A Day and A Night

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Chapter 5: A Fish and a Phone:

Hermione sat on the side of the tub, in yet another room at the motel, their third in two days, and she was rocking back and forth with her phone in her hand, but she didn’t know who she wanted to call. Well, she wanted to call her mum, but what in the world would she say to her? Would she say, “Hello, Mum, it’s me, Hermione, and I’m all alone up here in Scotland, investigating the deaths of two girls with my childhood nemesis, Draco Malfoy, and by the way, there was another murder and the body was found in our room. Oh yes, and my car was blown to bits.”

She could call her dad, and say, “Daddy, I’m scared, for the first time in a long time, and I’m not sure why, but please come and get me.” That was what she wanted to say.

Or she could call Harry, and say, “I’m sorry, but I can’t do this. I don’t know why, but for once I feel like I’m in over my head.”

Because she truly wanted to make all three phone calls, yet the thought of any or all of them made her ashamed. She wasn’t a quitter, she wasn’t afraid of hardly anything, and she wasn’t alone in all of this – Malfoy was here.

In fact, Malfoy was knocking on the bathroom door at that very moment. She stood, opened the door, and sat back on the side of the tub, her phone still in her hand.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were on the phone,” he said.

“I’m not,” she replied. “How did she die?”

“Granger, why don’t you take a nap? You look unwell, and this time, I’m serious. I’ll bring you some lunch.” Draco held out his hand and said, “Give me your phone.”

“How did she die?” she repeated.

Draco let his hand drop and he said, “The same way the other two died, the witches from the University. She was drained of all her blood. There were claw marks all over her body, and there were deep bite marks as well.”

Hermione felt like crying, but she didn’t. “Did you call the Muggle police?”

“No, I decided at the last moment to call the Aurors, given that she was a witch, although since she was a resident of this town, her death will have to be explained somehow, but that’s up for the Ministry to decide how to handle, not us. The Aurors are cleaning up the room as we speak,” Draco explained. He leaned against the doorjamb and ran his hand through his hair.

“Is Harry here?”

“Why would Potter lower himself to do the dirty job of cleaning up a crime scene, and faking a woman’s death?” he asked sarcastically. “He leaves the unpleasant tasks to others. He made me do the unpleasant task of babysitting you.”

“That’s not nice,” she harped.

He held up one finger and said, “I’m rude, which we’ve already established,” and then he held up another finger and said, “And I’m not nice. Thanks so much for clearing that up.” He held up a third finger and said, “I’m hungry, too. I’m going to get us some food.”

He turned to walk out of the bathroom, but then turned back. “Don’t leave the room, okay? The windows have been sealed shut, so you can’t climb out, and I still have your wand. If I have to lock the door with magic, I will, in fact, that’s a good idea.” He walked to the door of the motel, said a simple spell, and then walked back to the bathroom.

She was now sitting on the floor, turning her phone around in her hand. “What do you want to eat?” he asked.

“Nothing.” She looked up at him and said, “Did you bring my suitcase and computer over to this room?”

“Yes,” he answered.

“I need to add everything that old lady told us into my computer.” She stood up and walked past him. She found her computer on the bed, opened it, and said, “Go on, get food. I’ll be fine. I have work to do.”

“You’re ever so much fun, Granger,” he said spitefully.

As he was leaving their room, her phone hit him square on the back. He turned quickly and she spat, “A woman was killed probably because she spoke with us earlier, and you want me to be, what? Fun, entertaining, a barrel of laughs?”

“Gee, no, I'd never want you to be anything you’ve never been before, so no, none of those things would do, but you know you could stop being so damn depressed.” That wasn’t what he wanted to say. He couldn’t say what he wanted to say, because he felt bad that she felt bad, and so he wanted to tell her he was sorry that she was upset and sad, but he couldn’t let her know that. He bent down, picked up her phone, stuck it in his pocket, walked out of the room and slammed the door hard.

He spoke with the other Aurors for a few moments, and then walked back to the pub where they ate breakfast. He walked up to the counter and ordered some food. While waiting, he asked the waitress from earlier if she had seen the dark-haired man that came into the pub that morning.

“Yes,” the girl answered slowly. She looked toward the barman, and then she asked, “Why?”

“Is he from around here?” he asked, although he already knew the answer.

“No,” the barman answered in the waitress’ place. “Listen, Mister, why are you asking about that man?”

“He just said something to my girlfriend earlier, and it upset her,” Draco decided to tell them.

“The pretty girl with curly hair, from this morning?” the waitress asked.

“Yep, that’s the one,” Draco said back.

“I thought you just worked together. She said you were archeologists, and that you were heading toward Glendora,” the girl alleged.

“We are, but we’re together, too,” Draco said steadily, trying to cover his lie. He wasn’t sure why he lied about her being his girlfriend in the first place.

“What did the man say to her?” the barman asked.

Draco shook his head and said, “That’s the thing, she won’t really tell me, but she’s not acting right. After she spoke with him, she was shaken, upset.” So far, that wasn’t really a lie.

The man looked at the younger girl, and then said to Draco, “Listen, my waitress told me that your car exploded last night, and I think you should take that as a sign to leave here. Take your girlfriend and leave, and if you see that man again, stay clear, okay?”

Draco nodded as the waitress handed him their food. He walked out of the door, but a few moments later the young waitress called to him. He walked back toward the pub.

She said, “He’s from Glendora. Everyone around here fears him, but no one can really tell you why. He makes us all nervous, even though he’s never said or done anything to any of us. None of the other villagers from Glendora ever leave there, but he does, all the time. There’s something not right about him, but the odd thing is, so many of our young gals, me included, have found ourselves inexplicably drawn to him at one time or another, embarrassing enough.”

