Hermione opened her eyes cautiously in fear of the sunlight hurting them. She reached for her wand and pulled the curtains closed. Draco had finally fallen into a peaceful sleep after a night of tossing and turning and she didn’t want to disturb him. She slowly got up from his bed and made her way down stairs to be faced by an expected mess. She grabbed her beaded bag that she had hid in the corner of the dining room, changed quickly out of the clothes she had worn the night before and set herself and her wand to some serious magic cleaning.
Once she had a system going her mind began to process exactly what had happened the night before. The main thing running through her mind being, was Lucius really dead? What proof did they have other than this mysterious letter? Surely after the last letter that he had received from them had caused enough trouble that they’d know not to send another so carelessly.
Or perhaps was it another clue, the last letter lead to the resurrection stone, whether it was supposed to or not, maybe it was and Narcissa knew one of them might end up dead and Draco would be able to send it to them but then again would anyone really want a shadow of the person they once had.
Hermione always thought that was the saddest story of the deathly hallows, the man who so desperately wanted his love back and ended up with a trapped soul in a world that was not supposed to be hers.
And then again what if the letter was a lie, did they think the ministry were going to believe it? Her mind raced and tried to pull the puzzle apart as she furiously cleaned his home to its former glory.
Draco body ached as he awakened from his uneasy slumber. His mouth was dry and a bitter taste lingered in it. He looked for his wand to fill the glass on his bedside locker with water when he finally noticed Hermione was no longer beside him and he remembered why they were locked in his room together. He didn’t blame her for leaving. It wasn’t her place to mourn his father, a man who hated her and anyone like her.
He always wondered how much he would have changed after the war if he stayed. He left to escape Azkaban, but mostly to save the strand of dignity he had left for himself. Having to accept muggle born and half muggle witches and wizards would have destroyed him. Draco was being to think his father only hated them for the same reasons he did, it’s what he was brought up to believe. He just couldn’t get out the way Draco had.
Then again he did try change his allegiance at the last moments of the war, maybe it wasn’t to save his life maybe it was because he knew it was the right thing to do and he no longer had Voldemort to fear? To be terrified of the consequences of both sides of a world changing war was something he struggled with personally, he never thought about his father feeling the same pressure.
He decided to get out of bed and clean up from last night. He knew it would be a mess. He also knew he was going to have to contact his father’s three sisters and Harry.
Harry went straight to the ministry after confirming the letter was no hoax. He had spent some time with Draco trying to figure out if it was real or not before heading for the ministry. Before the war had fully kicked off, his parents had decided on a code word for if something should happen to either of them so one of them could let Draco know. Only the three of them knew what it was and they never discussed it with anyone else and it wasn’t something you’d guess too easily.
It was Xavier, the name of Draco’s first horse which he let free into the forest not far from Malfoy manor when he was around eight or nine. He never went riding and Xavier was in his stable the whole time and Draco didn’t like the idea of him being a caged animal. Sadly that was what he came to feel like in his own life.
His mother wrote the basic details of what happened to Lucius and sent her love in the letter also and in an obvious shaky hand wrote Xavier at the end of the parchment. The only question that remained for Harry and Draco was how did the letter get into Draco’s bedroom?
After the letter about the vault the ministry put a charm on Malfoy manor to stop any owls delivering letters to the manor, the would be transported directly to the ministry once they dropped them anywhere on the manor so they could be checked for any clues as to where the Malfoy’s were hiding or where the letter and owl came from the same went for any letters addressed to Draco at Hogwarts they would first be checked by Professor Mc Gonagall.
He was pleased to see the downstairs hallway and stairs weren’t too messy. As he turned to go into the main dining room he was pleasantly surprised to see it was spotless, cleaner than it had been before the party. His heart sunk a little when he seen a letter sitting in the middle of the dining room table. He was beginning to really hate getting letters.
I didn’t want to wake you. You were still sleeping when I finished tidying up. I figured I better get back before the Weasleys and Harry began to worry where I was. If you need me for anything and I mean anything, please just let me know I’ll come right over. I’m only an owl away.
