Chapter 32: Family, Honour...Love
Life is a stream
On which we strew
Petal by petal the flower of our heart;
The end lost in dream,
They float past our view,
We only watch their glad, early start.
Draco ran his hands through her thick, brown, hair. Once so carefully braided around her head, it now hung loose around her shoulders. He was reminded of the moment when they had sat before the the fire in Ruth Brenthurst's cottage on Samhain, and how he had seen the light of the flames glinting against her chestnut hair. It had looked like her hair was on fire. Shuddering slightly, and pulling her close to him, he pushed the sight out of his head. I made it in time, he thought to himself.
"How did you know where to find me? How did you come back?" Hermione was brimming over with questions.
Draco shook his head. "I'll answer everything later."
Hermione nodded, and pointed to the bench, "Okay. There's the Reverse Thyme Eliminus I saved to use on myself on the table over there."
Draco rushed over to the bench and scooped up the leather pouch of the precious potion. He put it in his pocket and took a small stone out of his pocket and placed it on the floor.
"What's that?" asked Hermione curiously.
"It's the real Master Witch Hunter" said Draco. "I was riding here when I met him on the road. Of course, there could only be one place he was heading, so I ambushed him and stole his Royal Decree."
"But how did you know who he was?" said Hermione, at once.
Draco turned pale. "I...when I...when you sent me back to the future, I read history books to discover what had happened to you."
Hermione frowned, "But you came to save me, Draco. Nothing happened to me."
"No... I mean... well, honestly? You didn't make it, Hermione. You were caught, tried, and burned as witch."
Hermione shook her head, in a daze. "I can hardly believe that."
"I got a really bad feeling you wouldn't make it back, and Dumbledore helped me to find out whether you made it or not. That's why I knew you died and came back for you."
"When did I die?" Hermione asked, in a whisper.
"Tomorrow" said Draco softly, folding her in his arms and giving her a small hug. "But tomorrow will not happen because we'll be going away soon."
"So how did you know the identity of the Master Witch Hunter?"
"I recognised who the master witch hunter was because the history books told me his name" Draco swallowed, finding that his throat was dry, "He was a Malfoy, Hermione. My ancestors co-operated with muggles to prosecute muggleborns and half-bloods."
Hermione looked at Draco in horror. "Oh my god."
"It's true. His name is Antoine Malefoy, and he's from France. He would have sentenced you to death."
"Your ring, Draco" she said quietly, "The envoy said it was the ring of the Master Witch Hunter. That is why I was caught!"
Draco nodded and pressed something cold and hard into the palm of her hand. "I found it on Antoine's finger... It was mine to give to you once because it was wrenched from you by Antoine. In one version of history, I had it all along because you died to give it to me. But you can wear it now."
"Will that mean your family won't have it for years and years?" said Hermione holding out the Malfoy ring.
"I don't think it matters," said Draco, taking it from her and slipping it onto her finger. "Family is about more than rings and symbols. The Malfoys will survive without it. Now stand back." Draco took out his wand.
"What are you doing?" Hermione asked curiously.
"I have to turn him back into a person." said Draco.
"Why?" cried Hermione, holding his arm, "Why not leave him!"
"We have to make sure he survives" said Draco, "to continue the Malfoy line so I exist in the future- like your family. You did save them, Hermione. I visited your parents with Harry, though you died doing it."
"But he will kill so many more muggleborns!" Hermione said, hanging onto Draco's wand arm. "Leave him be, Draco!"
"Dumbledore said we were not to change history..." said Draco seriously, holding Hermione's shoulders. She didn't hear him mutter the words "...too much." under his breath.
"No!" she said.
"You must trust me on this one. Stand back."
Hermione still wasn't convinced, but she could tell from the look on Draco's face that he meant to do it, whatever she might say.
Hermione leapt back as the smooth pebble on the floor transformed into the figure of a man. He was tall, and blonde, and his face was cruel...
