Chapter 1 : Weak
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As I stared at the drizzling rain outside the window of my mom’s car in silence, I decided that I wouldn’t miss it much here. I pressed my forehead against the cool glass, my mood still upbeat despite the gloomy weather. I drummed my fingers against my thigh in unison with the rain as it made pattering noises against the window, trying to contain myself. I wouldn’t miss it here at all. The whole “attachment” act had died years ago along with my huge, untamed head of hair. And not to mention, after 6 years of the same routine, I just got used to it. Needless to say, I was detached. Detached from the near- constant rainy days and stupid football matches. I couldn’t deny that I ached to see everyone again, especially Ron. I hadn’t seen him since the last school year had ended. Most of all, I couldn’t wait to get into that huge library again and catch up on my reading. I sighed in the backseat, ready to get out of London.
Crookshanks, who was sleeping beside me, lifted his head slowly at my noise. He meowed and pawed my hand softly, asking to be pet. I placed my hand behind his left ear and scratched him; he purred loudly in response. He arched his neck towards me so I would scratch in the right place. I smiled at him as I responded to his request.
“How are you doing back there, sweetie?” my mom asked, glancing at me in the rearview mirror.
“I’m fine,” I responded simply, looking back outside. In those two seconds, I had almost forgotten my excitement. I memorized the buildings leading up to Kings Cross Station years ago, and could tell we were close. I sat up straighter and I began strumming my fingers again. As my mom pulled into the station parking lot and stopped, I nearly threw myself out of the car. She could sense my nervy behavior, and I was sure that it was because she had been especially detective-like lately. She could read me even more brilliantly now then she ever had before, being pregnant and all. That was one thing I would miss: seeing my little sibling grow in her stomach. Mum was due in late December.
“Excited, are we?” She concluded, holding her swollen stomach as she climbed out of the car. She struggled more and more with that every day as her circumference got larger.
I only managed to give her a quick grin before turning and almost running to the back of the car. The rain picked up as I opened the trunk to gather my belongings, my mum walking off to the carport to grab a trolley. I stopped short at Crooshank’s cage. I suddenly wasn’t sure I would bring him. He had recently become more of a pest than a pet this past summer, and I decided to ask my mum if he could stay behind. I could hear the wheels of the metal trolley rattling behind me.
I began to turn. “Hey, Mum?”
I heard a familiar voice behind me, though it wasn’t my mother. “Hermione!”
It took me a second to register the voice, along with the identity of the boy that was now only feet from me. Once that second had passed, I was running towards him.
We met at his trolley, the rain pouring heavily around us. He wrapped his strong arms around me and held me in tight hug. I returned it by wrapping my hands around his waist and intertwining my fingers. I immediately recognized the woodsy, homely scent occupying the clothes that were enclosed around my body. I buried my face into the nape of his neck. He pulled away after a few seconds, still keeping me close to him. The soft raindrops splashed down on our faces.
“I missed you.” He whispered while holding either side of my head his hands. I smiled up at him. Ron moved his hands down to my cheeks. He looked at me breathless, re-memorizing my face while he rubbed my cheek with one of his fingers. I blushed and looked down briefly, then returned my eyes to his face to do the same. I loved the way his red hair flopped sloppily across his forehead and how child-like, brown freckles tickled his nose and cheeks before dispersing and disappearing. I loved the way his mouth twisted up into that toothy smile that I couldn’t resist smiling back at. Blimey, I had missed him.
“I missed you, too.” I said, aloud this time, while recovering from the closeness of his face. He began to pull me close again. So close, that our foreheads touched. I gave him a small smile. I had been waiting for a kiss for a long time now. I couldn’t take my eyes off his lips.
Then I heard my mum’s voice behind me. Her voice sounded nothing short of shocked. “Hermione?”
Within a half a second, Ron’s hands were at his sides and I had unlaced my hands from around his waist, nearly shoving him away from me. He stood at least three feet away from me now. His lips were pressed together tightly as he ran his fingers through his hair, trying to act natural.
