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Chapter 6 : Turbulent Explanations
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Author's Note: And here's the confrontation you're all waiting for...but please don't kill me because of the ending. I couldn't help it, I swear!
.: Chapter Six – Turbulent Explanations :.
Saturday, May 4, 2002
He was silent, a blank, unseeing look on his face as he slowly lowered himself into a chair. It would have been better had he yelled, screamed at her about infidelity and betrayal. She could deal with his screams and hateful words, but this quiet, almost non-existent reaction – it broke her heart. Her voice had been clear despite the tears that marred her face. There was no way he hadn’t heard what she’d said. Molly often joked that he had selective hearing and chose to hear only what he wanted. He’d heard her; she had no doubt about that. He was just in shock.
“Ron?” she approached him warily, cautious of his reaction.
The look on his face, it was like he’d become devoid of any and all emotion. She wanted him to say something, to at least react. The silence was killing her. She thought that maybe once she’d said the words she would feel relieved, as though a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. That was not the case. Hermione felt a little bit of relief at knowing that she didn’t have to lie anymore, but that relief was drowned out by the overwhelming guilt she felt for hurting him the way she had. He’d always been there for her, a constant friend and pillar of strength for most of her life. But she repaid him with a broken heart and shattering lie. What type of person did that?
Taking a deep breath, Hermione knelt down in front of him. “Ron, you need to say something,” her hands were shaking, the bitter brown liquid in her coffee mug swaying precariously. “Please say something,” things weren’t turning out the way she expected them to and she felt helpless for it.
“You’re wrong,” he looked up, eyes weary with doubt. “You are wrong. Rosie is my daughter,” his voice shook with emotion, the conviction of his words causing her to wince painfully.
“She is my daughter,” he cut in, a pained expression on his face. “I was there when she said her first word, when she took her first steps. Her favourite colour is blue and she loves sneaking into our closet, trying on your clothes no matter how many times we tell her not to. She loves to paint and her favourite bedtime story is Lucy Ladybug. She hates eating her vegetables and always tries to hide them so we think she’s eaten them. Her favourite TV show is the one with that bloody giant purple dinosaur, and she loves singing along with the songs at the top of her voice.
Rose hates her hair being brushed and always tries to hide under her bed whenever she has to wear something she doesn’t want to. Her favourite outfit is that fairy costume from last year my mother made her, and she tries to con us into letting her wear it whenever she can. When she smiles you can tell exactly what she’s thinking, whether it be mischievous, playful or loving. Sometimes she laughs at something you’ve said simply because she doesn’t understand and thinks it was meant to be funny. She chews on her bottom lip just like you do when she’s concentrating on something, or worried about our reactions when she’s done something wrong…” his voice trailed off, choked and hoarse.
He had tears in his eyes and she knew that he was trying desperately to keep them at bay. Her own tears were cascading down her face relentlessly, make-up smearing as she wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. He loved Rose so ardently that he wouldn’t accept the truth for what it was. She felt her heart break a little more, the desperate, pleading look in his blue eyes making her gasp, another sob wracking her body.
“She is my daughter,” he said it so quietly that she barely heard him.
“I’m sorry,” she cried, the cup in her hands shattering as it fell to the ground, coffee staining the wooden floorboards.
“No,” he shook his head vehemently, the look on his face causing her to pull back.
“It was one time,” Hermione said, standing up unsteadily.
“I never meant for it to happen,” she continued, her chest rising and falling rapidly with each harsh breath.
“I…” he stood up abruptly, the chair falling back from the sudden movement and crashing to the floor.
His shoulders were shaking, the effort to keep his anger in check causing him to grimace. She wanted to reach out to him, but he brushed passed her, silently making his way into their study. Ron closed the door before she could say anything, the action causing her knees to buckle. She was lucky the table was there, its sturdy support the only thing keeping her from collapsing. A crash came from the room, a strangled sob following moments later. Quietly lowering herself into a chair, her mind wandered back to that night, its memory far from easing her tears.
Her heart was beating erratically, the quicksilver of his eyes darkening as she struggled to find her voice. He’d saved her. Despite their turbulent history, despite the war and all that stood between them, he had saved her. She struggled to find the right words, each thank you paling in comparison to the last. Words didn’t seem to be enough, not when her life had been at stake. He had hated her and her kind for the better part of his life, yet for some unknown reason he chose to save her when he could have easily walked away. She wanted to ask him why? But a part of her already seemed to understand. They may have been on opposite sides of the war, enemies for as long as she could remember. But he had been forced into this life as had so many others. He hadn’t had the chance to say no.
