Chapter 8 : Better Than Quidditch
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Desire and Demise
Better Than Quidditch
“N.E.W.T.s are less than two months away, Ron! How can you just sit there messing with your stupid chess set?”
Hermione, hidden behind a large pile of books and a smaller pile of notes, could not be seen, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t be heard.
“You’ve officially lost your mind,” the boy responded, picking up a pawn and chucking it at Hermione’s pile of books. “And Wizard’s Chess is far from stupid.”
A red-eyed, tousle-haired Hermione peered over her pile of study materials and shot Ron a glare. Crookshanks, who had been curled up in her lap only seconds before, jumped to the floor and began to paw at the thrown chess piece.
“Alright, fine. I suppose Wizard’s Chess does require a decent level of wit, but it certainly won’t help you on your Potions N.E.W.T.” the girl replied before diving back into her studying.
Ron let out a disconcerted sigh before abandoning his chess set and walking over to Hermione’s table. He sat down next to her and picked up one of the books she had carried up from the Library. Reluctantly, he opened it up to page one and began reading. It was better than arguing, at any rate.
After no more than two minutes, Ron set the book back down and turned to face Hermione.
“Hermione,” he pleaded. “Please, can we do something else? Dinner, perhaps?”
They were the only two in the Common Room at present. Most of the students were either outside enjoying the spring weather or downstairs eating dinner in the Great Hall.
Hermione took one look at his face and a smile found its way onto hers. The boy had stuck his lips out in a pout – an almost flirtatious pout.
“Your stomach is a bottomless pit,” the girl replied before setting her papers down and standing up. “Alright, we’ll go downstairs. But I think dinner’s almost over now. The Quidditch match is about to start.”
“Is it really that late? Why didn’t you tell me?” Ron asked, a panicked expression taking hold of his features.
Hermione shook her head. “Will you ever grow up?” she asked, laughing quietly.
“Sorry, Hermione. I gotta run. I am the Captain, after all. Meet you down there, okay?” the boy said before running out of the Common Room.
Hermione rolled her eyes and began packing her notes away into her schoolbag. She had been looking forward to the game for some time now. The season was winding down, and Gryffindor was currently in the lead. But they were playing Ravenclaw, the team that was currently in second place. If Gryffindor won, they would be assured a place in the final match for the Quidditch Cup. If they lost, it would mean they’d have to work extra hard to win the next two matches. A lot was riding on this game, that was for sure.
“Oh, Crookshanks,” Hermione said, taking Crookshanks in her arms and cradling him like a child. “What on earth am I going to do with Ron?”
The cat mewed in response and licked Hermione’s nose with a sand paper tongue.
“Give him a sharp kick in the arse?”
Another response met her ears. It was a male voice, but the room was seemingly empty. Crookshanks jumped from Hermione’s arms and hid under the sofa, at which time Hermione frantically spun around, searching every inch of the Common Room.
“Who – who’s there?” she asked, her heart beating in her throat.
“Guess,” the voice said.
The voice caused goose bumps to erupt over her skin, and she knew immediately who had spoken those words, even though she couldn’t see him.
“Draco? How did you – Where are you?”
Slowly, cautiously, the boy walked out of the shadows. He had been standing mere feet from her, by the window, yet she hadn’t noticed. Neither had Ron.
He gave her a meek smile before crossing the room and sitting upon the brown armchair in front of the fire. The sky outside was darkening, but the light created by the fire was enough to brighten the boy’s face. His cuts and bruises were completely healed, and the sadness and exhaustion that had always been present in his ice blue eyes had vanished.
“How did you get in here?” Hermione asked, looking around to be sure he had come alone.
“It doesn’t matter,” he replied, staring into the flames.
Hermione made her way over to Draco, and sat down next to him.
“Yes it does,” she replied, eyebrows furrowed.
The boy didn’t answer. Instead, he turned his head so that his eyes were locked on Hermione’s. There was a strength in them that Hermione had not seen before, which came as quite a shock.
“Where have you been? It’s been nearly two months,” she said.
“I went back home to console my mother. She’s having a rather tough time, and she was alone at our manor. It was terrible watching her. She was – well, she was cleaning,” Draco said, in a voice that made it obvious he thought this behavior to be nothing short of psychotic.
“But why is it no one seemed to know where you were?” Hermione pursued.
“Because I didn’t tell them,” Draco answered bluntly. After a short pause, he added, “Well, I didn’t want anyone to know. I was… hiding.”
“Hiding?” Hermione repeated. “But why?”
