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Chapter 12: chapter twelve
The end of our sixth year was in sight; only a mere couple of weeks separated us from the beginning of summer break, and while I love school, I was also excited for break to start as well. Yet because the end was in sight, it meant more homework was being piled on top of us, which in turn meant more time being spent in the library. Being in the library wasn’t that hard for me, as a matter of fact, it was getting increasingly harder for me to want to leave the library, and homework wasn’t the only reason. You see, Draco and I figured out that not many Hogwarts students really spend any time there and the ones that do are usually Ravenclaw’s.
The good thing about them is that most of the time they are so immersed in their studies that they wouldn’t even notice if they whole place burst into flames, which can be proved by the small fire mishap that happened last week. It all began when a second year Hufflepuff tried practicing the Incendio spell and caught her book on fire. The book then quickly caught the others near it on her table and was nearing a disaster until Madame Pince realized what was going on and put out the fire then swiftly banned the poor blonde girl. None of the Ravenclaws had even realized something was going on until they heard Madame Pince’s shrill voice ordering the girl out.
Another good thing about meeting up in the library was that just saying the word library to Harry or Ron caused them to make up excuses and leave me behind. Usually their excuses consisted of Quidditch, even after the season has ended, instead insisting that they needed to get a leg up for next year. I quickly figured out that if I wanted to spend any time by myself to tell them that’s where I was going and they wouldn’t even bother to follow me.
It was weird at first, having someone at the table in the library with me and actually studying, unlike the first time we had sat together when all he wanted to do was aggravate me. Now we spent countless hours in silence, only the scratching of our quills filling the space between us, and I found myself enjoying his company. That night, we were meeting up at our usual table to work on a particularly long essay for Charms which was supposed to cover the last three charms we had learned. It appeared that that night wasn’t going to be any different from any other as I noticed that our table was still empty, and Draco was nowhere in sight. I made my way over to the table and placed my stuff down before promptly going to look for the book I needed to write this essay. I went up and down many aisles trying to locate the book, but it was gone. Frustrated, I stalked back to the table and noticed that it was no longer empty, but instead now had parchment strewn about the table and one book propped up in the middle of the table, the exact book that I had just been looking for, and there among the mess was Draco Malfoy.
“How did you get that book?” I asked the blonde, forgetting about formalities as I approached him.
“Well you see,” he replied, still scratching away at his essay, “I knew we would need the book tonight, so, to make sure that we would have it, I came here earlier today and checked it out.”
“That’s actually rather brilliant,” I said as I plopped myself down into the seat next to him.
“Of course it is,” Draco said in his rather superior voice that he now only used with me when he was joking.
I leaned in to him and nudged him with my shoulder before sitting back up and pulling my parchment and self-inked quill out of my bag. It was nice how we could joke around one minute and then the next get down to work like we were. With Draco, I never had to worry about him messing around like Harry and Ron usually did. Of course, he never took his school work quite as seriously as I did, only making his homework the exact length and no more whereas I always made sure to add on at least an extra inch if not more. It was nice to know that if I were to ever have a question, not that that would ever happen, I would at least be around someone equally as capable as me.
Only the sound of our scratching quills broke the silence between us as we worked on our charms essay and I quickly found myself nearing the halfway point, though it was at this point that the small distraction began. At first, I thought I could ignore it, but as my cheeks began to flush and my stomach tied itself into knots multiple times, I could no longer dismiss the feeling of Draco’s knee rubbing against my own. I knew he wasn’t doing it on purpose; he couldn’t help the restless feeling in his legs, but just feeling the innocent touch was not doing wonders for my concentration. I bit my lip, trying to break myself out of my thoughts which consisted only of what the touch of his knee was doing to the rest of my body, when Draco looked over at me.
“Are you ok?” He asked as his knee jiggled a little faster.
“I’m fine,” I forced out, still trying to forget about his knee.
“I don’t believe you, is it the essay?” He asked.
“No, it’s not that,” I sighed, “it’s just, well, it’s your knee.” My cheeks flared a more brilliant shade of red as I confessed that it was doing things to me that it shouldn’t, and I knew that he figured it out when he shot me a sly smile.
“I’m not sure I know what you mean,” he joked as he jiggled his knee some more, making sure that it hit against my leg.
I couldn’t help but giggle out at his behavior as it was rare that his guard was down enough to allow him to smile. “Draco,” I squealed, shoving him away lightly, causing Madame Pince to shoot us a stern glare. At that we could only help but let out a few more bursts of laughter before we were able to calm ourselves down enough to continue working on our homework.
