Chapter 12 : Do You Know Why?
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(A/N: First off... I wanted to thank my lovely and encouraging readers and reviewers and especially those people who have re-reviewed after the server crash.)
Why does Naomi want Hayden to seduce her mother? And what does it have to do with Dramione?
*It'll be partly answered in this chapter. :p
Does Hermione know about Draco's real feelings for her?
*No, she doesn't. And whenever her feelings for him changes slightly, Draco smashes them without knowing it.
Disclaimer: The Potter World and the characters you recognise belong to JK Rowling.
The lame insults about people wearing glasses aren't mine. It was on a joke site.
This chapter is dedicated to Labby and Girldetective85.
I want to thank my beta and gamma lilleangel and Fallstar! You are awesome!
“Sorry,” Hermione blushed and pushed away the hand Malfoy had touched against her chest. “I—I confused you with someone else.”
Malfoy glared down at her, the corner of his lips lifting; how the lips could be attractive, yet have such mockery was beyond her—though perhaps the clue was that the mockery itself was sensual... “You should wear glasses. Then you could see the faces people pull when they see you coming.”
Rolling her eyes, she tried to pass him and ignore his childish insults. What could hurt an attention addict—such as Malfoy—more than being ignored? Retorting and fighting back would only lower her to Malfoy’s level. But before she could walk away, he prodded her deliberately on her shoulder. Breathing in slowly and counting to ten, Hermione tried with all her might to keep her composure; she tried to not even look so irritated that she would rather jinx his socks off than stand calmly.
He was trying to push her buttons for some reason.
“How about glasses like Scarhead’s? Think about it,” he sneered. Shaking his head in amusement, he added, “His glasses are so thick that when he looks at a map he sees people waving back at him. Oh, my mistake—that’s not your problem; you just have your head so far above the clouds that your perfect eyes can’t reach what’s in front of you.”
Still, Hermione paid him no attention. Growing obviously annoyed, Malfoy stepped in front of her, as though demanding that she look at him.
“Granger, if have I said anything to offend you or your friends it was purely intentional,” he demurred, sarcasm a neat lace ruff on his voice.
It was not the things he did that irritated Hermione so much, but how shown with arrogance when doing them; she could not believe Hayden had asked her to treat Draco Malfoy like a friend, a friend that only needed compassion, when it was already hard enough to see him as a human being.
Hermione was still refusing to look at him; she would not let Malfoy annoy her until yet another row started; she tried to walk away and take no notice of whatever insults he would come up with: there was no reason to acknowledge his existence.
That’s when she finally realised that Hayden was right: Malfoy wanted her attention. But why? How far would Malfoy go if she took absolutely no notice of his provocations of him?
Her eyebrows furrowed, Hermione gently pushed him aside and tried to walk away.
“Are you actually seeing that bloke, Granger?” came Malfoy’s firm voice, which was half beseeching, half demanding her to stay.
She halted. She knew he desired it of her. Without turning around, she listened to the sound of his voice.
“Y-you know, that p-pathetic and whimsical bloke,” Malfoy mock-stammered, imitating...someone whom Hermione was not quite able to guess before she could practically feel his eyes burning on her back. “Who’s trying so hard to copy me, to be like me. I can’t believe everyone thinks I have resemblances with Hayden Malcolm.” She guessed that he faked the stammer to cover for an undignified hustle.
“But of course, you don’t have,” Hermione snapped, unable to remain silent any longer. “Hayden is handsome; he’s kind, and an overall nice person. I would have never thought a Slytherin could be like him, so respectful towards other people, towards—Muggle-borns.”
She attempted to walk again, but stopped because of Malfoy; his speech kept her from continuing. She hated him, but she had manners: if someone was still talking, she could not just walk away. It was already impolite that she wasn’t looking at him while speaking...but it was only Malfoy—and had he ever been polite to her?
“Why? Is courtesy one of the traits you like in a caller? I don’t see Weasley being a gentleman and polite towards you and still you fancy him.” Hermione heard him inhaling deeply, sensing he was waiting for her response.