“Hey, Mum!” I said in a distressed voice, shoving my hands into the pockets of my jeans. Ron’s ears went pink and he shuffled his feet on the dark pavement. My mum’s eyes flickered back and forth between the two of us for what felt like an hour.
Finally she spoke, trolley in hand, asking, “Would you like to introduce me to your…friend?” The end of her sentence came out weak, as if she was strangling to let the false label out. It was obvious that Ron wasn’t just my friend.
I hadn’t told her about him yet, and instantly regretted it. The tension was making me crazy, and I could almost feel it buzzing around me. I opened my mouth to speak a couple of times, trying to find the right words to use, before shutting it again. My thoughts finally organized themselves.
“Well, er, this is my boyfriend. Ronald Weasley. Ron.” I corrected myself, his full name sounding funny as it escaped my lips.
“Ah.” My mom said quietly. From the look on her face, I knew I was in trouble.
“Ron, this is my mum.” I looked over at Ron, who was shooting me a wide-eyed glare.
I knew exactly what he was trying to telepathically yell at me. We both knew I had more than enough time this summer to tell my mom I was dating someone. It was apparent now that I hadn’t. I gave him an apologetic shrug. From the look on his face, I could tell I was in even more trouble with him.
After intently gazing at me, he looked away and smiled genuinely at my mother. Ron took a step towards her and extended his hand.
“Hello, Mrs. Granger. Er- pleased to meet you.”
My mom took his hand after shooting me a look. “Hello, Ronald.” She said, her eyebrows furrowing. I knew that look on her face; she was debating in her head, measuring my boyfriend with fiery eyes. She dropped her hand, but refused to look away from him. I could see Ron’s ears turning red as my mum put her hand on her hip.
“Okay, Mum!” I demanded, scolding her for what she was doing. After grabbing my trunk and tossing it on the trolly, I took a step towards the two of them. I reached towards Ron and took his hand in mine; I twined my fingers with his. “Mum, can we get out of the rain now?”
My mother just nodded, apparently dumbfounded by the fact that I was actually dating someone. Her wide eyes flickered at our intertwined hands. I rolled my eyes and let go of Ron, grabbing the trolley and rolling it towards the familiar building. Ron followed after me with his own trolley. My mum started closing the car trunk when she called after me.
“Hey sweetie? Are you not taking Crooshanks?” I stopped after just pushing the trolley over the curb and onto the sidewalk that was protected from the bad weather. Ron stopped a little ways ahead of me, getting further under the carport and out of the rain.
“No mum, I decided against it.” I confessed, turning towards her. I felt a little guilty leaving him behind. After all, I did drive her and dad crazy about getting a pet in the first place. My eyes flickered towards her stomach.
She saw the glance as she locked her car and walked towards me. My mum held her stomach as she joined me under the concrete overlay. “Oh, Hermione, don’t you worry about me. Just because I’m going to have a baby doesn’t mean your father and I can’t take care of your cat. Okay?” She patted her stomach lightly.
“Okay. Thanks, mum.” I gave her a kiss, meaning for this to be goodbye, but she wasn’t ready yet.
“Hermione…I want to talk to you. About, your boyfriend.”
I knew this was coming. “Ron. His name is Ron, Mum.”
I looked back towards Ron, who understood by the look on my face. He went inside, knowing where I would meet him.
“Hermione, I don’t know about this boy. He was very, well, forward with you in the parking lot”
“He’s my boyfriend. He’s allowed to hug me and touch my face and stuff…” I trailed off, glancing at my watch and noted that it was quarter of eleven. “Look, I have to go or I’m going to be late. Trust me, Ron is fine.”
“Okay. I trust you. Just, don’t do anything stupid. With him, or any other boy for that matter.” Clearly she thought that I was putting myself out there. I rolled my eyes lightly.
I reached out for her arm to touch it comfortingly. “I wouldn’t worry about that, mum. I’m not going to run off to get married or anything like that. He’s a really nice boy and I like him a lot. I’ve known him since my first year.”
“Okay…all right.” My mum said, putting her hands on the handlebars of my trolley. “Now let me help you out so you can get to the platform faster. It wouldn’t be too good if you missed the Hogwarts Express on your last year…”
She made a very good point. I exhaled sharply. “Thanks.”
