Chapter 12 : Messages
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This was imprinted on her forearm.
“How do I get this off?” she asked feebly, watching it and tracing her fingers over it. She felt as if she had lost her fight, her will, staring at the crest. It was like a sign for her damnation.
Draco shook his head. “You can’t. Granger, you were going to be branded either way.”
“Well, thank you for telling me that now!” she almost shouted at him.
“What the fuck you yelling at me for?” he barked.
“Because a warning would have be nice! Now I’m stuck with this thing for the rest of my life! And it’s like I’m property!”
“You like property!” Hermione have him a menacing look and he quickly added, “That’s why we brand. Merlin. Granger, think of it this way, throughout history women were uh…”
“Considered property, I know,” she said distastefully.
“So, Malfoys branded their women, daughters, wives, mother, and every woman they wanted to own. Every woman wanted it too. They wanted to be a Malfoy. Considered it a high honor. Now, it’s just tradition. My mother has it too. And the way everyone else sees it, you are mine. Only mine now. You belong to the Malfoy family.”
“There’s really no way?”
“No.” After some time, Draco spoke again, “At least you’re not a Deatheater…”
“I don’t think that’s a bright side to this,” she replied bitterly, pointing at the mark. “Either way it seems like I’m stuck doing things for them, helping them out. Might as well be one.” She threw herself back into the pillow, covering her hands with her face and groaning with frustration. “I’m screwed!”
Draco sourly chuckled. “Worst. Fucked. You’re fucked, Granger.”
Hermione looked at him and gave him a halfhearted smile. “Thank you for lovely choice of words. Why do you curse so much?”
He smirked, “I’m a grown man. I can use it if I like. And look who’s talking. You were spitting out curses lefts and right back there.”
She rolled her eyes playfully. “I don’t usually talk like that, okay?”
“Sure,” he agreed sarcastically.
“I’m serious. Your father made me so mad! How dare he speak about you like that when he did that to you?” Her voice was loud, almost screaming with rage.
Draco wanted to say thank you to her. That he appreciated that. But he couldn’t. It wasn’t in his nature to do so. He just nodded at her.
Hermione was quicker to thank him. “Thank you though. For – uh defending me…” Her eyes averted down to her lap, looking awkwardly at her fidgeting hands.
“It’s not a problem,” he muttered. He looked down too slightly embarrassed.
“I have to thank Zabini too.”
He narrowed his eyes at her, the unknown feeling of jealously arising in him like a flame ready to combust. “For what?”
“He was there, wasn’t he? The one who…uh…held me?” Her eyes met his and she could see them cloud as if a dark storm was on its way.
“He was protecting—”
“No he wasn’t,” he snapped, the fire in him growing larger and unable to be controlled.
“He was Malfoy. It wasn’t just you,” she snapped back.
He abruptly stood up with the loud rasp of his chair sliding backward harshly. “Get off my bed and go to sleep.”
That’s it. That fire had combusted. He pushed her hard off the bed and she landed with a bounce on her mattress on the floor in total shock he just did that. Without any hesitation, she grabbed her pillow and hit a now cozy Draco in his bed right in his face.
“Granger!” he roared.
He then took his own pillow, hitting her hard so she fell back onto her mattress. Then, she fumbled for her wand and when she found it, she aimed it at him, yelling, “Densaugeo!” It hit him on his mouth and his front teeth grew bigger and bigger until it looked like horse’s teeth. Upon seeing this, Hermione burst into loud laughter as Draco touched his teeth, becoming pink with fury.
“That’s what you get!” she laughed. “I want to see the ladies look at you now! And it’s revenge when you used it on me!”
“That was years ago!” he slurred, having trouble talking with his teeth. “And take this!” He threw an instant scalping hex at her.
Her hair fell all around her and she frantically rubbed her bald head with both hands. Hermione grabbed a fistful of her beautiful golden brown hair in both hands that was scattered around her. She began shaking and burst into tears with loud sobs. This surprised Draco as he jerked back, unable to handle this. What was he supposed to do? Never in his life has he handled crying girls. And Merlin, he didn’t expected Hermione Granger, out of all people, to act like this. He stared at her for a bit before he went into action. Doing what he thought he was supposed to do. He cautiously, very cautiously went toward her and uncomfortably wrapped his on arm around into a one-sided embrace. He cleared his throat. This was going to be hard…
“Granger, I’m–er…” He couldn’t say sorry not to her, especially her. “I took it too far,” he finished instead. “CHERRY!”
With a faint pop, Cherry appeared and upon seeing them, placed her hand over her hand in shock. Without saying anything, she left with another pop.
“Granger, I promise this will never happen. To be honest, I can’t understand why you’re crying,” he muttered to himself.
But she heard him. “Can’t understand!” she cried shrilly. “My hair is gone!”