She turned on him this time, because she wanted to see his face when she asked him the question: “It almost sounds like you’re jealous of the guys I hang around with. Are you, Malfoy?” she smirked playfully. Her smile instantly faded once she realised what she had just said and what she was doing with him.
There it was: the reaction she hadn’t expected; his usually pale cheeks suddenly filled with a tinge of crimson, his eyes widened as though he had seen a ghost.
He held his breath for a second, and then snorted, “Granger, when you sleep, you know yourself; your dreams, what are they?”
Trying to avoid her eyes, he shifted his from the floor to Hermione, not able to hold her glare for even a second. He looked like a common boy on his first date with the girl he secretly panted after, loved and fancied—so shy and timid.
“You know what? I’ve only one nerve left, and you’re treading on it,” Hermione said, trying to speak in a serious voice. She would not let Malfoy get to her. He was only acting. Apparently, he had studied his role perfectly: he appeared nervous; small beads of sweat formed on his forehead; his breathing was laboured and uneven.
He opened his mouth to say something, maybe to justify what he was really feeling. She had never seen him like this, so tense. So...high-strung?
Hermione didn’t look away from him, she whispered, feeling almost a suppliant, “What do you want from me?”
“I—” he started. He shook his head, as though he had just regained his senses. He waited a few seconds, watching her carefully, before he finally answered, “Why is it that anything I say or do must always mean something? I ask a simple question, and you’re assuming I’m jealous. Why? Do you—deep down, I mean—think I fancy you, Granger? Before you answer, remember that you are Potter’s best friend and the ugly Weasel’s girlfriend.”
Feeling slightly foolish for seeing something that could not be there, Hermione blinked at him. Her anger grew; Malfoy was right, how could she have ever assumed… Assumed, what? She didn’t let her defences down. Logic told her to just go away, continue ignoring him to avoid a fight, but something else kept her rooted to the spot.
Malfoy just stood there in front of her, staring at her with a strange attempt at a scowl. His face had returned back to its unnatural pallor once more. Neither of them spoke nor moved; nor did they even look away. Surprisingly, she didn’t feel intimidated by the intensity of his gaze; instead, this time, she was absorbed by that pool of mystery and unknown that were his silver-grey eyes. Something inside of him was screaming and it wanted help, needed her attention, and Hermione heard that voice. She wanted to reach out and touch his soul.
“Like what you see?” He was the first to break the silence, snapping her back from her ‘never-to-be-exposed-to-Draco Malfoy’ thoughts.
“I didn’t assume anything,” she replied finally. “Don’t worry about it. I’ve never listened to a thing you’ve said since the day I met you.”
He rubbed the bridge of his nose briefly, saying, “As you wish it.”
She turned on her heel again, and this time she was sure the conversation was over, until Malfoy’s voice burst forth again, like the nymph's echo.
“It was not I who asked you for help, you know.”
And Hermione, for the umpteenth time, irritated now, rounded on him. She couldn’t resist indulging her curiosity about this statement, not now that he was talking about what happened the other night when he looked vulnerable as he had never looked before; when, for the first time ever, he put aside his pride in front of her.
Malfoy looked to the side where he spotted a girl, the same young doll-faced girl with the curly blond hair he had apparently been waiting for. He nodded at her to wait. Then he turned his side to Hermione to avoid her eyes, his head turning even paler when he forced out, “I’ve hit rock-bottom by asking you, a silly and naïve M-Mudblood, for help. And yes, I lied—I lied when I said I don’t hate you. I can’t deny the truth, and I’ll never convince myself otherwise that I feel anything besides, more, or less than hatred towards you.”