We pushed the trolley as quickly as possible through the lines of people and past the Muggle platforms until we reached Platform 9 ¾. I was so close to being in my home away from home. My heart leaped in happiness and a smile leaked across my face. That was, until I heard him. And saw him.
“Well if it isn’t the filthy mudblood and her…could this be… her mother?” Despite having deepened slightly over the summer, I could still recognize his voice anywhere. Draco Malfoy was standing with his own trolley, topped with jade-clad, expensive trunks and cases. He spat the words at me with brute force. I stole a glance at my mom out of the corner of my eye, who was gaping at the blonde boy. I had secretly been hoping she hadn’t heard him or noticed he was speaking to me.
The nerve that stupid Slytherin had! I looked over at him, trying to shoot him an angry stare, but instead, my heart almost gave out on me. Draco resembled someone god-like. His silk, collared shirt and black slacks were tight against his incredibly built body. His hair was almost as white as his skin; a silvery white- it seemed to dazzle in contrast to his striking, liquid-metal eyes. What had happened to him over the summer? I had to shake my head quickly before attempting to get my anger built up again. I made eye contact with him again, and Draco’s face had built into a large scowl; he must have noticed my dumb-founded expression and speculation. I managed to scowl back as my mother snapped me out of my trance.
“Who is that boy?” She hissed under her breath, absolutely horrified.
I turned towards her. “His name’s Draco Malfoy, and he is extremely rude. Just ignore him, please, anything he says to you… or mutters under his breath.”
My mum just gaped at me throughout my explanation.
After a few moments of thought, he nodded. I thought I heard her gulp. “You have to go through now, love…” She said, glancing over at Draco, who was standing behind me. I gave her a hug, which was short-lived because of the bump separating us. She pulled away and kissed my forehead. “Make me proud, like always.”
“I will. Bye, Mum.”
“Goodbye, Hermione.” She smiled at me and I began to push the trolley so I could run at the brick wall, as I had done for 6 years now. For the last time.
“Hey, sweetie?” My mom called after me. I turned. “Do me a favor, please. Stay far away from that boy.” She said, glancing over at Draco, who had turned his attention to Pansy Parkinson, his girlfriend. I wasn’t surprised to see them together again. They were the off-again, on-again couple of Hogwarts, and they were blatantly making out in front of the crowd. I rolled my eyes despite knowing that he always had to cause a scene.
“Don’t worry, Mum.” I scoffed at her. “I am planning on staying very far away.” I emphasized every word, making myself completely clear. She nodded at me, understanding by my tone that I hated him, which was true. I also knew it was the truth that I was planning on staying very far away, despite the strange feelings I had just experienced upon seeing him moments ago. My heart was still fluttering in my chest.
“Okay, bye!” I said one last time, waving to her. I would deal with Malfoy later. I ran toward the platform with my trolley, not feeling any impact as I disappeared to the other side. It was like a huge sigh of relief when I got there. The Hogwarts Express was gigantic, just as I had remembered it. Steam hissed from below it, and many witches and wizards moved about in a rush.
Around me, I could spot the first years bustling around, trying to find their way in the unfamiliar place. The train’s horn sounded, startling many as white smoke billowed from the charcoal stack. I knew from the signal that I had five minutes. My eyes darted around as I began to push the trolley closer to the train. I knew that Ron would be waiting for me nearby, and I had some apologizing to do. Then I felt a tap on my shoulder.
A wry smile greeted me when I turned around. “Would you like me to take those for you, dear?” The man was tall and thin with raven black hair and a rather large nose. He was dressed in a Hogwarts Express uniform. My face fell when I realized that I hadn’t found Ron yet.
I turned to my trunk and removed my carry-on bag. “Oh, yes! Thank you so much,” I responded sincerely, gesturing my hand at the trunk beside us.
“Surely!” he gave me a nod and another smile before turning with my trolley and disappearing in the large crowd.
