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CHAPTER 5 Regret, Guilt And Fights

I'll rest my head tonight, thoughts I can't reveal.
The shame inside of me, the fate they've tried to seal.
If you could use your hands, what would you use them for?
Would it be to strangle me, or just try to ignore,
The fact that they don't care, why they stop and stare?
Why they put you in that dusty dirty chair?
Everyday is hard, hard for you to survive.
While we maintain this materialistic paradise.

And I went to sleep last night wondering how I'd feel.
When the world just came.
Guilt (Hold Down) by Fingertip

“Damn!” were the first words, that a very weary Hermione cried out in her bed the next morning. She had been tossing and turning for the better part of the night and when she did manage to catch a few hours of sleep, it was fitful, filled with dreams she couldn’t remember but knew were thoughts she should not be having.

“Crap!” she cried out crassly, huffing loudly as she unceremoniously threw her duvet covers off her and sat up. Her hair was in an even bigger mess than usual, resembling more a tangled disarray of fur than human hair. Hermione yawned and rubbed her eyes, hoping she didn’t look too much worse for wear. Undoubtedly the restlessness and insomnia she had been feeling would be easily evidenced by her own state. Hopefully Ron would never guess there was something wrong with her. Just the thought of him, and she flashed back to the events of the last night with surprising clarity. How could she have let Malfoy kiss her like that? It didn’t matter that Hermione felt more alive during that moment of their kiss than she had with Ron the last three months, because at the end of the day she had a boyfriend who loved her dearly. Oh how the guilt weighed her down. Hermione let out a depressed sigh and flopped back down onto her pillow, closing her eyes and wishing it would all go away. She felt absolutely horrendous for doing that. How could she have let her arch enemy take advantage of her and kiss her like that. She could destroy everything that way if she wasn’t careful. She could lose Ron.

“Oh God!” she cried sitting up and drawing her knees closer to her. She cradled them protectively as that thought flashed through her mind. She could lose Ron. A single tear ran down her cheek. She couldn’t lose him, he was so precious to her, no matter what the problems may be, he was her link to sanity. She needed him. Oh what had she done? Hermione dropped her head to her knees and sighed. She could lose Ron. This thing with Malfoy needed to stop before it got out of hand. If Ron ever knew...

Hermione sniffed away the tears, quickly wiping them away with the palms of her hands and sat up straighter on her bed. The charade with Malfoy must end, it had gone too far and it needed to be stopped before someone got hurt. Hermione knew without a shadow of a doubt that she had cheated on Ron last night. True she had never initiated that kiss, nor had she helped Malfoy’s advances, but she was just as much to blame for it all. After all it takes two to tango, or in her and Malfoy’s case to snog each other in the rain. Hermione didn’t know how Ron would react if she told him the truth, he would probably flip and dump her immediately. Hermione was too scared to lose him, so she closed her eyes and swallowed down the horrible feeling she had been feeling in the pit of her stomach since she woke up. She would have to lie to him. As far as her and Ron were concerned nothing happened last night and she would have to pray very hard to hope Malfoy would be sensible to shut his mouth and stick with that story. She pushed down the queasy feeling in her stomach and that ominous sensation of dread that she supposed was guilt and slowly got out of bed. Thank god today was a Saturday, she reasoned with herself, trying to find a bright side to her messy predicament. At least there were no classes with Malfoy, but that also meant no distraction. As she padded over to the wooden chair in the corner of her room, she pulled out her bathrobe from a small pile of clothes and quickly put it on but not before sneezing loudly.

