A/N: So I realize it's been bloody forever. My only excuse is that my muse is gone. It's hard to right about A person as wonderful as Draco, and it gets even harder when the person who I based him off of is no longer available to me *sigh* but Draco being the irresistible rogue that he is I couldn't abstain from him forever. Hopefully you guys haven't forgotten what's been going on, although I know I needed a recap so you probably will too, it has been over a year. But Fear not , I've said it a million times and I will continue to say it until I'm done…I will not abandon this story. Breaks…long interludes…but never abandoned. ENJOY!

I use to own HP but after a run of bad luck and some unscrupulous characters he is no longer in my possession. But I will retrieve him from JK if it's the last thing I do.

Previous Chapter:

"It's quite real actually. The white stone, this one, empowers truth. It forces the wearer to be truthful." His smile didn't come anywhere close to thawing the ice in his eyes. "It works on pain. The bigger the lie, the more pain it causes. Rather a brilliant idea, actually..."

He continued but Hermione stopped listening and her eyes widened with dawning comprehension. Different moments of watching Ginny get shocked because of Fred and George's 'practical joke' flashed through her mind. If what he was saying was true…if it hadn't been them…if it hadn't been a joke…

"…If a person were to say they'd read a book, when they really hadn't, well they might get a shock. But if they tell a more drastic lie, such as saying they didn't frame someone when they really did, for example…well they could be in agony for hours; not only proving their guilt but keeping them from wanting to lie again. And the best part about this necklace is…it can only be taken off by the person who put it on."

"In light of current information." Mr. Cochran stood up smiling. "The defensive counsel would like to have Mrs. Zabini questioned again.

" So, Mari luv. Is there something you want to tell me?" Blaise asked again, his voice mocking.

Marietta didn't utter a sound, but fell to her knees as her world came crashing down.

Chapter 35…Rapture

Silence. Unbreakable numbing silence, that was all Hermione heard. Like a cool salve on her battered mind, her ravaged emotions; the numbness, the silence was a kind of heaven.

She didn't see what everyone else saw. She didn't see the shocked shell that was her staring with wide vacant eyes at the chaos around her. She didn't hear the shocked voices and the dull roar of conversations people didn't bother to whisper. She didn't hear Marietta's screams as she tested the old magic, the screams that ceased every other noise. In Hermione's mind, in her reality, there was silence.

A thought may have floated through her consciousness about maybe sleeping. Maybe that was why she started walking toward the door. She really couldn't be bothered with it. Her mind had protected her the best way it knew how. Silence.

There may have been a green hand that had tried to stop her and someone may have shot a stunner just inches from where she had been, cutting short any objection the hands owner may have had. In reality that may have happened, but Hermione was never fully aware of it. She was never aware that she kept moving; that calloused hands wrapped her in an embrace of black silk as it led her through the chaos. Through the fireplace, to a place she was starting to recognize as home.

Later she would hear the house-elves shocked whispers as they told of a Draco no one knew existed. A Draco that carried his wife like the most fragile of infants; A Draco that bathed and soothed her, as he murmured a steady stream of words no one could make out.

Later Hermione would think of these things, but at the moment she was content. Her mind wrapped in a cocoon of silence just as her body was wrapped in one of silk. She wasn't aware of herself burrowing into the warmth of his embrace, her body accepting what her mind could not. And she slept…


~HM/~/DM~


"Master Draco, sir. Master is coming down in a minute, if you is please following Steplin to the sitting room, Steplin is bringing you some tea to warm you sir." The light green house elf with abnormally large ears informed Draco as he popped back into the foyer.

Draco looked at the creature curiously; he hadn't seen this one before. Or maybe he had and he just didn't notice. It didn't matter really, not like he was going to be seeing the thing much; it wasn't his servant.

Draco shrugged off his cloak and gloves and handed them to the little elf with barely a glance. He hoped Zabini wouldn't take too long, Hermione had been sleeping when he left and he wanted to get back before she woke.

"Is sir liking cream and sugar?" The elf squeaked, having disappeared and re-appeared with a fully loaded tea-service.

"Two lumps." He wasn't in the mood to sit so he paced over to the window and looked out at the moonlight countryside as the elf doctored his tea before handing it to him.

The day had ended almost exactly as he had planned, they had been victorious, but it was a hollow victory. His happiness was weighted down by Blasie's loss. Draco could only imagine what Blaise must be feeling, and it wasn't a good vision.

