Blood Bound

Chapter 23 -Sobrius

Draco really did not want to be heading to the Quidditch pitch right now, he wanted to go back to his dorm and see Granger. Today was going to be her first full day of classes with no potions, and he was itching to see if the occlumency actually worked. Part of him was also worried he might find her half-dead on her bedroom floor again. Unfortunately, it would definitely raise too many questions if the captain didn’t show up to practice the week before their next match; hence he was heading out of the castle and being forced to listen to Nott whinge on about his latest grievance, which happened to be Ravenclaws.

“I mean, I thought classes with just the Gryffindors was awful, classes with Ravenclaws is like having multiple Grangers!” Nott had been on this particular tangent since they’d met up with him outside of his advanced divination class, going on twelve minutes ago now -almost a record for him-.

“Honestly Nott I thought you and Granger were friends, not to mention fucking, I would think a classroom full of swot clones would be some messed up wet dream for you.” Zabini sounded almost as exasperated as Draco felt.

“We’re not fucking anymore that was a one time thing, also your theory is false because none of the Ravenclaw’s in divination are half as fit as Granger” Nott retorted matter-of-factly

A week ago, that comment would’ve probably earned both of his friends a hex, but he’d been spending more time reinforcing his occlumency walls lately. Living with the over-emotional, mind-reading Granger required almost as much magical focus as living with the fucking Dark Lord had. She was a walking empath just waiting to drag all of his emotions out from behind his walls kicking and screaming. Between her bloody big doe eyes and the stupid magical snake - a snake! -, she’s got in her head -that she actually fucking named, ridiculous- it was a wonder that he didn’t exhaust his magical core trying to keep them up around her.

“Oi! Are you even listening to me?” Nott snapped him out of his thoughts, they’d made it all the way to the pitch while he’d been brooding internally.

“Obviously I wasn’t, what’d you say?”

“Well I suppose I can repeat myself for you, O mighty prince of Slytherin” he bowed dramatically, earning an eye roll and a punch in the arm from Draco. “Ow fuck you tosser! I was saying that I’ve committed the entire team to attend the party after the game on Saturday.” His curly-haired friend narrowed his eyes in annoyance before he left them for the changeroom, muttering under his breath something along the lines of ‘violent wanker’.

Draco groaned; he really didn’t want to go to the party. He’d have to stand around and watch other wizards ogle Granger again like last time and try to refrain himself from killing any of them. Sounded like a cock-up of a night in his opinion. Blaise seemed to share his sentiments for not wanting to go when he threw his head back to look at the clouds defeatedly. Draco suspected it had something to do with the witch he was secretly seeing that he thought they didn’t know about, he didn’t know who it was -yet- but he knew there was one.

“Well c’mon,” Blaise hooked his arm through Draco’s and pulled him along towards the changeroom. “If we have to go to the party we bloody well better win the game, no way am I showing my face if we lose to the fucking Huffle-fluffs.”

--

A letter arrived for her at lunch Tuesday morning by Hedwig II, who was much less friendly than her predecessor and much more inclined to biting if she didn’t get treats immediately.

“Fucking menace with wings” Ginny exclaimed across the table from her, her index finger in her mouth sucking the blood from where she’d been bitten. Hedwig II had gotten a few good nips in when Ginny had tried to protect her lunch from the bird. “Which one of the boys sent the letter ’Mione?”

“Hm? Oh both of them, though it looks like Ron was the one to write it” if the chicken scratch was anything to go by.

“What’s it say?” As much as she loathed reading letters around others, she cracked the wax seal and opened it.

Mione,

Harry and I have the weekend off assignment this weekend coming up and were planning on making the trip to Hogwarts to come visit you and Ginny and the DA, we’ve sent Hed with a request to floo in for McGonagall. Molly has already started knitting you a sweater to bring with us, hope you’re okay with another blue one.

Sorry if Hed bit you when he dropped this off, he only seems to like Harry. Bloody bird bit me cause apparently I’m taking too long to write this if you’re wondering why there’s blood on the page.

See you in a few days Mione!

With Love,

Ron & Harry

“They’re coming to visit this weekend apparently” she told her friend, who impatiently snatched the letter out of her hands as soon as she’d finished reading. “Will you be alright with Harry being here Gin?”

