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Chapter 3 : Malfoy?
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“Hermione!” Blaise yelled as he ran towards her. Pansy was equally as frantic and right behind her husband.
“Hermione darling. Are you okay?” Pansy asked. Blaise took Hermione’s cool hands, and he leant forwards to see into her lifeless eyes which flickered in his direction. The girl was still alive. “What’s wrong with her Blaise?” Pansy whispered.
“To be honest I don’t have the foggiest idea Pans. We’re taking her to St. Mungo’s though, she needs help,” Blaise whispered back. Then he bent down and as Hermione was a small, light, girl, shorter than his wife, he could pick her up and carry her easily over to his office fireplace. Pansy walked behind him slowly, waving her wand at different things here and there so she could completely close up downstairs. Blaise waited for Pansy to appear as he cradled Hermione in his arms and Pansy threw the floo powder for him and followed closely afterwards.
The welcome witch at St. Mungo’s was unfortunately Lavender Brown who neither liked nor trusted Blaise and Pansy Zabini but for their best friend they swallowed their own dislike of the girl and spoke civilly.
“Brown, there’s something wrong with Hermione we need her seen to,” Pansy murmured. She knew better than to shout Hermione’s name out in public, being 1/3rd of the golden trio meant that reporters would apparate right there on the spot. Lavender looked scornfully at Blaise and Pansy and then at the girl cradled in Blaise’s arms still staring off into nothingness.
“I’m not a fool Zabini; you think I wouldn’t recognise Hermione Granger when I saw her. I’d recognise that big bushy head anywhere,” Lavender sneered. Blaise growled under his breath and looked at Hermione when she let out a quiet wail at her last name.
“We are not playing around Brown, this is Hermione. If you don’t trust us, surely you know the counter spell for a glamour charm?” Blaise drawled. Lavender still looked disbelievingly between the trio, before her eyes rested on the girl in a stupor.
“Of course I know the counter spell,” Lavender seethed, then she muttered ‘Revelio’ under her breath, being unable to do the simplest of wordless spells, but sure as the sky is blue, the straight black hair became curly and brown, and the blank ochre eyes became blank brown. The girl in Blaise’s arms was indeed Hermione Granger, which put her straight in the “private waiting room list”. Lavender grudgingly called for another welcome witch to escort Blaise and Pansy down the corridor to the private waiting room and from there a healer in lime green robes came and asked for Hermione.
Once Hermione was laying down on the examination table the healer looked her over and examined her with her eyes and her wand, umming and ahhing at regular intervals until she finally placed down her wand and looked at Blaise and Pansy.
“Has Hermione been through any emotional turmoil in the past year or two?” The healer asked. Pansy looked dumbfounded at the healer in front of her, but before she could start yelling at the woman for being utterly dense, Blaise took her hand.
“Hermione was 1/3rd of the golden trio, she faced emotional turmoil throughout her entire 7th year at Hogwarts and when the war ended she had to deal with the deaths of friends and the betrayal of Ron Weasley. Last year Hermione returned to Hogwarts to complete her studying and she healed I think, although I don’t think she was entirely healed.
“Since the start of Hermione’s eighth year she’s been looking for her muggle parents. She placed a memory charm on them before the start of her 7th year and sent them to Australia. On Friday she was called to the ministry and they told her that the plane carrying her parents had crashed before they even managed to get there. Friday she cried herself to sleep, Saturday she lay in bed all day in this state and today she was working with the help of a calming draught once every 4 hours. Her next calming draught is meant to be in about an hour. We came home from here and found Hermione like this.” Blaise explained. The healer listened closely to Blaise’s words and every now and again her eyes would flash with intuition but she would allow Blaise to continue his story without the interruptions.
“By the sounds of it, Miss Granger has never stopped going and although she appeared to be getting over the war and its affects, she never really had that time where she could let it all out and heal. The death of her parents must have been the final thing to place on the pile. I’m not going to sugar coat it, Miss Granger has an acute case of depression. Strong enough to knock her into a stupor rather than face the horrors of her life. She is a broken woman to what you remembered. It will take a tremendous amount of rebuilding to put her to rights again. The stupors will come and go on their own, I shall however prescribe a calming draught to her as it appears to allow her to go about life without completely making her carefree,” The healer explained. Blaise and Pansy just nodded solemnly at the healer. “I would like to keep her overnight just to wait out the stupor and give us time to gather her potions. It will also allow us to track any dangerous changes in her state.