“Those two people you were bugging me about months ago… they’re Death Eaters. I’m sure you already know this, seeing as you are Hermione Granger. But what you don’t know is that they were ordered by Voldemort himself to watch over me, and to make sure I followed my orders,” Draco explained, his icy exterior finally having cracked in Hermione’s presence. “Well, I wasn’t exactly following orders. As I told you previously, I was sent to kidnap you and bring you to the Dark Lord, which I simply refused to do. Around Christmastime, those two Death Eaters began paying me visits, scolding me for my sluggishness in completing the task. The visits didn’t end well. I was practically a tenant in the Hospital Wing. And that’s why I disappeared for several months. I needed to escape. They’ll be furious with me, if they find out I have returned.”
The silence that followed Draco’s explanation ate away ate Hermione’s flesh. The sensation stopped only when Hermione’s arms flung out and wrapped themselves around Draco’s shoulders. Instead of rejecting this sign of affection, Draco remained as stiff as a board, allowing Hermione to hug him, but not returning the embrace.
“I’m sorry,” Hermione said, letting go of the boy.
Draco nodded, and turned his head so that it was facing the window.
“Weren’t you going down to the game?” he asked finally.
“Oh, yes… the game,” Hermione said, noticing a terrible sinking feeling slide into her stomach. “It’s already started, there’s no use going down now.” Ron wouldn’t notice if she was there or not anyway, right?
“Don’t want to support your boyfriend, then?” Draco asked, his tone bitter.
“Boyfriend? If you are referring to Ron, then you are mistaken,” Hermione replied, anger beginning to kindle within her chest.
“Oh, really?” Draco responded, attempting bitterness but failing miserably. He seemed reassured, in fact.
“Well, then, you certainly wouldn’t mind if I -” the boy stopped short and leaned in, closing the gap between him and Hermione, and pressing his lips up against hers.
A jolt of warmth ran along Hermione’s spine as his lips collided with her own. Whether it was a jolt of pleasure or a jolt of shock, she did not know. Her mind had gone utterly, blissfully blank, but for some unknown reason, she felt herself pull away, feeling cold and unsatisfied.
“Wha -” she said, pressing several fingers against her now tingling lips.
An enormous roar had begun outside. Shouts and jeers rang through the air, along with the unmistakable chanting of “GRYFFINDOR WINS!” Ginny had apparently caught the Snitch, ending the game and assuring the Gryffindors a place in the finals.
“You have to hide! And quick!” Hermione said suddenly, standing up and grabbing at Draco’s robes. No sooner had she shoved him into a shadowy corner than the Gryffindor team entered the Common Room, followed by the crowds of cheering Gryffindor fans. Some were waving gold and red flags, some had painted their faces entirely red or gold, and others were carrying large ‘Gryffindor for the win!’ banners.
“Let the party begin!” Ron, who was at the front of the group, yelled.
An assortment of food and beverages was carted in by several fifth years. The banners were hung over the balcony of the staircase, and a continuous stream of confetti fell from the ceiling. Loud music seemed to be leaking from the stone walls, and people were soon running about the room, creating a huge mess that would take the House Elves all night to clean up.
Before Hermione knew what to do with herself, Ron was at her elbow, his face positively gleaming.
“Did you see us, Hermione? We were brilliant! Bloody brilliant,” he yelled over the ruckus.
“Yeah, you were, well, you were great, Ron,” Hermione quickly lied, giving Ron a hearty pat on the back.
“It’s Ginny who was great,” he replied. “The game had been going on for – hmm – maybe fifteen minutes, and she caught the Snitch! The Ravenclaw Seeker didn’t even know she’d found it. Did you see him flying around near the ground?”
“Yeah… looked rather dumb, didn’t he?” Hermione replied nervously.
Ron laughed, spilling nearly a fourth of his butterbeer onto the floor. He was then ushered away by his teammates to the center of the room, at which time Hermione eyed the shadowy corner apprehensively, terrified that Draco would be found any moment.
Several hours later, the party began to die down. Students were flooding up the stairs to get to bed, leaping over a fallen banner and other party remnants. Hermione remained glued to the couch, nibbling away at her third cookie. The kiss she had shared with Draco would not leave her mind, even with the party raging on in the background. The closer and closer she got to confronting Draco about what had happened, the more terrified she became.
For six plus years, she had hated the boy, or at least pretended to. He was Harry’s enemy, and treated her horribly, so it was only natural she hate him. But underneath it all, even though she hadn’t even admitted it to herself, she had had feelings for him. It had all become so clear in these past few months. And now that it was confirmed he felt the same, those butterflies in her stomach simply would not leave her alone. It was torture.
“You going to bed, Hermione?” a very tired Ron asked her.
