Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. No money is being made from this hobby of mine.
Note: This is the first of the deleted scenes from We Learned the Sea. I would recommend, if you're interested, that you read the full story first, then read these scenes. And a special thank you to my beta, eilonwy!
Thanks to everyone for your patience! I hope to post a new scene every Friday – yay! Fun Friday!
Requested by: Z, SiriuslyPadfoot'sGal, starlight15, Marionette, and ombeline.
She still wore black every day and it was beginning to depress him. Granger was a colorful person, from what he'd seen, what he knew of her. He knew it had only been a month and a half since her parents had… died, and he also knew he had no experience with mourning. But surely wearing black all the time didn't help lift one's spirits when they were already quite low.
The night Draco didn't kill the Grangers, he'd already started plotting the ways by which he would protect her. First and foremost, he knew of a spell that would link them, and he planned to modify it so that only he would be aware of the link, and so that he would only be able to sense certain emotions that would help him carry out his task of protecting her.
It was called the Binding Spell, or the Adnexus Spell.
Casting the Spell was simple. Preparing to cast the spell required a lot of work. First, a potion had to be brewed that contained deoxyribonucleic acid, blood and saliva from both himself and Hermione. Which meant he had to obtain samples of each from the witch who would kill him on sight and not bother asking questions. Then, they both had to drink some of the potion and within a certain time period, he had to cast the Spell on her.
Very quickly, Draco concocted a plan for successfully casting the Spell on Granger. He knew he needed to have access to her on a regular basis, until such time as all the potion components could be collected from her. He also knew he couldn't be himself.
The Grangers told Draco that Hermione frequented a coffee shop near the Ministry of Magic every morning, and that she was likely to continue this trend quite soon in an attempt to return to some kind of normalcy. With great reluctance, Draco assumed an alias of a Muggle and applied for a job at the coffee shop. He knew only the final goal of bringing down the most evil wizard of all time could prompt him to stoop so low.
His charm—and a bit of magic—secured him the position of barista. The title sounded grand, but when his job was described, it was essentially to take orders and make drinks. A common waiter and cook. Draco thought he hid his distaste very well.
Once he started, Draco began looking for opportunities to obtain the remaining potion ingredients. One had been easily obtained from her: the night he didn't kill her parents, he grabbed a few hairs from her hairbrush, which would provide the deoxyribonucleic acid.
The second he obtained after working for two weeks. Hermione always read the paper as she drank her coffee, and one morning, she got a nasty paper cut. Before he could really think, he'd rushed to her table and handed her a napkin. He told her to squeeze, to put pressure on the wound, to stop the bleeding. He really only wanted as much blood as possible on the napkin, but she looked at him long and hard and he was scared for just a moment that she had recognized him—though really, it was impossible.
He had nondescript brown hair, brown eyes, and average skin. He'd made himself appear completely average. Not at all memorable, which was important. He'd had to rearrange his facial structure slightly, but that was easily done. A potion much less complex than the Polyjuice was all he needed. The base potion was a little time consuming, but once it was done, certain ingredients could be added to produce certain effects. Eye of newt for brown hair, or lacewings cut long-ways for brown eyes, etc.
After staring at him, she'd burst out laughing, startling him. It was the first time he'd seen her laugh or even smile since he'd started watching her. He frowned.
"I've never seen someone react so outrageously to a paper cut," she'd said. "As though I were bleeding all over the table, or something."
He'd reddened. He knew he'd acted that way to be sure he got enough of her blood, but it didn't help that she was now laughing at him. Still laughing. As though it were the funniest thing she'd ever seen.
He muttered something and cleaned her place, careful to tuck the napkin in his pocket. Since that morning he was extra careful to avoid garnering her attention.
That night he'd boiled the napkin in a special solution designed for getting blood out of materials where it wasn't supposed to be. The napkin dissolved, leaving behind the solution. A few drops of ammonia and the solution dissipated, leaving behind a few drops of her blood. Bright red, just like his. Further proof, though he'd already known. Next he cut himself and poured both her blood and his together into the massive cauldron where he had the final potion brewing.