“My girlfriend said he’s a good-looking chap,” Draco replied, “maybe that’s the draw.”

The girl shook her head even as she said, “No, it’s more than that. I know for myself, I literally felt compelled one day to follow him. I found myself alone in an alley with him, and he took my hand, and the odd thing was, even though he didn’t hurt me at all, I felt afraid after he left, and even a bit sad. I know that sounds strange. It’s something everyone knows, but no one will talk about, Mister. Maybe he did something similar to your girlfriend. Maybe he didn’t really say anything to upset her, perhaps he was just near her. That’s usually enough to upset most of us.” She smiled a sad sort of smile, and turned away. She called back, “I hope I helped.”

Draco nodded. She helped more than she knew, because she confirmed his worst fear and his foremost suspicion.

Draco entered the motel room and Hermione once again had her computer on her lap, and papers and folders all around her on the bed. Without looking up at Draco as he entered she said, “Hand me my satchel on the dresser, oh and I need my phone back, please.”

He frowned, but handed her the damn satchel, even as he threw the bag of food on the bed. He sat on the bed beside her, with his back against the headboard. He reached in his pocket for her phone, but placed it on the bedside table on his side, far away from her. He sat back on the bed, his leg on several of her folders. She made a disgruntled noise, and pushed on his leg. Then she pulled the folders out from under him and she said, “Please, sit elsewhere.”

He held up his hands and said, “In case you haven’t notice, Princess, this isn’t a four star establishment. There’s one bed, two bedside tables, two lamps, one dresser, and one telly in this room, which, I have to warn you, I plan to turn on...right…about…now.” He pointed the remote decisively toward the telly, turned it on, and then opened the bag of food.

She closed her computer and placed it on the bedside table beside her. She looked in the bag and said, “Fish and chips? I hate fish.”

“Then just eat the chips or starve,” he said eloquently. He opened an ale from the bag, and took a large drink. She scooted to the edge of the bed, then stood and started toward the door. “Where are you going?” he asked.

“I hate fish and chips,” she repeated. “I’ll go to the pub and get me something else for lunch.”

She opened the door, but before she knew it, he was standing behind her and he slammed it, (once again) right after she opened it. She sighed before turning to face him. “Why can’t I go to the pub?”

“I brought you perfectly good food,” was all he said in return.

“Which I don’t like,” she said condescendingly.

“Then as I said, starve. You look as if you could lose a stone or two,” he spat. He knew when he turned his back to her that something was bound to hit him again. She didn’t disappoint. This time she picked up a file from the dresser and hit him hard on the head. He smiled to himself, but when he turned to her he said, “You have quite the violent streak. Perhaps you need those Muggle anger management classes.” He sat back on the bed, unwrapped his food, and started to eat.

She stood by the door and while still staring at him, she reached for the door handle. He kept his eyes on the telly, but said, “I wouldn’t try it, Granger.”

“Am I a prisoner?” she asked.

“No, just a ruddy pain in the arse, as previously mentioned,” he responded. He lifted the remote and turned the sound on the telly louder. Hermione’s phone rang. He picked it up and tossed it to her. She sat on the edge of the bed and answered.

“Hello?” she asked. Draco looked at her back, as she spoke softly into the phone. He turned the televisions lower and he heard her say, “No, I know I didn’t tell you exactly when I was going out of town, but I didn’t know I had to.” She looked over her shoulder, and Draco turned his attention back to the football match on the television.

Hermione stood up, walked to the corner of the room, pulled the drapes, and looked out the window, as the person on the other end of the phone monopolized much of the conversation. She said things such as, “I know,” and “No,” and “Yes,” but not much else. Then she said, “I’m not alone, Draco Malfoy is with me.”

Draco looked over at her again. She was twirling the string to the drapes around her finger. She looked at him and they stared at each other. She said, “No, he’s being a perfect gentleman.” Then she smiled at Draco, and he couldn’t help but smile back.

Hermione dropped the string and sat back on the bed beside Draco and said, “You know him better than I do, Adrian, but really, he’s being very pleasant. He’s not being horrible in the least.” She adjusted the pillow behind her as Draco laughed aloud at her lie.

He opened the other ale and handed it to her. He then clinked his bottle next to hers; she laughed a bit, and took a drink. She then said in the phone, “What? You think he’s rude? Oh, Adrian, I find that hard to believe. He's shown no signs of being rude to me.”

Draco almost spit out his ale. In fact, some dribbled down his chin. Hermione laughed again, but then said, “Adrian, please, I have to go. I have work to do on the investigation, and really, I don’t think you should call me anymore. I think we need closure.”

Suddenly her smile faded. She scooted to the edge of the bed again and said, “That’s not true, and you know it. Don’t say hateful things that you might regret, Adrian.”

Draco decided he had enough of this. He moved so that he was on his knees behind her. She turned her face slightly to his, even as the phone was still to her ear. Then Draco said, loud enough for Adrian to hear on the other end, “Hermione, sweetheart, come back to bed. I have a new position I want us to try.”

Hermione opened her mouth to protest, but Draco took the phone from her hand, turned it off, and then he sat back against the headboard again. He had a smirk on his face. “I bet he doesn’t call again,” he said with a grin. He tossed her phone back on the bedside stand.

Hermione had new awe and respect for the deviousness, which was Draco Malfoy. She tried to hide her smile, but he saw it anyway. She crawled back toward the head of the bed, reached in the bag and said, “I might eat a few chips. I like chips.” She stuffed a piece of fried potato in her mouth.

He said, “Well, excellent. After you eat your chips, we could try those new positions I mentioned.” He sat back with a self-satisfied smile. Then, as if on cue, a pillow hit him right on the head.

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