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Above the Clouds by cathyyy

Format: Novel
Chapters: 43
Word Count: 248,243
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme, Contains Spoilers

Genres: Drama, Humor, Romance
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Lucius, Narcissa, Blaise (M), Draco, Ginny
Pairings: Draco/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, Lucius/Narcissa, Ron/Lavender

First Published: 01/18/2009
Last Chapter: 12/16/2011
Last Updated: 12/16/2011

Summary:



Hermione is back for her seventh year at Hogwarts. Over one year has passed since the war and she finds herself changed by the experience. She needs something, someone. But everyone around her act like nothing ever happened, except for one. Draco Malfoy. With him as her teacher in flying, can she find a way to heal?
 


Chapter 1: Denial
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[I do not own any character what so ever, they all belong to JK rowling. I make no money, its just for fun. Ignoring the epilouge in DH. Please, leave a review?]

 






”You just have to be kidding me?” I almost shouted at Ron, who looked at me with wide eyes, not ready for my reaction. Though, one would think that he would be used to it by now. “Can’t you ever try to do your own homework, without any help what so ever? I wonder what grades you would have if I had never helped you.”

 

Ron blushed, and looked around in the Gryffindor common room, hoping for help from his friends, but thankfully, Harry played deaf at the moment. I put my hand on my hip and looked at him, expecting an answer.

“I take that as a ‘no’?”

“Oh.” I moaned, you'd think that after all those years that he would have learned. But then again, it was Ron that we were talking about. “I’m going to the library, do not follow me!”

I hung my bag over my shoulders and hurried out of the room, and flew down the stairs.

 

The library was quiet, and calming. I found it being the best place in the whole castle, not only because of the unlimited amount of books, but also due to the privacy.

I chose a book from one of the shelves, one that I had never read before, and I sat down at my usual spot in a corner to the right. Trying really hard to focus on the book, it wasn’t successful, all I could think about was how stupid Ron actually was. Did he really expect me to help him with everything, for the rest of his sodding life?

So ungrateful, I hardly ever got a ‘thank you, Hermione’ for anything I did for them.

That I had ever had a crush on him was a total mystery for me, that immature, ungrateful, talking-with-his-food-in-his-mouth, bloody dork.

I sighed as I knew that my frustration over Ron would have faded until tomorrow, for that was how it always was.

I could get really angry with him, but it would pass.

Harry had been spending less and less time with everyone as he and Ginny finally hooked up, which didn’t help the strained, simply friendly, relationship between me and Ron, he could really be a pain in the ass.

Who did I have on the days that we fought? Looney Lovegood? Cho Chang? Sure, but they were no fun. After what I had been through, what we had all been through, I needed to have some fun in my life. I closed the book, and started thinking about what I could do to spice my life up, I needed to take to drastic actions, or else I would go mad.

I got more and more depressed, as I found that everything that I wanted to do was against some rule in this sodding school, and I was no rule breaker. I let my eyes drift around my spot in the library and saw and old magazine lying on the floor, and rolled my eyes as I picked it up.

Quidditch through the years was the headline, it was a timeline over Quidditch players and games. I was about to put it back on the floor as I got my idea.

It was about time that I learned how to fly.








 

I had a huge grin on my face as I walked up to the Gryffindor Tower, told the Fat Lady the password (Chocolate Frogs) and then I proceeded to search the room for Harry, he or someone he knew, other than Ron, could teach me, I was sure of it.

When my eyes found him, I gladly hurried up to him. He was sitting next to Ginny, no surprise there.

“Harry! Just the one I was looking for.”

“Okay? What’s up, ‘Mione?” He looked at me, half eager, half terrified.

“I want to learn how to fly!” I said eagerly, and he and Ginny both started laughing, uncontrollably, making me glare at them. Idiots. They didn’t take me seriously.

Upon seeing my serious and hurt expression, Ginny sobered up.

“Are you serious about this, Hermione?” She gasped as I nodded. “But… But you are terrified of flying!”

“After going through what we have been through, I would say that flying can’t be that bad?”

I tried, and Harry nodded slowly. I doubt he even took the words to him, he never spoke of the war, no one did. I felt so alone but as always; I pushed the feeling aside and concentrated on the conversation I was having.

“OK, I’ll talk Madame Hooch, and see what I can do, you know, that neither I or Ginny will have time, due to Quidditch practise, right? So it might be someone from another house or such. If she agrees, and only if.”

I nodded happily, praying that she would say yes.

 

Ron came to join us, he too looking as if he would burst into laughter when Ginny told him what we had been talking about.

“I’ll show you.” I muttered, it surprised me that they had so little faith in me, had I not proven myself a good witch in the war?

The war… I shivered. I tried so hard to just forget about all of that, pretend that it had never happened, just like everyone else did. Good luck, Hermione. No that would never work for me. I was too aware of my pain, too aware of the huge hole that he people that had been murdered had left behind them.

“Oh, I’m sure you will.” Harry laughed, and then they proceeded to laugh and describe their mental pictures of me trying to fly, and falling. I snorted and left for the Girls Dorm, at least none of the boys would bother me.

 

After I had taken a shower, and dried my hair, I looked in the mirror. My hair was smoother than it had ever been, my curls tamed. I praised Merlin that I had bought the book of Hair & Make-up spells. It had helped me a lot.

Now that I was allowed to use magic, I had learned so many more spells at home, they would really come in handy.

I studied my body in the large mirror, I had curves, but in my own opinion I was far from beautiful.

My hair had grown longer, it was reaching my bellybutton, in smooth waves.

I frowned at my reflection and walked to my bed.

 

My thoughts were hard to turn off that night, as I could only think of the war, as so many nights before.

I would hear the screams, and the sobs. I would see the faces of the dead, the wounded and the deatheaters.

It seemed impossible to run from the images in my head.

And Malfoy. His face haunted me the most, his cruel face as much as the hollow shell of what his face had once been that he had wore on the battle of Hogwarts. I felt mixed between that hate I had felt for so many years and pity.

Don’t pity that foul git I reminded myself, and put my pillow over my head as if to tune out the screams that I knew very well that I wouldn’t be able to keep out. They wouldn’t leave no matter what I did.

Slowly I drifted in to a dreamless sleep.








 

 

“Hermione, have you seen by potions book?” Ron asked me as we were just about to go to that very lesson. I had been wrong the other night, the frustration and anger had not gone away. I suddenly felt obligated to break something, to hit something, but I remained calm.

“No, Ronald. I have not.” I snapped at him, who muttered something that sounded like ‘PMS much?’

I was surprised he even knew the word PMS. I pushed my way through the mass off people who wouldn’t exit the common room, and heard Ron’s voice snap something at me, but didn’t stay long enough to hear what he had to say.










I walked alone towards the dungeons, with a heavy bag over one shoulder and cursed loudly when it broke and my books fell to the floor. I dropped to my knees to get gather them up again, muttering foul words under my breath as I did so, when I noticed someone’s shoes infront of me. Slowly I looked up at the black dressed figure, to stare in to the eyes of Malfoy.

“See you are where you belong, Granger.” He smirked down at me as I sat by his feet, and I felt my anger start to boil inside of me. I finally had all the books and stood up furiously, he still towered me.

“Shut up.” I said with an unsteady voice, and he noticed that for his eyes absolutely glowed of cruelness, his eyes that haunted me and had done ever since the day at the Manor. He stepped closer to me, but I held my position, I refused to back away from him. The truth was that he scared me, but I didn’t want him to know that, for if he knew, he would use it against me. “I would like it if you stepped out of my way, Malfoy.”

“And you think that I would obey you? No, it’s the other way around.”

I stared at him in disbelief, and then I shook my head.

“Me, obeying you, Malfoy? Have you hit your head?” I smirked at him, as he grew angry at the fact that he didn’t get to me, but he did get to me. I was just good at pretending.

“It’s in your nature, Granger. Always there to please Potter and Weasley, and the teachers, lets not forget them…”

“I would never want to please you.” I interrupted, and blushed slightly at how wrong that sounded. “Now…” I begun, and looked him furiously in his silver orbs, “Would you mind?”

“See, that’s what I’m talking about. ‘Would you mind?’ No, Mudblood, I would not mind.”

 

Some things never change, do they? But I appreciated that then, I needed it then. Something that felt normal. Fights with Malfoy.

“Get the hell out of my way, Malfoy, or I swear to Merlin…” I threatened and he chuckled darkly.

“You swear what, Granger? You’ll curse me?” He looked deeply amused. He took a step forward and whispered: “I would like to see you try.”

Then he turned and walked away.

What just happened?









That cruel, sick, disturbed, disgusting, beautiful, Slytherin stayed on my mind for the next three hours. Wait… Beautiful? Since when did I think of Malfoy as beautiful?

It was awkward enough between me and Ron as we were sitting next to each other in D.A.D.A, without me glancing over at Malfoy every once in a while.

And after three hours of constant peaking over at his direction, Ron had enough.

“What in Merlins name are you looking at all the time?” He said in a loud voice just as I glanced over at Malfoy again, and I snapped my head away, but I knew that Malfoy had caught me staring, for our eyes met for less than a second. I saw that many students had turned their heads to listen in on our conversation.

“Nothing special.” I muttered, and Malfoy snorted three seats away. “It’s really nothing at all.”

Ron looked doubting at me, then he put his hand on my shoulder as if to comfort me.

“You were thinking about… It, weren’t you?”

It, always It, never ‘the war’. I needed to talk about it, not just briefly touch the topic.

“No, Ronald. I was not.” I was finished with my essay, so I shook his hand off and walked quickly away from him and up to the professor. I handed him the essay and then I left the room as fast as I could. I felt like I was about to suffocate in that small, dry room.

 

Finally out of the wooden door, I saw in the corner of my eye that Malfoy was on his way out as well, I picked up my speed, trying to get as far away from him as possible before he even noticed that I was there. I heard him walk fast behind me, and I tried to walk even faster.

Why am I practically running from Malfoy?

The whole thing seemed so ridiculous, but I did not slow down. I felt…strange looking into the face that haunted me in my dreams, and I would do anything to stay away from his eyes, they seemed to see all the way into my soul. Atleast that was how I had felt earlier.

Finally I rounded the corner that led me to the stair to the seventh floor.

 

“Miss Granger!” I heard a voice from behind me, it was not a males voice however, it was Madame Hooch’s voice.

“Yes?” I smiled at her, and I noticed that Malfoy had slowed down so that he could eavesdrop on us. It bothered me beyond belief.

“You wished to learn how to fly? Or so Mr Potter said?”

“I would like that very much, Madame Hooch.”

“Fair enough, I shall find someone to help you. Tomorrow at pitch, one o’clock, someone will be there to help you.”

“Oh, Thank you so much! I am very grateful!” I said, and she nodded curtly before she turned and walked away.

“Mr Malfoy.” She greeted, and he nodded politely at her.

How did he end up so far behind?

I turned to walk, when I heard a coughing sound behind me, drawing my attention to it. I turned even though I knew very well who had caused it.

“Need help to fly, Granger?” He smirked. How I would like to wipe that smirk of his face. “A member of the golden trio can’t even sit up on a broom?”

“I…” I was at loss of words. “Not that it’s any of your business, Malfoy, but I can sit up on a broom!” I spat his name out like a foul word. He eyed me curiously, and I waited for the punching line.

“Then why do you need help?”

I looked at him shocked, and blushed at the actual reason, Malfoy was a seeker, it would sound so stupid in his ears, and I knew it was stupid too. I had been flying on the back of a dragon, a broom should be a piece of cake.

“None of your business.” I said fast and turned and walked quickly away from him. Leaving him behind me to look after me, determent to find out why I was scared.

“I’ll figure it out, Granger, I always do.” He shouted after me, and I gave him a rude hand gesture.

I knew that he was right. Prat.




[I've gone back and edited this chapter a bit, I really hated it, so hopefully it's a bit better now. A bit less grammar mistakes and such, I hope you like it! - Cathyyy]

Chapter 2: Flying
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[I own nothing but the plot, all characters belong to JK Rowling. And I dont make any money out of this. Its just for fun.
Okay, guys. I need your reviews, so... Please!? :)  ]





I slept good that night, no nightmares or anything like that. I did not even dwell on the war, which was a relief, it was a relief that I didn’t have to stare in to Fred or Snape’s dead eyes, or re-live the pain from Bellatrix’s torture.

Deciding it was time to get up, I slid out of bed and walked into the shared bathroom.

“Morning, ‘Mione” Ginny greeted as she joined me.

“Yeah, hi.” I said, too distracted by my nerves to have an actual conversation. Today was going to be the first lesson in flying, for me. I wondered who my teacher would be…

I mumbled something about breakfast and walked away from them all in a hurry.

 

 Before I would have my flying lesson, I had Charms with Flitwick, and then lunch.

Charms would work out nicely, I didn’t need to concentrate for Flitwick wasn’t all that strict, he would probably just look the other way if he saw me daydreaming.

I sighed as I sat down at the Gryffindor table out of habit, but these days, many tables were mixed. Houses did not seem to matter as much anymore, at least not for Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, the hatred between Gryffindor and Slytherin was still there, thought. You would see no Gryffindor sitting with a Slytherin, or vice versa.

I hated the Great Hall these days, the hall that once had been so enchanting and beautiful, was now a constant reminder of the people we had lost.

I remembered clearly how many bodies that had been lying on the cold floor of the hall. Dead.

In the same room that we were all sitting eating our breakfast at the moment, however, I couldn't eat anything.

I lost my appetite as I thought about the war.

 

The castle looked the same as it had always done, they had fixed it up good in just a year.

But it was something wrong about the atmosphere; the death seemed to hang in the air, still.

A giggle from behind me made me snap out of my thoughts, and look around.

Behind me, blue and yellow was mixed to the extreme, sharing laughter and talking friendly. Further away there was a perfect still line of green, the Slytherins were barely speaking to each other, they did not sit close to each other and they didn’t look at one another.

I noticed that Parkinson was missing. No, not just Parkinson, the table was awfully empty, looking more closely around me, there were not many Hufflepuffs or Ravenclaws there either.

How had I not noticed?

Shaking my head for myself, I glanced over at the Slytherin table once more, and caught the eye of Malfoy, who sat on the very edge, further away from the others than anyone else. He smirked cruelly. I looked away in a hurry. I had noticed that he didn’t eat anything either.

“Hi, Herms.” Ron said cheerfully, as he sat down opposite of me.

“Uh. Don’t call me that!” I moaned, at looked at him with a disgusted look as he shoved food in his mouth and smiled at me. “That’s disgusting.”

“So, how’s the flying going?” He laughed at his own words, and I glared at him.

“I’m going to practise after lunch, actually. I expect it to go just fine.”

His eyes widened and he kept quiet until Harry and Ginny came, and then he threw himself into a conversation with them.

I tried to keep up with their talk, but found myself drifting away. I felt lonely.

 

Charms passed by just as fast as I had suspected, I kept up good with what he was saying and was able to answer a few questions as well. It was an achievement in it self, it was a long time since I had been able to focus on anything.

 

I glanced at my watch. 12:57. I panicked and started running towards the pitch, dashed pass people, who looked worriedly at me.

I had not had time to change, so I had my school robes on, and underneath I had my casual muggle clothes.

Grey jeans and a white t-shirt, very simple and very muggle.

I sighed as I stood on the pitch, I wasn’t late. My teacher was, though… Impatiently I stood with my hand on my hip waiting, every now and then I glanced at my watch.

1:06…  1:14…1:16.. I looked up and saw a figure carrying two brooms and started walking towards it.

“I have waited for over fifthteen minutes!”  I snapped irritated.

“Don’t get your wand in a knot, Granger.” The figured drawled. “I’m here now, aren’t I?”

I paled.

“Malfoy?!”

He chuckled at my reaction, and I nearly walked away from the pitch right then. Flying lessons, with Malfoy? Oh, Joy.

“Yes. Malfoy, your teacher.” He smirked at me as I realized that he wasn’t joking. “As your teacher, you are to do what I say. But you don’t mind, do you?”

“I… You prat! Why would you want to teach me?”

“Who ever said I wanted to? Madame Hooch asked me too, and honestly, Granger, I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by.”

I clenched my fists and glared at him. I strongly regretted ever wanting to fly.

“I think I have changed my mind, Malfoy.” I spat, and started to walk, but I didn’t get very far as his hand gripped my upper arm painfully. “What…?”

“Don’t just walk away from me, Granger. I’m here because you wanted to learn, I’m here because I wanted to help… I mean, teach… you.”

I stopped, not because of his painfully hard grip, but because he had a point. I wanted to learn, what did it really matter who taught me? But it was Malfoy.  He was a good seeker, thought…

I turned to face him again, he didn’t smirk, he looked at me just waiting for my answer. Innocently.

“Alright, Malfoy. We can try.”

He smiled at me, almost a real smile. It was breathtaking. I shook my head and looked down on my arm, on which his hand now rested lightly. My breathing increased somewhat and he awkwardly let his arm fall to his side. He did not wear his robes, but he had on what looked like muggle clothes, but I knew better.

“Right. So, now… What is it about flying that scares you?”

I then understood what he had meant the night before when he had told me he always figured out things. I snorted. Had he run after Hooch and asked her right away, or had he waited a while?

“You don’t need to know why, just teach me.”

“I can’t teach you if you are scared, stupid. Now, tell me, so we can begin already.”

“Fine” I sighed. “It’s the height. I’m afraid of falling.”

“You’d have your wand…? Even though you are a muggleborn, you are a witch, you know. You wouldn’t die of a fall, merlins sake.”

“I know that!” I snapped and he chuckled at me, how could he just chuckle? “What?”

“You look better when you’re upset.”

 

He walked to the middle of the pitch, and threw one of the brooms away, and mounted the one he held. He raised an eyebrow as if asking. ‘What are you waiting for?’

I walked pass him to grab the other broom, but he coughed and I looked at him, and he motioned for me to get on the same broom as him.

“No way, Malfoy. You’ll push me off up there.”

“Yet again, you are a witch…” He snorted and when I still didn’t move he moaned. “Just get on the fucking broom, Granger.”

He looked so secure on the broom, and I gave in to him and mounted the broom infront of him and held on tight to it.

“Oh, Malfoy, I think I’m defiantly having second thoughts about this.” I mumbled and then one of his arms sneaked its way around my waist and pulled me tighter to him. His muscles made me feel tiny, then he shifted just a little bit and I inhaled sharply and closed my eyes.

Then I realized that we were still on solid ground and felt stupid.

“Are you ready?” He murmured in my ear. His breath tickling and warm against my cold skin.

“No.”

“Do you trust me?”

I was amused by the thought.

“Absolutely not.”

“Good.” He mused.

And then he pushed off the ground, and I gripped the broom hard enough so that my knuckles turned white, and pressed myself back on him. I think I screamed too.

“Don’t close your eyes, Granger.” He whispered and as if under the imperius I opened them, the view was amazing, we were flying over the grounds, over the forest.

The way the sun made the lake shimmer was breathtaking. Then I looked down and nearly fell off the broom, I would have if Malfoy didn’t hold me tight.

“Oh.” I moaned. “Oh… How far up are we?”

“Far enough.” Came his amused response. “You scared?”

“Yes.” I confessed shakily, “May I close my eyes now?”

“No.” He laughed. “No, you may not. How are you suppose to learn how to fly if you can’t see?”

He did a fast turn, and I whimpered in fear. His grip around me became more secure, and I wordlessly thanked him. “Granger… I’m going to hold the broom here, so we will be stopping now. Okay?”

“Uh-huh.”

We held our position in the air, over looking the lake.

“You wanna take over?” He murmured in my ear and I looked back at him, and he nodded towards the broom. “Take the wheel, as a muggle would say.” He smiled, proud to have impressed me.

 “No!” I breathed, I would have shouted but my voice wouldn’t hold. I was too frightened. His calm eyes found mine as he looked up from the ground. The silver orbs held dept, and drew me closer to him, they seemed melted, floating almost. I melted under his gaze, and his grip tightened.

“You almost fell off. Are you okay?”

I just nodded and forced myself to look away from him. This is Malfoy you are thinking about, cruel, deatheater, evil, ferret Malfoy. He is beautiful…

 

“Granger… You should try, come on.” He said, and put his hands over my hands and turned to the left.

“Oh, Malfoy, please.” I tried to turn my head but he moved one of his hands to force my head back. “Don’t… I’m… Scared.”

“No need to be. I’ve got you.” He reassured me softly. I snorted. But the fact that he was there was just what I needed, I took control and we flew around the castle, and then I tried to make us go down. But he wouldn’t have that.

“Don’t go down just yet, I want to show you something. Here, let me.”

He pushed my hands away, and I put them on his arms instead. He flew even higher.

“Okay, now I’m closing my eyes.” I said and turned my head towards his chest and shut my eyes tight. We flew fast, I could feel that. His muscles worked hard underneath my hands, and but the weird thing was that I felt completely safe.

“Put your legs down, in landing position.”

The warning came just in time, for I had hardly heard him before we came in contact with ground. The broom fell down from underneath me, and I realized that I was hanging on to Malfoy as if my life depended on it. But, I couldn’t bring myself to let go.

“Just a second, Malfoy.” I managed to choke out. I took a few breaths, then I let him go. “Sorry about that, I wasn’t aware of the speed that broom held. You cut me off guard.”

He laughed darkly at that, and shook his head. “Honestly, did you think that I was going to go easy on you? That is one of the fastest brooms in the world, I only settle for the best.”

 

I ignored him and looked around my surroundings, we were in a meadow, I had no idea where we had landed, and would probably not be able to find my own way back. It was beautiful, warm and open. The grass moved in the soft breeze and I gasped at its beauty.

I searched for Malfoy, to find him sitting in the grass. I moved to sit near enough so that I could talk to him, but not closer than necessary.

“I won’t bite, you know.” He joked as he saw the distance between us. “Or maybe I will.” I thought I heard him add. I rolled my eyes slightly, but I held my position, if he wanted to move closer it was his call. He raised his one blond eyebrow, and shook his head.

“Come closer, Granger. One would think you are afraid of me.”

That damn smirk.

I sighed as I moved closer to him. “Close enough?”

“Always eager to please.” He mumbled satisfied. “What do you think?” Malfoys hand gestured to our surroundings.

“It’s breathtaking.”

“I think so, it is a great place for thinking.” He mumbled again.

He looked to be in deep thoughts, and his eyes darkened. I, myself, drifted away in thoughts as well.

 

Bellatrix moved closer to me with her wand outstretched, pointing directly at me, but my vision was not clear. I was lightheaded and my whole body hurted worse than it had ever done before.

I heard her screaming something to me, I saw her lips move. She was outraged. I couldn’t for all in the world figure out what words her mouth was spitting out.

I just knew that the answer was ‘No, I know nothing about that!’

Please… She showed no mercy.

“Crucio!”

Another dose of pure agony, I saw his face then, Draco Malfoy was standing right in my view. His eyes were huge, and he seemed disgusted. For one split second, Malfoy looked at me like he wanted to help me. But just for a second. The agony got worse, and my throat hurted from all my screaming, I heard Ron from far away, calling my name…

 

The image of how Malfoy had looked, and had continued looking through out the war was forever imprinted in my mind. Such a shell, a living shell of his former self.

It was hard to witness, I glanced over at him, and found that he was looking at me, curiously.
He looked so much better, healthier, almost the same as he had before. But he was different.
I blushed at his stare, he didn’t seem to be ashamed of his stare either, and kept staring.

“Looks like its going to rain soon…” My eyes moved from the sky to Malfoy who agreed with me, by nodding.

“Wanna go back?” His voice was thick, he sounded sad. I looked more closely at him; his features were hard and made him look like the old Malfoy, the one that had been in the Malfoy Manor. I assumed he had been thinking about it too.

“Whenever you want to.” I smiled at him, trying to lighten up the mood.

“Always so eager to please.” He mumbled. “Can we stay just a while longer?”

“Are you actually asking me?”

“Just being polite, that’s all. I really didn’t care if you didn’t want to.”

“Same old git.” I mumbled.

“What was that, Granger?”

“Nothing… Won’t it be hard to fly in the rain?”

“Surely you know that I am an excellent flyer, and I can fly in most conditions?”

I gave him a highly doubting look, but shrugged afterwards. “What ever you say.”

 

We sat in silent for about ten more minutes, before he stood up.

“Accio broom!” In a matter of seconds, he had mounted the broom, and I hurried up to him. ”I wasn’t about to leave you behind.” He muttered. He held his arm out and when I had seated myself in front of him, he held me tightly.

“And up we go…” He teased before he took off, I couldn’t help but to giggle at the whole situation, and how easy it was to get along with him. I hadn’t thought about killing him all day.

“So…” I began when we were flying high over the ground. “Will you continue teaching me even now, after you know my secret?”

“Yes, my goal is to get you h…Flying.”

“A lot has changed, hasn’t it?”

“Or nothing at all.” He murmured back, and I understood what he meant.

No one acted like a huge war had ever accured, like Voldemort had never existed. It was tearing me apart. No one seemed to acknowledge all the losses that we had suffered. I nodded my agreement.

 

Once safely back on the ground I asked him when the next lesson was, he looked at me for a long while before answering.

“Tomorrow night, just before supper. Surely you can miss that, we could fly to Hogsmeade for something to eat, if necessary…?”

“Yes, Sir!” I said, and he grimaced. “I’ll skip the sir then, Malfoy.” I joked.

“I am your teacher, thought…” He joked back. “Do you want to try out flying yourself tomorrow, or do you want me to teach you while we are together up there?”

“I want you!” I blurted out. “I mean… With me up… There… On the broom.” Awkward.

He pressed his lips together to suppress the smile that I saw was threatening to take over his lips. He nodded, still with his lips pressed tightly together. He took a deep breath.

“I see. You want me… On the broom with you.” He couldn’t help but smile after he finished that sentence, and it was a smile rarely seen on his face. Making him look even less like the Malfoy I had once known. “Tomorrow then, Granger.”

“Malfoy.” I nodded before I walked up to the tower.

“Oh, and skip the robe tomorrow, would you?”

I laughed and nodded.

 

 

 

Harry and Ron were sitting on the couch when I walked through the portrait.

“How was the ‘Flying Lesson’?” Harry almost burst out in laughter as he asked. Ron smiled sheepishly, I frowned.

“It was excellent, thank you for asking. We flew so high, over the lake, I even got control over the broom for a while. Oh, it was amazing, even though I was so scared. I knew he wouldn’t let me fall. And he did remind me that I can’t die if I fall: I’m a witch.”

They looked at me with wide eyes.

“This guy playes Quidditch?” Harry was the first one to ask me anything after my little speech. “Who is he?”

“Yeah, Seeker. Oh, it’s Malfoy.”

Their eyes widened even more, and Ron looked like he was turning blue. Had he stopped breathing all together? Again, Harry was the first one to recover from the shock.

“M...Malfoy?” He stuttered. “Hermione… You are not serious, are you?”

“She can’t be” Ron looked at me for a long time. “What the hell are you thinking with?!”

“Times have changed, Ronald. Even if you two won’t admit it. I have changed, you have changed. Malfoy have… changed.”

Had he?

“The likes of Malfoy never change. I don’t understand how he could want to teach you?”

There was no question about the tone in Ron’s voice, pure hatred, but now he was also insulting me. Harry looked like he could murder. Anger rushed through my veins.

“What’s wrong about teaching me?”

“You’re a… I mean, to him you’re just a muggleborn, right? Why would he waste his time with you?”

“Ron, maybe it’s just you that think that I am a waste of time. And nice way of telling me that I am just a mudblood.”

“Herms, you know I did not mean it that way!”

“Do not call me ‘Herms’!” I shouted at him. “I hate that name, I hate it, I hate the students and the teachers of this school for ignoring what has happened, I hate how many people died, I hate…”

“Go ahead, Hermione, say it. You hate us!” Ron shouted back.

“I hate the way you are ignoring it, I don’t hate you, but I hate that you are pretending that it never happened. Well it happened, Ron.” I took a breath. “The war happened.”

“I know.” He shouted. “I was there!”

“So was I! I saw them dead, Ron. Snape, Colin, Tonks, Remus… Fred.”

“Shut up!” They shouted in unison.

“I swear, if you say another word, Hermione.” Harry threatened standing up and looking down on me.

“Fine.” I snapped and stood up aswell. “Keep pretending nothing happened. While you do that, I am going to keep having lessons with Malfoy.”

 

I stormed off to my bed, and laid down. The castle was cold. Far too cold.

 That night, I dreamt about a pair of piercing silver orbs. They belonged to the only one who did not seem to be ignoring the war. Malfoy.









 [Hey guys, please leave a review, and tell me that you thought of the chapter, pretty please? Thanks - Cathy]

Chapter 3: Gentleman
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[I own nothing but the plot, all other things belong to J.K Rowling.  I dont make any money out of this, its simply for fun.]


We didn’t speak to each other at all the next morning, even Ginny seemed to be upset with me, I was disappointed at her. Disappointed that she would choose Harry over me, I thought that it was friendship over boyfriends, obviously not.

The way that she chose to ignore me on the way to breakfast was ridiculous really, the way the three of them froze me out was just as ridiculous.

 

I sat alone at the Gryffindor table, to proud to move to another table, and honestly, I found that it was my god damned right to sit there.

It was not me who should apologize for anything, I had just been speaking my mind.

The tension hung in the air like a fog, and there was a clear line between me and the others, and I now did what Malfoy had done the day before, I sat the furthest out on the edge of the table, alone. I had a few books with me, but did not open them. One single green apple was all I had for breakfast.

I once again let my eyes wander the hall.

Students gladly forgetting everything that had happened, it was such a mystery to me how they could act like nothing had happened. Disgusting.

Malfoy’s grey eyes found mine as I glanced over his table. I stared at him shocked as he nodded politely at me. I found myself nodding back before I had a chance to stop myself.

 

Then there was mail time. Owls flew in every direction, and I found myself with a letter from my mom and a letter I couldn’t identify.

I briefly read through my moms letter, it said the same things as always. ‘I hope you are fine, answer as soon as possible, I love you’ yadda yadda.

I moved on to the next letter.

 

“Why are you sitting alone?

D.M”

 

I looked over at Malfoy, who looked at me curiously, and then I looked at my friends, and back again. Did he think I would actually share that with him, him of all people? Him… The only one who didn’t ignore the situation…

I sighed and stood up, gathering my books and walked out of there with my head held high. If he wanted anything, he would follow. When had he had time to write that letter anyway?

 

“Granger!” Malfoy’s voice called from behind me, and I turned around. “What’s your hurry?”

“Oh… Can’t stand it in there.” I said in a low, thin voice, hoping he wouldn’t press it. “Just, you know.”

He nodded and sighed. “You sat alone.”

“So did you.”

“I have my reasons.” He snapped at me, his eyes hard, but not filled with hatred. I looked back at him, refusing to look away first.

“So do I.” I spat, when his eyes demanded answers, I sighed. “I believe I have been kicked out of our little group. We had a fight.” I bit my lower lip but did not break eye contact.

“About?” He asked and started walking, when I didn’t follow, he gripped my arm loosely and dragged me with him until I walked beside him willingly.

“The war. I… They are ignoring it! I don’t understand how they can just… Forget about it, it doesn’t make sense to me at all.” I spoke fast out of fury and confusion. My bag fell down from my one shoulder, and I furiously threw it over both shoulders. “Why is everyone ignoring it?”

“They seriously stopped speaking to you, because you can’t ignore the war? They are such Slytherins.”

“They do that too?”

“Why do you think I’m sitting by myself? I made a choice, I made a choice not to apologize to them, not to even try to forget. I lost friends, and saw innocent life’s being taken. It changed me, you know. I’m so annoyed at all those fucking idiots that pretend nothing happened. But never did I think that the hero himself was one of them. How can Potter do that?” He shook his head. I looked at him with wide eyes, when had I ever heard him say something so honest?

“I don’t know. Where are we going, by the way?” I added to shake off the tension that hung in the air.

“We have transfiguration.” He answered with a shrug.

“I know that.”

“Then why ask?” He smirked at me. “Look. Times have changed. I don’t like it, but at least I’m accepting it.” I tried to tell him that I did too. “No, you still think of me as a slimy immature git.”

“That’s because you are.” He moaned at my words.

“You really won’t give me a chance to prove you wrong?” He stopped and looked at me with those big grey eyes that made my heart beat twice as fast.

“I agreed to do that yesterday.” I spoke softly, trembling just a little bit. He smiled then.

“Good.”

“I still don’t understand the whole ‘Walking to class together’ thing.”

“Well, I figured, since we’re both outcasts, we might as well be outcasts together.” I looked at him skeptically. “You are sitting with me in class, Granger.”

“Oh, no, I am not… Why would I? Did it not even cross your mind to ask me, first?”

“Do you want to sit alone?” He asked seemingly surprised. I made an ugly face. “Didn’t think so.”

 

I looked at him for a long time. “You know, it still would have been better to just ask me.”

He sighed and smiled. “Do you want to sit with me in class?”

Malfoy had apparently lost his mind in the war, not that it bothered me. It would make things worse between me and my friends, but hell, did I care? No. They were the one’s that had cut me out. They had treated me like a insect that needed to be crushed. I shivered as I thought about their cold treatment.

“Yes, Malfoy, I do.” Anything is better than to sit alone, being glared at or ignored.

I fell into his steps and we walked together to the classroom.

 

‘What the hell are you doing Hermione? Draco Malfoy? a Deatheater, who’s father would kill you without blinking? You are walking with him to class?’ The logical voice in my head was practically screaming at me to run, but I didn’t, instead I held my head high and glanced to my left to be met by Malfoy’s striking looks. His full lips were curled up in a sort of half smile, and his eyes were focused straight ahead. His blond hair was messy, hanging loosely in front of his eyes. His eyelashes were the darkest of black. How can he have such black eyelashes, when he is so blond? His skin was pale, but it suited him, it made him look like an angel. ‘Stop it, Hermione, get a grip!’ I snapped out of my thoughts, and looked away. Malfoy cleared his throat, and stopped right outside the door.

“This will be awkward.” I said, nervously tugging on my hair. He chuckled and I gave him a tiny glare.

“Who cares any more?” And with that he opened the door and held it up for me, I swallowed all of my nerves and walked in, waiting for him to pick a seat.

He sat down at the front of the classroom, since it was the only table with two seats available, I had everyone’s eyes at me as I walked up to where he was sitting. I slowly sat down next to him.

“Sorry we’re late, Professor McGonagall.” Malfoy said clearly, and I nodded my agreement. She looked more than shocked as she looked from me to Malfoy and back.

“It won’t happen again” I added. She nodded and continued with the lesson.

 

Neither Malfoy nor I paid any attention to the lesson, and stared different directions for the first half hour. I was lost in my memories, thinking of the last battle. How I had feared for Harry’s life, when he had almost been killed. I had thought that I had lost him.

I had been so relieved when it was all over, and now it all was so much different.

The person who’s life I had feared for, did not even look at me, did not speak to me. Because I couldn’t forget about what had happened.

Did he truly expect me to forget Bellatrix’s torture of me? The pain I was in at that moment was something I could never forget, but he wanted me too.

I wished that I could, I wished that I could be just like the rest, being able to ignore everything. That probably didn’t hurt as much as remembering every single detail.

 

As I looked over at Malfoy, I noticed that he was lost in his thoughts aswell, the sunlight was playing on his face, but he seemed unaware of that fact. Actually, before the war he had been so aware of his looks, but now he seemed totally oblivious to them.

“Not paying attention either?” I whispered so that McGonagall wouldn’t hear me. He looked at me and smirked.

“Nope. Too much on my mind.” He turned his torso my way, and I placed my elbow on the table, and then my chin in my hand, looking his way.

“What are you thinking about?”

“As if you don’t already know…?”

“Oh, yeah. I was thinking about that too. It’s all I’m thinking about these days, or so it feels. What exactly were you thinking about?”

“Granger… This is not the time, nor is it the place. You have a lesson tonight, we can talk then.” He muttered, he didn’t seem too eager to talk to me about his memories.

“About that, how long are we going to be out? Not pass curfew right?”

Malfoy shrugged. “I don’t know how long we’ll be out. But, no robes for Merlins sake. Would you mind if I didn’t bring you back in time, Miss?” His tone amused me, it was a mix between a drawl and a friendly tease. I bit back the smile that almost crept up on my lips.

 “Actually, Mr. I would not mind. But what would we do all that time?”

“Fly, talk, fly, eat, fly, talk... Anything we feel like.” He smiled crookedly. Instantly I blushed at his words, as he made it sound anything but casually.

“Oh… Eh. Right.”

“Are you blushing, Granger?” He pointed the obvious out, and I blushed deeper. “Oh, I do believe you are. Isn’t that sweet.”

“Well spotted.” I retorted sarcastically but was not able to have a rude edge to my voice; I was enjoying it far too much to be rude towards him. “So… You’re over the Mudblood days?”

He looked slightly annoyed. “New times.” He muttered and looked away for a second, then he locked his eyes on mine. “I can’t promise you that I will never call you that again, old habits die hard, you know. But, I can promise that I will try not to call you it.”

“That’s all I’m asking for.” I smiled at him wickedly. “And I will try my hardest not to call you ‘ferret’.”

“Ha-Ha.” He rolled his eyes.

“Oh what a sight it was.” I said and giggled softly.

“Miss Granger, something on your mind?” Professor McGonagall snapped annoyed.

Me and Malfoy snapped our heads up to look at her, and I shook my head.

“No, Professor, nothing on my mind.”

“Then I suggest you pay attention in my class, and that goes to you too, Mr. Malfoy.”

Our heads dropped at the same time, and I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye, to find him looking at me, with his hair hanging in his eyes. He had never looked so inviting, so tempting. Actually, I had never seen him look so happy. Still, he had that ‘Bad Boy’ look written all over his face. My eyes flickered down to his lips, in the same moment as his tongue came out to lick his lips. An urge to kiss him welled up inside of me, I quickly looked up to his eyes.

He smiled widely, showing off a line of white teeth, sparkling almost.

“She has got quite a temper, old McGonagall, doesn’t she?” He whispered.

I nodded and smiled back up at him.

 

When the class ended, I gathered my books, and put them in my bag. I was just about to throw it over my shoulder when Malfoy stopped me with a whistle. He gently took my bag and put it over his shoulder instead. I don’t think I had ever been as shocked as I was in that very moment. He started walking with a shake of his head and I followed him, where ever he was going, I followed.

“We have a lesson together again, don’t we?”

“Yup. We have Divination.”

“And you are carrying my bag because…?” I tried to keep up with him but he was walking way too fast. “Malfoy, gee, where’s the fire?”

“Behind us.”

I looked around to see two very angry Harry and Ron, followed by a glaring Ginny. “Oh.”

Malfoy rounded a corner, and I followed him.

“And I am carrying your bag, because I am a gentleman.”

“Can you walk faster?” I urged him, seeing my friends, Ex-friends, I corrected myself, behind me had made me pick up my phase. “And thank you.”

“My pleasure.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My pleasure? Oh, Merlin.

“Hermione!” I stopped dead in my tracks, and so did Malfoy, but he didn’t turn around. “What on earth are you doing with…Him?” Ron asked, looking at me, disgusted.

“I am walking with him to class.”

“And sitting with him, as well?” Harry rudely spat, it wasn’t like him at all. Even Malfoy seemed to notice that.

“Yes, as I suspect you saw perfectly clear.”

“We had a fight, and you do the worst thing possible to upset us? Merlin, what the hell is wrong with you? What have you become, Hermione?” It was Ginny’s turn to speak.

“Don’t you dare, Ginny Weasley!” I hissed at her. “Just because you have hooked up with Boy Almighty here, does not give you the right to speak to everyone as you please. I remember before the war, that you and I were great friends. I never thought that you would put a boyfriend over friendships, but boy, was I wrong?”

Ginny went red in her face, but I wouldn’t stop at that. “What have I become? I? What have you become? You are all sitting in that damn Great Hall, like everything is normal. You are eating breakfast at the same place that almost a hundred bodies laid dead. You are for heavens sake eating where Fred laid dead. I do not know how you can live with yourself!”

 

Ginny looked at me with wide eyes, and almost fell over, if it hadn’t been for the fact that Harry held her upright. Ron dashed out and aimed his wand at me, at the same time as Malfoy drew his wand at Ron.

“I would lower my wand if I were you, Weasley.” Malfoy spoke in a hiss. I had never seen Ron look so furious.

“You should really shut up sometimes, Hermione.” Ron spat at me and his glare seemed to burn my skin. His wand was right in my face, as he stepped closer.

“I’m warning you.” Malfoy spoke again, making Ginny back closer to Harry.

“You stay away from this, Malfoy!” Ron almost shouted, but he kept his eyes on me all the time.

“Ron…” I spoke softly, barely a whisper.  “Look at you, what are you doing?”

 

Ron turned around and walked away without as much as a breath. Harry walked after him, but Ginny stayed for a second later, but left when Harry ordered her to come.

My legs felt like jelly, never would I have thought that Ron would draw his wand on me, never.

It was so unlike him. The whole thing was just so unrealistic.

“Are you okay, Granger?” Malfoy took a hold of my arm to steady me. I shook my head. I was not okay. “Come on, we’ll be late for Divination. Thought you had dropped out of that, by the way?”

“I… I had. Picked it up again, it doesn’t require attention.”

He nodded and we continued walking.

 

Divination was spent quietly; Malfoy and I just sat there and observed each other, trying to read each others mind, possibly.

Professor Trelawney did not have anything so say, as usual, she just went on about the inner damned eye.

When the lesson was finally over, Malfoy yet again took my bag and started walking.

“Malfoy, we have lunch now… Mind giving me my bag?”

“Why?”

“Obvious reason?”

“Oh, right! I forgot to ask again, didn’t I?” He swirled around and smiled mischievously. “Do you want to sit with me for lunch?”

I held my breath until I ran out of air and became dizzy. My options were a) sit all alone with no one to talk to, and probably don’t eat much at all, b) sit with Malfoy, have someone to talk to, probably eat something, c)… Okay, there wasn’t a third option.

“Do you want me too?”

“I wouldn’t mind.” Was all he answered me, which was a lot coming from him. Oh I must be out of my freaking mind.

“Okay.” I said and continued walking, when he didn’t follow, I turned around. “Okay as in ‘Yes, I’ll sit with you.’” 



[Please leave a review, Love it, Hate it? I want to know!:) ]

Chapter 4: Names
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[I do not own anything Harry Potter, I do not make money out of this. All things belong to JK Rowling, apart from the plot. ]
None of us spoke on the way to the Great Hall, but we walked rather close to each other, at least close enough that it showed that we walked together.
The students that saw us looked very shocked, and truth to be told, I was shocked as well.
What are you doing here, Hermione? You are playing with fire. It is going to burn you.
But I didn’t care, change was what I wanted, what I craved, what I needed.
I did not care who provided me that change, as long as I got it.
The cold glares I got from the students made me close my robe tighter around my body as I shivered.

When we had just walked through the doors we slowed down as one, to find a place to sit.
Slytherins were eyeing Malfoy cautiously, watching his every move, while on the other side of the hall, the Gryffindors all watched me.
At the very end of the Hufflepuff table were a big space left, on which Malfoy moved towards, I followed without a second thought.
I sat down opposite of him, and served myself a shining green apple. The sour taste was refreshing, and I took another bite.

“Nice speech you gave Weaslette.” Malfoy said suddenly, making me look up at him. “You were right as well, how do they keep it together? I mean… It was their brother.”

I shrugged, and took another bite before I answered him. “I don’t know how they do it, how anyone here does it. They all seem so… Ugh… Normal, I guess. I don’t understand it.” 

“Yeah, I know what you’re saying.”

“I mean, who would have thought that the two of us would be having a normal conversation, let alone have lunch together.”

“Not me, that’s for sure. I’m still not… at ease with this, you know. A huge change.”

“The pureblood sitting with the mudblood. Yeah, I can see the huge change. But change is good, right?”

He nodded and smiled as he reached out and took my apple, then he slowly took a bite from it, as I watched how elegant his long fingers held the apple. He smiled even wider as he gave me my apple back, and I looked down at it, and yes, he had taken a bite of it.
“Wow, impressive.” I said in mock awe. “You risked getting something dirty transferred from the apple on to you, and you still did it. Really impressive!”

“Ha-Ha.” He shook his head, his blond hair moved in light movements in front of his eyes. Oh, those eyes… Snap out of it, Hermione!

But they were absolutely gorgeous, silver grey, with a darkened outline that made then seem more unreal. They seemed almost melted, like liquid.
“Did you hear me?” Malfoy’s voice broke through to me, and I snapped out of my thoughts about his eyes.
“I’m sorry, what?” as innocent as possible, or at least that was how I tried to sound. “My thoughts were drifted.”

“So I noticed. I asked, how important is Herbology to you, today?” 

I swallowed hard, at that moment, it didn’t seem important at all, then I furrowed my eyebrows, I didn’t have Herbology with the Slytherins, I had that with Hufflepuff.
“Have you been studying my schedule?” I whispered, but I didn’t get upset, like I probably should have, and the way he glanced up on me innocently didn’t help.

It was almost, almost puppy eyes, and I had to sigh. Since when did Malfoy give almost puppy eyes anyway?

“Just glanced at it a couple a times.” He confessed, still looking awfully innocent. I raised  my brow before I let it go.

“Herbology.” I tested the word in my mouth. No Malfoy, all alone with the rest of the school, who all probably hated me. It was the only lesson I didn’t have with him. “What do you have now, anyway?”

“Nothing important.”
“Malfoy!” I moaned. “You can’t just… Why do you want to skip class anyway?”

 

He looked at me for a long time, with something of a mixture between a glare and an amused look. Then he leaned forward, and so did I, so that no one else would hear.
“I thought it would be more interesting for us both to skip, and go somewhere and talk, than to spend an hour sitting in a classroom in which we don’t even listen to the teacher.”

So tempting, so tempting, so forbidden, so bloody tempting.

“Herbology would be living hell.” I stated the obvious. “I am sure that I have lost my mind, but I’ll go with you.”

“Ah, excellent. You know, you really have changed, Granger. Skipping class and all, never thought that of you.”  A small smile spread across his face. “Big improvement.”

I stuck my tongue out at him without thinking about how childish it was, and blushed slightly at his amused look. Nervously I looked around, at the very much empty hall.

“I was going to ask you, where is Parkinson and her gang?”

“Their parents wouldn’t allow them to go back, which I can understand. Pansy was furious, ofcourse, but it didn’t matter. She ain’t coming back, thank Merlin.”

“Thought you two were a thing.” I tried to sound casual about it, but probably failed.

“Thought you and Weasley were a thing, too.” His words made me want to throw up. “Things have changed, which we have already stated.”

I nodded, and looked over on his plate. Oh, Strawberries. Slowly I leaned closer and then I stole two strawberries from his plate, and leaned back again. They tasted delicious.

“These were really good, Malfoy.” I teased, and he smiled darkly.

“Give me back my strawberry.”

“Ha! Not a chance.”

“Now.”

His voice sent a jolt of electricity through my body, and I almost shivered at how good it sounded. I held my hand out with the strawberry, but to my shock, he didn’t take it. Instead he leaned in and took a bite from it. Malfoy is eating out of my hand.

And  he looked hot while he did it.

 

“Delicious.” He mumbled seductively, and I looked at him with wide eyes as his pink tongue came out to lick the corner of his lip. He winked at me.

“What the hell are you doing?” I blurted out and dropped the berry.

“What?” His smile faded and he looked shocked. “What did I do?”

“One would think you were hitting on me.” I muttered, and raised an eyebrow at him when his smile appeared again.

“What if I am?”

My heart stopped, before it started beating twice its speed. All of the sudden my mouth was very dry, and something seemed to be stuck in my throat. He spoke again.

“Would you mind?”

“N…No, I…I guess not.” I stuttered like an idiot. Hermione Granger never stutter, get a grip!

“Good, ‘cause I was planning on continuing that.” He looked over his shoulder. “Aw, man.” He moaned stiffly.

“What’s…?” I didn’t finish my sentence, for I saw what he had seen. Zabini. One of the only people that had been close to Malfoy before the war, Goyle had not returned, and Crabbe was dead…

He walked confidently over to us, and stopped just infront of us, his whole body language screamed that he was only speaking to Malfoy.

I didn’t mind. Even thought I had nothing against Zabini, he has been decent through out the years, I had no problem with him.

 

“Malfoy.” Zabini said, seemingly uncertain on whether or not to be there, Malfoy was acted cold, almost like he was cut in stone and his eyes were hard.

“Blaise.” Malfoy did not look up at his old friend, but was decent enough to acknowledge him. I pretended I wasn’t even there. I looked between the two boys,

“Well…” Zabini began. “I… I’m sorry for the way I have behaved lately.”

That made Malfoy look at him. “Is Blaise Zabini apologizing? That must be a first.”

“Funny. So… We’re good?”

“Sure.”

“Can I sit here?”

My mouth hung open, that much I knew. Malfoy was bad, but sitting alone with two Slytherins was really, really bad. Malfoy glanced over at me, up on seeing my expression, he got a worried look. “Eh… I don’t actually know. As you have noticed, I’m not sitting alone.”

Zabini forced himself to look at me, I let my eyes find his.

“Granger, do you mind?” The low, dark voice of Blaise was asking me. “I wont stay long, just like… ten minutes.”

“No, no. Its okay, no problem, Zabini.”  He sat down next to Malfoy. One of the boys so pale, and the other the exact opposite. They were completely different. Their hair, their eyes, their mouth. Their voices most of all… I preferred Malfoys looks, and voice.

“And, that’s Blaise, Granger. Not Zabini.” He smiled shyly, and then he went back to his own stone-like features.

“Then… Then its Hermione, not Granger.” I smiled back, and the rest of the while, Malfoy and Zab- Blaise- sat discussing quidditch. That seemed to be the thing that all of Hogwarts boys talked about. I drifted in to my thoughts.

 

 

 

 

 

When Blaise had left, and Malfoy and I walked out of the Great Hall, he had an annoying look on his face. It was like something had happened in there that I had missed.

“Malfoy, what’s bothering you?”

“Didn’t you hear Blaise?” Up on seeing my confused looks he added. “He is leaving Hogwarts. His mother has found a new husband, in Italy, and they are moving there for a while. He can’t stand it here. And…” He paused, looking as if he didn’t know if he wanted to say what he had in mind. “You called him Blaise.”

“Oh… Well, he called me Hermione as well, so what’s the big deal?”

“You don’t call me Draco.”

Draco. I should have freaked, did Malfoy want me to call him Draco?

“I didn’t know that was an option. You call me Granger, so…”

“We should call each other by first name, its getting kind of ridiculous, the whole enemy thing. We are hardly ‘Enemies’ anymore.”

“You are right.”

“Yeah, I usually am”

“Prat”

“Know it all.”

I raised my eyebrow at him, and he chuckled lightly. He inhaled before he spoke again.

“You should go and change your clothes, we have a long afternoon to kill.”

 

I hurried up the stairs to the Gryffindor tower, the smell of stone, wood and rain filled the castle, it was very cold, but I didn’t mind. I just wanted to get this done with so that I could run off with Mal- Draco. A whole afternoon with him, alone. The thought was absolutely terrifying. In a good way, I was able to forget things around him. The fact that we had only talked for about three days didn’t change anything, I was sure that he would listen if I needed to talk, and I hoped that he knew that I would do the same for him.

 

 

I changed quickly, leaving my robes on my bed, and looked in the mirror.

There was definitely something different about me, like I had gotten my life back, I looked happy. It was a long time since I had looked happy.

I sighed at the reflection, and hurried away from there.

I almost ran in to Ron on my way out. He gave me an odd look, and snorted at the sight of my clothes.

I decided to simply walk pass him, and didn’t even look over my shoulder, but I knew he was staring after me.

“Hermione!” Ginny moaned as she put her hand at my shoulder to stop me. “Where are you going? Where are your robes?”

I stared at her, before I smirked. “Wont Harry be very, very upset that you are talking to me?”

“Herm…”

“No. Save it.” I waved my hand dismissively. “I am going out…”

“Where ‘out’?” Harry had joined the conversation somehow.

“I don’t know yet, flying with Draco somewhere.”

“Oh, he is Draco now, is he?” Harry spat. “I don’t know what’s wrong with you…”

“Yeah, he is Draco, Potter.” I saw how his jaw dropped at my words. I was just as shocked. “Now if you excuse me, I have somewhere more important to be.”

I stormed off, ran down the stairs and out the door, I just got a quick glance at Harrys furious expression.

 

When I was finally out, only then could I breath normally again. What the hell was I doing?

Draco joined me out on the grounds with his broom and a bag over his shoulders, he noticed my odd behaviour and to my great surprise put his hand on my shoulder and turned me to face him. His hand cupped my chin and made me look at him.

“Get me away from here.” I blinked repeatedly to keep my eyes from tearing up. “Please.”

“What happened?” He sounded angry, probably at whoever hurt me, or so I hoped.

“Harry and Ginny.” I muttered silently. He softly squeezed my shoulder, and I closed my eyes for a split second. “Let’s just leave?”

“Sure.” He smiled friendly, and we both got up on the broom. “Isn’t going to be much teaching on these lessons, are there?”

We both laughed softly, and took off into the sky. He relaxed so much up in the air, it was almost like all of his problems were left behind on the ground.

"He is mad at me…” I tried to sound casual about it. I turned my head to look up at him.

“Who, Potter?” when I nodded his jaw clenched. “Are you planning on telling me why, or am I left with my imagination on that one?”

“I called you Draco and him Potter.” I bit my lip to keep from smiling on how silly it sounded.

“Oh.” He looked surprised. “Oh… That is probably the first time you have said my name. I like it.” He seemed to be more surprised over the fact that he liked it than anything else. I liked saying it, so I didn’t mind keep saying it.

“Good.”

“Say it again.”

Was he serious? I let out a soft giggle, and he looked down at me, smiling.

“Draco.” I felt as if my heart was about to beat its way out of my ribcage.

The way his eyes looked made me think, for just a short moment, that he was about to kiss me. I held my breath, but he caught himself. I was far too much disappointed over that fact then I should have been.

“Yeah, I like the sound of that.” He said after a while. Then he did a complete turn, making me scream and hold on to him tightly, he chuckled.

“Don’t do that!”

“Sorry.”

“Right…” He seemed to catch the high doubt in my voice, because he sighed.

“I forgot that you were scared!”

I snorted, and looked down. I shouldn’t have done that, feeling slightly sick, I muttered prayers low enough that Draco wouldn’t hear what I was saying. ‘Dear God, let me survive this…’

“Are you mad at me?” He sounded so innocent, and pure. I closed my eyes and shook my head ‘no’. “Really?”

“Mhm.” I inhaled sharply as I felt that we were going down. I already had my legs in landing position so he didn’t have to tell me.

 

 

We were in the meadow we had been in the last time, it was still just as beautiful.

I took in the gorgeous surroundings, before I sat down, I was not surprised when Draco sat down close to me. There were some butterflies chasing each other around the spall space, I let my eyes follow them for a long time, then I devoted all my attention to Draco.

“I always go here to think, I have done that since fifth year, when… V…Voldemort first started using our house. I hated it, but I shut up about it, it was better that way. This place helped me in a thousand ways. From going mental, for example.”

He had struggled with Voldemort’s name, but he had managed to say it. He had spoken about it, I was looking at him for a long while without saying something.

“Oh… Was it hard? Being so close to him, I mean.”

 Draco nodded, his grey eyes sad at the mere thought about it. “It was the worst time of my life, these past three years. I am so relieved that it is over.”

“I know…and I owe you a thank you, for not ratting us out at the Manor. I guess that was when I understood how hard all of this was to you… I’ll never forget that night, the look in your eyes…”

“That night was awful.”

“Yes.”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t help you.” His voice thick with emotions, and regret. I had never seen him like this, ever.

“There was nothing you could do, I know that. Hey, look at me. I know that. Things happened in the war that we didn’t have any control over. I have never blamed you for any of what happened at the Manor, I have just been grateful. If it hadn’t been for you, I’d be dead. I’d be six feet under, if you hadn’t lied. You saved my life, Draco.”

“Half-heartedly, though. I was a mess, I just wanted the war to be over.”

“You were a shell. Harry told me, what Voldemort made you do. Punishments, and such…?”

“Yeah.”

“Disgusting. I’m sorry no one could help you.”

His right hand subconsciously stroked over his left arm, where his Dark Mark was. I looked at the black fabric that was the only thing that was in the way of me seeing it.

“Can I see it?” I asked shyly, as if not wanting to scare him away, he followed my eyes to his arm, and started to roll his sleeve up, I leaned in closely.

Barely visible, like an old scar, that was all that was left of it. It wasn’t black and intense, it was just barely there. Slowly my hand came in contact with Draco’s skin, and my fingertips traced the scar.

“Its almost gone.”

“Almost” He muttered. He didn’t push my hand away, he let my continue stroking his arm, he even shut his eyes.

“Did it hurt?”

“Yes, a bit. I didn’t think about it that much, my mind were elsewhere, I thought of anything else I could. My family, and school… But it did hurt, at least afterwards.”

“Did you want to be a deatheater?”

“I thought I did, for a while, until a couple of weeks before I became one. I guess I never understood.”

“I have never understood it either. Where is the pride in running after a halfblooded megalomaniac?”

“You forgot that the megalomaniac also lacked social skills and had enormous trust issues, but he was powerful but there is no pride in it at all. You do it out of pure fear, you see, the megalomaniac was completely mental, and enjoyed others pain and suffering. You have no choice.”

Draco’s eyes showed all kinds of emotions. My hand rested over his scar, as he softly gripped my wrist and pulled me closer, our faces just inches away from each others.

“Draco…?” I managed to whisper uncertainly. This is not happening, this can’t be happening… Oh, merlin.

“Hermione...” He whispered back, before his lips pressed against mine.

 

 

 

 

[oh, what a cliff-hanger! Is it going too fast, too slow? Let me know what you think of it, that means = Leave a review! Haha.]

 

 

 

Chapter 5: Friends
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[I own nothing Harry Potter, everything but the plot belongs to JK Rowling.]

My mind was spinning, as Draco pressed his lips against mine. His lips were soft, yet the need in the kiss was brutal. His tongue asked for permission to enter, by licking at my lower lip, and I opened slowly, still surprised. He tasted sweet, like the sweetest candy, and I found myself press closer to him, to taste him more, to feel him closer. It’s Malfoy, Hermione…

I knew that the person was Draco, I was very aware of that but it didn’t matter, for no one had ever kissed me like that.

His hand came up to my face and caressed it softly, before grasping my hair to press me even closer. I had brought my hands up to his shirt, and forced him closer to me.

The soft, gentle kiss had turned bruising and almost brutal, there was a strong passion between us.

Draco bit my lower lip, earning a muffled moan from me, it was a pleasurable pain.

His lips traced kisses down my jaw and to my neck, where he nibbled, and kissed. Then he looked at me, we were both panting slightly, from the lack of air.

“Sorry,” He said, and sighed. “I couldn’t help myself.”

“Neither could I…” I assured him. It was wrong, but yet  it felt so right. “Not too bad for former enemies, huh?”

“Not too bad.” He smiled. “But should we be doing this?”

“Absolutely not.”

 

Draco remained silent for a while, then his lips crashed down on mine again, if only for a couple of seconds, then he rested his forehead against mine.

“I know” He whispered and looked down. “We would go to hell if we did this again, you do know that right?”

“Yeah, I know…” I said sadly. “Well, if we do go to hell, we’ll have good company, huh?”

“Each other.” He whispered, then he looked up again, his silver orbs burning their way into my soul. “What are you doing to me, Hermione?”

I laid down on the grass, I needed to get away from his gaze, and he followed my moves. When he looked at me like that, it made it impossible for me to think straight.

What are you doing to me, Draco?  I didn’t say it out loud, just thought it. Truth to be told, I didn’t even understand what he was doing, did he even want this? Were we going to do it again? Forget it had ever happened? Everything was very confusing, and I found myself biting my lip, way lost in my thoughts. Draco Malfoy had kissed me, and I had enjoyed it. Was there something wrong with me? Perhaps, but I couldn’t help but to want him to kiss me again.

Had he overcome his pure hate of Mudbloods? It didn’t seem likely, but he was different. That much I knew.

“Something is troubling you…” He mumbled, and made me look at him, in the soft sunlight, his skin was almost glowing. His pale skin was perfect as the sun danced across his face, making him look more beautiful than he had ever done. “Well? Are you going to tell me or do I need to force it out of you?”

His words reminded me of the old Draco, and I couldn’t help but to take a shaky breath.

I remained silent, for a while, and he suddenly moved closer, a quick movement made me think that he was reaching for his wand, and I closed my eyes shut.

“Oh, for crying out loud, Granger. I wasn’t going to curse you into telling me.”

“How was I supposed to know that?” I snapped, and opened my eyes to find his face disturbingly close. Too close for comfort, but still not close enough. I could still feel his previous kiss tingling on my lips, and it made me want to kiss him. But I behaved myself.

“Tell me what’s bothering you.” His voice was soft, tender, and it didn’t have any of the arrogant Malfoy tone in it.

“You don’t want this, do you? Doesn’t it just repulse you, being this close to me?” I spoke fast, or else I wouldn’t have been able to say it. His grey eyes hardened.

“I…” He couldn’t finish the sentence. He looked away from me, and I felt a sting in my heart. He was disgusted.

“Why did you do it then? Why?”

“I don’t know. There is a tension between us, like... a need, I don’t know... I’m so disappointed at myself, we had just started to become friends, and I do something like that.”

“We are still… Friends, don’t worry about that.”

“What if…” He trailed off and still didn’t look at me.

“Go on”

“Never mind. Friends?” He asked, and held his hand out, I shook it.

“Friends.”

 

A silence hung in the air, it was deafning, but I didn’t want to be the one to break it. Call me a stubborn Gryffindor, if you will, but I waited for Draco to speak. It took a long time before he said anything.

“So, you hungry yet? We could to Hog’s Head? It’s a bit more private.”

“Ah, shoot! I forgot my wallet at the castle, you think we can fly by and pick it up, before we go there? Oh, how could I forget it?” I was annoyed at myself, and rolled my eyes as my own stupidity.  When he had started to speak, the words just rolled off my tongue to answer him.

Draco laughed at me, and I looked at him quizzically. “I’ve got my wallet with me, don’t you worry. I’ll pay.”

“No, No Draco… I can’t ask for that, we’ll just fly by and…”

“I want too, and I insist. Now, shut up.”

My lips pressed together, he wasn’t going to let me pay for me. It was annoying and sweet at the same time. He got up, and held his hand out to pull me up, but I ignored it and got up myself.

His hand awkwardly fell to his side, not used to being rejected like that, obviously.

“Come on, Gr-Hermione. Don’t get all upset for it, as a gentleman of course I am going to pay for you. I’m taking you out for dinner, for fuck sakes, did you think I was going to let you pay, then?”

I still didn’t say anything, and he spun me around and looked at me. “Hermione?”

Not a word. He was getting annoyed, I could tell, and his grip on my shoulder hardened.

“What is wrong with you?”

“I’m shutting up.” I muttered coldly. To my surprise, he started laughing. “What?” I snapped.

“I didn’t mean it literally”

“I know.”

He shook his head, and smiled. Friends, just friends.  I reminded myself, even though his lips looked very kissable at that moment. He didn’t make any sign of movement, he seemed to be frozen at the spot. His eyes showed me that he was lost in a memory.

“What are you thinking about?”

 

His eyes got back their focus, and he smiled again. “Yule ball, fourth year.”

“Why?” I asked bewildered. Where had that come from?

“You reminded me of it right now, all upset, you were very upset with Weasley that night, if I’m not mistaken. You looked… Beautiful”

His compliment made me blush. “Thank you.”

“Let’s go. Up on the broom, bookworm.”

“Whatever you say, Blondie.”

His eyebrows raised, and he looked both annoyed and amused. “Did you seriously just call me ‘Blondie’?”

We both fell into laughter. 

 

 

Hog’s Head wasn’t as awful as I had remembered it, maybe Aberforth had cleaned it up a lot after the war, it was actually rather nice. I stepped in as Draco held the door open for me, and thanked him.

Ab stood behind the small bar, and gave me short nod as I walked in. His eyes darkened a bit at the sight of a Malfoy.

“Hey there, Hermione. How are you doing?”

“Aberforth, oh, everything is great, how’s life?”

“Can’t complain.” He shrugged. “What are you doing out of school, now?”

“Eh… I…” I didn’t know what to say, and looked pleadingly at Draco, who stepped to stand beside me.

“I took her out for dinner, instead of being in the castle, a little change, you know.” He smiled, and held his hand out. “I’m Draco Malfoy.”

“Aberforth Dumbledore.” The older man said, and shook the hand of Draco, eyeing him suspiciously, with his blue eyes, so similar to his brothers.

“Nice to meet you Mr. Dumbledore.”

That must have been quite hard for Draco, I suspected, after having almost killed the mans brother to stand there and shake his hand.

“Your boyfriend?” Ab asked me with twinkling eyes.

“No!” We said in unison, and he bit back a smile. Draco and I looked at each other, and I remembered the feeling of his lips pressed against mine.

 

We took a table in a corner, and I found the lit candles on the table disturbing, too romantic, they were old, I could tell by the melted wax that was gathered at the end. But as I sat there a while, I realized that they were charmed to look that way, and they probably weren’t even real candles, for they stayed the same, the flame only moving slightly. Ab came with the food we had ordered, and two butterbeers, I drank greedily, I hadn’t  realized how thirsty I was.

We talked about nothing special for the first fifthteen minutes, before we accidentally came in on the subject ‘Potions’.

“Did you ever know, or suspect, that Snape never left your side, before the war, I mean?” Draco asked, and I shook my head.

“I feel ashamed to admit that I believed him to be a true deatheater. He was brave, probably braver than any Gryffindor I have ever met.”

Draco nodded his agreement. “He helped me with the Dumbledore thing, well, he wanted to help me. I guess, I should have accepted his help, maybe things would have been a bit easier.”

“What do you mean?” I asked, almost regretted it afterwards as I saw how stiff he got. He looked around the room before he spoke again, so reassure himself that no one was eavesdropping, perhaps.

“I was a wreck two years ago. I thought I was going to be killed whenever, constantly looking over my shoulder, never daring to sleep. He haunted me everywhere, or so it felt. It was living hell. If I had accepted Snapes help, then maybe I would have been able to relax, not being too paranoid. Maybe, I wouldn’t have run into the bathroom, and got my chest fucking ripped open.”

 

A memory of Harry telling me about the incident in the bathroom, when he had almost killed Draco, by using a spell he didn’t know, flashed before my eyes.

“Sectumsempra…” I whispered. His eyes closed as he nodded. “I’m sorry on the behalf of Harry, he wouldn’t have used that spell if he had known what would happen.”

“Or would he have?” Draco muttered.

“Merlin! I  hate Voldemort, he has screwed us all up, hasn’t he?” I hissed, and he chuckled. “What?” I snapped.

“You are hot when you’re furious.”

 He realized what he had said the same time I did, and I blushed deeply, and looked away. Friends, only friends.

“Thanks, I guess.”

“Awkward.” Draco said in a sort of singing voice. I giggled. “Hey, look, its Friday, we don’t have any classed tomorrow, do you want some Firewhiskey?”

“Yes, please” I said, without thinking, when I thought about it, it was exactly what I wanted. He walked over to the bar, and came back with two glasses. He gave me one, and took the other for himself. He raised it towards me.

“To new times.”

“New times.” I agreed, and then I poured it all down my throat, as Draco just took a small sip of his. It burned delicately as it made its way down, but I didn’t complain. I loved the burning sensation, the taste of it as it lingered in my mouth.

Draco looked at me, smirking as he did. “Take it easy there, tough girl.”

“I'm twenty years old, I have been drinking before.” I suddenly said, as he almost started laughing at my expression.

“Care for another, then?” He raised an eyebrow, and I met his stare. I nodded, and he motioned for Ab to bring us another. It was levitated to me, and I drank that one slower, taking my time to enjoy it. I took just a small sip to really taste it.

“Are you trying to get me drunk, Draco?” He looked amused, as he shook his head.

“Maybe I am. That would certainly be entertaining.”

Once again, I stuck my tongue out, and his eyes got a weird look in them. I eyed him curiously.

“Now, that’s hot.” He said suddenly, without thinking, I guessed, because his eyes went wide seconds later, as if he realized that he had spoken out loud.

“What’s hot?”

He repeated my action, by sticking his tongue out, but he did it much more elegant, and all I could think of was how that tongue felt against my skin, against my own tongue. I inhaled quickly. “That is hot.”

I hurried my glass to my mouth, and swallowed it all, to get some sort of distraction.

“Aw, man. If you keep that up, I’ll have to carry you back to Hogwarts, do you think it would be fun for me to explain why I have a passed out Granger on my shoulders?”

“Hermione.” I corrected him automatically. “I’ve just had one butterbeer and two firewhiskey’s, it’s not the end of the world.”

He decided to change the subject.

“What are you doing tomorrow?”

“I… I was hoping to spend some time with you.”

“Correction: What are we doing tomorrow?”

I smiled at his words, and couldn’t help the images that surfaced in my mind; Draco was kissing my neck, violating my mouth, grasping my hair to pull me closer.

Friends…

“What are you up for?” I tried to sound casual. But I think my blush gave me away.

“What did you have in mind, Hermione?”

The way my name sounded coming from him was almost too much, it was so tempting to just forget the friends part, and kiss him right there, and I wouldn’t have cared if Ab was watching.

“I… It was nothing.” I stuttered out, and blushed deeper. It was definitely not something that friends did, that was for sure.

He grinned wickedly, and I strongly suspected that he knew.

“We’ll meet in the library, early. What time to you wake up?”

“Around ten, probably.”

“Ten thirty, in the library.”

It was settled, I didn’t have a say in it, by the sound of his tone, and I nodded agreeing.

 

We stayed at the Hog’s Head for a long time, and the place was full of people by the time we left, everyone looking at us like we had some kind of disease. When we got out of there, it was rather chilly outside, you could really tell that the summer was dying out, fall was definitely coming closer. The thought to bring some sort of coat with me hadn’t even crossed my mind.

It had darkened fast, and I wondered how long we had been in there, when we had walked in there had been sunlight, right? I couldn’t remember. I had been totally oblivious to my surroundings to notice, but it was dark now, and the stars were shining clearly above us.

It was beautiful. I put my arms around my body as to keep myself warm against the much too cold night.

“Are you cold?” Draco asked me, and I looked over at him. His hair was messy, the wind swirled it around his face, and in the soft moonlight, his pale skin was paler than ever.

“Yeah... Didn’t bring a coat...” I rolled my eyes at myself, and he nodded, and pulled something out of the bag he had with him. It was extended, ofcourse.

It was his green robe, I wanted to protest, but another cold shill ran down my back. He handed me it, and I put it on. It was much too big, but I didn’t mind.

“Thank you”

“Thought those firewhiskey’s would have warmed you up, but it doesn’t look like it.”

“Ha-ha”

We walked for some time, in silence, before he mounted the broom and told me to get up.

 

His hand came around my waist yet again, and I felt perfectly safe.

We flew high, much more higher than we had ever, and it seemed as if the stars came closer.

“Can you go higher?” I asked in awe, and he chuckled and obliged. “Wow...”

Draco didn’t say anything, but his grip tightened. “Do you like it?” He whispered against my ear, his breath warmed my ear, it tickled. “Hmm?”

“Y...Yes – It’s beautiful, Draco.” I was distracted by the way he breathed against my neck, it felt good, too good.

I saw the castle then, it looked like something from a fairytale. It had never looked that magical.

“Do you want me to fly you to the window of your tower? You won’t be caught.”

“Yes, please.”

He made a turn with the broom, and I gasped. He leaned his head at my neck. “Don’t be scared.”

“I’m not, just surprised.”

He shook his head, and I bet he was smiling. We was just by the castle, and I saw a dim light from the Gryffindor tower as we flew just by the window.

“C-Can you fly closer?” I said shakily, and he nodded in silence. “Oh... Fuck. You better hold me fucking tight now.”

“Thought you said you weren’t scared?” Amusement was all I heard in his voice. But his grip got very tight.

I swung one of my legs over the broom, and let one foot stand on the edge by the window. He flew just a tiny bit closer, and I was able to stand just outside the window. I turned shakily around when he let me go.

“Goodnight, Hermione.” He said, and then he was gone.

“Goodnight, Draco.” I whispered out in the silent, lonely night.

 

 

I landed at the floor with a thud, and moaned at the pain that throbbed in my foot from the quite hard fall. The light had been on for a reason I realized. Ron was sitting on the couch with Lavender. They were kissing, Lavender looked like she wasn’t really enjoying it, and I understood her. By the looks of it, Ron had his tongue forced town her throat.

I tried to walk as silent as I could, so that they wouldn’t hear me.

Everything was going good, until... I tripped over my own feet. I didn’t fall, but only just. I cursed loudly.

“Hermione?” Ron gasped annoyed. Lavender’s head snapped up to look at me, with a furious glare.

“I’m just going to the dorm, don’t let me interrupt anything!” I started walking again when I heard Lavender snort.

“Is she wearing Slytherin robes?”

I glanced down, how could I have forgotten to give them back to him? Oh, just perfect.

“You’ve been with Malfoy?!” Ron was furious, obviously, and rose from his seat, I turned around.

“Yes, I have, Ronald. What is it to you?” I glanced between him and Lavender, and he looked even more upset.

“You have lost your mind, you’re mental!”

“Whatever, I’m not going to interrupt you anymore. I’m going to bed.”

I hurried up to my bed and didn’t even bother taking Draco’s robe off as I got into bed. It was still cold, and I loved the way it smelled of him.

It was not good for me to like how he smelled, or his touch, of the way his lips felt against my skin...

 

It wasn’t good, but it was better than to think of the war. A lot better. I fell asleep while thinking of his lips pressed against my neck ...






 [I changed this chapter MANY times, I hope you like it this way. I love reviews, thank you all. Please keep reviewing, it makes me want to give you the best chapters I can. So keep it up, and thank you again:) ]

Chapter 6: Thoughts
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[I own nothing but the plot. All characters belong to JK Rowling.]



The sunlight hit my face in the morning, and I moaned as I realized that another night had just passed.
It didn’t feel like I had slept at all. I glanced over at my watch; it was five minutes to ten. Why did I  feel like I had to rush? Moaning again as I sat up in the bed and started to think back to the night before,
and remembered everything, slowly I glanced down to see the green robe that was wrapped around my body. I hadn’t imagined it, I hadn’t dreamt it. It had actually happened. Oh, I was meeting him in half an hour, of course I had to rush.
 I ran into the bathroom, throwing the robe on the floor beside me.

The warm water was relaxing, and if I had more time, I would have stayed in the shower for a while longer, but as  it was I got out after rinsing my hair from the conditioner. I dried it with a flick of wand, and then I cast a  few charms from the book I had bought a while ago. My hair was smooth, and not bushy when I was finished.
I applied some makeup and then I got dressed, I threw Draco’s robe into my bag. I glanced at my watch, and almost  panicked. I had five minutes to get there.


I hurried down to find Lavender and Ron in another one of their snogging sessions, I rolled my eyes as I saw that
Harry and Ginny was doing the same thing. I cleared my throat on my way to the portrait. 

“Going to see Malfoy again, you traitor?” Ron said, and it felt like someone had drenched me in icecold water.
Traitor?

“Ron…!” Ginny gasped silently, but didn’t look at me. Even Harry had looked like he wanted to shut Ron up. 

“Actually, Ron, I am. Do you have anything to say about that?” Anger poured out of his eyes, I had never seen him  that angry, but he didn’t answer me. “Didn’t think so.”  I walked away; I didn’t even look over my shoulder.  Who was he to call me a traitor?

My anger boiled inside of me as I walked in to the library, and every step I took seemed to scream ‘Traitor’ step ‘Traitor’ step ‘Traitor’ step.
I was not going to cry, not over something so stupid, but it hurt. It hurt so badly. I took a seat in the  furthest back corner, and opened a book which I didn’t read, I couldn’t concentrate. Don’t cry, Hermione, I told myself. Don’t waste your tears on him.

“Hello Hermione.” A voice purred in my ear, in a seductive way. That voice could only belong to one person, the person whose voice brought shivers down my spine. 

“Draco…” I greeted. My voice was stronger than I thought it would be. I thought that I would be to angry to  manage to say something, to form a word even. Ron had definitely crossed the line. How dare he call me a traitor?

“Uh-oh, what happened?” 

How did he read me so well? It was like he knew everytime something had happened. He didn’t wait for an answer,  he gripped my arm, and dragged me off my chair, and proceeded to drag me in to the restricted area. I didn’t argue, just followed quietly.

“Ron happened.” I begun as we walked. “He was in the room last night when I got back, with… Eh, never mind, and he saw that I had your robe on, and then he found out that I meeting you today, and he called me a traitor. He called me a traitor.”

We stopped at last, and he looked down at me and nodded, his jaw clenched. “That filthy bloodtraitor is truly stupid.”

I winced at his words and looked down at my feet,  “Do you have to call him that?” 

“Yes I do!” he spat. “He had no right to call you a traitor, have you not saved their life’s a million times? What would they be without you? To call you a traitor… Its disgusting of him.” 

I was flattered that he stuck up for me like that, but then I wondered it he would do it if we were not alone… Nah, probably not. 

“Yeah… Well, I don’t want to talk about it.”

He nodded understanding, and looked at me for a while, making me forget all of my problems, how was it that he could do that with just one look?

Draco’s hand touched my cheek, stroke it softly, the touch made me look into his eyes. They were filled with…  Compassion? Lust? I couldn’t tell, but I knew I liked what I saw. I turned my cheek so that his hand lost  contact with my skin. The whole just friends part didn’t really seem to work when he touched me like that.
He took a step towards me, and I was backed up against a shelf. He didn’t stop until he had me pinned. 

“I thought about you last night.” He whispered in my ear, I inhaled his scent. “Do you want to know what I though?”

“Y-Yes” 

“I thought ‘Who cares about what anyone thinks?’” He planted a small kiss on the spot behind my ear.  “Hermione… I cant just be friends with you.”
There was almost a plea in his voice, but only almost. His eyes found mine, and all logic flew out of my mind.  I didn’t know what to say, I couldn’t think.
 I could hardly breathe. I just nodded, and hoped he understood. He did.

His lips crashed down on mine with such force, my head got thrown into a shelf, but I didn’t care about that small amount of pain. All I cared about was the way his lips formed against mine. He was right, ‘who cares?’
My hands found his hair and I ran my fingers through it, and then pressed myself against him.
There was a fierce between our tongues, when we suddenly stopped. A woman had just cleared her throat behind Draco.
 Annoyed, he turned his head to see Mrs Mulberry, the new librarian, standing behind us. 

“You are not only in the restricted area, but you are also… also…” She gestured with her hands at us, Draco who still had me pinned at that point, let me go somewhat. He hung his head down, like a little boy  waiting to get yelled at, he sure knew how to make himself look innocent. “This is absurd! What are your names?” 

“Hermione Granger.” I said shyly. 

“Draco Malfoy.” Came Draco’s voice, which was a little unsteady, or so I thought as I suppressed a smile. “We are very sorry, Mrs Mulberry, it wont happen again.”

Mrs Mulberry raised an eyebrow. “Get out of this library at once. Neither of you are allowed in this library for a week.”

I gasped and looked at her terrified. “No, please…” Draco turned around to glare at me, with a look  hat I think meant ‘You have to be kidding me, be glad it isn’t worse’. “I mean, what about books for our studies?”

She looked at me for a long time, before she sighed. “I guess I could let it go, for now. But trust me, Miss Granger, and you too Mr. Malfoy, if I ever find you two doing this… thing… In here again…”  She gave us a threatening glare, before she turned around and walked over to her desk. I sighed in relief.

“Close call.” Draco said amused. “’No, please…’” he turned his voice girly as he mocked me, I just shook my  head at him. He was so relaxed about this, it kind of annoyed me.  

“A week, Malfoy! A week!” 

“Back to last names so soon?” 

“Draco” I corrected myself. “A week, none the less!”

 

Draco just shook his head, smiling, and started walking. I followed him without thinking, it turned out we were heading for the Great Hall, and I was glad about that, for my stomach was on its way to make some  pretty embarrassing sounds, which I didn’t want Draco to hear. He and I sat down at our, now, usual place.
I ate something fast, to stop my stomach from growling, when I had put it in my mouth, I realized that it  was a small piece of kidney pie. It tasted delicious.
Draco had a curious look up on his face, on his very happy face, as he looked at me. I didn’t question why  he was staring at me, for I was staring at him too, and that would be very embarrassing to tell him that I was staring at him because I thought that he was so unbelievably beautiful. I shook my head a bit, somewhat confused over my own feelings towards the blonde boy. 

Just days ago we had been calling each other names and now we were kissing each other with a passion so raw and at the same time so sweet. It was fast, I knew that. But it felt so, oh-so right.

“Was the pie good?” he asked after a while, when I had almost eaten it all up, I nodded and pushed the plate over to his side of the table and he brought the fork to his mouth. “Yummy”

“Indeed.” I reached to get my pie back, but he brought it out of my reach. “What the…?” 

“You took my strawberries yesterday, didn’t think I wouldn’t get back at you, did you?” 

His eyes glowed with mischief, my eyebrow furrowed as I thought back to the incident. He had eaten out of my… Oh!
 He chuckled as my eyes widened when I understood. Nervously I looked around, something I shouldn’t have done. Almost every student in the hall was observing us.
“Every one is looking at us.” I moaned. 

“Because we are hot.” He smiled and shrugged. His words made me blush, I hated blushing, it was ugly and unnecessary. “Do you want your pie, Hermione?”
“So unfair.” I mumbled, but nodded and leaned in as he brought the fork to my mouth. That’ll give them something to watch.

“Still as good?”

“More delicious than before.” I licked my lips afterwards, and leaned back to watch him. “Talk, Draco. Tell be about you.”

He sighed, while smiling, and then leaned himself across the wood table, and rested his chin in his hand.  had never noticed how nice hands he had, long fingers which were just as pale as the rest of him. “You know about me.” 

I snorted at that, but he stayed the same. “There is a lot I don’t know about you, Mr Malfoy.” 

“Like what?”

I searched for an answer to that, while biting my lip. “Do you have pets, do you like music?” 

At that he snorted. “Does House Elves count as ‘pets’? Oh, fine. I get where you’re going. Yes I like music, I play the guitar. You already know about my family. I have a fair idea of what I want to work with in the future… But I wont be allowed to, I reckon.”
I was intrigued, and leaned in closer. “What do you want to work with, then?”

He shifted in his seat and didn’t seem to want to answer me. “Some kind of ministry job, law enforcement, or, well I don’t know, Auror, maybe.” He didn’t speak loud, but I heard him perfectly clear and I hoped that I didn’t look as shocked as I felt. 

“You’d like you be an Auror?” I said in disbelief. He nodded sadly, and then sighed. 

“Not likely to happen, right?” I had to agree to that, he was very much right about what he was saying.  “Nah, I’ll probably get some other work, maybe start something own… Anyway, what do you want to work with?” 

 “Not an Auror, that’s for sure… but I do want to work at the ministry, I think. Maybe dealing with animals and creatures. Or maybe a Healer at St.Mun…” I stopped talking when I noticed the small gang of Slytherins that were coming our direction. “Trouble, Draco.” 


He turned around and moaned, his face became like stone when he looked back at me. It was the same stonelike  features he had when Blaise had walked over to us. Somehow, I didn’t think this had to do with them apologizing.
The three Slytherins stopped right before us, and at first one of them glared at me with disgust, but then he  turned all his attention towards Draco, like the rest of them. 

“Malfoy, I can not believe what I am seeing. You have turned blood traitor.” A tall dark haired boy said, he was standing infront of the others, in the middle, he was skinny, and I would have loved to say that he wasn't good looking at all, but he was rather pretty.

“Matthew, you are a half blood, I don’t believe that you have a say in this, actually.” Draco spoke through gritted teeth, but somehow he still managed to sound bored. I did not like the way the guy named Matthew spoke;  it was like he was trying to sound like Draco. 

Matthew paled, and seemed to back away, but he still held his position. “Halfblood?” A guy behind Matthew said, sounding confused. “You never said you were half blood!” 

“You really couldn’t tell?” Draco sounded amused as he shook his head. “Anyway, I don’t care.” 

The guy named Matthew spoke again, trying to impersonate the drawl of Draco. “Don’t come and say that the big bad war changed you.” 

“You might have been changed aswell, if you hadn’t run off screaming like a little girl all the way into hiding  when Dumbledore was killed. Not as brave as you want everyone to believe, are you?” 

I could tell that the two boys on each side of Matthew thought about what Draco had said, and seemed to agree.

 Draco kept his eyes on me the whole tome, and smiled slightly. “Can you believe these guys, Hermione?” I shook my head ‘no’ and took a sip of pumpkin juice, glad that there was some distraction in that.  “Like I said, as a half blood, you don’t have a say in this.” He spoke in a dismissive tone. 

“What about her?!” Matthew pointed at me, but didn’t look at me. “She is a mudblood, Malfoy, for crying out loud!”

I felt my anger rush through me, and I snapped my eyes up to glare at him. “If you ever call me a mudblood again, Matthew, I swear that you will find that you are missing two very dear body parts.” 

I spat his name out like a foul word, and let my eyes land on his groin for a few seconds, before I looked up in disgust. He gulped loudly, while Draco chuckled. Then he shook his head, and looked sternly at them, with fury visible in his eyes. “Leave!”

 

They left as fast as they could without running. It was highly amusing to watch. Draco was in a foul mood for quite some time, even though he tried to act as if everything was normal. I could tell that Matthew had angered him. It was intimidating to see Draco as furious as he had been, and I hoped that I would never do anything to make him that upset. He kept looking over his shoulder, as if expecting more Slytherins so come over, but no one came.

The hall became more and more empty, as the students headed for their common rooms, or went outside. After a while, there was only me, Draco and a couple of Ravenclaws left.

The Ravenclaws kept glancing over at us, it was really quite annoying, and they giggled everytime I smiled at something Draco said. Every time I heard a giggle, I snapped my head in that direction and they looked away in a hurry. That was something both me and him found amusing.

“Aren’t they supposed to be smart enough to understand that you shouldn’t eavesdrop?” Draco drawled while  he has his intense gaze laid up on them. “Or atleast not be caught doing it…”

I nodded quietly, and then he looked back at me. “Want to give them something to watch?” His voice was soft, and it was no question about what he had in mind, some kind of public display. He tilted his head to the left, and eyed me, while waiting for my answer. I couldn’t help but blush. 

“I….” I couldn’t put a whole sentence together when he looked at me like that, somewhere along the way I had  begun to feel something strong for him. Maybe it was because he was honest, there for me, open, and gorgeous but he was also provoking, irritating, and annoying at times. And I knew for a fact that he could be cruel, I had experienced that first hand, but… You didn’t get the first things without the rest. The thing was, that I enjoyed that he spoke his mind and that he wasn’t afraid to do so, even though I didn’t always agree to what he was saying, it was a relief to know that he did it. It gave me a feeling that there was hope in this world.
“What exactly does that mean, though?” I managed to say after a while.

He smiled a crooked smile before he stood up and walked over to my side of the table. I sat completely still, and waited for him to do something. He held out his hand for me, and I let him sweep me up to my feet. I expected him to let me go, but he obviously felt like holding hands. That was more than fine with me.

By the time we started walking, my heart had started to beat as fast as possible, and I had to really concentrate to remember how to breathe. Somehow the feeling of my hand in his was enough to almost give me a heart attack. I found it rather ridiculous, how a boy could affect me that much. It had never happened to me before, and it confused me. I had read muggle books about intense relationships, but I had never read, or heard of a feeling anywhere near as intense as how I was feeling. It was a strong need, but not love… Perhaps it was the beginning to love, I was not sure. It was way too soon for love, 

but the need was strong enough to make me want to be by his side all the time. It was a need for a friend, a protector, a… Lover? I closed my eyes as I thought about that. Was it possible, that I was beginning to fall for him, actually fall for him, after three days? It didn’t seem possible to me, but the feeling remained.

Just when we were about to exit the hall, he spun me around and placed a loud kiss on my lips, which caused gasps from the Ravenclaws and me. I had been so lost in my thoughts, I hadn’t expected a kiss.  I liked it, probably a lot more than I should. He chuckled all the way outside, still with my hand  securely in his.

 

The grounds were filled with students, who all looked at us with mixed expressions. The Slytherins glared and  the Gryffindors looked disgusted. It made me a bit sad that they couldn’t understand. Still hand in hand, we made our way to sit on the grass. 

“So I was thinking.” Draco began as he sat down, and dragged me down with him. “Since you cant come to the dungeons, and I definitely cant come to the tower, we need a neutral place to be.” 

“Room of Requirement, perhaps?” I suggested, and got an approving nod, as if that was just what he had been thinking of. “We should go check it our later, make sure that it still works after the war and such.” 

“Sure, we’ll go in a while; we have all day, you know.”

I knew that, I was actually very aware of that. His hand still held on to mine, as if he were afraid that I would leave if he let me go. But it would take a lot more to get me to leave. I couldn’t believe that Draco was holding my hand, in public as well.

It was like we were in our very own universe, where the others didn’t matter. They were not included in our conversations, nor did I notice them around us. All I seemed to see were those silver eyes that were locked on me. If someone would have told me three years ago that I was going to be the one that Draco looked at with that hungry expression, I would have died in laughter, or cried in horror. But it was indeed me he
looked at like that, the need as evident in his eyes as in my body. The world seemed to revolve around us, it was like nothing I had ever felt before. We had built walls around us, and only we existed within those walls. It was comforting, and safe.

But would the walls come crashing down around us as fast as they had been built up?  I hoped not, because I was enjoying his company so much. I was not a weak person, and neither was he, but somehow we let our guards down when we were around each other. I think that was a good thing, something we both needed to do.

The fact that he held my hand half an hour later, made me warm inside. He held it to show everyone. It was a huge thing for him, being a pureblood and holding hands with a muggleborn, I knew that was huge.
“We should, if you want too, check out the Room of Requirement now.” He whispered in my ear, I had been too lost in the feeling of his skin against mine, that I hadn’t realized how close he had moved. Knowing very well that he had made his mind up before he spoke the words, I nodded and got up. Not until then did he release my hand. It felt strange without his warm skin against it, it was cold. My hand itched for his hand to touch it again.

 

 

 

When the door had appeared infront of us, he slowly opened it and the sight made me gasp. He held the open for me, as a gentleman, and I walked in. It was not very big, but it was beautiful. It was decorated in warm colors, half of it representing Gryffindor, and the other Slytherin. There was a large bed, a couch and a massive bookshelf full of books. The bookworm inside of me was jumping up and down in excitement. It was very much like our own little common room. 

“Wow.” I breathed, as I realized that it had a big bathroom, and a fireplace. “What did you ask for?”
“A room in which we could have privacy.” 

