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~
She was happy. She saw him happy. It made her happy. His little legs were red, his brow was sweating, but he was laughing, childish laughter. She didn’t want it to end. But it had to end sometime. Didn’t it? Doesn’t it have to? She loved him; there was a son, a beautiful boy, for him- and for her. Draco was everything…but something in him, in Lucius, was cold, something in him wasn’t a father…

“ Mum! “ he cried out, holding a fistful of peonies in one pale hand. “ Look what I have for you! “

“ Why, Draco- peonies? You’re too sweet! “ she was laughing as she drew him close to her chest. “ I loved peonies when I was a little girl- “

“ You’re still a little girl, “ he said childishly.

She laughed. “ No- I’m your mum. “

Draco smiled and kissed her cheek. “ Then I’ll always be your little boy. “

The sound of boots came and they both stopped, she holding on to her son, and Draco holding on to her neck as she knelt on the green grass.

Lucius smiled and Narcissa didn’t know if it was a smile of amusement or sarcasm. “ So the two of you are here? “ he said.

Draco nodded, his hold slipping away from Narcissa’s. “ Is there something you need, father? “ he asked, bringing himself to his full height of four feet. Narcissa saw Draco’s eyes with a bit of fear in them, but she also saw defiance and a sudden forced maturity. Her little boy had grown up in a second.

Lucius held out a hand to Draco. “ Come Draco, I have something to show you. “

Draco’s grasp on his mother left entirely as he walked for his father. And Narcissa felt strangely alone now.
~




He was quiet as he entered the room. She was there, sleeping; a photo album was slowly slipping off her lap. There were pictures of youth, of gowns and smiles and many more serious captured moments. He stared at the album pages open. He shook his head. He leaned over and kissed her cheek.

She woke up with a startled look, and then she smiled. She slowly began to stand up, but he held out a hand.

“ No, “ he said.

She sank back into her chair. “ Is something the matter, Draco? “ Narcissa asked.

He shook his head and gave a strained smile. “ I just missed you, mother. Looking over at old images, are we? “ He took a seat on a footstool, across her.

She blushed. “ I just missed my little Draco, too. “

He smiled. “ Mother- little Draco was more than twenty years ago. “

She laughed. “ I know. But still- you remember the time when you were about four years old…and we were at your Aunt Wilhelmina’s tea party, you were running around naked because you spilled some pumpkin juice all over your outfit and you were too embarrassed to let me fix you up in public? “

He gave a laugh. “ Merlin, no. Thank heavens I don’t. What an awful memory that is, mother. “

She smiled, wistfully, suddenly seeming awake and active. “ There was also a time when I took you to your first designer wardrobe boutique. You were about five…and I wanted nice dress robes for the Malfoy family’s founding anniversary, “ she was giggling like a doe-eyed teenager. “ You hated the silk and stole the couturier’s wand and blasted off your outfit without guilt- my, my, was your father irate at that. “

He smiled, recalling the moment his father faced an inquiry at the ministry for his son’s reckless actions. His father had scolded fairly well; he had cowered in his room because of that.

“ I thought you were adorable…even if many people didn’t like your little trick, “ she sighed. “ Oh my silver-eyed Slytherin prince. “

He smiled, feeling his ears go red. “ Mother, please- “

“ Oh, shush. I’m just being an over-sentimental widow, “ she laughed. Then she stopped, seeing something else in her son’s eyes.“ What are you keeping from me? “

He lowered his head. “ Mother- I’m sorry- “ he raised his wand and that was all that Narcissa saw.

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Hermione sat down as the mediwitch checked up on her injuries. “ Well, miss Granger, you’re in tiptop condition. Though I would greatly suggest that you stay away from extreme action for awhile? “

She nodded blankly. Her mind was of course, far away from St. Mungo’s, far away from the mediwitch and far away from Ronald Weasley who was standing beside her.

“ Did you hear that Mione? “ Ron asked, raising a brow.

She nodded without looking at Ron.

Ron sighed. How would he lift up her flagging spirits when his were down too? It was hard because too many awful things were happening at once. Not everyone knew the extent of what had gone between Hermione and Draco…but he did, to some degree. Hermione was desperately trying to bury her feelings, but Draco just had to show his thick face in the most unexpected place. How could their intelligence have been so stupid! He hated that the Deatheaters had gotten the best of them, hated that so many were hurt- they knew that the Deatheaters had plans- they kept tabs on Daphne’s manor and even Blaise’s! But still-! They bested them! Pride was hurt, emotions were in turmoil- but he was concerned of Hermione. It was her hushed suffering. She didn’t want to share her pain- typical Hermione…

“ I’m serious, this time, Hermione Jane Granger. Pull off another stupid stunt- “

Hermione held up a palm to stop him. She turned to the mediwitch. “ Could we- could we have a private moment, please? “ she said in a soft voice. The mediwitch nodded and left.

