Sear me with your florid songs
Not with palpable pleasures of the earth
For me, the joys of youth have since long gone
And the jaws of death are at my door
Since experience brings the woes of life
But To Suppose
Youth surely is a hellish place
Experience forgotten without pace
Where life is lived with eyes wide closed
-"One to Another" M.E
Hermione awoke in one of the rather large bedrooms that Queen Mab had provided their company with. She glanced out of the windows and she could see light, that indicated daytime, streaming in through a forest canopy. Obviously the glamour worked on providing fake environments on the outside also.
When she looked at her watch she saw that it was indeed morning. 10:30, to be exact. She ran a brush through her hair until it glistened and pulled on a spare outfit, which consisted of pants and a form fitting gray t- shirt, that she had hastily put into her bag, when they left. She minimized her belongings, picking up the tiny satchel and putting it in her pocket.
As she was about to leave, she caught a look of herself in the mirror.
And she stopped.
She looked so much like herself, as she had before she went on the mission, but eerily different. The pendant around her neck served as a reminded of how far from Hogwarts and the most normal life she had been living for the past seven years, really was.
Hermione pulled open her door, which led to the library, and was greeted by the other five, who were around the wooden table, plates of food in front of them. Ron was actually taking time to chew his food, to Hermione’s amazement. Harry had a bandage on his head and was spreading jam on two pieces of bread. Her eyes fell on Draco, who was once again wearing all black. He was staring down at a piece of paper and his brow looked creased, as if he was concentrating extremely hard on something.
They all looked up at her as she entered.
“Did you sleep well?” Meier asked her as she sat down between Ron and Harry.
Hermione eyed him suspiciously. “Yes, why? Did you do something?”
“Yes, I watched you as I hid in your closet,” Meier snapped back rolling his eyes. “I meant that I came out here and you, and Mr. Malfoy were asleep on the couch. It seemed as though the both of you had fallen asleep while researching. But when I came back to actually move you to your bedroom, so your snoring didn’t wake us all up, you were gone along with Mr. Malfoy here.”
Hermione flushed with embarrassment although Draco didn’t even raise an eyebrow. She opened her mouth to give an explanation when Harry and Ron looked at her, but all that came out was:
“I don’t snore.”
Ignoring the looks that the others were giving her, Hermione dumped some eggs on her plate along with a jammy dodger.
“So how did your research go last night?” Harry asked, narrowing his eyes. “While, you know, I ran into marble and was bleeding from my head.”
She slowly finished chewing her eggs and had swallowed when she decided to answer. “We did find a lot of data on the number nine,” she told him, ignoring his hint that she had done something with Malfoy.” Now I just have to piece everything together.”
Harry viciously tore off a bit of his toast, trying to intimidate her into telling him something before the food went down the wrong way and he began to choke. Ron thumped him on the back a good couple of times, before Harry raised a hand, signaling for him to stop. Clearing his throat, Harry blushed a little, before shredding his toast into smaller pieces and then eating them. Hermione held back a laugh and continued to eat her eggs.
“I’m glad that you’ve founded what you’ve needed,” Meier said, pushing his plate away, which disappeared with a slight ‘pop’. “We need to move today. The queen has offered us more time to stay, but I do believe that we’ve extended our welcome here.”
Ron nodded in agreement. “It’s too quiet here.”
“I can only imagine,” Draco began sarcastically. “how lovely and loud it must be in that cardboard box you call a house, Weasel.”
Hermione threw him a vehement glare before placing a hand over Ron’s to calm him down.
“It’s Weasley, you little ferret,” Ron said angrily, his ears turning red “Get it right!”
“My bad,” Draco said sarcastically, leaning back in his chair with a smirk on his face.
“Well where are we going?” Hermione asked Ferro and Meier, trying to change the subject to a more pleasant one. She soon found out that it was a mistake.
“Malfoy Manor,” the blonde answered from beside her.
