Rise and Die! Chapter 10
A/N: I don't know why I'm writing this! I have a ridiculous amount of history waiting for me (damn you AP), as well as profuse amounts of physics, pre-cal, Spanish…oh, I could go on, but you guys want the story, right?
Oh, and sorry kids, sophomore year felt like a while ago…can't believe I wrote that Othello stabbed Desdemona. I'm being lazy right now so I haven't gone and fixed it but just so you know: Othello suffocated Desdemona.
It had been twenty four hours and Draco stillhadn't heard from his wife. Needless to say, he was just a little bit worried. He'd spent the last day pacing back and forth, wondering if he should go find her or just sit and wait and hope she'd show up.
He'd even done the unthinkable – and that was calling Potter on his super wizardised mobile. It had been a horrific experience, and Draco didn't wish to relive it, but he couldn't help but keep playing it over in his head, because it all rang true.
"Potter," he had barked into the phone, "er, I've lost something. I was wondering if you could help me."
"Malfoy?" Potter's voice was laced with surprise and disbelief. "What on earth? Where did you get the impression that we regularly helped each other out?"
"I know, I know," Draco mumbled, half-angry, half-embarrassed. "But what I've lost happens to be Hermione and she's awfully close to you – can't for the life of me figure out why – but I was wondering if you'd seen her, or if she'd contacted you, or if she was with you or something…"
If Potter's howl of "Lost Hermione?!" was anything to go by, he hadn't heard a word from her. The next angle to try was even more gruesome.
Yes, getting in touch with Weasley.
After much debate he had finally just decided to call Potter again and ask him how to contact Weasley. The result had been a much contrived and very painful little meeting at a bar, which almost resulted in the death of one Draco Malfoy by one very upset and very drunk Ronald Weasley.
That hadn't worked either.
Draco fumed. He had been through a lot in the last twenty four hours all in the name of his missing wife. To be honest, he didn't even want to find her. He hated her, getting rid of his house-elves like that. In fact the very first thing he'd done in the morning was hire a new house-elf. Ten minutes later, after an eerie lack of shrieks and shouts from Hermione, he'd realized that she had just disappeared.
He knew she'd run away; she had to have. No one would have taken her, God forbid… she was much too difficult to deal with. Anyone who attempted to whisk her away would have to deal with the most annoying person in the wizarding world and wouldn't make it past the Malfoy gardens without dropping her and running for his life.
So, to be honest, Draco was perfectly content with having a break from Hermione. The last week had been exceedingly difficult and it had been just excellent to wake up to a day of no-Hermione. Unfortunately, not everyone agreed with him. Draco was very, very worried that the news would reach his parents and he knew if such were the case he was totally and completely done for.
Gracious, it was now Thursday morning and his mother would suffer multiple heart attacks if she found out that the bride might be absent from her little (okay, large) party. Maybe if he just didn't tell her… no, that would never work. In fact he was incredibly lucky that she hadn't noticed yet.
He spoke too soon. The halls reverberated with her shrill voice just at that very moment. "Draco! Hermione! It's Mummy Narcey!"
But before Draco could crawl into some dark corner of the house and pretend like he wasn't home, 'Mummy Narcey' had found him. "Draco," she said sharply, "why are you standing so queerly?"
"Mum," he protested, his face burning scarlet. "Don't use the word 'queer'. It's got a different connotation now." Merlin, sometimes his mother was just so embarrassing…perhaps it was better that Hermione wasn't here to witness this!
"Well, no matter," his mother brushed it off. "I want to know whether you two are excited about your upcoming party! Why, think of all the lovely wedding gifts you will receive!"
"I don't care about wedding gifts," Draco replied scornfully. "Hmm, let me think," he continued sarcastically, "do I even care about the wedding? NO!"
Instead of berating him as expected, Narcissa simply sent Draco a rather peculiar look. "You don't care about this wedding in the least," she stated, rather than asked.
Draco answered anyway. "Absolutely positively not," he emphasized, for effect.
Effect was lost on his mother, who seemed to be contemplating something. "You didn't care about your impending nuptials with Sally Anne either?"
"Not really," Draco confirmed, wondering if perhaps his mother would do the unthinkable and sympathize with him.
Unfortunately such was not the case. "Draco," his mother finally asked, with a long, pregnant pause. "Are you gay?"
"What?!" Draco erupted, a little too quickly. "What?!"
"Well, are you?" his mother demanded impatiently.
"N-n-no!" Draco finally stuttered, still flabbergasted by the question. And then a second later when he regained his power of speech – "No fucking way, Mother. How could you possibly think I was gay?"
