A Day and A Night

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Chapter 39: A Prince and a Princess:

After they made love, in the dim light, Draco looked down at the woman beside him, and he covered her with his jumper the best that he could. She had a beautiful body, soft, made for pleasure, made for him. She had seemed so vulnerable when he had first entered the chamber. Now she seemed as if she had relinquished her vulnerability for something else, and he wasn’t sure what that something else was. She was forever a mystery to him.

He cleaned them both with his wand, paying special attention to the wound on her neck. He slowly dressed, forgoing his jacket, which was under her, and jumper, which was over her. She stayed where she was for a while longer, watching him. She eventually joined him, though she was still weak from the spell the night before, and now from their lovemaking.

He took a drink from the canteen and he said, “I can’t believe we did that in here of all places. I also can’t believe that I didn’t hurt you, or even want to hurt you. I couldn’t hurt you. I know that now.” He knew that sounded odd, or even stupid, but he needed to have her hear it, as much as he needed to say it.

“I can’t believe we’ve made love only twice, and each time was on a cold, stone floor, in a cave or a dungeon. Next time, I want a soft bed. I demand it,” she said, as she tried to put on her clothing.

He helped her to dress, and then he said, “You demand a lot of things, don’t you, Princess? If you demand we make love every day of the week, well, it would be an awful sacrifice on my part, but I guess I would give in to your demands." She gave him a look that bordered on amusement and disgust, so he smiled and said, "Are you ready to go? The Aurors are all bound to be here by now, and I don't know where Milo and Iver are, but I, for one, don’t want to encounter Milo here, because I might still kill him.”

She drew her knees up to her chest and asked, “Do you think less of me because I didn’t fight him off? That I didn’t defend myself better?”

He couldn't believe she would ask such an asinine question. “No, because he probably had you under that spell of his. I understand. You’re a strong, capable, woman, Hermione Granger. I know that better than anyone.” He tried to offer her a hand, to help her to stand. Instead, she took his hand in hers, healed it with her wand, and then she batted it away. He placed his hands on his hips. "What?" he asked.

She looked up at him and said, “I’m not weak, you know. I not some feeble female who constantly needs rescuing, though it might appear that I have needed help a lot since we’ve arrived here. Usually, I’m strong and I’m not afraid of much, either.”

“I know. You’re the strongest person I know, and I mean that sincerely." And he did. “I only meant to give you a hand up. Can you stand on your own? We should get out of here. I have so much to tell you.”

“Tell me now,” she urged. She patted the stone ground beside her.

He sat down and told her everything Iver had told them. She filled in him in on everything that Milo had told and done to her. He found that he had to bury his fists in his pockets a few times, to keep from hitting the stone wall or the floor, in anger, but he kept his anger to himself.

Draco said, “I can’t believe he knew that dead girl wasn’t Jennifer Cravens, and that he already suspected that she was the killer, and yet he did nothing. It was because of that, that Cat died, and that you were almost killed.” He pulled her toward him and hugged her tightly.

“When do you think Iver suspected?” she asked.

“I don’t know.”

She pushed away from Draco and said, “The thing that bothers me is how easily both brothers have lied to us, and manipulated us from the beginning. Why try to make our job harder? If they knew Milo had a different mother, they should have told us. They should have told us about Cat. They should have told us about Jennifer Cravens in the beginning. Why all the secrets and lies? I don’t believe it had anything to do with the fact that they can’t tell outsiders about their world, because they told us some things, and kept other things from us.”

“I wonder if Iver knew about Milo’s vampirism all along. Also, Iver told me once that when he had his mate dream, at the age of fourteen, he dreamt of a woman with blond hair and blue eyes, but Jennifer Cravens, if she’s his mate, has brown hair and eyes. Why lie about something like that?”

“Maybe Milo implanted false memories in Iver’s head,” Draco said. “I mean, he’s an accomplished Legilimens. What I don’t get is that Milo must have suspected her from the start, so why did he need to involve us, or the Ministry? He could have tried to stop her himself. That’s what they're apparently doing now. And you do realize that if your little book of folklore is to be believed, I’m not the Lost Prince at all. Milo is. Iver said it himself, which means that maybe Milo had some feelings for this Jennifer, but he knew she was Iver’s mate, and he couldn’t act on it. I don’t know, I’m just glad I’m not the Lost Prince. I would hate it if you killed me.”

