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Chapter 5 : Emeralds and a Nightmare
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“Ye- yes? Mr. Malfoy?” My voice was squeaky and high pitched. I hated that. I didn’t want him to know that even to this day he instilled the same terror in my heart that he had back when I was a child. I met his gaze and was shocked to find neither anger nor loathing hidden behind his grey eyes.
He took a step towards me causing my feet to step back of their own free will. My body’s protective instincts I suppose. My back hit the counter and I realized I was trapped if he did come here for a fight. My wand hand shook even more and my eyes grew wide until I saw the defeat and sadness enter Lucius Malfoy’s face. It sparked my curiosity when he stepped back and slumped his shoulders. I had never seen the elder Malfoy look this pained before… except…
Knock. Knock. Knock.
I heard the door creak open and tried to dry my face, but it was no use. The tears fell even harder when someone lay down next to me on my bed. A pair of strong arms surrounded me and I rolled over to bury my face in Harry’s shirt.
“It’s not fair Harry…” I whimpered through my sobs. His arms tightened around me.
“I know Hermione. I know…” he whispered into my hair and rubbed my back trying to calm me. I don’t know how long I lay there taking comfort in Harry’s embrace but soon it was time to go.
I was hesitant to go at first. I think we all were considering where his funeral was being held. Malfoy Manor. Yes, we were all friends of Draco’s now, but we were no more than enemies still with Lucius and his mansion. Harry side along apperated me while Ron took Ginny. I didn’t have the strength to concentrate on the home of my beloved.
We entered the gates, my friends flanking me on either side, giving me their support. Gerard the Malfoy’s butler greeted us when we stepped inside the entrance hall. I broke free from my friends when he spotted me and threw myself into his awaiting open arms. He and Hannah, their maid, had been amazing people to me the couple times I had to face Malfoy Manor.
After introducing my friends to the two people who accepted me in the large house, other than Mrs. Malfoy; for some reason she was always kind to me, we walked through the back patio doors to where the funeral would be held.
Everything was green and silver, just as Draco would have wanted. A bubble of laughter escaped my throat as I looked around.
“Hermione?” Ginny whispered in question.
“Slytherin colors.” I smiled for the first time since I heard of Draco’s death. My smile faltered however as we got closer to the tent. A large portrait of my love was seated by the black casket. I was told they had never found Draco’s remains, and so people were adding memories, trinkets, into the open empty casket.
I broke free from my friends and walked towards the portrait. Tears once again broke free and created a river down my cheeks. Heads turned my way as I passed the rows upon rows of people, I didn’t care. All I was focused on was the smiling face of the boy turned man I once upon a time called my enemy. When I finally stood in front of the picture I couldn’t help but smile at it. At him. I reached out my hand and ran my fingers across his cheek, frowning when all I came in contact with was a rough surface. Then the picture moved again and my fingers were touching ‘air.’
A sob escaped my body and I turned away. It was so painful to look at him. I had removed all pictures of him, of us from my room when I heard the news. One look had my heart aching and tears pouring from my eyes.
Next I walked over to the casket and fished out my contribution. I lay the emerald and diamond ring gently on the fluffy silver pillow, next to vials of memories, quidditch gear etc. Draco had given me the ring as a symbol of his love and a promise for our future. I was not giving it back, but sharing iy with him. I thought of it as giving him my love as well, showing him I didn’t need a symbol to remember him by. I didn’t need anything to know he loved me and that I shared that love. I would miss that ring and the memories it held, but I would miss him more than anything.
After saying my final goodbye to my love I turned to see Draco’s parents watching me with tortured eyes. I froze mid turn and just stared at them wondering if they heard me declaring my ever lasting love for their deceased son or for the reason of my placing the ring in the casket. Narcissa had tears glistening down her cheeks and Lucius… I had to turn away. He looked too much like his son it left me gasping for breath. His eyes though. They haunted me the remainder of the day. So full of sadness, so lost. I had never seen him like that before.
But now… his face was the same mask of torture.
“Ehem… Miss Granger?”
I shook away my thoughts of that horrid day and focused on Lucius’ face once more.
“I’m sorry. What were you saying?” I managed to say, although a bit shakily and I realized I was crying.
“Are you alright?” The concern in his voice was genuine.
I nodded and tried to wipe my face of tears. “I, um. Yes. Sorry about that Mr. Malfoy.”
“Lucius. Please. I think it’s time we stopped being so formal with one another.” He looked straight into my widened eyes.
Lucius. He wanted me to call him Lucius. I watched as he sighed and took a seat at the kitchen table.
“It’s time I apologized to you Miss Granger-”
“Hermione.” My mouth spoke before my brain has a chance to catch up.
Lucius’ mouth turned up a bit at the corners. “Hermione then. My apology has been long overdue. I should have realized how much you truly loved my son, but I was blinded.” He stood again and started pacing around the kitchen. I followed him with my eyes as I listened to words I thought I’d never hear.