Draco sighed as he folded the letter and placed it in his shirt pocket. He looked round his empty dining room knowing he was probably never going to see his mother fixing flowers on the table and he knew he was never going to see his father reading the daily prophet and drinking his morning tea. It all felt like the end, the end of everything he once knew, the end of everything that was his. He had no choice now but to walk away from what was once his world to something new. His gut feeling told him he was going to be ok.
“Remind me again why we’re going into Diagon ally again” Ron groaned he wasn’t impressed at how early he was being dragged out of bed especially on a school holiday.
“Because of the funeral Ron, if ever there were going to be an opportunity for death eaters to rise up it would be today” Harry hit Ron with a pillow
“Fine!” he rolled over and pulled his duvet up around himself
“RON!” Harry raised his voice and pulled the duvet off him
“I’m up!” He sprung up in his bed grabbing the duvet back to cover himself back up.
His cheeks burned red as he looked at Hermione who laughed under her breath as she brushed the knots out of her hair unwillingly.
“Harry do you think anyone will attack?” she finally gave up on brushing and pulled it into a ponytail.
“Honestly? No I think they proved their point killing Lucius in the first place I don’t think anyone has anything on Draco or any of the other Malfoys”
“I don’t understand how this thing is going to work anyway, like normally it’s a horse drawn carriage with a coffin in the back but no one knows where his body is what are they going to bury?” Ron finally sat up in bed
“I think it’s just for the family’s sake, you know some closure” Hermione added
“I didn’t even know Lucius had sisters until dad said, do you think that’s why he had such long straight hair? You know he was trying to fit in at home?”
Harry looked at Hermione and both rolled their eyes and shook their heads.
Mrs Weasley had a full breakfast made for everyone in the house, everything from French toast to sausages to cereal. Ron, Harry and George filled their plates as quickly as they could as if they hadn’t eaten for days on end. Ginny sipped tea and nibbled on a piece of French toast, she really didn’t like breakfast. Hermione just sat there and stared at the table full of food. Her stomach was doing summer saults as it churned nervously.
She had no idea why she was nervous about going today, chances were Draco wouldn’t even see her and it was highly unlikely there was going to be any death eaters. There would be too many Aurors on high alert.
“Harry?” Hermione tapped Ron’s bedroom door
“What’s up? Why are you knocking the door? It’s your room too” he opened the door to Hermione. He looked at her like she had spoken in a foreign language to him
“Sorry, after walking in when you and Ginny were…well I just started to knock doors ok” she smiled
Harry laughed as he flopped back onto Ron’s bed. Hermione sat across from his and crossed her legs. She looked down at Harry, she could tell he had a lot on his mind and that he was itching to get back to Hogwarts where he could escape from it all.
“Do you think it’s all true? You know about Lucius”
“Yes it is, the ministry has been working non-stop to prove it. They even found Narcissa. That’s why the funeral is going ahead today”
“Really! Did they arrest her?” Hermione gasped knowing Draco didn’t deserve any more bad news, she also felt a little hurt. It had been a week since the party and he hadn’t replied to her letter.
“No they weren’t looking for her as such they were only looking because they knew she’d lead them the Lucius”
“Oh, has she come back?”
“No, I don’t think she is going to either. They found her in Germany living with cousins of the Black family. She took them to where he was buried and gave them a few things to give to Draco”
“Oh” she couldn’t help but seem upset, she was upset for Draco and still feeling bitterness that he hadn’t tried to contact her.
“Hermione” Harry sat up and placed his hand on Hermione’s knee so she’d look up at him “What’s going on? I know you stayed with him that night”
Hermione looked away and said nothing
“How?” she looked back up at him. She knew she had locked the door of his room and that Harry had been at the ministry all night. She even managed to make it back before any of the Weasleys woke up.
“It was late but I thought he might still be awake so I took the Floo back and when I got to his room and it was locked. I tried a few different charms to unlock it and failed, then I thought of you and your tricky little locks so I tried the one you used to use to unlock our tents lock when we were looking for the Horcruxes”
Hermione swallowed a lump in her throat as she tried not to cry.