Hermione looked surprised, poked him in the chest, and she said, “You little sneak! You did read the ending of the story! You knew all along that the girl killed the Lost Prince, who was her true love, when the real prince tried to claim her. You lied to me.”

“So?” he said with a shrug.

“Well, that’s just…wrong, and well, rude. Your title of Lost Prince is relinquished and you’re once again just plain old Prince Rude.”

“At your service,” he said. He stood up and bowed to her. “Do you want to leave now, or shall we continue to discuss the oddities of this village and this case?”

“No more talking, I just want to get out of here,” she said. She tried to stand again, but landed back down on her bum. “I guess I’m still a bit woozy, but that doesn’t mean I’m weak.” He sighed and then smirked at her comment. She finally looked at the door and said, “Tell me you did not shut the doors tight when you entered earlier.”

“Well, hell, that was over an hour ago, and of course I did. I was afraid that some crazy Dorchester brother, clansmen, or wild beast woman might be out there waiting for us. Why?”

“Damn, Malfoy, that means that we’re trapped in here!” she said.

Draco frowned, then walked over and tried to open the doors. “Why are we trapped?”

“Because Milo put a ward on the doors, and we can only get out with a password!” she seethed.

“I do hate that man!” Draco raged back.

“If I could only remember the damn word!” she said in response.

“You heard him say the word?” Draco asked, turning toward her.

She looked up at him, feeling guilty, and she said, “No, I didn't hear Milo say the word, but Iver told me the word when he brought me my wand and the water and provisions.”

“Well, then, fuck all of this, Granger, excuse my language, but just say it and let’s get out of here!”

“I can’t!” she said.

“WHY?”

“I don’t remember it!” she said back.

“You can’t remember one little word?” Draco accused.

“It’s not a little word!” she accused.

He took a deep breath, tried to remember that she had been through a horrid ordeal, and then calmly he said, “Try to remember it, sweetheart.”

“It’s in Gaelic,” she said with a whine. “I seem to have a mental block when it comes to Gaelic, and I don’t know why, plus, perhaps if you had asked for the password before we had made love just now, I might have recalled it, but the lovemaking threw me for a loop.”

“First, Granger, I wasn't aware that the first thing out of my mouth when I entered the chamber was supposed to be, 'give me the password', and how convenient it is to blame me because you can’t learn a fairly simply language,” Draco snapped. “My prowess as a lover isn’t that great that it would make a woman smart as you suddenly dense, anyway, so I’m not buying that. Don’t blame me, Princess ‘I Have Mush for Brains Because Draco Shagged Me’.”

“Hey, hey, don’t start calling names, or laying blame on my doorstep, either, Prince Rude! I’m usually a very fast learner, and I usually have instant recall, but I really do have trouble with Gaelic.” She looked down at the hem of her shirt, and she pulled on a loose thread.

He felt bad for being angry with her. He knew some of those Gaelic sayings were difficult. He sat beside her on the floor, took her hand, and said, “Listen, Princess, I know those Gaelic saying are long, and very phlegm inducing, but maybe if you try to think about it in English first, that might help. Did he tell you what it meant in English? Maybe if you say the sentence in English first that will help.”

“It’s not really a sentence,” she said sheepishly. He sat beside her, pulled her hand from the bottom of her shirt and grasped it tightly in his.

“What, is it a long saying, a poem or something really complicated like that?” he asked.

She shrugged, and then said, “Goodbye.”

“Why are you telling me goodbye?” he asked. He brought her chin up with his finger, and forced her to look at him.

“That’s the English translation. Goodbye. It’s the word for goodbye. Goodbye. I can’t remember one little word, for goodbye.” She smiled at him, then frowned again, and then looked back down at the ground.

He stared at her long and hard. He had so many biting remarks he wanted to say, but she had recently been hurt, and she still seemed somewhat sad, and whatnot. However, if she were in her prime, he would let her have it…brightest witch of their age, his foot. One simple little word and she’d already forgotten it, and Iver just told it to her right before Draco got there. She finally looked up at him, threw her hands up in the air and said, “Just say it! I know you have a cutting remark on the edge of your tongue!”

