The next few days had been pretty rough for a number of reasons. Rumours of the party had spread like wildfire and not just in the Gryffindor common room, as all of the other houses seemed to know all about it as well. I was completely and utterly mortified that most of the rumours revolved around me and Cormac. Every time I walked down a corridor or entered the great hall, I was subject to a lot of quite unsubtle stares and whispers, but luckily for me I was getting better at ignoring them. I wasn’t a Gryffindor for nothing. I kept my head up and kept a smile on my face, determined not to show them that they were getting to me. Although if anyone had looked closely, they would have seen that my jaw was tight, my palms were sweating and completely tense, waiting for the next comment to come.
I was also continually being interrogated by the other girls in the dorm who wanted to know all the gossip. Lavender and Parvati were particularly keen to hear all the details. They pounced on me at the first available opportunity, which happened to be the moment I stepped out of the shower on the Sunday morning.
‘Oh my God, Hermione, tell us everything. What happened between you and Cormac?’ Parvati asked excitedly.
‘Em, nothing much,’ I muttered, really wishing that I could escape, but seeing as I was dripping wet and wearing nothing but a towel, it really wasn’t a viable option.
Parvati just rolled her eyes, but Lavender narrowed hers in my direction.
‘Don’t lie Hermione,’ Lavender said, a little too harshly, ‘we all saw you two making out.’
‘Well if you saw, then why are you even bothering to ask what happened?’ I questioned, desperate to be left alone.
‘Oh come on, we just wanted all the juicy details. What was he like, are you two dating, is he a good kisser?’ Parvati asked eagerly, her eyes nearly popping out of her head.
‘Em, drunk, no and I’ve had better.’
‘Really? Was he that bad?’
‘He was drunk, I was drunk and no it wasn’t bad, just not great.’ I said flushing not really sure why I was bothering to answer her questions.
‘Who was better then?’ Lavender asked, her eyes narrowed at me. Clearly she was thinking that I was comparing Cormac to Ron, which in actual fact I was, but there was no way in this world that I would let her know that. She was already shooting me daggers at every available opportunity and making a show of how Ron was hers. Imagine what she would be like, if she knew that I had actually kissed him.
‘No one was better,’ I said turning away from them and making a move towards the bathroom, hoping to escape the questioning. However what I was not expecting her to follow me.
‘But you just said that you’d had a better kiss. You must have had someone in mind,’ she said, an eyebrow raised questioningly. Clearly she thought she was about to uncover a dark, juicy secret.
I pushed passed her into the bathroom. ‘It’s just a figure of speech Lavender and if you must know, Victor was a better kisser than Cormac,’ I lied quickly. Well actually, Victor was better than Cormac, but Ron’s kiss was still the best kiss I had ever had.
‘Oh right. I forgot about him. I was thinking you might have meant someone else,’ she said with her questioning look again.
‘Nope, just the two of them. Now if you’re finished with your interrogation, then I would actually like to get changed,’ I said, closing the door in her face, glad to be finally escaping the interrogation.
At least that was what I had thought. Everyone that I met or passed in the corridors seemed to ask questions or make comments about the party and I was getting pretty fed up of people making jokes about me getting pissed and passing out and also people making comments about me and Cormac, with many people assuming that Cormac and I were together.
As a result, I was spending less and less time in the common room and the great hall, which actually worked out pretty well for me, for two reasons. Firstly it meant I was able to fully concentrate on my homework; which was good as there was lots of it. Every class we had, meant more reading and more ten foot long essays, due in only a few days later. I had to say that I was actually enjoying the work. I know, ever the bookworm. It gave me a challenge and gave me something to think about. It kept me busy and focused and for that I was grateful.
The second reason that I was glad to be avoiding the great hall was a more awkward one. If I had hoped that Cormac would give up after one day, I was sorely mistaken. It had now been five days and he was as was getting even more persistent in his attempts to talk to me. It was beginning to feel like everywhere I went, there he would be. He was always in the common room, the library, the great hall, the corridors and outside my classes.
I was still desperately clinging onto the hope that he would eventually give up. Any day now, he would see that I wasn’t interested. Ginny however was hoping for an entirely different outcome. She was on at me daily to give Cormac a chance and how he wasn’t really that bad and what harm would it do to just go on a few dates. She was beginning to really get on my nerves. I had never thought that Ginny would be one of those really irritating people that felt that just because they had a boyfriend, they automatically had to try and fix up all their friends up as well.
