Here's a long chapter for you all! And the plot is finally getting deeper. I changed loads in this... well, more like deleted loads ;). Hopefully it is better than the previous version! I just checked and there are about 900+ words than the last unrevision version. Enjoy!
I do not own Harry Potter, and I am not taking credit for it. The plot is also based loosely on Warner Bro’s A Cinderella Story.
November 24, 2008
Chapter Six (Discoveries)
Lucky for Hermione, Harry, Ron, and Ginny were always talking to her and around her, making it almost impossible to even think about Malfoy. Yet, whenever she was alone in the library reading or in the common room doing homework all she thought about was him. And it was always the same thoughts: What would he have done if he had found out it was me?
She just couldn’t understand it. Why was he so different? Which side of him that she knew was the real
She had gotten to thinking, should she tell someone? She knew that, well, Ginny
wouldn’t tell anyone… but how could she unload such a burden on her friend? It wasn’t something she wanted to do to her.
In the end, she decided against it.
It mid-October and Hermione was sitting in the Common Room, trying to complete a History of Magic essay. But, like every other day, her thoughts were once again drawn to Malfoy. She laid her head down on the desk, would this ever end!
She couldn’t handle this much longer, she knew she’d probably explode if she tried! She stood up and walked to the Gryffindor girl’s tower and in front of the fifth year’s dormitory room. Standing still for a moment she hesitated to knock. Was this a good idea?
The door opened before she got the chance to back down, however, and she took a step back as Ginny’s face appeared. “Hermione! What’re you doing standing here in the hall?”
“I was looking for you, actually. I wanted to talk.”
“Oh, well come on in.” Ginny walked back inside and Hermione followed after, shutting the door. “I was just going down to see if anyone in the common room had a copy of my Charms book, I can’t find mine but that can wait. What did you need to talk about?” Ginny said nicely, taking a seat on her bed. She looked curious, yes, but she also had a look that said she would not press for any details. From that, Hermione urged herself to speak, knowing Ginny was trustworthy enough to learn some of the details.
“You know how I went up to my room early at the dance…?” she said casually, hoping Ginny would catch on. She did. Side of her mouth inclined ever so slightly.
“Ah… yeah, I remember.”
“Well, I didn’t end up at my dorm,” Hermione said carefully.
“I didn’t think so,” Ginny said with a smile.
“I actually met up with someone on the grounds.”
“Does this someone have a name?” Ginny inquired casually, not realizing that was a touchy subject until Hermione tensed a bit. She frowned slightly and added, “You don’t have to say who.”
“I’d prefer to not… but this person, I’ve been talking with him for a while now. And I’ve grown to like him as more than a friend,” Hermione’s cover faltered and she settled on the bed next to Ginny with a defeated sigh.
“And that’s a bad thing?” Ginny asked, confused but trying to understand.
“It started at the end of last year! I found a package on the ground, do you remember that? And I said I would send it to whoever the owner was?”
“Oh! Yes, I remember. I take it you became friends over the summer, then? I don’t see why this is such a bad thing, ‘Mione. You met him at the dance, and now you’re distraught over that…? Was he different in real life? Sometimes that can be the case in long-distance relationships,” Ginny tried to sympathize.
“No, Ginny, we never told each other who we were when we wrote,” she said hopelessly, and Ginny seemed to understand better then.
“He wasn’t who you expected, then?”
”Far from it,” she admitted. Ginny sat silently for a moment, contemplating the situation.
“Well… was he different than how he seemed on paper? His personality, I mean?” Ginny inquired, dissecting the situation.
“That’s part of the problem – he was exactly
who he was in our letters. We talked and got along very well,” Hermione said easily, almost happy at the recollection.
“What is the problem then? If he’s a good person, then you shouldn’t be so distraught over anything. What were you expecting? Someone different than-,”
“It was Draco Malfoy!” Hermione couldn’t contain herself any longer. Ginny stopped abruptly and looked just as shocked as Hermione had been when he had lifted his mask.
“What?” she said, most likely rhetorically. Hermione didn’t answer but let out a frustrated growl and fell back onto Ginny’s bed.
“See my problem!”
“Hermione, you’re going to have to start from the beginning, then. You’ve left out half of the details and if you were looking for advice its time to spill those details.” Ginny looked at her expectantly.
