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Darkover Magic by K A Woods

Format: Novella
Chapters: 14
Word Count: 40,108
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature

Genres: Romance, Action, Humor, General, Angst, Mystery, Drama
Characters: Draco, Ginny, Harry, Dumbledore, Hermione, James, Lily, Neville, Ron, Snape, Voldemort, Luna, Lucius, Seamus, Pansy
Pairings:

First Published: 02/14/2005
Last Chapter: 06/28/2005
Last Updated: 06/28/2005

Summary:
A prosaic story of the Final Year for Harry Potter and his friends- interlaced with romance, and the thin line that is drawn between good and evil that is crossed in order to win the ultimate battle. A good read for the reader who is enthralled with Harry Potter and the relationships, some unlikelier then others, that bond the characters together.


Chapter 14: THE GARDEN OF YOU AND I

CHAPTER 14: THE GARDEN OF YOU AND I

The stagnant cold of the October night air penetrated through Hermione’s elegant black dress, as though she were wearing little more then a House-Elf’s tea rag, as she burst through the doors leading out of the Great Hall and into the courtyard outside…

Her mind was racing a mile a minute. She had heard Ron’s voice mumble out of everyone in the Great Hall as her and Draco struck their final pose, she had seen the look on Ron’s face- the look of defeat, she had seen the way he had jerked his vibrant red head away and pushed through the crowd, but most importantly she saw Harry and Ginny give her a look of… well, disappointment.
And why shouldn’t they? Hell, Ginny had tried to tell her way back at the beginning of the year in the Library that Ron had feelings for her but, Hermione didn’t see it. Or didn’t want to see it. She wasn’t quite sure which one made more sense at the moment. Probably the later seeing as how if she did see then she would have been required to really look into herself to find something other then knowledge or a witty remark. It would have required an introverted look at how she felt- romantically that was, something she had never really done before. Even with Krum it had been more of a duty, self preservation – a witty reply to Ron not confessing his feelings to her.

But now Hermione was stuck…

Instead of having time to get a grip on the situation and sort out her tempest of feelings for Ron she felt as though she was in a race and everyone else already had a head start. Sure, it was her own doing. She had told Ron she would save him a dance, pretty much accepting his invitation of feelings- to share feelings that is- in his own simple way he had said all Hermione had ever needed to hear from him just by that. And the dance they shared had sealed it- he had said it best with the dance- he cared for her, far beyond the simple duty of best friend. Her and Harry had never danced like that – and they wouldn’t, he was more of a brother figure, but Ron- he had always been there- the brother’s best friend that you are friends with as well but scared to take it any farther for fear that it might mess up the triangle. Well now she had messed it up- by adding an unlikely component…

A rustle from one of the lighted bushes awoke Hermione from her jumble of thoughts and put all of her senses on alert. Another rustle had her hand on her wand- which proved a good thing as in the next breath something orange leapt right for Hermione !

“STUPEFY!” Hermione roared sending a spell straight towards the hurtling figure causing it to drop like a sack of potatoes in mid air.

Hermione looked apprehensively over at the bushes again, and heard the snap of a twig and stood at attention with her wand at the ready. After a few moments at guard she finally felt it safe to go examine the victim and let out a surprised gasp at the form lying at her feet.

“Crr-rookshanks?” Hermione stammered still in shock as her bandy-haired cat lay crumpled at her feet, unable to move. How could he have wondered out of Gryffindor tower? Well, he was a cat so that wasn’t too suspicious but how in the world had he found her hear? And what had frightened him so much that he would pounce at her, Hermione?
“Ennervate.” Hermione spoke clearly as she pointed the tip of her wand at her beloved cat- which came to instantaneously. “Are you okay darling?” Hermione whispered affectionately as she stroked the area between the cat’s ears- which of course elicited purring from the animal straight away.

Feeling bad about jumping to conclusions and stupefy-ing her own cat Hermione picked up the animal and walked slowly over to a stone bench situated in front of a stone waterfall her and Ginny had enchanted to flow and create a sort of mist effect on the whole terrace in the courtyard. (think dry-ice) Now, if it was possible, she felt even worse.

“Oh Crookshanks, what am I going to do? .. I have really screwed things up…” Hermione trailed off as she lazily stroked the cat- Her mind turning back to her thoughts again.

…Why did I have to go and do this to Ron? Hermione thought guiltily. It is hard enough for him to have to be around me all the time and keep his feelings bottled up inside and now, when he finally sort of does, I end up loosing all of my inhibitions in the arms of someone else! Hermione scolded herself mentally… So that was what I had done, lost all of my inhibitions. What was I thinking? You weren’t. And now look where it has gotten you- sitting in a beautiful garden stroking your cat and wallowing in your own self pity. Hermione mentally noted to herself.
Hermione swallowed hard before setting Crookshanks down lightly on the ground. “Sorry, but I really need to find Ron.” Hermione said bracingly to the animal before directing it towards the door. “Now you just go back up to the dormitory and try not to get yourself trampled on… and steer clear of Mrs. Norris!” Hermione added as an afterthought while Crookshanks stalked off obediently.

Hermione watched the cat skulk off before she was jolted from her trance by another rustling in the bushes.

“Who’s there?” Hermione spat in the direction of the moving bushes across from her.

The Garden was unearthly silent and Hermione started to relax a little when a branch snapped and she jumped of the stone bench and started slowly backing up around the corner into the enchanted Garden that her and Ginny had earlier decorated with several fairies. She would have found the scenery so much more enjoyable if she wasn’t more then a little freaked out.

