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Chapter 4: Chapter 4
When Ron finally entered the flat, he found Draco and Hermione seated on either side of Harry looking at what appeared to be photos.
“What’s going on?” Ron questioned.
Harry stood and moved to him, leaving the other two to pour over the pictures.
“Sorry, mate.” he answered, in a lowered voice. “Wasn’t sure how long you were going to be out there. We really needed to get started though if we were hoping to get them to go with us tonight.”
Ron was none too pleased by being left out but certainly understood Harry’s reasoning.
“Fine. What do they know so far?” he mumbled begrudgingly.
“Their names and that they attended a school called Hogwarts.” Harry answered in a whisper.
Hermione’s voice suddenly cut through interrupting them. “So, we all went to this school together then?” she said, motioning to the four of them with her hand.
Harry turned to her. “Yes, we did.”
“This is the oddest thing I’ve ever seen,” Draco piped in from a hunched over position.
“What’s that?” Ron asked.
“How on earth did you get this picture to move?”
Ron and Harry looked at each other sharing the same driving thought. <i>‘SHIT!’</i> This was not the way they meant to tell them. The pictures up until that point had all been stationary.
Hermione leaned over and gasped slightly. “My goodness!”
Draco turned the picture over to look at the back and ran his hand over it seemingly searching for some kind of technology. Hermione reached down and started digging through the other pictures Harry had brought.
“Do you have any more like that? The photo paper’s so thin? Are there microchips embedded on it or something?” she asked curiously.
“Harry, what the hell?” Ron growled.
“I don’t know how that got in there. The Ministry provided me with that packet of photos.”
Ron shook his head and ran his hand through his fiery hair.
“Damn it! Bloody tossers.” he spat out.
“Is there something the matter?” came Hermione’s voice from the couch.
When Harry looked back to them, he and Ron were met with two sets of eyes intently trained on them.
“The thing is… The thing is that the school we attended wasn’t a normal school in Muggle terms.” Ron tried to explain.
“Excuse me?” Hermione interjected.
“Muggle terms? What’s that?” Draco asked confused.
“What Ron means is that this particular school is where young people are sent to learn and practice… magic.” Harry supplied.
Draco and Hermione sat unmoving for several moments. Suddenly, Hermione burst out laughing, and Draco joined her shortly thereafter.
“Are you kidding me?” she managed.
Ron and Harry looked at each other in confusion.
“This has got to be some kind of practical joke. Did the blokes at Systech send you?”
She turned to Draco, and through her giggles, she said. “I bet you it was Mark and Edith in the Research and Development lab.”
Draco smiled at her relieved by the possible explanation.
“I’m sorry, but this is no joke.” Harry broke through their tittering.
“You’re a wizard, and you’re a witch,” he said, gesturing to them both forcefully.
In an instant, their good humour slid from their faces.
“You’re serious? You’re serious.” Hermione finally answered. She pondered this for a moment.
She stood quickly. “No, you’re mad, that’s what you are! Get out of here! Get out now!” she was nearly yelling at this point.
“Wait, hang on! We can prove it. Watch!” Ron raised his voice to overpower hers.
He grabbed the lamp off the end table, and threw it to the floor. The lamp smashed into pieces with a satisfyingly loud crashing noise. Hermione screamed, and sat back down quickly to clutch at Draco who threw his arm around her protectively. They looked terrified.
Ron pulled his wand from his robe and pointed it at the broken shards of lamp shouting, “REPARO!” The lamp pulled itself together seamlessly. Then Ron spoke again, “Accio lamp.” and the lamp flew to his outstretched hand.
He turned back to Draco and Hermione seated on the couch, their eyes the size of saucers. They sat speechless for a moment.
“How… How did you do that?” Hermione finally eked out while pointing weakly to the floor and then to the lamp in Ron’s hand.
“It’s what we’ve been trying to explain to you.” Harry answered with a forced calm.
Clearly shaken, Draco finally spoke up. “You’re wizards?”
“Yes,” Harry said, “as are you.”
“Are you sure?” Hermione questioned, still seeming to doubt the whole thing.
“Yes,” answered Ron.
“Prove it,” she shot back.
“What? I just did.”
“No. That we’re… what you say we are.”
“How could we possibly do that?” he countered.
“Well,” she thought about it for a moment, “you could always teach us something. A spell maybe.”
Both Ron and Harry started at this suggestion, but after a moment’s consideration, they let the idea settle. It did seem like the only way to show them what they could do.
They began to brainstorm the possible different charms they could teach them with relative ease.
“What about that Levitation charm from first year?” Ron offered.
