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Chapter 13 : Of The Malfoy Manse and The Demise of a House Elf
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Please enjoy this chapter, and if at all possible, please keep in mind it was not sent to my beta due to the reasons stated above.
I miss you all greatly, and your writing! As soon as I return officially I will update everyone on all the new things and such that are going on. Please enjoy!
December the nineteenth dawned cold, white, and very wet. The previous evening Draco had spent ensuring all his belongings were in place for his trip to the train station and he now sat on the edge of his bed with his head in his hands and a blinding headache. What other choice did he have? He feared for his mother’s safety. He feared the great hole that now existed once again between he and Hermione. It was unexplainable. It was inevitable. It twisted him inside to watch her go about her day so utterly alone. She was too proud to seek out her old friends, and they were too stubborn to forgive her. All except the Weasley, who now tried his best to be about her every second. He fluttered around her and tried to carry her books and get her drinks and offer her a robe when the air got the slightest bit chilly. She rebuked him coldly and consistently.
She hadn’t spoken to him since word had gone around that he was taking Pansy Parkinson to the ball. His stomach flipped. His father would be pleased at least. He had hinted at the possibility of a union between the Parkinsons and the Malfoys for quite some time. Of course, merely the fact that it would please him was enough for Draco to do his best to avoid her, but the credit for his avoidance of her could fall directly to the girl because she was, in all honesty, a pug-faced cow.
With a sigh he rose from the bed and reached for his wand. In a few hours he would be in his own rooms, hopefully with an easy conscience after seeing that his mother was alright, and he could right himself. He had felt very detached as of late.
As he leant over for his suitcase his muscles groaned. Dianna had recently formed a new dance class; a smaller group of talented people, to further the study of pointe and the harder latin rhythms. Dianna insisted that Hermione did not belong in the group of eight students, but he had privately dished it out with the professor that if Hermione didn’t go, he didn’t go. Besides, the smaller class size was good for her as it allowed her to come a bit more out of her shell. She was almost to the usual class’s level now. The downside to this being she was now dancing at an average level in an above average class. He did his best to buffer her within the studio, but it killed him to watch because in her tutoring he had seen the flashes of how great of a dancer she truly was. Dianna must have seen them too, for when Draco voiced his thoughts in his argument, the professor went silent and then mildly agreed to allow her entry into the class.
The small group met at the same time the usual class did, but in a second studio next door. They were unsupervised for most of the period and learned most of their dances together. Draco led the pack, Hermione trailing along miserably behind him. The usual class had forfeited pointe shoes in favor of jazz sneakers as most of the students were far too untrained, undisciplined, or weak and inexperienced to ever attempt pointe to it’s full.
Now it was time for Christmas vacation and upon returning there would be the final preparations for the Christmas Ball. Draco’s head spun as he exited his dorm and made his way into the common room.
Hermione was no where to be found. He held no illusions that she would be present to bid him farewell, but it stung none the less. He left the common room without a backwards glance.
…some ancient spells are reliant on the transfusion of blood from one being to another. All magic is connected to blood; the person’s ‘self’. Blood is therefore a most coveted ingredient within potions and different types of blood from different people of different pasts and connections are appropriate for different things. One caster may require the blood of one person for a successful potion, but a caster of the same may require an entirely different person’s blood for the same successful results. It all depends on the relationship between caster and donor and the desired outcome. In ancient Europe ‘bloodletting’ was a common practice where wizards of high rank would collect the blood of individuals for stock purposes.
In today’s modern society the practice of bloodletting has died out as most potions requiring the use of blood are considered ‘dark magic’. However, the transfusion of blood may be a cure for some of the more darker and mystical spells currently with no antidote. In the seventeenth century a wizard named Gustave Franklin the third met…
Hermione set her textbook down and groaned, her head falling into her arms on top of it. Nothing she had just read made any sense because her mind was so sleep deprived. She could hardly concentrate on the words on the pages at the point. With a noise of defeat she closed the hard cover and reached for her parchment and quill. Draco was leaving today. She had a week off from dance class, from tutoring, from Ron and Harry and the rest of the world. A week to sit by the fire by herself and read. It would be a wonderful week.
Wonderful if she wasn’t going to be spending Christmas alone while he mother flounced off with some man named Ricardo who was not her father. Wonderful if she didn’t have to dread Ron escorting her to the Christmas Ball. Wonderful if Draco would be here with her even though she hadn’t spoken to him in full sentences for a few weeks.
Hermione began to gather her articles with the intention of returning to her common room. Perhaps if she moved quickly enough she could deter Draco from leaving so swiftly. Perhaps she could steal a few moments with him that she could hide away in the place at the back of her mind where he always lurked.
She was almost out of the common room when a voice stopped her in her tracks. She was so startled by the unfamiliarity of the sound that one of her books slipped from her arms. She turned to find a sullen red head standing behind her, their arms open as if begging for her to rush into them.
