A/N: Okay, this is it. No smut, but a lot of questions are answered. Many thanks to my Beta, Emily!
The Dragon of Hogwarts
Chapter 14: Memories
Hermione had never come across a Pensieve before, but through Harry had learned how they worked. Unlike most new and interesting things she came across in the Wizarding world, she did not run to the library to research this one. As interesting as a Pensieve might be, the very thought of removing one's memories seemed very disturbing to her.
She listened to the soft sound of Blaise's snoring. What memory had he wanted to remove? Would it be wrong of her to look?
"Yes, it would," she mumbled, quietly.
She shut the panel on the back of the cabinet with a sigh and went back to bed, headache forgotten.
Hermione lay back down beside Blaise and stared at the dark ceiling.
She spent the next two hours tossing and turning, unable to sleep.
What was in the Pensieve? Could it be the memory of what had happened to her over the Christmas Holidays?
It was that last question that justified it enough for Hermione to slip out of bed and return to the bathroom.
She locked the door with a charm, and turned the shower on. Then quickly made her way over to the cabinet, and removed the false back.
Being very careful, she removed the Pensieve, and sat it on the counter.
Hermione looked over her shoulder at the closed door one more time before turning back to the stone basin and sticking the tip of her wand inside the glowing bowl. There were three clearly defined strands. Three memories.
Taking a deep breath she touched her wand to the first strand.
She bit back a shriek as she tumbled headfirst into the bowl. Landing on her feet she was surprised to find herself in Blaise's room at Hogwarts. He was on the bed, asleep. A calendar on the wall told her that it was the day she had left for the Christmas holidays. A shiver crawled up her spine.
She was right about which memory she had landed in and part of her was frightened at what she might discover. Was she ready for this?
Hermione gasped when Blaise suddenly sat up in bed, and sniffed the air. He froze and then looked directly at her. But that was silly; the people in Pensieves were just memories, and there was no way he could actually see her.
Blaise suddenly leapt out of bed, and made a mad dash for the door. Hermione felt the world moving around her so that he remained within her sight. It was like standing in the middle of a 3-D projection.
She followed him into her own room, and saw him pick up a photograph off of the floor.
Time slowed down, and then came to a halt as she looked over his shoulder and stared in horror at the picture of her crying baby brother, in the arms of a Death Eater.
Hermione felt like someone had punched her in the stomach and all of the air had been sucked out of her lungs. She tumbled out of the Pensieve and landed hard on the stone tile floor of the bathroom. It took her a few minutes to catch her breath.
Now, she was even more determined to find out what had happened that day. Jason had seemed fine, but what if something was really wrong with him?
Her hand trembled slightly as she touched her wand to the second strand. She was prepared for the fall this time, but not for what she would see…
Blaise was standing in the dimly lit parlor of a richly furnished house. The only light was coming from the small dying fire behind him. His entire body was tense, and he was holding his head sideways as if listening to something only he could hear.
A tall, blond woman suddenly strode into the room. She walked right up to Blaise and said something to him in a hushed voice.
"That is unacceptable..." Blaise began angrily, but stopped when she touched her hand to his mouth.
He glared and stepped around her, heading for the door. When the woman turned to grab his sleeve, the firelight fell across her face. It was Draco's mother, Narcissa.
"My family and I are not responsible for this," she declared, silver eyes sparkling with unshed tears.
Blaise gave her a long look, and then nodded.
Narcissa seemed to relax slightly.
"I gave him to Draco," she said nodding toward a stairway.
"What of Hermione?" Blaise asked.
Narcissa looked down and sighed.
"I have no control over that. You'll have to talk with Him when he returns."
Hermione was pulled to follow as Blaise hurried up a large winding staircase. He hurried down a long hall, and threw open a door near the end.
They entered another dark room where Draco was sitting in a large armchair before another dying fire. He jumped at the intrusion, holding tightly to a small bundle in his arms.
