Chapter 4 : Names
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None of us spoke on the way to the Great Hall, but we walked rather close to each other, at least close enough that it showed that we walked together.
The students that saw us looked very shocked, and truth to be told, I was shocked as well.
What are you doing here, Hermione? You are playing with fire. It is going to burn you.
But I didn’t care, change was what I wanted, what I craved, what I needed.
I did not care who provided me that change, as long as I got it.
The cold glares I got from the students made me close my robe tighter around my body as I shivered.
When we had just walked through the doors we slowed down as one, to find a place to sit.
Slytherins were eyeing Malfoy cautiously, watching his every move, while on the other side of the hall, the Gryffindors all watched me.
At the very end of the Hufflepuff table were a big space left, on which Malfoy moved towards, I followed without a second thought.
I sat down opposite of him, and served myself a shining green apple. The sour taste was refreshing, and I took another bite.
“Nice speech you gave Weaslette.” Malfoy said suddenly, making me look up at him. “You were right as well, how do they keep it together? I mean… It was their brother.”
I shrugged, and took another bite before I answered him. “I don’t know how they do it, how anyone here does it. They all seem so… Ugh… Normal, I guess. I don’t understand it.”
“Yeah, I know what you’re saying.”
“I mean, who would have thought that the two of us would be having a normal conversation, let alone have lunch together.”
“Not me, that’s for sure. I’m still not… at ease with this, you know. A huge change.”
“The pureblood sitting with the mudblood. Yeah, I can see the huge change. But change is good, right?”
He nodded and smiled as he reached out and took my apple, then he slowly took a bite from it, as I watched how elegant his long fingers held the apple. He smiled even wider as he gave me my apple back, and I looked down at it, and yes, he had taken a bite of it.
“Wow, impressive.” I said in mock awe. “You risked getting something dirty transferred from the apple on to you, and you still did it. Really impressive!”
“Ha-Ha.” He shook his head, his blond hair moved in light movements in front of his eyes. Oh, those eyes… Snap out of it, Hermione!
But they were absolutely gorgeous, silver grey, with a darkened outline that made then seem more unreal. They seemed almost melted, like liquid.
“Did you hear me?” Malfoy’s voice broke through to me, and I snapped out of my thoughts about his eyes.
“I’m sorry, what?” as innocent as possible, or at least that was how I tried to sound. “My thoughts were drifted.”
“So I noticed. I asked, how important is Herbology to you, today?”
I swallowed hard, at that moment, it didn’t seem important at all, then I furrowed my eyebrows, I didn’t have Herbology with the Slytherins, I had that with Hufflepuff.
“Have you been studying my schedule?” I whispered, but I didn’t get upset, like I probably should have, and the way he glanced up on me innocently didn’t help.
It was almost, almost puppy eyes, and I had to sigh. Since when did Malfoy give almost puppy eyes anyway?
“Just glanced at it a couple a times.” He confessed, still looking awfully innocent. I raised my brow before I let it go.
“Herbology.” I tested the word in my mouth. No Malfoy, all alone with the rest of the school, who all probably hated me. It was the only lesson I didn’t have with him. “What do you have now, anyway?”
“Malfoy!” I moaned. “You can’t just… Why do you want to skip class anyway?”
He looked at me for a long time, with something of a mixture between a glare and an amused look. Then he leaned forward, and so did I, so that no one else would hear.
“I thought it would be more interesting for us both to skip, and go somewhere and talk, than to spend an hour sitting in a classroom in which we don’t even listen to the teacher.”
So tempting, so tempting, so forbidden, so bloody tempting.
“Herbology would be living hell.” I stated the obvious. “I am sure that I have lost my mind, but I’ll go with you.”
“Ah, excellent. You know, you really have changed, Granger. Skipping class and all, never thought that of you.” A small smile spread across his face. “Big improvement.”
I stuck my tongue out at him without thinking about how childish it was, and blushed slightly at his amused look. Nervously I looked around, at the very much empty hall.
