As promised, here is Chapter 5! Early! Two chapters in two days! Do I win a gold star? Or a cookie? No? Okay...
Again, this chapter only went through 2 betas. And I like to use 3. So, there are bound to be some mistakes on top of this being my first fic. I promise to fix anything should something come up once this has been published.
Disclaimer: I have written J.K Rowling several times asking her to grant me ownership of Harry Potter and all of her characters. She has yet to respond. SO, everyone still belongs to her. Major sad face. Major. Also, this is still a Hermione/Narcissa fic. Don't like it? Don't read it. I WILL GO DOWN WITH THIS SHIP.
Thank you again for all of the great reviews! I hope you enjoy this chapter. It's my longest yet. I had two different places I could take this chapter and I went with my gut, so hopefully it pays off with you guys. I PROMISED myself I'd never ask for reviews... SO, just so you know: I LOVE REVIEWS. They are like my drugs. Incase you were curious...
And here you go! Enjoy the 5th chapter!
The weeks that followed her visit at St Mungo's couldn't have possibly gone by slower for Hermione. Mrs Weasley had kept all those near the Burrow busy with wedding preparations, and she hadn't had another chance to go and visit Narcissa. Instead, she had to rely on Draco to send her best wishes to his mother. Sometimes he'd return with a short message back, but it wasn't the same. Ever since Hermione finally talked with Narcissa, she couldn't erase her face from her mind. When she thought, she thought of Narcissa. When she dreamt, she dreamt of Narcissa. It was as if her whole world was now revolving around one person. Hermione always thought of herself as a strong and independent woman. She had to be, growing up with Harry Potter and Ron Weasley as her best friends. Hermione knew that she was brave, and she knew she was smart. She'd never once second guessed herself. Until the night she decided to save a life. Her life.
She sat in a window sill in her silver floor-length bridesmaid dress. It hugged her upper body tightly, and then flowed to the ground with grace. Her usual bushy brown curls were now in a neat bun with just a few curls making themselves present around her face, and a pink flower tucked neatly behind her ear. Everyone told her she was going to be the most stunning witch present besides Ginny herself. Hermione couldn't help but think that everyone was going to be proven wrong, on both accounts. Narcissa Malfoy was well enough now to attend the wedding. She would certainly be dressed in her very best, and she was completely flawless to Hermione. She was sure that Narcissa's beauty would outshine every single attendee at the wedding.
"Hermione…" called an ashamed voice that interrupted her thought process. She turned to find Harry and Ron in their dress robes, both tangled in ties. She laughed aloud at the sight of them.
"We need you, Mione. I can't get this bloody thing to look right!" complained Ron.
"We've been trying for the past half an hour. We asked Mrs Weasley, but she's fussing over Ginny and sent us to you." Harry said as if all of his confidence had been deflated.
"Did the two of you forget that you're wizards?" sighed Hermione, as she picked up her wand from the sill and made her way towards her friends. With a flick of her wand, their ties were neatly done and even Hermione had to admit that they both looked handsome.
"Bloody hell, Hermione. You are fantastic, you are." Ron said with his eyes fixed on Hermione. "How'd you do that? We've seriously been at it for forever!"
"I'll give you a hint, Ronald." Hermione teased. "It starts with an 'M' and ends in an 'agic'. Perhaps you've heard of it?" As much as she detested his advances towards her, Hermione couldn't bring herself to hate Ron. They'd been friends throughout her childhood, and she couldn't really imagine her life without him. She loved him, and she knew that. But, it certainly wasn't his face she dreamt of at night.
Hermione had to stop herself thinking such things. It was wrong and she knew it. She wouldn't even allow herself to think more into it. She rationalized her thoughts about Narcissa by reminding herself that she just felt a certain fondness towards her because Narcissa had saved her life, and she'd done the same for Narcissa. A mutual fondness, a developing friendship at best. Or so Hermione hoped. No, she thought to herself. She did not hope. Hoping would mean that maybe she cared more about Narcissa than she should. A woman who was at least twice her age. A mother to a boy that was in her same year at Hogwarts. A woman, none the less. Yes, she would try much harder to push these thoughts from her mind. She loved Ronald. She had too. And she would continue to do so.
"You okay, Mione?" Ron interrupted her thoughts again.
"Yeah, I'm fine, Ron." Hermione said dismissively. "Are you ready Harry?"
"Not one time throughout all of our years and situations we got into was I nervous. Now, I am a bit, yeah." Harry admitted.
"You'll be fine, Harry. I know you will," Hermione gave him a reassuring hug. "Especially now that you have your tie tied properly!"
The boys made their way out to the garden where the ceremony was taking place whilst Hermione helped Mrs Weasely finish getting Ginny ready. Ginny looked absolutely stunning with simple white wedding dress and pearls flawlessly draped around her neck. Her hair had been curled then done in a similar fashion to Hermione's, only the top of her head was dressed in the Weasley's great aunt Muriel's goblin made tiara.
"Is it to much?" questioned the nervous red head, who was straightening the tiara atop her head.