"Lucius!" Hermione gasped, and staggered back. She had a real fear of the man- Lucius Malfoy had been one of the most deadly of Death Eaters.
The man who resembled Lucius Malfoy blinked and frowned. "Qui êtes-vous? What is this?" he said, with a strong French accent. He caught sight of Draco with his wand out and his eyes narrowed, "Vous êtes un magicien pur sang! You were the one who..."
"Immobilius" said Draco, brandishing his wand. The man's arms snapped to his sides, and his face contorted in shock.
"Now, I know you can hear me, Antoine Malefoy." Draco said, walking towards him, his wand outstretched. "So listen up. You will not understand what is going on here, and you will leave this place without understanding. But I do know one thing, I will not let you go on hunting out muggleborns and half-bloods, do you hear me?"
Being frozen, Antoine could not move or speak, but in his eyes was a look of anger, and....Hermione thought, fear? Draco was taller than Antoine, and dressed very richly- he cut an imposing figure and there was no doubt that he was powerfully magic. But the most intimidating thing about Draco at that moment, was his expression. It was hard, and merciless.
"I am going to make sure that you don't," said Draco, lifting his wand.
"Draco..." Hermione warned, "Remember what Dumbledore said about changing History! I thought..."
But Draco ignored her. "Obliviate!" he said.
If Antoine had not been immobilised, he would have fallen onto the floor. As it was, he reeled from the shock of the memory charm. His eyes, when he stared at Draco, were blank and confused.
Hermione held her breath. What was Draco doing?
"You can't leave him like that..." she found herself saying. She remembered Gilderoy Lockhart's condition after he had been blasted by a powerful memory charm.
"Don't worry, I just modified his memory a little" said Draco. "And I'm not done yet..."
"Stop it...what are you doing? You mustn't tamper with the past like that!"
"Draco, that's a forbidden curse!" cried Hermione, getting desperate.
"Not in 1486" said Draco, wryly.
Hermione wanted to yank Draco away from Antoine, but Draco had such a determined look on his face that she felt if she tried anything like that, he might hex her for it.
Draco turned to Antoine, who still bore a blank, confused look. "You will say this witch escaped and you couldn't stop her. You will return to France. More importantly... you will never hunt muggleborns and half-bloods again, and you will never instruct your children and family in such ways. Understand?"
Antoine, still frozen, couldn't indicate that he understood, but his eyes now bore a calm and peaceful look. Hermione knew that Draco's imperius had worked. She wondered how he had known how to cast such a powerful dark spell so well.
"Lucius taught me how to cast dark spells" said Draco, reading her thoughts. "I can't believe it came in useful one day."
He took off his cape and draped it over Antoine's shoulders. Antoine's eyes watched Draco's every move, but he was still immobilized. "Oh, and this is yours too, monsieur," said Draco taking a second wand out his pocket and slipping it into Antoine's waistcoat. "Use it well."
With a flick of his wand, Draco removed the silence and seal charms from the room. "Come, Hermione" he said, holding his hand out to her.
Draco's behaviour in the last five minutes had been so overbearing that Hermione almost felt frightened to hold his hand. Timidly, she placed her palm in his, and was immediately pulled into a tight embrace.
"I'm sorry if I scared you, Hermione" Draco whispered, "But I had to do it. When I read that you had burned, I could see it all... How the flames would consume you and you would be screaming... and I couldn't let that happen to you... or any other muggleborns or halfbloods... not by a Malfoy."
Hermione buried her face in his shoulder. Her hair smelled like roses.
"Some things you did for your family, some things I do for mine."
Hermione nodded. "I understand now about honour, family..."
"...love." said Draco, tilting her face up to his. "I understand too. This was my choice Hermione. I don't know how it will affect the future, but it is a risk I must take, to help the Malfoy family honour. And I do it not merely for honour, but for love."
"That is a good enough reason to do anything," said Hermione, smiling at her husband.
From the centre of the room, Antoine watched the scene in surprise. The obviously pure-blooded wizard was kissing the common witch. Strangely, it didn't seem to bother him anymore. He couldn't remember if it ever had.
