Thanksgiving Day (Finally)
Hermione woke up before dawn on Thanksgiving Day. Freshly showered and dressed she crept back into the bedroom of her apartment looking for her hand knit turkey scarf. While trying to search quietly for her scarf she knocked over a stack of books on her dressing table.
"Bloody hell Granger!" Draco groggily huffed out. "What are you doing? Why are you dressed, it's four in the morning." His body collapsing back into the bed.
Hermione went over to Draco's side of the bed looking in to the drawers of the nightstand. "I'm sorry I woke you. I am looking for my turkey scarf I were it every Thanksgiving. Rachel and I have a tradition we take the train into the city, have breakfast, top off our thermoses with hot chocolate and watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Afterwards we sleep for a few then prep for dinner." She said moving to check the closet again.
"Wait, you are going out now? No, Granger." Draco said sitting up in bed his voice course from sleep.
"That's funny, I wasn't asking for your permission. This is something Rache and I have been doing since I arrived in New York. I am going Draco." Hermione said turning to eye Draco, the annoyance evident in her voice and fire starting to bloom in her brown orbs.
"No Hermione, it is not wise to go out by yourselves now..." Draco began to say raising to his feet.
"How dare you, I'm not your property..." Hermione started to work herself up as Draco closed the distance between them.
"Love that is not what I mean... ugh. Come sit." He said taking her hands and leading her to the edge of the bed. He sat on the corner pulling Hermione into his lap. He ran his fingers through his hair as Hermione folded her arms over her chest. Draco then wrapped his arms around her waist. Taking a deep breath he spoke. "Hermione, I would never treat you like property. You are your own intelligent, beautiful, powerful woman and I would never try to change that. My concern is because of what happened to Joe and the pictures of you and Harry. Look, I ... care for you (I love you, you stubborn witch) I couldn't bare anything happening to you or Rachel for that matter. I want to protect you, it's part of my Slytherin charm, we protect what is ours and no not in that way." He ended, his pleading eyes meeting hers.
Hermione relaxed at his words. "I understand that Draco, but I can take care of myself..."
"I know you can, I had the broken nose and bruised chest to prove it." He cut in, his words causing Hermione to blush in embarrassment and guilt. 'I'm sorry' She muttered. Draco just held her tighter.
"I just want to make sure you both are safe, please. I'll call for a car and have one of the security team members meet you all there, while you and Rachel have fun at the parade. Please 'Mi it's for me, let me do this so I can say I've done all I can to keep you out of harm's way." Draco pleaded as Hermione lay her head on his shoulder.
"One more thing... (Hermione groaned) ...You are a witch you could just 'accio' the scarf." He said with a smirk. Hermione rose her head, slipping the wand from the holder on her leg she cast the spell. In a blink the missing scarf appeared from the closet and flew to her hand. "See talented and beautiful." Draco said planting a kiss on her temple. She just eyed him and smirked.
Raising to her feet she walked to the door suddenly stopping and turning she called Draco's name. He turned to face her as she took a few steps towards him flinging her arms around his neck and pulling him to her lips. Draco snaked his arms around her body pulling her closer. After a moment they broke the kiss. Draco said. "You better leave now or you won't see the parade." Patting Hermione's bum on her way out, she called him 'crass' as she giggled leaving to meet Rachel at the loft.
After a few a adjustments to their traditional plans, Hermione returned home exhausted from the early hour she had awoke. Draco chuckled as she tiredly kissed his cheek handing him the bag of roasted chestnuts, then peeled off her hat, coat and turkey scarf leaving a trail of clothes that lead to her bedroom where she happily collapsed. Draco followed behind picking up her discarded clothes and draping the warm comforter over her.
Taking the opportunity to call his Mother, Draco set up his laptop on the dining room table. Narcissa's face appeared on the screen. "Draco darling, you are calling me rather early. How are you?" She asked.
"Hello Mother, yes it's a holiday here in the States." Draco said.
"Oh that's nice. How is Hermione doing? Is she getting along better with her magic?" Narcissa asked.
"She is, we actually had a duel..."Draco began to say.
"A duel, Draco you must be careful. Hermione has been said to be quite powerful and all that pent up energy can be dangerous..." The older witch started her rant.