“And you made sure that no one else could enter?” I asked nonchalant while I gently traced my fingers over the back of a few books in the shelf. 

“Of course I did.” He almost sounded offended. I just nodded, what else could I do? “This will do just fine, right?” 

“Yes! It’s amazing, if you hadn’t noticed.” I turned around to find him standing right behind me. “Oh.”

“Indeed it is.” He whispered before he captured my lips in a powerful kiss, one that made my legs go jelly and my heart to race. His hand came to rest on my waist. He chuckled in my mouth when he realized that I had to stand on my toes to reach up properly. Draco lifted me up by my waist and backed me up against the wall for
support. I gasped as I slammed in to it, for it was cold as ice. His scent was so intoxicating; it made a mess of my mind. I couldn’t form a single thought. 

His lips pressed against my neck, like the day before, and this time it felt even better. More intense. My feet weren’t even near the ground as he held me up, so I let my legs go around his waist. He continued to place kisses down my neck, jaw and then my mouth again. His demanding tongue met mine, and it was as if all
my hesitations about him flew out of my head, and I gave myself to him completely, my tongue submitted to his.




After what seemed like forever, he broke the kiss. He had to break it, for if it had been up to me, we would have been kissing until we suffocated, and then some. He put me down slowly, my legs didn’t seem to be attached to my body, and they were still like jelly. That on the other hand, had been something I thought only happened in books. I had been proven wrong. 

“Hermione…” Draco whispered as he led me over to the small fireplace to sit, my legs would never support me all the way there. “Do you want to stay here tonight? To sleep, I mean.” 

The look on his face made me want to laugh. He was giving me puppy eyes. Now, that was a look I thought I would never see on his face. A few stray of hair hung in front of his eyes.  “Please?” 

“I…” I hesitated, what would everyone think if I didn’t come back, would they think that something had happened? Or would they be glad that I didn’t come back? I could see Ron’s angry face from this morning…  “How can I say no to that?”

I hadn’t meant for it to be spoken out loud, but he didn’t seem to mind. He just held his position, and looked even more pleading, I would have thought that he hadn’t heard me at all, if it weren’t for the way that his lip twitched as if he was trying to hold back a smile.

“I promise to not try anything… Please?” 

That made my eyes widen, did he think I was hesitating out of fear that he would touch me? “I… Yeah, I do want to stay.” 

“Lovely.” He smiled and dragged me down so that my head rested on his chest. He kissed the top of my head, and I closed my eyes. I hadn’t felt that safe in years.








[I hope you like it, I already have the next chapter ready, so as soon as this has been validated, i'll update again. I hope you like it, please let me know if you do. I love your reviews! They are the things that make me write faster, so keep them coming. Thanks!]

Chapter 7: Nightmare
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[I own nothing but the plot, everything you recognize belongs to JK Rowling.]

 

The only thing that lit the room up was the flames in the fireplace, the light from it danced across the room, causing me to feel sleepy. My head rested on Draco's chest, and the only sound I heard was his heartbeat mixed with our breaths. I could not recall how long we had been in front of the fireplace, but it had been long enough for me to think of a million questions that I wanted to ask him, but I just couldn't. I couldn't because I did not want to put pressure on him, I knew that he had been through horrible things, and if I started asking things... it might rip up painful memories and I wouldn't want to do that. If he ever wanted to talk about it, then I would be here. Listening. But it would have to be on his conditions, I would not bring it up. Maybe I would give hints that it was okay to speak of it, but I would not start interrogating him. Draco was so hard on the surface, but he kept surprising me. So, if he would have something that he wanted to speak of, he would tell me – straight out. I knew he had a story to tell, just like I had. The difference between us was probably that I was ready to talk about it and had wanted to talk about it for a long time, whereas he had probably shut down and tried to handle it the 'manly' way. Which I think consisted of him pretending that nothing had gotten to him, that he had done his duty and that was it. But he was not a robot, he was a human being who felt and thought for himself. He had been forced to act up on Voldemorts order and that had surely messed with his view of the world. I would be there for him if he needed me. That was what I had figured out while drifting in and out of sleep.

I felt something moving fast but careful, I tried to open my heavy lids. They fluttered open just in time to realize that Draco had carried me over to the bed. He gently put me down, and then he laid himself down beside me. He wrapped his arm around me and held me tight, as I fell back to sleep.

 

Everything was black. I wondered if I had my eyes closed, I tried to open them to find that they were already open. A loud shout from behind me made me turn around, only to be knocked over, and kicked so hard, I felt my ribs being crushed. I gasped for air while my attacker walked slowly around me. I felt a pair of eyes on me, staring me down like a prey. A strong hand grasped my hair and pulled me up into a sitting position. My scream made another figure appear, laughing at my pain. The laugh turned hysterical as she walked towards me, her wand was in her hand but her hand just hung by her side. She came closer, I tried to turn away, tried to find someone who could help me. I couldn't be helpless against her again. Bellatrix kicked me, brutally hard and I cried out. This shouldn't be happening, I thought, this is a dream, she is dead. But the pain was so real. I heard another person enter the room, or wherever I was. “Help me.” I choked out, by the lack of air I figured that one of my broken ribs had punctured my lung. “Please..” No... It couldn't be one of those dreams, not again. But indeed it was. Fred Weasley stepped out of the shadows and walked up to me. When he looked down at me, he looked angry, accusing. “You want me to help you? Hmm? Save you?” His voice was nothing like it had been while he was alive, and not just a dream. “I think I'm going to save you just as much as you saved me.” No one is going to help you, Miss Granger. Just like no one helped us.” I sobbed as I heard Snape's voice. Another kick was delivered from Bellatrix, and a hard fist made brutal contact with my face. My head hung down as I spit out the bloody pieces of a tooth. Why didn't she just kill me and get it over with?You filthy mudblood!” Bellatrix screamed in my ear, and grasped my hair to make me look up. “No, I want you to look really close now, do you see then?”

I searched the dark room in hopes of finding whatever she was referring to, and when I saw it, it was very clear. My parents was wounded badly, and tied down. “No!” I screamed as loud as I could, despite the pain that was threatening to take over my conscience. More people you will not be able to save, Granger.” Bellatrix taunted as she walked over to them, dragging me with her by my hair. I screamed until my voice broke down. “And you call yourself a witch? Ha!”

 

 

I don't know if it was the green light or my own screams that woke me up, perhaps it was Draco who had been trying to wake me. I was crying, ashamed, I turned my head. Remembering what had happened the first time I had woke up crying from a similar dream, Ron's words were as clear as day 'Hermione, ssh, don't cry... Please, don't cry.' Those words had just made it worse. . .

I had wanted to feel something, not just be a freaking zombie like everyone else. But now, I didn't want to feel anymore. No one else cried, or suffered. I had done, I still did. Something made this much harder for me than for everyone else, but I could not figure out what. My mother had said it was because I was able to process everything much faster, to understand faster then the others. That was something I highly doubted. My mother... The image of her tied down together with my father flashed in my mind. I felt sick.

I was amazed at how easy it was to breathe. The pain from the dream was still fresh, but gone. I tried to hold back my sobs, but they grew worse. Just when I was about to wipe my tears away , Draco's hand took a hold of my hand. Slowly he put it on the bed, and raised his own hand to trace the tears, but he did not wipe them away. More tears followed them. “Come here.” He whispered and opened his arms. I hesitated at first, but another wave of pain made me collapse in his arms. Draco stroke my hair softly, whispering comforting words, but never once did he tell me to stop crying.

“I... I couldn't help them, I should have...”

“It is not your fault, Hermione, you can't blame yourself like this.”
Slowly he laid us down, still holding me and stroking my hair. “No one will hurt you, I wont let them hurt you again. You hear me?”

I nodded against his chest. I didn't ask how he knew what I had been dreaming about, I usually talked in my sleep, so it was not that hard to guess how he had found out.
He held me tight as my tears fell, like a waterfall. It seemed like they would never dry for I let myself feel everything that I had held inside of me for so long. Draco did not judge me at all. That was a good thing about the new Draco, he did not judge me when I cried. He told me soothing words, and I found myself thinking that he had probably comforted someone else like this, perhaps his mother. Or himself...? No, I just could not picture him crying like this. But then again, the war did bring out new sides of people, maybe Draco had shed a tear. I felt the need to comfort him, even though he was not visibly hurting.

 

“Oh, I'm a mess.” I whispered after a while and shook my head as I saw how wet his chest had gotten. That was when I realized that he didn't have a shirt on. If I had begun to stop crying before, that definitely made me stop. I sat up slowly. The words I had thought about saying 'Sorry I wet your shirt' was not an option anymore. I stared at his naked chest, it was all I could do. His years playing Quidditch had paid off, for he had just the right amount of muscles, not too much and not too little. Just perfect.

“Your mascara...Well, lets just say that it isn't waterproof.” He said and wiped my tears off my face, then showing me his black fingers.

“Oh, I look like a mess too, huh?”

“Just a bit. Nothing I can't take care of” He smiled, and reached for his wand, I should have panicked, but I didn't. Instead I let him vanish the traces of mascara that had been running down my cheek. It should have terrified me to have his wand in my face, but his calming eyes told be that I didn't need to be afraid. “Done.”

“Thanks. What time is it?”

“In the middle of the night, something. I don't know. I reckon you don't want to go back to sleep yet, huh?”

I made a face, and shook my head. “No... I hate those dreams”

“You want to talk about it?”

“Not really, lets just say that it was about your crazy aunt, Snape, Fred, and my parents.”

“There was something more, you were screaming in pain...”

“I was?” I closed my eyes, I didn't like that he knew so much about it, I cursed myself for talking in my sleep. As I opened my eyes, he took my hand.

“You don't have to tell me. It's alright.”

“It was Bellatrix, she beat me. It's just a dream, but still...”

Draco nodded and then he dragged me down on the bed again. “Try to sleep, Hermione. I'll be right here if you need me.”

I nodded, and turned around. When he pressed his torso against my back, and put his arm around me, I couldn't help but to smile.

“Thanks for being here.” I whispered, not sure if he could hear me or not. His face rested in my neck as he cuddled up to me, and he put one leg over both of mine.

“Anytime.” he mumbled, and I knew that those words were spoken in absolute truth.
His body heat warmed me, and soon I found myself falling back to sleep.

 


Slowly I awoke, and at first I didn't recognize the place but when I felt Draco's arm around me, I remembered where I were. I yawned and shivered at the way his breath tickled my neck. My fingers started to make light patterns on his arm, just small light movements in various patterns.

“Are you trying to wake me up?” He mumbled in his most seductive voice, that made my heart skip a beat.

“No... Should I stop?”

“Not for anything in the world, witch.”

For a moment, I stopped in shock, then I proceeded with my movements. It was the first time he had called me a witch, in the past he had referred to me as mudblood, or even muggle. A silly smile played on my lips, but he couldn't see that. You really shouldn't share a bed with Malfoy said the logical person inside of me. Oh shut up for once! I snapped back. I laughed out loud when I thought about the fact that I was having an conversation with my head.

“What's so funny?”

I knocked with my fingers on my forehead. “Just having a conversation with the logical me.”

He smiled a crooked smile. “Oh yeah? What does the logical Hermione have to say?”
“That I should get up and run”

“I'm not so sure I like the logical Hermione.” His face came closer. “And what did you tell her?”

The breath I took was shaky, the intense gaze of his had made me drown in his eyes. 

“I told her to shut up.”

“Now, that is the Hermione I like!” He laughed as he kissed me. Every time he kissed me was like a first time, it always surprised me how much power there was in our kisses, how good he tasted, and how he knew exactly what I liked. Actually, the thing that surprised me the most was that he kissed me. That he willingly kissed me and that I willingly kissed him. Never in a million years did I think that it was going to be something that we would do, and that he did it so casually, it was overwhelming almost.

He moved on top of me, and I kissed him harder, he caught my hands and held them on either side of my head. I had no idea that it could feel so good to have him holding me down like that, if I didn't trust him like I did, then I would have been terrified but I wasn't. I was just enjoying myself.

He leaned more of his weight on me, and in response, I pressed myself closer to him. If he wanted to stop, then it was up to him, I never wanted to stop... He made me feel alive. He made me feel like I had not died among all the others in the war. I was possibly more alive than I had ever been. It was something about that danger that he had about him, but still the safety he seemed to promise. His whole bad boy attitude which he wore on the outside, wasn't all that bad. 
He was no angel, but he was not the devil either, he was somewhere in between. His kisses grew more intense, demanding. The way his entire body pressed against me made me moan, a soft moan that made his lips leave mine and he started trailing kisses down my jaw, and then my neck. He knew just the spots to kiss and nibble on. To my delight he bit down on my neck, not hard enough to draw blood, just hard enough to make me moan again. My mind was in a turmoil. His lips caught mine again and I was lost in the moment as I softly bit down on his lower lip – drawing a moan from him.

It was the most amazing sound I had ever heard. He released my hands, and they immediately came around his neck pulling him – if possible- closer. I let my fingers run through his blond locks.

He stopped too soon, or so I thought.

“Crap. I promised I wasn't going to try anything, now I've been doing nothing but touching you for the last fifthteen minutes.”

“Not that I mind...” I mumbled while looking up at him, he was still on top of me, as if he was not sure himself if he would return to kissing me or if he should just get up.

“What?” He looked at me with wide eyes, and my statement seemed to come as a shock for him. “What do you mean you don't mind?”

“Well, you assumed that that was the reason to why I hesitated yesterday, but it wasn't. It was the Gryffindors. I actually happen to like when you... er...”

“When I what?” He smirked down on me, knowing that I didn't have a clue on what to say.

“When you kiss me like that.” I blushed, of course, but didn't break eyecontact.

“Yeah? I happen to like that too. But you know, we should probably have some breakfast.” I moaned in disappointment as he got off me, earning a chuckle from him.

 

 

 

 

We didn't run in to many students on our way to breakfast, which I thought was really nice, since I hadn't had time to take a shower yet, and wore the same clothes as the day before. Draco didn't seem to mind though, and after we had walked around a corner, he took my hand in his, like it was the most normal thing to do. It would be all his fault if my heart got damaged from all the times he made it skip beats.

There were few first years in Hogwarts at the time, all parents were still afraid to let their kids go, so many of them were muggleborns, since their family's didn't know about Voldemort.
They had of course heard all about the war by now, and knew about Draco, and about me as well. A part of the Golden Trio. But they were all terrified of Draco, and he found that amusing.
A first year from Hufflepuff walked pass us on our way to the Hall, Draco gave him a cruel glare and smirked when the boy began to run away.

“You can be so mean, Draco.” I said while rolling my eyes. “The poor kid got traumatized for life!”

Draco started laughing, it was the most genuine laugh I had ever heard from him. “I'm that good, am I?”

I didn't answer him, just shook my head as we continued walking. He could indeed be mean, I had experienced it first hand not that long ago. The cruel words he had used against me was still there, hiding in my memory, but somehow the way he was now – helping, kind, everything he had failed to be before, it seemed to be a way to make me forgive him for what he had done in the past. His hand gave mine a tight squeeze. His strong hand held my much smaller one so protecting that it felt like nothing could have hurt me. I felt almost invincible. But only almost, when we were not alone I felt less so.

“Miss Granger!” I heard a woman's voice call from behind us, I turned to find Madame Hooch coming after us. “I was just wondering, how is the flying going?”

She looked down at our hands, Draco still held mine, and them up again. “Good, I presume?”

I blushed furiously, and in the corner of my eye I saw Draco's smile. “Yes, Ma'am. She is improving, a quick learner.”

Hooch raised her eyebrow and gave us a suspicious look. “A ha...Good then.”

She walked away again, and I looked at the spot where she had been standing confused. “What the...?”

“I don't have a clue.” Draco answered to my unfinished question.

“So, I'm improving?” I said happily as we walked across the cold stone floor.

“Yeah, I mean, you are not shaking as a leaf on the broom anymore. I think thats a improvement.” I snorted as he continued. “But I think that it is safe to say that you wouldn't be successful as a Quidditch player," he grinned and added, "yet."

“Absolutely not!” I laughed. “Oh, can you even imagine me playing Quidditch?”

“Yes, and the image cracks me up every time.”

“Ha-ha.”

“Hey, guys! Wait up!” I didn't stop, but when Draco did I had to. I turned to find Blaise running up to us. “S'it okay if I sit with you today?”

We looked at eachother for about a half second before nodding in unison. “Thanks... Oh, and Malfoy... It came kind of sudden, but it's official... I'll leave at 13.00. Today.”

I felt sorry for him, I could tell that he really did not want to leave. “You can hang out with us until then, right?”

Blaise looked slightly shocked at my words, but looked hopeful up at Draco, who nodded while smiling. “I'd like that very much. Thanks.”

 

The three of us walked in to the Hall, and sat down at our usual place. I noticed how Ron left the Hall in anger, followed by Ginny and Seamus. Where were Harry? I looked back at the Gryffindor table, and saw that he was staring right at me, before he too stormed off in anger. They had no right to be angry at me. I had known them for seven years, and when I had needed my friends to be there for me, they had turned their backs on me. Now I found friendship in Draco... Well, it wasn't really friendship. It was impossible to put a label on us.

I tuned out my thoughts, and tried to pay attention to Draco and Blaise.

“So, you'll be home schooled in Venice?” Draco asked while shaking his head. “That sucks, man. I mean, you don't know anyone there!”

“I know. But you know my mom, she'll find a new man to marry in a heart beat. I just hope it is in fucking England. I can't count the many countries in which we have lived in. Russia, America, China, Sweden, Spain... It's time for settling down, for crying out loud!”

Draco couldn't hold back his chuckle, even though he tried. “Rotten luck.”

“Tell me about it. Why can't my mom be normal?” He looked like a small child about to cry in frustration, and I started to giggle. It was not funny at all, really. But I couldn't help it.

“I'm sorry, Blaise. But you should have seen your face.”

The two boys looked at me like I had grown an extra head, they had probably thought that I wasn't even listening to their conversation. Then they both started to laugh as well, and shook their heads.

 

After a while, when we had calmed down and finished eating Blasie looked at us with a wide grin.

“So, you two have decided to go public?”

I looked at Draco, and waited for an answer to that myself. I had no idea what we were doing, but he seemed to as he smiled knowingly and nodded.

“But...” He began. “I do not know what we are going public with.”

Oh damn. Why was this so complicated?

“Hermione?” Blaise looked at me, as if he thought I would have an answer for that, which was ridiculous.

“No idea.” I shrugged.

“You two are the most insane persons I have ever had the pleasure to meet.”

I glanced over at Draco and smiled.

 

Blaise excused himself for a minute and walked over to say goodbye to the rest of the Slytherins, and I took advantage talk to Draco.

“Are we sleeping in the room of requirement tonight as well?” I tried to sound casual about it, and not too eager.

“If you want too.” I could tell he tried to sound casual too, and the hopeful look in his eyes made me nod.

“Yeah!” That was said too eager, but I didn't care. “I just have to run up to the tower later and grab some stuff and take a shower. No offense or anything, but you should do the same.”

“None taken. Maybe we could skip dinner tonight, and just go to the kitchen and get some food from there?”

My heart was beating so fast at the thought of spending another night in the same bed as him. I could still feel his previous kiss on my lips. I could still feel his touch on my skin, burning like fire. These things were driving me insane, it was almost all I could think about. “O-of course we can.”

He smirked at me, as if he had known what I was thinking. Blaise came out of nowhere and seated himself beside Draco. He raised his eyebrows and looked happy as could be as he looked from me to his fellow Slytherin.“So, do you guys want to go to Hogsmeade?”

 

 

[Hey guys! Thanks again for the reviews, they mean a lot. So if you want to make my day, just drop a review. So, I am trying to keep every chapter at least 4000 words, but I can tell you already that the upcoming chapter is almost 5000... so I hope I wont disappoint you. Again, let me know what you think of the chapter(please be kind, though ;D) That's about is, I'spose. ]

Chapter 8: Knight
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  [everything you recognize belongs to JK Rowling. I only own the plot.]


The trip to Hogsmeade had been just what I needed. It had cleared my head, being away from the castle. I felt like I couldn't think properly in there, and I really needed to think over the situation with Harry, Ron and Ginny. I realized that I could either try to talk to them, or try to find some other people to be with. I could not depend so much on Draco, even if all I wanted was to be with him. All the time.

I had eventually decided to not dwell on it, and for the time being just focus on having a good time with Draco and Blaise, which turned out to be far too easy.
The 'saying-goodbye-to-Blaise' had not been as fun of an experience. Even though I didn't know him all that well, I could tell how much it hurt Draco to see the one friend he had left leaving. Even if Draco tried to act as if he wasn't all that bothered by the thought of Blaise moving to Italy, the expression in his eyes was something he could not fake. I was a bit sad to see Blaise leave as well, during the hours we had spent together in Hogsmeade; I had gotten to know him a little bit. He seemed like a nice guy, and I wouldn't have minded to have him around.

 

 

That was what I thought about when I walked up to the tower to gather some things for another day with Draco, and take a shower as well.
I was looking forward to spend the night with him again, hopefully without nightmares this time, and hopefully without talking in my sleep. That was another thing besides blushing that I really hated. Draco was probably very pleased with himself whenever he made me blush.

I smiled at the image that surfaced in my mind of him with a satisfied grin, which he had worn the multiple times he had made me blush in Hogsmeade.

 

The castle was silent, but warm. It didn't remind me so much of death anymore, it was still there, lingering in the air but not nearly as much as it had been just a week ago. I never thought that Draco Malfoy would be good for me.
Dinner would be served in the Great Hall in fifthteen minutes, so I figured that there wouldn't be many people in the common room.
I happily told the fat lady the password and walked in, my happy mood was destroyed in less than a second. It was not many people there, it was just one person. Ron Weasley.

I could literally feel all the happiness vanish from me. I went cold. Oh, perfect.

He stared right at me, his eyes filled with hate. I would never get used to see him looking at me like that, it was not right.
I decided to try and ignore him, so I walked pass him up to my dorm, and threw some of the necessary things in to a bag. Toothbrush, some make up, a PJ, and clothes for the next day.
When I felt that I had everything I needed, I went in to the bathroom.

 

The warm water made me forget all about Ron, it actually made me forget everything.

For a long time I let the water play over my body, as I shaved my legs and washed my hair. I loved the smell of my conditioner, it smelled of fruits, mostly apples. It was a fresh scent, that made me happy again.
Before I had gotten to know Draco, the shower was the place I used to cry the most. I would let my tears mix with the water so that no one would notice. Nobody would hear my cries, and muffled sobs. I had not wanted them to hear me, they would just ignore it anyway and that would just make it worse. So I hid my pain from them. Now, finally, I didn't have to do that anymore. Now I smiled as I stood there, rinsing my hair. I sighed as I realized that I had been in the shower for too long, and slowly walked out of there. Missing the feeling of the water on my skin the second it lost contact.

 

 

When I was finished, I threw the bag over my shoulder and walked down. To my surprise I found that Ron was still there, it didn't look like he had moved a millimetre. He seemed frozen.
Perhaps it was his cold eyes that made him look so frozen.
I tried to walk as fast as I could pass him, he must have moved because he was almost blocking my path. Maybe it was just my imagination that his skin felt cold as well as I brushed against him when I tried to get out of the common room. His hands caught my wrist painfully hard.

“Ron!”

“Please tell me that you are not going to see him again.” Even though he had said 'please' his voice was threatening, hard and cold. I tried to get out of his grip, but I had nothing against him.
What could I say? I couldn't lie to him because I was a terrible liar, and he was too intimidating for me to be able to make up something out of thin air. I decided to say nothing. “Yes or no!”
I hung my head so avoid his glare. “Answer me, for fuck sakes!”
“Yes!” I shouted back at him, and looked up right in his furious eyes. “I am going to him now. I'm sorry, Ron.”

“Sorry, are you?” He smiled sadisticly, a smile that didn't suit him at all. His grip tightened. I struggled even more to get away, but it was to no use. “Just stand still while I'm talking to you!”

“Let go of me!” I cried out when he slammed me in to the wall behind us. “Ron!” I breathed.

“Stand still!” he repeated. I couldn't do as he said, my body wouldn't let me. My mind screamed to do as he said but my body couldn't stop fighting his arms. “I said stand still!”

His words were followed by a hard slap across my face, I gasped aloud and looked at him shocked.

“Ron!” It was not my shocked voice that shouted at him, it was Harry's. In a matter of seconds he had pulled Ron away from me, and stood in between us. He was facing Ron, who was still furious.
I wondered what would have happened if Harry hadn't come, and shivered. My hand covered my stinging chin, damn he had hit hard. I could taste blood in my mouth.

Harry turned to me still holding his hand on Ron's chest, as to try and hold him back.

“You should leave.” He told me, his voice was both cold and apologetic.

“He hits me and I am the one that should leave?” I spat, to which Harry clenched his jaw and Ron dashed forward, making Harry turn to him and restrain him. Then he faced me again.

“Just try and forget anything happened. He is obviously not in his right mind.”

 

I threw my hands up in anger and glared at him, at them both. “Ofcourse! I should just forget it, is that it? Neither of you are in your right fucking mind!”

I pushed pass them, and rushed out.

Ron had hit me, he had actually hit me. It was so surreal, that I almost couldn't believe it.

“Hermione?” It was Ginny, I would recognise her voice anywhere. “Are you okay? Has something happened?” She turned me around to look at me, and up on seeing my red chin she started to look angry. “Did Malfoy do that to you? I swear, I'll kill him!”

I laughed without joy at how wrong she was. “It was not Draco. It was your fucking brother, Ginny. Ron did this.”

“He would never.” She said in a low cold voice as her eyes glared at me. Her face was like a mask, it showed no emotions.

“Yeah? If he would never do this, then why are Harry in there right now restraining him from coming after me and do Merlin knows what? Then why do I bleed? Go in and have a look at your brother and then if you still can, you can come tell me that your brother would never. He did.”

Ginny didn't say anything, she just turned around and walked away. Our many years of friendship didn't seem to matter to her.

 

 

 

 

I could have been walking for quite a while for I found myself standing outside the room of requirement and the way there was a blur. I didn't even have to do anything in front of the wall, the door appeared out of nowhere. I hesitated before I walked in. Draco was already there, he was sitting on the bed with a book in his hands, far lost in his mind. I stood there and just looked at him for a while, taking in his beautiful features. His eyes followed the words on the pages and from time to time he would raise an eyebrow or furrow them. A smile appeared on his face and I couldn't help but to smile myself.

“Are you going to stand there forever?”

He looked up then, and his smile grew wider as he realized that I had not known that he knew that I was there. I shook my head at him, and walked to sit on the bed next to him. Should I tell him about Ron? He would be furious.

I didn't have time to make up my mind, for his hand came to grip my chin gently, and turned my head. He studied my left cheek and I could see how his eyes turned from happy to hating.

“Who did this?”

“It doesn't even matter.” I tried, but the look on his face showed me that he was not going to leave it at that.

“It will just be worse if you let me jump to conclusions.”

“No really, it was an... accident. Eh... One of George's joke stuff that went a bit wrong.”

It was obvious that he did not believe me, his whole body language told be that he did not buy my lie.

“Do you really think that I do not recognise when someone have been hit?” He caressed my cheek softly but his words were quite cold. I felt a sting of pity for him. I decided that this was not the time to ask about that, so I stashed it up for later.

“Promise not to do anything.”

“I can't do that!”

I sighed in defeat, he was not going to let this go until I told him, and if I told him... I had seen how angry he got when Ron had called me a traitor, what would he do if he found out that Ron had taken it one step further?

“Was it Weaselette?” He mumbled softly, to which I shook my head.

I took his hand and laid down, pulling him with me. He turned his body towards mine and waited.

But I did not know how to say it. How to put it to words so that he would not kill Ron right after I spoke the words.

“Promise, please?” I whispered not daring to look at him. I heard his sharp intake of breath.

“Fine, I promise.” He sighed and squeezed my hand. “I promise.”

“It was...” I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. “Ron.”

 

He sat straight up and cursed out loud. His whole body was tense and his fists seemed to search for something to hit. He ended up hitting a pillow.
“I am going to kill him!” He jumped out of the bed, and I followed him clumsily. He was fast, but I was faster. I took a hold of his shirt in a attempt to stop him, it ripped open but it didn't stop him, so I threw one of my legs out infront of him and he fell over. “What...?” He moaned as he hit the floor, it should not have been funny, but the sight of him lying there was hilarious.“You promised, remember?” I tried not to laugh at him as he rubbed the back of his head looking slightly pissed at me. I held my hand out and as he took it I helped him up.

“I also promised myself that I would not let anyone hurt you again.”

He seemed torn between leaving and staying but in a matter of seconds he sunk down back on the bed. “I'll keep my promise to you, then. Seems more important at the time.”

“Thank you” I said softly. “Is it to soon to ask you a favour?”

“Not at all. I'm at your service.”

“Could you, you know... Heal me?” He nodded and raised his wand, I had never realized just how good of a wizard he really was. He cast spells non-verbally and he did it perfectly. “Thanks.”

“Anytime...” He mumbled, still looking at the spot which he had just healed.

“What do you mean with... You know, the promise you had made to yourself? I mean when did you promise yourself that?”

“When you were at the Manor and I saw what Bella did to you... I promised myself that if we survived the war, then I would make sure that I never saw that kind of pain in your eyes again...”
I did not know how to reply to that, did that make me his 'project'? It was probably the sweetest thing anyone had ever done for me, in a way. That's why I couldn't sound upset when I mumbled “I'm not a damsel in distress, you know, I don't need a knight in shining armour.”

“But I don't mind being your knight.” His eyes twinkled, and his lips curved up to a smile. He knew that I would give in when he did that.
I sighed and gave up. “Well, hello then, my knight.” He leaned in for a kiss and I kissed him eagerly back. But after just a few seconds I put my hands on his chest and pushed him away a bit. How had he ended up on top of me?

“Promise again.” I pleaded.

“Oh, for crying out loud, Hermione. I have promised you already!”

“I do not think that you are known to keep your promises very well, Draco...”

“Please don't hold my past against me in situations like this. I will never break a promise I've made to you.”

“But to others?” I raised one eyebrow and he smiled crookedly.

“Well... What does that have anything to do with this?” He leaned down. Kiss “I promise” Kiss “I promise” Kiss “I promise.”

“Oh merlin. Okay, you promise” He shut up then and kissed me with full force. Again my brain shut down completely and all I could do was kiss him back, and I did do with just as much passion as he kissed me with. Which was a lot. I had a feeling that he put all his anger in the kiss as well. I did not mind. His tongue and mine battled in a sort of dance with a need so indescribable.

His body was pressed so close to mine that I felt as if we were one. His hands started to roam my skin and I moaned in his mouth.

Draco's warm hands against my cold skin felt natural, like we were born to do nothing but touch each other. But suddenly Draco pulled away.

“We can't do this.” He said softly and stroke my cheeks, which were flushed, his liquid grey eyes looked deep into my brown ones. “I would feel like I was taking advantage of you. You have been through a lot these past hours.”

“I'm allowing you to take advantage of me, though.” But I understood what he meant and it made him even more perfect... “But it is too soon, isn't it?”

“Yeah, a bit too soon.” He smiled the genuine smile that I loved to see up on his face. “I think that we could be heading in to something...” He seemed to search for the right word.

“Serious?” I offered, to which he nodded thankful.

“Serious, and I am afraid that it could be ruined if we rushed things.”

He rolled of me, and pulled me up so that my head was resting on his chest. I could hear his heart beat in the most amazing rhythm. He was not as unaffected as he tried to sound.

“You are quite smart, you know.” I complimented, to which he chuckled.

“I think that that's a lot coming from the brightest witch of our age. How is it being called that, by the way?”

“It's almost as good as bookworm...” I muttered before I sighed. “It's awful, really. Huge expectations to live up to, you know.”

“I do know. Father always used to rub it in my face that I should be better than you in class. Being a pureblood and yadda yadda. I was never good enough. But after the war, I think he understood that it didn't matter as much if I was the best student or had the best broom He was just grateful that I was alive. It's like he has finally accepted that the world does not revolve around him.”

I blinked several times at what he had said. Was he talking about the same Lucius Malfoy as I knew? Lucius Malfoy, the most racist pureblood in all of England, the selfish, cruel deatheater? How could he have changed after the war? But Draco had so maybe, just maybe, Lucius could too. But it was highly unlikely. You can't teach an old dog to sit.

“Oh.”

“I would love to know what you are thinking about right in this moment.”

“You can't teach an old dog to sit.”

“What?” He sounded very confused and when I looked up at him he had both eyebrows furrowed as if he was trying to figure out a hidden message in the sentence.
“It's something muggles say.”
“Oh.” he looked in deep thought for a while before he broke out in a smile. “I figured it out...I think. You don't think that he has changed.”
“Its just.. I have a hard time imagining it. In my eyes he is still the racist deatheater.”
“So was I, until I proved myself to you. But you are right, he is still a racist, but not nearly as much. “

“What do you think he will say, when he finds out? Cause, lets face it... He will hear about it, soon. The way gossip spread in this school is ridiculous.”
“I honestly don't know how father will take the news.”
He looked worried for a while, as if going through different scenarios in his head. Until he gave up and smiled. “And I don't really care either.”

I closed my eyes at his words, and inhaled his scent. Draco did not care what Lucius thought about us, and that was a relief. If this was heading towards becoming more serious, than it was good to know that he was not going to let his father decide whether or not we could be a...Couple.

I had not finished the thought before I felt happiness rush through me. Could we be a couple? Could we last as one?

Could I... Love him?

That last question was easy to answer but would he be able to love me? A few weeks ago I would have said 'no', but after seeing how he could be I'd say 'maybe'. I certainly hoped he would.

“Good.” I whispered after a few moments of silence. Slowly I untangled myself from his arms, and he looked at me as if wondering why the hell I had moved away from him. I got out of the bed, and looked at him. “I'm hungry and I want to go to the kitchen.” I felt that an explanation was in it's place. “Care to join me, my knight?”

He was out of the bed faster than I thought possible and it made me giggle. That was when I truly looked at him. He was wearing a light blue shirt, with a few buttons unbuttoned, and black trousers. Normally I would have preferred jeans on a guy, but this was not just any guy and I had a hard time picturing Draco wearing something so muggle as jeans. Maybe I could ask him to try a pair some time.

His blond hair was hanging in his face, making his eyes look agonizingly beautiful. He smiled devilishly. “Like what you see, Hermione?” He purred out and walked towards me.
“I-I.. Well, yes.” I stuttered out as his smile grew wider, he obviously knew what effect he had on me and enjoyed it to the fullest.
Oh, Draco, please behave once we exit this room. I thought. It was one thing if he effected me like this when we were alone, but if he would make me stutter like an idiot or say something to make me blush in public... I would die of embarrassment.
Only he and he alone should see that, not the entire school. Obviously he agreed because as soon as we had left the room of requirement he simply took my hand and did not even try to stare me down with those seductive pair of eyes.

 

 

 

The kitchen elf's welcomed us with open arms and I greeted them all warmly. I could really tell that it was not an easy thing for Draco to do, as he just snorted when I told him to say 'hi'.

They gave us everything we asked for, and more. Which was great seeing as we could probably spend more than just one night in the room we planned to sleep in that night. I eyes were drawn to a small elf who were sitting alone, seemingly frozen out by the others. It was not that, however, that caught my attention. It was how much he or she looked like Dobby. The same big eyes, and the ears which hung down making the elf look even more sad. A wave of pain rushed through me as I looked at the elf. I hoped that Dobby was fine, where ever he was now. I wished that there could have been something that I could have done to save him. But I knew that there was nothing.

“Excuse me, Pix.” I said, to which a larger elf beamed up at me. “Who is that sitting in the corner?”

“That's Scrappy, Miss. Scrappy sits there all the time. Nothing to worry about. Pix makes sure that Scrappy eats her meals from time to time.”

“It's just... She looks so much like Dobby.”

Grief seemed to fall up on the small creature and she nodded. “Oh, Dobby was Scrappy's...”

“Brother.” Draco finished for her. Both me and Pix looked at him, urging him to continue. “As you remember, Hermione, Dobby was my family's elf. We did not need two, so we sold the other elf, Scrappy, to Crabbe's family. I did not know that they had set Scrappy free, though.”

“Dobby had a sister?”

Scrappy looked up when she heard Dobby's name, and walked up to us. “You knew Dobby, Miss?”

“I... Yes I did, he was a wonderful elf.”

“If you don't mind... How did he die?” Her eyes had filled up with tears, threatening to fall over any second. As I saw it, I had two alternatives. One: Tell her that Bellatrix had thrown a knife right in his chest. Or...
“He died while saving Harry Potter, Scrappy. He died while saving the entire wizarding world.”
She smiled through her tears and she seemed to fill with pride.
When we had gotten our food, and said goodbye. Scrappy had told us that we just had to visit her some other time. I had agreed, to be polite and maybe to help her.

 

 

 

“You know, you are a genuinely nice person, Hermione. I don't think I have ever seen anyone behave like that around elf's. “ Draco said astonished when we had gotten back to our room and sat down on the bed.

“Well, they have feelings too.” I said softly, and desperately trying to find something else to talk about, so that I wouldn't slip up and tell him all about S.P.E.W. That could turn out quite embarrassing.

“For what it is worth, I really liked Dobby, and I did not treat him badly. My father did and my mother too. But never me. Growing up as a only child can be lonely. Dobby used to play with me. Father did not like that, so he put a stop to it. He teached me that Dobby was nothing but filth, which I should treat as badly as possible. Even worse than muggles and mudbloods... Oh I mean muggleborns.” I shrugged my shoulder to tell him that I wasn't offended and he continued. “I just couldn't to that to Dobby, so I just told him not to let my father catch us together. It worked for a while. Can you imagine how utterly pissed off I was at Harry when he set Dobby free?”

I looked at him for quite some time trying to put myself in his position. It was impossible. “I like this side of you.” I had not meant for it to be said out loud but smiled as he did.
“I'm glad you do.” He said, and gave me a quick kiss before he headed for the bathroom.

As he was in there, I decided to change in to my night clothes which consisted of a big white t-shirt and shorts. I let my hair out of my strict ponytail, and ran my hand through it, loving the way it felt to let it out after a day of having it pulled back. Long smooth almost-curls hung down my back, and I felt the need to run my hand through it again.

“You look amazing.” Draco breathed from behind me, and I turned around right away. He was standing in a pair of black silk boxers and nothing else. I could feel my jaw that was about to drop and caught myself.

“So do you” I managed to say, and then I quickly walked in to the bathroom and closed the door. My nightclothes were so common or maybe that was just the way they appeared now when I had seen what he would be sleeping in. Hell, he could wear anything and still make it hot. Does he have to be so damn handsome? I washed away the make up, and brushed my teeth. Making sure to brush them thoroughly, since Draco seemed more than eager to kiss me.

The idea to take up flying had without a doubt been the best decision in my entire life. That was something that I was absolutely positive about. I wouldn't want to change that for anything in the world.
I grabbed my wand, and with a flick of it the bathroom light went out, and I walked out to where I knew I would find Draco.
I put my wand down at the couch, and walked to the bed. He was not in it yet, he was standing by the large book shelf.

“Do you want something to read?” He asked casually, and looked over at me. I nodded and clapped my hands. He rolled his eyes at me before he looked at the books again. “I think... There are muggle books here as well.” There was not disgust in his voice, but he seemed almost curious. “Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast... Is it muggle?”

“It is.”

“Interesting.” He continued to look at the books, looking closer at them. “May I pick one?”

“Yeah, sure.” I smiled at his new found interest in the books.

He returned seconds later, with a book held in his hand which he looked at very eagerly. He handed me the book and laid down. Cinderella. I hoped it was not because he thought it was a disease as Ron had thought...

“Oh, you picked Cinderella... You are aware that this is a children's book, right?”
“Yeah I figured, but I was brought up with different tales. Would you do me a favour, Hermione?”
“Yes...?”

“Read for me?” He looked so irresistible when he looked up at me. I smiled and nodded.Slowly I opened the book, inhaling the scent of the pages. I glanced over at Draco before I started to read, he had closed his eyes and was smiling. I smiled too, when I begun to read.

Once up on a time...”

[I get this funny warm happy feeling when you review, so please do! I am currently writing the 11th chapter, so I have a few ready, and I will keep them coming. So, tell me, did you like it? Hate it? - Cathy]

Chapter 9: Letters
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[Everything you recongize belongs to JK Rowling. I own nothing but the plot. Oh, and I own Matthew too. ]
 

Draco had fallen asleep just after I had finished the story and a few hours later I found myself perfectly awake and admiring his peaceful face as he slept. He looked so pure and innocent.I could watch him forever or so I felt. Just when I was about to fall asleep he let our a terrified moan, and my eyes snapped open right away to find him still sleeping. Another moan escaped his parted lips and his head trashed to the side. He was having a nightmare.

I did not know what to do.

“Draco?” I tried but his head just trashed to the other side, followed by another moan. I gently shook him. “Draco?”

“Hermione...” He mumbled it so quietly that I at first thought that I had imagined it. His eyes opened and he looked at me. I did not know what to expect from him but when he smiled I was shocked. “It was just a dream.”

I nodded, and laid down again, and felt his heart beat underneath my hand as I rested it on his chest. His heart was racing. Even after I had seen his naked chest a lot lately, I never really got over the perfection. I sighed.

“I dreamed about you.” He whispered and that made me look up at him.

“Thought you had a nightmare.”

“I did.”

I would have moved away if I had been able to, but I acted as if someone had Petrified me. What the hell was he saying?

“That came out wrong.” He said after a long pause. “Look, what I meant was that you were in the nightmare. We were at my place... You know, that night. I was unable to help you. Again.”

His hand started to caress my sleeve as he spoke. “You could never be a nightmare.”

When he spoke in that low, sweet voice and touched me like that I relaxed again. It was impossible not to be effected by him, he knew exactly what to do, what buttons to press...

“Oh.” was all I managed to say. He kissed the top of my head and told me to sleep. I wondered if he knew that I had been up all night watching him...

 

 



 

I woke up by feather light kisses that trailed down my neck making my eyes flutter open to be met by Draco's grinning face. “Good morning.”

And it was a good morning. Things went smoothly, we had breakfast in the come-and-go room, and stayed there for a long time. Until Draco insisted that we had to be shown outside of the room, so that we would not cause suspicion. If I and Draco just vanished from the school then there would be consequences to deal with and we were not in the mood for that.
What I worried most about was what would happen if we ran in to Ron. I believed that that could end badly.

We sat in the Great Hall, opposite of each other with a letter each in our hands. Mine was from my mother.

'Dear Hermione... yadda yadda.'

I decided that I would answer it later that day, maybe put some effort in to it. Not just another meaningless letter. I let my gaze search the hall, and it landed on Matthew. He was glaring at us. I could feel a strong hate build inside of me when I looked at him.  But for then, I ignored it  and looked over at Draco. He looked upset, his eyebrows were furrowed and he seemed to be glaring at the letter.

“Ridiculous.” He muttered. Up on seeing my curious face he started to read, mimicking his fathers drawl. “Draco. I hope school is fine. I wanted to let you know that while your mother and I visited France last week, we ran in to none other than Miss Parkinson and her family. I wish that you would reconsider your decision to leave her. Write her, Draco, ask her if she wish to come back to Hogwarts, and to you. If so, your mother and I would be very pleased.

Signed

Lucius.' It is absolutely ridiculous! How can he even think that I would do that?”

“Well, he is only suggesting it...” I said in a small voice. To think that Lucius wanted his son to be with Pansy was like being kicked while lying down. I would never be good enough in Lucius eyes, would I?

“You don't know my father like I do, Hermione. His words are pretty much law even if he is trying to make it sound less like an order. I wonder...”
He smirked and his eyes twinkled. “I wonder what he would say if I simply told him 'no'?”

“Well, can you simply tell him 'no', Draco? I mean... Have you stood up against your father many times before?” Something inside of me told me that he had never.

“Once...” He shuddered at the memory. “Thought he would kill me, seriously, you should have seen the fury in his eyes.”

“What did he do?” I whispered, hoping that he had done him no hurt.

“You see this scar?” he pointed at a barely visible scar on his right cheek. “Maybe its hard to see, it was healed many times...It's the only scar still visible.”

“No, I see it.” It was almost invisible, but if I focused then I could see the soft scar that reached for a good 4 centimetres.

“He hit me with that cane of his. Repeatedly in the face, when it got too deep he healed it and started over. He kept doing it until his arm hurt. It was my mother who healed me after he was done.”

I felt sick, disgusted. How could a father do something like that to his own son? “Another reason for me to not believe that he was changed. Its horrible, Draco.” I reached out and let my fingers trace the scar on his face. “Why can't you heal it fully?”

“I haven't thought about it, to be honest. It has just always been there.”

“If you want to, then I can heal it for you.” It seemed like the least I could to, since he had healed me in a way. He smiled at me and nodded, before he once again looked at the letter.

“Do you have a quill on you, Hermione?” He asked after a few seconds. I quickly took one out of my robe and he rolled his eyes. “Of course you have a quill on you...Well... Would it be too much to ask for some parchment as well?”

I laughed a bit while I searched my bag for a piece of parchment to give him. “Here.” I said as I handed it to him.

He started to write at once, and it did not take him long. He cleared his throat and read it out loud.

Father.

I do not want anything to do with Pansy, surely you and mother will respect my wishes. I will not write to her. Tell mother I miss her.

Signed

Draco. So, how does it sound?”

“Are you sure about this? I mean... Last time you spoke against him did not turn out so good, did it? What makes you think he wont do it again?”

“I'm older now, I can take care of myself.” He said simply, and attached the letter to his owl. I looked at both him and the dark owl, Draco seemed to care about the animal. I found it sweet that he would pat the owl gently, and speak to it. I couldn't hear what he was saying, but he did speak to it and the bird seemed to like Draco back.

“But would you want to fight with your father?”

“Look, Hermione.” He said and looked me sternly in the eye. “Of course I do not want to fight with him, but I refuse to be pushed around anymore. I don't want anyone to control my life I want to be able to do whatever I feel like, and be with whoever I want to be. If I don't ever stand up against him, then he will continue to make decisions for me until he dies. I've had it. I'm done with his rules.” He took a deep breath and fell in to silence while still looking at me, his eyes held a sort of sadness but also determination.

“Okay.” I said and took a breath myself. “Okay, if you really want to, then I will just shut up.”

“Thank you.” He smiled and the owl flew away with the letter. “How much to you want to bet that he will send me a howler?”

“What if he comes here?” I ignored his attempt to be funny, and his face grew a bit serious.

“Hm, didn't think about that possibility. He could come here, of course. It does not seem likely though, I don't think he is very liked here.”

“Since when does he care if he is liked?” I muttered. Draco laughed and nodded.

“Good point. Lets just drop the topic for now, okay?” He didn't wait for my response. “We have all the same classes tomorrow, can turn out to be interesting.”

“Yeah... We have Charms first lesson, right?”

“Indeed, and don't forget that you have a flying lesson with me at 13:00 tomorrow. I was thinking, that you might want to try out to fly yourself?” He raised an eyebrow as if asking me what I thought of that. I felt my eyes widen in dread.

“I don't know, Draco... I'll just end up falling off the broom.”

He mumbled something that involved the words 'stupid Gryffindor, witch and wand'.

“But what if...” I begun but was interrupted by Draco who held his hand up and shook his head.

What if doesn't exist.”

“I'll give it a try.” I sighed in defeat and his face lit up.

“Lovely.” he leaned backwards with a satisfied smile on his lips. Such a simple word should not affect me as much as it did. Maybe it was just because it was coming from his lips.




I was taken aback when he let out something that sounded like something in between a snort and a growl. He seemed to want to dash out of his seat and his hand automatically took a hold of his wand, even though he did not draw it. But he stayed put. I followed his... glare... and saw what he saw. Of course. Ron had just entered the Hall, followed by Lavender, Harry and Ginny. It was obvious that Lavender had taken my place in the group, but I did not feel jealous just let down.

“That damned red haired carrot has the nerve to show his face in here today. I should curse that bloodtraitor in to oblivion!” He kept muttering foul words under his breath, he was saying words that shocked me sometimes. I felt the need to stop him, seeing that when he did that he got even more angry.

“You need to calm down, Draco, you'll have a heart attack...”

“Calm down?” He snorted while still looking at Ron. “You think I should calm down? Not going to happen. Just because I promised that I wouldn't do anything, that does not mean that I will pretend that it did not happen. If he ever touch you again...” He left the threat hanging.

“I'm not asking you to forget about it! Just don't make a scene in here... Please?”

I could see it in front of me, Draco and Ron shouting in each others faces.

“I wont make a scene. In here.” He smirked. I grimaced. I couldn't stop him and that was something that I knew. He was far too angry with Ron to not confront him. I decided to let him confront him, trusting him enough to know that he was not going to break his promise.

 


We sat in silence as he continued to watch Ron's every move with fuming eyes. I watched as Dracos jaw clenched and unclenched repeatedly. Then he suddenly stood up, and walked quickly away. I looked around, confused beyond belief. Then I understood; Ron was on his way out as well, with the rest of the little gang. With a loud moan I hurried after them, and felt a cold feeling of dread in my chest. It could end badly.

“You should have stayed.” Draco hissed in my ear as he took my hand in his in a way that made me feel like he was protecting me. His strong hand held me tight, and he pulled me closer to him.

“Remember your promise... That is all I am asking of you.”

“Yeah, I know. I won't hurt him.” He muttered. Ron pulled Lavender in to a kiss right in front us making Draco fake a gag. “Disgusting.”

All four of the people turned around, and all of their eyes fell my hand in his. Harry was the first to look up at me. His jaw was clenched, but he did not seem surprised.

“Keep your thoughts to yourself, Malfoy.” Ron muttered, and made an attempt to turn but caught himself. He did not want to leave without his friends.”Shall we leave?”

No one answered him.

Draco released my hand and stepped towards Ron, who held his ground. “If it were not for Hermione, then you would so not be standing here right now, Weasley.” He spoke in a low, intimidating voice that brought shivers to my spine.

“What is he talking about?” Whispered Lavender to Ginny. Ginny, who obviously still thought her brother was oh-so-innocent, shook her head as if she didn't know.

“But I promise you this.” Draco ignored the girls, and continued to speak to Ron. “If you ever lay your disgusting hands up on her again I will personally make sure that you regret ever being born.”

“Malfoy, you are not making any sense. Ron has not done anything.” Lavender spoke up for her boyfriend, and that made Draco roll his eyes.

“Oh, but he has. Have you not, Weasley?”

Ron's blue eyes found Lavenders and he looked straight at her when he spoke. “I have no idea what he is talking about.”

I stayed silent, even though I wanted to hit every inch of him. He was not the person I had once known.

“Do not lie!” Draco roared making Ron flinch.

“I'm not. I don't know what Hermione have told you, but I did not in any way hurt her.”

“Do not speak like that, Ron.” Harry finally spoke. “Do not put the blame on her... You should apologize instead. I saw what you did, Ron. You did hit her.

Ginny looked like she had been slapped across the face when Harry said it. “I can't believe it.”

She said silently, and looked away from Ron. Lavender on the other hand took Ron's hand.

“If he did... Then I am sure that he had good reasons.” She looked right at me, with a self satisfied look on her face. The way she held him screamed – look what I have taken from you.

I could not care less. Draco seemed calm when he spoke.

“You do not hit a girl, no matter what she has done. What will you do when he gets upset with you, Brown? When he hits you?”

“He would never hit me. Maybe its just that he loves me more than he loves her.”

“Right.” Draco said doubting. “I am sure that that excuses everything!” He threw his hands up in the air and fakes a cheerful smile and then his face fell and he looked at them both with accusing eyes.

“She is just jealous! Just because she was too boring for him to love, this is just her revenge!”

“Oh yeah, that must be it!” I took a step closer to them and my voice was full of sarcasm. “No, Lavender, I am not jealous. Nor will I ever be jealous of you. I am perfectly happy as it is.”

Draco smirked at their facial expressions.

“I am, however, extremely sad over how this all ended, there were a time where I could call all of you friends. I don't think I can do that anymore.”

Ginny bit her lip, as if she wanted to say something but she decided against it after a glance up at Harry's stone like features.

Draco took my hand again, and pulled me against him. “What I came here to say was: Stay away from her, Weasley.”

 

He turned us around and we walked away from them without looking back, hand in hand. Us against them. Them against us. How strange it felt. The Golden Trio was broken.
It was rather sad, considering everything that we had gone through, but at that moment... All I could feel was the anger and the hurt that they had caused me.
I had no idea where he was taking me and right then I didn't care, I was just going through memories in my head.

The battle at the department of mysteries, the Quidditch world cup, when Harry and I had gone back in time using the time turner, mine and Ron's kiss at the final battle, the ignore-everything that has happened-thing... And then Ron's slap across my face.

I closed my eyes briefly as we turned a corner. It was no use to think about those things, because it would not change anything. The damage was done, and to dwell over what could have been was simply no use. The silence between us started to become awkward, and if I had not been as upset as I was then it would have been almost amusing.




A door opened in front of me, and not until then did I realize where we had been heading. Why are we in the kitchen?But as usual, I let him go through with whatever plan he had in mind and did bother to ask.
Draco went up to Pix, who at first looked terrified, but then she smiled and nodded fast. In a matter of seconds Draco walked back to where I was sitting. He handed me a white plate with vanilla ice cream and a few strawberries.

“I have heard that ice cream helps when one is upset.” said Draco and brought his own spoon to his mouth. I could not help but to smile then. He had walked all the way here just to calm me down, okay maybe he had wanted to calm himself down as well but the gesture was still as sweet. “And I do recall that you like strawberries.”

“This is just what I need!” I smiled and tasted the soft vanilla flavoured ice cream.

“Oh, me too.” He mumbled and looked down. “Was it good?” he said while putting another spoonful in to his mouth. I nodded and not until then did I realize that he was not having the same flavour as I did.

“What are you having? Looks yummy.”

He chuckled. “It's pear with chocolate bits in it. Want to taste?” he asked and brought his spoon to my mouth. It tasted just as good as it looked. “It good, right?”

I nodded while smiling and then I felt the cold pained feeling that I usually got when I had eaten ice cream too fast. I rested my forehead in my hands while I waited for it to ease away.

“Are you okay, Hermione?” asked Draco worriedly and put his spoon down.

“Yeah, yeah. Ate too fast.”

Draco laughed out loud. “Should have recognized that, my mother can't eat ice cream fast either.”

Somehow I had a hard time picturing Narcissa Malfoy eating ice cream at all, but to picture her sitting like I did now seemed close to impossible. Draco's laughter turned in to just a soft chuckle.

“Water helps, you want some?”

“Nah, I'm fine.” I shook my head and looked up. A few elf's had stopped their work to look at me, confused over my behaviour. I gave them a shy smile and they quickly got back to work. What was left of my ice cream I ate slowly and after Draco had finished, he spent a while looking at my slow eating with a amused look up on his face.

“What?” I asked, after I had swallowed the very last of the delicious ice cream.

“Nothing.” He smiled and I snorted, there was obviously something. But I decided to let it be so I said nothing. “You ready to go?”

“Yeah.”

I stood up and so did he, he held out his hand like always and as always my heart started to beat really fast. We said our goodbyes to the elf's – especially Scrappy – and then we walked out of there.

“Draco... Can we walk up to the owlery? I have a letter that I should write and send...”

We did a complete turn and walked towards the owlery, much to my delight. “Thanks.”

Draco didn't answer, he just smiled.

 

 





Once up there I took out a quill and a piece of parchment and began to write my letter to my parents.

Mum and Dad...

I am doing really good in school now, things are finally looking better. Much thanks to a new friend, I can tell you more when I get home over the holidays.

I have been taking up flying and Draco says that I am improving, so I am really happy about that. But what about you, how are you? How's everyone back home?

Hope to hear from you soon.

Love – Hermione.

It wasn't much, but it was far more than my previous letters which had consisted of one sentence.

I attached it to my owl and patted it on its head. I noticed that Draco had gone to the window and saw that his owl had just arrived with a letter. It was not supposed to have arrived until the next day at lunch, probably... He took the letter but did not open it. He put it in his pocket and mumbled something about reading it later.

My owl flew away just as we were leaving. I knew that my parents would be glad that life was going good for me, it had been a while since it had.

 

 






We had walked out to the grounds and we were sitting by the lake, resting against a tree.
He had yet to read his letter, but he held it in his hands and had been staring at it for the last half hour.
It had begun to darken, fall was definitely here, I could feel it in the air.
He sighed heavily, but did not make a move to open the letter. It was rather annoying, why wouldn't he just open it?
“Just go a head and read it!” I blurted out after another five minutes of him staring at it.
His head snapped up and he looked at me with wide eyes. “What if I don't want to know what it says?”
“There is really only one way to find out.” I moved closer to him, and rested my head on his shoulder. “Who is it from?”

“My father.”

I understood why he did not want to open it, but it needed to be done. “Its easier to just get it over with.”

“You are right, as usual.” He mumbled.

“If you want, I can read it for you, and tell you if it is good or bad?”

He stared at me and broke out in a smile. “Nah, I'll do it myself. Thanks anyway.”

Draco opened the letter, and took a deep breath before he started to read.

 

I guessed that the letter was not long, because it looked to me as if he were reading the same lines over and over again. His jaw was clenched and his eyes hard. His fists were holding the small letter as hard as they could without tearing it apart.

“What...?” I began, but was cut off when he looked at me and spoke in a whisper.

“My father is coming to Hogwarts.” and with that he let the letter fall out of his hands, and I caught it and read it fast.

I have had enough of your stupidity. I am coming to visit you.

From what I knew, there was no way that it was going to be a friendly meeting between father and son. Draco had tried to tell me that Lucius had changed, but after hearing that he had repeatedly hit Draco when he was younger... It made me doubt it. I figured that Lucius was not pleased with his son, and thought that it would take quite a lot for him to come here. Obviously he wanted Draco to do as he said, I just hoped that Draco would tell his father 'no' again. If Draco wrote to Pansy... I didn't even want to think about it. I would be out of Draco's life faster than I had entered.

But maybe... Just maybe Lucius had changed. After all he had not participated in the final battle as much as he had tried to find his son. Maybe he wasn't as much of a racist. Just maybe.

“It'll be fine.” I found myself saying, much to Draco's surprise.

“You really think so?”

“Well, you have said that he was changed, a bit at least, and you wont be alone against him.”

Draco was quiet for a while, as if thinking about what I just said. “You want to meet him.” He stated.

“Yes I do.” I must be out of my mind. “But it is up to you, do you want me to come with you when you meet him?”

“I don't want it as much as I need it. I couldn't face him... alone. I couldn't do it without you. I need you to come with me.” He seemed almost ashamed over that fact, maybe it was because he was used to keep everyone away from him. He was not used to needing people. I took his hand.

“It's settled then.”

Draco leaned down and kissed the top of my head as if saying 'thank you'.

 



[Thanks for all the wonderful reviews. You are all amazing! Im writing chapter 12 right now, and I think that it is turning out quite good. So what do you think of this chapter? I really, really hope that you don't find it boring... Thanks again.(Also, check out my Meet the Authors page!)  - Cathyyy]

Chapter 10: Departure
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[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.

“After lunch.”

“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.

“Much better.”

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.”

“Will do.”

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.”

“Bye.”

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]

Chapter 11: Forgiveness
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[Yet again, I own noting but the plot and Matthew. Everything and everyone you recognize belong entirely to the goddess JK Rowling. Enjoy!]


 
There were a deafening silence that hung in the air surrounding us. My eyes never left Lucius as he looked down his nose at me with his ice cold grey eyes which were becoming less like Draco's by the second. Draco, where the hell are you?“Miss Granger, you would not possibly know where my son is, would you?” Lucius drawled and I licked my very dry lips. I tried to have an open mind, but all I could think about was how he had beaten Draco. I forced myself to break eye contact and glance down at the cane. A sudden urge to break it in two rushed through me, but I did my best to calm down.

“He should be here any second now, Mr Malfoy.” My voice was calm and I, myself, could not hear any anger in it. I glanced up at the sky just in time to see him dive down and slow the broom down as he landed.

I did not miss the cold expression his face held as he looked from me to his father. “Father!” He called out to which Lucius lip twitched but he made no effort to move towards his son.

“Draco, I think that we should take this elsewhere.” Lucius said and started to turn but Draco cleared his throat making him freeze.

“I think we might as well do it here.”

The older wizards eyes flashed with sudden anger as he looked back at his son, but other than that and a clenched jaw there was no sign of the rage I knew was boiling under his skin. He forced a unpleasant smile on his lips and gave a short nod. He tapped with his gloved fingers on the cane as if he was trying to calm himself down.

“What is the meaning of this, Draco?” His voice was hard, and low as he eyed Draco with such intensity I shivered. I looked over at Draco, who was meeting his fathers gaze with the same stare.

“I'd just rather not leave Hermione in the middle of our lesson. You had something you wanted to speak to me about?” Draco spoke with the same low voice as Lucius had done, to prove that he was serious perhaps.

The fact that he had called me Hermione did not go unnoticed by Lucius, who's intense grey eyes flickered over to look at me for a few seconds.

“I will get to that, first you shall tell me what you mean with this. Lesson? What lesson?” He raised one eyebrow as he demanded answers.

“I am giving Hermione flying lessons, father.” Then he added obviously under his breath. His father did not catch the last word but I did.

“I see.” he smirked as he looked at me, then when he looked back at Draco his face turned into stone. “I wanted to talk to you about Miss Parkinson, Draco. You did not seem to understand what I wrote to you, maybe this way you will see it more clearly. You should write to...”

“Father.” Draco interrupted and held his hand up as if to silence his father, something that Lucius did not expect. “I can read perfectly well, thank you very much. As I told you, I will not write her. We are done, her and I. End of story.”

Lucius looked as if he had been slapped across the face, and took a step closer to Draco. I took a hold of my wand, ready to use it if necessary. I knew that Draco noticed the quick movement I had made, but he ignored it.

“I will not tolerate...” Lucius began in his most threatening voice and I saw clearly how Malfoy the younger rolled his eyes. “Your insolence!”

“And I will not tolerate you pushing me around any more!” Draco raised his voice just a bit, making Lucius raise his eyebrows. “I will not write Pansy, it is not even an option any more.”

“And why is that?”

“Well... I've met someone else.” He did not look at his father while he said that, he was looking down at the shoes he was wearing as if they were the most interesting thing in the world.

“Really...and is this someone I have heard of before?” Lucius drawled while he backed away somewhat.

“Yes...” Draco said hesitantly and let his eyes glance over at me, but not even such a small movement went unnoticed by Lucius who's head turned to look at me and then back at his son.

“Am I to understand that you are involved with this Mudblood?” His jaw was clenched tight and I saw the quick beat of his pulse on his neck.

“Yes.” said Draco simply. There was really no other way to say it, the best way to say it was straight out and that was what he did. “Her name is Hermione, I think she would prefer that over Mudblood, father.”

I stood speechless. Never would I have thought that he would stand up to his father like that and tell him about us. They did not move, they just stared at each other and Draco's confession seemed to hang in the air.

 

Over one minute passed before anyone made any attempt to speak. Then Lucius smirked.

“I must say that I am truly... What is the word I am looking for? Well, disgusted will do. But I do see myself benefiting from this little... relationship of yours.”

“How?” I blurted out, without thinking and four grey eyes looked at me. “How does it benefit you, Mr Malfoy?”

“Are you not supposed to be clever?” Lucius sneered. “I am sure that Draco can explain it all to you later...”

I glanced over at Draco, who looked thoroughly pissed, he gave me a short nod.

“I see no reason to stay here now.” Malfoy the elder said. “This will break your mothers heart.”

And with that he turned and walked away, with his cane in a hard grip. Leaving his son behind – a son who looked ready to kill.

“What did...?” I began but was interrupted by Draco.

“Lesson is over.” he said with a cold voice as he pushed past me and walked away, I watched his back as he walked away, understanding that he needed to be alone for a while but I felt hurt watching him leave like that. I felt abandoned.

 

 

I walked alone in the castle, trying to find something to keep myself occupied with until I felt that I could go after Draco, but to no use. I found nothing of interest. Even the library seemed boring. That was a lie, I just couldn't cope with the glare I got from Mrs Mulberry. So I ended up just wandering the corridors.

It was empty for every student had lessons, so I seated myself on the window sill and looked out over the grounds. There was a soft breeze and a pair of birds were chasing each other and I smiled at them. I leaned my head against the wall behind me and closed my eyes. The day had been wearing me out, and I felt as if I could fall asleep while sitting there.

“Miss Granger?” I turned my head to find McGonagall standing there looking at me worriedly. “What are you doing out here? Don't you have classes?”

“I had flying lessons today, Professor McGonagall...”

“Oh, I see. Well, I have been meaning to speak to you. Come with me to my office, will you?”

“Ofcourse.” I said and quickly got down from the sill and walked alongside the Headmistress to her office.

I had only been there once after the war, and that had been just minutes after the war ended.





 

 

The password was not what I had thought it would be; I actually had not given it much thought but it was not something I would have expected. Victory.

The office looked almost identical as how it had looked when Dumbledore had been Headmaster, it still held old his old stuff, which I suspected he had given to the future Headmaster or Headmistress. I observed all the portraits in hopes of finding Dumbledore, but I couldn't.

Instead I found a painting that was all black, but it was not that that caught my attention. It was the nameplate underneath it. Severus Snape. What I wouldn't give to tell him how sorry I was for not saving him... I had been so close but yet so far away...

“Harry insisted that Severus would be given a place here, after he learned the truth.”

“Where is he?” I asked McGonagall, but my eyes did not leave the deserted painting. Just beside it hung another painting; equally deserted.

“I figured that you did not want him or Albus present...” When I looked over at her, I saw slight nervousness on her features. “Would you like me to tell them to return?”

“Please do, Professor...”

All she had to do was to give the painting a light knock, and in to the first painting; Dumbledore appeared. He was smiling, and his eyes twinkling behind his glasses. His piercing blue eyes seemed almost proud. How curious.

“Miss Granger...” He greeted. I gave him a small smile and a nod. “I hear that you and Mr Malfoy have gotten to know each other, is this correct?”

“Yes, Professor.”

“Excellent!” He cheered and gave a small laugh, before he glanced over at the painting that hung next to him. He rolled his eyes, and before I knew it, he had walked in to that painting and was pulling at something that was outside the frame. A loud curse followed with a sigh was heard.

Dumbledore was back in his painting, but that was not what I was paying attention to. He had dragged Snape to the centre of his painting.

“Miss Granger.” He said, obviously not wanting to be there.

“I am so sorry!” I blurted out, without thinking. Everyone's eyebrows rose, painting as well as living being and I blushed at my sudden outburst. I felt the need to explain myself. “It has been haunting me since the war that I was not able to help you, save you... Maybe if I had done something different then maybe...”

Snape held up his hand to stop me, and I stopped at once. “No need for that. I did not expect to be saved, I did certainly not expect you to save me. I do not blame you whatsoever.”

“Thank you.” I whispered in relief. He gave a short nod. “No, not just for not blaming me. I mean for all of it, without you... We would all be dead, probably. So, thank you.”

He looked uncomfortable and shifted in the painting. He didn't answer, he just gave another nod. “Albus, may I go now?” He muttered after a while, and Dumbledore chuckled.

“Yes, Severus. I think that we both should leave now. I do believe that Minerva had something to talk to Miss Granger about.”

 

 

 

I sat down opposite of McGonagall and she looked at me for a long time without speaking. Then she sighed. “Your friends have all left, and excuse my straight forwardness, but why have you not asked permission to drop out as well?”

I stared at her for a long time. Then a smile broke out on my lips. “Why, I am not dropping out of school!” Her eyes were huge as I spoke. “I am going to graduate, and I have Draco so I am not all alone.”

“I see...” She said, and leaned back in her chair. Her lips were merely a thin line. “You have not been at your top in classes, but I do have understanding for that, after what you have been through... I hate to say it, but I think that Mr Malfoy is good for you. You pay more attention now, you did not do that before you became friends with him. I think that if you keep improving like this, then you can graduate with excellent grades. Just be careful, will you?”

“Of course.” I replied. The fact that she did not like Draco was obvious, but she accepted it. I was grateful for that. “I always am, Professor. Would that be all?”

“Yes, that would be all.”

I smiled and stood up and turned to walk away when she called out my name making me turn to face her again. “If you ever need anything, you know where to find me, Hermione.” She said kindly and I thanked her and walked out.

 

I was both grateful and annoyed with her. She was obviously trying to keep an eye on me, and I suspected that it had mostly to do with the fact that I was with Draco. She did not trust him. But I was also grateful, for she was acting very kind towards me, despite the fact that I was skipping class occasionally and that I had not paid any attention in her class in what seemed like forever.

But she was offering her help, and that was very kind of her indeed.

 






I stood outside the door that had appeared in front of me, wondering if I should enter or not. I had asked the door to only appear if Draco was in there. Apparently he was. I sighed and let myself sink down by the wall. Did he want to be alone? Would he have gone here if he did? Would he not have told the room that he wanted privacy, if that was what he wanted?

I buried my face in my hands and let out a frustrated cry.

Suddenly I heard him cough on the other side of the door, and that made my mind up. He was in there and I was out here. That was not right, we should be on the same side. I stood up and took a deep breath before I pushed the door open and walked in.

The sight of him made me stop dead in my tracks after closing the door behind me.

Draco was wearing a pair of loose fitting black trousers and a simple white t-shirt, he was barefoot and it was obvious that he had taken a shower quite recently for his blonde hair was still a bit damp from it, and it was messy around his face.
Even though this was the most dressed down I had ever seen him; he had never looked more beautiful.

“Hi.” I said softly, and he turned around at once. Had he not heard me enter?

“You startled me. Where have you been?” He demanded, as he strode over to stand in front of me.

“I was giving you some space.”

“Something more happened, I can see that.”

“Well, I talked to McGonagall... She wanted to know why I had not asked permission to drop out of school yet.”

His eyes narrowed. “What did you tell her?”

“What is up with the interrogation?” I asked suspiciously, but I sighed when he did not answer. “I told her that I was going to graduate.”

Ha gave a short nod, and sighed quietly. “I missed you.” He did not seem used to confessing something like that, and he couldn't bring himself to look at me at first, but when his eyes finally looked up from the floor and met my eyes; I saw the honesty in them.

“I missed you too.” I was surprised when I said it, surprised at how easy it was to tell him that. I realized that that was the reason to why I had felt so abandoned when he had left; I knew that I was going to miss him.

“I've been here a while, waiting for you to come... I... Well, just come here.” He took my hand and dragged me with him, I smiled widely at the always so amazing feeling of his skin against mine.

 

I was in awe. There was a small table standing in the corner, with two lit candles and there was food on the table as well. He had made dinner, or well... He had probably just gone down to the kitchen to get it, but it was the thought that counted after all. I turned my head to face him, and let out a giggle. He held a big, red rose between his teeth.

“Oh, how sweet of you.” I said and took the rose from his mouth, and replaced it with my lips. I could feel his smile.

“Well, I felt the need to make it up to you. I acted like a git, leaving you like that. You were there when I needed you to be and I just left you without an explanation.”

I did not speak, but he did not continue. I wondered how hard it was for him to admit that he needed me.

“Well?” I finally asked. He led me over to the table and we sat down opposite of each other. I put the rose on the table beside the plate. He took a deep breath.

“Do you want to know what my father meant?” His intense gaze landed up on me and it was impossible for me to look away. I gave an insecure nod. Draco raised an eyebrow and I nodded once more but with more determination.

“You can't think of one thing that could make our relationship that could benefit my father?”

My eyebrows furrowed as I thought about it, but something happened that almost never had happened before. My mind was completely blank. I sighed in defeat and asked him to just tell me. He smiled lazily before he leaned back. “Alright, look at it from my fathers point of view. He just barely got away from serving a life sentence in Azkaban, everybody knows about him being a Death Eater, they all still think of him as a slimy racist bastard. What could possibly make people change their minds about him? What could make him accepted by the society again?”

My mind must have been working abnormally slow that night, for I had no idea where he was going with this. He looked at me, as if questioning my sanity when I looked at him, waiting for the rest of the explanation.

“Don't you see it?” He smiled a smile that did not reach his eyes. There was obvious disgust in his voice as he spoke. “My father is taking advantage of you. Of our relationship. When the rest of the wizarding world finds out about this, they will all think that he has overcome his hatred towards muggleborns, and he will gain respect he once had.”

“Of course.” I breathed. It all made sense, and I mentally slapped myself for not figuring that out.

“You understand now, huh?”

“Most definitely. Your father is one nasty man.”

Draco laughed at my tone, but then shook his head. “He is Lucius Malfoy.”

“I tried to keep an open mind earlier, you know.” I smiled, and started to serve myself some food. “I found it unbelievably hard, but I did try.”

“I could tell. I'm glad you did. You were behaving more mature than my father and I apologize about his behaviour, Hermione, I really do.”

I shrugged. Truth to be told, I had expected no less from Lucius.

Draco had served himself some food and tucked in. It was chicken and rise, and it looked delicious.

“When did you get all this done?” I gestured at the table and the food, and he smiled.

“A while ago. Do you like it?”

I nodded while smiling, and brought the fork to my mouth and after I had swallowed I raised an eyebrow at him. There was something about the food that made me think that the house elf's had not cooked it. “Did you do this, Draco?”

“Just the chicken... Scrappy did the rest.” He shrugged, but I could tell that he was quite proud of himself. Hell, I was proud of him.

“Well, it is really good.”

“I know.”

I rolled my eyes at him, and then went back to eating. He filled my glass with what looked like firewhiskey.

“Draco... We have classes tomorrow!”

“One glass wont kill you, after all we are celebrating.” He raised his glass and I did too. “To their departure”

“To their departure” I echoed, and drank eagerly. The relief I had felt since they had left once again bubbled up inside of me. He drank too, and not as careful as he had done that day in Hog's Head, he too drank it all in one sip and then winked at me.

“Refill?” He asked while he poured the whiskey in to his own glass and then looked up at me again.

“I am sure to regret it tomorrow... Fill it up.” I nodded towards the glass and he obliged. “You bring out the worst in me, you do know that, right?”

“I know.” He grinned. “You bring out the best in me, you do know that, right?”

I didn't reply to that, I simply did not know what to say. Instead I let the strong liquor burn my throat and closed my eyes at the delicate taste. When I opened them, I saw how Draco put his empty glass back down on the table. He was definitely not taking it as easy as he had, he was already pouring himself another. Drained it and served himself yet another.

“Maybe you should take it a bit easier, Draco.”

He chuckled at me and shook his head. “I'm celebrating, Hermione.”

I rolled my eyes, but drank up what was left in my glass. “So am I but we still have classes tomorrow.”

He grinned, and then he poured the continents of the glass down his throat. This was certainly not only about celebrating, I suspected that it had a fair bit to do with his father. “So?”

“Oh, what the hell.” I said, and poured myself another glass. “Lets go sit by the fire, its much more comfortable.”  I walked ahead and waited for him sit down, so that I could lean myself on him. I decided that the glass in my hands were going to be the last one, I couldn't afford having a hangover in class.

I put the glass down on the floor and leaned against Draco, who had put his glass down as well; though his was empty. We sat there for a while just observing the fire in front of us.

He started to caress my arms with his fingertips, and the soft touch sent shivers down my spine.

“You know, I am so happy that I have you in my life.” He whispered in my ear, and I giggled.

“Wow, you are so drunk!”

“I... I am not even going to try to deny that. But you know what they say... Eh... A drunk wizard's words are.. eh...” He thought hard for a few seconds. “A sober wizard's thoughts.”

“True that.” I agreed, knowing that he would probably not have said it if he had not had the alcohol in his system. But none the less, his words meant so much. I turned around and he looked at me surprised. I ignored his questioning stare and pressed my lips against his and brought my hand to the back of his head and pressed him closer to me. There was a taste of the alcohol, but not as much as I had suspected. But I did not care about that.

All that mattered was the feeling of his lips that were on mine.

Draco's arms wrapped around my waist and he pulled me closer to his body while the passion in our kiss grew stronger, going from warm and tender to hot and bruising. He moaned in my mouth as I softly bit down on his lower lip. The intense desire brought us together, and it was pure and strong.

He lifted me up, and I wrapped my legs around his waist as he carried me over to the bed. My lips never leaving his.

“Are you trying to take advantage of me because I am drunk?” He murmured in my ear as he put me down.

“Not at all.” I said innocently, panting heavily.

“Good, for when I said that we should wait – I meant it.”

“I know, but that does not mean that we cant do this now does it?” I said and reached up and kissed him.

“Mm... No, it doesn't.” He leaned himself on me, gently as if not to crush me and kissed me on the spot behind my ear that made my mind go blank. Damn, he is good.

 

 

 

 

 

I laid listening to the sound of his heart beat. Dunk Dunk Dunk. He was not asleep; he was thinking. Now and then he would share his thoughts, like when he commented about my hair; I haven't told you, but you're hair looks great when it's not as bushy as it used to be or when he had said that I had truly beautiful eyes.
But he had become more silent as he begun to sober up. I had given up trying to figure out what was going on in his mind a long time ago.
My hair was sprawled across his chest, I realized that it might be tickling him but did not bother to remove it. Was he even ticklish?
I sighed heavily. There was still so much we did not know about each other, so many things that I wanted to learn about him.

“Draco...?” This moment was as good as ever.

“Hmm...?” He sounded tired, maybe he had begun to fall asleep. I tilted my head upwards to look at him. His eyes were closed but then he opened one lid just a little bit to look at me.

“Are you by any chance ticklish?”

His lips curled up to lazy smile while he closed his eyes again. “You seriously woke me up to ask me if I am ticklish?” So he had been sleeping... Despite his words he did not seem bothered by that fact so I continued to observe him.

“I am, but I can chose not to be. It is all about determination and control, you know?”

“I know about that, but I cant do it. It doesn't work for me.” I sighed sadly. His eyes snapped up; still looking very tired and just slightly drunk.

“So there is something that the great Miss Granger cant do? Oh, how I will use that to my advantage.” At first I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion, the alcohol had made quite a mess of my brain but his words made sense when his fingers dipped into the sides of my stomach making me laugh and slap his hand away. He chuckled, but he was too tired to fight me, so he stopped. But I knew that he would do that some other time, without a doubt.
When I heard his soft snores; I smiled and cuddled up closer to him and closed my eyes.

“I'm happy to have you in my life as well...” I mumbled before I fell asleep.




[Yaay! another chapter! I hope you guys like it, I think it was important for Hermione to get that chance to tell Snape that she was sorry, even though he is just a painting. And for Lucius... Well, that does sound to me like something he would to, or do you think otherwise? Also, the next chapter, chapter 12 that is, I am really, really pleased with it! 
Oh, and I got a review that asked if I could do some kind of event... I will consider it, but I am not sure how that will work out, well.. Maybe if you read the next chapter you will understand why! Anyways, let me know what you thought of it! -  Cathyyy ]


Chapter 12: Potions
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[Oh, you all know that I do not own anything HP. That is aaalll JK Rowling. I do however own the plot and that annoying boy called Matthew. ]


 
The morning had started out wonderfully, that was until Draco had woken up and started whining about his hangover. I had never heard a more annoying sound as when he walked around muttering and moaning and whining. Oh my head hurts so bad. Merlin, the sun is making my eyes hurt. Would you keep it down a notch? I feel like my head is about to explode.

“I'm not going to say 'I told you so'” I muttered and he rolled his eyes and winced. Apparently even rolling his eyes hurt.

He had been lying on the couch for half an hour while I got ready in the small bathroom. He appeared to be asleep as I walked out of the bathroom but when I threw the bag over my shoulder; he sat up.

“Come on, lets get some breakfast before we have potions.” I said and dragged him up from the couch.

“Uh, the mere thought of food makes me want to throw up.” He made a gag sound and shivered. I smiled and shook my head. “Gee, Hermione. Don't you have a hangover?”

“Nope.” I said cheerfully and silently thanked myself for not drinking that last glass. “Do we only have potions today?”

“Yeah... Double in potions.” He mumbled and closed his eyes. I looked at him curiously and he opened one eye slightly. “It feels better if I have my eyes closed.” He explained and I fought the laugh that threatened to break free. “It's all Potter's fault.” He muttered.

I couldn't hold it back but burst out laughing. “Yeah, just blame it all on him. Lets from now on, blame everything on Harry. Sounds like a good plan.”

He snorted and went to grab his bag. “Are you coming? We'll miss breakfast if you don't get a move on.”

“Hey, don't blame me if we miss it, you are the one that has been lying around whining all morning. Whatever, lets just blame it on Harry.” He could hold back the light chuckle that escaped his lips, I walked past him and out to the empty corridor.





But the empty corridor did not stay empty for long. Matthew and his friends came walking in our direction. Draco's arm took a secure grip around my waist at once and pulled me close to him.

“Well, well, well... The Blood traitor is taking his filthy girlfriend on a walk, is he? How sweet.” It seemed as if he had taken my threat seriously since he did not call me Mudblood.

“It is sweet, is it not?” Draco drawled back with the beginning of a smile playing on his lips.

“Hardly.” Matthew snorted and took a step closer to Draco, and his two friends followed his leads. “You really should chose who you are seen out with more carefully, or some little bird might just accidentally whisper something in your fathers ear.”

“Seriously, Matt? You are threatening to rat me out to my father? What are we in, 2nd grade?” and on Draco's lips appeared the famous Malfoy smirk. “Don't you think that my father already knows about this?” He snapped. Matthew paled, he had played all his cards and had nothing more to say.

“Lets go, Hermione.” Draco said in a low voice and we started walking but were interrupted when Matthew gripped Draco's upper arm. “Take your hand off of me!”

But the dark haired Slytherin paid him no mind. “If I were you, then I would keep looking over my shoulder. You never know when something could happen. We'll get you, Malfoy.”

Draco let go of me and turned around and grasped the front of Matthews robe and pulled him closer to him.

“Take your hand off of me means: Don't fucking touch me.” He spat and then pushed the fellow Slytherin away from him, making him stumble backwards with a shocked yet cruel expression on his face. One of the other boys held him up steady so that he wouldn't fall but he shrugged the persons hand off him with a snort. He was muttering foul words under his breath. “You just wait, Malfoy, you just wait and see. We'll get you.” He was pointing his finger at Draco. “We'll get you.”

For some reason, I believed him. They were up to something. Suddenly I felt like Harry, always suspecting that someone was up to something, in his case it had always been Draco... But I was sure that Matthew was up to something. It bothered me not knowing what it could be.




When they had walked away, I looked over at Draco who did not look as nearly worried as I felt. Though there were a small amount of worry in his eyes, but he hid it well when he saw that I was looking at him.

“Draco... What do you think he is on about?”

I guess he heard the worry in my voice, because it took only two seconds for him to stand in front of me, just inches apart. His arm came sound my neck and he pulled me towards him.

“Don't worry, Hermione.” He mumbled against my hair. “He is so full of shit, it's just talk.” He pressed his lips on the top of my head. I closed my eyes at the feeling.

But I was not so sure about what he was trying to make me believe, but I settled for that; for now.
I had a worrying feeling about the whole situation, was this really all because of me?

“Don't you worry.” He repeated and I nodded. I was not stupid, how could I not worry about something like that? “Come now, you should have some breakfast.”

“You should have some breakfast as well, mister.” I pointed out as we started walking, to which he made a gagging sound.

 




When we were seated I served myself some eggs and some toasted bread. To which I drank pumpkinjuice. Opposite of me sat Draco and drank his water greedily. He had been complaining all morning about how thirsty he was. So I was glad he finally got his damned water and apparently so was he.

“Finally.” He said when he put the glass down. Couldn't agree more I muttered. “Wow, I think that even the headache got a bit better.”

I sighed in relief. “No more whining?”

“No more.” He smiled and then he drank another glass of water – when his glass had been refilled was a mystery to me. “So, what do you think about the whole deal with my father? Be honest, would you?”

“Well...” I began as I thought back to the day before. “He did not take the news as bad as he could have. He saw a benefit for himself – which is good. As long as he is benefiting from it, then I think that we wont have a problem. It is what happens after it stops being a benefit for him that the problems will come, but who knows what can happen until then...”

“Yeah... He might have accept you by then.”

“Or he might have had me killed.” I shrugged and Draco chuckled his agreement. “Either way its good for now, right? And whatever happens, happens.”

“Indeed, its good now.”





The rest of the breakfast was spent quietly. I was pondering over Matthews plans while Draco looked as if he were trying not to throw up. Apparently the food was making him sick. Many times I tried to make him eat something but whenever I mentioned it he gave me a small glare. The water had not worked wonders with his nausea.

I received a letter, recognized the handwriting of my mum and decided to read it later – I put it in my pocket.
Now and then I let my eyes land upon Matthew. His dark, almost black hair was framing his face in an unflattering way. I could see that his eyes were a very dark shade of blue and even though Draco's grey eyes were sometimes cold, Matthews seemed to be like ice. The only eyes that I had ever seen that were colder than Matthews were Lucius' grey ones.
He was quite pale, but not as pale as Draco. But since he was dark haired he looked almost just as pale. He could have been handsome, if it had not been for the way he was trying to look like something he was not. He was trying so hard to be like Draco, trying to smirk like Draco once had, trying to look like some kind of god. He would look better of if he just relaxed.

But the most unattractive about him was his attitude.

He resembled Pansy Parkinson, in a manly way though. I tilted my head to the side as I observed him. He wasn't as pug faced but the hair and the look on his face made him look like her.

All of the sudden I was staring him right in the eye. I had never felt such anger concentrated on one person, and one person alone. Oh, well... That is if I didn't count Voldemort, but I did not consider him a person.

“Draco...?” I said while still looking at Matthew with disgust. Draco looked up. “Have you ever noticed how alike Matthew and Pansy are?”

Draco laughed and followed my gaze. Matthew had apparently read my lips for he looked as if he would explode with anger. Being compared to a girl who was annoying as could be was apparently not something he liked.

“Yes... I do see some similarities between the two.” He grinned while still looking at Matthew.

“Let's go, Draco. If you are ready?”

He nodded and stood up. He walked up to me and took my bag, I smiled at him.
Draco took my hand and we walked out of the Great Hall together, leaving all the problems behind us.
People seemed to be more at ease with us being together, as they did not stare as much as they had.
They still whispered and stared ofcourse, but not as much as they had done. 


I was surprised when Draco pulled me with him to an empty storage room on the way to Potions.
The light in the room came from Draco's wand, seeing as there were no window in there. I looked at him and wondered why he had dragged me in there.

“You know... I heard you last night.” He said silently. “I mean...”

“When I said... That I was happy..” I trailed off and he nodded.

“That I was in your life.. Yeah.”

“You heard that, huh?”

He nodded and sunk down against the wall. I followed his lead. He sounded strange, as if he was scared somehow.

“Draco...? What...?”

“No one had ever really said something like that to me.”

Suddenly I filled with overwhelming compassion for him and a urge to hug him welled up inside of me. He laughed nervously. “It's like... I'm preparing myself that you'll turn around and run away from me any second.”

“I'm not going anywhere!” I placed my hand on top of his and he closed his eyes at the touch. “Where is this coming from, anyway?”

“Why would you, Gryffindor Princess, want to be with me, Slytherin Death eater?” He spoke the last word with disgust. It was in that moment I realized that I had fallen in love with Draco Malfoy.

But it was impossible for me to tell him that so I took a deep breath.

“I need you.” The words were true and I knew he could hear that. “I... I care for you.”

He turned to me then, took my face between his hands and lowered his lips to mine. Soft and gentle. Loving. He kissed me like he had never kissed me before. He put all of him in the kiss; the good, the bad, the somewhere in between, he even put his insecurity in it. His vulnerability.
I expected it to become as strong and bruising as it usually became, but it didn't. It stayed gentle, but the passion was still overwhelming. It was a different passion... A passion that touched my very soul. Draco's lips brushed against mine, his tongue moved gently against mine and my feeling were rushing through me.

No one has ever really said something like that to me... What did he mean by that? Had no one ever told him how much they cared for him? His father, his mother... Pansy? Had none of them...?

But I pushed those thoughts aside. That was certainly not something that I should think about. Not in that moment at least.
I melted under his kiss and sighed as I pressed myself just a little bit closer to him. He did not seem to have any intention to deepen the kiss and I was fine with that. After all; it had been the most passionate kiss I had ever received.

Slowly we parted and looked into each others eyes. Words would have been useless, all we needed to know was in each others eyes. For a while we just sat there and stared at each other, before he let out a sigh. “We should go, or we'll miss Potions.” His eyes told me that he would not mind, that he really wanted to miss Potions.

“Yes, we have to go.” I said and slowly stood up. He groaned, but got up as well.

“Yeah.” he grabbed my hand and opened the door.

 

 

 

When we entered the classroom everyone silenced. It was awkward, as Professor Slughorn did not speak until we sat down. I looked down at my knees to avoid all the curious eyes that had followed us. As usual.
The others had already begun working on their potions, so we got to work right away. Draco went up and grabbed a few ingredients and then he read the instructions for the potion.

“Hey, Hermione, can you go get the rest of the ingredients?” asked Draco casually while his head hung over the Advanced Potions Making book.

“Of course. I'll be right back.”

He gave a short nod and then he took out his cauldron and started working with the ingredients we had. I smiled and shook my head at how smart he looked. He was seemingly oblivious to the world around him; he was lost in what he was doing.




 

I stood by the desk in front of the class gathering more ingredients when I looked over at Draco who was just about to drop the juice of the Sopophorous beans in to our cauldron when I saw the guy from Slytherin, Matthew, walk by him. The smile on my lips vanished.

He did not just walk past him, I saw in slow motion how he opened a vial and spilled its continents over Draco, while smirking. It looked like some kind of drops with gas around them.

I stood frozen as I watched Draco's eyes grow big as he looked over at me, he opened his mouth in a silent scream and then he collapsed.

Not until I heard his body land on the floor with a thud could I move. I dropped the ingredients on the floor and ran towards him, I dropped to my knees next to him and turned him so that he was lying on his back. His eyes were closed, I could not tell if his chest moved so I tried to check his pulse. But I was shaking too much to be able to focus. My surroundings were in a blur, all I could see clearly was Draco.

Was he in pain, was he alive?

“Draco!?” I shook him, trying to wake him up. “What did you do to him?!” I shouted at Matthew, though I did not look at him, I knew that he was there. But he did not answer me. “Draco, wake up!”

“Oh my...” I heard Professor Slughorn say terrified as he rushed over to us. “Er... Longbottom! You go warn Madame Pomfrey that we are coming. He needs to go to the hospital wing.”

I was cold, the whole world was cold. It couldn't be happening, he should not be lying on the cold marble floor... He should be standing up making a potion.

“You, boy! You will not leave my side, McGonagall will hear of this, trust me. 100 points from Slytherin.”

Matthew did not response, but I could see from the corner of my eye how he nodded.