“ Yes, where was I? Ah, pull- “

“ Ron- he was there! “ she said in a tight voice.

Ron’s eyes widened a little. “ Hermione- “

“ No! Listen to me! He knew what he was doing Ron! I thought you were scouting out Daphne and Blaise- why-? Why was he there, Ron? I didn’t expect to see him there! “

“ Hermione we didn’t even expect it! “ Ron said in an irate voice. “ It was too late! We were about to enter the Greengrass manor- and the signal from you guys went out. I thought you’d be safer there- “

“ Oh, so you assigned me there? That’s why? Cause you wanted me safe- “

“ It’s just not about you! “

“ What are you keeping from me? “ she narrowed her eyes and stood from her chair. Ron backed away a little. “ You’re keeping something from me, I know it, Ronald Weasley! “

He shook his head. “ You’ve seen all there is you have to know. “

“ No! “ she said. “ You tell me what’s going on! Did you- did you two meet by any chance? Did he talk to you, Ron? “

He shook his head, determined to lie to her. “ No, Hermione. You’ve seen all that is to know. “

“ But I have not heard all that I should know. “

Ron threw his hands up in the air, exasperated. “ Damn it! Stop being a bitch Hermione! You were never this stubborn when Harry- “ he stopped immediately, but the damage had been done. He had hurt Hermione again.

She backed away from Ron, determined not to cry again. “ Ron, “ she sounded tired. “ I- I fought with him- it wasn’t easy at all, Ron. Seeing him again- we spoke, Ron…” her voice trembled. “ We spoke and- it hurt, Ron…cause he chose Voldemort’s side, instead of ours- “

“ Instead of yours? “ Ron asked gently, eyeing her.

She nodded a little, looking at the empty ceiling. “ I- I don’t know Ron- “ she whispered. “ Can you- can you keep something for me? “

He nodded, not fully understanding what was going on now. What she wanted him to keep. She beckoned him to approach her, to come nearer, so he did. “ What’s wrong? “ he asked.

“ Ron- I’ve done something you might not like- “

Ron knelt down in front of her. His eyebrows furrowed in all seriousness. “ Tell me. I swear, I won’t tell anyone else. “

“ Ron, I- I was the last person who saw the box…Voldemort’s box…I was holding it, but Draco- he- he told me things and I put down my defenses- oh, Ron! I’m sorry! Now, it’s come to this! It was my fault, Ron! “ she whispered, tearfully.

Ron stared with his mouth open. He was more than shocked. Hermione- defeated in battle? And he felt anger simmer in him, the need to kill someone, Draco- yes, the need to kill Draco! He wanted to see those damned DeathEaters suffer, he wanted to- “ Hermione, “ he began, still in shock. “ What- “

“ Ron- he told me he loved me, that he wanted me to live, to be alive despite all this, “ she said, breaking down.

And Ron recalled that moment, that precious few minutes of talking with Malfoy at the hospital…



~
“ Hermione- “ he began weakly.

“ She’ll be fine. She’ll get over you fast. Whatever it is that got into your mind, I’m glad you thought of making her cry. “

“ Can’t- “

“ What? “

“ Stay away. Keep her away…”
~



He had meant something back there! He was telling him something! He looked at Hermione intently. He took a deep breath. “ There’s something I didn’t tell you. “

“ Draco? “ Hermione looked at him.

He nodded. “ I met with him, one day- because I wanted him to stay away from you, permanently. “ And he began to relay the facts, everything he could remember…



~
“ And what pray tell, are you doing in the middle of my living room, unsolicited and at this time of the night? “

“ We need to talk. “

“ Again? “ Draco raised a brow. “ We sure talk a lot don’t we? Didn’t I tell you to stay away from me? “

“ Just Hermione. You were much more stringent on Hermione, “ Ron spat out rather contemptuously. “ Sit down. I want to know a few things, also why your mother’s missing. “

“ If it’s a few, just ask, and I’ll answer quick, and you’ll be on your way, and so will I. And my mother’s not missing. She just visited some relatives in France. “

“ And just where the hell are you going? “ Ron asked.

