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Chapter 18 : No Matter What.
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It was like I was five years old again waiting for Santa to come. But instead of trying to hear my parents talk about what Santa was bringing me, this time I was listening to them discuss me. I was laying at the top of the stairs with my head peaking around the corner and down into main part of our house. Certain places in our house had sound sweet spots, where my parents were currently standing was one of them. To them it seemed like they were whispering, but in my location it was as if they were standing right next to me speaking at a normal volume. I had overheard so many conversations of theirs growing up this way. They never did figure it out.
"What's wrong with her? I just… I don't understand." I heard my mother's worried voice cry.
A sigh escaped from my father, "I don't know, love. I just don't know."
"You tried to talk to her didn't you? She so unreceptive of me but she's always let you in more than me." This was true. I loved my parents equally but I always connected more with my father. Always had been a "daddy's girl".
"I did. I tried but all I got back were 'I'm fine's and blank stares. I don't know what's wrong." His voice was so sad that it might as well of been taking a knife to my heart.
"What can we do?"
"Nothing," he muttered in a melancholy tone. "We wait it out. We wait and hope that everything we have taught and raised her to be will come through whatever she is going through now." He frowned as he wrapped my mother in his arms.
That was enough to give me a horrible empty pain deep in my stomach. I knew I was hurting them, but what could I do?
I pulled myself up from the ground. I went back to my room and put on boots and a jacket. I closed my door, locking it on the way out. This way they would just think I was sleeping if they came to find me. I cast a quick silencing spell and walked down the stairs, careful not to let them see me, before I slipped out the back door. I didn't know where I was going but I just couldn't be in the house anymore. I didn't want to leave to go anywhere though. So I decided to stick to our land. There were miles and miles of it. I had never even seen the back end of it, but I knew it was protected with a magical barrier that wouldn't allow me to cross it without knowing I was leaving. It also wouldn't let anyone else in. The manor had tons of security, most of it was put in place by my grandfather, Lucius. I had never gotten to meet him, but if what I've heard and learned is true, I wouldn't want to.Still..a part of me would always be curious. More so now that it has seemed like I have fallen into his footsteps. Maybe the darkness of the business just skips a generation. It was clear my father didn't have it. His heart was too pure, too loving.
Lucius Malfoy had been a dark wizard, a key in Voldemort's work. He killed innocent people and did extensive other horrible, horrible things.
Would I turn out that way? I couldn't imagine every getting blood on my hands. Looking down at my hands I noticed they were turning blue. It had started to snow again and was getting rather cold. I cast a quick warming spell and instantly felt better.
I walked around woods for a while, just thinking about how everything in my life had been turning out. A year ago this would all have seemed like a crazy thing that could never happen to someone like me. I was the daughter of Hermione Granger, the brightest witch, part of the golden trio, someone who helped defeat Voldemort when she was just a little older than I was now.
But I was also the daughter of someone who's very blood was filled with dark wizards. Until me every Malfoy was looked at like an enemy. My father changed that, he stood up against the odds and fought his way back into the light.
Would I be able to do the same thing? Or was I in too deep?
I noticed the bench that I had spent countless hours on, reading, watching the clouds, just talking, whatever. I smiled at the fond memories, but then frowned. I hated that I was hurting my family. My family that had never done anything unless it benefited me. I was selfish and cruel and I just about hated myself at that moment.
I curled up on the bench, unwanted tears leaking from my eyes.
"Have you seen Sophia?" Hermione asked in a worried voice as she came down the stairs. She rushed into the living room where Draco was lighting a fire in the fireplace with his wand.
"Isn't she in her room?" He stood up, clearly concerned.
Hermione bit her lip, a worrying habit, "No…the door was locked but I got in anyway when she refused to answer. She was gone."
"Okay don't worry. She'll come back. She probably went for a walk or something." He was freaking out in his head, but refused to let his wife see him like that. He was a baby after she left for pre-school the first time, not wanting to let her go. Hermione had been the strong one that time and he hated feeling that way.
