Chapter 23 : Horcruxes and Tissues
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“Hermione? It’s getting colder and starting to snow again. You ok?” I snapped to my senses as soon as I heard Draco’s voice. Stay strong Hermione, you’re a Gryffindor. Come on, brave face, even if it’s fake.
“Let’s go.” I held Draco’s hand and let him lead me through the gate and down the long drive leading to the manor.
We were almost to the front door and I could feel myself tensing up. Did this place always look so gothic? Granted it looks nicer covered in snow than the last time I was here, but geez why would you want to live in some place that looks haunted?
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
“Why did you use the knocker, why not just go in? It’s your house.” I looked at Draco quizzically. I just stride right in at my homes. Is this some pureblood thing I should get used to?
“It’s a pureblood thing. Good manors and all.” He rolled his eyes. So I was right…stupid pompous snobs.
“Master Draco, comes in comes in. And Miss Hermione. Can Tinky takes your coats?” The little house elf bowed to Draco and myself and I had to clench my teeth together or I would have let something slip about S.P.E.W. and house elf rights.
“Yes, thank you Tinky. I really appreciate it.” I gave her a bright smile and Draco nodded. The house elf smiled back and on her way to the hall closet kept looking back at me with bright shining eyes.
“I love you.” Draco whispered to me as he pulled me into a kiss.
“Ehem.” Someone cleared their throat and I immediately separated myself from Draco. Yup… lovely. Lucius and Narcissa.
Wonderful first impression Hermione. ‘Hi, I’m Hermione as you know. I’m sorry about that but your son is just too delicious, I can’t keep my lips off him.’ Yeah, brilliant.
“Draco I’m so glad you’re home.” Mrs. Malfoy stepped forward and Draco went to hug her. No, don’t leave me here…
“Great to see you Mother, I’ve missed you.” Draco then turned to his father and held his hand out. “Father, Happy Christmas.” Lucius shook his hand and uttered a ‘happy Christmas’ in return. So formal, makes me sick.
“Miss Zabini, it’s a pleasure to see you again.” Mrs. Malfoy came to me and gave me a tentative hug. What do I do?! Do I hug back, do I just stand here? What Hermione? Ok arms, move.
I gently squeezed her back when the connection between my brain and arms started to work again. “Thank you Mrs. Malfoy. Thank you both for inviting me to stay for the holidays.” I looked to Lucius and saw him nod.
“Please call me Narcissa.” She smiled at me.
“Only if you call me Mia.” I smiled shyly back and she nodded.
“Well Draco, would you please show our guest to her room and you two can get settled in. I’m sure everything you need will be in there, if not just call for Tinky. When you’re done you may join us for tea in the parlor if you wish.” Narcissa led us over to the staircase and I followed Draco up to our rooms.
“The door to your left is your guest room and my room is three doors down the hall to the right.”
“Nope, no way. I am not staying in this place by myself. I don’t care about etiquette. I’m staying with you.” I started to move towards his aforementioned room.
“Hermione my mother would have a fit!” He ran after me and put his hand on my arm.
“Well, I’ll go home then because I’m not being alone here.”
“Fine. Can we at least pretend you’re staying in that room and at night I sneak you into mine?” He pleaded with me.
“There’s my cunning lil Slytherin. I knew you were still in there somewhere.” I smiled and pecked him on the lips before I headed back towards ‘my’ room.
Ten minutes later and I was unpacked and Draco was leading me down the stairs. Brave up Hermione, you can do this. Don’t be afraid.
“Have a seat you two. How do you like your tea Mia?” Narcissa greeted us when we entered the parlor. It’s so light and airy; I guess the whole place doesn’t need to look like a dungeon. Draco and I sat on the couch opposite the Malfoy’s. He held my hand in his and gave it a squeeze.
“Two sugars and milk please.” I smiled to Narcissa then turned my gaze to Lucius. Hmm, staring into your cup of tea huh? I guess it must be telling you something very interesting; maybe that your hair is too long?
“Thank you.” I took my tea and sipped at it quietly. Tick tock. Anyone going to say anything? I was almost finished with my tea when Narcissa finally spoke up.
“So Mia, tell us about your last Christmas.”
Seriously? Draco tensed beside me and I felt my face slowly slide into a smirk.
“What was I doing last Christmas? Well let’s see. Ron had just abandoned us because he thought I liked Harry. On Christmas Eve Harry and I went to Godric’s Hollow trying to find Bathilda Bagshot because we thought that Dumbledore may have given her the Sword of Gryffindor. We found her, or rather she found us. Then we got attacked by Voldemort’s snake when she turned into it.