“But you don’t really care about your looks,” he reasoned.
“DON’T CARE!” she bellowed frantically. “Of course I care! No one wants to be bald!” Hermione looked into his sorrowful eyes, but his huge buck teeth got in the way of the seriousness of it all. A smile crept slowly onto Hermione’s lips.
“What are you looking at?”
A playful grin was etched upon her face as she whispered happily, “Let’s take a picture.”
Draco furrowed his eyebrows at her and growled, “No. Absolutely not. No. Fuck no.”
Hermione pulled herself away from his awkward embrace and dug inside her purse, pulling out a wizard camera that was slightly smaller than the professional ones used at the Prophet. She rushed excitedly toward him, pulling him close, and starling Draco.
“Smile,” she teased and took a snap of both of them with a bright flash and purple smoke rising.
“Granger!” he growled threateningly as he pulled away from her. “Give me that photo now.
“Absolutely not,” she mimicked in his voice.
The photo was now slowly developing as Hermione began to flap it, blowing on it to help the process. She heard Draco rustle, moving toward her and she quickly dodged him.
“Granger,” he warned.
“Malfoy.” She stuck out her tongue playfully.
He bum rushed her, tackling her onto his bed as she stretched her arm to get the photo out of his reach. He pressed his body against her, extended his reach, his fingers fidgeting to reach the photo. He looked down at her face, their faces so close. And a thought hit him. Drastic times call for drastic measures. He pressed his lips hard against her as her eyes widened in shock, distracting her from the picture. He was able to snatch the photo from her hand. But even with the photo in his hand, his lips lingered on her much longer than what he intended and should had. Her lips were perfect, supple and tender. He wanted to bite down teasingly on her bottom lip. But he knew better. Draco pulled back his roughly, his heart beating a storm in his chest.
Hermione took a gasp of air, feeling the warmth and arousal tingling on her lips. The guilty pleasure of the kiss stinging as she her thoughts immediately switched to Ron. She was technically still engaged. A terrible reminder that what just happened was cheating. Oh…and what happened in the living room over a week ago was cheating too. Cheater. Cheater, rang in her mind, deafening all other thoughts.
Draco always been a lustful man, but kissing Hermione was taking his lust to level that should be forbidden especially for him. He already had admitted he was sexually attracted to her which was something beyond his control. But to act on it? That was entirely different. He didn’t think, looking at her now, he wanted to take it all the way. But when he kissed her… It was something he did not expect. His eyes lingered on her breasts showing through the blouse, wanting to pounce on her.
The pop of Cherry arriving, snapped both out of their thoughts. Cherry had one wooden bottle in one hand and a round blue glass bottle in another. She gave the wooden one to Draco and the other to Hermione. Draco gulped the potion down, feeling a pressure on his teeth and knowing his were shrinking. Hermione sipped on it slowly, feeling absolutely nothing. Her finger touched her hair, but it was short and she took another sip again. This time she felt hair brush her shoulders. She kept drinking until it was the way it was before Draco had shot the hex at her.
“Thank you, Cherry.” Draco handed the bottle to the little elf. “Appreciate that. Always know what to do. But I can’t expect less from you. You are always the smartest.”
Cherry’s eyes bugled with utter, complete shock. Her mouth dropping low and she began stumbling on her words, “Than-Thank yo-you Mis-mister Young Mast-Master Malfoy!” finishing with a squeak. “It’s not a problem at all for Cherry!” she bowed so low, her nose touched the ground.
Hermione’s eyes twinkled and smiled at the elf. “Thank you, Cherry.”
“Not a problem at all, Misses!” She bowed at Hermione before, taking her leave with a pop.
Hermione looked into Draco’s eyes, impressed. “What was that about?”
“You treating Cherry like that.”
He shrugged. He knew the reason deep down inside. It was typically behavior of a man when he wanted to impress a lady. But he ignored the reason and pretended he didn’t know himself. “Well, now, time to throw this out. Can’t even understand why you would take this bloody picture.” He looked at the picture of his face turning into shock and squinting at the flash.
“As a reminder,” she whispered, her thoughts averted to the photo and the kiss.
“A reminder for what?” he snapped.
“To be nice to each other. Every time we get upset at each other, we can look at the photo. And maybe it will calm our anger or hate for each other and perhaps laugh at it too.”
Draco averted his eyes back at the photo, staring at Hermione’s bald head with a small genuine smile creeping on his lips. Hermione moved behind him, looking at the photo. She went to grab for the photo, brushing his hand lightly and they both jerked back from each other.
“Here.” Draco held out the photo. She took it and pinned it on the wall near her mattress. His eyes wandered low on her body as he said, “Make sure no one sees that.”