The Order had done their research, investigating potential Death Eaters and their families. She knew from the files that he hadn’t wanted to be a part of this war, but the rest of the Order seemed to ignore that little bit of information. He was Lucius Malfoy’s son. That alone was a strike against his name.
He looked older now, more worn. His eyes seemed to be hollow, their normally disdainful depths filled with only guilt and remorse. He was just like her. They were too young to be fighting in a war – a pointless one at that. She felt pity for him, pity for the cold life he’d been forced to live. But she knew to pity him would only provoke his anger. Hermione didn’t know what to say to the boy – the man, who’d saved her life despite the consequences that would surely follow. He could be killed for just standing here.
She didn’t know why she did it – to say thank you, maybe. Her mind screamed at her to stop, to run away. She couldn’t. Leaning forward, Hermione gently pressed her lips against his, surprised at how soft they seemed in comparison to his hardened exterior. It was a simple, chaste kiss. This was the only way she could think to say thank you without words. A simple gesture, meant to show him that she was grateful for the risk he had taken. It was simple, but effective.
His eyes widened as she looked at him, biting her lower lip to keep from blurting out an apology. She had meant to kiss him, to say thank you without actually saying the words and she would not say sorry for that. A part of her wanted to kiss him again, to feel those surprisingly soft lips moving against her own. She wanted to kiss him, to feel something more than pain. She wanted that rush, that feeling of being alive. The guilt at wanting something she knew was taboo coursed through her veins. Ron had been nothing but faithful and loving toward her, yet she wanted another man’s touch. She was betraying him by just thinking about it.
His lips crashed down upon hers in one overpowering beat, the velvet warmth of his tongue taking advantage of her surprised gasp. Hermione knew she ought to struggle, to fight his invading warmth. But for some reason she couldn’t bring herself to push him away, her arms winding around his neck instead, drawing him closer. She didn’t know why she was kissing him back. She wasn’t in her right mind. Her hands delved into his hair, nails digging in painfully against his scalp. What they were doing was wrong, but for the life of her, she couldn't bring herself to push him away. Draco groaned against her mouth, spinning them around so she was trapped between him and the cave wall. He was so desperate, so despondent, the needy emotion emanating from him in waves.
Hermione pulled back, her chest rising and falling rapidly as she tried to regain her breath. His lips ghosted over her neck, soft and gentle in comparison to the harshness of his teeth. If she was thinking rationally about any of this, she would have pushed him away long ago. She wasn’t thinking. Her mind was too far gone for any rational thought to cross its path. His lips were a weapon all on their own. The overwhelming need for contact grew stronger as she arched her back in response to his ministrations. Her lungs hurt with the short pants of breath she was taking, but Hermione didn’t care, not when his tongue was doing such wicked things against the column of her neck.
He abruptly pulled back, eyes darkened with lust. She wanted something other than pain and fear. She needed it and so did he. His look spoke volumes; there was no turning back. There was a scalding touch of inevitably, the burning tension coiling at the apex of her thighs. She didn’t want to turn back any more than he did.
He was kissing her again, robbing her of breath and whatever sanity she had left. His hands reached up to cup her face in a firm grasp, palms burning hot against her cheeks. Her heart was pounding erratically, blood boiling from the sensations his hand was creating as it slipped underneath her top. His tongue stroked hers, fingers pinching and kneading her breasts through the material of her thinly laced bra. She couldn’t control the moan that escaped her lips, back arching at his touch.
There was a voice at the back of her mind, screaming for her to stop. She couldn’t have stopped even if she wanted to, the slow decent of his hand on her stomach causing another moan to escape her swollen lips. He was whispering something, words she couldn’t make out but understood nonetheless. The buttons on her jeans were undoing themselves, the zipper being pulled down by an invisible hand. Before she knew it her jeans were thrown carelessly to the side, her knickers following shortly after. His teeth, tongue and lips spared her no mercy as he kissed a trail down the column of her neck.
She felt her legs being nudged apart by a strong thigh, his hands dropping to her waist as he lifted her up from the ground in one swift motion. Her legs wrapped around his waist, instinct taking over as she braced her hands on his shoulders. Hermione knew it was wrong. She was betraying Ron, her family and friends by just being here and enjoying his touch. It was wrong but it felt right and that was all that mattered. In a couple of hours she could be dead. She wanted to feel alive, even if it was with him.