“Voldemort arrived just in time to see us apparate away at the break of Christmas day. In the process Harry got bitten by the snake and I broke his wand when a charm backfired. Let’s see what else… Oh, then we went back to living in the snow covered woods in a tent and Harry lost faith in Dumbledore.
“Thennnn…” I drew out the word, fully enjoying myself. “We moved on to The Forest of Dean and Harry was led to the Sword of Gryffindor by Snape’s patronus. Oh that’s right, you didn’t know Mr. Malfoy. Snape was a spy for the Order of the Phoenix. Then Ron came back and saved Harry from drowning and he killed Voldemort’s locket with the sword. Then we started planning our next move to find the rest of the horcruxes. Yup, that’s how I spent last Christmas. May I have more tea please?”
Damn I’m good. The Malfoy’s eyes were trained on me in complete and utter shock. Yes, I am 19 people; I’ve been dealing with that nonsense from you and others since I was 11. It doesn’t surprise me anymore.
“Um…” Was all the reply I received. It was from Lucius.
“Yeah. Exactly.” I said as I poured myself another cup of tea. I looked to my left to see Draco’s head in his hands. Shit… I put my tea down and scooted closer to him on the sofa.
“Draco…” I rubbed his back but he didn’t move so I got to my knees on the floor in front of him and took his hands away from his face. “Draco love… it’s ok.” I caressed his cheek until he pulled me into his arms.
“I should have been there Hermione… I should have protected you.”
“Draco, you were a different person then. We were different. That never would have happened, but look at me. I’m still here right?” I kissed his cheek and he pulled away to look me in the eye. He placed his palm upon my cheek and I leaned into his hand.
“Yes… you’re here.” He leaned in to kiss me softly.
“Masters and Mistresses dinner is ready.” Tinky quickly walked away after her announcement.
The Malfoy’s stood up and Draco helped me to my feet.
“Is there a loo I can use down here?” I asked Draco quietly.
“Yes, come on I’ll show you.” He showed me to the bathroom and pointed to the doors to go through afterwards.
Ok, you’re doing fine. Just go back out there and give them your all.
Walking out of the bathroom and to the open doors I kept repeating over and over ‘you’re doing great, everything’s going well’… maybe not.
Why… why would they bring me here… don’t they have any other rooms we could have dined in? Seriously…
I slowly stepped into the room that haunts my nightmares. A long table was to my left and three blonde people were seated at it but I didn’t care. I could hear my heels clicking against the hard wood floor. I could feel myself on the verge of hyperventilating. I stood in the very spot where I got my scar. I could feel the cold metal of her blade and the hot sticky blood drip down my skin like it was yesterday. I brought my hand to my neck to run my fingers over it and looked up to see the once broken chandelier. Did a simple ‘reparo’ fix Dobby’s handiwork? Dobby…
I walked farther into the room, to the spot I see so vividly when I’m unconscious and sometimes awake. There it is. I could faintly hear people saying my name, but what I heard more than anything were my screams mixed with Ron screaming my name over and over again. Why would they bring me here… why would Draco do this to me?
I fell to my knees; I didn’t have the energy to stand anymore. I heard chairs scrape across the wood floor and felt hands on my upper arms, I shook them off roughly.
“DON’T FUCKING TOUCH ME MALFOY!” I growled at him while still focused on the floor. I searched for the nail marks I had made while being crucioed. Sure enough, still there. I could feel the excruciating pain pulsing through my memory.
Tears were rolling down my cheeks at the memory of what I went through in this very spot. With my nails still in the markings I laid down on the floor curled up in a ball with my dress surrounding me.
“HARRY!!!!!!!!!! RON!!!!!!!!!!” I don’t know how long stayed there just repeating “We didn’t take anything! Please stop!” I wouldn’t let anyone touch me.
“Hermione…” I heard a familiar voice through my sobs and screaming and when they tried to touch me I thrashed and screamed some more, but this pair of arms, more like two pairs, weren’t giving up. I thrashed until I realized my efforts were futile.
“Mione…” That caught my attention. I brought my head up and locked eyes with a set of green then a set of blue. I threw my arms around Harry and Ron and gripped their shirts in my hands until they started to hurt. I continued to sob until darkness took over my mind.
Darkness. Peaceful. Scary at times. No one bothers me when I’m in this state. Except I can hear faint voices… must they really interrupt my lovely sleep?
“How could he do that to her?” Ron’s faint angry voice found its way into my subconscious and everything hit me like I was standing on the tracks in front of the Hogwarts Express.
I sat up faster than I should have. Great, now a headache to go with the nightmare that is my life. Where the hell am I? I looked around the room and realized I was in Ginny’s room at the Burrow.
“Hey… how are you feeling?” Ginny was sitting on the bed next to me reading a book.