"I assure you Mother, she didn't even know we were dueling. It was just an exchange of simple spells. Hermione has been doing very well in getting comfortable with her magic again." Draco beamed.
"I am sure your encouragement had something to do with, and to think there was a time where we would have deemed her unfit for magic... what fools we were." Narcissa said shaking her head.
Draco mimicked his Mother's movements then said. "She contradicted every stereotype we ever believed. It took me so long to appreciate her brilliance."
"Well my dear I am so glad we both came to our senses. I should be getting ready now I have a dinner date." Narcissa said.
"Dinner date? With whom may I ask?" Draco questioned in a teasing tone.
"With Minister Kingsley Shacklebolt." Narcissa said matter of fact tone.
Draco looked shocked. "You are having dinner with the Minister of Magic... should I be concerned Mother?" He asked.
Narcissa placed a sweet smile on her face and said. "You are going after your happiness and I am going after mine."
Draco just chuckled at her remark. "Enjoy your dinner Mother, please give the Minister my best."
"Indeed my darling, till next time." Narcissa signed off.
Hermione woke up well after two o'clock in the afternoon refreshed and ready to cook. Walking into the living room she found Draco casually reading on the couch. He looked up at her as she ran her fingers through his hair and placed a kiss on his forehead.
"Did you have a good nap?" He asked with a chortle.
Hermione walked past to sit on the couch next to him. "I did, we should get cooking if we want to be in time for dinner." Hermione said tapping the top of his thigh.
"I've been waiting on you sleepyhead." Draco teased poking her in the side which made her squirm.
"Ow... stop that (trying to swat his hand away) stop it." She said through her giggles as she tried to poke at his side too. In a quick move Draco had her pinned on her back, hands held above her head as he showered her face and neck with kisses. Hermione in an attempt to be wicked rolled her hips against Draco.
"Tsk - tsk Granger, we have to go cook now so that will have to wait." He mocked, releasing her from his hold and getting up off the couch.
Hermione narrowed her eyes. "You Draco Malfoy are insufferably cunning." Standing up to walk around the opposite direction from Draco to the kitchen.
"Slytherin." Was all Draco said as he followed Hermione to the kitchen.
They worked in the kitchen like they did in their potions class at Hogwarts. Moving in a domestic dance as they added a touch of this or a sprinkling of that to their dishes. Hermione and Draco arrived at Paulina Lowell's house with five minutes to spare.
Rachel greeted the couple helping to take their coats. Paulina was there to offer a hand with the food they brought as well as offer a quick tour to the living room. Joe had arrived earlier, he greeted Draco with a hand shake and a clap on the back, he then kissed Hermione's cheek.
"Did you two have fun at the parade?" Joe asked Hermione.
"We did, though we had to amend our plans a bit." She replied shooting Draco a look. Joe put two and two together.
"I have a feeling my friend here had something to do with your amended plans." Said Joe in a knowing tone.
"Guilty, and I would do it again." Draco said pointedly at Hermione.
Before anything could be said further Paulina and Rachel entered with some warm apple cider as well as some appetizers. "The turkey is going to be another few minutes." Paulina said. Everyone chatted amongst themselves.
At the dinner table, Paulina had just taken her seat after placing the turkey on the table. "Thank you all for being here with me this evening. I have to say that I have not seen my girls this happy in a long time." Paulina started to say.
"Mother." Rachel said in a warning tone.
Paulina just shot her a look then kept talking. "Thank you Draco for looking after Hermione here. She really is like a daughter to me and to see her smile more is a blessing. To you Joe, I see you are a good man. I know your parents raised you right and that you have helped healed my Rachel's heart from that good for nothing Michael... (Rachel warned again). Shh... This is what I am thankful for, your happiness. Now since you seem eager to say something dear, Rachel it is your turn." Paulina gave her a pointed look that ended with a smile.
Rachael huffed. "Thank you Mother. I love you, you know." She said nodding her head towards her mother. Paulina in turn nodded back. "I am thankful for friends old and new. I never thought I would say this but I am thankful for Sammy, I am so glad he introduced me to you Joe and I am so thankful that you are here with us today." Rachel flashed him a bright smile her cheeks slightly tinged pink. Joe took her hand raising it to his lips he kissed her knuckles.