Hermione looked at him incredulously before letting out a strained laugh. “That’s funny Malfoy, because I thought you just said that we’ll be going to your house-”
“He did,” Harry said darkly, gingerly feeling the bruise on his head. “Like that’s any safer than hiding underneath Voldemort’s bed and holding up a neon sign that says, ‘Kill me, I‘m right here’.”
“Don’t they use your house as a Death Eater country club or something?” Ron asked, taking another bite from his bacon. Harry sniggered from beside the redhead
“No,” Malfoy snapped at him. “But it is where your mom works part time.”
Ron sputtered furiously on his food before making to stand up, his hands curling into fists
“That’s enough!” Hermione said, her voice holding the authoritive tone that she kept for lectures and Head Duties. “You, Malfoy, are lucky that I don’t hex you right now. Mrs. Weasley is a lovely woman and you shouldn’t say such nasty things about her.”
Draco rolled his eyes. “But he’s allowed to make assumptions about my mum?”
“I didn’t say anything about your mum,” Ron shot back from behind Hermione. “I just said your family. And your parents are Deatheaters, aren’t they?”
“Stop!” Hermione said angrily to Ron, hitting him on his arm. “No more “your mom” jokes or name-calling about family. The next person who says anything that is remotely an insult will have my wand trained between their eyes.”
The two young men glared at each other for a moment before they both sat down, Ron huffing and Draco scowling. Meier looked at the four amusedly before taking a deep gulp of pumpkin juice from his goblet.
“When do we leave?” Hermione asked, keeping her eye on Malfoy and Ron.
“Today,” Ferro answered, raising an eyebrow as she shrieked in response.
“What?!” Hermione stood up, an exasperated look on her face. “I still have more information to collect!”
“There’s a library in the manor,” Draco told her, refraining from insulting her. “You can use it if you’re that obsessed with deciphering Voldemort’s message.”
“She won’t find anything in there,” Ron snapped at the blonde. “Those are just instruction manuals on world domination, how to be a snaky bastard, not to mention torture techniques for muggles.”
He gave her an “I’m sorry but he deserved it” look, before taking another bite of toast.
“Our time is no longer flexible,” Meier said, interrupting the insult competition. “I suggest that you start packing as quickly as you can. It may be morning here, but it’s near seven o’clock at night in your world.”
Harry opened his mouth to protest but Hermione beat him to the punch.
“Is there a reason why we didn’t wake up any earlier?” Hermione said, interrupting Harry’s oncoming tangent.
“And since you’ve decided to waste time on asking questions, we’ll just have to use magic,” He said, ignoring her comment
With a flick of his slim wrist, all of their belongings, even the ones from the shop were piled beside the table. Another flick, and their trunks and bags were as big as tea lights (a/n those are little candles). Ferro conjured up a back pack and stuffed the little trunks in it, swinging it over his shoulder.
“What are you waiting for?” the black haired faerie asked, impatiently. Hermione winced; she’d never heard him use a tone so sharp with any of them. “We need to get moving.”
“Oh shut up and move your big arse through the door,” Draco interrupted, pushing her in the small of her back.
Hermione rounded on him, her eyes flashing. In a second, her hand had connected with the side of his face with a resounding ‘smack!’. Draco’s hand shot up to his reddening check, cradling it as he glared down at her.
“Don’t tell me to shut up,” Hermione said, her voice getting higher due to her anger. “And my arse isn’t big!”
Draco removed his hand from his face and smirked down at her. “No, it’s not Granger. You have a great arse Granger. It’s just the perfect size to-”
Hermione raised her hand again to slap him, but he moved out of the way in the nick of time. He swallowed when he realized that he was standing right next to Harry and Ron.
“The next time you even mention any of her body parts in a sexual way, I’m going to break your face,” Ron said threateningly to him.
“I would listen,” Draco began, looking over at her. “But I think that she likes it.”
They all turned their eyes on Hermione, who had flushed to a pretty shade of pink on her cheeks.
“Next time I’ll use my wand,” she said, her voice low.
Draco raised an eyebrow. “Threatening me, Granger?”