Hermione woke up bleary eyed and as she felt the crippling pain in her stomach she gasped and groaned. When she opened her eyes properly this time she saw Blaise and Pansy leaning over her then next to Blaise stood Harry and Neville, and next to Pansy stood Ginny and Luna. The sight of her six closest friends made tears come to Hermione’s eyes and she tried to blink them back as she sat up and stared around her.
“What am I doing in hospital?” Hermione muttered to her shaking fingers. Harry’s warm hand caught hers and she looked up into the emerald eyes of the man who could have been her brother.
“Mi, you went into another stupor. It’s Tuesday night,” Harry whispered.
“What do you mean it’s Tuesday? It was Sunday only hours ago!” Hermione panicked, and the wild look returned to Hermione’s eyes.
“Pans and I came home from here and you were just there on the floor. An unopened bottle of firewhisky was on the counter and Winka was crying hysterically, she thought you were dead. She informed me that you asked her to get you a glass, she refused and you slipped into the stupor,” Blaise said slowly and calmly. His voice sounded as if he was simply discussing the weather and that made it easier for Hermione to accept the words her friend was saying, whispered voices and hushed tones only succeeded in alarming her.
“So why am I still here if I’m okay?” Hermione asked as she looked between her friends. Ginny reached over and clasped one of Hermione’s hands and smiled.
“They just wanted to make sure, the second stupor in 24 hours is not a good sign. That and they had to get your potions ready,” Ginny said, taking her lead from Blaise and keeping her voice calm and even. Hermione looked around her at her friends and saw a glimpse of what they were trying to hide, but even as she saw the glimpse in their smiling expressions, she couldn’t decipher what any of it meant. For once in her life Hermione did not know the answer and it frightened her so much she felt tears spill down her cheeks.
“Hermione what’s wrong?” Pansy murmured.
“I… I… I don’t know. I can see it in your eyes, there’s something you’re trying to hide from me, but I don’t know what. I don’t know the answer,” Hermione gasped as her teeth worried on her bottom lip.
Hermione looked down at her bed sheets and watched as tears fell. She was still worrying on her bottom lip when she noticed a tiny droplet of blood fall.
“Hermione stop with the teeth,” Neville gasped. He had been the only one to watch her cry and he noticed the blood droplets. Hermione stopped and gasped and then started to panic. The wild look returned to her eyes and her eyes flickered manically between her friends before she fell back onto the bed and let out a loud wail as she covered her face. The sound was like that of an infant, a frustrated baby who could make neither head not tail of the situation, a child who needed comfort and reassurance from their mother, but for Hermione no reassurance was coming in the form of her mother so her friends cringed and cried and dug their nails into their palms as she refused to let anyone touch her.
A healer rushed into the room carrying Hermione’s calming draught and surveyed the scene around her before she hurried over to the bed, lifted Hermione into a seated position and told her to drink. Hermione looked at the woman with eyes begging for help and she took the drink and willingly swallowed it.
It took mere minutes for the drink to have an effect on her body, but she could feel it was ten times stronger than the stuff she was given courtesy of her friends. When the potion did start to act, Hermione felt her hands stop shaking and relax by her sides, she felt her eyes focus on things properly and felt the pain in her lip from where she’d been biting it viciously. The healer looked at Hermione’s palms where here nails had pierced her skin and then looked at her lip and took out her wand, vanishing the light surface wounds.
“Better?” The healer asked.
“Yes,” Hermione dead panned, the healer just looked at Hermione.
“In ordinary circumstances I would bid you stay in the hospital, in the ward designed for patients with temporary mental disorders like depression. However I can see that confining you here would have the opposite effect. So Miss Granger. I wish to see you back here, every other day for a check-up and an appointment with a psychiatrist, you need to take your calming draughts every 4 hours you are awake to prevent a relapse into the stupor. Don’t bottle things up Hermione, please, talk to your friends, that’s why they’re here.
“Wait I don’t need to see a psychiatrist!” Hermione panicked. The healer simply looked at Hermione and held her gaze until she calmed down.