Draco consoled himself with the thought that he'd tried to warn Zabini way back at the beginning before he got attached to the lying-good-for-nothing-bitch. Maybe next time the prat would listen and save himself all the trouble.

"Why is it I always find you alone during prime opportunities to bed your wife?" Blaise drawled as he entered the room. To the casual onlooker there was nothing out of the ordinary. His lips were quirked in a typical half-smile; he walked with his typical aristocratic flare, and spoke with his typical devil-may-care attitude. To Draco he looked a mocking parody of what he had been. His smile was brittle, his back was stiff and tense and his attitude was decidedly forced. It seemed the devil wasn't the only one who cared in this situation.

"She's sleeping." Draco studied his friend closely. He didn't know what he could say or do to help Blaise, in fact, he didn't know why he was there…moral support? Please. What type of support could you really offer a person who helped convict their spouse of a felony?

"Wore her out did you?" Blaise maintained the charade of cheerfulness as he poured himself a cup of tea with a healthy shot of rum.

"Are you going to be crass all day?"

"Well, you could tell me what it is you want." His humor fell away like an old cloak.

"Maybe I just wanted to talk to you." Draco shrugged, that was true enough.

"Because you didn't just see me most of the morning."

"Wasn't aware I had a time limit."

"Well now you are."

"Be serious."

Blaise dragged a weary hand down his face and looked at the ceiling as though hoping for divine intervention. When none was forthcoming he returned to the issue at hand with a weary sigh. "What is it you're expecting Draco, whining and tears? I'm not Pansy."

"Sweet Merlin, I hope not." Draco had to laugh, but was instantly sober again. "Although a bit of honest reaction shouldn't be too much to ask for either."

"I am honestly reacting."

"No you're pretending to be honest."

"You want honesty…well that's a new one but sure, why not. Honestly I don't blame you or Hermione for any of this. You were right. You said she was a bitch and that's what she turned out to be. Smile… gloat…laugh if you must, but I honestly don't know what you were expecting."

"You're not yourself." Draco volunteered. Still watching closely, hoping for a hint on how to proceed.

"Really?" he sounded mildly interested, as if they were talking about a school book or something equally as trivial.

"Really…maybe you should take a break. Go on a tour of the world or something. Get away from England."

"Schools still in; in case you've forgotten. I can't be taking years off to go look at stupid landmarks and silly statues that really only mean something to the sods that live around it…Draco I appreciate your concern, but I'm fine. Besides all that, I've decided I need an heir."

"An… Heir." Of all the excuses Blaise could have come out with, that was the last one Draco expected. "That's not even funny, mate."

"I'm being serious, Draco."

Exasperation warred with pity, as Draco took several deep breaths. "No, you're definitely joking mate. Not even Weasley is that thick. Your wife gets convicted of treason and you mention having a kid. Yeah that's a great home life…especially for two people who haven't finished school and have never dealt with the snotty things in their life. No…No, Blaise you're joking."

"I'm not."

"Well, were you planning on having this kid before or after the bint got out of Azkaban?" Draco asked with heavy sarcasm.

"She's still my wife." Blaise stated calmly, but clearly not happy with Draco's continued insults.

"Apologies, but you'll have to excuse me. I've just realized my best mate, has completely lost his mind."

"Apology accepted. And for your information she's not going to Azkaban."

That stopped Draco short. His already cold eyes turned glacial as he sat his glass down and walked over to the window with deliberate slowness. His voice was a whip of condemnation. "Do tell, why won't she and her delightful mother be gracing Azkaban with their presence. Last I heard treason was a life sentence."

"I never said her mother wasn't going…Marietta isn't. I couldn't care less what happens Madam Edgecombe, I'm not bound to her."

"And the reason Marietta is escaping her well deserved fate?"

"She's not." Blaise stood, deposited his cup on the table with the long forgotten tray of treats, and leaned against the table near the window Draco was currently propped up against. "I'm telling you this only because I think you have a right to know after what she's done, not because I am in anyway threatened by you."

"You never did know when to be properly cowed." Draco was only halfway joking and they both knew it.

"It is what it is. But as I was saying, Marietta was released into my care to be punished as I saw fit. In case you were lucky enough to have forgotten, she is eternally bound to me. And, whereas it may suit you for her to be locked away for the rest of eternity, it puts me in a bit of an unsavory situation; especially when it comes to heirs." The mockery in his voice cut through Draco's own irritation as simple acceptance wouldn't have.

Draco inclined his head towards Blaise in acknowledgement. "So…"

"So…what?"

