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Chapter 16 : Of A Sudden Bout of the Floo and the Unfortunate Mistake of Huey the House Elf
| ||Rating: Mature||Chapter Reviews: 88|
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I will be taking a brief leave of absence starting around August third. From the 3rd until the 24th I will be in a third world country, so, you guessed it, no updates. I do, however, have it arranged for an update to be submitted by a trusted friend while I am away, so that you don't have to suffer so long without another chapter. If all goes well, you will recieve chapter 17 while I am away, but won't recieve responses for your reviews until I return. ^_^
And again, thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has supported Arabesque in the Dobby Awards thus far.
“Elf!” Lucius bellowed.
“You are not fond of your help, are you?” Gustave laughed. “Don’t tie too many of them up. I want supper to be served as soon as possible,” he rubbed his large abdomen fondly.
“Shut your trap, you loathsome creature,” Lucius growled at Gustave, who merely laughed in response.
There was a loud ‘POP’ as a house elf apparated into the room to answer Lucius’s call. The little creature was trembling as he bowed to the blonde man. “Huey is here, Master.”
Lucius turned and strode across the room, deliberately treading on the poor thing’s foot as he did so. “It is my knowledge that house elfs can leave and return to Hogwarts at any time they wish,” he turned to the elf, “Is this true? Tell me in all honesty, filth.”
“I-it is true,” Huey squeaked. “Huey has never tried o-of course, but Huey has h-heard others say t-that-”
“I want you to go to Hogwarts, Vermin,” Lucius interrupted. “Find the Head Student’s dorms and bring back the girl.”
Huey’s eyes grew wide. “B-but Sir-”
“You have one hour,” Lucius said, his back to the quivering elf.
Huey took a great shuddering breath and looked as if he was about to say something, his eyes heavy with water. He apparated from the room with another loud ‘POP’.
“Lucius, perhaps I am being too forward, but I can’t help but rethink this entire course of events,” Gustave said as Lucius settled into his desk. “Is it wise to kidnap one of Dumbledore’s prize students?”
“I don’t care if it’s bloody suicide,” Lucius growled. “My son needs to be taught a lesson.”
“What good will it do to infect this girl? What if he has no attachment to her?”
“Then she will be just another way to spread the virus. It’s a win-win situation for us.”
Gustave considered this for a moment. “You trust a house elf to get her out? And how do we get her back in?”
“Your questions are trying my patience,” Lucius growled in a dangerous tone. “The next hour will be spent in absolute silence, Gustave.”
Draco put the last of his belongings into his trunk with a heavy sigh. He was returning to Hogwarts this very evening. He couldn’t stand to be away any longer. Whatever his father and his father’s fat friend were up to was not going to endanger his hypochondriac mother, however, he found he feared greatly for Hermione who was left entirely by herself in the abandoned castle. He was dreaming about her constantly. It was unexplainable to him. He had never felt this way before. It was utterly foreign. He had a horrid sense of foreboding he could not shake.
He heaved his trunk to the fireplace on the other side of his bedroom and pushed it across the grate. With a last look about the room, he threw floo powder into the space and stepped into the eruption of green flames.
When Draco stepped out of the fireplace he was at Hogsmeade’s station. The night air was chilly, and a light dusting of white covered the ground. His boots crunched as he trekked his way towards the ticket station.
When he settled onto the warm train he laid his forehead against the chilly window. His skin was burning and yet he was freezing. He hugged his coat tightly about him and settled back into the seat as the train lurched into motion. His hand, swathed entirely in white bandages, was throbbing, which was not helping his comfort level in any manner.
“Wow,” Ginny said as she tried to swallow the last of the horrid brown liquid Hermione had made her. “Hot chocolate, eh?”
“Draco made it for me once and I’ve been trying to duplicate it, but I haven’t had much luck. I think I may be getting closer, what do you think?”
Ginny, who was thoroughly disgusted by whatever was in her cup -which tasted nothing like hot chocolate- tried to smile. “Did you put cocoa in it?”
“Of course I did.”
“Could have fooled me.”
Hermione groaned and took the cup out of the red head’s hands. “I knew it! It’s horrible!” she cried as she went back to the kitchen.
“Why are you so concerned about this stupid hot cocoa anyway?” Ginny asked as she propped her feet up on the couch in the seat the brunette had just vacated.
“Because it has to be just right!” Hermione called from the kitchenette. “It just has to be perfect!”
“Well maybe the library has a recipe or something, although I am thoroughly enjoying the knowledge that the great Hermione Granger is bad at something. You can’t cook either, can you?”
