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Arabesque by CelticKisses
Chapter 24 : Of the Burial of a Brother and the Decay of a Granger
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 48

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Author's Note:
What have I learned? I’ve learned that life never stops moving. I’ve learned to hold on to things dearest to me and try not to look back at what is slipping by that you just could not hold on to anymore. I’ve learned that there are some things that just don’t matter and so many that do. I’ve learned that there is good in every single human being. I’ve learned to never doubt that ever again. I’ve learned to love strangers and to humbly accept praise and the support of people I may not know. But most importantly, I’ve learned to move on.

I would like to take a moment to apologize to you all. How completely unfair for me to leave you stranded and hanging without a single word from me for so very long. Thank you for all the personal messages I received expressing worry and encouragement - you are all such kind, sweet people. Its been so long and I miss you so very, very much.

It is because of you - because of the reviews I found when I finally got the guts up to sign on my account again - that I found I could sit down and work on this piece again. I tried, I really tried, after the accident, but things were different. Things had rearranged themselves and suddenly some things were just not important as others. I lost interest in a lot of things I had loved before - things really changed. But I want to come back and I want to keep writing and I want to continue this story because there is so much more I want to tell you - and I’ve decided, at this moment, if I can find the strength to do it - there will be a sequel. I’ve bounced between these two endings for quite some time now - almost a year. Weighing them against each other and mulling over the consequences of either one. Now, I think, I might take the road that brings you to the sequel. If I do it will be for you. I hope for all of your support and understanding as I try to bring what I see to life. I will make a final decision on the matter as these final chapters come out.

A few drafts of this chapter happened - some of which actually ended the story, but when I reread them I realized I was taking a cop out - giving up. There is no reason for that. I want this to go on and I want to be able to give you what I see in my head - I just hope it can happen!!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your belief in me and your patience as I attempt to piece my life back together. Thank you for supporting me and thank you for loving the words I give you. I love hearing from all of you. I love having this relationship with you. I love giving you this story. 

If you are looking for me between chapters - go to my personal website and find the link for "The Forsaken Ones" or join my mailing list and you will get information about it or MSN me. I'm always on my MSN and I love chatting and then I can personally point you towards "The Forsaken Ones" ^_- Which, I honestly believe, is my best piece of work thus far.

I hope you enjoy and forgive me for my absence.



Hours became a painful ticking of seconds. The edges of the world were blurring. Her eyes were swollen shut or pinned open, she couldn’t tell through the pain. Either way, she couldn’t see. All she knew were the tight circle of his arms. The soft tickling of his breath on her neck as he held her. The way it felt to curl into his side and hope for oblivion; wish for the end, She was wishing for it - most profoundly. She no longer wanted to go on, to live like this.

Her arm protested painfully as she came fully to consciousness, dream slipping away like silken threads of a spider’s web. She felt as if she was clawing through the undergrowth of the deepest forest. Night circled her. Her head was heavy and throbbing. She was awake enough now to take in her surroundings; the bed she was lying on and the sheets wound around her legs. The smell in the air was familiar and comforting. She gasped in pain, for no apparent reason. As if her body was remembering what her mind had not yet grasped.

“Hermione,” a dark, velvet voice whispered above her. She turned over to find him there, the source of that comforting haze that hung about her. His hands trailed down her jaw and over her shoulder. She followed them, surprised by the wad of white that she found was taped to her arm. She sat up, staring at it as her mind grappled with the appearance of the bandage. Tried to remember what it meant. Why it was there.

“Don’t push it,” he said softly. “Take it easy.” He sat on the bed in front of her, watching with eyes that looked as if they had not closed in sleep for quite some time.

This bandage. What was this bandage for? She looked to him, confusion apparent on her face.

“You’re in shock,” he said, unsurprised. “Just move slowly and try to relax.”

She pushed herself completely upright, small blotches of black popping in the corners of her eyes as if she was going to pass out. She closed her eyes, holding on to the sheets until the spasm passed. When she opened them he was standing at the foot of the bed, his back to her.

“Where are we?’ she asked. Her voice was hoarse and cracked most pitifully.

“This room,” he said as he gestured about them, “belongs to your mother, Hermione. You’re home.”

