A/N: … A year has gone by, and it's time to let the skeletons out of the closet, give them a through scrubbing, and shove them back in there for half a year. Sorry I haven't updated in Gott knows how long, but things happened. I had my heart beaten with a pointy stick, and things like that. Well if it helped me with one thing, it's writing! Huzzah! Enjoy the much needed update! (as in… a year. Go me!)
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters, and am ecstatically proud to not own the Harry Potter movies!
Hermione awoke to a knock on her door. Perhaps it was Draco coming to confirm his love for her! Her heart started beating a thousand miles a minute, but she quickly told it to shut up. She has to stop getting her hopes up. She cleared her throat and called for them to come in.
Draco walked nervously through the door. He had his hand behind his back. "Hermione," he started lamely, and trailed off. Hermione felt her throat constrict. She cleared it. "I sort of think we need to talk." Purkoy the kitten jumped down from where he was napping and pattered down to his window seat.
She sat up in bed, trying to shut up her heart. She discreetly wiped her sweaty hands on her bed and nodded uselessly while Draco sat down near her feet. "Hermione, I just wanted to tell you that…" Draco faltered again. From out of the corner of her eye, Hermione could see Purkoy batting lazily at a moth just outside his reach. Hermione's heart stopped and she felt her face turn hot as she studied the moth that Purkoy shared the same fascination with. The moth sailed sleepily out the window that was opened to catch the cool summer's breeze. Draco chuckled and smoothed his beaver-like head. "This is getting ridiculous. I'm not usually so…" He looked at the ceiling. "Hermione, I l--" His words were cut short by a terrible shrieking noise coming from the window. Hermione's neck turned so fast she thought she heard it crack and Draco leapt up from the bed and stuck his torso out the window. Hermione felt a dreadful dropping in the bottom of her stomach. "Where's Purkoy…?" she trembled.
Draco drew the curtains and raced to Hermione's side. He grasped her shoulders and stared at her frightful eyes. "Don't look out the window," he stated firmly. Hermione felt something terrible rising in her throat.
"Where's Purkoy?" she shouted, her voice fragile and trembling. Draco did not answer her, but raced out into the hallway and down the stairs, leaving Hermione alone.
She lifted her eyes up to the curtain. She knew why Draco had told her not to look outside. Drawing her sheet around her, Hermione sat quietly on her bed and shivered until she could bear it no longer. She raced over to the window and wrenched the curtains apart. Draco threw a handkerchief on the ground and stood back, rubbing his face with his hands. A little fuzzy black and white tail was just visible from under the cloth. Hermione felt her whole body convulse and she threw herself on her bed, sobbing freely.
A few minutes later she heard a knock on the door. "Go away!" she screamed. The knock increased in volume. She threw a nearby boot at the door for emphasis and buried her face in her pillow. How could this happen? Her little companion, her only friend that she loved unconditionally had died, and all because of her. But then Draco was the one who barged into her room…
The door opened and she felt a figure sit lightly on her bed. How dare he come in without her permission! Hermione pushed herself up and prepared to shriek at him to get out.
"My word, such a large mouth on such a small girl!"
Hermione turned around to face Narcissia, who was tapping her foot and frowning slightly.
"Oh… Misses Malfoy..," Hermione stammered, trying to wipe the tears from her eyes. "I'm sorry, I though you were…"
"There's no need for excuses, my dear," Narcissia said primly, and stood up. "I expect you to get up and pull yourself together immediately. This very night is the Witches' and Wizards' Gentlemen's and Ladies' Club Ball, and I need to instruct you on how to act and speak, topics of conversation that are appropriate, how to walk in your dress and how to apply your make up, things of the like. Oh I wish I had begun to instruct you sooner, but I was so busy with the necessary arrangements," she said trailing off, while picking through Hermione's pile of homework and skimming it dully.
Hermione could hardly believe her ears. She had forgotten all about the stupid party. And to come in and start lecturing her when she was in this her hour of misery… She could hardly stand it. Floundering, Hermione tried to steady her voice and stammer a response.
"I am sorry about the death of your cat," Narcissia interrupted, "but the best thing to do is to take your mind off of it. Come, get up. I shall help you put on your dress and we shall go down to the dining room. I will show you the proper way to eat.
Hermione stared at her dumbly. How could she be so uncaring? She knew if she was at home, her mother would take her in her arms and they would have a good cry while her father buried the poor thing. And to speak of Hermione this way, like she didn't know how to act! "I do believe I know how to act, Misses Malfoy," Hermione said, trying to match her tone and word choice.
Narcissia put down Hermione's homework carelessly on her table. "You have never been to a formal event!"
Hermione shook her head. "Not at all true! When my father and mother held a dentists' convention—"
She was interrupted with a laugh from Narcissia. "Oh my dear, not a muggle party! You shall find that purebloods have a much higher class of manners than muggles, or even mudloods! I only hope I can train you in time. I should very much hate to be embarrassed in front of my peers." She placed Hermione's quills back in their respective fountains and turned to face Hermione smartly. "Come now! Out of bed!"