I felt another tap on my shoulder. I turned again, greeted by another smile. This time, it was a warm smile I knew.
“Ron!” I threw my arms around his neck, embracing him in a quick hug. I pulled away so we were face to face. “Merlin, Ron, I am so sorry. I had a less than brilliant plan out there and I know I should have said something to her. I’m sorry, I made you feel so embarrassed out there and I feel absolutely awful and I was so bloody stupid not to-”
“Hermione!” He said, stopping me mid-sentence. I inhaled sharply, trying to catch my breath. He was silent for a couple of seconds, pushing one of my curls away from where it had fallen in between my eyes to the proper location behind my ear. Then he chuckled quietly.
“What?” I whispered, my arms still around his neck. He wrapped his arms around my waist, pulling me closer.
“Can I just kiss you, already?” He said stubbornly. He smiled, but I knew he was serious as well. My face heated up at his words.
“Okay…but only for a little bit because the train is about to-” He cut me off mid sentence again, enveloping me in a soft, yet hungry kiss. I tried to protest a little after a couple of seconds, but he was relentless. There was something great about Ron’s kisses: they were warm and comforting. Like, curling up next to an amazingly hot fire when you are extremely cold. Figuratively speaking, he always seemed hungrier than I was. I couldn’t say loving and comforting were bad things, though.
I finally managed to playfully fight him off. “Ron…”
“I know, I know…” He said, smiling at me and gesturing me to say no more. He took my hand and pulled me into the Hogwarts Express without another word.
“We wasted so much time…” I started at him in a concerned tone.
“I wouldn’t call it wasted time,” He said, his eyebrows pulling down a bit.
“…Well, what if there isn’t any room for us?” I continued to mumble worriedly.
He squeezed my hand, but I didn’t miss him rolling his eyes. “Hermione, Harry and I have got a booth all to ourselves. I went outside to look for you and he is waiting in here.” Ron led me through the aisle of the train. As we walked, I kept talking.
“You’re not mad at me?”
“Nah, I’m over it.”
“Ron, if you prefer to be angry with me I completely understand. You have every right to do so. I was horrible to do that to you-”
He cut me off again, his tone serious. “Hermione. I am not mad at you. It’s okay. Really.”
Ron just sighed. He stopped at one of the many sliding doors quite a ways down the train. I slipped in first with Ron following after. I could feel the train begin to rumble beneath my feet.
“Harry!” I said warmly, walking towards the boy who had just stood up. I embraced him and kissed him on the cheek. I noticed so much different about him, as I had done with Draco. Harry was taller now. His hair was still a mess atop his head, but his face was more chiseled than last year, more defined. His green eyes still shone behind his glasses. And he even had some stubble growing; I had recognized it as our cheeks touched. Needless to say, I was impressed. He was Harry, with that same scar adorning his forehead like always, only handsomer. Draco had become remarkably more beautiful, and so had Harry. Was Ron the only one who hadn’t seemed to change at all?
I furrowed my eyebrows slightly as I let go of Harry and sat down on the long seat that took up the length of the wall beside Ron. Harry sat opposite of us, sprawling out in the large area he had to himself. Ron wrapped his arm around me and I crossed my legs, setting my carry-on bundle beside me. I crossed my arms across my chest, thinking hard. I could hear Harry and Ron begin to talk to each other. I was probably included in this conversation, but I didn’t feel like listening much. I was too perplexed.
I could hear his voice again, and this time I thought I was hallucinating.
“Pansy…you know how I feel about that…” His voice was silky-smooth and seductive, almost too perfect to be real.
Maybe, I was going crazy, I thought to myself. Then I saw him, and my moment of insanity passed with relief. He walked past all of us, and even through the glass, I could see his beauty as if it was radiating off of him, as if it was glimmering against the window. I snapped my head down so I wouldn’t be caught staring again. Why was I staring in the first place? I couldn’t believe myself. I made myself busy by trying to find pictures out of the designs in the multi-colored rug. First I made out the design of a snake. I concentrated harder. I located a silvery eye. Folding my arms tightly across my chest, I scowled and looked away, my heart still fluttering as it had before.