"So…what, so what are you going to do with her, that's what."

"There's nothing to do with her. Like I said, the Ministry gave her into my custody – it's the least they bloody owe me after forcing me into this mess - she is, as we speak, getting…comfortable." It was his tone, and the unmistakable note of cruelty that caught Draco's attention.

"Getting…comfortable?" Draco repeated.

"That is what I said."

"Master…" The unrecognizable elf from earlier had popped back in at Blaise's elbow, executing a deep bow before he continued with its message. "The potions master is giving Steplin the potion that master wanted and a note to give to master." He handed Blaise a sealed envelope and a largish size potion bottle with its aquamarine colored liquid waiting comfortably inside.

Blaise took it and the elf disappeared with an audible pop.

Draco silently eased his way behind Blaise and read the contents of the parchment over his shoulder. "What potion is it?" Draco wondered as the name of it had never been mentioned.

Blaise jumped, clearly not realizing Draco had been directly behind him. "You are beyond rude." He snapped, re-rolling the parchment.

"What potion is it?" He asked again, unperturbed.

"This…" He held up the bottle. "My ill mannered friend is how I intend to punish my beloved…would you care to watch the show. Given her flair for the dramatic, I'm sure it will be an event." Blaise commented dryly.

"Lead the way."

"Just a second…Steplin." He called and the elf in question popped in, bowing low to each of them in turn.

"Masters. What can Steplin be doing for you?"

"I want you to take this potion and put it in a cup of fruit juice, Mareitta likes that. In about 5 minutes or so I'm going to call you and ask for three cups, I want you to make sure that Marietta gets the one with the potion, understood?"

"Yes, master. Steplin is doing it right away." And the elf had indeed, disappeared as soon as it had stopped talking.

"Shall we go see my dear wife?" Blaise spat the last bit out like it burned.

"By all means," Draco replied. "Are you going to get around to telling me what the potion is?"

"No." Blaise led the way out the door, and up the grand staircase.

They traveled up the left side of the estate, going through various hallways until they were in an area Draco was sure he'd never been in before. And there was little wonder; it looked like it hadn't been used in decades. Though there wasn't a speck of dust or even the tiniest hint of a cobweb – they did keep house elves around for a reason – the place just felt neglected. Like it was filled with years of dark secrets, locked and hidden away.

The hallway Draco followed Blaise down had only one door. One lonely and isolated door, which Blaise didn't bother to knock on, instead he turned the handle and let himself in.

To say the room was sparse was an understatement of drastic proportions. There was a twin bed, a wooden armoire, a bookshelf that was at present, empty, and a single plain wooden chair at a plain wooden table. No mirrors, no pictures, no nothing.

"How utterly depressing." Draco drawled. "I like it."

"Thought you might." Blaise answered.

"I don't even get the common courtesy of having people knock before they enter." Marietta half whined as she stood. She had been sitting on the bed, looking, to the all the world, like the down trodden neglected wife.

"No." Blaise answered calmly. "Have a seat, wife of mine, we need to talk."

"I should say so." Her voice took on a nasally whine, which Draco found grated on his nerves. He hated whining. Hermione never whined. Yelled, sometimes. Lectured, frequently. Shrieked, only in pleasure and only when he was lucky. But she never whined and for that alone, he was eternally grateful.

"You're looking a bit peaky, have you eaten anything?" Blaise inquired of her politely, if not coolly.

"No, between being set up by my husband and deposited in this godforsaken house, and locked in this awful room, when would I have had time to eat?" She whined imploringly. "How long are you going to keep me out here Blaise? Please, I'm sorry. I want to go back to the manor with you. I don't want you to leave me here. I'm so so sorry. I wouldn't truly have let anything happen to Hermione, I swear. I just wanted her to get what she deserved, but I wouldn't have left her there long, I swear." She threw herself at him, grabbing the edges of his robes. "Please, let's just go back home and we can be together. It doesn't have to matter anymore…She doesn't have to matter anymore. Please Blaise, please."

Blaise heaved an audible sigh before he proceeded to remove the lapels of his robes from her manicured nails. Draco thought the whole scene to be nothing short of ridiculous. Surely, she didn't think that after everything a simple 'I'm sorry' was going to make it all better. The very thought made him want to laugh and he saw no reason not to, so he did.

He didn't just chuckle either, no, Draco roared with laughter.

Marietta glared at him but was smart enough not to mention it.

"Where do you think you~" Draco started to ask her where she thought she was if not at the manor, but apparently Blaise didn't want that out there yet because he immediately cut him off.