“I was going to ask you, where is Parkinson and her gang?”
“Their parents wouldn’t allow them to go back, which I can understand. Pansy was furious, ofcourse, but it didn’t matter. She ain’t coming back, thank Merlin.”
“Thought you two were a thing.” I tried to sound casual about it, but probably failed.
“Thought you and Weasley were a thing, too.” His words made me want to throw up. “Things have changed, which we have already stated.”
I nodded, and looked over on his plate. Oh, Strawberries. Slowly I leaned closer and then I stole two strawberries from his plate, and leaned back again. They tasted delicious.
“These were really good, Malfoy.” I teased, and he smiled darkly.
“Give me back my strawberry.”
“Ha! Not a chance.”
His voice sent a jolt of electricity through my body, and I almost shivered at how good it sounded. I held my hand out with the strawberry, but to my shock, he didn’t take it. Instead he leaned in and took a bite from it. Malfoy is eating out of my hand.
And he looked hot while he did it.
“Delicious.” He mumbled seductively, and I looked at him with wide eyes as his pink tongue came out to lick the corner of his lip. He winked at me.
“What the hell are you doing?” I blurted out and dropped the berry.
“What?” His smile faded and he looked shocked. “What did I do?”
“One would think you were hitting on me.” I muttered, and raised an eyebrow at him when his smile appeared again.
“What if I am?”
My heart stopped, before it started beating twice its speed. All of the sudden my mouth was very dry, and something seemed to be stuck in my throat. He spoke again.
“Would you mind?”
“N…No, I…I guess not.” I stuttered like an idiot. Hermione Granger never stutter, get a grip!
“Good, ‘cause I was planning on continuing that.” He looked over his shoulder. “Aw, man.” He moaned stiffly.
“What’s…?” I didn’t finish my sentence, for I saw what he had seen. Zabini. One of the only people that had been close to Malfoy before the war, Goyle had not returned, and Crabbe was dead…
He walked confidently over to us, and stopped just infront of us, his whole body language screamed that he was only speaking to Malfoy.
I didn’t mind. Even thought I had nothing against Zabini, he has been decent through out the years, I had no problem with him.
“Malfoy.” Zabini said, seemingly uncertain on whether or not to be there, Malfoy was acted cold, almost like he was cut in stone and his eyes were hard.
“Blaise.” Malfoy did not look up at his old friend, but was decent enough to acknowledge him. I pretended I wasn’t even there. I looked between the two boys,
“Well…” Zabini began. “I… I’m sorry for the way I have behaved lately.”
That made Malfoy look at him. “Is Blaise Zabini apologizing? That must be a first.”
“Funny. So… We’re good?”
“Can I sit here?”
My mouth hung open, that much I knew. Malfoy was bad, but sitting alone with two Slytherins was really, really bad. Malfoy glanced over at me, up on seeing my expression, he got a worried look. “Eh… I don’t actually know. As you have noticed, I’m not sitting alone.”
Zabini forced himself to look at me, I let my eyes find his.
“Granger, do you mind?” The low, dark voice of Blaise was asking me. “I wont stay long, just like… ten minutes.”
“No, no. Its okay, no problem, Zabini.” He sat down next to Malfoy. One of the boys so pale, and the other the exact opposite. They were completely different. Their hair, their eyes, their mouth. Their voices most of all… I preferred Malfoys looks, and voice.
“And, that’s Blaise, Granger. Not Zabini.” He smiled shyly, and then he went back to his own stone-like features.
“Then… Then its Hermione, not Granger.” I smiled back, and the rest of the while, Malfoy and Zab- Blaise- sat discussing quidditch. That seemed to be the thing that all of Hogwarts boys talked about. I drifted in to my thoughts.
When Blaise had left, and Malfoy and I walked out of the Great Hall, he had an annoying look on his face. It was like something had happened in there that I had missed.
“Malfoy, what’s bothering you?”