“Yup.” As she turned around, he snapped his head the other way, pretending to be looking out the window. “Well, I guess… good night?”
“Yeah, good night, Granger…”
Hermione gave a big, unattractive yawn in front of the dining room’s doors. She felt exhausted, unable to get any sleep because Draco was being difficult last night. His emotional sleep, causing him to thrash and scream was harder to serene last night. She actually stood up for most of the night. She looked at the tattoo again and cringed at the site of it. It was hard to ignore, but Hermione was doing her best to do so. She was stuck with it, according to Draco and right now, for these circumstances, she couldn’t have it remove even if it was possible. She would act like she was proud to be branded a Malfoy. Another yawn came as unattractive as the last, her mouth stretching wide.
“Cute,” muttered Draco disgustedly at her. “And you look like shit.” He gaped at the light dark circles under her blood shot eyes.
She shot him a glare and hissed, “How about a good morning, you jerk!” She entered the dining room with Narcissa sitting at the middle section of the table with pictures and folders sprawled out. Hermione took a seat in front of her with Draco following shortly after.
“So, you’re engagement party will be next week. And here is what you’re dress will look like.” Narcissa slid a picture to Hermione of a dress. And Merlin, it was dark, but beautiful. It was an a-line, princess sleeveless with half of the top with sliver gems, shining brightly. From the waist down was a black chiffon material, flowing to floor-length. The empire waist hugged the model tightly.
“It’s gorgeous,” breathed Hermione.
Narcissa was taken by Hermione’s compliment on her choice and gave her a genuine small smile. “Good and I have measurements for you already so your dress should be here shortly.” She then slid a scroll. “Here is the list of the guests attending. And the Daily Prophet and Witch Weekly will have representatives. I booked an interview for both of you before the party here in the Manor. So you better have a good story pieced together.” She did not say this with malice, but rather as a concern warning.
Draco nodded and replied calmly, “It’s not a story, mother.”
“Yes, love,” she replied sarcastically as she left the two alone.
“Master Malfoy! Master Malfoy!” squeaked Cherry, running past Narcissa with an envelope in held high up in her hand. She ran to his side and he took in gently from her with a thankful smile.
“See, Granger. I’m not all that bad.”
She gave a snort.
He opened the letter as he face fell and shuffled to his feet quickly. “I need to go—”
Hermione quickly seized his arm with her stare hard. “No. You’re not going anywhere.”
“Let me go, Granger,” he sighed calmly, controlling his urge to push her off.
“Malfoy, I’m not letting you go out there again. You might get hurt. I won’t allow it.”
He finally looked into her beautiful brown eyes, searching for something. But he wasn’t entirely sure what he was looking for. “I have to go. If I don’t, shit could get worse.”
“Letter me at least.”
“Might get intercepted. Especially by some Deatheater who I really prefer not to know our conversions.” He was more worried by spies within his own community.
“Do you know how to do a patronus charm?”
“Vaguely. Not enough to ward off any dementors.”
“No, use you patronus to send me messages… Mine is an otter. Look out for it.”
After some time, just staring into her eyes, he nodded. “Alright. You should already know mine. It’s a tiger. I’ll send you the first message. And the messages are just between me and you. Don’t tell my mother anything. I don’t want to worry her more.”
She unwillingly let him go, her arm dropping to her side, but his eyes were unwavering. Draco wanted to lean in and kiss her, but he knew he couldn’t. He nodded and left briskly without looking back.
Hermione spent the rest of her day at the library and the next on at the library and it continued. Eventually the library was no longer entertaining her especially when the worry crept on her every day. She waited and waited for the sliver ghost of a tiger to pounce through a window and hear it speak in Draco’s voice, telling her he was fine. But it didn’t happen. Until one day she got two surprises.
“Ugh, shut it!” she whined. She removed herself from Draco’s sheets as she been sleeping there since he hadn’t been around. She wrenched one of the windows open. And the tweet of the bird was louder, singing in its annoying voice. “SHUT IT!” she roared. The bird swooped it and tangled in her hair. She started to scream and flail her arms around like a manic. Eventually, it detangled itself, flying to the chandelier, swinging it slightly. Hermione ran her fingers through her hair, finding something in her hair. She brought it to her face and it was a small piece of parchment. She unrolled it and it became much bigger.
I hope everything is fine with Malfoy and you aren’t hurt. I’m nervous for you being in the middle of it all. I cannot believe this is happening, with you living under the same roof as the enemy. Harry is convinced this is best, that you can spy. But I’m more concern for you. And if Ron knew? He would go mad. Don’t worry I haven’t told him anything even if he is my brother. Ron has been acting strange though lately. Haven’t gotten much letters from him. Especially since he use to letter like mad. But apparently he’s been withdrawn, according to Mum. I’m really sure he misses you so much. And it has to be stressful. They haven’t had any luck in France and Reeves says the Americans are unconvinced. At least the resistance is strong here. Letter me back please.
