AN: I don’t own anything from Harry Potter.
Hermione watched as Draco strolled back into the living room. She didn’t know what to do or what to say, so many things were running through her head at the moment.
“I think I should get to bed, the sooner I sleep, the faster the time will go until McGonagall gets here with more answers.” She turned to leave, not looking back.
She shut her bedroom door and leaned her forehead against the door, and let out a shaky breath. She knew it was childish, hiding behind the locked door of her bedroom, but she didn’t want to face him. Merlin, what is wrong with me? She asked herself. She can’t allow herself to suddenly start developing feelings for him. Sure she felt really sorry and responsible for the state that she put Draco in but she never in a million years thought that she would actually start falling for him.
Why on earth would he kiss her? Why would he want to? She was always the girl he picked on at school and not in a good way. He would say horrible things about her and where she came from. And now she’s turned him into a cat, so why?
He should be furious her. She just spent four hours with the man and not once did he try to hurt her or punish her in anyway. Well except at the beginning when she told him she wasn’t allowed to say anything about how to break the curse. But even then he pulled back; like he knew he was about to do something bad and he stop. He had every chance in the world then to leave or go straight to the Ministry and demand she be taken to Azkaban. But instead he stayed and ate ice cream and watched TV with her, then helped wash the dishes. He even managed to coax her into talking about her failed career as a healer. Which she still can’t believe that she told him that, I’m such an idiot. I should have never told him that. What if he figures out how to break the curse then uses all of that information against her and shut down her only source of income because of what she did.
Maybe it was a trick, him being so nice and sweet to her, just a ploy to get her to fess up and then when she wasn’t looking he’d turn everything against her? She kept going through all different scenarios, trying to figure out why he kissed her. And it wasn’t just any kiss, this kiss was…perfect. It was the only way to describe it; it was so delicate and sweet and unsure but confident and strong at the same time. Not at all what she would have imagined. She remembered how he kissed the inside of her injured palm, he claimed it was just to change the subject away from her sad story about the boy, but the look in his eyes when he did it said otherwise like he understood her pain and that he wanted to make it better. Her heart practically melted when he did that. And now thinking about everything, the way he kissed her, the way he reassured her it wasn’t her fault, the way he tended to her injured hand, the way they managed to sit in compatible silence or have a civilized conversation without trying to out-hex each other, the way he treated Crookshanks, everything.
Her heart started pacing to a frantic beat and her palms started sweating. No, she can’t fall for Malfoy, no matter how sweet and normal he’s acting now towards her. It would never work, besides how could she possibly ever fit in, in his world. She wasn’t a pureblood, how would his family ever accept her and how would she be able to accept them? She remembered how horrible his father was. How could she look him in the face knowing he was once a lackey for Voldmort, one of his deatheater pets. No, the best thing was for Draco to break the curse and then leave and go back to his normal life and she can go back to hers and then they won’t ever have to interfere with each other again.
She let out another breath then pushed off the door and went to change into her pajamas, then got into bed and turned off the lights letting sleep overtake her. She could convince her brain not to fall for Draco, but she knew deep down it would be extremely difficult to try to convince her heart to do the same.
Draco watched as Hermione practically ran to her bedroom and he took into notice how she didn’t invite him or Crookshanks to share her bed tonight. And she made it clear when she shut the door, so there would be no way in regardless. He shouldn’t have kissed her, he knew it was wrong and it would mess everything up. But…he couldn’t help it. Hermione was not the girl he remembered in school, though yes she still had the know-it-all qualities and bookworm-ish looks but she was different now, he couldn’t explain it.
When he asked her about her job, he was not expecting that as an answer. He figured that it was because her job wasn’t that much of a challenge for her and that she quit because she was bored, because she was always too smart for her own good. Something silly like that. Not because she felt guilty about a little boy dying, one that she couldn’t save. He knew now why she didn’t want to talk about it. And he meant it when he told her that regardless it wasn’t her fault and that she shouldn’t blame herself for the boy’s death. And the next thing he knew, he was kissing her, and ever so slightly she began to kiss him back.
He was an idiot and clearly Hermione thinks so too, otherwise she wouldn’t have ran away and was hiding from him now. But he now knew what she tasted like, and he’d be damned if he could make himself not want to touch her, want to fell her embraced within his arms or taste her again. Though the kiss was very innocent he knew he would never get enough of her, that he would always want more of her. Even though she was everything he was taught to stay away from, to never associate with. He just had to somehow convince her that he was no longer that boy he was back in his school days.