"You're working yourself into a fit." Blaise was still calm, his monotone voice was none to reassuring. "Sit down and drink something so we can discuss this rationally please…" He turned away from her and called, "…Steplin."

They didn't have to wait long for the elf to pop back in. "Yes, Master." His blue pillow case with royal purple insignia crinkled as he bowed.

"We require refreshment…something light. ."

"Of course Master."

Blasie pulled out his wand and drew two high backed arm chairs as they waited. Blaise gestured for Draco to one and he took the other. Marietta sat on the edge of her bed, head bowed and hands folded in her lap looking quite contrite.

In no time at all Steplin reappeared. " Steplin is bringing both juice and tea"

"The Juice will be fine." Blaise waved the elf forward to see to the chore. He handed a cup first to Draco, as a guest it was only polite that he be served first. At a flick of Blaise's wrist he handed Marietta a cup before finally, handing Blaise his. No one would ever say Blaise wasn't a perfect gentleman.

"You remembered I like juice?" Marietta asked timidly, daring to smile a bit.

"It's really not that important, but yes." Blaise answered congenially. "Are you going to drink it or was my efforts wasted….again."

Marietta took a long drink at the slight reprimand.

Draco had to take a drink to hide his smile. Blasie's manipulative ability was nothing short of an art form, and a glorious one at that.

"What do you think about your new home?"

"It's depressing and horrible, just like Draco said." Marietta answered. "Please don't make me stay here…I'm~"

"Calm down." Blaise intoned again. "I wasn't trying to get you worked into another state. I was just making idle chat until you were calm."

Marietta took another long drink and a deep breath. "I'm sorry…to you both. What I did was wrong…so very wrong. It was mean and petty and immature. Blaise, I hurt you and that was the last thing I wanted." She bowed her head to hide the tears and the shame she felt. "You gave me the world, but I couldn't see past my personal vendetta. I…I deserve any and every punishment you could think of to give me…for however long." She looked up at Blaise, her eyes shining with the maniacal light of determination. "But I want you to know when that's done…when you think I've paid for my crimes. I'll be a good wife to you. I swear I'll spend the rest of my life making it up to you…And I…I…" She took another deep breath and a sip of her drink. Collected, she continued. "I wanted you to know that Nott…Nott and I never had anything going on." She turned to Draco "I know what the others were saying…whispering to you behind my back." She placed her empty cup on the floor and fell to her knees at Blaise's feet. "The reason…Nott and I…we were talking so often, because I wanted him to help me…in my plans. I tried to convince him that it was the best way to go. He didn't agree. But he tried to stop me several times. That's it. There was nothing else that happened. I would never cheat on you. I've never wanted to. I love you" She finished in a rush.

Blaise closed his eyes, as if he had to weigh his options carefully, as if he was facing the most difficult decision of his life.

Draco knew he was facing the most nauseating scene in his life.

"Hand me your wand."Blaise asked after what seemed like hours but was really on minutes.

Marietta did so willingly, gladly even. He was going to remove whatever enchantment kept her in the room. She almost smiled in triumph.

"You know, of course, that your new room was enchanted…you watched me do it." she nodded her head in agreement. "And you know I cast it with your wand." He still had his eyes closed although he held her wand now. "And it can only be taken down with your wand." She nodded her agreement again. "I just wanted to make sure you understand." He looked down at her where she was still kneeling at his feet, fresh tears running down her face, her silky brown hair flowing down her back. He met and held her gaze as he brought her wand up so that it was level with her nose…and he snapped it.

The crack reverberated around the room. Marietta gazed in wild eyed confusion and then shrieked as if she were the one who had been broken. "Wha…why?" She whimpered.

"Did you honestly think that would be it…you would say sorry, you would tell me you hadn't cheated on me, you would say you loved me and it would all be okay. None of it…nothing else would matter? Are you really that stupid?" Blasie asked, he hadn't raised his voice, nor bothered to look particularly concerned. "I'll tell you what matters…You lied to me...You tried to hurt my friends, you committed treason…You disgraced my family's name….You lied to me, and you continue to lie to me…on your knees with your hollow apologies and your self-serving promises." He brushed a single finger down her cheek, her cheek that was now wet from the real tears she cried. "No, nothing is ever that easy…so you aren't a whore, well I knew that. There's no way for you to be. But you are a traitor. A vile manipulative bitch who will never pollute the world with your foul presence again." He patted her cheek lightly as one would a dog. "See Malfoy, I told you she would put on a show."

