As quickly as Draco touched Hermione, he was quick to pull back his hand. His jaw tightened, not going unnoticed by Hermione, but he said nothing. His head bobbed, just slightly, as if to indicate to Hermione that she could do all the talking and he was simply there to listen.
"I…" Hermione closed her eyes and Draco took that moment to study her. Her eyes were puffy—she had been crying.
Draco hadn't known Hermione to cry much; clearly something was bothering her to a great degree if she had been shedding enough tears for her eyes to be puffy. Despite wanting to exude a tough aura, Draco was incapable of doing so in the presence of his girlfriend. Exhaling loudly, Draco shifted so that his left leg was propped up and his left arm was resting against it.
"Start from the beginning, bookworm. I won't get mad, I promise…"
Hermione's eyes searched Draco's for many long excruciating seconds. Finally, Hermione exhaled and slumped, just slightly, in her sitting position on the Hospital Wing bed.
"It isn't a matter of you getting upset," she revealed, "I can deal with you while you're upset." Hermione ignored Draco cocking his left eyebrow. "It's more of me trying to figure out why I did what I did."
"And that is?"
Draco already knew that. He had come to terms with her lying and he wasn't upset about it at all. He wanted to know why she felt like she had to lie; he knew it was to protect him but why did she feel like she had to resort to lying. It also irritated him that she felt the need to protect him. Draco Lucius Malfoy… he was unstoppable and he should be the one protecting her, not the other way around.
But you must've been put in a position where she felt like she had to protect you. Draco reasoned with himself.
"So, like I said, start from the beginning."
And, with a deep inhale, Hermione did. She explained to him everything, right from the moment of when he told her what a Lady of Eternity was and how she doubted the longevity of their relationship. Hermione noticed that he clenched his right arm—his scaly arm, when she mentioned her rational doubt of the term of their relationship. Other than that, he was calm throughout her explanation.
"And that's when you said sia rasvim to me…" Hermione chewed on her lower lip while studying Draco. His eyes were zoned out, seemingly looking at something through Hermione. Leaning forward, just slightly, Hermione placed her hand on his slightly hidden right hand. Draco jumped at her touch.
"I didn't know how you would react, a second time, at my rational—" Hermione stressed the last word, "line of thinking."
"To hell with rationality." Draco finally rasped out, his voice husky. "Your arse should've known I would've reacted the way I did."
Hermione's jaw went slack in complete disbelief. "Pardon me?!" Her voice began to rise but Draco was quick to silence her with his lips. With lightning speed, he brought his right arm up and curled it around the back of her neck, meeting her half way. He saw, for the split second his eyes were open, her orbs widen in disbelief before he shut his eyes and tugged on her lower lip gently with his teeth.
It felt like almost an eternity that he felt Hermione Granger's lips against his and, if he had anything to say about it, he decided he would never go a day by without kissing her. He felt himself ground back onto earth and all previous worries begin to melt away. Hermione was his anchor; the sanity to his insane Malfoy brain—his rock.
After a few butterfly kisses, Hermione melted in to the kiss. The hospital wing disappeared around them as they clung to each other, wrapped up in their embrace and hypnotized by their kiss. As air was a necessity, Draco pulled out of the kiss first but kept his forehead leaned against hers. Their breathing was ragged; their chests rising and falling in unison.
"Merlin, I needed that." He finally revealed with a chuckle. "It's been far too long."
"Yeah," Hermione mused. "But—" begrudgingly, she pulled away from his embrace, "now we need to discuss a few things."
Draco groaned and rolled his eyes but nodded nonetheless. "Fine. What does sia rasvim mean?"
Draco's stomach churned; his dragon knew the intense meaning behind that. He chose not to press the definition any further. It was filed in the back of his mind in the Shite-To-Ask-Elder-Blaise pile. Using his left hand to pull the hospital blanket over his scaly arm, Draco took a moment to give Hermione the onceover before giving in to her desire of discussing their situation.
"What do you want to discuss, bookworm?"
"Lady of Eternity."
Draco nodded while subconsciously trailing his left fingers along the length of Hermione's left arm.
"It's as the definition holds: eternity."
Hermione chewed on her lower lip. "What does it entail?"
"Based on what Maximus told me, the Lady of Eternity's primary job is to keep the Kapral grounded. Beyond that, I don't know—" Draco watched Hermione's expression change. "He told me that Aurelia is not his Lady of Eternity… it's some other Dragon Wench from millions of years ago."
Hermione's brows furrowed. "What about their lifespan?"
"Both are extended to match his… but he did reveal that it's a complicated process to extend both the mate and the Lady's lifespan." Draco's eyes did not waver from its boring gaze. Hermione, however, felt a sense of comfort knowing that her boyfriend's stormy grey eyes were, once again, upon her. It had been far too long since she had felt such a feeling of comfort and safety.
"Okay…" Hermione nodded. "And there's no backing out?"