And so my days were spent trying to fend off not only Cormac’s completely unwelcome advances, but also Ginny’s persistent nagging. As a result, I spent my days rushing through the corridors in case I saw him, scoffing my meals so I didn’t need to be in the great hall for longer than necessary and spending more and more time in my dorm, instead of the common room. However unfortunately for me I shared some classes with Cormac, but at least it was just charms and ancient runes. I made sure that I arrived for class at the very last moment and then hurried out of the class the very second the class was over, ignoring the looks that he was giving me throughout lessons.
It was a totally cowardly tactic, but I really was not good at relationship talk. Especially one where you have to say, yes I know we kissed, but I was drunk and I only did it to make another guy jealous, so no I really don’t want to go out with you. I really didn’t think there was a nice way to say that and so I went for the avoid and hope they go away tactic instead.
And so it was the Wednesday after the party and we had just finished another busy day of double transfiguration, doing tricky spells turning objects into animals, herbology and defence against the dark arts. I was completely shattered and had so much homework to do, but unfortunately for me, I had my Wednesday night detention to contend with.
I bolted down my dinner yet again, feeling sick as I rammed the food quickly down my throat. I was really getting fed up with hiding and was completely blaming Cormac for it. Yes, I should have spoken to him by now, but if he would stop being such a full on stalker then I really wouldn’t have to hide.
My bad mood was not helped by the fact that Harry and Ron found the whole situation hilarious. Ron had acted a bit weird at first when he had first found out that I had kissed Cormac and I briefly wondered if he was jealous, but now that it was absolutely clear that I was not interested in him, he went back to mocking me as usual.
‘So Hermione, no crawling under tables tonight,’ Ron asked a little gleefully, as he sat down at the table opposite me during dinner. The joke was getting really old. He had made it at least three times every day and I was beginning to get more than a little hacked off by him.
‘Nope, not tonight,’ I managed to say with a light tone, although my fists were clenching underneath the table. Ignore him; ignore him I said over and over in my head.
‘And so what’s in your pumpkin juice tonight then; bit of firewhiskey? We all know how much you like your alcohol these days,’ he said grinning.
‘Yep Ronald, firewhiskey today. I figured I need something strong to get through another dinner with you,’ I said in a matter of fact tone. Ron however was not getting the hint that I was in fact desperate for him to shut up. He kept on wittering away until his eyes suddenly widened and his body tensed.
‘Look, Hermione, Cormac!’ Ron said loudly, pointing over to the door. This unfortunately was another of the jokes that Ron found absolutely hysterical. The first time he had done, it, I had instinctively ducked in an attempt to hide, knocking over my pumpkin juice and spilling it all over myself, only to realise that he was joking when he was practically rolling around the floor with laughter. And so I kept my eyes steadily on him, determined not to move them more than a millimetre from his face. I was getting fed up of being the butt if his jokes and I would not let him laugh at me one more time.
Part of me panicked that Cormac was actually there, that Ron would actually tell the truth one of these times and I would believe him, like the boy who cried wolf. However, my pride wouldn’t let me look. I was pretty sure that he was lying by the sound of his voice and I was proved right when a moment later he burst out laughing again, banging the table as he did as if it was the funniest thing he had ever heard.
‘Oh, come on Hermione, you got to admit, it is funny,’ Ron laughed.
I glared at him in response. ‘No Ronald, I really don’t think that I do.’
‘Come on mate, give it a rest now,’ Harry said, throwing me a pitying look. He had made a few jokes at first, but Harry had seen how much it had been bothering me and knew to stop, unlike the prat of a wizard sitting opposite me.
‘What and miss out on all the fun. Not likely. You do realise that this may never happen again. I’m taking my opportunity whilst it’s here.’
What the hell was that supposed to mean. Did he think that I was so incapable of getting a boyfriend; that no one would ever want to kiss me.
‘And what the fuck is that supposed to mean?’ I practically spat at him.
Harry looked incredibly uncomfortable at my swearing. I only swore when I was really angry and he knew only too well what I was capable of doing when I was angry.
‘Well, come on Hermione. It’s not every day that you get drunk and go around kissing random guys, throwing up and passing out. Got to admit, it’s good to know you’re just like the rest of us.’
‘I am nothing like you Ronald. It took me having a lot to drink to make a fool of myself; you on the other hand seem to manage that just fine every day in life without the influence of alcohol,’ I yelled at him, watching as his eyebrows shot up in surprise as seeing me losing the rag. ‘And for your information,’ I continued, ‘I do not go around kissing random guys and when I do kiss someone it actually means something, unlike some people I could mention.’
Ron furrowed his brows at my last statement, seeming confused by my anger and the way that the conversation had gone. I realised that I had been shouting and had stood up somewhere in the middle of my rant. I noticed that a few people around me had gone quiet and turned to stare, hoping that they would get to see another Hermione Granger floor show.