Hermione was about to respond, but he didn’t give her a chance to speak. He continued in the same, low and monotonous voice, as though he had practiced this speech. “I felt exhausted, tired and you disturbed me. Let’s say you gave me the rest.” He looked at her again and stepped a bit closer; his eyes were cold and so full of… nothing. “Never have I asked for your help in Potions, keep that in mind. It was that bloke’s idea, Hayden Malcolm. I don’t need your pity and you don’t have to help me anyway! And I will never stop hating you. Stop looking at me like you understand what’s going on inside of me—” His voice slightly rose, he was angry, and he very carefully leant his face down to hers, so their noses were just inches apart. “—because you don’t bloody know me!”
Hermione felt tears welling up in her eyes. At last he had done it, made her feel worthless again, though she promised herself not let down her logic, her defence. She felt humiliated in one way, and angry in another. Why was he always trying to hurt her? What was he trying to prove? Why was he being so defensive when Hermione had never actually attacked him?
She swallowed hard; her fists balled to the sides, and she whispered, “Don’t worry, the feeling is mutual.”
The blood that had just returned to his face drained for a second time. It was as though every spiteful thing with which he had tried to hurt her was nothing compared to the force of the six words Hermione had uttered. It hit him stronger than he ever tried, and Hermione could see it in his eyes. For a moment he appeared broken, but she would not fall for it this time.
She dropped her eyes to her shoes; when she noticed that he stepped closer to her, felt his chest brushing slightly against her forehead, she looked up again.
“How much do you hate me?” he asked all of a sudden, as though this desperation was usual in the way the two of them conversed with each other while continuing their insults. His facial expression had, though only barely noticeably, softened. She heard the girl from the distance calling. He didn’t care to turn his head, for not breaking the eye contact with Hermione was more important than That Girl. His full attention was on her.
“I hate you with an all-consuming passion; and, if God allows me, I will even hate you after death—” Was she really having this kind of conversation with Malfoy? “—I hate you with such intensity that I could cast an Unforgivable at you without provocation,” she answered, hearing the loud pounding of her heart in her ears. He was the only person Hermione knew who could hold eye contact with her like that; no one else could resist her deadly glare. Strange, though, that when she tried to smile and soften her facial expression at him, he would blush or look away bashfully.
“Why?” he teased her. Obviously, he completely forgot the girl that was waiting for him at the bottom of the hill. Deep inside Hermione wished that girl would approach and interrupt them from this silly, nonsensical tête-à-tête.
“Why?” Hermione repeated, exasperated. “I hate you for having a mouth dirtier than a wicker toilet seat. You offend every human being that isn’t like ‘your high-bred kind’. I hate you for everything you represent!” She raised a brow, breathing rapidly. “Is that answer enough for you?”
He disregarded it. “Do you know why I hate you?” She blinked, morbidly eager to know. Malfoy took a deep breath, his answer well-formed, hesitating before he said ruefully:
“I hate you for what you have made of me.”
“Damn, d’you reckon Hermione will let me copy her essay?” Ron asked of the tree beneath which he sat, for there was no one in particular for him to direct his speech. He watched as Luna sitting cross-legged, with her snail’s box on her lap; she fed her snail with some yellow granules of some imagined substance. It dissolved effervescently once it hit the slimy back of the creature. He wondered if that was the way snails consumed their food.
“Ever thought of writing it by yourself?” Ginny asked, hugging her knees. “I’m wondering if you’d ever have passed all the school years without Hermione’s help.”
Harry gave a small chuckle, his eyes on the tiny glass box in Luna’s hands. He nudged Ron’s side when he was sure Ginny wasn’t looking. “If she lets you copy, I’m copying you, mate,” he whispered.
Grinning impishly back at Harry, he jumped to his feet. “Check back on you later, then?”
He ran back to the castle, trying to catch up with Hermione. He stopped right in his tracks when he saw her under the porches of the castle. She was talking to a tall blond boy.
Narrowing his eyes to thin slits, he walked a little closer to the couple to see if it really was Hermione. The familiar bushy, untamed brown hair was definitely uncommon in the school.
Ron wondered who the other guy—to his surprise, a Slytherin— was, and observed the way they stood in close proximity to one another. His robe was around his arm, and his hands shoved into the pocket of his trousers, looking down, intently, at Hermione.