Paulina beamed with pride then turned her attention to Hermione. "What are you thankful for Hermione?" She asked.
Hermione cleared her throat. "Well let's see. I am ever so thankful to everyone at this table, you all mean a great deal to me. Mom thank you for welcoming me into your family, Rache thank you for your friendship and for keeping me on my toes." The whole table chuckled at that. "To Joe for making Rache smile again. Last but certainly not least to Draco, I am so happy to have you in my life again." Hermione concluded then leaned in to kiss Draco on the cheek, he could not hide the radiant smile on his face.
Giving a wink to Draco, Paulina called on Joe to go next. "First, thank you Paulina for having me in your home and in your daughter's life. I thank you for having such an amazing women and I promise that I will always treat her with respect. To my new friends I am thankful for all you have done for me in such a short time. I hope we can share times like these for many years to come." Joe ended his speech with a dazzling smile as he held his wine glass up it a toast to everyone.
After Paulina finished her sip of wine she addressed Draco. He took another sip from his glass then spoke. "Paulina thank you for welcoming me into your home. It is a pleasure sharing this holiday with you. Well as this is my first Thanksgiving I am grateful to all of you. Joe, Spit Fire thank you for your friendship I too look forward to years of good times. To the lady on my left, Granger, I am truly thankful for your compassion which holds no bounds. I am a lucky man to have you in my life." He said giving her a smirk as he gentle squeezed her hand. Hermione briefly put her head on his shoulder and he placed a quick kiss on her forehead.
"Alright my dears, let's eat!" Paulina exclaimed as the clanking of plates and cutlery mixed with laughter in a cacophony of sounds of a well enjoyed dinner.
"We have to do this again in a couple of hours." Groaned Draco as he took a seat in a comfy cloth covered chair.
Joe and Rachel cuddled up on the love seat. "'Fraid so amico." Joe replied.
Hermione helped Paulina clean up the dishes. Rachel had already helped put away the leftovers, while Joe and Draco had rearranged the dining room as it once was. After what felt like a minute he closed his eyes, Draco felt a warm hand gently caressing his face.
"Draco, time to get ready love, we have to head over to the restaurant." Hermione's gentle voice pulled him out of his sleep. Draco opened his eyes taking in his surroundings it took a minute for him to focus.
Draco humffed before taking in a deep breath and stretching his body out of the chair. "Man I knocked out. My apologies baby."
Hermione giggled. "It's the tryptophan in the turkey. I makes you sleepy."
"Trypo - what? Granger that is ridiculous." Draco huffed.
"Well it was either that or you are just an old man." Hermione dimpled at him.
"Or it could be that someone had me up before dawn, and don't old man me. I'll show you who is old later." Draco replied pulling her close to him and saying the end part in her ear. Hermione laughed and tapped his arm.
"Later, we are heading out now." She said wiggling out of his arms.
Joe had directed the car to drop them off at the back entrance of his mother's restaurant. When he opened the door they were all hit by the mouthwatering scents of the feast they were about to partake in. Walking past the ovens they could smell the turkey seasoned with orange and sage. To the left of them was the scent of apple pies cooling. To the right was the aroma of baked pasta. They came into the dining room, Joe hanging on to Rachel's hand as he guided her into the room. Soon his mother caught sight of the newly arrived guest and she called out. "Joe, my Joe is here now. Enzo! Maria... Maria come your bother is here. Joey my baby." Angela said as she made her way past the other quests to welcome Joe and company.
Angela gave Joe a big kiss and a tight hug. She did the same with Rachel, Hermione and Draco. Rachel introduced her mother Paulina and the two women seemed to hit it off. Angela took Paulina's coat then guided her by the crook of her arm to one of the tables. Joe introduced his siblings to Rachel, Hermione and Draco, the group huddled together for a few exchanging pleasantries . The restaurant was packed with family and co-workers all there to celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday. After a few minutes Joe and his family disappeared into the kitchen.
