To Find You Again
Sitting on the edge of Hermione’s newly made bed, Luna Lovegood watched her best friend remove the towel from her wet chocolate locks and run her slender fingers throw the wet strands. For Luna, it was odd to refer Hermione as her best friend but the two of them had come a long way since their days at Hogwarts. Hermione may have seen her as the others did – looney but she surmised there was a change somewhere long before Draco Malfoy had stepped into the picture. Hermione had begun to include her into her small group of girlfriends and Luna had found a place she had finally belonged.
So, when Harry, Ron, and Ginny turned against Hermione, Luna remained by her side. It was not really a loss on her part when the three of them decided that Luna was just like Hermione -a traitor. She stuck beside Hermione and when Hermione married Draco, she had been her Maid of Honor. She surmised that the role would have gone to Ginny if she had remained in the picture.
The thought of Ginny Weasley-Potter angered Luna slightly. Ginny had been the catalyst to the end of her own relationship with Blaise. She had caught them sleeping together when she had gone over to see Blaise for his birthday. It had not only put a sour taste in her mouth, but it had broken her heart. She had not even bothered with Blaise afterward. She had made sure to change her wards and even made sure that some of them offered her a small allotment of revenge. She had long heard rumors from Pansy Parkinson some time later of how Blaise had appeared one night with boils and an assortment of other blemishes upon his face. It served him rightly so!
As for Ginny Weasley, Luna had made sure that Harry had been aware of his dear fiancée’s cheating by lacing her food with another version of the Vertiaserum that caused the victim to spill their dirty little secrets. The last she had heard that the wedding between Harry and Ginny had almost been called off. A pity that it had not really.
“You should have been placed in Slytherin,” Hermione had told her when she had finally told her the truth. The older witch had been impressed and even giddy by the revenge.
But now what she was going to do with Blaise since he seemed to integrate himself back into her life? She had been contemplating this and she had made no big decision upon it. When she had told Hermione, the older witch had said that she should “make him gravel for your forgiveness.” A part of her wanted to but the other half of her simply wanted nothing more to do with him. After all, he had broken her heart so who was to say he would not do it again? Luna had a lot to consider and little time to do it in. She knew that once Draco and Hermione’s marriage was fixed, Blaise would be back with the hope of doing the same with theirs.
Shaking herself out of her reverie, Luna glanced up to see her friend placing the finishing touches of make-up to her face and reached for the white silk blouse that Luna had picked out for her.
“Luna, could you make sure that Rose is home before I return?” Hermione inquired buttoning up the blouse and tucking the bottom half into her black skirt.
Luna knew that Hermione was scared. She could see it in her friend’s face. Hermione was about to face the devil himself with the notion that it would save her daughter’s life and Luna could not be prouder of her friend. It was no easy fete going into the snake pit with a purpose. They had dealt with Slytherins all their lives and Malfoys were one of the worst.
“Don’t worry, Hermione,” Luna gave her a smile of assurance. “I will make sure the wards to the cottage are tightened and secured.”
Hermione returned the smile and leaned down to hug her friend. “I don’t know what I would do without you, Luna. I owe you so much.”
“We are friends, Hermione, and friends have each other’s backs, isn’t that what muggles say?” Luna questioned as Hermione pulled away.
“Yes, they do,” she said heading toward the doorway of her bedroom. “See you in a bit.”
Luna watched her friend disappear down the hall and heard the front door open and then close. For Luna, it was now a waiting game.
Blaise Zabini found himself moving down the hallway toward the set of offices belonging to Draco Malfoy. There was a spring in his step and a song being whistled as he glanced over at the empty desk belonging to Astoria. Good. She did not need to be here when Hermione arrived, he thought reaching for the handle and opening the door.
“Ah, Malfoy, I have returned,” he announced stepping into the room and closing the door behind him. He did not want their conversation to be heard by the others within hearing distance. He watched the blonde lift his head and glance up briefly before returning his gaze toward the papers he had been immersed in.