How am I feeling? Seriously Gin? Well, let’s see… my boyfriend dumped me into a room where I was almost killed, I had a panic attack and now I’m at the Burrow with no recollection of how I got here. How do you think I’m doing?!
“Fine.” I replied in a gravely voice... What was I supposed to say really… if I told her how I’m actually feeling I’d probably breakdown again and then everyone would be fussing over me.
I cleared my throat before speaking again. “Where’s Draco?”
Ginny began to bite her bottom lip and looked away.
“Well… he’s still at Malfoy Manor.”
“What…well I mean I know what happened, but what happened after Harry and Ron got there?” She got up and walked towards the door.
“Maybe you should talk to Harry and Ron about it. I don’t know much of what happened up until you got here.” She walked out expecting me to follow.
Ok, follow the voices, one sounds angry… Ron. The other sounds exhausted and sad… Harry? We were standing outside of Ron’s room listening to their conversation. I can always count on Ginny to be sneaky.
“I knew he would hurt her Harry, I knew it! But would anyone believe me? No. She should be with me, I’m sure she knows that now.”
Ginny opened the door as soon as she heard that. Uh oh…
“Oh and you’ve never hurt her Ronald Weasley? You hurt her more than anyone! Yes, what he did was stupid, but what you did was worse. You have no right to say that she should be with you! You just want her back because of how she looks!” Ginny was fuming at her brother and had him backed up against the wall.
She was right… what Draco did was stupid, what Ron did was worse, and I did have a feeling the only reason Ron wanted me back that day was because I was prettier… and rich.
“Ginny!” Ron tried pushing past her but she held him at wand point and made him sit on his bed.
“Now… will someone please explain to me what happened after I, well I guess I blacked out?” I stepped into the room and was pulled into Harry’s arms. “Thank you, I needed that.”
Harry chuckled and squeezed me tighter. “Are you ok?” He asked.
Why does everyone keep asking that? Ok, maybe I’m a tad better than I was a few minutes ago, but no I’m not fully ok yet.
“I’m fine.” Once again what was I supposed to say to that question that wouldn’t land me in therapy sessions. I pulled away and sat on a chair at the other end of the room away from Ron and Ginny’s wand.
“Time to fill me in people. What did I miss? How did I end up at the Burrow?” I looked between Ron and Harry a few times before Harry decided to speak up.
“Well, Ron and I were here with everyone having dinner when the floo went off. Then all of a sudden Malfoy ran into the kitchen calling for myself and Ron and said something about you having a panic attack and you wouldn’t let anyone touch you.” Harry looked at me with sad eyes.
“And so we ran with him out of the house and apparated to the manor. When we got inside he led us to that blasted room and there you were on the floor curled up, screaming and crying.” Ron added.
“We ran over to you and tried to hold onto you, you put up a big fight. But you eventually looked up at us and clung to us. The Malfoy’s were all standing on the side watching… Mrs. Malfoy had tears running down her face. Lucius’ eyes were wide in shock I suppose…” Harry stopped.
“Draco…?” I asked quietly.
“He didn’t know what to do… I’ve never seen anyone... He came here with us and I talked to him a bit while you were passed out. Maybe you and I should take a walk…” Harry walked over to take my hand and lead me out of the room.
“Where are we going? The house is bursting with Weasley’s at the moment.” I looked at Harry questioningly until he handed me my jacket and put his own on. “Where did you get this?”
“Um… well Malfoy brought all of your things here. He didn’t think you’d want to see him or stay at the manor anymore.”
“Oh.” I said. Do I want to see him? No… and yes…
We slipped on boots that were sitting by the back door and Harry led me out into the snowy garden. Snow makes everything look beautiful doesn’t it? Crisp and clean.
“Ok here it goes. Malfoy was basically in tears when he came to get us Mione. He said you yelled at him, told him not to touch you. He-“
Ahh… “I believe my words were ‘Don’t fucking touch me Malfoy.” Shit…
“Right… And when we got back there… you were just a mess. It was like you were being tortured all over again. We didn’t know what to do so we just brought you here. Malfoy didn’t protest; he had the house elves gather your things so he could bring them here. He- he wanted to stay with you… but we didn’t think that was a good idea, especially with what he had just done.”
“How could he have been so stupid Harry? That room was the reason I didn’t want to go back there. Did he do it on purpose? Confront your inner daemons or something…” Did the boy have wrackspurts in his head?
“That’s the thing; he said he didn’t even think about it. I know, that sounds bad but let me explain. He was tearing himself apart. Yelling at himself, crying. He couldn’t believe how insensitive and stupid he was for not even registering what was going on until you stepped into that room. He said he was just so happy that you came home with him for Christmas that he didn’t even think about it.”
