Chapter 3 : The Bertie Bott's Beans Story
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A/N: There is some dark elements further down in the story, but considering this is Harry Potter there was bound to be some. This will be more humor later, but this is important for the story line. Please forgive me for it.
Silence. It was golden. Of course around the Burrow that didn't last long. A loud 'pop' sounded next to Hermione's ear. She jumped, practically sliding out of her seat.
Bill Weasley smiled over at her, dusting himself off, though she couldn't understand why. It wasn't as though he traveled by floo powder. Perhaps he had sand on him. Molly had mentioned that he was back in Egypt for a short period of time.
Hermione glanced at Bill quickly. He was attractive, she supposed. His face was rather sweet, almost verging on the side of pretty, a slightly feminine flair to it. His nose was slightly and almost seemed to small for his face, but somehow it fit. His eyes were a brilliant bright blue, and his long hair helped that slight feminine effect. It did fit him well, however. Even the scars that he had gotten during the fight at Hogwarts added a certain charm to him. "Sorry about that, Hermione. Didn't mean to startle you."
Hermione hoisted herself back up into position, smiling slightly, shaking her head. "Oh, no, it's fine. You didn't scare me. Not really."
Bill tilted her head as if to tell her he did not believe that. "Is my mum here?"
"I think she's upstairs. She was rather angry with the Fred and George this morning. She's most likely up there yelling at them for whatever they did."
Bill took a seat across from her. "I, um, heard about what Ron did. Ginny sent me an owl."
Hermione folded her arms across her chest suddenly feeling very tense. "I don't want to talk about it."
Bill nodded so slightly that she wasn't even sure if he had. "That's perfectly fine, Hermione. Understandable, but could I tell you a little story?"
"Okay. Once, when Charlie and I were younger, mum bought us a rather gigantic box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. Of course it may have been larger to us because we were so small. Either way, if you've ever had Bertie Bott's Beans you know that every time you reach in to grab one it is an adventure in and of itself. Now Charlie had already eaten a fair few beans, but I myself having never had any before was reluctant to try any. Charlie kept telling me I had to try one, that it was great fun, so I did. Unfortunately for me I happened to get a vomit flavored one. I don't think I need to tell you how horrid that tasted. I never wanted to eat another one again. I flat out refused to for years. It wasn't until the twins were younger and mum had bought a box for Charlie, Percy and myself to share, years later, that Charlie could convince me to try another one. This time I got a strawberry flavored one. The point of this story was I was ready to give up and never have another bean because I got one bad one. Do you understand what I'm telling you?"
"No, not really."
"You will," he assured her, standing up. "Now, I'm going to go find mum. I'll talk to you later, Hermione."
Hermione watched him head up the stairs, shaking her head. "Why are all Weasley boys so confusing?"
"I resent that!"
"We are not all confusing!"
"We are actually very easy to understand!"
Hermione smiled to herself as she turned around. "Fred, George, you two are the most complicated of all."
"Feeling better?" Fred asked, a small smile on his face.
Hermione shrugged slightly. "I suppose....no, not really. That was a lie."
"Hermione Granger lied? Can you believe it, Fred?"
"George, I can't. This is Hermione, after all. She doesn't lie! But, I must say, I am rather proud of her for doing it now."
"As am I. I think she deserves a gift for learning so much from us."
"As do I, George." He turned to smile at Hermione. "So, Hermione, how would you like to join the two smartest, most handsome, most charming Weasley children for some ice cream?"
Hermione smiled at them slightly. "That would be lovely, but I suppose I will settle for going with the two of you."
Fred laughed wrapping an arm around her shoulder. "Hermione, you never cease to amaze."
Hermione walked into the kitchen of the Burrow laughing with the twins, but the laughter stopped abruptly at the look on everyone's faces. "What's wrong? Did something happen? Is someone hurt?" So many questions were rushing through her head that she didn't know which to ask first, or which one she wanted answered first.
"Dad sent us an owl from work," Ginny told her. "They found Malfoy. Captured him. He's in Azkaban."
Hermione stood there silently for a moment. "Won't he be able to get out of Azkaban?"
"New security," Molly told her. "Aurors are guarding all entrances of the prison."
"Well, that's a good thing, isn't it? Everyone seems so...upset."
"Hermione, there's something else."
Her eyes jumped over to Harry. "Well, what is it?"
"They were trying to question him, Malfoy. He won't talk to them."
"No, Hermione, it isn't that he won't talk. It's that he won't talk to them."
Hermione frowned. "Well, then who will he talk to?"
"You, Hermione. He said he's only talk to you."
Hermione's head began to spin. She stumbled over to the chair. "Me? He'll only talk to me? But...but why? He hates me!"
"I don't know, Hermione, but you have to speak to him."
"Harry's right, Hermione." Bill took a seat across from her. "Draco Malfoy may very well have important information for us, and unless you talk to him we won't know what he knows. I know this is not something easy that I ask of you, but you need to do this if we are going to learn anything. Please, Hermione, for the future of our world. Will you help us?"
