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Chapter 3 : Fight Outta You
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He looked up into her eyes, saw the surprise he was feeling, and gently let her hand go. Then he had an idea, “Granger, are you afraid of the dark?”
“Wh-what?” Her eyes were still a little dazed and very glazed over.
“Are you afraid of the dark?” The sun was just peaking over the horizon; he could see it through her window.
“But?” He could hear some hesitation in her voice.
“I can't sleep in the dark. Well, unless I'm outside.” For some reason she seemed to be in pain. He left it for another day. Nodding, he jerked off her bed, saying, “I'm going to take a shower. And as much as I disapprove, I think I might take a sip of that potion you have there.” And then he walked out of her room, his body keeping that graceful step that only he had perfected enough to be his.
She mentally smacked herself for thinking that, this was Draco Malfoy, a boy, no a man, she detested. A man who couldn’t spend two minutes around her without calling her a Mudblood.
But he hadn't called her one at all on the train, nor after dinner, nor this morning, either time he had awaken to her screams. When he had rushed in to see that she was alright, he had rushed in because he cared.
No, he had come in because her screams were annoying. Very annoying. She sighed as she heard the shower start next to her bedroom. They had to share a bathroom and a common room. Thank Merlin they didn’t have to share a bedroom.
She sighed again before she roused herself and began preparing for the day ahead of her. She took a swig from the bottle beside her, feeling like an alcoholic, before she gathered her robes and underclothes for the day.
Nearly twenty minutes later, she found herself knocking at his door.
Draco heard her soft knock and called softly, “Come in,” as he was scrounging for his undershirt for the day.
“I brought you the-” she stopped dead in her tracks as she saw his sculpted chest, slightly tanned, superbly defined.
“Yes?” he asked as he opened his shirt in front of himself. Pulling it over his head, he couldn’t help but appreciate her reaction. As long as he took it in a good way. She seemed to regain her voice when his shirt was hanging on his body delicately.
“I brought you the potion. You said you wanted some,” she said as he rearranged his shirt. He stepped towards her, nodding to the bedside table she was standing next to.
“Just leave it there.” He wasn’t going to tell her she wasn’t gong to get it back.
“Why is your room so different from mine? I mean the way it’s arranged.”
“I didn’t like it the way it was so I changed it.” He shrugged as she looked at him astonished.
“You reorganized your room? Are you even allowed to do that?”
“I don’t know. I really don’t care much either. But could you get out now? I would like to finish changing.”
Her cheeks flared red as she stuttered, “Well, yes, yes, of course. I’ll just- I’ll just go.” And walked swiftly out of the room. She heard his beautiful laugh a moment later.
No, no it wasn’t beautiful. It was just a soft chiming, giving her a sort of tingling in her ears as she heard it. No it wouldn’t do for her to have those sorts of thoughts run through her head.
(A few weeks later)
“Yeah Professor?” He replied as the bell rang over their heads.
“Can you stay after class?”
Draco looked around his emptying Ancient Runes class, “Yeah, sure.” He watched Hermione hesitate at the door.
“Yes Miss Granger?”
“Um, well Professor, I had a question about the assignment last night. But um, I can always come back later.”
“No, no not at all. Which ones were you having difficulty with?” Draco wanted to laugh at the way she paused when he said ‘difficulty’ as if it were some sort of curse word.
“Well, life and happiness look nearly the same. It doesn’t really make sense to me since, well they aren’t really the same thing.”
Professor Vance laughed before saying, “Life has a small little hook in the left corner. I think the point they were trying to make, who ever created it, was that life is full of happiness, but it does have some pain. Does that help?” She seemed to being seeing everything in her mind but she nodded.
“Yes, thank you Professor.”
“No problem,” he glanced at his watch, “Will you make it in time for your next class?”
“Oh, I have a free period next. Have a good day.” She walked out, her bag pulling her left shoulder down slightly, tipping her balance slightly.
“Oh, yeah Professor?”
“How many times do I have to tell you that you can call me Brett when we’re not around anyone else?”
“It’s fine. You seemed to be a little preoccupied with something else.” His Professor, his friend, his guide almost, grinned that knowing grin at him.
“But anyways, I wanted to start you on what will begin working on next week. Turing the Runes into spells. Since we've spent the last few weeks reviewing, I assume you’ll remember the meaning of them. What I want you to do is wave your wand to the right twice for sleep and twice to the left for wakening.”
“Are they nonverbal?”
