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Chapter 12: Friends
“What happened?!” Ginny suddenly came barging in at the door. She became furious upon hearing the news that Harry was brought at the hospital wing.
“It’s okay Ginny. They’re only mild cuts and bruises.” Harry answered with a reassuring tone. Hermione was helping him sit up on the edge of the bed. “It’s not that bad.
“Okay?! Look at your face! Who did this to you?!” she asked worriedly but he did not answer her. Instead, he just looked up at Hermione.
“Hermione?! What happened to him?!” Ginny asked once more. Her voice was full of irritation.
“Ginny, it’s not the right time to talk about it.” Hermione responded nervously.
“What’s going on here?! Could you just please tell me who did this?!” Ginny was now getting angry on their insisting of not to tell her what happened. “Hermione?!”
“Ronald Weasley did it.” Madam Pomfrey answered her when she came back and was now holding a tray with medications for Harry. She moved pass between the two girls.
“Is that true?” Ginny said her eyes were wide in shock.
“Yes Miss Weasley. Apparently, your brother has a hot temper. So if you’ll excuse me, I have to attend to Mister Potter. You can come back later” Madam Pomfrey said while she was putting medication on Harry’s bruises. The two girls followed suit.
“Why didn’t you tell me Hermione?!” Ginny asked her when they finally left the room. Her arms were in a folded manner.
“He is your brother Ginny. We are afraid of what you might do to him.” she responded and was trying her best to reason out with her.
“Oh! I am really going to do something about him! He has already gone too far!” Ginny angrily stormed away to the halls, leaving Hermione.
“Ginny wait!” Hermione called out but she did not return. “Oh Merlin! What am I going to do now?!” she bursts into tears then ran away.
She ran away again to the cold corridors and to the place where her feet had taken her before. Her feet had landed her on the cold stone paths to where Hagrid’s hut is. She thought that she will be the only one there but was surprised to see that Draco was also there, sitting beside a boulder. Their eyes met and Draco gave her a smile.
“Hey.” She greeted him casually while she was making her way towards him.
“It’s a surprise seeing you here.”
“I’ve seen you here before.” She quickly wiped away the tears flowing from her eyes with her sleeve. “That was definitely not a surprise.”
“But that was also not a good timing... wait, why are you crying?” he asked, his tone was showed much concern for the poor girl.
“Something came up.” Her eyes were struggling to find the right place to look at so that he won’t see her get teary again. “Uggh! I just can’t take all of this anymore!” Since all that she could see is his pale face, she just closed her eyes tightly shut but it didn’t stopped her to let out sobs again.
“Stop that. Where is the brave and strong Hermione that I know?” he tried to joke at her just in case it would help alleviate her gloom.
“You’re not helping.” Her hands found her face then covered it all up in embarrassment.
“Sorry.” He stood up and walked towards her. He took hold of her hand then led her beside the boulder, gesturing for her to sit down. She followed him and Draco sat right next to her. “Do you want to tell me what had happened?”
Before answering him, she let out a big sigh and stopped crying. She was trying to calm herself eventually.
“Well, it’s the same old story. After the exam, Ron had confronted me. He was waiting for me outside of the classroom. He told me that he saw the both of us and thought that we were together.” The lump in her throat was making her struggle to let out the words that she wanted to say. “He was hurting me badly with his tight grip on my arms.” she continued while lifting up her sleeve, revealing a large bruise on her arm. Draco’s eyes widen in shock.
“Harry saw us and stopped Ron from hurting me. Ron said bad things to him and that’s the reason why they got into a fight. I brought Harry to the Hospital wing when I have successfully separated them. He had a lot of bruises and cuts on his face. Ginny heard about what happened and now, I don’t even know what she’s going to do with Ron.” She continued, almost out of breath.
“That Weasel is really a pain in the arse.” He responded with a cunning smirk. She looked at him intently, questioning him on what he had just said.
“Uhh, I mean Weasley really does act quickly without thinking on what to do first.” He cleared out.
“I just don’t know what to do anymore. Everything is getting worse.” She hopelessly croaked out.
“Hey, you’ll be fine. I’m here for you okay? If everything doesn’t go like the way you wanted it to be, I’ll be there by your side.” He said to her while he was holding her hand, gently stroking her knuckles.
The cool breeze and silence were sinking between the two. Hermione had already stopped her sobs while Draco was still stroking her knuckles. What he was doing is making her calm.
“Is this the reason why you’re always here?” Hermione suddenly asked out of nowhere. The trees that were gently swaying along the cool air were making her amazed like a little girl.
“It’s peaceful in here and I’m loving the cool breeze.” She replied with a smile.
“That is one of the reasons. This place is memorable for me.” He responded as his gaze also turned at the swaying trees..
“Yes... very much.”
“Would you like to tell me why?”
“It still is complicated Granger.”
“It’s still complicated? How are all the things that I’m asking you supposed to be complicated?” she asked making her lips turn into a pout.
