Blood Bound

Chapter 13 - Vocatus

Draco was walking through the castle to try and clear his head. He was pissed at Nott, but he wasn’t entirely sure why. He had no claim over Granger so it should be fine that she went to Hogsmeade with him today, so why did Draco want nothing more than to beat his friend into a bloody pulp? Hence, he was walking through the darkened castle at one in the morning instead of sleeping.

He was just about to start making his way back towards his dorm when he heard a loud clattering from the entrance to astronomy tower. Stupid bloody Head Boy responsibilities. With a heavy sigh he started up the steps to the one place in the castle he avoided at all costs.

Draco was prepared to find a whole array of things at the top of the stairs; a couple groping, a couple of younger year students dueling, maybe a few rogue death eaters trying to murder the headmaster. What he was not expecting to find was a very dishevelled looking Head Girl stumbling around with a bottle in her hand.

“Aww it’s Malfoy in the flesh, here to jump me again and then run off?” She slurred in greeting when she caught sight of him standing at the entrance.

“Are you drunk Granger? It’s after curfew, what are you doing up here?” She was stumbling dangerously close to the railing.

“What an astute observation. Yes, I am drunk if you must know, but not as drunk as I’d like to be.” She sat on the floor of the tower, dangling her legs over the edge and leaning her upper body against the cold metal of the railing.

“Well, I’ll leave you to it. Try not to fall over the railing and die, won’t you?” He made to leave the tower again when she called after him.

“Or you could stay? I’ve got more than enough to share, plus I wouldn’t mind the company of someone who’s mind I can’t read.” She held up the bottle before gesturing for him to come sit beside her. “Plus” she added with a cynical laugh “you can make sure I don’t pull a Dumbledore and Humpty Dumpty myself off the tower. C’mon Malfoy let’s call a truce. Come drink with me.”

He winced at the mention of the old headmaster. Draco took a seat on the hard-stone floor a small distance away from her, his back against the railing so his legs extended towards the centre of the tower. Granger handed over the bottle of clear liquor and he took a swig, immediately recognizing the taste of the mystery alcohol he’d tasted when he kissed her so many weeks ago.

“What is that? It burns almost as bad as firewhiskey.” He exclaimed after he’d swallowed his mouthful. Wrinkling his nose into a face when he handed the bottle back to her.

“Tequila, it’s muggle. You get used to the taste, it doesn’t give you hangovers so it’s great for during the week.” She said all this in the same tone he would’ve expected her to recite the twelve uses for dragon’s blood. Her forehead was resting against one of the bars of the railings and she was watching her feet swing through the air.

“Hey Granger?” He asked tentatively.

“Hmm?” she hummed in acknowledgement, still not looking up from her feet as she took another sip from the bottle and handed it to him.

“Don’t laugh” he gave her a pointed look and drank more before he asked his question. “What’s a Humpy Dumpy?” She looked at him then, her face cracking into a smile before she started laughing hysterically.

He frowned at her, not particularly appreciating being laughed at. She noticed his face and made an effort to calm down her laughter, taking several deep breaths and wiping away a tear that had escaped.

“Sorry, sorry Malfoy I didn’t mean to laugh. I suppose that’s a fair question.” She gave him an apologetic look and then continued. ”Humpty Dumpty is a poem that muggles tell their children.” Granger had a sad smile on her face now, and Draco noticed her tears had returned, though not tears of laughter this time.

“My mother used to tell it to me whenever I got upset that something didn’t go my way.” She looked off into the distance as she recited the rhyme in a sing-song voice.

"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the King’s horses, and all the King’s men,

Couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

He just looked at her, still confused.

“She always said that it’s about perseverance. That nobody could put him back together because he had to do it himself. My mother always said that just like him, I shouldn’t depend on others to fix my mistakes or do things for me.”

“Your mother sounds really smart.” She nodded in agreement, wiping her eyes and taking a deep breath to collect herself.

“Yes, well she probably still is, can’t know for sure though can I?” She looked at him, her eyes were rimmed red from crying. “You said it yourself, I wiped myself from their memories and sent them halfway around the world.

“I owe you an apology for that Granger, hell I owe you a thousand but I’m just going to start with one.” She opened her mouth, probably to stop him or argue but he kept talking. “No let me say it please. I’m sorry I said those things about your parents when we were arguing the day after the party. You were smart to have obliviate’d them, and it was incredibly brave of you to do so knowing you might not get them back. What I said was cruel and I don’t expect your forgiveness, hell I wouldn’t blame you if you never stop hating me.”

He took another long drink from the bottle; the burn wasn’t as noticeable now and he was starting to feel drunk.

“Thank you, Malfoy, but I feel like I should tell you that I don’t hate you. I don’t think I ever did.”