Who was he kidding, she would never accept him. She’ll always think of him as the enemy. What he should be focusing on is breaking the spell and McGonagall had the answers and he had a strong feeling Hermione knew them too but she can’t tell him. He was human for four hours tonight, and not once did they talk about the spell or how to break it. Of course Hermione made it clear she couldn’t tell him, but he didn’t even try to ferret out any hints from her instead they spent most of the time sitting cozily on the sofa watching TV, which by the way, he was definitely going to purchase one when he returned to his normal self.
He let of a sigh, he didn’t know what to think anymore, he hopped up onto the sofa and curled up in his favorite spot in the corner and drifted off to sleep. Hopefully everything will become clearer tomorrow, like his feelings towards Hermione and whatever the hell it’s suppose to take to break this damn curse. He knew one thing for sure, he was sick of being a cat.
Hermione woke up around 7:00am. She didn’t sleep very well at all last night, kept tossing and turning. It didn’t help that she had a long nap yesterday afternoon and she was anxious to hear what McGonagall had to say and nervous about facing Draco this morning. Does he regret what happened last night? Was she supposed to act normal or pretend like nothing happened? I mean he’s a cat right now so it’s not like he can say anything about it, but she still didn’t like not knowing what was going on inside in his head. She lay in bed for a couple more minutes trying to delay seeing him.
She decided to delay seeing him even longer when she ducked into the bathroom for a shower. Maybe that would help clear her head. After taking a quick shower and making herself semi-presentable she took a deep breath and opened the door. She walked out into the living room, heart pounding. And there he was…asleep curled in the corner of the sofa. Merlin, she was losing it, she was such an idiot! I’m freaking out over absolutely nothing. Last night we were just both caught up in a weak moment that was all, nothing more.
She ducked into the kitchen getting ready to brew some coffee, strong coffee. While she was waiting for that she got out some pumpkin juice from her fridge and grabbed a banana from the counter. She really needed to get to the store and buy some groceries, she barely had anything to feed Draco except cat food and she knew he wouldn’t want that. Maybe she could rush over to the store real quick before McGonagall arrives. She was making a list of groceries that she needed when Draco walked into the kitchen.
“Hi…um Good morning.” She said, so much for trying to play it cool.
She knew her face was flushed but she could blame it on the hot coffee she was drinking. He hopped up onto the counter and awaiting patiently for her to do something.
“Are you hungry?” she asked. Of course he was hungry otherwise he wouldn’t have come into the kitchen. She really needed to get a grip. “I’m afraid all I have to offer you is a little bit of steak that’s left over from last night, is that okay?”
He replied with a soft meow. “I’ll take that as a yes,” she said as she put the steak in the microwave.
She set the plate in front of him along with a bowl of fresh water. Then she sat about getting Crookshanks breakfast ready.
“I need to go to the store today to buy groceries. I was planning on doing that before McGonagall gets here. Do you think you will be okay here on your own? Or do you want me to call Ginny and have her come by to watch you?” Realizing that he couldn’t answer her, “um tap your foot once for staying here by yourself and twice if you want Ginny here to watch you.” She could have sworn she saw him roll his eyes at her, but he hesitated at first but finally tapped once.
She felt relieved about that, she hated how much she was relying on Ginny to help her out with all of this.
“Okay I won’t be long it’s just across the street and I’ll leave my cell number just incase. If something happens just take the phone off the receiver and dial the number. Don’t worry; I’m sure nothing will happen. Ms. Moffit surely has learned her lesson and shouldn’t mess with you anymore besides I took back my spare key I gave her incase of emergencies. So you should be safe.” She grabbed her list and everything else she needed and headed out.
When Hermione came back she noticed Draco on the sofa lazily watching TV again. She shook her head amused, he was watching Shark week again. Boys! No matter where there from they love television, she thought. It was a quarter till one and she was anxious as ever. She put her groceries away and eating a quick snack before heading for her bedroom. Draco must have seen the time and followed her. She never mentioned to him that McGonagall wanted to speak to her alone without Draco in the room.
“You can’t come with me Draco; she told me she wanted me to be alone when she arrived. Maybe she’ll talk to you after she’s done with me?” he glared at her then turned around and hopped up back to his spot on the sofa.