“Shut up, Gin,” Hermione scolded as she handed Ginny yet another cup of steaming brown liquid.
“Are you serious? Another one?”
“Just drink it,” Hermione grumbled.
“I’ll drink it if you’ll tell me more about what has been happening between you and the blonde one.”
Hermione protested for a moment and Ginny made as if to dump the contents of her mug onto the ground. “Aright!” Ginny settled back with a smile. “I’ll tell you. What do you want to know?”
After a moment of thought Ginny said, “I want to know why you can dance and don’t. It’s so you can have private lessons with him, isn’t it?”
Hermione turned away from her smiling friend. “I can’t really explain it. It was just as if when my father walked out my passion for dance did too. I was suddenly afraid; as if I was alone and in being so alone I couldn’t get up on the stage. Maybe with Draco here with me I don’t feel alone anymore. Maybe it’s that simple.’
“Or maybe you are pulling my leg,” Ginny said.
“Maybe you should drink your cocoa,” Hermione shot back.
“Maybe you should go find out how to make cocoa and stop trying to pass this stuff off as it,” Ginny said.
Hermione groaned. “Alright. Fine. You stay here and I will go down to the kitchens. I’m sure I can get one of the elfs to teach me how to make it.”
“Thank Merlin,” Ginny sighed as she stood and dumped the contents of her mug into the fireplace. Hermione grabbed a sweater from the back of the couch as she made for the portrait. “Take your wand with you,” Ginny commanded as she settled into the sofa. “I’m going to take a quick nap. Wake me when you have real chocolate.”
“I’ll be right back,” Hermione said as she exited the portrait.
Ginny watched the fire dance for a few moments before her eyes drifted shut on her. Just a few moments later she woke up to a loud ‘POP‘. There was a small very frightened looking house elf staring at her. She jumped in surprise and the house elf responded with it’s own squeak of fear.
“You frightened me!” Ginny cried as she sat up.
“You frightened Huey!” The house elf insisted, it’s gnarly hand covering it’s heart.
“Well- Huey is it?- did she send you up here for me? Did she get lost in the kitchens?”
“Huey is afraid he must take you with him, Miss,” the house elf took her hand.
Ginny yawned. “Alright, alright. Let me grab my sweater.”
Huey would not let go of her arm. “There is no time, Miss. Huey must take you now. You must come with Huey.”
“Pushy little thing, aren’t you?” Ginny said. “Alright, let’s go then.”
Just as Huey was disapparating with the girl, the portrait swung open. A very tired looking Draco stepped into the room just in time to see Ginny’s look of shock and the house elf clinging to her arm.
“Huey?” he asked, startled, but they were already gone.
Draco dropped his belongings where he stood and rushed to the spot where Ginny and Huey had just been standing. “Shit!” he swore as he looked around. “Damnit!” There was no sign of them. His bastard father must have sent Huey to take Hermione.
“Hermione!” he sprinted up the stairs. Her door was propped open and he hurtled inside, throwing it back on its hinges. “Hermione!” The room was completely empty. A spare bed was set up next to hers. Ginny Weasley must have been staying with her. He left her room and took a quick glance into his own room, knowing she was not likely to be in there. He ran the length of the hall and when the bathroom proved to also be empty he dashed down the stairs once again, fear clutching his chest. As he descended the final stair a petite brunette made their way into the common room.
“Ginny, they gave me a really easy recipe! I’m going to go try-” she stopped dead where she stood, her eyes locked with his. “Draco,” she said in a gasp.
“Merlin, you’re alright,” he exhaled.
Hermione looked around the room, confusion on her face. “You’re not supposed to be back yet,” she said as her eyes fell on his hand. "Good Merlin, what happened to your hand?"
“I came back for you,” he said softly.
Hermione took a step towards him. “Where’s Ginny?”
“I think my father sent one of our house elfs to capture you-” Hermione gasped in a sharp breath, “-but the elf took Ginny by mistake.”
“What?!” Hermione cried. “Merlin, no! Is she alright? How do you know this? Draco, what’s happening?”
Draco’s head started to spin violently as her voice continued to crescendo. He fell onto the couch, his head bent over his knees. “Hermione-”
“Are you alright?” she appeared at his side with concern written on her face.
“I’m fine,” he assured her. “I’ve just had this horrible headache since leaving my home this morning. It’ll go away soon. I’m sure it is just from worrying,” he raised his eyes to hers.
“He took Ginny,” Hermione murmured in a very scared voice.
