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Chapter 35: Time Is Running Out
A week passed, but Hermione still had not shown her face at the Ministry even once. She'd taken vacation time to allow her an escape from all the questions surrounding her. The papers had had a field day after the Malfoy Gala had ended. From a throw down between Ron Weasley and Draco Malfoy to a rather awkward moment between Draco and Pansy Parkinson on stage and even moments displaying a distraught Hermione were photographed, although she had no idea how. She had imagined that the Malfoy house would be guarded well from intrigued paparazzi, but she was now aware that she was wrong. Even the most extravagant houses are not protected by them.
Ginny had been visiting her best friend daily, in hopes of making her feel better, although her visits didn't have a lot of affect. Ron had dropped by three times and Harry twice and that did nothing to make her feel better either.
She was angry and hurt by Draco kissing Pansy, confused about the situation with Lavender, and, practically above all, angry at herself for letting her heart feel this much pain. She wanted to scold her own self for being so ignorant as to fall for Draco Malfoy. She was now just another pawn in the Draco Malfoy dating game.
Ever since the night of the event, her flat had flooded with owls, mostly from Draco himself. She stopped counting his number of owls after she reached thirty one, but there was more. The few that she'd read all seemed the same, for the most part. He's apologize several times, ask for forgiveness, say that Pansy had tricked him, that he wanted her back, that he loved her 'for whatever reason' and that she owed it to him to talk to him. Each of the letters she'd opened wound up either crumpled and thrown out the fireplaces, tossed in to the fireplace or, her favorite, obliviated by magical means.
"Lying...arrogant...prick," Hermione hissed under her breath as she shredded a random owl before even reading it.
"Hermione?" Ginny Weasley called from outside the flat.
Hermione groaned, "Gin, I told you, I'm fine. Just go home and be with Harry."
"You know Harry is at work," Ginny said as she escorted herself in to the flat and plopped herself down on Hermione sofa. "And you should be too."
"I'm on vacation," Hermione argued.
"No, you're hiding from what happened. You're Hermione Granger - you don't do vacations."
Hermione gasped, "I can to do vacations! Matter of fact, I can and I am!"
Ginny raised her hands in defense, "No, no need for the attitude."
Hermione gave her a stern look that made it pretty clear it would be best for her to be quiet. Ginny wasn't normally one to back down from arguments, but this was an exception.
Elsewhere, in the back of a dusty pub, Pansy Parkinson was in the center of an intense conversation with the one and only, Roger Davies.
"So, what are we going to do?" He asked nervously, glancing around. "Maybe we should just come clean."
Pansy's squinted eyes traveled from the floor to his and they darkened immediately, "No, you idiot, we are not going to do that."
"I'm just saying-"
"I don't give a rat's arse what you're saying, Davies!"
"Pansy! They're getting closer and closer to figuring it out, if we told the truth..."
"If we told the truth you know what the consequences would be!"
"No necessarily!" Roger argued. "Maybe..."
"Roger!" Pansy shrieked, "Do you want to spend a lifetime in Azkaban?"
He shook his head and popped his collar as a way to get more air to his clammy, nervously sweating body.
"Then we have to keep quiet, or that's exactly where we will end up!"
"You can't be sure of that," he disagreed.
"Trust me, Davies." She gulped. "I can. I know how these things work. We didn't just use underage magic, this is a lot bigger than that."
He nodded, "But, what are we going to do when the real time comes?"
"I've almost perfected the spell. Once I get it completed and accepted, all I have to do is fire it at the blithering numbskulls and then we're in the clear. They won't remember anything we don't want them too."
"But, what if it doesn't work?"
"It will work!"
"But, what if it doesn't?" He fired back.
"Roger, who's the leader in the operation?"
"You," he mumbled. "For whatever reason."
"The reason is that you fell in to this and I needed an accomplice. You're in just as deep as me. You're just as guilty as me."
"I don't feel right about this anymore. People are going to get hurt. Hell, they already are getting hurt."
"Your precious little feelings about this don't matter, do you not understand that? If you came clean, you and I both would wind up in Azkaban, and we don't want that."
"Why do we have to do this though?"
"You know why."
"I still just don't get it, though."
"It's simple, Davies. I want Draco Malfoy to be mine, simple as that. I've always wanted him and even though he says he doesn't, I know he wants me."
"There are other guys out there. Besides, your plan has driven him straight in to the arms of that Granger girl."
Pansy gave a cold, heartless laugh, "I'll take care of that worthless mudblood."
"Then what? After you 'take care', whatever that means, what happens?"
"The original plan goes back to being in action."
"And what is the original plan?"
"Merlin, Davies! How often must I tell you?"
"I want Draco Malfoy all to myself. I don't want to share him with anyone. Ever."
"What are you going to do about the child?"
She took a deep breath, "We'll cross that bridge when it's coming closely."