“You can’t tell Harry or Ron,” Hermione said seriously.
“I promise I won’t,” Ginny said and with that Hermione began.
She told her how they had started sending letters back and forth, and how Draco had been such a nice person to confide in. He was open, considerate, and gave input when it came to her problems. They had formed a friendship, no, something more
than that, and it was him that had kept her positive over the summer. She told of how they had agreed to finally meet at the dance and the perfect walk they had shared on the grounds, and how much she simply enjoyed his company, even if they weren’t talking. Just his presence had made her content.
When she got to the part of the unmasking, she felt the longing creep back up on her. The longing to not remember who he was – ignorance really was
When she finished, Ginny looked at her with sad eyes. “Hermione… I don’t know what to say. Maybe… maybe the real Draco Malfoy was the one in the letters. Although I don’t want to believe it myself, you did
say that you were confidents to one another. Then again, it wasn’t me
that Malfoy has constantly made fun of for the past six years. This isn’t a decision I can make for you, ‘Mione. All I can say is to trust in what you believe is the truth. If what his letters said were honest, then use those as a reference to him rather than his actions.”
“Thanks, Gin, I can’t tell you how good it is to let this off my chest. I’ve been carrying it around, and it’s been taking its toll. I really, really
did like him… I thought that maybe, maybe
I had found a chance to…” she blushed madly, refusing to meet Ginny’s eye, “fall in love.”
Ginny looked at her sincerely and enveloped her in a tight hug that Hermione returned. It was nice to have finally removed some of her burden, and Ginny hadn’t judged, only showed support in her decision, no matter what they would be.
“Thank you so much, Ginny. I’ll keep you updated,” she smiled kindly as the pulled away.
“You had better! This is one soap opera I’m not planning on missing the end of!” Ginny joked. Hermione laughed and headed to the door with one more grateful smile in Ginny’s direction.
“She’s been acting strange lately,” Ron said to Harry as the exited the Great Hall with the crowd of students.
“Actually, I noticed that she tends to act off when we’re around the Slytherins. And, well, don’t jump to conclusions about this, but I’ve noticed she keeps looking at… someone in particular.” Harry eyed Ron from the corner of his eye, checking to see if his temper was still in check.
“Who!” he said angrily, with a protective edge to his voice.
“Let’s not jump to any conclusions, but she keeps looking at, well, Malfoy.” He spoke calmly, but Ron reacted just as he had assumed.
“You don’t think he’s done anything?” he asked, his face turning a light shade of red – a sign that his temper was rising.
“I don’t know, but we should probably talk to Hermione before we do anything reckless.” He was trying to stay passive, anything to stop Ron from going on a Malfoy-hut without a solid reason.
“Fine,” he agreed curtly, fists tight.
Cassandra was angry. What did the mudblood think she was doing, looking at Draco?
She had just overheard the most interesting
conversation between Potter and Weasley as she was walking with the crowd away from the Great Hall. With the first mention of Draco’s name she had altered her path and conveniently ended up walking in a perfect position so she could hear every word of their conversation.
This was no good – what was her stepsister doing staring at Draco? The mudblood knew she liked him… was she trying to steal him away from her? That had
to be it! As if it wasn’t bad enough that she had to live with the girl, now she had to deal with her trying to ruin her social life as well? There was no way she would be getting away with this.
Hermione’s morning had been dull, with nothing but the teachers’ boring words keeping her from her thoughts. It was a slow weekday, and she was just itching to get out and distract herself. She, Harry, and Ron had agreed to meet up after classes and take a walk down to Hagrid’s. It would be refreshing.
When her final class of the day let out she headed out into the corridor and made her way downstairs. Just her luck – the Arithmancy room was on the sixth floor when she was heading out onto the grounds.
On the forth floor, however, she was caught off-guard by Cassandra stepping into her path.
"Hermione, you were just the person I was looking for,” she gave her a sickly sweet smile and began to walk next to her.
"What do you want?" Hermione asked with a sigh. Usually they had a silent agreement to avoid each other at all costs.
"Now is that any
way to speak to your sister?" Hermione stopped short, not expecting to hear that. Not once in the three years that they lived together had Cassandra ever, ever
referred to Hermione as her sister. She shook her head and continued walking.