“Oh dear God...” I mumbled softly as I watched Slughorn lift Draco up in his arms and clumsily I followed him as he carried him.

“Get out of my way!” Slughorn roared as the students stumbled over their own feet to get a look at the unconscious boy that were in the arms of the Professor.

 

We rushed up to the hospital wing, Slughorn carried him all the way up; afraid that the use of magic might make him worse.
There seemed to be something that kept the air from my lungs, I couldn't breathe. I was dizzy.
When we entered the wing, Pomfrey looked paler than usual and I briefly noticed that Neville sat on a bed with a terrified look upon his face.

“Oh dear...” Pomfrey said as Slughorn gently put Draco down on a empty bed. He had still not moved. “Just leave him to me. You can go back to your class, Horace. And take your students with you.”

“I'm not going anywhere.” I said, but my voice did not sound like it should. It was thick and worried. I walked closer to the bed where he was lying and my first tear fell. I hadn't registered what had happened until then and all emotions came at once.

Poppy Pomfrey looked over at Slughorn, who nodded his consent. “They can manage without us both. I'm staying too. Longbottom, you can go down and tell them that the class is over. You, boy! ”

He roared at Matthew. “What's your name, again?”

I failed to see how that could be important. Pomfrey was checking Draco's vital signs, then she opened his eyes and looked at them and from her mouth escapes a small gasp.

“Matthew Raven.” I heard his defeated voice in the background, but it was not clear; it was more like I was listening to a broken radio.

“What potion did you use at him?” Horace had never sounded so angry. And in the corner of my eye I saw how Matthew hung his head down and started shaking. At first I thought he was crying, but then it became clear to me that he was laughing.

“What does it matter now? He got what he deserved, that Blood traitor.”

“You disgusting, pathetic, filthy excuse for a wizard!” I screamed as I drew my wand at him; tears still rolling down my cheeks. He reached for his wand and was about to raise it. “Expelliarmus!”

His wand flew up in the air, and landed by my feet. I kicked it as far away as I could and then I started to walk towards him. He had gone from laughing to looking terrified in the blink of an eye.

“Tell me what potion you used, Raven.” He didn't answer, so I pressed my wand to his throat. “Tell me!”

“I... I was told it was a sort of Garrotting Gas with a twist... I swear, I don't know!”

I paled, it was the gas that made people unconscious... And in potions we had worked with the beans that were used in the Draught of the Living Dead... A combination between the two would be... Oh Merlin.

“Do you have any idea what you have done!?” I screamed in his face. “You used the juice of the Sopophorous beans in the Garrotting Gas, didn't you?”

“Yes...” His voice was low, scared.

“You did what?!” shouted Pomfrey. “Have anyone been around him for the last twentyfour hours?”

“I have...” I lowered my wand and gave him a hateful glare before I turned to the nurse. “Why?”


Draco had not moved at all, he was perfectly still. “Has he been consuming alcohol during that time?”

I thought back to the night before. “Yes.”

“Oh dear...” She looked at him for a few seconds, then she ran to a big cupboard and when she opened it it contained many hundreds of vials. All in different colours and shapes, the dark wood of the cupboard made each potion stand out. She traced them all, flipped and turned them as she searched for something.
I walked up to Draco who was lying in the small bed, his face was not as relaxed as it was when he was asleep, it looked to me as if he was under some sort of pain. One of my tears fell down on his face, making it wet. “Please, please be okay.” I whispered so that only he could hear me. If he could hear me; I did not know.

“Is he going to be okay?” asked Matthew, was I the only one who heard the mocking in his voice? I felt the anger inside of me grow and I turned around at the spot. He looked alarmed as he saw how angry I was. What had he expected?

“You, shut up!” The tears were falling uncontrollably by then, and he raised his hands as if he surrendered.

“Miss Granger... Leave him for the teachers to deal with.” Horace said in an attempt to calm me down. I knew myself that it was useless to argue with him. It would not help Draco.

“I hope that you are fucking expelled!" He just looked at me with a smirk.




I returned to stand by the side of the bed as Pomfrey poured something down Draco's throat. It did not seem to make any difference to me, for he was still just as lifeless as before. I took a hold of his hand, which I noticed was colder than it should be. I noticed that I was shaking out of fear for what might happen, more tears fell on his face. “Is the potion helping? I.. I cant... I cant seem to notice a change...” My voice broke down as Madam Pomfrey looked up.

“It is helping, but I am afraid that that was just the first potion. It was to get rid of all the alcohol still in his system, which was only making things worse. I hope I was in time...”

I nodded my understanding. I had never felt so powerless, so frustrated and so worried at the same time. In the war, then at least I had been able to have some sort of control. Now I was completely powerless. I could do nothing. I could just sit back and trust that others could save him.

And the not knowing what could happen was tearing me apart.

I felt as if my legs were about to give in and then my knees buckled and I had to sit down on the side of Draco's bed.

I tried to remain calm, or as calm as I possibly could. “What next?” I heard Slughorn ask and then I heard him walk across the room. “I can help with the potions, just tell me if you need anything.”

“Yes, yes... Come with me.” Pomfrey said and they both stood by the potions again and were discussing...

Their voices faded out and instead I focused entirely on the lifeless body right next to me.

“Oh, Draco...” I whispered sadly and squeezed his hand tightly. “Come on, Draco.. Get better...”

Could the alcohol we were consuming yesterday have made him a lot worse? It was all my fault. It wouldn't have happened if he hadn't been with me... It was because I was a Mudblood that Matthew had done this... “I'm so sorry...”

“I told them, sir.” came the voice of Neville. “They have questions, but I told them that I didn't know anything.”

“Good, that's good.” mumbled Slughorn, but paid him no more mind. I heard footsteps moving across the room and then a shadow fell over Draco's face; making me look up.

“Oh, Hermione...” whispered Neville and put his hand on my shoulder. “He'll be alright.”

“They are not sure... that he will.” I sobbed. The warm feeling of Neville's hand made Draco's hand feel even more cold. Too cold. A strangled sob escaped my lips, and Neville embraced me.

He didn't say anything; what was there to say? He couldn't lie to me, he couldn't sooth the pain. He could do nothing but hold me. At least he did not make me feel all alone.
Something broke inside of me, I would prefer to be tortured over this. No torture could feel worse than this. It was the most intense pain I had ever experienced, mentally or physically. I just wanted the pain to go away. I just wanted Draco to open his eyes. I wanted the throbbing pain inside my body, inside my heart, to end.

I heard Matthew sigh heavily in the background, and turned my head to face him. He caught me looking at him and smiled. A sickening, satisfied, disgusting smile that made me want to rip his head off. Neville parted from me and excused himself as he went over to speak to Pomfrey and Slughorn.

Matthew made his way over to me, still smiling, and stopped right beside me. I refused to look at him when he was so close. He leaned down and put his mouth close to my ear.

“I told you that I would get him.” he whispered and his voice was taunting. His fingertips brushed against my cheek as he put my hair behind my ear. I flinched at the touch. “Did he tell you not to worry? Hmm?”

I could feel his breath against my skin and it made me sick. A whimper escaped my lips and I closed my eyes to which more tears fell. “He did, didn't he?”

I refused to answer him, which made him chuckle. “I asked you a question, Mudblood. Did he tell you not to worry?”

“Yes.” it was no more than a whisper, barely that. I cursed myself for answering him. My eyes fluttered open as I realized that he had called me a Mudblood. I turned to face him. The anger I felt for what he had done to Draco welled up inside of me; making me want to hurt him. But I couldn't. My body was immobilised. “Are you happy now, Matthew? Have you gotten what you wanted?”

Never had I heard my own voice sound so broken.

“Oh, it is the best day of my life.” a smile yet again appeared on his lips and before I could understand what I was doing, his head trashed to the side as my fist collided with it.

He glared at me while rubbing his jaw. My hand hurt so I hoped that his face hurt more.

“Get the hell away from me.” I spoke in a low hiss. He actually did as I said and walked back to where he had been standing just minutes ago. Probably so that neither Pomfrey or the Professor would realize what was going on. But I bet that they had heard most of it. Neville glared at Matthew from across the room but then his stare got interrupted by Pomfrey who came running with two different vials in her hands. I felt a sting of hope in my heart. She leaned over him and opened his mouth slowly as if she did not want to hurt him.

She opened the first vial. It consisted of a light, clear, pink liquid. She slowly poured it down his throat and made sure that not one single drop got wasted. She then proceeded with the other vial.

It was a dark blue liquid which she seemed unsure if she should give him. She glanced over at Slughorn who nodded at her to do it.

She looked back at Draco and held the vial just by his mouth. With a desperate sigh she closed her eyes and let the potion make its way down his throat.

I looked at her with wide eyes; did she give him a potion she was unsure about?Surely she wouldn't.

She closed his mouth when she was done.

“What now?” asked Neville who had walked back to stand beside me, and I was grateful. My own voice would not be strong enough to ask all the questions that I wanted answers to.

The silence was deafening and it was almost touchable. All five of us exchanged looks; even Matthew, who's chin was reddened from my hand. Pomfrey turned around and I couldn't understand why...

Slughorn looked at me with wide eyes; wide eyes that told me how sorry and worried he was.

Neville looked anxious.  Matthew looked bored.    I felt sick.




Time passed without anyone talking. I felt light headed and gripped Draco's hand in my right hand and Neville's in my left. Only one of them squeezed back.

The silence made it worse. It made me want to scream out loud, at the top of my lungs. But I couldn't make a sound. Yes, time passed but still it seemed as if it stood still. Nobody moved, if you did not count the rise and fall of each chest.

 

“Now...” began Pomfrey with her back turned to us, her voice unsteady and sad. “Now all we can do is wait.”

“I guess it's time for you to start worrying, Mudblood.” drawled Matthew in a silent yet satisfied voice...


[Thanks for your reviews, you are all lovely! :) SOOOO; what do you think of this chapter? Please review. It makes my day, really! Good/bad?  - Cathyyy]

Chapter 13: Agony
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[The only thing that belongs to me is the plot and Matthew... Everything else is JK Rowlings. Enjoy!]

 
16 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds later; Draco had not moved. It was the longest sixteen hours in my life. He was breathing, yes, but other than that – he didn't show any sign of being alive. A Healer from St. Mungos had been and checked on Draco and she decided so stay at Hogwarts just in case she was needed. McGonagall had been furious when she had visited.
Nothing had happened with Draco, he was just as lifeless as before, but in the hospital wing it had happened a lot, I discovered after I realized that I must have dozed off with my head on Draco's stomach and still holding his hand tight.

It was dark outside but the wing was lit up with a dim light. I ran my fingers through my hair and then put my chin in my hand and leaned on Draco's bed. I stared at him as if trying to wake him up by doing so.

“She's awake, Lucius.” I heard a faint whisper behind me and slowly turned around. Lucius Malfoy, with his hair hanging loosely around his face was standing next to a woman which I remembered to be Narcissa. She wasn't wearing any fancy pureblood clothes; she looked as if she had thrown on whatever.

“You received my letter.” I said and my voice was tired, exhausted, broken. It felt ages ago since I scrabbled down the words on a letter and sent it to Mr and Mrs Malfoy, but they were here. My eyes were sore from crying, I felt as if I had run out of them. Mrs Malfoy nodded her head sadly.

“Yes...” said Mr Malfoy, his voice seemed as exhausted as mine. I then noticed that I were probably in their way to their son.

“I'm sorry... Should I move?” Honestly I didn't think I would manage to stand up so it was a good thing when they shook their heads no and walked to the other side of his bed and pulled out a chair each. “Have I been out of it for long?”

“No, about half an hour.” Lucius was again the one who spoke before he put his hand on Narcissa's. The small show of affection was something I did not expect from him and something else that surprised me was the fact that he didn't tell me to leave, or verbally assault me. Maybe Draco was right, in that moment it did not seem to matter that Lucius had once beaten Draco... To think his name brought back the intense worry. The feeling came back so sudden – it made me gasp.

They both looked at me surprised and when they did; I hung my head to avoid eyecontact. Instantly I started chanting in my head : Wake up, Draco. Wake up, Draco. Wake up, Draco... Please, .  He didn't but I kept it up. Please, please – Oh, gods... please... please. Wake up...

The Healer had said that there was a small chance that he would never wake up, but believed that the fact that he got help so fast was a good sign; if we hadn't reacted as soon as we did then he would be dead by now.

I think his parents knew that. I think they knew that if it were not for me then he wouldn't be breathing. I glanced away from Draco to look at his parents. Narcissas chest rose and fell rapidly and her breaths came out short and fast.

Lucius held her hand in his and his thumb was stroking her hand as if to calm her down. I don't know if it worked.

“Cissy, love, I am going to talk to the Healer once more. Will you be okay?” He asked ever so gently and she nodded without letting her eyes leave her son. Lucius stood up and pressed his lips against her forehead – just like Draco used to do to me when he wanted to calm me down.

When he had left Narcissa looked away from her son and straight at me. To look in to her eyes was like looking in to a mirror; the worry and desperation I felt was shown in her eyes.

“Miss Granger...” She said with a voice so light, not even a whisper. “Hermione. I...”

“You don't need to feel as if you have to talk to me.” I replied, not at all rudely, before she could say anything else. I had been surprised to hear her speak my name. But the words that Lucius had spoken to Draco was still fresh: This will break your mothers heart. She fell in to a forced silence while still looking at me.

Her mouth was a thin line, as if she was angry with me... or herself for all I knew. Then she cleared her voice.

“I heard what Lucius had said. I am, however, not heartbroken. I am glad that Draco finally... Finally has been able to put the awful, awful memories of the war behind him, and if you are the reason for this... Well, then I welcome you with open arms. I hope you know that I only want what is best for my son, what makes him happy. If you make him happy, then so be it. I just want him to be happy...”

Her voice broke down and she started to cry, letting out one heartbreaking sob after another.

Before I realized what I was doing, I had walked over to the other side of the bed and put my hand on her back. Tears rolling down my cheeks as well. Narcissa was a pureblood racist, yes, but she was also a mother. Draco's mother.

She turned to face me, and there was a moment when time stood still, a moment where we looked in to each others eyes and seemed to see all the way in to each others souls. Then the moment was over as she embraced me. Her comforting, motherly hug made me bury my head in her neck and let it all out. She cried too, I could feel her tears rolling down my back.

“I'm sorry.” She whispered shakily while holding me. “I am so sorry for what happened... For what my sister did to you.”

I nodded the best I could. Knowing that it was probably hard for her to admit that she was sorry... Just like her son. And most likely just like her husband.
It felt nice to have a the arms of a mother around me, though it made me miss my own mother so damn much. But this was not about me, or what I missed. It was about Draco and his whole existance.
Slowly she let go of me but she still held a hand on my face, and wiped away my tears.

I heard footsteps behind me and shot a quick glance over my shoulder to find Lucius coming back.
He looked slightly shocked to find us sitting in the way we were, but he accepted it nonetheless and went to sit on the other side.

“Mr Malfoy, here.” I said standing up offering him the seat back. If anything I needed to sit so that I could hold his hand. He looked at me for a second, probably thinking that I was crazy. “I insist.”

He nodded and walked to sit next to to his wife and I to sit by Draco's side. He stopped when we were right next to each other.

“Thank you for making sure he got here in time. I cannot thank you enough.” He struggled with the words and did not look in to my eyes. He seemed to be forcing the words out. It was unnatural for him to say such thing and it did not sound quite right. It did, however, sound honest.

“Of course.” was all I could reply and he looked me in the eye then. He gave a short nod before he brushed past me.

 

I sat down next to Draco and gripped his hand in mine. I gave it a squeeze to let him know I was back by his side. My eyes once again rested on his face. One small movement. One small, feather light movement made my heart stop. My breathing to cease. That small movement gave me hope.

Draco squeezed back, it was not much or even hard. It was barely a squeeze but I was sure that I felt it.

“He squeezed my hand!” I breathed out and Narcissa cried out and Lucius stood up looking from me to Draco and back again. “I swear he did!”

Lucius called for the Healer and Pomfrey and I told them about the feather light squeeze.

A huge amount of things happened at once.

They examined him again, opening his eyes, taking his pulse... Rushed past me, but after a while they slowed down and looked at each other with sad eyes.

“We do not wish for you to get your hopes up I'm afraid. This doesn't necessarily mean that he is getting better, and of course not that he is getting worse either. But it could just be a muscle contraction of some sort. As of now, we can not see that he has been getting better.” The Healer finally said. But my new found hope did not go away, I had felt that squeeze and I knew that he was fighting. I lifted his hand and brought it to my lips. “Come on, Draco.” I whispered before I pressed my lips against it. It was so cold, but I thought it was a little bit warmer than before. I could just have imagined it.

 

Suddenly an idea came to mind, something I could do to be able to think more straight, and maybe win his parents over a bit...

“I'm going to the kitchen, is there anything I can get you?” I asked, still my voice sounded unnatural. They both looked up in shock. Really, I didn't want to leave his side, but we all needed to eat.

“Bring anything you like.” Lucius said, obviously grateful and obviously shocked. I nodded. Before I walked away, I leaned down and pressed my lips on Draco's. The fact that he made no response at all made my heart break just a bit more.

 

I hurried out of there before more tears could escape. I ran my fingers through my hair before I walked towards the kitchen.

As I was walking a thought struck me like a lightning bolt. Where had Matthew gone?

I didn't remember seeing him or Slughorn in the hospital wing when I walked out...

 

It was way past curfew, it was around midnight I guessed. So hopefully I wouldn't run in to someone.

I turned a corner and was glad to find that the castle seemed to be empty. It cleared my head to get away from there, even though I wanted nothing but to be back by his side; what it something happened when I was away?

The thought made me pick up my phase and in no time I was in the kitchen. Instantly they noticed that something was not right, Scrappy rushed to my side and asked me more than twenty questions without taking a breath in between them. I had to hold my hand up to make her shut up.

“It's Draco, he is in the hospital wing.”

The small elf's eyes widened and they got blank with tears. She put her little hand on my knee as if to comfort me. I gave her a quick update on what had happened and then I gave her a faint smile as I asked to get some food to take with me.

It did not take them long to get me the food I needed, they but it in a bag for me to take.

I felt that they wanted me to stay longer and talk more, but I just couldn't bring myself to stay away from Draco any longer, even if he was unconscious.

I thanked them so very much and then I left.

 

It was cold in the castle as I walked back up, I felt more alone than ever... A sudden shadow at the end of the hall made me stop walking. I blinked several times but the shadow didn't go away. It, if anything, came closer. Who could possibly be out after curfew if it was not a teacher?

All of the sudden the air got even more cold and I dropped the bag and drew my wand. I prayed that it wasn't... But it was. Matthew Raven became more than just a shadow as the light fell on his arrogant features.

“Didn't think I'd run in to you, Mudblood. Thought you'd be up in the wing holding little Malfoy's hand. Tell me, is he dead yet?” Matthews cold drawled made me take a firmer grip on my wand and I raised it just a little bit more.

“Shut up, Matthew.” I spat and he growled.

“Who ever gave you permission to use my first name?”

I shrugged and he seemed to want to lash out and killed me, but one glance at my wand and he stepped back. I smirked at him when I realised that he had left his wand in the hospital wing.

“Do you feel like a powerful wizard now, Matt? Do you? Or does the little Mudblood scare you now?”

I poked my wand straight in his chest and he hissed as a golden spark shot out of the tip of it and burned a hole in his robe. “When are you gonna realise that blood does not matter? It's the magic you can do, not the blood that runs in your veins that matter.” I poked him in the chest again. “When are you gonna get that through your thick head?” every word was followed by a poke.

“You wouldn't dare.” he spoke in a hiss. “You wouldn't hurt me, you are too much of a Gryffindor.”

“Oh I am a brave Gryffindor all right, so why wouldn't I?”

He took a step closer to me, my wand digging in his chest. “You just wouldn't”

Without thinking I lowered my wand and kicked him as hard as I could, and that was hard. He dropped to his knee's with a gasp and then he started whimpering.

“I warned you about calling me a Mudblood.” without one more glance on him, I picked the bag up and walked away.

 

How dare he? How dare he speak like that?

I hated Matthew more and more with every step I took. Why was he still on the grounds? I thought furiously as I opened the door to the hospital wing. But the very same moment I opened the door all the anger vanished. I was again struck with the overwhelming worry.

“Sorry I took to long.” I whispered; I didn't really want to break the silence that hung in the room. “ I ran in to Raven.” I placed the bag at the end of Draco's bed.

“Oh, that Raven kid, what is his name... Matthew?” Narcissa looked at her husband and he gave a short nod. He looked at me with the same piercing eyes that Draco had when he knew that something wasn't right. “He is a nice boy. His father is a friend of ours...” Narcissa continued, I think it helped for her to think of something else for a second. Lucius eyes were, however, locked on mine.

“You don't know?” I breathed while staring right in to Lucius eyes. Narcissa asked what I meant, Lucius did not move. “It was him who did this! It was Matthew who did this to Draco!”

Lucius' jaw clenched and he took a tight grip of his cane. He looked awfully alike Draco, when he had found out that Ron had hit me.

“Are you sure?” Narcissa breathed.

“Yes.” I said offended. “I saw it, Mrs Malfoy, actually I think that every student in the class saw it.”

“May someone please help me understand...” Hissed Lucius. “Why that son of a bitch is still on the grounds?”

“I wonder the same thing.”

“Well, did you ask him?” Narcissa asked in a hurry and suddenly I had two Malfoys full attention.

“I was actually far to busy keeping him away from me. He is hopefully still whimpering on the floor.” I added through gritted teeth. “I kicked him in... Well... Let's just say that I hope he won't be able to have children.” I explained as they looked at me with a confused look on their faces.

Lucius' mouth actually curved up to a faint smile. I put the bag down on the bed as I sat down on the chair that was placed on the left side of the bed and took his hand. It was definitely not an imagination that his hand was warmer now. I took his hand in both of mine and was surprised as he once again squeezed. “Draco?” I whispered and stood up; while still holding his hand. “Draco?”

One light squeeze more and I felt a smile on my lips mixed with a salty tear.

“What?” Asked Lucius who stood up as well. “What is going on, Miss Granger?”

“ He did it again!” I couldn't help but to sound like a little child. “He squeezed my hand again! Twice.”

I heard Pomfrey and the Healer mutter something in a sad voice that sounded like imagination, tragic...

But I was one hundred percent that he had done it. “Come over here and feel” I said to Lucius who strode over fast. I let go with one of my hands and we stood and held his hand both of us. When Lucius and my hand came in contact he flinched but kept his hand there.

“Draco, son, can you hear me?” Lucius asked. I waited for the squeeze that never came. Lucius sighed sadly and was about to take his hand away.

“Draco, can you hear me?” I asked just as loud as Lucius had. Another light squeeze made Lucius freeze beside me.

“He squeezed, Cissy...”

Narcissa let out a sob of a new found hope. “Healer! Check him again” She ordered and the Healer at first glared at her, but then she obliged.

We were asked to step back as they examined him yet again. “Extraordinary...” Mumbled Pomfrey and the Healer agreed.

“What?” demanded Lucius. They both looked over at us at the same time with wide eyes.

“It looks as if he is getting better, Mr Malfoy.” the Healer spoke. “But I want to warn you again to not get your hopes up, it could just be temporarily.” She looked at us all as she spoke. We gave a short nod each. No matter what they said, they could not take this feeling away from me. He could actually survive.

I sunk down in the chair again and took his hand. All the things I had not told him yet, like the fact that I was in love with him... What I wouldn't give to be able to tell him that. To be able to tell him again how glad I was that he was in my life. To thank him for being there for me when I needed him. But I needed him now. I leaned my head on his bed and felt my lids go heavy. In a matter of seconds I let myself fall asleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Miss Granger? Miss...? Oh, for crying out loud... Hermione?” I groaned as I heard a male voice waking me up. It took me a while to realise that it was Lucius. I sat up quickly; too quickly. My head started spinning and I shook it a bit to make sense of things.

“What happened?” I asked when the spinning had stopped. “What'd I miss?”

“Oh, nothing. I just wanted to ask if you want a bed of your own?”

Lucius was asking me...? I couldn't see through my shock. My mouth hung open. “Er...”

He waited patiently for my answer. I licked my lips before I could answer. “No, I've slept enough now. How long was I out for it this time, Mr Malfoy?”

“About two hours.” he gave me a faint smile so uncharacteristic for a wizard like him. “Narcissa fell asleep just after you.” He nodded towards a bed to the left where Narcissa was sleeping heavilyy. “I carried her there, but I guessed that you would have been... shocked if you woke up while I carried you. A witch in shock is not a good combination, so I let you sleep there.”

Witch, not Mudblood. I stared at him. What else could I do?

“You saved my son, the least I can do is act civilized towards you.” He continued and I gave a sceptic nod. Maybe I was just dreaming, but not even in my dreams did Lucius act that nice. I pinched myself to see if I was dreaming, but no. Apparently I wasn't.

“Nothing new on Draco?” I asked as I looked back on to him, I had never seen him look so fragile. His usually pale cheeks were flushed and I saw his pulse beat furiously on his neck. Slowly I leaned in and put my hand on his forehead. “Merlin! He is burning up!” I breathed as I let my hand slide down to the side of his face. He had been so damn cold; I couldn't understand how he could have gotten that hot in only two hours. “Mr Malfoy, we need to cool him down... He is far too warm.” Panic started to set in as he felt warmer every second.

“What are you talking about?” asked Lucius as he walked to stand beside me, he slapped my hand away from his son as he replaced it with his own. “Bloody hell..” He whispered as he rushed to get the Healer again; it seemed as if he trusted the Healer more than Pomfrey.

I spoke soothing words as I caressed his cheek. He moved ever so slightly, softly pressed his face in to my hand. Was he waking up? My heart was beating painfully fast.

Lucius appeared by my side again, he stood as close as he could without touching me.

“How could you not notice, Malfoy?” I hissed at him furiously as the Healer checked his pulse and shook her head.

“Do not blame this on me.”

“Then who should I blame? I was asleep for crying out loud, you should have checked on him!” I kept my voice at a low hiss, the edge to my voice was clear.

“Then maybe you should not have fallen asleep!” He snapped back, he too with a low voice. I flinched.

“He is your son, you should have checked on him!”

“I know!” He shouted at last, and his face was close to mine and we looked furiously at each other; neither of us wanted to be the first to look away. “I know!” he repeated. The rage that poured out of his eyes was unlike anything I had ever seen before and it made me want to back away, shield myself, protect myself against him. But I stood up with my head held high and met his glare, refusing to let him get to me. He opened his mouth to speak again but was interrupted as we heard a soft moan from behind us, all of the anger was washed away as we both turned around to look at Draco; from who's lips the moan had escaped.

Agony. His face expression held only agony, he seemed unable to open his eyes but there was no doubt that he was awake. Instantly I grabbed his hand and brought it to my lips as I kissed it, another moan escaped his partly open lips. His hair had become sweaty and laid plastered against his forehead.

“Draco?” I whispered against his fingers and his head moved slowly my direction as if he searched my voice. “I'm here, Draco. It's okay...”

His lips parted more and it seemed as if he wanted to say something, but he couldn't get the smallest word out. Slowly he managed to lick his, by then, very dry lips. Once he had done that he took a deep breath. I had stopped breathing all together.

“H...It...” another deep breath. “It h-hurts...” It pained me to hear those words, but he didn't seem finished as he took another deep breath. “I-It hurts, Hermio- Hermione.” He choked out with difficulties.

“Where does it hurt, Draco?”

Panic took over me completely as he begun to drift back in to the lifeless state he had just awoken from. “Draco, you need to stay awake... You need to tell me where it hurts.” My panic was heard in my voice even though I tried so hard to stay calm for him. He didn't need to hear the panic, perhaps it would even make him worried. I tried to calm myself down by taking long deep breaths. No, it didn't work.

He seemed to fight to stay awake. “All over... I...” another moan. “Make the pain go away... Please.”

“Out of my way!” called Pomfrey as she pushed me aside so that my hand lost contact with his but he managed to open his eyes the tiniest bit and search for me. His eyes found mine and he locked them on me. Pomfrey opened his mouth and poured a potion down his throat. He gave a small cough but swallowed it. When she moved out of the way I hurried back and grabbed his hand once more. He gave a few more coughs before he managed to open his eyes fully and glanced over at Pomfrey who smiled. “I think it's safe to say that you'll be just fine. Your strength should be returning already and the fever will go away in seconds.”

Relief rushed through me and a tear of joy rolled down my cheek just before he looked back at me. He already seemed better. I thanked Merlin for potions and magic.

“Hey...” He gave me a faint smile, and squeezed my hand.

“Are you still hurting?” I asked before he could say anything else and he closed his mouth before he shook his head slowly. “Gods, I was so worried!”

“I told you not to worry...” He mumbled lightly and stroke with his thumb on the back of my hand to calm me down. “Didn't I?” He made an attempt to sit up, but let out a pained moan and laid back down again.

“You need to sleep, Draco.” said Lucius behind me; who stood with his wife who's face was absolutely glowing with happiness. I had not noticed when she had woken up but I gave her a small smile and then looked back at Draco who gave a short nod. He looked suspiciously between his family and me before he shook his head as if wondering what had happened when he had been out of it.

I sat down on the chair beside his bed and held his hand while he looked at me. He didn't seem as if he ever wanted to go back to sleep again.

“Where is he?” Draco whispered and I knew he was referring to Matthew but he said it so that only I could hear it.

“He is still on the grounds, I would guess that he is just wandering around. Why?”

“Just needed to know.” he said through gritted teeth. “I heard you. When I was... Well, I heard you, but not clearly. It was as if you were speaking to me under water but I could make out the words. ”

“You heard everything?”

“No.. Just in the beginning I think, and I heard you shouting at Raven, and disarming him.”

“Indeed I did.”

“I also heard him talking to you. If I would be able to stand up, he would be dead by now.”

“Wait...” I said suddenly remembering that Matthew had left his wand in the wing. I smirk appeared on my lips as I came up with a plan. “You're right. I did disarm him!” I reached for my wand. “Accio Matthews wand!”

Within seconds I held the wand in my hand; it felt strange and cold. Without any further thought I snapped it in two pieces and put it in my pocket.

“Well, well, Hermione.” mused Draco with a sly smile on his lips. “I think its time you returned the wand to him, don't you?”

“I... He would be furious!” That was part of the reason that I didn't want to leave, the other reason was that he was finally awake... Though, I thought, he would be able to sleep if I wasn't there to ask him all the things I wanted to know. I wouldn't be able to stay away from him now that he was awake.

“Yes, but then again he can't do wandless magic and you would be able to defend yourself.”

“Well, I did defend myself earlier. I'll tell you later.” I added at his confused yet amused expression. “You get some sleep then, and I go give Matthew the pieces of his wand back.” I stood up and kissed his forehead, I mumbled to him that he better get some sleep while I was away, I didn't turn to walk away until he agreed. 

“Oh, and Hermione?”

I turned around and was swept away with the intensity in his eyes, I was prepared for weakness but was met by the eyes of a person who was anything but weak. The depth of the eyes made me forget time and space, I took a trembling breath.

“Yes?”

“Would you be a sweetheart and send a letter to Blaise?” He took a deep breath and grimaced in pain. “My owl knows his address.” his voice had that irresistible tone to it; the one he used when he tried to charm people in to getting what he wanted. I wouldn't be able to deny him anything at that moment.

“Ofcourse. Just an update on everything, or is it something special you want me to write?”

“An update would do fine... You could tell him...” then he mumbled something that I couldn't hear.

“I'm sorry, what?”

“That it's not the same without him here.” I could hear that he was exhausted already, he really needed to sleep.

“All right, I'll write that. I'll be back as soon as possible.”

 

He closed his eyes while smiling faintly. His hair was still wet and his cheeks flushed but he wasn't as still as he had been when he was unconscious. His chest moved to the rhythm of his breaths and I kissed him on his forehead before I stood up and told the two blond persons on the other side of the bed that I was going to find Raven; seeing as they had heard parts of our conversation they both smirked while nodding and I walked out to find the little bastard.

 

 

 


[Love all the reviews, you guys! Thanks a lot. I hope you like this chapter. What did you think of it, was it good? was it bad? Oh, and how do you like Narcissa? I know that it might seem a bit strange that Lucius changed in such short time, but he hasn't really changed, has he? if you think about it he is simply giving her the smallest chance,(because he has now seen that both his son AND his wife accepts her.) But then again that is a lot coming from someone like Lucius... Well. I do hope you like Lucius a little less cruel. And about Cruel, what do you think of Matthew? Love to hear what you think! - Cathyyy]

Chapter 14: Brainwashed
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[ Nothing belongs to me, except for the plot and that annoying boy Matthew Raven. Everything else is JK Rowlings]         









                                                     
I chose to send a letter to Blaise before I went to look for Matthew, it seemed more important.
I would never have Matthew as a priority. My eyes searched the owlery for Draco's owl and found him sitting closest to the window, and as I made my way towards him I pulled out a quill and some parchment. What was I suppose to write?
I sighed and sat down on the window sill and then I wrote:

 

Blaise.

I thought that you have the right to know what has happened here at Hogwarts.

I reckon you know who Matthew Raven is, if not; he is the slimy,evil Slytherin bastard with black hair and a smirk on his lips. Actually his looks has nothing to do with anything... The point is that he attempted to kill Draco, and Draco barely survived. There were a few critical hours but he has pulled through now. He will be fine.He said to tell you that it's not the same without you here... I think he feels lonely, it's just him and me, you know... So, maybe you could ask your mother, if you could come back? I think that would mean a lot to Draco. Just try!

 

I apologize for the pathetic, poor-written letter. I'm not good at these kind of things.

 

Sincerely Hermione.

 

I read through it, it was indeed pathetic, but I just sighed and decided that it would do just fine. I remembered the letter I had received from my mother but couldn't bring myself to read it at the time, so I attached Blaise's letter to the owl and he knew what to do. I sat and watched as the bird became smaller and smaller until it disappeared. I then went over to my own owl and patted its head ; it was clear that she was upset that I had given a letter to another owl.

“Oh, sweetie, I sent it from Draco.” I whispered as she bit be annoyed. “Stop that, now!”

I couldn't help but to giggle at her as she tried to ignore me. That seemed to make her even more annoyed. But then it was as if she gave up and she pressed her little head against my hand as if she was asking be to pat her some more. I then saw the small letter that was next to her, addressed to me. I noticed the handwriting immediately; Ginny. I couldn't open it fast enough, the difference between my mothers letter and Ginnys letter was that... Well, My mother had not stormed off at me when I had mentioned that I was going to graduate. My eyes traces the sentences as fast as they possibly could.

 

Hermione

I heard what happened, is he okay?

Actually... That is not why I'm writing, I realize that I should have acted differently, I should have said goodbye... I am sorry for the way I have behaved, and for the things that I said. I don't want our friendship to be over.

Please forgive me?

 

Love

Ginny.

PS Harry and Ron says 'Hi' and Ron would like to add that he is sorry too.

 

Did they expect me to forgive them just like that? I wasn't sure I could. Perhaps Ginny, but Ron? I snorted and put the letter in my pocket. I pondered over how she had found out about Draco before I returned my attention to my owl and I stood patting her for quite some time while I thought about what had happened the past twenty-four hours. How close I had been to losing him… The feeling of complete relief once again rushed through my body and I sighed out of happiness.

My thoughts drifted to Blaise, and wondered if he would be able to come back; it would make Draco so happy, I was sure of it, even if he would never admit it. On a second thought he might admit it if he was drunk…

I smiled at the memory of him telling me that he was happy to have me in his life.

My owl looked at me curiously, as if she was wondering why the hell I was smiling when she was annoyed.

“Oh, get over it.”

She hid her face under her brown and white wing and turned around as if telling me to leave. I took the hint and walked slowly out of the owlery, now with a new destination in mind.

Though I didn't know where to find Matthew, but I had a feeling that he wouldn't be in the dungeons, and not wandering the halls either… My best guess was that he was somewhere outside. He might be hiding away in a bathroom I thought as I walked down the corridor which was empty since it was in the middle of the night. Though I thought that I heard distant voices, but I shrugged it off as a imagination.

 

I was not afraid of the dark, but the castle had never looked more terrifying. It might have become more so because I knew what I was planning to do, who I was planning to find. I drew my wand and held it in front of me.

Lumos I thought and the tip of my wand lit up in a soft light. That and the moon was the only light I had. As I thought about the moon, I glanced at it; it was full moon. I couldn’t help but to think about Lupin… Grief rushed through me but I pushed it away to focuse on finding Matthew.

 

A shadow moved in the corner of my eye and suddenly all I could hear was the blood rushing through my head, my heart beating like crazy. I turned around at the spot with my wand held in a tight grip in front of me. I took a calming breath and shifted the wand easily in my hand.

Surprisingly enough I found that I was not sweating, and as I took a few more calming breaths, my heart slowed down. Repeatedly I told myself that he was wandless, and that I could handle him. Within seconds I was as calm as if I would have been at a D.A meeting.

“Raven?” I asked in to the dark but got no response. My voice was trembling just a little bit, and I cursed myself under my breath. “Raven!”

A chuckle came from the dark followed by a deep sigh. “Ah, Granger. Is he dead now?”

“He’ll live.” I said slowly as I hesitantly walked towards his voice.

“Bummer.”

I jumped as he walked out right in front of me. “Well, isn’t this familiar…” he drawled as my wand dug in to his chest. He had changed clothes, I noticed as I eyed him. That meant that he had been to his common room, how he had been greeted by his house mates, I wondered.

“Indeed.” I felt a smirk appear on my lips and I did not like the feeling of it. “The last encounter ended up with you whimpering like a little girl on the floor, if you don’t want that to happen again, then I suggest you back off.”

He held his hand up in mock surrender and took one step backwards. “Better, Mudblood?”

I felt my anger boil inside of me, I was proud of my family and my blood for that matter, but being called ‘Mudblood’ still hurt and there was no way I could deny that.

“Watch it there, Matthew.” I hissed. It would have been so easy to mock him for his own blood, but I was not like that. There was no way I could be that mean, not even to him… or could I?

A blurred image of Draco in the hospital bed made me rethink. I could. “It’s one thing for a pure blood to call someone a Mudblood. But for a Half blood it’s just pathetic. Your mum is a Muggleborn witch, is she not?”

“You shut up about my mother!” he roared so suddenly it startled me.

“Then you shut up about my blood!” I shouted back at him.

He was so angry he was shaking; he seemed as if he wanted to jump at me and beat me to death but one glance at my wand and he decided against it. It felt good to have that kind of power over him. He clenched his jaw and I slowly slid my left hand inside my robe and took out the pieces of his wand.

“I brought you your wand.” I said emotionless as I threw it at his feet.

“What the hell have you done to it!?” He leaned down and picked it up and stared at it.

“Isn’t that quite obvious?” when he did not answer (he just stared at the broken wand with a cold, emotionless expression) I rolled my eyes. “I snapped it in two.”

“Why?” he breathed, his voice dripping with hate.

“Yet again…that is quite obvious.” I stated and then took in the image of him holding his broken wand. “You said this was the best day of your live. Let me tell you something; you will be expelled, your wand if broken and not to mention that you will bring shame to your family’s name… I would say that this day is more like your worst nightmare.”

“And yet, I would do it all over again. That’s right, I don’t regret it at all. You know why?”

I shook my head ‘no’ as I stared at him with wide eyes. That was not what I had suspected at all… He was not like other people, that was clear. Normally no one in the wizarding world would ever dream of bringing shame to their family name.

“How long was he out of it?” he asked lazily and I counted fast, his eyes now on me rather than the wand..

“About 20 hours.”

“Ah…” he smiled sadistically. “So Malfoy was in excruciating pain for twenty hours, now that is the reason to why I would do it all again. Those moments I was there and got to see him being immobilised by pain.” He chuckled. “At first he felt as if thousands of ice-cold knifes slashed through his muscles, but he was unable to scream or ask for help, now wasn’t he?” He still smiled as he continued. “Then the torture changed you see, and he felt as if he was being burned slowly, from the inside out, it must have torn him apart. Of course it would have been better if he died in the end, I bet you anything he was silently begging for death.

But twenty hours of torture is more than I expected. He will never forget it, now will he? He will dream about it, feel it in his sleep…”

“He is stronger than you think.” I felt sick, too sick to act, to do something. I simply pushed him out of the way and ran.

“This isn't over, Mudblood! Don't you think that I am done for one second!” He screamed after me.

 

How could a person become so cruel? So damned heartless?

 








I was panting by the time I reached the hospital wing, slowly I opened the door and peaked in. Draco was awake and he was eating candy. A good sign, I guessed. Narcissa was sleeping with her head resting on Lucius shoulder. Lucius was talking to his son. I walked in and the Malfoy men both looked at me.

“Hi…” I said silently as I walked up to his bed and sat down on it. “How are you feeling?”

“Uh-oh. What happened, Hermione?” he pushed himself up to a sitting position and put his hand on mine. Normal temperature, I noticed.

“Matthew bloody Raven happened.” I said through gritted teeth and let myself get embraced by Draco. I practically threw my arms around him and sobbed. I didn’t know why I cried; if it was out of happiness that I was back in his arms or if it were because of the things Matthew had said.

“It’s okay…” Draco whispered against my hair. “Everything will be okay.”

His hand stroke my hair slowly, tenderly, as he held me close to him.

“He told me about the torture…” I hugged him tighter, so glad to finally be able to really feel him again.

“Oh, about that… Thank you.” He smiled against my ear as he mumbled. “Pomfrey just told me that because of how fast I got help there wasn’t nearly as much pain as it could have been. You were the one that figured out the potion, were you not?”

“Yes…” I breathed and waited for the rest.

“You saved me from the torture, I owe you big time.”

“You weren’t in any pain?” I asked silently and doubtingly, remembering how he had been begging me to make the pain go away when he woke up.

“Well... It wasn’t painless, but it wasn’t that bad. It wasn't as bad as it could have been. I’ve been through much worse.” I felt how his head snapped to look at his father and I understood that he was partly talking about that time Lucius beat him, and most likely about Voldemort as well. Lucius shifted uncomfortably in his chair.

He continued. “I have never been more grateful to have you, my little know-it-all.”

I smiled slightly at his words and we parted. “I owe you.” He repeated.

“I guess you do…”

 

There were really no more words to say, nothing I could say could make him understand how worried I had been. He seemed to feel the same way.

His hand rested in the back of my neck, and he used it to pull me closer to him. I was so close that I could feel his breath on my face, warm and sweet.

He licked his lips and then he seemed to hesitate, and his eyes looked from my lips to my eyes and then when I closed my eyes, he lowered his lips to mine. I could feel my tears on his lips, but I paid them no mind.

The feeling of being complete was overwhelming and I wanted to stay like that forever. But it only lasted seconds as we parted when Lucius cleared his voice; my blush appeared immediately, so did my smile.

I was still looking at Draco who was smiling as well, that uncharacteristic, friendly, loving, breathtaking smile that he saved just for me.

At the same time we glanced over at Lucius, who immediately looked away from us, with the tiniest blush on his pale cheeks. Apparently it wasn't just embarrassing for me. I looked over at Draco again, who smiled lazily at his fathers uncomfortable state. He was not blushing the slightest.

His words echoed in my head. My little know-it-all. I smiled even wider; I was his know-it-all.

Narcissa began to wake up and Lucius seemed to be glad over that fact, possibly because the awkwardness that hung in the air became forgotten. I let my eyes linger at Lucius for a couple of seconds, I was glad that we were able to be civilized towards each other, and I hoped that he now saw mine and Draco's relationship as something more than just a little benefit for him.

“You're back.” Narcissa smiled at me kindly, making me snap out of my thoughts, and suppressed a yawn. “How did he take it?”

“Not all that well, as you can imagine.” I smiled back at her then glanced over at Draco who grinned widely. “What?” I asked him and hit his arm playfully to which he grinned even more wide.

“I'm glad that you all get along, that's all.”

I could almost hear the snort that threatened to escape from Lucius, but he didn't say or do anything. He stayed perfectly still, Narcissa on the other hand tilted her head to the side and smiled at her son.

“I hope that you will keep getting along...” He said while locking his eyes on his father who gave a short nod.

“Of course.” Narcissa said and placed her hand on top of Lucius' as she spoke, I could tell that Lucius most of all just wanted to get up and walk out but he stayed put looking a little lost.

 










The door to the wing opened and in walked the Headmistress with her head held high.

She didn't stop until she was standing right beside me and Draco. She gave a short nod to his parents before she locked her eyes on mine.

“I need to know what happened, in your own words, Miss Granger.”

“I... What?” I was confused. “I'm sorry, but haven't you already been told what has happened, Professor?”

“Indeed, but only from the Malfoys, and Horace. But unfortunately none of them saw exactly what happened, word has it that you did. Horace told be that he had only just jumped to the conclusion that Mr Raven had done it because you had been shouting at him... Now, I want you to tell me what happened.” What was she on about? Surely Horace and Pomfrey would have told her about our conversations in the wing? He had confessed to what potion he had used for crying out loud!

“What I saw was how Matthew poured the continents of the vial over Draco in Potions class.”

“And what did the continents look like?”

“Light yellow drops with gas around them.”

“How many drops?”

“About five, Professor.” I said, confused to why she was talking to me in that tone, disbelief filled her voice. I didn't like that for one bit.

She looked at me with a penetrating gaze as if trying to tell if I was telling the truth. “I trust you understand that this is a serious accusation...”

“Accusation?” I echoed before she could say something else. “You are telling me that the reason that you haven't expelled him yet is because you think that it's just an accusation? You seriously don't think he did it? What, you think Draco did this to himself?” I gestured at Draco in the hospital bed.

“I do not want to think he did this to himself, I strongly doubt that he is suicidal, Miss Granger. But surely you understand that I cannot go around expelling students without evidence!”

I huffed and stood up. “Fine, you want evidence. Here I am.”

“Excuse me?” She said and looked puzzled.

“Pour Veritaserum down my throat, take my memories and watch them in a Pensieve. Do whatever you want as long as you expel that bastard!” I threw my hands out in a sort of desperate gesture and her lips became a thin line as she gave a short nod.

“Very well, Miss Granger. But if I find that you are lying to me about this, then I... I will have no choice but to expel you and Mr Malfoy-”

“Us?” I couldn't believe what she was saying. “What has he told you, Professor? What exactly did Raven tell you?” I couldn't stand Matthew, the strong hate rushed through me, making me want to hit something, someone. Him, preferably.

“That you have been brainwashed by Mr Malfoy into hating Mr Raven. According to him, he has done nothing to make you hate him.” I bet Matthew was smirking somewhere in the castle.

“And you believe him?” I breathed silently and shook my head. Behind me someone stood up, and moved to stand beside me. I saw blond hair in the corner of my eye but couldn't tell if it was Lucius or Narcissa. McGonagall shrugged sadly as if she didn't know what to think.

“How dare you, McGonagall?” the person hissed; Lucius I noticed. Before she could even open her mouth to reply to him, he spoke again. “How dare you imply that Draco would do such thing? And how dare you suggest that Hermione would be lying?”

I tried to not show that I was shocked over the fact that he called me 'Hermione' so casually, but I blinked several times before I got over it.

Apparently it shocked McGonagall as well for she didn't reply to him for half a minute. “I have to listen to both parts, you know that, Lucius.”

“Of course you have to listen, but when has she ever lied? You have known her for eight years, has she ever lied about something like this before?” He was angry, I could easily tell, and the tone in his voice would have brought shivers to my spine if he had been talking to me. But McGonagall didn't shiver nor did she break eye contact.

“No she has not, but I am concerned for her new found friendship in your son. You know very well that I do not trust any of you Malfoys.”

“Are you saying that you actually think that Draco has... What did you call it, brainwashed me?”

I raised my voice and made an attempt to step closer to her, but Lucius grabbed my upper arm and yanked me back. “Don't make things worse.” He said when I looked at him furiously.

“She actually... I mean she... I hate Matthew!” I growled the last words and Lucius seemed to be at loss of words so he gently pushed me down on the bed again and Draco pulled me to him while glaring at McGonagall. “I hate him...” I mumbled again and leaned my head against his chest.

“I know, I know.” Draco said as he held me, probably still glaring at McGonagall.

He smelled good, even though he had been through hell. He smelled like fresh, green apples and something that reminded me of the breeze of an ocean, I think that might have been what was left of his aftershave. He smelled like heaven. “Hey, Hermione...” he said, making me look up at him. “We all know what happened, and as soon as they know it too, he will be expelled. He wont be able to hurt you, or me for that matter. It wont be long until he's gone, you'll see.”

“Promise?” I knew I sounded like a child that needed comforting but I didn't care, I was too upset, to angry and to sad to care. Upset because Matthew had lied, angry because McGonagall thought so little of Draco and sad because she didn't believe me.

“I promise.” he said softly and his lips brushed gently against my forehead. I tilted my head to look at him better and then I pressed my lips against his and felt his faint smile against my lips. His promise seemed to be all I needed, it was so sincere.

“Thanks.” I whispered when we parted.

McGonagall cleared her voice and both of us looked at her. “You will come by my office tomorrow morning, and we'll sort all this out. This is a serious matter, which needs to be taken cared of as soon as possible.”

“She'll be there.” Said Narcissa coldly and Lucius gave a short nod. McGonagall looked as if she thought that she was imagining things then she nodded and walked out of there with her head held high.

 

 

I sat perfectly still with Draco's protective, calming arms around me as I felt all the Malfoys exchange looks. My mind was spinning, desperately trying to figure out that Matthew was up to now, why he was trying to blame me- us. It was obvious that he wanted us to hurt, one way or the other and since he hadn't been able to kill Draco... He wanted to make it look as if we had done it ourselves. But why? What did he have against us, against Draco? I refused to believe that all this had to do with our blood. I mean, his own mother was a muggleborn.

But then again, what else could it be?

My thoughts were interrupted when the door once again opened and Neville walked in. He smiled faintly as he walked up to us.

“You're alive!” He stated; nervously and relieved at the same time. Draco gave a low chuckle and a nod. “What happened to her?” I heard him ask and was at first confused to why he didn't just ask me, but then I realized that I had turned my face away from him. When, and why I had done that was a mystery to me.

“Apparently Matthew Raven has walked around talking bullshit, saying that he is innocent and that Hermione is lying... Yeah. I don't know.”

“Oh, yeah, yeah.. I heard about that! He has been telling people, well you see everyone is up and about, despite it being in the middle of the night, no one cares about curfew 'cause this is big news, you know. Well, anyway, he has been telling people that you have been using her only to damage her reputation, to destroy what is left of the 'Golden Trio', you know. He said something about how you have brainwashed her in to hating him, and that you wanted some kind of revenge at him for something that happened years ago. You, apparently, wanted to make it look as if he tried to kill you and then let her take all the blame afterwards. Complete bullshit, if I may say so myself.”

“Complete bullshit, indeed!” Growled Draco furiously. “I would never do that to her, no matter how awful I have been in the past, you know that right, Longbottom?”

I looked up at them both now, Draco's silvery eyes met Neville's brown ones with a powerful intensity. Up on seeing Neville's serious nod, I smiled.

Lucius let out a deep sigh and then he shook his head. “This boy needs to get stopped, he is insane.”

“Neville...” I sat straight up and looked at him. “You need to try to make people understand that I have not been brainwashed in to anything. I know you can make people listen to you, you did a lot for D.A during the war, just make them listen and...” I hesitated before I continued. “And turn them against him. If he understands that he's got nothing against us then he'll give up.” Hopefully, I added in my head.

Neville got determination in his eyes, they were completely filled with it and he nodded once more. “I can do that, I'll just gather some D.A people and we'll bring him down. I know that we all have your back.” He glanced over from me to Draco. “Well...” he scratched the back of his head. “They wont have your back.”

“Yeah, I know.” He smiled faintly. Neville nodded.

“Good, well... I'll go now, might check back later to let you know how it's going. Bye, 'Mione.”

“All right. Bye, Neville.” He walked out confidently.

 

 








 

 
Too much had happened in too little time, it was impossible for me to process everything.

The fact that people would actually believe him was ridiculous and I didn't know if I wanted to laugh or cry at the situation. But as Draco had promised and as I knew myself; it would all be over when they saw my memories or had me under the influence of Veritaserum. I knew what I had seen, and the lies that Matthew was spreading was outrageous.

But how much damage could Matthew do until then?

I sighed softly and tightened my grip around Draco's waist as I laid next to him in the small bed, in return his grip tightened around me and he pulled me even closer to him.

Lucius and Narcissa had gotten a bed each across the room and they were sleeping heavily. Even though Pomfrey had told them that they could go home, they had insisted that they would wait until the following day. I thought back to what Neville had said.

The fact that people actually believed those things about Draco seemed crazy to me, but I guessed that if I didn't know him as well as I did then I would have thought that he was capable of it. But as it was I knew him. I knew him, and I was in love with him.

I was intensely, crazily, desperately, and completely head over heels in love with him and that seemed to be all that mattered in that moment so I tilted my head up which made him open one eye to look at he.

“Kiss me.” I demanded softly and he obliged.

The kiss was similar to the one we had shared in the empty storage room not too long ago, not rough and demanding, but still filled with indescribable passion. His hand moved slowly up my sleeve to grasp my hair in a possessive yet painless way. I took some control over the kiss as I let my tongue slowly trace his lip until he opened his mouth to let it in, he seemed to approve of my actions and let me deepen the kiss further. I pushed myself up a bit so I could kiss him better, I held my hands on his chest and his hand gathered my hair to keep it out of my face – our faces; he also used it to press my head closer to his.

The kiss got more demanding as he took back the control, he let his tongue start a fierce battle with mine, and then he captured my lip between his teeth and bit down. Not hard, but hard enough for me to let out a strangled moan. Then he let his lips crash down on mine again; swallowing my moan.

Narcissa let out a cough, probably in her sleep, that made us come to our senses and we parted. Both of us panting heavily.

Draco smiled tenderly as his eyes traced my face as if he was memorizing it, he seemed really happy.

His hand let go of my hair and it fell down on the sides of my face, slowly he put it behind my ears and then let his fingers linger at my cheek, he traced his fingertips down my jawline and then he traced his thumb over my lips.

“Are you really mine?” he breathed while still smiling, his hand cupping my chin now.

“All yours.” I admitted softly and his eyes bore in to mine. Those silver depths that seemed to suck me in, I completely lost myself in them.

“Then I'm all yours.” he said after a while. I swear that my heart skipped several beats at his statement.

I laid my head down on his chest once more and listened to the beats of his heart. In that moment it didn't matter what anyone else thought, it seemed as if as long as I knew how it really was and as long as I had him, then I would be fine; then everything would be fine.

I needed him, I realized. He was mine, and I needed him so much.

He kissed the top of my head then he murmured against my hair. “Mine.”

He took a long, deep breath. “You do know that I would never do anything like that to you, right? I couldn't. I really have changed... I... I need you to trust me on that.”

I nodded hesitantly. “If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, then I would have my doubts. But, I did see what he did, Draco. And as far as this, with us go, I think you would have found another way to destroy my reputation if that was what you wanted; since this relationship is making you a Blood traitor, you are destroying your own reputation as well. If you were only interested in destroying me, then you wouldn't have kept it up as long as you have.”

I did believe him, I really did. How that was, I had no idea how, but I knew that he had changed.

“I'm not the same git as I once was.” He reassured me in a low voice.

“I know.” My fingers tugged at the covers, as I thought about what I should say next. “Has Lucius changed his opinion about us?”

“Ha! Not likely, but he has agreed to give you a chance.”

“I guess that's something.”

“Oh, it is. Trust me, that is something coming from him. I guess he feels as its the least he can do, since you kinda saved me.”

“What about your mother?”

“She has approved of you, she actually told me that she thinks your good for me. That was quite a shocker for me.”

“She said that?” I smiled widely. I could feel his nod. “That's good!”

“Indeed.” He said, and then I yawned. “You should sleep.”

I sighed, wanting to talk some more, but cuddled up to him as his hand began to stroke my sleeve and my heavy eyelids closed as I drifted in to a dreamless sleep.









[Ah, new chapter up! Let me know what you think about it! What do you think of Lucius and Narcissa? And Matthew? How was McGonagall and Neville? Over all, was it a good chapter? I'd love to know what you think! - Cathyyy-]

Chapter 15: Truth
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[I don't own anything, it's all JK Rowlings. Only the plot and the OC's are mine. Enjoy!]






I was rudely awaken by Lucius in the morning, he shook my shoulder roughly until I sat up with a groan and rubbed my eyes groggily as the sun shined in my face. Disoriented I looked around, and then I remembered that I was in the hospital wing. When I could focus on Lucius he gestured at me to wake Draco.

Shouldn't we let him sleep? I mouthed but up on hearing his deep sigh, I turned and leaned down and whispered in Draco's ear with a singsong voice. “Wake up, Draco.”

He can't have been sleeping very heavily because he opened his eyes right away and turned his head to plant a kiss on my mouth.

“Morning.” he murmured, I smiled; he seemed to be in a good mood, I kissed him again.

“Well...” Lucius interrupted our little moment, he seemed a bit annoyed. “Whenever you two are done trying to swallow one another then you might get ready to see McGonagall...” He smirked when I blushed, and mentally slapped myself, how could I have forgotten about that? But then again, I forgot everything when Draco kissed me; I didn't even remember my name then.

 

I noticed that Narcissa walked out from a small bathroom to the left, looking refreshed. She had magically cleaned her clothes and changed them to look as if she had actually cared what she had thrown on. I noticed that her dark green sweater had been turned in to a long robe. Her hair framed her faced in a flattering way and I also noticed that she wore make up; making herself look less pale. On her lips she had a light red lipstick, it wasn't too dark and not too pink. Just somewhere in between.
She looked beautiful.

Beside me, Draco chuckled. When I turned to face him, he ran his fingers through my hair. 
“Bushy.” he continued chuckling as I paled a little bit, just some day ago he had told me that he thought that my hair looked better when it wasn't bushy, but due to what had happened, my hair spells had been the last thing on my mind. “Hm, I like it. I used to hate it, but I don't any more.”

“Well, I do.” I mumbled and reached for my wand. But he wouldn't have any of that, he simply took the wand and held it out of my reach. “Draco! Give it back!”

He let out a dark laugh. “I want your hair to be bushy today.” when I started to object he added. “Please?” He leaned in closer(still holding the wand over his head). “Pretty please?” He gave me those puppy eyes that I was unable to resist and damn if he didn't know it.

“Fine.” I sighed and he smiled triumphantly while he lowered his hand, but as I was about to take it he reacted immediately with his seeker speed and brought it out of my reach again.

“Oh no, not yet missy. Say that you promise?”

I glared at him before I nodded. “I promise to leave my hair bushy.” He smiled widely again. “For today!” I added when he gave me my wand, his hands rested on mine. “I'm starting to think that you actually have brainwashed me in to always letting you have your way, I can't seem resist your charm.” I joked, expecting him to at least smile but instead his face fell before it became hard.

He looked away from me suddenly and pulled his hands away as if he was been burned by mine.

“Sorry...” I mumbled, feeling like an idiot. Draco took a deep breath to... calm himself? His jaw was clenched when he looked at me again. But he remained silent. “I'm sorry, please don't be mad at me...?”

“I'm not mad at you.” he reassured me, in an annoyingly calm and controlled voice. “I am, however, mad at that filthy bastard.”

“I shouldn't even have mentioned it. I get that you're angry at him. I am too, trust me.” My voice filled with hate as I spoke about him. “Come on now, as your father said; we should get ready.”

I made an attempt to stand up, but Draco grabbed my hand before I could. “I'm anything but mad at you, Hermione.”

I smiled faintly and gave his hand a light squeeze before I stood up, dragging him with me without thinking, then when he almost fell over in a pained moan and had to lean himself a bit on me. I gasped horrified. “Oh, Merlin, I forgot!”

I pushed him back down on the bed gently but he burst out laughing and stood up. “Just messing with you.” He threw his arm over my shoulder and we started walking towards his parents. My hand went automatically around his waist and I rested my head against him.

“Bloody jerk.”

 

 

Lucius eyed us both while looking down at us – me, not at Draco so much since he was pretty much the same height. He raised one eyebrow. “Are you two really not going to change clothes before going to McGonagall?”

We were wearing the clothes that we had worn underneath our robes, my clothes consisted of a pair of very simple, quite tight muggle jeans and an equally simple white t-shirt.

Draco was wearing his favorite pair of black trousers and a black t-shirt.

“Do we even have time to change?” asked Draco after he had looked at our clothes. Lucius shook his head with his lips pressed tightly together. “Didn't think so.” Draco had decided to follow me there, despite Pomfrey's protests; he had promised that he would come back to the wing once we had finished.

 

 

Lucius and Narcissa walked in front of us out of the wing. I was shocked and tried very hard to stop the gasp that threatened to escape my lips. The corridor was definitely not empty any more, it was full of students who seemed eager to get a glimpse of us. I heard the heavy sigh from Narcissa, she turned around to give me an encouraging smile, before she straightened her back and walked confidently out together with her husband. I looked nervously up at Draco who raised an eyebrow and mouthed 'Ready?'

I licked my lip, before taking a deep breath. I was so not ready, but I mustered some of that Gryffindor bravery and nodded. 'Whenever you are'.

By then, his arm had gone from around my shoulders to holding my hand. He gave it a light squeeze as he started walking, I fell in to steps with him immediately, avoiding eye contact with everyone except Neville, who stood there with a quite pleased smile. I raised my right eyebrow at him and he gave a nod to his right; around ten D.A members, more or less stood there with the same smile on their lips. He had managed to actually talk some sense in to people. I was grateful.

I heard the faint whispers and tried to ignore them, most of them said the same thing. Holding hands. Death Eater. Slytherin. Brainwashed.

Then there was the other side of the corridor that was saying the same thing, but the complete opposite. 
Holding hands. Mudblood. Gryffindor. Disgusting.

I closed my eyes briefly, as we rounded a corner but opened them as we walked down the stairs, there was even people standing in the staircase to get a glimpse. It was ridiculous, really. They seemed to hate me- us, by the look on their faces. Still, some of them looked at me with pity.

I had never been more aware of his strong hand holding mine nor had I ever felt the need to hold it as bad as then.

“I feel as if I am walking to my execution.” I spoke in a low voice, so that only he could hear me.

He couldn't help it, a smile appeared on his lips. “That bad, huh?”

“Worse.”

He glanced down at me and I up at him, that seemed to make the whispers go away, hell that made everything go away. He didn't seem to know what to say. “All you have to do is tell the truth, you know.” He shrugged awkwardly and I nodded.

 








 

All too soon we stood outside the Headmistress' office, all four of us. Most of the students had not bothered to follow us, a few Slytherins and a few D.A members only, but they stayed in the background.

Right in front of the door stood Draco, me, Lucius and Narcissa lined up, in that order, all staring at the door. I was biting on my lip nervously, Matthew would most likely be in there, and I wasn't sure if I could face him without wanting to kill him. But most of all I was worried what the Malfoys would do when they saw him.

“Well... is there anyone that knows the password?” asked Narcissa at last and they all looked at me.

“Oh, yes. Victory.” I spoke the last word louder and there was a 'click' and the door opened. Then they all looked at me as if waiting for me to move. “Uh-uh, forget it. I'm not going in there first.”

“Oh for the love of...” Draco muttered as he dragged me with him in, I didn't have the time to even open my mouth to protest.

 

The room was filled with people, I noticed as I let my eyes search the room for Matthew and found him standing across the room with a sneer on his face, obviously displeased with the fact that Neville had kind of ruined his great plan. The man standing next to him was most likely his father.

Professors, I noticed, all the professors were there. And Madame Pomfrey and Mrs Mulberry, and then there was two people whom I didn't recognise.

But I suspected strongly that the man in the brown robe were from the Ministry.

“You reckon he is the new Transfiguration teacher?” Mumbled Draco in my ear as he looked at the other unknown man.

“Could be.” I agreed. He looked a bit like Slughorn, but not as old. He had dark hair and was taller than the Potions master.

“You're here.” said McGonagall finally, she stood up and walked over to us. “And you still want to do this, Miss Granger?”

I gave a sharp nod. “Veritaserum or Pensieve?”

“Both, I'm afraid. If your memories have been modified in any way...” She shot a glare at Draco as she paused. “Well, then the Veritaserum will let us know about it.”

I snorted. “Which first?”

“Veritaserum.” said the man that I thought was from the Ministry, to which Slughorn gave me the vial that contained it. I thanked him, just a wee bit sarcastic.

They motioned for me to sit down at a chair in the middle of the room as they all sat down in a circle around me. I felt very trapped. Where is Draco?

I found his eyes and they promised me that it would be all right.

“Drink.” someone said and I opened the vial and brought it to my lips, I waited for Draco's nod and when he nodded, I drained it. It didn't taste like anything it all, reminded me of water. I coughed a bit when the magic set in.

 

The man from the Ministry stood up and strode over to stand in front of me. “What is your name?”

“Hermione Jean Granger.” I answered automatically and my voice surprised me, it was much more clear than it had been in a while. It wasn't thick with emotions.

“Do you know why your here?” He tilted his head just a bit.

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“To shove Matthews lies down his throat.” I spat. Well... at least it was honest. “And get him expelled.” I added without thinking. He seemed to think my words over before he asked the next question.

“What is your relationship to Draco Malfoy?”

“He is my boyfriend.” I managed to make it sound like a question and glanced over at him as well, he was smiling widely. I gave him a faint smile before I was interrupted by another question.

“How come? I mean, didn't you two hate each other?” His voice was forceful, and I found myself disliking him.

“We did, but that was before.” I said and to that, he asked 'before what?' “The war, of course. When I got back to Hogwarts after the war, I felt as if I didn't belong with my old friends, because they acted as if nothing had happened. But I hurt to much to act like that, so I decided to do something about my life.”

“And what was that?”

“I wanted to learn how to fly, and Draco ended up being the one to teach me. I guess that was when it happened.”

“When what happened?” He asked quickly, almost too quick. He seemed to twist his tongue in his eagerness to get the words out.

“Well.. I could say that I felt that we clicked, but it was more like I got an electric shock, really.”

I knew that Draco was smiling without looking at him.

“During your time together, now, has he hurt you?”

“No.”

“Drawn his wand at you?”

“No.”

“Verbally assaulted you?”

“No.”

“Made you hate Mr Raven?”

“No, Raven did that all by himself.” I growled through gritted teeth.

“Explain yourself.”

“Matthew has done all those things, he has hurt me with verbal assaults, he has attempted to draw his wand at me and he has made me hate him.”

“Tell me what happened in Potions class.” He demanded.

“We were making a potion when I walked to get more ingredients, I looked over at Draco just as Matthew was about to walk past him.” I took a deep breath. “Matthew then opened the vial he was carrying and poured it over Draco, who fell to the floor, and then I ran over to...”

“That's enough, thank you. I want to go back to talk about Mr Malfoy.” I gave a nod. “Are you in love with him?”

Desperately I tried to keep my mouth shut. “Yes.”

This wasn't the way I wanted to let him know, and I closed my eyes briefly at the awkwardness that I felt.

“Would you lie for him?”

Once again I tried in vain. “Yes.”

All around me people held their breaths, one or two whispered something but other then that: complete silence. The interrogator smiled somewhat, but hid it quickly.

“Are you lying now?”

“No.” Everyone seemed to release the breath they were holding and relax in their chairs.

 

I didn't want to look at Draco, I couldn't meet his eyes, not yet.

“You stand by your old statement, then? That Mr Raven did it all, and that you have not been... Brainwashed, at all.”

“Yes!” I raised my voice. “Despite what certain people think...” I shot a glare at McGonagall. “War changes people. Draco has definitely changed.”

“Very well.” he said and walked over to the Pensieve across the room. “May you place all your memories related to this from the last two days here, Miss?”

I walked unsteadily up to him and pulled my wand out of my pocket and placed it to my temple, my hand shaking. I took all memories; from the run in with Matthew and his friends in the hallway until now, and gently let them sink in to the Pensieve, still my hand was shaking.

“That's it.” I said and him, me and McGonagall looked down. “Am I supposed to go with?”

“Yes, I think that was the plan, Miss Granger.”

 

 

 

 

In the matter of seconds, we had literally dove in to my memories. It was odd watching myself with Draco, I looked so normal next to him.

I looked over at where Matthew came walking and knew that Draco's grip had just tightened around my waist. McGonagall was too busy looking at me and Draco to notice Matthews arrival.

“Well, well, well... The Blood traitor is taking his filthy girlfriend on a walk, is he? How sweet.”

Matthews voice startled her, but I knew that it was coming. Her and the Ministry guy walked closer to the scene that was played out for them.

“It is sweet, is it not?” I hadn't realized that Draco had sounded so cruel towards him, yet in a amused way.

“Hardly.” They walked closer. “You really should chose who you are seen out with more carefully, or some little bird might just accidentally whisper something in your fathers ear.”

“Seriously, Matt? You are threatening to rat me out to my father? What are we in, 2nd grade? Don't you think that my father already knows about this?” I didn't need to look at them to know how pale Matthew got.

“Lets go, Hermione. Take your hand off of me!”

Like a child I put my hands over my ears as an attempt to keep the sound of Matthews threat out. But I knew what he was saying.

                                                                

The scene changed and we were in the storage room. That memory should not have been included. Oops!

“Eh, Professor, this memory is a mistake.”

“What?”

“This isn't relevant!” I hissed mortified as the memory me and memory Draco slid down the wall. “Oh Merlin.”

I turned around and wished desperately that I could vanish from the surface of the earth.

I was just waiting for it to end, but I knew that before it would end; it would get worse.

Behind me I heard myself saying “I care for you.” and I grimaced, knowing what would come next; Draco would kiss me.

1, 2... 3. I counted silently. “Oh my!” gasped McGonagall before she too turned around, followed by the man.

 

Thankfully the scene changed and I found myself in the Potions classroom. I followed myself and Draco to our table.

“This is where it happens.” I said sadly to which they nodded. Everything happened very fast after I walked up to get the ingredients, I kept my eyes on myself for a while, not sure if I wanted to see the pain in his eyes as he screamed with no sound again. But when I saw the horror in my own eyes I felt obligated to look.

Thud.

Gasps, screams and roars. I try to remember that it is just a memory. My own desperation was etched in the memory, making us all feel it clearly. I looked away; I couldn't stand it. I felt a tear fall and I bit my lip. Not until I heard Slughorns roar “Get out of my way!”did I move. I motioned for them to follow me, but just as we were walking the scene changed and we ended up walking in the Hospital wing instead. I pointed at myself looking at Draco's bed. All this was really a blur to me, but the memory was just fine. I heard him laugh and saw that McGonagall went rigid.

“You disgusting, pathetic, filthy excuse for a wizard!” and then I saw myself disarm him.

McGonagall let out an approving sigh and continued to watch the scene in silence.

The scene changed again and we walked closer to me and Matthew by Draco's bed, they listened to what he said to me and to me it looked as if they wanted to hit him as well. I loved the sound of my fist hitting his face.

 

The day changed and I explained that to them. They nodded, both of them looked as if they had run out of words to say. Briefly we watched when I kicked him, then the scene changed to when he told me about the torture that was supposed to have been all that Draco would have felt. They looked disgusted.

I watched myself run away and heard his voice scream right next to me. “This isn't over, Mudblood! Don't you think that I am done for one second!”

 

I prepared myself to return to present time, but another embarrassing memory had accidentally made its way in to the Pensieve.

“Oh... No.” I moaned and felt myself blush deeply. I saw myself on top of Draco in his hospital bed, kissing him like there was no tomorrow and his hand held my hair in a tight grip. I watched him bit down on my lip, and how he then kissed away the small amount of pain. I looked over at Narcissa who was soon about to cough... When she did, I looked over at us. He was tracing my face with his fingers.

“Are you really mine?” he asked, and it sounded just as wonderful as I remembered it, obviously.

“All yours.” was my reply, and I mouthed the words as the memory me said them.

A couple of seconds passed as we looked at each other. I glanced between the two adults that were observing the scene in front of them. “Then I'm all yours.”

I could swear that I heard McGonagall sigh, a happy sigh though. I heard the kiss on my forehead and then his mumbled word that made my heart skip a beat even the second time I heard it. “Mine.”

 

 








 

We were back in the Headmistress' office and we all looked at each other. I was still blushing furiously.

All other persons in the room were looking at us, but we didn't care. I didn't care at least; I just wanted to know what they were going to do with what they now knew.

“Oh, and I left out all the agony of watching him fight for his life in the hospital wing.” I said after a while of silence.

A short nod each. Then McGonagall turned to look at me, gently she put her hands on each side of my shoulders. “I am so sorry that I didn't believe you.” Then she turned around, and when her eyes landed on Matthew; he flinched. “You!” she took a step closer to him. “That was the most... The most... I can't even find words for it, Raven.”

“Better say it straight out.” The man said to Raven. “You are expelled, you lying little prat and on the behalf of the Ministry and the whole Wizengamot, I forbid you to have access to a wand for two and a half years, that is until you reach the age of twenty.”

Matthews jaw dropped and he looked a lot like a dying goldfish.

 

I sighed in relief and suddenly felt very dizzy. But I ignored it, and looked around after Draco, he was smiling as he was walking towards me.

“Told you that it would be fine, Hermione.” He said and pulled me to him and I melted against him. “So, you're in love with me?”

I knew he was going to ask, but I still made a face(which he couldn't see) but the more I thought about it the less it made sense, why wouldn't I want him to know?

After what had happened, when I had been sitting by the hospital wing, not knowing if I would ever get the chance to tell him, you'd think that I wouldn't have any hesitations about it. I sighed. “Draco, I confessed to being that under the influence of Veritaserum, if I told you that I wasn't in love with you now, then you'd know I'd be lying.”

“True that.” He smiled “Well, I am, eh, with you too.” I settled for that, knowing that feelings wasn't his strongest side. I could feel his chest move as he sighed, but before he could speak again, I spoke.

“Don't speak, just hold me. Please.” he did so, his arms held me, if possible, even closer. I inhaled his scent and titled my head to look at him. “Not to be rude or anything, but Merlin, you need a shower.”

“So do you.” He chuckled lightly making some people turn their heads to look at us.

Across the room stood McGonagall and had a heated discussion with Matthew and his father, who looked ready to kill. Draco led me closer to them, probably so he would be able to eavesdrop. His arm hung around my shoulders, a very casual thing but it made my heart race. I found it quite ridiculous that a simple touch could affect me so much, it was not like me at all. But I did not complain, I rather liked it actually, the way his touch made me shiver, the way my heart raced, and the way his kisses made me light headed. I wouldn't want to change that for anything in the world.

“Yes, I understand that it must be hard for him, but that gives him no excuse for going around trying to kill my students, Mr Raven.” hissed McGonagall to Matthews father who took a step closer to her as she spoke.

“And what about the Malfoy boy? How could you even let him back to school, he is a Death Eater, for Merlins sake!”

Draco stiffened beside me and I glanced up at him, his face was stone like and his eyes were hard, cold.

“I assure you that I know what I am doing. That boy is just as much of a Death Eater as I am.” was all she answered, and I noticed how she glanced over at Dumbledore's portrait as she spoke. Her voice didn't seem convincing to me. Dumbledore was smiling widely and his eyes were twinkling, he winked at me. “Horace and I will follow you down to the Slytherin common room, to gather your things, and then you'll have to leave the grounds.”

Matthew looked as if someone had slapped him across the face, but nodded.

I turned to look at Draco who still had such coldness in his eyes; it made me shudder. He noticed me looking at him and looked down at me, but the cold expression wouldn't leave his eyes.

He reminded me of the old Draco and I swallowed hard. “Don't listen to them...”

“Mr Raven, you should be glad that he isn't going to Azkaban for this! Attempt of murder is a serious business, but since he is so young... I am sure that if this went to trial; he would be convicted. But I do warn you, if he break the law one more time, just the smallest violation; He will go to Azkaban. No doubt about it. You should be glad that he was just expelled. ” I heard the Ministry man say to Matthews father.

“Just!” huffed Matthew silently. “I can't use magic for two and half years, and I am just expelled.”

But my eyes were still locked on Draco's cold ones that seemed to soften every second. “Are you all right?” I asked softly and he nodded slowly, still looking like someone had drenched him in ice cold water. “They don't know anything, they weren't there.” I leaned my head against his chest.

He didn't reply but he held me tight, and inhaled the scent of my hair. I barely noticed that Mr and Mrs Malfoy had moved to stand beside us.

Then out of nowhere Matthew appeared in front of us, glaring at Draco and then focusing at me.

“I guess you're pleased now, Mudblood?” He sneered and my fists clenched and I made an attempt to raise one of them, but Narcissa's hand came out to stop me.

“Don't loose your temper, dear.” She mumbled as if she didn't want to cause a scene. I shrugged her hand off, and she backed away. Draco's jaw was clenched as he glared at Matthew through his hair that hung in front of his eyes.

“Don't ever call her that again.” He threatened in a low, hostile voice. Matthew laughed, he actually threw his head back and laughed.

“What more could you do to me? You've already had me expelled and stripped me off my wand. You and that Mudbl...” But he never finished that sentence as Draco's fist collided with his nose with a lovely cracking sound. Matthew stumbled backwards with a groan and his hands made their way to cover his bleeding nose, but before they could reach up, Draco hit him again and again and again. I made no attempt in stopping him, if anything I wanted to help him and that feeling scared me. But the hate I felt towards Matthew scared me as well. Draco lowered his blows to Matthews stomach and chest, which received more than a hit each. Matthew swung his fist towards Draco but missed and gave Draco the opportunity to throw Matthew down on the ground with another blow to his already broken nose. He was just about to kick him in the stomach when I reached out and took a hold of his shoulder and pulled him back. No one in the room moved, no one seemed to want to object to Draco's actions. Matthew was moaning on the floor, covering his face with his hands.

He just shrugged my hands off. “Draco!” I tried again, but to no success. “Draco, you can't kick someone who is down...”

“The hell I can!” He snapped at me, and I flinched. “He deserves it.”

“I know he does, but...”

“But what!?” He roared and turned around, Matthew saw his chance and began to push himself up in a sitting position. When he was on his knees however, Draco turned around and pushed him down again using his foot. “You stay down, you git.” When he made an attempt to sit up again, Draco kicked him on his ribs, making him gasp and grimace.

Matthew groaned when he landed on his back. He glared up at Draco, but understood that he wasn't in any position to object. But he wasn't going to back down, I realized as he forced a smile up on his lips. “Sbe's got you wrabbed around ber finger, doesn't sbe? The Mudblood and the Pureblood...” He couldn't speak very well, but everyone got what he was saying. He coughed and then he spit, blood, careful not to get it on his clothes. The blood was probably from his nose, or maybe he had lost a tooth. Draco dashed out but was held back as Lucius placed his cane across his chest, making him stop. “Don't, son. It isn't worth it.”

“He deserves it.” Draco growled, but he did back off, holding his hands up in surrender. I noticed that his knuckles were bloody, if it was his blood or Matthews... I wasn't sure.

“Go stand by the door, Mr Malfoy.” said a very calm Headmistress, as if nothing had happened. She didn't even bother to look at the boy on the ground. She was glancing up against Dumbledore's portrait. I did too, his lips were twitching even though he tried to look very serious. It seemed to me as if he had expected this and thought that Matthew was a downright git. He caught my glance and tried even harder keep his mouth shut.

“Aren't you going to do something?” Demanded Mr Raven, staring shocked at McGonagall. “Its your students, why aren't you doing anything?”

“Only one of them are my student, Mr Raven. He will be given detention.” McGonagall spoke, and looked away from Dumbledore to Draco. “A lot of detention.”

Draco nodded stiffly, then Lucius told him to go wait by the door. He sent his father a glare that could have burnt Lucius to ashes, but did as he was told.

Matthews father helped his son up, and dragged him with him towards the window and healed him. Everyone did their best to ignore them.

 

 

“Would that be all, McGonagall?” drawled Lucius, tapping his fingers against his cane as if he was stressed. McGonagall nodded shocked, making Lucius snort, he obviously waited for something. “Nothing you'd like to say to Draco... or Miss Granger?”

“Oh...Of course.” She turned to look at Draco, she seemed embarrassed by the fact that Lucius Malfoy had reminded her of something like that. “I am sorry that I didn't believe you. And, Miss Granger, again, I am sorry that I didn't trust your word either.”

“It's all right.”

“You should be.”

Me and Draco said at the same time, his words made McGonagall look at him wide eyed.

He cleared his throat when he noticed that everyone was looking at him as he was standing leaning himself against the door. “I mean, you should be sorry about not trusting Hermione, not me. I understand why you wouldn't trust me, I wasn't the best boy when I was younger.”

“No kidding.” I mumbled under my breath. I knew that Draco had heard me, but he chose to ignore me.

“But I would like for you to give me a chance, like Hermione did.”

I'll never get used to hearing him say my name like that. I thought.

“It's the least I can do, Mr Malfoy.” She looked at the three Malfoys and me, then she gave a soft nod. “You may go now.”




“But... Wait!” I said when Draco had started to open the door. “Why did he do it? He must have had a reason. I refuse to believe that it was all about me being a muggleborn!”

She looked around as if checking if anyone was looking then she leaned in and whispered to me.

“From what he and his father just told me, it had to do with his mother, and...”

“His mother?” I mumbled in disbelief. “She is a muggleborn!”

“Shh! Yes, she is. She just left his father for a muggle, I reckon Mr Raven didn't take that so good, and then there is this other thing...”

“Wait, his mother left his father for a muggle?” I shook my head at all the sudden information. “No wonder he is upset with muggleborns, but why would he go after Draco and not me, then?”

“Miss Granger, would you please let me finish!” I shut my mouth immediately and she closed her eyes but opened then as she begun to speak again, in a low whisper so that only I heard. “There was that, and then there was his girlfriend. She wasn't so fond of you and Draco together either.”

“His girlfriend pursued him to do that to Draco?”

“Yes, do not look so shocked, Miss Granger. What did you expect from her? A box of chocolate and a ´I'm-happy-for-the two of you´ note?”

I stared at her, probably looking even more shocked. My mouth had gone dry and I noticed that Draco's parents had gone to stand with him by the door, waiting for me.

“Exactly who is this 'her' that we are talking about?” I asked, not sure if I wanted to know the answer to that one.

“Why, Miss Parkinson of course.”

“Parkinson?” I echoed. “Pansy Parkinson?”

McGonagall gave a odd stare before she nodded and I could feel my jaw drop and hang open. “You're joking!”

“I assure you that I am not joking.” she huffed and leaned back again.

“Oh...I...” I couldn't help it, but I started to laugh. It felt as if I had just been comparing the two. “My, do...they deserve... each other, or what?” I managed to choke out between my laughter.

McGonagall actually smiled when I had calmed down. “You should go now, Miss Granger.”

“Yes, yes.” I nodded, while still smiling widely.

“Oh, and Hermione?” She still smiled. “I think that there is a pleasant surprise for you two waiting in the Hospital wing.”

“For me and Draco?” I asked sceptically and blinked several times.

“Mostly for Mr Malfoy, I suppose. But for you too, I think.”

“What...?” I started but she shook her head, telling me that it was a surprise; her way of making up for not trusting us. “But how did you...? How did you know that.. When did you have time for..?”

“Well, I trusted Albus on that one. I had Horace sneak out after you had answered most of the questions, and he got everything ready. Now, no more questions. Go.”

But before I walked out of the room, I strode over to Matthew who looked pissed as hell. His father glared at me as well. I didn't say anything but waited for him so say something, like I knew that he would.

“What do you want?” He snapped at me. I took a hold of my wand, but did not draw it. I smirked against my will as I knew what I was going to do. Brilliant idea, Hermione.

“You cleaned up quite well, Matthew. Too bad you missed a spot.” I said, nodding towards his nose, his hand went up to check if there was any blood left, but he couldn't find any. “When he lowered his hand, I laughed sarcastically before I spit in his face. “Yeah, right there.” I said when his hand came up to wipe it off him. I didn't say anything else, I simply walked away as I saw his disgusted expression. I felt good about it, very good.

 








 

 

I couldn't hold back the excitement that rushed through me as I walked over to Draco and his family. He once again pulled me to him and smiled.

“How's your hand?” I asked.

“What did she tell you?” He ignored my question, while Lucius and Narcissa both let out something that sounded like a muffled laugh. “And did you just spit in his face?”

Draco was so curious that I thought he might explode. It was annoyingly cute. I didn't answer him until we had walked out the door and I heard it close behind us.

“Yes.” I answered the last question first. “And she told me that Matthew has a girlfriend, and she was the one who pursued him in to doing it. And his mother left his father for a muggle and there is a surprise waiting for us in the Hospital wing.”

“His mother left his father for a muggle? Said a thoroughly shocked Lucius and shuddered instantly, looking over at his wife with a threatening look that said 'If you would ever do that...'

“He has a girlfriend?” asked Draco, ignoring his fathers words.

“Yeah, it was news to me too, apparently he is dating your leftovers.” I raised an eyebrow as I looked up at him.

“Pansy.” He stated emotionless, then he shook his head. “I should have known, this absolutely reeks of Pansy. It's so obvious that she came up with the idea. That stupid slag.”

I was taken aback a bit but then I started laughing. “I don't think it was her idea to do it to you, though. I think in her opinion the potion should have been poured over me.” He nodded his agreement before he turned to his father.

“And that's the kind of girl you'd like me to be with?” I could hear the seriousness behind the humour in his voice.

“Well, not any more.” Lucius said in a 'Well- duh' kind of tone, yet he made himself sound uninterested. “She'll do.” he said nodding my way without looking at me and I felt that I had just won a battle, I could feel my heart skip several beats out of pure happiness. I think that Draco felt the same thing as he looked down at me and smiled lovingly. I simply melted.

“So what's up with the surprise?” he asked, making me snap back to reality; I had been lost in his eyes.

“Er... I have no idea! She said that Slughorn had been 'getting everything ready'. Don't ask me what she meant with that.”

“For the both of us?” His eyebrows raised and I nodded.

“But mostly for you...” I trailed off as I started to dwell over what it could possibly be.

 

 

Lucius and Narcissa excused themselves, and walked to make sure that Matthew actually left the grounds, as Draco and I continued our way up to the wing.

Our theories of what it could be was... Well, one was as unlikely as the other.

We were laughing at our silly theories as we reached the wing. All of the tension from earlier was gone, and it was as if the last three days had never happened.

“Ready to find out what our surprise is?” Draco asked, his grey eyes wide out of excitement and curiosity, he reminded me of a child on Christmas – that adorable expression in their eyes just before they open their gifts.

“More than ready!” I nodded happily and he opened the wooden door and we ran in, desperately trying to get in there faster than the other. He got in before me and he completely froze immediately at the sight in front of him.

His mouth was a perfect 'O' and his eyes were huge. I had never seen him look so happily shocked. I glanced around in the room and looked out the window briefly, it looked as if it would begin to snow, before I followed his gaze and blinked several times before I broke out in a smile, it was perfect. Simply perfect!

“Gee, Malfoy, close your mouth. It's only me.”

 

 








[Wow, longest chapter so far! I hope you'll like it. Want to clear one thing up, Lucius is still a racist bastard, but he has agreed to giving Hermione a chance, much thanks to Narcissa, I think(know). And because of everything that has happened, he didn't want to be fighting with Draco so he gave in. It's as simple as that. I doubt that Lucius has suddenly overcome his hatred of muggleborns and lets face it; Anyone in their right mind would have chosen Hermione over Pansy.

So, what do you think about Matthew, and him being expelled? Would you like to see more of him in the future? Would you like to see some of Pansy? Do you like the chapter? Bad/Good?

Aaand... Who do you reckon is the surprise person that got Draco so shocked? Lemme know! - Cathyyy]

Chapter 16: Surprise
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[ Everything except the plot, Matthew and Amber belongs to JK Rowling. I hope you enjoy  it!]







 

There was a few moments when none of us moved, we all stood and grinned at each other. Then Draco walked swiftly over to the other side of the room and threw his arm around his friend.

“Good to have you back, mate!”

“It's good to be back.” Blaise Zabini laughed as they parted; the hug didn't last long.

“How long are you gonna stay?” Draco was smiling from ear to ear and looked happily at his friend. Blaise shrugged.

“Until I graduate, I s'pose.” He then looked over at me. “Thanks for the letter, even though I have never read a worse written one.”

“Oh please!” I laughed and shook my head. “But... How did you get here so fast, weren't you in Italy?”

The boys looked at each other for two seconds before breaking out in a roaring laughter, while I looked at them wide eyed. Draco seemed to be just as happy about his friends return as I had suspected him to be. I watched his hair that hung in front of his eyes, looking whiter than ever, and I thought that his eyes looked more grey than ever. He was more beautiful than ever.

“Ever heard of a thing called magic, Hermione?” Draco laughed even harder when he had finished that sentence; when he saw my blush appear. I felt so stupid, and that was a feeling I usually never felt. It really wasn't that funny...

“I...I...” I couldn't put a sentence together and they laughed even harder. My blush deepened.

After a while the laughter subsided and they were just grinning.

“Aww, sweetheart, blushing and stuttering suits you.” Draco strode over to me and planted a kiss on my forehead. I snorted loudly making Blaise chuckle.

“What I tried to say was; how did you convince your mother to let you come back?”

“Tried was the word...” mumbled Draco amused.

“Well, that wasn't nearly as much of a fun sentence.” said Blaise, still grinning. “I let her read the letter, and honestly... I think she is already bored with the new guy.”

I raised one eyebrow and looked at him, party horrified, so he continued. “The rumour that all men drop dead after being with my mum is just that, a rumour. Some actually survive the divorce.”

There was great humour in his voice, and his dark brown eyes were twinkling. Draco chuckled beside me.

“Barely.” he added to his friends sentence and they both grinned while I shook my head. Blaise was just about to say something when the doors opened and Madam Pomfrey walked in, smiling faintly.

She eyes the three of us before she told us that he could leave if he wanted to, but that he had to avoid any sort of alcohol for the next two weeks. Somehow I didn't think that would be a problem seeing how hungover he had been feeling after the last time he drank.

We gathered some of the stuff that had been brought to him, and our robes before we threw away the flowers that had just arrived. It was his female fanclub that had sent the flowers, and the multiple 'get better'- cards got thrown away as well. Blaise held up a card and read out loud.

“Oh, Sweet! 'Draco, I hope you are feeling better. If there is anything I can do for you, just say the words'.” then he stopped to laugh a bit before he continued. “PS. I really mean ANYTHING.”

“Who was it from?” Asked Draco while shaking his head as if not believing how stupid some people were.

“Eh... That little Slytherin girl, Amber... 5th year I think, you know who I mean?”

“The one with the...?” He didn't finish the sentence but Blaise seemed to get it, since he grinned and nodded. “Jeez, didn't think she'd be throwing herself at someone like that.”

“The one with the what?” I asked casually, while taking my robe under my arm and walked towards them. My curiosity getting the best of me, and if I had thought about it, then I would have probably figured it out myself.

“Boobs.” said Blaise. “Huge ones...”