“In a minute,” she replied, giving Ron a small smile as he headed towards his dorm.
The last of the Gryffindors made their way upstairs, leaving Hermione alone with Draco at last. It was close to a miracle he hadn’t been found, and that her stomach hadn’t turned inside out.
“Not drunk, I suppose,” came a sarcastic voice from somewhere behind Hermione’s head. She began to doubt whether Draco actually did have feelings for her. He might’ve just been messing with her head – a new method of causing her anguish.
“Of course not,” she replied, not bothering to turn her head. “Butterbeer is nothing like firewhiskey, Draco.”
“Pity.” He was now sitting beside her on the couch.
The fire was dying down, but Hermione could still feel its warmth.
“Were you expecting something?” the girl asked, shocked.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t,” he replied as his lips curled upwards into a small smirk.
“Typical,” Hermione replied. “And I thought you had changed… that you were more respectable now. I was wrong.”
Hermione stood up and made to leave, but Draco grabbed at her arm, holding her back.
“Please don’t go,” he begged. “I’m sorry. Old habits die hard.”
Arms crossed, the Gryffindor sat back down. She immediately began searching for some means of escape. Something inside of her told her that she wouldn’t be able to resist Draco, and she hated thinking that he was the only one with the ability to break down her will power.
”I have Prefect duties,” she said quickly. “I have to patrol the hallways now.”
“Don’t lie to me, Hermione,” Draco shot back. “I know the new Headmaster has gotten rid of Prefects. That bloke is a bit over the top, don’t you think? Forbidding students to exchange presents inside the castle on Christmas because he’s afraid of Dark objects falling into the wrong hands… then doing away with Prefects and Heads because he thinks patrolling the hallways after hours is dangerous.”
“Being safe is never over the top,” she replied shortly.
“Alright,” Draco replied, letting the subject drop.
After another period of silence in which Draco’s fingers danced absentmindedly across the fabric of his sweater, he spoke again: “I wanted to thank you, Hermione.” His tone contained a genuine kindness. It sounded so strange coming from his mouth that Hermione felt herself fidgeting uncomfortably. Her face grew hot. “If it weren’t for you, I don’t know if I would’ve gotten through this.”
“Don’t mention it,” she replied, smiling meekly. “Everyone needs help sometimes.”
She pursed her lips. This wasn’t right – Draco wasn’t himself. Had he truly changed, or was this a trick? It was impossible to decipher.
“I never would have thought it’d be you that I’d -” He paused, clearly deciding whether or not he should speak his mind. Hermione held her breath. “Never mind,” he said, finally.
Hermione let her breath out. She wanted desperately to ask what Draco had chosen not to say, but was too nervous to ask. It felt as though her insides had tied themselves into a tangle of knots.
A jolt ran through her body as she felt Draco’s fingers float across the skin of her exposed collarbone. Hermione turned to face him only to find that he was leaning in, his eyes mere slits.
“Enough small talk, Hermione. I know you want to kiss me again.”
‘Yes, in fact, that would be quite nice,’ she thought to herself. ‘Wait, what am I thinking? I...’
But before she could protest, Draco’s lips were against hers again. The familiar feeling was comforting, and Hermione felt her protests die within her throat. They would never be heard.
Years of longing were coursing through Hermione’s small body as Draco snaked an arm around her waist, pulling her closer. She didn’t resist. An arm wrapped itself around Draco’s neck as the boy deepened the kiss. She could smell him, taste him. He was all around her.
Her mind was blank again. Thoughts of Ron, Harry and everyone else slipped into non-existence. They didn’t matter now.
Draco pulled Hermione on top of him, but the girl was unaware of her surroundings. She gave in without the slightest struggle, running her fingers through Draco’s silky blond hair. The girl was quite sure that the overwhelming sense of warmth filling the air was love. They both felt it. It was certain.
The confetti and wrappers littering the floor vanished. The memories of this year, of Voldemort, Ron’s kiss, and Harry’s disappearance, faded. The fear and uncertainty that Draco didn’t love her ceased to exist. She was lost in his kiss.
Author’s Note: This chapter is my favorite. If you’re a fan of Draco/Hermione, then hopefully you’ll find it cute. (:
Anyway, I am seriously excited for the sequel. I’m continuously thinking up ideas, and I’ve been jotting them down in a notebook which is now almost half filled. I’m planning on having Desire and Demise done and posted by February, and then I will begin posting the sequel in March or April. I need to have a few chapters written before I start submitting them, otherwise I feel rushed and my writing is crap.
That was a long AN, haha. Please leave me some reviews. I love ‘em, and I love you all for reading this fanfic. < 33 It’s my baby.
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