“Fine! One measly little word and you can’t remember it.” He stood and began to pace back and forth in front of her. “You can freeze a whole crowd in a pub with a silent spell! You can figure out complicated runes, you’re an expert an magical DNA, you’re so smart that it scares me sometimes, you constantly make me feel like a complete and utter idiot, yet you can’t remember one little Gaelic word like ‘Slàn leat’?”

“Draco! You just said it!”

He shook his head. “I did?” He turned and saw that the doors had opened. “I guess I remembered it from the clan meeting tonight. All of the little weirdoes in their black hoods went around saying it to each other when it was over with, and I suppose it just stuck in my brain.”

“You yelled at me for nothing,” she reprimanded, “when you should have been nice to me instead.”

“Yeah, well, I can’t quite give up my Prince Rude title so soon, can I?” He bent down and picked her up. She grabbed their wands. “I’m only carrying you because I want to, not because you’re weak, feeble, or frail, got it?” She kissed his cheek and nodded.

“Malfoy, before we leave, I know it’s silly, but I want to say something to you,” she said. She reached up and stroked his cheek.

“Hurry up, you’re not light as a feather, you know,” he joked.

“It’s just, we’ve already done two steps of the bonding, in the cave with the springs, and even just now, in this mating chamber, there was blood, and we made love, and that’s two steps, and though I don’t know the right words to the third step, we're here in this room, so I want to say that I, Hermione Granger, being of sound mind and somewhat sound body, give myself freely to Draco Malfoy as his mate, forever, and ever, because I love him very much.” She smiled.

He smiled wider, juggled her in his arms, and said, “There you go with those long sentences again, and hell, Granger, that sounded like a bloody testimonial. Okay, here’s mine, I give myself to you, mind, body and soul, because I love you and no other, and will for all of the days of my life. You’re my mate in life and death forever. See, my little vows were sweet and romantic. Yours sounded like a reading of will or something…with that ‘being of sound mind and body’ rubbish.”

She rolled her eyes and said, “It’s good to be back with you, Malfoy. I missed your rudeness, sarcasm, and general cantankerousness."

"Spell that," Draco said, "Because if you can't spell it, you can't call me it."

"I can spell cantankerousness, Malfoy," she complained.

"Really? You couldn't remember the Gaelic word for goodbye," he said with a sly smile.

She sighed, leaned her head against his shoulder, and said, "Take me back to the castle. We have a murderer to catch.”

“I’ll take you back, but you’ll stay behind, and Potter, the Aurors and I will catch Jennifer Cravens, and I’m taking you back to Dorchester, not to Rhodeana castle or Glendora, and I won’t hear another word of argument about it, and it’s not because you’re weak, but because I love you and can't live without you.”

She didn't argue. She closed her eyes, and decided that she would let him take her anywhere that he wanted to take her.

Later that day, in the same little motel where they started their journey, Hermione Granger sat in a warm tub of water, eyes closed, radio on, waiting for word from Draco or Harry. They left her there to go search for the Dorchester brothers and for Jennifer Cravens hours ago, and after hours spent adding everything they had learned into her computer, she had decided to take a long, hot bath. What she really wanted to do was to sleep, because she was so very tired, but she knew she couldn't sleep until everything was over and the men were back. There was a bevy of Aurors guarding the motel, so she felt relatively safe, but still, until she had Draco and Harry safely back with her, she wouldn’t be able to rest.

It was after noon, and she hadn’t eaten breakfast, let alone lunch, so she got up from the tub, quickly dressed, combed out her wet hair, and went to the door of the motel to ask one of the Aurors to go to the pub to get her some lunch. She opened the door, and found that no one was there. She knew that wasn’t right. She looked outside, to the right, and then to the left. No one was anywhere. She slowly closed the motel room door. She walked over to the bed, where her computer was still open and on. She closed it, picked it up, and looked under it for her wand. She didn’t see it on the bed. She opened the top dresser drawer, still no wand. She walked over to the bedside stand, when she remembered that she left it in the bathroom.

She walked in the bathroom door, and that was when she saw a dead woman standing right in front of her, by the bathtub. She didn’t scream, because frankly, after everything that had happen since this whole nightmare began, she really wasn’t afraid. Instead, she thought, ‘Oh, damn.’

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