“Make this brief and short,” Draco acknowledged, “I have a lot of paperwork to go over before the merger happens next week.”
“Then I suppose the job you sent me out to complete for you can wait,” Blaise stated with a smirk. He knew that would be enough to garner his attention.
He could see the look of surprise dancing upon his face. “What did you find out?”
I do not want to be here, the mantra played itself over and over in her head as her chocolate-colored eyes glanced up at the large imposing building. In the briefest moment, she contemplated chickening out and head right back to the cottage but she knew that Blaise would only come for her and drag her back to the office and she was certain it would be much worse than it would be now.
So, Hermione swallowed the rest of her fear and made her way into the building. There at the front desk sat a woman speaking into the telephone while going over the calendar she had in front of her. Hermione could hear the male voice on the other end.
“Of course, Mr. Malfoy, I can make sure to call the client and reschedule for three days from now,” the woman at the desk stated as she reached for the pad of paper and began writing down the number. “I will call him right now and get back to you shortly, Sir.”
So, he was here, she thought.
Hermione gave the woman a moment after she had hung up and cleared her throat.
“Good morning, Miss,” the woman greeted warmly. “Is there something I can help you with?”
“Is Mr. Malfoy in his office?” Hermione inquired.
“Yes, he is,” the downstairs secretary confirmed. “Do you have an appointment with him?”
That was enough to send Hermione in the direction of the elevators. She could hear the woman’s chair scrap against the marble flooring as the woman rose to catch her.
“Miss! Do you have an appointment?” the secretary asked again. She was fearful of letting the woman go up to his office without an appointment. It would mean her job if she did so.
“I don’t need one,” Hermione stated flatly as the elevator doors opened and she stepped in. “I’m his wife.”
The woman came to a screeching halt realizing now where she had seen the woman before. She could still remember her first time up on the twentieth floor. She had for her interview for the job she had currently. She was to be interviewed by Astoria in his office. She remembered his office was spacious and much bigger than her apartment nearby. It had been the portrait above the fireplace that had caught her attention. There was something about the woman in the portrait. She was beautiful. Her chocolate colored hair had been pulled back allowing tiny ringlets to fall about her face. Her smile was warm and inviting. She had inquired about the woman in the portrait.
“Mr. Malfoy’s wife,” Astoria offered and nothing more of the subject.
She knew not to push the issue any further. She could tell that Astoria had a strong dislike for the woman, but she never knew why but she had heard the rumors from her other co-workers that worked in the offices above.
As the elevator doors closed, the woman took a step back and gained her composure. It was then she decided she would not even make the call. Instead, she would pretend she never saw the woman and headed back to her desk.
Hermione leaned against the wall as the elevator made its way up to the twentieth floor pausing briefly in between to pick up other workers in the building and send them to their allotted floor they needed to be on. As the elevator came to a stop on the twentieth floor, Hermione pushed herself away from the wall and stepped out into the hallway. She glanced both ways taking note that the entire hall was void of any humanity and she could only surmise that her estranged husband liked it this way.
Squelching down the last remnants of her fear, Hermione made her way toward the set of the double doors. She did not bother knocking. Instead, she opened the door finding Blaise leaning against the large desk and Draco going over some of the papers that littered his desk. She could only surmise that Malfoy Inc. was about to swallow another muggle company.
“Alexis, whatever it is, it better be –“Draco growled looking up from his desk. His silver-blue eyes widened momentarily and then narrowed coldly at the woman in the doorway. “Granger.”
Hermione winced as he used the childhood name he called her, but she was not expecting anything less either. She knew coming here would not be warm nor heart-warming. By the looks of it, her husband was less than happy to see her now. Her eyes darted to Blaise, who remained quiet for the moment. He only shrugged letting her know she was on her own during this whole thing.
