A Day and A Night

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Chapter 11: A Moonbeam and a Confession:

Draco paced outside the door to one of the many bedchambers of Rhodeana castle while the Healer saw to Hermione. He felt nervous, hungry, angry, and tired. He knocked on the door, opened it, saw the Healer bending over her on the bed, and when no one asked him to come in or to go away, he walked right in the door.

The Healer proclaimed that the bullet was still lodged in her arm, but it would be easy to remove, and he could heal it quickly. Draco thought,
‘Grazed, in deed, Granger.

This time, he paced back and forth at the edge of her bed, until she finally said, “For goodness sakes, Malfoy, you’re making me nervous. Go do something constructive.”

He frowned, mocked her by saying, “You go do something constructive,” and then he walked out of the bedroom and into the hall. They had walked down so many halls, and up so many stairs, Draco wasn’t sure if he could find the front doors again if he tried, but even if he did, it was after midnight, so what was he meant to do? This place made Malfoy Manor seem like a cottage. Draco started down the hall when the younger man from earlier approached him. He held out his hand.

“Hello, Mr. Malfoy?” he asked. Draco shook his hand. “My name is Iver Dorchester. I’m Milo’s younger brother. I’m so pleased you’re here.” Draco merely nodded his head. The younger man continued, “The servants made up the room next door to Miss Granger's room for you. Your things are already there. Is Miss Granger going to be okay?”

“Yes, she seems to be. She’s back to being bossy, and she’s irritating to boot, so I take that as a good sign,” Draco said seriously.

The younger man smiled and said, “Oh, good.”

“Who were the other two people who were in the hall when we entered?” Draco asked.

“The woman is my fiancée, Catrìona. She prefers to be called Cat. She doesn’t like the old Gaelic names that our clan is accustom to using. The man is her father, and our godfather. His name is Aonghas MacNeill. I really hope you’ll be able to solve the murders of those young women. I met one of them, when she came to work around here, and she was a sweet girl.”

Draco was surprised. “You met one of them?”

“The first girl murdered. The one named Sandra Parrish. She asked permission from my brother to examine the ancient ruins in the enchanted woods, and he gave his consent and his protection. You see, I think that’s what upsets him so much, once he gives his protection over someone, its law, and the fact that someone killed her after he offered her protection is something he can’t abide.”

Draco was intrigued now. “Did your brother try to find out who murdered her?”

“Of course. He used every means we have. He used magic, he used his senses, his sense of smell is legendary, and he used threats as Clan leader, but no clues came, and after six months, he gave up. He actually contacted that professor, to see if he could provide us with help.”

“Really?” That was news to Draco. The younger man nodded. “What about the other girl.”

“Milo wasn’t here when she was killed, but when he came back and found out about it, he could barely contain his anger. It had to be one of us, and the fact that one of us would go against the laws of our leader, and our brethren, is unheard of, and so he decided to seek outside help.”

“So you’re convinced it wasn’t an outsider who did this? The people of the neighboring village seem pretty vindictive and mean,” Draco said with a laugh.

“The ones that chased you and shot at your female?” Iver asked with an equal laugh. “Yes, we have bad blood with them that goes back centuries. You should see one of the elders for that story, because I really don’t know it. As to the other thing, yes it had to be one of us. The way the girls were killed points toward it. The scratches on the bodies seemed to be made by talons, and beaks, and the blood was drained. Several of the Clans still practice Vampirism, although it’s been outlawed for many years.”

Draco sighed, but he smiled at the other man. He had been very helpful. Iver smiled in return and concluded, “Well, my brother is having a tray brought up for you both, and then he said he would see you in the morning. Goodnight, Mr. Malfoy.”

“Call me Draco,” he answered.

The Healer walked out in the hall and said, “Is there a Prince Rude out here?”

Iver looked confused, but Draco rolled his eyes. He looked back at Iver and said, “Or you can call me by my other name, Prince Rude.” He shook his head, but he smiled, and he walked back into the room.

Draco approached the bed, saw that she was sitting up under the covers with her arm bandage. She appeared to have no shirt on, only her bra, though she held the covers high above her chest. Interesting.

He was about to sit on the side of her bed when there was a knock on the door. Draco turned swiftly to answer the door. It was a servant with a tray of food. Draco took the tray and rested it in the middle of the bed. He climbed beside it.

“Some graze to your arm, huh?” he asked.

She took a piece of bread and some cheese and said, “Yes.”

“I’ve never heard of a graze that still had the bullet inside it,” he teased.

“Maybe it was a bit more than a graze, but it wasn’t that bad. I’ve had worse,” she said. She took a chalice from the tray, sniffed it, decided it was okay, and then took a large drink. “Oh, wine,” she said with a laugh, as she took a drink of the wine.

“You’ve had worse gunshots?” he asked for clarification. He was amused. He wondered if she was under the influence of pain medicine, if she should have that wine she was drinking so heartily. He took a sip from the other wine glass, before he took a bite of food.

