Chapter 14 : Change
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"Potter! Weasley! Blaise! Pansy! Anyone?!" he shouted as he pushed his way through the students trying to find the seventh years. As he reached the edge of the lake he saw them all laughing with Hagrid and the Headmistress. Still running towards them he forced himself to a halt still panting.
"Mr Malfoy why on earth is it that you are in such a rush?" Miss McGonagall looked shocked.
"Hermione...orphanage...mother...Voldemort..." he panted loudly resting his hands on his knees.
"Those words do not belong in a sentence together, what's this all about?" Harry asked seriously now. Wordlessly Draco handed him the letter and watched his face turn as white as chalk. "It can't be, there is no way!" Harry said in shock, his fists clenching together.
"Will somebody please explain to me what in Merlins name is going on?" Miss McGonagall demanded rising from her chair.
"Hermione wrote to her mother’s orphanage to find out if they had any information about her mother. They replied today telling her that they didn’t know who her biological parents were but they knew who had adopted her for a brief time," Draco explained.
"And who adopted her then?" Pansy asked amongst the other seventh years. Harry and Draco looked at each other,
"Tom Marvolo riddle," they said in unison. Everybody was silent for a brief minute before they all began talking at once, everyone saying different things.
“That’s not possible,”
“Is Hermione okay?”
“Voldemort?! THE Voldemort?”
“Where is Hermione?”
“We should look for her,”
“Maybe we should contact the orphanage again,”
“SILENCE,” the Headmistress shouted and the seventh years fell silent. “I will return to my office and alert the portraits to keep a look out and I will also contact the orphanage. What I want you nine to do is try and find Hermione as quickly as possible, am I understood?" she spoke with authority. The seventh years sprinted together towards the castle and it wasn't long until they were in the corridors.
"Potter, Pansy, Neville with me! Weasley and Hannah you take the second floor, Anthony and Padma you take the third floor, meet at the common room when you've scanned the whole floor!" Draco shouted as they ran. They split off in different directions. Draco could feel his heart beating as his feet pounded on the stone floors, outside the sky flashed with lightening and the slow rumble of thunder could be heard. They checked classroom after classroom and there was still no sign of Hermione. They continued running until they all collided together in front of the common room, nobody had seen her. Draco walked through the portrait hole hoping to see Hermione inside but alas the only sign of her was medusa curled in front of the fire.
"Where could she be?!" Draco shouted and punched the sofa before feeling Pansy's comforting hand on his shoulder.
"We're all worried Draco, don't worry we will find her,"
Hermione breathed in the crisp night air as she looked out across the lake. The soft breeze had become a forceful wind whipping her hair in every direction. Looking down she could see the students filing back into the castle from the firework display. She took a few steps across the astronomy tower floor towards the old, rusting railings. Slowly she gripped the cold metal bars and assuming they were solid leant against them and sighed. Tom Marvolo Riddle. That monster of a man, that creature, had adopted her mother for some sick and twisted reason and then abandoned her. He had just left her on the doorstep in a basket, no blanket, no comfort, all alone. Hermione shook the railings in rage at the information. What had he wanted with her mother? She was a muggle, he hated, detested muggles. And now he wasn't even here for her to interrogate him, to find out more.
"May I be so bold as to ask what is going on?" the silky voice of Salazar Slytherin said from his portrait along with the other four founders.
"No! Don't tell him, he's a Slytherin," Draco narrowed his eyes at the portrait.
"I hate to remind you but you're a bloody Slytherin too!" Ron snapped.
"Yes but HE would be on Voldemorts side!" Draco shouted at Ron.
"I also hate to remind you mate, but you were once," Blaise said awkwardly.
"I don't even hate reminding him, the bloody git," Ron muttered.
"Maybe I was! But that doesn't mean I still am, I changed! I changed with Hermione’s help and now I can't bear to think that I might lose her! Okay?!" Draco was breathing heavily.
"Now now, someone just explain to us what has happened," Godric said with his powerful voice that none of them could deny, so they explain. When they had finished talking the founders looked at each other wordlessly.
"I'm afraid this is not something we can assist you with. Draco, this is for you to solve," Salazar told him and the four founders walked away together.
"Well a fat load of good they were!" Ron muttered crossing his arms. "I mean how else are we supposed to find out where she is? " he looked up at Harry and their eyes met. Harry disappeared up to his dormitory and returned with a piece of parchment. The seventh years gathered around the table he had laid it on.
"How is a blank piece of parchment going to help?" Anthony asked.
"I solemnly swear I am up to no good," Harry tapped the parchment with his wand and the map began to form before their eyes.
"Of the school? Yes it is," Harry murdered scanning the rooms.
"And are those....”
"The movements of everyone in the school? Yes,“ Ron replied beginning to scan.
