Ch. 15



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“Where’s Ron and Ginny?” Harry asked Hermione who was sitting alone in a cabin on the train back to Hogwarts

“Where do you think?” she laughed

“Sweet cart” he smiled “Honestly I leave for two minutes and they run like two little kids to the cart! They do realise it comes to you right” he sat across from Hermione.

 She flicked the page of her book and took a nervous deep breath in. She knew what was coming next. She had been avoiding being alone with Harry since the party.

“So are we going to talk about this Malfoy thing?”

Hermione rolled her eyes then closed her book over and placed it on the table. She knew Harry like a book.

“Ask me anything, I’ll answer if I can” she said sheepishly

“How long?” he was trying to sound calm but he could feel anger burning inside of himself at the thoughts of Draco being with Hermione. When she had told him the other day he thought he was fine with it but the more he thought about it the more he disliked it.

“Well recently I guess…I think em? I don’t know actually”

“You don’t know? You have to know, didn’t you have records of when you lost each of your baby teeth you keep a mental note of everything”

“What I meant was that I’m not sure when I started liking him, he kissed me the day we went to Gringotts on the train on the way back to Hogwarts and I guess I started thinking about him differently. We still fight like we hate each other but I feel some sort of tie to him, a connection I can’t explain”

“He kissed you then?” Harry was having trouble comprehending he couldn’t imagine either of them kissing each other, either one of them making the first move was just completely unbelievable.

“Well I don’t think either of us expected it and we just forgot about it, then the last week of school before Halloween we had this huge fight because I called him shallow for judging girls by their appearance and he said I was equally as shallow because I judged people on how intelligent they are”

“So if you had a huge fight how did it all end up like this?”

“Well that’s just it, I went to apologise and he done the same and that was it, it was all resolved so simply and we ended up kissing properly” she blushed

“I did think for a while and then I said no, it wouldn’t ever happen”

“What?” Hermione asked in shock “Harry even I didn’t see this coming”

“You didn’t see his face that day he carried you to the hospital ward when you banged your head, now I know you two hated each other but I don’t think even when he was at his worst with you he wouldn’t have just left you there, but I know there had to be something more about that day he looked at you like” Harry stopped himself and looked up at her, she was hanging on every word he was saying

“Like what Harry?”

“Like Ron” there was a hint of anger in his voice as if he was mad at her for not loving Ron back.

“Harry, I, I can’t help it”

“He loves you Hermione, and I remember the time that you loved him too”

“I do love him, just not like that I got out when I could because I knew I would end up hurting him more”

“And this isn’t going to hurt him?”

“That’s not what I meant. You know he wouldn’t have put all of himself into it I never would have come first”

“You can’t just make that call”

“I felt like I was settling ok is that what you wanted to hear” she snapped, her voice quivered but she quickly composed herself.

A dead silence fell in their cabin. Hermione felt a shudder down her back and Goosebumps rise on her arms. Her heart was racing in anticipation for Harry’s next move. Her heart sunk when she looked up and saw the judgement in his eyes. She could handle being judged, just not by her friend and even though he said he never could judge her she felt so belittled just by the expression on his face.

Harry shook his head and got up from his seat and left the cabin they had been sitting in. He didn’t know who she was anymore.

0o0o0

Hermione walked quietly beside Ginny as the four of them made their way to a carriage to bring them to the castle. The wind blew against them making her eyes water which wasn’t helping the fact that she wanted to break down and cry. Thankfully her melancholy mood and the friction between her and Harry was going unnoticed as Ron was chattering enough for all of them.

She could hear the sniggers of Daphne and Pansy ringing behind her. She looked over her shoulder to see if Draco was walking with them but he wasn’t. She caught a glimpse of his blonde head of hair further back in the crowd of students.

“Who are you looking for?” Ginny asked curious as to why she kept looking back over her shoulder

“Neville!” she chirped. She hadn’t been this happy to see him since he sliced Nagini’s head off.