She sat on her bed tapping her fingers nervously, why was she nervous? Draco should be the one who is nervous. Talking to Professor McGonagall was bad enough through a letter, but in person was worse. She was always one of McGonagall’s prized students and she never once scolded her for always having the answers like Snape always did. She still can’t believe that this happened to her and she had no clue how to fix it other then what they already knew and having to seek help from McGonagall was just humiliating. As if n cue she heard a pop.
She turned around and there she was, “Hello Ms. Granger.”
“Please dear call me Minerva; you’re no longer my student you shouldn’t have to use such formalities.”
“Sorry old habits I guess. It only seems like yesterday we were in school attending classes.”
“Ah yes things have changed so much since your year has graduated and moved on to bigger better things. It’s definitely not as exciting since we no longer have the golden trio always getting in to mischief all the time.”
Hermione smiled at that. Yes her Hogwarts years were definitely some of her favorites.
“Would you like something to drink? I could put a pot of tea on if you like?” she didn’t realize how unnerving it would be to have an old teacher in your bedroom.
“No thank you I’m fine. We should get straight to the point as to why I’m here today with you. I assume Mr. Malfoy is in the other room?” she nodded her head.
She watched as McGonagall went around her room securing a silence charm. When she finished she turned around and looked at Hermione. She should have put Draco in the bedroom so she and Professor McGonagall could talk in the living room where there was more seating.
“Please have a seat.” She said as she offered her old teacher the only chair in the room while she sat at the end of her bed.
“Well as I told you in the letter, you cannot tell Mr. Malfoy anything of what we discussed. It’s something he has to figure out on his own. It was a very ancient and complicated curse you managed to put him under. I’m impressed that you were able to do such magic.”
Whoa impressed? She didn’t expect that, instead she expected her to give her the third degree and tell her she did something dangerous and stupid.
“However it was very careless that you even thought about doing that in the first place. And I understand that it was an accident. You still shouldn’t ever mess with magic that strong unless you know what you’re doing.”
Yeah that was more like it, “I know, and I’m sorry. Trust me this was never my intention. I found the book on the internet of all places and was curious so I bought it for my store. And I started looking through it and while I was reading the chapter on Transfigurations Draco walked in. And one thing led to another and before I knew it he turned into a cat. I never even chanted the spell or used my wand; I don’t even think I accidently said it in my head either.”
“But you had your wand out yes?”
“And you had the spell fresh in your mind yes?”
“Yeah I guess.”
“Then your wand must have recognized the need to be used and the spell must haven sensed Mr. Malfoy to be the perfect candidate for the transformation.”
“What? So your saying the spell picked him? Like the spell had a life of its own? How can that be?”
“I don’t know dear, it’s very ancient powerful magic and some things can’t be explained or controlled.”
She thought about that for a bit, “so it’s not my fault he turned into a cat, it’s his fault for being a jerk?”
“For the most part yes, but you still had a bit to do with it.”
“Okay. You said in the letter that Draco had to perform good deeds to increase his time as a human. So when he does enough to reach up to 24 hours does that break the spell?”
“Yes and no. He has to do good deeds to change back into a human but it’s not permanently there is still more to the spell then that but he has to find it within himself to fully break it. There is a limit on how much time he gets as a human before it’s fully broken, he might get up to 12 maybe 18 hours at most in human form.”
“What’s the rest of the spell?”
“Ah that I can’t tell you, but like I said before Mr. Malfoy is the key he has to find the answer deep within himself to fully break the spell, you just have to trust me.”
“Well that’s just frustrating.” She said. “If he manages to break the curse, will I get my magic back?”
“I believe so yes, though I’m not 100 percent sure. This situation hasn’t happened to anyone in over 300 years and there is very little recording of the outcomes.”
“Is there something I can do or that needs to be done to help break the curse? I mean Draco has to do good deeds, what can I do?”
“Not much I’m afraid. However, though you can’t tell him what he needs to do, you can tell him if he guesses what it might be. If he figures out what needs to be done and he asks you what he thinks it might be then you can either confirm it or not confirm it. And if he guesses correctly then you can tell him what he can do to help. But remember it has to be his idea, he has to want to do it in his heart, not just do a good deed because he knows it will buy him more time.”
“Okay, it’s a lot to take in but I think I can manage that.”
“I know it is Hermione dear, but I have a strong feeling it will all work out in time.”