Just then Sammy got up to call everyone's attention. "Hi, eveyone... hey (he let out a loud whistle which captured the guests attention rendering them silent) It's time." He began to slowly clap his hands. Then everyone else started to clap. Rachel, Paulina, Hermione and Draco looked at each other puzzled as to what was going on but joined in the clapping as well. The kitchen doors swung open as Maria, Enzo, Joe and Angela entered the room each carrying a main dish. The clapping at this point was beginning to crescendo as they made their way to the buffet table. Maria placed the platter of bake fish, Enzo set down the roasted beef, Joe set the roasted pork on the table and the main dish of turkey was placed by Angela. Once Angela stepped away, the crowd burst into a louder cheer. Hermione looked around excitedly, Draco nodded looking quite impressed by the whole display.
Sammy once again called to the crowd to say a prayer before the meal. Once he was done each table rose to fill their plates with all the delicious offerings from the buffet tables. There was a variety of dishes to chose from. Some traditional Thanksgiving fare, turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes. Some Italian dishes meatballs, pasta, baked ziti and more. When Draco took a look at all the food he could not help but whisper in Hermione's ear. "And I thought the spread at the Halloween party was something." Hermione chuckled at that.
"Oh my Rachel, look at all this food." Paulina commented.
"I know Mother, I will have to hit the gym twice as hard after this." Rachel chuckled.
Joe wrapped his arm around Rachel from behind and said."I won't complain about a little extra meat on you bella."
"Now, now Joe not in front of your family." She chided in a teasing tone. He took the opportunity to playfully growl into her neck making her squirm against him.
From behind they heard a voice say. "Gross, get a room. We're about to eat."
"Zo, don't be jealous that I have a girl and that I am better looking than you." Joe turned his head to address his younger brother.
"Please, everyone knows I'm the handsome one." Enzo teased.
"Ha! Fat chance, you know the girls can't resist those baby blues." Maria chimed in from behind Enzo.
"What, are you kidding me..." Enzo said as the siblings started to squabble. Joe let go of Rachel to defend his sister as Enzo claimed that he and Maria were ganging up on him as usual. Before it could escalate further Angela came over to say.
"Hey, hey... hello crazy children of mine, you are holding up the line. Go eat now and stop this." The Martinelli matriarch scolded.
"Yes Mama." The kids said in unison when Joe said under his breath. "I am still better looking."
"Giuseppe Martinelli, I said shut it and eat. Mangia la porta!" Angela reprimanded.
Draco leaned back in his chair hand over his stomach. "I can't eat another bite."
"I know what you mean everything is so good." Hermione agreed tossing her napkin on the table.
"We really out did ourselves." Joe said.
"I hope there are to-go boxes." Paulina said.
"Mother..." Rachel said exasperated.
"It's a horrible thing to waste food." Paulina retorted.
"Don't worry Paulina, you can box up whatever you like." Joe smiled at her.
"We should walk home after this meal." Draco teased.
"Not before the entertainment." Joe said.
"Entertainment?" Hermione asked puzzled.
"Well sure, see my cousins over there, they practiced to be mimes. They have a little show they do every year, it's quite amusing. Enzo is setting up the Karaoke machine there in the corner, everyone is encouraged to take a turn. Mama usually sings a song to me and the kids. The night is far from over folks." Joe replied with a smile.
"In that case I'm going to need an espresso and a slice of pie." Paulina said. Rachel just rolled her eyes at her mother.
Once the dishes were cleared away some of the tables and chairs were shifted around to create an opening for the guests to "perform". As promised Joe's cousins did their mime act and had everyone laughing at their antics. Enzo started the Karaoke portion of the night by singing Dean Martin's "That's Amore" encouraging some of the senior male members of the family to join in and sing. Joe tugged at Draco's sleeve to get him to join with the younger boys to sing "Volare". Hermione laughed at how Draco just took over the performance once he was comfortable. The ladies took a turn singing "Summer Nights" from the Musical Grease. Enzo and Maria sang "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better." Which had the crowd laughing at their petulant behavior towards each other. Some of the older women gathered to sing "I Am Woman Hear Me Roar." Maria grabbed Rachel and Hermione out of their seats to sing "I Will Survive." Joe dared Draco to sing something to Hermione. He chose "I Thought You Ought to Know" by Nate King Cole. Hermione was surprised to hear how he crooned with ease. Taking her hand he guided her to an awaiting chair in the clearing as he continued to sing the song. Hermione could not help the blush on her face as Draco sung to her. Rachel, Paulina and Angela, who were sitting together swooned at the gestures Draco made to Hermione. When the song was over, Draco escorted Hermione back to the table they were sharing with the others. As she took her seat Paulina leaned over to say. "You are one lucky girl, don't let this one get away." Hermione chuckled at her statement.