"What if she doesn't?" Hermione had tears attempting to escape her eyes, but she quickly brushed them away.
"She will, trust me." He wasn't sure who he was trying to convince… "I'll go looking for her in half an hour , let's just give a little time to decide if she wants to come home. I'm sure she's still on the grounds." He grabbed Hermione's hand and guided her to the couch in front of the fire.
She leaned back into him, clinging to him as he stroked her back. They sat in comforting silence as she closed her eyes and buried her face into the crook of his neck. He watched the fire he had just created, watched as it danced and caused flickering light to bath the room. A soft pop or crackle of the fire could be heard from time to time, as well as the metronomic pendulum of the grandfather clock in the corner of the room. Otherwise they sat in silence as the minutes ticked by.
"It has started to snow again," Hermione said softly. Draco hadn't noticed she had moved her head to look out the window. He followed her stare and noticed it had indeed started again. And his, their daughter was out there in it. Probably freezing.
He spoke in a hushed tone as well, "I think I've waited long enough, I'm going to go find her."
Hermione moved away from him, allowing him to pull himself up from the couch. "I'll go with you."
"No, please stay. What if she comes back? Just stay, I'll be okay out there."
"Okay," she sounded defeated. He knew his wife well enough to know that she was just dying to help.
"I'll be back soon," he promised as he pulled his jacket on.
"I love you." She pressed a soft kiss to his jaw, wrapping her arms around him.
He ducked his head to kiss her lips, "and I love you."
She reluctantly let go of him, watching as he walked out the back door.
He searched for what seemed like forever. Their property was vast as it was, but now covered in snow the woods looked the same. His foot prints were barely identifiable as the snow came down and covered any tracks he may have made. Any that Sophia made were long gone as well. Maybe she wasn't there, maybe she had gone to a friend's house. Or her boyfriend's. His temper flared instantly.
Greyson had seemed like a very nice young man, but not worthy of his daughter. Though he doubted anyone would be. He had something in him that reminded Draco of his younger self. And that thought terrified him.
And then he saw a huddled mass of red on an old bench that had been long forgotten.
He knew where he was instantly. He himself had put that bench there. His mind went briefly to sunny days spent out there, watching Sophia chase butterflies or try to make friends with the squirrels. And then to a particular scandalous afternoon spent there with Hermione when Sophia was visiting the Potters. It wasn't far from the manor, but it was concealed well and the path to get there was longer than the actual distance.
Her red jacket stood out against the snow that was falling and covering everything around her. While her pale blond hair barley noticeable against the white. Draco approached slowly, but he soon realized that she was sleeping. He knew she hadn't been sleeping well lately and it must have finally caught up with her. She had been out here for over an hour. He touched her gently and noticed how warm she was, and how no snow remained on her body when it fell on her. He smiled despite himself, she was a clever girl. She had casted a warming charm so she wouldn't get cold. But she was out cold, a heavy sleeper.
Draco crouched down and rolled his sleeping daughter into his arms. Picking her up and carrying her like he did all those times when she was a little girl.
She shifted, her eyes fluttering open. Her voice was sleep drenched, "Daddy?"
"I'm here, it's okay," he whispered to her.
She curled her face into his chest as she wrapped her arms around his neck, "I'm sorry."
"I know," he watched her as she fall back to sleep and allowed him to carry her back to the manor.
No matter what was happening to her right now, she was still his little girl and he would make sure she was safe. No matter what.
So...how cute is Draco? :)
This will probably be my last update on this story before the staff of HPFF goes on their winter break. So Happy Christmas (or Kwanzaa, or any other holiday you may celebrate)! I'll be happily back to posting after New Years.
If you're interested I do have a new story I'm working on. It's based off of The Phantom of the Opera (a musical created by Gaston Leroux). It's a Scorpius X Rose pairing. It's on my author's page now with a few chapters up. I'll probably add a few new ones to that as well if I can get them in since they're already written.
I'd love it if you took the time to review! <3
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