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Chapter 19 : The News
 
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            “Mrs. Weasly accepted my invitation,” Draco said as he and Hermione lounged in their common the next morning during their free period.

            “I wonder how late that got to her,” Hermione mused as she leaned against him.

            “Oh, probably around eight o’clock. My owl is extremely fast,” he continued as way of an explanation, “Either way, I got the reply early this morning and she looked as if she had plenty of rest last night.”

            “Why didn’t she just bring it to you straight away. It’s not like you go down for breakfast, or lunch, ever.”

            “Well I'm sorry if I don’t like sitting at my table. Everyone there still thinks I'm the one that killed Dumbledore, or atleast attempted to, and everything is so… I don’t like it. And Pansy, because of her I have to surround myself with people I don’t think I’ve ever even liked a little bit. Crabbe and Goyle are always stuffing their faces so I can't really talk to them. Not that they're very interesting to talk to, but still.

            “And Blaise, well, he’s just all dark and creepy, all the time. Its very, well, dark and creepy.”

            Hermione laughed at his, not so great description and said, “Well then why don’t you sit with us? I mean there aren’t any school rules against sitting at another table.”

            “Only you would know,” he joked, poking her in the side.

            “Of course I would,” she laughed as she squirmed in an attempt to get him to stop.

            “But I don’t think that would work. They’ve already got rumors going around that I'm controlling you with the Unforgivable. And everyone is talking about it, even though it wasn’t even a full twenty four hours ago,” he said laughing as he finally stopped poking her. She gently hit his shoulder before leaning back on him.

            “Well then why not give them more to talk about. Did you curse me or did I curse you?”

            “Because no one will think that either of us is acting of our own free will,” he replied with a slight bit of anger in his voice.

            “Of course not, then it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting. Especially since they would want to know why I cursed you. They would think you did it because they're all under the assumption that you're a Death Eater.”

            “Yeah, why would you curse me?”

            “Hence the fun in you sitting with us. Ginny wouldn’t mind. And if Ronald and Harry did, then they can just get over it. Which, you know, next hour is lunch.”

            He rolled his eyes as he shook his head, “And are we going to tell them that Mrs. Weasley accepted?”

            “Of course, Ginny will be obsessed with knowing. She wants to go so bad, you have no idea. We were talking last night, in her dormitory of course, while we were writing the letter, she wanted to find some way to make her Mum say yes.”

            “Well telling her you had something very important to tell her, and that you were already decided on staying with me and Mother was definitely a good way.”

            “Well, she decided to tell Mrs. Weasley what you told us about your Mum liking big family holidays. That way she could sort of con her mother into it. Mrs. Weasley loves to help make other people happy. Especially people she doesn’t think have been happy in a while. And I'm sure she believes that your mother falls into that category perfectly.

            “I'm just not sure how Ronald will react to the news. Or anyone listening in to our conversation. I wonder what Mrs. Weasley thought about getting the invite. I mean, your families have never been on good terms and all.”

            “Oh, well, that was mostly Father’s fault. I know I was horrible, but that was only because I wanted to impress Father. And I was jealous but if you ever tell anyone that I will vehemently deny it.”

            “Of course Malfoy, of course.”

            He couldn’t help but smile back at her when she smiled up at him. It was weird, he would never deny that fact, but he liked the feel of her in his arms at night, the way she smiled at him, curled against him when they sat here, the way her eyes light up when she was excited or captivated... His list could stretch on forever. 

            When they entered the Great Hall together, everything went silent, every head turned in their direction. Even the teachers looked up at them. He noticed Brett was smiling, along with most of the other teachers. They both just kept walking towards the Gryffindor table in their comfortable silence as every head followed them.

            When they finally sat down, Ginny smiled at him and asked if he wanted pumpkin juice as she had just finished pouring herself a glass.

            He smiled back at her as she passed the jug to him. Silence continued throughout the Hall until Ginny, fed up with it, said, “Oh just go back to your food, nothing to see here.”

            And instantly everyone turned back to new conversations, and the few snippets they heard involved what had just happened. Ginny laughed lightly before returning her gaze to Draco’s.

            “So?”

            “So what?” he asked smiling back at her.

            “What did she say?”

            “What did who say?”

            “Ferret!” she exclaimed, looking at him with a ‘if looks could kill’ face.

            “Yes?”

            “She said yes?” She grinned excitedly.

            “Who said yes to what?”

            “Malfoy, what did Mum respond to your invitation? And this time I want a real answer not another dumbass question!”

            “Fine, ruin all the fun. She accepted. On the condition that you all have to be nice to mother and I.”

            “She gave that as a condition? I highly doubt that Malfoy,” Ron said angrily. He did not want not spend Christmas break at the Malfoy’s.

            “Actually no, she didn’t give any conditions Weasley, but it’s called having fun, joking. Maybe you’ve heard of it?”

            “Boys, boys, not now. Please?” Hermione said as she played referee yet again.

            “Sorry,” Ron mumbled, Draco just shrugged at her.

            “So, is Bryan coming?” Harry asked.

            “Well, I asked him. But he said that he had other plans. He wishes he could come and all, but Remus and Tonks already invited him to their place, along with a few other people. He says he hopes we’ll all have fun.

            “Personally, I don’t think he was really invited already, most people don’t invite people this soon before Christmas, but maybe they did.” She shrugged as she bit into a piece of buttered bread.