"I'm just saying - secrets don't stay secrets."
"What does that mean, Davies?" Pansy hissed.
"It means," Davies growled. "That eventually he is surely going to discover he has a child."
"Hermione, what's this?" Ginny asked from a few feet away.
Hermione saw that she was holding a piece of parchment and rolled her eyes, "I'm presuming it's another of Malfoy's stupid owls."
Ginny shook her head, "I don't think so, 'Mione..."
Hermione lifted her head and came to sit by Ginny and look at the parchment.
She gulped, "This has to be a prank."
"What if it's not though?"
Hermione pondered this, "I don't know. But, it's probably just Malfoy messing with our heads."
"This seems bigger than that," Ginny argued. "Besides this is girl hand writing."
"Malfoy isn't exactly the most masculine-"
She jumped at the sound of her name, "What!"
"I don't think that this is a joke," Ginny gasped.
They looked down and read the parchment once more, their stomachs still doing flips.
Help. Trapped. No time to explain. Almost out of time. -L
"You don't think Lavender..."
"'L' could be a lot of people."
"I don't know, Gin!" Hermione said quickly. "But, unless Ronald tells us that she's missing, then there's no need to worry about her. You and I both know your brother would need our help if something like that happened to her or any one else for that matter. I'm sure Lavender is fine. This is probably just a joke."
"Alright," Ginny raised her hands defensively, "I guess you're right."
"Thank you," Hermione sighed.
This was ridiculous. A completely childish prank, she was completely sure of it.
Harry turned to see Ron's presence had been traded for Draco's. He looked like he hadn't slept in ages, he had dark under eye circles. His clothes clearly hadn't been pressed and his hair was not it's usual style of being slicked back, either. This was the worst Harry had ever seen him.
"What do you want, Malfoy?" Harry spat the words, he didn't take well to people who hurt his friends.
"Help," Draco said, flinching at the word. He had never expected to ask for help, especially not from Harry Potter. Mummy and Daddy's money had always solved his problems, well almost always. "I want Hermione back."
Harry scoffed, "She doesn't want to see you, leave her alone."
"I just need to talk to her. She won't answer my owls..."
"Why would she answer your ruddy owls?!" Harry said, clearly angered.
"Because she owes it to me to hear me out!" Draco fired back.
"She owes absolutely nothing to you." Harry said, narrowing his eyes.
Malfoy sure was stupid sometimes.
"Please," Draco repeated.
"You broke her heart," Harry growled. "Hermione is a sweet girl who does not deserve even half of the bad things that have happened to her over the past year, and she certainly doesn't deserve the likes of you in her life."
It took a lot to make Harry angry, but Malfoy always seemed to find a way to bring out the ugly side of Harry Potter.
"Please, Potter," Malfoy pleaded. "You have to help me!"
Harry scoffed, "You honestly think I would help you?"
"Please, I'll give you money, be your bloody slave," begging was simply not something Draco Malfoy did, it was as if he was a different person. "I'll do anything."
"You think I want your money?" Harry scowled. "Think again."
"Harry," Draco gasped, "Please."
This was the first time Draco Malfoy had ever called him by his first name. Ever.
"Harry?" he replied stupidly.
Malfoy knew that making a sarcastic comment would defeat his hard work, "Please. I know you think I'm an arse-"
"-a huge arse."
"-but I love her. I didn't want to kiss Pansy, she put some ruddy charm on me. Now, if I don't talk to Hermione soon, my chances are shot. I'm not stupid, that much I figured out myself.
"She doesn't wish to talk to you. You said 'sorry', that's it. Your relationship would just go back to what it once was, with fighting and hurt, and she doesn't want that."
"I don't want things to go back to the way they used to be!" He retorted.
"Then what do you want, Malfoy?" Harry sighed, sitting down at his desk to get back to work.
"I want to propose to her."
A/N I am SO terribly sorry about the long wait! I had trouble with this chapter and real-life got in the way. I'll try and update as much as I can, I promise. Well, I finally got this chapter to my liking! I promised a good chapter and I think this should have lived up to some expectations! I mean the Pansy/Roger thing was interesting, right? I have all the twists and turns planned out, with logical reasoning, and I'm looking forward to y'alls reactions to these things. Also, what's with Hermione's letter? Is it really from Lavender? Or someone else? Or is it a prank, entirely? Hmm...Also, Draco wants to propose! Yay or not?
Oh, and I'm done with the sneak peeks, I'm sorry! I haven't had a chance to write the next chapter to have one ready, plus, it would be hard for them not to have spoilers at this point and still be entertaining. But, I can promise that Draco's proposal idea is touched upon coming up. Other than that, it's a mystery.
And Lavender's baby is almost here! Anyone excited about her daughter coming soon? I've almost decided 100% on the name (first and middle), but it's between a couple.
Well, if you don't mind, I would love a review! Thanks for reading!