Feeling mortified, I grabbed my bag and practically fled from the hall, leaving a very confused Harry and Ron behind. I really hadn’t meant to bring up the kiss with Ron. In truth I was over him; I really didn’t want to be with him, but it still hurt that he had moved on so quickly and thought so little of it. I really needed to work on controlling my anger. I was having far too many angry outbursts these days. Speaking of which, I had my next detention in about twenty minute’s time.
I made my way to the library, arriving early this time, which made a change after arriving a shocking three minutes late the time before. I was pretty sure however that Madame Pince wouldn’t let me away early, but I decided that start the detention anyway. There was no point hanging around and waiting for Malfoy to show up and I really needed to be doing something to help and take my mind of the whole Ron/ Cormac saga.
I had been busy working for around fifteen minutes, when the sound of footsteps made me turn around and see Malfoy standing at the end of the aisle. He took one glance at my appearance when the smirk that I was so familiar with, appeared on his lips. It didn’t take a genius to work what he was smirking at.
Unfortunately in the fifteen minutes that I had been working, I had so far managed to make a complete mess, due the fact that I had dropped all the pieces of parchment that had been in alphabetical order. Malfoy had just happened to walk in at the exact moment that I was crawling about the floor, quill in my mouth, trying to pick up the pieces of parchment and put them in the right order.
Once again I waited for the sarcastic and scathing comment that was sure to come, but instead he just lifted his wand and gave it a quick swish. I closed my eyes and waited with baited breath for the curse or hex that I was sure he had just fired at me, but after a minute with my eyes closed and nothing happening, I slowly opened them to find that the pile of parchments were now stacked neatly in front of me.
I turned around to face Malfoy, who had gone over to the nearby table and put his bag down.
‘Em, thank you,’ I said slightly nervously. This was becoming a bit if a habit, me having to say thank you to him and it felt weird of years of insults being thrown back and forth.
‘For?’ he said, in that familiar bored voice that he used so well.
‘For, helping me, with the parchments,’ I said slowly, pointing to the parchments in front of me.
‘Yes well it seemed like an obvious thing to do, instead of crawling around on your hands and knees like a common muggle. Then again, you should be used to that,’ he said the sneer returning.
And there it was, the usual Malfoy charm. Although to be fair I really should have thought of using a spell sooner.
‘And what exactly is wrong the muggle way?’ I said, folding my arms across my chest. ‘Although I don’t know why I’m bothering to ask you that. We all know what your opinion is of muggles,’ I said with hate filling my voice.
At this his expression darkened, before he took one menacing step towards me. ‘You know nothing about me,’ he spat out. ‘Now if you don’t mind, I would rather get this over with. I don’t want to spend any more time here than I absolutely have to,’ he said, going back to his usual cold tone.
After that, we worked in silence. Despite his completely cold and arrogant attitude, I was actually kind of glad he was there. It was a hard job to do by yourself, as I had so spectacularly proved earlier. Again we fell into our usual routine of silence and we quickly worked our way through that evening’s list of books to catalogue.
When we finished the final book on the list we were working on, I stood up slowly, stretching out my legs and arms. It felt good to finally stand up, after having to sit on the floor of the library for so long, which I’d had to do as the last books on the list were on the bottom shelf.
I made a move to start tidying up, when Malfoy surprised for the second time that night.
‘Go,’ he said. I’ll do it.’
I looked at him with wide, questioning eyes. Since when did Malfoy ever do anything to help and since when did he ever actually volunteer to do work?
‘You did it last time, Granger. Don’t get used to it though. This is a onetime offer. ’
I lingered for a moment and thought about staying to help, but then again if Malfoy was actually volunteering to do work, who was I to stop him?
‘Ok then, well thanks,’ I said picking up my bag and walking away. Seriously I was going to have to stop thanking Malfoy. It was becoming a bit of a bad habit these days.
I was seriously tired and so glad that detention was finally over. It was only nine o’ clock. But after a hard day’s classes and three hours of both mental and physical work, I was shattered. All I really wanted was to go for a nice hot bath and read a good book. It had been a least a week since I’d actually had time to read a book for pleasure and not for school work. But since I had completed all my homework for the following day, I was going to indulge myself. At least that was my plan.
I was making my way back to the Gryffindor common room, completely lost in my thoughts about which book I was going to read, when I noticed a figure standing at the end of the corridor. I looked up and my heart immediately jumped up into my throat and my whole body immediately stiffened as I realised who it was that was coming towards me - Cormac.
