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Chapter 8 : Not So Pleasant Goodnights
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Hermione stormed angrily through the polished oak door leading to Dumbledore’s office, ready to blow a gasket, only to find Malfoy and Dumbledore sitting calmly, having a cup of tea.
“Professor!” she shouted, thoroughly incensed that they were being so docile. “What is the meaning of this?”
Malfoy snorted a little bit as he took a sip of tea, reveling in Hermione’s hysteria.
Hermione just glared at him.
“I’m sorry, Miss Granger,” said Dumbledore, a look of amused bewilderment playing across his features, “I’m not sure as to what you are referring.”
“This!” said Hermione, forgetting all proper decorum when speaking to her professor and waving her hand animatedly in Malfoy’s direction, “Why is he here? And why does he know?”
“Mr. Malfoy?” asked Dumbledore politely. “Well, I thought you would have guessed by now, but he is Head Boy.”
“I know he is Head Boy,” Hermione growled, angry with everyone for treating her like a dimwit. “My question is, why is he Head Boy, Headmaster?”
“Well, I believed him to be the best one for the job,” said Dumbledore simply. “Won’t you have a seat, Miss Granger?”
Hermione took a few deep breaths and strode over to the chair next to Malfoy, plopping herself into it and strictly avoiding making eye contact with him.
“Professor,” she began when no one else said anything, “Please explain to me why Malfoy here seems to be privy to all the little details of my private life.”
“Ah, I see what you’re getting at,” the Headmaster said, his eyes twinkling, “But Miss Granger, it could not be avoided.”
“Of course it could be avoided!” Hermione said, her voice very shrill. “One option could have been… Oh, I don’t know, how about not appoint him as Head Boy!”
“Miss Granger, you and Mr. Malfoy were set in my mind as Head Boy and Girl since last May. I did not make this decision based on your situation.”
“But, shouldn’t it have come into account?” Hermione asked, suddenly teary-eyed. “Harry or Ron would have been perfect!”
“I’ll thank you to not compare me to Weasel and Scarhead,” Draco drawled sardonically.
“You should consider yourself lucky to be compared to them! They’re twice the amount of man you are,” Hermione snapped.
“Mr. Malfoy, Miss Granger, please,” said Dumbledore raising his hands before Draco could let out a retort, “I am not about to change my mind now about this matter, so you can both save your breath trying to convince me otherwise. You two were my first choices for Head Boy and Girl and I hope you can prove to me that you are worthy of my decision.
“I am very much aware that you are not the best of friends, but frankly I think the both of you are above letting that interfere with the job you have before you.”
Hermione looked angrily down at the ground.
How could Malfoy have been his first choice? What about Harry? Harry has always been Dumbledore’s favorite, why wouldn’t he have picked him?
“On another note, Miss Granger,” Dumbledore spoke pointedly, causing Hermione to raise her head to meet his gaze, “The disillusionment charm I will be placing upon your stomach will not be able to work continuously throughout the day; by nightfall it will have worn off and, therefore, I think it wise that Mr. Malfoy knows of your condition. It will make it easier on the both of you.”
“A disillusionment charm?” Hermione asked, piqued, “But you won’t be able to recast it every morning, and I won’t be able to cast it upon myself –”
“Another benefit of Mr. Malfoy’s awareness,” Dumbledore said with a smile. “Once the charm becomes necessary – in another few weeks I should think – then I will teach Mr. Malfoy how to properly cast it so that he will be able to do it for you every morning.”
“I am going to be relying on him to perform the charm?” Hermione asked, mouth agape.
“Mr. Malfoy has every incentive to remain accountable, I assure you.”
Hermione looked dubiously over at Malfoy, who sat gracefully slumped in his chair, looking thoroughly bored.
“What, Granger?” he asked, catching her eye, “I’m not going to forget on purpose, for Merlin’s sake. What reason would I have to do that?”
“Oh, I don’t know, perhaps the fact that you’ve hated me for the last six years we’ve known each other, and have made that fact known to me on several memorable occasions.”
“Yeah, well, despite that fact, I’m not about to throw away my title just to expose you,” Malfoy said with a sneer.
“I assure you, Miss Granger, Mr. Malfoy has every reason to keep your secret,” Dumbledore said, glancing between the two of them.
Hermione sat with her arms crossed for a moment longer, her eyes closed to control her thoughts.
It wasn’t any use anymore to be angry, but she couldn’t shake the feelings of utter abandonment and disappointment that Dumbledore had not confided in her and had disregarded her sense of safety in her current condition. Why had he thought of Malfoy in the first place? It made little to no sense that Harry was not his first pick, but Malfoy as the alternative? That was utterly absurd.
Realizing that they were now all sitting in silence, apparently waiting for her to speak, she looked up.
