Title: The Ties That Bind
Summary: Someone's got it in for Draco Malfoy. Nearly two decades ago he killed her mate. Now she has a secret weapon and fully intends to return the favor… with interest. D/Hr future-fic, sequel to "You Gotta Breathe" and "Sometimes When We Touch"
Standard Chapter 1 Disclaimer: All recognizable characters and any recognizable places belong to JKR, not to me. I am not benefiting financially in any way from writing Harry Potter Fanfiction. To the contrary, it takes time away from my coursework, and from original writing that I maybe could benefit financially from. Gah! What can I say, I'm just hooked.
(A/N: Welcome to "The Ties That Bind"! This is the sequel to "Sometimes When We Touch", which in turn was a sequel to "You Gotta Breathe". So if you've just stumbled onto this story I would highly recommend reading those two first, otherwise you might find yourself more than a little lost! This story should be, like YGB and Sometimes before it, a fairly long, multi-chapter saga- probably 15+ chapters. No promises on how frequently I'll be updating the new story, though. I'm on Spring Break at the moment and have a little bit of leisure time for a few days, but then it's back to the grind, and I gotta say, grad school is more or less kicking my A$$. So I'm thanking you in advance for your patience :-) This is a Draco / Hermione "future-fic", meaning that they are adults, married, and parents. If reading about these characters as adults, married, and parents is a turn-off to you, which I accept it is to some people, this is your cue to hit the back button. In this story, Draco and Hermione have two adolescent children. Obviously, these are original characters. The main villain in the story is an OC too. If reading about original characters is a turn-off to you, which I accept it is to some people, this is your cue to hit the back button. Otherwise, thanks for reading and enjoy the ride!)
It was a tearful goodbye between mother and son.
It wasn't that they had never been parted before- the young man, now seventeen and a legal adult in the wizarding world, had been going off to school every year since he'd turned eleven years old, and the school he'd attended, Durmstrang Institute, had been no short distance away. This was different from a run-of-the-mill, end-of-holidays school sendoff, though. Hugely different… and they both knew it.
He wasn't going to school. He had finished his schooling, with top marks in his class, just a few short weeks ago. He had learned everything he needed to know, both from his Durmstrang instructors and from his own mother during the holidays. Now it was time to put all of that learning- seven years (and more, if one counted the lessons he'd been receiving at home from earliest childhood)- to the test. It was time to do what he'd been told he must do, what he'd been trained to do, practically from infancy.
He had a task to complete, and complete it he would- or die trying.
The latter was a distinct possibility too, and they both knew this also. But even so, neither was prepared to call off the quest- not the son, for whom this was a crucial matter of family honor, nor the mother, even though tears were now streaming openly down her usually cold and guarded face.
She loved her son, inasmuch as she was capable of loving anyone, and she feared for his safety, but still he had to go. She had no illusions about that because above and beyond being her child, he was a weapon; a weapon she had been carefully honing for seventeen years. He was a tool of revenge and her thirst for vengeance went deeper- far deeper- into her soul than even her maternal instincts could penetrate.
Still, there was an uncommon tenderness in her hand as she raised it to caress his cheek- (those fine, chiseled, aristocratic features, so very like his father's that they sometimes made her breath catch painfully in her throat)- and in her voice as she spoke her final farewell.
"You will be careful, darling? You know how powerful he is."
"I will, mother," he said, gently disengaging. He was years past the age when he had used to allow her to kiss and pet him to her heart's content. "I'll be in touch, too. Don't worry- I don't intend to fail. I have all the tools I need. I am going to remove this stain from our name, and I'll see you when it's done. Right?"
"Of course." She tried to smile, but failed. "It's what you were born for."
"I know," he said quietly, dropped a kiss on her forehead, turned away, walked the short distance to edge of their property (she had come most of the way down from the house with him)- and, stepping over the boundary where their heavily warded lands ended, he squared his shoulders without ever looking back… and Disapparated.
"Ugghh, nooo," Draco protested, rolling onto his stomach and burrowing his head beneath his pillow… for all that he knew it was a futile effort. "It's Saturday!"
Hermione swatted at his boxer-clad bum with her own pillow. "Must we do this every single weekend?" she asked, in a tone that was half exasperation, half amusement. "Your lie-in day is Sunday, as you perfectly well know. Now get up, before I sic Seth on you."
He stiffened visibly at that. "You wouldn't," he said, his voice still muffled by the pillow.
"Oh, I think you know I would," she answered teasingly, "if you're dead-set on doing this the hard way. I'll just nip out and get him right-"
"Like hell you will," Draco growled, rolling onto his back and sitting straight up all in one quick, fluid movement. He narrowed his eyes at her.