I ran through the options in my head, turn and go back to the library, I was only one corridor away and hope to lose him in there, or just keep walking and act naturally and tell him the truth. I guessed that I really had to talk to him. The whole running away thing had been going on for far too long.
I gripped my bag tightly and tried to walk steadily towards him, although my legs felt like lead, feeling heavier with every step that I took. It seemed to take forever to finally reach him and when I spoke, I tried to keep my voice light and natural sounding.
‘Em, hi Cormac. How have you been?’ I asked shakily, sounding anything but the natural voice I was aiming for.
I gave a quick glance to Cormac, trying not to look him in the eye. Cormac was looking down at me with a weird expression on his face. He was smiling, but his eyes had an odd look in them that I couldn’t quite place. Whatever it was, it was making me feel very uncomfortable and I was suddenly aware of how very alone we were.
‘I’m fine. Better now that you’re here,’ he said closing the distance between us. However it was far too close for me and I immediately took a step back, widening the space between us.
I gave him a weak smile, trying not to show him how much his words were creeping me out. I knew that I needed to talk to him and tell him the truth, but even though I had been avoiding it, when I hadn’t imagined having to do it in a completely empty corridor with no one around.
‘So Hermione,’ Cormac continued, clearly not sensing my how uncomfortable I was feeling, ‘I was thinking that you and me should do something. How about the next Hogsmeade trip. I’m thinking you and me in Madame Pudifoots,’ he said smiling and once again closing the proximity between us.
I swallowed hard and tried to keep my eyes from widening too much in complete disgust at the idea. Madame Pudifoots is the notorious lovers haunt in Hogsmeade, with lots of pink and frills and love hearts. So not my scene. The idea of going to Pudifoots was nauseating enough on its own, never mind the thought of going there with Cormac.
Although I at least had a valid excuse for not going. For the first time, I was completely grateful that I had been given detentions every Saturday, meaning that I would not be able to go to Hogsmeade.
‘Oh I’m really sorry Cormac,’ I said, trying at least to hide somewhat sympathetic, but finding it hard to keep the small traces of a smile off of my face, ‘I have detention that day, so I won’t be able to go.
‘Oh that’s a shame,’ he said, looking actually quite crestfallen.
‘Mmm,’ I replied not quite agreeing, ‘so I’ll just be going then,’ I managed to say, sensing my opportunity to leave and trying to move past him to get to the door, unfortunately he shifted in front of me once more, forcing me to look at him again.
‘Well if Saturday’s no good, then how about next Sunday? I’m sure we can find something to keep us entertained in the castle for a whole day,’ he said, raising his eyebrows in a suggestive way.
I had a feeling I wasn’t doing quite as well at keeping my face straight anymore. The horror at that prospect must have been clearly evident on my face.
‘Em… I don’t think I can, I have to, um, study that day,’ I stuttered trying to find an excuse. ‘I’ll have loads of work to do that day since I’m missing the whole day on Saturday,’ I said trying to back up my story and make it sound a little more believable and not just the pathetic excuse that I knew it really was. ‘In fact, I should probably be going now,’ I said, trying once again to get passed him, but once again having little success.
I had barely taken a step past him when his hand caught my wrist and pulled me back so that I was once again facing him.
‘Hermione, stop walking away from me,’ he said, a hint of desperation edging into his voice.
As I looked at him I felt genuinely sorry for him. I knew that I had used him, and now I had to come clean. Now I had to tell him the truth. I sighed as I prepared myself for the moment that I had been desperately avoiding.
‘Look Cormac, You’re a really nice guy and I am so sorry but I really just don’t feel that way about you,’ I said not quite looking him in the eye.
‘Hermione, I know how you feel about me,’ he said, once again stepping forward and backing me in against the wall, ‘That kiss meant something, I know it did. Now stop trying to run away from me. I’m sick of playing these games.’
‘Look Cormac, please, you have to listen to me,’ I said feeling exasperated at his complete lack of understanding. ‘I’m really sorry for what happened and I like you as a friend, but nothing more. I’m sorry I was drunk when I kissed you and it was a mistake. I just don’t feel that way about you.’
‘You’re lying. I know you care about me. I heard what you said earlier.’
Now I was totally confused. ‘What? What did I say?’
‘In the great hall, at dinner. You said to Weasley that when you kiss someone, it means something.’
I groaned at the memory. How the hell had he heard that? I hadn’t even been thinking about Cormac when I said that. I was talking about Ron.
‘I’ve got to admit Hermione; I was so relieved to hear you say that. I was beginning to think that you’d changed your mind about me, but when I heard you say that, I knew that I had to say something to you - that I was in with a shot.’