“Oh please ’Mione of course I will.” Ginny scoffed with an eye roll, folding the letter up and placing it under the corner of her plate so it didn’t get lost. “Harry and I are both adults and we parted on pleasant enough terms, we’ve even been writing to each other as friends the last few weeks.”

“I’m glad to hear that Gin” she smiled at her friend genuinely.

“Anyways, enough about the boys!” Ginny exclaimed, waving her hand flippantly and leaning over the table towards her. “How’s everything going with the not-hearing-thoughts project?”

“I have absolutely no idea what you’re thinking right now, if that’s what you’re asking Ginny” she raised an eyebrow at her friend playfully. “Your secrets are safe another day.”

“Oh well that’s a relief! I don’t know if you’d ever look at me the same if you knew what kind of debauchery I got up to last night” Ginny waggled her eyebrows suggestively, causing Hermione to wrinkle her nose.

“Please, spare me” Hermione held up a hand pleadingly, already internally cringing at whatever her friend was going to say, knowing she had absolutely no boundaries.

“Well it turns out there’s this spell that makes your wand vibrate and-“

“Ginny!” she reached across the table and shoved a dinner roll into her mouth to stop any more words from escaping her friend’s mouth. She bit off a piece of the roll and chewed as she dropped the rest onto her plate.

“He did that too… except with his tie” She winked and then turned to strike up a conversation with Seamus before Hermione could manage to scold her again.

--

When her last class of the day was dismissed, Hermione let out an audible sigh of relief. I did it. She officially made it through an entire day with no potions or psychotic breakdowns. What has my life come to that I actually consider that an accomplishment? She thought bitterly, but her thoughts could be as cynical as they pleased; she was going to celebrate.

What she wanted to do was hole up in her dorm with her saving grace of a boyfriend and enthusiastically express her gratitude until neither of them could move, but he had quidditch practice until sunset, so she had a few hours to kill before she could go about thanking him.

Until then, she decided to take advantage of her newfound freedom and head to the potion’s lab. There would probably be other students there, but that wasn’t an issue for her anymore, and she could get a head start on their project. With a lot more pep in her step, Hermione hummed as she headed down to the dungeons.

There were three other people in the potions room when she got there, two of them looked to be maybe fourth year Ravenclaws who were probably doing some extra credit, and the other was Padma.

Though Hermione didn’t particularly like Parvati and her Rita Skeeter-esqe personality, Padma was quite nice, though she was never very close with the girl. They were in DA together and would occasionally quiz each other for History of Magic, but other than that they were practically strangers.

“Working on your counter curse?” Hermione asked as she set up her workstation beside where the girl was working.

“I’m attempting to,” Padma sighed, cringing and plopping onto her barstool in defeat when the potion let off a muddy-brown coloured cloud. Hermione grimaced in sympathy for the girl.

“What kind of curse did you get?” She asked as she pulled out a pewter cauldron from under the counter and went about checking her rough-draft recipe.

“Contact curse” she answered, sounding dejected as she read over her parchment “it’s from Athens of all places. Apparently, some heiress or something rejected the proposal of a high-class Athenian man, and in retribution he had her cursed so any man she embraced would die a horrible death. Curse was absorbed by a ring ironically.”

“Hm, did you consider incorporating yellow hyacinths? They’re known to represent jealousy, so if you wilted the petals that might help some” Hermione was more so thinking out loud than actually offering advice, she often found it helpful to talk through ideas with someone else when she was stumped.

“You might actually be right about that Hermione!” Padma hurriedly pulled out a large herbology book from her bag. “I don’t know about hyacinths, but maybe if I did that with yellow carnations -hold on let me see I know I read something about them recently-“ she flipped through the pages of her book so quickly even Hermione wondered how she was reading anything.

“Why don’t you just use an inquisitio to search for the word your looking for?” she offered. Padma did just that and in moments was reading aloud.

“Yellow carnations are symbolic of disdain and resentment, specifically associated with romantic rejection... Oh my Godric you are a genius Hermione! This is totally going to work I know it.” And without another word Padma hurried into the storeroom, presumably in search of yellow carnations.