“Okay, forget I asked!” I said, interrupting whatever he had planned to say. “Are you two ready to leave?” They both nodded, but then Draco turned to face Blaise.

“Hey, Blaise... Where the hell are you going to stay, anyway? Are you even welcomed in the common room?”

“Hardly.” He shook his head sadly. “But you know what, I have a surprise for you two. Since there is so few students here this year, there is no need to have two Heads, right? So, I convinced McGonagall to let us have the Heads room.”

My mouth was hanging open as I looked at him and blinked several times. “You convinced McGonagall?”

He seemed to fill with pride, knowing he had impressed me, as he nodded.

Staying in the Heads common room, with Draco and Blaise. I didn't know what to think about the situation, a part of me was terrified and a part of me wanted to jump up and down in excitement. Blaise was a good, happy-go-lucky kind of guy and he was fun to be around, so that wasn't a worry of mine. What I was worried about was that me and Draco wouldn't get so much time alone together. I bit my lip as I looked up at Draco, who in his turn leaned down and put his mouth to my ear, his breath made it warm.

“We can still sleep in the Room of requirement whenever we want to be alone. This could be fun, right?” He leaned back and looked at me, hopeful.

“Right.” I agreed, and a smile broke out on his lips. I turned to Blaise. “Hello room-mate!”

“Let's go then.” Blaise said and took off, Draco grabbed my hand and we fell in to steps with Blaise.








 

Outside the hospital wing, people had started to gather again, eyeing me like they had never seen me before, and they seemed shocked to see that we were out and about. In company with Zabini, nonetheless.

“Seems as if the Golden Trio has now lost the 'Golden' part...” someone whispered, but I did my best to ignore it. I just wished that they would shut up, everything had been going all right, people had actually begun to accept me and Draco and then that bastard had to mess it all up, didn't he?

If it hadn't been for Matthew, then we wouldn't be glared at and talked about, well... Not so much at least.

“Ever since they left, she has been acting weird. She totally depended on them.” Someone else whispered and I felt how my heart started to beat furiously as anger crept up on me. I did certainly not depend on Harry and Ron, and I had been with Draco before that, where was all this coming from?

“I know, its sad! I actually think that he has her under some sort of spell... Imperius, maybe? I bet he has used that one before.”

I stopped dead in my tracks making the boys stop too, on either side of me. I turned around to glare at the person who had spoken the last sentences. They could talk about me, for I could ignore that, but damn it if they started to talk about Draco.

“Is there something you'd like to say to me?” I snapped in her face and put my hand on my hip, waiting patiently for her response.

“I...You..” her cheeks took the colour of crimson and she lowered her head. It was just another stupid 4th year, I noticed the blue tie. Ravenclaw. I wanted to snort at her, a Ravenclaw should be smart enough to not talk about people behind their backs.

“Nothing? Didn't think so.” I was just about to turn and walk away when I changed my mind, I looked at the group of girls and boys again, standing pressed against the wall. “We actually just came from the Headmistress office, and I told them under the influence of Veritaserum what had happened. Matthew Raven has been expelled and stripped off his wand, and it was only because he was so young and stupid that they didn't send his sorry ass straight to Azkaban. He is the bastard, not Draco. So just shut up about him, and me. We are not the ones who've done anything wrong, and I am not the one that has been brainwashed, you are!”

They all looked at me with huge eyes as I turned and walked away from them, while breathing heavily, leaving them in complete silence. If you would have dropped a needle, then you'd been able to hear it land on the floor. Completely and utterly silent, that was until mine, Draco and Blaise's footsteps echoed in the castle as we walked away.

After a while I heard Draco mumble to Blaise; “This fierce side of her almost suits her better than the stuttering.”

 

 

I wanted to hit something, so badly. I was fuming, I felt heat on my cheeks from the furious flush of anger. I didn't pay attention to Blaise as he spoke the password, but I did pay attention when the door to the Heads dormitory opened and Draco held the door open for me.

They were gentlemen enough to let me enter first, but I just stood outside looking in with my mouth hanging open, it was huge for just two people!

It was at least the same size as the Gryffindor common room, but it wasn't in any of the House colours, it was neutral – white, beige, black and a warm, cozy brown colour, but it was a rather dark theme about the whole room, like it was a mysterious room, full of secrets waiting to be reviled. . There was a large window straight ahead, that reached all the way up to the ceiling, and it was wide and gave such air to the room. It made it breathe.

My eyes flickered up to the high ceiling, it was decorated with a enchanted painting that stretched over the whole ceiling, a painting of angels and clouds. The clouds were moving, but the angels stayed put, with adoring smiles on their beautiful faces. They beamed down at me.

On the walls hung paintings, so lifelike that they looked like small windows. There was also two, large, brown wooded doors opposite each other on either side of the large window.

A fireplace, right next to the door on the left side, and in the middle of the room, facing the fireplace, was a small brown, round table and a big couch.

The dark wood floor was in nice contrast to the huge, black carpet under the couch. It was truly beautiful.

Hesitantly I took a step inside and gasped, seeing as half of the room changed colour, all the beige on the right side of the room faded in to a dark red colour, representing Gryffindor, small golden details appeared on the walls, creating beautiful patterns.

Blaise stepped inside right after me, and the left side of the room faded in to a dark green shade, and melted together with the red in the middle of the room, silver patterns appeared on the walls of 'his' side, and then just above the window in front of us, the two patterns, one silver and one gold faded together and it was like the different sides bonded with each other, gave the room strength.

When Draco stepped in to the room, he too looked around in awe. I couldn't help but to notice the way that silver patterns appeared on the Gryffindor side's wall.

“Wow...” I mumbled as I took a few steps in, noticing another door on the right side. There was a sign on the door that read 'Heads Library'. “Oh my god! A private library, are you freakin' kidding me? Thank you, Merlin!”

I hadn't meant to say it out loud, so I was surprised when Draco laughed at me. “What?”

“Bookworm.” He smiled, to which I rolled my eyes.

“You love books as well, Draco.” Secretly I thought that he must be all giddy on the inside, and feel like a child on Christmas, but then again, maybe that was just how I reacted to books. After all, not everyone can share the same passion for them. I turned away from him, to continue to look at the room.

“True. So what do you think of the room?” He asked and strode over to me, placing his hands on my hips from behind and pulled me back against him.

“It's gorgeous.” I breathed.

“So are you.” I blushed instantly at his words and smiled as he let his head rest on top of mine.

“And you.” I said after a few seconds, when I had gotten my heart to beat somewhat normal again.

“D'you wanna go for a walk later?” Draco asked suddenly. “Just the two of us.” he added when Blaise looked towards him. Blaise smirked knowingly as he turned away again.

“I.. Sure.” My voice was filled with the excitement I felt, and he kissed the top of my head.

“Oi, Draco!” Blaise called from across the room, I sighed inwardly, was that how it was going to be now? Would he ruin every sweet moment we had? I almost rolled my eyes. “What the hell happened to your hands?”

All pair of eyes in the room looked down on his hands, which were still on my hips, his fingers were covered in blood. It looked rather nasty, as I looked at it like this, more closely. I realized that it was actually some of his blood too. My best guess was that he had gotten the nasty cut from hitting Matthews teeth.

“Eh, well... I got a bit physical with Raven.” He clenched and unclenched his fists, and winced a bit. “Hurts a bit, actually.”

“No, really?” I faked my shock. “You were using him as a punching bag.” I muttered, but didn't say anything else. I knew that he deserved it and more.

“You actually hit him?” Blaise chuckled. “Did you manage to break anything on him?”

“For sure.” Draco said, and looked down at me. “You heard the first time his nose broke, right?” First time...? I nodded slowly. “Yeah, it broke twice and then I think I might have broken a rib as well.” He shrugged as if it was everyday business. I could actually feel the smirk that appeared on my lips.

“I must admit...” I began shyly. “That I liked the sound of his nose breaking a bit more than I should have.”

“It was one of the most satisfying sounds I've ever heard.” Agreed Draco softly.

Before I could even yelp, Draco had spun me around and held out his hand while smiling lazily. “Heal me, witch.”

I laughed as I grabbed my wand and healed him quickly, and vanished the blood. “There you go.”

“So wait a second, what is going to happen to Raven now? Is he just going to get expelled? That's it? They should send his pathetic ass to Azkaban!”

“Yeah... Expelled and he isn't allowed to use magic for a couple of years.” I said sadly. It was true, Azkaban would have been more appropriate.

“Oh, no... He will be on the front cover of tomorrows Prophet, trust me. My father will see to it.” Draco said. “There won't be a witch or a wizard in the country that doesn't know what he had done soon and believe me, this will haunt him for the rest of his life. Nobody forgets a scandal, and well... Nobody forgets things that happens to a Malfoy.”

“True that.” Said Blaise and I at the same time making Draco suppress a smile.

“I was thinking about going out to say goodbye to my mother and father, actually, I reckon they'll be leaving soon. Are you coming with, Hermione?”

“No, I think I'll stay here, and check out the library and our... our room.” I still couldn't believe that Blaise had convinced McGonagall.

That was not the only reason to why I chose to stay, though. I had some things I wanted to ask Blaise, about Draco and about Matthew as well. Things that I knew that Draco wouldn't want to talk about. “But do tell your mum that I'm looking forward to meeting her again, and... Tell Lucius whatever you want. Like...”

“Like you're glad that he is giving you a chance?” Draco finished my sentence and I nodded. “Will do!”

“Ah...” Said Blaise nonchalant and continued looking around in the room. “How is dear old Lucy?”

Draco gave him a small glare before he spoke again. “"Blaise, if you know what's best for you, then stop calling my father Lucy.”

I couldn't stop myself from bursting out in laughter. I got mental images of what Lucius would say if he overheard this conversation and laughed even more, by my side stood Draco and looked at me with wide eyes before he chuckled a bit, then he excused himself and walked out to find his parents.

 

 

About ten minutes later, I had checked out mine and Draco's room. It was just as breathtaking as the main room. A bit smaller, naturally, but still huge. It had a big bed in the middle, and a closet on the left side.

It was more green than red, but I didn't mind. I actually liked green. I walked up to the window and looked out, it still hadn't snowed and I found myself longing for the snowflakes to come down and paint the ground white and make it sparkle like a million diamonds were covering it. I loved snow, and Christmas. I smiled to myself as I turned around from the window, the knowledge that Matthew would be out of here before the day was over were really starting to sink and the one thing that could make the day perfect was some snow, but I decided that I could live without it for a while longer.

“Woah!” I was startled when I heard Blaises voice and brought my hand to cover my heart, which had skipped a beat. “Your room is way cooler than mine!”

“Really?” I said, my voice were a bit higher than usual. “You nearly gave me a heart attack!” I explained when he looked at me like I was retarded, I lowered my hand.

“Sorry 'bout that.” He grinned and walked over to look out our window, admiring the view. “Nice. Have you checked out the bathroom yet? I hope you won't go all girly about us all sharing one bathroom...”

I raised an eyebrow at that and then walked out of mine and Draco's room to go check out the bathroom which were located on the left side of the main room, opposite the library, which I hadn't been inside yet.

Of course, it was as beautiful as the rest of the Heads dorm. I sighed happily as I looked around at the polished white surfaces which was so cleaned what one could see their reflection on them.

It was too white in there at the moment so I walked out to find Blaise sitting on the couch, still looking around in the room.

“It is quite all right.” he said, commenting on the room. From the tone of his voice, his own house was much more impressive than this.

I walked over and sat down next to him on the couch. “Blaise...” I begun. “Can I talk to you about something?”

He eyed me, curiously before he broke out in a smile. I noticed that his teeth were just as bright as the white colour on the bathroom walls, but the dark colour of his skin made them seem even brighter. “Sure...?”

I took a deep breath, wondering where to start. “Pansy is together with Matthew.”

“Oh?” he looked genuinely shocked, and his voice was higher than usual. “I didn't know that.”

“Are you going to tell me why you sound that shocked?” I pressed on and he scratched the back of his hair uncomfortably.

“Yes.” He said and sighed. “How much has Draco told you about Pansy?”

“Nothing other than that she is the brain behind this while thing and that he was glad that she wasn't coming back. Why?”

“So you don't know why they broke up in the first place?” I looked at him with my head tilted to the left. I shook my head no and to which he leaned back to rest his head against the couch, still not breaking eye contact.

“All right, well.” He took a deep breath. “I should so not be telling you this, it is really Draco's thing to do, but you need to know. You are involved now. Okay, their break up. It was in sixth year and they had a huge fight, you know, I think they were actually throwing stuff at each other. Yeah, if I do recall right she threw some of her books at him. The fight was about the fact that she thought that he wasn't giving her enough attention. Of course now we all know why he was so distracted.”

I nodded sadly as I thought about the things he had been forced to do. Blaise continued. “But he never told her about it, he didn't trust her enough; with good reason. Everyone knows that she is a false, backstabbing bitch. And well, Draco trusts only a few people. I'd like to see myself as one of them... Anyway, they had been in a fight that resulted in him storming off in anger, no one knows where he went.”

“Probably to the bathroom...” I mumbled, though I hadn't meant for it to be spoken out loud.

“Yeah, probably. Well, when he had calmed down and were walking back he heard noices from one of the storage rooms in the dungeons. Him being him; he threw the door open only to have reality slap him across the face.”

“She was cheating on him!” I gasped to which he nodded.

“With Matthew bloody Raven.”

My jaw dropped and I could only stare at him as he continued. “Apparently all she said when she saw him standing there was 'Would you mind closing the door?'” He snorted. “Then when it was reviled why he had been neglecting her, she came back begging him for forgiveness, begging him to take her back. Pathetic really. She would send him letter after letter telling him how much she really loved him and how Matthew had been such a big mistake. That she regretted it every second of the day, yadda yadda. Naturally, Draco didn't reply, why would he have? She was really disgusting. Always flirting with other guys despite being with Draco, hell he could even be in the same room. If you ask me, then Raven wasn't the only guy she cheated on him with.”

His statement hung in the air until I managed to choke out my question. “Did he love her?”

Blaise looked as if he was thinking of a good answer, as if he was trying to figure something out. “No. No, I do not think he loved her. Cared for her, yeah, but loved? No. No doubt that her cheating on him hurt him, it is after all the the deepest kind of betrayal. But no, I don't think he loved her.”

“Oh.” I felt relieved. Then I remembered something that Matthew had said to someone. “So that's what Matthew meant with saying that Draco wanted to get back at him for something that happened years ago.”

“Most likely, yeah. Merlin, I cannot believe that Pansy is actually together with him.”

“Well, they do deserve each other.” I added to his sentence. He nodded while smirking. “You think it's bothering Draco? Them together, I mean.”

“Why should it? He's got you.” Blaise shrugged casually as I bit back a smile.

“That he does.”

“I must admit that I think he did good. You're great for him.”

“Thanks.” I said while blushing deeply.

“Do you always blush?” He laughed as he shook his head.

“No!” I shook my head as well. “I don't know what it is with you Slytherins and your way of making me blush.”

“Its our favorite past time.”

“Clearly.” I sent him a playful glare before I took a deep breath, deciding to go back to talking about Pansy. “Why do you reckon Pansy would do that to Draco, though? I mean, it almost killed him!”

“Well, I actually think she wanted it to happen to you, but Matthew wanted to get rid of Draco. I mean, it must suck to know that your girlfriend is obsessively in love with her ex. Though I don't think that Pansy and Matthew will last much longer now, not with her knowing that he isn't gonna be allowed to use magic for... how long?”

“Two and a half years.”

“Right. Ha!” He threw his head back as he let out a laugh. “Oh, man. What I wouldn't give to see Pansys face when she hears about that.”

I agreed and we spent at least ten minutes trying to get the mental images out of our heads.

 

 

Draco returned one hour later with a smirk well placed on his lips, I took that as a good sign.

“He is gone!” he said when he had closed the door and walked inside. Blaise just nodded while grinning, while I practically threw myself at him and he lift me up and spun me around before he put me down and kissed me. I laughed at us, it felt as if we were playing out a scene from a romantic movie, I also laughed because I was so happy.

“You should have seen my mother!” He smiled crookedly at the memory. “She slapped him across that ugly face of his.”

“No, she didn't?” I gasped. “Why didn't anyone stop her? I mean... Not that I wanted them too, but what did they say?”

“Who cares, Hermione?” Sighed Blaise. “Don't over think everything, she hit him, she got away with it. That's it, live with it.” He threw his arms out in a irritated gesture.

“Blaise...” warned Draco in a low voice.

“No, it's fine. He is right, I don't even need to know...” I bit my lip and tried to suppress the need to know. It lasted for three seconds. “But I really do want to know.”

“You don't need to know everything!”

“Blaise!” Draco raised his voice making Blaise glare at him. He had that look on his face 'What did I do?'. “That's my girlfriend you're talking to. If you were her, wouldn't you want answers?”

Blaise was about to say something, but shut his mouth again and hung his head. “Fine. Sorry, Hermione.”

I stood in shock. Sure, Blaise had been nice to me, and all... But apologizing to me?

I remembered how shocked Draco had been that one time that Blaise had apologized to him... I guessed he actually did think that I was great for Draco. “It's okay.”

“And to answer your question, Hermione, they didn't do anything, because they didn't see it. She was very subtle about it. When Matthew shouted at them that she had hit him, then they kicked him out and said that he wouldn't spread any more lies here. You should have seen his face. Priceless.”

Blaise and I glanced at each other as we both seemed to think about what we had just been talking about. I looked away first, making Draco look between us suspiciously. He wasn't stupid, he knew that something had changed while he had been gone, but he didn't bother to bring it up. He did, however, send a rather accusing stare at Blaise.

 

 








 

 

When we had brought all of our stuff to the new common room, and finished unpacking, when we were all exhausted from running up and down the stairs of the castle, I was sitting by the large window looking out, thinking about the war - again.

I couldn't understand how much it hurt, when the pain came back, it was like someone stabbed me in the heart over and over again. Fred. Stab. Tonks. Stab. Lupin. Stab... I tried to shut it out, but my arms instinctively wrapped themselves around me, as if they tried to comfort me.

I knew that I needed to feel it, needed to deal with it. But I didn't know how...

“Hermione?” Draco's voice startled me and I turned to face him. “Oh, what are you thinking about?”

“The war, you know.”

“Come here.” I didn't have to move, since he took a step closer and let his arms comfort me instead, it was more effective. “It will be alright, it might take some time... but it will be okay.”

I nodded slowly, but I didn't cry. I couldn't. Maybe I had run out of tears, or maybe I was too tired.

I broke the hug first, due to my stomach growling. “Maybe we should get down and have some dinner?”

“You alright?” his words were spoken so gentle, so caring... I nodded. “Dinner then.”

I took one last glance out the window and sighed. “Gods, I can't wait for the first snow to fall.”

I jumped down from the windowsill, took his hand and then we waited for Blaise to join us. It took some time for him to come, since he had fallen asleep.

 

 

No student had been in the corridors, since they were all in the Great Hall, so when we walked in there; every single student turned their attention to us. Some were looking at us with interest, probably amazed at how brave we were as we ignored everyone. Some looked at us with disgust, no surprise there.

Then there were a few people who looked at us with huge smiles. Luna Lovegood waved at us to come join them at the Ravenclaw table.

“Looney expects us to sit with them?” said Draco with a frown.

“Do we have much choice?” Blaise spoke in a mumble, his voice was bored, but yet a bit pleading. They both looked at me. “No, we don't have much choice. We'll sit at the end of the table, as we used too. Just a different table. The Hufflepuffs doesn't look very inviting.”

It was true, some of the Hufflepuffs were looking at us with a look that simply said 'Do not even think about sitting here'.

“You have a point in that. The Slytherins doesn't look too inviting either...”

“Oh, just come on!” I said and made my way over to the Ravenclaw table, dragging Draco with me by his wrist. He groaned but didn't object.

“Oi! Blaise, if I'm going, you're going.” He hissed over his shoulder, making Blaise follow us.

I desperately wished that I could vanish from the earth as everyone followed our moves until we sat down. “Hi, Luna.” I said shyly.

“Hello.” She said, happily. “I don't think I have ever really spoken to your friends.” She said and eyed the both of them. Then she held out her hand to shake Draco's hand. He looked at her as if she had grown an extra head, but he shook it. “I'm Luna.”

“Draco...” He said slowly, as if wondering what the hell was going on. She then greeted Blaise, who didn't sound as shocked.

“So, how did it go with Raven?” She asked nonchalant and drank some pumpkinjuice. “I heard that he was going to have you two expelled.”

“Yeah, his plan backfired.” I smiled at her, glad that she wasn't making a big deal out of it. “He wont be wandering those corridors any more.”

“That's good, I was never a big fan of his. So, are you going to keep sitting by our table?” She looked at all three before her eyes snapped up to look behind us. We didn't have time to answer her before she broke out in a smile. “Neville!”

I looked around my shoulder to see him coming over, smiling as he sat down next to Luna.

“I take it went good?” He said, directing his question to Draco and he nodded. Probably shocked that they were actually speaking to him so openly. Neville then turned to Luna and whispered something to her, making her laugh. I raised my eyebrow as I took in the scene in front of me, surely Neville and Luna wasn't a... couple?

As if Luna read my thoughts she shook her head. “No, only really good friends.”








Dinner went by in the best possible way, Blaise and Neville talked a lot while Draco tried very hard to put up with Luna and her twisted view of things, and I sat there; too amused by the whole situation to stop grinning. On top of my amusement, I was also very glad to see that I, we, still had people that didn't judge us. I was grateful for the friends I had left, and for the new found friendship I had found in Blaise Zabini.

“What time is it?” I asked to which Blaise answered that it was half past five. “Its already getting dark.” I mumbled mostly to myself.

“Wanna take that walk now?” whispered Draco in my ear, his voice sent shivers down my spine.

“Yes.” I managed to breath out as I turned to look at him. I couldn't stop myself; I leaned in and kissed him. It felt like I hadn't done it for so long, the feel of his soft lips against mine was wonderful. He chuckled and I realized what I had done. I blushed furiously as I remembered where we were. The whole table let out a 'Oooh' and that made my blush deepen.

“Aaw.” Said Luna on the other side of the table.

“Don't 'Aaw' us, its embarrassing.” I mumbled and then I looked up at Draco again. “Shall we?” I motioned for us to leave and he stood up and grabbed my hand and dragged me up to a standing position.

Blaise looked at us with a 'Do not leave me here!' kind of look, but then Neville said something he found interesting and he jumped in to a conversation with him.

Draco pulled me close to him and led me out. “Where are we going, anyway?”

“Down to the lake...”

My heart was pounding with excitement as we walked out of the castle and made our way down to the lake, hand in hand.








 

It was rather chilly as we stood by the lake, Draco behind me with his arms warming me. The sun was setting, the orange and yellow tones mixed with the purple and pink was being reflected in the lake, making it twice as beautiful. The small waves made it look as if the sun was moving in the chilly breeze.

“What did you and Blaise talk about then I was out?” he mumbled against my ear.

“Pansy... He told me about your break up.” I told him honestly and felt him inhale sharply. “It should have been you that told me, I know that... But now I know.”

“Right. Damn, Blaise shouldn't have told you anything. It was my thing to do.”

I didn't say anything.

“What else did he tell you?”

“Nothing, I mean... We just talked about Pansy, oh and your trust issues.” Draco snorted.

“I do not have trust issues. I just...” He trailed off, before he sighed. “Fine, I have trust issues. But hey, you know what?”

“What?” I said, smiling.

“I trust you.”

Draco turned me around and looked down on me, his eyes making me weak. A few strays of his silvery blonde hair hung in his eyes, gently I brought my hand up and pushed them out of his face, while smiling.

Once again I wondered how he could have gotten so black eyelashes with him being so blonde. When he was standing in the soft sun light, he was beyond beautiful.

“Dance with me?” he asked softly before brushing his lips against mine.

“There's no music...” I didn't need to finish the sentence before he had flicked his wand and music was to be heard. A piano seemed to be played, not so far away. Soft tunes in a slow melody, as Draco placed his hands on my hips and we started to move along to the music.

I leaned my head against his chest and I felt whole. Like all of the sudden everything made sense, this was right, we were right. No matter what anyone else said, or thought.

When I raised my head to look at him, I realized that we were surrounded by millions of falling snowflakes, looking around, seeing that the snowflakes was just falling around us, I understood that they were Draco's work.

“You wanted snow, I gave you snow.” He smiled.

If he only knew how much he had given me, he had given me everything. I had been broken, he had healed me. I had cried, he had made me smile.

“Thank you.” I said it, not only for the snow, and I think he knew that. He lowered his lips to mine and placed a heart stopping, knee buckling, mind blowing kiss on them. In the background the music was still playing...








[Another chapter is up! Thanks for all the lovely reviews, you are amazing! *Hands out cupcakes to all my reviewers*.  So, what do you think of the new chapter? How do you like Blaise? 
Okay, next chapter will be the 17;th, and it hasn't been finished yet, but it should be up in a few days.. But again, Please review this chapter! I do love to read them! Thanks. - Cathyyy.]


Chapter 17: December
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

[I own nothing but the plot and a few original characters, such as Matthew and Amber.. Everything else belongs to JK Rowling. Enjoy!]







        
December came way too fast, we were all busy with school, trying to get our grades back, which we had lost during the worst months.

Draco and I had also fought a battle to get people to accept us again, something that proved to be a not so easy thing to do. But at least things had become quite normal after Matthews departure. I had gotten my long awaited snow, and was starting to be fed up with it, after one and a half months. Especially the days that Blaise threw snowballs at me, damn he could throw hard ones. But Christmas was yet to come and I was looking forward to going home and see my family. I had missed them terribly. There was only one day until the train back to London took off.

 

The previous night had been awful, full of nightmares but when I woke up to find Draco's arm around me, I cuddled up to him and relaxed. Then came the panic that we had missed classes, but then I remembered that it was Saturday.

“Are you awake?” I whispered to which he nodded slowly. I then tilted my head up and kissed him with a loud 'smack'.

“Someone is in a good mood...” He mused and flipped me over so that he was on top of me. “How come?”

“Oh well, you know, I just woke up and found my gorgeous boyfriend lying next to me. Who wouldn't be in a good mood after waking up to that?”

“That works wonders for my ego.”

“As if your ego can get any bigger!” I rolled my eyes at him when he tried to look offended. I reached up and kissed him, which made him chuckle before he kissed me back. Then we both groaned as we heard a knock on the door.

“Stop snogging and get out here. Its time to go down to have breakfast.”

“Shut up.” growled Draco over his shoulder, making Blaise chuckle and keep knocking. “Of for crying out loud.” He said and rolled off me, and I shot a glare towards the door but then I followed Draco's lead and got out of the bed.

“Draco...” I tried to sound innocent, when he looked up at me I smiled slightly. “Would you mind terribly if we slept in the Room of Requirement tonight?”

“Not at all. I was gonna ask you if you wanted too, actually... Seeing as Blaise will probably invite Amber to stay the night.”

“Yeah, who would have thought that they would get together, huh?”

“Well, certainly not me. And I didn't expect them to last more than a month.... new record for Blaise.”

Blaise and Amber, the 5th year Slytherin, had been going out for about a month. She was 16, soon to be 17, but due to the war, she had been forced to repeat 5th year. It had been through the letter she had sent to Draco when he had been released from the hospital wing that he had become interested in her, and one thing led to another...

“Come on, they are hardly serious about each other, Draco! We both know why Blaise is with her.” He chuckled his agreement. “Though, I think he might be falling for her.”

“You serious?” I looked at him with wide eyes. “I know she is in love with him, but.. Him? Blaise Zabini in love?”

“He is only human...”

“Well, in that case, we should definitely sleep in the Room of Requirement, and let them have the place for themselves.”

Another knock followed by a low hiss, apparently he had knocked too hard. “Damnit!”

 

With a sigh, I got dressed in a pair of jeans and a simple t-shirt and went to open the door. Blaise, who had been leaning towards the door, fell inside and landed on the floor. “Damnit!” He cursed again.

“Were you eavesdropping again?” I crossed my arms over my chest and stared down at him.

“I'm so busted.” He groaned before he stood up. “Sorry. You ready?”

He looked over at Draco, who was standing wearing nothing but a pair of black trousers. His bare chest made Blaise raise an eyebrow. “Apparently not. I'll just wait outside.”

I followed Blaise out, much to Draco's disappointment, but I knew that he would get ready faster if I wasn't there.









 

 

Down in the Great Hall we made our way to the usual seats where Luna, Neville, Cho and Amber already were.

Blaise sat down next to Amber and kissed her before he threw his arm around her shoulders. She beamed up at him, I saw clearly how much she was in love with him.

“Hey baby.” He said.

She leaned in and whispered something in his ear. I love you. I couldn't believe it, they said that to each other after barely a month, but me and Draco hadn't confessed it to each other yet. Was there something wrong with us?

No, it would just take longer for us due to our past. From going to hating each other, to loving each other was... a huge change. It wasn't just something that happened over night, still... It had been about two and a half months. I heard how Blaise told her that he loved her too.

How I ached to hear those words from Draco... I glanced over to look at him, he had just received a letter, which he read with a huge grin on his lips. I briefly noticed that there was another letter on the table next to him, but I paid it no mind.

“Who's it from?” I asked and tried to take a peek, but he wouldn't let me.

“My mother.”

“Oh?” I said surprised and eagerly. “What does she want?”

“Well, she wonder how I am doing, how you are, when I'll be home and if you want to celebrate New Year at our place.” he said it so nonchalant that I didn't quite understand what he said at first.

“What? Are you serious?”

“Yes.” he chuckled. “Since I'll be spending Christmas here, and Apparate home by New Years, they'll throw a party. Do you wanna come?”

“Yes.” I said quickly and smiled. “But, why are you spending Christmas here, why haven't you told me?”

“Mother and Father are spending Christmas in Rome, I don't feel like going. Are you not staying here?”

I looked at him now wide eyed. Had he expected me to stay here, with him, instead of going home to my parents? “I'm not, no... I'll be going home to my parents.”

“Oh.” He looked down, looking more like an abandoned puppy than anything. “I thought... Never mind.”

I bit my lip, not knowing what to say. Then I decided to act on impulse rather than to over think it, something Blaise had thought me to do. “Come with me home.”

“What?”

“Spend Christmas at my place, with my family.” I said. “If I spend New Years at your place, then you can spend Christmas at my place. I don't want you to be alone at Hogwarts while everyone else goes home.”

“With your family?” he echoed terrified and somewhat disgusted. I snorted, it was hard not to be offended. My parents were muggles, apparently he still hated muggles, but not muggleborns.

“Fine, it was only a suggestion.” I stood up and walked out of the hall. Getting odd stares from all the students.

 

 

I didn't know where I was going, until I realized that I had gone to the kitchens. Slowly I tickled the pear and walked inside, to be greeted by a thrilled Scrappy who immediately asked what she could make for me. Honestly, I didn't know. I wasn't in the mood of anything, I was far too upset... I have heard that ice cream helps when one is upset... Draco's voice echoed in my head.

“Would you mind giving me some pear ice cream with chocolate bits in it?”

“Ah, Maste... Draco's favourite!” Scrappy said happily as she came over with the plate.

“Don't I know it... “ I muttered as I brought the spoon to my mouth.

It tasted like I remembered it, perhaps a wee bit better. I could have gone with the regular vanilla ice cream, I don't know why I hadn't.

“Miss, is there something you want to talk about?” Scrappy said, while standing next to me and she looked at me with this big eyes of hers. I gave in.

“Have a seat, Scrappy.”

At first she looked as if she was going to faint, but then she obliged and sat down.

“I better start at the beginning...” I said and started to explain that me and Draco had once hated each other, but then something happened. Something changed – We changed.

By the time I reached to the part about him freaking out over meeting my parents, her eyes had gotten even bigger.

“Oh, Miss... Have you, excuse Scrappy for asking, looked at it from his point of view?”

“What do you mean?” I asked, I didn't mean to sound rude or anything like that but Scrappy looked absolutely terrified. She took a few calming breaths, I figured that she was telling herself that she was free.

“Oh, Scrappy just mean, Miss, that maybe he looked that way out of different reasons. Miss should talk to him.”

I sighed and pushed the plate away, of course I needed to talk to him. I had been so stupid, I had acted spontaneous, a thing I had learned to do from Blaise. Damn Blaise and his need for spontaneousness, it was all his fault. But I knew I couldn't blame him, not the slightest. I was the one that had opened my big stupid mouth and asked Draco, I had actually asked Draco Malfoy to spend Christmas with Muggles. What the hell had I been thinking?

Stupid, Stupid Hermione.

“Was it not good, Miss?” Scrappy said nervously as she looked from me to the plate and then back again.

“No, no, it was absolutely delicious. I am just not in the mood any more.”

I played the scene over and over in my head. 'With your family?' The way his eyes had looked, how he has gone stiff, how he had licked his mouth nervously. “I have to go.” I said to Scrappy and got off my seat.

 

Just when I was about to open the door, it swung open. I let out a quite awful, shocked scream.

“Merlin, is this were you have been hiding?” Blaise didn't give me a chance to answer him as he grabbed my arm and pulled me along.

“Where are we going?” I asked while struggling against his grip around me.

“To Draco.” He said as if it was obvious. “He has been looking all over the freaking castle for you, and I rather he didn't go mental over not finding you.”

I snorted. “I am capable of walking on my own, thank you very much.”

He looked at me for a few seconds before he let me go. “Why did you run off?”

“Well... I asked him to come and spend Christmas at my place...” I didn't get a chance to finish that sentence.

“With your family?” He said, looking shocked. My jaw dropped as I stared at him.

“That's similar to how he reacted! What is that all about?”

“You know... It might just be a guy thing.” He said and scratched the back of his head, something he did when he was nervous or uncomfortable, I guessed the later.

“Well, are you planning on telling me?”

“Oh, no. After that Pansy thing, I've learned to let him talk to you himself. Oh dear Merlin, he was angry at me.”

I laughed at the memory...

 

Draco had pulled Blaise in to our room, while I had been left standing on the other side of the closed door. At first all I could hear had been muffled voices and occasionally a foul word.

It was my thing to tell her, Blaise! You should have kept your mouth shut!” Draco had screamed after a while.

Well, excuse me then!” Screamed Blaise back, then it went quiet again. Perhaps Draco snorted, or rolled his eyes. Maybe there had been name calling. I didn't know.

Time went by, and I pressed my ear to the door. I couldn't hear anything. So I assumed that they were hissing at each other.

I'm sorry, for fuck sakes!” Roared Blaise finally and then he threw the door open, making me lose my balance for a moment.

You should be!” Draco was right behind him, when he saw me, however, he froze. “Hi.”

Hi?” I echoed. “All I get is a 'hi'?”

He glared at Blaise's back before he pushed him out of the way to give me a kiss...

 

“Well, excuse me then!” I mocked what he had said so long ago.

“Ugh, don't remind me, please.” he moaned just as we rounded a corner and we almost ran in to someone. I looked up to find myself looking Draco right in the eye. My breathing stopped all together and it took a lot to remember how to breathe. If I would have fainted right there, well... It would have been slightly embarrassing.

There was a moment where no one spoke, then Blaise felt the need to cheer things up.

“I found her.” He had tried to sound happy about it, but he failed. He just sounded awkward.

Draco gave him a thankful nod and Blaise took the hint and left. We stood looking at each other for a few seconds, before he took my hand and started walking. I followed.

I quickly understood that we were heading outside where it was snowing, and on our way there we passed a couple of 7th years. When they had walked past us I heard them whisper. “I heard they broke up earlier, back together so soon?”

I wanted to turn around and say something rude to them, but Draco's hand tightened around mine making me forget about them.

 

We reached the Quidditch pitch in no time. He still hadn't said a word by the time he handed me a broom, he took one for himself and mounted it. Looking up in the sky, I realized that I had never been flying in the current weather, I knew that the snowflakes would cloud my vision. I didn't want to be the one to break the silence, but I knew I had to.

“Would you mind if I ride with you?”

He made room for be on his broom and I slowly walked over there. As I seated myself in front of him, his arm snaked its way around my waist and pulled me closer to him. Then he pushed off, and I did my best not to show him that I was a wee bit frightened by the speed he took off in.

 

It had never been more magical to fly; with the thousands of sparkling snowflakes around us. Oh if he could only speak. The silence was tormenting.

When we flew over the lake, I glanced down at it. The cover of ice on it got more white by the second as the snow fell down to rest on it, it was beautiful.

I didn't know when it had happened but I found that I had pressed myself closer to Draco, probably because of the insane speed he was flying in. But I also noticed that his grip had tightened around me, it was as if something was being spoken in the silence. As if he tried to tell me that he wasn't letting me go. It might have been my imagination that made it feel like that, but either way; I believed him.

 

I closed my eyes as his chin came to rest on my left shoulder. His breath was warming my ear in the most amazing way.

It seemed to take longer than usual to get to the meadow, maybe it felt that way because his skin against mine made me lose all sense of time, of everything really. Even after two months.

But it didn't feel like two months, and truth to be told; I couldn't remember the last time we had really been alone, really been together. It seemed as it the last two months had been filled with school work, us trying to catch up with the rest of the class, trying so hard to get our grades back. And then there was Draco's detention, two times a week. The only time we had really had to be together had been at night, and by then we had been so tired, so damned exhausted that we had fallen asleep right away.

But now, we had finally caught up with the rest of the class, and McGonagall didn't think it was necessary to punish Draco any more for what he had done. After all; he had been provoked.

Now, finally we would be able to spend some real time together, but was this the way he planned to do it? In silence?

 

I yelped as he did a quick dive, I could feel his silent laughter.

 

He didn't need to tell me to get my legs down, it happened automatically and as we landed, he threw the broom away and walked in to the forest, hesitantly I followed him. Why wasn't he speaking?

Draco sat down on a small rock, which looked very cold. I followed his lead, however, and sat down next to him. He took one of my hands in both of his, they were warm against my cold skin... and then I waited.

Suddenly his eyes, which had been focused on our hands, snapped up and stared me right in the eye. He seemed to have trouble finding the right words, as he was finally about to speak. He opened his mouth and then he closed it again. Then he cleared his voice.

“I think we had a misunderstanding.” he said while looking at me, never breaking eye contact. It was as if he was observing me, just waiting for any sort of reaction. I nodded slowly and he let out a breath that I didn't know he had been holding. “I didn't mean to offend you in any way. To be honest, I don't even know what I did, what I said to make you so angry...”

“It wasn't what you said, it was how you said it. Like you were disgusted. I am not angry, I was never angry, Draco. You just sounded so disgusted at the idea of meeting my parents and that...”

“Hermione, stop!” his eyes had widened and his grip of my hand tightened. “You're wrong, I wasn't disgusted, terrified beyond belief, yeah. But not disgusted.”

“You weren't?” I felt even more stupid then, why hadn't I just stayed behind and listened to him instead of running off like a three year old?

“No. I was frightened because I have never been introduced to my girlfriends parents before, let alone spent Christmas with them.”

“You met Pansy's parents.” I said while raising an eyebrow at him, he grimaced.

“That's a whole other thing! I had known them since I was born. Honestly, Hermione, the thought of meeting your parents had me scared to death. Not because they're Muggles, but because they are your parents. What if they don't like me? What if they don't approve of me?”

“Oh.” I didn't know what to say. I shook my head slightly to get my thoughts in order. That must have been hard for Draco, not knowing if he would be approved or not. I figured that as a Malfoy that was something that he had never had to worry about, but now... Meeting with my parents, well; he looked absolutely terrified. “Don't worry, they'll like you.”

He looked at me doubtingly. “I don't know anything about Muggles. They'll think I'm a freak.”

“So what? I'll just explain to them that you are Pureblood, that you're not used to Muggle things. They'll understand...”

“So, the offer still stands? Because... I would really like to spend Christmas at your place.”

“The offer still stands.”

“Lovely.” his favourite word. “So, I'm going with you home tomorrow?”

“I guess you ar...” I didn't get a chance to finish that sentence for he pressed his lips to mine, swallowing my words. With a sigh I let myself deepen the kiss, putting my hand on the back of his head, pulling him closer to me.

His hands grasped my robe, pulling me closer to him. His tongue battled mine in a fierce way, making me forget everything around me, even made me forget about the cold rock I was sitting on, for all I knew I could have been in sitting in the grass while the sun was shining.

I could still taste him when we broke apart and I snapped back to reality.

“Hermione, I...” his voice was softer than I had ever heard it, and I waited eagerly for the rest of the sentence, my heart pounding excitedly. “I...” He sighed and looked down. “I think we should get a move on before we catch a cold sitting on this rock.”

I tried not to show that his words disappoint me, after all... What had I expected? I... love you? I swallowed. “I agree.”

Draco looked up again, curious somehow.









 

When we had gotten out of the forest he handed me the broom. I looked at him wide eyed.

“You'll be taking us back, missy.”

“Draco.” I began as I shook my head. “I don't think I can, not with the snow falling..”

“Don't give me that bullshit. Truth is that you're afraid of falling, right? But you know you wont. I'll be on the broom with you, ready to take over any time.” he gave me a warm, reassuring smile. “You can do it, I know you can.”

I sighed as I nodded and mounted the broom, he got on behind me and instead of taking a hold of the broom, he let his hands rest at my waist. Here goes nothing I thought as I pushed us of the ground.

It was so much easier that I had suspected, as long as I rested my eyes on things far away, because if I locked my eyes on the things that were close to us then I found that the snowflakes annoyed my vision more.

I wasn't flying nearly as fast as Draco had, something he probably found amusing.

“You're doing great.” He whispered in my ear, that alone was almost enough to make me lose my focus, but after a few calming breaths I relaxed again.

“Thank you.”

The rest of the ride was spent in silence, then, when I finally saw the Quidditch pitch, I did a soft dive and slowed down. Draco chuckled in my ear just before we landed, why he did was a mystery to me. I, myself, was relieved to be down on solid ground again. I couldn't deny that I liked to be up in the air, but I liked to be down on the ground even better.

Draco took the broom from me as he started to walk back towards the castle. I followed him, then as I glanced up from the snow to him and then back again, I just couldn't stop myself. I bend down and gathered some snow in my hands, made a perfectly shaped snowball and then I took two steps forward and threw it at him; hitting him in the back of his head.

“Ow! What the h...Hermione!” He turned around while rubbing the spot where I had hit him, he glared at first but then his eyes got a playful twinkle in them and he dropped the broom on the ground as he took a few steps towards me. He walked slow, intimidating. I managed to bend down and gather more snow before he took another step .

“Drop the snow, Hermione.”

I snorted at that and dare to look down at my snowball, but as he took another step towards me; I raised my hand. Ready to throw it.

He just smirked before he threw himself at me, making us both fall, I let out a yelp. The soft snow made the fall less painful, I groaned as he landed on top of me.

I struggled against him a bit before I remembered my snowball, which had survived the fall. I brought my hand to Draco's face, making sure to cover every inch of his face with the ice cold snow.

He hissed as I rubbed it in, I giggled though, as I watched it slide off his face. Unfortunately for me; it slid off him, down on to me. It was cold.

His eyes glowed with mischief as he raised his hand, my eyes widened as I saw the snow he held in it. I started to struggle against him again but I quickly understood that I didn't stand a chance. And as he brought his hand down on my face, I let out a laughter filled scream, the snow was bloody cold and as it melted it ran down my neck and back, making me shiver.

“No, heavens no!” I laughed as he repeated his actions, he covered me in the oh-so-cold snow before he chuckled and lowered his lips to mine. I noticed that his lips were just as cold as mine. He didn't take any chances as he held both of my hands in a secure grip, making sure that I wouldn't throw any more snow on him. It was freezing.

“I'm crushing you, aren't I?” his body shook with a silent chuckle, then he drew back to look at me. “Are you cold?”

He couldn't seriously be asking me that, seeing as I was covered in snow, my lips were probably blue and I could barely feel my hands any more, though I could almost guarantee that they were shaking just a little bit. I glared at him. He kissed me again and then he stood up offering me his hand to help me up. At first I hesitated but as he smiled breathtakingly I sighed and took it, and he dragged me up.

“Now, you started it, you don't get to be pissed.”

“I'm not pissed, I'm cold.” I muttered back as we started to walk back to the castle, I was carrying the broom as his hands were busy resting on my hips.

“I'm sure I can make you hot again.”

I don't know why, but I blushed furiously at his words. If only he knew how he could make me feel just by talking.

I felt his lips then, against my neck, kissing and biting playfully. He moved up to kiss that spot behind my ear that made my knees go weak and then he nibbled my earlobe. I was far too busy trying to remember how to breath to notice Madam Hooch, who was walking towards us.

“Hello Miss Granger, Mr Malfoy.” she greeted. “Been flying?”

I licked my dry lips as I felt Draco let go of me, not until then was I able to think. I nodded.

“Yes, it was actually Hermione's first time flying in this kind of weather.”

“Oh?” She lit up. “How did it go?”

Draco looked at me, his eyes proud. “Excellent, as always.”

He grabbed my arm and pulled me to him, my back against his chest. He kissed my cheek. “Well, Professor, we should really be going. We've got some packing to do for tomorrow.”

“Oh...” She looked from him to me. “But, Mr Malfoy, I was told that you were to spend Christmas at Hogwarts?”

“Ah... Change of plans, I am going to the Grangers.” The smile he had on his face made me all warm on the inside and the warm tone in his voice made me smile.

“To the... To the Grangers?” She said, obviously not expecting it. We both nodded, and I know I smiled sheepishly, I don't know it Draco did. “That's lovely. Well, don't let me keep you. Happy Holidays!”

“Happy Holidays.” We said in unison before we walked away from there, laughing at her shocked expression.

 

 

 

Once Draco and I had finished packing everything we needed for our trip home, first to me and then him, we walked out of our room to be met by Blaise and Amber; snogging for dear life on the couch.

“Ahem...” Draco just had to interrupt.

Amber let out a cry of shock as she looked up to see up standing there. She was flushed and her eyes big.

“Oh, dear Merlin.” She whispered before she turned away from us with her hand covering her lips. I understood just how she was feeling, how many times hadn't Blaise walked in on me and Draco when we had been making out? Countless of times.

“Thought you'd be out.” Said Blaise as he ran his fingers through his hair and then hung his arm around his girlfriend.

“We came back for about an hour ago.” I explained and then I gestured towards them. “We'll be going again now, so...You just, you know. Keep doing your thing!”

I sent an awkward glance up at Draco who was shaking his head, amused by my discomfort.

He took my hand and have his friend a nod.

 

“Keep doing your thing? Really, Hermione?” He laughed as soon as we had closed the portrait behind us. I hit him playfully on his arm. I decided to change the topic, quickly.

“Wanna pick some food up from the kitchen?”

“Yeah, sure. I've been craving ice cream the whole day, as well. Could get me some of that at the same time.”

I didn't tell him that I had already had ice cream earlier that day, I actually didn't say anything.

 

As we were eating our ice cream, I ate my vanilla one and he ate the pear one, I thought about what we would to when we got to the Room of Requirement, with no one around... Just the two of us.

The images that appeared in my head made me blush, seeing as most of them involved me, Draco and a bed.

I shifted in my chair, making Draco look at me. “Why are you blushing?” He said seductively.

I closed my eyes for a second. “No reason, it's a bit hot in here, that's all.”

His words from earlier played in my head. I'm sure I can make you hot again.

“Is that so?” he raised an eyebrow before he pushed his plate away. “You ready to go, Hermione?”

The way he said my name was enough to make me shudder, I nodded and reached for his hand.

“Thanks for the food, Scrappy.” said Draco, making me drop my jaw. I couldn't believe that he actually said thanks to a house elf. He grinned as he saw my expression. “What? They're important to you, aren't they? S.P.E.W and all that?”
 Up on seeing my even more shocked expression he laughed. “What, didn't think I knew about that? Puh-lease!”

I blushed crimson and started to walk, without answering him. Something that just made him laugh harder.

 









 

Two hours later we had eaten some food, and I had even finished reading a book. Draco was taking a shower in the bathroom. The shower was new, we hadn't had that one before.

 

I was changing in to my night clothes as I was thinking about the fact that we were about to be alone together for the first time in months, anything could happen. Something would happen if I got to decide. I knew we hadn't said 'I love you' and I knew that it might take a while longer for us to do it, but I still... I sighed. I want him, I need him.

My thoughts were interrupted as Draco walked out before I had finished getting dressed, when he found me in just my underwear he licked his lips nervously before he asked me if he should turn around. He, himself, had nothing but a towel around his waist on.

I shook my head, just as nervously. “It's okay.” I was panicking, should I put the t-shirt on? Should I just go to the bed? What was I supposed to do now? I bit my lower lip before I turned around and unclasped my bra, then I bend down to pick up the t-shirt that was on the floor. I slid it on easily, then I slid beneath the covers. While I had been changing in to my t-shirt, Draco had managed to get his boxers on, he came walking towards the bed lazily, but yet with such elegance.

I couldn't help but to notice that there was something bothering him, he looked a little stressed; something he never did after a shower.

When he was on the bed he popped himself up on his elbow, facing me and he smiled, though he didn't fool me.

“What's wrong?”

He groaned as he laid down and closed his eyes. “Well...” he began. “I got more than one letter today, and I... You should know that.” His voice had an edge to it as he spoke about it, and I dreaded the answer to my question before I even asked it. My feeling of wanting to do something was long gone.

“Who was it from?”

He turned to face me again, his eyes almost pleading and his jaw clenched. “Pansy.”









[Okay, I know I said that I was going to post Tea Party, but it was rejected, I had forgotten to put out that I didn't own the song sung by the characters in the story. Aw. Well.. I will post it sometime in the future, when I run out of chapters again. I managed to write two chapters, so we're good for a while. 

What did you think of this chapter? What do you think of the fact that Draco is going with Hermione home? And what about the fact that she is going to spend New Years with the Malfoys? What about the Blaise/Amber pairing? Overall, how was the chapter? Thanks for all the reviews! - Cathyyy]


Chapter 18: Home
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[As you all know,  I don't own anything; JK Rowling does. But, oh, I do own the plot and some original characters. Enjoy!]





 
His voice echoed in my head. Pansy. Pansy. Pansy. Over and over again as I was overwhelmed by the jealousy I felt towards her by just hearing her name coming from Draco's lips, it seemed wrong that his lips and his soft voice would even say her name. It wasn't right and I hated it.

Looking at Draco I saw that he was observing me carefully, curious to see how I reacted perhaps. My reaction was probably bad as I felt my hands curl up in fists of rage, I was mad with Pansy, not Draco. But he didn't know that and leaned back a bit to get away from me. I could feel my jaw clench just before I counted to ten and took a few calming breaths.

“What did Pansy want then?” I didn't mean to, but I spat her name out like it was the foulest of words.

He tilted his head to the left and gave me a pained look. “Hermione...”

“What? Is it so wrong that I want to know what she wrote? You're...” I caught myself before I said anything else, I bit my lip as I realized how pathetic I could have sounded.

“I'm what?” He asked with furrowed eyebrows. I rolled my eyes as I shook my head as to tell him to forget about it. “No, tell me.” He smiled and leaned close to me.

“Don't even try to change the topic.” I backed away from him, but he just continued to lean in, and before I knew it he had climbed on top of me and were planting kisses along my jaw line, down my neck... “Draco...” I said as I put my hands on Draco's naked chest and pushed him off. He groaned and looked at me as if he just wanted me to forget the whole thing. “Tell me.”

He gave an annoyed sigh before he kissed my neck again, ignoring my attempts of pushing him away, every time his lips came in contact with my skin, I felt as if my body was on fire, my body burned in the most amazing way. He started to mumble against my skin in an angry voice.

“Pansy tried to...” He kissed the spot behind my ear, his actions was so different from the tone of his voice, it confused me. “convince me how much she loved me..” Another torturing sweet kiss against my neck, it was taking away some of the fury I felt as he told me about Parkinson. “She told me that she had not meant for my life to be in danger.” His tongue licked its way from my jaw to my collarbone in a delicate way that made me shudder. “She told me that she was sorry for cheating on me, 'cause that isn't something I haven't heard before...” He softly bit my shoulder and then he let his lips ghost over the mark he left. “She also wrote all those little hearts over her i's.” I regretted talking him in to telling me, every sentence he spoke was another stab in my heart. His breath tickled my skin “She said that she was still in love with me. She even said that she-”

“Draco, stop talking. Please.” I said in hiss, trying to suppress my anger. “I don't want to hear more.”

“You asked for it.” He kissed me hard on the lips, almost punishing. “Where was I, oh yeah. She even said that-”

“Draco! Please...” He silenced me with another brutal kiss. I responded automatically, it didn't matter how pissed or hurt I was. I pressed against him as he laid more of his weight on me. A strangled growl got caught in my throat as his tongue invaded my mouth. Despite the hard way his lips were pressed against mine, his tongue was gentle. That confused me too. I managed to turn my head. “You're being a jerk.”

“'Jerk' is my middle name.” His eyes were icy and cold as he looked at me, but they softened by every second. He closed his eyes for a few seconds and I realized that he wasn't upset with me, he was upset because he was talking about her. “I don't like to talk about her, just the thought of her makes me want to throw up. No, not because I love her, I don't think I ever did, I don't even care for her any more, not after what she did and what she planned to do to you.” I remembered the fact that the potion poured over Draco was meant to be poured over me, at least if Pansy had gotten as she wanted. “I hate her with every fibre of my being.” With a sigh he let his head fall down to rest in the crook of my neck, his breath warm on my skin.

”There is something that she told me that I need to tell you though…” When I tried to protest he shook his head while still resting it against me. “You need to know this.” The words seemed to be forced out.

“Okay.” I sighed as I heard his pained voice. What the hell had she written?

“Her family is invited to the New Years party at the Manor.”

It took me a while to let the words sink in, but then when they did; my eyes widened. I found myself holding on to Draco’s arm very tightly. I was surprised that he didn’t pull away from my grasp. My silence could have led him to believe that I wouldn’t have heard him, but my tight hold of him was more than enough to let him know that I had heard him, loud and clearly.

“Maybe I shouldn’t come then.”

That made him lift his head so that he was just inches away from mine. “What?”

“You know… If Pansy is coming too, then maybe I should just stay home.” My voice sounded pathetically sad even in my own ears.

“No, that is out of the question. You are my guest, my girlfriend, and you have more right than her to be there. If it hadn’t been for the fact that my parents are thinking about their reputation then they would have take the Parkinsons invitation back, seeing as they were invited before I almost died. I don’t want her there any more than you do, but look at it this way; if you stay home, then she wins. You have to come.”

His hand reached up to touch my face, pushed my hair behind my ear and then he let his fingers trace softly down my cheek. “You’ll come, right?”

“Right. I’ll come.”

Draco broke out in a bright smile just before he let his lips brush against mine again, so much softer this time, tenderly. I became totally oblivious to everything else but him, his soft touches on my skin, the way his hands roamed my body, the soft movements of his tongue against mine, the way his lips were softly pressed against mine and when we broke apart; his breath against my face.

We were both panting slightly by the time we broke apart and he rested his head against mine. I got very aware of the fact that his hand had travelled up under my t-shirt, and rested right below my left breast. It made my heart beat, if possible, even faster, but the talk about Parkinson had me in a bad mood, and I didn't want our first time together to be right after talking about his ex girlfriend. Apparently he agreed as he softly removed his hand and rolled off me. He dragged me with him so that my head was resting on his chest, with his arm around me. No more words were needed. I fell asleep while listening to the beat of his heart.

 







 

 

One of the most amazing feelings there is, is to wake up with the weight of an arm around you, tucking you close to someone. That feeling that you belong together with someone, the feeling of being complete, just as you wake up next to someone else. In my case, that someone was Draco. I just laid there for a while, before I felt the sun start to dance on my body and I rolled around and reached down from the bed to let my hand search the floor for my watch, I couldn't find it so I pushed myself closer to the edge of the bed and hung my head down to look for it, I was sure that I left it just by the bed on the floor, but I couldn't see it.

I muttered some not so pretty words as I pushed myself further over the edge so that I could see under the bed. There it was, but as I was about to reach for it I slid off the bed and down to the floor with a soft thud, the cover followed be down and wrapped itself around me as I laid there, holding a hand over my mouth so that I wouldn't wake Draco with my laughter. How pathetic I must have looked... But at least I could reach the freaking watch. Two hours left until the train left, I noticed as I sat up; my back against the bed. Should I wake Draco up, or should I let him sleep for a while longer? I turned my head to look at him, he was sleeping so peacefully, his face looking more innocent than ever. He was smiling faintly, making me wonder what he was dreaming about.

I decided to let him sleep and made my way in to the bathroom to take a shower.

 

The light in the bathroom was dim, and had a much older feeling to it than the bathroom in the Heads room, but I couldn't decide which one of the two bathrooms I preferred. The one I was standing in was more old fashioned, which I liked a lot, and the walls were not white, they were dark brown, and looked like polished wood. I raised an eyebrow as I touched it, it felt like glass and was warm. There was also a golden framed mirror in there, which was similar to the one I had at home. I felt a jolt of excitement as I thought about the fact that we were leaving to go home to visit my family today, and truth to be told, I was a bit terrified. What if Draco didn't like my parents? Or freaked out over all the Muggle things?

I sighed as I faced the mirror and truly looked at myself, I was shocked to find myself looking so different, it felt as if I was looking in to the eyes of a whole other person. When had I last looked at myself? The last time I had really looked, closely? I couldn't remember, but I was sure that I had not looked like this. The person in the mirror looked back at me, she looked nothing like the Hermione that I had seen in the mirror after the war, that Hermione had been so broken, so damaged.

This Hermione was glowing, the hint of a smile was on her lips and she looked well and truly happy.

Her hair was not bushy, I raised my eyebrow at that, my hair should have been bushy, I couldn't remember the last time I had had a good hair day without using a spell. I shrugged it off and started to observe myself again.

I was not as skinny as I had been, I was back into my old shape, not that I minded the slight weight gain, it was probably very good for me. It actually suited me. I turned around to watch how my back looked, and I let my eyes wander down my body and raised my eyebrows in delight to find that I liked what I saw.

I walked away from the mirror while I took off the clothes I had on, and then I stepped in to the shower.

 

 

When I was stepped out of the shower I put on some clothes and then I went back to stand before the mirror. I cast some hair spells, just because I knew that when my hair had just been washed; it would be out of control. I thanked Merlin for magic.

I proceeded to apply some make up, when I was somewhat pleased with how I looked, I walked out to find Draco trashing around in the bed. I recognized his pained expression; he was having one of his nightmares.

“Draco!” I called as I rushed up to him to try to wake him, with soft movements I shook him, not too fast since I knew that it would scare him. “Draco, wake up.”

“No...” he gasped silently before he opened his eyes. When he saw me, he shut his eyes and took a deep breath. I sat down beside him on the bed and waited. “That was the worst one yet.” He said softly as he shook his head and opened his eyes to stare up at the ceiling. I put my hand on his, just to let him know that I was there.

“It was a memory.” He mumbled. I took a deep breath as he did, he rarely spoke of dreams, and he hardly ever spoke of his memories of the war. “He was there, they were all there... He forced me to- to torture them.”I knew he was talking about Voldemort, he didn't need to say it. “I didn't want to, but he gave me no choice, do it or die; do it or watch your family die. Their faces... I'll never forget their faces or their pleas, and there was nothing I could do to help them. I was so powerless, and he made me torture them, over and over again...”

Never before had he spoken about the past like this, and I didn't know what to say or do, so I just sat there and held his hand as he continued. “It was a family, which had displeased V-Voldemort, I can't remember... No, wait... It was Rowle's family, one of the Deatheaters, he had... He had called for The Dark lord when you three had escaped from them, and I had to punish him and his family. The youngest girl, she couldn't have been older than ten, her screams were almost as bad as yours when Bellatrix tortured you. But the knowledge that I was the one to make her scream like that, it tore me apart; never before had I been so disgusted.

When I was dismissed I walked out as fast as I could, and I saw the green light fill the room, four times. I understood that he had killed every member in the family except Rowle himself... I could hear his scream of pain. As soon as I was out of his sight, I threw up.”

 

I remembered the night we had been captured, Narcissa had been there, she had said; Remember what he did to Rowle and Dolohov?

This what what she had been talking about...

“There was nothing you could have done.” I said slowly as I squeezed his hand.

“If I could undo it, I would.”

“I know.”

He sat up and looked at me, his grey eyes burned their way in to my soul as he observed me closely.

Hermione, I...” That was as far as he came before his voice shut down and he shook his head. “Thank you for being here, for being mine. For staying, despite what I have done in the past.”

Then he kissed me, slowly and insecurely, as if he was afraid that I would now turn away and run, when he had told me what he had been forced to do. I put my arms slowly around his neck, and pressed myself closer to him, he broke the kiss and put his arms around me instead, and we held each other in a tight embrace. The phrase Just because you don't say it, doesn't mean you don't feel it came to mind. I knew that I loved him, I just couldn't say it. I don't know why it was so hard to say it. I wondered briefly if he felt the same way I did...

“I'm not going anywhere.” I reassured him softly.

“What did I ever do to deserve you?” He mumbled, mostly to himself I guessed. When we let each other go, he asked how much time we had left here, and I smiled at the mental image of myself falling of the bed to reach my watch.

“The train will be leaving in about an hour.” I said, and he kissed me quickly before he stood up and put on some black trousers. I stood up before him and put my hands on his bare chest, he was warm, then I kissed a puzzled Draco, he looked at me like I was a bit crazy. I just giggled and walked to sit on the other side of the bed and watched him as he pulled on a black shirt.

 







 

At eleven o'clock sharp we walked in to the compartment in which Blaise and Amber sat, hand in hand, and as we sat down opposite of them Amber lit up.

“Hey!”

I greeted her happily, to whereas Draco just gave her the smallest of nods without even smiling.

Her face fell and she snorted at him before she turned to Blaise. “What's up with him?” She motioned towards Draco but directed the question towards Blaise, who grinned.

“I think that he is a wee bit nervous.” He almost started to laugh, something that made Draco glare at him.

“Shut up.” He snapped. I looked between the both boys and wondered what the hell they were on about, Amber caught my eye and she looked every bit as lost as I felt. Blaise let out a laugh; he just couldn't seem to hold it back. He shook his head while he gasped out his apologizes.

“Sorry, mate, we all understand how you feel.”

“We don't...” Said Amber with raised eyebrows and I nodded in agreement. Draco groaned and let his head fall back against the wall behind him, as we all knew that Blaise was going to tell us.

“He is fucking nervous, he is. It's not every day that a Malfoy meets his girlfriends Muggle parents. No offence.” He added, but I just shrugged to let him know that none was taken. I glanced over at Draco who looked a little flushed and I understood then, as I looked at him, just how nervous he was. He gave me a faint smile and I hit him playfully on his arm.

“That's what you're nervous about?”

“Ah... Yes.” He admitted and rolled his eyes at himself. I found him quite adorable in that moment, and he had never looked less like a Deatheater.

“They won't bite.” I laughed at his expression, he actually looked relieved.

“Hermione.” began Blaise awkwardly. “Does your parents know about Draco's... Past?”

I bit my lip as I thought it over, how much had I told them about Draco?

Yes, I had told them about 'Malfoy who had it as his personal mission to make my life hell' and that was something that I had told them after each year, so I figured that they would remember that, but no, I had not told them about him being forced to become a Deatheater.

“No, they don't.” I saw how all of them let out a breath that they had been holding.

“Nothing?” asked Draco shyly. “Not even the way I used to...” He trailed off and just looked at me sadly, I knew what he meant.

“Well, they know about that but nothing about you being a Deatheater, or the mission or anything like that.”

“Shouldn't they know? I just have a feeling about... Never mind.”

“Do you wanna tell them?” I asked, somewhat shocked. “And have a feeling about what?

“I just have a feeling that we should tell them before someone else does... Like Weasley.” He spat out the name and I froze, I looked at him wide eyed; that possibility hadn't even crossed my mind. But of course, that wouldn't surprise me. It sounded like something Ron could do, just to try to break us up.

“You're right, we'll tell them.”

“Wow, that thought did not calm my nerves.” despite his words, he couldn't help to smile, even if it was the smallest of smiles.

“Come on, if we just tell them everything then they'll understand. It isn't like you had a choice, you had to do what you did. My parents are very understanding, Draco.”

He looked at me very, very doubtingly. “Even when it comes to the fact that their daughters boyfriend is a Deatheater?”

“You're not a Deatheater.” I muttered. It was true, in my eyes he wasn't a Deatheater and he had never truly been one. He was a boy who had been used by a megalomaniac, he had never been given a choice. The mere thought of it made me angry.

“But..” He didn't seem to know what to say. “Okay.” He finally said and took a deep breath. “Fill me in, prepare me.”

When I just looked at him like he had grown an extra head he chuckled. “What are their names? What do they like? What do they work with?”

I turned to face him and looked him in the eye, he seemed so ready to get information; it was almost laughable.

“Their names are Jeff and Allison Granger, they've been married for twenty years. My mum likes to cook and my dad's hobby is guitars, he has a whole collection of them and he loves to play. They are both dentists.” It wasn't much, but it was enough to make Draco smile. His whole face had lit up when I mentioned the guitars. I remembered vaguely that he had told me that he played.

“Do you have any pets?”

“The owl,” I nodded towards the owl beside me. “And a cat, Crookshanks.”

Draco raised an eye as I mentioned the cat then he chuckled. “Nice.”

“What are dentists?” asked Amber, her eyes almost shocked and I blushed, I had forgotten that I was sitting in a compartment with a bunch of Purebloods. They had never heard of...

“It's people who works with teeth, right?”

It was Blaise who had spoken and everyone's attention turned from me to him. “Right.” I said slowly.

“What?” He snapped at Draco who looked at him amused. “My mother dated a Half blood from Austria once, his sister was a dentist.”

“I'm just impressed, Blaise!” chuckled Draco and held up his hands in surrender before he turned to me. “So, they work with teeth?”

“Yeah... Nothing special.”

“Do you reckon they would approve?” he asked and smiled widely, showing off his perfectly white teeth.

“How could they not?”

Somehow I had a feeling that we were not only talking about teeth any more, but about him being approved overall.

The rest of the ride he asked me more about my family, and about the Muggle world and electronic advices. He seemed to become totally terrified by the idea that we would be driving home to my place in a car, at the same time as Amber fell asleep on the opposite side of us, her long blonde hair fell in curls down Blaise's arm and stomach as he held her close to him. After a while, I followed her leads and fell asleep while resting my head on Draco.







 

Somebody shook me gently, waking me up. I blinked a few times as I didn't recognize my surroundings at first, then when I took in the bright light inside the train, I glanced out the window. The sun was shining even though it was snowing. I then realized that the train had stopped and as I sat up my stomach growled. Well, I thought, I can eat as soon as I get home. As I thought about the fact that Draco was actually coming with me home made me smile.

“We're here.” Draco said, sounding less nervous than before. He gave me a crooked smile, the one I loved.

“I noticed.” I answered as I grabbed my stuff and followed Draco as we got off the train. I looked around, searched for someone I would recognize. “Where's Blaise?”

“Over there.” He said as he nodded his head towards Amber and Blaise, who stood facing us among the many people who were running around at Kings Cross. They both motioned for us to come over there, Draco looked down at me with a raised eyebrow as if asking me if I wanted to, and as I nodded he smiled and we started to walk towards them. People were hugging each other, laughing, and running towards each other, while we made our way to say goodbye for now. I would miss Blaise a lot and I didn't even want to think about how it would feel when we graduated and we went different ways in life. Where would me and Draco go? Would we still be together? I had never thought about that until right then, and I didn't need to start to worry about the future just then so I just pushed the thought out of my mind and put a smile on my face as I embraced Amber and mumbled my goodbyes to her.

Then it was Blaises turn, he hugged me tightly and then he ruffled my hair and that was it. We didn't make a big deal out of it, since we would be seeing each other in a couple of weeks.

Draco said to me that we should probably go find my parents and let Blaise and his girl have some time alone before they had do go to their families.

 

It wasn't until Draco and I set out to find my parents that I started to get nervous for real, so I grabbed Draco's hand, he gave me a puzzled look, but my eyes must have looked terrified because he squeezed mine comforting. As I let my eyes look away from his piercing orbs I saw them, they were standing next to each other, as close as they could while looking around, searching for me, correction; us.

My mum, Allison Granger, with her brown curly hair was much shorter than my dad, Jeff Granger, but yet, she was taller than me. She was wearing a blue jacket and he was wearing a white, I tried hard to not think about the fact that her jacket was Ravenclaw colours. Oh the irony, she was as much of a bookworm as I, and her thirst for knowledge was worthy a Ravenclaw.

I was just glad that I was brave enough to be a Gryffindor, it wasn't that my mother wasn't brave, she just... gave in too easily. My father on the other hand, he always stood up for himself and I strongly suspected that I had gotten some of my bravery from him. I was glad that he had it in him, I wouldn't have survived in Ravenclaw. Then they saw me, and as my mother smiled at me and raised her hand to wave, I was overwhelmed by happiness. What if I had never been able to get them home, safe and all, from Australia? I shuddered at the thought that I could have lost them, if the Deatheaters had found them...

“There they are!” I said through my smile as I glanced up at Draco who looked down at me, he looked fairly calm. I could feel that he followed my gaze back to my parents as we got closer to them.

“Hermione!” My mum nearly shouted as she ran up to me and threw her arms around me, making me let go of Draco's hand. She parted quickly to look at me, she looked more emotional than she had ever done when I went home for Christmas. “You're so grown up...” She hugged me again as I laughed at her happiness. I heard my father clear his throat behind my mum and she let go, giving him access to me, he too embraced me in a tight hug.

“Mum, Dad.” I said as they were done. “This is Draco, my boyfriend. Draco, this is my parents.”

“Hello, Draco, I am Allison.” My mother said and extended her hand, I looked nervously up at Draco, but with a smile he shook her hand.

“Nice to meet you, Mrs Granger.” His smile reached his eyes, and for a moment my mother looked blinded before she told him to simply call her Allison, or Ally. I understood her when she was momentarily blinded by him, he could be breathtaking when he wanted to. My father extended his hand as well.

“I am Jeff Granger.”

“Pleased to meet you, Mr Granger.” I smiled sheepishly, he was acting like a true gentleman. But then again, that was how he had been brought up... apart from how his father had taught him to treat those 'below' him. That part wasn't all so gentlemanly.

An awkward silence fell over us and we just looked at each other before my mother spoke up.

“How about we drive home, and catch up when we're there?” She had barely finished her sentence before we all started to walk, Draco took my hand again.







 

The drive home was hilarious, for me. For Draco on the other hand, I suspected, it had been a nightmare. I don't think he breathed at all, and his eyes were wide open and his hand held on to mine as if his life depended on it. I couldn't help but to laugh out loud when he finally was able to get out of the car.

“Do not laugh at me.” He hissed annoyed, a tone that made me try to be serious. His tone didn't go unnoticed by my parents either, but I knew that he wasn't too serious about it. However, they didn't and my mother turned half around to look at us both and Draco hung his head as if on cue, to avoid her glance. I suppressed a smile as I looked at him, he raised his head to look innocently at my mother; she bought it and gave him a warm smile before she turned away again. Draco turned his head and grinned at me.

“Charming.” I smiled at him and he pulled me closer to him and I let my arm go around his waist as I tilted my head up to look at him, but I wasn't expecting his lips to crash down on mine but they did. “What was that for?” I breathed as he eased back, while smiling adoringly. I melted up on seeing his smile.

“I'm glad to be alive after that ride. Seriously, Hermione, you willingly get in to that thing but you were scared of being on a broom?”

“Uh... Yes?” I answered as we walked through the door to our house. Draco looked around, observing the place that was so much smaller than his gigantic Manor. Our kitchen was just to the left as we walked in, and if one looked straight ahead they would see the living room.

“Please, do come in. Make yourself at home.” My mother said, and my dad nodded approvingly to her words. Draco seemed almost shocked at their words, but thanked them. I suggested that we'd carry our things up to my room, and Draco nodded, suddenly very eager.

I walked ahead of him up the stairs and took to the left before I reached my door, I turned to give him a look that I hoped he would take for if you laugh, you're dead. He gave me a crooked smile before I opened the door and stepped in.

The warm natural colours of brown, orange and green met my eyes and the familiar smell of home reached me. Draco pretty much pushed me out of the way as he hurried in to get a better look, he walked around in my room and had a closer look at everything. He smiled widely as he saw my bookshelf filled with books.

It was so unreal, to have Draco Malfoy in my room; all I could do was to stare at him. His black clothing made him look paler, but it only suited him. He sat down on my bed.

“I like your room. The bed is comfy.” He winked and I blushed slightly as I walked over to sit next to him. “I like the colours, especially the green.” he chuckled lightly as I rolled my eyes. “No, seriously. It's beautiful, I like it.” Briefly I wondered how his room looked like.

“Thank you.” I managed to choke out as he looked at me and unleashed every bit of intensity in his eyes. He was so damned gorgeous. I would drown if I didn't look away, so I did. “You should unpack a bit.”

He didn't seem to happy about my suggestion as he sighed and took a hold of me and easily pulled me down with him on the bed. His eyes twinkling mischievously as he rolled us around so that he was on top of me, then he lowered his head slowly, making my heart beat so fast I felt as if it was about to beat it's way out of my ribcage. His lips, his soft lips were just inches away from mine and he didn't have any rush and then there was his eyes, oh Merlin, his eyes. The perfect shade of grey looked me right in the eye and if I had been standing up, then my knee's would have gone weak. The darkened outline of his eyes that I loved to see in contrast to his much lighter shade of grey, though it might have made his eyes colder to some, it only made them warmer to me.

His hands were on each side of me, but I didn't feel trapped at all under his gaze, in fact... I felt amazingly safe. No one could ever make me feel as safe as he did, and it amazed me each time the feeling hit me, the feeling of being completely safe. There had been a time where I had felt anything but safe, when I had always looked over my shoulder, expecting to see a Deatheater but not any more. Not when I was with him.

Then his lips brushed against mine and I closed my eyes at the touch, he sure knew what he was doing, and what affect he had on me. Still in slow movements he let his lips press against mine, making me feel like I was on fire, and then his tongue came out to trace my lower lip to ask for permission to enter, who was I to say no?

My hands trailed up his chest to rest at the back of his neck, playing with his hair and urging him on.

Unfortunately, we broke apart as we heard my mums laugh from downstairs and sat up slowly. Draco chuckled before he smoothed out my hair, and stood up before he offered me his hand.

“Should we tell them right away or wait until after dinner?” I asked him as he put his hands around my waist to lead me down.

“Ah... It's probably better to do it as soon as possible. Don't you agree?” He spoke in a whisper with his lips so close to my ear that I couldn't do anything but agree, damn, he was good. I shivered as his teeth nibbled at my lobe before he let me go to just hold my hand, not wanting to upset my parents. Oh, my parents... How would they take it? I chewed on my lip nervously as we walked down the stairs to tell them everything. 






[Another chapter is up! And again, I want to thank every single person who has read and reviewed. Thank you! So, back to the chapter - Pansy; what do you think of her coming to the Manor for New Year? Could mean Drama, drama, drama. How do you feel about Hermione's parents so far? Do you like their names? Overall, was it a good chapter? Thanks for reading, please review, it really makes my day!- Cathyyy-]

Chapter 19: Talking
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[I own nothing HP, it's allllll JK Rowlings. I do, however, own some original characters and the plot. Enjoy!]




 
There was a warm feeling in our house, my mother had lit some candles and she had just finished dinner as my father set out the plates on the table, they both seemed to be in a good mood. Perhaps it would be as easy as I hoped it would be to tell them, but then again... This wasn't the thing one normally told their parents. Hey, I just wanted to let you know that my boyfriend once was a Deatheater. Pass the milk, would you?

No, it definitely wasn't something that I had ever expected that I would talk to them about, but I couldn't not tell them, they deserved to know, and to take a risk and let them find out through someone else, say Ron, wouldn't be so good.

As I walked in to the kitchen with Draco beside me, both of them looked up and smiled, yeah, they were definitely in good moods.

“You two gonna stand there all day?” My dad said as he sat himself down, as if we snapped out of our daydreams we walked up to the table and sat down. “So, how was the train ride?”

“Quite nice, Mr Granger, I learned that you are a collector of guitars?” Draco behaved extraordinarily perfect and he was awfully polite, I was sure that my parents liked him.

“Ah, yes, I do. Do you play?”

“Yes, I have been playing since I was ten.”

They jumped in to a conversation about guitars as I filled my glass with milk, trying to come up with how I would say it.

“Are you okay, Hermione? You look a little pale.” My mothers voice was soft and a wee bit worried as she sat down opposite of me, next to dad.

“Oh, do I? I am just fine.” I mumbled before I sighed. “Actually, we need to talk to you.”

Draco looked at me when I said we and grimaced when they didn't look at him. Both my parents paled.

“You're not pregnant, are you?” Breathed my dad, and I saw how mum took a deep breath.

“No!” I blushed crimson and ran my fingers through my hair while my brain tried so hard to find the right words. My mum rolled her eyes, probably thinking that whatever I was going to say wasn't all that important.

“Draco, while Hermione is busy thinking, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself?”

“Ehm...” Draco looked between my parents and me before he spoke again. “I think that is exactly what Hermione wanted to talk about actually.”

”He’s right, that was that I wanted to talk about.”

“Hermione.” Draco cut me off effectively, though his voice was anything but rude. “Maybe I should do the talking? It is about me, after all.” I nodded and waited for him to continue, my father looking at us suspiciously; he obviously didn’t like that he had interrupted me. “So, Mr and Mrs Granger. I think you’ve heard about me before, my full name is Draco Malfoy.”

At first they didn’t make any sign of recognizing his name, but them when realization hit them, their eyes widened and their jaws clenched in anger. I took a hold of his hand underneath the table before he continued. “Before you say anything, please, hear me out. I know that I have been more than mean towards Hermione in the past, but now… I’ve changed. Before the war, when V-Voldemort came back, my parents were loyal followers of his. It isn’t something that I’m proud over, but it’s true. When I was fifthteen, my father went to prison, it was hard times for me and for my mother. A failure from my father displeased Voldemort a lot and the only way he could think of punishing my father was through me.”
 
I couldn't stop staring at him as he spoke, I noticed how his face became emotionless as he spoke, like he held back on everything he felt about it and yet, somehow, all the pain and hurt he felt was etched to his voice. I couldn't even hear my parents breathe across the table any more, they held their breath as he told them his story. Which was understandable as it was quite the story, and it must have been even harder for them to take, since they had never been put in a situation like that, they had never experienced war first hand. 

They had never been on that edge, looking over their shoulder and never knowing what to see or been inches from death as they walked around in their own home, or just down the street. They had never seen their friends die right in front of them or felt the panic as they got attacked, and they had never stood in front of their enemy, desperate to remember the name of the curses and spells that can save their lives. They hadn't, but we had.



He told them that Voldemort had placed his mark upon him, he told them what he had been forced to do but he didn't go in to all the details, he didn't have to. They could read between the lines. My mother had tears in her eyes, but it wasn't until he came to the part where Bellatrix had tortured me that she let them fall.

“Bella was out of all control that night, I had never seen her look so mental. She tortured Hermione while I was in the room, I stood right there; too afraid to do anything, too much of a coward. But I made myself a promise, I swore that if we both got out of there alive, then I would to anything to never see that pain in her eyes again; ever.” 
He never looked away from them as he spoke and they never looked away from him. 

“We did get out of there alive, the war ended. We were left to build up everything that had been broken. We were left to pick up the pieces... the pieces of ourselves. We went back to school, and... everything was different, wrong. Everyone acted like nothing had happened, except Hermione. I...” He stopped talking for a few seconds as he took a shaky breath. 

“I used to watch her from a distance, trying to reassure myself that she was fine, but I could tell that she wasn't. So, I tried to get closer to her, but I always ended up being a jerk. It wasn't until I got convinced a teacher of ours to let me give Hermione flying lessons that I was able to get close to her, to in a way, be there for her. I don't know exactly what happened, or when it happened but our relationship grew into something we could have never expected. I understand if you can't accept me now that you know my past, but I do want you to know that I intend on keeping my promise.”



I sat in silence, had I really been so oblivious to the world around me that I hadn't even realized that he had been watching me? I knew that the answer was yes, I had been. By the time he had finished talking, my mothers face was wet with tears as her tears had fallen constantly since he mentioned my name and the word torture.

“I'm glad you told us that, Draco.” said my dad as he put his hand on my mothers back to calm her down. “Hermione,” he locked his eyes on mine, his piercing dark green eyes demanding, “Do you trust him?”

“Yes, dad, I do.”

“And you really do believe he has changed?”

“I do.”

It felt a lot like when I was under the influence of Veritaserum, the interrogation...

“Then there's no reason for us to not believe you, Draco. Hermione is a smart girl, we'll take her word for it, but if you hurt her the slightest...”

“Thank you, Mr Granger.” was all Draco answered, polite and very honest. It looked as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He had been avoiding my eyes since he started to talk but then, when he had answered my father, then he looked at me and smiled, it was a shy smile – a adorable smile that melted my heart. There was a tormenting silence in the room, but I was too lost in Draco's eyes to care. I could have thrown my arms around his neck and violate his lips with mine, but I decided against it, it just seemed a bit... inappropriate at the moment.

“Let's eat.” said my mum as she wiped away the tears. “Oh, don't mind me, I cry easily.” She said as Draco looked at her a bit worried. She hurried to give him a smile and he looked a little bit more relaxed. 













If was obvious that none of the adults knew what more to say, do I turned to Draco and started to talk to him, and let them talk to each other. Hoping that I was making things easier for them.

“So, I totally saw what you meant with Blaise being in love today. I don't know how I could have missed that, its so obvious.”

He snickered. “I know. Its rather disturbing to see Blaise looking like a lovesick puppy.”

“He does not look like a lovesick puppy!” I laughed at his choice of words and the tension in the air was as good as gone. “That was the overstatement of the year, Draco.”

“Nah, haven't you seen the way he looks at her? And even worse, her at him? If we ever turn in to that kind of a couple... I give you permission to curse me.”

“I'll keep that in mind.” I took a sip of the milk I had in the glass in front of me, already missing the taste of pumpkinjuice. “Though I must say, it would be quite the sight; Draco Malfoy – The lovesick puppy.”

“Yeah... I guess I'd rather be a puppy than a ferret.”

I had to put my hand over my mouth to not spill the milk that I had in it as I laughed.

But of course, I spilled some on my clothes. “Ah, now look at this...” I moaned as I looked down on my shirt.

“Oh, for Merlins sake...” mumbled Draco amused as he took up his wand and motioned for me to turn and let him see the front of the shirt. With a flick of his wand it was gone, and the shirt as good as new. On the other side of the table, my mum took a deep breath.

“Oh, right.” I said, slapping myself mentally. “My parents aren't used to magic... I never preform it in front of them.”

“You're joking?” gasped a shocked Draco before he looked over to my parents. “You've never seen her use magic? Aw, you've missed out on something there, she is so good at it.”

“We know that she is good. She used her magic to change our memories once.”

I winced, knowing that they would never quite forgive me for that. But I had been forced to do it, it had been for their own good, they just wouldn't understand in how much danger they would have been in if I hadn't done it.

“Right! No, I remember that now. That's why the Deatheaters couldn't find you, you must be so grateful.” He chose to completely ignore their tone, but he knew what he was doing.

“Grateful?” echoed my father puzzled. “Grateful that my daughter had it in her to change my whole life without giving me a choice in the matter?”

“Well, yes.” Draco looked genuinely shocked. “If she hadn't done it, then they would have found you, and eventually killed you. Hermione saved you from countless of hours, possibly days, in pain and even death. So yeah, you should be grateful.” He finished it up with a shrug but yet a pointed look.

“You mean... That she wasn't just being on the safe side when she did it? There was a real threat against us?” My mother asked silently while looking at me rather then Draco.

“There was a huge threat against you. They would have done anything to get information about Hermione and the rest of the Golden Trio out of you.”

“Oh...” they said in unison. Then my dad spoke up. “Then...We're terribly grateful.”

His older, wiser eyes looked at mine and they were full of apologizes.

“Any time.” I smiled shyly at the both of them. “You don't want to see me do magic, do you?”

I was shocked as they both actually smiled widely.

“Actually, I think we do...” My mother mused. “Care to share some of your talents with us... ehm...?”

“Muggles,” Draco finished her sentence.

“Right!” She laughed lightly. Draco just shook his head a bit, probably not quite understanding why someone would laugh over the fact that she was a Muggle.

“Well... I guess.” I said, and slowly pulled out my wand from my special made wand pocket on my jeans. “I'm not quite sure what you'd like me to do, though... Suggestions, please?”

“Well, what can you do?” My father said, blushing slightly.

Draco chuckled. “There isn't anything she can't do, they don't call her the brightest witch of our age for nothing.”

“They call you that?” Mum asked and I blushed and nodded, she placed her hand over her heart. “I'm having a 'proud mama'- moment.”

I giggled at her and played with the wand in my hand. “Draco, what should I show them?”

He thought it over for a few seconds before he smiled and uttered one word. “Levicorpus.”

“Oh, that one would be quite cool.” I smiled. “Are you up for it?” I asked, and he shrugged.

“Go for it.”

I aimed my wand at him and non verbally cast the spell, making him go from sitting in the chair next to me to hanging upside down with his head close to mine in a matter of seconds. I could tell that the sudden white light that flashed before my parents eyes had startled them, but when they saw what I had done they looked amazed.

I laughed at their faces before I decided to let him down. 
“Liberacorpus,” I said and Draco landed on his feet.

“Wasn't prepared for you to cast is non verbally, Hermione! Could've warned me... ” He sat down on the chair with a smile on his lips. “You're good at everything, aren't you? You're amazing at non verbal spells.”

“Why, thank you, Draco. So are you, I've noticed.”

“Yeah, I know,” He smiled that crooked smile and I slapped his arm, before looking over at my parents who looked very happy.

“While you’re in a good mood, Hermione, I think I forgot to mention that your grandmother and aunt will be stopping by tomorrow, since they wont be in England over Christmas.” My mothers voice was cheerful, but I could detect some worry; she knew what I thought of them.

“And there went my good mood,” I groaned, “Why do they have to come? I mean, Granny is alright, but Kristy? Why does she have to come? She doesn’t even like our side of the family.”

“That may be, but she is still a part of this family.”

“She doesn’t even approve of my magical abilities…” I accused and mum shrugged. “Can I at least have my wand tomorrow?”

“Of course, you’re a witch, you need your wand,” Draco said and he even dared to send my mum a pointed look, making her nod.

“You’ve never allowed me to carry a wand near her before…” I said while raising my eyebrow, making her blush and clear her voice.

“I’m allowing you now.”

I wasn’t stupid, I knew that she had changed her mind because Draco was there, and he was a Pureblood. I also knew better than to argue with her about that.

“Well… Thanks, I guess,” I suppose I sounded a bit sarcastic but she didn't look offended. I yawned before I spoke again. “I'm tired.”It came out as a groan and Draco leaned towards me with his shoulder against mine.

“Me too, I could use some rest, perhaps even some sleep.” He then looked up at my parents and spoke softly and innocently. “I hope you don't mind if we're not very social for a few hours?”

“Of course not, you go on up and rest.”

Draco smiled before he got up and moved towards the stairs, as I was going, however, my mother grabbed my hand and leaned in and whispered, “You're being safe, right?”

“Mum!” I gasped and blushed furiously. That was not a conversation I wanted to have with my mother, ever.

“Yes? You have been dating this boy for how long?”

“Almost three months... But that has nothing to do with it!” I crossed my arms over my chest. “Two people can, despite popular belief, be together without having... you know... sex.” My eyes flickered around in the room, trying to avoid eye contact with her.

“You're not having sex with him?” She sounded extremely shocked at that statement. “But the way you two act towards each other, the way you look at each other, the tension and all those little things... I'm sorry, I just assumed.” It was her turn to blush and look away. Awkward.

“Well, now you know how it is. Now, I'm going up to rest.”

“Hermione,” my dad came walking in to the kitchen again, when had he left? Any way, he was carrying one of his black and white guitars and I was taken aback when he handed it to me, I hadn't played on that guitar in years. “Thought that Draco would like to play a bit.”

“Okay...” I said hesitantly but shrugged. “I'll bring it up to him.” I looked over my shoulder to see if Draco was close by, but I couldn't see him. “So, do you like him?”

They shared a look before they both smiled and nodded. “He seems like the perfect match for you, mostly because you seem to be just what the other needs, even though you are like day and night.”

“I'm glad you approve.” I sighed and held up the guitar. “Really, Dad? You're willingly letting him borrow your 64' Gibson guitar? Wow, you must really like him, this is a one of a kind guitar, Dad!”

“I know, I know. Like I don't have plenty of them, and honestly, if he breaks it, he can fix it with magic? Can he not?” His voice broke a bit at the last word, and I giggled.

“He can. Well, I'd better not keep him waiting. I'll see you later.” I turned and took a few steps up the stair before I stopped and turned my torso towards them. “It's nice to be home.”















I walked through the door to my room to find Draco standing by the window looking out, he had changed clothes during the small time I had spent down with my parents. He was wearing a white t-shirt and a pair of big, loose black trousers, I let my eyes wander down his back and down his legs to find that he was barefoot as well.

“Hey.” I said softly as to not scare him and as he turned around to look at me, I held up the guitar. “Dad thought that you might want to play.”

“That's very kind of him.” Draco answered before he turned away from me again, to look outside. I frowned at his words and lack of enthusiasm and put the guitar down on the bed carefully before I walked up to him and placed my hand on his shoulder.

“What's wrong, Draco?” I tried to keep my voice soft and ignore how tense and stressed he looked.

He let out a deep sigh as he seemed to relax under my touch, he reached out and took a hold of my arm and pulled me in front of him and pressed me close to his chest, I was facing the window as he let his head rest on my shoulder. My room was normally quite cold in the winter, but Draco's body heat made me warm.

“I guess I had expected you to treat me differently now that you've heard what I have done. I'm still waiting for you to remember who I am and run, you know.”

I placed my hand on his, which was resting on my stomach but stayed silent as he continued to talk. “But, you're still here. With me, despite what I have done, and I don't deserve it.”

His voice sounded sad, yet amazed, and it was obvious that he couldn't understand why I was still with him.

“Ofcourse I'm still here, Draco. Today, you opened up and finally told me something about your difficult past, from your point of view and I know how hard that must have been, I know how long it took for me to talk to someone about it, and I also know how much you need someone now, because I have been where you are. I'm here, and I'm not going anywhere.” I looked at him in the mirror that the window made, he pressed his face against my hair and inhaled the scent.

“Thank you.” he mumbled and then he sighed. “I still don't understand how you can trust me after what I have done to you in the past.”

“You've kinda made up for it these past months. I don't know what I would have done without you, honestly, I think I would have gone mad. I...” I didn't know what more to say, so I didn't finish the sentence. Instead I turned around to face him and placed my arms around his waist and rested my head against his chest. “Where does all this come from, anyway?”