Harry smiled. “Perfect. Not too difficult to perform, and there’s little to no risk involved.”
Harry turned to Hermione. “Alright Sarah, you first,” he said handing her his wand.
She stood to join Harry, and took the proffered piece of wood with great trepidation.
“I want you to focus on that piece of paper on the coffee table. Try to put all of your mental energy into it. Now wave the wand and tap the page while saying ‘Wingardium Leviosa’.”
He spoke slowly as if to a child and performed the hand motion at the same time.
She looked at him incredulously. “You can’t be serious.”
“Just try it.”
She stared at him for a fleeting moment, but finally conceded. She began to wave the wand in huge sweeping motions from side to side, and said the words in a rush.
Trying to control the smirk that was threatening his face, Ron came over to stop her.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa… You’re going to take someone’s eye out like that…”
At this comment, Harry snorted loudly. Hermione tried to ignore him and focused on the instructions being given.
Ron continued smiling fully. “It’s not ‘Wingardium Levio-SAH’, but ‘Wingardium Levi-OH-sa’.”
Not being able to hold himself back anymore, Harry burst out laughing. It was all too much.
“What is so funny?” Hermione questioned angrily.
Waving his arms in front of him to try to catch his breath, he finally was able to answer through the fit of giggles wracking his body.
“Nothing… nothing… Ron’s just being his normal prat self… and I need a glass of water.”
Hermione shot Ron a death glare, but he shook his head from side to side with his most convincing wide-eyed, innocent puppy dog look.
Harry started to move toward the kitchen when Draco jumped up, and said. “I’ll get it for you.” and they both left the room.
In his eagerness to leave the living room, Draco had outstripped Harry and made it into the kitchen first. As Harry sank into one of the chairs at the kitchen table, Draco retrieved a glass and filled it at the sink. Sitting across from Harry, he handed him the water.
A heavy silence settled between them, Harry contemplated his discomfort with this new Draco.
‘Old habits die hard I guess,’ he thought to himself.
He took a large pull of water from the glass, and eyed Draco cautiously. He was fidgeting with his clasped hands, and when he noticed Harry watching him, he gave him a nervous grin. ‘Maybe it’d be easier if I thought of him as Peter.’
Before he’d finished that thought though, Draco began awkwardly. “So… are you into football?”
Harry couldn’t help but laugh at Draco’s attempt at small talk.
“No, not really. Not much time for it. Quite busy at work actually. Besides, the big sport in the magical world is Quidditch.”
“Quidditch? What’s that? Is it anything like football?” Draco asked intrigued.
“Well, no… Actually, it’s more…” Harry paused. If he got into Quidditch right now, he could tell they’d be talking about it all night.
“Actually, it’s quite complicated and difficult to describe. How about I explain it to you some other time? Or better yet, I’ll take you to a match.”
The last he offered without thinking but kicked himself inwardly for making the suggestion.
“That sounds fantastic. Can’t wait.”
Another thick silence seemed to take hold, and both shifted awkwardly under its weight. Unable to bear the palpable tension in the room any longer, Draco got up quickly and cleared Harry’s half empty glass.
“I guess we should get back in there.” he suggested.
Harry simply nodded his assent and started to stand.
Draco stopped suddenly, and took a deep breath. “Let me ask you something. Actually, make that two things.”
“Alright.” Harry responded uncertain if this was a wise choice based on Draco’s change in demeanor.
“How long were they involved before she and I disappeared?”
“Who? Oh, you mean Ron and Hermione? Well, officially they were never together, but they were both very… stubborn about each other.”
Draco smiled to himself. “That makes sense.”
“I think during the war they came to an understan…”
Here, Draco cut him off. “The war?”
Harry panicked for a moment. ‘Damn it! How could I let that slip?’
“No, no… it’s not… It wasn’t so much a war, but rather a… difference of opinion between two groups.” Harry supplied lamely.
‘That wasn’t a complete lie.’ Harry thought to himself.
Draco looked at him unimpressed by the excuse.
“Yes, I can see how you could get a war and a difference of opinion mixed up. They’re so interchangeable!” He countered sarcastically.
Disgruntled by his mistake, Harry asked, trying to change the subject. “What was your second question?”
“I can’t remember,” he lied. “I guess it wasn’t that important.”
Harry looked intently at Draco who, buried in his own thoughts, didn’t seem to notice the attention. He appeared to be piecing something together, and the further along he got, the deeper the frown became that spread across his pale face.
Harry didn’t like for one second where this was going. He had to get Draco out of whatever line of thinking he was in.