"Let me see him," Blaise practically growled, and the blonde boy quickly handed the bundle over. It was Jason.
Blaise unwrapped the sleeping baby and quickly examined him, but could not find a mark. Jason let out a soft sound of protest at the cool air, but did not open his eyes.
"Severus gave him a potion to keep him asleep. He'll never know anything happened," Narcissa said as she came into the room and stood beside her son.
Blaise gave her a sharp look.
"Muggle or not, we would never hurt a baby," she said, crossing her arms defensively.
"Yeah, as long as his name isn't Harry Potter," he muttered, re-wrapping Jason in blankets.
Her pale skin grew paler still at his words, but she didn't say anything.
"Can't go anywhere without hearing that blasted name," a deep voice said from the doorway.
"Severus, you left her alone?" Narcissa demanded of Professor Snape as he came into the room.
He ignored her.
"Leave the baby with Draco and come with me. He'll return soon, and you should see her before then."
Blaise glanced over at Draco, then back to Snape.
"You're wasting time."
Though Narcissa stretched out her arms to take Jason from Blaise, he pushed passed her and gave him to Draco.
"Hide with him. Don't come out no matter what you hear until I call for you," Blaise instructed.
"I could…" Narcissa began.
"You're coming with us," Blaise said, taking her arm and following Snape from the room.
Hermione wanted to see what Draco would do with Jason, but was helpless to do anything but follow Blaise down the stairs.
This was where the memory ended, and Hermione tumbled out onto the bathroom floor again. She was shaking and weak, but still determined to finish this.
The last memory was of herself locked in cage in the middle of a window-less concrete room. The past-Hermione was lying on the floor of the cage unconscious. Her clothes were torn in places, and it was obvious she had been beaten and probably tortured.
Blaise was standing between her cage, and a small group of robed wizards on the far side of the room. She could make out the faces of Lucius Malfoy and Snape. The others were either hidden under their hoods, or they were faces she did not know.
Lucius Malfoy was fidgeting nervously. He had never resembled his son more than at that moment. His anxious gray eyes fixed themselves to a door on the far side of the room. Hermione got the impression that he was doing everything he could to not look at Blaise.
Snape was watching Lucius. Every couple of minutes her Professor would look at Blaise and slightly shake his head.
Suddenly the door was thrown open and two men walked into the room. Well, one man, and one…Voldemort.
Hermione looked away from the snake-like man, shaken. She had never seen what he looked like before, only knowing what Harry had told her.
Her gaze shifted to the other man. He was an older version of Blaise. Everything from the olive skin tone to the black hair was exactly the same. His eyes were the only real difference that she could see. They were black like Snape's, but seemed to hold a cruelty that even her intimidating professor would be unable to pull off.
Everyone in the room bowed low, except for Blaise. Her mate stood straight and tall, looking his older double directly in the eye and ignoring Voldemort completely.
The Dark Lord's red eyes quickly swept around the room before turning to glare at the man next to him.
"This is not our concern. We will leave Desmond with his nephew to sort this out," he announced, then turned on his heel and left the room. The hooded Death Eaters quickly followed him out until only Blaise and his uncle remained.
"It was an unfortunate mistake, Nephew. How was I to know that the best friend of Harry Potter would turn out to be your mate?" Desmond's voice was barely above a whisper, but still seemed to echo through the room.
"It is a mistake that you can easily rectify, Uncle." Blaise's voice betrayed no emotion.
Desmond's eyes narrowed at the slightly veiled command.
"Not quite as easy as you might think," the older man said with a sneer.
"Let her go. It's as easy as that." This time there was a slight catch in his voice that conveyed his struggle to remain calm.
"You haven't bonded with her yet. Does she even know?"
Her mate's silence told his uncle all he needed to know.
"And do you think she'll forgive this? That she'll want to be with you after this?" He demanded.
"I don't care. I'll not allow her to be in danger a moment longer."