“ Would it be your business? Some quality time with my mother, “ he replied scathingly. “ Why? Would you like to spend a boring night, drinking tea, talking about the latest wizarding scandals or fashions? “

“ Why did you do that? “

“ Do what? “

“ What are you hiding? “

“ Excuse me? “

“ What the hell are you hiding? I know something’s going on! “

“ Your fragile mind’s working now Weasley? Do be careful. It’s not everyday amazing ideas get into that thick red-headed lobe of yours now, does it? “

“ I don’t care if you plan to distract me with your little word plays, or how good you are at insulting my flaming hair. You tell me what’s going on. Why you had to do that? Why your father’s memorabilia’s popping all over the place? Are you hiding something from the Ministry? Are you doing something- “

“ Nothing! Nothing’s going on! I decided it was for the best that I leave Hermione to her peace. Didn’t you want to break us up, even before I got serious with her? Even before the whole wizarding community knew that I was dating someone I used to hate? “

“ Damn it. That’s not the point! You were avoiding us, avoiding her, I’m sure it’s that important if you went through so many lengths to just to hurt her on purpose. You heard that? On purpose! You wanted that to happen! And you’d better bloody tell me why! “

“ On purpose? Of course! It was the best way to break up with her. I realized it was an error all along, me dreaming that I could get along with her. I won’t pretend I didn’t have fun with her, Hermione is indeed someone pleasant to be around with, but it had to stop. Purebloods and muggles don’t mix in relationships for me. It was a late realization- “

“ You changed! You know that! And don’t give me that mudblood or pureblood shit! “

“ I changed because of Harry Potter’s heart! I’m trying to regain myself! I probably only fell for Hermione because I had your dead best friend’s heart! Don’t you catch the drift Weasley? Even I am in awe of what Harry Potter’s heart can do! He made me like Hermione! “

“ This is you! Your free will! Your blood’s coursing throughout your body because of his heart, but it’s you who decides- it’s you who decided to love Hermione! “

“ Who said I loved her? “

“ You don’t need to say it. I’ve seen it. I saw it. “

“ Alright, Weasley. Just so that you’ll get your inquisitive arse out of my house…I did that on purpose, you were right. I had to hurt her. So you’d better play along and act like you don’t know a bloody thing. Those new Deatheaters…they’ve threatened my mother’s life- I had to- to make arrangements- “

“ On what? Working for them? “ Ron interrupted.

“ No, believe me, I’m trying my best. I don’t want to be a part of them, but since my mother’s life is at stake- I couldn’t very well sacrifice her life now could I? The main reason I want you guys away from me- especially Hermione, is to protect her. I don’t know who these new Deatheaters are, they come in cloaks, their voices are strange, and new…I had no idea. Up to now, none at all…”
~



Hermione gulped as she quickly dried her tears out. So- so Ron and Draco- So Draco was….she shook her head, still unable to process everything as quick as she could. “ Ron…you should have told me…”

“ I swore to him, it was my mistake. That I trusted him because he said your name. “

She shook her head. “ He lied to you, then. He knew who he was working with all this time…he was playing with you Ron- “

“ Just like he was playing with you? “ Ron said quietly.

She couldn’t bring herself to a nod. But she knew it was true…one way or another, it was true…

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Blaise was waiting in a room, a library, actually. He was alone; he knew that the rest would arrive soon, once Draco was done with his task. He scanned the many hardbound books, most of them more than a hundred years old, and handwritten at that. Draco’s family certainly had a fine collection of hardbound; Dark Arts related books.

He sniffled, feeling dust in his nostrils and he sneezed once. He eyed a book and opened it. It was a chronology of the Malfoy family, where they had begun, when they had risen through the ranks. Pictures were there, and he saw images of a young Lucius Malfoy, in all his resplendent and vindictive character, together with his parents. His face looked cocky, if not sarcastic. Underneath was a brief description of Lucius Malfoy’s parents and himself. The Malfoys were full of themselves. Draco was so full of himself too. The damned Malfoy brat.

He had heard about his little waltz with Hermione Granger, the muggleborn witch, and he couldn’t help but shudder in disgust. Another disgrace to the purebloods. She was as bad as a mudblood could get. Why her? He could have had anyone prominent in the wizarding world, females were crazy for him. But he just had to like her- hell, love her even! His own mother never married for love, she married for security, lineage and money- and that was how Blaise’s mind ran too. It was not entirely his fault that he seemed so ambitious, so materialistic- now was it? Blaise had been both irked and pleased when he had heard of Draco and the mudblood together.

He had hatched up the plan to attack the Aurors and the Weasleys at the old Riddle Mansion just for kicks, and to kill Hermione Granger, personally. He had not succeeded…but Draco had done the job for him, finished the job actually. He saw Hermione and Draco fighting, and Draco’s eyes looked like a dragon in rage, unforgiving, on fire. And he knew Hermione had to be killed by Draco. Draco was now acting like his father without him realizing it. Blaise was happy with that.

Draco had been secretly branded as a Slytherin demigod by girls infatuated with him, Blaise was just another ladies’ charmer to everyone else. For some reason, it annoyed his male ego. It annoyed the side of him that wanted Daphne. He could not get to Daphne; he could not take her to bed. Daphne liked Draco for everything he was, the way Pansy Parkinson Sarovic adored Draco still. Marko had once confided to Blaise that he felt his insecurities rise up whenever there was mention of Draco’s name from Pansy’s lips. Well, Blaise thought, a little chagrined; Marko was just a wee bit jealous of Draco, then.