"So you did." He chuckled. "Honestly though, did you think he was really going to release you…were you really that naïve?"

"Go to Hell." She whispered to Draco before standing up, clenching and unclenching her fists "How could you break my wand…" she brought her baleful glare up to Blaise's eyes who had never left her face. "How long are you planning on keeping me here?" Her teeth were clenched and her jaw locked from the effort of holding in her anger.

"I won't say until you die, mainly because that sounds melodramatic, but that is the general time period of your release." Blaise was almost jovial, and Draco wondered if his old friend was coming back.

"It won't last." Marietta snapped.

"Won't it?" Blaise questioned, still seated and half smiling.

"No it won't." She repeated viciously. "You forget I'm a witch…A witch…magic is in my blood and channeled through my wand. You evil git. Eventually, I'll start doing and perfecting wandless magic. I'll leave." She threw at him. Her gaze still jumping from him to her ruined wand.

"Hmmm…I must have forgotten to mention it….I'm sorry, how rude of me." His voice was deceptively light, but his dark eyes gave away his true feelings. His anger and disgust were written plainly for Marietta to witness and she cowered away. She retreated until her back was against the wall and she realized, belatedly, he hadn't been overcome by her apology but hiding his anger. "You were given the draught de voxnecto…" The color drained from her face, and she fell to her knees again, this time in anguish. Draco's head snapped up, and he gazed up at his friend in surprise. "I had to go through a lot of trouble to procure some so quickly. But for you my love…I would do just about anything." The sarcasm fairly dripped from his pores. "By now it's more than completed its work. You love your juice so much, you drank it quick…thanks for that, so now you won't be doing wandless magic, or any other type of magic…ever again. Forever, Marietta. You're powers have been bound forever." His hard voice snapped like a whip. "You'd best get use to the room, you won't be leaving it nor will you ever receive visitors other than me. Now, you will learn what it means to turn against me, sweet wife." Blaise turned on his heel and walked out of the room in a flurry of material.

The sound of clapping brought Marietta's attention back to the other occupant of the room."Well, Marietta, that was a marvelous show. Quite amusing. I would just like to say it's been a pleasure watching you brought to your knees." Draco gave her a once over. "Quite literally." He chuckled. "Enjoy your imprisonment." He gave a courtly bow and turned, following Blaise out the door, which closed behind him. The door locked with an audible click.

Draco caught up to Blaise as he was making his way to the more inhabited areas of the manor. "How long do you really plan on keeping her up there?" He asked carefully, trying to gauge his friends' mood while still satisfying his own curiosity.

"I already answered that question." Blaise continued to head through hallways, until they reached the main staircase.

"And how exactly does that fit in with your plans to have an heir?" Draco drawled.

"quite perfectly actually." Blaise quipped, "Again not that it's any of your business…"

"We are mates." Draco reminded him mulishly. "It's possible I am just concerned for you."

Blaise did laugh that time. "Possible," he conceded. "But unlikely."

Draco had the good grace to look affronted as he waited.

"Maybe you could be a bit concerned for me," Blaise conceded to the silence. "But you'r more just nosey and a control freak."

"Be that as it may, it's still there. We'll come back to the control freak bit in a minute."

Blaise shrugged. They were at the large double doors, the conversation wouldn't be lasting much longer. "If she's stuck in a room that only I and a mute house-elf can enter, then she's not going anywhere, she's not getting any help from anyone and I don't have to worry about her causing anymore trouble. I give her about 3 months before shes completely starved for human interaction…she'll welcome the chance to give me the heir I seek, if only to try to win me over."Blaise shrugged again, as if the thought of his wife trying to barter her body for her crimes wasn't abhorrent to him. Draco wasn't fooled for a minute. "It's a no lose situation." Blaise finished as casually as he could manage, holding the door open for Draco. Like clockwork the little elf popped in with Draco's cloak and gloves, not that either of them bothered to notice.

"No Blaise, there's definitely a loser in this situation." Draco informed him grimly. Draco looked at the black sky torn between wanting to be there when Hermione woke up and wanting to stay with Blaise. Neither we're really in their right mind nor could he help the feeling of guilt that crawled through him.

"Go home Draco." Blaise said softly, making the decision for him. "If worse comes to worse, I do know how to get to Malfoy Manor." He added with a humorless chuckle.

They both knew he wouldn't show up, but the both also knew that Draco had to go.

It was with a heavy heart that Draco walked away to apparate.