Losses beyond imagining

Chapter 39

Hermione had used a copying spell to recreate Draco’s file. She’d taken it with her in one of her work folders, making sure it wouldn’t be noticed or accidently read by curious eyes. As Hermione didn’t share an office, her files were quit safe, here at work. Curiously, she began to read…

It was a sad story and by the looks of it Draco and Harry were right. It would be nearly impossible to reverse the spell. Hermione sighed deeply. She had so wanted to be able to do something…

Hermione couldn’t imagine how Draco must feel… To be raised with so much pressure to provide an heir and to live with the knowledge that it may never happen. She felt his hurt, but could only guess at how deeply it affected him.

She was determined to find a solution, but it would take some time. A quick glance on his file had told her that. Wearily she put it away and focused on her work again.

Hermione was still a lone voice in the desert. Wizards didn’t care much about centaurs and house-elves. She was quite uncomfortable whenever she was served by them. Hermione wished for their freedom, but they often seemed content. Not everyone was like Dobby…

In Hermione’s opinion, they were brainwashed. It was impossible for them to imagine a different and better life for themselves. Centaurs were much easier in that respect, although they needed careful handling as well…. Their pride was easily offended.

She wondered what would happen if she would join Draco at Malfoy Manor. She did have a few ideas for their numerous house-elves, but was reluctant to share them… Lucius and Narcissa would probably have a fit!

Lucius and Narcissa were having words again. He’d wanted to know everything about her visit, but she kept silent about it. Narcissa felt torn. She wanted Draco to come home…. Even with these two in tow…

Other than her being a Mudblood, Narcissa had gotten to rather like Hermione. Something she wasn’t quite ready to admit to herself, and certainly not to Lucius!

Narcissa had also enjoyed her playtime with Teddy and Rose. It had taken her mind of her troubles for a minute… Rose and Teddy were nice children: cheerful, kind, and smart. If not for her prejudices, she would be proud to be related to them….

During the afternoon, she had observed Draco and Hermione and had once more, begrudgingly, come to the conclusion that they did seem to be a good fit. They balanced each other out. Their teasing reminded her of herself and Lucius in their younger years. Draco could be a bit too boastful and proud and Hermione wasn’t afraid to chastise him… Nor the other way around, in regards to Hermione’s own arrogance and bossiness.

She sighed heavily. If only…

“Tell me, Cissy! What are you thinking?!” Lucius boomed.

“I… I think we won’t win this war…” she said, “if we should even call it that…”

“What war? The Jennings?” he asked, puzzled.

“Breaking up Draco and Hermione… They’re undividable, I’m afraid…”

“I’ve got a few more ideas…” he said, confidently, “I got under her skin… She doesn’t fully trust him…”

“She knows about Voldemort… She said so herself…” Narcissa let slip. “Dromeda doesn’t…”

“Aha, see… That’s another thing we might use… Make Draco resent her for it… Of course, he needs to be available for that…” Lucius hadn’t spoken to his son these last few weeks… He gritted his teeth. She had bewitched him!

“I’m not so comfortable with it anymore…” Narcissa said, risking another tirade. “I think we should give them a chance… I’m not prepared to lose my son over this!”

“You want that Mudblood to be your daughter-in-law?! Have her living here? With the wicked Weasley child?”

“Rose is a nice girl. It’s not her fault her grandparents are who they are…. Narrow-minded and arrogant and disgraceful Wizards… She doesn’t have to be like them… Nor does Hermione…”

“She’s put a spell on you! She is smart enough for it! Narcissa! What is going on with you?” He shivered and shook with anger.

“I’ll tell you what! I’m lonely! That’s what… You’re not here anymore… You are, but you are not… Without Draco… the house is so empty and silent…. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the sound of laughter, and children’s feet, inside it again?” she pleaded.

“There are plenty of pure-blood women who can provide such things…” Lucius muttered.

“No, there are not… Not anymore… We lost our standing Lucius… No-one came to your funeral… No-one… And the only flowers we got were from Hermione and that Potter…” It still stung that they had come to bring their condolences, even if it had been solely to return some books.

“You haven’t shared that before… Cissy? No-one came? Not even…?” Lucius thought of his many friends and acquaintances, former Death-Eaters and Ministry contacts. “No one?”

Although he hadn’t gotten many visitors on his sickbed, which he had reasoned away with the idea that most people were uncomfortable around the sick, the thought that no-one had deemed it necessary to come to his funeral was unbearable…

“I didn’t want to hurt your feelings,” she whispered. “Haven’t you noticed we don’t get any visitors anymore? Not apart from my sister and Hermione… And you insist on chasing them away…”

Lucius swallowed hard. Was he keeping his wife miserable with his insistence on severing those ties? He couldn’t possibly change his views… He never would!

“I… I…” he began, only to fall silent.

“We can’t pick and choose anymore, Lucius, dear,” Narcissa said. “We simply can’t afford it. There’s only a handful of people who want us now, and I will not risk losing them…”

“I understand you wanting to see your sister…” he said silently, giving in for his wife’s sake. “She’s made mistakes, for sure, marrying that man… but she is your blood, I suppose…”

“Indeed…” Narcissa smiled sadly. “So, you won’t shout at her anymore?”

Lucius’s jaw clenched. He couldn’t say the words out loud, but gave a stiff nod instead.

“Thank you… You don’t know how much that means to me…” she said gratefully.

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