“Well, I don’t know what else I’m supposed to say here. The damage is done, I suppose,” she said, not fighting to hide the hint of contempt in her voice. “Is there anything else you wished to speak to us about, Professor?”
“No, Miss Granger,” Dumbledore said, almost sadly, “There was nothing else, except – ah! I almost forgot: I have to show you your rooms.”
The old man stood up with surprising agility and walked toward the fireplace.
“Come along,” he said, happy to put an end to the dismal subject they had been formerly discussing.
Hermione and Draco stood up warily. Neither of them were much looking forward to seeing the rooms they would now be occupying… side by side with one another.
Dumbledore pinched a bit of Floo powder from the carved wooden box atop his mantle and threw it into the waning flames. They burst into green and he stepped into them, shouting ‘Head Dormitory’.
Hermione and Draco followed and found themselves in a pleasant enough common room, decked out in both Gryffindor and Slytherin colors.
“And here it is,” Dumbledore said dramatically, “the ever-popular Head common room. I hope it suits your needs.”
“Yes, it’s lovely,” said Hermione, for the first time that evening, giving him a smile.
“It’s adequate,” Draco said looking down his nose at the various furnishings.
Hermione shot him a glare.
“Right, right,” said Dumbledore with a chuckle at the Heads’ reactions, “Well, your bedrooms are up the stairs and on either side of the landing. Hermione, you are on the left, Draco, the right.”
“Thank you, Professor,” Hermione said, keen to leave the both of them and go up to her room.
“Well, I’ll leave you be. Please remember that the patrol schedules need deciding and I would also suggest that you determine a weekly time when the both of you have a Head meeting – make sure you’re on the same page with everything,” Dumbledore said with a wink.
“Yes, we’ll get right on that,” Draco said, the Headmaster didn’t catch the sarcasm in his voice as he stepped into the green flames again and disappeared from the common room.
“Right, well, Malfoy, although I assure you this evening has been fun, I think I’ll retreat to my room now,” Hermione said the moment she found herself alone with the boy.
“Oh, of course, Granger,” Draco said with feigned concern, “We wouldn’t want your poor pregnant bones standing for too long.”
“I’ll thank you to stop with all this pregnant stuff,” Hermione snapped back at him. “I don’t need that from you on top of everything else. And I don’t need your false pity. ”
“Well, sorry for caring! I’ll be sure not to do that in the future – ”
“Don’t even give me that, Malfoy! Don’t try to pull off your disguised taunting as actually being concerned with my wellbeing. I won’t fall for it.”
“You know, I think you’ve become even wittier now that you’re pregnant,” Draco said whilst smirking.
“Stop it! If I hear the P-word come out of your mouth one more time – ”
“Merlin, will you calm down?” Malfoy asked with exasperation. “I mean, I know you’re preg – ”
Hermione charged at him, pummeling her fists into his chest and pushing him over the back of the sofa.
Draco had seemed mildly amused when she had lunged for him, but now that he was being tackled and beaten he couldn’t deny feeling slightly incensed.
“Oi, get off me, Granger!” he bellowed, trying to grab her flying fists and still manage to not topple over the sofa.
“I warned you, ferret! You just don’t – seem – to – take – me – seriously,” she said, punctuating each word with the landing of her fist on his chest.
“Alright, alright, I won’t say it!” he yelled.
Unfortunately, it was too late. For at that moment, Hermione chose to kick him straight in the knee, causing him to lose his footing and topple dramatically over the edge of the sofa…
Pulling Hermione with him.
“Malfoy!” she screamed furiously, spitting out the hair that was trapped in her mouth and trying to right herself again.
“I said ‘alright’, woman! What else do you want from me?” Draco asked, straightening his clothes and massaging his kicked knee as he stood up.
She let out a groan of frustration, waving her arms around madly as she tried to disentangle herself from the cushions.
“Here,” Draco said begrudgingly, reaching down his hand to pull her out. “Don’t say I never do anything to help you, Granger.”
Hermione glared at him as he pulled her up.
“Yeah, thanks,” she said shortly.
“You are ever-so-welcome.”
Hermione took a deep breath to hold back another sarcastic retort.
“I’m going to bed now before you get the chance to say anything else to provoke me,” she said, trying to project an image of dignity.
“Sounds wonderful. I’ll just go upstairs and fix myself a pain-relieving potion so I can go to sleep,” he said dramatically whilst rubbing his chest.
“Do whatever you like,” she said indifferently as she walked up the stairs, “I’m going to bed.”
“Yes well I suggest you ponder your complete lack of maternal instincts when you think over the pain you’ve inflicted on me tonight,” he called after her retreating form.
“Bloody wench,” he mumbled to himself after her door slammed, “It’s not my fault she got herself knocked up by some dying woman...”
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by Pepper Finn