It was a few minutes before she tried to leave her bed and go about her day. The moment her feet touched the floor she let out a gasp as her knees threatened to buckle beneath her. Though her head was no longer was throbbing, her body, however was still fatigued; likely due to the restless night. She wasn't exactly sure how she was going to go through the motions if she could barely walk. Hermione didn't need to be informed about pureblood dinner parties to know that she needed to look and act her best and strongest tonight. And hobbling about the house was not the way to do that.
Hermione huffed for a moment and through sheer determination she hobbled towards the shower to at least get herself cleaned up. The shower took much longer than usual but at least she was no longer soaked in sweat. So, she had that going for her now, that was something. Hermione sighed as she moved through the room wrapped in a towel, she hoped she had some sort of energy potion in her bag, anything to give her at least a little boost of energy to get through the day.
She plopped down on the bed, still wrapped in the towel, and sorted through her supply of potions. She found several headache potions, a couple of antidotes, a couple of different truth serums, some polyjuice potion, a dreamless sleep potion, and deep down at the bottom of the bag; a pepper-up potion. Hermione exhaled loudly with a look of relief on her features. If she rationed it through the day, she would have enough to just get herself to the end of the dinner party.
A sip of the potion and a jolt ran through her body and she felt like she could run a marathon. She smiled a little bit and threw something on and made her way down to the library to 'explain' to her betrothed. What to say, what to say, she couldn't tell her the truth, that wasn't going to work. Nope, so clearly a white lie was in order. After all, no one was ever hurt from a white lie, right?
Hermione found her blonde witch in the library curled up on the couch with a random book in her hands. A short walk and Hermione was sitting on the couch as well, "Anything interesting in there?"
Cissy looked up with her cold gaze and closed the book slowly, in such a way that clearly told the brunette that Cissy wasn't exactly too happy at the moment. She needed a good white lie, "Feeling better I see, so my sister had the magic touch?"
Translation, 'so, you'll tell my sister what's wrong with you but not me.' Yup, this isn't great. Hermione bit her lip for a moment before saying, "I wouldn't say that, she handed me a potion and gave me this look and simply said drink. I felt like I couldn't say no, and then I felt better." She noticed a very slight twitch at the corner of Cissy's eye and deduced that wasn't the right thing to say. Maybe she shouldn't have phrased it that way.
"So, my sister gave you something and without question you took it?" The way she said it, made it seem like Cissy was simply asking for clarification, her eyes clearly said, 'you trust my sister more than me.' She couldn't win, nope, she was screwed.
"Ya, she wouldn't hurt her sister's betrothed, and she did say she knew all about illnesses, why would I ask questions?" There logiced! Cissy couldn't-
"What if it wasn't something to hurt you, what if it altered something else," or she could question it more. Though there was more emotion in her voice now, like she was trying to say something without saying and clearly she was getting frustrated.
"Like what? What would she possible give me that would be of a concern," She just didn't get why this was so unbelievable, sure it was a lie but still! Why was Cissy questioning it so much! It was believable, at least.
"I don't know a love potion," Cissy blurted out and Hermione laughed a little bit.
"Why would she give me a love potion? She has no interest in me." Hermione didn't get why Cissy's mind went there.
"She did call you after class a lot, and she is the eldest, technically if she doesn't like her match she can petition to steal you from me and it wouldn't be as contested if you wanted to go to her," She huffed a little bit at the end of it.
Well that's news, it made sense that an elder sibling would have some sway in betrothals and she never really explained the staying after class. And well, in a way Bella did kinda try to seduce her, but only to assess her for Cissy. But Bella was truly straight, right? She did marry a male in the future but so did Cissy, no way two out of three Black sisters were interested in woman, right? "I promise Bella isn't trying to steal me from you. Why would she?"
Cissy sighed for a moment, unsure of how to explain how bad her sister's engagement will be. Or how badly she gets along with her sister, or the fact Bella had already threatened to steal her while they were still on campus. "I just worry."
Hermione smiled and placed her hand on Cissy and coaxed her into holding hands, "I know, and I worry about you, but this time there is nothing to worry about, okay?"
Hermione watched as Cissy took a deep breath and seemed to relax as they sat there. "Okay, we have a couple of hours still, how about we just relax here, just to make sure you don't over exert yourself."
The brunette nodded and prepared herself to spend the next couple of hours relaxing on the couch. While she deduced that Cissy still didn't really trust the situation, but that wasn't anything she could do about it. She'd have to fix it after the ritual was cast and she was severed from the future. After all she was convinced that Cissy truly had nothing to worry about, in regards to her sister. "Sounds like a plan," she stated plainly, leaving a lot unsaid between the pair of them.
They spent the hours in silence simply taking comfort from each other's proximity, each with a book in their hands. And when the clock turned to the appropriate hour, they parted from each other with soft words and moved towards their rooms to prepare for the dinner party. With Cissy knowing exactly what to expect and Hermione barely having the slightest clue. She knew that it would be fancy and every person there would be looking for a weakness to exploit or an alley to grab up while they could. She knew it would be a battlefield but not one she was used to.