"Time to go" said Draco. Hermione wrapped her arms tightly around Draco's waist as he took out the Reverse Thyme Eliminus and untied the stopper with one hand. With the other, he used his wand to perform a finite incantatem on Antoine.
"Arrêt!" Hermione heard Antoine say, as she felt herself falling into a deep, heavy, sleep.
She never wanted to wake up, she was so warm and comfortable…
"Good morning, M'Lady..." said a voice.
"Mmmm, Draco" she said, pressing herself tighter against his familiar body. He was kissing her now. He started with her hair, then her face, then her neck...
She squealed and sat up in bed. For a moment, fear crossed her mind. Where was she? What about Antoine the witch hunter?
"Awake at last?" came a familiar drawl from behind her. Draco was sitting up in bed, dressed in a fifteenth century outfit.
It came rushing back. "You saved me!" she said, feeling a little bit shy at being completely naked next to Draco, who was fully dressed.
"But of course" said Draco, wrapping his arms around her from behind and nuzzling the back of her neck.
"Where are we?" Hermione said, looking around. They were in a large room, with beautiful french windows through which light was streaming, furnished with elegant furniture and a venetian glass lamp on the ceiling.
"Malfoy Manor" said Draco, in a pleased voice.
"Why didn't I wake up apart from you?" asked Hermione, "We did last time."
"Because we're married," Draco said, holding up her hand with the Malfoy signet ring on it. "And they know you don't belong anywhere else."
"Who?" said Hermione.
"Er...nothing" Draco thought he heard laughter again... somewhere. But he wasn't angry at that sound anymore, he felt that he understood it and had mastered it.
"Do you smell that?" said Hermione, sniffing the air. "Roses!"
"It's your hair" said Draco, breathing into her curls. "You always did smell like roses!"
"Was it all real then?" Hermione said, in wonder. "Lady Katherine, and the servants... midsummer, dreams, and your little cottage...."
"...and the walks in Flinders wood..."
"...and the doves we set free! Oh, and dear old Ruth Brenthurst!"
"Yes, it was all real" said Draco, climbing out of bed and grinning. "I still have the foul taste of your vegetable soup in my mouth..."
Hermione chucked a pillow at him.
"Let's get changed, and see what's what."
"What am I going to wear?" asked Hermione, slipping out of the bed.
"Wear one of my shirts, then I'll go and borrow something from mother's closet. She had racks of beautiful clothes and is about your size. She'd be pleased for you to wear them."
Hermione slipped on one of Draco's shirts. It covered her thighs modestly enough. Draco pulled off the medieval costume and quickly got dressed in shirt and pants.
"Can I borrow a comb?" asked Hermione, running her fingers through her tangled hair.
"Sure" said Draco, "It's in the top shelf of the cabinet over there."
He watched appreciatively as his young wife walked over to the cabinet. It was amazing that she could look prettier wearing one of his shirts than when wearing gorgeous medieval gowns.
"It's stuck" she said, yanking at the handles.
"Here, let me..."
But Hermione gave it a hard tug and an orange vase on top of the cabinet tipped over and shattered on floor.
"Oh dear!" she said, "Oh I'm so sorry! Shall we do a reparo?"
Draco laughed, "That's all right. That was from my Aunt Melina. I always hated it."
Hermione grinned, and stooped to pick up the cracked pieces but stopped when she heard footsteps outside the room. Draco heard them too and whipped around.
"I heard a noise...go on, see what's inside...." said a woman's voice. The door handle turned.
Hermione instinctively stood closer to Draco who put an arm around her.
A tall, broad-shouldered man entered the room. He had long silver-blonde hair tied at the back of his neck and piercing gray eyes. There was a moment of silence as the man, Draco and Hermione stared in shock at each other.
"He's escaped!" whispered Hermione, turning pale and moving to a corner behind Draco. "Draco...he's escaped!"
Draco drew his wand immediately and pointed it at the man.
