A Day and A Night

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Chapter 9: A Scuffle and a Gun:

Hermione Granger closed her eyes as Draco Malfoy pulled her back over to his lap, but this time there was nothing romantic about the act. He had his hand over her mouth. They heard several voices, definitely more than two, and they were men. They heard the sound of rustling, and of moving furniture and shelves.

Then they saw a boom of bright, white light. Draco rolled so they were both on the floor, with him on top of her, covering her from any wand fire or curses, which he was certain was to follow. All that followed was a curse word and the sound of now only one man’s footsteps, which was coming closer.

Draco got up on his hands and knees, and he motioned that Hermione should stay where she was. He Apparated to the other side of the store. She pulled her wand out of her coat pocket and hurried to put the books that they found back into her satchel.

Then, she heard two men in what was apparently a wizard’s duel. She heard the crash of bookshelves, heard the sounds of shouting, and she saw green and white lights reflecting and bouncing off the shelves and walls.

Then, everything was quiet. Too quiet. She got up to a crouch, placed the satchel around her shoulders, and crawled over to the end of the aisle, to see what she could see.

She saw Draco Malfoy straddling Milo Dorchester.

Draco was frowning, his wand under the other man’s chin.

Milo Dorchester moved his head slightly, as if he sensed Hermione’s presence. He looked at her and said, “Would you mind telling Mr. Malfoy who I am, Miss Granger, so that he’ll get off me? He’s heavier than he appears.”

Hermione stood and held up her wand, to cast light around the small, dark shop. Among the littered books, knocked over shelves, and debris were the body of three men, all apparently unconscious, and Draco and Milo, who were not.

Draco hopped off Milo before Hermione could ask him to do so. He motioned with his hand for Hermione to come closer. She walked calmly to his side, her eyes never leaving the other man, even as Milo stood and then brushed off his clothing.

What are you doing here?” Hermione asked. She not only wondered what he was doing there, but she wondered why she didn’t feel as ‘peculiar’ as she did the first time he was near. She had an odd feeling that it was because Draco was close by, or perhaps because Draco had his hand on the small of her back. She would examine that theory another time.

“I was watching this bookstore, and I saw these Muggles enter,” he explained. “I thought I’d best investigate. I knew the old woman was killed early this morning, and I didn’t know what they meant to do here.”

“What did
you mean to do here?” Draco asked.

“I could ask you the same,” Milo said sternly. “Violet was still a member of our clan, even though she was born and raised here. Her murder was a tragedy, and when we heard of it, I came here. I was outside the store when I saw the men enter. I entered right after, and I knew you both were in here, so that’s why I stunned them. I thought they would discover you, or cause you harm.”

“How did you know we were here?” Hermione asked.

He looked right at her for a long time. Her wand, still held in the air, was the only source of light, and it danced along her features, as well as his. He then looked at Draco and said, “Would you like to explain to her how I would know that she was here, Cousin?”

“Cousin?” Hermione almost dropped her wand. She turned to Draco.

Draco dropped his hand from her back, looked shocked, and said, “I’m no relation to this man! I’ve never even met him before we came here!” Draco lit his wand and pointed it to Milo and said, “Why would you call me that?”

“We consider everyone who is at least two-natured, no matter how far removed, to be our kin, but maybe it’s my mistake,” Milo said cryptically, “Or perhaps it is just something you don’t wish to discuss, or wish for her to know.” He cocked his head toward Hermione. “No bother. I believe everyone has the right to secrets. I merely want to make sure you are both safe, and that you make it safely to Glendora.”

Hermione frowned, because she had so many questions, but she knew she had to ask the most pressing ones first. “Everyone here wants us to stay away from Glendora, and you want us to come, and you’d think it would almost be the other way around. Your village abhors outsiders, so why would you want an Auror and a expert of magical DNA to dig around into your private affairs? You do realize that we will be investigating these murders with the assumption that someone in your village, one of Valdes, murdered these girls, correct?”

He smiled. His smile was seductive, alluring, and Hermione thought it also seemed slightly dangerous. “I realize that, Miss Granger, but when I offered my assistance to your old professor, I meant it. I don’t want trouble in my village. I don’t endorse the murder and maiming of innocent people, Miss. I also know that it’s better to have you and Mr. Malfoy come in and try to solve this, with my help, than to have a bevy of Ministry officials come in and bother my people, as they think they have the right to do.”