“Hermione,” she started. Her cheeks were red, as they often got when she was embarrassed, and her eyes were cast downwards, fearful of rejection.
Hermione slowly lowered to the ground to retrieve her lost text and then gently pretended to reorder the stack of articles in her arms so she was not forced to look the other girl in the face.
“Hermione,” Ginny started again. She sighed. Whatever it was that was weighing on her mind was very heavy indeed.
Hermione cleared her throat. “I was just leaving. It’s alright.”
Ginny stopped her with a hand to her sleeve. “No, I don’t want you to go,” she amended. She took the books from her confused friend and set them on a nearby table and then led Hermione to two large cushioned chairs at the back of the stacks. “I want to talk to you, Hermione.”
Hermione warily lowered herself into the proffered chair and set eyes on her red head companion’s face that showed no sign of the fear she felt.
Ginny took a deep breath and tried to say something, but no words come out. She stopped for a second and then took Hermione’s hand in her own and begun once again. “Hermione,” she said. “I want to talk to you because I’ve seen how you have existed for the past few weeks and although I was upset with you, I can’t bear to watch it anymore.”
“Why were you upset with me? What did I do to upset you all?”
Ginny sighed and absent-mindedly began to play with the bracelet clasped around Hermione’s wrist. “I guess it was more fear rather than anger. We were all rather frightened by the prospect of you spending so much time with Malfoy. Most of the anger probably should have been directed at him, after all, hindsight is twenty-twenty.”
Hermione shifted uncomfortably. “Why does he frighten you so greatly?”
Ginny sat back, her expression of shock and mild anger. “Why does he frighten us? Have you forgotten the six years before this in which he tormented us relentlessly? Have you forgotten the cruel things he has said and the torturous things he has put Ron and Harry through? Have you forgotten his pet name for you is ‘mud-blood’? How can you co-exist with that creature?”
Hermione was on her feet. “Enough! Ginny I won’t sit her and listen to you slander him. You don’t have to accept him, but I have. If this is meant to be an apology for your treatment of me then continue with the expressions of regret, but say no more on his character. He has done more for me this year then you, who are supposed to be my friend, has.”
Ginny was so taken aback by the outburst that she sank back into the armchair as if drained physically. She shook her head. “You sound as if you’re in love with the git, the way you defend his honor.” Hermione turned from her friend and began the trip back to the table that her books rested on. “Hermione wait!” Ginny ran to meet her. “I am sorry for what I said about him. I can clearly see that it offends you and if you feel so strongly then there must be something I am unaware of about him. Something only you have seen. I know you have a sturdy head on your shoulders, but as the friend you spoke of just seconds ago, I have to warn you. Please. Please be careful Hermione. He is a snake.”
Hermione shook her head in silent disagreement but did not try to leave. She could feel she was teetering on the edge of an unsteady ridge. If she left now she may loose out on the chance to have a friend once again, and it was apparent now that Ginny was desperately fumbling to make it so.
“Just tell me you can bear to give him a chance, or to remain impassive towards him, and you can stop stumbling over finding a way to apologize to me without damaging your great pride.”
Ginny smiled. “I promise I will remain more-or-less judgment free in respect to Draco Malfoy until he does something to prove you wrong once and for all.”
Hermione sighed in defeat and took her friend’s hand. “I suppose that is good enough.”
“Narcissa! Where is that bloody woman? Narcissa!”
Narcissa appeared at the base of the staircase, her night robe trailing behind her and her arms clasped about her. Her husband was dressed in dark sweeping black robes. He held his wand at his side. Lurking behind him, as ever, was the fat Gustave. Narcissa fought to control her expression as he made a rude face towards her.
“I am here, husband.”
“Where in bloody hell were you? When I call you, you come to me. I don’t care what it is you are doing, you drop it where you stand and respond to my call.”
“Now,” he gestured both she and Gustave into the library and Narcissa felt the hand of fear settle about her throat. Lying on the desk she has sat at last night was a particularly ominous looking Latin dictionary. She inhaled sharply and cast fearful eyes to the tall man who stood behind her. Behind them she could hear Gustave chuckling merrily to himself.
“Pray tell me, my dear one, why has this dictionary appeared here on my desk?”
She swallowed the lump in her dry throat but could force out no sound. He took the upper part of her arm in a tight grip and forced her to walk closer to the desk.
“I find it to be the strangest thing, you see, because this book is usually on the top shelf of the stack over there,” he pointed to a shelf that was to the left of the fireplace. As if to accentuate the point Gustave crept his way over to that wall. Although he was bent over in his disfigurement and could never have reached the shelf, he pointed upwards and sniggered again.
“I do not know, husband,” she managed to squeak out.
