Disclaimer: I am not J.K Rowling and so have no claim over any names you recognise.
Her forehead came to rest on the cool glass as her eyes scanned the grounds, eagerly trying to search out a familiar blond head. Something panged in her chest when she spotted him and Rose walking towards Padma and Parvati's cottage.
Her breath slowly left her chest in relief as she saw what was at least in her mind, an agreeable distance between the two of them as they walked side by side, but that didn't stop her thoughts from churning in curiosity as she wondered what…or who, they were discussing.
Her right hand came up to rest on the glass next to her face as the two Veela became tiny specks in the distance. It was a few more seconds before Hermione finally gathered the strength to detach her head from the cool pane and head towards the bathroom.
Stripping off the thin robes she'd been ordered to wear in the Ward, she turned the knob and started the warm shower, stepping in only when she was sure that the water was boiling hot.
Steam rose around her as she washed her sore body. The heated water pounded on her shoulders and the massaging effect had her groaning out loud. Her legs wanted to collapse so her body would drop to the bottom of the tub and simply lay there as the soothing water ran over her skin.
However it was only ten or so minutes before she began feeling lightheaded in the vapour and her arm was forced to reach out and turn the spray off. Dressing quickly and re-entering the bedroom, the first thing Hermione did was walk back to the window.
She was disappointed when she wasn't able to spot Draco or Rose anywhere. For a brief second she imaged the worse before she caught herself. Physically shaking the thoughts out of her head, she walked over to the bed and sat down, idly reaching for her wand so she could dry her hair.
She was only a few seconds into the long, tedious process when there was a knock on the door.
She hurried to open it and judging by the expression on Padma's face, she was sure she wasn't able to hide her disappointment.
As ever, Padma was able to take Hermione's expression gracefully and she smiled a small smile. "I saw Malfoy and Rose when I went to pick up a few things from our cottage," she said before a light pink blush coloured her cheeks. She darted a quick glance to the stoic vampire standing behind her before she continued, "I'm going to be staying with Blaise for a day or two until I'm fully healed."
Hermione glanced at the vampire in question as the wizard lifted a hand and cupped the nape of Padma's neck possessively. His thumb ran up the length of the witch's neck before it brushed twice over what she assumed was Padma's pulse. Though Hermione wasn't able to discern any expression on Blaise's face, his eyes were alight with ferocity and that coupled with Padma's small shiver made the, what otherwise had been a simple touch, a lot more sensual.
"I thought you might want to talk." Padma offered kindly.
Hermione snapped her gaze away from Blaise's finger, blushing herself at where her mind had just wondered too and she wordlessly pulled the door open further, silently inviting Padma in.
"I'll just be a little while," the dark haired witch told her shadow.
Zabini's eyes flared in response before he nodded his head singularly; closing the door to Hermione's room once Padma had passed by.
For a few moments there was silence as Padma muttered the Muffliato charm, ensuring the two of them complete privacy.
"How are you?" Hermione immediately asked once Padma had stowed her wand away.
The witch smiled tiredly, "The same as you I imagine." She said as she headed towards the bed.
Hermione deposited herself next to her friend.
"So…Rose and Malfoy huh?" Padma asked softly, getting right to the heart of the matter.
Hermione sighed, "It isn't what it looks like. I told him to talk to her. I thought it might help him if he talked to someone who'd been through the same thing he'd been through in the lab. She'll also be able to answer any questions he has about Veela better than I ever could."
"So he really remembers nothing?" Padma asked with a small frown between her eyebrows.
Hermione shook her head. "Nothing…not one thing about being taken from Azkaban, nothing about being tortured in the lab, nothing about turning into a Veela…"
Hermione felt Padma cover her hand with her own and it gave Hermione the strength to admit the truth.
She continued resolutely, "He remembers nothing about Ward 17. Nothing about meeting me. Nothing."
"…I'm so sorry, Mione."
Hermione took the sympathy because there wasn't anything else she could do. She took in a deep breath, "He said Veela kept him locked in a black room in his mind."