“Didn’t you hear Blaise?” Up on seeing my confused looks he added. “He is leaving Hogwarts. His mother has found a new husband, in Italy, and they are moving there for a while. He can’t stand it here. And…” He paused, looking as if he didn’t know if he wanted to say what he had in mind. “You called him Blaise.”
“Oh… Well, he called me Hermione as well, so what’s the big deal?”
“You don’t call me Draco.”
Draco. I should have freaked, did Malfoy want me to call him Draco?
“I didn’t know that was an option. You call me Granger, so…”
“We should call each other by first name, its getting kind of ridiculous, the whole enemy thing. We are hardly ‘Enemies’ anymore.”
“You are right.”
“Yeah, I usually am”
“Know it all.”
I raised my eyebrow at him, and he chuckled lightly. He inhaled before he spoke again.
“You should go and change your clothes, we have a long afternoon to kill.”
I hurried up the stairs to the Gryffindor tower, the smell of stone, wood and rain filled the castle, it was very cold, but I didn’t mind. I just wanted to get this done with so that I could run off with Mal- Draco. A whole afternoon with him, alone. The thought was absolutely terrifying. In a good way, I was able to forget things around him. The fact that we had only talked for about three days didn’t change anything, I was sure that he would listen if I needed to talk, and I hoped that he knew that I would do the same for him.
I changed quickly, leaving my robes on my bed, and looked in the mirror.
There was definitely something different about me, like I had gotten my life back, I looked happy. It was a long time since I had looked happy.
I sighed at the reflection, and hurried away from there.
I almost ran in to Ron on my way out. He gave me an odd look, and snorted at the sight of my clothes.
I decided to simply walk pass him, and didn’t even look over my shoulder, but I knew he was staring after me.
“Hermione!” Ginny moaned as she put her hand at my shoulder to stop me. “Where are you going? Where are your robes?”
I stared at her, before I smirked. “Wont Harry be very, very upset that you are talking to me?”
“No. Save it.” I waved my hand dismissively. “I am going out…”
“Where ‘out’?” Harry had joined the conversation somehow.
“I don’t know yet, flying with Draco somewhere.”
“Oh, he is Draco now, is he?” Harry spat. “I don’t know what’s wrong with you…”
“Yeah, he is Draco, Potter.” I saw how his jaw dropped at my words. I was just as shocked. “Now if you excuse me, I have somewhere more important to be.”
I stormed off, ran down the stairs and out the door, I just got a quick glance at Harrys furious expression.
When I was finally out, only then could I breath normally again. What the hell was I doing?
Draco joined me out on the grounds with his broom and a bag over his shoulders, he noticed my odd behaviour and to my great surprise put his hand on my shoulder and turned me to face him. His hand cupped my chin and made me look at him.
“Get me away from here.” I blinked repeatedly to keep my eyes from tearing up. “Please.”
“What happened?” He sounded angry, probably at whoever hurt me, or so I hoped.
“Harry and Ginny.” I muttered silently. He softly squeezed my shoulder, and I closed my eyes for a split second. “Let’s just leave?”
“Sure.” He smiled friendly, and we both got up on the broom. “Isn’t going to be much teaching on these lessons, are there?”
We both laughed softly, and took off into the sky. He relaxed so much up in the air, it was almost like all of his problems were left behind on the ground.
"He is mad at me…” I tried to sound casual about it. I turned my head to look up at him.
“Who, Potter?” when I nodded his jaw clenched. “Are you planning on telling me why, or am I left with my imagination on that one?”
“I called you Draco and him Potter.” I bit my lip to keep from smiling on how silly it sounded.
“Oh.” He looked surprised. “Oh… That is probably the first time you have said my name. I like it.” He seemed to be more surprised over the fact that he liked it than anything else. I liked saying it, so I didn’t mind keep saying it.
“Say it again.”
Was he serious? I let out a soft giggle, and he looked down at me, smiling.
“Draco.” I felt as if my heart was about to beat its way out of my ribcage.
The way his eyes looked made me think, for just a short moment, that he was about to kiss me. I held my breath, but he caught himself. I was far too much disappointed over that fact then I should have been.