“Oh great!” she grumbled to herself, pulling a face as she quickly tied her hair up. Now she was coming down with a cold too. Stupid Hermione for going outside in the rain last night and stupid Malfoy for following her. It was his fault she now had a cold beckoning! Grabbing the nearest tissue she blew her nose, grumbling further about Malfoy’s incompetence, her mind flashing back to that kiss in the rain that had started this whole nonsense. The feel of Malfoy’s lips on hers, his rough and savage, yet very passionate kiss was enough to induce a shiver to run down Hermione’s spine. It seemed his touch was burned into her memory and no matter how hard she tried to shake it free, she could not let go of that feeling. The feeling of her being pressed against him was very exciting and exhilarating and how she craved it so much-

“No Hermione!” she shouted to herself, sighing and then shaking her head. “Talking to yourself, either a by product of being an only child or the first sign of madness” she added to herself, rolling her eyes. She was inclined to go with the latter. She had to stop thinking about Malfoy in that way. Hermione would have to go cold turkey on Malfoy. Hermione gathered up her things and padded barefoot to her Heads bathroom, for once delighting in the fact she would not bump into any of her friends along the way. Sometimes being a Head girl really did have its uses.

Almost an hour later Hermione finally trudged along the house tables and found Ron and Harry at the end of the table, as usual deep in conversation. They both looked up when they heard the dull sounds of footsteps and smiled, immediately making room for Hermione in between them.

“Morning Hermione”, they chorused, grinning broadly and Hermione gave them a weak smile and nodded, pulling a bowl of cereal towards her. She ignored their smiles and began eating, wishing she didn’t have to deal with their exuberance. She was far too exhausted for that.

“You’ll never believe what happened ‘Mione”, Ron beamed, wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her closer towards him. Hermione squirmed awkwardly in his arms, finally pulling a bit away from him. The guilt in her stomach increased and Hermione lowered her head, hoping their bushy long hair would obscure her face so Ron wouldn’t see the painful look in her eyes.

“Hey what’s wrong ‘Mione”, Ron asked, lowering his head and moving some of her hair away to look at her. Just at that moment Hermione let out a loud sneeze and lifted her head away from the table and the food.

“I’m sorry Ron, I’m just coming down with a little cold”, she smiled slightly, composing her face so she would look more cheerful and it wouldn’t be betraying the guilt and remorse she was feeling. “Tell me what happened”.

“It was the greatest thing ever to watch, apart from the ferret incident with Malfoy. Malfoy was sneaking around the corridors late last night and Snape caught him. Gave him such a telling off, it was sweet. The git even tried to argue with him!” Ron laughed, rolling his eyes. “Stupid mistake wasn’t it Harry?”

Harry laughed, his eyes glazing over for a second, as he remembered the moment and suddenly came to, nodding his head.

“That just got Snape worked up even more. Gave Malfoy one hell of a detention”, Ron continued, grinning broadly at the memory.

“Sounds interesting”, Hermione replied nonplussed, “But why were you out so late at night and why didn’t they see you?”

“Harry’s cloak”, Ron replied and Hermione smiled. She should have guessed that. “We wanted to head out onto the grounds, but the double doors were locked”.

“Why did you want to head out there?” Hermione asked, her eyes widening. She was sweating slightly, so close to getting caught. Her stomach churned once more, reminding her of her deceit and she dropped her gaze onto her cereal. Suddenly she didn’t feel very hungry anymore.

“Oh nothing in particular”, Ron replied evasively and wrapped another arm around Hermione, so that she lay against his chest. Hermione smiled guiltily at him when he beamed down and wished with all her might she wouldn’t feel so horrible right now.

During Prefects meeting the next night, Hermione was still not feeling any better. If anything her slight cold had formed itself into a fully blown flu and she was regularly seen sneezing and coughing during the speeches. As usual the Prefects were sitting in a semi circle around the Head Girl, and today of all days Anthony Goldstein decided he didn’t want to appear. Hermione huffed slightly, growing increasingly irritated with her fellow Co-Head. She didn’t mind too much when he normally disappeared, she was more than capable of handling everything on her own and it gave her a great sense of satisfaction when she realised how well she was doing everything on her own, but now that she was ill she really needed some help and he, of course was not there to give it. She would have to get through this on her own.

