(A/N) This chapter is short. I'm once more testing the waters to see if I can still write. Thank you and I'm sorry. When I update again, I'll add more to this chapter. And I'm dreadfully sorry for this long hiatus.

Btw, I edited the previous chapters. Please read the note in the first chapter. Thank you.

Chapter Sixteen

Joan headed to her room after clearing matters out with Andrei and James. Sighing, she plopped on her four-poster.

"How does James do it? Refereeing between best friends is hard." Joan said to no one in particular, as she was alone in their dorm. She stared at the ceiling of her four-poster, remembering Andrei's suggestive eyebrow-wiggling and James' sudden stuttering. Joan furrowed her own eyebrows.

"Now, what did that mean?"

---

Professor Dumbledore murmured an incantation and revealed a door that materialized from a tapestry on a wall at the same floor as the Gryffindor tower and situated in an inconspicuous corner of the castle.

"Well, Mr. and Mrs. Draco Malfoy, I hope you find this room suitable for now. You may leave the castle grounds to go back to the Malfoy Sanctuary." As the Headmaster turned to leave, he left another warning. "However, I caution you on such trips. Make sure that if and when you do leave Hogwarts that the only place you shall go to is the Sanctuary. We don't know as of yet who or what is after you. It would be unwise to make your presence known."

The couple nodded in understanding as the aged wizard left.

Hermione sank down the couch, exhaling. "I suppose we're back at square one. We're hiding again." She kicked off her shoes and laid her feet on the foot rest. "Only this time, we don't know what we're up against."

"Love, we only don't know because that blasted Weasley won't tell us." Draco sat on the foot rest to give Hermione a foot massage. "Why don't I show up at the Ministry right now and give him a piece of my mind, eh?" He smirked, obviously relishing the thought of giving the said Weasley not just a piece of his mind but a piece of his muscle too.

"Draco," Hermione rubbed her forehead in exasperation. "That would not help us at all and cause more damage. Besides, only our family, James Potter, Professors Snape and Dumbledore knows of your renewed existence." She bit her lip and began to fidget with the tassels on the throw pillow. "You showing up at the Ministry are sure to raise alarm – you do know how Percy gets – and would be immediately in the News and the Prophet. This then would alert your assassin/s and mine that you are alive and are most likely with me." Draco motioned to speak but did not get his chance to do so. "Merlin, the Prophet! I have not seen as recent issue as of late! Who knows what utter rubbish they have published while I am away? I should have asked Joan while I could awhile a-."

Draco gently pulled the throw pillow from his wife's worrying hands and placed a finger on her lips. "It's ok." He sat beside Hermione and placed an arm around her shoulders at the same time conjuring a fire in the fireplace. "Don't worry too much. It will all turn out fine in the end."

Hermione faced him, looking for sincerity and finding it in his silver eyes, seemingly alive with the reflections of the fire in it.

She smiled.

Draco watched the fire consuming the wood hoping that his own life would not be consumed by hiding as he felt Hermione nestle closer at his side.

---

The dreaded Potions Master of Hogwarts opened his door after several knocks that he decided he could not ignore any longer.

"Yes?" Professor Severus Snape drawled so that the word appeared to have two syllables.

Who else did he find beyond his cold metal door but young Joan Malfoy.

Ah, yes. The impertinent first year, whose own parents did not realize the importance of tact, prudence, purity of another's mind, peace of another's mind, chastity, and – where was I? Oh yes – the Gryffindor Malfoy.

While the professor was having his inner monologue, Joan just stood in silence, debating whether to voice out her concerns even though it was obvious that the teacher in front of her has things preoccupying his mind.

"Miss Malfoy? Anything you would like to say? Or did you just particularly enjoy knocking on the doors of your teachers to irritate them?"

Well. That little problem of replying or not to Snape solved itself.

"You see, Professor, I was wondering -."

"Listen, child, whatever is it you want to tell me – get on with it. I don't have all day." Snape interrupted.

"Can I get my Grandmother's picture back?"

There, it got out.

Snape stared.

And Joan stared back.

"Professor?" 'I don't have all day', Joan wanted to add but refrained from doing so, thinking of the consequences.

The sallow man replied. "And why would you want to get it back?"

"I don't mean to be rude, Professor, but I believe my family owns it."

He blinked. Of course. He had enjoyed talking to Narcissa so much that he forgot about that tiny possibility that a Malfoy would want the picture back.

"Miss Malfoy, what are you going to do should I say 'no, you may not get it back'?"

Joan responded without missing a beat. "Ask you Professor, not to be disrespectful but, 'what on earth shall you do with it, sir?'."

Snape, infuriated by the way this conversation was going, gave up and pulled out from his pocket the picture of Narcissa Malfoy and thrust into Joan.

"Here. Take it." And with that took leave and slammed his door at Joan's face.

Well, wasn't that a pointless conversation.

"My, wasn't that rude of him."

Joan looked at the photo at her hand.

Narcissa looked sad and appeared to be gazing wistfully at the metal door.

Joan raised an eyebrow.

There must be more to what meets the eye.

---

A figure in black muttered a stream of expletives as it wandered aimlessly across Malfoy Manor grounds.

It appears as though the target had gotten out of what seemed to be almost like house arrest.

Luck. That was called luck, woman.

Frustration was about to overwhelm this unknown creature. Minions usually do the bidding and failure had met them. Their leader, as it appears, has been eluded by success too. If this does not end, he (or it, we do not know) may have to take a life – and it is surely of a female linked with the Malfoy name.

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(A/N) I'm sorry but I will stop e-mailing you guys now. I'm having internet connection problems. I'm sorry.