“Just got to thinking about the past today after talking about it. There is just no getting over it, is it?”

I couldn't answer that, so I just took a deep breath and fell in to silence for a while, before I felt that I had to say something. “You should know that I do trust you, it took me a while, but I do. So stop doubting it, okay? I trust you, it's as simple as that.”

He gave out a strangled chuckle before he too confessed something. “You know how hard it is for me to talk about my feelings... But I don't want you to doubt the way I feel about you, okay? Don't ever doubt how I feel about you, Hermione. I...” He trailed off and I could feel the deep breath he took.

“I know. I don't doubt it.” I said and tilted my head up to look him in the eye before I raised my hands to place them on each side of his face before I fiercely pressed my lips against his, I could tell that I surprised him, but it only took him a moment or so to recover and then he responded passionately. But then he broke if off abruptly.

“Would you like to see some of my memories in a Pensieve? We have one at the Manor. You might be able to... Understand better.”

I blinked a few times before I found myself nodding. “Are you sure?”

“Yes. It's easier to show it than to talk about it.” His eyes darkened as he spoke, like sorrow overtook him and I nodded again.

“Okay. I could show you some of my memories too...”

“You don't have to.” He said seriously as he continued to observe me, but I smiled faintly before I kissed him quickly.

“It's only fair.” I shrugged and then I pulled him with me towards the bed and nodded towards the guitar. “Would you like to play?”

He seemed shocked that I acted so casual about the memories, but nodded none the less and took the guitar as I handed it to him and he sat down on the brown cover of the bed and let his fingers feel the guitar, got to know it a bit, pulled the strings just to hear the sound of each and everyone of them, let them tell him how they liked to be played and just what sound they had.

“It's a beautiful guitar, a Gibson, right? I've always wanted a black and white guitar...”

“Yes, it's my favorite in the collection.” I smiled as I looked at him, he had started to play while looking at me, not at all paying attention to what he was playing, I don't think he understood just how good it sounded.

“Oh, you play?” He raised both eyebrows and I nodded, he smiled widely; it made butterflies come to life in my stomach. “Didn't know that.”

He looked down and started to pay attention to how he moved his fingers over the strings and the music he made became even more intense, and personal. It was very beautiful.

“What song is it?” I asked in a whisper, as if afraid that my voice would ruin the music.

“Just something I wrote a while ago. It reminds me of you.”

I was stunned that he would compare something that beautiful to me, and blushed a bit. Who knew that Draco Malfoy could be this romantic? I couldn't help but to smile at my own thought. I had never seen Draco look so relaxed, he was totally oblivious to his surroundings and he looked happy even though he wasn't actually smiling.

I laid down and let the music from the guitar flow through me, relax me and... I fell asleep to it.














 

 

We both fell asleep, and didn't wake up until the next day, and I spent the first couple of hours giving Draco a tour around the house, he became very interested in our TV before I hadn't even put it on.

It was my mum and dad's last day at work, so we had the house for ourselves and we had promised to get everything ready for Kristy and my grandmother; Jean.

Draco looked forward to it, but for the wrong reasons. He planned to use as much unnecessary magic as he possibly could, only to annoy Kristy, not that I minded, or my parents for that matter. Even they were looking forward it.

When we had finished making the lunch for the people that we were expecting soon I came walking down the stairs to find Draco sitting right in front of the TV, staring at it curiously and furrowed his eyebrows. I walked slowly up behind him, and reached for the remote. He hadn't noticed that I was there. Slowly I pressed the on button down and let our a very un-lady like roar of laughter as he screamed and threw himself away from it. Draco sat up, breathing heavily and sent me a glare that could have killed. I couldn't stop laughing as he kept glaring, then my laugh got caught in my throat as he leaped towards me and we landed on the couch.

“Enjoyed that, did you? Let's see how you enjoy this.” and with that he started to tickle me, and I laughed so hard that I couldn't breathe.

“I'm... Ha! I sorry, please!” I laughed and very distant I heard him laugh too, before he eased back a bit. “I just wanted you to be able to actually watch TV...” I gave him my best puppy look and he rolled his eyes before he leaned down and captured my lips softly.

“You're forgiven. Why the hell are there people inside the box? Aren't you gonna let them out?”

I really did try not to laugh, but I failed. I laughed so hard that my stomach hurt, and I had to cover my mouth so not hurt his ears. He looked very lost so I forced myself to calm down and explain it to him. After a few minutes he looked from me to the TV.

“Really?” He raised his eyebrows. “That's impressive!”

“Yes, I guess.” I said with a shrug before I turned my head around to look towards the front door, which had just opened. For a few seconds, my mind was back in war time and my heart started racing, but then my mums happy face came to view. “Hi mum.”

“Have you heard from Kristy, 'Mione?” Oh, how I hated to be called that, but I put a smile on my face as I shook my head 'no'. “Oh, she should be here any sec...”

“Hello!” I cringed inwardly at my aunts shrill voice. “Ally! Jeff!” She said enthusiastically before she turned to me and forced a smile. “...Hermione.”

“Let me guess... Kristy?” Draco whispered in my ear and I nodded. “Lovely woman.”

“Oh, terribly so.” I shook my head before I went up to greet her properly, dragging Draco with me.

She was wearing a too tight, beige shirt and a pair of blue jeans and her dark hair hung loose around her face, in smooth curls.

Draco held his head high as he greeted her half heartedly and she looked at him curiously, but then when he said that he was my boyfriend she snorted.

“And you met at that school of hers, did you?” She hurried to look away from him while muttering something about him being a creature of the devil. I could almost see fire in Draco's eyes as he tapped her on her shoulder.

“I'm a wizard, from one of the oldest and most pure wizard families.” He said in a low voice, barely a whisper as he leaned closer to her, before he held his wand in her view, making sure that only she saw it. “And I have a wand which I won't hesitate to use...”

“Y..You're not allowed to do magic here.” She stuttered, trying not to tremble as she looked at his wand.

“I'm of age.” He said and smirked as he tapped his wand against his palm. She paled and quickly walked away from him to sit on the couch in the living room. “Aw, Muggles are too easily frightened.”

“It's about time that someone shut her up! Thanks, Draco.” I smiled and he leaned down and kissed my forehead.

We followed my parents in to the living room and sat down to listen to a boring conversation about Kristy's new job, I leaned myself against Draco and almost fell asleep but then I was woken by the doorbell.

“I'll get it!” I said and got up quickly, glad to get something to do other than to listen to Kristy talking on and on about herself. Mum offered to go, but I gave her a smile and rushed out of the living room and to the door, and opened it with the expectations to see my grandmother.

My smile quickly disappeared as I saw who it was, my face fell and I felt so cold, and it had nothing to do with the weather. Anger rushed through me, and surprisingly enough fear as well.

I blinked a few times before I could even think, but it was my mums voice from inside the house that made me snap out of it.

“I'll be a sec, mum!” I called back to her before I stepped outside with nothing on, no shoes and no jacket and closed the door behind me. It was cold, but I didn't care. “What the fuck are you doing here?” I said in a hiss, desperately hoping that I sounded less scared than I was.

“Hello to you too, Hermione.” He smirked and I closed my eyes briefly as anger once again rushed through me. “I need to talk to you.”

 











 


[That's chapter 19! Please review, I really need your feedback! 
So, what do you think about the chapter? Hermione's parents? Kristy? Who is the person at the door? 
Overall; how was the chapter? Thanks! - Cathyyy-]


Chapter 20: Visitor
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[I don't own anything HP, wish I did, though. It all belongs to JK Rowling. I own the plot and some original characters. Enjoy!]







 

I was cold, I was pissed and I was nervous, and most of all; I wanted to keep him as far away from Draco as possible, knowing that neither of them would hold back if faced with each other.

The wind around us blew hard, making it colder yet it wasn't snowing. The sun was hiding behind the clouds, and all that was to be heard was the wind that made the trees dance. When looking in to his eyes, I saw hurt and an odd coldness, just like back in October.

“Go ahead and talk then, Ron. I've got to get back inside as soon as possible.” I tugged on my shirt, as he looked at me and raised his eyebrow.

“What, you're not gonna invite me back inside?”

“Ofcourse not.” I said and he sighed. “But you knew that.”

“I suspected it. Look, I heard that you and Malfoy broke up. About time if I may say so. I am so, so glad that you finally came to your senses...”

“What?” I interrupted him and he stopped talking right away. “I don't know what you heard, but I haven't broken up with him.” His eyes darkened but then he seemed to sober up.

“I just thought... That if you had, then we could go back to how it was before, you know, we could go back to how it used to be, it would be like nothing ever happened, I know it could. Just please, please stop this, you've gotten the attention you wanted, now you can stop seeing him.”

“You don't understand, do you?” I took a shaky breath as I got more and more frustrated with him. “Nothing will ever be the same again, no matter who I am seeing or what I am doing. We can never go back to how it used to be, don't you understand that? I'm not seeing Draco because I want attention, I am seeing him because I... I'm in love with him.”

“So you're just gonna ignore the past?” Rons voice was just a furious hiss by then, but I knew that he wouldn't harm me, not then. He acted as if I hadn't said that last sentence.

“The question is, are you? You are living in a fantasy world, Ron, where the war never happened, but out here in the real world, it did happen!”

“Don't you think I know that? I am just trying to find a way to go back, to get back what we used to have...”

“That is never going to happen, because when I needed you the most, when I was a mess, when I cried myself to sleep and dreamed of things you couldn't imagine; where were you then? Where were you when I needed you the most?” He didn't answer me, he just stood there and looked at me. “It's at times like that when you find out who your true friends are, and you... You weren't there for me.”

“I was there. I held you and...”

“You told me not to cry!” I spat out and he flinched back. “That is not comforting, that made it worse. But then I found Draco, and he was there for me, like no one had ever been, and he still is. He doesn't judge me, he doesn't tell me to stop crying. He is there for me, and I wish that you could just accept that.”

Ron was by then almost shaking with anger, I still felt that he wouldn't do me any harm, though. “You want me to accept that a Deatheater is dating you? A fucking Deatheater, Hermione.”

“Do not call him that!” I said and took a step forward. “His name is Draco, and he is as much a Deatheater as I am.”

“You've seen his arm, haven't you? Branded forever.” He had the nerve to smirk, that slimy git. “You have to be willing to become a Deatheater, you know that Hermione. That means, that Draco wanted to be a Deatheater.”

“What he wanted, was to save his family and his own life. Wouldn't you have done anything to save your family?” I regretted it the moment I said it, as his face fell and he became emotionless. I knew he thought I was talking about Fred. “I didn't mean...”

“Shut up, Hermione, just shut up.” He closed his eyes before he looked at me again and when he spoke again, his voice was softer, nicer. “You know... I always thought that you would end up with me. That it was you and me that was suppose to be together, but then you go and hook up with Malfoy. What ever happened to you and me?”

I thought back to the first time I had kissed Ron, during the final battle and shook my head. “It would never have worked out.”

“How can you say that? We never even tried to make it work.”

“No, and you know why? Because you changed. We both changed and the person I am now could never be with the kind of person you've turned in to.”

“What do you mean?” he tilted his head just a bit to the left as he looked at me, curious.

“You fucking hit me, Ron. I'll never forget about that.” I felt myself tearing up at the memory of his cold eyes just before he brought his hand to my face. The tears clouded my vision but I refused to let them fall. “I would like for you to leave now.”

“But... I want to tell you that I'm sorry, please. I'm sorry for hitting you, I didn't mean it.”

“Don't lie. We both know that you meant it, and that you would do it again if I said the wrong thing. Would you just leave?”

“No. Not until you forgive me.” He said and stared at me, his blue eyes cold again, reminding me of the day in October when he had hit me. He took a half step closer to me, and I started to feel scared again, trapped...

“Leave!” I almost screamed it as fear rushed through me again, it didn't take long for the door to open behind me, I guessed that Draco had heard my shout for he was standing in front of me within seconds.

“Malfoy...” Ron looked genuinely shocked. “Hermione, what the fuck is he doing here?”

“I think she asked you to leave, Weasley. I suggest you do just that.” It wasn't the first time I had heard Draco sound so angry, it was the third. The first time had been after Ron had hit me, the second had been when Matthew had insulted me and then this time. His tone didn't go unnoticed by Ron who glared at him.

“Or else what?”

“You don't even want to find out.” hissed Draco and stepped closer to him, Ron did what was smart, for once, and backed off. “Smart Weasel. Now do as she asked and leave. She doesn't want you here, okay?”

“I'm sorry, Hermione. I really am, and by the way, Harry asked me to tell you that if you want anything, need anything, just owl him or Ginny.” His words were honest, apart from the 'I'm sorry' that sounded as false as it could. “I better go...” He said and glared at Draco again. “Please don't hesitate to owl me if that bastard hurt you.” That made something snap in me and I dashed forward, towards him but was held back by Draco. How dare he? I wanted to hit him, scratch his eyes out and kick him so hard. But Draco easily held me back, knowing that Ron would be able to hurt me far worse that I could hurt him.

“The only one who has hurt me here is you! Fuck you, Ron, fuck you and your apology. It means nothing to me, you mean nothing any more. So piss off!”

Without saying anything else, he was gone; leaving only silence behind. Slowly I calmed down, and stopped struggling against Dracos hold, and he could let me go within seconds.

“Are you okay?” he asked and turned me around to face him, my face was flushed with anger but other than that; yes. So I nodded. “Good. Merlin, you're ice cold, you're even shaking... Let's get you inside, love.”

I had a feeling that I was shaking more in anger than out of being cold, but I didn't protest. I took me quite some time to realize what he had called me, and when I did I smiled. Love.










 

We walked back inside and up on seeing my parents shocked looks and Kristys raised eyebrows, I sighed and excused myself before I walked in to the bathroom.

I needed to be alone, for just a moment, to clear my head. The clear light in the bathroom actually helped, but the more I thought about what had just happened, the more upset I became. It was like when I was a child, and I got upset... 

My magic wasn't under control, I could feel it throughout my body, I knew I could break something if I wasn't careful. I looked at myself in the mirror, and it was as if I could still see his cold, blue eyes instead of my brown ones, hate rushed through me... I let out a shriek as the mirror before me broke in to small pieces, some of them fell on me making me bleed.

“Draco!” I called for him, knowing that he was probably the only one who could calm me down.

I heard him mutter something before he entered the room, and then when he saw the broken mirror and me.

“Woah, what happened?” he said and took one more step towards me, but I held up my hand, afraid that I might hurt him, but he just shook his head. “Just calm down. It's okay.”

I was trembling as he came closer and embraced me, I did calm down as he held me. “What's wrong with me?” I mumbled against the fabric of his shirt, I felt him shake his head.

“Nothing at all, we're still quite young you know, and to feel such strong feelings, like those of hate and anger, can make our magic stronger even if we don't mean it. This only shows that you are a very magical being. There is nothing wrong with you, you just need to be able to suppress the anger at times; like when you have a mirror in front of you.”

I smiled a bit at his last words, and nodded. “I don't freak you out, then?” I took his chuckle as a no. “Would you care to heal me?”

“Sure. Though, I must warn you. I am not very good at healing spells.” He seemed almost embarrassed by that fact, but I just shrugged and he traced his wand over my wounds. They closed and the blood vanished, I was left with a small amount of pain, but nothing I couldn't handle. “Better?”

“Very much so, thanks. Oh, what did you tell my parents?” I asked it casually even though I was more than eager to hear what he had said. He looked amused and I furrowed my eyebrows at him.

“I left that up to you.” he put that famous Malfoy smirk on his lips and I rolled my eyes.

“Of course you did. Ehm... Could you, you know, repair the mirror?” I asked, I would have done it myself it I hadn't left my wand in the living room as I went to open the door. He shrugged before I smiled and walked back out to them. He followed right behind me, I was surprised at how fast he was. 








The first thing I did when I got back out in the living room was to pick up my wand and the warm feeling spread through my body making me hold back a smile. Draco walked to sit down making me shake my head, he was not going to help me with this, that was clear.

 

No one spoke at first, but then my mum cleared her voice. “Who was at the door?”

I had no idea how to answer it, he was not a friend, but I wouldn't call him an enemy either, I really didn't know what he was so I went with the easy answer. “Ron Weasley.”

“Oh? You're old boyfriend?” asked dad and I gasped, horrified that they would have assumed that.

“We were not together!” I took a shaky breath. “But yes, him. We're not really... friends any more.”

“Since when?” huffed dad, looking at me curiously. He shot a glance at Draco, a very accusing glance, before he looked back at me as if to ask if it had anything to do with him.

“Since he hit me.” I said, with a clear edge to my voice, making his eyes widen in surprise and shock. I, however, acted as if I hadn't noticed. “So, since October, he hit me because I was with Draco.”

“He was jealous...” began my father but I quickly held my hand up.

“Does that give him some right to hit me?” I locked my eyes at my dad, I must have looked very angry and upset. He swallowed hard, with us two it was always two strong minds battling to be the strongest. I got the upper hand in this discussion.

“No! I was not going to say that, honey, ofcourse not. I would like to kill him. I'm just trying to understand why Ron would have such a problem with Draco... He seems like a fair enough guy to me.”

“They have had the same past with Draco as I have, but in their eyes; Draco hasn't changed.”

“Okay... Fine then, this Ron is a jerk. What did he want?” Dad held up his hands and I sat down with a sigh.

“He wanted to apologize for what he did, since he heard that me and Draco was over, but then when he found out we weren't, he went over to talk crap about Draco...”

“What did he say?” asked Draco suddenly, his expression as hating as mine was at the moment, I guessed. I grimaced and sighed again.

“It was about the Mark... Can we take it later, perhaps?” I begged him with my eyes, and he raised an eyebrow before he nodded. I turned my attention back to my parents.“So, that was what he was here for. Being a jerk.”

They nodded understanding, before Kristy spoke for the first time since I came in to the room again. “What was that crash in the bathroom?” Her voice sounded a bit nervous and a bit scared. I smirked at her when my parents didn't look.

“It was my magic, it got a bit out of control because of the fact that I was so upset and angry. I accidentally broke a mirror.”

The look on her face was beyond priceless, and I heard how Draco coughed to hide his laughter, even I had a hard time staying serious, but somehow I managed. Kristy broke eye contact quickly and I rolled my eyes at her. The sun was by then shining outside, shining in through the window lighting up the room.









We sat there for some time, and no one spoke, we just sat in silence and looked at each other, ah well... Me and Draco looked at each other, his intense, silver grey eyes locked on mine, making the time go slower than it should. How was it that a simple look could make my heart beat so fast? Then again, there was nothing simple about that look, it was filled with passion, intensity, lust and even... love.

“Ehm...” I said, trying to make some kind of conversation. “Would you like to take a walk? We could go... Anywhere.” He got up so fast, it was almost funny, and I did the same. We excused us, went to put our clothes on and then we got outside. I hadn't even closed the door before Draco spun me around and pressed me up against it, trapping me with his body. His hands resting on my hips, pressing me against him. Then he let one of his hands wander up the side of my body to grasp my hair, he tilted my head to the side. It gave him access to my neck, which he attacked in the most pleasurable way.

“I've been wanting to do this for the last thirty minutes.” he mumbled against my skin as he kissed his way up my jaw, then he searched for my lips. He kissed me as if his life depended on it, making sure that every movement was like another taste of heaven. He softly bit down on my lower lip, making me let out a strangled moan, he groaned at the sound of it. I wanted him closer, closer...

My hand in the back of his head urged him on, making him kiss me harder, more demanding, more dominating. More him.

My eyes were closed, but they fluttered open as his lips left mine and I found him looking at me, still standing in the same intimate way, but he was just looking.

“You are so beautiful.” He whispered and leaned his forehead against mine. “You're mine, only mine.” He was right, I was his and he was mine, just the thought of him together with someone else made me jealous.

“Yours.” I mumbled as I pressed my lips against his, closing my eyes again. His taste was sweet, it tasted a bit like strawberry tea, when had he...? Oh, right. He had been drinking it moments ago. I heard footsteps coming closer to the door and I realized that Kristy was probably on her way out, I tried to tell Draco, but it only came out as a moan, but I think he had heard it to, because he broke the kiss and took my hand and pulled me with him as he ran away from the door, I had no choice but to follow him, we ended up hiding in the forest near by, behind a tree. We stood there and watched as she got in the car, breathed out before she started to drive. She had certainly had enough of magic by then, I guessed.

“Imagine her face if she would have walked out on us.” chuckled Draco before he gently let his lips brush against mine. “Should we take that walk?” He nodded towards road.

“Yeah, sure. Where should we go?”

“You live here, not me. I wouldn't know where one can go here.” He smiled sheepishly and I took his hand and dragged him along, with no destination at all. Just wanting to be with him, talk to him and possibly kiss him some more. 








We walked hand in hand while we spoke about all sorts of stuff, he told me a lot about him and Blaise and what they had been up to during their years at Hogwarts, and he spoke about Goyle and even Crabbe, even though I knew it hurt him to talk about him, but still he did it. I was extremely glad that he finally felt comfortable enough to talk so openly to me about things that I knew was hard for him to bring up once again; though I didn't know if he had ever spoken to someone about it.

I was glad that he kept away from topics that involved Pansy, however, since I truly did not need to hear anything about her since it was just a matter of days until I was going to meet her, something I was already dreading. She had most likely been at the Manor several times, seeing as her family was friends with the Malfoys. But still a lot of unanswered questions regarding Draco and Pansy was popping up in my head, and I cursed myself for it. It wasn't really my business now, was it?

Still, I felt myself wanting to know more about them... How had she been when she had been with him? Had she acted like a total bitch or had she been calm and loving? Had he held her hand like he held mine and smelled her hair like he smelled mine? Had he kissed her lips like he had kissed mine?

I pushed the thoughts out of my head, knowing that I might possibly go mad if I spent any more time thinking about her. It was best to just let it rest, knowing that I would never have the guts to ask anyone who had known them as a couple anyway. Besides, Blaise would never, ever, tell me anything about Draco and Pansy again. That was something that was for sure. I couldn't hold back my smile as I thought back to the time he had gotten his fair share of Draco's rage for telling me about Pansy.

“And what might you be smiling at?” Draco pulled me closer to him, and I laughed silently as I leaned my head against his shoulder as we continued to walk. “Hmm?”

“Oh, just some sweet Blaise-memories.” I smiled as he hung his head and chuckled, not really surprised. “I really like that guy. Can you believe that? Me, Hermione Granger, just said that I liked Blaise Zabini...” I heard my voice, and I sounded amazed by the fact. Shaking my head as he snapped his up.

“You like me better, though. Right?”

I pretended to consider it, but then, up on seeing his anxious face; I rolled my eyes. “Ofcourse I do, silly. I more than like you...” The last part slipped out of my mouth before I could stop myself and I bit the inside of my right cheek to silence myself. I did, however, not look away. Draco looked at me for some time, and I realized that we had stopped walking.

“I more than like you to. My feelings for you can't even be compared to like.”

It was the most he had said about his feelings for me, I thought, as I looked up at him as my heart beat hard. “That's good to know.”

“Yeah.” He looked very awkward, and decided to change the topic. “ So, what memory was it that you were smiling at? Him running around like a maniac in his underwear, afraid that he had missed classes only to remember that is was a Saturday? Or maybe one of the countless times he has said something stupid? One of the times we caught him and Amber?”

“None of the above, actually. I was thinking about the time you gave him hell for telling me about you and Parkinson.”

“You really found that funny, didn't you?” He snickered and then he looked around. “Where are we going, anyway?”

“To that book store.” My right hand waved in the direction and I smiled widely as he groaned, but he willingly followed me towards it. I had always loved that store and had spent most of my time as a child there, which was very obvious if you looked at the bookshelf's in my room, and in my living room. The owner of the shop knew me very well and always knew what kind of books would like which made it easier to find what I wanted but at the same time it was taking some of the fun out of it. I loved to walk around in the shop, loved the smell of the pages and the feeling of the covers of the books. “It's my favourite shop.” I said as I was about to open the door, but Draco beat me to it and held it open to me while holding his hand out for me. “Quite the gentleman.”

“I've told you that I am, my lady.” He gave a slight bow and I had to do my best to hold back a giggle. I took his hand with a smile and he led me inside, with a huge grin on his face. “Here you are, go and give the books some love.” He let my hand go and I almost, just almost clapped my hands in excitement. There was so many new books in the shop since I had been there, I could spend hours, even days there.

“Hermione!” I turned at the sound of my name and saw Cynthia McAdams, the owner, an old lady in her sixty's who knew everything and more about books. “You're home over the Holidays?”

“Oh, Cynthia.” I said as I walked up to give her a hug, it really had been too long since I had seen her. She would never allow me to call her Mrs McAdams, it had to be Cynthia, or she said that she felt too old. “Yes, I am and I am looking for... anything really. Anything new in here?”

“As always, I have something in the back for you, I'll be right back.” She smiled as she walked away, leaving me eager as hell. I looked around in the shop, but Draco wasn't to be seen anywhere, he was probably further in, out of my view. I grabbed a book close to me, gave it a long look before I opened it and read a few pages, it seemed good enough, and it was something I hadn't read. I decided to buy it, it would be good to have some new books.

I thought my heart stopped as I felt a pair of hands around my waist, underneath my jacket; on my bare skin.

“Jeez, Draco. You trying to scare me to death? You're freezing cold by the way.” I turned my head slightly and his lips found mine for a second before I glanced down at one of his hands, he was holding a book.

“Could you and I switch money? I don't have any Muggle money...” his voice was just a whisper against my ear as I nodded right away. “Thanks, I owe you.”

I handed him as much as he needed and when he started to take his money up I simply told him that I could take it when we got home, he insisted, however and I took them with a deep sigh.

“Ah!” we both turned as we heard Cynthias voice from the back and then she came out with a thick, very old book. “You're in to reading about magic and that stuff, right?”

I nodded and felt Draco lean on to me from behind to get a better look at the book. “Well, I came over this book and no one seems willing to buy it, so I thought that you might want it?”

“I would love to buy it, how much is it?”

“Oh, for you it's for free, darling. Enjoy it.” she handed me it and I looked at her wide eyed. “Don't give me that look, just take the book, we both know you want it. Consider it a Christmas gift.”

Realizing that she wasn't giving in, I pressed it to my chest. “Thank you so much, Cynthia!” I turned to walk away as I remembered something. “Oh, is Marcus here, by any chance?” Marcus was her grandson, he was around twentyfive and he, like my father, loved everything about guitars.

“Yeah, he is in the back.” she nodded for me to go in there and look for him, so I gave her a smile before I walked in. “I'll be right back, Draco.” I called over my shoulder as I walked in to the back, which was rather big; I knew for a fact that Marcus as been living there from time to time. It was quite dark as I tried to find him. “Marcus? Marcus, are you here?”

“In here!” came his deep, masculine voice, I followed his voice and ended up in a not as dark room, filled with guitars as I had suspected. “Hermione, wow. I haven't seen you in like... forever.”

“You too.” He gave me a quick hug before he looked at me and raised an eyebrow.

“So, what can I do for you? Need something for your guitar? Broke one of your dad's again?”

“Very funny.” I rolled my eyes, before I looked around in the room. “You offered me a black and white guitar a few years ago, I was just wondering if it was still for sale...?”

“Ah, I knew you would come around.” He smiled and walked past me and then when he turned around again, he was holding it; one of the most beautiful black and white guitars that I had ever seen. “I've lowered the price though. Seeing as it has scratches and is a bit worse for the wear. But it still works beautifully. I've thought about keeping it, but... Yeah. So, you're taking it now?”

“No... I'll send my dad to pick it up later, it's a Christmas gift for my boyfriend, actually, and he is waiting for me right outside, so I can't take it now. But Dad will be around to pick it up, if not today then tomorrow.” I didn't know if Draco had bought me something, or if he was even planning on doing it, but I really wanted to give him the guitar, knowing how much it would mean to him.

 

 

Draco and I arrived at my place quite late, since we went to a small restaurant to eat and then spent the day strolling around. It had been nice weather, sunny and not even the smallest breeze.

Just when we got home, I almost ran to the shower and then I changed in to my PJ's before I combed my hair and brushed my teeth. I was exhausted at the end of that day and couldn't wait to go to sleep. I ran down the stairs and found my parents and Draco watching TV. Draco looking fascinated and terrified at the same time, my dad didn't seem to notice the terrified look on Draco's face as the bomb in the movie was dropped over a house and you were able to see the dead people on the ground. It reminded me of the war and my stomach turned and I was sure it did the same to him.

“How...?” Draco's voice was as shocked as it was horrified.

“It's just a movie, Draco.” I explained and sat down next to him. “The people on the screen are paid to act as if they're dead, you see.”

“Yes, but how can we see that, could you explain it one more time?” I sat down on the couch with him and explained it to him, slowly and he seemed to understand.

“Ah...” His eyebrows furrowed. “But, why would they want to make a movie where people die? It makes no sense. Don't they understand that some people might have seen death up close?”

I nodded, agreeing. “They make films that they think the audience will like and be drawn to, there must be something about death and violence that intrigues people. It's something that they're not used to in their lives, well... Hopefully it isn't, and they find that interesting to watch.”

“There is nothing interesting with death.” His eyes seemed to lose themselves in a memory and I nodded.

“I know.” I yawned loudly and stood up. “I'm going to bed, you coming?”

 

Draco gave a short nod and bid my parents goodnight, and I hugged them both before we walked up to my room. I crawled underneath the covers at once and then I watched as Draco undressed to his underwear and then he pulled on a t-shirt and slid under the covers too and pulled me to him s that I was resting with my head on his chest, like usual.

“So, you never did tell me what Weasley said about the Mark...”

I groaned and cuddled up to him, before I took a deep breath. “Do we have to do this now?”

I took his silence as a yes and closed my eyes as I spoke. “He talked about the fact that a person had to be willing to become a Deatheater, that one had to be willing to be able to wear the Mark.”

He tensed underneath me, but I just continued. “I told him that you had done it for your family, and then I asked him if he wouldn't have done the same and he didn't answer. I think I might have made him understand that part at least.”

“Thanks for standing up for me, love. He was right, one have to be willing. I had to promise him my loyalty, I had to prove myself worthy of wearing the Mark...”

“How?” I always felt as if someone was torturing me when he spoke about his past, I felt so terribly sorry for him. I couldn't believe the things he had been put through.

“Torture Deatheaters who had displeased him and... strangers. I hated it. All of it. But I had to make it look like it was what I wanted. I just wanted to save my family, you know? I didn't know how to save them, but I knew I had to. I never killed anyone, though.”

“I understand, I would have done the same thing if I had been you. I would have done anything to save my family.”

I couldn't hold back my big yawn and he started to chuckle. “Ah, your family, Hermione, is a very nice family. I'm a bit sad that I didn't get to meet your grandmother, though. I wish she would have still been here when we got back.”

“Another time.” I promised before I grinned. “So, how are you liking the Muggle world?”

“It's quite nice, though I must say that I almost got a heart attack when that sound erupted from that little thing your mum was carrying this morning. I got so fucking scared, you should have seen me.”

I furrowed my eyebrows trying to think back to what my mum had been carrying when suddenly hit me and I doubled over in laughter. “It was her cellphone!”

“Oh, puh-lease. It was not that funny.” I could feel the tears run down my cheeks as I imagined how he must have looked, I almost not breathe as I laughed so hard at the mental picture I got, and gasped for air through my laugh.

“Y- Yes it was!” I still laughed, but then he put his hand over my mouth with a crooked smile on his lips, and a light flush on his pale face. He mumbled something about me making too much noise, and my parents were probably wondering what he hell he was doing to me. “Mware ywo mwlushing?” My words came out muffled underneath his hand and he removed it. “Are you blushing?”

“What? Me? No!” but his blush deepened and I raised my eyebrow at him and he rolled his eyes. “Well, you'd be too if I had been laughing at you, out of control might I add, for the last few minutes...”

I just shook my head as I pushed him down on the bed again and cuddled up to him, feeling very comfortable in his arms. “It was quite the mental image, actually.” I said to my defence and yawned again.

“I bet.” He sounded amused and kissed my head. “We should sleep now, don't you think?”

I barely heard what he said, but I think I might have mumbled something back to him, I was already half asleep. I heard him chuckle a bit before I completely drifted in to a peaceful sleep.






[I am sooooo sorry for this chapter! I understand if you'd like to kill me now, it wasn't really interesting... Oh well.. The next one makes up for it! I can almost promise that. But, what do you think of Ron paying a visit? The gift for Draco? Looking forward to the Christmas? Next chapter will be much more fun to read, in my opinion, so please; Don't hate me too much for this chapter, and I do hope you like it a lot more than I do. Please leave a review! (:  - Cathyyy-]

Chapter 21: Christmas
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[I don't own anything but the plot. I do NOT own anything Harry Potter, and I DON'T own Gremlins,  or Cinderella, at all. Simply borrowing it. Enjoooy!]

 

 







The few days before Christmas went by very fast, we didn't do much; we were just together, spending as much time as we could, playing guitar, going for walks, reading to each other or something similar. I could honestly say that I had never had a better Christmas holiday. Ever.

My father had picked up the guitar and hid it away in his and mums room, I had been there and wrapped it up in green paper, using my wand of course, then I had hid it under my bed, knowing that Draco wouldn't even think of looking there. I had even engraved the left side of the guitar, it said Love. I doubted that he would notice it if he wasn't told that it was there, it was thin letters in white, against the black colour. I had ordered tickets to a concert of my mum and dad's favourite band, as a Christmas gift for my parents, and had been waiting eagerly for them to be delivered here. I knew they would be thrilled, since they met the first time at one of that bands concerts. Draco had been kind enough to decorate our tree, and of course he used his wand too, but damn... I had never seen a more beautiful Christmas tree. It was nearly completely covered in thick tinsels and baubles, in silver and blue colours, and the tree lights were shining in a blueish light.

We never used to have a tree, but Draco had insisted, saying that 'there's no Christmas without a tree'. My parents had agreed to have one, if Draco promised that he would be the one cleaning up after it, Draco had held up his wand and they had sighed. Me? I had laughed.

 

I was feeling more like a child at Christmas morning than a 20 year old girl as I woke up and shuddered at the though that I was already twenty years old, I wasn't really a kid any more, was I?

The years had really gone by fast, faster than I would have expected, but then again; if everything would have gone according to plan, then I would have graduated Hogwarts about two years ago. I laid in the bed, staring in to the wall as I thought things over, Draco was pressed up against me, his leg resting over both of mine, and his arm was around my waist.

In May it would be two years since the war, and there were still so many damages is peoples lives, I closed my eyes and shook of the feelings I had about the war, and turned around to face Draco.

He moaned a bit, but he didn't wake up, so I just laid there, looking at him. I felt very lucky and couldn't hold back the smile that crept up on my lips as I leaned forward and pressed my lips against his, waking him.

“Mmhm...” He smiled against my lips. “Pleasant way to wake up. Do that more often.”

“Merry Christmas, Draco.” He raised his eyebrows but then he captured my lips and pulled me on top of him.

“Merry Christmas, love.” He mumbled against my lips and reached up to push my hair out of my face, something I was grateful for. Then I eased back, but I remained sitting on top of him, straddling him. “So...” he began. “How were your traditions now again? You open the presents early on the day...?” He tried to act as if my position didn't bother him at all, but I saw the small flush on his cheeks.

“Yeah, after lunch sometime, which by the way should be very soon, we slept in, you know. Well, then we start making dinner together, something I hate since I am a terrible at it.” Draco laughed then, before I continued. “Then we have dinner, and then we watch a movie or two, we always watch 'Gremlins', I don't know if you've ever...?” Stupid question, Draco had never even seen a TV before he came here.

He shook his head and I clapped my hands in excitement. “Then that should be fun! We watch it every year, so it'll be fun to see how you react to it, seeing as its your first time watching it. Oh, and we eat lots of sweets, and popcorn. Merlin, do we eat a lot of popcorn while watching the films.”

“Okay. Only one question... Blaise told me about a... Santa?”

“Oh! No. No Santa, Dad used to dressed up as one when I was younger and grandma and Kristy with the rest of their families used to spend Christmas here, but now, when it's just us...”

“But...” Draco's eyebrows furrowed. “Blaise said that he comes with presents to the Muggles...” He seemed confused, and I realized that Blaise had probably spent Christmas with one of his mothers husbands sometime when he was younger and they had Muggle traditions and talked him in to believing in Santa. I decided to save Blaise's sorry arse, knowing that Draco wouldn't be happy if I simply told him that Santa didn't really exist.

“Blaise actually believes in Santa?” I giggled and threw my head back as it turned in to a laughter.

“What?”

“Santa doesn't exist, it's just something that parents tell their kids so that they will be good. 'No presents from Santa if you don't behave'” I spoke in my fathers tone and Draco smiled. “Nah, he doesn't exist.”

“Oh. But... Blaise saw him, he was short, chubby and had white beard and glasses.” Whenever had Blaise had time to tell him that? I grinned.

“Yes, he has probably seen him, only it was just an adult dressed up as Santa.” I couldn't believe that I had to explain this to a boy who was turning twenty years old within a year. It could have been laughable if I hadn't known the reason to why I was explaining it. No one could expect that a Pureblood wizard would know about such a silly Muggle tradition as Santa Claus.

“Oh. No offence, but that sounds quite stupid.”

“It is, I never believed in Santa. Okay, I might have, until I was around six, when I realized that my dad always 'went out to buy some milk' whenever Santa came around. I put two and two together, and realized that Santa was dad.” I shook my head while smiling as Draco laughed. “What?”

“Smart as a child, already. Now, should we exchange gifts?”

 


I felt my heart skip a beat at the fact that he had actually bought me something, and I nodded excitedly as he softly motioned for me to remove myself from him. I blushed as I rolled over and then I rolled out of bed after him, he walked up to his trunk, which stood by the rest of his things underneath my window, and pulled out a present wrapped in golden brown paper, it matched very much to my room, and I smiled as I looked under my bed and saw the quite big gift I had for him, but, at least it wasn't too obvious that it was a guitar. I pulled it out from under the bed and his eyes widened as he saw the big gift, that was quite a lot bigger than his.

“You kept it there all along?” He sounded amused and grinned. “Typical, I should have known. I'll open mine first!” he said as he put his present to me down on the bed beside him and I sighed happily as I handed him my gift.

“Merry Christmas.” I said again and he kept grinning as he unwrapped it, slowly as if on purpose.

When the last piece of paper fell down to the floor, and the by then cleaned up black and white guitar was revealed, Draco just stared at it. Then he cleared his voice and looked at me, he looked quite shocked, to be honest.

“You... It's the...” He looked at the guitar again and sighed. “It's the best gift I've ever gotten, how did you... Thank you!”

He seemed close to speechless as he turned to face me and kissed me tenderly before he eased back and smiled as he shook his head.

“You wanted a black and white one, right?” I asked shyly as he slowly put the guitar down on the floor, his head snapped up and he nodded.

“How did you know?”

“I thought I heard you say so the other day, and I... happened to find one.” I laughed a bit as he stared longingly down at the guitar, and I was glad that I had decided to buy it. He shook his head as he handed me the thing he had bought for me.

“It can't quite compare to what you bought me, but I hope you'll like it...”

I shrugged it off, knowing that whatever he gave me, I would probably love it. It felt kind of heavy, I carefully ran my finger under the tape, and slowly unwrapped the paper, and it fell to the floor.

A book. I smiled as I looked at it, it was simply black, but then it was as if a spell was lifted from it, actually; a spell was lifted from it, and it became a dark red book and I read the title. Cinderella.

“I bought it at the book store we were to and placed it under a charm so you wouldn't recognize it...” He said, sounding quite pleased with himself. “Open it.” He urged and that's when I saw that the book wasn't fully closed, as if something was keeping it open, slowly I let the book fall open, and something fell out of it, down on my lap, quickly I caught it. It was a necklace with a golden chain, it had circle pendant that floated along the chain. I looked at it more closely, to find that it was engraved. Always. I was overwhelmed. Not only had he given me the most beautiful necklace I had ever seen, he must have also remembered that we had read Cinderella... Briefly I wondered if he had noticed that I had engraved something on the side of the guitar. Love.

“Draco... This is too much...”

“Nonsense.” He smiled. “You like it?”

“Like it?” I huffed and shook my head as I returned the smile. “I absolutely love it!”

“I had it engraved...”

“I noticed, I had the guitar engraved too... You'll see it if you look there, on the left side, yeah, right there.” I said and pointed as he lifted the guitar up to have a closer look.

“Always,” he whispered and then he grinned up at me. “Love Always, huh? I like the sound of that.”

I chewed on the inside of my chin and I thought about a reply to that, but what could I say except; “So do I.”

Slowly he took the necklace from my hand and undid the clasp and motioned for me to turn around so that he could put it on me, I held my hair up to make it easier for him. He was done in a second, but let his hands linger on my neck and then work their way down my back, slowly, as he leaned closer to me. I could feel the warmth of his body next to mine and then his breath against my ear before he whispered. “Love Always” I shivered as he turned me around, I brought my hand directly to his neck and pulled him closer to me and kissed him fiercely, I heard him moan softly as he gently put down our things on the floor and then in one swift move had me down on my back with him on top, kissing me in a quite desperate way, but then again; I kissed him back just as much. His hands roamed my body and I felt as if I needed his touch as much as I needed air to breathe, gods... I loved him.

The intense feeling rushed through me and I gasped, he took the opportunity to let his tongue move against mine and I did the same, his hand found it's way under my t-shirt to touch me, gently before he removed it and brought it to intertwine his fingers in my hair instead as continued to kiss me, then his fingers traced the chain of the necklace and down to my collarbone, before we broke apart, both of us panting slightly.

“I should buy you things more often if this is how you show your appreciation.” He joked and I blushed as I grinned. “Aw... You're so cute.” He said and kissed me on the top of my nose before he gently removed himself from me and got out of the bed. I almost wanted to ask him if he was okay, but then I decided against it. You're so cute. It sounded so right yet so, so foreign coming from his lips, but I guessed that he wouldn't say it if he didn't think so. I blushed deeper as I studied him, wondering what he was doing. Then it hit me, he was packing. We were leaving for the Manor the next day, I should be packing as well.

“Draco...” I said as I stood up, still looking at him. “Why are you packing the Muggle way?”

“Uh...” He scratched his head as he scanned the room, looking for something, then he found it, his t-shirt on the chair beside the bed. “Uh, I find it relaxing.” Then he looked at me, and then he slid his t-shirt on. “Shouldn't you be packing as well?”

“Yes. However, I'll be doing it the magical way, so it wont take as long for me.”

Draco replied by snorting before his head snapped up at the sound of a tapping on the window. His beautiful owl was waiting patiently for him to open. As he did, the bird flew in to land on my bed, Draco moved towards her to get the letter, and as he had read it he turned towards me. “Oh. We'll be picked up here tomorrow around one, and my mother wishes for the two of you to go shopping for dresses, if you want to...?”

I stared at him, terrified at the idea of trying on dresses, but thrilled to meet Narcissa again. “I... Uh.. Yeah?”

“Lovely!” He said as he continued to read. “Ah, we might be taking a one day trip to Greece in two days, if you're up for it. I mean, you and me could always stay at the Manor.”

“You're joking, right?” I said as I swirled around and up on seeing his serious face I dropped the shirt I held in my hands. “You're taking me to Greece?”

“Yes.” He chuckled as I let out a happy laugh and jumped up in his arms, kissing him full on the mouth. It took me a while to understand what I had done and slowly untangled my legs from around his waist and he slowly put me down. “I guess we'll be going to Greece with them, then!”

“I've never been to Greece, oh... I need to pack some clothes for a warmer climate...”

I started to pick out clothes as I trailed off.

“Hermione, we'll be gone for a day, is it really necessary to bring that many clothes?”

He looked amused at me, and I stopped what I was doing and smiled sheepishly at the mess I had made.

“I'm just really looking forward to it, you know.”

“Okay, so...” He strode over to me and put his arms around me and let his hands rest on my lower back and pulled me towards him. “What would you say if I said that we can leave two days from now, alone, and spend the afternoon and night there, and then meet up with my parents the next day and then go back to England with my parents when they go home?”

“I would love that, Draco!” I couldn't wait for the trip, I was more than excited. There was a scratch on the door, followed by a long meow. Draco, who had grown to love Crookshanks, went to open the door and then he lifted him up and he started to purr the second Draco touched him. I heard my mum call our names and motioned for Draco to walk ahead, he held the cat close to his chest as he made his way down to the kitchen.

 

 







 

My mum had already begun cooking, and I gave her a small glare, since it was something we were supposed to do together, not that I were any good at it, but still. Then I shrugged it off and I hugged her tightly, instead.

“Merry Christmas, mum.”

“Merry Christmas, honey! Here you go.” She handed me a small gift and I unwrapped it eagerly as she turned to Draco. “I'm afraid we haven't had time to buy you anything, you kind of came along here on short notice.”

“It's perfectly alright, Ally, really. I understand.” He smiled adoringly, and somewhat shy. “Merry Christmas anyway.”

“Oh.” She took two steps and embraced him, she hugged him really tight. It was as if she tried to make up for the fact that his own parents weren't there, I saw in the corner of my eye how taken a back he looked, as if he wasn't really used to it, then he awkwardly put his arms around her and hung his head to rest in the crook of her neck, as if he was being comforted. “Merry Christmas, Draco.” She whispered as they hugged.

I had been so busy looking at them to realize that I had opened my gift, it was a bracelet; it was gold, just like the necklace. I realized that they must have bought it sometime when I had been with them in Diagon Alley because when I looked closer at it the first charm was a wand, the second one was a book, the third was a Golden snitch and the forth was a broom, then there was a small heart, also that in gold.

“You bought this in Diagon Alley, didn't you?” I said happily as I put it on, not without difficulty, and then I looked at her, and they had stopped hugging and were just standing there looking a bit awkward, she nodded while smiling. “It's beautiful, thank you mum!”

“You're welcome, honey. Daddy will come with his gift in a second.”

“Oh, shoot!” I gasped as I remembered why I had been so stressed the past couple of days. “My gift to you hasn't been delivered yet, but you'll get it in a day or two.” I have her a puppy eyed look, and she shrugged.

“I'm sure we'll love it anyway.” She looked over my shoulder as she spoke and I turned to find my dad standing there, with a big, wide grin across his face. He glanced down at my hand and saw the bracelet.

“Do you like it?” He asked, his voice had that tone to it that he only had when it was Christmas, it was like he spoke to me as if I was a little kid again. He looked at me as I nodded. “Ah, she loves it, doesn't she?” He said to my mother as he laughed. “Well, here you go, Hermione. Merry Christmas.”

He handed me a small envelope and I looked at him, curiously. I opened it quickly and stared at my hand as I pulled out what was in it.

“So that you can buy many more books.” Dad grinned and I kept staring at the amount of money in my hand, they had outdone themselves this year, and I wasn't even able to give them their gifts. They had spent a lot of money on me, I knew that the bracelet was anything but cheap and then to get even more money.

“Oh, thank you!” I said and hugged him. “Do you understand how many books I can buy now?”

He chuckled and then we eased back and got started with making the rest of the food.

Draco was enjoying himself, my mum taught him how to cook, but he knew how to do the chicken, and was allowed to take care of it all on his own since I told them that he was excellent at that.

 










 

The kitchen was filled with laughter, happy voices and the smell of food, and that scent of Christmas, we had just finished the dishes and were preparing for the movie evening. Having Draco there was definitely a plus, he helped out a lot and he seemed to have a good time, and when Draco was happy; he made other people happy. When he smiled, I wanted to smile. He was being adorable, and he looked as if he belonged there.

“Earth to Hermione!” Mum laughed as I snapped out of my daydreams to look at her. “Get the popcorn out of the microwave, would you?”

I nodded as I turned around and did as she said, dad asked us all in the background what we wanted to drink.

“Apple juice!” I called over my shoulder as I held up the popcorn in a large bowl, and carried it in to the living room and sat it down on the table, as I turned to walk back in to the kitchen, I almost ran in to Draco who was carrying a smaller bowl of candy. “Having fun?” I asked with a smile and in response he leaned down and placed a quick kiss on my lips, before nodding and carrying on.

He seemed eager to watch a movie, one that didn't really involve war and many dead bodies.

I went in to my parents room to get some blankets for us so that we wouldn't be cold and when I came back out they were all sitting down, so I took the seat between Draco and dad, after I handed everyone a blanket, though me and Draco shared one. Then we began watching.

It didn't matter how many times I had watched it, it was still just as good as ever. Draco seemed to like it too, though he was still a bit freaked out by the TV. I found him cute when he flinched back at times.

 







Halfway trough the movie, mum said something about how she wished that we had taken some pictures of the day.

“You know what?” I said as I stood up. “I'm gonna go up and get my camera, I'll be right back.”

None of the three looked up, them merely nodded as they stared at the TV, I rolled my eyes as I literally ran up the stairs and in to my room, where I realized that I had no idea where I had put it.



With a deep sigh I started searching for it. I looked under the bed, in the drawers, I also looked in every one of my bags that I could see without finding it. I groaned softly before I decided to look for it behind and underneath Draco's stuff. Gently I lifted his black trousers which laid on top of everything else, but then I haltered as something fell out of his pocket, I bent down and to pick it up. 
It was a letter, addressed to Draco, of course. The immediate thought was that it was from a girl because of the handwriting. I bit my lip as I looked over my shoulder, the sound of the TV was to be heard from downstairs was to be heard, but that was it. I didn't want to risk anything so I walked over and closed it quickly before I opened the letter and let my eyes take in the words that were written.

 

 

'Draco, I know it must be quite surprising for you to receive this letter from me after all this time, but this is how long it took for me to understand the mistake that I made. It took me this long to come to my senses, and now; from the bottom of my heart I apologize. I'm not the same person as I used to be, and I now realize that Matthew was a big mistake, that was all he was. A mistake. I now know that I have done you wrong, I hurt you in the worst way possible, and for that I am sorry. Please believe me when I say that I never stopped loving you, I still do, and I never meant for you to get hurt, had I known what Matthew was up to... I wish I could take it all back, but I can't. I wish that you and I could just go back to how we used to be, can we? I leave that up to you. All I know is that I love you just as much as I used to. Do you still love me? I believe you do.

I will be coming to the Manor for New Years, I hope we can talk things over and be able to put the past behind us. I miss you terribly.

 

Love always

Pansy.'

 

My first thought was that she hadn't written hearts over her i's as Draco said that she had, but then the jealousy hit me and I forgot all about her bloody i's. The letter was far worse to read than to be told about, she really wanted to get him back. I took a deep breath as I reread it. Everything that Blaise and Draco had told me about her played in my head, but it didn't seem to matter at the moment. Why had Draco saved her letter? Why had he kept it in his pocket?

I knew that I shouldn't, but I brought the paper to my nose and took in the scent. Roses. Love Always. I wanted to tear the letter in millions of little pieces and burn it, but instead I folded it and put it back in to his pocket, before I put the trousers back to where they had been. The jealousy I felt was unbelievable, as I knew that she would do anything to get him back at the New Years party, and I felt unsure about Draco's feelings about her, seeing as he had kept her letter. Why had he?

I can't stand losing him. I thought as the jealousy was replaced by worry.

Don't ever doubt how I feel about you. Draco's words echoed in my head, but how could I not doubt that when I read that letter? She believed that he still loved her. Loved. So he had told her that he loved her, that was more than he had done to me. I loved him, and he was mine. Who did she think that she was, coming back in to his life, trying to get him back...? I knew very well that she wouldn't go down without a fight and I just found comfort in the fact that I seemed to have both Narcissa and Lucius on my side of this. I couldn't keep the small smile of my lips as I thought of the words Lucius had said, 'She'll do'. My smile faded, however, at the thought of going back to the Manor. How was I suppose to act as if I wasn't bothered being there, in the same place as I had once been tortured? The truth was that I was scared but I hadn't told Draco that, because I didn't want to look weak anymore.

I sighed as I shook my head. Let it go for now, Hermione, deal with Pansy at New Years and deal with the Manor when you get there. The logical me was probably right, it didn't do me any good to start worrying about Pansy already, it would probably drive me half insane and maybe it wouldn't be all that hard for be to be at the Manor. I sighed as I didn't believe myself.

I was going to go to Greece, I was going to have a good time there, and I was not going to spend all my time there thinking about Pansy. That was what I decided to do.

I grimaced as knew that I was going to think about her.

“Hermione?” Dad called from downstairs, making me snap out of my thoughts.

“I'll be right down!” I called back tried to remember what I had come up there for, oh right, the camera. I found it behind Draco's things, on the floor.

 

I took a deep breath as I closed the door to my room behind me, I was on my way down to finish watching the movie.

Would I tell Draco that I had found the letter? No, not yet at least. I needed to find the right time for it, and now was definitely not the right time. I had to at least wait until we were alone.

 

They all looked up as I came walking down the stairs and made room for be on the couch again, they had moved closer together to see the TV better, I supposed.

“Took you long enough.” huffed dad and looked at me with one of his eyebrows raised.

“Yeah, I couldn't find the camera.” I said and held it up, I hoped that none of them would hear that I was keeping something from them, I had never been able to keep such things out of my voice, that's what made me such a bad liar. I had always been a terrible liar and terrible at keeping secrets too. “Found it, at last.” I motioned for them to move closer together again so that I could take a picture of them, they did so and they all smiled happily, totally oblivious to how I was feeling at the time. It was so hard to not just confront Draco with the letter. I bit the inside of my lip as I looked at the photo I had just taken.

 

“Charming photo.” I said and couldn't help but to smile. Dad got up and took the camera from me and told be to go sit next to Draco so he could take a picture of us. I did as he said and Draco took my hand as soon as I was close enough. The touch of his hand made me smile.

The flash from the camera blinded me momentarily but then I was able to see clearly again. We decided to finish the movie, after we had taken a few more photos.

 









When we had watched two movies (Draco really loved Gremlins), eaten all the popcorn at it was getting late, we decided to call it a night and mum and dad said their good night's and went to their bedroom. Draco and I stayed behind, we just sat on the couch without saying a word. I was afraid that if I spoke, then I would accidentally mention the letter, it was probably stupid, but that was how I felt.

“Think it's okay if we bring the rest of the candy up to your room?” Draco broke the silence and looked at me.

“Yeah, they wouldn't mind.” I said without looking at him, I walked in to the kitchen instead and poured myself a glass of water. Had I sounded too cold?

“Have I done something wrong?” He came in to the kitchen and carried some of the empty glasses and the popcorn bowl and put on the table. He looked a bit confused.

You left out the part where she said that she was coming to the Manor to talk to you about leaving the past behind and work things out, you also kept her fucking letter and you... You told her that you loved her, but you... you wont tell me... However I just said those things in my head, on the outside I just shrugged and shook my head as I drank my water, then I took the candy bowl and walked up to my room. He followed right behind me, while mumbling things that I couldn't hear.

As soon as I got in to my room, I but the candy on the bed and grabbed a oversized t-shirt and walked in to the bathroom to get ready for bed. I hurried as I changed in to it, brushed my teeth and combed my hair. Then I proceeded to wash my face. I did all that while I was thinking about the fact that I wasn't stupid, I knew that I needed to tell him what I found, I just hoped that he wouldn't be too upset about it.

With I sigh I looked in the mirror, I looked partly happy and partly terrified. I snorted at my reflection before I turned out the light and walked out to find Draco standing with only a pair of trousers on by the window, the moonlight danced over his pale, perfectly shaped chest. I cleared my throat, to which he turned around to look at me, a few strays of hair hung in front his eyes. He looked confused, concerned and curious.

“What...?” He began but I interrupted him quickly.

“I found the letter.”

 









Silence hung in air around us and Draco just stared at me, his jaw clenching and unclenching as I saw the pulse on his neck beating furiously, something that seemed to happen on both Malfoy men when they were angry or upset.

“You went through my things?” His voice was just a angry whisper. “You had no right...”

“I-I didn't! I was looking for the camera and the letter fell out...” It sounded rather stupid, like a bad lie. Only it wasn't, it was the truth. “It fell out of your pocket. I wasn't going through your things.”

“Yeah, that's likely. It just fell out of my pocket, and what? You accidentally read it?” He sneered and I didn't like it, I didn't like it at all.

“Of course not!” I said and took a shaky breath. “I shouldn't have read it, I do know that, but there it was, just lying there in my hands and my curiosity was killing me. If you didn't want me to find it then maybe you should have simply thrown it away.” I snapped.

“You are angry at me?” He sounded almost amused by that fact and folded his arms. “You have no right to be angry at me. You went through my things, Hermione, not the other way around.”

“I wasn't going through your things! It fell out, for heavens sake,” I threw my hands out and glared at him, “And yes, I am upset with you.” He seemed to wait for me to continue but I wasn't able to say something right then, I just kept taking deep breaths to calm myself down. Then when I could finally speak, my voice was low and sad, but yet angry. “Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to read that? To know that you saved the letter and to know that the reason to why she is coming to the Manor is to talk to you and get you back? I hate that I don't know what you think about the whole thing, what you think of her right now.” Then when he was still looking at me with a doubting stare, I stopped talking. It was as if he had not heard a single thing I had been saying.

“Do you expect me to believe that the letter 'fell out of the pocket'? Seriously, Hermione. Do you think I'm stupid?”

“Have you listened to a single word I've been saying?” I shook my head as he just stared at me, then I walked closer to him and and hissed furiously as I walked. “I wish I had never found that bloody letter in the first place, then...” I clenched my jaw and took another deep breath.

“I've listened.” Draco said suddenly and turned around and looked at his trousers. “These are the ones, yes?” His tone was still angry.

“Yes, one would think you'd remember what trousers you put dear Pansy's letter in.”

He froze for a second and glared at me. He reached out and grabbed his trousers and held them in front of my face. “You honestly expect me to believe that the letter just...” He stopped talking as the letter once again fell out of pocket. It could have been hilarious, if it hadn't been for the tension around us. Dracos eyebrows raised and he tilted his head to the side. “...Fell out.” He finished. “Fine, things easily falls out of them. You still had no right reading this!” He said as he practically showed the letter in my face. I slapped his hand away from my view so that I could stare him right in the eye, his grey eyes were furious and hard.

“Oh, please, like you wouldn't have read a letter from Ron if you would have accidentally found one.” It was the first fight we had ever had, well, since we became friends anyway, and I hated it.

“What does he have to do with this? He isn't your ex.” He spat out and I snorted.

“Close enough.” I snapped and watched as his eyes darkened and he ran his fingers through his hair. “Tell me, wouldn't you read a letter from Ron if you stumbled across one? Hmm?” I demanded answers, but knew that he wouldn't give me one. His jaw was clenched as his eyes suddenly widened and he looked at me wide eyed.

“You're jealous.”

I was ready to cry out in frustration and anger by then and for him to point out something that obvious as if he only just realized was almost laughable. “Of course I'm fucking jealous. I don't know if we read the same letter, but there were more than enough in that letter to make me jealous.”

I blinked away some tears that threatened to fall, and watched as he seemed to understand. I was still angry, though, and I could feel how my magic started to build and quickly looked around to see if there were any mirrors or windows close to me. Thankfully not. “Draco...” I said shakily. “I think I need to calm down.” Then I found that if I let myself become sad, instead of angry, then I could control it; it wasn't nearly as intense. Draco didn't move.

“You okay?”

I merely nodded and then I looked up at him, he had moved, he seemed closer. “Why did you keep the letter?”

Draco took a deep breath and by then he seemed to have calmed down. “I don't know. Maybe because I would change my mind and write back to her. Her current address was written on the back of the letter.”

“You didn't write back to her?”

“Why in the world would I? I can't stand her.” I looked at him, trying to see if he was telling the truth, which I believed he was.

“She said that she still believes that you love her.” I said sadly, and blinked away more tears, unfortunately for me, one of them escaped and fell down my cheek. He caught it with his thumb and wiped it away. Please, tell me again that you don't love her, I thought.

“I don't. I never did.” I let out a breath that I hadn't realized that I had been holding.

“Then why did you tell her that you did? I don't understand.” I hated the feeling of not understanding, and when it came to Draco there were a lot of things that I didn't understand.

“Because it was expected from me, it was what I was supposed to say, wasn't it? But our relationship was never a real one, we were together because our parents wanted it, because we were 'Malfoy and Parkinson'. Sure, we did what normal couples did, I just... Didn't love her.”

He then smiled. “It's not like with you. We're real, we've taken the time to get it right, we're in love. The words will come when it's the right time, you'll see.”

Somewhere during his little speech my tears had stopped falling and I was no longer angry. “Oh.” I could settle with Love Always for now, if he were willing to say that the words would come, and that he was in love; then I could settle with Always from him. I smiled a bit. “Oh. I'm sorry I read your letter.”

“No, I understand why you did it, and I'm sorry for not believing you. I overreacted.”

“It didn't really sound believable, so I understand that you'd doubt it.” I shook my head before I smiled again. “Is this the part where we kiss and make up?”

Draco chuckled a bit before his hands snaked their way around my waist and pulled me towards him as I reached up to kiss him, still while smiling, and thanked Merlin that our first fight hadn't been... all that bad. I wasn't nearly as worried about Parkinson as I had been just hours ago, still a bit worried since I knew that she would be very nasty against me, but that wasn't anything I couldn't handle. It would be ten times worse seeing her flirting with Draco, I knew that already.

 

 

We ended up on the bed and laid there, waiting for sleep to take us over. I thought the past months over and came to the conclusion that I had never been this happy, ever. Draco had really made me feel alive again, and for that I loved him. He had made me realize that there were still things left in live that made it worth living, and for that I loved him. He had made me stop blaming myself for some of the lives that were taken in the war, and for that I loved him. I could hear his heavy breathing somewhere above my head and I closed my eyes as I inhaled his scent.

“I love you, Draco Malfoy.” I whispered to the night, and was met only by his steady breathing.

 









 

[.Again, I don't own Gremlins, it belongs to Warner Bros, but on with the A/N..What do you think? Soooo many things I want your opinion about in this chapter, first of all. Love and Always: What did you think of the gifts? What'd you think of the Santa thing? Pansy's letter? Their first fight? Hermione's 'I love you'? Please let me know! Oh, and this MIGHT be the last I chapter I am going to be able to update before HPFF takes a summer holiday, I am sadly not a truster author, but it all depends on how quickly it gets validated and such. Might also post my other story, Hiding behind Books, so if I do, please check it out! (: Okay.  Leave a review! - Cathyyy-]

Chapter 22: Malfoy Manor
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[Well, by now you know what I usually write here. I don't own anything other than the plot and a few original characters. Everything else belogns to JK Rowling. Enjoy!]





 

We woke up early so that we would be able to get ready before we were being picked up. By who, I had no idea.

I had finished packing the day before, so I really didn't have much to do, I sat around talking to mum and dad, telling them about the fact that I was going to Greece, they were excited about that and hoped that I would have a good time. When I told them about the upcoming party at the Manor I couldn't quite keep the terrified tone out of my voice, but I doubt that they even noticed. I had even dreamt about going to the Manor, it had of course been a nightmare. Bellatrix had been hiding behind the corner, ready to attack me again. I shivered as I thought back on the dream.

“Hermione, are you ready? They'll be here any second now.” Draco walked up behind me as I sat on one of the chairs in the kitchen and kissed my cheek. I was brought back to reality.

“Who'll be here any second? Who's gonna be picking us up?” I glanced up to him as he grinned.

“Why, who do you think?”

I furrowed my eyebrows, how the heck would I know?

“Eh..?”

“Mother and father, of course.” He had to be joking, he just had to. There were no way in hell that Lucius and Narcissa would come to pick us up in this Muggle place. “They wished to meet your parents.” He shrugged as if it was the most natural thing in the world, yet I just kept staring at him.

“You're serious.” I stated after a while, to which he nodded and kept grinning. “You couldn't have told me this earlier?” He chuckled and shook his head.

“I would have, if I had known that the look on your face would be priceless. You really should see yourself.”

I couldn't see the humour in it so I groaned and went to tell my parents that Draco's parents wanted to meet them, their reaction wasn't what I had suspected.

“Lovely! When do you reckon they'll come? Do you think they'll want some coffee?” My mum was smiling widely and I stared at her, was I really the only one who was nervous about them coming here? It seemed so.









“Would you relax?” Draco's amused voice said for the thousand time from somewhere behind me and I swirled around, making my hair dance around my face.

“No, I wont relax. I was already nervous and now it's only worse! Not only am I going to the Manor, but first your parents are gonna meet mine? That will be a lovely moment wont it? Since Lucius will be so pleasant.” I took a breath to calm down. “Sorry. I'm just so nervous.”

“Are you nervous about the Manor?” He walked to stand next to me by the door, where I was waiting for Lucius and Narcissa. I sighed sadly as I nodded. Oh, how I hated feeling weak. “I suspected that you would be. But, just know that no one is going to hurt you there, okay? No one.”

He looked at me with a intense pair of eyes, and I nodded, knowing that he was probably right, but then I furrowed my eyebrows.

“Pansy will.”

“If she as much as touch you I'll kick her out.” Draco said protectively and I let my lip curve up in a small smile. “And for my father being pleasant, well... My mother will be coming a long, and I think that she can make sure that he is nice enough.”

I knew he was right about Narcissa being able to tell Lucius to act nice, so I took comfort in that and walked up to Draco, placed my hands on his chest and reached up to kiss him. He seemed delighted. “You're good at calming me down, you know.” I mumbled as I studied his face. In the light by the door you could see the scar on his face from Lucius cane perfectly, I had totally forgotten that I had promised to make it go away. I turned around as I heard a knock on the door, but then I looked back at Draco and he raised one of his eyebrows as if saying 'what are you waiting for?'

I cleared my voice and swallowed hard as I took the two steps that were needed to reach the door and then I slowly opened it.

 

Lucius Malfoy stood, completely dressed in black and with his cane in his hand while looking down his nose, next to his wife. Narcissa Malfoy was dressed in light blue robes that made her look so much paler, and while her husbands hair was pulled back, hers hung in soft curls down her shoulders. Unlike Lucius' arrogant features, Narcissa smiled kindly as she looked from her son to me and then back at her son, who made his way to hug her. My eyes locked on Lucius grey ones and he gave me a short nod as if to greet me and I nodded back with a small smile, politeness had never killed anyone, had it?

“Mr and Mrs Malfoy,” I began but was interrupted by Narcissa as soon as I had started to talk.

“Please, do call us by our first names, Hermione. 'Mrs' makes me feel so terribly old.”

It was obvious that Lucius wanted to object to that, but after a very long and pointed look from Narcissa, he nodded his agreement. I fought a smirk when I saw how much Lucius would do as Narcissa said, instead I just looked at him, and raised my eyebrow.

“Well then, Narcissa and,” I looked at the older of the Malfoy men, “Lucius, do come in.”

Narcissa smiled as she looked around in our home, to whereas Lucius looked around and snorted. He received a small glare from his wife which made him roll his eyes.

“Mum, dad!” I called over my shoulder. “Draco's parents are here!” It didn't take long for them to join us, standing on either side of me.

“Hello, I'm Allison.” said mum happily as she held out her hand for Narcissa to shake and she took it immediately.

“I'm Narcissa, it's a pleasure to meet you, Allison. This is my husband Lucius.”

Narcissa let mums hand go so that Lucius could shake it as well, slowly and without blinking he did so. He received another pointed look from his wife and I suspected that he sighed inwardly.

“Pleasure.” He drawled in a very arrogant tone before letting go of her hand. They proceeded to greet my dad. Draco didn't seem too amused by how his father looked down at my parents, but I hadn't expected anything less, he was after all Lucius Malfoy. Draco kept sending small glares at his father and I was quite entertained by that.

 

We moved in to the living room and sat down on the two couches, Lucius sat on the edge on his seat as if he were afraid that he would get dirty, I couldn't help but to glare at him. It wasn't that I didn't want to get along with him, but even I had a limit of what I thought was acceptable from him. He caught me glaring at him, and met my eyes with a cold stare but I wasn't backing down, I gave him a similar look as the one his wife had given him moments ago and he looked thoroughly annoyed with me as he looked down on the couch and then back up at me.

'Scared of the furniture, Malfoy?' I mouthed and he gave a small snort before he seated himself more comfortably. I hid the smile from him and looked up as Draco seated himself between us, totally oblivious to what had just happened.

“You know what that is, father?” Draco said while pointing towards the television. Lucius turned his head towards his son with a 'are you completely out of your mind'- kind of look. Draco just grinned at his father. “It's a TV...”

“Draco, do I look like I care? And do I even need to know?” Lucius said with a sigh, probably wishing that he could just go home.

“Yeah, because I want one.” It was no question about it in his tone, it was as if he demanded it, leaving Lucius no chance to have a say in it. Without looking at his father, Draco reached for the remote control and pressed the on button. I sat observing Lucius as his eyes widened more and more as he looked at the TV. He didn't say anything though, just stared at it, as Draco began to explain how it worked. I shook my head while smiling.

“Hermione, Draco never did tell me if you were up to trying on dresses today?” Narcissa smiled at me as I nodded.

“I am, I just hope they aren't all that expensive...” I blushed as I looked down, I wasn't poor – but I knew that in comparison to them, I was.

“Don't worry, I was promised two dresses by the designer, for free, if I invited her to the party.” Narcissas eyes twinkled as she smiled. “Being a Malfoy comes with benefits at times.”

“You.. You mean I'll get a dress for free?” I stared at her when she nodded and shook my head happily. “But, why would you do that? Give me a dress I mean.” I briefly noticed that mum and dad stared at us.

“Because I need to make sure that you look a thousand times better than Miss Parkinson.” She looked disgusted as she said it. Apparently she disliked talking about her just as much as her son. “I have an eye for dresses, just ask your friend Amber, I helped her pick out her dress yesterday, lovely girl, isn't she?”

“Amber?” I raised my eyebrows. “Amber Lambetti? Blaises girlfriend?”

“Yes...?” Narcissa looked puzzled to why I would be asking that. “She is Blaises date for the New Years party, didn't you know that?” She moved her hand up to remove some of her hair out of her face.

“No, I didn't even know that Blaise was coming. Draco hasn't told me much about the party at all, to be honest.” We both turned to look at him, and he looked away from Lucius as he felt our eyes on him.

“What'd I do?” he swallowed hard, as he glanced from me to his mother.

I sighed as I began to talk to him about the party, and Blaise. While I did so, Narcissa turned to talk to my parents, and Lucius sat there; looking lost and annoyed, and more arrogant than ever.







 
Mum and Narcissa talked non-stop for at least forty minutes about everything they could possibly think of, mostly about me and Draco, though.

“Narcissa.” Said Lucius suddenly, making us all jump, he had been quiet since Draco had spoken to him last. I was very grateful that he spoke, I was getting bored out of my mind. “I think it's time we went, if you'll have time to try on all those lovely dresses.”

“I guess you're right.” Narcissa replied after she had glanced down at her watch. “We should get going.” She stood up and we all followed her lead. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Allison, we just have to do this again sometime.”

“I quite agree with you, maybe we could meet when the kids are home for Easter?”

They began to discuss that, and both me, Draco and Lucius rolled our eyes.

“Kids?” snorted Draco.

I held back a laugh as I placed a hand on my mums shoulder. “Mum? I might not be home for Easter, you know. I think we, as in me, Draco, Blaise and Amber, might wanna spend as much time with each other as possible. Keeping in mind that three of us will be graduating in June.”

“Oh, naturally. But that doesn't mean that Narcissa and I can't socialize anyways, does it?”

“You are so right, Allison. I'll send you an owl closer to Easter and we can discuss this more then. Oh, and Jeff...” She turned to my dad. “Pleasure to meet you too.”

“Uh, you too.” He smiled a bit towards her, but quickly stopped as Lucius sent him a cold glare. Instead he pulled mum closer to him, as if saying that he was in no way flirting with Narcissa.

I hugged my parents goodbye before I took my trunk and walked out to stand beside Lucius, both of us looking in different directions, we waited for Draco to be done saying his goodbye to my parents.

 

Narcissa came and joined us, and Draco followed right after her.

I took a long look at my mum and dad, standing in the door, smiling at us as we were about to do a Side-along Apparation.

“Miss Granger, you'll go with Draco, since I reckon that you don't remember the location?” I nodded at Lucius words and walked to take Draco's hand, and waited for the unpleasant feeling that I knew would come.

“Would it have killed you to be nice against her family? You're such a...” And then I couldn't hear the rest of Narcissas sentence as I felt a tug and then I felt as if I couldn't breathe, as it felt as if I was being pressed through something that was way too small for me. Just as I thought as I was going to suffocate, then I felt solid ground underneath my feet and took a deep breath.

As always after an Apparation, I felt incredibly dizzy. I felt as if I was on the verge of fainting, but then Dracos voice made me focus.

“You okay?” He asked and stroke my hand with his thumb as if to calm me down. I nodded and he motioned towards the Manor. “Welcome to Malfoy Manor.”

I looked around as he said it, we were just inside the gates, and had the Manor right in front of us. It was enormous, white and, maybe it was the daylight that made it look nicer, but I found the Manor looking absolutely gorgeous and not nearly as intimidating as it had done the last time I had been there. As we began to walk towards the entrance of the building, every step brought a flashback from the night so long ago. 

The intense pain I had been put through, Bellatrix face as she took pleasure from the way I hurt, the panic I felt as I was inches from death, when all I could think about- besides the pain- was to not let them know anything, I had to keep the secrets in order to keep Harry and Ron alive. To keep us all alive. I remembered Dracos eyes as he looked at me...


“Welcome back to the Malfoy Manor.” I corrected him in a whisper, low enough for him not to hear, but loud enough to send a shiver down my spine.

“Miss Granger, are you quite okay? You look a bit pale.”said Lucius as he opened the front door, and awaited the rest of us, he had the nerve to smirk. He knew very well that I was anything but okay.

“I'm just fine, thanks for asking, though.” I replied sourly before I looked up at Draco and whispered. “I'm not fine at all.”

Narcissa walked inside and Lucius urged us on, but Draco could sense my hesitation and told his father to leave us alone for a few seconds, and as the door closed in front of us, he turned to face me. His hand reached for my chin and he tilted my head up to look at him.

“Woah, you look terrified.” I felt terrified too, so I wasn't surprised by his statement. “Just remember, Hermione, that nothing is going to harm you, okay? The past can't hurt you any more.”

Looking in his eyes I saw a silent plea, a plea of acceptance. Did he think that I was having seconds thought about him, because I didn't feel safe being back? I nodded slowly and he continued to stroke my hand.

“Ready?” He asked and with a small nod from me, we started walking. I tried really hard to ignore the flashbacks that came, as I suddenly felt his hand lose contact with mine, and I looked up, feeling terribly alone. I found that he was holding the door open for me, waiting for me to step inside.

I swallowed my fear of the past and told myself to get a grip.

You're a Gryffindor, I said to myself, aren't you supposed to be brave?

Hesitantly but with my head held high, I walked inside and looked around. I was met by old portraits of the Malfoy family, each with the same grey eyes which looked at me curiously. I was very glad that they weren't anything like Mrs Blacks portrait.

They kept quiet, most of them, a whisper here and there but nothing more.

“Yes, I overheard Lucius talk about her, “ A portrait whispered, “A Mudblood has stolen the heart of a Malfoy...” He shook his head in his frame. The portrait he had been talking to stole a quick glance at me before whispering.

“Did you happen to overhear the Mudbloods name?” I put my hand on my hip and glared at them.

“I'm standing right here you know. I do wish you'd call me Hermione, and not Mudblood. It's starting to get old.”

I tried to sound somewhat friendly towards them, knowing full and well that they would tell Lucius about this the moment they saw him. Draco chuckled from behind me.

“They haven't been this quite in years.”

I gave him a small smile before he urged me to walk further in to his home. The last time I had been there, I had been too afraid to really pay much attention to how the place looked, I just remembered that it had been dark, and scary. But as I looked around, I found that it was extraordinarily beautiful, it was really something different from last time.

It was light and open, with a really gorgeous tone of white on the walls and flowers placed carefully around the house to make it look more welcoming. I peaked in to a room, which seemed to have more than a thousand books in it, but decided to check that room out later, as Draco walked straight ahead. I knew it would be best if I followed him.

“Have you redecorated?” I asked casually as we walked in to a just as warm and open room, it was a bit darker in terms of colour, but it was still very clean and fresh. I would never could have guessed that Lucius would have lived in such a place. Nothing about it gave a hint that a Deatheater lived there. Former Deatheater... I corrected myself and sighed as I could hear Harry and Ron's voices in my head. 'There's no such thing as a former Deatheater, 'Mione!'

I almost rolled my eyes, but then I briefly got a flashback of the room we were standing in, only then it had been dark walls, dim light and long, dark green curtains...

“We have. Mother likes change, and honestly; all the dark colours were depressing.”

I looked around in the room, seeing the high ceiling, and then scanned the room and my eyes fell up on a large fireplace.

Why did I recognize that fireplace...? It hit me suddenly and I remembered it as if it had been just yesterday.

 

I was pressed down on a chair forcefully and just as I understood what was happening, I felt a pain unlike anything I had ever felt before and I screamed. Louder than I had ever screamed before, I screamed until I felt the burning sensation in my lungs and I found it hard to breathe. As I writhed under the agonizing curse, my head fell back and for a second, the pain seemed to be gone as my eyes met his, Draco's eyes were intense and never left mine, I saw a clear pain in them, and I kept eye contact as I let out a hoarse scream as I was hit with the Cruciatus Curse once more. All I saw in that moment was Draco, standing by the fireplace...

 

 

“By the fireplace...” I mumbled as I walked further in to the room, yes it had been redecorated but it was no doubt that it was the drawing room in which I had been tortured. “You were standing by that fireplace.” I whispered as I pointed towards it.

“Yes” he said sadly and walked in ahead of me, his calmness really rubbed off on me. I wasn't freaked out and the as the past flashed through my mind, I ignored it.

I glanced up at the ceiling, the chandelier hung there as if it had never fallen, as if it had never broken.

That must have been easy to fix, it had just been another broken object; broken people were harder to fix.

“Would either of you care for something to drink?”

I let out a terrified shriek as Lucius snuck up on us and as I turned around to face him. I saw that he wore a quite shocked expression on his usually expressionless face, but only for a second, then he relaxed and almost smiled.

“I didn't mean to startle you,” he said before he glanced over my shoulder, “You should show her around the Manor. I'm sure that she is eager to see your room. Both of your things were brought up there, since I assume that you'll be sleeping in the same room?”

His tone suggested that we might be doing something other than sleeping, and I blushed immediately. What was it with everybody and their way of thinking that we were having sex?

“Naturally. Thank you, father.” Draco's tone was dismissive, making Lucius take the hint and turn to leave. I stopped him before he got very far.

“Actually,” I said, “You wouldn't happen to have some pumpkin juice, would you?”

Lucius sighed with a half smile on his lips. “Come with me, Miss Granger.” He began to walk again, out of the room, and I hat to hurry to keep up with him. Damn, that man could walk fast. I could hear Draco follow behind us. Hermione, I corrected him in my head.

 

We walked in to a dining room, where I found that Narcissa was sitting. She was having ice cream and a glass of pumpkin juice in front of her. She looked really relaxed, seeing as she was barefoot, and had changed in to a sweater and a pair of warm trousers and she looked extremely happy.

“She'd like some pumpkin juice, Cissy, where do we have it?”

Narcissa pointed for Lucius who uttered a 'Oh', as it was right in front of him, he was even kind enough to pour me a glass of it and levitate it over to me, as I sat down at the table as Draco had done.

“Would you two like some ice cream?” said Narcissa happily as she gestured over the table and I noticed many different flavours and they all looked pretty damn delicious to me. I looked over at Draco, who looked like he was torn between going up to his room or to stay and have ice cream with his parents, and me.

“Oh, fine. Only if we have-”

“Pear ice cream. Of course we do.” Lucius rolled his eyes as Narcissa interrupted Draco mid sentence, then he came and joined us at the table, next to his wife. I served myself some vanilla ice cream, the only flavour that I felt in the mood for, even though there were at least ten different ones.

“Strawberries, mother? Do we have any? Hermione love strawberries to her ice cream.”

His mother smiled as if she knew something we didn't, and then, with a flick of her wand; she levitated some strawberries over to the table.

I put three large ones on my plate and looked up to see Lucius lean back in his chair, with a plate of ice cream in his left hand, only strawberry flavoured I noticed. I had never before seen him look so relaxed, and it looked so natural for him to be relaxed. He looked human, and that was scary.

My ice cream tasted better than anything I had ever tasted, even better than the ice cream they had at Hogwarts, and that ice cream is bloody delicious.

I took another spoonful and put in my mouth, and sighed heavily as pain shot through my head, making me close my eyes. Damn, why does this always happen to me? I never learn to take it easier, do I? I thought, annoyed as hell. I just wanted to eat it.

“Oh, Hermione...” Chuckled Draco, followed by a feminine laugh and a deep, masculine chuckle as well. I looked up to see Lucius chuckling opposite of me. I could hardly see through my shock, as Narcissa handed me a glass of water, and I remembered that she often got the same kind of pain. It made sense why they were all laughing at me then, and I found myself smiling as well.







After almost twenty minutes of sitting there, listening to the Malfoys talk to each other like any other family would, I couldn't help but to feel as if I didn't quite fit in. Draco had adjusted so good to my family and their way of living, and I wondered if it had been just as hard for him, the first day.

Suddenly I felt a hand take mine underneath the table and I looked up to see Draco smiling at me.

“Something wrong?” he asked softly and squeezed my hand as I shook my head.

“No, nothings wrong.” I returned his smile, determine to try my hardest to make the situation better, even if it meant that I had to act very nice towards Lucius. I looked at him as he sat there in his home, looking very casual and... almost friendly.

“When is the designer of the dresses coming, Cissy?” he asked and she looked at her watch and smiled excitedly.

“In about ten minutes.” She said happily and glanced over at me, somehow I got the feeling that I weren't looking as happy as she had suspected, so I smiled shyly and she shook her head, while still smiling. “You two should go upstairs and unpack a bit, but Hermione, would you meet me in the room furthest down the hallway to the left, upstairs, in about ten minutes or so?”

“Certainly, I'll be there,” I replied politely and stood up to go with Draco up to his room. “Thanks for the ice cream.” I added with a smile before Draco literally dragged me with him. “What's the hurry, Draco?”

“Well, seeing as we only have ten minutes until you're going to try on a bunch of dresses, I thought we'd make the most of the time we had.”

“Just how many are a 'bunch'?” I asked, knowing that there was a part of me that would hate trying out dresses, and the girly part of me, that was hidden somewhere inside. would go all giddy. He ignored my question as he pointed in to the room with the many books in it.

“Library, which you might have guessed, it isn't as small as is looks,” he said and I gaped, the room looked huge from where I was standing, “We'll go in there some time later. For now, let's go up to my room.”

He swallowed hard and scratched his head, something that reminded me of Blaise; he always did that when he was nervous or uncomfortable.

I was eager to see Draco's room, I had seen it many times in my imagination and wondered if it would be anything like how I had imagined it.

 

We stood outside a huge, dark wooden door as Draco turned to face me, giving me the same look as I had given him as we had entered my room back home. The 'If you laugh, you're dead'- look.

I simply looked back at him, highly amused, as he opened the door and let me in.

To say that I was surprised was a understatement, I was close to shocked, actually. My mouth hung open as I scanned the room. It was huge. I would have never imagined his room like this, it was bitg with large windows that provided much light in to the room, a large bed dominated the room but there was also a desk there, and a walk-in closet He had many books in his room, so I figured that he actually was a big fan of reading, even if he wouldn't admit it to anyone. It was clear that even though Narcissa had decorated his room, he had had a say in it. There were white walls, just as in the rest of the Manor, but he had some green things here and there that made it personal and warm. It added that little extra something to the room which was needed. I absolutely loved it.

“I love it, Draco. It's gorgeous,” I breathed as he gently put his hands on my shoulders and made me walk further in to the room.

“Oh, I know,” He said with a fake nonchalant tone which made me roll my eyes. “Your trunk is over there. But, I suppose you wont be unpacking seeing as we'll be leaving tomorrow?”

“Right! Oh, I had almost forgotten about that. We'll have so much fun.” I couldn't stop the huge smile which played on my lips. He just chuckled softly at my excitement before he went back to get the guitar I got him the day before and brought it back with him to the bed.

“You wont come with me when I try on dresses?” I asked as he began to play a bit on it, he let out a laugh which simply said 'Oh, what a joke!'

“Oh, I'll never, ever, ever be near my mother when she tries on dresses again. It takes forever, and it's utterly boring. The last time I was with her, ended up being a four hour mission and I walked away with a pair of very sore feet and my back was killing me.” He faked a shiver as he spoke. “Nah, I'll just stay here and play a bit.”

I couldn't help but to smile at him, before I stood up and said that I'd better be going but as soon as I had turned to walk; his hand caught mine and pulled me back towards him. “Don't I get a kiss before you go?” he mumbled before he pulled me down with him on the bed, and he rolled us over so that he was on top and then he teased my lips with his, making me go all dizzy. As I pressed my lips against his; I could feel his smirk as he kissed back, before he let me go and I was able to get up out of bed. I gave him another kiss, a quick one, before I turned and walked out of his bedroom.

 












 

 

I was right on time as I walked in to the room that Narcissa had told me to meet her in, she was already there, and the designer arrived just after me.

Draco had been so right, I had never before seen so many dresses to try on. I just really hoped that they were not all for me. There must have been at least fifty dresses in all sorts of colours.

“Uh...” I said as I made my way over to Narcissa. “This is a lot of dresses...”

“Yes, dear. The ones for you are on the right side and the ones for me are on the left side. Mrs Deluca will be leaving us alone as we try them on, so that we'll have some privacy.” With that said, Mrs Deluca, the designer, and the co-owner of the world famous 'Deluca Clothing' which her and her husband had started together, simply nodded and walked out of the room, her long black hair was the last thing I saw as she closed the door behind her. “So, we're alone now. Want to start trying on dresses?” Narcissa winked and handed me the first dress and urged me on.

With a deep sign, I understood that it would be a very long day.








After I had been looking for the right dress for long over three hours, I began to give up all hope. But then again, there were only ten dresses left. I sighed as I reached for something that looked like a black dress, might have been dark blue, at the moment I didn't care.

I hurried as I changed in to it, then I looked in the reflection. It was a short, strapless, more modern take on a traditional ball gown, which was more than flattering as it hugged my body, making every curve show, I must admit that I looked kind of sexy. But it was way too short, and way too out there. It just wasn't me.

The next dress was a dark red, full length dress that wrapped itself around me perfectly, but it did not look like something someone my age would wear to a New Years party, especially since it was held in a house where every person of the family had been a Slytherin; and red was the colour of Gryffindor. No, this was not the dress. However, when I came out of the dressing room, I saw Narcissa standing in the same kind of dress, only it was in a dark green colour and with sparkling diamonds in subtle patterns across the chest.

“Wow, you look beautiful, Narcissa!”

She smiled happily and looked down at her dress. “I think this is the dress for me this year. I really do. What about you, Hermione? Found one yet?”

“No...” I sighed as I looked over at the two remaining dresses and chose the blue one to try on. “I'll be back in a sec.”

I slowly pulled it up my body as I thought back on yesterday, I had said 'I love you' to a sleeping person but I was too afraid to do it when he was awake. I feared that he wouldn't say it back, it must be pathetic of me, but that's how I felt. A part of me had hoped that he would have been awake, that he would have heard me. But no, no such luck.

“How's the dress? You need the silver one that's left out here, or is it good?” She called from outside making me remember where I was, and what I was doing. I looked up and I couldn't do anything other than to stare at myself.

“I... I think this one's the one.” I replied.

It was an absolutely stunning dark blue dress, which reached me to just above the knees, a sateen halted gown, a cocktail dress with gathered bust and waist, and with a full swing skirt. It reminded me of an old 1950's dress and I fell in love with it the moment I laid eyes on it.

“Oh, let me see it, then!” laughed Narcissa and I hurried out to show her it, being very careful not to break it while I did it. “Oh dear Merlin.” Gasped Narcissa excitedly. “It's the one. It really is, wow, it's stunning!”

“Really? I thought so too.”

“Swirl around.” She said and I did so, making her nod approvingly. “You'll look so much better than Pansy. Will you be wearing that necklace?” She asked suddenly.

“Yes, I will. It's a gift from Draco.” I replied. “I got it for Christmas.”

“It looks very expensive, he must really love you then, huh?” She winked and smiled as she sat down on a couch that was in the room and motioned for me to do the same. I wondered how much I could talk to her about it, and decided to be perfectly honest.

“I hope so, but he hasn't told me that he does. So I wouldn't know.” My voice sounded rather sad and she caught that.

“Oh.” She said before she seated herself more comfortably and looked at me, still smiling. “Lucius was the same, but I can see it in Draco's eyes, Hermione, just like I saw it in Lucius eyes when we were your age. He's in love with you, more than he has ever been with any girl. I can also see that you are completely in love with him, I wonder... Have you told him that you love him?”

Her question caught me off guard but I recovered quickly.

“Yes... But he was asleep.” Narcissas laugh was to be heard within the room as I answered her.

“I see so much of myself in you,” she said after a while, “and I know that Draco loves you, he wont wait much longer, I reckon. I mean, he has given you a necklace that says 'Always', now would he really do that if he didn't love you?”

“But he said to Pansy that he loved her and he says that he he didn't mean it when he said it to her...” I said, unsure if that was something that was safe to talk about.

“I know, and I really regret pushing him in to that relationship. I should have just stayed out of it, we all should have. But we were stupid, and things turned out so terribly wrong. I suspect that he only told her that because that was what he was meant to do. Perhaps he's waiting just to be sure that he really means it this time.”

I nodded as she spoke.

“That was what he said, when I found the letter she had sent to him.”

“You two have talked this over?” She sounded slightly surprised, I simply nodded. “Oh, well. Anyway, he is very much in love with you, and if you just hang in there, you'll see. The words will come, it just takes him a little while longer to form the words. You should consider being the first one to say it. Maybe it'll be easier.”

“I already told him,” I said defensively and she shook her head while grinning.

“To say it to someone who's asleep doesn't count!”

I grimaced as I knew that she was right and she grinned even wider before I looked down on the dress that I was wearing, it really was gorgeous, and I hoped that Draco would think so too.

I chewed on my lower lip for a good five minutes before I looked back up at the older woman next to me.

“Do you really think so?” I asked and saw confusion in her eyes for a few seconds, before her features relaxed in to a soft smile.

“I do think he loves you,” she said and put her hand on mine as if to reassure me, “Now, we're done here. We found the perfect dresses and you should get back to Draco, shouldn't you? Big day tomorrow, with Greece and all. Did I understand right when Draco told me that he wanted you and him to be able to spend tomorrow there alone?”

“Yeah, we'd both like that.” I smiled kindly and we both got up and with a flick of Narcissas wand; we were both back in our normal clothes and the dresses laid on the couch. “Thanks,” I said as I recovered from the small shock I was in, “Well, I better be going then.”