Blaise was annoyed in secret at Draco during their Hogwarts years also because Draco seemed to have everything. He secretly rejoiced when the Malfoy family’s name had been stained after Draco’s father had fallen. He smiled, recalling the glorious day…when Draco came in with a grim look on his face.

“ I trust the job is done? “ Blaise inquired.

Draco nodded blearily. His heart felt heavy. To put his mother to sleep just so she would not, in Blaise’s words; ‘get in the way of our plans’. It was all set. The plans were in full motion. Just a little bit more and success was on the way for all of them.

“ Are they here? “ Draco asked.

Blaise lifted his chin up. “ North wing. Your father’s study. “

“ Father’s study? “ Draco repeated, feeling bile rise up his throat. His father’s study had been the place where the first Deatheaters had joined together to pledge allegiance to Lord Voldemort. He could feel himself retracing his father’s footsteps more than twenty years ago with his own feet. He was becoming like his father…wasn’t he?

“ Why, yes, your father’s study, “ Blaise said loudly. “ Brings back good memories, Draco? “

“ Of course, “ Draco said with tight lips. “ My father’s study has always been a memorable place. “

“ More good memories to add to your existing ones, then, “ Blaise smirked as he walked out of the room first with Draco trailing behind quietly.

Blaise was feeling happy tonight, happier than he had been since the day he and the rest of them had found a way to resurrect Voldemort from his human death. If there’s a way, it’s a damn good way, he thought with a smile. He also liked the thought of seeing Draco’s face filled with emotion. An emotion of fear? Resentment? He liked it, whatever the emotion was.

“ You look extremely pleased with yourself. Did the good old kitten lick up all the cream? “ Draco asked walking past him.

Blaise froze in place for a second. He felt his anger bubble. He plastered on a smile. “ I’m just pleased with the outcome of all the hard work. “

Draco said nothing more as he held the doorknob to his father’s study and entered the very large room.

As large as two classrooms in Hogwarts, filled with bookcases and a large oak table, a family heirloom, about seven hundred years old along with thirteen chairs. A myriad of cobwebs hung all over the ceilings, dust on the tops and sides of books, white sheets thrown about carelessly, supposedly to cover up the bookcases. The floor still shone with all its brightness, done out of black marble. Heavy curtains that covered the large windows reeked of tons of dust and rat excrement. Marble busts of his greatest ancestors graced the pillars of the room at the four corners.

He felt oddly uncomfortable. He had not been to this room in years. His mother had locked it up the day his father had been arrested and sent to Azkaban. Even the house elf avoided it, on his mother’s strict orders.

He saw his fellow Slytherins, already seated at the table. He felt his hands and feet grow cold. He tried to shake it away, but it would not go away. He held the chair with one hand and smiled at them, the best smile he could give.

“ Ready, Draco? “ Adrian Pucey asked.

Draco smiled again, feeling at ease this time. He had to be at ease. Blaise was watching his every move, for the sadistic spirit in Blaise would never die- well, at least to Draco, it wouldn’t. He looked at everyone seated, looked at them slowly, suddenly savoring the moment…he finally took a seat and someone cleared his throat.

“ Well, good evening, “ Nott said breaking the silence. A few laughed at his ice breaker. Well, of course, Blaise did not.

“ Daphne? “ Blaise interrupted.

Daphne nodded, keeping her eyes on Draco. She flicked her wand, and before them, on the table, appeared a plain black, rectangular box. Blaise’s eyes and everyone else’s glittered with excitement. Draco felt apprehension in his heart. He was so near the wand that had made the horcrux. His days were numbered- his hours were numbered…

“ Open it, “ Theodore Nott murmured.

Daphne nodded and slowly opened the box. She lifted the cover and placed it at the center of the old table. Everyone’s eyes widened now, even Draco’s.

And there it was. A simple piece of wood, carved into the crude form of a wand, more than fifty years ago- reconstructed by Daphne Greengrass. Yew, Thirteen and a half inches long with the feather of a phoenix…

Voldemort’s reconstructed wand.

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A/N: HURRAH! Cheer for me! Almost there, almost there! I've come to a difficult point in this story, and you'll know why. Someone always has to die, right? I try my best to give life to even the non major roles in this story, i hope i have done well. Questions in your mind? Does Daphne like Draco? Will the Deatheaters be successful? Will Hermione see Draco once more? Who will die and who will survive? hahaha, okay, too many points to be taken!

So, dear readers and reviewers, make me happy and i'll make you happy! just press that review button! the next chapter will be worth your reading time...SPOILER WARNING (Next chapter deals with emotional turmoil..)

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