“Now? Yes. If you talk about my arse again, no. It’ll be a promise Malfoy.”
“Why I do believe you’re a Masochist, Granger,” Draco said, that god forsaken smirk on his face again.
Hermione rolled her eyes and instead of snapping back at him, she decided to follow the two faeries out of the door.
“Why is it so cold?” Ron asked, grimacing as he was forced to pull on one of his mother’s famous wool sweaters, with the large “R” on it.
“Maybe because it’s November,” Hermione answered, her voice sarcastic. “We are entering winter you know.”
Hermione had started to shiver, considering that she was only wearing a t-shirt. She was surprised when a coat was thrust in her hands and turned to find that Malfoy was walking beside her.
“Thank you,” she said softly.
He gave her a curt nod. “I might as well let you keep, considering that you wear it more than I do.”
She smiled, although it was barely noticeable in the night air.
They were all walking, disillusioned, to where Malfoy Manor was. It was quite a way’s away, and they had to take both the Knight Bus, and Apparate to get to where they were.
Where they were now was more rustic and more rural, than the urban spread of London. There were little shops and even cobblestone sidewalks. As she glanced around, she noticed that she scarcely saw any people.
“Do the people here not go out at night?” she asked out loud, wrapping Draco’s coat tighter around her slender body.
“The people here are aware that sometimes, magical things happen,” Draco told her, looking around at the deserted street. “There are three more manors here, also owned by Purebloods, and every so often, a couple of muggles go missing.”
Hermione shivered, although it wasn’t from the cold. “That’s horrible,” she commented, making a face.
Draco shrugged indifferently. They walked for a few more moments, not really looking where they were going, as long as Draco told them when they reached their destination.
Eventually, the blonde wizard abruptly stopped and held out his arm, signaling for the others to halt their motions.
Hermione realized, as she and the others looked up, that they really hadn’t been paying attention to where they had been heading. For if anyone had paid attention, they would’ve stopped a long time ago.
They had walked up the hill, and it was on this hill that Malfoy Manor sat on. She looked behind her and noticed that it seemed to overlook the rest of the town. They had stopped at huge, black iron gates and behind those gates was a stone mansion with pillars out in the front that led to a large archway door. Large, cathedral like windows looked out over the immaculate lawn.
“Don’t people notice that you never leave the manor?” Harry asked, looking up at Draco’s home with an unreadable expression on his face.
“It’s unplottable, for one,” Draco answered, before muttering something under his breath. “And we have charms on it like Hogwarts does. It appears empty here, though if people decide to travel up here, they get a feeling of danger and turn back around.”
They became quiet as the huge intricate, iron gates began to open with sounds of metal grating against stone.
As the entrance to Malfoy Manor opened, it began to rain.
“The house elves here will appear if you call for assistance,” Draco told them as they set their luggage down in the entrance of the manor. “Don’t worry, they won’t tell anyone about us. Dumbledore has promised that.”
Hermione slipped off Draco’s coat and ran a hand through her damp hair, mentally reminding herself to hand dry it later of else it would frizz up. Her breath caught as she looked around.
They were in the foyer of the manor, standing on slick floors of beautiful marble. The grand stairs were in front of them, huge and also made of patterns of dark and light stone. As she walked further into the house, she could see that the room to the left of the stairs was a gargantuan sitting room, accessorized with large, poufy couches and arm chairs and a fire that was cackling merrily in the hearth. She threw an inquisitive glance at Malfoy.
He shrugged. “The house elves were informed of guests. I guess they cleaned and lit the fires of the house.”
She looked to the right and saw a vast dining room, complete with a long, polished mahogany table that could seat fifteen people on each side. There was a pale green runner going down the wood surface, edged with silver, topped off with crystal dinner ware and candle holders, that wept diamonds. The tall candles were lit, although it wasn’t needed because the massive diamond and crystal chandelier that hung above the table was illuminating much light. As she peered in closer, Hermione saw that the room was much bigger than what she thought because the table only took up one side, and the other looked as though it was used for entertaining when company was over.