"Language, Draco!" his mother barked. "And I only thought you might be gay because, well, you haven't seemed to have been taken by any of these girls. I mean, Sally Anne was just such a cute little girl and I would've loved her, but then you went and married Hermione. And she's not horrid either, you know. Since I've taken care of the mudblood aspect, you can focus on her other qualities. She's rather pretty and quite sensitive. She has potential to be a rather good partner."
"I completely disagree," Draco frowned. "I think she's irrational and overly sensitive."
"Well, that may be," his mother brushed off the comment, "she is female after all."
For a second there was a pause and then Narcissa asked the question that Draco had been dreading. "Where is that girl anyway?"
"She's not home," Draco answered ambiguously. That's all his mother needed to know; there was no desire on his part to explain to her the horrid mess he'd gotten himself into. She wouldn't extricate it from him, either. Narcissa would only make it worse. Thus it was a real shame when Narcissa demanded more information.
"Well, where is she? Shopping, I hope?"
"I don't know," Draco finally mumbled, looking miserable.
Narcissa's gaze turned cold and tumultuous. "What do you mean 'you don't know'"?" she questioned with a sense of austerity.
He shrugged. Might as well say it all. "I mean, I don't know. We had an argument last night and she walked out."
"Walked out!" Narcissa shrieked. "Oh this is awful! Draco, I can't trust you with anything!"
Shamefaced, Draco looked away. Narcissa snarled, "You'll have your comeuppance, dear child. Right now your father and I need to avert a crisis that you have caused. I'll be back, with Hermione."
With that, she popped away.
Hermione felt lost. Geographically, she knew where she was. She was in the Owl Emporium at Diagon Alley, and why she had decided to come here, she really didn't know. She had spent the last half-hour glaring at the owls and getting howls of anger in return. With one last look at the messy pet place, she sighed and left to go outside.
The weather was warm and balmy. Hermione shivered, anyway. She was incredibly upset, but also incredibly embarrassed. She always reacted badly to situations. She had no control over her temper. And she had a pretty good feeling that Draco Malfoy was going to be in a hell of a lot of trouble with his parents when they found out that she was gone. She wanted very badly to go back, but one thing was stopping her.
Too much pride equaled a hefty ego, and Hermione knew that she did have one. If it hadn't been for her low status in the wizarding world, Hermione was pretty sure she'd have developed a throbbing superiority complex by now. After all, she was quite smart. Why people refused to see that just because she was the spawn of two muggles, she didn't know. Why were they so prejudiced against her?
Clenching her fists Hermione emitted a scream of rage.
Passerby stopped and sent her fearful looks. Hermione just grinned back at them, and then wondered if that added to that whole "I'm-so-crazy" effect that she was going for.
It just wasn't fair. Day after tomorrow she was due for her huge after-the-wedding party and facing it would probably be worse than facing Voldemort. At that very instant that she was contemplating buying an island in the Caribbean with her newfound money and just running away from the Malfoys forever, she was stopped by—oh, horror of horrors—paparazzi!
Covering her face Hermione sent him a nasty look and hurried onwards – only to find that he was trailing her. "Mrs. Malfoy," he called out loudly behind her, "please. I only want to know some details about your wedding. We are all in the dark!"
"leave me alone," Hermione mumbled and sped on. Where could she go? Just as luck would have it a few more reporters came up to her at that very instant.
"Mrs. Malfoy! Mrs. Malfoy!" they called loudly. "How does it feel to be Mrs. Malfoy? How long were you dating Draco Malfoy before tying the knot? Did anyone know of your relationship, or was it kept entirely secret? How many guests are attending your party on Saturday night? How much does that party cost?"
Hermione sighed. It didn't look like she was going to escape anytime soon. "I'd prefer not to talk about my private life," she replied graciously. "I am not aware at the moment how many guests are attending my social events or what the total cost will be… not," she added finally, unable to keep her mouth shut, "that it's any of your business."
At last pushing past she saw that dusk had spread its blanket across the sky and realized that the safest place to escape was to unfortunately go back. She was going to have to swallow her pride (and what a large pill it was) and go back to the Malfoy manor. There was no sense in delaying the inevitable. So closing her eyes, Hermione Apparated close to her new home and soon found herself standing before the big mansion.
Draco opened the door and his mouth hung open with surprise. "Hermione!" he finally let out. "Hermione."
"Hallo, Draco," she grinned.
"You … oh fuck," he shrugged. "You're back. There's no point in crying over split milk. My mother's about to kill me, by the way. She's settling the last minute details for my funeral. As soon as they're arranged it's off to the gallows for me."
