Chapter 23 : Disappearing Act
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Woo! Here I am, finally, with another chapter! Thank you for your patience!
To my dear reviewers, I love you all. SydneyBlack, dracos lover, MsJacksonMalfoyMellark, Christalle, EssenseOfDitany, MrsJaydeMalfoy, Kylie, the ever so lovely We Are Padfoot and Prongs, and Harmonia. S2
A huge thanks to my beta reader- MadiMalfoy. Guys, this girl rocks for putting up with me and my story. :P
Trying to empty my mind and block my thoughts of everything, Hermione especially, was far more difficult than I could have imagined. I found that simply blocking my thoughts entirely was far more effective than screening.
I ignored most of what was going on around me including the coversation, though I knew I should probably pay a little more attention. Maybe I could use the information for something.
“My, my, Draco. Someone looks concentrated,” I heard from across the table. I looked up to see my Aunt Bellatrix staring at me from under her heavily lidded eyes.
“Couldn’t sleep last night,” I said, keeping my voice level. “And I was just thinking about how I won’t be going back to school when it starts up again.”
“But you should be thrilled,” Bellatrix said with her bottom lip jutted out in a pout. “After all, Dumbledore is gone because of you,” she cooed and my stomach gave a nasty flip. “Besides, you get to stay here with all of us.”
All of us? Staying here? When was that decided? “You have no idea how thrilled I am,” I said in a steady voice, though I was beginning to panic. Who exactly was all of us? “It’s just an odd feeling to know all of my friends will be moving on with school without me is all.”
“But they would be honored to be in your position,” she said and I tried not to laugh. I kept my face straight as I thought to myself: Who in their right mind? Then I realized… a lot of these people weren’t exactly in their right mind.
I muttered, “Ahh… right… honor.” It took everything in me to not roll my eyes.
“Are you unhappy with your calling?” she drawled on, the corner of her lip turning up in a slight sneer. Clearly she was unhappy with the fact that I’d managed to do something so “noble” while all she’d managed to do was kill her own cousin.
My mother sat next to Bellatrix, her mouth in a flat line and I could tell by the way her eyes glimmered that she was clearly trying to hold her tongue.
“Oh dear, Draco. Are you not feeling special enough?” she drawled, making her pouty face yet again.
“Enough, Bella,” Mother hissed, causing Bellatrix’s eyebrows to shoot up. “He’s my son, not a dog. Stop teasing him like that.”
“Oh, Cissy,” she cooed, fluttering her eyelids at Mother. “I was just playing is all.”
“Is there a problem ladies?” drawled yet another voice from beside me and I couldn’t help but blanch slightly.
“No Severus. Bella here is just teasing Draco,” Mother said, giving her sister a dry smile.
“Always manages to ruin all the fun,” Bellatrix muttered. Crossing her arms over her chest. She’d always been one for theatrics.
“Now now, Bellatrix, must you always tease? The boy is obviously tired and has good reason to be upset. Whatever is said, he is responsible for the death of a great wizard-” he was cut off as Bellatrix snarled.
“We’ve had nearly this exact conversation before, Bellatrix. You need not like who Dumbledore was but there’s a reason he needed to be killed, he was a great wizard and killing is a lot to handle for one so young,” Snape said and Bellatrix growled at him.
“Dumbledore is nothing but a corpse now,” Bellatrix hissed, her eyes wide and full of hatred.
“Be that as it may, the boy is a teenager, they either get nothing but sleep or don’t sleep at all and he’s clearly the latter. And after being responsible for the death of a man of his power, it’s reasonable, so why don’t you leave your nephew alone?” Snape said, his tone rather decisive. I wanted to say something… that I didn’t need him defending me, but I knew it would do no good.
“Humph,” Bella said, pouting yet again. “You guys are no fun at all.”
I couldn’t bring myself to move but somehow, in the blink of an eye, a table appeared out of nowhere with two chairs. A tablecloth was draped over the table, with a teapot, cups, cream, and sugar set out in the middle.