“Why haven’t you said anything? And it was nothing I was just being a friend”
“I didn’t know how to say it, especially here and it didn’t look friendly to me you were curled up in his arms”
“I don’t know what I’m doing Harry” a few tears rolled down her cheek
“I knew you didn’t want to get back with Ron, but I didn’t think that was why”
“Please don’t be mad”
“Mad?” he moved closer and took her hands “I couldn’t be mad at you, ok I don’t know what to think about it yet but to think that you can accept each other after everything”
“Oh Harry” she sobbed lunging forward to hug her friend
“You have to tell Ron” he hugged her back
“I’m not even sure what it is yet so can I just figure it out first”
“Let’s just get today sorted first yeah?” he broke their embrace and left her sitting in despair on Ron’s bed.
The streets were filled with witches and wizards all out to pay their respects. This was quite surprising to Harry, Ron and Hermione. The three of them had believed the Malfoys had fallen from grace of both sides of the war but apparently there was still a lot of people who still seen them as the highly respected family they once were.
The horse drawn carriage was the most elaborate Hermione had ever seen. Solid black wood with ornate silver décor and green velvet drapery and of course the bearing the Malfoy coat of arms. It was followed closely by what looked like a small parade of people all dressed in their best black attire. The first few people were undoubtedly Malfoys.
Directly behind the carriage were two ladies. Both had long white blonde hair.
The one on the left look to be around her mid-forties and her hair was softly curled. She was strikingly like Lucius in a feminine way of course; her face was much softer than his.
“The one on the left, that’s Meliora” Mr Weasley whispered to Ron “And the other on the right that’s Urbanna”
She looked a little younger than her sister and her hair fell poker straight. She did look like a Malfoy but not like Lucius. Her face was much fuller and she was quite short and not as slender as the others.
“And the one holding Draco’s hand that’s Quinntessa she’s the youngest”
She looked much younger than the other two, perhaps around thirty. She was remarkably like Draco. She was gripping Draco’s hand and looked to be more upset compared to the others.
“How do you know so much eh?” Ron nudged his dad while smirking at him
“Oh my boy they were royalty back in my day, they went to a boarding school for witches in Ireland and used to come home for the holidays. They would have boys flocking after them when they’d come into Diagon ally or to Hogsmeade.”
“I’m guessing you were one of them so” he jeered
“Nope I was chasing after your mother even then” he smiled at his son and then looked to Hermione. He knew what his son’s heart yearned for.
Hermione stood silently and watched as Draco stared blankly ahead as he walked. She could tell from where she was he felt numb just from the expression on his face. For a split second he took his eyes from the carriage and spotted her standing amongst the faceless crowd gathered along the street. It was as if he could sense she was standing there. Their eyes locked as he walked passed. He wanted nothing more than to leave the procession that followed behind him and go to her and just leave like they just left Diagon ally the day she stole the book. Instead he looked back to the carriage ahead hopelessly. Harry slipped his hand into Hermione’s and squeezed tightly. He could tell by the way Draco looked at her he wanted her to be there with him but she couldn’t, not with his family there.
Ron spotted Harry letting go of Hermione’s hand and for a moment he felt a shudder of the jealously he used to feel when he thought that Hermione liked Harry, or when the horcrux showed her kissing Harry but then he shook it off and remembered they were like brother and sister and Harry would never do that to Ginny.
“Gwaaahhh!” he exclaimed nudging Harry “Get a look at them” he nodded toward two young girls no more than sixteen who were following behind Draco, two pretty girls was a good distraction to his own conscience
“They look like twins” Harry whispered back to him
“They’re Unrbanna’s daughters I think she’s the only one of the Malfoy sisters to have children”
“They look magnificent and for someone who didn’t follow after the Malfoys you sure know a lot about them” he teased his dad
One of them looked over in Harry, Ron and Hermione’s direction and then whispered to her sister. She then looked over at them, and then smiled back at her sister.
“I think they just smiled at me” Ron declared feeling like he had earned some bragging rights, after all, who else would they be looking at? Or at least that’s how he chose to see it.