“Your people?” Hermione asked.

“Yes, my people. I am, for all intents and purposes, their leader, if you will. Ours is an ancient, patriarchal system, which I don’t think you will quite understand. We aren’t your average witches and wizards, but since you called us by our real name a moment ago, Valdes, I know that you must know that,” he finished.

He looked around the room and said, “I don’t know about you two, but I would rather not be here when they wake. Shall we go?”

“How shall we go?” Draco finally asked, a bit sarcastically.

“How were you planning to come to my village in the first place?” Milo asked pointedly, in his odd sort of accent. “I know your car was destroyed, and I know that though I can Apparate in and out of my village, you cannot.”

“We were going to fly,” Draco answered. “We have brooms stored to the side of the building, in the alley.”

“It’s a cold night, but clear. Flying would be wonderful. Usually, when I fly I do so in my other form, so I could guide you,” Milo said.

“You’re an animagus?” Hermione asked, almost in awe.

“All of the Valdes are. Different clans become different animals. Most of us are birds of prey, like hawks, ospreys, eagles, falcons, owls, or vultures. My clan becomes eagles.” He seemed proud of this fact. He said, “Some of the clans that have diluted blood become land animals in their animagus forms, black dogs, deer, but most are birds, because of the Veela background.”

Hermione said, “I didn’t think you would be so forthcoming in speaking of your background with us.”

“Why?” he asked. He took a step closer to her. “I have nothing to hide.” Without realizing it, Hermione took a step backwards. Draco noticed this, and he took a carefully, choreographed step to the side, so that his arm was touching hers.

“Violet Edgewater said that members of your community couldn’t speak to outsiders about your secrets,” Hermione stated.

He smiled and said, “You will find that many things do not apply to me, and besides, I’m not sharing any secrets,” he stepped even closer, “yet.”

Draco took Hermione’s arm and pulled her protectively behind his back. He said, “Fine, birdie, let’s go outside before these men wake. Flap your wings, get up in the air, and we’ll follow.”

Milo smiled and stepped over one of the felled men and said, “I’ll Disapparate to the alley. Would you like to Disapparate with me, Miss Granger?” He held out his hand, but his gaze was on Draco at first, and he was smiling. Draco recognized that the man was testing both him and Hermione.

Hermione looked at his hand, and swallowed hard. Draco also looked at the man’s hand, but he said, “She can Apparate on her own, you know. Go on, we’ll be right out.”

“Fine, I’ll go out before you, besides, I’m sure you might have something you want to tell Miss Granger, so I’ll see you out there in a moment.”

The man disappeared and Hermione whipped around and she said one thing, “Do you have Veela blood?” After all, Hermione Granger wasn’t a fool, and she had already suspected as much.

Draco gasped, expelled a breath, and faked a smile, laughed, sputtered, shrugged, shook his head, made a motion with his hand, and then said, “Maybe.”

“Now things make sense,” she said, throwing her hands up in the air. “How could this be? How did I not know? Why didn’t you tell anyone?”

“I have told people. The Ministry still has an antiquated law that says anyone with even an eighth Veela heritage must register as such. My father’s grandmother was part Veela, but just part, and it’s not a big deal, and I’m not related to these people!” Draco said, pointing toward the outside wall, as if he was pointing to the village of Glendora itself.

“Is that why you came with me? Do you have knowledge of Veela that is beyond what I know?” she asked.

He hesitated for a moment and then answered. “No, I’m sure I don’t. I came because perhaps, just perhaps, if they try to use any of their ancient, voodoo Veela magic on you, I’ll be oblivious to it, or some such tripe, or at least that’s what my superiors think.” That wasn’t the whole truth, but he wasn’t ready for the truth, and he knew in his heart of hearts, neither was she. He didn’t want her to think that his recent show of positive feelings, (i.e. lack of rudeness) had anything to do with anything Veela.

“Voodoo Veela magic?” Hermione asked with a smile.

“What would you have me call it?” he asked, smiling back.

“I wouldn’t call it ancient voodoo Veela magic,” she said, eloquently. “I don’t want lies, Draco. If you have more to tell me, I want you to tell me.”