“How?” He blurted the question before he could decide if he really wanted to know the answer.

“How what?”

“How can you not hate me? I’ve always been awful to you, I called you horrible names, I taunted you and mocked you for years, and that’s all before I joined the death eaters and tried to kill Dumbledore, and before I stood and watched as my aunt tortured you on the floor of my drawing room. How do you not hate me Granger? I think I might hate me.”

He noticed her hand come up to rest over her sleeve where he knew her scar was, but she just smiled softly at him.

“I don’t hate you Malfoy, you didn’t crucio me that day or kill my friends. You were just a kid whose parents chose the wrong side and made him choose the wrong side with them.”

“You don’t know that, I ridiculed you for years because of your blood status before the war too, how can you just say it’s not my fault and be okay with that?” He knew he had raised his voice incredulously, the alcohol in his system coupled with his disbelief that she was actually saying these things wasn’t helping his control. “How are you not angry?”

“Oh I’m angry, trust me. Every time I think back to what we went through, my blood boils I’m so angry. But I’m not angry at you.” He started to say something in response, but she talked over him.

“I’m angry with all the grown-ups who let us be a part of the war, who made us get involved. We were children, fucking kids, and they put us on the front lines to die for them just like they did to Harry’s Mum and Dad, and Sirius and Remus and Neville’s parents. It wasn’t fucking fair, letting children fight a war that started long before any of us were even born. I mean, I’m nineteen years old and I’ve got battle scars and PTSD. Did you know I killed someone before I had my first relationship? Or that I had a will written after fourth year?”

She was crying again. The angry were rolling down her cheeks, leaving wet streaks that reflected the moonlight off of them. Draco wanted to comfort her, but he didn’t know how, he’d never been good with dealing with emotions. He silently handed her back the bottle, sensing she wasn’t done talking.

Instead of accepting the drink from him, she set it down on the other side of her and moved to curl up at his side, back pressed up against the railing now. Draco tentatively wrapped her arm around her small shoulders as she continued.

“I was at your trial, I know it was like that on both sides. If anything, I have a feeling you had it worse than we did. You, Theo, Pansy, Blaise, Daphne. You were all marked, weren’t you? You all have the same arm bands to cover them. At least our side didn’t threaten us with torture and death if we made a mistake. If I hate anyone, I hate Dumbledore, Voldemort, Snape, your father. They took away our innocence too young, turned us into monsters and fucking martyrs.”

He felt the tension leave her body when she was done ranting, as though the words had been weighing her down. He held her tighter then, whether for her or himself he didn’t know. He’d all but given up keeping his walls secure around her, Granger just had such an emotional presence that it was nearly impossible for him to remain stoic around her, more-so know that they were actually semi-getting along.

“I suppose you’re not wrong. None of them particularly wanted the mark. Pansy was marked because she had no brother to be marked in her place, Daphne because if not her it would’ve been Astoria. Blaise was marked to prove his mother’s allegiance, and Theo was marked as a reward for his father from Voldemort.”

She gave a cynical laugh but otherwise didn’t say anything, instead allowing him to fill the silence.

“The war changed us all so much. Daphne and Blaise both started using drugs and potions to get through the day back in seventh year and never kicked the habit. Pansy became obsessive about defensive magic; the girl knows more curses than anyone else I’ve ever met. Theo has become an all-around slag since the war. You know back in sixth year he was still a virgin? Now he buries his problems in anyone who will let him.”

“What about you? Everyone has their own way of dealing with the war. Other than the drinking yourself to sleep obviously.” He looked over at her in surprise “Don’t look so shocked” she smiled up at him knowingly. “It’s fairly obvious, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen you completely sober since we got off the train.”

Draco opted to divert the conversation away from himself, not ready to admit his cowardice to the Gryffindor whose head was resting on his chest.

“What about you? Golden girl. Why are you drinking yourself stupid all hours of the day and taking enough sine sensu potions to knock out a manticore -I got an O in potions too you know, I know what a pain potion looks like- instead of going off and making the world a better place with The-Boy-Who-Lived and the Weasel?”

She gave a bitter laugh at his words.

“Boy-who-lived, golden girl; they’re all fucking titles given to us to make it seem like war is something you can come out on the other side of all fresh and shiny. I don’t want to make the world better anymore. I did it once and look at me now. I’m fucking broken. Did you know avada kedavra doesn’t work on the caster? I learned that about a week after the final battle. Deadly curses can’t kill you if you try to use them on yourself. I even tried diffindo a few times; across my wrists, my throat, my femoral artery; all I got was a few little paper cuts and I just couldn’t do it with a regular knife. Can’t buy the ingredients for a mortem potion even illegally anywhere within owling distance of London either, trust me I tried for a while. Basically though, fuck fixing the world, I don’t know if I even want to make myself better anymore.”