Hermione took her hands and reassured her. "You look beautiful, Gin."
Mrs Weasley burst into tears, they all hugged, and with that, it was time for the wedding to begin.
The wedding went by quickly and smoothly. It was a beautiful thing to have witnessed. The flowers and decorations that could be found wherever you look complimented Ginny's extravagant beauty. Hermione stood behind her friend as she married the love of her life, Hermione's other best friend. That in itself was a beautiful experience. However, Hermione couldn't help but scanning the crowded audience for Narcissa and Draco Malfoy. However, with it being the Boy Who Lived getting married, there were so many people, and Hermione didn't want to look too suspicious by letting her eyes continue to wander back to everyone in search for them. She would find her during the reception, she decided. She would ask Narcissa how she was doing since her release, and maybe even compliment her dress. Hermione always planned ahead, this would be no different.
The garden where the wedding was held was soon transfigured into an enchanting reception. A tent suspended in the air by magic now covered the guests, as well as lanterns, drink plates, and snack plates that seemed to float around to all of the guests. Tables were covered in Gryffindor colors. Witches and wizards danced and ate to their hearts' content. And some, Hermione noted, like her Ronald, drank to their hearts' content.
Being apart of the Golden Trio had its draw backs. It meant that every single witch and wizard present wanted to say hello to and talk to Hermione. Between trying to keep Ron under control, and making polite small talk with the others, Hermione was starting to fear she would never get the chance to sneak away to talk to Narcissa.
She must have looked frustrated, because Ginny pulled her aside for a few spare moments that came during the middle of the on-going party.
"She's here you know! I've just spoken to her. She asked me where she could find you!" Ginny exclaimed.
"Pardon?" Hermione tried to play it off like she didn't know what Ginny was talking about as she tried to hide the will to smile at the fact Narcissa had asked about her.
"You aren't stupid Hermione. She's over there," Ginny point towards one of the back corners of the tent. "Go," she commanded, "before we get swarmed by more guests!"
Before Hermione could try to convince Ginny that she didn't know what she was talking about, and that the things she was insinuating were ridiculous accusations, she was off making conversation with other guests.
Now was her chance. Hermione let her Gryffindor heart roar and seized it. Taking a glass of champagne and downing it, she made her way over to where Ginny had told her Narcissa was. As she approached, she was stopped in her tracks. She was sure her heart had stopped as well. She reminded herself to breathe, but breath just couldn't come to her at the moment. There, in front of her, sat Narcissa at a table by herself. She was eyeing her son, who was dancing with Astoria Greengrass. Hermione was silently thankful for this. It gave her more time to take Narcissa's angelic appearance in. There, she sat, draped in the finest emerald fabric. Her dress was low cut and flowed around her body. Her hair was pinned up with silver, not too neat, but certainly not messy. Large silver earrings in the shape of teardrops hung from her ears. They way her red lips contrasted with her pale skin, she was perfect. Hermione had never seen something quite as beautiful. It was like she was looking at something too amazing to be real. How could Narcissa Malfoy be real?
"You seem to have developed a bad habit of staring, Miss Granger." Narcissa lips curled into a smile at Hermione.
Hermione hadn't realized Narcissa's blue eyes had looked away from her son, and caught her staring at her. Again. "I…I'm so sorry Mrs Malfoy," she admitted. "You just look absolutely stunning! It's good to see you doing so well." Hermione said truthfully, while thinking that she'd recovered the awkward situation quite well.
"Why, thank you. It's good to see you as well. Would you care to sit for a moment with me? I'm afraid I'm still quite exhausted from everything. I'm not quite up for dancing." she gave Hermione a friendly smile as she traced the rim of her empty wine glass with her finger.
"Of course. I'm not really a good dancer, anyway. I'd love to take a seat, as long as you'll have me here." Hermione said softly, sitting down next to Narcissa.
They made small talk for a few minutes while Hermione tried to memorize every inch of Narcissa. Her face, the perfect curves of her body, the way she laughed. Narcissa grabbed them both a glass of champagne when the next plate flew around.
"To all the new beginnings this evening!" Narcissa toasted.
"Yes! To new beginnings!" Hermione nodded in agreement and raised a brow. "If you don't mind me inquiring, what other new beginnings are beginning this evening?"
"Well, Miss Granger, seeing as how I have been stuck in a loveless marriage since I was your age, and my blithering idiot of a husband is now on the run, I requested a divorce. It was approved two days ago, and finalized today."
"Congratulations, Mrs Malfoy!" Hermione said almost too excitedly, and tried to distract Narcissa from picking up her excitement. "I mean, Miss Black? Please accept my apologies. But, you do seem happy about this? Right?"
Narcissa nodded. "Yes, Miss Granger. It was about time I did it. It will surely be all over the Prophet tomorrow morning. I haven't told anyone besides Draco yet, and there really isn't a point in trying to hide it any longer, I suppose."
Hermione couldn't believe that she was the first person Narcissa had confided in about her divorce other than her own son. "I'm so happy that you are happy. You deserve it. And, you don't have to call me Miss Granger. You can call me Hermione if you'd like."