There was someone calling the boy, a young blonde girl waving at him, as he talked to Hermione. Ron was even more surprised when he heard the name.
“That foppish son of a ferret! I’ll teach him to mess with Hermione again!” Ron exclaimed to himself, walking up to them. But he stopped once again, when Hermione, outraged at first, dropped her head to the ground. Malfoy stepped closer to her, almost making her look up at him. She didn’t even seem mad anymore; there was something else written in her features, an emotion that Ron couldn’t fully comprehend.
And Malfoy didn’t seem to threaten or intimidate her at all. There was something different, and Ron was frustrated he couldn’t figure it out. A knot built up in his throat as he tried to swallow.
He wondered what the bloody hell the two were talking about.
The piece of parchment transformed to a swan; it lifted up in mid-air and moved its wings. The sight of a flying Origami paper animal was hypnotic, and Hayden watched in awe.
“How do you do that?” Hayden asked, amazed, watching as the paper bird burst into flames; what spells were involved—animation-transfiguration with a time limit causing it to end in combustion, or... He shook his head, snapping back from his brief trance.
“You learn that kind of magic in Hogwarts,” Naomi answered, who was sitting cross-legged on a table. “Just remember: always carry your wand with you!” She pointed the tip of her wand towards the classroom door, but her lips didn’t move.
At first nothing happened, and Hayden shifted his eyes curiously from Naomi to the door at which she had pointed her wand. Then a stick of wood flew through the steel grille of the wooden door seconds later, flying towards Naomi. She stretched her hand out without even looking, and the stick landed just in her hand. She threw it at Hayden; it slipped through his fingers and landed on the ground with a clattering sound.
“Merlin!” she laughed, “Hayden, did no one play catch with you?”
“I was not prepared for you to throw it to me!”
He picked up his wand and swung it loosely a few times, as if practicing a movement. “My mum taught me some magic when I was a young boy,” he said reminiscently, ignoring his own embarrassment. “But without doing real magic, of course. She taught me how to move my wand,” he flourished it elaborately, “and how to pronounce the different kind of spells.”
Hayden stopped his movements and examined his wand—his Dad’s wand. “I had a toy wand, and I remember I was really upset when I couldn’t do real magic when Mum could. She explained to me that I can only use magic when I go to Hogwarts, or when I’m of age.”
Naomi was listening and smiled knowingly.
Hayden added, “When I turned seventeen.”
“Did you never regret not going to Hogwarts? I mean, do you regret not being able to be with people who are like you?”
She jumped off the table and walked down the aisle, brushing her fingers over the wooden surfaces of the others, saying, “We would have met either on the Hogwarts Express or in the Great Hall. During the Sorting, at least, you would have noticed me.”
She laughed and sat down on a nearby bench, propping her feet up on the table while trying to keep her skirt in place. “Do you think everything would have turned differently if only you had known earlier that I was a witch?”
How many times had Hayden asked himself these questions?
If he had gone to Hogwarts, then he would have met Naomi here; and maybe he could have prevented her from meeting Teddy Lupin, kept her from all the other guys she had dated in the past. He remembered the first letter Naomi sent to him that September morning; she had told him very, very, very excitedly about her new friend.
Hayden knew Naomi had difficulties befriending other girls, because she hated the whole back-chatting scene that went right along with it. Naomi rather enjoyed the company of boys, and Hayden had always been her best—her only—friend. And then he was struck down that earth-shattering day when she met that Lupin...At least she still wrote to him, Hayden comforted himself.
“No. I never regretted it,” Hayden lied, leaning against the table behind him. “You haven’t told me what house you were sorted into. Your parents were both Ravenclaws, and you said your dad wished you were in that house, but you disappointed him. Therefore, you can’t be a Ravenclaw.”
“Bright boy,” Naomi mocked, watching him work through his thought processes. “Keep on guessing, Lover-boy. What do you think?”
