’d had an awful fight with Weasley. You and I stayed up late talking, and you mentioned how much you loved the ballet” he stopped waiting for her to work it out.
“Oh Draco, you didn’t!” she replied excitedly.
“It’s a special 30th anniversary performance. I thought seeing as you love this particular ballet so much that you’d like to see it”.
“This means more to me than you’ll know” she replied sincerely.
“I’d do anything to make you happy Hermione” he replied.
“And sitting through a ballet won’t hurt your masculinity?” she teased.
“No” he said, “But don’t even think about trying to get me into any tights!” he replied.
She giggled all the way to their seats, Draco thought for a moment that she was having some kind of fit; people around them were staring at her hysterical laughing. For a moment he felt some panic and embarrassment but later decided that he didn’t care. If Hermione was happy, he was happy. Even if the image of him in tights was what had caused this particular giggling fit.
As the lights went down and the curtain went up the excitement of the Opera Hall heightened intently, but Draco didn’t care for it was at that moment that Hermione reached down and clasped his hand in hers, a constant reminder that she was here with him. For the first time in his life he enjoyed the ballet, but that may have been more to do with his chosen company than the dancers in tights.
The night’s sky sparkled within Hermione’s eyes as the ballet came to an end and people began to get up and move. She was touched that he would remember such a fact about her. The ballet, and this one in particular, meant very much to Hermione for reasons she tried to forget and remember at the same time. You know that moment when you are on a date with someone, you let your guard down and begin to think that this could be it for you, that this is the one you think you could spend the rest of your life with? Well Hermione felt like that now. It was most unlike the feelings she’d had with Ronald or even Victor before him. Draco was an entity all of his own, Hermione wouldn’t change it for anything.
“You enjoyed it then?” asked Draco.
“Of course” replied Hermione excitement still running through her veins.
“These dates, it’s alright that I’m courting you isn’t it?” he asked uncertainly.
“I love that you are courting me Draco, such a gentleman” she placed a chaste kiss on his lips.
Draco didn’t want to rush things too quickly. One could never forget how long she had spent with Ronald, they were over now of course but the path from pain to salvation was a long one and Draco didn’t want to lose her simply because he pushed her too far too soon. At least now she knew without a doubt that he was courting her, and she hadn’t run yet, knowing what ultimately happens when a courting comes to an end.
Draco took her for a quiet dinner and then took her home in the sleek black car that had appeared to pick them up and drive them back to Grimmauld Place. At the front door he took her in his arms and they tenderly kissed. A perfect end to a perfect evening. Draco desperately didn’t want this night to end. His brain was hardly in charge at the moment and he wanted to whisk Hermione inside and upstairs to a bed. But he held on to his self control. The longer they waited the better it would be.
Sirius heard Hermione come home that evening, she was all smiles and excitement bouncing around like a small rabbit. Sirius was glad she was having some fun in her life. He could vaguely feel some of her emotions and knew that whatever Draco had had planned for this night it had made Hermione very happy. He was in no way afraid for Hermione’s safety when she was with Draco. He had been having long chats with Lucius and Lysander. Lucius said he too had felt whispers of Hermione’s emotions and Lysander had concluded that this was happening because Hermione was close to the both of them and was close to them before they realized she was an Enchantress.
Lysander had talked about his reservations about Lord Byron, his temper and mood swings were known throughout the Wizarding world. Lysander had long held a suspicion of Lord Byron’s behavior but was unwilling to part with his theory as of yet, he was sure someone far more intelligent was about to figure it out as well. He mentioned in passing, however, the dream Hermione had for opening her own multifunctional practice. Both Lucius and Sirius thought it was an excellent scheme and would expect nothing less from a mind such as hers. They recommended he bring it up at the next Lords meeting which would be after Hermione had met the last Lord, Lord Nolan.
Sirius walked confidently down Diagon Alley, taking little notice of the gaggle of beautiful witches following in his wake. Instead he made his way strongly and purposefully towards Gringotts. He couldn’t believe that he had never thought of this before, if his brother had loved this Isabella Knight as much as he’d declared to him while in the veil then surely his brother would have left something for Isabella, or at least done something for her while he had been alive.
He asked the gnarly looking goblin if he could see his family accounts that were under his deceased brother’s name. The goblin looked slightly apprehensive at the request but recognized the voice of the head of the Black family and even a goblin like him couldn’t deny the request. Sirius was given a box of papers to look at and go through. He was more than surprised by what he found.
Not only had his brother set up an account for the mysterious Isabella Knight but had also set up a joining account for any children that they may have in the future. Clearly his brother had had high hopes for this Isabella Knight and had loved her deeply. Apart from the heavily filled accounts it appeared that his brother had also purchased a small cottage for his beloved. It was still under his name but according to the papers had been given freely to a Miss. Knight.
There was an address at the bottom of the paper that Sirius hoped was still valid. He wished to visit the house and discover what was there – if anything. It seemed his brother had thought of everything except what to do if Isabella suddenly disappeared. As his brother told him in the veil, his life wasn’t worth living without Isabella there with him. The veil was a happy alternative to the sadness her departure had had on him.