“It is hard to change years upon years of hate, of hating what you don’t know. Of what you have been brought up to loathe. I didn’t understand my son’s choices after the war, or during for that matter.” He stopped to look at me. “I know now. I was wrong. He loved you then, he loves you now. And vice versa. You are no different than me. Than any of us. I sincerely apologize for the pain I have caused you throughout the years Miss Gr- Hermione. It was wrong of me to try to separate you. You are who my son wants, who he needs. I swear I will never come between the two of you again.”
My heart beat frantically as I took in his words. This proud man before me finally accepted me in his son’s life. I watched as he walked to the counter where I stood. He reached in his pocket and placed a small box next to me.
“This belongs to you. Always has.” Lucius spoke quietly then turned and left the kitchen.
When I finally gathered myself I lifted the box and opened it. There sitting on a bed of black velvet was the emerald and diamond ring I had placed in Draco’s memorial casket.
I closed my eyes and a sob escaped my throat. Perhaps the elder Mr. Malfoy had a heart after all. My eyes opened wide when I felt someone take my hand. Draco was kneeling in front of me on the floor of the kitchen, watching me with tender eyes.
“Draco…” I whispered and his eyes shone with love. I noticed he now held the little box with my ring inside. Draco placed a kiss on my open palm before slipping the ring on my finger.
“I never told you the story behind this ring Hermione. It has been in my family’s possession since the year of the founding of Hogwarts and has been passed down from bride to bride. When I gave it to you it symbolized a promise. That my love for you would never fade, and it never has. Now it will symbolize something along with that. I have waited for this moment since I first fell in love with you. All that time I spent alone, I stayed alive because of our love. I prayed to Merlin every day that he would find a way to make you safe so I could come back to you. So that I might get the chance to ask you a question.”
My breath caught in my throat as Draco smiled widely at me. “Hermione Jean Granger, my love, my soul, mother of my beautiful child, will you do me the great honor of becoming my wife?”
I had no words, all that I could do was nod rapidly as tears flooded down my face. Draco stood and lifted me in a hug, spinning me around like a child, laughing all the while.
“Can we come in yet?” I heard a shout from behind the kitchen door and laughed as Draco screamed ‘yes’ into the air. He set me on my feet and kissed me deeply as cheers and laughter filled the air around us.
We pulled back from each other and looked down at our feet. Cassie had an arm wrapped around each of our legs. Laughing, Draco hauled our little girl into his arms and planted a kiss on her cheek, then on mine.
“Were all of you in on this?” I asked as I looked around the room at my happy friends.
“Just one.” Draco whispered and looked to the doorway. I followed his gaze and gulped back a surge of emotions.
Slowly I walked to the doorway and into the open arms of Lucius Malfoy. I held him tight.
“Welcome to the family.” He whispered and tightened his arms around me.
I was finally accepted. Until that moment I didn’t realize how much I wanted the approval of Draco’s father. It felt incredible and I couldn’t stop the new rush of tears that fell from my eyes, not only because of the man I was holding onto but because I WAS ENGAGED. To the most amazing man of all time. Mr. Darcy couldn’t compete with my Draco.
“Alright already. I want her back.” Draco’s words were followed by a chuckle from everyone in the room including myself and Lucius.
His arms loosened and I stepped back a bit. Looking into his eyes I could see they were red rimmed. The elder Malfoy had emotions. It was heartwarming. I gave him a shy smile which he returned then I turned back towards Draco. His bright smile almost knocked me off my feet. He was beautiful. I stepped into his embrace and kissed him fiercely.
Later that night Draco and I made love, again and again and again…
The house was a disaster the moment I walked in the foyer. No light, no noise, no sign of the maid of nanny. Just shattered vases and torn portraits every which way. I ran up the stairs and down the hall to my daughter’s room calling her name in a panic.
The door almost flew off the hinges when I flung it open. I froze and almost collapsed at the sight in front of me. There was my baby… in the arms of a man in black robes.
And the mask of a Death Eater.
“Cassie…” I breathed out.
And then all was black.
I sat up swiftly, sweat pouring down my face and my body trembling. I couldn’t stop the onslaught of tears as I tried to control my breathing.
“Hermione… Hermione what’s wrong?” Draco pulled me into his arms and spoke softly to me while I tried to calm myself down. We rocked back and forth for a while in the darkness. “Please love…” He whispered against my hair.
I shook my head. It wasn’t real. It wasn’t real… He was here. Cassie was in the room next door, the baby monitor switched on and filled with her slight snore. Everything was fine. I pulled back and gazed into Draco’s beautiful eyes.
“Make love to me again Draco…” I whispered and his lips came crashing down onto mine. I lost myself in him again, my nightmare pushed to the back of my mind.
A/N: I have NO affiliation with anything to do with Harry Potter. ‘Mr. Darcy’ is a character from Jane Austen’s book ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ …. The book is great; the BBC version of the movie with Colin Firth is amazing. Watch it, you’ll love it J
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