“I’ve read about the houses in my mum’s books. I’m not the Sorting Hat, you know, but from personal experience and how I know you, I assume, you were in…” He looked at her very intently, and she bit her lower lip, smirking mischievously.
“Let’s play a game. You have one guess left, Hayden,” she said, pulling out her wand again. “There are three houses left. So, if you get it wrong,” she paused for dramatic effect and looked up at Hayden, a wicked glint in her eyes. “—you have to ask my mum out on a date. And you have to make her to like you.”
“What? Cripes, if those are the conditions then I don’t want to know which house you were in anymore,” he said, flabbergasted. “I was just curious—a-and you make up such a cruel game again a-and w-with other people are involved.”
Hayden was thinking about Mrs. Lovegood-Scamander, into whose house Naomi had broken that she could steal the ingredients for her own Time-Travel potion. He still didn’t understand why Naomi wanted him to seduce her own mother. He hadn’t asked her yet, not after her long sermon on not carrying his wand with him, for being so careless all the time, clumsy, adding to the exciting fact that she was now with him in this era.
She disregarded his complaints. “If your guess’s correct—” She smiled naughtily and played with the tip of her long raven-black hair, making it seem longer and longer until it passed her collar, as if that were somehow provocative, “—we can lock the door and…”
He gasped before she could finish her sentence, and almost choked. He dropped his wand again, but he didn’t care to pick it up this time. Naomi burst out laughing. As it tinkled with a delightful music, and her holding her stomach was like a nun pulling the bells for evensong.
“You should have seen your face, Hayden!” she effused, wiping a tear from the corner of her eye.
“I really can’t explain to myself why you’re always doing this,” said Hayden, gesturing with his hand to express his feelings. “This—this whole thing.”
Naomi looked at him, her smile fading.
“Why do you want me to do that? Do you want me to hurt your mum on purpose? Make her fall for me so that I can ditch her afterwards as if I don’t care about her feelings?”
“Since when have you ever cared for another person’s feelings, Hayden?” Naomi asked coldly, raising an eyebrow at him.
“What exactly do you mean?”
Naomi snorted. She looked around the room, so that her eyes were averted from Hayden. “You have no idea who my mother is. I don’t want her to fall for Michael Corner. I don’t want them to get together.”
She straightened in her chair to glower at Hayden, who flinched at Naomi’s threatening posture. “You know what? Just remember, Mr. Malcolm, I was the one who protected your true identity from the people around you. Without me, you would have never found out what kind of people your parents were. Now I am asking you for a simple favour, and you’re refusing?”
“I didn’t say I won’t do it,” Hayden said calmly, gritting his teeth.
He noticed Naomi was holding her breath.
“I was just wondering why I have to do it. I mean, are you trying to eliminate yourself by destroying your parents’ relationship?” he asked, he tried to find any reaction in his best friend’s face.
“I am absolutely not trying to destroy my parents’ relationship,” she answered, leaning back in her chair again. “Tell me, Hayden, wouldn’t it be much easier for you, if, instead of fixing your parents’...broken...relationship, just to find your mother’s murderer and kill her—or him?”
“Mum wasn’t murdered. It was a car accident!” Hayden growled
“Did you ever learn the identity of the driver?”
“How does this have anything to do with me seducing your mother?” he said louder and forcefully than intended, running his hands angrily through his now-messy hair. He disliked how she could un-ruffle him, break his composure; it made him feel...
“You are digressing, as always!” He paced up and down the aisle between the tables. “I don’t want to remember what happened to my mother. Stop reminding me!”
“You want to know the truth, Hayden? Then face it! Deal with it! Why do you keep on running away from it?”
Hayden stopped walking. He looked over to Naomi; she had her arms crossed over her chest.
“What do you want to tell me?” he asked guardedly. “And what does my mum’s death have to do with your parents?”
Naomi smirked at him, but it wasn’t playful, it was daring.
And, once again, she began, “Let’s play a game, Hayden.”
(A/N: Visit my LJ (link can be found on my main account page) and check out the updates of my stories, if you want. :D
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