"Stay where you are...!" he commanded.
The man looked confused. "Wha...?"
"I said stay where you are! I don't want to hurt you, father, but I will!" said Draco, shaking.
"Lucius... what's going on?" said a woman's voice from behind Lucius Malfoy.
"All right, Draco... don't do anything silly. I won't move... but please, listen to your mother" said Lucius, quietly.
A slim, blonde woman stepped past him into the room. Draco's mind was whirling.
"M-Mother?" he said.
Hermione looked curiously at Lucius and Narcissa. They looked like she had remembered them... yet there was something different about them...
"Now Draco, stop this nonsense and put down your wand!" said his mother firmly.
Footsteps came running towards the room from behind Narcissa, and at the doorway to the room, a boy's voice said, "What's happening, Mrs Malfoy? Are they back?" Hermione thought she recognised that voice.
"Yes" said Lucius, slowly, "But they seem to have gone a little... mad."
"What are you doing out of bed, mother?" Draco asked.
"It's three o'clock in the afternoon, what would I be doing in bed?" said Narcissa, hands on hips, "Now, you do as I say and put down that wand! Ah!" she caught sight of Hermione, "I see you managed to bring Hermione back! Oh my! Lucius, they're both back! We must tell the Grangers at once!"
"What's going on?" came the boy's voice again. Hermione was sure she knew who it belonged to, it was...
...Harry Potter burst into the room.
"Harry!" shrieked Hermione, momentarily forgetting about Lucius.
"Hermione! You're back! Malfoy, you did it... Oh thank God!" Not noticing the tension in the room, Harry rushed forward and enveloped Hermione in a huge hug.
More voices could be heard beyond the door way. Hermione heard Ron's voice saying, "What's happening? What's bloody happening?"
Meanwhile, Narcissa and Lucius were walking slowly over to Draco. Draco's wand arm was still outstretched, and he was trembling.
"Darling, put down the wand" said his mother. "You're just confused or something. Time travel tends to do that to one."
Draco looked wildly from Narcissa to Lucius.
"You're supposed to be in Azkaban, y-you're a Death Eater... " he said to Lucius.
"Whaaat?" said Lucius, looking outraged, "Have you lost it completely, boy?"
"Your father may be a bit of a snob, but really Draco... I wouldn't call him a Death Eater!" said his mother sternly.
Draco stared at her. "And... and mother, you were sick... mental..."
Narcissa looked amused, "You always said your mother was a little eccentric, but mental Draco? That's a first."
Ron and Blaise had already rushed in and were hugging Hermione.
From beneath the smothering hugs of her friends, Hermione was trying to speak to Draco, but her voice was choked with emotion... "Draco...it's all right! Your imperius...it worked... The Malfoys are all right....I know what happened..."
Draco felt tears come to his eyes. He lowered his wand and didn't even notice as the wood slipped from his fingers to the floor.
"Mother?" he said, looking at the face of the intelligent and vital woman in front of him. "You're well!"
"Why wouldn't I be, Draco..." said Narcissa, patting her son's cheek.
Draco turned to Lucius. His father was just as he remembered him – intelligent, proud, strong... everything Draco had wanted to admire in Lucius...but which had disappeared once Lucius had been sent to Azkaban for the murder of muggleborns while in the Dark Lord's command.
"Father..." Draco whispered, in wonder, looking at the familiar gray eyes, once so hard and cold, but now filled with warmth.
Lucius Malfoy grunted in surprise as his only son threw himself on him and gave him a breath-depriving hug. He was not used to showing affection openly, and didn't really know how to react. Slowly, he put his arms around his son.
"There, there..." he said to Draco. "You really have gone mad, haven't you, boy?" But his voice was gentle as he scolded Draco, and only barely hid how happy he was at having his son back.
"Very touching" came a voice from the door.
All eyes turned to look at Severus Snape. "I hardly expected you back so soon, Malfoy. I was just taking these three young people here to explain to your parents why on earth you wanted to go back a second time. If I had known you'd been back so soon, I wouldn't have bothered. All that melodrama for nothing..."
