[Everything you recognize belongs to JK Rowling. I only own the plot and Matthew.]
The next day started out with me and Draco going to our common rooms, to gather new clothes and shower. .
We had spent the previous night playing wizards chess, something I was not very good but when I had started to get a hang of it, he didn't want to play anymore. Instead he had dragged me to the bed and proceeded to kiss me until I forgot my own name. I could still feel the kiss on my lips.
Breakfast was being served as I was walking through the portrait, but I had eaten in the come and go room, so I figured that I would be alone. What I saw was something that I had not expected.
Ginny was sitting on the floor, crying as hard as she could. Slowly I sank down next to her, even though we were not the friends we had once been did not mean that it did not hurt to see her that way.
“What's wrong?” I asked while gently stroking her arm, not daring to touch her more.
“We are all leaving. Harry and Ron... Harry is going to be an Auror, and Ron is going to work with George...” She breathed heavily.
“What about you? What are you going to do?”
“I... Oh, Hermione.... I have been offered a place on the Holyhead Harpies Quidditch team and I accepted it... I... need some time. You were... right. I finally understand what you have been saying. I cant take it... Oh, Fred.” She broke down and let me embrace her while she sobbed uncontrollably.
I stroke her hair and whispered calming thins, but I did not tell her to stop crying. I guess I was trying to be to her what Draco was to me, sort of.
After a good twenty minutes she had almost stopped crying, soft sobs was all that left her mouth. I felt guilty over the fact that I was relieved that they were leaving.
“When are you leaving?” I asked shyly, and she gave me a small smile.
“So soon... Everybody seems to be leaving... First Blaise and now you three.” I sighed.
“Blaise? You call him Blaise?” She frowned.
“He is not how you expect him to be, he is really a very nice person, once you give him a chance.”
“What about you, Hermione? Are you not leaving?” She obviously did not want to discuss my new friends. Her brown eyes was still wet, but they were apologetic.
“No... I am going to stay here and graduate with Draco...” I bit my lip as I realized that I had been on my way to say 'because he needs me'. But the truth was that I needed him just as much. I could not just leave him now, that seemed impossible.
“Oh. I had forgotten about him.” She stood up quickly and her eyes was no longer apologizing. They were hard and I saw fury in them. “Well, we will be leaving soon. Good bye then, Hermione.”
And with that she turned around and walked away.
I was left standing there all alone looking at where she had just been sitting. It had almost been as when we were friends but as soon I mentioned Draco's name – she had turned ice queen. I sighed as I shook my head and then I went up to the Girls Dormitory and did what I had come there for.
Draco stood waiting for me next to the portrait of the fat lady, leaning against the wall.
He smiled widely when he saw me coming out of the portrait. I grabbed his hand as I walked past him, he did not mind. I think he found my behaviour amusing.
“Harry, Ron and Ginny are dropping out of school.” I said without emotion, not because I did not feel anything about it; I just did not know what I felt about it.
“Are you kidding me?” He sounded annoyingly happy about it but that just seemed to boost my own relief. “Oh, this require celebration!”
“How about... You and me go to Hogs Head tonight?” I prayed he would say yes, since I had had such a great time last time we had been there.
“Oh... I don't know... My father will be coming today, I reckon.”
“I had almost forgotten about that.” I shivered at the thought. “Okay, well... Tonight then? We could celebrate in the come and go room?”
“Really, now.” He purred out as he pulled me closer to him. “And what would we do?”
I blushed at his seductive voice but did not look away. “Why, anything we feel like.”
He raised one perfect eyebrow and smiled wickedly.
Nobody seemed to have overcomed the shock of me and Draco sitting next to each other seeing as almost everyone's jaws dropped as when Draco pulled out my chair for me once we had arrived in the classroom.
We actually paid attention to the lesson; at least the first half hour. The rest of the lesson we spent looking at each other.
I began to think about Lucius. What would he say when he saw me? I had decided to meet him with an open mind- I had given Draco a chance, maybe Lucius could surprise me as well. But the fact remained that he had been a part of my nightmares many times, not as an active part though. No he had just been standing in the background, observing.
I hoped that he would have an open mind regarding me as well. Though I doubted it.
“What are you thinking about?” Draco whispered as he leaned himself on the table and looked at me.
“Your father.” I sighed and leaned my chin in my hand.
“Yeah, I figured by the terrified look on your face. He is not all that bad, you know. Its just a façade...”
“And you are telling me that after you tell me that he has pretty much beaten the shit out of you?”
“It was a long time ago.” He mumbled in a way that made me think that there was something that he was not telling me.
“Exactly how long ago was it?” I asked.