“Because it is.” He replied, still smiling at her.
She also let a wide smile form on her lips. Being with this man made her feel very comfortable. Her problems drifted away every time she sees his lit up smile. Talking also with him before made her feel so relieved. And now, she is looking at this blonde man. His gray eyes, lips, and blonde hair that hangs loosely on his face made her attracted to him. Suddenly, she realized that she was developing something for him.
“Hermione?” he asked out to get her back to reality.
“Yes?” she answered while getting out of her trance.
“I wanted to know... what are you thinking about me?”
She became surprised at his question. Taking her time to compose herself because her thoughts were still on his physical features.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, how you see me as a person?” he let out the words like he was a little boy asking about what she thinks about his new toy car.
“Oh. Uhh, well... you are an arrogant, self centered prat.” She answered him, her head cocked to one side.
“What?” surprised at what she had said.
“Before that is. You like to make a fool out of people. I really hated you back then because you always make fun of me...because you hated mudbloods.” Her face twists into a serious one upon remembering the bad memories she had with him. “But I do understand that because you are a pureblood and I am not. People have already expected that. Also, you don’t show importance to things and friends. I always thought that you only think about yourself and don’t care what other people feel. You always make me and my friends miserable.” She continued. She saw his face darken, too guilty of all the things that he had done to her before.
“But now, you are one of the most understanding people that I know. I can see that you really want to change your life and turn it into a better one. You are trying your best to help and be a kind person. I know because... I have proven it myself.
He finally found the ray of light at the end of the tunnel. His heart contained so much joy that he wanted to kiss her at the moment.
“I care for you Hermione. I want to protect you.” He blurted out. He was now looking straight at her eyes.
“I regret all the things that I have done to you. I was a total arse back then. Now, I don’t care if I am a pureblood and you are a muggle born. Screw what people have to think about those blood statuses. I’ve put them all aside because it won’t get me through anything. I’m tired of being the weaker one. I want to be the better one.” He continued but his tone was evident of sadness.
“Hermione, you are important to me and I don’t want to see you get sad or hurt.” He sighed his hurt away knowing that she became sad before because of him.
“That time when you and your friends saw me here, we had a heated argument. Talking about this and that and whatsoever, but that day was my eye opener. Aside from the punch that you had given me.” He let out a chuckle and smiled upon remembering the event.
“But I can’t tell you how sorry I was because of what people might think of me, especially my father. I want to make it up to you and your friends but I just can’t. I also have to always pretend that I hated you because of my blood and family name. I hated myself because of that. I hated everything.” He croaked his face was in disgust upon remembering what he had gone through.
Hermione was getting surprised because of all the revelations of Draco. Her heart was beating faster because she was getting to know how he truly feels. It was a total blur at first but the dark gray clouds of mystery were now coming to a clear.
“I am sorry Hermione. I am really sorry. I know that it’s hard to believe all of these but this is the truth. It’s what I truly feel.”
“It’s fine Draco. It’s fine.” She answered him but her expression was blank. She stood up and quickly darted towards the corridors.
“Hermione!” Draco called out but she didn’t return.
“We should have executed out a plan! Strike them out on their backs when they least expected it!”
“I have never felt so alive like this before! All those hours and days of being imprisoned in Azkaban...”
“My good men, let’s just wait for the right moment. We will have our revenge on them... that boy is lucky that he had used his wand out quickly.”
Three hooded men were making their way out of the dark forests. Each one of them was having the enjoyment of being out of Azkaban. It was not long before they reached a big old gate and a few moments later, they went inside. They were led into a big room that is too old and gloomy. Everything was in shades of dark green and black.
“It is nice to see the three of you again... the most loyal servants.” A pale old man greeted the three while he was standing in front of a big window that is floor up to roof high. His posture and gait was supported by a cane.
“You are already sure of the things that we’d do for our master, right?” One of the hooded men responded.
“Yes, yes but as you all know, people have already thought that the war is finally over.
They are now living their silly old lives with content.” The pale man continued then walked towards them.
“That won’t be long for now! I can’t wait to see them lie lifeless on the ground!” the impatient one the other hooded men excitedly replied.
“There, there my friend, we will make sure that we will get to that. But first, would you like to talk about all of it later? We should make sure that you have good enough rests for my plans.” The pale man then escorted the three to a different room.
Ginny was with Harry when Hermione came back to the Hospital wing. Harry was sleeping on his bed. Ginny was sitting in a chair beside his bed while holding his hands.
“How is he?” Hermione asked Ginny as she made her way towards her.
“He’s fine, although his body had a lot of bruise. Ron is bigger than him so he didn’t have the advantage to protect himself. And he said to me awhile ago that he didn’t want to fight him back. Ron was still his friend.” Ginny said still looking at Harry’s face. Seeing him sleep soundly made her calm even though the day was not the happy ones that she had expected.
“I’m sorry Gin.”
“Sorry for what?”
