Why hello there my awesome readers! Here's chapter 18!
A huge thanks to my reviewers from the last chapter, dracos lover, Leah Hathaway, Krupickaj, PumkinHallow4814, MiSTY_VoLPe, Meg :), Ravenclaw77, and of course, We Are Padfoot and Prongs. You guys are what keep me going.
Another HUGE thanks to my beta reader, MadiMalfoy for helping me with the whole editing process. You're amazing.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or the wonderful world my characters live in, all that is part of the brilliant mind of our personal queen, JK Rowling. I don't own Beauty and the Beast either, that credit goes to either Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve or Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont
“Crucio!” I heard Dolohov shout.
I turned to face him in an attempt to stop him but was suddenly blinded by pain. It seemed to come from every single fiber in my body, threatening to explode.
All I could think about through the pain was that it was so odd from him to be using the curse on one of his own. I knew he was known to be irrational and unpredictable when it came to doing something that might “prove himself” to the Dark Lord, but it didn’t quite fit. Then I had the realization that it wasn’t me he was using it on… it was her.
I yelled out as a particularly nasty wave of pain came over me, nearly causing me to fall over. The pain stopped abruptly and I realized she must have passed out.
Dolohov began laughing and the next thing I knew, I was holding my wand in his face, seething.
“Careful, Draco. You might poke someone’s eye out with that thing," he said, his mouth twisting into a teasing smile.
“Expelliarmus!” I shouted as he went to aim his wand at me, causing it to go flying and land next to my mother’s crumpled figure.
“Not playing fair, eh Draco?” he asked, his eyebrows raised in both amusement and shock.
“Petrificus Totalus!” I screamed, the words seeming to echo all around me as he toppled over, his eyes crazed and focused directly on me.
They followed me as I ran to my mother’s figure and dropped on my knees beside her.
I sat down on the wet ground, pulling her halfway onto my lap as I began praying that if there were a God, he would wake her up.
I stared down at my mother’s face and my emotions seemed to get the better of me. I was holding all that I cared about in my arms. My mother, the one and only person I’d always known would be there for me and who had been my entire life and the woman I realized I loved more than I’d ever known. They were one in the same at the moment to the untrained eye, though I knew my mother was safe at home, seeing her body like this made me cringe. Then there was knowing that inside my mother’s body dwelt the spirit that I so admired in Hermione and had fallen in love with.
It was truly an odd sight, seeing my mother’s face look so innocent and vulnerable. I pushed some of her still-wet hair out of her face and felt tears begin to fill my eyes. The woman within truly had no idea the affect she had on me… and probably never would.
If I’d known that rescuing a cat would be so bloody dangerous, I would’ve never agreed to her coming, though I knew she would have fought me tooth and nail to come. As if on cue, her cat came out from behind the tree trunk, meowing loudly. He made his way towards us and curled up next to her feet.
I heard a groan and looked down. Her eyelids fluttered, causing relief and happiness to well up inside me, faster and stronger than I’d ever known was possible. I pulled her against my chest and held her tight, not wanting to let her go.
“M-Malfoy” I heard her mutter into my chest before I pulled her back slightly so I could see her face.
The world went black and I couldn’t seem to focus on anything… then I watched the memory Malfoy had placed inside my head once more and everything suddenly made sense.
He had only been agreeing with Dolohov and telling him he was going to be using me as bait because he didn’t want Dolohov running to anyone about this whole thing… right?
Somewhere deep inside of me, I believed that Malfoy actually cared about me and that he wasn’t the boy I’d known, or thought I knew at Hogwarts all those years.
His father would be the kind of person I could see doing something like this, using me as bait in a plan that was far bigger than just me. The mere fact that his father didn’t even know I was at the Manor meant something… didn’t it? They could have simply kept me locked in a dungeon and used the Imperius curse to make me write letters to my friends. Plus, Kingsley had approved all of this happening, and he wouldn’t be that misguided.
The world suddenly went cold and I knew, somehow, that I could wake up. I attempted to open my eyes but was too exhausted and it was too bright. My attempt at words came out as a groan and I suddenly realized I was in someone’s arms.
I was pulled against someone and was suddenly overwhelmed by the scent of what I could only describe as clean, along with a very subtle hint of what I had to say was the best smelling cologne I’d ever smelled.
All at once I knew to whom that scent belonged.
“M-Malfoy?” I stammered out, realizing that he was holding me against his chest. My heart skipped a beat due to our close proximity and I hoped he hadn’t felt that. He loosened his grip on me and his face was suddenly looming mere inches above mine, causing me to forget to breathe altogether.
“You’re okay.” He said, his eyes large. All I could do was nod as I stared up at him.
It took everything in me to not start crying right then and there. She was awake and coherent and no longer in pain.
“Yes,” she said, “I suppose I am.”
I pushed more of my mother’s hair out of her face when I suddenly realized I was no longer looking at my mother, but was starting to see Hermione.
I watched in awe as her skin darkened and freckles appeared along the bridge of her nose. The blond turned brown and curls shortened her hair considerably.
“What’re you looking at?” she asked curiously, her eyebrows furrowed together.
“You.” I found myself answering simply.
I thought I saw a faint smile play at her lips before she sighed.
“Am I allowed to get up?” she asked in a half-joking tone. I hesitantly loosened my grip on her as she sat up on her own, her legs still draped over mine.
“What happened?” she asked quietly, looking at Dolohov whose eyes were fixed on us.
“I petrified him.” I said simply and she looked up at me.
“And before?” she asked, quieter this time, her eyes wide.
“He hurt you.”
“Before… when he was talking about me and you… explained why I was at the Manor.” She whispered, her eyes refusing to look away from my own.
“It was all lies.”
“It was all lies,” he said, his eyes never wavering from my own.
“What was?” I asked. I could feel my voice getting softer with each question that escaped my lips.
“All of it,” he said quietly. “Telling him that you being with us was to only use you as bait later, using you at all, having an ulterior motive aside from keeping you safe. Even if the lies were to keep you safe.” He said, his eyes now fixed on the ground.
“You do care.” I said before I could help myself and his eyes locked onto mine once more. It was the way he talked and held himself that made me realize beyond the shadow of a doubt, that he did care about me and all of this was to keep me safe.
His eyes now searched mine to find the reassurance he needed to see that I believed him.
“Yes.” He said, his voice a whisper.
Before I could stop myself, I leaned up and brushed my lips against his.
You know the drill. Make me a happy writer! S2