Chapter 34 Recovery
Ginny sighed as she looked down at her almost-asleep boyfriend. Who knew that coming to visit Fleur and Bill for a few days would end up having so much excitement?
"I hope you're not planning on making this a tradition,"'she said. Draco opened up one eye and looked at her.
"Huh?" he said rather eloquently.
"This whole 'escape from Malfoy Manor' thing you've got going. Twice in a row, two Christmas's in a row..." Ginny crossed her arms.
"If it makes you feel any better, it was the day after Christmas."
"Just relax, Gin. I won't make it a tradition. Okay?" He turned to her, wincing slightly, and offered an apologetic smile.
"I just don't want to see you hurt," Ginny replied, and then laid down beside him in the bed.
"Um, are your brothers going to kill me if you lay down here?"
Ginny smiled as she buried her face in Draco's hair. "It's Bill's house, and he's always given me what I want. The others will just have to lay off."
Draco sighed, said something about a splitting headache, and they fell asleep.
Fred was relieved and sad at the same time.
Pravus had thrown the knife that Bellatrix had used on Hermione, and it had hit Dobby.
And now he was dead.
Harry seemed the most affected by it, but Fred had seen the look on Draco's face. He'd wanted to talk to the boy, make sure he was all right, but Ginny had beaten him to it.
"Looks like we got to visit Ginny after all," George said. The twins were sitting on the couch in the small living room area inside the cottage.
"You mean Draco," Fred corrected.
"Should we trust them together?" George asked. Fred smiled.
"Draco has a whopping headache, so I'm not too worried about them getting into mischief."
Fred wondered what Ron would say if he heard that Draco was alone in a room with Ginny.
As soon as they'd gotten to the cottage, Ron had run out, babbling nonsense about being "so sorry" and so on. Hermione had glared at him and smacked him, Harry had shaken his head, and Fred had decked him, leaving his younger brother staring dazedly up at the sky as he lay in the wet sand.
George sighed, looking over at the table where Luna and Harry were sitting. "You okay Luna?" He asked.
"I'm fine," the girl answered in her typical high pitched voice. It's nice to be out in the open again. It got so dark and cold down in that cellar."
Fred gave an involuntary shiver, and George threw him a concerned look. "'M fine," he mumbled, rubbing his temples. Now he was getting a headache.
"Does anyone know where Hermione is?" Harry asked. "I wanted her with me when I go and talk to Mr. Ollivander and the Goblin."
Fred wondered what he wanted to talk to the two liberated prisoners about.
"I think she's outside," George offered.
Harry made to get up, but Fred beat him to it. "I need some fresh air anyways, I can go find her and tell you want her."
Harry nodded. "Thanks."
Fred made his way outside, taking a deep breath of the fresh air. Being down in that cellar, even on the outer side of the bars-it had brought everything back, and he'd felt like he was suffocating.
It was warmer here than he'd expected. Bill and Fleur must have had some sort of weather enchantments on the place. All it needed was a bit brighter sky.
He found her siting up by Dobby's grave. "Here lies a free elf" was the inscription on the small stone. Fred smiled a bit as he remembered Hermione's campaign to free all house elves. She had come a long way since then.
"Hey," he said softly, hoping not to startle her.
Hermione turned and looked at him, and Fred was dismayed to see that she'd been crying. "Hi," she said, quickly swiping the tears from her face.
"You okay?" He asked and sat down beside her.
"I, uh, yeah. Well, no."
Fred waited patiently while she sniffed.
"It's just...Fleur said there wasn't anything to do about it. The blade was cursed. I can't get rid of it," she said, tracing her fingers over the bandages that were wrapped around her left arm.
Fred swallowed, and then shifted his position to sit in front of her on his knees. She looked at him, curious, and he rolled up his sleeve.
"What-?" She said, and then froze as she took in the silvery scars that spelled out the words Blood Traitor. "Oh..." she breathed. "From your time there?"
Fred nodded. "Draco, George and Madam Pomfrey are the only ones who know about it. I never told anyone else. Mum would ball her eyes out for sure, and dad would get this big frown on his face and he'd purse his lips," Fred paused, trying to imitate his dad's serious face, making Hermione giggle.
"Does it get any better?" She asked.
"'Course. I mean, it's true. I'm a blood traitor, and I'm proud of it. People think it's a derogatory term, but for what it actually means, then sure. It's true, and I'm proud to let everyone know. I was upset at first, cause it's there forever, and it's just one more thing to add to the list of things that make George and I no longer identical." Fred shrugged.
"I guess, if you look at it that way..." She said, looking at the bandages intently. Fred smiled sadly.
"It's hard at first, so don't expect it to go away quickly. Being scarred isn't fun. But you'll get used to it."
Hermione nodded, and then laughed. "I should go to a tattoo artist after it heals, and get "'I'm' and 'proud of it' put with it."
Fred let his smile grow. "Not a bad idea. Mind if I go with you?"
Hermione smirked. "Don't mind at all. Shall we make it a date?" As soon as the words left her mouth, she blushed, and looked appalled that she'd said such a thing. "I mean, um, that is-"
Fred stopped her. "Sure. I'd like it. But I have a feeling that Ron might not like it..."
Hermione shook her head and rolled her eyes. "Ron needs to grow up a bit more and realize that what could have been is long gone. Nice punch, by the way."
"Thanks. You slapped him pretty good too." Fred said. "Oh, I forgot to say. I can out here to get you. Harry apparently wants to talk to Mr. Ollivander and the goblin-Griphook? and he wanted you with him?"
"Why didn't you say so?" Hermione snapped, and she sounded much more normal now. Fred just shrugged, stood up, and helped her up.
"Thanks though," Hermione said, looking down.
"No problem," Fred assured her.
After they got back to the house, Hermione started up the stairs with Harry, not waiting for Ron who was sulking someplace else in the yard. Fleur was on her way down.
She gave her brothers-in-law a smile. "He'll be fine. The curse wasn't as bad as it could have been. Meant to inflict pain, but it didn't seem to work quite right. All he's got is a migraine and he's a bit sore. He'll be back to normal in a few days."
"Thanks sis!" The twins said in unison, and each gave her a peck on either cheek.
"Oh, quit it!" She said, and made her way back to the kitchen.
"What'd you do?" George said after she'd left. "With Hermione. She seems happier."
Fred shrugged. "We just talked."
George raised an eyebrow. "'Just' talked? You're blushing."
Fred furrowed his brow and stuck out his lip. "I am not!"
George just walked back to the couch, laughing.