“Home…” she mulled that word over for a moment. Home. She was home. But why would she be home? Why was Draco Malfoy in her mother’s room? Why was there a bandage on her arm? So large and white… Why did her head hurt? Why was she in her mother’s room? In her mother’s bed? With Draco here? Why wasn’t she at Hogwarts?

Hogwarts. Hogwarts…Harry…Ginny… Her chest locked inwards, caving in pain. Hogwarts…Transfiguration… Head Dorms…. Something wasn’t making sense. She was holding a bunch of keys in her hand and she couldn’t find the lock they went in to.

“Yes, you’re home,” he said softly. He was watching her, but he wasn’t helping her make sense of the muddled mess her head was in. Her thoughts felt too big to hold inside. “You need to get dressed soon. We have to go.”

“We have to go? Where are we going?”

Draco’s expression twisted painfully for the briefest of seconds and then, just as quickly, was composed and vacant. “Please get dressed,” he whispered as he left the room.

Outside the room he met Harry and Ginny, both of whom were dressed in black mourning robes with matching, scratched, red eyes. They looked up and he shook his head. Ginny turned into Harry’s shoulder, silently crying.

Harry’s hands clasped in front of him, his eyes focused on the veins and tendons as they became more prominent.

“She doesn’t remember,” Draco said. “It won’t last. Her mind’s shut down to cope with the pain. She’s in shock.”

“To cope…” Harry said distantly.

“She knows something’s wrong, but its not there for her right now.” Draco was walking towards the staircase when he suddenly turned back to face them. “I don’t want her to go today,” he said.

“Malfoy, its not your call!” Ginny cried in pain.

“You Bastard, how could you say such a thing?” Harry turned away, hot tears unashamedly leaking over his cheek. “She has to be at his funeral. She has to be.”

“And what if it breaks her? Huh, Potter? What if seeing him lying there in his coffin pushes her over the edge? I won’t take that chance.”

“I could give a damn about your feelings right now,” Harry murmured as his hand softly drifted over Ginny’s hair. “He was her brother. He died for her. She will be there.”

“You can say that so nonchalantly,” Draco’s jaw tensed, one hand fisting. “But you won’t have to pick up the pieces. You haven’t sat by her side for two days while she cried out the name of another man.”

“Don’t flatter yourself, Draco,” Harry said. “She’s been one of us all along. She would have chosen one of us over you at any point.”

Draco started down the stairs. “You’ve ripped everything from me - you and your desire to be the only ones in her world. It was my place to die for her. If it had been me she could have mourned and moved on.” He looked away from them, down the staircase he had mounted. “But now I must watch as an irreparable rift is cleaving her in two and I can’t stop it. Because I’m not him. Because I never was and because I never mattered as much. Not when it came down to it. I didn’t have the history with her; the years of memories and laughter. All I’ve been from the beginning is something to fear and tread lightly with. An experiment. Would I break first? Was I worth the risk? Was I going to change enough to bend myself around someone like her? Could I possibly turn my back on a family; a lineage, of dark serving bastards?”

“Draco,” Harry started. “We never-”

“-Bullshit, Potter. I’m a Malfoy, remember? We aren’t human. We don’t care. We serve our Dark Lord and breed sons vile enough that Mother Earth should reach up and swallow us hole. We are better off six feet in the ground. That’s how we are meant to exist. We are dead from the moment we are born. We greet this world of self serving pricks, already cast in our lot. As a Malfoy I cannot feel. I cannot desire. I can only serve. And serve I was content to do until I met her. Never fight, only do as I was bid. Mindless and without passion. Desire nothing. But I do desire,” he took a few more steps down the staircase. Harry stood from his spot on the floor.

“Draco, I’m sorry.”

“I desire a life of freedom. A world where I can make those choices for myself. “ He looked back at Harry. “I desire her.” He gripped the railing with both hands. “I want her to look at me like she did him. The way she does you. As if she’s never questioned the trust she has for you. As if there is no reason to be wary, to hold anything back, to cry.”

“You’re speaking nonsense, Draco,” Harry said. “You’re just upset.”

“You’re uncomfortable to see it, aren’t you?” Draco asked with a small smile. “You’re uncomfortable to know I’m human.”