Not that she was expecting any help from him. She was certain that Blaise was only there for the inconvenience and not to offer any help.
“I see you managed to find your way home,” he noted coldly without looking once back up at her. “How much?’
Hermione’s eyes narrowed at her husband. She knew his words were meant to rile her up and she would not take the bait. For the moment, she wanted him to think what he wanted to. She did not care whether he believed her appearance came at a price but not at the price he thought.
“Three hundred thousand galleons,” she stated flatly looking once more to Blaise.
“That is some expensive surgery,” he remarked dryly pausing in his paperwork to look at her.
“It’s for a little girl,” she responded.
Draco’s platinum brow rose upward. “For a child then. Why not seek the girl’s father and ask him for the money?”
“Rose belongs to you,” Hermione announced reaching into her purse to remove a picture of their daughter along with papers of blood work she had managed to get with the help of a few friends working in the wizarding hospital. It had been difficult at first seeing as her husband rarely needed any blood drawn but there a bit of luck right before Rose had been born. One of them had found that her husband come in for something and blood had been drawn. Her friend had managed to get a sample which had been used as a comparison for Rose.
There was silence. Draco picked up the picture of Rose and took note that Hermione had not lied – Rose looked just like him. Her glanced over at the blood tests and saw that they were a complete match. This angered Draco. He had a daughter and his wife had robbed him entirely of the precious moments he should have had with her – her first steps, her first words. All of it. He should have been able to be there with her.
In a rage, he rose from his chair pushing back against the wall hard. He was certain that the wall behind him had a hole as he moved around quickly to reach for Hermione before she had a chance to flee from him.
“How dare you!” He snarled shaking her causing Hermione to cry out in surprise. “You bitch! How could you!”
It was then that Blaise stepped in, grabbing ahold of Draco and restraining him from harming Hermione any further. She was crying, tears streaming down her face.
“Damn you, Blaise!” Draco snarled again angrily as he fought to be released. He turned his eyes once more back on Hermione. “Let me go!”
“Not until you calm down,” Blaise returned keeping his hold.
Immediately, Draco calmed down, but his wintery blue eyes were still trained upon his estranged wife.
“What is wrong with her?” He asked quietly trying desperately to keep himself calm.
“She has astrocytoma,” Hermione whispered softly but firm enough to be heard. “It’s a tumor in the brain.”
Draco threaded his fingers through his long, platinum blond hair. He was not sure what to say especially at this moment. He was still furious – no, enraged -at his wife.
There was silence between the three of them. Hermione knew that the only reason that Blaise remained was the fear of what he could do. He already halted one blow up and she was certain there would be another shortly. Her husband was not going to just hand her over what she needed. No, she knew Draco would have a price set with this.
“Before I even hand you back your key to the Malfoy Vault at Gringotts, I want two things: One – I want you back in my bed where –“
Hermione cut him off sharply, “No! I will not! I am willing to offer access to our daughter, but I will not return to a marriage where a husband divides time between his family and his mistress!”
Draco’s eyes widened at her words. The anger raging inside rose once more to the surface. “Mistress, Hermione? The only mistress I had was my own damn wife!”
Hermione said nothing and turned her head away. Had she been wrong? she wondered. No, no she had not. She knew what she had seen that day before she left.
“My decision is final, Hermione, you will return to my side as my wife and you will share my bed again,” Draco said giving her not a chance to protest the arrangement. “I will give you a day to set your affairs in order and I will be expecting you at Malfoy Manor at the allotted time.”
She knew she had been dismissed by her husband that she turned on the heels of her shoes and headed towards the double doors of his office.
“Oh and Hermione,” he purred her name but there was underlining threat in his words, “don’t try to run because I will find you, have no fear, and retribution will be swift when I finally do catch up with you.”
Hermione shivered at his tone, but she did not answer him as she fled the room quickly without a glance back at her husband. She knew Draco would keep his threat and that was something she was not willing to gamble on.