Love always, Ginny
P.S. We are all doing okay at Grimmauld’s Place.
Hermione sprinted to the library to get a piece of parchment and a quill with ink and retuned back to the room, placing no-entry enchantments. She wrote quickly,
I am doing fine. Malfoy is not as bad as it seems. We almost have a growing friendship, I think. And I think I gain probably 1% of the Deatheaters’ trust. Not much, but it’s a start to get in slowly. I just need to prove myself. If you get into contact with Ron, tell him I miss him terribly. And thank you for not telling him. He wouldn’t understand why I’m here. I know it must not be easy in France or America, but we cannot give up. Yes, Malfoy told me about the resistance. I don’t know much though. I haven’t stepped out of the Manor since I been here. So please update me whenever you can. It’s also great to hear you are all doing okay. That brings some relief. Hopefully you’ll write to me soon again.
Love more, Hermione.
“Come on,” she told the bird. It fluttered onto the window sill and she bewitched the parchment into a tiny roll for the small bird. She tied it to its leg and it shot through the tree. She could see it in the distant, hopping from branch to branch to keep its cover. She let out a sigh, knowing the bird was slow and careful, meaning it will take a while to get back an answer.
As she stared at the few rustling red leaves of the trees and the cloudy, ominous horizon, she couldn’t help think of Draco. The rest of her friends were okay expect him. He was a friend…right? That’s it. She needed to know if he was okay. She casted her patronus, the otter dancing in the air.
She was going to say Malfoy, but what if someone else overheard her saying Malfoy instead of Draco? She cleared her throat and then spoke loud and clear, “Draco, are you alright? I’m worried about you.” Did that sound fiancée-ish enough?
The otter swam out the window eventually compressing into a ball of light, cutting through the air. With a sigh, Hermione headed for the bed crashing down and buried her face in the pillow. She almost drifted to sleep again when a light shined so bright, she looked up from the pillow to find a tiger leaping in through the window.
It spoke in his firm voice. “Hermione, baby,” at baby she blushed hard, “I’m fine. I’ll see you soon. I love you.” And at the words ‘I love you,’ her heart skipped a beat.
He says his fine…but… Maybe he’s around other Deatheaters. That’s why. Just hope he’s okay. There was an unsettling feeling in her stomach. She knew only one other way to make this go away. She got herself ready and headed straight toward the library.
What did she not expect was Narcissa to be sitting there when she had her own library in her own corridor. What was even worse was she was sobbing with an open book on her lap. When she noticed Hermione, she immediately move to the window with her back toward Hermione.
“Narcissa,” said Hermione carefully.
“Leave,” she whispered.
“I know you’re worried about Draco. I am too… Have you heard from him?”
“No,” she croaked, choking back another sob.
Hermione breathed heavily through her nose. She knew Draco told her not to tell his mother for whatever reason…but…
“Narcissa, Draco just told me he’s fine.”
She spun looking at Hermione with tear-filled eyes. “He…he did? How?”
She sniffed then cried, “Why would he contact you and not me!”
“He told him not to tell you anything. He didn’t want you to worry…”
“Worried!” she cried shrilly. “I’m more worried that he hasn’t said anything!”
“I know. That’s why I told you even if he told me not to…” Hermione looked into her future mother-in-law’s eyes. “When he comes back, I’ll have a talk with him. That he can’t do this to you.”
Narcissa looked down, bit her lip and nodded, looking incredibly vulnerable. Hermione forced a smile at her and left, deciding to cook both of them a brunch. Hermione did this incredible brunch, inviting her. Narcissa actually accepted. The first time she sat down and had a meal with her. They were in complete silence, but once in a while Narcissa gave Hermione a small smile. Hermione of course returned it, more encouraging. And that’s how Hermione and Narcissa formed an acquaintance, greeting each other minimally and sometimes sharing meal even if it was in silence.
One day Hermione decided to wait up early to do a banquet breakfast for the both of them and the elves. This will take her mind off of Draco for the time being. It was the day before the engagement party and he still hasn’t returned. She just walked out of the bathroom when Draco stumbled in. And she had never seen Draco like this ever before. He was shaking violently and fell to the floor.
When he looked up, tears were rolling rapidly down his cheeks and then he began sobbing.
Something she never could imagine was Draco Lucius Malfoy crying.
But he was. Right here in front of her. What happened?
A/N: O_O WOW! First off, thank you everyone for the reviews so far. It keeps me extra motivated. This is getting intense for me right now. And I can assure you this is nothing for what’s to come. =P
So what do you think so far? How about the slow developing relationship of Narcissa and Hermione? Let me know!
XOXO <3 you guys
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