Chapter 9 : Chapter Nine
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She stood up and pulled her wet robes off, not even taking any delight in the fact that she could see what she was doing. She moved over to the showers and began washing off the pumpkin juice. The injustice was almost unbearable! She had thought she wanted to be visible, but now that it meant losing Draco it was the last thing she wanted. Or, she wanted it, but not so quickly and not by such a stupid thing as pumpkin juice. She could have had weeks with Draco, safe in their little cocoon, and then they would have found the remedy (and they would have eventually, Draco had promised) and it would have been a shared effort that brought them even closer. Instead, she had been dragged back to reality by that screaming harpy in front of her friends and her peers, and all because of a beverage.
Hermione squeezed the water out of her hair and began to get dressed again, her heart heavy with anguish. And Draco…what must he have thought? He would have had this image of her, and it would have been completely shattered. A small part of her dared to hope for a second: Draco wouldn’t be that shallow, he knew her, not her appearance and that was what mattered. Quashing the thought, she turned to her mirror and stared at her reflection. After not having seen herself for so long, she looked bizarre. Her eyes were sad as they gazed steadily, and she thought wistfully that they would probably be that way for a very long time. There was no simple cure for a broken heart.
Looking around the dormitory, she decided she couldn’t just stay in there. She had to get out, had to prove to everyone that she was back. She heard voices entering the Gryffindor Common Room, and knew that she couldn’t face people just yet. She ran down the stairs and tried to get out of the Common Room but Harry’s hand shot out and grabbed her elbow with the Seeker’s reflexes that had won him a place on the Gryffindor team. Hermione looked at him and wondered what she could possibly say.
But Ron was already stepping forward and hugging her, telling her that it was ok, telling her that they were glad to have her back no matter the circumstances that had brought her back. Hermione hugged him back fiercely and breathed in as deeply as she could, trying to calm herself.
‘’Ron, I’m sorry, I know you hate him…’’
‘’But I promise not to attack you with yellow birds.’’ Ron released her. ‘’I don’t understand. But you’re clever and pretty amazing and you know what you’re doing. He must have done something to deserve you.’’
Hermione looked at Harry who nodded grudgingly. ‘’But if he hurts you, we’ll hurt him. Badly.’’
‘’You don’t need to worry about that.’’ Hermione sat down with them. ‘’He won’t want anything to do with me now.’’
‘’What?’’ Ron raised an eyebrow.
‘’Oh come on Ron, I’m sure it was just something to pass the time for him. I had no illusions about it. I never expected anything lasting. It was just fun and games for him.’’ Hermione felt the lie on her tongue, and wondered if it would be as bitter every time she said it.
‘’No it wasn’t.’’ Ron frowned at her. ‘’He ran after you. Told Pansy she had just made it easier for him to find you, and then ran after you.’’
‘’What?’’ Hermione sat upright, daring to hope that maybe…
‘’You mean you didn’t see him?’’
‘’Well, he wouldn’t know where to go, would he?’’ Hermione looked from one best friend to another. ‘’He’s looking for me? He didn’t just laugh with his friends.’’
Harry shook his head, the boys were enveloped in a quick hug and then Hermione was dashing towards the door, not knowing where she would find Draco but knowing that it was vital that she did so.
Draco swore in frustration. He had been going through the castle for ages, and he couldn’t see how he would ever find Hermione. The castle was like a maze, and she had been swallowed up into it as soon as she left the Great Hall. He didn’t know where she had gone, and he had no idea where she was now. For all he knew she was sitting in the Gryffindor Common Room crying. Because he knew she didn’t want to break up with him but knowing Hermione and her stubborn Gryffindor streak she would think that was the only option open to her. He needed to find her and tell her everything, make it all ok, gather her up and keep her forever.
He couldn’t help seeing the irony. All the time she had been invisible, he had been able to keep her so close to him. Now that all the world could see her, she was impossible to find. He looked out of one of the windows of the corridor. The moon was high in the sky. Maybe he should give up, try again tomorrow? But then something in his nature rebelled against the idea of giving up.
The lake shone silver in the moonlight and he felt a sudden urge to go down there. He told himself it would be a good idea. He could clear his head in the fresh air, think up exactly what he was going to say to Hermione. Changing direction, he set a course for the lake.
Only a minute later, Hermione turned into the very corridor where Draco had been standing. She sighed in despair. Yet another blank corridor. She had tried everywhere she could think of but there was no way she was giving up anytime soon. Maybe if Draco was looking for her that meant that it didn’t have to end in heartbreak, that there was some way to make it work.