He still needed their saliva, mixed together. It was quite a horrible thought, but he'd come up with the perfect way to get it. Hence, he applied to the coffee shop and had been enduring women's perusals and hot beverages being spilled on him every other day. It was more attractive than the most obvious solution he'd come up with: kissing her. He shuddered at the very thought, not only of kissing her but of how much work and effort would be required to get her to willingly kiss him.
It couldn't be much longer!
Once he had all three crucial ingredients, he would brew a potion that he would then have to administer to her. Once she drank it, he had forty-seven minutes—who came up with this stuff anyway—to cast the spell that would bind them. If he failed…well, he'd have to start all over.
While it was true he worked in a coffee shop where Hermione happened to eat every morning, the collection of the specimen was more complicated than simply taking her cup after she'd finished it. Her saliva had to be mixed with two other ingredients: cardamom and a few drops of another potion he'd finished over a month ago.
He'd chosen the coffee shop because he had learned from Hermione's parents that she loved her morning tea. One morning, she was bound to order Indian Tea—Chai Tea—which had an adequate quantity of cardamom. And she had, long before he'd been ready for it, and not once since. Still, he was patient.
The door opened and he glanced at the clock. Sixteen minutes after seven on the dot; that would be Hermione. He went to the register to take her order.
She was wearing a sleek, black wrap dress and black heels, her hair put up in a loose mess, strands going every direction. As she stood biting her lip and perusing the menu, the light hit her just right, shining in her eyes and filling them. His breath caught.
"I'll have a Chai latte, please."
He shook his head and let her words sink in. His heart started pounding—today would be the day. "As you wish," he said, punching her order into the keypad. That had been fun—trying his best not to look as though he'd never seen a computer before.
"And, could I get one of those cream-filled pastries?"
She smiled at him. "Thanks, Carl."
That had been the second time she'd smiled in two months. That he saw, anyway. She paid and went to her usual table. When her order was ready, Draco made sure to get it. One thing he'd noticed in watching Hermione at the shop: she didn't pay obvious much attention to what was happening around her. He knew she was probably discreetly watching the doors, the windows, the other customers—she was, after all, an Auror, having completed an accelerated education track offered by the Ministry during the War.
But she would not pay attention to what happened to her drink between ordering it and having it delivered to her table.
With his back to her, Draco removed the potion from his sleeve cuff where he kept it safely hidden but accessible. With his right hand, he moved the cup to his tray; with his left, he uncapped the bottle and nestled it in his fist. While he moved the plate with her pastry onto the tray, he quickly poured the potion into her teacup.
Then he picked up the tray, stuffed the bottle into a pocket, and made his way to her table. She didn't even look up when he stopped in front of her.
"Chai latte and cream pastry," he said, setting each in front of her.
Hermione looked up and cocked her head. "Oh. Thanks."
He raised his eyes, waiting for her to say more, but she looked back at her paper. With a casual glance, he saw the article she was reading: Scrimgeour, Ministry Gives More Advice for Staying Safe.
It quickly became apparent that she wasn't going to say anything else, but she hadn't moved to drink from her cup.
"Is there anything else I can get you, miss?" he asked politely, flashing a smile.
She looked at him again and considered his question. "No, I don't think so. Thank you, though."
"Of course. Please let me know if you need anything."
"Sure, Carl." Finally she picked up her cup and took a drink. Draco's eyes widened in anticipation. Hermione's face scrunched up and she set the cup down, sloshing a bit onto the table.
"Is something the matter?" he asked, concerned.
"I—what's wrong with the tea?" she asked. "It's terrible!"
Draco frowned. "Really?" He picked up the cup and sniffed. It smelled perfectly normal, which he had expected. "Do you mind if I try?" he asked.
She shook her head. "No. I'm not drinking anymore of that."
Bracing himself, he took a swallow. As it had when he'd practiced this scenario at home, it tasted horrible; a side effect of the potion. He made sure to backwash, just to be sure their saliva mixed.
"See?" she said.
"Yeah, I'm really, really sorry. I'll get you another one."
Draco quickly left her table and went into the back room. He'd kept a small, empty water bottle in his locker for just this occasion, and he poured the remaining Chai tea into the bottle. He'd have to test it to be sure, but he was confident he had what he needed. He had to resist the urge to quit the job right at that moment.
But he still had to deliver the final potion, so he'd need to work for a few more days.
