Chapter 25 : Honey, We're Home
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And wrap yourself around me
'Cause I ain't the way you found me
And I'll never be the same
'Cause you're making my dreams come true
-You Make My Dreams Come True by Hall and Oates.
“Draco, why are their muggles in our house?”
Narcissas voice was not how Hermione had remembered it. It sounded like how it was before the war, back when her voice wasn’t soft and pleading. When she still felt proud of her surname and all that came with it. It was strong, and had the exact same tone that Pansy always used, and that Hermione had noticed in Astoria’s voice as well.
Hermione, gaping, turned to look at Draco only to find him looking just as surprised as she did. His mouth was hanging open and his eyes were wide, and he seemed to be struggling to come up with something to say. In the state of shock at seeing his parents he looked about ten years younger.
“M-Mother? Father? What are you...?” Draco shook his head and raked his hand through his hair twice in anticipation.
Hermione looked back to Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy and watched as Lucius rolled his eyes at his sons stupor. A smirk grew on Lucius’ lips that was all too familiar to Hermione, and it dawned on her then just how similar he and his son were, at least in appearance.
“Yes, it’s us. Now, Draco, I think you have quite a lot of explaining to do.” Lucius spoke pointedly. “Oh, and hello Ms. Granger.”
Hermione felt her stomach flop.
“Okay, then I’ll explain. Let’s go to the sitting room.” Draco seemed to have regained his cool, and walked past Hermione and his parents and began to lead them out of the foyer and towards his destination. “Hermione feel free to go to your room. You don’t have to be here for this.”
“No, I think Ms. Granger should be here for the discussion.” Narcissa replied before Hermione could say a word.
No one spoke for the rest of the way there, and as they walked Hermione felt suffocated by the tension in the air. Once inside Lucius immediately sat down on one the cream upholstered love seat and folded open a newspaper Hermione hadn’t noticed him carrying.
“‘Former You-Know-Who Follower Falls For Golden Trio Girl’” Lucius read out in an irritated, snippety tone. Hermione recognized it as the headlines of the first article written about Draco and herself. The one that had caused her so much stress all that time ago.
Draco groaned and slumped down onto a chesterfield next to Hermione. “Perfect.” He muttered sarcastically.
“Don’t get like that, Draco.” Said Narcissa. “It’s not our fault you’re front page news even outside of the United Kingdom. You’ll just have to explain yourself.”
The woman reminded Hermione of a cobra. She had a long neck, and her thick, blonde hair was twizzled away from her face in a simple French bun. Her lips were painted a daring red, and her eyelashes were so long that they seemed to almost float above her eyelids. Narcissa Malfoy was very beautiful, and very regal, and Hermione realized she hadn’t seen her this close up for this long in her entire life.
“Okay. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I dragged you two out of...?” Draco leaned forward so that his forearms were rested on his knees.
“Great. Rome. Yes, well, sorry about the inconvenience but if you hadn’t noticed the others are extracting the soul out of marks and rebuilding The Dark Lord, so-”
“We have noticed it, thank you. Your father is having his extracted just as painfully as yours, I’m sure. He’s taking a potion for it, however.”
“So am I.” Draco smirked. “Some Egyptian elixir I found the recipe for.”
“Then you and your father are taking the same potion.”
“Wonderful.” Lucius said rather loudly and very sarcastically. “Isn’t this just grand? But all I want to know is why you, Draco, are engaged to- to her!”
“Excuse me?! If you have a problem with Herm-” Hermione grabbed Draco’s elbow as he suddenly shot forward.
Narcissa rested a hand on her husbands shoulder and murmured something, her eyebrows softening.
“No one has a problem with anyone.” Narcissa said. “But why didn’t you tell us about your decision, Draco? I would have much rather heard it from you than a paper boy who’d apparently known about the engagement for quite some time.”
“Mrs. Malfoy, I’m not engaged to your son.” Hermione spoke up.
Lucius held up the paper again and opened his mouth to say something but Hermione quickly interjected, “Our engagement is fake.”
“Fake? But why ever would you...?” Narcissa trailed off, inviting someone to explain.
“Because Hermione works for The Prophet-”
“Used to.” Hermione corrected Draco.
“Because Hermione used to work for The Prophet and she stumbled into my office whilst Carter was doing an embarrassing job of threatening me.”
Lucius groaned. “I almost forgot about Carter. He hasn’t send me any anonymous mail in quite sometime.”
“That’s because he’s dead.” Draco said simply.
Narcissa and Lucius exchanged glances and then turned back to their son. They both looked confused, but Hermione could tell that they both had a good idea of what had occurred.
“I used the killing curse on him.” Draco added, looking over at Hermione almost shyly. “He was about to do the same to Hermione. I wasn’t thinking.”
“Did anyone suspect you?” Narcissa asked, seemingly unmoved by Draco’s confession.
“No. They didn’t.”
“Thank Merlin for that.” She muttered under her breath.
“Just explain from the beginning.” Lucius ordered. “From the moment Carter walked into your office.”
Draco nodded and began to explain. As he did so his palm rested on Hermione’s knee as if he needed to know she was there. Hermione had to explain a few things for herself, like how Carter had gotten her alone in the forest, and how he had been very affectionate towards her until then. They explained everything up until that moment, except Draco had decided to leave out Blaises costume party.
“Somehow I’m not surprised.” Lucius said. “I should have known they would have focused on you, Draco, they think you’re the weak link.”
