This story is being written as a gift for Violent Pixi
who was my 100th reviewer of my first fanfic, Just One Kiss.
POV: Draco Malfoy
"Bloody Hell! I have to find this girl to get back in the Dark Lord's good graces, before I'm hauled off to Azkaban! This is impossible!"
I hear my mother's soft, muffled response behind the closed door. I don't expect her to be the one with whom my father converses. She can't take this, I think, worried for her. It's an unusual feeling to have right now. Usually I can separate my emotions, but not today. Today, I find the task too cumbersome. I consciously work on compartmentalizing.
It is, after all, the Malfoy way.
I'd been walking on eggshells all summer. I've been on tiptoe ever since the Battle at the Ministry, ever since my father's been placed on house arrest awaiting the Wizengamot court hearing. Father's haphazard spurts of fury, his moments of sorrow, and his randomly timed fierce pronouncements of fatherly love drives me to near madness. I've escaped all of my worldly problems by literally taking flight. I believe I've logged more hours on my broom soaring around over the Malfoy grounds these last two months than in all the years I'd practiced in the Quidditch pitch at Hogwarts.
The uncharacteristic desperation in my father's words today blasts through the heavy wooden doors of his den. I hear him as I'm drumming up to courage to answer his earlier summons. I halt in front of the door, fretting. All night I'd stayed awake, trying to find a way I might be able to relieve myself of the task that was presented to me last night by the Dark Lord himself.
If not, I knew it just might be my death sentence.
I knock purposefully on my father's door.
The tone of this single word alone holds power. I steel myself as I grip the door handle. I perform the regular mental checks.
I hide my curiosity.
I smother my fear.
I smoothen my features.
I straighten my tie.
I run a hand over my slicked back hair.
I paste on a mild sneer and push open the door.
"Draco, sit," the command is silky, and smooth. The tone of his voice is oddly comforting. Now I know it is a good day for Father. So, I allow myself to release a little tension as I slide into the highly ornamented Fauteuil that faces his desk. My mother is in the matching one beside me, only a few feet away.
"I believe I will be found guilty and convicted this week, Draco," my father's voice is eerily calm. My mother shifts in her seat, but little else stirs the heavy silence in the room. "I know I will be residing in Azkeban within the fortnight. I called you here because in my absence, I want you to know that I consider you to be the man in charge. Your uncle will be of some assistance with the family business, but your mother and I have decided that Severus, your godfather, will be your guide this year, or for however long I remain incarcerated."
I nod calmly. Though the news shakes me, I remain straight-backed in my chair. I slowly interweave my fingers together and press my thumbs against one another. This is the only way I can allow a part of me to physically clench in fear. It is a move I learned at my father's knee.
As though carrying something extremely precious, my father holds up a familiar looking sphere. I determine that Father must have taken it from the Hall of Prophecies at the Department of Mysteries before everything went to hell in a hand-basket.
"In my hand I hold a prophecy that will protect us, Draco. I need to give you this information. I've been trying to untangle its mystery but my time is running out. This is another task for you to complete, of which the Dark Lord is yet unaware." I watch Father carefully hold the white crystal ball higher in the air, peering into it. "If you can discover the answer to this prophecy, Draco, this knowledge will save you from certain death should you be unable to complete the final deed the Dark Lord demands of you."
Father stares hard at me and I force myself not to look away. He seems to know that I am petrified of having to commit this final act. I can not begin to imagine how I will manage it. My father seems to sense this in me and he has thankfully given me something to help me before he is carted away to prison. I work hard not to outwardly express the relief I feel at this last showing of paternal care.
"Son, it will help protect your mother, and if the Dark Lord prevails, it will save our family name."
From the corner of my eye I see my mother. To the untrained eye, she appears calm, placid, even. But I know her. She is the only woman I have ever loved, or at least what I think of as love. I know that her eyes are bright from unshed tears. I know the slight furrow between her eyebrows only hint at her extreme distress. She shows strength by not breaking down in front of Father. But I know her, and I hear her weeping at night as I roam the mansion halls seeking a way to alleviate my interminable insomnia.
I sigh with false patience. I pretend not to care too much about the news my father has for me.
"Yes, Father. I'm ready for the information."
Lucius leans over his expansive desk, placing the glowing orb into my outstretched, open hands.
POV: Hermione Granger
I arrive home from my summer job at the Muggle library to find my father's concerned blue eyes trained on me as I open the back door. My mother is in tears in the nearby living room.
What on earth is wrong?
"Mum? Dad?" All of my internal alarms are clanging, but I desperately seek calm in the eye of what surely must be a huge, rising storm.
"Hermione, we think you should sit down," my dad says, guiding me to the sofa where my mother bravely tries to compose herself and not crumple into sobs. "We just received some news from St. Andrews Hospital."
I sit down and brace myself for whatever the news is. I surmise that it can't be good considering my father's withdrawn expression and my mum's streaming tears.
"Oh, isn't that the hospital where I was born? That's weird," I attempt to keep my tone light, even though my palms are turning sweaty at my knees. "OK, what is it?"
My father gulps, staring at the floor.
"Well, the good news is, you have a sister," he sends me a wan smile. The shock of his words rockets through me before I realize there must be bad news, too. I shift, waiting for the other shoe to drop. "And...?" I prompt.
"Well, I guess it's to be done like ripping off a band-aid. Quickly," my dad mutters. I watch him grimace as he continues, "Hermione, sweetheart, it... it turns out that you aren't ...our biological daughter." He stammers, grabbing onto my hands which have suddenly stilled. "The hospital located some papers and records that show another child, our biological child, was born only minutes before you in an adjoining room. Apparently there was a mix-up in the nursery. I don't know what or how they came upon the file, but the hospital called us while you were out working and we've been going out of our minds since."
I stare at my mother's watery blue eyes, her dark blonde hair a straight curtain hiding most of her features. With strong, graceful dentist's fingers, she pushes her hair out of her face. Then she nearly launches herself at me, pulling me into a bone crushing hug.
"But you're still ours!" my mother wails. "Hermione, you're still our daughter!"
I nod slowly, not knowing what else to do or say.
"Does she look like me?" I dumbly whisper.
My father moves to the table by the window, where a thick file sits. I hadn't noticed it before. He lifts up a picture of a girl my age. She must still have a doctor at St. Andrews if dad has that picture, I think idly. I stare at a bright smiling face, sparkling blue eyes - like my father's.
Her blonde hair is straight and perfect. She looks exactly like my mum.
This was their daughter.
I feel a fat, hot tear slide down my cheek. With only one look at this stranger's face, I finally realize the truth about why my looks are so different from my fair-haired parents, and why my brown eyes don't even own a hint of blue.
"You've spoken to her, then?" I croak softly.
Suddenly, I can't see straight.
"Is my sister... magical like me?"
I watch them both shake their heads.
This time my stomach clenches and I feel the extraordinary need to retch.
End note: Please be aware of changing POVs! I tried a straight plot line, but the reading seemed entirely too contrived. So, here's a warning that there'll be a lot of flashbacks and Penseive gazing to help provide the necessary history. Hopefully I've made time changes/settings fairly clear at the top and that the jumps with my time turner won't be too abrupt. This seems like it's going to be heavily plot driven, so if you want lots of dramione lemon and lime, you might want to try my To Muddy a Malfoy. Additionally, I'm trying to keep Draco and Hermione in character, but will develop them so that a relationship is possible. Here's to hoping you'll be patient with me!