“The ballroom is further along on the left,” Draco said, nodding towards the sitting room.
“You have a ballroom?” Harry asked incredulously.
“Every manor does,” Draco answered, shrugging nonchalantly. The tall blonde began to walk up the steps. “I’ll show you to your rooms. The house elves will bring up your luggage.”
They followed him up the grand staircase. Hermione let her hand slide along the shiny banister, musing about the irony that a muggle born had touched an object in the infamous “Malfoy” household. Lucius would turn in his grave, if he were dead.
They reached the landing and were greeted by a long corridor that went off on separate ways, lined with family portraits and sconces. Draco opened the door that was right before them and motioned Meier and Ferro inside.
“These are your rooms,” he told them. “Your house elf if Henria. Call her if you happen to be in need of anything.”
The two faeries nodded and walked inside, shutting the double doors behind them.
The remaining four walked down the corridor to their left until Draco stopped five doors down from the room Meier and Ferro were in.
“Potter, Weasley, you can have this one,” Draco said, pushing open a door. Hermione looked over the three boys to see into the room.
It was rather large, consisting of matching queen sized four poster beds, draped with emerald green sheets. There was also a large fireplace and a door that most likely led to the bathroom.
“My Great- Uncle Damien died in this room,” he told them nonchalantly, leaning against the doorframe. “Well murdered really.”
Both Harry and Ron paled considerably and Harry threw a wary glance around room before questioning Draco. “Who killed him?”
Draco shrugged and answered. “His wife.” He motioned for them to walk inside, which they did hesitantly. “Good night Potter, Weasley.”
Before they could turn around to reply, Draco had slammed the door shut and was tugging Hermione by her wrist further down the hallway. They passed an opening to an upstairs sitting room and three more doors until they reached her room. He turned the silver doorknob and the door swung open without a sound, unlike Harry and Ron’s door.
He ushered her inside while levitating her trunk in after. He had given her a lavish room it seemed, because compared to the other’s rooms, hers was overly large and richly furnished. In the middle of the room, a large king sized, four poster bed stood. The emerald green curtains that went around it were drawn to the corners. A bedside table stood next to it, with a decorative lamp on it‘s surface.
A fireplace roared on the wall opposite the bed, surrounded by two large, arm chairs, upholstered in a deep green fabric. The coffee table was low and sleek. A huge wardrobe was opposite her, next to a door, which inevitably led into an even more lavish bathroom. A bay window was on the other side of the door, the moon shining through the glass panes. All of the furniture was a dark wood and provided a stunning contrast with the shades of dark green.
“Did someone die in this room too?” Hermione asked dryly, dropping her bag on the floor and giving the place a glance over a second time.
“No,” Draco answered. With a flick of his wand, her trunk was beside her bed. “No one’s really stayed in this room.”
“Odd,” she said softly, running her slim fingers over the wood of the bed. “It’s such a nice room.”
The blonde shrugged and watched as she pulled a book from her bag, settling down in one of the chairs by the fire. As he made to leave she spoke.
“Why’re you doing this?” she asked.
He turned back around and saw that, instead of the books in her lap, she had her knees drawn up to her chest and her arms wrapped about them.
“You asked me this the other night,” Draco told her, his voice cold.. “My answer is still the same.”
“With me, I mean,” Hermione elaborated. She turned her amber eyes on him. “Why have you been so… I don’t know. You don’t hate me anymore, I suppose. If you did, I’d be in the worst room right now, wouldn’t I?”
He didn’t answer her, unsure of what to say in order to show her that he actually had feelings for her and keep his pureblood, not to mention Malfoy, dignity and pride.
She continued, as if she hadn’t noticed his lack of response. “Aren’t you worried about a mudblood defiling the house of your family?”
“I was going to burn the place down anyway,” Draco answered, folding his arms over his broad chest.. He had to refrain an amused smile at the dark scowl that she threw him.