She looked out at the lake. It was shining as silver as the Slytherin emblem emblazoned on Draco’s robes. And yet that was no longer a cause to hate him. It was just another facet of his personality, not his defining role in life.
And then with a lightening of her heart, she saw a blonde haired, tall, slim figure walking towards the lake. Almost without realising it, she let out a small ‘oh’ of joy, and Draco turned back to look at the castle. Hermione’s fingers touched her lips. He knew she was there.
Draco turned back to the lake, dismissing the impulse that had prompted him to look back at the castle. He was getting paranoid, and overly hopeful. The chances of Hermione having seen him were infinitesimally small. Clearly he needed some time out. He stood and looked out at the gently rippling water.
Hermione dashed along the corridors, almost tripping over on the stairs, but righting herself quickly and carrying on irregardless. ‘’Please Merlin, please God, please Buddha, please whatever is out there, just don’t let him have gone by the time I get there.’’
Her legs were barely able to carry her as fast as her heart wanted to go. After what seemed like an age, she reached a part of the grounds where she could look at the lake. Scanning anxiously, she saw the familiar shape of his body pacing backwards and forwards.
Draco took a deep breath in and began again. ‘’The thing is Hermione, I don’t care what everyone else says. All I know is that I want to be with you, I want to stop anyone ever hurting you, I want to let you protect me back, I want to walk along a corridor holding your hand, I want to kiss you without being worried that someone might see us. I want to wake up next to you and know how lucky I am. We belong together, we need each other, and we can’t let stupid house rivalries stop that!’’ He breathed in, content with what he would say, and turned around.
Everything he had practised flew out of his mind with the speed of a Snitch. Hermione was standing only fifty metres away from him, the moonlight casting glossy highlights in her hair, her eyes shining brightly, her soft, plump lips curved in a slightly anxious smile. The person that Draco had grown to love without ever seeing her properly was standing in front of him and all he could think was that he couldn’t have imagined her more beautiful.
And with a blissful assurance that what she was doing was right, knowing that anyone who said that they were wrong was blind, Hermione began to walk towards Draco. She tried to control herself, but the more she looked at him and remembered all the little things he did that she loved she found her pace picking up. As she thought of his smile in the mornings she moved from a walk to a slow jog. When she remembered how his arm was so strong and comforting, she began to run. And as the memories of his lips on hers, mouthing silent sentiments, came back to her, she found herself sprinting into his arms.
Draco wrapped his arms around her as tightly as he dared, knowing that this was a piece of him that had been missing without him even realising it. Smelling Hermione’s hair, he felt her quake against him, pent up tears spilling over. Freeing a hand, he pulled her face up, and smiled at her, thrilled to be able to see the girl that had infuriated him and captivated him by turns.
Hermione smiled through her tears. ‘’I didn’t think you’d want anything to do with me once I was visible. You know, once everything was back to normal…’’
Draco bent down and gently kissed each tear of her cheeks. ‘’I couldn’t let you walk away from me.’’
Hermione smiled again and placed a small, warm hand against his cheek. ‘’So do I live up to expectations?’’
‘’You exceed them. As always.’’
Hermione tip-toed, bring herself closer to the mouth that always knew what to say, what aches and pains had to be kissed away. But Draco paused for a minute. ‘’I had a whole long thing to say, about how much I need you, and I’ve forgotten it all.’’
Hermione laughed softly. ‘’I was confused about what I thought you might want. But Draco, I know how much I mean to you, and if it’s anything like what I feel for you, then I don’t need a big long speech. I know it, and you know it, and that’s all I need to know.’’
And with a smile, Draco kissed her, putting all his emotions, all his love into that one simple gesture. They held each other, wrapped in their emotions, smiling even as they kissed.
The moon shone down on them, a happy couple: secure in their love. And under the glittering white light, Hermione knew that the man holding her had seen her in ways no one else would ever see, creating a bond that would make their love clear for all the world to see.
AN: Well, all my lovely readers, I hope that was good…lived up to expectations etc. Do leave me a review and let me know, as I love getting them, and they all help me to improve! Just to let you all know, my next story is going to be called Seven Deadly Sins, and I’m aiming to get that up quite soon. In the meantime (yes, shameless self-promotion, I know), do go on my author page and check out my other stories, and see what you think of them. Any questions, I have a meet the author page, and I love to chat to people, so do give me a shout. Thank you so much to all my wonderful reviewers, I appreciate all your time and helpful comments so much. Until next time, all my love…Petitesorciere xxx
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