A/N: I need to get back to my every Friday schedule…
It was lunchtime when they finally arrived at the Leaky Cauldron. Hermione parked the car on the street where many other cars were parked.
“Oh!” moaned Pansy, stretching her legs. “It feels so good to be out of there.” Hermione squinted at Pansy. “We got out of the car less than three hours ago for a bathroom break!”
“Shut up, Granger!”
“Come on,” Scorpius whined. “I want to see some broomsticks. Father promised he’d get me one for Christmas.” As Scorpius rushed ahead to get to the wall leading to Diagon Alley, Pansy and Hermione hung back and walked slowly.
“What was that about not being able to carry a few Galleons?” muttered Hermione under her breath.
“Draco doesn’t want Scorpius to be like he was as a child so he gives him an allowance of a few Sickles a week,” Pansy murmured. Hermione reared back. “Seriously?” Pansy nodded. “No matter how much Draco wants to deny it, he has changed.”
They made their way to the crowd of people waiting at the wall. Not once did they notice the stranger watching their every move.
Hermione, Pansy, and Scorpius strode up to the broom shop to see the new brooms.
“I hope Father can get me the Fireball 360,” said Scorpius wistfully. He pressed his nose up against the glass. “It’s beautiful.”
Hermione stared at the small blonde boy and walked into the shop and over to the register. “How much for the broom in the window?”
The man at the desk widened his eyes. “‘S a hundred-twenty Galleons, ma’am. Are you sure you want that’un? We’ve got plenty more’uvn in back.”
“I want the one in the window,” Hermione insisted.
“Alright, ma’am,” said the man. Hermione took the Galleons from her small bag and put them onto the man’s counter. She then made her way back to Scorpius and Pansy. She opened the glass and handed the broom to him. “For you.”
He gazed up at Hermione. “Really?” he asked in awe.
“Yep. It’s all yours.” Scorpius beamed at Hermione. “Why don’t I shrink that for you?” asked Pansy. Scorpius was reluctant, but he handed the broom to her.
After hours of strolling, they stopped at the end of Diagon Alley. “How about something to eat?” asked Hermione, but both Scorpius and Pansy declined. “Alright. I think we should call it a day, then.”
It was 6:00 p.m. when they were a few yards away from the Leaky Cauldron. It was getting dark. Scorpius pressed himself against Hermione to get warmer. Hermione couldn’t help but smile as she remembered the numerous times Hugo had done this. Her smile disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. She realized that she was out in the open for the entire day with access to a car and had not thought about her family until this moment. Her face grew stony.
“Thank you very much, Ms. Renigold, for the broom,” said Scorpius. Hermione looked down at him and forced a smile. “You are very welcome.”
Pansy stopped walking. “What?” asked Hermione with an edge to her voice. Pansy looked at Hermione strangely but dismissed her strange tone. “Did you hear that?”
Hermione shook her head. “Hear what?”
“Nothing. I’m just… tired,” Pansy said oddly. They continued toward the Leaky Cauldron when Pansy screamed. She was smashed into a wall.
“PARKINSON!” shouted Hermione, drawing her wand. She held onto Scorpius’ shoulder.
“Wh-What’s going on?” he whispered.
“Shh!” Hermione was thrown back by a spell. Scorpius landed on a rock beside her. “Ow!” he screamed.
Hermione could hear Pansy’s distant screams. “She’s moving,” she muttered. “Come on, Scorpius, we have to get to Pansy.” She got up and took Scorpius’ hand, but someone pushed her back. Whoever it was had a good grip on her throat. Hermione tried to scream but she could not find the breath to do so. Scorpius screamed for her.
“Get… Pansy,” Hermione rasped.
“I’ve been waiting for this for so long,” said the voice. It was distorted, or maybe that was Hermione’s lack of logic. Hermione tried to think and kicked her attacker, but that did nothing. Now the attacker was annoyed. Just when Hermione felt herself slipping from the world, she saw another shadow tower over her attacker. The person threw him away from a gasping Hermione, who mustered as much strength to roll to the side. She shielded her head until the scuffle was over. Hermione felt a shadow over her but did not dare look up.
“Excuse me, are you alright?” asked an elegant male voice. Hermione looked up and saw the tall figure of Blaise Zabini. He extended his hand to her. She took it but felt dizzy when she stood. Blaise took Hermione by the shoulders and led her somewhere.
“Where’re Parkinson and Scorpius…?”
“I’m taking you to them,” said Blaise.
“What… What happened?” she slurred.
“Someone attacked you.”
“How did they… know it was me?” she asked.
“Huh?” said Blaise, confused. Hermione did not answer him.
He led Hermione into the Leaky Cauldron and into a room where Pansy was lying on the bed and Scorpius sat in a chair.
“Ms. Renigold! Thank Merlin! I thought you were lost forever,” said Scorpius sounding genuinely grateful.