He made Hermione another Chai latte and took it out to her. "Try that," he said.
She took a hesitant sip, then smiled. "Much better, thank you."
"My pleasure," he said, smiling back. "Sorry about that, it's on the house."
"Oh, no, that's not necessary. It was just an accident, I'm sure."
He chuckled at the irony. "We insist," he said. "We want you to continue your business with us."
Hermione shook her head. "No, no, of course I'll still come here. Don't be silly. This is my favorite coffee shop. One bad cup isn't going to deter me."
"Excellent," he said, picking up the tray he'd left on her table. "Well, enjoy."
Draco waited until she was gone before heading home from his shift early, claiming a headache. He couldn't wait to see for sure if his stunt had worked.
He poured the contents of the water bottle into a small cauldron, then added a few prepared ingredients—cilantro, dung beetle eyes, pigeon feathers—then waited. In five minutes, the solution turned blue, indicated success. Draco gave a small cheer and added the saliva mixture to the large cauldron.
The potion hissed and sputtered, the boiling increased rapidly, and an awful smell filled the room. Draco was nearly sick, but he knew the smell was normal. Still, it didn't make it any better.
When the liquid turned a golden color, he knew it had been brewed correctly. Now it needed to simmer for a few days until it turned silver with green glops. Then he'd be ready to give it to Hermione.
"I'd like a cappuccino with extra foam, please, Carl," said Hermione a few days later. He nodded and entered the order. "And… how about a piece of that delicious-looking chocolate cake?"
"Whatever you wish," he responded. He didn't miss the gleam in her eyes, the bounce in her voice—or the red ribbon she wore in her hair. She still wore black, a sharp pencil skirt and silk blouse, but the red ribbon meant something, he knew.
Draco was thankful she'd ordered the extra foam—it would mask the color of the potion. Fortunately, this one only added a slightly sweet flavor, and she'd likely drink it all. Then would be the matter of casting the spell. He had a plan for that too. Usually she had some kind of jumper or wrap with her, to keep her warm in cool buildings. He'd charm it so that she forgot it, then return it to her once she'd left the shop.
He only hoped she wouldn't notice being hit with the spell. It wasn't supposed to do anything physical to her, but he hadn't been able to try it out. The spell, and the potions required to activate the spell, were tailored for them, and wouldn't work on anyone else.
This time, Draco made her drink himself, as the spell required at least four ounces of the potion be consumed, far more than the few drops he'd used of the last potion. And he added extra extra foam, just for good measure.
He delivered the drink to Hermione and flashed his most brilliant smile—for Carl anyway—and turned to head back to the bar.
"Carl. Have a seat, would you?" he heard her say.
His stomach flipped uncomfortably and he considered ignoring her completely. Only that wouldn't work because he'd stopped in his tracks when she'd spoken. Running off now would only look strange and possibly suspicious. But…what did she want?
Draco turned around, doing his best to exude innocence and business. "Sit?" he asked, coming to stand beside her table.
"Yeah," she said, pinking slightly and looking at her cake. "I—I mean, if you can," she blurted. "I mean, I know you're working. It's just—I'm not sure I can eat all of this on my own, is all, and I ordered it—I don't even know why, it just came to me—but now I don't really want it."
He stared at the side of her head. She…wanted him to eat cake. With her. "I…really shouldn't, Miss. As you said, I'm working."
"My name is Hermione," she said boldly.
And he realized…he realized…she…was hitting on him? Or at least, heading that way. She was hitting on a Muggle, or so she thought. The thought sent waves of practiced disgust through him, but he kept his smile straight.
"I'm, uh, Carl," he said awkwardly. "But you knew that already."
"Yes, thank you. Are you sure you won't join me?" she asked shyly.
"I—yes, I'm sure. Maybe…some other time."
Her eyes brightened and he instantly regretted what he'd said. He was about to say something more—he had a girlfriend; he was married; he had a terminal disease—when her face fell and tears welled in her eyes.
"I'm so stupid, I'm sorry."
He blinked. "What? Why?"
She shook her head. "It—it doesn't matter. Just…I'm sorry."