‘I wasn’t talking about you when I said that,’ I said, the annoyance starting to creep into my voice. ‘I was talking about… someone else,’ I finished pathetically, not quite wanting to reveal that it was actually Ron that I had been thinking about.
As my words registered in his head, he finally took a step away from me, allowing me to breathe slightly more freely, as I wasn’t feeling so trapped. However when his eyes finally snapped up and met mine, all the relief I felt was instantly erased and replaced with fear at the rage that was now so evidently displayed in his narrowed eyes.
‘You’ve been seeing someone behind my back,’ he said in a low and menacing voice that did nothing to erase the fear that I was feeling.
‘How could I be seeing someone behind your back when we aren’t even going out?’ I said a little too fiercely and instantly regretting it. Now was really not the time to be making him even more mad.
‘Oh so you were seeing someone else. You were just using me.’
‘No,’ I said weakly, thinking that yes, I had been using him and feeling instantly ashamed. ‘I wasn’t seeing anyone else.’
‘But you were using me?’
‘No, I mean, I didn’t mean to use you,’ I stuttered pathetically.
‘So what, you just fancied a bit of cheering up then, trying to make yourself feel better, trying to make some other guy jealous?
I immediately looked to the floor, unable to meet his eyes. But apparently that was all the answer that he needed.
‘You were using me to make some other guy jealous,’ he asked in a slow tone, as if working things out. ‘Who?’
Once again I refused to answer, which only seemed to flare his anger even more.
‘Tell me who,’ he demanded again, stepping dangerously close to me once again. ‘Potter, Finnigan, Thomas, Weasley.’
My eyes flitted to his face as he said Ron’s name before I could think, before I could stop them.
‘Weasley?’ Cormac asked again, in a disbelieving voice. ‘You would choose Weasley over me?’
I watched as Cormac stepped away from me and pulled his hands up to his head in frustration, messing up his usually perfect hair, which added with the angry eyes, only made him look even more crazed. I sensed an opportunity to escape, as he started to pace up and down, muttering to himself and so I slowly started to edge towards the door. I had barely got a metre closer to the door before Cormac spotted me moving away, when he whipped out his wand and before I could even register what was happening I was being slammed into the wall behind me, my head whipping against the cold, hard stone behind me.
Everything in front of me was spinning wildly and before I could stop myself, my knees were buckling and I was sliding to the ground. I always wondered about people who had said that they had seen stars. Always wondered how on earth you could just start seeing stars, but now I knew. For right in front of my eyes, all I could see were bright twinkling little lights, darting about in front of me. Part of me knew that they weren’t real, but that didn’t stop me from trying to reach out and grab them. But as soon as I reached out my hands, they were seized and gripped tight.
The hands around my wrists, pulled me to my feet and pushed me against the wall. I forced my eyes to see straight, blinking rapidly, trying to steady my vision.
When my eyesight finally settled and the twinkly lights had finally disappeared, I saw that Cormac had both of my wrists in a tight grip and he was peering straight at me, uncomfortably close. The anger and fury was still in his eyes.
I squirmed against his hold, the fear immediately returning as I suddenly realised the situation I was in. I was completely powerless. I could feel my wand digging rather painfully into my back, as it was sticking out of my back pocket, but I had no hope of getting it. No matter how much I wriggled or fought Cormac’s grip, he was bigger and stronger than me and I had no hope of getting free. Every bit of me, every instinct I had told me to fight and claw and scratch at him, until he let me go, but looking at the rage in his eyes, I knew that it wasn’t going to help. The only thing that it would succeed in doing is making him even more furious. If that was even possible. My only hope now would be to try and convince him.
‘Cormac, please let me go. You’re hurting me,’ I said, looking him straight in the eye, the hurt and pleading filling my voice. I really hoped that it might be enough to bring him back to his senses.
‘What and let you go running back to Weasley? You have made me a complete laughing stock. You have humiliated me. Nobody gets to use me and then walk away,’ he said as he tightened his grip around my wrists, causing me to whimper again in pain. ‘You are not leaving me. You care about me Hermione. I know it. I just have to make you see it.’
I barely had time to register what he had he had said, before he began to lower his lips to mine.
‘No Cormac don’t. Please,’ I begged, turning my head away, wincing as a pain that I had been previously unaware of, shot pierced the back of my skull.
For a brief moment, I thought that he was actually listening to me, as I felt him move suddenly away from me, although it took only a moment longer to realise that he hadn’t moved away from me at all, he was pulled away.
With Cormac no longer pressed up against me, holding me up, I sank down to the floor, my legs buckling beneath me unable to support my weight.
