The Girl in the Tower Chap 16

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Chapter Sixteen: Belladonna

The bitter winter weeks crept by until the ground lost it's blanket of white, muddied, then again became the brilliant green of spring. Exams came and went with excellent results (some better than others, of course) Gryffindor once again held the Quidditch Cup, but the win was well earned. The Slytherins fought hard, Malfoy especially, and the game was close, but Harry caught the snitch in a photo finish to deny Draco his last chance at victory.

Thanks mostly to Hermione, and with help from Dumbledore, the spell they required to bind their books was complete. Hermione claimed to be finished writing hers, but was always going back to add afterthoughts. Sara and Harry were also finished for the most part, just had some last bits of editing and polishing. Ron's book was near it's close, and was surprisingly the thickest of all. It looked as though all would be ready on schedule.

Ginny Weasley had grown quiet and avoided her brother's friends as much as possible. When they were together, she refused to look at Harry and snubbed him with one word answers when he tried to talk to her. Sara she tolerated by ignoring her completely. Everyone had tried to talk to Ginny, but only Harry knew why she acted as she did. Lately, Ginny had been spending time with Justin Finch-Fletchley and it was rumored that the two of them were dating.

As June rolled around, Ron and Hermione celebrated the lease of their new London flat and Sara gave them a living room set as an early house- warming gift. Ron had been accepted for training through the Wizard Defense League and Hermione was hired by the Ministry of Magic's Records and Research Department as a fact checker. She still claimed to have no idea what she wanted to train for.

Harry planned to look for a job once they were settled and wasn't sure if he was pleased or disappointed to learn that wizard gold could easily be exchanged for muggle money at Gringott's Bank. Now it didn't matter what he did for a living and the plethora of choices left him confused and overwhelmed. He thought about signing up for Auror training as he'd once planned, but Dumbledore wouldn't hear of it. He insisted Harry wait to commit to anything until they'd discussed it fully. So far, Harry hadn't come up with anything to discuss.

As for Draco, he fell into a boring routine of class work, studying, and Quidditch that left him little time to visit the tower and he saw Sara rarely. He often wondered how she was doing, the black half of her hair having retreated very few times, only to reclaim the vacated blonde within days. He asked her whenever he got a chance about his father and he knew she lied about the severity of it.

He'd developed a correspondence with his father over the months and had reconciled a bit, though reluctantly. Draco hadn't forgotten the death of his mother, being imprisoned in his own home, or the threat on his life Sara had been given. Draco loathed his father for what he was doing to Sara as well. Lucius cared little for Sara, though he showed her patience and a leniency Draco had never seen before. His father surely had feelings for her, but not love. Never love. Not for people, not even his own son.

Draco no longer feared for himself and planned to visit Malfoy Manor for dinner on Saturday when the Hogwarts Express returned to London. He had rented a large house in the gothic style overlooking the city and planned to spend most of his time there reading, listening to music, or otherwise keeping to himself. He would venture out to shop, of course, he was forever in need of fine clothes. Then he would wear them as he wandered the city, eating in different restaurants, drinking in various clubs and trying to pick up muggle girls at The Phantom, his favorite haunt. Going to museums and muggle movies, all the things he'd missed before. As a family, the Malfoys rarely ventured out of the wizarding world.

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