Hermione turned back around in her seat and pulled a book into her lap. This one was particularly fascinating, mainly about Norse mythology. It also happened to explain and give her some more answers about what Voldemort meant about the number nine. As always, it only took her a few seconds to get absorbed into the book, and she didn’t notice that Draco had moved across the room to stand behind her.
She felt his warm breath on her neck before she heard him speak and the tiny hairs on her skin stood up.
“You need rest, Granger,” he said softly. He reached around her and pulled the book from her fingers, setting it down on the floor next to the chair. “Even you are prone to exhaustion.”
Sighing, Hermione had to acknowledge that he did have a point. She looked a little paler than usual and dark circles were beginning to appear under her eyes more frequently. Not to mention that she felt more physically drained than she had in months.
“I never thought I’d say this, but you’re right,” Hermione told him. She turned in her seat to face him. “I-”
Whatever she was going to say caught in her throat when her eyes landed on his face. The moonlight was splashed across his body, making his skin glow. Draco looked eerily and heart wrenchingly beautiful at that point.
He leaned in, using the armrest to support his weight as he came closer to the confused girl in front of him. All he wanted to do at that point was wrap a hand in her luscious hair and pull her to him.
Hermione blinked, hoping it would help clear her head but it only made her conscience worse. “Malfoy, I don’t-”
Draco interrupted her with a kiss, one far from gentle and rather harsh but full of the passion and other emotions that he felt for her. Hermione seemed shocked for a moment, before she opened her lips and let his tongue sweep the cavern of her mouth and dance with her own tongue. She curled her fingers into his long hair, pulling him closer to her in a desperate attempt to feel more, feel anything more than what she wanted it to be.
Wrapping his arms around her waist, Draco lifted her and moved so that she was sitting on the armrest with his body nestled between her thighs. He felt her gasp into his mouth as she felt his need and arousal for her press against her center, and instead of pulling away like he thought she would, she moved so that their bodies were flush against each other.
A moment later however, Hermione pulled away abruptly, her chest falling with her rapid breaths and her eyes glazed with her lust.
“What are you doing?” she asked, almost hysterically. “What’re we doing?”
Draco knew at that moment, that it was easier for her to deny that she actually may feel something for him, because she wasn’t supposed to trust him, and most certainly wasn’t supposed to snog him and enjoy it. It was simple for her to think that he just wanted to shag her, because a relationship was almost unfathomable between them.
So he decided to make it easy for her, until he decided that he would finally take her for his own. Draco did what he did with almost every girl who had thought that he had wanted something more with her, other than sex.
“I’ve always wanted to see what you taste like Granger,” he said with a sneer, trying his best to hide his anger at her rejection.
Hermione’s eyes flashed with fury and she bent down, picked up the heavy book, and hurled it at him. If he had expected that type of behavior from her, Draco would’ve moved, but he hadn’t, so the large tome struck him in his shin.
Cursing her, he clasped his hands over his injured leg and hobbled over to the door as she ranted at him.
“Get out!” she yelled. “I’m tired of you messing around with my emotions and I’m sick of your perverted games!”
“It’s not a fucking game!” he snarled at her, standing straight as the pain subsided in his leg. “If you didn’t believe that I’ve changed, why didn’t you tell me so? Why don’t you tell me now, Granger? That you think I’m twisted and that I’m everything you hate?!”
Her eyes widened at his accusation. “Malfoy-”
“Open those god damn eyes of yours!” he continued, his voice harsh. “ And instead of looking at something, fucking see it!”
“What’s that supposed to mean?!” Hermione yelled back.
Draco looked as though he was going to explain, but instead threw up his hands, as if in defeat, and walked out, slamming the heavy door behind him. The painting above the fireplace rattled in his wake.
“Well excuse me,” said a haughty looking woman in the portrait with long black hair. She was obviously upset about her frame being rattled about. “What a dismal temper that young man has!”
Hermione dropped in the chair, her head in her hands, trying desperately to figure out what she felt, what she wanted, and what he meant.
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