Hermione stared at her. She could find nothing to do but obey this tactless command. She slowly put her feet on the cold wooden planks, feeling as if she was in a dream.
Narcissia gave her one last piercing look, and swept out of the room, quietly closing the door.
Hermione stood on her feet, breathing deeply. It felt as though someone was slowly squeezing her head, waiting for it to pop like a ripe melon, blood and brains thrown about the room, spattering the curtains and the walls… No. She mustn't think like this. Besides, her mother and father were fanatically clean, and they wouldn't want to have kept her cat. Closing her eyes and ignoring the pinpricks of tears behind her eyelids, she took all the air she could handle, and tried to begin a new day. Oh, why did Purkoy have to die today of all days?
Hermione walked lightly down the stairs, doing her best to remain calm. She felt empty and sick inside. She had never seen anything die before. Even her grandparents were in very good health, and she could tell that it was not going to be easy to deal with.
Narcissia was already standing next to the dining table, which was laden with food that one would not normally see during breakfast, nor any other average dinner. Fantastically coloured birds with their feathers still part of them, with sweeping irridecent wings and long graceful swan-like necks, pearly whole fish with long curling whiskers and pointed fins, large beasts of which Hermione had ever read about in her Ancient Ruins class... This was truely a table unlike any other she had seen before.
Noting her obvious wonder, Narcissia raised a gloved hand to Hermione. "Close your mouth," she admonished. "It is somewhat uncouth for your tounge to be hanging out all the time." Hermione quickly snapped her mouth shut and scowled, causing Narcissia to add, "And don't frown. It causes wrinkles, and even for one at your age that is a decent concern."
"Now," she continued, taking Hermione's arm and leading her to a separate room "we have a great deal to learn and a very short time to do it in, so I expect you to cooperate and do the best you can." She said the last phrase with a certian amount of distain.
"Oh, Misses Malfoy," Hermione said with some degree of pride, "I am a very quick learner."
"Don't be cheap, dear," Narcissia said critically, "We are learning about how to act in the presence of the greatest and most important wizards and witches, not about the Great Hare Run of 1536." She lightly pushed Hermione behind a screen depicting two silver snakes wrapping themselves around a lion and slowly devouring it from one end to the other. Handing Hermione a few handfuls of white cloth, along with a rectangle of fabric that had been stiffened so much that it could stand up by itself, and almost two yards of string. "Corset," she answered Hermione's questioning looks. "And be smartish about it. We have much to do. Fenny will help you should the need arise." At this the small creature appeared from behind Narcissia's great skirts. Narcissia left the small, room, closing the door behind her.
Hermione smiled kindly, and began to attempt to sort out the great deal of clothes she had been handed. There was a small white cloth package, a simple white dress with lace at the sleeves and at the hem, and the hardened rectangular fabric. "Let's examine the package, shall we?" Hermione said to Fenny, placing the rest of the clothes on a small chair. "Patesco," was all the cloth had printed on it. "What would that mean then?" she asked Fenny, showing her the word printed on the fabric."
Fenny looked at the package politely. "It be a spell, missus. You are needin to tap it with your wand and say that word," she muttered, embarassed to be addressed but happy to help.
"Oh," said Hermione, wondering why she had not heard of it before. She took her wand from her inside pocket, where she always kept it, and muttered the incantation, tapping it as Fenny had instructed.
The package exploded in white fabric, causing Hermione to shriek and drop it. Even Fenny took a step back.
After the inital shock, Hermione looked at what was before her and laughed. "It's a hoop skirt!" Hermione laughed, taking her hand from her chest.
"Aye, that it may be, Miss," Fenny said carefully, "but us in the wizarding world like to call it a poofums."
Hermione laughed again, partly from relief. "Poofums?"
Fenny nodded seriously. "Yes, miss, poofums," she said carefully, nervous to be laughed at. "They're very popular with the wizarding ladies. They do not always like to duck away from parties to recast their charms that keep their skirts big."
Hermione smiled and looked at the poofums, which was standing erect. She obviously had much to learn about this world of hers, and she knew that she could not learn it in school.
Draco punched his wall, only succeeding in hurting his hand. What was he thinking? He hated that mudblood. Hated her. Almost as much as he hated himself.
But he couldn't understand why he came into her room with his wand behind his back. Did he hate her so much as to curse her? To cause her unimaginable pain for the rest of her life?
And now what was he to do with the cat dead? Should he continue with his plan, or was that death punishment enough?
No, he thought. It was not enough. She must know that he caused it. She must know his displeasure and feel it. How dare she beat him at everything. How dare she not respond to his clever comebacks.
And how dare she still treat him as such. Like someone who was just misunderstood. She was wrong. He was a Malfoy, those of bad faith. He was to be feared and respected, not crushed on.