Life outside our world was getting to me. I needed some serious homework and lessons in me before I got admitted to an insane asylum. Yes. Essays and homework and lots of reading will be good for me, I thought. I wished I had my Hogwarts, A History book with me: at least so I could have kept my mind off of things. Draco’s voice faded as he walked past our booth and further down the train aisle.
I couldn’t believe I was actually looking in Draco’s direction without even an ounce of disgust! Like he hadn’t treated me like total dirt before- even today, he said something insulting to me, and it was in front of my mother. Directly in front of her! And here I was ogling over his beauty. He had no filter and probably no soul, and his looks did not erase one mean thing he had said to me over the years. So, why now? What made his beauty so important and noticeable now? I suppose he always had been absolutely gorgeous- but I was too upset at him to even notice it. And I hated him. And still did. I was being silly. Barking mad. My mind ached with the twists and turns of my.
“Hermione?” I saw a hand moving back and forth across my face. I looked beside me at Ron. “Are you okay?” He asked me.
Far from it, I felt like saying. “Uh, yeah,” I responded quickly. I cleared my throat.
“You were concentrating so hard we thought you were going to implode.” Ron said, amused.
Harry chuckled across from us. I tried to force a smile, while rubbing my forehead. I figured I might have given myself a headache.
I heard a noise in the hall, and slowly our. “Anything off the trolley, dears?” The heavyset woman stopped her candy-filled trolley in front of the sliding door and gave us a warm smile.
Right on time. “Yes, I’ll have a water, please.” I said immediately.
She handed me a large bottle, the condensation instantly wetting my hand. It felt cool against my skin. I pressed it to my forehead as I handed her some sickles. I closed my eyes, the headache intensifying.
“I’ll have a pumpkin pasty and a cauldron cake,” Harry said politely. When the woman was finished serving him, she turned to Ron, who was waiting eagerly for service. I watched him out of the corner of my eye as he nearly bounced out of his seat like a five-year-old on Christmas morning.
“Anything for you, dear?” She asked with a smile, even though we all already knew his answer. Ron was probably one of her best customer. Plus, with that fiery red hair, it was hard to forget him.
“Three chocolate frogs and two pumpkin pasties,” Ron ordered while exchanging some money for the treats. His eyes darted to the different sections of the cart, searching for other items he was craving. “Oh, and can I have some licorice wands, an acid pop and a cauldron cake?”
“Ronald!” I said, dumbfounded, opening my eyes to shoot a look at him. He never failed to be unbelievable when it came to ordering off the trolley. “You’re going to give yourself a sugar overload. We are going to have to resuscitate you when you’re done with all of that.”
He paid the lady and she moved to the next group of students. Ron turned to face me with a wry smile, already eagerly unwrapping one of his purchases.
“Oh, ‘top wuriging abo’ me” Ron said with a mouth full of pumpkin pasty. He tightened his arm back around my shoulders. I didn’t respond.
“Ar’ you hokay?” He asked me again while chewing, pulling me closer to his side.
“You’re a disgusting pig.” I said truthfully, watching him swallow the remainder of his huge bite with a frown on my face. I twisted off the cap of the bottle and took a huge gulp.
“Seriously.” He said, showing concern in his voice. He swallowed the high calorie treat for me this time so I wouldn’t have to view another show of the inside of his mouth.
“I just have a headache. Come to think of it, I haven’t had anything to drink today. Too much packing. You’d think after all that rain, I would have gotten hydrated just a little bit.” I concluded, forcing a joke. I shook my head, taking another gulp before capping the bottle and returning it to my forehead.
Harry laughed across from me. He unwrapped a cauldron cake and took a bite. “I wouldn’t get oo worked up, ou’ll be foine,” He said while chewing, a smirk spreading across his face.
I watched him with a look of disgust on my face. “Not you, too!”
Ron and Harry chuckled. Well something had definitely not improved between the two of them. They were boys. Pigs. I shook my head again and pulled my eyebrows together.
My boyfriend turned to me. “You better watch it ‘mione, or after all that thinking, we might have to resuscitate you!”