“Hey mate, you all right there?” He said patting Draco on the back trying to sound as companionable as possible.
Draco blinked a few times, looked up and over to Harry’s smiling face.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine… Just… Let’s go see how the two lovebirds are doing?” he joked halfheartedly.
In the meantime, Hermione had been desperately trying to perform the spell and growing more frustrated by the minute.
“Look, this doesn’t seem to be working. Maybe I’m not magical,” she said dejectedly.
“Nonsense. You’re just trying too hard. You don’t need to wave the wand so much. It’s just one fluid motion,” Ron suggested.
She pinned him with a disbelieving stare.
“Here… Let’s try this. Put the wand down first.”
Dejectedly, she placed the wand on the coffee table.
“Right. You have the words down. Now, let’s just practice the hand motion involved.”
He tried to demonstrate beside her, but she was still having some trouble.
“Let’s try something else…”
Not thinking about the possible intimacy of the posture, he moved over to stand behind her. He placed his left hand on her left arm, and wrapped his right arm around her to grasp the back of her right hand in his.
His tall length of 6’3” towered over her tiny stature of 5’4”. The effect of the position was instantaneous. Both stiffened feeling heat and tingles at every contact point, and the heady rush that flowed through them like an electrical current.
Ron kicked himself inwardly. What the hell was he thinking? Well, it worked with Ginny when she was a child and he was trying to teach her different spells. ‘Not the same thing, and you know it mate,’ he berated himself.
Ron cleared his throat awkwardly, but tried to continue on with the lesson.
“Right…” his voice cracked slightly, and he winced. What? Was he sixteen again or something?
“Let’s just try the arm movement again, shall we?” he said uncertainly.
With that, he moved her hand from the far right inward in what felt like a graceful sweep. He repeated the move again, and they both began to relax slightly not only with the movement, but also with the physical connection.
After several more graceful passes that were made in complete silence, Hermione had closed her eyes, and unwittingly began to lean her head back against his chest. Ron, lulled by this and the slight swaying motion their bodies had begun to make, let his head drop forward.
Their temples were nearly touching when suddenly Draco’s voice cut through the haze.
“Well, look what we have here…”
At this, Ron and Hermione jumped apart instantly. Hermione grabbed the wand off the coffee table, and began to study it intently.
Ron shoved his hands in his pockets, flushed red right to the tips of his ears, and mumbled almost inaudibly. “I was just showing her the hand movement for the spell.”
“Well, that’s some kind of hand movement. It certainly looked magical.” Draco was smirking mischievously. “Don’t suppose I’m going to get that much one on one… um… guidance. Harry? What do you think?”
“Not on your life mate!” Harry chuckled.
Draco, walking past her on the way to the couch, whispered softly into Hermione’s ear, “Have a nice dance, dear?”
By this point, Hermione had gone so red one would think she’d spent too much time in the sun.
“No matter.” she finally managed. “Let’s try this, shall we?” And with that, she focused her attention back on the piece of paper.
She performed the words and the movement flawlessly, and the page began to lift precariously off the table and into the air.
“Sarah, you did it. Oh my God, you did it!”
Draco jumped off the couch, and ran over to Hermione picking her up in a big bear hug.
He put her down and smiled a sassy grin at her. “Always knew you were a witch.”
She slapped his arm and chuckled.
Through all this, Harry leaned over to Ron and whispered, “Hey Ron, you’re quite the teacher. I think you may have missed your calling.”
Ron’s head snapped over quickly to Harry who offered him a smirk and a wink.
He flushed red again, and mumbled. “Oi! Shut it you.”
Harry laughed outright at Ron’s witty comeback.
“Alright, my turn!” Draco announced happily.
Ron tensed immediately, but Harry shot him a look that said ‘Let it drop. It’ll be fine.’ Ron could only huff in response and cross his arms.
Draco took the wand from Hermione, cleared his throat, and stared at the piece of paper now back on the coffee table. With a slight swoosh and a flick of the wand and the words flowing naturally from his mouth, the page began to float easily off the table.
Hermione looked on amazed as Draco trembled slightly in shock.
“Well done, Peter!” She said softly wrapping her arm gently around him. Draco seemed to be speechless.
“Thank you,” he finally managed in a strained, thin voice.
“I’ve never seen anything come to you that easily, love.” she said like a proud mother.
He seemed more surprised by this than Hermione. He swallowed hard, and collected himself before daring to answer.
“I know,” he marveled.
Hermione took in Draco’s quiet pride and happiness at having finally achieved something without a struggle, and made her decision.
She looked to Ron and Harry, and said. “So, what’s the next step?”