Ginny’s horse was in the lead but Hermione was gaining on her. The sun shown brightly and the air was warm and sweet with spring. Ginny had not felt so free in years; she was starting to understand why Hermione had decided to stay here the past few weeks. She had noted it wasn’t so bad when Draco wasn’t around, but apparently Hermione did not mind his company every now and again. They rode for hours driving the horse further and further across the country side. Ginny had only just arrived a few days ago but was already regretting having to leave in two days.
“Wooooo,” Hermione howled at the sky with laughter. Ginny slowed her horse as they came to a slightly wooded area; she could here a babbling brook not far off and was sure the horses would appreciate a long drink.
“Isn’t this wonderful,” Hermione said taking a deep breath as she finally caught up with her best friend.
“Well I certainly don’t blame you for taking in all the Malfoy Manner has to offer. If I could do this everyday I would never leave as well,” She said redoing her red ponytail.
They led their horses to the cool water of the brook and allowed them to drink.
“Tell me though, how is Draco. I have tried not to bring it up but honestly I just can’t keep it in anymore.” Ginny finally asked.
Hermione smiled brightly and Ginny noticed how her eyes lit up soon as his name had been spoken, though she tried to hide it.
“He is kind to me, kinder then he has ever been,” Hermione asked.
“Yes but what are your intentions,” Ginny asked wearily.
Hermione sighed she knew these questions had been coming.
“I don’t know Gin. I am still so confused about everything. I honestly just don’t want to think about it,” Hermione answered and looked to the tree canopy.
“Mione, you can’t block him out forever.” Ginny stated quite plainly.
“I know,” Hermione said looking back at her friend with watery eyes.
“I’m not trying to upset you Mione, but he is my brother too. I love you both but you have to know he is hurting too, and it is killing me to watch you to tear one another apart. He would give anything to talk with you, it’s been weeks Mione.” Ginny said trying to reason with her friend.
“A few weeks of his pain is nothing compared to the last five years of my life,” Hermione answered bluntly.
“Yet he finds you in the arms of Draco Malfoy and then you run off here. Are you trying to hurt him as revenge?” Ginny asked in a protective manner.
“No, and I thought you would know better of me,” Hermione suddenly snapped.
“Well to be honest Mione even Harry is confused by your recent actions. I mean you write but all you talk of is Draco,” she paused and took a deep breath, “Are you in love with him?”
Hermione was caught off guard by her sudden query.
“I do not know anymore what real love is,” she finally answered.
“I see you leave every morning and I followed you finally to that old ruined church. Why do you go there?” Ginny asked
“Because I like it,” Hermione answered defensively.
“Or maybe you go there to be with him,” Ginny accused.
“What, Gin this is his manor and his land if he is free to come and go as he pleases why must he sneak around,” Hermione stated crossly.
“I do not think he sneaks around, I think you both are sneaking around and it be honest it sickens me,” Ginny said out of anger knowing her words would sting.
Hermione was taken aback.
“I’ve nothing to hide and I will even prove it to you, come on” Hermione said leading her horse out of the woods and taking off towards the west.
Ginny quickly followed, her gut churned for Hermione had fallen right into her and Ron’s plan. She did not want to betray Hermione’s trust but she also wanted to help her brother, regardless of what a fool he could often be at times.
After a twenty minute ride Ginny finally saw the towering church ruins in the distance. She could only pray that Hermione would not react too harshly once they arrived and she found out about the plan. She loved her friend and was overly concerned that Draco might be poisoning her mind. She also loved her brother and it was why she would soon face her friend’s wrath she was sure.
“Do you see any sign of a sneaky blond haired man?” Hermione asked as she dismounted her horse upon arrival at the ruin.
Ginny did not dismount but only hung her head in shame.
“No she does not, only a red haired one I am afraid,” an all too familiar voice said from behind her. Hermione’s heart sank at the sound of Ron’s voice and she slowly turned to face him.
“Please do not blame Ginny, I begged her to tell me where I could meet you,” he pleaded in his sisters defense. Hermione shot Ginny an angry glare and she took it as her cue to leave.
“Mione,” Ron said touching her arm.
“Don’t touch me,” she hissed yanking her arm from his soft grasp. Tears were swelling in her eyes but she refused to look at him.
“Why do you refuse to look at me,” he asked.
“Because when I look at you I am reminded of the pain,” she cried gently.
Your heart is too pure to hate, Hermione” he said sincerely.
She knew he was right. She did not hate him at all, she loved him greatly but she was hurt and still very angry.
“Ron you need to leave,” she said her back still to him.
“This time I will not,” he said firmly.
It took her all the strength she had but finally she turned to look at him.
“You don’t belong here,” she said.
“And you do?” He counter attacked.
“I don’t know were I belong anymore, but at least here I don’t have to see or hear you,” she growled.
Her words stung like a thousand daggers just pulled from a red hot fire.
“You don’t mean that Mione,” he said and walked closer to her. She back away from him.
“I was a fool, and I was wrong but I did what I thought was right at the time,” he said defending his actions.
“And I am doing what is right now,” she seed tersely.
“By what, leading Malfoy on to make me jealous?” He asked.
“You are so thick Ron. If I wanted to make you jealous I would snog him in front of you,” she answered venomously.
“You already have, only you did not know I was watching. I came back that night to try and reason with you. I saw the two of you in the rain and it killed my Mione. It killed me.” He said.
“One can not kill what is already dead,” she said turning from him and mounting her horse.
The words had come out of her mouth before she could stop them. She wished she hadn’t said it but it was too late. She seen her words crush him and though she thought she would gain pleasure from it, it only pained her more.
“Is this what you want? After five years of pain you want more?” He asked with a shaky voice. She only looked away from him.
“I think we have both changed, only I fear you have become what you used to hate.” He said and with his words disapparated.
She sat there on her horse for a long time, crying and thinking before finally long after sunset she turned and headed back to the manor.
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