A sudden cry of pain quickly alerted me to the fact that there was a fight going on right in front of my eyes. Cormac was currently on the floor, crying out in pain as a foot was thrust into his chest. I looked up at my rescuer and let out a gasp of shock and surprise when I realised that it was none other than Draco Malfoy.
I watched in shock and terror as Malfoy to be quite frank, beat the shit out of Cormac. He was really quite terrifying. I knew he wasn’t someone to be messed with, but the venom and spite currently etched onto his face, made him look even more terrifying.
I was completely frozen, although not with fear. I knew that the worst had passed. Cormac couldn’t hurt me anymore, which was a weird thought. Was I actually more afraid of Cormac than I was of Malfoy?
I turned my attention back to the fight happening before my eyes, although that was actually a bit if an over exaggeration. Malfoy was the only one actually fighting; Cormac seemed completely incapable of hitting Malfoy with any sort of curse or spell. I watched Malfoy relentlessly cursing and hitting Cormac and I realised that he had no intention of stopping anytime soon. I wasn’t feeling pity for Cormac, part of me was glad that he got what he deserved, but at the same time, I wasn’t the sort of person who could just sit back and watch someone be beaten to a pulp.
I shakily stood up, struggling to get to my feet and pulled my wand out from my back pocket and cast a barrier between the two, so that they could no longer touch each other or cast any more spells.
‘Malfoy, stop, that’s enough,’ I yelled, my voice stronger than I thought it would be.
He gave me a look that clearly said, you have to be kidding me. ‘Are you kidding Granger? That bastard got what he deserved.’
‘That may be true, but he’s down and I think you’ve more than made your point,’ I said, letting down my shield.
Cormac seemed to have recovered slightly as he started to moan on the floor.
‘What the fuck Malfoy. What the hell was that for?’ Cormac questioned, whilst shooting daggers at Malfoy.
‘Oh I don’t know McLaggen, maybe for trying to force yourself onto a girl who clearly wasn’t interested.’
‘I wasn’t doing anything that she didn’t ask for. She’s been asking for it all week,’ he said, slowly pulling himself up from the floor.
At that I totally lost my temper and I found myself flying towards Cormac, my hand outstretched. The sound of my hand striking across his face echoed throughout the hall and I took an immense amount of pleasure in seeing his head fly to the side as he once again fell to the ground with a bright red handprint appearing on his face.
‘Don’t you bloody dare! I’ve been trying to avoid you all week you arrogant arsehole. I was just trying to be nice; I was trying to let you down gently. I was trying not to hurt your feelings,’ I screamed, my angry tears beginning to make their way down my face again.
By this time Cormac had managed to get himself to his feet. He looked a mess. He had a huge black eye and blood pouring out of his nose and mouth. Malfoy had certainly given him one hell of a beating. He looked at me furiously and took a step towards me, his hand outstretched.
‘Yeah well that worked out well,’ he spat, pointing to the blood pouring down his face. ‘You know what; you’re not even worth it. No shag is worth this amount of agro.’
His words echoed in the silence of the hall and as they sank into my brain, I felt my entire body tense up with complete and utter fury. I gripped my wand tightly and was just about to raise it to make sure that McLaggen would never be able to have kids again, when a sudden movement made me look to my left.
I watched in amazement as Malfoy, swung his fist into Cormac’s head, sending him flying against the wall. He slumped down the wall in quite a comical way that would have made me laugh if my mouth hadn’t been hanging wide open in shock.
Malfoy took a step forward, grabbed him by the collar to drag him up and pushed him towards the door in front of us.
‘Get out of here now,’ he almost growled, ‘before I really lose my temper.’
Cormac eyed Malfoy, but seemed to sense that there was no way that he could win and so started to retreat.
‘Oh and McLaggen, if you ever touch her, hurt her or so much as even look in her direction again, you can be damned sure that I will make it impossible for you to touch another woman again for as long as you live. Even if they do happen to be willing. Now, you have to the count of three to get your sorry arse out of here. One,’ he said raising his wand threateningly.
It turned out that it only took to the count of one, before Cormac turned and fled out of the corridor.
Malfoy stood in front of me still completely tense, keeping his eyes on the door that Cormac had just left by. His shoulders were rapidly rising and falling and I found that I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him as my legs buckled beneath me for the second time and I fell to floor.
The sound of me sliding to the floor obviously shook Malfoy out of whatever trance he was in. He turned around and eyed me warily. He bent slowly down to face me and I held my breath with the shock of his closeness. After what Cormac had just done, I was wary. He reached out his hand and put it to the back of my head and touched it very gently. I was completely frozen; I wasn’t even sure that I was breathing anymore.