Draco had never seen Hermione emotional since her parents' death, not since the funeral. He figured she was handling it really well, too well, almost. In the span of ten minutes, she'd gone from happy and hopeful, to brave and flirty, to broken and sad. He realized he didn't want her to be broken, not really. But there was nothing he could do about it, and he wouldn't use his alias to try and help. He wouldn't lie to her.
He sat down across from her and picked up her fork. "I am not presently available," he said calmly, taking a bite of cake. "But I'm sure any bloke would be lucky to attract your attention."
Hermione looked at him through her tears. "You must think I'm a mess."
He shook his head and took another bite. "Not at all." He set the fork down. "It's really good cake. I hope you like it."
Then he stood and with a sincere smile, he left.
Hermione took longer than usual to finish her cake and cappuccino, and as the minutes ticked off the clock, Draco's anxiety rose. He had to cast the spell within thirty-seven minutes from the time Hermione took the first sip of the potion. Usually she was only in the shop for seventeen minutes, twenty at absolute most. Twenty-four had now passed—she'd be late to work for sure.
Just when he'd decided to approach her, and somehow casually mention the time, Hermione stood and hastily gathered her things. The charm he'd put on her jumper worked, and she left it, tucked into the corner of her usual booth.
On her way out, Hermione sent him a small wave. Draco counted to thirty before darting around from behind the counter, snatching her jumper, and heading out the door.
She had turned left; Draco looked and saw her, the red ribbon standing out, almost to the end of the road where the coffee shop was located. He hurried after her, and caught up with her in the middle of the next road. She was moving quickly, and he reasoned she had noticed the time. He had to walk fast in order to catch her.
"Hermione!" he finally called when he was a few feet behind her. The name… her name, felt strange on his tongue, sounded foreign to his ears. It hit him that he had never said it aloud before.
She stopped and spun around, one hand on her bag—where she kept her wand, he realized—and a puzzled expression on her face. When she recognized him, she relaxed.
"Carl," she said simply, as though to reinforce that she wasn't in immediate danger.
"You left this," he said, holding the jumper out to her.
Hermione stared at the garment for a moment and Draco readied himself. He'd tucked his wand up his sleeve, positioned so that when he released the jumper, he could quickly cast the nonverbal incantation that would seal the spell.
But she only continued staring and to Draco's bewilderment and horror, Hermione's eyes filled with tears.
"My… my mother gave me that jumper," she said, still staring at it as though expecting something to happen.
Draco's insides clenched, but he made no visible reaction.
"She…" Hermione started. Then she smiled, her eyes full of tears but bright. "Thank you." She reached out to take the jumper and to Draco's immeasurable luck, a car honked its horn just at the moment he cast the spell.
Her hand still clutching the jumper, Hermione turned to look in the street, where two drivers were cursing at each other.
"Got it?" Draco asked.
"Oh, yes," Hermione replied, turning back and taking the jumper from him. "Thank you, again, so much. I would have been very sad to have lost this."
Draco nodded. "And cold."
Hermione blinked, then slowly smiled. Then her eyes widened. "Oh no! I'm late for work! I—thank you, Carl! Have a nice day!" She hurried away, searching, no doubt, for a deserted alley in which to Disapparate.
Slowly, Draco made his way back to the coffee shop. It was done; he'd brewed the potions correctly and cast the Binding Spell, and she'd had no idea at all.
The Slytherin in him swelled with pride that he'd pulled off a sneaky operation without a hitch. But there was a new part of him, still quite small, that felt uncomfortable at the idea of deceiving her. Though only very slightly. After all, it was for her own protection, and someday, he might be able to tell her the truth.
As much as Draco wanted to quit that very day, he didn't want Hermione to be suspicious, or have any reason to notice his absence. So he worked the rest of the week, then told Hermione he was starting at University for the summer session, and would be moving to the evening shift.
He worked one more week, hating every minute, and finally quit.
There remained only one thing to ensure the spell's success—he had to test it, first, to make sure the spell had worked, and second, to familiarize himself with the spell's effects. To accomplish it, Draco needed to witness a situation in which Hermione felt fear. Despite the hours he spent trying to come up with a solution, the first—and eventually the only—one he could think of was to be the one who scared her. To try and cause her fear.
He dreaded doing it. He knew, quite well, that she could hex him and his mission would be put in jeopardy. So he waited; he put it off for a few days.