“Ah yes, I have to have a small talk to Mrs Deluca about the dresses. Well then, thanks for these hours, Hermione. It was fun!”

I had to agree with her, I had had a lot of fun even though I had been slightly bored near the end. I was surprised when she pulled me in to a tight embrace, but awkwardly let my arms go around her and hugged her back.

When we broke apart I made my way back to Draco's room, meeting Mrs Deluca on the way there. She looked at me with a disgusted expression and I returned her stare with a glare.

“I suspect you found a dress, Miss?” She spoke in a unfriendly way and I stopped in my tracks to answer her.

“Indeed I did, but blimey, it wasn't easy.” I tried to stay in a friendly tone, but the mocking way she was looking at me made it nearly impossible.

“Might have been easier if I had brought the dresses in a larger size?” She smirked. She wasn't really old, not older than twenty-five, so when she had had the time to marry was a mystery to me.

“Excuse me?”

“Well, my cousin said that you weren't a size small but I didn't believe her. I mean, I have seen the pictures of you in the Prophet and you look much skinnier there. Gained weight?” She tilted her head as she continued to smirk. “Anyway, from here on I think I'll trust her.”

I was furious, yes I had gained weight, but I was still a size small and that little witch knew it. I wasn't going to show her that she had gotten to me, though. This was a battle I would make sure to win.

“Actually, yes, I have gained weight. I rather like my new body. If you're clothing line can't provide with clothes for all body types, then that is just your lost. Most woman have curves, and I think it's much more sexy. And who's your cousin, anyway?”

Anger flashed in her eyes, as she tried to calm herself down. “Not many people know this but my name before I got married was Violet Parkinson. Can you guess my cousin?”

“Pansy...” I stated with a small voice and her face became less angrier. “That explains a lot. Well, anyway, I should get back to my boyfriend, I guess I'll see you at the party, then? Since you're giving away dresses in order to get an invitation?”

I enjoyed to watch her face fall, it was very satisfying. Almost as satisfying as watching her flush in crimson and hang her head in shame. I didn't say anything more, I didn't need to. The war was on, Parkinson VS Granger. The first battle was won. 1-0 to me.

 





 

I knocked softly on the door before I walked in to Draco's room, he was lying on the bed looking as if I had woken him up. Was it really that late?

“Hi...” I said as I closed the door behind me.

“Merlin, what time is it?” mumbled Draco sleepily as he threw one of his t-shirts at me. “You can sleep in that, no need to go through your trunk for your PJ.”

I thanked him and started to change in to it, standing with my back towards him, but I could feel his stare on my body as I unclasped the bra and slid the t-shirt on. I walked towards the bed with only the t-shirt and my knickers on.

I laid down next to him, his bed was much more comfortable than mine back home. I cuddled up to him and inhaled his scent.

“Did you find a dress?” he asked after a while and I nodded enthusiastically.

“Yeah, a blue one. It is stunning!” I glanced up at him as I spoke, nervously I added; “Draco, do you know who Violet Deluca is?”

“I recognize it... That's the designer right?”

“It is...” I said slowly before I cleared my voice a bit. “Well, do you know who Violet Parkinson is?”

He looked at me with furrowed eyebrows for a few seconds before he made the connection. Then his eyes widened and he sat up in the bed.

“Is she still here?” He didn't wait for my reply as he pulled an shirt on but left it unbuttoned as he stormed towards his door. “Mother!” He called.

I looked down at the loss of clothes on my body, but swallowed my pride and ran after him.

He had already arrived at the door to the room in which I had been in just a few minutes ago.

“Draco, what are you doing?!” I hissed and tugged on his arm, I looked around to see if someone was coming. “Just drop it, let's go back to your room.”

“Not with that bitch in my house.” I blinked a few times as he knocked hard on the door. “Mother, open the door at once!”

The door flew open and he took two steps inside and saw Violet standing there and with a frown on her face she looked at how we were dressed, or rather how we were not dressed. Narcissa glanced between us and then at Violet.

“Mrs Deluca, am I right? That's your name now?” Draco drawled and she gave a nervous nod. “Violet Deluca... Or should I say Violet Parkinson, what the hell are you doing in my house?”

“Parkinson?” asked Narcissa and glared at the girl. “You're a Parkinson?”

Violet nodded and was about to explain herself but Narcissa held her hand up. “I'll pay for the dresses, then I want you out.

“But, Mrs Malfoy...”

“You heard her, Parki- I mean, Deluca. We'll pay, and then you leave. We don't want filth like you in our house,” Draco sneered at her, and I could see that he really hated her. I wondered about the reason for that, her being a Parkinson couldn't be the only reason.

“But Mudbloods are welcome?” She glared at me, but I showed no signs of being hurt by what she said and her face dropped again and accepted her defeat. “Fine. Fine, I'll leave. But don't think for one second that Pansy wont hear about this, Draco. For heavens sake, you know you should be with her and not with this. ” She gestured towards me, and Draco strode over to her and took a grip of her upper arm. She shrieked and struggled against him.

“Leave!” He snarled and pushed her towards the door. She managed to get out of his hold and with a shaky breath she spoke.

“I want my money and the dresses before I leave.” she looked at Draco as she spoke. “

Narcissa paid her, and then she took the dresses that we didn't want and left, but not before she had sent me another good glare.

2-0 to me.






 

[Long chapter! Hope you like it, I couldn't make it any longer, even if I'd like to. I'm not very fond of the ending, but yeah. And to clearify; They DID get the dresses! So; We got to meet Violet, what do you think of her? The Manor? The Malfoys? I really NEED to know what you think, so please review. And would you check out my other fic, Hiding behind Books? Its up now, and I'd love to hear what you think! - Cathyyy-]

 

 

Chapter 23: Greece
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[I don't own anything except a few original characters and the plot. Everything else belongs to the wonderful JK Rowling! Enjoy!]





 
It was still dark outside as I found myself surrounded by the books in the Malfoy library, it was early in the morning, and I was waiting for the others to get ready, I hadn't been getting much sleep the night before as me and Draco had spent the night talking about Violet and her relationship to the Parkinson family nowadays. According to Draco, she was the only friend that Pansy told everything, and she had known Draco for years. They had never really liked each other, as Draco had put it; because she was a total idiot who would do anything to make a name for herself and get money. She was rude and just as cruel as her cousin.

She had grown up in the house next to Pansy, and as she was the older of the two, she was the one that taught Pansy all she needed to know. She had been home schooled, which explained why I had never seen her before in my life. While Draco had been together with Pansy, then Violet had been pleased with her cousin, she had wished for Pansy to marry in to the Malfoy family. Now, it was obvious that she was really trying to help Pansy to get Draco back, in other words; Violet meant problem.

 

I sighed as I walked out to the drawing room and let my eyes scan the room when I saw a shadow move in the corner of my eye. In less than a second I had my wand in my hand and pointed it at the person behind me. I wanted to scream out loud as I looked at her but I couldn't find my voice. It couldn't be...

“Hermione! It's me, Cissy. Put your wand down, please,” She stepped out of the shadows and I did as she said and shook my head apologetically.

“I'm so, so sorry. I thought... You looked just like-”

“Bella,” She said understandingly, “Oh, I didn't mean to scare you, dear,” She moved forward and took my hand and gave it a squeeze, she seemed to think back on something as she continued to to speak. 
“You know, Bella and I are were as different as two persons could be,” She still held my hand as she spoke softly,“If I hadn't married Lucius, and no I don't regret it and I will never regret marrying him; I love him as much as a person can love another, but if I hadn't done it, then I think that me and Andromeda would still speak to each other, I was always more like her than I was like Bella. I would never have pushed her away if Bella hadn't told be to do so, but when I was younger I admired Bella and always did as she did. She despised Andromeda for what she did, but I didn't despise her, I just acted like Bella acted. Then Lucius came along with his beliefs and I just never got the chance to tell Andromeda how sorry I was for how all the Blacks treated her, apart from Sirius of course,” She gave a weak smile and I looked at her, to stunned to speak and also slightly confused to why she would be telling me this so suddenly, “At times I miss her a lot but what's the use? She would never speak to me again.” I could hear so much pain and regret etched to her voice, it was really hard to listen to a witch like Narcissa speak like that.

“I...” I took a deep breath as I thought about what she had said, she was right. She really was nothing like Bellatrix. That was what she was trying to tell me, that she was different and that I didn't need to be scared.

“I'm not making excuses for what I have done, I am simply saying that I wish that I had done things differently in the past. I hope you know that I am nothing like Bella.”

“I know that you're not like her. Narcissa, honestly, you should be saying this to Andromeda instead of me...”

“No, I couldn't,” She looked almost afraid, shocked that I would suggest something like that, “She wouldn't talk to me anyway, so what's the point?”

“You're her sister and -”

“And she hates me and she hates the Malfoys, and she definitely hated Bellatrix.”

I gave her a knowing look and she sighed and sat down on one of the chairs and I stood beside her as she looked up at me as if she was four years old and needed to be comforted.

“She hated Bellatrix because she killed Ton- I mean, Nymphadora,” I felt sick as I talked about the fact that she was no longer with us, “That is more than enough reason for hating someone, don't you think? I don't think she hates you, in all honesty, have you done anything to her?”

There was a forced silence as Narcissa shook her head and seemed to think something over.

A single tear was stuck in her eyelashes, threatening to fall down, she quickly wiped it away and looked at me again.

“I let myself believe in what Druella and Cygnus told me when I was a child, and what Bella kept telling me when I grew older. That anyone that doesn't care about blood are filth, just as Muggle-born and Half-bloods. I grew up thinking that they weren't as good as us when it came to magic but I was proven wrong. Toujours pur, huh. Look how far that got us,” she let out a cold laugh, “Nowhere. Bella died because of her beliefs and how she chose to act, and that alone shows everyone that what we have been led to believe is wrong. I am so glad, so glad that Draco thinks for himself and have started a new life; away from all the old beliefs,” She took a break to breathe then she continued, “You're good for him and your relationship is good for the wizarding world, it shows the other Purebloods that a change is allowed, you know what I mean?”

I nodded, still shocked over how much she was willing to tell me. My guess was that she hadn't spoken about this in a very long time.

“Oh well, we don't have time to talk now, we'll have to finish this conversation some other time. I expect that Lucius and Draco will be joining us very soon,” her smile was back in place as if we had never spoken about something so emotional for her. As if on cue, Draco and Lucius both stepped in to the room and I knew that they had been listening. I felt very uncomfortable and avoided eye contact with Lucius. Draco was looking at me as if he was afraid that I would make an escape and run for it, it was rather amusing to see that look on his face. I felt a smile form on my lips and saw his sigh of relief.

“If you don't mind me asking, how will we be getting there?” I felt rather stupid as Draco motioned towards the fireplace and I saw the Floo powder, “Oh.”

“Everyone ready? Everyone have their stuff?” Lucius looked around and our trunks came levitating to us, and I couldn't help but to burst out laughing making each member of the family turn their heads to look at me as I was laughing so hard, I couldn't breathe. The fact that I was going on a trip to Greece with the Malfoys seemed so utterly unreal and with Lucius acting as any normal dad would, making sure that everyone was there and making sure that we had all packed... Then I laughed some more, because the word 'dad' didn't go well with Lucius – at all. He wasn't a dad, he was a father in my eyes. Somehow, there was a difference. I got a mental image of little Draco running around the Manor calling for 'Daddy' and in to view came Lucius, the image was hilarious and I took a hold of the sides of my stomach as I literally doubled over in laughter.

“Is she... alright?” came Lucius voice and I gasped for air as I tried to put a sentence together.

“Draco – Daddy- Lucius-Running...Manor...” Then I wiped my eyes as tears from the laugh attack fell, I was able to calm down and was met by three Malfoys, all looking slightly shocked. “What? Aren't you Purebloods used to seeing people laugh?”

Daddy?” Repeated Draco amused as he looked at me. Lucius' head snapped up to look at his son, and I forced back my laugh.

“I was just imagining you when you were younger, and the image was... well, hilarious. Plus, I can't quite believe that I am going to Greece with the three of you.”

To my surprise, they all smile and rolled their eyes, what was it with them and doing the same thing in the same moment?

 

 

Lucius motioned for Narcissa to go first and she took a handful of Floo powder and threw it in to the fireplace, making green flames appear.

“Villa Prestige, Rhodes!” She walked casually in to the fire and Draco followed right behind her, as he repeated her words and then more powder were needed for me and Lucius to be able to get there. I calmly walked up and took a handful of the powder and was about to throw it in to the fireplace when Lucius voice interrupted me.

“I heard that a Parkinson was here last night and that she was awfully rude towards you?”

I spun around and looked at him puzzled but nodded anyway, “I know that you're a Gryffindor and all that, and I cannot believe that I am saying this, but when the New Years party is being held, you have to do everything you can to show Miss Parkinson that Draco is yours, now I will help you; as well will Narcissa, but you might have to play foul. Will you be able to do that?”

My reply came instantly.

“For Draco? Yes. Of course, what did you think, that I would wave a white flag and let her have him? I am, as you said, a Gryffindor, you don't call us brave for nothing.”

“Very good, and... I overheard your and Narcissas little heart to heart, don't ever tell anyone outside this house about that,” his voice was a direct command leaving me with no choice but to nod. Not that I had planned on telling anyone, “Good. Now you can throw in the powder.”

I did as he said and repeated what Narcissa had said. “Villa Prestige, Rhodes.”

I didn't hear if Lucius at all came after me, I just concentrated on not throwing up, and keeping my arms close to my body.

 











 

 

I blinked a few times as I stepped out of the fireplace and was met by a sun that was shining right in my eyes. I was being roughly pulled to the side, by Draco, I realized and then Lucius followed right behind me. I looked down at the grip that Draco had on my upper arm and he let me go.

“You were blocking the way for fa- daddy,” he explained while smiling.

“Draco!” I blushed furiously as Narcissa laughed at me and then she and Lucius excused themselves and said that they would see us later, knowing that we wanted to be alone. They were apparently not even staying in the same house as we were.  I looked around in the very big house we were in, it was decorated in a similar way as the Manor, but it was warmer somehow. “Wow, Draco. Do you own this place?”

“We do, and the house next to it as well. They'll be staying there while we're staying here. You wanna put on your bikini and head down to the beach? Or would you rather just take a swim in the pool, just outside?”

“You have a pool?” I said and looked over his shoulder, out the window, “Wow, it's huge,” briefly I wondered just how rich they were but decided that I shouldn't even begin thinking about that, they probably had more galleons than I had ever seen, “but I'd rather go down to the beach, if you don't mind...?”

He shrugged before he leaned down and planted a quick kiss up on my lips, then he went to change in to something he could wear to the beach. I wasn't ready to start doing things right away, I wished we could just relax a bit, but adjusted me to what he wanted to do for the moment. I went over to my trunk and opened it, I had to look through the whole damn thing before I saw the red bikini that I was looking for, and looked over my shoulder to see if he was anywhere near, but he wasn't.

I took a deep breath as I started to change in to it, and then I stood there, realizing how utterly stupid I was.

 

I was standing with the bikini bottom on, and then I held the bikini top up with my hand, seeing as I couldn't tie it myself since it was supposed to be tied behind ones back, and if I reached for my wand then I would drop it and maybe Draco would walk in the exact same moment.

“Uh, Draco...?” I called, “Could you help me tie this thing?”

I was blushing even before he entered the room, with my eyes shut tightly just waiting for him to make a sound.

“Tie what? Oh,” he seemed to slow down so I opened one eye and looked at him before I opened both, he was standing rather close to me, and the sunshine was playing on his perfectly toned body, making him look more than beautiful, “Uh, sure.”

I moved to stand with my back against him and as his rather cold hands came in contact with my skin; I shivered. Slowly, as if on purpose, he tied it. Then he let his fingers slowly trace my spine, making me shiver once again before I turned to face him.

“Damn, you're hot,” he said and I stared at him doubtingly and he chuckled, “I mean it, come here.”

He put his hands on my hips to pull me closer to him and our exposed skin touched and made a mess of my mind. “You're blushing,” he said with a amused smile on his lips, I couldn't stand to see that smile so I reached up and kissed it away, something that surprised him greatly but then he responded eagerly. I let my hands move down his chest and felt the muscles under my hands, as he pulled me even closer to him and I let my hands move up his chest again, only to move them down again while letting my fingernails leave soft, red marks as they scratched against his pale skin. He hissed in my mouth, simply out of pleasure; I was sure. I told myself that I had to remember that he liked that in the same moment as his left hand took a soft hold of my hair and pressed his lips against mine more forcefully and he swallowed my moan.

“Woah... I could sure use a cold shower,” Draco said and grinned widely as I realized what he meant and glanced down, he was right, he could definitely use a cold shower. “Shall we go down to the beach, my dear?” He offered his hand and I took it with a smile and he led the way down.

 

I was absolutely amazed by the city we were in. White and old houses were to be seen everywhere and flowers in pink, yellow and purple were surrounding us all the way down to the beach which had the whitest sand I had ever seen and the water was so light blue and you could see so far out, the ocean didn't seem to darken until very far out. The house we were staying in wasn't that far from the beach and it could be seen from where we were. It was a quite large, white, beautiful house surrounded by trees and flowers, and birds which flew pretty much everywhere around it.

The beach was, however, completely empty; something I found very odd.

“Draco... Where's everyone?”

“No one's ever on this side of the beach, so we have it all to ourselves,” he dragged me along towards the water but I pulled my hand out of his grip and started running down towards the water, and before I knew it he was racing me there, and we were both running our fastest to get there first.

I let out a laugh as I felt the warm water surround my legs and knew that I had beaten him to it, but it wasn't long until I let out a yelp instead of a laugh, Draco came at me from behind and before I knew it we were both lying down with the water playing over out bodies.

“What was that for?” I asked as I splashed some water in his face and hair, loving the sight of him in wet hair.

“Felt like it,” he winked before he kissed me on my forehead. I tried to tilt my head up so that he would kiss my lips instead, they could still feel the previous kiss on them and they craved more. He obliged and I felt his lips brush against mine softly but I demanded more. Slowly we made it further out in the water, and as the water became to deep for me to stand in, I put my legs around Draco's waist and he didn't object at all as I captured his lips with mine in a much more demanding kiss than the one that he had given me just moments ago. I smirked as I broke a part for a few seconds.

“Water wasn't cold enough, eh?”

I could swear that I saw a light blush appear on Draco's cheeks before he pressed his lips against mine again, making me giggle against him.

 

 

We stayed in the water for quite some time before we walked so sit on the beach, just enjoying the sun. Well, I did. Draco sat in the shadow, because he didn't want to endure the pain of the sunburn he was sure to get if he sat in the sun for hours. With a skin as pale as his, I could understand him.

I heard an annoying sound behind me, coming closer and closer until it was right by my ear. I looked to the side and I felt myself pale as I rushed up while screaming.

“A wasp! A wasp!” I cried as I ran away from where I had been sitting, while shaking my hair to make sure it wasn't still there. “Oh, Merlin, is it gone?!”

I heard Draco's roar of laughter behind me, but I was way too freaked out to care about it.

“It's gone, love!” He shouted and got up and stepped out of the shadows to get a better look at me, perhaps. “Wanna take a walk to calm down?”

I took a deep breathe, traumatized by my meeting with the wasp, but then I nodded and he took my hand casually as we started to walk with out feet touching the warm water as the waves washed over them.

“So, you're scared of wasps...” Draco chuckled as he shook his head, “Who would have known?”

I tightened my hold of his hand as I stuck out my tongue at him, without thinking about how childish it was, but he just looked at me amused before he turned his head to look at the horizon and I followed his gaze, it was beautiful and I was so glad that I got to be there with him, not that I think that it had quite sunk in that I was in Greece with him and his family, though.

The thought itself was completely crazy, but yet there I was. With him, walking on the shore, looking at the horizon.

“Hey, Draco. Can we go down here by sunset and watch it? I've always wanted to watch the sunset while sitting on a beach...”

He smiled the crooked smile that I loved. “Sure we can, I can bring the guitar as well...?”

“Oh, yes!” I started picturing the evening in my head and with a happy sigh I leaned my head against his shoulder as we walked and I felt like I was the luckiest girl in the whole world.

 

 






 

We spent the day in the old town of Rhodes, we had a wonderful dinner in Villa Prestige many hours later I went out to the pool to check it out for the first time since we arrived, I saw Lucius and Narcissa on the other side, by the other house next to the ones we were staying in.

Narcissa was, like me, wearing a casual dress and she seemed very happy to be out in the sun, Lucius however, avoided the sun as much as he could. But he seemed happy to, he had a smile on his lips which I had never seen before. I decided to walk back inside and let them have some time alone out there.

Draco was inside, just sitting on the large couch, relaxing with a cold soda in his hand and the guitar on the couch next to him.

“Hey, should we bring some strawberries with us down to the beach?” he asked as I entered the room.

“Sure,” I said happily and walked to get the bowl we had standing in the kitchen. The view from the window made me look up, the sun was on it's way down and I guessed that we had to get going if we didn't want to be late. “Draco, are you ready to go?”

“Yup, you?” he called back as I walked in to where he was, I saw that he had gotten up and held two sodas in one hand and the guitar hung over his shoulder, he had gotten a bit tanned so the white shirt he was wearing was in nice contrast to his skin.

“Yeah, just gotta bring a sweater in case it gets cold,” I replied and with a flick of my wand and a simple accio, the sweater was in my hand. Gods, magic made me lazy, the sweater hadn't been that far away, I could have taken four steps and reached it. I sighed heavily as I followed Draco as he made his way down to the beach. 








I was surprised when I saw the large, black blanket that had been placed on the sand and I wondered when he had had time to do that, when I looked up at him he just smiled and motioned for me to sit down as he did. I sat down next to him, but he pulled me towards him and I ended up sitting between his legs and rested my head on his chest as I looked towards the horizon, the sun was setting slowly and the once blue sky was now pink, orange and red with hints of purple and yellow, the reflection that the ocean made was just as beautiful and I don't think I had ever seen something quite so breathtaking.

“Beautiful, isn't it?” mumbled Draco in my ear, to which I nodded, “What are you thinking about?”

“How happy I am,” I answered him truthfully and turned around to look at him, “How happy you make me... What are you thinking about?”

His hand came up to caress my cheek, as he looked me in the eye with those eyes that made me all weak inside, made me melt. His hair was more messy than usual and the soft breeze made it swirl around his face but he paid it no mind.

“I'm thinking about how I'm going to say this...”

I think my breathing stopped all together and my heart started beating like crazy.

“Say what?” I managed to choke out nervously and he smiled a bit, everything around us seemed to disappear and I could only see him.

“Hermione,” he began in a serious and soft voice, “I love you.”

I stared at him for about ten seconds before I attacked his lips with mine, making him chuckle a bit then I eased back enough to be able to talk.

“I love you, too,” it felt so good to say it and I just couldn't understand why I hadn't said it to him like this before, Draco captured my lips again and I closed my eyes and just enjoyed the feeling of his lips against mine. It was like we couldn't get enough of each other at the moment, it was more intense than ever.

He softly moved us so that I was lying on my back with him above me as his hands roamed my body tenderly, as if he was uncertain if I would break beneath his touch. There was a different feeling about the touches, and about our kisses. They were much more passionate and lustful, his hand travelled up under my dress and then he caught himself and moved back. His hands now on my thighs.

“That was out of line...” he was panting slightly while he rested his forehead against mine, I looked at him for a long moment before I spoke up.

“No it wasn't, Draco,” he must have heard the lust in my voice because he looked up at me, “It wasn't out of line at all. I want you to touch me...” I blushed furiously, but I didn't care and he didn't care. We were too lost in the sensation of our skin against each others.

“Are you sure?” he asked and I nodded, but he waited for me to speak my consent.

“Yes,” not until I said it did he lean down and kiss me again and he softly started to explore my body again, going further than we had ever done.

He pulled his shirt over his head and then he went back to kissing me, we helped each other out of our clothes and despite how much I wanted him, I couldn't suppress the nervousness that followed.

He was gentle, and didn't do anything more until I told him that he was allowed.

Then there was one swift, careful move; I had expected pain but all I could feel was pleasure.

He leaned down and captured my lips, swallowing my strangled moan as I pressed closer to him.

So this is how the feeling of being complete feels like, I thought as I kissed him back.










The sun had set a long time ago and we had pulled our clothes back on, we laid there and his arm was around my body and I had my arm around his waist and my head on his chest. I listened to his heartbeat like I had done so many times before, but somehow I felt as if I could hear it louder now.

He loves me, I thought and smiled, he finally told me that he loves me.

I felt more in love with him in that moment than I had ever done and the butterflies in my stomach was flying around like crazy and the smile on my face just wouldn't go away.

“Can we just stay here forever?” I whispered out into the night and Draco's fingers started making patterns on my arm, slowly and tenderly.

“That would be something, wouldn't it?” he sighed before he continued, “Instead we have to go home to deal with stuck up, pug-faced, annoying people like Pansy.”

“I wish we could just forget that she exist and stay like this, always,” I closed my eyes and cuddled up to him closer and felt him kiss the top of my head.

“We can forget that she exists until we get home to England,” he mumbled against my hair and I nodded.

“I like the sound of that,” there was a long silenced where none of us spoke, his fingers still traced over my skin. I shivered at how good it felt and opened my eyes, it had darkened around us and the moon was spreading a soft light over the white sand, making it look even more white and the ocean looked pitch black even though I knew it was as blue as it could be.

“Are you sleeping, love?” Draco's voice cut through the silence like a razor.

“No, I'm awake...”

“Did I tell you what Blaise wrote?” His question made me tilt my head up to look at him, his grey eyes even more so in the moonlight. I had to think hard to remember how to breathe, I shook my head. “He'll be coming to the Manor tomorrow, with Amber, so that they wont have to hurry so much on New Years, you know? It's only three days until the party... Nervous?”

“Wait, what? They'll be coming tomorrow?” I couldn't hold back how excited I was, as I smiled widely. I had missed them a lot.

“Yes,” Draco chuckled and ruffled my hair, “Did I ever tell you how much I love that smile of yours?” I blushed at his words and shook my head , but I didn't stop smiling, “So, not nervous then?”

“A bit.. There will be a lot of people there, and I'll probably end up making a fool out of myself, wont I?”

“I doubt that. I just hope that Pans-”

“She doesn't exist yet!” I put my hand over his mouth and his words came out as a mumble before he stopped talking. I removed my hand and was met by his grinning face, “You were saying?”

“I just hope that someone doesn't make a scene,” he corrected himself and kept that grin on his lips.

“I quite agree with you,” I said and kissed him quickly before I laid my head back down on his chest.

“Are we gonna sleep out here for tonight?” He asked suddenly and lifted his head up to look down at me.

“As much as I would love that, the temperature is starting to drop, we should be heading back to Prestige...”

He agreed but we didn't move until a few minutes later. It was with great effort that we managed to get up of the comfy sand and gather our things and walk back up. I was barefoot and I loved the way the rather warm sand felt underneath my feet as I walked up on it, I sunk down a bit with every step but then we reached the house and I bent down to brush away the sand that was still on my feet before I stepped inside.

 

I put down the things I had been carrying, the strawberry bowl, the blanket and my shoes, then I looked up in time to see Draco coming my way. In one quick move, he had me over his shoulder and I shrieked by the sudden movement, he started carrying me over towards the bedroom while I pleaded to him to let me down, but he wouldn't do it. Not until he reached the bed, there he carefully put me down and then he got in it as well.

He seemed amused as he looked at me, but he didn't say anything, he just pulled me to him and held me.

“What was that?” I said and he chuckled.

“Felt like it,” He said with a small shrug, “Merlin, you should see your face,” he leaned down and kissed me, “You tired?”

I hadn't had time to think about it, but indeed I was, I was very tired. “Mm.. But I don't want to sleep. If I sleep, then it'll be morning, and then we have to go home. I don't want to go home,” I sighed deeply.

“Oh, I know what you mean. But, we can always go back here sometime. You should sleep, love.”

I knew he was right and grimaced, then I looked up at him. “Kiss me before I go to sleep, at least...?” I offered him what I hoped was a sweet smile and he placed his fingers underneath my chin and brought my face closer to his as he slowly let his lips ghost over mine, he teased me on purpose and waited for me to kiss him intensely as I always did when I thought he was doing things too slowly, but not this time. This time I let him kiss me as slowly as he wanted, just enjoying the feeling of his soft lips, just loving the taste he left on my lips as he leaned back to breathe. But then, after just a few seconds, his lips were on mine again, still gentle and tender, but with more intensity than before, and his hand went from holding my chin to grasping my hair softly. Damn, that was one heck of a kiss.

We broke apart and without saying another word I laid my head down on his toned chest, what could you possibly say after something like that? Well...

“I love you,” I whispered into the night. But this time I wasn't met by his steady breathing, I was met by his voice.

“I love you, too,” the reply came instantly and was said with such honesty, I could only smile and with a smile on my face and a warm arm that held me tightly; I fell asleep.








[Ah. I... hope you liked it! It was a hard chapter to write, because I've never been to Greece, so it might not be as detailed as I would have wished that it could be! But, yes. So, I've been getting complaints about the fact that I swear too much in this story... But there IS a warning for strong language, so... Yeah, sorry! 

What do you think of this chapter, then? Draco finally said it! I hope you liked that, some of you have been waiting since chapter 8 or something for that, so there you go! What do you think of, well, you know the scene of sexual nature? (gosh, this is so awkward to write) Just to let you know; They did use protection, and Hermione won't get pregnant. Yeah, so, what do you think of Lucius, and Narcissa? I hope you didn't find that first scene with Narcissa all too confusing, haha. I just had to get it out.
I hope you liked it, feel free to leave a review, and do check out my other story! =) 
I'm gonna stop writing now, thanks! - Cathyyy -]


Chapter 24: Pensieve
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[I don't own anything but the plot and some original character, everything else is JK Rowlings. Enjoy!]









 
I didn't want to go home to England, knowing that it would be cold and it was probably going to snow, it made me depressed just thinking about it. Greece was warm, and the sun was shining brightly and it was just rising, as I walked along the shore, with my feet in the water. I had woken up before Draco had and since I didn't want to wake him, I had decided to take a walk. I kicked the water and it splashed soundly, sparkling in the sun, as I thought about what would happen the coming days. Blaise and Amber would come to the Manor later, Draco had said that I was going to view his memories in a Pensieve, and then the party. Out of those three things, the one I was most nervous about was his memories. Did I really want to see all the things he had been put through?

Then the party, oh how I dreaded the party; sure, I had a nice dress and the best date for the party, the only problem really was that someone was trying to take my date from me.

What tricks did Parkinson have up her sleeve? I wasn't sure that I wanted to find out.I hissed and cursed loudly as I stepped on a sharp piece of glass hidden underneath the sand and I sat down. I studied my foot, the cut was way too deep and I was bleeding quite a lot.

“Oh, perfect,” I said sarcastically for myself and reached for my wand to heal myself, but of course I had left it at Villa Prestige. I threw myself back and laid there, with a throbbing pain in my foot, watching the few clouds pass by in the sky. I started humming on a song I had heard as a kid, and prayed that no wasp would come near me now that I couldn't run. To get a lot of sand in the cut was probably not the smartest thing to do. I must have fallen asleep to the sound of the waves.

 










 

“Hermione?” I heard someone call from far away, “Oh, Merlin... Hermione?!”

I groaned as I opened my eyes and were struck with the bright sun right in my eyes. I looked to my eyes and saw Draco coming, running towards me.

“Where are you hurt?” Did I hear a bit of panic in his voice? I furrowed my eyebrows at his question before the pain in my foot returned, it hurt even more than it had before.

“My foot,” I said in a low voice, “What's wrong?” I said as he looked from my eyes to my foot and back again with relief evident in his eyes.

“I thought you were bleeding to death here or something,” he sighed as he moved closer to my foot and looked at it from a better view, “Merlin, that's deep. Loads of blood too, and you've got sand in the cut,” His hand slowly took a hold of my foot so that he could see it better, “Looks bad. I need my wand to fix this,” He put my foot down on the sand again and I whimpered at the feeling.

“You're not good at healing spells, no offense...” I said slowly and he smiled.

“You're right, but you need to be healed. I think we might have some healing potion back at Prestige. Now, lemme see, how are we gonna do this?”

I looked at him with a strange, curious expression, but then he leaned in and picked me up, making me thrown my arms around his neck.

“I'm too heavy...” I mumbled as I thought back to what Violet Parkinson had said the other day.

“Nonsense, you're perfect,” was Draco's response. I leaned my head on his shoulder and sighed.

“Ouch,” I whimpered as he started walking and my leg wasn't completely still any more. “Typical me, eh?” I added to lighten the mood. Then I looked over his shoulder as he walked and saw the large amount of blood that coloured the sand red where my foot had been. I also saw the drops of blood leading away from there, which meant that I was still bleeding heavily. “It's pretty bad, isn't it?”

“Uh-huh,” he said and turned his head to kiss the top of my head, “What the heck happened, Hermione?”

“I stepped on a piece of glass... I think,” I sighed, “Might have been something else, though.”

He just shook his head, I suspected that he was trying hard not to laugh at my misfortune, my clumsiness. But when I looked up at his face I saw only worry, he was very serious looking.

We reached the house rather quickly and he sat me down on the couch and went in to the kitchen and started to look through the potions that I knew were hidden in there somewhere.

“Damn... I can't find a healing potion, I'll heal you shallowly and go get father, he's way better than me when it comes to healing spells,” Draco quickly grabbed his wand from the table in front of the couch and muttered something that I didn't quite catch. Then he looked closely at what he had managed to heal and gave a slight nod while grimacing, “It'll do. I'll be right back, love.”

I just nodded and leaned back on the couch, I looked out the window but something made me look down at the floor. Four dark red drops of blood had fallen down on the floor and I could only guess what Lucius would think when he saw it. When he saw the blood of the Mudblood on his floor, would he find it very disgusting?

I turned my head away from there as the pain started to set in again; Draco was really, really bad at healing spells. Perhaps it had been a bit too deep for the spell he used, maybe the spell only worked on shallow wounds.

Lucius and Draco came in to the room and Draco rushed up to me as he saw that I was in slight pain again. He looked at my foot and I rolled my eyes, I could handle the pain.

"Out of my way, Draco. I can't really heal her when you're blocking my view," Draco moved as soon as Lucius had spoken the words, and Lucius dropped to his knees and took my foot in his hand, I could see clearly that he was trying to avoid getting my blood on his skin. Something he failed to do, as I bled a lot.

After a few seconds, however, he didn't seem to care anymore. "Miss Granger-"

"Hermione," I said quickly and he raised an eyebrow but he kept his eyes at my wound.

"This is very deep and you've got sand in it, so I'll have to clean it before I can heal you, or else you can get an infection anyway. It's a simple spell which will clean the wound, I have to warn you though, it might sting a bit," he explained and pionted his wand at the open cut which still bled heavily.

I hissed and clenched my jaw as to not curse or let out a scream. It hurt like... well, it hurt really bad.

It felt as if my foot was on fire but then it graduately became less painful and then I felt nothing at all.

The pain was gone, and I couldn't feel the thick blood any more. "Thank you," I said as I opened my eyes and found that Lucius was standing up next to his son.

"You're welcome," he said, and glanced down at the blood which covered part of his hands.

"See?" I said, as I sat up and grabbed his hand and looked at it, "My blood is just as red as yours, my blood is just as thick as yours, my blood smells just like yours. So why do you insist on calling my blood dirty?"

No one said anything, but I refused to give Lucius his hand back until he did, so after a long moment I looked up and in to his eyes. They looked curious and furious and ashamed at the same time.

"I have not called you a Mudblood for a long time, Miss-" He stopped as he saw my look, "Hermione, I've told you I would give you a chance and I've stuck to my word. I've overlooked the fact that you're a Mud-Muggleborn and I'm..."

"Go on father," urged Draco and gave his father a light push on the arm and I could see a smile playing on his lips, "Go on..." Lucius seemed thoroughly annoyed with his son, but continued none the less.

"I'm sorry that I've hurt you by calling you that in the past," he pulled his hand out of my grip easily and walked out of there with his head held high.

I looked at his back and shook my head. "Did he just apologize to me?" I said in awe.

"Ah, yes. Mother told him that he had to," Draco smiled, "He does mean it though," Draco walked towards the couch I was in and slowly he leaned in closer, and closer until he had managed to get me to lay down and he was on top of me, "And you," he said as he kissed me, "Really do need to walk more careful." I was about to put my agreement to words as he captured my lips again, and pressed himself closer to me.

 

 

However, we were interrupted as we heard a woman clear her throat behind us. I looked up to see Narcissa and Lucius standing there, trying to act as if they hadn't just walked in on us snogging on the couch.

"We'll be leaving now, have you packed your things?" It was Narcissa who spoke and we parted quickly and nodded.











 

I missed Greece the moment I sat foot inside the Malfoy Manor. I wanted to go back there so badly, but I knew that was out of the question. Instead I started to make my way up to Draco's room, following his lead, but then Narcissa put her hand on my shoulder to stop me.

"Why don't you and Draco join us for lunch before you start unpacking?"

It was rather amusing to watch Draco stop right in his tracks and turn around with a smile.

"Naturally, mother," he put his things down and I did the same, "What are you making for lunch?"

"Now, now, Draco. You know that I only cook on Sundays..." She smiled brightly as she looked at her son, "Don't give me that look," She sighed, "Fine. What do you want for lunch?"

"You're going to cook?" Asked Lucius as he joined us in the kitchen and he held the Prophet under his arm. He seemes genuinly surprised, but glad about it nonetheless. He sat down and put the Prophet on the table and I caught a glimpse of the front page and with a gasp I pulled it to me and unfolded it to see what it said.

 

19 year old sentenced to Azkaban.

 

There were a picture of Matthew Raven and he was trashing violently against the men who held him down, probably wanting to take him in without the use of magic. I opened it to read the article,

 

A wizard from London is to spend 5 years behind the bars of Azkaban for the torture of a Muggle man.

Back in October we wrote about a 19 year old boy by the name of Matthew Raven, who poisoned a fellow student in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he was expelled and has, until now, kept on the right side of the law.

It was yesterday, when his mother announced her engagement to a Muggle that he lost it, he stole her wand, because he was stripped of his own back in October, and then he cast several Unforgivable's at his stepfather. The Muggle, who is being treated at St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries at the moment, was hit by the Cruciatus Cruse many times before the Aurors could come to his rescue as Raven's mother alerted them.

 

"It was horrible to see him being taken away," a anonymous eyewitness said, "The young man was screaming at his mother that it was all her fault and that he wished the life out of her. He was really putting up a fight against the Aurors, both with his wand and then with his body" the eyewitness was visibly shaken by what he has seen. The Aurors were, after a while of duelling, able to take him down.

"Since Mr. Raven had been warned about what would happen if he broke the law again, he was brought to Azkaban right a way in the wait for a trial. He is facing up to 10 years for what he did," said one of the Aurors that took part of the arrest of the man yesterday.

 

The trial was held this morning which was a shock for many as it was so early after the arrest but Raven stood up and pleaded guilty and he was sentenced to serve 5 years in Azkaban.

Some people say that it is too long for such a young man, some say it is too short. Something tells us that Raven will try to appeal, but with the evidence against him, we would say that his chances to get any less than 5 years are slim.

"He does have the ability to appeal," says Harry Potter, who was one of the Aurors that brought Raven down, "We expect that he will, actually, but for now he is in Azkaban,” the war hero does not want to give us more information at the moment but assures us that the injured Muggle will be fine.

No words yet on how the rest of Ravens family has taken the news but a woman, who does not want her name to be written, said that she saw Mr. Gregory Raven, Matthews father, on his way to the Ministry and he was looking far from pleased.

Some people in the Wizarding world are having strong feelings about the boy being sentenced to as much as 5 years as they think that it is very clear that Raven has a strong mental instability and therefore he should be getting help instead of being put in prison.

 

 

I stopped reading as the article went on and on. I just sat there and stared at the words in front of me, Harry had been a part of arresting Raven? Raven was in Azkaban?

“Oh, Merlin....” I said in shock and out a hand over my mouth, “D-Draco?” I said and my voice was shaking slightly, “Have you seen this?”

“Seen what, love?” He took the paper from me and I saw how his eyes widened as he took in the words and he sat down while reading. Lucius and Narcissa looked at each other before they both came over and leaned down to read.

When they had all read it, we looked at each other for a long moment before I saw Lucius smirk appear.

"He got what he deserved, don't you think?" then he sat down and went back to reading the Prophet as if he hadn't even been given the news of Raven's arrest. I did agree with Lucius, but was silently glad that the Dementors had been put out of use as guards. I hated Raven more than anything, but for someone to be around Dementors for five years, it wasn't something that I would wish on my worst enemy.

 

“Potter was a part of his arrest?” asked Draco to no one in particular, “Thought he was doing his Auror training, not...Well, going around arresting people!”

“Maybe he proved himself to be good enough in the war, so he didn't need all that training?” I suggested and he considered it for a moment before he sighed and nodded, probably thinking that it made sense. “So,” I said slowly and took his hand under the table, “What do you think about this?”

Draco squeezed my hand tightly and looked up to look in to my eyes.

“I am so relieved. I'm so damn relieved that he is in prison, you have no idea. It's like... I can't explain it. I'm really happy,” he finished off with a smile and I smiled back, as long as he was happy; I was happy. “Oh!” He suddenly looked up at his father, “Oh, father, the Pensieve... Is it still in the library?”

I stared at him wide eyed, he was serious about it. I was going to see his memories and he would see mine, if he wanted to. Also, I wondered it he was bringing this up now to keep my mind off of Raven's arrest.

Lucius furrowed his eyebrows as he looked up at his son, as if trying to figure out where he was going with that question. He nodded slowly and then he put the papers down and gave Draco a very serious look.

“Why the sudden interest in the Pensieve, Draco?” he asked and locked eyes with his son, and I kept my eyes on Draco too, as if to see his reaction to his fathers words, but he didn't even seem to hear the question.

“I'd like to show Hermione a few things,” he answered after a while, in a calm and low voice, as if daring Lucius to object.

Narcissa stopped what she was doing, turned around and looked at Draco with a rather shocked expression.

“Is that really a good idea?” she asked slowly but was cut off by Lucius, who held up his hand as if to tell her to keep quiet, something she clearly didn't like as she stiffened and turned around without a sound.

“Now, why would you want to do that, if I may ask...?” there was no question that Lucius was worried about what Draco might show me, and there was also an edge to his voice which I didn't like, at all. Draco leaned back in his chair before he looked at his father again; he had momentarily broken eye contact to smooth out a wrinkle on his sleeve, and then he answered.

“I'd like for her to be able to understand better. So, I'd take it that it's still in the library, then?

Lucius calmed at his sons words and nodded slowly.

“You two have talked this over and decided to watch each others memories, or will you just be viewing Draco's memories?”

I looked up at Lucius to see that he was addressing the question to me, not to Draco.

“I-” I cleared my throat while Lucius stared me down, making me feel rather uncomfortable, “I've told him that he is more than welcome to take a look at my memories, if he wants to.”

Lucius seemed pleased with my answer as he stopped asking questions.

Narcissa placed the food on the table and we tucked in, she had quickly made some Pasta Carbonara, which tasted delicious.










 

We ate in silence and I saw how Narcissa sent glares at her husband from time to time, but other than that; she completely ignored him.

She spoke to us however (something that annoyed Lucius to no end), she told us that she thought that the Pensieve thing was actually a good idea and as she said that, I looked nervously over at her husband as to see his reaction, he looked thoroughly upset as he turned his torso her direction and glared at her.

“Cissy,” he said, demanding her attention but she ignored him.

“Anyone want more pasta?” she sad brightly and looked between me and Draco, we both shook out heads 'no', “Oh, well...” She served herself some more food.

“Narcissa...” Lucius said, louder this time and she snapped her head his direction.

“What? You want me to talk now?” When he didn't answer she put her fork down, “You know very well that I hate to be told to keep quiet.”

“I'm sorry, it was important for me to ask those questions, though, love.”

“Yes, it was important,” she agreed, “But even so, it doesn't give you the right to tell me to shut up,” she spat.

“I did not!” said Lucius in a hiss, before he took a deep breath and then he did something I had never expected the Lucius I had once known to do. He leaned towards her and gave her a long kiss on her forehead while mumbling his apologizes. Narcissa, however, acted like I had expected her to, she forgave him the seconds his lips touched her skin.

I glanced Draco's way to find that he wasn't there, instead he was standing right outside the door and he used his finger to tell me to follow him, then he pressed his finger to his lips as if to tell me to do it quietly.

I stole a glance at the couple in front of me, which seemed to only have eyes for each other, then I moved. I was by Draco's side in the blink of an eye and we walked towards the library.

 

As I was about to enter the room, Draco grabbed my hand.

“Not that library,” he said softly and we walked to the left until we reached an old, wooden door and Draco pushed the door open and I looked inside to find all shelves empty, with furrowed eyebrows, I stepped inside and saw the Pensieve straight ahead.

“Those shelves used to hold books,” Draco informed me, “The Ministry took them away, to much about Dark magic for their liking, I s'pose.”

“Oh,” I said as I felt the nervousness creep up on me as we walked closer to the Pensieve. I suppose he felt that I wasn't at ease as he put his hand on my shoulder and gave me a calming squeeze.

“Feel free to ask anything you want, I don't mind. You have the right to know, I'd say,” he gave a small shrug and I nodded, but still I didn't ask anything about the Dark magic in the house, instead I decided to ask something which I felt to be more important at the moment.

“Which memories will I be shown?”

Draco sighed with a small smile, obviously thinking that I should have asked something else.

“I have a few in mind, it'll be like when you, McGonagall and that Ministry man viewed your memories, I'll show you many memories at a time, not just one. “

“Hold on,” I said as we stopped, “I'll be watching them alone?”

“Yes...” He said slowly, “I don't want to see your face when you see those things.”

“But Draco,” I tried but he shook his head and put his want to his temple and he seemed to be in deep thought and a very sad expression fell on his face.

Slowly he put the memories down in the Pensieve and made a jerk with his head as if to say 'go ahead' and I licked my lips before I put my head down in the substance and suddenly I was falling, falling and... Then I felt ground underneath my feet and looked around as I took a deep breath, wondering where I was, or rather, what I was about to see.











 

I was back at Hogwarts, and I had a hunch about what I was about to see, but I hoped that I was wrong. But then when I saw the persons in front of me, and as I heard them speak, I knew that it was the night Dumbledore had died.

I watched as Draco moved closer to the much older wizard and it hurt to see him so clearly and knowing that there was nothing I could do to save him, I was going to watch him die without being able to do anything. That was probably the worst thing about it all - I felt powerless.

Draco's wand was held in front of him by a shaking hand, and his voice was trembling, he was scared. But at the same time, he sounded emotionless.

“I'm the one with the wand. You're at my mercy,” I heard him say, but I could tell that he wasn't capable of hurting Dumbledore. Dumbledore seemed to know that too, as he spoke calm and softly to Draco, I couldn't help but to notice that the Headmaster was in a lot of pain, and I wondered if Draco had seen it too, because for just a second I thought I saw concern in his eyes. But it was gone as quickly as it came.

I watched as the scene played out in front of me, and I saw clearly how tired Draco looked, completely exhausted really, his skin was much paler than I had ever seen it, he had dark shadows under his eyes and he was so thin.

I observed him closely, not really caring what was being said, but I did see how Draco's expression changed as he seemed to consider something and I saw how his wand lowered somewhat just as the door burst open and several Death Eaters rushed inside. I saw disappointment in Draco's eyes, which quickly turned in to fear. Suddenly I remembered Harry, he was somewhere in the Astronomy tower, that much I knew. I looked around for any sign of him, I hoped that his Invisibility cloak wasn't covering all of him, I guess. But I saw no trace of him. Which was probably a good thing, but still... I wanted to see him, and I said to myself, 'You should send him a letter later,' and that's what I decided to do. Once I got back from my trip down memory lane, then I would send Harry a letter, no matter what Draco might think about it.

I was surprised when I looked up and found Snape standing there, when had he entered?

Then I heard, and saw, how Dumbledore pleaded to Snape, who simply raised his wand and it was with a look of disgust that he cast the Killing Curse, I looked away as I heard him say it, and when I looked up again, I saw Dumbledore falling towards the ground, lifeless.

I closed my eyes yet again, for a brief second, before I heard how Draco rushed out of there, I moved to fallow him, but the scene changed and I... Where was I?

 

I looked around and saw that I was in a cold, wet room which was only being lit up by the vague moonlight that came from the window. It was dirty, I noticed. Was I in a dungeon of some sort?

I heard someone cough a bit behind me and I turned to look there, and I saw the outline of a person who sunk down against the wall, his body visibly shaking as he silently cried. The fear and the panic was so evident in the room that I became more cold than before.

I walked closer to the person and even before I saw him, I knew that it was Draco. I wondered when this was, he looked dirty and his hair wasn't shiny and fresh as it usually was, but it was dirty, just as the rest of him.

“What have I done...?” He whispered out loud, “What am I doing?”

There were a loud noise coming from behind me, and even though I knew that I couldn't be hurt, I still felt the fear creep up on me.

“Yet again have your father displeased the Dark Lord, boy,” I didn't recognize the man who were speaking, but I knew that I didn't like him at all, “He sent me down here to make you suffer the consequences...”

Draco had wiped away his tears and stood up by the time I looked back at him, confused. I wasn't confused for long, though.

“Crucio!”

I watched in horror as Draco writhed in pain and screamed through clenched teeth, it echoed inside the room and I felt as if I was about to throw up. I couldn't look away, as much as I wanted to. I stood there, with my eyes locked on the visibly hurting Draco. The man repeated the curse three times before he pulled Draco up by his collar and helped him stand up. “Clean yourself up, Malfoy. You're needed upstairs. Why would you be in this filthy room anyway?”

Draco didn't answer, he just paled even more. The man walked out, but Draco stayed behind for a few seconds and ran his fingers through his hair before he slapped himself, as if to wake himself up. Then he wiped the dirt of his face with his sleeve, and smoothed out his hair, making himself look somewhat better.

“Time for me to torture more people...” he said sadly, his voice broken and then, with a lot of effort, he took the first step towards the stair which would lead him up. I think that he had chosen to let me see this memory to show me that he never wanted to do those things, to show me what happened to him if he or his father displeased Voldemort. I hurried after him up the stairs but I could tell that the scene changed once we got upstairs, because Draco went from standing in front of me to sitting down by the table in the drawing room of Malfoy Manor.

 

He wasn't the only one who sat there though, there were many Death Eaters and I saw Lucius, Narcissa and Snape too.

That wasn't what caught my attention, though. What I saw, floating in the air, made me sick. Professor Burbage, who had taught Muggle Studies at Hogwarts was there, seemingly dead but I had a feeling that she was alive.

I knew that Voldemort was there, his presence hung in the air and Draco looked rather terrified.

It didn't take long for Charity Burbage to be woken, and I saw how Draco looked away from her instantly as her pleas for Snape to save her started, I looked at Snape, he didn't show any sign of listening to her. From what I knew now, it must have been really hard for him to just sit there and not being able to help, just like I couldn't help her. I could just watch.

After a while of listening to Voldemorts nonsense, I saw how Professor Burbages life was taken away from her, and Draco fell out of his chair as she fell down on the table. Snape, however, simply gave her body a cold stare before he looked away. I saw that he swallowed hard, but that was the only reaction that came from him.

“No...” I whispered as Voldemorts snake, Nagini, made her way over to the Professors body while, if it was possible, looking hungry.

 

Fortunately, the scene changed before I got to see what was about to happen, and I was standing in a dark room with Draco, Voldemort and Rowle's family. I knew what I was about to see, and tried to prepare myself for it, but it was nearly impossible and I knew that.

“Do it, Draco,” said Voldemort loudly while his crimson eyes observed the family which were on their knees. Everyone but Rowle himself was crying silently, their tears streaming down the small girls faces, I could hardly stand looking at them, so I looked up at Draco who looked as if he might throw up any second, but he still managed to cast the spell and I guess it hit the mother, Rowle's wife. Her screams echoed in the stonewalled, marble-floored room, before it subsided in to a sob to be replaced by a child's agonising cry, I wondered if this was the youngest girl; the one Draco had told me about, the one with the horrifying screams, but the second the other small girl screamed, I knew that that was the youngest one.

It was a heartbreaking, bring-shivers-to-spine scream, probably the most horrifying sound I had ever heard in my entire life.

I whispered sadly, “Stop, Draco. Please, please, stop...”

But I knew that he wouldn't, he couldn't stop until Voldemort told him so and if I knew Voldemort, then he wouldn't do that quite yet.

“You see now, Rowle? You see why you shouldn't displease Lord Voldemort?” Voldemort said, somewhat amused, as if he was being entertained by the scene that was being played out in front of him, as if he truly enjoyed seeing the torture of the small girls.

“It wont happen again, My Lord, I promise...” Rowle's voice was pleading, “Please, My Lord, have mercy!”

At first, Voldemort didn't reply. He waited, took pleasure in the screams which reached his ears, screams caused by the pain Draco was forced to put them through. One by one, they let out agonising cries and writhed in pain.

“Lord Voldemort will have mercy this time, and cause them no more pain,” then he actually smiled, if you can call that evil expression he did a smile, “Draco, leave.”

I stumbled backwards, away from the crying family, and followed Draco out the door. Then he stiffened and looked back; I did the same.

Green light filled the room, over and over and over again, and I shut my eyes and turned around as Rowle cried out and I felt sorry for the Death Eater who had been a cruel bastard in my eyes for quite some time. He had a wife, daughters; a family and they were all taken away from him in a blink of an eye, because he had... made a mistake? It was so wrong.

No one deserved that. Not even a cruel bastard as Rowle. I stopped thinking about right and wrong when Draco bend over and threw up, I moved to his side and saw that his face was wet, from crying, I guessed. I wanted to hold him, to tell him that everything would be okay, but I couldn't. I could just stand there and and look at him. 

I was relieved when the scene changed and so did the atmosphere, I knew from the start that this was after the war.
Draco walked past me, so I followed him, and saw myself walk there, looking far from happy, and the past me walked in to the library and I thought briefly that it must have been the day that I decided to take up flying, Draco followed past me in to the library and gave Mrs Mulberry a low greeting and then he stood there and watched the past me as she... I... she picked up an old magazine. He took one step forward, then he shook his head a bit and turned around and walked out, I looked over my shoulder at the past me and saw that she just looked up, but she didn't see Draco leave.

The scene changed again and I saw myself kneeling down on the floor to gather up the books which had fallen out of my books, I hurried to keep up with Draco who was walking really fast, something he must have gotten from his father, I thought briefly, before I stopped abruptly as he did.

We were standing right before the past me, and I saw a small, nervous smile on his lips.

“I...” he started but the past me hadn't heard him, “See you are where you belong, Granger.”

A smirk had replaced his genuine smile by the time past me looked up at him, I saw how the eyes on the past me darkened and sent him a cold, furious glare and I frowned, how could Draco find me attractive when I'm angry? I looked ridiculous!I knew how the rest of the conversation carried on, so I focused on how Draco's expressions changed, I must have been too blinded by my hate for him in the past to see that he actually looked concerned as he spoke to me.

Past me pushed herself past him and Draco turned around to look at her... me... her. His eyebrows furrowed but then he shook his head once more and walked away from there.

 

The scene changed once more and I wondered why everything was black and cold, oh-so-freaking cold to be honest, but then I understood what memory this was. I heard a chuckle from nowhere, a very distant chuckle, but it was there none the less.

I asked you a question, Mudblood. Did he tell you not to worry?”

Then there was a small pause, when there was no sound and then came a small whisper.

"Yes"

Silence again.

Are you happy now, Matthew? Have you gotten what you wanted?”

Gods, it was horrible to listen to myself like that, I got the feeling back from that day, when I hadn't known if Draco would survive or not.

Oh, it is the best day of my life.

I could almost see his smirk, that damn Raven, and I was so glad that he had been thrown in Azkaban, that little bastard!

Get the hell away from me.”

I was proud of myself, as I remembered that I had hit him right in the face. Suddenly everything became warm, and I understood that the scene had once more changed, and I heard myself arguing with Lucius, and then there was a pained moan, then everything came in to vision, slowly and in a blur. Then I could see clearly, I was in the hospital wing, and I saw myself stand next to Draco as he laid in the bed. 


Things started spinning, and then I found myself back in the Manor, I looked up to see Draco standing there, looking at me as if he was trying to see what I was thinking. I didn't do anything, and I didn't say anything, something that made him lick his lips nervously.

In silence, I walked up to him, put my arms around him and hugged him as tight as I could, I felt his arms come around me after a while as he buried his head in the crook of my neck.

It didn't matter that he had put in those last few memories, I still remembered the first ones way too clearly and I just wanted to comfort him as I thought back on the pain which his eyes had held.

A tear fell down my cheek, but I didn't care.

“Sorry for making your shirt wet,” I mumbled and I felt him shake his head before he inhaled the scent of my hair, his hold around me got slightly tighter and I got the feeling that he had wanted some comfort for a long time.

"Thank you," he said in a low voice, and he seemed close to sheading a few tears himself, but he held it back, his hold of me loosened and he leaned back to look at me, "You don't hate me for what I did?"

"No!" I said, almost angry at him for thinking that I would hate him, "Of course not, Draco, you were forced, I could never hate you, I just... You actually thought... I mean, that's.. No!"

He silenced me with a kiss, which I eagerly responded to, it was that kind of kiss which is described in books, you know the kind which makes butterflies dance in your stomach, and the kind of kiss which makes you lift one foot off the ground and go all light headed? That's the kind of kiss he gave me.

"Ahem..." said a voice from behind us, and with a groan, Draco broke the kiss and glared over my shoulder, I followed his gaze and broke out in a smile. "We don't mean to interrupt anything, but we arrived early and Lucy said that we could find you in the, uh, old library."

"I would like it if you stopped calling me 'Lucy', Blaise, I'm not too fond of it," said Lucius as he stood behind Blaise and Amber in the door opening, he sounded highly amused and I doubt it was the first time he had heard Blaise call him by that name.

Blaise eyes widened and he seemed to simply think, 'Oh, crap'. He turned around to face the older Malfoy and gave him a weak smile.

"Of course, Lucius, it won't happen again."

Lucius nodded and walked away, but I heard him chuckle and mumble"Oh, but it will..."

And he was right, it took only minutes for Blaise to call him Lucy again.

We all hugged and it wasn't until as I hugged Blaise that I realized how much I had missed them both, and as Draco took my hand and we started walking out of the old library, I felt a sort of belonging in the Manor, for the first time since I had arrived. I sighed happily as I leaned my head at Draco's shoulder and continued walking to the sound of Blaise and Draco's laughter.









[Finally, the chapter is up! Thanks to everyone who has reviewed. It means a lot! 
So, what do you all think about this chapter? About the memories in the Pensieve? About Matthews arrest? I hope you'll like it. In the next chapter, the New Years will begin ;) Are you looking forward to the scenes with Pansy? I know I am. Thanks and please, leave a review! - Cathyy]


Chapter 25: Diagon Alley
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[Hey guys, you know by now that I don't own this, it's all JK Rowlings, except for a few original characters. Enjoy!( wow, long chappie, btw!]












 
I woke up in the morning to the sound of Draco's heavy breathing, he was still asleep next to me. I turned around as slowly as I could as to not wake him up and I found that he laid sprawled across the bed the rather large bed, his head resting on one of the oh-so-wonderful pillows, his arm hung lazily over my body, I thought that I should let him sleep, and started to untangle myself but he must have woken up by my movements because he pulled me towards him with a firm tug and I smiled as I threw one of my legs over his and cuddled up to him, no words needed. I inhaled his fresh scent, of apples and, if possible, summer.

I knew that he was really awake when he started planting kisses down my neck, making me shudder, I let my hands touch his chest. Had it gotten more toned? That thought vanished as soon as Draco kissed the sensitive spot behind my ear; the spot that made me lose all common sense. I held back a moan as he did it once more.

“You like that, don't you?” he said against my skin, his breath warm, then he repeated his actions and then he sucked and nibbled on the sensitive skin of my neck, I couldn't hold back the soft moan which erupted from my parted lips. I only guessed that he took that as a 'yes'.

I remembered that he had liked it when I let my nails run down his chest, so I did it and it pleased me when he took a deep breath and stilled his movements for a second. I grinned widely as he leaned back to look at me.

“Oh, wipe that grin of your face,” he murmured.

“Make me,” I dared him, and he cocked his eyebrow at my words before he rolled us over so that he was on top and he captured my lips in a passionately bruising kiss,
He eased back to look in to my eyes. "Oh, I do love kissing you..." 

"Ah, same here," Draco smiled before he brought his lips down to mine again and my eyes fluttered closed. 
 

 









Once we had taken a shower and put on some clothes,  we walked out to be met by the faces of our friends, who were waiting for us just outside the door.

Blaise took in my looks, looking from my bare feet up to my messy hair; I had just taken a shower, of course it was messy.

“You fancied a quickie in the early morning, eh?”

Draco grinned, while I gaped and blushed furiously.

“Blaise!” I said, mortified, “I just took a shower, that's why my hair is messy,” I didn't sound very convincing, by the look on his face. Draco and Amber burst out laughing at my tone, which had been a dead give away.

“So, you two did-”

“Come off it, Blaise,” I snapped as he smirked, “Smirking doesn't suit you, just so you know.”

He stuck out his tongue instead, something he usually did when he had spent too much time around me, “Oh, you're so... so...”

“God-like? Handsome? Gorgeous? Charming?” he suggested with a velvet voice, and offered a sweet smile.

“Annoying,” I said after a while of staring at him, as if I was actually considering his words for a while.

“Her-my-nee!” he sounded hurt and looked on the verge of crying, though it was only an act, “You hurt me-”

“There you kids are!” Narcissas voice interrupted him, as she walked towards us, wearing a pair of black.. Jeans? Were Narcissa wearing jeans? I went wide eyed, surely they weren't Muggle jeans, but jeans nonetheless. She looked really good in them, and the shirt she were to them were dark green and it was gorgeous, “Would you mind terribly to go to Diagon Alley and buy some fireworks for tomorrow? We'll need... Loads of it.”

Blaise and Draco had both snorted when she had called us kids, obviously they didn't think of themselves as kids any more, I rolled my eyes at them. We were all glad to go to Diagon Alley, and she was relieved that she had one less thing to worry about being done.














 

Breakfast was a rushed event as we all were eager to get out of the Manor and go shopping, the second Blaise had put the last piece of toast in his mouth, we were on our way.

Diagon Alley was truly beautiful this time of year, with the sparkling snow covering the grounds and occasionally a snowflake or two would fall down, but other than that it was a sunny day. I was amazed that the snow hadn't melted.

“Hey, look at those fireworks, D,” said Blaise and pointed towards a shop which had about twenty different fireworks, and I doubted that it would be enough.

“We should check them out, you girls coming?”

I glanced over at Amber who grimaced and gave me a pleading look, “No,” I replied, “We'll be down the street, seek us up when you're done.”

I reached up to plant a kiss on Draco's lips, a chaste kiss, before Amber and I took off.
 












Even though I preferred to hang out with boys, I enjoyed being with Amber. It really felt as if we had known each other for ages and not just for months. Months, I thought, has it really only been months? It felt like years.

The age different between us was barely noticed, she was very grown up for her age. But then again, I had been rather grown up at sixteen too.

“Where do you wanna go first?” Amber asked happily, her voice made me snap out of my thoughts and I looked over at her with a smile.

“I don't really kno-” I couldn't finish the sentence, because I heard someone call my name and the voice was very familiar and I froze at the sound of it.

“Hermione!” He called again and sure enough, as I looked up I saw him stand straight ahead, further down the street, his raven coloured hair as uncontrollable as always and he waved at me to come there.

“Is that Harry Potter?” whispered Amber, sounding almost shocked, as if she didn't know that I knew him. I smiled and nodded at her question.

“C'mon,” I said and started to walk towards him and she followed me, “I'll introduce you.”

“I...Okay.”














As we got closer to him, I realized that he was standing outside George and Fre-... Outside George's joke shop.

“Hi, Harry,” I said awkwardly as I came to a halt in front of him, “Is Ron...?”

“He's not here,” Harry answered quickly “Uh, hi,” he said to Amber, who looked as if she was speechless for once in her life, but then again; she had sounded shocked as she spoke his name, to let alone stand in front of him and have him speaking to her; I guessed that it was rather shocking.

“Amber – Harry, Harry – Amber,” it was the first time I had introduced two people like that, and it was more awkward than I had expected.

“Nice to meet you properly, Harry,” said Amber politely and I was glad that she hadn't lost her voice, when I looked at her now she looked like she was way less nervous. She looked like her normal self.

“Nice to meet you too, how do you two know each other?”

She sent me a quick glance before she answered, “From Hogwarts.”

“Our boyfriends happens to be best friends,” I rolled my eyes a bit as I said it, just because it sounded strange to call Draco my boyfriend in front of Harry, “Look, I've been meaning to send you a letter, I was going to do it yesterday actually but I got busy doing other things, sorry. I heard about Matthew Raven's arrest?”

Harry looked momentarily stunned when I had told him that I had been planing on writing him, but then he smiled faintly and I saw a light flush spread on his cheeks as he scratched the back of his head. I looked over at Amber at once, who grinned widely and I knew that she noticed it too; he had just done what Blaise always did.

“Uh, yeah. My first arrest actually. Glad that I got to arrest him for what he put you and Malfoy through. I may not like Malfoy, but not even him deserves to be poisoned.”

“You don't know what that potion was meant to do, do you?” I tried really hard not to sound cold or angry when I said it, but every time I talked about it; I got so damn angry.

Harry's eyes widened in curiosity as he shook his head and waited for me to continue.

“It was made to trap the victim inside her or his body while slowly being tortured to death,” I said, sadness filled my voice, it had replaced the angry tone.

“That's...” Harry didn't seem to be able to find a word for it.

“Sick, sadistic, psychopathic? Take your pick,” I said and gave a small shrug.

“And the potion wasn't even made for Draco to begin with,” said Amber in quite a dramatic voice, “It was made for Hermione.”

Harry was silent and I couldn't see if he was even breathing, before he let out a low hiss, “What? How do you know that?”

“Matthew is really rather clueless when it comes to potions,” Amber began, “But his girlfriend is anything but, I'm talking about Pansy Parkinson, and we all know how she feels about Draco and when she heard that he was dating a Muggle-born, she must have gone insane and told Matthew to pour the potion over Hermione, but Matthew-”

Harry hushed her and glared over my shoulder, I turned to see reporters from the Daily Prophet, and loads of others magazines as well, I was sure.

“Here, let's take this conversations elsewhere,” He opened the door and held it open for us and we walked in to the warmness and a bell told everyone in the shop that we had entered. I looked around and was surprised to see how much had changed, it looked so much bigger and it held so many more things to buy.

There were several costumers there and I was impressed, things must be going good for George.

“Welcome, can I- Hermione!” I turned to face a utterly shocked George, “Uh, Harry, Ginny's in the back, if you were looking for her.”

Harry gave a short nod and made a move to his left, before he turned to us, “You coming?”

I hesitated, knowing that Draco and Blaise would come to look for us soon, but Amber nodded gladly.

Suddenly I was pulled back to a hard chest, and I gasped loudly, “George. Can't. Breathe.”

“Sorry 'bout that,” he grinned as he released me, “It's okay, Harry, she'll come in a sec.”

Harry rolled his eyes and walked away while I stayed put with George.

“Look, George, if Draco comes looking for me, tell him-”

“Ah, how is ferret boy?” I sent him a glare as he cut me off mid sentence.

“Don't let him hear you say that,” I warned, “Just tell him that I'll be right out, okay?”

“I can do that,” said George, while I let my eyes glance around in the shop, noticing the large amount of fireworks he sold, there must have been more than hundreds.

“And, show him your fireworks, he'll want to buy 'em,” George, being his normal self, got curious to why we needed fireworks, “New Years party at the Malfoy Manor, that's why we need fireworks.”

“Oh, I'd love to help out with that, just make sure that you tell everyone where they're from!”

“Sure thing. Just tell me one thing,” I said, trying to sound serious, “They are real ones, right? No jokes?”

He almost looked offended, as he brought his hand up to cover his heart and spoke with a dramatic voice.

“How can you even suggest that I would trick you in to buying unreal fireworks?”

I just looked at him with my eyebrows raised as if to say, 'Are you freaking kidding me?'

He sighed and crossed his arms over his chest, “I promise, they're real.”

“Good, Draco and Blaise will probably buy them all, just so you know,” I grinned as his mouth hung open in a perfect 'O'.

“A-All of them?” he said, shocked.

“It's a big party,” Amber shrugged and I jumped at the sudden sound of her voice, I had thought that she had followed Harry.

“Still,” George said, obviously thrilled yet shocked over the fact that he would be making a lot of money in a while, “Can't need that many?”

“They are Malfoys, are you really shocked? They don't settle for anything but the best, right Hermione?” Once again it was Amber who spoke and she sent me a knowing look and I blushed deeply, something that made George grin widely, “Only problem for Hermione and Draco is that a certain Pansy Parkinson will be there and she'll be there for a reason...”

“Amber, really..” I tried but George seemed to understand where she was going and he suddenly glowed with mischief, he turned around and grabbed something behind him and as he did; I saw clearly that his ear was missing. I tried not to stare at it because I think he knew that I was looking, but I looked away as he faced us again, and for a split second he looked sad, but then his grin was back in place.

“This,” he held up a small bag in front of my face, “is something that Fred and I worked on before- Before he died,” he had to take a pause to swallow, but he didn't let his grin fall, “I know he would have liked you to use it on Parkinson.

“What-?”

“Itching Powder,” he said proudly, “Will make the little witch itch uncontrollable for at least three days, depending on how much powder you can manage to get on her skin.”

I looked a bit closer in the pink powder in the small bag, it sparkled in the sunlight as George held it up right in front of my eyes. It certainly didn't look like it would give an itch, but I knew that Fred and George had done a good job on it, hadn't they always?

“I just gotta rub it in?” I asked and George nodded, Amber reached out and grabbed the little bag, which looked like it contained Muggle drugs.

“She'll take it, how much do you want for it?”

“Take it, it's free. I'll get enough money from your boyfriends when they buy the fireworks, anyway,” he smiled kindly, “Just promise to write to me and tell me how good it works.”

I was glad that he seemed accepting about my relationship with Draco.

“Are you okay with us being together?” I didn't need to be more clear, I knew that he knew what I meant.

“Sure. I can see that you're happy and if you can give him a chance then why shouldn't I be able to?”

I studied him and wondered when he had grown up to be so wise, and I knew the answer to that, it had happened when Fred had been killed.

“Are you two coming anytime soon?” Harry called to which I remembered that we were actually there to tell him all about Pansy, not stand here with George and look at Itching Powder.

Amber pressed the little bag in my hand before she grabbed my wrist and pulled me along towards Harry, George turned away from us as the bell rang, letting him know that another costumer had entered.

“Welcome,” he said brightly as we walked through a door which led us to a room in the back, it wasn't big but it was very cosy and I loved it. There were two chairs and a small couch, a table and a few Quidditch posters.

Harry sat down on one chair, next to Ginny. I looked at her, her hair was much longer than the last time I had seen her and it hung down her back. She didn't wear any make up, but she didn't have to, she looked very beautiful even without. I guess she is what you can call a natural beauty.

She stood up as I walked further in to the room, her eyes uncertain as she walked up to me, and before I could even react or foresee her actions; she had put her arms around me and hugged me tightly.

“I've been an idiot, I'm so sorry,” she said, and I heard Harry chuckle at my expression and I could just imagine how I must have looked. My eyes huge, my mouth open in pure shock and then my arms, which awkwardly went around her small frame, she was still much smaller than me. I hurried to close my mouth, and as I did so, I inhaled her scent. She smelled like she normally did, like strawberries and after all those years I knew that it was the smell of her shampoo.

“Oh, Ginny..” I sighed, knowing that it was time to forgive, it was, wasn't it?

“Forgive me, Hermione...?”

“Do you accept my relationship?” I asked, knowing that that had been where it all had started, pretty much. I knew that it was a big part of the fight, and it was a question to which I needed an honest answer.

The silence stretched until she sighed and said, “Yes.”

“Good,” I smiled and I saw Amber in the corner of my eye; she seemed to force a smile up on her lips, “I forgive you, and Harry. I will, however, not forgive Ron.”

Gin and I broke apart and she flushed, even her ears turned red.

“Did he tell you that he came and visited me a few days ago?” by the looks on their faces – No, he hadn't told them. Amber didn't seem to know either, which meant that Draco hadn't told Blaise, I wondered why.

“I suppose he didn't come to wish you a Merry Christmas?” asked Harry sarcastically and shook his head, he wasn't expecting an answer, “Ron's not doing well, not well at all. He's in therapy, though, and I guess he's getting a bit better. He still have those bad nightmares, and-”

“Who doesn't?” I snapped, making them nod in agreement, before Harry continued.

“I guess it's struck him harder than the rest of us, he has fits of rage and most nights he has to take a Sleep Draught, to be able to sleep, because he is so scared of falling asleep. I find him up in the nights, in the kitchen, fighting a losing battle against sleep,” He took a breath, “He's with Lavender now, she's still in school, though. But when she's home over the holidays, I can tell that he's doing better. She is considering dropping out for his sake. I think it's good for him, to have someone, you know?”

I agreed, it was much better to have someone who understood and comforted.

“I know what you mean,” I said and Ginny tilted her head as she looked at me, curious, “Without Draco I would have slowly gone insane,” I tried to smile as I said it.

“Most likely, yeah,” Amber agreed, making Harry and Ginny look at her, “Uh, from what she's told me.”

“And you are?” asked Ginny rather rudely and Amber looked at her with furrowed eyebrows.

“Amber Lambetti,” she replied.

“Blaise's girlfriend,” I added with a smile, to which they nodded but Ginny couldn't keep from frowning.

“And one of Hermione's closest friends,” said Amber, and I had to agree, she really was. Her, Blaise and Draco; They were my closest friends, and I loved them. Oh, how time had changed.

Gin's face fell and she looked at me as if asking me if I had really replaced her, and I saw in the corner of my eye how Amber smiled sweetly.

“Yeah,” I said while looking at Ginny, “I'm glad that I've got her, and Blaise as well, for that matter. They are great.”

“Glad to hear that,” I could hear that Gin actually forced those words out and it actually made me feel better, I forced back a little smile at this.

A silence spread between us as Ginny and I locked eyes with each others and stared out the other. I'd be damned to break eye contact first. I clenched my jaw as her eyes turned from saddened to angry.

“Uh,” said as he once again scratched the back off his head, and Ginny and I broke eye contact, Ginny to look over at her boyfriend, and I to look over at Amber, who grinned; I knew we both thought of Blaise, “Feel free to sit down...” He gestured towards the couch and we both sat down, at the same time as Ginny sat down on the chair. “Now, tell me about this whole 'Pansy wanted to kill Hermione', thing,” he leaned towards us. I took a deep breath and began to tell him everything that had happened from the day that Draco was poisoned to the day McGonagall and the Ministry guy (who's name was Nicolas Stack, according to Harry) had viewed my memories and expelled him.

I told him what McGonagall had told me about Pansy and Matthew and I told them about the fact that Pansy had cheated on Draco with Matthew, in the past, and that when Draco had survived; Pansy and Matthew had broken up.

I got to the part where Pansy had written Draco a letter where she begged him for forgiveness, but that Draco hadn't replied and I also told them that she was coming to the party at the Malfoy Manor.

“Wait, you're staying at Malfoy Manor?” Harry interrupted, sounding as if he had been told that magic really didn't exist, “How can you be there after what happened there last ti-”

“I have been dealing with it, Harry, I'm getting over it. I'm healing. Now, let me continue...”

 

Amber and I took turns in telling them of our theory; That Pansy had told Matthew that she wanted Draco to feel pain, so she suggested that he should poison me, kill me. Matthew had probably agreed with her that Draco should feel pain, but decided to poison him instead, as he could easily see right through her words and realize that she only wanted Draco to lose me so that he would be available for her again. He had obviously been jealous of Draco, since it had been obvious to him that Pansy did want to be with Draco, or at least have him as a back up plan. If things didn't work out with Matthew.

“But of course Pansy knew that Matthew would get caught trying to kill Hermione,” said the blonde girl next to me.

“And he would have been thrown in Azkaban for trying to kill me, and that would mean that she would have gotten rid of him as well. I'm guessing that she believed that she could have simply gotten back together with her ex boyfriend,” I took a deep breath and looked at the stunned faces of my old friends.

I exchanged looks with Amber, who was also waiting for them to say something. Anything.

My eyes were kept on my younger friend as I saw in the corner of my eye that Harry and Ginny were looking at each other, neither of them sure of what to say.

Ginny subconsciously tug on her hair, before letting her hands fall down to rest on her thighs. Harry, who had obviously turned to his girlfriend in hopes that she would know what to say, sighed and looked away from her, and he glanced between me and Amber, before leaning back in his chair.

“Well,” he said finally, breaking the tormenting silence, “I never liked Parkinson, and this made her sound even more like a psycho,” Harry didn't seem sure if he had said the right thing, and gave the girl on his left side a pleading look as if begging her to say something but she wasn't looking at him, her eyes were locked on mine.

“I agree with Harry, she's a freak. I'm just glad that neither Raven or Pansy hurt you, Hermione,” she gave a faint smile and she was so sure that she had come out sounding a lot better than Harry, but the glare she received from me told her otherwise.

I could feel myself start to get a flush from the sudden anger that boiled up inside of me.

“I was hurt!” I said in a low voice, even though I felt like screaming it out loud, “I was accused of lying, people doubted everything I said, they shrugged it off as a simple accusation. People actually believed me to be brainwashed,” I let out a cold laugh, “Me; Hermione Granger, brainwashed. But, that wasn't what hurt the most, I could take it, I could take the rumours, but do you know what hurt the most?”

I wasn't really waiting for an answer, but I still paused and looked at Ginny, who had lowered her eyes to look at her hands, which she was twitching nervously, 

“The constant worry. I sat there for twenty hours not knowing if he would survive or not, I sat there and watched as Draco fought for his life.

It hurt to hear Matthew bloody Raven say that my boyfriend was in excruciating pain, did you know he did that? That he told me about the torture Draco was going through? It hurt to hear that Draco felt as if a thousand ice cold knifes slashed through his muscles, and that his insides were on fire and I couldn't do a damn thing. It hurt to hear him beg me to take away the pain. That hurt me, they hurt me too, Ginny. I can't believe you... I would have rather had it happen to me, if it meant that I would have saved him from the pain, you know why? Because I love him.”

“I didn't mean it like-”

“Yes, you did. I'm not mad at you, I'm just...” I couldn't find the right word, so I didn't say anything else. Ginny looked up at me then, and looked at me for a long moment.

“You really do love him...” It was as if she had just come to realization, and perhaps she had. But those words didn't stop Amber from glaring at her(she had been doing it for a while) and Ginny met her glare when she saw her expression, I could see the two girls didn't like each other at all, and I'd rather not leave the two of them alone together in a locked room. Though, it would be quite the fight to witness.

I heard a roaring laughter from the other side of the door, and that laughter could only belong to one person, a certain Zabini. I knew that they were in the shop, his laugh couldn't be mistaken, it was... rather rare.

Ambers head snapped towards the door, “Hermione, are we done here?” she said, I knew that she wanted to see Blaise, the two of them couldn't stay away from each other for more than ten minutes before they missed each other. But, then again, who was I to talk? Draco and I was almost as glued together as Amber and Blaise. Just almost, though.

“I believe that we are,” I stood up as I spoke, time to say goodbye again, “It was nice talking to you.”

 

Gin and Harry stood up as well, not sure of what to say; again, but then Harry cleared his throat and spoke, “Don't be a stranger, eh?” he smiled at me, and his words made me sigh.

“A owl flies both ways, you know.”

“I know,” he said before he too sighed. Ginny walked over to me and hugged me once more, it didn't last longer than a few seconds, though. It felt as if she was about to cry, but no, Ginny was the type of girl who would cry for something like this, so I shrugged that thought off. She wouldn't cry.

“It was nice to see you again, 'Mione, it really was.”

“You too, Ginny,” I smiled, though I cringed on the inside at her name for me, I still hated it. She took a step to her right, making Harry come in to view, I inhaled sharply, knowing that it would be much harder to say goodbye to him.

“Oh, 'Mione...” I cringed on the inside once more, but I forgot all about it when he pulled me to him in a tight embrace, the side of my face pressed hard against his toned chest which was covered in a black shirt.

“I'll be in touch,” I mumbled my promise as I let my arms go around body, and I closed my eyes for a second as I inhaled his familiar scent, but I opened them as soon as he spoke.

“So will I, I promise,” he mumbled as well.

 

I then forced myself to break the hug, because I don't know how long we would have hugged if I hadn't. For ages, probably.

“We'll follow you out, c'mon.”

Harry held the door open for us girls and we walked out one by one. Just as I caught a glimpse of black that belonged to Blaise, I saw how Amber had run up to him and was in his arms and he spun her around, now that was something that had only happened between Draco and I once and as I watched the couple in front of me, it would never happen again.

Blaise kissed Amber hard on the lips when he got over the shock of having someone jump up at him, and at the same time someone, no names mentioned, covered my eyes with their hands and mumbled in my ear, “Guess who?” his warm breath tickled my skin.

“Hm...” I pretended to think it over, “Might it be my boyfriend?”

“Your gorgeous boyfriend,” he corrected softly before giving me my sight back and spun me around to look me in the eyes. His hands rested on my waist as he pulled me closer to him.

“Yeah, he is rather gorgeous,” I admitted as I studied his face like I had done a million times before, never quite getting over how beautiful he really was. His grey, playful eyes were locked on mine and the oxygen seemed to vanish from the room by the intensity in them, everyone around us disappeared and I saw only him. Even after all those months, I was surprised how much one look could make that happen.

His white hair hung in front of his eyes and I lifted my hand and gently pushed it aside, it was soft beneath my fingers, and Draco was cold. His hair was rather wet, so I assumed that it had started snowing. I hadn't even noticed his hand which had moved up to cup my chin and tilt my head a bit more up, and then he brought his lips down to devour mine. I tried to resist it, I tried and failed. Within seconds, I was kissing him back, ignoring the gasps and giggles around us.

“Get a room, you two!” called Amber from across the room, to which Blaise chuckled.

“Didn't get enough this morning, eh?” Blaise added with a laugh, and I broke the kiss so I could let out a growl and I snapped my head to look at him. He smirked.

“Blaise, I swear to Merlin!” I set out after him as he ran towards the exit, I followed him and I wasn't far behind. Just as I set foot outside, however, I was hit in the face by a big, fat, cold snowball.

“Blaise Alexander Zabini, just you wait until I get a hold of you!” I heard his laughter as I used his full given name, and it mocked me and I growled once more.

Then I stopped for just a second, no, I didn't stop because Draco and Amber had just run past me, I stopped momentarily because I caught a glimpse of fire read hair, and sure enough. Ron was walking towards the shop, looking at me as if he was looking at a ghost. Something which I found strange, he should be used to ghost after spending all that time around Nearly Headless Nick back at Hogwarts.

Ignore him, I told myself and that was just what I did. I rushed past him without a second glance, ready to make Blaise pay for what he had done.















When back in the Manor, I found myself alone in the kitchen. Draco had gone to talk to his father, I strongly suspected that they were about to go shopping for some clothes to wear to the party the following day but they were far too macho to admit it. Blaise and Amber were in their guestroom, doing God knows what, and I was just walking through the Manor by myself.

Stopping once in a while to look more closely at some of their old things, which must have been there for generation after generation.

I found a room which looked interesting, and I hadn't been there since I first arrived at the Manor. The whole room was dedicated to Quidditch; Brooms, old Golden Snitches, awards and posters. They also had plenty of books on the subject, which I would have loved to read sometime.

I saw Draco's old Nimbus 2001 hanging on the wall, alongside Nimbus 2000 and Nimbus 2002. I wondered if any other family member of his had played Quidditch and got my answer as I looked at the awards.

 

Narcissa Black – Seeker

Slytherin Team (1969 – 1971)

 

I wasn't really surprised, she had the small body which was good to have when you played Seeker and I could really see her as a Seeker. It was obvious that Draco had gotten his Quidditch interest from his mothe- His parents, I corrected myself as I found another award.

 

Lucius Malfoy - Chaser

Slytherin Team (1967 – 1971)

 

I chuckled lightly, yes, I should have guessed. He didn't really have the body of a Seeker, did he?

 

“Hermione? Are you in here?” I turned around at the sound of Narcissas voice, suddenly I felt the panic rush over me as if someone had poured cold water over me.

“Yeah... Am I allowed in here?”

“Of course, dear,” she strode over to me and her eyes fell up on the awards, “I haven't been in to this room in so long. I used to play Seeker, as you can see. I played for two years before I was so badly injured that no magic could ever really fix my left hand. I could never fly a broom again after that, too big of a risk.”

I felt so sorry for her, it was obvious how much she longed to sit up on a broom, she walked towards her sons old Nimbus and let her hand reach out to touch it, “I miss it a lot, the feeling of the wind blowing in my hair as I urge the broom to go faster...”

I had no idea what to say and she seemed to sense that as she tore her eyes off the dark broom to look at me, I gave her a very sad look, I suppose, because she gave a small sigh and put her hand on my shoulder in a motherly gesture. The room lit up as Narcissa waved her hand; making candles come alive all around the room and the room suddenly got a lot more welcoming as the candles and the colour of the golden awards turned the room from a cold dark room to a warm place, which had a dancing light in it, in orange, brown and golden tones.

Narcissa didn't look as pale as she used to in the current light, and the shadows on her face danced as the wind outside made the window open and the air that came in almost blew out the light.

I reached for my wand instantly and pointed it at the window and with a flick of it, the window was closed and locked again, Narcissa looked at me with a smile on her lips.

“I've heard that you are quite good at riding a broom.”

“Where ever did you hear that?” I laughed and she smiled wider.

“Draco told me. Are you going to sign up for the Quidditch match in June at Hogwarts?”

I furrowed my eyebrows as I took in her words.

“What match?”

She grimaced and bit her lip, “You didn't know,” It wasn't a question, “Well, in the last week of school a Quidditch match is held. You'll be able to sign up for it, and if you do, you'll be sorted in to a team, there are no house teams involved; all students play against each other, even if they used to be in the same house. There are also just two teams, but if you sign up early, then you'll be able to play. I'm sure of it, and Draco has already told me that he is going to sign up, I hope you will too,”

“I don't think so, I mean, I just learned how to sit up on a broom, Narcissa. I'm hardly good enough.”

“Rubbish,” she snorted and gave my shoulder a light squeeze, “Draco said that you're a natural. Please, sign up for it. For me?”

She glanced over at her awards and a sad expression fell up on her face as she subconsciously stroked her left hand. As much as it sounded like a horrible idea, I couldn't say no. But, I could always happen to sign up a bit too late...

“Okay, I'll do it,” I regretted it as soon as I said it, but the look on her face made my regret vanish, she really looked like a child on Christmas, I was almost expecting her to break out in Christmas carols. The thought made me smile.

“You will?” She said excitedly, “Can I come watch? Silly me, of course I can. Oh, I can hardly wait!”

Then it seemed as if she remembered something, something that made her smile fade and her hand fell from my shoulder. Her blue grey eyes were suddenly nervous, and I looked at her worriedly.

“Oh, Hermione...” her voice was just a low whisper and I leaned closer to be able to hear her better, “I did it.”

I was confused to say the least, my eyes furrowed as I looked at her, “Did what?” I whispered back to her, not quite sure why we were whispering.

“I wrote Andromeda...”

“Oh.”

“Yeah. Oh.”

I stared at her, she was obviously as shocked as I was, I mean... I hadn't thought that she would to it, not after how terrified she had sounded at the idea when I had brought it up not so long ago.

When I was able to talk again, I asked her if she had received a reply yet, but she hadn't.

“No,” she sighed, “Not yet, and I understand if she would chose to ignore me, from how I have acted, I certainly deserve it.”

She looked as if she wanted to run her fingers through her hair, but as if remembering that her hair was pulled back in a bun, instead she just cleared her voice a bit, waiting for me to say something I guessed.

“Well, that would be wrong of her, to not give you a second chance, I mean. You do deserve it, Narcissa,” I tried to make her feel better at the same time as I spoke the truth. She gave me a faint smile as if my words didn't actually make a difference in how she felt about the situation.

“I think she'll write you back,” I said more loudly and as I did, she actually looked at me and seemed to be listening, “Your sister isn't stupid, you know. I think she'll give you that second chance which you want.”

She didn't say anything more about it, and neither did I. What more was it to say? Time would tell if she wrote back and until then, all we could do was to wait.

So, instead of saying anything more about the Andromeda thing, Narcissa chose to change the topic.

“What ever shall we do with your hair tomorrow?”

Her hand came to touch the bushy mane which surrounded my face and I bit my lower lip and grimaced.

“Oh, I'll owl Paolo, I'm sure he'll be up for it, he always does my hair. I'm sure he'll have some time over to do yours as well.”

“Thanks, Narcissa,” I said and she smiled wider than she had all day, “What?”

“Just remember to call me Cissy tomorrow, when that little Parkinson is here. It'll crush her, she has never been allowed to call me that you see, though I promise you, she has tried,” Narcissa – Cissy snorted, it was obvious that she wasn't very fond of Pansy.

“I'll be sure to remember that.”

“Come on, I'll walk you to Draco's room,” she walked out of the room ahead of me and I followed as quickly as I could, though I did stop to glance around in the room. Quidditch, I shivered, I was going to play Quidditch. I'm sure Harry would have laughed so hard if he knew.















 

We made our way towards Draco's room after I closed the door behind us and as we walked we talked briefly about what was going to happen tomorrow, firstly I was to meet her down in the kitchen and have breakfast, before I would come up with her for hair and make up, then I would – finally – have some time alone before it was time to get dressed. I was already dreading it, a whole day was spent on trying to look good, and then a whole evening and night was spent in a dress and high heels. I was already dreading the high heels, I made a note to myself to be sure to ask Draco if it was possible for me to be barefoot or wear sneakers. He would probably laugh at me, though.

I smiled as I thought about how he would look if I told him that I wanted to go to the party wearing sneakers, as I realized that we had stopped in front of the door to his room, Narcissa – Cissy, I guess I could start practising right away – seemed to be waiting for me to say something or do something.

“Well...” I said awkwardly, “I'll see you tomorrow, then.”

“Goodnight, Hermione,” she smiled as she pulled me in to a hug, which made me miss my mother, and I whispered my goodnights, and then I turned to open the door as she made her way down the hallway to get to the room which I knew to belong to her and Lucius.

Oh, how curious I was to how their room looked. I sighed as I closed the door behind me and found that Draco wasn't home yet, had he and his father stopped to have a glass of fire whiskey, perhaps?