I huffed and threw my hands in the air. “What, so that makes it all ok?”
“No. It doesn’t make it ok, but you didn’t see him Mione. He knows what he did. He said that you hate him now, that when you called him Malfoy and told him not to touch you that his worst fear came true. Walking into that room finally woke you up, made you say ‘what the hell am I doing with Malfoy?” Harry put his arms around me and let me cry into his coat.
“What do I do Harry?”
“I don’t know… do you hate him?” He asked and I shook my head no. Of course I don’t hate him…
“Do you love him?” His words were barely out of his mouth when I nodded my head yes. He sighed. “Well, I think you should hang here at the Burrow for a while, talk to Ginny. Maybe have Blaise come over, or go back to Zabini Manor. You’ll figure it out.”
“Thank you Harry…” He tightened his arms around me.
My days before New Years Eve were spent at the Burrow. I did not want to go back to Zabini Manor for fear that Draco would show up, or that he would need a friend in Blaise. I talked mainly with Ginny. She was attending the Malfoy Ball with Blaise and tried to persuade me into going. I didn’t think I was ready yet. All my parents had stopped by to make sure I was alright.
Mother relayed a message from the Malfoy’s saying they were extremely sorry for putting me in that position and how insensitive it was of them. Blaise also came around to have a chat with me about Draco.
“Mi, you need to talk to him sometime.” Blaise was pleading with me all afternoon on the 30th. “Just come to the ball tomorrow night and let him explain.”
“Explain what Blaise Zabini? Explain how he doesn’t give a shit about my feelings and what happened to me right in front of his eyes?!” I was stomping around Ginny’s room while Blaise sat on the bed. What is he thinking?
“Mia you know that’s not true. That guy would do anything for you. He just made a stupid, albeit huge, mistake. When I went to the manor to see him it was like he was a ghost. His parents said he hadn’t eaten since you left. He didn’t really sleep, all he did was cry, scream at himself or stare out the window. Mi, Draco is dying without you. I don’t like what he did any better than you do, but you have to believe it when I say he didn’t do it on purpose. It didn’t even click in his head until you started staring off into space.”
“No. You need to see him. I know you’ve been just as miserable as he has.” Blaise walked over to me and kissed me on the cheek. He stopped in the doorway before he left.
“He needs you. And like it or not, you need him too.” And with that he was gone and tears were once again streaming down my face.
Why is my life so complicated? Maybe I should move to Greenland. Live like an Eskimo, no one would find me. Make friends with pengu-…. penguins.
Damn it! Why does everything make me think of him!? Maybe because he’s your world… shut up brain you’re not helping.
December 31st. New Years Eve. Sitting at the Burrow again.
“Wow Gin, you look beautiful!” I walked over to Ginny and gave her a big hug. Blaise was picking her up in 15 minutes to head over to the Malfoy’s for the ball.
“You think so, is it ok?” She twirled around in her royal blue floor length gown. The one strap over her shoulder was encrusted in silver and light blue beads which trailed down to cover the entire bodice. Her red hair was pinned up with curls framing her face and a pair of silver earrings adorned her ears.
“Yes. Absolutely stunning. My brother is going to love it.” I smiled as her face lit up.
“Are you sure you won’t come Mione? It’s been a week…”
“Nah. I might go home to my parents and ring in the New Year with them.” Or as I like to think of it, stay in my room eating mango ice cream and thinking about a guy named Draco. Yes, I know it’s cold outside. You’ve never had ice cream when your toes are basically falling off from frostbite? Well, you my friend are missing out.
“Alright… What about your mother?” Ginny asked as she slipped on her blue heels. Hmm… sorry Gin, you may be missing a pair of shoes come February.
“She’ll be at the ball. Being best friends with Narcissa Malfoy sort of obligates you to attend certain events.” I scoffed.
“Hey sis, Ginny wow… you look… wow.” Blaise appeared out of the fire place in a very elegant black pinstripe suit. No eyeliner to be found and his lip ring was gone.
“Wow Blaise, you clean up good bro.” I gave him a hug before he was pulled away by Ginny. Look at those two… can’t keep their eyes off each other. Ugh stupid heart, stop breaking. It’s not the end of the world. ‘Yes it is.’ And stupid voice inside my head… SHUT UP!
“Well, best be on our way. Happy New Year’s sis.” Blaise and Ginny gave me one last hug before they were out the door and out of the apparition wards.
What to do… ahh yes. Nice comfy bed, Haagen Dazs Mango ice cream and tissue box here I come.
A/N: I have NO affiliation with Haagen Dazs icecream or Harry Potter.
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