 Hermione was glad she spotted him amongst the crowd while searching for Draco.

 “I have to ask him some head girl stuff I’ll catch up with you before the carriages” she announced to the three of the and fled back into the sea of students all the while feeling impressed at her own quick thinking and that she gave herself a chance to get away from Harry without it looking like she was leaving to find Draco.

“She’s been quiet today” Ron remarked as he looked back at her

“Maybe you’ve just eaten too many chocolate frogs and more hyped up than usual” Harry teased trying to make Hermione’s foul mood seem like it was nothing.

“Yeah Ron!” Ginny jeered “You know she goes quiet when we starting blabbering about Quidditch, which you’ve been doing all day”

“Have I?” Ron smiled softly before he looked back once more to see where she was. She had been acting so strange lately he thought. Secretive, unorganised and more strung up than her usual self.

0o0o0

Hermione looked back to make sure she was far enough away that they wouldn’t notice she wasn’t walking with Neville. When she turned back she smacked straight into someone considerably taller than her and banged her nose hard enough to make her eyes water and drop the bag she had in her hand.

“Oh shit!” he cursed “I mean sorry” he picked up her bag and handed it to her

“No I’m sorry I wasn’t looking where I was going” she wiped a stray tear from her cheek

“Me either. Are you ok?”

“Fine just banged my nose” she looked up at him, she had never seen him before. He looked around the same age as her, perhaps older, so he would certainly most have to be a seventh year.

“Sorry do I know you?” she blurted. Hermione was pretty confident she knew all the seventh years at Hogwarts.

“No I don’t think so, I’m Joshua” he gestured a hand shake

“Hermione” she shook his hand

“I’m new going to be attending Hogwarts, well at least for a few months anyway” he took her bag back from her and began walking again.

Hermione unintentionally followed completely forgetting she wanted to find Draco. She was too intrigued with this new student.

“What do you mean for a few months?”

“I move a lot, my mother writes books so we travel for book deals and promotions but mostly for her inspiration” he said the last part sarcastically like he wasn’t too pleased about it.

“Wow really? Who is she?” Hermione was bursting at the thought of who she could be

“Anna Austin, well that’s her author title, our real surname is Deluca”

“I can’t say I know her and I read a lot” she mentally punched herself for making it sound like she was a bore already.

“I don’t expect anyone here to know her, well except maybe the lonely members of the faculty” he smiled over at Hermione who looked completely confused as she tried to figure out what he meant

“She writes what she likes to call romance novels, I call them smut, and I try avoiding mentioning who she is to most people to save myself the embarrassment”

Hermione giggled “Really? And you’ve told me this because?”

“You look pretty trustworthy” he smiled

Hermione couldn’t help think that he was attractive, his dark hair made his dark blue eyes stand out.

“Do you know what house you’re going to be in?” she asked feeling a little hopeful that it was going to be Gryffindor

 “Em yes actually, I got sorted before you all left for Halloween, I’m going to be in Ravenclaw”

“So you must be clever?” 

“I do my best” he answered modestly “What house are you in?”

“Gryffindor”

“That’s house of the brave? If I’m not mistaken?”

Hermione didn’t answer him in fact. She went mute when she noticed Draco just ahead of her and didn’t know how she was going to approach him, or better yet what she was going to say?

“Hello?” Joshua waved his hand in front of her face

“Sorry what?” Hermione was completely absorbed in her own world that she forgot she was in the middle of a conversation.

“Gryffindor?”

“Yeah sure” she replied having not even listened to what he said once again

“Fantastic!” She muttered to herself when she spotted Pansy making her way back to speak to Draco and to make matters worse she linked him as they walked

“Did I say something to offend you?” Joshua asked as he placed his hand on her forearm to get her full attention once more

“No sorry I…I” Hermione got all flustered but couldn’t take her eyes from Pansy’s dainty grip round Draco’s arm and how he was just letting her

“Ah I see” Joshua said to himself as he looked to where Hermione’s gaze was locked

“And now I know your secret” he nudged her to bring her back to reality “You should be a little less obvious if you like him you know”

“Like who? I have no idea what you’re talking about” She quickly defended

“You’re trying to argue with someone who grew up on romance novels, I know it when I see it”

Hermione blushed, she had no come back.