He looked uncomfortable as he looked around in the room and avoiding eyecontact. He sighed and lowered his head. “I was 12.”
I closed my eyes briefly as I fought the way my mind imagined how Draco had looked. I did not want to think about that. “Horrible.” I muttered angerly through gritted teeth.
“Give him a chance.” Draco pleaded as he took my hand and held it tight. It was impossible to not do as he asked. “I have forgiven him.”
“I am only doing this because you ask me too.” I said honestly, and my head snapped up when he chuckled.
“Always eager to please, aren't you? I knew I was right.” His trademark smirk appeared on his face and I rolled my eyes. He could be really annoying, especially when he was right. I couldn't think of a smart reply, so I kept my mouth shut which made him seem even more pleased with himself.
“Just wipe that smirk off your face already.” I muttered but could not make myself sound upset with him.
“And if I refuse?” His fingers started to stroke the back of my hand causing me to take a shaky breath.
“Then you'll have to suffer the consequences.” I tried really hard to not be affected by his touch but failed miserably.
“What would the consequences be?” He was still smirking and then he licked his lips- totally oblivious to what affect that had on me.
“I would not kiss you for quite some time.” My voice sounded convincing even in my own ears and apparently in his as well, for he stopped smirking at once. He looked down for a few seconds before he looked up with a shy smile.
His fingers continued their movements over my hand for the rest of the lesson, and it was the only think I could focus on. The professors words went in one ear and out the other.
I could not really understand why Draco had spoken so highly about his father in the past if he had been abusive – even if Draco said it had only happened once it was obvious that he had feared what his father might do. He had still bragged about his family, and most especially about his father. Perhaps it had been to avoid any sort of suspicion, to make it look like he had it all; money, nice family, the right bloodstatus and happiness. He had tried to make people envy him, but what went on behind closed doors... Well, nobody knew, did they? I felt that I needed to know.
In a seat behind me sat Lavender Brown and talked loudly about her heartache over the fact that Ron was leaving Hogwarts. Her voice was almost desperate as she told whoever that sat next to her what Ron had told her the night before.
“If it were not for the fact that he was leaving, then I am sure he would never have left me. Maybe I can convince my parents to let me drop out as well? Do you think that could work?”
I smirked and continued to eavesdrop on the girls behind me.
“I don't think your mother would allow you to, though...”
“You are supposed to agree with me, for Merlins sake!” Lavender's voice was upset, but not as loud any more. “I know that Won-Won would just love it if I dropped out so that we could be together.”
I rolled my eyes.
“Well... you can always be with him after you have finished school...?” The girl next to Lavender said, and I could hear that she thought that Brown had lost her sanity. I agreed with her.
“It is almost a year until I finish school! I cant be away from him for that long. I just need to convince him that we can still be a couple even though we are not in school...” and with that I heard a quill that started to write in a fanatic speed.
“Lav, what are you doing?” her friend asked in a low voice.
“I am making a list of things I can do to convince him, ofcourse!” Brown snapped.
Draco let out a low chuckling and looked up at me through his hair, obviously he had been eavesdropping as well. 'Won-Won?' he mouthed and I smiled widely and mouthed back 'One of Ron' finest nicknames'The urge to burst out in laughter became to intense and we had to look away from each other in order to calm down.
Once the lesson was over, Draco took my bag and I did not protest. He motioned for me to walk ahead, I did so. Turning around I saw him telling Brown something with a sneer on his face and as she turned red in anger as he walked away – looking very pleased with himself.
I knew that look on his face, but somehow it did not look as annoying now as it had a few years ago.
“What did you tell her?” I whispered as he came to walk beside me.
“That I was really so very sorry for the fact that dear little Won-Won had left her, but also added that it was not much of a surprise.”
“Somehow I don't think that you said it so nicely as you make it sound.” I snorted, but was not upset. Draco laughed darkly and I took that as a sign that it had been said a lot worse.
The Great Hall was filled with laughter and the clatter of forks and knives as we sat down, Draco still looked awfully pleased with himself.
I shook my head and rolled my eyes without him noticing.
“So, have you heard that they have finally found a new Transfiguration professor?” asked Draco before taking a sip of his pumpkin juice, I looked at him with wide eyes.
“Really? Figured that McGonagall couldn't be teaching at the same time as being Headmistress much longer.” She had been filling in temporarily in the search of a new professor, but they had trouble with finding someone who was up for it.
“Yes, I heard it while I was down in the common room, apparently it is a he, and this man will start teaching by the end of the week.”
“Is it anyone we know, perhaps?” I was eager about this piece of news and apparently so was he.
“I didn't pick up any name but I bet that whoever he is, he'll do.”
