Hermione was scratching down every word that came out of Draco's mouth like he was giving a world famous speech. She was learning more than she could have ever found in the Ministry library. Pureblood laws were so interesting, barbaric yes, but complicated and intricate. Despite her fascination with the complexity of the magic put into the legislation, it also meant she had to reverse it, for that she was groaning internally. It seemed she was going to need Malfoy a bit longer. Most of the laws could only be broken by a pureblood from the family that wrote them, and as a member of the family that created over half of the laws, Malfoy was her, dare she say, only hope.
Draco was throughly enjoying Granger literally holding on to his every word. It was a rare occasion, so he was going to milk if for all it was worth. He would periodically throw in a sentence or two of absolutely useless information that she will undoubtedly have to sort through later. She now had half of the family history of his house elves and some details about his favourite childhood tales thrown into her research. He honestly believed that she wasn't even listening, just writing as quickly as she could. She still continued to scribble 10 minutes after he was finished talking.
What could she possibly be writing? Granger was so engrossed in what she was doing that she didn't notice him walk behind her to peek at what she was doing. For how quickly she was writing, her penmanship was neat and orderly. She was now writing in the margins, connecting concepts, and underlining important bits. It was like a front row seat to watch Granger's thought process and it was captivating. Until he fell motionless on the floor.
Hermione all of a sudden felt a movement behind her. She grabbed her wand in a flash and paralyzed the person behind her. After she scanned the room for more danger, she found Malfoy frozen in a hunched position behind her chair. "Malfoy? What were you doing behind me?" she inquired as she lifted the jinx.
"Well, I stopped talking half an hour ago. I merely wanted to know what you were writing," he groaned as he rubbed his sore side from hitting the floor. Maybe he was exaggerating the time estimate, but he wanted her to feel guilt for putting him in a very unmanly heap in the ground.
"Oh. Sorry. I just started thinking-" Hermione had begun.
"About how all it would take is my blood and loads of hours of time to counter the spells," Malfoy interrupted. "Now, if you don't mind, I have a few hours left in my day I would like to spend working on personal projects." He began to walk out of the library, and Hermione shoved all of her supplies sloppily in her bag and chased after him. Stupid. Long. Legs.
"Malfoy! We need to meet again and discuss all of this. We obviously need your help unravelling these," she panted as she caught up. When he did not reply, she huffed, "can you at least tell me the next time I can meet to talk with you again? I don't like this anymore than you do!"
"Owl me," Draco declared right before he walked into a room and slammed the door in Hermione's face.
She stomped her foot in her temper and stormed for the door. All she could manage was a, "Thank you Dinky!" before she virtually raced off the property and apparated home.
Draco breathed a sigh of relief as he heard the front doors slam. Maybe shutting a door in her face was a bit rude, but he couldn't stand her anymore! Attack him, hardly apologize, then begin demanding more of his time, who does she think she is?! Plus, he has had that law on his mind for hours and he needed to sort through his thoughts.
"…and the children of such a union are the property of the pureblood to do with as he pleases…chose to keep the child or to kill it…"
Hermione sighed as she bent over her notes on her desk. "There's something missing. I know it," she thought. Her paper was filled notes and lines connecting ideas. But there was one thing missing. The law required the entirety of the sacred 28's blood. A drop from each member and the signature of the Minister of Magic. The laws were bound with layers of spells.
But breaking spells isn't too hard. What had Hermione stumped was two things that must be connected. Each law had a different set of binding spells. This makes sense for the protection of the laws, but there's something about each one that seems like they're tags. Then, there are missing families from the Sacred 28. Where did they go? The Rosier and Fawley families didn't seem to participate. But yet it's bound by all members of the group. Incest? They're known for 'keeping it in the family'.
Hermione moaned from mental strain. Maybe she just needed a pint of ice cream and a bath to get her mind on the right tract. She padded over to the freezer, just as her hand touched the Rocky Road, Ron opened the front door. It hit her that she hadn't told him about Malfoy yet. She grumbled about not being able to finish her work as she put the ice cream back and walked out to greet her fiancé.