“It’s ok, it’s safe with me! Now are we sharing a carriage or what?”

Hermione hadn’t even noticed they had passed through the gates. She smiled up at Joshua who was holding his hand out to help her into the carriage. Inside she was worried that he seen straight through her and picked up on the fact she had something for Draco. Had anyone else noticed?

0o0o0

It was a long first day back at Hogwarts for Hermione and Neville. Professor McGonagall, or rather, Head Mistress McGonagall had big plans for the next term. She had that much planned that both Hermione and Neville had to take the first day of classes off to have a meeting with her so that they could pass on the information to the other prefects and get preparations started as soon as possible.

The first thing on Hermione’s agenda was organising a Quidditch Gala. She had quickly drawn up some ideas and she intended to put them to Harry, Ron and Ginny later that day. She was happy that she was going to be swamped with work for what looked like the remainder of the school year as she had also decided she wasn’t going to go and talk to Draco. She was going to let him come to her. He still hadn’t got back to her letter or made any attempt to speak to her the night they came back to Hogwarts. Hermione even went to the library that night thinking he would too. She didn’t feel like wasting her energy on it, it was mentally draining.

After all wouldn’t it be easier if it just fizzled out? She would have to deal with telling Ron and Ginny or what other people were going to think. She just couldn’t figure out why she had to fight this burning feeling inside her that made her want to just run to him and for him to hold her like he had the night of the party.

She had been sitting in the library for twenty minutes drawing circles on a blank page. She was supposed to be at dinner and more importantly she was supposed to have a motivating speech ready for the entire assembly afterwards but so far she had nothing.

“Hermione isn’t it?” An unfamiliar voice asked. He had pulled out a seat before she even had a chance to look up from her notebook.

“Joshua!” She was a little surprised to see him there “Shouldn’t you be in the great hall?”

“Shouldn’t you?” he sounded offend

“Sorry” she sighed “Yes I should be but I’m reconsidering I’m supposed to have a motivating speech done for the entire student body and so far I have, well, circles!”

“Ah, writers block?”

“I wouldn’t call it that I’m not much of a writer, what has you here anyway?”

“Honestly?” he began to blush “I got lost”

Hermione didn’t want to laugh at him but couldn’t help but smile

“This one time I” She quickly stopped talking as she was about to tell him about the time had to lock herself in the girls bathrooms because a 7ft troll was trying to attack her

“You what?” he sat in suspense

“Never mind, I can draw you a quick map if you want to get back?”

“Ok, can I do something for you?”

“Like what?” She asked cheerily as she drew a rough map back to the great hall

“What would you want someone to tell you right now?”

She stopped drawing and looked up at him “What?”

“Your speech, think of what you would want someone to say to you right now if you weren’t head girl and just a normal student”

“Ok?”

“Now think of what is actually possible to do and put that down” he took the page from under her hand and smiled at her before he got up and left.

Hermione sunk into her chair. Was it that simple?

0o0o0

“Is it just me or does Miss prime and proper look nervous?” Pansy remarked as Hermione took her place and the lectern.

“Wouldn’t you be if the entire school waiting to hear what you had to say” Draco remarked

Pansy wasn’t impressed and she shot dagger at him with her eyes

“Look her hands at shaking” Daphne laughed.

Draco wanted to defend her again but he knew he couldn’t in fear of Pansy pulling a wobbly at him.

Hermione looked straight ahead trying to spot Harry and Ron, if she could keep eye contact with them she wouldn’t be nervous. She was at all costs avoiding the Slytherin table. She was nervous at it was without knowing Draco was sitting there looking up at her, and she certainly didn’t want to see him sitting beside Pansy.