“Kids!” a voice called up the staircase. “We need to be going soon!”

There was silence for a moment.

“My mother committed suicide,” he said abruptly. “Not too long ago. To escape my father.”

“That’s horrible,” Ginny gasped. “Draco, we didn’t know-”

Draco laughed. “It was the smartest thing she ever did; escaping him. I killed her though. I left her there, defenseless and without a way to escape. So she had to find her own way. “

“Hermione has nothing to do with your mother,” Harry said.

“No,” Draco sighed. “Maybe not to you. But everyone I am supposed to protect, Potter, finds a way to slip through my fingers.” He looked back at the door Hermione was currently behind. “Maybe its because I’m so upset over her. Maybe I’m just speaking nonsense after all.”

At that point there was a soft click and the door swung open. Hermione was standing there, holding her dress to herself with one hand as the other one hung useless at her side, the bandage a blaring white against the black fabric. Tears were running down her cheeks. “I can’t-” she started and stopped.

Draco moved towards her but Ginny beat him to the door and pushed her friend back inside, closing the door behind them.

“She doesn’t have any idea what’s going on,” Draco said.

“How are you so sure? You said she was dreaming about him so she must be aware.”

“That’s subconscious, Potter. It doesn’t have anything to do with her now. Her mind is shutting its self down to protect her. She knows something is wrong she just can’t put her finger on it. You cannot expect her to go to this funeral.”

“Are you kids ever going to be ready?” A brunette woman was coming up the stairs. She was slight and slender, possessing many features of Hermione’s. Draco moved over to make room for her to join their huddle in the hallway.

“Mrs. Granger,” Draco started. He turned to face the adult but she was considerably smaller than him. He had to look down to meet her eyes. “Mrs. Granger I think you should keep Hermione home today.”

“And I think she needs to be at her best friend’s damn funeral,” Potter growled.

“Harry, as a guest in this house you will watch your language,” Mrs. Granger scolded. “Now,” she turned back to face Draco. “I’m not familiar with you young man, my daughter never told me anything about you and I’ve never met you before when I’ve met these others, so I don’t know anything about you and your relationship. I would like to know, however, what makes you think you are in a place to judge what my daughter should and should not be doing today.” Mrs. Granger’s hands went to her hips in an exact imitation of Hermione.

“Because two days ago your daughter watched a best friend of her’s commit suicide on her behalf and she is so distraught over the matter her mind is blocking it all out. And because,” he took a breath. “I’m her boyfriend and I have her best interests in mind.”

“Like freaking hell you are!” Harry cried, infuriated.

“Language Mr. Potter!“ she declared once more. “You’re her boyfriend?” Mrs. Granger seemed to need a moment to digest that bit of information as she looked the tall blonde up and down. “Well then,” she said matter-of-factly. “I suppose you would have a say in the matter. You think she is not ready?” Harry sputtered angrily in the background.

“Mrs. Granger, I don’t want to keep her from it. I’m afraid though. Afraid that if the trigger for her mind to wake up is the actual physical body of her friend it will shatter her.” Draco seemed to be having difficulty speaking.

Mrs. Granger cleared her throat. “Alright then,” she said. “I have a compromise.” She looked to Harry. “Hermione will go to the funeral with us,” she looked back to Draco, eyes intense and demanding as she met his own. “But she will stay in the back, away from the casket. Are we all agreed?”

“Fine,” Draco agreed.

“This is absolutely ridiculous. The day we bury the best man anyone could dream of having in their lives and there is freaking rules to play by.”

“Harry Potter I have had enough of your mouth for one day,” Mrs. Granger sighed. “Now we must go or we will be late.” Mrs. Granger strode to the door and knocked softly before opening it and stepping inside. She left the door open behind her and Draco and Harry drifted towards it.

Hermione was sitting just inside the door on the edge of the bed, a vapid expression on her face. Ginny was fixing her eyes in the mirror on the far wall.

“Are you ready, my dear?” her mother asked gently.

Hermione nodded, looking down at her dress in confusion. “Where are we going?”

“Damnit,” Draco swore as he elbowed past Harry and into the room. Mrs. Granger seemed to be at a loss for words.