Draco hid in his room after the funeral. His aunts invited several people back for drinks and dinner but Draco just wanted to be left alone. He had given up on the high society kind of life he once led. He always found it boring anyways. Dinner dances and galas or cotillions. The worst was debutant balls.
“You’re sure to find a nice respectable pure blood girl at debutant ball”
His mother used to say. She loved getting dressed up and attending these events and so did his father. Draco used to sulk in the corner when he was younger in protest to being there and try and when he got a bit older he used to try and cast as many charms and hexes without getting caught.
Just after he had received his orders from Voldemort, to kill Dumbledore, he was in his room and found an old invitation to a debutant ball. He didn’t know the girl or the family but he would have given anything to have the argument that he always had with his parents over going.
The “you don’t have a choice you’re coming” argument. He would have went to one every weekend if it meant he didn’t have to kill someone.
He sat on his bed and took up his school journal which was on his bedside locker. After flicking though a few pages he began to think about Hermione. He used to think he would feel unbearable shame for liking a muggle born but he didn’t at all. He wasn’t sure exactly what he felt, all he knew is he really wanted to see her but he couldn’t.
“Can I come in?” Quinntessa opened the door before he could answer
“Sure Quinn, come in” he sighed. Unfortunately someone had noticed he was missing from dinner.
“Are you ok?” she sat beside him and took his hand
“As good as anyone could be in this situation” he smiled softly at his Aunt
“I’m sorry we never came here when they left Draco, I didn’t realise how lonely this house could be. It just feels unlived in”
“That’s because it is, I’m at Hogwarts most of the time” he reassured her
“Even still, we should have come” she took her hands back and fixed her long white blonde hair “It hurts me to think about how distant Lucius became because of you know who”
Draco could tell she was hurting. The Malfoy sisters used to always come home and visit on the holidays every year till Draco was about sixteen, when his father started getting heavily involved with death eater business once more. None of his sisters approved. Just before Draco became a death eater they tried to convince Narcissa to take Draco and come live in Ireland with them, away from all of it.
“It’s no one’s fault” Draco tried to comfort her. He knew Quinntessa would have been the closest with Lucius. He would have looked out for her the most because she was the youngest.
“There’s a very pretty girl downstairs waiting for you, you know” she half-heartedly smiled, trying to change the subject.
Draco looked at her confused. He instantly thought of Hermione but she knew better than to arrive at Malfoy manor and surely they would know who she is.
“Pansy isn’t it?” she asked before he got the chance to
“Parkinson, yes I thought I saw her alright” he wasn’t too thrilled she was there
“Looks like a well to do young lady, and did I mention she was very pretty”
“Let just say I have history with her, and won’t be repeating it”
“Aha! So there is someone else then perhaps?”
“You could say that, too soon to say anymore” Draco wasn’t going to tell her who but he was saying enough so he didn’t have to deal with Quinn trying to play cupid with him and Pansy.
“When are you going back to Hogwarts?”
“Tomorrow, you all don’t have to leave but I’m oddly looking forward to going back”
“No that’s fine, get back to reality and all, but I was wondering will you show me and the twins around? We’re dying to see it”
“Ah Alexis and Adella, the gruesome twosome” he sniggered
“There not quite the annoying little girls you remember”
“Yes I’m sure they are equally annoying teenagers now” he raised his eyebrow and smirked
Quinn smiled back and stroked his cheek,
“You’re going to be ok you know that?” she began to tear up a little
“I know” he looked back at her sharing her sorrow
“I could stay” she looked away from him, he could sense what sounded like desperation in her voice
“Don’t be stupid, you have your family and your job in Ireland and like I said I’m in Hogwarts most of the time”
“I think I need to be away from the Malfoy world”
“The Malfoy world?” he asked
“You know, that the Malfoy’s are the only respected family on earth and that anyone else is a disgrace to the pure blood hierarchy or a mud blood”
Draco looked at his aunt and felt a different sort of connection with her than he had before, he suddenly didn’t feel so alone that she too felt trapped by their family name.
So the cat is out of the bag kind of! Harry knows but not too much yet. Something tells me he knew before finding them in Draco’s room!
Thanks again to all my readers and everyone who has made this story their favourite and of course to everyone who had reviewed!
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