Losses beyond imagining

Chapter 49

As it seemed quite impossible—Draco’s story about his aunt had rattled her—that Hermione would ever visit Ron, she opted for droning on an on to Harry about it instead.

“And he looked well? Really well?” she asked for the fifth time on a sunny Saturday afternoon, practicing Morisius’ pranks in Harry’s confined but spacious garden. Ginny was shopping for baby things with her mother, Draco had to work, and Rose went swimming with Hermione’s parents.

“Yes,” Harry replied a little frustrated that these spells were so hard to pronounce, “he looked great, Hermione, absolutely splendid…”

Her face fell and he quickly apologized.

“I just wish… so much…that I..” she lamented. “I know I shouldn’t wish for it… You could have died, after all, but the experience itself…” she sighed. “Just to see him again, you know… to hold him and to tell him about me and Rose. That we’re fine and happy and healthy…”

“How about dating a certain someone? You’d want to share that with him?” Harry quirked an eyebrow, “or hadn’t you thought of that?”

“I… I…” Hermione stammered. “When we were just together, I could hardly look at Ron’s pictures without feeling guilty…” she said. “But now… “ Hermione fell silent. They were pretty serious. Draco practically lived at her house and even his mother could get along with Rose. Perhaps, one day… Occasionally she imagined herself growing old with him…

Harry’s eyes narrowed. “He hasn’t asked you to marry him or anything like that?” he voiced his concerns. “Is that what the either the both of us, or neither of us was about?”

Hermione shook her head. “No, he hasn’t… It is far too early for that! It’s not as if anyone would even attend the wedding…” she ended a little sharpish, rising her chin.

“Come on, Hermione…” Harry’s eyes begged her to be reasonable. “I would attend… of course, I would…”

“But you wouldn’t be pleased…”

“It would take some swallowing…. It has taken some swallowing…”

“I know it’s been hard on you too,” she said. “Missing Ron and seeing me in cohorts with his enemy… But he really has changed… I hope you can see that. I hope you believe it, at least …”

“It seems I’ve him to thank for being alive, so yeah, I suppose I do believe it… It was his duty though, as a healer, and I saved his life once as well. I guess that makes us even…” Harry begrudgingly granted her.

“He’s eager to go…” Hermione confided. “He’d never tell you, of course, but I think he’s really looking forward to this.” A chance for redemption…

“I’m not…” Harry grumbled. “These spells are horrendous!” He threw his wand down on the grass.

“I guess we have gotten a little rusty….” Hermione found it a little easier to get the hang of them, but compared to her Hogwarts years, she was rusty indeed.

“Maybe Elphaba can teach us some tricks on how to pronounce them…” she said, giving up as well. “Better have some of that lemonade then…”

Narcissa wasn’t pleased about Draco’s trip. Travelling around the country, trying to track down these hideous people… It was all he could talk about these past few days. She had done everything she could to change his mind, but when she realized he wouldn’t, had changed her strategy. Rummaging in the attic, searching for camping gear, she smothered him with her advice.

“Here, you should bring this as well,” she handed him what looked like an old weathered log…

“What’s this, mother? Surely we’ll find plenty of wood to build a fire… Besides, Hermione makes excellent jar fires herself…”

“It’s not just for building a fire!”

“What is it then? It doesn’t look like much…”

Narcissa huffed. “One should always appreciate the little things,” she said, as Draco rolled his eyes.

“It’s a Belarusian Bole, a small tree trunk with many magical properties,” she explained. Its uses were pretty impressive, Draco thought, when she listed everything it could do.

The attic stored many other treasures— though most of them not very useful for camping—Draco found old school books and toys, as well as, robes he used to dress up in. “Merlin’s costume!” he laughed when holding a dark blue starry robe… “How small I was…”

Narcissa looked fondly at her son. How he had grown…

One might even say, he had outgrown her, and not merely physically either….

Draco had asked Hermione if he should bring their tent, but she’d discouraged him in bringing that up to the others… The flashy tent, decorated with peacock feathers was hardly camouflage…

“A quick spell would fix that easily enough…” he mumbled. Hermione let him mutter for a bit. The tent reminded her far too much of the Quidditch World Cup, seeing the sky lit by a Dark Mark for the very first time…

“You’ll like this though…” he said after a while, throwing the tree trunk into her arms. “Mother thought it might be useful…”

“A log?” she replied, rising her eyebrows.

Draco smirked. “Looks like I won the bet… Mother said you’d probably know what it was…”

Hermione smiled furtively. That sounded rather like a compliment! “It does ring a bell… I just can’t put my finger on it…”

“It’s a… wait, a second… was it Bulgarian? No… I remember, a Belarusian Bole,” Draco replied, and Hermione’s eyes lit up.

“That’s really useful!” she said, “I can’t believe you’ve got one… They’re so rare…”

“Lots of stuff turns up in my family..” Draco said, smiling proudly. “So it will come in handy then?”

“Absolutely,” Hermione agreed, as she kissed him in gratitude.

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