She donned what could only be described as her armor for the evening; elegant dress robes and took a healthy swig from her pepper up potion before moving to do something with her hair. That was the part that took the longest, normally she would have the girls in Gryffindor tower to help her or if she was on better terms with Cissy she was sure that the blonde witch would help her. But that wasn't going to work out, no, she was on her own and that was fine. It left her to sort through her thoughts and organize things in such a way that she could shove it in the corner for the evening and deal with it tomorrow.
With her hair sorted she made her way to the main floor of the house and met up with the Black family and took her place next to Cissy. Her expression matched Cissy's for once; plain and cold, detached, with no emotion in sight. No words were spoken until the first guest arrived and the Blacks moved to greet them and welcome them, with a plastic expression, which did not clue her in on the internal politics of the families in the room.
Before long the Malfoys, LeStranges, Crabe, Goyle, Nott, Greengrass, Parkinson, and the rest of the Black family; which included Sirius, and those were the ones that she recognized. She did her best to hide her shock when she saw Sirius but she did glance over to Luci and she could see the hint of shock in his eyes upon seeing the other boy here. Thankfully the only reason she saw that brief glance of shock was due to the fact she was actively looking for it. And it took everything in her to find out what the boy knew, and the only reason she held off was because she knew she would be clued in before too long, all she would have to do was mingle and it was time for that anyway.
The brunette moved through the room with polite communication filled with gossip. Most wanted to know about her; why a Blishwick was in England and going to Hogwarts when they typically stayed out of England affairs, why she was with the Blacks for the Holidays, why she was here and her family wasn't, why she was hidden away, why this, why that, why, why, why. She was so sick of the same conversation after the third person walked up to her.
All she wanted to know was why Sirius was here and when it was socially acceptable to seek off with the other 'children' of the families present. She would much rather deal with her friends over the adults in the room, but unfortunately she didn't know and look here's the next one. Was this a Nott approaching her? Or maybe this was Parkinson, they both had a creeper look in their eye when she was 'introduced' and well she wasn't paying that much attention.
"Ah, Miss Blishwick," the man said with a smile before offering his hand, "a pleasant surprise to see you in this area, to my knowledge you haven't been in England since you were an infant."
Hermione took his hand and watched, suppressing a shudder, as he turned her hand and placed his lips softly on the back of her hand. "A pleasure to see you as well," she said tonelessly as she let her hand fall to her side when he released it. "Father felt we should travel with him with him as he went from country to country for work. My brother and I learned many things on those travels before we went to school."
"As I am sure, it is a great thing to be well traveled, leads to a more successful life and better contacts," Nott or Parkinson smiled, "I'd say that you would make a man very happy with those contacts but I believe that the rumors are true and a man will never know your touch."
What should she say to that? This sucks, she wanted to just walk off and not sit here and speak about her sexuality but no, she fell in love with a Pureblood. Sure, she could have fallen for a nice half-blood or muggleborn and still be happy but noooo Dumbledore decided to place her in the Snake's den and not tell her about the ritual needed to keep her from going insane-
Hermione nearly jumped when she felt a hand on the small of her back and a voice perk up behind her, "Of course not Mr. Parkinson," so that was his name, "Miss Blishwick is reserved for my sister's touch exclusively as I am sure you are well aware, and more than aware that will be announced before dinner."
"Of course Miss. Black, I take it Miss. Blishwick will be stolen from me know?" He smirked a little bit before turning to move from the pair of witches.
"It is time for her to make contacts with those of her own age," Bella stressed the word contact, before leading her over to the corner with Cissy and Luci. "Merlin I hate that man; I would have made it sooner but I was trying to figure out why my cousin is here."
"And?" Hermione asked.
"No one knows, not even Luci or my parents," Bella passed her off to Cissy and Hermione fell to her side. "Anyway, we have about an hour before announcements are made, so we'll find out then." Hermione watched as Bella's eyes shifted over to Luci, "Unless a certain blonde wants to fill us in?"
It was asked like a question but the tone of her voice made it clear it wasn't a question more of a demand for information, "Look, I don't know, I think my father might but he didn't think to inform me and never has Sirius." He sighed a little bit, "but for him to be here, it can't be good, I've never heard of a disowned Black being at one of these events."
There was a chilly moment of silence as Hermione stole a glance over to Sirius. In her time the man was laid back and a jokester but as he stood there next to his father and brother, he was anything but. He seemed cold detached, withdrawn. Something happened in the short time since school let out and she was almost terrified to find out what had happened to him. But something told her, she would find out eventually.