“I don’t think there’s anything new we need to add to the list of confiscated materials, although I would like to ask the Hufflepuff Prefects to keep an eye on their house, to make sure no more of these dangerous fake wands turn up again. I don’t think we need a repeat of what happened to Tristan George”, Hermione concluded and looked down at the list she had made on a spare parchment on her lap. “I think that’s about all. You can leave, if there’s anything you need I’ll talk to you now”, Hermione finished and the Prefects got up of their seats, chatting animatedly between each other, while Hermione wrote some final notes onto her parchment. Ron walked up toward her and sat down on the desk next to her.

“You really don’t sound too good ‘Mione. I don’t think you should go to classes tomorrow, you need bed rest, and what a perfect excuse to skive off classes”, he added grinning broadly.

“Ron”, she sighed, shaking her head though a sly smile had formed at the corner of her mouth, “You know very well I wouldn’t skive off classes for anything. Anyway I’ll be fine, if it gets any worse I’ll head to Madam Pomfrey and let her give me something to get rid of this flu”, she smiled and let out a hacking cough.
Hermione tapped her upper chest, trying to clear her lungs, but she kept on coughing. Ron tapped her on the beck, until her coughing fit ceased and she smiled gratefully up at him.

“Well if you won’t skive off classes, how about you stay a little longer with me and Harry in the common room, we haven’t seen you in ages there and we could try and feed you hot soup to make you better”.

“Ron, I love you very much”, Hermione began, grinning up at him. She let out another cough and pulled out a spare tissue, blowing her nose. “But I don’t think I’ll drink anything you and Harry make up. You’ll understand that I don’t want any food poisoning and you’re both hopeless in the kitchen!”

Ron looked slightly affronted, but shrugged his shoulders at Hermione.

“But I will come visit you two. I miss your company”, she added and beamed up at Ron. She leaned in and gave him a chaste kiss before dropping her head onto his shoulder.

“For the sake of all of us, please don’t do that. I think I’m going to hurl!” the cool, silken voice of Draco Malfoy drawled, as he walked up to where Ron and Hermione were sitting.

“Shove off Malfoy, before you get what’s coming to him”, Ron replied with venom, almost automatically.

“Oooh Weasel”, Malfoy mocked, pulling a scared face. “I’m frightened out of my wits!”

“What do you want anyway?” Ron shot back, irritated.

“I need to speak to Granger, so that means you can scamper off to Pothead and scurry off in whatever little hole you came from”, Malfoy smirked, laughing to himself.

Hermione squirmed uncomfortably in Ron’s arms, wishing more than anything Malfoy would disappear so she wouldn’t have to deal with him in her weakened state. Ron seemed to have sensed how uncomfortable Hermione was and when he looked at her, he saw she had her head dropped slightly, as if trying to avoid the situation.

“You’ll leave Hermione alone Malfoy, now why don’t you scamper off and stop bothering us!” Ron drew himself up and glared at Malfoy.

“What can’t the mudblood speak for herself anymore?” Malfoy laughed a derisive laugh and sneered at them from his pointed nose.

“You’ll watch your mouth Malfoy!” Ron hissed, standing up quickly and drawing out his wand. Hermione sighed. It seems she would have to deal with the situation herself after all.

She slowly got up and turned to Ron, “I’ve nothing to say to him anyway Ron. Come on let’s go. We stop by at the Hospital Wing and I’ll get a potion of Madam Pomfrey”. She looked him levelly in the eyes and he finally nodded his head and lowered his wand. Wrapping a protective arm around her waist, the two walked out of the empty classroom, leaving behind a disgruntled Malfoy.