The hall fell silent as she stepped up. She spotted Joshua who nodded and smiled warmly at her when he noticed she didn’t have any notes or cue cards.

She took a deep breath in and held the side of the lectern tightly so you couldn’t see her hands shaking.

“Hello” she said softly to judge how loud she was going to have speak, she smiled to herself as she felt a little less nervous

“Ok well I want to start by welcoming everyone back to Hogwarts and I hope everyone had a great Halloween break, especially the 7th years” she smirked hoping they would get that she was remarking the party, even if it turned out to be a disaster of a night for some, for the most part it was pretty fun. She was relieved when she got a laugh from some of them

“Ok so I didn’t really know what I was supposed to say today, I was told to keep it motivational but I was struggling with that myself until someone unexpected asked me what did I want to hear if I was sitting where you all are. I think everyone will agree when I say that I wish someone would tell me that it will all be fine, your exams will be easy and the rest of the year should be a breeze but of course I know that that’s not true”

She didn’t want to look up too much she knew she’d have a sea of confused faces looking back at her. She looked towards Harry and Ron and smiled before continuing. 

“Then on the other hand I know no one wants to hear anything is possible once you work hard and put the effort in. Now I’m not saying that that’s not true, I think over the past two years most of us will have proved that it is true, it’s very true! But there’s something about saying it that way that makes it feel like you’re in it by yourself, I think what I’m trying to say is that I will make it my mission that no one feels alone, or by themselves or even lost.” She smiled over at Joshua

“A very good friend of mine said that Hogwarts is home, and it is, whether you are a first year or a seventh year we are a family or even a Professor. We may not all know each other’s names or where everyone comes from and no matter how much you give out about homework or teachers or classmates, I don’t think anyone would want to be anywhere else. So let’s work together not for each other but for yourself. And I promise to be selfless when it comes to making sure that everyone had the most fun this year especially for the ones who will have to leave home soon”

0o0o0

Draco lurked in an alcove of the courtyard. He was waiting to speak to Hermione but she was sitting with Harry. They were having a heated conversation

“Harry you’re the one who wanted me to give him a chance in the first place! You were all pro Malfoy at the beginning of the year why is this any different”

“It was fine when he just wanted to be here, I thought we could just all coexist together you know nod and smile in the hall, I don’t trust him enough with you I don’t want you to get hurt Mione or Ron”

“Enough about Ron!” she threw her hand up in anger “Why can’t you trust me on this Harry”

“It’s not you I don’t trust” Harry gently squeezed her shoulder and then left.  

Hermione sobbed into the sleeve of her jumper. She had never felt so torn before. She stood up and took a deep breath in. The cool night air was soothing. It was still and calm, not a cloud in the sky so the stars looked extra bright. Hermione knew there would be frost the next morning which was strangely comforting, winter was her favourite month. She was about to leave herself but when she turned to leave her heart stopped when she seen Draco standing behind her.

“Hermione”

“I can’t do this now” she choked out covering her mouth to muffle her sobs

“Please” he grabbed her arm as she passed him “I heard you talking to Potter”

She pulled her arm away but stayed where she was. She kept her back to him because she was afraid to look him in the eyes.

“I also wanted to say thank you, your speech reminded me of why I wanted to come back here, it’s the only place I ever felt like was home and now considering I no longer have a home it’s all I have left”

Hermione turned back to him slowly, tears still streaming her face.

“Why are you crying?” he took her hand

“This scares me, how can you be a completely different person then you were a year ago?” she looked to the ground she was still afraid to look into his eyes

“Honestly, I don’t know but you’re the only one giving me a chance anymore, from what I heard a moment ago even potters given up on me”

“I can’t have this conversation now” she took her hand back and began to walk away

“It’s ok I know why you’re scared” he called after her “You actually have people you could lose from your life”

0o0o0

Sorry it’s been so long! I got a promotion at work and been super busy!

Ok so there’s a new guy but don’t worry it’s not what you think it’s going to be!

Thanks again to everyone who reads and especially everyone who had left a review

 

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