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CHAPTER FIVE: When You Don’t Know



Draco and Hermione had reached an impasse—though it was a peaceful one.

Draco didn’t bring up that day at the Quidditch pitch. His initial hurt was covered up quickly, so that by the next day, he saw Hermione at the library again and tried his best to act normally.

Hermione for her part, didn’t say anything either. She didn’t apologize or try to make him feel better, but she did stop acting so paranoid of being caught.

Which Draco did appreciate—because with three months gone from the school year—Ron still didn’t know.

---

It was by accident that Hermione found out of Draco’s plans for Christmas. Or lack of plans, that is. She was hurt that he didn’t tell her, and had had to find out from Ginny, who in turn heard it from Crabbe and Goyle, who had been discussing it loudly at the Great Hall.

‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ she demanded of him.

She’d practically run through the library, uncaring of the racket her black polished shoes were making, and shoved at his shoulder.

‘Gosh Hermione, must you be so violent?’ he asked rubbing sorely at his shoulder.

‘Why didn’t you tell me that you weren’t going home for Christmas?’ it had turned out that Narcissa would be in America for Christmas to attend Malfoy Business.

Draco turned away and concentrated on picking out books for a Transfiguration essay he had to write.

‘It’s no big deal, ‘Mione,’ he said nonchalantly, ‘it’s not the first time that I’ve stayed here over Christmas—it’s not really a celebrated holiday at our house.’

Hermione fell silent at that. She’d always gone home for Christmas. She’d always enjoyed Christmas—and just knowing that he wasn’t as lucky as she really made her heart hurt.

‘I’ll be fine,’ he said when he saw how worried she was, ‘I’m planning to get some studies out of my way since there’s this girl in three of my classes that keep distracting me,’ he joked.

She punched him on the shoulder.

Hermione was about to drown in his eyes. She had to make a split-second decision there and then.

‘Say you’ll come home with me for Christmas.’

Draco searched her eyes, she held her breath. He must have liked what he saw because he nodded, and kissed her again.

---


Draco sat on the train, leading away from Hogwarts, with Hermione sleeping against his shoulder. He stroked her fine hair gently, just savoring the feel of it against his fingers.

He knew that inviting him had been a mistake on her part; or if not a mistake, possibly a last-minute impulse that hadn’t really been thought through.

Because one thing that he knew was of the Christmas Day Exchange.

Ron, Ginny, Harry and Hermione all had Christmas lunch at Hermione’s house to exchange gifts. And as far as Draco knew, that tradition hadn’t been postponed this year. That meant that Draco’s presence would have had to be explained to Ron—who wouldn’t take too kindly to any explanation.

So Draco had tried to get out of it. Being in Slytherin, he’d grown accustomed to lying, but for some reason he couldn’t find any plausible excuse.

Is it because you couldn’t? Or because you didn’t WANT to? The sinister voice was teasing him in his head.

But why shouldn’t he spend Christmas with Hermione? Why should he worry about Ron Weasley—when the guy probably hadn’t spent more than five seconds of his life worrying about Draco?

The self-defense rang weak even in his ears. But it didn’t matter, he was on the train now, and there was no turning back.

---

The three days leading up to Christmas were some of the most glorious days, Hermione had ever had.

Draco had allowed himself to be dragged all over London, in the pretense that Hermione had to do some shopping (though she’d already done all her gift-shopping at Hogsmead weeks before). They went around like kids without a care in the world.

But now, it was Christmas day, and they were awaiting Ron and Ginny’s arrival.

Hermione and Draco were sitting in the living room, bracing themselves for Ron’s reaction.

It wasn’t as bad as they’d expected…


‘So it’s true then,’ was all Ron really said.

Draco, Hermione and Ginny all stared at him as though he’d suddenly sprouted another head. He snorted at their reaction.

‘I’m not that big of an idiot you know—I do tend to pick things up,’ he sniffed, as he took of his robe and placed on the coat hanger.

‘When…’ Hermione barely got it out through the shock.

‘Well let’s see… I’d like to say that it was when Malfoy stopped making your life a living misery,’ Ron was shoving grapes in his mouth in intervals,

‘But I’m afraid I’m not that perceptive. It was because someone was seen stomping into the library—before grabbing a blond-haired boy and kissing him senseless!’

Hermione blushed. Draco cleared his throat. Ginny burst out laughing.

Everyone joined in, and there was probably a big sigh of relief between them all.

‘NOW can we go eat? I’m starving!’ Ron demanded.