"A black room?"
Hermione nodded. She quickly explained everything Draco had told her, hoping that Padma would have some logical insight into the situation but after Hermione had finished, all Padma gave her was stunned silence.
"So what now?" Padma asked softly.
Hermione smiled despondently. "That's the all-important question. If Draco stays then I've lost Veela. If Veela comes back then Draco will most probably return to that black room again. I can't do that him. Not after everything he's been through. I wouldn't be able to live with myself. It's a no win situation."
Padma was silent for a little while before her palm suddenly slapped the duvet at her side. "Why does it have to be one or the other?" she demanded. Hermione merely watched her in shocked silence at her sudden bout of anger. "Why does Malfoy have to leave if Veela returns? Or vice versa? The other tenebris seminio can live side by side with their other halves so what's stopping Malfoy and Veela from doing that? We just need to find out why they can't and fix the problem."
Hermione smiled out of love for her friend. She knew what Padma was trying to do- lift her spirits- but she'd already had the exact same thoughts and come up with absolutely nothing.
"How am I supposed to do that? Draco doesn't remember anything. I've lost my mental connection to Veela. And Draco isn't exactly going to be receptive to me asking him to go through a whole load of tests so that I can figure out how to get Veela back, even if it means he gets his "memories" in return. Draco hates Veela- and with good reason too if Veela's been keeping him locked away for ten years. I-I c-can't ask him to do that."
"You can't give up." Padma urged her. "Veela was your Mate. And whether Malfoy wants to admit it, Veela is part of him now. He needs to accept that. Just as Veela needs to admit Malfoy's a part of him too."
"They obviously hate each other. How am I supposed to get them to accept each other when I can't even get them both to be present at the same time?"
Padma pondered the question for a moment whilst Hermione silently studied the patterned ceiling.
"Fleur." Padma stated.
Hermione turned her head to look at the witch.
"Fleur!" Padma repeated with more emphasis. "She might know something."
Unfortunately Hermione didn't feel the same uplifting feeling when Fleur's name had first been mentioned to her as a solution to her problems with Veela.
"I know what you're thinking…but it's a start isn't it?"
Hermione felt bound to nod her head. The small action seemed to give Padma a burst of renewed energy and she stood from the bed in a rush.
"I'll get Blaise to see if they can organise a Portkey for you!" she stated excitedly before her expression fell upon seeing through the falseness of Hermione's.
Her hand once again reached out to squeeze hers. "We'll figure this out, I promise."
Hermione took in a deep breath before nodding her head. "Okay…see if Blaise can organise a Portkey. I'll finish drying my hair and then come and find you."
Padma smiled brightly before she walked out of the room. Hermione managed to catch a glimpse of Blaise moving to her side and Padma leaning her body into him before the door to the room shut again.
Grabbing her wand, she began drying her hair once more.
It might not be a plan that she thought would have any fruition…but at least it was a plan.
An hour later saw Hermione kissing Bill's cheek as he welcomed her into Shell Cottage.
She'd finished drying her hair thirty five minutes ago and when she'd gone to find Padma to see how her talk with Blaise had gone, the witch had been fast asleep under the covers in Blaise's mammoth sized bed.
Hermione had hesitantly brought up the subject of organising a Portkey for her, well aware the vampire had more important things to worry about at that moment then organising a Portkey to take her to Shell Cottage, but Blaise simply stated that the Portkey would be ready to leave in thirty minutes.
Upon hearing the information, Hermione had instinctively balked at the idea of going to Shell Cottage. She didn't want to go to in search of answers on her own, but there was no way she was going to wake Padma up and something inside her was too nervous to go and seek out Malfoy.
Instead she'd returned to their bedroom, alternating between nervously fingering her wand in circles on top of the bed spread, pacing the room in small steps and looking out the window to see if she could spot Draco or Rose anywhere.
When the time came for her to leave, and with Draco still not in sight, Hermione had walked back to Blaise with a heavy feeling in the pit of her stomach.
