Medusa had moved in with George. The Weasley family was not amused but hadn’t been able to stop it. Although Ginny had been very fiercely against the pair in the first place, she was now playing peacekeeper between her mother and Medusa. The three of them had gone shopping in an attempt to better know each other but that didn’t end well…
Medusa had been far too cocky, unlike Draco who had learnt to at least appear humble sometimes. Medusa did not. She still stated her opinion, loud and firm, and refused to be shamed for belonging to Slytherin. Hermione secretly admired her attitude as Medusa didn’t mind dealing with the Weasleys.
She herself found it much harder. They were her parents-in-law, had been her good friends, and had sheltered her as a Muggle-born in a world of pure blood ideals. They were Ron’s parents and had supported her for many years. As much as she loved Draco, it was a new love. One that seemed to be firm but was also still in the process of being tested. Hermione didn’t want to hurt either of them…
The unfortunate business with Mrs. Weasley and her shopping bags, made Hermione hesitant to talk to Arthur and Molly. Draco had considered it all to be a good joke, but she had been quite mortified herself. It appeared as if her parents-in-law were avoiding her as well. Were they simply giving her some space or had they cast her off?
Meanwhile, Draco still hadn’t informed Hermione about the spell that had hurt him. He was worried Harry might fill her in on the details of the case, but also couldn’t make himself tell her. His parents had begun to remark on that particular problem. Calling him cowardly and predicting that the Mudblood would leave him, for sure, once she’d find out.
“I will not have you raise that Weasley daughter, though…” Lucius remarked. “She could hardly be a substitute for a child of your own… Born out of blood traitors and mudbloods as she is…”
Draco had learnt to let his father carry on. He found that not replying was the easiest way to shut him up. Being with Hermione had certainly caused a rift in his family. His mother was positioned in the middle, deeply caring for her late husband, yet also longing for a good relationship with her sister and son.
As the latter were living, Lucius didn’t have luck on his side. He sighed deeply… Not even Draco listened to him anymore….
Elphaba had searched the mill, nothing there. The entire village, at least her part of it, seemed to truly be abandoned. It appeared as if whoever had lived here, had left in a hurry. Doors were still ajar, chairs were overturned in an effort to leave as quickly as possible.
Her imagination ran wild…. Did a creature arise out of the lake, causing the whole village to panic and evacuate? Were there other signs of disastrous events…?
She couldn’t find any clues, nor any trace of Jennings occupying the buildings. Slowly she reached Harry’s part of the search. Elphaba called out to him, but heard no reply. A sense of foreboding overcame her and Elpaba began to run and frantically searched house after house.
She finally entered a half collapsed shed. Inside Harry lay on the floor. He had been knocked out! Elphaba leapt towards him and sighed in relief that he was still breathing… It looked as if Harry had stumbled upon something or other….
Of course, it could have just been animals…
“Revenerate,” she said, holding her breath. Slowly Harry opened his eyes. He looked bewildered around him. “You’re safe now,” Stirgood whispered. “Can you tell me what has happened?”
His parents were getting to him. Lucius constant jaunts did not help. Hermione’s continued refusal to let him meet her daughter didn’t either. Draco felt uncomfortable seeing pictures of Ron and his daughter in her house. They reminded him far too much of him.
He had sometimes envied the three of them. Goyle and Crabbe had never been true friends, just two dumb boys easy to bully around. The golden trio, however, seemed to have a blast whatever they did. They couldn’t fail… They stuck together…
Ron and Hermione had shared a life together, had gotten a daughter. Would he be given a chance at that? Becoming a family?
“Are you regretting letting me into your life?” Draco asked, looking enviously at a picture of Ron, Hermione, and Rose swimming in the sea while waving happily at the camera.
“Not this again…” Hermione mumbled. “Of course not!” She saw him staring at the picture and took it out of his hands.
“It is in the past…” she said soothingly. “I will not forget Ron or stop loving him, but I do know he is the past…”
“Am I the future though?” Draco wondered. “How can we ever live together when I haven’t even met…”
“I find it hard to plan that part…” Hermione sighed. “I don’t see myself living at the manor… but I can’t really picture you here either…. Your so used to having space and luxury and you being the sole heir… It just doesn’t seem fair somehow…”
“I’d be happy here…” he said defensively. Was she accusing him of being a snob? “I’d move in if you’d only let me!”
“We can’t live together until we know if you and Rose…” Hermione began, but Draco cut her off.
“Exactly! How will we know if we haven’t met?”
Hermione sighed. She was worried about this. What if Rose didn’t like him? She didn’t want to choose between them…
“I’m frightened…” she said. “What if it doesn’t work out?”
Draco swallowed hard. “I’m scared too,” he admitted, “but we’ll have to give it a try…”