He considered trying to comfort her or reassure her with words of hope or positivity. Maybe tell her it gets better eventually but that wasn’t Draco. He wasn’t sunshine and rainbows, he was dark and gloomy, plus she deserved better than lies.

“I once tried to carve the dark mark out of my arm, I learned the same thing about the severing charm, so I used a hunting knife I found in my Grandfather’s study. I actually managed to get the thing off before I passed out from the pain and blood loss. Turns out dark magic is self-healing, by the time I came around it had completely healed over, so now I’ve still got the mark and I added a nice scar all the way around it.” He lifted his sleeve and pushed his arm band down to show her his arm.

Draco watched as she took his arm in her small hand, running a finger softly over the raised pink scar that drew a border around the ugly mark.

“You know,” he continued as she traced the lines of the dark mark with her fingertips. “When I first got the mark, I felt so honoured to have been marked. There was an entire day between when I was marked and when he ordered me to kill Dumbledore, where I’d never been prouder of myself.”

She’d stopped tracing his arm and instead wrapped both her arms around his, cuddling closer to him with her cheek pressed to the fabric on his chest when she responded.

“What do you mean? It was okay to be a part of a murderous gang before you had to actually murder someone?” There was no anger or malice in her words, just genuine curiosity. She didn’t seem horrified by his admission.

“Voldemort wasn’t always about blood purity; in the early days it was about liberating the wizarding world and that was what we all believed it still was about. All most of the pureblood families wanted was to not have to hide from the muggle world and pretend as though we don’t exist. I mean, did you ever stop to wonder why all magical beings know about muggles, but they don’t know about us? It never used to be that way. Then there came Catholicism and then events like Salem were happening all the time. We’ve been in hiding for generations. I mean sure most of us believed purebloods were superior to half-bloods and mudbloods but for the most part we never wanted them dead.”

“But you still say that word.” It wasn’t a question, just a fact.

“I’ve been trying not to for a while now, turns out it’s a hard habit to break. But it’s not an insult Granger, not really. Me calling you a mudblood is as much true as you calling me a pureblood. Sure, I could say “muggle born” instead but they’re the same thing. You’re still a magical being who came from non-magical parents either way. You should take the word mudblood and view it as empowering. It represents that us purebloods and half-bloods had an 11-year head start on you and you still managed to best us all. You’ve been top of every class we’ve ever attended at Hogwarts; not because you’re a mudblood, but in spite of it. You helped Harry Potter destroy the darkest wizard we’ve ever seen, and you did it as a mudblood.”

“I guess, I’ve never thought about it that way.” She conceded. “You said you’ve been trying not to use it for a while, what made you want to stop?” She looked up at him with her big brown eyes when she asked this. In the moonlight, Draco could see that there were flecks of gold in the honey brown hues. She looks like pure magic he thought.

“Watching you scream on my drawing room floor.” He answered honestly. “It’s one day I’ll never forget. You were so strong, even when you thought Bellatrix was going to kill you, you didn’t give up. I regret not helping you every day, I have nightmares about it sometimes.”

“Me too.” She whispered quietly.

“Do you remember that first night in the dorm? When I woke you up from your nightmare?” She laughed at the memory.

“Oh yes it was quite a lovely way to be woken up.”

“I seem to remember someone returning the favour” he joked back. “What I was going to say though, was that when you first woke me up, I thought it was my nightmare not yours.” She just hummed quietly in response to his words.

He looked down at her, hair laying around her head like a halo as she laid her head against his heartbeat. He could feel the warmth of her body heat where they touched. She still had both hands wrapped around his arm and was holding it against her sternum where she lay against his side.

Oh, fuck it why not.

“Hey Granger?” He asked softly, hooking a finger under her chin to bring her gaze up to meet his eyes.

“Yeah?”

“Would it be alright if I kissed you right now?”

She grinned and nodded her head before she brought her lips up to press gently against his. This kiss was different from their last one. In the hallway they had been fiery and aggressive, this kiss was tender and unhurried. She opened her lips to allow his tongue entrance to her mouth. She still tasted like honey and tequila and what he now knew was pine from the potions she took. Her hands detached from his arm and one pressed against his stomach, steadying herself as she lifted herself up into a more upright position to reach him better.

Draco trailed his hand gently from under her chin to the back of her neck, trailing down to settle on the small of her back. She pulled away slightly to whisper against his lips, and he felt her hot breath against his moist lips.

“Promise me you won’t go running away this time”

“I promise” he vowed before he pressed his lips to hers once again.

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