“I’m afraid dear, you do, you need the help to prevent you falling deeper into this, and you’re already dangerously deep my dear. Now I suggest you go home and go about things normally I shall make an appointment for this time on Thursday, the hospital is mainly quiet at this time of night.” The healer smiled. Hermione looked up at the head strong woman and eventually nodded meekly. When Hermione finally reached back to the Three Broomsticks with all her friends, Ridly prepared her something to eat and then she went to bed too exhausted to stay awake.
The next morning provided Hermione with a strange refreshed feeling and as soon as she was awake Ridly was at her side with her calming draught and her breakfast. Wolfing down her breakfast with enthusiasm Ron Weasley would be proud of, she then uncorked the portion of calming draught that was in a small vial and drained it. In a stroke of feeling much more alert and on the ball Hermione charmed her wand to buzz in 4 hours so she could take her next lot of medication on time. Hermione dressed and replaced the glamour charm on her eyes and hair and put her hair back up into the high ponytail and plaited it down before she wandered down the stairs to meet Pansy at the front of the shop.
“Morning Pans,” Hermione sighed. Pansy looked up from where she was opening blinds and smiled.
“Morning Mi, how’re you today?”
“I dunno,” Hermione sighed as she shrugged, but she went through the movements of helping Pansy open up the shop and when the first few customers trickled in and the witches and wizards who had stayed overnight came down stairs Hermione was ready for her day as good as she could ever be. That was until lunch time.
Hermione held her calming draught in a vial in her hands and she turned away from the customers who didn’t want serving and downed it in one, waiting for the potion to hit her and then she relaxed and reset the charm on her wand.
“Tut, tut, tut, does Mrs Zabini know that you’re taking things newbie?” said a drawling voice from behind her. Hermione whipped around and found herself gazing the silvery grey eyes of the only man besides Ronald Weasley that she truly despised. Draco Malfoy.
“Malfoy?” Hermione blurted out in a disgusted tone. Draco sneered at Hermione’s name tag.
“Excuse me, Cody is it? Do I know you?” Draco drawled.
“No, but I know you,” Hermione hissed. Draco stood by the bar staring at the rude stranger with disgust painted on her face, he knew her from somewhere and he’d be damned if he didn’t figure it all out.
“Draco!” Pansy cried as she walked out of the office. Draco turned away from the rude stranger who had gone on her rounds around the tables, quill in hand, and gave a hug to one of his oldest friends.
“Pansy, how are you?” Draco asked warmly as he presented Pansy with one of his rare smiles.
“I’m doing well thank you, yourself?” Pansy countered.
“I’m doing better than I could imagine. Father died the other month but Mother has been taking it better than I ever thought she could, and as Father died I was given the company but I’ve given it to the co-head and the Malfoys are no longer involved. I miss him, he was my father, but to keep that company would only remind me of all the things he did wrong with it.” Draco said pensively but then he grinned. “So what’s new on the cards Pans? I see the shop is still standing,” Draco joked.
“Yeah, the inn is still standing, Blaise and I are still as happily married as ever, if not more so because Draco…” Pansy then leant in close to the ear of the man who was practically her brother. “I’m pregnant.” Draco let out a gasp of surprise and then let out a loud laugh and congratulated her happily. His best mates in the entire world were having a baby.
“You had better make me godfather Pans, or I will never forgive you,” Draco mock growled with a glare cast straight into her green eyes. Pansy laughed and smacked his arm lightly.
“We have a list building up, you see Ginny, Hermione and Luna are probably going to be Godmothers, and then Harry, Nev and You will be Godfathers. But there’s another 6 and a half months left to go yet,” Pansy said softly as she rested her hand against her non-existent baby bump. Draco’s eyes crinkled at the corners in a soft smile.
“I am still yet to meet Potter, Weasley, the girl Weasley, Granger and Lovegood. I haven’t spoken to them in a long while and we weren’t exactly on the best of terms. I believe Weasley punched me in the face during the war because I was being a coward and a two-faced little shit right after they saved Goyle and me from the ROR. I never did thank them for that I don’t think,” Draco mused.
Hermione who was passing Draco as he spoke froze and then turned back to face him.