The second before she was due to touch her hand to the silver spoon that would whisk her away, she'd hurriedly made Blaise promise that if Draco returned to their room, he would tell him where Hermione was.
She'd made Draco a promise that she would be back in their room when he returned, but despite her feelings on how useful this trip to see Fleur would turn out to be, she also didn't want to be in their bedroom when Draco returned.
She didn't want to hear what he and Rose had discussed. Not if she wasn't going to end up liking what she heard.
And so here she was, accepting tea from Fleur whilst she explained what had occurred between her and Draco, making sure to keep quiet about any confidential information she wasn't able to discuss.
"He's ashamed." Fleur stated immediately after Hermione had finished her long tale and was taking her first sip of tea to wet her dry mouth.
Having expected a few moments of stunned silence from Fleur at her tale, Hermione quickly dropped her tea cup back onto her lap when the female Veela spoke.
"What?" she queried.
"He's ashamed." Fleur repeated, her face steeped with worry as her right hand ran comfortingly over her round stomach.
"Veela's are notoriously protective. Didn't you say you heard him say something about failing you?" she questioned.
Hermione nodded hesitantly, "I can't be sure though. I was on the verge of losing consciousness."
Fleur shook her head. "No! You said he protected you with his wings? And the pellet went through them and hit you?"
Hermione nodded. Feelings of nausea threatened to overtake her at the thought of Veela hurt and alone.
Her mind innately touched their once mental connection but once again, the golden thread had nothing and no one on the other end.
"When he felt he'd failed to protect you, he retreated. If you lost consciousness in his arms, your mental connection would have been lost too; he might have thought you'd passed from your injuries."
For once it was Hermione's turn to sit in stunned silence.
Veela thought she'd…died?
"But I haven't died! I'm right here!" she cried out, drops of tea running from the side of her cup onto the saucer underneath.
Closing her eyes, she reached again for the golden thread.
…Veela, I'm alive! I'm alive! Come back to me!
There was nothing. Absolutely nothing. No reply whatsoever.
She opened her eyes to see both Bill and Fleur looking at her with pained eyes and sympathy.
"How do I get him back?" she whispered.
"…I'm sorry Mione, I don't know. If he doesn't want to come out, he won't."
Something equally horrific sifted through Hermione's mind. "If he thinks I'm dead, and he stays in that room, or away or wherever he's gone… then won't he die too?"
Fleur looked up at Bill. The part werewolf squeezed his wife's shoulder in comfort. Fleur took in a deep breath and looked back at her. "I do not know Hermione. This has never happened before."
Hermione spent the next two hours in the comforting arms of Dominique. It wasn't as easy as she would have thought it to be to forget about Draco and all their problems, but with Dominique whispering girly things in her ear and braiding little plaits into Hermione's hair; she tried her best to do so.
That is until the memory of Draco's lost face swam through her mind and guilt bubbled in her stomach.
Hermione knew she couldn't delay it any further, and so extracting herself from Dominque's tangled hands in her hair, she hugged the little girl goodbye before doing the same to both her parents.
Her first stop after arriving back at the Manor was her and Draco's bedroom. She stood outside the door for a few seconds, gathering courage to open it and face whatever aftermath there was of Draco's talk with the female Veela but all that courage went to waste when she pushed the door open and was met with stagnant air.
Her thoughts jumped from one question to another.
Draco wasn't still talking to Rose was he? How was that possible? It had been three hours for Merlin's sake?
Knowing she was being childish but not caring in the least, Hermione slammed the door shut before she hurried over to Padma's room.
Regardless of any promises she might have made Draco, she didn't want him to think she'd had nothing better to do than wait for him to return to their room for the last three hours.
Thankfully Padma was both awake when Hermione knocked on her door, and more importantly, alone.
Sitting on the bed next to the witch, Hermione summarised what Fleur had told her, finding herself growing tired over the number of times she'd spoken the words Veela, trapped, black room and memories in the last twenty four hours.