Harry and Ron broke into laughter.
“Ha. Very funny, Ronald.” I playfully sucker-punched him in the gut.
“Oof!” He exclaimed, protecting his side from my next attempted blow. At his first chance, Ron pinned me against the leather couch. I yelped loudly as he disarmed me of my only weapon and defense: my arms.
He was chuckling as I struggled to get free. Harry was cracking up across from us.
“Ah! Ron! Get off!” I continued to cry out as he laughed. In my struggle, I smiled as one of my arms got free. I pushed him off the couch and we both fell to the floor of the train with a crash. Our heads were almost outside the sliding door as I landed on top of him. I could feel some of Ron’s candy fall on my back.
“Ow!” Ron grunted, at the disadvantage beneath me, knowing he was stuck now. I reached down to the pocket of my pants, and before he could react, I had my wand at his throat. I had forgotten about my other weapon. The one I knew how to use much better than him. Ron froze, defeat spreading across his face.
“Don’t make me use this.” I said warningly while a playful smile leaked out on my lips. I was only inches from his face, and I could smell the sugar on his breath.
“I think you lose,” Harry whispered to Ron in amusement. “Just surrender now before she hurts you.”
Ron wrapped his arm across my back. “Don’t. move.” I said, trying to sound serious. I attempted to get off of him, but he held me in place with a tightened grip.
“No. Please, do. That’s a brilliant plan. And while you’re at it, why don’t you two get a bloody room?”
Ron and I both froze at the same time in response to the easily recognizable voice above us. I saw his feet first. I could see my reflection in his shiny leather shoes. I lifted my head up until I met eyes with him. His mouth was pulled down into a disgusted frown. I didn’t breathe or move the wand from Ron’s throat. I saw Harry get up out of the corner of my eye.
I jolted out of Ron’s grip and jumped to my feet, coming face to face with Malfoy. He was even prettier up close, I noted quickly. I left my wand at my side, but I was ready to challenge the asshole at any second. I kept my wand tense in my hand as Ron stood up and took a step in front of me.
“Your disgusting mother wouldn’t appreciate you publicly screwing Weasel, I’m sure,” he said to me, smirking.
My hand clenched tighter around my wand. My mind raced with the charms I wished could use to make him fall on his arse. How dare he!
“Watch it, Malfoy.” Ron said, warningly. Harry took a step in front of me as well. The two almost completely covered me now, but I could still see Draco‘s fierce eyes burning into mine as he continued.
“I noticed she was pregnant,” He spat at me, “Is she creating another filthy mudblood like yourself?”
“Malfoy!” I screamed at him, pushing past Ron. He fell against the cushion and landed on his leftover pumpkin pasties. In the back of my mind, I could hear them squish between his buttocks and the seat, but that was the least of my worries right now.
“What, Granger? Have I upset you?” He placed his hand against his chest and pretended to look appalled. The sarcasm didn’t fool me; it ran thick in his voice.
“You are the most repulsive, horrible snake I have ever met!” I yelled at him, lifting my wand and pointing it at his chest. Angry tears began to sting in my eyes. He didn’t flinch, not even a millimeter, but he noticed my tears. Maybe I saw his expression soften, or maybe I was crazy. My vision was probably just being screwed up by the sudden wetness in my eyes. I blinked furiously to keep the tears from escaping.
Harry finally spoke up. He held the arm that was at my side. “Come on, Hermione, he’s not worth it.” Harry patted my back and shot Draco a dirty look. The last thing I needed was to get expelled before even getting to Hogwarts. My angry expression turned solemn as I slowly lowered my wand. I wanted to hex him more than anything at the moment.
“What are you going to do, Granger?” Draco asked, his tone surprised by my actions.
“Nothing.” I mumbled, turning to go sit down next to Ron, who was peeling packaged pasties from his pants. He opened one of the flattened packs and took a bite of the slightly flattened treat. I groaned as I heard Draco inhale deeply, surely so he could bother me some more.
“I knew you were nothing but a weak mudblood.” He spat quietly, just loud enough to make me listen. Draco was relentless. He would never stop trying to make me miserable.