She threw her head back, arching as he slowly filled her with ease. Her nails dug into his shoulder, scratching at the black material. Hermione could barely think, her mind becoming foggier with each passing second. How could something so wrong feel so right? They could be found at any moment, dead within seconds. She didn’t care. Let them find her, let them drain the life from her eyes. Nothing else mattered at that moment. Pleasure was her world.
The sound of a door slamming brought her reverie to a screaming halt. Looking toward the source, she felt her insides clench painfully. Ron stood in the archway, the once closed door swinging slightly, creaking in the silence after being flung open so harshly it left a large dint in the wall. His eyes were red, swollen from the obvious tears he’d shed in his anger. She could see behind him the amount of destruction he’d created, numerous books thrown haphazardly about the room, furniture overturned with large tears in the material. It looked like a war zone.
“How could you?” he hissed, the pain and betrayal in his eyes cutting at her.
“I told you, I never meant for it to happen,” Hermione cried, standing up in her effort to make him understand. She had anticipated tears and screaming. But now that it was actually happening, she didn’t know what to do or how to make him understand.
“I love that little girl,” he yelled, pointing harshly at the stairs. “You lied to me and let me believe that she…” Ron trailed off, jaw set in a firm line.
She could see he was trying to keep the new batch of tears that had welled up in his eyes from falling. “I honestly thought she was yours, but when she started to get older I noticed the differences and realised she wasn –”
“Don’t say it,” he hissed, cutting her off.
“Ron, I – ”
“Mummy, daddy, whads wrong?” Hermione felt her whole body freeze, the sound of her little angel’s sleepy voice causing her to panic. Rose was standing halfway down the stairs, her stuffed dragon, Zili, hanging from her hand as she rubbed her eyes tiredly.
“Go back to bed, sweetheart,” she said, glancing over at Ron who wore a pained expression on his face as he stared up at the little girl.
“I heards voices,” Rose protested, taking another step down the stairs, hugging Zili to her chest.
“Rose Ira Weasley, you go back upstairs this instant,” Hermione tried not to let her voice crack, keeping it firm but soft at the same time. She didn’t want Rose to witness this.
“I don’t want to,” the little girl said stubbornly, her bottom lip beginning to quiver.
“Rosie, listen to your mother,” Ron’s voice was hoarse, weakened from the effort to keep his emotions under control. He didn’t want Rose to see him vulnerable and she could understand that. She didn’t want Rose to see her vulnerable.
“But daddy,” she whined, jutting out her bottom lip.
“Upstairs. Now,” he pronounced each word forcefully, the effort she could tell becoming too much for him. The fact that Rose had called him daddy when only seconds earlier they’d been arguing about that very fact obviously got to him.
Rose’s eyes widened and within a couple of seconds she was scurrying up the stairs. Hermione tried to keep her anger in check, but the fact that he had yelled at Rose made that almost impossible to do.
“You didn’t have to yell at her,” she snapped, turning around to glare at him. Hermione understood that he was upset, that he was angry at her. But that gave him no right to yell at Rose when she had done absolutely nothing wrong. “She’s just a little girl, it’s not like she understands,”
“Well I’m sorry for thinking I had any say in her life!” he retorted angrily. “But that’s just me, isn’t it? I guess I should apologise for thinking I was her father as well while I’m at it,” his voice held so much contempt, so much pain.
“That’s not fair and you know it,”
“Do I?” he was in front of her in a second, his body threateningly close to her own, height towering above her petite 5’3.
“Yes, Ronald, you do,” she snapped, trying to brush passed him.
Moving quickly, he blocked her path, hand latching onto her wrist to keep her from leaving. “You lied to me, letting me think that I was her father when you knew I wasn’t. How could you do that to me? How could you let me fall in love with that little girl?” he was yelling now, face contorted in anger.
“Because I thought she was yours!” she screamed back, trying to yank her arm out of his tightening grasp.
“But she isn’t!” Hermione winced at the harshness in his voice, the tears falling down her face silently.
“Let me go, Ron,” she said, voice barely above a whisper. His grip tightened painfully. “Ron, you’re hurting me! Let me go!”