As much as Draco wanted to let his inner dragon release with the words that Hermione had just uttered, he managed to keep his anger and dragon in check. His girlfriend was asking legitimate questions and it was her right to do so. All he could do was give her the answers she requested to the best of his ability; there was no use getting upset or allowing his inner Kapral to take control. It would not positively impact the situation.
"To my knowledge no…"
What is she going to do? Draco thought uncertainly. Hermione's eyes were locked onto his and, once again, their surroundings ceased to exist. It surprised Draco how frequently such a feeling happened when he was with Hermione. He had never felt such things before.
"And tell me about your scales."
Well that topic changed really quickly. He wasn't going to dwell on that fact, though.
"The motzu said that there are two ways to reverse it." Draco glanced at his arm—was it peculiar to feel that he was beginning to like it? It had a very mannish charm to it. Or is would the correct term be dragonish?
Hermione's eyebrow was cocked and it took everything in Draco's power not to laugh. She was beginning to adopt certain traits of his… it was kind of endearing.
"Accept coronation which will allow my human and dragon bloods to accept one another… or recreate the event that caused the scales to appear and react the opposite of how I did initially." Draco almost shrugged while informing his girlfriend what their two options were. Hermione's jaw went slack. She didn't know if she was in disbelief regarding his explanation or his nonchalant method of executing said explanation.
"Okay so…" Hermione had to finally get off the bed and sit herself back on the chair. She needed to not crane her neck uncomfortably. Her arms were crossed and her eyebrows furrowed; Draco took note that her nose did the cute scrunched-up thing when she was about to contemplate something.
Draco pushed himself up; he was beginning to slouch. "Hmm… anything in particular you want to know?"
Should've known. But that's why he held her so dear to his heart.
"Okay well… I have to select a plethora of people and or dragons before coronation."
"Lady of Eternity being one?"
Draco nodded. "Yes, along with two wingmen, my Darzulf – the devil's advocate, and the Darharkt – the voice of reason. I also have to select two unbiased individuals that are not my wingmen to join my Council of Advisors, also known as the Biwheg. Should I not have chosen wingmen or advisors; the high priests – Wadoya – have to select them for me. With me so far?"
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Draconis. I am top student of our year every year for eight years consecutively; of course I am with you so far."
"Wow, retract your bloody fangs, Granger." He winked at her and proceeded with his explanation before she could retort. "I am the protector of the Ring of Chaos – don't ask." He said when he saw her mouth open. "Even I don't know all the details yet. I suppose I will learn my purpose in life after coronation," the sarcasm dripped from his voice, "regardless… I have to select two wingmen, two advisors, and you, of course. Then the coronation happens."
Hermione nodded, painfully slowly. "Alright… do you have any notion of who you want to appoint your wingmen and advisors?"
"Yes. Zabini will be the Darzulf… the bloody plonk is already a damn devil's advocate." Draco paused for a moment to give Hermione the chance to interject, but she didn't. He resumed talking. "And you my Lady, of course… apart from that I'm drawing blanks. I think I'll let the Wadoya select the others for me."
Hermione's eyes bugged. "You'll let old purebred Dragons choose your advisors?!"
"You seem to forget I've let old purebred wizards dictate my whole bloody existence."
"Yes but the lifespan of a wizard is nothing compared to the millennia we'll be alive."
Draco did not miss the 'we' that came from her mouth. His heart skipped a beat, but he wasn't going to admit that anytime soon. "Would you believe me if I said that I don't mind?"
"You know me so well." Again, he winked at her and this time Hermione giggled – much to her disbelief! She wasn't much of a giggler, but then again she never thought herself to be a Draco-Malfoy-dater either, but there she was... helplessly in love with the man.
"So what're you going to do?"
Draco shrugged. "I honestly haven't thought that far ahead in life yet, Granger. The only two I was certain of were you, and Blaise, but that's about it. I don't know if I want to involve Adrian and Theodore in this new world—bastards are only just getting over Voldemort… I can't thrust a realm of dragons on their shoulders."
"Why not? I'm sure they'd appreciate and understand it."
"I know they would, but it's one of those things… they're my best mates, but I don't know how well they'd do in advising or helping me run an entire realm."
Hermione nodded. She could understand where he was coming from; if she was in his position, she probably wouldn't consider Ginny or Kellah to be part of her council. She'd only consider Harry and Ron, and the latter would be considered after much coaxing (on Harry's part, that is. He would have to coax her in to considering making Ron a member of any council). Hermione would also consider—
"Neville and Luna?"
Draco raised both eyebrows. "Pardon? I hardly know what Luna looks like, and Longbottom is a weeping blubbering mess of things ninety-nine percent of the time. And, truly, I don't want to trust my realm with a fool who loses a frog every year."
"Toad." Hermione on instinct corrected Draco who merely rolled his eyes.
"Synonymous. I am not putting Longbottom and psycho-who-sees-dead-creatures on my council."
"Thestrals are not dead."