Draco grabbed Hermione by the back of the neck, pulling her into him in front of everyone. “Trust me?” he asked softly.

She nodded mutely.

“We’re going to go out for a little bit. Just hold my hand and don’t let go and then we can come home and you can go back to sleep.” He brushed a strand of hair behind her ear. Mrs. Granger looked on with an approving expression and Harry sighed in defeat.

The ride to the Weasley house didn’t take too long with the aid of magic. Hermione was curled up in the backseat against Draco’s side and Harry was pouting on the other side of her. Ginny had claimed the front seat next to Mrs. Granger, who was driving them all over. Hermione seemed to have reverted back into a child and Draco hated it. All he could do was gently pat her head or stroke her arm, as if she was a sulking three year old.

As soon as they reached The Burrow Mrs. Weasley was on top of them. She grabbed Harry to her bosom and held him there for a long time, sobs racking her body. Harry let himself be held despite his seventeen years and after a moment the grief over took him as well. Ginny could not stand to watch it and ran to her mother a few moments later, the three of them collapsing in on each other. Draco helped Hermione exit the car from the opposite side, putting the large metal thing between them and Ron’s mother.

“Why don’t we go get something to drink?” he suggested, steering her away. But Hermione looked over her shoulder for a long while as they did so. After a moment she turned back forward, lost in thought. A level of awareness had returned to her that made him nervous.

“What are all these people here for?” she asked as they weaved through the somber crowd.

“To say a goodbye,” Draco answered.

“I heard what you said to my mother,” she said abruptly.

Draco froze. “You did?”

“I heard you say you were my boyfriend. I was wondering when we had decided on that.”

The panic swooped out of him in one large breath. He smiled slightly. “We can talk about it later,” he said. “When there aren’t so many people around. But don’t you think it’s a good word for it?”

She nodded. “Well, I suppose it is.”

“Here,” he handed her a cup of water and she took it in one shaking hand.

“What happened to my arm?” she asked suddenly. “And why do I recognize all of these people but can’t remember their names?”

Draco started, hoping a valid excuse would come out, but he was interrupted.

“We are gathered here today to mourn the loss of one so young.”

“Draco,” Hermione said, her eyebrows knit in confusion. She gave no indication she had heard the man at the front of the crowd. “All these flowers… all these…. Lilies…”

“Hermione, take my hand,” he said, voice bordering on frantic as she reached for the bandage.

“Why do I have to wear this thing? What’s under it?” She grasped the edge and pulled before he could stop her.

The birds stopped chirping. The wind picked up slightly. The colors dimmed. The world seemed to stop all together as she looked at the garish slice in her arm. It ran the entire length of her forearm and was hideous and puckered. The edges were dark red and angry. The skin swollen purple and black from the pressure of the incision. All at once she understood. Her knees gave out and she cried out in pain. He caught her before she met the ground but he could not stop the damage from being done. Without the pressure of the bandage to hold the edges of the skin together the cut began to seep.

She was sobbing. Sobbing so loudly that the people near the back of the crowd, closest to them, were looking anxiously over their shoulders. She was scrambling to her feet again and pushing away from him. She could hardly see through her tears. She was angrily shoving through the crowd, scrambling to get to the front. He shoved his way after her, not stopping to apologize as he stepped on feet or toppled people over.

As she came completely into view the man in charge of the ceremony stopped speaking. All eyes were on her as she mounted the stairs of their home altar. She did not stop until she had reached the coffin. She stood before it for a second , still and silent. Draco finally reached the front of the crowd.

“Hermione! No!” he cried.

But it was too late. She grasped the edge of the coffin and threw it upwards. A bleeding scream rent the air and did not stop. Draco was swallowed by the crowd as people reached for her, dragging her away from the body. She kicked and scratched, hollering the entire time. Angry tears streaming down her face. Her arm was bleeding but no one seemed to notice. They got her on the ground and tried to pin her, to calm her, to soother her in any way possible.

It was at that moment his resolve formed. He turned his back on the coffin and his fists clenched together so tightly the tendons in his wrist screamed in protest. He was going to find Gustave. He was going to find his father.

He was going to kill them.

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