The temperature in my body shot up and anger ripped at my core. “That’s it!” I screamed, and I turned around and raced towards Draco. I had caught him by surprise. By his expression I could tell he thought I was going to hex him. I had dropped my wand on my way over to him, so he was wrong about that. I pushed him to the opposite side of the hallway and against the wall with large windows. He hit the aluminum with a loud crashing sound. I had his silk shirt balled up in my fists and I was inches from his god-like face. He looked at me with his wide, silver eyes.
“I’m not weak!” I hissed at him in a strong voice- as strong as I could manage. I could hear Ron and Harry say something to me from back in the booth, but it was inaudible to me. I wanted to kick myself as one of my angry tears escaped and slid down my cheek.
Draco’s smooth voice became very soft. “Then why…” He paused, lifting his hand and swiping my tear away with one of his long fingers. “…Are you crying?” He finished, showing me the salty wetness on his index finger. As if he needed proof.
He watched my reaction with careful eyes. His facial expression was different than anything I had ever seen before. I couldn’t read it. It was too…kind looking. So unlike him. My brown eyes became very wide. Was Draco being…affectionate? In a sick kind of way? I couldn’t respond during my shock, nor could I remove my hands from his soft shirt. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why that was, either. He moved closer to me until are noses touched. I felt dizzy; I was positive that I was going to pass out. He continued to stare at me. Another tear slipped from my eye. Draco caught it on my cheek and wiped it away with his thumb.
“Why are you doing this to me?” I asked, my voice strangled. I couldn’t even try to be angry anymore. Draco was messing with my thoughts, and the confusion was overwhelming. I could have easily moved away from him; he wasn’t touching me at all except for at our noses. I was holding onto him. Despite this, I couldn’t back away. It was the last thing I wanted to do right now. Only moments earlier I wanted to hurt him; what had happened to that whole idea? I could feel his cool breath tickling my face, and it was distracting me. And I think he knew it. I was pretty sure I saw his face twist up into almost a smile.
I heard a girl’s voice call out to my left, “Draco? Where are you?” She gasped.
“DRACO!” I heard the girl yelp from down the hall. It was so high pitched that it hurt my ears. I immediately jumped two feet away from him, getting an idea of who it was before I even had to look over. I looked over at Ron and Harry quickly; they both had dumbfounded expressions on their faces and were watching me in a mixture of surprise and horror. When I looked back at Draco, his face had become completely transformed. It was tighter now, angrier. The Draco I usually saw and had seen for the past six years. His eyes and composure were cool and he ran his fingers through his hair. He smoothed out the wrinkles in his shirt from where I had grabbed him. Draco did not make eye contact with me again. Maybe I had just hallucinated the last minute completely.
“Yes, Pansy?” His voice was velvety as he spoke.
“HOW DARE YOU!” She sped up to Draco, her chocolate hair flying behind her. Her eyes were wild with fury beneath her blunt bangs. She stretched out her hand and began to propel it into a slap. Draco casually grabbed her wrist, his nose high in the air. His long fingers wrapped effortlessly around her small hand.
“How dare I, what?” He asked innocently.
“MAKE OUT WITH GRANGER! THAT’S WHAT!” She screamed, getting right in his face.
Draco scowled, making a disgusted face at her comment. “Oh, shut up Pansy! I didn’t kiss that mudblood!” He exclaimed forcefully.
There he went again. My heart sunk, hurt from his comment. I knew I had been hallucinating after all.
Ron jumped up after snapping out of his trance and pulled me towards him. “You kissed him!?” I turned to face him. I could hear Pansy scream a line of curses to Draco behind me.
“No I didn’t, Ronald!” I defended. He gave me a harsh look. I rolled my eyes when he showed disbelief in me. I turned back to the couple’s fight. Apparently it wasn’t a fight anymore. I gasped at the sight that was in front of me. Ron would believe me now. That would explain why Pansy had abruptly stopped yelling.