Without delay Sirius made haste to the address on the papers and now stood in front of the cottage his brother had purchased all those years ago. It must have been the first thing he bought with his large inheritance once he’d come of age. It looked perfectly ordinary; with slight wear and tear in places but certainly not the dilapidated house Sirius was expecting to find. It gave him hope that perhaps someone did live here after all.
The gate creaked as Sirius pushed it open, vibrating against itself as it slapped back into place after he’d gone through. The windows shone, the colour of the building was yet to fade. Someone was taking very good of this house. Sirius expected to find the front door locked but as he pushed up against it, it moved inwards revealing the house beyond.
The interior of the house was simple yet if you looked carefully it told the story of whoever it was that had lived here. It wasn’t filled to the brim with knickknacks or riddled with unwanted furniture; the items dotted around meant something to the person who lived there. You could tell even at a glance that everything in this house was chosen with the utmost care.
The house was silent, the furniture and items were well looked after but there was an air of mystery and a layer of fine dust that suggested no one had lived here for a while. As Sirius walked around quietly taking in all the details, he thought how perfect it all appeared considering Isabella had disappeared so long ago. Suddenly…
Sirius spun around. Kreacher! What was he doing here?
“Master?” enquired the elf nervously, his eyes darting around.
“What on earth are you doing here Kreacher?” asked Sirius. Hermione had been teaching him to be kinder to Kreacher, and they were now on better terms since Sirius had passed on a message to Kreacher from his brother.
“Master Regulus left me a job to do Sir” replied the elf.
“What job Kreacher? What do you know of Isabella Knight?” asked Sirius.
Kreacher flinched nervously, unwilling to answer, his eyes darting hither and thither.
“You can tell me Kreacher, I too have a mission to fulfill for my brother, I need to find Isabella” said Sirius quietly and calmly, knowing this was the best way to deal with him.
“Tell me what my brother asked you to do Kreacher and what you know” demanded Sirius strongly but calmly.
“Master Regulus bought this house for Miss Isabella Knight. She was a lovely girl and Master Regulus loved her so much. He said she had had a troubled life and deserved some goodness. He said he was going to marry her. He was sad after you left Master, he missed you but then he met Isabella and he became happier. He asked Kreacher to keep his secret from the family. Kreacher met Isabella, she was kind to Kreacher. Master Regulus told Kreacher to keep an eye on Isabella and to help her out when Master couldn’t be near her” he said.
Sirius knew that Kreacher had kept this secret for years and it was most likely the combination of Isabella’s disappearance and his brother’s demise that caused his fall into despair and hardness, not the fact that he’d kept information from his dearly departed Mother.
“So you’ve kept this house in check all these years?” asked Sirius. Kreacher nodded.
“Do you know what happened to Isabella Knight?” asked Sirius softly.
“She left” replied Kreacher.
“Why did she leave?” Sirius persisted.
“She found out about Master Regulus becoming the dark Wizard Mistress wanted. Isabella was scared; she thought that everything about her life with Master Regulus was a lie. Kreacher tried to stop her, tried to make her see but she wouldn’t listen. She said she had more than one life to think about and couldn’t risk the danger she thought Master Regulus would put her in. She was distraught when she left and Kreacher had to tell Master Regulus the bad news. Master Regulus closed in on himself but he kept telling Kreacher that it wasn’t Kreacher’s fault”.
“It wasn’t your fault Kreacher” said Sirius.
“But Kreacher should have stopped her, Kreacher shouldn’t have let her disappear” Kreacher wailed.
“Hush Kreacher” Sirius tried to soothe his distraught house elf, “Do you know anything more?”
“Elves sense magic Master, Kreacher thinks, he thinks that Miss Isabella was carrying a child” whispered the elf.
“She was” responded Sirius as he watched Kreacher’s eyes get wide.
“Kreacher looked after the house even though Miss Isabella had gone. Kreacher kept it good just in case she came back”.
“You’ve done a good job Kreacher” said Sirius affectionately patting the elf on his head.
Sirius looked around the empty house and wondered about all the memories that were hidden here. He so desperately wanted to find out what had happened to Isabella Knight, the baby and all the lost memories that led up to the moment in which she disappeared.
Hermione opened the next letter to read, it was from her Mother’s secret admirer. It seemed things were heating up.
My Dearest Girl,
I hope you are flourishing in your humble abode, I know with all the money your uncle left you that you will be able to furnish it to your heart’s desire. I know you wanted to buy your own house but I just couldn’t resist. I don’t want anything in return; it gives me great pleasure in being able to gift you with a house. I know that you will be completely safe in the house and I know how much you will love it.
I miss you every day. My life becomes lonely without you, I long for the day in which I can see you again. The house I live in is a lonely one. I miss my brother dearly but I have no way of contacting him. I just wish I knew where he was, I want to apologize, and I didn’t mean half the things I said to him. I feel lost without him, he was always the one to look after me and lead me down the right path but without him here I find it harder to stay away from my parent’s grasp.
I will come and see you this weekend; I cannot stand to stay away from you. I will take you out, we will go somewhere amazing. Buy yourself a dress, a simply marvelous dress, for you Isabella Knight are about to get taken out for the time of your life.
You are my world; you will always be my world. I will always take care of you.
Always yours R.
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