“If it wasn’t for me, Harry wouldn’t be here.” Hermione sadly croaked out. Another tear was threatening to come out of her eyes.
“It’s not your fault Hermione, its Ron’s. He is an arse.” Ginny replied, her irritation was flaring up again.
“But he wouldn’t be like that if I haven’t changed.”
“Hermione, don’t put all the blame on you okay? He can’t keep up with change. He didn’t understand you. I know that he is my brother but I don’t have to take his side forever.” Ginny responded.
“Sorry.” It was her only reply, thinking that she had nothing to say anymore.
“You girls are so loud. I couldn’t get sleep.” Harry joked at the two girls while he stirred on his bed. Ginny hurriedly helped Harry when he attempted to sit up.
“Sorry if we have disturbed you Harry. We were just talking.” Hermione said to him. She smiled at the thought that he could still joke around at times like these.
“And what is it all about?” he asked upon his weak voice.
“Actually I was going to ask you both about something.” Hermione nervously asked. Her eyes were serious. Harry and Ginny looked at her worriedly.
“What is it Hermione?” Ginny asked as she stood up.
“What if... I became friends with an unexpected person? Someone that you guys don’t come in good terms of. Are you going to get mad at me?” She was struggling to find the right words so that they won’t get into shock.
“Unexpected person? Who is this unexpected person?” Harry asked a bit confused.
“Just please answer my question first Harry.” She responded, too scared at what their reaction would be.
“Are you up to something?” Ginny looked at her intently with a ‘tell-me-the-truth’ stare.
“No Gin, just please answer me.”
“It depends Hermione but, who is this unexpected person you are talking about? If you tell us first maybe we could think about that.” Harry answered her with a quizzical look.
“Well... it’s... it’s”
Out of nowhere, Draco came walking in and went straight towards Harry’s bed. The three were shocked to see him. Hermione left her jaws hanging upon hearing Draco cut him off and seeing him walk towards them and stand beside her.
“You?!” Harry asked him, his tone was raised in an octave.
“What are you doing here?” Hermione quickly asked Draco. What was currently happening would definitely make her heart stop in a second.
“What do you want?! How dare you come here?!” Ginny gave him a questioning stare.
“Hear me first Weaslette... I mean Weasley. I am not here to make fun of you or Potter. I am here to clear things up.” Draco responded calmly.
“Clear things up?” Harry was now getting confused.
“Yes Potter. I want the feud between us to be over. I just want to say that I’m sorry, to the both of you.” He apologized at them while his eyes were serious and sincere.
“This is completely mental! Draco Malfoy? Saying how sorry he is? You’re casting a spell aren’t you Hermione?” Ginny turned her angry stare at Hermione.
“No Gin, Draco’s serious about it. He has... changed.” Hermione responded at her in a serious manner. She definitely wants to end their gaps right now but not in this kind of way that she least expected.
“I am serious about this Weasley. I don’t want any arguments anymore.” Draco turned to her, trying to convince the girl who was her enemy before.
“Yes Gin. Draco really is saying sorry. I can see that he is serious.” Harry continued upon figuring out all of Draco’s words and gestures. He can feel the tension between the four of them but everyone was serious to sort things out.
“I am sorry about the things that I have done to all of you before. I am trying my best to change. And I have started to makeup things by helping her.” Draco said to them after looking at Hermione.
“It’s true Ginny. I have proven it myself.” Hermione reassured her.
“I am sorry about what I said earlier.” Ginny apologized unto him then looked her gaze away at the blonde man.
“Malfoy, I don’t know how true it is that you have helped her but we accept that you have changed for the better. It’s not that easy but I think we should just forget all of the things that had happened before.” Harry said to him calmly but it wasn’t easy for him to forgive the man that became his enemy before. Sudden turns of event weren’t what he had expected.
“He really did help me a lot coping up with the things that are happening to me. He just wants to change his life, make it a better one.” Hermione reassured the two.
“I know this is all so sudden but I wish that you will forgive me.” Draco continued.
“Maybe not now but eventually, we will.” Ginny responded with an unsure tone.
“Thank you.” He replied with a smile.
“So does this answer my question earlier?” Hermione asked the two of them again.
“Hermione, the three of us are going to be friends with him, right Gin?” Harry turned to Ginny, waiting for her response.
“Harry this is all so sudden... but I think we can manage that.” Ginny smiled at Hermione and Draco. This new start could definitely make their days a lot easier for them.
“Thank you!” Hermione then hugged her two best friends tightly.
“Ouch!” Harry shouted upon her embrace. The sting of pain from his hurt body was not tolerable for him at the moment.
“Sorry Harry, I totally forgot about that.” Hermione quickly pulled herself away from him. Ginny and Draco laughed at the scene before them. Seconds later, the two joined in.
A/N: The next chapters will be more interesting so keep reading my lovely readers!! :) Hint? well... it's going to be a very dark one. . . thanks for the reads and reviews! :D