The hour flew by for the four of them. Hermione had expected Bella to vanish off into the crowd, but she stayed with the three of them. She figured it was due to her condition, and Bella wanting to stay close if her spell failed and she needed to fix the situation. It didn't really bother her and subconsciously she was probably relieved but, Hermione could tell the blond witch at her side wasn't happy with the company and the other blond in the group, could pick up on the hostility. Not that Luci said anything about it, most of his attention was on Sirius.
But like everyone else's focus in the room, it was torn from Sirius and to the center of the room at the clinking of a glass. "Welcome all," Cygnus said once all the focus was on him, "It is a pleasure to have all of you join us for the evening, I hope you have been enjoying yourself and will join us in welcoming future new members to our family."
There was a pause, "Both Orion and myself have engagement announcements, as I have two we agreed that I should go first." Another pause, "Narcissa and Hermione please join me," the pair of witches walked over towards Cygnus, "I am happy to announce the noble House of Blishwick and the noble House of Black will be united in marriage; their marriage will happen this summer after they have both graduated from Hogwarts."
Hermione watched as people took in the information, it seemed that everyone was taking it well, or well enough. There were a couple of mixed reactions to the news, but that was to be expected. Once Cygnus was done with his announcement it was clear the two of them were to fade back into the crowd, "Bellatrix and Rodolphus please join me," a pause while the two young adults walked over to him, "I am happy to announce the union of the noble House of Lestrange and the noble House of Black together through their marriage. The two will be wed sometime this summer, a date to be announced."
With that Cygnus and the pair faded into the background and Orion took the center of attention. "I know many of you are wondering about Sirius, last year he was disowned due to associating himself with those who held beliefs against the House of Black. My son however has renounced his ways and come back to the House of Black, I am proud to welcome him back," the man patted his son on the shoulder, "And I am proud to announce his match."
Hermione glanced over to Luci to see how he was taking the news, and well, he seemed a bit paler, "He will be wed this summer after he has graduated from Hogwarts," Hermione could feel the tension in the room, she wasn't sure anyone had any idea who he was engaged to. "I am proud to announce by summer's end The Noble House of Black and the Noble House Malfoy will be joined!" There was some shocked applause and a confused Luci as he was herded to Sirius' side. "My son will take the Malfoy name due to the Malfoy House having one son and myself having two."
Everyone seemed to accept that explanation, however Hermione had thoughts that it meant more that Orion still hadn't fully forgave his son and didn't think he deserved to hold the Black name. She almost felt like Sirius was 'sold' to Lucius just like Bella had been 'sold' to the LeStrange family and Cissy was almost 'sold' to Parkinson.
With that announcement done, everyone held quiet for a moment to see if anyone else had anything else to announce. And when no one else spoke up everyone went back to mingling and enjoying themselves. It wasn't long before Lucius, Hermione, Narcissa, Sirius, and Bellatrix found themselves in their own little niche of the room. Hermione was happy to see that Bella ditched LeStrange, and was concerned to see Luci glaring at Sirius.
Cissy was nearly pressed to her side and clearly intrigued to find out the gossip as Luci spoke, "Did you know?"
Sirius shrugged, "Not really."
"Were you ever planning to tell me about regaining your position?" Luci said with clenched teeth.
"When we got back to campus, if I survived what my father had planned for me," Sirius shrugged and gave a half smile
Luci tried to stay made but ended up sighing loudly and rolling his eyes, "Well at least you survived and I wasn't engaged to a prissy woman," Luci shuddered and the rest of the group just chuckled.
After a moment Luci smirked as he looked around, "You know what this really means?" Everyone was quiet, "Joint honey moons! We can all head somewhere tropical and enjoy a really nice villa," with that he went off on a tangent and the mood lightened up. The five of them relaxed around each other and they were able to enjoy the rest of the evening.
When the end of the night rolled around everyone parted ways and Hermione, Bella and Cissy made their way upstairs. Bella walked off silently towards her own room to prepare for tonight and Hermione walked Cissy to her room. Once they stood in front of the door, there was an awkward moment before Hermione internally sighed and pulled her witch into her arms for a hug and gave her a light peck, "I love you."
She watched Cissy blush bright red before saying quietly, "I love you too," as she returned the hug, "Good night."
Hermione smiled, "good night," before she turned and left her blond witch there to make her way to her own room. She walked into the room with a smile and that smile fell away when the door shut; not because of the twists and turns of the evening, the thought of Sirius and Luci in speedos, not the pseudo fight between herself and Cissy. Not it was the feel of privacy spells falling over the room and the sound of the door shutting behind her.
"'Bout time Hermione," Hermione's eyes fell to the black haired witch sitting on her bed, "this will not be pleasant, and for that I apologize young witch."
Hermione took a deep breath, the weight of the morning crashed back on her, "I understand," she said softly as she watched Bella walk over to her.
"I do promise however, that the pain will fade away and life can return to normal," Hermione nodded and then she felt a presence in her mind and then everything turned black.
A/N: A little longer of a chapter, hopefully it will be entertaining.