Enzo called his mother to the clearing to sing the final song of the night. Angela asked that her three children sit in the front row. Each year she had dedicated her performance to her family. The first after her husband had died was the hardest and her voice gave out in the middle as she could no longer hold back the emotions her loss had carried, but every year she continued. Her voice becoming stronger and well polished. As the intro to the song played, Draco recognized it right away, he sat up a bit straighter in his chair. Hermione had her hand intertwined with his on his lap. Angela began to sing the song "O Mio Babbino Caro" her melodic voice carried through the room without a microphone. As she sang a rather high note in the song, Hermione felt a drop on her hand. She looked down to see the droplet then raised her eyes up to see another tear stream down Draco's face, landing on her hand. She was about to lean in when he squeezed her hand a bit tighter, easing back into her chair, Hermione squeezed his hand as well.
When Angela had ended her song everyone clapped but Draco stood which in turn lead everyone to give her a standing ovation. Joe, Enzo and Maria embraced their mother and each other in an endearing group hug. Rachel kissed her mother on the temple and Paulina patted her gently on the cheek. Hermione looked over to Draco who, while everyone around them was distracted, magically removed any trace of his tears.
Draco called for the car. Dropping Paulina and Rachel off first then heading back to Hermione's apartment. Joe stayed behind to help clean up. After a warm shower, Hermione snuggled into bed with Draco. "Do you want to talk about what happened back there?" She asked gently.
Draco took a deep breath, slowly letting it out he said. "That is my mother's favorite aria. She would work in the garden and sing to her flowers. When I was younger, she would host dinner parties, father would always coax her to sing for their guests. Truth be told she did not need any coaxing, mother loved to entertain." Draco fell silent for a moment then cleared his throat.
"Do you know why Ruby means so much to me?" He asked.
"I assumed it was because she worked for your family for many years, you grew up with her." Hermione answered.
Draco nodded. "That is part of it. The other is that she saved mother and myself the night my father was sent to Azkaban."
Hermione shifted, looking at Draco she said."Tell me what happened."
Lucius' first night in Azkaban
Draco walked towards his mother's suite in Malfoy Manor. He heard whispered voices and then someone distinctly said 'I promise Narcissa no harm will come to him. On my wand.'
In one fluid motion Draco swung open the door startling the women inside. "Dear Merlin boy are you trying to give me a heart attack." Narcissa scolded.
"What is going on here? Ruby what are you doing here I thought you left for France." Draco questioned.
Narcissa shot a panicked look over to Ruby, who just nodded her head at the blond witch. "There isn't much time. They will be looking for us and you can't be seen here. You are to go with Ruby and do not give her any trouble. You are to do as she says, stay out of sight until this all blows over with the Dark Lord." Narcissa said in a hushed tone.
"Ok but what is going on? Father is in prison and 'they' look like their making ready for a party." Draco said noticing that Ruby's face had gone pale and Narcissa took a big gulp.
"They are looking to torture you both for your father's failings." Ruby said her voice weak with fear.
"What? Why us? We did nothing..." Draco started to say when Narcissa cut him off.
"Revenge Draco. Please go now with Ruby. She will keep you safe till this is over." Narcissa pleaded.
"Mother why you?" Draco begged.
"Sacrificial lamb. Now go! (Draco and Ruby stood firm in their places.) NOW!" Narcissa uncharacteristically bellowed. Ruby and Draco jumped, she grabbed his hand and moved towards an ornate armoire. Reaching behind it she began to move the furniture piece like a door. Draco peaked over her shoulder to see a dimly lit passageway, the two disappeared behind the walls as Narcissa closed the entrance. Saying a silent prayer that they would be safe and that what was to come would not leave her too badly broken.