"Hey Mione," Ron smiled brightly. He pulled her into a hug and kissed her briefly before asking, "so, what's for dinner?"
Hermione hesitated. Should she tell him before or after dinner? "Lasagna. It'll be ready soon," she smiled weakly. As soon as she got in the kitchen she pulled out the frozen lasagna Molly sent over last week. The Weasley matriarch sends over weekly meals knowing that Ron would "starve" if he only ate Hermione's cooking. As if a man couldn't live off a single course dinner. Snorting derisively, she shoved the meal in the oven for fifteen minutes and went out to chat before supper.
"What's this?" Ron held up her notes with an irritated face.
"My thoughts from an interview on the current law we're trying to abolish," she said simply hoping that he would let it go until he finished eating.
Ron's face started to turn very red; you could almost see the smoke coming from his ears. "Then why the HELL is Malfoy's name on this paper?" Ron gritted through his teeth, clearly very upset.
Hermione took a soothing breath to try to calm down. "Ron, he is the only one who has access to a library with the information on this kind of dark magic," she told him slowly.
"I don't want you anywhere near him, Hermione! Why didn't you tell me about this?!" He yelled.
Hermione had lost her temper at this point. How dare he accuse her of not being able to handle herself around Malfoy! "Ronald, don't you see that I didn't tell you because of this reaction! I had to interview Malfoy because it is apart of my job given to me by the MINISTER OF MAGIC. Do you think that you know better than Kingsley?" she shouted back at him, hands on her hips, ready for a fight.
"When it comes to your safety, I sure as hell know better than him! Malfoy is evil! Not to be trusted and Kingsley put you in the same mansion as him, alone. Not to mention you were tortured in the same place by Bellatrix!" Ron nearly screamed the last part and moved so that he was a foot in front of Hermione, wildly waving his hands with stress.
"You don't think I don't remember that every single time I close my eyes?! But I handle myself! Don't you even trust me? Don't you trust that I can handle myself around Malfoy?" she questioned in a low, threatening manner. This tone of voice Ron understood and realized if he put one toe out of line he would be sleeping alone on the doorstep.
"Of course I trust you, but why didn't you at least tell me? Do you not trust me?"
Now, that was enough to push Hermione over the edge.
"Ronald Weasley don't you dare put blame on me!" she said slapping his arm, her voice slowly getting to menacing. "Did you ever think that I didn't tell you because you would act like a child and get so angry that I couldn't get my work done? If I told you last night you would have kept me up fighting, and if I told you this morning you would have made me late fighting! I'm sick of fighting!" Her rant ended as the kitchen alarm began to sound. "Goodnight, Ronald," voiced curtly.
Hermione stormed into their room, used her wand and promptly muttered, "Colloportus" right before Ron began to bang on the door to try to get in. She then threw her needed toiletries and tomorrow's set of clothes into her beaded bag. She strode to the door, whispered, "Alohomora" and stepped over Ron (who fell to the floor when the door magically unlocked) and out the front door.
She apparated to Diagon Alley in her angry flourish. She didn't understand why she was the one leaving after this fight. It's not as if she did anything wrong. She was unconsciously heading to Flourish and Blotts, she didn't even realize where she was until she was already there. Now in her sanctuary, she walked along the shelves, tracing spines and softly humming to herself. She had spent an hour in the store and picked up 5 books along the way, effectively ridding herself of all bad thoughts related to her fiancé.
On her way to checkout, a flash of white-blonde hair caught her eye, and she followed the source until she found a little girl behind a shelf in the back of the store trying to nick a book from the shelf un-noticed. Hermione cleared her throat and the girl almost jumped out of her skin, dropping the book she was about to steal: The Tales of Beedle the Bard.