"Let me adjust her memories. She'll remember none of this…"
"No! I forbid you from entering her mind!" Blaise shouted sounding scared.
Desmond smiled a cruel smile.
"Then she'll have to stay."
Blaise turned to look at his mate unconscious in the cage and then back to his uncle.
"I can't… Please Uncle, I can't let you do that to her…" he begged.
Hermione jumped when she felt a hand grab hers and pull her out of the memory.
She felt herself falling, and braced herself for the impact of the hard bathroom floor, but she was caught by strong arms and gathered against Blaise's warm chest.
"Just breathe," he whispered, as he soothingly stroked her back.
He allowed her a few minutes to catch her breath before carrying her back to the bed and gently laying her down.
She automatically reached for him, and he crawled on beside her, wrapping his arms and legs around her tightly.
"I-I didn't mean to…" she broke off, sobbing.
Blaise held her close.
"It's okay. You're safe now, just rest," he whispered in her ear.
Hermione cried herself to sleep while Blaise held her, softly singing to her in a language that she didn't know.
Hermione awoke several hours later to find Blaise sitting up in bed next to her absently stroking her hair.
"How did you know where I was?" She asked him in a whisper.
"Dorothy can be a bit nosy so I put a ward on the Pensieve."
Hermione nodded and turned her face away so that he would not see her renewed tears.
"You weren't ready yet," he chastised gently as he caught one of her tears on his finger.
"Blaise, I'm sorry. I-"
"No, I'm sorry. I should have told you about the Pensieve. I had planned to go through it with you in a few days. After you met my father," he admitted.
"Your father? I met him last night," she said.
Blaise shook his head.
"You met him in his dragon form. You haven't seen him human yet."
"But why…" she began.
"They're identical twins; he and my uncle. They are alike in appearance, but that is all. In every other way they are as different as night and day. I didn't want you to see my uncle first. My father would be devastated if he frightened you the first time you saw him because of my uncle. I meant to stop you before you even reached that memory."
"What happened after you pulled me out?" She asked.
"I told him that you were my mate, and that I'd never be able to keep anything from you. So, he made me agree to the dark curse that would literally keep my mouth shut. It was the only way he would let you and Jason leave. My uncle called Snape in and cursed me so that I would be incapable of telling you what had happened."
"Snape? But I thought that he was on our side?"
"Snape and my father are very good friends. My uncle needed a witness to bind the magic for the curse, and he let me choose who it would be. Snape is already involved with 'family matters' so my uncle agreed that he would be an appropriate choice. After that I went to get Jason while Snape healed you. At least, I thought he was going to heal you, but I guess he just hid it. He's clever like that. You would have never known if he had healed you, and I would have been unable to tell you."
Hermione took a moment to let that sink in.
"So, your uncle kidnapped my brother to get to me because I am friends with Harry?" She asked finally.
"My uncle is working with the Dark Lord. He isn't a Death Eater though. Uncle Desmond would never lower himself to a wizard's level. He believes that as Dragon-Shifters we are a superior race, even to that of pureblood wizards. It never occurred to him that you would turn out to be a Dragon-Shifter's mate. Up until now, we have never found a mate that was Muggleborn. Your very existence will make him question his ideals. He gave the Dark Lord the idea of using your brother to get to you. What exactly their plan was for you, I don't know. I don't think I want to know. He didn't kidnap your brother himself and he didn't touch you, but he isn't blameless. He has aligned himself with the Dark Lord, but he isn't afraid of him. And the Dark Lord would never turn away someone as powerful as a Dragon-Shifter. The rest of my family support Dumbledore."
"Why? Why is your uncle like that while the rest of your family is not?"
Blaise gave her a sorrowful look.
"He turned fifty last month, and has yet to find his mate."
End Chapter 14
A/N: Well, I hope it was worth the wait. Unfortunately this is where the daily updates stop. I will have chapter 15 up by the end of next week.