Chapter 11 : Free Reign.
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I jumped off the bed, not caring if I woke up Draco any longer, and hastily ran to the bathroom. I barely made it to the toilet before the entire contents of my stomach was deposited in it. I pulled my head out of the porcelain bowl, feeling the burning in my throat. I tried to swallow what was trying to make it's way back up again, but to no avail. It came back up anyway. I flushed and coughed at the disgustingly foul taste that filled my mouth. I curled up in a ball and pressed my body against the cool tile floor. I felt terrible.
I barely heard a soft knock at the door. “ Hermione are you okay?” Draco said quietly from the other side. I moaned in response. He was silent for a second before talking again, “ Can I come in?”
I let out another moan, I was so sick to my stomach that I couldn't even move. I was afraid to form words because that would mean I would have to open my mouth – which could lead to me vomiting even more. That was a risk I wasn't going to take.
The door opened slowly and a blonde head appeared around it. He looked worried, but I only looked up at him for a few seconds before resting my head back on the floor. “Are you okay?'' He asked again. I just shook my head slowly back and forth. “Are you going to throw up again?”
Oh, he knew I got sick. Gross, I couldn't help but feeling a little embarrassed. I shook my head “no” again. I didn't think I would, the pressure in my throat was gone, but my stomach was still doing cartwheels.
He leaned down and threw my arms around his neck. He carefully picked me up bridal style and carried me back to his bed. Holding me up with his one arm, he used the other to pull back the covers to place me on the sheet clad mattress. He pulled the top sheet over me and tucked me in, leaving the comforter off. He pressed his lips against my forehead.“You're burning up. It's possible that you have the flu. That went around a few weeks ago, maybe you just got it later than others.”
I just looked up at him with horribly sad eyes. I probably looked like crap. No, I definitely looked like crap.
It must have been evident because he smiled and said, “You look fine love. You're just sick.” He brushed my hair out of my face. “Do you need anything? Can I get you anything to make you feel better?” He seemed genuinely concerned. He was so willing to take care of me.
“No, I'm okay. Thank you, I just woke up and I feel really gross.” I murmured, my throat hurting, from vomiting, with every vibration my vocal chords made. I winced at the end.
“Hush, darling.” He smirked. He then looked at the clock on the wall. “Shit! I have to go to work, well...we have to go. Yet something tells me that you won't be in today. “ He chuckled softly at the end.
“No!” I yelled a little too loudly, making me wince again as the sound rang loud in my head. “I need to go to work.” I said in a much quieter voice. “I can't miss, where will everyone think I am.”
“Tell them you're in the infirmary.” He shrugged.
I could do that. The Ministry did have it's own healthcare system, a nursing station where we could stay for weeks on end if we needed too. It was put in place during an old disliked minister's reign, he was afraid people could harm him if he stayed in St. Mungos while he was ill. I shrugged back at him. “I suppose...I could ,I guess.”
He smiled at me, knowing he got his way...again. “Stay here, all day. I'll come back for lunch and bring you soup. If you're hungry anytime in between then...well you know where the kitchen is. You have freedom of the house.”
“Are you sure? I don't have to stay here, I could go home.” I didn't want to impose.
“Yes, I'd feel better if you stayed here, where I can come check on you.” He tossed me a guilty glare. “I like knowing that you're safe. I can't stand you being sick.”
I smiled, he really did care. “Okay, I'll stay here.”
“Thank you.” He kissed my forehead. “I'm going to get showered and dressed. I'll check in on you before I leave. Okay?”
I nodded slowly, cuddling in to the bed. All of a sudden I was freezing so I pulled the comforter up around me. He quietly exited the room and went into his bathroom. I tried to stay away but I couldn’t fight my body. I fell into a deep sleep.
When I woke back up I was momentarily confused. I had only woken up from the growling pain in my stomach. This time it was from hunger though. I was starving. I looked at the clock, 10:23. I had only slept for a few hours but it felt like I had been asleep for a few years. I sat up, slowly this time.
I turned to the side to get out of bed and saw a note card sitting on the bedside table. On the front my name was written in a messy half cursive, half print. I smiled to myself. Draco.
I opened it up and read the same messy writing quietly to myself.
My dear Hermione,
I sincerely hope you are feeling better. I'll be bringing you lunch at 12:30. If you are awake before then and get hungry there is plenty of food in the kitchen, help yourself. I'll see you soon. I hated leaving you while you were unwell. I'll be thinking of you all day.
– Draco M.
He was cute, very cute. I managed to scavenger up some breakfast for myself before crawling back in bed. I was about to go to sleep when I felt a nagging feeling. I knew I needed to do something.
I needed to call Ron.
After rehearsing what I was going to say I finally picked up the phone in Draco's living room and dialed my apartment's number. I had used a quick spell to block the number so Ron wouldn't be able to tell where I called from, and who I was with...or had been with.