"Thank you. I finally feel as if I'm free. My family, apart from one of my sisters and my son, has always held me back. Made me conform into something I wasn't." Narcissa said, taking a sip from her glass. She eyed Hermione curiously for a moment before speaking again. "And thank you, Hermione. You can call me Narcissa. I feel like we are a bit past formals, you know, after you saved my life and all of this so called girl talk." she smiled as she spoke.
Hermione liked it when she smiled. She always smiled back. "I quite enjoy talking to you, Narcissa. It's easy to talk to-" and suddenly, she was cut off.
"HERMIONE!' screeched a drunken Ron through a crowd of people.
Hermione rolled her eyes in frustration and annoyance. She was angry at him for interrupting her for a third time this evening, especially now that she was with Narcissa. Narcissa, who gentlely reached over and placed her hand on Hermione's.
"You don't have to go to him." she told the younger witch softly. In her eyes, there was sorrow for Hermione. Narcissa knew what it was like to be in her place.
"I have to go and take care of him. I'll be right back." Hermione said, slamming her chair back, wishing with every ounce of her being that she could stay there with Narcissa. She'd touched her hand so softly… It was such a simple action, but so comforting. She found herself craving more.
"Hermione. Where the bloody hell have you been?" Ron yelled at her, in front of everyone. They all stared at them.
"I was talking, Ronald." Hermione said quietly but sternly, trying to make him listen. "Here, let's go inside and get you sobered up, shall we?" She grabbed his hand and led him toward to Burrow. He reeked of alcohol. Surely, he was going to have hell to pay from Ginny and Mrs Weasley.
But, little did Hermione know, she was going to have hell to pay first.
"Hermione. I want you. And I need you. Now. Right now." Ron mumbled as her grasped her shoulders tightly and attempted to choke Hermione with his tongue.
She tried to push him off of her as they entered the Burrow. The next thing she knew she was up against the couch in the living room of the Burrow.
"Come on Hermione… It's been forever…" breathed Ron as if he was begging her.
"NO! RON! Get off of me!" she continued to fight against him. She would NOT have sex with him in this state. Not here, and not like this. She didn't even want to have sex with him anymore. Not that she really ever did. Yet, it was another obligation of being with Ron.
His fingers fumble with the top of her dress as he tried to remove it, and continued kissing her all over. He was stronger than she was. She reached for her wand, but it wasn't there. She'd left it back at the party. Hermione was completely defenseless. The look in his eye was distant, Ron wasn't all there. He was always like this when he was drunk. There wasn't any changing it. Hermione knew what she had to do. She gave in to him. She stopped fighting him, and let him have his way with her. It wasn't worth continuing fighting over it when she knew he'd always win.
When he was finished with her, he redressed himself, and went back out to the party. Probably for more drinks, she thought. Hermione fumbled as she gathered her things and tears began to sting her eyes. With Ron, she felt nothing, yet he would always win. He over powered her, and even though she has allowed it, the fact of what had just happened scared Hermione. The look in his eyes terrified her. She ran upstairs to her room and locked the door, knowing full well it wouldn't stop Ron or anyone else from entering without magic if they wished. As she let her tears fall, she slipped into a nightgown and into her bed. She needed to go back to the party and get her wand, but she couldn't right now. Not like this. Maybe after everyone had left. She went from being so happy to so miserable in seconds, and it was all because of Ron. He used her. She wasn't anything to him, and, if by some chance she was, he didn't show it. She put her head in her hands and tried to stop crying. But her life was turning into a roller coaster ride, and there was no stopping it. Just when Hermione was convinced she was going to be miserable for the rest of her life, there was a light knock at her door. Far too light to be Ron.
Hermione sniffed and tried to dry her eyes. "Who is it?"
"It's me." called the comfort of a familiar voice.
Hermione sprang to the door and flung it open. There stood Narcissa Black, and she was holding her wand. She looked just as terrified as Hermione was as she stared at her. Hermione hadn't realized yet that she was cover in bruises from Ron and his "needs". Ron was never gentle with her, especially when he was intoxicated.
"I found your wand and then I saw you head back here with Ron," Narcissa said with wide eyes filled with shock. "What the bloody hell did he do to you Hermione?"
She couldn't speak, no words would come. She tried to compose herself, but she had no composer left in her. For a reason she did not know, Hermione couldn't pretend with Narcissa. So when Narcissa opened her arms to Hermione, she fell into them and sobbed. She fell into them and they comforted her as she fell apart. She cried for what she allowed Ron to do with her. She cried for all that'd she'd lost in the past year, from her friends to her family. She cried because everything was changing, and she didn't understand it. But somehow, in this moment, there was no where else she'd rather be. She'd never felt so safe.
Narcissa held Hermione in her arms as she stroked her hair and cooed 'It will be alright, Hermione. Everything will be okay…"
All that Narcissa could do to comfort the girl was hold her close until she calmed down. She continued to whisper calmly to the young witch and run her fingers lightly though her hair. She would stay as long as Hermione needed her, and Narcissa was perfectly okay with that.