He should have been home hours ago, but he knew it would make no difference. If he went home now rather than later, he would only return to an empty house. An empty house by his standards was far better than an occupied one, mainly because he didn’t have to deal with Daphne. But he wasn’t particularly in the mood to wallow in self pity on his own. It was far better and less lonely to do so in his father’s study, the man in question silently keeping him company. If he was honest with himself, he was grateful that the older man was there. His father was a complicated person. Where Draco expected one thing, Lucius supplied him with another. He hadn’t expected his father to be pleased about their current situation, and he wasn’t. But unlike the hostile reaction he’d anticipated, Draco was left with only a shocked resignation from the older man. That in no way implied that he wasn’t furious, because he was. Lucius had been shocked more than anything else.
He’d fought the urge to go over to Granger’s at least a hundred times over the past week. His father had wanted to make sure that the child was his before they took any action, and the man needed no more than a photograph to confirm it. Draco still didn’t know how he did it, but his father had managed to duplicate the photograph without Granger noticing. He didn’t know whether to thank him, or hate him for it. The amount of times he’d spent looking at that picture…
“I’m surprised your wife hasn’t flooed,” Lucius remarked quietly, his gaze drifting over to the flickering embers in the grate.
“Don’t be daft, father,” he scoffed, taking a sip of his tea and grimacing, the overly sweet flavour making him want to gag. Ever since the house elves had caught wind that there was a ‘little mistress’ in the family, their attention to detail had waned considerably. Mipsy had even taken to disappearing for long periods of time, returning with some odd titbit of information like how ‘the little mistress’ favourite colour was blue’ or that ‘she didn’t like carrots’. It was good to know their house elves had stalker potential.
“Do elaborate,” his father’s comment was nonchalant, but Draco could tell he was curious.
“Well, I’m sure she’s found some other poor sod to occupy her time,” his wife really was stupid if she thought he didn’t know.
He may have been many things, but a fool was not one of them. After all, Theodore Nott was not the most tactful of drunks, especially when he spouted off to anyone who could hear that he’d been ‘banging Malfoy’s chick’. At first it had been a matter of pride and Draco had been far from opposed to beating the crap out of him. But he’d resisted the urge, deciding that his wife’s little indiscretion could be dealt with later. Besides, it would come in useful when the divorce papers came through. There was no point in staying married to her when he didn’t have to. She would try to take him for all he was worth, but with this useful bit of information she wouldn’t get very far.
Lucius raised an eyebrow in response. “Really?” he asked, curious that his son wasn’t reacting the way he expected him to.
“Considering I contacted our family lawyer a couple of days ago, it doesn’t faze me in the slightest. Actually, it’s remarkably good timing if you think about it,” he smirked, averting his eyes to gaze at the framed picture on his father’s desk.
It was strange seeing a picture of his daughter there, especially considering her heritage. His mother had been more open to the idea of Rose – that was her name apparently – being their granddaughter than Lucius had. It had taken a day to convince him that her being a half-blood wasn’t as bad as it seemed. After that initial hurdle, he’d been fairly resigned to the fact that Rose was his granddaughter. His mother said it was because he had a chance to do right where he’d done wrong with him, and Draco partially believed that. His father was curious about the little girl more than anything else.
Just as he was about to look away, something caught his eye. “Father, where is mother?” he asked, turning sharply to look at the man opposite him.
The darngloshpere on his father’s desk was glowing, indicating that a family member was in danger. While a few people tended to view the magical sphere as a dark object, he thought it was anything but. It was true that it had been created from advanced dark magic, but the use of the sphere depended solely on the owner. There was the potential to do harm. The sphere could be used to inflict a great deal of pain on a sole family member, providing the owner was concentrating hard enough on the subject. But it could also be used for good, used to warn a person that a family member was in danger, life threatening or not. When he was a little boy he’d been down at the creek with his mother, playing on the rocks while trying to catch a dragonfly that was buzzing about his head. He’d slipped and fell into the water. His mother couldn’t swim and her wand was back at the manor. If it hadn’t of been for the darngloshpere warning his father, he probably would’ve drowned.
“I’m right here, darling. Why?” his mother answered before his father even had the chance to, poking her head around the door with a curious expression on her face.
His mother wasn’t in danger and neither was his father. As far as he could tell, he was fine, so that left the question; who was in danger? There was only one other family member it could be. Rose.
“The darnglosphere,” he pointed absently at the glowing orb which seemed to get brighter with each passing second. “It’s glowing,”
Two pairs of eyes turned toward the orb, one set fearful, the other determined.
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