Blaise raised his eyebrows at Hermione as he helped her into a chair.
“Malfoy’s kid, yeah, I know,” said Blaise, walking to Pansy checking her pulse. Scorpius strode to Hermione and sat on a chair beside her.
“How is she?” asked Hermione tentatively.
“She’s alive.” Blaise turned back to Hermione. “What did you say your name was?”
“He-Charice Renigold. A friend of… Draco’s. How… How did you find us?” Hermione asked, trying to control her breathing.
“I wasn’t looking for you. I heard a fight and decided to help,” Blaise said flatly.
“Oh… well, thanks. We really must be getting back to the Manor-I mean Malfoy Manor. Scorpius’ grandparents will be very worried. We’ve been out all day…”
“Don’t you want me to heal him?” Blaise asked, pointing to Scorpius.
“Ah, yes. How, uh, silly of me,” Hermione muttered, blushing. “Go on.” She gently pushed Scorpius to Blaise. As he cleaned and bandaged Scorpius’ knee, Blaise suppressed a smile.
“Finished,” said Blaise after five minutes. Pansy stirred, but did not wake up. Hermione sighed. “Well. Thank you, Blaise. You’ve been a great help.”
“My pleasure. Are you sure you’re able to get her into the car?” he asked. Hermione glanced at Pansy and pursed her lips. “No, I don’t suppose I am. Would you…?”
“Of course,” Blaise said without hesitation. He picked up Pansy and Hermione led him to the car. She unlocked it and Scorpius got into the back seat. Blaise put Pansy in the back as well and strapped her in. He made his way to the passenger seat and said, “May I?”
“S-Sure,” Hermione stuttered, unsure of why he was joining them. She started the car and rolled the window down. The breeze felt good.
“So how do you know Malfoy?” Blaise asked casually.
“We met in France,” Hermione muttered, the story getting old.
“There’s nothing else to it,” she said.
“There was no romance between you two?” Blaise asked. Hermione looked at him for a second before turning back to the road. “No, Blaise, there was no romance between us. He was already dating Astoria Greengrass.” Blaise laughed, “Ah, yes, the wonderful Greengrass. I dated her for a few months. Horrible lady. Eh, who knows, maybe she’s changed.”
Hermione stopped at a red light and turned around in her seat. Scorpius was fast asleep. “Oh, I do believe she has changed,” said Hermione softly. “She’s got a responsibility now.”
“True. But then, where is she when her responsibility gets home from school?” Blaise asked with a raised brow. Hermione stayed silent.
“Why is Scorpius having such a hard time at school?” Hermione asked finally.
Blaise turned to her. “He’s a Malfoy.”
“I don’t think a lot of Hogwarts’ students are too fond of any Malfoys at the moment. Malfoy’s family was part of Voldemort’s cause, Voldemort and his cause killed thousands.”
“Did you and Pansy ever have a relationship?” asked Hermione curiously.
Blaise turned around and glanced at Pansy. “Yes. We were in a brief relationship. When I say brief, I mean very brief.”
“Why did you end it?” Blaise looked at Hermione. “Pansy ended it, actually. She… had a choice,” Blaise said carefully, “and she chose to leave. I’m not saying that’s the whole story, but that’s pretty much the gist of it.” The two stayed silent for a long time before Hermione asked, “What came after us just now?”
“You’ve got a lot of questions, Charice. I like that in a person.” Blaise stretched his arms out behind him and sighed. “Always the curious one.” He hesitated a moment before he started talking. “I have no idea what that thing was.” Hermione glanced at him when he said ‘thing.’ “Yes, thing. I have a hard time believing it was human.”
“Was… was it trying to…”
“Kill you?” finished Blaise. “By the look of it? Definitely.” Hermione groaned and gasped.
“What?” said Blaise.
“Oh, um. Nothing,” Hermione lied. She realized two things. One: was this the thing that was trying to kill her, or maybe did it work for the person who was trying to kill her? Two: if Pansy was in any pain at all, she felt none of it.
Finally, Hermione reached Malfoy Manor. Blaise helped Hermione get Pansy into her room. Blaise then carried Scorpius to his room. Blaise met Hermione back in the entrance hall.
“Thanks for… everything, really,” Hermione said, truly grateful.
“It was not a problem,” Blaise said.
“No, really… I mean, you saved my life and probably Par-Pansy’s and Scorpius’ lives as well.” Blaise shook his head. “Don’t make me out to be a hero. I’m anything but.” Hermione was taken aback by this statement but did not question it.
“So I guess I’ll be seeing more of you, considering that you’re Draco’s friend and all,” Hermione said, glancing at Blaise.
“If you want,” Blaise said, slightly amused. Before Hermione could say anything else, Blaise said, “I’ll show myself out.”
And Blaise struggled to memorize every word Hermione said.