"You don't deserve to be spoken to with any more respect than a dog." Cassandra's jaw tightened but she quickly recovered and plastered a new smile on her face – one that was much more forced this time.
“Not anymore,” she said with such cockiness Hermione had to sneer.
"My tolerance of you has just about reached its limit," Hermione closed her eyes for a moment to clam herself down and made it a point ignore Cassandra who continued to walk right beside her.
"I'm not done talking yet, Granger. You are going to listen to me," she snapped, annoyed. Hermione ignored her further, knowing it would bother her. If there was one thing Cassandra didn’t like, it was being ignored.
"You will listen to me or else that reputation you’ve built up will be gone within the blink of an eye.”
“You would never tell anyone about our accommodations. That’s not only my lie, and I’ll bet you have much more at stake than I do when it comes to that
secret of ours.” They were on the third floor by now and Hermione didn’t exactly want to show up in the entrance hall next to Cassandra. It was either talk or be stalked – so talk it was.
“No, I won’t be doing anything of the sort. No, no, this is more about you personally and your… attractions
to a certain someone.” She spoke slyly, trying to act coy about it. Hermione’s insides twisted in the smallest bit – there was no way she could know about anything, right?
“Am I supposed to know what you’re talking about?”
"Yes, Granger, you are." Her patience seemed to have run out because she didn’t bother to put on a fake smile or smirk and stopped walking all-together.
“Sorry to disappoint you then. I’ll be seeing you,” Hermione replied sarcastically, rolling her eyes. She was about to take a step onto the staircase down to the second floor but was completely thrown off by Cassandra for the second time that day.
“I’m only going to say this once: Stay away from Draco.” Her face was stony without a trace of anything other than seriousness.
“Why would I go near the likes of him?” Her heart began to race as she lied through her teeth.
“I think we both know the answer to that,” Cassandra said eerily, but something was off in her voice. She was sure of herself when she had accused Hermione of associating with Draco, yes, but what she had just said was a lie. Hermione didn’t speak for a moment while she tried to think through the situation.
“I promise, Cassandra, you won’t be seeing me anywhere near him anytime soon.” It wasn’t a lie, and it hadn’t confirmed or denied anything. It was a simple statement that could be taken various ways.
“If I see you take so much as one glance in his direction I’ll-,”
“You’ll what? Let everyone know I have some alleged crush on Malfoy? Even to you that sounds ridiculous. Give it up Cassandra.” She shook her head, thoroughly annoyed by now. Even if Cassandra did
know anything she had no right to dictate who someone could or couldn’t be around, whether it was Hermione or Draco Malfoy.
“I have proof!” she exclaimed, eyes flashing. Just by the expression on her face Hermione could tell that was a lie.
“Sure you do,” Hermione said one last thing before ignoring Cassandra’s talk and continuing down to the entrance hall.
When she saw Harry and Ron in the entrance hall the last thing she expected was to see them on edge. She slowed her pace, now reluctant to go by to them. Had Ginny mentioned something? Or was it Cassandra? After a second of debating she shook her head and continued on. She was just paranoid – all the things happening recently were getting to her.
She approached wondering what was wrong with them, a serious look on her face. Rather than wait for them to talk, which it looked like they were able to explode at her, she spoke first. “Is something wrong? What happened?” Her shoulders drooped when she saw the shadow of accusation in Ron’s expression. She didn’t need them to join the parade of problems that had taken course in her life.
“You’ve been off lately,” Harry said quickly, looking at Ron for the briefest of moments, trying to speak before him obviously.
“Off how?” she frowned at this, not understanding how they could have picked up anything. In her opinion, she had been handling the situation well, doing her best not to allow them to notice her distress.
“You’ve been staring at Malfoy!” Ron finally said sharply, not lowering his voice to a level Hermione would have deemed appropriate for such a talk in the middle of the echoing entrance hall.
“I… No, I haven’t,” she declared brusquely.
“’Mione, you’ve been very stressed out lately, and I noticed you seemed most on-edge when we were around the Slytherins, particularly… him.” Harry said more calmly than Ron. His voice wasn’t attracting unwanted attention, at least.