Draco reached out and pulled her to him in a tight hug. “I’m going back for her now. Without my trunk I should be able to fly out. I’ll go get my broom.” He went to untangle himself from her, but she would not release him. He was startled for a moment. He looked down to find her head leaning against his chest, her eyes tightly closed. “Hermione…”
“I missed you,” she said in a whisper.
He smiled despite himself. “I missed you too,” he admitted.
She stood, allowing him to dash to his room and grab his broom. When he returned he ran right past her. He was about to leave when he stopped and turned around. “I’ll be back as soon as possible-with Ginny.” He made it into the hallway, the portrait shutting behind him, before he turned around again and sprinted back into the room. He grabbed her arm, turned her around and left a soft kiss on her forehead before disappearing without a word.
Hermione found she was shaking as quiet settled about her and she fell onto the couch. She hugged her arms about her, tucking her feet beneath herself and settled back to wait for their return.
As Draco flew across the grounds of Hogwarts he had to fight to keep his mind from shutting down on him. He was burning hot now. His head would not stop spinning. The trees whizzing past below him was not helping the matter any. Neither was the searing anger coursing through his body. That bastard. That bloody coward of a bastard. He was positive his father had been after Hermione, as he had no contact with Ginny. The Walrus must have leaked what he had overhead in Draco’s room. He contented himself by imagining all the things he would like to do to those two men as he flew the rest of the way to his father’s manse. He was finding that steering with one hand bound in bandages was difficult, but the adrenaline rush he was experiencing did not allow him to feel the pain in his palm.
When he finally arrived it was nothing short of a blizzard out. He lightly descended from his broom and left it on the ground as he stormed the stairs of the front door and burst into the house with a loud clang.
“WHAT IS THIS?!” Lucius was storming through the library, a squealing elf in tow. He had grabbed Huey by the small tuft of hair on his head.
“Huey is s-sorry, Master. Master told Huey to take the girl in the Head’s d-dorm. T-this was the o-only g-girl in there! Huey is s-sorry!” the elf sobbed.
“Leave him be!” Ginny protested from where she lay on the ground before the couch.
“Shut up, blood traitor,” Gustave growled to the girl at his feet, kicking her in the side for good measure.
“Huey is s-sorry,” the house elf sobbed, its chest heaving.
“I don’t give a damn if you are,” Lucius threw the elf into his bookcase. Huey slid down the shelving, landing on the floor as books fell onto his head one after another. “You failed to complete the task I had set!”
Huey was now so overcome with sobs that he could not answer.
“Don’t hurt him!” Ginny cried.
Gustave grabbed Ginny by the back of the neck and hauled her to her knees before him. “Watch, pretty girl. Watch what happens,” he hissed in her ear. Ginny struggled violently but could not escape his hold.
“I will show you how I deal with creatures that cannot follow orders,” Lucius growled as he raised his wand to the elf. “Avada Kedavra!” he cried.
Huey instantly fell still against the bookcase, one single and final tear escaping his eye. He stared blankly ahead, his large orb-like eyes hauntingly vacant.
“No!” Ginny cried.
“Shut up!” Lucius turned his wand on Ginny. “Gustave, take this brat down to the basement. I’ll deal with her later.”
Gustave smiled as he hauled the girl to her feet and set off out the door.
“Master Draco!” a voice squeaked as Draco thundered down the hall. “Master Draco! They took the Miss to the basement! Hurry!”
“Lacy?” Draco looked down at the creature with mild surprise.
“Lacy knew Master Draco would come. Lacy knew it was wrong. Lacy knew! Lacy knew they would hurt Huey! Lacy did!”
“Slow down Lacy,” Draco said as they turned a corner. “They took Ginny to the basement? What happened to Huey?”
“Master killed him!” Lacy cried. “Master did!”
Draco was off to the basement before the poor girl could properly compose herself.
“Master Draco, wait! Lacy has the key!” Lacy scuttled after him.
Draco took the back staircases all the way down to the basement, not wishing to draw the attention of any more occupants of the house. Once he neared the basement door, a consistent banging met his ears. He placed his hands on the wood door. “Ginny!” he called. “Ginny Weasley!”
The banging stopped for a moment. “Draco Malfoy?”
“I’m coming in. Don’t hit me,” he commanded. “I’m going to get you out.”
Lacy drew a skeleton key from her apron and handed it to Draco, who set it in the lock. It turned with a satisfying click and the door swung open.
Ginny stepped out of the darkness, fear in her eyes. “You’re going to get me out?”
“We don’t have much time,” he turned to Lacy. “Lacy, I order you not to tell anyone I was here. You didn’t see anything and you have no idea how Ginny escaped.”