“That’s not what I meant.” She huddled down in the bed, wine glass in her hand, and she almost toppled the tray in the process.

He raised a brow and asked, “Did the Healer give you anything for pain?”

“A potion, why?”

“You’re acting tipsy,” he answered. He took her glass of wine from her hand, leaned over her, almost purposely, and placed it on the table at the side of the bed. While he was leaning back toward the middle of the bed, he looked down at her. “Sorry you were shot.”

“Sorry you weren’t.” She giggled. “That’s not what I meant.”

“Really? I’m sure there were plenty of times in our lives when you wanted nothing more than to shoot me with a Muggle gun,” he observed. He took a bite of something brown, made a face, and spit it out on a napkin. “Ugh, what is that?”

She looked at it and said, “I think its haggis.” He openly blanched and she giggled again. “I don’t know if it’s haggis or not. We’re in Scotland, so I thought I would guess haggis. It might be something else.”

He eyed her for a moment and then said, “You are a bit off, aren’t you. Pain medicine and nighttime escapades mixes well for Granger, I’d say.”

“Pish-posh,” she said. She picked up another piece of the same brown thing, took a large bite, and then made a horrible face just as he did. He laughed and held out a napkin for her. Instead of taking the napkin to spit out the food, she took the napkin, spit the bite of brown stuff right out in his hand, and then wiped her mouth with the napkin. He wiped his hand with another napkin.

I think it really was haggis,” she stated.

“I think you’re right,” he said with a yawn. They both ate a bit more, in quiet, and then he lay on the pillow beside her. He yawned again. She looked tired as well.

“What time is it, Malfoy?”

“Time for princesses to go to sleep,” he said lightly. He removed the tray of food and placed it on a blanket chest at the end of the bed. He asked, “Do you need anything before I go to my room?”

“Oh, are you going?” she asked.

“You didn’t think I was to stay here tonight, did you?” he asked, with a sort of strangled smile.

“Tell me about your Veela heritage,” she asked, instead of answering his question.

He was aware that she hadn't answered his question, but he sat back on her bed, removed his shoes, and turned on his side. Propping his head on his elbow, he asked, “What do you have on under those covers?” He knew that didn't count as telling her about his Veela heritage either, but so what?

“Undergarments,” she answered.

“Undergarments?” he said back with a grin. “Undergarments,” he repeated. “What constitutes undergarments, Granger?”

“Bra, underwear, socks,” she listed.

He laughed and said, “Let me see your socks.”

She held out a leg, pulling back the covers. She had on red argyle socks.

At least you’re dressing for the area, with your tartan socks.”

“Argyle,” she corrected. “Anyway, it’s cold. You’re avoiding my question. Veela stuff now, Draco Malfoy.”

She covered up again, and turned to look at him. He noticed that the fire in the large grated fireplace was crackling low, and that besides an oil lamp on the table by the bed, there was no other light. He felt protected by the dark. He almost felt as if he could reveal some of his secrets if he had the veil of darkness. Not all of them, but some of them. Still, a bit more darkness wouldn’t hurt. He stood up, aware that her eyes followed him, and he went to the lamp on the table. He pulled down the wick to extinguish it, before he crossed back over to the bed.

Now the only light was a golden hue from the fireplace, and a silver, bright light that danced from the window, across the bed and the room, from an errant moonbeam. He leaned back on his elbow, and looked down into her questioning eyes. He began his story slowly, leaving out what he must.

“My father’s grandmother was part Veela. Her mother was Veela, her father an ordinary wizard, although both were purebloods,” he started.

“But of course,” she said, with a smile. “I would never think otherwise.”

He reached over for her hand, somehow knowing it was on top of the covers, waiting for his. He covered her hand with his. He didn’t clasp it, he just covered it. “She was known to be a rare beauty. My father never talked about her much, and I hardly remember her at all. She died when I was only six years old. My grandfather told me that his mother was part Veela on the day that she died, and I didn’t know what that meant. I asked my mother, and she told me to ask my father, and he told me that he would tell me someday, and left it at that.”

“No,” she said. She leaned forward slightly and said, “I believe you should always answer a child’s question with the absolute truth.”

“Too bad you weren’t around when I was six,” he joked. “Would you have known what a Veela was when I was six, and you were probably seven?”

“No, but I would have honestly told little Draco that I didn’t know, and I would have patted his head, removed his thumb from his mouth, and told him that I would read a book and find out for him,” she joked back.

“I didn’t suck my thumb,” he said sincerely. “Anyway, when I started my primary magical education, we learned a bit about magical creatures, and there was a mention of Veela, only slightly. I went home that day, I think I was ten at the time, I asked my father again what it all meant. I asked him if Great-grandmother was a Veela, and he said yes, and explained everything he could to me at that time.”

“Do you have the ability to sprout wings from your back?” she asked.

“Hermione Granger!” he chastised. He sat up in the bed. She sat up as well, forgetting that she didn’t have much clothing on. He eyed her bra, and then smirked as he looked her in the face.