Draco Malfoy was pissed! Currently, he was storming through the corridors of Hogwarts in search of the bushy-haired Know-It-All that was Head Girl. If she didn’t stop this idiot ploy of hers, he was going to get really mad.
He glowered at a frightened looking Slytherin first year, shouting over his retreating back, “Detention Thursday 8pm with Filch, Belchey and if you’re late there’ll be hell to pay!” This was even more proof to how infuriated he was at that very moment. Never in his entire six and a half years at Hogwarts would he ever dream of giving detention to one of his own. It was all Granger’s fault. Malfoy gritted his teeth and turned a sharp left at the next junction, growling slightly under his breath at that insufferable wench. It had all started the day after he had kissed her in the rain after detention. He wasn’t quite sure what came over him, but suddenly all the arguing and prodding was getting too much and he pulled her towards him and kissed her. Malfoy put it down to hormones and an anger she was always able to evoke in him. The matter didn’t help his temper when she slapped him afterwards and stormed back into the castle. He had to admit to himself, provoking Granger had become an amusing pastime over the last few weeks. She was an easy target and there was something about her electric temper, the way she stood up to his insults, almost bristling with energy and sexuality, that really ensnared Malfoy. He almost couldn’t help himself with her, and before he even realised what had happened, he was suddenly desiring Granger’s company, to enjoy more of that bristling temper of hers, that temper she released when angry. It was probably what caught the Weasel too, though Malfoy doubted he would ever be able to make full use of Granger’s vibrancy. He was too much of a lumbering oaf to fully appreciate what he had.

But Malfoy knew exactly what to make of Granger. She needed to be pushed and tested. She needed to fight and clash constantly, it caused her to be so enticing, and now that Malfoy realised he was attracted to her, he needed to have her. Damn the Weasel and faithfulness, he wanted Granger and nothing was going to stop him! That’s what enraged him so much over the last few days. After that kiss she had fled and since then she had been ignoring every single one of his advances, backing off instead of rising to the challenge and in some cases, like the Prefect meeting on Sunday, running away. Damn the Weasel for getting in the way there. She wouldn’t even look at him and Malfoy tried his hardest in Potions, when they had to finish their potion together, to get Granger to interact with him, but she had either ignored his snide remarks, brushed off his advances and even blandly refused to talk to him. How was he meant to enjoy that vibrancy that was Mudblood Granger if she didn’t even acknowledge him. Detention every night had also been a complete and utter failure, she had devised a new tactic that was just completely ignoring Malfoy and it had infuriated him to no end. In the end he just ended up breaking one of the suits of armour they were cleaning in a desperate attempt to get her attention, but she had just lazily repaired the damage with her wand and continued cleaning.

He was frustrated beyond belief and even Pansy Parkinson couldn’t relieve his frustration no matter how hard she tried. In the end Malfoy had just thrown her off him and stormed out of the common room. He knew he would get some raised eyebrows later on, but he didn’t care. That was how he ended up stalking through the corridors like the whole world had wronged him on that rainy and dreary Wednesday night. Tonight was not his night for patrolling so he should have been back in his common room, since it was after curfew, but he wasn’t in the mood. Granger was patrolling tonight, and if he was right in guessing, it meant the idiot Ravenclaw Head Boy would be absent again. Goldstein would be found out soon enough, Malfoy mused to himself, smirking at the thought, and when it happened, Malfoy would enjoy it very much.

“Serves him right for sneaking out nearly every night”, he sneered and walked on. No matter what happened to Goldstein, it meant Granger would be patrolling on her own, so that meant all Malfoy had to do was find her in this blasted castle. He was tired of Granger running away from him, he wanted her and that meant he would have to find her and shake her until she returned to normal. It was for her own good really.

He walked on for another twenty minutes along the eighth floor corridors, and was about to give up, when he spotted the swirling of school robes up ahead of him, and the distinctive bushy mane that was Granger’s. Malfoy smirked to himself and quietly sneaked up behind her until he was right behind her and whispered in her ear.

“So this is where you’ve been hiding yourself Granger”.

Hermione spun around, a shocked look on her face as her eyes widened when she saw who it was.

“What are you doing here Malfoy?” The surprise in her voice, meant she had not yet fully registered his presence here.

“I’m here to pick up where we left it Saturday night before you ran off on me”, he replied huskily, taking another step towards her.