Lacy nodded and bobbed a curtsy before apparating from the room. “Be careful, Master Draco.”
“How are you going to get me out of here?” Ginny asked skeptically as Draco pulled her from the room and shut and locked the basement door behind them.
“We’re flying on my broom,” he said.
“Its snowing out there!” Ginny cried.
Draco shrugged off his cloak and threw it around the girl’s shoulders. “I know,” he said.
“You’ll freeze,” she protested half heartedly.
“Only a little,” he said as they turned the last corner before coming to the back door. As they exited the manse Draco pulled his wand. “Accio Broom!” he cried, his broom soaring towards them as it unearthed it’s self from a mountain of snow. “Get on,” he commanded. Ginny skeptically straddled the broom, Draco climbing on in front of her. “Hold on tight,” he said.
“How will you be able to get us back? I can’t even see what’s in front of us!”
“Do you trust me?” he called over the wind. He was shivering.
“No!” she yelled back. “But Hermione does, which is good enough for me! Now get me out of here!”
Draco kicked off from the ground and then rose into the air at a frightening speed. The wind was violent and snow hit their faces like pieces of glass raining from the sky. As they zoomed their way back to Hogwarts, Draco found his headache getting increasingly more painful and distracting. Ginny’s arms around his waist was causing a burning pain in his midriff. Every time he dove to avoid hitting a sudden obstacle she would tighten her grip and he would have to fight hard to keep himself from vomiting. His shaking was becoming so violent it was hard to steer.
When they landed safely in Hogwarts territory he dismounted the broom, taking her arm and dragging her back towards the castle. They were in the Head’s dorm within five minutes.
“Draco!” Hermione cried in relief as they fell into the room. He was shaking so severely he couldn’t answer her.
“The bastard made me wear his cloak the whole way back. Its snowing viciously out there and he was doing that the whole way,” Ginny said as Hermione led him to the fire.
“Ginny go grab the comforter off of my bed! Quickly!”
Ginny left Draco’s sopping cloak on the ground and dashed up the stairs. Hermione had her arms about Draco in a tight hug, his own arms were wrapped around his self, trying to restore some semblance of warmth.
An attack of sneezes wracked his body for a moment and then he wordlessly pushed Hermione away and turned to the side, vomiting all over the floor.
Hermione put a hand to his forehead and gasped. “You’re burning up! You have a horrible fever! And you still haven't told me what happened to your hand!”
His shivering had subsided a bit and Hermione helped him clamor onto the couch. She took out her wand and cleaned up the floor and then ‘accioed’ a pan from the kitchen and left it on the side of the couch. “I’ll be fine,” he insisted in a hoarse voice as Ginny came hurtling down the stairs with the comforter off Hermione’s bed.
The two girls tucked him tightly into the couch. “I’ll be upstairs,” Ginny said softly, leaving Hermione to have a moment with him.
“It’s just a cold. It happens when you travel in the cold weather,” he said. He hadn’t had a fever since he was a child.
Hermione disappeared for a moment and then reappeared with a cold, wet cloth. She pressed it to his forehead. “Actually,” she said in her know-it-all voice. “You have the flu, not a cold.”
He attempted to smile but his head hurt too much. “Is your friend alright?” he asked.
“Thanks to you,” Hermione moved the cloth to the other side of his head. “Your fever is so high,” she mumbled to herself.
“I’ll be fine,” he sneezed.
“Was your mother alright?” Hermione asked.
Draco turned towards the couch cushion, his eyes closing. “I think I’ll just get some sleep,” he said softly. He said nothing else and soon his breathing became steady and rhythmic. Hermione sat there for a moment, just watching him. Every few minutes he would shiver, and she tucked the blanket tighter around him. He was sweating, which was a very good sign. Hopefully he would sweat out the fever by morning.
Hermione sighed and poked her wand at the fire, sending the flames crackling a bit more fiercely, before curling up on her side next to the couch and allowing her own eyes to drift shut.
Draco awoke in the dead of night, a dying fire casting a small but warm glow about the room. He was soaked in sweat. His head was still spinning and his stomach was doing flip flops inside of him. If he had the strength he would go down to the hospital wing, although he highly doubted the healer would be there. It was Christmas, after all, and she probably had a family of her own to be with.
Draco pushed himself into a sitting position and pulled his sweat soaked shirt over his head. He felt disgusting. That simply action made his muscles feel like rubber and he sank back onto the couch cushions with a groan. He turned to the fireplace again and noticed a body on the floor next to the couch. He had time enough for it to register in his mind that it was Hermione and the thought warmed him in a very pleasant way before he lost consciousness again.
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