“Right here, right now? I only question your timing because I rather think the King of the Valdes is out in an alley waiting for us,” Draco said sarcastically.

“Not right here, right now,” she came back with. “But if we are to work together, I have to be able to trust you, agreed?”

“Whatever,” he said, in a sort of angry pout. “Come on, the King is still waiting.”

“Oh, stop pouting! Does it make you feel inferior that he’s a king and you’re just a prince?” Hermione asked with an ornery gleam in her eye.

Draco smirked and raised his left eyebrow and said, “Listen, Princess, I’m so much more everything than that man, in so many ways, so I hardly think I’m jealous, got that?”

She laughed and said, “Fine, and you really are ruder than him, at least. He seems the perfect gentleman.”

She looked around the room and he spun her around suddenly. He turned serious and he said, “Granger, promise me something. Be careful of him. Remember how he made you feel earlier, okay. Just use caution. I know you tend to go in feet first, and you think you’re bloody invincible, but be cautious, right?”

“Why, Draco, I might start to think you care,” she said, cupping his cheek.

He took a deep breath, and though he wanted to confirm her statement, even though she made it in jest, he said, “You know I don’t care. I just don’t want Potter to have a bloody cow if you’re injured, and the paperwork would be a bother, too.”

“Ah, so thoughtful,” she said with a grin.

“Do you want to fly, still?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” she said with a sigh. “But we better get out of here before these men wake up.”

He offered her his hand, much as Milo had offered his hand to her only moments ago, but this time she placed her hand complacently into his, and then he took the satchel from her. He Apparated them both to the alley, where Milo Dorchester was waiting. Milo handed one broom to Draco and then one to Hermione, but Draco took Hermione’s back out of her hand and said, “We’ll travel together.”

“Draco,” Hermione said in a low voice, “the spell we used to charm these brooms won’t be very strong, and it might not even last very long, and they don’t have seats or anything. It’ll be hard enough for you to be on it by yourself. You don’t have to do this.”

“Is there a problem?” Milo asked, coming forward.

“No problem,” Draco said back. He looked around the little alley, and he saw a rubbish can lid. He took the lid and he transfigured it into a seat and he then attached it to the broom with magic. It was large enough for two. “There we go.”

“You are taking only one broom, then?” Milo asked.

“I’m not a good flyer,” Hermione waned.

“It makes sense,” Milo said back.

Hermione pursed her lips and said, “Why, because I’m a woman? My friend Ginny, a woman, is one of the best flyers I know.”

Milo laughed a bit and said, “Please, do not be offended, Miss Granger. I only meant that it would make sense that Mr. Malfoy should want to protect you because you are his…”

Draco interrupted before the man could finish, “Can we just go? Those men are probably awake now, and we already ran away from one angry crowd today. Get in the air, Birdie. We’ll follow.”

Milo said, “I think we should Apparate to the edge of the loch, Auror, and leave from there.” He said the word, ‘Auror’ with as much disdain as Draco said the word, ‘Birdie’. “That way, we shan’t risk being seen, if that’s amendable to you both.”

“Fine, fine, fine,” Draco dismissed.

Milo disappeared, and Draco once again held out his hand. Hermione looked at his hand and said, “What was he trying to say? You interrupted him.”

“So, I’m rude, I interrupt people!” Draco hissed as he leaned closer. “Now take my bloody hand.”

“I can Apparate by myself, remember.”

That statement embarrassed him. Of course she could. Of course she didn’t need to continue to hold his hand. For some reason, just having that other man near her made him twice as protective of her. He was afraid of something like this. He was also afraid that this other man, or even the other people in the village, would be able to sense his connection to Hermione, and that wouldn’t do at all.

He was angry at the whole situation, but he took out his anger on her. “Of course you can Apparate yourself! You can do everything yourself! You don’t need anyone! Go ahead, Apparate, Princess. See if I care.” He Disapparated away before she did.

She shook her head in wonder, and was about to Disapparate, when she heard a sound behind her. She turned quickly. It was two of the men from the bookstore. They were running around the back of the building, down the alley, directly toward her, and one of them had a Muggle gun.

Hermione looked at the gun and said, “Oh, Shite!”

And then there was a loud noise.

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