“If you don’t mind I would like a word or two with Mr. Malfoy alone. There are some things he must know as well.”
“Alright I’ll go get him for you.”
She got up from her seat on the bed and went to open her door. And she wasn’t surprised to see him right outside the doorway.
“She wants to speak with you for a bit.”
She let him walk through then shut the door behind her. And couldn’t resist the urge to press her ear up against the door to try to hear what she had to say. But of course she heard nothing; the silence charm was to powerful.
“Ah, Mr. Malfoy please come in. You’re looking well, or as well as you can be in that form. I must say you make a very fine looking feline. The cat is a very nice form to take. It’s one of my personal favorites. You can be quick and agile and graceful all at once.”
Draco hopped up onto Hermione’s bed so he could be more at eye level with the Professor. This was absolutely frustrating how was he suppose to ask questions when he was a cat? He should have made a list last night and had Hermione ask her.
“Well since you can’t express your thoughts I’ll tell you want I know about your condition and what you can do to help break the spell.”
Help break the spell? So she’s not going to tell him how to break the spell?
“To break the spell, it has to come from you. I’m sorry to say I can’t tell you what it is to break it completely. But there’s something you can do to gain more time in your human state. But like I said I can’t tell you what that something is, you have to figure it out on your own. And yes, Ms. Granger knows what that is and she can’t tell you either but she can help you as much as she can along the way.”
He was so confused. So there is something he has to figure out in order to gain more human time? And nobody can tell him what that is? This is so messed up. How was he suppose to break the spell if he didn’t know what he was suppose to do in order to break it?
“I don’t know how long it will be for the spell to break, it all depends on what you do and the choices you make.”
Choices that he makes, what does that have to do with anything?
“I know this must be terribly frustrating for you Mr. Malfoy, you just have to be patient and find the answer within yourself. It might help if I suggest that it isn’t as difficult or as complicated as you think and that it’s rather quite simple. Just don’t think to hard on it, it will only drive you mad.”
Oh good, he thought sarcastically. How could she be sure that he hadn’t already gone mad?
“Now you must listen carefully, you know you have to do something to gain more human time however that won’t fully break the spell. In order to break the spell for yourself as well as for Ms. Granger you have to find love.”
Love? Now what was she talking about?
“Since the spell was cast with Ms. Granger’s wand, it created a bond between the two of you. In order for Ms. Granger to regain her magic you must get her to fall in love with you and in order for you to become human again permanently you must love her in return. Now Mr. Malfoy listen, I’m talking about love in all its glory not a school boy crush. She must love you with her heart and soul and you must love her with everything you possess. Don’t think you can fake it. The spell will recognize what’s fake and what’s true love and it will result in consequences. If you find love between you two then the spell should break.”
Well shit, he was doomed. No way in hell would he ever get Hermione to love him and he didn’t know for sure if he would be able to love her in return. Thinking back he’s not even sure if he’s ever been in love before. He’s not even sure he’s capable of it.
“Ms. Granger does not know of this, and she must not know of this ever, so you can’t tell her. I know the two of you have always been at each others throats and it’s a lot to ask but you must try. Obviously I can’t make you fall in love with her. You just have to find it in your heart and try if you want the spell to break.”
Draco was lost in his thoughts when McGonagall went and opened up Hermione’s bedroom door and asked her to come inside. Apparently that was all the answers he was going to get from her today.
“I trust you two will see this through to the end I have no doubt that you won’t overcome this. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. And I’ll keep in touch to see what progress you’ve made. But now I must really be getting back.”
“Wait,” Hermione said. “What about Draco’s job, surely he can’t stay away for more then a couple of days. We told the Ministry that he’s out sick but I’m sure if we keep that up somebody will be checking up on him. What do you think we should tell them?”
“I’ll take care that Ms. Granger don’t worry. I’ll tell them that Mr. Malfoy is assisting me with an important assignment for Hogwarts. Oh and don’t worry about your neighbor Ms. Moffit either I erased a bit of her memory so she doesn’t remember you ever bring Mr. Malfoy in as a cat. So she shouldn’t be bothering you anymore.”
“Okay thanks; is there anything else we should be aware of?”
“No, I’ve told you both all that I know.”
“Well thank you Prof…Minerva for coming out of your way to stop by and assist us.”
“No problem at all. Good luck to you both. And have a nice day.”
And just like that she was gone leaving Hermione and Draco alone staring at each other.
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