That was how the afternoon went along. Though Ron and Draco were uneasy with each other, there was some sort of temporary truce.

---


Hermione and Ginny had gone into the kitchen to help Mrs. Granger with the last minute touch ups to the wonderful line of desserts, leaving Draco and Ron to explore the small backyard together.

‘Malfoy, you know that I don’t like you…’ Ron began.

Draco smirked, ‘Thanks for sharing.’

‘But I can’t say I hate you—not after what you did for Hermione,’ the other boy continued gruffly, ignoring the smart comment.

Draco was quiet.

‘For some reason, you were the one that she trusted through everything she was going through—and I can’t say I understand that--,’ he broke off, catching the blonde boy’s eye, ‘but I will always be grateful that you pulled through for her.’

‘She didn’t come to me as a friend,’ Draco said flatly.

‘She wanted me to kill her,’ he admitted in a shuddered breath, ‘she hit me with a dueling spell twice—just to provoke me…’

Ron’s eyes widened.

‘She came to her enemy so that I would end her life.’

‘But that’s not the case now is it?’ Ron said quietly.

Draco shrugged noncommittally.

No matter what was going on inside his heart and his head, he wasn’t ready to say anything out loud—it was just too fragile. He was almost scared that by admitting anything, he would be jinxing it.

‘GOD, MALFOY! Why must you be so cowardly! Why are you so scared to admit your feelings? Why can’t you accept that Hermione’s come to mean something to you? Is it your Slytherin pride—that you can’t be seen with a mudblood ?’

‘THAT’S IT!’ Draco snapped, he tackled Ron into the ground, ‘You have no right to pass judgments Weasel ! You know NOTHING!’

They began to full-on wrestle…until of course they were tired.

Finally, with both boys satisfied they’d gotten their punches in, they lay in the small lawn of the Grangers’ huffing and puffing.

‘If I don’t know anything… then tell me what there is to know,’ Ron challenged Draco, going back to where their conversation had abruptly ended.

There was a clash of stares.

‘I… care… for Hermione,’ Draco nodded, deciding that he’d burst if he didn’t tell anyone, ‘but what if all that she feels for me is gratitude ?’

---


What if all that she feels for me is gratitude?

The words rang through Hermione’s head that night. It was coincidence that she’d heard the last part of the boys’ conversation when she’d gone to investigate all the noise from the backyard.

She’d watched as Draco excused himself to bed that night.

He’d paused for half a second, as though inviting her to say anything… but she couldn’t because she really didn’t know if it was true.

Hermione nearly fell out of her bed when she heard a tapping on her window. Collecting her wits, she placed a hand on her heart, as she threw her bed covers off and headed to the window.

An owl was there, waiting with a letter—but who would be sending her a letter at this time of the night?

‘Now who could this be from?’ she asked herself as she saw her name plainly on the front.

Miss Hermione Granger

She opened the envelope and took out the letter.

She nearly dropped it.

From the inside she could recognize the writing.


Dearest Hermione,

Happy Christmas! If you have received this letter—that means that I didn’t live through the second war… damn.

I know that you’re the one that’s always prepared, but I thought this time—I should take the necessary precautions.

This letter is about you and I. Us. I like the sound of that, don’t you? I mean—we’ve always been a trio with Ron—but I always thought that you and I had something special going on. Especially in those last four months.

There I go again—running off track. This letter is solely to tell you how I feel… about you that is. (You can tell I’m not good at this) The thing is, dear Hermione, is that I love you.

I think I may have always.

And I kind of suspected that you loved me back.

That’s why this letter, I think, is so important—because now… if I’m gone… I don’t want you to feel trapped by my love.

Or yours for me. (I could be being totally presumptuous about this second part).

You’ll have your life to lead, and though I will have died loving you—I don’t want you to die loving just me.

Because you still have your whole life ahead of you—and if you stick with me—then you’re not really living. Because loving, is living. Don’t be afraid ‘Mione… All I’ll ask if for a tiny little place in your heart.

Don’t give me all of it… because I wouldn’t be able to do it justice (I’m dead).

Love always, your dearest friend,
Harry Potter



Hermione let the piece of paper drop from her hand.

She closed her eyes and let the tears flow.





A/N: So first of all, before I forget-- a big thanks to Annie-mo , who did my editing for me! She kept pointing out mistakes (some pretty big ones) so I thought heck... I need help. Thanks again Ann!

Well, nearing the end of the journey... hope to hear from you all!!! -kei

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