A Day and A Night

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Chapter 31: A Lesson and a Lie:

“How do you say it again?” Hermione asked Iver. He leaned closer to her, said the words in Gaelic again, and when she tried to repeat it, he laughed.

“You’re holding your mouth wrong,” he said. “Let’s face it; you and Gaelic don’t mix.”

“Just teach me one more time, please. I’m usually a quick learner. Maybe you’re just a terrible teacher.”

“Right, the lesson is bad, or the teacher, or the material, but not the student,” he said with a smile. However, he said the words again, and she repeated them the best she could. He reached over, held her mouth with his hand, and said, “You aren’t rolling your tongue the right way, and you’re holding your mouth wrong.” He pinched her mouth into a pucker.

Then they both laughed again.

Draco walked in the room that they used as an office at that precise moment. When he saw Iver holding Hermione’s face, and Hermione smiling at the man, he felt a wave of jealousy so strong that it almost knocked him over. “Having fun holding hands with Iver while I was out interviewing the dead girl’s parents, Granger?”

Iver let go of Hermione’s face quickly. She looked over toward Draco and frowned. Iver sat back and said, “Did you say you interviewed the dead girl’s parents?”

“Yes, that’s what I said,” Draco said sarcastically. “First, I spoke with the Muggle authorities. Then I went with them to tell the poor parents that their daughter, who has been missing for two years, was found, but we can’t release her body yet. Of course, I couldn’t tell them that I couldn’t release the body yet because it’s so mutilated, yet so well preserved by magic that we’ll have to alter it before they get to bury it. Then I had to ask them for something with their DNA on it, so we could make sure that the identity is correct. Then I had to watch them cry when they realized that the last sprig of hope they had that perhaps their daughter might someday come home was finally gone.”

“I’m sorry, Draco, I know that must have been unpleasant, but so was the autopsy,” Hermione stated. “I’ve just finished the autopsies on both bodies, so I needed a bit of levity, so I asked Iver to help me translate the words from the hot springs.”

“Good for you,” he pouted. “Iver, go away. I need to talk about the case with Hermione and I’d rather not talk with you in the room.”

Iver raised his eyebrows, turned to Hermione and said, “He comes by his title, Prince Rude honestly, doesn’t he?” Then, he walked out of the room.

“What’s really wrong?” Hermione asked.

Draco plopped down in a chair by the worktable. He hung his head low, his hands clasped between his legs. How could he tell her that the main thing bothering him was that he was jealous that Iver was touching her? How could he feel jealous when Iver was merely laughing with her? He wasn’t jealous of the man, he posed no real threat to his relationship with Hermione, so how petty would that make him seem? He was more upset about that than about the murders. “This case is wearing on me, Hermione,” he finally said.

She walked up to him and stroked his hair. “You said you talked to one of the girls’ parents. Which one?”

He sighed and said, “The body we found today. Kay Lester.”

“And the body the third clan found last night, who is she? We have two girls missing still, and one body. Did you find out?” Hermione asked.

He shook his head no. “No. We’ll have to look at the pictures Potter sent us again, and try to figure it out, and then I suppose tomorrow I’ll have to go back to the village and do all of this all over again with another set of parents.”

“I am sorry,” she repeated. “Since you weren’t able to go into the village of Glendora to ask about Cat’s mother, I asked Iver about her, I hope you don’t mind.” She sat down on his lap. He placed his arms around her.

“What did he say?”

“Not much, because he barely remembers her. He told me her name, and where she’s buried, but get this, Draco, he says she’s not the witch who was betrayed by their father, as we suspected. She was, however, from the third clan, much like that woman was.”

“Maybe they were related,” he surmised.

“We’ll go to the graveyard tomorrow, and find out. Iver didn’t know her maiden name, which I find odd, since this is such a small village, but the name of the woman their father left for their mother was Cairison Doaglone, and Cat’s mother’s first name was Cairistona. That’s pretty similar,” she pointed out. “I didn’t want to ask MacNeill or Milo anything, for obvious reasons.”