Hermione, who'd been on her way to the bedroom door, clad identically to her husband, that is to say, in a pair of his boxers and an overlarge castoff tee-shirt, also his- felt a sensation which had become all too familiar to her over the years- as if the air around her were suddenly… gelling; solidifying. It was pushing back against her, gently but inexorably, forcing her away from the door and back toward the bed.
She whirled to face her husband, and now it felt as if she had a strong wind at her back. She dug in her heels against it.
"Draco, stop it this instant!" she demanded in a temper, a wave of color suffusing her cheeks. "You know I hate it when you use your magic against me!"
Draco arched an eyebrow laconically. "Don't be dramatic, Granger- as if I'd ever actually use it against you. I just happen to think you're bloody gorgeous when you're pissed off… especially just after you've gotten out of bed and your hair is absolutely everywhere-" he held out his arms to her and the "wind" suddenly gusted, blowing her forward and right into them; he wrapped them around her and rolled with her, swapping places so that now she was the one who was supine on the bed, he straddling her and leaning down so close that their breath mingled- (she was panting slightly with the effort of resisting his magic)- and their noses nearly touched.
"It makes me want to do things to you," he finished- and yes, his arousal was evident enough, both in the darker, gunmetal-grey color his eyes had gone and in a certain other part of his anatomy, considerably lower down on his lean frame, where their bodies were currently pressed together.
He angled his head and brought his lips down to hers in a hungry, demanding kiss, simultaneously nudging her thighs apart with his knee. Hermione relaxed beneath him, apparently releasing the anger she'd been nursing just a moment ago, and melted into the kiss, wrapping her slim, bare legs around his waist and causing him to groan into her mouth.
And then the doorbell rang.
Draco reluctantly tore his lips away from Hermione's and gave another low moan- this one of acute disappointment. From a few feet down the hall another bedroom door opened with a bang, a young voice shouted "I'll get it!" and footsteps pounded away down the hallway at a dead run. Hermione disengaged, releasing him from her leg-lock and rolling out from under him, pausing long enough to press a brief kiss on his forehead.
"The Potters are here," she said unnecessarily, flung open her wardrobe, and quickly began to dress.
"So I gather," Draco replied rather brusquely- inclined to sulk just a little bit longer.
But the inclination didn't last long. It vanished the moment Hermione turned around and pulled a quick face at him, still throwing on her clothes in a haphazard rush. Her color was high and her eyes aglow with pleasure and anticipation. It never ceased to amaze him how excited she could still become by such a relatively mundane thing as a visit from Harry- it wasn't as if she only saw him once in a great while; the two families converged twice a month, at least- and yet she always reacted in the same intensely joyful way that never failed to tug at his heart. For a woman of such vast and complex intellect, Hermione really knew how to take pleasure from the simple things in life. Her husband, her children, a weekend visit from her best friend.
She was so beautiful when she was alight like this. So wholesome, so deep-down good. Far too good for the likes of him. For about the billionth time, Draco found himself wondering what he had ever done to deserve the love of this woman.
That didn't stop him, though, from pulling a face right back at her. "You go on," he said then, getting finally, reluctantly, to his feet. "I've got to take a quick shower first. A cold quick shower."
She crossed over to him and reached up both-handed, twining her fingers through his soft pale hair and pulling his face down to hers, planting a lingering little kiss on the corner of his mouth. She smiled, her lips curving against his skin. "Don't be too disappointed," she whispered. "You know you've got a rain check coming, don't you?"
"You better believe it," he said, squeezing her in a brief embrace. Her feet left the floor for a heartbeat or two. Then he pulled gently away and gave her a playful smack on the backside. "Tell them I'll be out in ten minutes, go on. And Hermione?" he added a few seconds later, as her hand closed around the door handle. She looked back at him, a quizzical expression on her face. "I love you," he said.
It didn't strike him odd at the moment, as she blew him a kiss and vanished through the bedroom door, but later he would look back on those words, wondering why he hadn't felt a little thrill of foreboding at the time, why he hadn't seen them for the omen he later came to believe they'd been. It wasn't that it was unusual for him to tell her that he loved her- once upon a time it had been, but that had been a long time ago and now he told her almost every day. It was unusual, however, for him to use such strong parting words when she was merely leaving the room for another area of the house and he'd be seeing her again inside of fifteen minutes.
Later on he became convinced that somehow he'd known when he'd spoken those words, known deep down in his subconscious, that this morning was different from all the hundreds that had preceded it in his married life; different in a deep and fundamental way.
It was really the last peaceful morning before the storm hit- before their lives started to spin out of control, before everything went completely and appallingly and disastrously and heart achingly wrong.