I nodded my agreement and out of habit I glanced over my shoulder to find that the few Gryffindors that were in the Hall all stood up and they were hugging each other, at first I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion... But then I understood- they were about to leave. It seemed that all of the time we had spent together in Hogwarts had led up to this moment. Their departure.
With one last smile each, both of the Weasley's walked out side by side, while Harry stayed behind.
His green eyes found mine and he motioned for me to come. He walked out to stand right outside the entrance, where he waited. I glanced at Draco who was glaring at Harry, but then he looked at me and nodded for me to go.
I had all eyes on me as I walked up to Harry, who gave me a faint smile. Everyone could see us where we stood and they did not seem ashamed at the way they were staring.
“So...” I began but trailed of since I had no idea what to say. Harry took a deep breath and then the words spilled out of his mouth.
“I'm sorry, that's all that I can say... I'm sorry for the way that I have acted, and I am sorry about Ron... This is not easy. I understand if how I have acted, how we all have acted is...” He paused for a second. “I'm asking you for forgiveness, I s'pose. If not now, then maybe sometime in the future. I am truly sorry, and... Ron was too upset, too angry at himself to face you. He is sorry for what he did. It took him a while to understand what he had done. I just hope that you, sometime, can find it in you to forgive us.”
I did not know how to grasp the sudden information, I just looked at him. Harry was saying that he was sorry. I shook my head to try and make sense of things. He was right, I could not forgive any of them, not now. Could I in the future? Well, time would tell I reckoned.
“Maybe sometime in the future.” I whispered and Harry gave a small sigh and nodded. “May I ask where you are going to live now?”
“The Burrow, for a while, after that I might get my own place... With Ginny maybe.” he made a weak attempt to smile.
“Well... do tell Mr and Mrs Weasley that I said 'hi', would you? And George as well, if you see him.”
There was an awkward silence where neither of us knew what to say, I tugged on my sleeve.
“Yeah... I better go, they are probably waiting for me.” Harry said. I nodded. “Goodbye then, 'Mione.”
He started to walk away, and I stood frozen at the spot. I stared at his back as he slowly walked away from me, then he stopped and turned around to find me looking at him. Before I could react he had walked right back and pulled me in to his arms.
I burried my face in his sweater and my arms went around his waist. “I'll miss you.” he whispered. One last squeeze, then he let me go and smiled one of the special Harry-smiles and then he walked away and that time he did not turn around.
I returned to my seat across from Draco with the whole Hall looking at me, and as I sat down Draco gave me a small smile.
“Are you okay?” He asked softly.
“Actually, yes. It feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Thought I would be more sad than I am. Maybe it will come later, or maybe... Maybe this is as sad as I'm gonna get.”
“That would be good, for we have some celebration to do later.”
We both smiled but then a loud cry made everyone in the Hall look at Lavender(who had just entered the Hall). She looked around with wide eyes. Her cheeks flushed and her hair seemed messier than usual; as if she had been running there.
“I missed him?!”
Draco, who had just taken a sip of pumpkin juice, almost choked on it as he burst out in laughter, as did I.
“But I... My list!”
On the other side of my table Draco was leaning on the table for support as he laughed, whereas I was holding the sides of my stomach, which were hurting from the hard laughter. Eventually other students started to laugh as well(including the teachers), as Lavender stormed out while letting out a long 'ROOON!” while waving a piece of parchment in her hand.
The sun was shining as we walked towards the Quidditch pitch, but I could see the dark clouds in the horizon far away. A few leaves had been falling off the trees, another sign that fall was on its way.
I was terrified for I had told Draco that I would try to fly by myself today. A thing that I definitely regretted saying, but I knew that I couldn't back out... Where had my Gryffindor courage gone?
The pitch was empty, something it seemed to be a lot lately since Quidditch was not being played anymore. Not yet anyway, there was rumours that McGonagall was thinking about allowing games to be played again but she had not announced anything yet. It frustrated most players, but it was not something that bothered me.
There was a swoosh as Draco took off into the sky, while he let out a happy laugh. I stood watching him for a while as he was in his element. The sky seemed to be where he loved to be – he looked free as could be. I envied him.
I looked down at the broom that I held in my hand, and then I looked up at him again, just in time to see him to a fast turn and get a glimpse of his wide smile. The terrified feeling inside of me was replaced by determination.
I mounted the broom, and gripped it tight, then I pushed away with my feet and...
And then I was flying. I was in the air and took a calming breath. Draco had not seen me as of yet, so I flew closer to him; sneaking up on him.
His head started snapping from one side to another as he searched the grounds for me. “Hermione?” He shouted and turned his broom around.