“Yeah, I like the sound of that.” He said after a while. Then he did a complete turn, making me scream and hold on to him tightly, he chuckled.
“Don’t do that!”
“Right…” He seemed to catch the high doubt in my voice, because he sighed.
“I forgot that you were scared!”
I snorted, and looked down. I shouldn’t have done that, feeling slightly sick, I muttered prayers low enough that Draco wouldn’t hear what I was saying. ‘Dear God, let me survive this…’
“Are you mad at me?” He sounded so innocent, and pure. I closed my eyes and shook my head ‘no’. “Really?”
“Mhm.” I inhaled sharply as I felt that we were going down. I already had my legs in landing position so he didn’t have to tell me.
We were in the meadow we had been in the last time, it was still just as beautiful.
I took in the gorgeous surroundings, before I sat down, I was not surprised when Draco sat down close to me. There were some butterflies chasing each other around the spall space, I let my eyes follow them for a long time, then I devoted all my attention to Draco.
“I always go here to think, I have done that since fifth year, when… V…Voldemort first started using our house. I hated it, but I shut up about it, it was better that way. This place helped me in a thousand ways. From going mental, for example.”
He had struggled with Voldemort’s name, but he had managed to say it. He had spoken about it, I was looking at him for a long while without saying something.
“Oh… Was it hard? Being so close to him, I mean.”
Draco nodded, his grey eyes sad at the mere thought about it. “It was the worst time of my life, these past three years. I am so relieved that it is over.”
“I know…and I owe you a thank you, for not ratting us out at the Manor. I guess that was when I understood how hard all of this was to you… I’ll never forget that night, the look in your eyes…”
“That night was awful.”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t help you.” His voice thick with emotions, and regret. I had never seen him like this, ever.
“There was nothing you could do, I know that. Hey, look at me. I know that. Things happened in the war that we didn’t have any control over. I have never blamed you for any of what happened at the Manor, I have just been grateful. If it hadn’t been for you, I’d be dead. I’d be six feet under, if you hadn’t lied. You saved my life, Draco.”
“Half-heartedly, though. I was a mess, I just wanted the war to be over.”
“You were a shell. Harry told me, what Voldemort made you do. Punishments, and such…?”
“Disgusting. I’m sorry no one could help you.”
His right hand subconsciously stroked over his left arm, where his Dark Mark was. I looked at the black fabric that was the only thing that was in the way of me seeing it.
“Can I see it?” I asked shyly, as if not wanting to scare him away, he followed my eyes to his arm, and started to roll his sleeve up, I leaned in closely.
Barely visible, like an old scar, that was all that was left of it. It wasn’t black and intense, it was just barely there. Slowly my hand came in contact with Draco’s skin, and my fingertips traced the scar.
“Its almost gone.”
“Almost” He muttered. He didn’t push my hand away, he let my continue stroking his arm, he even shut his eyes.
“Did it hurt?”
“Yes, a bit. I didn’t think about it that much, my mind were elsewhere, I thought of anything else I could. My family, and school… But it did hurt, at least afterwards.”
“Did you want to be a deatheater?”
“I thought I did, for a while, until a couple of weeks before I became one. I guess I never understood.”
“I have never understood it either. Where is the pride in running after a halfblooded megalomaniac?”
“You forgot that the megalomaniac also lacked social skills and had enormous trust issues, but he was powerful but there is no pride in it at all. You do it out of pure fear, you see, the megalomaniac was completely mental, and enjoyed others pain and suffering. You have no choice.”
Draco’s eyes showed all kinds of emotions. My hand rested over his scar, as he softly gripped my wrist and pulled me closer, our faces just inches away from each others.
“Draco…?” I managed to whisper uncertainly. This is not happening, this can’t be happening… Oh, merlin.
“Hermione...” He whispered back, before his lips pressed against mine.
[oh, what a cliff-hanger! Is it going too fast, too slow? Let me know what you think of it, that means = Leave a review! Haha.]
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