“Come now, dearie,” she said, gesturing to the chair across the table as she sat down and smiled.
I found I was unable to stop myself as I made my way over to the table, pulled out the chair, and sat down. I swallowed and found that for once, I, Hermione Granger, could not find a word to say.
“I’m so glad to see you doing well,” the woman said, smiling her awful smile. I had no idea what to even say, considering I had absolutely no idea what she was walking about.
She poured herself some tea and added a scoop of sugar, staring at me the whole time she did it.
She stirred it and took a sip, before smiling and setting the cup down. I shuddered as I couldn’t help but think of Umbridge as she did so.
“Well now, you’re not going to have me drink my tea all alone, are you?” she asked and I gulped.
“N-no I suppose not,” I managed to get out. I grabbed the teapot, pouring myself a cup and adding a small amount of cream and a heaping spoon of sugar before stirring and taking a sip, all the while never looking at her.
I set it down and finally brought myself to meet her eyes.
“Do I know you from somewhere?” I asked, trying to at least get some clue as to who she was. I’d been wracking my brain the entire time, hoping to at least get the tiniest flicker of a flame of recognition but to no avail.
“Tsk tsk. Didn’t I say no questions?” her eyebrows raised in question.
“You said for the time being. I’m done just sitting her and pretending like I’m all right with the whole ‘stranger in my bedroom not allowing any room for questions’ thing,” I said sternly. I could feel my nostrils flare when I finished, but I couldn’t help it… I needed to at least have some answers.
“Well you’ve got spirit. I like it,” the woman smiled and leaned back in her chair. She took a deep breath and exhaled loudly before saying, “I suppose I should just be frank with you then. I’m here because of Draco.”
“So Draco told you I was here then, did he?” I asked, though I didn’t know what this meant.
She smiled at me. Her eyes twinkled with a look that had to be knowledge. Knowledge of something I didn’t know, as if she were in on some big secret.
“Not quite. I mean, I knew you would be, but this whole thing is sort of… my doing.”
“Your doing?” I asked curiously, not knowing how anything could be her doing. “So, what, you’re a Death Eater and were promised a pretty price if you were able to convince Draco to bring me here on the false pretense that he was protecting me? Or is he in on the whole thing as well?” I asked, my voice rising in volume with each word until I was nearly yelling.
“Oh, dearie. You’ve got it all wrong. I can’t tell you any more now… I’m doing this for the benefit of you both. Young Draco needs to learn a few things and you’re the only one who can teach him. What it is he needs to learn, I can’t tell you, it will all be revealed in due time.”
“No buts,” she said, holding up a hand to silence me. “You don’t understand any of it now, but I can assure you, it’s for the best. Someday, you’ll thank me.”
I opened my mouth to say something but before I could even say anything, the woman vanished without a trace or sound. My mouth hung open and I couldn’t help but wonder what I was supposed to do with the table and the tea.
I stood up and looked around the room, expecting her to be sitting on my bed or walking around somewhere else. I must have missed her standing up, right?
She was nowhere to be found, but a piece of paper caught my eye, leaning up against the vase that held the rose.
I made my way over to it and picked it up, unfolding the paper.
I’m sorry to leave so abruptly, but I only needed to check and make sure everything was in order. It seems to be better than I could have imagined, but the rest is up to you. Draco means well, that boy just needs a shove in the right direction.
Best of luck,
I groaned in frustration, I was no closer to answers than I had been before this woman came, and now more questions arose. And X? That was all she would give me?
I turned back to the table, hoping there would be an answer there, only to find that the tables, chairs, and tea had vanished into thin air as well. I began to wonder if she’d even been here at all.
My frustration got the better of me and I crumpled up the note, tossing it across the room when a knock sounded on my door.
A/N: If I promise cupcakes of your choice and design, will you leave a review? :p I love you all and if you could leave a review it would absolutely make my day! :)
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