“Yes?” I said softly as I flew next to him. The look on his face was priceless, shock was not the word to describe it; it was beyond shock.
“You are flying!” He laughed and shook his head as if to shake the shock off. “I guess that bravery of yours can come in handy, huh? What will you do when the rush comes off, then? When you realize what you are doing?”
“Then I count on you to help me, seeing as you are my teacher.” I said, my voice trembling just a little bit at his words. I had not thought about what I would do when the adrenaline rush had started to wear off.
“Ah, I can do that. At least you are flying.”
“By myself.” I added proudly. I decided to make the adrenaline stay in my body for a while longer, so I did a quick dive and loved the way the wind blew in my hair before I sped up as I turned the broom and flew back up.
It was by far the most amazing feeling – okay, that was a lie. Kissing Draco was the most amazing feeling, this did however come on a second place. Draco whistled which made me look over at him, and he motioned for me to follow him.
He then flew towards the meadow; I was thrilled. I sped up and forced my broom to go faster...faster.
I soared across the sky, until I saw that he dived down and landed. I copied his movements, and slowed the broom down before landing on the grass.
“I am impressed.” Draco said, evidently proud that he had made me fly on my own. He took my broom and threw on the grass a bit away and then he took a hold of my wrist and pulled me towards him and kissed the top of my nose. I smiled widely at his proud tone for I felt quite proud myself.
“So how did it feel?” He asked as he pulled me down to sit in his lap, as he sat down on the grass. “Was it as frightening as you thought it would be?”
“Not really, it was amazing. I felt so free and so... alive.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean. I remember the first time I was allowed to really fly, not just on a kids broom, but on a real broom. It was like the world made sense suddenly. I knew you would like it.” He gave me a breathtaking smile, and then he have me a quick kiss which surprised me. “Oh, we cant stay long I'm afraid... I should be there if my father decides to drop by.”
“Just a while longer? Please?” I asked; I did certainly not want to meet him at that moment so I tried to make us stay away from the grounds for as long as possible. He looked as if he wanted to protest but before he could say anything I pressed my lips on his and swallowed his protests. I did not control the kiss for long; his hand grasped my hair and pressed me closer and let his tongue lick at my lower lip as if asking for permission to enter. I let him in and his tongue found mine. His sweet taste lingered in my mouth even after we had parted. “Please?” I breathed while he rested his forehead against mine.
He closed his eyes and smiled crookedly. “You really have a own way to get what you want, don't you?”
I tried to look at him with the same innocent expression that he had used against me that day in the room of requirement, when he had asked me to stay there. But I probably didn't pull it off as good as he had.
“Fine.” He sighed. “A little while longer.”
“Yeey!” I cheered, threw my hands around his neck and kissed him again.
Draco chuckled in my mouth. “My, my... Maybe I should let you get things your way more often, if this is how you show your appreciation.” He mumbled against my lips.
“You don't really mean that, do you?” I mumbled back and he threw his head back and gave out a dark laugh.
“No I don't.”
“Figured.” I snorted, but smiled. A Draco who let me have it all my way? Just the thought of it seemed impossible, and it was not what I wanted. I wanted him to be just as he was now. I liked him the way he was – well, the way he was when he was with me. I cuddled up in his arms as I inhaled his fresh scent. I wondered how long he would want to stay, how long it would take before he wanted to go back...
After twenty minutes he stood up, and threw my broom at me but I caught it easily.
“Wanna race there?” I asked happily, and he looked at me with wide eyes.
“Are you sure you're ready for that, missy?”
“Bring it on.” I challenged, and mounted my broom, and he did the same. He nodded with a wicked grin across his face. I took off before he had the chance to notice, and urged the broom on. Faster, go faster!
I was delighted to find that I held such control over the broom as I flew high above the lake, and I even dared to look over my shoulder, and saw the small figure of Draco far behind. I could not make out his facial expression, but I did notice the fact that his body was tense and leaned forward; he was trying to make his broom go faster.
I laughed as I looked away from him. The Quidditch pitch was coming closer and closer, and somehow that made me sad – I wanted to be in the air longer.
I sighed as I dived down and landed with a soft thud. I looked up in the sky but did not see him.
Then I heard steps behind me and smiled as I turned around. “Draco, how did you...?”
But I was staring in to a different pair of grey eyes, so similar but so different. The smile on my lips faded.
“Ah, Miss Granger...” came the cold drawl of Lucius Malfoy.
[You guys are amazing at reviewing. I love each and everyone of you! :) Currently writing chapter 13. Personally I think that chapter 12 and 13 will be the best so far, many things happen in them. Can't wait to let you guys read them! And please, keep reviewing. Let me know what you think of this chapter! - Cathyyy]