"Gallows?" Hermione gasped. "Please don't tell me they still have those in pureblood society."
"It's a figure of speech," he scowled. "Anyway, if you care to save my life—which you should, you st…" he trailed off, evidently trying to suppress his anger. Hermione was pleasantly surprised.
"I'll have a chat with your mum," she told him. "I'll explain that I simply had to leave to get a breath of fresh air and of course I can't have my breath anywhere else but near the ocean side. It's something I must do. I hope you understand. Tell the maids – not the house-elves, please – to set a bath for me. I'm very tired. Have them lay out my lounging clothes and wizaromatherapy candles please."
Draco stared at her open-mouthed. "What? Where've you been?"
Hermione laughed. Sometimes it was nice to change around completely. She wasn't one for the finer things in life—or at least, she hadn't been before, but now that she had them all at her fingertips, why not use them? She certainly wouldn't mind a relaxing evening.
But before that came something a little dreadful.
A run-in with her least favorite people in the world: Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy.
And there was still that blasted party.
She didn't even have the time to stop and consider what she was going to tell them, because at that very moment parent one and parent two arrived at Draco's house looking phenomenally angry.
"Do your parents just randomly stop on by?" Hermione commented dryly.
"No, sweetheart," Narcissa said coldly, stressing sweetheart like it was snake venom, "we only do it when he's gotten himself in a mess. I'm terribly pleased to see you're back. Come. Let's chat in the study."
"I'll have a chat with Draco," Lucius hedged, looking mighty unhappy with the situation.
"Lucius!" Narcissa barked. "You would make a terrible father to a girl. It seems you have no interest in anything but Quidditch and killing. Good heavens. Men!"
"Sounds like a plan, Mother," Draco inserted smoothly. "Father and I will just catch up on the latest deaths. Excuse us."
When Lucius thought Narcissa wasn't looking, he flashed his son a grateful look (no. not a smile. Hermione couldn't even imagine seeing Lucius smile genuinely) and followed him upstairs.
While Hermione was happy for Draco and Lucius, having escaped the wrath of Narcissa, she was still here with the woman who immediately ushered Hermione into the study.
"Darling, you ran away," Narcissa stated, peering into Hermione's eyes.
"Sorry. I had a spat with your son," Hermione replied tersely. Narcissa always had a knack for making her uncomfortable.
"I know. He's difficult but the problem is, so are you. And I don't care really, what you do with one another. I could care less if you prefer a life of celibacy over a nice intimate relationship. But the bottom line is that you better appear to the rest of the world as madly in love, for now. If we ever find out a way for you two to get divorced, we'll make it seem like you cheated on him and he divorced you."
"excuse me?" Hermione gaped. "I don't think so! I don't want the stigma of an adulteress! Pureblood society reminds me almost of puritan society, with your stupid rules, and the last thing I want to be is a Hester Prynne."
Hermione fully expected Narcissa not to understand her little reference to Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, a muggle book about an adulteress in puritan society. But alas for Hermione, she couldn't even gloat then because Narcissa clearly understood.
"You shan't be a Hester Prynne," she told Hermione crossly. "People would just…throw you out of society. We wouldn't pin a letter on your chest."
Hermione couldn't resist the urge to roll her eyes. "That's not the point," she argued. "How would it look if I cheated on your son? People would wonder why. Maybe your son just wasn't good in bed."
If anything could get to Narcissa, that would. "What!" she sputtered. "My son – just like the rest of this family – is good at everything. That's right. There is no way you would ever cheat on him, he's quite a catch. His looks. His brains. His money. You wouldn't cheat. Well…we'll cross the bridge of a basis for divorce when we come to it. Ordinarily I would say that it's your blood but now that that's the hip thing I'm not sure."
"Fine then," Hermione snarled.
"Anyway," Narcissa waved a perfectly manicured hand in the air, "what I really needed to talk to you about was that party. I have great plans! There will be hundreds of guests and you must look like you are completely in love! Be happy! Be lovey! Hug and kiss and smile and greet… don't you worry, I'll provide you with lots of wine to wash you through the evening…"
As Narcissa droned on, Hermione's face slowly drooped into a terrific picture of horror. This party was going to be a hell of a lot worse than she originally thought.
Merlin. She couldn't even think of a word to describe just how bad it was going to be.
A/N: there we go. Chapter 10 is up. Tell me what you guys thought, I really want to know. I appreciate everyone who waited so long for an update and hope that it was good enough. I also hope that my next update will be sooner… but I can't promise anything. Maybe over Christmas break but I do have to study for the SAT, so I don't know. Thanks! Love you all!