It only took us another half hour before we were both rolling up our completed essays, though I was proud to say that mine was a good three inches longer than the required length. I couldn’t help stretching the moment I stood up, my body protesting from sitting for over an hour and a half, and almost whacked Draco across the shoulder as I did so. We strolled out of the library together and once we reached the empty hallway outside, I sighed and turned to face him. I had been meaning to bring something up all night long and I knew that that moment would be my only chance.
“Listen Draco,” I started shuffling my feet, “about the whole Dumbledore thing-“
“I’ve already told you, there’s nothing to talk about,” Draco snapped.
“I really feel that he could help you Draco,” I whispered.
“You don’t know that though- you don’t know that he could help me out, and I just can’t take that chance,” he said and walked away.
“Draco,” I called out, hoping that he would turn back around but when he only paused in his spot, I continued, “are we still on for tomorrow night?”
He never said anything but before he began walking again, I noticed the small nod of his head to confirm that we would once more be meeting to do our homework. I watched him walk away, and berated myself the whole time for bringing up Dumbledore when I knew that he wasn’t interested in his help. I took my time walking back to Gryffindor tower, curfew was still over a half hour away, and I was in no hurry to be surrounded by the usually lively common room when I was in such a mood. Upon entering the common room, I could hear Harry, Ron, and Ginny all calling out for me to join them by the fireplace, but I kept my head down and continued past them up to the girl’s dormitory.
The next night, I had once more made it to the library before Draco, even though I was a few minutes late myself. As I sat at there waiting for him, I tapped my quill against the table, not able to concentrate enough to start my essay. He was only ten minutes late, and he had been much later before, so I wasn’t too worried yet that he wouldn’t show. Though, as the seconds kept ticking by, ten minutes quickly turned into fifteen, then twenty, and then turned into a half hour and he still hadn’t shown up. My essay still sat in front of my, not even touched, but all I could concentrate on was the increasing worry that he wasn’t going to show and it was all because I hadn’t been able to keep my mouth shut yesterday. Finally, when I had sat there for forty-five minutes without even a glimpse of the blonde haired Slytherin, I began writing.
An hour later, I had only finished three of the required six inches of the essay, as my head had snapped up for every creak of the library floor and to watch every person who entered or left the library, in hopes that I would see Draco. After having him study with me for the past few weeks, it was rather weird and awkward for me to not have him sitting next to me. It had taken me two hours to finish the essay, one that should have only taken me just under an hour to do, and even then it was only the exact six inches required. I couldn’t find it in myself to continue working on it any longer; my heart just wasn’t in it, besides it still contained all of the information that had been asked of us so I knew that it wouldn’t hurt my grade.
Just as I had the day before, I merely strolled along back to the common room, still upset that I had been stood up. If I had known that mentioning Dumbledore to him would have affected him this much, I would have never said anything, even though I knew it had been the right thing to do. One thing that came out of this, however, was that I realized that somehow, Draco had managed to squeeze his way into my heart and become as much of a constant in my life as Harry and Ron. It was weird to think that just by spending a few weeks with someone, even when it was just quietly studying together, they could become a person that you depend upon to be there.
I decided tonight to join Ron and Ginny in the common room, Harry was nowhere to be seen and neither Ron nor Ginny knew of his whereabouts. We sat around the fire with Seamus, who was busy playing a game of Wizards Chess with Ron, and Dean, who kept flashing glances over at Ginny, obviously still wanting her. It was a nice relaxing evening, something that we didn’t get very often between all the homework and the fact that Voldemort had risen again. Usually, we spent our time trying to figure out what he was up to and scavenging the newspapers to try and find any clues. Even when Harry was off with Dumbledore on his extra lessons, Ron and I could be found looking through any newspaper or magazine we could get our hands on, though I think Ron sometimes got distracted by the pictures, especially when we borrowed Lavender’s Witch Weekly magazine. Ron was just about to checkmate Seamus’s king when Harry walked through the common room door, face pale and shaking slightly.
“Harry, mate, what’s up?” Ron asked as the three of us approached him, Seamus and Dean still at the table trying to figure a way to beat Ron.
“I-,” Harry began before choking up.
“Whatever it is Harry, it can’t be that bad,” I told him, and placed my hand on his shoulder only to have him shrug it off.
“But it is,” he responded, “I’ve done something horrible.”
AN: Thank you again to Giola for being such a wonderful and helpful beta! Thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed the story so far! I really hope that you are all enjoying it! Be sure to check out justonemorefic’s etc. etc. (and life goes on), it’s a wonderful next gen novel that I have absolutely enjoyed reading!