Narcissa nodded. “And Ms. Granger, I’m so sorry that you have been mixed up in all of this. These were not your issues to deal with.”
“But where were you two before this? You don’t seem dressed for around the house?” Lucius asked, interrupting Hermione before she had even opened her mouth to speak.
“Blaise held a costume party.” Draco explained.
“A costume party? Draco why on Earth would you bring Hermione to that?” Narcissa broke in. “Didn’t you think about how uncomfortable that would make her?”
“She was fine.” Draco tried to argue. “She’s friends with Blaise and Pansy now.”
“Well no matter, I’m sure Mrs. Greengrass was outraged.” Narcissa leaned back on her chair. “I’ll most likely be hearing from her very soon.”
“Mrs. Greengrass?” Hermione asked Draco quietly.
“I gathered that but-”
“She’s been trying to set Astoria and Draco up since they were children.” Narcissa explained. “And I highly doubt she’s very happy that he brought his fiancee to the party.”
Draco said something, and from there the conversation turned back to the disappearing marks on Lucius’ and Draco’s arms. They talked for quite some time, eventually about things Hermione didn’t understand and did not know about, and the entire time Draco’s hand sat unmoving on her knee.
As they talked Hermione noticed how often ‘Astoria’ was mentioned, and although she really did try to stay in the conversation it was as if they were talking in a whole other language, and Hermione wondered if they had put a spell around their conversation somehow so that she would not be able to listen in.
Finally everyone agreed it was high time to retire to bed, and Draco offered to walk Hermione. Both Narcissa and Lucius exchanged glances before going towards their bedroom next to Hermione’s parents, and although Lucius seemed uncomfortable about the obviously close relationship between his son and Hermione Granger, Narcissa seemed more at ease with the idea.
Before everyone dispersed, Draco made sure to hug both of his parents. And to Hermione’s unfaltering surprise, it wasn’t the sort of hug you give to someone after a nice evening out, but the sort of hug that is given in order to send someone a thousand unspoken words. This surprised Hermione because she had not been expecting anything of the sort. She had not expected Draco or either of his parents to hold any deep compassion for each other, but as she watched the three embrace on the other side of the room - Lucius’ hand on Draco’s shoulder and Narcissa with her lips pressed against the top of her sons head - she saw a family and nothing else.
“So what was all that about?” Hermione asked once Draco and her were in the hallway. She was talking about the last part of the conversation that had sailed a mile high over her head.
“Oh, just family matters.”
“Astoria is family matters?”
They were in the darkly lit hallway, the one made of wooden panels and flickering candle lights. Hermione asked it without any anger in her voice, and to her relief Draco did not seem at all offended.
His exhale turned into a sigh. “Pure-blood matters.”
They continued walking in silence, and as Hermione’s door edged closer and closer Hermione was filled with anticipation.
“Draco, you know you can trust me with anything, right?”
She stopped their walk mid-step and turned to face him.
“You wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.” He said with ice in his voice.
He stared back at her as Hermione tried to search his eyes for something, although she wasn’t completely sure what, but she knew that she wasn’t finding it now and so continued walking. But after only two steps Hermione stopped them for a second time.
“You know what? You’re going to meet my friends.”
Draco seemed puzzled. “Hermione, I’ve met your friends.”
“No... No.” Hermione shook her head. “You’re going to meet them for real this time. On good terms. You’re going to get to know them.”
Draco scoffed and turned away from her. “Yeah, and when am I going to do this? For some reason I don’t think-”
“Tomorrow!” Hermione said quickly.
“Yeah, I mean, I don’t see why not. If Harry can and-” She pulled her hair over her shoulder and began walking again, with Draco matching her pace exactly.
“Hermione, why are you doing this?”
“A fiance of mine has got to get along with my friends, you know.”
“You do know we are fake, right?” Draco laughed, and for the flicker of a second she saw something in his eyes, the same something she had been looking for, and the same something she had seen in her parents house.
“But it doesn’t matter.” Hermione replied without sharing in his joke. “I don’t want to keep the two worlds so separate. You and my friends, I mean.”
“Really? I thought you would have.” The laughter died quickly on his lips, and he seemed to be seriously thinking over what she was saying.
“I did.” She told him simply. “But I don’t want to anymore. This is my life now, not just a thing to get over with.”
They were at her door but neither of them were ready to end their conversation, and so they stood outside of it looking at each other like how they might have years ago if things had been different.
A playful smirk grew on Draco’s lips and Hermione felt her heart squirming out her chest. “This is your life now, huh? When did that start?”
“In all honesty I have no idea, and I don’t care.” Draco’s eyes widened as Hermione stepped closer. He looked like a child, and she could almost hear his heart racing.
“W-we should both get a good nights sleep if I’m meeting your friends tomorrow.” He stuttered, opening her door but not taking a step back.
Hermione smiled wanly and walked into her room. “Alright, tomorrow it is.”
Her hand was closed around the handle, and she could feel the cold brass against her skin like a painful reminder. Draco was further from her door than he had been before she entered, and was now obviously ready to head back to his own room.
“Do you have any plans for breaking up?” She asked it quietly and wasn’t even sure if he had heard until she looked to his face and saw a small, shy smile sitting there.
“None at all.”
“That’s good.” Hermione shared Draco’s smile, and felt her heart warm as it grew up the sides of her lips. “Because neither do I.”
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