Azkaban was nothing like Hermione imagined. True, it was dark and dismal, but the outside made it look at least slightly inviting. The inside however was something that Hermione would never forget. The walls were crumbling, covered with mold and cobwebs. She imagined that there had not even been any cleaning done in there for sometime.
The "guard" that led her to Malfoy's cell was an Auror that she had seen at some of the meetings during the summer before her fifth year at Grimmuald Place, but she couldn't place his name.
She stood on the other side of the bars, starring into Malfoy's cell. Draco sat on the bench on the far side, her leg pulled up to his chest. He gazed out at her, his expression empty. She wondered what he was thinking. Was he wishing he had his wand so he could kill her right there?
The cell slid open with a bang. Hermione jumped backwards, clutching her chest.
Hermione glared at him scathingly. How dare he imply that she was afraid of this place, even if it were true. She made her way into the cell and braced herself as it slid closed behind her. She kept reminding herself that she was safe there, that Draco couldn't hurt her. He was harmless here. "I heard you wanted to speak to me."
Malfoy wasn't looking at her any longer. He was looking at the far wall. "What is it like?"
"The sun...I don't remember. I've been hiding from it for months, and now, here, there is no sun. What is it like?"
Hermione frowned. What was he babbling about? "It's....well, its warm. Comforting. Like someone's wrapping their arms around you, keeping you safe. Its....it feels like home, because no matter where you go, there is a sun at some time."
Malfoy scoffed. "Must be nice."
"To have a home." He shook his head, turning his attention to her again. "I never killed anyone, you know?"
"Yes, really. Didn't kill a single person. Don't get me wrong, I tried to kill Dumbledore, not that you didn't already know that. Didn't try very hard to be honest, but I did try. Never actually killed anyone though." He pushed up the sleeve of his grungy prison issue uniform. There, standing out starkly on his pale skin was the Dark Mark. "Do you have any idea how much this hurt? Imagine someone sticking red hot needles into your eyes, Granger. That's how much. He takes pleasure in it, the Dark Lord that is. Finds it amusing."
"Malfoy, not to sound like a bitch or anything, but what does any of this have to do with anything?"
"Patience, Granger. I very well may be here for the rest of my life. You can spare a few extra minutes." He covered his arm again as if suddenly horrified by the sight of it. "Do you know what its like, Granger? To always be in the shadow of someone else? First in my father's, then in Potter's. Son of a great and powerful pureblood. A Death Eater. Never stood a chance, you know. It was my destiny, was born into me. I was going to be like him, become a Death Eater, marry a pureblood, breed pureblooded children who hate muggle borns. It was bred into me from the time I was old enough to understand my father. I was in his shadow, then Potter's. Famous Harry Potter. What was so special about him? He lived. It wasn't even something he did. It was luck. So what made him so special? I don't understand it."
He sprang up from his seat so fast that Hermione stumbled back, placing her hands on the bars of the cell. Draco began to pace back and forth in the cell. "I didn't want to kill Dumbledore, you know that don't you? I mean, I didn't like the man, but he never tried to make me into a clone of someone. He was an annoying old man, but he didn't deserve to die." He turned to look at her suddenly. "If you keep coming here to speak with me, I will give you all the information that you guys need. Names, locations, whatever, just come and talk to me about this and I will."
"Because, Granger, I would want to shock you with everything I could. Why lie about not killing people? I never have lied to you. I've been cruel and horrible, but I never lied. Besides, lying would get me nowhere. Potter will pull another miracle out of thin air no matter what, so trying to trick you by feeding you false information will do no good. Might as well try to get leverage for myself by giving you information."
Hermione stood outside her room at the Burrow with her eyes closed tight. Her adventure at Azkaban would be one she wouldn't forget for a long time. That place would haunt her nightmares for some time.
"How was it?"
Hermione opened her eyes slowly, turning to look at Fred. "Horrible. I thought every one was asleep."
"Every one is. Except me." He smiled at her slightly. "Was is that bad?"
"But you survived."
"Guess I did."
"You know, you're an unbelievably strong person, Hermione."
"No, I'm not."
"Yes you are. With all the things that you've been going through lately, you are keeping yourself in one piece. That's amazing."
"I had a nervous breakdown after Ron...."
"A small one, and that's all right. Its normal."
She smiled at him slightly. "Since when were you serious?"
"I'm tired. It can happen when I haven't slept."
"No, it's a nice change. Um, Fred?"
"I wanted to thank you. Well, you and George. You've been so nice to me since this whole thing with Ron. I...well, thank you."
He smiled at her brightly. She had never noticed how nice he looked when he smiled. "Don't mention it. You just have to write to us after you go back to school tomorrow. Promise?"
Fred looked at her for a long moment before he leaned over and kissed her on her forehead. There was no subtext there, very innocent, but at the same time it made Hermione feel tense.
"I can see why Ron fell for you."
He made his way to his room all too aware on Hermione's eyes on his back.
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