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Chapter 12 : Head First, Fearless
| ||Rating: Mature||Chapter Reviews: 15|
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This is kind of a filler chapter.
Title is from the Taylor Swift song "Fearless".
♥ Review! (:
Head First, Fearless
After two hours of “resting”, Hermione got too bored to stay in the bed.
Everyone else had left to get on with household chores - Zoey had taken Hermione’s mum to the kitchen to help her make dinner for everyone, leaving her alone in the huge bedroom under instruction to sleep. She couldn’t. Her burns hurt too much and the dull throbbing beneath the bandage on her hand was far too distracting to let her rest.
So she sat. She counted sheep. She contemplated writing to Harry or Ron. She decided against writing to Harry or Ron. She read a book. And then she got out of bed and stretched her legs pacing around the room.
That was when she heard Pansy cackle.
It wasn’t nearby, otherwise Hermione would have whipped her wand out immediately. It sounded like it was coming from outside…
Curiosity overcoming her desire to block out Parkinson, she quietly trod across the room to the window, kneeling on an expensive footstool in order to see out of it.
They were relaxing in the sun in the front of the manor. About twelve of them; everyone she knew (bar Zoey and Becker), and a few she didn’t, just hanging out and amusing themselves in the pleasant weather. Sunny was working on the engine of what Hermione assumed was her car; her jeans and arms covered in oil smears whenever she re-surfaced to join the conversation or throw a filthy rag at her brother. Alec was playing a game of one-on-one football with Blaise.
Pansy herself was leaning against the back of Sunny’s car talking to a shirtless boy whose face Hermione couldn’t see. Her mood seemed to have lightened since the morning; she was gesturing animatedly and grinning like a four-year-old as she chattered away happily between the boy and Sunny.
Max was hovering eagerly on the sidelines of Alec and Blaise’s game, apparently acting as ref.
Deacon Whipstaff was sunbathing on the roof of Sunny’s car, his piercings catching the light every time he moved his head. Beside Sunny was an old, grisly man in overalls who was either aiding her mechanical work or chastising Deacon; Hermione couldn’t tell if he was waving his wand around at the car or just threatening Whipstaff with it.
A few feet from them, a blonde woman in her twenties was playing with a winged toddler. Hermione watched them for a moment. The woman would allow the child to flap ten or eleven feet above her, before jerking her head to (presumably through magic) bring it back into her arms.
It was a pleasant scene. Wondering where Malfoy was, Hermione scanned back across the scene incase she had missed him.
Her eyes met a pair of steely grey ones. Malfoy, sat shirtless on the back of Sunny’s car, smirked.
Hermione felt her eyes widen and colour rise in her cheeks - she wasn’t sure how she had managed to look over the shirtless boy twice without realising that it was Malfoy, but right about now she wanted the ground to eat her up. Giving an awkward and fake smile, she waved and backed away from the window. Pansy’s cackle rang through her ears and made her cheeks burn.
Sighing, she sat down on the bed and once again contemplated writing to Harry and Ron. Maybe she could bring out her inner Pansy and completely bitch them out… ‘Yeah, so I’ve been hanging out with our old arch enemies and taking part in this ancient cult of creatures with superpowers - which I might be one of, by the way - and I’m currently being hunted by a something-hundred year old woman and a band of Belarusian brothers. Nothing much going on, bitchessss.’
She chuckled at the unlikelihood of that happening. Hurt by Harry and Ron she may be, but she doubted anything in life could make her as bitter and bitchy as Pansy was.
Someone knocked on the bedroom door. “Come in?” she called, assuming it was her mum or Zoey.
Draco walked in. Hermione blinked. He was still shirtless - she felt a blush crawl up her neck, despite her best efforts. Why was she so flustered by Malfoy being half naked anyway?! She’d seen him without a shirt before. Of course, it had been whilst he was explaining to her that he had a set of feathered wings, so her attention had been elsewhere at the time, but this really shouldn’t be any different.