He pulled his hand back and let out a low throaty growl as he examined his fingers. I realised that they had blood on them. My blood. I was suddenly very aware of a deep throbbing in the back of my head. Probably from when Cormac had thrown me up against the wall.
Malfoy pulled out his wand and I flinched away from him, suddenly very afraid.
The stony look on his face slipped for only a split second before quickly reappearing, making me wonder if I had actually imagined it.
‘I’m not going to hurt you,’ he said gently, ‘I’m just going to heal this cut. It’s quite nasty.’
As he spoke, I looked up at him and found myself staring into his eyes, taking a sharp gasp of breath as I did. His eyes were beautiful. His eyes had always seemed so cold and unfeeling, a steely grey. But now up close I realised just how wrong I had been. They were a mixture of grey and the deepest blue, looking a bit like the colour of the black lake on a calm day. Not quite grey, but not quite blue. I was surprised that there were also flecks of green in those eyes. How could one pair of eyes contain so many colours?
I realised that I was staring at him and felt myself flush pink. I gave him a quick nod and turned my head around so that the back of my head was facing him. I closed my eyes as I felt a warmth spread through the back of my head and the pain subsided. I turned around to look at Malfoy to see that he had stood up straight again, towering over me. I felt so small sitting curled up on the floor at his feet.
He opened his mouth to speak, but a noise behind us made us both jump and turn in the direction of the noise. I thought for one horrible moment that Cormac had come back, but I let out a sigh of relief when I noticed that it was only Harry. However my relief was short lived when he raised his wand and in a flash of red light, Malfoy was thrown backward and slammed into the wall opposite from me. He groaned in pain and looked around confusedly for his wand. When he realised that Harry now had it, he stood up quickly, swaying ever so slightly and took not even half a step towards Harry, before he was thrown back again to the ground with another flash of light. This time his eyes remained shut and he stopped moving.
Satisfied that Malfoy wasn’t going to move, Harry finally rushed over to me, crouching down beside me, a worried look on his face. ‘Hermione, what the hell happened? Did Malfoy do this?’ he asked, pointing to the blood that was still in my hair.
‘No Harry it wasn’t him. Honestly Harry, it wasn’t Malfoy,’ I said more forcefully when he gave me a doubting look.
‘Then what the hell happened? And don’t tell me it’s nothing Hermione,’ he said, seeing me open my mouth, ‘Why are you crying; why is your head bleeding and why was Malfoy standing over you holding his wand?’
Yes ok I had to admit, it probably did look bad, but for some reason I was desperate for Harry to know that it wasn’t Malfoy.
‘Look Harry, promise me you won’t freak out,’ I asked, looking him in the eye, worried that he would go on the rampage and curse McLaggen into oblivion.
‘Fine, now tell me.’
‘No Harry, promise me.’
‘Fine, I promise,’ he said resignedly, ‘now tell me, what happened?’
‘Ok,’ I said sighing. I focused on the wall opposite, determined not to look Harry in the eye. I really didn’t need to see his pity. ‘Ok, well I left detention and I was walking back and well, you know how Cormac’s been trying to find me all week, well he found me.’ I paused, hearing Harry take a sharp intake of breath.
‘Well, he was waiting here for me and he, well, he…’
‘He tried it on with you,’ Harry said, through gritted teeth.
I could only nod my head, not wanting to say the words. Harry put his arms tightly around me and stroked my hair, as I sobbed into his shoulder.
After a moment, Harry suddenly lifted his head. ‘So where does he come into all of this,’ he said nodding towards Malfoy, who was beginning to come around.
‘He…’ I hesitated, finding myself unable to say the words.
‘He what,’ said Harry more forcefully, looking me straight in the eyes.
‘He helped me,’ I said eventually.
‘He helped you,’ Harry said slowly, clearly not believing me, ‘how?’
‘He pulled Cormac off of me and then quite spectacularly beat the crap out of him.
‘Are you serious?’ Harry said in a disbelieving voice. ‘Well at least that saves me from doing it.’
Malfoy started to groan again and began to move. ‘Look Harry, I’m honestly fine. You should go back to the common room.’
‘No way Hermione, I’m not leaving you here,’ Harry said forcefully, standing up.
‘No please, Harry, you promised to do what I asked. Besides neither of us can afford to get into any more trouble, least of all me. Please just let me smooth everything over with Malfoy and I’ll meet you back in the common room soon.’
Harry seemed to think over my words, but seemed to agree with me that it made sense and so he pulled me to my feet, before he reluctantly left.
‘You have five minutes Hermione, before I come back,’ Harry said before handing me back Malfoy’s wand and disappearing through the door.