She raised the covers to cover her chest, and then argued, “It’s a valid question!”

“No, it’s not! You’ve known me most of my life! Have I ever sprouted bloody wings from my back?” he asked.

“Maybe you did in private, like when you were alone in your dorms, or something,” she said sheepishly. He couldn’t tell if she was joking or not, but he hoped she was.

“I did other things alone in my dorms, like normal boys,” he insisted. “May I continue?”

“Do you have the ability to charm people into doing what you want, by merely your pretty face and alluring smile?” she asked.

“Apparently not, because as I said to you before, I’ve been trying to persuade you to act accordingly since this blasted trip began, and you seem to do all the persuading, missy.”

Hermione sank back down on the pillows. He looked at her halo of hair as it cascaded around her and fought the urge to reach out and touch a strand. She pulled the covers back up to her shoulders. Even her shoulders looked white and inviting by moonlight. He wanted to touch her again so badly he almost screamed. What would she do if he reached for her hand again?

He was about to find out, when she asked the question he had hoped to avoid. “Do you have a mate?” He turned to place his feet on the floor, his back now to her, ready to leave the bed when she added, “Now that’s a real question. The other ones weren’t, but that’s a valid one, a real one.”

He didn’t look at her. He said, “I don’t know if I believe in any such thing.”

“Milo’s brother’s fiancée, Cat, told me that Milo has never met his mate yet, but that he’s convinced it’s a Muggle-born, hence the reason he goes into the neighboring village so often, and also the reason he wants to open up the village to outsiders,” Hermione stated.

Draco looked over his shoulder. “When did you have this illuminating conversation with this girl?”

“When the Healer was fixing me up,” she answered.

“I had an equally enlightening conversation with the man’s brother,” Draco replied. He started to tell her all about the things Iver told him, and she relayed what Cat told her. Soon they were both lying on the bed, and again, they were both yawning.
He reached for her hand again, to give it a squeeze, before he sat up. He said, “It’s so late. We really should get some sleep. Milo has big plans for us tomorrow, I’m sure.” He stood up.

“I’ve gotten accustom to your sleeping with me,” she said. “In the non-biblical fashion, of course. This place is a bit creepy. Could you stay? I’m in a bit of pain, too.”

“How will my staying help your pain?” he wondered aloud. His staying would undoubtedly only add to his pain, but he sighed, when he realized that of course he would stay. He took off his trousers, peeled off his shirt, and got under the covers. “Potter would have my head if I told him I was sleeping with you. Perhaps I’ll put that in my report, just to see the steam come out of his ears.” He turned to look at her again to see her response to that statement.

“I already put it in mine,” she said with a smile. “Draco, you never answered me about your mate. Have you ever had a dream, dreaming of your mate? Cat says that’s how it happens. That when a Valdes male is around thirteen to fifteen years old, they have a dream, dreaming of their mate, and then they search for them.”

“I’m not a Valdes,” he repeated the phrase he said earlier to Milo.

“True, but you are part Veela.”

“I’m like one-sixteenth Veela,” he remarked. “Please, go to sleep.”

“So, no mate dreams for Draco? How sad. Perhaps you would be married and happy by now. Perhaps you would have a bunch of 1/32 Veela children running around,” she teased. She turned so her back was to him. “Perhaps you would get the cushy desk jobs, instead of being stranded in a Scottish castle here with me.” She turned her head back slightly and smiled at him.

He smiled back as she rolled back on her side and closed her eyes and he agreed by saying, “Perhaps.” He gave into his earlier desire and reached over to touch her hair as it lay on the pillow, just as another moonbeam danced across the bed. He said no more. He merely continued to play with the same strand of hair, certain that she could not feel it. She finally began to breathe evenly, so he knew she had drifted off to sleep. He looked at her bare shoulder. Funny, how one tiny little expanse of skin could fascinate him so much. He reached one finger out to touch it quickly, then just as quickly he drew his finger back.

He moved closer to her under the covers, but not close enough to touch. He whispered, “Perhaps I haven’t found my mate, but then again, perhaps I already found her, a long time ago, Granger.” He spoke so softly he could barely hear himself. He continued, “Perhaps I found her, but I’m in denial. Perhaps I found her, but I’m not even sure I like her that much. Perhaps I want someone to love me for me, not because of my Veela heritage. Perhaps I want to pick someone to love for myself, not because its fate. Perhaps this person won’t even want me. Perhaps I don’t want her.”

He knew that she was already asleep, before he made this last statement, but he still wanted to make it, just the same. “Perhaps I’ll whisper in your ear who it is, but don’t tell anyone,” he said, still aware that she was sleeping. He leaned closer, looked down at the side of her face as she slept and said, “Perhaps it’s you.”

He fell back on his pillow, turned to his other side, and let slumber overtake him. She opened her eyes, and stared out into the moonlit room shocked at his confession.

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