            “Maybe he would feel awkward, like he was intruding and all, Hermione.”

            “I don’t know Ginny. I just hope he isn’t left out or anything, it is Christmas after all.”

            “Yeah, I hope so too.”


            They passed through the next few days walking the halls together, laughing, eating meals together, and hearing all the rumors, all the gossip. But they knew that after a while, everyone would realize that something else was much more interesting.

            And as the days faded to the final week, there was little gossip about the two of them, everyone having found something else to talk about. No one stared as they walked into the Hall together, no one gave them funny looks as they laughed their way down the halls together, as they worked together, as they huddled together, during classes they shared or any place they were together. Which was everywhere.

            Everyone but Ron was excited for the holidays. Some teachers were unable to control their classes as the students chatted away (Professor Flitwick), or were so stern that they didn’t hardly speak (Professor McGonagall who still taught Transfiguration).

            Today was the twentieth. They were to leave tomorrow morning and Hermione could hardly wait as she and Draco patrolled the halls.

            “Let’s go see Brett.” She exclaimed as they passed near his door.

            “What, why? We’ll see him tomorrow. I'm not even sure if he’s there. I mean, he was all excited today during class and he probably wants to be at the house with Josi and all…”

            “Well, we could go check,” she suggested as she shrugged her shoulders.

            “Alright, fine. Whatever.” And then he turned around and knocked on Brett’s door. They heard a muffled response and then footsteps.

            “Yeah?” he asked, clad in his pajama bottoms and an undershirt, rubbing sleep from his eyes.

            “Hermione wanted to stop by for some reason. I tried to tell her that we’ll see you tomorrow, but noooo, she wanted to talk to you now.” He shrugged his shoulders as Hermione smiled at him.

            “I didn’t realize you were sleeping. I'm sorry. Really I just wanted to know how Mum was going to get there.”

            “Oh, well I'm meeting her at the house and then we’re going to Apparate to Draco’s. Narcissa gave me the pass codes when I saw her at the Three Broomsticks last week.”

            “Oh, ok. Well, I'm sorry we woke you. We’ll just be going now, goodnight.”

            “Goodnight,” he mumbled as he ran a hand through his hair, turning around and closing the door with his foot.

            “See? Didn’t I tell you we shouldn’t?”

            “Well I didn’t know he was sleeping,” she whispered angrily back.

            “It’s damn near two o’clock in the morning, of course he’s sleeping!”

            “Sorry. I didn’t realize we’d been patrolling for three hours. Let’s just go back to our rooms and go to sleep.”

            “That sounds like a good idea. Don’t want to be sleepy when you meet Mother.”

            The train ride the next day was filled with laughter and candies, and an extremely sullen Ron. He really didn't want to go to the Malfoy’s for Christmas, and he was really adamant about showing them.

            When they finally reached the train station, Hermione and Ginny got extremely nervous. They didn’t know what to think about this woman, who had so graciously allowed them into her home, that they were debating on whether or not to just sit in their seats for the rest off break.

            “Girls, what are you waiting for?” Draco asked as he levitated their trunks out onto the platform and had come back to see what was taking them so long. He looked at their faces for one moment and laughed, “You're nervous? About meeting Mother? That’s ridiculous!”

            “Well, it may seem ridiculous to you but it's certainly not ridiculous to us!”

            “Ok, you two can stop saying ridiculous now,” Ginny said before she took a deep breath. Standing she reached her hand out to Hermione, “Come on, let’s go.”


            “Hello, hello, your parents are settling down at the house, your brothers as well. Miss Granger, how nice to see you. Come on, come along now.” Mrs.Malfoy herded them near the street in the Muggle world as soon as they met.

            “Um, how exactly are we getting to your house?” Ginny asked as she came up next to Draco and Hermione.

            “Mother rented one of those Muggle contraptions, they called it a limousine. Hermione told me they were called cars, so I really don’t know,” he whispered back.

            “It’s called a car generically,” Hermione said as she fell back to talk to them, “But there are more specific types such as a truck or a jeep, or a limo, or a semi, and such. And even those get more specific as to make and model, it’s not very complicated.”

            “So she says,” Ginny mumbled to herself.

            “Here it is, everyone in. It will only take a few minutes to get there. I thought it simpler than trying to Appaperate with only Draco and I. And we wouldn’t want anyone to mix up the address and wind up somewhere else by floo. So this was much easier.

            “So Hermione,” she continued as they all got comfortable in the seats, “How are Brett and Josi? I thought that Josi had died years ago and Brett, he disappeared. Never for a moment did I think that he had done what he did.

            “Nor that you could possibly be their child. But ah, well. I'm sorry, I don’t usually talk this much but I am extremely excited. Brett and Josi were good friends that I haven’t seen in many years. And it is always exciting to become better friends with people that you should have become friends with a long time past.”

            “Mother, breathe. It would help if you managed to last long enough to see them.”

            “Oh, sorry, you're right Draco. Ah, we’re here!”

            “That was fast. Usually it takes much longer than five minutes to get the country side by car,” Hermione mused.

            “Magic, Granger. Ever heard of it?” Draco laughed as he moved to unload the trunks from the back of the limo. Harry went to help and Hermione very nearly shoved Ron to make him help as well. He needed to remember his manners here.

            “I have a question,” Ginny asked as she looked up when she stepped out of the car.

            “What’s that?” Draco said as he slammed the trunk door shut.

            “Where’s your house?”
 


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