“Of course,” he said, rubbing his eyes. He pushed her from his lap and said, “On that note, Potter met me in the village. He told me to give you these.” He pulled an envelope out of his jacket. “You wrote that you wanted the DNA samples from all of the other victims. He said that Aurors would be here in the morning to get the last two bodies.”

“I wish I could have seen him. I miss him. I miss my parents, too. I wish my mobile phone worked here,” she complained taking the envelope he gave her and placing it on the table. She sighed and added, “I feel guilty that I’m complaining about missing my parents and friends, when I’ve only been away from them for a week. Yet, some of these girls have been missing for years.”

Draco held open his arms and she came back to his lap. “I’m sure they miss you, too, Hermione. And it’s okay to miss your family. Now missing Potter is another thing.” He smiled, but was shocked when she suddenly jumped off his lap and waved her arms in the air.

“We need to find that last body!” Hermione blurted out. “We can’t even begin to solve this puzzle until all the pieces are in place! I’ve decided to try to find it by the jewelry.” She began to pace in front of him. “Both of the new bodies had the same jewelry on, the one from today was a bracelet, and the one from last night was a necklace. Tomorrow, we’ll set off to search for that last body by searching for the metallic formula that’s unique to that jewelry. I think it might be some sort of conduit, which drew the murderer to his victims. I think I’ve come up with a spell that will locate the properties of the jewelry. We find the jewelry - we find the last body. If for no other reason, we at least need to give all of the families’ peace of mind, right?”

“Believe me,” Draco said, standing up and finally taking off his jacket. He threw it across the back of his chair. “If you saw those parents today, you would know that they’ll never have peace of mind.”

“I know,” she said sadly. “I know. It’s well past dinner. Do you want me to have a servant bring up something?”

“I ate in our favourite little pub,” he said. “They asked for you.”

“I bet,” she laughed.

He laughed back and said, “Yes, they said, when is that pretty witch with the curly hair coming back so we can burn her at the stake? I told them we would pass back that way when we finish with the case.”

“How kind of you,” she said acerbically. She picked up a piece of paper from the worktable and held it under his nose. “This is what Iver and I were working on when you walked in a minute ago. Iver wrote the English translation below it.” Hermione handed him the piece of paper with the phrase from the cave.

She leaned over him and said, “Essentially it translates to:
A wave of desire will rise on the quiet water when I share love with my beloved. I can’t begin to say the Gaelic words, as you can attest to by my feeble attempt when you walked in the room. That’s an odd quote though, don’t you think?”

“Is it?” he asked. “Everything about this place is odd.” He handed the paper back to her.

She sat on the table, placed the paper beside her legs, and bit down on her bottom lip. She began to swing her legs back and forth. He sat back on the chair and rubbed his hand over his eyes. He looked at up her and said, “Get on with it; you apparently have something else bothering you. You’re all pensive acting.”

“I’m not pensive. I am worried about something, though,” she admitted.

“That goes hand-in-hand with being Hermione Granger, I would think,” he said with a smirk. “Tell me your woes and worries.”

“I was worried about the cave with the hot springs. All the markings and the words over the cave’s doorway, and the healing properties of the waters, well, it all seems significant, somehow. What if it was a mating chamber and Milo tricked us into mating?”

“You mean Milo forced us to do the nasty?” he asked.

She kicked him with her foot, which he grabbed. He released it when she said, “It wasn’t nasty! And that’s not what I meant. Wait, did you feel forced? I didn’t feel forced.”

He studied her for a moment, and then thanked the stars above for that. The dream where he raped her was still fresh in his mind, even after they had made love, he thought of it, and he was quite proud of the fact that he hadn’t acted on that horrendous dream. “What do you mean, Hermione? Cut to the chase.”

“I didn’t mean we were forced to make love, or even tricked, but what if that chamber was originally used for that, and what if the healing springs were used for some mating ritual? In the book of folktales, there were springs that were used for mating rituals, and the first part of any mating ritual is a blood exchange. Remember what Iver told me? His father had already exchanged blood with his mate. What if, and I know I’m stretching things, but bear with me, but what if Milo purposely bumped me earlier, and caused me to cut open my hand again, causing it to bleed? What if Cat purposely caused your arm to bleed again? What if they did this so that we would exchange blood in the water?”