“I apologise sincerely for being rude earlier on Mr Malfoy, however would you mind taking a walk with me when I have my break, I should explain my behaviour,” Hermione said timidly. Draco’s eyes swung around to face Hermione and she dropped her eyes to the floor to avoid those liquid silver eyes of his.
“Um,” Draco spluttered. He could barely get his words out of his mouth and Pansy was there in front of him almost bent double with silent laughter. “Sure, what time is your break?” Draco asked. Hermione checked her wrist for her watch and realised she’d forgotten it. Draco casually offered his own wrist out where she saw a muggle watch there.
“In around half an hour, you don’t mind waiting do you?” Hermione murmured to her feet after she checked the time. Draco couldn’t help but look at the woman in front of him. She had the air of once being a woman who could hold her own and stand tall against any foe and competitor, much like Hermione Granger. But this woman had been defeated and she stood there meek and timid awaiting his decision. Draco couldn’t help but wonder how she knew him and what she knew that caused her to hate him so. Draco had had a more than innocent reputation since the war, he rose to take his father’s place well, he was a kind and just man nowadays. This witch must have known about him from before the war.
“I have no problem waiting for you as long as you agree to serve me while you wait,” Draco smirked cheekily. The woman’s gaze flickered up to his and then back down. That single piercing gaze made him feel hot under the collar and the witch’s shrug made him gawp at her. No witch, no wizard, no muggle ever shrugged at Draco Malfoy, it just wasn’t done. Malfoys were answered with a yes or no answer, not a non-committable shrug.
Thankfully the witch hurried off and Blaise hurried over to Pansy, noticing her bent double and not knowing she was laughing.
“Pansy are you okay?” Blaise murmured as he took his wife gently in his arms. He heard noises coming from his wife as if she was crying and he pulled back to check if she was indeed crying, but no she was instead creasing up with laughter. “What’s so funny?”
“Apparently the idea that your new waitress has asked me out for a walk in half an hour,” Draco drawled as he watched the girl in question move from table to table and back to the bar bringing orders and serving food as if she’d been doing it for years.
“Draco! Mate where in the name of Merlin have you been?” Blaise laughed. Draco’s own deep laugh joined in with Blaise’s and he just pulled his other best friend into his embrace.
“I have been hiding deep inside the manor trying to figure out a way out of all the dark twisted things my father had managed to do to the company so I could finally pass it off. I’ve never wanted it so why should I keep it but mate I felt like an antisocial old guy,” Draco complained. Pansy and Blaise simply laughed harder.
“No wonder Draco Malfoy has such an innocent reputation, he hasn’t been out with a woman to get caught not being innocent. How was a year of abstinence mate?” Blaise teased. Draco scowled at the man who was practically his brother but as he went to reply his words were lost as Cody bent over nearby to get something she’d dropped on the floor. What the hell. What kind of witch gets near the floor to retrieve something when they had a wand, even if she did have quite an attractive ass? Unless…
Draco’s fast mind started clicking and taking things piece by piece and shredding them apart before putting them back together. First of all, the woman had an extreme dislike for him, one that could have only really have been forged before and during the war. Secondly the witch reminded him of Hermione Granger, only with a defeated air about her, she had the air of a broken person, and lastly the witch had bent over to get the quill she had dropped, instead of using ‘accio quill’ like a normal witch or wizard.
“Tell me something Blaise,” Draco said quietly as he cut his eyes away from the witch’s fetching behind and onto his sheepish friend.
“Tell you what?” Blaise asked nervously.
“Is that Hermione Granger?” Draco asked. Blaise and Pansy glanced at each other and that was all Draco needed to know. “That is the Hermione Granger? What happened to her hair and eyes?”
“It’s a disguise. She doesn’t want to be recognised by anyone as it would make her life difficult. You’re the only one to clock and that’s because you knew of her.” Pansy explained.
“Don’t let on that you know, she’s not been in the greatest place the past week,” Blaise continued. Draco just nodded. His eyes were fixed on the defeated figure of Hermione Granger.
“Wait what do you mean?” Draco then asked.
“Her parents died at the beginning of her 7th year in a plane crash. Don’t call her Granger,” Blasie whispered into his mate’s ear. Draco’s eyes cut back to his friend in a confused glance. “Just don’t Draco.”
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