Lucius cast her a dangerous breath and forced her into the chair. Gustave mirrored the action, settling into the armchair slightly off to the side and out of her view. Lucius’s wand came crashing down on to the book and she jumped. “I believe you should figure it out rather speedily,” he warned her in a low growl. Gustave,” he called over his shoulder.
The portly man jumped to his feet and went to the door, pulling a house elf in after him. The poor creature squeaked and tears streamed down it’s dirty face. Narcissa went to rise to her feet but was pushed back into the cushions.
“I do not take well to the idea of your misconduct, wife,” Lucius said as he strode to the trembling house elf. The poor creature could not even raise her head to look him in the eye. “It is my understanding that this elf has assisted you in your misbehavior.”
Narcissa stood and reached a fearful hand towards them, as if she could stop him with the mere idea. Her husband was a fearful, unstoppable force. She could do nothing.
“Tell me, vermin, what did you do to assist my wife?”
The creature visibly fought against his demand, but had no choice but to respond honestly. “I helped her to send a letter to your son, Master.”
“And how did you do so, after I had expressly forbid it?”
The creature raised tear filled eyes to her mistress, who could only gaze back with her own tears streaming down her cheeks. She hung her head in defeat. “You said that we were not allowed to give her the use of an owl to send correspondence to her son that told of happenings here and asked of his well being there.”
“And?” Lucius stepped forward, his wand raised.
The house elf gulped as sobs wracked her small body. “You never said she could not send a letter to her son to ask him a question, Master. You never said she could not ask him questions!”
Lucius’s angry growl rent through the room and he the tip of his wand ignited. She flew across the room, her head colliding with the far shelf. Narcissa started forward with a cry of ‘no!’ before she was frightened back in to silence by a stern glance from her husband. The small female did not rise.
“You thought to make a fool of me?” he asked the immobile pile of rags. “My orders were explicit.” He turned to his wife with a fire burning in his eyes. Narcissa had backed herself up against the hearth, the fire licking dangerously at her heels. “What was so dreadfully important that you dared risk my wrath, Narcissa? Tell me!”
Narcissa bit her lip and shook her head, tears streaming silently over her cheeks.
“You will tell me!” Lucius’s wand raised.
“She has nothing to say to you,” a new voice said as a body stepped between he and his wife. “She sent an owl asking me to come home.”
“Draco,” Lucius snarled the name, but stepped down.
“You haven’t changed much since I left,” Draco observed as he set his trembling mother into the nearest chair.
“You have,” his father mused in a pleased voice. “Why you even came home and then stepped between us. Why, I do believe that is a first. My son has a backbone after all.”
Draco cast his eyes towards the still body of the house elf. “Did you mean to kill her?” he asked coldly.
His father didn’t respond, only gesture to the cowering man in the corner, who in turn bent over and scooped up the house elf and went towards the door.
“Who is he?” Draco asked as Gustave reached the door.
“You have missed many things, son,” Lucius offered in way of explanation. “He is merely a temporary guest of mine. He is working on … a business venture with me.” Lucius took a moment to regard his wife, who could not meet his eyes, and then turned a smile to his son. “How nice of you to come visit,” he said before sweeping from the room.
As he shut the door behind him, Narcissa collapsed into tears. “Oh Draco,” she sobbed. “My son, I knew you would come home.”
Draco allowed the woman to settle her composure and occupied his self by looking at the book the entire scene had started over. “Did you remove the book?” he asked her after a moment.
“I had to, Draco! I had to see what your father was doing! Something terribly wrong is happening, my son. Something terrible. Something that may push your father out of favor of the Dark Lord permanently.”
“Why do you care so greatly if the Dark Lord favors him or not?” Draco picked up the book and walked towards the empty space on the far shelf.
“Because it is your father,” she said as if it were enough explanation. “Because it is Lucius.”
Draco sighed as he pushed the dictionary back in place. All of these books did nothing but remind him of Hermione, who he desperately missed. That point annoyed him greatly, as he could not explain it away. He went back to his mother and helped her from the chair. “I believe we have much to catch up on, Mother. Let’s go to your parlor and you can tell me why you feel something terrible is going to happen and what you were doing with a Latin dictionary.”
As they made their way out of the library they passed a wall of portraits. Draco did not stop to look at these, at least he had not since he had been a young child. The portraits were a family tree of sorts, chronicling the great house of Malfoy and it’s counterparts. Draco had spent hours staring at the faces, wondering if he would be as great as them some day. In such favor with the dark powers. Now as he passed it he did not see the faces of people he admired. He saw his mother, a young Black, a woman with long blonde hair billowing in the wind and a sly, cunning smile on her face. It was remarkable what happened to people. Remarkable how a picture could move and speak and act as representation of a true being, yet be nothing more than the echo of a promise that never came to the light.
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