He could tell what was going on in her mind. She was obsessed with him, and he hated it.
He had to talk to her. Now. Had to end this. Forget the plan. Subtly would not work on this one. He had tried subtle conversation before, and it had come to nothing. He attempted friendship, but it only ended up in furthering this ever growing obsession.
It would never happen, and for her mental health and his happiness and reputation, it needed to stop.
Draco walked down the main stairway, composed. He walked to the dining room where he knew his mother would be tutoring her on the thousandsof usesfor spoons.
And lo, there she was. Sitting upright facing away from him trying to reach a dish of after dinner sweetmeats, which was proving to be quite a task, due to her being tied down to the chair. Narcissia was no where in sight.
He thought of how easy it would be. No one was around, and this was the Malfoy Mannor. Spell-proof through and through. He began to breath heavily, and instintivly reach inside his pocket where his wand was traditionally kept, but in his foresight, he had left it in his room. Still panting and struggling against himself, he took a step backwards to run back into his room and get his want.
Too late. Hermione turned her head halfway. "Good God," she laughed. "What are you doing back there, Draco? It sounds like you're rather... involved."
Draco dropped his emotions from him and put up his mask. "Yes, that's right," he said tragically. "I saw you and I just started jerking off."
Hermione faltered for a moment, then laughed loudly. Draco inwardly shook his head. She really was obsessed with him. He could say anything he wanted and she would accept it. He knew she would never let anyone else speak to her like that.
He walked around to the opposite end of the table, and sat. He leaned over the table and took the tray of sweatmeats smugly, and sat back down. "Hey, look!" he teased. "This one's shaped like a ninj... an apple!" He popped one in his mouth, but spit it out into the nearest wine goblet.
Hermione giggled at his disgust. "They're just enchanted water. Everything is. I'm just practicing, you know."
Draco primly patted his mouth with a napkin. "Yeah, I guess so," he said as she continued to giggle.
"Listen, Hermione, we need to talk. I tried to this morning, but--" his eyes resumed their old mannerisms and slipped down to her chest, which he noticed with predominantly displayed. "What the hell are you wearing, Granger?" he yelped, trying, and failing, to keep his voice steady.
Hermione flushed and looked down. "It's... a corset... This is actually what I'm going to wear under my gown tomorrow night." Damnit, they're not supposed to stick out that much... Get down, you two! "Your mother made me wear it!" she resumed defensively. "She's in the next room finishing the trim on my gown."
Draco closed his eyes for a moment, and massaged his temples. Okay, this was going to be really hard... erm... difficult, for him to dowhen she was wearing that. "Okay, well anyway,"
"Draco, what are you doing here? Did I not tell you to go get Roosta to fetch the wine?" his mother said, sweeping in the room carrying a long piece of black fabric.
"No, you did not," Draco said crossly, mad at being interrupted, "but I shall do what you ask of me." He stood and bowed slightly, walking away.
Draco walked off into the far meadows of his family's property, finding his favorite hiding place from when he was a child. It was a bush that grew like a fountain, and if he went in past the outer layer of branches, there was a round tunnel for him to play in. He went here whenever he wanted to be alone, away from his nanny's constant chattering.
He lied back, stairing at the green canopy and breathing the fragrent smells. He remembered the tour of the grounds when he showed Hermione this place. He had never shown anyone it before, and he felt almost self concious about it.
The wind was blowing and she had been shivering lightly. He remembered going over to her. "Here," he said, pausing in his story, "you're cold." He held her then. He held her and kept talking about his family, about his crazy aunt that everyone pretended didn't exist, about his childhood...
From there, he led her to a hill where they could see for miles. He stood close to her and pointed down to the town, telling her of important buildings. She said nothing, but smiled and listened, and that made him happy.
As they were walking back, she spotted a little bird that stood right on the path in front of them. He smiled when she asked what kind of bird the little fellow was, and he had told her.
A perfect moment in time.
But no more.
Not ever again.
It was all over.
He lay there dreaming until he heard rustling. Draco lept out of his bush, and ran to the path. Just as he thought, Roosta was standing there, looking for him. "There you are, Young Master!" Roosta chirped, relieved but still anxious. "The guests are ariving!"
Draco looked up toward the mannor house. "Then I'll go get dressed and greet them." He started to run, but turned to face Roosta. "Did you get the wine?"
Roosta smileda wicked smile."Of course, Young Master. I hope you are not angry that I did not wait for Master's command..."
He laughed. "Not at all, Roosta." He turned to leave, but a thought stopped him. "My father," he began uneasily.
"He is here, young Master Malfoy. Therefore go fast," Roosta said gravely, and Draco began to run toward his house, ignoring the clouds gathering overhead.
A/N: Wow, I rock. I know what's going to happen... But I'm feeling pretty lazy, so I'll continue later.
THE REVIVAL OF THIS FIC HAS BEGUN! It's nearing the end as well, ladies and gents... So be ready...