"There! The edge of the astronomy tower!" Draco saw the footprints labelled Hermione briefly before he ran out of the common room with his fellow seventh years behind him.
Hermione counted and listened out for the next roll of thunder, trying to figure out how close it was but she was distracted by another flash of lightening. What if she did find out what Voldemort had wanted with her mother? Would she want to know? She would rather die than find out Voldemort had done something terrible to her mother. Hermione would never have to know if she was already dead and leaned forward looking over the edge of the railings that creaked beneath her weight. But she sighed, she could never do that to her friends, she was too strong. She did however love the feeling of adrenaline pumping through her veins when she was taking risks. Silently she stepped up onto the middle bar of the railings and balanced herself. Letting go of the railings she spread her arms out and stood there, the wind blowing her hair and the soft rain began to hit her face.
Dracos heart was fluttering as he ran towards the stairs to the astronomy tower. He hadn't been up there in so long but he had to for Hermiones sake, the map had shown her so close to the edge, what if she fell? He began to panic and took the steps two at a time. He didn't wast any time waiting for the others as he reached the newly fitted door and instead kicked it open. He stopped at the sight in front of him. As dangerous as it was Hermione looked breathtaking. The downpour of rain hit her body in slow motion as if it were only soft water droplets. The rain soaked her grey shirt as it clung to her body . The wind blew her hair around her face making her look powerful and full of control. What caught his attention was the moon and the way the light shone on Hermione face, highlighting her cheekbones, softening her lips and focusing her eyes as she blinked away the tears that rolled down her cheeks. The sense of awe soon left Draco as lightening struck the edge of the wooden floor. The railings creaked and began to fall forward. Dracos heart was in his mouth as he heard Hermiones painful scream. He dove forward grabbing her hand in an attempt of bravery and pulled her backwards towards him. Just in time she fell onto him as the railings at the same time flew through the air towards the ground below. nobody spoke. The lightning stopped. The clouds settled. Everything was still. Draco lay on the cold wooden floorboards with Hermione lying by him, her head turned towards her chest so that nobody could see any from of emotion on her face. Draco knew though, he knew that she was crying and with every tear came an emotion, malice towards Voldemort, fear for what it meant, despair for her mother. He could feel the warm droplets soaking through his t shirt and the gentle shaking as she sobbed silently. He didn't say anything, she would speak when she was ready. Instead he lay there stroking her hair and watching the stars appear as the clouds began to part.
Hermione didn't know how long she had been laying there or when the others had left. All she knew was that In that moment, as Draco stoked her hair and traced circles with his finger tips on her arms, she felt comforted for the first time since the war. She could feel the water droplets dry from her arms as Dracos elemental powers transferred the heat from his fingertips. She sat up slowly, ignoring the pain in her body. Draco began to stand but she shook her head and he sat back down. As he sat down she crawled so that she sat with her back to him and leant back.
"I remember the first time I ever came up here," he said softly as they looked up at the moon sending a soft glow over the lake. " it was our fourth year. It wasn't for any significant reason, I just wanted time to myself. I must have been up here for more than a few hours because I remember sitting at the edge of the railing and watching the sun set. The lake was bursting with colour, oranges, pinks reds and in the middle of it all were the threstrals drinking from the edge of the lake. I remember thinking, how can such magnificent creatures only be seen if you have witnessed a death because in that moment they were the most wonderful creatures I have ever seen. And I did the manliest thing I could possibly have done in that moment. I cried. because I could. Because the creatures were a symbol of misfortune. because There was so much death and misfortune I'm the world. Because... Because I never showed emotion," he trailed off and looked back up at the twinkling stars.
"I've been coming up here since first year," Hermione whispered. " every Sunday without fail I would borrow Harry's invisibility cloak and make my way up here. It was the only time I could think without being interrupted. I would sit here and wait until I saw a shooting star. And every time I saw it I would wonder when it would just burn out, just end, just die. One night I arrived at the door but was stopped by the sound of a sigh from the other side. Slowly I walked in and saw the back of a boys head. I knew I couldn't be seen and so I sat down by the railing keeping a distance between the boy and I. Seeing him cry made me wonder what was on his mind, what he was so worried about, what he was being selfish about this time and now I know. He wasn't crying foher himself, was crying for the misfortune and death of others and in that brief moment I thought, Draco Malfoy is human, just like me," she stopped and looked up, noticing a shooting star.
"we're all human and unfortunately we all have ourweaknesses that could lead to our downfall," he whispered and pulled her closer. It was sitting there on the astronomy tower after the days events, watching the falling stars in Draco's arms that she realised. Everything was going to changed.
Hello all! I know this chapter isn't quite as long as usual but as I have exams I couldn't find the time to write much but I felt I had to post something. I hope you enjoyed it, my last exam is Wednesday 13th of February so after that I shall post some more :)
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