Suddenly, while backing up, she hit something with a dull thud from behind and she toppled to the ground.
“What the bloody hell- HERMIONE?!” Ron gasped thickly as he looked down at her black satin clad self crumpled on the ground.

“Well don’t stand there gawking Ron, help me up!” Hermione snapped at him as she rubbed the place on the back of her head where she had obviously collided the hardest with Ron’s back.

“Oh- Right you are ‘Mione.” Ron responded as he offered a strong hand, which she gracefully took, and started to help Hermione up. She gracefully rose off the ground and long after she had regained balance the two were still holding hands, their eyes firmly fixated on the other’s.

“So… what are you doing out here anyways?” Ron mumbled- finally breaking the silence- though not retracting his hand or his gaze. “Shouldn’t you be back in there dancing?”

“Actually Ronald,” Hermione retorted, a little shaken from Ron’s comment, “I came out here after you.” She finished as she gave him her usual glare and removed her hand from his sharply. She didn’t know why she had acted so fiercely towards him after they had had a ‘moment’ – but looking back at it she would probably blame it on nerves- or the fact that she was completely lost when it came to Ron. One minute she was arguing with like he was some sort hypocritical politician and the next she wanted to be in his company more then anything else.

“Oh well that’s funny Hermione because I came out here because of YOU!” Ron shot back, his anger boiling up inside. Was she that cold and callus that a moment of intimacy made her feel that uneasy? Or did the thought of Ron just make her that disgusted? He had seen the way she danced with Draco… she didn’t pull her hand away from him… Bloody Hell! With the way those two were dancing Ron was surprised that Hermione had pulled herself off of him to come out here and not just shagged him silly right in the middle of the dance floor!

“Me, Ron? And what did I do?” Hermione countered her chestnut eyes darkening to the colour of freshly brewed coffee.

“YOU KNOW HERMIONE FOR BEING THE BRIGHTEST WITCH IN SCHOOL YOU REALLY ARE BLOODY OBLIVIOUS!” Ron yelled in frustration before turning and fixing his gaze on some fairies that were frolicking in a nearby bush.

“… Ginny and Draco told me the same thing…” Hermione trailed off softly, reflecting back on their encounter down the desolate library aisle.

“Oh I’m sure they did. So tell me Hermione what else does dear old Draco tell you?” Ron shot back icily but the look on his face looked more pain than anything as he put emphasis on the word ‘Draco.’ “No, you know what Hermione? … I don’t even want to know what ferret-boy tells you. You want to know why? Because I remember when all he used to ‘tell’ you was that you were a good for nothing Mudblood!” Ron proclaimed, his eyes looking directly into Hermione’s.

Hermione took a step back aghast. Had Ron really just used that word? How could he possibly stoop so low as to use those words in her presence? So Draco had said them, so what? He hadn’t even used a phrase close to that in ages… he had, in her eyes, changed.

“No witty retort, eh’ Hermione?” Ron continued on, “Didn’t think so. You know just because he has ‘changed’ doesn’t mean that you should automatically lose all of your sense of self around him… some of us don’t have to change because we were there for you from the beginning… not a change of heart after six years.” Ron concluded as he breathed in deeply.

“What are you not saying, Ron?” Hermione whispered softly as she walked towards him.

“He is saying that he wants to be with you … and to stay away from me.” The icy voice of Draco Malfoy sliced through the thin, chilled October night air like a knife through butter.

Hermione and Ron both froze in their spots, looking directly into each other’s eyes- Hermione was searching for an answer to Draco’s proclamation and Ron was trying to see how Hermione would react to what Draco had just said. They stood there gazing, both wanting reassurance from the other though neither was willing to give it in return. So finally Hermione, with much effort, turned around slowly to face Draco.

Her heart caught in her throat as she turned gracefully around. In the dark garden alit with fairy lights Draco’s white blonde hair shone around his pale face- making him look ethereal. But his gray eyes were no longer the color of a newly processed metal but now look frigid and cold- more or less stern. What was Hermione supposed to say? She hadn’t expected something like this… after six years of trying to ignore the prat she now found herself wanting to forge some sort of friendship with him- but not at the cost of losing Ron’s.

“Cat got your tongue Hermione?” Draco sneered with a smirk though Hermione could tell he was simply trying to lighten the mood a little as his eyes lightened a little.

“What are you doing out here Malfoy?” Hermione said through clenched teeth. For some reason the way he said Hermione, almost affectionately, made her uneasy in Ron’s presence.

“Oh, so I see we are back to surnames again, eh Granger?” Draco said softly, his voice hardening with every word and putting special emphasis on ‘Granger.’

Hermione held him in a hard stare before her eyes averted their gaze towards Ron who was standing cattycorner to Hermione looking utterly perplexed. Draco’s eyes followed Hermione’s towards Ron and then he found himself staring back at Hermione again. The time wasn’t right… “Contra Veritas, Granger.” Draco whispered softly before turning on his heel and gliding back towards the castle.

Hermione looked down at her black satin heels for a moment- Ron’s gaze still holding her- before she finally looking up at him.

“You have feelings for him, don’t you Hermione.” Ron softly proclaimed- making it more of a statement then a question.

“How so? I mean I have feelings for him as a friend but-”

“Oh save it Hermione! Why don’t you ever just say what you mean for once!”

“WHY DON’T YOU!” Hermione yelled back just as the Great Hall erupted into blood curdling screams….


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