“Yes. I want you to help me demonstrate next week and to help them practice it.”
“Of course, Brett.”
“And if Miss Granger asks, tell her it’s a special project.”
A grin spread wide across his face, “Can do. See you later Brett.”
Draco nearly raced out of the classroom back to his dorms where he knew Granger was already hard at work. Smiling he slipped through the portrait only to hear her frustrated sigh.
“Something troubling you Granger?”
“Yes! And I really can’t stand it, I mean, never, NEVER, have I had trouble in Ancient Runes but now it’s like I’ve just got this block in my head. Nothing is coming back to me unless its all jumbled and messed up and I just, UGH!”
She seemed to be pulling out her hair with both hands, without actually pulling out her hair.
“Would you like some help?”
“NO! Goodness, no. But thank you for the offer Malfoy. I'm not good with getting help. Not good at all.” In the distance they heard the bell signaling the start of class and suddenly she jumped from her seat, “Merlin, what day is today?”
“Well, I'm not Merlin but today is the 29th. Why?”
“Oh don’t be smart with me, ‘I'm not Merlin’, we have that meeting with McGonagall now. Let’s go.”
She grabbed his wrist and whipped him around to the portrait and dragged him behind her. He was thankful he could no longer see the bruise he had left on her wrist.
“Granger! I can walk myself you know.”
“Of course, of course. I'm just out of it this week. I don’t really know why, I just am.”
“Potter got you doing something again hasn’t he? Maybe I should have a talk with him.” She gently shoved his shoulder. They had grown into some strange relationship over the past few weeks where this sort of light banter could occur and yet they still couldn’t seem to find it in themselves to call each other by their first names. Of course, this odd relationship seemed only to exist when it was just the two of them.
“Sure, if you could get in a word before he cursed you into oblivion.”
“Ol’ Potty couldn’t hurt a hair on my sweet little head.”
“Sweet and little?” she scoffed as he assumed an arrogant aura. They both burst into laughter as Harry turned the corner.
“Hermione? What is going on here? Laughing with Malfoy? MALFOY! I didn’t want to believe Ginny. But she was right wasn’t she? Merlin, have you been telling him everything we’ve been doing? You have haven’t you?”
“Doing? I knew you were making her do something. Bloody hell, have you not seen that whatever the hell you're making her do is having a huge effect on her? Merlin Potter, do you ever pay attention to anything?”
“Having him pretend that he doesn’t know anything isn’t going to make me think he isn’t. You're-you're fraternizing with the enemy!”
“Harry! We aren’t in Fourth Year anymore, Malfoy isn't Victor, and you aren’t playing some stupid tournament anymore. We’re seventeen, and this isn’t some stupid game about which school do you go to, or what house you're in! We’ve got to choose which side we’re on and not hate people just because we’re prejudiced against them and their past, and think that everything they have any influence on is horrible.
“That’s not the way it is Harry. Malfoy isn’t working for Voldemort and he was only thinking I was helping you with something until you blurted out to him that I was. And I can laugh with whomever I want to laugh with, Harry. You don’t get to choose my... my-” in all her rage she couldn’t seem to find a name for her relationship with Malfoy.
“How about the people I talk with. Granger?”
“Yes, thank you Malfoy. Harry, I'm an adult, I can make my own decisions. I'm Hermione Granger, ‘the smartest witch in our year’; you said that to Slughorn, so I'm smart enough to make good decisions. Please Harry,” she moved forward to touch his arm. He flinched back from her and said in an angry voice, “He’s Malfoy, Hermione. I can't believe you’d pick him over all of your friends.”
“I haven’t picked anyone Potter! And don’t think of calling yourselves my friend if you can't handle the other people I might call friends. Especially since I'm never quite sure if I really am your friend. I mean all you do is use me for things you can't do yourself, for figuring out everything while you're off screwing someone else over and saying something like they were the ones who screwed you over.
“You know what Harry, since you're so damn angry with my choice of friends and you won't talk to me until I'm rid of him, then, you know what?”
“What?” he asked in a suddenly shaking voice. He had never heard her this angry before, never heard her swear before.
“I guess we’re never going to talk again and you’ll have to find someone else to figure out everything for you because I'm done dealing with you and your crap.”
Draco felt her clench his wrist in her hand and pull him off towards McGonagall’s office again. When he looked back at Potter, he saw the boy standing there, seething and frozen in astonishment. He felt bad for the boy, sure, but he was more infuriated with his stupidity and audacity.
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