Finally, he could rationalize no longer, could invent no more lists of things to do, and made his plan. The next day was Friday, and Hermione would be going to the coffee shop as usual. He'd start there.
The morning dawned grey, and he wondered if it were on purpose. He'd prepared an alias for the day: an unattractive (Merlin help him!), middle-aged, nondescript man.
Draco went to his mirror and sighed. It would be a difficult, dreary day. His only hope was that his task would be accomplished quickly, that Granger would be afraid of him earlier in the day rather than later. He didn't expect it, though. From the little he'd learned of her in the two months since her parents' death, she didn't scare easily. The potion that was transform his appearance was sitting on his dresser and with another long sigh, he drank it.
He couldn't watch the transformation and went to his closet to put on a pair of Muggle jeans and a blue button-down shirt. Then he put on a hat he'd brought in the States displaying the logo of a popular baseball team and a pair of shoes.
His plan was simple. He would follow her everywhere she went that day. If she were on time, which was most days, then it would be no problem. She'd walk from the coffee shop to the Ministry. If she Apparated… it would be much more suspicious if she were to see him again that day.
Draco arrived at the coffee shop ten minutes before she did. He bought a Muggle paper, ordered a coffee, and sat down in the most out of the way table to wait. She arrived right on time and he spent the eighteen minutes she was there occasionally staring at her from behind or around the paper. He wasn't sure if she noticed, so when she got up to leave, he dropped his coffee cup. Everyone in the shop looked at him, and he hurriedly tossed a few coins on the table and left.
Hermione exited after a few moments and walked leisurely down the pavement. He followed her until she stopped at the entrance to an alley. All he needed was for her to see him, and just before she darted into the alley, she glanced around her. Their eyes met briefly, but whether or not she recognized him, he couldn't tell. She disappeared into the alley and he knew she'd Disapparated.
After work, she usually home, but as today was Friday, Draco knew Hermione would stop in Diagon Alley to see the twins in their shop, stop in the bookstore, or whatever she liked to do. So he waited outside Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.
Right on time, she arrived with Weasley, and they both went into the shop. Draco didn't go in, but he sat outside at a café across the street, watching the entrance to the joke shop. After what felt like an hour, Hermione finally emerged, laughing, carrying a small bag with the Weasley's logo on it. She held the door open for Ron and a gust of chilly wind swept through the alley. Her smile faltered and she looked across the alley, toward him. Draco continued staring at her. After all, he wanted her to see him.
She did. When their eyes met, he felt a shiver of something quite foreign run through him, like hot liquid running through his veins.
He held her gaze for a few seconds until Weasley distracted her. Then he very quickly Disillusioned himself, and just as he suspected, both Hermione and Weasley looked in his direction a moment later. The intense sensation dissipated, but he still felt lingering effects for the next twenty minutes while she and Weasley were in the bookshop. By the time they left, he felt nothing.
Draco waited outside again, and when Hermione and Ron emerged, he began following them down the sidewalk. At first, there was nothing, but Hermione must have sensed his presence. She glanced behind her and he pretended to be looking at a window display. Two more times it happened, and on the last, he looked at her. The same feeling hit him full force, ten times more intensely than the first time. Draco staggered under the sudden explosion of fire running through his blood. It wasn't painful, exactly, just very, very uncomfortable.
He stopped following them, certain now that the spell had worked, though he watched Hermione until she was out of sight. The stirrings of fear stayed with him the rest of the day, finally fading when, he assumed, she went to sleep.
Draco hoped he would never have to feel those sensations ever again, but he didn't think it possible. To his surprise, however, over the next year, there were only a handful of times where the hot liquid ran through his veins. Not once did he feel the incredibly intense fire burning his very cells.
He wouldn't experience that again until the night in January when his father attacked her. He woke up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat, and feeling very much as though he were experiencing the Cruciatus. It was a very similar sensation, just without the pain. But he still felt he would boil out of his skin.
Later that day, after he and Harry had successfully rescued Hermione and he'd dealt with his father, the residual feelings of fear disappeared instantly when, after hearing that he hadn't killed Lucius, Hermione hugged him tightly.
He wondered later that night if maybe, just maybe, some of the fear she had felt had been for him.
A/N: Thanks for reading! See you next week!