Hermione’s eyes scanned the hall, noting a few students paying attention inconspicuously. “How about we discuss this on our way to Hagrid’s?” She didn’t wait for a reply before leading them out of the hall and into the sunlight that spread across the grounds.
“We’re not finished with this Hermione!” Ron huffed, following after her.
“Nor am I trying to finish the conversation. You were attracting the attention of every student in the Entrance Hall a moment ago!” Hermione lost her patience for a moment before recomposing herself. She could hardly blame them for trying to help her.
“What did he do? Did he say something recently? If he laid even a finger on you I’m going to-,”
“No! Merlin, no! Ron! Why is it such a bother to you; to both of you?” She turned her direction to Harry as well. “It’s not as if he’s been kind to me in the past. Nothing is different.”
“What did he do
Hermione?” Harry pleaded with her to tell. She look at him, torn. What should she say? She had to lie, but how much
“He… he didn’t do anything he meant to do. It’s my fault. I went and provoked him, and he retorted as usual, only I was surprised at his reaction.” She hung her head, looking guilty. She didn’t have to fake it either; she did
feel guilty for even starting talking to Draco in the first place three months ago.
“And his reaction was…?”
“He just said something I wasn’t prepared to hear. It wouldn’t be right to tell you what he said. Just trust me when I say that I was the one in the wrong, and he didn’t do anything for once,” she said desperately. She didn’t even want to know what Draco would do if suddenly Harry and Ron accused him of doing something to her! He would find out everything and… it was just be awful.
Harry and Ron, however, didn’t look convinced. Hermione sighed impatiently, “Don’t say anything to him. Believe me; trust me. You two are my best friends, and I promise to you that if anything, anything
, dangerous had happened or was said I would tell you.”
Harry relinquished first saying, “Alright, ‘Mione. But if I get so much of a hunch that he has done something…”
“He’ll have us to deal with,” Ron said sternly, and Hermione knew he was serious.
She had gotten off lucky this time with them agreeing to not approach Malfoy. Next time, they wouldn’t be so gracious. She had to be more careful.
Cassandra walked into the Slytherin common room casually, trying not to attract any unwanted attention. There were only a few students inside at the moment, paying her no mind and focusing on whatever they were reading or studying. Inconspicuously, she made her way towards the staircase to the boy’s dormitory and, once successfully up, opened the door into the sixth year room as quietly as possible. She looked around, checking if anyone was lounging around on their beds, and found it was vacant. She smirked to herself and made her way to Draco’s trunk at the foot of his bed in a rush. She didn’t know how much time she had to do this; someone was bound to walk in soon.
She had recently heard from one of Draco’s fellow dorm mates that there seemed to be an awful lot of owling going on recently on Draco’s part. The odd thing was that no reply was being received. Basing her suspicions of her stepsister and this sudden revelation of Draco’s perked interested in writing letters, she had put two-and-two together and realized something must have sparked, causing Granger to suddenly act strange. She was determined to get to the bottom of it all!
She opened his trunk hastily and began rummaging through it, making sure to move the items in it as little as possible so Draco wouldn’t notice anything out of place. There was nothing; nothing other than his extra schoolbooks and robes. She sighed irritably and closed the trunk with a huff. She stood up, ready to leave, when she caught sight of his bedside table which had a drawer attached. Determined, she moved to look at its contents quickly.
She pulled it open and found a stack of folded papers. No, not paper… letters. Private, unaddressed letters that were written in her step sister’s distinct handwriting she had seen hundreds of times at home. Jackpot
. She smirked, proud of her dirty work, and picked out a few random letters from the pile, hoping Draco wouldn’t notice the stack’s sudden shrink. If she had to, she could always come back for the rest at a later time.
She tucked the paper into the pockets of her robes, glad they were large, and closed the drawer carefully. She looked back at the room before exiting, hoping nothing was noticeably out of place. She smirked again and stealthily made her way back down to the common room where no one noticed her arrival from the boy’s staircase. With a private smile she made way to her own room to read up on what exactly Hermione Granger had to say to her Draco.
Really! She had been sorted into Slytherin for a reason.
1) When Ginny says, "Long-distance relationships," I'm including friendships, acquaintances, etc. in that category.