She worked on preparing her potion ingredients for a few hours; boiling full-moon rainwater, drying holy basil leaves, and steeping blue lotus flowers in leech juice. It would take at least a week before all the ingredients were ready to brew the first batch of the potion. She made sure to make enough of everything for at least two attempts before she cleared off her station, put her cauldron under a stasis charm, and headed up to her dorm to drop off her books before dinner.

--

Granger wasn’t in their dorm when he got back from practice, which was probably a good sign that she was holding up fine, hopefully. To distract himself while he waited for her to get back, he peeled off his sweaty quidditch kit and hopped in the shower to relax his sore muscles. When the warm water rolled down his shoulders, he let out an audible sigh of relief as he felt the hot water undo the tightly wound knots.

He was just wrapping a towel around himself when he heard the entrance door slam shut and hurried footsteps through the sitting area. Immediately he felt the slightest twinge of anxiety behind his walls when she called his name loudly.

“Bathroom love” he called back, tousling his hair with a second towel as he walked out into the hall. Granger was grinning ear to ear when he caught sight of her standing in the hallway. Not to mention she was practically bouncing on the spot in excitement.

“Guess what” her voice was vibrating with barely contained eagerness. He just raised an eyebrow at her expectantly, already knowing the answer by the lack of probing he felt at his mind when he looked at her. “I did it! I went all day Draco!” As the words left her mouth, she seemed to give up any semblance of restraint and threw herself at him. “I spent an entire day sober and the only person’s thoughts that I heard were my own!”

He stumbled slightly, unprepared for the impact. His shoulder thudded against the wall and the towel he’d been using to dry his hair fell to the floor as he caught her around the waist. Her arms hooked around his neck and her legs wrapped around his hips. She crushed her lips to his, which he returned enthusiastically. Eventually, he had to pull away to gasp for breath, resting his forehead against hers while his lungs dragged in air.

“Also,” she added, her voice much quieter but still elated, “I quite like ‘love’, it’s much better than kitten.” He laughed breathily at her words.

“Sounds good, what do you think about ‘darling’? I feel like I’m going to need variety.” She cocked her head to the side and tapped her finger repeatedly on her lower lip, feigning deep thought.

“I suppose that one’s good too, just promise to never call me kitten again.” She wrinkled her nose slightly when she said ‘kitten’.

“I promise kitten.” She slapped his shoulder and scowled at him, Draco managed to keep an innocent face for about two seconds before he let out a chuckle. “Alright, alright; I promise love.”

“Much better” she smiled again, showing off her pearly white teeth.

“So,” he smirked at her, tightening his hold around her waist “I’m already almost naked, care to join me in my state of undress?” He waggled his eyebrows suggestively and moved his hands, so he was holding her under the thighs instead of around the waist. She laughed and started to loosen her tie.

“Absolutely” she flung her tie somewhere behind her and Draco heard her shoes hit the floor with a dull thud as she kicked them off. “Oh wait! Before I forget I should warn you; Ron and Harry are coming to visit this weekend so I probably won’t be around too much.” He felt his expression shift from a smirk to a sneer at the mention of scar-head and weasel.

“Way to kill the mood love” he groaned, leaning his head back to thud against the wall hollowly. “Don’t even think about asking me to be nice to them, four-eyes is one thing, but weaselbee is just expecting too much.” She laughed, laughed at his words.

“I’m not expecting you to be nice or even pleasant to them if we’re being honest Draco, I don’t want you to think you have to change for me, I happen to like you just the way you are.” She dropped a ridiculous kiss on the tip of his nose of all places before she continued. “I’m just wondering if maybe this time around there could be no curse-throwing?”

“I’ll have you know that I’ve never cursed either of them, but Potter did curse me” he defended himself indignantly. “If anything, you should be lecturing him.”

“Don’t you worry, they will be getting a lengthy lecture about proper and adult behaviour, I pinky promise.” She assured him, a light joking tone to her words.

“I’m not sure why we’re promising on our pinkies, but alright.” She just rolled her eyes at him. Must be a muggle thing he thought with a mental shrug, Draco was certain she would tell him all about it later. “Now if you’re done talking about the moronic duo, can I take you into my room and shag you senseless now?”

“I would like that very much.” She said primly, or as primly as he thought she could while she was hanging off of him partially undressed.

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