Hermione slowly backed away from him, not quite meeting his eyes. “That was a mistake Malfoy and I won’t be doing anything like that with you again”

“Oh really Granger?” Malfoy smirked, taking another two steps towards her.
Hermione back off even more and bumped into the wall. She looked up at Malfoy quickly and turned to run, but Malfoy was quicker and stopped her with his hand.
“Really”, she replied, though her voice was wavering. Malfoy seemed to smirk even more at this and he placed both hands on the wall, effectively trapping her in.

Hermione could feel his hot breath on her neck, he was so close yet Hermione wished more than anything to be very far away. He was also smirking at her, which drove her crazy, and she realised, as she looked up into his cold grey eyes, that she wanted to let go. He was driving her crazy again and he hadn’t even really done anything. Hermione needed to get away from him before she done something she would regret.

“What a feeble attempt at an excuse Granger”, Malfoy drawled, looking at her lips and then flicking his gaze up at her again, a smirk on his face.

“Malfoy please don’t”, Hermione said, her breath catching under his intense gaze.

“Malfoy what the hell are you doing?” Ron shouted, storming down the corridor. Hermione’s head whipped around so fast she cricked her neck. She rubbed it, wincing at the pain and looked at Ron. He looked pretty mad, though Hermione was relieved to see it was not directed at her. She let out a sigh of breath that caused Malfoy to smirk even more.

“I’m talking to Granger, do you mind?” he sneered, then turned his attention to Hermione, who glared daggers at him. Ron stormed up to them, grabbed Malfoy by the shoulder and pushed him away from Hermione.

“Don’t you dare try and intimidate my girlfriend Malfoy?” Ron growled, bristling with anger. His cheeks were reddening to match the colour of his hair.

“Intimidating you girlfriend?” Malfoy laughed mockingly at this. “I really don’t think Granger minded all that much. In fact she seems quite keen on it. Mustn’t be getting any satisfaction from her boyfriend-“

Malfoy was cut off, when Ron charged at him a second later and punched him squarely in the face. Malfoy stumbled backwards from the blow, a shocked and surprised look on his face. Ron marched up to Hermione, took her hand and walked off, leaving behind a stunned Malfoy.

“That blasted ferret is really gonna get what coming to him”, Ron fumed, more to himself than Hermione. She just followed him, wincing inwardly from his intense grip on her hand.

“Ron where are we going?” Hermione asked timidly as they walked up a flight of steps.

“To your common room, we can’t talk in the Gryffindor one and I want to know what’s going on”.

“Going on?” Hermione asked, stopping and pulling at his hand so he turned to face her.

“Hermione can we please just discuss this in your common room?” Ron asked tersely, pulling at her hand and walking on again.

“Ron, what is wrong with you?” Hermione cried out, yanking him to a stop. She walked up to him, and gently with her hand turned his face to her. “Why can’t we discuss it here?”

“Because I don’t want the whole school to know”, Ron replied stiffly.

“The whole school is in bed and since when has it ever bothered you when you and I argued in front of a crowd? Now Ron will you please tell me why you’re so mad?”

“That fucking ferret is the problem Hermione, or hadn’t you noticed yet?” Ron shouted, his temper flaring once again. Hermione winced slightly at his crude language and his fury.

“Why are you letting him get to you Ron, you know very well he’s only doing that to wind you up!” Hermione countered, hoping that if she kept her voice low he would calm down.

“Why are you letting him so close to you?” Ron gritted in reply, folding his arms across his chest and glaring at her.

“Excuse me?” Hermione cried, stunned. Her eyes flitted from Ron’s angry face to the corridor behind him, not quite sure how to handle the situation. Did he know of her kiss with Malfoy or did he just guess there was something going on. But she had been avoiding Malfoy so well for the last few days. Maybe it wasn’t enough.

“What were you doing exactly against the wall when I walked in on you two?”

“I was doing my rounds and Malfoy wouldn’t leave me alone. What do you think I was doing or don’t you trust me anymore Ron?” Hermione cried, throwing her hands up in the air. She was looking at Ron, with a mixture of shock and hurt in her eyes.

“Sometimes I really wonder about that Hermione”, Ron replied dismissively, and then without another word he turned around and walked away from her.

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