Harry rolled his eyes and grinned at Hermione. "You know what Snape's like! Anyway, We told them..."
"Hermione, that you'd stayed behind..." said Blaise happily.
"And that you were in danger of being fried at the stake..." said Ron.
"If someone didn't go back and rescue you!"
"In danger of being burnt?" said Draco, in surprise.
"Yeah... don't you remember, Malfoy?" said Harry, "We found that book that said she was involved in a witch trial but someone came to save Hermione. She disappeared, and those past people never figured out where she went! We figured it must have been one of us, so we tried to go back and save Hermione... but only you went. The potion didn't work on us."
"The book said that?" said Draco.
"Sure," said Harry peering at Draco, "What's up with you Malfoy? A few hours ago, you knew exactly what was going on, now you're all confused."
"Time-travel can be confusing" said Narcissa to Harry. "I think everyone should come down for a spot of tea. Then we can talk everything out. Hermione, you'd better come with me first dear, you can't go around wearing Draco's shirt like that."
"I'm starving!" declared Ron putting his arm around Blaise.
"What's new?" said Harry.
The whole lot of people trooped out of Draco's bedroom. Lucius and Narcissa lingered, waiting till everyone had cleared out.
"Oh darling," said Narcissa, giving Hermione a hug. "Of course, we were shocked when we heard about your marriage to our son during the court case when that brilliant Mr Montague saved our fortune... But we are truly glad for you. I'm so glad Draco saved you, and you're here with us."
Hermione smiled and looked nervously at Lucius. Narcissa had always been the milder of the two Malfoy parents, but she didn't know if she could trust Lucius.
"Welcome to the family..." Lucius said, formally extending his hand and smiling,"... Mrs Hermione Malfoy."
I have told you a long tale of magic, faeries and two star-crossed lovers. I could end the story here, but I feel that to make the tale complete, I should tell you a little bit more about the lives of our hero and his lovely bride.
Let's go forward a few years, and see what our favourite couple are doing...Ah, here we are at Malfoy Manor, on the 12th of April, the year 2012...
It was Draco Malfoy's 25th birthday.
He stood at the table surrounded by his family. To his left were his mother and father. In his father's arms was a small girl of about five years of age- his eldest daughter Katherine. To his right stood his beautiful, brown-haired wife holding two tiny blonde boys by hand- his twin sons Thomas and Lucius, who had just turned three last month.
Before him were the substantial remains of an enormous tea. Scattered around the table were presents and cards, bearing birthday wishes from such people as "Harry and Ginny", "Mr and Mrs Ronald Weasley" and "Vincent Goyle – your best freind".
In the centre of the food and presents, was an enormous cake with "Happy 25th Birthday Draco!" printed in red icing across its centre. Twenty five candles burnt merrily on the cake as his family sang "Happy Birthday" at the tops of their voices, with his daughter giving the loudest (and most tuneless) rendition of all. She was repaid for her efforts by a kiss from her doting and indulgent grandfather...
"Cake! Caaaake!" screamed the twins.
"Wait, daddy must blow out the candles first" said their grandmother, who was recording the whole session on a MagiCam.
Draco stared nervously at the candles on the cake.
"Make a wish" said his wife, cheekily. "Go on Draco, you know how good you are at wishes."
His parents looked at each other and shrugged, wondering what their daughter-in-law could mean.
All around him, Draco could hear laughter, and smell roses, and hear the singing of a phantom court. He glared at his wife in mock anger. They both knew about his phobia of wishes...and more importantly, since he had told her everything that had happened, how that phobia came about.
Draco blew out the candles quickly.
He kissed his wife and the family clapped. The twins stuck their fingers into the cake.
"So, what did you wish for this year?" asked his wife.
"You know what I wish for every year, Hermione" Draco said sheepishly.
Hermione winked at her husband, as they said together...
....Oh, and by the way - they lived happily ever after.