"They might as well be." Draco crossed his arms, exposing his right arm but he and Hermione were already well used to it.
Hermione exhaled loudly and closed her eyes momentarily. She rubbed her temples before reopening her them. "You are honestly going to leave such a decision on the shoulders of old dragons? Are you quite positive you'll be content with their decision?"
"I won't be, but what choice do I have?"
"Blaise is your devil's advocate, Adrian would be your voice of reason, and Theodore and Tracey could be on—"
Draco interrupted her. "Council has to be unbiased. Those two are loyal to me and Slytherin, it isn't unbiased."
"Granger, those two hate me."
"I wouldn't use hate."
"I would." Draco rolled his eyes. "We've had the worst house animosity for eight years. Potter and Weasley would be anything but unbiased."
"What about your childhood friends?"
"I have none. Crabbe and Goyle maybe, but again, they are biased."
Hermione sighed. "Finding somebody unbiased is difficult, isn't it?"
Draco nodded. "It is. You know, Potter wouldn't be a terrible voice of reason… too bad we have bad blood."
"The irony behind your statement is beyond ridiculous."
Draco chuckled and decided he wouldn't worry about coronation nonsense until the morning. It had been a while since he was with Hermione and he wanted to enjoy every possible second of it—"Come here, lay next to me?"
"You know I won't take no for an answer."
Before either of them knew it, Hermione had fallen fast asleep in Draco's arms—for the first time. Draco, however, stayed wide awake in to the twinkling hours of twilight. He didn't have the heart to stir Hermione, and his brain was abuzz with the different aspects he had to consider regarding his coronation.
Hermione would be his Lady of Eternity, no question about that, and Blaise would be his Darzulf.
That left the Darharkt and the two members of his council. He was certain he didn't want any of the Slytherins on his council; he wanted to keep the Dragon world as much of a secret as possible. If it had come so many millennia without being exposed, he didn't want to be known as the ruler that did expose it—
I'm acting as if I am certain I'll be ascending the throne. You don't know yet Draco.
But he had to be sure of everything if he ascended.
Perhaps Potter wouldn't be a terrible wingman… I already know his goody-two-shoes self is the perfect voice of reason. It was a thought, one that Draco would not disregard because of his past with the Boy-Who-Lived. If he knew anything about Potter, it was that he was fiercely loyal to Hermione, which would then, in turn, make him regretfully loyal to Draco.
Ironic, ain't it, Potter?
Draco had until the morn to make his ultimate decision and… he knew what he wanted to do.
With a final glance down at Hermione, Draco leaned forward and placed a kiss on her forehead. Is this love…?
Was he capable of such a feat?
Draco Malfoy was most certain of two things:
He needed to ascend the throne to get rid of his scaly arm, or recreate the event that caused it. He knew the latter would be impossible, so he was entertaining the thought of becoming the Emperor of Thaczil. He had been weighing the pros and cons all night and decided that it was something he was going to do, not just for himself, but for the Dragon Realm as well.
And, secondly, that Potter would make the perfect Darharkt. With Zabini and Potter by his side, Draco was positive that no harm would ever come to him or Hermione—Blaise Zabini was faithful to Draco, and Harry Potter was the same with Hermione. Having a member from both ends of the spectrum would ensure a perfect balance for his wingmen.
Draco was contemplating letting the Wadoya select his two advisors, but was still unsure.
It was the crack of dawn and Hermione was kicked out as soon as Madam Pomfrey was aware that she had fallen asleep next to Draco. With a quick peck, she hurried off leaving Draco to his thoughts. He needed to speak to Potter; he couldn't wait any longer. Maximus would probably want Draco's response that very day and Draco had to be sure of every decision that he was going to take—that meant Harry Potter needed to know about Thaczil and Draco's lineage.
It was as if Merlin was listening to Draco's prayers; Blaise walked in to the hospital wing not too long after Hermione left and Draco quickly informed him that he needed to talk to Harry.
Blaise was, understandably, confused. "Harry? Why?"
"Just get him."
"Uhh… it's dawn, Draco. He's probably sleeping."
"Do I care? Bang on the Fat Lady."
"Ugh! Please do not repeat that statement—ever. Now I have the image of me banging the Fat—ahh! Disgusting!"
Draco snickered. "Cute. Now, go, will you?"
"Fine. Fine. This is the thanks I get for coming to check on my best mate—"
"That you indirectly hospitalized?"
"Shut up, Malfoy." Blaise scowled at Draco before turning on his heel and stomping out of the Hospital Wing.
Draco knew that Blaise was not impressed with his request to speak to Harry, but he didn't care. His mind was set and he was going to have all pertinent conversations that day before giving Maximus his answer. Draco had no time to spare; his arm was at stake as well as an entire realm. After speaking to Harry, Draco was going to speak to Blaise and then Hermione before requesting Maximus' audience.
After that, he would speak to his parents…
After all, they were more than entitled to know that the Malfoy's were going to rule Thaczil for the first time in Dragon history.