Or were they just enjoying themselves in the shops?

I smirked at the thought. They were probably trying on anything they could lay hands on, though... They would never admit it.

 

I walked in to the bathroom and washed off my face, the cold water felt so good against my warm skin, then I tried to brush my hair. Tried being the key word, I had to go back out to the bed to get my wand. I let out a frustrated cry when the wand fell out of my hand and down to the floor, things were not going my way, were they?

I managed to get back in to the bathroom without dropping anything else and cast a simple spell which made it possible for me to brush my hair. I loved magic.

Though, I couldn't help but to think about what Cissy had said about my hair. What were we going to do about it?

I brushed my teeth after I finished my hair, then I waved my wand and the lights went out in the bathroom as I walked out to change in to my pyjamas, which was actually Draco's old t-shirt. It reached me to just above my knees, so it was very big and comfy to wear.

I slid beneath the covers and made myself comfortable, I considered waiting up for Draco but I was too tired, so I just laid there and waited for sleep to take me over.

I was just about to fall asleep, you know when you are in that exact place between being awake and being asleep? When it can feel like you're about to fall out of bed, and every little sound can wake you up? Yeah, that was where I was. Just on the verge of sleeping, when I felt Draco's weight land on the bed. He pushed himself closer to me and I could feel how he cuddled up behind me and his hand went around my body as he brought his head to rest at my neck. I didn't open my eyes, though. I just smiled at the fact that he was there, and then I continued to fall asleep.













 

 

I woke up to the sound of Draco's guitar and I could tell that he was trying to play silently, but he still managed to wake me up.

“Mhm, that sounds good,” I tried to hold the yawn back, but it slipped out anyway.

“I didn't mean to wake you, love,” Draco put the guitar down and I could tell that something wasn't right, “I just couldn't sleep, you know...”

I sat up in the bed as he gave me a small smile, “Nightmare?” I guessed and he nodded, and then he shrugged and brushed his lips against mine. His hand gripped my wrist and he pulled me with him off the bed.

“Go take a shower,” he said with a tone I couldn't quite place, “I'll be waiting here, then we'll go down to have some breakfast.”

I hurried away towards the bathroom but I stopped as I reached the door, “Draco?”

“Yes?”

“Is everything okay?” I had turned around to look at him when I asked it and I saw him swallow hard, before he nodded.

“Everything is fine,” he said, and I raised my eyebrows, that was definitely a lie and he knew that I knew that, so he sighed, “It's just... Pansy, you know. She'll be here and... Well, uh. She wrote again.”

I let out a deep sigh as I heard his words. That was just what I needed, more letters from Pansy. The grip I had of the doorknob tightened and I knew that he saw that. I gave a small nod before I walked in to the bathroom and locked the door behind me. I saw that my jeans were on the bathroom floor, so I picked them out and felt something in the back pocket, slowly I pulled it out and found that it was the bag of Itching Powder which George had given me and I couldn't help but to smirk at it. Perhaps I wouldn't use it, but it was always good with a back up plan, right? I put it back in the pocket before I undressed and got in to the shower and started preparing for the day that I had in front of me. 













[First of all I'm sorry for the wait! This chapter was rejected once, due to a too detailed sexscene, but I cut it out so I hope you'll like it anyway! 
Second; , wow. Over 500 reviews! Yay! And the 500d reviewer was: Bub, Thanks! =) 
And a thanks to every single reviewer, aw! You guys are a m a z i n g! 

Second; I'm so sorry about this chapter not having much of the New Year stuff in it, but I've been so busy lately and I couldn't write this chapter any longer. I've been dealing with some emotional stuff, my Dad passed away a week ago and yeah... But I've noticed that writing really helps. Once again, I'm really glad you've all reviewed, it has really made my days much better! So, please don't hate me too much for not including more of the New Years? As you can see it will be all about it in the next chapter! 

Now, what do you think of the chapter? Harry? Ginny? Blaise and Amber? George? NARCISSA! and her writing to Andromeda? I personally liked that myself. What do you think of the Quidditch thing? I'd love to hear what you think... Wow, I'm rambling on.. Sorry! Thanks - Cathyyy - ]


Chapter 26: New Years pt. 1
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[I don't own anything except a few original characters, everything else belongs to the lovely JK Rowling. Enjoy!]












 
It didn't take long for me to be done in the bathroom, mostly because I wouldn't have to do my own hair. But I also decided not do to my make up until later, that way it would look much more fresh. Draco wasn't in the room as I walked back out, I assumed him to be downstairs with his mother and possibly father as well. I threw some clothes on without really caring what they looked like, I just needed something clean; and comfortable.

I glanced down at my watch and found that it had only been ten minutes since I walked in to the bathroom to take a shower, and it had only been ten minutes since Draco told me about the fact that Pansy had written him again, it seemed to be hours ago, perhaps because so many thoughts had been going through my mind since.

 

I knew that they were not expecting me any time soon down in the kitchen, so I went over to the bed and sat down, reached out for Draco's guitar and then I closed my eyes and started playing. It had been so long ago since I had, or so it felt. I could feel it especially on my fingers, which throbbed and started to hurt after a while, so I had to put it down.

I sighed and threw myself back on the bed, and stared up at the ceiling. I felt something underneath my head and rolled over to look at it; a letter and a note.

'Read it if you want to, no more secrets'

I knew from that note that Draco had left me with Pansy's letter, torn between reading it and leaving it be, I bit my lip and sighed. Of course I had to read it, the curiosity would eat me alive it I didn't.

Slowly I opened her letter and let my eyes take in her words, dreading each sentence.

 

Draco.

I never received a letter back from you, so either you chose to ignore me or your owl got confused, I'm hoping for option two. I'm assuming that you're still with Granger, for whatever reason. Honestly, we need to talk. I need to understand. I need to get you to understand. We belong together, you know that.

Matthew is in Azkaban, I trust you already know that, though. I'm so relieved to have him out of my life... Again, I'm so sorry that I hurt you in the past, please, forgive me?

I remember those years back in Hogwarts, when it was you and I, I was so happy. I can't understand why I threw all that away, I don't know what was wrong with me. We were supposed to get married, remember? I had our wedding planned out, it was going to take place at the Malfoy Manor, and I wanted a big ice-cream cake with strawberry flavour, but you insisted that we would have pear flavour. You wanted to marry me in the future, Draco. What do you want now? Granger? Or do you still want a pear flavoured ice-cream cake to share with me, in the future?

I won't give up until I hear you say what it is you want. I can only hope that you still want me as much as I want you.

 

Love Always

Pansy.”

 

I stared at her words and tried to imagine what Draco had felt when he read this, but my mind was blank. I had no idea how his reaction had been, though I hoped he hadn't smiled.

They had planned a freaking wedding?

Or had she planned a wedding and he had simply agreed? He had told me that he had only been with her because he was supposed to, had he planned a wedding with her for the same reason?

I decided that I needed answers, so I chose to go down to the kitchen and confront him with the letter.










 

I stormed in to the kitchen, with her letter in my hand and Draco stood up as he saw me, and he gave his mother a short excuse before motioning for me to walk in to the drawing room.

We sat down on a chair each and he took my hand, something that for the moment annoyed me. But I didn't say anything, not until it became clear to me that he wasn't going to start the conversation.

“A wedding?!” I blurted out and he hung his head and he actually chuckled.

“A freaking wedding,” he said slowly, and threw his head back and laughed, “She had a freaking wedding planned out at the age of 15!”

I just looked at him as he continued to laugh, uncontrollable, and then I couldn't help but to smile a bit myself. Even though, I couldn't really see the fun part in it. I waited for him to calm down, before I spoke again.

“From what I understand, she wasn't the only one planning it...” I made it sound like a statement more than a question, and he sobered up at once and he looked deep in to my eyes before he shifted a bit in his chair, and as he did so he got closer to me.

“Hermione, listen to me very carefully,” he said slowly and kept eye contact, “I don't want a relationship with her, and I most definitely do not want a marriage with her, what I might have agreed on in the past or said, like something as stupid as 'I want a pear flavoured cake on my wedding day' does it really matter? It's the words of a 14 year old boy who was in the mood for pear flavoured cake! It doesn't mean that I want her now and I don't want her in the future. I'm not in the mood for pear flavoured cake any more. I want vanilla and I want you,”

he didn't even try to finish the speech with a kiss as I thought he would, and neither did I, instead we sat there and looked at each other as his words which had been spoken in absolute truth hung around us.

“Okay,” I said simply.

“Okay?” he smiled at me, and I smiled weakly back, to nervous to even give him a proper smile. I gave a slow nod and he started chuckling again, “Isn't it typical her, though? Pansy, the 14 year old wedding planner...”

This time I joined his laughter as imagined him sitting there, bored out of his mind while listening to her rant on about different colours of flowers and decorations.











Narcissa entered the room and gave a soft knock on the door, and we looked over at her, with wide grins on our faces.

“Hermione, Paolo is here to do your hair, are you two done?”

I glanced over at Draco who nodded for me to go, I squeezed his hand before I got up and followed Narcissa up to the room we had been in when we had tried on dressed and I almost didn't recognize the room.

“Woah,” I said as I walked further in to the room, then I came to a halt, seeing as someone was in the room.

I assumed the man to be Paolo, he was slightly tanned and had short black hair, but he was good looking, obviously Italian.

“Ah, a challenge!” he said happily as he looked at my hair, and I frowned a bit, it wasn't very funny to hear someone call my so called hair a challenge, but he sounded happy about it, so it couldn't be that bad. I also knew that he was right.

“Hermione here needs to get fixed up for the party later, I trust that you make her look stunning.”

“Why, of course, my dear Cissy!” he made a chair appear out of thin air with a flick of his wand, and I sat down in it a bit hesitantly, “Paolo will make her look better than any other girl attending the party,” Narcissa walked out after he said that and he turned his full attention to me, “Now, Miss Granger, what ever shall we do with that hair of yours?”

“You know who I am?” I asked as his hands came up to work on my hair, Paolo laughed softly.

“Of course I do, You're Miss Hermione Granger, you helped The-Boy-Who-Lived defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,” he smiled.

“Their names are Harry and Voldemort,” I corrected him, I was rather fed up with the nicknames. He swallowed hard but his smile didn't leave his lips as he nodded.

He weighed my hair in his hands before he raised his wand and with a flick of it, the room filled with relaxing music, I closed my eyes as he continued to work with my hair.

 

Paolo spoke to me all the time, and I learned that he had a great sense of humour, he was 43 years old, he was married and had 4 kids, his wife's name was Francesca and she was Italian, the same as he. They had met while they had been in school at the age of 16, she was a Muggle-born witch just as me. His favourite colour was red, which explained the extremely red shirt he was wearing. He had known the Malfoys for a good 20 years, ever since they had met in Italy during the Malfoys vacation there, they had become friends almost instantly and Paolo had been doing Narcissas hair ever since, every event she attended; he did her hair.

He also told me that he loved working with my hair and he was almost sad when he was finished. He cast a spell which ensured me that my hair would stay in it's place for the night, and then he handed me a mirror.

 

I gasped as I saw my own reflection, my once frizzy curls had been smoothed out to soft waves, and it was as close to straight as if could get without being straight. It was also shining, and it wasn't in any way boring. It looked so much longer, but I knew that that was because it had been straightened out to it's wavey style.

“Oh my gosh! Paolo, you're amazing!”

“I know,” he said and let me stand up, “Now, meet Francesca, my wife, she'll do your make up.”

“I... What? I..” I looked around to see a woman standing there with a make up kit in her hands, she looked like I had imagined her. Tall, dark haired and absolutely gorgeous.

“Hello, Miss Granger,” she smiled friendly, “You have such gorgeous eyes, I must say... Which colour is your dress?”

“Blue,” I said, “Dark blue.”

“Of course,” she mumbled and then she said something in Italian which I couldn't understand, she smiled apologetically, “Sit down again, please.”

I did as she said and she walked up to me, then she told me to just relax and let her do her job. I nodded and gave her a smile as she charmed her things to work on my face.

The mascara levitated up to my eyes and painted my eyelashes pitch black, in many layers. Then she used a thin eyeliner and some light brown powder, I didn't have time to look more closely at it though, because she told me to close my eyes. I could feel her keep fixing up my face and then I felt a tingle of magic before she told me that I could open my eyes again.

“Done,” she said happily and held out a mirror for me.

“Already?” I asked as I reached out to take the mirror in my hand. As I looked in to the mirror, I did recognize myself, but oh... I looked so much prettier- no, that wasn't the right word. I looked rather beautiful. The make up was focused on my eyes, and she had made my eyelashes look more black, thick and so much longer. I was stunned at how she had opened up my eyes, and the light eye shadow she had used made the brown colour of my eyes so evident.

“Wow...” I whispered before I faced them both, “Thank you, so much for making me look so...”

“Absolutely stunning!” Narcissa said from across the room and I turned around and beamed at her, it was all thanks to her really. “Your friends are waiting for you in Draco's room, you can go there and take it easy for a while before it's time to get dressed, I'll come and get you and Amber when it's time.”

“Okay,” I said before I thanked Paolo and Francesca again and then I turned and walked out of the room. As soon as I set foot out side the door, however, I ran my fingers through my hair. I loved it!

I wanted to jump with joy and excitement, but I just bit my lip and smiled instead, as I made my way to Draco's room.










I didn't bother knocking as I walked in to his room, I found him, Blaise and Amber sitting on the bed, looking awfully bored. Amber looked beautiful, her long blonde hair hung down her back in stunning curls and she wore close to no make up at all, just a little mascara.

Draco had styled his hair somewhat, it wasn't as messy like it usually was. It kind of reminded me of how he had looked on the Yule Ball, in forth year. Some of his hair hung in his eyes and looked damn hot. Even though I loved his messy hair more than the current hairstyle, I still thought it looked good.

Blaises black hair was messy, however, and I knew he loved it that way, he wouldn't change it just because of a party, no, Blaise wasn't like that.

“Hey, guys,” I said as I closed the door behind me and walked towards the bed, though I stopped as I saw that they were all staring at me. “What?”

“Where's Hermione?” said Blaise as he looked at me, wide eyed.

“You like it?” I grinned as I sat down on the bed. I saw a bag of candy on the bed and reached down and picked up a Chocolate Frog, “Amber, you look great,” I said before I put the chocolate in my mouth and she smiled happily.

“Oh? Thanks. I wasn't sure about the hair...” as she spoke she looked at Blaise and ran her fingers through his hair, he just sat there and stared at his candy, letting her do whatever she wanted to his hair. “I do think this looks good, even though you haven't done anything to it.”

He didn't answer, though I saw how he smiled and let her continue play with his hair, I thought they were adorable. “And, Hermione, in case you didn't know.... You look absolutely stunning.”

“Thanks...” I blushed deeply and then I looked up as I felt someone's finger on the corner of my mouth, it was Draco's.

“You had a bit of chocolate there,” he grinned at me before he leaned back again and I furrowed my eyebrows.

“Hey,” I said and he looked back at me, “Come back here, I've missed you!”

He grinned even wider as he came closer and gave me a quick kiss. I sighed and leaned my head towards his shoulder, then I tilted my head up and he kissed me again, not for long though. As I looked over at our friends I saw their grins, and stuck my tongue out.

Blaise rolled his eyes while Amber giggled, I sighed and took another Chocolate Frog. 








 

 

 

2 hours and sixteen Chocolate Frogs later, Narcissa knocked on the door as she came to get me and Amber, apparently it was time to get dressed.

Amber and I followed Narcissa as she walked towards the end of the hall, then she opened the door to her and Lucius' bedroom, I think my heart started to beat faster as I walked inside and looked around.

I was in Narcissa and Lucius Malfoys bedroom, how surreal wasn't that?

It was very nicely decorated, the walls were eggshell white and the bed was dark brown and it matched the wooden floor, which had the exact same tone of brown, however, I didn't have time to take in my surroundings as Narcissa pressed a box in my hands, it was rather big and black. I looked up at her with furrowed brows.

“Your shoes, dear,” she said with a shrug, before she handed Amber a similar box, only hers was white. “Don't put them on yet, dresses first, ladies.”

She was in a very good mood, I could tell, as she went over to a big closet and as she opened it I saw three dresses hanging there, apart from mine and Narcissas, there was also a yellow one, which I understood to be Ambers.

I walked up and got my dress before I asked Narcissa where I could change in to it, she just smiled and told me that they would turn around as I changed.

 

The blue dress looked just as beautiful as it had the first time I had tried it on, and I was very pleased with my choice of dress. I spun around to see Narcissa in her dark green, full length dress which I had seen before, but I also saw Amber and I was taken aback at how she looked.

Standing there in a yellow, strapless, cocktail dress with soft silk chiffon ruffles which was cinched with a silk satin sash and a bow empire at the waist, she looked absolutely breathtaking, even more so as her blonde hair hung down her chest. I noticed that she had put on her shoes, a pair of white high heels, I could only guess that mine were the same but black. As I looked in the box I saw that I had been right, but I refused to put them on just yet, I knew that my feet were sure to hurt by the end of the night, so I wouldn't make it worse by putting them on too soon.

“Hermione, dear...” Narcissa said as I put the shoes back in the box, “They are charmed, it'll feel as if you're walking in normal shoes,” she laughed softly at my reaction. I pretty much tore the box back open and put them on, she was right; it was just like normal shoes, only I got much taller.

I thanked Merlin for magic, before I looked in the mirror, the reflection showed three witches looking their absolute best.

 

“What time is it?” I asked after a while, as I subconsciously played with my necklace, the one Draco had given me for Christmas, and Narcissa answered me that it was close to eight, which was the time when all the guest would start to arrive, so we would probably start going down soon.

“Why can't I see Draco before going down?” I asked, for the millionth time and both witches groaned, they were quite fed up with the question by the sounds of it. “You don't need to answer it again,” I sighed.

“Getting impatient, are we?” Cissy teased as she glanced at her watch again, and I grinned.

“I'm not the only one, eh?”

Narcissa gave me a small smile before she stood up, “Right. Hermione, Amber... Pansy will be here today, I have no idea if Violet will be here, but it doesn't really matter, she can't do much harm anyway. Pansy on the other hand, I have no idea to how far she's willing to take this, but if I know the Parkinsons as good as I'd like to believe, then we've got a bit of a problem. See, they're used to getting what they want, and from what I understand, Pansy wants Draco. She'll lie, manipulate and seduce to get what she wants, or so I would assume. Given that they've got a history, well... What's our plan?”

“Our... plan?” I said and shook my head, “Can we really do anything else but to let Draco tell her off? I mean, it's up to him, really, isn't it?”

“Hermione, no. Well, yes, but no. Lucius and I need to show her and her whole family that we've accepted you, and that you're part of the family now, and Amber and Blaise needs to show her that they are better friends with you than they are with her and you need to show her that Draco is yours and that you have no intention on letting him go, especially not to her. Because if we don't, then I don't think she'll understand that she's not welcome here. I believe that she thinks that the only one who likes you here is Draco, and that the rest of us wants you to go, but we all know that's not the case. You've even gotten Lucius on your side, and that's saying something.”

 

I just looked at her, and then I nodded; I understood. It wasn't just Parkinson vs. Granger, it was Parkinson vs. All of us.

“I wonder if you could slip some of the Itching Powder in her drink...?” said Amber thoughtfully and I laughed out loud, and then I shook my head.

“That might be dangerous, I don't wanna kill her, for crying out loud. Well, sometimes I do, but that's beside the point...” I trailed off as I saw their amused faces, “Oh, well. Let's just take things as they come, eh?”

They both agreed and then Narcissa looked at her watch again, “We should be getting downstairs now, they'll be coming any minute.”











We walked down the stairs and at the end of the staircase stood Lucius, Blaise and Draco. Never before in my life had I seen Draco look so good, he looked better than he had at the Yule Ball, he looked, well... He looked better than ever, as he looked up at me and I got sucked in to his eyes, his grey eyes sparkled as he watched me walk down to stand in front of him. I got a closer look at what he was wearing; a pair of black trousers, a white shirt and a black jacket which was open, I noticed that his father was wearing a tie, but Draco had ditched his, and I was glad he did. He had left one of the buttons on the shirt unbuttoned making him look dressed up still not too dressed up. This was a party after all, not a Ball.

Though, I was sure that there would be dancing involved.

Blaise was wearing a pair of black trousers, a white shirt and a loose hanging tie, and he still looked as if he had just woken up, though Ambers dress was pretty enough for the both of them.

“You look...” Draco gestured at my looks as if he couldn't find the right word.

“So do you,” I replied and then I saw a waiter advance us with champagne glasses on a tray in his hands, “When did you hire waiters?”

“Oh, uh... I have no idea,” he shrugged and nodded towards his mum, “She takes care of all that stuff.”

“Oh,” I was offered a glass of champagne and I thanked the waiter, I would have assumed that House elves would have been serving drinks but no. I held the glass in my hand, though I didn't drink it because I waited for the others to do so.

Lucius raised his glass, making everyone else do so, including me.

“Happy New Years,” he said before taking a sip of his champagne, the rest of us followed his lead.

Draco took my hand and led me in to the drawing room, which had been emptied of it's furniture and was full of silver and white decorations. Personally I thought it looked even better than the Great Hall had done during the Yule Ball.

“So, d'you reckon Pansy will be arriving early or be... what's the phrase I'm looking for, ah, fashionably late?”

“Early,” Draco and I answered at the same time and as the first couple of people entered the Manor, I held my breath and scanned the room, so far; no Pansy. I let out the breath I had been holding and shook my head to gather my thoughts, the fact that I would have to be in the same room as my boyfriends ex, who happened to be my old classmate, made me sick and nervous.

I took another sip of champagne before Draco started to introduce me to some of his parents friends and such. I briefly wondered how many of them had been on Voldemorts side during the war, and how many of them that shared the same beliefs as the ones he had.

I got many compliments on my dress and I thanked them politely, I wasn't sure what to say to people, so I only spoke when spoken to.

“You're being awfully quiet,” murmured Draco in my ear just after I had been introduced to a middle aged woman who I couldn't even remember the name of. Perhaps it had been Beatrice? I shrugged it off.

“I know, I'm not used to these kind of events, I feel out of place and awkward and the fact that I feel like a giant with these shoes on isn't helping.”

Draco chuckled, “Oh, sweetheart...”

My heart skipped a beat as he called me that and I smiled at him, he returned the smile before another man came to shake his hand. I understood him to be a man of great importance, from

how Draco acted towards him, most likely a Pureblood.

“And this lovely lady is your girlfriend?” he asked, making me snap out of my thoughts, I gave him a small smile as Draco confirmed that.

“Yes, she is.”

The man held his hand out for me, and I shook it gently. “My name is Gaubert Bianchetti, and you are?”

“Hermione Granger, nice to meet you, Mr Bianchetti,” I could see him frown slightly at my Muggle name, but at the same time he seemed to recognize it. I, however, did recognize his name, the Bianchetti's were a rather famous French family, Purebloods indeed.

“Indeed, Miss Granger, how did you and Mr Malfoy get to know each other, if I may ask?”

I felt as if I was being interrogated, it wasn't a pleasant feeling, but I decided that it would be rude to just storm off and ignore the questions I knew would be asked during the evening.

“We first met at Hogwarts at the age of eleven,” I answered politely.

“And you've been friends ever since?” He smiled, but it didn't quite reach his eyes, Draco's hold of my hand got a little bit tighter as if he could sense that I didn't like Gaubert at all.

“Not exactly, we only started getting along in October, but ever since then... We've, well,” I couldn't find the right word to describe it, but thankfully I didn't have to stand there and feel stupid, because Lucius called for Draco and we excused ourselves and walked over to him.

“She's here,” he said once we were close enough and we both took a deep breath, “Thought you'd like to know.”

 

The warning came just in time, because when I turned to look towards the door, she was already making her way over towards us, while completely ignoring me. She wouldn't even look at me.

Pansy wore a pink halter-neck dress, which reached the floor, but the side of it was slit all the way up to the beginning of her thigh.

The pink dress made her look so pale and her curls danced down her back in the most unflattering way. Oh, who was I kidding? She was beautiful, for once in her life.

She greeted Lucius and Narcissa, and complimented Narcissa for how the Manor looked.

“It has never looked more enchanting, Mrs Malfoy, you have really outdone yourself,” her voice was different, not as high pitched as I remembered it to be. She also complimented Narcissas dress before she turned to Draco and hesitated before she smiled a bit, “Draco, it's so good to see you again.”

“Pansy,” he simple acknowledged her, but nothing more, instead he turned to face me, clearly not knowing what to say. I guess he said the first thing that came to mind, “Have you seen Blaise or Amber?”

“Or?” I grinned, despite the fact that Pansy stood just centimetres away, I felt at ease, “Come on, you don't see one without the other. But, no, I haven't seen them.”

I let my eyes search the room before I locked eyes with Narcissa, “Have you seen them, Cissy?”

Pansy coughed in surprise at what I called Narcissa, clearly not expecting it, but other than that, she didn't show any sign that she had heard me speaking at all.

“Afraid not, dear. Oh, you and Draco shouldn't stand around here, go enjoy yourselves, it's a party after all. I bet you don't want to spend all your time here with us old people,” she meant her and Lucius of course, and Draco nodded and turned to walk towards what I guess could be called the dance floor.

“Miss Parkinson, where are your parents? I would love to speak to them,” Narcissa said as we walked away, I could hear a frustrated sigh from Pansy.

“They're over here, follow me,” she said, obviously disappointed over the fact that she hadn't gotten to speak to Draco.











Draco was distant, he barely spoke at all for the next twenty minutes or so, even after we had found Blaise and Amber, not even Blaise could make him snap back to reality.

I got a bad feeling about the whole evening, even worse than I had when I had read her letter, what was it that had made Draco so distant? I nudged his elbow, making him look down at me.

“Wanna get something to drink... or maybe we could dance or something?” I felt so awkward when I asked him that. He simply nodded and walked me out to the dance floor where several other people were dancing to the soft, slow tune which was being played at the moment. “Talk Draco,” I begged, “What's bothering you?”

“It's nothing,” he replied and continued to move to the music, his hands resting on my hips.

“Do you think I'm stupid?” I lowered my voice, “You've been in some other world since that stupid little witch walked in here...”

“It's not that,” he sighed, “I just, well, I have to talk to her, don't I?”

“Not if you don't want to.”

“If I don't talk to her, then she'll never understand...” he let out a sigh and pulled me closer to him and looked down on me, “I have to talk to her.”

“Do you have to talk to her now?” I asked and leaned my head on his chest, “Can't you wait until later?”

“Yeah, I can. Right now, this is all that matters,” he kissed the top of my head as we danced.

As the song came to an end, we walked to stand by the wall, right next to a window where our friends joined us. They explained that they had gone to get drinks, and I realized how thirsty I was, since I had finished the glass of champagne a while back. Not that there was much in that glass, anyway. Amber excused herself and walked to greet some of her old friends, and she ended up staying there; talking to them.

Blaise didn't seem to mind, though, as he gladly spoke to Draco. In the middle of a conversation which I think was about Quidditch, I wasn't really paying attention, Draco interrupted Blaise.

“Mind following me to get some drinks?” he said, and Blaise nodded as he continued to talk, but I could tell that Draco wasn't really listening to him as he faced me, “I'll be right back, love. Can I get you anything?”

“Just something to drink, thanks,” I replied instantly and he nodded before he walked off with Blaise. I couldn't help but to wonder why I never called him something like that; love, honey, baby... Then I almost burst out laughing at how stupid I would sound if I ever said that.

My eyes took in the room in front of me, I couldn't believe how many people fitted in it, they must have made the room bigger somehow, how else would they be able to have over a hundred of guests there?

I felt rather lonely as I stood there and waited for them to come back, and I had no idea how long it would take for them either.

 

I saw how Pansy advanced on me as I stood in the corner of the room and I took back what I had been thinking just seconds ago, I really didn't mind feeling a bit lonely. I'd rather be lonely than to have her as company.

She sneered at me as she stopped beside me and to anyone who didn't know us, it would look like two friends were having a friendly conversation.

“Mudblood,” She greeted coldly, not so much on the modest side now that we were alone.

“Pugface slut,” I acknowledged. I could almost hear how she gritted her teeth, “Enjoying yourself?”

“Oh yes. I am always enjoying my stays at the Manor,” She smiled a sickening smile and I glared at her. “I used to spend so much time here when I was with Draco, has he mentioned that?”

“No, he tends to stay away from topics that might make him gag,” I smirked as her face fell, “While we are making conversation, I heard you and Matthew Raven are... What's the phrase I'm looking for... Going steady?”

Pansy snorted in a very un-lady like way and took a sip of her champagne, “We were.”

“Oh?” I said while letting my eyes wander the room.

“Yes, but then I came to my senses,” she said arrogantly.

“You mean, then he was stripped off his wand and thrown in to Azkaban?”

She ignored me completely and carried on as if I had never spoke, “You see, Draco is mine, he has always been and he will always be. Don't you think for one second that a filthy little Mudblood as yourself will keep me from being with him.”

That made me turn around to look at her, to say something back but I didn't even have a chance to open my mouth before she continued. “Do you think he loves you?” she mocked and let out a cold, low laugh. “I don't know why he is with you, but to think that a Malfoy would ever love a Mudblood, well if you thought that for a second then I almost feel sorry for you, because a Malfoy would never love a Mudblood.”

It was like being slapped across the face. The way she said it; as if it was perfectly clear. She said it like a brutal, cold truth; a Malfoy would never love a Mudblood.

I felt the lump in my throat and swallowed in attempt to make it go away. Her lips curled up to a evil smile as I remembered what Blaise had told me a long time ago. No, I don't think he loved her.

“Right, Parkinson,” I said, my voice strong as ever, “What do I have other than his words? I have nothing at all, nothing but the feeling I get whenever I'm near him, whenever I touch him, whenever I kiss him. I have him, and that is more than you can say, isn't it? You had him once, and you didn't even care!” I realized that I had raised my voice and lowered it to a mere hiss as I continued. “You don't deserve him, Parkinson, you don't bloody deserve him.”

“How dare you speak to me like that? You don't know anything about me and Draco!”

“I know you cheated on him with Raven, I know you were flirting with every living thing while being together with him. I can even go as far as saying that I know that you were behind the potion which nearly killed him. It disgusts me. You can call me a filthy Mudblood all you want, we all know who the filthy one of us is.”

I realized that we were glaring right at one another, tension hanging around us, yet; no one around us had noticed a thing. The argument had been kept between us and I was glad for that, well, I would be glad about it if I would have been able to feel anything else but extreme anger.

“You... You!” I honestly thought she would slap me, but before she could even raise her hand, I heard someone clear their voice behind her, and glanced over her shoulder to see Blaise and Draco stand there, without a words, Draco stepped between us and handed me my drink. I thanked him with a nod, a bit ashamed over how I had been acting.

“Draco, I have to talk to you,” Pansy said, sounding more calm as she spoke, though I could hear how upset she was. Draco's jaw clenched before he handed me his glass, and gave her a nod.

“Hermione, I'll be right back. This shouldn't take very long,” he kissed my forehead and I heard Pansy snort, obviously him touching me was something she didn't like. I nodded, and tried to smile; I think it came out as a grimace more than a smile, though.

He turned and walked after her, as she led him away from all the people to a more quiet place, I guessed. I saw how she reached for his hand, but he flinched away as if she had burned him, after that she didn't even try to touch him.

As they disappeared behind a corner, I let out a shaky breath and closed my eyes. I couldn't stand knowing that she was alone with him, I couldn't stand not knowing what they were talking about.

“Take these,” I said and held out the drinks, Blaise took them and put them down on a table behind him. I ran my fingers through my hair as I thought about what she had told me, I told myself over and over again that she was wrong. “Can a Malfoy ever love a Mudblood?” I asked out loud and I didn't even realize that I had, before Blaise answered me.

“Draco loves you, Hermione. Don't listen to her, she's full of shit!” He took a hold of my upper arms and shook me a bit, “Come on, you know that Draco would choose you over her any day, right?”

“Right...” I said hesitantly, “But they had a wedding planned out.”

“They had a what?” Blaise asked, before he chuckled as well, “Honey, I think those plans vanished when he walked in on her and Raven.”

“I... Yeah, you're right. I'm worrying for nothing,” I said and shook my head a bit, “I'm dizzy.”

Blaise walked me to a nearby chair and sat down with me, I was careful not to break my dress. That would just be perfect, wouldn't it? I thought sarcastically as I took a sip of the drink Draco had brought me.

“Maybe you shouldn't drink if you're dizzy,” Blaise suggested and I agreed, but still took another sip. “Where the heck is my girl?”

“Over there, somewhere,” I waved my hand her direction and he searched the room for her, and looked awfully sad when he couldn't see her. “You two should be glued together...”

“Funny,” he snorted and then he grabbed my hand, “Relax, Hermione! Merlin, you don't have to be nervous.”

“How would you feel if that was Amber away talking to her crazy ex?”

“Uh...”

“Exactly, now don't tell me how to act.”

 

 

He remained silent for a long twenty minutes, and so did I. I actually didn't say anything, not even as I stood up to go look for Draco. In my opinion it had been too long since he went and I began to get beyond nervous.

“Where are you going?” Blaise called after me as I made my way through the room, I could hear him running after me, then carefully grabbing my arm, “He needs to talk to her, okay? Just let him.”

“I'm not going to interrupt their conversation, Blaise. I just have a really bad feeling about this,” as I said it, he let go and nodded.

“Fine, but I'm going with you.”






I knew I couldn't stop him even if I'd like to, so we walked together towards where they had been, rounded the corner in silence and walked down the hall, which led to yet another corner, though we stopped before we had a chance to round that corner. They were arguing, loudly. Blaise sat up a Silencing Charm around us and them so that none of the guest would hear, since that was something they hadn't thought about.

I hated the fact that I couldn't see them from where I stood, but I could hear them loud and clearly. Her shouts were louder than his, which would occasionally turn in to hisses instead.

“She's a Mudblood!” Pansy cried out all of the sudden, while they had been discussing Matthew Raven, obviously a topic she wanted to stay away from.

“What does that have to do with anything?” he said, calmly this time, as if this was something he has expected her to say sooner or later.

“Oh, come off it, Draco. You hate Mudbloods and Bloodtraitors as well, and now you are one, aren't you? Or do you have a plan behind all this? Are you only with her to break her?”

There was not even a second of silence before Draco responded, just as calm, “No plan, no hidden agendas. I just want to be with her.”

“What about me?” Pansy said, sounding as if she was on the verge of crying, “What about what we had?”

“You threw all that away on your own, Pansy.”

“No!” She screamed, and I jumped at the sudden sound of it, “Do not blame it all on me, you were the one who changed in the first place, you grew colder... You stopped talking to me, and you stopped... Everything! It was like you weren't there!”

“Because He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Bloody-Named gave me a impossible task, you stupid little...Argh! You have any idea what kind of stress I was under, that year? How close I was to breaking down? No, you didn't notice a thing, because you were always off fucking boys in cupboards and Merlin knows where.”

“I'm sorry! How many times do I have to tell you that I'm sorry?!”

“It doesn't matter how many times you say it, and it doesn't matter if I forgive you. It wont change anything.”

There was a deafening silence before Pansy spoke again.

“Isn't there anything I can do, for you do give me a second chance?” Her voice was small, almost pleading, and I held my breath and waited.

But he didn't answer, I glanced at Blaise who's eyebrows were furrowed, and then I took a shaky breath before I looked around the corner and froze.

It felt as if my insides had turned to ice, my feet rooted to the ground and my mouth went dry.

Pansy had her lips against his, and she pressed even closer to him.

I wanted to look away but I couldn't. I wanted to scream but I couldn't. I knew that Blaise was watching as well, but I couldn't bring myself to look at his face, to look into his eyes. I swallowed hard to be able to breathe again as Draco's hands travelled up her arms and up to her shoulders as she, by the looks of it, deepened the kiss. 








[Evil, aren't I? hee hee! 
The long awaited New Years party has begun, and yes; it'll be 2 parts!(to make up for the long wait)
and oh my gosh, 50 000 reads, yay!!! 
Okay, I've got something to ask you; I've been writing on this short story which I call 'Oh, Blaise...', which is about how Amber and Blaise got together, would you like me to post it? 
And how do you like this chapter? How is Pansy? Did I do a good job? 
Tell me what you think, I need to know! =D Thanks, - Cathyyy-] PS. go to my Meet the Author page, to ask me questions! =D


Chapter 27: New Years pt. 2
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[As always, I don't own anything apart from the plot and some original characters! Everything else belongs to JK. Rowling. Enjoy! :) ]










 
For a moment, nothing happened, from Draco's side at least; he just stood there and let her kiss him but then his hands went from her shoulders to grab a hold of her wrists, as her hands rested on his chest, then he pushed her away from him with force, while still holding her hands. Abruptly he let her go, as if she had burned him. He wiped his mouth off with the back of his hand as he glared at her. As he turned around he saw me standing there, wide eyed and shocked. Tears were in my eyes, none yet fallen, and I couldn't breathe.

“Hermione...” He began but stopped speaking as I shook my head, then he took a deep breath, “How long have you been standing there?”

I couldn't answer him, I just looked at him, glad that he had pushed her away but not quite understanding why he hadn't done it sooner.

“Long enough,” replied Blaise, as he took a step forward, “Parkinson, would you mind leaving?”

“Oh, please, we're on last names basis now, Zabini?”

“You bet we are,” he snarled and looked as if he could have spit in her face, and I think she realized just how pissed off he was at her because she couldn't look him in the eye, “Leave.”

“If I leave or not is up to Draco. If he wants me to stay then I'll stay, if he wants me to-”

“Leave,” Draco said and turned his head to glare at her with his grey eyes “We're done, so leave. Enjoy the party, do whatever you like, as long as you do it far away from me.”

“Draco...” she pleaded, as she took a step towards him.

“Leave!”

Pansy looked at him for a second, before she turned around and walked away, though she stopped right beside me and hissed in my ear.

“It's not over, Mudblood.”

I got a weird sense of deja vú... Yes, Matthew Raven had said something similar four months ago, after he poisoned Draco. I closed my eyes as she pushed past me, and as I opened them again, she was gone. Leaving Draco, Blaise and me alone, staring at each other.

“How could you?” I whispered as I stared at Draco, his lips parted and he shook his head.

“Hermione, I didn't...I pushed her away. She kissed me, not the other way around....”

“I stood right here, Draco, you had the opportunity to push her away a lot earlier than you did!” I wiped away a tear which had managed to escape down my cheek.

“Calm down, girl,” Blaise put his hand on my shoulder as if that would help me relax, I shrugged it off and kept staring at Draco, who looked as if he couldn't speak at all, as if he had run out of words, he just looked very, very lost and confused and so very disappointed.

Why the heck is he looking disappointed? I thought briefly before he started to walk towards me.

“Don't, I... I need to... Just, don't,” I said and walked away from there, leaving them both behind, I could feel their eyes on me as I walked away, I could hear Blaise calling my name, but I needed to be alone for a while.

I wished that they would understand that I needed some alone-time, I walked back in to the drawing room, where people were laughing and having a great time and realized that I couldn't stand it there, I grabbed a glass of champagne of a tray and then I walked out of the room and in to the closest bathroom I could find. 

When in there, I sank down to the floor, not caring if my dress split open, or if it got dirty. 
Not that the bathroom was filthy or anything, nothing in the Manor is filthy.

Oh, right, apart from me, I thought sarcastically as I thought back to what Pansy had been saying to me.

I drained my glass of champagne, and leaned my head back against the wall, and ran my fingers through my smooth straightened hair. This night was supposed to be perfect, and then that pugfaced bitch had to come and screw it all up by kissing my boyfriend, who had – at first – let her do so.

I had the right to be upset, didn't I?

The champagne went straight to my head and I shook it slightly, in hopes that the dizzy feeling would go away. It didn't.










 

I felt rather pathetic as I sat there, hiding in a bathroom, with a empty champagne glass next to me. I couldn't help but to chuckle for myself, which grew in to a laughter before I managed to get it under control and quieted down. I did so just in time, for the door opened just seconds later and in came a person dressed in pink, and she closed the door behind her, not realizing that she wasn't alone. I could hear how she tried to calm herself down.

“Filthy Mudblood...” She muttered angrily and then she turned her face to look in the mirror, and as she did; she saw me sitting there and her eyes widened before they darkened with pure hate, “Speak of the devil...”

Her sneer annoyed me and I rolled my eyes before I decided to stand up, I didn't like the idea of her looking down at me. When we were on eye level again, I took a calming breath.

“And the devil shall appear,” I finished her sentence and raised my eyebrow, “Did you want anything, Parkinson?”

“I didn't know that you were in here, believe me, if I had known, then I wouldn't gave even thought about entering. It reeks of Mudblood in here,” she looked at me, disgusted.

“Is that really the only word you know? It's getting boring,” I gave her what I believed to be a very bored expression and she leaned back to look at me, she even tilted her head to the side.

“Speaking of boring, I can't believe that Draco hasn't grown bored with you yet, I mean... Look at you, you even look boring.”

“Yeah, well, obviously he sees something in me that you can't.”

“Obviously he does...”

I was glad that neither of us was carrying our wands, or a duel would have started right then and there, instead I calmly stared at her, trying to find one good reason not to slap her across the face.

I couldn't come up with any, but I was interrupted as she spoke again.

“You know, Granger, he and I are meant to be-”

“I don't think he would agree on that, but sure, go on.”

“As I was saying,” she spat out, “We're meant to be, we had our lives planned out, we were going to get ma-”

“Married and have a big pear flavoured cake, yadda yadda yadda,” I hated her, oh I hated her so much. Images of her and Draco appeared in my head, of them kissing, of him not pushing her away but then I saw how he did push her away, “Hate to break it to you, but he doesn't want pear any more, he told me this morning after he let me read your letter, he wants vanilla now.”

I thought back to the conversation that I had had with Draco earlier the same day and smiled at the thought, he wanted vanilla, he wanted me.

My smile fell as I felt a sting on my chin, and it took me a while to realize that she had slapped me, I looked up at her and saw how furious she was, she was almost shaking and with a growl she lunged forward; towards me.
 I swiftly moved out of the way, but she caught my hair and yanked me back to her but I used my nails to get her fingers to let go of my hair, and I swirled around and slapped her, just as hard. It felt good to do so, but it only made her more angry.

I couldn't help but to let out a 'Oops' as she made a move to hit me again, while yelling at me that I was a filthy Mudblood.

“You really can't come up with anything else to call me?” I mocked as I tried to keep her hands from my face, also I tried really hard not to rip the dress open.

“You think you're special to him, Granger?” She snarled as she clenched her fists and made a move to hit my face, my nose to be more exact, “You're just another notch at his bedpost.”

I froze for a second, and that was all she needed to get the upper hand, her fist collided with my face, making my head slam back against the wall, and I let out a groan. I was sure I was bleeding not only from my split lip, but also from the back of my head, I reached to touch the back of my head, and sure enough, I could feel something wet and warm.

My eyes filled with tears but I refused to let them fall. Her words rang in my head, 'Just another notch...' I pushed her off me and delivered a punch to her stomach, which was the only place I could reach, but my head was making me dizzy, and I found it hard to really focus on her. I wished that she could just get off me and as the room began to spin around me I heard something faintly, it might have been a door opening, and she was being pulled off my body as if someone had heard my wish. 

The dizziness was almost overwhelming as I stared in to her livid face and could see that she was bleeding as well, apparently I had hit hard and she also had cuts from my nails in her face. My head was throbbing, so I sat down on the toilet, and looked up at her again, struggling against Blaise's hold on her, but she couldn't get away; he was very strong.

Slowly, I wiped the blood off my face, forced myself to stand up despite the way the room spun and walked towards her, Blaise gave me a odd look but I ignored him and looked down at my hands.

“Mudblood...” I mumbled, but I knew she heard me, then I looked in to her eyes as I brought my hand to her face and smeared out the blood on it, “How does it feel? To have my dirty blood on your face?”

She screamed at Blaise to let her go, she flat out refused to acknowledge my actions, something I could understand. I groaned as the throbbing in my head increased, and I had to lean against the wall for support. It felt as if I was going to faint.

“Hermione?” Blaise said and his voice was filled with concern, “Are you alright?”

I shook my head and realized that it was a bad thing to do.

“Get out of my way,” I heard Draco say before he pushed Blaise and a still struggling Pansy out of the way and made his way towards me, “Oh, Merlin...”

I remembered how panicked he had been over my accident on the beach and that had just been a cut in the foot, I imagined that I looked a bit worse at the moment.

“My head,” I whispered and leaned forward so that he could have a look at it, “Is it bad?”

I don't know what made me ask that question, but I did. Draco just nodded a bit.

“I'll go get father,” he said and pushed me down to sit on the toilet again, “Don't move,” he ordered me before he turned to walk out, but he stopped by Pansy and Blaise and just glared at her. No words needed, that look said it all.






Moments later he returned, both Lucius and Narcissa followed him and Lucius walked up to me, and healed me quickly. It stopped hurting and I stopped bleeding, but the dizzy feeling wouldn't go away.

“Thanks...” I mumbled as he finished up and he actually smiled a bit, a feeling I couldn't place rushed through me and I smiled back.

Lucius helped me to stand and I found myself in the middle of the group of people, since he had pushed me before him.

“Release the girl,” Lucius told Blaise, who looked uncertain of what to do. Probably sensing that she would try to hurt someone again, “Do as I say, Blaise. We don't have time for you to dawdle, we have guests out there,” as he spoke he took out his wand but he didn't raise it. Pansy stopped struggling at the sight of it, though.

Her face still bled, she wasn't about to get healed by Lucius, that much she understood. She looked scared shitless as she glanced between Lucius' face and his wand, and I almost felt sorry for her. Almost.

“I'm not going to hurt you, but if you don't get out of our Manor as fast as you can, Miss Parkinson, I might just send you flying out.”

She looked torn between running out of there, and staying in the hopes that he wouldn't actually throw her out.

“Mr Malfoy,” she began, her voice trembling just a bit, “That Mudblood attacked me for no reason and I'm the one who gets thrown out?”

“Don't call her that,” hissed Draco and stepped forward and stared her in the eye, daring her to speak against him. She kept quiet but didn't look away, “Would you just give up? I don't want you, you hear me? I don't want you, I don't want you! How many times will I have to say it for it to sink in?”

She acted as if she didn't hear him, and whispered, “But I love you, Draco...”

“Don't lie, you don't love me. You love my money, my name, my blood. But you don't love me, I don't think you even know what love is. Also, to make it clear to you, I don't love you. I don't want you and I don't love you. Get the hell out of here,” he snarled, I could tell that he was annoyed with her, angry at her, “And if you ever hurt Hermione again, I'll be joining Raven in Azkaban for the murder of you.”

Blaise rolled his eyes at that, 'what a drama queen!' he mouthed to me, and I had to do my best not to break out in a smile. It wouldn't have been appropriate at the moment, as the tension grew in the small bathroom. Pansy looked as if she was about to put up a fight, and opened her mouth, only to close it again.

“Fine,” she said with a broken voice, “Could you at least heal me before I go out there, to get my parents? I don't think you want to have to explain to all your lovely guests why a young witch is bleeding all over...”

Lucius sneered at her, before he cast a spell, and then he told her to leave.

“You...” She shook her head, “You didn't heal me.”

“I didn't,” Lucius admitted quickly and pushed her out of the door, “I cleaned up your face, Miss Parkinson, so that the guests wouldn't wonder why a young with was bleeding all over, but they can't see the pain, can they?”

Draco rushed to my side as he saw that I was still a bit dizzy, his hand sneaked around my waist, pulled me towards him and it kept me upright. Then we followed after Lucius, Blaise and Pansy.  

“Draco?” I looked up at him, and was about to ask him what he was thinking about, but I dreaded the answer and chickened out, “My dress? Is it okay, not bloody or ripped open or...?”

“It's perfect.”

“How did you and Blaise know where I was?”

“You screamed. You wanted her off you. Didn't take long for us to understand who you meant,” he answered me before pulling me aside in to the kitchen, which was empty at the moment. I hadn't known that I had screamed, but it didn't surprise me. I was glad that they had heard me.

“What...?” I furrowed my eyebrows as he told me to sit down on a chair, and he sat down across the table.

“I don't do this a lot,” he began and at the moment he wasn't looking at me, he was looking at his hands, which were in his lap, “I'm not quite sure what do say, other than that I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I hurt you, I never meant to,” he then looked up and I met his grey eyes, “I truly am sorry. I want you to know that I didn't want her to kiss me, I should have pushed her away earlier, you're right, but I was shocked. It wasn't something I was prepared for, she practically jumped at me and I... I need to know that you know that I love you and would choose you over her any time. You do know that, right?”

“I... have doubts at times,” I admitted and regretted it as soon as I had, the look on his face just about broke my heart, he looked incredibly sad, hurt... “It's just that the things she said, about our blood and our differences, you shouldn't like me, let alone love me.”

“I don't care about blood any more,” he hissed in a low voice and I nodded quickly.

“I know that!”

“What else did she say?” he asked and his eyes hardened as I bit my lower lip, unsure if I should tell him what she said in all honesty or if that would just make him more angry. Wait, why did I even care if I got him more angry? It wasn't me he was angry at.

“She said that she couldn't understand how it was that you wasn't bored with me yet, she said that a Malfoy could never love a Mudblood, she said that I was just a...” I swallowed hard, “Another notch on your bedpost.”

“I see,” he said coldly, his jaw clenched, “And then you hit her?”

“I, uh, no...” I shifted in my chair and put my hair behind my ears, “Then she hit me.”

He sat perfectly still before he stood up furiously and grabbed a vase which he threw across the room, making me jump in my chair as it shattered against the wall, he looked as if he could have killed her if she had entered the room. He was on the verge of shaking with anger and I could see how the windows started to shake, and I was starting to get worried that his magic would become uncontrollable and break them, I didn't like how close he was to them if that would happen.

“Draco,” I said and walked up to him and put my hand on his shoulder, feeling how he became less tense at my touch, “Look at me.”

He did as I asked him to, and I saw in his eyes how he calmed down by the second.

“Apology accepted,” I mumbled and stroke his hair out of his face, “We can talk about this tomorrow. Let's not ruin what is left of this evening. Now, calm the heck down before you cover us in glass...”

He couldn't help but to smile at that, and I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the windows had stopped shaking.

Draco opened his arms and I leaned in to his embrace and closed my eyes as his arms warmed my body and the dizziness was barely there any more.

“She's out!” Blaise called before he came in to the kitchen, “You should have seen her - Oh, bad timing?”

“Like always,” mumbled Draco before he looked over at his friend, “She's out? Did she take her family with her?”

“Yup, there isn't a Parkinson left in this Manor, I promise.”

“What of Deluca's?” I asked him, and his eyebrows furrowed, “Violet Deluca, used to be Violet Parkinson, it's Pansy's cousin.”

“Oh... I don't think she was here, actually.”

I nodded and then I tilted my head up, “I need some water, hand me a glass would you?”

Draco did so, before taking his wand out of his pocket, “Aguamenti,”

“Thanks,” I said, before I brought the glass to my lips and drank, it tasted better than water had ever done before, maybe because I was so thirsty.

As I put the glass down on the table, and looked up at Blaise, who looked like a kid at Christmas.

“What did you do?” I asked, party horrified at what the answer might be.

“Well,” he said with a huge grin, “I kind of stole your little bag of Itching Powder, and I might have...thrown it in her face and hair....”

Draco tried to hide his laughter with a cough, while I stared at Blaise.

“You did what?!”

“It was a sight to be seen, all of it, right in her face. She'll be itching for weeks!”

That did it, I couldn't keep from laughing a bit myself, at the image.

Suddenly someone rushed in to the kitchen, that someone was Narcissa. Her eyes searched for me and when she saw me she lit up.

“Hermione, I... Could I talk to you for a second?” it sounded important, so I nodded and forced myself to step away from Draco's warm embrace.











I walked after Narcissa, we walked up the stairs and proceeded to make our way towards her and her husbands room. She held the door open for me and when she had walked in, she closed it.

She handed me a letter without saying anything and I looked at it, it was addressed to her and the writing seemed to belong to a woman, from the looks of it.

“May I?” I asked before opening it, she gave a short nod, and I opened the letter and read it. 

 

 

 

'Narcissa.

I was beyond surprised when I received your letter and for hours I have been staring at it, trying to think of something to write. I wasn't expecting this, at all.

And even though I was surprised, and rather shocked that you wrote, I still find myself glad.

The things you wrote, about you not being like our sister, I know you're right.

I never did understand why you acted like you did, but now you've explained yourself and I can only hope that your words are sincere.

I know you had nothing to do with Nymphadora's death, that was all Bellatrix, and somewhere in my heart I think I know that you wouldn't have hurt her, given the chance.

We've both suffered from the war, in different ways, but I wanted to tell you that I'm very glad that you wrote me. I was under the impression that you wanted nothing to do with me because of who I married, but I can tell that things like that, like blood, don't really matter to you any more.

Just look at your son, and his girlfriend, the lovely Hermione Granger, I didn't think that you or Lucius Malfoy would ever accept that, but maybe you've both changed. Him more than you, I would say. You were always so kind when we were young... When blood and hatred couldn't come between us, when it didn't matter if we looked at a Muggleborn the wrong way, or if we were kind towards House elves.

Then our parents started to teach us who we were supposed to hate, taunt and even torture. But you never did listen to them very much, did you? You would always roll your eyes, but Bellatrix listened, oh how she listened... And you wanted to be just like her, didn't you?

It's sad, how it turned out. So many deaths over such a silly thing, over a war which was wouldn't have happened had it not been for blood and hatred, and a longing for power.

We've both made mistakes, just like you said, and I agree with you when it comes to second chances.

I'm willing to give you a second chance, and I would be glad to meet you and try to put the past behind us, where it should be, Cissy.

Owl me and tell me when you can meet me and where.

 

Sincerely

Andromeda.






 

I read the letter again, and it almost brought tears to my eyes as I realized just how much this meant for Narcissa, and for Andromeda as well, I could tell from the way she wrote. She was happy that her sister had bucket up the courage to write her.

“Oh,” I breathed and looked away from the letter and in to Narcissas blue grey eyes, “This is great, Narcissa...”

“I can't believe she wrote back. I can't believe that she wants to put the past behind us. My sister actually wants to meet me...” she was on the verge of crying, but held it back and smiled instead.

“I told you she would write back, she knows you better than anyone. She's your sister. You're family. She loves you, you know.”

“I don't deserve it,” Narcissa whispered and wiped a tear away before it had fallen, “I've done horrible things in the past, I...”

“You have changed, and you do deserve it. Don't think like that, what's done is done. There is nothing you can do about that now. Besides, if it hadn't been for you, then Harry wouldn't have won the war and if it hadn't been for Draco then we, as in Harry, Ron and I, would have died that time we were brought here during the war. You're family helped the good side, and that just shows that you've changed. Don't think about the bad you've done, think of the good instead.”

“You're going to have me crying like a child, aren't you?” she said with a smile as she wiped away more tears, “You're too kind, Hermione, too forgiving.”

She hugged me, and I did the same, but it didn't feel like I was comforting her. It was a hug which normally was shared between family members.

There was a knock on the door, “Come in,” Narcissa called, and the door opened.

Lucius looked between us as we broke the hug and he looked as if he just wanted to scratch his head and say 'what the heck did I just see?'

“Something wrong?” he asked concerned after a while of staring at us, when he saw that his wife had cried a bit, he walked closer to us and put his hand on her shoulder and his thumb stroke her skin, “Narcissa, what happened?”

She simply handed the letter over to him and I saw how his eyes widened as he read it, a occasional frown, I believed he frowned as Andromeda had mentioned him. Lucius looked up from the letter and back to his wife. “Oh,” he said and then he looked at me, “You've read it, I assume?”

“Yes, I have.”

Lucius nodded softly before he handed he letter back to his wife, “How's your head, Hermione?”

“It's better, I'm not dizzy any more. Thanks again, for healing me.”

He shrugged it off, “Draco's waiting for you down stairs, it's time for the fireworks.”

 

I understood that he wanted some alone time with his wife, so I nodded and walked out of there, closed the door behind me and made my way down to see Draco again. 









Mr Bianchetti stood at the end of the staircase and he looked up to see me walk down, I gave him a small smile.

“Miss... Granger, was it?” he asked politely as I came down, and I gave a small nod and a smile.

“Yes, Mr Bianchetti,” I replied and he took my hand and gave it a small kiss, I blushed and felt a wee bit uncomfortable.

“Let me escort you in to the drawing room,” he didn't give me much option as he started walking as he spoke. “Tell me, are you from a Muggle family? I'm sorry if that's offending, it's just your name... It's very Muggle.”

“No offence taken,” I assured him, “I am a Muggleborn.”

“You are?” he sounded surprised at that, and his eyebrows rose, “I'm sorry for sounding shocked, it's just that I've never seen a Malfoy with a Muggleborn witch before. He must really love you, eh?”

I smiled at the wizard, perhaps I had been judging him. He didn't seem so bad after a while of speaking to him. I almost laughed at myself, here I had been the one who had judged persons due to their blood and not the other way around.

“Yeah, he must...” I thanked him for escorting me in as he handed me over to Draco, who had a smile on his lips as if he knew what we had been talking about.

Mr Bianchetti walked over to a woman who I believed to be his wife at the same time as Draco walked me out to a huge balcony, where several people were standing looking up at the sky as if waiting for the fireworks.

 

“What time is it?” I wondered as he stood behind me with his arms around me.

“Ten minutes to midnight,” he replied in my hear, “Are you cold?”

I shook my head 'no', but he stilled pulled me even closer to me and warmed me with his body heat.

His head turned to look to his left, I followed his gaze and my eyes landed on Blaise who had finally found Amber again, she looked at me and gave me a apologetic smile, but I gave a jerk with my head as if to say that I was okay.

“Blaise!” called Draco and he didn't have to say much more than that, because Blaise grinned and nodded before he whispered something in Ambers ear. The two of them turned and walked inside, hand in hand. Glancing up at Draco, I found him smiling down at me.

“You'll see,” his grey eyes twinkled as he tore them away from mine to look up at the sky, slowly I turned to do the same. A golden light filled the sky, sparkling and enchanting, followed by another firework which spread across the sky, this one changed colours from a bright gold to a fierce red, to a soft pink before turning in to a silver white shade, before it died it out over us, and sparkling pieces of it, which looked a lot like snowflakes fell to the ground before vanishing. Then the fireworks went off for real, different colours filled the sky at once, different patterns was being reflected in the small lake(which was surprisingly not covered in ice) which was on the left side in the garden of the Manor.

Never before had I seen so many colours at once and it was really a sight to behold.

“Do you like it?” Draco whispered in my ear, and I shivered as his warm breath tickled my skin.

“Yes...” I breathed with a small smile and leaned my head back on his chest as I continued to look at the colours that danced across the sky.

 

The fireworks didn't die out, they seemed to be endless and I caught myself thinking that Draco and Blaise must have bought everything George had.

Just as I wondered how long I had been standing there, admiring the view, the fireworks formed a '10' and everyone started to count down. Draco spun me around and looked deep in to my brown eyes, his face was being lit up by the fireworks above us.

“Nine...” he whispered and his hand travelled down to rest at the small of my back, and with that hand be pressed me closer to him. The touch was soft, gentle, and caring. He just wanted me closer.

“Eight...”

My hands moved up to rest behind his neck and I licked my rather dry lips and watched as his eyes stole a glance of them before moving up to meet my eyes again.

“Seven...”

One of his hands touched my cheek before it gently put a stray or hair behind my ear, slowly.

“Six...”

His fingers ran along my jawline before stopping at my chin, I wondered how it was that his skin was so warm against mine.

“Five...”

His thumb stroke softly over my lips, which trembled ever so lightly under his touch, it was almost as if he was afraid that I would shatter into pieces if he wasn't careful enough.

“Four...”

His eyes burned me, that's how intense he was eyeing me, I felt my knees go weak and I almost laughed at myself. It was rather silly how my body reacted from just one look from him.

“Three...”

I let my fingers play with the hair in his neck, knowing how much he loved it when I did so. Actually he loved it when I touched his hair, especially the hair in the back of his head. Softly and slowly I ran my fingers through it, tugged on it ever so lightly. His lips parted.

“Two...”

He leaned down while looking me in the eyes and I longed for his kiss. His stormy silver grey orbs looked deep in to my own, as if he tried to see my very soul. At times I thought he could. He stopped right before our lips met and breathed against my lips,

“One.”

His lips crashed down on mine, there isn't enough words to describe how it felt. No such words exist yet.

It held more passionate than the most passionate kiss, it was softer than the softest of kisses yet it was the most bruising.

It simply took my breath away, and I didn't mind; at all.

The hand which had rested on my lower back moved up to grasp my hair in attempt to press our lips closer, I was unsure if it was even possible.

His tongue teased my lip, before I let him inside where a battle between our tongues began.

It wasn't a kiss one would experience were the person who you're kissing are forcing their tongue down your throat, no, Draco knew exactly what he was doing, he had just the right amount of pressure but still kept it sweet. It was filled with a desperate need at the same time as it held all the love we felt.

After a while, we broke apart as the need for air became too much. My eyes fluttered open to look at him.

“Happy New Years, love,” he whispered while I let my hands drop from around his neck to his chest.

“Happy New Years, Draco,” I said softly before I leaned up and kissed him again. Just because I could. Just because I wanted to. Just because he was mine.

I smiled against his lips as he once again deepened the kiss, relieved that I wasn't mad at him for earlier incidents, perhaps. Or maybe he just wanted to kiss me, because he could, because he wanted to, because I was his. He had made it very clear to me which one of me and Pansy he wanted, that was really all I needed. I knew I could trust him, deep down inside of me, I knew that.

Someone interrupted our kiss by throwing their arms around the both of us and without even looking up we both knew who it was.

I looked to my side and sure enough, I was met by Blaises grinning face. Behind him stood Amber, shaking her head amused.

“I tried to stop him,” she sighed with a smile.

“But everyone knows that a Zabini cant be stopped,” said Blaise proudly as he leaned more weight on us, his left arm hung around my shoulders while his right hung over Draco's.

I simply raised an eyebrow at that and guessed that Draco did the same, before laughing a bit, by my side Draco chuckled as well.

“Oh, Blaise,” I said as I leaned my head against his arm, “Happy New Year.”

“You too, girl,” he smiled kindly before turning to Draco, “Happy New Year to you as well, mate.”

“You too, and you Amber,” he motioned for her to come closer, she stood in the background but came forward as he told her to. It was rather obvious to me that he didn't want her to feel left out.

Blaise let us go to pull his girlfriend closer to him, he kissed her on her forehead and she smiled adoringly up at him. Once again I thought they were too cute together, and looked away to see Draco looking at them. His expression was purely amused, he shook his head and caught me staring at him.

“Lovesick puppy,” he chuckled to which Blaise turned to send him a big, fat glare. I tried not to laugh, but the sight of the two boys was nearly too much, one of them looked on the verge of bursting with annoyance while the other stared at him with amusement in his grey eyes.

But I had to agree with my boyfriend, Blaise actually did look like a lovesick puppy when he looked at her like that, not that she looked any less so.

“Shut it, Malfoy,” Blaise snapped.

“So testy, Zabini,” Draco chuckled at his friend once more before he decided not to test Blaise's temperament at a place full of people. Something Blaise seemed to appreciate.

 

“Who would have thought?” Amber said after a moment of silence, she looked at the three of us before she sighed with a smile and leaned against Blaises' shoulder, “Who would have thought that the four of us would be spending New Years together and actually enjoy it? Who would have thought that three years ago?”

 

I think we all thought back to where I had been three years ago, I had been in sixth year, things had been rather easy compared to what had happened a year from that. I had been oblivious to how I would feel after the war. Harry had been obsessed with finding out what Draco had been up to, and that Potions book had been a big part of that year. Oh, how much I disliked that book. The mystery about who the Half-Blood Prince was... I had spent hours in the library trying to find anything on the person, and in the end I had found Eileen Prince, who turned out to be Snapes mother. That had been the year when Draco had been given the task. It was the year when Snape killed Dumbledore...

Amber was right, who would have thought? Not me, that's for sure. But then again I wouldn't have thought that Ron would ever hit me either, or that my friends would have turned on me the way that they had.

Who would have thought that Draco and I would be able to last as long as we had? Who would have thought that we would even stand to be in the same room, without trying to kill one another? Who would have thought... That Draco and I would love each other?

Not me, but I certainly liked how things had turned out. With new times came new friends, that was just how life was. Sure I did miss Harry and even Ron at times, but what had happened had happened. Besides, I had new friends who had stood by me when I had needed them the most, when I had been abandoned by my other friends because of who I loved, they had been there. I loved them for it. As time goes by, you learn who your true friends are.

Blaise, Amber and Draco were true friends, who had overlooked blood, and I knew that Draco had even stood up against his parents for me. Yeah, who would have guessed?

 

A waiter walked past us and we grabbed a glass of champagne each from the tray and we had a toast, not only to a new year, but also to new times.

The fireworks died out, and I gave a shudder as I felt the cold wind blow around me.

“Can we go inside? I'd rather not get a cold...” it was Blaise who had spoken, we all agreed before we started to make our way inside, Draco softly took my hand. It was almost as if he was afraid to do so, and I looked up at him.

He looked sad, which made me realize that his memories from sixth year had been much more horrifying, if that was what he had been thinking about.

“Do you want to talk about it?” I whispered to which he actually nodded, I had expected him to say no, but I was glad that he was ready to open up about it for real, not just through a Pensieve.

“Yeah...” said Draco with a sigh, and his hold of my hand got more tight, “We can talk tomorrow. Let's enjoy what's left of the night now.”

With that, he led me out to the dance floor and I laughed softly as he spun me around there, making everyone look at us. For some reason, I wasn't bothered by that fact. If they had a problem with me being there, they could take it up with one of the Malfoys, if they dared.







   



[There you go, part 2! What do you think? Also, I didn't ask in the last A/N, but how do you like the new banner? Like it? Hate it? ... confused? I'll probably be posting some one-shots here, while I write chapter 28, which I'm not even close to finished with yet, but I hope you'll like them and review them. But, I'll only post them if I'm not finished with the next chapter by the time this is validated. What did you think of Andromeda's letter? Of Pansy? Of Blaaaise? Of everything, really? Of the fight? =) Tell me! I wanna know. Thanks, - Cathyyy]

Chapter 28: Scuffle
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 [You all know that I don't own any of this, apart from the plot and a few OC's. Everything else is JK Rowlings. Enjoy!]





“So, overall, not the best New Years you've had?” Blaise asked as he threw himself down on Draco's bed and took another bite of his half eaten green apple, he had just finished packing for the trip back to Hogwarts(and of course he was the last to be finished). It was late enough for it to have begun to darken outside and the four of us, as in Amber, Draco, Blaise and I, sat in the bed, or well... Just two of us actually sat, seeing that the boys were both lying down. Draco on his back and Blaise on his stomach.

I gave a light laugh at that, “You could say that,”

I reached out and grabbed his apple and took a bite, before handing it back to him, it tasted good. Blaise gave me a highly amused look while Draco raised his eyebrows at me and I wondered if I had done something wrong, I tried to look innocent as I shrugged slightly and mumbled, “It looked delicious...”

Draco rolled his eyes at me, but he wasn't the only one, Amber and Blaise did the same. I just smiled at them.

“I must say,” Draco began, “I'm surprised that Violet didn't show up.”

“I'm not, after the way you throw her out, I don't think she would have dared to show up. She's a Parkinson after all, a coward from birth,” said Blaise, he had of course been told all about Violet and her visit to the Manor. Pansy wasn't much of a coward yesterday, I thought, not in the bathroom at least. But I decided not to say anything, it wasn't something I wanted to talk about at all, it was too soon to talk about it in my opinion – the memory of Draco and Pansy together was way too fresh.

 

Draco shrugged his agreement. “I guess,” he said before looking at me, “What did mum want yesterday, Hermione? When she came to talk to you?” His eyes were curious and a small smile played on his lips.

I was momentarily stunned when he used the word 'mum' instead of 'mother' but recovered quickly.

“Oh, you know, just tell me that Andromeda had replied her letter,” I finished off with a smile and was surprised when his smile faded, and his eyebrows furrowed.

“Mother wrote Andromeda?” He looked shocked, as if someone had just poured ice cold water over him and he sat up in the bed.

“You didn't know,” I stated with a small gasp and tried to understand why no one had told him.
“No, I didn't know,” he said sarcastically, “Well spotted.”
“I'm sorry, I just assumed that Lucius had told you – I didn't even think of telling you myself...”
Draco threw his hands up in a frustrated gesture, “Father knows?” When no one answered him he added, “Am I the only one who doesn't know?”
“Looks like it, mate,” quipped Blaise but Draco ignored him and kept his stare on me.
“Why didn't you tell me?”
“I-” I didn't know what to say and was glad when Blaise interrupted.
“It's not her fault that you weren't told, like she said she assumed that you had been told.”

Draco's steely grey eyes landed up on Blaise instead and was met by a pair of strong, dark brown ones.

“I'm not saying that it's her fault,” Draco said slowly, “I'm merely-”

“Blaming her for not telling you?”

“No,” Draco glared at Blaise, I could tell that he was thoroughly annoyed with his best friend, “Besides, it's none of your business anyway...”

 

Silence fell up on them for a couple of seconds when Blaise simply looked at Draco, before he spoke coldly, “After what happened last night, I'm surprised that you would have the nerve of blaming her of anything.”

They were beyond glaring at each other when Blaise fell silent, and I could feel the tension between them and I knew that Draco knew that Blaise was right but of course he would deny such thing – Him being wrong, I mean.

Amber pretended not to listen to them, while I closed my eyes as Blaise's words made images of Draco and Pansy appear in my mind. Why did he have to bring it up again? I had not only forgiven Draco for what had happened, I had also tried really hard not to think about it. Damn Blaise for bringing it up.

I tried to keep thinking that 'Draco did, after all, push her off his body'. It only helped so much. Draco looked at me for a brief second, and I think he saw how hurt I looked.

“Get out,” hissed Draco and pointed towards the door, when Blaise simply stared at him, he grabbed his arm and pushed him off the bed and followed right behind him, “Get the hell out!”
Draco kept pushing Blaise towards the door, and Blaise in his turn kept glaring at his friend.
Once at the door, I saw how Blaise hissed something to Draco, low enough so that I wouldn't hear them, but I saw how Draco stiffened and clenched his fists before he said something back.

It looked a bit funny, seeing that Draco was taller than Blaise, when Blaise tried to make himself taller and stand up towards Draco, being in his face as he spoke in a deadly tone, and I think I heard something which sounded a lot like, “If you ever hurt her again...”

I didn't hear Draco's response but after a bit of arguing, I heard Draco raise his voice.

“Do you wanna take this outside?” His tone was just as deadly as Blaise's had been, “I'd be more than glad to...”
“Come off it, Draco,” Blaise replied, and then they went back to whispering.

 

I stole a glance at Amber, who now looked at the two boys with wide eyes, from her look I assumed that we were thinking the same thing. If our boys fought each other, who would win?I got a worrying feeling as I glanced back at the two of them, yes, Draco was tall and toned, he had just the perfect amount of muscles – Blaise was slightly shorter, but much bigger. Blaise looked very strong, and Draco looked very fast. But when it came down to fighting, I knew it wasn't all about strength – it was about aiming right, and pray that you hit the target.

I knew that Draco was good when it came to fighting, I had seen him beat Matthew Raven to a bloody pulp, but this was Blaise we were talking about; strong, angry, little Blaise, who weren't very little when it came down to it. I didn't want either of them to get hurt, so if they were going to fight, I wished it to include wands. Then they would at least have the same strength and such.

 

I was about to stand up and tell them to stop, when I saw Blaise's eyes widen with understanding and he glanced over Draco's shoulder and looked at us, his eyes landing on Amber, he gave a short nod to Draco before he called her to him.
“We should let them talk about this, without us breathing down their necks,” he said as she came closer to him and I knew that those words were Draco's and not his own.
Amber hissed something at Blaise as they walked out the door, and I could see that whatever she said; He didn't like it. He glared at her back and that was all I saw before Draco shut the door behind him, and then he turned to face me, his eyes yet again begging for forgiveness, and I hated it.

“Why did you just throw Blaise out?” I asked as I gave a nod towards the door, which voices could be heard behind, though I couldn't make out the words. “It was awfully rude.”
My tone was very matter-of-factly, truth to be told – I only said it because I hoped that it would keep him from talking about his ex-girlfriend.

Draco seemed frustrated as he furrowed his eyebrows and gave me a long hard stare, which I didn't like at all. He didn't break eye contact as he spoke, in a low and seemingly calm voice.

“So, you're saying that you think that I should have let him say anything about-”

“No!” I interrupted quickly, so that he wouldn't say her name. Gods, you're childish, Hermione, I thought to myself. “Of course not, but throwing him out was a bit of an overreaction, in my opinion,” my voice sounded calm, but it still had an edge to it, an edge Draco didn't seem to like.

 

Draco's silver grey eyes reminded me of the stormy weather outside, glancing outside I saw that the wind blew hard, making the trees bow down and the snowflakes swirl around, Draco's eyes had the similar effect, though I refused to bow down but I couldn't stop the butterflies in my belly from swirling around.

“Then I guess we don't share the same opinion,” Draco said as he strode towards me with his hands in his pockets, still staring me down.

“Apparently not,” I agreed as I looked up at him; he had stopped right in front of me. I wanted to stand up and press my lips against his and just forget about everything, but I held myself back as another image of Draco and Pansy emerged in my head and I looked away from him. I cursed myself for being the first to look away.

“What's bothering you?” as he asked me that, his voice was softer – nicer. It made me inhale quickly and I forced myself to look back at him, his eyes were still rather hard but they also held worry.

“Nothing,” I lied and he knew I did, I had always been a bad liar. With a deep sigh, I lowered my eyes as to avoid his stare which demanded answers.

“You are a horrible liar, Hermione,” he sighed, “Look at me...”

I was as stubborn as always and refused to do as he said, so he took a hold of my chin and turned my face to look at him. He muttered something under his breath, something which sounded awfully a lot like 'stubborn little Gryffindor...'

“What did you say?”

“What? Oh, nothing important,” He said and released the hold of my chin, “Now, what's bothering you?” There was a brief pause before he continued, “Is it about what Blaise said? About Pan-”

“No!” I breathed and felt stupid instantly, I knew that I shouldn't be acting the way I was, but I couldn't help it. I had indeed forgiven him, but that didn't mean that I could talk about it, it still hurt. “I – I... Sorry, I can't. I can't talk about this right now, I don't want to talk about it yet, I-” I made a move to stand up, but Draco pushed me back down on the bed.

“Hermione,” He said my name just like I had said his, and it made me feel like a little child, “You do understand that we need to talk about this? You need to understand-”

“Draco! Stop talking about it, would you?”

“Would you keep quiet so that I can say this?” He hissed at me and I shut up instantly, Draco took a deep breath before he continued, “You need to understand how I am feeling about all this, and you need to know that you can trust me. Are you listening to me?”

 

He just didn't get it did he and I wanted to scream in his face; I don't want to talk about it!

But instead of doing that, I simply gritted my teeth and looked to my left to find myself staring at the wall. I could see him in the corner of my eye and I saw that he had stiffened. Apparently I wasn't reacting to his words in the way he had hoped I would.

“Hermione,” He sounded angry, “Answer me, damn it!”

I flinched at his voice, and he cursed under his breath before apologizing for raising his voice like that. He hadn't meant to scare me, he just needed to get my attention.

When he had gotten my attention(which means that I was looking at him again) then he started talking, while I just stared at him and tried to ignore his words.

“I know that we spoke briefly about it yesterday, and you said you forgave me but... Did you really? From the way you're acting today, well, can you blame me for asking? I meant what I said, I never wanted her to kiss me. I wouldn't have kissed back, no matter what. Don't doubt that, okay? Her and I are as finished as a couple can get, I would never go back to her-” He took a pause to look at me, I was simply staring at him. Tried to hide my emotions as much as I could, I didn't want to show him how extremely much it hurt to hear him talk about her, even if he was trying to reassure me that he didn't want her.

Just hearing him talk about her hurt. He opened his mouth to start speaking again, but I couldn't take it.

“Are you quite finished?” I asked harshly, but my expression didn't change.

He was taken aback by the sound of my voice and he opened his mouth several times and closed is just as many times. I stood up and walked towards the bathroom, so I could lock myself in there and let my feelings out, I didn't want to show him how much it hurt. I knew just how childish it sounded, but I really didn't want him to see me cry. However, Draco refused to let me past him. “Out of the way, Draco.”

“No,” he said flatly and I pushed against his chest, but he didn't move an inch, “Listen to me, Hermione, I didn't mean for you get hurt, she-”

“Shut up! Just shut up!” I yelled and this time he did as I asked, “I said I don't want to talk about it! Why cant you just shut up?!” Each word was followed by a punch at his chest, that was until he grabbed a hold of my wrist to keep me from hitting him. Not that it seemed to have hurt him much. His eyes had darkened and he held my wrist in a hard grip, but not hard enough to hurt me. Still, I struggled for him to let me go, but he wouldn't have it; he knew that if he let me go, then I would run off in to the bathroom.

“Just tell me that you forgive me,” he said, and his voice was strained and low. I pushed against him again, but he held his position, “Tell me that you forgive me, Hermione. I need to hear it... Please, forgive me?”

At the word 'please' I stopped struggling and dared to look up at him again, it was so rarely he asked for something like that – it was like he actually begged me to forgive him, and I couldn't stop the question to spill out of my mouth before thinking.

“Why?”

He gave a low, short, humourless laugh before repeating my question.

“Why?” He let go of my wrists and just looked at me, before shaking his head, “Why, indeed...” He looked incredibly hurt by my question, and then I realized that he had misunderstood me completely.

“No, no, I didn't mean it like that,” I said in a hurry and reached out to touch his arm but he flinched away, I couldn't help but to remember that he had done the same thing towards Pansy the previous day. I swallowed hard before I spoke again, “I-I just meant, why do you need me to say it again? You already know I have forg-”

“Have you?” He asked me in the middle of my sentence, “Have you really? I need to hear it again. You have no idea how guilty I feel at the moment, I swore I would never hurt you, and now I have; I'm disappointed in myself and no one hates me as much as I do. You may hate me for what happened, but it's nothing compared to the hate I feel towards myself, I'm...” He sighed deeply and closed his eyes for a moment, “I'm so very sorry. I promise you that it wont ever happen again, ever.”

 

 

After a while of staring at him, I saw his eyes begin to look scared of what I was about to say, he knew that if I said that I couldn't forgive him, then we were over. I knew that too, and of course I didn't want us to be over, but I couldn't find the right words to say, they got caught somewhere in my throat and I looked pleading up at him, as if begging him to say something instead. As if he knew what I wanted he whispered, “Please don't let this come in between us, please don't push me away...”

I had never heard him sound so vulnerable before, and I nodded weakly.

“I wont,” I whispered, and I wasn't sure if he had heard me, “I wont, Merlin no, I wont let it come in between us. I-,” I reached out to touch him again, and he didn't flinch away, “I forgive you, Draco. After all, it wasn't you – it was all her, if I should be angry with anyone it's her. Not you...”

Draco just looked at me, for the longest of seconds before he pulled me to him in a bone breaking hug and buried his face in the crook of my neck, as I rested my head on his chest.

“I love you so much,” he whispered, “I'm so sorry...”

“I know,” I mumbled and let my arms go around his waist, loving the warmth of his body, “I love you too,” I cleared my throat, “And, uh, sorry for hitting you...”

He chuckled and shook his head, letting me know it was okay. I tilted my head up and felt the need to lighten the mood.

“I still think it was rude of you to throw Blaise out,” I teased him, and he knew it.

“Oh, puh-lease!” he chuckled as he let me go and made his way towards the door, and as I opened my mouth to ask him what he was doing, and demand him to come back here because I missed the heat from his body, he simply put his finger to his mouth as if to tell me to keep quiet, he also gave a wink.

 

With a steady hold of the doorknob, he threw the door open and in fell Blaise, falling head first towards the floor and landed with a groan, from what I understood he had been standing with his ear pressed up against the wall; eavesdropping – again. I fell on to the bed as I burst out laughing at him, and the tension in the room was gone.

I nearly fell of the bed while laughing, and Blaise glaring at me didn't exactly help the situation much, he got up of the floor just as Draco and Amber walked inside, where those two had been; I had no idea. But apparently, Amber hadn't been with Blaise, since Draco had to go get her.

“It's really not that funny,” snorted Blaise as he sat down on the side of the bed.

“Yes, it is!” I managed to gasp out, before I started to calm down.

 

When I had stopped laughing all together, Draco and Amber was sitting down as well, and I noticed that there was a fair amount of tension between Blaise and his girlfriend, and something felt wrong about them.

“What's up with the two of you?” I asked and received a warning look from Draco, who obviously knew more than I knew, Amber had probably told him whatever it was when he had gone to get her.

“Small disagreement, is all,” replied Amber with a thin voice, while Blaise snorted.

“Small,” he huffed and Amber crossed her arms and clenched her jaw, while he stared down at his hands.

I realized that Draco and I hadn't been the only couple fighting. I didn't know where to rest my eyes, but I couldn't rest them on either Amber or Blaise, and to look at Draco would just make me want to ask questions, so instead I did what Blaise did; looked down at my own hands.

An awkward silence spread in the room and I felt uncomfortable.

Gods, people, say something!

 

“So...” Draco said suddenly, making everyone jump. Since it was a rare thing – Amber and Blaise fighting – I don't think he really knew what to say, “How about we all sleep in here tonight? We could bring up some sweets and... well, you know, try to have a good time?”

I think I understand what he meant to achieve with this sleep-over, Amber and Blaise wouldn't have to be alone with each other, and with that, they couldn't fight as much.

They both agreed and then Draco complained about wanting a TV, and that made Amber ask what he was talking about, and Blaise answered her question in a low voice, not at all enthusiastic as he would have if he hadn't been acting like such a baby.

“Oh, fun,” was all Amber said when she had gotten it explained to her.

“It is!” Draco said and leaned forward a bit, “I've told father to get me one, so perhaps I'll get one on my birthday.”

“Sorry to burst your bubble, mate, but Lucius wouldn't buy you anything Muggle-made,” said Blaise, to which Draco leaned back with a satisfied grin on his lips.

“Once again you forget just how much he loves to spoil me.”

“That's was a nice way of saying that you're a spoiled brat,” snorted Blaise, for a second it looked as if Draco would object to that, but instead he sighed and shrugged – knowing that Blaise was right.

Then he flashed me a smile and said, “But if I don't get one, I can always just floo over to Hermione's and watch hers.”
My heart skipped a beat at the idea of Draco coming with me home again, and I smiled back at him as if saying 'of course'.
I think our fight had been good for us, it had been a lot worse than our first fight, and it had really cleared the air. I wished that the same thing could happen between Amber and Blaise, since it was obvious that their fight had been bad as well, maybe even worse than ours. 

 “Speaking of going places,” said Blaise and snapped be out of my thoughts, “Are we or are we not spending the Easter holidays at Hogwarts?”
None of us spoke at first, but when it came clear to me that no one even had the intention to answer him, I decided to do it.
“I don't know, “ I said and ran my fingers through my hair, “but I do think that we should spend the holiday together, even if we don't stay at Hogwarts...”
Amber gave a small nod, and that was the only answer I got from her. Her boyfriend did, however, voice his agreement.
“Yeah, I feel the same,” he locked eyes with Draco, “Think you could let your parents to trust us enough to let us stay in Villa Prestige?”

He thought it over for a few seconds before shrugging, “I guess, but I think we should take one day to be with our families, before heading to Greece, it's the holidays, after all and I know that Hermione's gonna want to meet her parents for a while, even if only for a day. You and Amber should do the same,” he took a small pause, and we all nodded and when he continued; he looked at me, “Though, you wouldn't mind if I came with you to your house that one day, would you? And then the next day we could meet up here and have dinner – all of us, and then floo to Greece...”

“Sounds lovely, Draco,” I said, and then I bit my lower lip as I looked over at Amber, “But isn't it a bit too soon to be planning this? I mean, it's a while until Easter,” I tried to make Draco see how sad Amber looked, but he didn't get the hint, so I sighed and closed my eyes for a second, images of Draco back at my house appeared in my head and I was thrilled over the fact that he wanted to go back. While I was smiling at that, Amber leaned in and whispered in my ear.

“What's Villa Prestige?” Her dark blue eyes were big and I wasn't sure, but I think that she had been crying.
“It's the Malfoys house in Greece,” I whispered back, not sure why we were whispering.
“Oh,” she said and furrowed her eyebrows, “Is that where you and Draco went to?”

I nodded and thought back to when Draco and I had been there, the moments we had shared on the beach, when he had told me that he loved me, when we had made love for the first time... But as soon as I saw how sad Amber really looked, I stopped smiling at once and started to search her eyes for answers.

“What's wrong?” I whispered so that only she could hear.

“Bathroom...” She mumbled and got out of the bed and walked towards it, and I sat perfectly still and wondered what to do. She spun around just before entering the bathroom and looked at me, “You coming?”

I mentally slapped myself before I nodded and followed her. As I closed the door behind me, I heard my boyfriends angry hiss, “How bloody stupid are you!?”

Draco very rarely got upset with Blaise, so twice in a row made me realize that it was pretty bad.

 

 

As I looked ahead, Amber had her back against me, afraid to show me that she was crying, but I could tell that she was by the way her shoulder shook every so slightly. I reached out and put a hand on her shoulder, something which only made her cry harder.

“Amber, sweetie... What happened?” I hated to see her like this, and knowing that it was because of Blaise that she was crying made it much worse.

The blonde girl took a deep, shaky breath before answering me.

“We had a fight,” she said, and since I had figured out as much, I just waited for the rest, “I think – Oh, Merlin, I think...” she trailed off as she buried her face in her hands and sunk down on the floor, I followed her and put my arms around her from behind in a hug.

“It's okay...” I tried, knowing perfectly well that it obviously wasn't, “Tell me what happened...”

I held her until she calmed down and stopped sobbing, which didn't take very long.

“We fought about what he said earlier, I – I was upset with him for bringing it up, since I could see how much it hurt you to talk about it, and from your expression back then, I knew that you didn't want him to remind you of it.”

I nodded, she was right. I felt horribly guilty for being the reason of their fight, and I could barely look her in the eye. I felt as if it was my fault. She continued speaking, “I told him that, but he just told me that it wasn't a big deal, and then when I...” She took another deep breath, “When I told him how sad you had become, that I had seen it in your eyes, then he shrugged it off and said that 'it needed to be done so that you could work it out'.”

 

I sat there and chewed on my lip, as of yet, their fight didn't sound any worse than ours and the fact that they had both been right made it impossible for me to pick sides. Amber lowered her head and a strangled sob escaped her lips before she continued speaking.

“Then I called him something along the lines of being an arrogant, slimy, emotionless bastard who didn't care for his friends feelings – But, Hermione, you know I didn't mean it! I wish I could take it all back... I... It's just those things that comes out when you're talking too fast without thinking, and Merlin knows I didn't mean it. Everyone knows that he cares about his friends more than anything, and – oh, Merlin, why did I have to say that? I didn't mean it...” she gave me a pleading look, as if she expected me to have the answer to why she had said it. However, all I could do was sit there and stare at her, with a worrying, cold feeling growing in my stomach as more tears fell from her eyes. Of course I knew she hadn't meant it, but knowing Blaise; he wouldn't have been thrilled when hearing those words.

“W-What did he say?” I managed to choke out after a while, not sure if I wanted to hear the answer.

“He said – If that's how you feel about me then, maybe, we shouldn't be together any more...”

“No!” I gasped silently and even though I had suspected her to say something along those lines, it came as a small shock, “No, you can't break up. Not because of a disagreement you had about me and Draco. Merlin, Amber...”

We ended up hugging again, and she sobbed with her face hidden in my hair, and I stroke her long blonde curls.

“I don't want him to leave me...”

“I know, I know,” I comforted her in a mumble as I hugged her tighter. We both jumped at the sound of a knock on the door.

My head jerked up at the sound of the knock, and I waited for the person to speak, it was Draco.

“Blaise is heading down to go get us some sweets, anyone of you wanna go down there with him?”

I glanced at Amber, who shook her head sadly, she obviously didn't think it was a good idea for her to be alone with him this soon after their fight.

“Is it okay if I go?” I asked her softly, and she gave me a nod and a small smile.

“Of course.”

“Coming!” I shouted over my shoulder, and I heard Draco walk away from the door, meaning that he had heard me. “I'm gonna knock some sense in to him,” I added before I walked out.

 








 

 

Once Blaise and I had stepped outside and closed the door behind us, I smacked him across his head – quite hard, actually.

“Ow!” he glared at me while rubbing the surface I had smacked, “What the heck was that for?”

“Amber,” I replied simply and started walking down the hall, and he followed me while muttering something under his breath, “What was that?” I demanded to know just as we turned a corner. He sped up so that we were walking side by side as he spoke.

“Just saying that I'm not surprised that you're taking her side. Girls...”

I came to an abrupt halt at his words, and he stopped as well, and looked at me curiously.

“Really, Blaise?” I gave him a small glare, “I thought you knew me better than that, I thought you knew me well enough to know that I don't take sides when it comes to my friends. Especially when you're both right,” as I spoke, Blaise's eyes widened before he nodded, obviously he did know me as well as I had thought, when he looked away I sighed, “So, what's the real reason to why you're considering breaking up with her?”

 

I wasn't stupid, I knew that there was more to it than him being upset with her for what she had said. I waited for him to answer me, and it took quite some time for him to push those words out.

“I don't know what's wrong with me,” he hung his head, “I mean, I'm not the relationship kind of guy am I? I'm still young, I should be free and single, I should be able to look around at other girls, and Amber deserves someone who doesn't think like this.”

We both stood there as his words hung in the air, he couldn't bring himself to look me in the eye and I knew it.

“How stupid are you?” I repeated my boyfriends words from earlier before I took a long, deep breath, “Answer me this, do you love her?”

“More than anything,” he sighed.

“Do you want to be with her?”

“Yes, but-”

“Do you think that you two could last long?”

“Yes,” he said in defeat while narrowing his eyes at me, “Where are you gett-”

“But you wish to see what else is out there?” I ignored his attempt of speaking and watched how he seemed to relax at that question.

“Exactly,” he looked as if he found comfort in the fact that I had asked that question, as if he thought that I understood him. I didn't.

“Why would you want to mess with perfection? You love her, she loves you. You want to be together, you're so good for each other – why would you wanna find reasons to break it off? Why don't you just hang in there for a while? Give it a try. I think it's worth it. Even if you break up in three months, or three years, at least you can look back at it and you wont have to think 'what if'...”

 

I rolled my eyes as he gave a short nod and threw his arm around my shoulder, and started walking again, I had no choice but to follow. I inhaled his fresh scent and leaned against him.