The phone rang...and rang...and rang...and rang. No answer. Finally the answering machine kicked in. “This is Ron and Hermione, we're not available...or we just don't want to talk to you. RON! You can't say that. Oh...sorry. You know what to do, or if your my dad...then you don't...just leave a message after the beep. BEEEEP” I giggled at our stupid message. We had recorded it when we first moved in there together. Those were the good old days. I feel so old saying that. I wasn't though, I was only 24. But times with Ron had changed so much over the years, it just wasn't the same.
I left my message quickly so I could just go to sleep like I wanted to. “Uhh Ron? Yeah it's Hermione. I got really sick and I'm staying in the Ministry's infirmary. I don't know what I have or anything, it's probably just a little sickness. I'll be home later. Bye.”
I sighed and put the phone down. I was exhausted ,yet I wanted to get up and move around. Draco did say I had free reign.
I knew it was terrible, but I felt like I needed to snoop around. It was just a golden opertunity to find out all the dirty bits about Draco's life, it was being handed to me on a silver platter...by the hands of Merlin himself!
I wandered my way through his large apartment. Nothing really was out of the ordinary here. I did notice he had a really good taste in art, the paintings on his wall being some of the more famous ones. He also had a very nice collection of books, though most of which looked like they had yet to be touched. Not that I didn't see why he wouldn't read much. Draco was a workaholic. He took overtime whenever it was offered, even if it was unpaid overtime.
What bothered me the most was that there were no real pictures. No moving images in frames, anywhere. It made the house feel...lonely, empty. I started to see why Draco may not want to come home, he had nothing to come home to. My heart broke for him. No one should have to deal with that.
The last door at the end of the main hallway was his home office. Like I said, he's a workaholic – he often was found working from home. I tried the handle and it wouldn't budge, it was locked. Hmm...why would that be locked? What could be in there. I tried a simple “Alohamora” but that didn't work either. Okay, now it was a challenge. I never backed down from a challenge. After what seems like a thousand different spells – even one that made the door turn purple at some point, oops – the door finally slowly swung open. Success! Now...what could be in here.
At first glance it was nothing out of the ordinary, just normal office looking stuff. Then small movements were caught in my peripheral vision .
Pictures! I skipped, yes skipped, over to the desk that held the four frames. The first frame had a picture of Draco and I from the benefit, the same picture that had been in Wizard Weekly. We looked good together, too good. The next picture was of his mother, but it seems like a much younger version of her...possibly when Draco was first born. Actually come to think of it she is wearing the gown that St. Mungos gives mothers in labor. It must have been the day of his birth. She had a huge grin on her face, she was beaming. I could understand why he kept it, the love she had poured out of her in this picture. The third was a small picture of just me, unmoving. It was a Muggle picture. It took me a while but I finally did remember when it had been taken.
Draco had been playing with one of the cameras from Muggle Studies. He had a black box looking camera around his neck, a Polaroid camera. One that takes instant pictures. I remembered playing with them as a child and was telling Draco stories about then.
“Smile!” He smirked at me, pointing the camera at my face.
“No! Oh no, please don't do that!” I tried to get out of the way of the camera. He kept pointing it at me as I tried to avoid him. I heard him click the button and out came a white square.
“Where's the picture? It's just white?” He seemed extremely confused.
I laughed at him and took the undeveloped picture out of his hand. “You have to shake it.” I smiled, shaking the picture slightly. This made the image appear quickly. I looked at it, it actually wasn't a terrible picture. I was trying to run away from him, but I had turned my head around and was laughing.
“Oh. Well look, that turned out nice.” He laughed with me.
“I'm just as shocked as you are.” I rolled my eyes.
He took the now developed picture from me.“I'm not shocked at all.” He shrugged.
I smiled at the memory. Finally the last picture...it confused me. It was of a little girl, the background was dull and sickly looking, a gray walled building with bunk beds in rows lined the room. Yet the girl's wonderful smile lite everything up. She was blonde, blue eyed, tiny, and beautiful. She seemed happy, despite her surroundings that seemed so horrible. I wondered who she was. Who was this mysterious little girl? Why was she on Draco's desk?
All of a sudden an thought popped into my head struck fear down my spine. OH! What if he had a daughter. That is completely possible. He's 25 now. He was 18 after the war and then we didn't become friends until he was 21, that's plenty of time to have a child. Who would be the mother? He told me on countless occasions that he hadn't had any serious relationships since that semi serious one with Pansy in Hogwarts. If you could even call that a relationship. But maybe he just didn't want to bring it up. Maybe something happened to the mother. Maybe he felt guilty. He could have sent the little girl to a foster home – that's what the picture looked like, a foster home. No...Draco wouldn't do that. He couldn't. He was too loving and sweet. I knew he couldn't do anything like that...I hope. But even if he had, he would have told me...right?
Hey lovelies! I'm still writing these chapters on my phone,my laptop is in the process of being fixed. Reviews make me smile, I love to know how you guys feel about the story. Happy reading!
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