I stood for a minute, completely unsure what to do. Part of me wanted to run away and never come back to this corridor again, but the other part knew that I couldn’t leave Malfoy alone and hurt in the corridor, especially after he had just saved me. And besides, I was sick of running away.
I moved over to the stirring body on the floor and gently shook his shoulder, jumping back when he opened his eyes and sat up.
‘Are you ok?’ I asked, regretting the question as soon as it was out of my lips. Obviously he wasn’t alright. His nose was bleeding and he had blood on the back of his head similar to mine.
He seemed to agree with me that the question was stupid, as he gave me a pointed look before saying, ‘what does it look like Granger? Thought you were meant to be smart.’
I shot daggers at him and readied my response before I remembered that I was actually incredibly grateful to the beat up wizard sitting in front of me. We sat in silence for another moment, sitting side my side against the cool stone wall.
‘Thank you, by the way. For, you know,’ I said quickly, avoiding his look.
‘I seem to be saying that to you a lot these days,’ I said awkwardly.
He just gave a small nod and raised his one eyebrow, his frown never leaving his face.
‘Who would have thought it eh? Me saying thank you to you and you saving me.’
‘Yeah I would never have believed it either,’ he said, a strange look passing over his face as we fell into another awkward silence. I did my best not to look at him, feeling very uncomfortable all of a sudden, but couldn’t help it when my gaze shifted slightly in his direction and caught sight of his bloodied hand. Bloodied from beating Cormac no doubt.
‘Oh you’re bleeding,’ I exclaimed, again wincing at my obvious comment. ‘Do you want me to heal it?’ I asked unsure if he would want me to help him.
He just shrugged his shoulders and held out his hand, his gaze following my wand moving across his hand, face and head as it healed all of his wounds.
‘Thanks,’ he said, examining the back of his, no doubt checking I hadn’t left any scars.
‘No, problem,’ I said lightly, feeling slightly glad that he was the one thanking me for once. ‘But you know you wouldn’t have got those cuts on your hand and face if you had used your wand. I thought you were against the muggle way of doing things,’ I asked, remembering his comment to me earlier in the library.
‘Yeah well, sometimes the muggle way is better,’ he said deadly serious.
‘Oh my god, I said slowly. ‘Did the ‘oh so wonderful’ pure- blood Draco Malfoy, just admit that the muggle way is better than the wizards way?’ I asked half teasingly, half astonished at the words that had just came out of his mouth.
‘I said sometime, Granger. Don’t go reading too much into it.’
‘Yeah but still,’ I said, not quite ready to let the moment pass, ‘I never thought I’d see the day.’
‘Yeah well, like I said earlier, you really don’t know me Granger,’ he said finally turning to look me straight in the eye, unleashing the full power of his stare.
I swallowed deeply, suddenly finding it difficult to breath, unable to tear my gaze away. ‘No I don’t suppose that I do,’ I said almost in a whisper.
His gaze stayed firmly on my face, flicking between my eyes and my lips. His brows knitted together as if he was debating something, before he very slowly leaned in closer to my face.
If I had thought that I couldn’t breathe before, it was nothing to how I was feeling now. I was completely frozen solid, the only part of me moving, being my chest which was moving rapidly up and down, as my breaths were becoming more frequent and ragged. What was he doing? Was he going to kiss me? Part of me wanted to pull away, this was Malfoy for Merlin’s sake; but the other part of me was trapped by his gaze, curious as to what would happen, desperate for his lips to me on mine. What? I wanted him to kiss me. God I must have hit my head harder than I thought.
When his face was a mere centimetre from mine, close enough for me to feel his warm breath against my skin, I suddenly came to my senses. This was Malfoy for Merlin’s sake. What the hell was I doing? I abruptly pulled back from him and pushed myself to my feet, before I span round and practically ran through the door.
I had just pulled the door open, when a loud noise behind me made me turn around just in time to see Malfoy punch the stone wall, his cry of pain echoing throughout the long corridor. I quickly closed the door behind me and practically ran the entire way back to the common room, barely aware of where I was going as many confusing thoughts and a pair of intense blue/ grey eyes swam around my head.
A/N- Thanks to everyone that has been reading and reviewing. It seriously means a lot. Sorry that this update took a little longer than I said it would when I was answering reviews. It got rejected the first time so I had to change a lot of the chapter. I don't think it's as good as it was before, but it'll just have to do as certain things need to happen for later chapters, they just aren't able to happen the way I had orignally planned.
So I really hope you enjoy it anyway (in it's altered state). It's the longest chapter so far and took me ages to write, so I hope the results are worth it. As you can tell, things are really starting to happen and theres a lot more Draco and Hermione. So please leave me a review and let me know what you think. It seriously makes me very happy.