Draco was kissing Pansy hard. He was holding her around the waist to keep her from moving. I stared in disbelief, my mouth hanging open. She tried to fight him off at first, but then let him kiss her back. I watched it carefully; he wasn’t passionate about it, he was simply pressing his closed lips against hers. After a lengthy minute, Draco let go of her and nearly pushed Pansy away from him. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and stormed off down the aisle.
“Oh, Draayyyco!” Pansy said seductively, skipping after him. He never looked back. My eyes followed his every step until they were both out of sight.
Draco and Pansy had the biggest love/hate relationship I had ever witnessed in my life. They had been together ever since I could remember, and they always fought. They were so dramatic, I felt like I was on a soap opera in their presence. I suddenly felt nauseous. I had briefly forgotten about my headache, but it was coming back now with full force.
“What the hell just happened?” Harry choked from behind me. I turned and sat down next to Ron, still in shock.
“Why did he do that?” I asked the two of them quietly.
Ron swallowed a bite of licorice wand. “Do what?”
“Just…kiss her like that?”
Ron shrugged. “He always does that.” I furrowed my eyebrows.
Sitting down in his seat, Harry added in. “Yeah. You’ve never seen him do that before?”
I shook my head.
“He kisses her to shut her up,” Ron said bluntly, “he does it all the time.”
“Whenever they fight, he just kisses her until she isn’t pissed at him anymore. He never wants to deal with her drama. Happens all the time.” Harry pointed out.
I nodded, understanding, but only slightly. What sort of relationship was that? They never had any conflict, simply because they didn’t want to deal with it? It didn’t seem right to me.
“Its his method of subduing all the crap that girl gives him during the day.” Harry said truthfully. Pansy was kind of crazy, and dramatic, and annoying. Why would he want to put up with that?
Ron answered my question as if he had been reading my mind. “He just stays with her so he can screw her every night,” Ron added, ripping at his second licorice wand. He was very good at being frank. I gave him a grossed out look.
“Ew, Ron. Did you have to say that? How did you even know that?” I cried out.
“What? It’s the truth!” he said, looking at me with wide eyes. “And a guy just knows. I’m sure that’s what its for.”
“Yeah” Harry added.
“Why else would they be together? It’s not like they are a great couple or anything…” He trailed off.
“Yuck,” I responded, appalled.
“Its how guys work,” Ron said, matter-of-factly.
I frowned, turning to him. I didn’t like that statement much. “Is that how you work?” I asked him, curious for an answer. I narrowed my eyes at him. My question was casual sounding, but we all knew I was absolutely serious.
Harry laughed across from me.
“No” Ron answered quickly.
“Humph.” I mumbled, turning away from him and positioning myself further away on the seat. I moved all the way to the end.
“What?” He asked as I moved.
“Nothing” I said, halfheartedly. I needed some space from guys for the time being. I had had more than enough of men already today and it was just past noon. I sighed.
“Are you mad at me?” His voice was careful.
“Maybe.” I said shortly, refusing to make eye contact with him.
Ron groaned. “What if I just kiss you until you forget whatever you’re mad at me about?”
I didn’t look at him. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Harry look down from the two of us. I didn’t think much of it. “Very funny, Ronald.” I responded in monotone. He got the hint, dropping the subject. I made eye contact with Harry, who had been watching me with a peculiar look on his face. He broke the stare before I could decipher what it meant.
I looked away, my mind busy. The thoughts were overwhelming. My heart began to skip when I thought of the closeness of Draco’s face, how his expression had been almost peaceful. How I felt fireworks go off when he touched my cheek, twice. I stole a glance at Ron, who had started a conversation with Harry. The doubt that spread in my mind when I looked at Ron made me feel immediately guilty. And what had that look Harry gave me meant? Was he judging me? I struggled to remember what he had looked like, but the expression in my memory was impossible to read. All I could remember were his peculiar green eyes. I tried to shake the thoughts away. I looked away from the two boys and faced outside, trying to take my mind off of everything.
Flushed, I curled my legs up to my chest and leaned my head against the glass pane as the train sped past miles of land. Rain continued to whip against the windows. I was just where I had started this morning:
Anxious… and ready to get the hell out of there.
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