He strolled across the room and collapsed onto the second bed, kicking his booted feet up onto the sheets. “Shouldn’t you be resting? Or asleep or something?” he asked.
“I… uh, I’m not tired. And my burns kind of ache.” she admitted, keeping her eyes on his tousled hair. “What are you guys doing?”
He gestured to the light streaming in through the windows. “Just enjoying the sun. Every now and then we’re graced with a day where the Stones or the Ministry aren’t scheduling some kind of raid on the house, and everybody gets to chill out around the place. Sunny’s fixing her car, Pansy’s sunbathing, Blaise is playing football… it’s nice out. You should come outside.”
He looked at her.
Hermione bit her lip. “I don’t think it’s a good idea. Every time I’m in the same vicinity as Pansy, she flips out and one of us has to leave.” she sighed. “I think I’d better stay in here.”
“Granger.” Draco swung his legs off the bed and sat forward. “What your mother said about Pansy earlier was only half true.”
He looked ready to explain, so Hermione nodded.
“Six months ago Pansy was still living with her family. Her and Blaise and I have been hanging out every summer since we were six - usually here, because Blaise’s Aunt gave us free reign of the place. When she discovered the whole fire thing, we didn’t think anything of it. It didn’t occur to us that it was triggered by her mood, or that it could potentially hurt her parents. Or her little brother.”
Hermione listened intently, despising the pity she was feeling for Parkinson.
“She visited the manor every day, slept over quite often. Originally, her and Jacob got along just fine. She kept her prejudices to herself.” Draco continued, running his hand through his hair and staring at a spot of carpet by Hermione’s feet. “Then one night… nobody knows why… she had a really bad dream, and she caught fire in her sleep. And her entire house burned to the ground, killing her mum, her dad, and her brother.
“Hermione, the reason she hates you has nothing to do with you being muggleborn. She hates you because when she moved here she had to deal with your dad - who was an amazing guy, don’t get me wrong, but not the most perceptive. He kept talking about how he couldn’t wait to tell you about this place, to bring you in on it because he loved you so much. He was always talking about how proud he was of you. Every time we discovered something new, it was ‘oh, Hermione will love this’. And Pansy had to deal with the fact that she’d just killed her entire family.”
Hermione’s fists were clenched against the material of her jeans. There were tears in her eyes - not just for Pansy, but for her father, who had died before he had the chance to share such a huge part of his life with her. Her heart throbbed with longing to speak to him again. To let him know that she was so proud, so proud, to call him father.
“I’m sorry, Hermione.” Draco murmured, reaching across to touch her shoulder. “I really am.”
Sniffing, Hermione wiped her eyes and sat up straight again. “Thank you.” she said, searching for another topic of conversation. A thought struck her. “Who are the other people outside?”
“C’mon, I’ll show you.” Draco stood up and walked to the window, hands idly resting in his pockets. Hermione followed, not looking at his shoulder blades. “That,” he explained, pointing down at the elderly man working on Sunny’s car, “is Riley. He’s Deacon’s father - nobody’s sure if he’s one of us or not. He claims that he isn’t, but sometimes weird things happen around him. Or Deacon will get into trouble and Riley will suddenly just be there to get him out of it… it‘s weird.”
Hermione smiled. “What about the girl with the baby?” she asked.
“Lauriat Malfoy, my second cousin. The kid is called Marvel. He’s winged, as you can tell. Lauriat can move things with her mind… it’s kind of a Blaster ability. When Marvel flies too high, watch her… there, see how she jerked her head and he fell back to her? She did that. She’s pretty cool.”
Lauriat was now talking to Riley, Marvel held tight in one arm. Hermione nodded and stepped back from the window before someone noticed her staring again. “They seem nice.” she said pitifully. “You should go back out.”
Draco was looking down at her, his eyes unreadable. Then, without so much as a word of warning, the faintest sign of a smirk touched his lips and he lunged, bodily hauling the unsuspecting Hermione over his shoulder. She shrieked in surprised. “What are you doing?!” Draco didn’t reply. He simply carried her to the largest window, kicked it open… and jumped.
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