"Well at least it's something right?" Padma stated, "We at least have some clue as to what we need to do to make Veela come back."
Hermione ran an aggravated hand through her hair. "But it changes nothing. I have no way of making Veela realise that I'm still alive. And we still don't know what will happen to Draco when…if Veela comes back."
There was silence for a few seconds.
"You call him Draco." Padma pointed out.
Hermione tried to act nonchalant, stiffening her body tightly so that she wouldn't fidget, but she couldn't control the blush Padma was now eyeing.
"It…just happened. I know Veela kept going on about being called Veela but I still thought of him as Malfoy…Draco's…Draco."
"Can I ask a question?"
Hermione smiled as she turned to her friend. "Aren't you already?" she teased.
The Indian witch rolled her eyes before her expression turned serious. "Do you find it strange? I mean you were attracted to Veela and Draco's still the same…physically at least."
This time Hermione couldn't control her fidgeting. When she caught sight of Padma's unapologetic gaze, she sighed.
"It's different…and yet the same…yes I was attracted to Veela but we had another connection too."
"And with Malfoy?"
"With Draco the other connection isn't there yet…"
Padma smiled, "But you're still attracted to him?" she teased.
Hermione shook her head in exasperation at how their conversation had turned to this. "Yes I'm attracted to Draco."
Padma's smile widened. "Physically?" she asked in confirmation.
Hermione laughed out loud before softly hitting the witch in the shoulder. "Yes physically, Merlin am I secretly talking to your twin right now?"
Padma laughed. "At least I got you laughing." She pointed out.
Hermione smilingly agreed before it slowly drooped of her face as a thought occurred to her. "If Veela and Malfoy are two parts of a whole…and I'm Veela's Mate…do you think Draco sees me in the same way Veela does?"
Padma patted her arm reassuringly. "I'm sure he does. You should have seen his face when he returned to your room and you weren't waiting there for him."
Hermione snapped her head to the side at the new information. "He returned to our room?"
Padma nodded, "About an hour ago. He's talking with Blaise at the moment. He had a few questions after his talk with Rose. I assume Blaise is explaining the tenebris seminio side of things to him."
Hermione mentally slumped in relief.
"How did he look?" she asked hesitantly.
"Incredibly jealous when he found out you'd gone to Shell Cottage actually."
Hermione managed to frown and gasp at the same time. "What?"
"He thought you'd gone to see Ron."
Padma nodded. "Mhm-hm. And then stunned at his reaction when Blaise told him that you'd gone only to see Fleur…Seems like jealously is a shared trait between Veela and Malfoy."
Hermione knew she shouldn't feel glad to hear that, but she most definitely was.
Maybe now she could relax a little. Her arms came up to self-massage her shoulders.
"Thank Merlin." She muttered out. "I thought…"
"-That he might fancy Rose now that he didn't remember anything about you? Whether he wants to admit it or not, Veela is a part of Malfoy…and you're Veela's Mate…Malfoy's Mate."
Hermione nodded her head slightly but a stifling cloud remained in the room.
"No feeling sad!" Padma ordered. "I promised Vati I wouldn't say but I know you won't say anything and it'll be worth it if it takes your mind of things. You'll never believe what happened between her and Ja-"
Hermione jumped as the door to the room slammed open. Blaise stood in the doorway, his jaw clenched together tightly. His dark eyes pierced hers.
"Come. Now. Draco is in the Ward. He collapsed."
Author's Note: I know it's been a while but I hope you haven't forgotten the fic. And I promise I haven't been sitting on my arse these last few months. There's been birthdays (mine!), graduation's (mine!), driving tests (mine! And against all odds I passed after learning for two months and I was the biggest scaredy cat!), office Christmas parties (mine! And which I now I have grey hairs after organising) and babies (not mine! But I'm kidnapping my beautiful 2 day old nephew the second his parents fall asleep for a lifetime of cheek squishes!)
Next chapter will be a biggie (in events if not in length) Guess who comes out to play?
As always, thank you for reading and Until next time, Curiositykils.
P.S. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year