Ruby moved them further into the corridor, they came to a dark wooden door. Ruby cast an 'Alohomora' on the door to open it. Once inside Draco looked around to see it was a servant's quarters, though it was decorated quite nicely there were three doors to his left, a wood stove to the right next to a simple kitchenette. A plush sofa and a couple of chairs to match. "If you would like to rest you can take the door to the far left." Ruby said.
"What is this place?" Draco asked.
"It's an old servant's quarters. Before it became customary to use elves for domestic work, wizards of a certain class would hire squibs to tend to their homes and personal needs." Ruby replied.
"But, you know magic... I don't understand." Draco questioned.
"I do know magic, though it took longer for me to develop my skills, there was a fear I would never receive my Hogwarts letter due to how long it took me to show any signs of magic because of my weak core. But I did and I was in the class below your mother's. She stopped some students from bullying me and we've been friends ever since. Your mother was the one who asked your father to hire me at his office." Ruby said as she sat down on the sofa. Draco walked slowly to the chair taking a seat before her.
"But what about France?" Draco asked.
"Your mother's idea. She wanted me to leave before he-who-must-not- be-named moved into the Manor, but I could not leave Minerva and my family behind. She set me up here, there are a series of corridors and passageways that run between the walls of the Manor. I hide behind portraits and walls to listen in on plans 'they' are making then relay them to the Order. I may not be the strongest witch but I am determined. I will keep us safe, so will your mother." Ruby comforted.
"Mother..." Draco let out in a whisper. "I need to see her, see what they are doing to her." He demanded.
"I don't think that is a good idea." Ruby suggested.
"Please... I need to know." Draco begged once again.
Reluctantly, Ruby lead him between the walls to one of the lesser ballrooms where Voldemort and his Death Eaters gathered. They all stood in a circle with Narcissa standing in the middle. Bellatrix was there walking around Narcissa, every so often she would push her, she was taunting her. Then in quick move Bellatrix brandished her wand casting a 'Crucio' towards Narcissa. Before she could throw up a shield charm the curse hit Narcissa making her drop to the floor.
Draco and Ruby lost track of how long they had tortured Narcissa. It was to the point when her screams were no longer audible as if her vocal cords had been striped. Tired of their game now, Bellatrix instructed two of the Death Eaters to carry her sister back to her suite.
Ruby hustled to meet Narcissa with Draco following closely behind. Once they checked that the coast was clear in Narcissa room, Ruby went to work, levitating her back to the servant's quarters. She instructed Draco to start gathering potion vials, as he laid them out on the coffee table Ruby began to administer them. Narcissa choked a few time but managed to get most of the contents of each vial down her extremely sore throat.
"She scream so much... there may be damage to her vocal cords." Ruby sad glumly placing a cool towel over Narcissa's eyes.
Draco just buried his head on part of the pillow her rested on and sobbed. The two holding vigil until the wee hours of the morning when Narcissa began to stir. Her throat was so raw from the night before it took over a week before she could speak in her normal voice, but her singing voice was gone for good.
Later in the week Draco was branded with the Dark Mark. Ruby was there to help nurse him through that pain. Her and Narcissa holding vigil by the sofa in the servant's quarters. Both uncertain about what the future would hold.
As Draco was telling the story, Hermione had sat up to fully listen to him. They were silent for a while when Hermione said. "Draco, I am so sorry, I am glad Ruby was there for you both."
Draco turned to Hermione reaching for her, he nudged her into his arms. "There is nothing to be sorry for. It is just another scar from the war. It is all in the past and right now, here with you is all that matters. I am so thankful for that love, so thankful for you." He said kissing her temple.
Hermione gathered his arms tighter around her. "I am so thankful for you as well."
"Good night Granger." Draco said through a yawn.
Hermione chuckled "Good night Draco."
A/n: I tried to end this on a hopeful note. To those who celebrate have a Happy Thanksgiving to those who do not, have a happy week..lol.
I am truly thankful to all of you who read, follow, fave and review. This chapter was long to make up for my neglect while I wrote two other fics. Promptober - a series of Autumn/October themed ficlets based on Inktober Prompts and May December - A rare pair fic featuring Neville and Narcissa with a side of Dramione. Check them out if you are feeling froggy :)