He wanted to scoff at her theory, but before he could say something scathing, he thought about it, and he realized that she was probably right. “So, according to your little book of folklore, blood exchange happens during mating?”

“Kind of, it’s the first step,” she said. “What if Milo, for some odd reason, is speeding things up for us.”

“Out of his great benevolence toward you and me?” Draco asked contemptuously.

She shrugged and said, “No, I hardly think he did it for you and me. That man only acts for himself, although he pretends he acts on everyone else’s behalf all the time.”

“Why do you hate him so much?” Draco asked seriously.

“Why don’t you?” she asked back. “That’s the better question.” She hopped off the table and said, “Besides, I don’t hate people. I merely dislike some of them.”

“Milo being one of them?” he asked.

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“I just don’t like him,” she said plainly.

“That’s not a reason. Is it because you’re attracted to him?” he asked, afraid of what her answer might be.

“No!” she protested. “I still think you should dislike him as much as I do, however. Maybe you DON’T dislike him because you ARE attracted to him,” she scoffed.

“Sorry, but I’m only attracted to irritating, bossy, former enemies, and as for Milo, I don’t know why I don’t dislike him any longer, but I don’t. I think he’s had a hard row to hoe, so to speak. I don’t really like him…that’s too strong of a word, but neither do I dislike him. I don’t think of him either way. He’s the epitome of apathy to me. I would describe my feelings for the man as the ultimate ennui.” Draco sat back in the chair, pulled his jumper over his head, and threw it on the floor.

She leaned down, picked it up, sniffed it, (which made him smile) and then she placed it on the back of an abandoned chair. “Epitome of apathy? Ennui? My oh my, Malfoy’s been learning some large words again. Sneaking peeks at the dictionary when no one’s around, Malfoy? Trying to keep up with me?” He pulled on her hand, then snaked his arm around her waist to force her to sit back on his lap.

“Make fun of me if you want, it sort of turns me on,” he whispered in her ear.

He placed his hand on her face, forcing her to face him, and his lips sought hers, claiming them as he had earlier. He felt all the tension, stress, and fear from earlier slip away as his tongue played with hers. She trembled under his hands, arched her back, and turned as much as the arms on the chair would allow. She eventually turned around to face him, straddled his body, going to her knees, a knee on each side of his thighs. She grabbed his face with her hands, clutching him close, desperate for his kiss, his touch, his feel.

She raised her head and gasped for air. Breathlessly, he smiled at her, placed one hand behind her head, and brought her face back to his, so that he could taste her again. Her breasts pressed against his chest, his groin up against her, and even though they were fully clothed, the heat of their bodies passed from one another, and they both moaned at the same time. Hermione’s hands were still on his head, in his hair, gasping, holding, containing. His hands were still on her back, pressing her ever closer, and then closer still.

She held back, even as he urged her onward, and she climbed off him, though her legs were weak and wobbly. He hung his head back, closed his eyes, and whined, “Nooooo! Come back.”

“Draco, not here, not right now.”

“Are you even human?” he asked, now standing in front of her. He closed his eyes again, in frustration. She looked slightly hurt, but he opened his eyes, and smiled, so then she decided he was joking, so she smiled back. “You’ll be the death of me someday, Granger.”

“Don’t even joke about that,” she said, her arms going around his waist, her head on his chest. “Anyway, I think it’s the other way around, you’ll probably be the death of me.”

He stroked her back and said, “Then let it be a pleasurable death, Princess. I’ll kill you with sex, how about that? By the way, I got you a present when I was in the village of Dorchester. If I give it to you, will you get back on my lap and kiss me some more?”

She looked up to his eyes and said, “A present from Dorchester? It’s not fish and chips is it?”

“Hardly.” He reached in his trouser pocket and pulled out a small, black, velvet pull-string bag. He handed it to her. “You might want to revise your plan to search for the last missing girl by her unusual piece of jewelry, because inside this pouch is something that will blow the theory about the rarity of this jewelry to pieces.”

She opened the bag, inside was a necklace with the same emblem that was on all the jewelry from the dead bodies. She turned it around; on the back were the same small symbols. “Where did you get this?”