Before the girl could run off, Hermione said, "if you really want that book, I have a copy I would be willing to let you have." This created a spark in the young girl's eyes, but she was obviously still suspicious of Hermione and kept her distance. "How about you and me just talk? I'll get us some ice cream at Florean Fortescue's." Now, this had the girl. She nodded quickly and smiled. "Okay, let me pay for these books and we'll be off. Can you put that book back please?" Hermione gave the girl a kind smile and headed off to the register.
After she paid, she turned around to find the girl, but she was no where to be seen. Thanking the man at the register, she headed to the back, and she found the girl curled up with a book in a chair reading. This made Hermione grin, she hoped one day her kids would love books as much as she does. With this, she asked the girl if she was ready to go. The kid practically fell out of her chair to run and put the book back and get ice cream.
Walking down Diagon Alley, Hermione decided then was the best time to ask the child questions. "So, what's your name?" she probed.
In a tiny breath she heard, "Rosalinda." Rosalinda ducked her head and blushed.
"That is a very beautiful name. Can I ask who your parents are?" Hermione looked down at the young girl and smiled. However, she did not get the reaction she expected. Rosalinda looked like a deer caught in the headlights. All of a sudden she took off, running and weaving through anyone in her way.
Hermione acted instantly, chasing after the girl calling her name and telling her to stop. After 2 minutes she lost track of the girl and after 10 minutes of searching she came up short. She walked back to the bookshop, defeated. She went up to the clerk and asked for him to reserve The Tales of Beetle and Bard for the little girl. After she paid, Hermione flooed from the Three Broomsticks to the Ministry.
She took an empty elevator up to the 7th floor Department for Underage Magic and spoke with the secretary who was about to leave. "Miss? May I please leave a note for your boss? I found a little girl in Diagon Alley with no parents near who was trying to steal a book. She ran off after I began asking questions." The secretary took down the girl's name and the situation and said she would make sure it got to her boss first thing in the morning.
A very tired Hermione only wanted to go home and sleep in her own bed, but she would not give in after a fight like that. Instead, she went to Number 12 Grimmauld Place.
Draco had been up pacing for the last two hours. There was still too much about this law that he didn't know, and not knowing was killing him. He owled Granger 3 hours ago, but the owl came back. You would think that someone so eager to set up another appointment would at least care to owl back. "It's not that late," he thought to himself for the 99th time since he sent the letter. "Ugh!" Draco groaned and collapsed onto a plush, green victorian sofa. After 20 minutes of whining, he got up to get ready for bed. Just then a light brown Barred owl knocked on his window with a note in tow. He raced to the window and gave the messenger 5 treats in his haste to read the note. The owl hooted happily and flew off.
"Kingsley?" Draco mumbled when he read the letter. Draco's face gradually grew to a full blown smile when he finished. It kind of hurt. Before he could pick up his quill to reply, another bird tapped on his window. "My, I'm popular today," he reflected, pushing open the window.
Harry warmly invited in his oldest friend. He was quite used to Ron and Hermione's fights, not that he cared for them at all, and always kept a spare room for these events. "So, Ron didn't take to well to the Malfoy deal, eh?" Harry asked jokingly. Lucky for Harry, Hermione was in a better mood and laughed back, "oh, I don't know what you're talking about. He took it like a ray of sunshine."
"Sounds just like my lovely brother," Ginny quipped in when she hugged Hermione. "Only her being my legal sister keeps me supporting this marriage. One day I would like the spare room to be my child's, not Ron's when he mouths off to Hermione. Men," Ginny internal scoffed.
They conversed for another hour about Rosaline and Harry agreed to have the Auror Department help find the girl. The conversation died down after a while and Harry and Ginny went off to bed. Hermione borrowed Harry's owl to write a quick letter to Malfoy to set up more time to talk.
I hope we may continue our research tomorrow. Ten maybe?
Sorry for the late message, long day.
"Looks good enough," Hermione yawned as she attached the parchment to the owl's leg. She stroked the owl lovingly, missing Crookshanks, and sent it on its way. Stripping off her pants and bra, she climbed into the guest bed and almost immediately fell asleep.