“Blaise...” I began slowly, “What are you thinking about?”

“Amber, and what you said. You're right, as always, why do I always have to fuck things up? She's the one. Why do I do these things?”

Because you're a guy, I said in my head, but I didn't speak it out loud.

“What did she tell you, anyway?”

I bit my lower lip, pondering over what I should tell him, but I went for being straight up and honest with him.

“Well,” I said, “Pretty much everything... Though, she was crying very hard, so I might have missed a word or two,” I added just to make him feel a bit guilty.

“Bollocks,” Blaise groaned, “I didn't mean to make her cry...”

“I know. I hope you two work it out, she really loves you, you know.”

 

He did know that, but we decided not to talk about it any more and instead a creepy silence hung around us as we walked around in the dark Manor, the halls weren't lit up the slightest and it wasn't that I was afraid of the dark, I was more afraid of what could be lurking in the dark.

And having Blaise next to me, whispering about all sorts of things, Inferi hiding in the shadows, and Dementors just waiting for us around the corner, ready to suck out souls out.

“Shut it, Blaise,” I hissed at him, but still I walked closer to him.

“Who knows what kind of creepy things Lucius has hidden here, just think about it... Something could grab you and pull you in to darkness before I even noticed anything...”

I turned my head to glare at him, at the same time as he went 'Boooh...” in a attempt to sound spooky.

“Come off it, Zabini,” I mumbled and slapped him on his arm. It was like I couldn't keep from whispering when I spoke to him, it was like I was afraid that something would actually pull me in to the shadows if I spoke any louder, so in a small whisper I tried to change the subject as we towards the kitchen, “Are you signing up for the Quidditch-”

“Yeah,” he whispered back before I could even finish the sentence, “As a Beater. Are you singing up?”

I nodded as we walked in to the kitchen, “Narcissa made me say I would. But I don't know which position I wanna play... Keeper perhaps,” I began to look around the kitchen, but it was too dark, so I reached for my wand to get some light.

“Keeper, Miss Granger?”

 

Blaise and I screamed straight out at the sound of a voice, and I hugged Blaise's arm tightly as he pressed me against his body. After having walked around and been told that there's Inferi hiding in every corner – I was easily scared.

The room lit up with a flick of Lucius wand, and I could see that he covered his smile with his hand before shaking his head apologetically.

“I didn't mean to startle you,” he sounded far too amused for me to be able to take him seriously, he took in our horror struck faces and smiled once more. Slowly I let go of Blaise, who rubbed his arm where my nails had dug in.

“Ouch...”

“Oh, please,” I snorted, “You nearly suffocated me.”

Lucius seemed to ignore us as he stood up, he was dressed in black, I noticed, and he looked very...Elegant. His long blonde hair hung down his shoulders, and he took something in his hand as he moved a bit closer to us. I couldn't see what it was, though.

“Keeper, you say? They have to be wicked fast, and observant...” Without warning he threw the thing he held in his hand to me, and despite trying to catch it, I missed and it fell to the floor, I blushed furiously as I bent down to pick it up. It was a piece of dark chocolate, I looked at it for a while before I looked back at Lucius, without thinking, I threw it back at him - he caught it.

“You'd probably make a better Chaser, Hermione.”

“Really?” I said in surprise, Lucius of all people would know what makes a good Chaser having been one himself, “You think so?”

“Yes, if you're going to play Quidditch, then you should play Chaser. You look like one to me.”

I thought his words over, would I be able to play Chaser? I liked the way it sounded: Hermione Granger – Chaser. “So, where's my son?”

Lucius brought me back to reality but I didn't need to answer him, because Blaise took care of that, he told him that he was up in his room and that he had sent us down here to get some sweets, at that; Lucius raised his eyebrows, before he called for a house elf.

I hadn't seen a house elf around since my arrival, but sure enough, they had one. He or she looked very much like Dobby and Scrappy, so I assumed her or him to be related to them.

“Dinky,” Lucius began and I could see that he was trying really hard to sound somewhat friendly towards the little elf, Dinky seemed to be surprised at Lucius tone. I had a feeling that the reason why Lucius was suddenly nice to the elf was because someone had told him about S.P.E.W. “Bring some sweets up to Draco and his friends.”

“What would Master Draco and his friends like, sir?” when Dinky spoke, I could hear that it was a male, he sounded terrified and rather shocked, which only made me believe that Lucius was only acting even more.

“A bit of everything, and some extra Licorice Wands for Draco, he loves them...” Lucius turned to us, “Anything special you two want?”

“Yeah,” Blaise answered quickly, “Some strawberry flavoured, heart shaped lollipops, please,” he said. I figured that he would give them to his girlfriend, I do remember them to be her favourite. “Oh, and some Chocoballs. Hermione?”

“Uh... anything licorice, thanks.”

The house elf asked if we wanted anything else, but we kindly told him no, just asked it to be delivered to Draco's room.

“Don't you want anything to drink?” asked Lucius and to which Blaise and I looked at each other, and then Blaise broke out in a grin.

“A few Butterbeers?” he suggested and I gave a shrug.

“Sure.”

 

 








 

Moments later, we were close to Draco's room, after a nervous walk back in the dark, and a long conversation about Quidditch. It felt good to have some alone-time with Blaise, I rarely had it, so it was fun. He made me feel so relaxed around him and not to mention – he was freaking hilarious.

“One thing that has been bugging me ever since we found Lucius down in the kitchen...” began Blaise as we rounded a corner, “Why on earth was Lucy sitting alone in the dark, eating chocolate?”

It wasn't that I hadn't thought about it, but the way Blaise said it, it made me break out in laughter, and I was supported by Blaise until we reached the door, which he opened and he gently pushed me inside, I was still laughing at what he had said.

I rushed over to the bed and threw myself on it, making both Draco and Amber move out of my way, but when on there, I started to calm down. I noticed that the elf had already been here, and that Blaise was already holding the lollipop he had wanted.

“Uh... Okay? What's up with her? Did you put a Cheering Charm on her or something?”

Draco looked at me as he spoke, but the question was obviously directed to Blaise, who shook his head.

“Nah, mate. We're just wondering why your father is downstairs, sitting for himself, in a kitchen which is pitch black, and why he, on top of it all, is eating dark chocolate...”

The serious feeling that had been in the room when we had entered, was gone and it was replaced by laughter, as the blondes joined in and we were all gasping for air at the image of dear old Lucy and his chocolate.

The fun only lasted for so long, though, because Blaise just had to interrupt.

“Amber, could I talk to you, for a second?” he asked her and she swallowed hard before she gave a nod and got up, “Or two...” he added as they both walked in to the bathroom and shut the door behind them.

 

Draco and I sat in the bed together, and our Butterbeers were levitating beside us, the bed was covered in sweets and we took turns in feeding each other.

Minutes passed and nothing was heard from inside the bathroom, I figured that they had put up a Silencing Charm.

“Open up,” said Draco softly as he leaned over and put a Chocoball to my lips, and I gently took a bite of it and tasted the strawberry mousse and the clotted cream, mixed with the delicate chocolate. Draco smiled sweetly at me, “You've got a bit of...” he nodded towards my lip, and I was about to lick my lips but he moved forward and gave me the most gentle kiss he had ever given me, it was close to feather light but it still made my heart flutter. He eased back far too quickly in my opinion. “There,” he said with a soft tone, “All gone.”

I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to put together a coherent sentence, so I just nodded to thank him. My hand trembled a bit when I reached for my Butterbeer which was levitating somewhere around my head, and took a sip of it.

I cleared my throat a bit and blushed under his amused stare.

“What's taking them so long?” I mumbled before taking yet another sip. Draco smiled crookedly before replying.

“Make up sex?”

I almost choked on my Butterbeer, it was such a Blaise thing to say and I hadn't expected it to come from Draco. He chuckled at my reaction and I blushed faintly.

“You really think so?” I asked and the only sign of a reply I got was a raised eyebrow which simply said 'Yes, don't you?'. My Butterbeer went back to levitating beside me, and I shrugged lightly, “It wouldn't surprise me,” I admitted as I picked up the half eaten Chocoball and brought it to Draco's lips, “Open up.”

He licked his lips before he did so, and then he took a bite of it, or well, he tried to put all of it in his mouth, something he shouldn't have. I laughed softly as I looked at him, with mousse all around his lips, and I leaned in to kiss it away.

As our lips met, I felt as if a jolt of electricity went through my body, he tasted like strawberry and the most sinful chocolate, I tried to be as gentle as he had been and I really did try to pull away shortly after, but I felt his lips press against mine in a attempt to deepen the kiss, and I was so close to being lost in the feeling of his soft lips. But I calmly broke the kiss and found myself staring straight in to a pair of steely grey eyes and I was lost within the depth of them, I didn't notice that he moved closer until I felt his fingers intertwine with my hair and grasp it – gently, and then he inched even closer, while looking in to my hazel eyes, and then he leaned down and captured my lips in a kiss just as sweet as the Chocoball we had just shared. Nothing about the kiss was rushed, and when he deepened it, he did it almost unnoticeable. It was very different from all the other kisses we had shared, when there had always been an undertone of need, lust and a sense of fighting for dominance, but in this kiss it was pure love.

We both hesitated for a second before we broke apart, as if trying to memorize the feeling, and then his lips left mine; leaving a tingling sensation. My eyes fluttered open to look at him, and I didn't need to tell him that I loved him, he already knew.

“Should we get in to our night clothes?” he whispered as he rested his forehead against mine. I nodded my agreement, but we didn't make a move to do so, instead we both sighed and stared in to each others eyes, but then Draco seemed to sober up from the bliss of our kiss. “Okay, up you go, love.”

I rolled my eyes, smiling, and did as he said. I glanced nervously at the door, not wanting Blaise, or Amber for that matter, to come out and see me while changing, but I decided that if I hurried then I would be done before they came out.

“Draco,” I said, to get his attention, and I turned around, to find him standing with his shirt half pulled off, turned towards me, as if waiting for me to continue. He couldn't see my face, due to the fact that his shirt was covering his eyes, and I couldn't keep from giggling a bit, “Uh, could you hand me the t-shirt on the chair over there?”

He pulled the t-shirt completely off him, and flashed me a smile before doing what I asked. I knew that he knew that I was staring at his bare chest, and I knew that he knew that I liked what I saw.

Draco threw the t-shirt at me, and I was close to miss it, and I knew right then that I would probably be the worst Keeper ever. I quickly changed in to the t-shirt I borrowed from Draco, and just in time, because Blaise and Amber stepped out of the bathroom just seconds after I had pulled the t-shirt on. Amber was absolutely shining of happiness, and I saw the same look on Blaise, which meant that they had made up. I looked closer at Amber and saw her messy hair and realized that Draco had been right. I glanced over at him, and he grinned widely.

'Told you,' he mouthed and sat down on the bed again, wearing nothing but a pair of black boxers and a new, clean, t-shirt. Apparently he didn't wanna hang out with his friends wearing only boxers. I certainly wouldn't have minded if he had.

We all threw ourselves on the bed, and I reached for a Licorice Wand just as Draco did so, and we began to jokingly fight over which one of us should get it. I ended up giving him it.

 

Hours later we had fallen asleep all over the bed. I awoke in the middle of the night to find that I had my head resting on Draco's chest, while my legs hung over Blaise's. Somehow, I had two arms around me, but only one of them belonged to Draco, I opened one of my eyes to see that the other one belonged to Blaise, who apparently had an arm wrapped around me, and with the other one he held Amber close to his body. In between the both boys, I felt completely safe, and loved. Now, if only they could stop snoring...

 












[Hey, all! Posted this just as the queue reopened, and I hope you enjoyed it. I've got the whole story planned out now, and it's about 18 chapters left. What do you think about that? How was this chapter? 

I want to give a shout out to my kind of beta Alonia187 for being such a good friend, and also to lovehurtssoul for being a terrific beta and friend(she hasn't beta'ed this story, but who knows, maybe sometime in the future ;)) 
Also, thanks for all the nominations in the dobby's! I cried, ahaha :D

Please, leave a review. Thanks - Cathyyy
(also a big thanks to DarkRose at the forums for suggesting the chapter name!)]


Chapter 29: Hogwarts
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

[I don't own anything but the plot and some OC's. Everything belongs to JK Rowling. Enjoy!]








I woke up early in the morning, or rather; Blaise woke me up by moving around. Probably trying to get my legs off of his body without me noticing. Well, I noticed. 

I groaned and he stilled his movements – obviously afraid that he had managed to wake me up. After a few moments of complete stillness, he went back to pushing my legs off. I could have easily removed my legs, but where would the fun in that have been? I had a blast hearing him struggle not to wake me up. 

I wanted to grin widely as he let out a frustrated groan, but I did nothing. Then it hit me; we were going back to Hogwarts. Today.
Never before had I sat up so quickly, I even made Blaise jump twenty feet up in the air – Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration.

He got out of the bed, since he had finally gotten my legs off of his.
Giggling at his reaction, I followed his lead and got out of bed. I found that his dark brown eyes glared a bit at me. I tried to look as innocent as I possibly could. 

 “You were awake?” he asked in one breath - he did sound a bit upset about  that fact.

“No,” I lied and he knew it, “Fine, though I only just woke up. Where are you going anyway?”

“The loo,” he stared at me as if I was slightly stupid, “Where do one usually go at -” he glanced at the clock, “6:30 am?”

Before I could answer him, my stomach gave a loud growl. I ended up with just giving him a shrug.

“Wanna join me downstairs for breakfast later? I'm starving.”

“Hermione... It's 6:30 am!” I hushed him as Draco rolled over in the bed. He didn't say anything else, but I had a feeling that he didn't want to join me at all.

“Please, Blaise? I don't wanna walk around here all alone. This place is freaking scary,” I faked a shiver and looked at him with what I hope resembled puppy eyes, “I'd feel a lot more safe walking around here if you were with me...” 

 
He snorted and walked towards the bathroom door but stopped just after he had opened it. With a huge grin on his face he leaned himself against the wall beside him. 
“I'll go with you if you say that I'm the most gorgeous human being you've ever seen, and that you're honoured to be in my mere presence.”

I stared at him for about ten seconds before I brought my hand up to cover my mouth as I started to giggle. He turned to walk inside, but I held up my hand to stop him.

“Okay, okay. You, Blaise Zabini, are the most gorgeous person I've ever seen. I'm honoured – Oh, Merlin,” I fought back another giggle, “I'm honoured to be in your presence. Happy now? Will you come with me?” 

 He flashed a grin and gave a nod, and I beamed at him.

“Thank you!”

He shushed me and motioned towards the bed where our two blondes where sprawled out. Draco looked more like an angel than ever before. His white hair pushed back from his face, which revealed all of his face. His eyes where shut, his mouth partly open. The covers had slid off his upper body and I realized that he had – sometime during the night – taken his t-shit off. His pale, toned chest was exposed and I let my eyes take in the perfection of it before glancing up at his face again. He looked peaceful – and happy.

“Right,” I said when I looked back at Blaise, “Well, you go do your thing, and I'll wait here for you.”

He mumbled something I didn't quite catch before closing the bathroom door behind him.

 

I hurried up getting dressed. The idea of Blaise walking out while I was in my underwear was slightly horrifying. It wouldn't have been as much embarrassing as it would have been awkward. But it would surely have been embarrassing enough to make me blush furiously.

I walked over to the chair in the corner of Draco's room, on which my clothes for the day were. I had folded and put them there the previous day, just after I re-packed my trunk and put my school robes in a bag for easier access. That way I wouldn't be forced to go through my entire trunk just to find them.

 

I was excited about going back to Hogwarts, but at the same time it made me sad.
There were only so many months left before graduation. Who knew what would happen after we had graduated?

Some of the people in my year, I might never see them again. I simply had to make the most out of the remaining months – and try not to worry too much about my N.E.W.T's.
Something I did allow myself to worry about was Quidditch, how in the world would I be able to pull that off? 
I had never been the Quidditch type. Hell, I hadn't even been able to sit up on a broom six months ago.

 

It didn't take me long to get my clothes on, barely a minute. However, it took a lot longer for Blaise to be finished at the loo. Had he fallen asleep in there?
I spent my time waiting in the chair on which my clothes had been on, staring at my boyfriend. Was that creepy of me? That I was observing him as he slept? Oh, but I couldn't stop looking at him. He was beautiful.

Suddenly the bathroom door opened and Blaise stepped out, looking as if he had just woken up. 

“Took you long enough,” I said, before I stoop up and walked towards the door, “Coming?”

“Yeah, gee... The breakfast isn't going to run away if you're not there within a minute.”

“You never know,” I replied and opened the door but made a complete turn, because I thought it would be appropriate to leave Draco a note telling him where we were. Blaise walked right in to me and I suddenly found myself pressed tightly against his chest, as he had caught me before I lost my balance.  

“What the...?” He looked at me as if trying to read my mind, but I just sighed and relaxed.

“I'm just going to leave a note for Draco, 'kay?”

He let go of me, and I walked back in to the room to scribble down some words on a small note. I told him to come down to the kitchen for breakfast as soon as he woke up, since Blaise and I would be there. 

 











 

Blaise and I stood outside the kitchen sooner than expected. The sight in front of us had, however, completely made us freeze. 

 
In the kitchen, which was lightened up by the sun that was just rising and shining in through the large window – there they stood. The sun almost blinded me. It made it look as if they were angels, with the light right behind them.
They stood there, like I had never seen them before. Lucius hands on Narcissas hips. His lips on hers. Narcissas arms around Lucius neck. 

 
My mouth hung open in shock of seeing them being so very intimate with each other. This was something I had never – ever – thought that I would ever witness.
As they broke apart, Narcissa smiled up at her husband as if she had never seen him before.

“I love you,” she breathed as Lucius leaned his forehead against hers and returned her smile.
He whispered something which sounded awfully a lot like 'You too, my love.'
But he couldn't have... Right? I must have misheard him.

 

Glancing over at Blaise, I found that he also stared at the couple in front of us. He looked shocked, and he seemed to be feeling just as awkward as I about having walked in on such a intimate moment. Though, he couldn't quite keep from looking slightly amused about the whole thing as well.

As if sensing someone's presence; Lucius turned his head our direction. Up on seeing us, he let go of his wife instantly. 

 If I didn't feel so awkward about it all, then the look on Lucius face would have made me laugh. Narcissa cleared her voice and smoothed out her clothes before she could look us in the eye. However, I looked away from her. It was just so awkward.

“What in Merlin's name are you two doing up this early?” she questioned but before I had the chance to answer her, she asked another question, “And where is Draco?”

“We were hungry and Draco is still asleep,” said Blaise and I was glad that he answered instead of me. I was still blushing and I would probably just end up stuttering if I were to speak, it was all just so incredibly awkward!
Though, I think that she was feeling more embarrassed than anyone. Lucius just looked as if he wished that someone could open a hole in the floor which he could fall through.

“Oh...” Narcissa looked over at the table, “Well, there are toasts and croissants for you to eat. We also have tea and pumpkin juice... Feel free to have anything you want. I – You can just call for the House elf if you want anything other than this,” she looked at us when she stopped speaking. Blaise and I just nodded and I glanced around in the room, a faint flush still evident on my cheeks. “Do sit down, dears...”

 

We made our way over to the table as quickly as we could, and I almost tripped over my own feet. Blaise sat down first, closest to the wall with his back turned against the window. I sat down next to him. 
Lucius excused himself in a mumble before walking out of the kitchen, but his wife stayed behind.
As Narcissa sat down, she let out a nervous laugh, “Well, that was... awkward.”

“Yes,” Blaise and I agreed at the same time. I glanced down at the croissant which I had just served myself and then I looked at Narcissa again.

“Do they have any filling in them?”

“What? Oh, yes. The one you're holding is a chocolate croissant and over there,” she waved towards the end of the table, next to Blaise, “You have cheese filled ones. I prefer the chocolate ones myself, but Lucius has a thing for cheese...”

“Oh? I thought he was more in to dark chocolate,” said Blaise nonchalant and I felt a smile tug on my lips. 

 
I was more than pleased with my – extremely delicious – croissant, and to it I poured myself some steaming hot tea. 

I took another bite before I looked up at Narcissa who sat opposite of me. Her slender, pale arms rested against the dark wooden table which was filled with yummy breakfast.
My mother would most likely have fainted had she seen how much breakfast there was.

“I'm not being very polite, am I? Would either of you want anything else to eat? Just call for the House elf...”

“Yes, Narcissa, you already said that.”

“I did? Oh...” 

Blaise and I glanced at each other before we went back to eating, in silence.

 

I brought the cup of tea to my lips, in the same moment as Draco and Amber walked in to the kitchen, Amber let out a cheery 'Good morning!' which made me jump.

“OUCH!” the cup slipped out of my hands as I burned my tongue, and the steaming hot tea burned my hands and thighs. “Oh my God, it hurts!” I cried and bolted out of the chair, knocking it over. 
Narcissas wand was in her hand faster then I thought possible, and she waved it over my body. She told me in a calm voice to open my mouth, as I did so; she cast a Cooling Charm on my tongue and the burning sensation slowly became less intense. As I closed my mouth, I found that the previous sensation had been replaced by a tingling one. 

Ambers eyes were wide, she obviously blamed herself for what had happened.
Well, a nasty side of me thought, it was her fault.
I knew I wasn't being fair, so I quickly forgot about that thought.

“Are you okay?” asked Draco, his voice full of concern.

He was wearing black trousers and a blue shirt, with a button or two undone. The light blue colour of his shirt really made his grey eyes more intense. His hair was beyond messy, and I knew that he would fix it up before we headed back to Hogwarts – but I wished that he wouldn't. I loved it when his hair as messy as it was.

“Yeah, I'm fine,” I assured him, and he stared at me for a while, as if expecting me not to be. Then he gave his mum an almost pleading look, and she walked out. Amber and Draco sat down by the table and grabbed something to eat.

“You'll never guess what Hermione and I just saw,” said Blaise and I rolled my eyes as he began telling them. 

 










Narcissa had insisted that she and Lucius would come with us to Kings Cross to see us off. Lucius had of course protested(“They are old enough to go by themselves”) but as usual; Narcissa had gotten her way.
I had noticed a change in their behaviour as soon as we had stepped outside the door of Malfoy Manor. They seemed to become less human in my eyes and more... Malfoy-ish when in public.

I honestly didn't mind it. I knew that most of it was a façade. After all, I had seen Narcissa cry and I had also seen Lucius sitting all alone in the dark – eating chocolate.
I had even seen the two of them kiss.

 

So as we stood by the train, ready to get on it – I felt relaxed in their company. Even though everyone stared at us as if the sight shocked them. It was especially the students in my year that stared, but a few fifth years as well.

Blaise and Amber were already on the train, making sure that we would have a compartment all to ourselves. 

 
Draco gave his mother a brief hug when he said his goodbye's to her. His father only got a pat on the back and a 'take care, father'. I smiled at his actions towards his father and wondered what Lucius would have said if Draco had attacked him with a hug. That thought made me smile wider. 

“Come here,” said Narcissa to me and held her arms out. I hugged her tight and realized that I would miss her very much. “Take care, Hermione, and do make sure that both you and Draco study for your N.E.W.T's.”

“Of course,” I replied.

“Good.”

We let go of each other and she glanced over at Lucius. He was looking at me with a raised eyebrow. I stared right back at him. What was I supposed to say? What was I supposed to do? Hugging him was out of the question!

I swallowed hard as I extended my hand for him to take.

“Thank you for letting me stay at your Manor, and for letting me come with you to Greece,” I decided that it was probably right to be polite. He liked that – politeness.

There was a moment when I thought that he was going to ignore my hand, but he didn't. I felt his strong one take a hold of mine.

“You're welcome to come back anytime, Mis- Hermione.”

It was a lot coming from Lucius, I realized. It meant that he approved of me. On the inside I made a little dance, but on the outside I simply smiled at him.
Draco told me that we had to get going, so we said 'bye' and got on the train.

 

 

It didn't take us very long to find our friends, though as we made our way over to them we received many looks.
It surprised me how the other students looked at us. I sent them a couple of glares, but they kept staring at us.
Perhaps they thought that we wouldn't last, or maybe they had just seen me with his family.

“So, they haven't broken up yet, eh?” I heard someone say to confirm what I had just been thinking.

I took a hold of Draco's hand in attempt to shut them up – they did. Draco looked down at me and smiled. I reached up and gave him a quick kiss.

“Hey, Hermione! Mal – uh – Draco!”

I glanced over my shoulder to see Neville run up to us.

“Hi, Neville,” we said together as he caught up with us.

“Can I sit with you?”

Draco half-groaned but Neville didn't hear him. I elbowed Draco in his ribs as I said, “Sure you can, c'mon.”

 

The three of us walked in to the compartment where Blaise and Amber sat, and they greeted Neville. Blaise seemed very happy to see him again, something I found myself smiling at.
We sat down, and I was seated between Neville and Draco.

“Merlin, people couldn't stop staring at us, it's like they had forgotten that we were together,” I said as I leaned back and closed my eyes. I realized that waking up at 6:30 hadn't been the best idea I had ever had.

I could have slept many more hours, then I wouldn't have to force my eyes to stay open.

The fact that we hadn't fallen asleep until 2:45 am didn't make it any better.

“Speaking of forgetting things, your owl flew by my window this morning, and gave me this. I forgot to give it to you,” Draco said to me and reached for something in the pocket of his robe. It turned out to be a letter.

“Oh, thanks,” I said as I took it from him. I recognized my mothers handwriting and opened it in a hurry.

 

'Hermione,

I hope you had a wonderful New Years eve, and a great trip to Greece. You have to tell me all about it. I also hope that the ride back to school will go great.
Thank you so much for the tickets, your father and I are thrilled! You couldn't have gotten us a better Christmas present, dear.
 

I thought you'd like to have the photos we took this Christmas, so I'm sending them with this letter, I also made copies for Draco so you can give them to him as well. Tell him I said hi, okay? 

 Dad sends his love.
Love,
Mum.”

 

I looked in t he envelope to find the photos there, just as she had written. Eagerly I took them out and looked at them, and I was brought back to the day we had taken them. 
Despite mine and Draco's fight that day, it had still been the best Christmas ever. I had been with him
There was a picture of just Draco and I sitting next to each other, and there was no trace of me being angry at him. I looked just as happy as he did. His white hair wasn't messy at all, probably because he thought it should look nice on Christmas. He was holding me close to his body and we were both smiling at the camera.

There was also a picture of Draco, mum and dad. It was beautiful, to have the people I loved the most in one picture. I smiled as I looked at it, Draco seemed so comfortable around my parents.

 

“Look,” I said to Draco and showed him all the pictures from that night. He snatched the photo of us two and stared at it.

“I'm definitely keeping this one,” he said. It was fine by me, seeing as it was a copy of it still in the envelope. After a few seconds I saw how his eyebrows furrowed, “It's not moving...”

“It's because it's taken with a Muggle camera, Draco,” I explained, to which he nodded.
“Oh...”

We looked at the rest of the pictures and showed our friends and told them all about what we had done on Christmas and what we had given each other. My hand reached up and touched the golden necklace. Always.

 

Amber told us that she had spent Christmas in France with her family, which had been difficult for her seeing as she didn't speak French at all, even though she was French. Her boyfriend was even better than her at it, but that was just because he had lived there when he was eight.

Blaise had been in Italy with his mum, who tried to make it work with the man she was currently seeing. Neville had spent time with his grandmother. 

But of course the only one of them who decided to give us all details on his Christmas was Blaise.

“Since mums new hubby is a half-blood – Santa came. I never thought I'd meet him again, and mind you I was just as terrified of him this time as the last time. But he was a lot cooler this time, I don't know if it had anything to do with him growing older... Did he come to you as well, H?”

It took me a while to understand that it was me he called 'H', but when I did – I shook my head. I remembered how Draco had told me that Blaise believed in Santa.

“Uh... No.”

Draco seemed to remember our conversation about Santa as well, 'cause he was smirking at his friends. Looking awfully pleased, actually.

“Finally!” Draco said suddenly, making Blaise look at him, “Finally I know something about the Muggle-world that you don't.”

“And what might that be?” said Blaise in a bored tone, as if doubting it severely.

Draco leaned forward, to be closer to Blaise and Blaise did the same. They were both staring in to each other eyes.

“Santa doesn't exist,” Draco whispered, and then he let out a laugh, “Santa doesn't exist, Blaise!”

“What? That's nonsense, of course he exists. You're so full of shit, D. I've seen him!” Blaise snorted and leaned back, “Here I thought you were going to be serious.”

I closed my eyes and did my best not to burst out in laughter – it was hard, but I managed. The fact that Blaise believed in Santa was just so... Blaise.

“Ask Hermione if you don't believe me,” said Draco and nudged at my arm, making me open my eyes.

“Oh, what? No, Santa doesn't exist.”

The look on Blaise's face – looking as if he was about to cry – was priceless, yet it made me feel bad. I could have told him that a bit less harsh. But I had never told anyone that Santa didn't exist before, so I didn't know how the best way to say it was.

“Sorry,” I added and Blaise stared at me in shock.

“Well,” he said after a while, “That explains why they were all laughing at me...”

Okay, I thought, now I feel bad.

“So, if he's not real, then who is the dude who comes with presents?”

“An adult dressed up...” I mumbled at avoided looking in to his eyes, but I heard his groan.

“Of course.”

 

There was a long silence, before Neville stood up.
“I just saw Dean, I'm going over to say hi.”

With that, he left. Probably glad to get out of our compartment, which had an awkward tension in the air. I waited for the door to close behind him, but it never did.
I looked over there to see a girl with dark brown hair and green eyes. She was already in her robes; a Slytherin.
She looked familiar, but I couldn't place her. She was sneering at me, and I wondered what I might have done to upset her. Beside her stood two of her friends.

“Well, hello...” the girl said, “I'm-”

“Laura.” Amber finished through gritted teeth, “She's in my year.”

“True,” said Laura. Her brown hair was pulled back in a messy bun, but I could tell that it was curly. A few strays of hair hung down the sides of her face, framing it. She opened her mouth to speak again, but Amber beat her to it.

“She's the girl who sent that note to Draco. The note you thought that I had sent.”

A faint flush appeared on Laura's cheeks. I turned my eyes back to her and glared, but it only made her quirk an eyebrow.

The brown haired girl completely ignored Amber.

“I heard what happened at your party. What did you do to Pansy, Granger? I heard that she had to visit St. Mungos.”

Itching Powder, I thought, is the best thing I've ever gotten from George.

“And who told you that?” asked Draco as he stood up and advanced her. She swallowed nervously and I understood why. Draco looked intimidating. “A friend of Pansy's are you?” Draco's voice was just as hard and cold as his eyes were. He walked up to her, moving very slowly. She couldn't look at him, she was afraid. I would have been too, had I been in her place.

“...Yes,” she finally admitted, “Her mother contacted me and told me that Pansy has been itching ever since that Mudblood touched her.”

“Don't ever call her a Mudblood,” hissed Draco and beside me, Blaise stood up as well. I enjoyed seeing the fear in her face far more than I should. “Hermione didn't do anything to Pansy. She wasn't the one that made Pansy itch.”

“I was,” said Blaise proudly and grinned, “It worked, huh?”

Laura looked livid, as if she couldn't understand how he could ask something like that. Furiously she stepped forward, only to stop at the sight of Draco.

“Worked?” she snorted, in attempt of sounding less scared, I guessed. “She's scratched her skin off! Her face is bleeding because her fingernails has dug in so deep, she's been pulling her hair out to stop the bloody itch. Yes, I'd say it freaking worked.”
I think I heard Blaise say 'wicked', but I'm not sure.

 

I couldn't find it in me to feel sorry for her, not after what she had done. I didn't care if she bled or hurt, or anything. I simply couldn't find it in me to care about her.

“Well,” I said, “She had it coming.”

“She certainly had not!” Laura hissed, “What's the cure, Granger?”

“There is no cure,” said Draco simply and shrugged. He completely left out the part about it vanishing in a few days, “Now, would you ladies leave us be?”
Laura's eyes shot daggers at him but the look didn't impress him at all. He simply looked back at her and waited for her to leave. Blaise sighed and pushed Draco out of the way.

“Are you deaf?” Blaise asked her. He was taller than her, even though he was rather short, so he could look down on her. I saw a flicker of fear in her eyes. Obviously she wasn't as tough as she liked to act.

Blaise gripped her upper arm and pushed her out. “If a Malfoy tells you – a half-blood – to leave, then you leave. If a Zabini tells you to leave, then you better run for your fucking life. Got it?”

She nodded, and Blaise smiled. “Leave!”
Laura and her friends hurried away, while whispering to each other. I think I saw how Laura smiled, but it must have been my imagination, after all – why would she smile?
"Stupid Slytherin," I muttered and got three glaring stares and blushed as I realized that every one in the compartment was a Slytherin, "Oh. Sorry."
 

Neville came walking back in to our compartment just as Draco and Blaise sat down again. He looked around as if wondering what he had missed. He sat down next to me, and leaned towards me.
“Who was that girl?”
I gave him the short story of what had happened at the New Years party, which led us all in to talking about what we had done during the Holidays – not just at Christmas.

 

Somewhere along the ride back to Hogwarts, we began talking about Quidditch. Blaise and Draco had already decided to sign up and they were positive that they would get a spot in a team. I had already decided too, ever since that talk I had with Narcissa. Sure, I was a bit nervous about playing Quidditch since I had never done it before. But at least I knew how to fly and that was a start. Draco had said that I, with a little practise, would be able to play Quidditch. He had told be that I was a natural.

When I had told him that I wanted to be a Chaser, then he had agreed and he thought that it would have been an obvious choice for me. At the same time he was a bit worried – I could after all be hit by a Bludger.

“It would be fun to play, it really would,” said Neville and sighed sadly, “Though, it would probably be better if I didn't sign up.”

“Nonsense,” I snorted, “ If I can learn then you can as well. I think you should sign up.”

Draco sent me a warning look, as if he begged me to shut it. But I chose to ignore him.

“Don't you think so, Draco?” I asked him, in a sweet tone. He looked very uncomfortable for a second.

“Uh...” I gave him a stern look, and he sighed, “Sure, Longbottom. Sign up. If you end up in my team, then I'll teach you, 'kay?”

“You'd do that?” Neville stared at him with wide eyes, his mouth parted in pure shock. I couldn't quite keep the shock away myself, even though I knew that Draco was doing it because of me.

“Of course. You're Hermione's friend. Plus, if you were a player on my team, then you'd have to know how to play.”

 

I rolled my eyes and leaned against Draco's shoulder and inhaled his scent. He smelled of green apples and a hint of aftershave. Being with him, being close to him; it was... happiness. It was so right. There was no other word to describe it, really. It was just right. It took us a long time to get to where we were, but I knew that I never wanted to be apart from him. I couldn't imagine a life without him close by anymore.

I could picture Neville's blush to Draco's words so I didn't find the need to look at him. Instead I leaned more weight on Draco, who understood what I wanted and lifted his arm so that I could get closer to him. Then he hung his arm over my body.

Amber said something about being jealous of us. She was a fairly good Quidditch player and she wanted to be on the 7th years team as well.
“Only two years to go,” teased Blaise with a chuckle and she pouted, “How cute.”
Amber stuck her tongue out at her boyfriend and smiled. Blaise leaned closer to her and their lips met in a small yet loving kiss.

“I think we should change in to our robes, we'll be there soon...” mumbled Draco against my hair and I nodded slowly. 

 

We arrived at Hogsmeade Station before I knew it. Never had the ride there seemed so fast.

The five of us walked up to the carriages pulled by the Thestrals, which I was sure that most of us could see. Perhaps not Amber, but I knew for a fact that Neville and Draco did. I wasn't sure about Blaise. I didn't even remember seeing him at Hogwarts during the battle, perhaps he hadn't been there at all.

“Nasty things, those,” mumbled Blaise as if he had heard my thoughts. I glanced at him and I had expected him to look as sad as he sounded but he looked pissed off.

“So you can see them,” I sad to him and he gave me a small smile, it was a sad one.

“Unfortunately, yes. I did live in England during the war. I was at Hogwarts as the battle that took place there. I did see people die, I fought for my life. It's... Yeah. I can see the bloody Thestrals.”

I felt so stupid. Why wouldn't he have been there? He was a fighter. I realized that he had his own bad memories, he just didn't talk about them. Not like Draco did; when Draco trusted someone completely, then he could open up to them. Blaise wasn't like that, it didn't matter how much he trusted someone, he would most likely hide his feelings and thoughts behind jokes and laughter. He wouldn't let anyone see him hurt. Perhaps not even Amber.

“I'm sorry, I didn't-”

“Don't apologize, H, I understand that you're curious. The war has been hard on us all. Now, get in the carriage, it's freezing.”
I understood that he wanted me to drop the subject. I could take a hint, so I did as he said and he followed me. Draco took my hand and gave a squeeze, he must have heard what we had been talking about.

“Are you cold?” he asked me but I answered with a shrug. It wasn't very long to Hogwarts and I really wasn't bothered by the coldness in the air. As the castle came to view, I smiled. Gods, I had missed this place.

 














 

“Welcome back from your holidays. I hope you've all had a good time and are ready to go back to studying,” Headmistress McGonagall said as she spoke to all the students in the Great Hall. As it was the first day back and she held a speech, we had all been told to sit by our House table. That meant that I was sitting next to Neville. I was glad to have him, who else would I sit with by the Gryffindor table? They all seemed to dislike me nowadays.

Draco, Blaise and Amber sat together. The other Slytherins kept their distance but sent them occasional glares.

I turned by attention back to McGonagall as she mention the seventh years.

“As for the seventh years, I would like to inform you about a Quidditch game which is to be held the last week of school. This is something which has been done every year since 1902, so it's tradition. No other students but the seventh years will be able to watch this game, it's simply for the seventh years and their family and friends outside school,” the Hall broke out in whispers, apparently many students wanted to see the game.

“Furthermore, there will only be two teams and you can sign up by the entrance to the Great Hall, there will be a list hanging on the door. The first 14 to sign up to play will be selected and put in to a team. Your House will not be taken in to consideration, everyone will play against anyone. As for example, if a Slytherin and a Gryffindor would end up in the same team – I will expect you to put that House rivalry behind you and work as a team. Practises will begin this week.”

She made it very clear that she would not tolerate that those specific Houses fought. McGonagall glanced around at us and looked rather pleased with the silence she had created. “I would also like to remind you of something you are quite aware of as of now. Your N.E.W.T's, make sure you study hard for them. Now, enjoy the feast.”

 

I turned away from her and found that Neville looked in deep thought. I decided not to ask him about it and started to serve myself some food. The chicken looked rather delicious and I was longing for some pumpkin juice, even though I had been drinking it at the Malfoys everyday; it just felt different having it at Hogwarts.

It seemed to taste better, somehow.

Hearing McGonagall talk about the 'last week of school' was awful. All those years you go through school just waiting for it to be over, but when it comes down to it – you don't want to leave. I certainly didn't want to leave, that was for sure. I wished that I had one more year at school, not because I wished to do more homework, but because it would just feel so wrong not to see my friends everyday. I had no idea what would happen after I had graduated, it was rather... terrifying. Speaking of which, Neville looked beyond terrified, and I couldn't keep quiet any longer.

“What's the matter, Neville?”

“I'm going to sign up,” he stated before taking a bite of his chicken. I smiled at him – feeling a bit proud, before I glanced over his shoulder to see Draco motioning towards the door where some people were already signing up.

C'mon, let's sign up,” mouthed Draco. I nodded and told Neville to come with me.

 

As we walked towards the door, Neville became more and more pale by the second. Draco and Blaise met us half way there and Blaise grinned as he saw Neville's terrified expression. The line for signing up wasn't long. There was just Cho Chang and Terry Boot in front of us.

Out of us five it was Blaise with his messy handwriting that signed up first, followed by Draco. Draco's hand writing was a lot more elegant, it was close to flawless. I was next. With a shaky hand I took the quill from Draco's hand and wrote down my own name and the position I wanted to play. Then I glanced through the list.

 

Michael Corner – Beater.

Seamus Finnegan – Beater.

Lavender Brown – Chaser.

Cho Chang – Seeker.

Terry Boot – Chaser.

Blaise Zabini – Beater.

Draco Malfoy – Seeker.

Hermione Granger – Chaser.




I handed over the quill to Neville who bit his lip while signing up. I couldn't keep from looking at what position he wished to have. Beater. I almost regretted talking him in to signing up. Neville Longbottom – Beater?

I got a bad feeling about the whole thing, but shrugged it off. If I could learn, then he could.

Draco's hand on my shoulder made me turn to face him.

“Having second thoughts?” he asked with a smile, both of us very aware of the fact that people were staring at us.

“Nope. Just a bit nervous, that's all. But I promised your mother that I'd play, so...” I shrugged. 
Draco gave a soft chuckle as he pressed a kiss against my forehead. “I'll wait for you at the stairs after the feast, 'kay? We'll walk back our room together. Amber wont be staying with us tonight, she'll be in the Slytherin common room. It's just going to be the three of us,” he said. Once again I felt great gratitude towards McGonagall for giving us permission to use the old Heads common room after Draco had been poisoned.

I think she had felt that there was still a threat towards us, or something similar. There were some people who straight out hated us together and we had learned that some people had no limits. Matthew Raven had gone as far as attempted murder with the help of Pansy. Thank God she had dropped out of school. The thought of her being at school with us was horrible. It would have been a nightmare. I was just glad that we were allowed to be there. It was extremely kind of McGonagall.

“Yes, sure. I'll eat as quick as I can,” I smiled up at him before he let me go, and I walked back with Neville to the Gryffindor table.

 

The sight in front of me made me frown. Laura, the annoying girl from the train, and her cronies stood by our table. I walked up and sat down, ignoring her. She made it clear that she wasn't leaving until I acknowledged her. I glanced up at her smug looking expression.

“What do you want?” I asked her in a casual tone. I refused to let her know that she annoyed me.

“Oh, you know. I wanna know how reverse whatever your filthy hands did to Pansy,” her voice was just as casual, though she had an undertone of desperation.

“You dimwit. Blaise already told you that he was the one who caused her itch. I wouldn't know the cure,” I looked away from her, “And even if I did, I wouldn't tell you. Run along, would you?”

In an angry rush, she stormed off. Her two friends followed her, of course. It seemed incredible to me that Pansy had actually asked a fifth year to figure out the counter curse to her itch. She had asked Laura, for crying out loud, and this Laura didn't seem very smart to me.

Annoyed, I raised my goblet of pumpkin juice and drained it. It was cold and delicious. I raised my head and locked eyes with Blaise, who grinned for some reason. Probably at Laura's reaction, but I wasn't sure. I smiled back at him before I went back to eating. 










When the feast was over I walked out to find Draco there just as he promised. I felt cold as I walked towards him and my hands were sweaty. I licked my lips which felt dry. Draco was watching me with a strange expression. The cold feeling rushed through my legs and my knees buckled. I would have collapsed had it not been for the fact that someone caught me by the waist. 
I spun around slowly to stare in to Blaise's brown eyes, he brushed some hair out of my face and all I could do was stare at him. My heart was beating uncontrollable and my hands were holding on to his strong arms.

 “Are you okay, Hermione?” he asked me in a whisper so that the other students who were staring at us wouldn't hear. I wasn't sure if I could even nod, but I tried. I could barely think – or well, I could think about one thing. There was one sentence which repeated in my head. Oh, gods. I'm in love with Blaise Zabini!

 







[Hello all... Don't you just love me for ending it that way? I know, I know. I'm an evil person. I do apologize. 
First of all, wow. 900 reviews? I love you! Thank you, that's so surreal to me :D Keep 'em coming. 

So, what did you think of this chapter? I had promised a certain reviewer a Lucissa kiss; there you go! =) 
Are you excited being back at Hogwarts? For Quidditch? What do you reckon the teams will be?(Those people listed + some more. Guess away!). What did you think of Lauraa? Of uhm, well, the ending of the chapter? Didn't see that one coming, did you? ;)

Also. check out my blog at the forums, and my MTA! :) Please, review. I need your feedback and I really want to know what you think of it. Thanks,  - Cathyyy-]

Chapter 30: Trouble
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 [Hey, so as usual; I don't own anything apart from the plot and some OC's. Everything else is JK Rowlings. See you down at the A/N. Enjoy!]







I must have fainted because when I came to it, I was lying on something soft. I opened my eyes for a brief second to confirm the fact that I was in the Head common room – on the couch.

My head was throbbing slightly but that wasn't the only thing that felt strange. I felt warm and fuzzy on the inside, it was more than just a happy feeling. It consumed me completely and closed my eyes in hope of feeling more of the new emotion.  There was movement beside me and someone's hand took a hold of mine.

“She's awake,” said Draco. He sounded relieved over the fact that I had woken up. “Do you think that we should take her to the hospital wing?”

“Does she have a fever?” I opened my eyes instantly as I heard Blaise voice. His hand felt my forehead and he shook his head.

“No fever,” he said, “I think she's fine, she just fainted. People do it all the time. If she gets worse, then we'll take her. For now, I think she just needs to take it easy and rest for a bit.”

Gently he pushed some of my hair out of my face and I thought that I was going to faint again by the way he was looking at me. I almost forgot about the hand that held mine but then Draco squeezed it as if to reassure me that I was going to be fine.

“Hey, Blaise,” I said and my throat felt very dry. “Uhm, can I talk to you for a second?”  Blaise eyebrows furrowed in slight confusion and he glanced over at Draco who simply shrugged.

“Alone,” I added and let go of Draco's hand abruptly. His grey eyes looked hurt for a second before he muttered 'fine' and stormed out of the room. When I heard the door slam shut, I pushed myself up in a sitting position. I motioned for Blaise to sit down next to me and he did so - slowly. 

 



He was wearing black trousers and a white shirt and his Slytherin green tie. His black hair was messy and some of it hung in front of his eyes. Oh, his eyes... I had never really seen them. They were the perfect colour, a dark brown which made my heart skip several beats. They were so much darker than my own dull brown eyes.

“So, what's up, Hermione?” he asked and I melted as he mentioned my name. I couldn't resist leaning against him and I inhaled his smell as my head rested against his shoulder. His cologne smelled wonderful.

“Hermione?”

“Yes?” I breathed and tilted my head up to look at his breathtaking face. His lips looked very inviting... I leaned forward with the intention of letting our lips touch. He sat perfectly still with his eyes wide open.

Our lips were so close that I could feel his warm breath on mine.

“Hermione,” his voice sounded strangled and I almost whimpered at how good my name sounded when coming from his lips. “Stop it.”

 

I shook my head and my eyes fluttered closed as I made an attempt of kissing him. However, he took a hold of my shoulders and pushed me away – his rejection broke my heart.

“Blaise – what?”

“What's going on with you?” he asked sharply as if being upset with me. I straddled him and he took a deep breath.

“What, isn't it obvious? Blaise... I love you,” I smiled and he looked at me as if I was mentally disturbed.

“Look girl, I love you too, but I don't go around kissing my friends...”

“No, silly,” I sighed and ran my fingers through his hair and he froze, “I love you as in I'm in love with you.”

He loved me. He told me that he loved me. I could have screamed at the top of my lungs out of happiness.

“Now, that's a funny one, H,” he laughed nervously, “You almost had me there. Is Draco in on this?”

I shook my head as fast as I could, offended that he would think something like that. That I would lie about something like that?

“Of course not. It's not a joke. I'm head over heels for you.”

He shifted uncomfortable on the couch as if he wasn't sure if he wanted to stay or leave. “Get off, H.”

“Why?” I asked him in a whisper and licked my lips. His hands caught my wrists and he got me to ease back a bit. “Wanna hold hands?” I asked and he just stared at me as if I had gone mad. But his hands nonetheless went from holding my wrists to holding my hands. I giggled a bit and tightened the hold of his hands. How romantic, I thought , gosh... I love him.

 

“You're so beautiful!” I blurted out after a while of just staring at him. Again, he looked at me as if I was completely out of it. “No, I mean it. Your eyes, your jawline... Your lips and your hands. Oh, gosh, your hands are perfect!” I brought one of his hands up to look at it closer.
 
Gently I let my lips touch his palm. His skin was warm and soft. I sighed and closed my eyes. When I opened my eyes I looked up at him and I couldn't control myself. I threw my arms around his neck and just as my lips was about to crash down on his, the door burst open. 

“What the fuck?” hissed Draco as he stepped inside. Followed by Amber, I had no idea when he had had the time to find her. Perhaps she had been near by. She glared at the two of us.

“Get this lunatic off of my body, Draco. Now, or I swear to Merlin, I don't know what she's going to do,” Blaise said but when Draco didn't do anything he added, “Please?”

Draco's hands grabbed my waist from behind and pulled me from Blaise's body. I struggled against his hold but there was no chance that I could get free.

“Let go of me,” I growled and kicked with my legs, “Blaise, honey, do something!”

Blaise looked more frightened than anything and I couldn't understand why. Draco held a firm grip on my body and no matter how much I thrashed around and screamed – he wouldn't let me go.

“What the hell is going on here, Blaise?” Draco asked while trying to keep me still.

“Mate, your girlfriend has lost it,” Blaise stood up and gave me a concerned stare.

“No!” I hissed, “I don't want to be his girlfriend! Blaise, please. Don't you see it? We belong together. Can't you feel the love? It's so obvious...” 

 


Draco's grip tightened to the point where it almost hurt and he seemed frozen that way. In fear that I might break a rib if I moved, I stilled somewhat as I waited for Blaise's answer. However, he didn't answer me, instead he looked up at Draco.

“See what I mean? She must have been cursed or been given a potion or something. This isn't her.”

“It is really that hard to believe that I just love you?”

I really couldn't understand. Surely he must be feeling the same way? He was all I could think about, hell, he was all I wanted to think about.

Amber, who had just been standing by the door, walked up to him and took his hand. I saw red. How dare she?

“Let go of him!” I snarled and began to fight Draco's hold again, no longer caring about the pain which followed by doing so. My nails dug in to his arms and he hissed.

“She must have been given a potion of some sort. Let's get her to the Hospital Wing,” said Draco and began to drag me towards the door. I kicked as much as I could and to my amazement he stilled his movements.

“Damn it. Blaise, maybe she'll go willingly if you ask her to,” he sounded disgusted as he spoke and he let me go abruptly; I almost lost my balance. I didn't even bother to glance at the blonde wizard. Instead I ran up to Blaise and threw my arms around his waist.

“Go where?” I asked him, but quickly decided that it was irrelevant, “Gods, you smell so good...”

“Uh, so do you,” he cleared his throat before he eased away from me. My hands fell to my sides and I simply looked at him and wondered what he would do next. He held out his hand for me to take and I gladly did so. “Come on, let's go to the Hospital Wing.” 



 

 

I still wasn't sure why they wanted me to go with them there but I did so. I just knew that I was going to go wherever Blaise went, so if he was going to the Hospital Wing, then I was too.

It was annoying to have Draco and Amber follow us – why couldn't they just leave us alone?





It seemed as if I wasn't the only one who was annoyed; Madame Pomfrey glared at us as we walked in there before asking what was wrong. All eyes landed on me, Amber glaring, Draco looking fairly disgusted, Blaise looking – well, apart from looking devilishly handsome, he also looked somewhat scared.

 

I didn't like that he looked scared, it made me feel as if I had done something wrong.

“She's been given a potion,” Draco explained behind me. I couldn't care less of what he said, I was far too busy staring at the beauty beside me. “A very strong Love Potion, I suspect.”

“Love Potion?” asked Pomfrey in a rather bored tone, “Why am I not surprised?” she muttered before walking to stand in front of me. “I take it that you're not her boyfriend?”

“No, I am not. Draco is,” Blaise explained and I cringed. I opened my mouth to tell him that I didn't want it to be that way. I just wanted him!

“I see. Miss Granger?”

I tore my eyes away from Blaise's perfect jawline to look at the older woman. I didn't want to look away from the dark beauty, and I hated her for making me do it.

“Yes?”

I tightened my hold of Blaise's hand as she looked at me. She nodded and mumbled something before walking away. I was confused for a moment, but she returned moments later with a vial in her hands, a vial filled with a light blue liquid.

“I need you to drink this, Miss Granger,” she said and brought the vial to my lips. I shook my head and closed my mouth. I turned my head to look at Blaise; he was looking down on me pleadingly.

“Hermione,” he began and glanced at Draco before he looked back at me and smiled softly, “Love, would you please drink it? For me?”

I was lost as soon as he said 'love'. Of course I would do it for him, there was nothing I wouldn't do for him.

“Of course,” I breathed.

Blaise took the vial from Pomfrey and brought it to my mouth.

“All of it, Mr Zabini,” she told him and he gave a nod. His eyes were serious and concentrated as he asked me to open my mouth. His voice could have ordered me to do anything and I would have been glad to do it, so I opened my mouth and felt the ice cold potion make it's way down my throat.

“That's it,” Blaise said as he emptied the vial in my mouth, “Now swallow...”

I did as he said and cringed at the taste and the coldness. I felt my whole body go cold – it made me shiver and close my eyes. I shook my head as my cold blood rushed through it.

 

When I opened my eyes again, I took in my surroundings while feeling awfully confused and cold.

I found myself in the Hospital Wing and I had absolutely no idea how I got there.

I looked down and found that I was holding someone's hand, looking to my left I saw that Blaise was standing there. He looked more serious than I had ever seen him, yet he looked as if he wanted to run as far away from me as possible. Looking to my right, I saw Draco staring at the floor and Amber looked as if she could jump at me and beat me down.

Looking straight ahead, I saw Pomfrey. I turned to Blaise and let go of his hand at once – that made him look more relaxed.

“What-?” I began but Blaise interrupted me.

“Love Potion.”




It all came back to me very suddenly and it made me blush furiously. I remembered trying to kiss him, how I had straddled him, how I had confessed my love for him. I also remembered what I had said about Draco and how hurt he had been. I clasped a hand over my mouth and thought 'oh my god'.

I turned around to look at Draco, who was still looking down at the floor.

I don't want to be his girlfriend!

My own words repeated in my head and my heart dropped as I realized that I had hurt him deeply. He looked as if I might as well have stabbed him in his heart.

“Draco,” I whispered as I rushed over to him and placed my hands on each side of his face and lifted his head to he was looking at me. “I'm so sorry for what I did and what I said... I – I do want to be your girlfriend. I'm sorry,” I didn't even realize that I was crying until I tasted one of my tears.

I felt so bad and so guilty when he pressed his face against one of my hands.

“You were under the influence of a Love Potion, Hermione, it wasn't your fault. It just hurt,” he spoke the last words so quietly that I barely heard them.

“I'm sorry...”

I closed my eyes as he pulled me in to a hug. He then mumbled against my ear, “Just to be clear, do you love Blaise?”

“Yes,” I said simply and felt him stiffen, “I love him as a friend. The thought if being more than friends with him makes me a bit sick to be honest,” I realized that Blaise was probably listening to what I said, “No offence, Blaise,” I called over my shoulder.

“None taken. I feel the same. I thought I had gone mad when you started hitting on me, seriously. I love you and all, but you're like my best friend. Like a sister. It felt so... wrong.”

I smiled sadly at him as if trying to say 'I'm sorry' – I think he got my point.

 

Madame Pomfrey cleared her throat, “I think you better get Miss Granger to a bed, quickly. She's cold and probably exhausted. Potions makes you quite tired. Am I right, Miss Granger?”

I hadn't had the time to think about that, but yes. She was right. I was still very cold and I felt as if I could pass out from exhaustion any second. I gave a nod and felt Draco's arm snake it's way around my waist to support me as we began to walk.

“Are you too tired to walk?” asked Draco when we had walked half the way back to our room. Amber had decided to come along. I guessed she wasn't comfortable with leaving Blaise alone with Draco and – most of all, me. I didn't have a chance to answer him before he continued, “You can jump up on my back if you want to. I can carry you the rest of the way.”

“I, uh- It's okay, I -” I yawned and he stopped and motioned for me to get up on his back. “No, really, Draco. I couldn't...”

“Hermione, just get up on my back.”

Rolling my eyes, I did as he said. He took a hold of my legs as I locked them around his waist and rested my arms around his neck – careful not to choke him. I leaned my head on his and whispered something about being able to fall asleep there.

 

 

I don't know how I did it but I managed to stay away all the way back. We walked through the room of green and red and in to the room which we slept in, Blaise followed us inside and they made sure that I got in to bed. Blaise said 'goodnight' before walking out and throwing an arm over his girlfriends shoulders and they walked in to his room.

Draco looked at me and sighed as I sat back up and I raised an eyebrow at him.

“What? I need to change, don't I?”

He didn't say anything, which I took as an agreement. His oversized t-shirt was what I ended up wearing and as I had put that on, I crawled back under the covers. Draco did the same and reached for my hand.

The black covers made it feel even more dark in the room. I had no idea what time it was, but since we were in bed, it felt like it was rather late. Also, I had no idea for how long I had been passed out earlier, that made it seem as if a long time had passed since the feast.

Draco's thumb stroke my hand and he looked at me as if he expected me to fall asleep any second.

“Draco,” I began and pushed myself closer to his body, “You know that I would pick you over Blaise any day, right?”

“I-,” he didn't seem to know what to say. After a moment of silence, he sighed, “I guess. It's just that when I saw you with him today, it was so... I felt so – so hurt. I've never felt that way before. All I could think about was the fact that I love you so much and that I couldn't stand losing you. Especially to him.”

“You wont lose me,” I whispered and inched even closer to him. His hand let go of mine, and made it's way to my waist instead, to pull me even closer. I gasped at the feeling of his hand against my ribs – damn, it hurt.

However, I ignored it as I felt how my body became heavier as I closed my eyes for a second, I felt as if I could have fallen asleep right away. But I didn't want to. I wanted to stay awake just a little while longer.

“You know,” I said and kept my eyes closed, “I never thought that you were the cuddling type, Draco.”

“I'm not,” he laughed softly and kissed the top of my head, “Only with you.”

I let out something in between a yawn and an 'aww', and he laughed some more. My eyelids felt too heavy to open again, so I let my eyes stay closed. Even though I would have loved to look at him, I couldn't force my eyes open to do so.

“Sleep, H, you're-,”

“You're going to start calling me that as well? H - Really?” I spoke in a whisper but he heard me.

“Yeah, live with it. Now, as I was saying, you're exhausted. You should stop forcing yourself to stay awake.”

“Okay,” I agreed, “I love you.”

“Love you, too,” he whispered and it sounded so natural and so right, that I couldn't help but smiling. Sleep took me over moments later. 




I woke up because Draco was moving around in the bed. I groaned and turned around, wishing that I could just go back to sleep but I knew that he wouldn't let me. It was after all, first day back at school and we had classes to attend to. I kept my eyes shut tight and hoped that I was going to fall asleep again and be able to sleep at least an half hour longer.

“I know you're awake,” said Draco casually, “We've got classes so get up or I'll pour cold water over you.”

“You wouldn't!” I gasped but the threat still made me sit up and look at him. He gave me a look which said 'wanna bet on that one?' “Oh, fine. I'll be up in just a second,” I said as I threw myself back on the pillow, “I feel like I could sleep for days.” 

“I know. It's a side effect from the potion you drank yesterday, you get tired,” he laid down beside me and reached for me. He grabbed a hold of my waist to pull me in to a hug, and I gasped out loud at the feeling.

“What?” he asked quickly, “What did I do?”

I shook my head as I pushed the covers off me, I sat up in the bed and slowly pulled up the t-shirt to have a look at the hurting area.

A big, fat bruise covered the side of my stomach, just below my ribs. As I glanced at my other side, I found that I had a bruise there as well. There was no question on when those bruises had occurred – when I had struggled against Draco's hold of me.  I let my fingers trace the outline of the bruise and winced. Draco looked as if he was about to throw up or cry, I wasn't sure which one.

“I did that, didn't I?” he said, sounding disgusted with himself. I shook my head.

“No, I did. I was the one who struggled and thrashed. If I had just stayed still...Look, I bruise really fast and easily, this is nothing, okay?”

“Don't give me that crap. I shouldn't have had that strong of a hold of you. I'm sorry... I'll heal you, okay?” as he reached for his wand, I swear that I heard him mumble something about bruising easily; it was followed by a snort.

I nodded with a small smile. I knew that it wasn't his intention to hurt me in any way. He never wanted to hurt me, and I couldn't even imagine how he was feeling at the moment – the disgust had been so evident in his voice. It made me wonder what he was thinking about.

“Lie down, love. It wont take long, I'm very good at healing bruises actually. It's about the only thing I'm good at healing.” I wanted to tell him that he was good at healing people but I kept quiet.

Draco was right, he was very good at healing bruises. He just needed to trace his wand over the bruise and mutter some words I couldn't make out and then they were gone.

“How did you become so good at healing bruises?” I asked as he put the wand away. He turned to face me with a smile playing on his lips.

“Hermione, I'm a Quidditch player. We're constantly bruised. It's a tough game, you know,” he gave a small wink. I did know, seeing as I had been to quite a few games, I knew that bruising was to be expected. So, I blushed at the stupid question – of course a Quidditch player would know how to heal bruises.

“Well,” I smiled at him, “Thank you for healing me, Draco.”

“Let's just hope I'll never have to do it again, okay? Now... Is it safe for me to tickle you to make you get out of bed?” He grinned at me and I hurried off the bed and gave him a small smile before I headed for the bathroom to take a quick shower and get dressed.

“Hey, Hermione,” he called and I stopped dead in my tracks and turned around, “Here.” Draco handed me my school robes and I captured his lips in a quick kiss before I continued walking.

 

 

Just as I finished getting dressed and dried my hair after the shower, Blaise came knocking on the door. He had overslept and needed to use the shower, well... Him and Amber both.  I cast a quick spell on my hair before letting them use the bathroom. Walking over to the couch where Draco sat, I called his name and asked him if he was ready to go have breakfast.

He stood up and grabbed my hand as we began to make out way down to the Great Hall.

 

“So,” Draco said as we walked down some stairs, “Any idea who would have slipped you the Love Potion?”

“No idea,” I replied, but then I felt like slapping myself. It was rather obvious who had done it, wasn't it? I felt so stupid that I hadn't figured it out sooner.

“Oh...That little -” I was furious. I knew that there had been something about her that I didn't like.

“What?”

“Laura. Remember that she was by the Gryffindor table yesterday? She had been waiting for me while I walked to sign up for the Quidditch team. She must have slipped the potion in to my pumpkin juice – I drained it all right after she left.”

“It must have been her. If it was, then it means that Pansy had something to do with it. I would bet anything that it was all Pansy's idea. Though, how would Laura had gotten some hair of Blaise's? She would have needed it to make sure that it was him you 'fell in love with'...”

 

I thought about that as we walked through the doors of the Great Hall and headed towards the Ravenclaw table where Neville and Luna sat together and waited for us, just like they had done every day before the Christmas holidays.

We said good morning to them and I poured myself some coffee, though I would have rather had some pumpkin juice. But I needed the coffee – or else I would fall asleep during Transfiguration. I took a small sip of the hot coffee and then I looked over at the Slytherin table, where I found that Laura was staring at me. I smiled at her and watched her face fell. Much like it had done the previous day on the train. That's when it hit me.

“On the train!” I blurted out to Draco, who looked confused, “When Blaise walked up to her and told her to leave, she could have gotten the hair then.”

“Of course, she wasn't just there to get information about Pansy's itch. She was there so that she could add the final ingredient to the potion – hair. It makes sense. Merlin, wont Pansy ever give up...”

“You really think that this is all her idea?” I asked him and took another sip of my coffee and decided that I needed to add more sugar in it.

“Most definitely. Don't you see? She thought that this would cause us to break up. To see you throwing yourself at my best friend. She obviously underestimated our relationship.”

“Obviously,” I agreed and smiled at him, before turning to our confused friends and explained it all. Neville glared at her over his shoulder, while Luna simply went back to eating after I finished explaining. I guess she didn't make a big deal out of it seeing that I was fine and such. I couldn't help but to smile at her.

She was such an optimist. As was Blaise, who joined us moments later and he had Amber with him as usual. Draco told him about what we had just talked about and they both seemed to agree with us. She had to have done it. I glanced at Amber and found that she was looking at me with an unreadable expression and then she took a hold of Blaise's hand as if to make a point. It was clear that she wanted to send me the message that he was hers. 

I made the same point by taking Draco's hand and she gave a small nod and I knew that we were on the same page; she understood that I didn't have any hidden feelings just by seeing something so small like me taking Draco's hand while she took Blaise's. It was a girl thing. I looked over at her boyfriend. 

Blaise was, to put it simply, extremely pissed off. The glare he sent over his shoulder would have made her drop to the floor if looks could have killed. As the boys began discussing whether or not to confront her about it, my mind drifted away. We had Transfiguration first thing in the morning and after that we had a free period, then we had lunch followed by Potions. I didn't have Transfiguration with the Slytherins, though. I had it with Hufflepuff.

I had Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Divination, Charms , Astronomy, Herbology and Transfiguration with the Slytherins, so I was thrilled about that. That meant that I only had three classes without Draco or Blaise in them, which were Ancient Runes, History of Magic, and Arithmancy. I had decided that those were the subjects which I wanted to take my N.E.W.T's in; that meant that I dropped out of Muggle Studies and Care of Magical Creatures.

Neville said my name and made me snap out of my thoughts, he was wondering when we were gonna go to our class. I glanced at my watch and found that class started in ten minutes, in a rush I threw my bag of books over my shoulder and kissed Draco before Neville and I rushed to the classroom.

 

Our new Head of House was also the new Transfiguration teacher – the same man who had been there when I had been interrogated under the influence of Veritaserum. His name was Damian Dumont. Professor Dumont was a fairly good teacher, he wasn't as strict as McGonagall had been so it would be easier to get a higher grade in the class than before. I was aiming for an 'O' and I thought that my chances of getting it was rather good.

I still thought he looked a lot like Professor Slughorn, just younger and taller. He had yet to enter the classroom as we walked in there and sat down. Most of the students were already there, so we had no other choice but to sit in the back of the class even though I wanted to sit in the front.

 

I pulled my copy of 'Guide to Advanced Transfiguration' and opened it – I wanted to show the Professor that I was eager to get back to studying. In reality; I wasn't. Neville yawned beside me and looked as if he was about to fall asleep.

“Slept bad?” I asked him just as Professor Dumont walked in to the classroom looking rather serious.

“Like you couldn't imagine. Bloody nightmares...” he muttered back and then he focused his eyes on the teacher.

I fought hard not to fall in to my old pattern and drift away in thoughts as the teacher spoke to us. It had been so easy to just forget my surroundings in the beginning of the school year. But I knew that I couldn't afford that anymore. I needed to pay attention so that I would graduate with good grades, which had been my goal since first year.

“I assume that you have all read the book which I asked you to read during the Holidays?”

 

No, I hadn't read it during the Holidays; I had read it the same day he had given it to me. I had also read it during my fifth year. But it couldn't hurt to read it once more, I reckoned. I found that the things written in the books were rather easy stuff – apart from the chapter about making things come alive. It was something we hadn't read much about before and we had only ever tried it twice.

“Good,” he continued, “Now, do you have any questions about a chapter or anything like that?”

My hand was in the air faster than I thought possible.

“Yes, Miss Granger?” he always sounded so eager when he was about to get a question from me – the other teachers sounded slightly bored.

“I was just wondering something on chapter 38, sir. About making things come alive. We haven't had much practise on that area, so I was just wondering if we could do that someday?”

“Why, certainly, Miss Granger. Splendid idea! We'll devote the next class to that,” he smiled kindly at me before he glanced around the room, “As for today, I'll hand out some of your old essays and you'll get to keep them until you take your N.E.W.T's – this is so that you'll remember everything you've ever learned in this class. Prepare yourself for the test, trust me when I tell you that you'll need the preparation.”

 

He called us up one by one and handed us all of our old essays, feet long parchments filled with information which we would have to read through. I almost let out a groan as he called out 'Granger, Hermione!”

I walked up to him and smiled sweetly as he handed me the parchments. It would take a long time to go through all of it – it was six and a half year of essays!

“I've read them through, Miss Granger, and I must say that I'm impressed. You really are as clever as they all say. The brightest witch of our age, they call you. Well, I couldn't agree more. I have a feeling that the N.E.W.T's will be easy for you,” he finished off with a smile and by then; I was blushing furiously.

“Thank you, Professor Dumont,” I said in a mumble and he smiled wider. I wondered if he understood how awkward I felt when people said things like that. Awkward and very, very pleased with myself. I think he was under the impression that I was rather shy – so I didn't show him the grin that spread on my lips as I walked back to my seat.

Neville noticed my happy looking face and grinned as well.

“What did he say?” asked Neville as I sat down and put the parchments down on the table in front of me.

“Nothing, you know... 'Make sure you study hard' and all that,” I shrugged it off and started reading what I had written in first year, not just essays but I had also made sure to bring notes and other things I had written down about Transfiguration. After a while of reading about something I already knew, I glanced at my watch to find that only five minutes had passed. Oh, boy... This is going to be one long hour.






 

 

Once the class was over, I gathered my things and walked out alongside Neville, who was not in a good mood; he hadn't really been able to read what he had written himself. He told me that he'd see me later and took of to the left, I had a feeling he was heading to the Gryffindor common room. I didn't mind being alone for a while, it had been so long since I had. Not that I wanted to be, but every now and then it was nice to have a moment or two for myself.

Many students greeted me as I walked past them and I took that as a good thing; at least they didn't hate me. As I rounded a corner I spotted her – Laura – and made a complete halt and walked up to her. She was surrounded by her friends, but they were fifth years so it didn't bother me that they outnumbered me.

Laura's hair framed her face, the smooth, dark hair looked more shiny than anything I had ever seen. Must be a spell, I thought as I studied her. She had a smirk on her face and if I hadn't known better then I would say that she and Pansy were related; as it was - I knew that Laura was a half-blood.

Amber had told me about her on the train, so I knew just about everything about her.

She was Laura Huggins, fifth year, sixteen years old from London. Her mother was a half-blood and she had never known her father. Amber suspected him to be a Muggle, or at least a Muggle-born. Throughout her years at Hogwarts she had been a real pain in the arse, at least towards Amber. When Draco had been poisoned – she had been the one to send the note from Amber, as a joke. As a cruel and sick joke to humiliate Amber. No, Laura was not a nice girl and anyone could see this.

“Hello there, Granger,” she said sweetly as if she wanted to annoy me. I wouldn't let her get to me.

“Hi, Huggins,” I smiled and she smiled back – though neither of our smile were genuine. “Has Pansy stopped itching?”

Laura ignored my question completely, it was as if she hadn't even heard me. But then again, I hadn't expected to get an answer.

“I just wanted to tell you that you can tell Pansy that the Love Potion didn't work. I'm still together with Draco and nothing happened between Blaise and I. Nice try, though.”

“You were Love Potion'ed?” she tried to sound surprised but I could see right through that. “You think I had something to do with it?”

“I don't think you had something to do with it – I know.”

She let out a soft laugh and looked around at her friends who laughed a bit as well.

“Well, Granger. Good luck proving that,” she said and a ghost of a smirk played on her lips, “Personally I think that you and Blaise make a cute couple.” 
I clenched my jaw and counted to ten. She leaned in closer so that no one but me would hear her, “And I do doubt that Pansy is ready to give up Draco just yet, after all... They do belong together, you do know that, right?”

“He detests her,” I spat and she backed away as if I had slapped her, “He hates her more than anything. Why can't she see that? What more does he have to do for her to understand? She must be the most stupid person I've ever met!”

 

Laura growled and glared at me and then, within a few seconds, I saw her hand twitch and new that she was about to reach for her wand. I was just a second faster than her and drew my wand and pointed it at her before she realized that I had foreseen her move.

Stupid idea, Hermione... I thought as I realized where we were. In the middle of the corridor we stood with our wands in the others face. If a Professor would walk by then we would surely be given detention. Or at least lose some House points.

I could tell that she was thinking hard on what spell to use against me, but I didn't need to think as long as her.

Just as she opened her mouth and began to speak, “Levi-”

Furnunculus!” I said in my head, and watched in delight how her face became covered in boils and she let out a horrifying scream. She had obviously not expected me to curse her non-verbally. “Never take on a seventh year, Laura. You're not on the same level as us.”

“What's going on here?” I heard Professor Slughorn say and I closed my eyes knowing what I could expect – Detention for fighting in the corridors and at least 20 points taken from each of our House's. I was right, after one look at Laura, he took 25 points from my House(he did take 25 points from his own House as well) and told me that I had detention to serve on Sunday at 2 pm. Laura got off without a detention, I could have sworn that she was smirking somewhere behind all those boils.

 

Great, I thought as I walked back to the Heads dorm, first day back and I've already got a detention to serve. Blaise is going to have a blast about this.

Draco and Blaise sat on Blaise's bed as I walked in there. I threw myself on the bed and let out a deep sigh. The two boys looked at each other and then back down at me, as if surprised to see me there. I raised one of my eyebrows and Draco did the same, then he laid back down as well.

“So, Hermione, how was Transfiguration? Was Dumont an arse?”

“No. It was good, and Dumont is never an arse, Blaise,” I rolled my eyes at his choice of word, “However, you'll be thrilled to hear that I've gotten myself a detention.”

Just like I had suspected – Blaise let out a roar of laughter and Draco joined in. I huffed and closed my eyes as they continued laughing.

“You owe me a galleon, Draco,” Blaise said and I watched how Draco gladly handed over the golden galleon to him. I gaped at Blaise who grinned. “You see, we made a bet which one of us would get detention first and, well, I guessed that you'd be the one.”

“Who did you bet on?” I asked Draco who nodded towards Blaise, “Oh. Well, I wouldn't have gotten detention if it hadn't been for that stupid Laura. She's trouble, I'm telling you.”

“What did you do?” asked Draco and sat up to get a good look at me.

“I cursed her,” I said with a shrug, “She's at the moment covered in some lovely boils. Personally I think she looks better that way.”

The boys chuckled their agreement before we laid back down and enjoyed our free period. The day had barely begun but I already felt as if I could have fallen asleep right then and there. Even though the first day back hadn't exactly started out the way I had planned, I couldn't help but to smile about it all.

First day back and I had already gotten myself a detention. Oh, I had definitely spent too much time around Slytherins.



[Hey, so, this chapter was giving me hell while I tried to post it. Gah. Oh well. So, how many of you guessed that it was Love Potion? I know that some of you didn't have a guess and actually thought I could do something like that to Draco. Aw. Reminds me of chapter 12 when some people thought I was going to kill him off.. 

Oh well, so what did you think of the Hermione/Laura interaction? It was a fun scene to write, since I haven't had that much magic in the story. How was the whole Hermione on Love Potion thing? It was so hard to write! I hope it didn't come across that I thought it was hard. I've included classes! What do you think of that? Of Professor Dumont?  Again, excited for Quidditch? I know I am. Let me know what you think of the chapter - or the whole story if you want to. So, please review. Thanks, - Cathyyy- ]


Chapter 31: Practice
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[I don't own anything apart from the plot and some OC's! Everything else is JK Rowlings! Enjoy! A slight warning for a kind of nasty nightmare. If you don't like reading about horrible nightmares, then skip that part!]








 
Tuesday began with Charms which was followed by Divination and then we had lunch; the day had so far passed rather quickly. I sat down by the Ravenclaw table and borrowed Witch Weekly from Cho who were already eating and had an intense conversation with Michael Corner who had joined us for today. I didn't pay attention to what they were talking to but I think I might have heard the word Quidditch escape Cho's lips.

Witch Weekly was just as uninteresting as I remembered it to be but at least it have me something to think about while I waited for my friends to join me for lunch. They had gone to talk to their Head of House about the Quidditch teams, though I doubted that they would get any information from Slughorn.

I felt as if I was being watched and glanced up to see that four students by the Slytherin table were glaring at me. I let out a long sigh. Did they really think that I would care if a couple of fourth and fifth years disliked me? 

 
“Hey, Granger!” a boy from the Slytherin table called out my name and I looked at him instantly, half-expecting him to say something rude to me. “You're my hero for what you did to Laura!” 

 
His friends seemed to agree with him as they all broke out in a small applaud and I felt a flush appear on my cheeks. Laura's friends hissed at him but he didn't care at all what they said to him and eventually they gave up and walked away from there. Sad as it was, they wouldn't get any respect or even get noticed without their little gang leader. 

 “Anytime,” I mumbled and looked away from them, smiling shyly. Guess I'm not the only one who dislikes her, I thought and felt better about that fact. Luna sat down opposite of me and greeted me happily before serving herself some food. I asked her if she wanted to read Witch Weekly. 

 
“No thanks, I've got the Quibbler.” 

 
I didn't think that it would be worth it to point out that she had been reading the same issue three times now. Two times at breakfast and then she was going to read it now, again. 

 “Okay,” I said with a shrug and then I looked up to see Draco sit down next to me with a smile on his lips, “You got something out of him?” 

 
“No, he claimed that he didn't no anything about the teams but he did tell us that McGonagall and Madame Hooch would announce the teams now – at lunch.” 

 
My stomach tightened and I took a deep breath as the nervousness kicked in. I nodded slowly and looked towards the door just as the two of them walked in – followed by Blaise who sat down next to Luna.

 
McGonagall was dressed in green robes and her hair was pulled back in a bun. Her glasses looked bigger but I knew they weren't. They just looked it since she become thinner. Madame Hooch smiled at me but I couldn't make myself return the smile, I was far too nervous.

“We have put together a Quidditch team for the seventh years. The first team has the first practice, which is right after lunch, the second team will have access to the Quidditch pitch once they are done. This means that today's lesson in Astronomy will be cancelled,” she held back a small smile as the hall broke out in cheers. 

 
“The students and their position on the first team is,” McGonagall was given a parchment from Hooch and she glanced through it, “Captain and Seeker is Draco Malfoy.” 

 I smiled at him as the rest of the hall gave him a round of applauds. McGonagall continued.

 “Keeper is Ernie MacMillan. Beaters are Neville Longbottom and Blaise Zabini,” she said clearly and I couldn't help but to notice how her voice changed as she said Neville's name, as if she was expecting a disaster to happen even before he entered the Quidditch pitch. My heart was racing as I thought about the possibility of not ending up in the same team as them. Draco's hand found mine and he held it as McGonagall continued, “Chasers are Dean Thomas, Hannah Abbott and Hermione Granger.”

 

I let out a breath that I hadn't known that I was holding and Draco and Blaise seemed glad to hear that I had made their team. Or well, Draco's team. So had Hannah Abbott and together we were the only girls on that team. I looked over at her and noticed that she looked rather happy. She had been one of the students who had dropped out of school but returned now to finish her education. The war had been tough on her, seeing that she had lost her mother. 

I hoped that she wouldn't have a problem with being on Draco's team – I wasn't sure if she saw him as a Death Eater or not, if she did then that might cause some problems. Her mother had, after all, been murdered by Death Eaters. I looked away from her as McGonagall continued talking. 

 
“The second team consists of the Captain and Seeker is Cho Chang. Beaters are Michael Corner and Seamus Finnegan. Chasers are Zacharias Smith, Terry Boot and Lavender Brown and the Keeper is Justin Finch-Fletchley.” 

 
I had a hard time picturing both Justin and Ernie as Keepers but then again I was playing Chaser. Me – a girl who had never played Quidditch before – was playing Chaser. McGonagall wished us good luck and then she walked out of the Great Hall and left us all staring after her. 

 
“So,” said Draco and sounded pleased with himself – he had the right to be. He was Quidditch Captain for crying out loud, “Our team will need a name. Any suggestions?” 

 
“Well, Captain, I would assume that it's up to you to come up with something,” I smiled as I said it and he rolled his eyes. He was loving it and I knew it. “I have a question... Our Keeper is Ernie MacMillan, is he any good?” 

 “Dunno, I've never seen him play. He better be, or I'll replace him with Blaise and let him take Blaise's Beater position.” 

 
“Hey! You can't just do that,” huffed Blaise and looked as if someone had slapped him across the face, “That position is mine.” 

 
“Would you rather I gave the Keeper position to Longbottom?” hissed Draco to Blaise so that Neville wouldn't hear him. “Didn't think so,” added Draco when he saw Blaise grimace. 

 
“Oh, I'm so jealous...” muttered Amber and dug in on her food. Amber had been acting strange towards me ever since, well – ever since I declared my undying love for her boyfriend. Still, she talked to me and tried to act as if everything was normal but I saw right through it. 

 
But I knew that all I could do was to give her time and just hope that she would come around sooner or later. Draco asked Amber what position she wanted to play and she answered with a shrug and went back to eating. Perhaps I wasn't the only one she acted strange towards.

Blaise gave her an odd look and pulled her to him and asked her what was wrong but she simply shook her head and shrugged away from him.

So, something was definitely not right. I decided to leave it be for the moment and take it up with her later when we were alone. I looked from Amber to Blaise who was talking to Neville and he chuckled at something he had said.

 

Blaise had been furious about Laura ever since he found out and he didn't think that me cursing her was enough. He had wanted to confront her himself but we had been able to talk him out of it. We knew how bad his temper was. I wouldn't have ended good if we had let him go after her. Not that he would ever lay a hand on her, no, Blaise would never hit a girl. Though, he wouldn't hesitate to curse or hex one. Especially one that had hurt one of his friends. I rather liked that he was so overprotective and I was thankful that it had been him we had been forced to stop and not Draco - that would have been impossible.

If Draco would have decided to confront Laura then he would have done so and we wouldn't have been able to talk him out of it. After all, no one can talk a Malfoy out of something.   But then again, I knew that if we would run in to Laura in the corridors then we, as in Amber and I, wouldn't be able to hold either of them back. 

 
“Come on, Captain,” said Blaise and grinned at his best friend who rolled his eyes but looked awfully pleased, “We've got a Quidditch practice to attend to.” 

 
“Okay, let's go,” Draco copied Blaise's grin and motioned for me to come with them. Obviously he didn't understand how much I just wanted to get up and run far away from everything that reminded me of Quidditch. 
There was a tightening in my stomach which wouldn't go away. I swallowed hard and then I stood up and walked behind Draco as we made our way out of the Great Hall. When we had gotten some warmer clothes from the Heads dorm(we couldn't practise in our robes, now could we?) we walked out to the Quidditch pitch.









Thankfully it wasn't snowing, it was a sunny day and the only way you could tell that it was winter was by the fact that the ground was covered in snow. As we reached the pitch, Draco walked ahead and found that our brooms were already there – Madame Hooch had most likely placed them there on the ground for us. Draco snorted as he saw them, but picked them up nonetheless and handed me one. Nervously I took one and held it close to my body.

The rest of our team joined us and took a broom each before they turned their attention to Draco who looked very pleased with being in the spotlight.

 

“I can see that you've all changed in to warmer clothes, good. The Quidditch robes we're going to wear should have arrived by our next practice. We get to decide what colours the robes should be and we should also agree to what our team should be called. Any suggestions on that one?” 

 
Everyone stared at him as if he was completely mad, They had probably expected him to be an arrogant, slimy git. But I knew that he wouldn't be like that at practises – he wouldn't feel the need to waste time on being rude or arrogant. All he wanted was to train the team in to a good one so that we would win. 

 “Fine, I'll take your silence as a no. We'll just be called Team One for now, then. Now, I'll have to inform McGonagall about what robes we want, so what colours do you want?” 

 
Again, there was silence. But then Dean spoke up, “No colours which could be connected to any of our Houses. So, no red, green, blue or yellow.” 

 
“I was thinking the same thing,” agreed Draco and nodded, “What do you think of black and silver? Or-,” Draco held up a hand when Dean opened his mouth to speak again, “Or black and gold?” 

 We all decided on black robes with golden details – such as our names on the back, they were going to be written in gold and we wanted a Hogwarts emblem on the front of the robe, also that one in gold.

I liked this part of the practice, it was done on the ground – perhaps that's why I liked it.
Everyone silenced as Draco glanced up at the sky before eyeing us all. I think that it was partly the seriousness in eyes which made us all go silent.

 
“The most important things when playing in a team is to trust your team mates and have full control of where they are. You will learn to play as a team and if I see that someone is trying to show off by keeping the Quaffle to themselves, then I wont go easy on you. Look around and see if there is someone who has a good position to score. Don't try to do it yourself if someone has a better angle. Those are the kind of things which can make us lose. You're to play as a team, not as individuals. Do you understand?” 

 
His voice was sharp and I had to force myself not to smile at how he sounded. We all nodded. 


“Good. Now, as this is our first practice, I thought that we'd take it easy today. I have yet to see some of you up on your brooms. I would simply like for you to get on your brooms and fly around for a bit while I go to get a Quaffle. When I get back, I thought that we'd play some 'Pass the Quaffle. I'll be right back and I expect you all to be up in the air by the time I get back.”

 

As Draco strode off the pitch, Blaise threw a leg over his broom and took off. He was the first one up, followed by Ernie and Dean. Hannah waited with Neville and she tried to make him feel less nervous. He was breathing heavily and his eyes were almost falling out of his head.

Blaise called my name and told be to get on the freaking broom. 

 “Don't think Draco is going to cut you some slack just because you're his girlfriend!” 

 I sighed and mounted my broom but before I kicked off, I thought about what Blaise had said. I wasn't sure what he meant by it. I knew, however, that I would have to fly all the way up to him to find out what he was on about. I grimaced before I kicked off and felt myself lift from the ground.

It really can't be described; the feeling of being on a broom.

 

The way the wind blows in your hair, making it swirl around your face. The way everything around you disappears while you're up there. I felt as if I was in complete control – I felt free and safe. Well, I would probably have felt a lot better had Draco been on the broom with me, but as I soared higher and higher, I found that I didn't need any help. I could do it. I could fly. The thought made me smile a bit just before I turned the broom in a different direction and sped up towards Blaise. He grinned at me as if he was proud – heck, I was even proud of myself. In just a matter of seconds I found myself flying next to Blaise. 


“What did you mean about Draco not 'cutting me some slack'?” I asked him as we hovered in the air while waiting for Draco to return with the Quaffle. Blaise looked very pleased that I had asked him and gave a small shrug. 

 
“Well,” he said and smiled sweetly at me, “If you mess something up really bad then I wouldn't be surprised if you were to find yourself running a few laps around the pitch,” as he finished his sentence, his smile grew wider. I gaped at him. The pitch was huge – I would die of exhaustion. 

 
“You're joking, right?” 

 “Nope,” he still smiled, “You better do it right.” 

 
I grimaced and new that I was bound to mess up many times but at the same time I knew someone who would do worse. Poor Neville.

Draco walked back on to the pitch and looked up at us all approvingly before he looked over at Hannah and Neville. They were still on the ground, though in the same moment as Draco looked over there – Hannah took off, leaving Neville alone on the ground. She reached Blaise and I in a matter of seconds. 

 
“Hi,” she said shyly as she came to a halt next to us and held her broom steady there. 

 
“Hey,” we both said in unison before I asked her, “How's Neville doing?” 

 
I looked down (while trying not to be frightened by the height) so see Draco advance Neville. Hannah said something about him being extremely terrified and he looked it.. I didn't know for sure but I had a feeling that it had been quite some time since Neville had sat up on a broom. The broom he was suppose to be on had been tossed to the ground and that was something that Draco noticed – of course. I could imagine how Neville gulped as Draco eyed the broom on the snow covered ground before he bend down and grabbed the broom and pressed it in to Neville's hands. 

 
Draco must have said something to Neville, because he gave a quick nod and then he slowly put one leg over the broom. Draco stood by his side and waited while Neville got ready to fly.

I flew down a bit to get a better look at them, I could see that Neville's hold of the broom was so tight that his knuckles were white. 

 
Come on, Neville, you can do it... I thought in my head and as if he had heard me, he kicked off and with a shaky broom he made his way higher and higher. I dove down to meet him halfway and Draco kicked off and flew behind him with one hand on the broom and the other holding the big, red Quaffle.

When Neville and I had reached Blaise and Hannah again and Neville's face was back to it's normal colour (green just didn't suit him all that good), Draco told us to spread out and form a circle. 

 
We did so and we were ready to play. Now, from what I understood of the game Pass the Quaffle, we were simply going to pass the Quaffle to anyone we wanted while still maintaining control over our broom and not drop the Quaffle. 

 
“Ready?” shouted Draco and looked around at us. 

 
“Yes!” we all shouted back. 

 
Despite the cold air – my hands felt sweaty and I felt slightly dizzy. But I knew that it was just my nerves and nothing else. There was no way I was going to give up just because of some stupid nerves, no; I was too stubborn for that. I was going to play in that game in June and I was going to do it well. Even if that meant that I had to work my ass off at the practises – I would do it. If I messed up than I would run those laps and then I would mount my broom and get right back up there. I could do it, and I knew that. Not only could I do it, I would do it.

 

I focused my eyes at Draco who started off by throwing the Quaffle to Blaise – no surprise there. Blaise caught the Quaffle easily and then he looked around at us before deciding to pass it to Dean.

As Dean caught it, he locked eyes with me and I gave a small nod as if telling him that I was ready for it. He threw the Quaffle and it seemed as if it was coming towards me in ultra rapid. I made a small dive and then I flew back up again just in the right moment so that I got the Quaffle right in my chest. I let go of the broom with one hand so that it could land in that hand as it fell down.

 

I had never held a Quaffle before. It felt as if I was holding a football, only it was slightly heavier. I decided to pass it to Hannah since she was the only girl there and we had to stick together. My aim was surprisingly good and she caught it easily. With slight hesitation she threw it in Neville's direction who – despite a really, uh – good try – failed to catch it and it fell towards the ground. Ernie made a quick dive and managed to catch it before it touched the ground. I glanced over at Draco who smiled about that. It seemed as if Ernie could turn out to be a good Keeper after all.

 

“Okay, Neville,” shouted Draco so that he would hear him, “Just try harder next time, alright. I know you haven't played much, but you really gotta step it up here. It's just Pass the Quaffle!”

 

Neville gave Draco a determinant nod while blushing furiously. The game continued. Ernie passed to Blaise, who passed to Hannah, who passed it to Draco, who passed it to me – who them tried to pass it to Neville who failed to catch it and cursed. Ernie caught it and we began to pass it again.

 

On the nineteenth try, my arms were aching slightly. I wasn't used to passing Quaffles and those things were quite heavy! Not to mention that it felt heavier each time I held it. But I forgot all about that the moment Neville finally managed to catch it. We all applauded and I realize that it must have been embarrassing for him to have us to that, but I didn't care. Hannah looked at Neville and I saw the two of them lock eyes for a brief second before Neville looked away – blushing.

 

“Okay,” shouted Draco as the Quaffle reached him again. “Come closer!”

We all flew up to him so that he wouldn't need to shout. He seemed pleased with what he had seen of us while playing. He cleared his voice before he spoke again, “Chasers, you take the Quaffle and fly over to the hoops and try to score. I don't want to see any haversacking, 'kay? MacMillan, watch the hoops. Beaters, come with me to the other side of the pitch.”

 

 

Ernie took off and I flew after him and hear a thump which indicated that another Chaser had caught the Quaffle. I looked over my shoul