“A gift shoppe in Dorchester. I bet all the girls got them there. There were many more there, so they aren’t very extraordinary. I asked the clerk about the emblem, and she said, get this, that she didn’t know what it meant, but that the late Violet Edgewater made all of the jewelry that they sold that had that symbol. I went past her bookstore afterwards and noticed that indeed, this little emblem, the one on the front of the necklace is on her sign out front.”

“How did we miss that?” she asked, fingering the necklace that she had taken from the bag.

“We didn’t know to look for it, did we?” he asked back.

She frowned and said, “The jewelry is still made up of some rare material, so whether it was made in Glendora, as suggested by Milo and Iver, or by Violet in Dorchester, we can still use it to search for the last girl. I still think it was a way that the killer tracked the girls.”

“I don’t think the Dorchester brothers told us that the jewelry was from this village. I think they just said that they looked old, and they assumed artisans in their village made them, because of the symbols. They also told us what the symbols meant. Why are you so intent to bring them into all of this?” Draco quizzed. He took her hand and held it up to his mouth, and then he kissed the top. He took the necklace from her hand and placed it back on the table, on top of the little bag.

“Intuition tells me Milo Dorchester is hiding something,” Hermione Granger announced. “And I’ll find out what it is if it’s the last thing I do.” She looked back over to the necklace and said, “I should wear it. Maybe if I wear it downstairs, it will unnerve the Dorchester brothers. Maybe it will even draw the murderer out.”

“Leave it be,” he said, because he had thought of the same thing.

She looked at him surprised, reached for the necklace, but he blocked her path, and grabbed her hand again. “You said it was a present for me! Are you now going to take it back?” she harped.

“I only meant to show it to you. I didn’t give it to you to keep, after all, we aren’t at the jewelry stage of our relationship yet,” he joked. “I only give jewelry after a girl sleeps with me at least five times. Now, if you’d like to go to my room, we might work something out.” He wiggled his eyebrows.

She took his hand and concluded, “No. I think we should go get something to eat instead. I’m starved. I don’t need a piece of jewelry from you anyway, to know how you feel about me. You love me, Draco Malfoy.” She smiled, pleased with herself. She glanced over at the necklace as they walked by the table. She could try it on later.

He smiled, pleased as well. They walked out of the room, and he only glanced back at the necklace once.

Later that night, as the moon hung high in the sky, and the castle was uncommonly quiet, she walked into the third floor tower room, which was used as their office. She looked at the papers and photographs that littered the workspace, but then her gaze went immediately to the necklace, which was left on the table. She picked it up, fingered it for a moment, and then she placed it on her neck.

She wasn’t sure why she wanted to put it on, but she did. She went over to a small mirror, in a black frame, which hung by the door to the room. She looked at her reflection, and stared at the necklace as it lay upon her chest, the ivory of her skin contrasting with the silver hue of the emblem.

“What do you mean?” she asked the reflection. She looked at the emblem closer, and then she let the necklace drop back to her chest. Suddenly, something banged loudly on the turret above her. She walked over to the window, and looked outside. She was greeted merely with the darkness of the hour. She took a step back, stared at the darkness, seeing only her own reflection, when suddenly, something black, bigger than a bird, smashed into the window beside her with another loud bang, causing the window to crack down the middle, though it didn’t break. She jumped away in fright.

She heard another loud noise, as if someone, or something, was hitting the side of the stones with a mallet. She ran from the office, toward the stairs that would lead to the top of the tower. She climbed the stairs, and threw open the door.

She looked all around, and saw nothing but more of the same…darkness, night, minimal light from the moon. She walked all around the top of the tower, but she saw nothing. When she was certain there was no one there, she walked to the door.

It was closed. She had left it open. Her hand went to the handle. She heard a loud wailing noise, like the noise a bird makes when it caws. She looked up in time to see a giant, black bird like shape swoop down upon her. It turned into a human, but she had no time to process anything, because the last thing she remembered was the feeling of teeth upon her neck, of blood pumping from her heart, her pulse slowing, her breathing becoming shallow, and sharp, stabbing pain, as a talon sliced open her skin.

She didn’t even have time to scream before she died.

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